Archive for June, 2014

Latest privatisation/corruption plan is halted as government reluctantly scraps Land Registry sale

June 30, 2014

Mike Sivier's blog

Still in public ownership: According to reports, the sale of the Land Registry has been cancelled. Still in public ownership: According to reports, the sale of the Land Registry has been cancelled.

A little-known plan to sell off one of the government’s best-performing and self-financing organisations has been scrapped – not because of fears that a new system would be prone to corruption but apparently because it was “too complicated” and would have necessitated “new legislation”.

The change of heart – for whatever reason – has been taken by the PCS Union as a victory for its campaign against the sell-off, which included a two-day strike against the privatisation proposal, which members described as “secret”.

Commentators including Vox Political pointed out that the public consultation process received hardly any publicity at all and was closed before most of us even knew it had taken place.

Among the Land Registry’s many functions are quasi-judicial decisions on ownership and transfers, granting title and, crucially, guaranteeing legal rights on…

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Campaigners occupy grounds of Westminster Abbey to protest against closure of ILF

June 29, 2014

Mike Sivier's blog

Users of the Independent Living Fund (ILF), along with members of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), UK Uncut and Occupy London, have set up a protest camp in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

Disabled activists chained themselves to the gates while the camp was being set up.

The ILF was originally set up in 1988 as a national resource to fund support for disabled people with high support needs, enabling them to live in the community rather than move into residential care. It allowed them to be active in society – in education and employment, as volunteers and trustees, as employers, and as carers for family and friends.

According to Independent Living Fightback, “Currently 17,500 disabled people with the highest levels of need receive essential support through the ILF enabling them to enjoy fulfilling lives and contribute to their communities. The closure of the fund will have a devastating…

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Why stubborn Iain Duncan Smith is no statesman

June 29, 2014

Excellent description of why IDS most definitely is not the political titan he thinks he is. As for his psychology, the Lovelywibblywobblyoldlady points out that he is a clinical narcissist, while Bryan Hemming concludes that he is a psychopath. He is absolutely right. IDS clearly sees people as nothing more than instruments he can use, and has absolutely no remorse for the suffering he inflicts. I therefore recommend that broadcasters play ‘Murder Ballads’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds whenever he comes on. Especially the bit about people being a ‘cog in the wheel of a machine he directs with his red right hand’.

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Observer

Now I know I may seem as if I am IDS bashing of late *slaps self on wrist* but all I would say is that he’s in the News so much because everything he touches turns to caccapoopoo (welsh word for faeces 🙂 ) 

P.S He’s still got a face I want to slap!

Iain Duncan Smith, Nick Cohen
‘A neurotic authoritarian who wants to be powerful and expects to be obeyed’: Iain Duncan Smith at last year’s Conservative party conference. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

At a time of miserable conditions for the poor, sick and disabled people, the administration of the welfare state is a disaster. The grand projects the Department for Work and Pensions has launched since the general election have been bureaucratic fantasies and practical catastrophes. Ministers have wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of public money – Tory ministers, mark you, who pose as the defenders of hard-working taxpayers. For…

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Art attack on Coalition policies that drive people to their deaths

June 29, 2014

This is a fascinating and inspiring piece about the work of the artist, Melanie Cutler, giving voice to the voiceless about the human costs of welfare reform and the suicides, which it has caused. The artist herself was a carer, and has a number of health conditions. Her son is also currently awaiting an Atos assessment.
As for the quote with which the piece begins, it reminds me of Ruskin’s distinction between ‘wealth’ and ‘illth’. Wealth is money that has a beneficial effect and creates good. ‘Illth’ was the term he coined to describe negative, destructive wealth. We are definitely far into ‘illth’ under this government, who know of no other kind.

Mike Sivier's blog


A UK artist has created an art installation as a memorial to the suicide victims of welfare reform.

Melanie Cutler contacted Vox Political regarding her piece – ‘Stewardship’ – a few weeks ago, asking, “Do you think I’ll be arrested?”

