Dear Mr Crabb, regarding the real Daniel Blakes out there.

You may have seen the reviews for the new Ken Loach film Daniel Blake. It reduced hardened film critics in Cannes to tears with its story about the cruelty that Jobcentres and the DWP dish out to ordinary people throughout the country. 

What is very interesting to know that Ken Loach sent researchers to interview people working in the DWP, some at senior levels. Many of these anonymous whistleblowers told Ken Loch’s interviewers that policies implemented by the government and the DWP were deliberate, and indeed those high up within DWP circles stated that they intend them to be so. So much so, that Ken Loach himself felt confident enough to accuse the government of cruelty on a national scale. 

We now know that from hard to access DWP death files, that warnings were being repeatedly sent to the top, and ministers ignored this and chose to carry on. The fact that poor people would die was part of a cost saving plan and still is. We have said from the start that there is nothing unintended about anything that they implement, amid the fact that DWP staff themselves told Ken Loaches team proves it. 

Steven Crabb told the select committee last week that nobody should criticise DWP policies unless they had been to a Jobcentre and met claimants. Well unlike the ignorant collaborators on the select committee, we have been doing just that at Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre for nearly two years. We meet the real Daniel Blakes every week, and we spend a lot of the time trying to fix your ruthless policies and your predecessors also. 

Mr Crabb, take Liam, a young lad who was autistic. You didn’t need to have qualifications to see that he needed extra help, and any job coach should have noticed this. He had been sanctioned four times for reasons that he clearly didn’t understand. These sanctions occurred after both himself and his mother had informed the job coach that he was autistic.So by breaching both the equalities act and the 2010 autism act, Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre have broken two laws for the price of one! Quite an achievement in itself! 

We also met a young ex solider. He was an impressive young man, and very proud of his service in Afganistan. The Jobcentre had sanctioned him, and hadn’t informed him of his rights regarding his housing benefit. He was due to be evicted that afternoon. He told us that his only option would be to commit a crime such as criminal damage to get police station bed and breakfast later that day. 

Ken Loach said that his film should make everyone angry, and hopefully encourage people to take action. Well, if you are moved by his film Daniel Blake and want to do something then this is what you can do. You can tell your MP, appeal every sanction or come and join our group every Thursday or any other group in your local area. 

We are the UKs longest running Jobcentre campaign that has run constantly every week. And we have been doing this for nearly two years now. We are outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre every week between 10-12. Come and see the reality for yourselves. We would invite the entire DWP select committee, but we know that those cowardly collaborators wouldn’t bother to show up. But everyone is welcome. 

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24 thoughts on “Dear Mr Crabb, regarding the real Daniel Blakes out there.

  1. Does anybody want to start a picket and leafletting at Oldham job centre? I work nearby so have started handing out ‘how to avoid sanctions’ leaflets there just before nine, on my way to work, when people are queueing outside. But it would be good if people with more time could do a weekly picket as well, like the people in Ashton.

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    1. I’m feeling very much alone in the south of England! I’m in Bedfordshire. It anyone pickets jobcentres near me and I’m not working I’d love to help! Solidarity to all of you everywhere anyway x

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      1. Hi unite community can send leaflets etc and so can boycott workfare, but as I found if you start others will join you. It’s hard taking the first step, but it’s really worth it x.

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      1. Charlotte thanks! I’m actually in unite the union! I’m. On good terms with our regional political officer who. Handled my issues in my last job and supported me in my sexual harassment woes. I’ll get on to him. I dunno what is happening in our local people’s assembly but I have contacts there too..thanks!

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  2. A great article as usual Charlotte. Carry on exposing the DWP’s crimes!

    And thank you very much indeed for your phone call offering solidarity greeting to our simultaneous demonstration at Stockport jobcentre. This was very much appreciated.

    Pictures of our action are to follow shortly. We got involved in lots of conversations with claimants who were universally very grateful for the support we were showing. We got more signatures on our petition to the Stockport areas MPs and distributed lots of leaflets with info on challenging sanctions and workfare.

