ConDem government launches all-out attack on your freedoms (who’ll get your vote next week?)

Snouts in the trough: The Conservative-led government is so shameless it thinks it can get away with brutal cuts to our standard of living - the week before an election.

Snouts in the trough: The Conservative-led government is so shameless it thinks it can get away with brutal cuts to our standard of living – the week before an election.

It’s all been about freedom this week – or the lack of it.

A couple of days ago, Mark McGowan took an unconventional journey to Downing Street. Mr McGowan, who has bowel cancer, decided to highlight the government’s privatisation of the NHS by pushing a toy pig, with his nose, the 4.1 miles from Kings College Hospital, in Camberwell Green, to 10 Downing Street in protest against regulations being discussed that day in the House of Lords. The new rules force commissioning groups to open all services to commercial competition, unless only one provider is available, in direct contradiction of the government’s own assurances.

Speaking before the event, Mr McGowan said a few words that were particularly illuminating. “Without a mandate, having concealed their health policy, this government is giving away NHS contracts to the highest bidder,” he said.

“Under the cloak of austerity, the primary purpose of this government is to move public money into private pockets, as fast as humanly possible. They are like pigs at the trough of public money.

These people in government are liars, criminals and thieves and should be arrested for embezzlement of public funds. A staggering 206 parliamentarians have recent or present financial private healthcare connections; amazingly all of them were allowed to vote on the Health and Social Care Act.

“This is not a democracy.”

You’d have expected this expression of free speech to have received a huge amount of coverage in the free press, wouldn’t you? Well, think again because I just checked: An article in the Metro and a video on something called London24. That’s all.

Ah, but there’s always Facebook, where bloggers such as myself can freely direct readers such as yourselves to our work and highlight the subjects not covered in the so-called popular press, isn’t there?

Well, this was a story that Facebook was doing its damnedest to make sure didn’t get out.

It seems one of the earliest articles – the Scriptonite Daily blog was unilaterally declared to be spam by Facebook, with references removed from the site, after the post received more than 1,000 shares.

Facebook then seemed to get a taste for censorship: The Pride’s Purge blog by Tom Pride received similar treatment after it posted links to an openly-satirical article (It was plainly marked ‘Satire’) about the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos.

Tom claimed in a later post that a JobCentre Plus worker “openly bragged” to him that JCP had complained to Facebook about him, and this had led to the censorship of his work.

Even this blog, which only posted links to other articles about these issues, was targeted for attack. As readers who link here from Facebook will know – you alerted me to it – we had a couple of days when visits here were accompanied by this stern warning: “Facebook thinks this site may be unsafe. If you’re not familiar with it, please provide feedback by marking it as spam (you’ll be brought back to Facebook).” As site statistics show, this was enough to put many readers off.

I wasn’t having it. I have written to Facebook, pointing out that the unfounded allegation is defamatory and demanding that reparations must be made – to charity, and to the Labour Party (of which I am a member), since this site is not for profit and the attacks seemed to be centred on left-leaning bloggers. They’ve got three weeks to respond, then I start adding noughts to the amount that I suggested.

Facebook has said the mass censorship was a mistake made by its automated systems – but you’d have to be gullible in the extreme to believe that.

So much for freedom of speech; so much for freedom of the press; so much for freedom on the Internet.

Yesterday it emerged that a man had been held in prison for two weeks after claims were made that he made a “threat to kill” during an Atos work capability assessment.

Steve Topley, a 49-year-old Hucknall father with multiple health conditions including Reynard’s syndrome, who has a heart replacement valve and lost one of his kidneys to cancer, and is on a strict medication regime including treatment to stabilise his blood levels and maintain safe blood pressure, was whisked away after he made comments about a person who was not present at the assessment.

He was arrested, subjected to a mental health assessment which offered no reason to detain him, so was re-arrested and taken to Nottingham police station where he was charged and kept in custody. He was refused bail twice in closed courts which, his family said, they were refused permission to attend.

Today (Friday) he was taken to another secret court, where he was charged, admitted the crime, and bailed – with the likelihood of a community sentence waiting for him at his next appearance.

Johnny Void, writing about this in his blog, made some particularly apposite comments on the subject, as follows: “This incident happened in the middle of an Atos assessment which are notoriously stressful and frightening for claimants. If he hadn’t been put through that, it is unlikely he would have said whatever he said, which it seems was not a very credible threat, at least as far as the Judge was concerned.

“It can make people react irrationally or angrily and they end up doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.  The context these events take place in is often ignored by ‘professionals’, because to them it is all just a job and they can’t understand why people are not being reasonable. The stark terror felt by some people facing courts, benefit assessments, arrests, bailiffs, prisons or even more seemingly benign institutions such as social services, Jobcentres and community mental health teams can often cause people to destroy themselves. This can happen even if ‘professionals’ concerned do their jobs properly within the constrain of the system and no-one is really personally culpable.”

