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Saturday, 11 April 2015

A challenge to Tulip Siddiq — stand up for claimants, not just the camera!

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Tulip gatecrashes the Tory party. Photo: Camden New Journal
The Camden New Journal reports re the photo-opportunity vying of Tory Hampstead & Kilburn (H&K) parliamentary hopeful Simon Marcus accompanied by London Tory Mayor Boris Johnson, and Labour hopeful for the same parliamentary seat Tulip Siddiq near her constituency office in Kilburn High Road:
"As the Tory 'Blues' marched closer to this nerve centre, the Labour' Reds' radar bleeped and a defence system kicked in. Tulipistas were sent to cut the Mayor down, drawing their line in the pavement halfway down the road, outside the Classy Chicks clothes shop." (CNJ April 9, 2015)
Electioneering politicians seem to think it their democratic duty to stand up and be photographed in places of prominence. What about helping people who have been highjacked by the unfairness of the way that public servants seem to follow orders to "cut the welfare bill" etc? Is it dangerous for politicians to support benefit claimants? Do politicians fear the censure of a mistaken public opinion that has colluded with Benefit sanctions [as] Britain's secret penal system?

Some of our members had recently dropped into Tulip's office in getting from A to B and told her office of the situation of one of the people we support having had her benefits stopped for allegedly making herself 'unavailable for work' while the part-time course she's on is only 5 hours per week but cost her £4,000 to get onto. Down the road a bit from the Labour offices, Kilburn Jobcentre said that the person would have to give up her course in order to get her Jobseekers Allowance back. (While Parliament is dissolved, jobcentre customers have no MP, yet when Glenda Jackson was their MP many felt unrepresented all the same.)

On Tuesday April 7, 2015 we supported such sanctions fodder at Kilburn Jobcentre and commemorated the 3rd anniversary of the sanctions and eviction-related suicide of a former Kilburn Jobcentre customer from the South Kilburn Estate and were joined by members of one of the other parties contesting the H&K seat. link As we were packing up to leave the jobcentre for Ngell's former address, the police turned up, saying that jobcentre management had called on them because the noise of our megaphone was upsetting their customers and staff.

We would have loved to have been joined by some of Tulip's team if not Tulip herself yet understand that Labour's Work & Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves is an ex-banker who has said that Labour has nothing to offer people who are unemployed. But what does Tulip say?

Meanwhile it seems to me from walking down one of the Kilburn High Road side streets on the Brent side last night that no party's posters were displayed in the windows I saw. But I was not surprised.

It can take a lot of persuading to get a poster displayed in someone's window, and in the first place it can be difficult to persuade people to go out knocking on strangers doors along unfamiliar streets. Yet I have read by email that in at least one constituency the more televised parties have felt so threatened by the record of the MP standing for re-election that they have attempted to get residents to remove the posters for the person standing for re-election and have it replaced by one of their own.
I wonder whether those arrogant and apparently fearful persuaders were unpaid volunteers or paid employees of the party concerned?

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