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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Brent Kilburn Connects to discuss air pollution, proposed parliamentary constituency changes & benefit cap, Wed 21 Sept at 7pm

7pm @ London Interfaith Centre, 125 Salusbury Road, NW6 6RG Location map
(Modern Building with glass frontage and dome on top between Queens Park and Brondesbury Park stations). 206 bus plus walk down from Brondesbury Park Station.

Further details, including agenda, available at http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/brent-kilburn-connects-to-discuss-air.html

Women Against State Pension Inequality sing 'When I'm sixty and poor'

From Colin Hampton of Chesterfield Unite Community

Clip of Waspi (Women Against State Pension Inequality) women singing in Chesterfield New Square.  Thanks to Wendy Bell, David Eccles and yours truly from Chesterfield Unite Community  for the words.

When I get older, dyeing my hair
Not so long from now.
Will you still be bailing out your banking chums
Whilst we’re being treated like bums.
Making my plans when I’m a retiree
Then you slammed the door.
Will you still bleed me, corrupt and greedy
When I’m 60 n poor.

You’re gold plated too!
But now you have broken your word
We won’t vote for you.

The Tory Grandees thought it a ruse
Pension Rights are gone
Nineteen fifties women won’t be took for a ride
We’re not for turning, no place to hide.
Screwing the public, know where it leads
Damned for evermore.
Will you still bleed me, corrupt and greedy
When I’m 60 n poor.

Every woman she can send a message to the Tory right
And make it clear
We did scrimp and save.
Politicians not for me
Teresa, George and Dave.

Send me a forecast, drop me a line
Time to change your mind.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
WASPI women, this is your day.
Give me your answer, time for reform
Or be damned for evermore.
Will you still bleed me, corrupt and greedy
When I’m 60 n poor.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Patriotism and disabled people's inclusion

The blog post below was conceived originally as a comment on Craig Murray's blog post The Sad End of British Liberalism.(1) The youtube video was included as part of Craig Murray's blog post. I have edited it slightly.

Thanks for this, especially the Tom Paine-rich video.(1) The references to patriotism on the video remind me of Orwell’s observation that ‘patriotism’ differed from ‘nationalism’, and apparently dictionary founder Johnson described ‘patriotism’ as the last resort of scoundrels.
The Paine observation that patriots have a duty to protect their country from its government emphasises for me the importance of citizens engaging in ‘public consultations’. I was a contributor to the Green Party of England & Wales response to Labour’s 2008 welfare reform green paper. Especially as a veteran of decades of ‘benefit claimant’ status while a disabled jobseeker, I reckoned that my ‘expert witness’ status by default required me to help point out the dangers of misjudging and being nasty to vulnerable people. 

Sadly, UK mass media wanted to pigeon-hole the Green Party as purely about protecting the geographical environment; thus mass media sat on a report that would have given greater enlightenment than was available from Blairites and Thatcherites, etc.(2) ‘Writing off Workfare: for a Green New Deal, not the flexible New Deal’ is still available online however. An outline press statement of that report can also be found at “Workfare is not the answer”. (3)

Sadly these days, many vulnerable citizens fear that they will be victimised if they stand out for their lives and social justice by demonstrating. I have heard that the DWP launched an investigation of ‘benefit fraud’ against someone they predicted would not be disabled enough to qualify for the disability benefits he was claiming; they said his Facebook output was too plentiful for such a disabled person.

What would be necessary to make ANY form of alternative government unelectable in England?

A current public consultation that people need to use to help protect England from its government is that of constituency boundary changes. Parliamentary Boundary Changes could lead to a Permanent Tory Government in the UK.(4)
Meanwhile, some Labour Party grandees such as now Lord Kinnock proclaim Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership a disaster for the Labour Party. BBC website reports: 
Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock tells BBC Panorama he is doubtful there will be another Labour government in his lifetime if Jeremy Corbyn remains at the helm..(5)
Might not such proclamations be described as ‘prediction terrorism’? If such ‘party patriots’ really cared for democracy and their party, should they not devote more energy to getting the public to protect England from the ravages of a dysfunctional ‘boundaries commission’? 

Were Labour to become ‘unelectable’, I believe that such pontificatingly out-of-touch Labour ‘grandees’ are largely responsible for pissing off the economically vulnerable and for pointing scapegoating fingers at Corbyn rather than at the prospect of patriots telling England's boundary commissioners what to do and where to go to make elections truly fair.

