Author Archives: johnny void

Maximus Are The New Atos: Destroy Maximus

atos-black-triangleThe BBC are reporting that US company Maximus has won a £500 million contract to take over from Atos administering the despised Work Capability Assessment (WCA).

Maximus, who already have a contract running Iain Duncan Smith’s failing Work Programme, will now carry out the computer based assessments used to strip benefits from sick and disabled people by declaring them ‘fit for work’.

Atos claimed they pulled out of the WCA after staff were threatened.  But this was a fucking lie.  What happened to Atos was much more toxic.  Regular and repeated protests were held outside Atos offices all around the UK, including their glitzy London headquarters.  They were hounded off social media, whilst their corporate identity was repeatedly hijacked despite a string of petty legal threats.  Other parts of their business were affected.  The Co-operative bank were successfully lobbied to end their occupational health contract with Atos.

Everywhere Atos appeared they were hounded by disabled people and claimants determined to expose and disrupt them – and most of all cost them money.  Their attemp at resurrecting their image by sponsoring the Paralympics turned into  PR disaster as large and creative protests exposed this company’s true attitude towards sick and disabled people.  Recruitment events were picketed and  working for Atos beoame a badge of shame amongst healthcare professionals as the company grew increasingly despised.

These are the reasons why Atos abruptly ended their contract with the DWP.  And now we need to do it all again.

Unlike when Atos began the WCA, Maximus know exactly what they are getting into.  They know that these assessments have led to suicides, poverty and ill health.  They just don’t care, because the DWP has stuffed their mouths with gold to rescue the hated assessments.  All these bastards care about is money and so that is where to start.

The first step is gathering information.  Every twitter feed, facebook page, subsidiary business and hidden scandal needs to be unearthed.  We need to know where, and how they do business.  And we need to make sure that people the world over know what this nasty company is about to do to sick and disabled claimants in the UK.  Maximus will have done the sums and decided they can ride out any public outrage against their activities. Let’s surprise them.

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Don’t Believe The Hype: Universal Credit Is No Closer To Being Workable Than It Was In 2010

Universal-credit-nudgeJobcentres sources are suggesting that Iain Ducan Smith will attempt to roll out Universal Credit across the country in February 2015.  This will allow the Tories to pretend that the project is on track and functioning in the run up to the general election.

Don’t believe a word of it.  This is Iain Duncan Smith’s biggest benefit fraud yet.  The truth is that Universal Credit looks no closer to being a functional and scalable system than it did when the Secretary of State first scribbled down plans for wide-ranging reform of the benefits system on the back of an evelope in 2010.

Universal Credit will only be inflicted on new, single claimants on the  unemployment benefit Jobseeker’s Allowance.  This has already been the case in the pilot schemes for the new benefit, and represents the simplest, and easiest to process claims.  As reported by Channel 4’s Dispataches last night, should the circumstances of these claims change, such as someone moving in with a partner or starting part time work, then the system collapses into chaos.

Equally importantly is that a DWP insider says that behind the scenes local authorities are still administering much of the housing element of Universal Credit.  Whilst payments will come from the DWP, claimants are referred to their local council if they have any queries about their claim.  This is the replacement for Housing Benefit and by far the most complicated part of any claim – requiring large amounts of evidence and specialist local knowledge of housing markets.  How the DWP will eventually absorb this knowledge is anybody’s guess.  Meanwhile those who need help with mortgage interest payments instead of rents will not yet be eligible for Universal Credit and will remain on the current system.  As will people living in supported or temporary accommodation.

You do not need a fancy fucking computer system to pay everyone £72.40 a week – the current rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance for those over 25.  And that’s all that appears to be happening for new Universl Credit claimants.  All Iain Duncan Smith has achieved in four years of bungling the introduction of Universal Credit is to design a clunky online form to pay the most simple form of out of work benefit at the same rate it is paid now.  Or in the words of a DWP source: it’s still exactly the same just under a different name.

