Tag Archives: association

Study shows Tory policies are keeping homeless people from social housing

You see the way the Conservatives manipulate housing associations and local authorities to victimise the people they want to target?

By cutting the amount of social housing available – via the sale of council housing and strictures on the number of new houses that can be built – the Tories can ensure that nobody who is considered a financial risk can get a place.

Replacing perfectly workable benefits with Universal Credit – which is now known to further impoverish those in need – allowed the Tories to spread their net further.

People without families have been ruled out because of the Bedroom Tax – social landlords don’t want to rent out two-or-three-bedroom homes to single occupants who would lose money merely by living there.

But large families may also be a risk, due to the benefit cap.

And the Tories starve other services of funds – such as the NHS and local authority housing support – in order to prevent people with mental illnesses or other problems from qualifying.

Why?

One reason might be to “gentrify” certain areas – pushing up housing prices. Could it be that some Conservative Party members – or even MPs – are landlords in such housing zones?

Another may be more sinister: it is easy to let homeless people drop off government statistics. Then who cares if a tramp dies on the streets?

Or, indeed, if many do so.

Homeless people are being denied access to affordable housing because social landlords are routinely excluding prospective tenants who are deemed too poor or vulnerable to pay the rent, a study has revealed.

Research by the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) found that “screening out” of homeless applicants nominated for newly available lets was widespread, as housing associations and local authorities increasingly ration their shrinking stocks of social homes.

In many cases nominees were refused a home because of the likelihood they would accrue major rent arrears after moving on to universal credit, because of the probability they would be hit by the bedroom tax or because the benefit cap had made them a financial risk.

Others were rejected after social landlords identified they had unmet mental health or addiction problems, often because of cuts to local NHS and housing support services. Individuals with unmet support needs were regarded as “too high a risk to tenancy sustainment”, the CIH said.

Toryism – what a disgusting, gangrenous, poisonous form of government.

Source: Homeless denied social housing for being too poor, study says | Society | The Guardian

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Did Rachel Riley’s ‘Durham Miners’ tweet upset you? Support Mike’s libel fight!

Rachel Riley wants you to believe she has been wrongly targeted by me with a claim that she bullied a teenage girl. Read this tweet and consider who you believe is right.

 

Yup – she compared the Durham Miners’ Gala with a meeting of the Ku Klux Klan.

And the organisers were not amused:

 

We’re observing a pattern of behaviour that, in my view, is indefensible. That’s probably why Ms Riley threatens litigation against anyone who points this out.

The Durham Miners’ Association hasn’t (at the time of writing) reached the point where court action is inevitable – but I have.

So if you know someone who has been infuriated by Ms Riley’s treatment of the good people who organised, attended and performed at the Gala, please invite them to visit this CrowdJustice site – https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/ – and then do one, some, or all of the following:

Please email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this case.

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge. Again, the address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

It’s only my personal opinion but I think that Ms Riley’s behaviour is utterly unacceptable. If you agree, please spread the word about my campaign as widely as possible.

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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Weird tactics by wannabe witch-hunters: When did This Writer start leading Jewish Voice For Labour?

Wannabes: The fakes who are accusing decent people of anti-Semitism are like cartoon witch-hunters. They’d be funny if they weren’t trying so hard to harm decent people.

These obsessives get stranger by the day.

For the record, I am not Jewish, nor am I currently in the Labour Party, therefore I am not allowed to be a member of Jewish Voice for Labour. It only admits as full members people in the Labour Party who are Jewish.

But that didn’t stop troll “David Simon” (@DavidSimonSPG) from making that suggestion as part of a bizarre attempt to smear JVL for taking an interest in Islamophobia in Poland. Apparently this person reckons Jewish people thinking about Poland should only be able to think about the Holocaust:

There’s a case for suggesting that this is an anti-Semitic attitude in itself – denying Jewish people the right to self-determination.

But then he went one worse:

We’ll take these in order. Here’s JVL talking about anti-Semitism in Poland:

This addresses the issue that “David Simon” addressed initially – anti-Semitism in Poland being discussed by JVL. He had modified this to “anti-Semitic violence” but we may discard this.

I’ve already discussed why I can’t be a member of JVL, let alone leader of it. As for that hackneyed lie about me, here’s proof that I never said anything of the sort:

I think it was a clumsy attempt at guilt-by-association, and also at extending a false and disproved claim by repeating it until someone believes it again.

