Let’s make abuse of power a crime and Lord Freud the first to be prosecuted

Face of evil: Because of creatures like Lord Freud, Parliament should legislate against a new crime - abuse of power. (Picture by Black Triangle)

Face of evil: Because of creatures like Lord Freud, Parliament should legislate against a new crime – abuse of power. (Picture by Black Triangle)

Lord David Fraud – sorry, Freud. That was a Freudian slip – the man who said “People who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks; they’ve got least to lose”, has been at it again.

According to Inside Housing this man, whose principles allowed him to take Labour’s money and provide that government with his duff advice before running off to join the Tories as soon as it looked as though they would be in office after the 2010 election, wants to bully councils out of an entirely legal way to help their tenants avoid paying the punitive and unfair bedroom tax.

The tax, as we all should know by now, affects people living in social rented accommodation with more bedrooms – as defined by the rent agreement (if I recall correctly) – than the government last year arbitarily decided they need. The options are to give up 14 per cent of your housing benefit if you have one ‘extra’ bedroom, 25 per cent if you’ve got two – or move to smaller accommodation which does not, in the vast majority of cases, exist.

Out of 600,000 affected families, 582,000 have nowhere else to go. So this is a thinly-veiled robbery, from people who can do nothing to prevent it.

It is a tax that has offended many councillors in local authorities across the UK, and some came up with the novel idea that rooms within the properties they own may be reclassified as offices or ‘non-designated’ rooms, thereby avoiding the need to pay the tax. After all, a room is just an enclosed space within a building, right? If it doesn’t have a bed in it, why should it be classified as a bedroom?

Lord Fraud – sorry! Freud – doesn’t see it that way. He wants that cash and couldn’t care less that people in social housing need it to keep a roof over their heads. He has been spending the last month or so (since the councils started re-classifying) trying to put a stop to it and now, it seems, he thinks he has found a way.

In a letter to council chief executives yesterday (Thursday), he has said redesignating properties without reducing their rent to reflect the loss of a bedroom creates an inconsistency for housing benefit and rent purposes.

“Blanket redesignations without a clear and justifiable reason and without reductions in rent, are inappropriate and do not fall within the spirit of the policy,” his letter states [italics mine].

“If it is shown properties are being redesignated inappropriately this will be viewed very seriously.” Meaning: The DWP will commission an independent audit to “ascertain whether correct and appropriate procedures have been followed”. Redesignation without reducing rent would lead to incorrect housing benefit subsidy claims being submitted to the DWP, he stated, adding, “Where it is found that a local authority has redesignated properties without reasonable grounds and without reducing rents, my department would consider either restricting or not paying their housing benefit subsidy.”

The flaw, of course, is this: The size of these properties will have remained the same, therefore so should the rent. But a room without a bed in it is not a bedroom.

Let’s move on to another tax avoidance issue. Since we’re discussing actions that are “inappropriate and do not fall within the spirit of the policy“, what about tax avoidance schemes that are used by very rich individuals, in order to avoid paying the full amount they owe to the UK Treasury?

This has been going on for more years than any of us can remember and the total currently parked offshore, where the tax inspector can’t get at it, is estimated at £21 trillion (it might actually be dollars, but either way it’s a heckuva lot of money).

If the turncoat Lord Freud’s new Conservative friends had been quick off the mark in dealing with this aspect of tax avoidance, he might have been justified in his own hasty behaviour, but they haven’t. Even now, there is no guarantee that the Treasury will get anything back from the tax havens, despite all its posturing and sabre-rattling. There’s just no interest. And by the time anyone gets around to actually taking action, the offenders will have had plenty of opportunity to move their capital elsewhere.

But the actions of the individual taxpayers who have chosen to put their money out of HMRC’s reach is no closer to the spirit of UK tax policy than the actions of the councils who have chosen to protect their tenants.

The difference is that one set of individuals is acting in selfish self-interest, while the other is taking action to help others.

Freud, by his own actions, has shown us all exactly where his loyalties lie. He’s not against tax avoidance, as long as it’s his kind of people doing it. And he loves to bully the little people. He really gets a kick out of threatening them, and he’s not above bending – or changing – the law to do it.

That’s why I say any new government coming into office after 2015 needs to enact a law that criminalises abuse of power – being any legislation or act by a government member that unfairly punishes any named individual or group within British society.

So for example here, it could be applied because Freud wants to penalise hundreds of thousands of people with a tax they can’t pay, when there is no alternative because they have nowhere else to go (except to be thrown out onto the streets, and then the question to be asked is, who takes over the properties after they have gone?) – and is now threatening to punish any attempt legally to avoid paying that unfair tax with another unfair punishment, because others who also legally avoid paying a – fair – tax are being allowed to do so.

