The Desperate Fight Within Disabled Campaigning

This is my first post in a few months, there’s been several reasons for this including an horrendous bout of depression, an operation and masses of work for DEAEP, our new course starts next week. There also been one issue that has taken over what little energy I’ve had left after this; a month ago I was asked if I’d be interested in working on the setting up of a unifying group for disabled people to fight the Government.

Anyone that’s read my blogs is well aware I’m committed to collective working and collaboration, most of my posts end with some form of plea for Unity or Togetherness, so of course I said yes. To my horror, in this very short period of time several of those willing to do the backroom work have been bullied and verbally assaulted by the same people who purport to believe in campaigning and challenging for our rights. So much so, that a number of the individuals willing to use their spare energy have said they can no longer continue; I simply do not understand this!

What the Fuck is going on, when those of us Fighting for our lives under this Tory regime of Austerity and Cuts, are attacked by our peers; isn’t it enough that people are dying through the bullying of JobCentre & other DWP staff, without resorting to this behaviour ourselves?

When #homelessness is soaring and people are being evicted from their homes due to the costs of the #BedroomTax, or the #BenefitCap; when the loss of ESA or PIP, through flawed and biased ‘assessments is causing people to choose to stay warm or fed; what will happen to those on #ILF that lose their Care packages in 3 weeks? Isn’t all of this this enough to make people angry enough to challenge the Government and to work WITH their peers and not attack them?

I totally agree that different opinions are essential for any project to get off the ground, and this means different beliefs being aired and people feeling frustrated their thoughts aren’t being taken into account; I’m aware not everyone feels a unifying organisation is the way forward and that’s fine. I recognise the pressure we are ALL under and realise that sometimes we say things we might not mean, I also acknowledge that on social media, the words we write can often come across as something different to what we actually meant but…this is NOT what happened here; this was selective Bullying. People were reading derogatory comments and joining in, it was made Personal, through targeted attacks on individuals; all who have been involving in online campaigning for the past 4 years at least. If this behaviour had happened on the street and from a group of non-disabled people, many of us would be, (rightly in my book) shouting about Hate Crime; this is how serious I take what has has occurred.

The outcome is not only, have the abused individuals felt the need to leave the unifying group, several have left the world of disability activism completely; and what a loss! All that knowledge and experience held by these individuals, lost from campaigning and no longer available to work on the real Fight.

To close, I want to state some of us are continuing to work on developing a unifying project for disabled people, a group that can challenge the Government with authority; but it is with great sadness that not only will the work be much more difficult without the lost expertise, but that we’ve lost true campaigners to bullying from within.

I hope that those involved in these abusive attacks realise the damage they’ve caused, not only to the individual victims of their abuse but to the disabled movement; remember when our enemies see this behaviour it only serves to further their cause.

ONLY TOGETHER CAN WE FIGHT FOR OUR SURVIVAL

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89 thoughts on “The Desperate Fight Within Disabled Campaigning

  1. Some disabled people are their own worst enemies, I spent six years of my life…and was one – along with Michael Moore who died of stress induced heart attack in 2013) of the very first persons in Britain to speak out against ATOS and the DWP and this dreadful Government.) every single day (no days off) answering peoples – why am I not getting ESA – type questions on the free speech dwpexamination.wordpress.com Blog, it was real day in day out hard work I can tell you.

    Even – later on – set up a forum with my disabled friend (Mick) to help people fight the system.

    What thanks did I get in all that time ?, I can tell you ZERO thanks, not one word of appreciation and a power of abuse not only on an open forum but through the forum personal messages too..

    So I can well understand why the decent folk want to give up and just look after themselves instead, I’ve really all but given up myself, although the Blog is still active though, and that’s only because Still oaks and some others have turned it around with sheer hard work, and are determined not to be beaten..

