UN Rapporteur gathers evidence of the utter devastation caused by universal credit in Newcastle

UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, at the West End Foodbank in Newcastle

UN Rapporteur, Philip Alston, visited Newcastle. He has said it is not “an acceptable position” for the government to use foodbanks as a social safety net. 

Context

In July I reported that the United Nations extreme poverty and human rights Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, was to make an official visit to the UK. 

Alston is a Professor of Law at New York University, and he works in the field of international law and international human rights law. He has extensive experience as an independent UN human rights expert. He previously chaired the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for eight years (1991-98) and was United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions (2004-10).

His resume can be found here.

Some of the previous destinations for Alston have included Saudi Arabia, China, Ghana and Mauritania. He is currently visiting the UK, the sixth richest country in the world. His visit will focus, in accordance with his mandate, on the inverse relationship between poverty and human rights in the UK. 

Alston is set to spend twelve days in the UK visiting ten places. Yesterday he came to Newcastle. He is tasked with gathering evidence and Newcastle was the first city to introduce universal credit (UC ). The council says central government cuts and rising demand for services mean 60% has been taken from its spending capacity between 2010 and 2020. 

His itinerary is as follows:

alstons itinery

This is the third day of the fact-finding mission across the UK, and Alston met with council bosses in Newcastle and went to the country’s biggest foodbank to see first hand the impact of universal credit and the government’s swingeing cuts to local funding.

Newcastle was once a place of thriving industry, but now, more than a fifth of the city’s 270,000 population live in the most deprived 10% of wards in England and Wales in terms of income, work, education, health, housing and crime. One in five households have no one in them aged over 16 earning money and child poverty is 50% higher than the national average, according to a briefing complied by the council for Alston.

Alston examined the impact of austerity in the city and spoke with struggling residents. During a visit to Newcastle’s West End foodbank, Philip Alston said the foodbank’s users were “under a huge amount of pressure”. Despite the government’s claim that it had lifted hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and into work, Alston said foodbanks play “a really crucial role… a real safety net so that [people] don’t quite starve”.

He added it was unacceptable, however, and said it should be the government that provides the safety net.

“To the extent that places like this succeed, you risk sending the message that government doesn’t need to play the central role and government can just outsource these things,” he said.

It cannot “just hope that a private community is going to take it up and keep people alive.” 

He added: “People feel that they have all got problems of one kind or another that brings them here, and they have a fairly shared experience in the sense that the funds that they get out of Universal Credit are not sufficient to enable them to cope.

“So the foodbank plays a really crucial role in the sense of providing that extra top up, that real safety net so that they don’t quite starve. That is very important”.  

A sample of citizen accounts outlining their harrowing experiences of universal credit

Among the foodbank users he spoke to were Denise Hunter and her son Michael, from Fenham.

The West End Foodbank in Benwell


The West End Foodbank in Benwell
 (Image courtesy of the Newcastle Chronicle)

The family use the foodbank every Wednesday and said that problems with their universal credit payments had left them struggling to survive, and fearful of the financial cost of doing basic things like boiling a kettle.

Mrs Hunter said:  “I’ve now waited for months and months for universal credit.

“Without these people here, with the free meal and everything, I couldn’t live,” she said.

Her 20-year-old son, Michael, said the controversial benefit, universal credit, had “tipped us over the edge” and said that he regularly goes hungry.

“We’ve been living where we’re to turn the heating on because it eats electric or, if you turn the oven on for cooking and have it on too long, we can’t pay the bill,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for this place I don’t know what would happen.

“If they sorted out universal credit then people would not have to come here. It makes me feel low coming here, like I can’t support my children. Sometimes I do get depressed about that.” 

Her 20-year-old son added that universal credit had “tipped us over the edge” and that he regularly goes hungry. He said “I’m scared to eat sometimes in case we run out of food.”

People on universal credit have to go online to keep their financial lifeline open, but computers need electricity – and with universal credit leaving a £465 monthly budget to stretch across the three people in Michael’s family (about £5 each a day), they can barely afford it on metered electricity. He said “I have to be quick doing my universal credit because I am that scared of losing the electric.” 

John McCorry, West End Foodbank chief executive, said that the true scale of poverty in Newcastle is “hidden” and that universal credit has “undoubtedly” had an impact.

