More smears from the Mail against UN official who is trying to help the poor

The victim: Raquel Rolnik, the United Nations' expert Special Rapporteur on Housing is once again the victim of a baseless Daily Mail smear piece.

The victim: Raquel Rolnik, the United Nations’ expert Special Rapporteur on Housing is once again the victim of a baseless Daily Mail smear piece.

Yet again, the Daily Heil has been using the tactics of its best friend Adolf Hitler – the ‘Big Lie’ – to attack a United Nations official whose job is to point out that Coalition government policies are harming the innocent poor.

The Flail‘s tone was Nurembergian – and almost entirely fact-free – as it denounced ‘Brazil Nut’ Raquel Rolnik for imaginary crimes against Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit cuts – the homicidal, if not genocidal, measures that are driving hundreds of thousands of people into destitution and despair.

You see, the Fail is fine with destitution and despair for the poor – its readers are all rich middle- or upper-class housewives who pass their days spending their husbands’ vast fortunes (this is not entirely true, but is exactly the sort of generalisation you can expect from that paper. If you are a Mail reader, it isn’t such fun when you’re the victim, is it?) and gossiping.

The news story is that a group of United Nations poverty ambassadors has written a 22-page letter pointing out that cuts to social security benefits introduced by Iain Duncan Smith and enforced by his Department for Work and Pensions on behalf of the Coalition government may constitute a breach of the UK’s international treaty obligations to the poor.

The letter is new but its factual information is not, having been confirmed by the Council of Europe.

The letter states: “The package of austerity measures enacted could amount to retrogressive measures prohibited under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ratified in 1974.”

Among the benefit changes it highlights are alterations to housing benefit, council tax benefit, working age benefits and the bedroom tax and the benefits cap – which everybody agrees would be a good idea if it had been limited to a reasonable amount, rather than one at which the Conservative-led Coalition could throw people into hardship.

The Mail‘s report pays little attention to the facts, lavishing far more space on Mrs Rolnik herself. It said she had been nicknamed the ‘Brazil Nut’, which she had – by the Daily Mail; and went on to attempt to cast doubt on her authority as special rapporteur on housing and those of fellow UN ambassadors Maria Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona, special rapporteur on extreme poverty; and Olivier De Schutter, the special rapporteur on the right to food.

These are experts in their field who have been engaged by the United Nations – a higher-ranking legal authority than the UK – to investigate government policies, but that’s not good enough for the Mail.

It prefers to get its opinions from tupenny-ha’penny Tory thinktanks.

So it casts doubt. The letter is from ‘ambassadors’ and follows an ‘investigation’, according to the Mail, because putting those words in that way casts doubt upon their validity.

Mrs Rolnik was brought up as a Marxist, the Mail states – as if that has anything to do with her findings. And the report claims she should leave the UK alone and concentrate on problems in her own country, where millions of people live in shanty towns – even though the writer, ‘Jason Groves’, should know perfectly well that her job involves just that.

He clearly doesn’t want you to see her comments on housing in Brazil, prior to the football World Cup which is being held there at the moment: “We expected that the champion of many football cups would use this opportunity to show the world it is also a champion of the right to housing, in particular for people living in poverty, but the information I have received shows otherwise.”

She had received allegations of evictions without due process or in breach of international human rights standards, cases in which residents and citizens had not been consulted and were barred from to participation in decisions that had a grave impact on their standard of living. Concerns had also been expressed about very low compensation that might lead to the creation of new “informal settlements” (shanty towns) with inadequate living conditions or greater rates of homelessness.

“Authorities should avoid at all costs any negative impacts on then human rights of the individuals and communities, especially the most vulnerable… [and] should ensure that their actions, and those of third parties involved in the organization of the events, contribute to the creation of a stable housing market and have a long term positive impact in the residents of the cities where events take place.”

So critics who think she has ignored issues in her home country are wrong.

That’s a bit of a blow to the Mail‘s credibility, isn’t it?

The measures criticised by Mrs Rolnik and her colleagues were brought in “to tackle the huge budget deficit left by Labour”, according to the Mail. Again, this is wrong. The Coalition government has made no real effort to tackle the budget deficit which was necessitated when Labour saved our banking system, the threat having been created by Tory-supporting bankers whose greed put their firms into overwhelming debt. Look at the annual deficit for the last financial year; it is still well above £100 billion. If you agree that the cuts were to bring the deficit down, you have swallowed a lie.

