to start? Let it be with something / someone optimistic. How about
Jeremy Corbyn? In recent days I have helped promote a letter in his support. Now signed by thousands and headed by Ken Loach, Brian Eno,
Grime 4 Corbyn, Nigel Kennedy, Alexei Sayle, AL Kennedy, Michael
Rosen and Francesca Martinez.
you shrug your shoulders about the recent general election and will tell me ‘that’s
democracy’, ‘They won we lost’. If in Russia the
administration for elections was organised by Putin’s cronies, I am
damn sure our media would be screaming - ‘Corruption’. So why the silence when that is the case here?
power of our ‘Free Press’ has played an important role in
deciding when to scream and when to remain silent.
course we must not forget the repeated scream that Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semitic. But hey 5,000 Nazis in the form of Britain First have
now joined the Tory Party and in the USA a campaign has been lifted
from the UK election casebook with attacks on Bernie Sanders, a Jew, as being
a result of Iain Duncan-Smith’s time as Secretary of State for Work
and Pensions the UK became the first country to face a United Nations
enquiry into human rights abuses against disabled people – with our
government found guilty of “grave and systemic violations of the
rights of disabled people”.
Duncan-Smith's introduction of the Work Capability Assessments required
those with chronic disability to continuously prove they are
deserving of their welfare payments or be stripped of their
entitlements. This has been directly linked to relapses of depression
and anxiety and even to deaths through suicide.
Mona Kamal Ahmed writes: “As a NHS psychiatrist I have sat in A&E
departments with people diagnosed with chronic mental illness who
have been driven to panic attacks, acute relapses of their depressive
illness and suicidal ideation as a result of the anxiety caused by
these tests and over the prospect of losing the welfare payments they
rely on. This has only intensified with the chaos and uncertainty of
Universal Credit, a system known to be causing hardship to millions
and for which Iain Duncan-Smith is wholly culpable … There is no
place for these cruel dehumanising measures in any civilised
compassionate society, and the fact that Iain Duncan-Smith, the
individual responsible and the architect of such misery, is to
receive the honour of a knighthood is an insult to the hundreds of
thousands of vulnerable individuals across this country who are
suffering as a result of his policies and to those who have
tragically lost loved ones as a direct result.”
the father of someone dependent on disability allowances I write this
bitter hatred for Duncan-Smith.
46, my son has been disabled since he was six months old after a
vaccination precipitated Salaam epilepsy. In hospital, he contracted
meningitis and started a life of physical and, more recently courtesy
of the DWP, mental hardship.
eyesight is poor and the right side of his body has atrophied and
shortened. When walking he has to use a stick.
a scan on his right ankle which was causing him discomfort, he
was given anti-inflammatories and painkillers.
20 years, he received a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) of £80 per
week and £108 per week working tax credits, a weekly income of £188.
Because his mobility was worsening, he contacted the DWP to request
assistance with his housework. He could only stand for a short time
response was to tell me that my benefits had been assessed and that I
would lose them,” says
crazy because I have to take five tablets twice a day as I’m in
constant pain. As
a result, my weekly income fell from £188 to £67. They said I could
apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which had replaced DLA.
I did so, but my application was rejected. It was a massive blow and
left me with a huge shortfall.”
appealed their decision and the DWP then carried out an ‘assessment’
on Ben’s condition which concluded that their original decision to
cut his benefits was the correct one.
assessment was carried out by a private firm, Atos, one of two
companies (the other is Capita) who between them earn more than £125
million a year from the taxpayers. This doesn’t actually involve
any face-to-face assessments and I have been unable to find out
whether they even employ any medically-trained staff.
resilient enough to continue with their lives and, as with my son, lucky
enough to have strong family and friendship support, have been
pressing their cases on to a final court-based Tribunal appeal.
to Ben’s lawyer cousin his Tribunal hearing was successful. What
of those who don’t have this support and never reach a tribunal?
Kamal Ahmed has started a petition objecting to the Knighthood for
Iain Duncan-Smith. You might want to join her and sign it.
