Labour lost. Stop the infighting. People can’t afford lefty petulance.

Am gracing you all with the tweets below, because I can’t stand the Labour intra-party bitching I’m seeing on twitter and facebook (could be a certain irony in going on twitter to attack people for being on twitter, but let’s do it).

Labour failed for a million reasons, supreme among which was and is a poisonous and self-indulgent factionalism that couldn’t be less interesting to 99.9% of the rest of us.

The main moral of the teachings below: get off fucking twitter and go and do something useful for the many people in poverty who really will need support when Boris Johnson gets going (those already making such contributions are of course excused from this instruction. Go well).

The harsh truth: outside of lefty and Labour circles, nobody gives a damn what goes on in those circles. I’ve been talking to people at jobcentres and foodbanks for over 10 years and literally nobody has ever said anything along the lines of, “how about that Owen Jones then,” or, “isn’t Margaret Hodge a witch,” or “yay, Novara media,” or “oh, Jeremy Corbyn,” or, “can I get involved in my local Labour branch,” or “how do I join Unite,” or anything remotely near those. People say things like, “I’m in arrears and they’re going to evict me,” and “I’m at court next week for council tax,” and, “I only got 2 days’ work this week and they didn’t text me this morning, so I’m fucked.”

So:

 

 

 

So that’s twitter told. Simple stuff, I know, but surely no less sophisticated than a tweet in which some thinker calls Jonathan Freedland a prick, or Owen Jones a cock, or Watson a fanny, or Corbyn a bellend, or whatever.

How you can help

Going to add to this list – here are some activist groups that I work with and you can get involved in. Leave your politics and views (and goddamned phone) at home, and put people who need support at front and centre:

Kilburn unemployed workers’ group – user-led benefits support group which holds a weekly meeting and clinic for people who are struggling with what remains of the benefits “system.” Leaflets regularly at jobcentres.

Stockport United Against Austerity – same as above, in Stockport.

Charlotte’s weekly leafleting, advice and food parcels session at Ashton Under Lyne jobcentre.

Focus E15: weekly leafleting session outside Wilko on the Stratford Broadway. Hand out leaflets. Talk with the many people who have shocking housing problems. Offer to go to housing meetings at the council if people want that.

There will also be your local foodbank(s) – usually plural. If there are limits to the time you can spare, make donations.

Etc

PS – took the Get Over It out of the heading because misinterpretation. The rest of it – carry on. Am in the last couple of weeks of finishing my book, so normal service will resume in the New Year.

288 thoughts on “Labour lost. Stop the infighting. People can’t afford lefty petulance.

  1. I am a Labour party member. If YOU don’t mind I think I will take a few days to get over this dreadful result, the consequences of which will be felt for generations. Some of us do not have the luxury of academic distance and money to ‘get over it’ quite that quickly.

  2. I’m not a member of any party but am devastated by the prospect of another 5 years of the Tories. I still got up early Friday morning though and went to work at the foodbank where we were all rushed off our feet, inundated with Xmas donations and faced with the mammoth task of sorting it in time to be given out next week, a huge undertaking by a handful of volunteers.

    • It’s fucking dreadful.

      It’s really the sort of twitterati glitterati I’m having a go at here. Just a whole lot of fingerpointing, point scoring and ranting. Literally does my head in.

      • Before the 5 years are over I think the public will have had enough because by then the damage will be too obvious for anyone to ignore. The situation we’ve got now can only get worse – poverty, homelessness, deaths, sanctions, etc. Plus whatever the fallout of Brexit will be, people who trusted Boris are in for a rude awakening, it’s just a matter of time. Give ’em enough rope. Meantime, we all knuckle down and carry on,regardless of Political mudslinging on the internet or verbal diarrhoea in Westminster.

        • I wish I could be as hopeful Trev – you’ve seen what the USA is like, haven’t you?

          That should have been enough of a warning for anyone 20 years ago, let alone in five years time.

          • Maybe we’ll become the next State of America, like a colder, wetter, version of Hawaii.

          • I’m not sure they’d actually like that as the US state of Anglia would command far too much political influence because of the size of the population – standing at just under 56 million, it would dwarf even the USA’s biggest state by some 20 million. Just think how influential California is on the USA and then increase it!

            One would however hope that the scenario described below never came to pass 😛

            “A Welshman, Scot and Englishman are walking when they come across a lantern and a genie pops out and grants them one wish each.

            The Scot says: “I am a sheep herder, like my dad before me. I want my country to be full of lovely sheep farms.”

            Whoosh, and so it was.

            The Englishman was amazed and says: “I want a wall around England to keep those damned Scots and Welsh out.”

            Bang, there was a wall around England.

            The Welshman says: “Tell me more about this wall.”

            The genie says: “It’s 200 feet high, 100 feet thick, it goes all around England, and nothing can get in or out.”

            The Welshman says: “Fill it with water.”

      • Talking of Labour in-fighting and Lefty petulance, there’s a right storm brewing in the Labour party now. Apparently a report has been leaked that proves that many Labour officials conspired to undermine Corbyn and stab him in the back and to prevent Labour from winning the election. Starmer seems to want to whitewash the report, instead of kicking out the guilty ones he’s launching an inquiry into why the report was commissioned and how it was leaked, which is irrelevant and misses the point entirely. Some of the people involved were actually debating whether it would be better to vote Conservative to stop Corbyn. It’s a nest of Vipers. But probably unlikely to get any news coverage at the moment.

  3. Good post Kate. As regular readers of this blog will be aware I’m no stranger to expressing my opinions in my comments.

    I understand your frustration at the sheer bloody pettiness of much of the chattering left who seem to be concerned with what we in Wales now refer to as “ishoos” by which is meant concerns that are only relevant if you’re place yourself pretty high up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but a complete irrelevance to someone who struggles to score even just one of the first three needs.

    It’s not that the ishoos aren’t important in and of themselves, but once they assume a proportion that trumps the real every day struggles for existence of far too many people in society you know something is very seriously wrong.

    Since the election result I’ve been chatting to some friends, and I’m meeting one tomorrow evening for a few pints where no doubt the issues faced by people at a community level will come up. I don’t know if anything will come of any of these chats, but at the very least we’re starting to discuss the fightback and how we can help people defend themselves.

    • Cheers Padi. Hope the meeting goes well 🙂 Think I’ll be taking some time off social media for the above reasons. Does my head in.

      • I use Facebook rather more than I should, (it’s the only way I can keep up with all my nieces and nephews!) but I am a very pedestrian user and mainly use it for chat and sharing stuff I come across on my interweb wanderings.

        I’ve never really understood the point of Twitter, as it seems to me to just be a medium for disseminating trivialities with not many words – something anathema to me on both counts! Increasingly I find that I have to prepare even my Facebook Messenger posts in a word processor as Messenger doesn’t appear to have any other way of sorting posts into paragraphs.

        Or maybe I’m just overly verbose?

