Jeremy Corbyn

A Decade of Growth…

The annoyingly nameless decade that is rapidly drawing to a close has been a time of desperate struggle for many sick and disabled people living, or trying to, in these bleak times of austerity.

The Conservative – Lib Dem coalition was unleashed on the great British public back in May 2010. They immediately announced that they would be making severe cuts to the benefits system, and public services in order to balance the books. This political choice would target the poor and vulnerable, as they were held responsible for the global financial crash.

I don’t have the time to go through the last decade month by month, but suffice to say that these austere policies set the mood for the entire decade. I remember watching the TV news with a feeling of dread, as I knew what would follow would damage our society in ways that we hadn’t even dreamt of.

I had just escaped from an unhappy marriage, and had moved in to my new bachelor pad where I was to employ a team of personal assistants to help me to live independently. Unfortunately, I was in and out of hospital during 2010, as I suffered a nasty bout of pneumonia as well as having three operations to remove kidney stones.

This wasn’t going to be an easy decade, that much was obvious. I had a decision to make – do I give in and accept my position as a worthless member of society, or do I stand up for myself and fight back against the establishment? – I decided on the latter option…

I was forced in to politics as an activist, by my repressors and they have created a monster that will not rest until social justice is served to each and every one of us. It all began when the coalition government introduced the bedroom tax, and WCBC targeted me as someone who should be paying for having more than one bedroom. I wasn’t standing for that, and decided to make a piece of art in protest, that appeared in the Daily Mirror and had the desired impact. Combining art and activism was something I would continue to do with success throughout the decade.

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One of 20 postcards created for the Postcards from the Edges initiative. 

Fortunately, I seem to have blossomed with my back against the wall. This is particularly evident through the success of the #SaveWILG campaign, through which I have made numerous friends, enjoyed trips to Cardiff and Westminster and built political connections on a cross-party basis. We have held an art exhibition to promote the campaign and even had a awareness day in Wrexham, that saw musicians, poets and comedians show their solidarity. The postcard campaign that we ran, also saw the campaign gather support from acclaimed film director Ken Loach, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and even Jeremy Corbyn.

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Jeremy Corbyn meets Nathan Lee Davies at the Welsh Labour Conference in April 2018. 

There is still some work to be done to finalise everything with regard to independent living for former ILF recipients in Wales, but sincere thanks must go to everyone who has helped make this campaign a success.

The fact that I have also managed to publish two books and receive an Honorary Fellowship from Glyndwr University within this period, is something that I am very proud of. It seems that I can be productive with the right levels of support. It also helps not having to put up with a significant other and her three noisy children. Married life is just not something I am cut out for. Of course, I get lonely at times, but I do not think that a conventional relationship is the answer for me. The need to remain focused is more important at this moment in time.  I wrote a blog about my personal situation earlier this year. You can read it by clicking here. 

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Receiving an Honorary Fellowship from Glyndwr University.

Whilst enjoying the company of three great friends at the pub yesterday, I was comparing my situation with the one I found myself in at the dawn of the previous decade. There is no doubt that the work I have done over the past ten years has put me in a stronger position for the difficult years ahead. Let no one be in any doubt that the Johnson regime will lead to considerable difficulties for many of us, but it is no good just moaning and worrying about it all. The time to act is now, and we all have a part to play in creating a society that works for the many, not the few.

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Good friends are hard to find, but I have been extremely fortunate. 

I have a few exciting projects lined up for 2020 and beyond, such as developing my poetry, working on my third book and creating art exhibitions to try to reach the politically confused.

Whatever I end up doing, it is sure to be a bumpy ride. Buckle up…

Dorset Eye – We Need A Day Of Reckoning: The BBC = Fake News

The following article was written by my good friend and comrade Adam Samuels and appears on the Dorset Eye website. The original article can be found by clicking on this link. 

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I did unpaid work at the BBC in a couple of locations with their news & current affairs teams several years ago now. I decided not to pursue a career with them because I was appalled at what I saw in the culture of the BBC’s news & current affairs programming. However, never in a million years did I believe the standards would fall to such a level that the BBC would become a full-on outright lying propaganda machine for any government. Yes, the BBC has always been part of The Establishment, but this past election has shown the BBC’s credibility has absolutely gone. Totally gone. They have, and I use this word carefully, betrayed the country and electorate.