As a criminal offence it should involve the sternest penalties possible – stripping the guilty of any titles and privileges, and all property, alongside a lengthy prison sentence involving the hardest labour to which prisoners may be put. Anyone who is willing to deprive the defenceless of everything they own should be made to lose everything as well.

So Lord Freud, for example, would have to kiss goodbye to his luxury mansion in Kent, and everything in it. When he finally came out of clink, he’d be living in council accommodation – and if nowhere could be found that didn’t have more bedrooms than he needed, he’d have to pay his own bedroom tax which would be poetic justice.

I know. It will never happen. Politicians look after their own.

But it should – and you know it.

29 thoughts on “Let’s make abuse of power a crime and Lord Freud the first to be prosecuted

  1. alex reddy

    poor people should take risks, yer my risk would be not to get caught slitting your throat you vile pig

      1. Big Bill

        Assuming that’s correct, I agree with Alex at least in principle. If you managed to get Fraud sent to jail he’d promptly resume his luxurious lifestyle when he came out courtesy of his rich supporters. Killing these people, Freud, Grayling, IDS etc is, I believe, the only thing which will make them realise they aren’t beyond accountability. Look at the efforts Grayling’s making to deny any and all methods of lawful redress against grievances. Here’s a man who clearly cares not for the rule of law at all. Well live by the sword, die by it, I say. If Grayling, Freud, IDS, Miller, Black, McVey, Osborne, Cameron etc won’t risk going to jail then they shouldn’t be surprised when they go in the ground. Ugly, I know, but they’re the ones creating grievances at the same time as taking away all lawful options of addressing those grievances. What do they expect?

      2. Mike Sivier

        I can’t support any threat of violence to these people, Bill, you should know that.

        Having said that, I do think they’re storing up a lot of trouble for themselves.

    1. sharon

      I am still gobsmacked that the English (ruling classes) are still thinking up ways of making people who are poor pay for the priviledge of living in the country. I remember the poll tax…so typical. Treating citizens as though they are Aliens is a very English thing to do.

  2. aussieeh

    Hello Mike I thought this may be of interest if you’ve not already seen it I’m not much good at blogging leave it to the experts

    Sorry I will try that again posted the wrong link apologies
    Hello again just been to STREET DEMOCRACY and followed a couple of links, I came across this thought it might be worth reprinting here not knowing how many may have seen it.
    13th March 2013

    For Immediate release:
    Government signing up to global trade deal that allows NHS sell-off to transnational private companies with no turning back

    The National Health Action Party is demanding that the NHS is exempted from a global trade deal which allows transnational corporations to buy into the most lucrative parts of the NHS. The legal framework will mean the NHS will be stuck in a “locked in syndrome” of increasing privatisation, making renationalisation of the NHS impossible.

    The US/EU Free Trade Agreement, which David Cameron identified as a priority in his chairing of the G8 this year, was given the go-ahead by US President Obama and EU President Barroso in January. One of the key aims of this Free Trade Agreement is to give international corporations legal rights to access governments’ public services budgets. The NHS is part of UK ‘public procurement’ and is therefore a target of “international investors” and the transnational healthcare industry.

    Healthcare has been specifically mentioned as a form of trade to be included in the “harmonising regulation” of the Agreement, which aims to prevent “future trade barriers” in keeping with the demands of transnational corporations. .

    The Health and Social Care Act and its secondary legislation were framed to fit with the harmonising process of the the US/EU Free Trade Agreement. This framework means that publicly funded English health services will be obliged to tender out contracts. Large transnational corporations will have a competitive advantage in the bidding process, and be in a position to weather the very low current tariffs until public sector, charity and social enterprise providers without their deep pockets are driven out of business.

    The co-leader of the newly-formed National Health Action Party, Clive Peedell, said:

    “The NHS is being primed for transnational investors to buy up the most lucrative parts of the healthcare system, under a legal framework which also permits them to sue the UK government in the case of any ‘backsliding’. As more and more private corporations win contracts, the situation will be fixed in an effectively irreversible international trade deal. The NHS will be stuck in a “locked in syndrome” of increasing privatisation, making renationalisation of the NHS impossible.

    “This makes Labour’s pledge to repeal the Act (if they are elected in 2015) and defend the NHS from privatisation, a meaningless and hollow one. If the Labour party is serious about being the party of the NHS, it must act now and join the NHA party in calling for the NHS to be exempted from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement.”

    Dr Peedell, whose party is planning to field up to 50 candidates at the General Election, went on:

    “The Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition had promised the public that there would be “no privatisation of the NHS”, yet unless we claim the public service exemption for the NHS, signing this Free Trade Agreement will require the government to break that promise. If they are to be true to their word, they must also support our call for the English NHS to be exempted from this US/EU Free Trade Agreement.

