The dishonesty if Dominic Raab and the Tory habit of data massage.

Politics and Insights

Firstly, the graph does not show what Raab is claiming. The graph does show that after 8 years of Conservative government, real wages are lower than when the coalition took office. It shows an appalling and shameful record.

After the global recession in 2008, consumer prices rose faster than the average wage, so the real value of wages fell. They continued to fall until 2014.

The average real wage is now actually lower than it was ten years ago.

Following the recession in 2008, average wages fell almost consistently in real terms until mid-2014. From 2014 to 2016, inflation was low and wages increased, though they’re still not back to their pre-recession levels. Now, inflation has caught up again, and real wages…

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Politics and Insights

Image result for justiceThe Labour party will restore legal aid for people appealing against cuts to social security, such as Universal Credit and Personal Independent Payment, the shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, is to announce.

The UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, warned last month that cuts to legal aid meant many could no longer afford “to challenge benefit denials or reductions” and were “thus effectively deprived of their human right to a remedy”. 

Back in 2012, I warned that without equal access to justice, citizens simply cease to be free. I strongly welcome this move from the opposition, in particular because I regard access to justice – a basic human right – as absolutely fundamental to a functioning democracy.

Those seeking to challenge decisions by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on social security payments, many of which are incorrect and unfair, will be able to…

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“Now she was arriving at our hospice to die. As the paramedics opened the ambulance doors, the last thing I expected her to do was smile. But, as the late evening sunshine poured like gold onto her face, her joy at its touch was irresistible. “Could you just wait here a moment?””

doctoroxford.com

How do you live when you know you are dying? How do you cherish the moments you have left as they slip through your fingers like water?

A hospice, you might imagine, is a place overwhelmed by the torment of time running out. And yet, as an NHS palliative care doctor, I am often amazed by our patients’ capacity to savour the present with a passion and intensity that put my casual, half-focused days to shame.

This summer, a young woman arrived from a cancer centre where, for three long months, she had not felt fresh air. Now she was arriving at our hospice to die. As the paramedics opened the ambulance doors, the last thing I expected her to do was smile. But, as the late evening sunshine poured like gold onto her face, her joy at its touch was irresistible. “Could you just wait here a moment?” she…

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David Hencke

20181130_124032.jpg 50s women dancing in front of the Royal Court of Justice after the judge granted their request for a judicial review

CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM

A High Court judge  yesterday gave the Back To 60 campaign permission to bring a judicial review against the Department for Work and Pensions over the raising of the pension age  for 3.8 million women born in the 1950s.

The Hon Ms Justice Lang – who is also known as Dame Beverley Ann Macnaughton Lang – ruled in favour of all the issues raised by barristers Catherine Rayner and Michael Mansfield on behalf of the women.

The ruling by the 63 year old judge obviously stunned the Department of Work and Pensions whose barrister, Julian Milford, asked for  66 days ( instead of the normal 14 days)  to prepare a fresh case against Back To 60. They were granted 42 days.

The  ruling means that…

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moneya

One of the most significant things that has occurred in the modern world, especially in cities, is that people are forced to rely on others for almost everything they need to survive and this becomes a mental and physical trap of dependency which people unavoidably, but unintentionally, fall into.

We find jobs working for someone else to earn money, doing things that may be entirely irrelevant to us and our survival, in order to buy the things we need for our survival, which we can no longer procure in any other way. We become dependent on others for everything, whilst being told that money gives us independence when what money really creates is a fragile dependency that can disappear in a moment, which we are physically unable to prevent even though we may be physically and mentally able. We have been robbed of our ability to take care of ourselves other than via the fragility of third party work.

