Criticising Government Policy Online Is “Unacceptable Intimidation” According To Treasury

Johnny Void here demolishes Osborne’s claim that Byteback pulled out of the workfare programme due to ‘unacceptable intimidation’. Mr Void shows that actually, Byteback weren’t subject to intimidation. Their correspondence shows that they were convinced by the rational arguments of one ‘Robin’, whom they thanked for his information. One does not thank people, who abuse and intimidate you. Osborne’s rant is partly explained by childish petulance at being humiliated by the very public abandonment of his policy by a company, whose support was so loudly proclaimed by him in the press and elsewhere. It is, however, also part of the Tories’ attempts to keep the identities of workfare exploiters secret. They have continually refused to name them, despite successfully legal challenges, because they maintain that those companies would be subjected to a campaign against them, which would stop them taking it up. The spectre raised is of innocent company directors quailing before angry, left-wing trolls all threatening to kill their families or firebomb their offices or something. This shows that the ‘unacceptable intimidation’ would be the complete opposite: calm, rational and respectful argument. To the Tory mind, this obviously cannot exist, because, like Mussolini, Osbo and IDS are always right.

the void

byteback-fb1As pointed out by @refuted, the Treasury’s claim that a recent anti-workfare social media storm was “unacceptable intimidation” comes just days after an Upper Tribunal judge endorsed this kind of criticism as “legitimate political expression”.

The comments came after news broke that Bristol IT company Byteback had pulled out of workfare a week after being visited by George Osborne to sing the praises of the scheme.  Hundreds of people had contacted Byteback on social media expressing dismay at their involvement in forced work after some fierce questioning from @andygale on twitter caused them to refer to their unpaid workers as ’employees of the state’.

Shortly after this bombardment, and in a huge embarrassment for Osborne, Byteback apologised for their involvement in his grubby scheme and promised “no more involvement ever with workfare”.

This prompted a tantrum from the Treasury who took to the national press to complain of…

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