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.

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

  1. Widespread poverty all across Tory Britain

    40% increase in one year of children fed by Colchester foodbank:

    https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/colchester-foodbank-trussell-trust-mike-beckett-child-poverty-1-6515976

    Number of children accessing Perthshire foodbank increases by a third:

    https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/perth-kinross/1136632/photo-updatenumber-of-children-accessing-perthshire-foodbanks-increases-by-a-third/

    Barry Sheerman calls for action to help the poor in Kirklees:

    https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/mp-calls-action-help-needy-17757667

    • I am shortly moving to another part of the country Trev and it’s hectic and stressful, but I try to read most of the links you put up. Thanks for them.

      • Moving house is very stressful anyway in my experience, I switched cities just a few years ago, but to another part of the country sounds like added stress! But it’s also an exiting time, new horizons an all that. I hope you have someone to help you with the task, or some contacts where you’re heading. Good luck with it all anyway. I sometimes think I’d like to move to another country altogether and escape from this Tory hell-hole. Wishful thinking.

    • The elite dining club that has given £130m+ in donations to the Tories.

      “60 of the Leader’s Group donors are collectively worth at least £45.7 billion”.

      “More than 80% of funds raised by the Conservatives for the general election so far has come from the secretive Leader’s Group. For the past eighteen months, the Tories have failed to honour a pledge to publish details of the controversial club, after previous scandals.”

      “•Leader’s Group donors tied to the City of London have given more than £50 million since 2010, and just five wealthy hedge fund backers have collectively given more than £18 million.”

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/revealed-the-elite-dining-club-behind-130m-donations-to-the-tories/

  2. Today’s Benefits 7 work bulletin has some interesting stuff in it about sanctions. it claims that sanctions of those on ESA and JSA have more or less stopped. In June 2019, the last month for which figures are available there were just 122 sanctions representing 0.04% of all ESA claimants, down from a high in April 2014 when 5,565 were sanctioned, or 1.04% of claimants.

    For JSA claimants, sanctions were 95 for the same month.

    However, and really no surprises here, sanctions remain high for those on UC, though even here the figures have dropped from a high of 9.3% to 2.4% but that still represents 38,181 people sanctioned – still way too high. even one would of course be too high.

    For a respectable body Benefits & Work don’t mince their words, and I was mildly shocked to read an opinion expressed in an item about a government minster apparently smirking whilst claimant deaths were being discussed at an enquiry:

    “The complete disbanding of the entire hate-driven department may be the only solution.”

    I think everyone here will heartily concur, and for once it seems that an organisation dealing with the fallout of government policy doesn’t see the unfolding atrocity as one of unintended consequences but of government intent. It’s nice to see that at least one advice/assistance agency isn’t in denial over the DWP’s and ultimately the government’s culpability in the horrors being perpetrated.

  3. It’s getting to the stage when there isn’t a day goes by without some new, negative story about Universal Credit coming out.

    Along with all the other disasters this government is foisting on the country, seemingly willingly making a mess of the Brexit negotiations this government really is in the ca ca, knows it and is hell bent on totally destroying society as we know it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/27/universal-credit-linked-psychological-stress-increase-study-benefits-uk

  4. Official government statistics grossly underestimate England’s rough sleeping crisis, new figures show

    https://welfareweekly.com/official-government-statistics-grossly-underestimate-englands-rough-sleeping-crisis-new-figures-show/

    Official government rough sleeping estimate found to be only a fraction of the real figure

    https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/02/27/official-government-rough-sleeping-estimate-found-to-be-only-a-fraction-of-the-real-figure/

  5. Ex SNP councillor knows what it’s like to be caught in Universal Credit turmoil

    “The benefits system exists to accelerate people into poverty,” said Paul. “It’s the only thing it excels at.

    “It’s a bare minimum, life supporting system – and it doesn’t even do that properly.

    “When on Universal Credit, you pay your bills and are forced to use a foodbank in order to have any sustenance.

    “It’s a completely broken system that doesn’t work as well as the one it replaced.”

    “The Tories are going to destroy society. They are making people desperate as possible so that they have to take crappy minimum wage jobs, many of which aren’t reliable.

