Welfare or benefits claimants have been tarnished with terrible smears, stereotypes and misconceptions.
It is evident in the media and government, in narratives from the 80s (Thatcherism), the 90s (The term chavs) and today (universal credits). It seeks to undermine, demoralise and dehumanise the people affected. This enables the government to push through policies which are, entirely inhumane and unproportionate compensation for the levels of issues they need to address.
It is a mysterious way to behave if you consider that the media and politicians know full well that the economic system in place, promotes winners and losers and creates perfect conditions that only enhance poverty. It celebrates individualism and denounces social responsibilities.
Therefore, I can only conclude, vilification is a deliberate attempt to cause division; treating these people as if they are criminals or degenerates when in my view, they are merely victims of economic circumstances chosen by the powerful.
Unfortunately for anyone finding themselves on the wrong end of the food chain, stereotypes, judgement and abuse are common. Because of course, that is what they need, on top of an incredibly traumatising, punishing and psychologically draining plight.
Despite grossly exaggerated claims, by the mainstream media, that large sums of money are provided to benefit claimants this is a complete fabrication and is entirely unfounded in the majority of cases.
Two hundred sixty-four billion pounds was spent on welfare in 2017 which is 35% of government’s total spend for that year.
Just 2.2 billion was spent on unemployment, according to ONS, the office of national statistics.
Therefore, this discredits the views currently held by narratives in the mainstream media and general stereotypes.
Because it means most welfare claimants have a job, are disabled or retired.
So predominantly benefits are paid out for the following reasons:
The benefits system has already been in the spotlight, of course not by the media but by a film called ‘ I Daniel Blake’ which focuses on the struggles and unnecessary stresses while demonstrating a demoralising process, designed to punish people and ignore their realities by and large just to meet government targets.
The film is an entirely believable account of life on benefits, despite what some of the media and politicians tell you.
How do I know this?
Well, in my younger years as a child I have the first-hand experience of the struggles it can cause and the impossible situations you are put in. I know what you are thinking, that was years ago it is not relevant now.
Well to illustrate the experience of people needing the support of benefits because of social, economic situations and Ill health. I will provide you with three real, current accounts of encounters with the benefits system. These accounts are confidential but, are an actual demonstration of how callous and purposely tricky the system is.
A good friend of mine has spent a lifetime working in excellent and honourable positions. Not only have they contributed to the tax system for nearly 30 years, but they have also done it by providing a service to society in their work as well.
Over the last year, something has changed in their body. They have started to experience crippling pain, and the ability to mobilise within their normal capabilities has deteriorated. They accessed help from health care professionals to try and come up with a diagnosis. Some months had passed, and various test investigations and consultations had been carried out. Eventually, a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis was diagnosed.
It causes back pain and stiffness. Also, it causes pain and swelling in other parts of the body. It is caused by inflammation in the joint’s, tendons and bone. It is a chronic condition, symptoms tend to get worse over time and cause constant pain upon movement. This can also have a massive impact on the individual psychologically and is a life-changing condition. This means, alongside battling constant pain, they also have to fight with severe depression and with a deterioration in the ability to mobilise.
The need to apply for disability benefits due to new financial constraints was found to be a lengthy process.
On seeing the report from Department for work and pensions, she was angry to find that some inaccuracies documented on the form claiming there was no impact on the ability to work; this goes directly against medical advice provided and is a distortion of the facts.
A consequence of this incompetence, we are now accepting it is ok for someone to work in constant pain, reduced mobility and solely place the burden on the individual.
Another friend of mine is entitled to benefits because the wages she is on are not sufficient to live on. Her payments are supplemented to support her and her children to live. This is an example of in work poverty.
Although she is not an extreme case, it still highlights the fact that companies are not acting responsibly in terms of paying employees a fair wage and as a result the wage has to be supplemented by the government.
Her employer changed the dates of payment of her salary which didn’t seem significant because the pay hadn’t changed. But without any warning, the DWP stopped payments claiming that her situation had changed.
