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.

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

    • It really does take the biscuit doesn’t it when, a decade since it was announced, and some seven years since it was introduced that hardly a day goes by without some serious shortcoming with Universal Credit being highlighted in the mainstream media. Even the sectors of the press that have helped demonise recipients of the benefit find it impossible to put a positive slant on the failings of UC, but still the government persists in rolling it out.

      Surely they should now call it a day and accept that Universal Credit is the complete disaster we all know it to be, despite the relative few of us who have experienced no issues with it thus far.

        • Yeah, it gets increasingly farcical. There has been some comment on this plan on (The Real) Nye Bevan News group on Facebook, including a by a couple of ex DWP workers who point out what you’ve just pointed out Trev, and added that the DWP don’t have the capacity to deal with the workload they already have at Jobcentres, let alone the training they need to cope with the challenges presented by homeless people who have multiple issues such as drug and/or alcohol dependency or mental health issues, as well as, presumably, maybe not having a particularly positive opinion of DWP staff.

          • Yes those are all very good points. My Jobcentre is short staffed, JSA is group signings because of that. They are not trained to deal with such problems. There is a skeleton staff of Council and charity outreach workers already struggling to help the homeless. And all the homeless people I’ve spoken to have dropped out of the Benefits system and given up on the DWP. It’s a total non-starter.

  1. Universal Credit: Does it’s monthly design work for Claimants?

    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/social-policy/welfare-pensions/universal-credit-does-the-monthly-design-work-for-claimants/

    https://intensiveactivity.wordpress.com/2020/01/19/universal-credit-monthly-design-unpredictable-and-seemingly-arbitrary-variations-in-payments/

    Personally, I think it was much better and easier to budget in the days when Unemployment Benefit was paid weekly.

    • Or even every fortnight as it’s a far more regular time period than every calendar month, which being variable, can make budgeting a bit difficult. Of course, the biggest issue is that the payment is simply not enough at the best of times, and it’s even worse if you’re paying back loans etc.

      • Yes, Benefits are underpaid to begin with, sometimes delayed, in many cases deducted from, and have been Capped and frozen, plus are now expected to cover Council Tax payments and rent shortfalls in some cases. All in all a dysfunctional and inadequate mess for a great many of claimants. Give that man a Knighthood.

  2. Last time I looked (recently) for my area’s timetable for full transfer to UC it said that ‘managed migration’ was to take place from late 2020 to late 2023, but now they seem to have extended that to 2024.

    Full implementation of Universal Credit has been delayed again, to 2024

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51318730

    • It was indeed Trev. But then, I don’t think we could have realistically expected anything different from something where what criticism there was, was of the extremely mild variety. However, by the end when we see the DWP advisor working in the pound shop more or less stating that this is just the way things are I did get a little annoyed, especially when that same advisor was filmed earlier being more than a little hypocritical when she visually insulted the protestors through the jobcentre window whilst at the same time claiming to be a trade unionist. Class traitor was what was going through my mind. Her claim that protestors don’t know the truth about UC was also risible.

      Then we come to Phil, the JSA claimant. We didn’t really get to the bottom of why he had been sanctioned, which left me wondering if in fact he’d been unlawfully sanctioned, as we know has happened far too often. I’m glad he got the job, and that he’s feeling better as a result, but I can’t help agreeing with him about the prospect of a future as part of the working poor. How on earth is paying out two thirds of his income on rent and council tax in any way fair?

      It’ll be interesting to see if any of the reviews in the media take the programme to task and question the editorial approach to the documentary, and if they get a response from the film makers about the kind of compromises they had to make in order to have access to the government’s side.

      • Yes, I felt really sorry for that guy, I think they said he’s aged 61, hounded into accepting a crappy low-paid cleaning job that leaves him just £30 p/w better off than on JSA. I would have made sure I flunked the interview somehow. And that other chap who was homeless for a couple of weeks and then having to claim UC and go to a foodbank. Also the woman with two children, left with bugger-all to live on for a month. It’s disastrous. One thing though, it showed that guy being referred to the foodbank by the Jobcentre, which I was under the impression they had stopped doing some time ago, unless it varies regionally?

        • I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that quite a lot in the DWP is now decided on a regional basis, as well as individual advisors having quite a lot of discretion.

          However, as you say Trev, that still doesn’t make a bad system good, and there still needs to be a huge amount of change, and I keep wondering how long it will be before the twin concerns of escalating costs, plus the sheer complexity of the system forces a rethink and the introduction of a universal basic income scheme as the most cost effective solution to the fundamental issue of low pay. The current system is complex, and won’t really start to work until sufficient AI is introduced, which opens up another can or worms, as this article in today’s Guardian reports:

          https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/feb/05/welfare-surveillance-system-violates-human-rights-dutch-court-rules?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR2MmSraY90_JXnb3YIymrTjg2iv2akO88n4rrAaSRLdtF9iZp81rXBJbro

          Considering that in the light of another report today that the EU will insist that the UK retains all the European human rights legislation or face non-cooperation from European police and courts it could be interesting times ahead, as it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the Dutch court’s finding could find its way into European law through the ECHR to which the UK isn’t just signatory, but a founder member.

          • That throws the whole drive for a digitized Welfare system into question, let alone the costs (both financial and human) and the timescale involved. There was nothing wrong with the Benefits system as it was, and even that could have been simplified and done cheaper simply by shutting down the Jobcentres and introducing yearly signing either online or by post, much in the same way as they currently send out annual forms to confirm that your circumstances haven’t changed.

          • I think the over 60s in Ireland have yearly signing. And yes, there was nothing fundamentally wrong with the old system. Sure, it was complex and a bit unweildy, but that was due to the nature of the beast and that people’s lives are complicated – but people understood it, so if anyone did have difficulties they were never far away from someone who could help.