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The Virus Is Coming … Working Class Areas Face Influx Of Wankers

catford-greenLondon’s last few remaining working class areas are facing an influx of chinless fucking idiots as luxury flats spring up like a virus rampaging to the outskirts of the capital.

One of Boris Johnson’s last acts of public vandalism before he scuttles away to play politics in Westminster has been to declare parts of London as ‘Opportunity Areas’.  What he means is opportunities for landlords and property developers, not the residents of places like Catford, Wembly and Croydon who will slowly be decanted, evicted and priced out of their homes and communities.

Catford Green isn’t even a fucking place, but that’s the name of the plush new development being built by Barratt Homes on the previously abandoned Catford dogtrack.  It should have been called Catford Wasteland, because that’s what is was for the previous decade until someone worked out how to make some money from it.  Now this prime site, next to the river and the parkland of Ladywell Fields, is to be turned into posh flats that nobody local can afford.

Previously Catford Town Centre had been left to little more than a managed decline with the only significant act of recent years being the abrupt close of the eccentric indoor market and its replacement with a giant Poundland.  Now no expense is to be spared as Lewisham Council welcomes this influx of latte slurpng wankers into one of the poorest parts of London.  The same local authority that recently closed four libraries is planting trees, sprucing up shop fronts and has even bought out the leaseholds of many local businesses – no doubt to ensure only the right kind of shops in the future.  The kind that current residents won’t be able to afford to shop in.

Gentrification is not just a London phenomena.  Every time the rich find somewhere nice, interesting or convenient that’s ours they will try to take it away.  From the villages of the North Yorkshire moors to  Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, they want it fucking all.  Half the time they don’t even bother living there.  They still want it though.

But they don’t want us.  As the rich move in rents soar whilst parasites like Starbucks, Waitrose and Foxtons suck money out of local economies and shut down long standing local businesses.  Young people face increased harassment from police everytime some stupid yuppy twat manages to get themselves mugged for their iphone.  And slowly areas full of life, love and creativity turn into bland middle class Disneylands full of arseholes jabbering into smartphones about property prices all day.

The contempt these invaders hold for those whose homes they are stealing is easily found.  Just take a look at the comments of this article where someone who calls themselves a Guardianista complains that Catford Town Centre is “full of the ugliness described by some commenters already, drunks, junkies and other unsavoury types”.

Not to worry some wanker responds.  Catford’s “rough-round-the-edges charm” just needs to be “garnished with some of the pop-up pep of street food”.  Pass the fucking sick bag.

Across London, and around the UK, people are starting to fight back.  Whether communities uniting to challenge the Bedroom Tax, or the Focus E15 mums forcing the council to open up empty flats to homeless people, there is resistance everywhere. The weekly demonstrations against the odious ‘poor doors’ in Whitechapel are going from strength to strength – with an upcoming bonfire night theme protest looking lively.  In Barnet residents being thrown out of their council flats to make way for new posh flats have blockaded the building site costing the developers thousands.  This is the only thing these bastards understand.  Get in their fucking faces and cost them money.  Let’s not give up our homes and communities without the fight of our lives.

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Luxury Hotel Booked For Annual One Day Workfare Conference, Tickets Just £450!

radisson-bluThe Employment Related Services Assosication (ERSA) have booked a luxury four star hotel as the venue for this year’s tax payer funded workfare conference.

ERSA are the trade body established to lie on behalf of graping welfare-to-work firms like A4e, G4S and Seetec.   These companies are paid billions of pounds to run the shoddy ‘back to work’ type training courses and workfare schemes now inflicted on unemployed and disabled benefit claimants.

Much of that money goes on glitzy back-slapping affairs like this year’s conference on December 1st which is due to be held at the luxury Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in Central London.  Here delegates will meet with politicians such as Esther McVe and discuss how to shovel even more money down the drain in the name of bullying people unable to find work.

Claimants themselves are not invited to the one day conference, with some tickets for the day long event costing as much as £450 – the equivalent of about seven and a half weeks unemployment benefit.  The official theme for this conference will be ‘All Change? Preparing for the General Election 2015′.  What they really man is let’s talk about how we can scam the next Government as much as we have this one.

