Justice For Grenfell

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Over 170 years after Engels, Britain is still a country that murders its poor

The victims of Grenfell Tower didn’t just die. Austerity, outsourcing and deregulation killed them – just as Victorian Manchester killed the poor then.

While in Victorian Manchester, Friedrich Engels struggled to name the crime visited on children whose limbs were mangled by factory machines, or whose parents were killed in unsafe homes. Murder and manslaughter were committed by individuals, but these atrocities were something else: what he called social murder. “When society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual,” he wrote in 1845, in The Condition of the Working Class in England.

Over 170 years later, Britain remains a country that murders its poor. When four separate government ministers are warned that Grenfell and other high rises are a serious fire risk, then an inferno isn’t unfortunate. It is inevitable. Those dozens of Grenfell residents didn’t die: they were killed. What happened last week wasn’t a “terrible tragedy” or some other studio-sofa platitude: it was social murder.

While in Victorian Manchester, Friedrich Engels struggled to name the crime visited on children whose limbs were mangled by factory machines, or whose parents were killed in unsafe homes. Murder and manslaughter were committed by individuals, but these atrocities were something else: what he called social murder. “When society places hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death, one which is quite as much a death by violence as that by the sword or bullet; its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of the single individual,” he wrote in 1845, in The Condition of the Working Class in England.Over 170 years later, Britain remains a country that murders its poor. When four separate government ministers are warned that Grenfell and other high rises are a serious fire risk, then an inferno isn’t unfortunate. It is inevitable. Those dozens of Grenfell residents didn’t die: they were killed. What happened last week wasn’t a “terrible tragedy” or some other studio-sofa platitude: it was social murder.

Please continue reading the entire article
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/20/engels-britain-murders-poor-grenfell-tower

Austerity killed the victims of Grenfell –  the deadliest fire in Britain since the country began keeping records at the turn of the 20th century, claiming at least 87 victims  – as it has killed the victims of cruel Tory welfare reforms, and those who have died as a result of cuts to the NHS Austerity will continue to kill the most vulnerable members of our society while the small majority continue to sanction by their vote the gravely unjust treatment of poor people.

Behind austerity is the greed of the rich who get tax cuts at the expense of the poor/working class, greedy exploitative employers who want employees to literally work for nothing   – there are few laws to protect workers. The list of exploitation of the poor is lengthy and by far the worst example is the Grenfell tower. Eighty people died in the fire because of pure unadulterated greed for a grand saving of £2 a square metre for cladding, about £5,000, of an £8 million refurbishing contract, cladding which was banned in the USA. Further tests show that cladding from 190 tower blocks in 51 local authority areas across England is unsafe and there is a 100 percent failure rate in fire safety tests on cladding used in public high rise buildings.  The British government did not ban the cladding used at Grenfell. Thanks to cuts to local councils, and the slashing of red tape, building inspection has been gutted and privatized. The recent refurbishment of Grenfell was sub-contracted, and a fire-resistant cladding alternative was jettisoned in favor of the cheaper option.

Tory economic polices are designed to move money from the poor to the rich and in the process people are dying.

How many more people have to die before those who vote Tory finally decide enough is enough!

Take Action

Don’t let the shock and horror of this atrocity fade into obscurity

Please sign the following petitions:

This government must carry out a FULLY TRANSPARENT INVESTIGATION into the Grenfell tragedy

The investigation into the Grenfell tragedy must be FULLY TRANSPARENT and allow the MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION of the affected residents, their families, and the surrounding community. The government cannot be allowed to cover up any uncomfortable revelations about negligence and poor planning of the Grenfell estate by the Tory-run Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

Please read more and sign the petition:
https://www.change.org/p/this-government-must-carry-out-a-fully-transparent-investigation-into-the-grenfell-tragedy-allowing-for-meaningful-participation-of-the-residents-their-families-and-the-surrounding-community-their-voices-must-be-heard

Grenfell Tower: never again

The government were warned time and time again of the fire risks in blocks of flats like this. But these warnings were ignored. Now, pressure is growing for the government to change the law to make buildings like Grenfell Tower safer when there is a fire.

Please read more and sign the petition:
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/grenfell_tower

Please sign to help ensure justice for all victims of Grenfell:

We, the undersigned, call on the Government to announce an immediate amnesty, with permanent residency, for surviving occupants of Grenfell Tower.

Please read more and sign the petition:
https://goodlawproject.org/petition/grenfell-disaster-petition/

You may also want to write to your MP and express you concerns, your anger and outrage. Please be polite.

Contact Your MP:
http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Related Links

London’s Grenfell Disaster is An Indictment of Austerity

The fire’s victims were caught in the crosshairs of public cuts and a housing crisis.
http://inthesetimes.com/article/20296/londons-grenfell-disaster-is-an-indictment-of-austerity

Examples of Tory welfare reforms kill

BENEFIT TALES -stories from the frontline of benefit changes in the UK.
https://welfaretales.wordpress.com/category/death-after-fit-to-work-decision/

“The rich have broken Britain and it’s the poorest who are paying

The rise in tax breaks for the ultra-rich and austerity measures for everyone else has left Britain on the brink, says Mail Opinion.

