Posts Tagged ‘Work and Pensions Committee’

Vox Political: Jeremy Hunt Runs Away from Doctors

February 15, 2016

Last week Mike posted about how a Tory fundraising event in Fareham had supposedly been cancelled after it was found that doctors had been buying the £15 tickets in order to confront Jeremy Hunt. It seems this wasn’t quite true. According to a report from the Groaniad Mike’s reblogged on Vox Political, the event wasn’t cancelled. The location was changed, and those attending the event were checked to make sure they didn’t have any medical people with them.

See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/02/15/confirmed-tory-activists-prevented-doctors-from-attending-event-with-jeremy-hunt/.

This is prize cowardice, well worthy of the Gentleman Ranker, Ian Duncan Smith, or as I prefer to call him, aIDS, because of his similarly lethal and virulent nature. The Galloping Major is known to gallop off at very high speed whenever he’s faced with his opponents in person. He’s hidden in laundry baskets, run out the back of job centres, and deliberately scheduled speeches first thing in the morning in order to avoid protestors. And when he can’t, such as when he was called before the parliamentary work and pensions committee, he hides behind armed policemen. I think Kitty S. Jones blogged a fine description of that incident, showing how afraid he was of the disabled and their carers.

Now it seems Jeremy Hunt is joining him by turning tail and running from the very people his cuts and reforms harm the most. Which shows you all you need to know about the tough-talking, but ultimately cowardly Tories in this cabinet. Sir Keith Joseph was a despicable Nazi, but ultimately he wasn’t afraid of the egg throwers.

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Vox Political: Jeremy Hunt Cancels Tory Fundraiser after Junior Doctors Threaten to Show Up

February 12, 2016

Jeremy Hunt’s parliamentary colleague, Ian Duncan Smith, has a long history of running and hiding from his critics. Faced with the prospect of meeting the victims of his wretched policies, the Spurious Major either runs and hides, or hides behind big men with guns. He’s hidden from protestors in laundry baskets in Scotland, run out the back door of a Job Centre in Bath, and scheduled his speech at a jobs fair run by his local Conservative party in Chingford for early in the morning, so he could get away before the proles arrived. And when he was called to speak to the parliamentary Work and Pensions Committee, he turned up surrounded by armed rozzers. And this idiot fancies himself as a leader of men.

Now, it seems, his habits have spread to Hunt. According to another article over at Vox Political, Hunt was due to appear at a fundraising event for Fairham Conservative Association. This was cancelled after news of the event and its location were circulated on social media, and junior doctors bought tickets. See http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/02/12/jeremy-hunt-meet-and-greet-drinks-event-cancelled-after-junior-doctors-buy-tickets/.

Mike points out that this clearly demonstrates how absolutely unpopular the new contracts are, even if it costs our junior medical professionals £15 a head to tell Hunt to his face.

This reminds me of the various incidents where teenagers have seen their homes comprehensively trashed after they made the mistake of telling the world they were holding a party on Facebook, and suffered an invasion of gatecrashers as a result. Except that this was an event that was open to the public, and the doctors bought tickets. They didn’t just turn up. For some reason, the Tories are putting on a lot of these fundraisers. They did one in the summer, where for a certain amount you could get to go on a nine mile run through the Pennines or the Yorkshire Dales with aIDS. I joked with a friend that I was prepared to go in for that, just to get the opportunity of pushing the dreadful man over a cliff.

But there is a more serious point underlying this: the Tories are clearly experiencing a problem with funding. The actual grassroots membership of the Tory party, easily the largest political party in the country at one time, has shrunk massively. Those that remain in the constituency party are angry that their views were ignored by the parliamentary leaders. This is partly due to Cameron, like Bliar and New Labour, taking the party’s ordinary supporters and voters for granted, and running around rich donors for funding instead. It’s bad for democracy, as it’s leading to the gradual withering away of political parties and their replacement by oligarchies funded and maintained by rich paymasters.

It’s another reason why the Tories hate the unions supporting Labour. They’ve always hated the unions and the union levy, but it means that Labour has a grassroots source of funding that they don’t. And it also means that they’re really afraid of Jeremy Corbyn. Apart from being left-wing, he’s also managed to bring tens of thousands more back to the Labour party.

Against this, the Tories put on cheese and nibbles parties, and hope the proles don’t attend.

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.

Vox Political: Benefit Sanctions for Part-Time Workers Could Legalise Breach of Contract

November 13, 2014

Another piece worth reproducing from Vox Political. Mike in this piece, Is Iain Duncan Smith legalising breach of contract?, points out the further problems for working people with IDS’ plan to cut in-work benefits for part-time workers, who refuse the offer of further hours from their employer. It begins

Here’s something mentioned during Iain Duncan Smith’s session before the Commons Work and Pensions committee last week, that doesn’t seem to have enjoyed enough attention: It seems Daftie Duncan Smith wants to legalise breach of contract.

He reckons part-time workers should be sanctioned off their top-up benefits if they refuse extra hours offered by their employer.