        • I think there’s good and bad, like so many things 🙂 Putting aside the massive issues around data mining and political interference (doesn’t sound good when I write it out like that),I find fb good for keeping in touch with people in the home country and it has been good for circulation of stories which haven’t been of great interest to mainstream outlets. Twitter is also good for circulation and I’ve met some good people on there – gone on to meet up etc. I find twitter v difficult at, say, election time. It really is like walking into a packed pub where everyone is screaming Prick at each other. Once a week on a Friday night is fine, but maybe not 24-7.

          • In one of my FB discussions last night I suggested, tongue in cheek, (well, sort of) that we should use Telegram for organising, and Facebook for misinformation so we send both the police and the Socialist Worker’s Party to the wrong place!

      • Meeting did go well, despite the best efforts of Transport for Wales to totally mess up our public transport system. My friend, who was coming all the way from Haverfordwest, 80 miles away faced a horrendous 3 and half hour journey.

        Transport for Wales is the new ‘nationalised’ transport authority for Wales and much of the Marches. The Welsh government, (Labour) promised us nationalised trains, but what we have is a clusterfuck run by Keolis Amey as an ‘arms length’ company. SInce it started operations it’s been responsible for constant delays and cancellations and is, if anything, even worse than the service provided by Arriva Cymru when they had the franchise. Not only did the trains not run properly, none of the timetables were available in Welsh, and much of the Welsh language signage contained spelling or grammatical errors, not that this affected the train services as they were often not running anyway.

        It’s a bit academic now, but one would hope that Labour at a UK level would have been better than Welsh Labour have been at ‘nationalisation’.

        Anyway, meeting went well, and we chatted about things. My friend is a community councillor and he was telling me that even community councils can achieve some pretty amazing things if they have the right balance of people on them. We briefly discussed some ideas, but then he discovered that the last train back had been cancelled, so he’d have to take a train an hour earlier. He would have stayed in Cardiff, but he had work in the morning.

        Whilst I was on the bus home I received a text from him – evidently TfW couldn’t find a driver for the train! I believe it eventually left half an hour late, but this meant that he’d travelled for something approaching eight hours for less than a couple of hours in Cardiff.

        We’ll be picking the conversation up again at a later date when I will go and see him as I have more time as I can stay overnight and have free bus travel… though the bus journey Cardiff to Haverfordwest is over four hours – for 80 miles!

        Mind you, when I go to visit my partner in crime in the Valleys for these ideas we’re bouncing around it’s a bus journey of an hour a three quarters just to go twenty miles as the crow flies, as the bus meanders a bit.

        TfW are also responsible for building the South East Wales Metro… I’ve stockpiled popcorn to watch that roll out.

        • 3 or 4 hours for 80 miles isn’t that bad compared to bus journeys in West Yorkshire. It can take 2&half hours from Huddersfield to Leeds, about 15 miles depending on the traffic /road works etc. The actual timetables are pure fiction. Buses between my house and my sister’s about 3 miles away are supposed to be every 10 mins. but I’ve often been stood at the bus stop freezing (no shelter) for 40 mins. And it used to take me the best part of 2 hours just to get from Huddersfield to Dewsbury.

          • That 3 hours plus is by train, which I think is pretty apalling given that it’s on the mainline route to Fishguard. By bus the timing is perhaps not so bad, but still needs improvement – but then that would necessitate some buses being limited stop express buses. Not impossible to do as in the early 80s ExpressWest ran all the way from Aberystwyth to Bristol where it connected to coaches to London. But those were the days of a nationalised bus company.

    • DIY Politics is where it’s at Padi, practical ways of helping people at grassroots level. Westminster sure isn’t going to help us.

      • I completely agree with you there Trev!

        Even Cardiff Bay isn’t any help, and there is speculation that this is partly why large tracts of North Wales turned into Toryland… They feel so remote from Cardiff and South East Wales where the bulk of the population lives.

        The fightback most definitely needs to start in the street outside our front doors.

        • And in the village halls, community centres, church rooms, etc. anywhere you can set-up an Advice & Advocacy facility, a Soup Kitchen, a foodbank, or to put on fund-raisers gigs etc. in aid of existing local organizations, or a place where the homeless can drop-in for a wash and a free hot cuppa, free blankets/sleeping bags, warm coats etc. There are places like that already in some areas, such as Simon on the Streets in the Leeds/Bradford/Hudds. areas, or the Methodist Missions. Lots of people are already working away if not ‘behind the scenes’ then beneath the official rada, though some do have links with local Councils and other groups in the loop. You can either volunteer for an existing organization or set-up something yourselves. For instance,the Welcome Centre in Hudds. is an independent charity organization that works closely with the Mission and provides office space for an homelessness outreach worker from another organization, and also rents a van from the Council, whilst also enjoying the sponsorship of several local businesses and relying also on the generosity of private individuals, schools and churches for donations, alongside regular fund-raiser gigs and events.

          • We tried a free shop… people were very suspicious about stuff for free! We couldn’t credit it, but there we go, nowt so queer as folk, eh?

            We did manage to really wind up some local charity shop managers though, that was a hoot!

            We aren’t very fond of charities here, as most of them quite happily availed themselves of the DWP’s free slave scheme – for which we will never forgive them.

            I’m sure we could do something around food though, or putting on some kind of benefit – perhaps in aid of our own embryonic organisation that we started about four years ago, but it never really took off due to lack of people.

          • Yes Padi, some of the charities did get involved in Workfare; the RSPCA, British Heart Foundation, Salvation Army, to name a few, but others refused, Oxfam for example. I was meaning more like the small independent charitable organizations that help the poor, Street Kitchens, (some) Foodbanks, Soup Kitchens etc.

          • Yeah, I know that Oxfam didn’t exploit Workfare slaves, but their turning of a blind eye to ‘sex for aid’ in Haiti put them beyond the pale.

            We don’t like the idea of charity in general, as the whole notion is patronising with the suggestion that those claiming it are somehow defective in some way, or have failed. We use the slogan ‘Solidarity not Charity’

            I’m sure we’ll think of something that no-one else is doing.

          • You could start a knitting workshop, wooly hats for the homeless 😄 or if you’re feeling more adventurous could branch out into socks too. I think there could be a gap in the market for a Anarchists Knitting Club.

          • I’ll run that one by my accomplice Trev, I’m sure she’ll have a good giggle at that one! Anarchist Knitting Club indeed!

  4. Kate here all,

    I’ve removed 2 posts that referred to an activist. I don’t know what the story is and tbh I’m not that big on picking individuals out esp atm. Sorry to be high handed but that’s where I’d rather things were at here.

    • I think you are correct in not wanting to highlight individuals. Indeed, as everyone here will know, it’s been a fundamental weakness of left leaning movements since time began, and our enemies know this and use it to divide us. Isn’t it the search for scapegoats that brought us into this situation in the first place?

      Socialists are bad enough, but even they aren’t as off the scale as the anarchist sorority/fraternity – if that isn’t actually an oxymoron! Though thinking about it, we on the left do tend to squabble like siblings, which perhaps just means that it’s time to grow up and leave childish things behind.

      We need to re-learn what solidarity is, what it really means.

