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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Saving the NHS

38 Degrees say:

From today, your MP will be looking through the government’s new plans for the NHS. There are only 25 MPs on the committee, so your MP is crucial. The government wants the committee to think the fuss has died down. They need to know we are still watching them!

Our efforts have already forced big changes to their plans, but there are still causes for concern in the small print. Can you take 2 minutes now to email your MP and convince them that voters are still worried by these plans and that we won’t stand for a whitewash? Enter your postcode after clicking the link.
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So I Think even if theyre NOT on the Committee, they can still CONTACT the committee and express their constituents voiced concerns...

Follow the link to get started with your emails.

38 Degrees | Your MP is on the NHS committee

The houses of parliament

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Debt Relief Orders

Theres loads on the web about removing Debts.

Several Companies have really messed people about with their Debt Removal Services and often charge stupid fees.

If You have Debts of up to 15k theres an easier way to apply for relief for those debts.
A £90 fee applies but thats from the Official Receiver at The Insolvency Service.

A whole load of all about it can be found on the Citizens Advice Bureau Website

 http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/life/debt/debt_relief_orders.htm

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Supporting June 30th Strike Action.

On June 30th 2011 many Unions will be striking against the government spending cuts. 

Many more will be supporting them. Those not in a union, members of the public, students, the unemployed are all encouraged to do what they can to show solidarity and support. 

Many people are unable to attend a picket line or a demo for various reasons, therefore a mass email event has been proposed. 

Send emails of support and solidarity to all media outlets, including local media in your area.

Let's remind them who they work for! Let's show them that we aren't willing to lay down and take this, we are all going to fight their oppressive, unneccessary cuts!
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If You want a suggested Letter you could start with something like this:
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Dear (editor/name/whoever)

Regarding The June 30th Strike Actions

I am not able to attend the Strike Actions for (reason)
This does in no way mean I dont fully support the actions being taken. I and many others hope that this sends the correct and very direct, strong message to this current Government that they are NOT acting in the interests of most of the people in this country, but rather for a "protected middle England".
We cannot accept that excluding swages of citizens from considerations is correct.
Services cut, jobs lost, libraries closing, people being Hit Hard by cuts that are in no way acceptable to those being hurt by them.

May this serve to show the Government that people have had enough of the rough handed, ill thought out and damaging actions from the Government.

Name.address etc.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Human Rights EU and UN and violations

This Is a Guest Post...

It is incredibly difficult to talk about the subject of human rights for me without becoming righteous or indignant. Human Rights is something I firmly believe in, that all people have rights which should make sure they are afforded equal living and equal opportunities, that no one is oppressed or hurt needlessly. I believe we have a right to be protected and to be looked after, to be seen as equal, have freedom of speech and be free from threat or harm. I believe in the principles set out in the UN charter and the EU convention of human rights. There can be found here and here. We also hear a lot about the Geneva Convention, a subsection of the charter of human rights specifically relating to the practices of war.

Mostly we are unaware of what our rights are specifically, we take these rights for granted because for the most part in the UK our governments have upheld these rules and we have been treated fairly as people. However, when these rights are compromised we need to educate ourselves as to what our rights are and defend them. Currently the UK government has been told that it is not conforming to the UN charter of human rights on the points specifically relating to disability. The main points can be found hereand these are:

  • The right to not be discriminated against
  • The right to an education
  • Right to employment
  • Right to health
  • The right to equal and fair justice
  • The right to participate in culture and life
For the absolute full list of rights please see this list here. I want to focus on the first and last points I have shown. Firstly that we have the right to live without discrimination. George Osbourne shortly after the ConDem government came into power stood in parliament and said that all people on benefits where scroungers and that there would be strict reform on benefits for the disabled and sick as too many people where claiming these falsely and that benefit fraud was highest in regard to the benefits associated with the disabled and sick. In actual fact this is utter tripe, the actual money lost through real benefit fraud makes up just a tiny fraction of the amount of money the government loses each year. ThisGraph shows that the majority of 'fraud' is in fact mistakes either by the DWP or by applicants and just 20% is actual benefit fraud. Another Graph shows that just a tiny amount of money each year is lost because of benefit fraud. Compared to some of the other figures the £1.1 bil lost through benefit fraud is almost negligible yet those on benefits are being demonised and are suffering the largest cuts, shouldering the burden of an imaginary deficit.

So to support their arguement that the unemployed and the sick and disabled should shoulder a sickening amount of cuts the government publicises certain cases of fraud to newspapers and releases information only to certain newspapers who will write supporting stories. As you can see in this article (also the source of the graphs) the headlines are inciting, aimed to get people riled up and angry at people claiming benefits.

