It’s not fair. Daniel Blake died I have to live this hell. 

I promised a long time ago that I wouldnt post more than two blogs per week, it’s too much and people will get fed up. I changed my mind today though after a conversation with a man that I know. 
Recently an acquaintance of mine got sanctioned. He’s not well and had missed an appointment. Some would say that this is his own fault, but when someone isn’t well enough to work and are deemed fit then this will happen a lot. It’s inevitable and allowances should be made but they aren’t are they. 

Anyway last week both his friend who lives nearby and myself were trying to keep him going. He was very depressed and angry, not a good combination. It’s a sad fact that because of circumstances like these the suicide rates for men are continuing to rise every year. 

His friend spent a lot of time with him, I met him for a coffee and had a good chat. It seemed to help and he is now in a much better place. Thank goodness for that because I and his friend were worried. 

Today on the walk to school to pick my daughter up I saw his friend. It was pouring down with rain and he stopped to say hello. He went on to tell me his story. 

He’s an older man, and in constant pain. So much pain that he has to take large amounts of painkillers to just get by. And he’s angry, very angry. 

He had failed his medical, appealed and failed that also. He said “How the hell can I work? I’m in constant pain, I have to take painkillers that make me sleepy.” Now he has to go through the whole rigmarole of signing on and doing endless job searches. 

He told me that every day is hell. He wakes up not wanting to be here. The sooner he dies the better he says. 

He stated and quite rightly so, that how can it be fair that big corporations don’t pay their taxes, the prime minister says that we have to ensure austerity but at the same time she gives the DUP £1 billion. To day he’s angry is an understatement. And I totally agree with him. 

I asked him if he had seen the film I Daniel Blake. He said yes, he had and that it was rubbish. To be honest I was puzzled by his reply but he expanded on it. 

He told me that it’s rubbish because Daniel died, it’s not fair he said. Why couldn’t that have happened to him he wanted to know. It’s the best way out of the system and most likely the only way out for many. 

He didn’t think that the film was rubbish, far from it. But he was envious that Daniel had died. 

What kind of a society do we live in that makes a person feel envious of another person’s death, even if it was fictional? 

Every day people wake up in the sad realisation that they are still alive and they have to cope for another day. 

As the gentleman said to me, one day there will be a massive enquiry into the deaths and suffering inflicted on thousands upon thousands each day. 

One day we will hold them accountable for their actions. Some of us, including myself are brave enough to do so. Because we are angry and have nothing so have nothing anyway so have nothing to loose. 

We can do this. 

And please spare a thought for each and every person feeling disappointed that they are still alive every day when they open their eyes. Their suffering is real, but it shouldn’t be like this. 

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Thursdays weekly demonstration. Desperation is a constant fiend for claimants.

It’s not easy being a claimant at the jobcentre. Before you even get past the front desk, which is adorned by G4s staff intimidation and fear seems to be the lifeblood of the place.

A claimant is met by a first set of doors. These open automatically and there you see another set of doors. There used to be glass in these doors, but they saw fit to cover them up with a mirrored covering. They don’t like people looking in. You try to open these doors and they are extremely heavy. A person without any physical disabilities struggles opening these doors. It’s been the same for years, I doubt they want to change this. They like it as it is.

When you get to the small reception desk you are greeted by one or two Dwp staff members and two or three G4s security guards. They are there I’m sure to make you feel insecure. This is a place that no one enters by choice.
You then are told either to wait in the appropriate area of if you are 10 minutes early for your appointment you are told to go outside and wait. If the staff are running late that doesn’t matter, they don’t get sanctioned do they.

There are signs everywhere telling you that you can’t have any “hot” drinks in the building indeed a claimant who had brought a warm drink inside the building had it taken off him and placed in the door entry for anyone to take. It’s ridiculous, and also he could have spent his last pennies on this drink.
Neither are you allowed to use a mobile phone or device. If you are seen using it, even to just type a job search they threaten to take it off you. There’s no point in the WiFi being set up in that building, because you aren’t allowed to use your phone inside.

You are then left waiting for your appointment. The g4S guards watching you. Jobcentre staff laughing and joking between themselves. They often run late, many have no regard for the claimants.
Single parents are told not to bring their children into the jobcentre also which is certainly not in any rule book.
There are no toilets that claimants can use, neither is there a lift available for disabled claimants to use.

It’s then down to luck. If you’ve got a nice advisor, which is getting rarer by the day, or your advisor is in a good mood then you might be OK. But if not you are left feeling belittled, intimidated and desperate. It’s no surprise that many people attempt to commit suicide either just before an appointment or just after. The stress is too much for many.
It’s not exactly easy is it? Walk a mile in a claimants shoes before you judge them.

At 10am on Thursday I was met by a disabled lady who had been declared fit by the gods of ATOS. Yes despite the Tory party trying to appease the public, they still do assessments. This lady clearly wasn’t well enough to work. I informed her of her right to appeal, and signposted her to welfare rights. She said that she was certainly going to appeal. The poor woman couldn’t even open the door of the jobcentre.

I was then approached by several working people, working part time whilst claiming universal credit. They are devastated about the changes to universal credit being introduced this month. They are also all very upset about being told to do 30 hour job searches despite working. Yes we are challenging this so expect news on that front soon. We don’t feel that it is right to be doing this. These people are already working, so why should they be penalised.