Joining McVey as a speaker will be Mayor of Newham Robin Wales, preusmably  taking a break from his ceaseless work harassing, insulting and evicting homeless single parents like the Focus E15 mums.  Rarely will so many twats have been gathered in one place.

As such is seems only fair to warn the hotel’s customers who they will be forced to share a building with on that date.  You can tweet the Radison Blue Hotel chain @RadissonBlu or use their facebook page to tell prospective customers what to expect on December 1st.

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Grass Up Your Neighbours Say The DWP With Another Boring Benefit Fraud Campaign

dwp-benefit-fraudWith the amount of money lost to fraud and error in the benefit system reaching record highs under this Government, the DWP has issued a call for people to grass up their nieghbours if they suspect them of low level benefit fraud, or even going on holiday.

The latest boringly predictable campaign is not aimed at high level organised fraud, such as people setting up fake identities to claim benefits.  Neither is it aimed at landlords picking up Housing Benefit cheques long after tenants have departed, or exploitative employers paying cash to cut down on their National Insurance bill – or even dodge the minimum wage.  It is not just a fraction of a parcentage of claimants who benefit from working cash in hand, but often the latte slurping middle classes who are quite happy to look the other way if it gets them a cheap builder.

Instead this campaign is aimed at struggling single parents who might have a partner staying a few times or week, or sick or disabled people whose condition has improved slightly.  Or even people on benefits taking a short break away from home.  According to the department a range of “television and radio adverts, posters, letters and Facebook ads ” have been produced warning claimants they face jail for failing to report a change in cirumstances.   This new campaign is not about saving money, it is about ensuring claimants lead a life of misery and fear.

At the heart of the new campaign is the Benefit Fraud Hotline.  This is the telephone line that people can ring anonymously to stich up their neighbours, ex-partners or anyone else they may have taken a dislike to.  Barely any prosecutions result from these calls and the vast majority are simply malicious.  There are no consequences for those making false allegations.  And there  should be.  Anyone who rings this hotline for any reason other than to grass up a Tory councillor  is a filthy fucking scab who should be shunned by their communities.

The rules on benefit fraud are breath-takingly complex.  There is no clear information on when you should declare yourself fit for work and end a claim for sickness or disability benefits.  A single parent who has a partner staying a few nights a week may or may not be breaking the law, and might only find out themselves when they are threatened with prosecution for having a shag.  If someone on the dole is offered fifty quid to clear someone’s garden they are  expected to immediately report that to the Jobcentre – throwing their claim into chaos and ensuring they will barely see a penny for their work.  Yet these people, scraping by to survive, are now seen as the worst kind of criminals and splashed across the front pages.

Of course when the well off commit benefit fraud there is no such outrage.  HMRC recently sent out letters to 30,000 high earning parents warning them they need to contact them to ensure they aren’t receiving too much child benefit.  They were supposed to have done this nearly two years ago.  A couple with two children will have scammed around £3000 that they are not entitled so far.  But no-one seems to really care.

The difference in language is staggering.  Reported in thisismoney.co.uk a Treasury spokesperson said: ‘These letters are simply designed to help taxpayers get their returns right by raising awareness of the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC), and to remind customers who file under self assessment of the importance of including HICBC on their return.” 

Compare this to the comments made by the DWP about people  who are poor falsely claiming benefits: “At the Department for Work and Pensions we’re determined not to let benefit cheats get away with it. The majority of claimants are honest, so why should everyone else pay the price? We’re using all the resources available to track down cheats and make them face the consequences. … People who are caught deliberately withholding information needed for their benefit claim are benefit cheats.  They could face a range of consequences for their actions. For example:  …   serving a prison sentence”

There really are one set of laws for the poor, and very different laws for the rich.

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Freud Must Go! Urgent Call Out, Monday Oct 20th Caxton House 12.30pm Or On Twitter #FreudMustGo

lord-fraud-freudAnyone who thinks Lord Fraud ‘mispoke’ or was just ‘thinking outside the box’ when he made the shameful comment that some disabled people are not worth the minimum wage has really not been paying attention.

