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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Universal Credit's built-in misery for claimants should be stopped, not just paused

There is a Direct Line landlord Insurance tv ad that I have previously cited on Kwug Blog, in a post entitled Why this blogger is boycotting Direct Line insurance of any kind.(1) That ad has not made it to youtube yet but is very relevant to Government plans to increase the roll-out of Universal Credit.

On 15 September, in a piece headed National Audit Office points finger at Government welfare reforms over steep rise in homelessness, Hattie Williams reported in Church Times:(2)

The chief executive of the homelessness charity Depaul UK, Martin Houghton-Brown, said: “While the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 should help, there is a real risk it will be undermined by welfare reforms — particularly the roll-out of Universal Credit and proposed changes to supported accommodation funding.

“It is important that ministers look again at the amount of time people have to wait to receive their first Universal Credit payment. Many of the young people we work with are having to wait at least six weeks, during which time they struggle to pay their rent and, in some cases, have to rely on foodbanks.”
 Now, there is a 38 Degrees campaign to pause the rollout of Universal Credit.(3) Sadly, that petition page does not recognise that the delays of at least six weeks before the Universal Credit claimant gets their first payment are built into the system from inception.(4) None the less, a 'pause' can mark a turning point away from Universal Credit. And the real opposition in the House of Commons to such vicious attacks on poor people has increased since a former Labour opposition backed the roll-out of Universal Credit as 'too big to fail'.

So this blogger asks you to back this 38 Degrees as an interim to the scrapping of it before it wrecks more and more lives.

Direct Line petition: Pause the rollout of Universal Credit (5)

Link references

  1. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/why-this-blogger-is-boycotting-direct-line-insurance-of-any-kind.html
  2. https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2017/15-september/news/uk/national-audit-office-points-finger-at-government-welfare-reforms-over-steep-rise-in-homelessness
  3. https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/universal-credit-pause
  4. http://camdennewjournal.com/article/benefit-related-suicides-will-be-highlighted-on-april-3  
  5. https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/universal-credit-pause

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Appealing against State Terrorism beyond the 'mandatory reconsideration' stage is an act of counter-terrorism

Benefits & Work Publishing report:
Even by our standards this is a pretty gloomy newsletter.

We have the disappointing news that the success rate for disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP) transfers is almost at the lowest level it’s ever been.

Then there’s the unsurprising news that a survey has found that PIP assessments are harmful to your health.

There’s the revelation that repeat testing of ESA claimants is back with a vengeance. There are now more repeat assessments than fresh claims, in spite of a DWP promise to stop unnecessary testing.

And the number of warnings that speeding up the universal credit rollout from next month will lead to a catastrophe for claimants is growing.

There is, though, the slightly more positive news that whilst the backlog of social security appeals has almost doubled in the last year, claimants continue to win in the majority of cases – except in connection with [Jobseekers Allowance appeals]....(1)
Theresa May seeks to portray herself as a protector of the people against terrorism:

Theresa May to warn tech firms over terror content

Technology companies must go "further and faster" in removing extremist content, Theresa May is to tell the United Nations general assembly....(2)
Yet her Government itself is guilty of state terrorism as highlighted in the Benefits & Work Publishing 19 September Update and more.(4)

Disabled people could be at risk of violence, and even “killings and euthanasia”, because of their portrayal by the UK government and media as “parasites” who live on benefits, according to unpublished comments by the chair of a UN committee.

Theresia Degener, who chairs the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, warns in the interview that such portrayals of disabled people are “very, very dangerous”....

Degener herself had told the UK government’s delegation that its cuts to social security and other support for disabled people had caused “a human catastrophe”,(6) comments that were repeated by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in yesterday’s prime minister’s questions [on Wednesday 14 September].

But her comments in the interview with a BBC journalist – which are believed to have not been broadcast – go even further.

Degener (pictured) says that cuts to social security have been so severe that they have become “life threatening to many disabled people”, and she then talks about the impact of the austerity cuts on public attitudes to disabled people.

She says in the interview that “disabled people being portrayed as parasites, living on social benefits, and welfare and the taxes of other people” was “very, very dangerous”.

She says that such attitudes “will later on lead to violence against disabled people, we know it, if not to killings and euthanasia”.
 So while this blogger dislikes character-labelling stuff such as 'Tory scum', I believe that appealing against nasty benefit decisions is an act of counter-terrorism. That can be far more effective at making them squirm in private than 'Tory scum' daubings and death threats can.(7)

It really could be you!

