No ‘British Spring’: Man burned alive in Britain – but does anybody care? – Pride’s Purge

The late Malcolm Burge: When an arab street trader set himself on fire in protest against his government, it launched the Arab Spring revolutionary uprisings. When Mr Burge burned himself to death in the UK for the same reason, nobody batted an eyelid.

The late Malcolm Burge: When an arab street trader set himself on fire in protest against his government, it launched the Arab Spring revolutionary uprisings. When Mr Burge burned himself to death in the UK for the same reason, nobody batted an eyelid.

It’s good to see that some bloggers are still on the ball while Yr Obdt Srvt is unwell. Here’s Tom Pride:

A man was burned alive in Britain – and nobody seems to care.

Malcolm Burge, 66, found himself more than £800 in debt as a result of a government decision to cut his housing benefit by 50 per cent.

The council dealing with his case was also unable to correspond properly with Mr Burge because of a massive backlog they were experiencing – again due to government cuts to local government funding.

And so – on the same day he received a letter telling him he had to repay the money – Mr Burge drove to Cheddar Gorge and burned himself alive in his car.

Just the latest victim of Iain Duncan Smith’s war on the poor.

Note that Housing Benefit is now run by the Department for Work and Pensions, so the responsibility for this death belongs with Iain Duncan Smith.

But never mind that:

Does anybody remember the Arab Spring?

It was a wave of revolutionary uprisings that began in December 2010 after street trader Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in protest against the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides in a town in rural Tunisia.

At the time, some of us speculated on what would happen if a British citizen did the same in protest against the Coalition government.

Now we know:


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  1. Marcus de Mowbray February 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I wonder if DWP will investigate this.

    • Mike Sivier February 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      Fat chance.
      People should be out on the streets, venting their rage at this behaviour, but no. Why not? Is it because it’s a bit chilly?

      • Ian February 8, 2015 at 8:39 pm - Reply

        It the same reason that there isn’t much of an outcry in America, and it is reflected in the social media trends. Anything not immediately entertaining is for most people assumed boring and thus ignored.

        Do they have endless judging shows in Syria? Or gossip magazine retailers on every street corner? I suspect not as much as here.

        I keep sharing articles on Facebook, every time a funny picture gets about three times as many responses (including likes), usually I don’t get a response at all. I remember not so long getting criticism for saying a global economic crash can’t come soon enough because so far people still do nothing, preferring instead to die by a thousand cuts.

        This is an example of things I say things:
        The Voice is on tonight, but private banks still take people’s money in a system dependent on growing debt, which is why governments try and stimulate lending, yet it is ‪#‎TheVoice‬ that trends.

      • chris February 10, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

        what if there a huge protest but no one reports? sadly that is what is happening

      • chris February 10, 2015 at 3:41 pm - Reply

        to me its not because no one cares but that many don’t even know its going on that is the real problem, if it was reported on more there would be outrage

  2. Steve February 8, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Those who work in the DWP and these quangos of the state like ATOS should remember that once the government changes there is likely to be retribution,just as there was when the nazis were routed….It was no good any one of these so called employees of the nazi state saying “they were just doing thier job”….many were either hung or imprisoned.Those who work for the DWP or ATOS would say “I’m just doing my job as instructed”are just as guilty as the architects of the government policy and directors of the companies carrying out the policy……We can’t hang such people anymore mores the pity but we can instigate proceedings or send these people to “Coventry” …..until they pack their bags and leave this country along with their families….good riddance to bad evil rubbish…..We don’t forgive…..We don’t forget.

    • wildswimmerpete February 9, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

      @Steve……………..Atos isn’t a State quango, it’s an utterly unscrupulous, money-grubbing PRIVATE company, together with the likes of Capita, G4S, Seetec as well as the other poverty pimps, troughing our taxes in huge quantities courtesy of Duncan Smith. We live in a corporatocracy, or to use a more traditional description: a Fascist state.

