‘Shoestring Army’ to battle government-imposed ‘slavery’ in the courts

Energising: Keith Lindsay-Cameron prepares to take his case to the police.

Energising: Keith Lindsay-Cameron prepares to take his case to the police.

An activist from Somerset is raising his own ‘Shoestring Army’ to crowdsource funds and mount a legal challenge against the government’s new Claimant Commitment for jobseekers, after police said they were unable to arrest Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud for breaching the Human Rights Act.

Keith Lindsay-Cameron, of Peasedown St John, near Bath, was advised to obtain the services of a solicitor and raise a legal challenge in the courts after he made his complaint at Bath police station on Friday (May 2).

He said the conditionality regime that is part of the new Claimant Commitment will re-cast the relationship between the citizen and the State – from one centred on ‘entitlement’ to one centred on a contractual concept in which the government provides a range of support only if a claimant meets an explicit set of responsibilities, with a sanctions regime to enforce compliance.

According to Mr Lindsay-Cameron, this amounts to the reintroduction of slavery. Forced compliance – through the sanctions regime – means people will be denied the means of survival if they fail to meet the conditions imposed on them. Deprivation of the means of survival, he claims, also breaches the act’s guarantee that everybody has the right to life and should not be deprived of it.

“The civilian desk receptionist asked my business and I gave her a verbal breakdown – that I had come to accuse Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud of crimes under the Human Rights Act 1998,” said Mr Lindsay-Cameron, who is better-known to thousands of readers as the author of the A Letter A Day To Number 10 internet blog.

“The Claimant Commitment contract means the loss of access to any benefits if one refused to sign, and benefit sanctions if one was considered to be in breach of the signed contract. Either way, this amounts to forced labour and therefore slavery.

“I was asked for more details and explained that a sanction – loss of benefits – meant the loss of the means of survival. I said we had not come to ridicule the police or to challenge them, but that they existed as our – ordinary folks’ – doorway to justice and that what I was doing there was asking for their help and that I was personally in the system and that we all needed help.”

But a police inspector told the activist, and the small group who attended to show their support, that officers at his station could not deal with the matter.

“I explained the situation and what the coercion of sanctions meant and that this did not constitute anything normal as a civic obligation under the human rights act – and I pointed out that if he made a mistake, he would not face a loss of a month’s income, nor three months’ for a second error or three years’ loss of income for a third infraction,” said the campaigner.

“He explained to me that, under the law, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud were upholding the laws that they had made and that – whatever I felt about that – they had no case to answer and that his job as a police officer was to enforce the law.

“He said that I would need to obtain the services of a solicitor and raise a challenge in the courts for a judge to decide whether the actions of Duncan Smith and Freud were a breach of human rights.”

He said this process was already under way. The group has bought the internet domain name theshoestringarmy.com and will now start the process of a challenge.

Mr Lindsay-Cameron added that his visit to Bath Police Station was delayed when he stopped to meet a group of homeless people in the churchyard next door, while police were trying to move them on.

“It gave us a bizarre sense of what we were about to embark on,” he said.

“Where do people go, having nothing and welcome nowhere, in the land of the growing dispossessed?”

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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43 thoughts on “‘Shoestring Army’ to battle government-imposed ‘slavery’ in the courts

  1. bookmanwales

    This is something we need, a challenge to these laws in the court.
    I would certainly donate to anyone wanting to mount a legal challenge against these abhorrent rules.
    Even forgetting the Human rights aspect what about pure decent humanity ? Starving people to make them work for less than a minimum wage is without doubt slavery.

    1. staggered

      Yes. Theshoestringarmy.com
      or follow on fb a letter a day to cameron or keith ordinary guy.

  2. Stephen Bee

    ” “He explained to me that, under the law, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud were upholding the laws that they had made and that – whatever I felt about that – they had no case to answer and that his job as a police officer was to enforce the law.”

    THAT totally evades the point..they MAY be upholding their OWN laws…but they are BREACHING HUMAN RIGHTS Legislation by doing so…Jeez how dumb do yo have to be to be a copper these days??????

