BETRAYAL!

The scheming charlatans of Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group have gone back on their word yet again and announced plans to run down local maternity services, bypassing the promised public consultation. The cuts, which are being presented as a fait accompli, will take place with undue haste, despite (or perhaps because of) years of solid public opposition. No one wants them; an internet search will reveal numerous glowing testimonials from relieved parents and sponsored events to raise funds for this universally acclaimed facility. W.S. have known for some time that their long term agenda is to reduce D.C.H. to a pointless cottage hospital, then close it.

Statement from the Save Kingfisher and SCBU at DCH campaign group:

“Plans for Maternity Services and Special Care Baby Unit at Dorset County Hospital to be downgraded, are now going ahead without public consultation. Three maternity rooms are being transformed into a midwife led unit and babies born under 32 weeks and sick babies will be sent to Poole Hospital. The plans will take effect within a matter of weeks. With the setting up of a Triage Unit as well, this brings maternity and SCBU services at DCH another step closer to being a low risk unit. By the time the public consultation on whether to make Bournemouth Hospital the main centre for Maternity and Paediatric care in Dorset takes place, DCH will have already transferred much of this care to Poole Hospital. The public are in effect being denied a say on what happens to Maternity and Neonatal services here in West Dorset.”

Shock at plans to downgrade maternity services before public consultation even begins. From Dorset Echo.

The plot to shut SCBU was first uncovered back in 2009, as reported by Dorset Echo The chairman of the NHS trust Robin SeQueira subsequently resigned rather than implement the cuts, and staff were publicly calling for the remaining board members to be sacked. The trust’s medical director Dr Nick Hateboer (£140,000-£145,000 p.a.) insisted:

“We know that the public are concerned about the future of hospital services, including maternity and the special care baby unit (SCBU) – however, we have no plans to close these departments. We understand how important these services are to the community.”

Dr Hateboer also left in Sept 2011.

According to the Echo:

… a hospital source who confirmed that the baby units were under threat described the latest announcement as a ‘smokescreen’ to ‘calm the troops’ while decisions were made. The source said:

“There’s been a tremendous furore in the hospital internally. A lot of the hospital staff, especially at lower levels, are very concerned and members of the public have also been complaining to the hospital.”

“I think this is a smokescreen. The board of directors realise they’re under the microscope and I know several are thinking about resigning.”

We won’t close – county hospital u-turn over baby units

In Feb 2014, the unit was rated among the top 15 maternity services in the UK for care quality and safety on nine clinical indicators including caesarean rates, length of stay, complications, re-admissions and injuries, as well as three indicators from the Care Quality Commission’s maternity survey. The result put Dorset County Hospital among the top ten per cent of maternity providers in the country. The unit then received £276,000 of funding from the government’s Improving Maternity Care Settings Fund, to develop facilities for mothers with complex mental health needs and build two en-suite rooms between the maternity unit and SCBU for parents of babies on the ward.

Meanwhile, the C.C.G. turned its attention to the pathology service, but was thwarted by another public outcry.

In May 2015 they tried again, announcing “an overhaul of Dorset’s healthcare”, claiming that “experts in paediatric medicine and care are indicating that it is not necessary to have large and increasing numbers of inpatient beds for children.” The C.C.G. ‘s proposals, which would go to public consultation, included having just one ward for seriously ill children and one baby unit for the county – in East Dorset. Dorchester would be reduced to a Paediatric Assessment Unit with consultants available 16 hours a day. Children with serious illnesses or needing long-term care would have to travel to the acute hospital, located in either Bournemouth or Poole.

The hospital governors were disparaging accusing the C.C.G. of “making it up on the hoof”. Mothers responded with a flash demo outside their meeting place, Vespasian House. A week later, two and a half thousand people marched through Dorchester

At the beginning of July 2015 The Kingfisher mums’ campaign was again told, this time by chartered accountant Tim Goodson and chairman Forbes ‘Dr Death’ Watson, that SCBU was now safe and even asked to take it off their banner!

From Dorset Echo. HANDS OFF OUR WARDS: Health bosses insist they aren’t proposing changes to SCBU- but can’t make any promises about Kingfisher

Forbes Watson, Lyme Regis' sinister "Dr Death".

Forbes Watson, Lyme Regis’ sinister “Dr Death”.

Some awkward questions were asked at a public meeting and the proposals were shelved for a year, meanwhile a fraudulent review was conducted costing £2.9 million, culminating in a farcical presentation at which the option to downgrade the SCBU from treating 28 week to 32 week babies was broached by Mr Goodson, the more premature to be shipped anywhere from Poole to Southampton. The later is now probable, as Poole is destined to be left without either A & E or maternity wards.

The CCG stressed that there never had been any consideration of closing the SCBU.

The CCG stressed that there never had been any consideration of closing the SCBU.

They further suggested splitting the facilities with Yeovil hospital, which as a heckler pointed out, is in Somerset! Yeovil immediately dismissed the idea.

Will you just look at all this bollocks!

Will you just look at all this bollocks!

Enemies of the people: Who are the C.C.G.? You can read the full history of their plot to downgrade and close Dorset County Hospital here:

It’s time these sinister crooks came clean and admitted who they’re flogging the site to.

Betrayed: this premature baby would not have survived had these proposals been in place at the time.

Actions against all this will follow, watch this site for details.

March to save Kingfisher and SCBU at Dorset County Hospital! Saturday 17 September in Dorchester

fkinfisherrising31

Note date has changed to avoid clashing with the county show.

“Again we need to show the CCG that they can’t play with our children’s lives we need Kingfisher and SCBU, not forgetting maternity. Please join us at 1pm at top o town car park with a view to be setting off at 1.30pm. Speakers TBC. After the March the Dorchester Round tables have their cider festival with live bands and plenty of entertainment for your children, we will finish the March at the borough gardens in time for the festival to start.”

facebook event

The entire N.H.S. is under siege from this parasitic regime, we need every bastard we can get out for this, come on!

Who are the C.C.G. kidding, is it you?

save-our-wards

You should have been there on Wednesday at the Dorset open C.C.G. meeting; no, really, you should have. With protestors from all over the county we had just enough to fill the available seating and an overflow room but the long awaited angry pitchfork-wielding mob is still holding out on us. The whole rigmarole resulted from an off the cuff remark at an earlier open meeting last summer when one of our number asked to see the costing. The following day it was announced the decision was to be deferred until now. Evidently they hadn’t bothered to do the costing, since the decision had already been taken and they think we’re a bunch of fucking yokels. They’ve since spent £2.9 million on a ‘review’.

The suits staged a piece of choreographed P.R. bullshit, commencing with a presentation involving some silly diagrams projected on a side wall that fewer than half of us could see, accompanied by 30 minutes (it seemed longer) of that meaningless management drivel they all spout – what the actual fuck is a “pivotal provider”? We were subjected to a patronising lecture about how they were going to encourage us all to give up smoking and take more exercise, as if all our health conditions were our own fault. There’s going to be an ‘engagement road show’ (like Radio One?)

Hidden amongst the overarching visions, stakeholder engagements and enabling workstreams were a few gems. They face challenges in recruiting staff – why do you think that is? Having pissed off every other health worker the government is currently at war with its future consultants and that isn’t going to end well.

The threat to children’s services we have been staving off for so long remains, there is a recommendation to amalgamate these facilities with Yeovil hospital, which as a heckler pointed out, is in Somerset! Yeovil are not keen.

There is talk of care in the community or the home. The meaning of this will be familiar to anyone with experience of personal care. The council, or in this case the health service, pays a provider through the nose for half-hour care slots by agency staff on poverty wages. The half hour includes travel time so you only get twenty minutes, about ten of which are spent filling in paperwork.

Incredibly, the review has determined that aggregate travel times from Bournemouth to Poole, and vice-versa, are equivalent. This was challenged from the floor and we were dismissively told some folk had gone out with GPS and things.

The yokels were not impressed. It was pointed out that Poole hospital is a ten minute walk from the railway station whereas R.B.H. is a 40 minute bus ride from the Bournemouth one – when the bus actually shows up. R.B.H. sits in a traffic bottleneck that is virtually impassable for a couple of hours a day. Six streams of traffic converge on a single-lane roundabout then the eastbound traffic goes over a bridge that “was built for a horse and cart”. Even with a blue light on, the ambulance has to queue for traffic lights like everyone else, because there simply isn’t any room to make way. We recall a flooding incident that backed the whole thing up for an hour and a half.

I’ll spell it out for them: if I had an accident at Bournemouth rail station I would go to Poole hospital. The material accompanying the presentation even more extravagantly claimed that:

“… access to primary care and community services … would be possible by car within 8 minutes for 90% of the population … with just 25 [as opposed to 135 at present] well placed primary care locations”.

That’s pure fantasy. Tell you what, I defy any of them to drive into R.B.H. from Cooper Dean roundabout, park their car, and walk to hospital reception in 8 minutes.

