I,Daniel Blake Review

Those familiar to JSUK News will know that I have posted DWP news for the last four years, seeing the erosion of the welfare state in the U.K in realtime while sharing on a daily basis. So, natrually when I, Daniel Blake came along I was skeptical about a movie based around the bad aspects of welfare reform. The BBC Films logo proudly starts off proceedings against Daniel being asked medical questions for an ESA assesment, which ultimately finds him fit for work.

The BBC, (along with other propaganda meida outlets,) have covered up many harrowing tales of the Welfare Reform Act, allowing politicians and M.Ps to lie, manipulate and distort truth to hide the true horrors of the welfare cuts.  Thankfully none of that is to be found within this film. Instead, what we get is a true to life account of the complexities of the Welfare system, the shambles it is and how it affects good people. Interestingly, the Job Centre staff are also seen to be intimidated by managers for helping people, which as we know happens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9pye-3Pu5Y&t=4s .

That is just one example of how goodly researched I, Daniel Blake is. Every point in the film can be linked back to a real life event reported in the news, most of which I have reposted to JSUK News. Even the fact about job vacencies being massively outnumbered by jobseekers at Costa Coffee, which hit the news in 2013 is included.

Daniel is seen to be caught between a rock and hardplace, where he is appealing for ESA but has to hand out pointless CVs in order to claim Jobseekers Allowance until he hears back from his appeal. Daniels narrative will ring true for any older person who has been forced to claim Universal Credit, ‘Digitial by default’ and the complexities it poses to people like Daniel is beautifuly portrayed, through light humour and darker moments.

Then there is the similar narrative of single Mum Katie, who herself faces a sanction by the jobcentre and is forced into prostitution to provide for her children. She moved to Newcastle from London, like many people who have been relocated from the area. As the couple meet, the simularities in how the system treats all people show. They both get threats of sanctions and both ultimately end up at the Foodbank.

Daniel and Katie’s situations continue to get worse and one scene in the Foodbank stands out, again based on real events. Everything in this film is true to life, researched and put together brilliantly. Nothing is preached until the closing dialouge and the acting between the two main characters is brilliant.

I won’t spoil the ending, but that is also based on a real event. If you have ever been through a WCA or the 2012 onwards benefits system in general, you owe it to yourself to se this film. For no other reason than to know that other people know what we know and were bothered to make a film about it.

It’s a slow, easy going film. No soundtrack and a nitty gritty feel really compliment it. You will find yourself going from point to point but in a softly touchy way. There are no graphic scenes, but ones that ultimately remind us of the last four years of welfare reforms through the eyes of real experiences. That’s not to say the film isn’t upsetting, of course these issues are.

Some lines towards the end of the film do let it down slightly, such as a character yelling about the Tory Government. Part of me just wishes he would have said ‘ The Government’, as this could have alienated some viewers. There was another line used earlier in the film that seemed to be added to appeal to Conservatives, but these two lines aside, the rest is golden.

For me it was like remembering the last four years of JSUK News posts in a gentle, eye watering way. It reminds us that humanity can be cruel, but at the same time kind.

A bittersweet experience, which closes things nicely for me. I will still be posting occasional DWP updates, but not every little thing.

It’s a shame politicans brandish this film ‘fiction’ and have no interest in even watching it. (Damien Green and Iain Duncan Smith respectively.)

I’ve been watching the DWP for the last four years and not liked it, they can’t even manage an hour and a half? That’s very telling, don’t you think? 

Four stars out of five. Let down only by the obvious political pandering at the end of the film. (Which I enjoyed, but come on, don’t assume ALL Conservatives won’t watch your film.)






Two-way mirrors, hidden observers: welcome to the Department for Work and Pensions laboratory

I regularly write to raise concerns about the current government’s misuse of psychology in public policies and research. There has been a shift towards the formulation of targeted, prejudiced…

Source: Two-way mirrors, hidden observers: welcome to the Department for Work and Pensions laboratory

Ex-BBC DJ admits to 21 counts of child sex abuse

A former BBC DJ and radio presenter in the UK, Chris Denning, has admitted to abusing 11 children, some as young as eight, with one victim being abused at Jimmy Savile’s house.


Denning, 75, will be sentenced on 6 October, but is already in jail serving a 13-year sentence for sexual assaults on 24 different victims aged 9 – 16 carried out between the 1960s and 1980s.

Four of Denning’s victims were in court to see him plead guilty.

He will be sentenced at London’s Southwark Crown Court by the same judge who jailed him for his most recent offences.

He was part of the original crew that launched BBC Radio 1 in 1967, but left two years later. His career ended after he was first convicted of sex offences in 1974.

Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay said Denning had a “very long record of offences against young boys”.

Denning was a friend of Jimmy Savile’s, and the court heard he had abused one of his victims at Savile’s home, using “the allure of the record industry and celebrity” to attract his young victims, British tabloid The Sun reported.

Source: Press TV

#abuse, #child-abuse

A woman who missed two appointments because she was in hospital for open heart surgery has been stripped of her benefits.

“A woman who missed two appointments because she was in hospital for open heart surgery has been stripped of her benefits.

Lyn Wright, who has a heart condition, says she has been left feeling suicidal as a result of the effect of the decision made by Capita, on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions, to stop her Personal Independence Payments (PIP) which will see her lose almost £140 a week.”

Source – dailypost.co.uk

Britain ‘one of the most significant violators’ of the Arms Trade Treaty, says Oxfam


Oxfam has accused British MPs of being in “denial and disarray” over an agreement to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, saying the UK has become one of the most significant violators of the international Arms Trade Treaty.