He added: “Our wish is that the people with the power to influence and make decisions take the opportunity to see first hand what the UN delegation has, and perhaps that might shape their thinking about the future.”

Alston said: “I think the work being done here is unbelievably impressive, the people are clearly very dedicated. They have a large number of people coming in on a regular basis and, certainly in the conversations I had, people have expressed great gratitude not just for the food but what impressed me is that they see this as a community centre.

“I think one of the issues in England is the extent to which many of the places in which people used to meet together are being closed down. Places like this end up filling part of the need.”

The West End foodbank feeds about 42,000 people every year and has been giving out about 20% more food than six months ago, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The Hunters’ family’s account was just one of a long list of stark insights into life in absolute poverty delivered by the people of Newcastle to Alston during his trip to uncover what austerity is doing to the people of the UK and “to investigate government efforts to eradicate poverty”.

It is highly likely that Alston will report that the UK government is far from doing enough to meet its obligations. In 1976 the UK ratified the UN covenant on economic, social and cultural rights and in doing so, agreed that policy changes in times of economic crisis must not be discriminatory, must mitigate, not increase, inequalities and that disadvantaged groups of people must not be disproportionately affected.

The government has not honoured that agreement. 

Tracey Whitenstall, a mother of three, said that because of a 10-week delay in getting universal credit payments, she couldn’t afford her son’s bus fare and lunch money and so didn’t send him to school for several weeks as he was preparing for his GSCEs. As a result his grades slipped.

“It was the worst, him missing out on education,” she said, in tears. 

At Citizens Advice in the city centre Alston met Sharon Morton, who hasn’t had hot water or heating for a year. She washes in a way to minimise spending on boiled water. “I wash in what I call a birdbath – a little hot water in a basin and have a spruce down,” she said. 

She added “To keep warm I wrap up in layers and layers. I never thought I would be 48 and in this position.”

Thushara Chandrasiri, who has a disabled right hand said he was told by a disability benefits assessor that he could now work and was refused benefits.

“What I found disgusting was that when I said I had the condition a long time, they said you should be used to it by now,” he said. “Because I am right handed they said ‘you’ve got a left hand, use it’.”

The dehumanisation of DWP decision-making

Alston heard citizens’ accounts about the distress, serious material hardships and frustration of dealing with the universal credit syste. He heard how messages they post on online journals take days to be answered. People explained how an anonymous figure, known only as “the decision maker” was often cited in correspondence, but they never knew who this was. 

That sounds like a weirdly anonymised form of totalitarianism. Like the oprichniki of Ivan the Terrible. It’s a strategy of psychological terrorism and boot-stamping-on-a-human-face-forever type of unaccountability, which belongs in a dystopian novel about a collapsing society and a regime of extremist despots. It reminds me of the Milgram experiment, but with real starvation instead of fake electric shocks as the centrepiece of the study of conformity and obedience to authority. 

Outside of the food bank, which featured in Ken Loach’s film about austerity, I, Daniel Blake, Alston said: “When you have rates of maybe a third of children living in poverty and you have a food bank clientele at a place like this that is growing and growing and growing, you have issues here. Is the situation in the UK as good as it could be?”

The Labour leader of the city council, Nick Forbes, also briefed Alston, expressing his anger at cuts and the “pain and misery” of universal credit.

“We had people coming to us who hadn’t eaten for several days,” he said. “It angers me beyond belief that the government has simply failed to listen to warnings that are supposed to come from a pilot [study].”

In Newcastle, universal credit has caused a huge increase in demand for short-term help to pay rent and electricity, the council says. The council’s emergency housing payments budget – £100,000 in 2012 – is expected to hit £1m this year. The number of people needing emergency money for power is running at a rate 30 times higher than in 2016, before the rollout of UC began in earnest.

Alston drove to North Shields and spoke to residents at the Meadow Well estate, scene of riots in 1991 driven in part by poverty. Things had improved since then, but are getting worse again now, he heard.

Some people have to work five zero-hours jobs to make ends meet, said Phil McGrath, chief executive of the Cedarwood Trust community centre. The trust is encouraging residents to engage in local and national politics to have their voice heard. It is paying off with some people who have never voted turning out at the last general election, he said.

