The Story of George Rolph (Part i)

George Rolph is a disabled 60 year old gentleman from Great Britain who began a hunger strike over a week ago in protest over the disgusting way that Atos, the IT company employed by the British ConDem government, for £100mil of British taxpayers money per annum, has treated him regards to his disability, by medical assessment as directed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Written on George’s Facebook page is the following statement:

Status Update
By George Rolph
An Announcement About My Protest
When I began my protest my aim was not hurt or cause distress to anyone but those who should be hurt and distressed because they deserve to be. Neither did I intend to take my life, but to give it in the service of others also suffering under the brutal and cruel regime of ATOS and the DWP.
I did not ask to be placed on disability benefit. My doctor made that decision when he gave me a sick note to take to the DHSS as it was then. He gave me that note because it was clear I could no longer hold down a job. I wanted to work but I just could not do so. I have PTSD.
I sought help for the PTSD but It was almost impossible to find any. This country is way behind America in that regard. My doctor got me a counsellor. She asked me to lay on a couch while she played dolphin music to me. I left in disgust. I wanted help coping with the symptoms, not to be a part of some new age hippy experiment.
I found a psychiatric drop-in centre nearby and went in and poured out my heart to a bored looking man who said virtually nothing. At the end, he left the office and returned shortly after with a piece of paper. He handed it to me; made it clear it was time for me to leave and showed me the door. When I got outside I looked at the paper. It was a list of books to read. One of the titles I remember was “How to contact your inner child.” I was stupefied that this was the level of care being offered to the sick by people being paid very handsome salaries. Sheer, disinterested laziness lay behind that book list!
I took the list to the Library and the girl took it to see if they could order them for me. Some of them cost over £60 one of them was over £100. She laughed and said the Library could not afford to buy books like this and said I needed a specialist reference Library. I threw the paper in the bin.
The level of benefits I was getting placed me just above the poverty line and sometimes, when many bills came together, below the poverty line. I watched my life going down the toilet.
I was eating rubbish food. Wearing second hand clothes bought from charity shops. I was never totally on top of bills, so to pay them I would have to eat beans on toast every day for two weeks and vitamin supplements. In Winter I was frightened of turning on the heating. I had a fridge-freezer that I turned onto the lowest safe setting to conserve electricity. I would never have more than one light bulb burning and those were energy saving bulbs. When my hoover burnt out I could no longer clean the carpet and I watched as the grime built up. I could not afford a new hoover.
In time you become inured to living in filth. You stop seeing it because you can do nothing about it. You just try to keep yourself clean and presentable to the world. I wore a false smile everyday so people would not know the strain I was feeling inside. I felt like half a man; a failure; but I went on in the hope that the future may get brighter some day.
One day I saw a job advertised. Working from home in Telesales. I decided to give it a go. Maybe, if I was working from home, I could fit the job around my symptoms. It was a big decision. If I took the job and could not handle it, I would lose all benefits. I took the risk. I worked very hard for three weeks and then I fell apart. It is the nature of PTSD that routines can be almost impossible to maintain. You cannot go night after night with little sleep and remain a fully functioning human being who rises at 7am and works to 5pm. I quit and I lost all benefits.
When my last pay cheque ran out I sat in a house with no power and no food wondering if I would starve or freeze to death first. Finally I went to a local church and began to beg. I had never felt so degraded in my life. An old Scottish couple heard my pleas and came to my rescue. Out of their own pockets they began shopping for three and they paid my power bills too. I now had heat, food and light again. I then went to war with the DHSS, won the battle and my benefits were restored after three more weeks. God bless that Scottish couple. They were a model of what Christianity is supposed to be.
My life returned to a routine of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Just trying to keep my head above water. I used to read reports in the media of people living a life of luxury on the dole and wonder how they managed it. I never read about what it is really like.
Of course, I saw through the government and media agenda on the subject. If they could blame those on the dole for daring to take it, they could hide the truth of what life was like for those honest people living on it. The government needed cash for wars, grand building projects, like high speed rail links and for fiddling their expenses. They did not want to give cash to the poor, but they also wanted to look like they did.
The art of spin.
Then one day the call came to visit an ATOS assessment centre in Croydon. I duly went along. I went without food for two days to pay for the train and bus fairs to get there, but they said I could claim those expenses back. I would have to wait three weeks to get those fairs back though.
I went, I sat through the interview. I passed.
Later I was called to do the same again.
I went, I sat through the interview. I passed.
Then again.
I went, I sat through the interview. I passed.
Then once more. Same questions. Same responses to those questions.
I failed!
They did not tell me there and then I had failed. I found out a month later at a compulsory job centre interview. I had drawn my last benefits that day. All benefits were now cut off.
