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Bedroom Tax protests in the shadow of flats that cost £68million EACH

Campaigners wanted to highlight the hypocrisy of expensive London properties standing empty while thousands of the poorest people are hit by the hated tax

Bedroom Tax protesters heckled against the hated ­policy outside the UK’s most expensive property, reports the Sunday People. Hundreds of people gathered at One Hyde Park in Central London where flats sell for up to £68million. Many of the properties are owned by foreign investors and scandalously remain empty.

Campaigners wanted to highlight the hypocrisy of expensive properties standing empty while thousands of the poorest people are hit by the Tax. Mike Knight, a tenant from East London, said: “We want to make sure we got our message across. “ This tax has been a disaster and the sooner it is scrapped the better.”

The London protests were mirrored across Britain with thousands turning out in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and other cities. Tory Minister Ian Duncan Smith’s cut in housing benefit for social tenants who have a spare bedroom has plunged families into rent arrears. Some have been forced to move since it was introduced last April.

In Manchester, Maria Brabiner, 48, showed the crowd a bill demanding she pay the council £11.82 per week in “Bedroom Tax”. The former social services worker from Salford said: “I gave up my job to be a carer for my mum. “I was living off my savings and then the Bedroom Tax came along. I lost a stone in weight. It’s been incredibly stressful. "It’s a nasty piece of legislation that targets the vulnerable.”

Mark Krantz, secretary of the Anti -Bedroom Tax Federation for Greater Manchester, told the protesters: “We have marched 10 times in this city as well as lobbying the courts. “We will be protesting every week and every month until the Bedroom Tax is history.” In Leeds, Dan Brooks of the city’s campaign group Hands Off Our Homes said: “We demand the council refuses to implement this policy that is causing stress, illness, poverty and hardship.”

Chairman John Davies added: “We are calling on the council to announce a no-eviction policy and to stop issuing possession proceedings against those who cannot afford to pay.” Dozens of councils are running out of emergency money for Bedroom Tax victims, it emerged.

"They were given Government cash for a Discretionary Housing Payments fund to help people who were falling into difficulty through the Tax. But one in five councils has rejected more than 40 per cent of applications and some up to 75 per cent in the past year, according to Freedom of Information replies to the False Economy campaign group.

  • I am NOT a sheeple

    Scientists at the University of Leeds have conducted research that proves the tendency many have to act like sheep, unwittingly following crowd as if they didn't possess a reasoning mind. While this tendency may have its uses in some situations, such as planning pedestrian flow in busy areas, it doesn't inspire a ton of hope for humankind.

    The study showed that it takes a minority of just five percent to influence a crowd's direction - and that the other 95 percent follow without even realizing what is going on. Professor Krause, with PhD student John Dyer, conducted a series of experiments in which groups of volunteers walked randomly around a large hall. Within the group, a few received instructions regarding where to walk. Participants were not allowed to communicate with one or intentionally influence anyone. The findings in all cases revealed that the informed individuals were followed by the others in the crowd, forming a self-organizing, snake-like structure (or flock of sheep, take your pick).

    "We've all been in situations where we got swept along by a crowd," said Professor Krause. "But what's interesting about this research is that our participants ended up making a consensus decision despite the fact that they weren't allowed to talk or gesture to one another. In most cases the participants didn't realize they were being led by others at all." Scary. Are we such sheeple that we allow a few "informed" people to lead us around without even knowing what's happening? Sadly, it makes sense. How many fall for scams of all kinds because of friends or "informed" sources, from pyramid schemes to religious hoaxes and political coverups. We seem to believe just about anything, or blindly tolerate it as long as the message is delivered with enough social credibility.

    How to be your own person

    There some things you can do to not only avoid living as a sheeple, but enjoy a full, prosperous and exciting life to boot. Here are a couple of the fundamentals that sheeple tend to miss. Determine what you want in life. Over 25 years teaching Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) I've asked thousands of people the question what do you want? I've been amazed at the incredibly low percentage of people who can answer it. What are your primary goals? Which direction are you headed? Where do you want to be in five years? The most common answer: I don't know. We'll see what happens. Perhaps one in ten can answer with certainty and specificity, which looks like this:

    My top 3 goals right now are...

    In five years my life will be different in the following, specific ways...

    The primary obstacles in my way are the following...

    The skills I need to develop to accomplish my goals are the following...

    No one can predict the future, but few things serve us better than intentionally pursing a chosen future, rather than waiting to "see what happens." If you do not choose your goals, your family, friends, community and culture will do so for you (knowingly or unknowingly). This is called status-quo. Not surprisingly, status quo is not that inspiring. Learn to make intentional, full decisions. So many of our decisions are not well considered. In NLP, we learn that decisions and motivation are simply comprised of visual, auditory and kinesthetic (feeling oriented) phenomena. These are the building blocks of mental processes. Bad decisions, impulsive decisions and ultimately regrettable decisions are so often missing a building block. We make impulse decisions without discussing things (missing the auditory). We make emotional decisions without considering other options (missing visual and auditory). Or we get caught in mental loops with no exit (endless internal dialogue with no feeling that prompts toward action).