There were many references to financial sustainability and overspending. We are told the N.H.S. has a huge funding gap, now we all know why this is, and it’s got nothing to do with obesity or the ageing population. Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) allow moneylenders to ‘own’ things other people require to live – such as roads, hospitals and schools – which, like everything else, are simply the products of our labour and ingenuity. With up-front privatisation thoroughly discredited, successive governments have handed the infrastructure over to cash-rich corporations who expect us to lease it back from them over decades at a huge premium. The advantage to the politician is that the transfer of public assets to the private sector is temporarily invisible, as is the magnitude of the debt. So it’s a sort of payday loan, by the time the payments become crippling the politician is long gone, having moved on and with luck, landed a job with one of these glorified pawnbrokers. When the state was forced to bail out the financial institutions after the crash it found itself paying for public assets it no longer owned. Servicing these loans is now given priority over providing services; vampire-like, they are sucking the life out of the N.H.S. The agenda of the government is to shut down and amalgamate as many non-P.F.I. hospitals as possible, nevertheless, the U.K. still spends a smaller portion of its G.D.P. on healthcare than Germany, France or the U.S.A.

Capitalists have a problem; every so often they run out of things to steal. A couple of hundred years ago they stole our land and forced us into waged labour. Every day bosses, bankers and landlords rob us of the fruits of that labour, leaving us only the barest means of subsistence. But as technology makes things easier and simpler to produce, labour gets less and less profitable, or even necessary. Even with us all consuming flat out, there isn’t much to do and most of us are simply an inconvenience to them, especially when we’re too sick, old or young to be adding value to their capital. All that’s left to pillage are things like education and healthcare, which are not commodities but social duties. How can any social grouping possibly “overspend” on the health and wellbeing of the very people who create its wealth?

Following some unconvincing questions from the panel, and a vigorous rebuttal from the floor, a farcical voting ritual unanimously endorsed their decision to concentrate A & E in Bournemouth and reduce Poole to a basic outpatients. This will do for the kid with the saucepan on his head and the rugby player with the singed arsehole, but nothing life-threatening. Here’s a consultant’s view We are told Dorchester is safe, and frankly we don’t believe a word. In 2014, a patients’ survey declared D.C.H. Emergency department as the best in the country. It would have looked a bit odd if they’d tried to shut it then so they went for the path lab instead, then when that was foiled decided to sneak up on it by squeezing out paediatrics and maternity.

A note to newspaper and T.V. editors: we are not “concerned”, we know what they are up to and we are fucking livid.

We hope for a larger and rowdier protest at the next one, bring your mates, and a pitchfork.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/30/accident-emergency-overhaul-shelved-warning-political-backlash

How PFI is crippling the NHS

http://www.nhsforsale.info/privatisation-list/surgery/the-great-pfi-swindle.html

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/caroline-molloy/peterborough-hospital-nhs-and-britains-privatisation-racket

https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/anna-marriott/world-bank-pfi-hospital-and-destruction-of-nations-healthcare-system

Resist the Mayor’s Cuts in Bristol!

From Bristol Solidarity Federation.

mayor3George Ferguson, the elected Mayor of Bristol, is directly responsible for cuts to services in this city – including services for children. He has halved the number of beds at the Bush, a residential centre for disabled children. [1] Even though the council voted to preserve funding – he pushed it through personally. This month the Hawkspring, a vital service that helps families affected by drug addiction, almost closed after having its funding from the council slashed. It only stayed open thanks to a charity stepping in to help at the last minute. [2] This is all while having plenty of money for other things – like massive pay-rises for council bosses [3], and £2.3 million a year on public relations and marketing. [4]

Maybe if this one man is responsible, protests should be directed at him as well as the council? We’ve protested in the streets and at council meetings – but the mayor owns a chain of bars and cafés in the city that have been mostly untouched. Last year campaigners against cuts to disabled kids’ services organised a protest outside his home and business – the Tobacco Factory. Bristol SolFed thinks this was a great idea – we’ve always found picketing and communications blockades [5] far more effective than normal protests. We have found a list of some more of the pies the mayor has got his finger in, which should help anyone who wants to take this kind of action. We hope you find it useful…

List: http://pastebin.com/YfTAJ2ra

[1] facebook page for the campaign against cutting The Bush – https://www.facebook.com/No-to-Cuts-to-the-Bush-Residential-Centre-for-Disabled-Children-605680162863622. Debate between the mayor and one of the parents – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q5sRRX2ebA
[2] background from a Labour campaigner – http://amandaramsay.co.uk/council-should-fund-hawkspring/
[3] http://thebristolian.net/2016/03/11/town-hall-fat-cats-attempt-wage-heist/
[4] http://thebristolian.net/2016/03/01/spin-watch/
[5] a “comms blockade” is where on a set day/time, lots of people call up a business at once, fill their facebook with complaints, etc

Dorset rejects bureaucrats’ plan to risk children’s lives.

hund

For the second time this year, a couple of thousand Dorset residents jammed the county town of Dorchester to remind the Clinical Commissioning Group that we will not accept cuts to paediatric or maternity services in West Dorset under any circumstances. For some time now, the ordinary people of this county have been at war with those who would pillage the health service we built for ourselves, and leave us at the mercy of private corporations who see us as commodities.

dsOur campaign, started by a determined group of working class women whose only motive was defending their kids, has grown and spread beyond the county. We now have the support of thousands of Dorset residents plus Unite Community, Unison, Industrial Workers of the World, Dorset People’s Assembly, Dorset Eye, Dorset Socialists, Bristol SolFed, the local Zumba community, scaffolders, Daleks, anarchists, snowmen, footballing bears, local media and some politicians.

Oliver Letwin M.P.e_2139 author of ‘Privatising the world’  and Britain’s biggest enterprise, his plan for selling the NHS; – who once claimed that within five years of a Conservative election victory the NHS “will not exist anymore”  – is proper squirming now. He said:

“I am absolutely clear that the best interest of patients lies in maintaining paediatric in-patient services at Dorset County Hospital. I have had absolute confirmation that there is no money to be saved from moving them to Bournemouth or Poole, and the advantages of Dorchester in terms of access are huge.”

He will have to look elsewhere for his retirement fund then.

dalek

We’re relieved the Daleks are on our side but we still don’t trust Oliver Letwin.

Dorset Eye.

BBC News

Save the Bush! Protest Tuesday December 15th 2015, Bristol.

On Tuesday 15th, Bristol City Council will be debating cuts to “The Bush”, a respite centre for autistic children. This is after being forced to talk about it by a petition from Bristol Unite Community branch, after the mayor refused to debate his decision to halve the number of beds available. We can win this if we keep up the pressure – there have been protests for two months running, including one at the Mayors place of business as well as at the last two council meetings. So we’ll be joining Unite Community on the 15th, please get your friends and contacts down too!

Full details will be announced on the campaign’s facebook page nearer the date, but the debate will start at 7pm in The Grace Room of the Gloucestershire County Club, BS7 9EJ. The meeting itself starts at 6pm and there will probably be a rally outside just before.

Mayor Ferguson makes a twat of himself:

Ferguson is mainly known for wearing red trousers.

Breaking the law: victory for Bridgwater wildcats!

Andrew Mootoo, (centre) with pickets

When Bridgwater Royal Mail victimised a disabled worker, his colleagues walked out; no ballots, no bureaucracy, just solidarity. Andrew Mootoo, is deaf and suffers from severe MS, and management have come up with a stream of ridiculous excuses for keeping him off work for 18 months against his will. He might get stuck in the bog, they said, and anyway they’ve commandeered his rest room for disciplinaries. When Andrew passed a fitness for work test, they changed the test, and used a faulty chair.

80 posties went on strike the day after the government’s anti-union bill received its second reading, showing their plans to chain the working class will come to nought so long as we stick together. The management have backed down and assured the workers that they will sit down with Mootoo and reach a resolution. Watch this space to make sure they do!

CWU rep Dave Chapple said it was remarkable that 98% of staff had walked out (without legal protection) in solidarity with someone they haven’t seen for 18 months, and that he has received over 200 emails of support from fellow trade unionists and disabled people. Royal Mail are now threatening to discipline him for breaking their rules – good luck with that.

So if the bosses are taking the piss, just get together and walk the fuck out – you don’t need a vote if you have consensus. Together we win!

Bridgwater Wildcat walkout for postman and MS Sufferer smashes Tory anti-union laws!

Wessex Solidarity wholeheartedly supports Bridgwater Wildcat Postal Strike in aid of worker sacked for his disability. Reinstate Andrew Mootoo immediately!


80 Royal Mail postmen and women at Bridgwater Delivery Office in Somerset defied the Tory anti-union laws today when they walked out without a ballot to protest at Royal Mail’s refusal to reinstate Andrew Mootoo, a postman who suffers from MS/Multiple Sclerosis. Andrew has been waiting so long for Royal Mail to support his return to work that his pay has been stopped and he has to rely on benefits.

Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, said:

“Most decent employers would do their best to try and get a disabled worker like Andrew Mootoo off benefits and back to work on a properly adjusted duty. Instead, for 18 months, since MS was diagnosed, Royal Mail, nationally and locally, have tried every dirty trick in their book to get Andrew the sack and reduce him to a lifetime of benefits dependency. 18 months ago they tried to sack him. We stopped that by proving they would have acted illegally. Then Royal Mail tested Andrew back at work: when he passed this with flying colours, they invented a new test, which they ensured he would fail, for example, by deliberately using a faulty chair! The last straw is Royal Mail saying that Andrew has no rest room for his meal break, because it is in continuous use by managers for disciplinary purposes; and that his MS means he will get stuck in the toilet. What offensive rubbish from the country’s second largest employer! Justice for MS sufferers at work! Justice for Andrew Mootoo!”