To be very clear here, it’s not just the BBC. But to see the BBC, on several occasions, actually edit footage, removing boos and replacing them with cheers for Johnson, changing footage and adding things in from the archives and then passing it off as footage/news from that day. The avoiding of reporting on basic things; so, for example, during the election period alone, I barely saw any BBC journalist ask Johnson about the massive (in relative terms) problem with anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim and general outright, blatant racism in the Conservative Party.

So, Evolve politics (and others) exposed Johnson writing a book referring to black people as n*****s and c**ns several times, referring to Jewish people as controlling the world’s finances, referring to Arabs as “crooked nosed” etc etc. Obviously, also, his MANY racist comments previously, his outright homophobic comments. I didn’t hear/see him be asked about the actual Holocaust deniers that the Tories suspended as candidates. Or many councillors suspended then re-instated without any due process, despite blatant racism. I never saw Johnson asked WHY his government is officially affiliated with (and vote with) the almost openly anti-Semitic Hungarian government (and Polish government).

I have not heard Johnson be asked about Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins and Britain First joining the membership of the Tory Party. Or about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s anti-Semitic comments. Or about Johnson being sacked twice for lying by his own party, for him lying to the Queen, to Parliament, about all the back-tracking he has already done in the first week of this new government. Or about his rampant sexism. Or about the seemingly open hostility to the Trans community. Or about the still astonishing treatment of the ‘Windrush’ generation. I have no idea at all why the BBC allows on racists and hate-spreaders like Melanie Phillips, Douglas Murray, Rod Liddle etc, and-despite publishing actual Nazi propaganda targeting left wing commentators and where they live, political editor of The S*n ‘newspaper’ Tom Newton-Dunn. Unchallenged.

I saw the chief political reporter for the BBC compare Johnson’s lies to the Queen, his family, his Ministers, the electorate, Parliament etc to Jeremy Corbyn saying he watched the Queen’s speech. I saw this same reporter blatantly break the electoral code by reporting on postal votes than no one (should have/had) seen, and that it was “looking bad for Labour” re these votes. Totally illegal to do/say that. Then, disgracefully, I have seen lead presenter after lead producer come out and DEFEND all this as being some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’ and dismiss this. THAT is how a dictatorship acts. Not a democracy. I mean, how on earth do you defend a BBC reporter saying live on air that it is hoped Boris Johnson “gets the majority he so deserves”?! HOW & WHY are they defending this behaviour?!

So, why the BBC in particular that I am targeting? Well, because of the reach and influence of the BBC across the world. I credit the staff members and those who have left key roles for trying to be heard and criticising the BBC for such behaviour. But then, obviously, it barely gets reported or even acknowledged. WE also pay for the BBC. they are legally obliged to be impartial. Especially during an election campaign. As we have seen from several independent reports now about the election coverage, the media-from the press to advertising to broadcast media, has totally abandoned impartiality. This is EXACTLY the kind of behaviour the BBC and others (correctly) condemn Fox News & Trump for.What is perhaps even worse, because of a clear, irrational outright hatred of Jeremy Corbyn, the so-called ‘liberal’ media has joined in. I know from journalist friends how the BBC & The Guardian, for example, outright lie about world politics. I have seen it myself earlier this year when I was in Cuba. Remember, The Guardian was once the paper that exposed the Wikileaks story. Now it is the one protecting those exposed & condemning those that exposed these things. I would like to single out brilliant people like Tom Mills, whose book on the BBC I highly recommend. Also, the employee of The Daily Mail group & staunch Conservative Peter Oborne, for his bravery in taking on his own newspaper and naming & shaming these journalists. Peter Hitchens too. Again, someone whose politics I do not share, but I admire their honesty & bravery in exposing their colleagues.

This is not something to brush under the carpet. As you can see from the media attacks on Keir Starmer, for example, who hasn’t even officially entered the Labour leadership contest & who can hardly be labelled as on Corbyn’s side of the party politically!, this is now seemingly permanent. We in Labour have to realise that ANY leader even slightly to the Left of Genghis Khan, is going to be absolutely & totally destroyed, undermined, abused, ridiculed etc by the media. ALL the mainstream media. What is more, this is casually seen as acceptable and so just shut up about it. Well, frankly, fuck that. If you get sick of people like me saying these things then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW YOU ARE BEING LIED TO BY OUR MEDIA. Instead of attacking those trying to expose these atrocities.