    YOU ASK…Do these people (I wont name names) see the damage they’ve actually caused ?, well I can tell you straight…NOPE they just can’t see that. And that is just one (there’s other reasons too) reason we are going to lose this war with Iain Duncan Smith.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand you feeling that way Zoro – I’ve been there but have decided I will NOT let those few beat me & I’ll continue to Fight #IDS & Co as long as I can. If you can find the way to have another go – come & join us. In Unity xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • In twenty years campaigning I can say there never has been unity and there never will. Groups set up initially with those they think have similar views. When people disagree they are classed as bullies or the new ‘fashionable term’ troll. If people can’t be controlled they are deemed as being the problem, sorry but I’ve never been “controlled” and never will.

      I can see old ideas being brought up and failing, a union has been turned down so many times that it’s almost as useless an idea as an online petition, but hey I’m a troll for stating the bleedin’ obvious.

      Campaigning isn’t about a forum where people go “hugs” or call one an other “hun”, campaigning is damn hard work, dirty work, you will get insulted, branded as many things from a thief to a murderer with things like animal abuser thrown in for good measure. If you can’t take it then there is a choice.

      I have no problem with people having their own views, except when they think that carers aren’t part of disability matters and are charity cases, then I have a BIG problem with those that think that way. Seems many people can’t accept that people have their own opinions and would rather shut them down/up

      Liked by 1 person

      • Personally Clive I agree, Campaigning is hard work, its also about debate and arriving at consensus; this requires different ideas and sometimes doing things individuals may not agree with – it is ALL about the greater purpose, Achieving the Goals xxx

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  2. Oh Jayne, I read this blog, my heart goes out to you and those who are making a difference to so many, including myself. Your courage, knowledge and sence of justice are what keep me going, especcially when I have almost given up all hope. I hope those who have been perhaps single minded in the attempt to collaberate with others do understand what they have done, or at least have the fore sightand integrity to approach those they have alienated to ask how things can be put right. Bless you Lady and sending much love .xx

    Liked by 6 people

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  5. Dear Jayne,
    Firstly I am so sorry to read of your depression. I can thoroughly understand how difficult and depressing it must be for you when you don’t get the backing from the very people you are striving to help; as for those bullies, surely they are not of any importance as they will never be any use to society in general and just need to be ignored as the scum they really are.

    You are an outstanding person and someone we all need and should support in the fullest possible way and I admire your determination to set up a “unifying group for disabled people” to fight the greed and injustices of this government.

    I hope to hear more from you as to how you propose to expand your “support group” and how you feel we can fight the injustices etc., and will do my best to help if you feel I can be of use.

    The biggest problem you (WE All) face is how to promote such a campaign in order to get it noticed by the thousands who should be part of it already.

    Not enough people like you around these days Jayne so please don’t give up but also please take care to look after your own health.

    An admirer,

    Rupert Mitchell

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Rupert, for both your wonderful supportive comments and your enthusiasm and willingness to get involved; trust me they’ll be a number of roles and I’m sure there’ll be at least one you’ll be perfect for. Watch this space for news of the group

      In unity as always xx

      Like

  6. Hi Jayne sorry to hear of your struggle with depression as a fellow sufferer I know how hard it is to carry on and now this bullying. Who are these people and are we sure they are genuine campaigners or just DWP trolls. Any way the war on want goes on and our enemies who want to destroy the welfare system are still out there. I had noticed during the election campaign that there were divisions forming around which party was best at tackling the subject of anti austerity. Has this been the basis of the division you have experienced??
    Anyway a big thank you for your efforts to keep things going and if you could list all the groups who are making a positive contribution it would be helpful.
    In the meantime all the best and God bless you for your goodness Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Kevin, These bullies are not unfortunately, DWP trolls, that would be at least understandable. As for a list of groups, that’s really difficult as they all represent different issues; best I can say is take a lok around and ask questions, any group worth it’s salt will always answer positively in my opinion. Thank for your support and kind words xxx

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      • The may not be “trolls”, but is there any reason to suspect that they may be more than they seem? We know about the undercover cops and I saw at first hand some of the moles in the Trade Union movement in the 80’s – they were at times the hardest-working, passionate, most organised Trade Unionists, trusted & elected higher up the organisation. So I would be surprised if there wasn’t a turn-coat among us.

        Also we must remember the basic psychology of power, and those who seek / exercise it., again, not limited to the differently / able, or any other group of people. That’s the point. At heart we are just a cross-section of the society we live in. If there are those power-tripping, and clique forming and bullying, then we should actually be told who they are, because they aren’t going to change, and we need to know because they will find more victims as the bullied fade away, It’s in their nature.