    We call on the supporters and leaders of all other parties to join us in defending this precious public service. There are no excuses. Canada has exempted its health service from trade agreements that its government has signed, and has safeguarded its public health system. We need to do the same.”

    The NHA Party is asking concerned citizens to send a prepared letter with a personal covering note to their MPs to insist that the NHS is exempted from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement as a condition of the UK’s agreeing to participate.

    The letter can be downloaded here


    Notes for Editors

    For general press enquiries, please contact Giselle Green 07767 612311

    To arrange an interview with Dr Clive Peedell, please call: 07990 520475

    The National Health Action Party was founded last year by doctors and healthcare professionals seriously concerned at how the policies of the Coalition Government were bringing about the effective dismantling of the NHS. The Party plans to field up to 50 candidates at the next general election.

    The co-leaders are Dr Clive Peedell, a consultant clinical oncologist, and Dr Richard Taylor, retired consultant physician and former MP for Wyre Fore

    1. Mike Sivier

      This is actually on-topic, because it relates to an abuse of power (in my opinion).

      In fact, no matter what happens, no future government can be locked into any decision made by a previous government. Therefore it does not matter what any trade agreement states – the simple fact is that, if it attempts to bind future UK governments, it’s not worth the paper it is written on and any private organisation signing up to such an agreement and then attempting to use it in a legal challenge would (or at least SHOULD) fare poorly.

      It’s worth clarifying with Labour, though.

      1. Thomas M

        Labour can use it as an excuse not to act. Labour is not here to help us anymore. Are we in a democracy when the only left wing parties are too small to win any seats in parliament?

      2. Adrian Brown

        Very true – All it needs is for a future government to announce it is withdrawing from the trade agreement, and the way is then clear for re-nationalisation. Of course, you can bet that the current Labour leadership probably have shares in the same healthcare companies as the Tories have, and so have no interest in re-nationalisation.

      3. Jean Smith

        Unfortunately that is not true. The agreement will have a clause which means that any country enacting laws which will do the multinationals out of possible profits will be liable to be pursued for recompense. In the case of the NHS that recompense would be an almost incalculable amount, and would be pursued in international courts, not under UK law, which means we could not take any action to avoid it – unless we withdraw from international trade – not a good idea. It is going to set in stone a privatised split up NHS – well a lot of companies using the logo, so we don’t know they aren’t really NHS, and big companies are not going to be satisfied for long with the relatively modest amounts (compared to US levels), that the government, and we as taxpayers can afford. Consequently free care will be a rump service, and most will have to get insurance. Expect unnecessary deaths at record levels, people going bankrupt because a child has become ill,or is born with a health condition, people being refused payment on technicalities, co payments etc. Unless you are mega rich, this is going to cause you, your family and friends a lot of pain and suffering at some point in your lives.

      4. Mike Sivier

        Then we go back to my other idea, which is that a future government withdraws support for the bastardised NHS that has been created and lets it go to the wall, creating a new national service for health in its place.

      5. Jean Smith

        I so wish we could hope for that, but wouldn’t they still argue that the government of the day was doing them out of potential profits? If we had a government that cared about the future, maybe they would bit the bullet and take the risk. If it was up to me I would print money to support the start up of high end manufacturing on a large scale, and to hell with foreign multinationals, start renationalising, firstly with the NHS, and work on making us self sufficient as far as possible. Also more housing and big public projects to bring more people into work. A tough few years no doubt, but the end result would strengthen the economy, make for a more equal distribution of wealth (good for every country) favour home grown businesses, and hopefully support a fractured people to come together as a society again. I don’t blame the USA or the EU, I think the big multinationals are sticking it to every country,and are in charge of the media. It could be that the first country that breaks out will end up the strongest, but it will have to take the most risk. Our current set of parliamentary placemen and women (I don’t think most of them are politicians in the true sense of the word) have been taken in by the “nothing you can do, so you have to go with it” attitude, and are feathering their nests against the bad times to come. They know the media will simply campaign against any party leader who does try to stand up for the people, and most of us will be taken in (too old, too weak, too Jewish/Scottish, too fat/thin,angry/placid whatever. You name it and the Daily Rant has said it so often it must be true). On the other hand the papers bury every story that puts the people doing their bidding in a bad light, or blames the less powerful sections of society, pitting us against each other, while revving up the celebrity status of their favourites. We all know SamCams favourite dressmakers.

      6. Mike Sivier

        *I* don’t!

        Also, politicians feathering their nests for the bad times to come are only making themselves into bigger targets, much though I detest the possibility of violence, which is not a solution.