    In all of these cases, because we lack the foundation for solid decisions, we are vulnerable to the whims of others. If we lack the ability to discuss and analyze decisions, we may accept someone else's analysis as gospel. If we tend to make emotional decisions, we may fall prey to whomever can pump us up into an emotional state. If we can't bring our thoughts to completion with a feeling of certainty, we may just do what others are doing to get ourselves out of the endless internal loop. Fascinating we don't teach goal setting and decision making skills in our education system. These help form the foundation of real character and individuality - and protect us from over dependency on the ideas or opinions of others.

    Make your decisions with all of your building blocks in place and with a clear set of goals in mind. This will keep you out of the realm of the sheeple. But don't take my word for it. Think it through.

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    Click image for full size

    London is right at the heart of global capitalism. And the West End of London, including elite areas like Piccadilly, Mayfair and Knightsbridge, is where power and greed are most concentrated. The West End is home to:

    * Corporations. Many of the world’s most brutal and polluting companies, including oil and mining giants, arms dealers, and the businesses profiting from cuts and privatisation.

    * Vulture funds. Global base of the “hedge fund” and “private equity” industries, laundering the world’s blood money to invest in war, food speculation and debt slavery.

    * Tyrants. Government offices, embassies, cultural and commercial fronts of colonial powers and murderous regimes.

    * Playground of the mega-rich. Middle Eastern dictators, Russian mafia oligarchs, and home-grown parasites all see London as a “safe” place to hide and spend their loot.

    Our Carnival.

    Traditionally, carnival is the time where the people take over the streets, the bosses run and hide, and the world gets turned upside down. It is a time to celebrate our resistance and our dreams, to bring music and colour to the streets. And also to show our strength and our anger.

    The powerful feel safe in London so long as they go unchallenged. But the people looting our planet have names and addresses. On #J11 we will party in the streets, point out the hiding places of power, and take back the heart of our city for a day. Our streets. Our world.

    Join us.

    Like any good carnival, everyone’s invited: this will be an open, inclusive, and lively event. There will be a main route with sound systems and public meeting points. Bring music, costumes, banners, friends, ideas. We also encourage independent actions, and will publish soon a detailed map of the area to help you make your own plans. The Green and Black Cross group will provide experienced medical and legal support.

  • Full article here
    bedroom tax protest 1

    bedroom tax protest 1

    bedroom tax protest 1

    'Axe the bedroom tax!': Thousands of protesters join demonstrations against levy on spare rooms in council houses

    Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the UK in protest at cuts to housing benefit for those with spare bedrooms. Around 3,000 people marched on George Square in Glasgow while up to 1,000 people assembled outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, according to police estimates. The protesters insist that the new UK Government policy, dubbed the 'bedroom tax', will disproportionately affect disabled people and women, and could lead to evictions and deaths. It will hit 660,000 households with an average loss of £14 per week, according to Crisis.

    The plans are aimed at those renting council housing or housing association properties and not those in private properties. The changes are an attempt to encourage those who have spare bedrooms to downsize. People took to the streets of London, Glasgow and Edinburgh to complain about the tax.

    Disability rights activist Susan Archibald, in Edinburgh, said: 'We have heard talk about "strivers and skivers". 'One person can be a striver one day and then get made redundant. Will they be a skiver the next day? That's how easy it happens.' John McArdle, from anti-disability discrimination campaign Black Triangle, said: 'Every day our campaign receives more messages from desperate people who are on the brink of suicide.

    'This government is killing disabled people, and we must stand together and say enough is enough.' Bill Scott, from disability campaign group Inclusion Scotland, said two-thirds of UK properties affected house a disabled person, rising to four-fifths in Scotland. 'The purpose of an equality impact assessment is to find out and then change your policy so it doesn't disproportionately impact on the vulnerable,' he said.

    'Instead, the UK Government went ahead and implemented that policy completely unchanged. It is a disgrace that this government chose to attack disabled people.' Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was branded a 'ratbag' by a heckler during his visit to Edinburgh last week. The insult was adopted liberally at today's march, with protesters wearing t-shirts and waving placards with the word 'ratbag' superimposed over Mr Duncan Smith`s face.

    Kelly Parry, representing the National Union of Students, said: 'He is a ratbag. The cuts that are going to come in are going to disproportionately affect women. 'We need to fight back so that never again will the people of this country be robbed by Westminster.' In a statement of support for the marchers, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said: 'The Scottish Government has brought in mitigation measures and has made a firm commitment to scrap the policy in an independent Scotland.