Read More
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/rich-broken-britain-its-poorest-10099743

 

Stop Cameron From Making Cuts to Child Tax Credit

Poverty is the worst form of violence.
Mahatma Gandhi
Child-poverty-434-244
Please sign a petition:
George Osborne: No more kids in poverty.
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/stop-child-tax-credit-cuts 

Scroll down for more actions to take.

Yet again Cameron and his government are taking money from the poorest in our society. Yet again he and his cronies are implementing austerity measures on the poor and most vulnerable who, as is the case of most of us, had nothing to do with the so-called financial crisis which is in my opinion merely a ploy to dismantle piece by piece our welfare state and enslave people to poverty and low wages.

There are so many people in poverty now. Cutting Child tax credits will make this worse, what are people supposed to live on, how are they to feed their families? You cannot just remove a vital income with nothing to replace it. Wages need to considerably rise first. This is unjust and not worthy of any modern society. While in the UK the rich have got considerably richer the poor get poorer and poorer, it is shameful.

Child tax credits are essential support for families who aren’t getting paid enough to live on. They help to pay the rent, provide food and clothing such as school uniforms, a requirement of most schools.

No one in this rich country of ours should be receiving wages so low that they cannot afford to live. Things need to change, we must demand better for ourselves our children and future generations.

But until something is done about wages, for many families tax Child Tax Credits mean the difference between eating and going hungry, having a warm home or shivering in the cold, having a roof over your head or being homeless. Poverty can effect a child’s health and even educational prospects and as a consequence their entire future.

Take Action
Please read the following from a 38 degrees campaign information and sign the petition if you have not already done so and write to your MP ( contact details further down) .

“Stop David Cameron taking money away from some of the poorest children in the country. Please will you add your name to the petition against his cuts to child tax credit?Here’s why some other 38 Degrees members have signed the petition:
  • “My dad died when I was five years old. My brother and I saw my mum struggle. I am now 61 years old. Please don’t turn back the clock” – Janet
  • “When I was a single parent, child tax credits were the difference between feeding my family and going hungry” – Linzi
  • “It doesn’t feel like you can say the country is doing well and growing in prosperity if hard-working people are struggling to afford to eat” – Lee
  • “The government needs to look at putting wages up before they start cutting this support” – Judi
  • “I work full time to support my two children on my own. If we lose child tax credits, we’ll struggle even more than we already are” – Tracey
Click here to sign the petition now:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/child-tax-credit

Please also write to your MP and or David Cameron:
http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/contacting-your-mp/

The Budget is only a couple of weeks away, and the government is still arguing about what to announce. Let’s make sure these cuts are off the table.”

The loss of child tax credits will make this already dire and unjust situation much much worse.
Please take the above actions.
Petitions and letter writing do make a difference, they ‘re a way of expressing your outrage and showing the government that their vile policies are not acceptable to those of us who want a just and fair world for everyone.

Join Protests, Sign Petitions, Write Letters

We need to fan every flame of resistance—from strikes to housing campaigns, to the People’s Assembly demonstration on 20 June, to the battles against racism, to the mobilisations over climate change. We need to challenge the Labour and trade union leaders who have led us to this disaster.”
Charlie Kimber The socialist Worker

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More ideas to fan the flames – continue reading for details of protests and petitions for you to sign.

There is something we can all do to stop the Tory onslaught. Not everyone can attend protests or Marches but most of us can sign petitions, write letters and e-mail, tweet and share all such actions.

Take action about anything related to the government’s assault on our welfare system, the NHS, the environment such as fracking, the abolition of the human rights bill, increased austerity, the reinstatement of fox hunting and Badger culling to name just a few of the grave social injustices that the majority of us did not vote for.

“When the richest 20% of people vote to attack the poorest 20% – a crude but not unfair summary of what just happened in the election – then any talk of democratic mandates or majorities is redundant.  What we are left with instead is human decency – do we want to live in a society wherediabetics die because they cannot afford the electricity to chill their medicine?  Or where children are socially cleansed away from their schools, friends and families because neither benefits or wages are enough to pay soaring rents?”

Please continue reading the above article and take particular note of the following:

“There are upcoming protests in Glasgow, Peterborough, Manchester, Sheffield,Cardiff, Winchester, Newcastle, Leeds and many more to come – please feel free to leave details of upcoming events, protests or actions in the comments.

Class War and the National Coalition Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC) have both called a protest in Central London on the day of the state opening of Parliament, May 27th – keep it free.

UK Uncut have called a day of action on Saturday May 30th, which coincides with a protest against scrapping the Human Right’s Act.

A massive demonstration wil be taking place in the City of London on the 20th June.

Please help spread the word about all events and let’s make them huge.”

Read More:
https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/the-worst-of-margaret-thatcher-meets-the-worst-of-tony-blair-we-need-to-fight-these-bastards-like-never-before/

Please try to support the events above.

Here is a taste of things to come:

David Cameron’s new disabilities minister voted against protecting disabled children’s benefits

“David Cameron’s new disabilities minister voted against protecting benefits for disabled children and cancer patients, according to parliamentary records.

