Category Archives: Discrimination

Why are people with disabilities being refused access to Covid-19 test centres?

Cartoonist Andrzej Krauze’s view of government sickness and disability assessments, from years ago. Now it seems we can apply it to Covid-19 test centres, which are inaccessible to many people with disabilities.

Remember when This Site was publishing articles showing how people with disabilities were being refused benefits because their assessments were in inaccessible places so if they made it to the test, they were seen not to have disabilities, and if they didn’t, then their application was binned because they couldn’t be bothered to attend?

Well, now it seems the government is using the same wheeze at Covid-19 test centres:

Back in the day, Tony Blair (I think) passed a law called the Disability Discrimination Act, in which it became illegal for buildings that were supposed to be publicly-accessible not to have facilities for people with disabilities.

What happened to that? Is it still on the statute book? If so, why the hell isn’t it being enforced?

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Tories are attacking disabled people again while we’re looking the other way

The Conservative government has changed its assessment process for disability benefits to make it harder for people to get a correct decision on their claim – it seems.

The Tory miniser for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, revealed details of the secret change in a letter to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, after its chair, Stephen Timms, raised the issue on behalf of claimants.

It has been usual practice for claimants to request and receive a copy of their assessment report within days of the report being submitted to the DWP.

They have been able to request a copy of their report, check it thoroughly, raise any issues with the assessment providers and receive responses before they have received the decision.

In a fair, sane system, this is appropriate. So of course the Tories have changed it.

In a letter dated September 16, Tomlinson MP wrote:

“The department does not share assessment provider reports with claimants before they have been considered by a DWP Case Manager.”

This is because:

“Providing the report to claimants immediately after the assessment and before the Case Manager has made their decision could therefore give a false impression on the outcome of their claim.”

This will make it much harder for claimants to demand the mandatory review that the Tories insist they have to endure before appealing against a wrong decision.

It can take up to 15 weeks for claimants to receive the decision. Once they do, and if they disagree with it, they will have about three weeks – or less – to make a request for a mandatory review. 

The 30+ page assessment report is a key part of the process and it will take about 10 days from requesting a copy to receiving it.

This leaves very little time for them to see the recommendations made, to analyse the report, to check it for accuracy, to see if there are any errors, and to prepare and send a request for MR if necessary.

Many people with disabilities are very weak, due to their condition, and do not have the strength of will needed to push through a dispute with the government that has a short time limit.

You can be sure the Tories had this in mind when they secretly made this cruel change.

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‘Knuckledragging racists’ try to use Croydon police tragedy to attack black MP

Dawn Butler: racists have used the tragic death of a police officer to attack this London MP, who also happens to be a black woman. They don’t care about the man who died – he was just a handy hook on which they could hang their bile.

This is a new depth of depravity.

After Brent MP Dawn Butler tweeted her condolences about the police officer who was shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre, the racists have turned out in their thousands to blame her for it.

Their reason is the fact that she complained about being in a car subjected to stop-and-search by (other) officers from the same force, for “driving around while black”.

These are completely separate incidents.

So Ms Butler’s highly-vocal critics are wrong to suggest that her tweet is hypocritical. Complaining about an incident of apparent racial profiling is not the same as wishing death upon any police officer.

Nor is her complaint about a stop-and-search procedure that had no justification any reason to suggest that she had somehow prevented police from finding the weapon that was used in the Croydon attack.

If you’re unaware of the facts of the case, here they are:

A long-serving police officer has been shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in south London.

The male sergeant was shot in the chest before the suspect turned the firearm on himself, sources have told the BBC.

The man had been brought to the custody suite in a police vehicle and the shooting happened during questioning about Covid-19, the BBC was told.

It was believed the suspect – who is critically ill in hospital – was known to counter-terrorism police.

Ms Butler had clashed with other police officers in a very widely-reported incident which she recorded, using her mobile phone.

But it is insanity to suggest that she held the actions of those officers against the entire force – or that, even if she had, she would want any police officers to die. That is what has been implied today.

Ms Butler tweeted the following:

As a London MP, it is entirely appropriate for her to have sent this message.

Brace yourself, because here come a few of the replies:

There have been many, many more.

Notice the number of flags in the profile pictures? What does that suggest to you? To me it suggests racism – English nationalism, “Britain for the British” and all the usual bilge.

Many of the attacks focused on the Chris Phillips quote about stop-and-search, so let’s put an answer to them straight away:

Notable among the critics was that humdrum right-wing rabble-rumbler Julia Hartley Doodah, who added this to the mix:

… and had her derriere minced into burger meat and handed back to her:

Fortunately, it seems there are still more decent people in the UK than loudmouthed racist imbeciles. Let’s give reason some space now:

Oh, and perhaps someone who has served as a police officer should have a say:

No, she wasn’t. Her behaviour was entirely proper. Those who attacked her are the shame of the nation.

