Stop Benefit Sanctions Now!

“Absolute poverty, as in having no money at all, is all-encompassing, meaning it is almost impossible to think about anything else and it impacts on every area of life. Relationships with family and friends fracture, self-esteem is demolished, emotions range from stark terror to utter despair. Poverty removes the freedom to act rationally and assess situations in the long term and so creates its own vicious trap.

Such is the psychological anguish of long term poverty that some people will spend money on drugs or alcohol rather than food just to block out a few hours of their life. Poverty therefore leads to more poverty, ill health and increasing isolation. Poverty leads to family breakdown, which leads to homelessness, to addiction, depression, self-harm, poor health, mental illness and so on until the individual is shattered beyond repair.”

Continue reading:
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/benefit-sanctions-are-state-terrorism-and-must-be-stopped-without-exceptions/
The above is also included in the petition below. I included the first two paragraphs here as they so well describe what it is like to live in a state of such deprivation and despair. It has to stop now!

If you read nothing else please sign the 38 degrees petition demanding that
BENEFIT SANCTIONS MUST BE STOPPED WITHOUT EXCEPTIONS IN UK
http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/benefit-sanctions-must-be-stopped-without-exceptions-in-uk

According to research by the CAB Citizens Advice Bureau, benefit sanctions, penalising benefit claimants who are not considered to be doing enough to find work, is leaving people without any money to live on. Sanctions affect both those on Job Seeker’s allowance and sick and disabled people who are claiming ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) who have been placed in the WRAG group (Work Related Activity Group).  ESA claimants can have 70% of their benefits stopped indefinitely. In December 2012 ESA claiments santions were rasied to 70% of their ESA payments
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/sep/03/disabled-benefits-claimants-fines-work

There are often very sick and disabled people in WRAG  and many people are unfairly assigned to this group who should in any case be in the support group. Frankly the whole assessment system is flawed and needs scrapping.

Some of the reasons for sanctions are ridiculous to the extreme and grossly unfair, such as missing an appointment with your advisor. This happened to one person who had worked for 20 years who missed an appointment with his advisor because the process had not been clearly explained. This resulted in a three-week sanction. Another sanction was imposed on someone for being late for an appointment with his adviser – arriving only  five minutes late resulted in a penalty of one month sanctions. A person who had applied for more jobs than the target they had been set was sanctioned because they forgot to put down that they had checked the local paper as per instructions!!!!!! and to beggar belief someone was sanctioned for not looking to see if anyone had advertised a new job on Christmas Day.

Read more
http://falseeconomy.org.uk/blog/a-list-of-completely-ridiculous-benefit-sanctions-people-have-experienced

You can read a more detailed case of the effects of sanctions at the conclusion of this entry

From a survey of 376 people across the UK it was found that two thirds where left with no income after their benefits had been withdrawn. The duration of the sanction varies, the majority of people have had their benefit payment withdrawn for four weeks but about a third had to manage without any money for ten weeks or more and in some cases sanctions may last for up to three years! Such deprivation has forced people to borrow from family members many of whom may well be struggling themselves. Others borrow from banks and some may be so desperate as to borrow from what amounts to loan sharks, though they are usually referred to as  payday lenders, who charge outrageous rates of interest.

“The average payday lender charges £25 interest for every £100 borrowed if you pay it back within 28 days. That’s an APR of 1,737% (which shows the rate of interest you’d pay over a year and may include other charges). As a comparison, the average credit card would charge you £1.50 at an APR of 18%”
https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/payday-loans

( My personal advice is never take out a payday loan. I see no reason under any circumstances that doing so has any benefit , most particularly if you are on a low-income and are likely to be so for the forseeable future. These lenders should be banned as clearly they are taking advantage of vulnerable people who are victims of a grave social injustice.)

Advice about payday loans from the CAB;
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/debt_e/debt_borrowing_money_e/debt_types_of_borrowing_e/debt_loans_e/debt_payday_loans_e/pay_day_loans.htm

Between 2009 and 2011 the number of sanctions rose from 139,000 to 508,0005. The CAB accuses the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of setting targets for sanction withdrawals.

It needs to be pointed out that even a short sanction can be disastrous if you have no savings as is likely of course if you have to live on the grossly inadequate benefit of about of £71.70 (£56.80 if you are between 16 and 24)  which is the payment for Jobseekers Allowance. Now I have to ask does a twenty-three year old need less to live on than a twenty-five year old? Of course not.

The situation is so bad that for the first time since WW2 the Red Cross has launched an emergency food aid plan for UK’s poor :
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/red-cross-fareshare-food-aid-2360447

Benefit Sanctions leading to poverty and debt may result in destitution and homelessness

Benefits sanctions contribute of course to homelessness.

According to a recent survey “31% per cent of homeless people claiming jobseeker’s allowance had been the subject of sanctions compared with a national average of just 3%”.