Justin Tomlinson, appointed in the new government’s reshuffle, will assist Iain Duncan Smith in implementing Conservative reforms to the benefits system and making £12bn as-yet unspecified cuts.”

Please continue reading and be sure to watch the video:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-camerons-new-disabilities-minister-voted-against-protecting-disabled-childrens-benefits-10246049.html

Please no violence – Gandhi’s peaceful way of civil disobedience is more effective, It has been used in many nonviolent resistance movements in India (Gandhi’s campaigns for independence from the British Empire)  Violence soon looses public support and is never the solution.

It is unfortunate that someone felt it okay to write slogans on the war memorial during last week’s protest, though it has to be said that there is no proof that the graffiti on the war memorial was written by one of the protesters.

More about the protests and petitions to sign

If you cannot manage a march or other demo you can still make your voice heard by signing a petition

In the coming weeks I will post as many petitions, notifications of demonstrations and other actions as I come across them.

In the meantime please sign the following petitions however unlikely you think they are to succeed, our signatures represent public opinion about which we should not leave them in any doubt.

Unite and cooperate to create an anti-Tory majority in 2020

“In a fair world we would have proportional representation so that the Greens and Liberal Democrats received a fair number of MPs relative to votes received.

In a fair world we would have campaign finance laws that meant a few millionaire donors with vested interests weren’t able to stuff Tory treasure chests with 3 times the amount Labour raised.”

Read More and please sign the petition:
https://www.change.org/p/the-labour-party-the-green-party-the-liberal-democrats-plaid-cymru-the-scottish-national-party-unite-and-cooperate-to-create-an-anti-tory-majority-in-2020

End Austerity in Northern England:

“We, the people of northern England will not sit back in silence while you impose draconian austerity measures on us and crush our NHS. While we accept that your government is legitimate, the north of England voted resoundingly against you. We rejected austerity, and you have swept into office only through a campaign of fear and the support of middle England.” 

“We call upon our fellow countrymen both north and south of the border who are seeking an end to austerity to help us make our voice heard and will work with anyone interested in a progressive and fair society.  We deserve to be treat with dignity and respect”
https://www.change.org/p/end-austerity-in-northern-england – you do not have to live in the north of England to sign the petition, anyone may sign

A Vote of No Confidence in the Conservative Party Running the UK:

“This is important to protect the lives of our societies most vulnerable like the elderly, disabled, homeless, hard working families not earning enough, people on zero hours contracts, students, people having benefits stopped, people victimised by Tory cuts, people having to use food banks, whilst those with more than enough get tax cuts and get let off with tax evasion.”
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/a-vote-of-no-confidence-in-the-conservative-party-running-the-uk

Call for an inquiry into the psychological Impact of Austerity:

“Commit to a parliamentary inquiry assessing the Psychological Impact of Austerity.

Why is this important?

The evidence is clear, austerity policies are having damaging psychological costs, both increasing mental distress in the present, and storing problems for the future. As a group of psychologists, therapists, service users and allies we feel it is our public and professional duty to bring these issues to light.”

Read more and please sign the petition:
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/psychological-costs-of-austerity-inquiry

Protests

Please check the following link from time to time for details of protests in your locality

List of demonstrations, actions and meetings currently being organised:
http://anticuts.com/2015/05/12/fight-the-tory-government-actions-across-the-country/

Fight Austerity, Fight the Tories – March on the State Opening of Parliament

“On Wednesday 27th May it will be the state opening of Parliament, where the Tories will officially form a Government.

They will do so with just 37% of the vote, and with the consent of 24% of eligible voters in the UK.

The new Government is going to try to: smash the welfare state by £12bn, privatise the NHS, raise tuition fees, decimate local services, make strike action illegal, scapegoat migrants, worsen the housing crisis and to crush all dissent that stands in their way.

There is now only one thing stopping this from becoming a reality: us. Over the coming weeks and months, we are going to have to show the Tories that we will not let them do this, and we will have to inspire broader layers of the population into resisting austerity. That new wave of resistance starts now.

We are putting this call out for a mobilisation to coincide with the opening of Parliament; we don’t yet have any particular plans beyond it happening. NCAFC does not claim to represent the anti-austerity movement as a whole, and we are putting this call out in the hope that other groups, collectives and organisations will come on board.

Please email againstfeesandcuts@gmail.com to add your group.

Read More:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1600237216914656/

http://anticuts.com/

UK Uncut has also called a day of action, for Saturday 30th May:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1584349118501734/

https://www.facebook.com/events/1600237216914656/1600495150222196/

Not in London Check out the following also included in the above Facebook link
http://anticuts.com/2015/05/12/fight-the-tory-government-actions-across-the-country/

Five More Years of Hell

What the hell is wrong with the British people?

Why have they voted for five more years of hell under the Tories? Why!!! Why!!!! Is it simply ignorance or greed? Do people think that the improving economy, if indeed it really is improving, is going to make them more wealthy? If there has been any improvement it has been at the expense of the poorest in our society who have been hit the hardest by austerity measures. Also you can be certain that any improvement to the economy will affect only the wealthy. Foolish people have condemned us all to five more years of Tory policy which benefits only the rich.