    “People are going to be forced into such a desperate situation that they will turn to crime and drug dealing.”

    https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/ex-snp-councillor-knows-what-21582850

  6. Well, I experienced some mild/moderate stress, irritation and inconvenience today as I went into town as usual to do my dole-day shopping but when I went to the ATM I found that my JSA hadn’t been paid and there was nothing in my account. Off to the Jobcentre I went to chase it up. Told the woman on the ground floor what had happened and she wrote it down on an enquiry form, though I noticed there was a section for “time of enquiry” and she left that blank. I was told to sit and wait, after about 15 mins. was called to a desk by another woman who seemed distracted and didn’t even look at me. Then discovered that the first woman had written down my NI number incorrectly. Anyway, she looked on the system and ascertained that a mistake had been made by the dole clerk who signed me on on Tuesday and consequently my payment hadn’t been sent. She said she would rectify this by sending a same-day payment and it would be in my bank account “anytime between 3pm and midnight”, but explained that she couldn’t authorize that from the computer she was on, and it would have to be done from another computer at the signing desks across the room, but she couldn’t do that because a fault with the system wouldn’t recognize her password and she had been locked out of the system, so would have to wait until other staff returned from lunch. At one time they would have given me the money in cash, or Giro, at the ‘Personal Issue’ window,but that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I got my money eventually, it was in my account by 5.00pm. But it just meant that I ended up walking a mile and half further than I would have done as I had to walk back home from the Jobcentre, wait an hour or two, then venture out again to the nearest free ATM at Aldi then do my shopping and walk back home again. FFS. Mistakes can happen but the words piss-up and brewery spring to mind, along with arse and elbow.

    • Ahhh Trev! It was nice to read those final lines of yours to know that you’ve retained your cynicism and sense of humour in this vile environment.
      I’m buggered if I know how you do it, but glad that you do!

      Nobody knows what they are doing, but are still coming on like a steamroller, crushing anyone who gets in their way (ergo: does not meet impossible demands or worse; complains).

  7. According to the Mirror, Universal Credit was a good and sensible idea. I beg to differ, it was/is a very bad idea indeed, over-ambitious, punitive and complicated, doomed to fail those unfortunate enough to have to use it. And Housing Benefit obviously needs to be entirely separate from other Benefits. Hardship should not take the form of a repayable loan, neither should the UC advance payments in lieu of the 5 weeks wait for claims to be processed. Money should be payable from day one of the claim, not as a bloody loan! I would have expected more from the Mirror. There is nothing remotely “sensible” about rolling six different Benefits into one payment, nothing at all.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/voice-mirror-universal-credit-good-21651932

    • The notion of monthly Benefits payments is also deeply flawed. The only way it could be feasible is if Benefits were paid at the correct level to begin with (which they’re not) i.e. at least £100 per week for a single unemployed person. JSA is currently paid fortnightly but it never lasts for a whole fortnight, you’re lucky if it gets you through the first week. Monthly payments, at current levels, would be doubly difficult to manage, even without deductions for loans and/or alleged overpayment of Tax Credits. Whoever dreamt up monthly payments obviously has not the first clue how poor people live and has no experience of living in poverty; Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud. Everyone involved since then is equally to blame; Esther McVey, David Gauke, David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Amber Rudd, Therese Coffey, et al. Clueless rich fuckers, the lot of ’em, completely disconnected from reality. Damn them all.

      • I think there was a general consensus that a single monthly payment was in essence a ‘good idea’. What no-one, not even Labour had done was actually analyse sufficiently what the implications of such a change would be. About the only thing that was a ‘good idea’ was the single monthly payment, and even then purely as an idea. The reality is different.

        Right from the start there was huge criticism of the idea by experts who realised that the system was far too complex to embrace any such radical change. I remember at least one expert being interviewed on Radio 4 coming full out and questioning whether the system would work simply because it would be a ‘one size fits all’ approach which clearly is unfit for purpose when people vary so much. An IT system isn’t really going to cut it. And despite the appeal of the simple, the fact remained then, as it does now, that the benefits system is complicated because people’s lives are complicated. It’s known that under Blair welfare reform was briefly contemplated, but it was realised that it would have been a mammoth task to have done the job properly, let alone the potential damage to human rights. Only an idiot would have attempted to do it. Take a look at the online IT publication The Register, and you can go back to late 2011/early 2012 and see that there were already serious misgivings about UC.

