Tag Archives: call

The Tories have started PIP and ESA video assessment trials. Claimants are terrified

What the claimant sees: benefit assessors carrying out video interviews may think they’re being perfectly reasonable but the Depatment for Work and Pensions has created such a stink around its denial-of-benefits system that people with illnesses and disabilities are likely to be terrified by them. And that’s if they can even afford the equipment to take part in video interviews!

People are being put in fear for their lives because the Johnson government has started work trialling video assessments of disability and sickness benefit claims.

The trial arises from a false premise – that people with long-term illnesses and disabilities are as capable as able-bodied people of taking part in video calls with confidence and coherence.

That is not true and, in many cases, the mere fact of taking part in one of the Tory government’s notoriously-rigged benefits “assessments” will be enough to put them off.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey announced the trials at a meeting of the Commons Work and Pensions committee on September 30, saying, “We did try to get some extra capital on video assessments. We weren’t successful in getting additional money, so we have reprioritised some of our capital budget to get that underway.”

A senior civil servant, John Paul Marks, put flesh on these bones: “For video, CHDA has started trialling how to do fit for work decisions by video, so we’re starting that now.

“For PIP we’re trying to also test doing video assessments for about 500 customers.

“So we can understand, does that improve the health care professionals capacity to ensure a positive experience for the customer and be able to get more evidence to support a recommendation on a functional assessment.”

The website Benefits and Work pointed out that many claimants will be “deeply unhappy” with the principle of video assessment:

Some will find the experience of talking on camera provokes considerable anxiety. Some will have concerns about data protection, given that a copy of the video is likely to be saved on a server by the DWP.

At the moment it is not clear whether claimants will have the option to refuse to have a video assessment and insist on either a telephone or, when they become available and safe, face to face assessment instead.

A commenter to the site said the issue would be particularly acute for those with mental health issues:

“This could breach the Equalty Act 2010… Anxiety would make the assessment inaccessible or [the claimant] would suffer an unreasonable experience if required to be video [or] audio-recorded.”

Not only that, but what happens if the claimant doesn’t have the technology to take part in a video assessment, due – for example – to extreme poverty? After all, why would they be claiming the benefit if they didn’t need the money?

Consider this response to This Site’s story yesterday:

Some have already come to the conclusion that this is a quota-filling exercise; that the DWP isn’t interested in whether people deserve Personal Independence Payment or Employment and Support Allowance – the only concern is ensuring that a certain number of people are pushed off the books:

As with any change in a benefit system, it seems clear that video trials will be open to abuse.

This will have to be monitored closely and I will be keen to hear of any experiences.

Source: PIP and ESA video assessment trials have started

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Selfish MP calls for Wales to be abolished so he can visit the beach – and Tories can take control

Daniel Kawczynski: you can tell just by looking at him that he’s another Tory berk.

What a selfish, entitled Tory git.

And the people of Shrewsbury have elected him as their MP continually over the last 15 years, with an increasing majority every time. What possessed them?

Daniel Kawczynski, Tory MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, has called for the Welsh Parliament to be abolished so he can visit the beach.

Wales has coronavirus-related restrictions that are different from those in England. In Wales, people are not allowed to travel away from their local area and most cannot, therefore, visit the beach; nor can English people travel into Wales to do so.

In any event, Kawczynski is a fool because his nearest beach is in the Wirral.

His words suggest he is trying to use the virus and the lockdown – that his prime minister Boris Johnson imposed, let’s not forget – to rekindle the debate about whether the UK countries should have devolved Parliaments.

“I am sorry, but the time has come to reach out as Conservatives to large numbers of like-minded citizens in Wales who like us believe in one system for both nations,” he said.

“We must work towards another referendum to scrap the Welsh Assembly and return to one political system for both nations – a political union between England and Wales.”

He means he wants the Tories to carry out a political power-grab and take control of Wales, so they can impose their disastrous coronavirus policies there and kill thousands more Welsh people.

Fortunately, his efforts have resulted in him being made to look the fool that he is:

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Loach heads campaigners calling for benefit assessment ban after job centre death

Pointing the finger: Ken Loach joined the call to end unfair benefit assessment interviews after the death of a man in Llanelli.

A campaign to ban benefit assessment interviews has been launched after a 65-year-old man with diabetes collapsed and died after being found ‘fit for work’.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has called on the DWP to halt assessments for Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance after the man died while waiting for an interview to discuss his future benefit options.

Discussing the death, This Site stated: “He would have been old enough to retire if the Conservatives had not decided to raise the retirement age for both men and women in an attempt to save a few pennies.”

I wrote: “Yes, he was obviously ill. But that doesn’t mean a thing to a Tory government… They call it a ‘positive benefit outcome’.”