A former colleague of mine, Mike Burgess, who runs the Phoenix Detached Youth Project, told Alston how 18 publicly funded youth workers in the area in 2011 had dwindled to zero today. He described how a young man he worked with was in hospital for months after having a kidney removed. The jobcentre said he had to get back to work or face being sanctioned. He went to work in pain, but his employer realised he was not fit for work.

“There’s no safety net for my lad or people with mental health problems,” he said.

And that is the hidden cost facing many at the sharpest end of austerity in Newcastle.

“In the last two or three weeks we have seen a massive increase in numbers of people with mental health issues and people with breakdown,” said McGrath, blaming benefit sanctions and a lack of social and mental health workers to catch people. “People are just being ground down.”

In response to Alston’s visit the Department for Work and Pensions said, with a gaslighting flourish, that the UK government was “committed to upholding the rule of law and rules-based international systems” and insisted that on an absolute measure of poverty, “a million fewer people and children were living in hardship compared with 2010.”

When a government imposes austerity on the poorest citizens, further reducing the income of people already on the lowest incomes, it isn’t possible that they would somehow become better off.

No matter how many inadequate jobs the government claims it has created.

People in work are experiencing absolute poverty, because wages have stagnated and people are coerced by the state to take any employment available, regardless of conditions, security and wage. By reducing welfare to the point where it no longer meets people’s basic living needs, the government are fulfiling an ideological preference for supply side economics, creating a desperate reserve army of labour, which employers may exploit, which serves to push wages down further.

Now that’s a ‘poverty trap’ and ‘perverse incentives’ in action.

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29 thoughts on “UN Rapporteur gathers evidence of the utter devastation caused by universal credit in Newcastle

  1. What is the point of them coming here? They can’t Do Anything to help at all!!
    I really don’t care what his resume is, unless he can stop all this happening, then he is useless. This government have proved tim and time again that they won’t listen to anyone!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I’ve said before, his role is to report what he finds and make recommendations. It’s down to the UK public to address this with their government, or to vote them out. I’m more concerned at the public’s indifference to all of this rather than the remit of the rapporteur or UN. Personally I am grateful for the role the UN have played in providing evidence that the government has systematically and gravely violated people’s human rights

      Liked by 5 people

  2. “Divide and Conquer”. It applies to a technique that has, historically, been used by military, governmental and corporate forces whose aim has been to undermine the unity of people, communities, boroughs, towns and the nations whom those forces want to control. By inciting anger, mistrust and conflict between people whose position is in fact at the same end of the economic scale it weakens those people’s resistance to whatever terms the undermining group wishes to enforce. If the basic problem is a societal condition of (in this case, I believe, unnecessary and deliberately fabricated) socio-economic inequality that is causing suffering, then the people who are the creators or custodians of that situation need to be questioned and what they are doing needs to be publicly monitored and exposed. And that is the basic idea behind what the UN representative is supposed to be doing as reported on in the article.

    Sometimes the anguish and pain makes you so angry it just instils hatred toward everything: at the forces that seem to be the instigators of inhumanity; and the people who don’t appear to be doing enough about it. I’ve read reports by people on this site and elsewhere of the hatred in a benefits assessor’s attitude being evident when handling the case of someone with a disability. That is a classic example of Divide and Conquer. The financial pressure the assessor is put under by the structure within the DWP, incentives and job-security pressures, backed by a policy of claimant-scapegoating in influential arms of the media, can leave someone working in the benefits system, who is relatively similar in societal terms to a claimant, hating them as if they are personally responsible for their financial problems, when in fact it is a larger governmental and corporate entity that has created that false polemic, that divisive view.

    Maybe it seems that someone like a UN Rapporteur might be some rich person in a suit funded by some vague distant international organisation, visiting various places in the world and gathering information and that all that does is pay lip-service to the very real and direct problems that are causing suffering in this intentionally manufactured socio-economic inequality? And indeed there have been instances where the UN has not proven effective in combating bad situations and has sometimes been accused of working to an agenda defined by corporate and political forces themselves. But if it is in fact some kind of hoax and distracting legerdemain, it seems like it would be a pretty pointless one in this case. Why would the super-rich need to bother to set up a fake inquiry? If they already have it sewn-up, who are they trying to prove that something is being done about this to? Why would they need to? Who would a UN inquiry be designed to appease? It does appear the world is struggling with a structure that gives advantages to people who already have power in finance and resources and are greedy about it, but isn’t it possible that there are also people who are part of a larger structure who do in fact care about human rights, socio-economic equality, alleviating suffering?