        Another reason to have kept the system as it was, was that, despite its complexity, it had acquired that complexity over a substantial period of time, and a parallel system of expertise in dealing with the drawbacks of the complex system had grown up. Citizen’s Advice etc, and even informed ordinary people knew its pitfalls and how to deal with them. Even Jobcentre staff knew, and were empowered to deal with the issues that arose. You had a problem, you went and saw a human and the problem was usually sorted quickly. UC isn’t like that, it’s complex and there is also the penalising element which is a core element of UC. It’s such an integral part of UC that I am of the opinion that someone with a nasty mind spent some considerable time deliberately thinking out the system and making it very hard to challenge.

        Workfare has in essence disappeared as a discrete feature of the social security system, but it’s instead embedded within Universal Credit. If slave labour isn’t intended as a punitive measure, I don’t know what is. I don’t think thus far that UC has been used in any major way to undercut the wages of already underpaid workers, or to supply free labour to grasping employers, but the power is there, ready and waiting and difficult if not impossible to challenge.

        You’re right about the monthly payment being difficult to manage. I manage, just about, but I sometimes have to ignore some of the less pressing bills for a while, which isn’t ideal, and shouldn’t have to be done. but I’m an educated, fairly confident person who can deal with the harassment of the likes of Welsh Water or TV Licencing. I’m less convinced that the single payment is actually that big of a problem, but certainly it should be a free choice option to have rent paid directly to landlords, and that the sums paid are subject to ring fencing, so nothing can be taken from the rent to pay loans etc. I also think that benefits that are designed simply for living on should be just for that, and that the putting of attachments on them for debt repayment should be outlawed. As you say Trev, it’s money for living on, nothing else. And of course, the levels of benefit paid are pitifully small, insufficient.

    • That said, if I do go down with Coronavirus I’m not going to risk losing my JSA and being transferred to Universal Credit by missing a signing appointment at the Jobcentre. I’ll make it to sign-on even if I’m at death’s door. Many people are saying the same. To avoid this happening the Government needs to immediately suspend Benefits conditions and immediately introduce automatic payments for the foreseeable future.

  8. Did a spot of panic-buying with my last quid this aft. Called in B&M and bought a packet of Lemsip, panic over. If I’m still alive next Friday I might buy a bottle of Scotch, and the obligatory bog rolls, then I’ll be totally prepped for the End Times.

  9. I have emailed my MP to clarify the position regarding JSA claimants and Corona virus as the official DWP advice seems aimed at UC and doesn’t mention JSA. it does say that people won’t be Sanctioned if ill or self-isolating so long as they inform Jobcentre in good time, but what about if you’re taken ill at short notice and miss a signing appointment? Also, if you do miss a JSA signing appointment does that trigger a transfer to Universal Credit? Suggested that Jobcentres be closed to the public for time being and Benefits conditionality be suspended, and automatic payments be made for the foreseeable future. Otherwise many of us still have to meet jobsearch requirements which means going to public libraries or Jobcentres to use computers, for those of us who have limited internet access.

    • Well that was a fucking waste of time, here’s the reply from my MP:

      “I am sorry to hear about your concerns, we understand this is a very stressful time. I am afraid as an MPs office we cannot advise on procedure or what your entitlement would be. If you would like advice of information on this matter, we suggest you contact the Citizens Advice Bureau. I hope they can support you with your queries.

      Kind regards”

      Why do I even bother voting for these cunts?

    • This was despite the fact that I pointed out to him that many JSA claimants, including myself, are saying that they are willing to breach self-isolation and attend signing appointments for fear of being transferred to UC. I also pointed out the obvious health risks of keeping Jobcentres open to the public, likewise with public libraries where jobsearch is concerned. I wasn’t enquiring about MY entitlement, but about how the situation affects ALL JSA claimants and Jobseekers! FFS. Just goes to show that the MPs on their cushy £82 Grand don’t give a fuck about us and basically we’re on our own.

  10. DWP have now put it on their Twitter:

    “People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thu 19 Mar 2020”

    “People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended”

    https://twitter.com/dwppressoffice?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

    It doesn’t say which Benefits, are we to assume it also applies to JSA or is it just Universal Credit? Surely they need to inform every claimant individually in writing.

    • I got a message on my UC Diary yesterday to inform me that instead of me attending the Jobcentre they’ll be phoning me and doing it that way.

      There is also a prominent message stating that UC will continue to be paid, and that they’l be in touch to discuss any arranged face-to-face meetings.

      Don’t know what the procedure is regarding those on JSA is, but I’d suggest e-mailing your advisor Trev, just to be sure.

      • I only signed on a few days ago and everything was as normal but yes I will double-check prior to the next due appointment just to be on the safe side. Hope all’s well with you Padi.

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