  3. Mutlee

    I would just like to point out a couple of points of order. I think you will find that actually the abuse of power being a crime is in fact TREASON BY FRAUD, under common law. In this particular case, it can be categorically proven that the public are suffering due to abuse of power, here, and are suffering en masse.

    Also, under common law, for the courts to be used for commercial lien is also in fact unlawful, as defined in this document: “http://www.landofthefree.co.uk/site/component/content/article/1-latest-news/123-administrative-courts-unlawful-halsburys-law” – known as Halsbury’s law 2011. Feel free to read it for yourselves, and please pass it around, and show it to your MPs, councils and, well, EVERYONE.

    Furthermore, it has to be duly noted that the queen herself should be forced to abdicate due to failure to respond on behalf of the people, due to her suspected participation in this HIGH TREASON against the people, which defies her oath under common law, as in her coronation of 1953, and evidence of acts of commercial lien dating back to this time are admissable as evidence, such as the Wireless Telegraphy Act.

    It is becoming clear that the way has been paved using MARITIME LAW, which under common law is actually inadmissable inshore, since common law supercedes commercial lien from overseas and otherwise, including TRUST LAW, to allow outside interests to compromise our legal system to such an extent that even the royal family is involved.

    We as the people of these isles, NEED to unite, and enforce common law, to OUTLAW and PROSECUTE all of these criminal acts under premise of commercial lien in our law courts, and define for GOOD AND ALL that this overall act of high treason will NOT be tolerated.

    Please feel free to check out all I have stated here. You will find me to be concisely very accurate, and if left unchecked, corporate bodies NOT recognised as people either of the United Kingdom, or of lawful representation under the Magna Carta, will eventually complete the biggest global crime in human history – resulting in our enslavement.

    I realise the gravity of this statement, and it weighs heavily upon me.

    Yours VERY sincererely, Lee of the family Smith – UK natural person.

  4. Pingback: Chris Spivey » Blog Archive » The Fraud Freud

  5. Gail Ward

    this man should be prosecuted under human rights abuse of the disabled,as well as others. crimes against humanity would be better

  6. Jumbo

    I think Labour is pro the bedroom tax now isn’t it? Kind of: “Well we wouldn’t have done it ourselves but now it’s happened… well… what can we do? Hard times call for tough decisions.” And no doubt would sit on their hands (as they did with the Jobseeker’s Bill) if the government wanted to reword the legislation and replace “bedroom” with “spare room” or whatever?

  7. Keith

    Sadly your final sentence says it all ‘I know. It will never happen. Politicians look after their own.’ They can lie, cheat and steal and in most cases the worst that happens is, they resign and go and get a new position elsewhere!

  8. Nat

    “People who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks; they’ve got least to lose”

    Taking Lord Freud at his word, you’d think he’d be happy that poor people were taking “risks”, albeit to avoid paying the bedroom tax, but, clearly not! One rule for them (the rich), another one for us minions/plebs!

  9. Steve CK

    I’d actually like to see him try and follow through on this threat with any council and watch the backlash.

    For the first time in my adult life, local authorities up and down the country are gearing up for a fight with central government. They’re being put under ever increasing amounts of pressure to cope with the logical fall out of illogical government policies and it’s crippling them. If he actually tried to withdraw a local authorities housing benefit fund, the backlash would be tremendous. I think it would push things to the point of poll tax style riots.

    So let him try, he’d have councils the length and breadth of the country ganging up on him baying for blood. It won’t be pretty but it would likely lead to his downfall as a minister for work & pensions. Cameron would have no choice but to encourage him to step aside if the response to him carrying out his threats was so bad, because Cameron is all about saving face.

    It’s just up to us to make sure Fraud gets the embarrassment he deserves should he follow through.

  10. kickingtoryassonwelfare

    Reblogged this on kickingtoryassonwelfare and commented:
    There’s a facebook meme with a picture of Lord Freud next to the caption ‘the banality of evil’. And he really is. If you can make it to this to lobby him and the private landlords who will cream off the wealth from the bedroom tax (because there are not enough one bedroom social housing properties for people to go to; thanks for nothing Thatcher), please do: http://www.nobedroomtax.co.uk/2-general/52-housing-2013-press-release
    Love and solidarity xxx

  11. Mark Smith

    I blogged similarly a week or two back
    Cameron, IDS, Freud & McVey Will Be Tried For Murder
    Politicians have always been corrupt, greedy, self-interested, lying, spinning toerags but the current bunch in power have stepped over the line. I can’t agree with execution but punishment along the lines that you suggest might offer the consolation of some justice.

  12. catwoman36

    Have read that dwp have announced another consultation on the mobility component of pip about the 20metre rule. The media as usual are not reporting it.

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