Others compared the tragedy to a similar scene in left-wing film-maker Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake.

Now Mr Loach himself has spoken in favour of DPAC’s campaign.

Unconsciously paraphrasing my words, he said (according to the Morning Star): “What has happened really was disgraceful. The man was only 65 — he only had a few more months to go and he would have been retired anyway.

“Such is the brutality of it, but it’s clear that the Tories have no intention of changing their harsh system.”

And he said: “We have to vote them out — we may as well start with Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of this misery, who is as callous as he is sanctimonious.”

That is already well in hand – as you can read here.

Demanding an end to PIP and ESA assessments, DPAC activist Jennifer Jones raised the relevant point – that a man has died in a manner that could have been prevented.

It happened because a benefit assessor “lied about his fitness levels and abilities and he wasn’t given the support that his individual needs deserved”.

She’s right – and it makes a nonsense of repeated attempts by the DWP to claim that it does provide support tailored to the needs of each benefit claimant.

So far – in this case – the DWP’s only comment has been a message of sympathy to the deceased man’s family and friends.

DPAC – and Mr Loach – have demanded an end to benefit assessment interviews, for the obvious reason that they have now been proven to do more harm than good.

But there is no way the DWP – run as it is by a Conservative government – will take such action willingly.

Labour has promised to overhaul the benefit system completely, though.

The only way to be sure this does not happen in the future is to elect a Labour government.

Source: Campaigners call for benefit assessment ban after man dies in jobcentre | Morning Star

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Arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage is pranked on-air during radio show

This is for everybody who’s sick and tired of the fuss over Brexit:

I’m not saying you have to suffer the same fate as the caller claimed, in order to support Brexit – but I have no doubt at all that many people across the country can sympathise with the sentiment.

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Extension plan for UK membership of EU prompts Jacob Rees-Mogg to make a fool of himself

Jacob Rees-Mogg – what a character!

I think we should call him “Jakes” from now on.  It’s a reference to an outdoor toilet, as he seems keen to flush away his own credibility.

“Jakes” was so incensed, after Donald Tusk put forward the idea of a year-long “flextension” to the UK’s membership of the EU (to be cut short if Theresa May ever manages to negotiate conditions under which the country could leave), that he took to Twitter with what one imagines he thought was a rousing call to arms:

https://twitter.com/Jacob_Rees_Mogg/status/1114086264024727554

I commented on it myself, and received some illuminating responses:

Of course, Mr Rees-Mogg’s demand is a complete reversal of his position three years ago, when he said the UK had no power in the Euro bloc, and many people have taken issue with his apparent hypocrisy on this.

Worse still (for him) is the fact that he jumped too soon; France has secured support from Spain and Belgium for the UK to leave with no deal on April 12 – or for there to be only a short extension to the UK’s Article 50 period, to avoid precipitating a financial crisis.

In these circumstances, it seems unlikely that the UK will even get the extension until June 30 that Theresa May has requested.

So Mr Rees-Mogg has blown one of his own myths – that the UK is powerless in Europe – for nothing. Nice one, “Jakes”!

Lib Dems won’t get a second EU referendum – but they are keeping the idea of overturning Brexit alive

The Lib Dems have called for a second EU referendum on the final deal in December 2018 [Image: Andy Rain/EPA].

There won’t be a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union while the Conservatives are in office – the Tories have too much at stake for that.

They want to use our departure to strip working people of their employment – and human – rights.

Those of us who cannot afford shares in FTSE500 companies will have to work hard to pay for the few public services the Tories will deign to provide for our tax money.

Meanwhile, those who can afford such shares will be invited to enjoy tax haven status, so we will be paying for the services they enjoy.

Nice, eh?

And the simple fact is that the original referendum was crooked.

We weren’t given factual information – most of the factual claims by the ‘Leave’ campaign have been shown to be inaccurate, its forecasts unlikely to be true, judging by the downturns across the economy.

We were subjected to propaganda from foreign sources that were trying to affect the referendum result for their own purposes. The fact that this involved them campaigning for the UK to leave the EU speaks volumes about the likely effect on this country’s well-being.

And the maejor campaigning organisations overspent their budgets, in violation of Electoral Commission rules – because they did not think they could win the vote by argument alone.

For the above reasons, This Writer believes the 2016 EU referendum should be declared void.

I don’t see any reason to hold another.

Britain could have a second EU referendum as an early Christmas present in 2018, the Liberal Democrats have said, proposing a lengthy 12-week campaign starting in September to give the UK the option to accept a deal or stay in the EU.

The party said holding a referendum on the final deal – which the government has repeatedly ruled out – in December was compatible with the tight timetable of EU withdrawal, falling within the article 50 timeframe of two years, which will end in March 2019.