I was in shock for three days. I could not read, let alone fill out the appeal form I had been given. I would stare at the form but the words would not penetrate my mind. My whole world was crumbling around me. The terrible implications for my immediate future were pounding at my mind.
Bailiffs banging on the door.
Power cut off.
No food.
Eviction for non payment of rent.
On the streets at sixty years old.
Dying in obscurity down an alley somewhere.
Why? Who did I hurt? Even criminals get a warm bed, three meals a day and clothing.
I was not stealing from anyone. In fact, when a friend gave me £20 for helping load a van when he moved house, I took £10 of it and handed it in the DHSS office in Bromley because I was not allowed to earn more that £10 a week. Why was I now being punished by ATOS for being sick and being honest?
How did I fail? There was no sense or logic to it. If I passed three times and nothing had changed, why had I failed on the forth occasion. This smelt of a whim. Someone at the assessment centre had made a decision that I was going to fail in order to meet their target. They met their target. I met horror.
How do they sleep?
I typed “Dealing with ATOS” into Google and I started reading. What I found horrified me. They had done this to thousands of people and people were dying!
Dear friend and supporter. I am going to make an announcement, but before I do so I want to strain your patience just a little longer. I want to show you what REAL criminal scroungers look like and then I want you to remember that this government and Prime Minister insists we remain a part of this villainous exercise, while at the same time they beat up the disabled in our own country.
This is part of a report from the Times newspaper.
February 22, 2009
By Jonathan Oliver (Times Online)
A LEAKED internal report has revealed systematic abuses by Euro MPs of parliamentary allowances that enable them to pocket more than £1m in profits from a single five-year term, writes Jonathan Oliver.
The auditor’s confidential report, suppressed by the Brussels parliament, discloses the extraordinary frauds used by MEPs to siphon off staff allowances funded by taxpayers.
It shows that some claimed for paying assistants of whom no record exists, awarded them bonuses of up to 1½ times annual salary and diverted public money into front companies.
An investigation into the abuses of staff allowances worth up to £182,000 a year — many of which are paid by MEPs to members of their family — was delivered in January last year but was not published.
A copy of the 92-page report, prepared by Robert Galvin, the parliament’s head of internal audit, has been seen by The Sunday Times. It reveals:
Payments were made to assistants who were not accredited with the European parliament and to companies whose accounts showed no activity.
End-of-year bonuses worth up to 19½ times monthly salary were paid to assistants to allow members to use up their full annual allowance.
Payments, supposedly for secretarial work, were made to a crèche whose manager happened to be a local politician from the MEP’s political party.
Payments were made straight into the coffers of national political parties.
Some assistants doubled their money by banking pay-offs from outgoing MEPs at the same time as receiving salaries from incoming ones.
One MEP claimed to have paid the full £182,000 staff allowance to one person, suspected of being a relative.
The revelations come as British MEPs look forward to an inflation-busting pay rise this year that could see their take-home pay rising by almost 50%.
In his report, Galvin said that overpayments of allowances were common, adding: “Remuneration paid may not always be justified by the real costs of providing parliamentary assistance.” He warned that abuses exposed the parliament to “financial, legal and reputational risk”.
The report was based on a representative sample of 167 payments — out of a total of 4,686 — made during October 2004. It suggests that Galvin unearthed only a tiny fraction of the many corrupt practices employed by some of the 785 members of the 27-nation parliament. His analysis of the 2004 figures then took years to surface within the secretive Brussels bureaucracy.
Dear friend. Can you see? We are being run by gangsters in expensive suits who are lining their own pockets while they strip all they can get away with from our own people. They are stealing your money while hypocritically blaming the poor for doing the same!
THAT is evil. No matter how you cut it, that is EVIL.
I fought back with the only weapon I had and decided to go on a hunger and water strike in protest and to try and alert as many people as possible to what is going on. I know that politicians willing to do these things are not going to listen to me. BUT I also know that if YOU raise your voices loudly enough they will HAVE TO listen to YOU!
However, there was a flaw in my strategy that I did not take into account. In doing this and making my time so short, I was actually going to be hurting the very people I needed to support me. I have been so moved by people who have been saying to me that they support me 100% but would I please just drink.
My dear friends Jess and Ian, who have been stalwarts in backing my protest have both carried a lot of anxiety about my health and I know many of you have also. One of the biggest problems has been the time factor that my hunger and water strike imposed. A maximum of just 12 days to live but probably shorter than that in reality.
After much soul searching I have decided to drink today, but I shall not eat until victory has been won. I gather I can expect to live for around 60 days without food. That should be enough time to mobilise a huge protest to get ATOS stopped and to demand retribution for the needless deaths that have already happened.
Murder is wrong! Officially sanctioned murder is just as wrong!
Please. Let us all fight back and for once, let the decent people be heard instead of those evil voices that con, deceive, lie and pervert our country and its values for their own ends.
We have to take our country back. This fight will be one step on that journey. I beg you. Help me to win it so we can help those who cannot help themselves.
George Rolph
27th May 2013.”