“Of our survey respondents, one-third reported that clients with mental health problems were sanctioned and nearly half of them reported that clients with substance misuse issues were also penalised”.

Read More:
More benefit sanctions means more suffering for those who live on the edge.
Homeless people and people with mental health problems will be victims of further cuts. There’s no safety net for the vulnerable
http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2013/oct/07/benefit-sanctions-suffering-society-edge

See also:

http://homeless.org.uk/news/benefit-sanctions-hitting-homeless-people-hardest#.UnChp3CpWSp

There are people living in caves round Stockport which has seen a 42 percent increase in homelessness in just one year.

Homeless men and women are living in a network of disused sandstone caves near the town centre of Stockport, Greater Manchester. There have been up to four people a night sleeping rough in the cave system perched on a 20-foot precipice overhanging a river, only a short distance from public view.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/people-living-in-caves-as-uk-homelessness-reaches-five-year-high/5342441

It is just appalling when people have to resort to living in caves. Sanctions on benefits will see more and more people added to the increasing number of people who are homeless.

I signed the petition because I am outraged at the vicious and unfair welfare reforms that have plunged people into poverty and despair causing many to commit suicide. when you are only getting £71 per week job seekers allowance you are already struggling in the extreme and are of course not able to put anything aside to cover any unexpected eventuality such as benefit sanctions. It is disgusting that in the sixth richest country in the world there are people who through no fault of their own cannot afford to eat or warm their homes or pay their rent. There are people so poor that they have to return food donated to them by food banks because they cannot afford the gas or electricity to heat their donated food! This is a grave social injustice and it must be challenged.
Without any exception whatsoever benefits sanctions must be stopped.
This is a crime against humanity, the most appalling treatment of vulnerable people and it has to stop now!

More information
If you do not know what these sanctions are, and many people are so ill-informed about what is happening here in the UK as a result of media bias, please check out the links below.
Read more information from the Void relating to this great social injustice:
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/petition-calling-for-benefit-sanctions-to-be-scrapped-hits-nearly-2000-signatures-in-first-few-hours/

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/could-civil-penalties-be-the-new-benefit-sanctions-as-jobcentre-staff-hand-out-fines-to-cover-their-own-mistakes/

Also please sign the WOW Petition: http://wowpetition.com/

The whole process is insane to say the least . With 2,500,000 unemployed people and only 400,000 jobs available the whole process is futile or at least extremely difficult and there will always be people who cannot get a job and all the bullying, terrorising and exploitation will not change that fact. All that happens is people lives are seriously blighted to such a degree their ability to work, if ever there is a job for them to do, is significantly decreased as hopelessness and depression set in.

Jobs need to be created not punishment dished out to those who cannot find what is not there. Remember it was the Tories who destroyed industry not the workers. In the 1960s you could walk out of your job one day and get another job the next! For most workers you did not need a degree to earn a living wage. Furthermore working conditions and pay where better, hours shorter and more rights in the workplace. it also has to be noted that not everyone can actually do the jobs that are available. So many jobs require skills many people do not have. Not everyone is academic or skilled in IT, yet there are so few jobs now for people who are not.

For example you now need a diploma to be a brick layer whereas before you would learn this skill on the job.

Finally

A detailed case history of someone who has been sanctioned

Just noticed this in the comments section from independent article: Exclusive: Red Cross launches emergency food aid plan for UK’s hungry

Here’s an actual case I read about which is worth repeating.

“From personal experience trying to support my friend who is currently sanctioned… what do you do with no income for 13 weeks?

You go to the food bank – three times, three days food each time is all you are allowed.

Social services tell you that as you are working age and single, you are not a priority to help, so there is no help for you from them.

You sell your possessions on Ebay until you have nothing left to sell.

You dont tell anyone what is happening to you because you feel so utterly ashamed.

When the shame reaches its height, you go hungry in a freezing cold flat, become ill and try suicide. Bonus!! The NHS feed you for a few days but then you are sent home again.

So you start stealing from the supermarket and get caught, so the police feed you for a day while you’re locked up.

You go ‘skipping’ – breaking onto places where food is thrown out, or ask shops and cafes for the food that is going to be thrown out at the end of the day.

You hang about at the end of the market and take the waste fruit and veg out of the bins.

There’s no money for the gas meter for heat or hot water, your friends are paying meter money onto the electric meter for you and you live in the living room of your flat with an electric heater on. You walk for 45 minutes each way to sit in the nearest library for the day because its warmer in there than at home, and gives you access to waste food at the end of the trading day.

The loan sharks knock daily on your door, offering you money you dare not take, but feel is inevitable that you will very soon because its your last option and you’re at the end of your tether.

By now your physical and mental health are shot, and the likelihood of getting back into work is further away than ever, but the DWP have saved 13 weeks benefit, yippee!! But you also used up huge amount of police and NHS costs – booo!!

