Tuesday, 29 October 2013

you should be proud if you are penniless

Over the last three years one word has been at the heart of Government policy: austerity.
Since the Coalition Government's 2010 budget the A-word has been a by-word for changes around the country.

But as well as being defined by financial prudence, austerity is also a word used to describe actions which are harsh or severe – and damaging our communities to boot.

This autumn The Socialist Way (that’s me) is going to investigate how Government cuts are affecting a group of people and lets be honest that have always existed in society they are the thousands who are homeless rootless and yes, excluded. I  want to gather evidence on how the lives of rough sleepers or those in their temporary accommodation are changing – from the benefits system, right down to funding cuts.

From October the new benefits system – the Universal Credit – will start to be rolled out across the United Kingdom – and this process will be complete by 2017. Instead of receiving job-seekers, housing and any other financial support in separate payments, you will receive one single amount.

There are some exemptions for supported accommodation – but it’s not clear cut – and it’s how these exemptions really work.that I’m keen to find out about.

In general, with an explosion, every bit as earth shattering as if caused by a bomb, thousands of families have and are still being blown apart by first, the Great Financial Crisis and the Great Recession which began in the United States in 2007 and quickly spread across the globe, marking what appears to be a turning point in world history, and now the capitalist response to that crisis by and in particular our own government here in the United Kingdom and how that impacts on the homeless.

The Government’s aim is for us all  to become more financially independent and take responsibility for paying your own bills. This sounds appealing, but managing money isn't straightforward when your life is complicated. However when you don’t have a home and have to move around a lot, then forgetting to pay a bill can easily happen.

Where you stay might be under threat too. In May this year, a court case on the Welsh island of Anglesey was interpreted by some councils to mean they could no longer accept housing benefits to run emergency night shelters. The ruling caused two shelters to threaten to shut their doors, though the authorities later claimed the law had been misunderstood.

Hundreds of vulnerable homeless people face being turned out on to the streets amid confusion over how local authorities should interpret a legal ruling which could trigger the closure of emergency night shelters. Not all night shelters are dependent on housing benefit payments but when they are the only form of emergency accommodation for homeless people in a given area their sudden closure threatens to increase rough sleeping.

Welfare cuts have increased demand by young people for shared housing in London, but supply is shrinking, and landlords aren’t interested. This will lead to more homelessness, says charities.

If you are young, on benefits, and living in London, finding somewhere affordable to live is now all but impossible and Housing benefit reforms mean that the chances of a young single person on benefits – and “young” means up to the age of 35 – finding a room to rent in a shared house or flat in the capital now range from dismal to non-existent, according to new research.

So with much to do I will end this post by saying this: They seem, the Government that is, to be hell bent on slashing the benefit system and eroding the Welfare State away completely. They’re dream would be to accommodate the homeless in work camps!. Your work pays your board, your salary pays for your food, your wages pay the taxes to the Government and the corporate gods are happy for the cheap labour, slave labour, the homeless are off the streets, hidden away from society and the Government gets their taxes.

We have such a corrupt capitalist system you should be proud if you are penniless as it means you are not a cold heartless creature to exploit others for a ‘buck!’ Nevertheless we have a problem of top down out of touch damaging policies fundamentally more harmful in reality for those unable to afford expensive rents, mortgages and part buy part rent schemes. All out of reach for so many of the poorest.

Monday, 28 October 2013

“The Great Storm of 2013”

In anticipation, and we are at the at the time of writing this post still waiting in London for “The Great Storm of 2013” with bated breath, just what time is it all going to blow off at?”

I must admit that I do like a good storm and was pondering upon how safe I am at this time sitting behind my computer writing up this post; just what time will my windows start to rattle in the wind of the hurricane, anyone would think I’m talking of a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean the way I’m going on.

Everyone is talking about it, except some homeless people I know here in Canning Town, well really and to be honest they are more like my friends... of a kind that is. Let me explain a little; ‘Shovel Hands and his mate ‘Super Mario, they live under the flyover on the A13 in Canning Town and have done with others for some time now. ‘Shovel Hands and this is his street name, because of his enormous large hands, they, have been staying together for a while, and as they say, there is indeed safety in numbers, and with a mate you are more able to deal with life’s many, many, difficulties, and that’s if you are amongst the thousands who are currently homeless in this country today; often do I wonder, why and what is ‘Great about Britain’ when you think of the housing hurricane that has hit this land full blast.