        Janye, keep up the fight, especially with your own depression, and always know you’ve got the support of the many of us. Perhaps you need to look at forming co-ops of groups, and not try to unify. The dross will talk / bully themselves out of a wider movement, soon enough.

        Liked by 6 people

      • One of the longer lasting effects of the breaking of the Trade Union movement is the loss of skills in knowing how to organise, how to manage and incorporate different factions. I have recently joined Unite community as a “retired” member, and I wonder if it would be possible for your Unity organisation to approach this / other organisations to affiliate & benefit from their experience. What is happening to those relying on the disappearing Social Security net is of paramount importance to the Trade Union movement. Unite also run bullying helplines for organisations including the Methodist church – which illustrate how what they call the “epidemic” of bullying is present in all walks of life. Perhaps if enough of the disabled community join, we can use the over-arching community network to have specific disability forums. A Guardian article summarises benefit of Community Unite membership:-
        “For 50p a week, people not in work over the age of 16 can receive a range of benefits, including access to Unite’s legal helpline, debt counselling and assistance on claiming benefits. Unite says the scheme is a natural extension of its activities and values.”

        http://unitelive.org/racism-and-bullying-revealed/http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/may/01/unite-union-redefines-big-society

        I truly believe that for our issues to be raised & become a national issue, we need to make use of all the resources of those outside our community too. Until what is happening to us with the DWP / IDS and their social darwinist programme is joined by the rest of the able-bodied, I honestly don’t think we stand a chance. I don’t mean to undermine all the effort that is going on to try & unify the disparate protest & support groups, and especially given your horrendous bullying, but this fight must become greater than the sum. Please keep up your work, Jayne, but let’s get support across a wider platform as well. (One with a well connected press office would be good!)

        38 degrees members are also forming local groups, We had a very active group locally during the election campaign, and again, they are a useful meta-organisation for promoting issues nationally up from local groups that are not being heard through main stream media. So once again, membership and activism through 38 degrees could provide the contact points for those wishing to form local small support / activist groups.

        The main message is we shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of fighting this evil regime alone. What is happening to us now is the future for many of those working / unwaged now. It’s time to take the fight back to those who have been encouraged to be selfish, thoughtless, harsh, punitive and discriminatory to the disabled and chronically ill, and the elderly who are being lined up for the Tory demonisation too. Time to leave the ghetto we’ve assigned by IDS.

        Liked by 2 people

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  8. As difficult as it is you must remain United, the Government and their supporters need the opposition to fight amongst themselves. It will be a long battle but a right one as well. I do not know what you have done so far so please forgive me if I encourage you to “suck eggs”. You need to raise funds, have a Affiliation or membership fee, £1 perhaps, join up with bodies like Trade Unions, every time someone makes a decision to join a Union it is an attack on the Tonys and their plans. Get a platform to speak from, join any other “body” which has a voice. Write to your MP regardless of Party and the local Councillors, use them that is what they are therefore, they may not know what the issues are. But most of all vote as voting can and will change things.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. It is very sad how people can splinter from the very cause we are all wanting to fight, I guess many are now so bewildered they do not know which way to turn or how to fight back with results because as you know we have all been beaten down in the last 5 years

    Just like Labour are facing a massive task to rebuild and gain trust so are we and rebuild with fresh faces and new ideas we must, Unity we need and Unity we need fast and I stand by to help in anyway I can starting with Austerity March on June 20th.