    Our presence occasioned a one fingered salute from a shirt-sleeved manager in a first floor window space, flanked by his G4S guard. He soon shuffled off however when we produced our loudhailer to describe his greeting to all in the building and outside of it who were within earshot and to go on to explain why we were protesting. If he reads this we’d invite him to ‘come on down’ and talk to us next time. We are interested in hearing his point of view. There’s hope for all – remember the story of St. Paul 🙂

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  3. I was moved to tears by this post. I have knowledge of men over 60 who have mental health problems but who got sanctioned anyway. One of those I know is partially sighted. It took a lot of work to sort their situations out. The system is cruel and too complicated for some people to manage. Thank the Lord there are people who understand this and are speaking out and acting on behalf of the less able. Keep up the good work!

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  4. This makes me so angry, I hope ministers go to prison and rot in h*ll ! I wonder how much evidence has already been destroyed by the DWP?

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  5. We live in such sad times but I have hope that it will all turn around again. Hope is the one thing we have to hold on to for our future generations. We have to fight for them now and do anything possible to stop this government from destroying yet more people.
    Stephen Crabb is another quiet man, watch him closely!
    I thank everyone who helps people who are being sanctioned, are distressed and generally need a pointer to the way to go.
    Thank you.

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  6. All the major welfare changes over the past few years have been quite deliberate. Part of a careful plan to change the structure of our society. To alter the way that people live, and the way that they behave.
    The whole Universal Jobmatch / Universal Credit system, strict sanctions and ‘conditionality’ were largely the invention of Mr.Duncan-Smith and his right-wing, Centre For Social Justice thinktank.
    And he had years in opposition to fine-tune all the details, until the day came when as he said, ‘People will play by our rules’.
    There was never going to be any easy way to destroy the social security system in this country.
    To strip benefits from seriously sick and disabled people, and harass them into looking for work over the protests of their own doctors, without the inevitable deaths and suicides which we have now seen.
    Leaving aside the Liberal Democrats, and their Vichy-French collaboration with the Tories, and the way in which they sold out any shred of principle for a taste of power.
    We have a Labour party which has stood by arms-folded, trying its best to look the other way, as all the worst of these changes were forced through parliament. Shamefully voting with the Tories again and again, because basically Labour believe in most of these changes, and are terrified of the three words ‘The Welfare Party’.
    Jeremy Corbyn has been noticeably silent on the whole issue, and the word ‘welfare’ has yet to emerge from his lips, or even ‘Universal Credit’. Some people would say this doesn’t matter, as he has about as much chance of being Prime Minister in 2020 as Father Christmas. Possibly less.
    As long as we have a society in which so many people are prepared to ignore what is going on,
    provided they themselves are not affected, then these issues will continue.

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    1. The first half of your speech, I pretty much agree with. The second half however, well… you’d almost think you suffered a stroke whilst writing it! Complete and utter tosh! Jeremy Corbyn is MORE than aware of what has been going on with UC. He was even interviewed once, BEFORE HE BECAME THE LEADER, and said, when asked about IDS, that he didn’t think he should have even been IN the job of head of the DWP. Debbie Abrahams has been fighting constantly for the disabled. Where DID that rubbish come from?!

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  7. John, I must disagree with you there. Labour have consistently done nothing to prevent any of the welfare changes, and even voted with the Tories to back the highly-questionable legislation that prevented the government paying-out money to claimants who refused to attend Mandatory Work Activity. After the Poundland case in the High Court, when it looked like the government might have to pay out £130 million in compensation.
    Labour have sat back and watched as the whole system of welfare changes has been imposed, year after year, and done nothing about it. I grant there have been a few honourable exceptions, such as Debbie Abrams, but she is rather a lone voice in the wilderness of a complacent Labour Party.
    Jeremy Corbyn has no intention of changing any of the Tory welfare reforms. Vague remarks made before he was leader have not been backed by a single action in parliament, and actions as always, speak louder than words.

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