Tag Archives: Army

Will the UK send more riot gear to a despotic Trump? Of course. It makes a profit

Sacrilege: Donald Trump had people tear-gassed so he could have this picture taken, outside a church, with a Bible. It seems he hasn’t read the New Testament… and if he stepped inside the church, would he disappear in a puff of brimstone?

Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is being urged to ban the sale of riot control equipment to the United States in response to shocking images of police attacking peaceful protesters against the killing of George Floyd.

Trump seems to be entirely out of control. He had peaceful protesters tear-gassed so he could take part in a photo shoot in front of a church, clutching a Bible, in what many people (including myself) may describe as a blasphemy.

This is symptomatic of the attitude he has displayed since public opinion boiled over in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Many – including media pundits – believe he has turned the corner into dictatorship:

His attitude to the classes seems to support this:

For clarity, let’s have a look at some video clips of what has been going on:

https://twitter.com/LowkeySinistra/status/1267109420955086848

We need these clips by members of the public, too. If we didn’t have them, Ice T would be right:

Look at how news reporters have been targeted:

There have been exceptions, though – and it is important to note them. Not all in the police or the military agree with Trump that peaceful demonstrations should be put down with an iron fist:

It seems US police have been learning “brutality and repression” in specially-funded trips abroad. I make no comment about the country providing the training.

The good news is that, after Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr Floyd, the three other officers involved are also to face criminal charges. It has been said that Tou Thao watched while J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane helped hold the victim down:

And a civil rights investigation has been launched into the activities of Minneapolis police.

Back with the president, it seems the affair has killed Trump’s approval rating among US citizens. Now 54 per cent of them disapprove of him – the highest disapproval rating for any US president.

Trump should be happy – he’s always trying to say he’s top at something, and now he is.

All of this takes us back to the UK’s response to all this. Boris Johnson has been urged to stop exporting arms and riot equipment to the United States, so it cannot be used to harm peaceful protesters in the way we’ve seen in the videos (above):

According to the Independent article, neither Johnson nor any government spokesperson has yet commented on the issue.

This Writer’s opinion? There won’t be any cessation of arms trading with the US – it makes Tory-donor UK firms a fortune every day.

And Trump supporters can’t help shooting themselves in the foot (if only metaphorically). After Piers Morgan tweeted critically about the depths to which Trump has dragged his country, a US Twitter user made it clear that they did not want people from the UK to be involved in that country’s business. The response from a Brit was well-deserved and entirely appropriate:

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Fact imitates fiction: Johnson puts army on standby after hoaxers pretend soldiers are on streets

Johnson: do you trust this man not to put the army on the streets to quell unrest? Already it’s being suggested they will be ordered to guard Downing Street.

People were left confused about what to think after a news website said sightings of the army on UK streets were hoaxes – only for another paper to say troops were set to be deployed, hours later.

Images of soldiers (allegedly) on UK streets started appearing yesterday evening (March 18) – but the claims were debunked by Buzzfeed:

“Text messages and pictures have been spreading rapidly on WhatsApp on Wednesday claiming that the British army has been deployed on the streets of London ahead of a lockdown to fight coronavirus,” the site stated.

“However, there is no evidence of the military being used to impose a lockdown, nor are there any known plans for that to happen.”

The revelation prompted much humour, like this:

And there were some sharper observations about what the hoax was all about:

Now we find that there may be truth in the rumours after all.

Here‘s the Daily Mirror:

The Ministry of Defence has put 20,000 troops on standby to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

As many as 150 troops are learning to drive oxygen tankers to supply hospitals.

An 10,000 extra personnel, on top of 10,000 already at “high readiness”, will be part of a “Covid Support Force” ready to help Government departments and local resilience forums.

Reservists could be drafted into help as the crisis escalates.

Meanwhile, a Navy hospital ship which supported operations to curb the ebola outbreak could be used to treat coronavirus patients.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Argus, which was based off West Africa in 2014-15 during the ebola crisis, could be used to ease pressure on packed NHS wards.

No doubt the conspiracy theorists will say army involvement in medical help is a herald of troops arriving on the streets to lock us down – restrict our freedoms violently.

It is a worrying thought because the decision will be down to Boris Johnson – and he cannot be trusted.

