Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The irony of April 1st - continued.

I wrote that post 2 years ago.... I mentioned the Neil Kinnock speech - I mentioned the things that have been highlighted at the time. Since the 7th May, we have seen this speech again - and again.... and the world has gotten just that little bit darker, colder and more desperate for the 99%.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

The irony of April the 1st!

I found this on twitter this morning!! It was posted by @planetpmc and they are definitely worth a follow!
Here it is - I think it sums up the steep decline this country is heading down and it makes me really sad!

Most people remember Neil Kinnock as the prat who fell over in the sea at Brighton and lost Labour the general election in 1992. However, he could also be a fine orator (“Well, orrrl riiight!” excepted). As a young shadow cabinet member in 1983 he gave the speech of a lifetime, outlining his vision of what the predicted Thatcher landslide victory would mean for the country. It is now rightly recognised as one of the greatest speeches since World War II. It is now as relevant as it was then. It is now that we must act.
If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as Prime Minister, I warn you.
I warn you that you will have pain - when healing and relief depend on payment.
I warn you that you will have ignorance - when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right.
I warn you that you will have poverty - when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a Government that won't pay, in an economy that can't pay.
I warn you that you will be cold - when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don't notice and the poor can't afford.
I warn you that you must not expect work - when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don't earn, they don't spend. When they don't spend, work dies.
I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light.
I warn you that you will be quiet - when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient.
I warn you that you will have defence of a sort - with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding.
I warn you that you will be home-bound - when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up.
I warn you that you will borrow less - when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.
If Margaret Thatcher wins, she will be more a Leader than a Prime Minister. That power produces arrogance and when it is toughened by Tebbitry and flattered and fawned upon by spineless sycophants, the boot-licking tabloid Knights of Fleet Street and placement in the Quangos, the arrogance corrupts absolutely.
If Margaret Thatcher wins -
I warn you not to be ordinary.
I warn you not to be young.
I warn you not to fall ill.
I warn you not to get old.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Tories’ ‘bedroom tax’ to hit more than 1000 Reading households


17 February 2013

Tories’ ‘bedroom tax’ to hit more than 1000 Reading households - Labour

596 Council tenants and 412 Housing Association tenants in Reading Borough will be hit if the Tories’ new ‘bedroom tax’ comes into effect this April, says Reading West Parliamentary candidate Victoria Groulef. Those affected will include families with disabled children who cannot be share a bedroom for medical reasons, couples who cannot share a bedroom for medical reasons, and foster carers who need a bedroom for a foster child.

Under the new scheme, households classed as ‘under-occupying’ are no longer supported through Housing Benefit for any ‘extra’ rooms. Victoria Groulef says “I have spoken to many people across Reading West who will be hit by these changes, many are wondering how they will be able to cope. They include people with a disabled family member and foster carers who will have to pay the bedroom tax on a bedroom occupied by a child they are fostering. The Tories are living up to their image of being the nasty party and both they and their Lib Dem partners are totally out of touch with the real impact of this policy on ordinary people.”
Lead Councillor for Housing Rachel Eden will be moving a resolution on this issue (attached) at the next Council meeting on 26 February. She says: “The ‘bedroom tax’ is simply unfair. Over a thousand families, in Reading Borough alone, are going to be put in real difficulty. The government’s own analysis estimates that two-thirds of those affected will have a disability and the funds available to help people will be far too little to help them all. If families end up moving into the private rented sector it will actually cost the public purse more in Housing Benefit, so it may not even save any money. Sadly the Conservatives haven’t thought this policy through and it’s going to result in real misery for many people.”

Lead Councillor for Education and Children’s Services John Ennis will be backing the resolution because many foster carers have spoken to him about the bedroom tax and he has promised to take their concerns forward. “Foster carers play a vital role in looking after children in care,” he says, “and I can hardly believe the government is not taking that into account.”