Words do fail me, where do I begin to tell the story of what is going on, why are human beings sleeping under a flyover of a major road that runs in and out of London, just why in a city that has so many buildings being built as now, that the great many if any at all, are not built to meet people's real needs, long council and social housing waiting lists, families exported somewhere up north and exiled far away from family friends and that most impotent network of support. The Bedroom Tax and for god’s sake (not to take his name in vain) all the cuts and attacks and on the proper provision’ of social housing, and not just as a civilised idea, but stands as an insult, to all those who fought for them ideals, and then strove and won them.

Socialists, hold that a sane society is one where people's social needs should be met in full, that there cannot be room for a barbarick system that allows others such as the homeless to suffer and pay the price of having to go without so that others may profit from their misery. So as we await this storm and its raining or it has been, but has now stopped. We should understand that homelessness is unnecessary, that a Welfare System would be able to overcome these deficiencies of capitalism, and you could say as it seems created for us. My own feeling is what they the government are doing to our Welfare and Housing, then they should be held to account, that  will and can be done by going much further than just tinkering about with reforms.

Only a Revolution will Do...no one should sleep out on a night like this.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Storm of 2013

Just got back from central London this being late on Saturday evening; and thinking about it, there was much activity in preparation and action of making ready for the storm that is about to hit our shores and sweep across half the country in the next 24 hours.

The Met Office says the public should be prepared for the risk of falling trees as well as damage to buildings and other structures, bringing disruption to transport and power supplies, and yes nature may disrupt the daily activities of capitalism on Monday morning and into late evening, millions of pounds could be lost if power failure is experienced in the city. I suppose really what matters is that people going to work or about their own business, they should take extra care, take the day off sod the boss who may be an unpleasant and obnoxious person, most  are with very few exceptions to the rule of domineering manager.

In London this evening we have noticed that large cranes used to move heavy objects in construction, and there are many as London is rapidly changing, are being dismantled and made safe.

So as we batten down the hatches and make the home safe, there is one group of people that not many will not give a passing thought for, and that’s the thousands who have no home and sleep on our city streets in doorways of shops, some on the embankment in tents but under a river bridge; and lets also spare a thought for the many voluntary food and soup runs operated and handled by compassionate and caring citizens of the human race, who may still feel the need to come out in adverse and unfavourable weather conditions just to help others.

On my way home this evening I did think about a large group of homeless eastern Europeans, who sleep under a busy flyover on the A13 that runs through Canning Town. If that’s not bad enough that these fellow workers are forced to sleep beneath and alongside one of the most polluted roads in Britain, and Air Pollution from traffic and industry is so dangerously high in east London, that’s according to tests by local "citizen scientists”. Analysis and a detailed examination of the elements and structure at a laboratory used by the government found that concentrations of the toxic exhaust pipe gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceeded EU levels by over 50% in some areas, and was over the safety limit in 15 out of 32 places tested; and our civilization at this stage of human social development allows this?

I have resolved to do something radical and that's to ask a local hostel, catholic church involvement and backing Anchor House Hostel needs to get proactive and offer these men shelter from the storm if only for a few days; so as the local Socialist, and better add independent candidate in next years local council elections, I will be sending an email with the following suggestion. It may be as well to contact the council as given the Pollution factor puts the men's health at serious risk and there has to be a moral responsibility if not legally, to protect their health and safety...why is it that these men under the nose of the council and only yards from a hostel that supposedly helps the homeless, just why are they being ignored?”

Saturday, 26 October 2013

In London alone, 6,437 people slept rough during 2012-13, a 62% rise in two years.

As the statistics show more young people are becoming homeless in the UK than ever, the government's own figures show the number of people sleeping rough in England has increased by a third since 2010.

In London alone, 6,437 people slept rough during 2012-13, a 62% rise in two years.

Campaigners say there is a risk this trend could continue, given youth unemployment, the economic downturn and the pressures on low income families, combined with changes within welfare reform, reduction of public services and the general squeezing of housing supply and affordability of accommodation.

The official figures do not account for the hidden homeless.

Ministers insist they are taking homelessness seriously and have pledged £400m to councils to tackle the issue.

There is seriously a whole generation that will not understand what it means to call your home in the way that we do -  somewhere of your own, either to have, own or to even to rent.

