Schizophrenia, aged 55, #PIP payments stopped, forced to the foodbank – why are guys like Andrew called society’s leeches but rich Carillion bosses are not?

Back to Oldham foodbank last week, where I talked at length with Andrew Smith, 55 [there’s a transcript from the interview at the end of this post].

Keep Andrew in mind when you read about the extraordinary salaries and bonuses trousered by people who are responsible for the Carillion disaster. Ask yourself how we arrived time and place where people such as Andrew must grovel for food at a foodbank while Carillion chancers are paid unbelievable sums of money for risking and destroying vital public services and jobs.

How dare anyone claim that people such as Andrew are the leeches?

Makes me sick.

Andrew was at the foodbank, because the DWP had stopped his Personal Independence Payment. This meant that Andrew was down several hundred quid a month*. He said the local CAB was appealing the DWP’s decision on his behalf.

Said Andrew:

“I said the wrong thing [at Andrew’s face-to-face PIP assessment] and they [the DWP] stopped it [Andrew’s PIP]… I’m just hoping they give it me back, because if I don’t [get that money], I’m going to be in an absolute mess.”

He was right about that. Andrew’s chances of getting the money elsewhere at his age and with his health problems were zero.

Andrew had a schizophrenia diagnosis. He also had varicose veins which ran the length of both legs (I won’t forget seeing those). He said that it hurt to walk – a statement that was extremely easy to understand when you saw the state of his legs. The DWP didn’t give a damn about the state of Andrew’s legs, though – or any other aspect of Andrew’s life. The department stopped Andrew’s PIP about three months ago. Some genius DWP decision-maker had decided that a man of Andrew’s age and with Andrew’s health problems could manage without money or support – or, I suppose, that he could find that money and support elsewhere.

I despair at these decisions – or at the people who make them, anyway. The benefits bureaucracy is disgusting. It stops people’s benefit money and consigns them to poverty at the stroke of a pen. People are not even given lead time or a grace period to deal with such decisions. They just get a letter saying the money’s stopped, or not coming, or whatever. Benefit decision-makers who cut guys like Andrew loose know full well that the Andrews of this world have neither the health nor the opportunities to make up lost benefit or support money. They can see people’s paperwork and the bank statements. They know the dire financial circumstances that people will be left in when money is cut. The bureaucracy makes the decision all the same.

The government and the DWP know that Andrew will not step out of a PIP assessment and into a job. Job opportunities are especially scarce when people are older. I’ll punch the next worthy who says otherwise. I’ve lost count of the number of men who I’ve talked to at foodbanks and jobcentres who are in their 50s and 60s, who did manual work when they were younger and who are now on the scrapheap. Fitters and joiners, painters and decorators, general kitchen assistants: their health goes and they’re dumped.

Andrew said that in his working days, he had jobs on building sites:

“I did wet stone walling with sand and cement,” and, “I worked on canals and paths at Greenfield… building sites.” Needless to say, Andrew can’t do that work now. He’s too old for it and his health has gone, as health does in these circles.

“They [the CAB] have put an appeal [against the DWP’s PIP decision] into tribunal and the tribunal should get it me back… I’m very poorly. I’ve got schizophrenia and I’ve got very serious varicose veins. Horrible, love… I said the wrong thing [at my PIP face-to-face assessment] and they stopped it.”

Yeah. That’s what they do. The bureaucracy casts people adrift and lets them sink. There’s no justification for that, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum and no matter what you think people should or should not have done to “take responsibility” in their lives. I don’t pay my taxes to keep people like Damian Green on the payroll, or to line the pockets of the swindlers who’ve run Carillion into the dirt. I pay tax to keep guys such as Andrew from having to visit foodbanks.

I’m sick of this one rule for some and one rule for others stuff. It has to end. A Damian Green downloads porn at work, inflicts untold agonies on benefit recipients as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and gets to keep his MP job and salary. People of less privilege are punished for their choices and just for getting older.

What’s the justification for such alternate realities?

——————-

Interview transcript: [Andrew, 55, Oldham Foodbank, 5 January 2018]

[A fire alarm went off at Oldham foodbank that day. While we were outside, I asked Andrew for his views on Brexit. I usually ask people at foodbanks and jobcentres for their views on Brexit, because I want to know if people who are struggling in austerity are as obsessed with ideas of sovereignty and Europe as mainstream press and politics are].

On Brexit:

I think… don’t know. It’s a difficult question. I’d have to have a really good think about the situation… but England is… basically…this is the British Isles. We’re just one now. It’s not just England. It’s the British Isles. It’s a difficult call, that. I don’t know what to say. I’d have to think about it.

On visiting the foodbank:

I’ve only been here three times before. The CAB said I’ve been here four times, but I haven’t.

I’m struggling. I get ESA. I was on PIP, but they stopped it. They have put it into tribunal [the CAB] and the tribunal should get it me back. I’m very poorly. I’ve got schizophrenia and I’ve got very serious varicose veins [Andrew rolled up his trousers to show me the veins]. Horrible, love. I said the wrong thing and they stopped it [Andrew’s Personal Independence Payment]. I had the problem before with it when I lived in Wales. I had it in me back then, so I’m just hoping they give it me back, because if I don’t, I’m going to be in an absolute mess.

At the moment, I’m losing £600 a month*, so I’m very depressed. I’ve got schizophrenia anyway and I’ve felt suicidal recently. But I have to see someone at [charity name unclear]. They put me onto the right people, yeah, the mental health team, so I’m having an appointment to see them. I’ll hear something off them and they’ll make me an appointment and I’ll have to go to it, cause otherwise I won’t get my money back.

About three month ago, the PIP stopped… two month, I think. The CAB is helping me with the appeal. I go to the men’s groups on Tuesday and I go to the thing on a Wednesday – the cooking thing – and I see the CAB on a Wednesday. Also, I go to the lunch on a Friday, the one at [unclear] street, you know, [near] Tesco. They open… now, I have a load of nice friends who go there. I’ve had to keep myself occupied, because I have felt, like, terrible. I’ve felt suicidal, because of the fight of this government and what they’re doing the benefits, and all that. It’s all wrong. It’s terrible. I should get it back…yes. I got DLA before that. Then, they shifted me to PIP.

