On September 12, 2015, Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party and that should have been the end of the story but it was not.
Even before he won, with a huge mandate, enemies within the Labour Party were trying to stop his leadership campaign in its tracks.
With friends like some of them who needs enemies?
But he won and there was a flurry of shadow cabinet resignations as inflated egos tootled off to the backbenches of the Labour Party in the House of Commons.
They did not resign their well paid jobs, with all the associated perks, but took to the ranks in some cases began to spread their poison.
This led to an orchestrated coup with the main players opting to humiliate Jeremy Corbyn by any means available. Resignation letters followed at a fast and furious pace, pinned to Twitter timelines for maximum impact.
Those of us who had been watching from day one were not surprised.
It was rather shocking though to see Corbyn isolated in the House of Commons as some Labour MPs sat behind him and chanted resign and "sit down man you are a disgrace."
Months of social media interactions that may as well have been by Tory MPs had hinted at what was now unfolding.
It was the Labour Party at its most petulant.
Jeremy Corbyn is not just any party leader. He is a man of harmony but when parliamentary enemies attacked he stepped up to the mark and some.
While Labour Party plotters enjoyed a summer of relaxation Jeremy took a "road trip" mostly by train around the UK.
Corbyn spoke at packed rallies in cities and towns across the UK. He was and is an inspiration.
He undertook a schedule that would have floored many younger men and he did so with good grace and time for others.
When he addressed a packed rally in the Northern City of Kingston-Upon-Hull the sun shone and those who turned up to listen were not disappointed.
Imagine if the Labour Party had accepted Corbyn as party leader in September 2015 and worked together toward election success.
But even as Corbyn worked his socks off addressing rallies in Leeds, Cornwall, Brighton, Hull, York, Liverpool and more enemies in the party were undermining his leadership.
Leaked stories by anonymous sources dominated news headlines as the mainstream media eagerly grabbed what was on offer and spun the story to within an inch of its life.
Unlike Mr Corbyn plotters work to various agendas which rarely include ordinary working and middle class voters struggling to make ends meet.
The Labour Party has an identity crisis but Mr Corbyn can restore old new Labour to true Labour values if his MPs will let him.
2016 could have been a successful year for the Labour Party but it was not.
In order to try and remove Corbyn there was a challenge but no challenger. Finally, when pushed Angela Eagle launched a challenge but she was quickly pushed back as Owen Smith stepped into the fray.
His dismal attempt at relaunching old new Labour failed miserably. As soon as it was clear he would not win people were purged from the Labour Party for various reasons; from real abuse to pure nonsense.
Plotters in the party were determined Corbyn would not win.
They made themselves and the party look ridiculous and unelectable in the eyes of many and for nothing. Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected leader with 62% of the vote.
But once again the story does not end here.
Some people will never accept Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader and too many of them are IN the party.
Can the Labour Party get back to business or will 2017 be squandered too?
Fake news perpetuated by publications such as the Telegraph, The Daily Mirror, The Independent and the Daily Mail.
The jungle drums have spoken so it must be true.
But once again the so-called 'real news' is lies.
Where did the story start?
Was it the Daily Mail fondly called the Daily Fail?
"The Opposition leader left the party as MPs insulted him at the noisy booze-up, the Mail on Sunday reported" reports the Daily Mirror playing that childhood Christmas party game pass the parcel.
Certainly some played their boozy best at the PLP Christmas Party Tuesday but back to Ms Philips who "later told the Mirror Mr Corbyn left the Christmas do long before MPs sang the Blair anthem, had his coat on for ages and "nobody was annoyed"."
Sadly though it plays into the hands of the opposition.
If the Labour Party is on an election footing it needs to be careful how it acts even at in-house Christmas parties.
Remember fake news sources are watching and waiting and there will always be some pathetic enemy within looking for a divisive opportunity.
So Sunday, five days after the event, the mainstream media run the story presumably as stories relating to Mr Corbyn, be they real, or fake, sell papers.
Jeremy Corbyn had a packed events diary Tuesday and the "office juniors Christmas Party" was just one event.
Daily Mirror - http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/jeremy-corbyn-walks-out-karaoke-9477514 Their title says REPORT CLAIMS meaning it is probably fake but we will run with it anyways.
(With rght wingers from the Labour Party maliciously editing our letter, what do they have to fear, we have moved it onto this website. When all signatures are collected a hard copy will be hand delivered.
Dear Leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party
Please find below a request from members of the Corbyn 50+Supporters Group, who are deeply concerned at the level of negative media coverage last weekend by certain Labour MPs. A small sample of support is shown in those signatories, see below, we have collected since Monday 12th December 2016. This group was formed a year ago and we now have over 9,000 members nationally; members are meeting in cities to work out plans to support the General Election campaign with the 10 Pledges. Other like minded facebook groups are sharing this letter.
Call for Unity letter
We’ve been put on a general election footing and yet some members of the Parliamentary Labour Party are still working to a divisive and destructive agenda.