That’s what someone is currently doing… seriously… three doors away from where I’m sat typing this.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-red-cross-launches-emergency-food-aid-plan-for-uks-hungry-8872496.html#

 

The Writing in the Sand: Smash Capitalism

The country is governed for the richest, for the corporations, the bankers, the land speculators, and for the exploiters of labor.
Helen Keller, 1911

Smash Captialism

Smash Capitalism: Written in the sand of the ebbing tide Druridge Bay Northumbria 2013

The greatest threat to the planet and every creature who inhabits it is capitalism, at least in its present dominant frenetic mode that relentlessly exploits the world’s resources and its inhabitants, including both humans and  the other species with whom we share this world, to satisfy the greed of the few.

Capitalism is the root cause of most the world’s problems including war, it is the overriding cause of the continual social unrest that threatens world peace, it is responsible for the deaths of millions of people and billions of animals and the destruction of our environment.

It is capitalism that has plunged millions into poverty as a result of the so called banking crisis which is really a ploy to control millions of people to enslave them to low wages and increasing poverty. For it’s most obvious crime it is responsible for the death of one child every 3 seconds in Africa, a so called developing country.

Capitalism is responsible moreover for the ever increasing exploitation of the other beings with whom we share this world.

Basically capitalism puts profits before the needs of billions of people, other animals and the environment. Yet still today, despite all the pervasive misery and suffering, few actually speak out against this malignant cancer that ruins the lives of the vast majority of the world’s population, robbing them of health, security, happiness, quality of life and life itself.

There follows a selection of quotations from eminent people past and present and others less well known concerning the evils of capitalism which I would like to share here today. The truth of these statements cannot be denied and are as relevant today if not more so than when they were written.

The Rich Get Richer
The forces in a capitalist society, if left unchecked, tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer.
Jawaharlal Nehru

These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) President of the United States.

“I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
Eugene Victor Debs

The events of recent years with the rampant unbridled spread of capitalism confirms the above statements and is precisely what is happening here in the UK and elsewhere. The by-now well known phrase uttered by the worse prime minister in history “We are all in it together “ certainly rankles doesn’t it, yet it is so true for indeed the capitalists, in association with governments, are united to impoverish and take what little people have in order to acquire more and more wealth for themselves. These are the privileged few, the one percent whom it seems have an insatiable appetite for wealth and material comfort far in access of their requirements and at the expense of those far less fortunate.

On Corporate Domination of the Government

“Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, for the people and by the people, but a government for Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street. The great common people of this country are slaves, and monopoly is the master…Let the bloodhounds of money who have dogged us thus far beware.”
Mary Elizabeth Lease, 1890

Globalization has gone wrong, as it has no rules. Multinationals are almost above the law. They are so huge they are bigger than governments.
Dick Smith

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.
John Maynard Keynes

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.”
Bertrand Russell

“In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.”
Fran Lebowitz

Capitalism is Slavery
“The present age handed over the workers, each alone and defenceless, to the unbridled greed of competitors… so that a very few and exceedingly rich men have laid a yoke of almost slavery on the unnumbered masses of non-owning workers.”
Pope Leo XIII

“The system we live under, capitalism, is the root cause of most of the world’s problems, and war is an inherent feature of it

Under capitalism, the resources, the products of the world, and the means to produce them are controlled by a small number of capitalists. The other 5 billion of us are forced to work for this tiny elite either in factories, offices or on the land. In return for this “privilege” we get a wage at the end of the week. For the billions who live outside the rich Western countries, this wage, if you’re lucky enough to have a job, is barely enough to live on.”
http://www.socialistrevolution.org/ideas/capitalism-and-war/is-war-inherant-to-capitalism/

Capitalism and the Destruction of the Environment
“The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.”
Michael Parenti, Against Empire

“When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money.”
Cree prophecy

Ethics should precede economics… We know this because we’ve seen the results of capitalism without conscience: the pollution of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat; the endangerment of workers; and the sale of dangerous products — from cars to toys to drugs. All in pursuit of greater and greater profits.
Arianna Huffington

Capitalism and Animal Exploitation

Despite a thorough search there appears to be no direct quotations concerning the effects of capitalism on animals.

Without a doubt contemporary unfettered Capitalism is responsible for the escalation of the dreadful mistreatment of the other species with whom we share this world. Aided by technological advancements it outdoes any previous civilisation who also considered the abuses of animals as normal behaviour. The capitalist system has increased the exploitation and abuse of animals with the shocking additions of vivisection (animal experimentation) and factory farming – both of which constitute the legal torture and abuse of defenceless sentient beings for the sake of accruing wealth for the few under the guise of providing for the many. Capitalism is also responsible for environmental damage on a global level hitherto unequalled which in turn affects other species along with ourselves driving many animals to extinction. Today biodiversity is at an all-time low, the lowest it has been during the entire duration of human history.