The consequences of this propaganda are very, very serious indeed. We have seen massive rises in hate crime, an emboldened actual fascist far right who, literally, now ARE the Tory party. We have seen minorities physically & verbally assaulted. I myself was assaulted while out campaigning. OAPs have literally been knocked out campaigning. Why? Because, in every case, of the media’s outright lies, and Johnson et al’s outright lies. Can you imagine the uproar and media coverage if this was Tory supporters receiving this abuse?! If it was Corbyn who had done & said the things Johnson has-and is.

These are genuinely very, very, very scary times. The echoes with the 1930’s UK are there for all to see. In the same way the racists & fascists were emboldened then by our media and right wing politicians/commentariat, we are seeing this now. ALL of us need to unite to fight this, because if we don’t, the consequences are something even more scary than anyone reading is contemplating. Remember, these things are ALREADY happening and already being defended and not exposed by our highly, highly irresponsible media & commentariat.

What is so sad, is the BBC’s propaganda has gone unrewarded-they are now more under attack from those they lie on behalf of. It gets even worse with the Tories throwing out there the laughably absurd ‘dead cat’ story about BBC Radio 4 bias from the ‘Today’ programme. OBVIOUSLY this is literally the opposite in reality, but it then distracts from the obvious bias the BBC has shown the Tories. It then allows the BBC to say “Well, if both sides are shouting re bias, it must mean we’re getting the balance correct.”

Finally, and this is vitally important, we NEED a BBC. We need a public broadcaster who informs, educates & entertains. I will, as Corbyn and those most attacked often do, defend the need for a BBC. But, obviously, this one has done untold damage to its reputation. Let us hope the damage is not permanent, and let us hope those making the decisions are removed absolutely ASAP. Our country may well depend on it. Until then, WE must UNITE, defend our communities, defend the independent media and do the media’s job for it, as best we can. Solidarity.

Adam Samuels

Suddenly

**MUSICAL INTERLUDE**

No wonder Mr Anderson is angry, so would you be if you had his dentist.

I wish I could stop watching TOTP 1988 on BBC Four. I was watching it last night and watched Angry Anderson perform his one and only hit, propelled by the popularity of an Australian soap opera.

I always had the subtitles on when watching classic Top of the Pops, so that I can enjoy the lyrics being sung. I usually end up catching on to one particular line from a song and correlating it to my own life. I don’t know why I am admitting this, but I am. Last night, I found myself  wishing that somebody would read my Open Letter and “suddenly see me, just the way I am”.

It was with this profound thought that I finally fell to sleep, but not before I found out who was keeping Anderson off the top spot. Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan were at number 2 with Especially For You but I should never have stayed up to see who was on top of the charts. As soon as Caron Keating announced that week’s biggest seller I began to grab for my remote to switch the TV off. Unfortunately, my fumble fingers are too slow to react so I had to endure thirty seconds of the awful earworm that is Mistletoe and Wine by Cliff Richard.

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I know this was back in 1988, but my worry is that I have never trusted the British public whatsoever as I always seem to disagree with their opinions. This is particularly concerning ahead of the most important General Election in a generation.

It is difficult to gauge what exactly is going to happen on Thursday, as it is impossible to trust the nonsense that is being peddled by the mass media. I am preparing myself for the worse possible scenario, but at the same time I have faith and belief in Jeremy Corbyn and his Cabinet.

I am growing ever more anxious as we edge ever closer to the General Election. I am doing all I can to get the Labour message out there, but due to my disability this is largely confined to sharing stories on my blog and social media. I have also got Labour posters in my window. This would have more of an impact if I didn’t live on a cul-de-sac, but it is a bit late in the day to be moving house to a more prime location. If I could do more, I would, but circumstances dictate.