Last Saturday at a food kitchen in Victoria, London, I had a chat with a young 17 year old, who told me that he was sleeping rough to avoid gangs attacking him in his home area of Brixton in Lambeth; and so he may escape the violence and intimidation of Brixton only to face the brutality of the street life, and if you ask me... well Mr Cameron, Britain is more broken than ever thanks to both you and the last Labour Government.       

I have freed myself from the boot work of Iain Duncan Smith.

It’s been sometime... since I’ve have been able to find the time to sit down and compose a post for this blog due to the fact that two weeks ago I started to work officially that is for myself.

Having been sanctioned twice by the DWP and thrown off once...I have freed myself from the boot work of Iain Duncan Smith.

What started out as a means of making ends meet on the dole has now become a full-time occupation of a sort and for me this is a big step into the unknown. In some respects you could say that IDS has forced me off benefits of one kind and onto working tax credits, and still having to claim housing and council benefit... I don’t see what he has achieved if anything.

Well there are still hurdles to climb over but scrap metal recycling is slowly beginning to bring to me a feeling of freedom without hindrance and restraint or even the authoritatively; prescribed dictate and push to supply cheap labour to the capitalist.

One other point that I wish to make, is that although my earnings will never be great I still stubbornly remain my own man and not a wage slave a person not wholly dependent on income from employment, and typically employment of an arduous or menial nature..

Sunday, 13 October 2013

independent and staying that way now and forevermore

You would have thought that after three long years of Cameron... his grand and of course, hopefully it will be only a one off coalition of millionaires, toffs and landed gentry, who by the magic flute of confusion and lies, if not the sorcery and witchcraft of ballot box democracy of those who rule over us - you would have thought then and after all this time, that the people, the workers, would start to wake up, and perhaps start to smell a little of the coffee - as they say.

I must spend hours, literally hours just wondering why are people seemingly taking the bashing they are from this government and doing just about nothing about it; do they, do they in general see how divided and class riven society is today, do they see the class hatred propelled by a government and it supporters which includes the massed and always ready conglomerate of the media, spinning the lies and dishing out the dirt.

Sometimes it feels like you're the only one feeling the pain, that bitter pill of forced-fed austerity for the poor, and who are now paying for the ‘worst crisis’ capitalism has offered and presented to the world since the the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

When I think at length, as often I do then the 50,000 people who face eviction because of that terrible, scolding bedroom tax on the poor they all come to mind; the thousands, many neighbours and friends, forced into low pay, part-time and even zero-hour contracts, my own nasty and physically nauseating experience with the local dole office. The daily struggle it has become without any exaggeration, to feed and keep the family not only safe and sheltered but still together and intact. I had a very enlightening discussion once a few years back with a seventy years (but still young) and something ‘socialist’, who recalled going to bed as a child in Canning Town without an evening meal in those hard  years just before the war. Today and in Britain, children are also being punished for the crisis of capitalism, this surely is no more evident and visible than in the appearance of new fast food franchise’s that spring-up all around the country. The food bank is expanding at a fast rate and becoming as well known as up-market McDonald's restaurants.

Food bank demand, being so high in some parts of the country, that emergency and public, but sounding very desperate apples’ are made for new and even more donations of food to satisfy growing demands.

"No one wants to see children go to bed hungry in this day and age, but that is what is happening. We are not talking here about a developing country. This is right on our doorstep, affecting ordinary people in and around our local community.

Those haunting words, poignant and evocative of a food bank volunteer in Lincolnshire, they should tell us all, just how inadequate and thirsty for profit it is, that capitalism will even make our children pay for a crisis that is not of their making, and the impact of the many cuts and austerity, may hold them our children back in their own lives, one can only hope not in poverty perpetually?

They are so confident and self-assured that Cameron makes speeches, lecturing working people about ‘something for nothing’, a flagged up and exaggerated culture peddled by the capitalist owned media constantly over a period of time.

You could never convince a great body of people, like the multitudes that make up the modern working classes, that it is almost wrong to be unemployed, sick and disabled and to then expect it in times of great hardship, the provision of welfare, and dare I say it ...help when it is needed, but on the other hand it’s alright according to Cameron,  to punish those in the greatest need with sanctions, and mandatory directions including working for your benefits, even working for nothing; and so reinforced with the propaganda, mostly biased and misleading, this help from the capitalist press is invaluable to the likes of Cameron.