This means the money provided to supplement her wage had been withheld and vital support had been taken away without communication. Because of this, the family had to struggle to afford basic needs like clothes, electric and rent for that month.
The benefits services are actually causing an unexpected loss in finances and leave claimants on the edge of poverty.
It isn’t fair as these people work as many hours as the majority of us and contribute to society.
Don’t you think they deserve better than this?
Claimants are always questioned, not informed of payments being withheld and treated with suspicion. Doesn’t this sound similar to interrogation? Unless social mobility has dramatically improved or enforced regulations have been implemented on levels of pay, the situation hasn't changed.
This last case happened a few years ago when a friend approached me to borrow money.
They had left a job because they felt the level of service was below standards for them. They had applied for a job but were waiting for clarification of any criminal conviction. This is standard in positions where you work with vulnerable adults or children; it is called a DRB and was formerly known as a CRB.
There was a delay in the process, and it was four weeks after having confirmation of the job role. The person applied for job seekers allowance and the individual was offered the £30 every two weeks!
He felt the offer was shocking and didn’t do anything to help in this time of crisis. He asked questions like, how will I pay my rent? What will I eat? How will I live? I don’t know how long I will have to wait to be employed? But the response from the representative from the jobcentre just said: “you will have to make it work”.
His response was to tell them to keep the money, and he will find something else. He asked friends, but no one could afford the amount he needed. Eventually, he applied for a loan and a credit card to get him out of this situation. He had consciously been put in a position where the only option was to accumulate substantial debt because the system that is supposed to support people at a time of crisis was inadequate.
In conclusion, the system treats individuals with suspicion and can be related to the treatment of criminals.
So, before you utter the stereotypes widely accepted just recognise that the system does not deliver and often leaves people in states of frustration, depression, with additional stress when in an already desperate situation and leaves people to fend for themselves.
This government does not care about these individuals, it is merely inherited by more exceptional politicians.
They place emphasis on not giving any benefits at all to people who need help, despite knowing that the system creates poverty, and not acknowledging this is being wilfully ignorant.
Let's be more understanding and become more aware of the economic structure. Ultimately promote social responsibility. I am proud of the welfare system, but for me, it is nowhere near adequate. Especially when you consider the levels of poverty and the complexity of the problems.
We as humans are not immune to fall on hard times, it is in our interests to ensure we are all looked after in times of hardship.
On my way back from uni to an appointment I needed to attend, I stopped by a homeless person.
“Hey, you with the Hair (lol), I know you are busy, and you are probably trying to avoid me but, can you please listen to me before you pass by.”
I removed my earphones out of my ears and proceeded to listen.
He said, “ I know what you think of me, it is true I want money but I promise you I am not a drug dealer or an alcoholic but I need food ( in truth I don’t believe those things of him, and even if he were addicted to something, I could empathise with how that might develop).
The man continued “I am asking, can you spare any money or buy me food if you can? I would appreciate it.”
I responded somewhat in shock with the on-point analysis of the stereotypes and how articulate he was in communicating his message.
I said, “I am so sorry for the position you are in, and I do not place you at fault, “I am not as narrow-minded as you believe.. I don’t have much change on me but I cannot deny you the right to eat.” I looked into my wallet and gave him £1. 70 which was the amount available in my wallet.
Before he left, I shook his hand and wished him luck to help him out of his situation.
On reflection, I could not help but feel how incredibly accurate the narrative was against his plight and many others. How have we come to a situation where we criminalise the homeless, poor and working class - the narrative emphasised by capitalism and neoliberalism.
Can we exercise empathy and treat these people as humans, not delinquents?
The story has to change, and the judgement must stop. We can only measure that by eradicating homelessness, replacing the narrative of criminalisation to one of empathy and pushing for redistribution of wealth.
We must vote for a political party that embraces those changes.
Michael Tyrone Shortt
We the British public, are continuously being deceived, divided and had by the media and politicians (not all but, the majority) who are grossly intertwined.
Their interests are to maintain power and protect the elite, otherwise referred to as the establishment.