But I do think some politicians should take blame for what has happened here: Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage. David Cameron. Anybody who used the EU referendum campaign to stir up jingoistic, fake patriotism that was really racism in disguise. Priti Patel, for insisting on deporting refugees. Theresa May, for insisting on deporting UK citizens. Successive Tory governments that encouraged the claim that foreigners were coming to the UK and taking citizens’ jobs and/or claiming state benefits. The list goes on and on.

Racism is on the rise because right-wing politicians thought it would make them popular.

But who’s getting the blame for it in this story?

The black person.

And who’s being ignored in the rush to lay that blame?

The dead person.

What a hateful day.

Source: Police officer shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre – BBC News

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Corrupted morals: men who allegedly toppled Colston statue to be punished but Priti Patel goes free

Over it goes: the toppling of the Colston statue, back in June. By a curious coincidence, nobod involved in pulling it down could be seen in this image.

People who toppled – and then sank – a statue glorifying slavery during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the summer are to be offered a bizarre punishment.

The five, who pulled down the statue of slaver Edward Colston in Bristol, will have to pay a fine that would go to a charity supporting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Bristol – which is more than Colston ever did.

They will also have to complete a questionnaire by Bristol City Council’s history commission, explaining their reasons for attacking an exploiter who considered black and minority ethnic people to be property during a week of protests against their mistreatment.

That’s going to be an uncomfortable read for these history commissioners.

This Writer would be unsurprised if every answer contained harsh criticism of them for even asking such a stupid question.

Worse still is the fact that four more people – three men and a woman – may face criminal charges over the incident:

Avon and Somerset police said its investigation had been completed.

It said: “Following a review of the evidence, detectives will now approach the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision against four people – three men, aged 32, 25 and 21, and a 29-year-old woman.”

Meanwhile, the Home Office is reportedly resuming deportation of asylum-seekers after it was prevented from sending a flight to Spain a few weeks ago.

Lawyers for the deportees demonstrated that the government had rushed the flight in order to deny the refugees their right to appeal.

It’s a direct correlation with the attitude of slavers like Colston, who also refused to allow foreign people any rights.

So we have to ask ourselves:

Who should really be explaining their actions – the protesters who tore down a statue of a historic slaver, or Priti Patel, the home secretary who treats people like slaves today?

Source: Men allegedly involved in toppling of Colston statue offered cautions | UK news | The Guardian

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Court brands ‘no benefits’ rule by landlords illegal in disabled dad’s landmark case

A disabled dad suffered unfair discrimination when he was made homeless because a landlord did not accept people who receive state benefits.

The ‘no benefits’ rule meant Stephen Tyler was banned from viewing properties advertised by a Birmingham estate agent, purely on the grounds of receiving housing benefit.

Mr Tyler, 29, had been involved in a road accident in 2016. He was made homeless because of the estate agent’s “no benefits” rule.

Birmingham County Court ruled that the estate agent had breached the Equality Act because the rule disproportionally affects disabled people, who are more likely to need some support with paying their rent.

Judge Mary Stacey ruled that: “There is no doubt that there was a blanket policy that no one in receipt of housing benefit would be considered for the three properties. It put the claimant and other disabled people at a particular disadvantage when compared to others.

“To be told simply, because of his benefit status, that he could not apply for three properties which were perfectly located for his children’s school, his GP and health needs, and extended family support, […] would be distressing.

But “no benefits” discrimination is still going on (sometimes it is called “no DSS”, in reference to the former government department responsible for benefits.

This case was brought with help from homelessness charity Shelter, which has vowed to keep campaigning until the discrimination is completely stamped out.

Source: Disabled dad wins high court battle after estate agent banned him for claiming benefits – Mirror Online

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Why haven’t police arrested Britain First thugs who raided migrant-housing hotel?

Proud of it: the banner seems to set out the Britain First agenda clearly – racism.

Did Theresa May intend our police to be toothless, back when she cut law enforcement numbers by more than 20,000 in 2016 or thereabouts?

Coppers in the UK now seem far more interested in prosecuting parking and speeding offences than in investigating crimes of violence perpetrated against human beings.

How else could one explain the inability of police services across the UK to stop people who are exempt from wearing face masks in shops from being assaulted by their fellow shoppers, who have no right to do so?

And how else could one explain the ability of Britain First “activists” (read: racists) to raid a hotel housing asylum seekers with impunity?

Cheshire Police were called but by the time anybody turned up, the perpetrators of the harassment had long since departed.