    1. Caroline

      Dear Stephen, you have to be very dumb in lots of cases and very corrupt also. Please take a look at ‘Alice through the broken Glass’ (google) also @Caroline(carol2121)

      1. Barry Davies

        I don’t think he was being dumb at all, he can only act within the law and as it stands he could do nothing. Maybe if the Police in westminster had been approached they might be able to do more as the it is their area.

      2. Mike Sivier

        I approached Westminster police over the affair around George Osborne’s paddock and they said someone else was dealing with it. I think the buck would have been passed, no matter what.

    2. alan

      Law and police do not often go together as officers seek to pick and choose what they wish to go for, and there are an ever increasing set of daft buggers coming out of training because the standard entrance examine is what a five year old can pass, according to one ex Home Office civil servant.

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  4. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    I’ve reblogged material from Keith Lindsay-Cameron, including his letters to no. 10, and his announcement that he was going to try to get IDS and Freud arrested. I’m not remotely surprised the police refused to act, but Mr. Lindsay-Cameron is right: workfare is slavery under the meaning of the Human Rights legislation. And Guy Standing in his ‘A Precariat Charter’ makes the point that it, and other government reforms such as the severe restriction of Legal Aid, reduce us from citizens to denizens without rights.

  5. Joanna

    He can go to a University who teaches Law, They are taking up cases because of the lack of legal aid. The students are backed up with 2 barristers per case. The more unusual the case, the more they are going to take it on, because his case could make the students careers!

  6. Joseph Smith

    This is a very good cause, I will donate. What’s wrong with this godforsaken pit of a country in which we have mass murderers making laws then being able to protect them and themselves by additional laws which they invent. Are we getting closer to gunpoint justice?

  7. amnesiaclinic

    Donations don’t have to be money although those of us who can do help because that’s the way it’s set up. Holding the thoughts and putting out love and sending him healing, love and strength, talking and reading about it, becoming the change you want to see! That’s all supporting.
    Switching off the tv is probably the strongest message you can send. Unplugging from the matrix.
    Good for him! Amazing guy! Donation and stamps on their way.
    x

  8. jray

    Every weapon should be used! I once again have been assigned to participate in MWA,pissed off? Actually no,I contacted the Provider and asked when it started,first they want an interview,in a office 70 Miles away,fine send me a Bus/Train ticket,we can’t do that,pay and we will reimburse you,sorry £72 only goes so far…We will see!
    I asked where I will be doing this “Forced Labour?” it will be a Voluntary position..I am not volunteering for it..It is a mandatory voluntary position!…Are you £uckin kidding me? can I have that in writing? No…Switched the subject..Who will cover my Liability Insurance? Excuse me?…If I am expected to perform a task I must be insured…All our placements carry Employers Liability Insurance.(EL) That is fine,but for Interns/ Volunteers the Insurance carrier must be informed and the premiums will be adjusted
    Yes,we understand that. As this does not fall into those have you informed your carrier? Of what? Mandatory/Forced labour…I have contacted Lloyds who do not directly cover individual companies,but they provide a collective cover,any claims made under these conditions would NOT be covered,in order for me to start I will need to be “Named” as being covered,can I see who covers you and where I am being placed? Why? I will be contacting them to insure that I am covered. You cannot do that…Why?…….Meeting over,it has been referred back to JCP with a threat of a Sanction for being non compliant…£uck em!

    1. jray

      On a side note talking to the fraud investigator,he is now going to issue a review into all companies that are involved in this practice “Claiming that a Mandatory placement is a employee for Insurance purposes is fraud” premiums will be due at the very least

      If for Insurance purposes you are considered an Employee,does this open the door for claiming NMW and benefits? You can’t have it both ways!