Source: Coronavirus: British Army puts 20,000 troops on standby to deal with pandemic crisis – Mirror Online

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Divided nation: Reaction to video of soldiers shooting Corbyn poster shows danger to democracy

This is a media-led scandal; if the Tory-dominated mass media had not spent the last four years demonising Jeremy Corbyn, members of our armed forces would not have used an image of him as target practice.

And supporters of the armed forces would not have voiced their own hatred of Mr Corbyn. Consider the comments of Trevor Coult, founder of ‘For Our Veterans’ – and the organisation’s own comments in support of him:

It does say much about both the organisation and the man.

But with 13,000 veterans homeless thanks to Conservative government policies, and Jeremy Corbyn the only political leader likely to change that…

… these servicepeople are going to feel like a proper bunch of patsies if they actively oppose him becoming the UK’s democratically-elected leader – as some are predicting:

Senior voices in the Army are playing the incident down as an “error of judgement”:

“Apolitical”, is it? Here’s one ex-serviceman’s response to that:

Meanwhile, members of the public have been making up their own minds – and they’re not impressed:

(Robert Peston, below, is one of those best-placed to answer his own question, as a member of the mass-media representatives who have been so instrumental in demonising Mr Corbyn, in accordance with the wishes of the Conservatives.)

https://twitter.com/MattTurner4L/status/1113461221574029312

https://twitter.com/Aman_Sez/status/1113360112096358400

Whatever the facts of the matter really are, this incident has undermined trust in the UK’s armed forces – to a devastating extent.

People no longer believe they can trust the services to defend our nation, its laws and the way of life that we, as citizens of the United Kingdom, hold dear.

Instead, it seems the forces have been perverted until they exist only to defend the ruling class – meaning the Conservatives and representatives of the political far-right.

What will their leaders do to repair the damage – and will they even bother?


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Remembrance Day travesty: While Corbyn pledges to house homeless veterans, his critics carp about his coat

 

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Anybody catching this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony on television this year will have spotted Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wearing an anoark rather than the black overcoat worn by many of his fellow wreath-laying political leaders – as you can see in the image above

I did. I wasn’t actually taking part in any events this year so I had a chance to sit down and watch it instead. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of coat because it meant he stood out from the crowd that included Vince Cable, Theresa May and John Bercow. Also I dare say it would have protected him from any rain.

So imagine my surprise when I scanned Twitter afterwards and found this:

I did! Fortunately, others had decided to respond before I had a chance, robbing the world of the opportunity to see me letting rip on some poor sap.

Rachael Swindon wrote: “Shocking revelation here. Jeremy Corbyn wore A COAT on a showery day in London today. I think Kev is a bit of a knob.”

So say we all. ‘Gary the opinionated insignificance took it a step further: “Did he do a “jig” on his way there this year or is that lie not being wheeled out this year?”

Remember that silliness? Eoin Clarke does:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1061605175654342656

This year’s wheeze didn’t seem to be working too well, though – as you can probably tell from the results of the poll in the following tweet:

https://twitter.com/jongaunt/status/1061585959815471104

When I voted and checked, it was clear that the majority support Mr Corbyn’s choice of outdoor wear.

So the loonies doubled down. Going back to the image, can you see that Mr Corbyn was sporting a poppy that was considerably smaller than those worn by his fellow wreath-laying political leaders?

I did. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of poppy because I have one very similar to it. They are metal, and cost considerably more than the normal, disposable poppies worn by most of the other bigwigs.

Imagine my surprise when, still scanning Twitter, I found this:

You have to scroll down quite a way to see all the responses to this one.

Rachael Swindon (again) drew the logical conclusion:

I also liked Cllr Cassi Perry’s rejoinder: “As a veteran I say wind your neck in. Ensuring it never happens again is the best way to honour our service and Corbyn is the one fighting hardest for that. And no we don’t care about the size of a bloody poppy. How old are you?!”

How about this from Sandy S? “Guess what, my 96 yr old Dad who flew Lancs in the war has just been to a rememberence parade, wearing the same poppy JC was wearing. Now stick that up your kite and smoke it. PS, he was wearing a raincoat too. You’re a disgrace.

And Clare Hepworth OBE was glowing in her indignation: “Oh for goodness sake! What a puerile , infantile – just plain STUPID comment to make on a day like this! Do you honestly believe that sensible people will take your comment seriously?”