This was plain to see in Chris Leslie's guaranteed election losing performance on the BBC Sunday Politics Show December 11, which undermined the Party, its membership and its Leader. MPs should rather be appearing in the media to attack the Government and to talk about Labour's solutions to the country's problems. That would be unity. We now hear in the Huffington Post about a supposed ‘work to rule’ by some MPs!
Socialism in Britain is now under threat - Enough is Enough
This is a Call for Unity to all the Labour Party MPs right NOW
1. As members of the Labour Party we are very discouraged to see a continuous stream of certain MPs
publicly criticising the Labour Party Leader and Shadow Chancellor in the media.
2. Jeremy Corbyn won both Leadership Elections with a huge mandate, calling for “unity and communities working together”. As members who responded to that call, we do not see that this principle is being adhered to within the ranks of Labour MPs.
3. We members are the ones campaigning strongly at grassroots and national levels for our Party’s return to government. When engaging with the public on doorsteps and in High Streets, we are finding that these MPs’ public declarations, showing lack of loyalty to both the leadership and to socialism are confusing and alienating the electorate.
4. We strongly request that the Leadership now ensures a declaration of support to the 10 Labour pledges, to publicising them, and to implementing them, and support to the leadership from each MP. We need unity and a solid, unambiguous foundation for our electioneering work. MPs unable to commit to this should be asked to resign or stand for re-selection.
5. We fully endorse freedom of speech. However, we believe that the public actions of the MPs in question are causing such significant damage, they simply cannot remain unchallenged. Their actions will ensure the Party is never elected to government despite our huge membership base and its overwhelming endorsement of our party leader. In fact, we believe that this is their intended purpose.
6. We are united in our overwhelming desire to see an end to this Conservative government with its cruel and divisive policies; and it's toxic budget cuts to local authorities which are jeopardizing even basic services.
Our Party, Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, is our one hope for a decent, fairer future for our country. We believe that these deeply unsettling times require a strong, proactive declaration of unity from elected Labour MPs, councillors and other officials that reflects the will of the members. Only then will we, the Labour Party, re-engage the public and move forward to government. John Taylor recommends you bring in two very able media personnel Chris Williamson and Eoin Clarke
May we thank-you for your enduring patience and the tremendous grace you continuously demonstrate.
Anya Darr, Eileen Kersey, Susan Dellet, Coilla Drake
Name CLP or Union
Heard of Peter Tatchell? What's that you say "I have Saturday."
Today Jeremy Corbyn was scheduled to make a speech to mark the anniversary of the United Nations general assembly signing of the universal declaration of human rights in 1948. It was held at Methodist Central Hall in London.
But only one person is grabbing the headlines and it is veteran campaigner Peter Tatchell who disrupted the event.
As a lifelong, some would say serial activist and campaigner, Jeremy Corbyn took Peter Tatchell's interruption on the chin but perhaps Mr Tatchell would do better lobbying at Tory events. They after all are the government of the day.
Maybe Mr Tatchell would be unable to get through security systems at Tory events?
So what he did was use a worthy event to push a different agenda.
The Guardian reports "As the protesters stood silently in front of Corbyn, the Labour leader said: “It’s all right, it’s OK.” Tatchell then said: “What is happening in Aleppo is a modern-day Guernica. We haven’t heard the leader of the Labour party speak out enough to demand UK air drops to besieged civilians who are dying in their thousands.”
While his words on Syria may be valid his timing stunk to high heaven.
It means Tatchell is Saturday's big story not human rights or Syria or Corbyn or the Labour Party.
I hope Mr Tatchell enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame which will do nothing to unite the Labour Party and may even play into the hands of plotters actively seeking to remove Corbyn as party leader.
The problem is Mr Tatchell that a divided Labour Party will not win elections; will not remove the Tories from office; will not secure the NHS, stop benefit sanctions, home the homeless in the UK, halt the need for foodbanks and more.
And in guaranteeing a Labour fail you Mr Tatchell will not help the people of Syria, not one iota.
Political pundits, experts, analysts and politicians have been chewing over Thursday's Sleaford by-election result but for what it is worth this is what this voter thinks.
Sleaford is safe Tory ground; why escapes me.
There is little doubt BRexit is the current election tool. It is being used to get your vote. Immigration fears are also high on the right-wing election agenda.
Tapping into people's fears led to the election of Donald J Trump across the Pond.
Conservative Press Office trolled Labour MPS and more on Twitter Thursday pushing out their message that Labour MPs will not respect the referendum result claiming Labour are out of touch with ordinary people.
It was a shameful misuse of social media.
It used false allegations. But we are talking about unelected Theresa May's Nasty Tory Party.
