71 reasons to end Tory and Lib Dem government

The late Brian McArdle is one of the many, many people who have died because of policies inflicted on the UK by a corrupt government.

The late Brian McArdle is one of the many, many people who have died because of policies inflicted on the UK by a corrupt government.

It seems some people still don’t understand the threat posed to them by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who are currently running the UK into the ground.

Yesterday (Saturday) a commenter suggested that it might be a good idea to put up with another four years of the current catastrophe, in the hope that voters will be so sick of the situation by the end of it that they’ll support a properly Socialist government.

That is an attitude born from naivete and a failure to understand the changes wrought by the self-serving wretches we foolishly allowed into government in 2010.

Firstly, if a Tory or Tory-led government is voted back into office next year, the Fixed Term Parliament Act means we’re saddled with them until 2020 – that’s five and a half more years.

Secondly, changes to the electoral system have been introduced which mean that far fewer people are likely to have registered to vote by the time that 2020 election rolls around – and those who are still able to do so will be far more likely to vote for the Conservatives than for any other organisation.

Thirdly, the Tories tried to gerrymander Parliamentary constituencies – during the current term of office – in order to ensure they would be far more likely to win any future election, by reducing the number of MPs to 600 and altering constituency borders to make a majority of people in the new constituencies more likely to vote for them. The only reason this failed is because the Tories’ little yellow partners, the Liberal Democrats, refused to support the change after the Tories stabbed them in the back over their bid to introduce proportional representation. They will try again, if elected back into office next year.

Fourthly, the mainstream media is owned by strongly right-wing, Tory-supporting concerns who feed the general public highly biased ‘news’ items that are intended to prejudice ordinary people against the organisations that gave them the welfare state, the NHS and the human/working rights that make their lives tolerable at the moment. The plan has always been to mislead people into relinquishing those hard-won pillars of the modern UK by supporting the Conservative Party and its plans to abolish them in favour of a private system that will rob them and leave them powerless to prevent further predations.

Fifthly, the Conservative Party has no intention of allowing anyone to consider the possibility of an alternative government as it has spent the last four and a half years turning the British government into a gravy train, creating more wealth for the Conservative Party. The aim has always been to use the deficit and the national debt as excuses to cut services and sell their provision to private companies – who then charge the public higher prices for those services and pay the Conservative Party large donations as thanks for services rendered. The claim that this will lessen the national deficit and debt is a lie – with less money passing through the system, it is more likely that the debt will increase, providing the Tories with an excuse to sell off even more of the hard-won infrastructure of our society.

Finally, the new – corrupt – system that the Tories have created (with or without the collusion of the Liberal Democrats) relies on the creation of an underclass for people to hate, on whom the blame can be placed for the perceived failure of the system to work in the way the Tories have been claiming it would. The chosen scapegoats are the unemployed and the disabled – people who are unable to work in Tory donors’ sweatshops, for varying reasons. The Tories have used their friends in the mainstream media to whip up hysteria against these so-called ‘lazy scroungers’, unhindered by any relationship with the facts; subsidies to the City (London’s financial district) far outstrip payments made to the unemployed, incapacitated or disabled, despite the fact that the City is a profit-making entity that doesn’t need taxpayers’ help and the amount of fraud in the benefit system – the number of people who don’t deserve taxpayer support – stands at less than one per cent. And wasn’t it the bankers who caused our financial woes in the first place? This has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, whose only fault was needing the help that they, and their fellow citizens, had funded with their taxes in the past. The government is refusing to release figures on the number of deaths and Iain Duncan Smith recently denied that any had taken place.

Just one such death should be enough to send the Conservatives out of government forever. Here are 71*:

Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycytheamia, Terry asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not.
He died the following day.
Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.


The late Mark Wood.

Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.

'Stewardship': This memorial is to Paul Reekie, the Scottish poet and writer who took his own life in 2010. Letters left on his table stated that his Housing Benefit and Incapacity Benefit had been stopped. The poet's death led to the creation of the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights.