For information on Reading Labour Party and its campaigns visit

Rachel Eden’s resolution to Council
This council notes that:
1. The ‘bedroom tax’ is due to take effect from April this year.
2. It will affect anyone of working age (below 61 ½) deemed to be ‘underoccupying’ a social housing home this is 596 council tenants and 412 housing association households in every part of Reading borough.
3. That those families with a disabled child who should not be sharing a bedroom for medical reasons are not exempt from this.
4. That those couples who need an extra bedroom because of one of them having a medical condition or disability are not exempt from this.
5. That foster carers are not exempt from this.
6. That the Berkshire authorities have recently launched a joint campaign to recruit foster carers
7. That this council is committed to supporting all residents both children and adults, including those with disabilities and medical needs.
8. That the discretionary payments fund that the Tory-led government has made available is estimated to cover less than a quarter of those affected by the bedroom tax.
9. That the government’s own equality impact assessment estimates that 2/3rds of households affected will have a member with a disability.
10. That many independent analysts are predicting that households will move into the private rented sector, costing more and that care needs for many disabled people will increase, again costing more.
11. That there is not an excess supply of small properties available for households to move to in Reading.
Council therefore believes:
1. That the bedroom tax will unfairly hit many people including foster carers, families with disabled children, disabled veterans and other adults with disabilities.
2. This policy may well end up costing the public purse more.
3. That this policy will penalise foster carer’s who do so much to support this town’s most vulnerable children at a time when we want to recruit more.
4. That disabled people – both adults and children – deserve respect and not to be penalised for their medical needs.
5. That both housing associations and this council will have more difficulty in keeping arrears down, damaging services for all tenants.
Council therefore resolves to:
1. Mandate the Managing Director of the council to write to the secretary of state outlining our concerns and urgently requesting that the bedroom tax is suspended.
2. Mandate the lead councillor for housing and neighbourhoods to write to the borough’s MPs outlining our concerns and asking that they lobby for their affected constituents and push for the bedroom tax to be suspended.
3. To encourage housing associations to be proactive in supporting their tenants.
4. Request that housing, housing benefit and children’s services work together to look at foster carer’s individual situations to provide support to them.
5. To write to all affected council tenants inviting them to meet and discuss their individual situations and offer advice and support.
6. To ask officers to hold surgeries in accessible locations around town to encourage face to face contact with tenants who are affected.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Here is a letter I have emailed to Alok Sharma (soon to be FORMER Reading West MP, hopefully!) this morning - asking for his position on the changes to the Probation service.
It will be the first of many I will be writing, asking about the 'stealth' privatisation that is taking place of services in this country - Please feel free to send one to your MP - you can find their details on
If you have any concerns about local or national issues, Please drop me a line and I will be glad to 'Get on my SoapBox' for you!

I'll let you know what he says!


                                     Wednesday 9 January 2013

Dear Alok Sharma,

I was really shocked to hear Chris Grayling on Radio 4 this morning
discussing the 'break up' of the Probation service in the UK. I am
extremely concerned regarding this and would like to know your
opinion/position on this.
I would be grateful if you would sign the above Early Day Motion
(Performance of the Probation Service – EDM 622)which says:
“That this House welcomes the news that the Probation Service in
England and Wales won the British Quality Foundation Gold Medal for
Excellence in 2011; notes that no Probation Trust is deemed to be
failing or in need of improvement; further notes that each Probation
Trust in England and Wales is meeting its target on the production of
court reports, victim satisfaction and the successful completion of
orders or licences; and acknowledges the achievements of the Probation
Service in England and Wales for carrying out its work efficiently and
The Probation Service has performed very well in recent years. Indeed
it won the British Quality Foundation (BQF) Gold Medal for Excellence
in October 2011. This award is given to an organisation in recognition
of its outstanding, continued, commitment to sustained excellence over
a number of years.

Evidence from the Ministry of Justice shows that the Probation Service
met virtually all its targets during 2011-12. The figures for all
Trusts show that victim feedback in 2011-12 was positive in 98% of
cases; that 49% of offenders were in employment at the termination of
their orders; that 89% had accommodation and that 82% of orders or
licences were successfully completed during the period.  Completion
targets were also met or exceeded on the vast majority of probation
programmes. The service was set a target of 90% in terms of court
reports timeliness and was successful in 99% of cases. In terms of
reoffending, the actual rate was better than the predicted rate
nationally and in all but five probation areas three-quarters of orders
or licences were successfully completed. 

The Probation Service is relatively small, but has a caseload in excess
of 240,000, and last year wrote nearly a quarter of a million court
reports. The service has been in existence since 1907 and available
information from the Ministry of Justice suggests that it is performing
more effectively than ever.

I am therefore very concerned that plans in the future involve
fragmenting Probation, which could undermine all its achievements and
compromise public protection.