Andrew, who is of Indo-Mauritian parents and who is also profoundly deaf, lives a full life: he drives a car, shops, goes to sport matches, goes shopping, walks down busy high streets, goes to the gym once a week, all without falling over, getting stuck in a toilet or endangering anyone else. All Andrew’ s friends at Bridgwater Delivery Office want, is for Royal Mail to sit down and give him a chance to come off the dole and work for his living, as he wants to do. The work is there. The CWU have even accepted that Andrew could return on a monitored trial basis. Every reasonable compromise CWU offer to Royal Mail has been spurned: every patient CWU plea to Royal Mail to give Andrew a chance has been ignored. 80 Bridgwater trades unionists are right now, a day after the Tory Anti-Union Bill passed the House of Commons, breaking these vicious laws to fight for workplace justice for a severely disabled and much respected colleague. They, and Andrew, deserve your support.

Please contact Dave Chapple, CWU Rep, on 077007 869 144, e-mail davechapple@btinternet.com

A good start – Kingfisher rising!

SCBU

Just got back from Dorchester where a couple of thousand people marched against the closure of the Kingfisher children’s ward at Dorset County Hospital; estimates vary between one and three thousand. Unless you believe the Echo who put it in the hundreds, odd since they are publicly supporting the campaign.

Conspicuous by his absence was ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin, who has been hedging his bets, he would not have had a pleasant experience, we think. The march was good-natured but shows the strength of feeling in West Dorset about keeping our health services local, it was organised in a week and people required little prompting to turn out.

This is a grass-roots phenomenon bubbling up from the ground. The left are running to catch up; what will it take to get the unions to put their weight behind this? The workers at the hospital would be a good place to start. It’s all very well going to the capital a couple of times a year and trudging round in a giant police kettle, which just confirms the centralisation of power and frankly, is an exercise in hand-wringing. Here is an opportunity to strike back against austerity and let’s face it, save lives.

A couple of things have occurred to us and need to be widely appreciated:

  • It’ been pointed out by a comrade who is a practising midwife that the loss of Paediatric services and the Special Care Baby Unit will make the maternity ward untenable.
  • Next to close will be A & E.
  • They can then have another go at shutting the pathology lab which was only saved after a similar public outcry last year.
  • Then why not just sell off the rest?
  • We are under no illusions. This is a planned, progressive asset-strip. Letwin would not dream of associating himself with this campaign if he didn’t personally believe it was doomed to failure, so the decision has already been taken, somewhere, and the consultation exercise is just to soften up the public.

That doesn’t mean we are going to allow it to happen, if enough people get out to stop it. The health service is a pyramid with a three-cornered base. At its apex are the managers, politicians and ultimately, their corporate masters. At the base are the medical staff, support staff and the patients – all workers and taxpayers. Unite the base and we will cut the top off!

East London Rising

AANThe Anarchist Action Network is appealing for funds to help it put on a temporary anarchist space in East London during the first week of August 2015.

The network, which consists of individuals and autonomous local groups, based in towns and cities across the UK and further afield, says: “During the first week of August we plan to rent a space in East London, give away free food every day and hold workshops, talks and discussions about anarchism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, feminism, ecology, housing, austerity, workplace and claimant struggles.”

The event follows the AAN’s Newport Rising event last year – see this report on indymedia.

To donate what you can to help make East London Rising happen, go to http://gogetfunding.com/east-london-rising

Wessex welcomes new IWW Dorset branch!

iwwlogo DORSETgreenIndustrial Workers of the World Dorset group is in the process of chartering as a branch in its own right, having operated for several years under the auspices of Bristol General Members’ Branch. The paperwork’s all done we’re just waiting for the formalities and should be fully operational in the new year.

The IWW is a certified union and can represent you at work, but unlike the TUC unions we’re not shy of direct action and don’t have to pretend we’re all on the same side, we’re not bothered about getting Labour elected and none of us has any ambition to sit in the house of lords! Follow the logo to the side of the page.

– Cindy Callist.

You can still be evicted for reporting a leaking roof – and politicians are still taking the piss.

Taking the piss, Davies L and Chope R

Taking the piss, Davies L and Chope R

With another meaningless election looming, if anyone needs reminding what a pile of horseshit representative democracy is, consider the parliamentary proceedings of the 28th November when the Tenancies (Reform) Bill was subject to a filibuster* by Christopher Chope and Philip Davies to prevent it being voted on. Like a grotesque parody of BBC Radio’s ‘Just a minute’ game these two arseholes talked rubbish for hours deliberately running the bill out of time.

The Private members bill by Sarah Teather, the member for Brent, was intentionally narrow in scope, limited to preventing retaliatory evictions – Teather cited a tenant who was thrown out of her flat for reporting a collapsed ceiling and leaking drains.

Private members are M.P.s who are not ministers, and P.M.B.s are just about the only mechanism by which someone as far down the Westminster pecking order as the member for Brent could do anything their constituents might actually want. But not being on the government’s legislative agenda, these bills have no time allocated to them. 7 Fridays per year are dedicated to P.M.B.s chosen from a list by ballot, and the debate must be concluded by 2.30pm to reach a vote.

See how far removed the people are from the levers of power in a parliamentary system. Sarah Teather is a member of one of the governing parties, and had the tacit support of the minister for a proposal no one in their right mind could object to, yet the faceless bent landlords’ lobby can rent a couple of unscrupulous stooges to sink the whole thing. During her presentation Ms Teather gushed over how privileged she felt to have had her bill come up in the ballot at all. So even if an ‘honourable member’ appears on the face of it to mean well, they are on a hiding to nothing when the needs of real people conflict with the vested interests that run the show.

All 60 (out of 650) MPs present apart from Chope and Davies spoke in favour, expressing their disapproval of the filibuster by voting to close the debate and vote on the bill, however, with fewer than 100 members in the house this decision was not binding. The pair continued to shamelessly thumb their noses at their colleagues and constituents, the vast majority of whom will never own their homes outright, much less have a spare one to generate unearned income.

If you’re actually considering voting in the next election, it’s worth taking a look at the Hansard entry to see what these wankers get up to on our time, those of them that can be arsed to turn up that is. You need to skip to the second page to appreciate the level of childish waffle Chope and Davies resorted to, knowing full well that fewer than one in ten of your elected representatives could give a toss about your struggle to keep a habitable roof over your head.

Jim Fitzpatrick (for Poplar and Limehouse) had this to say:

I do not think it is fair to blame the hon. Gentleman who, with the hon. Member for Shipley (Philip Davies) and others, has been blocking one of my Bills for the past five Fridays. I respect their ability to do that.

– Really?

I was well up for doing a hatchet job on ‘Chopper’ Chope, but his Wikipedia entry is indictment enough, a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

Davies is a racist, misogynistic homophobe, paid advocate for the gambling and tobacco industries that proposed a reduction in the minimum wage for disabled people. His candidacy has the support of UKIP and his father Peter stood for the far-right English Democrats.

Soon these smug pricks are going to ask your consent to tell you what to do for the next five years. It beats me how anyone who considers themselves ‘left’ or ‘green’ or has any morals whatsoever could sit around playing these stupid games with them.

We believe in Direct Action, and it works, if you’ve been following this blog you’ll see we’ve notched up a few successes in recent weeks through people getting off their arses and onto the streets. But if your idea of D.A. involves a telephone or a keyboard, feel free to tell these despicable enemies of the people what you think of them; look we’ve done most of the work for you:

Chope: 18a Bargates, Christchurch, BH23 1QL

Tel: 01202 474949 Fax: 01202 475548

office@christchurchconservatives.com

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 5808 Fax: 020 7219 6938 chopec@parliament.uk

Davies: 76 Otley Road, Shipley, BD18 3SA

Tel: 01274 592248 philipdavies@shipleyconservatives.fsnet.co.uk

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Tel: 020 7219 8264 Fax: 020 7219 8389 daviesp@parliament.uk @philipdaviesmp

*“a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. The English term “filibuster” is derived from the Spanish filibustero, itself deriving originally from the Dutch vrijbuiter, “privateer, pirate, robber” (also the root of English “freebooter)”.

– Wikipedia

Roll of dishonour, M.P.s with their hands in the N.H.S. till.

Crooks

Untie the Onion has helpfully produced a list of honourable members who stand to profit from flogging off our Health Service. No surprise to find ‘Evil Oliver’ Letwin, and the sinister Richard Grosvenor-Plunkett-Ernle-Erle Drax amongst this shower of shit.

Check and see how bent yours is:

1. David Cameron – Prime Minister

Handed a peerage to nursing andcare hometycoon Dolar Popat, who has given the Tories more than £200,000 in donations.

2. Andrew Lansley – Former Health Secretary & architect of privatisation

Received a £21,000 donation in Nov 2009 from John Nash, the former chairman of Care UK.

3. Harriet Baldwin – Tory whip

Former executive at JP Morgan, a major player in private healthcare.

4. Greg Barker – former Energy Minister

Held shares in Quester VCT 5 plc ,a venture capital firm with multiple investments in healthcare companies.

5. Henry Bellingham

Former director of Lansdowne Advisory Ltd, which has shares in private healthcare company Circle.