Well, at the time I was very ill and they thought I were fit for work, but I weren’t. I don’t have to go to the jobcentre, no, I don’t have to hand in sick notes… I’m here for the rest of my life really, but I need to get my PIP back.

On family:

Mum and Dad live in Thornton and he is exactly… they own their own home [unclear] and the guy who lives next door to me mum and dad, he’s an author. He wrote a book about Thornton.. Cleveland – me dad, I love me dad to bits. He’s had metal rods in, because he had arthritis and had a triple heart bypass… he’s 78 years old.

Next year in February, me mum and dad have been married 59 years. Me mum’s had a coleostomy… she runs after me dad and me eldest son from me ex-wife. He’s been in the army. Now he’s building houses all over. She cleans and that. She manages to go line dancing twice a week. She goes to the local church to make money for the cake stall. She is absolutely amazing. Me dad – I was talking about God to me dad. He said, “never mind God, Andrew. Nelieve in yourself.” Do you know what I said to him? I said, “Dad – you know the nearest thing to God?” and he said, “what?” and I said, “it’s you,” and I meant that, because he is.

We [Andrew’s family] flew over to Berlin in 1963 and he [Andrew’s father] joined the army and they were going to buy a house on [name unclear] road, me mum and dad in Oldham. Him and two of his mates had been for a medical for the army. Me dad came back and said, “me mate’s failed [but] I passed. I’m joining the army. You’ll have to fly over to Berlin to married quarters, I’m going to get married quarters… so that’s all December… honest to God, we flew all the way there. coming back, wow. That was the last time I’ve been on an airplane in my life – coming back from Berlin when I was two. Oh my god. With these legs, I don’t think I’ll be on an airplane again, do you?

On health:

What happened [to my legs]? I had varicose veins. I am really conscious of them and they were really bad back even then, so they stripped them out in Royal Oldham. They stripped them out of both legs and then, because I didn’t do the exercises, because it was snowing, because I didn’t do the exercises, then they came back like 40 times worse. I’m not kidding. Now, if you saw me legs, the way they are, you would wonder how the heck is he walking. Honestly.

God’s keeping me going. It’s painful and when I get cramp it goes right up from me big toe to my groin. It’s nasty. Nasty pain. Look at me feet. Look at them.

I feel that with this and with losing me benefits – I feel like they want me to drown. Honest to God, the pain is immense and my back, it is hurting again…

I had been getting DLA [disability living allowance]. I used to work when I was younger… I did wet stone walling with sand and cement… I built a wall at the side of [the] dell… congregational church with a master builder called Jimmy and I worked at a suitcase manufacturer’s and it were called [unclear]. I worked on canals and paths at Greenfield building sites and everything else… and I do that and…[foodbank volunteer brings bags to Andrew]. Thank you. Thank you, love. I got to carry that. I better shift these. This will hurt me getting this home. It’s right over other side. It’s going to break me back this. When I get in, I will be absolutely shattered. I’ve got to do it though, haven’t I. I’ve got to do it myself.

Update 2.20pm:

  • Originally wrote that I thought this might have been £600 over three months. Re-listened to recording & it says £600 a month, but there was also a discussion outside the foodbank when the fire alarm went off, so may have misinterpreted. Will aim to clarify when I return to the foodbank. Whatever the sum, the point I’m making stands: things are too hard for some people and too easy for company bosses who are rewarded with obscene amounts of money when they run a company and services into the ground.
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162 thoughts on “Schizophrenia, aged 55, #PIP payments stopped, forced to the foodbank – why are guys like Andrew called society’s leeches but rich Carillion bosses are not?

  1. If Personal Independence Payment stops, you lose not only the Personal Independence Payment but also the Severe Disability Premium of £60 per week, which is paid as part of Employment and Support Allowance (or in some cases Housing Benefit) but stops when Personal Independence Payment stops.

    If Andrew has trouble walking due to his varicose veins, he probably received the lower rate of Personal Independence Payment for “mobility” of £22 per week.

    With £60 per week of Severe Disability Premium and £22 per week of “Mobility”, he would only need to have received the lower rate for “Daily Living” of £56 per week for his schizophrenia in order to be losing £600 per month now that his Personal Independence Payment has been stopped.

    In conclusion, I think Andrew would have been correct to tell you that he has lost £600 per month since his Personal Independence Payment has been stopped.

    • You dont get severe disability premium unless you’re getting either middle rate dla or possibly upper. You certainly wouldn’t get it with low rate £22 a week as im on low rate.

      • I got the severe disability premium of 62.25 added to my ESA every week and 310.60 every 4 weeks on PIP with both standard living and mobility. So in total 559.60 every 4 weeks. Like Andrew all mine stopped in November after a face to face assessment and a contradictory report full of BS. I mean I was observed to walk 28 meters from the waiting room with normal gait to the assessment room but I was out of breath? I were awarded 4 points for mobility because the assessor decided that I were able to walk up to 200 meters in her report thus contradicting her observations of me being out of breath by 28 meters.

  2. I’m 52 with Schizoaffective Disorder. When I converted from DLA to PIP I lost the mobility element and, I think, just about hung on to the daily living part (I had the higher rate of DLA). That meant I lost £50 a week. The same day as my PIP assessment my psychiatrist told me I’m one of the most seriously ill patients being treated by the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT). She wrote to the DWP when I put in a mandatory consideration and told them. The DWP said it didn’t matter, PIP is awarded on your ability to perform specific tasks. Why then does the DWP award/rejection letter say this?

    “I made my decision using information about your health condition or disability including details of any treatment, medication, test results and symptoms”.

    It’s almost as if the whole process has just been cobbled together.

    • DWP says anything to refuse to give you back your benefit. Fill in a tribunal form and then they look at it again. In my case, they gave me back my benefit, with back-pay, just over a month after I filled in the tribunal form. I NEVER NEEDED TO GO TO A HEARING.

