Newham council tries to deny a homeless woman the right to appeal a terrible housing decision. WHY?

I recently wrote about Sara Abdalla, 30. Sara is a Newham woman who is homeless. She has two young children. The eldest is in school in Newham. Sara has a job in Newham as well.

Newham council recently told Sara that she would have to move to Birmingham for permanent housing. Sara requested a review of that decision. A review officer upheld the council’s decision to send Sara to Birmingham. You can read that letter (and the dreadful tone of it) here.

Today, the council took Sara to court to try and deny her the right to appeal that decision. The council said Sara was out of time to make an appeal.

Sara – like so many homeless people I deal with – missed the appeal deadline because she found the bureaucracy so confusing and overwhelming. We all do. Council and DWP bureaucracies are literally designed to exclude anyone who isn’t an administrative genius. Sara was (and is) also dealing with a multitude of issues to do trying to secure housing while holding down a job and organising a young family. She also thought at one stage that an appeal had been filed by a lawyer who represented her – after a fashion – for a time. It hardly matters. The point is that the complexity regarding who was and is meant to do what and when was impossible. It so often is.

The thing is – I’ve been copied into emails with Rokhsana Fiaz, the new Newham mayor. She’s been promising to sort this mess out. So much for that. Sara has been trying to get hold of a housing officer who has apparently gone on holiday. She’s no closer to a solution to her housing problems than she ever was.

Meanwhile, Sara gets threatening courts summons and papers in which the council tries to deny her an appeal. It’s no wonder people lose it when they have to try and navigate all of this.

I have questions (I can’t put them to Newham Council sadly, because I’m on the council’s blacklist):

  1. Why did the council make such an enormous damn effort to stop a homeless woman appealing a decision to send her to a part of the country where she knows nobody and has no work? She was threatened with intentional homelessness if she did no go to Birmingham. So what if she was out of time to make an appeal. Why wouldn’t the council let it go?
  2. Why has the mayor been saying that Sara’s case will be looked at again by the council – at the exact same time that the council is dragging Sara to court to deny her the right to appeal housing decisions?

What a mess. Thousands of homeless people have to put up with this multilayered crap.

Oh yes – there’s is also this: The council was late with its own notice to the courts regarding Sara’s right to appeal.

Says the council in its letter to the court:

“A (Sara) seeks permission to appeal out of time… R (the council as Respondent) was required to file and serve notice in writing indicating whether that application was opposed by 4pm 25th April 2018.

On 26th April 2018, R wrote both to the Court and to A indicating that A’s application was opposed and apologised for the late provision of notice.”

Oh the irony. Council gets to miss deadlines. Sara doesn’t. That’s how things roll today.

I’ve got more so will come back. Sara won today anyway. I presume she now has the right to make that appeal.

Oh yes – there is something else. The council sought costs from Sara for today’s effort:

Says the letter from the council to the courts:

…”the Court is invited to dismiss A’s (Sara’s) application for permission to appeal out
of time and to grant an order for costs in R’s (the council’s) favour.”

That’s charming, that is – an attempt to pile debt on a low paid woman who has nowhere to live. Lovely. Sara was very upset indeed when she saw that.

200 thoughts on “Newham council tries to deny a homeless woman the right to appeal a terrible housing decision. WHY?

  1. Our London councils can house asylum-seekers and refugees right here in London, but they can’t do the same for people who have been born and bred in London and paid council tax all their working lives. Why aren’t the refugees getting the houses in Birmingham?

    • Many refugees and asylum speakers are moved around the UK, but the Home Office can ‘compel’ local authorities to provide accommodation for them. Long read, but information on this can be found here:

      I’m sure the government would love to use concentration camps for refugees and asylum seekers, and indeed, does have some, run by outfits like G4S and we all know how that pans out. I also think that the government would love to introduce concentration camps for poor people, but knows there would, rightly, be a storm of outrage – as there should be over people being moved large distances away from their families, work and support networks. It’s insane, and will only cost a lot more in the long run.

      But let’s not get distracted, most of those who are refugees and asylum seekers would much rather have stayed where they have family and a support network. It is certainly a bit of a burden, but there is more than enough money in our society to cope. Refugees and asylum seekers are not to blame for the horrible predicament that many UK citizens find them selves in – it’s UK government policies that cause that. It’s also partially UK government policies that have caused the huge scale of the refugee crisis.

      Both are issues that need humane solutions, but let’s not let the bastards in government try the old divide and rule tactic as implemented through the pages of the Daily Mail, The Express and The Sun or the Telegraph.

        • Well yes, Sourchimp. I think councils and government really could house local people in the local area if they put the effort and money in. Building council housing would help. I think there should be a statutory requirement to house people locally where they already have a local connection.

      • It’s not the fault of asylum-seekers and refugees. I’m sure the local refugees are very nice people. It’s just that councils and the government ought to give priority to people whose support networks are in a particular area. They should place people in Birmingham/Hastings if they don’t know anyone in London anyway. There should be some system to allocate the local housing to local people and the far-away housing to people with no local connection anyway.

        I don’t hear of many refugee families living in the UK in B&B’s or in houses with holes in the roof! Yet it seems British people are enduring this nightmare for years at a time. I should think local people ought to have access to housing of the same quality as refugees. I don’t want to stir up hate, but I can’t help observing there are double standards here.

        • Everyone who needs a home should be a priority, and it’s only because social housing has been run down for so long that we find ourselves in this predicament.

          The divide and rule only suits one group: the Tories and the interests they represent. Refugees are really just a red herring used by the likes of the Daily Mail to shift the focus away from the real culprits. Refugees etc are being used as a scapegoat. Don’t fall for it.

          There is no shortage of housing, just a shortage of people who can afford the increasingly astranomical rents.

        • They’re not just housed in London Alison, there were plenty of asylum-seekers and refugees in Bradford when I lived there.

          • Are the good people of Bradford being allocated housing 40 miles away from their home town?

            There are places where the councils find lots of not-too-expensive housing, e.g. Bradford and Birmingham. It would make sense to house refugees in a not-too-expensive area.

            There’s no point in housing refugees in London council housing and then sending born-and-bred Londoners halfway across the country, away from the support networks they have built up over the years.

          • No Alison, the ‘good people’ of places outside of London are not being housed miles away from their support networks, but the pressure being placed on social housing outside of London is adding to the waiting lists in other places, and exacerbating the housing problems. That goes whether they are UK citizens, or ‘refugees’. In sum, they are all just people seeking a roof over their heads and refugees are extremely lucky if they are placed in individual housing, as usually they are, like elsewhere in Europe, placed in hostel/concentration camp style accommodation.

            ‘Not too expensive housing’ is a rare resource, and is only not too expensive because either the local market won’t stand higher rent levels, or demand for it is low. As soon as you introduce people from outside the area rents tend to go up, as the amount of rents London authorities are prepared to pay in order to rid themselves of a problem usually are well above the normal rent levels in the areas they are sending people to. This would also be the case if it were refugees that the government were sending to these areas. It just distorts the local housing market. which is exactly what caused the housing crisis in London in the first place.

            The fight for housing has to be fought at a local level. and a good start would be to go around and count up the number of empty properties there are locally, whether that be flats above shops or ‘yuppie’ flats. I think you might find that there is more than enough empty accommodation to not only solve the local housing crisis, but also to accommodate large numbers of refugees too. A really radical government would commandeer all that unused property to abolish homelessness, or the threat of it. Somehow I don’t see Comrade Corbyn doing anything like that, though I live in hope.

          • Padi, you’ve just made a very good case for keeping newcomers out of an area, whether they be from elsewhere in the UK or elsewhere in the world. Whilst we’d like to give a home to everybody who’d like one, we can’t. That’s why people voted to leave the EU. We’re not Nazis. We just want to do what’s best for future generations by limiting demand for housing. Of course, that’s only part of the solution. We need to stop people buying properties in the UK if they don’t even live here.

            There’s no empty housing in my block of flats.

          • I’m not sure I follow your logic Alison. At present the approach used by those in power is just shifting the problem somewhere else. Just because other areas of the UK don’t have as acute problems as London doesn’t mean that there aren’t problems with a shortage of available housing. Moving people from London just makes matters worse where those people are shifted to.

