Undoubtedly this repost will lead to more complaints – especially on the Vox Political Facebook page – that this is nothing but a Labour propaganda page. Strangely, the people who write so urgently on the subject never complain about the amount of flak Ed Miliband has suffered from the Tory-funding right-wing propaganda sheets in the mainstream media.
Thanks to Sean at LabourLeft for this neat summary
1. Ed made the “cost of living crisis” the central issue in British politics, and the central economic challenge to reform our economy to ensure that prosperity is shared by the broad majority and not just the few at the top. Your pay packet has suffered its most sustained real terms fall in 159 years.
2. Ed stood up to Rupert Murdoch over phone hacking and blocked Murdoch’s attempt to concentrate media ownership further when he tried to buy 100% of BskyB. Remember just how close the Tory Party and previous Labour leaders were to Murdoch.
3. Ed stopped David Cameron’s rush to war in Syria in 2013. Ed has also apologised for the Iraq war.
4. Ed has promised to tackle the scandal of low pay and economic insecurity for millions by calling for the end of zero hours contracts, a sharp increase in the minimum wage & support for companies paying the living wage. Ed will give every worker the right to demand fixed hours.
5. Ed has pledged to protect your public National Health Service, free at the point of delivery, and repeal the government’s vicious Health & Social Care Act. Ed will repeal every section of the NHS Act. Ed will also scrap the Bedroom Tax
6. He publicly challenged the Daily Mail over their outrageous attack on his father, who fought for Britain at D-Day, for being “the man who hated Britain”. Much of the smears against Ed today are a direct consequence of this stand he took.
7. He was the first party leader to call on Britain’s banks, whether publicly bailed out or not, to contain their pay and bonus awards. Ed has vowed to break up the banks and put workers on the boards.
8. He believes those with more should pay more tax as part of a fair and sustainable recovery, and has pledged to restore the top rate of tax to 50p on those earning over £150,000, as well as putting in place a Mansion Tax on homes worth over £2m to add £12.5bn of funding our NHS.
9. He stood up to the companies running our broken energy market, pledging to reset the market, close down Ofgem, and freeze prices for 500 days from day 1 of a Labour Government to protect you.
10. Ed wants the UK to remain in the European Union and has stood up to pressure to take Britain to the exit door. No other mainstream leader can guarantee Britain’s continued membership of the EU.
Ed also champions Human Rights, equality, and has strongly opposed leaving the ECHR. A good indication of a government’s intentions is reflected in whether or not that government values and observes fundamental Human Rights. Labour gave us the Human Rights Act, and the Equality Act, the Tories want to repeal both. And withdraw from the ECHR.
That’s a very fundamental difference between the parties.
For me, this is probably a key election issue, because without human rights there is no framework for any semblance of social justice or democracy.
Thanks to kittysjones for finding this article and bringing it to our attention. That’s right, folks – somebody else wrote it. If you want to complain about it, complain to them.
An informed source within the geographical area of DWP, wherein I used to work, recently informed me that fraud staff were being redeployed to conduct robust interviews with people claiming Employment and Support Allowance, writes John D Turner.
Yesterday, I was Tweeted a link to this website and specifically this post:
Over the next 24 hours DWP management will ‘invite’ close on 2,000 benefit claimants from Birmingham to attend interviews, with a goal of getting at least 10% off the benefit register.
The group of benefit claimants being targeted are in the majority waiting for assessments to decide if they are able to be deemed ‘fit for work’. (The assessment formerly and controversially run by ATOS). Those waiting assessments are often disabled or vulnerable adults.
The ‘invitation’ letter issued makes no suggestion that the attendance to these interviews is purely voluntary, indeed DWP staff in Birmingham (and Central England) have been advised verbally and by email from management to keep it to themselves that attendance to these interviews is not mandatory. One manager in a city based office was overheard saying that the way to deal with these claimants is to ‘hassle, hassle them off benefit’.
Andrew Lloyd, PCS Midlands regional secretary that represents DWP staff said, “It is outrageous that the DWP are duping the most vulnerable by issuing this letter, and then worse still setting a target to get those off benefits, it could be argued that this approach is unlawful. Our members are totally opposed to this approach but are faced with inferred disciplinary action unless they act upon these targets.”