My friends and neighbours who receive Xmas cards before Thursday will be reminded on the envelope to Vote Labour while I am also giving a poetry reading at Glyndwr University on Tuesday, dressed in a Vote Labour t-shirt. Every little helps…

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019

 

#GE2019: Jeremy Corbyn pledges to end the ‘shameful’ Tory treatment of disabled people #VoteLabour2019

The following article was taken from Welfare Weekly, which can be accessed by clicking here. I have also used the main picture used in Welfare Weekly, which is credited to Knox O (Wasi Daniju) via photopin cc

This article concerns the new Disabled Manifesto released by the Labour Party. They are the only party to have produced such a Manifesto dedicated to those that have suffered greatly as a result of Tory austerity. The actual Manifesto can be read in a multitude of forms by clicking on this link. 

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019 #ChangeIsComing

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The Labour Party has today (Tuesday) launched its manifesto for disabled people, titled ‘Breaking Down Barriers’, which lists ways the party hopes to tackle the discrimination and cruel treatment faced by disabled people and their families.

The pledge comes after a UN report accused the Tory Government of “systematic violations” of the rights of disabled people, and slammed benefit cuts for driving disabled people and their families “to breaking point”.

According to Labour, poverty in families where someone is disabled has risen by over a million since 2010 and almost half of all working age adults living in poverty live in a family that includes a disabled adult or child.

Labour has pledged to end “the scandal of disabled poverty” through measures designed to alleviate poverty and destitution and allow them to live independent lives.

Labour’s manifesto for disabled people includes pledges to:

  • Make sure a disabled child on Universal Credit (UC) receives the same amount as a disabled child on Child Tax Credits.
    • Currently a disabled child on UC receives less than half the basic addition for disabled children in Child Tax Credits to help parents cover the additional costs of having a disability – £1,513 a year, compared with £3,355 a year under Child Tax. The difference is currently £1,842 a year, or £154 a month, or £35 a week.
  • Introduce a self-care element into UC to support severely disabled people without a formal carer – the equivalent of the Severe Disability Premium. Currently, severely disabled people without a carer are worse off on UC than both those on legacy benefits and those on UC who do have a carer.
  • Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
  • Increase Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • Abolish the punitive sanctions regime, immediately suspending all sanctions and scrap the dehumanising Work Capability Assessment and Personal Independence Payment assessment which are unfit for purpose.

According to Labour, these reforms will cost around £2.6 billion by 2023-24 and are accounted for in Labour’s Grey Book ‘Funding Real Change’.

Labour has also committed to halving the disability employment gap, invest in specialist education for disabled people, tackle the rising level of disability hate crime and ensure that victims have access to justice, break down barriers to disabled people in transport, give British Sign Language full legal recognition ,and reinstate the Access to Elected Office fund to enable disabled people to run for elected office.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said: “The treatment of disabled people by Conservative and Lib Dem governments, from devastating cuts to social security support, to cruel and unnecessary assessments, and a complete failure to address the disability employment gap, should be a source of shame.

“Labour will put right this injustice. We’ll ensure that disabled people get the support they need to lead independent lives and participate fully in society. We are on your side.

“This election is a chance for real change, for a more inclusive, fair and equal society that works for the many, not the few.”

Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Disabled People, said: “I have heard from disabled people all over the country who are angry at how they have been treated by Conservative-led governments and passionate about working with Labour to transform how government approaches disability rights.

“I am proud that Labour is the only party with a manifesto developed by and for disabled people, according to our principle of ‘nothing about you without you’. Labour in government will embody that principle, empowering disabled people and enhancing our voices.

“Breaking Down Barriers takes us beyond what we’ve previously committed, and sets out how we’ll radically shift our approach to ensure the economic, social and structural barriers faced by disabled people are addressed. It’s time for real change.”

#GE2019: Standing Up for Wales

The following email is from Mark Drakeford to Welsh Labour members.  I wanted to share it here to show why I believe in this Party and have faith in them to deliver a brighter tomorrow for everyone in Wales.  They will also be in a stronger position to do this if they are able to work with a Labour Party in Westminster.

#VoteLabour2019 #JC4PM2019 #ChangeIsComing

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On Monday I unveiled our Welsh Labour manifesto. It is a bold plan for how the Welsh Labour Government will work side-by-side with a UK Labour Government, led by Jeremy Corbyn. It’s a plan that will deliver for each and every community across Wales. But we need your help on the doorstep to make sure we can deliver it.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve shown what our people-powered campaign can do. Thousands of Welsh Labour members have been pounding the streets of towns, villages and cities spreading our positive vision for Wales’ prosperous future under a UK Labour Government.

