Tag Archives: blame

Is Liz Truss preparing to stab Kwasi Kwarteng in the back?

Knife: is Liz Truss plunging one of these into Kwasi Kwarteng’s back – metaphorically, at least?

Wow. New UK prime minister Liz Truss is already showing her vicious side. Who knew she had one?

In what is the BBC’s headline report at the time of writing, Truss lays as much blame for the failure of the Tory ‘fiscal event’ of September 23 on Kwarteng:

She added a decision to cut the top earner tax rate was a “decision that the chancellor made”. And she revealed it was not discussed with the whole cabinet beforehand.

She added that the cut was a decision made by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng – prompting former cabinet minister and Boris Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries to accuse her of throwing him “under a bus”.

Some commentators have picked up on this:

I’m not sure I want to envision Liz Truss “fingering” Kwasi Kwarteng, but I’m looking forward to his Tory conference speech tomorrow (October 3).

Will he retaliate?

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Now the Tories are blaming the results of their nightmare mini-budget on the social media

Watch this:

So there you have it: it’s all the fault of the social media.

I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.

Of course, he doesn’t mean mass-market sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or whatever, so they won’t be getting taxed properly, even now – he means sites like Vox Political, with our tiny (in comparison) audiences.

I never knew we were so influential.

Or do you think – is there a teeny, tiny, ever-so-slight, possibility that he might be mistaken?

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Kremlin works to deflect blame for Russian defeats in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin: meetings with the military have been cancelled, apparently while the Kremlin works to clear him of blame for defeats in Ukraine.

Meetings between Vladimir Putin and his top military officials have been postponed while the Kremlin tries to find a way to deflect blame for Russia’s recent defeats in Ukraine, it has been suggested.

According to an assessment published on Tuesday by the Institute for the Study of War*, the Kremlin is trying to clear Putin of any responsibility for Russia’s disastrous retreat and instead place the blame on “underinformed military advisors within Putin’s circle.”

If military advisors are “underinformed”, then one would imagine Putin would be desperate to hold these meetings, find out where the rot has set in, and put a stop to it.

But perhaps that is too reasonable a point of view.

Commentators, discussing the Russian rout earlier this week, have suggested that the defeats have a more structural basis – that, Russia now being in the hands of corrupt oligarchs who owe their positions to Putin, investment on military equipment has collapsed; they have kept as much cash as they could and invested only in the cheapest and shoddiest weaponry.

As a result, in the face of cutting-edge technology sent to Ukraine by western powers, Russian soldiers have been outmatched and forced to back away.

You can appreciate that such news would not be welcomed by the leader who had made it possible for this to happen.

With Russia, as always, it will be practically impossible to find out what’s really going on.

As ever, we’ll have to draw our conclusions from any changes in strategy over the next few weeks, if not months.

* A Washington-based think tank.

Source: Putin pushed off meetings with top military officials as the Kremlin tries to deflect blame for Russia’s disastrous retreat

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Tory ‘divide and rule’: Rishi Sunak jumps on the benefit-bashing bandwagon

Rishi Sunak: after blaming people who miss medical appointments for failures in the NHS, he’s now attacking benefit claimants for the UK’s economic shortcomings – even though most of them are in work.

Here’s another reason Rishi Sunak should never be prime minister – he wants to blame benefit claimants for his own failure to manage the UK’s economy.

The points made by Peter Stefanovic are self-explanatory but, sadly, nobody in the mainstream media or the top rank of UK politics seems to want to amplify them, so the public as a whole are exposed to an echo chamber of claimant blame – when most benefit claimants are actually in work or seeking it.

The fault lies with Sunak – not with the innocent people he is attacking.

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Secret DWP benefits survey cherry-picks respondents – so it can lay blame on claimants?

Too much Coffey: the Work and Pensions Secretary (right) seems to have commissioned a survey of benefit claimants in order to say their failure to budget properly has put them into hardship – not her insistence on providing starvation-level payments and using the slightest excuse to cut them off. Meanwhile, she parties.

The Department for Work and Pensions has launched a secret survey – sent only to specially cherry-picked claimants.

The reason seems to be to blame benefit recipients for any hardship they suffer, claiming that poor budgeting skills are the root of the problem rather than the political decision to fix payments at starvation levels – and then to use the flimsiest excuses to stop them.

