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Phone call with Jon

 This post is part of a series

Hi everyone, i had a phone call with Jon Ashworth today about my student loan / benefits issue and thought i would give you a quick update. Addition: I realise this is mega long, I promise in future not to do them this long. I have split it up into headings so you can pick and choose which bits you want to read. Give it a go...the most important bit is the bit in bold.

Despite the blip with Gavin George at the very beginning Jon has been very supportive and i've got no complaints. He is a competent representative, emotionally intelligent and a very likeable guy. After he had established the facts of the case he wrote to the Student Loans Company, Department for Work and Pensions, and the university Vice Chancellor, Dominic Shellard.

The Student Loans Company

The Student Loans Company didn't reply for a long time, confirming that they are totally incompetent and not fit for purpose. If they take so long replying to an elected representative, how long will they take for everyone else? When Jon did finally get a reply they told him that they were only now attempting to recover the 'grant' portion of funding awarded to me last year. I'm not sure if they did that hoping i would be eternally grateful, and forget about the £1,500 they are still going to recover from my first payment for this year. Jon and I agree that that isn't good enough and we are going to continue to challenge that decision, and go the Minister if we have to. Although it isn't going to help me in the short term i feel very committed to fighting this, even if it takes years. Students who find themselves in my situation shouldn't be just hung out to dry like this, and something needs to change.

The Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions send back what looked like an automatically generates message. Which is funny because i bet it wasn't automatically generated at all, but the staff have been turned into automatic morons due to the department brainwashing them of any emotional intelligence and discretion. Anyway, the letter just said "if your a student you cannot have benefits". I dont think Jon has written back to the, because we are now focusing on the Student Loan Company. If we get no hope from them i expect we will be starting correspondence with ministers responsible for both benefits and student loans.

You must expect cat photos now, surely?
DMU Vice Chancellor 

I have removed this part of my article. I have abused my right to free speech and for that i apologise. I have on occasion written blog posts when angry, and some of things i wrote here were way out of order, i am ashamed about what i wrote, and i am very sorry.

Gavin George: Constituency Director

As for the letter from Jon's Constituency Director, Gavin George. When i first got it i didnt quite know what to think. I sat on it for a few days to give me the chance to process its contents, and i decided that i wasn't happy with it. I posted a copy of it on this blog, with a fairly neutral accompanying article in order to get my readers views...and views i got. In some ways i think to myself "i asked for an apology and this is what i got". But i think its reasonable for me to expect a sincere apology, and this one is clearly not. It looks like it is quickly scribbled down by a 10 year old, and gives me no impression that he really understood how upset i was after that phone call.

This time last week i was willing to give Gavin the benefit of the doubt...maybe i caught him at a bad time. I cannot give him that any longer, as this letter proves to me that i had not caught him at a bad time, but he is always an unpleasant, uncaring, selfish, incompetent, moron that should not be in a position of trust as he is now. I have always tried to avoid calling for him to resign, but i am seriously thinking that this guy is doing Jon, or Jon's constituents, any favours ad he should go.

Welcome to conference cats allowed
Jon is always very apologetic for Gavin's behaviour, he takes responsibility for it and i know that his apology is sincere. As Jon is such a likeable bloke i find it a bit uncomfortable to keep pushing on this matter, but i am more certain than i have ever been that Gavin is not the right man for the job.

Labour Conference

Moving on...this time next week i am going to the Labour party Conference in Liverpool. I am not going as a member, but as a visitor to the 'open day' even that they are holding. When i first decided to go i wasn't that interested, but thought it would be interesting and may help me finally decide where my allegiances lie. As the date comes closer i am actually quite excited about it. I am lucky that the morning of the 28th will be focused on crime and justice, and the afternoon on health care, which are two of my main interests. Hopefully i will come away with lots of material to blog about, and maybe even a decision about my political sympathies.

I realise this is a mega long blog post so i will stop there. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone for their support.

This post is part of a series
  1. Now i've lost confidence in my MP, who else can i trust? (19th August 2011)
  2. MP's staff, constitutional status (19th August 2011)
  3. Progress made...convo with Jon Ashworth (21st August 2011)
  4. MP's Staff...part 2 (24th August 2011)
  5. Update on Stuff (8th September 2011)
  6. Letter of apology from Gavin George, Constituency Director for Jon Ashworth MP (20th September 2011)
  7. Phone call with Jon (21st September 2011)

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