The Lib Dem leader, Vince Cable, said a referendum should be timed to coincide with EU states’ own votes on the final agreement.

The party’s proposed timing for a referendum would mean a final deal needing to be agreed in time for campaigning to kick off in September, just nine months away.

Critics have argued that a second referendum would be an incentive for European leaders to give the UK a poor exit deal.

Source: Lib Dems call for second EU referendum in December 2018 | Politics | The Guardian


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If you hear Tories saying they are defenders of women, watch this

This is the way the Conservative Party likes to use women.

The following video should be self-explanatory, on the day a Conservative MP hypocritically calls for an urgent debate about the behaviour of a member of the Opposition:

https://twitter.com/ScouseGirlMedia/status/922396400796696577


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Pro-Israel groups and figures should face inquiry after ‘take down’ video leak

Shai Masot discusses MPs he wants “taken down” in the leaked video.

While This Writer has to agree with the Israeli Embassy staffer Shai Masot when he says Alan Duncan is an idiot, there are questions about Israel’s policies in the UK that really must be answered now.

Mr Duncan was the fool who criticised everybody in the UK who isn’t a millionaire as “low-achievers”. Of course, he comes from a privileged background.

He is also outspoken against the anti-Palestinian policies of the Israeli government and has denounced the policy of building settlements on Palestinian land, likening Israeli policy to apartheid.

It is clear, then, that this Israeli politician was proposing the removal of British politicians who oppose his own government’s behaviour when he suggested to Maria Strizzolo, Tory Robert Halfon’s former chief of staff, that she “take” him “down” – as shown on a leaked video.

How many other UK politicians have been the subject of Israeli interference? How is the UK government to prevent further such interference?

It seems the Foreign Office considers the matter closed, after Israel apologised.

But the Labour Party is right to demand an inquiry.

Ms Strizzolo has said there was nothing to the conversation – it should not be interpreted as an attempt to instruct the UK government on its ministerial appointments – but this can only be borne out by examination of her actions, and those of Mr Masot.

Mr Masot is also on record as having admitted setting up front groups. These are both party political & “astroturf” (fake grassroots) bodies, including Labour Friends of Israel.

Would these include the organisations we have seen trying to “take down” prominent Labour figures on bogus “anti-Semitism” claims over the last year?

That must be investigated, also.

Until we know how far this rot has set in, we cannot know whether any claims relating to Israel, anti-Semitism or Zionism have solid foundations at all.

It is good that this issue has been revealed but more work must be done.

And those who try to shut it down should be held in suspicion.

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UKIP candidate in bizarre call for Barack Obama to be kidnapped – Pride’s Purge

Barack Obama delivers his verdict on the UK Independence Party.

Barack Obama delivers his verdict on the UK Independence Party.

It’s a while since we’ve heard any nonsense from UKIP. Here’s Tom Pride:

No really, I kid you not.

A UKIP parliamentary candidate has called for US President Barack Obama to be kidnapped:

UKIP Would Be MP Calls For The Kidnapping Of President Obama

Oh Britain – you had your fun at the European elections.

Now please tell me you’re not really thinking of voting any of these cranks into office.

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Labour under pressure to support EU referendum

131105europeOne of Vox Political‘s most vehement anti-EU commenters (Guy Ropes – take a bow, Guy) will be delighted to learn that one of his comments is factually accurate: one of Labour’s most generous donors is calling on the party to support an in-out referendum on European Union membership.

According to Reuters, businessman John Mills, who donated 1.65 million pounds to Labour in 2013, was set to tell a conference in London today: “If Ed Miliband becomes prime minister in May and renegotiates without committing to a referendum, he will inevitably weaken the UK’s bargaining position.”

It seems the event is all about alternatives to EU membership. Mr Mills’s position appears to be that other EU members will be more likely to take renegotiation seriously if there is a substantial risk of Britain leaving the EU.

Labour has resisted offering such a referendum in the run-up to the general election on May 7. According to Reuters, the party believes this would “hang a ‘closed for business’ sign over Britain and that an EU exit would be disastrous.

“It has said it would only offer a referendum if it deemed there was a substantial further shift of powers from London to Brussels, something that’s neither imminent nor likely.”

The article goes on to state that some Labour left-wingers have been arguing that it is undemocratic to deprive voters of a say on something polls show many feel uneasy about.

And there is also disquiet, from a tactical viewpoint, that Cameron’s Conservative Party is the only one of the main political parties offering to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties and then hold a referendum, if re-elected.

Some might say that, in a country where pro-Tory activists have been spreading claims that Labour is no different from the Conservative Party, it would be unwise to change Labour’s offer to one that is more similar to that of its adversary.

What do you think? (Don’t bother, Guy – we know what you think!)

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