The survey asks about debts claimants may have, what effect the debts have had on them and what support they need. It is the last question that has raised concerns, as Benefits and Work, which hoisted the red flag on this apparent scam, pointed out:

The full question and list of options is as follows:

What types of help or support, if any, would be most useful in helping you manage your finances?

  • Help with working out what money I have left to spend each/day/week/month.
  • Advice on how to spread my spending so I don’t run out of money
  • Advice on how to reduce my spending
  • Advice on how to reduce my debt
  • Advice on how to increase my income
  • Help with setting up a direct debit/standing order
  • Help with opening a bank account
  • Other (specify)

In this context, advice to increase my income is most likely to relate to those in employment.  In general claimants cannot increase their income unless there is a benefit they could be claiming that they are not aware of.

What is entirely missing from these options are the ones that would actually make a difference to claimants, such as:

  • Pay benefits at a rate that is enough to live on
  • Remove the 5 week waiting time for UC
  • End the long delays for PIP assessments and WCAs

Because there are no such options, this survey will produce results that say that, of claimants who are in debt:

X% say they need advice on working out what money they have left to spend

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their spending

X% say they need advice on how to reduce their debt

Whilst some people may indeed say in the ‘Other’ box that the help they need is a higher rate of benefits, this will not be listed as a percentage in outcomes as everyone’s answers will be worded differently.

In other words, all the support needs will be around claimants not understanding how to manage their money, rather than it being impossible to manage on the money they receive.

See how it works?

Benefits and Work has made Freedom of Information requests to ask how the claimants taking part in this survey are selected, how many are taking part and whether the results of the report are going to be published.

The logical conclusion to be drawn is that the DWP has been stung by having to reveal the findings of its secret report on how people on sickness and disability benefits are struggling with unmet needs.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey had repeatedly refused to publish the DWP-commissioned report on disabled people’s experiences of the benefit system – so the Commons Work and Pensions Committee ordered its authors to provide a copy to Parliament. It has now been published.

The report, received by the government in September 2020, stated that many people are using disability benefits such as PIP, which is intended to meet the additional costs of disability, for very basic needs such as food, rent and paying debts:

“The participant had kidney failure, arthritis in his back, legs and arms, depression and bulimia which caused chronic stomach pains. He lived alone in a flat rented from a Housing Association, using Housing Benefit. He was in the ESA Support Group and received PIP. He made monthly repayments for utility bill arrears and had a £5,000 bank loan which he could not afford to repay. His debt repayments meant he could not afford essential day-to-day living needs and used a foodbank. He found it difficult to wash independently due to his arthritis and needed a walk-in shower but could not afford one and seemed unaware that he may be eligible for support through the local authority. He also needed support with cooking and cleaning and received help from a cousin. His cousin would like to claim Carer’s Allowance but neither of them knew how to make an application. He had no other support networks close by.”

It said claimants with invisible disabilities such as mental health conditions often struggle even more than those with physical conditions to meet their basic needs:

“Participants with mental health conditions tended to report a wide variety of basic needs, health and care needs and social needs that were unmet. In comparison, those with profound learning disabilities and severe physical disabilities were typically in the group that identified having fewer unmet needs. While the latter group experienced a high level of need across a range of areas, these were usually being met through a combination of local authority support and informal support networks, usually parents who provided a high level of care.”

And the wellbeing of disabled claimants often depends primarily on being in a household in which another member has a well-paid job:

“The participant has recently moved in with her mother and sister, she had previously lived alone in a council-rented flat but had begun to feel isolated and found paying the rent and bills difficult so decided to move in with her mother. She has a range of health conditions and disabilities including Asperger syndrome, anxiety, ADHD, joint stiffness and IBS. She works 28 hours a week and receives PIP. Before moving to live with her mother she was concerned about how her income would cover essential day-to-day living costs. She also struggled with maintaining her personal hygiene and found it difficult to leave the house as she did not like going out alone. Moving in with her mother has helped her to meet all of her health-related needs.”

The reason Coffey and the DWP kept the report secret seems clear when one notes that last October – more than a year after receiving it – the Work and Pensions Secretary was lying to the public about the system it damns.

