Posts Tagged ‘Iain Duncan Smith’

The Culpable Silence over the Genocide of the Disabled

March 20, 2017

Two weeks ago Mike over at Vox Political posted a piece about how he had praised on Twitter the Last Leg for its hosts describing the Tory government’s lethal policy of throwing disabled people off benefits for what it was: a disabled genocide. Alex Brooker and the show’s main man, Adam Hills had said of the policy

“At first these cuts looked like a good plan experiencing teething problems, then it started to feel like a badly executed system but now – it’s beginning to look a lot like disabled genocide.”

“This government is slowly killing off a generation of disabled people.””

He continued: “The only question is are they doing it on purpose? Because if you are, why stop at sanctions?

”Why not round us up put us on a reservation and sterilise the drinking water because that is literally more humane than what you’re doing right now. For any Conservatives watching that is not a genuine suggestion.”

Brooker and Hills then urged the government committee meeting to examine the issue not to issue bonus for swift assessments, but to punish people when they do so wrongly.

Mike makes the point that his blog had also been describing the Tory policy as a genocide for years. Mike also hoped this would spark a debate, but noted that the social media was far too much a minority pursuit to do so on its own. He hoped mentioning the Last Leg, a popular comedy news review show on Channel 4, would do something to get more people interested. Unfortunately, Mike was disappointed. After only a couple of days, the story had been overtaken by the controversy surrounding Emma Watson showing much of her bosom in one of the fashion magazines.

See: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2017/03/05/praise-for-the-last-legs-attack-on-disabled-genocide-but-was-it-only-words/

I am not surprised there has been this silence over the organised murder of the disabled. Much of the supposed news content of the mass media is, as Mike and the other bloggers have pointed out time and again, ad nauseam, about provoking hatred and demonising those on benefits and particularly the disabled. Mike has frequently cited the statistic that while fraud accounts for only 0.7 per cent of benefit claims, the general public seem to have swallowed the media’s lie so that they believe 25 per cent of all benefit recipients are scroungers and malingerers. One of the worst offenders in this regard is the Daily Hail, where these stories are a constant staple of its ‘journalism’. The TV companies aren’t much better, however. Over the past few years we’ve also seen the emergence of ‘poverty porn’ TV series, like Channel 4’s Benefits Street, looking at the lives of Britain’s poorest people on welfare. These series also regularly show amongst their cast of real-life characters, at least one person, who is committing fraud. It wasn’t a coincidence that one of these series was produced by the TV company owned by Esther McVie, Cameron’s ‘Wicked Witch of the Wirral’, who was briefly in charge of throwing the disabled out off benefits and out of their homes when she was at the DWP.

The media’s and general public’s lack of reaction to the claim that Britain’s disabled people are being systematically targeted for extermination by an uncaring government reminded me of the controversy in America way back in the late 1980s and early 1990s about claims that there was a secret government plot to exterminate the Black population. Many Black Americans were so convinced of this, that Jack White, a journalist at Time magazine, wrote an article rebutting it with the title ‘Genocide Mumbo Jumbo’. Harry Allen, the ‘media assassin’ with the Black rap outfit, Public Enemy, was then asked to write a response to it. Adam Parfrey included the resulting article ‘How to Kill: Are Afrikan People Subjects of a Genocidal Plot?’ in his book Apocalypse Culture (Los Angeles: Feral House 1990) 229-44.

Apocalypse Culture is an anthology of essays and articles on fringe and extreme issues in America during the late ’80s and first year of the ’90s. Many of the articles are written from an occult perspective, or that of new religious movements, the paranormal, and extreme or fringe political movements so that the authors include the late head of the Church of Satan, Anton Szandor LaVey and the founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammed, as well as Oswald Spengler, the conspiracy theorist John Shelby Downard and the chronicler of weird phenomena, Charles Fort, and the Red Brigades. This is genuinely transgressive writing. While I don’t agree with the occult and am not a member of a new religious movement or hold the extremist political views of some of the authors, this does not mean that I don’t think that some of the writers have a point.

Allen in his article interviewed Jack White and Asiba Tukahache, a First Nation American woman, who stated that she’d been aware of the genocide of Black people since 1973. Clearly the organised campaigns that have been inflicted on Black people and Indigenous Americans are different from the British government’s attacks on the disabled. Nevertheless, some of the observations Tupahache and White make do seem to parallel some of attitudes and the process of discrimination that disabled people on this side of the Pond are experiencing. For example, Tupahache remarks on the way racist portrayals of Blacks were still considered acceptable on television, and the way monuments to her people on Long Island were being obliterated in the 70s, at the same time Roots was on TV and everyone was talking about slavery. She said that what first brought this issue to her attention was