  3. snowstrobe February 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    To be fair, we have a [admittedly limited] form of democracy here and will probably vote these people out of office in a few months time. That’s what happens when you have rule of law and democracy, less violent reactions to injustice.

  4. marzia27 February 8, 2015 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Sadly, the same happened in Greece, Italy and Spain. Possibly in other countries.
    Not a line anywhere.

  5. Stephen Jewell February 8, 2015 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    This is disgusting but I have heard nothing about this on any media other than your blog today.

    • Mike Sivier February 8, 2015 at 10:28 pm - Reply

      You’ve not read the linked news reports, then?

  6. Thomas M February 8, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    Maybe they just haven’t been bothered enough by this government yet.

  7. wildswimmerpete February 8, 2015 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    It’s because UK sheeple are too engrossed by “celebrity” crap like “X-factor” together with all the rest of the brainwashing that comes via the moron box. Needless to say I ditched TV years ago, and told TV Licensing to legally “shove it”.

  8. nick February 8, 2015 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi His act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and rightly so and for this country to just sit idly by is a great injustice

    This mans death should have been reported by all of the news teams but as usual fell silent

    It it wasn’t for the likes of a few like myself and you mike reporting this news no one in the uk would be any the wiser

  9. Thomas M February 8, 2015 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    Also the last time people vented their rage, there was widespread looting, robbery and destruction. Criminals take advantage of such times.

  10. Pete B February 8, 2015 at 8:03 pm - Reply

    And we call ourselves,”Human Beings.” We boast of our achievements.We say,”We are Civilised.”and belong to the Human Race.

  11. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) February 8, 2015 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    “Poverty is at its most deadly when we no longer notice, we no longer care, we no longer even question it. This is the point at which poverty ceases to be a temporary crisis, a challenge to overcome or a tragedy to be mourned, and becomes a permanent state of affairs, embedded into the very systems and structures of our society, not an obscenity, but normality. It is a grim hypothesis, but I would suggest this is a point we have already passed.” (

  12. Jim Round February 8, 2015 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    I have commented on the sheeple attitude of this country before.
    But this is a shocking way for a allegedly Labour council to behave, where is the conpassion of the staff who sent several letters to Mr Burge?
    Yes, I know full well the current Tory welfare policy is a shambles, but Newham Council are responsible for training their staff.
    Or was all the money spent on their new £100 million town hall?
    At the end of the day, we deserve all we get, I now wait for a Monty Pyhon style giant boot to descend on us all, controlled by the laughing elite.

    • Mike Sivier February 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm - Reply

      Why do you choose to target Newham Council as the villains in this, when it is clearly the government’s policy changes that are responsible?
      Blame for this lies with Iain Duncan Smith, whose DWP now administers Housing Benefit.
      It doesn’t matter what political party runs the council concerned; in this instance it was acting on behalf of central government and according to central government’s orders.

      • Jim Round February 8, 2015 at 10:17 pm - Reply

        I did say that current Tory welfare policy is a shambles, but any council has a choice in how it deals with vulnerable people, if you worked at Newham Council and someone with similar circumstances to Mr Burge asked you repeatedly for help, would you ignore them?
        I think not.
        You would report it and follow it up, like myself, you would not want a fellow human being treated in such a way.
        Also, how do you excuse spending £100 million on a new town hall when staff training is obviously lacking, this is unacceptable use of funds by councils of any stripe.

        • Mike Sivier February 8, 2015 at 10:44 pm - Reply

          Unfortunately, town hall improvements and housing benefit training come from different budgets, so it is very easy to see how that could happen.
          I’m not excusing the council altogether – don’t get me wrong – but put the blame where it belongs. The council would not have been snowed under with work if the government hadn’t decided to victimise the poor, including Mr Burge.

  13. Jim Round February 8, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    I agree with your points Mike, but proper training of welfare/social staff should be top prority.
    Labour and their councils are missing a trick here.
    They should stand firm together and refuse to chase debt from the vulnrable, if the Tories send in “hit squads” then shout from the rooftops “look what they are doing to us because we stood up for the vulnerable”
    Also, they need to question the policy about sepearate budgets for different things, a sum should be allocated, and then spent as the elected council sees fit.

