Jacob Rees-Mogg on Good Morning Britain: No to abortion, no to same-sex marriage.
Let’s get this straight: First Jacob Rees-Mogg told viewers of Good Morning Britain that he believed all life is sacred, even if it was the product of rape.
Then it emerged he was a shareholder in an Indonesian firm that manufactures pills that are used for abortions. He brushed aside accusations of hypocrisy by saying abortions are illegal in Indonesia. But where else does the company sell its pills?
Apologies for the mis-spelling of his surname (it’s Rees-Mogg). This is an image by Wear Red, on Facebook.
THEN it emerged that he was a shareholder in an Indian firm that also manufactures abortion drugs.
Now his investment company has dumped those shares.
Mr Rees-Mogg insists he does not make investment decisions. Maybe not, but This Writer would be surprised if he had not at least offered advice in this instance.
Note also that his excuses are becoming increasingly secular. Whereas, with the Indonesian shares, he justified them by saying they are not intended for abortion, the Indian shares are “very small in proportion to total assets”.
But isn’t every life sacred, Mr Rees-Mogg?
Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s investment company has dumped stock it held in a second pharmaceutical firm selling abortion drugs.
The Sunday Mirror has learned the strident anti-abortionist had been profiting from shares held in drug firm FDC in India – where abortion is allowed.
It follows our revelations last week of similar investments in Indonesia, which the MP brushed off insisting: “The world is not always what you want it to be.”
The holding of 186,000 shares in India’s FDC, worth £467,800, was bought by Somerset Capital Management, of which Mr Rees-Mogg is a founder.
The shares, listed in the firm’s March interim report, have since been sold.
The MP for North East Somerset said he did not make investment decisions and defended the holding in the Indian firm as “very small in proportion to total assets”.
Apologies for the mis-spelling of his surname (it’s Rees-Mogg). This is an image by Wear Red, on Facebook.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has tried to justify his investment in a firm that sells pills used in abortions, claiming that the procedure is illegal in Indonesia, where the firm is based.
He reckons this means he isn’t a hypocrite.
Sorry, Mr Rees-Mogg, but that line won’t hold.
The pills are used in abortions. Whether they are legal or not is immaterial. If he is as set against them, because of his Catholic beliefs, as he says, then Mr Rees-Mogg could not – morally – have anything to do with Kalbe Farma.
And what about exports? Abortions may be illegal in Indonesia, but where else does Kalbe Farma sell these pills?
It seems Mr Rees-Mogg’s religious convictions are less important to him than profit.
This is deeply relevant when considering his current status as the darling of the Tory Party, seen as a potential replacement for Theresa May as prime minister, or at least Tory leader.
This is a man who claims to hold a particular set of beliefs, but throws those beliefs aside in his business practices.
How can the public trust him to address their concerns if he can’t even be trusted to act according to (what he says are) his own?
Jacob Rees-Mogg, who recently said he was against abortion even for pregnancies resulting from rape, has admitted that his investment firm profits from pills used in abortions.
Mr Rees-Mogg, a devout Catholic who has been touted as a possible replacement for Theresa May as leader of the Conservatives, defended his fund, Somerset Capital Management’s £5m investment in an Indonesian company called Kalbe Farma.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the Sunday Mirror: “It would be wrong to pretend that I like it but the world is not always what you want it to be.
“Kalbe Farma obeys Indonesian law so it’s a legitimate investment and there’s no hypocrisy. The law in Indonesia would satisfy the Vatican.”
Kalbe Farme produces and markets pills that are used to treat stomach ulcers but they are widely known to trigger terminations and in Indonesia, where abortions are illegal and carried out in black market clinics, they are commonly used for this purpose.
Jacob Rees-Mogg and his nanny: The parents should take the blame.
Remember Tory darling Jacob Rees-Mogg’s appearance on Good Morning Britain, when he tried to justify his opposition to gay marriage and abortion – even in cases where pregnancy has occurred after rape – by referring to his Catholic Christian values?
Here’s the clip again:
Well, Iain Rowan of Sunderland had the perfect answer.
Writing in a newspaper (the name of which I don’t know because it isn’t mentioned in the following tweet, he stated:
For clarity, that’s: “Rees-Mogg justifies his opposition to gay marriage and abortion even in cases of rape on the basis of his Christian beliefs (Report, 7 September). So where is his opposition to welfare cuts on the grounds that Jesus went out of his way to demonstrate his compassion for the poor and the lame? When Jesus says ‘blessed are the peacemakers’, how does that fit with Rees-Mogg’s consistently voting for military intervention? Where are his statements on executive pay, reminding other MPs that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven? I thought being a committed Christian meant following the teachings of Jesus, rather than standing at the pick-and-mix counter in a sweetshop, only choosing the fizzy snakes.”