Clearly there is a connection between capitalism’s exploitation of animals, its destruction of the environment and the enslavement and abuse of human beings.

The following however deals with this subject which appears to be discussed very little despite the obvious and devastating effects that capitalism has had and continues to have upon animals

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/06/05/982050/-Anti-Capitalist-Meet-Up-An-Anti-Capitalist-Case-for-Animal-Rights

The Evils of Capitalism
The worst evil of Capitalism according to Einstein
“The profit motive, in conjunction with competition among capitalists…leads to a huge waste of labor, and to that crippling of the social consciousness of individuals which I mentioned before.

“This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism. Our whole educational system suffers from this evil. An exaggerated competitive attitude is inculcated into the student, who is trained to worship acquisitive success as a preparation for his future career. I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals.…The education of the individual, in addition to promoting his own innate abilities, would attempt to develop in him a sense of responsibility for his fellow-men in place of the glorification of power and success in our present society.”
Albert Einstein, “Why Socialism?” The Monthly Review, May 1949

“Capitalism produced colonialism, opium wars, slavery, Spanish-American war, Boer war, starvation, apartheid, anti-union laws, the first world wide war, mustard gas, aerial bombing, the American genocide, chemical weapons, fascism, hunger marches, Nazism, the Spanish civil war, Militarism, Asbestosis, the second world war, Hiroshima, Dresden, racism, nuclear weapons, the Korean war, DDT, McCarthyism, thalidomide, poverty, environmental degradation, the Vietnam war, Gulf war, Iraq war, Zionism, trade in human body parts, malnutrition, the Heroin and Cocaine trade, Tuberculosis, exploitation of labor and the death of 50,000,000 communists and trade unionists… selling bad malaria drugs to poor African countries…etc”
Internet Forum user

“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Here is the biggest evil of capitalism in my opinion. It encourages and rewards the raping of the planet, decimation of life and holding hostage of ideas for personal gain.”
http://my.firedoglake.com/cmaukonen/2012/06/16/the-biggest-evils-of-capitalism/

General Anti-capitalist Quotes
“People who dismiss the unemployed and dependant as’ parasites’ fail to understand economics and parasitism. A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalist society.”
Jason Read

“Capitalism is founded on greed and envy “
Charles Long

Finally a pronouncement by Michael Moore which he made at the conclusion of his documentary Capitalism: A Love Story.

“Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy.”
Micheal Moore

 

Money For Murder

This is just so shocking, is no animal safe from man’s abuse and exploitation.? Worldwide the assault upon the other beings with whom we share this earth seems relentless. I cannot understand the mentality of people who kill any animal. There is not a day that goes by without some atrocity towards animals and indeed to our own species.

Walking with the Alligators

Feral_horse_and_foal_-_Pryor_Mountain_Wild_Horse_Range_-_Montana

This is the life they are supposed to have~

 

To all of you dear devoted,  caring readers, please help to stop this monster.

This will be very short, but most definitely,  not sweet !

This was just received and it must be addressed immediately.

I do not even know where to start.

But I know that all of you will, so this is in  your very capable hands now.

Adam and  Eric are you listening?

Please, please, sign it, share it , reblog it, post this story anywhere and  everywhere that you write.

Do  whatever you can, get on the phone, call anyone that you think will listen, do not let this man continue this.

They have no one to speak for them, no one to fight for them,  but you and me, we must answer their cries.

Despite Shutdown Horses Are Being Slaughtered

American Wild Horse Preservation News and Alerts

 

 

 

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Poor People in Twenty First Century UK Can’t Afford to Heat Their Food

“We said in April that the increasing numbers of people turning to food banks should be a wake-up call to the nation, but there has been no policy response and the situation is getting worse”

‘As a nation we need to accept that something is wrong and that we need to act now to stop UK hunger getting worse.’
Trussell Trust executive chairman Chris Mould :
http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects

Increasing numbers of  people are having to resort to food banks as more families than ever before are suffering from poverty. The Trussell Trust alone has reported that more than 350,000 people between April and September of this year  were  given a three-day food package –  this is three times as many as during the same period last year. Even more shocking, the Trussell Trust has said that some people are so poor that they have returned food that requires cooking because they cannot afford the electricity to heat it!
Read more:
http://www.lbc.co.uk/pressure-on-cameron-as-food-bank-use-soars-79743

It is an outrage that In modern-day UK 13 million people live below the poverty line. As unbelievable as this may seem in twenty-first century UK there are people so poor they cannot afford the electricity to heat up donated food. yes I have repeated that fact again as it is just so unthinkable you cannot quite get your head round it can you!

