Professor Philip Alston, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights will deliver the preliminary findings of his investigation into UK poverty tomorrow. Conveniently for the government, the mainstream press will likely be to busy covering Brexit to push the findings. This will be the fifth, (yes fifth), report by the UN since 2010 and although the media has paid slightly more attention to this one, it’s mostly been clickbait articles that do little to explain anything.
So the newswires are suddenly alive with the sound of Brexit. Meanwhile, the UN are about to deliver what is near 100% certain to be a damning report into the effects of Tory austerity.
Now, you may have seen the stories of hardship, or how foodbank use is rising because of Universal Credit. We already knew this, it’s really just rehashing old news for that precious ad revenue. What they all fail to mention is that this will be the FIFTH report by the UNited Nations since 2010.
Journalist for The Canary, Steve Topple has been very keen to point this out. He has especially singled out the Guardian as they seem to have been on a faux crusade against poverty recently.
Topple notes that;
- “In June 2016, the UNCESCR said it was “seriously” and “deeply” concerned about the effects of austerity on the UK’s poorest people.
- Next, in November 2016, the UNCRPD said successive UK governments had committed “grave” and/or “systematic” violations of disabled people’s human rights.
- Then, in May 2017, the UNHRC released overarching criticisms of the UK government; right before the general election.
- Finally, in August 2017, the UNCRPD issued its second damning report; accusing successive UK governments of creating a “human catastrophe” for disabled people and then trying to cover their tracks through “unanswered questions”, “misused statistics”, and a “smoke screen of statements”.”
I highly recommend that you read all the related articles above as each report is damning in its own way. Together it just shows that austerity has been one big exercise in; “how far can we push this before anyone stops us.”
The Latest UN Visit
As I previously reported, Professor Alston was visiting the UK between the 5th and 15th of November 2018. He has been up and down the UK visiting foodbanks, charities and meeting people who have suffered because of austerity and cuts.
The run up to this visit saw activists and independent journalists raising awareness of the real issues the most vulnerable are facing. We had twitter storms with people sharing their stories and the UN received an unprecedented number of submissions prior to the visit.
The reason I, like so many other are sure this report will be damning, is not down to the fact that it’s clear welfare reform and austerity is killing people. It’s because the Tories ignored the previous four reports so nothing has changed, in-fact it’s gotten worse.
Foodbank use is up, homelessness is up, mental health issues in benefit claimants is up, rent arrears, up. You name it, i’s gone down the drain and been flushed straight out into the sea. If you’re vulnerable or in the bottom half of earners, the government have shown you are literally nothing.
He explains that while politicians and the media won't act, we the people can.
"The key to it is that we all work together collectively."
Please watch and share. pic.twitter.com/5IZWBPpy2j
— Alex Tiffin (@RespectIsVital) November 6, 2018
Mr Topple put it perfectly in this video he recorded for the UN visit. While the mainstream press, politicians and those with vested interests won’t act we can.
“The key is we all work together collectively.”
Now due to the timing of the so-called Brexit agreement, we are more important than ever. Today we need to make sure that the findings of this report are heard and amplified. Then, we have to take action. Words and angry articles aren’t enough anymore, they weren’t really ever enough.
This week saw climate activists; Extinction Rebellion take action to protest climate change, and the UK governments inaction to fight it. Amongst the peaceful and non-violent acts the committed were, blocking entrance to The Business Department and super gluing themselves to the gates of Downing Street.
The group are also keen to point out that if a participant commits an illegal act they MUST stay and face the Police. So far over 50 people, including NHS Staff and Councillors, have been detained for various offences. Not all will face further action.
I previously ranted about how nearly a million people turned out to call for a people’s vote yet, barely anyone does the same for the 120,000+ victims of austerity. People have and are DYING and the media are preening over poppies and anoraks.
It’s time we form a movement, no party politics just one central cause: To bring the ACTUAL end of austerity and cuts. We can argue of who gets to be big chief afterwards.
Tune in tomorrow to watch the UN report Live.
The press conference is being live streamed on Facebook tomorrow, Friday 16th November at 12pm. You can visit the link below and bookmark it so you get a reminder. It is important that we share the findings. We owe it to those who can’t.
I will be holding a press conference on Friday November 16 at 12:00 in London to announce the preliminary findings of my investigation into #poverty in the #UK. It will be live-streamed here: https://t.co/DnpPp8KWVp journalists can email firstname.lastname@example.org to register pic.twitter.com/NCqVcrojmk
— Philip Alston (@Alston_UNSR) November 14, 2018