            The housing crisis is entirely manufactured, i.e. false. When I said to go around your local area looking for properties that are empty I meant to have a look at an area a bit wider than just the building you live in. Whilst I’m pretty sure that much of the available accommodation will be in use in somewhere like London, I dare say that there are also surprisingly large numbers of empty housing, and not all of it privately owned. I read fairly recently about some local authority housing that is empty:


            I’m fairly sure that the scenario there is replicated allover London and also elsewhere in the UK.

            This article, though just over a year old, shows just how many empty properties there are in London. I doubt the situation has changed much since the article was published:


            As I keep trying to explain to you, refugees and EU migrants are NOT the cause of the very genuine ills suffered by the poorer UK citizens, it’s a red herring. It’s the Tories who are responsible, and their little helpers in the Labour Party.

            Focus your rage on them, not other poor sods who are probably worse off than you. There are lots of housing activist groups in London working to improve the situation, why not get involved with the one nearest to you?

  2. Council red-tape & bureaucracy over-rides common sense whilst people need clarity and immediate help. A very difficult situation for anyone to be in.

  3. Was wondering how they got on.
    Its a fucking disgrace, jobworths bastards the lot of them, no humanity just driven by targets and efficiency and seem to take pleasure in being as obstructive as possible.

    A sign of domestic abuse is cutting someone off from family and friends how can this not been as the same.

    Like it is, many people just give up when faced with all the crap hoops and hurdles to get even a sniff of justice and fall through the net, this then puts strains on all other services and impacts the public purse at least by a factor of 10 when common sense could have solved the problem.

    Bring back the right to squat private homes and see how fast the housing problem is solved then.

    2 million empty properties above shops and then second homes plus boarded up shops in towns and cities that can be converted into homes, no need to build a single home to solve the crisis, there is no housing shortage, just a lack of will, the monies there we just print it.

    • If the money that was used for quantitive easing had been invested in things like housing, the railways and in improving the UK’s dire broadband network our economy and the general welfare of the people would be stacks better than it is.

      All that money put into the banks just made the already very wealthy twice as wealthy as they were. What a waste of money. Even worse, what a waste of an opportunity to really improve the economy for everyone.

      If that had happened, then I doubt very much that we’d now be facing the total lunacy that is Brexit. (I’m a Eurosceptic Remainer, have always been sceptical of the EU as a capitalist cartel, but see being in the EU as better than the alternative… Which we are now seeing, the ascendancy of the right, and the normalisation of nasty, right-wing/fascist attitudes such as xenophobia, anti semitism and just plain racism.)

      • Padi, I totally agree with Alison on this point, because you have to have experienced the whole great idea of free movement, and what it has done to you personally to understand why a lot of people voted for Brexit.
        My wife and I are educated and experienced in the workplace, when I found myself made redundant (replaced by someone from Poland willing to work in London for £6.50PH for a job which should be paying £15PH), and my my MSc Biotechnology Wife, managed out of her job, to be replaced by a Portuguese person on £14K per annum.
        The people from abroad, will not contribute to our economy, but will return to home, having squirelled away enough money to allow them to live like kings.
        In Eastern Europe, the average wage is around £3500 a year – here it is around £24K per year – go figure.
        People in the UK under EU legislation are being forced to work for wages which do not support them and their families.

        • I know what you mean, Andy. My area is full of Spanish, Portuguese and Polish people. It stands to reason that they’re doing jobs the British used to do. Their children go to our schools, their families live in our housing…

          Yet we’re being told that we’ll vote “remain” if there’s a second referendum!!! Amazing, isn’t it?

          • Alison, there are many people , and a few on this blog, who are so ‘politically correct’ that they don’t want to admit some of the basic truths about immigration.

          • Therefore, those of us who understand the problems of free movement have learned to keep our mouths shut.

          • I used to have Polish neighbours, he was a welder in a factory tha t makes car radiators, a job I don’t have the skills to do. His wife worked in a cold environment packing ham for min. wage, a job I don’t want to do. They both worked hard, whilst I sat in the garden smoking weed all day paid for by their taxes. More immigrants the better.

          • It may be convenient for you, Trev, but there are a lot of people out there who have to sign on for years because they can’t find any industrial work that suits their industrial skills. There are no industrial jobs available any more…unless you can speak Polish.

            We didn’t have a massive Labour shortage before free movement from Eastern Europe began in 2004. Quite the reverse. There were complaints even then about a lack of jobs, especially industrial jobs. Our strawberries were picked, our toilets were cleaned…

            I recently made a complaint to the Beeb because they said British people won’t do exactly the work I do for volunteering: cleaning, serving food and drink, washing dishes, pulling weeds, picking up litter, shovelling sh1t from the compost heap… I was absolutely furious to hear them talk down our country like that.

          • If migrants want to come here to do those crappy minimum wage jobs tha t no one wants to do tha t’s fine by me because I sure as hell don’t want to do those jobs, do you? And while they’re working here they’re paying taxes. I don’t have a problem with foreign labour, or with foreigners per se, it’s the rich I have a problem with. If you want to do 12 hour shifts in a meat packing plant for min. wage be my gues t.

          • Yes, I would like one of the jobs the immigrants do. Sadly, I’m not well enough to work. Many British people are out of work because their jobs have gone to immigrants, who are paid less, often well below the minimum wage. Take a look at Andy’s story, for example.

          • Anyway, many of the immigrants ARE rich. They’re destroying our housing market with buy-to-leave and Air BnB.

          • Sometimes Alison you sound more like a Ukipper than a Socialist. We can all learn from Baha’U’allah; “the earth is one country and mankind it’s citizens”. Why is it so important to youas to which particular bit of land other people were born,or how much they may or may not be earning, or whether they qualify for Sta te Benefits or not? Who cares? We are all just humanbeings sharing this one planet and struggling along.

          • Trev, it’s not practical to just let everybody in. Take a look at what happened across Europe a few years ago.

            I’ve never voted UKIP in my life, but of course I agree with them on a few things.

            The thing is, Trev, 52% voted “leave” for a reason. It wasn’t because they wanted open borders, was it?

          • Imo I do not think it was control over borders the reason why most people voted leave, it was more a protest vote to leave, to throw a spanner in the works bolstered by the normally silent majority. I think this is the reason we did not see riots, they used the referendum instead.

            But whichever side of the debate your on it really has opened up the cracks in an already faltering system that is for sure.

            What was a massively complicated issue was boiled down to a yes or no and only after the vote did the real debate and discussion take place and they say we are a role model for democracy lol.

          • 95% of those I know who voted “leave” are opposed to mass immigration.

          • No, Sourchimp, that’s pretty consistent with the findings of lots of opinion polls.

          • That’s true as well, but they’re a bit more reliable than your personal opinion…

            Except maybe the Ashcroft poll you quoted.

          • Lord Ashcroft’s election day poll of 12,369 voters also discovered that ‘One third (33%) [of leave voters] said the main reason was that leaving “offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.”’

            This poll backs up my claim immigration was not the main reason why people voted to leave the EU only 1 in 3 nowhere near 95%.

          • So what did the other 67% of “leave” voters say in this poll?

        • Um, they do contribute to the economy, even more so if they return home in a few years. They pay income taxes, NI, VAT, etc., can’t get benefits for multiple years, and then leave before they get old (and sick). They’re amazing for the economy!

          That’s doesn’t mean that they’re amazing for you, of course.

          • Jools, immigrants can and do get benefits. Only non-EU immigrants have to wait 4 years. EU immigrants only have to wait 3 months.

            Refugees and asylum-seekers get benefits and housing straight away, of course.

            The figures showing immigrants pay in more than they take out are many years out of date. More recent figures do not paint such a rosy picture of immigration. Immigrants’ use of state education and healthcare is not included in these figures, anyway.

          • Nothing is amazing really so not sure what you mean by that. Personally I don’t feel threa tened or negatively affec ted by the presence of immigrants in any way. I don’t see why anyone cares about where other people were born, or why it matters. In a past life I was Egyptian, now I’m English. So what?

          • It matters because it creates population pressure. It matters because jobs are lost to immigrants. It matters because people from a place cannot get housing because it has been taken by people who already have a house in another place.

          • Alison your saying your a Christian but hold those views, it does not make sense to me at all, am I missing something.

            Should we not share the fish and loaves ? do you not count the small blessings you do have ?

            Or do you feel your not getting your fair share ?

            Which reminds me of this quote I am sure you would have read before,

            “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour. ”

            There is no miracle in knowing there is more than enough to go round for us all unless you believe the propaganda.

            And if you do feel your being prejudiced and classed as a minority then welcome to the club but do not blame others in the same boat, we are all trying to make best of a terrible situation which is affecting us all globally and once you realise that then you would begin to see who and what the real enemy is.