  9. alan

    Good to hear someone else is challenging corrupt authorities. What must be borne in mind is the craftiness of government and its bodies, very crafty indeed, as they all band together to protect themselves. I have recently taken a case concerning staff of the Briain Injury Group, Chester, to various health service ombudsmen, and though the case was proven in a court of law, the ombudsmen refused to recognise the court’s decission. They attempted to play around with words, not willing to have the staff struck off, and to hide matters. I found that their tactics very cunning, but when they saw that I outflanked them they ran off, one even went to a solicitor, who threatened me, so I threatened him with arrest, and he left off. The authorities are running scarred. I am not the only one with this gentleman that is challenging corruption in high places.

  10. untynewear

    “He explained to me that, under the law, Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Freud were upholding the laws that they had made and that – whatever I felt about that – they had no case to answer and that his job as a police officer was to enforce the law”

    I think we’d better hope that IDS and Fraud dont take it into their heads to pass a law demanding the sacrifice of the first-born of all benefits claiments… it’d only cause the Old Bill extra work having to enforce it.

  11. Florence

    I really love the daily letters to No 10. Every day, a new nail hit on the head, another nail in the coffin of ideological class war against us. Keith and his shoestring army may just be that tipping point, the rallying call, to be the start of the modern peasants revolution. I MUST support him, there are no shades of in-between any more. The daily situation makes it imperative that we seize the initiative, or for those of us without the ability to physically get out & about, to use whatever we have at our disposal to help the fight back.

    Let’s make the shoestring army the conscience of the UK, the modern Jarrow marchers.

    (On another note, if some shoestring army supporters can join a union, like Unison, then although slow as a parallel line of resistance, it could be a funding and an organisational boon, and a massive network to use. During the miners strike, there was a massive grassroots movement, joining up across the labour network. I travelled to Yorkshire with the Bangladeshi Garments Workers rep from the east end of London with money to support the strikers, and messages of support, and offers of places to stay when in London on marches, etc. The miners were gobsmacked – they had no idea here were garment workers unions, that they were predominantly Bangladeshi, and they had so much in common It also turned a few racists (yes, they had them too in the miners) into genuine believers in multiculturalism, Let’s not allow partisan differences to do the work of the oppressors by dividing us.)

    1. amnesiaclinic

      Great to hear Florence. We have so much going for us if only we could forget our differences and realise we all have far more in common.

      Excellent!!

      x

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  13. Darren

    When a law made to suit politicians is placed above a law that has international compliance requirements, then it is plain that those enforcing the former law must be corrupt. Maybe another way to fight this would be for all affected to write to HMRC refusing to pay the portion of tax that is used to fund the corrupt body enforcing the unacceptable law? After all, we pay the police to protect us, and they have been failing in this duty for some considerable time. Would we continue to pay a gardener who ignored weeds?

    1. TinaBee

      The police are also under attack, so don’t assume that they are the enemy. If we treat them as if they are, then that is what they will become. Police officers are people and are also on the receiving end of cuts, and confusion reigns with conflicting information and misinformation.

  14. Ian W MK Bucks

    You are to be highly commended Mike for picking up the cudgel – Even with having our precious freedom of speech [the very Hallmark of Democracy] steadily, insidiously and increasingly eroded, I remain astounded that people, in the main, continue to, regrettably, believe the sad and sorry illusion that we live in a Democracy. Currently, this is a “Democracy” where you say what you like and do as you are told!

    It would seem that Ayn Rand was ahead of her time when she stated:

    “We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: The stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force”

    Ayn Rand

    Aldous Huxley was most astute when he made the observation:

    “And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods.”

    Aldous Huxley

    Finally, it was Senator Hubert Humphrey who declared:

    “It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the physically impaired.”

    Senator Hubert Humphrey

    The current government has an appalling track record and would appear to be failing abysmally on all counts.

    There should be not so much a cry or shout but a vociferous demand for this government and the grossly incompetent individuals purporting to be doing what is best for the people of this country and Nation, to be resoundingly sacked! Now, that would be a true Democracy in action!

    Are we going to remain asleep in our servitude or wake up?

    I salute you and good luck in your endeavours.

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