      What you said about the DWP saying on the letter that they take medical things into account is what you write on your tribunal form.

      • The welfare worker at the CMHT helped me put in the mandatory reconsideration and was pretty bullish about appealing but I was so ill at the time that I just couldn’t face it. It’s how the DWP win.

        • It’s not too late to try to appeal. You can put in a late appeal up to 12 months after you received your Mandatory Reconsideration decision. Just write on the form that your appeal is late because you were not feeling well enough to deal with it before. There is a link to the tribunal form on the website: http://www.gov.uk You can print it out from home/from the library. It’s only 6 pages long.

          I understand how difficult it is, especially for people who are not well. I agree that’s how the DWP win. I think it’s immoral to cut public spending by taking advantage of unwell people who are not able to fight.

          • It’s just under a year now, but if I appeal I’ll find myself thinking about it all the time and that could make me ill again. As I get SDA on top of PIP I’m not that bad off. I’m better off than many including the poor fellow Kate writes about here. My concern is what happens when Universal Credit is rolled out for us oldtimers from July 2019.

          • Fair enough. Look after yourself.

            Let’s hope the Tories are GONE by 2019!

    • Having just looked up Schizoaffective disorder i can say that I have experienced all of the symptoms described, except hearing voices, however i am diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which I was told in itself does not warrant a sick note, even though it means I am classed as beingemotionally unstable, highly susceptible to Stress & prone to suffering from Anxiety & Depression among other things, i am classed as being fit for work! I also have high blood sugar (pre-diabetes) & a Hiatus Hernia, but no chance of a sick note.Can’t wait to Retire.

      • They say about every condition that the diagnosis in itself is not a reason to get sick benefit. It’s all about how the condition affects you. So you can qualify for sick benefit if you have been hearing voices/feeling suicidal/self-harming.

        Who told you that you don’t qualify for a sick note? If it was your GP, then it’s unlikely that you could get sick benefit. However, if it was the DWP that told you, I would have a chat with your GP and apply anyway.

        • It was my GP, previous one and present one. My previous one said that many people with Borderline Personality Disorder have other issues too such as drink/drug problems, self harming, suicide attempts, homelessness, but because that doesn’t apply to me I can’t have a sick note, I just have to live with it. I have had periods of time on medication, and have undergone psychotherapy, but still had to sign on throughout even though I was totally spaced out on meds and actually lost my memory for several weeks following the therapy (that was 3 yrs ago).

          • I think the signing on system should be more forgiving anyway. It should pay a little more as well.

  3. At the risk of appearing stupid, the recent news is the first I’ve even heard of Carrillion, and I hope it’s the last. As for Andrew, poor man, no one in his position should be treated like that. It’s inhuman, it’s insane, it’s outrageous. I’m a similar age & I have a few health probs too, but not as bad as Andrew, but they won’t even give me a sick note so I haveno choice but to claim JSA & go thru the motions of seeking work. I have to attend another bloody group session at the Jobcentre next week, this one is aimed at claimants with health issues apparently, so I don’t like the sound of that, not looking forward to it. But never mind, it’ll be alright because Theresa May said she’s “building a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few”, and she wouldnt lie would she? Yeah right!

    • I swear to God, Trev. Something has got to give. The inequality is unspeakable. It’s actually starting to do my head in. This pissing away money on salaries, bonuses and god knows what else at Carillion or wherever while people queue at foodbanks is not sustainable.

      • Yep, it does my head in too, sometimes think I can’t take anymore of it. I often find myself wishing that an asteroid would land on Westminster, or that every Jobcentre in the land would mysteriously self-combust. But in reality theres no way out. I just have to keep my head down & hope I can make it to Retirement. 9 bloody long years to go….

  4. So he must be in the support group as he doesnt go to jobcentre. So he used to get £120 or more plus £150 a week. £270 or more a week for a single person. +rent paid. Families get less than that with kids.I think he should not have pip stopped but I question the amount tbh.
    Here I am on low rate dla trying to fund cheap therapy twice a month with dla and probably will lose that. Im not greedy but they’ll take it away.

    • I get 73 quid a week (+ rent paid) and out of that I have to pay £16 per month back in Council Tax. At the moment I have little food, £4 left in the bank to last ’til a week on Friday. The situation is dire.

    • I agree it seems a lot of money.

      Kate thinks he meant he got £50 per week of PIP, not £150.

      Either way, before assuming it all goes on luxuries, we have to remember that some people are paying considerable housing costs because of Housing Benefit cuts. I receive £125 per week of ESA, of which £90 per week goes on the half of my rent that Housing Benefit won’t pay. (I live in a tiny flat in London.)

      Some people with schizophrenia are very bad at looking after their money when they have it. So perhaps he could have saved up a bit more. Nevertheless, he’s travelled all the way to the food bank to collect instant mashed potato, super noodles, cup-a-soup… I think he must be in a bad way if he’s willing to eat that.

      I got offered a food bank voucher once and I turned it down. Someone else I know also turned down a food bank voucher, even though she worries about going bankrupt.

      I used to resent other people who seemed to get a lot more money than me. Now I’ve stopped feeling that way because I think that’s how the Tories want us to think. It makes us forget about the tax-avoiders and billionaires and the £500 million the Tories gave to driverless cars.

    • Wow. They try to split us up by pulling this crap, you know. Don’t buy into the “they’re getting more than me” bullcrap.

    • ESA Support group for over 25 is £125.55 pw, don’t buy into the whole people on benefits get more than people who work” rhetoric it does no one any favours

  5. By the time we get to 2030 it will be just like 1930 all over again.
    Mass poverty, homelessness, hardship and despair. No welfare state, no NHS or medical care for the poor. While a wealthy elite thrive at a comfortable distance from it all. Separated by wealth, class and privilege.

    • Just like Victorian times all over again. who were the ones going round in the top hats having all the fun ? The Tories. Who were the ones starving in the street. The working-class.

        • Its amazing how much the Tories have actually been able to get away with over the last few years.
          They’ve stuffed the benefits system, the NHS is being slowly starved out of existence. So they can hand it over to private healthcare. A whole safety-net that took generations to build has just been shredded and cast aside. But what about the future ?

