Posts Tagged ‘Bus Passes’

IDS Has Resigned, But Curb Your Enthusiasm…

March 19, 2016

Someone just as bad if not worse will probably be around shortly.

The big news this morning is that Ian Duncan Smith has finally walked. Several of the commenters on this blog posted pieces about his resignation late last night, with due expressions of not the slightest bit of grief. In fact, quite the opposite. Much joy was felt by them and indeed by very many other people up and down the country. And who can blame them! Ian Duncan Smith is, after all, the wretched mass-murderer, who has used the benefits sanctions regime he inherited from Bliar’s New Labour to immiserate hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Under him, 590 people have died of starvation, poverty and neglect. Some by their own hand. A quarter of a million more have been pushed into anxiety, depression and mental illness. And for all that he’s resigned as head of the DWP, IDS is still head of a party which has forced 4.7 million people into ‘food poverty’. That, to you and me, is being literally on the breadline and not having enough to eat, or wondering where your next meal is coming from.

I’m surprised that he’s resigned, but the signs were all there. Over a week ago he was whining about how unfair it was for people to blame him from the hardship and misery his cuts were causing, when it was Labour that started them. Well, Blair and Brown did. But he and Cameron got in by pretending that they were going to be more left-wing, more caring than New Labour. That was the central promise of Philip Blonde’s book, Red Tory. And I distinctly remember George Osborne telling everyone that he was going to end the disastrous Private Finance Initiative, that’s saddling the country with mountains of debt for the profit of private companies running public services. But that’s another election promise the Tories conveniently forgot once they were in power.

Mike over at Vox Political has written several pieces commenting on Smith’s departure.

In his first piece about it, Mike urged a note of caution before we accepted that there was anything altruistic about Smith’s motives.

Yes, it’s great that he has gone. But I don’t think it’s over a matter of principle, no matter what he might say. Iain Duncan Smith has lied far too often for me to take anything he says at face value.

No, he’s either trying to be clever about the EU referendum, lining himself up to be in Boris’s good books if the vote goes against Cameron and Osborne, or he’s putting distance between himself and the Department for Work and Pensions after a judge ruled that potentially damning documents about Universal Credit must be published.

It seems the documents may show that Duncan Smith (I can’t be bothered with the nicknames – feel free to substitute ‘RTU’ or ‘the Gentleman Ranker’ if you like) misled Parliament and the public, time and again, about the floundering new benefit system.

Sick and disabled people will remain the targets of brutal benefit cuts. The unemployed are still enmeshed in a Kafka-esque nightmare of conditions they have to satisfy in order to draw their benefit. Social housing tenants are still persecuted by the Bedroom Tax.

Duncan Smith happily presided over more than £28 billion worth of cuts in payments to the most vulnerable people in the United Kingdom. That’s why This Writer doesn’t believe he has had a crisis of conscience now.

You can read the rest at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/03/19/never-mind-the-ides-of-march-its-the-march-of-ids/

I think Mike’s right. This has far more the look of a piece of political manoeuvring than any kind of statement of principle. Mike in the above states that IDS resigned when the cuts he was complaining about had already been shelved. Which is a curious way to protest. He also put up this piece, reporting a story in the Mirror that Nadine Dorries has stated that IDS begged her to vote for the cuts just before he decided to walk. See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/03/19/nadine-dorries-slams-iain-duncan-smith-for-begging-her-to-vote-for-disability-cuts-before-resigning-mirror-online/

In the statement from IDS reported on the TV news, Smith has apparently claimed that the reasons he resigned is because the cuts demanded by George Osborne were falling entirely on people of working age. This bears out what Mike reported in another of his pieces written about Smith’s resignation today: that he resigned from frustration at being blocked from killing pensioners. Mike writes:

Okay, it might not have been framed in quite the way expressed in the headline above, but that’s what the latest claims about Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation seem to be saying.

The allegation is that he was unhappy that the Conservative Government was continually targeting its cuts on working-age benefits, and wanted pensioners to take some of the pain as well, contrary to a directive from prime minister David Cameron that senior citizens’ benefits are not to be touched.

