‘Moaning’ Work and Pensions committee lets IDS ‘off the hook’

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It is said that you can get the measure of a man, not from his words, but from his actions. Iain Duncan Smith brought bodyguards to the Commons Work and Pensions Committee yesterday. (Monday)

Why did he need the muscle? Probably because he knew how his behaviour would be received. This is a man who is absolutely not going to accept criticism, in any form at all.

The man whose benefit reforms were mocked by Ed Balls last week as “In Deep Sh…ambles” batted away concerns about inaccurate statistics as somebody else’s fault and, when confronted with a whistleblower’s claim that jobseekers were being sanctioned indiscriminately, said he wanted to see the evidence.

That’s a bit much, coming from the man who is still withholding the mortality statistics of people going through the assessment regime for Employment and Support Allowance. Where is that evidence?

Our evidence that he had a bodyguard comes from Paula Peters on Facebook, who attended the meeting. She wrote: “The police, and they were armed, hustled him into the room. He had a bodyguard in the room with him! What the hell for? We are entitled to watch proceedings and follow due process.”

Dame Anne Begg, chairing the meeting, pointed out that the UK Statistics Authority has received more complaints about the Department of Work and Pensions’ use of statistics than any other government department.

His response: “Yes, but I’ve had two letters. One was about two years ago, concerning something about the use of them on immigration, but they let that one sit – and the last one was where we had a discussion on the use of where I referred to those going back to work on the back of the benefit cap. They said that … I should not make the link. I believed it to be the case – that those people were going back to work due to the fact of reducing the cap; that’s my belief. They said it should not remain as a flat statistic, which we’ve accepted.”

So in that one respect, he admitted that he was wrong.

But he also said: “We have published, over the period that I have been there, over 500 statistical releases. We’ve also started the innovation of ‘ad hoc’ releases – which, actually, we were congratulated for by UKSA… We try and publish as regularly as possible… We try to sell a positive message, and I know there have been issues around negativity with regard to disability benefits.”

Pressed on the fact that Grant Shapps had claimed nearly 900,000 people shuffled off ESA because they weren’t willing to take the work capability assessment, the Secretary of State denied responsibility: “We didn’t actually – and have never – given them that idea about those figures. It was something that they put together and released themselves. I wasn’t even aware that they were going out with that comment at the time… I have had conversations with him and others about being careful to check with the department.”

Committee member Debbie Abrahams wanted to know about the claim by a whistleblower in Job Centre Plus, that JSA claimants were deliberately being set up to fail, contrary to the Civil Service code, with ploys including making appointments without telling the claimant, in order to create an easy opportunity for a sanction and thereby distorting statistics – not after they had been collected but in the collection itself.

She said the whistleblower had tried to raise the issue with managers at all levels, but had been rebuffed each time.

“Well, I’m not aware of that,” drawled Mr Duncan Smith, “and I have to say that I would like to see his evidence for that. With respect, he is making an allegation about some of the incredibly hard work that job advisors do. There’s always one or two people who have a different view about operating in an organisation. I happen to believe that, unless it is proved to the contrary, people in Job Centres do a very good job, work very hard, and they apply sanctions within the rules.”

Challenged on this by Dame Anne, he started to claim that sanctions are always issued because of failure to comply with the strictures imposed on claimants, provoking an interruption from Debbie Abrahams that caused his mask to slip momentarily. “I have listened a lot to what has been said – and moaning about this… You’ve had a fair crack at this.”

So there you have it. Statistical errors are nothing to do with Iain Duncan Smith. Sanctions are always applied fairly and never to distort the statistics.

And anyone who thinks otherwise is “moaning”.

Paula Peters, in her Facebook post, said that disability minister Mike Penning met people from organisations representing the disabled. She reported his words as follows:

“Our disabilities are our fault.

“Diabetes is a lifestyle choice.

“Everyone who claims benefits is frauding the system.

“Everyone who uses the access to work programme is frauding it.”

The public verdict on the meeting has been universally negative. Nicola Clubb (again on Facebook) summed it up well: “I have just watched an hour’s worth of IDS and the DWP evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee and they let him and his three cronies off the hook.

“They did not push him him to explain his use of dodgy stats, they just asked him about a couple of pieces of data released by people.”