The reasons for this are:

Welfare Reforms:
The coalition government’s vicious welfare reforms, or more precisely cuts in benefits, have plunged many people into poverty. These drastic and unfair cuts range from reduction in amount received to a complete cessation of benefits when seriously sick and severely disabled people are told they are fit for work and have their benefits stopped. These cuts include the bedroom tax which since it’s introduction has plunged many deeper into poverty:

Peter Browne, 42, an unemployed former chef, is wondering how he will get by when £11 of his £71-a-week jobseekers allowance is swallowed up this month by the bedroom tax. He wants to move to a one-bed flat but there are none available. Until there are “it pretty much means heating or eating.”

Browne spends about £5 a week on gas now but he expects that to rise to £12 in the winter. He aims to restrict his food budget to £2 a week. Packets of noodles for 12p, and tins of spaghetti for 19p are on his shopping list. Time your visit right, he reckons, and you can get a nearly-out-of-date loaf of bread from Asda for 6p.

Read More;

Heat or eat? Or take out a loan, do both, and hope for the best? http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/01/heat-eat-loan-liverpool

Here is a report on the accumulative affects of benefit cuts.

The Centre for Welfare Reform, on behalf of the Campaign for a Fair
Society, has done its own analysis:

A Fair Society? – How the cuts target disabled people.
Using the government’s own figures, it is clear that by 2015, in England alone, local government and housing will be cut by £16.2 billion. This is a cut in real terms of 41.9%. Social care for children and adults makes up 60% of all spending over which local authorities have any control. Data collected over the past two years indicates that social care has already been cut by nearly £4 billion, and will be cut by £8 billion by 2015, a cut of about 33%.
Benefits for disabled people and the poorest will also have been cut by £18 billion, a cut of about 20%.

Read the full report
http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/uploads/attachment/354/a-fair-society.pdf

Low wages:
Basic minimum wage for people 21 and over is only £6.31, 18 to 20 £5.03, under 18 £3.72 and an apprentice gets just £2.68. Shocking right? Many people get less. The fact that someone can be working for £ 2.80 an hour in modern-day Britain is scandalous! Not that £6.31 is a lot either if you are supporting a family – or indeed for a single person who has the same rent/ mortgage, heating and so on as a family. Time to pay a living wage to everyone who works and a living benefit for those unfortunate enough not to be able to work as a result of unemployment or illness and disability. Regardless of the job we do, all people have the same needs whether it is the fat cat executive or the road sweeper,  both need to earn enough to provide shelter, food, warmth, clothing and the means to have a fulfilling life! People want more from life than enslavement to greedy corporations working away their precious lives to make another rich while they themselves struggle to afford even the basics in life.

Unemployment:
Over 250 million people are unemployed and many of those who are, are on zero hour contracts, temporary jobs and part-time work.

Price Rises:
Huge rises in the cost of food and other commodities have plunged people into poverty – what has not risen in price? Rents for one thing as greedy landlords have hiked rents taking advantage of an already difficult situation. Private rents now have reached a record high with Rents across England and Wales reaching a record of £757 a month on average in September after jumping by 1.8% month-on-month,
http://money.aol.co.uk/2013/10/18/private-rents-reach-record-high/

Massive Increases in the cost of energy – New increases for all of us as SSE and British Gas hike their prices by extortionate levels of 8,2 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively. The rest of course will follow helping to confirm the belief  that they operate as a cartel.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/personal-finance/british-gas-price-rises-electricity-2461539

Note the following in the Daily Mirror article :”The group is also introducing a new fixed standard charge of 26p a day for all customers – which will impact another 6.1 million 

For most everyone except the very rich the cost of living has risen far more than the incomes of the vast majority of the UK population with benefit claimants, which includes state pensions, and the low paid and unemployed being worst effected of course.

I know that there are many desperately poor people here in the UK as a result of welfare reforms and low wages and indeed my family and I struggle to make ends meet and things are getting worse including not being able to adequately heat our home and when it is cold we spend most of the day feeling chilled as we dare not set the thermostat to more than 60 degrees. The cost of heating our home is like having to pay another mortgage, right now I sit here in an unheated room, but to not be able to afford to heat your food beggars belief.

I think many people, even those of us who campaign against the onslaught of austerity that has destroyed people lives, still do not fully understand the severity of poverty that exists here in the UK. After all people who are so desperately poor that they cannot heat their food may not have Internet access and therefore suffer in silence not knowing what to do or where to turn. They have no voice or at least their problems are less likely to be generally known.

The fact that in the sixth richest country in the world people struggle to afford the basics of life such as heating for their homes, food for their families and affordable shelter,  is immoral to the extreme. With 80 billionaires and 509,000 millionaires – a rise of 98,000 since last year and more than any other European county – it is a disgrace. It is immoral when bankers get big bonuses while people go cold and hungry. It is immoral that MPs, many of whom are millionaires including Cameron and Miliband, get huge pay rises while working people live on a pittance of low wages and or inadequate benefits and have to send their children to school hungry.

