Meet the PRoBaHs!


Republicans have been putting faces to names – and what a pleasure it has been!

This week, I have met more than 20 “PRoBaHs” that I had never before laid eyes on.

(Oh! PRoBaHs? – People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove-r – how you say that – as in the sentence “If a politician can’t open a door for you – use a PRoBaH!”)

On Monday I met our splendiferous Honourable Figurehead Jason Smart and our rumbunctious Minister for Misinformation Peter Stlyes, for drinks, laughter and just a hint of plotting. More briefly, I met Brighton Belle and Carisbrooke Creed, who, like myself, do not tend to go by those names in real life.

In all cases, it was about a million times more interesting and enjoyable than speaking to any of them online. The internet has its place – without it, there’d be no Republic at all – but…

View original post 575 more words

Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe Blog is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

’67 jobs’ – Guess what? I got one of the 67 jobs I applied for!

Here is a sentence which I think proves the current approach of the sanction-happy DWP is deeply flawed and should be abandoned forthwith. In my opinion 17 words which is deeply damning.

I have got one of the 67 jobs I applied for in the fortnight I was sanctioned

got the job

So apparently I was sanctioned for having an insufficiently wide job search, despite applying for two entry level positions at a supermarket because I was ordered to by jackboot DWP bullies. Their intransigence and lack of humanity beggars belief.

I am still waiting to hear from the independent adjudicator looking into the reasons for the sanction, and have heard nothing from my official complaint to the DWP demanding two Brighton Jobcentre staff are sacked for discrimination.

No matter what the result – the simple sentence in bold above speaks volumes about the retarded nature of the present government and why they should be booted out next May – not that I was a massive fan of the Brown administration, but it seems like it was a loving, caring administration – a kind of family environment if you will – compared to what many have experienced since mid-2010. Rise up! Download my protest novel on a pay-what-you-want basis.

The scores, nay hundreds of terrible stories I have heard since setting up this blog – the coalface, all-too-real consequences of sanctions, the ATOS regimen and other uncaring, unreasonable measures – have been hard to hear. Hopefully one day Iain Duncan-Smith will suffer a massive fall from grace / misfortune and genuinely have to live with what he has done to so many. Alas, I fear this will not occur, and his dotage will be opulent, well equipped and accompanied by grace-and-favour residences and massive multiple pensions.

All I can say is that in the here and now I wish everyone the very best of luck with their job searching, and hope, as Ed Miliband tentatively announced last week, that the draconian system of sanctions will be scrapped if Labour get into office next time.

I would also advise – as I have all along – that those affected by these appalling measures club together, get in the faces of the politicians and make them regret the dreadful laws they have foisted upon us.

All the best for now,

Peter x

Download my direct action novel – can it inspire protest?

birdsboozeandbulldozerspeterstyles2 (click on book cover to download)

In 2008 I was commissioned to write a novel called Birds, Booze & Bulldozers, depicting my time as an environmental activist in the mid-1990s. My publishers were utterly rubbish, especially as they insisted it be released as a hardback instead of paperback, though the book was well received.

Here’s the synopsis:

“Can you save the planet with a bicycle lock?
Birds, Booze & Bulldozers is the inside story of Britain’s environmental direct action movement – the most effective political counter-culture of the 1990s.
More at home with a ball at his feet and a pint in hand, Lester Stype is drawn into becoming an activist to help save the downland of his youth. The action follows Lester and his fellow ‘dozer divers up cranes, down bunkers and through long, cold winters in an attempt to stand up for what we stand upon.
A motley band of protestors trying to find the balance between protecting life and having one, as their actions change policy, society and ultimately themselves. Youthful passion clashes against the colossal power of big business and the state.
However, trying to defeat a £23 billion government road programme is a vegan picnic compared to dealing with heartbreak and hangovers.”

So, if anyone would like to download a copy of the novel on a pay-what-you-like basis (there is absolutely no obligation to give anything at all) click here to download full pdf.

You can also buy the book in physical form from Amazon for £3.99 + £2.80 p&p, here: Bookbuster or here at Amazon.

I believe there are many scenarios which are directly applicable to the present situation between the DWP and those who oppose them. I hope this story can inspire action and maybe lead to tangible direct action against the forces of darkness.

Ironically, maybe Iain Duncan-Smith would be impressed by my initiative. Other Tories would be less impressed with the fact that activists like myself wrecked John Major’s roadbuilding programme in the 90s. Ha ha.

POST SCRIPT: On December 1st this bunch of lunatics we laughingly call a government announced a new £15 billion road building programme across the UK. This, in my opinion makes Birds, Booze & Bulldozers even more relevant as a story to inspire opposition. 

Thank you – hope you enjoy the book, warning – it is a bit sweary in places and contains adult themes.

Back with more ’67 jobs’ news soon… Happy reading.