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76 thoughts on “‘Moaning’ Work and Pensions committee lets IDS ‘off the hook’

  1. Florence

    Glenda Jackson did try to push some hard truths, but the committee was just not up to the job. I found myself squirming at the poor way the members faltered with their words, made a mess of points that could have been succinct and sharp, and generally showed a disappointing degree of unprofessionalism. After all, I would expect that MPs should be able to express themselves. To be able to formulate points, and follow then through. FFS, we don’t set any standards for who can be an MP, (cf IDS, Gidiot et al) but they should at least be able to string a few thoughts together and get them out coherently.

    It has been noted before that the particular committee is not “forensic” in taking evidence, but that was a total waste of time & opportunity.

    1. Big Bill

      Having these committees when they’re manned by MPs is a waste of time. When in her acting career did Glenda Jackson learn how to formulate and ask probing, penetrating and revealing questions? Never – so what was she doing there? What were any of them doing there? This was yet more evidence that you won’t find a political solution when politicians themselves are the problem.

    2. Nick

      the committee is not up to job at all which IDS will take as a green light to make the lives a living hell for more people knowing full well no ones interested

    3. martha

      IDS managed to prevent a proper hearing as he did not produce the DWP accounts as promised and so the committee had no statistics to go on and could not ask the questions they wanted to. They had to rely on out of date information instead which had already been raised before. I spoke to the Labour committee members and they were as shocked and frustrated as us and said they are determined to nail him at the next hearing. They said IDS had not produced the accounts on purpose. I am going to suggest that at the next hearing in Feb that they should bring along a barrister trained in dealing with disturbed people like Iain Duncan Smith to interrogate him. He is paranoid, very manipulative and out of control I don’t think any MPs are qualified or experienced enough to deal with this sort of character and they need an expert along to advise them. Lots of people believe him to be a psychopath. He has been culpable in the deaths of up to 20,000 disabled people and it doesn’t seem to bother him in anyway. That makes it even more disturbing that he is allowed to have machine guns around a group of people that he obviously enjoys victimising and killing

      1. Big Bill

        MPs aren’t qualified period. They’ve got one skill and that’s getting themselves elected. That’s it. That’s all they ever need to do.

  2. Nick

    it’s the deaths of all that have died that should have been talked about and on how to prevent them from happening again

    also the discussion should have set out plans for a remembrance day for the many hundreds/thousands of sick and disabled that have died in going through the welfare reform process

    as it stands now IDS has got away with this and will see it as a failure of the committee so that many more will die knowing full well the police of the committee will not question him in death related matters

  3. Joseph Smith

    I’m suprised your all suprised, the mans a skilled fluent liar. As for bodyguards, also no suprise all bullies are cowards at heart, he knows full well the hatred against him and he knows very well that someone soon will physically challenge him. It’s no great suprise he wasn’t really challenged belittled or made to look the fool we know he is, they’re in the same club for goodness sake. The only way to “do” permanently is in court closer to the election, that way the entire coalition feels uneasy and possibly afraid. Culpable manslaughter on behalf of a selected group of unfortunate suicides and their families would nail his coffin lid very firmly shut.

    1. david

      very well worded “culpable manslaughter” and yes this man is every bit a killer as any dictator in recent history!

    2. Dr proctor

      I get the feeling that many people are thinking along these lines. Many of these people are people who have been opposed to any form of violence but something about this man really brings out the worst in the most decent members of society.

  4. John Keen

    To Say IDS and his team were treated with kid gloves is not overstating it… They were, it seemed, protected from the any forceful questioning by those that wanted straight answers whenever he tried to re-iterate his “it’s a difficult system job to sort out the software for UC” as a dodge to REAL answers.

    IT appears to me that it was nothing more than a platform for his team to show what heros they are for taking on a near impossible task that they are supremely confident of completeing..

    It was not at ANYTIME an enquiry of any worth, it seemed to be on a “tell us how well you are doing” basis rather than a “what are you trying to hide” one.

    Therefore I ask, what purpose this committee?. a huge petition to ask about misuse of statistics (with the beleif that the committee will do it’s duty and get to the bottom of this shamefull behaviour) and no real effort to take him to task on it?… POINTLESS.

    I have watched a few of these meetings on video and have each time been disappointed by the poor performance of the committees questioning, and yesterday it was most DEFINATELY steered by the chairperson AWAY from any real, attempts to get straight answers.