    A lovely post Jayne Thank you, You do so much and are appreciated

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I hope one atleast leave the clouds behind you its a fact that many who have become disabled through their illnesses find after a few years it doesn’t really take that long mental health suffers through the constant strugle to get ones benefits but then you are out of the clouds into the sunshine may it always shine for one jeff3

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Well said Jayne. Life is a daily struggle for most of us and the last thing we need is the horrible bullying that has been going on lately.
    I read from the sidelines, as such, because I’m not up to being more active these day, but hope that some form of new pressure group can rise from the ashes of nastiness

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sadly the sort of behaviour that you describe is one of the reasons that I no longer have much to do with anti-establishment movements. My experience is that there tend to be a some very committed people in each group but also people with very high bitterness levels that can’t let their pressure off appropriately and it often gets aimed at people within the groups for petty reasons. It’s very sad.
    I suppose it’s understandable that people are distraught but this is exactly what the establishment want and rejoice at.
    Until there is a unified response to what is happening and the anti-establishment opposition communicates it’s very reasonable messages so that middle England finally begin to wake up, we will only continue to just desperately “fling ourselves at the barricades” as George Monbiot said – and will be reported as a bunch of trouble makers.
    By anti-establishment, I mean any group opposed to the main stream of politics / political thought.
    I am very disabled with a type of MND and am regularly horrified at some of the things that get said on disability activist forums.
    I read that many European politicians are bemused at the fact that our population haven’t taken to the streets because of many UK issues including our antiquated and non democratic voting system.
    I have lost faith that it will ever happen so just try to change myself for the better in the belief that until we change ourselves, we will never change the world.
    I wish you the best of luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Dear Jayne.
    I am not good with computer stuff so I hope this response does get through cyber space. I am not severely disabled but have been very aware of the ATOS situation and the ‘welfare reforms’ for some time. I was in the Spartacus forum and recognise a couple of names from there on here. I have noticed a hell of a lot of on line aggro on various anti austerity, anti government and disability right sites… all increased since the election. Sadly, I think a lot of people are very near the end of their tether. Tempers are getting frayed and in desperate frustration, many are turning on each other.
    Exactly what this current government wants. I don’t know what the answer is but if I can help at all, I’m more than willing.
    Love, hugs and Unity. KathrynKlear xx

    Liked by 3 people

  14. We absolutely must be united so please do carry on with your good work. I’m very poorly but will stay tuned and if there’s any way I can help, I’ll let you know.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Thank you, Jayne for your honesty and courage. I think until we change ourselves the world will not change. What is going on is very, very deeply disturbing and it is no wonder many people are angry and confused. However, we do have to try to come together in trust and in unity and help and support each other to build a better world. Max Igan suggests we come together in groups of 5 with people we really trust to meet weekly and plan to go forward together on a local and national level. I live in the Welsh borders if anyone is near or around Presteigne and getting very involved in disability support and local politics. I have a lot of experience in advocacy and put up a lot of relevant blogs. Homelessness is one of my closest themes as it seems things are appalling that this is being criminalised when giving the homeless homes works better all round and saves money. Somehow the police need education in this but they are fighting for their own jobs now.
    Thank you for all you do and look after yourself.
    x

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Any charity that is funded by government becomes part of the politics of that government.

    A charity that goes against government is going to be bullied, as that is politics.

    Because IDS and Osbourne and new Disability Minister nicknamed as Heroid in charge of the nursery, will rule the charity funded by government by threat of removing funding.

    I am a stress expert by life and was once within a workplace bullying support group, but Vox Political would not let me warn against going inside an organisation where the state – with all its money – could outlast you long term in bullying you into serious ill health, even if you weren not already ill / disabled.

    The stress from being bullied is the same, at the extreme end, as a soldier’s post traumatic stress disorder.

    The body only has one stress response and long term stress affects body mind and spirit all at the same time.

    So if you want to get together as a disability group against the Tories, you need to do it with groups not attached to charities funded by government.

    THE ALTERNATIVE

    Young able bodied feet and wise old heads in good health, can help the disabled, by helping to bring a new The Swans new party into reality.

    I’ve written the script aka manifesto as part Greek and a SYRIZA fan, and grateful inheritor as English to the Chartists, suffragists / suffragettes and Cromwell.

    WHAT THE SWANS WOULD OFFER

    The end of the entire conditional benefit system, DWP, Jobcentres, work programmes / workfare, fit for work assessments and the that whole kit and caboodle. Saving hundreds of billions so that the below is entirely funding neutral –

    CITZEN INCOME
    automatic and universal, same for everybody
    no form filling, no means testing
    with a supplement for the disabled.
    To at least the amount it should be under the EU Social Contract.