      • Yep. Not pointing the finger at anyone in particular and everyone is welcome to comment generally. The comments on this site are often better than the posts 🙂

  5. I found this article whilst engaged in an insomniac browsing session in the wee small hours today:
    https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/someone-interfered-in-the-uk-election-and-it-wasnt-russia-b98700a4a12?

    Kind of sets the scene for what we are up against, as if we didn’t know. It’s just a shame that all those working class people who voted Tory didn’t know this too. I particularly like the hopefullness that it all can be overcome and that it’s people genuinely relating to one another that is key.

  6. Johnson’s head of policy is from Oldham, so your patch is represented in high places. The people who put Johnson in power want better public services and end to poverty in their communities. Johnson has made the NHS and public services his top priority. If Labour gets its act together and Johnson has not sorted out homelessness and extreme poverty he will be voted out. So keep speaking up because your voice will be heard.

    • You don’t mean that twat Cummings do you, is he from Oldham? That’s a bit too close for comfort for me! Oldham is no’but t’other side o’ t’Pennines from me.

      • no. He is from Durham. I mean Munira Mirza. Formerly a member of The Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain, now co-writing Boris’s manifesto and one of his key advisors.

    • I’m sure that the people who voted Johnson into power want a lot of things, better public services and an end to poverty as well as the NHS safeguarded, but they will be extremely disappointed.

      Hint: the reason they’re in poverty, ill health and suffering poor services is because of the Tories

      Just think Grenfell aftermath, except on a far larger scale.

      Also, with a majority like the one Johnson has, he can do whatever he likes. If people want things, they’re going to have to start finding ways of providing them themselves. Johnson is likely to be in power for at least five years. Enough time to make people suffer a lot more so that the Tory’s rich friends can enjoy even more unimaginable wealth that they don’t need.

        • Yes, because they didn’t like Corbyn. As one writer I recently read described it, that’s like burning down the house because you don’t like the curtains.

          I became pretty incredulous at the number of people seemingly unable to articulate a coherent argument as to why they wouldn’t vote for Corbyn even though they liked his policies – contradicting themselves, sometimes within the space of a single paragraph and the contradiction not obviously sticking out a mile.

          So many times we can see the effects of propaganda in those kinds of comments, and how devastatingly effective it can be when launched upon a populace not familiar with concepts such as critical thinking, or even a proper understanding of democracy. Part of the problem is that critical thinking isn’t taught in the schools, and democracy might be something mentioned in the abstract, but has to wait until someone reaches 18 years of age before they can involve themselves in the process in any meaningful way. Democracy, I think, should be something practiced meaningfully from kindergarten upwards so that people learn about making decisions, their implications and the responsibilities involved. They’d also learn that democracy means that you can change your mind if and when you realise you’ve made a mistake.

          What a world it would be were our MPs delegates subject to instant recall and not representatives who once voted for represent no-one but themselves and vested interests in far too many cases. But for this to happen, there would have to be an outbreak of democracy generally, and I don’t think most people want that kind of responsibility when there’s an MP or leader they can scapegoat, as we’re seeing now with Labour’s internal shitstorm of recriminations. It’s disgusting to see so many capitulating and swallowing Tory propaganda and indulging in the blame game against Corbyn and McDonell.

          However much the Tories now look upon the Labour party with glee and gloating, it’s my guess that it won’t be long before the cracks appear. And I think it will be former members of the Tory party who will be instrumental in destroying Johnson. They may be ex Tories, but they aren’t fascist enablers who allow people like Tommy Robinson to join the party – something that even UKIP wouldn’t allow.

          • Yes, from what I read over the last couple of years it was because he had a beard…erm…or allegedly wore sandals or something like that, or because he was a “Communist” and was working for Russia (which isn’t Communist) or was it a vegetarian? No wait, it was because he was a member of the IRA but later joined Hamas, or that he liked hummus…etc.

  7. If Corbyn had really wanted to do something for millions of the underprivileged he could have publicly stated that the benefit sanctions regime is a covert euthanasia programme that prematurely kills over 10,000 chronically sick and terminally ill benefit claimants each year. I have evidence which proves benefit claimants are denied all their human rights in relation to the DWP and the only place I can publicise this is on my website. See http://www.framedbythedwp.co.uk

  8. ‘Lefty petulance’ eh? I DO know what you mean Kate, but find this thread fucking bloody irritating, because I also see Lefty petulance as attacking anything to do with the Left, as has occurred here.

    This has bloody well pissed me of once before. It does not take much intellect to work out that it is only the bloody ‘Left’ STILL today just after this election who stand any bloody chance of defeating cunt Conservatives! It won’t be this or that minor idealist party which have the same damn chance of the Raving Loony’ whatever party of getting into Government.
    I am sick to bloody death of the fucking bloody idealists who will never get into Government taking stupid bloody kicks at those who stand any chance of achieving that, because it does not fit with their narrow fucking ideals!

    What a sodding privileged position to be in; the moral high ground of those in their political idealogy ivory towers passing judgement on the only fucking alternative to the virulent scum just election to power by one issue shitheads!

    I HATE the congenital idiots within the Labour Party (AND BLOODY TORY PARTY BTW!) who turn into whiny little gits and back stab, pointing the bone at the very obvious scapegoat.
    But by God I despise those who look on this as a feeding opportunity to take a free shot at the ‘Left’ and the ‘Socialists’.

    WE did this.WE did it. WE ignored every other issue, but one—-or at least a majority did.

    ………..And oh the horror my dears! I was volunteeering in my charity shop yesterday (one who DOES NOT take ‘DWP slaves’). And my Manager-the sweetest caring person you could mean (that’s from a cynic), -told me: ‘I voted Conservative this time; you know why? because we have to get Brexit through’.
    I didn’t flay him. I didn’t pick up something and fucking well hit him with it. I made the man a cup of tea.
    But I hated what he did and told him so; and told him why. This compassionate man ignored the suffering of so many in our society, and voted on only one issue that WILL condemn many of his fellow human beings to death.
    He’s kind; yet he did that. He’s kind…

    And just finally for some of you smug idealist bastards: don’t condemn these charity shops. I wanted to change my Will which leaves all to this charity, but this same man has stopped me because of the work this charity does (and provably does do), for a certain sector of society.
    I wanted to change it because of the way most all of this scum sucking charities treat their retail staff. Its across the board. Paid retail charity staff are treated like shit on shoes. He’s stood up to it, unlike the acquiescent little manager sheep in other branches, who offered support, -and then withdrew.
    Wednesday morning: a meeting with a scummy bitch of a ‘Manager’ who has caused the walkout/resignation of two previous Managers.
    It’s a suspension or sacking, yet this guy has lifted the income of that branch to the highest in the region.
    He and one other paid member of staff are the two nicest human beings I have met in recent years (despite his voting habit!), who take pride that they’ve ‘met targets’. Fucked if I know why. They are shown no loyalty/no lunch breaks/tea breaks/toilet breaks.
    I have seen this ugly and hidden side of charities for many many months, and they should be exposed for it, but they never are.
    Retail charity staff have enough to cope with without being criticised here.

    Yes, I’m pissed. I am sick to death of criticism from certain of you here who make comment on what you know fuck all about.