Strong words – and accurate.
And you know what?
If you take them from “Where is his opposition to welfare cuts”, they could be used to apply just as easily to that other well-known Tory “Christian” – Theresa May.
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Iain Duncan Smith has responded to the concerns of fellow Catholics over the harmful effects of benefit sanctions on health – by lying to them.
Earlier this year, Catholic magazine The Tablet published an open letter from fellow Catholics to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, urging him to rethink his welfare reforms, and warning that vulnerable people will be harmed by cuts.
Now the man we call the Gentleman Ranker, in tribute to his failure as an Army officer, has responded with a letter published in the current edition. Thanks to Samuel Miller for bringing the matter to This Blog’s attention.
In it, he claims that “safeguarding the vulnerable” is at the heart of the Conservative Government’s changes to the benefit system, and goes on to say, “Let me be clear that there is no evidence to suggest that sanctions have caused claimants’ health to deteriorate.”
Take a look at this excerpt from the Department for Work and Pensions’ own guidance on the effect of benefit sanctions:
Note that it does not say anything about there being no evidence that claimants’ health will decline – it automatically assumes that this will happen.
“It would be usual for a normal healthy adult to suffer some deterioration in their health,” according to the DWP’s official guidance.
It goes on to say that, in the case of claimants with a medical condition, a DWP decision maker (DM) must decide whether they would suffer a “greater” decline in health than a “normal healthy adult”.
Yet again, Iain Duncan Smith is revealed to be a liar and, more importantly, a man who would deceive the public in order to continue inflicting harm on his fellow human beings.
Is this a Catholic attitude?
Is it a Christian point of view?
Remember, Iain Duncan Smith lied to Parliament recently, when he claimed that statistics on the deaths of incapacity benefit and Employment and Support Allowance claimants are not collected by the Department for Work and Pensions. Not only are they collected, they are being prepared for release to the public.
The data has been delayed for several years, however – because he wants it released in a form that will not reveal what is suspected to be a horrifying amount of blood on his own hands.
The claims in the rest of the letter pale into irrelevance next to these facts.
How can anyone trust the claims of a habitual liar?
Like it or not, politics in the UK is far more nuanced today than it has been at any time in the last 100 years. How can it be anything else? All the main political parties are trying to occupy the same, narrow, centre-right ground.
Even so, one man has emerged as the pantomime villain of British politics: Iain Duncan Smith.
ConservativeHome readers regularly vote him into the top slot as the most popular cabinet minister – but it seems that anyone who has ever had dealings with his Department for Work and Pensions has the exact opposite opinion of him. He has been nicknamed IDS, but this blog calls him RTU instead – it stands for ‘Returned To Unit’, a military term for serving soldiers who have failed in officer training and have been returned in disgrace to their original unit (the implication being that his claim of a glittering military career is about as accurate as his claims to have been educated at the University of Perugia and Dunchurch College of Management).
Here at Vox Political, we believe that this man’s tenure at the DWP will go down in history as one of the greatest disasters of British political history – not just recent history, but for all time. It is our opinion that his benefit-cutting policies have done more to accelerate the impoverishment of hard-working British people than the worst recession in the last century could ever have done by itself.
We believe the assessment regime for sickness and disability benefits, over which he has presided, has resulted in so many deaths that it could be considered the worst genocide this country has faced since the Harrowing of the North, almost 1,000 years ago.
That will be his legacy.
On Sunday, he will appear on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show to answer your questions about his work. The show’s Facebook page has invited readers to submit their own questions and this seems an appropriate moment to highlight some of those that have been submitted – but are never likely to be aired; RTU is far too vain to allow hyper-critical questioning to burst his bubble.
Here is our choice of just some questions he won’t be answering:
“Why [has he] decided to cover up the number of suicides due to [his] benefit cuts?” “Why is he killing the elderly and the disabled?” “Does he have a figure (number of deaths) before he accepts a policy might not be working?”
“Universal Jobmatch, Universal Credit, WCA reforms, PIP; are there any policies and projects he has tried to implement that haven’t been a massive shambolic waste of money, causing distress and sanctions to so many people?”