There was an attempt to double-down, with a claim that I must be a member of JVL because I used the word “let’s”. It’s very silly – look:

That’s right; we were discussing someone like “David Simon”, who was likely to be a paid troll or a bot. I had written “Let’s move on” – meaning everybody else in the conversation.

But “David Simon” wanted people to believe it meant I was a member of JVL.

That is the silliness of the fake “anti-Semitism” witch-hunters.

Fortunately this smear didn’t get very far, despite a second, flailing attempt at it:

Oh wait – there was another bit, to do with the leaflet that led to the claim that I was a Holocaust denier. Marvel at the silliness here:

Complete misrepresentation. I never had anything to do with the leaflet. I was challenged about it by a commenter on This Site and my comment was pointing out that there wasn’t enough information to make an educated response on the reasons it was written the way it was.

So that’s guilt by association, misrepresentation, anti-Semitism, and an attempt at “the big lie” (repeating a lie until people believe it) – which was, I believe, a Nazi tactic.

What a nasty person – if it is a person. And what a shining example of the people he represents. Next time you see anyone like “David Simon” making unevidenced accusations like these, the advice is clear: Ignore and block.


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Grenfell housing boss finally quits – more than six months after the fire

Monument: The charred shell of Grenfell Tower [Image from the Evening Standard].

He took his time – and we can all see why, can’t we?

It’s a lot of work, helping the police investigation and public inquiry…

The housing boss responsible for running Grenfell Tower has finally stepped down more than six months after the tragedy.

Robert Black, former chief executive of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, quit just before New Year despite being under intense pressure to go since the fire.

Although he stepped aside from the top job in August he had remained on the company’s books on his full salary of around £150,000 a year.

The body said he had spent the intervening months concentrating on helping the police investigation and public inquiry into the fire.

Source: Grenfell housing boss quits more than six months after tragedy


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‘Misogynistic’ Philip Davies SHOULD speak at York Uni – so students can stage a walkout

Philip Davies: ‘Feminist zealots want women to have their cake and eat it’

If the so-called ‘York Tories’ are determined to invite the Shame of Shipley, Philip Davies, to speak, This Writer would like to encourage opponents of the move to emulate students at Brunel University, when some nonentity called Katie Hopkins spoke there.

Here’s what they did:

How about it, York?

The University of York Conservative and Unionist Association has been criticised for inviting a “misogynistic” Member of Parliament to speak on campus in a forthcoming academic term.

The society, better known as the York Tories, has received criticism on social media for extending an invitation to Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, to speak on campus.

Davies has represented his constituency of Shipley for over ten years. He has been a vocal supporter of the case for leaving the European Union. Davies was returned to his seat in the most recent election, albeit with a smaller majority.

The York Tories announced yesterday that Davies had been invited to speak on the 9th of February 2018. However, some students reacted with anger at the group’s decision to welcome him to the campus.

One student described Davies as “the most misogynistic MP”.

Davies is well-known for his criticisms of feminism and the modern feminist movement. The MP was criticised for speaking at the International Conference on Men’s Issues, an event produced by the political party Justice for Men & Boys, in 2016, in which he told the attendants that feminists “fight for their version of equality on all the things that suit women – but are very quick to point out that women need special protections and treatment on other things.”

The York Tories themselves have been subject to accusations of sexism in recent months. In November 2016 a Nouse report stated that a “culture of sexism” existed in the society. Finn Judge, who had attended a York Tories AGM and now edits Nouse, told the paper at the time of an atmosphere engineered to make female members uncomfortable during the society’s elections.

Source: York Tories under fire for inviting “the most misogynistic MP” to campus – The Yorker


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Ambulance waiting times: And Cameron complains about WALES being slow!

140520ambulance

Target times for ambulances to reach some seriously ill patients could be lengthened, according to both Mail Online and the BBC News website.

The plan is to change maximum waiting times for certain patients – ‘Red 2’, the second most serious category – from eight minutes to 19. It would come into operation after the general election next year. Tories providing themselves with ammunition to attack a future Labour government, perhaps?

Labour, having discovered the plan in a leaked document from the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, rightly wants to know why Jeremy Hunt didn’t mention it to Parliament when he appeared there after signing it off.

Being based in Wales, Vox Political would like to ask how David Cameron feels about the proposals, as they constitute an admission that ambulances in England can’t get to patients any faster than those in Wales that he likes to criticise so harshly in Prime Minister’s Questions.

