Author Archives: johnny void

How George Osborne’s Minimum Wage Rise Will Mean Brutal Benefit Cuts For The Self-Employed

gideon-osbornePlans to raise the minimum wage will mean a brutal benefit cut for the lowest earning self-employed workers due to complex changes to in-work benefits.

When Universal Credit is fully introduced (stop laughing) then anybody who is self-employed will be subject to the ‘Minimum Income Floor’.  What this means is that when calculating in-work benefits, such as Tax Credits and Housing Benefit, the DWP will assume a level of income regardless of how much the self-employed worker is actually earning.  For most people this means that the rate of benefits they receive will be based on them earning the equivalent of the minimum wage for 35 hours a week.  This will apply even if they earnt nothing at all that month, potentially plunging people hundreds of pounds into rent arrears just because they’ve had a bit of a slow period.

So, as George Osborne is well aware, any rise in the Minimum Wage will prove devastating for the self-employed if they are not able to constantly improve their earnings to keep up.  Instead of it being an employer’s duty to pay the Minimum Wage, for the self-employed at least, it will be the worker’s duty to earn it.  Failure to do so will mean an effective cut to vital housing benefits as well as the replacement for Tax Cedits.

For five years the Tories have been happily encouraging low paid, precarious self-employment, not least because it helps bring the unemployment figures down.  Companies running the Work Programme have been handed pay-outs worth thousands of pounds in some cases everytime they encourage someone on the dole to become self-employed.  And now, having used a bogus fall in unemployment to help them win an election, the Tory Party are setting out to destroy this socially engineered entrepreneurship.

The median self-employed income in 2012/13 was £207 a week.  When the Minimum Wage rises to £7.20 these people will be assumed to be earning £252 a week for benefit purposes, leaving a huge shortfall unless they can increase those earnings.  Every time the Minimum Wage goes up again, they will be forced to try and keep up or face being unable to pay their rent.  For most, going onto unemployment benefits will be preferable to this kind of imsecurity.

Only the Tory Party could have produced a draconian system that means a rise in the Minimum Wage will prove devastating for the lowest earning workers.  They may talk the language of aspiration, but what they do shows a very different intention.  Rules are planned which will force social housing tenants to pay eye-watering rents if their earning rise above a certain amount.  Further Benefit Caps are on the way to force the poor out of big cities where the best jobs are.  Huge student fees and the abolishing of the Educational Maintenance Allowance have devastated the opportunities of the poorest youth.  And now they are coming for the self-employed, who are struggling to stay afloat, let alone prosper in an ever-more insecure jobs market.

George Osborne wants to put the working class back in their place, just like his idol Margaret Thatcher.  Unless you come from the gilded elite then don’t think about ever owning a house, getting an education, or setting up a small business.  Don’t get on your bike and look for work alongside the newly graduated rich kids in cities like London or Edinburgh.  Stay in your box.  Don’t complain.  Doff your fucking cap.  Stay poor. That is the real goal of Tory Party policy.

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What A Wanker, No Poverty In The UK Claims Alan Fucking Sugar


He dresses like a tit as well.

If you ever wanted proof that making lots of money turns you into a wanker then just spend some time listening to Alan fucking Sugar.  Just days after a Kensington millionaire newspaper columnist declared there is no housing crisis in the UK, Sugar has gone one step further and said there’s no poor people as well.

The reason for his insight is that some people have mobile phones and microwaves and this means they can’t be really poor, like he was before these things were invented.  Which is like somone from the middle ages saying that Alan Sugar can’t have been properly poor growing up because his house was made of bricks.  It’s a fucking stupid thing to say but then what do you expect from a demented cumstain in a posh suit who sits behind a desk too big for him all day doling out what he thinks is wisdom and gets paid, by us, for doing it.

You can buy a mobile phone for two quid on ebay.  Give the Jobcentre enough shit and they’ll probably buy one for you*.  It doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford any credit for it and actually be able to use it.  But it does mean you’re not poor anymore according to Baron fucking Sugar.

Sugar made his comments on ITV’s This Morning where he said that he was properly poor growing up because you needed to put a shilling in the electric meter.  Yet there will be children in cold and dark flats right now because the pre-pay meter has run out, and unlike in Sugar’s day, it now costs the best part of a tenner to get the heating back on.  These out of touch comments are an obscene insult to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been left with little more than nothing after over a decade of social security cuts, soaring rents and shrinking wages.  In 2013 the number of households claiming housing benefit – paid only to tenants with a low income whether in work or not – hit five million for the first time and it has more or less stayed there.  There are more people who are poor in the UK now than at any point since before the war.  Sugar grew up in an age that was far from perfect but there were more jobs, houses were cheaper, benefits more generous and higher education was free.  It is unlikely a young person today from his background would be able to save the £50 (£810 in today’s money) that he claims he used to set up his first business.

