British government brings Charles Dickens’ Christmas back

This video from Britain says about itself:

No Go Britain – The Disability Debate

21 September 2016

In 2012 Britain’s Paralympians repeatedly struck gold. Four years on athletes have arrived back home from Rio with their record haul of medals. But what is everyday life like for the majority of disabled people?

By Charlotte Hughes in Britain:

When you have nothing, Christmas can be the worst time of the year

Monday 19th Deember 2016

For those left behind in Tory Britain, even a trip to the supermarket is a reminder of what you don’t have, says CHARLOTTE HUGHES

LAST Thursday we held our third Christmas demonstration outside Ashton-Under-Lyne jobcentre.

We gave our demonstration a special Dickensian theme to highlight the significance and similarities between life in Victorian England and the struggles that the poorest in society are having now.

We handed out leaflets, food parcels, advice and solidarity.

We also laid a wreath in memory of everyone who has passed away as a result of the injustice of Tory policy.

It seems that the poorest are being targeted by the Tory government from every angle.

From the bedroom tax, council tax supplement, sanctions, failing ESA medicals, PIP assessments, the list goes on and on. It seems never-ending, and in many respects it is. For many its a constant battle just to keep going. Life isn’t about living and it has become, in my eyes, the survival of the fittest. But eventually the fittest cave in.

Over the three years that I have spent campaigning I have seen many terrible things, too many to mention here.

There are some though that I will never forget. Sometimes the upset can be overbearing.

These are the people who the government would like us not to remember. The Tories don’t want their stories to be heard. After all, it’s not good publicity for them when they are trying to convince others in Parliament and their media outlets that everything is going well.

One of the first stories that we came across was a young woman who was 23 weeks’ pregnant with her first child. She had been getting help with her job searches and had been doing everything correctly.

However this did not prevent her from getting sanctioned twice. She was told by her jobcentre adviser that she had to attend a workfare interview. She attended this interview, but was sanctioned for telling the workfare provider that she was pregnant. This left her with no income, trying to feed herself and her unborn child.

This shocked us. We were then aware of how serious this issue was, and it also alerted us to how serious the culture of sanctioning actually is.

No-one was talking about sanctioning, so I then made a concerted effort to highlight this as much as possible.

When universal credit was introduced in Ashton-Under-Lyne three years ago, we were chosen as a pilot area. We didn’t know what to expect, but every week it seemed to get worse and worse.

There have been weeks when I feel that I have left a little piece of my spirit outside that building. Sounds silly, but when I’m told of a suicide of a claimant that I knew, or the desperation that someone is feeling, I can’t help but take it to heart.

Hunger, desperation, suicides, people living in extreme poverty have become the norm. The very safety net that was created to help people when they were at their most vulnerable had been taken away.

The parts that have been left have been made almost impossible to obtain. So people give up, become disheartened and live a reclusive lifestyle.

Sometimes I think that there won’t be an end to it. How much suffering are people going to be forced to take?

This situation is especially highlighted at Christmas time. When you have nothing, Christmas can be the worst time of the year. The very mention of the word Christmas can send people into a state of anxiety.

A trip to the supermarket is a reminder of what you don’t have. Seeing all the nice things on the shelves, but having to walk past to find the reduced food aisle so you can see if there’s anything cheap enough to buy. This is a reality for many of us.

People feel alone, unloved and not wanted by society. Discarded like yesterday’s newspaper. If you haven’t got money you can’t join in with the Christmas celebrations around you.

This is why we hold a special Christmas demonstration. To show solidarity, support and a friendly face, which is needed in what is to them a hostile world.

We handed out about 16 food parcels in just over two hours. We could have handed out more if we had them. The mince pies, satsumas and treats that we had laid out on a table all went in record time.

I find this shocking, disturbing and it’s only going to get worse, especially now the new benefits cap is in place.

Our peaceful demonstration wasn’t without incident though.

In over two years of weekly demonstrations outside the jobcentre we have had no incidents. But last week a group of young lads decided that they were going to cause trouble.

They appeared to take offence at our helping others, giving food and advice to the most vulnerable.

Words like “Disabled people are scroungers” were used and they were very aggressive.

This alarmed me because it shows we have still have a lot of work to do. It’s easy when surrounded by like-minded people to not realise that discrimination towards disabled and unemployed people is a massive problem.

And this needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency, not left and ignored.

People are feeling isolated enough already, without the added pressure of discrimination.

These boys were young, at the start of their lives, but they had been sucked in by the right-wing rhetoric spun by the media and television, which is hard to get away from.

We need to change this — reach out to these people, to try to oppose Tory ideology when we see it. Joining together in solidarity as a decent opposition instead of name-calling and criticising others.

The important issue should be to oppose Tory policy at every level.

Unless we do this, not much will change except the persecution of the poor will get worse, if that is at all possible. And I don’t know how much more they can take. Many are at breaking point already.

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