    • I think your manager has made the same mistake as many other people in voting Tory because they believe that Boris can “get Brexit done”. It’ll be at least another year before it gets completed and even then many years more of dealing with the aftermath, because Boris sure as hell won’t push through some amazing deal that benefits the people of this country, only one that will benefit the rich Hedge Fund managers who are backing him. The rest of us are screwed.

    • If you mean me Linda then at least have the decency to say so. I was expressing an opinion which I am entitled to and I do know what I’m talking about having campaigned hard against those charities that took on DWP slaves, which is the vast majority around here.

      I’ve also represented workers, both paid and DWP slaves who have worked for charities, so I know just how disgusting they can be – and I’ve always won the case.

      I have always been against charity as it’s usually just a way of pe-pole like the Tories to salve their consciences. I frequently show solidarity with those in a worse situation to me.

      I have not criticised your choice of choosing to work for a charity, as that is something between you and your conscience.
      So don’t you dare to criticise me, you know fuck all about me.

      • What a shat of a day, but here I am.

        OK Padi: ‘Decency’ doesn’t enter into anything much nowadays, so that comment doesn’t concern me; you knew damn well I was talking about you!
        (And btw you are not alone in being entitled to express an opinion. Me too).

        You’ve done the same thing again! I am quite sure (I mean that) that you have done all kinds of commendable things in pursuit of your beliefs. It doesn’t necessarily make you right though, just as it does not me. It also does not mean you are the only one pursuing those ideals and beliefs, there are thank Glod quite a few of us doing the same thing.

        It’s really very simple Padi; I finally got pissed off with your staunch idealism that everything you believe in is the one gospel truth, and every other political belief system is to be condescended to and ridiculed.
        You go your hardest on the scum sucking filth that are literally killing people by their brutal policies, but; -whilst I don’t have any illusions about the only real alternative, it IS the only real alternative.

        You (in my opinion….) are an idealist; I am a pragmatical cynic. I suspect we have both worked damned hard to change things. You don’t have dibs on that.
        Interestingly you seem to have concentrated on only one issue here, so let’s go with that:

        Clearly you have an obsessive need to prove what you have done with regard to charities. Your view is so strident that you remind me of Boadicea! (or Buddug in Welsh I believe).
        I don’t give a monkey’s testicles that you have ‘won every case’ though!

        I’m impressed with the charity/Tory conspiracy theory however. The wee buggers! who would ever have guessed that they are the force behind charity shops.
        As for ‘not criticising my choice of working for a charity’. Fess up kiddo; you’ve criticised just about anything that does not meet with your highbrow belief system. (We all do that of course, but most of us are only too well aware of it).

        Righty ho! Nearly finished. It has never even occurred to me, or any of the decent human beings I have worked with to have a ‘conscience’ about working/volunteering for a charity. Nice little ply on condemnation there, -well done (but not criticising of course..)

        And just like in reverse, I might know fuck all about your you, but I know a fucking lot about your fucking opinions, as you do me. And as you have so succinctly pointed out in regard to yourself, I too am entitled to disagree with them.

        I’ll say it again. Paid staff in those charity shops (you’ve made this a central issue), are treated disgracefully. To then vilify them on top of that is something I will respond to whenever I see fit.
        Criticism is the working model here, isn’t it Padi?

        Look forward to chatting further, but not tomorrow.
        ………….I’m volunteering in a charity shop……
        OH THE HORROR!!!!!!

        • Linda, no matter what I say, you’re going to twist it to mean whatever you want.

          I was tempted to give a fuller response, but all I’m going to say to you is, go for it, have a rant at me, get incandescent with rage if it helps.

          We are not enemies Linda, we are on the same side. From now onwards I will only respond to you if you respond to me in a calm and measured way.

          • Padi; cut the crap!
            This post alone shows that you are a past master at ‘twisting’!

            ‘Tempted to give a fuller response’: code for measure reasoned post!

            ‘Rant/have a go at me/incandescent with rage’: (bleedin’ hell Padi you’re brilliant with words!!). Code for: ‘I’M calm/I’M reasonable/-but YOU are hysterical and angry!’

            Padi, Padi, Padi, you sneaky little scamp you! NONE of that showed in my post; NONE. Humour did though, because I couldn’t take you seriously. That I swear is not being patronising. I was stumped that decent charity (shop) workers all over this country ‘should have a conscience’ about that work. Fair dinkum; it stunned me, and I talked to one of them yesterday, and will be talking to two more when we meet for a Christmas lunch today.
            Two of the nicest people you could meet who work tirelessly and are treated contemptibly. (I shortly will be doing something about that; I’ve had enough).
            These two particularly, ‘held me above the water’ when I was drowning. I owe them; I respect them; and I will defend them and those like them; –and there are so many in this country working as they do amidst the rubble of the Tory wrecking ball.

            No we are not enemies, but here is the twisting again: WHEN I respond to you ‘in a calm and measured way’??
            I am a lawyer; you are a lawyer?? Take a look at my response to you again.
            That comment from you is patronising; it’s disengenuous; -and that really doesn’t become you Padi.

            What I DID respond to in part was this: ”So don’t you dare to criticise me, you know fuck all about me.”
            Calm and measured Padi?

            And this: ”I have not criticised your choice of choosing to work for a charity, as that is something between you and your conscience.”
            Do I really have to say anything about what you wrote here?

            Belgravia is a bloody good site, I ‘enjoy’ its focus; I ‘enjoy’ the mass of information Trev puts up; the work of Kate.
            So we will continue; we may or may not clash, but we will continue, because that is what we do here.

          • Linda, here is a response, because, and I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but some things you’ve written in your latest comment have illuminated something.

            You may well have intended the things you said as humour, but it didn’t come across that way – it came across as angry, and yes, at times you have made comments that suggested that you were something approaching ‘incandescent with rage’. Now you may, or may not wish to accept that, but I assure you, that genuinely is the impression I got. Humour doesn’t always translate online, which is why people use emoticons and other ways of ensuring people know whether or not the piece being written is to be taken with some levity or not. Humour is also very personal, and can easily be misunderstood, and frequently is in online communications.

            Now do you understand my position, and why I responded the way I did?

            You did seem to make some comments which could be seen as sarcastic, but again, ambiguity prevents me from being emphatic. But sarcasm isn’t always humourous, and can be seen as being aggressive.

            And sorry to disagree with you, but I have never suggested that anyone should have a conscience, just that most people do. My comment was not meant to be in any way condemnatory or critical – merely that if someone wants to do something and they’re okay with that, then obviously they’ll be doing it with a clear conscience according to their own values.

            You’ve also enlightened me with your complaint, if that’s the correct word, when you say that I was being patronising. I’m sorry you felt that way, that wasn’t my intention, but a response very much in line with my impression that you were, at the very least, aggressive. Now I’m prepared to accept that you were expressing your humour, but how the hell was I supposed to work that out – we weren’t in the same room, there was no audio, so I was short of quite a lot of cues. I forget how much of communication is non-verbal, but I know, and I’m sure you do too, that it’s a considerable amount.