‘Seeing an ‘Inky’ Warner Bros. cartoon caricature on television. I was just amazed that the cartoon was still being shown, and just how easy it was for that to be shown, and no one objected. No one seemed to think anything was wrong. I started making photographs, taking pictures, shooting off the television-Flintstones cartoons, shooting ads out of magazines, billboards and everything. Just feeling like there was something I was going to do with it, just to tell everybody how wrong it was and how abnormal it was to pretend, or at least not know, that anything was wrong, when it really was a very hurtful thing. I didn’t what I was gonna do, I knew I was gonna do something, and I just started collecting stuff, and it turned into boxes…

I think the turning point was when some land markers were going to declare on (sic) of our ancestral areas Long Island’s first Black national land mark. It kind of flipped my brain inside out, trying to deal with the panic and outrage of my relatives, while at the same time trying to understand and cope with deaf, dumb and blindness of a public, who I thought wanted to know the truth, but who, in fact, only wanted to know what they wanted to hear. 1977, right after Roots was televised, and everybody was slave wild. And it was bicentennial time, and nobody wanted to hear about this obscure idea of a people called Matinecoc getting in the way of their slavery revelry and their bicentennial minutes.

Tupahache was nevertheless successful in bringing the issue to a large number of people, and said in the interview that she was overwhelmed by the public’s response. She stated that it had received

Very positive reactions, for those who have seen it. And I guess that’s probably what really overwhelmed me the most. The first week I sold a hundred copies of it, after a radio discussion on a show called Night Talk. I didn’t really understand the impact that it made on people, but it did [make one]. And just the process of sending them out to people, then finding it had been understood and useful was kind of a transition right there, because I had spent all the time gathering the evidence, figuring it out, writing it all out, and then sending it out. Saying goodbye to it.

She also makes the point that many people in Nazi Germany also did not believe that their government was trying to exterminate people because of their race.

Well, you have an environment of extreme terror. People are responding in terms of genocidal acts of aggression against them, because of how brutal things are and can be. And also, as DePres has said in his book, that a lot of people refused to believe that it was going on in Nazi Germany too.

And it was just that people who, quote, ‘live decently’, unquote, don’t want to think that there is anything going on around them that could mean a guilt on their part, or an examination of their lives, or a questioning of their own motives or failure to do something about it. But that has its opposite reaction: For all of that denial, you also have that very same panic and fear. Not that the fears of the people are unfounded, when I talk about panic, but from the absolute fright of what’s going on =which is so obvious to them, but is totally deniable and invisible to others who seem to wilfully not want to address it or change it.

There’s another form of absolute terror! When you totally rearrange what’s going on around you into “Mumbo Jumbo”, or to trivialise it, to the point of contempt, is another form of denial. To say it isn’t rue, to trivialize.

White and Tupahache also differed in their attitude to whether genocide was possible in a democracy. Tupahache did not believe it was, while White admitted it could. When asked if it was possible in the United States, he replied

Well, I think it’s probably unlikely. But sure, why not? I mean, probably not in the United States, but you’re asking in principle, right? In theory? Sure, I think it’s possible. I think that’s why in societies like this one we have constitutional protections: To protect minorities, because I think it’s always possible. I mean, the mass hysteria that attended the rise of Nazism in Germany could conceivably take rise in any society in the world, if had sufficient friction, and the right ethnic group, and the right sort of numbers involved. Again, I say, I don’t think that pertains to the United States, but it’s conceivable it could occur somewhere else, and probably has. I don’t know that it has but it probably has.

Some of the difference between White’s and Tupahache’s view of whether there is a Black genocide in America comes from their difference in attitude to what constitutes it. For White, it seems to be a matter of the use of physical force. For Tupahache, it comes through a system of racialization that denies people their nationhood and connection to the land, which makes them other than human, and which also leads the victims to blame themselves for the brutality that is inflicted upon them.

Reading these different, it’s clear from Tukahache’s experience that disabled people in Britain are not alone in finding that a public that considers itself liberal and informed does not want to hear about or discuss the way they are being systematically discriminated and killed through the withdrawal of the support they need. People don’t see it, because, like the racist images of Black people in mainstream culture, they don’t see anything wrong with it and don’t connect it to mass death.

The public is being told by the mass media that welfare recipients, and particularly the disabled, are all scroungers and malingerers, so they think that if people are being thrown off benefit, they’ve only themselves to blame, because they’re obviously a scrounger or malingerer. And like the Nazis, the Tories have been very carefully to keep the numbers of people they’ve killed from reaching the public. You look at the articles posted by Mike over at Vox Political about his struggle to get the information from IDS’ DWP. The Department refused again and again, decried his requests as ‘vexatious’, and did everything it could to block or evade answering the question. And it’s still doing so.

And my guess is that much of this indifference also comes from the was accusations of Fascism have become so routine, that there is a tendency not to take it seriously. For example, one of the people, who took the opportunity to pose on the empty fourth plinth as a public work of art, was a disabled woman in a wheelchair. She dressed in Nazi costume, and sat in her chair, on top of the plinth, as a protest against the government’s treatment of the disabled. This was reported in the Independent, and then, I think, forgotten. Yet another person from a minority making an hysterical and inflated claim to persecution.

