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The assault on the poor and disabled

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The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by skwalker1964 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:48 am

First topic message reminder :

I reblogged this post in 'honour' of the Tory party conference and Ivan asked me to post it here, too. You can find the original post complete with links at: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Here are two true stories:

A friend of mine once picked up a hitch-hiker at a motorway service station. The bloke looked a bit down on his luck, so my friend asked what his story was. The guy said he’d been living in service stations, bathing in the shower facilities at lorry-driver stops, for several days as he tried to make his way from one end of the country to the other to where a hotel job was waiting for him if he could get there. He’d lost all his benefits and had no way to get the money to take a train or bus.

My friend gave this man all the money he had in his pocket, which was £60. The man seemed genuinely overwhelmed and grateful, seemingly unable to believe that someone would give him a fairly serious amount of money within minutes of meeting him, on the basis of the story he’d just related.

I asked my friend whether he thought the man had been genuine, or might he have been ripped off? His answer was that his gut instinct was that the man was for real – but that if he wasn’t, he’d rather be conned than be hard-hearted and risk ignoring someone in genuine need.

By contrast, the incredibly rich (some $287 billion in today’s money) industrialist Andrew Carnegie once famously said that it would be better for the world if a rich man threw his millions into the sea rather than give any to the ‘unworthy’. To be fair to Carnegie, he gave away a vast proportion of his wealth – but the rich and privileged have a long history of presuming that, from their pinnacle of wealth and comfort, they are able to decide who is ‘worthy’ and who isn’t. The concept of the ‘deserving poor‘, by denoting that some poor are by definition not deserving, has resulted in great suffering while allowing the wealthy to feel satisfied with their lack of concern or action.

The current crop of Tories are truly in line with their predecessors in this regard – except that they’re even worse. Even though they can’t possibly be ignorant of the consequences, they push this line in the most cynical way, with the aim of dividing the British public, fooling the undiscerning into allowing or even approving of policies aimed at stripping the vulnerable of crucial protections. And for the basest of reasons – for short-term political gain (persuading some people that the Tories are ‘at least doing something about something!’), and to release even more public funds that can be channelled into tax-cuts for the already-rich or even greater profits for private corporations.

With their limited moral imagination, the Tories really only know two tactics. Both are calculated to appeal to the baser instincts of the small-minded and thoughtless: fear and vilification. There may be different facets or manifestations – they might try to invoke suspicion, or envy, or to dehumanise or caricature one set of people to get another set to back their policies – but the roots are the same.

I’m working on a post about economic fear and the way that’s fostered by government spokespeople and tame media, but it’s proving to be quite a big project and I’m not going to be online much over the next few days, so it will be a little while in coming. But the other tactic – vilification or demonisation of the vulnerable or resistant – is so plain that this post almost writes itself. Whether explicitly or in the omission, the Tories are at it constantly.

Just in recent weeks, we’ve had:


  • Iain Duncan-Smith accusing Britons of not working hard enough, while bare-facedly distorting figures on fraudulent claims for disability benefit (claiming a 30% fraud rate when in fact it’s bare over one percent) to gain public support for his hateful Welfare Reform Act.


  • A smug Frances Maude announcing that the bottom 10% of civil servants has a year to improve or be fired – conveniently leaving out the fact that if everyone in the civil service was a workaholic genius, there would still be a bottom 10%. Being at the bottom doesn’t mean you’re incompetent or unproductive. He insists that this is not an ‘attack’ on the civil service, even though at the same time he’s making cuts of 25% in civil servant numbers and talking of removing any terms and conditions that are better than those of the private sector that the Tories and their pals have already robbed.


  • Andrew Lansley calling on doctors not to take industrial action and having his department and tame journalists conduct an orchestrated propaganda campaign to persuade the public that doctors are rich, privileged, selfish and uncaring of their patients (‘After all’, he might as well say, ‘we’ve robbed the rest of the public sector, why should doctors be any different?’) This in spite of the fact that the doctors’ pension scheme is not in shortfall and that the Health Secretary, having specifically abdicated his legal responsibility for healthcare provision in his new Health & Social Care Act, is really not entitled to comment one way or the other, let alone to impose new pension terms.


  • David Cameron underlining again that the Tories are on the side of ‘strivers’, thereby saying that they’re not on the side of anyone who can’t strive, or who simply wants to live a decent, balanced life.


  • Iain Duncan-Smith (again!) announcing plans to remove benefits from anyone who dares strike against the removal of pay, pensions, conditions and protection that is now the norm for the treatment of ordinary working people.


  • Claims by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, vocally supported by Housing Minister Grant Shapps and many others, and by the right-wing press, that the UK has 120,000 ‘problem families’ who cause 80% of societal problems, even though not one of the criteria used to decide who is a ‘problem family’ relates to criminality, but instead refer to poverty and physical or mental illness.