This is the man that helped devise the despised Atos benefit assessments that have driven disabled people to suicide and ill health in the name of strippping their benefits or forcing them into endless ‘work related activity’.  The same Minister whose department introduced the Work Programme, on which sick and disabled people can be sent on workfare, potentially for months on end.  Lord Fraud was simply saying what he, and his colleagues in the DWP believe, that disabled people lead ‘wasted lives’ and as such do not deserve the same rights as other workers.  That is why this Government has introduced scheme after scheme aimed at coercing – and in some cases forcing – sick and disabled people to work without any pay at all.

There doesn’t need to be a conversation about what Lord Fraud said, as some commentators have suggested.  A conversation that is unlikely to include disabled people or claimants themselves if this week’s news coverage is anything to go by.  The man is a nasty and vindictive piece of shit.  And he needs to go, now.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have called an emergency protest calling for his resignation tomorrow (Monday 20th Oct) at 12.30 pm outside the Department of Work and Pensions in central London.  In the words of DPAC:

“Freud is the architect of the government’s noxious welfare reform programme that is pushing disabled people off benefits and causing untold distress and misery, in too many cases leading to suicides and avoidable deaths.

The policies Freud designed show utter contempt for disabled people. His latest comments made to a Tory councillor at a party conference fringe meeting confirm this …  join us to demand Freud resigns or is sacked. Monday October 20th at DWP head office, Caxton House, Tothill Street, 12.30pm til 2.30″

If you can’t make it to the DWP you can still get involved in online action with the #FreudMustGo twitterstorm, details at: http://dftr.org.uk/Songbird.php?TweetFile=FreudMustGo

Time is short, please share, tweet etc and help get the word out.

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Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Don’t Be Bored By The TUC, There’s More Than Just A March Happening In London Tomorrow

poor-doors-flyer

Tomorrow lots of people will be marching through London on the TUC’s Britain Needs A Pay Rise demonstration.  Sadly this slogan does not apply to those on TUC backed work experience schemes or Traineeships on which people don’t get paid at all.

Still many will wish to march anyway to show their disgust at the current austerity policies that are destroying so many lives.  But if you’re coming into  central London for the march why not make a day of it.  Instead and standing around at the end listening to a bunch of boring old bastards making speeches about action that will never materialise, jump on the tube over to East London where the annual Anarchist Bookfair will be taking place.

As well as lots of books, and other info stalls, many groups will be holding meetings and workshops, including Boycott Workfare at 2pm and the Focus E15 Mothers along with Action East End at 5pm.  See the website for full details of everything taking place.

Then, just down the road at 6pm, the biggest demonstration against the Poor Doors so far will be taking place.  Weekly protests have been held outside the plush yuppy tower block at 1 Commercial Road, E1 after it was revealed those living in the handful of social housing properties in the building are forced to use a different entrance to the latte slurping  twats who live in the posh flats.  With thousands of people from around the country coming to London this weekend, this is a chance to take the biggest stand yet against this form of social apartheid.

It’s time to move beyond marches and the same old political speakers giving the same old speeches.  We may not yet be at the point of “devastating the avenues where the wealthy live”, as once called for by famous American anarchist Lucy Parsons.  But we can certainly noise the bastards up a bit.

lucy-parsons

The Anarchist Bookfair is held this Saturday 18th October from 10am-7pm at the Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, E1 4NS.  The entire bookfair is wheelchair accessible and there will be an access point on the day.  There is a  creche for younger children and a kid’s space for those over 8.  For more info check their website.

The Poor Doors demonstration will be held at 6pm outside 1 Commercial Street, directly above Aldgate East tube station.

Then on Sunday 19th October an Anarcha-Feminist conference is being held at the same venue as the bookfair – Queen Mary University.  For more details visit their website or follow them on twitter @AFem2014.  Please help spread the word about all events.

The TUC march will be forming up at Victoria Embankment from 11am and will be heading to Hyde Park.

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