The reality is what the government has done is opened the flood gates on disability discrimination in this country. It has become normal and acceptable to just assume that anyone who is disabled is also a liar or to assume that because someone has a fluctuating condition and is currently well they are somehow lying about the other 50-90% of the time when they are so ill they are house bound. The governments planned policy changes have advocated disability discrimination and as such disability discrimination has taken a sharp rise, many more people are having a problem with it and lets face it, being sick and disabled wasn't easy street to begin with.


Now lets look at the right to participate in culture and to a life. The government under the UN conventions is supposed to do its best to remove obstacles and difficulties which prevent disabled and sick people from exercising this right. There are two things that the government is changing which will make exercising this right practically impossible for many disabled and sick people in the UK.

Time limiting ESA is currently in the impact assessment stage and the so called impact assessment research is ridiculous. You can read the report here (courtesy of Sue Marsh). They seem to think that time limiting ESA to one year wont impact:
  • Health and well being
  • The justice system
  • Human rights
Now time limiting ESA is certain going to affect sick and disabled people in regard to their human rights. They will lose the ability and therefore the right to participate in culture and life as they are suddenly kicked from ESA onto the new universal credit and made to take a work placement which will potentially make their illnesses worse or be dangerous due to their disabilities. People are going to become entrenched and house bound. Simply put people will become trapped by an unsolvable circumstance. The ATOS system of assessment already fails 50% of the time as 50% of appeals are won and this is set to continue as ATOS isn't set to change. This however is the tip of the iceberg. As we know ESA is split and awarded into two seperate categories; The work related activity group and the supported group. Those in the work related activity group are the most at risk under these proposals as they are considered essentially fit to work despite the fact that realistically these people probably should not be working the majority of the time. 

DLA the other support for those with disabilities and long term illnesses is also going to be changed to the PIP payment which will be more difficult and harder than DLA for people to access as the guidelines will be increasingly strict. This again will rely on ATOS and their flawed WCA tests. So with less sick and disabled people able to access the benefits which afford them the right to live life and access culture how exactly is the government following any code of human rights or helping to protect the most vulnerable members of society?

It does get worse...Currently bills going through parliament include one to withdraw from the EU conventions of human rights. We are about to lose some of the laws which protect our basic rights. Fight for these rights, lobby MPs, write to newspapers. Do something! We all have to. Our human rights are already being abused by the current government, don't allow them to get rid of them altogether. You can access the bill here. Please help me and many others who have no voice in taking a stand on your rights and the rights of everyone in this country, lets make the government listen and lets make them at least stick to allowing us the basic human rights afforded to us!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Get MPs to Support the Consumer Credit Regulation (Regulation and Advice) Bill

There will be people mailing their MPs about this all the time, but there is a concerted email effort being carried out on the 10th June 2011 Lobbying MPs.








This event is to ask your MPs to support the bill to limit interest rates on legal lending services.... 

The Example email/letter is below: 

Dear (insert name of MP)

PLEASE I Ask that you support the Consumer Credit (Regulation and Advice) Bill.

I would like to draw your attention to the above Bill that has been brought in by Stella Creasey MP and other polticians who are deeply concerned about some of the crippling interest rates used by Legal credit agencies and the shops that offer credit terms for goods with unfairly high interest rates.

I would welcome greater involvement by the councils to control the number of buildings used by credit agencies and would also welcome the use of Post Offices to offer financial services which provide fair credit products to the consumer.

My reasons for asking you to support this bill comes from a range of observations of people who live in the local vicinity and comments I hear within my community. Many people, most of which live on the breadline, use these kinds of services for essential items or bridging finance, but then find that the repayments increase their hardship. The Services arent enabling, they are financially disabling further people who cant afford it.

(((((((((You could insert an example of how it has affected someone here))))))))

I would therefore request that you consider giving your support to this bill and in doing so, help those who live in poverty receive a fairer deal in connection with financial products such as those mentioned. I also feel that by supporting this bill, you may be helping people to fight against, what I believe to be, predatory lending.

Yours sincerely,

Name and address.

_______________________________
Send this to your MP to ask for support for the bill to stop people getting ripped off who cant really afford it. 

Fight The Welfare Bill Now - Lobby The MPs.

MPs are expected take a final vote on Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare Reform Bill this month, June 2011. The LRC Welfare Reform Bill briefing sets out why the Bill should be opposed, and was sent to every Labour MP in March (the last time Parliament debated the Bill).