Christmas so a biblical story for our times. Jesus took five loaves
and two fishes and fed five thousand men, women and children. The
Gospels don’t say whether Christ joined in. I hope he did, but I
doubt he kept ten loaves for himself.
was co-founder of the charity War Child and the present CEO receives
a salary of £108,000 pa. The charity justifies this on the grounds
that his efforts bring in millions.
Forget the last supper. With
that argument Jesus should have sat down with his disciples and had
a blow-out meal.
artists and writers, we would like to thank you for raising political
awareness in our country to a level not seen since the end of World
War II. Your humanity, courage and insight have mobilised a new
generation of socialist activists.
of our work reflects the world we live in and, as leader of the
Labour Party, you have inspired and energised us for the future.
media has been atrocious in the recent election and, in the face of
provocation, we congratulate you for keeping your dignity and
will never be forgotten.
Loach - film director
Eno - musician/producer
Grime 4 Corbyn
Nigel Kennedy - musician
Livingstone - writer and ex-Mayor of London
Sayle - writer and comedian
L Kennedy - writer
Rosen - writer/poet
Martinez - comedian
Kennard - artist
Collings - painter and art critic
Brittain - writer
Christian - writer/ human rights lawyer
Ahmadi - writer
Alty - glass artist
Angus - artist
Angus - photographer/musician
Anaxagorou - poet
Aylor - writer
Barat - writer
Barnett - musician
Greta Berlin - sculptor
Bird - musician
Bomberg - writer
Bradbury - writer
Brown - writer
Browne - writer
Catnip - musician
Cermak - writer/artist
Chantrell - artist
Penny Crichton-Seager - artist
Clark - musician/former ‘Dodgy’
Darnley - sculptor
Devlin - writer
Duarte - theatre director
Driscoll - artist
Faulkner - archaeologist/writer
Farrell - artist
Feinstein - writer
Field - writer
Finnigan - writer
Foot - writer
Owen Gallagher - poet
Gardner - poet
German - writer
Graham - writer/computer scientist
Grant - writer
Adrian Green - poet
Higgins - writer
Kate Hudson - writer
Hunter - silversmith
Hoskins - writer
Ilson - poet
Inman - poet/photographer/writer
Jameson - painter
Jayasundera - actor
Jordan - writer and Minister in Mandela’s SA government
Kahn - writer/musician
Kasrils - writer and Minister
Kealey - artist
Kilroy - banner maker
Koczy - musician
Kuper - writer
Leibowitz - photographer/educator
Linnell - writer
Loffill - painter/musician
Mark-Jones - Theatre of the Wild
Mazotta - artist
Kathleen McCreery - writer/playwright/director
Medina - writer
Mills - artist
Modak - actor
Monaghan - photographer
Montague - Editor, The Ecologist
Moos - writer
Neves - musician
Nicols - musician
Nisbet - fashion designer
O’Brien - film producer
O’Donovan - director Speakeasy Sessions, Skibbereen
Panesh - writer
Papadaki - writer
Perera - composer/producer
Radford - artist
Rees - writer
Roche - poet
Rowell - independent bookshop
Sandhu - musician
Sagall - writer
Sanders - illustrator/cartoonist
David Seeger - ceramics artist
Shaban - actor
Shore - illustrator
Tapping - poet
Tomlinsion - writer
Tree - musician/artist
Turner - musician
Walling - Border Crossings, Artistic Director
Watkinson - voice artist/former DJ
Welstead-Wood - illustrator
West - AKA Mr C
Merryn Williams - poet
Wilson - sound designer
Wilton - Prof. Intern. Relations
Wilson - writer
Woolf - writer
Zangana - Iraqi writer
As of 5 Jan 2020 the 'artists' letter has been signed by over 4000. These have come directly to me by email, registered on this web page or recorded on multiple entries at Peoples Campaign for Corbyn Facebook.
Is he standing for the leadership? Just a thought.