    1. Paul Ryder

      I’m very concerned about the quality of this committee’s rigour in holding IDS to account and an apparent amateurism in the way they went about their business. … and they’ve been recommended a pay rise? On this performance I think not!

  5. Darren

    As soon as I saw it wasn’t Margaret Hodge in the Chair, I knew it was going to be a whitewash. What a waste of an opportunity letting Begg conduct the interview.

  6. Pingback: ‘Moaning’ Work and Pensions committee lets IDS ‘off the hook’ | The Journey Starts

  7. jed goodright

    The Work & Pension Committee were a disgrace. They looked unorganised, unprepared and indeed in awe of the BaldOne. He constantly referred to Anne Begg MP (chair) as Mr Chairman and she did nothing about it. He constantly talked over everyone, pointed his finger and waved away anyone disagreeing or wanting to question him further. He at one point called them all ‘moaners’ for daring to try to pin him down on his comments. He continually muttered to his colleagues whilst others were talking. He was a bloody disgrace. But the committee NEVER took him in hand. They allowed the charade to be played out despite one or two issues coming to light.

    When is a ‘reset’ NOT a change in policy? Universal Credit is NOT ON TIME OR ON BUDGET and PIP is disappearing fast.
    When is throwing away millions of pounds of public (yours and mine) money acceptable and didn’t raise a murmur?
    When is not asking about the illegality of the WCA (discriminates against those with mental health problems) NOT EVEN mentioned?
    When are the deaths of thousands of disabled people NOT EVEN mentioned?
    When are sanctions for the unemployed acceptable ( to encourage to work) when an 11% pay rise for MPs acceptable ( to encourage to work)?
    What is the point of this committee?
    They failed to pin any points about his misuse of statistics.
    They failed to impress on him that there have been changes and costly delays to UC.

    This whole proceeding, which I watched (painfully) in its entirety was a sham. Anne Begg should resign and this committee should reassemble as what it purports to be – a representation of the people holding Ministers to account. Duncan Shit sat there and played with himself and them. He treated them like they were little school boys and girls and they were wasting his time.

    I am extremely angry about this, as is evident, because I am sick of using all my energy to keep fighting these bastards. You look to occasions like this and hope for some clarity – but there is none. None of them give any hope. They are all as bad as each other. But they don’t pay for their vile work – we do – and on the day of Mandela’s memorial – to which our murderers are going – at our expense – none of them have 1% of Mandela’s sincerity, humility and humanity

    I want this to stop NOW – this brutal regime is killing people – how many more have to die???????????

    1. Paul Ryder

      I have to agree that I felt the chairing of this meeting to be very weak indeed. The chair sought to reign in those of the committee who wished to penetrate the front IDS presented, yet allowed free reign to his dominating behaviour in controlling the meeting. Indeed IDS was masterful in ensuring that the Commons Work and Pensions Committee couldn’t properly hold him and his work to account.

    2. martha

      the problem is the committee didn’t have any statistics to question him on as he failed to produce the accounts he promised. He did this on purpose to prevent the hearing. He submitted the accounts the next day. The committee were as frustrated and angry as all of us I spoke to them afterwards and they were in a state of shock. I think for the next hearing they should bring in a barrister who is skilled in interrogating criminals and psychopaths as this man is out of control and they need help and advice in dealing with him. I did ask them at what point does this become a criminal investigation unfortunately we were interupted so I didn’t get to hear their answer

      1. Mike Sivier

        Did you hear the rest of the information about the DWP accounts – that the National Audit Office had refused to sign them off due to fraud and error?
        (Apparently it’s nothing new – the DWP has been producing only qualified accounts for the last 25 years, but it seems likely that this has been the excuse for withholding them.)

  8. jed goodright

    In addition – again at an Urgent Commons Question about Universal Calamity called by Rachel Reeves (I think) – where she called him being in denial – Smith called disabled people ‘stock’ – WE ARE NOT STOCK – WE ARE CITIZENS – and yet again Smith walks free whilst people continue to die – this country has fallen so low and Smith is an abomination

  9. Paul Ryder

    I watched the entire meeting and was disappointed that the committee were not more penetrating and focussed in their questioning about the use of statistics. The ‘not having heard of this’ defence needed to pursued as does the promise to look at the evidence outside the meeting. Glenda Jackson was very focussed on a couple of her questions but I was disappointed that the chair wasn’t more supportive in preventing IDS from answering questions put to other witnesses for them. I was also disappointed that GJ appeared to leave the room before the committee had completed it’s business.