There are concerns that the weapons are being used in Saudi Arabia’s air campaign in Yemen, where is it supporting the Yemeni government in its battle with Shiite Houthi rebels.

The 17-month war has reportedly left more than three million people displaced and over 14 million suffering hunger and malnutrition – almost half the country’s population.

Saudi Arabia says it tries to minimize civilian casualties, but the UN says estimates more than 6,000 have died.

The British government has faced repeated calls to ban weapon sales to Saudi Arabia since reports emerged alleging that the country was guilty of severe breaches of international humanitarian law.

Signatories to the Arms Trade Treaty, including the UK, are expected to review their international arms sales to ensure the weapons are not used or diverted for illegal purposes, war crimes, or against human rights.

Oxfam says the government has gone from being an “enthusiastic backer” of the international Arms Trade Treaty to “one of the most significant violators.”

Read more at RT


The NHS are testing a cannabis product for the first time

The following article is from The Independent


A cannabidiol (CBD) vaporiser that has helped thousands of people suffering from a variety of conditions is being tested by an NHS unit, an unprecedented step that could increase scrutiny on cannabis’ medical benefits and have a huge impact on the UK’s legislation on it.

The MediPen, a legal way to consume CBD, which, unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is non-psychoactive, has been on sale for a year now and drew very positive reviews, relieving the pain of people with everything from depression and anxiety to arthritis and fibromyalgia.

The company told The Independent it has been consulting with a group of production and regulatory support pharmacists from the NHS for the past few months, who have been testing their proprietary cannabis oil formulation.

A detailed public report outlining the testing process and extraction methodology will follow, and though it is only about confirming purity and cannabinoid profile at this stage, this is a big first step for the medical cannabis industry in the UK.

MediPen is confident that by setting a precedent for testing cannabis products with the NHS, it will have a huge impact on the public’s perception of cannabis.



“Over the past year the MediPen has quickly become without a doubt one of the most highly-rated CBD products in the world,” said managing director Jordan Owen. “We’ve recently been working very closely with a team of NHS production and regulatory support pharmacists who’ve been able to meticulously analyse our proprietary formulation for both safety and cannabinoid concentration.

“As the UK’s industry leading consumer cannabis biotechnology company, we’re excited to have set a new benchmark in providing a much-needed sense of legitimacy to the UK’s rapidly growing legal cannabis industry.”

“As the first consumer cannabis product to be tested by the NHS, we are confident that this will go a long way towards creating a properly regulated cannabis market in the UK and are extremely excited to see what the future holds.”

The NHS was unable to comment due to a non-disclosure agreement preventing them from sharing any client information, with the exemption of official government bodies such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It did however point out that cannabidiol is present in the authorised multiple sclerosis spray product Sativex, though this is prescription only.

Calls for a more considered approach to cannabis legislation with medical benefits in mind have been consistently batted down by the Government, the most famous recent example being a petition to legalise the drug signed by more 230,000 Brits which was debated in Parliament but dismissed out of hand last year.


Homeless woman ‘hopes for a better tomorrow’ after fundraiser launched to help get her off the streets


Article from: getsurrey.co.uk

A homeless Godalming woman has “hope for a better tomorrow” after good Samaritans raised more than £1,500 to get her off the streets.

Sue, who has lived in Surrey for 30 years but became homeless 18 months ago after she said she fell behind with her rent due to the government’s “bedroom tax”.

She stayed at two shelters but ended up fearing for her life.

Since then, she has been on the streets of Godalming, “walking all day, trying to find a place to stay”.

After hearing of her plight, Debbie Holmes, 45, from Wormley and her friend, Tracey, decided to set up a Just Giving web page in the hope of raising £3,000 to pay for Sue’s outstanding debt to the housing association.

The pair has been “astounded” by the response, with donations totalling £1,500 on Friday – just a week after the fundraising effort was launched.

Sue told Get Surrey: “I had absolutely no idea they were doing this.

“It has been truly inspiring and wonderful to see this community pulling resources to help a person such as myself in crisis. The gestures of kindness and goodwill have been magnanimous and from the heart.

“I am humbled and so grateful for all the support you have shown me. I hope one day to look back and remember this time as one of learning.”


The two fundraisers declare they are now “life-long friends” after meeting when offering Sue toiletries.

Tracey said: “We were just two strangers. I met Debbie’s daughter, Lucy, who was talking to Sue on the street one day. I started talking to Debbie and it went from there. Having been homeless myself, I can see the other side and it is really hard.”

Debbie added: “Sue is such a strong woman who has kept her pride and dignity. We are just providing the stepping stone to help her out. The response from Godalming has been astounding. It was completely unexpected.

“We shared the fundraiser on Godalming Community Board’s Facebook page and the donations kept coming in.”

The Surrey County Council Youth Group has now stepped in, trying to raise more money by organising a “Stay Up All Night” event for Friday September 23.

Sue said she hoped her story would raise awareness about homelessness, adding: “It’s important that people understand what homelessness is all about. It is long-suffering.

“You are dirty, covered in petrol fumes, you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or if you will survive the night.

“I have seen fights and the nights can be scary. It is damaging to your health. There are many people who are talented who end up homeless and they have just fallen on tough times.

“There is a stereotype of what homelessness is but I hope for a better tomorrow and look forward to a future where no one is homeless.”

To help Sue get off the streets visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/helpsueoffthestreets.