‘Stewardship’: This memorial is to Paul Reekie, the Scottish poet and writer who took his own life in 2010. Letters left on his table stated that his Housing Benefit and Incapacity Benefit had been stopped.
The poet’s death led to the creation of the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights.

Paul Reekie, 48, the Leith based Poet and Author. Suffered from severe depression. Committed suicide after DWP stopped his benefits due to an Atos ‘fit for work’ decision.
Leanne Chambers, 30. Suffered depression for many years which took a turn for the worst when she was called in for a WCA. Leanne committed suicide soon after.
Karen Sherlock, 44. Multiple health issues. Found fit for work by Atos and denied benefits. Fought a long battle to get placed into the support group of ESA. Karen died the following month of a heart attack.
Carl Payne, 42. Fears of losing his lifeline benefits due to welfare reform led this Father of two to take his own life.
Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.
Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.
Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient. Died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.
Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts, he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation
Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work.
John Walker, 57, saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, John took his own life.
Brian McArdle, 57 years old. Suffered a fatal heart attack the day after his disability benefits were stopped.
Stephen Hill, 53. Died of a heart attack one month after being found fit for work, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.
Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her own life.
David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. Threw himself from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.
David Groves, 56. Died of a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him.
Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Shot himself after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him paralysed down one side.
Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old. Forced to live on £57.50 a week and make 12 mile trips each week to get free vegetables to make soup. Mark and Helen both committed suicide.
Richard Sanderson, 44. Unable to find a job and with his housing benefit cut forcing him to move, but with nowhere to go. Richard committed suicide.
Martin Rust, 36 years old. A schizophrenic man who killed himself two months after the government found him fit to work.
Craig Monk, 43. A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee who slipped so far into poverty that he hanged himself.
Colin Traynor, 29, and suffering from epilepsy was stripped of his benefits. He appealed. Five weeks after his death his family found he had won his appeal.
Elaine Christian, 57 years old. Worried about her work capability assessment, she was subsequently found at Holderness drain, drowned and with ten self inflicted wrist wounds.
Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old. Pregnant, her benefits stopped, Christelle, clutching her baby son jumped from a third floor balcony.
Mark Scott, 46. His DLA and housing benefit stopped and sinking into deep depression, Mark died six weeks later.
Cecilia Burns, 51. Found fit for work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She died just a few weeks after she won her appeal against the Atos decision.
Chris Cann, 57 years old. Found dead in his home just months after being told he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.
Peter Hodgson, 49. Called to JCP to see if he was suitable for volunteer work. Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a fused leg. His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.
Paul Willcoxsin, 33 years old. Suffered with mental health problems and worried about government cuts. Paul committed suicide by hanging himself.

Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.

Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.

Stephanie Bottrill, 53. After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax, Stephanie could not afford heating in the winter, and lived on tinned custard. In desperation, she chose to walk in front of a lorry.
Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.
Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.
Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.
Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.
Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.
David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.
Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.
Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.
Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.
Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.
Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.
Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.
Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.
David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.
Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.
Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.
Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.
Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.
Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.
George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.
Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.
Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.
Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.
Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.
Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.
Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness, found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.
Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.
Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits were stopped.
Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.
Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s. Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.
David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.
Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.
Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the ­Department for Works and Pensions.
Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.
Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.
Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.
Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed, who took her own life while battling the bedroom tax.

This blog used to quote, with monotonous regularity, the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller on what happened in Nazi Germany:

“First they came for the socialists,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
“Then they came for the trade unionists,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
“Then they came for me,
“and there was no one left to speak for me.”

In today’s United Kingdom, an extra two lines may be added (perhaps to replace the lines about the Jews):

“Then they came for the unemployed and the disabled,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t unemployed or disabled.”

This is the country where you live.

These crimes are taking place here and now – except they’re not called crimes because, when you have a criminal government, it changes the law to ensure that any such damning definitions are removed.

And you want to excuse the government that has inflicted all this harm? You want to let it continue, because the alternative isn’t Socialist enough for you? Or because you’ve decided the system is corrupt and you don’t want to support it with your vote?

People are dying now.