There is concern that there has been no consultation on the plans and no public involvement. Paramedics, who say response times distort their ability to function because they are always chasing the clock, have responded by saying some of the patients affected – such as stroke victims – should be moved up a category to avoid the longer waits.

But there is a bigger concern.

Ambulance crews in England had to deal with 8.5 million emergency calls during the 2013-14 financial year – around 16 calls every single minute.

Taking into account the time it takes to arrive at an emergency and return either to base or to hospital with a patient (depending on the nature of the emergency) it seems clear that we have a service which is under-staffed and under-resourced.

Meanwhile we have a Conservative and Liberal Democrat government that has been hiding the true extent of unemployment while ensuring that the richest people in the UK are now twice as rich as they were in 2009 – and even then, they couldn’t have spent all their money within their own lifetimes.

The answer is obvious: Bring in progressive tax and National Insurance rates to pay for some of the unemployed to train as paramedics, and for the ambulances and equipment they would then need to use.

There is plenty of money in the UK and therefore no reason not to provide the NHS with the tools to do the job.

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Tories unleash flagship scheme ahead of conference – to abolish your rights!

Slavery in the UK: This image was part of a campaign against it - but the Conservative Party wants to extend it to include you.

Slavery in the UK: This image was part of a campaign against it – but the Conservative Party wants to extend it to include you.

One has to marvel at the twisted logic of modern Conservatives; right before their last party conference in the run-up to the general election, they can normally be expected to be trying to bribe us all with tax cuts and benefits (maybe they will come later).

Instead they are promising to remove the safety net that keeps us free of exploitation by – what a surprise! – the Conservatives and their friends.

It’s not a new plan – Vox Political reported on the policy back in March last year, when Theresa May announced that they would scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights if they win the 2015 general election. They aren’t saying anything different now.

Back then, she claimed it would be “in the national interest”, and now Injustice Secretary Chris Grayling is saying more or less the same thing, dressing it up as an attempt to return power to the UK.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “Decisions like ‘do prisoners get the vote?’ or ‘can you send brutal murderers to prison for their whole lives?’ seem to be outside our control. I want our supreme court to be supreme. Decisions that affect this country should be taken in this country.”

He did not mention all the other rights you are likely to lose if the Conservatives are allowed to get away with this.

The European Convention on Human Rights was co-drafted by the UK – in fact by the Conservatives’ greatest Prime Minister, Winston Churchill – just after World War II. It states that nation states’ primary duty is to “refrain from unlawful killing”, to “investigate suspicious deaths” and to “prevent foreseeable loss of life”.

VP commented in March 2013 that “the Coalition government has been reneging on this obligation – wholesale – since it came into power”. Look at the Department for Work and Pensions’ work capability assessment for Employment and Support Allowance, and the thousands – possibly tens of thousands – of deaths related to it.

Article 4 of the Convention prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labour, so removing it would give the Tories free hand to impose their Mandatory Work Activity or Workfare schemes on us – despite the fact that these schemes are worse than useless at getting people into employment. The real reason for them is that they are a money-making scam to ensure the businesses involved support the Conservative Party.

Article 6 provides a detailed right to a fair trial, which is something Mr Grayling has been working hard to take away from you for a considerable period of time. It’s where you get the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within a reasonable time (the Coalition’s secret courts have removed this right already), and where the presumption of innocence until proven guilty is enshrined.

Article 8 provides a right to respect for another person’s “private and family life… home and… correspondence”. This has been violated, of course, by the Tory-led Coalition’s recent Surveillance Act.

Article 10 provides a right to freedom of expression, so removing it would allow the Tories to censor the Internet and remove blogs such as Vox Political, leaving only their own propaganda.

Article 11 protects the right to freedom of assembly and association, including the right to form trade unions. Obviously the Tories would love to ban the unions, but removing this would allow them the ability to ban anti-government demonstrations and it is probably why Boris Johnson bought his water cannons.

The Human Rights Act 1998 (brought in by the Labour Party) is the UK legislation that makes the European Convention binding on this country, meaning that breaches of it may be remedied in British courts, rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It is only appeals against the decisions of the British courts that go to Europe.

Grayling doesn’t like the idea of impartial foreigners ruling on whether his government’s politically-motivated human rights violations are legal.