So much for personal freedom – but wait. The situation here is actually worse than even this story makes out. I am indebted to Vox Political commenter vince032013, who tells us the following, about so-called ‘reforms’ to Legal Aid (italics mine):

“Things might be about to get a lot worse. The government are now planning on reforming the criminal justice system. Highlights are 1. Suspects in the police station will not be able to choose a solicitor. They will be appointed one. 2. The number of solicitors’ firms is to be reduced by 75 per cent (that’s not a typo – 75 per cent). 3. The reduction in the number of solicitors is to be achieved by putting criminal work out to tender. 4. The bidders are not allowed to bid at over 82.5 per cent of the current cost of running a criminal case. 5. The consultation which has introduced this idea states in terms that it does not want solicitors to offer any more than an “acceptable” level of service to suspects. 6. Once charged, defendants may be represented in court by someone with no Crown Court trial experience (and will not be able to exercise a choice to change that representative). If you’re interested read the consultation here

https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid

“and if you don’t like it sign this petition

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48628

In other words, this Conservative/Liberal Democrat government is determined to rig the justice system against anybody who becomes caught up in it. The conditions described by the commenter are utterly corrupt and offer nobody in this country any chance at justice – unless they can afford it. So the really serious criminals and gangsters have nothing at all to fear.

Meanwhile…

Today we also discovered that the so-called “big four” accountancy firms – Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – who were brought into the Treasury to help the government draw up tax laws, have been using the ‘insider’ knowledge they have gained to help wealthy clients avoid paying taxes. They have been telling multinational corporations and wealthy individuals how to exploit loopholes in the legislation they have helped to write – according to the House of Commons’ public accounts committee.

This represents a staggering betrayal of the working- and middle-class citizens of this country, who have no choice but to pay all the tax that the government demands from them or face imprisonment – and an appalling display of hypocrisy on the part of David Cameron, the British Prime Minister who, only yesterday, said he planned to use the UK’s chairmanship of the G8 nations to tackle what he himself described as “staggering” worldwide levels of tax evasion and avoidance – levels that he, himself, is helping to boost.

Now, I’m not voting in the elections next week. There isn’t a poll in my part of the country. But if you are planning to vote…

Considering the way the government has pushed through its plans to sell the NHS to the highest bidders (without a mandate, having concealed its health policy); considering the way it has been implicated in attempts to stop the public from finding out about the plans and what they mean (in conjunction with Facebook); considering how its servants take it upon themselves to subject very-ill individuals to extreme pressure and then imprison them on the basis of what they say in those circumstances; considering the plan to deny justice to the poor and make high-quality legal advice available only to the extremely rich people, including rich criminals, who can afford it; and considering the fact that it has opened the door for those who should be paying the most tax in this country to avoid doing so altogether – while claiming it is doing the exact opposite…

Taking all those issues into consideration, if you are a working-class or middle-class person planning to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat next Thursday, then for your own safety, submit yourself for medical assessment because you must be barking mad.

19 thoughts on “ConDem government launches all-out attack on your freedoms (who’ll get your vote next week?)

  1. jack johnson (@jackjoh01219520)

    The unadulterated hypocracy from Camercon is staggering.Your last comment ‘if you
    are planning to vote Con or Dem on Thursday you must be barking mad’ should
    be true but the people who WILL vote for them are evil,greedy selfish bastards who
    know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.Or they are just blind and stupid.

    1. Mike Sivier

      As ever (at the moment), this may be a good place to urge readers to sign my e-petition on the government’s website, calling for MPs to be banned from speaking or voting on matters in which they have a financial interest – to take the corruption out of Parliament, in essence. A correspondent on Facebook suggested that they should wear the corporate logos of their sponsors or lobbyists on their suit jackets, but I just think they should be stopped from discussing issues altogether, if they stand to profit from the debate going either way.

      Here’s the link: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/44971

      Please sign!

  2. Stephen Bee

    Another Crime of the same magnitude, is the COMPLETE lack or will to cover this in the mainstream media. I fear nothing short of ‘revolution’ is going to stop this. Thank God am at an age where my own safety is of little concern to me in what I say or do anymore. But am utterly saddened at what awaits the younger generation following on..if it wasn’t for my health problems for which I currently rely on the NHS..I would have left this country and moved abroad to live rather than live in this authoritarian state..Weep England…WEEP!

  3. elle

    I love Cameron’s comment regarding tax evasion, oh the irony given that that’s where his fathers money comes from, all the hidey money in offshore accounts….

    Is there a bigger hypocrite on the earth than Cameron, I think not…..