I cannot tell you just how shocked and angry I am.

If you voted Tory consider:

Just on the issue of the NHS alone you should not have voted Conservative – Your vote just brought us closer to the end of the NHS

Basically if you voted Tory you have voted for the privatisation of our NHS, the eventual end to free health care?

Consider do you really want private profit hungry big business carrying out surgery, performing scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Never forget that with all private business profit is the main motivation. Making private business responsible for your health care is a slippery slope to the end of the NHS as we know it.

So far a third of  the NHS has gone to the private sector, after five more years how much more will be sold off.

If you voted for the Conservatives you also voted for:

Zero hours.

“It’s the uncertainty that gets to me,” Shirley says, despondently. “These contracts only work one way – they don’t offer any flexibility even if you wanted it because if you turn down hours you suffer. One of the girls had her hours permanently reduced because she asked the line manager for a day off to take her child to the doctors. From that day on her card was marked”.

Read More:
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/06/forward-march-zero-hours-contracts-must-be-halted

Low Pay – in 2014 two out of three people took jobs with low pay

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Two thirds of people who “found” work in 2014, ended up in a job which pays less than the living wage (which is not that much higher than the minimum wage). Many have found themselves in work that is “employment” in name only: in zero hours jobs which for many means just that – no hours = no pay. Many have ended up in workfare and training schemes all designed to coerce people into working for little or no pay.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/november5/16568567849/

Food banks – over one million people now use food banks including 330, 000 children

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK.

2013-14 foodbanks fed 913,138 people nationwide. Of those helped, 330,205 were children.
http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-projects

“In spite of the erroneous signs of economic recovery, people are becoming poorer as more people are relying on food banks than ever before.”

Read About food Banks in Maidenhead:

“At just pushing 9.30 AM, the Maidenhead foodbank was rammed with people. Shelves were stacked ceiling-high with tinned food and bags of pasta and it felt more like a UN posting in a war zone than sleepy Berkshire.”
Read More:
http://munchies.vice.com/articles/people-are-relying-on-foodbanks-in-the-uk-more-than-ever – Maidenhead is a well to do town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. Not the sort of place that springs to mind when we think of people who need food banks.

The continuation of the unfair bedroom tax – Tories propose to raise this unfair tax.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tories-could-raise-bedroom-tax-5642236

More cuts to welfare for sick and disabled people and the unemployed – The Tories want to cut benefits by 12 billion:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32084722

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Relentless cuts, low pay and welfare sanctions and other policies have sent millions of the already poor into even deeper poverty, and have pushed many into poverty who weren’t before. And for some there have been tragic results. Who thought that in 21st century UK we’d have people driven to suicide, people starving to death, and unnecessary deaths triggered by stress and hardship.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/november5/16753988102/

Homelessness

Since 2010 when the coalition came into power homelessness has risen by as much as 55 percent and in London people sleeping rough has risen even more dramatically by a huge 80 percent since 2010!

HOMELESS levels in England have increased every year since the Tory-led coalition took power, the government’s own figures revealed
http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-a196-Tories-oversee-ever-rising-scourge-of-homelessness#.VUxgE_lVhBc

Continued Austerity

“…the Conservative Party promises to continue cutting government spending by a further 2% over the next two years if it is returned to power. This would not be as fast as the rate of cutting from 2010-2012, but it would be faster than the rate from 2012-2014. This will only serve to hinder British growth further.

According to Oxfam, the government’s austerity policies have devastated Britain’s middle and working classes in a variety of ways:

  • As a result of austerity, an addition 800,000 British children will live in poverty over the next decade.
  • Over the same period, 1.5 million working age adults will fall into poverty.
  • By 2018, 900,000 public sector workers will have lost their jobs.
  • The bottom 10% of British earners will have seen their incomes fall 38% over this government’s five year term.

Indeed, when we adjust for inflation, British workers have seen continual reductions in their wages over the course of this parliament”:
Read More
http://benjaminstudebaker.com/2015/05/02/britain-for-the-love-of-god-please-stop-david-cameron/

https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cs-true-cost-austerity-inequality-uk-120913-en.pdf

The Killing of our wild animals

Don’t forget that your vote condemns wild animals to suffering and death. If you voted Tory you have voted for the possible reinstatement of the barbaric so-called sport of fox hunting and the continuation of the badger cull/ massacre.
The badger cull will be extended across the country

Cameron wants to repeal fox hunting ban:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-says-he-wants-to-repeal-the-fox-hunting-ban-10091571.html

Badger culls would continue under new Tory government:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/feb/24/badger-culls-will-continue-under-new-tory-government-liz-truss-says

With regard Cameron’s obsession with repealing the fox hunting bill, ask yourself:
What does this say about the mentality of this man who has the power to affect people’s lives?  With the exception of the very rich, for most of us his policies have been a serious detriment. Most particularly for benefit claimants: sick, disabled and the unemployed. Also for the “hard working people” who are rewarded with low wages and zero hours contracts.