He would have taken away universal pensioner benefits like free bus passes, together with the winter fuel allowance and cold weather payments.

The effect of these cuts would have been a large increase in pensioner deaths – as predicted by the Taxpayers’ Alliance when that organisation suggested such cuts, only a few months ago.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/03/19/iain-duncan-smith-quit-because-he-wasnt-allowed-to-kill-pensioners-claim/

The Taxpayers Alliance, you understand, is the astroturf organisation the Beeb turns to whenever there’s a debate about government expenditure. This is the pressure group that campaigns for further reductions in taxation. It claims to be politically independent, but its leadership is composed to a man of paid-up members of the Tory party. It’s at best a satellite of Tory fellow-travellers, if not actually a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tory Party Plc (People lying continually). A few months ago they were urging the Conservatives to cut pensions, arguing that it wouldn’t have any effect on the party’s electoral fortunes, as by the time the election came around, all their victims would have died anyway. This is what passes for humour at Taxpayer Alliance Towers as they’re waiting for sentencing for tax fraud.

Mike’s report has more than just the ring of truth. I can remember Mike himself posting a piece a few years ago reporting that there was some friction between the Unctuous Spawn of the Baronet of Ballymoney, George ‘Lionel’ Osbo, and the Gentleman Ranker. Osborne wanted cuts that could only come from inflicting them on pensioners, according to IDS. As this is one of the demographic groups where Tory support is the strongest, Osbo rejected making them share the burden of the cuts as being ‘very courageous’, in the sense deployed by Sir Humphrey Appleby. Now it seems this report is essentially correct, and IDS has resigned rather than face the continued frustration of having to concentrate on killing and impoverishing those of working age, rather than killing and immiserating the elderly.

There is a bright side to this though! The street wags and practical jokers have been up and out with the jolly japes. Mike has a picture up of the fake ‘missing person’ ads which have been placed on a lamp-post asking where the great man is.
Answers on a postcard, please.

URGENT! Missing person alert!

Vox Political on the Tories Gradually Stripping the Elderly of their Pensions

February 23, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has this article asking the question Cameron promises to protect pensioners’ benefits. Do you believe him? Mike points out that Cameron broke his election pledges not to introduce means testing for certain benefits, and to the NHS. He stated that spending on the Health Service was to be ring-fenced against cuts.

He broke these promises, and is set to break his promise to protect pensions.

The pensionable age is being raised. Firefighters will be sacked, and thus lose their pensions, if they fail the fitness test. Francis Maude wishes pensions to be accessed only through the internet, which will prevent many pensioners from getting theirs. The Tories are also going to end the protection for those on Pension Credit, and Iain Duncan Smith is mooting ending the free TV licences, bus passes and winter fuel allowance as part of his benefit cap. And pensioners will definitely be subject to the bedroom tax.

Mike’s article begins

Why should you believe a word David Cameron says?

He has repeated a pledge not to introduce means testing for benefits such as bus passes, TV licences and the winter fuel allowance, if elected (not re-elected; he didn’t get enough support for that in 2010) in May.

This is the man who “looked down the barrel of a camera” (as he describes it) in 2010, promised to protect the NHS, and to tell any cabinet minister proposing cuts to frontline services that they should go away and think again.

He is denying the state pension to increasing numbers of people with a staged plan to raise the pensionable age. Members of Parliament, meanwhile, will receive transitional protection as the pensionable age rises – meaning they won’t miss out. Members of the public fund 60 per cent of Parliamentarians’ pensions.

The article is at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/02/23/cameron-promises-to-protect-pensioners-benefits-do-you-believe-him/.

The Republicans in America were moaning under George ‘Dubya’ Bush about how greedy senior citizens were. They would very definitely have liked to cut their pensions, but were well aware that if they did so, they’d lose vital electoral support. And so they complained bitterly about their greed and how selfish they were, when everyone else was having to tighten their belts.

The Tories have copied much of their rhetoric and strategy from the Repugs. There can be little doubt that like the Republicans, they want to get their hands on senior citizens’ pensions and cut them.