          • “But what about the future ?”

            There is no future, in England’s dreaming…
            NOooo future, NOooo future…

          • Did you see that Matt Damon film Oblivion ?
            In the future the whole world has turned into a burnt-out garbage tip, and all the wealthy people have left and live in orbit on a luxurious giant space station. Sounds about right.

  6. Corbyn at question time on Carillion. Oh God what a waste of time ! Tom Watson sitting there like a man who’s just paid for a cinema ticket for a not very good film.
    Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls Jeremy. It tolls for you.

      • But you notice how the Tories don’t quite finish him off ?
        He takes a mauling, but Theresa May is like a cat playing with a mouse. They won’t him as Labour leader because they know they can beat him whenever they want.

    • Then Corbyn lets May get away with the last word that the ‘Labour Party care more about politics than people.’ She sits down in triumph.
      This from the Tories after what they’ve done over the last few years to the unemployed, the disabled, the NHS etc.etc. ?
      Corbyn just stands there gaping like someone thats heard a joke but can’t quite understand it. Game over.

      • He is bloody hopeless. The whole thing just goes on like hell. SOMETHING needs to happen, but I can’t imagine that Corbs will be the guy making it happen. It is time he headed back to his beans and the allotment.

        • He’d be a lot happier. Nice little plot, row of beans and some lettuce, a few potatoes. and a shed where could make some tea and read the paper when it rained.

          • “He’d be a lot happier. Nice little plot, row of beans and some lettuce, a few potatoes. and a shed where could make some tea and read the paper when it rained.”

            Sounds nice. That would suit me, if I had an allotment, and didn’t have to spend most of my time doing pointless jobsearch.

          • “Mandatory Work Activity” digging an allotment. If it rains and you skip a bit, you get sanctioned. Not enough allotments to go round, so you have to do it round the back of the nearest A4E building. They text you 2 hours before it’s your turn and sanction you if you can’t come.

          • I wanted that nice, sensible Yvette Cooper until I learnt about her involvement in creating WCA/bringing Atos etc in. New Labour got their ideas from Clinton (for whom Cooper worked at one point). It’s worth reading about the US “welfare reform”, esp the section Criticism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_Responsibility_and_Work_Opportunity_Act

            I recently joined the Labour Party. I make jokes about joining begrudgingly as I don’t think they are really interested in the disabled. The two disabled NEC candidates came nowhere.

          • This is what happens when you put someone on the ballot paper as a joke, and then he gets the job. Now the hard left are getting a stranglehold on the party again, under cover of Momentum. And once again Labour will be unelectable, as it was for so long in the days before Tony Blair.

          • Emily Thornberry. Its high time Labour had a female leader. The Conservatives have now had two women prime ministers, and there has still never been a female leader of the party.

          • There should be a proper, sensible election for Labour leader. Without Momentum interfering.
            This time with only serious candidates on the paper. Might be a good idea to elect a strong woman leader, to offset Theresa May. Debbie Abrahams or Emily Thornberry both good possibilities.

          • It’s one-member-one-vote. We’ve already had two leadership elections and returned Jeremy Corbyn by a huge majority each time. It’s what the members want. How do you propose we have a “proper” election? Prevent members from having a say?

            We are not so stupid as to be brainwashed by Momentum. I only joined Momentum after Corbyn got elected because I got fed up with all the Corbyn-bashing in the media and the opinion polls, which turned out to be wrong. We’re independent thinkers. Believe me, if anyone could brainwash me, the media would have far more influence over me than Momentum.

            If we don’t support Corbyn, Labour will move to the right and start supporting these awful “austerity” policies that are destroying our country and plunging our people into destitution.

            Look at the alternatives. Owen Smith, who used to work for a pharmaceutical company. Yvette Cooper, who introduced the Work Capability Assessment – the very reason there are so many people in dire straits and going to food banks.

  7. It just shows how much the Tories have managed to change things over the past few years. Now this dreadful inequality is the new normal in society. And they have built a whole system to preach it and defend it. With the DWP and Atos / Maximus as the shock troops of the new order.

    • Absolutely true John 100%. and people are getting more and more used to it. That its how things are and can’t be changed.

      • What chance of any of this being put back ? It would take years to undo the damage thats been done. But we’ve got to try.

        • Well they got rid of the Berlin Wall eventually, and even the Soviet Union. So maybe with enough patience and determination, in the end we can change things.

  8. 55, severe varicous veins and schizophrenia. Not even the DWP can really believe that this man should be working. What honestly could he do ? But once you start this rubbish that nobody is too sick too work this is what happens.

    • One of the worst parts of the new system is the way all the old safeguards have been abandoned. And the old standards of treatment. Now anything goes. Even people who are dying have to go on working as long as possible. Do we really need this, to do this to people in society ?

  9. As long as everyone remembers, that as Theresa May said ‘ There is no magic money tree.’ Words to live by indeed.

    • So we should all die in penury because some people with money want to pay less tax?

      There’s no Magic Money Tree as long as we’re talking about things the Tories don’t want to pay for, like the NHS, education and welfare.

      At the prospect of tax cuts, tax-avoidance, six-figure salaries, MPs’ pay, £500 million for driverless cars, bribing the DUP with £1 billion, etc. the Magic Money Tree is suddenly alive and well.

      Anyway, the population has gone up and more people are working in our country than ever before. The economy is booming. We’re told this is exactly what we need in order to fund our public services. So why are we being inflicted with so many cuts? Why isn’t funding for our NHS rising in line with the rise in the working population?

  10. It’s horrible the way they can just stop benefit payments without any notice.
    Then people get left with nothing. If they fail a medical or whatever, there should be a run-on of at least a few months while they appeal.

  11. Kathy this have never have been allowed, leaving people with nothing. They have families and children. There should always be something, some basic money that the system has to provide for people to live on.