6. Jake Berry

Has registered interests in legal firm Squire Patton Boggs, which workd with multiple NHS trusts on PFI and PPP programs.

7. Graham Brady

Former advisor to PA Consulting, a management consultancy company which has worked with the NHS’s new Clinical Commissioning Groups.

8. Simon Burns – former Health Minister

Attended an oncology conference paid for by Aventis Pharma – a five-day trip to the US funded by a leading drug firm.

9. Nick de Bois

Was the majority shareholder in Rapier Design Group, an events management company heavily involved with the private medical and pharmaceutical industries.

10. Steve Brine

Received almost £15,000 in donations from James Lupton, the chairman of investment bankers, Greenhill Europe which has a global network of corporate relationships in the healthcare sector.

11. Aidan Burley

Received six bottles of wine from Hitachi consultants for a speech in 2011. Hitachi Consulting UK built an online ‘portal’ for NHS commissioners to help them monitor performance.

12. Damian Collins

Spent almost a decade working for marketing agency M&C Saatchi, whose clients include PPP healthcare, AXA insurance, Astrazeneca, Pfizer and Merck

13. David Davis – former shadow home secretary

Received a payment of £4,250 for a six-hour speaking engagement for private health insurance company Aviva.

14. Jonathan Djanogly

Received £1,900 from Huntleigh Healthcare Ltd, which manufactures medical and orthopaedic equipment and instruments.

15. Richard Grosvenor-Plunkett-Ernle-Erle Drax

Received £14,000 in a series of donations from Derek Luckhurst, chief executive and owner of care home group Agincare.

16. Iain Duncan-Smith – Work and Pensions Secretary

Has shares in hygiene technology company Byotrol plc, which sells products to the NHS.

17. Philip Dunne

Was a non-executive director for investment firm Baronsmead VCT 4 plc, which had multiple investments in private healthcare companies.

18. Michael Fallon – Defence Secretary

Former director of Attendo AB, – a Swedish private health company.

19. Mark Field

Was a board advisor to Ellwood and Atfield; a recruitment firm which recruit for NHS positions and private healthcare.

20. Liam Fox – former Defence Secretary

Received £5,000 from investment company IPGL Ltd, who purchased healthcare pharma company Cyprotex.

21. George Freeman

Has shares in Hill House Assets Ltd, formally private health firm 4D Biomedical Ltd.

22. Mike Freer

Provided marketing advice to Care Matters, a financial planning company for care homes.

23. Richard Fuller

Worked for L.E.K consulting, which has six ‘partners’ in European healthcare.

24. Richard Graham

Received £3,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

25. William Hague – Leader of the Commons

Received a £20,000 donation from MMC Ventures, which parts owns The Practice plc which runs 60 GP surgeries.

26. Philip Hammond – Foreign Secretary

Beneficiary of a trust which owns a controlling interest in healthcare and nursing home developer Castlemead Ltd.

27. Mark Harper

Received £5,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

28. Nick Herbert

Received £15,000 in donations from Caroline Nash, wife of former Care UK chairman John Nash.

29. Jeremy Hunt – Health Secretary

Received £32,920 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms.

30. Margot James

Had a key role at marketing giant WPP Group, which had a long list of healthcare clients.

31. Sajid Javid – Culture Secretary

Received £11,000 from Moundsley Healthcare Ltd last year.

32. Jo Johnson – Downing Street policy adviser

Received £6,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

33. Kwarsi Kwateng

Worked as an analyst for for Crispin Odey’s hedge fund Odey Asset Management.

34. Mark Lancaster

Former adviser to property venture capital firm Company Palmer Capital Partners Ltd, a funder of Danescroft Commercial Developments, which has worked in the healthcare sector.

35. Dr Phillip Lee

Has worked as a freelance or Medical Solutions Ltd, which provided medical cover for events.

36.Oliver Letwin – former shadow chancellor

Was a non-executive director of N.M. Rothschild Corporate Finance Ltd, which invests heavily in healthcare.

37. Peter Lilley

Non-Executive director of management software firm Idox plc, which provides services to the NHS Health Libraries Group and NHS Education for Scotland.

38. Tim Loughton

Received £350 for training sessions with Cumberlege Connections, a political networking firm that works “extensively” with the pharmaceutical industry.

39. Mary Macleod

Was a senior executive at Andersen Consulting/Accenture, which has profited from big PFI deals.

40. Francis Maude – Cabinet Office Secretary

Was a director of PR firm Huntsworth plc, which was part of lobbying group Healthcare Communications Association.

41. Maria Miller – former Culture Secretary

Former director of Grey’s Advertising Ltd, an advertising and brand company which worked extensively with clients in the healthcare sector.

42. Andrew Mitchell – former International Development Secretary

Was a strategy adviser to global management firm Accenture, which has worked extensively with private healthcare companies and the NHS.

43. Penny Mordaunt – Communities Minister

Worked for lobbying firm Hanover, where she had a range of healthcare clients.

44. Brooks Newmark – former Charities Minister

Partner in the Allele Fund, which invests in healthcare startups.

45. Jesse Norman

Received £5,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

46. Stephen O’Brien

Received payments totalling £40,000 from Julian Schild, whose family made £184million in 2006 by selling hospital bed-makers Huntleigh Technology.

47. George Osborne – Chancellor

Received donation through Conservative Campaign Headquarters from Julian Schild – see above.

48. Priti Patel – Treasury Minister

Worked for lobbying firm Weber Shandwick, which does PR for big healthcare and pharmaceutical firms.

49. John Redwood – former Cabinet Minister

Advised the private equity company which runs Pharmacy2u, the UK’s largest dedicated internet and mail order pharmacy.

50. Jacob Rees-Mogg

Partner of Somerset Capital Management LLP, which has healthcare investor Redwood Emerging Markets Dividend Income Fund as a client.

51. Sir Malcolm Rifkind – former Foreign Secretary

Chairman of advisory board at L.E.K. Consulting LLP, which helps private healthcare firms identify “new business development” and “opportunities with the Government”.

52. Amber Rudd – Energy Minister

Received £3,000 from hedge fund baron Andrew Law, a major investor in healthcare firms.

53. David Ruffley

Received £10,000 in donations from Caroline Nash, wife of former Care UK chairman John Nash.

54. Mark Simmonds – former Foreign Minister

Was paid £50,000 a year as a “strategic adviser” to Circle Health.

55. Chris Skidmore

Received £3,500 for speeches to STAC Consultancy, which specialises in the launch of pharmaceutical products.

56. Julian Smith

Received a £2,500 donation from Principle Healthcare Ltd in September 2014.

57. Nicholas Soames

Received £2,000 from asset manager Crispin Odey, a major investor in Circle.

58. John Stanley

Consultant on financial services to FIL Investment Management Ltd, which invests in healthcare.

59. Andrew Tyrie – select committee chairman

Attended the Ryder Cup as Secretary of the Parliamentary Golf Society, with travel and accommodation paid for by U.S. healthcare services company Humana Europe.

60. Robin Walker

His office received a £2,000 donation from Redwood Care Homes, which owns multiple care homes.

61. David Willetts – former Universities Minister

Has shares in Sensortec, a company that owns Vantix which was working on a contract for a new product to detect MRSI.

62. Rob Wilson

Had registered shares in Vital Imaging, a private screening company.

63. Tim Yeo

Also attended the 2008 Ryder Cup, courtesy of Humana Europe.

64. Nadhim Zahawi

Non-executive director of recruitment company SThree, which specialises in the Ppharmaceutical and biotechnology sector.

65. Menzies Campbell – former leader

Non-executive director of Scottish American Investment Company plc, which took over one of the care homes when Southern Cross collapsed.

66. Vince Cable – Business Secretary

Received a donation of £2,000 from Chartwell Care Services, which is 100% owned by Chartwell Health & Care PLC. It also owns Chartwell Private Hospitals plc, which provide day case surgery to NHS patients.

67. Nick Clegg – Deputy Prime Minister

Received a donation to his constituency office for £5,000 from Alpha Medical Consultancy.

68. Simon Hughes – Justice Minister

Received £60,000 donation to his constituency party from the founder of Alpha Hospitals, a private hospital firm.

69. Stephen Lloyd

MP for Eastbourne. Received £544.92 aggregated over time for office equipment from Platon Medical Ltd – who provides Ear, Nose and throat devices.

70. Robert Smith

Has shares in pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

71. Jo Swinson – Business Minister

Received a donation of £2,000 September 2013 from private optician firm, Peter Ivins Eye Care.

– See more at: Dorset Eye

Autonomy Films and UNITE Community Group invite you to: NHS vs. PRIVATISATION! Saturday 13th September 2014.

NHS Film_Play

W.I. Hall, North Street, Bridport, 7pm for 7.15pm start (NOTE EARLIER TIME!) Entry £3 or less if you can’t afford it, Vegetarian soup served from 6.30pm. Discussion afterwards: What can we do?

