A Parliamentary Petition for a debate on the hunger striker, George Rolph, has been denied, and on the 14th day of starving himself (3rd June 2013), he was banned by Facebook.
Please sign here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-house-of-commons-permit-a-debate-on-the-hunger-striker-george-rolph
Why is George Rolph on hunger strike? This is the explanation in his own words:
An Announcement About My Protest.
“When I began my protest my aim was not hurt or cause distress to anyone but those who should be hurt and distressed because they deserve to be. Neither did I intend to take my life, but to give it in the service of others also suffering under the brutal and cruel regime of ATOS and the DWP.
I did not ask to be placed on disability benefit. My doctor made that decision when he gave me a sick note to take to the DHSS as it was then. He gave me that note because it was clear I could no longer hold down a job. I wanted to work but I just could not do so. I have PTSD.
I sought help for the PTSD but It was almost impossible to find any. This country is way behind America in that regard. My doctor got me a counsellor. She asked me to lay on a couch while she played dolphin music to me. I left in disgust. I wanted help coping with the symptoms, not to be a part of some new age hippy experiment.
I found a psychiatric drop-in centre nearby and went in and poured out my heart to a bored looking man who said virtually nothing. At the end, he left the office and returned shortly after with a piece of paper. He handed it to me; made it clear it was time for me to leave and showed me the door. When I got outside I looked at the paper. It was a list of books to read. One of the titles I remember was “How to contact your inner child.” I was stupefied that this was the level of care being offered to the sick by people being paid very handsome salaries. Sheer, disinterested laziness lay behind that book list!
I took the list to the Library and the girl took it to see if they could order them for me. Some of them cost over £60 one of them was over £100. She laughed and said the Library could not afford to buy books like this and said I needed a specialist reference Library. I threw the paper in the bin.
The level of benefits I was getting placed me just above the poverty line and sometimes, when many bills came together, below the poverty line. I watched my life going down the toilet. I was eating rubbish food. Wearing second hand clothes bought from charity shops. I was never totally on top of bills, so to pay them I would have to eat beans on toast every day for two weeks and vitamin supplements. In Winter I was frightened of turning on the heating. I had a fridge-freezer that I turned onto the lowest safe setting to conserve electricity. I would never have more than one light bulb burning and those were energy saving bulbs. When my hoover burnt out I could no longer clean the carpet and I watched as the grime built up. I could not afford a new hoover.
In time you become inured to living in filth. You stop seeing it because you can do nothing about it. You just try to keep yourself clean and presentable to the world. I wore a false smile everyday so people would not know the strain I was feeling inside. I felt like half a man; a failure; but I went on in the hope that the future may get brighter some day.
One day I saw a job advertised. Working from home in Telesales. I decided to give it a go. Maybe, if I was working from home, I could fit the job around my symptoms. It was a big decision. If I took the job and could not handle it, I would lose all benefits. I took the risk. I worked very hard for three weeks and then I fell apart. It is the nature of PTSD that routines can be almost impossible to maintain. You cannot go night after night with little sleep and remain a fully functioning human being who rises at 7am and works to 5pm. I quit and I lost all benefits.
When my last pay cheque ran out I sat in a house with no power and no food wondering if I would starve or freeze to death first. Finally I went to a local church and began to beg. I had never felt so degraded in my life. An old Scottish couple heard my pleas and came to my rescue. Out of their own pockets they began shopping for three and they paid my power bills too. I now had heat, food and light again. I then went to war with the DHSS, won the battle and my benefits were restored after three more weeks. God bless that Scottish couple. They were a model of what Christianity is supposed to be.
My life returned to a routine of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Just trying to keep my head above water. I used to read reports in the media of people living a life of luxury on the dole and wonder how they managed it. I never read about what it is really like.
Of course, I saw through the government and media agenda on the subject. If they could blame those on the dole for daring to take it, they could hide the truth of what life was like for those honest people living on it. The government needed cash for wars, grand building projects, like high speed rail links and for fiddling their expenses. They did not want to give cash to the poor, but they also wanted to look like they did.