            None of my comments about charities should have been extrapolated to include those who worked in them, especially the deeply caring people who give of their time generously. I think the only charity shop workers I mentioned were some rather irate managers that we upset because we were undercutting them with the free clothing and children’s items stall we’d set up on the main street opposite them. We were also distributing leaflets decrying Workfare. The leaflets listed all those charity shops because they were using Workfare conscripts. We did it purposely, because all three of those charity shops were exploiting people sent there on Workfare, and we had a lot of very reliable evidence that not only were those manages mistreating those workers, but shopping them to the DWP and as a result some of them got sanctioned. One of them was also involved in some serious defrauding of the charity she worked for it later transpired, (though the rumours started much earlier). Am I supposed to overlook that kind of behaviour in the interests of solidarity? At the time I was conflicted, in a miniscule way, but it was there. It was an easy decision that my solidarity was with the workers, some of whom had reached out to us. I was heavily involved in the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) at the time. I’m glad you feel solidarity to those workers who helped you, and I wish you well with whatever you intend to do in their aid. I’m sure you’ll do them proud – and I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end – my experience here has been more than enough 🙂

            There is caveat to everything I write or say. What I write should be taken at face value, i.e, don’t read between the lines, because if you see anything there, then sorry, but you’ve imagined it. I know, I know, people are a sarcastic bunch, and it wouldn’t be the first time that someone has completely misunderstood something I’ve either said, or written. I can be sarcastic, as you can imagine, but in my comments here I can assure you that any sarcasm has been completely unintentional. I have trouble deciphering code between the lines, and having to second guess abiguities -so now I refuse to even attempt, even though it sometimes means my responses are to the literal meanings of questions and not the implied.

            I’m also aware that some of my comments have irritated you, but sorry, that goes with the territory doesn’t it? I’m irritated by the apparently humourous critique (?) of someone who comes at me out of the blue accusing me of all sorts of petty misdemeanours, but that’s only because I’ve apparently misunderstood their tack 🙂 And that irritation on my part was because I felt I was under attack – I’m being genuine here.

            You may take issue with my support for a minority political groups, and what I think, (and no, I don’t care what anyone thinks of me for thinking what I do, any more than you care about what anyone thinks of your ideals) Am I right? Of course I’m not. And more fool you if you took me that seriously. I mean what I say, but I think I’ve indicated that I often do things contrary to my ideal, and yes, I am an idealist, (I’m also told I’m a romantic, but I don’t see that) but I’m also a realist in the end: I don’t like charity, but what I should have added is that I because detest the need for charity, not the ordinary people working in the sector at ‘grass roots’ level.

            Finally, a question: Do you really consider me as being good with words, or were you just being a little sarcastic? I’m being genuine here, and ask because several people who don’t know me particularly well have recently expressed similar sentiments – I am genuinely confused. I know I’m articulate, and can communicate well, (too well sometimes when there are some people who read things that just aren’t there! 🙂 ) but I’ve never really considered myself as good with words, or that I can write well.

            I think I get you at least a little bit Linda, but, you being a lawyer, surely you could have paused for a moment and thought ‘hang on, does this person really mean this, or is there a different interpretation? I may be wrong, but isn’t being ‘good with words’ and an awareness that sometimes there are different interpretations and nuances something of basic requirement for a lawyer? 😛

          • Padi crap 19/12/19 -9.50pm

            I HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO USE CAPS TO
            DIFFERENTIATE. DON’T USE IT AS ANGER, BUT I SUSPECT YOU WILL.
            ______________________________________________

            OK PADI. NOW YOU ARE BECOMING ANNOYING. THIS LENGTHY LECTURE IS LIKE BEING IN OUT IN FRONT OF THE HEADMISTRESS!!!

            Linda, here is a response, because, and I’m not sure if you’re aware of it, but some things you’ve written in your latest comment have illuminated something. I HAVE ‘ILLUMINATED’ ONLY WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO SEE THAT WAY.

            You may well have intended the things you said as humour, but it didn’t come across that way – it came across as angry, and yes, at times you have made comments that suggested that you were something approaching ‘incandescent with rage’. BULLSHIT! YET AGAIN YOU INTERPRET TO PUT YOURSELF IN THE RIGHT.
            Now you may, or may not wish to accept that, but I assure you, that genuinely is the impression I got. Humour doesn’t always translate online, which is why people use emoticons and other ways of ensuring people know whether or not the piece being written is to be taken with some levity or not. Humour is also very personal, and can easily be misunderstood, and frequently is in online communications. PATRONISING CRAP AS WITH THE USE OF EMOTICONS TO ILLUSTRATE YOUR POINT. DON’T TALK DOWN TO ME.

            Now do you understand my position, and why I responded the way I did?
            AGAIN. YOU ARE TELLING ME I ‘UNDERSTAND YOUR POSITION’!

            You did seem to make some comments which could be seen as sarcastic, but again, ambiguity prevents me from being emphatic. But sarcasm isn’t always humourous, and can be seen as being aggressive. AGAIN. WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING PADI?

            And sorry to disagree with you, but I have never suggested that anyone should have a conscience, (READ YOUR POST AGAIN. SHEESH!) just that most people do. My comment was not meant to be in any way condemnatory or critical – merely that if someone wants to do something and they’re okay with that, then obviously they’ll be doing it with a clear conscience according to their own values. WHAT SMARMY CRAP! THIS ENTIRE POST REEKS OF ”WHO ME” INNOCENCE. IT IS AS TRANSPARENT AS HELL.

            You’ve also enlightened me with your complaint, if that’s the correct word, when you say that I was being patronising. I’m sorry you felt that way, that wasn’t my intention, but a response very much in line with my impression that you were, at the very least, aggressive. Now I’m prepared to accept that you were expressing your humour, but how the hell was I supposed to work that out – we weren’t in the same room, there was no audio, so I was short of quite a lot of cues. I forget how much of communication is non-verbal, but I know, and I’m sure you do too, that it’s a considerable amount. MORE, YET MORE OF THE SAME. I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU ARE ‘PREPARED TO ACCEPT’; DON’T YOU GET IT?

            None of my comments about charities should have been extrapolated to include those who worked in them, especially the deeply caring people who give of their time generously. TOO LATE. TO BLOODY LATE. I think the only charity shop workers I mentioned were some rather irate managers (NOPE. READ YOUR OWN POST AGAIN-YOU HAVE MADE SOME DAMN GOOD PLACID PEOPLE VERY ANNOYED WITH YOUR STRIDENT CRITICISM OF CHARITY SHOPS;-ONE A VETERAN OF 30 YEARS) that we upset because we were undercutting them with the free clothing and children’s items stall we’d set up on the main street opposite them. We were also distributing leaflets decrying Workfare. The leaflets listed all those charity shops because they were using Workfare conscripts. We did it purposely, because all three of those charity shops were exploiting people sent there on Workfare, and we had a lot of very reliable evidence that not only were those manages mistreating those workers, but shopping them to the DWP and as a result some of them got sanctioned. One of them was also involved in some serious defrauding of the charity she worked for it later transpired, (though the rumours started much earlier). Am I supposed to overlook that kind of behaviour in the interests of solidarity? (BLAH BLAH BLAH. THAT DID NOT ENTITLE YOU TO CONDEMN THE WHOLE LOT). At the time I was conflicted, in a miniscule way, (CONFLICTED IN A MIINISCULE WAY? GORDON BENNETT!!) but it was there. It was an easy decision that my solidarity was with the workers, some of whom had reached out to us. I was heavily involved in the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) at the time. I’m glad you feel solidarity to those workers who helped you, and I wish you well with whatever you intend to do in their aid. I’m sure you’ll do them proud – and I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end – my experience here has been more than enough 🙂 FFS!

