Archive for the ‘UK Uncut’ Category

Iain Duncan Smith: 400,000 sign petition in less than 4 days

April 4, 2013
Tell Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week and not sponge off his wealthy wife

Tell Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week and not sponge off his wealthy wife

400,000 in less than 4 days — incredible!

First of all I want to say thank you. When I started the petition calling on Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week I hoped it would have some impact, but I never imagined it would set off such a huge chain reaction. As I write the signature count is 408,593. It is overwhelming and inspiring.

This week the Government wanted to control the debate and dictate the tone — you have taken that from them and given it back to the people!

The petition has been talked about on Facebook and Twitter, and covered hundreds of times in the media. It was on the front page of The Independent, BBC, Sky News, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and many more.

Iain Duncan Smith has not yet replied directly to me, but told his local newspaper that he thinks the petition is “a complete stunt which distracts attention from the welfare reforms”. In fact it is the total opposite.

This petition represents over 400,000 people concerned by the welfare cuts.

Iain Duncan Smith is clearly rattled and wants this to blow over. Let’s not give him that privilege.

In the coming days I will deliver the petition in person but let’s have a final effort to remind him once again what this is all about — men who live comfortable lives in country mansions have no right to tell people what poverty feels like.

Post a Facebook message or send a tweet today. Some ideas below…

Please keep supporting the petition — we have started this conversation, let’s keep it going.

Thank you,
Dominic Aversano

Help reach 500,000 signers…

The vile CondDem government are clearly rattled, we have had George Osborne say the critics are talking ill-informed nonsense, we have have had Eric Pickles say people on welfare should go and live in France, we have had the gutter press try and smear all benefit claimants as mass murderers and child killers, a theme George Osborne has picked up today.

Please sign the petition calling on Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week and not sponge of his millionaire wife.

Please join the Who Wants to Evict a Millionaire action called for 13 April 2016.

Please spread the word. Let us reach half a million signatures.

The bedroom tax’s authors were either careless or cruel – it must be fought

April 1, 2013

This intolerable policy is unworkable, unfair and unreasonable. It will be challenged with direct action.

Axe the Bedroom Tax

Axe the Bedroom Tax

For some time now, I’ve been trying to understand the government’s thought process as it devised the bedroom tax. I can imagine Lord Freud, its inventor, might not know enough about the social housing stock to realise it is an impractical policy (though if he doesn’t even know the basics of social housing, I’m not sure why the government is letting him tinker with it); I can understand the mean-spirited attitude that resents giving poor people anything other than as little as possible (though I don’t share it); I can even accept that – as bizarre as it sounds to me – the government might sincerely see the bedroom tax as a practical solution to the social housing shortage.

But what I don’t understand is the rationale of a group of individuals who decide to tax people for their spare rooms, and actively include foster parents in that – or people with disabilities, or people whose children are serving overseas. I mean, there must have been a conversation at some point where one policymaker asked “what about people who need a spare room to store medical equipment to keep them alive? Are they going to be exempted?” and another replied “no, let’s take money from them as well”. And if that conversation didn’t happen, what does that say about the level of scrutiny that goes into making government policy?

I ponder this because to me it is evidence that this government is either careless or actively cruel. There are simply no other explanations. The bedroom tax has certainly not come from a place of reason. If it had, the government wouldn’t have partially U-turned by exempting foster families as it has now done, or it would have listened to all the local authorities saying they don’t have the right housing stock, or it would have been deterred by warnings that the policy will lead to evictions and homelessness. That’s how a reasonable government would behave, and this government is not reasonable.

We’ve been here before, where the government attempts to introduce a tax that is unworkable, unfair and unreasonable. The fledgling campaigns against the bedroom tax have already begun to make comparisons with the poll tax, suggesting that campaigners are aware that direct action is the only conceivable response. The poll tax was defeated with mass non-payment and protest on the streets, not with rational arguments or pleas for compassion. I get the impression that campaigners against the bedroom tax will be responding with similar inflexibility to the government. Inflexibility is something this government seems to understand.

UK Uncut’s forthcoming day of action on 13 April is the obvious starting point for a sustained campaign of direct action against the bedroom tax. And what the government needs to grasp pretty quickly is that opposition to the bedroom tax will not come from hubristic activists, but from people who feel they have no choice but to fight because they are already being dragged down by a whole other set of austerity measures. For a lot of people in this country, a campaign against the bedroom tax will not be an opportunity to score political points; it will be the raft that stops them from drowning.

Over the coming weeks and months, a cocktail of local authority cuts, benefit caps, and the bedroom tax will push people into fighting back. The media and political class may condemn their actions, even if they are non-violent. There won’t be any headlines depicting these protests as what they simply are: a justifiable reaction to an intolerable policy. But when the government pushes people to their absolute limit, something has to give. This year, that will happen. And if you want to know who to blame, look to Westminster.