Unlike the Tories who rely on their big donors, our campaign is funded by the generosity of hundreds of thousands of individual people who want to bring about real change.

Our Welsh Labour manifesto works hand in hand with the UK Manifesto in helping us deliver for Wales like never before, including:

  • £3.4bn extra, each year to invest in schools, the NHS and local government.
  • A green industrial revolution, creating thousands of new green jobs.
  • A £10 living wage, for all workers aged 16 and over.
  • A final say on Brexit, where Welsh Labour will campaign unequivocally to remain.
  • A ban on zero hours contracts, giving people the security they need at work.
  • Extend free social care, supporting more people when it really matters.
  • Strengthened parental rights, by extending statutory maternity leave to 12 months and doubling paternity leave.
  • Scrap tuition fees, building on the best student support package in the UK.
  • An end to the Tories’ disastrous Universal Credit, no ifs, no buts.
  • Four new bank holidays, including a public holiday for St. David’s Day.

    I hope you’ll agree that this plan is a blueprint for the Wales that we all want to see.

    And with your help over these crucial final few weeks of the campaign, that’s the future we can have.

    Welsh Labour is the only party that is standing up for Wales.

    Let’s get out there and spread the word – see you on the Labour Doorstep!

    I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail!

    Best wishes,
    Mark Drakeford AM
    Welsh Labour Leader & First Minister of Wales

#GE2019: I Stand with Jeremy Corbyn

I will now hand over to my good friend and political comrade, Adam Samuels, who has written the must-read piece below about anti- Semitism within the Labour Party.

#VOTELABOUR #JC4PM

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Is there some anti-Semitism within The Labour Party? Yes. The Labour Party is part of society, so, unfortunately, yes. This must never be denied and always be condemned. We should always be the ones setting the standards as a passionate anti-racist party. The extent of this anti-Semitism is, factually, LESS-considerably less-than the general population and LESS than the other main parties. FACTUALLY. As is the case with any type of racism. FACTUALLY.

Therefore, one has to at least wonder why the Chief Rabbi-who openly supports Boris Johnson-who openly makes racist & homophobic comments (Johnson), and Netanyahu-who is a racist, brutal and responsible for thousands of Palestinian deaths along with the Israeli forces, is coming forward now, with NO NEW ‘EVIDENCE’. The UN and many other organisation describe Netanyahu’s Israel as an Apartheid State. Because it defined itself as such with the Nation State law-literally distinguishing those who identify as Jewish as being on a different level to anyone else in Israel.

I also wonder WHY the Chief Rabbi is not condemning the very obvious anti-Semitism in other parties, especially the CONservatives-given election candidates have been withdrawn/suspended for Holocaust denial, given the Tories are officially affiliated with Hungary’s openly anti-Semitic government, given incidents of anti-Semitism in the CONservative Party are far higher. Given the rampant Islamophobia in the Tory Party not even mentioned by the Chief Rabbi. So, WHY?! Given the Tories have NOT implemented the IHRA as Labour has…

The cynic in me, seeing how passionately Jeremy Corbyn & Labour defend the rights of both Palestinians and Muslims & all citizens of Israel and Jewish people, is wondering WHY, as Labour surge in the opinion polls, and with no new evidence-and actual outright lies, the Chief Rabbi comes forward at this time? Now, it is the media’s job to report such things, I am not condemning them for this. What I AM condemning them for is not mentioning any of what I have just written, or not countering things, or not questioning the Chief Rabbi in a way the media would, in a democracy of any note.

Which then leads to me, genuinely, almost with in tears in my eyes, given all of the above-given my family history on one side is Jewish-something as serious as the cancer of anti-Semitism, while of course not denying its existence, can be used in such a way against someone so obviously, passionately, anti-racist with a track record to prove it. So I have no interest in stoking hatred, aggression etc. Just fair play, context and condemnation of those who deserve it. Which is certainly not those actively opposing anti-Semitism in all its forms. The best example of which I can see of any political leader, is Jeremy Corbyn.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vR-tiGv2w89fnqY1_cPygN8VlP4uROfF9ys8THXB1p0r-UTAPgmx5g3pgWfr-aeo3G3Ka1S-bbtmD1w/pub

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