People who have had their benefit sanctioned are expected to survive on Hardship Payments of just over £40 a week, and that’s only if they qualify and someone at the Jobcentre bothers to tell them they exist.  These payments are now being converted into loans meaning sanctioned claimants have no money at all, just an ever increasing debt.  You can’t really be poorer than that Alan.  You fucking tool.

Like many of the super rich Alan Sugar mistakes people sucking up to him for admiration when in fact they just want some of his money.  That’s why he thinks he’s so clever.  He has no idea that most people think he’s a dick because no-one ever tells him he’s a dick.  At least not anybody he considers worth listening to, and the only people he thinks are worth listening are the people who suck up to him because they want some of his money.  He’s no different to the deluded, self-important knobends he humiliates on The Apprentice.  Who also just want some of his money.

The capitalist class would have us all behaving like those on his television show, fucking each other over in the hope of a pat on the head from the rich.  But who really wants to be like those wankers?  Why should we tolerate a world in which the only route to any kind of prosperity is to either be born with a silver spoon in your mouth or to spend your life exploiting the people you were born and brought up with.  Greed, selfishness, arrogance – are these really the values we want to base our society on?  They are the values of cunts.

The tragedy is that due to technology we could all live in the world Alan Sugar has invented in his head.  There is no reason at all for poverty in the UK, or anywhere else for that matter.  It is not that there isn’t enough to go around, there is more than plenty.  It is that some people have too much.  People like Alan Sugar.  So the very least he could do is keep his pampered fucking mouth shut.

*blaggers take note – the key words are Flexible Support Fund.

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A Tale of Two Cities. How London Is More Divided Than Ever Before.

simon-jenkinsRarely has London been so divided.  The fracture in UK politics – where the Tories are despised in the North, Scotland and Wales but rule anyway – cuts through the heart of the capital city.  Here the poor and the rich often live alongside each other, and walk the same streets, but they might as well be in different cities.  And whilst those with nothing cannot fail to notice the gleaming new skyscrapers, the wealthy cannot the see the lives of the poor.  We are just tenants to them, or low paid skivvies, here to clean up their shit and fatten their wallets.  Not worth talking to, or thinking too much about.

So it is no surprise at all that a fucking toff like Simon Jenkins – ex-public school then Oxbridge of course, and now a columnist for both the Evening Standard and The Guardian – should be so blisteringly out of touch that he can declare that London’s housing crisis is a myth.  That’s all you need to know by the way, you don’t have to read his shit.  Jenkins, who lives in a plush Kensington & Chelsea house and reportedly owns another property, thinks everything’s just fine and the poor should stop whining and live in sheds.  Or move to Salford where that £65,000 they’ve probably got kicking around in a savings account somewhere will buy them a home.  Or some such bollocks.

To the pampered rich, money doesn’t run out and poverty is really beyond their comprehension.  They have no knowledge of the small, but never ending depravations that fill up the lives of the poor.  They have no way of imagining what’s it’s like to be sucked dry of what little you have by pre-pay electric metres, benefit sanctions, travel costs, loan sharks or rent increases.  They have never experienced the debilitating panic that devours the body and mind when you receive an eviction notice, or your hours are cut, or you get a brown letter from the DWP calling you in for a benefit assessment.  If the rich are hungry they eat, if they are cold they put the heating on, and if their kids need shoes they buy them some, without a second thought.

In the absence of any real experience of how many people live, all the privileged like Jenkins have to go on is cold statistics.  That’s why he says the only priority for housing policy should be addressing the 60,000 families in temporary accommodation, with everybody else abandoned to market forces.  He probably doesn’t even know that those 60,000 families only represent a fraction of the true number of homeless people.  It doesn’t even include people living on the street, or in fact anyone at all without chldren unless they have a significant health condition.  Neither does it consider the hundreds of thousands of kids growing up in social housing who will not be able to afford to live in London when they are old.  Or the growing number of people in their 40s and 50s who are renting privately and will never know what it is like to have a secure place to live – and who face a bleak future in retirement when they are dependent on Housing Benefit to pay the rent.  Whilst every measure of homelessness is rising sharply, it is not just those without a roof who are suffering from the housing crisis.