I despair this morning I feel sick at heart at the very thought of five more years of austerity for those of us who are sick, disabled, unemployed, and poor, those whose lives are already a living hell. If you voted Tory, do you not care that the rise in wages are the lowest since Victorian times. Do you not care that your fellow citizens have to use food banks – most are people in work who earn so little they do not have enough to eat!!!!! Do you not care that as a result of the Tories welfare reforms a diabetic died because he had no money to keep his insulin refrigerated , he was sadly was just one of thousands who died as a result of these wicked reforms.

Tory voters: Do you not care that the NHS is falling apart.

Are the British people so selfish that they no longer care for the underdog. Are they so stupid that they are willing to pay more and more for their energy. Are they so ignorant that they really believe life will now improve for us all in this the land of multimillionaires and billionaires who have accured more wealth while the rest of us have suffered under austerity.

Do you Conservative supporters think it is right that the UK now has more billionaires in residence than anywhere else on Earth while people rely on food banks, low income and in some cases no income as a result of benefit sanctions?

It has been announced that BT have made Two and half billion pounds profit , does it not bother you that they are allowed to make this money at your expense while people in our country starve to death? Live in poverty with no hope, no future?

While the Tories strive to end our welfare system they hand out tax breaks to corporations.

Does it not bother you Tory voters that while the government cut vital benefits to sick and disabled people and the unemployed they handed out what amounts to benefits to corporations to the tune of £85 billion.  During the last four years the drastic and unfair welfare reforms instigated by Labour have been progressively slashed still further by the coalition government resulting in thousands of deaths, including suicides, huge increases in homelessness misery and despair with more and more poverty-stricken people needing to resort to food banks. As unbelievable as it is people here in the UK have starved to death as a result of the government’s vicious welfare reforms.

Did you know that our privately run train service is kept afloat as a result of billions of pounds of grants provided by you the tax payer and that Amazon have paid less in corporation tax to the UK than it has received in government grants.

While the poor get poorer the rich get richer aided by government hand outs. Since the last election the wealth of the richest has increased by 11% while most of us have suffered the consequences of austerity measures, the most devastating of which have been the drastic cuts to benefits to sick and disabled people.

… research by the Equality Trust, which campaigns to reduce inequality in the UK, found that the richest 100 families in Britain in 2008 had seen their combined wealth increase by at least £15bn, a period during which average income increased by £1,233. Britain’s current richest 100 had the same wealth as 30% of UK households,

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jan/19/global-wealth-oxfam-inequality-davos-economic-summit-switzerland

Do you conservative voters not want a better world where all people have enough to live on, not only the essentials of life but enough to have a quality of life. Doesn’t the rise in capitalist greed and exploitation of our fellow human beings, other animals and the environment disgust you? Don’t you Conservatives feel ashamed that while the one percent own and of course control the majority of the vast resources of our world people die from want of food and clean water. While BT share holders enjoy their two billion plus people struggle to survive in Nepal – this huge amount of money would seriously help the thousands who are left in poverty after the earthquake in one of the poorest countries in the world.

Five more years of a Tory government will see the end of us all, the end of just and fair society.

Shame on anyone who voted Tory while benefits are being stripped from disabled people, people who are too sick to work who can in many cases barely cope with day-to-day living yet are considered fit to work and for non compliance are left destitute with no income, not even the means to obtain food, shelter or warmth, all of which are basic human rights that we all should demand. While food banks open at an alarming hitherto unparalleled rate and people die in their own homes from cold here in the sixth richest country in the world, the rich get richer.

Well I could go on and on the list of misery as a result of the Tory government is long and protracted.

Frankly if I had the wherewithall I would leave this damn country.

…the real victims of the Tory triumph will be the poor, disabled and workers on low wages and zero hours contracts. The welfare state itself is under threat.

The victims will be everybody who relies on a National Health Service threatened by privatisation and cuts.

We fear for everybody who isn’t rich or wealthy.

The Mirror
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/disastrous-labour-election-leaves-poor-5657479

I fear for the future of the NHS and the welfare state, I fear for us all including wild animals and the environment – whats to stop this government steaming a head with fracking our countryside. Nothing absolutely nothing.

Thank you all you self-centred, ignorant, easily led Tory voters,  you have taken us further from social justice, a fair and equal world and a safe environment not only for us but for future generations.

 

Ninty Thousand Children in Britain Will be Homeless This Christmas

As incredulous as this may seem in the sixth richest country on earth that is at present boasting about the increase in economic growth,  this Christmas 90,000 children in Britain will be homeless.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or not the point is the shocking numbers of homeless children and of course their families who are homeless not only at Christmas but all year round.

Christmas or any time the point is that no one should be homeless, shelter is a basic human need and in my opinion a basic human right. Providing housing for people should not be a matter for charity, it is up to governments to provide people with decent homes according to their need.

If you can read no further please at least sign the following petition – more petitions further down:

Tens of thousands of people every year become homeless and are forced to sleep on the streets.
I was once one of them and endured 3 years of sleeping rough to escape long term abuse but there are so many other reasons why people find themselves isolated, vulnerable and scared with no-one to turn to.
This is a national scandal in the 21st century so I’m seeking a national study and allocation of funds to identify and help those currently in need but also to prevent homelessness being seen and chosen as the only alternative.
Please sign the petition so men, women and children no longer have to go through this ordeal.