Peter 🙂

IDS’s empathy gap – some feelings and situations he cannot possibly understand

peter-styles-67-jobs-blog-by-oleg-pulemjotov-010-8005 by Peter Styles

In the week or so since I started the blog I’ve gained new perspective and knowledge on a world I knew existed, and indeed was a part of – the growing proportion of the population under attack by the government and the Department of Work and Pensions.

Let’s examine some facts:

I for one am lucky. I’ve had amazing support from friends, family and people I’ve never even met at my time of need. Food parcels, and a bit of cash here and there. One such person even found my Paypal account and put £25 into it. I’ve been profoundly touched by the generosity of spirit and empathy I’ve experienced.

Speaking of empathy – there’s been a chronic shortage of it from Iain Duncan-Smith – who was reported to have laughed at the plight of a rape victim who fitted a panic room in her house this week.

ids laugh

Furthermore, IDS cannot possibly know what it’s like to deal with the real consequences of his draconian reforms. He hasn’t experienced putting by more than half your Job Seeker’s Allowance every month so you can subsidise the £200-odd shortfall in Housing Benefit. Mr Duncan-Smith has never had to live on half the paltry sum the government deems necessary to keep life together. He has never experienced being limited to Aldi for buying food or Wetherspoons as the only vaguely affordable social setting – I seriously doubt if he has ever been in a branch of either.

It remains to be seen if IDS has seen the 60 secret dossiers investigating benefit-related deaths. If indeed he has read any of them we do not know what passed through his mind or his emotional state whilst reading them.

I seriously doubt IDS has any interest in the situation faced by those trying to help those who help those sanctioned. The Brighton Unemployed Centre is facing closure at present, but highly skilled and professional volunteers are struggling amid uncertainty and low morale.

It’s hard to see that he has empathy about anything much – apart from the ability to laugh at rape victims. Indeed, the most traumatic thing IDS has ever experienced is when in 2003 his own MPs passed a motion of no confidence in the leadership of the party and was forced to resign.

Here’s a dissection of his abilities by ‘colleague’ Michael Portillo –

“I resigned from the Conservative Party when Iain Duncan-Smith, probably the most lamentable choice of leader for any political party in living memory became leader” David Mellor

And so how can we get IDS to be a better, more humble man? To learn the value of empathy? Alas these words are only words, despite the fact that 29,974 people visited this blog in its first seven days. What we need is action.

Personally I’d say groups and individuals need to group together with actions not words to show their anger and frustration. It would seem these links are forming, but they need to lead to tangible action – to minibuses and coaches being booked – and do something to bring the issues directly to him.

“I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it” Maya Angelou

P.S. The ’67 jobs’ story was due be pitched globally by Caters News Agency in Birmingham this week. When I contacted them to see how things were progressing I was informed the story had been spiked on very thin grounds. They said the publications they pitched to had ‘starkly different agendas’ to a paper like the Guardian. Draw your own conclusions folks…

P.P.S. Yesterday I went for a job interview which went very well indeed. It was one of the ’67 jobs’ I applied for in the fortnight I was sanctioned. I await the response, as I currently do from the DWP independent adjudicator, and the dept itself concerning my official complaint against them.

22,000 clicks in three days but alas still no work

’67 jobs’ home’

Again, thanks for the amazing response to ’67 jobs’ so far. The blog has been visited more than 22,000 times in three days – an average of something like 330 visits an hour, every hour, since it was created.

67 jobs clicks 14 Nov

Furthermore, it has been visited by virtually every country on earth, but not China. I’m led to believe they have certain access issues there.

Anyway, less of web analytics and let’s examine the mad events of the last three days. There have been so many testimonies, messages and people’s stories on social media – many are heartbreaking. Proof positive that the current work, welfare and recruitment paradigms are badly broken, part of the continuing much wider narrative of ‘Broken Britain’. Go read some of them – they will move you.

Speaking personally, despite the success of the blog I’m sat here in my dressing gown, £2,500 in debt and rising, no income whatsoever and not one concrete offer of work yet. Granted, a couple of excellent recruitment people have been in touch, Renae @ Search Laboratory and Brett @ Clockwork Talent (they are clearly atypical of their occupation by showing some imagination and initiative) but things are still pretty grim. I’m not getting the tiny violins out, just saying it like it is.

I was delighted to come across this piece of footage from parliament this July:

It is five minutes of Glenda Jackson ripping into Iain Duncan-Smith, and he has to just sit there and take it. Look…

IDS face
IDS being savaged live this week. Love the face 

Glenda said some great things that Iain didn’t listen to, like:

“We have all become used to the Secretary of State avoiding answering any direct question or actively engaging in any of the serious issues which have to do with the destruction of the Welfare State and the total and utter incompetence of his department, by opting for a self-serving, sanctimonious sermon as opposed to any serious speech”

If only he got a roasting like this every week. Frankly, if only Esther McVey and him were to be gored by bulls, or torn apart by a baying mob.