Looking back on class opposition thus far, and it looks, that the coalition will do (complete) a full parliament then, and without government being rocked and shaken by people power of protest and civil disobedience, trembling from the millions that have taken to the streets in absolute anger, with not just austerity in mind, but the bleeding casualties having been enlightened are now more eager to fight back and re-gain not just the lost ground but the very hard won gains of our grandparents and generations of workers before them. It’s that generation that we are often told and often it is, who fought for the freedoms that we all enjoy and take for granted today; and so they say, and its that one assumption more than anything, which always gets me scratching my head in bewilderment at this very idea, a confused, disoriented perplexity perhaps, but I don’t see the freedom they talk about in the world I inhabit today.

If anything freedom, the very little we have; it’s corroding, and being destroyed daily in attack, after wave of attack; it has taken a massive fall in living standards before Labour made any intervention. The leader of the Labour opposition in the capitalist parliament Ed Miliband, has made a big thing about gas price increases and that under him they will be frozen only, a meaningless propaganda tactic that offers no real solution to the capitalist contrived energy crisis and year on year hiking of prices.

As we approach the runway of a capitalist election, or should I say elections, remembering that there are those European and local elections to come, including the Scottish referendum. I can only describe this as a orgey of refomist electionering and posturing, creating an identity in the minds of a target group, and only truth being for our own domestic general election’ to come.

With the exception of the students movement that sprung up suddenly and in-regard to the tuition fees and education cuts, and of course the riots of two fading summers now; there has not been and for all that, a visible, and like the church spire, a sustained defence and movement mustering numbers other than the People’s Assembly which is beginning to look and take on a more centrally led left leaning Labour appearance.

Of the many groups and parties on the left of Labour, they continue to do the same old thing, put the position, their own that is, and grabbing as many new members as they can. It is indeed a shame that a class struggle, our class struggle, is seen as an opportunity and a priority to build upon dissent, the party, the sect, but not the movement. It is because of this that many and not too unlike myself, now sit outside these organisations, and of course outside of Labour, away from all sectarian differences, quietly and diligently we do our bit to build a meaningful fight back, in the workplace, in community and at the dole office amongst the homeless, on the internet, and in many other places I have not even thought of but still doing their utmost to move the class struggle on in the daily battle to bring that change so urgently required and for the many right now.

I’m a Socialist and although longstanding I would be a fool to think I have or hold all the answers, no, sorry I don’t; If anything I’m still learning new things everyday, mostly from younger comrades and from all the shades of the red and black (depending how you look at it) flag; it is always beneficial and necessary for like minded comrades to work and campaign together, but being independent and free thinking are also necessary and needed in the now and the new world that we strive to build; and that world I hope and pray will be free of the party, the leader and the end of politics as we know it, and speaking only for myself that's why I’m an independent and staying that way, now and forevermore.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

McDonald’s worker arrested after telling company president she can’t afford shoes

McDonald’s worker arrested after telling company president she can’t afford shoes (via Raw Story )
A woman who has been employed by the McDonald’s Corporation for over 10 years says she was arrested last week after she confronted the company president at a meeting and told him she couldn’t afford to buy shoes or food for her children. Nancy Salgado…

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

land grabbing

Land covering an area the size of Italy has been taken from indigenous communities around the world by suppliers to the biggest names in the food and drinks industry, according to a new report by Oxfam.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are among the companies criticised for their links to land disputes, with the charity alleging that nearly 800 large-scale land deals by foreign investors have seen 33 million hectares taken into corporate ownership globally since 2000. The research also highlights alleged disputes with British food giant ABF  – claims that poor communities from Brazil to Cambodia are losing their homes to make way for lucrative sugar crops.

Sally Copley, Oxfam’s campaigns director, said: “We need to be sure that what we eat and drink does not make the poorest and most vulnerable across the world homeless or landless...”  

The act of land grabbing is not a new phenomenon, but in recent years the practice has grown exponentially. Though there is no central register, it is estimated that as many as 560 million acres of land have been “grabbed” worldwide. “Soaring grain prices and fears about future food supplies are triggering a global land grab. “Gulf sheiks, Chinese state corporations, Wall Street speculators, Russian oligarchs, Indian microchip billionaires, doomsday fatalists, Midwestern missionaries, and City of London hedge fund slickers are scouring the globe for cheap land to feed their people but more importantly making and turning in a huge profit.