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43657

Homeless at Christmas – one family’s experience of living in a B&B | Shelter

While 90,000 children face homelessness this Christmas the well off in Hampstead are organising a “humanitarian” protest against  the Labour Party’s proposal to levy a mansion tax!  Unbelievable!

Never mind the 600,000 extra children living in absolute poverty since the Coalition came to power, has anyone considered how the hard-pressed residents of NW3 will cope if a Mansion Tax is imposed by Ed Balls?

http://politicalscrapbook.net/2014/10/hampstead-residents-launch-humanitarian-appeal-over-mansion-tax/

Millionaires Threaten Protest March If They Have To Pay A Little Bit Of Tax
http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/millionaires-threaten-protest-march-if-they-have-to-pay-a-little-bit-of-tax/

It’s time the more privileged in our society paid more to support those who are less well off rather than quibble over paying their due share.

Not only is our government not providing housing they are actively making people homeless as a result of austerity measures, measures it seems that only apply to the general population as they themselves with their 10 percent rise, and the rich, with an increase in wealth for the UK’s richest 1000 of £35 billion last year  , are exempt.

Shocking facts:

10.6 million people in the UK Live in relative poverty.

Since 2008 the super rich have seen their wealth double.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/uk-the-wealth-of-the-super-rich-has-doubled-since-the-2008-economic-crisis/5383121

Child poverty levels in UK mapped out by new research

One in two children in most deprived areas live below poverty line, while 2.3 million are classified as in relative poverty:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/15/child-poverty-levels-uk-mapped-out-research

“Homelessness isn’t an accident. It’s the result of a brutal economic system and conscious state policy.”

The above is from an article about homeless in the USA yet this also applies here in the UK:
https://opsafewinter.org/?p=1121

#OpSafeWinter: UK Anonymous battle austerity with homeless campaign:
http://rt.com/uk/194968-anonymous-homelessness-project-uk/

https://opsafewinter.org/?cat=11

Please sign the following petition

The increase in homelessness and poverty evidenced by the rise in food banks as a result of vicious welfare reforms, low wages and zero hours are considered by many myself included as crimes against humanity, violations of human rights. If you agree please sigh the following petition:

Charge David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith for crimes against Humanity
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/International_Court_of_Human_Rights_Royal_Courts_of_Justice_Charge_David_Cameron_and_Iain_Duncan_Smith_for_crimes_agains/?pv=41

Shelter a charity for homeless people are running a campaign which you can support.
http://england.shelter.org.uk/

Homelessness is a problem worldwide of course and western countries such as the USA are no exception

In the USA 2.5 million American children were homeless at some point in 2013

https://opsafewinter.org/?p=1109

 

Lack of Toilet Facilities in The UK

In the past decade toilet facilities in the UK have fallen by 40 percent. These important facilities have been closed by cost cutting councils – odd isn’t it how most if not all councils’ increase our council tax yet reduce the services it pays for? Even if there are toilets most are closed by the late afternoon. You will not find a toilet open even in such places as Keswick, a popular tourist town in the Lake District, after 5pm.

440px-Toilet_with_flush_water_tank

While this is perhaps not the most serious of issues in this troubled world of ours it can be and is for may a serious detriment to living a normal life. For many with medical conditions the availability of a public toilet could mean the difference between being out and about and taking a full part in life or being stuck at home or rarely venturing far from home.

Here in the UK one in five people over 40 – about 14 million people – suffer with an over-active bladder and many people suffer with bowel conditions such as Crohns disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (often attributed to stress and anxiety and as such really not helped by worrying about finding a toilet) or the after-effects of bowel surgery. In addition many older people and children need immediate and frequent access to a toilet along with people who may suffer from a temporary health issue such as cystitis for example. Also pregnant women need access to a toilet more often as do mothers with babies who may need to change nappies. Along with the fact that the average person needs to use the toilet to urinate at least every couple of hours. People with some of the above conditions may become anxious and not go out at all or only go where they know there is a toilet and for such people the lack of facilities that do exist there is a 5am curfew – or so it seems

Workers who spend their day outside are facing increasing problems finding a toilet, people who work in our streets such as a postman or women, a policeman or women, a dustbin man are few examples of people who need access to a toilet. Recently workers tarmacking the footpaths were I live were using a bucket to urinate! Few people will allow a stranger into their homes to use the toilet and pubs, cafe’s and restaurants do not allow access to toilets for anyone other than customers.

So there is yet another aspect of life here in the UK that has deteriorated in recent years, another step backwards.

Moreover not being able to find and use a toilet may become in itself a health issue:

The bladder is directly controlled by the central nervous system — that’s why feelings of stress and anxiety can trigger the urge, but it’s also why when you’re holding on to a full bladder you can start to panic. As part of this physiological response, the heart rate starts to rise. That might be OK if you’re fit, but if you’re frail, elderly, have high blood pressure or a cardiac condition, it can put you through a period of high blood pressure which could worsen your condition or even, rarely, trigger a heart attack.