    • Yes there should be. It’s very wrong for people to be left with nothing at all just because they missed some meeting or didn’t get enough applications. Completely out of proportion to what has been done.
      I can’t think of anywhere in normal society where people could be left without food, and maybe lose their home just because they made a small mistake. We need to get back to common-sense on all of this.

      • Yes, I agree. It’s completely out of proportion. Losing their home because they applied for 27 jobs instead of 28/arrived one minute late/didn’t log into Universal Jobmatch on Christmas Day. Someone even got sanctioned for selling poppies!

        It’s especially hard for mothers to get everything right while taking care of small children. It makes me very sad that they are subjected to the same conditionality regime as single young men.

        The sad thing is that it will put them off trying because they have been punished for doing the right thing. How can you keep on trying anyway, if you lose your home and end up wandering the streets starving to death?

        It speaks of the same mentality as those who show up on this forum, not to commiserate with the serious social issues that Kate is attempting to raise, but instead to mock Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters as a form of personal entertainment. It’s very difficult to feel empathy for another person if all you see in everyone else is comedy.

  12. It’s a pity the unemployed, the homeless and the disabled can’t all get round the magic money tree and shake the crap out of it until all the money they need falls out.

    • Yeah but even then you’d still have the Tories shoving people out of the way so they could get most of it. Or stopping them from getting any at all so that they didn’t become welfare dependent.

      • Or selling the Magic Money Tree to private enterprise, so that they could make extra money from giving out the money, as it were.

        • And if the money ran out it wouldn’t matter, because they could go back to government and get some more, and just start giving it out all over again.

      • That’s what they tell you. What really happened was the Tories dug it up in the middle of the night and carried it off to the grounds of one of their Oxfordshire mansions.

    • I would say that there’s one area where the right-wingers really excel: creating a justification for not helping those we all know we ought to help. It takes some skill to look at someone in need and say we shouldn’t help them because there’s a Magic Money Tree somewhere that the rich and powerful haven’t taken hold of already.

  13. The people that access who can get pip are not medically qualified have not suffered them selves mainly being young how can they know what living with constant pain struggling to keep active is like also they are making fools of doctors and hospital professionals even over ruling xray machines i suffer from depression and oteoarthritis failing kidneys I am deaf have poor eyesight hiatus hernia and have had to attend tribunals just to get lower rates of DLA it wasn’t that easy to get that so I don’t know why.this Government have had to penalise everyone by having these people do this job of accessing who can claim when it’s hard enough to get medication sick notes or referrals to consultants the truth is the Government are just trying to stop paying the sick the disabled and elderly.who they say are living to long they dont care for the people of this country whilst getting paid by the tax payers of this country living on benefits they claim all sorts of allowances whilst the people on.benefits live each week on what ammounts to what is pocket change of those we employ to run the country which they aren’t doing a very good Job we have more poverty and crime they are taking the country back to the dark ages

  14. I hope he gets his money back but he and others need support to cope in society which this government have taken away by cutting funding to services there have also.been more suicides since they have been in office

  15. The general public should get a vote on who should be Leader Of The Opposition.
    If Labour can’t handle it then everybody else in the country should not have to suffer the result. Corbyn is next to useless as leader, and arguably he’s too old.
    The so-called party members of Momentum, and Corbyn’s crew of teenage cheerleaders are kidding themselves. Wiser heads, including most of Labour’s MPs know he hasn’t a cat’s chance in hell of winning the next election.
    He doesn’t perform well in parliament, and the public are not really very impressed by him. Sad but true, as every poll has shown.
    Remember Michael Foot ? Neil Kinnock ? Ed Miliband ?
    But Labour are really going to do it again. Will they never learn ?

    • Then the public should get to vote on the next Tory leader as well, including members of Momentum.

      Opinion polls are always wrong.

  16. Momentum and the Corbynites have got the Labour Party locked down tight.
    The vast majority of Labour MPs don’t want him to stay on as leader. Corbyn couldn’t care less, protected by his hard-left backers who have so far successfully seen off every attempt to get him out. It would take a brave Labour Mp to stand up in public and say what they all think. That Corbyn has to go before its too late.

    • Good point Jasper. They must know the reality as well as anyone.
      What you’ll get out of the TUC though. They were supporting workfare , still do I think.

      • It would help if the TUC did more to attack Tory policies. But somehow the spirit has gone out of them since Thatcher.
        You never seem to hear them say Universal Credit must stop. Or that workfare must stop.
        Yet years ago the TUC would be at the front of any industrial dispute or strike.

    • The TUC probably like him as well as the rest of us.

      Most of the people who talk him down are Tory voters anyway.

      • Alison, are you sure all Corbyn’s critics are Tory voters ?
        It’s worse than that. Most of his own MPs voted against him as leader. It is important who is leader of the Labour Party when they are the only real political opposition. Not for the politicians in Westminster, but for the unemployed, the disabled, the homeless and the disadvantaged. These people, on the streets and in poverty need a strong opposition. So they can hope that something will be done to change things and reverse these horrible policies of recent years. They can’t afford the indulgence of a weak leader and a Labour defeat. Because if they do, Andrew and many others like him will be the ones to suffer.

        • Malcolm, I’m sure not ALL critics of Jeremy Corbyn are Tory voters and I did say “most”. I know why the leader is important…I’m not a student. I’m not going to agree with you on this one. You can vote your way in the next leadership election and I will vote mine.

  17. Perhaps if Jeremy Corbyn took up judo like Putin ? Or did something like ride a horse with his shirt off, or go fishing with his shirt off. Or even be in the allotment with his shirt off. You know, mature but macho kind of thing.

    • Yeah, like that Sinitta song, you know So Macho.
      Might work you never know.

      ‘So Macho. I don’t want no seven stone weakling. Or a boy who thinks he’s a girl. I’m after a hunk of a guy. An experienced man of the world. There ain’t no way that I’ll make do. With anything less than I’m used to. If I have a man tonight. He’s gotta be right, right, right. So Macho He’s got to be. So Macho ‘

  18. Do any of the anti-Corbyn crew on here actually care about the person whom this blog is about? I would have thought extreme poverty among our most vulnerable would be a far more important subject than bashing Jeremy Corbyn.