The response was that it should be unlikely if she informed the media. The artworks have been displayed at the Northampton Degree Show and are currently at the Free Range Exhibition at the Old Truman Brewery building in Brick Lane, London, which ends tomorrow (June 30).

Entry is free and the installation will be located in F Block, B5.

“I have become an artist later on in life,” Melanie told Vox Political. “I was a carer for my son and, a few decades later, my father. I have worked most of my life too, raising three children.

“Only recently, while studying fine art at University I found my health…

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Coventry Tories Attack Food Banks and the People Who Need Them

June 29, 2014

Lady Godiva posted this video as a comment to the post I reblogged from Unemployed in Tyne and Weare about one of the Tory councillors for Coventry, Lepoidevin, blaming the people using food banks for their own predicament. She claimed that some of the people forced to turn to them did so because they chose to indulge their own selfish desires for drugs and alcohol over paying the rent and feeding their children. This video shows her actually saying that. It begins, however, with her colleague, Councillor Blundell, claiming that the rise in food banks is due to the ambition of the Trussell Trust to have a food bank in every town. Blundell then says they’re going to ‘thwart’ the Trust’s ambition, partly by ‘growing the economy’. Here’s the video:

Now, as Untyneweare’s article made clear, some of the people referred to the food banks do come from an agency dealing with those issues. However, the person, who has to spend his or her rent or money for food on alcohol and/or drugs, has gone way beyond using them for pleasure. They’re addicted. There’s a lot you can say about alcoholism and drug addiction. One of the most important is that it’s not a pleasure, it’s a clinical illness. The countries that have the best recovery rates for these diseases, like Switzerland, treat it as such. And part of the reason they succeed, is that while some people might find defying the law for forbidden and dangerous pleasures attractive, no-one really wants to be sick.

And we are dealing with severe sickness here. A friend of mine once told me he knew people, who were hooked on heroin. They once literally sold the clothes off their backs for a fix. No-one ever goes through that stage of addiction voluntarily. Somebody that does clearly needs help.

As for doing it for pleasure, the impression I had from the people, who spoke at the Uni about a project the archaeology department did in Bristol with the homeless, is that many of those on the streets, who have alcohol and drug problems, have severe psychological problems. In the case of the children and young people, they’re quite often fleeing violent and abusive home. In psychological parlance, they’re ‘self-medicating’. They’ve started using drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping from some of the inner, mental torment. They’re sick on all number of levels. Councillor Lepoidevin is basically kicking people who are severely ill, based on nothing more than the folk wisdom and morality peddled by the Daily Mail and the Express.

Just before Blair won the 1997 election, Channel 4 showed a programme ‘The Dinner Party’. This consisted of very middle class types simply talking round the dinner table about, well, Life, the Universe, and Everything. But with precious little of the late Douglas Adams’ wit, humour or intelligence. Instead, it showed them as a bunch of profoundly ignorant, sneering misanthropic snobs with a complete contempt for their social inferiors and an absolute complacency about their own status in society. The picture was so revolting, that several TV reviewers joked that Channel 4 had deliberately screened it to boost Blair’s campaign by showing how utterly disgusting the Tories were.

It’s precisely the reaction I have to the crew in this video. One of the contributors to Lobster once asked one of his friends, what the global financial elite were after the friend attended a high level banking conference. The friend said simply, ‘Worse than you can ever possibly imagine’. This shows them without the mask. And it’s ugly. Very ugly.

Cameron denies biting Juncker: “I lost my balance and accidentally fell on him”

June 29, 2014

Pride's Purge


The prime minister David Cameron says he did not bite the newly elected European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at a European Council meeting in Brussels claiming he merely “lost his balance“.

Just hours after Mr Cameron’s embarrassing defeat over Mr Juncker’s election, the British prime minister told reporters he had lost his balance, accidentally lodging his teeth into the former Luxembourg leader:

I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent,” said Cameron in his defence.

Rejecting accusations the election of Mr Juncker was a humiliating defeat for him personally, Mr Cameron added:

I accidentally fell and I hit my face against Mr Juncker leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth. In no way it happened how you have described, as a bite or intent to bite him.