As Benefits and Work (again) details:

Coffey was telling the Conservative party conference that:

“PIP has certainly grown in a way that was not anticipated when it was introduced.

“To give you an example, three out of four young people who claim PIP have their primary reason being mental ill health.

“That in itself is 189,000 young people who currently receive benefit focused on that. There may be other benefits they receive as well.

“. . . people can think the benefit system is fair.

“And I think by being able to target that even more so to people who really need that support, may improve that prospect of public perception.”

Having been forced to release a report that shows – even in its watered-down form – that the benefit system is forcing hardship and related physical and psychological torture on claimants, including those who already have significant mental health problems (leading to a threat to life itself?), it seems Coffey has commissioned this new survey in order to manufacture a false justification for herself.

I think I’ll write her a letter. Let’s see how she justifies this web of deceit.

Source: DWP secret survey set to blame claimants for going cold and hungry

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Javid announces scheme to blame GPs for lack of face-to-face appointments

Smug: Javid’s new scheme won’t do enough to help GPs cope with demand for face-to-face appointments – but he’ll be able to use it to blame them when they don’t.

The Tory Health Secretary has announced funding to “help” GPs arrange more face-to-face appointments with patients, in response to complaints from the public.

But there are huge problems with the scheme – of course there are; it’s a Tory plan to divert blame for short-changing the NHS onto people working in the service and away from themselves.

So before you watch the video clip, read Jonathan Ashworth’s comment – and then the  response below:

So it’s not enough money to make a real difference in each GP practice, and the cash is taken from existing budgets, meaning some other part of the NHS will lose out. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes.

And there’s no acknowledgement of the reasons GPs are under pressure in the first place – all connected to Tory deprivation:

So the Tory governments of 2010 onward cut funding, closed GP practices, and put people off training as doctors.

The Tories knew there was a lack of manpower in GP surgeries since at least 2016.

There are nearly 2,000 fewer GPs than six years ago and the Tory plan will do nothing to change this.

He is setting up your local GP surgery to take the blame for future failures.

And of course he is denying it (because he has already been challenged):

Strangely, despite the BBC’s tweet, none of Javid’s comments in the article address the issue. Perhaps it was mentioned in a previous draft and edited out by a Tory in the Corporation’s hierarchy?

Still, we can all see what’s going on:

Here’s a snapshot of the current situation that Javid’s scheme is unlikely to help:

And this is telling: if Javid’s scheme is so good, why has he cried off speaking at the annual conference of the Royal College of GPs?

Some of us may have satirical fun with it…

… but in context this is shocking hypocrisy from the Tories. Here’s David Shepherd to explain:

It’s a very good question. But it’s just another one that the Tories won’t answer.

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Gavin Williamson prepares to blame school kids and parents for Covid spike

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September 2020 – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. As schools reopened THIS September, NOTHING HAS CHANGED AT ALL.

We all saw this coming for a long time, didn’t we?

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has had a month and a half in which to install Covid-19 restricting measures – like improved ventilation – in schools.

He has done nothing.

And now, with schools across the UK reopening again for the autumn term, the dunce at the Department for Education is telling parents any increase in Covid infections will be their fault.

That’s right.

The new Conservative Government plan to deal with the coming wave of Covid-19 is…

You can read the mainstream media version of the story here:

Parents are understandably anxious – and angry

This parent makes the concerns clear:

It seems clear that the plan for keeping schools clear of Covid is exactly as described in this parody account:

Meanwhile, the virus is spreading across the UK, with the restriction of its spread caused by the school holidays eliminated:

Meanwhile, let’s remember the Tories’ real policy for dealing with Covid-19:

So, as your children succumb to infection because they’re being ordered to attend badly-ventilated classrooms before they’ve had a chance to be vaccinated, just remember that all this suffering is vital for Conservative government ministers and their friends to make a fat wad of money.

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Polls open for by-election Labour should win – but will probably lose. Here’s the reason

Keir Starmer: the name on the ballot paper may be Kim Leadbeater but the Batley & Spen by-election is a referendum on his leadership of the Labour Party – and he’s going to find that a suit, a haircut and a flag are no substitute for genuine socialist policies. That means he’s in trouble because he HATES socialism.