            There is caveat to everything I write or say. What I write should be taken at face value, i.e, don’t read between the lines, because if you see anything there, then sorry, but you’ve imagined it. (JEEZ LOUISE!……READING BETWEEN THE LINES? YOU DON’T SEE ANY IRONY THERE? I know, I know, people are a sarcastic bunch, and it wouldn’t be the first time that someone has completely misunderstood something I’ve either said, or written. (LOVE THAT!! NICE TRY). I can be sarcastic, as you can imagine, but in my comments here I can assure you that any sarcasm has been completely unintentional. (SARCASM IS ACTUALLY NOT YOUR THING, BUT ON INJURED INNOCENCE YOU ARE A BLOODY EXPERT!) I have trouble deciphering code between the lines, and having to second guess abiguities -so now I refuse to even attempt, even though it sometimes means my responses are to the literal meanings of questions and not the implied. AH PADI! FOR SOMEONE HAVING TROUBLE ‘DECIPHERING CODE BETWEEN THE LINES’ YOU’VE DONE A DAMN GOOD JOB ‘ATTEMPTING’ IT!

            I’m also aware that some of my comments have irritated you, but sorry, that goes with the territory doesn’t it? I’m irritated by the apparently humourous critique (?) of someone who comes at me out of the blue accusing me of all sorts of petty misdemeanours, but that’s only because I’ve apparently misunderstood their tack 🙂 And that irritation on my part was because I felt I was under attack – I’m being genuine here. AH JEEZ! ‘GENUINE’? THIS IS A PERFORMANCE!
            You may take issue with my support for a minority political groups, and what I think, (and no, I don’t care what anyone thinks of me for thinking what I do, any more than you care about what anyone thinks of your ideals) Am I right? NO YOU ARE NOT. I DON’T GIVE A TOSS ABOUT YOUR SUPPORT FOR ‘MINOR POLITICAL GROUPS’. I AM CHEESED OFF WITH YOUR PATRONISING PUT DOWN OF ANYTHING THAT DIFFERS FROM THAT. course I’m not. And more fool you if you took me that seriously. OOOHHH SILLY ME! GAWD! I mean what I say, but I think I’ve indicated that I often do things contrary to my ideal, and yes, I am an idealist, (I’m also told I’m a romantic, but I don’t see that) but I’m also a realist in the end: I don’t like charity, but what I should have added is that I because detest the need for charity, not the ordinary people working in the sector at ‘grass roots’ level. YES OK PADI.

            Finally, a question: Do you really consider me as being good with words, or were you just being a little sarcastic? I’m being genuine here, and ask because several people who don’t know me particularly well (SEE THE GET OUT CLAUSE THERE?) have recently expressed similar sentiments – I am genuinely confused. I know I’m articulate, and can communicate well, (too well sometimes when there are some people who read things that just aren’t there! (SEE THAT? IT’S ALL IN THE IMAGINATION. DAMN YOU’RE GOOD!) 🙂 but I’ve never really considered myself as good with words, or that I can write well.
            GAWD. WHAT A BLOODY PERFORMANCE. YOU’RE BRILLIANT WITH WORDS. NOT A COMPLIMENT.

            I think I get you at least a little bit Linda, but, you being a lawyer, surely you could have paused for a moment and thought ‘hang on, does this person really mean this, or is there a different interpretation? I may be wrong, but isn’t being ‘good with words’ and an awareness that sometimes there are different interpretations and nuances something of basic requirement for a lawyer?
            NO. I AM NOT GOING TO ‘PAUSE FOR A MOMENT’. THIS LAST PARAGRAPH IS THE DEFINITIVE PROOF OF YOUR MODUS OPERANDII.
            PATRONISING BULLSHIT.
            ______________________________________

            This entire post utterly DRIPS with: ‘you’ve misunderstood me; I didn’t mean’ crap.
            You’ve contradicted you’re own previous comments, and come up with the most convoluted post I think I’ve ever seen to show injured innocence.
            As a practicing lawyer I had to adhere to certain codes of conduct, even when faced with the most disingenous claptrap, but I don’t have to do that now, and can tell you that people that use their intellect to twist things annoy me a great deal. People like you Padi, who use their eloquence to show others– (this IS nothing more than a bloody silly performance for the Belgravia audience)–that they have been misinterpreted, and anyone who calls them out has anger issue (‘incandescent with rage’? Get a bloody grip, for crying out loud!)

            I should let this go ‘goodwill to all men/peace on earth stuff’, but I won’t. Your ‘not responding’ huff, was never going to happen, because you cannot resist the moral high ground.
            YOU DO THAT AGAIN; I DO THIS AGAIN.
            (Yep; -this time it IS anger. I reckon even the Archangel Gab would want to pull out your jugular vein)

            (………………….and I remain hopeful that Kate doesn’t come in with the ‘play good children’ thing that so many mods come up with. We are adults……….).

            Oki doki! Sod Christmas. I wait to hear from you.

  9. What disqusted me about this compassionate man Trev, is that he can’t see that. His compassion and what he has done, I can’t write of here. Yet he took this one dimensional vote: just get Brexit through. It was about immigration. He started with: ‘I’m not a racist, but’. Interestingly I don’t think he is.
    We are going to go through hell with these turds, because THIS motivated so many.

    It is exactly the type I loathe. But it is M, and M is just a bloody good bloke.
    Arrrrgggghhhh!!!!

    • Strange isn’t it how so many people have been so easily swayed by the lies of the Right wing, rabble-rousers like Farage et al, and made to believe that foreigners are the root of all evil , the ones to blame for all Society’s problems. The housing crisis – blame it on the immigrants, despite the fact that greedy landlords are making a fortune charging extortionate rents and no Council houses have been built for about 60 years. Unemployment – blame the immigrants who come here to do the work you either don’t want or lack the skills to do, and when Thatcher sold out our manufacturing industries to the far east. Long queues at GP surgeries – blame the immigrants when the NHS has been underfunded for years. And on it goes…scapegoating minorities is a glib quick-fix for knee-jerk Reactionaries but also a deflection trick to dupe the disenfranchised. The very same people who enjoy a good curry at their local Indian/Pakistani restaurant and are happy to wash it down with cheap Polish lager, or dream of spending their Retirement in Spain, and are happy to drive a BMW, but dream of owning a Mercedes or a Porsche, whilst their kids dine American-style at McDonalds instead of munching on those French Golden Delicious apples they bought. They’ll all be in for a shock when post-Brexit the supermarket shelves are empty, and there’s no one to pick our fruit & veg in the fields, and they can’t afford to treat their children’s diabetes because the NHS has been Privatized and flogged to America. Oh the irony.