    • Mike Sivier February 9, 2015 at 1:43 am - Reply

      Training of council staff would have little to do with the Labour Party, Conservatives, Lib Dems or any of the others – it would be a non-political matter for Chief Executives and senior officers to arrange according to best practice guidelines.
      Your comment about what Labour councils should do about Tory policies to target the vulnerable would most likely cause greater harm in the long run, as a Tory government would then feel free to introduce draconian measures to bring these councils to heel.
      Your final comment indicates perhaps you need to learn a little more about how organisations like councils and governments organise the money they receive and spend.

  14. Jim Round February 9, 2015 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Regarding the training, if it’s a majority Labour council then the Labour ethos of standing up for the poor and vulnerable should be it’s mantra.
    If memory serves I remember reading about a Labour council, can’t remember which one, prioritising what budget they had on social care, even if it meant taking some away from road maintenance, ie vote winners.
    How would it cause greater harm in the long run?
    If Labour councils did just that, what right thinking person would criticise them for standing up for the vulnerable?
    Just make sure that the Tories are painted as the bad guys, use TV, radio, newspapers, anything, to show them up as the villains.
    I do know how councils and government organise and spend their money, I don’t agree with it, it’s not fit for purpose and it needs to change.

    • Mike Sivier February 9, 2015 at 9:56 am - Reply

      I told you how it could cause greater harm in the long run – just read on from the words “long run” and you’ll get the message.
      Unfortunately there are plenty of persons who would call themselves “right-thinking”, who would attack Labour councils for behaving in the way you suggest. They would be Tories, Lib Dems, Kippers and possibly supporters of left-wing parties who think they have something to gain by attacking the majority group. Tories in particular would kick back hard through their mass media puppets.
      Yes, councils dictate how their budgets must be spent (although even then along very strict lines as most of it must go on statutory responsibilities) – but they must rely on their officers to deliver services in a professional way, according to very specific guidelines that are laid out for them. It is with the officers that blame lies in this case.

  15. Sasson Hann February 9, 2015 at 9:51 am - Reply

    When I first read this last week I wondered what the circumstances were that caused this man to lose half of his housing benefit in the first place, more than £40 per week? Yet pensioners weren’t meant to be affected in this way.

    • wildswimmerpete February 9, 2015 at 10:17 am - Reply

      @Sasson Hann……………….only should you qualify for Pension Guarantee Credit. Of course the pension age escalator is operating at express speed with the pension age receding at a the rate of one week per month. Fortunately the clock stopped for me just after my 60th birthday, but I understand that it’s now approaching 63. Bear in mind should the Tories be re-elected in May PGC will go while those on State pensions will have to live on £55 or less.

  16. KARMA February 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Another death on Iain Duncan Nazi smiths grubby little hands!!!

  17. chris February 10, 2015 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    many have been protesting against the Coalition government for a long time yet no one will reported it no even here sometimes and that make me sad :( many do care so don’t say there Nothing because you helping the Torys and IDS that way :( no offence but we need to work together and blaming and calling each other sheep is not helping at all

  18. beastrabban February 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    MIke – This is just to let you know that this story’s been picked up, and that your reblog of this piece by Tom has been included in the ‘I’ newspaper’s ‘The Opinion Matrix’ column. They quote the line laying the blame for Mr Burge’s death at the feet of Iain Duncan Smith. They give the blog credit to Vox Political, unfortunately, but Tom does receive his due credit at the end of the quote.

    Congrats to both you and Tom on getting noticed by the legacy media, and landing another blow on IDS. The man’s very definitely a serial killer far more depraved than Hannibal the Cannibal. At least Lector didn’t claim to be helping the people he ate.

    • Mike Sivier February 12, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

      Brilliant! Although I wonder why the ‘i’ didn’t just quote the original source, rather than my repost.

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