Tory benefit policies add up to a death sentence for me
I am sentenced to death by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). I am 62 years old and waiting for kidney surgery but my health means this has been moved. I have diabetes and problems with mobility.
Five weeks ago I applied for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). I was awarded it but have had no payments.
When I applied for ESA I was living with my wife. We have been together for 40 years and jointly claimed Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). But someone in the DWP said she is not a “prospective employee” so JSA was stopped for both of us. My wife borrowed some money and went to her friends in Germany to survive.
I stayed because I was waiting for surgery and didn’t have enough money for travel.
When I informed the DWP that my wife had left, my payments were stopped.
They sent me another form which I sent back immediately, and I was told that a decision would be made within two weeks.
A week ago I got another form—saying I had to prove my right to residency in the UK.
I sent it back immediately and after a week I got a text message from the DWP saying a decision would be made after two weeks.
During all this time I have been without any income.
One of my friends gives me ten or 20 quid from time to time so I am able to buy fresh food. I need it because of my diabetes.
All my bills are unpaid, so my phone and broadband will be cut off soon. I have an old car which helps me to move but I can’t pay the insurance.
I am not British. I have lived here for ten years and worked very hard during that period.
I have tried to get jobs as a receptionist, car park attendant, administrator or in customer service.
I feel despair. I have nowhere to escape, I see no solutions for me.
Jacek Swilas, Wakefield
A war on the poor in Scotland
The Tory plan for Scotland is, in reality, a war against the nation’s workers and the poor.
War is utilised by imperialists first and foremost to crush internal enemies.
We see the truth of this in the sad state of Britain’s immigration system.
The people behind Dungavel detention centre’s walls have escaped from persecution by their governments in their home countries.
They are then treated as prisoners by the British government.
Osborne’s austerity has dashed the dreams of many millions and is hitting people living on the streets the hardest.
We have to struggle for better lives for the millions of folks who are in need in this country.
As Mahatma Gandhi, said, “The future depends on what you do today.”
Fuad Alakbarov, by email
Good victory over fracking
I was surprised that Lancashire councillors said no to fracking firm Cuadrilla.
But so was Cuadrilla. It will now appeal and keep fighting for the right to drill for shale gas in Lancashire.
We shouldn’t think this is the end—we’ll have to keep fighting.
Mary Stephenson, Manchester
Site shows up risk that pollutants pose to kids
As kids we used to toboggan down what we called Mount Trashmore.
The Forest Preserve website describes it as Mount Hoy in Warrenville, Illinois, DuPage County.
In the website’s opinion it is a not-so-bad place to visit.
On the Scorecard monitoring website concerned people can see lists with percentage risks of pollutants.
Upon comparing these two websites I was surprised.
The Scorecard website shows that just about any county in the US can do better than DuPage.
What other environmentally conscious recyclers use the largest polluting site in their county as a toboggan run?
Not only that, it is advertised as a tourist attraction for every kid in the county.
I feel my hometown county had very poor leadership.
Sheila Bitts, Illinois, USA
Racist murders show up double standards
Dylann Roof murdered nine black people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof was a known white supremacist.
He wore the flag of the racist states of Rhodesia and apartheid-era South Africa as a badge of his twisted creed.
The media coverage of the atrocity he perpetrated is instructive. Dylann Roof has not been called a “terrorist”.
Dylann Roof has not been called an “extremist”.
I'm not aware of any calls for local “community leaders” who share Dylann Roof's ethnicity to denounce his actions.
Dylann Roof's “culture” has not been invoked or identified as the motivation behind his crime.
And there has been no attempt to project collective guilt for his crime onto that part of the population who share the same ethnicity as Dylann Roof. Of course not.
That would be stupid and irrational. And it only happens when a Muslim carries out a crime.
Sasha Simic, North London
Cruelty goes beyond China
It’s cruel skinning dogs and eating them.
But the majority of animals bred for eating in the Western world are kept in hideous conditions.
We need to become more compassionate towards animals and I believe that means not eating them.
Katrina Lawrie, Wigan
Migrant plan backs the rich
The Tory plan to deport migrants who earn less than £35,000 a year says it all.
They don’t mind rich migrants. It’s the poor ones they are targeting.
Jasmine Widdop, Birmingham
Roma say no to Tory racism
In the face of worsening racism and anti-migrant policies, Roma activists plan to highlight past and present anti-Gypsy racism and killings.
An event will take place in London on 2 August from 12 noon at Hyde Park Holocaust Memorial.
Grattan Puxon, Essex
Are splits a sign of fear?
Pretty bizarre to hear Boris Johnson saying firms should pay better wages.
He was warning David Cameron about “hacking away” at benefits for workers.
Is this a sign that the Tories are worried about their cuts losing them support?
Kim Stevens, South Yorkshire
Woodhead is finally gone
Chris Woodhead has died and gone to join Margaret Thatcher in hell.
Good bloody riddance to the bastard.
The former head of schools inspectorate Ofsted wrecked my old school, Islington Green School.
He disrupted the education of all of its pupils and ruined the careers of some brilliant teachers.
Ken Muller, North London