My guess is that for most of the public, discrimination against the disabled is probably connected with issues of accessibility and jobs. These are issues of frustration and injustice, yes, but not at the same level as being herded into gas chambers, shot, or dragged into reservations or forced labour camps. And because of that – because the organised campaign to deny disabled people the funding they need to live, let alone live with dignity – it is easy for the public and the media to dismiss any complaints about genocide as grossly exaggerated. More inflated hyperbole from grievance-mongers.

Except that this is a genuine grievance, and the disabled are being genuinely killed by the government’s callousness and determination to save money, even if it means death to those refused it.

As for the issue of racial genocide, I’m afraid that now, after a quarter of a century, that seems far more possible in Trump’s America than it did when the article was first published. Trump’s administration is racist in its determination to deport and ban Latin American and Muslim immigration, and it includes people, who are genuinely racist and hold views that could reasonably be considered Fascist and White supremacist, like Steve Bannon, Richard Spencer and Sebastian Gorka. They need to be stopped, before they start killing people.

As for raising awareness of the genocide against the disabled in this country, Stilloaks, Atos Miracles and DPAC are publishing details of the people the government are victimising and throwing off benefit. I hope the Last Leg will continue to cover this issue, and persist in calling it what it is so that the Tories can’t get away with denying what they’re doing. There are artists out there, who’ve also made it the subject of their work. Johnny Void had on his site a few years ago a picture made up of smaller photos of some of the victims of the government’s policy. I hope they also carry on, and are joined by more artists, journalists and commenters. And perhaps what we need here is for a few more people on talk radio to cover this, and not be satisfied by the smooth, patronising lies of Damian Green, Iain Duncan Smith, Cameron or May.

Dennis Skinner Calls Trump a Fascist

February 3, 2017

Here’s a bit of real, Old Labour Socialism coming through. In this clip, the veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner, the ‘Beast of Bolsover’, invites the Foreign Secretary to go back with him to the time when he was hiding under the stairs as Britain was being bombed by two Fascist dictators, Mussolini and Hitler. Now May is walking hand in hand with another Fascist, Donald Trump. He calls on the Foreign Secretary to condemn Trump’s visit and states that the Orange Dictator isn’t fit to walk in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela.

There’s another clip of this speech, which shows BoJo rising up to respond to Skinner, saying that he is mistaken about Mussolini bombing Britain, but he hears his criticism. He then tries to answer it by saying that the government rejects the recommendation to cancel Trump’s visit, and instead will work to get the best deal for British citizens.

I left that out because, quite honestly, it’s more infuriating Tory lies. May and the Conservatives made the same claim about working to get the best deal for Britain with Brexit. And what they’ve actually managed to get is quite the opposite: a very bad deal for Britain, which has left millions of people worried about their jobs and how they’ll manage with the expected rise in prices now we’re outside the EU tariff wall.

And Mike this week put up a piece, which made it very plain that what limited criticism the Tories have made about Trump was motivated by their desire to defend a Muslim Tory MP from being stopped if he goes to America.

In fact, it seems to me that vast parts of the Tory party and press are solidly behind the ban. The Daily Mail, the Express and the Torygraph have for years attacked non-White immigration. I remember a number of articles from these papers in the 1980s where they talked about the growth of ‘unassimilable’ immigrants. As for the Scum, way back in the 1990s when the Sun was very loudly trying to tell the world that it was somehow non- or even anti-racist, Private Eye reminded its readers that the paper had been convicted something like 19 or 21 times by the Press Complaints Commission of racism. In one of the most repellent of the cases, the Scum ran a cartoon showing pigs marching in protest with banners. The caption read, ‘Even now the pigs are complaining about being compared to Arabs’. Or if not those precise words, then something very similar.

The party that was appealing for illegal immigrants to hand themselves in so they could be deported, amongst other anti-immigrant policies is not going to condemn Trump for his hardline stance against Muslim immigration. However much David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith may have tried to present the Tory party as now entirely anti-racist and comfortable with multiculturalism.

Vox Political’s Mike Sivier in Today’s Indie Asking Tough Questions of IDS

June 25, 2015

Mike from Vox Political has written a piece in today’s Independent, ‘All I want is the Government to say how many people on benefits have died under their watch – why does Iain Duncan Smith think I’m ‘disgraceful’?’ with the significant by-line, ‘You can’t help think that the Government is trying to hide something’. It follows IDS’ recent attack on disability campaigners, in which he declared that they were ‘disgraceful’ for demanding he release the information on the number of people, who’ve died after being assessed as ‘fit for work’.

Mike’s piece begins

David Groves was 56 when he died of a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him. Terry McGarvey, 48, who suffered from polycytheamia, asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not. He died the following day.

When the sick and disabled have to fight the Government for their lives it’s a sad indictment against our nation. Why is it so hard for our Tory Government to tell us how many people on benefits have died under their watch? And why has the campaign for the numbers to be released been called “disgraceful” by Iain Duncan Smith?