At the last count, those in just one of the groups threatened by this government were dying at a rate of more than 200 per week.

And you want to let this continue.

What will you do when they come to take everything away from you, and there’s nobody left who could help?

Postscript: The saddest fact of all is that many people won’t bother to read this article because it’s “a bit long”.

*VP has been contacted on Twitter by people who were keen to point out that some of the deaths listed above took place while the Labour Party was in power. They are missing the point. Evidence exists that states Labour was dismayed at the effect its benefit changes had caused, and would have altered the system to prevent further deaths if elected in 2010. That didn’t happen; we ended up with the Coalition instead – and the Coalition has intensified the pressure on vulnerable individuals. It is therefore on the Coalition that blame should currently be targeted – the administration that has demonstrated no remorse for what it is doing and, if reports of plans to reduce ESA payments are true, intends to worsen the situation considerably in the future. Any attempt to divert attention onto Labour’s past can only distract from what the Coalition is doing now.

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  1. Rob November 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    These deaths were foreseeable, so much so that I spoke with Mary McLeod MP at the House of Commons in 2010 warning of such consequences. I also wrote to IDS and David Cameron warning of the risks of such a dangerous policy. McLeod assured me that they would act responsibly and compassionately. She was very convincing but it was all a smoke screen. Now if I ran a business and through the course of my business my actions led to the death of a worker or customer, I might find myself charged with Manslaughter. The actions of this government have now led to countless deaths which they were forewarned about and yet they can carry on with impunity. They aren’t just wicked, they are monsters.

  2. paulrutherford8 November 16, 2014 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Very well written Mike.
    The first of the 71, Terry McGarvey, resonated with me. Polycythaemia is one of the 5 conditions I live with.
    I hope people do read every word. I like your ‘alteration’ to Pastor Martin Niemoller’s words.

  3. chopale November 16, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    This was brought to my attention by; many a site; but not covered by the main stream media. And well done for highlighting the “BOSH! Bang on social hogwash. the conservative ideology on human life! unless you are one oft them. S-c-u-m; is much to nice a word to describe this bacteria germinated filth.

  4. Jim Round November 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Another fine article Mike, and I for one did read it all.
    I went to a well publicised meeting about local authority cuts and was saddend to find that little more than a handful of people bothered to turn up.
    I also went to a local bonfire and fireworks display that was attended by well over 100, I’m sure this could be repeated nationwide.
    Stephanie Bottrill’s brother (I think) came out and said it was wrong to blame welfare cuts, something which a Daily Mail columnist (Heffer I think)
    jumped on and said it was a leftist stunt????
    That column and report has been viewed by over a million people and counting.
    Blogs like yours need to keep piling counter arguments and comments on social media.
    There are a fine selection of bloggers who will reblog/tweet etc…
    Lets get the message out there.
    Never on our knees.

  5. Edward Worrall November 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    This report just shows how out of touch this Government is. The heartache and sorrow it has created in one term of parliament is outragous and un-humanitarian it has got to stop so people it is in your hands to stop this rabble from afflicting more DEATHS so it’s time to vote them out now or get the people to rebel and call a vote of no confidence and vote them out tomorrow this can’t be too soon.

  6. Michelle November 16, 2014 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    I read to the end, can’t describe how awful it makes me feel and in a country of such extreme wealth

  7. casalealex November 16, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I did in fact read all of this distressing and heartrending saga of infamy which has been maliciously inflicted on those least able to comprehend the callous treatment they suffer at the hands of those who should be compassionate towards their fellow man/woman.
    Should the message not be heeded by the inherent fair mindedness of the people of this country, and if the Tories remain in government, (even without a mandate from the people), then, unfortunately there will be utter despair and hopelessness and I fear for the future of my grand and great grandchildren.
    I, and many others feel despondent at times, but we were, and hope still are, a people of resilience, even in the face of this totalitarian government with their fascist ideology.
    We will overcome!

    • wildswimmerpete November 16, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      I suspect this cowardly shower of human ordure are equipping themselves to protect themselves with imminent insurrection. A hard winter could very well trigger one. Don’t forget, British constabularies have been issued with 5,000 machine guns between themselves. It’s now obvious why.