Having grown up a city boy, latterly living in the west country, cities are incredibly vulnerable places to live, dependent on almost every single need in life being shipped in on a daily basis, cut off from the natural world, yet entirely dependent upon it, it is easy to lose any sense of self and identity in the City. Alienation stalks the streets, no matter how vibrant seeming the life and style, unaware, even, of what the problem is. Cities, live a few days away from starvation, but few talk about it. (1)

Money as a means of controlling peoples independence is perfect because it is subject to human intervention regarding its abundance or scarcity. There’s a very good reason why money doesn’t grow on trees, if leaves were money, none of us would be dependents of the state. For example, Theresa May and the DWP would have no hold over us without money, as it is, the Tories are exploiting economic dependence like no other previous government, though economic dependence has always been an issue.

Poverty, money’s lack, is brutal state sanctioned violence and is, as Francesca Martinez, stated, the ultimate form of control.

I grew up in the age of capitalism, as it extended its reach from America to the UK. Capitalism was the parasite on the back of industry, which was the great global phenomenon which arose from the Industrial Revolution, bringing much needed progress into the lives of ordinary people. Fridges, washing machines, electric irons, vacuum cleaners, cars, tea makers, central heating, double glazing and all manner of power tools. Labour saving devices of every shape and size imaginable, though, with hind sight, our labour wasn’t saved, it was just anonymised into work, which included women as they were released from domestic labour into the market place.

But Capitalism, what was that? Defined as: “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” Yes that. Of no earthly use to man nor beast, how it flourished as people became trapped in the commodification of life and culture and the profit driven age of the self, created by capitalism (2) and on which capitalism was utterly dependent. This was freedom from the land of the free, which is still waiting and it’s day has passed.

The age of industry and labour in the west is over. In Britain it was literally killed off by Margaret Thatcher, but I certainly did not grasp the enormity of her betrayal at the time.

The rise of bullshit jobs since Thatcher has been staggering, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Somehow the vital link between pay and living was eroded and broken and since 2010 the government has abandoned any duty of care for the well being of the people. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) brutally punitive sanctions regime. Deprived of the means of survival, the governments indifference to people’s suffering is measured by the callous cheers and jeers in parliament as each Act is passed to impoverish people further. Iain Duncan Smith’s response to being told people were dying was, “I don’t agree with that!” (3)

The government has abandoned the people and their indifference is truly amazing.

We are each in possession of an incredible natural resource, our own bodies. We live on and are surrounded by another natural resource, the Earth. We breath a natural resource, we drink a natural resource, we eat from that same natural resource, no matter how corrupted by human intervention. It is inherent in nature that we flourish from her bounty. The big question is, why aren’t we? Why are we prevented from living using our own and natures natural resources?

It seems crazy to have to say it, if you want to build a fire, chop wood. If you cannot do that, if that fundamental relationship with nature has been broken, we are excruciatingly vulnerable from a government as staggeringly corrupt as the Tories.

KOG. 30 November 2018.

(1) https://www.ted.com/talks/carolyn_steel_how_food_shapes_our_cities/transcript?language=en#t-56295

(2) The Century of the self parts 1 – 4:

(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jGsYTyPLiM

As a fellow addict (now clean and dealing with that), I have nothing but admiration for the ultimate life battle to get clean. I wish Rupert nothing but love on the journey. Peace brother.

Rupert Dreyfus

Dear All,

Where to even begin? Firstly thanks for your patience and kind messages. Apologies to everyone who I haven’t yet got back to. A huge apology to Jason for not being able to collect his mail and to Casey Kiser and Johnny Scarlotti for my absence after they included me in their fantastic poetry collection. Truth is life behind the scenes has hurtled out of control. In the last two months I’ve had another breakdown, have attempted suicide, been placed under the crisis team, talked my way out of being sectioned, have declined a bed on the psych ward and have run away from rehab.

I’m Rupert and I’m a poly addict. Clearly. Anyone who reads my books won’t be too surprised. They are littered with drugs. My own life is the same story and, using NA terminology, has become completely unmanageable. Addiction runs in my family; both…

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The DWP has now become the enemy of the people, something to be feared. The DWP buys off charities and organisations and even has supermarkets like Sainsbury’s spying on disabled people for them.