  • Endlessly repeated soundbites about ‘benefit scroungers’ to justify capping housing benefit, even though the vast majority of people receiving this benefit are working, but can’t afford outrageous rents.


  • Cameron and others vilifying transport workers for daring to plan industrial action during the Olympic Games money-making exercise, even though industrial action is really their only negotiating weapon and it’s perfectly sensible for them to aim it at the periods when it will be most effective. The Tories really do want a workforce that’s powerless to stand up for itself.


I could go on, but I want to keep this post to a readable length.

The aim of all these policies and pronouncements is very clear: persuading whichever sections of the public that are not affected by a particular measure that those who are affected are not worthy of support, and definitely not worthy of help.

The consequences of these and other Tory measures are not hard to imagine – and they’re already being played out. Disabled, ill or mentally ill people spend their days in fear at the prospect of having their benefits stopped because they’re ludicrously assessed as fit for work, while some even attempt or commit suicide. People are forced to accept part-time ‘work’ that offers few (or even zero!) hours while the government crows that it has reduced unemployment; jobless people are forced to work for free and sleep under bridges by companies who ruthlessly exploit them to maximise profit. And so on.

In this context, it’s patently clear that the Tories’ policies, attitudes, sleaze, self-enrichment and their unholy alliance with powerful corporate and media interests show that they are not fit to judge a vegetable show, let alone judge whether a vulnerable person is ‘worthy’ of help.

Fortunately, we get to choose whether we believe them. To choose whether we agree with the kind of approach to life that says that, while no system is perfect, it’s much better to err on the side of goodness than of suspicion and selfishness, that it’s better to set up or protect systems that protect the genuine many than one which might prevent a very few ‘playing the system’ but that also strands people in genuine need in a situation of despair. We have the privilege of deciding what kind of society we want to be.

From everything I’ve written, you’ll probably have guessed that I absolutely agree with my friend, rather than with Carnegie, about which side it’s better to err on. But Mr Carnegie did say something that I agree with very much:

‘A man who dies rich dies disgraced’

In our current government, and in the people who support and fund them, we have a lot of walking ‘disgraces in the making’. Let’s think for ourselves, see them for what they are, and not make it easy for them to become even bigger disgraces than they already are.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:12 pm


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:16 pm

Good job the tories were not around when that supposedly happened then Ivan, Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:22 pm

A merry Xmas to all and a happy Labour New Year.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:32 pm

Definitely seconded Mel, and a merry christmas to you. Laughing
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The poor are worse off under the Tories

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 02, 2015 9:46 am

A major academic study has found that the poorest in society have been worst affected by the Government's tax and benefits changes.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Fri Feb 06, 2015 9:55 pm

Another example of that oxymoron, 'compassionate Conservatism'.......  Evil or Very Mad

'Patronising' Tory MP Mark Spencer Accused Of Wanting The Poor To Starve In The Dark

From an article by Asa Bennett:-

A Tory MP stunned fellow parliamentarians after defending the benefits system that left a jobseeker with learning difficulties without food or electricity after he was four minutes late for a Jobcentre appointment. Conservative backbencher Mark Spencer, who represents the Nottinghamshire constituency of Sherwood, made the controversial remarks during a debate on the state of poverty in Britain.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy, shadow civil society minister, told fellow parliamentarians about how a vulnerable person in her constituency of Wigan suffered after having his benefits taken away under the controversial sanctions regime: “Several times this year I have had to refer a gentleman with learning difficulties to Denise (the local Reverend) for food due to him having sanctions on him for turning up late," a local councillor had told her. "The gentleman can’t tell the time and is a recluse. He has been found sitting in his flat in the dark with no electric or gas. He won’t ask for help."

In response to Nandy's speech, Spencer said that people like him needed to learn "the discipline of timekeeping", and suggested the education system needed to improve to cure the constituent's learning difficulties.


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 06, 2015 10:58 pm

May 25th. 2010  House of Commons

Mark Spencer, who gained Sherwood from Labour, began his maiden speech by comparing himself to his constituency's most famous son:
"Like Robin Hood, I have a desire to counter over-taxation, to protect the most vulnerable in society, and to make sure that oppressive government does not bring misery on the people."


Some things just don't stand the test of time, do they?  But at least his parents had a sense of humour when they named him.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:14 pm

Why OW IS his middle name SAND? Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:21 pm

How could it be otherwise, Stu?

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:16 am

Grieving relative confronts DWP minister Esther McVey after benefit sanctions inquiry

From an article by Ashley Cowburn:-

Esther McVey, the employment minister, was handed an image of David Clapson – the man found dead in his flat from diabetic ketoacidosis, two weeks after his benefits were suspended – following a select committee inquiry into benefits sanctions. In the emotional confrontation, Clapson’s younger sister, Gill Thomspon, presented the image to McVey and said: “A diabetic cannot wait two weeks”, a reference to the amount of time a Jobseeker's Allowance claimant, when sanctioned, has to wait to receive a hardship payment.