This man is prepared to give his own life in order that all of us receive fairness and equality…the very least we can do is stand behind him and offer him our support.

Please feel free to comment on this post and share it to all of your social networking sites.  Also, feel free to offer George your support directly: https://www.facebook.com/george.rolph.50

 

Obesity: Part 2

So, I went to a top London Hospital yesterday morning, booked in and at 10am, had my gastric band operation. The procedure went well, although finding a vein that would behave itself was rather difficult.  I spent the day in and out of consciousness, fighting the effects of the anesthetic, whilst fighting with my brain to shut up…it’s rather hard to know what it’s saying when a mask is helping to regulate the oxygen levels in your blood and your body has resigned itself to the sleepy bliss of the anesthesia.

I’m on a liquid only diet now for 2 weeks whilst the band and my stomach settles down to their new partnership. Tomato soup for breakfast is rather strange, but if it does what I need it to do, I’m all for waking up to soup every day!

I’m still very sore from the single incision, but after braving public transport and coming home today, I’m feeling rather positive about the days ahead and of what is expected of me.  My mind still thinks KFC would be heavenly, but thankfully, my brain is in charge here and is glad for the fluids that make sure my pain meds get into my system without a hitch.

I have to wear some rather unfashionable socks too to reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis…I’m looking at them right now and know what they scream – “Get off the PC before your feet swell so badly that we’ll have to cut off your blood supply!!” – that is my cue to go…although fat, I rather love these feet.

Free Events in the UK

With all of the doom and gloom going on around us, it’s important we balance the depressive with equal amounts of enjoyment and based upon the fact we’re all now having to tighten the purse strings, I thought I’d scour the net for a few FREE upcoming events all around the UK.

 

 

1000 Years Of The Art Of Japanese Books

Thursday 18th April 2013 – Saturday 22nd June 2013

At the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London WC1 H

For tickets call 020 7898 4046/4915

 

 

A Million Brushstrokes 2013: New Collection

Friday 5th April 2013 – Friday 31st May 2013

At Llewellyn Alexander, London SE1

For details call 020 7620 1322/1324

 

 

10th Anniversary Of The Invasion Of Iraq

Friday 5th April 2013 – Saturday 1st February 2014

At Imperial War Museum north, Manchester

For tickets call 0161 836 4000/4007

 

 

Images Of Industry: Talk

Friday 19th April 2013 at 7pm-9pm

At Blaenavon World Heritage Centre, Pontypool

For tickets call 01495 742 333

 

 

19th–21st Century British Drawings, Paintings, Prints and Sculpture

Friday 5th April 2013 – Friday 31st May 2013

At Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow

For Tickets Call 0141 221 3095

 

 

Mirrorball Showcase 1

Saturday 18th May 2013 at 7pm

At The Poetry Club, Glasgow

For details Email: jim@carruth.freeserve.co.uk

 

 

2013 artrepublic Visual Arts Prize Exhibition

(Part of Brighton Fringe Festival)

Saturday 1st June 2013 12pm-5pm

At Brighton Unitarian Church, Brighton

For Tickets Call 01273 917272

 

 

Paddy McCann: New Paintings

Friday 5th April 2013 – Saturday 20th April 2013

At Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast

For details call 028 9023 5245

 

 

360’ Cinema and Shows for Kids

(Part of Brighton Fringe Festival)

First show Sunday 19th May 2013 at 5.05pm

At Jubilee Square Brighton

For details of ALL shows, click here:

http://www.souldome.com/#!kids-360/c18ty

 

 

Grande Boucle

Thursday 2nd May 2013 – Saturday 1st June 1013

At Kemistry Gallery, London

For details call 020 7729 3636

 

 

Aberdeen Artists Society Annual Exhibition

Thursday 11th April 2013 – Saturday 29th June 2013

At Aberdeen Art Gallery, Aberdeen

For Tickets call 01224 523700

 

 

Patti Keane: The Song Of Los

Saturday 6th April 2013 – Saturday 27th April 2013

At Y Tabernacle, Machynlleth

For details call 01654 703355

 

 

Bare Bones Boogie Band

Saturday 4th May 2013 at 9.30pm

At the Brasenose Arms, Banbury

For details call 01295 750244

 

 

Sarah Pickstone: The Writers Series

Saturday 6th April 2013 – Sunday 12th May 2013

At New Art Centre, Sculpture Park and Gallery, Salisbury

For details call 01980 862244

 

 

Hannah Robbins: Verdi, Wagner, Poulenc

Thursday 18th April 2013 at 12.45pm

At Firth Hall, Sheffield University, Sheffield

For tickets call 0114 222 0499

 

 

Rahila Gupta: The Shining Path

Friday the 19th April 2013 at 2.30pm

Studio at St James Theatre, London SW1E

For details call 0844 264 2140

 

 

Abie Longstaff: Reading

Saturday 27th April 2013 at 11am

At Waterstones, Barnet

For more details call 020 8449 8229

 

 

It’s A Wonderful Life

Saturday 13th July 2013 – Sunday 25th August 2013

At The Gallery, Ripon

For details call 01765 689554

 

 

Call The World Brother

Saturday 27th April 2013 – Friday 14th June 2013

At Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown

For details call 01686 625041

 

 

Lubomyr Martinuk

Monday 8th April 2013 – Saturday 1st June 2013

At Balman Gallery, Corbridge

For details call 01434 634629

 

 

Absense versus Presence

Monday 8th April 2013 – Saturday 20th April 2013

At Frameless Gallery, London EC1 R

For details call 07974 976736

 