Little wonder then that voters in Sleaford voted thus;
"Sleaford & North Hykeham result: Dr Caroline Johnson (Conservative) 17,570 (53.51%, -2.68%)
Victoria Ayling (UKIP) 4,426 (13.48%, -2.21%)
Ross Pepper (Liberal Democrat) 3,606 (10.98%, +5.33%)
Jim Clarke (Labour) 3,363 (10.24%, -7.02%)
Marianne Overton (Lincs Ind) 2,892 (8.81%, +3.59%)
Sarah Stock (Ind) 462 (1.41%)
The Iconic Arty-Pole (Loony) 200 (0.61%)
Paul Coyne (ND) 186 (0.57%)
Mark Suffield (ND) 74 (0.23%)
David Bishop (BP Elvis) 55 (0.17%)
Electorate 88,712; Turnout 32,834 (37.01%, -33.23%)
But although the Conservative candidate won their share of the vote was down; so was Labour's and UKip's. Look at the low turn out too.
Floating voters have short memories and so the real winner in some ways is the Liberal Democrat candidate. That flies in the face of BRexit as the Lib Dems are promising a second money spinning referendum. It also means the party's Tory years cuddling up in a coalition government have been forgiven or forgotten. But then it is a safe Tory seat. That could explain a shift from Tory to Lib Dem though there is no doubt some Labour voter's swapped sides.
The Tories winning candidate is an NHS doctor; again a mixed bag.
The Labour candidate was "Refuse driver and former postman Jim Clarke [who] was selected as Labour Party candidate at a meeting on Wednesday, November 9." This is what he told the Lincolnshire reporter on November 10;
This is my home and it will be a great honour to represent Sleaford and North Hykeham.
An ordinary working man and a good candidate.
So why did he fail to win enough votes?
The Labour Party has spent more than a year in-fighting and grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Selfish elements within the party would rather wreck Jeremy Corbyn's chances of ever forming a government than support the party leader and remove the Tories from power.
Public resignations by MPs, with resignation letters pinned to Twitter timelines look bad; a very public purge of members and other devious methods to remove Corbyn supporters is not a good look either; neither is convenient leaks to the mainstream media and shambolic politics; if Labour MPs do not support the party in its current form why the hell would voters?
The Tory party is probably in a worse place right now but you will not see any evidence of that unless you are part of the inner workings of that party.
They have always held their cards close to the chest and carried out dirty business behind closed doors.
What next for the Labour Party? You tell me.
Jim Clarke is an ordinary working guy who was never going to win Sleaford but he should have polled better. The fact he did not is not down to him.
"The widow’s pension, awarded to widows over age 45, was replaced by the bereavement allowance in 2001. The bereavement allowance is given to widows, widowers or surviving civil partners over age 45 until they reach state pension age. It is paid for up to 52 weeks."
In 1969 I was aged 17 and still at school studying for A Level examinations when my father was diagnosed with cancer and died within a matter of weeks. He was aged 55 and Mum was 52. She had not worked for some years but that was fairly normal in ordinary working class households back then. She was not a well woman though.
It was a tough time in many ways, not least financially.
Dad was never out of work, served his WWII years over in Burma and the far-east, and always played by the book.
Unrecognised PTSD was simply classed as mental health issues back in the 1950's and the label that was attached to Dad during those post war years stuck tight. This meant his cancer was diagnosed late as his stomach problems were assumed to be more mental than physical. After weeks gradually becoming more physically ill the local mental hospital where he had been admitted decided investigations were needed. An X Ray quickly showed the extent of the cancer.
Extensive surgery followed but it was too late.
Dad was discharged home and died in less than two weeks.
We lived in a cheap rented property that lacked some basic amenities, by 21st Century standards, but it was home.
Dad had worked for the building section of our local council, City Engineers, and faithfully paid into what was called superannuation back then. Mum was given a "golden handshake" which helped but it was still tough.
She received a very small pension from the council and a state widow's pension. The widow's pension was £2.50 a week and she received an extra £2.50 as I was still at school.
But it was 1969 and bear in mind our rent was around £4 a month.
Even so it was difficult.
But imagine it was 2016 and there was no proper widow's pension available.
Mum would presumably have had to apply for JSA or ESA or whatever benefit she would be eligible for. She would have been forced to jump through DWP hoops and she would have failed.
Three years after Dad died Mum had a massive brain haemorrhage and was left severely disabled. Three years later she died.
There is no need to go into the painful details of those difficult years.
But they would have been so much worse in 2016. Back to the current Bereavement Allowance;
It also depends on your age when your partner dies. The younger you are, the less you’ll get. The rates in 2016/17 are as follows:
But remember that is only paid for up to 52 weeks.
Take into account the increasing state pension age also.
Depending on your year of birth you could not be eligible for a state pension until very old age.
Original plans to phase in higher retirement ages have been tweaked and will no doubt be tweaked again.
The age at which women qualify for the state pension is in the process of rising from 60 to 65 by November 2018, with the exact date depending on the month you were born.
That last sentence means that age will continue to rise.
Having rebranded Social Security as a welfare handout expect to see more older people struggling to make ends meet in later life.
For now the state pension is protected by a triple lock but that will not last forever.
The Measure of a Civilization By Alexander Atkins "Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members."
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