    'There is no doubt that the bedroom tax is an abhorrent policy and the level of outrage surrounding what is being imposed is entirely justified.' The raft of Government welfare cuts that come into effect next week will heap misery on the UK's poorest families, a charity warned today. Queues at food banks are poised to get longer and homelessness is expected to increase, according to Crisis.

    Millions of homes will be hit by the combination of reforms that comes in from April, with low-paid workers, the unemployed and disabled people bearing the brunt of the cuts, it added. Council tax benefit, which covers some or all of the cost of the bill for struggling families, will be replaced by a new system that will be run by English local authorities but on 10 per cent less funding. Pensioners are protected under the changes but that is expected to mean a bigger burden on poor working age adults.

    Crisis said it also had 'serious concerns' about the replacement of disability living allowance (DLA) with a personal independence payment (PIP), claiming the the assessment process for the new benefit will exclude many disabled people who need support. Restrictions on the uprating of a number of welfare payments will also hit millions of households, it warned.

    Crisis chief executive Leslie Morphy, said: 'Our poorest households face a bleak April as they struggle to budget for all these cuts coming at once. People are already cutting back on the essentials of food and heating but there is only so much they can do. 'The result will be misery - cold rooms, longer queues at food banks, broken families, missed rent payments and yet more people facing homelessness - devastating for those directly affected, but bad for us all.'

  • Bedroom tax protests across the UK on 30 march 2013
    bedroom tax protests

    More rallies are being held across Great Britain this weekend to fight against David Cameron’s controversial new idea - bedroom tax.

    Two weeks ago, over 13,000 people came out to protest at 52 locations, demanding an end to the changes. The Sunday People has been at the forefront of the demonstrations, with placards reading “Stop Bedroom Tax” being visible across the UK.

    Since the paper launched its campaign in January, it has featured numerous individuals who will find themselves worse off if the scheme, which will see people of a working age in social housing who have a spare bedroom have their housing benefit reduced by £40 to £80 a month, is introduced. Last weekend, disabled grandmother Libby Green, 57, told how she was being pressured to move out of her home, which is next door to her son and his three children, while she battles breast cancer. She also suffers from spina bifida and had one of her legs amputated in 1996. She said: “It’s just unbelievable, I don’t know how they can sleep at night.” Meanwhile, Fiona Oxley-Goody was sent a letter to tell her she would have to pay £60 per month extra for a home she has had adapted so her severely disabled son Logan could receive round the clock care. These cases are among the 660,000 who will be affected if the tax comes in.

    A fortnight ago, Afghanistan war veteran Cody Lachey, 29, joined 1500 protesters in Manchester after his one bedroom flat was recently reclassified as a two-bed because of a box room. In Croydon, south London, Janet Richards marched with difficulty after being told she would lose her home too. After she had a leg amputated below the knee, the council gave her a two bedroom flat but she now faces paying extra as it is deemed she shouldn’t have her second bedroom as it is now counted as a spare room, even though a carer stays there.

    She said: “I have been too frightened to think about how I will cope. I’m terrified.” Below are where this week’s peaceful rallies are being held. If you want to tell David Cameron that his despicable new scheme is not acceptable, then join in!

  • Full size map of bedroom tax protests
  • Bedroom tax articles
    Due to technological advancements, over the past 35 years there has been an explosion in production, distribution, profits and wealth creation. Most of that wealth increase has gone to only one-hundredth of one percent of the population, to the modern day aristocracy. In the United States, the 400 richest people now have as much wealth as 185 million people combined, nearly 60% of the entire population. US millionaire households have at least $46 trillion in wealth, yet only one-tenth of one percent of the population makes one million dollars a year.

    $46 trillion. Can you comprehend how much money that is and what could be done with that stunning amount of wealth, the implications, the possibilities? Especially given the capabilities of modern technology. Think about how we could evolve society with that astonishing amount of wealth, and how much better off we would ALL be if we did. It’s hard to comprehend how much wealth $46 trillion represents. One trillion is equal to 1000 billion, or $1,000,000,000,000. People cannot comprehend that much wealth because there is no frame of reference, no comparison of scale or historical precedent. An entire generation of stratospheric wealth has been systemically denied to the people and hoarded into the hands of a few. It’s the greatest theft of wealth in history, a crime against humanity.