EVENTS ORGANISED BY OTHERS:

Saturday 6th September 2014 1.30pm Film show – MINERS SHOT DOWN (86 mins)
A documentary film about the Marikana miners of South Africa. Followed by a talk by Peter Alexander who works closely with the Marikana miners. The Colliton Club, Colliton House, Colliton Park, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1XJ organized by Dorset Socialists FREE

Saturday 6th September. The 999 March for the NHS reaches London.
People have been marching for weeks to protest at the privatisation of the NHS, following the route of the Jarrow Crusade against unemployment in 1936. The march will be at: Clissold Park N16 11.45 – 12.45pm, Red Lion Square WC1 2pm, Trafalgar Square WC2 3.30pm more details online

Tuesday 9th September 2014 6.30pm Film show – ‘Pride’
New feature film about lesbians and gays supporting S.Wales miners in the 1984/5 strike. At: Cineworld, Yeovil FREE: ring to book.

Wednesday 17th September 2014 7pm. Film show – ‘Flying Paper’
60-minute film about children in Gaza and their kites. Cerne Abbas Room, United Church, Dorchester DT1 1EE Refreshments. Organised by Dorset Palestinian and Israeli Peace Group ENTRY by donation

ADVANCE NOTICE: Saturday 18th October (Same day as London Anarchist Bookfair) National ‘Britain needs a pay rise’ demo in London organised by TUC.
Assemble 11am on the Embankment near Blackfriars, dept. 12pm for rally in Hyde Park.

And before that, a one-day strike on Tuesday 14th October.

That’s from Unison, same statement can be found at Untie the Onion, it’s mentioned on the GMB site, and many Unison locals have their own plans but it seems there isn’t a single TUC strike page to co-ordinate and promote all the local actions and pickets for this (we’ve looked) why not? Tell you what, if you send your action’s details to us we’ll put them up here. Watch this space.

Autonomy Films presents: HIDDEN Histories OF WWI. Thursday 17th July 2014 7:30 p.m.

WW1 Leaflet_2St John’s Hall, Rax Lane, Bridport Entry £3 (less if you can’t afford it)

Bristol radical history group

EVENTS ORGANISED BY OTHERS

‘Robert Potts and his Lost Photo-History of Bridport’ Tuesday 8th – Saturday 19th July in the Foyer, Bridport Arts Centre Pre-exhibition seeking local involvement to piece together social history from the postcards of pioneer photographer Potts.

Thursday 10th July *National One-Day Strike against Austerity* by public service workers. Local demonstration in support happening in Dorchester.

Saturday 12th July Bournemouth Gay Pride procession

Also : Demonstration against TTIP taking away national sovereign rights and giving them to multinationals: in Dorchester, see Dorset Socialists

Friday 18th July to Sunday 20th July: Radical workers’ bloc at Tolpuddle. A friendly pan-anarchist get-together, in a field!

50% pay cut for ex-NHS carers in Dorset.

A personal account from a Dorset care worker:

In 2011 approximately 160 adults with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour were transferred from long stay hospital units and moved into their own homes. The private sector stepped in to provide care for these people and staff were personally matched and TUPE transferred with each individual. The promise was that any private care provider bidding for one of our clients had to show they could ensure our contracts for 2 years minimum, employ new staff on the same pay as the NHS workers to avoid a 2 tier workforce, and help with retention of new staff. A few weeks after the transfer it became apparent this was not the case; providers were employing colleagues at a much lower rate.

By October 2012 the provider ‘Dimensions’ had cut one third of staff’s salary in the form of lost enhancements, change to overtime rate, reduction in annual leave, loss of sick pay, reduced maternity leave etc.. Staff on average lost between £300 and £500 per month in take home pay. For one reason only, many staff accepted the cut at that time while others were dismissed and re-engaged. This reason being respect for those we care for. In Dorset many of us have worked for decades with these people, and have seen them uprooted and socially isolated in their own homes, often with strangers (agency staff) coming in to care, having lost day care provision and suitable transport, we felt so soon after this monumental change in their lives it would be beyond heart-breaking to remove the stability of those they had grown to trust over the decades, so we bit the bullet and continued to provide good care for our clients with the facilities we have.

‘Lifeways’, another of these providers, early in 2014 not only cut their staff’s wage in a similar fashion to Dimensions, they also reduced the hourly rate by 20% at the same time leading to huge reductions in take home pay. For example, a single parent of 3 previously took home £950 per month for part time hours – for these same hours she will now take home £389 – less than her mortgage payment alone and that is after 27 years in the service.  Again those that did not sign to accept this cut were ruthlessly dismissed and re-engaged.

In March 2014 Dimensions staff received a further letter stating their hourly rate would be cut by £1.90 (a 20% drop this time). This is going to force the long term staff to search for work elsewhere a choice they cannot take lightly but for reasons of survival will be forced to, having devastating effects for those we care for. Stability is essential for their quality of life and the staff realise this as we have, in many cases, dedicated our lives to the vocation.

Both Dimensions and Lifeways insist the cuts are only necessary because the local authorities who commission the work to such companies have cut the budget and they cannot survive as businesses unless they do. This appears to be their priority – survival as a business – rather than the devastation they are about to unleash on staff and vulnerable people.

That said, other private providers locally receiving the same amount of money from the authorities have kept their ex NHS staff on their original terms and conditions without going out of business. Despite staff arguing that the cut of £1.90 per hour to 42 Dimensions staff in the area, will result in recruitment and training costs higher than the saving made, Dimensions are well aware of this and stated they are looking at the long term stability of the company, so to us as staff this devastating upheaval is completely unnecessary, especially when you learn extra directors with huge salaries have been employed, managers have been cut in number but received an increase, deputy managers have been put in place  and a bonus will be paid to all staff in April due to a profit share scheme.

In what world can carers and those we care for be treated this way – in a tory world where profit is put before people time and time again, I would ask everyone reading this to imagine losing 50% of their wage within 2 years, through no fault of their own and in fact for taking more responsibility now than we ever did as a care worker in the hospital units.

Where does this leave me? Other than fighting against this cut I cannot look the gentleman I have looked after since 1999 in the eye for fear of how I am about to let him down, let alone his family and how they will feel when those staff they trust implicitly are priced out of the job. Not to mention how to pay my bills and care for my own children.

Join the “CARE CUTS HURT” demo outside Poole Council meeting. 22 April 17:45

“CARE CUTS HURT” demo outside Poole Council meeting. 22 April 17:45

CNCIf you have been affected by cuts to care in any way, whether you have lost your day care, lost you benefits, mobility car, a carer who has had their wage slashed, a care provider who is having to slash their staff’s wages or simply someone who cares please join us in the “CARE CUTS HURT” demo outside Poole Council meeting. Let those that are making the decisions see the human cost, bring a placard, bring your personal story written down to be collected for presenting to the councilors at a future date. Enough is enough with 60% of cuts still to be rolled out we must make ourselves heard.

.

Poole Civic centre (map)

farcebook event

BPACC (Bournemouth & Poole Anti Cuts Coalition)

Report from the front line: Lifeways Dorset tear the arse out of care contract.

Lifeways Dorset will today, Tues 28th January, be dismissing what is expected to be the majority of their support workers for refusing to sign an agreement that would mean up to a 60% cut in take home pay with immediate effect. Lifeways is a private health care provider who won contracts for to provide care to people with a severe learning disability and challenging behaviour.

The staff were transferred with the clients when all of Dorset’s Homes for those with a learning disability and challenging behaviour shut. Most staff have worked with the clients for many years and thus have a positive trusting relationship with those supported and fully understand the complex needs and challenging behavior. Not only are the staff to lose up to £2 per hour from hourly rate, all enhancements for unsociable hours, their pensions reduced, sick pay removed, annual leave reduced all expected to be agreed to with the understanding the budget from the Dorset CCG and Local Authorities had been cut. With a backdrop of an overall profit of £12.6 million last year nationally.

How can a support worker with a family to support possibly agree to such severe cuts and thus have no option but the dismissal and implementation of the lower rate after their notice period? Many have already left to find employment that will not force them into poverty, those that remain are living in limbo and worse of all those positive relationships those supported had are being replaced by being supported by a stranger. How is Private health allowed to get away with this?

B.P.A.C.C. Demo’s against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm.

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We are calling on Bournemouth and Poole councils to give assurances that no social housing tenants will be evicted due to arrears accrued through the Bedroom Tax and will be holding demonstrations outside both town halls prior to full council meetings on Tuesday 18th June. Please show your support and assemble outside either Bournemouth Town Hall or Poole Civic Centre from 6pm. Thank-you

Demo’s against the Bedroom Tax – Tuesday 18th June – 6pm

Some ideas to fight the bedroom tax.

Press Release: Bournemouth Uncut brands Poole Council leader Elaine Atkinson’s comments as “shameless”.

Bournemouth Uncut For immediate release: 29/04/2013

Elaine Atkinson of Poole Council was questioned about the recent Bournemouth Uncut ‘Who wants to evict a millionaire’ action during her interview on the Sunday Politics South [1] show her response was:
“I mean, it was awful, it was an awful attack on local democracy, because these councillors are ordinary people who are giving up their time to do a job and help to their local communities, and frankly Bournemouth Uncut I have to say they are intelligent, they are articulate, they are organised, go and get a job.”

All Bournemouth Uncut actions are held on a Saturday or bank holidays. This is because the overwhelming majority of people that organise or come to our actions are employed full time. For Atkinson to use her platform to promote the myth that all protesters are unemployed, without any evidence of the group she is subjecting to these claims is utterly shameless. This shows how little she is in touch with the local electorate. Bournemouth Uncut is open to anyone who wants to join us, our turn out has been made up of a very wide range of professions, higher education students and those in-between jobs.