The incursion into the privacy and dignity of the people at the hotel has been roundly condemned by right-thinking people – for example:

But it seems clear that people like the Britain First thugs will feel empowered by the fact that they got away with it – and are likely to get away with it if they do it again.

Apparently the Johnson government has offered protection to hotels housing asylum seekers, but can we really believe that?

It is the jingoistic rhetoric of these Tories – and the Tory governments that came before them – that has made these racists feel entitled to stick their faces where they don’t belong.

And look at the recent behaviour of the Home Office, regarding asylum seekers and the people who stand up for them.

It seems likely that Britain First’s “activists” have been doing exactly what the Johnson government wants.

* I’ve put “activists” in quotation marks because it is interesting to note the way the word is being used. The Home Office attacked “activist lawyers” in a hastily-deleted video tweet last week, and now we see the word again here. What are we to conclude from this use of language?

Source: Far-right Britain First activists branded ‘disgusting’ for raiding hotel housing migrants | London Evening Standard

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Home Office deletes “fascist Dad’s Army” ‘migrants’ clip released after it was forced to abandon deportation flight

It seems there was more to the Home Office’s video clip about “activist lawyers” than met the eye – and that was already pretty bad.

Apparently the government had been forced to abandon a deportation flight to Spain after last-minute legal challenges meant all 23 passengers had to be allowed off the plane.

It seems that HO had tried to rush through the deportations fast, in order to deny these asylum-seekers the right to appeal; that would be breaking the law. All the lawyers did was insist that these people be allowed their legal rights.

In response, the government department released the tweet attacking “activist lawyers” who “delay and disrupt returns”.

So it seems the line saying, “Soon we will no longer be bound by EU laws and can negotiate our own return arrangements,” was an attempt to taunt those lawyers.

That was a mistake. It provoked complaints – some of them from the lawyers who carry out these actions.

So now the tweet has come down and HO permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft has issued instructions that the term “activist lawyers” should not be used again.

The most effective complaint seems to have come from the economist Jonathan Portes. This Site has huge respect for this gentleman, going back to discussions of the UK economy here many years ago.

He posted a thread showing part of the response he received:

Later, he added this:

By this time, some of the lawyers concerned had already taken to Twitter to put their side of the story across – and it makes interesting reading:

It’s another own-goal for Boris Johnson’s Tory government – and the Home Office that Johnson insists must be run by Priti Patel.

Source: Home Office wrong to refer to ‘activist lawyers’, top official admits | Home Office | The Guardian

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This is what Black Lives Matter meant to US police: wait a while, then shoot them in the back

Point blank: (white) Wisconsin police officers were filmed shooting Jacob Blake in the back is he sat in his car. His children, also in the car, saw everything.

So much for all the protesting and solidarity earlier this summer. American police are still shooting to kill black people for no apparent reason.

It seems clear that they will continue to do so until force is used to stop them.

And how can that happen when they have the guns, and the name of the law – if not the letter of it – behind them?

The victim in this instance is Jacob Blake, of, Kenosha, Wisconsin, who was apparently walking back to his car after breaking up a fight between two women when police shot him in the back seven times, at point-blank range.

He may never walk again.

His children were also in the car and saw the police officers shooting their father in the back.

The shooting provoked a mass demonstration in which hundreds of people marched through the streets to gather outside the Kenosha County Public Safety Building, chanting: “No justice, no peace!”

Wisconsin’s Democrat governor, Tony Evers, also condemned the shooting. He said: “Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries.”

“While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country.

“We stand with all those who have and continue to demand justice, equity, and accountability for Black lives in our country—lives like those of George Floyd, of Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson, Dontre Hamilton, Ernest Lacy, and Sylville Smith.”

Family members have appealed for “healing”.

It seems clear that systemic racism is alive and well in the US police forces.

They listened and watched while the Black Lives Matter protests against the killing of George Floyd took place around the world – including in the UK – and then they shrugged and carried on shooting black people.

That’s not law enforcement. It’s racism. And if we really want to eradicated it, we need more than honeyed words from old men in expensive suits

Source: ‘I don’t want pity. I want change’: Jacob Blake’s family pleads for justice | US news | The Guardian

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A teenager DIED on the Channel and racists are revelling in it. Is this how we want the world to see us?

Blameshift: rather than accept the UK’s part in the deaths of asylum-seekers crossing the Channel, Priti Patel tried to blame people smugglers who are unlikely to have been involved. The “UKaid” sign in the background is ironic in this context.

Yes, people in other countries see us as xenophobes and racists.

A Sudanese 16-year-old was apparently trying to cross from France in an inflatable dinghy when he accidentally punctured it with a shovel he was using as an oar.

His body was found on the shore at Calais.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the death of the young migrant was a “brutal reminder” that people smugglers exploit the vulnerable.