            Do you openly talk this way in church or when amongst the flock ?

          • Sourchimp, there are as many views about immigration and the EU among Christians as among non-Christians. Believe it or not, 47% of the population consider themselves Christians. Some people think the same as me. Some people think the same as you, Padi and Trev.

            I give to charity, both within the UK and abroad. I believe in helping people.

            However, we are discussing free movement and mass immigration. I don’t think that’s good for our country, nor for the countries people are coming from, nor for the people moving around, many of whom suffer due to isolation from family, support networks and everything they’ve ever known.

            Yes, I do say these things to Christian friends and acquaintances. Some totally agree with me. Some totally disagree.

            “Thou shalt not covet” doesn’t really apply here. I’m not jealous of immigrants. The issue is that it is important to vote for the best future for our country.

            I’ve been setting out the problems as I see it with mass immigration. Equally, I’m not in favour of extreme wealth and £multi-million salaries. “Thou shalt not covet”, but that doesn’t mean I’ll say it’s fine and dandy to be earning a fortune while the poor are going to foodbanks.

          • Freedom of movement which you are against and now trying to hide behind the notion that it is part due to your concerns them having to make the long lonely journey but never the less if that is a choice they have made or been thrust upon themI believe not to welcome them by closing borders and being selective is still in opposition to your faith, less than half the country might consider themselves to be Christians but they are far from it.

          • Sourchimp, you’re not in a position to comment on my faith because you do not know anything about it. You don’t go to church, you don’t do Bible study, you haven’t studied for confirmation or to be a priest. So it’s not for you to say what is or is not in the Christian faith.

            I know someone with big concerns about mass immigration who has just graduated with a PhD in Theology. She knows what’s in keeping with her own faith. You don’t.

            The Bible also says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” So how about stepping down from your high horse for once?

            I know several people who have come over here from the EU and suffer worsening mental health due to isolation from family and support networks. They feel they have to come over here. It’s not a choice for them. I am genuinely concerned about it. I’m not “hiding behind” the issue, thank you. (I don’t know what I would be hiding from…)

            What about Africans who die trying to get to Europe? Don’t you care about them? Don’t you want to reduce the “pull” factors that bring them over here? Don’t you want to help them in their own country instead? Or do you think that being an agnostic anarchist somehow excuses you from any responsibility for the consequences of the immigration policies you support?

          • Another way to interpret that phrase is the one who attempts to regulate his brother often displays the greater blindness and hypocrisy.

          • Words can be twisted to mean anything you please, but it takes understanding to interpret the Bible.

          • Well I disagree and somewhat surprised you would say that. It is a great interpretation as would be splinter plank.

            May I ask what branch of the Christianity you actually belong to ?

          • Thank you, I was curios much the same I am curios about all faith and beliefs.

            I know two identical twins who recently turned deeply religious left town cut off all contact with everyone and went to live in a Christian commune went on some sort of course and now go around preaching in towns and cities across the country.

            We used to grow and smoke weed together had many great debates they are fantastic material for a sociologist /psychologists.

            You wouldn’t miss them if they are in a area near you they both stand at 6 foot 6 at least. I also had a friend whose mum went to a I think a Pentecostal church and would often go into fits and convulsions.

            And much like an overnight conversion I had a friend who woke up one day and out the blue announced he was seventh son of the seventh son got heavily involved in astrology, numerology and the occult.

            I am not against anyone believing in anything as long as it does not impact me. I have a open mind. but when it does impact me I naturally go on the assault. It is a irrefutable fact however that religion has impacted a lot of people negatively in a lot of ways over the centuries.

          • There are a lot of extreme branches of Christianity out there, Sourchimp. Most of them are small, niche groups.

            Someone from my church had a Jehovah’s Witness friend who refused to enter the cafe at my church because they don’t believe in churches! So someone had to push the lady from my church halfway down the street in her wheelchair just to meet her friend!

            I was stopped on the high street once by some South Korean girls trying to convert me to a branch of Christianity that believes that someone alive in South Korea today is “God the Mother”! They didn’t like taking no for an answer!

            A lot of the “Christian” characters who show up on TV and on the internet represent the extreme versions of Christianity. They make a lot of noise and the media covers them because they are very odd: the extreme rather than the norm.

            (In the same way, the media covers the rare instances of abuse in the NHS, rather than all the usual good care.)

            We hear a lot about extreme Islam in the media. There are people who convert to Islam in their adulthood and carry out terror attacks a few months later! Yet most Muslims practise their religion peacefully. They wouldn’t recognise the terrorist ideology as the real Islam.

            It is generally very worrying if someone suddenly cuts off all contact with family and friends and joins an extreme branch of a religion. It can be a sign of mental illness or being brainwashed by what is in fact a cult.

            The vast majority of the world’s Christians belong to more liberal churches like mine, where people disagree about things and carve their own path to God. The process of becoming a Christian should be slow and steady. It should not involve cutting off ties with family and friends. People don’t have to agree about religion, but family and friends are important support networks that should not be lost over a religion.

            All of the volunteers at Church of England churches are regularly trained in “safeguarding”. The volunteers are taught to look out for worrying signs like sudden conversions to extreme religious practice and people cutting off all ties to family and friends because of their religious beliefs.

          • Sometimes cutting oneself off from family and friends can be a good thing, not all family and friends can have a positive effect on our lives but I do understand what your saying.
            Yes of course there are extremists in any religious organisation I have no problem with extremist views or any views for that matter as long as it does not impact me in anyway.
            The Church is just another institution, it still owns billions of pound worth of property and 100s of thousands of acres of land, home and abroad often in prime areas and they still have a big influence in our political and judicial system. And open to abuse

            I believe If we abolished all organised religion the world would be a better place.

          • Fair enough. You don’t want religion to impact on you. But, if religion were abolished, that would have a very big impact on me and on everybody else!

          • Well if they have a PHD in theology then who I am to argue.They must be better qualified than the Jesus who afaik did not even have a GSE, pretty handy with his hands though by all accounts.

          • 1) There’s no such thing as a GSE.

            2) Jesus was the son of God. He didn’t need a GCSE or a GCE.

          • GSE=Graduate School of Education but yep you got me I meant to say GCSE.

            My day it was CSE and O’ Levels but I did not bother to turn up to my exams.

            We had a few teachers that were complete bastards Mr woolacot music teacher would walk up behind us grab us by the hairs in the back of the neck and lift us out our seats. Mr bean would use two fingers and poke you violently in the chest across the room while making a point.

            Slipper, ruler and cane were common practice as was having a heavy board rubber thrown at your head.

            One day a guy turned up without his PE kit so the teacher decided to line us all up and slipper us all so we would turn on the lad who forgot his kit.
            At 15 I decided enough was enough, I was tad over 6 foot strong enough and wise enough to stand up to them. Been standing up to authority ever since.

          • Blimey!! It’s a good thing they’ve banned the cane now – and the slipper!!

            I’ve heard of a teacher taping children’s mouths shut in a classroom in the ’70s.

            I went to school in the ’90s and it was nowhere near as bad as all that.

            To be honest, I don’t blame you for leaving school early.

          • Yep then they had the cheek each morning in assembly during prayers and hymns to sit there and preach from the pulpit about compassion and treating others etc.

            Kids today wouldn’t stand for it

            I stuck school out till the end just never turned up for the exams despite all the violence I never played truant I enjoyed some of the subjects and being with mates.

            A lot of people from my generation probably had the same treatment and remember some teachers that were sadistic another teacher I remember would be locked up today the way he use to touch and act towards the girls.

            Institutions are the perfect breeding ground for this type of behaviour and abuse and much the same I am against the NHS I am against the education system and every other institution.

          • Most people don’t want to live in an institution either. Sadly, sometimes illness catches up with us, e.g. cancer or a broken leg.

            Most NHS care is good. The scare stories in the media are the exception rather than the norm.

            It is very rare indeed to be physically or sexually abused while in NHS care.

          • Have you looked into taking your GCSEs now? It’s never too late!

          • I do not really feel my life has been lacking without certificates, did a BSc in Computer Sciences at the OU some years ago not to make or further a career but because the subject interested me, but after 2 years I inherited a chunk of money from an aunt I never knew and partied like it was 1976 for year or two and gave up the course.