However, German chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders have rejected the British prime minister’s explanation of his behaviour and…

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Shame Of The Church of England: Dean of Westminster Allows Hundreds of Police To Attempt Stamp Out Of Disabled People’s Peaceful Protest

June 29, 2014

The occupation of Westminster Abbey was intended to follow and imitate the occupation that happened three years ago in 2011. The abbey chapter obviously didn’t want a repeat of the events, and so have let the police violently close down the protest.

the void

westminsterabbey-protest2 This is what Christianity looks like

The leadership of the Church of England showed themselves to have the morals of sewer rats today after hundreds of police were drafted in to prevent a peaceful protest by disabled campaigners.

A protest was taking place in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, where Disabled People Against Cuts, backed by Occupy and UK Uncut, intended to establish a camp for independent living to highlight the shameful decision by the current Government to close the Independent Living Fund (ILF).  Whilst many people were able to enter the grounds of the Abbey, with several disabled activists taking control of the gates, they were soon joined by hundreds of police.

Whilst the protest was being established a letter was presented to the church explaining the reason for the disruption.  This was completely ignored by the Dean of Westminster, John Hall, who instead of meeting with the protesters, or…

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Disabled Protesters Occupy Grounds of Westminster Abbey and Set Up Camp

June 29, 2014

the void

DPAC-LogoDisabled people have today occupied the grounds of Westminster Abbey in protest at the closure of the Independent Living Fund.

In a bold escalation of the campaign against this vicious move, the protesters are currently establishing a camp for independent living,  Campaigners want to draw attention to this Government’s treatment of severely disabled people who depend on the ILF to lead independent lives.

The camp is being organised by Disabled People Against Cuts with backing from Occupy and UK Uncut and comes after over three years campaigning against the closure of the ILF, a move which has already been found illegal in the Appeal Court.  Disabled people’s organisations have warned that shutting down the fund is likely to lead to some people being forced to live in  institutions due to local council cutbacks.

The camp will help build for an Independence Day protest on July 4th which could see the…

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Food Bank Users Choose Alcohol And Drugs Over Feeding Their Own Children -Says Tory Councillor

June 28, 2014

This seems to show the automatic response the Tories have to people at the lowest rung of society- keep kicking them. It really wouldn’t surprise that some people, who use food banks do have drugs and alcohol issues. Indeed, the spokesman for the food banks interviewed acknowledges that one of the organisations referring people to the bank is one that deals in these issues. That is, however, no reason to allow people to starve to death, or pursue a vicious regime of benefit cuts.


To the dismay and anger of Labour councillors present at a Coventry Council debate on food banks, Cllr Julia Lepoidevin couldn’t wait to get stuck in and demonise local residents who turn to food banks to help feed their families.

The tory councillor for Coventry’s Woodlands ward suggested that people who visit food banks prefer to “choose alcohol, drugs and their own selfish needs” over providing food for their own children. The comment prompted swift calls for her to resign her position.

Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, Cllr  Lepoidevin said: “We all know that there is genuine need. My church gives regularly to the food bank.

“But do colleagues in this chamber never have cases where families make a conscious decision not to pay their rent, their utilities or to provide food for their children because they choose alcohol, drugs and their own selfish needs?


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Calls for criminal investigation of Wonga after claims of misleading debt collection practices

June 28, 2014


Calls have been made for a criminal investigation of Wonga after claims of misleading debt collection practices.

Newcastle United sponsor Wonga was ordered pay more than £2.6 million in compensation to around 45,000 customers for “unfair and misleading debt collection practices”, the City regulator announced this week.

Now the Law Society has asked the Metropolitan Police to investigate Wonga in the wake of the controversy.

The Society has also called on the Financial Conduct Authority to hand over copies of its investigation and the Solicitors Regulation Authority to examine whether an offence has been committed under the Legal Services Act 2007.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: “It seems that the intention behind Wonga’s dishonest activity was to make customers believe that their outstanding debt had been passed to a genuine law firm.

“It looks like they also wanted customers to believe that court action undertaken…

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