When something directly affects the rich however, even in the most trivial way, we never fucking stop hearing about it.  In 2013 Jenkins wrote a breath-taking piece for the Evening Standard declaring that the only real housing crisis in London was that the opulent West London streets he lives in are becoming a ‘peculiar’  and ‘eerie’ due to the number of homes bought as investments and left empty.  This is a terrible thing whines Jenkins, whilst condemning everyone else’s housing concerns as hysterical.  After all you can still buy a flat in Camden for less than £300,000.  Except you can’t.

London is now two cities, a fantasy world for the rich and an economic torture chamber for the poor.  And someone living in a fantasy can never understand the rage of those being quietly exploited, or expelled.  Just look at the acres of newsprint devoted to some paint on a cereal cafe whilst the desperate stories of social cleansing go almost untold.  It’s news when the powerless fight back but  only when there is a minor inconvenience to the cosseted business class.  They are so astounded by our anger that they think it’s unreasonable.  Why don’t we just have a crêpe and a latte or something and calm down.  Or spend a fiver on a bowl of cereal.  For heaven’s sake poor people, you might spoil Disneyland.  Indeed we fucking might.   In fact we intend to.

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Ignore The Fucking Hipsters Crying Into Their Cornflakes, Long Live The Fucking #FuckParade

malcolm-xRarely has there been a more open display of arrogant entitlement than the alliance of pampered hipsters and Tory scum who have lined up across the media to attack yesterday’s anti-gentrification protest in Shoreditch.  From ‘High Society Darlings’ in The Independent to the usual spittle-flecked tirades in The Telegraph, the establishment are united in their revulsion that working class people could not only organise themselves, but took a step beyond the usual stale political marches and petitions that we are supposed to use to air our grievances.

By all sensible accounts last night’s Fuck Parade – organised by Class War and named after similar anti-gentrification protests in Berlin – was a huge success.  Hundreds of people took to the streets for a party and protest that has lit up the debate about gentrifcation in London.  At one point an estate agent’s window was shattered, whilst some paint and cornflakes were thrown at the daft Cereal Killer Cafe – an emblem of the hipster invasion of East London where bowls of cereal can cost the best part of a fiver.  And it is a fucking invasion as posh flats and trust-funded small businesses spread across London like a virus, with every last brick turned into an investment opportunity.

Some of those new local business owners have suggested that to complain about this is a bit like racism – raising the ghost of Oswald Mosley to smear the protesters.  The owners of the cereal cafe have even complained that the protest was a hate crime.  Have you ever heard anything so fucking vile?  To the cosseted middle classes racism, and even fascism,  are just things to be re-appropriated for their benefit when their privilege comes under attack.  How the poor hipsters have suffered due to a bit of paint on a window and some loud music and shouting.  It’s like Nazi Germany all over again, only this time the victims are posh white people who run businesses.  They are no different to the UKIP pub bores dribbling into their pints about the global conspiracy against the straight white middle-class male.

The harsh reality is that, according to the government’s homelessness statistics, at least 259 children were made homeless in Hackney in the last quarter.  This is what gentrification does to people.  That’s 259 young lives destroyed by soaring rents and housing shortages.  And that’s just those who were classed as officially homeless and so eligible for help from the local council.  Hundreds of thousands of kids are growing up in social housing who will have nowhere to live when they are older.  A crisis is taking place in the lives of London’s poorest residents who will never share in the middle class Disneyland that is being created in the wake of social cleansing.

None of this is our fault plead the hipsters, why not blame the council.  And the council blames the property developers, who in turn, say they are just providing the homes and business spaces that people want – like the people who run the Cereal Killer Cafe.  No-one is to blame, and yet everyone’s making a buck.  Except the poor, the collateral damage in this profit driven frenzy that is destroying the city.

So fuck small businesses.  Today’s hipster entrepreneur is the Richard Branson of tomorrow – and it would have done no harm if that cunt had been nipped in the bud early.  That doesn’t mean you should fall out with your local off licence, you’ll never get anything on tick that way.  There are many businesses that we have little choice but to use and that may be run by people that give something back to the community that provides their lifestyle.  These kinds of businesses are also falling victim to gentrification.  But to pretend that the interests of business and the people who work for them are the same is horseshit.  That is why the Tory Party styles itself as the party of small business people and acts as they do.  Every current attack on the poor is being carried out not just for the benefit of the super rich, but also the gentrifiers of Shoreditch and their pop up monstrosities.  If the new business class don’t like that they could try and do something about it.  But instead they seek to profit from it.