    CITIZEN STATE PENSION
    automatic and universal
    irregardless of National Insurance history
    same for everybody
    of full SERPs pension of at least £276.10 per week.

    So no need of conditional Pension Credit and Winter Fuel Allowance (never enough anyway).

    Free care in your own home for the disabled / chronic sick.

    RESULT?

    More jobs, more business, more business rates for cash strapped councils from the high street, more indirect taxes from everybody that are 75 per cent of all taxes and more surplus food going to food charities now for emergencies and not for the millions needing it every day, even in work.

    It would mean the Disabled acces to work and motability could be just be from senior medical consultant diagnosis already within your NHS care. So funding neutral there and creating jobs and keeping jobs.

    WHY CAN’T OUR CURRENT POLITICAL CLASS DO THIS?

    Because public schools teach an aristocratic feudal mindset that cannot comprehend capitalism.

    Yes.

    Our politicians are 1000 years into the past before business and employed waged workers began.

    The Swans would wipe out this archaic feudal world that threatens our lives for all ages today.

    The Swans know the rich are not the enemies of anyone.

    It is the rich political class with the last vestiges of old style aristocracy that are what need to be swept away by something entirely new, yet very old.

    Because capitalism thrives for thousands of years, just not in the UK that has remained mired in feudalistic mindset.

    THE SWANS NEW PARTY
    http://www.theswansnewparty.org.uk

    Inside the new Swans Party party, ast least you have a stress expert by life that could spot a bully a mile off.

    I can’t do the work, but only think out of the box with sky blue thinking and giving The Swans its unique selling point (enough of the business speak).

    And separate the bully, him or her off from the group and put only to fight off the political sorts, who have to be bullies to survive their horrific world of back stabbing nasties.

    Bullies cannot work in a team. There is no I in Team, as they say.

    Bullies can only be lone workers. So we wind them and off they toddle – well away from us in our committees and activitist tasking.

    Each has his or her place and part to play.

    B ut when another is beholding to another party altogether, there can be no teamwork.

    http://www.theswansnewparty.org.uk

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  18. Jane you are really valued.

    its people like you who give people like me hope.
    Since the election I have been in shock and not very active online, but I have been following when I can.

    With the DWP setting up Medical Centres in Job Centres now and employing Psychiatrists and Psychologists, it appears the enemy are moving fast and rampantly which is very scary.

    Even more reason we need to stand strong as a united front.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if there were infiltrators out there but also people losing their grip on their own behaviour and its devastating effects.

    I dont know what our future holds, but it has to be better than this.

    Please keep up your good work and take good care of yourself for all our sakes.

    Much love and best wishes

    Linda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many thanks Linda for your kind comments and support; when you feel ready and if you wish to get further involved please let me know. In the interim spend your energy on yourself, as always lovely xxx In Unity

      Like

  19. Sorry to hear about this, Jayne.
    As a campaigner these past five years I have seen a lot of this in-fighting and bullying. There’s no place for it. United we stand, divided we fall. We should be united against the common enemy otherwise we will never win. Kudos and solidarity to you and all that you do.
    Moggy x

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Very thought provoking piece and echoes a lot of my wider thoughts.

    What I say now I’ve mentioned to others on social media and as a continuation of Jayne’s piece I feel need to be said.

    I wasn’t shocked when the Tories won the election a few weeks ago. The reason for this is that over the last few years I have seen too many people who say they are fighting for justice, and who say they are tired of been oppressed in various ways, be divided far too often by bullying, rancour and egotism. Too many times I’ve seen and heard debates and discussions descend into bear pits of aggression when we all should be finding commonality and purpose amongst our differences of opinion, petty squabbles over primitive shit overriding the common goal people claim to be fighting for and too many people partake in activism for the benefit of ‘me’ just so they are noticed and not for ‘we’ for the greater good for us all.

    We are been bullied, patronised and chained mentally and physically by governmental policies that are insidiously oppressive and only serve to benefit this plutocracy of a government and their friends. Yet despite our great intelligence, wisdom and drive, we are lacking unity due to as I described before as primitive shit.