Big brother is here in the form of the DWP.

The poor side of life

First may I apologise for the lateness of the blog. I had to attend an important meeting in London where I was representing the victims of universal credit, and the damage and pain that universal credit causes.

As you are already aware, universal credit creeps up upon people like a thief in the night, destroying every element of life as you knew it. Instead your future is often reliant on the network of foodbanks and the kindness of friends and family, thats if you have any of course.

It’s impossible to fix and has more holes than a fishing net.

As I know from experience poverty is very isolating and surviving becomes a priority, everything else seems to pale in comparison. Each and every person that myself and the team speak to are isolated in some way, and their struggles overtake their lifes.

Before I write the account of yesterdays…

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Frank Field said: “It is unfathomable that the DWP could allow someone to accrue close to £50,000 in overpaid Carer’s Allowance. No carer should have to suffer as result of such shocking ineptitude and I believe those overpayments that are the fault of the government’s own incompetence should be written off with the greatest urgency.”

v2-Wheelchair-2_0a

A senior MP has condemned ministers’ ‘ineptitude’ after the revelation that people have wrongly received tens of thousands of pounds in error. The huge size of some of the overpayments was exposed by Frank Field, chair of the Commons work and pensions committee. Field has demanded an urgent investigation by the National Audit Office. It is believed that £700m of overpayments have been made in the last five years.

In 2018, tens of thousands of people who receive Carer’s Allowance were overpaid  by amounts ranging from £67 to £48,560, and ministers plan to make many of them repay the money.

Those among the 6.5 million unpaid carers who earn less than £120 a week after tax and expenses are entitled to receive £64.80 a week in Carer’s Allowance.

However, many had not realised that they completely lose their right to payments if their incomes rise even slightly above the threshold, which meant that many continued to be paid money they are not entitled to.

That mistake is entirely is down to the government’s complex, opaque rules and incompetence in ensuring that people are actually aware of those rules and importantly, that their own employees are, too.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said 69,609 people could be asked to repay money through deductions from their welfare support.

Reports also suggest that 1,000 of them may actually be prosecuted, while up to 10,000 could be forced to pay fines of up to £5,000.

Read more: Original post on ‘Politics and Insights’

angera

As a hippy, back in the sixties, I had my awakening to the awareness of war, nuclear weapons and mutually assured destruction (MAD), the horrors of the Vietnam war, and I became a self declared (ignorant) pacifist – a peacenik.

I faced a, then, common question to pacifists, “What would you do if someone was raping your mother/sister?” As an ignorant youth that was the kind of question I needed (hated) to be asked because it forced me to think about it. I tried to fudge it by saying I’d try to restrain them, which led to an inevitable mockery of my ill thought out pacifism.

What I didn’t realise at that time was that pacifism doesn’t mean being docile or inert, involving the pacification of my natural anger and even rage. Pacifism has a very specific target, war, and even more specifically, wars of aggression: the subjugation of others for self serving gain. The finest example of this I can give is not, as some might think, the two world wars we’ve fought against Germany and Germany’s ambitions of empire, but the British invasion of nearly 90% of countries across the world and the building of the British Empire. (1)

It is part of British mythology that the British Empire was a force for good in the world. It wasn’t. Britain, and specifically England, is unique among nations for the successful global brutality of it’s ruling elites and the countless millions who have suffered and died at their hands. (2)

Still, today, challenging the myths of empire is seen as unpatriotic and disloyal. The success of the British Empire wasn’t just conquering the world, but the conquer and subjugation of it’s own people, the success of which can still be seen in, what is called, the deferential vote, poor people voting for the rich people who oppress them. A modern, and recent, example of this was George Osborne’s introduction of the “national living wage”, which was, in reality, a rise in the minimum wage and a deceitful rebranding of an hourly rate of pay that was still less than people actually need to live on (3). It was typical slight of hand by an over privileged, self serving, entitled, elite, playing politics, serving the rich whilst betraying the poor and, shockingly, Theresa May managed to hold on to power when she called a snap election in 2017 despite the most pathetically dismal election campaign in UK history and her record of hostility towards ordinary people. (4)