Kim Elkin of Bournemouth Uncut is currently volunteering at the Soup Kitchen at St Johns Church in Parkstone, she said “We care very much about our community and the people in it. That is why we do what we do. We don’t just protest against the cuts, we go out and help the people directly affected by them as well. Bournemouth Uncut is a fun, creative and family friendly way to engage with the public, and it shows people that there are alternatives to austerity. It doesn’t have to be this way. The bankers that got us into this mess are receiving tax breaks, and avoiding tax, while the poor are suffering for the mistakes of the rich.”

Atkinson claimed “councillors are ordinary people who are giving up their time to do a job and help to their communities“ In reality Elaine picked up £32,095 in the period 1st April 2011 – 31st March 2012[4] for giving up her time to Poole Council. She is in fact the highest paid councillor in Poole. Bournemouth Uncut will continue to do their day jobs and help their communities for free in addition to taking creative direct action in their spare time.

589 households in Bournemouth affected by bedroom tax[2] and 635 households affected in Poole.[3] That’s 1224 vulnerable social housing households affected. How many of these households will be able to move to a house with the correct amount of bedrooms? How many will find that the houses just aren’t available and have to pay the tax? How many will be pushed into more expensive rented homes, wasting more tax payer money? Do you know Elaine? We would love to know the figures. So far we have seen no guarantee given by Bournemouth or Poole borough councils to its social tenants that they will not be evicted if they fall behind on rent arrears because of the ‘bedroom tax’. Other councils in the country have given such assurances, but neither Bournemouth nor Poole borough councils have.

When the traditional routes of engagement with MP’s and councilors has been exhausted, and people’s concerns and issues have not been adequately dealt with, then yes, people turn to protest and direct action to get their voices heard, it is a healthy part of living in a democracy. To say that it was an attack on local democracy is ironic to say the very least.

Bournemouth Uncut is part of UK Uncut a grassroots movement using creative direct action to fight the cuts and highlight alternatives to austerity.

###ENDS###

For more information and interviews:
Email: BournemouthUncut@riseup.net

Call 07596 388 848

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rxx34/Sunday_Politics_South_28_04_2013/
[2] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_households_affected_by_bed_2
[3] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_households_affected_by_bed
[4] http://www.boroughofpoole.com/your-council/councillors/members-allowances/?locale=en

Thatcher’s Funeral – From the Most Vulnerable of All

Reblogged from Diary of a Benefit Scrounger – Sue Marsh.
Welfare reform. Much needed shake up of a system out of control or cruel and ignorant attack of some of the most vulnerable people in society? Most have an opinion.

Many like me, were fighting the welfare reform bill way back in 2011. We know every last detail, every twist and turn, every sweeping change and every technical detail. Believe me, it’s cruel.

On the whole, I think the cruelty is in the details. Oh, not the headline grabbing Benefit Cap or Universal Credit. They’re largely PR stunts that won’t save any money at all. Universal Credit could have been rather clever if only ministers had understood the details. If only they’d really understood the people they were legislating for. Their lives, the difficulties they face, the traps in the system, the precarious fear of a life on the margins of society.

One of the most sickening details of all still grates with me almost daily. It was so cruel sounnecessary. It overturned decades of cross-party consensus and decency. It picked on a group so vulnerable it takes my breath away. And it stripped that group of basic rights despite ministers not actually understanding the policy at all. How cavalier can you be? How arrogant and out-of-touch?

It was called the “Youth Premium” It only related to children who were born so profoundly disabled that they would never work as adults. Forget your Work Capability Assessments and your Scroungers, these children would never take part in society like you or I. Many would never talk, self feed, walk, play, laugh, fall in love. But they could still lead independent lives. Because we were a society that believed they should have a right to if they chose to.

The Youth Premium treated these children as though they had paid National Insurance. For a cost of just 11 million pounds, on becoming adults, these children were treated as though they had “contributed” through work and because of that, they were entitled to contributory benefits, they did not have to be means tested.

Such a simple thing, but what did it mean in practise? What did it mean to the people behind the numbers? The lives being toyed with? It meant they were entitled to live independently if they chose to. They were entitled to benefits in their own name, not as a means tested part of their family. Often, such profoundly disabled children had considerable compensation to see them through lives damaged beyond recognition by accidents. This compensation was just that. Money for an expensive future of care, adaptations to homes, aids to independence. For a lifetime, this money would have to pay for support just to make their lives as manageable as society could achieve.

No more. Any money would be part of the means test. They would have to run down reserves of cash or savings before the state would step in. Compensation is not income. Nor should it be. From the passing of the welfare bill, any security or savings put aside by families terrified what life would hold once parents or siblings had passed, would have to slowly seep away, leaving insecurity and hunger a shadow away before these few profoundly disabled neighbours and daughters and brothers could rely on any help or support from the state.

Our elite cabinet talked of how “unfair” it would be if “these people” “inherited” money but were still entitled to support from our social security system. No, they would simply have a little security to underpin the often modest state income someone with profound disabilities might expect. And how many of us can rely on generous inheritances anyway? Is that real life? A likely scenario? Of course not.

You might be wondering why I bring all this up again today. The law passed (you can see me pointing out to Chris Grayling why he didn’t understand his own policy on Newsnight, here :

Well, it’s that 11 million pounds. £11 million. In Westminster terms it would barely pay for the DWP’s paperclips. It is a drop in the ocean of a welfare budget spanning 10s of billions. It only applied to a few thousand of the most disabled children in society (children just like Ivan Cameron, had he lived into adulthood.) But Lord Freud, failed investment banker and Minister for Welfare Reform, insisted that we could “no longer afford it” We could no longer afford to allow such profoundly disabled children lives of dignity and independence. No more security. No relief for worried families that they would be safe once they were gone. A cross-party consensus of decades, stripped away by ministers who didn’t even know what they were doing.

This week, William Hague assures us we can afford £10 million for a ceremonial funeral for Margaret Thatcher. Opinion polls show the public don’t want it, commentators from left and right are mystified, yet 2,200 people have been invited to a decadent funeral for a divisive PM who lies at the heart of many of the problems facing our society today. When I scanned the invitees yesterday, it felt surreal. A mish-mash of variety club has-beens, world leaders she shunned and elite aristocrats who shunned her when alive.

10 million for a dead PM, nothing for those living with some of the greatest barriers to society any of us will ever face. I actually feel a bit sick writing it down.

But perhaps, this is the most fitting legacy of all for a PM who assured us “there is no such thing as society”

Perhaps as she burns or rots (we will all do one or the other) every profoundly disabled life lived in chains of dependence because today’s government didn’t understand the details will haunt her. Perhaps she will see images of each and every one playing like a movie to her soul, wherever it ends up.

I hope so. Those children needed that £11 million. She doesn’t.

Day of action in memory of Dead Thing.

Trafalgar

A group of us travelled up to London to attend the ‘thatcher’s dead’ party called by Class War about a decade ago. During the day we divided ourselves between UK Uncut’s ‘bedroom tax’ action at Lord Fraud’s house and North London SolFed’s workfare pickets in Wood Green.

On the lawn at Iain Duncan Smith’s & down Lord Freud’s street – Report by Anarchist Federation

The workfare pickets continued both SolFed’s campaign against Poundland and supported Bristol AFed’s new initiative against Homebase; we were able to have some interesting conversations with staff and customers. The area is stricken by the government’s austerity programme with the crappiest jobs imaginable drawing hundreds of applicants. People here are in absolutely no doubt what is being done to them, why, and by whom. Homebase pickets were simultaneously conducted in Bristol and Bath.

I was going to buy something – but fuck it! Bristol Solidarity Federation.

Meanwhile in Bournemouth: Bournemouth Uncut took on the Tory MP’s and councillors of Bournemouth and Poole this weekend for their “Who wants to evict a millionaire?” action. Their homes were dressed as crime scenes with yellow markers, crime scene tape, evidence bags with ‘blood’ soaked cotton buds, and some lovely eviction notices. Some of the lucky recipients of our crime scenes were Robert Syms MP, John Beesley of Bournemouth Council, and other usual suspects like May Haines, Carol Evans, Ann Stibley, Mike White and Peter Pawlowski. At a time that people are facing losing their homes due to the bedroom tax, we thought it high time those architects of misery felt (for a few seconds) what it would be like to face eviction from their own homes. Very nice homes indeed…with plenty of spare bedrooms.

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On to Trafalgar square, a picture circulated on twitter showing the square fenced off and surrounded by police proved to be bogus, trying to put us off? Not a hope, even the rain couldn’t do that, the vibe was joyful and good-natured, and solidarity was palpable. During the course of the evening a steady 3000 revellers divided their time between the square and surrounding pubs. A few incidents of  police misbehaviour were swiftly and efficiently dealt with by the crowd, who had to clear them all out of the way from time to time; similarly, a smattering of fascists showed up to spoil the fun and got battered for their trouble. It’s worth pointing out that we can do this perfectly well without the ‘vanguard’ of press photographers that hurl themselves into the fray at the first hint of bother.

