Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Information Request’

Mike Scoops Private Eye on McVey’s Departure from Government

December 12, 2018

Last fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, for the 30th November – 13th December, carried a story suggesting that Esther McVey’s resignation from the cabinet may have been for reasons other than a concern over Brexit. Instead, the satirical magazine suggested, Iain Duncan Smith’s collaborator in the murder and starvation of the old, homeless, unemployed and disabled was due to her wishing to avoid having to answer questions about whether her department has tried to cover up the stats on the deaths on disabled people. The piece, in the ‘HP Sauce’ column on page 10 ran:

<strong>Esther McVey’s sudden cabinet resignation over Brexit does have a silver lining for the former work and pensions secretary. It means she avoids having to answer tricky questions about whether her erstwhile department tried to cover up links between its controversial “fitness for work” tests and the deaths of benefit claimants.

Marsha de Cordova, Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people, and Stephen Lloyd, the Lib Dem’s work and pensions spokesman, wants to establish whether inquest rulings linking the so-called work capability assessment to the deaths of at least two mentally ill claimants were passed to the independent expert tasked with annual reviews of the test. They also want to know whether the results of internal investigations into the deaths of other claimants were passed on.

If they were, they certainly did not feature in Dr Paul Litchfield’s reviews in 2013 and 2014 – and he himself is keeping schtum. A recent Freedom of Information request from Disability News Service also failed to elicit an answer, with the Department for Work and Pensions simply saying it did not hold the information – and it clearly wasn’t prepared to find out.

Let’s see if the two crusading MPs fare any better with McVey’s successor at the DWP, the returning Remainer Amber Rudd, who in her early defence of universal credit looks every bit as evasive as McVey.

This is very much in Mike’s particular sphere of interest over at Vox Political. As a carer, Mike is very concerned about the Tories’ attacks on the disabled and the lethal consequences of their sanctions regime and the Fitness for Work tests. Followers of his blog will recall the struggle Mike had to get the DWP under IDS to release the stats on the number of people, who’d died under their reforms of the benefits system.

On Friday, 23rd November 2018, Mike ran this story speculating that the Minister for the Genocide of the Disabled had resigned because she wanted to avoid being questioned about the number of deaths Tory policies have caused:

Remember when Esther McVey quit the government last week, claiming it was because of Brexit, and I suggested she was running to avoid having to answer the criticisms of the Department for Work and Pensions raised by UN inspector Philip Alston?

It turned out that she had already exchanged words with the special rapporteur on poverty – but now it seems I was not wrong after all, as Ms McVey’s departure allowed her to avoid answering questions on a possible link between the hated Work Capability Assessment carried out by private contractors on behalf of the DWP and the deaths of benefit claimants.

This issue is whether the government showed key documents linking the deaths of claimants with the work capability assessment (WCA) to Dr Paul Litchfield, the independent expert hired to review the test in 2013 and 2014.

Dr Litchfield carried out the fourth and fifth reviews of the WCA but has refused to say if he was shown two letters written by coroners and a number of secret DWP “peer reviews”.

In the light of recent revelations, it seems reasonable to ask whether this is because he was asked to sign a ‘gagging order’ – a non-disclosure agreement requiring him not to say anything embarrassing or critical about the Conservative government or its minister.

Dr Litchfield published his two reviews in December 2013 and November 2014, but neither mentioned the documents, which all link the WCA with the deaths of claimants.

Disability News Service raised the issue in July, prompting Opposition spokespeople to send official letters demanding an explanation. Labour shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova’s was written on July 25, and Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesman Stephen Lloyd’s followed on August 2.

Neither had received a response by the time Ms McVey walked out, as DNS reported.

I think we can safely conclude that the four-month delay – so far – indicates Ms McVey intended never to respond. The disagreement over Brexit provided a handy excuse to do a runner.

Will Amber Rudd be more forthcoming?

The evidence of her time at the Home Office suggests the opposite.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/11/23/did-mcvey-quit-the-government-to-avoid-questions-on-disability-deaths-cover-up/

Mike’s report of the affair covered the same points as that in the Eye, but adds details about Dr Litchfield’s reports and speculates that he may not have given details of the numbers of deaths because he had been forced to sign a gagging order, as very many of the charities and other organisations working with Tweezer’s gang of cutthroats have been forced to do.

One of the problems facing modern print journalism is that by the time they’ve put a story into the paper, everyone’s already read about it on the Net. This is the reason why newspapers have increasingly become similar to magazines with celebrities interviews, media stories and articles on subjects that are of interest, but not necessarily particularly topical.

