There is little that this blog can add to the litany of outrage against the woman who has been dubbed ‘Fester McVile’ by commentators who are feeling kind towards her.
In a previous column, this blog stated that the employment minister, who works under Iain Duncan Smith, “has accumulated a reputation so bad that the only way she can hide the metaphorical stink from the public is by associating with …Smith himself, in whose stench she seems almost fragrant. But not quite”. How accurate those words are.
This is a woman who has lied to the public that it is impossible to carry out a cumulative assessment of the impact on the sick and disabled of the Coalition’s ‘final solution’ changes to the benefit system.
This is the woman who, in the face of public unrest about the prevalence of zero-hours contracts, announced that Job Centre advisors will now be able to force the unemployed into taking this exploitative work.
She has previously misled Parliament over the loophole in Bedroom Tax legislation that meant the government had removed Housing Benefit from thousands of people who were exempt from the measure – including Stephanie Bottrill, whose suicide has been attributed to the pressure of having to survive on less because of the tax. Asked how many people had been affected by the loophole, McVey played it down by claiming she did not know the answer, while other ministers suggested between 3,000 and 5,000. In fact, from Freedom of Information requests to which just one-third of councils responded, 16,000 cases were revealed. Esther McVey is a very strong supporter of the Bedroom Tax
Mark Hoban stood in for McVey to trot out the lie that independent reviews of the Work Capability Assessment had identified areas of improvement on which the government was acting. In fact, out of 25 recommendations in the Year One review alone, almost two-thirds were not fully and successfully implemented.
In a debate on food banks, McVey’s lies came thick and fast: She accused the previous Labour government of a “whirl of living beyond our means” that “had to come to a stop” without ever pausing to admit that it was Tory-voting bankers who had been living beyond their means, who caused the crash, and who are still living beyond their means today, because her corporatist (thank you, Zac Goldsmith) Conservative government has protected them.
She accused Labour of trying to keep food banks as “its little secret”, forcing Labour’s Jim Cunningham to remind us all that food banks were set up by churches to help refugees who were waiting for their asylum status to be confirmed – not as a support system for British citizens, as they have become under the Coalition’s failed regime.
She said the Coalition government was brought in to “solve the mess that Labour got us in”, which is not true – it was born from a backroom deal between two of the most unscrupulous party leaders of recent times, in order to ensure they and their friends could get their noses into the money trough (oh yes, there’s plenty of money around – but this government is keeping it away from you).
She said the Coalition had got more people into work than ever before – without commenting on the fact that the jobs are part-time, zero-hours, self-employed contracts that benefit the employers but exploit the workers and in fact propel them towards poverty.
She lied to Parliament, claiming that children are three times more likely to be in poverty if they are in a workless household. In fact, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in-work poverty has now outstripped that suffered by those in workless and retired households; children are more likely to be in poverty if their parents have jobs.
She attacked Labour for allowing five million people to be on out-of-work benefits, with two million children in workless households – but under her government the number of households suffering in-work poverty has risen to eight million (by 2008 standards), while workless or retired households in poverty have risen to total 6.3 million. Esther McVey has very strongly supported cuts to social security benefits.
She claimed that 60,000 people were likely to use a food bank in 2014 – but Labour’s Paul Murphy pointed out that 60,000 people would use food banks that year in Wales alone. In 2013-14, the actual figure for the whole of the UK – counting only people who received a minimum of three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust food banks alone – was 913,138 – nearly 23 times more than at their height during the last Labour Government.
She said the Coalition’s tax cuts had given people an extra £700 per year, without recognising that the real-terms drop in wages and rise in the cost of living means people will be £1,600 a year worse-off when the next general election takes place, tax cuts included. She said stopping fuel price increases meant families were £300 better-off, which is nonsense. Families cannot become better off because something has not happened; it’s like saying I’m better off because the roof of my house hasn’t fallen in and squashed me.
Her talents won exactly the recognition they deserved when her Wikipedia entry was altered to describe her as “the Assistant Grim Reaper for Disabled People since 2012, second only to Iain Duncan Smith. She was previously a television presenter and businesswoman before deciding to branch out into professional lying and helping disabled people into the grave.”
In her food bank speech, she also said the government had brought in Universal Credit to ensure that three million people become better-off. There’s just one problem with that system – it doesn’t work.
How would residents vote if they knew Esther McVey’s voting record? Let’s find out.
This minister of state for Work and Pensions very strongly supported cuts to social security benefits including Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, the Personal Independence Payment and so on.
She very strongly supported the benefit uprating cap, ensuring that benefits do not rise in line with prices.
She supported making local councils responsible for helping people afford council tax, while reducing the amount available for such support.
She very strongly supported the Bedroom Tax.
She is very strongly in favour of the current government’s creeping privatisation of the NHS.
She is very strongly against increasing income tax paid by the extremely rich; strongly against a bankers’ bonus tax; strongly in support of cutting Corporation Tax (even though this does not make companies more likely to invest in the UK or its workforce); and very strongly supported the increase in VAT. Clearly she believes in taxing the poor to pay for the rich.
She is a strong supporter of military operations overseas.
She is strongly against strengthening the Military Covenant.
She has voted both for and against a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
She very strongly supports privately-run ‘Free Schools’ and privately-owned ‘Academy Schools’; she voted very strongly for the increase in undergraduate tuition fees to £9,000 per year; and she voted very strongly to end financial support for 16-19 year olds in training and further education. Clearly she only wants education to be available to those who can afford it.
She is against localism and has voted to reduce both the powers of local councils and their funding.
She supported very strongly the waste of money that is Police and Crime Commissioners.
She supported the restriction of Legal Aid that has made justice available only to the rich.
She strongly supports secret courts.
She supported the invasion of privacy that allows the security services to monitor and keep information about your communications.
She voted very strongly for the botched privatisation of the Royal Mail – and for the sale of England’s state-owned forests.
She supports unrestricted rises in rail fares, and is against regulation of gambling.
She is very strongly against equal gay rights, and voted against same-sex marriage.
She supported the badger cull.
If you live in Wirral West, you need to know this information.
Vox Political readers are invited to distribute it to friends and relatives who live there.
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