Of course this was not just about celebrating the death from natural causes of some demented old fascist (what was her name again?) who was admired in some circles for doggedly sticking to her principles of greed, self-interest and disdain for anyone who didn’t share her precise ethnic origins and social prejudices. Many present had their own lives blighted by the Dead Thing and had good reason to gloat; but far more importantly this was a positive affirmation of our determination to bury her mean-spirited ideology with her.

We, the working class will do this, we have no faith whatsoever in political or industrial representation, our future is in our hands, as the hangovers fade, let’s get organised!

That Trafalgar thing: Amila Bosnae

Thatcher Death Party, UK Uncut and DPAC Make It Personal – Johnny Void

Take Action Against Homebase: Let’s Stop Workfare in its Tracks – From Bristol Anarchist Federation.

UPDATE: Homebase are feeling the heat, time to turn it up! Bristol Demo This saturday ( Facebook Indymedia ) Bath on Sunday ( Facebook Indymedia) and two demos called in London. More in the works… In the mean time keep up the pressure online!

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Yesterday, sources including Tom Pride’s blog, revealed that Homebase had been recruiting unpaid workers via a ‘work experience program’. Even worse they were actually boasting about getting extra hours of work by exploiting job seekers and reducing their ‘payroll costs’.  A poster was spotted in a management office asking  ‘would 750 hours with no payroll costs benefit your store?‘.  Few companies are this brutally honest about their motivations!

Our first response was to ‘politely contact’ homebase online, and we were far from the only ones.  Angry comments on twitter & facebook were popping up faster than they could delete them. They managed to remove ours, only for a many of our facebook friends to repost it.  All these responses seemed to worry the management at Homebase and they quickly put out a couple of rushed statements including:

‘[..] The company has not signed up to the workfare programme, but, on occasions, works with local organisations to help unemployed people into the workplace. A number of unemployed people have recently joined our Haringey store through JobCentre Plus in a short, voluntary programme, to gain work experience. They are entirely under no obligation to participate, nor will non participation affect any benefits. Colleagues at this store also have not been impacted by this programme in any reduction of hours.’ and ‘Some of our best colleagues have joined us having previously been unemployed […]‘

Even on a first read through these statements seem to be full of double speak and blatant lies. They start by saying they haven’t signed up to workfare but then describe a workfare scheme they have evidently signed up to! They move on to say it is voluntary even though it has been repeatedly revealed that the job centre forces people onto so-called ‘voluntary’ schemes, by threatening them with sanctions,  telling them the only alternative is an even worse mandatory scheme,  illegally giving inaccurate information and not explaining to them their right to refuse.

Next they say that the workfare scheme has not impacted staff or reduced over time hours, boycott workfare quickly exposed this as an outright lie with a staff member reporting massive reductions in overtime. They also revealed that Homebase isn’t offering any of their unpaid workers jobs, hardly surprising given the fact that only 4% of people on the work program end up with steady job. As for their claim that some people who got a job with them were unemployed before hand?  Well surely this is true anywhere, its quite common to be unemployed before you get a job!

We’re calling on individuals and groups around the country to join us in taking action against Homebase. (facebook event)

Bristol AFed, SolFed and others at one of our previous boycott workfare demonstrations

Bristol AFed, SolFed and friends at one of our previous anti-workfare demonstrations

We propose that people keep up the contact and criticism via their twitterfacebookyou tube, customer email, media enquiries emailpost box,  and telephone.  Then, if Homebase has not 100% officially backed out of all methods of exploiting unpaid workers at the expense of their paid staff, we call on people to hold protests at their local homebase store a week from now, on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th of APRIL. If there isn’t a Homebase close by, why not hold a protest at an Argos instead, seeing as it also uses workfare in the same way and is owned by the same parent company!

If you are thinking of joining in with the national days of action against Homebase, we highly recommend you speak to the staff working in the shop before hand. If you work their yourself, or know someone that does, this is ideal. Even if you don’t it is worth going down before your protest and politely talking to staff in a relaxed way. Make it clear that your protest is not aimed at them, but at the management and owners of homebase. Explain how if this isn’t stopped it could negatively affect their jobs.  Encourage them to get together and talk to other members of staff at Homebase, and consider joining a workplace group or union to fight to protect and improve their pay and conditions (we would recommend the IWW or Solidarity Federation, but the choice will depend on the local situation).

We will be calling for a picket and protest at our local Homebase, in the mean time we have set up a Facebook Event to help people network, share ideas, and advertise their local events. We also suggest using the Boycott Workfare and UK Uncut websites to help network with other people in your area.

Calling a protest doesn’t have to take a lot of time, print off some leaflets (feel free to copy anything from our last workfare leaflet – we will post links to other leaflets produced (send ‘em to us!) so people can copy them if they don’t feel like writing their own), make some placards and banners, text call and speak to your mates, then publicise the event online or on any community notice boards etc.

Additionally, this is the demand we’ve made of Homebase, what would be enough for you to call off your action may vary:

Release a binding statement that clearly states 1) you will never participate in any workfare schemes nationally or locally*1 2) Homebase will stop all current involvement with all schemes (including the ‘work experience program’) that equate to people working for you for no money*2  3) you apologise for the callous nature of the poster that was up in a management office (a picture of which is bellow) and will investigate the manager(s) responsible 4) You compensate anyone who has been on such a scheme with you, and if a paid position is available offer them a job should they decide they want one. Due to the circumstances of the job offer it should be completely acceptable for someone to refuse, homebase should work with the job centre to ensure this in itself does not lead to sanctions. This absolutely must not impact on hours, overtime or pay for current staff members.

*1with the definition of workfare being any scheme where unemployed people work for you without pay, including (but not limited to) so-called ‘work experience’ schemes operated by the job centre and private companies.

*2 Homebase will also ensure that no one suffers any sanctions due to the scheme ending, something they should actively pursue and check up on with the relevent job centres.

View original post on Bristol AFed

JHP Employability – workfare pimps

Another bunch of sleazy slave-mongers has been brought to our attention:

Press Release: JHP Group announced as a preferred bidder for the Department for Work and Pensions’ Work Programme pdf

From their website:

 

JHP Employability Call: 0800 6800 321:

Did you know we could offer you free, temporary staff for four weeks? 

“The Department for Work and Pensions has created a new work programme designed to give those who are unemployed the opportunity to gain new skills and experiences by completing a work placement which will benefit their local community.”

 – It beats us how the community benefits from losing 4 weeks full time paid employment when there already aren’t enough jobs to go round. –

“What’s great about the programme…”

 – We’re all ears –

”We are giving our clients new opportunities and a fresh start. A 4-week placement gives them the chance to experiene” (sic) 

– won’t teach ‘em to spell then – “a new sector or job and”

– wait for it… “give back to the community”.

 – There you go, give back to the community that denied you a living by lining JHP’s pockets at your own expense! Who exactly do these bastards think they are? –

“…The programme lasts 4 weeks with each client completing a 30 hour working week…”

“Get involved…

If you’d like to support this programme”

– If, like us, you want to put a stop to the exploitation of your Fellow Workers: –

“and provide our clients with this unique opportunity,”  – to work 30 hours a week for fuck all –

“please get in touch with our regional team on

0870 4780 919


Please feel free to tell them what you think.

Help Take The Smile Off George Ferguson’s Face

Bristol’s Budget Day – Tuesday 26th February – an appeal from Bristol And District Anti Cuts Alliance (BADACA)

Please support and publicise these events via any networks you have available. We need you and all your friends there.

Bristol George Ferguson

Tuesday 26th February – From 1pm – Lobby Bristol City Council

This is the full meeting of Bristol City Council where a vote will be taken on George Ferguson’s budget – £35 million of cuts and 330 jobs lost. Despite the inconvenient timing we need to get as many people as possible to a lobby from 1pm outside the Council House and as many people as possible in the public gallery for the meeting. We have written to all councillors calling on them to speak out against the budget. A large and vocal lobby and a packed gallery may encourage them to do this. Please come if you can an publicise among others – even if you can only get there for a short time in your lunch hour it will help. Bring banners, flags, placards etc. Facebook event.

Tuesday 26th February – from 5.30pm – Lobby the Institute Of Directors

In previous years the council’s budget meeting has gone long into the evening. This year, George Ferguson is attending an IOD event at 6pm – meeting his big-business friends. This means that either the council meeting will be guillotined or will continue without him – meaning he won’t have to hear what councillors think of his budget. BADACA is organising aprotest outside the M Shed Museum where the IOD event is taking place. Please join us there from 5.30pm. Bring banners, flags, placards etc. A flyer/poster for this can be downloaded from our website.

Statement from the Crutch Collective re: Co-op and Atos.

We don’t think it is a co-incidence that the Co-Op have made their statement 3 days before a communications blockade and pickets. Thanks to the individuals and organisations that invited 3200 to the communications blocakde, the 400 who signed up to take part and the dozens who were planning to take part in the pickets. Thanks also to the individuals and organisations who contacted the Co-Op over the months. We will be discussing what to do next over the next couple of days, but unless there is clear evidence that Atos is still part of the bidding process under a different name, we will be calling off the communication blockade and pickets. We will be figuring out other ways to target Atos economically using similar tactics in the future.

Co-Op – Don’t Renew The Atos Contract! – Pickets – Everywhere 17th/19th January.

