The blackout: People have been setting themselves on fire, in protest against the Tory government, for YEARS

The emergency services, newspapers and the government seem to have been colluding with each other to hide the deaths – by self-immolation – of benefit claimants who have been persecuted as a matter of government policy – to prevent the kind of social change triggered when Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon in June, 1963?

Why have the news media been playing down these incidents, that – if they happened abroad – would have sparked huge and justified civil unrest?

Where is their sense of responsibility – not only to the dead but to the living victims of Conservative government persecution?

And would any of them care to explain the disparity between the way foreign events have been reported and those here in the UK – is it really all down to the lack of a photograph of somebody in flames?

Yesterday (August 19) we learned that a woman aged in her 50s apparently tried to take her own life by setting herself alight in a housing office run by Conservative-controlled Barnet Council.

The last report we have is that this woman – who has not been named by the authorities – remains in critical condition.

Today we discover that this lady was lucky in comparison with retired builder Peter Sherwood, who set himself alight on the pavement of London Road North, Lowestoft, at around 5pm on September 4, 2015.

That’s right – nearly three years ago a man burned himself to death on a busy shopping street in a British town during rush hour, and nobody thought it was worth mentioning.

The only information we have is from an inquest report in the Lowestoft Journal, published on April 28, 2017 – more than a year and a half after the incident took place.

Curious, that.

Inquests don’t usually take so long. Why was this one dragged out?

The Lowestoft Journal report states that Mr Sherwood had been visited at home by his local community mental health team, who heard him express plans to end his own life and made an urgent appointment for him to see a psychiatrist the following week.

The fact that they did not take him to get help immediately is where the report seems to be suggesting any fault for the death lies. What about the reason he felt that way?

Here they are:

In a statement read during the hearing, Mr Sherwood’s niece Sarah Wilby said… Mr Sherwood was on Disability Living Allowance but he had received a letter informing him he needed to reapply for Personal Independence Payment, which she believed contributed to his heightened anger at that time.

Now consider this:

Coroner Peter Dean read statements from witnesses, who described seeing Mr Sherwood spraying something on the pavement starting with the letter ‘h’ with an aerosol can.

Mr Sherwood then set himself on fire. Members of the public tried to douse the flames by throwing their jackets onto Mr Sherwood, and using a fire extinguisher from a nearby shop.

Police at the scene reported Mr Sherwood had muttered the word “humanity” to them a couple of times after the incident.

So he was pleading for humanity from the authorities, or complaining about the lack of humanity being shown to him. Would it be unreasonable to suggest such a thing?

… Especially in light of the fact that we have evidence showing that huge numbers of disability benefit claimants have complained about the Conservative government’s inhuman treatment of them.

Mr Sherwood, of High Street, Lowestoft, had a long history of recurrent depressive disorder and psychosis and had attempted suicide several times in the past.

This is all-too-familiar.

We are left with evidence that people across the UK have been self-immolating over a period of years, because of the Tory government’s lack of “humanity” towards them – and that those with the ability to bring this horror to the attention of the public have been deliberately covering it up.

… To prevent the kind of social change we saw in South Vietnam, Tunisia and other Arab states, prompted by the same trigger?

If so, it would be grotesquely irresponsible of all those involved – they would be colluding with the Conservative government to allow its persecution of the extremely vulnerable to continue.


Do any of those involved have anything to say in their defence?

Source: Man who set himself on fire in Lowestoft struggled to cope with benefits change

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


15 thoughts on “The blackout: People have been setting themselves on fire, in protest against the Tory government, for YEARS

  1. rotzeichen

    If the Labour Party were in office today, it would be wall to wall coverage and screaming banshees would be shouting down our television screens that the government should go.

    Why aren’t they? Because they are all in it together.

  2. gillyflowerblog

    Whilst you are absolutely correct i do believe there is some informal ban on reporting suicides due to fear of a suicide cluster. I remember one in Brigend some years ago

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That’s all very well, but this isn’t just a suicide. It’s somebody doing something unthinkable because it’s the only way they imagine they can bring attention to what is happening.
      And then the mass media and the government ignore it. How disrespectful.

  3. jg

    i like to say nothing surprises me, the standard of these medicals makes me wonder why we bother to train anyone at all, we may as well leave a health service in the hands of the ilk of atos, capita etc, then they could use that as another excuse rather than underfunding as to why the nhs is going down, incidentally when it comes to underfunding how many people have gone back to using services because of the excellent skills of the wca assessors, come on polish my nails Mcvey answer that one instead of spouting tripe about uc actually working when in fact if you talk to any of the support services you find that is the biggest problem to the nhs and infact no doubt affects the care form standard general practice because you have some underqualified wca assessor who actually tries to kid you that they are better than a gp, the tory are not people to be trusted and the particurly vile dwp breed of tory is part of a gene pool that is a embarresment to the human race

  4. Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7)

    There’s another media blackout that merits your attention. The ESA WRAG cuts have been in effect since April 3rd; the failure of the Guardian (which publishes articles on disability on an almost daily basis) and the British press to investigate how these new chronically ill and disabled claimants are faring as they struggle to survive on a below subsistence, JSA-level benefit, is a serious dereliction of duty.

    About a year ago, I wrote Katharine Viner, Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian, and tweeted Dr. Francis Ryan, Guardian disability columnist, imploring them to survey sick and disabled people in the WRAG. Dr. Ryan responded that she planned to write a piece in April, the anniversary of the cuts—but so far, nothing on this subject (post-April 2017) has appeared in the Guardian.

  5. Jeffrey davies

    Since thatcher blair we have this treatment of all on benefits they pointed out has scroungers this action by those in power and the papers radio tv all portray it has they want it to be. Yet for the last ten yrs or so suicide around the country has picked up yet the dwp jcp played these down. Aktion t4 May many say but listen to that old German lady speak it seems endless but untill that day the peasants wake up to the fact this lot of learned from history Jeff3

  6. groovmistress

    I have for many years wondered the same myself. How I can turn on the TV news and hear daily of a murder or suicide in the middle east but nothing of a similar event which I know has happened in my own town that day. Strange that isn’t it….

    1. Tony Dean

      I suspect the non reporting problem stems from when Esther McVey was an “advisor” for Samaritans.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I can’t see any political angle to this one. It would be interesting to see if there was one.

  7. Gordon Churchill

    Foucault is right. And so is the R.S.C. film about Vietnam : ” Tell Me No Lies”.

Comments are closed.