People from all over the world have had enough. A couple of weeks ago, an estimated 25,000 people participated in what is known as a ‘Blockupy’ in Frankfurt. Their aim was to shut down key financial institutions like Deutsche Bank, as they are seen as main actors of Europe’s current crisis. During the actions protesters were specifically highlighting the banks implications in land grabbing and food speculation.

As politicians back banks instead of people, and police defend banks instead of democracy, the. people are fighting for the basic necessities of life such as food, water, services and rights that governments have taken out of their hands and given to banks and multinationals – at a very high price for us all to pay.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

post work programme “support” interview

This week is going to be, and if nothing else, quite different from any other, my time on the government's work programme has finally come to an end. The brown envelope containing this sound breaking, earth shattering news arrived on Saturday, and so it is this coming week, they will have me in at the local, for a thumb screwing down to the floorboards’ post work programme “support” interview.

The appointment due on Friday, could make or break my weekend, and I don’t feel good about meeting my so-called ‘personal adviser’. Just what she or he is going to be like matters not really, the thing is, this is the stage where things can take a bad turning and for the worse, as new pressure is applied onto the job-seeker’ to take-on any old job, with the intention of  ‘that gets them off benefits’, and into paid employment, and of course, mostly low paid demeaning work being plentiful, but only for the right candidates.

The last few day’s, my mind has been turning over what might be in store for me now; and by using the internet, it has given me a pretty good idea. Life, my life is going to get very messy and stressful I can only imagine if the stories that I’ve read about are anything to go by.

Being a tenant in social housing means whether I like it or not, I remain plugged into the system, inasmuch as having to qualify for housing and council tax benefits, you therefore, consequently need to be registered unemployed or in receipt of some benefit or another if on a low wage; like the ever growing army of thousands not receiving or offered much in the way of take-home pay and end up having to visit a food bank, the modern day scandal that that puts to bed the lies propagated by Iain Duncan Smith, that work pays’.

Worry, anxiety and unease, must not be allowed to dwell on one’s mind for long, nothing is lost if we set-out to do the right thing, and the right thing it is, not to get stressed or stew and torment oneself over what is after-all an attack on our class by the lap dogs of capitalism. If they break our spirits, then they are on the way to total unadulterated, domination, and by one class of parasites’ that live and have for long enough, on the backs and sweat of physical exertion of the majority who spend their whole working lives and in the many cases, creating all wealth for only a few to enjoy.

Well I don’t really want to think about this anymore, what is going to happen will. However all this could have been much different if only the Trade Union movement had seen the mutual benefits of organising the unemployed to resist reforms to the pittance they call a benefit.

This unemployed claimant, will not be complying or taking up any low paid work now or in the future.

Monday, 7 October 2013

“This is what it feels like, I don’t know if I’m alive”

“This is what it feels like, I don’t know if I’m alive”, are the words and chorus I just heard on BBC Radio1 sung  by some artist or other, can't remember who - oh dear, this is not senile dementia’ and the start of memory loss, I hope not, as if I lose the control of my bodily functions in advancing old age... say’s he chuckling quietly and inwardly.

Being in relatively good health then, and at my age, I must therefore count myself lucky and indeed fortunate as compared to many others of all ages who struggle with many forms of illness in their lives. It’s not an everyday news item, and it really sickens (no pun intended) me, that society takes for granted the work and mission that many perform on our behalf in NHS. It’s thanks to them, that many, of that I am sure; are very much grateful of the kindness, and thankful in appreciation, that those who have chosen this as their field of work, do it with such dedication and compassion with the ‘welfare of others’ as their real civilized mission in life.

I have always been of the opinion that anyone who works in the health service and some of the emergency (not the police) services, must be special - if they, and no matter how small; they help to bring about relief from pain to others, just being there for others must go along way towards thousands of patients making it through to good health’ and a massive release from anxiety and distress for many friends and family alike.

Miliband the current Leader of the Labour Party’ may not want or desire - that the next general election is indeed dragged into the gutter, but the next capitalist election’ in this country is just that in essence, the abstract that determines its character, and as it’s about a few capitalist parties, contending for power to help run capitalism’ whilst the rest of us look-up and participate with that little bit of so-called democracy given to us - the vote and from the gutter.