– Ellie Mae O’Hagan

Originally published in the Grauniad.

Note: A petition has been launched calling for Iain Duncan Smith to survive on £53 a week. Please sign and pass to others.

Caroline Lucas: Launch of the People’s Assembly

March 27, 2013

Caroline Lucas MP speaking at the launch of the People’s Assembly.

The People’s Assembly is a broad coalition formed to oppose the hated ConDem Government.

It is a real coalition, not a coalition of convenience where the despised LibDems will do anything to remain in power.

The ConDem Government delight in the deficit as it gives them the excuse for slash and burn of the public sector.

We live in a world where the rich have their taxes cut because they work harder, the poor have their benefits cut because it makes them work harder.

It was not the poor who caused the economic crisis it was the greedy bankers, compounded by the idiot we have as Chancellor.

If you are rich you will get State handouts to pay for the nanny for your spoilt brats. If you are a single mother on benefits trying the best you can to bring up your kids, the government will force you off benefits.

If you are sick, if you are at death’s door, the government will find you fit for work and cut your disability benefits.

Come April, the poor will see their benefits cut, they will be hit with a bedroom tax, they will be forced to pay Council tax.

Meanwhile the greedy bankers who caused the economic crisis award themselves multimillion pound bonuses.

RBS: Stop defrauding us, manipulating us, lying to us and trashing our climate

February 28, 2013
Oily bankers RBS AGM 2011

Oily bankers RBS AGM 2011

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) reported a £5.2 billion loss as it announced its annual results today The bank’s boss Stephen Hester is four years into his original five-year plan to bring RBS back on track – yet things don’t seem to be getting much better for the publicly owned bank. RBS blames a year of heavy fines. But let’s just remind ourselves of what these fines were:

  • PPI: The bank knowingly mis-sold its customers insurance which they neither needed nor could use, over a period of years. Fine: £2.2 billion
  • Libor: The bank illegally manipulated a crucial interest rate to benefit itself whilst negatively affecting mortgage payers in the UK (and elsewhere). Fine: £391 million

Bankers this year have been rewarded for doing a ‘good job’. Bonus pot: £600,000 million.

Some pretty significant figures that the bank should never have been in a position to pay.

If the RBS was really making headway to being sustainable and acting in the interest of us and its shareholders, we would surely expect a much stronger annual report, and a move towards investments only in sustainable projects.

Hester is quoted on the BBC website this morning as saying “…my job is [to] deliver an RBS that other investors want to own shares in…” This is true, but he must also remember that RBS is still owned by UK taxpayers and it is also his job to ensure that the bank is cleaned up and takes good care of our investment. Stopping defrauding us, manipulating us, lying to us and trashing our climate and environment would certainly be a good place to start. Hester has a lot of ground to cover in the final year of his plan.

– Paul Daly

Originally published by WDM.

The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers

February 25, 2013

There are writers who can write one novel, no more, others who write one novel, then endlessly regurgitate the same novel, peopled with the same characters.

Paul Torday falls into the latter category. One excellent novel, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, then endless similar novels with the same characters. Not shallow cardboard cut out characters, but incredibly boring characters, who all merge into one, shooting, fishing, golf, dinner parties, and not much else. You get the impression his characters are in late middle age, such is the boring tedium of their lives. It comes as a shock to find they are only in their late thirties.

Eck was in the Army, now is is in the City, he works for a hedge fund. His job is to introduce his boring frinds to the hedge fund, it is for others to relieve them of their money.

High risk gambling, the casino side of banking.

Charlie Summers is a hopeless case. We all know or have met someone like Charlie. I used to know a man and his wife. They had a shop selling trinkets and cheap jewelry. It failed. They then went into clothes. That failed. Then fish. That failed too.

Eck meets Charlie whilst on a trip to France with a friend. From then on, their lives become entwined.

The Hopeless Life of Charlie Summers does for casino banking what The Winner Stands Alone did for fashion and Two Caravans did for the food industry.

National Libraries Day

February 9, 2013

Today is National Libraries Day.

Hundreds of libraries have been closed due to the ConDem government policy of using an exaggerated deficit as an excuse for slash and burn of public services.

Many libraries have been occupied to stop their closure. A few have been re-opened.

To close libraries is extremely short sighted.

Buggy protest at loss of Lewisham A&E

January 23, 2013

As part of the ConDem government slash and burn of public service and privatisation of the NHS, it is proposed that the Accident and Emergency Department at Lewisham Hospital be closed.

Today, parents mounted a buggy protest.

My own experience health care of the last week, five hours in A&E last Wednesday and a visit to a private clinic today, is that we have seriously dysfunctional health system with medical professionals not a clue what they are doing.