 

Eduardo Stupia: Reinventing Landscape

Friday 5th April 2013 – Saturday 27th April 2013

At Rosenfeld Porcini, London W1T

For details call 020 7637 1133

 

 

Africa: Exhibition

Saturday 18th May 2013 – Thursday 30th May 2013

At Newcastle Arts Centre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

For tickets call 0191 261 5618

 

 

Storytelling For Families: Kid In A Sweetshop (Over 3’s)

Saturday 30th April 2013 at 10.30am and 1.30pm

Room 31 at National Portrait Gallery, London WC2H

For details call 020 7312 2463

 

Danny Bryant’s Redeye Band

Friday 10th May 2013 at 10pm

At Bootleggers, 24 Finkle Street, Kendal

For details call 01539 723824

 

 

Stories From The Sea

Saturday 27th April 2013 at 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm

At Merseyside Maritime Museum, Liverpool

For details call 0151 478 4499

 

Degree Show 2013

Friday 14th June 2013 – Thursday 27th June 2013

At Peninsula Arts Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building at Plymouth University, Plymouth

For tickets call 01752 585050

 

 

Figuratively Speaking

Friday 5th April 2013 – Sunday 21st April 2013

At Byard Art, Cambridge

For details call 01223 464646

 

 

Script This

Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 6.30pm

At Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, Lincoln

For tickets call 01522 882000

 

 

For more events, I discovered a good website that allows you to search your local area: http://www.list.co.uk/events/

 

 

Petitions Against Austerity & Other Useful Links:

It isn’t enough anymore to sit and drink tea and dunk biscuits you can ill afford.  Complaining to your neighbours won’t change anything.  If we don’t stand up and be counted, there’ll be no one left to count, except the wealthier folks of our society of course and their hefty tax rebates.  There are plenty of e-petitions circulating the internet that would benefit from having your name added to them…100k signatures each means they can be presented to parliament and our collective voice will be heard.  So below are some such links…click them, read the blurb and finally, get off your arses and actually DO something about the cruel situation many of us find ourselves in.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Amnesty_UK_to_protect_the_human_rights_of_the_sick_disabled/?pv=7

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-uk-government-changing-the-law-retrospectively?source=facebook-share-button&time=1364294462

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-bedroom-tax-3

https://petition.avaaz.org/en/petition/Lets_have_a_vote_of_no_confidence_in_the_UK_coalition_government/?aoquXbb&external

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/iain-duncan-smith-iain-duncan-smith-to-live-on-53-a-week

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/41600

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-prime-minister-of-the-united-kingdom-either-sack-iain-duncan-smith-or-demand-his-resignation-2

 

 

 

For advice on how to avoid paying your Bedroom Tax:

 

http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/03/30/important-bedroom-tax-take-action-now-how-to-and-why-everyone-must-appeal-their-local-councils-bedroom-tax-decision/

 

 

Articles of Interest:

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/02/ten-lies-told-about-welfare

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/27/olympic-legacy-failed-jobs-london

http://www.walh.co.uk/Tenants/TheBedroomTaxMyth.htm

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130117/debtext/130117-0002.htm

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/iain-duncan-smith-should-look-1400558

http://lookingatreality.blogspot.co.uk/

http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

http://tompride.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/here-are-some-of-the-cabinet-millionaires-who-gave-themselves-a-tax-cut-today/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-true-story-of-the-bilderberg-group-and-what-they-may-be-planning-now/13808

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/farewell-to-the-nhs-19482013-a-dear-and-trusted-friend-finally-murdered-by-tory-ideologues-8555503.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2199596/89m-MPs-expenses-26-just-year.html

http://www.michaelmeacher.info/weblog/2013/03/what-have-disabled-people-done-to-be-punished-as-biggest-victims-of-cuts/

 

 

Rumour has it, on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, that our public posts are being “watched” by government employees wishing to minimise any damage our “honesty” might cause them.  Whilst I know not the truth about these rumours, I can confirm that several of my posts have already vanished and thus, I have decided to write here more often instead.  One was never given a voice to remain silent.

And while benefits are slashed by billions and wages are frozen, MP’s have requested a 32% pay increase at the expense of the taxpayer…and that’s after claiming over £89m in expenses already this year.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jan/10/mps-call-pay-rise-survey

They induce fear with their rules so the general public obey them; they demote any politician who stands up against the cuts and Great British mentality is allowing them to get away with such atrocities.  You won’t be able to obey or disobey when they’ve taken every penny off you, when you’ve sold your belongings in order to survive, when you’re homeless because you couldn’t afford to pay your rent, your Bedroom Tax, your Council Tax.  The way I see it…what have you to lose by backing the campaigns against the Tories other than what they’re forcing you to lose already?  At least fall with your dignity instead of by their dictation.

 

 

A little something for your amusement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bik9299kA0c

 

The future poverty of the impoverished – It beggars belief.