The art of spin.
Then one day the call came to visit an ATOS assessment centre in Croydon. I duly went along. I went without food for two days to pay for the train and bus fairs to get there, but they said I could claim those expenses back. I would have to wait three weeks to get those fairs back though.
I went, I sat through the interview. I passed. Later I was called to do the same again. I went, I sat through the interview. I passed. Then again.I went, I sat through the interview. I passed. Then once more. Same questions. Same responses to those questions. I failed!
They did not tell me there and then I had failed. I found out a month later at a compulsory job centre interview. I had drawn my last benefits that day. All benefits were now cut off.
I was in shock for three days. I could not read, let alone fill out the appeal form I had been given. I would stare at the form but the words would not penetrate my mind. My whole world was crumbling around me. The terrible implications for my immediate future were pounding at my mind.
Bailiffs banging on the door. Power cut off. No food. Eviction for non payment of rent. On the streets at sixty years old. Dying in obscurity down an alley somewhere.
Why? Who did I hurt? Even criminals get a warm bed, three meals a day and clothing.
I was not stealing from anyone. In fact, when a friend gave me £20 for helping load a van when he moved house, I took £10 of it and handed it in the DHSS office in Bromley because I was not allowed to earn more that £10 a week. Why was I now being punished by ATOS for being sick and being honest?
How did I fail? There was no sense or logic to it. If I passed three times and nothing had changed, why had I failed on the forth occasion. This smelt of a whim. Someone at the assessment centre had made a decision that I was going to fail in order to meet their target. They met their target. I met horror.
How do they sleep?
I typed “Dealing with ATOS” into Google and I started reading. What I found horrified me. They had done this to thousands of people and people were dying!
Dear friend and supporter. I am going to make an announcement, but before I do so I want to strain your patience just a little longer. I want to show you what REAL criminal scroungers look like and then I want you to remember that this government and Prime Minister insists we remain a part of this villainous exercise, while at the same time they beat up the disabled in our own country.
This is part of a report from the Times newspaper.
February 22, 2009
By Jonathan Oliver (Times Online)
A LEAKED internal report has revealed systematic abuses by Euro MPs of parliamentary allowances that enable them to pocket more than £1m in profits from a single five-year term, writes Jonathan Oliver.
The auditor’s confidential report, suppressed by the Brussels parliament, discloses the extraordinary frauds used by MEPs to siphon off staff allowances funded by taxpayers.
It shows that some claimed for paying assistants of whom no record exists, awarded them bonuses of up to 1½ times annual salary and diverted public money into front companies.
An investigation into the abuses of staff allowances worth up to £182,000 a year — many of which are paid by MEPs to members of their family — was delivered in January last year but was not published.
A copy of the 92-page report, prepared by Robert Galvin, the parliament’s head of internal audit, has been seen by The Sunday Times. It reveals:
Payments were made to assistants who were not accredited with the European parliament and to companies whose accounts showed no activity.
End-of-year bonuses worth up to 19½ times monthly salary were paid to assistants to allow members to use up their full annual allowance.
Payments, supposedly for secretarial work, were made to a crèche whose manager happened to be a local politician from the MEP’s political party.
Payments were made straight into the coffers of national political parties.
Some assistants doubled their money by banking pay-offs from outgoing MEPs at the same time as receiving salaries from incoming ones.
One MEP claimed to have paid the full £182,000 staff allowance to one person, suspected of being a relative.
The revelations come as British MEPs look forward to an inflation-busting pay rise this year that could see their take-home pay rising by almost 50%.
In his report, Galvin said that overpayments of allowances were common, adding: “Remuneration paid may not always be justified by the real costs of providing parliamentary assistance.” He warned that abuses exposed the parliament to “financial, legal and reputational risk”.
The report was based on a representative sample of 167 payments — out of a total of 4,686 — made during October 2004. It suggests that Galvin unearthed only a tiny fraction of the many corrupt practices employed by some of the 785 members of the 27-nation parliament. His analysis of the 2004 figures then took years to surface within the secretive Brussels bureaucracy.