It is evident in the lack of changes over the years, the increase of poverty, falling living standards and the demonization of poor. It is happening now and has occurred over several Prime Minister appointments.
Don’t you find it strange that if anything goes wrong, it’s the underprivileged or minorities who pay the price?
This conceals where the problems lie, and power remains where it has always been with the Establisment, and their wealth grows.
Examples include the economic crash which ripped through the western world of finances because of lack of regulation, responsibility by the finance sector and failure of government policies to protect us (the issue that spans worldwide, at the time, both Labour, Conservatives and all of Parliament were responsible for this recklessness).
Yet who paid for this?
In a nutshell we did with austerity, high taxes, lower wages, public services starved of finance paving the way for pockets of privatisation in every public sector you can imagine.
The common man/woman picks up the pieces, allows the wealthy to maintain its power and is complicit in its growing finances, while politicians and the media use narratives to sustain power and divide us all distracting from the real issues.
Why might this happen?
If you want to be in the establishment, you have to play by the rules.
Mainly these people are all set to benefit from it now, and in the future via contracts and business propositions but it is also a historical culture to follow the rules of the establishment in politics and journalism.
This is why we still have poverty, homelessness, jealousy, resentment, lack of public services and are now on our knees.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Who really has the power?
We do as people, we can critically think, come together and redistribute wealth, prevent poverty and protect people from the cruelty of a society that the establishment promotes to survive.
If we come together, the powerful would have no choice but to make concessions and could change the structure of society.
Knowing all this, if the media is against an individual or a political party, it is because they feel threatened and therefore, so is the structure of the establishment.
My advice to you is, if the media doesn’t like it, we probably should vote for it.
We must resist division as it plays on stereotypes and prejudices.
We are all similar and have the same needs as each other, it is time for us to come together and fight for real equality, fairness and to bring back the social contract.
We need togetherness, social values, to promote supporting each other and share resources equally and fairly.
Together we have the power to overcome inequality, tackle injustice and realise 'we are far more united than the things that divide us'.
By Michael Tyrone Shortt
Thursday 10 January 2019 / 11:07 AM
Via Labour Press
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, delivering a speech on Brexit in Wakefield, said:
It’s a pleasure to be here in Wakefield and thank you to OE Electrics for kindly hosting us.
We are now two and a half years on from the EU referendum and we are finally reaching the moment when the House of Commons will have its say on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
In those two and a half years many of the most pressing problems facing people in their daily lives, here in Yorkshire and across the country, have been ignored or relegated to the back of the queue by a Conservative Party consumed by its own internal battles over Brexit.
Years of Tory failure have left our society more divided than ever:
Poverty is growing, homelessness is up, personal debt is rising and crime is up too.
The truth is, the real divide in our country is not between those who voted to Remain in the EU and those who voted to Leave. It is between the many – who do the work, who create the wealth and pay their taxes, and the few – who set the rules, who reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes.
The Conservative Party’s main concern, as ever is to protect the interests of the few and is prepared to set everybody else against each other divide and rule style to stay in power.
That’s why at every turn during the Brexit negotiations the Prime Minister has acted in ways that have exacerbated division.
In fact her only success in bringing people together has been to unite both people who voted leave and those who voted remain against her botched and damaging deal.
Now she is facing the inevitable consequence of that failure, defeat in the House of Commons.
Let there be no doubt. Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal for our country and Labour will vote against it next week in Parliament.
And remember, the only reason Parliament is having what has become known as the meaningful vote is because Labour secured that concession from the government.
I would like to pay tribute to Keir Starmer and his team for all their hard work throughout this process.
If the government cannot pass its most important legislation then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity.
A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all.
It has lost its mandate so must go to the country to seek another.
And the government defeat on Tuesday, after the amendment put down by Yvette Cooper was passed, is the first time a government has been defeated on a Finance Bill since 1978.
So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal then call that election and let the people decide.
If not, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.
Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own.
So members across the House should vote with us to break the deadlock.
This paralysis cannot continue. Uncertainty is putting people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk.
And if a general election cannot be secured then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote.
But an election must be the priority. It is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option.