    I’m concerned about the quality of this committee’s rigour in holding IDS to account.

  10. [email protected]

    From experiences of people working in the job centre plus regime, un-suitable middle managers interpret the rules how they like, the actual workers have no say and are disiplined if they try and force the issue of unfairness undertaken on the customers.

  11. John Keen

    If he feels he needs armed protection then it is obvious he KNOWS FULL WELL what he is doing and fears the enmity the public feel for him.
    The only problem with that is, I personally would rather he just disappeared in obscurity rather than waste further energy on a fool.

  12. Chris Tandy

    It was as if you have been waiting in expectation for November the Fifth, only to find the box of fireworks is wet through and anything more than the sparklers fail to ignite.

  13. Jeffrey Davies

    words fail me ive never been let down by much but this is one of them he blustered through again couldn’t they have least put some heavy weights there to ask ids putting him under pressure this goes out has another flop on this show goes with more deaths more sanctions and more homeless has they didn’t put enough pressure on him jeff3

    1. Big Bill

      It really is very serious. If IDS is seen to be able to get away with anything as far as Parliament is concerned, if it doesn’t even begin to do its job, you can’t blame people for taking the law, laughably non-existent for him though it is, into their own hands. He’s obviously afraid that’s exactly what’s going to happen and is preparing for it. It could well be that he’s had death threats already. In a society where government did its job this wouldn’t be necessary but as is becoming more obvious with each passing day we don’t have that. Wasn’t it some sort of Parliamentary comittee which let IDS off illegally handing great gobs of taxpayer cash to his wife on the thin pretence she was working for him (Betsygate)? He’s learned he can get away with anything in Parliament. It’s outside Parliennt he has to worry, hence the bodyguards. They shouldn’t be necessary and he should have been banished from public office many years ago.

      1. Nick

        this is courtesy of Jason Blake of yesterdays welfare reform and what IDS thinks of the uk sick etc

        Mr Duncan Smith:
        Quite the contrary; I have made it very clear that by 2016 universal credit will be the benefit that people go on when they apply for employment and support allowance. The people who were on it—we know them as the stock—are the most vulnerable. [Interruption.] Well, that is the term used—those are people who are on the benefit at present. [Interruption.] How pathetic is that? The Opposition used the term themselves when they were in government, and now they try to pretend that they have discovered a new way of referring to such people. Those who are on employment and support allowance will be migrated into universal credit over a period so that we can bring them in safely, securely and to their benefit. Would the hon. Lady want us to rush them in, or does she think we ought to take care over how we do it?

      2. Nick

        not good if i were well enough to leave the country i would as being in the same country as the likes of this man keeps me very ill

      3. Big Bill

        The broader issue is that this man, along with others, clearly has no place in public life. Our system of governance is useless to us, in fact it’s detrimental to our well-being..

  14. psychjim

    I managed about 15 minutes of it! I could see that he had the upper hand (on a plate given by a flustered Dame Begg!) and that Glenda Jackson wasn’t given the opportunity to pursue her questions too fully, then I gave up. The outcome was guaranteed. The worst that could be said of Iain Bunkum Smith was that he was “a bit lax” in his management. I was (and am) livid. There is NO JUSTICE in Britain.