An Agonizing Ache of Adversity…

 

I’ve spent the past week or so closely watching the developments of the Government, Atos and media Vs The People of Great Britain, or should I say, the most vulnerable people of Great Britain, being the unemployed, the disabled and all low income families. I wasn’t afforded such an education at school and so, have been playing “catch up” in the hours when normal people sleep.

It’s true to say that the banks got our country into debt and yet employees still retain their bonuses whilst the aforementioned “vulnerable” people of our society are expected to foot the bill, even at the cost of their health and in some cases, their life.

I’d like to share some links with you, so you can read for yourself exactly what has been going on:

  1. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/disabled-people-have-never-had-it-so-bad
  2. http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2013/mar/23/tax-credits-benefits-budget-cuts-april-council-tax-bedroom?INTCMP=SRCH
  3. http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/03/tragedy-alice
  4. http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/03/24/how-the-nhs-will-be-quietly-privatised-from-april-1st-while-the-media-ignores-it/
  5. http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2013/03/chancellor-eyes-up-welfare-for-fresh-cuts/
  6. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-wasted-700m-fund-1781725#.UU5UhFZIIn4.twitter
  7. http://www.openrightsgroup.org/blog/2013/royal-charter-or-star-chamber-for-stars
  8. http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/03/23/amputee-in-bolton-declared-fit-to-work-and-has-his-benefits-cut/
  9. http://england.shelter.org.uk/news/march_2013/sharp_rise_in_number_of_homeless_families
  10. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/21/jobcentre-set-targets-benefit-sanctions

 

It makes for stark reading huh?

Not only are the poorest in society being forced to pay the debt, they’re also being forced out of their homes, even with children. People are being forced in to slave labour and to top it all off, writers are to be silenced, so the Government’s treatment of us can go unchecked.

Benefit Fraud is at 0.5% and yes, we have quite the percentage of people out of work…yet work is being out-sourced to companies such as Atos.  A Coffee house advertised 7 positions within 1 coffee shop and 1300 people applied for them.  There isn’t sufficient employment available for all of the UK’s currently unemployed people…and still Atos are deeming the sick and disabled as “fit to work”. If it is the intention to recover the deficit, then make the one who got us into this mess also be the one to get us out of it. Or if it’s a case of depopulating the UK, then send home those who shouldn’t be here. Instead of  stripping us of our dignity and treating us as less than wild animals.

So I ask you, in your heart of hearts, do you think it is ok for the people to be treated in this manner? If the answer is “yes”, then I truly pity you.  And if it’s “no”…then why are you on this page reading me when you could be signing the many e-petitions set up so that the average “Joe” can have his voice?

I, for one, refuse to be silenced…because without my voice, me and my family won’t survive and as a mother, it is my duty to ensure we do.

Atos…so sue me.

Atos are the Information Technology (IT) company paid £100m per year by David Cameron and the ConDem UK Government to determine whether disabled people are “fit to work”. In their own words and from their own website, they describe their company as “Atos SE (Societas europaea) is an international information technology services company with annual 2012 revenue of EUR 8.8 billion and 76,400 employees in 47 countries. Serving a global client base, it delivers hi-tech transactional services, consulting and technology services, systems integration and managed services. With its deep technology expertise and industry knowledge, it works with clients across the following market sectors: Manufacturing, Retail, Services; Public, Health & Transports; Financial Services; Telecoms, Media & Technology; Energy & Utilities.”

This kind of health assessment process makes a mockery, not only of the disabilities UK people suffer from, but also of the professional abilities of the doctors who have medically assessed their patients needs and health conditions for years.

Atos have threatened to sue the hosts of sites that challenge their decisions regards to peoples disabilities and as a result, a lot of these sites have since closed down, taking with them the public forums largely visited by those who have been wrongly deemed as “fit for work”. First, they take away their means to survive day to day and then they add insult to injury by taking away their support networks.

I personally don’t hold Atos completely responsible for the situation they currently find themselves in…afterall, they have been employed by the UK Government, who I believe are allowing Atos to be the scapegoats for their bad decisions. Yet I do believe they need to take some responsibility for the way they treat others when attempting to conceal the truth of the situation. I also believe they should reconsider their connection with the UK Government.  If Atos, by their own admission, have an annual income of EUR 8.8 billion, then what is £100m to them, if not a liability in the long term?

David Cameron makes an outward show of disgust when discussing the breeches to Human Rights in the Middle East, yet here he is in the UK treating his own citizens in an equally atrocious manner.  If you were the boss of Atos, would you wish to be linked so directly to the despicable Mr Cameron?

 

http://atos.net/en-us/

Obesity: Part 1

I shall be having Bariatric surgery this weekend in the form of a gastric band…this is the start of my journey of survival and one I wish to share here for all others who are overweight and considering their options.

In 2008-2010 I had heart problems and over time, due to inactivity as a result of those problems, I gained weight that exacerbated other conditions, including the slanted spine that I was born with.  I became depressed and ashamed of the way I looked and decided to do something about it.  So I tried new diets, including Xenical Reductil tablets that I bought on the internet for £100 per month’s supply.  When those didn’t work, I went to see my GP.