          • I’ve never had a problem getting a flat, I was in socialhousing for 17 yrs & lived in 3 different flats in that time, now in private rented fla t. I’m unemployable so not worried about anyone else taking jobs tha t I Can’t do. Immigrants are mostly doing the worst jobs tha t we either don’t want or Can’t do for whatever reasons.

          • Aren’t you lucky that you’ve always had a place to live, Trev?

            It’s very often those looked after by council housing who struggle to understand why the rest of us find there is a problem with housing.

          • Yep never felt I had much choice where I ended up when relying on social housing but always managed so far to end up somewhere.

            Not sure whoever is looking into this but the council could in theory find someone who wants leave the area entirely due to fear or threat of violence lets say which is not uncommon and move them to Birmingham instead freeing up a property.

            They already have a scheme where they do 3 ways swaps for such cases (3 way so you do not know where the ex tenant is living) amongst various local authorities.

            Might be worth looking into.

          • Sourchimp, the subject of this blog post is how London councils are housing people miles away from London. It’s often in private rental housing, not social housing. There are people who want to move out of London and equally people who want to move out of Birmingham/Hastings/Bradford/Coventry. Nevertheless, the problem remains. People are posted in B&Bs and derelict office blocks for months and even years. Then they get offered a house/flat 40 miles away. If they don’t take it, the council refuses to keep paying for the B&B.

          • Well I think most of us are in agreement that the housing situation is something that need addressing as a matter of urgency, of all the posts to point out the topic, this was probably one rare example where I was keeping on topic or so I thought.

          • It is my view that it is a naive nonsense to try to address London’s housing crisis without talking about immigration, or, in other words, the DEMAND for housing.

          • I suppose I have been quite lucky with housing but tha t might be because I’ve lived in some pre t ty rough areas in northern towns/cities where it’s easy to get a flat. I know it’s a differen t situation in London of course, with it being the capital theres more people & rents are way higher, but I fully understand why people don’t want to up sticks & move away from their roots, family, friends, jobs, schools, etc. & go 2 or 3 hundred miles away where they don’t know anyone.

        • Perhaps you should have joined a union? Whilst that in and of itself won’t change anything, it does create a situation where you can work with colleagues to point out to EU migrant workers that they are being exploited. If you doubt me, take a look at area where it is mainly migrant workers are employed/exploited and see how they organise themselves so that they become less exploited.

          It’s easy to whinge and scapegoat, but much harder to get involved in practical ways of changing that in a positive way. You could, if that doesn’t appeal to you always vote for some promise of a ‘quick fix’, such as voting for Brexit or worse, voting for the toxic and nasty UKIP or parties further to the right, but you’ll end up pretty much in the same situation, as all the architects of Brexit want is a Britain where the economy is based on a race to the bottom. And paying a Polish worker £6.50 an hour in London? Pull the other one! A worker wouldn’t be able to manage on that in Bradford. let alone London. And if you and your evidently highly qualified partner are so well educated, why didn’t you consider moving to somewhere like Germany or Switzerland, or even the UK, as biotechnolgy is a shortage area – on the New Scientist job pages alone there are 45 biotechnology jobs being advertised, and 2,358 on Reed. I don’t have a clue what a biotechnologist commands in terms of pay, but all the salaries seemed to be livable amounts. and an equally qualified EU citizen is highly unlikely to work for less than the going rate, and anyway, they could probably earn more in Germany.

          Don’t think I don’t know about the issues of ‘free movement’. I live in Wales, and I’ve seen what free movement of English people into rural Wales has done to house prices, pushing them up way beyond what local people can afford, plus the impact such immigration has on the language, but I choose to respond to it in as positive a manner as possible.

          There wasn’t a lot that the government could do about free movement of EU citizens, but there was a lot that could have been done about immigration from outside of the EU, which the UK government seems very reluctant to do, as your beloved Brexit politicians actually want your incomes undermined so that they can make more profit.

          I don’t understimate the challenges that immigration of any kind poses, but I am totally against the kind of false consciousness that made people vote for Brexit in such huge numbers. It won’t produce any kind of quick fix to your concerns. !ndeed, hasn’t Rees-Mogg recently admitted that it could take up to 50 years for any benefits to acrue, (and to whom?). By remaining in the EU and forging links with workers all over Europe and together highlighting and challenging the way we are all being taken for a ride, and EU workers doing the UK’s shit jobs especially, there just might b e a way forward out of the mess created by those who rule us.

          And indeed, as Trev has pointed out, immigrant workers don’t cost us anything; They are by and large young, and therefore don’t impact on the NHS, or do they claim benefits, (they legally can’t anyway until they’ve worked for a year, and even then they are restricted to 3 months as a claimant, and have to leave the UK unless they find a job in that time). They not only pay taxes, they often work doing the kinds of jobs that many UK citizens won’t do for a whole host of understandable reasons, jobs in social care, that are not only extremely badly paid but stressful and exploitative. Or in the food industry or basic level jobs in hospitality that don’t have much appeal to UK citizens because of the bad pay and antisocial hours.

          • Yes, Padi, why do employers wail about labour shortages and then sack their own British staff? Answer: SO THEY QUALIFY TO BRING IN IMMIGRANTS FROM OUTSIDE THE EU, to further undermine the jobs and pay of British workers.

  4. This heat is a dreadful business if you’re a badger. Try getting an earthworm in this weather, it’s almost impossible. They dig deep into the soil, and frankly by the time you’ve dragged one of them out, half the time they are in pieces. And then there are those idiotic flat-footed human snipers, or murderers as they should be called.
    I passed right by one the other night, he was looking through some sort of tube on top of his weapon, and making enough noise to let everyone know where he was.
    Idiot. Still, if they want to waste their time that is up to them.

    • Hello Bill Badger. It’s so good to hear from you! I’m ever so glad you’ve managed to keep yourself safe from those mean, murdering humans. It’s a good thing they don’t know how to be quiet!

      The good news is that a less bloodthirsty, more peaceful group of humans have been studying the weather. They predict the days will be cooler now and we will have some rain.

  5. I agree with you Rev. Chimp, many school teachers in the 60/ 70s were violent sadistic bullies. I hated every second of school. I identified with Casper in the film ‘Kes’.

    • We read Kes at school, Jud was a fine example of how sometimes it is better to isolate yourself from family.

      “They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
      They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
      Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules”
      – John Lennon

      • Yes, there have been plen ty cultural references thatsummed up the situation, from Working Class Hero to Kes, and as a kid I loved Alice Cooper’s School’s Out, and later on after I’d left school there was of course Pink Floyd Brick In The Wall – “hey teacher, leave them kids alone”, I guess every school kid identified with that at the time. The writing was already on the wall even before that when Dylan sang “look out kids, they keep it all hid. Twenty years at school and they put you on the day shift”, as I found to my horror upon leaving school.I think the only time I was happy (90% of the time) was at Art college.

        • So you didn’t get an education then Trev, you went to art college! Shades of Lister of Red Dwarf!

          Seriously though, all the people I know who went to art college seemed to have a great time, and learned a huge amount. Wish I’d listened to my younger self and followed my creative urges and gone to art college too.

          Yes, schools in the 60s and 70s could be pretty brutal places, and people getting the cane or the slipper or just generally being physically abused was all too common.

          I think all of us who went to school in that period can relate to Kes, and Brian Glover, who played Mr Sugden, the sports and PE teacher got the role off to to tee, (PE teachers always seemed to be even more sadistic than was the norm) but then he’d spent part of his career as a teacher, but of English and literature.

      • Sourchimp, I’m not suggesting that it is NEVER a good idea to isolate yourself from family and friends. You said in your previous post that you UNDERSTOOD WHAT I MEANT. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to do a little more research into cults/the Church of Scientology.

        I tried to give you an example of behaviour that COULD be cause for concern. Yet every situation is different, so there are NO HARD AND FAST RULES.

        • Yes when you mentioned volunteers trained in “safegaurding” Scientology did come to mind. Makes me wonder if these trained volunteers who are “safeguarding” monitor and intervene with those that having doubts about the faith ?

          • Alison thank you for the link this advice from the site highlights quire nicely part of the problem.

            And begs the question who are they actually “safeguarding”

            “I am worried that a child or adult may be at risk of abuse or neglect by someone in a family, household or community.
            What should I do?
            Report the matter to the Local Authority Social Services department or Police (the telephone numbers for these will be in your local telephone directory or websites).