  15. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    IDS, it seems, was given an easy ride by the Work and Pensions Committee. He shrugged off his critics as moaners, and denied that Job Centre staff were indiscriminately sanctioning claimants. He stated that Job Centre staff were very, very hard working and operated within the rule. Well, yesterday I heard another unemployed fellow’s account of how he was quite arbitrarily sanctioned. I have mentioned before that I am attending a course designed to get job seekers into work. During the meeting yesterday, a number of the other people on the course voiced their opinions of the staff at Job Centres. They freely acknowledged that there were people behind the counters who were genuinely helpful and sympathetic. Many others, however, were not. The gentleman I mentioned said that he had been on Universal Jobmatch, using it to find suitable jobs. He then tried to apply to them by sending off his CV to these prospective employers. He said for the four weeks he had been signing on, he had seen four different clerks at the interview desk. The first three he saw were entirely happy with his job-seeking strategy. The fourth, however, told him that it wasn’t good enough, and that he was now sanctioned. This left the gentleman shattered and furious. He told the class that it was a good job he hasn’t seen the clerk outside the Job Centre, as if he did ‘he’d smash his face in’. His story provoked a wave of sympathetic comments and anger at the clerk’s behaviour from the rest of the people there. Apparently, what the clerk did was very definitely against the rule. You are supposed to have at least one warning before they sanction you. But in this case, and in so many others Mike, Mr Void and the other peeps blogging about these things, there is absolutely no warning. The imposition of sanctions is entirely arbitrary, and deliberately done by the bullying and cruel to support the government’s own cruel and mendacious unemployment policy. It’s mendacious because it claims to be tackling unemployment and helping the jobless, while in reality it is merely victimising them and striking them off benefit in order to present an illusion that less people are out of work. IDS is, quite simply, a liar. This is unparliamentary language, but it’s true. In the interview, I Duncan Smith turned up with armed police and a bodyguard. This is a tacit admission that Smith knows the effect his policies are having, and fears the resulting anger. One of Mike’s commenters makes the point that it shows that Smith is, like all bullies, a coward at heart. it also shows that he is at the heart of everything that is wrong with the DWP. It’s been said that organisations take on the psychology of their founders and leaders. Lenin and Stalin, the founders of Soviet Communism, were autocratic and intolerant, with the latter viciously paranoid. The Soviet Communist party, and thus those others that followed them, similarly became paranoid, intolerant and brutal. Although from the completely opposite end of the political spectrum, Smith similarly is a paranoid, intolerant thug, who obviously only feels secure in the midst of armed force. The system he has created is therefore similarly arbitrary, intolerant and bullying. And you also have to wonder about the psychology of a man, who turns up to a parliamentary committee meeting surrounded by armed guards. It sounds very much like a small, rather pathetic man trying to put on a display of aggressive masculinity.

    1. Florence

      Democracy is supposed to control these sociopaths – but this unelected government is out of control. The regular under-reported outbursts of anger at the JC+ are just the tip of the iceberg, and tend to be people acting alone. Any wonder that there will be a flashpoint somewhere soon where the focus will be the DWP, ATOS or the JC+ offices.

      1. Mike Sivier

        I was going to put up a response saying that the smart thing to do would be attack specific other places, where the people behind these policies might feel the burn (if only in a metaphorical and financial way) – but some of our favourite readers would certainly consider that to be enticement of some kind.

        You see, when you take everything away from a person, they end up with nothing to lose – not even hope. And a person without hope is one without fear.

        Surely I’m not the first person to reach that conclusion?

      2. shirleynott

        I have seen quite a few outbursts of anger at JC+ over the past year-and-a-quarter, (increasingly so over the last few months). Almost all, though, have been ‘advisers’ apparently unable to remain professional or even civil towards the people they (allegedly) are meant to be supporting and “helping to find work”.

        The disparity in power between the two groups of people playing out their roles in the JC+ charade must be one of the few factors preventing an all-out riot. (of course i would never advocate anything along those lines). That, and also the vast majority of people would prefer to be able to go in, sign for their benefit and leave again with some semblance of certainty that it will be paid. Instead, it quickly becomes apparent that the system is built on quicksand and that random acts of violence and aggression are not unlikely to be happen and have become an expected (or at least a not usual) element of the modern-day benefit claimant’s ‘experience’.

  16. Carl Winnett

    well we can take comfort in the fact that this evil bastard is going to have to have bodyguards for the rest of his life. Although I doubt very much whether he will make it to the end of 2014 without somebody trying to put a bullit through his head!!

  17. Laz

    Nobody presented the leaked internal memo that bore the address of the office where it was issued and clearly states the instructions on sanctions and the figures the department is pressing the advisors to produce . The whole review was a mockery and no doubt deliberately fixed . What were the body guards there for ,probably to make sure nobody presented a copy of the DWP’s incriminating memo .When universal credit goes nation wide what sanctions will probably include rent and Council Tax relief which is why the whole thing has been centralised :to give the power to inflict destitution and poverty to anyone who voices decent against this dictatorship. When the new super prison is opened I would not be surprised if the disabled placed into the old prisons under the guise of “”care centres” to consolidate and reduce benefit costs . The past repeating itself as you can be sure any who run these places will do it to maximise profit . I Wonder if they will use sanctions to fore people to comply .

  18. martha

    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?