Back in reality, my MP Caroline Lucas has taken up my case and is looking into it. Meanwhile, my appeal against the sanction has still not be resolved, and I have heard nothing about the official complaint I made to the DWP asking for the two members of staff largely responsible for the gross discrimination against me to be sacked.

In the 1990s I was an environmental activist and was jailed for my part in protests against the Newbury Bypass, and clocked up about a dozen other arrests while co-ordinating campaigns and conducting protests against various road schemes. During this time we organised a mass trespass at Michael Howard’s house in Lympne, Kent. It was front page news at the time, but there seems little record of it online – apart from a mention here. However, it was a great day and there were people all over his roof and weeing in his garden.

Maybe its time to find out where IDS and McVey live, eh?

N.B. In May 1997 one of the first things Tony Blair did as PM was to scrap more than 200 road schemes across the UK. Things can change if people want it enough. Obviously for the record, this was one of the few decent things Tony Blair ever did…

’67 jobs’ blog – My story

’67 jobs’ home

by Peter Styles (

MeFirstly, thanks again for all the kind messages of support, received both on the site and to me personally. It has been a tonic at a stressful time. Some heartfelt and very interesting stories have been left on the site, and I wish a happy and successful resolution to one and all.

So how did it come to be that I was sanctioned after applying for 67 jobs in a fortnight? Here’s the story as succinctly as I can put it.

Over the last year since losing my job I’ve been applying for up to 15 jobs a day, securing at least an interview a month and doing whatever I could to free myself from an increasingly precarious financial position – especially as the lion’s share of the Jobseekers’ Allowance is spent on subsidising a significant underpayment in Housing Benefit each month. With prudence, and occasional incredibly welcome help from friends and family, life and the search for work continued.

I have a good degree and an arguably impressive work record stretching back twenty years, but that elusive appointment seemed just out of my grasp. This was especially exasperating when most recruitment consultants seemed unable to really examine the calibre and experience of the candidate – the recruitment sector seems to have been reduced to a sausage factory, a cynical numbers game. Unfortunately, in turn, the method of applying for positions has become similarly mechanistic.

Just over two weeks ago I was told at a fortnightly signing that I would be forced to attend and sign every day. I objected to this, and said it would be completely counterproductive and demoralising, but the law is the law, and the DWP staff seemed only too willing to carry out Iain Duncan-Smith’s ill-thought out, vindictive and distinctly unhelpful measures.

I made my opposition to daily signing obvious to staff, and though I may have been brusque and irritated by this massive invasion into my personal freedom and movement, did not swear at the workers.

Their response to my passive opposition? To be ordered to sign alone in the screened area every day, being made to feel like some kind of offender – yet another tactic used to make me comply.

Despite this, I tried to keep spirits up and job applications going, and thought about the possibility of setting up my own business. A daily routine of emails, application forms and phone calls to consultants – though the routine was erratic because the time I was required to genuflect in front of the Job Centre staff differed every day, from 10.30 in the morning to 3.40pm.

I was compelled to apply for jobs entirely unsuitable to my experience, qualifications and talents – jobs which didn’t even require a cv to apply for. I did so, reluctantly, in order to avoid a sanction and keep the uneasy peace.

However, this was not enough – on the second Friday of daily signing the Executive Officer declared my job search was ‘insufficiently broad’ despite also having described it ‘good’ on more than one occasion that morning.

I asked to see a manager – and the fait accompli was squarely delivered when the other person with whom I’d experienced daily difficulties appeared – a state-sponsored kangaroo court.

Incensed, I told them both in no uncertain terms what I thought of their decision and immediately reached for my mobile to launch an official complaint while I still could – my phone bill was due to be paid on Monday and there were insufficient funds to cover it. Thankfully a friend lent me enough to avoid this potentially disastrous blow to my job searching abilities.

When I returned home, what did I discover in my email inbox than an invite to a job interview. Though welcome, the irony was not lost on me.

Feeling incredibly stressed, I booked a doctor’s appointment, and he signed me off for a month – a welcome respite from daily onslaughts from Duncan-Smith’s attack dogs.

Consequently, this has meant I have had to close my claim for JSA, and currently am in receipt of no state support whatsoever. Were it not for the discount supermarkets and the generosity of friends I shudder to think how even more precarious my position could be.

Currently I’m in a weird limbo position – job seeking though not a Jobseeker. Hopefully I can find paid employment within the next month or else I’ll be thrown back to square one – but with a vengeful government to answer to.

So – if anyone needs someone with experience as a journalist, journalism and public affairs lecturer, content manager, PR or copywriter or related disciplines please step forward – I’d be delighted to hear from you and end this insane chapter of my life.



Mobile: 07946 825926