A claimant stormed out of the jobcentre after being treated very unfairly by a jobcentre advisor. This advisors name keeps popping up and they have a reputation for being awful to claimants. The claimant was furious so armed with a piece of paper and a pen a complaint was wrote out straight away. After we had informed them of their rights they felt empowered. You do have a voice and they won’t be seeing that advisor again.

Also too many women with new born babies are being called in for “benefit reviews”whilst I’m sure that all of these advisors aren’t horrible, I’ve got no doubt that the DWP do this to keep the thumb screws on so to speak. Make sure they know their place, make them feel intimidated. Just the thing you need to deal with when you have just had a baby.

We handed lots of leaflets out, offered help and guidance and provided a shoulder to cry on for any claimant that needed it. We shall continue to do this every week. Please come and join us between 10-12 every Thursday Ashton under Lyne jobcentre, old Street.

It’s getting worse folks, there’s no doubt about that, and it’s hard work. We really would like your support.
Many thanks to everyone that turned up and supported us. To our regular supporters who were too poorly to attend get well soon!

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The confiscated cup of coffee.
By the way Ashton Under lyne Jobcentre, please get your computers working properly. You expect claimants to use them everyday but they keep breaking down. It needs sorting out.
Note to G4s security guards. You have yet again forgotten that you are nor allowed, under the data protection act to handle claimants personal details or ask them for any information. We are watching you. You keep forgetting!

Man douses himself in petrol inside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. 

Yesterday I received three telephone calls and today I also received a text message informing me that a man had doused himself in petrol inside the Jobcentre. When we arrived at our regular Thursday demo today we were stopped by two claimants who also confirmed it. Each person that conveyed their stories gave the same account and after checking that there was an incident at the Jobcentre yesterday I can say that this is true.

The man walked into the Jobcentre with a petrol container.. He looked desperate by all accounts. We cannot say for definite what his exact reasoning behind this was but what we can say is that this man was in mental anguish. Along with thousands of claimants everyday he was most likely pushed to the edge. He couldn’t take anymore. Death it seems was the only option to him, and he wanted to show the DWP staff who work at the Jobcentre and who have most likely treated him without compassion just how desperate he had become.  He opened the petrol container over himself and stood there.

Now did the Jobcentre staff try and approach him in a sympathetic manner? No they didn’t. Whilst this was happening not one member of staff by all accounts actually spoke to him like a human being. Maybe talking to him with sympathy in the first place could have prevented this. They phoned the police and immediately they phoned for an ambulance. He was handcuffed and taken away in an ambulance. We hope that he is making a recovery. The anguish he must have been going through must have been immense. The threat of having everything to taken away from you does that. 

It was noted by ALL accounts that the Jobcentre workers inside the building did not show compassion, one thought that it was fitting to smile. One Jobcentre worker walked outside and was smiling. This angered members of the public who were sat across the road. From all accounts she was very lucky not to have been attacked by members of the public. Not because of her job title, but because she was half smiling and one account said sneering. I just don’t understand the mindset that justifies this at all. I would be shocked and I would try to help. It goes without saying doesn’t it. It’s not a laughing manner.

Please note; I do have the greatest sympathy with the Jobcentre workers who are sympathetic and compassionate. If they have been affected by this then I hope that they get help. 

Another incident occurred today and it’s not dissimular to yesterday’s incident. 

Whilst handing out leaflets we appproached a man who was about to enter the Jobcentre. He was obviously very stressed and anxious, and had been drinking. He just kept saying that the staff in “that building” were horrible. He wouldn’t say why. We can only guess that the system has worn him down. 

Not long afterwards he was marched out with a number of police officers. A claimant who had been inside the Jobcentre said that he just stood in the middle of the room shouting. No one had spoken to him, but he wanted to go to the police cells for the night where he would get some food. 

The police were very sympathetic even though he shouted at them too for no apparent reason. They didn’t take him to the cells, they took him home amd hopefully he is resting now. 

Both incidents highlight the massive issue that people who are not well and are quite possibly suffering from mental health issues are being forced off their sickness claims and into JSA with no support at all. They don’t understand the system and cannot cope with it, and this is an issue that will only get worse. 

They system clearly isn’t working, it’s failing just about everyone who has to use a Jobcentre. Poeople who have mental health issues and illnesses are being ignored, and as I found when I was signing on, if you’re not stressed when first attending a Jobcentre you will be after attending for a few months. The system grinds you down and you become compliant to just about anything. 

That poor man could well become another statistic that Ian Duncan Smith refuses to release. Just a number to him, one that he won’t release. We haven’t forgotten the bodged statistics and we demand the real ones. Of course he won’t release them, because if he does people will see the real genocide of the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Strong worlds but it’s a reality in my eyes. 

Remember that person you see homeless on the street, or drunk could well be a victim of the cruel system invented  by this Tory government and imposed and forced on the vulnerable by the DWP. 

Wasn’t the doorway but you get the idea. Many thanks for the photo. 

    
  

 

The poor man being bundled into the back of a police van today. 

Makes you wonder. How desperate do people have to become before anyone takes any notice? I can be sure that the local press will not be interested in this story so please share as much as possible. 

Comments like saying things like “he should have burnt himself down.” “I have no sympathy with him he’s a nutter and should be locked up” will be defeated. Comments like that do not help and it just shows the lack of compassion that is held by some people. People who are suffering like this need help.