Some focused on the fact that Mr Corbyn’s critics were focusing on the wrong thing. Remembrance Day is about commemorating our war dead and pledging to put an end to wars. Owen Jones tackled the first matter:

And genuine war veteran Harry Leslie Smith made an excellent point that the person standing next to Mr Corbyn in the image (above) is actually making it possible for wars to take place:

Rachael Swindon made it perfectly clear:

Then there’s this:

And Aleesha related it all to a very specific incident taking place as I type this:

By now, the right-wing mainstream media had jumped on the bandwagon and the Daily Mail was kicking up a song and dance:

… only to get exactly what it deserved:

That’s all very amusing.

But it seems there is another reason right-wingers were trying to distract us with nonsense about Mr Corbyn’s choice of clothing. Here’s Richard O’Neill:

He’s absolutely right.

Only the day before the Remembrance parade, Mr Corbyn pledged to put an end to the “scourge” of homelessness among armed forces veterans.

Here‘s the Independent: “Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to end the “scourge” of rough sleeping among armed forces veterans as he calls on Theresa May to officially register the number of homeless ex-servicemen and women.

“The Labour leader will mark the historic occasion by outlining his party’s “social contract” for veterans, including provisions for free education and treating mental health issues as “seriously as physical health issues”.

“He will also call on ministers to use the government’s “long overdue” Veterans Strategy – due to be published later this month – to officially record the number of homeless veterans in the UK, including statistics on those who take their own lives.

“Mr Corbyn said: “The next Labour government will guarantee armed forces personnel the opportunity to have a home, to heal and to retrain when they complete their time in service.

““We will do the right thing by ending the scourge of rough sleeping and helping veterans embark on new careers.””

And this help is desperately needed – under the Tory government, war veterans are more likely to lose their homes than be given one.

According to Mirror Online: “At least 13,000 of our war heroes are homeless after leaving the military, a Sunday People probe reveals.

“Military charities said the shameful figure is a record high and the Government is failing those who risk their lives for Queen and country.

“They also issued a stark warning that the crisis deepens every month.

“Charity bosses say the problem has been made worse by cuts to the armed forces, which has led to almost 30,000 troops losing their jobs since 2010.

“Homeless numbers have soared, despite the Government outlining its duty to serving and former personnel by enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant in law in 2011.

“The covenant says veterans “should have priority status in applying for Government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge”.”

It seems all this fuss about Mr Corbyn’s coat is meant to distract us from his commitment to help service veterans who have been failed by the Conservatives.

Are the Tories lying again about spending cuts?

140721balls

Labour has claimed that Conservatives will make £70 billion worth of spending cuts if re-elected in May – more than double the amount that David Cameron and George Osborne have claimed.

It is possible to dismiss this as electioneering hyperbole but, let’s face it, Cameron and Osborne don’t have a good record here; they promised to balance the books by May and instead the deficit is stubbornly sticking to £100 billion a year and they have doubled the national debt.

Labour has published analysis showing that the “unprecedented” and “extreme” scale of these spending cuts would pose a major risk to the National Health Service and/or vital public services such as policing, defence and social care.

The cuts would be so extreme that they would lead to the smallest police force since comparable records began, the smallest army since Cromwell and over a third of those older people who receive social care losing their entitlement to it.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has claimed that George Osborne can only achieve his spending plans by pressing ahead with “unprecedented, extreme and close to impossible cuts”, by raising VAT yet again, or by cutting the National Health Service.

He said that, across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there have been only seven countries since 1945 where reductions on this scale have been attempted and for which we have available health spending data. Across these examples, public spending on health care has been cut – on average by one per cent of GDP.

If the average experience of these past fiscal consolidations were to be replicated in the UK over the coming four years of the next Parliament, then this would imply a real terms cut in NHS spending of over £10 billion by 2019-20.

“This is the implication of the choice that George Osborne made last December – and which he is now trying to brush under the carpet,” said Mr Balls.

“If he is to deliver on his Autumn Statement plans for a £23 billion overall budget surplus, as he says, through a Budget with no fiscal loosening, while promising unfunded tax cuts in the next parliament, then he is going to have to deliver these colossal cuts.

“The evidence is clear – countries which reduce public spending at the pace George Osborne intends have found they have had no alternative but to cut health spending.

“And after their broken pledge not to have a top-down re-organisation of the NHS in this Parliament, the British people know that the Tories have form when it comes to broken promises on the NHS.