[Press Release from PCS Union on 14th November 2014]“
Black Triangle, the disability rights group, have written a letter of complaint about the American company, Maximus, being awarded the contract to assess the long term sick and disabled to Iain Duncan Smith, writes The Beast.
They point out that simply changing the contractor from Atos to Maximus will not alter the actual assessment procedure itself. They also raise the issue of Maximus’ suitability for the contract, as the company has seen itself prosecuted several times in America for corruption.
The late Brian McArdle is one of the many, many people who have died because of policies inflicted on the UK by a corrupt government.
It seems some people still don’t understand the threat posed to them by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who are currently running the UK into the ground.
Yesterday (Saturday) a commenter suggested that it might be a good idea to put up with another four years of the current catastrophe, in the hope that voters will be so sick of the situation by the end of it that they’ll support a properly Socialist government.
That is an attitude born from naivete and a failure to understand the changes wrought by the self-serving wretches we foolishly allowed into government in 2010.
Firstly, if a Tory or Tory-led government is voted back into office next year, the Fixed Term Parliament Act means we’re saddled with them until 2020 – that’s five and a half more years.
Secondly, changes to the electoral system have been introduced which mean that far fewer people are likely to have registered to vote by the time that 2020 election rolls around – and those who are still able to do so will be far more likely to vote for the Conservatives than for any other organisation.
Thirdly, the Tories tried to gerrymander Parliamentary constituencies – during the current term of office – in order to ensure they would be far more likely to win any future election, by reducing the number of MPs to 600 and altering constituency borders to make a majority of people in the new constituencies more likely to vote for them. The only reason this failed is because the Tories’ little yellow partners, the Liberal Democrats, refused to support the change after the Tories stabbed them in the back over their bid to introduce proportional representation. They will try again, if elected back into office next year.
Fourthly, the mainstream media is owned by strongly right-wing, Tory-supporting concerns who feed the general public highly biased ‘news’ items that are intended to prejudice ordinary people against the organisations that gave them the welfare state, the NHS and the human/working rights that make their lives tolerable at the moment. The plan has always been to mislead people into relinquishing those hard-won pillars of the modern UK by supporting the Conservative Party and its plans to abolish them in favour of a private system that will rob them and leave them powerless to prevent further predations.
Fifthly, the Conservative Party has no intention of allowing anyone to consider the possibility of an alternative government as it has spent the last four and a half years turning the British government into a gravy train, creating more wealth for the Conservative Party. The aim has always been to use the deficit and the national debt as excuses to cut services and sell their provision to private companies – who then charge the public higher prices for those services and pay the Conservative Party large donations as thanks for services rendered. The claim that this will lessen the national deficit and debt is a lie – with less money passing through the system, it is more likely that the debt will increase, providing the Tories with an excuse to sell off even more of the hard-won infrastructure of our society.
Finally, the new – corrupt – system that the Tories have created (with or without the collusion of the Liberal Democrats) relies on the creation of an underclass for people to hate, on whom the blame can be placed for the perceived failure of the system to work in the way the Tories have been claiming it would. The chosen scapegoats are the unemployed and the disabled – people who are unable to work in Tory donors’ sweatshops, for varying reasons. The Tories have used their friends in the mainstream media to whip up hysteria against these so-called ‘lazy scroungers’, unhindered by any relationship with the facts; subsidies to the City (London’s financial district) far outstrip payments made to the unemployed, incapacitated or disabled, despite the fact that the City is a profit-making entity that doesn’t need taxpayers’ help and the amount of fraud in the benefit system – the number of people who don’t deserve taxpayer support – stands at less than one per cent. And wasn’t it the bankers who caused our financial woes in the first place? This has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people, whose only fault was needing the help that they, and their fellow citizens, had funded with their taxes in the past. The government is refusing to release figures on the number of deaths and Iain Duncan Smith recently denied that any had taken place.
Just one such death should be enough to send the Conservatives out of government forever. Here are 71*:
Terry McGarvey, 48. Dangerously ill from polycytheamia, Terry asked for an ambulance to be called during his Work Capability Assessment. He knew that he wasn’t well enough to attend his WCA but feared that his benefits would be stopped if he did not.
He died the following day.
Elaine Lowe, 53. Suffering from COPD and fearful of losing her benefits. In desperation, Elaine chose to commit suicide.
The late Mark Wood.