“Would he like to comment on the huge amount of people wrongly sanctioned, and would he like to explain why whistleblowers from the JCP have admitted there are sanction targets?”
“Ask him if he believes a comparison can be drawn between the government’s persecution of the sick, disabled and mentally ill and the ‘Action T4’ instigated by the Nazis in 1939. I am sure the tow-the-line BBC will give him sight of the questions before he gets on the show so he will have time to look it up.”
“People are now waiting months for their appeals to be heard and the meantime their benefits are stopped. What does he expect them to live on? Why [are] he and his Department pursuing this deliberate war against some of our most poor and vulnerable people?”
“Could he comment on the massive amount of money written off due to failures with the Universal Credit?”
“Why are we paying private companies to test disabled and sick people when one phone call to their consultant or GP would provide all relevant details they need?”
“[Does] he have any intention of putting his money where his mouth is, [living] on £53/week, and how does he square that with the £39 on expenses he claimed for breakfast? Half a million people signed the call for him to do so.”
“Why are full time carers who look after loved ones only paid £59.75 a week? Less than JSA, indeed less than any other benefit! they save the tax payers millions, and yet have still been hammered by the changes in housing benefit, council tax benefit and of course the hated bedroom tax.”
“Ask him about the Universal Jobsearch website and the fake jobs on the site. As a jobseeker, this site need[s] better monitoring.”
“Ask him if the bedroom tax was really just a deceitful way to remove all social housing and force people into private rentals for the rich to claim housing benefits paid to claimants.”
“Does he think that paying subsidies to supermarkets and other private companies via welfare benefits because they do not pay well enough is what government should be doing?”
Some of the questioners address Mr… Smith directly:
“Why do you keep testing people with incurable progressive illnesses? Once found unfit to work, [they] never will get any better so to retest is stressful, cruel, and not needed.”
“Why are you telling Jobcentre Plus staff to get ESA claimants and JSA claimants to declare themselves self-employed, then reeling them in with the promise of an extra £20 per week? Is this why the unemployment rate fell last quarter?”
“You say you want the sick off what you call the scrap heap but with few jobs out there, do you mean off the scrap heap into the destitute gutter?”
“Do you feel remotely guilty for the lives you’ve ruined? the lies you’ve told? The dead people on your hands? Do you feel any shame at all that you’ve done all this and more? Do you sleep well at night knowing there are people who can’t feed their children because of you?”
“As a committed Roman Catholic, how does your conscience deal with you supporting and advantaging privileged millionaires while you personally and systematically further impoverish the poor and disadvantaged?”
“Does he feel ashamed to have caused so much suffering, because he flipping well should!”
There were many more questions that were not appropriate for repetition.
To see what he does have to say for himself, tune in to Sunday Politics on BBC1, starting at 11am on March 9 (which is, as you might have guessed, Sunday).
When David Cameron stands up in all his hypocrisy and tells you that tearing apart the basic safety net that guaranteed people would not be left in hunger or destitution is part of his “moral mission”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the country has taken a turn for the worse.
When he defends an administration that has become so punitive that applicants who don’t get it right have to wait without food for months at a time, by claiming he is doing “what is right”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the man who claims he is Prime Minister has diverged from reality.
That is precisely what he has done, and you can bet that the Tory diehards will quietly go along with it because they think it is far better for other people to lose their lives than it is for their government to lose face.
Cameron has been responding after the Catholic Bishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, delivered a vehement attack on the social security “reforms” being forced on the country’s most vulnerable people by Iain Duncan Smith.
In the Daily Telegraph, Cameron smarmed: “Our long-term economic plan for Britain is not just about doing what we can afford, it is also about doing what is right… Nowhere is that more true than in welfare. For me the moral case for welfare reform is every bit as important as making the numbers add up.
“We are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around,” Cameron said. “That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children’s to inherit.
“But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone – they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.
“Seeing these reforms through is at the heart of our long-term economic plan – and it is at the heart too of our social and moral mission in politics today.”
Drivel. Any evidence-based analysis will find the exact opposite. Where are the opportunities in Workfare schemes that pay only benefits, meaning travel expenses alone put claimants out of pocket, and then send jobseekers back to the dole queue so rich companies can profit further by taking on more claimants on the same terms?
How can anyone derive hope from taking responsibility for their job search, when DWP staff at Jobcentre Plus are ordered to ignore their own responsibilities in favour of harsh sanctions for invented infringements of the Jobseeker’s Agreement?