Whether Theresa May & Co would describe blogs such as this and the Benefits & Work Publishing and Disability News Service websites that reveal more than the BBC as 'extremist' is another matter, but I note that this blog currently gets more page viewings from France than from the UK.

Blog post by Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Source link references

  1. https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3663-19-september-2017-update
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41327816
  3. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/?s=uncrpd
  4. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/portraying-disabled-people-as-parasites-could-lead-to-violence-and-killings-says-un-chair/
  5. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/uk-faces-un-examination-government-cuts-caused-human-catastrophe/ 
  6. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/uk-faces-un-examination-government-cuts-caused-human-catastrophe/
  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41237836 Title: MPs tell of death threats and abuse at 2017 election 

Saturday 23 September: March in North London vs social cleansing and global corporate privatisation of council land

Gordon Peters of Haringey Unite Community writes:

.... Haringey Council in north London is planning to go ahead with a £2 billion redevelopment of its public housing stock, gentrifying neighbourhoods and pricing local people out of living in the area. But a grassroots campaign against Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV) has been building.....
Partly because we found out from a Freedom of Information request, that there has been a secret ‘shadow’ inner cabinet process of meetings with Lendlease, the preferred developer, from before the point of them being agreed as preferred bidder for the contract on HDV. This included the member recently appointed to be on the putative HDV Board, Cllr. Elin Weston who is now the lead member for children and families.
I crowd funded £25,000 to pay for legal fees for a Judicial Hearing which will be held in the High Court - Royal Courts of Justice on The Strand - on 25 and 26 October, where there will be a presence outside from 9:30 on 25th.
This could lead to a landmark decision on how Councils, through their Cabinets, make decisions on property deals with big developers altering the whole nature of communities, at the expense of the less well-off and poor, as has been happening across London and mainly by Labour councils. Issues in front of the court include lack of basic democracy, consultation, equalities impact, commercial secrecy and fair process.
There is a march and demonstration in Haringey this Saturday, 23 September, against HDV. Folks from elsewhere in London will be attending too (e.g. Cressingham Gardens, Lambeth in south London, who are campaigning against a similar development in their borough and who have also been in Judicial Review).
The march starts at Tottenham Green, at 12 noon and onto Ducketts Common (site of the massive defeat of the NF by the community in the late 70s) down Green Lanes - one of the last roads that hasn’t been totally taken over by corporate franchises - and finishes at 2pm at the Manor House tube end of Finsbury Park. Sian Berry, Green Party London Assembly Member, has agreed to speak at demo/end of the march.
There is also a benefit gig with Potent Whisper and others at The Beehive pub in Tottenham from 7pm on Saturday evening. The film Dispossession, The Great Social Housing Swindle is being shown at the Haringey Independent Cinema in West Green this Thursday evening (21 September)

Immediately at risk are 1300 homes on Northumberland Park estate, Tottenham, behind them are hundreds and hundreds more on multiple estates, this is people's homes, this is the reality of London in 2017.
A good presence on the demonstration this coming Saturday will be really important to keep up the momentum that is building, especially given what is now happening in the local Labour Party. Support this campaign against this cruel social cleansing operation which is threatening to spread to many other parts of London.

 More at https://londongreenleft.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/grassroots-coalition-grows-against.html

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Threat levels, who declares them and the nature of the threat

By Dude Swheatie of Kwug, now resident in Hereford

Today, in trumpeting the biases of the mainstream UK press, the BBC (British Broadcasting Company) summarises today's Daily Mail 'Web giants with blood on their hands' front page:

Daily Mail, 16 September 2017: "PM to confront web giants with blood on their hands"
Prime Minister Theresa May will order internet bosses to crack down on extremism in the wake of the Parsons Green attack, says the Daily Mail. It reports Google, Facebook and Microsoft could be in the firing line after instructions to make the bomb were "still available online". The paper adds Mrs May will warn technology companies they need to do more to stop extremists at a summit with the French president next week.  (1)
For the 'threat terror level' declared by UK Government to be 'critical' is nothing new. Why though do the BBC etc not broadcast the lowering of the 'threat terror level' that occurs? And what impact does that have on the mainstream public psyche?