Iain Duncan Smith, the man this blog describes as ‘RTU’ (standing for ‘Returned To Unit’ in tribute to his failed Army career) is reportedly furious at this intervention from the United Nations, which has a duty to intervene if governments of member countries descend into criminality, as has happened with the UK (here’s just one example).

Vox Political has reported extensively on this matter and his arguments carry about as much weight as his retrospective Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act. Take a look at Mrs Rolnik’s report on housing in the UK and the research that supported what she said and then ask yourself if Mr …Smith has got a leg to stand on.

According to the Mail, he said: “They talk down our country, criticising the action we’ve taken to get control of the public finances and create a fairer more prosperous Britain. They simply do not have a clue – and we will not be taking lessons from a group of unelected commentators who can’t get their facts straight.”

“Unelected” and “Can’t get their facts straight” are both criticisms that could be applied with more accuracy to Mr …Smith and his government.

In fact.

Additional: Here’s some more information about Iain Duncan Smith playing fast and loose with statistics, just in today.

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23 thoughts on “More smears from the Mail against UN official who is trying to help the poor

  1. Colin M. Taylor

    If , as it appears, the UK is in breach of UN Treaty Obligations, What is the UN Going to do about it?
    what CAN they do, apart from issue a strongly-worded Resolution that the Government will ignore?
    Would Hague stand up in the General Assembly and announce the UK’s withdrawal from the UN?
    If so, what would/could the UN do about it?

  2. Paul Hawkins

    Typical Tory rubbish paper and just the sort of thing the sun would do. You cannot justify what your government of choice has done so attack the person who exposes them. Can you imagine how these two papers would attack people who expose their Tory mates as Paedophiles?

  3. hugosmum70

    i dare not put here what i think should happen to IDS and the rest of his cronies but him in particular. without his evil mind most of what has happened wouldnt have. french revolution comes to mind. the power in the shape of MarieAntoinette said “If there is no bread, then let them eat cake”…here its worse. if they have no money then let them die. (actually amounts to the same thing except no one actually said that..they just make sure it happens)

    1. Mike Sivier

      In fact, she said, “Let them eat grass,” which tells you everything you need to know about the French aristocracy of the time.

      You are right, though; our government’s attitude eclipses that. It is: “Let them starve.”

      1. hugosmum70

        methinks i need to re-read about the french revolution Mike…admitted it is a long way back since i did, though i think most people think its cake……….no matter.

      2. Mike Sivier

        Yes, it’s the official version that gets trotted out, but of course it makes no sense because they wouldn’t have had cake.
        It’s like the line about Gerald Ford being unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. In fact what was originally said was that he couldn’t fart and chew gum at the same time.

      3. hugosmum70

        Mike i always thought she was being sarcastic orrrrrr typically aristocratic as she wouldnt have had a clue that flour/grain etc was used in both.they never set foot in the royal kitchens after all.
        but. whatever, the fact remains..that there was dire consequences to her remark, no matter what version we take up. for her and others like her…)plus some just caught up in the whole terrible thing.a lesson there for those who go along with what this government are doing. but of course it will never happen to them.Btits are far too stiff upper lip and laid back…but wont it? are they? time will tell.give a man enough rope………ooooooooo those

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  5. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Mike here demolishes yet another attack on Raquel Rolnik by the Daily Heil, which is outraged that a foreign UN official should dare to tell the truth about the poverty and hardship caused by Tory policies.

  6. jaypot2012

    I don’t believe a word the Mail or the Sun write – just like I don’t believe a word that comes out of Mr Smith’s ugly gob!

    1. Matthew

      I feel the same way whenever Mr Cameron, or any Tory MP, appears on the TV or Radio.

  7. Methusalada

    Methinks that the sole reason of IDS staying on in Government is for one purpose .He is the agitator born to create a violent revolution in this land amongst those that he causes harm to. Better that he should be removed from Government now , before this country enters into a revolution before next years general election. Too many Nazi’s around in the Media & Government for this to be considered a healthy society .

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