And how is encouraging people to say they are self-employed, even though they have little chance of earning enough to support them and none of enjoying a holiday or a pension, different from writing them off with no chance?
Look at the new employment figures from the Office for National Statistics – the Coalition government has been making a song and dance about them ever since they came out. On the face of it, they seem reliable: In December 2013, 30.15 million people were in work of some kind, up by 396,000 from the same time the previous year; there were 2.34 million unemployed, down 161,000 from December 2012; and the Claimant Count (those on Jobseekers’ Allowance) was 1.22 million in January, down 327,000 from a year earlier.
However, the number of people marked as self-employed has rocketed to a record level, totalling one in seven of the workforce. That’s 4,370,000 – up 150,000 on the previous year. This is extremely suspicious, as the increase in the previous year totalled 25,000 – just one-sixth of this week’s figure.
Some of these people might be genuinely self-employed and making their new business work – but all of them? In an economy where productivity hasn’t increased since the Coalition took office? You’d have to be stupid to believe that.
Assuming the amount of real self-employment has increased in line with economic growth (at 1.9 per cent), that’s an extra 25,475 in 2013, leaving 124,525 in limbo. Are these really self-employed? Or were they told by Jobcentre advisors to say so and claim working tax credits (as we’ve seen in the past), leading to a huge debt when HMRC tells them they have been claiming fraudulently and have been overpaid?
How many of the unemployed have been wiped off the books due to sanctions? We don’t know, because we don’t have figures up to December 2013. We do know that 897,690 sanctions were enforced in the year to September 2013. We don’t know how many were for one month, how many for three months or how many for three years, but we do know that the rate was six per cent of jobseekers per month in the three months to the end of September 2013. Assuming that rate stayed solid, it suggests that 73,200 were off-benefit due to sanctions in December and should be added to the Claimant Count to give a more accurate figure.
How many of the unemployed have been wiped off the books due to Workfare? We don’t know. How many are unemployed but on Universal Credit, which isn’t included in the Claimant Count? We don’t know – 3,610 were on it at the end of November last year, but the DWP has not divided them into those in work and those without.
David Cameron has access to all of this information, and he doesn’t care. He also has access to the mortality figures for claimants of Incapacity Benefit/Employment and Support Allowance, that the DWP has been withholding from the rest of us, probably for fear of sparking an international outcry. He doesn’t care about that either.
His comments are therefore doubly outrageous – not only is he claiming that his Coalition’s changes are having a beneficial effect when the figures demonstrate the opposite, but he is also claiming the moral high ground when his actions are more appropriate to the populace of the Pit.
In terms of his morality, there can be only one description for him and his cronies:
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Cardinal-designate Vincent Nichols, who has attacked fellow Catholic Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit cuts as a “disgrace”. [Image: Liverpool Echo]
Does anybody else have the feeling that Vincent Nichols, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, was only waiting for the Pope to name him a Cardinal-designate before sinking his teeth into the UK’s Conservative-led Coalition government?
One gets the impression he feels secure that the new position means his words now carry sufficient weight – and they are weighty words indeed.
“People do understand that we do need to tighten our belts and be much more responsible and careful in public expenditure,” said the Archbishop to the Telegraph.
“But I think what is happening is two things: one is that the basic safety net that was there to guarantee that people would not be left in hunger or in destitution has actually been torn apart.
“It no longer exists and that is a real, real dramatic crisis.
“And the second is that, in this context, the administration of social assistance, I am told, has become more and more punitive.
“So if applicants don’t get it right then they have to wait for 10 days, for two weeks with nothing – with nothing.
“For a country of our affluence, that quite frankly is a disgrace.”
“Hunger”, “destitution”, “crisis” – “a disgrace”. You cannot accuse this man of mincing his words!
They come almost a year after the (Anglican) Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, together with the Archbishop of York and 43 bishops, launched their own attack on changes to social security, saying they would have a “deeply disproportionate” effect on children and families.
Mr Welby had himself only recently taken the Church of England’s most senior office.
Speaking to the Telegraph on March 9 last year, 12 days before his enthronement, he said: “As a civilised society, we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need. When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish.
“It is essential that we have a welfare system that responds to need and recognises the rising costs of food, fuel and housing.
“These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price … rather than the Government.”
The Department for Work and Pensions laughed off Mr Welby’s concerns.
But Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of (or “in a”) State for Work and Pensions, is – or is at least supposed to be – a devout Catholic. How could he ignore such harsh criticism from the most senior member of his Church in the United Kingdom?