      • Mike Sivier November 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm - Reply

        Didn’t another commenter say they’re only semi-automatics?
        Not that this will make much difference if you end up on the wrong end of one…

  8. Florence November 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you far another fine article, pulling the strands together.

    One thing though, is the use of the phrase “taxpayers money” which has become over-used and quite politically charged. Can we not reclaim the language here, and use something like “public money” gives us all a sense of our stake in it? That particular phrase is the work of propagandists who like us to think this is in fact Income Tax money, when we all know it is not, and reinforcing the meme that the non-working do not contribute / have a stake in the use of that money.

    • Mike Sivier November 16, 2014 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      Anyone who pays VAT is a taxpayer, but I can see your point.

      • Florence November 17, 2014 at 1:45 am - Reply

        Govt spending comes from many other sources than tax revenue – such as EU rebates, QE, govt bond issues, so I would argue that technically “Taxpayers Money” should not be used to describe public spending.

        But I do not want to detract from the central message of the article that the loss of life is abhorrent, avoidable and grotesque when these and many other thousands are reduced in govt-speak to those sharing the burden of austerity, “all in it together”. No, we’re not. These people have paid with their lives.

  9. Daniel Hall November 16, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I know it is tragic about these but why do you lefties never talk about Northern Ireland. Labour should stand in Northern Ireland.

    • Mike Sivier November 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Like the Tories do?
      Northern Ireland seems to exist in its own space, with a different kind of politics from the rest of the UK. I’m sure there are perfectly good reasons for the mainstream parties to stay away.
      Do you live in NI? Perhaps you should try forming a branch of your favourite mainstream party and see what happens.
      PS “You lefties”… always makes me smile.

  10. amnesiaclinic November 16, 2014 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Mike. I will copy and paste and send this to my MP asking him for a full explanation of each death and to do all he can to STOP this murder. I wrote to him when Stephanie walked under a lorry because of the bedroom tax and just look how this terror has mushroomed.

    I am so sorry for each and every one; the suffering and the pain they went through for a little amount of money from a fund they have already paid into for just such hard times – and all for what? So the super-rich can buy another trinket or have another junket?

    It has to stop NOW.

    Much love,

  11. paulmabbo November 16, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    I read all of it, right through to the end. I also read the beginning !!

    One of your more impassioned articles Mike, you should try it more often.
    A great pity that it took the perfectly reasonable viewpoint of a “naive” commenter to bring about such fervour.

    But this is the most right wing government in living memory (possibly ever) and, as such, needs to be opposed by a party dedicated to a left wing shift. The current shower can’t even bring themselves to commit to renationalising of the railways, that in spite of the fact that a clear majority of the public want to see it.

    Reading about those deaths above, and I know there have been many more, simply makes some of us feel even more alienated from the three (now four) major political parties of the right – I will continue to exercise my right to abstain at the general election as I’m perfectly entitled to do so.

    And when they come for me I will have no reason to complain nor shall I complain.

    • Mike Sivier November 17, 2014 at 1:03 am - Reply

      I would say this is the most unreasonable government, and as such needs to be opposed by a party dedicated to rational thinking – finding intelligent solutions that actually solve the problems – and not one that is slaved to left-wing (or right-wing) dogma. If you’re talking about the Labour Party not committing to renationalising railways, then you should bear in mind that it intends to set up a nationalised railway company in competition with the private operators. You may get the nationalisation you want, but at a pace that doesn’t break the bank.
      Your comments about my article’s passion and fervour are amusing. You need to read a few more of my pieces, it seems.

    • wildswimmerpete November 17, 2014 at 11:14 am - Reply

      “I will continue to exercise my right to abstain at the general election as I’m perfectly entitled to do so.”…………..paulmabbo

      People who don’t vote have allowed this current shower to gain power.

      Unless you can vote for the SNP or Plaid Cymru, then for heaven’s sake vote Green. Otherwise spoil your voting paper – these are counted and taken as meaning “Non of the above).