When Thompson discovered her brother’s body in July 2013, she found his electricity had been cut off, meaning the fridge where he stored his insulin was no longer working. In 2014, Thompson said: “I don’t think anyone should die like that in this country, alone, hungry and penniless . . . They must know that sanctioning people with diabetes is very dangerous. I am upset with the system; they are treating everyone as statistics and numbers.”

When asked by Labour MP, Debbie Abrahams, how many peer reviews the DWP has carried out following the death of a claimant, McVey conceded that the figure was 49. Although it’s worth pointing out that a Freedom of Information request by the Disability News Service found that the DWP had carried out “60 peer reviews following the death of a customer” since February 2012. McVey refused to comment on individual cases but said that none of the reviews had found a link between benefits sanctioning and the death of a claimant.


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:55 am

Bastards, how can they let a poor person die like that in this country? I thought it was bad enough that they are checking up on me yet again on my disability claim, and 10th time in all I think, got to go and see the swines, but I keep all my paperwork in a folder ready for them, and the latest specialist and gp letters.
Still wonder why I cannot sleep at night some nights though, they make me vomit.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by astradt1 on Sat Feb 07, 2015 10:20 am

McVey refused to comment on individual cases

Strange how they, Ministers, are only too willing to use individual cases when it comes to examples of 'benefit scroungers'..........
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Sat Feb 07, 2015 12:30 pm

When the British government were aware of what the Germans were doing to the Jews in 1942-45, they decided to do nothing. What's changed with this Tory uncaring lot? NOTHING!!!!!!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:29 pm

QUOTE: McVey refused to comment on individual cases but said that none of the reviews had found a link between benefits sanctioning and the death of a claimant.


Unlikely to find something they weren't looking for.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Sat Feb 07, 2015 5:48 pm

Like more dead claimants OW?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:22 am


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:12 am

More than one source is responsible for criticising the Coalition government's treatment of the Poor and disadvantaged. Today Nicola Sturgeon added the weight of the SNP, saying ""austerity economics" have comprehensively failed."

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Tory chickens are at last coming home to roost.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:10 am

Such irony!  sarcasm

People who cannot work because they are overweight or suffering addiction problems could be threatened with losing their sickness benefits

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:28 pm

"People who cannot work because they are overweight or suffering addiction problems could be threatened with losing their sickness benefits"

Throwing caution to the winds, I've got a quid ready to bet that the Tories will quietly but swiftly row back from that pronouncement.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:29 am

Another example of 'compassionate Conservatism'. Remember how multimillionaire Cameron used to claim disability living allowance for his son?

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:26 pm

Numbers 32:23 (Holy Bible NKJV)

Take note, you have sinned against the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Mel on Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:11 pm

Maximus scandalises Australia - how long before it does the same in the UK? [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The replacement of ATOS with something even worse.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:32 pm

The Tory's out-sourcing of unpleasant tasks to (American) contractors does not absolve them of responsibility for the outcome.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:25 am

9 times benefits have been stopped for completely ridiculous reasons

(It’s actually 10 times, somebody at ‘The Mirror’ can’t count!)

Here are some of the most stupid reasons for cutting off claimants:-

- A London man missed his Jobcentre appointments for two weeks because he was in hospital after being hit by a car. He was sanctioned.

- A 19-year-old homeless boy with little education failed to complete a form correctly. He was sanctioned. This left him so desperate he stole food in the hope he would be sent to prison, where he would have somewhere to sleep.

- A London woman failed to attend a workshop, because she only received the letter the day after the event. She was sanctioned. Her appeal failed because it wasn’t sent by fax via the Jobcentre.

- A man missed a Jobcentre appointment because he was at a job interview. He was sanctioned for 14 days.

- A Somerset man didn't take up a job that was impossible to reach. He would have had to take two buses to get to work 30 miles away and they did not start running early enough. He was sanctioned.

- A man told a Jobcentre he wouldn’t be able to attend his appointment because he needed to visit his dying mother in hospital. He was sanctioned (the decision was later overturned).

- A Newcastle man who had recently been made redundant applied for every suitable job. But the week his father died, his work search record was judged inadequate. He was sanctioned.

- An asthmatic was forced to go to A&E due to a severe attack. He phoned the Jobcentre and sent a follow-up letter. He was sanctioned for one month (later overturned).

- A Hartlepool woman was told her appointment for a work capability assessment was cancelled. She was then sanctioned for failing to attend the cancelled appointment.

- A Durham man missed a Jobcentre appointment because he was collecting his ill daughter from school. The Jobcentre accused him of having a fictional child and sanctioned him (overturned after 13 weeks).

