Sanction Busting! Fight for jobs! Defend the Welfare State!

The trial of Ian Duncan Smith

A protest against social benefit Sanctions.

Southampton high street served a different purpose than usual today as the setting for the trial of the synonymous Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith and his crimes against the poverty stricken masses of Great Britain. A bustling crowd of union activists slowly gathered in in the Above Bar area today outside the city’s Green and pleasant Palmerston park. After a few photos the crowd mobilised and a grey suited man with a Iain Duncan Smith mask started hassling passers civilians with jibes . .

sanctions2

“What are you all doing laying about, that’s it ,you’re all sanctioned”

“ Why aren’t you at work? Are you a single mother?” and later on

“I could live on £50 a week but I don’t have to , so I don’t”

IDS led the joint procession of Unite and TUSC activists to loud chants of

“Same old story, lying Tory” and “lock him up, throw away the key”

IDS was marched up the high street by the crowd before being arrested and handcuffed to a mock –Police officer. The crowd gathered outside the Southampton Bargate (the setting for Southampton courthouse in medieval times) At the jeers of the crowd IDS was placed in a ball and chains and marched onwards for a street theatre style trial outside Southampton Jobcentre.

The event was essentially in protest of Ian Duncan Smith’s Benefits sanction

“under which a jobseeker can automatically lose their benefits for low-level offences like missing an interview with their Jobcentre adviser” (Huffingtonspost[online]8Jan15)*

sanctions1

The atmosphere seemed mainly jovial with all protestors politely following the procession on foot. A few startled public shoppers looked with mixed emotions. As we got to the jobcentre I couldn’t help but notice the chortling from the jobseekers outside when Ian Duncan Smith arrived in ball & chains.

The jovial atmosphere eventually cooled as the cold hard reality set in. As IDS took to the artificial dock a union representative read the names of all those jobseekers who paid with their lives for this form revoked sickness benefit

Yes, that’s right! People have actually died from this Government’s ongoing debacle, masked under austerity the government continue to find new ways to rob the poorest of society of their social rights and basic living cost.

(Poor people, of course nobody rich or born of privilege has ever been threatened)

A cap on social benefits which has been accused of targeting the sick and elderly. Huffington Post reported on the 8th Jan 15 that a review has been carried out on the sanctions with discerning consequences ‘particularly the effect on mentally ill and disabled”.

Oldham MP Debbie Abrahams went one further back in November last year stating . .

“People are dying because of these sanctions” (Mancunian matters [online]7Nov14)*

sanctions Sadly this was the case for David Clapson, the diabetic jobseeker who had one weeks benefits stopped from the sanctions process and couldn’t even afford the electricity to keep his insulin chilled. ( Guardian [online]9Sept14)#

A DWP commissioned review carried out by Matthew Oakley, a welfare expert with experience from both the Treasury and private industry enterprise ‘Policy Exchange’ stated the most vulnerable in society are at risk.

*[Huffington Post article from 8Jan15 available online here http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/08/iain-duncan-smith-benefit-sanctions_n_6434852.html ]

**Mancunian Matters article available online here: http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/071171549-%E2%80%98people-are-dying%E2%80%99-oldham-mp-blasts-iain-duncan-smith-over-benefit-claim-sanctions

#The Guardian article from 9Sep14 available online here : www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/09/david-clapson-benefit-sanctions-death-government-policies

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About Southampton TUSC

Anti-cuts campaigners, trade unionists and socialists calling on Southampton Labour council to use its cash reserves and prudential borrowing powers, to set a legal, balanced, NO CUTS budget in 2016! Campaign to restore government funding to provide jobs, housing and £10/NOW for all.

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