  4. Janette Morris

    love ur blogg i,m not a lover of labour liberals or conservatives they have all let us down shame, but if ed milliband changed his views and came on the side of the people like the old labour, promised to build new houses getting industrys going again and stop all the privatisation and made gas electric railways buses and water and most definantly the banks back in to public domain then he would proberly get every1,s vote. but while he listens to blair or torys he wont get any where he need to stand up and make these criminals accountable it take 1 voice like his then people will listen. i have never hated a government as much as this 1, we the poorer class can make britian what it used to be they did after the war when it was broke and can again…but i think for the saftey of britian there has to be document signed before becoming priminister that they can never sell anything of with out the consent of the people.i want my kids to have a good future where they can work in any job they wish 2 do. lets hope us the british people can rebuild after this government has distroyed the heart of it ! thanks

  5. Thomas M

    I’m not sure who to vote for. Conservatives have destroyed the NHS, Lib Dems in my eyes are traitors, UKIP are Fascists, Labour I don’t trust a bit, and the other parties are too small to have a chance of getting any council seats.

  6. Angie

    Okay have I miss something, sins when did the UK become a police state, what this government is doing we are becoming a police state we send in troops to get rid of dictators there people did not have the freedom we have and look at this country now what a joke the UK under this government is fast becoming a police state.

  7. Sue Paraszczuk

    Re: Mark McGowan. There was some coverage of Mark’s protest on RT early this morning on the Keiser Report. During a discussion of the NHS, Max Keiser and Stacey Herbert showed a short clip of him making the very salient comment about the Tories ‘transferring public money to the private purse’ and explaining how he’d been made to leave the pig at the entrance to Downing Street…

    Just signed the petition about criminal justice reforms. This is something else that we’re not getting enough coverage of on mainstream news channels. I’m about to write to Channel Four and the BBC to insist they cover it comprehensively (no use asking Sky)…I live in hope but don’t hold your breath…

  8. AL

    “Facebook has said the mass censorship was a mistake made by its automated systems – but you’d have to be gullible in the extreme to believe that.”

    No, you would have to to gullible in the extreme, and *digitally illiterate*, to believe that facebook gives a toss about the politics around the NHS either way. Their explanation is quite plausible, and in fact it is correct.

    Save your outrage and energy (a precious and finite resource not only for you but for the moderate citizens youre trying to sway with blogs like this, right?) for the real problems and genuine injustices.

    1. Mike Sivier

      What nonsense.
      Are you seriously trying to tell us that Facebook attacked all the bloggers, and all the pages, that have been deploring the privatisation of the NHS (and other government policies) *by accident*?
      Do you honestly think that your argument will hold water when one of those affected was actually told that the government had contacted Facebook to request this action?
      And what about the fact that the attack – on all these sites – was lifted, at the same time, once the controversial events had taken place?
      ‘Digitally illiterate’, my foot. You’d better crawl off back to Conservative Central Office, or whatever other rock you crawled out from under.

      1. sparaszczukster

        You’re absolutely right, Mike. An uncensored Facebook or any social media site is definitely feared by government. Remember the London riots? And why is it that any public demonstrations in Spain, Italy, Portugal, and now Cyprus are rarely shown on mainstream TV? Its happening but they don’t want us to get any ideas of doing the same. We need to be on the streets in large numbers and we need the world’s media to report it.

      2. Mike Sivier

        AL responded to my reply, but I’ve blocked it because it provided nothing to support the original assertion, while being personally insulting and profane. Even if that person (‘AL’ doesn’t really say much about their gender – or indeed about their identity in any way, does it?) IS the “moderate lefty” they claim to be, they’re doing a lot more for the Tory-led Coalition by supporting Facebook’s narrative than they are for justice.
        There was no response to the points I made, just a vitriolic attempt at belittlement.
        People like that aren’t welcome around here.

  9. sparaszczukster

    Re: Criminal Justice reforms…I just emailed the following to Annette Cowell whose name is mentioned in connection with the consultation exercise.

    to [email protected]

    Dear Annette,

    I understand the government is consulting the public for their views on their proposed reforms of the Justice system.
    I am not part of any organisation but would like my views taken into consideration. I know there are at least 22,199 other individuals who share my concerns evidenced by the fact that we have signed the e-petition
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48628 and it is very likely that many more will sign this petition before it closes.

    My main personal concern is that the government’s proposals may well constitute a breach of Article 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – the right to a fair trial. The Act ensures that there must be an equal and reasonable opportunity for all parties to present a case. There should be equality of arms ie one party should not be placed at a procedural disadvantage over the other.
    By restricting access to legal aid for some and by taking away the right to engage a solicitor of one’s own choice this reform could put people at a procedural disadvantage. This possible disadvantage would be exacerbated by the fact that any solicitor allocated by the legal system will be working for less than the going rate, making it less likely that such solicitors would be of reasonable quality.
    Our current justice system has many faults but is still seen as one of the best in the world, not least because it provides access to legal representation regardless of financial status. These reforms, undertaken for purely economic and partisan political reasons, would totally undermine that, making it inherently unfair and unjust. They would effectively make a mockery of the very idea of ‘justice’ .

    I would be grateful, therefore, if you would ensure that my views are made available to relevant Ministers involved in the consultation process.

    Yours sincerely,

    Sue Paraszczuk.

    Anyone feeling strongly about this issue may want to email their views as well. Maybe if her inbox is swamped with objections the government will understand the strength of opposition.

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