A spokesman for the DWP said: "Sanctions are only used as a last resort for the tiny minority who refuse to take up the support which is on offer.”

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Fri Mar 27, 2015 11:36 pm

Potential Conservative welfare cuts revealed in leaked emails

From an article by Patrick Wintour:-

"A range of welfare benefits are potentially facing the axe or severe restrictions by the Conservatives after the general election, according to emails seen by the BBC. The cuts suggested by officials include restricting child benefit so it is payable only for the first two children, and scrapping the industrial injuries benefit by passing the costs on to firms.

Axing the industrial injuries compensation scheme could save £1bn. Restricting child benefit so that none is paid for the third or subsequent children could eventually save £1bn, but only modest amounts initially. Other proposals aired by Department for Work and Pensions staff include a regional benefits cap, taxing disability benefits and reducing eligibility for the carers’ allowance.

The Conservatives have said they want to cut £12bn from the welfare budget by 2017-18, but have indicated they will probably not set out any details as to how they intend to do so until after the election. Cameron, when interviewed by Jeremy Paxman, declined to set out any details, referring only to a proposal to freeze in-work benefits
."

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Sat Mar 28, 2015 7:46 am

Not sure the cuts that have been leaked will deliver the £12bn savings - I think I much prefer the Labour plan to increase some taxation and force an increase of wages so as to increase tax revenue
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:52 am

boatlady. The IFS agrees with you:-

Even if all of the reforms discussed were implemented, alongside confirmed Conservative Party policies, the total saving would be likely to fall well short of the £12 billion per year that the Conservatives intend.”

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Sat Mar 28, 2015 2:46 pm

study lol!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:31 pm

If the Tories won't tell us where they would make a further £12 billion of welfare cuts, we can only speculate. These are David Schneider's suggestions:-

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:34 pm

When I read things like this, I find it very hard not to hate anyone who is planning to vote for a continuation of this evil Tory government:-

A lady with a severe spinal condition is partially confined to a specialist bed. Sharing an ordinary bed with her husband would cause damage to her and their flat, partly adapted for her needs, is too small to put both beds in one room. Despite the fact that she sleeps there every night, due to her carer also being her live-in partner, from April 2013 the couple began losing £12 a week for having a 'spare' room. They successfully applied for Discretionary Housing Payments, the emergency short-term fund designed to assist some disabled people affected by the policy, and by April 2014 were deemed fully exempt from the bedroom tax at their local tribunal.

But three months later, the DWP applied to overturn their win. If the DWP succeeds, they might be liable for the two year backdated bill, which could be £1,500. “I’m frightened one day I won’t be able to stay in my home simply through not being able to afford to pay the bedroom tax”, says the lady. “I’m frightened I’ll be forced to go into a nursing home.” They are pinning their hopes on a Supreme Court win, but it will be a long wait. Their court date is in March 2016.

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I wonder how much taxpayers' money Iain Duncan Smith uses on challenging decisions to exempt some disabled people from the bedroom tax? That man is just so sick. Twisted Evil
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:32 am


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:15 pm


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:45 am

I was brought up in a single parent family from aged ten, that was in the early 80's.

My mother worked hard in low paid part time jobs to make ends meet, but only managed to get her head over the parathet when my grandfather died and my grandmother sold her house then they bought this fantastic five bed house, the two of them together and my grandmother had half the house and my mother the other half.

Only then could my mother work on a full time basis since the child care was intact!

I've always thought about people who are worse off than me, when i got a job at 18 i was so glad to pay my mum the rent, i was so glad to give my little brother pocket money which i never had and then when i was quite rich in the late 80's and early 90's plus plus plus plus.

When ever i see a homelesss person on the street, i've always made an effort to give them atleast a ***king fiver, a travelcard, a cup of tea...Because i know that is what you should do!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Wed Apr 22, 2015 4:13 pm

Ivan, that iain drunken smiff should be shot the first thing that labour do when they get into power, for treating people like that disabled lady like that, I wonder what would happen if he were in the same position? after you had taken his bloody millions away of course. silent silent
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:17 pm

I'd like to see Duncan Smith and some others stand trial before an unbiased panel, and made to understand and atone for the results of their thoughtless demonization of the poor and the disabled.

Shooting, I can't go along with No
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:23 pm

He is so unrepentantly evil that I honestly would not lose any sleep about whatever happened to him - unless , of course, it wasn't sufficiently painful... Shocked
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:59 pm

@ Boatlady

Someone posted an artical on a forum, that IDS had written in the Daily Mail today.

It made me so angry i couldn't finish reading the whole thing.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:26 pm

Phil always stay as calm as you can, especially when articles come up about Tory scum, also in tory newspapers/a####ipes? Laughing Laughing
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:17 pm

I have cats Stu! Razz
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:19 pm

....They are very good at calming you or rather distracting you!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:29 pm

I have my dog too Phil.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

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