But there is no evidence that people smugglers were involved. The Home Office has refused to comment on the death.

Oh, and there’s also this:

Indeed, as Kent Refugee Action Network Pointed out, reports the boy had pushed off in a makeshift boat made it “likely that people smugglers weren’t even involved”.

The organisation demanded that Patel “turn her attention immediately to creating safe and legal routes so that no on else suffers the same fate”.

Fat chance – she’s playing up to the racists.

Apparently they’ve been making jokes about it…

… when they’re not actively attacking people who actually made it across:

The worst of it is that the rest of the world seems to believe that the racists represent the view of the UK’s population as a whole.

Consider what French politician Pierre-Henri Dumont said: “How many more tragedies does it need for the British to find an ounce of humanity?”

While also criticising his own government, he said the problem was that people were not allowed to claim asylum in the UK without actually being in the country. That’s what forces them to risk these dangerous crossings.

Sadly, this was just the latest in a long serious of deaths, as this list by The Guardian makes clear:

A significant number of people have died after being hit by cars in northern France as they made their way on foot to reach beaches or ports along the coast, and others have drowned in the Channel, suffocated in lorries or been hit by trains.

23 October 2019 Thirty-nine Vietnamese men, women and teenagers were found dead in a truck in Essex, England. The trailer had been shipped from the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Purfleet docks.

14 October 2019 A 17-year-old Iraqi Kurd and a 22-year-old man, also Iraqi, were discovered dead on a beach in Le Touquet, northern France.

26 August 2019 The body of Masoud Niknam, 47, was found off the coast of Zeebrugge, Belgium. He was wearing flippers, two pairs of jeans to protect him from the cold, and a lifejacket made from netting and empty plastic bottles.

9 August 2019 Mitra Mehrad, 31, an Iranian woman, fell from a dinghy off the coast of Kent and her body was found in Dutch waters.

8 March 2019 A 19-year-old Ethiopian boy named Kiyar was found dead in a lorry at Calais, having tried to reach the UK where he had extended family.

18 November 2018 Mahammat Abdullah Moussa, 25, a Chad national, was discovered dead under a bus by French police at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone, Kent.

30 September 2015 Berihu, a 23-year-old man from Eritrea, was run over by a train in the Eurotunnel.

17 September 2015 A Syrian man in his 20s was electrocuted while trying to climb on to a Eurotunnel freight train to England. He was found on the train’s roof after being shocked by overhead power lines near the French entrance.

No doubt that list gives joy to supporters of Ms Patel.

For the rest of us it is a catalogue of shame.

Source: Channel crossings: Body of teenage migrant found on French beach – BBC News

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With two million GCSE results set to be downgraded, let’s see employers, schools and colleges tell the Tories to get stuffed

Exams: GCSE students didn’t take them this year, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t worked hard. The Tories are (again) planning to penalise pupils who didn’t go to private schools, for no other reason than that. Let’s see employers and educators ignore their prejudiced downgrade.

It seems the Tories haven’t learned their lesson from the ‘A’ level results scandal and are planning to repeat their stunt next week with GCSE results.

Gavin Williamson is looking forward to downgrading the results of two million school pupils based, not on the results they are expected to get, but on the fact that they didn’t go to an expensive private school.

Of course this represents a serious and bitter injustice that Williamson will perpetrate for no other reason than because he can.

It represents Tory prejudice against people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, with the least privileged expected to fare the worst, no matter how intelligent they are or hard they have worked.

That is Tory ignorance for you. Amazingly, Williamson and his ilk were voted into Parliament by the parents of many of the children whose futures will be irreparably harmed.

Williamson is hiding behind a claim that the results are determined by a mechanical algorithm – but he is neglecting to admit that the algorithm was written to reflect Williamson’s own prejudice, that pupils at private schools must be placed above the hoi-polloi, no matter how stupid and undeserving the toffs’ children may be.

The Tories aren’t going to change. It is their agenda to push your children’s faces into the mud while their brats stand on their backs to bask in the sun.

It is up to others to reject what Williamson is doing – that means schools, colleges and employers.

If a pupil at a state school fails to receive the required grades to get the further education place they want, or the job for which they have applied, because the government arbitrarily lowered their grade, then it is the moral responsibility of those businesses and institutions to side with the student.

And I think we need to see those organisations say as much – now.

Let’s have the reassurance for GCSE students that employers and universities denied to their ‘A’ level counterparts.

I’ve already called for a boycott of Tory-supporting organisations after the ‘A’ level fiasco.

Let’s see who won’t stand with the kids and give them the same cold-shoulder treatment. Do you agree?

Source: GCSEs: 2 million results set to be downgraded, researchers warn | Education | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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