Month: February 2017

Universal Credit, Universal Rip Off

For a change, I’m spending a weekend in Hastings and catching up on house stuff.  It was good last week revisiting Hornsey Road and it sparked a good reaction within the Facebook Tolly Park and George Orwell School group.  I have another urban walk planned between Hornsey Road to Highgate Cemetary for a few months time.  One thing that did strike me is the number of international visitors getting off at Holloway Road tube to visit the Arsenal stadium.  I’m not calling it anything else!

We were expecting a student from Saudi Arabia for three months to arrive today but his mother wanted to come too and we weren’t prepared to have them together, I still don’t know if a taxi driver will knock on our door at 8 tonight with a 17 year old so just as well I’m planning a night in.

A headline in this weeks Guardian stated ”25 million books are missing from UK libraries – but who’s counting?”  I used to visit the library in Manor Gardens quite a bit when I lived in the Andover Estate.  It also had a record library.  It’s time to confess.  If a librarian somewhere is looking for a copy of Look Sharp by Joe Jackson it’s still being borrowed by me.


This week I had my first experience of Universal Credit.  This is the benefit that pays Housing Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance in one payment.  It is being piloted in Hastings and a few other areas.  Already I have it on good authority that there are people sleeping rough in Hastings because landlords are not prepared to wait 6-8 weeks for their first rent payments to be made.  You have to make applications online.  Which is fine but if you have a learning difficulty quite a challenge.  You then have to go through ID verification process that breaks down because most of the people I’m assisting don’t have a credit history and no record of paying utility bills.  You can then ring a number for assistance.  But you have to wait up to half an hour to get through.  At 45p a minute.  That could be £13 for a phone call about a benefit that pays you as little as £57 per week.  And my local authority issued mobile is blocked from making calls to premium rate numbers.  Universal Credit?  More like Universal Rip Off.




Good morning all, the weekend is here. A busy week and one where my mum continues to make a recovery from her operation last weekend.  I’ll be heading for the glamorous confines of the North Middlesex tomorrow.

It’s been an eventful week news wise.  SEE YOU IN COURT tweeted Trump.  Am I missing something?  The judges have already said that Trump twice exceeded his powers on two occasions.  We’ll see what the Supreme Court says too.  More American’s are killed by guns in five hours than are killed by terrorists in a year.  But why look at yourself for solutions when you can blame someone else? Continue reading “SEE YOU IN COURT. AGAIN!”

Money for health not death

A busy week visiting old haunts in Finsbury Park area but my return to Hastings was accompanied by a telephone call letting me know my mum had fallen and had been admitted to hospital on Friday night.  By Saturday lunchtime she’d had a hip replacement op and I visited yesterday.  Revisiting North Middlesex brings up a mixture of feelings.  It was where my two boys were born but the last time I was there was in 2000 when Penny was a patient for a number of weeks in the summer before we moved to Hastings.  Yesterday’s visit allowed me to see at first hand how the NHS is doing.  Firstly they have a spanking new addition to the hospital, no doubt funded by Private Finance Initiative that will keep the health trust in debt for generations unless a government radical and progressive enough takes power.  Secondly the modern facilities are understaffed.  I have no problems with the dedication and commitment of the staff I saw.  The staff come from every part of the world and all have their own roles and all form part of a team.  If you want an example of socialism in action you have to go back to the foundation of the National Health Service.  It was set up so that being rich didn’t mean the difference between life and death.  Between good health and bad health.  Nye Bevan was the Minister of Health and this is what he had to say.


Continue reading “Money for health not death”