Very easily, it seems.
Iain Duncan Smith has not deigned to respond. Perhaps he has a belief – he does seem to rely on them a lot, now, doesn’t he? – that he is doing more for the people of this country than the Archbishops. There’s a word for this condition that’s slipping my mind for a moment… no – I’ve got it.
A ‘Messiah’ complex – a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are, or are destined to become, a saviour.
‘Messiah’ trumps ‘Archbishop’ so IDS has chosen to ascend above the debate, leaving its resolution to his trusty DWP spokesperson, who came out with the usual lies.
“Our welfare reforms will transform the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities with Universal Credit making three million households better off and lifting hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty,” wittered the spokesperson.
To disprove these words, let’s turn to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the social policy research charity that seeks to understand the causes of social problems, identify ways of overcoming them, and show how social needs can be met. This organisation has stated – repeatedly – that Universal Credit in its current form will create “increased risks of budgeting problems, debt, arrears and ultimately financial exclusion”.
The same organisation quotes research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which states that, under current Coalition government policies, rather than hundreds of thousands of children being lifted out of poverty, by 2020 more than one million more children will be in poverty than when the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats slithered into office by the back door in 2010.
So who do you believe? Come to that, what does Iain Duncan Smith really believe?
The DWP spokesperson said: “It’s wrong to talk of removing a safety net when we’re spending 94bn a year on working age benefits and the welfare system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed so they can meet their basic needs.”
But we know that Iain Duncan Smith has inflicted £28 billion of cuts on people receiving benefits from his Department for Work and Pensions. If another IFS statement – that this represents only two-fifths of the Coalition’s cuts plan – is accurate, then the total amount he’ll want to cut is a staggering £70 billion.
And he wants his people to talk about the money he’s spending, rather than the effect he’s having. So, what does he believe?
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I wasn’t going to mention this, but some commenters on this blog have already done so, and in that case I would rather have my opinion registered than leave people guessing.
It is too early to tell why two men drove a car into a third – who is believed to have been a serving soldier – then got out and attacked him with machetes – or at the very least, large bladed objects – dragged him into the road, and then danced around shouting admittedly Muslim-style slogans or got passers-by to film speeches they made about why they did it.
However, a friend of mine – who has been a member of the armed forces in the past – was so affected by what happened that he posted a message on Facebook to the effect that he wanted all Muslims killed.
This is what such attacks achieve. They don’t solve anything; they just perpetuate the misery.
I do not sympathise with my friend’s point of view. Even if this was the work of Muslims, those two people do not speak for all of Islam. I have encountered many Muslims during what is still a relatively brief life; some I have been privileged to have been able to call friends. I’ve also known several Jewish people whose company was also a delight. And earlier this week I attended a Catholic religious ceremony (a funeral) and felt very welcome.
My point? All these faiths are about peace.
A man standing on the street with bloodstained hands, telling us that women in his country have had to witness worse than what he has just done, has nothing to do with peace – and therefore nothing to do with religion.
It’s a trick, you see – pointing you in one direction so you don’t see what’s been happening in the other. Politicians do it all the time – and if you don’t think so, consider the UK Statistics Authority and its assertions about the number of times Iain Duncan Smith has parted company with the facts.
What happened in Woolwich was not rooted in religion; it was about violent crime, which is something that all religions abhor.
But it seems to me that, until we can eliminate the religious rhetoric, from all versions of what is going on, we are all – Christian, Muslim, whatever denomination we may be – going to have the hardest time bringing the murderers, and the murderers who demand the murders, to justice.
Someone just posted a story on the Vox Facebook page, that should be familiar to many of you.
He was quoting a person whose cousin was on disability benefit, dying of liver failure. The DWP stopped her benefit and she had to appeal against it, enduring eight weeks of “worry, hopelessness and grief” before dying two days before her family received notification that her appeal had been granted.
This is not an unusual story. In fact, it is the behaviour we have come to expect from the department run by Iain Duncan Smith. He puts innocent people, who deserve their disability benefits, through physical and mental hell, and then they die. He then puts their families through the emotional hell of knowing that their loved one should never have had to go through that terrible process.
But Iain Duncan Smith is supposed to be a member of the Roman Catholic Church with strong religious beliefs.
The Bible (2 John 10-11) says, “whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God”. I’d say the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is a repeat transgressor in the most satanic way.
So why doesn’t somebody have him excommunicated?
