Yesterday’s demo was a very mixed bag but very positive. Not long after we arrived a local buisness owner who claimed to be a Tory started shouting that the poor should go hungry. They do nothing but sit around doing nothing. They do nothing for society. You know the rethoric. He was very loud and very insulting to the unemployed that were talking to us and gathering leaflets off us. He claimed that they don’t turn up for interviews… We tried to explain that when the Jobcentre send people on these interviews they often force unqualified people to do so. People also can’t afford the transport if not local and they don’t do this on purpose. They know if they don’t turn up then they will get sanctioned, but sometimes it’s not an option. They just can’t attend. Then he stated that they mess interviews up on purpose… So we stated, no the Jobcentre send unqualified inexperienced people to these interviews and they haven’t got a clue how to even handle an interview. It’s an interview for a job that they aren’t qualified for and don’t stand much chance of getting. He wasn’t listening. At the time a young man was standing next to me. He was unemployed had been working for 10 years and had been made redundant. He said that he’s doing his best to find a job and I believe him. He was very polite, well mannered and did not raise his voice once. He could have been the opposite, he could have been shouting back but he didn’t. Why? Because he has the knowledge that being abusive like that to others isn’t the answer. He looked upon him with pity and said he felt sorry for the man that was shouting, because it could well be him stood in front of the Jobcentre in a few months. No one knows when or if it will be their turn and if you have a job you should hold onto it he said. The man who was shouting walked away eventually and peace returned.
A lovely 25 year old girl started talking to us. She was with her mum. Her mum was in temporary accommodation after loosing her home due to the bedroom tax. Her daughter is also homeless and is sofa surfing. She is close to giving up. She said she tried to do everything that the Jobcentre told her but she couldn’t. It’s so hard when your homeless she said. You can’t go on computers because you don’t have one and she had sold her mobile. She said her whole time is spent trying to to find food and somewhere to stay. If she doesn’t she will go hungry and cold. Being on the streets is a very dangerous place for a woman. She had a good moan and said that she has had to resort to shoplifting to survive. I understand why she is doing this, it’s out of desperation not because she just feels like it. She started crying and said that she was so glad that we were there because we care, so we told her about our tuesday advice session also. It’s shocking that people have to live like this no one deserves and should be living like this. We are the 6th richest country in the world and we have people starving living on our streets. Disgusting and it shouldn’t be happening.
Another young girl started talking to me. She’s a single mum and had been put on universal credit. She’s been sanctioned so far for 4 months with no money. What for? For not attending an appointment that she didn’t get. So now both herself and her child are going hungry. She spends her time trying to find food to feed her child. Why on earth in this country is this happening? Universal credit in my eyes was created to do just this. Before universal credit they couldn’t sanction tax credits… Now they can.. It’s all under the umbrella of universal credit. We have over 1 million children pushed into poverty by austerity. Do they count the children that are sanctioned? It won’t be long before a child starves because of a parents sanctioning. David Cameron you have blood on your hands.
Whilst I was stood talking an unknown man ran up to me gave me 3 boxes of chocolates said thank you and ran off… We don’t know who he is but we all say thank you very much. We put them on the table and one box was enjoyed! We were very touched by this. Thank you so much.
Don’t forget it’s our demo next Tuesday at 12 outside Ashton under Lyne town hall. We are peacefully demonstrating against the phase 2 troubled families scheme that I have wrote about in my previous blog. Please come along, bring your banners, placards, bring yourselves. We are also wanting to borrow a PA system. We have megaphones but a PA system would be much more effective. We have no money to buy one. We are also needing leaflets so if anyone can help please let me know! We don’t have any funding off anyone. This day of action is supported by unite in the community and our local rep will be there if anyone wants to join unite.