Voters are filing into polling booths in Batley and Spen to choose their latest MP, after Labour’s Tracy Brabin quit to become a metropolitan mayor.

Will Labour retain the seat with new candidate Kim Leadbeater, sister of murdered former MP Jo Cox? Probably not.

Why not? Here’s one reason:

She doesn’t have any policies and won’t even think about them until after she is elected – if she is.

This means Labour voters don’t know what they’re getting.

It’s Keir Starmer’s malaise, over again. If he was a serious – Labour – politician then he would have come out with serious Labour policies, and stuck with them, from the moment he announced his candidacy for the party’s leadership. He didn’t.

He pretended to support policies put forward by former leader Jeremy Corbyn and then ditched them immediately after his new position was secured. Now, more than a year later, he still stands for nothing other than power for his own sake.

We should hope that Ms Leadbeater’s experience today will show him exactly where that policy – because having no policies is a policy – leads.

Oh, there will be tribal Labour voters who’ll support a shaved monkey if it has a party logo with a red rose next to its name on the ballot paper, sure.

But the right-whingers who have been in charge since the mid-1990s (they are the reason Corbyn failed) haven’t realised they can no longer rely on this vote being large enough to carry their shaved monkey through.

Starmer’s lack of any alternatives to Tory policy makes a very clear message: he supports Tory policy.

Leadbeater’s own words put her in the same position: she says there’s “no magic money tree” – a Tory phrase, and a Tory lie, because they’ve been raiding it like bandits throughout the Covid crisis.

(For those coming late to this party: all the money used to get the UK through the pandemic was created – not borrowed – by the Conservative government, specifically for that purpose. As such, we should all bear in mind that there is no debt to be repaid.)

So traditional Labour voters are faced with a choice between the Conservative, Tory-lite Leadbeater, George Galloway, or one of 13 also-rans.

My bet is that most of them will stay at home and the Tory will romp to victory. Starmer will then blame Jeremy Corbyn – but we’ll all know the truth.

And the Labour leader’s days in power will be numbered.

He may well claim he’s in a four-year project to install a Labour government but he will never achieve that goal.

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Has Boris Johnson manufactured a way to blame poor people for catching Covid-19?

Money: Tories use it to force people into actions they would not otherwise take – like going to work after being told to self-isolate due to a risk that they have Covid-19, because otherwise they could not afford to feed their families.

This is absolutely despicable:

A “perfect storm” of low wages, cramped housing and failures of the £22bn test-and-trace scheme has led to “stubbornly high” coronavirus rates in England’s most deprived communities, an unpublished government report has found.

A classified analysis by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), produced last month, concluded that “unmet financial needs” meant people in poorer areas were less likely to be able to self-isolate because they could not afford to lose income.

In two of the UK’s worst-hit areas, Blackburn-with-Darwen and Leicester, the study found that more people seeking financial help to self-isolate had been rejected than accepted. It said: “This could increase the likelihood for individuals to be unable to comply with self-isolation requirements as a result of their unmet needs.”

The report, marked “Official Sensitive”, and seen by the Guardian, will pile pressure on ministers to improve government support for the millions of people who do not currently qualify when they are ordered by law to quarantine at home. Dido Harding, the head of NHS test and trace, has estimated that at least 20,000 people a day are not complying fully with isolation orders, allowing the virus to spread.

So: people are on lower incomes because Tory policies have pushed wages down.

Now, when they desperately need government help to bridge the gap between their earnings (or 80 per cent of them if these people are on the furlough scheme) and their needs, they find the government has turned its collective back.

(It seems it has far too many crony companies to subsidise, in return for no service at all; Dido Harding, mentioned in the Guardian article, knows all about that.)

So they find they can’t comply with orders to self-isolate; in order to feed themselves and their children, they have to keep going to work.

Then they return home, where poverty means they have to live in homes that are too small for the number of people in their families, and – if they’ve contracted the virus – they pass it on very easily.

It is a complication of the Covid crisis that has been created entirely by Conservative governments.

No wonder they haven’t published the damning report.

Of course, without the fairly essential piece of knowledge that wages have been pushed down by the Tories, this story could be damning against the poor victims instead.

I’m sure you can picture the headlines in the yellow press (The Mail, The Express, The Sun): Greedy grafters ignore experts to spread killer Covid or some such twaddle.