“If David Cameron and George Osborne cannot spell out how their sums add up… the British people can only conclude – and would be right to conclude – that alternative plans do exist: to cut NHS spending and introduce charging.

“David Cameron and George Osborne must come clean or the British people will draw their own conclusions. And then, in May, they will make their choice.”

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‘Not quite true’ – it’s the story of Iain Duncan Smith’s life

"Not even this much": Iain Duncan Smith demonstrates how much he cares about the fact that his claims about unemployment being a lifestyle choice have been revealed as lies. It WON'T change his attitude and it WON'T change his policies.

“Not even this much”: Iain Duncan Smith demonstrates how much he cares about the fact that his claims about unemployment being a lifestyle choice have been revealed as lies. It WON’T change his attitude and it WON’T change his policies.

A comment piece in today’s Guardian has used new research to demonstrate that RTU’s (that’s Iain Duncan Smith to the uninitiated) claim about people opting for unemployment as a lifestyle choice is “not quite true“.

Hopefully the piece’s author, Hugh Moir, will forgive us if we don’t bat an eyelid in surprise.

Researchers spent eight months failing to unearth any examples of joblessness as a lifestyle choice, or multiple generations of a family in which nobody had worked. And – crucially: “They did not find any prevailing aversion or reluctance to work.”

The article continues: “The new research does suggest that the reasons for long-term endemic joblessness are much more complicated than the story crafted by government and eagerly gobbled up by irresponsible programme makers and scrounger-seeking tabloids.”

What’s unusual about this particular article is that, rather than end it there, Moir goes in for the kill: “Attention to the multiple causes of long-term joblessness would require well-funded, well-staffed social services, a focus on problems such as alcohol abuse in deprived communities and resources to fight the ravages of drug addiction in poor areas. But these are the very services that feel the full effect of the government’s cuts in local-authority funding and its wider objective to shrink the state.

“This is waste of potential on a grand scale, ruining lives, and damaging to the economy. But in the absence of any strategy to deal with the problem at its most complex, we are offered a narrative to define it at its most superficial. Four years in, subjected to scrutiny, that approach may at last be starting to unravel.”

As, of course, it should.

Interestingly, the piece starts by referring to stories crafted by other politicians about themselves, to make them seem more appealing. So Bill Clinton was “the boy from Hope” – a small-town boy from Arkansas who did well, rather than a privileged American who had studied at some of the best universities in the world; and George W Bush claimed he was an average boy from an average family when we know his father was a leading Republican and president-to-be.

It does not mention RTU’s own self-crafted story – that he attended the Universita di Perugia in Italy, that he was educated at Dunchurch College of Management, that he had a glittering Army career. This is odd, because it is more clearly bunkum than either of the US Presidents’ claims.

Vox Political has produced an entire article about his lies – one which, due to their sheer weight of numbers, remains unfinished. For further information, why not take a look at it?

After that, you’ll never believe a single word he says.

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DWP – Department of Wayward Perversion?

Call him RTU: In the Army to which he once belonged, failures were 'Returned To Unit' (or quietly retired). This man's policies are not just failures; they're disasters. So let's give him the nickname he deserves.

Call him RTU: In the Army to which he once belonged, failures were ‘Returned To Unit’ (or quietly retired). This man’s policies are not just failures; they’re disasters.
So let’s give him the nickname he deserves.

Is the madness currently exhibited by the Department of Work and Pensions a symptom of the Secretary-in-a-State’s personal condition, or an indication of a much wider malaise?

This is a question we should be asking, publicly, with increasing frequency as each new revelation about the Department’s irrational behaviour is revealed.

This article, for example, suggests that wayward perversion is now normal behaviour there. How else is one to interpret the actions of government officers who refuse to carry out a function for which they have all the tools and information necessary, while practically foaming at the mouth in their eagerness to convince us that they can manage assessment tasks – even if they must be done by hand and at enormous cost?

Today we learned that Samuel Miller, the disability specialist accusing the British government of employing draconian austerity measures to expose its sick and disabled citizens to fatal stress, has received new information from the DWP on the deaths of disability benefit claimants.

The department published an ‘ad hoc’ report in July last year, on deaths that occurred during 2011, but – perhaps discouraged by the overwhelmingly negative backlash caused by the admission that an average of 73 people were dying every week after being marked ‘fit for work’ or able to make themselves ready for work – its ministers have refused to publish a follow-up.