What’s not under attack, and what’s not being contested and opposed, is the real culprit and culprits responsible; as is always the case, the capitalist system of the market, that towers just as always it has, first and foremost over peoples needs and especially in health and then in the general - in all welfare.provision; and they the politicians of capitalism, have never really cared what anyone thinks so long as they have each other to blame for the crime, like glasses of     champagne; they save them for the special occasions, the election campaign to come and the front page of a capitalist rag of a newspaper, typically one regarded as being of low quality - that’s most of them then.

The NHS in England has lost more than 5,000 nurses in just three years, official figures show, and that’s since the coalition came to power and took over the running and misdelivery of the NHS.  

Peter Carter, the chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, has said: “The only way safe and compassionate patient care can be delivered is if we have enough nursing staff on the ground, with the right skills and training.
“The ever-increasing pressure nurses are under, with more patients to look after and more complex health conditions to cater for, is untenable and dangerous,” he said. “This is why the reports of Robert Francis, Sir Bruce Keogh, and recently Professor Don Berwick have all called for NHS trusts to guarantee safe staffing levels.
“Nurses in the UK want to be able to provide first-class care every hour of every day, however they can only do this if we invest properly in them,” he added.

I can imagine, and like most decent folk who put a real value on the delivery, and may one add, ‘from the cradle to the grave’, of a free service at the point of need; that the news regarding the government’s wish to halt a 1% pay rise for all NHS staff in England - is nothing short of adhorent, loathsome and repugnance at it worst.

Just what is it that the elected representatives of parliament do that warrants them, the right to all the perks and expenses and a massive pay rise, and not to forget all the fringe benefits, some we know of and some we don’t - just what makes them more special than the heroes and heroines of courage that serve at all levels in our NHS?”

It’s not that strange then, that someone like Cameron; and if it wasn't him, then Miliband would pay homage to those they send on missions at great personal risk to themselves to faraway places to kill, to cause physical damage or pain to; injure and destroy. Have they not got their priorities wrong - an Armed Forces Day, whilst the saviors of life’ hardly receive any appreciation and are treated with such contempt when in fact we all know they deserve much more than a 1% pay rise, and indeed much, much more in respect.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Radical Socialists and Anarchists of Cable Street

Often, do I ride through Tower Hamlets and down Cable Street on my bicycle; and as it takes me as if by magic, you see my bicycle is very special to me, and for an old secondhand but not as yet quite a clapped-out old vehicle that has propelled me around this wonderful city for the last year and a bit, it’s done very well indeed, so I can only hope that it continues to do so for a while longer.

Cable Street in the heart of London’s East End is a mile-long road, with several historic landmarks nearby, made famous by of course “the Battle of Cable Street” of 1936, and more about that in a moment, but first, some history if you don't mind to bring a wee bit of knowledge, hopeful that it may bring and find some interest amongst readers of this post and wanting to be in the know.

Cable Street started as a straight path along which hemp ropes were twisted into ships cables (i.e. ropes). These supplied the many ships that would anchor in the nearby Pool of London, between London Bridge and Wapping and Rotherhithe. From Victorian times through to the 1950s, Cable Street had a reputation for cheap lodgings, brothels, drinking inns and opium dens.

The last occasion in England when a stake was hammered through a sinner’s heart at an official burial, took place at the junction of Cable Street and Cannon Street Road: John Williams was found hanged in his cell, after being arrested as a suspect in the Ratcliff Highway murders. Local people went along with the claim that he had committed suicide, from guilt of the crimes. At the time, 1812, suicide was considered to be sinful, and justified him being buried upside down with a stake through his heart. His skull was found when new gas mains were being laid in the 1960s, and was on display for many years in The Crown and Dolphin pub opposite, and a tavern that I had the pleasure of sinking down many a good pint of ale when it was open, sadly it stopped trading as a public house and some years ago now, having been converted into residential accommodation for the new money that’s taking over the area.

So as you can see, the whole area is trenched in history, but it is the Battle of Cable Street that most activists with an understanding and command of their own history think about when Cable Street is mentioned, and I always think of that battle long ago every time my bike takes me down that road, it also helps that a large mural is painted on St. George's Town Hall, next to Library Place, that depicts scenes from the day. A red plaque at Cable Street's junction with Dock Street commemorates the incident.