Postal votes run by company connected to the Tory party
Tory MP and Social Security Secretary, Peter Lilley, now Baron
Lilley, is a director of IDOX Elections, which, since 2012, has
provided electoral services on behalf of UK central and local
government, focused upon Electoral Registration and its Postal Vote
Management System. IDOX are the largest provider of electoral
management systems in the UK. It describes itself as "one of the
premier election service providers in the UK, providing outstanding
expertise and knowledge across all areas of election management".
it part of their expertise to provide Laura Kuenssberg with insider
we ever have another election I would recommend to Not use your
postal vote unless you are sick or too old to get to your ballot
station. Theresa May’s comment to Jeremy Corbyn - “We will never
let you become Prime Minister” now chills my bones. As do the words
of Roberto Saviano, anti-Mafia lawyer when he said, “Britain is the
most corrupt country in the world.”
we continue with our French lesson some economic statistics.
twenty six richest people on earth have the same net worth as the
poorest half of the world’s population, some 3.8 billion people. In
the UK the richest 10% hold 44% of all wealth.
This is taking place in a context where Oxfam
claims that in recent years 2,200 billionaires worldwide saw their
wealth grow by 12% as the poorest half saw its wealth fall by 11%.
need to have this information to understand why it is that the Tory
government are so eager to pull the UK out of the EU. The EU are
introducing the Anti-tax
a number of legally binding measures against offshore tax avoidance.
The Johnson government is full of tax
avoiders. Think Jacob Rees-Mogg and Theresa May’s husband Philip
just for starts
Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party fought the recent election in an
attempt to deal with wealth discrepancies. As he noted,
"there has been a growth of billionaires in this country
alongside a growth of extreme poverty ."
election result has left the left-wing despondent and dejected. I
argue here that we should
pick ourselves up from the floor and with Joe
French that is ‘ne
pleure pas organise.’
discrepancies run parallel to those in this country.The
1% hold 20% of all wealth.
France is also home to Bernard Arnault, the richest person in Europe
and worth an estimated $107.6 billion.
would seem the French
people have had enough.
over a week France has been in the grip of strikes and protests. An
estimated million plus have been taking to the streets and strikes
are affecting rail and road transport, education, health services,
refineries. The main union, the CGT, said there would be no break
in strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backs
down from what? President Macron wants to raise the pension age which
is at present set at 57 and reform social security payments. "We
have one of the best pension systems in the world, if not the best,"
said the General Confederation of Labour, "Yet the president has
decided to wipe it out."
Brun, head of CGT's railway branch, added, "No Christmas break
unless the government comes to its senses. The strike continues until
we are assured that the current system is maintained and negotiations
are underway to improve it."
a council workers who was on a march in Marseilles on 11 December,
said, “I’m 59 and I want to be able to retire soon. My job is
hard work and I don’t want to be working until I am 65 or longer to
get a pension. If you’re forced out before the pension age due to
sickness the scheme is rubbish. I will be living in poverty—after
31 years in the job. Macron’s reforms will mean I work longer and
collect less. Screw it. People are questioning many things they
normally accept. The Yellow Vests made us think about who gains and
who loses in life. So now we see clearly, ordinary people are crushed
and the rich are richer than ever.”
is growing. Last week power company, EDF brought in managers to run the
Cordemais power plant in Loire Atlantique to limit the effect of the
strike and on Tuesday strikers occupied the control centre of the
rage, and the desire for action, is not just about pensions. A
headline in newspaper Liberationsaid,
“In Paris, we march against the pension reform project and ‘the
it’s time for our own French Revolution. We are not defeated
because we have hardly started. Pick yourselves off the floor and
repeat after me ‘La Lute Continue’.
from France 24, The Guardian, Liberation, Socialist Worker, World Inequality Database, Oxfam
The Guardian's extraordinary account of Jeremy
Corbyn’s visit to Bristol on 9 December is for
me, as the cliché
goes, the last straw. Here is a video clip of the reception given to
Corbyn and how it was explained in that newspaper.
are living at a critical moment and the choice on Thursday is stark.
Are we going to choose
a government that will
reverse ten years of austerity or one led by our very own
we end up with the latter some
of us will not just be
blaming the ignorant
many, but worse than
that, the conscious
manipulation of truth
by the knowledgeable few.