            Fair enough, but when it comes to someone in the organisation then the advice changes,

            “I am worried that a child or vulnerable adult may be being abused by a member of the clergy, or by an employee or volunteer within the Church. ”
            What should I do.
            Immediately inform the Parish Safeguarding Officer.
            If you are unable to contact him/her, inform the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. Details of the safeguarding team based in your diocese can be found via the relevant diocesan website. See above for details of how to find the relevant diocesan website.”

            No mention of the police being involved there at all, why ?

            Now the advice should be exactly the same as before, go directly to the police would you not agree ?

            Why should the advice be any different when it involves members of the organisation ?

            DO NOT expect any institution or organisation to do anything more than protect it’s own interests first and foremost.
            The church is not alone, every damn institution is corrupt as each other, look at the recent findings over aid agencies, systematic abuse of people who are at their most vulnerable.
            You say these are isolated rare instances and should not reflect on the whole but they are nothing of the sort if you open your eyes and see,I can find them all day long they are merely tips of the many icebergs that have come to light.

            These bullshit organisations are part of the bullshit jobs that drives the bullshit economy.

            Out of interest I had a quick look to see if JC was religious but from what I can gather so far he says religion should be a private matter, and you know what I have to agree in that no one else’s religious beliefs should impact others.

            Alison did you have a leap of faith or grew up going to church ?

          • In our safeguarding training, we were told to contact the police if a crime takes place, e.g. a child is sexually assualted, no matter who did it. However, you are right to point out that the guidance ought to be clearer on this one.

            Of course, institutions are made up of people and we, people, make personal choices about what to do in a situation. If my church were to tell me NOT to go to the police about something, I would make a choice about whether to follow their instructions or not. The modern-day trials of Nazi concentration camp guards have shown us that “I was following orders” is no excuse for doing the wrong thing.

            You are right that safeguarding is as much about protecting the institution as the child/vulnerable adult. You are also right that there are many examples of endemic abuse within institutions, including charities and the Church. However, my view is that it is better for good people to participate and do good things. If we all desert the big institutions of our country, we leave a big space for bad people to take over.

            Surely you must have experienced the NHS in your personal life? Surely your mum/dad/auntie/nan/friends/son/daughter/neighbours must have received medical treatment from the NHS? Surely at least some of their experiences were positive?

            There are many flaws in the NHS, but I know that my mum received good end-of-life care through the NHS and a local hospice. A colleague at gardening had his life saved by the NHS when he developed cancer. My judgemental neighbour had his life saved by the NHS as well, after he had a heart attack. These people owe their lives to the NHS. They would be dead if it weren’t for the NHS!

            Everybody I know goes to the doctor and the hospital every now and then. There are always a few problems and delays, but the result is largely a good one. People express how grateful they are to the NHS. Surely you must have heard people saying these good things about the NHS?

            I was raised as a Christian, both at home and at school. However, my family did not go to church regularly. I have been attending church and participating in church activities much more in my adult life.

          • Well happy to note we at least agree on some points and thank you for a honest thoughtful response.

            To be honest Alison I have never had a positive experience with the NHS, I nearly lost my son and a grandchild due to incompetence in the delivery suite as for myself I stay well clear.

            Those working in the NHS are often overworked and underpaid for many of lower ranks and overpaid for the higher ranks, some NHS doctors earnings are outrageous amounts, the drug industry has its claws in every crevice denying people access to safer alternatives for financial reasons and due to its unwieldy size easy to cover up scandals and like all institutions a perfect hunting ground and hiding place for those who wish to cause harm.

            I understand not everyone’s experience is like that, and yes some great work is done within the NHS but it needs scrapping, it is flat lining and replacement is needed. Much of the knowledge they learn at medical school is found to be wrong by the time they are practising.

            10 mins is the usual consultation time now and generally its tick boxes here is a pill.
            And all these pills are toxic killing millions each year globally, Cannabis is non toxic has caused zero deaths and can safely replace thousands of drugs used today,
            FACT !
            So we have to question why it has been suppressed for so long if it is such a wonder plant.

            And its not just consuming where it has many uses it could replace the plastics industry with real bio degradable food packaging.

            When we look back an hundred years ago or so at medical practices they seem barbaric , much the same will happen in another hundred years looking back.

            We actually have the knowledge and money to change now but everything is so deeply entrenched and entwined it is difficult ever seeing that happen.

            But I live in hope.

            I went to church where I was christened when younger and joined the boys brigade played bugle, Covenanters which was a religious group in the area where the guy used to preach with a talking Hawaiian guitar do not ask me why, he would say something then use the guitar to talk back, as only a Hawaiian guitar can talk back , catholic scouts group where I had to take communion.

            I only went to the churches as it was the only way to get into the mid week clubs that did sport and games.

            So yep at some point in my life I was going to 3 different churches all preaching in different ways.

          • Sourchimp, I can’t believe you want to abolish the NHS! What would you replace it with? What would happen to all the people who rely on the NHS day in and day out? Would you just leave them to die?

            I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a bad experience of the NHS. Aren’t you lucky that you never HAD TO go to hospital? Aren’t you lucky that you never developed cancer or suffered a heart attack?

            The reason cannabis has been “suppressed” is because it’s not really that great. It causes more problems than it solves.

            If cannabis were a cure-all wonder drug, nobody would have needed to invent anything else.

          • Please cite your source where Cannabis does harm ! and please do not mention drugs gangs that is the fault of prohibition.

            I can show you hundreds of scientific papers that say otherwise.

            It is due to available on prescription in the autumn due the overwhelming evidence based on 5000 years of research, it is only recently it has been illegal.

          • Medical professionals and scientists have reached a consensus with law enforcement that cannabis is a problem. That’s why it’s illegal.

            The problem is that you disapprove of just about everyone and everything, so there’s no point in presenting you with fact. You’ll just say it’s all wrong/evil/corrupted and that you know better.

            You do yourself a disservice when you start saying the NHS is poisoning people while cannabis does no harm. It makes you sound either daft or mad.

          • “Medical professionals and scientists have reached a consensus with law enforcement that cannabis is a problem. That’s why it’s illegal.”

            Wrong: It is not illegal ! only for recreational use because the medical profession DO see the medicinal benefits. Many countries have now legalised it fully and many more are set to follow including the UK.

            “The problem is that you disapprove of just about everyone and everything, so there’s no point in presenting you with fact. You’ll just say it’s all wrong/evil/corrupted and that you know better.”

            In other words you cannot find any !

            You do yourself a disservice when you start saying the NHS is poisoning people while cannabis does no harm. It makes you sound either daft or mad.

            Please look how many deaths occur each year even due to simple over the counter medicines then compare with number of death caused by using Cannabis.
            Toxic is toxic whoever gives it you, and the NHS had out toxic medicines FACT !

          • Sourchimp, why do men like to copy and paste?

            Also, are you going to answer my questions about what you would do with the patients if you were to abolish the NHS?

          • Alison I am not proposing leaving everyone to fend for themselves and throw all healthcare out the window, we need a rethink in the way healthcare is delivered and start to take a more holistic approach rather than a time limited tick box here is a toxic pill system we have with the NHS.

            Everything is geared towards getting the patient back to work as quickly and cheaply as possible regardless of the long term implications.

          • It sounds like you mean reform/improve, not abolish.

            My pill is less toxic than your spliff.

          • If changing an Elephant into a Mouse is called reform/improvement then yes reform/improvement.

            Curios to know what drugs you are actually on but they cannot be safer than Cannabis, at best the could be just as safe.

          • Prescription for my mental health. Stops me harming myself. Yes it is safer than cannabis. Fact.

            Cannabis CAUSES mental health problems. Everybody knows that (except you).

          • How times have changed! You don’t need to attend church if you want to attend mid-week activities at my church.

  6. Well finally Labour have started to bring welfare into the fore with the recent announcement that they are considering trialling a Universal basic income.

    Probably to help take the edge off all this AS crap that is flying about.

    Everyone on the planets deserves a guaranteed basic income without conditions a home and a plot of land, we have the space the resources and the technology just some greedy bastards want more than they can chew.

  7. Biggest rise in poverty recorded since Thatcher was in power

    “Declining incomes for the poorest families, government austerity and Brexit have led to the biggest rise in UK poverty since Margaret Thatcher was in power, according to new projections from the Resolution Foundation.

    The think tank’s predictions suggest real incomes for the poorest third of the working-age population fell by between £50 and £150 in 2017-18.

    Inflation rose above three per cent last year, while Tory cuts to tax credits and benefits affected the nation’s poorest.