Picket times – From 5p.m. on Thursday 17th January to catch people going home from work and late night shoppers. And anytime on Saturday 19th January.

Get our flyer here! Courtesy of Solent SolFed

The Co-Op have said that their new occupational health contract starts in March and that the bidding process for the new contract has already begun. The Co-Op have refused to publicly rule out a bid from Atos. Tendering processes are generally geared towards awarding the contract to the lowest bidder. If the Co-Op were going to make their decision based on ethical concerns, which they have said will be a factor, they would have already publicly rejected a bid from Atos. Atos’s unethical behaviour has already been well documented in the mainstream media and Disabled People Against Cuts have compiled a list of Atos’s unethical behaviour for the Co-Op. Pickets with calls for boycotts and communication blockades and the resulting damage to a company’s reputation does have a significant economic impact and has been shown to work with other campaigns. The Co-Op is particularly vulnerable to such tactics as their ethical image is their unique selling point in their part of the market.

Details of the Communications blockade on Thursday 17th January from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. can be found here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/357131177718217/

Some background information:

It has recently been discovered that the Co-Op Bank and group of companies have had a 4 year occupational health contract with Atos and that the contract is due for renewal. Atos make huge profits carrying out work capability assessments on sick and disabled people on behalf of the Government. As was exposed by a Channel 4 documentary they automatically pass 7 out of 8 people as fit for work – to comply with Government targets for benefit cuts. Their decisions are not based on objective medical opinion. Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland have received 24,000 complaints about Atos. CAB win 80% of appeals against Atos finding people fit for work. The Daily Record reported on a Government survey that showed half of those found fit for work by Atos end up destitute.

The Government are cutting benefits as part of their austerity measures aimed mainly at the poor, while those responsible for the public debt continue to get richer. Despite the media headlines about one or two bankers losing their bonuses, generally bankers’ bonuses and those of company directors continue to grow. Sales in luxury goods are also rising. Nearly 50,000 new property millionaires were created in the UK in 2012. £2 billion of cuts in housing benefit and child tax credit where announced in the chancellor’s autumn statement, while £3 billion of cuts in corporation tax was announced in the same statement.

The Co-Op sells itself as an ethical company, but what ethical standards are they maintaining by not publicly ruling out awarding a new contract that gives millions to a company that cuts the benefits of sick and disabled people?

Claimants Resisting Unfair Treatment, Cuts and Harassment
https://www.thecrutchcollective.blogspot.co.uk

Supported by:
Clydeside Industrial Workers Of The World

https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Clydeside-IWW/216550781713688

Glasgow Solidarity Federation:
https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Glasgow-Solidarity-Federation/237568036376381

Facebook Event Page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/488541864531259/

The Glasgow picket will be at the Co-Op’s new flagship food store at 143 Sauchiehall Street. At least 3 other pickets are being planned in Dundee, London and Southampton. More details to follow.

Westcountr​y Mutineer #3 (December 2012)

Westcountry Mutineer

Yes, yes, we know, it’s a couple of weeks late!

Anyway, here’s your free copy.

Where you’ll find a festive mix of –

* Gaza Palava!
* Healthcare Selloffs!
* Going Postal!
* Don’t Work Smart, Work Fare!
* Striking A Nerve!
* Prisons!
* Anarchy!
* Pirates!

and obviously much, much more!

Merry winterval, winter celebration, snow pagent, cold-weather commodity swapping event or whatever other PC words for Xmas will piss off Daily Mail readers! – WCM editorial collective

If you’d like hard copies to distribute or sell for noble causes, the merry mutineers can be contacted Here.

UK Uncut call out 8 Dec. Refuge from the cuts – target Starbucks!

 

UK Uncut event page

From UK Uncut: “It’s time for the government to wake up and smell the coffee. Women have had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. But there is a refuge from the cuts. Join us on Saturday 8th December to transform the tax dodger Starbucks into services women depend on, such as refuges and crèches. Check the actions page to find an action near you. If there isn’t one, we’ve got a step-by-step guide on how you can organise one yourself.”

Actions all over our area including Bath, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Portsmouth and Southampton.

DPAC (Disabled People Against the Cuts) and UK Uncut team up for ‘The Atos Closing Ceremony’ and a secret action occupying the DWP HQ.

The day started in Paton Square, a tense atmosphere was building with many people waiting in anticipation of the secret action. While the protest in Paton Square was in full swing with an attendance of 400, around 30 disabled and able-bodied activists entered the DWP HQ in Westminster. The activists inside locked on and made their demands for Iain-Duncan Smith and Maria Miller, while being supported by activists outside blocking the door with a banner. More people turned up in support of the action, and UK Uncut announced the action on Facebook gaining over 3000 shares. The main Atos Closing Ceremony came to a close with those in attendance moving to the DWP building to support the action they had all been waiting for.

A heavy-handed approach from the Met lead to several protestors being injured, including a wheelchair user suffering a fractured shoulder, and minor scuffles broke out as protestors attempted to keep the entrance blockaded. Only one arrest was made, of a man who was inside occupying the building, he came out to inform the Police that their tactics of pushing and shoving to gain a Police line was crushing and injuring protestors, he went peacefully and was taken to Charing Cross police station.

The Atos Closing Ceremony and DWP Action brought a close on a week of action against Atos, with both DPAC and UK Uncut promising more actions against Atos and DWP until this multimillionaire ConDem government stops penalising sick and disabled people for a crisis they did not cause.

UK Uncut Films – http://vimeo.com/48640242
Sky News Report and video (Worth the watch, spot the Wessex Solidarity members) – http://news.sky.com/story/979371/disabled-protest-over-fit-for-work-tests
Live stream of the day – http://bambuser.com/channel/alburyj

B.P.A.C.C. Upcoming events for Aug / Sept.

Please find below details of events planned for August and September. As always, your support is welcomed. Even if you are unable to attend, sharing these events with your family, friends and colleagues would be greatly appreciated:

Tues 28th August – 12noon to 1.30pm – The Atos Games
A demonstration is being held against Atos Healthcare Work Capability Assessments outside Jobcentre Plus, Tamarisk House, 1 Cotlands House, Bournemouth BH1 3BG
Click here for more details

Thurs 6th September – 3.30pm – Lobby against South West NHS Pay Cartel
A lobby of the Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust AGM being held at the Carrington Hotel, Knyverton Road, Bournemouth
Click here for more details

Friday 21st September – 7pm to 8pm – Fair Tax Campaign
On the night comedian Jimmy Carr visits Poole, come along and help leaflet the audience about the campaign for fair taxes.
Click here for more details

Thank you for your support and Keep On Keeping On
BPACC

Keep up the pressure on Holland & Barrett!

The usual suspects will be conducting a picket of the hypocritical workfare slave-mongers in the Poole area on 7th July. If you’d like to be involved contact us

A spur of the moment picket was called by Bournemouth Uncut and Occupy in solidarity with comrades in Liverpool on Saturday 23rd. It was well attended, supported by members of BPACC and Solent Solfed. Two shops picketed; police called in relation to attachment of flags and placards to street furniture, despite the plethora of bunting and advertising material in the precinct – we were only asked to take it with us when we’d finished.

At the arcade, the security prat in the jeweller’s next door asked us to  go outside (there were two entrances, one inside, one out), another prat in a suit came out, he was asked to prove that he was an agent for the landowner. After variously claiming to be the owner, chairman of the committee and some company he couldn’t name, he “couldn’t be bothered to argue” and went back in to call the police – which he didn’t – so there you go.

    

   

The Nasty World of the JSA Sanction!

From Good Advice Matters – Free benefit advice!

The Nasty World of the JSA Sanction!

Came across this today. Seems there is a clause in the Welfare Reform Bill which will negate people from claiming assessment rate during reconsideration if ESA is stopped by ATOS forcing them onto JSA. Bastards.

No ESA for claimants who want to appeal

A Rolling Festive Phone-in to Atos ‘Healthcare’

Monday, December 12, 2011 at 9:00am until Thursday, December 22, 2011 at 5:00pm
As part of the National Month of Festive Action Against Atos we are calling for a rolling mass telephone complaint to poverty pimps Atos in the run up to Christmas.

We urgently need towns, cities, groups and individuals to commit to a morning or afternoon shift in the upcoming days and get as many people as possible to ring Atos and complain about their involvement in the Work Capability Assessment.

To maximise the protest we will aim to have as many groups as possible calling Atos at different times in the run up to Christmas. We’ll maintain a list here and on our Facebook event to try and help co-ordinate times/dates and see if we can keep the phonelines buzzing daily in the run up to Christmas.

Either ring your local Atos Offices, or their corporate headquarters, or why not both! Atos’s main numbers (including a handy freephone number) are:

+44 (0)20 7830 4444 (Tel)
+44 (o)20 7830 4233 (Tel)
+44 (0)800 783 3040 (Freephone)
+44 (0)20 7830 4445 (Fax)

Atos ‘Healthcare’ who run the Work Capability Assessment have a main number at: +44 (0) 113 230 9175

If you aren’t part of a local group, or even if you are, support the other protests by calling Atos along with them. Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls will be low paid receptionist/admin staff so we call on people to be be business-like and non-confrontational. Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls which are threatening, indecent or offensive. Keep it fluffy. Why not sing them a carol?