Mark Wood, 44. Found fit for work by Atos, against his Doctors advice and assertions that he had complex mental health problems. Starved to death after benefits stopped, weighing only 5st 8lb when he died.
‘Stewardship’: This memorial is to Paul Reekie, the Scottish poet and writer who took his own life in 2010. Letters left on his table stated that his Housing Benefit and Incapacity Benefit had been stopped. The poet’s death led to the creation of the Black Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights.
Paul Reekie, 48, the Leith based Poet and Author. Suffered from severe depression. Committed suicide after DWP stopped his benefits due to an Atos ‘fit for work’ decision.
Leanne Chambers, 30. Suffered depression for many years which took a turn for the worst when she was called in for a WCA. Leanne committed suicide soon after.
Karen Sherlock, 44. Multiple health issues. Found fit for work by Atos and denied benefits. Fought a long battle to get placed into the support group of ESA. Karen died the following month of a heart attack.
Carl Payne, 42. Fears of losing his lifeline benefits due to welfare reform led this Father of two to take his own life.
Tim Salter, 53. Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia. Tim hanged himself after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.
Edward Jacques, 47 years old and suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C. Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm. He took a fatal overdose after Atos found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.
Linda Wootton, 49 years old. A double heart and lung transplant patient. Died just nine days after the government found her fit for work, their refusal letter arriving as she lay desperately ill in her hospital bed.
Steven Cawthra, 55. His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts, he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation
Elenore Tatton, 39 years old. Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work.
John Walker, 57, saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax, John took his own life.
Brian McArdle, 57 years old. Suffered a fatal heart attack the day after his disability benefits were stopped.
Stephen Hill, 53. Died of a heart attack one month after being found fit for work, even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.
Jacqueline Harris, 53. A former Nurse who could hardly walk was found fit for work by Atos and her benefits withdrawn. in desperation, she took her own life.
David Barr, 28. Suffering from severe mental difficulties. Threw himself from a bridge after being found fit for work by Atos and failing his appeal.
David Groves, 56. Died of a heart attack the night before taking his work capability assessment. His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him.
Nicholas Peter Barker, 51. Shot himself after being told his benefits were being stopped. He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage left him paralysed down one side.
Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old. Forced to live on £57.50 a week and make 12 mile trips each week to get free vegetables to make soup. Mark and Helen both committed suicide.
Richard Sanderson, 44. Unable to find a job and with his housing benefit cut forcing him to move, but with nowhere to go. Richard committed suicide.
Martin Rust, 36 years old. A schizophrenic man who killed himself two months after the government found him fit to work.
Craig Monk, 43. A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee who slipped so far into poverty that he hanged himself.
Colin Traynor, 29, and suffering from epilepsy was stripped of his benefits. He appealed. Five weeks after his death his family found he had won his appeal.
Elaine Christian, 57 years old. Worried about her work capability assessment, she was subsequently found at Holderness drain, drowned and with ten self inflicted wrist wounds.
Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old. Pregnant, her benefits stopped, Christelle, clutching her baby son jumped from a third floor balcony.
Mark Scott, 46. His DLA and housing benefit stopped and sinking into deep depression, Mark died six weeks later.
Cecilia Burns, 51. Found fit for work while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. She died just a few weeks after she won her appeal against the Atos decision.
Chris Cann, 57 years old. Found dead in his home just months after being told he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.
Peter Hodgson, 49. Called to JCP to see if he was suitable for volunteer work. Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a fused leg. His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.
Paul Willcoxsin, 33 years old. Suffered with mental health problems and worried about government cuts. Paul committed suicide by hanging himself.
Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.
Stephanie Bottrill, 53. After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax, Stephanie could not afford heating in the winter, and lived on tinned custard. In desperation, she chose to walk in front of a lorry.
Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.
Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.
Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.
Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.
Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.
David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.
Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.
Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.
Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.
Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.
Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.
Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.
Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.
David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.
Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.
Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.
Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.
Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.
Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.
George Scollen, age unknown. Took his own life after the government closed the Remploy factory he had worked in for 40 years.
Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.
Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.
Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.
Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.
Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.
Annette Francis, 30. A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness, found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.
Ian Jordan, 60. His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian, a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work, caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive. Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.
Janet McCall, 53. Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP, this lady died 5 months after her benefits were stopped.
Stuart Holley, 23. A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.