Freedom of Information requests from both Mr Miller and myself have been refused – mine on the grounds that it was “vexatious” (although the DWP definition of this word clearly differs from that defined in the relevant Act of Parliament).

Now it has confirmed that “the Department does hold information which could be used to analyse the mortality of benefit claimants after November 2011 but this has not been compiled”.

The information is all there, waiting to be provided. People have requested it, under an Act of Parliament that states it must be handed over, if it is in the public interest for that to happen. But ministers have vetoed this, stating reasons that can only be described as perverse.

This happened on the same day that the Daily Mirror revealed “Ministers are blowing £1.3 million on staff to carry out checks for its flagship benefits cap – because the computer system needed to do the job has yet to be built”.

The cap, locking benefits to a £500-per-week limit for all families, was introduced in a few pilot areas in April, in order to cut the amount of money being spent on social security by £270 million. But a Parliamentary answer by employment minister Mark Hoban revealed that the department had been forced to employ 112 workers to check what each household receives and determine whether any are exempt from the cap.

He said it would remain in place “until an automated solution is developed and introduced”.

It is clear that ministers at the DWP had no intention of admitting that this work was being carried out manually at huge cost – just as they have done everything they could to deny the failure of the Universal Credit computer system that has meant the roll-out of Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship scheme was at first limited to the easiest claims in just one Job Centre, where they could be worked out on paper.

What sort of person believes that £1.3 million is better spent on a face-saving exercise than a life-saving one? This, too, is perverse. The money could be spent supporting some of the many thousands whose lives are being wrecked by current DWP policies.

Sadly, we all know exactly who would behave this way: Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Lying.

One of the few facts about LieDS’ life that we know to be true is that he spent time in the military, where he served as a bag-carrier for a superior officer. Put this career under scrutiny, though, and there are parts of it that don’t stand up. for example: the claim that he left the Army as a captain is not true, according to the London Gazette.

A commenter on politicalscrapbook.net has discovered that he only made it up the greasy pole to Lieutenant before leaving.

Another commenter pointed out that he attended Sandhurst, and that “five years out of Sandhurst you either make Capt. or leave”. This suggests another possibility.

‘Returned To Unit’ or ‘RTU’ refers to a military member being returned to their home base or home unit, and may be applied to a soldier who has failed officer training – but in these cases it is more likely that the person in question will be quietly returned to civilian life. The Army is not proud of its failures.

This is what Iain Duncan Smith is – a failure. His DWP policies show that in painful (and in some cases, terminal) clarity. It seems likely that his Army career, if examined with proper rigour, was similarly disastrous.

So here’s an idea. Let’s not call him ‘IDS’ any more. That’s far too respectful for this piece of… work.

From now on, he can be RTU.

Bad government: Their idea of ‘wrong’ isn’t the same as yours!

Bad education; bad government: Another attempt at explaining the benefits system to Mark Hoban fails, despite using really BIG writing.

Bad education; bad government: Another attempt at explaining the benefits system to Mark Hoban fails, despite using really BIG writing.

This is the last article in the quartet about private organisations carrying out public duties – and the government ministers who employ them – focusing on what happens when things go wrong.

(This was delayed from yesterday because yr obdt svnt developed a splitting headache. It seems that a trip to the gym and a three-hour drive, taking a sick neighbour to get help, isn’t conducive to writing four articles in a day!)

It should be noted that, in some cases, the error is clear and a logical solution is enacted. For example, when G4S completely failed to carry out its security responsibilities at the London Olympics last year, the government cancelled the company’s contract and called in the Army to sort out the mess. This wasn’t a perfect solution as it meant leave was cancelled for many squaddies and officers, but it did at least allow the Olympics to go ahead with a reasonable amount of security.

On the other hand, we have the current situation with the DWP, Atos and the work capability assessment.

“DWP is to bring in additional providers to carry out assessments,” yesterday’s press release announced under the headline Hoban – taking action to improve the Work Capability Assessment.

The possibility that the Work Capability Assessment may be improved might fill the casual reader with joy, but the problem – for those of us in the know – is that Mark Hoban’s name is attached to it. This is a man who has admitted that he does not understand the benefit system. Why is he still being allowed to meddle with it?