Many people stop drinking or even eating if they have to go out. I often speak to patients who stop drinking water if they know they’ve got to make that visit out. This puts them at risk of dehydration and will only exacerbate their problem, because the urine becomes so concentrated and strong that the bladder wants to get rid of it, and they also become prone to urinary infections.

It’s more than an inconvenience! The lack of public loos is bad for our health
By Karen Logan Incontinence Specialist

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2097420/Its-inconvenience-The-lack-public-loos-bad-health.html

On a personal level I have anxiety about toilets or rather the lack thereof as a result of IBS and over active blader which incidentally seems more overactive as soon as I step out the door because of the anxiety about where or if I am able to access a toilet. And pubs, hotels, restaurants and so on are not in the least keen to let you use their facilities unless you’re a customer. Yes some may allow you to do so but please I like my dignity one should not have to ask for a toilet. There is a card you can request from the Bladder and Bowel foundation http://www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org/resources/toilet-card.asp  to hand to staff in a pub for example and while this is helpful it is still embarrassing. Staff in shops may refuse despite such a card even if you have a disability. Often the excuse is that their insurance would not cover any accidents should such arise, which is unlikely. Yes of course one should not be embarrassed about a normal bodily function, but sadly many people are including myself maybe as a result of all the childish toilet humour that one has to put up with in the UK or humiliations from childhood. Which brings me to thinking of the psychological damage to children who have to go in the street because there are no toilets.

It is not only the council of course in most outdoor shopping centres there’s no toilet block and you have to hope a shop such as Sainsbury’s has the decency to include a toilet. Not all shops do, even major shops such Lidl. Also the tax office and the job centre in some major towns and cities do not allow access to a public toilet! Incredible but true. Try asking for a toilet at the Halifax Building Society and see what a fuss they make. Well at one branch anyway. I was told there was a public toilet in the nearby shopping centre, which on this particular day was closed due to refurbishing. Eventually I was allowed access to the toilet – well it was either that or cancel my appointment – but the assistant went with me and stood outside! Unbelievable , where they thinking it was some sort of attempt to rob the bank. Time all public facilities provided a public toilet. Nowadays I will walk out if the use of a toilet is refused.

This is an outrage in a so-called developed country. The minuscule savings for councils is pathetic in comparison to the harm and detriment to people’ s lives.

An acquaintance of mine has to urinate in the bushes on his way home from work as there are no toilet facilities. Not pleasant at any time particularly after dark on a cold winter’s evening. Even more shocking is the outrage of having to ask for a key at a doctor’s surgery. In one town a doctor’s surgery requires patients to go to the desk and request the key because the toilet is locked to prevent the local people from using the toilet. This is in a town that has no public toilet. This must be a nightmare for mothers with young children or elderly people who might need quick access and have to wait in a queue or anyone who is ill – it is a doctor’s after all.

In many towns there are no pubic toilets at all. To my knowledge in the Northeast the following towns do not have a public toilet Chester-lee-street, Consent, Brandon, Sedgefield and numerous villages the length and breath of the country. In addition many towns that have toilet faculties close them by 5pm or earlier. The railway station at Durham closes it’s toilets after dark before the trains stop running. If you get off the train at Durham at 11pm for example you will not find the toilet open.

A bladder and or bowel problem is a serious blight on your life without the nightmare of not being able to access a toilet and face curtailing your freedom or becoming entirely housebound. Time for councils in particular to provide toilets, night and day and to keep them open all night. This is a twenty-four hour society, people need toilet facilities , a police man/women a fireman anyone who has to work through the night or travel through the night needs a toilet . We pay our council tax after all, approaching £1000 for my family alone annually and many people pay much more.Time to give value for money. I am tired of the well-worn excuse including the austerity nonsense, before this the usual excuse was drug talking. The toilets in central Brighten near the clock tower were closed decades ago because supposedly people were using them to sell and take drugs. And please don’t use the vandalism excuse. The answer to that is more security, more policing.

Also time for shops to provide toilet facilities. Few shops provid a toilet the exception is such as Saintsbury’s Tessco, M&S, B&Q ASDA Ikia, but only the larger stores.   The list of lack of public facilities will amaze you. Even such as English Heritage are happy to charge you £ 6 for Whitby Abbey yet provide no toilet facilities. Yes they quickly point out there is a toilet in the car park run by the council, a rarely in itself but that is no use if you have difficulty walking or you are a child and need to go in a hurry as it is a long walk from the abbey or the museum. The National Trust Houstead Roman Fort have toilets at the bottom of the hill but nothing in the newly renovated museum at the top – a long walk back if you get caught short. Durham park and ride, a new innovation not long constructed, but no toilets. As for disabled toilets what a nightmare! I know of someone who has often lost control of her bladder where she sits in her wheel chair because there are so few disabled toilets in Sussex or Surry and those that are available are closed in the evening.