My GP told me that prior to a referral for a gastric band, I was expected to fill a certain criteria, so firstly I was sent to see a Health Adviser who discussed healthy eating with me.  During those 10 sessions, I learned everything I already knew – I wasn’t fat because of a bad diet, but because of inactivity.  As part of her job, she had to give feedback to my GP, stating that I had engaged in all of the sessions and had made progress in my quest to be healthier.

Upon returning to my GP, I found he had left and another doctor had taken his place.  The new doctor insisted he’d made the referral for a gastric band for me but insisted I again fill a certain criteria and referred me to see a nutritionist.  After several phone calls and missed appointments due to miscommunication, the nutritionist told me they were unable to help me because I was not able to engage in 1 hour’s strenuous exercise after each consultation with them.  So I again returned to my GP.

By this point I was very depressed with the situation and things got worse when my doctor advised me to eat less.  It had been assumed that I was overweight because I ate too much and I’d been conveniently stereotyped as “just another greedy fat person costing the NHS £1000’s”.  My GP made some excuse about the hospital’s computer system being updated and my gastric band referral not reaching them as a result.  He also suggested I be tested for Diabetes Type II, that “fat person’s disease”.  Suffice to say, I stopped visiting my GP.

When I related my experiences to a friend of mine, they kindly told me to research the private healthcare sector and get some quotes and offered to pay for the procedure as a gift to me and a healthier future.  This I did, chose the one I believe to be the best in the UK, and we booked a consultation.

I am currently 122.4kg in weight with a BMI of 36.6…apparently, on the NHS, you have to have a BMI of 50 before you can even be considered for bariatric surgery, regardless of any medical condition you might have.  I believe this to be unfair, same as I believe it unfair to stereotype every overweight person…we aren’t all greedy and lazy…some of us have real reasons why we have ended up in the position we are in.  When one is in severe physical pain every time they exercise, it becomes a catch-22 situation. No exercise means no weight loss regardless of whatever diet one chooses to partake in.

I’d be interested to hear your views on this topic and share in your experiences and suggestions.  I pay my taxes and thus, have a right to my voice…even if the powers that be disagree.

Normality, so easily defined.

It’s been a while since I posted anything…not because I have nothing to say, but because people are “normal” and don’t make the effort to interact…without other voices, how can this work as it’s supposed to?

I was on Facebook several days ago and saw people posting pictures that contained captions…most were about David Cameron and his apparent inability to make realistic and achievable decisions regards to who should be responsible for making up the “deficit” (debt) that this country has purportedly acquired for itself.  Captions that referred to bedroom tax – where people are expected to pay for any empty bedrooms in their house, yet it doesn’t mention all of the empty bedrooms in Mr Cameron’s 4 houses.

I believe a leader should set by example…and if he’s not prepared to pay the same taxes he enforces on everyone else, then he shouldn’t expect anyone else to pay them either.

Another caption was a quote supposedly uttered by Cameron himself regards to the latest British meat scandal, where horse meat is being sold as beef and used in our supermarkets.  The quote read as “if the poor are hungry, let them eat horse.” I’d like to be quoted too – “If you are hungry Mr Cameron, best you eat horse and if it fulfills the need, encourage the people of Great Britain to do the same.”

We fight for equality and yet we allow ourselves to be treated inferior by those who pride themselves in being “upper class”.

Many on Facebook liked and shared those pictures…yet none have the courage to stand by their opinions and raise their voice in the hope that together, we can change the way we are dictated to. Disagreeing with anything never matters to anyone when it is done in silence and behind the safety of a computer screen.

I have the courage to stand by all of my opinions, even if 99% of the population disagree with them…take for example the new Council Tax bill – I received a letter at the beginning of the week informing me that I shall be responsible for paying my Council Tax, even though I was born disabled.  I am no longer entitled to my 25% single occupancy discount because my son is now 18, even though he is in full time education. I received a direct debit form with that letter and was instructed to set up a standing order immediately, even though the amount I am supposed to pay has not yet been calculated. It’s illogical…what do they expect me to do, pay something so that they can then have an indication of what I might be able to afford and then charge me that same amount every month? Or send in the bailiffs for non-payment of an indefinite amount that isn’t even due for another month?

I remember back in the days of Thatcher, when the country was in uproar because she liked to pinch pennies from the poor to benefit the rich…whether the details are the same or not, it doesn’t matter…the principles are the same and once again, we’re the ones who voted them in to power. David Cameron will still have full pockets and 4 houses when his term in office has expired, but what of the people he’s forcing to pay the whole country’s debts from monies they simply do not have?

The future of this country actually scares me and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Clive Henry versus UPS:

I read that you worked for UPS for 11 years prior to the problems that arose when they merged with Lynx Courier (another company).  Tell me what they were like as employers during this time and how you felt working for them:

I started working for UPS in 1998 as a Customer Service Agent. I was very proud to work for a company that was globally recognised. I got on well with all people from management to staff and had respect for everyone, including the cleaning staff.

Would you say you loved your job?

I loved my job dearly and as a result of my total time at UPS I received seven 100% certificates during my eleven year period.