Starbucks coffee truck hits town

January 12, 2013
Starbucks coffee truck

Starbucks coffee truck

Costa and Starbucks blitz a town with their rubbish coffee and factory cakes. Several coffee shops will be opened. Planning permission? Who needs planning permission? Just open up, then intimidate to remain open. Not wanted? Who the heck cares, we will steamroller our way into town. Taxes? Why bother paying taxes.

Tax dodging Starbucks have taken this to whole new level. Turn with a huge truck, park up outside an indie coffee shop, then give out free coffee. When you have put the little guy out of business, then move on and park up outside the next indie coffee shop.

Indie coffee shops can compete with Starbucks and Costa, on a level playing field, serve quality coffee and cakes and undercut them on price.

The Starbucks coffee truck is yet one more reason to boycott Starbucks.

Flashmob oficina paro (Carne Cruda 2.0)

January 12, 2013

Flashmob en Madrid (España) organizado por el programa de radio Carne Cruda 2.0

Austerity is not working, the euro is not working.

In UK, the ConDem government has used the deficit as an excuse to continue its slash and burn of public services, welfare benefits are to be cut.

An example of the cuts mean-spirited Wandsworth has tried to send in the bulldozers to destroy Battersea Park Adventure Park, but so far stopped by parents and children occupying the site.

Society is judged by how it treats its children.

Serious problems with gang culture, young lives being destroyed, and yet Wandsworh wants to send in the bulldozers to destroy an adventure playground where kids feel safe, that keeps them off the streets.

But across Europe, austerity measures are destroying society.

In Greece, people are eating out of bins, suicide rates are soaring.

In Spain, unemployment is running at 25%, youth unemployment at 50%.

Carne Cruda 2.0, a radio station, decided to run a flashmob in a Job Centre, to Here Comes the Sun.

Battersea Park Adventure Playground facing closure

January 11, 2013
Battersea Park Playground  occupied

Battersea Park Playground occupied

Battersea Park Playground no to cuts

Battersea Park Playground no to cuts

Today, just 1 in 5 children regularly play outside in their neighbourhood. The rest are denied the chance to get out of the house and have the everyday adventures that – to people of my generation – are what childhood is all about. — David Cameron

Battersea Park Adventure Playground what a wonderful place for kids to play, a safe place for kids to play, you can see the joy on their faces.

It beggars belief that mean-spirited Wandsworth Council wishes to shut it down. I dare say if there was a playground run for profit by McDonald’s, Wandsworth would support it, the planners would push it through.

We are facing an epidemic of childhood obesity. Anything that encourages children to be active should be welcome. Were these kids not in the adventure playground, they would either be cooped up in high-rise flats or on the street with street gangs, robbing and doing drugs.

They are being fed decent food at the adventure playground. A pleasant change from McDonald’s, where too many parents abuse their kids.

Shame on Wandsworth for trying to shut down Battersea Park Adventure Playground.

Monday of this week Wandsworth were due to send in the bulldozers. The Adventure Playground has now been occupied by local parents and kids to prevent its destruction. Wandsworth Council is threatening the occupiers with legal action for occupying their own park.

It makes a mockery of Localism where local people are supposed to decide what happens in their locality.

Argyll and Bute Council picked a fight with Martha Payne for daring to write a food blog NeverSeconds about their disgusting school dinners, Wandsworh Council picks a fight with local kids by shutting down their adventure playground.

The occupation has the backing of tennis star Greg Rusedski, celebrity chef Levi Roots and Lord Dubs of Battersea, the former Labour MP, comedian Mark Thomas, Bianca Jagger, founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, and presenter Gia Milinovich. London Play has also given their support, as has Play England.

For more information, with further videos about Battersea Adventure Playground, check out Wandsworth Against Cuts.

The occupation has also set up a facebook page.

Wandsworth are cutting basic services, closing libraries, cutting school crossing patrols, refuse to pay their lowest paid workers a living wage, has axed 14 staff posts at three adventure playgrounds, and yet can find £2 million for Boris Bikes (the cost of hiring is due to double this year).

The only response from Wandsworth has been to smear the opponents to destruction, ordinary kids, parents and carers.

The following demand has been issued from local groups, residents and occupiers involved:

We demand the suspension of the demolition of Battersea Park Adventure Playground, pending the holding of a public meeting with a transparent and accountable dialogue and a full consultation by Wandsworth Borough Council of the whole community about the future provision of free, safe, staffed adventurous and accessible play facilities.

This Saturday a fun day at the adventure playground 1400 to 1600 afternoon Saturday 11 January 2012. Attend and join in the fun. Show your opposition to Wandsworth.

Please sign the petition Hands off our Adventure Playgrounds.

Please spread the word and give your support.

We judge a society by how it treats its children.


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