    People who are in poverty and confronted by the constant mendacity governing the complicated bureaucracies that seem to make finding solutions to poverty so impossible for people already existing below a certain economic level, end up ground down by the hopelessness, anger and by extension the cynicism it makes them feel. It undermines your trust in what is supposed to be representative mainstream politics, in the belief that other people could possibly really care about it. Surely though, doesn’t the very fact those people in Newcastle who volunteer to run that foodbank* exist at all and do what they do, show that there is such a thing as people who care, no matter how cynical you can feel about uncaring corporate forces.

    Just the very fact that something as high profile as a UN investigator/fact-finder whose remit concerns human rights is looking at the situation in this country has to be a positive thing even just in terms of the exposure it gives to the issue? Obviously, and to this society’s shame, it’s not a positive thing that it should even be necessary that it has to be investigated at all, but anything that exposes what is going on surely has to be supported?

    Of course people really need more immediate solutions to poverty and suffering, but that doesn’t mean this enquiry is a bad thing either. More has to be done about all of this: the “gig” economy; the punitive and over-complicated benefits system; child poverty and a seemingly growing separation between what kind of education reaches which economic strata, well, the list is pretty huge and it all reduces back to an engineered socio-economic disparity. In an affluent and civilised society, no person should be suffering, worrying about food or shelter or their basic survival needs or their children’s. If people in the UK are experiencing that, how can the UK call itself a civilised society?

    Anger and frustration is an understandable response when what has to be done needs to be done more directly, more immediately, because people are suffering. So it can seem like some guy looking at stuff isn’t really representative of the kind of immediacy that is required in a situation where people are suffering. But it’s also important to have a public questioning of what is going on as a continuous process. Sites like this, or investigations such as the UN are administering might contribute to making people who vote (or don’t) and people who are in politics in this country, aware of the real problems that are happening. There’s more of a chance of that if people report on it, expose it. If no-one talks about it, investigates it, questions it, regardless of how little what they are doing seems to change things or how much you can relate to their lifestyle, the easier it is for those problems to be ignored and the more comfortable it is for the people who have it within their power to do something about it to pretend it isn’t an issue. The more people expose what is happening, report on it, explain what it is, the more, cumulatively, the potential for it to change grows.

    *I hate the term “foodbank” by the way, and the fact that people should have to rely on them at all is a disgrace in an affluent society in the 21st Century. The fact it has the word ‘bank’ in it seems like a deliberate and insidiously mocking linguistic insult.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You’re right about the need for raising awareness, many people are uncomfortable with what is happening, so they look the other way.

      Unfortunately, it isn’t the place of the UN to do anything other than investigate, produce evidence following their inquiries and fact gathering sessions, and to write a report with recommendations for governments. It’s down to the UK public to hold their government accountable and take cases to the courts to challenge discriminatory policies. The UN provide evidence to support any case we bring against the Tories and their draconian welfare ‘reforms’.

      On a personal level I’m preparing for a judiciary review. It’s concerning my local council’s slapdash disregard for their own rules about DHP and bedroom tax. I claimed DHP and ended p worse off. Long story, I’ll not bore you with the details here.

      Agree about foodbank as a word. It shows how far we have regressed when the state feels it’s ok to leave people without the means to meet their basic survival needs – food, fuel and shelter

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agree, it isn’t the UN’s place to act in any such way but it is good that it can provide a body of evidence for anyone wishing to hold those responsible for their inhumane policies to account.