I  was delighted to hear the BQF saying:  “The Probation Service … are
on the right path to achieving and sustaining excellence and
essentially to being the best providers of these essential services”. I
would be really grateful therefore if you could sign the Early Day
Motion 622 or, if that is not possible, if you could explain why your
support will not be given.

Best wishes

Eileen McElligott
Reading West Constituent and Reading Borough Councillor

The Tumbleweed rolls over the phrase ' We are all in this together'.

Yesterday saw the Tories and Liberal Democrats (sorry not all - I think there were 6 LIB DEM MPs who didn't vote for the bill) bring in the biggest 'real terms' cut to both IN WORK (let's make this perfectly clear to anyone who might not have realised this - IN WORK benefits ) and out of work (working age) benefits.

Polls carried out show that as these changes are introduced, with them comes a huge amount of poisonous talk of strivers vs skivers. People are being fed misinformation as to this 'easy life' that people on the 'dole' have, When times are hard, people always look to blame someone or something;

It's Labours fault, they got us into this mess ( what the GLOBAL Financial Crisis was caused by the Labour Government???? - Please - move on from that broken record )

It's a Global Problem - No shit sherlock.... so let's not blame the poorest in our society for what is a much bigger problem.

It's the Public sector workers fault - them with their BIG gold plated pensions........ Let's give them a pay freeze/change their pension contributions/ Let everyone know what an easy ride they have had - and now that the Omni-shambolic Tory/LibDem union is driving this train, we don't take passengers.

It's the unemployed people's fault - We need to cut our spending/tighten our belts and they need to start pulling their weight - especially those ones who are 'pretending to be disabled/unable to work' Lets' get ATOS and A4E in to 'help them' .... and what happened ...... people are being told they are fit to work, when clearly they are not, people are being forced into workfare programs - which do not assist in getting them back into employment but just provide 'free' labour for the companies involved.

I strongly believe that the mask has now completely slipped from the Tory Party and we see them for what they are... a Party with a self serving 'I'm all right Jack, Screw you !' mentality. Know your enemy, that's what my Dad says. Now there can be NO mistake what this current government cares about and where it's focus is.

I for one, am not going to sit back and keep quiet! I intend to make sure that I highlight the inaccuracies in the information that is shared with the public, both in my ward and in Reading as a whole... It's time to dust off the Soap box and 'Get on it!'

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Everyone has to start somewhere !

Everyone has to start somewhere !

I thought it's about time that I started to blog- well everyone else is and I hate being left out......
Also it's a good way for me to share my opinions - another thing I love to do. 
I thought I would start with my take on the whole Andrew Mitchell situation. Now leaving to one side the role that he plays and the party that he plays for  (just to give the impression of non bias!) I have taken the time to listen to the news and to read what's being said...
In synopsis, it seems clear that he did swear at a couple of policeman (now let's be clear - not just swearing near them - swearing at them) and as far as I am aware that is an arrestable offence in this country. I know this because I know of many people who have been arrested for such behaviour. So why not him ? How is it  that someone just because of the position that they hold, be above the law? how can it also be true that his bosses are saying things along the lines of  ' move along please, nothing to see here!' 

I remember a while ago now that Boris Johnson gave this big speech about how swearing at policeman is not acceptable - Is that not acceptable unless you are in the Tory party?? Is that not a case of, one rules for them and one rule for us? 

This links to an interesting story in the Guardian on the subject ;
and don't get me wrong - I am the first one to hang a ' thank God, I'm not one of them' label on the Tories....... but this isn't just about Class. I don't care that he's a rich bloke who thinks that's it's ok to use language like #PLEB - to be honest, I can't remember the last person that I heard use that term. I would have the same disdain for anyone who reacts in that way to someone 'doing their job!'
He has this superior attitude which means he think's that it's ok to look down on someone doing their job....Its' not just that he swore at a copper. I would be equally as outraged if he's taken his frustrations out on a cabby who'd stopped in the way of his bike, or a nurse who treated the ignorant individual if he'd fallen off his bike on the way home. 
Societies fall apart when people stop treating each other as people - and this is a prime example of that . The fact that he holds a senior position in the ruling Party of this country makes it all the more damaging in my book. How are we expected to teach our young disaffected youths, looking at a bleak future thanks to Tory policy that they should be respectful to their fellow citizens - when Andrew Mitchell behaves like this, and Cameron looks the other way