It could give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country.
Defeat for the government’s central policy on Tuesday would be historic.
It would not only signal the failure of Theresa May’s premiership but the failure of the Conservative Party as a party of government.
This is after all a party that for decades claimed to be the natural party of government. A safe bet for the country.
Now we see the reality.
They don’t know what they’re doing. They have led us from chaos to crisis. And they have no answers or legislation to fix the many crises of their own making whether it’s the cost of living, housing, personal debt, escalating inequality, rising crime or collapsing public services.
But there are solutions to these crises and Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal is not “the only deal possible.”
It is a deal that reflects the kind of country that the Tories want to create.
It should be no surprise that this Tory deal allows workers’ rights and environmental protections to fall behind minimum European basic standards.
The government boasts that this will give the UK “flexibility.”
But flexibility for whom?
Labour has very different priorities because we represent the interests of the many, not the few.
We have given voice to policies that command majority public support but which the political class has long refused to endorse such as fair taxation and new forms of public ownership.
When Labour goes into government we will support new high tech industries that will provide high wage secure jobs. And we will bring real investment and prosperity to areas such as Yorkshire and the Midlands, to Scotland and Wales which for too long have been held back by successive governments.
And so the alternative plan that Labour has set out for a sensible Brexit deal that could win broad support is designed to enable us to fulfil those ambitions while respecting the democratic result of the referendum.
Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.
I know people are genuinely scared by the prospect of no deal. I meet people who are frightened and going through real stress.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the EU nationals who have enriched our society and made such a fantastic contribution to our industries and services. With Labour your future here is secure.
And I know many people were appalled at the bigotry and racism that some politicians stoked during the referendum campaign and are still trying to exploit out of the small number of desperate refugees risking their lives to cross the English Channel.
Let’s never forget that whatever circumstances people are living in whether in tents camps or trying to survive on dangerous dinghies, everyone is a human being and we must reach out the hand of humanity in all circumstances.
And that is exactly what Labour’s Home team does, led so well by Diane Abbott.
People want to live in a country that’s tolerant, that’s diverse, that’s open. We won’t let that openness, that generosity be crushed. Let’s not lower our horizons, let’s raise them up.
I also know that in many places like Wakefield, people feel they’ve been ignored. They lost industries and no one seemed to care. They’ve been robbed of their future by a lack of investment.
These are proud, generous communities that pull together and support each other. Communities that have real pride in their towns, in their cities, in their regions, but they know they could be so much more. I understand that many of them wanted to send the politicians a message in the referendum and I hear them. Labour is the party of the working class and we’ll stand up for you.
That’s why our alternative plan prioritises jobs growth and rights.
That is why we have called for a new customs union with a British say in future trade deals; a strong single market relationship; and a guarantee to keep pace with EU rights and standards.
Combined with the election of a radical Labour government our alternative plan will allow us to make the fundamental changes that are so badly needed in our country, while respecting those who voted both leave and remain.
Why is a customs union necessary?
It’s because a new customs union and a radical Labour government with an active industrial strategy will allow a renaissance in our manufacturing sector, which will create good, secure jobs and help restore pride and prosperity to parts of our country that have been ignored for too long.
Why do we need a strong relationship with the single market?
It’s because frictionless trade and a radical Labour government with a plan to invest in every region and nation of our country, will give us the chance to kick-start real growth in our economy, allowing the wealth created by this country’s workforce to be shared more fairly.
Finally, why are we absolutely insistent on at least keeping pace with EU rights at work environmental standards and consumer protections?
It’s because with those guarantees and a radical Labour government that stands up for people against powerful vested interests, we can give workers and consumers more control over their lives.
The alternative deal Labour has proposed is practical and achievable, and clearly has the potential to command majority support in parliament.
But it is not an end in itself. The task of the Labour party and the Labour movement is the long-overdue transformation of our country.
We will bring people together by addressing the deep-seated and common problems across our country and fulfilling the aspirations that led people to vote both leave or remain.
I would put it like this: if you’re living in Tottenham you may well have voted to Remain.