Of course these hipsters have decided that last night was all about them.  Everything always is.  But the Fuck Parade is clearly about more than a bit of paint on a cafe’s window.  As long time East End resident Martin Lux has said, Saturday night was a continuation of the near thousand year old tradition of the London mob.  Hundreds of people joined a protest that didn’t ask for permission and took to the streets with the mixture of carnival and defiance that has defined popular protests in London.  An anti-gentrification movement with real teeth – but that is also fun to be a part of – is what the city desperately needs.  So ignore the fucking hipsters crying into their cornflakes, and long live the fucking Fuck Parade!

UPDATE:  Class War have now released a statement about the events of Saturday night.

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Access To Work Cuts Show The True Nature Of This Pig-Fucking Government

access-to-work-marchCuts to the Access To Work scheme – which pays for adaptations, equipment and support for disabled people in the workplace – shows the true nature of this pig-fucking Government.

Whilst Iain Duncan Smith rants at disabled people to get a job, the changes being made to Access To Work will make this impossible for many.  That won’t stop people’s benefits being slashed however.  Some sick and disabled people are now being plunged into desperate poverty, with no way out.  It is little wonder that benefit claimants and disabled people are now openly calling Iain Duncan Smith a murderer.

A march is taking place in London on Saturday (26th Sept) to protest against the cuts to the Access To Work scheme.  According to the organisers:

“Changes to Access to Work mean that Deaf, Deaf blind and hard of hearing and disabled people are being restricted to unrealistic budgets for support that does not meet their needs. The budgets are insufficient to fund qualified interpreters and personal assistants and prevent personal choice or control, placing jobs at risk.

“The introduction of arbitrary rules has changed the relationship between Access to Work and the individuals it supports. Deaf and disabled people are no longer being acknowledged as the experts in their own access needs and issues and problems they raise are being ignored.

“Please stop the changes to Access to Work support for BSL users and disabled people.”

The march will be gathering at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, SW1P 3JY at 12pm on Saturday 26th September.  Please help spread the word and share the facebook page.

For more info visit:

And don’t forget the Fuck Parade on Saturday night in Shoreditch!

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Unpaid Work Schemes Are De-Skilling A Generation And Perhaps That Is The Intention


A delegate at a recent skills conference promotes the use of unpaid work schemes. h/t @screenedout

Anyone who thinks you need to carry out an unpaid work experience placement  to be qualified to work in Poundland has never shopped in fucking Poundland.  This is not being a job snob as former Employment Minister Chris Grayling claimed when people objected to Tesco using unpaid staff.  It is simply recognising that an employee in a shop adds value to that business from day one – and so they should be paid from day one.

The growth of unpaid work in the UK has been justified with familiar claims that the young are lazy, or need to be taught how to get out of bed in the morning.  There is nothing new about this.  The generation that came of age in the late 80s and early 90s were ‘slackers’ and all the same crap was said about us.  Now some of those slackers are saying the same thing about young people today.

The truth is that the young are working longer for less money than at any point in the last half century.  Many are on shitty Apprenticeships which will be paid just £3.30 an hour even after an increase which takes place next month.  Others are not even being paid at all and are working full time on Work Experience schemes whilst trying to survive on £57.90 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance.  To put this sum in context, as far back as 1989 employer based Youth Training schemes for 16-18 year olds paid a similar amount to this and usually came with a day-release placement at college once a week.  Even this has now disappeared.  Those on the government’s Work Experience scheme receive no formal training at all beyond the odd workshop in how to write a CV.  A recent survey of employers found that even 26% of young people on an Apprenticeship only received less than 3 hours training a week.

This shocking statistic comes from the Employer Perspectives Survey carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).  This large annual survey has regularly been used as evidence that unpaid work experience for the young is essential because this is what employers say they want.  The DWP’s recent disastrous #WECan campaign was launched with a gushing press release quoting from the survey that two thirds of employers say that “work experience is a crucial factor when hiring new employees”.

This was an outright lie.  What the survey actually says is that 23% of employers believe ‘relevant’ work experience is critical when recruiting staff whilst 43% said it was significant.  This is just obvious.  The first thing anyone’s going to ask when offering someone a job is whether they’ve done it before or not.  In some cases, such as being an airline pilot, it will indeed be critical that they have had some experience flying a plane.  Yet the #WeCan campaign claimed that any work experience was important, no matter how irrelevent to the job hopes of the young people concerned.