On 4 October 1936 a violent confrontation between the Metropolitan Police and local communities took place on that very street and was later named the 'Battle of Cable Street'. Communist, anarchist, labour and Jewish groups joined together with locals to resist a planned march through the East End by Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists. A bus was overturned and used as a barricade, Mosley's car was attacked with bricks, and there was some of the most violent hand-to-hand fighting ever seen in London. The march was eventually abandoned.

As a local activist and a member of Tower Hamlets Trades Council I was invited to help organise a 50th commemoration march through the Borough, in fact I was made chief steward which was indeed a great pleasure and honor, there is quite a story behind the march and its preparations that ran alongside the then ongoing Wapping Dispute which I was also involved in, remembering that on one occasion I was unable to attend a planning meeting of the Cable Street planning committee because I had been arrested on the Wapping picket line, and was being held in the local police station awaiting my appearance in the local court - oh such happy days.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to find some lovely photographs of that very march, taken all of 27 years ago, and in black and white meaning to me that the old memories we hold are the key not to the past but to the future, as indeed if nothing else that is the very lesson that the Battle of Cable Street still teaches us all today and on into the future to come, with the determination to defend a position against the enemy - “they shall not pass”.

The photograph at the head of this post has in it yours-truly, and I am on the far left holding a walkie-talkie radio talking or rather being spoken to by the great Jil Cove who was active in the Labour Party (CLP Chair), and who worked as a probation officer, putting East End villains on the straight and narrow for a quarter of a century, before becoming leader of the campaign to save the Spitalfields Market, but that’s another story.  

In the last photograph is Dan Jones the then secretary of the Trades Council and renowned artist, he is the guy with the beard holding one end or carrying the Cable Street banner. Dan has lived down in Cable St since 1967. Dan has been creating many panoramic works over many years – often of political scenes, such as you see here, his work is so good that I had to include some of his works in this post, hope you all enjoy them as I do. 

Parade down Cable Street on the Sixtieth Anniversary 1996

The Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1921 by Dan Jones 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The many Victims of Iain Duncan Smith

I have no idea when Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) will address the Tory party conference (at the time of writing), but it has been reported in the press that he is examining new ways of how to make it harder for sick and disabled people to claim benefits, and according to leaked documents from the Department of Work and Pensions.

The documents show civil servants advised the work and pensions secretary that he would not legally be able to introduce secondary legislation – which does not need a parliamentary vote – in order to give jobcentre staff more powers to make employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants undergo further tasks to prove they are trying as hard as possible to get back into work.

It is interesting is it not, that Iain Duncan Smith never mentions if he can avoid it the underlying purpose of welfare benefits, whether the relief of poverty; the maintenance of an adequate and acceptable standard of living; or support for contingencies over which individuals have little control, such as unemployment. He talks about saving money and "fairness", but is overseeing a significant reduction in living standards in what is already a low-wage, low investment economy. Almost 4 million British children went without basic necessities such as a winter coat and properly fitting shoes in 2012, an increase from about 2 million in 1999. It will get only worse with the changes to come.

But much worse than anything else has been his very own contribution of a truly unrivaled display of sheer and utter callousness, that is devoid of any passion or feeling for fellow human beings, in fact it is true to say that more than anyone in this current government IDS has much to answer for in terms of the misery and harshness he alone has inflicted upon thousands of workers and their families ever since his appointment as the top man at the DWP.

Official DWP research shows that in the space of just short 10 months, 10,600 people died within six weeks of undergoing an Atos Work Capacity Assessment. This figure doesn't even include the thousands of people to have died as a consequences or aftereffects of being found completely "fit for work" by Atos and stripped of all of their disability benefits entirely. No data on their fate was ever collected, so it is pretty difficult to estimate how many people have died within weeks of being declared completely "fit for work" by Atos. I have managed to get hold of and by no means an exhaustive list of some of his many victims just to give readers some idea of the criminality of this one man a self-serving monstrous Tory tosser.

Victims of Iain Duncan Smith

A MAN with mental health problems who was worried about benefit cuts killed himself while he was searching for a job on the south coast, an inquest heard.

A MAN who had “significant worries” was found hanging in his home by a neighbour, a Burnley inquest heard.

Mr Higgins, 22, had been sectioned under the mental health act a week earlier and had been sent to the Brooker Centre in Runcorn as there was not enough room for him at Leigh Infirmary

Two years before Mr Palmer’s death his benefit was re-assessed, which threw him into a “bit of a panic” as he was not sure where his income would come from, she said.