And regarding disabled people's inclusion, I believe that when disabled people include themselves/ourselves in democratic processes our power to 'speak out' comes not from fraudulent benefit claiming as the DWP would have it, but from Pete Seeger's interpretation of what anthropologist Robert Ardrey wrote of as the Territorial Imperative. In Seeger's song Uncle Ho citing North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh as an exemplar of Ardrey's 'territorial imperative', Seeger wrote and sang:
He educated all the peopleHe demonstrated to the worldIf a man [sic] will stand for his own landHe's got the strength of ten...(6)

Dude Swheatie of Kwug, writing in an individual capacity

Related link addresses

  1. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/09/sad-end-british-liberalism/#tc-comment-title
  2. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/reports/GPEW_writing_off_workfare_final.doc
  3. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/workfare-is-not-the-answer.html
  4. http://londongreenleft.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/parliamentary-boundary-changes-could.html
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37401188
  6. http://www.songlyrics.com/pete-seeger/uncle-ho-lyrics/

Sunday, 18 September 2016

People's Assembly Against Austerity presents I, Daniel Blake: Special advance screening for supporters

The People's Assembly is pleased to announce an exciting addition to our programme of events as part of our weekend protesting the Tory Party Conference on 1 & 2 October in Birmingham. We will be hosting a special advance screening of Ken Loach's latest award winning film, 'I, Daniel Blake.' The Screening is exclusively available to attendees of The People's Conference on Saturday 1 October.

The weekend of action includes:

The People's Conference - Our Alternative to Austerity
Saturday 1 October, 10:30am, Birmingham Town Hall, B3 3DQ

Special Advance Screening, 'I, Daniel Blake' (with introduction from Ken Loach)
Saturday 1 October, 7:00pm, Cineworld Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 1DA
NOTE: Spaces for the screening are limited, please book early. This screening is available exclusively to attendees of the People's Conference

Book tickets from http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/peoplesconference

Special thanks to Ken Loach and his team for the opportunity to show this important film in advance of its official release.

Check out the Guardian review of the film at 

Revd Paul Nicolson comments on preview of Ken Loach's Palme D'Or winning 'I, Daniel Blake'

Guest blog post by Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty

Dear all,  

I went to a preview of Ken Loach's very necessary Palme D'Or winning new film I, Daniel Blake; I wept.  I am so glad 
​a special screening has been​
​ by the Peoples Assembly 
in Birmingham and sorry I 
​cannot be there​

Life was bad for the unemployed prior to Iain Duncan Smith's reforms, when I was working with and for benefit claimants in debt. Parliament did not, however, permit jobcentre officials to stop unemployment income for one month, three months or three years with a benefit sanction. 

I reflected at the preview that I, Daniel Blake describes only one of three nightmare bureaucracies which require officials to implement oppressive laws that impact on the mental and physical health of our poorest fellow citizens and their children by creating debts, hunger and homelessness. 

Now, when the jobcentre stops an income with a benefit sanction, local authorities continue to enforce rent and council tax arrears; magistrates enforce fines for poverty related offences such as TV licence or fare evasion, both adding court costs and bailiffs fees.  Those debts have often arisen because benefit and other incomes in and out of work have been shredded since 2010. The debts pile up while the unemployment income is stopped by the sanction and are then enforced for months after it ends. 

The poverty crisis is even deeper than the tragic circumstances accurately captured by Ken Loach. 

​In solidarity, 


from the Reverend Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
No citizen without an affordable home and an 
adequate income in work or unemployment. 

93 Campbell Road, Tottenham, London N17 0BF, 0208 3765455, 07961 177889, 

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

GCHQ says Universal Credit poses serious security risks

A Kwuggie (Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group activist) has sent in the following by e-mail:

I wish I had the facility to scan news paper items.  Yesterday the 6th, The Times had a lovely piece on Universal Credit poses serious security risk, spies tell No 10.(1)  Experts working for GCHQ the government listening agency contacted  Downing Street in alarm after being "fobbed off" by the DWP over security  flaws in the benefits program. millions of people could be hacked  The system will not be operational until 2022 at the earliest. GCHQ  involvement on delaying UC  is revealed in a report by the Institute for Government into how the welfare reform program went disastrously wrong. The report says that it still remains to be seen if UC will eventually work.

Blazing rows between George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith in front of civil servants.  "I have not seen two grown adults  have such a row for a long time ," one official said.

IDS  allegedly told one civil servant  that he would  not back down even when the plan was failing. There is a reference to a small number of jobcentres where UC is in operation major problems have emerged . A quarter of claimants face "significant issues" with the system. Councils  had to take on extra staff as CAB couldn't cope.

The report reveals the GCHQ officials went to No.10 after being repeatedly "fobbed off '. as they tried to establish what security measures were in place. After which the Cabinet Office ordered  an independent review. The review team  interviewed staff , assuring them that what they said would not be traced back to them.  The report said that under every stone was chaos. People burst into tears.  One of the suppliers said " just don't put this thing online.".  It is a complete security disaster. There was no way this could be launched as digital service.

IDS was ordered to put back the launch. Nick Thimmins , who wrote the report, said that. "There are elements of the policy that are still not entirely  clear.  Huge challenges remain."

Related link address