        “Bedroom Tax”. Another egregious phrase that reflects so much about the fake-austerity programmes that have caused so much distress to so many people. I think I too nearly fell foul of the frankly insufficient manner of dispensation of DHP which really should be issued independently from other claims in my opinion – basic circumstances should be enough evidence of its requirement. I had to waive it because of how they administer it and the hoops I would not have been up for jumping through, having already been exhausted at a whole set of hoops I had had to jump through just before my housing association (not the council) told its tenants it was something they could try and claim. My admiration goes out to you for fighting them on it. Good luck with the judicial hearing, sorry to read you have had to go that far into something that should be a given.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks. That’s very kind. But I have to bow to the greater influence here. It is due to the work done on this site that I have been able to consolidate my thoughts on these subjects really. Just doing a couple of comments shows me that it takes quite a bit to think through things, write them and say things as clearly as possible, often still not managing it, which makes me all the more aware of the work that goes into this website, the compassion to go beyond the author’s personal difficulties to help others, the research, the thinking, the writing, the editing and how the author always keeps aware of the comment responses. Also I tend to be a bit long-winded.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I agree with Liz, I think you write very well and very clearly. As for your claim to being ‘long winded’, well in comparison to other bloggers, I am also very long winded. In fact I am sometimes criticised for it by people who prefer an easier read. But I think the details matter. If we had paid attention to the details as a nation, we wouldn’t be lumbered with an authoritarian proto-fascist and very cruel government, who seem to despise the majority of the nation, and show utter contempt for our democracy and human rights.

        If the public knew what neoliberalism was and what it does, they would never agree to it. Not that they ever did. No one asked the public if neoliberalism was what they wanted – those affected most by the system of inequality imposed on us by a group of nasty elitists waging a class war on those they don’t and won’t ever value as fellow human beings.

        Write! It can be very cathartic, it can be very distressing, it can be very moving. and emotion e-motion – is all about movement. We shouldn’t stand still. We shouldn’t lose our way. Writing can show you and others where we are and where we are heading collectively. It can orientate us, help orientate our fellow human travellers and sometimes, it can show us all a kinder, more fulfiling, much better journey and a more compassionate way of travelling xx

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Not sure if this reply will make sense contextually, as there isn’t a reply option under the Kitty S Jones reply which was a reply to my reply to the Heather Hooper reply to my comment. Well I think that’s it… it’s quite complicated. I don’t have a star button or like button option as I haven’t created a WordPress account which could perhaps have been a simpler way of showing my appreciation if I had. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I have long been saying that the UN should be helping the American Indian people on reservations such as Pine Ridge, where the Lakota people live, people I support with free business and economic advice to help them build a better future.

    The UN should not be interfering here, if a Basic Income of £16k a year was introduced then UC could be dumped for the shambles it is. This level of payment would negate any of the problems in the post on many levels whether you were a single, retired etc.

    I have had some good news on my claim that is after 2 years when the claim closed, they have issued some compensation, but no where near the £4k that I am out of pocket. However, Debt Management are still harassing me to pay more off per month than the minimum level.

    I am writing to the Secretary of State to have this written off.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Have read through about half of the report so far, it’s damning but it also feels like vindication for those of us who were aware of this all along and it is positive that there is an objective UN report of it that can’t just be written off in the same way the voices of the disabled and poor families who have to rely on foodbanks have been. By the way, anyone who ignores the greater implications and impact of what the report is saying about the misapplication of the reasoning behind what has been happening in the UK, the way in which the rollout of UC has been handled being one aspect of that i.e. ‘austerity’ as an intended dogmatic agenda, not an actual reality or necessity, and that McVey somehow had no part in the the policies that were originally key to instituting such a merciless agenda, not merely someone who was innocently handed the job, is being at the very least naive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In 1997 the Labour party inherited an economy in the black to the tune of £40 billion, they left government in 2010 leaving this country allegedly trillions in debt, almost a repeat of 1979 when they last lost power.

      Austerity, not a continuation of ‘money tree politics’ had to be the way forward as in late1979 when the Conservatives took over. A bit of a theme there.

      Ian Duncan Smith was a prime mover in the UC project. David Gauke then ran it before moving to another post.

      Ms McVey did not have connection to UC as far as I can see until appointment as minister for work and pensions. ‘Guilt by association’ doesn’t hold water by just being a conservative MP.

      From my own experience, UC is such a shambles that the Director of UC had to personally intervene in my claim but was not able to put right the shambles my claim had become due to DWP errors, which is still not resolved almost 2 years after my claim ended and she has now left her post, my case is still being looked at.