The Bill is an attempt to scapegoat those on welfare, part of the coalition’s plans to slash £18 billion from welfare payments. The plans will also further privatise welfare delivery and result in a less generous and more punitive welfare system at a time when people need it more than ever. Last time, the Labour frontbench abstained on the Bill, this time we need Labour to pick a side and clearly vote against the Bill - banishing the legacy of privatisation, sanctions and workfare that was pushed by New Labour ministers like James Purnell.

This is definitely when You need your MP to Oppose the Bill

PCS has also recently launched a new pamphlet, ‘Welfare: an alternative vision’. The 24-page booklet was unveiled at a public meeting in Brighton – during PCS’s conference in the city. The aim is to arm activists with the information needed to campaign against attacks on benefits – and to put forward ideas for the future of the welfare state. Speaking at the launch, LRC Chair John McDonnell MP, said:

“This small booklet challenges the big lies that form the basis of this government’s welfare reform policies. Every time a politician or political commentator tries to spew out the same old myths about scroungers and benefits fraud or the abuse of the system, just swat them intellectually with the facts and arguments set out in this excellent booklet.”

Defend jobs. Even though unemployment remains high, in May the government announced a further 2,400 job cuts in the Department for Work and Pensions. Lobby your MP against these cuts.



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________________________________________________________
Suggested letter:

Dear (MP)

I write to ask that you OPPOSE the Welfare Reform Bill on this months vote.

The Bill is an attempt to scapegoat those on welfare, part of the coalition’s plans to slash £18 billion from welfare payments. The plans will also further privatise welfare delivery and result in a less generous and more punitive welfare system at a time when people need it more than ever.

There is true need within this country.

Please note the FIGURE of £18 Billion is a "We will reduce regardless" figure that ignores the True and Actual Needs within this society.

I therefore on vote request that you oppose this Bill

Name address etc.



____________________________________________________________






Send this to Your MP, And as Many others as you can. This is due for a vote This week, if it gets a time slot. 

Monday, 6 June 2011

Shocking Screenshots

I recieved these screenshots that were taken from a facebook page. It seems honest questions were being ignored.

I was asked to blog these as the page seems to be mainly people asking why Steve Cram is involved with ATOS. The quality is as recieved.







The Virtual Gherkin Cannot comment on the nature and content of these screenshots in any way.
It just seems incredible that there are a huge number of questions, and many other screenshots I was sent full of much the same, whereby questions asked were ignored. I also Note that there are comments that tell of posts being deleted without explanation too.

All The Virtual Gherkin can ask is why has this happened?

Can not Mr Cram, MBE reply or comment to what seems a huge amount of questions based around a singular theme. 


Sunday, 5 June 2011

FIGHT THE WELFARE BILL - Lobby Your MP : 6th to 11th June

MPs are expected take a final vote on Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare Reform Bill this month, June 2011. The LRC Welfare Reform Bill briefing sets out why the Bill should be opposed, and was sent to every Labour MP in March (the last time Parliament debated the Bill).

The Bill is an attempt to scapegoat those on welfare, part of the coalition’s plans to slash £18 billion from welfare payments. The plans will also further privatise we
lfare delivery and result in a less generous and more punitive welfare system at a time when people need it more than ever. Last time, the Labour frontbench abstained on the Bill, this time we need Labour to pick a side and clearly vote against the Bill - banishing the legacy of privatisation, sanctions and workfare that was pushed by New Labour ministers like James Purnell.

This is definitely when You need your MP to Oppose the Bill

PCS has also recently launched a new pamphlet, ‘Welfare: an alternative vision’. The 24-page booklet was unveiled at a public meeting in Brighton – during PCS’s conference in the city. The aim is to arm activists with the information needed to campaign against attacks on benefits – and to put forward ideas for the future of the welfare state. Speaking at the launch, LRC Chair John McDonnell MP, said:

“This small booklet challenges the big lies that form the basis of this government’s welfare reform policies. Every time a politician or political commentator tries to spew out the same old myths about scroungers and benefits fraud or the abuse of the system, just swat them intellectually with the facts and arguments set out in this excellent booklet.”

Defend jobs. Even though unemployment remains high, in May the government announced a further 2,400 job cuts in the Department for Work and Pensions. Lobby your MP against these cuts.



__________________________
______

Suggested letter:

Dear (MP)

I write to ask that you OPPOSE the Welfare Reform Bill on this months vote.

The Bill is an attempt to scapegoat those on welfare, part of the coalition’s plans to slash £18 billion from welfare payments. The plans will also further privatise welfare delivery and result in a less generous and more punitive welfare system at a time when people need it more than ever.

There is true need within this country.

Please note the FIGURE of £18 Billion is a "We will reduce regardless" figure that ignores the True and Actual Needs within this society.

I therefore on vote request that you oppose this Bill

Name address etc.