  12. jaypot2012 November 16, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    It breaks your heart when you see the list of just some of the people who have lost their lives due to this murdering coalition.
    It makes me ashamed to be human.

  13. debdahvibeze November 17, 2014 at 12:28 am - Reply

    It is actually Illegal to vote to put anyone into a treasonous parliament, we have a lawful DUTY to report the crime of treason and THAT needs to be our ‘vote’ because the WHOLE of Westminister is CORRUPT as hell and NONE of the present political parties are truly representing the people of Britain for our collective GOOD. REPORT THE CRIME OF TREASON & DEMAND THAT CRIMINALS OF POWER ARE ARRESTED.

    • Mike Sivier November 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Let us know how that works out for you.

  14. Paul Wilson November 17, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Why do you think the people of Scotland are turning to the SNP in their tens of thousands we have had enough of so called austerity yet millions for the politicians and their banking pals. England wake up and stop putting these shysters in.

  15. Mel Cutler November 18, 2014 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Thank you Mike for continuing to raise awareness of this tragic situation. As the artist mentioned in your article I am only too well aware of the deaths at the hands of our government. One gallery has been brave enough to exhibit this work in Milton Keynes and another will be showing it in Northampton from 17th December. I thought this work would prove to be a hot potato but it is getting exposure – I would welcome contact from any of the family members affected. What cannot be calculated are the number of attempted suicides or suicidal thoughts of people who face such a bleak situation. My fear is that this number will keep on growing as IDS inflicts ever more punitive measures on the most vulnerable amongst us. Don’t ever think ‘it will never happen to me’.

    • Mike Sivier November 18, 2014 at 10:25 am - Reply

      It’s great that your piece is getting exposure across the country.

  16. Kate November 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    “Evidence exists that states Labour was dismayed at the effect its benefit changes had caused, and would have altered the system to prevent further deaths if elected in 2010.”

    Do you have a link to this evidence at all? It would help me to sleep at night knowing that Labour might actually improve things should they get back in, as judging by their recent cries of being tough on welfare, I’m not convinced they’ll be any better than the Tories. If there is evidence that suggests I’m wrong, I would be so happy to see it!

    Thank you for your excellent blog.

    • Mike Sivier November 19, 2014 at 12:53 am - Reply

      I have been challenged on this already, and am making efforts to find the references. I’m fairly sure it was mentioned in a Parliamentary debate on ESA/the work capability assessment but that alone involves trawling a lot of material that I’ve accumulated over the years. I’m fairly certain that my memory isn’t cheating – I wouldn’t have mentioned it if I hadn’t heard it somewhere. It’s possible I’m referring to Professor Harrington’s first review of ESA, that called for migration of claimants from Incapacity Benefits to be delayed, if not cancelled altogether. I will continue looking.

      • Rob November 19, 2014 at 3:01 am - Reply

        I’ll start searching my old documents to see if I can find copies of the letters I wrote to David Cameron and IDS back in 2010 that warned of the dire consequences of benefits reforms. I did receive some confirmation of those letters as well so there should be a record of the response somewhere.

      • Rob November 19, 2014 at 3:20 am - Reply

        Child Poverty Act 2010: a short guide – Commons Library Standard Note

        In March 1999 Tony Blair announced a commitment to “eradicate” child poverty in the United Kingdom by 2020. Gordon Brown announced Labour’s intention to enshrine in law the 2020 child poverty target in a speech to the Labour Party Conference on 23 September 2008.

        Despite relative poverty remaining steady since 2010/11, the proportion of children in absolute poverty has increased as growth in household income has failed to keep pace with rising prices. 19% of children were in absolute poverty in 2012/13 compared to 18% in 2010/11. (The number in absolute poverty increased from 2.3 million in 2010/11 to 2.6 million in 2012/13.)

        Source http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN05585/child-poverty-act-2010-a-short-guide

      • Kate November 25, 2014 at 5:38 pm - Reply

        Thank you Mike – much appreciated!

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