    1. beastrabban

      Martha, I’ve posted up your comment and blogged on it over at my blog, ‘Beastrabban’s Weblog’. If the policemen’s guns really were aimed at the public gallery, then I totally agree that you have reason to complain. After the horrific shooting of Charles Menezes there was a letter by an officer with the British army in Northern Ireland commenting on the extremely poor and dangerous way the police carried their guns. In Ulster the British army normally carried their guns sloping downwards and with hands somewhat away from the trigger, as far as I recall. This was clearly intended to avoid as far as possible confrontations with the public, who would clearly regard raised guns as a threat and provocation. Now if the British army, who were faced with real danger from Republican terrorist organisations in Ulster, can find ways of carrying their guns to try to reassure, as far as possible, the peaceful general public that they are no threat, what makes the police and IDS feel that he’s so different that guns not only have to be carried, but actively pointed at the public? I have to say, it’s another clue to why he was probably returned to his unit. The British army now has a policy of using minimal force, and in Iraq and Afghanistan has been doing its best to win hearts and minds. IDS clearly does not believe in this, and seems to believe in the use of excessive force and provocation. He would thus be a danger and liability to himself, the men under his command, and the very people he would be posted to protect.

      Finally, it has to be said that ‘No-one trusts the man, who trusts no-one’. Smith has shown himself to be deeply insecure, afraid of the people he claims to represent in parliament and ready to use the threat of deadly force against the unarmed, the disabled and the vulnerable. It is the attitude not of a democratic politician or an officer in the British armed forces, but that of a petty, Fascist generalissimo. The man is completely unfit for any public office with such a deep suspicion and violent contempt for the British public.

      1. Nick

        IDS thinks in a very dangerous way the calling of the sick and disabled STOCK proves the point and he should be removed from office ASAP

  19. Pingback: 'Moaning' Work and Pensions committee lets IDS ...

  20. hilary772013

    What is the point of having the DWP committee? I listened to an hour of drivel where the worm squirmed a little & was let off the hook. Who the hell is going to hold this government to account? what a waste of public taxes & the MP’s are going to get more money for this unadulterated bulls**t.. sorry! I had high expectations that at last IDS was going to be accountable for his blatant LYING!! and I am fuming that I wasted an hour of my precious time watching the debacle.

    1. Nick

      it was certainty the worst performance that i have ever seen from a mp over the past 50 years or so

      IDS let slip that the sick and disabled were the equivalent of STOCK This sort of language has only ever been heard by the despots leaders of parts of Africa and Haiti in the Caribbean and is extremely insightful of things to come for the sick and disabled in the years to come in which a great many will die

      There is no doubt about it IDS is very dangerous and it will be to the likes of mike to keep us united

  21. Lucy Brown (@CharmedLassie)

    I agree that people are being pushed to their limits by this pathetic little man and that someone attacking him might seem like a good idea. However, as much as this seems like the only route to any justice, I would hate for him to become a martyr to the cause.

    Does anyone know how MPs are picked for these committees? It seems ridiculous that this one is so ineffectual in comparison to others. There must be a method of complaint available to us lowly citizens.

    1. Big Bill

      I wrote to my MP Dominic Raab some weeks ago about Smith’s lack of accountability. I said it was infuriating and asked what as a private citizen I could do about it. So far I’ve had an acknowledgment but no direct response.

  22. John Keen

    I would be surprised if security cameras are not used in the halls of the building, IF recording can be seen and it is shown that guns were raised THEN it becomes a criminal case of intimidation in my book. BUT i doubt even if there were cameras you’d be able to see the video…. Security you know……

    1. martha

      yes and I didn’t dare get out my camera to photograph the guns for obvious reasons or I might have ended up as a disabled Charles Menezes. I’ve phoned the House of Commons to complain but apparently it is up to the Cabinet to disipline their members so that’s a waste of time. If they are allowed to get away with this then soon all ministers will be walking around flanked by a posse of machine guns

  23. Whistler

    I’m surprised that no one has yet drawn parallels with another disastrous DWP computer system. CS2 – The Child Support Agency’s botch up which cost £450 million ten years ago and which still doesn’t work.

    Cases are still being taken off and worked manually at twice the cost.