      UC must be replaced with a fairer Basic Income system that would be better all round.

      UC is like trying to empty the sea of water bucket by bucket.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks. Unfortunately every time I re-read what you wrote I seem to feel more exhausted and I just don’t have the extra available energy to launch into a full-on tit-for-tat research-backed reply, so we’ll just have to leave it there if that’s okay.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re buying into Tory propaganda here. Labour was doing very well, economy-wise, until 2008. When the crash happened (which was not Labour’s fault – it was an international event), they had to rescue the banks or the whole system would have collapsed. Other countries, most notably the US, did the same thing. So yes, they were in the red when the GE came along, but it wasn’t their fault.

        Austerity was an ideological choice. It wasn’t necessary at all – in fact it was the wrong thing to do. The IMF did a rather humiliating mea culpa about it a few years ago. (I believe) that we’re the only country in Europe still living under austerity.

        If you look at the history of Labour and Tory governments, Labour has almost always been good for the economy, and the Tories have racked up debt. The Coalition and the Tory-DUP gov’t have racked up …

        Liked by 2 people

      3. … The Tories have racked up a larve amount of debt, even though the banks have paid bacj most of the money Labour used to rescue them. Take a look: https://fullfact.org/economy/labour-and-conservative-records-national-debt/

        2010: McVey elected;
        2010-2012: Parliamentary Private Secretary to Employment Minister Chris Grayling;
        2012-2013: Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Work and Pensions, working under Iain Duncan Smith;
        2013-2015: Minister of State for Employment in the DWP;
        2015: Lost her seat;
        2017: Parachuted into safe seat and re-elected. The rest you probably know.

        Esther McVey closed down the independant living Fund, was very involved in the development of PIP, and was IDS’ right hand understudy while Universal Credit was being finished, tested, restarted, etc.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Thanks for adding this. It confirms what I had thought regarding that person working as ID Smith’s understudy and illustrates that she is definitely culpable for being in line with her party’s policies, strange as that may seem.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks again. Further damning evidence. Which does make it seem a little odd that some people seem to think that person has somehow no involvement in the benefit “reforms” that have caused anguish and distress to so many people in the UK, which of course the UN research backs up as a thing that has definitely happened. She’s also an unscrupulous inveterate liar it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. The UN talk to people who experience the impacts of government policies. Ultimately WE provided the evidence. I contacted the UN in 2012 about welfare policies that were having terrible consequences for disabled people and submitted lots of evidence. The government, in dismissing Philip Alston’s account, are also dismissing UK cotizens’ accounts too. Gaslighting

        Liked by 1 person

      7. My apologies. I should really have included that your work was instrumental in the UN inquiry in my statement. and that UN or not the evidence comes from actual people who actually suffer from the inhuman policies that have been introduced. I suppose to my shame I was doing that status-dropping thing where I sort of imagined that maybe if I reiterate that the UN have studied this somehow that might carry weight with a certain type of person who is impressed with hierarchical status and seems to want to try and defend people who subscribe to a heartless programme of making poor and disabled people’s lives more difficult. But obviously it doesn’t carry any weight at all if the government themselves have dismissed Philip Alston’s report. I shouldn’t really have bought into playing the status game with people who subscribe to a cold merciless view of human life. My mistake.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. I know exactly what you mean, though. It’s almost as if… thegovernment know the truth, knew in advance what the consequences of the draconian policies were going to be and have no intention of changing them. The Tories won’t ever care about a mere detail like evidence, or telling the truth.

        There were lots of us who contacted the UN in 2012. Lots of us sent in reports and evidence. Those of us with disabilities and progressive or chronic illness have been fighting for justice for a good few years now, while facing very difficult and distressing circumstances ourselves. Philip Alston and other UN rapporteurs have helped us to organise our challenges to this authoritarian government. They deny everything we say, but the successful court cases bear witness to which of us are teeling the truth. It’s not the government.

        I seriously doubt you could ever buy into the status game, it ain’t your kind of style. You hoped Altson’s report would make a difference – being through the UN and so on. But the Tories remain cold, inhumane protopsychopathic elitists with an arrogance that does not match any notion of ‘deserved’. It’s unarnd arrogance, unearned rule. We have to get them out of office, soon.

        Liked by 1 person

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