Graham Shawcross, 63. A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s. Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.
David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.
Chris Smith, 59. Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.
Nathan Hartwell, 36, died of heart failure after an 18-month battle with the Department for Works and Pensions.
Michael Connolly, 60. A Father of One, increasingly worried about finances after his benefits were cut. Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose of prescription medicine on the 30th October – His Birthday.
Jan Mandeville, 52, A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.
Trevor Drakard, 50 years old. A shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.
Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed, who took her own life while battling the bedroom tax.
This blog used to quote, with monotonous regularity, the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller on what happened in Nazi Germany:
“First they came for the socialists,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
“Then they came for the trade unionists,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
“Then they came for me,
“and there was no one left to speak for me.”
In today’s United Kingdom, an extra two lines may be added (perhaps to replace the lines about the Jews):
“Then they came for the unemployed and the disabled,
“and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t unemployed or disabled.”
This is the country where you live.
These crimes are taking place here and now – except they’re not called crimes because, when you have a criminal government, it changes the law to ensure that any such damning definitions are removed.
And you want to excuse the government that has inflicted all this harm? You want to let it continue, because the alternative isn’t Socialist enough for you? Or because you’ve decided the system is corrupt and you don’t want to support it with your vote?
People are dying now.
At the last count, those in just one of the groups threatened by this government were dying at a rate of more than 200 per week.
And you want to let this continue.
What will you do when they come to take everything away from you, and there’s nobody left who could help?
Postscript: The saddest fact of all is that many people won’t bother to read this article because it’s “a bit long”.
*VP has been contacted on Twitter by people who were keen to point out that some of the deaths listed above took place while the Labour Party was in power. They are missing the point. Evidence exists that states Labour was dismayed at the effect its benefit changes had caused, and would have altered the system to prevent further deaths if elected in 2010. That didn’t happen; we ended up with the Coalition instead – and the Coalition has intensified the pressure on vulnerable individuals. It is therefore on the Coalition that blame should currently be targeted – the administration that has demonstrated no remorse for what it is doing and, if reports of plans to reduce ESA payments are true, intends to worsen the situation considerably in the future. Any attempt to divert attention onto Labour’s past can only distract from what the Coalition is doing now.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is supposed to be the champion of the rights of ethnic minorities, the disabled and women against discrimination. It should be in favour of equal pay, according to David Hencke.
As a previous blog revealed its reputation is rather shaky when it comes to defending equality between men and women in the Middle East. Baroness Onora O’Neill, its part time chair, talks the big talk in the UK when it comes defending women’s equal rights to men only to believe in her other position as a trustee of the American University of Sharjah that women are second class citizens compared to men who are not allowed to meet privately with them as equals. I wonder whether she is allowed to be alone with a man when she is in Sharjah.
Now it turns out that her officials are quite happy to massage figures claiming the EHRC is making great progress in narrowing the pay gap between ethnic minorities and white people, the disabled and the able-bodied and between women and men.
David Cameron could face a vote of no confidence if the Tories crash to a heavy defeat in Thursday’s by-election, according to the Mirror.
Rattled backbench MPs are ready to trigger a leadership challenge if UKIP win Rochester and Strood in Kent by a big margin, party sources said.
The expected victory by ex Tory Mark Reckless could prompt more right-wingers to defect to Nigel Farage’s party, leading to a crisis. The PM admitted at the G20 summit in Australia that it would be a “sort of notch for them”.
He is preparing a major speech on the EU and immigration to try to recover from his likely loss.
Top Tories believe the only way to confront UKIP is to be tougher on immigration and EU reform, including threatening to leave.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “We’re in the beginning stages of a negotiation and – first of all – never, never go into any negotiation unless you’re prepared to stand up from the table and walk away.”
A senior Tory claimed the PM could face the no confidence vote if he mishandles his party after the by-election. They said: “I know a number of colleagues who would seriously think about going for it.
“He is going to have to put together one hell of a meeting of the party and frankly apologise.”
This is interesting because only yesterday (Saturday), on Any Questions, panellists were saying it is far too late for Labour to ditch Ed Miliband and elect a new leader. Now it seems entirely likely that this is exactly what will happen to the Conservatives.
Ed must be laughing fit to burst; it seems doubtful that David Cameron will see the funny side.
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