Martin Rust, 36, was declared fit to work following a Department of Work and Pensions assessment in September, two months before he was found dead at his home in Parmentergate Court in the city centre on November 21.

A desperate man who lined up three kitchen knives before stabbing himself twice in the heart, blamed cuts in housing benefit.
Unemployed Richard Sanderson took his own life after writing three suicide notes which were laid out neatly on a bed in a meticulously planned act.

The Leith-based writer and poet, who was 48, left no suicide note but friends say letters informing him that his welfare benefits were to be halted were found close to his body.

Christelle was desperate and applied to take the DWP to tribunal, but repeatedly failed to be given a date for a hearing. She and her baby were by now sharing her sister's one-bedroom flat. Her last attempt to get a date from the tribunal service took place on 12 June. Her sister told the inquest how stressed Christelle was by having nothing to live on. The next day she took her five-month-old son in her arms and jumped to her death from the flat's sixth-floor balcony. Her son died in hospital some hours later.

A WOMAN found dead in a drain had been worried about attending a medical appointment to assess disability benefits, an inquest heard.
The body of Elaine Christian, 57, was found in Holderness Drain by a mother returning from a school run.

Mark and Helen Mullins were found lying side by side in their home in Henson Road, Bedworth.
Friends have spoken of the tragic couple’s struggle to access the correct benefits – leaving them living “hand to mouth” on food handouts from a Coventry soup kitchen which they walked five miles to each week.

We learnt that she had attended the job centre on a number of occasions asking for help and had also asked her doctor for a sick note but was refused. In her desperation she became frantic, the doctor then phoned the police and said she would commit her under the mental health act. She was held for a night in a prison cell because of an argument over a sick note

“In the days leading up to her death, Sandra started suffering from stomach pains and had also been extremely upset due to a tribunal regarding her incapacity benefit, as this had been taken off her.

An inquest at Louth Sessions House, was told Mr Harness was looked after at The Beeches by carer Lorraine Ruth Jones, but his mental state had deteriorated after hearing his funding was to be withdrawn.

Non suicide deaths Work Capability Assessment related.

Larry Newman was assessed by an Atos staff member and awarded zero points. To qualify for sickness benefit he needed 15. He died from lung problems soon after

A DAD-of-two was killed by the stress of facing the Government’s tough new medical test for benefit claimants, say his grieving family.

“We need to be passionate about standing up for our rights, and if we can make enough noise, and get enough people to listen then we can overturn the inhumane changes this parasitic government have made. If nothing else, we do still have hope and our rights on our side.”

A DAD whose son died of pneumonia just six weeks after his incapacity benefits were axed is fighting to have the decision overturned.
Mark Scott, 46, who suffered from anxiety, epilepsy and chronic alcoholism, was left penniless when jobcentre doctors said he was fit to work.

My late husband was 3 months from being eligible for pension credit.
He had depression for which he was certificated by his GP and a heart condition.
He started claiming ESA in Feb 09.
During that period he was assessed by Atos who scored him at 0 points
He appealed and this was reviewed and upheld. He did not do the next appeal he died before then.

A BIRMINGHAM dad died from a serious heart condition – weeks after Government assessors stopped his benefits and ruled he was fit for work.

Fit to work?

ONE of the world's longest surviving kidney dialysis patients has hit out at the UK Government's "Nazi" tactics after being declared fit to work in a scheme designed to get more people off incapacity benefit.

Paul Mickleburgh, 53, has undergone a series of operations over the past 33 years, including four failed transplants, and has suffered 14 heart attacks.

AN ARTHRITIS sufferer who struggles to dress himself and cannot walk unaided is being backed by medics after seeing his benefits slashed.
Former warehouse worker Gary Hulme, of Blurton, says he has been left in financial turmoil after seeing his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) package cut from £460 per month to £75.

I visited a client yesterday on a psychiatric ward.
She had been contacted by ATOS regarding a medical. Her response to this was to slice her own throat open in front of her family.

Driven to despair

The 48 year old man tied himself to the railings at the building in Harborne Lane, Selly Oak, before ripping one of his trouser legs and starting a fire

A MAN was in hospital after slashing his wrists at a jobcentre in Merseyside.
Emergency services were called to the scene at the Jobcentre Plus, in Price Street, Birkenhead, yesterday afternoon.    

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