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As a political blogger specialising in welfare issues, I have been aware of the horror stories facing benefit claimants for years. It all began with claims in a 2012 Panorama documentary that the “work capability assessment” medical examination on claimants of Employment and Support Allowance was causing extreme, occasionally life-threatening stress.

He briefly discusses the inadequacy of the ‘tick-box’ assessments for judging whether people are able to work, and his shock at the Panorama report, which described how those with suicidal thoughts were asked why they didn’t try to end their lives. He also mentions the stress caused by the lengthy appeals process, before talking about his campaign to get the mortality statistics from the DWP. He describes how IDS’ department refused, and how he was forced to appeal against the decision. He has won the appeal, but the government is planning to publish the stats in a deliberately fudged manner.

Mike concludes by asking why it is that the government has not already published the information, in a form people actually want, without Mike having had to launch a petition to get them to do so? After all, he has a letter from them from two years ago stating that they have the information at hand, and ready to publish. He states

The DWP’s appeal against me states that the statistics are likely to be misinterpreted: “Incorrect conclusions were likely to be drawn as to causal links between assessment outcomes and mortality.” But FOI requests are motive-blind; it doesn’t matter how the DWP thinks the figures will be used. All that matters is whether the DWP has the information and can publish it within cost limits.

It does, and it can.

So let’s have it.

The article also has a link to Mike’s petition to get the government to release the petition. This is at https://www.change.org/p/hm-courts-and-tribunal-service-publish-stats-showing-how-many-people-have-died-after-their-benefits-stopped

Mike’s article is at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/all-i-want-is-the-government-to-say-how-many-people-on-benefits-have-died-under-their-watch–why-does-iain-duncan-smith-think-im-disgraceful-10345080.html

It has a piccie of Mike himself, as well as one of IDS, where he looks like he’s looking into a long, dark pit. Hopefully, it’s the one that’ll swallow his career.

Private Eye on Repeated Exposure of IDS’ Lies

June 25, 2015

Mike from Vox Political was in the Mirror, the Mail and the Groaniad this Tuesday. Ian Duncan Smith, the Minister for the Creative Murder of the Poor, had got really annoyed about disability rights’ campaigners’ continued demands for the release of the government’s statistics showing how many people had died due to sanctions after being declared fit for work. Smith had therefore made a speech denouncing them as ‘disgraceful’ for worrying the public unduly. And so the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate had come to Mike, and others, like the head of the disabled rights group, Black Triangle, for comment.

And far from being dismayed at this attack on his character, Mike was instead immensely amused, as it once again gave him the opportunity to make the true facts plain before the public, and point out IDS’ continuing lies, as well as his crass stupidity and manifest incompetence.

If IDS is going to get this upset every time someone challenges the honesty of his department, then I strongly advise him to stock up on all the stomach pills he’s going to need to control his increasingly bilious digestion. Because there’s going to be a very long line of ’em.

Mike and his fellows haven’t been the first people this year to upset the Gentleman Ranker about this. Private Eye, in its issue for the 29th May-11th June 2015, published this article on how a series of campaigners had demanded the information, and revealed how the published statistics that had been obtained very definitely give the lie to RTU’s claims. Here it is.

Dead Quiet Man

So much for work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s professed “outrage” when asked about secret government reviews into the unexpected deaths of benefit claimants.

In a televised debate before the election, Duncan Smith denied the existence of such a review and accused the Green Party’s Jonathan Bartley of making “scurrilous” and “cheap” allegations – even though his own civil servants had already admitted there had been 40 reviews of suicides and nine further benefit-related deaths in the previous year.

The Department for Work and Pensions is refusing to publish the outcome of those cases but last week, responding to an FOI request from Anita Bellows, a research for Disabled People Against Cuts, it admitted that 10 of the 49 claimants had been subject to controversial benefit sanctions.

Concern that one in five benefit-related deaths may be connected to the practice of suddenly halting payments – for example, after missing one jobcentre appointment – has increased pressure on Duncan Smith to release the reviews. Now his ministerial sidekick, Priti Patel, has unveiled figures showing that while the use of jobseeker sanctions fell overall last year, that was not the case for those who were ill or disabled. The number of people whose employment and support allowance (ESA, which replaced incapacity benefit as the out-of-work disability benefit) was suddenly halted, rose by more than a third last year to a total of 36,810 – leaping from 2,626 to 3,274 in the final month.

Patel maintains sanctions are used “as a last resort” – just as well if rumours are true that cuts to disabled people’s ESA will be part of Duncan Smith’s £12bn welfare budget cuts.

