Monday 29 April 2024


On the same day that the House of Commons debated assisted suicide, Mel Stride may believe that Personal Independence Payment ran into thousands of pounds per month, or be prepared to pretend to believe that, either of which is inexcusable. But the most that you can possibly get is £737.20, and most people are paid a third or less of that.

For over a decade, I have been baffling GPs and hospital consultants with my inability to secure first Disability Living Allowance and then PIP, and that is on physical health grounds. Arthritis shows up on X-rays, so it is impossible to fake, and I am riddled with it. PIP is hard to get. Anyone who can do so needs it. Millions of people do, and that is just the ones who can jump through the hoops. Of course depression and anxiety are not life's normal ups and downs. That is why they are diagnosable and treatable medical conditions when those are not. So what they did not used to be taken seriously? They are now.

Remember that the people who decide these things, and who have no medical training, are paid by quota to fail a certain number, while there are other people in the system who are paid by quota to take a certain number of claimants off the books, which of course neither cures them nor finds them jobs.

This level of chronic illness is what comes of low pay, bad nutrition, poor housing, the inability to see a doctor or a dentist, and the hospital waiting lists that have trebled in the 14 years that the National Health Service has paid £150 billion to private healthcare providers, which are also generous contributors to politicians. Yet Labour is advocating even more of this provenly disastrous privatisation of the National Health Service. It must be stopped.

But when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. But if it did not contest North Durham, then I would. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. But there does need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.


  1. Vote Tory to save the NHS? I'm not kidding.

    1. Vote for the Workers Party, or for the Independent Left where the Workers Party did not stand. If necessary, stand yourself.

      But yes, the Tories are better than Labour on the NHS.