Thursday, 2 May 2013

Ladywood Bedroom Tax Group

The last week's been a bit of a nightmare, helping the wife with some stuff, and on top of that I've been struggling with the allotment, as my CFS has been affecting me quite badly. I don't have it badly on any sort of objective scale - I've never been in a wheelchair, though I was almost bedridden at one point - but it's quite bad enough at the moment to stop me doing the digging which is badly needed. I think I can now get back to the blog, though, at least.

 This is Blondin, the famous Victorian tightrope walker who once pushed someone across Niagara Falls in a wheelbarrow. He came to Birmingham in 1873, and walked a tightrope across Edgbaston Reservoir. According to local legend, the rope stretched and he got his feet wet. The statue was put up on the Middleway in 1992.

Right now, life for many people is like falling off a tightrope. With all the cuts going on, I keep meeting people who just don't know what to do. Yesterday it was a homeless woman; she'd moved into a hostel not far away, but she had no money, no food, and the blankets smelt so bad it made her feel sick. She's four moths pregnant, and the stress is causing problems; she was in quite a lot of pain when I saw her. We gave her food from the Food Bank, and crockery, cutlery and blankets from the church. It's not much, but short of overthrowing the government, we couldn't do anything more.

Today I met someone with four kids, £800 and odd a month coming in, and after all the cuts, £1100 plus going out on essential expenditure. What's she supposed to do, rob a bank?

On Wednesday, we had a successful local meeting about the Bedroom Tax, with about 30 people attending. We'd put notices in local shops, and put a thousand leaflets through peoples' doors. This latter was a drop in the bucket given the number of flats round here, and it was the notices in the shops which seemed to have drawn people in.

We decided to visit Albert Bore's surgery on Friday, to lobby him, and deliver copies of a letter I got people to sign. Albert is the Council leader, and so far shows no sign of willingness to stand up to the government. We're also picketing his surgery at the Council House on the 17th. We've set a date for another meeting, and I hope we have more people to the next one, as word spreads that there's a group of us who are willing to be supportive, and to stand up to the government.

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