That’s why he said; “I want our supreme court to be supreme. Decisions that affect this country should be taken in this country.” He wants absolute power over you.

Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney-General who got the sack during the summer, described the Tory attack on human rights as “incoherent”. It is widely believed to be one of the reasons he got the push.

The Tories are also determined to tie this policy in with anti-European Union rhetoric, even though the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU.

The Guardian‘s story on Grayling’s announcement includes a coda in which Savid Javid, our Sontaran* culture secretary, tried to reassure people that Britain could still prosper if it leaves the EU, despite the possible loss of hundreds of billions of pounds worth of trade deals (as reported in this blog previously).

But that’s another fact they’d rather you did not know. Misdirection is the only way forward for modern Conservatives.

Remember “There will be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS”?

*It’s a Doctor Who reference. Look up pictures of Javid and a Sontaran and you’ll spot the resemblance.

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Crimewave threat as police austerity means the innocent will suffer

Repression: Scenes like this could become commonplace in the UK as austerity forces police to stop investigating crime and people who try to protest are put down.

Repression: Scenes like this could become commonplace in the UK as austerity forces police to stop investigating crime and people who try to protest are put down.

How free do you feel today?

Whatever your answer, enjoy it while you can because new evidence has shown that funding cuts for the police are likely to result in public repression on a massive scale.

A report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary has revealed that austerity is crippling the police service across England and Wales, meaning crime victims are being told to do their own detective work.

According to the BBC, “criminal damage and car crime were ‘on the verge of being decriminalised’ because forces had ‘almost given up'”.

Roger Baker, the inspector who led the review, tried to justify the failure by saying: “It’s not the fault of the individual staff; it’s a mindset thing that’s crept in to policing to say ‘We’ve almost given up’.”

In fairness, the report does say: “HMIC finds this expectation by these forces that the victim should investigate his own crime both surprising and a matter of material concern.

“The police have been given powers and resources to investigate crime by the public, and there should be no expectation on the part of the police that an inversion of that responsibility is acceptable.”

The report also found:

  • People received a different response from the police for the same kind of incident, depending on where they lived – so policing is now a postcode lottery.
  • Attendance rates at crime scenes varied from 39% in Warwickshire to 100% in Cleveland – postcode lottery again.
  • About a third of forces were failing to identify vulnerable and repeat victims – a gift to criminals.
  • There was “inadequate” use of technology by the police.
  • Some forces were losing track of named suspects because they did not have effective systems in place.

Enter ACPO, the sinister Home Office-funded Association of Chief Police Officers, to justify the withdrawal of law and order under the Coalition government’s austerity programme.

“The reality of austerity in policing means that forces must ensure that their officers’ time is put to best use and this means prioritising calls,” said Sir Hugh Orde, ACPO’s president.

ACPO has already anticipated that the effects of austerity may give rise to widespread public protest – which is why it lobbied the government for permission to use water cannons on the streets of the UK.

Vox Political stated in January: “This would be of no use at all in quelling violent criminal activities like the riots in 2011 – the police chiefs have already admitted that water cannons would have been ineffective in halting the “fast, agile disorder” and “dynamic looting” that took place during August 2011.

“ACPO is an organisation that has tried to put ‘agent provocateurs’ into legitimate protest groups and promoted ‘kettling’ to stop peaceful protests (as used in the student protests early in the current Parliament), among many other reprehensible activities.

“Considering its track record, it seems clear that ACPO wants to use water cannons against legitimate political protests, on the assumption that the increasing imposition of ideologically-imposed austerity on the country by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives will lead to more political protests, as people across the UK finally realise that the Tories and their corporate lobbyist friends are actually working against the wider population.

“ACPO’s report on water cannons makes it clear that “it would be fair to assume that the ongoing and potential future austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest” and “the mere presence of water cannon can have a deterrent effect”.

“The Home Office response? ‘We are keen to ensure forces have the tools and powers they need to maintain order on our streets. We are currently providing advice to the police on the authorisation process as they build the case for the use of water cannon.’”

What we are seeing is – as mentioned in another VP article published today – when austerity is imposed on a service provided for everybody, that service degenerates.

In the case of policing, this means crimes go unpunished as our political leaders force constabularies to focus increasingly on keeping us under control.

We have already seen police officers checking bus tickets rather than investigating crime. Note that the VP article on this subject provoked a flurry of justificatory comments on our Facebook page, from readers who exhibited a concern that we should not let the evidence convince us that anything was amiss.