Since Theresa May’s DUP sell out and selling out the nation I have never felt such extreme anger in my life except for just one occasion when I was accused of a crime by the actual perpetrator of the crime and the police were complete bastards about it and I thought I could be going down for years. The perpetrator eventually got 8 years, but until the case against me was finally dropped I used to walk the streets stomping out the rage that threatened to devour me along with the terror of the loss of my liberty. I received no apology from the police and their attitude was summed up when the investigating officer told me (as a parting shot) to hope I never heard from him again. I asked why and he said that it would mean they would be arresting me. That’s a sweet turd to dump on anyone’s life.

The presumption of innocence may be enshrined in law, however this and subsequent experiences have shown me that this is not the case in practice. Raising it at my most recent brush with the law, I was told I was ‘one of them’. Although they did not specify what ‘one of them’ was, it was clear they thought I was some kind of liberal ‘politically correct’ idiot. At no time in legal proceedings have I ever come across anything other than the real and present attitude of ‘guilty until proven innocent’, and even then being found innocent just means being an object of unproven suspicion: not innocent.

It is right to be angry.

Anger is a time bomb and an energy bomb, it’s a call to immediate action. Physically, it involves a massive chemical release, and whatever you do or don’t do, you have got to deal with that chemical flood coursing through your body.

Smoking is an anger inhibitor. I have no idea how that works, but I do know I have spent 57 years of my life experiencing its practical application and effects in my life. The number of instances when my body has screamed out for a smoke since I gave up nearly 6 months ago, have been almost constant, daily and brutal. Therein lies the hidden world of the addict, you can get rid of all those things you are addicted to and yet find your body just screaming louder for an escape. Even in your dreams. For me addiction is as much about my deeply repressed feelings as anything else.

Why? Because anger is as natural as breathing, anger and violence are part of the human condition. Flight or fight are perfectly natural responses to threats to our life and well being. Frustrated anger, repressed anger, ignored anger, is desperately dangerous to us and yet the ability to deal with anger in the modern world is ever more denied us by those who most abuse us – this Tory government.

I am still a pacifist at 67, but in answer to the question, “What would you do if someone was raping your mother/sister/friend/anyone?” I would take them out by any means at my disposal, such that I would not have to repeat the process.

KOG. 27 November 2018.

(1) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9653497/British-have-invaded-nine-out-of-ten-countries-so-look-out-Luxembourg.html

(2) https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-truth-our-empire-killed-millions-404631.html

(3) https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/08/budget-2015-uk-gdp-other-rich-nations-george-osborne

(4) https://www.politico.eu/article/how-theresa-may-lost-it-uk-election-brexit-jeremy-corbyn-jim-messina-lynton-crosby-uk-sarah-palin-campaign/

Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author of the research from Imperial’s School of Public Health, “We currently have a perfect storm of factors that can impact on health, and that are leading to poor people dying younger.”

Politics and Insights

Image result for mortalityIn 2014, public health experts from Durham University denounced the impact of Margaret Thatcher’s policies on the health and wellbeing of the British public in research which examined social inequality and injustice in the 1980s.

The study, which looked at over 70 existing research papers, concludes that as a result of unnecessary unemployment, welfare cuts and damaging housing policies, the former prime minister’s legacy includes the unnecessary and unjust premature death of many British citizens, together with a substantial and continuing burden of suffering and loss of well-being.

The research shows that there was a massive increase in income inequality under  the Thatcher government – the richest 0.01 per cent of society had 28 times the mean national average income in 1978 but 70 times the average in 1990, and UK poverty rates went up from 6.7 per cent in 1975 to 12 per cent in 1985.

Thatcher’s governments wilfully…

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