    And all of this has led to the official poverty rate rising from 22.1 per cent to 23.2 per cent, according to Resolution Foundation calculations.

    This 1.1 per cent jump would be the biggest since 1988.”

    The UK experiencing the biggest rise in poverty since Margaret Thatcher was in power More than a third of UK children are now living in poverty.

    And so much for the so-called “Northern Powerhouse”….

    Yorkshire industrial towns ‘essentially stagnant’

    “The economies of Britain’s older industrial towns are “essentially stagnant,” according to a new report by York’s Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Sheffield Hallam University.

    The report focused on places once dominated by industries like coal and textiles.

    Bradford, Hull, and Wakefield are among those mentioned as having slower than average job growth and poor pay and conditions.

    The research says over many years Britain’s older industrial towns, which have a population of over 16 million people, have all been hit by major job losses in the industries that once underpinned their economies.

    It states: “The economy of Britain’s older industrial towns is essentially stagnant.

    “Older industrial towns are increasingly becoming dormitories for men and women who work elsewhere.”

    Dying young in Stockton – England’s most unequal town

    “The life expectancy gap between rich and poor people in England has been widening for nearly two decades.

    The rich stay healthy longer. The poor die younger.

    That bleak assessment is based on national data.”

    Universal Credit is Creating Debt – Citizens’ Advice.

    Universal Credit claims falter due to complicated application process and lack of support
    23 July 2018
    More than a third of people helped by Citizens Advice struggle to provide the evidence needed to complete their Universal Credit claim, new research from the charity finds.

    With government data showing late Universal Credit payments are usually due to challenges submitting evidence, Citizens Advice asked people who came to the charity for help how difficult it was to meet these requirements. Of the people helped who qualify for extra costs under Universal Credit:

    48% found it difficult to provide evidence for health conditions

    40% found found it difficult to provide evidence for housing

    35% found it difficult to provide evidence for childcare

    The charity also found that people receiving their first full payment late stood a higher chance of getting into greater debt, or falling into it. When people didn’t receive their first Universal Credit payment on time, their chances of being in debt increased by a quarter (23%). They were also 60% more likely to borrow money from a lender to help tide them over.

    One mum-of-two had to wait an extra three weeks for her first full Universal Credit payment, which covered her rent. She was not told to bring her tenancy agreement to her Jobcentre appointment and struggled to get another appointment quickly. In the meantime, she went to a foodbank and borrowed money from friends and family members to tide her over.

    As people must wait 5 weeks before receiving their first Universal Credit payment, their finances are often already stretched. This is particularly problematic if they have no income beyond an Advance Payment, which they are required to apply for. Any delays to this mandatory wait can then be more acute.

    In total there are 10 stages to making a Universal Credit claim, many of which are time sensitive. If a deadline is missed, a claim may have to be started again. Some people are finding the process so complex that 1 in 4 people who were helped by Citizens Advice spent more than a week completing their claim.

    Despite the demands of making a claim for Universal Credit, there is inconsistent support available with many not even aware it exists. Of those who took part in the research, 45% said they did not know about the support on offer but would have taken it up if they had been.

    Citizens Advice is calling on the government to simplify the claims process, make it easier to provide evidence for extras costs and make sure adequate support is on offer. The charity says these improvements must be urgently put in place as roll out of the new benefit continues to increase.

    Citizens Advice is calling on the government to:

    Introduce an automatic payment for those who don’t get paid on time to help cover their immediate costs

    Extend the support on offer so people can get help when making and completing a claim

    Make it easier for people to provide evidence online at the start of making a claim

    Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

    “While Universal Credit is working for the majority of people, our evidence shows a significant minority are struggling to navigate the system. With people already having to wait 5 weeks as a matter of course for their first payment, any further delays risk jeopardising people’s financial security.

    “Last year the government showed it was listening by taking important steps to improve Universal Credit. Those measures are starting to have an impact, but more needs to be done. Top of the government’s list should be simplifying the process and making sure adequate support is in place so that claims can be completed as quickly as possible.”

    • It just gets worse, there was a news report today about ‘bed poverty’, people who can’t afford beds for their children so they have to sleep 3 to a bed or on the floor. The tories really have turned us right back to Victorian times.

      • There should be better opportunities for people to give away good beds and mattresses to families in need. I see so many good mattresses just dumped in the street.

        Obviously, the mattresses would need to be inspected or treated in case of bed bugs.

        • The news report mentioned a charity (in Leeds I think) tha t has started providing beds to families tha t can’t afford them, whoever heard of such a thing? It was on BBC.

          • As much to the point, why, in country as wealthy as the UK do people need to rely on charity? Also, not so very long ago very poor people would have been entitled to a social security grant for things like new beds and matresses if they needed them – and I mean brand new, not some cast off from a charity.

          • I agree with your point about poverty, Padi.

            Still, there is so much waste in these parts that it seems as though we could use a scheme to re-use beds and mattresses. Perhaps a charity shop dedicated to the cause.

            Many landlords throw out good mattresses and beds in between tenants. I had a landlord who threw out a sofa bed after 3 months because I selected space for my own bed instead of having a bed provided.

          • As I say the safety certificates are an issue but if they do have them then they are normally sold on.

            We have a charity shop close to me and as I say I live in a sought after location, most people round here would not lower themselves to sell items they give it to the charity shop instead. I watch so much good stuff going in everyday and yet never finishes up on the shop floor. when something does it is not far off retail price and certainly not sold at a charitable price.

            I did some digging found out they also used welfare conscripts.
            Then I saw a documentary on this so called charity where all the local shops sent donated gold jewellery and other precious or expensive items to this head office and the amount of stuff they were opening everyday was unbelievable and I would hard a guess only a fraction of what they get is given back to good causes.

          • Everything’s bad with you, isn’t it, Sourchimp? Every pill, every charity, every volunteer…

            It’s still better than throwing mattresses on the street.

          • Sorry to hear you have such a big problem in your area re the mattresses.
            We do not get things thrown on the street around here,the locals would have a fit, the church bells would ring out, children would be hurried indoors.

          • Ha-ha-ha! Wish it was like that round here. We’ve got wet wipes, cans, bottles, paper cups, sandwich wrappers, KFC boxes, McDonalds bags and pizza boxes on every surface: walls, bushes, pavement, electricity cupboards… The gutters are thick with flattened bottles.

            Where do you live? Singapore? Buckingham Palace?

          • I live in what laughingly the locals still call a village but really it is a small suburb on the outskirts of the city, I have lived in inner cities areas and council estates like your describing all my life, it is only recently I have ended up here and was not planned.

            It has its advantages in that a few minutes walk I am in the country side and generally peaceful apart from the bells lol.

            But most who live here have their own cars and so public transport is not so good also expensive to get to the City so stuck with just a couple of high priced stores.

            I was also lucky in that I had to wait before moving in as they had stripped the kitchen and bathroom and replaced them with all new units high tech boiler and shower, my boiler and shower can both be remotely controlled yet the flats small, so only a few steps do it manually.

            Then I got a furniture pack from the council so brand new cooker, washer, fridge/ freezer, 2 seater settee, bed, fully fitted carpets throughout apart from the stairs.

          • I’m surprised people don’t throw things from cars, like they do round here.

            You’re lucky the council provided a furniture pack. I’ve heard that’s not always the case, hence bed poverty.

          • It is far better to leave it on the street where someone in need would take it than give it to a charity shop who will sell it at a price those in need cannot afford.

            But really there should be no need for charities at all for such basics.

          • I think a mattress bank would be more convenient: people would know where to look. It would also protect the mattresses from the rain. They could clean and inspect them and have them certified for fire safety. Then the mattressed could be handed out free.

          • Lucky you living in a sought-after location and all you do is smoke weed all day.

    • Why isn’t there more of a clamour to just abolish UC? Many emphasise that a simplified system is a ‘good idea and even the last Labour administration toyed with the idea of welfare reform. until they looked at how complex it was, and wisely bottled it. The old system may well have been complex and somewhat cumbersome, but people did understand it, and it did work, albeit perhaps not as efficiently as it perhaps could have. However, in a very wealthy country such as the UK that was really of minor concern – far more is wasted on MP’s expenses and failed computer systems…

      Only and idiot like IDS would have considered messing around with a system that basically worked, completely ignoring the epithet that states, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Welfare reform was, and is only one thing in nature, ideological.