Over three months ago, the BBC website reported on "What is the 'critical' terror threat level and what [it means]":(2)
The UK terror threat level has been raised to "critical", following the Manchester Arena bombing which killed 22 people.

This is the highest terror threat level possible and means an attack is "expected imminently".(2)

The announcement of 'critical terror threat' level leads to knee jerk reactions

It was against that sort of backdrop that on Wednesday 14 June the news came out on televised and Internet news channels, of a blaze that consumed a North Kensington tower block in a matter of hours, before 'Grenfell Tower' became a 'household name' — ie, a label that required no introduction.(3) It was also against that backdrop that the 40 year old woman who accompanied me to my Housing Benefits registration interview in Hereford declared instantly that it was obviously the work of 'Islamic terrorists'.

I had heard however in the early hours of that day in 'live' reporting from the Grenfell Tower site that a Grenfell survivor had reported their neighbours issuing the warning, "My fridge has just exploded! Get out now!" or words to that effect. Indeed, I recalled having heard that a Southwark tower blaze a few years ago had been the result of a faulty Beko fridge component (4) and so I was more skeptical about my companion's 'knee jerk' response that was obviously linked to the post-Manchester bombing raising of terror threat level to 'critical'.

After an enquiry into the cause of Grenfell Fire too, it was confirmed that white goods were yet again to blame.(5) Of course, there is also the fact that the Grenfell Action Group had been campaigning on the matter of fire safety in the Grenfell Tower area since at least 2012.(6) This was despite a five-year London Fire Brigade campaign regarding the safety of white goods.(7) LFB reports:
"Nearly one fire a day in London involves white goods. Most fires caused by these appliances are not down to the owner but by faults beyond the control of the householder." (8)
The solution to this problem, the LFB concludes, involves total recall of dodgy white goods.

The solution to the problem of wide availability of information about how to make 'home made bombs', Theresa May and the Daily Mail declare, is to clamp down on 'web giants with blood on their hands' for helping to service Internet searches in responses to queries about how to do terrorism. In that 'solution', I am reminded of the collusion that such 'web giants' engaged in with the Chinese government in order to suppress freedom of information as they 'broke into the Chinese market' as a new territory.

I would argue that it is in their tax dodging practices and resultant denial of support to the UK economy for essential services to vulnerable people that the 'web giants have blood on their hands', and that in reality Theresa May and her crew have raised the threat level to economically vulnerable people from 'severe' under Labour to 'critical'. This fact can currently be gleaned from perusal of such sites as Disability News Service,(9) especially with regard to its coverage of UK Government reneging on its United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities duties.(10) There is also Kate Belgrave | Talking with people dealing with public sector cuts,(11) and Taxpayers Against Poverty.(12)

Prospective Kwug placard design: T May & Co, State Terrorists
May's government caused a "human catastrophe" by cutting disabled people's support, the Committee of the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities has stated,(13) while the Chairperson of the UNCRPD has gone even further in unpublished interview comments.(14)

In conclusion, by colluding with the suppression of information about the State Terrorism that occurs under Theresa May's government, under a State of Theresa May & Co-mandated Internet, 'web giants' really would have 'blood on their hands' through the suppression of such information, just as the BBC's subservience to denial of the statutory abuses to benefit claimants lays the taint of 'blood on their hands' to that establishment.

What legitimate authority does a Government with blood on its hands have to dictate what information should and should not be available on the Internet? Who are they to do the prescribing of truth?

Link references

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/40027916/what-is-the-critical-terror-threat-level-and-what-does-it-mean 
  3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40274519
  4. http://www.health-safety.net/News/Warning-on-fridge-freezer-fire-risk-after-tower-block-blaze
  5. http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/news/LatestNewsReleases_Brigade-reissues-essential-safety-advice-on-white-goods-following-Grenfell-fire.asp#.Wb0TDcbjIkI
  6. https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/
  7. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/820566/Grenfell-tower-fire-London-hotpoint-FF175BP-london-fire-brigade-campaign-five-years-safety 
  8. http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/total-recalls-white-goods-campaign.asp
  9. http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/ 
  10. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/?s=uncrpd 
  11. http://www.katebelgrave.com/  
  12. http://taxpayersagainstpoverty.org.uk/
  13. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/prime-minister-lies-on-benefits-spending-in-response-to-un-human-catastrophe-claims/
  14. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/portraying-disabled-people-as-parasites-could-lead-to-violence-and-killings-says-un-chair/