  10. Morning all,

    Kate is coming in with the “play nicely” thing here – tis Christmas, so let’s play nicely 🙂 You’re all great commentators and the site really would be a lesser place without you – ie if anyone decided that they didn’t want to come back and leave comments because things were getting too heated & personal. Go well 🙂

  11. An elderly woman who had taken it upon herself to help the homeless has been the victim of a brutal attack in the street, pushed aggressively from behind landing face-first on the pavement. I wish her well and a speedy recovery, but I’m wondering if there is a potentially sinister overtone to this attack. Was this the action of some random psycho thug, or was she attacked BECAUSE she was helping the homeless? I guess we won’t know that until the culprit is caught by the Police (fat chance of that).

    https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/good-samaritan-pushed-ground-handed-17454716

      • It should do the heads in of anyone with a brain. Society is falling apart and all we hear of is Brexit and in-fighting. Least we can do is keep exposing all this shit and help raise awareness of the realities of life in Tory Britain, in case people hadn’t noticed.

        Merry Solstice x

  12. If cultural constructs are historically specific then can’t help wondering if the BBC’s darkly ominous production of A Christmas Carol is intended as a warning of the Ghost of Brexit Yet To Come, or meant as a commentary on the Dickensian conditions/effects of Tory Austerity. Will Boris…erm..I mean Scrooge….finally repent and give us all a big goose? Or perhaps re-open the Workhouses?

      • He’s already dropped Workers Rights from the Brexit Bill. And I bet the State Pension age will go up to 75 if he can get away with it.

        • I saw a great meme on Facebook about that. It pointed out what’s happening in France where there are nationwide strikes and power cuts as a result and public transport at a standstill because Macron wants to raise the recommended retirement age to 64 from 62 whilst in the UK the government wants to raise the retirement age to 75 and the people vote the bastards in for another five years!

          Why can’t we be a bit more like the French?

          • They wouldn’t have got away with a fraction of this shit in France, the Jobcentres would be burned down, the town halls ransacked, and every fucker would be on strike.

    • I see Glasman’s in favour of it. The only trouble is with grassroots groups, same with foodbanks, is that people are doing it out of necessity and it shouldn’t be used by the State as an excuse to negate responsibility. Glasman is ideologically in favour of reducing the State’s involvement in Social issues, and doing away with the Welfare State.

      • I think it’s a bit different with Acorn as they are basically a union but with a social purpose rather than an industrial one, and are, like the IWW, strictly ‘non-political’ in any party sense. In the UK it started in Bristol in 2013 – 14 amongst some IWW activists. I don’t think they intend so much supplanting the state as getting it doing the job it should be doing, judging by the kind of campaigns they’ve been involved in.

        https://acorntheunion.org.uk

        Wikipededia gives some more info on the movement as it was in the USA where the idea originated:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Association_of_Community_Organizations_for_Reform_Now

        I’m not sure what Acorn UK would think of Glasman’s endorsement, but I suspect there would be one or two colourful opininions expressed.

    • Dreadful. There used to be Meals on Wheels, and also weekly OAP lunches at community centres. Those sorts of things might still go on in some places but I don’t know how widespread. It’s probably left to charities and churches etc.

    • Apparently, Meals on Wheels are down to individual Councils, many of which are now short of cash of course due to Tory spending cuts. But they are also provided in some areas by volunteer groups such as this one in West Yorkshire, which was actually instigated by the TV chefs ‘The Hairy Bikers’! but is run by local volunteers:

      https://m.facebook.com/slawit.mow/

      Surely this sort of thing should be properly funded by Central Government.

  13. It might have been already put up here Trev?

    It is gratifying to see the groundswell of support for foodbanks. I know that the Christmas period does engender a rise in donations, but there is the suggestion that the swell in donations has happened as a result of the Brexit Election. I hope that’s true.
    It seems to me that the situation has slid so far to the Right with the enthusistic assistance of the Brexshitters; -enabling a rule rather than a govern; that it IS a type of war.
    It has certainly spawned a modern day peacetime type of resistance fighter.

    More power to it! I hope that is the case. I hope that this depth of bad spawns an increasingly strident movement of good as a result of this brutal excess.
    There is a gradual stirring of this, I think.
    I don’t mean those who have front lined for a long time against this ‘austerity is necessary to keep you in line’, -but the growing outrage; the growing recognition of this; -and the growing support, and it IS growing..

    I am hopeful that no matter how long the Thatcherism philosophy of ‘you divide; we rule’ has succeeded, the principle of you can only push the people so far, will start to kick in.

    I only hope.

    • Yes there’s always hope Linda, we must keep going and have faith in the human spirit. Our leaders always seek to divide, it’s the oldest trick in the book – Divide & Rule, and the country has never been so divided, BUT their division can’t win because out of that struggle people do come together, not because of glib slogans such as “One Nation Conservatism” etc. but in spite of it (I’m sure Labour had a similar slogan a few years ago). I see this happening with the donations to the foodbank for example, a coming together against the odds.

      • Wow, what was I saying about the human spirit? A woman just knocked on my door and gave me two carrier bags, one full of food the other full of Christmas presents all wrapped up! I’ve only ever met this woman once (maybe twice) before and can’t remember her name, but she lives locally and is a friend of another woman I got to know over a stray cat (it’s a long story) that I ended up adopting.
        It was only a few weeks ago that another woman, a total stranger, gave me a tenner in Aldi ! It was when we had that torrential rain and floods, I was soaked and got talking to this woman whilst stood in the queue at the checkout, I explained to her that I was so wet because Id just walked all the way to the jobcentre because I can’t afford to use buses. I only had a bit of loose change and had called in at Aldi just to get a bottle of milk as it’s 12p cheaper than in the local shop. Anyway, when I got to the checkout this woman reached into her purse and pressed a tenner into my hand saying that it’s an early Christmas box. …and now a totally different woman just knocked on my door and gave me all this stuff!!!

        • This is the humanity we need Trev! That is so damn lovely and so heartwarming, and look at the lift its given you. I am so pleased, I really am.

          Join the Silverline Trev. They are there 24/7 if you need to talk,…………and at Christmas they send a Christmas box; mine arrived today. They are donationed by S/L sponsors. Last year I donated mine to someone who struggles here.
          This one is smaller, but it is kind of them.

          Very pleased Trev. What you’ve related is a good news story in the midst of the harsh realities conveyed on this site and others.
          You deserved it kiddo.

          • I often seem to have more good luck than I think I deserve. I get the feeling someone is watching over me.

