content note: self-harm

The way you spoke lightly
brushed over my cuts like they were still raw
and if you saw me clutching my arms you didn’t know why.
Or perhaps you didn’t understand, either, why
I didn’t mind you playing over my hands
(you hugged me the first time you ever met me
and I figured it meant as little to you as it did to me)
yet I shrank back when you stroked my arms.
I do not surrender my secrets so easily;
The barriers I have carved in my arms will not yield to you.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today!)

Macmillan Cancer Support have commissioned a new report which shows the severe financial problems now being experienced by cancer patients in the UK.

The problems are entirely due to the government’s crackdown on so-called ‘benefit scroungers’ and the resulting ‘reforms’ to sickness and unemployment benefits.

Macmillan found that since the government’s changes to the welfare system:

  • 2 in 5 cancer patients now can’t afford to heat their homes adequately
  • 2 in 3 cancer patients are now waiting at least 6 months for financial help
  • 1 in 5 cancer patients are now waiting at least 9 months for financial help
  • 1 in 4 cancer patients have difficulties attending their hospital appointments for financial reasons
  • Over half (56%) of cancer patients now experience financial worries

So when you hear government ministers or the right-wing press going on about ‘benefit scroungers‘ – what they really mean is ‘cancer patients‘.


If the definition of a civilised society is how well…

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– Eh bien, voilà; après avoir beaucoup travaillé – je parle du travail de l’esprit – après avoir longuement médité et PHILOSOPHÉ, je suis arrivé à la conclusion irréfutable que le seul bonheur possible c’est d’être un homme de la Nature. J’ai besoin d’air, j’ai besoin d’espace pour que ma pensée se cristallise. Je ne m’intéresse plus qu’à ce qui est vrai, sincère, pur, large, en un seul mot, l’AUTHENTIQUE, et je suis venu ici pour cultiver l’AUTHENTIQUE. J’espère que vous me comprenez?

– Oui, dit Ugolin. Évidemment.

– Je veux vivre en communion avec la Nature. Je veux manger les légumes de mon jardin, l’huile de mes olives, gober les oeufs frais de mes poules, m’enivrer du seul vin de ma vigne, et dès que ce sera possible, manger le pain que je ferai avec mon blé.

“Well, well, here it is; after having worked a lot – I’m talking about the work of the mind – after having meditated and philosophised at length, I arrived at the irrefutable conclusion that the only possible happiness is being a man of Nature. I need air, I need space for my thoughts to crystallise. I’m only interested in what’s true, sincere, pure, broad, in only a word, authentic, and I came here to cultivate the authentic. I hope that you understand me?”

“Yes,” said Ugolin. “Obviously.”

“I want to live in communion with Nature. I want to eat my garden’s vegetables, my olives’ oil, to gulp down my hens’ fresh eggs, to get myself drunk on the only wine of my vineyard, and as soon as possible, to eat the bread that I’ll make with my dough.”

Politics and Insights

Originally posted on

Benefits and Work

JSA sanctions

Sanctions against claimants have reached record levels and it is very clear that they are being imposed for the tiniest deviation from agreements or even for no good reason whatsoever. They are now affecting not just JSA claimants but also ESA claimants – particularly those forced onto the work programme.
Below we’ve given our top tips for avoiding sanctions and some of the most outrageous examples of unfair sanctions that we have come across.
We also explain how to sue the DWP or work programme provider if they make an activity mandatory and it is unreasonable because of your health condition or disability
But we’d very much like to hear from you about your experience of sanctions, or threats of sanctions, and also any advice you can give fellow claimants on how to avoid or challenge unfair sanctions.

Top tips for avoiding sanctions

Don’t assume…

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Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UKIP!)

According to UKIP’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall, Oldham is the “birthplace of UKIP”.

Very appropriate then that Oldham UKIP has just been reported to the police for a shockingly racist election leaflet it’s been distributing.

The leaflet includes this paragraph which explains how Labour candidates supposedly keep winning in Oldham:

UKIP leaflet oldham

Here’s the full story from the Manchester Evening News:

Fresh election race row hits UKIP over claims Asian candidates are intent on rigging the poll

And here’s the offending election leaflet in full, if you can stomach reading it:



Ironic that in the leaflet UKIP complains the police won’t interfere in elections.

Because they are now.


Related articles by Tom Pride:

Meet UKIP’s PR officer doing a spot of public relations:

A handy detailed guide to UKIP’s policies on the main problems facing Britain today:

Nigel Farage and the man who trashed the pound. Twice.

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Politics and Insights

Posted originally by Michael Meacher, MP here
April 3rd, 2014
This is the edited text of a speech I made today in the House of Commons, in a debate I initiated on the many cases of sanctions being wrongfully applied to benefit recipients, calling on the Government to review the targeting, severity and impact of such sanctions.
The process of sanctioning benefit recipients is now being used on an enormous scale—almost 1 million sanctions a year. Even the right-wing Policy Exchange think-tank acknowledged in a report published last month that about 68,000 benefit claimants each year are having their welfare payments stopped unfairly. Given that the penalty for the first infringement is the loss of benefit for four weeks, for the second the loss of benefits for three months and for the third the loss of benefits for three years, the number of people being driven into destitution by administrative diktat…

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the bippity boppity beautiful blog

Thomas Hart Benton, “Hollywood”


Text has been a part of human creation for hundreds of years. People have used art and literature to express themselves and the human condition. But the text is also a social force. Cultural criticism has changed the way readers view literature and art. Art is not merely used for entertainment or artistic expression.

Early critics include Hegel, Arnold, and Marx, while later social critics include Marx, Williams, Horkheimer, Adorno, Benjamin, and Foucault. From Hegel to Foucault, art and texts reflect, reify, or alter social structures.


Hegel focuses on how an idea finds meaning in relationship to others. Hegel believed “an individuals entity’s meaning rests not in itself but in the relationship of that thing to other things within an all-encompassing, ever changing whole” (Leitch 536). Hegel uses the idea of the dialectic, “which entails the confrontation of any thesis with its opposite (antithesis)…

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