Do hungry children exist? Teachers say so. Parents say so, though they may go without to give kids toast for tea.

Read More:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/16/immoral-food-banks-one-of-richest-countries

With 4000 food banks already in place the Trussell Trust plan to provide one in each town and city.

Consider the following  :
A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity
Ralph Nader

While this is very commendable and a godsend for struggling hungry people the need for such charities as food banks should have no place in any socially progressive society in a rich country such as the UK .

The government’s welfare reforms need to be overturned and a more fair system put in its place. Sick and disabled people have and are continuing to suffer poverty and deprivation and mental anguish as a consequence of draconian reforms that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, some of whom  died shortly after undergoing the Atos Work Capability Assessment, and many suicides.

The unemployed need to receive sufficient benefits in order to pay rent/ mortgage, food, heating and clothing which are the very basic essentials surely

The scandal of working people needing food banks is a disgrace beyond words but it seems that increasingly more and more people who work are paid such low wages that they cannot afford the very basics of life. To get a situation where people dare not turn on the electricity to cook their food is shocking in the extreme. Time for a raise in the basic minimum wage to at least the so-called livable wage of £7.45 – for London £8.55 –  an improvement of course, but in my opinion not enough

Please click the following links and read the stories of people who through no fault of their own have to resort to food banks including an Afghan veteran who, after suffering post traumatic stress disorder following his time serving in Afghanistan, struggled to find a job and was evicted. As a vegan and pacifist of course I am opposed to armed conflict nonetheless I consider it an outrage when this country turns its back on those who risk their lives for what they consider is right. Shame on the UK for not looking after members of the armed forces who are now as a consequence of their service sick and or disabled.
http://www.trusselltrust.org/real-stories

Also see the stories of  Andrew, Tereza and Neil  told in this Guardian article:

Food bank Britain: ‘I didn’t ask to be ill’
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/11/food-bank-britain-didnt-ask-be-ill

Note Burton-Fullick needs new glasses, but can’t afford them and he and his partner’s immersion heater broke 18 months ago but they don’t have the money to get it fixed. Often it is more than not affording food and often such essentials as replacement glasses and the repairs of such as an immersion heater are not considered. To do without either is a considerable detriment particulary for a sick and disabled person.

Action you can take

Please sign the WOW Petition which calls for : A Cumulative Impact Assessment of all cuts and changes affecting sick & disabled people, their families and carers, and a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act.
http://wowpetition.com/

The Trussell Trust has written to the Prime Minister calling on him to look into the ‘scandalous’ problem of food poverty. Perhaps you could do the same. Follow the lead of the Trussell Trust and write to David Cameron and express your outrage that in rich UK people do not have enough to eat or can afford to use  their electricity to cook their food let lone heat their homes. Yes I know he is unlikely to read it personally, but someone will read it and we need to make our feelings known on the matter. The more people who write the better.

Mr David Cameron, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/constituencies/witney

Or contact you constituency MP.
http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/

Please write even if he or she is Labour,  don’t rely on the Labour party to change much of any of the disastrous polices of the last two years, particularly welfare reforms.

Links

Video: Angry Dennis Skinner takes David Cameron to task over ATOS after victim waiting for appeal dies
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/video-dennis-skinner-takes-david-2460802

http://occupylondon.org.uk/scrap-atos-10000-cuts-and-counting/

Details of benefit changes

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/benefits_e/benefits_welfare_benefits_reform_e.htm?gclid=COzqrp2goLoCFVDItAodH2IAIw

Injustice In Japan

This is just so shocking and must be stopped now. As a vegan I oppose the killing of any living being. I am so appalled that in any modern progressive society the slaughter of these intelligent beings is allowed. It is even more shocking to propose a Marine Park to allow tourists to swim with the dolphins to fund their slaughter!

 

A water park where visitors will be able to swim with dolphins before sitting down to eat their meat is actually being planned in Japan. You cannot believe it can you.

 

I had to read the petition several times to get my head round this shocking news.

 

Gandhi once said

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

I have to ask what does Japan’s treatment of Dolphins say about the government of Japan who allow such atrocities to sentient beings to take place?

 

Please spread the above post and link widely.

 

More Links of interest:

 

Film: Taiji Dolphin Slaughter

This film will break your heart. How can anyone do such terrible things to these sentient beings? Even if it were true that the dolphins are killed instantly it is not right to take the life of these animals, there is nothing humane about death quick or otherwise. All creatures wish to live.

“Japanese fishermen claim they kill dolphins instantaneously and without pain. This video WHICH IS EXTREMELY GRAPHIC shows that it can take 7 minutes for a dolphin to die an agonizing death. The video was taken at great personal risk by German journalist Dieter Hagmann at Taiji, Japan. Dieter manages the BlueVoice website for Europe”

http://bluevoice.org/webfilms_killingattaiji.php

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2455754/Japan-open-water-park-watch-EAT-dolphins.html

Walking with the Alligators

Bottlenose_Dolphin_KSC    dolphintruncatas   Tursiops_aduncus,_Port_River,_Adelaide,_Australia

Dolphin picture credits, left to right:  public domain, truncates and NASA.

