Tag Archives: gerrymander

Good news: plan to gerrymander constituency borders for Tories is scrapped

Boris Johnson’s government has given up a plan to cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons.

The Tories have been trying to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 since David Cameron slithered into Downing Street in 2010.

The aim was to change constituency borders in order to deliver Conservative-voting majorities to most UK Parliamentary seats for the foreseeable future.

That plan was hatched when the Conservatives were unable to achieve a majority by themselves; Cameron’s first ministry was a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, headed by Nick Clegg (who?).

But now, with the help of the Brexit-related division Cameron created in his second ministry, Boris Johnson has a huge majority of Tory MPs supporting him.

Ironically, he is saying the Brexit-related workload has pushed constituency reorganisation off the agenda.

Notice that the threat is still there – the Tories are still planning to create constituencies with near-equal numbers of voters, and you can bet they’ll rig it so the majority of voters in the majority of constituencies are theirs.

Like the SNP’s David Linden, This Site welcomes the government’s “screeching U-turn”.

And I agree with Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society who said: “The proposals always seemed more like an executive power grab than a genuine move to improve the function of the Commons, so this is a small but welcome victory for backbenchers and voters.”

Source: Plan to cut the number of MPs axed over ‘Brexit workload’ – BBC News

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Constituency boundary changes: Unfair, undemocratic and unlikely to be approved

Boris Johnson: This is probably what he looked like, the moment he realised his own party’s proposed boundary changes mean he would lose his seat.

One of the few joys of the years since the Conservatives tricked their way back into office is their complete lack of success at gerrymandering the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies to suit them.

First they had to rely on the Liberal Democrats, who abandoned them when the Tories refused to support reform of the House of Lords.

Now they have to rely on the Democratic Unionists, who have never supported the Tory proposals.

The Tories are desperate to rig the next election as the average age of their party’s members is 72, and they have utterly failed to attract support from the young.

The revelation that Boris Johnson would probably lose his Parliamentary seat, if the changes go through, is a double-edged sword; some members of the public might support them for that reason – others might not.

Mr Johnson himself probably wouldn’t approve – and it seems a considerable number of his fellow Conservatives feel the same way.

And Labour?

Let’s see what Cat Smith has to say about it:

“Labour stands ready to work with all parties to ensure that a boundary review can go ahead in a way that benefits our democracy, not just the Conservative Party. However it has been clear from the start that the Tories have only been interested in their own political advantage rather than what is in the best interests of the country.

“To lose 50 MPs at a time we are repatriating powers from Brussels as we leave the European Union risks leaving the UK Government struggling to keep up with the day to day requirements of legislation.

“They need to drop their unfair, undemocratic plans, as well as ensuring the review is based on the most up-to-date register and that there is appropriate flexibility to take into account community ties and geography.”

Good points – especially concerning the fact that the proposals use an out-of-date version of the electoral register from 2015. Many more people have registered to vote since then – mostly spurred to do so by Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

So you can see why the Tories wouldn’t want to update their ideas.

It all boils down to mathematics – and the numbers are against Mrs May.

She doesn’t have enough support, even from her own MPs, to push through this legislation.

So This Writer reckons it will be shelved – again.

And anyway, who says we’ll have to wait until 2022 for the next election?

Revised proposals for the shape of parliamentary seats at the next general election have been published.

The proposed constituency boundaries in England, Scotland and Wales have been drawn up on the basis the total number of MPs will be cut from 650 to 600.

Parliament approved the principle of reducing the size of the Commons in 2011, intended as a cost-saving measure in the wake of the expenses scandal.

But it is uncertain whether the Commons will end up backing the detailed plans.

If they do so, the proposed new constituencies – recommended by independent bodies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – will take effect in 2022, the scheduled date of the next election.

Prime Minister Theresa May is reliant on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for getting legislation through the Commons after her failure to win a majority in June’s snap election.

The DUP opposed the last boundary review when it was put to a vote in 2013, while many Conservatives are thought to have reservations about the scope of the shake-up, which could lead to a scramble for seats as a host of constituencies are abolished.

Source: Boundary changes: Latest plans for Commons seats published – BBC News


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Is Brexit threatening the future of the House of Lords? No. It is offering YOUR money to Tories

161022-house-of-lords

The Conservative Party is really tying itself in knots over this.

Apparently the plan is to flood the House of Lords with new members if those already there oppose Theresa May’s plan for an unscrutinised exit from the European Union.

She doesn’t want anybody in the House of Commons to have a chance to veto any secret agreement her Brexiteer minister make, and she doesn’t want the Lords to block it either.

But this puts Mrs May in an extremely difficult position with regard to another policy of hers – the plan to gerrymander Commons constituency boundaries by cutting the number of seats to 600 and giving Conservatives an advantage in elections by doing so.

Her pretext for doing so is that the cost of democracy is too high and it will save millions of pounds.

But the House of Lords currently has 812 members, not counting those who are on leave for one reason or another.

Between February 2014 and January 2015 each of them took home an average of £25,826 of public money, tax-free. Net operating cost of the House of Lords in 2013-14 was £93.1 million, or around £118,000 per peer.

So, the Tories have 256 peers at the moment, who are outnumbered by 556 from other parties, the Church, or who are non-aligned.

They would need to create at least 301 new peers in order to ensure their plans are carried to fruition – at a cost of at least £118,000 per year, each.