The DWP are not the only ones who have been less than honest with these survey results.  UKCES themselves have misrepresented the results to promote the value of unaid work – such as in the tweet below which claims that work experience is the most common attribute employers cite as lacking in young recruits.  A look at the accompanying graph shows that employers appeared to think that it is work or life experience that is lacking amongst new young recruits.  A look at the survey from which these figures came shows that what employers were actually asked was whether education leavers had a “lack of working world / life experience or maturity”.  Even then less than half of bosses said this was a problem amongst 16 year olds, whilst only 14% of employers thought that 18 year old college leavers lacked life/work experience or maturity.ukces-tweetWhat this survey suggests is that it is just not true that most employers are obsessed with the idea that the young are too lazy and feckless to work. And this shows in their recruitment practices.  31% of employers said they had recruited an education leaver in the last 2-3 years whilst only 29% had recruited someone over 50.

The current obsession with mass workfare is not just pandering to the needs of employers, it is pandering to the never-ending whining of the worst kind of employers – like the 10% of bosses who brazenly told UKCES that the reason they offered work experience placements was to help with the workload or because it meant they didn’t have to pay people.

Legislation is on the way which will force all young people into an unpaid traineeship, an unpaid community work placement, or if they can find one, a poverty paid Apprenticeship.  These are young people that could be studying at college, or might have gone to university had the government not tripled tuition fees.  They could be fucking about with computer code, or motorbikes, or making things to flog online.  Or making music, art or youtube movies.  From the UK’s once thriving music scene to the once thriving alternative press, young people with time on their hands have achieved incredible things which have brought benefits to the whole of society in time.  And in that process they gained far more work/life experience or maturity then any shitty work placement in a supermarket could offer them.

Unpaid work experience schemes are de-skilling the young, the opposite of their claimed intention.  But perhaps this is really why they exist.  With the number of middle class jobs expected to shrink due to automation then there will no longer be space for social mobility.  The architects of workfare schemes are simply ensuring that in future the good jobs go to their kids and the working class youth are put back in their place.

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Never Mind The Labour Party, Come To The Fucking Fuck Parade

fuck-parade3If there’s one thing the British establishment hates more than Jeremy Corbyn it’s us.  From the corridors of power to the boardrooms in the city, they see our class as nothing more than mugs and scroungers who only exist to fatten their wallets.  Work hard and they’ll pat you on the head whilst picking your pocket with the other hand.  Refuse work and the punishment is economic destruction, with every avenue of survival ruthlessly shut down.  And if you can’t work, or find a job, then you will be destroyed as well, as a lesson to everyone else.  Don’t get sick, don’t complain, don’t ask for a pay rise, or you too could become a scrounger – a non-person to be bullied and tormented at will.

But beneath this seething contempt for the poor lies a terror that goes unspoken.  They know all too well that there is more of us than them, and that without our compliance the whole fucking game is up.  That in a heartbeat their mansions, and their assets, and their bank balances, could all disappear like smoke.  It has happened before.

So, as uncomfortable as they may find it, they would far rather tolerate a polite man asking difficult questions in parliament, than face a mob with pitchforks steaming down their leafy streets.  They will bluster and howl about extremism but they know all too well that if things become genuinely turbulent then the likes of Jeremy Corbyn may yet be their biggest chance of survival.  This has been the historic role of the Labour Party, to manage the wrath of the working class and fight on our behalf for things we don’t usually even want.

Whatever your views on recent events one thing is clear.  Escalation is now required on all fronts if we are to end, or even slow down, the onslaught on our living standards.  There will be no concessions to a movement that has no teeth.  Sitting around for five years on the off chance Labour might eventually save us is not an option.  No-one can save us, except us.

On Saturday 26th September Class War will be holding the third Fuck Parade, this time targetting gentrification in Shoreditch, a once working class area of London.  Meet outside Shoreditch Station from 7pm and please help spread the word by sharing the facebook page for the event.

Meanwhile this coming Saturday (19th September) A March Against Evictions is being held in Stratford, East London to mark the second anniversary of Focus E15 campaign.  Meet at Stratford Park, West Ham Lane, from noon, full details on facebook.

In October protests will be taking place in Manchester outside the Tory Party Conference.  I’ll get a seperate post up about these, but for now there’s details on DPAC’s website.

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