 

As I  sit here admiring my new ” Winter”  mouse pad and still feeling the warm glow from our visit over the weekend to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium,  my first email this morning has turned my stomach and filled me with outrage.

Right now, I am seeing  red, blood-red, the blood of many of Winter’s own kind.

Her sweet face is still strong in my mind and the thought of others like her being slaughtered, makes me want to do bad things to those who are guilty.

The petition which is listed  below, came as a horrible reminder,  that there are still places on this confused plant,  where some life has more meaning than others.

While the US and Japan long ago ended their cold post war relationship,  which has since become one of extremely high valued goods exchanges…

View original post 231 more words

Say No to Fracking Under Your Home

Please read the following information and take the suggested actions to stop fracking under your home – also other actions further down you can take to support clean energy.

Regardless of the detriment to our health and the countryside the UK is about to become one large fracking site with nearly two thirds of England earmarked for fracking.

not for shale2

As most of us know fossil fuels have contributed to climate change, surely therefore it is insanity to now be extracting new fuels of this type. Fracking – short for “hydraulic fracturing” – involves drilling deep under ground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hundreds of chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.

Fracking is linked to water and air pollution in the United States, and to earthquakes in the UK.  Fracking poses a serious detriment to your health and the environment, yet despite this the Government are determined to go ahead anyway. As always money comes before people.

We should protest against fracking and not be led astray by promises of cheaper energy. Such will never happen, the only people to benefit will be the energy companies who will make more profit, any savings avoided from buying gas elsewhere will not be reflected in the price of your energy.

We have an opportunity to make an effective stand and say no to fracking under our homes. We can make things very difficult for the government and the greedy energy companies who for profit are only too willing to set aside the dangers to ourselves, other animals, the environment and future generations.

We have a rare chance to challenge UK fracking. But we don’t have much time. Fracking companies are lobbying the government to change the law so that they can go ahead and drill without the consent of residents.

Here is one very effective and simple solution from Greenpeace

According to Greenpeace’s solicitors it is unlawful for companies to drill under your home without your permission or a statutory right. Doing so would be trespassing. But we need to act fast, as there are indications that the government will try to change the law to allow drilling under your home.

Right now residents can create a legal block to fracking throughout the country by refusing permission for drilling under their homes.

Please take action

Firstly find out if your home is at risk of being fracked by clicking the link below:

Look up your postcode at wrongmove.org now. – http://www.wrongmove.org/

The purpose of the above is to raise awareness of the areas in Britain which could be affected by hydraulic fracturing, and help people in Britain challenge fracking companies looking to operate in their communities.

More information can be found here:
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/don%E2%80%99t-want-your-home-fracked-just-say-no-20131014

If where you live is included add your name and say no to drilling under your home.

If your area is not included please support the campaign by sharing this link widely with friends, family, and other contacts as they may be affected.

You can also  download and print the above  Wrongmove sign  http://www.wrongmove.org/signdownload   and put it up in your window to let your neighbours know that your home is ‘Not for Shale’ and spread the word even further by taking a photo of yourself with your sign and post it to Facebook or Twitter with the #NotForShale tag.

More information from Greenpeace:

“The ‘Not for Shale’ legal block is a campaign by Greenpeace to support residents in fracking-affected communities to challenge the Government and the companies trying to drill in their immediate area.

Through wrongmove.org, residents can refuse permission to frack under their homes, even if companies have made, or are already making plans to drill there.

Fracking is a form of fossil fuel extraction that involves horizontal drilling. Fracking companies can drill up to two miles from a drill site, meaning operations regularly pass under people’s homes and farmland.

But in English law, if you own land then your rights extend to all the ground beneath it…
In Scotland, people also have very substantial and complex property rights, so the situation will be even more difficult for fracking companies to get around.”

You can read more about this by clicking the Wrong move link http://www.wrongmove.org/ if you have not already done so and entering your post code and then clicking the link: More Information About This Action.

The more of us who take action the more difficult it will be for oil companies to carry out fracking.

Important even if your name does is not included please pass on to others as theirs could very well be

For Other Actions you can take against fracking check out Friends of the Earths website:
http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/issues/fracking_background_information_33157.html

Includes a petition to David Cameron for you can sign – remember he promised that his government would be the greenest government ever. He needs to be reminded of this and live up to his commitment,

Click the get involved tab for a variety of actions both on and off-line:
http://www.foe.co.uk/get_involved_index.html

Also please sign the following letter to be sent to the House of Lords calling for: “the Government to introduce a ‘clean power target’ that would slash the carbon in our electricity system, and encourage a rapid switch to renewable energy.”