Isn’t it true to say, that while the merger was taking place in 2008, you were given the responsibility to supervise the merge of all Lynx Courier accounts in your department?

It is true that I was given responsibility to supervise the merger in my department. I was sent to a meeting with all of the Area Managers and the Sales Director, who went through how important this project’s success was to UPS and that this was a number one priority.

So it’s true to say that they perceived you to be a valued and trusted member of staff?

In my department I was often referred to as “The Oracle” because I was the person that management and staff alike would ask for help on things. I came to the sales department from The International Problem Resolution Department. This job was to get parcels delivered in transit on import or export that had some delay. Being from that background was an asset to the Sales Department.

What is a PIP and how did it come about that you received one?

For the uninitiated, Performance Improvement Plans are a program that you put an employee on so you can closely monitor their work because somebody, somewhere, has determined that they aren’t cutting it and need remedial help.
My new manager, whom was the Director of Lynx Couriers decided to use a PIP to set up the framework to boot me out the door.

And was this authorised by Human Resources?

The PIP was not authorised by Human Resources. This made alarm bells ring because the UPS culture had always been a tight ship regarding Human Resources.

In previous interviews, you described your warning letter as being “smudged”, what precisely do you mean by this?

The warning letter looked like it had been deliberately smudged with a thumb mark over my name. I know accidents can happen, but under the circumstances of everything that had happened and understanding that the manager had a personal vendetta against me from me being the only person ever being placed on a PIP, the highest target ever in the department and being shouted at when I asked “If I am the only one on the PIP” I can only go on opinion based on what facts were presented before me.

Tell me what happened between then and when you resigned in March 2010:

Jan, 2009 I raised the issue with HR and I started to have anxiety attacks. My sleeping patterns were messed up and I was also signed off sick from my doctor. He saw the smudged letter and made notes about it. I had an appeal meeting with my previous manager whom apologized about the letter and advised she would investigate my claims and get back to me.
At the same time my mother had a heart attack and had to have emergency surgery to fix her heart valve. This was my worst period of my life and cannot describe, or wish to go back to that period.
I went to work as normal, keeping the secret that my mother had undergone surgery, as I felt I was under watchful eyes of management and staff.
I received an email from HR to advise the conclusion for the appeal was: “We will remove the warning but you will be placed back on the PIP with realistic goals.”
I then emailed HR to ask for the UPS corporate details to escalate to Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Ten minutes later I got a call to ask for an emergency meeting.  Nine days later we had the emergency meeting with HR, My manager, my previous manager and a staff member.
In that meeting I explained that I was not happy about the appeal conclusion and being placed back on the PIP. My previous manager said “Ignore that line”. I said I’m taking what you have given in writing so after verbally telling them of my disgust of the whole situation and how it had been handled, my manager was forced to apologise. I refused his apology because he did not mean it and if I did not escalate with HR, this emergency meeting would not have taken place! I closed the meeting by producing a letter to raise a grievance against my manager. After the meeting I also asked HR for the UPS corporate details to send them the information I’d gathered up to that point, but she gave me the UK office and HR manager contact.
I posted the letter and followed up with an email to get confirmation that the documents were received. The answer I got back was that the documents were received and what should I do with them? This made alarm bells ring because no HR manager would reply with such an answer. I checked the UPS organisation chart and realized I had been given false information. At this point I decided to take a day off work and make my application to the Nottingham Tribunal. I also posted the documents to the UPS Corporate office in America and received an email confirmation thanking me for bringing this to their attention.
The Tribunal case was open on May 14, 2009. I continued to work there under great pressure from the job and also from the fact that I was moved to a desk outside of a manager’s office. I trusted nobody, but did my job duties to the high standard that I always worked to.
My last day at UPS was March 18, 2010. One week before the tribunal case on March 23 – 25, 2010.

When you represented yourself at the Race Discrimination Tribunal several weeks later, you claimed that the judge deliberately dismissed key evidence.  Can you tell us precisely what evidence was dismissed?

The judge ignored the whole evidence. Just to let people know, the case bundle is 99.9% of UPS documentation showing that all of my claims are true. The UPS witness statements and their witness testimony in court shows how strong my case is and how weak and guilty UPS are. This was my reason to represent myself because it’s such a blatant discrimination case, that even if I were Caucasian it would still be discrimination.

At this stage, how did you feel towards the people who had previously treated you as an asset to their team?

My spirit was crushed. Some of the managers involved with this had known me for years. To see them side with the manager and his wrong-doing made me angry and physically sick. With what I have gone through I don’t trust easily and I have no expectations that people will treat me in a correct manner.

How did all of this impact on your emotional well being?

Since this has happened I find it hard to relax. I always have to be busy so the mind doesn’t wonder to this past experience. I became very withdrawn. Time is a great healer. I’m now feeling slightly better.

Did you appeal against the Tribunal’s decision? And if so, what happened next?

I did appeal with the help of my MP, but was only given a verbal hearing. The judge stood by the decision of the Nottingham judge and didn’t care. I did have a free representation lawyer at that court but he decided to pull out 5 minutes before the hearing.
I represented myself again and stated my case. The court clerk and the note taker looked angry, confused and amazed as they heard my case. I told the judge I will go further!