As a number of whistleblowers have pointed out, sanctions are most definitely not used as a last resort. Indeed, there have been leaks showing Jobcentres awarded prizes, like chocolate Easter eggs and mock sheriff’s badges for workers, who have sanctioned the most claimants. This shows that Patel is also a liar, which should itself come as no shock to anyone. She is, after all, one of the wretched authors of Britannia Unchained, the rabid free-market screed demanding that British workers work longer for poverty wages, without the support of the welfare state, in order for their bosses to get the same profits as their bloated counterparts in the Developing World. Unfortunately, the Eye article doesn’t mention the campaign to get the figures released for the numbers, who’ve died after being found fit for work. But it does show how benefit sanctions are causing people to take their own lives, and that the government is well aware of it. And therefore, through IDS’ actions and pronouncements, how desperate he is, to cover up this murderously failing policy.

As for Duncan Smith calling disability campaigners disgraceful, it reminded me of a philosophical system called Logical Positivism. As formulated by Alfred ‘Freddy’ Ayer, this held that any statement made about the world did not actually describe the thing it was apparently about. Instead, it was a statement about the speaker’s own mental state. For example, if someone was described as beautiful, that did not mean that they actually were so. It meant instead only that the person speaking found that person attractive. Logical Positivism has since been discredited, with Ayer himself stating that it was excellent but for a single flaw: it was almost totally wrong.

Nevertheless, it seems to describe with amazing accuracy Iain Duncan Smith’s own psychology. When he attacks disability campaigners as ‘disgraceful’, it means he finds them disgraceful, because they are clearly a threat to his continued position in government. To everyone else looking at his lies and incompetence, the true disgrace is how he was ever put in charge of it, and the millions of lives of people on benefits in the first place.

And he’d better get used to feeling threated, because the campaigners aren’t going to stop pressing for the information, nor stop trying to discredit him and the vile government he serves.

A New Parlour Game: Obsolete Words to Describe Iain Duncan Smith and the Government

May 16, 2015

Earlier today I posted up an article about an obsolete term I’d found in the Dictionary of Historical Slang, which I thought pretty accurately described the current head of the Department for Work and Pensions. This was ‘Gentleman Ranker’, which referred to ‘a broken gentleman, serving in the ranks of the army’. In other words, this was a middle or upper class man, who had lost his money. Unable to buy a commission, he was forced to serve in the ranks as an ordinary squaddie.

This indeed suits Iain Duncan Smith, as unfortunately, although he has retained his wealth and landed property, he is rumoured to have been Returned To Unit after failing to pass the officers’ exams at Sandhurst.

Since I posted it, I got this comment from Maxwell 1957. He says that there’s another obsolete term, ‘Wancel’, which also aptly describes IDS. This is 18th century slang for a person, who was so incompetent that they were beyond redemption.

This could be the beginning of a new parlour game!

Older readers of this blog may recall the BBC panel game, Call My Bluff. This was a how on BBC 2 in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in which two teams competed to try and deceive each other over the meaning of obsolete words in the English language. The teams gave three definitions of a particular old, and now disused word, only one of which was correct. The opposing team then had to guess which was the correct answer. It was somewhat like the round in the Griff Rhys Jone’s show, The Quizeum, on BBC 4, where the two teams each have an object, and try to deceive them by offering a false explanation along with the object’s correct identity.

The show was led by that stalwart of British comedy, Frank Muir and with Patrick Campbell, heading the opposing team and they were accompanied by various guest celebrities. The questions were set by Cliff Michelmore, Muir was later joined by Dennis Norden and Arthur Marshal on the music quiz, My Music, and a similar game show, My Word. In the first quiz, they were asked to identify various pieces of music by the question master, Steve Race, and were joined by a Scots opera singer, whose name unfortunately now escapes me.

And in My Word, Norden, Muir and co competed to offer various shaggy dog stories to explain well-known quotations from literature. For example, they once gave a very long, and entirely spurious tale, to explain that the line from Pepys’ diary, ‘And so to bed’, really was ‘And saw Tibet!’

‘Call My Bluff’ ran from 1965 to 1988, but was revived in the late 1990s with Sandi Toksvig and then Fiona Bruce. The panellists included the great satirist and editor of Punch, Alan Coren.

So, if you know any further ancient and obsolete terms that fit Iain Duncan Smith, his massive ego and even greater incompetence and rapacity, please feel free to send ’em in. It’ll be interesting to see how many terms describe this poltroon, before the more obscure byways of the English language are exhausted.

Here’s a clip of the show from the 1970s, with Cliff Michelmore, Patrick Campbell, Edward Woodward, Frank Muir, Joan Bakewell and Mr Blobby’s criminal accomplice, Noel Edmonds, to remind you what it was like in its heyday.

This Fortnight’s Private Eye on IDS’ Bullying of John Pring and the Disability News Service

May 16, 2015

Iain Duncan Smith, the Gentleman Ranker, is in this fortnight’s Private Eye. Their article, ‘DWP’s Mute Point’, reports the way Iain Duncan Smith is refusing to answer Mr Pring’s requests for information on his department’s highly discriminatory and murderous policies towards the disabled. As the Eye’s article reveals, this involves RTU’s usual tactics of responding as late as possible to Mr Pring’s questions, and then making unreasonable requests in return.

