Daily Archives: December 23, 2019

Voter ID: ‘protecting the integrity of democracy’ – or just stopping plebs from voting?

Voters at the ballot box: but would either of these people have been able to exercise their democratic right, had they been asked to produce acceptable photographic identification?

Boris Johnson’s government has already failed on two key promises – raising the minimum wage and rail access for disabled people – but he’s promising to be really good at delivering this one.

He says introducing mandatory photographic identification of voters at polling stations will “protect the integrity of our democracy” – it’s on page 48 of his Conservative manifesto.

He means he wants to deprive tens of thousands of young people and those from disadvantaged groups from voting – because they don’t vote Tory.

Critics have pointed out that very few people have been caught committing personation – pretending to be someone else in order to commit electoral fraud.

In comparison, 800 genuine voters were turned away in a pilot project earlier this year.

Meanwhile, critics have warned that Mr Johnson is ignoring genuine problems like anonymous political ads, dodgy donations and fake news.

It seems that, while claiming to be improving democracy, Mr Johnson is in fact trying to, badly, limit it.

Source: Voter ID: Boris Johnson to make photo ID mandatory at polling stations, Queen’s Speech reveals | The Independent

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Jews call JOHNSON to account over anti-Semitism

Boris Johnson: No matter how hard he scrubs, he can’t clean up his own record of racism and anti-Semitism.

The leader of a leading UK political party has been called to account over anti-Semitism by Jewish people.

No, it’s not Jeremy Corbyn. He has nothing to answer for.

Boris Johnson, on the other hand, is a full-blown anti-Semite of the lowest kind.

That’s according to the Jewish academics and campaigners who highlighted his shortcomings in a letter published by The Guardian.

It seems the Dirty Johnson has “invoked some of the oldest and most pernicious antisemitic stereotypes in a book he wrote when he was a Conservative shadow minister. He describes ‘Jewish oligarchs’ who run the media, and fiddle the figures to fix elections in their favour.

“He portrays a Jewish character, Sammy Katz, with a “proud nose and curly hair”, and paints him as a malevolent, stingy, snake-like Jewish businessman who exploits immigrant workers for profit.”

Not only that, but “Johnson has form when it comes to anti-Jewish hatred.

“As editor of the Spectator he chose to publish articles in which the notorious racist Taki Theodoracopulos boasted of being ‘an antisemite’, argued black people ‘have lower IQs than whites’ and praised Enoch Powell as a ‘great man’.

“Johnson defended Theodoracopulos, calling him a ‘distinguished columnist’. Even now Johnson continues to cosy up to Donald Trump, despite his rhetoric about Jewish disloyalty and support for neo-Nazis.

“Johnson’s contempt for minorities, women, LGBT+ and working-class people is well known, so it’s not surprising this extends to Jews.”

Source: Boris Johnson’s record of bigotry, antisemitism and far-right politics must not be forgotten | Letters | Politics | The Guardian

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Letdown on rail accessibility for disabled people shows the Tories’ are still siding with big business

David Cameron (remember him?) vowed to remove Northern Rail’s infamous Pacer trains – bus frames mounted on train wheels as a “stopgap” measure more than 30 years ago – way back in 2014. A total of 180 Pacers will now remain in use, because the current Tory government has been too weak to stand up to big business.

The Conservatives’ recent election manifesto stated that the UK didn’t need to renationalise the rail network; it just needed to make it accountable. What a shame that won’t happen.

It is the second failed promise within days of the Conservatives being returned to office after the election. So far, they have not delivered on any of their commitments.

The rail letdown concerns accessibility for disabled people.

Private rail firms were given 10 years to make all trains accessible for people with disabilities – 10 years ago. They are not going to meet the January 1, 2020 deadline.

But instead of holding the privateers to account for their failure, the Tories have ripped up the deadline and granted no fewer than 10 companies permission to breach the new accessibility standards.

Remember that rail fares have skyrocketed since privatisation, with most of the money going to subsidise the large – nationalised – rail industries of other European countries that own our private railways.

According to The Independent:

The new plan is for the carriages to be replaced between April and next December – a full year’s delay – although it is unclear how achievable those new deadlines will be.

The minister’s letter says: “Despite such a significant period of time for the rail industry to prepare, I understand that were all non-compliant trains removed from service there would be a disproportionately negative effect on the provision of services for passengers.

“Thus I have reluctantly agreed to issue strictly time-limited dispensation notices to a number of operators for around 1,200 carriages in the national fleet.”

Truth is, the rail firms can always say there would be a “disproportionately negative effect” on passenger services if the non-compliant trains were taken out of service – and never replace them.

And what will the Tories do about it? Roll over and extend the deadline again.

It is as Labour’s transport spokesman Andy McDonald said: “You cannot believe a word they say.”

Source: Deadline to make trains accessible for disabled ripped up in Boris Johnson’s first ‘broken promise’ since election win | The Independent

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Disabled man wins benefit battle – despite two years of torture inflicted by DWP

As seen on Twitter.

This is becoming an all-too-familiar story: a man wins an appeal for PIP and the Department for Work and Pensions claims it is because of new information.

I don’t believe it, though.

John Hinds has curvature of the spine, osteoarthritis, anxiety and depression, and is facing life in a wheelchair. Those are not the kind of details that people leave off benefit forms.

Yes, he was questioned for an hour and the judge demanded details going back years – but background details don’t change the facts that are easily summarised on a PIP application form.

Saying new information has been provided is nothing but an excuse to justify years of hardship and emotional strain, inflicted on a deserving benefit claimant for no reason at all.

Remember: he has anxiety and depression – the emotional strain is an intended consequence; deliberate torture.

Mr Hinds has blamed the company hired by the Conservative government to carry out the assessments for 23 months of benefit denial – and there is a strong argument for it.

But it was the Conservative government that hired unqualified amateurs to determine whether extremely sick people were falsely claiming disability benefits; ultimately, the blame lies with the Tories.

Ultimately, the whole policy of denying benefit to disabled people is about hurting people as deeply as possible, simply for the sake of it.

There is no reason to deny people the benefits they deserve – legal or financial; they qualify, and the Tories certainly have the money to fund it.

They do it to force disabled people into situations that will hurt them for years to come – maybe for a lifetime.

They know that only 10 per cent of benefit refusals are contested. That means 90 per cent of claimants are forced to find other ways of surviving – taking jobs that cause them extreme pain, perhaps. That also leads to mental illness.

In some cases, it also leads to death. And that is intended too.

It must be. Otherwise the Tories would have changed their cruel system to make it supportive of the vulnerable – and they haven’t.

Source: Man wins benefit battle almost two years after being refused by DWP – Chronicle Live

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