    Once you wrap your mind around how much wealth $46 trillion is, and realize how profoundly society can be transformed by it, you begin to grasp the fact that we’ve been living under neo-feudal rule. If Americans had a real understanding of how much wealth is being kept from them, we would have a full-blown societal evolution right now. There’s no doubt about it; the denial of wealth is what keeps us in check, in debt. As a wise man once said, “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One by sword, the other by debt.” The harsh, unavoidable truth is that we live in a system of debt slavery. The indentured servant is now the indebted consumer, indebted to a modern day aristocracy that thinks we are merely wage slaves and glorified peasants. Instead of using the advancement of technology and exponential increase in production, distribution and wealth creation to empower humanity, these modern neo-feudal lords are pathological in their shortsighted greed.

    When you understand the wealth at hand, you begin to recognize the crime against humanity that is afoot. We live in the richest, most technologically advanced society in human history. Yet here we are, in the 21st century, with the highest number of people living in poverty in American history. People can’t afford to pay their medical bills. Millions upon millions of American families foreclosed on. An all-time record number of children going hungry, as record-breaking profits and record-breaking bonuses are handed out to the bailed out aristocracy. It’s a massive crime against humanity. We have people walking this earth who crashed the global economy, then profited from it. They are responsible for the impoverishment of tens of millions of people, and for their recklessness, they get bailed out and then have the audacity to not only keep their jobs, but to give themselves all-time record-breaking bonuses, bonuses on the backs of hardworking American taxpayers. Their scandalous and shameful behavior makes the Robber Barons look like Boy Scouts. It’s so shortsighted, unstable and unsustainable. Pathological shortsighted greed is humanity’s most severe disease.

    To paraphrase Guy DeBord, ‘The economy has declared war on humanity, attacking not only our possibilities for living, but our chances of survival. When an all-powerful economy lost its reason – that’s what defines these times.’ We anticipate reactionary, propagandized minds impulsively attempting to dismiss this perspective as a demonization of wealthy people. To be clear, we’re not against wealthy people; just because you have wealth doesn’t make you a tyrant. It’s the people who crashed the economy and use their money to rig the political system, to rig the legal system, to rig the market, to rig the rules against hardworking Americans. It’s all the corrupt crony-capitalists we are calling out. In fact, we don’t blame any single person. It is a systemic problem. It’s our archaic and incredibly outdated system, a system that’s increasingly vulnerable to, and easily rigged by, the forces of shortsighted greed.

    We know many people within the economic top one percentile who are using their wealth and resources to improve the human condition in many different ways. We wish more wealthy people would put their money where their mouth is. We’re sure they will soon enough, in the interests of preservation, but just having wealth in no way makes you a tyrant. Again, when you break it down, it is really only one-hundredth of one percent of the population that is doing the damage. And ultimately, it is the political system and mainstream media that allows them to get away with it, that deceives, dumbs down and mentally conditions the population to the point where the overwhelming majority remains unaware of their own power and potential in an incredibly wealthy and technologically advanced society. Even more shocking than the $46 trillion and the 400 Americans who have as much wealth as 185 million Americans combined, is the fact that a mere 147 tightly knit companies control 40 percent of the global economy. This is obviously a highly unstable, unsustainable and unhealthy situation.

    To paraphrase from several quotes by philosopher and social psychologist John Dewey:

    ‘There is no such thing as the liberty or effective power of an individual, group or class, except in relation to the liberties and effective powers of other individuals, groups or classes. Liberty signifies release from the impact of particular oppressive forces, emancipation from something once taken as a normal part of human life, but now experienced as bondage. Today, it signifies liberation from the coercions and repressions that prevent people from participation in the vast wealth that is presently at hand.

    In relations between people, between capital and labor, in our attitudes toward other members of society, we have now developed a social conscience and awareness, and situations that would have been accepted a generation ago are now understood as an intolerable scandal. Our current crisis continues only because people refuse to look facts in the face and prefer to feed on illusions produced and circulated by those in power with an excess that contrasts with their withholding the necessities of life. The day that a critical mass of people awake to the realities of the situation, the restoration of freedom will commence.’

    Fortunately, that day is now upon us. A critical mass of humanity is now awake and aware of the obsolete systems that limit our potential. If the 400 wealthiest people and the CEOs from the 147 most powerful corporations were not so blinded by shortsighted greed, they would urgently call for a summit to strategize the most efficient and effective way to evolve their destructive behavior and use the immense resources that they are presently in control of to enhance the renaissance that is just beginning.

    We are on the right side of history. We are offering an olive branch. We come in peace, respect and love. We’re here to amplify the mass transition into a new age of enlightenment. The Occupy movement was the first awakening wave from a tsunami of transformation that is just beginning to wash over the planet. Each successive wave will be more effective in eradicating humanity’s most severe disease, pathological shortsighted greed.

    Ye are few… hoarding $46 trillion.

    You shall reap what you sow. Karma.

    As a very wise man once said, “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”

    Just over the horizon shines the first ray of the new rising sun.