ACPO has stated that austerity – such as that which is preventing the police from investigating crime – is likely to stir up public protest.

And ACPO – which, let us remind ourselves, is Home Office-funded – has, in a clear conflict of interest, advised the Home Office to allow the use of water cannon on British streets to put down any such protests, whether they are justified or not. Has it been paid by the Home Office to tell the Home Office what the Home Office wants to hear?

Innocent people exercising their right to protest against injustice will be arrested – while criminals will remain free to vandalise their property and steal from their cars, possibly at the same time.

That’s Tory-run Britain for you: The criminals run amok while the innocent are imprisoned.

Now how free do you feel?

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Seat choice for Boris is an admission of Tory weakness

borisjohnson

In typical cowardly Conservative manner, Boris Johnson has decided to apply to be that party’s candidate in the stronghold seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip at next year’s general election.

The seat is currently held by Sir John Randall with a majority of 11,216. He will be retiring at the next election, making room for Johnson, who is currently Mayor of London.

Johnson will have to go through a selection procedure but there can be no doubt about the result. The decision encourages us to draw two conclusions:

  • Firstly, Boris is not as popular as the public is being led to believe. If he was, the Tories would be setting him up to take a seat from another party.
  • Secondly, the Conservatives believe the electorate of Uxbridge and South Ruislip are easily-manipulated ‘sheeple’ who will do whatever they ask. If you live in that constituency, don’t you find that assumption insulting?

It also means the next MP for that constituency will be decided, not by its electorate, but by a selection committee of around five or six Conservative Association grandees. Is that democracy?

According to a BBC News report, Johnson said he hoped to “make his case” that he was the best person to represent the constituency – to the Conservative selection committee, as the following comment clarifies.

He added: “I’m sure there will be plenty of excellent candidates, and I hope very much to make my case to the association.” [Italics mine]

To the association. Not to the constituency. It’s a mockery of democracy. A “demockery” – as a Vox Political correspondent in Mid Wales wrote in a letter recently.

If Johnson really wanted to prove himself, he’d go and fight Nigel Farage in Thanet South.

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Three little pigs who are sticking their snouts in the trough to keep out the wolves

Caught out again: Grant Shapps is yet again having to justify his own shady behaviour.

Caught out again: Grant Shapps is yet again having to justify his own shady behaviour.

Here’s a story to get you irritated and annoyed on a hot summer’s day: Your Prime Minister, his Chancellor and the chairman of their political party have all found novel property-based cheats.

According to the Daily Mirror, David Cameron and George Osborne have done a secret deal with the taxman to cut thousands of pounds off the tax they pay while they are living in their famous grace-and-favour homes on Downing Street.

Under the change, which HM Revenue and Customs has buried deep in the small print of its accounts, Cameron is saving a minimum of £1,228 a year, while Osborne’s bill has more than halved, saving him £1,560 a year.

The Mirror points out that this means Osborne is paying just £23 a week and Cameron no more than £35 to live at Britain’s most exclusive address, while the average rent in the UK is £195.

The paper quotes Alex Hilton, director of pressure group Generation Rent, who mocked the top Tories with their election slogan from 2010: “We’re blatantly not all in it together if the residents of Downing Street can wangle themselves a nice bonus while ordinary families are seeing their rent go up by more than wages.”

Meanwhile Grant Shapps, the Tory co-chairman who hid his own shady business deals behind the false names ‘Michael Green’ and ‘Sebastian Fox’ for the first four years of his Parliamentary career, has been receiving campaign funds from a Conservative club that has not submitted a tax return since 2009.

Conservative Club (Hatfield) Ltd has been fined £3,000 by the Financial Conduct Authority for its failure to produce accounts or name its officers. Despite these issues, it seems the club has been entirely able to provide £140,000 to fund Shapps as a candidate in his Welwyn Hatfield constituency.

Shapps has claimed the club is not connected to his local Conservative Association, which is odd – because not only is it based in the same building, paying rent to the association, but its members are all counted as members of the Conservative Party as well.

Was Shapps among the Conservatives who justified last year’s Gagging Act by claiming it was vital that the public had transparency from their MPs?

And didn’t Cameron say his government would be the most transparent ever, in its affairs?

Liars. Pigs with their snouts in the trough, all of them.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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