Has your case and appeal been given a date to be heard yet in the Court of Appeal in London?

In March, 2011. The Court of Appeal and The European Commission opened cases.
October 2012. The court of Appeal closed the case stating you are not likely to be successful. In November, 2012 The European Commission close the case with an explanation that I need to go back to the UK courts. The European commission is meant to investigate and pass this onto The European Court for Human Rights.

What things have you done since the start of this ordeal to bring it to light to the general public?

After realizing that a judge can be as bias and corrupt as the next man, I decided to go public with my story. In September 2011, I got my story published in The Minority Perspective, The Voice and Afro News in the UK and The Hinterland Gazette in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
With the online links for these publications, I then used Twitter @clivehenry1 to network this story to the masses to raise awareness that things like this are happening. I gained a lot of support on Twitter from Human Rights groups, celebrities, companies and the general public. The story has been re-tweeted in its millions. I also made contact with and have done two radio pod casts, The Dr Vibe Show (Toronto, Canada) and Awaked Radio (Alabama, USA).

I also know that you sent a complaint to the European Commission for Human Rights in Brussels…what is the progress with that so far?

The European commission is meant to investigate and pass this onto The European Court for Human Rights. This case is now closed.

Based upon the evidence I’ve seen so far, the interviews and articles and the original paperwork itself, I truly believe that you’ve been a victim of blatant racial discrimination in the workplace.  By pursuing the truth, what do you hope to achieve in the long term?

What I hope to achieve is setting a precedent to help amend and expose the system for the flaws in how justice is carried out. For people to have a different perception of the law and for them to be able to analyse how things work. Also, to know that through sheer hard work and determination, you can make a difference. I have received so many messages of support and messages that I have inspired people, the compensation I may receive if I win this case is not important.
We live in a world that has a dark side behind closed doors and regardless of race, innocent people are being destroyed. We need a system that is more transparent or that is monitored better so judges are made accountable, and not a law unto themselves.

What advice would you give to anyone else who found themselves in a similar position to yours?

My advice to anyone that suffers discrimination in the workplace is:

1. Make HR aware of the situation ASAP
2. Seek legal advice from the Citizen’s advice bureau. Don’t be afraid to take legal action if the workplace is delaying to resolve the situation.
3. Make as many people aware of the problem as possible. Either public bodies, company share holders or media.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I would like to thank so many people for their love and support to help me get through this. I have just found out that my application to The European Court for Human Rights was successful and the case is now open from January 2013. It’s a long road to fight for justice but we must all play our part if this world is to improve for the future generations.

Links for case:

http://thedrvibeshow.com/vibe-and-vegas-show-clive-henry/ Radio interview about the UPS racism scandal. No.1 listeners in the shows history or Google: Clive Henry UPS
www.voice-online.co.uk/article/no-special-delivery UPS Human Rights scandal in the UK’s No.1 Black News & please Google: Clive Henry UPS

 

Hate Before Acceptance.

Isn’t it true to say that we automatically assume the worst of people?

Most people judge others – that’s a fact.

They judge strictly upon their own standards and experiences – again, a fact.

People hate in others what they hate within themselves – another fact.

I’m under no illusion, that in order to succeed here, I first have to have my fair share of haters.  I actually welcome it…for without argument, without judgement, there is no debate.

I’ve often been judged by others, I accept it, after all it is par for the course of “life”.  I’ve seen and heard the judgements: “she’s weird because she’s a writer.” and “oh…a poet? that means she’s a freak!”  I spent many years willing and hoping that I would be accepted by my peers for what I do and more so, for who I am…yet I, like many many others, am guilty of pride-polishing the ideal and not the reality.  I accept me and that should be all that matters.

After many years of being invisible, I finally have the gift of VOICE and I have every intention of using it to its full potential, hopefully to improve the lives of others, even if that means I have to have scorn thrown at me.

So I ask:  Why do we believe we have the right to judge others?  Is it because we are insecure of selves? Do we feel inferior to every person we ever encounter? Does being “different” scare us? And if so, why? Shouldn’t we focus instead on becoming better people instead of trying to make someone else seem inferior to ourselves?

We judge a man for the colour of his skin, for his religion, for his fashion sense, for his education, for his weight, for his wage. We place man within a “class” system according to his materialistic worth and worst of all, we stereotype everything and everyone.

I am a widowed white single mother to 3 mixed race children, a poet, an author, a home renter.  I pay my tax and abide by the law…yet general consensus states (I have heard it with my own ears) that I am “a shriveled up old prostitute whose black pimp has dumped her for a younger model and now she sponges off the state”.

I personally care not for the labels others choose to stick along my brow…yet so many peoples lives are dictated by stereotype and for them, it has devastating and often catastrophic effects.

Maybe I am stupid…or maybe you just hope I am.  Tell me, why is our society so hellbent on shaping everybody and everything into categories deemed as “acceptable to the masses”?

Who are we to judge anyone? And what then gives us the right to punish others for our assumptions?