That’s £35,518,000.

Any saving on boundary changes would be wiped out completely. So the argument that Theresa May will save money must fall.

But take note: The money would not be going to MPs, some of whom belong to other parties. It would be going to Conservatives.

So it seems likely that they will go through with it, no matter that their argument is wrong.

Think on that.

A leading cabinet minister has warned the House of Lords that its future is at risk if it tries to block Brexit.

The senior figure said the government may have to “do a Lloyd George” and flood the upper House with friendly peers if those already there undermine the drive to implement the EU referendum result.

Some Tories in the Lords, where Conservatives are in a minority, have demanded Theresa May let Parliament vote on her preferred Brexit deal before talks with the EU begin. If she refuses, they have threatened to stymie other pieces of legislation the government needs to pass through the Lords to make Brexit happen.

One Tory peer has told The Independent: “There are people who are worried that if the Lords pushes back on this, it could be the end of the Lords.

“But the Lords has to be reformed anyway, it has to happen. There are far too many of us. So some of us don’t see that as an impediment.”

Source: House of Lords future at risk if it tries to block Brexit, leading cabinet minister warns | The Independent

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A simple plan to get Labour back on track

Harriet Harman: Will the acting leader of the Labour Party listen to pleas from the grassroots to get Labour back on track?

Harriet Harman: Will the acting leader of the Labour Party listen to pleas from the grassroots to get Labour back on track?

If the Labour Party is to regain the confidence it has lost, it needs to re-state its identity with a core message of purpose – one that not only encapsulates what Labour is about, but also what it opposes.

That is what was missing from Labour’s general election campaign, and is as much a reason for Ed Miliband’s defeat as the Conservative campaign, which was not based on objective facts but on political spin.

In a nutshell, it is time to remind the voters and the public that Labour is the enabling party. This creates a clear contrast with the Conservatives – the party of restriction.

So, for example, with the National Health Service, Labour should support a service available to everyonefree. That means no private involvement. With the Tory privatisation in full swing, funds are being restricted and so are services. The NHS is now a postcode lottery, with care allocated on the basis of profitability. That’s not good enough; the privateers must be told to jog on.

Education must also be available to everybody, up to the level each person can achieve (or wants to). Again, this means there should be no charge for state-provided services. A state school system has no place for privately-owned ‘academies’ or ‘free schools’. These are Tory devices; the private sector will, by its nature, restrict access in order to extract a profit. It also means no tuition fees for students in further/higher education.

Labour should be helping anyone who wants to start a business, by ensuring there are as few obstacles in the way as possible; it must be the enabling party. That means, for example, a graded taxation system, with lower business rates and taxes for start-ups, progressing to a higher rate for medium-sized enterprises, and a highest rate for multinationals – who should be taxed on all takings made in the UK; no excuses.

Another part of the enabling agenda must be ensuring that people can pay a minimum price for things we cannot live without: Accommodation, services, utilities.

There is now an appalling shortage of appropriate housing for many people – mostly because the Tories sold off so many council houses and did not replace them. This is why the Tories were able to impose the Bedroom Tax on so many innocent people – a restrictive idea, intended to push people out of some areas and into others; shifting Labour voters out of places the Tories didn’t think they should have to share with the riff-raff, you see – a gerrymandering tactic to make those constituencies easier to win in elections. The solution is simple: Build council houses again.

When the utility companies – gas, water and electricity suppliers – were privatised, we were all promised that household bills would be kept down by more efficient private-sector business models and private investment. That has not happened. Instead, consumers have been held to ransom by a small cabal of corporations who have been able to charge rip-off prices. Remember the electricity price scandal of 2013? Who told those firms to quit their restrictive practices and cut bills? Labour. The enabling party. The fear of a Labour government imposing new rules in the consumer’s favour helped hold the greedy private bosses in check for a while, but now we have a Conservative government. How long do you think it will be before prices soar? This Writer reckons they’ll take the first opportunity. Even now, after Labour managed to secure price cuts, the poorest families still have to choose between heating and eating during the winter (the phrase has been used so often it is now a modern cliché). This must not be allowed to continue and the solution is clear: Re-nationalise. There are even two bonus factors in such a plan: Firstly, as many of these utilities are owned – or part-owned – by firms or governments based abroad, it will ensure that our bills pay people in the UK rather than boosting foreign economies at the expense of our own and, secondly, takings will help the UK Treasury balance the books.

There is at least one other privatised service that could also be re-nationalised: The railway system. Prices have rocketed while government subsidies have also soared, since the system was turned over to private hands in the early 1990s. This is madness; it is a huge drain on resources and must not be allowed to continue. We should re-nationalise and follow the example of Northern Ireland, where the service was never privatised and where any profit is ploughed into improvements, not profit.

Then there is our grocery bill, which keeps escalating. This is a particularly thorny subject as, for example, farmers are being ripped off by supermarkets over the price of milk, but the same corporations will happily send apples to the other side of the world and back, just to have them polished. It’s time to straighten out that system as well – although it will take a while.

So this is how Labour should frame its arguments from now on: Labour enables; the Tories restrict.

It should be stressed that the themes raised above are just starting-points which occurred to This Writer while considering the issue last night. The above is not an exhaustive list. Undoubtedly there are many more.

Your comments are invited.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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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.

140301markwood

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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