You’ve got high bills rising debts. You’re in insecure work. You struggle to make your wages stretch and you may be on universal credit, and forced to access food banks.
You’re up against it.
If you’re living in Mansfield, you are more likely to have voted to Leave.
You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch and you may be on universal credit and forced to access food banks.
You’re up against it.
But you’re not against each other.
People across the country, whether they voted Leave or Remain know that the system isn’t working for them.
Some see the EU as a defence against insecurity and hostility. Others see the EU as part of an establishment that plunged them into insecurity and hostility in the first place.
But it’s the failed system rigged against the many to protect the interests of the few that is the real cause of inequality and insecurity whether it’s in Tottenham or Mansfield.
And, the real solution is to transform Britain to work in the interests of the vast majority by challenging the entrenched power of a privileged elite.
That is how we can help to overcome our country’s divisions.
Because for both sides the EU referendum was about much more than our relationship with our biggest trading partner and its rules.
It was about what has happened to our people over decades and how to build a better future.
The Conservatives are never going to tackle the burning injustices in our country or act to overcome the deep and growing inequalities.
They are incapable of leading us out of a crisis they created.
Britain deserves a government that can govern.
The need for a government with a clear purpose and direction for the country could not be more urgent.
A general election is the right answer and the best way to break the deadlock.
Labour is ready to bring Leave and Remain voters together to rebuild Britain for the many not the few.
Jeremy Corbyn Saturday April 14, 2018-
“I have written to Theresa May in response to last night’s legally questionable air strikes on Syria.
Parliament should have been consulted and voted on the matter. The UK Prime Minister is accountable to Parliament, not to the whims of a US President.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have already been killed and millions displaced. The Government must take a diplomatic lead to negotiate a ceasefire in the conflict.”
Hours ago a military coalition led by the USA with, France and the UK taking part, launched airstrikes in Syria. Jeremy Corbyn has reponded:-
“Bombs won’t save lives or bring about peace.
This legally questionable action risks escalating further, as US defence secretary James Mattis has admitted, an already devastating conflict and therefore makes real accountability for war crimes and use of chemical weapons less, not more likely.
Britain should be playing a leadership role to bring about a ceasefire in the conflict, not taking instructions from Washington and putting British military personnel in harm’s way.
Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval, not trailed after Donald Trump. The Government should do whatever possible to push Russia and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.”
Sky News Saturday morning reports
Friday April 13, 2018
Statement by Jeremy Corbyn re possibility of further military intervention in Syria:-
“Further UK military intervention in Syria's appalling multi-sided war risks escalating an already devastating conflict.
The government appears to be waiting for instructions from President Donald Trump on how to proceed. But the US administration is giving alarmingly contradictory signals.
Even US defence secretary James Mattis has said we "don't have evidence" and warned further military action could "escalate out of control".
Ministers should take their proposals, such as they are, to parliament. And Britain should press for an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.
Rather than further military action, what is urgently needed is a coordinated international drive to achieve a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement under UN auspices. The humanitarian priority must be to halt the killing on all sides.
The need to restart genuine negotiations for peace and an inclusive political settlement of the Syrian conflict, including the withdrawal of all foreign forces, could not be more urgent. We must do everything we can, no matter how challenging, to bring that about.”
Jeremy Corbyn: May waiting for Trump instructions on Syria
Tuesday Jennie Formby has officially taken over the role of General Secretary of the Labour Party. We all wish her well.
Jennie has emailed party memebers the following
"The actions of others do not reduce our responsibility to challenge antisemitism whenever and wherever it occurs."
A statement from Momentum's National Coordinating Group which is shown below:-
Tuesday April 2 elections for the NCG of Momentum kicked off. Members have until April 16 to cast their four allotted votes.
As this election relates to a left wing body ALL the candidates on offer share the same political aims and support Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader.
The people shown below however are the official left slate in this election
We received the following from an online friend and it was too good not to share
“In 1984 Jeremy Corbyn supported me. Now I'm supporting him” says Bruce Wilson former miner
Jennie Formby: Labour's new general secretary