The sanctions would apply under the Universal Credit system – which is never going to work anyway – so perhaps this is an inconsequential matter, but it is disturbing that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions understands so little about contracts of employment that he thinks this is a reasonable way to behave.

He told the Work and Pensions committee: “That is being investigated, as to whether we can now work to in-work sanctions – in other words, conditionality – so people get an opportunity to move up the hours if they can, and if they don’t wish to do that, we will see whether or not that system of conditionality works.”

Perhaps he doesn’t realise that some people are only able to work a certain number of hours per week, and that any increase means they will not be able to continue in the job. Perhaps he doesn’t realise that this will make them unemployed, and his “conditionality” prank means that they would be sanctioned off being able to claim benefits for a period of time after that, meaning they would be doubly punished for a situation that was not their fault.

Mike considers that such a move would constitute breach of contract on the part of the employer, and wonders if IDS is aware of this. He concludes that it is more likely he simply doesn’t care. I suspect the reality is that IDS, like the rest of the Tories, has a one-sided view of job contracts. They and he believe contracts are there to bind the workers to the employers and whatever conditions the bosses set, rather than a negotiated agreement that is equally binding on both parties. Hence the number of times employers under right-wing governments in the past have repeatedly torn up old contracts with the unions to impose new conditions, that are much harsher on their workers and strip them of their employment rights and privileges.

IDS and Armed Bodyguards: No-One Trusts the Man who Trusts No-One

December 11, 2013

Mike and several of the commenters over at Vox Political have commented on IDS’ evident paranoia and fear of the public as he appeared before the parliamentary Work and Pension’s Committee. Not only did he have a bodyguard, but was also surrounded by several armed policemen. Martha, one of the people in the public gallery, describes the scene:

‘ Hi Mike, I attended the DWP hearing on Monday, IDS didn’t just have a body guard he had several ‘policemen’ with machine guns, maybe 3 or 4 at least. I didn’t dare to count them as it was frightening and it seemed best to ignore them for obvious reasons. The machine guns were raised and pointed at our group which included 3 people in wheelchairs and about 8 disabled and mentally ill people with their carers. We had all been security checked, bags searched and x-rayed, frisked and had walked through an airport style metal detector. We posed no risk or threat and it is quite normal for the general public to attend debates and hearings in the House of Commons, in fact MPs generally like our presence and encourage us, often coming over to meet us and shake our hands. Is it now acceptable to point guns at the general public when they attend the House of Commons? Who do we complain to?’

As several of the other commenters, including myself, have remarked, such paranoia clearly shows that IDS knows the immense suffering his policies are causing, and fears the rage and possible reprisals from the general public. Even so, such behaviour is still bizarre coming from an MP. I can quite believe Martha when she says that most MPs generally welcome the public to the Houses of Parliament. Politicians across the political divide are worried about increasing electoral apathy and the falling turn-out at elections. Hence the many campaigns by politicos to appeal to the ‘Yoof’ vote. They are also, by and large, conscious that for democracy to work, it has to be seen to work and have the active interest of the people on whose behalf they govern. And finally, like any enthusiastic follower of a particular career or vocation, they, or at least the good ones, try to communicate their enthusiasm for politics to the general public. hence the appearance of politicians and political writers and journalists at the various literary festivals up and down the country. It also has to be said that even politicians, who have advocated some terrible policies towards the poor, could actually be very kind and courteous in person.

IDS, by contrast, seems deeply suspicious and mean-spirited. And you have to wonder what he thought he had to fear from people, who’d gone through the usual security searches. Did he get some kind of craven, bullying pleasure by having armed goons point guns at the mentally and physically disabled and vulnerable? And what on Earth were the police doing, if they were pointing their guns at people? There has been considerable criticism of our armed officers before, most notably after the horrific shooting of Charles Menezes. I can remember reading comments from officers in the British army, who had served in Northern Ireland. They were very definitely not impressed by the coppers’ trigger-happy attitude and the way they carried their weapons. In Ulster it was standard practice to carry guns sloping down, with the squaddies’ hands in a posture so they could be immediately ready to bring the gun up if attacked. This was intended to prevent provoking confrontation through the public reacting to a raised weapon as a deadly threat. If the British army, which really did face deadly attacks from terrorist groups in Northern Ireland, is capable of carrying its arms in order to reassure the public and avoid conflict, then the question must be asked why IDS thought he was so important and so threatened that he had guns raised? It gives another clue as to why the man probably failed his officers’ exams. Clearly his judgement when it was appropriate to use deadly force, and when not, was lacking, with the result that he would place himself and the men under his command in serious danger.

Someone once said that ‘No-one trusts the man, who trusts no-one’. Smith has shown himself deeply untrustworthy through this show of excessive force. The attitude behind it is one of suspicion and contempt for the general public and especially the poor, unemployed and disabled he has penalised and victimised with his policies. Going into the Committee chamber surrounded by armed guards like the Fascist generalissimo of a banana republic, he is a contemptible petty tyrant, who has therefore shown himself totally unsuited for public office.