Also consider the homeless. I recall one time in Glastonbury an altercation between the police and a homeless young women. I don’t know what it was about though I heard the woman complain bitterly that throughout the night she has nowhere to go to the toilet as the toilets in the town are all closed at 5pm. In one market town stall holders have had to make arrangements with a nearby pub to use their facilities because the council knocked down the toilet block to build new council offices. Churches except tourist cathedrals – and sometimes not even than –  rarely provide a toilet. In Cartmel in the Lake District there is no toilet in the church, a tourist attraction and at one time the toilets in the village were closed down and only reopened by the villagers and despite there good intentions are filthy. Petrol stations once provided toilet facilities though not anymore unless you are using a motorway and sometimes not even then. For most of the A 1 north there are no public facilities at all for mile after mile without leaving the road and often not even then. You may even find the frustrating and yes distressful situation of following an old sign saying pubic toilets to find they have been closed down not only wasting your time and  petrol but adding to the misery as you then have to look elsewhere.

Shame on the lot of you, the council, shops, tax offices and other public places, you have no decency to provide a basic amenity yet are quite happy to charge high for your commodities or demand our attendance such as at the job centre or tax office. Seeing people urinate in the street is one of the most shocking of things in the sixth richest country in the world. It really shouldn’t be necessary, because even today we are still one of the most successful economies in the world.

Frankly what with one thing and another the UK is a miserable place to live these days for just about everyone in one way or another.

Action to Take

Right now there are no petitions though there have been in the past with it seems little sucesses. it might be an idea to write to your MP:
http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/

Or your local council or even the council of a town city or village that you have visited and been inconvenienced by lack of toilet facilities:
https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council

We all pay council tax these days, even those who can barely afford to eat or heat their homes and pay their rent, there are few exemptions thanks to the Tory’s welfare reforms. Council tax is high, we at least want what we pay for, a basic and fundamental need – a public toilet. A clean and hygienic toilet not the filthy sinking germ ridden toilets that one is often faced with.

Or write to shops that do not have customer toilets such as Lidel.

I can’t provide a comprehensive list. It is easy enough to select a shop and find the contact details by using your favourite search engine.

Related Links

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-23566810

http://www.europealacarte.co.uk/blog/2007/05/28/lack-of-uk-public-toilet-provision/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10273562

http://www.enfieldover50sforum.org.uk/Research%20into%20Public%20Toilets.htm

The perfect Storm: Thank You Oxfam For Speaking Out

Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm – and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty. pic.twitter.com/2MzzyMXcsU   Bpc-oZ6IMAAQ-MaWell done Oxfam! Finally a charity has spoken out in no uncertain terms concerning the cause of the dramatic increase in devastating poverty here in the UK. I once worked as a volunteer for Oxfam in one of their shops some twenty years ago – back than the very idea that Oxfam would need to speak out against poverty here in the UK was unthinkable. How times have changed. The fact that a charity such as Oxfam, dedicated to helping poor people globally, needs to turn its attention to the UK is shameful.

Conservative backbencher Conor Burns has said people who support Oxfam will be left “shocked and saddened.”

Why? Oxfam have told the truth. Austerity has plunged people into poverty, thirteen million to be exact, including 1.3 million children, destroying lives of all but the very rich.

How many know that almost a third of all children live in poverty and that 1.6 million of these children live in severe poverty. 

Oxfam support the poor and oppressed in this greedy manipulative world where the rich exploit others to gain wealth beyond the imaginations of most people, even here in the rich west, in the 6th richest country in the world. Though the UK is one of the world’s richest countries, many of it citizens most certainly are not.

More from Oxfam:
“Ben Phillips, Oxfam’s director of campaigns and policy, explains why we campaign and why we’re talking about poverty in the UK.”
http://audioboo.fm/boos/2240523-we-don-t-think-fighting-poverty-should-be-a-party-political-issue

It is time more charities took Oxfam’s lead and spoke out instead of supporting or ignoring the violation of human rights here in the UK. In fact it is time more of us spoke out, how can we sit by while thirteen million people live in poverty while Britain’s richest people are wealthier than ever before with a combined fortune of almost £520bn. During the past year the total wealth of the richest 1,000 individuals, couples or families jumped by 15% while millions of people become devastatingly much much poorer.

Just six years after Lehman Bros collapsed, sparking the worst recession since the Great Depression, the world’s rich have never been richer — and more of them are based in Britain than ever before: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/Magazine/article1409914.ece

Why do we allow this, why do we not question the morality of a small percentage of the population having vast wealth while the majority of us live impoverished lives, slaving away our precious existence for low wages simply to make others rich, watching our children face the same prospects or even bleaker prospects. There can be few people who do not fear for their children’s future. Things have to change and more of us need to speak out.

The truth is the truth and Oxfam have stated the truth and I appalled them.

I would like to say the following to Oxfam:
Thank you so much for speaking out for poor people in the UK . Your amazing poster says it all. Thank you for supporting those who are struggling under the weight of austerity measures, it is just so refreshing to know that finally there is someone brave enough to challenge this violation of human rights, this the gravest of social injustices here in the UK.

Related Link

http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/17632/trussell_trust_chair_told_the_government_might_try_to_shut_you_down#.U5llhF5H1FJ