  24. martha

    The real issue is that there are 10,600 disabled people who have died within 6 weeks of being declared fit for work by Atos. These are the DWPs own figures up until September 2012. Iain Duncan Smith will not release the figures for 2012 -2013 despite many requests. The estimate is that there are now at least 20,000 dead disabled people who Atos have declared fit for work, there are also at least 33 suicides but new cases are coming to light every week now. 120 disabled people have had their benefits sanctioned (stopped entirely for 3 years). Work Capability Assessments have been found to discriminate against all mentally ill people by a high court judicial review and yet we have had no comment about this ruling from the government or any sign that they are going to reform their policies. The government shows no sign of easing up their attack on disabled people despite knowing of the thousands of deaths they are causing. Nobody is shouting about it, it’s not mentioned in the newspapers, it was not mentioned in the DWP hearing, the only people who are talking about it are disabled people themselves. In short nobody gives a s**t that innocent British citizens are dying in their thousands because of this government. Instead the minister responsible points machine guns at unarmed disabled people in the House of Commons; we can have no longer be under any illusion about how much we are hated.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I think you may have got your statistics mashed there, Martha. My understanding is the 10,600 is everybody who died (support group + WRAG) between January and November 2011; there are no statistics available for 2012 or 2013 – I and others have spent a considerable amount of time trying to prise them from the DWP’s clutches, to no avail as yet.
      I’m interested to know where your 20,000 estimate comes from. Considering the way the confirmed figure shot up from 33 per week to 73 per week during 2011 alone, I think it might be a conservative figure.
      Likewise with the 33 suicides and 120 three-year sanctions – I’d like to know where those figures can be found.
      That being said, you are right that the real issue is the number of deaths. People ARE shouting about it, but the government is determinedly turning down the volume so that nobody can hear them.

      1. martha

        120 disabled sanctioned for 3 years comes from DPAC I don’t know where they got the figure from but they are contacted by disabled people personally who give their stories, 33 suicides are from Callum’s list although there are now quite a few more not listed that we know of so again the real number must be higher and reports of suicides have increased over the last few weeks at least on Facebook. Yes 20,000 is conservative and the sad truth is nobody knows the exact number because as you say we have not been given the statistics. I did think 10,600 was up until Sept 2012, I will check it up again as I downloaded the DWP report, I expect you are right though and it was 2011 and I’ve missed a year. In which case the numbers must indeed be much much higher.

  25. Eric Jarvis

    I wasn’t expecting much from the select committee and was still disappointed.

    The big problem is that nobody in politics will take on the real issue because all three main parties are complicit in it. They have all embraced UNUM’s policy of replacing state benefits with private insurance. That is the heart of the problem and almost no politician will tackle it. To do so would mean implicating the leadership of their own party in corrupting the political process for financial gain.

    The saddest thing is that the mainstream media pussyfoot around this too. It gets occasional brief mentions and then it is back to the standard face off between two politicians both singing off the same UNUM funded hymn sheet.

  26. John Keen

    A thought occured to me that i think would be of interest..Much has been done and said about the Unemployed, Disabled, pensioners, and mentally impaired but i notice that the department for WORK and pensions has said NOTHING about the work aspect of it’s title…What has it done to encourage EMPLOYMENT… not slave labour Workfare but actual WORK?

    Could it be that so long as we can be distracted with vicious attacks on those on benefits no-one will ask about the lack of effort to get the economy working as it should?

    I personally worry about the language used; “Jobs tax”, used to describe National Insurance, well no one likes taxation so if they abolish “jobs tax” everyone will happy that atleast one tax burden is gone.

    Ofcourse “jobs tax” will have become the normal term and many will have forgotten or not noticed immediately that National Insurance is dead but this will mean NO connection can be made between taxes and Welfare or the National Health Service and BINGO we cannot sustain a welfare state so we HAVE to abolish it…

    No more worries over the old, disabled, mentally ill or any of the cheating lieing members of paliame…….oops i mean Unemployed oiks!

    Pleas note that last was my cynical view of the governemnts view.

  27. Jean Casale

    “Very important thing to keep in mind, that when justice comes and when injustices are remedied, they’re not remedied by the initiative of the national government or the politicians. They only respond to the power of social movements.” ― Howard Zinn

  28. ray

    So now we know we are just stock, bit like how the nazi`s thought of sick and disabled people, and the rest is history.
    Gun`s now being pointed at people tell you everything you need to know about what MPS think of us.
    Sadly the people of this county have no fire in there bellys, unlike france and other countys who would not put up with this, I suspect nothing will happen until all our freedoms have gone.

  29. Pingback: Cameron talking cobblers and we actually pay for this? | Social Awareness

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