      It’s good to hear that Labour are considering trialling UBI, but it’s my guess that the detractors will be listened to, and Labour will bottle it in fear of upsetting the right-wing. It might just have a chance if Labour spend some considerable time and energy in educating people about UBI, it’s history and the outcomes of the various schemes that have been trialled around the world, but also highlighting the caveat that many of these schemes hailed as UBI were in fact not UBI schemes, such as the recently cancelled scheme in Finland. It would need a concerted PR scheme to introduce it and explain to people what it is, and what it isn’t, and crucially, how much it would cost. There is plenty of expertise available from around the world, and especially from Europe, not least Professor Guy Standing who is quite inspirational to listen to on the subject. Lots of info here:

      • Yes, I heard that Universal Basic Income was withdrawn in Finland. How did it differ from a “true” UBI?

        • What is difficult gauge is how they actually define Universal.
          Take Universal Credit, that is far from Universal as it is based on conditions.

          If we say UBI actually defines it has truly Universal then regardless of income everyone will receive it.

          I would prefer a minimum guaranteed income without conditions model and I think would be easier to sell, after all implies everyone will also receive a UBI on top of what they already earning.

        • Hi Alison, in Jan 2017, Finland decided to pay a random sample of 2000 unemployed people between the ages of 25 and 58 a monthly UBI payment of E560 (£475), so it wasn’t every unemployed person. It should also be noted that the average monthly wage in Finland is E2509 (£2108).

          It looks as though the scheme will be withdrawn in Jan 2019, and that Finnish authorities may introduce a scheme to make people work at least 18 hours per month for their benefits.

          • Except that the recent Finnish experiment isn’t and wasn’t intended to be UBI, and couldn’t be. Indeed, when that scheme was being considered it was made clear that the system being considered wasn’t a UBI system, but an experiment to see if such a fixed sum paid to unemployed people saw an increased uptake of employment.

            If it had been a system of UBI it may well have fallen foul of Finland’s constitution which is very egalitarian in nature, and any system would have had to have conformed to being just that, i.e. universal, in that it is paid to everyone.

            However, as is quite common, third rare journos got hold of the facts and wilfully misrepresented them as it being some kind of UBI system, which the Finnish government were at pains to stress upon implementation of the experiment that it was nothing of the sort. It’s actually quite simple and easy to find out the facts about what is and what is not UBI:


        • It was only offered to people already unemployed and didn’t offer anything like enough money to qualify as a basic income capable of sustaining someone. Only the equivalent of £475 a month was given, which isn’t enough to live on in Finland, or even, come to that, the UK – we have to remember that the basic benefit rate should be something like £125 a week, not counting housing costs to even be on par with what was paid to claimants in the 1970s, and not the measly £73.10.

          It’s quite simple, a UBI is a sum of money paid to every person above 18 years of age regardless of whether they work or not, as a basic income, before housing costs are taken into consideration. Anything that doesn’t propose to pay that sum to everyone in a society or imposes conditions on those in reciept of money isn’t UBI, it’s something else entirely and is thus not comparable.

          • Last night’s “American Dad” (ITV2) covered very well the issue of trying to get by on the USA minimum wage. Dad Stan wanted his daughter and boyfriend to move out, so he and his wife tried living away from home on the minimum wage for a month (to prove it was possible). After 2 days, they were sleeping under cars and the daughter and boyfriend caught their dad “burgling” his own house!

            Mind you, it is progress for the USA to have even adopted the concept of a minimum wage!

          • Neil Couling director general of Universal Credit has just tweeted a link to

            “The paper compares their existing system, UBI and hypothesised UC for Finland. Finds UC outperforms other approaches.”

            Which he believes is evidence they are going in the right direction.
            Clutching at straws or what.

            Must say twitter is good when you want to make a point to the right person and especially rewarding when they tweet back with garbage.

  8. in 2016 scientific research showed cannabis increases night vision in vervet monkeys, can you imagine the savings we would make in energy alone by lowering turning off lights at night.

    Sort of makes sense now why I get by on a single 40w lightbulb.

    • Studies have long shown that carrots improve night vision. Carrots are far better for you than cannabis.

      In neither case is there enough night vision not to turn on a light.

      We need to stop experimenting on animals. Monkeys have every right to live their lives in peace, free from human interference and doing what monkeys do: swinging from trees, scratching fleas, eating bananas… The same applies to rats and mice.

      • Yes leave them in peace to do what comes naturally.

        “Animals have the advantage of ignoring all the alarmist-prohibitionist rhetoric that humans have dealt with since the beginning of the twentieth century. They are driven by experience, and they repeat those behaviours that have proved beneficial to them. That is why there is no doubt that they will continue to consume Cannabis whenever it’s within their reach.”

        • Cannabis has no effect on night vision either. It’s propaganda. To hide the fact you’re an addict?

          I wouldn’t believe much of what you say anyway, considering you’re now posting letters after your name. It’s an insult to real doctors, who spend years studying at university. It’s also very misleading to the average person, who might think you’re qualified to make your claims about medicine.

          • Alison I do not want you to believe anything I say, I want you to look at the evidence based on what I am saying.

            I have 40 years experience in providing health care and not lost a patient yet !

            15,000 people died in hospital due to unrelated infections (sepsis) 2016/2017 and many more left with life changing conditions.

            15,000 Human beings died due to the NHS who needs ISIS.

          • Sourchimp, are you playing doctors and nurses now?

            Come on. You are a grown man. You know the difference between a qualified doctor and someone who believes things they read on the internet.

            You weren’t expecting me to take the propaganda story seriously, were you?

            “I can see a light!”

            “No, you just ate too many carrots.”

          • Alison many prescribed and over the counter drugs are addictive, Cannabis is non Addictive and can be used to wean people off addictive substances such as alcohol , heroin and opiates.

            Please do not accept my say so, feel free to expand your horizons and do some research.

            I would suggest a good starting point to understand how some of your comments may appear is for you to establish what is exactly Addiction.

    • That might only be the case when it’s a full moon Rev. My only experience of night vision whilst stoned out of my box was when I became stranded one dark night on my way home when my motorcycle got a puncture on an unclassified road in darkest rural Carnarthenshire in the early 80s some five miles from home which involved a hike in darkness that made it virtually impossible to see my hand in front of my face. However, in such a heightened state of, um, awareness, my imagination did conjure up vague, dim shapes in the darkenss… Not at all fun and just a little bit scary.

      Due to heightened imagination, (and that running riot) as well as various rustlings in the hedges and the screams of foxes and other, unidentified wild animals, (this was the era at the height of big cat sightings) I had a pretty hair-raising walk home with no streetlights until the last quarter mile home.

      Of course, this is only my subjective experience, and it was a long time ago, (long before the advent of skunk and other abominations) and far from being scientific, so YMMMV.

      • Must say that made me smile, had sort of experience same experience out walking in the Forest of Dean late at night when my head torch bulb failed could not see hand in front of face, sky was overcast so just spent the night where I was and made my way back to the tent in morning,during the night I heard some crashing in the woods heading towards me and a stag appeared. Now I am far more at ease out in the wilds in the dark than any street during the day but my heart rate sure increased, much the same when a herd of cows decided to swarm around my tent one night I thought a bunch of drunken local yokels were outside waiting to do whatever drunken local yokels do, well relieved when I finally convinced myself to slowly unzip the tent to see what what was happening outside.

        Early eighties was mainly half decent resins weed was pretty low grade then but occasionally something half decent would come along.

        Then by the 90s due to prohibition resins became un-smokable full of plastic cow shit coffee diesel oil and other such crap.Thankfully by then decent weed was emerging.

        Skunk #1 is the main strain used in legal medicinal products such as savitex.

        A sativica dominant strain would make your senses more acute but a indica dominant strain would relax you.

      • I’ve ridden a motorbike in the dark on the M62 whilst stoned on Skunk, more than once (in the past), felt ok and in control.

        • Same here Trev drove everyday for 30 years (car) on Cannabis and never had a accident once.

          Unlike alcohol where you lose your inhibitions, Cannabis makes you more aware and more likely to drive more carefully.

          I would say some studies have shown that to be the case but evidence does not seem to hold much weight nowadays.

          • Try telling that one to the police when they pull you over, as well!

          • “Yes, officer, I’m stoned, but I’m still safe to drive. Why? Because I smoked cannabis once with a rogue police officer. And I’m a self-styled doctor. And I think I’m safer driving with cannabis than without.”