    There are some good examples of work been done within communities. But unless we all start to be more united, fight our oppressers and not amongst overselves, then little if any progress will be made.

    Liked by 3 people

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  22. One commenter suggests joining a union. This is a very good suggestion and I find that Unite offers the best services and would act as a uniting focus with the formation of Welfare Support Groups and collectively we could draw upon the legal expertise that is available and would provide local offices to meet in. The union has a strong anti austerity leadership and we could also avoid through the union the divisions caused by political affiliations. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am already a member of Unite Community in Leicester Kevin, and I work closely with them; but I and others still feel there is a need for disabled people who are online to work together also, mainly due to the difficulties so many of us have travelling. Thanks for commenting xxx

      Like

  23. Hi Jayne, so sorry to hear of your depression and bad experience you yourself and others campaigning, are having. This mirrors a lot of how I feel and have been finding, this has caused me to feel very depressed (on top of election result too!) and have protest and campaign fatigue. Without going into all the exact detail (just in case) it’s partly local claimant/political/disability charity, that seem to have mostly men running them and it seems egos/control are heavily involved. Interestingly the local People’s Assembly doesn’t seem to have this so much, a mature, lovely Scottish woman at helm and a more “co-operative” feel to it. The DPAC local group I got involve din almost 3 years ago, barely has anyone in it that comes to meetings/does anything/want to be involved. Becasue I’m a reliable and enthusiastic person, I get and got taken advantage of, so I only gradually realised I was getting stuff dumped on me, but thought I could cope. That’s a simplistic snapshot of it, you can imagine much of the rest of it. We have a secretary who’s not online at all, yet I end up typing the minutes and sending out! Just in tha last day or two, I’ve had the disability charity (that we’re a member group of, as well as others, a coalition as it were) contacting me to find out why there’s an issue with the money/bank account (I know nothing of this) and that the County Council centre, where we have our monthly meetings, haven’t been paid for the room for last 3 months, so now I’m supposed to sort it out, very annoyed!! Am now waking up the fact that the CEO of this organisation wants his own agenda, run things his way, it’s not supposed to be political as a charity, but he is and is using DPAC etc., as foil for his interests, does all the media and speaking locally and further afield. We had the 3rd anniversary of the ATOS/Maximus protest at the inaccesible offices locally on Monday, had a brief meeting afterwards and I’m getting e-mails, to ask if I’ve got figures/needs of who’s going to London on 20th June for People’s Assembly, and is expecting me to go to a Peace Day this saturday, where his “charity” organisation and DPAC will have a stall. The fact that I don’t feel well enough/able/have grandchildren I help to deal with, has no bearing on it? Sorry to go on, but I heel that you Jayne and many others on here, will understand. As well as feeling annoyed and out upon, I feel angry and worried about where I go from here? I’m going to keep in with Unite Community, that’s just getting off ground here, the Claimants Union, when and if, as not really up to standing outside DWP office, but with DPAC locally only and this charity, I’m going to have to do serious thinking. I did send out an e-mail to my mailing list, usually no one responds, but did get 2 responses saying they had issues trying to do things with this charity, so not alone. Take care Jayne and all, hope we all keep in touch, even if only online.

    Liked by 1 person

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  27. There is a speck of light of hope that you might help to bring about.

    The only way the sole anti austerity leadership contender Mr Jeremy Corbyn – who won his seat with a good voting rate in Islington North London – was by a successful 38 Degrees petition to gain the required 5000 signatures.

    Another 38 Degrees petition has begun to encourage the around 86 undecided Labour MPs to endorse Jeremy Corbyn by a lot of the public signing the petition.

    Switch your moninaitons to Jeremy Corbyn
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/switch-your-nominations-to-jeremy-corbyn

    No other Labour leader – stuck in the failed New Labour – will bring Labour ever back into government.

    Jeremy Corbyn will be within the People’s Assembly anti austerity march on 20 June in London.

    As there are around 11 million disabled out there, threatened by Tories and New Labour alike, this candidate is the sole hope for England’s and Wales’ disabled.

    The SNP have looked after as far as they can, and more to come if extra Devo Max, in Scotland.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Pingback: National Disability Organisation | Tired Git

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