The Eye therefore begins its article by asking the pertinent question

Will the bright not-so-very new dawn see the team at the Department for Work and Pensions stop its scandalous bullying of the campaigning journalist who runs the country’s only disability news agency?

It goes on to report how Smith was infuriated by the News Service’s revelation that his department was refusing to publish the fact that it had carried out 49 secret reviews into the deaths of claimants on benefits. It also reveals that Smith was further angered by the Service’s report that Smith and his government are being threatened with even more humiliation by a UN investigation into ‘grave or systematic violations’ of the rights of disabled people in Britain.

According to the Eye, Smith’s excuse for refusing to give answers to Mr Pring is that when the Department’s own press office misses the deadlines set by Mr Pring, he should update his website and alert his subscribers. This applies even when he receives their answers days after the deadlines have expired.

Mr Pring has said in response that this would make his workload simply unmanageable, as he would have to do this for every individual and organisation he contacted to comment on a story.

The Eye’s article concludes with the statement ‘Some might argue that the DWP’s treatment of Pring, who is himself disabled, might amount to discrimination.’

The article just further confirms what a thug and bully Iain Duncan Smith, or ‘Tosser’, to his army buddies, is. Other campaigners, like Mike over at Vox Political, and the other disability campaigners requesting information on his department’s murder of the disabled through benefit sanctions, have received similar stonewalling and denials. This comes from the very man, who was afraid to enter a parliamentary committee room to present his testimony before the Work and Pensions Committee without a guard of armed goons.

Cameron said in the run-up to the election last week that Smith was tough, and that he could ‘crack skulls between his kneecaps’. This suggests the opposite. He’s terrified of searching gaze of public exposure, and his response is only to bully those weaker than himself. This shows what a massive coward he is, and how unfit for any kind of governmental post he and his master, David Cameron, really are.

Iain Duncan Smith – Gentleman Ranker?

May 16, 2015

I think I may have discovered a phrase, which neatly sums up IDS’ career in the forces.

Looking through Partridge’s Dictionary of Historical Slang last night, I found the phrase ‘Gentleman Ranker’. This meant ‘A broken gentleman serving in the ranks’.

Until quite late in the 19th century, officers bought their commissions. This policy was abandoned after the mass incompetence of the British officers during the Crimean War, and competitive exams were brought in, so that aptitude, rather than just material wealth, gained you promotion and a position of leadership in the British army. This was duly sent up by Gilbert and Sullivan in their song, ‘I am the Model of a Modern Major General’.

It also seems to describe the military career of the current mass-murderer now head of the DWP, Iain Duncan Smith. Despite his claims to have been an officer in the British army, there are rumours that he never passed as the course, and was instead Returned To Unit, hence his nickname on this and other blogs as ‘RTU’.

Smith clearly fancies himself as an aristocratic gentleman, complete with a farm in Scotland. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lost all his money, and so had to face poverty and actually having to go out and work for his living like the rest of us. But if he was Returned To Unit, to serve as a soldier in the ranks, then clearly he was a ‘gentleman ranker’.

It more or less accurately describes him. Plus there are the overtones of the Cockney rhyming slang term, ‘J. Arthur Rank’, which also fit him and his squalid personality and policies.

Interview with Miliband: When Did BBC Journos Take Their Questions from the Republican Party?

May 6, 2015

I haven’t really been following the news about the election all that closely, as watching too much Cameron and Clegg tends to annoy me, as does the attitude of some of the BBC journos towards Miliband. There was a fine example of this yesterday, when one of the BBC’s journos on the 6 O’clock news interviewed Ed Miliband. He tried to challenge Miliband’s ability to govern by questioning him whether he had run, or worked in, a profit-making organisation.

This line was more or less a straight lift from the Republican rhetoric against Obama. They denounced Obama as unfit for government, as he had never run a business, and had only been a ‘community organisers’. Which shows you how far down in the order of priorities they give working to improve the community and conditions for the less well-off, compared to making a profit.

Miliband tried pointing out that you didn’t need to work in business, to know how to run the economy or know what conditions businesses need to grow.

The incident just shows how far the journalists take their cues from the Republicans across the Atlantic, whenever a politician even slightly left of raging Neo-Liberal raises their head.

But if they thought it was a good question to ask Miliband, it’s a pity they didn’t ask the Tories or Lib Dems, as the same question can be equally asked of them. Like the chancellor, George Osborne. His only real job has been as a towel-folder for Harrods. What does he actually know about running, or even starting up a business.

It’s the same with David Cameron. Cameron’s another aristo, whose position and fortune comes from inherited wealth. He was actually asked by the royal family if he’d like to work for them. He certainly has not worked hard to set up his own business, nor had to worry about its failure, or whether it will make enough money to support himself and his family. Most businesses fail within their first year. Cameron has never faced that prospect, nor the danger of having to declare bankruptcy, lose his home and business, and start signing on at the dole queue.

Which is another issue. Johnny Void has pointed out that the politicians never address the unemployed themselves. They make claims that they will raise employment, but never directly address them, their issues and concerns. Labour in their manifesto says they will make some reforms to benefit them. The Tories and Lib Dems don’t say anything about them at all.