          • No Alison I would fall on my knees and beg forgiveness, realise the error of my ways try and seek out help maybe visit the NHS take some legal drugs for a change, get myself a convenient tag so I can understand why I feel the way I do, and lo and behold bobs your uncle another productive member of society.

            But you know I am generally happy, fit, feel healthy and mentally stable however much you think otherwise and hurt or harmed no one, so why should I change now after 40 years, surely if it works for me and lets say cannabis does absolutely nothing all and there is no scientific evidence to support my case then the placebo effect alone has saved the NHS tens of thousands of pounds in my health care if I took the traditional route.

            Watch the BBC news and you will see a guy with metal rods for legs he only went in for a scratch.

          • I’m not going on the internet to publicly condone illegal drug-taking. However, there is a difference between your personal choices and your attempt to pose as a doctor with letters after your name and claims of 40 years of treating “patients”. I have a big problem with the posing as a doctor bit. I think it’s very misleading to other people.

            I also think a bit of humility is needed here. Why do you need to claim to be the same as a fully qualified doctor? If you want to be important, try going to college and train yourself up. It’s never too late. You don’t need qualifications from school. You can do a bit of study here and there until you earn a degree of your own. You’re lucky you have lots of time on your hands because you don’t work.

            There are a lot of other people on the internet who post all sorts of pseudo-science, also falsely claiming qualifications. One must be very cautious about believing any medical information on the internet.

            I think you do yourself a disservice by saying things that are obviously untrue. I think you would do better accepting some of the negative things about cannabis. That would give you more credibility.

            Although you are entitled to your opinions, I think it is important to challenge false medical claims. Other people might be reading this. It’s important to warn people of the dangers of taking cannabis.

            Finally, Sourchimp, do you think it’s very wise to post on the internet about growing and taking illegal drugs? Do you think that claims you’re a doctor treating patients could be dug up later and presented as evidence of an attempt to distribute a classified substance? These comments are publicly available over the internet. They never disappear.

          • Alison you have offered no evidence to back up your stupidity apart from say it has to be bad its illegal. when it is in fact legal and is now accepted as having medicinal value. you believe nothing you read online dismissing it has wrong whatever the source based on your still wrong assumption Cannabis is illegal.

            Get over it, Cannabis is considered to have medicinal benefits and is LEGAL in the UK.

            If me practising my own healthcare by growing and taking harmless plant is illegal then it is the law that is wrong not and the law needs changing.

            I am not ashamed of my beliefs or way of life and do not hide in the shadows about what I do, I am open and honest and hope to educate those with open minds and stupidly at times those with closed minds.

            Do you think Dr dre should also be hauled up before the medical board ?

          • Sourchimp, it is really disrespectful to use someone’s blog as a platform to sell illegal drugs. You know very well what the legal status of cannabis is. You are the one who is behaving stupidly and there’s no excuse for insulting people just because they disagree with you.

          • Alison if you took a moment to reflect, it is you who uses insulting words more often than not towards me and it is I more often than not that has turned the other cheek.

            I am pissing in the wind if you cannot accept the fact that Cannabis has been legal in the UK for a few years as a prescribed medicine and doctors in the Autumn may then begin to prescribe Cannabis as an alternative to traditional medicines.

            Only takes a quick google to confirm this yet you still deny it.

            You put your faith in the medical profession and they are now saying it is a safe and useful plant, saves lives,why cant you with your zero years training that you feel is important on this occasion accept what they are saying now?

            As for your ludicrous suggestion I am using this blog as a platform to sell drugs I am sure there are far safer, easier, simpler more productive ways to do that and no where will you ever find a post me saying such a thing because I DO NOT SELL DRUGS.

            I could quite easily setup a website within a few hours right now and legally sell Cannabis medicine to people in the UK and spam my wares legally everywhere but I DO NOT SELL DRUGS.

            Google and see how many sites are doing such a thing.

            You told me I should get out more often maybe you need to also expand your own horizons a little.

          • If you’re not selling drugs, why are you going on and on about how wonderful you think cannabis is, day in and day out? You sound like a pusher to me.

            Why else would you be so keen to condemn medical professionals, Christians, governments and anybody else who seems to stand in the way of rampant distribution of cannabis?

          • Simply put Alison I am for freedom and the right to treat and do with our own bodies as we please.

            I am against all authority where non has been given and you of all should now there is only one authority Alison and that is God and it is he who judges me not you or anyone else.

            When you boil down my argument it comes to down to the rights and freedom to grow for personal consumption a natural god given herb.

            In effect they are banning nature.

            It makes me happy, creative, feeling young mentally (hence my sometimes childish behaviour) prevents illness, help manage many illnesses and fights diseases such as cancer is non toxic and has caused zero deaths.

            But due to hypocrisy, profit and greed these institutions you speak of with such high regard will do everything in their power to convince you otherwise, that Cannabis is dangerous and evil and stop me from exercising my god given rights.

          • No not all but if it were legal to setup micro grows at home and legal to sell on any excess crop at fair trade prices and it would take me off benefits then yes one could say in that scenario I would indeed profit as would the government and society on the whole.

            My last post on the subject as per your wishes.

        • George Michael used to say he was just fine driving under the influence of drugs, in control…until he drove into a shop.

      • Padi, the Big Cat sightings are still happening, one near me not too long ago. The authorities are covering i t up, no Police investiga tion, no follow up report in the local press despite 2 witnesses& photos.

        • I remember a “big cat” in the news turned out to be just created by the angle of the camera! Quite clever, I thought. Completely fooled the journalists!

          There was also the child in the USA who was supposedly carried away on a bunch of helium balloons. It was all over the newspapers and it wasn’t until evening that the journalists realised it was only a spoof. I thought it was a spoof from the moment I saw the story! Otherwise, we’d see a lot of levitating children walking out of McDonalds.

          • Not all the Big Cat sightings are spoofs Alison, there have even been a couple of cases in the past where people were injured when the animal lashed out at them, one a small boy about 10 yr old gashed down the cheek and he drew a very accurate picture of the cat in question which an expert subsequently identified as being a particular type of Leopard, another was a woman clawed down the side of her body by a big cat that sprang pout from behind a gravestone as she and her partner were walking through a graveyard.

            The recent one in my neck of the woods looked convincing, though the photos were taken at some distance by a golfer. Hard to tell but it definitely looks more cat-like than dog:



            but my point is why wasn’t this taken seriously by the Police? IF there are such animals on the loose, and it seems like there are, then why are they not investigating? You would expect that they would have had an animal tracker expert out there to find and identify any footprints and/or fur samples, and marksmen with night-vision goggles. But no, nothing, it’s just ignored or laughed off.

          • I didn’t say ALL big cat sightings were spoofs. I was only referring to one!

            Police don’t do much about most things nowadays, even robbery and violent crime. Cuts and inertia are to blame.

  9. “Tory austerity has delivered the worst decade for UK productivity growth since the 18th century”

    Bitesize: The past decade’s productivity growth in historical context

    (Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Bank of England or its policy committees.)

  10. My previous GP was vehemently anti-drug but knew nothing about it. He didn’t know Skunk is bud, though t people were smoking leaf! He didn t know Ecstasy is a type of amphetamine. He tried telling me tha t magic mushrooms are lethal, and came out with tha t old chestnu t about people jumping out of windows on LSD. I told him the only time tha t’s ever happened is when the CIA threw people out of windows after spiking them. He became quite angry with me. PMSL 🙂

    • Pmsl that’s what happens when you rock someone’s world, there are few guides going round how to tackle getting your doctor to consider replacing traditional medicine with cannabis based medicine when it become easier to obtain in the Autumn.

      Some interesting results when I looked at the latest more accurate figures DWP which have recently been released surprisingly appears to show those sanctioned on JSA levels are actually lower now than they were under Labour. And JSA still accounts for the largest proportion of claims.

          • Ask yourself why would I need a medical certificate to obtain Cannabis but not for alcohol or tobacco unless your blind to the problems they cause.

            If it is not a profit motivated agenda to stop the use of Cannabis and they are doing it for the good of the nation then why not also ban those those as well. I am sure you are not blind to the damage they do.

          • Sourchimp, you’ve made your point enough now, don’t you think? This is not a blog post about cannabis! We’ve heard enough propaganda for your side of the debate and people can make up their minds.

            You say you’re not selling. So we can do without the hard sell, can’t we?

          • Happy to oblige Alison I think we both have said our piece about religion immigration and drugs let us RID ourselves of this path and say no more and let history be our judge ?

            You know it makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.