I went back to reading Private Eye after a hiatus, when I was sick and tired of the magazine’s constant attacks on Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters. This seems to have calmed down recently, but I’ve no doubt that it’s still bubbling away somewhere underneath. It does carry much excellent information on the shabby deals going on behind the scenes, in politics, local government, business and the press, which isn’t reported in the rest of the media. It’s that which still makes the magazine worth reading.

However, the mainstream media has shown to a rapidly increasing number of people that it is deeply biased and untrustworthy. And it has plenty of competitors from the various left-wing news organisations on the web. Like the Disability News Service, the Canary, the Skwawkbox and very many others. Left-wing bloggers and vloggers are also increasingly turning to them, rather than rely on the viciously biased, mendacious British press. Gordon Dimmack announced on one of his videos a few weeks ago that he wasn’t going to rely on the mainstream media for his stories any longer. This was on a video in which he took apart the lies in a story in the Groaniad about Julian Assange.

The British media, including the Beeb, is feeling threatened. Very threatened. A week or so ago the Radio Times published an article lamenting the polarization in political opinion due to people no longer trusting mainstream news sources, and turning instead to others which conformed to their own views. Thus the political consensus was breaking down. They also ran another article celebrating Question Time and its presenter, Dimbleby. Well, the consensus opinion pushed by the media is largely right-wing, pro-Tory and anti-Corbyn, with the Corporation’s news as massively bias as the Tory papers, from whom some of their journos have come. And Question Time has also angered many people, because of this pro-Tory bias and the way it has packed both panels and audience with Tories and Tory supporters.

It’s entirely right that people are turning away from the lamestream media with its bias and lies to the left-wing blogs, vlogs and other news outlets on the web. They aren’t Tory propaganda outlets, and are increasingly getting the stories before the mainstream papers and broadcasters.

And as this article from Private Eye shows, one of those blogs, which is getting the news to people first, before the mainstream press, is Vox Political.

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Broxstowe Constituency Chairman Purged by New Labour

September 12, 2016

Yesterday Mike posted up another piece about a prominent Labour figure, who has now been purged by Ian MacNichol and his New Labour goons. This is Peter Radcliff, the chairman of Broxstowe Constituency Labour party. Mr Radcliff has been told that he’s been suspended because he is a member of AWL, which Owen Smith denounced as a far left organisation that was infiltrating the Labour party. Mike points out that AWL is miniscule. Moreover, Radcliffe has been a member of the Labour party for 35 years, which means it’s a bit late for any to scream anything about infiltration in his case.

Perhaps the real reason is that in 2014 he submitted a motion to the Labour party conference urging the renationalisation of the NHS. Conference rejected it. Mike also suggests that this may not be about AWL entryism, but about the fact that Mr Radcliff’s constituency party protested against the attempt by Labour MPs to overthrow Corbyn without the membership having a vote on it. They also protested against the imposition by the New Labour bureaucracy of the freeze date of January 12, to stop people joining after that date from being able to vote in the leadership election they wanted to prevent.

Mike also reports that a personal friend of Vox Political has also been suspended on the grounds that she was in breach of rules regarding recruitment’. And that’s it. She’s issued a Subject Access Request for all information on the case, but it won’t be cleared up until after the election. Which is why it’s been done at this time.

Mike concludes:

Add it all up, together with the other shenanigans we’ve seen over the summer, and it seems there has been some spectacular skulduggery by people currently occupying positions of responsibility which they appear to have abused.

I know Jeremy Corbyn is keen on conciliation but this cannot be allowed to continue.

After the leadership election is over, it will be time to decide what to do about these people.

The article is at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/09/11/labour-offends-another-constituency-party-by-expelling-its-chairman/

Go and read it, and be annoyed.

I am also appalled at the way the Labour party conference turned down a motion for the renationalisation of the NHS. The current bankruptcies and cuts in the Health Service are a direct result of its piecemeal privatisation, a privatisation that began with Maggie Thatcher and was massively accelerated by Tony Blair and New Labour. Private healthcare is massively more expensive than state healthcare, more inefficient and discriminates against the poor, the disabled and long term sick. It’s profoundly revolting that the party, which set up the NHS, should now be backing its destruction. This incident is also ominous as shows what might happen if New Labour get their way with the forthcoming Conference. Labour First, another Blairite entryist group, has been contacting right-winger to get them to pack the Conference in order to stymie the left-wingers present, and make sure it blocks any left-wing policies and frustrates Corbyn’s leadership.

This is what New Labour, Ian MacNichol and the 172 MPs involved in the coup represent: the destruction of the welfare state, the privatisation of the NHS, and misery and poverty for the poor, the unemployed and the working class. They stand for the absolute betrayal of everything the Labour party was founded for. It is time their power was broken, and they were made to respect the wishes of the majority. If they cannot, they should leave the party and go to their natural home in the Tories.