Their silence speaks volumes. To give Andrew Marr due credit, he did ask Cameron if he knew how hard his policies were hitting ordinary people, and was finally rewarded by Cameron claiming that he thought it entirely right that people should be punished with sanctions if the didn’t comply with the DWP’s requirements.

Which showed he doesn’t care two hoots about people like David Clapson and the many others his reforms have killed.

But so far, I have not seen one journalist ask the politicos whether they themselves have ever had to sign on. It’s important. If Miliband can be challenged over his suitability for office on the grounds of an apparent lack of experience running a business, then Cameron, Clegg and the other ConDems should also be challenged about their ability to legislate for the poor, when they have no experience of poverty, and none of unemployment.

When was the last time Osborne, Cameron, Clegg, RTU or McVile signed on? Have they ever had to go through the humiliating chore of sending out application after application, and having to show they’ve done so to their ‘work coach’ or the clerk in the Jobcentre. Have they ever been threatened with sanctions, and faced with the prospect of going without food, or electricity, because they don’t have the wherewithal to pay?

Of course not. They have never had to suffer such indignities. And when asked to try to live like the unemployed, as IDS has been, they shrug it off as a ‘publicity stunt’. They know they can’t, but definitely don’t want to show it. They see themselves as the nation’s rightful leaders, with some kind of eugenically determined right to govern us, because of their position as aristocrats, or captains of industry. This makes them automatically fit to govern. The rest of us, those who have to struggle to make our daily bread, are just there to take our orders.

And we shouldn’t have the cheek to ask them how much they know, and by what knowledge or experience, they have the right to rule us.

Simply asking that question is seen as immensely impertinent. When Paxo asked Cameron this question, it reduced him, ion the word of Private Eye, ‘to silent, puce fury’. It was like his fag at Eton talking back.

They need to be asked those questions, however. And it’s a profound failing of the media that, with few exceptions, they aren’t.

More Memes Against Conservative-Lib Dem Killing of Disabled from Vox Political

May 6, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has produced a couple more memes against Cameron’s and Clegg’s mass murder of the sick and disabled through their benefit reforms. Mike posted up a piece last Friday, letting his readers know that the Information Commissioner had finally ruled in his favour. The DWP was now required to release the information to him on the numbers of people, who died between 2011 and last year, while claiming invalidity benefit and ESA.

These figures give the lie to the Tory claim that those willing to work are being helped into employment, while those who can’t are being given the support they need.

These people died in misery, poverty and desperation, because the benefit simply wasn’t enough. If they were fortunate enough to get it, of course. Many didn’t. They were sanctioned for the most trivial and contrived of reasons.

Since being informed of the Commissioners’ decision, Mike has received now word from the DWP itself. They have not sent him the information he requested. He therefore states on his blog that he feels they intend to make him wait the full 35 days before sending him the information.

The reason? If they give him the information now, it might cost them the election. Too many people could be swayed by the horrifying fact that Cameron, Clegg, Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVile have killed an estimated 60,000 or more with his wretched benefit reforms.

There has also been little interest in this information from the mainstream media, although he says there have been some encouraging signs from certain editors.

He’s therefore produced these two memes to help get the word out to the public. He’s encouraging people to share them, so please, feel free to print ’em off, and post them up, whether in hard copy or on the Net.

The first meme shows how the number of people, who have officially died while receiving benefits, is probably on the tip of the iceberg.

tipoftheiceberg

The second meme lays out the case that for the disabled, voting Tory or Lib Dem in the election is like certain poultry voting for a certain seasonal feast.

DWPturkeys

At Last! Vox Political Wins Legal Challenge to Force DWP to Release Death Numbers

May 4, 2015

I’m afraid I’m a bit late covering this, for which I duly apologise. Mike over at Vox Political has finally won his appeal before the Information Commissioner for the DWP to release the stats for the number of people, who have died while claiming Invalidity Benefit and ESA between November 2011 and May 2014.

Mike’s article reporting his victory, Victory for Vox Political: DWP ordered to give details of benefit-related deaths, states that the government now must release the figures within 35 calendar days of April 30th. The statistics must also be broken down into the following categories.

◾Those in the assessment phase,
◾Those who were found fit for work,
◾Those who were placed in the work-related activity group,
◾Those who were placed in the support group, and
◾Those who had an appeal pending.

The Information Commissioner ruled

“It appears … that the DWP has had reasonable time to prepare for publishing [the] information and that disclosure was not so novel or unusual given the previous requests and disclosures made.

“DWP have not supplied any detailed or convincing evidence about the time needed and what preparation would need to be undertaken during this time or what the specific impact of disclosure would be… The DWP has previously published similar information.

The decision notice continued: “It is not reasonable for the DWP, having had enough time to extract the information and prepare internally for publication, to seek further time to provide the information requested.