The report remains unpublished at the time of writing (to the best of my knowledge) so I don’t think for a moment that Boris Johnson and his ghouls will feel any need to improve government support for people who are told to self-isolate.

It’ll be interesting to see whether they try to condemn the people they have impoverished, though.

Source: England’s poorest areas hit by Covid ‘perfect storm’ – leaked report | World news | The Guardian

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Rishi Sunak and Gavin Williamson: Boris Johnson’s fall guys?

Sunak and Williamson: will they take the blame for Boris Johnson’s latest chaotic lockdown?

Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown (if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, what do you call it?) has put some of his lieutenants in a very difficult position. Untenable, This Writer would have thought.

I refer to Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

Sunak was described by one of the right-wingers on the Times Red Box Podcast as “The dog that does not bark in the night time” because he had made a big song and dance in August about the loss of 30,000 jobs, and in his autumn statement he had said that the government cannot continue borrowing indefinitely… but when Johnson announced what is in effect a new lockdown in England costing £1 billion a day, he at first had nothing to say.

Sunak eventually turned up on Tuesday morning, announcing that he had shaken the Magic Money Tree and found £4.5 billion to hand out in new business support grants:

As usual, what he said was not nearly as important as what he ignored:

Even Annaliese Dodds didn’t mention everything. The Tory financial response to Covid-19 – and in particular to their own measures to fight the spread of the disease – has been a travesty best described as ill-considered; at worst it was deliberately targeted to harm people whose livelihoods were at risk.

On top of that, of course, Sunak himself foisted his now-infamous “Eat Out to Die Out” (did I get that name right?) scheme on us…

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that he has restricted his comments to yet another announcement of insufficient financial support.

That Red Box Podcast went on to describe “absolute chaos in the education system” under Gavin Williamson, with “huge frustration for parents as well as children”.

Not only do the new measures mean a whole year of our children’s education will have been disrupted, and their exams cancelled, but it also means frustration for parents and teachers.

Primary school children were sent back to school for just one day before Johnson pulled out the rug from under the system. But Williamson is the one with egg on his face, because he did not give anybody involved in education any advance warning about what was going to happen.

The podcast pointed out that Williamson’s Education department actually took some councils to court when they threatened not to open schools in the autumn. Now he is demanding that they must all close. It’s constant mixed-messaging; utter confusion – and it’s causing huge anxiety.

Exams including GCSEs and A levels have been cancelled in acknowledgement of the unfairness of subjecting pupils to the same exams when they haven’t had the same opportunities to study for them.

But how will our youngsters’ academic achievement be assessed instead? Last year, Williamson rolled out an algorithm-led assessment system that (predictably, because he’s a Tory) gave all the best marks to kids at private schools and deliberately penalised high achievers elsewhere for attending state schools.

He was forced into a humiliating backslide but now we’re all agog to see what he’ll do instead, now that a second year’s exams have been cancelled. Sadly, it seems likely that he doesn’t know what he’ll do, either.

Libby Purves, one of the contributors, was asked if she had ever known an Education Secretary like Williamson in all her years of reporting on the subject and actually used the comparison with comedy character Frank Spencer that was coined by the public last month.

She went on to attack the testing system in schools. Is she right about it? “Shut 30 children in one room, test them and then 15 minutes later release them into another room of 30  – completely ignoring the fact that a lot of them are out on the school bus.”

She said education was being handled by people who don’t know anything about it – which, for Williamson, is damning.

Will either of these ministers lift a finger to provide a better service to the beleaguered citizens of the UK?

I should bleedin’ cocoa!

This Tory government simply isn’t interested in working out what to do for the best.

It is too busy watching the opinion polls and trying to work out what will be popular.

The trouble is, thanks to innovations – if you can call them that – like the so-called ‘nudge unit’ that tried to influence what people think, the government has stopped a large proportion of the population from having opinions of their own.

In effect, in trying to follow opinions that they have tried to shape, the Tories are chasing their own tails – and getting nowhere. Meanwhile the country collapses beneath the weight of their indecision.

Boris Johnson must see this. He’s as thick as mince but he has a strong survival instinct.

He’ll be looking for patsies, onto whom he can offload responsibility. Sunak and Williamson look like the perfect candidates.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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