    Which reminds me, I shudder when I watch Theresa May and her Tory MPs roaring with laughter as Jeremy Corbyn recounts the real stories of real people who are really suffering out there. Where is Compassionate Conservatism?

    We seem to be governed by robots – and our welfare is decided by robots as well.

  19. It takes the piss when the Rich tell you there is no “magic money tree”. There must be. Where did they all get their money from? and please no one tell me they earned it. As for Corbyn, he more not appear to be a very effective Parliamentarian or Statesmen, you might think him a bit of a wet blanket, but he has compassion, and when the election comes, put your personal feelings to one side and vote Labour, because there really is no alternative if you want to get rid of the evil Tory bastards. Whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn or a donkey with a red rosette, vote Labour this time, cos it’s the only option. The Nasty Party must GO!

  20. This is true Trev, there’ll be no changes if the Tories stay. In the end I think a lot of left-wingers will just grit their teeth and vote Labour. Because as you say what else is there ? Its like going into a used car lot and finding they only have one car for sale.

    • I think the Leftwingers are the ones who back JC & will certainly vote for him, it’ll be the Centrists who have to grit their teeth, the ‘Blue Labour’ Blairite lot. On a personal level I quite like Corbyn, he’sa Leftie & a vegetarian so that gets my vote, but I just wish he was a bit more aggressive more like Dennis Skinner for example, & i wish he would stop sitting on the fence where Universal Credit is concerned, drop all this “pause & fix” bollocks just scrap it & say so.

      • This is half the problem Trev, Corbyn needs to come off the fence, or out of the rocking-chair and say upfront what he stands for, what Labour are going to do, and what specific changes they are going to make. Then people will know and can vote accordingly.

        • It might not be that simple tho’. If he said outright that they would scrap Universal Credit then the Tories would have a field day calling them the party of the skivers etc. Once they (Labopur) get in Government things might be different, they will probably find out that UC is completely unworkable and it will be scrapped (I hope). UC is fundamentally flawed because it is punitive by design. It is intended to do harm, to push people into destitution and to ultimately kill as many of us as possible. that is the Tory plan. Kill millions of us and enslave the rest whilst taking all the wealth for themselves. There is therefore obviously no way that such a system can ever be “fixed”.

  21. As for those miserable collaborators in the Libdems, no doubt they’ll be hanging around in 2022 looking for the scraps. Wouldn’t suprise me if they offered another coalition to the Tories.

  22. And anyway, even if Corbyn does get elected how do we know that he is really going to change things ? Look at Universal Credit, a nasty punitive system that has no place in a civilised society. Corbyn has refused to say ‘scrap it’, he just wants it paused so it can be ‘fixed’. On disability rights Labour ( who introduced the WCA) have said nothing about stopping the cruel Atos / Maximus system. Where terminally -ill people are thrown off ESA and then have to present themselves at the Jobcentre to discuss what work they can do in the last few weeks of life. Corbyn has said nothing about stopping this either. On the NHS, where Labour started the whole privatisation fiasco with PFI and the Lansley market reforms , Labour has been strangely silent. Labour has supported workfare, benefit sanctions etc. So it is false to present Jeremy Corbyn as some sort of Messiah the way that Momentum would like to do.

    • At the last general election, the Labour Party pledge to scrap the Work Capability Assessment (the “medical” assessment at which the ill are declared “fit to work”).

      I believe the party is currently studying what the system could look like for sick benefit claimants in the future.

      • A lot of people think that Labour basically agree with most of the Tory positions on benefits, the NHS, the evil WCA test, Universal Credit, zero-hours contracts and all the rest.
        It’s not long ago that Labour were trying to scrape up extra votes by promising to be even more severe on benefit claimants than the Tories !! It’s up to Corbyn to set out his honest and clear position on all these issues. Not wander up to the election trying not to commit to anything at all, just to be on the safe side. Labour are damaged goods in the eyes of many people on all these issues.

      • Alison, I believe we are currently studying distant planets for signs of life. There’s been no action yet from the aliens, and I wouldn’t count on Corbyn either.

        • There’s no need for this rudeness.

          I explained a serious policy position.

          Perhaps the Corbyn-bashers could find somewhere else to go? I’m sick of reading about it on here.

          We’re not looking to change our minds.

          • Alison, you’re trapped in a cult with a hopeless guru as leader. Look at Scientology. Do you really believe that advanced aliens were in contact with a science fiction writer ? Or is it more likely that he made it all up ?
            Exactly. So do think its likely that Corbyn could be Prime Minister ?

        • Yes but that’s partly because we don’t have warp technology yet. Probably we are of no interest to the aliens until we have the capacity for interstellar travel.

          • I know this is going off-topic but I just have to say for the record that the so-called ‘Aliens’ are not interstellar but are in fact inter-dimensional Beings.

          • Well I suppose if we had the ability for interstellar travel, would we ourselves really be very interested in undeveloped planets ?
            Or would we just go sailing past and ignore them, like someone driving quickly through a run-down area at night ?

  23. I wonder if it wouldn’t help to have something built in stone. Like the Edstone, but better. Corbyn’s Column, something classy, perhaps in marble ?
    And on it they could put his various policies and ideas, carved in as a kind of design.

  24. We really must stop this “if you agree with and/or are on side with Corbyn you’re a cultist” junk. No one pulls that with any other side, we know Tories are unpleasant, we wonder why anyone ever votes for them but we don’t accuse them of being cultists any time one pops their head over the trenches.

    To be frank when multiple people use the same argument complete with the same sounbite phrases “cult of Corbyn”, Marxist, “Comrade Corbyn”, unelectable all that tells me is that you didn’t actually form that opinion for yourself, you read it saw a slew of others agreeing with it and leapt straight on the bandwagon spouting the same stuff as your fellow passengers with not so much as an original thought of your own, personally I like the man, I agree which much of his socialist ideas, I do think sometimes he needs to be more clear, but I don’t hold the fiasco of PMQs against him, he has limited time and an opponent who refuses to give a straight answer and instead treats PMQs as a round of “I know you are but what am I?” Like she’s friggin 12 (a trick she picked up off Cameron)

    So yeah tldnr if you don’t like him fill your boot that is your right, but be honest with yourself and others about why, don’t just regurgitate the 5 or 6 endlessly rehashed newspaper articles about him.