“The Commissioner also finds that delaying publication is not reasonable in light of the requests DWP have received from the public and the fact that the previous statistics published were around two years old at the time of the request.”

Mike describes what initially moved him to campaign for the release of the information – an interim government report in 2013 Incapacity Benefit (Deaths of Claimants), which contained information on 10,000 + people, who had died. The report claimed that the amount they had been claiming was sufficient to give them sufficient to live on. Mike states he was sceptical, as there was later information suggesting that many had died because of unsympathetic treatment by a government determined to clear as many people off its books as possible, no matter how many casualties this would incur.

He describes the considerable difficulty he had in obtaining the information from the DWP, including their ruling that his request was ‘vexatious’. The DWP can still appeal the decision, but Mike believes that this would be unsuccessful. When he was first turned down by the Information Commissioners, they stated that they were sympathetic to his case. It was that comment that convinced him that a second attempt would be successful.

He is highly suspicious, however, of the delay in releasing this information. He feels it has been done for political reasons, as if the true number of deaths of people on Invalidity Benefit and ESA were made known – and these could be as high as 60,000 – it may deter many people from voting for the Tories and their Lib Dem collaborators. He then questions the validity of an election result if the details of the numbers of people dying while claiming benefits is not known.

The article’s at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/05/01/victory-for-vox-political-dwp-ordered-to-give-details-of-benefit-related-deaths/. Go there for more information.

It is a great victory for Mike, after his long struggle trying to get this information out the DWP and the serial liars Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVile and the public school bullies and thugs. They have indeed tried nearly every trick in the book to avoid releasing these figures. And it hasn’t just been Mike requesting them – many others have too, and been given the same feeble excuses, or simple flat denials.

And I’ve no doubt that Mike’s right when he says that the release of this information has been deliberately delayed until the very last minute in order to save the government from embarrassment. Others have been given the same treatment and shown the same attitude when making different, but similar requests for government information that should be freely available. Johnny Void and the other anti-workfare campaigners have tried to get the DWP to release details of the firms, that have enrolled on the scheme to use such forced, unfree labour. The DWP have turned down his and the others’ requests for the information flat. Why? Because they actually admit that if they released the information, it might stop people from using the firms involved. They would then be forced to pull out, and the scheme would fail.

Which also shows that the Tories and Lib Dems have absolutely no shame, and freely acknowledge that the scheme is unpopular, and wouldn’t go ahead if people actually knew more about it and the firms backing it.

It also shows the absolute contempt Cameron, Clegg and their oligarchic clique have for public opinion, despite all the mouthing they have done about democracy and expanding choice. They despise the poor and weak, and sneer at any genuine concern for them by the opponents of their exploitation.

In the case of the information on the number of deaths due to their benefit reforms, they have a bit more self-awareness, and realise that adopting the same attitude would just spread contempt and disaffection for them and their policies. So they have simply resorted to excuses such as the information wasn’t ready yet; or it didn’t need to be released right now, because it was already being prepared for publication in due course. Of course, their first, and risible response was simply that it would take too long, and the request was ‘vexatious’. By which they meant it wasn’t genuine, and was just done to cause trouble.

It’s a good excuse, as it does recognise that the request was made in order to question and challenge the welfare reforms and the policy of sanctions that forms a part of them. It also tries to dismiss this, as not being a serious request. There’s no need to take it seriously or release the information. It’s just some troll causing trouble for the fun of it. Now get back to work.

But it is a serious request, no matter how badly Cameron, IDS and their circle have tried to shrug it off. It’s good that Mike’s now got a ruling in his favour, but it is also marred by the fact that this information probably won’t be released in time for the election.

Apart from Mike’s success in finally getting a positive court ruling, I’m also touched and heartened reading and hearing about the many messages of support he’s had from people reading his blog. A huge number of people all across the country have wanted this information to be released, and are glad that someone is campaigning against the policy, even if it’s only in a small way.

You can see just how many people back the critics and protestors against the Coalition’s attempts to degrade, humiliate and destroy the very poorest sections of society reading the comments not just on Mike’s blog, but also over at Tom Pride, Johnny Void, the Angry Yorkshireman, Disabled People Against Cuts and so many others.

In the run-up to the election, the government will trying telling everyone that their policies are wonderful, and have almost unanimous support. They’re even manufacturing letters from business and charity leaders to present this mirage. There has also been comments posted on left-wing blogs supposedly by welfare claimants, saying how wonderful and positive the government’s policies have been and how they’ve worked for them. These have also looked suspiciously like fakes coming from someone at Tory Central Office. Particularly now as Wikipedia has accused Grant Shapps, AKA ‘Michael Green’, fraudster, of editing his Wikipedia entry and those of this political colleagues.

Go and read the comments on Mike’s and the other blogs to see how far this piece of spin very definitely does not correspond to reality. Despite their lies and spin, the Tories know very well how unpopular their policies are with the very people they’ve inflicted it on. Hence the attempts to shut them up by denying them information on just how destructive and pernicious these policies are.