            UC is complex and I don’t think anyone really understands it properly and besides, it’s far too reliant on AI even at this relatively early stage, so it really is a case of ‘computer say no’ with a system that isn’t geared up to be challenged by a human operative even if they wanted to, or even cared that much as they are now so far removed from any kind of decision process

  3. Arbeit Macht Frei: 10 Cases of Starvation and Freezing Under Universal Credit in “Civilised” UK

    “A system of welfare that allows people in the world’s 5th largest economy to starve and freeze to death can only be described as a crime against humanity.”

    Michael East by Michael East

    — February 5, 2020

    9 min read

    b

    Arbeit Macht Frei: 10 Cases of Starvation and Freezing Under Universal Credit in “Civilised” UK

    “A system of welfare that allows people in the world’s 5th largest economy to starve and freeze to death can only be described as a crime against humanity.”

    https://redrevolution.co.uk/2020/02/05/arbeit-macht-frei-10-cases-of-starvation-and-freezing-under-universal-credit-in-civilised-uk/

    • Complying with UC requirements is a bit of a lottery and it is always fraught with fear that a sanction could be applied for some obscure reason. Every visit to a jokingly called Jobcentre, (where there are no jobs) is a nerve wracking experience. It’s a pity that the Mind survey was just of people who had accessed their help and not of people supposedly without mental health problems as I suspect that many of us are developing mental health problems as a result of constantly feeling under pressure.

      • Claiming JSA can also be stressful in my experience. I’ve sometimes lost sleep worrying about signing on and I always feel anxious before hand, even when I know I’ve done the required amount of jobsearch and technically shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Trouble is you just never know which Dole clerk you’re going to get, what mood they’re going to be in, and if they’re going to be awkward or not, or whether they’re going to spring something on you such as weekly/daily signing, or yet another employability course. Recently I’ve been alright and had no problems, though they did have me attending that Interserve course for 5 weeks before Christmas. Having to go through the fortnightly showdown is a real bind, and so bloody pointless.

        • In total agreement with you there Trev. I guess because of the language situation I’m fortunate as there are only two advisors who are able to see me. This new one seems to be a bit of a ‘do it by the book’ person, but he isn’t that interested in my jobsearch info, and hasn’t even looked at it these past two sessions though he is a bit pushy about getting work – which I guess is after all his job, but even having said that, he’s respectful.

          Do you have someone who could accompany you to Jobcentre interviews and signing on Trev? I guess you’re aware that you have a legal right to be accompanied, and though the JCP+ will hate it, they will comply. The Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network has some useful information about claimant rights:

          https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/know-your-rights/

          Though I did notice there is a part in the Non Full Service area leaflet that is a little misleading when talking about the JSA Claimant Commitment, especially if still on a legacy claim: no matter what you’ve signed up to in the CC it’s still only the law that you as a claimant has to respect, i.e. taking two or more steps towards gaining employment each week, and even then there are reasonable exceptions – and if you want to wade through the actual act you will see that it specifically mentions that test – the DWP can try and make you believe that they can force you to do 35 hours of jobsearch, but the law says something different. If push comes to shove, and you are threatened with a sanction by one of the bastards, a word with one of the managers should sort it out pdq.

      • I read that Trev and steam started to come out of my ears. Of course the report tells it like it is, but still seems to be under a misapprehension that the government isn’t aware of the impact of their policies, or that somehow they don’t genuinely believe that the Tories could be as sanguinely callous as to impose further poverty on people already in poverty.

        The TUC’s approach hardly seems to be much better in demanding an end to zero hour contracts and an immediate introduction of a £10 an hour minimum wage. Certainly exploitative zero hour contracts need to be outlawed, but the minimum wage needs to be at least £12 an hour now the way even social rents and council tax are going up – and none it will happen anyway unless the government is pushed into doing it by the trade union movement, if it finds its lost backbone.

        If even a fraction of what has been implemented here in the UK had been even attempted in France I don’t think it’s overstating it to say that there would have been yet another revolution, considering the recent solidarity actions over an attempt, (now failed) to raise the state pension age to 64 from 62.

  4. So now we’re going to have a bridge to N. Ireland…and a ‘Garden bridge’ across the Thames, and a High Speed rail network, and the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and loads of new hospitals, thousands of extra Police officers, thousands of new buses….is there no end to Tory lies? All pure fantasy. Meanwhile, soaring poverty, a dysfunctional Social Security system and over a Million people relying on foodbanks. Boris can make all the ridiculous promises he likes, anything but tackle the real problems.

    • Never mind Trev, if he keeps on like this even the idiots who voted for him will begin to twig that it’s all lies… And they said that Corbyn’s promise of free internet for everyone was pie in the sky!

    • It does seem that the DWP have rather shot themselves in the foot with this. Lots of people don’t seem to think they’re credible. I wonder why?

      In Part 1 we saw a 61 year old man being hounded into a minimum wage job, and in Part 2 we see a 62 year old woman being hounded into taking on 3 jobs, and who is still struggling to the point that they aren’t really adequately feeding themselves.

      And yet we’ll no doubt still have some morons trying to claim that people too easy!

      At 60 people should be able to claim their state pension, or at least, like in the Irish Republic, only ‘sign on’ once a year.

  5. The lunatics have well and truly taken over the asylum. This is what one of Cummings’ “misfits and weirdos”, one Andrew Sabisky, believes in:

    Mandatory universal contraception given like vaccines to prevent the growth of an “under class”.

    That womens’ sport is comparable to the Paralympics.

    Children should be given mind-altering drugs as “the benefits to society would be worth one dead kid a year”.

    Who the fuck is this guy, Dr. Mengele ?

    https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/news/109931/new-downing-street-adviser-called-universal

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