  14. So there are calls now for a “Government inquiry into racism in football”. Good luck with that! The Windrush scandal, ” Piccaninnies with watermelon smiles”, Muslim women described as looking like “letterboxes”, allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative party…

    • Oddly, the man featured in this report doesn’t seem to be critical of Universal Credit and has nothing but praise for his local Jobcentre! I can only assume that he hasn’t been claiming for very long, has been lucky enough to avoid the usual complications with UC, and probably hasn’t spent much/any length of time on JSA. If he had he would be as pissed off as the rest of us, having been passed from pillar to post, sent on one useless course and scheme after another, and by now would have re-written his CV a dozen times for the sake of it. He would have been forced to sit in classrooms doing so-called “Training” that any 10 year old could do. He would have been harassed constantly over his inability to find suitable employment, disbelieved, threatened, belittled, and forced to apply for any and every unsuitable job within 20 miles of his home (or in his case, boat). He would have been driven to his wits end on a fortnightly basis to the point where he had considered and dismissed thoughts of both suicide and homicide at every signing appointment. But no, he remains chipper, pleased as punch with himself for doing some voluntary work, positive and hopeful, but skint. I wonder how long before he cracks?

      • I panned all the way down Trev, to see the comments on the story.

        I noticed the same criticism of the ‘get a job’ mob, but some apparently do know this man. I’m a bit cautious here about what his situation actually is.
        I don’t know, but ……..read the comments Trev. I DO dislike attacks; but there’s something there that doesn’t add up.

      • There are some people who remain supportive of those institutions that oppress them seemingly incapable of believing that those bodies exist to make their lives difficult. There is a novel called ‘The Alone to the Alone’ by Gwyn Thomas, written about the Great Depression period where one of the characters is a perpetually unemployed man called Morris who relies completely on the dole for both his own and his families existence, and yet he will hear no ill being spoken about the government, and who goes out of his way to appease the clerks in the dole office lest he upset them, and who goes around telling all and sundry how wonderful the government is. The novel, well it’s actually a novella. is a good read and has a sequel called ‘The Dark Philosophers’ . They’re tragi-comedies that whilst written about the 1930s remain relevant today. Both very good reads that can be read in an afternoon.

        There is also the fact that the DWP do still have the odd human being working for them, and if, as seems the case, that JCP+ advisors have a lot of individual discretion, then some might conceivably be using it in a positive way. I’ve been fortunate indeed in having had the same advisor for a very long time as I know there are some real bastards in the that JCP+. I’ve recently changed advisors because they now have two Welsh speakers, and I’m still working out what kind of advisor this new one is.

        But yes, the problem with the odd person that has a less than totally negative experience of JCP+ is going to be be presented in the mainstream media as a definitive positive portrayal of how claimants are generally treated despite it being an exception rather than the norm.

  15. Aside from election post-mortem, leadership contests and Knighthoods….meanwhile back in the real world I signed on today for the first time this year and it was yet another “Group Information” signing session, which seems to be becoming the norm now for JSA claimants. In one way it’s better because they don’t have the time/opportunity to scrutinize you individually, but it’s also a load of BS whereby they either attempt to sell the idea of taking part-time work and claiming Universal Credit, or they try to twist your arm into signing up for some extra “help” from some third-party Provider. Today we were all handed a form to complete with your details – name, postcode – and a short list of things to tick that you require help with – employability, esol, maths, “digital” (?), jobsearch, volunteering, confidence, etc. The expectation was that we would all tick the relevant boxes, fill-in our details, sign it and hand it back in, but I read through it and said “I don’t need help with any of these things”, and the woman in charge of the session simply said “well don’t fill it in then”. There was also another adviser, a man, who started talking about how we need to think about what else we can do if we’re not having any success in finding work, “ask yourself what is the thing you need to do”. I said “make myself younger?”. So then we got into a conversation about employers not wanting older people. Then it was time for each of us to provide a signature and leave. A total waste of time. No “information” was provided. Nothing of any use or helpfulness was discussed. The best advice they had was to “try the agencies”, to which I replied that I had and they had no work to offer me, just “fast paced” shift work for younger people with their own transport. Back to square one. For God’s sake, shut down the Jobcentres!

    • Strangely enough I had my first appointment of the year with my UC ‘job coach’ who didn’t even look at my jobsearch, simply stating the obvious that things get a bit quiet over the Christmas period. He then went on to query why I was finding it hard to get work, as I clearly have a lot of experience, and that I’m articulate and clued up…

      Not wishing to dwell on the obvious that many employers aren’t too keen on employing people are clued up, especially when it means being clued up about their rights as workers, I suggested that my age might have something to do with not getting work. My job coach did concede that some employers engaged in ageism, but that he, personally didn’t see how age should affect someone’s ability to do a job, (and beyond the obvious that we tend to become physically a bit creaky as we age, I agree, but there’s no logic or rationality to prejudice). Job coach then suggested that being economical with the truth on application forms was the way to go (my CV only has very basic info, and does not include any dates) and I said that unless specifically asked for, I only include the last ten years employment history, mainly because a full work history means a lot of typing/writing. But some application forms demand a full work history from leaving school…

      It seems that if my work situation doesn’t improve soon, we’ll have to start looking at what is holding me back, which I’m happy to do, but I don’t see how I can improve on what I’m doing already, other than as you suggest Trev, making myself younger. If only this were possible..

      On a more positive note, I was phoned out of the blue today by an employment agency based in the city centre. It seems they have found my CV online, (probably TotalJobs, as I uploaded my CV there a couple of days ago) and want to meet me to see where they can help me in finding work… I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon. I haven’t put my age or anything that will indicate it on that CV, so I’m intrigued to see how they react when they see that I’ve reached the age of, not just white hair, but an increasingly white beard too!.

      You’re right Trev, the situation is completely ludicrous and one wonders what Jobcentres are for now, when once they were places that actually did offer advice and help to improve one’s employment situation whether that be in terms of sorting out a CV or accessing retraining opportunities.

      • There were various things listed on that sheet of paper today that we were invited to tick as being something we might feel we need help with, besides things such as Maths, English etc. One of them strangely said “Mindfulness”. Whilst there are many things that I would normally expect a third-party employability Provider to perhaps offer, mastery of the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism isn’t one of them!

        • Well there you go Trev, maybe that’s the thing to go for 🙂 (Unless of course you’ve already done that course.)

          • No but I’ve read the book; ‘The Heart of The Buddha’s Teaching’ by Thich Nhat Hanh, and funnily enough I’ve just noticed that it says on the cover in small text; “Author of the widely praised The Miracle of Mindfulness” (!)

            Maybe I should sign up 😶

          • I doubt there’d be much miracle in any course offered by the DWP though Trev – probably yet more of stating the bleeding obvious!

          • I should think that their take on “Mindfulness” would probably be in relation to forcing oneself to put up with any given work related situation. So if you’re a free-thinking, imaginative individual who would find it difficult to do the most mundane, repetitive, stultifying, soul-destroying job, then you would benefit from learning the Art of Mindfulness to stop your thoughts from wandering, to prevent any dissatisfaction that might arise by applying your thoughts purely to what you are doing and remain ‘in the moment’ as the conveyor belt of life whizzes by. Something like that. Zen and the Art of Shit-Boring Jobs.

    • “Making Work Pay”

      It’s funny that such things don’t get anywhere near the same media coverage as stories and trash tv shows about alleged Benefits “cheats/scroungers”.

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