“A YES vote would help stop fracking and the reckless dash for gas, and help us avoid the worst effects of climate change. We’ve got 10 days to persuade Lords to vote YES – let’s make the most of this opportunity.”

Please read more and add your signature to the letter

http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/energy_bill_petition_41311.html?

Links

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/naturalresources/article3877163.ece
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22845425

Take Action to Help Free Greenpeace Activists

savethearcticblockv3 (1)e

The people in the photograph above are among thirty Greenpeace international activists who have been detained in a jail in Murmansk. These dedicated people may face long jail sentences because they followed their convictions and acted against climate change  by peacefully demonstrating against Arctic oil drilling.

if you read no further please take the following actions

Sign a Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/733/081/792/free-the-greenpeace-activists/

Send an email requesting the release of the Arctic 30.

This is a form letter, try and personalise it if you can, but send as it is if you cannot. Not all of us are good at writing, but do send anyway as it shows your support for the release of these unfortunate people who are trying to defend the arctic for us all.
http://act.greenpeace.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=18&ea.campaign.id=23002&ea.tracking.id=rus02&utm_source=HPArctic30

While visiting the Greenpeace website be sure to sign the petition to make the Arctic a global Sanctuary:
http://www.savethearctic.org/?src=gpukhome “A new Arctic oil rush is starting. Shell, BP, Exxon, Gazprom, Rosneft and others want to risk a devastating Arctic oil spill for only three years’ worth of oil”

Here is what is happening:
Russia’s Gazprom,  the largest extractor of natural gas and one of the largest companies in the world, is  ignoring the climate crisis and is going ahead with drilling in the Arctic in an area of the ocean that is only now accessible as a result of climate change and where an oil spill would do irreversible damage. Despite the alarming consequences Gazprom’s activities in the Arctic are considered legal. The Green Peace Ship the Arctic Sunrise was part of a peaceful protest against Gazprom’s drilling operation in the Arctic. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest and whilst in international waters the Arctic Sunrise was illegally boarded by Coast Guards who held those on board under armed guard whilst they towed the ship to shore. The thirty Green Peace protesters aboard have been remanded for up to two months by a court in Murmansk. The authorities say they need time to investigate possible charges of piracy even though President Putin has said that he did not believe they were pirates.

This morning in my e-mail box I received the following post, extracts of which have been included below with some slight alteration. Please read and take the suggested action if you have not already done so.

““I have been shaking for most of the last 48 hours. I oscillate between fear, disbelief and panic.”

This is what Kieron Bryan wrote in a letter to his family last week. Kieron is one of the 30 people currently being held in Russian prison facing piracy charges.

It has been exactly three weeks since Russian agents boarded the Arctic Sunrise and arrested all 30 people on board. Now, they are all being held in Russian prisons. Many of them are being kept in freezing cold cells for 23 hours a day, with just one hour out for exercise.

The support team in Murmansk is working around the clock to ensure they receive care packages with food and books to make life a little bit more comfortable for them. But what they need more than anything is continued pressure from millions so we can get them released.

Over 1.2 million of us have already written to Russian embassies around the world demanding the release of the Arctic 30. Let’s double that.

This week, our international director, Kumi Naidoo, wrote to President Putin offering himself up as a guarantor for the Arctic 30. He pledged to move his life to Russia for the duration of this affair if the Arctic 30 were released on bail.

Countless human rights and legal experts have come forward to say the piracy charges against the Arctic 30 are unfounded and ludicrous. High profile people from Stephen Fry to Bianca Jagger and Jude Law have publicly voiced their support for the Arctic 30.

Let’s get them out! “

Please click the link below if you have not done so earlier.

http://act.greenpeace.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=18&ea.campaign.id=23002&ea.tracking.id=rus02&utm_source=HPArctic30

If convicted of piracy, the protesters could face sentences of up to 15 years in jail. Vladimir Chuprov, head of Greenpeace Arctic says:

“Piracy means seizing someone’s property through a threat or an act of violence and a motive of making illegal profits from it, none of which can be applied to our activists, who were engaged in a peaceful protest against the harmful exploration of the Arctic.”

This is a grave injustice, people have the right to protest against the unremitting exploitation of our world. For the sake of us all, for future generations and the other species who inhabit this planet, we have a right to say enough is enough, we have a right to defend out environment in a peaceful and meaningful way without risk of facing ridiculous charges of criminal behaviour and loosing our freedom.

This world does not belong to exploitative oil companies like Gazprom or anyone else including the multinational  corporations who are destroying our environment all in the name of greed. Everyone of us needs to be able to peacefully protest against the assault on our world without facing criminal charges. The Greenpeace protest was peaceful.
Please forward this, and the petitions, to your family, friends and other contacts and ask them to send an email to demand the release of the Arctic 30.

More information from Green Peace’s website
http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/