Do not trust anything Cameron says, and do not give him your vote.

IEA Neoliberal Think Tank at UKIP Conference

May 2, 2014

NigelFarage

UKIP is an anomaly, in that most of its grass-roots supporters are left-wing – almost as left as Labour party supporters – while its policies are extreme Right-wing Neoliberal. Jess pointed out that Mark Littlewood, the director of the Neoliberal think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs, addressed this year’s UKIP party conference, according to the anti-Fascist magazine, Searchlight. Littlewood was particularly concerned at the scale of state spending, which he strongly urged should be cut.

“Mark Littlewood, director general of the free-market think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, complained that welfare including pensions in the UK would cost £220 billion in 2014. “We are in an overtaxing, overspending, over regulating state,” he said.
“UKIP goes for victory in 2014:”

The Searchlight article is at http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/archive/ukip-goes-for-victory-in-2014.

As with many such think tanks, it’s been claimed that the IEA are somehow not political as they are at least formally independent of political parties. This does not alter the fact that they are a Neoliberal organisation pressing for the adoption of extreme Right-wing policies, such as the virtual destruction of the welfare state and more privatisation and deregulation. Again, Jess provides further information on this. This is a list of the think tank’s publication from Wikipedia, making it very clear where this organisation’s political views lie:

“Green, David, Benefit Dependency: How Welfare Undermines Independence, IEA, 1998
Green, David, An End to Welfare Rights: The Rediscovery of Independence, IEA, 1999
Green, David and Casper, Laura, Delay, Denial and Dilution, IEA, 1999
Green, David, Stakeholder Health Insurance, Civitas, 2000
Green, David, ‘The Neo-Liberal Perspective’ in The Student’s Companion to Social Policy (2nd ed, Blackwell, 2003).
Green, David, Grove, Emma and Martin, Nadia, Crime and Civil Society: Can we become a more law-abiding people?, Civitas, 2005
Green, David, We’re (Nearly) all Victims Now: how political correctness is undermining our liberal culture, Civitas, 2006
Green, David, Individualists Who Co-operate: Education and welfare reform befitting a free people, Civitas, 2009
Green, David, Prosperity With Principles: Some Policies For Economic Growth, Civitas, 2010″
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_George_Green

Or John A Lincoln “The Restrictive Society’, IEA , 1967.

And in stark contrast to the views of many UKIP members against Workfare, the IEA are very staunch supporters of this form of modern forced labour. This from their policy statement, published in 2010:

Key (summarised) parts are a p.5
“Introducing a ‘workfare’ system
The minimum number of working hours required to qualify for in-work benefits should be raised, but this must not be pursued in isolation. If so, it would only push many tax credit recipients from part-time employment into worklessness. A necessary companion reform is the attachment of work requirements to the receipt of out-of-work benefits, following the model tested in the US state of Wisconsin. Under this ‘workfare’ system, the daily life of benefit recipients is not that different from the daily life of their working peers, which would both remove the stigma from recipients, and encourage them to look for full-time employment in the regular labour market straight away.

Abolishing winter fuel payments and free bus passes
Special age-contingent benefits, cash and kind, should be merged into one single payment. The level of assistance payment is either sufficiently high to cover the cost of items like winter fuel, bus travel, eye tests etc, or it is not. If the former, top-up benefits for special purposes are unnecessary; if the latter, the most obvious solution is to raise the level of the assistance payment itself. In neither case is there a convincing rationale for adding layer upon layer of additional transfers

Freeing labour and housing markets
Welfare reform would be much more effective if accompanied by a liberalisation of the labour market and the land-use planning system. This would enable an increase in the demand for labour, and make housing easily affordable at every point of the income distribution.”
http://www.iea.org.uk/publications/research/transforming-welfare-incentives-localisation-and-non-discrimination-web-public

My thanks to Jess for digging this information out. She says of the last link, ‘Health Warning; Also an extremely right wing site.’

I’ve no doubt that the IEA are trying to influence all political parties, including Labour. Nevertheless, it doesn’t alter the fact that they are an extreme Right-wing organisation with policies that will hurt the working class.