    • Very well said, Richard.

      I find that the media and the Tories really do taunt, tease and bully Jeremy Corbyn. The Tories roar with laughter at everything he says and the media ridicule his clothing, his allotment, his choice of holiday… It’s so childish. I remember that sort of thing from when I was in school.

      The same behaviour is appearing on this forum, although the perpetrators cannot agree whether to portray Jeremy Corbyn as a ridiculous buffoon or as Satan himself. Certainly the notion of the opposition party as a dangerous cult is rather amusing in its ridiculousness.

      It surprises me that the Tories would think they would have any appeal to the public by acting in this way. It only shows what a Nasty Party they really are. Some people in the Labour Party have spoken out against Corbyn, but never with the personal insults and jeering that he gets from the Tories.

      I think it shows what a strong and resilient character he is to be able to withstand such sustained personal attacks day in and day out. He’s actually ideal for Prime Minister in this respect. By comparison, look how easy it is for most other politicians to become upset, go on the defensive and even completely lose their temper (e.g. Plebgate).

  25. Richard, Corbyn couldn’t debate his way out of a paper bag. Theresa May has run rings round him from the start. Every time he stands up in parliament he makes a mess of it, and people can see that for themselves without any help from the media. Momentum is just a cover for the hard-left marxists that Kinnock fought so long to throw out of the party. Fellow-travellers who think they can disguise what they are by hiding behind the Cult Of Corbyn.

    • You were doing so well and then you fell back on the cult crap, try again and this time use only your own words and maybe consider a little justification, ie how exactly do you feel May has ru rings around him (personally I don’t consider refusing to answer the question running rings round someone, anyone can skirt the issue especially when you have the advantage of knowing your opponent only gets 6 questions and half an hour to ask them in. You can’t force a person to answer a question and especially not if you have limited time)

      • But Richard, that’s not the point. Corbyn is such a poor speaker in the House of Commons, that Theresa May is literally winning every debate. It is Jeremy Corbyn’s job as Opposition Leader to argue with her. Argue, not agree.
        Not just stand there looking befuddled every time Theresa May contradicts him. And at his age, he can ill afford to give this impression in this way that he is not up to the job.

        • Parliament is an old-fashioned head to head debating chamber. Where the two sides, government and opposition argue it out.
          Corbyn’s whole style is wrong for this environment, and this is why he comes across so badly.

        • Anybody in favour of including older people in the workforce? Or shall we have Parliament as an ageist environment, while the rest of society moves forward?

          As for arguing, I’m more interested in the principles and causes Jeremy Corbyn will stand up for, both in opposition and in government. So far, he’s doing a very good job of standing up for the vulnerable and the Tories DON’T LIKE IT. By comparison, Ed Miliband seemed a nice man, but I found he shied away from some subjects for fear of seeming too left-wing.

          I don’t care for an argumentative leader. It’s not dignified. Anyone can argue, just like anyone can bully and anyone can repeat cliches about Marxist cults. If I wanted a leader to argue, I’d vote for a Punch and Judy show.

          • Alison, what all these comments are saying, and I have to agree, is that Corbyn does not come across as effective in the House of Commons. He is I’m sure a decent man, who clearly means well. But if he keeps losing the argument to Theresa May, then the general public are going to see him, however unfairly, as ineffective. And they will not be encouraged to vote for him. This is what happened with Miliband. Not enough people in the general population voted Labour, and Labour lost the election.
            Remember, most people are not active members of a political party, and will vote based on which party has the most persuasive leader in their view.
            This is why Corbyn’s performance on the media and in parliament is so crucial.
            He is competing against the Tories, whether he likes it or not for public approval.

          • I understand what these comments are saying. What I am saying is that I and many others DISAGREE.

          • Stuff dignity Alison, its about winning in the end . Just that. Winning the argument and winning the election. If Corbyn is flagging now, how is going to keep the pressure on until 2022 ?

          • Dignity is important. It’s what makes a candidate seem “prime ministerial” to the voting public.

            “Corbyn is flagging” is a subjective judgement that does not reflect the views of the majority of the electorate, especially if you look at those who might vote Labour, not those who always vote Tory anyway.

    • So what do you suggest Harold J. ? What’s your plan? What is the alternative, please tell us? How else can we rid ourselves of the evil Tory menace if we don’t vote Labour?

  26. It doesn’t take Einstein to work it out:

    Weak Labour Leader = Lost Election = Misery For Millions

    Or C – E = MM The Corbyn Equation

    • I think people might have got passed that now. That’s how I felt about the Miilband lot, and so I voted Green instead, but now I’ve seen enough & experienced enough of the suffering misery & deaths caused by the evil vicious Tory scum. I will vote for Corbyn, or Labour, no matter what, just purely to get rid of the Tories. Millions will feel the same. Thousands upon thousands dead because of Tory policies, millions more living in misery & suffering, people like Andrew in Kate’s report, and many more to a greater or lesser degree, myself included. It’s got to end. I think there should be a permanent monument & a Remembrance Day so that the British public can never be allowed to ever forget what voting Tory really means.

  27. The Opposition Leader

    I had my argument ready, and a cracker it was too,
    Then Mrs May stood up and I didn’t know what to do,
    I don’t like making arguments, or being unpleasant in any way,
    She stood there like a tiger and her eyes they flashed so bright,
    With Labour this and Labour that, and how the Tories are always right,
    So I peered over my spectacles and bristled up my beard,
    I had a sudden idea ! Yes, Yes ! !
    The final knock-out rejoinder, the ultimate reply !
    But somehow I couldn’t say it…… and I sat down with a sigh.