Read down the release and it turns out that the government does indeed want to change the WCA – but not in any way that is meaningful to us. It seems that the paperwork accompanying decisions isn’t sufficiently robust for the Department for Work and Pensions. It seems likely Mr Hoban’s problem is that this might make it possible for more people to succeed in appeals against decisions.

The real problem is that the Work Capability Assessment regime is fatal for many thousands of people, of course. This government isn’t interested in that at all. It appears that Mr Hoban and his associates are happy to let the deaths continue – for them the main issue is that they don’t have to pay back any money to successful appellants.

The details are in the ‘more information’ section of the press release: “In April/May 2013 the DWP carried out an urgent audit of around 400 reports, following concerns raised from a previous smaller audit. This covered cases audited by Atos between October 2012 and March 2013.

“The quality of the reports produced by Atos following an assessment are graded A-C and the audit demonstrated that the number of C-grade reports was around 41 per cent between October 2012 and March 2013.”

Crucially: “A ‘C’ grade report does not mean the assessment was wrong, and the recommendation given in a ‘C’ grade report may well be correct, but, for example, their reasoning for reaching that recommendation may lack the level of detail demanded by the DWP.”

In other words, the reason provided for reaching a decision is unlikely to be strong enough to sway an appeal tribunal.

The press release says: “The Minister also announced that he has already directed Atos Healthcare to put in place a quality improvement plan following… an unacceptable reduction in the quality of written reports produced following assessments.

“Measures include retraining and re-evaluating all Atos healthcare professionals, with those not meeting the required standard continuing to have all of their work audited until they do, or have their approval to carry out assessments withdrawn by the department.”

We know from the Channel 4 Dispatches documentary last year that Atos assessors are ‘audited’ if they don’t meet their targets, which are to put around 12-13 per cent of claimants into the support group, marking around 70 per cent fit for work and putting the rest in the work-related activity group for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Could it be that the Atos employees have started to lose faith in the process? Maybe they’ve seen the death figures that are being kept from the general public and have started to question whether they are doing the right thing?

In that case, what would a government do, if it wanted to continue wheeling the disabled into the charnel house? Would it not take steps to weed out the dissenters and employ other organisations to carry on the work – until such time as they too develop a moral backbone?

“I am committed to ensuring the Work Capability Assessment process is as fair and accurate as possible, with the right checks and balances to ensure the right decision is reached,” Mr Hoban is quoted as saying. For him, of course, the right decisions involve putting claimants into the three categories, in roughly the proportions described above.

“Where our audits identify any drop in quality, we act decisively to ensure providers meet our exacting quality standards.” Note that he does not define these standards. Is he hoping you make a false assumption about what they may be?

“Since 2010 we have made considerable improvements to the system we inherited from the previous government.” Perverted an already-poor scheme to suit a more sinister purpose.

“However, it’s vital we continue to improve the service to claimants, which is why we are introducing new providers to increase capacity.” To claimants? But… claimants have had no input into this process. It was a government audit that led to these changes; claimants’ wishes are routinely ignored.

“The DWP has also engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to provide independent advice in relation to strengthening quality assurance processes across all its health and disability assessments.” Meaningless to those concerned for the safety of people being put through the process.

“Atos Healthcare have also brought in a third party to assess the quality of their audit and make recommendations for improvements.” Meaningless to those concerned for the safety of people being put through the process.

“The WCA process has a number of checks and balances built in to ensure the right decision is reached. These include:

  • “DWP Decision Makers making the final decision on claimants’ benefit entitlement. Decision Makers can – and do – reach different decisions to those recommended to them by the assessments when all the supporting information is taken into account.” The decision is changed in – what – less than 10 per cent of cases?
  • “Claimants who disagree with the outcome of their WCA can provide more medical evidence and ask the DWP to reconsider the decision.” The DWP can take as long as it wants reconsidering the decision, while the claimant’s benefits are suspended and they are left with no means of support.
  • “A claimant who disagrees with their decision can also appeal to an independent tribunal, and before any appeal the original decision is looked at again by another DWP Decision Maker.” Is this accurate? Is not more accurate to say the claimant can only appeal after going through the reconsideration process?

“This change in approach for contracting providers to carry out the assessments to be delivered on a regional basis is likely to be fully operational from summer 2014 and will provide extra capacity to help tackle waiting times,” the release continued.

Extra capacity – and in the run-up to the general election in 2015. Didn’t Hitler try to push more Jews into the gas chambers when he knew he was running out of time?