  28. Corbyn is not weak – he has withstood over two years of relentless attack from the Tories, the mass media and from members of his own party. He is still here. It is almost impossible to argue coherently at PMQ as May uses lies and soundbites to avoid answering questions.
    Continually criticising Mr Corbyn just helps the Tories.

    • Yes Bev, as you say:
      ‘ he has withstood over two years of relentless attack from the Tories, the mass media and from members of his own party..’
      And the reason the media, his own MP’s and party members have done so, is not because they have anything personal against Mr.Corbyn. Just that it is the general consensus that he is not best suited to the job of Opposition Leader. He is a poor performer in the often turbulent atmosphere of parliament, and does not make a good impression.
      It is his role to actively question government policy, particularly at Prime Minister’s Question time. Every previous opposition leader has had to do so in the long history of parliament. Mr.Corbyn may wish that he is in some more distant debating chamber, like the United Nations, but he is not. It shows the irrational nature of the Cult of Corbyn that his supporters admit that he is not up the job, but cling to their belief in him nevertheless.

      • I think those who participate in the relentless attack on Jeremy Corbyn are a little too heavily influenced by all the bullying about beards, jumpers, cults, allotments…little poems, jokes about outer space… By comparison, those of us who support him are independent thinkers, intellectually mature enough to know our own minds.

        • By your own admission Alison, Mr.Corbyn has ‘withstood two years of relentless attack….from members of his own party.’ Why do you think that is ?
          It’s because he’s not up to the job, and they know it.

          • No, it’s because he’s on the left and they’re on the right. Theresa May is not up to the job of Prime Minister, but you don’t see the right-wingers attacking her – they attack the opposing side. Why do you think that is? Because it’s politics and that’s how it works.

      • And finally, I DO find Jeremy Corbyn questions government policy in the House of Commons ALL THE TIME. It’s the Tories’ problem if they choose to laugh at him instead of taking him seriously. Perhaps they do that because they think he represents a greater electoral threat than other Labour leaders. If they disrespect him, some group-thinkers will immediately take their cue and declare him unfit to be leader. Then the Tories might get to debate with someone ideologically closer to them, who won’t question government policy on welfare.

        • Alison, for your own sake, just look at the situation objectively. Jeremy Corbyn was a never meant to be a candidate for Labour leader in the first place. He was just put in the list to make up the numbers. No-one ever thought he would actually win.There have been two or is it three ? Serious attempts to get him back out, on the part of his own MPs, thwarted by Momentum at the last minute. Again and again he has botched things in parliament, and is totally outclassed by Theresa May at every turn. Naturally the media have picked this up, what else would you expect ? This can’t just go on and on, with Corbyn failing again and again. Then there is the question of his age, which would make him the oldest PM ever elected in the history of this country.

        • Alison the only group-think here is all the deluded members of Momentum, who think that waving flags and banners and chanting ‘Jeremy’ is going to win an election outside their little group. And worse, as Kate has pointed out, there is no real urgency about Corbyn. And he doesn’t seem too bothered about raising his game.
          This can’t be good for Labour, and will be a disaster for so many if they lose another election, and the Tories get another five years in power.

        • Alison, do you know what logic is ? I’m not sure you do. It’s not a Tory problem that ‘ they choose to laugh at him instead of taking him seriously.’ This is Labour’s problem.

          • Do you know what logic is? Are we getting personal now? I was a top student at a top school, so I’m probably smarter than you.

          • If I choose to laugh at someone, it’s my choice, not theirs. Go back to your little Tory clique and hurl your insults at the mirror. Nobody in Momentum is going to listen to you.

          • Alison, if you were that smart you wouldn’t be in Momentum. Daniel makes a valid point.
            It is typical of a cult , that when their leader is criticised they start this furious illogical defense. Corbyn is simply not up to the task.

          • So you think that everyone who disagrees with you must be stupid? No surprise you struggle to hear anything beyond the echos of your own arrogance. The fact you think your political opponents are stupid shows how stupid you really are.

          • You look very young and naive in your photo there, Tom. Of course, the arrogance that I refer to is nothing that a bit of life experience won’t fix.

  29. In my opinion Jeremy Corbyn needs to consider his position. He’s still getting lower ratings than Theresa May. Even with all the problems the Tories have had.
    If he stands aside now, in favour of a younger candidate, Labour might still have a chance.

  30. The idea that all the faithful Corbynites are going to be taken up into electoral heaven along with their bearded leader is crazy. It’s like the Rapture, and just as foolish.

  31. I think in all honesty, and bearing in mind his current level of performance in the House of Commons, Jeremy Corbyn might consider once again the advice offered to him by Mr.Cameron

    “It might be in my party’s interest for him to sit there. It’s not in the national interest. I would say – for heaven’s sake, man, go.”
    David Cameron to Jeremy Corbyn, PMQ Jun 2016

    • Quite right Simon, really it simply can’t go on as it is.
      David Cameron was quite right, the man should go.
      No fuss, no drama, just make a bow and leave.

    • I’m sure as we move forward to the election, common-sense will prevail. When the polls start showing another impending Labour disaster, people will inevitably have second thoughts.

      • Look what happened last time! Theresa May believed the opinion polls and held an election, assuming she’d come back with a stronger majority. Instead, she lost her majority. Beware of opinion polls!

        Anyway, most of Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters are middle-aged and older people who are left, have always been left and are not going to change their minds because of something they read on the internet. Tory Youth are fighting a losing battle trying to change opinions by way of comments on the internet. Don’t waste your time.

  32. So for all of you that continue to maintain that Corbyn is an inadequate Opposition leader – where is our alternative?

  33. How about Hilary Benn, or Emily Thornberry ?
    The problem is the Momentum now have a stranglehold on the Labour Party, and any MP that puts themselves forward as a potential leadership candidate risks de-selection. Those MPs currently maintaining a miserable silence about Corbyn, know that their jobs are on the line if they make an unwise move.

  34. Did any of you see the report on the NHS on the BBC news tonight?

    To the Tories among you, how can any of you sleep at night, knowing that you are support the government and the ideoligy that is destroying our country like this?

    Don’t just come back with some smarty-pants remark. Have a think about what I am saying.

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