In Catholicism, excommunication is a “medicinal penalty” intended to invite the person to change behaviour or attitude, repent, and return to full communion.
It might be just what he needs to encourage him to repent his wicked ways…
The mask slips: Iain Duncan Smith shows us all his true face.
On the face of it, he looked so promising, didn’t he?
When Iain Duncan Smith took up his position as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2010, it was as one of the architects of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, a project that was the first to be announced by David Cameron after he became Tory leader in 2005.
The new minister had been involved with social issues ever since the theme of the Conservative Party spring conference in 2002 struck a chord with him – it was ‘Helping the Vulnerable’.
Apparently it touched on his beliefs as a devout Catholic, and came at the same time as he visited Easterhouse and Gallowgate in Glasgow, where he was struck by the run-down housing, visible signs of drug abuse and general lack of hope.
Critics within the Tory party said they didn’t understand his interest, as it seemed to involve him walking around housing estates. Liam Fox (now a disgraced former Defence minister) said it needed a context, such as stressing the role of the family in lifting people out of poverty. It seems he also lacked the deft communications skills that were necessary. Perhaps we should have listened to these criticisms.
Iain Duncan Smith later wrote the report ‘Breakdown Britain’ about the harsh realities of family breakdown, drug abuse and youth crime.
All of that promised a turnaround for the ‘Nasty Party’, with an emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged people to advance in society – a philosophy that many believed was vital for a party coming into power – albeit in coalition – at a time when the UK was facing its worst economic crisis for 70 years.
What a shame that it was all a lie.
George Orwell once, famously, wrote, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” To understand Iain Duncan Smith’s social security policy, insert the word “Conservative” before the word “boot”.
Just look at what he has done to the sick and disabled. People who rely on state support for their very survival have been subjected to a humiliating and highly-stressful regime of tests in order to keep their benefits – tests which are entirely pointless because it has been proved that only 13 per cent of them will be allowed to continue receiving their benefit indefinitely. The rest go into either a ‘work-related activity’ group, for people expected to be fit for work within 365 days, or are signed ‘fit for work’ and forced onto Jobseekers’ Allowance immediately.
At the time of writing, official figures show an average of 73 sick or disabled people are dying every week as a result of this Iain Duncan Smith policy. Every six weeks, more of them die than have been killed on active service in Afghanistan since the British Army moved into that country 10 years ago.
That is his worst crime – but not the only one.
He has raised the retirement age, meaning millions will have to wait longer for their state pensions.
He is forcing millions of benefit recipients to take less money by ‘streamlining’ their payments into a single Universal Credit, which will be more difficult to manage and will be governed by a computerised system that – at present – doesn’t work.
He has pushed hundreds of thousands of jobseekers onto a work programme that turned out to be more of a way for his friends in the private sector to take public money than a channel back into work. Figures released yesterday show that the government would have achieved better results if the work programme had never been put into practice.
He has taken jobseekers away from activities likely to lead them into fulfilling full-time work and pushed them onto ‘Workfare’ programmes, forcing them to carry out menial tasks like stacking shelves in shops, just to keep their meagre benefit money. The system means participating businesses don’t have to take on new employees, so unemployment remains high, and the state – in effect – subsidises those firms.
His benefit cap will lead to a rise in homelessness and child poverty.
In December 2011 he drew up proposals to stop “under-employed” people “topping up” their wages with hand-outs when they are capable of working for longer. Individuals will be told they must earn a minimum amount each week from their jobs and will face being stripped of their housing benefit and tax credits if they fall short, under the plan. He has not, to my knowledge, told employers that they must ensure they pay enough for this policy to work. Therefore we can assume that this is a plan to take housing benefit and tax credits (or Universal Credit) from low-earners – depriving them of their homes as well, as they go into debt with their landlords.
In short, far from helping to solve problems of poverty, homelessness, and crime (which is often related to these), his policies seem designed to make them worse! Despite being shown – at great length – the error of his ways, he has refused to be swayed and remains determined to stick to his homicidal course.
And this is strange, because this is a man who has personally profited greatly from state support.
His first job was taxpayer-funded military service, carrying bags for a Major-General. After six years of this, he left the Army and spent six months on the dole. You can guarantee he was getting housing benefit for it. Current plans would give a man that age only as much as if he was renting a single room in a shared house, and one must wonder how well this gentleman would have coped in that situation.
He then started a job, using the skills he had gained while being paid by the taxpayer in the Army – as a salesman for arms dealer GEC-Marconi. Remember, this is the man who would later play a major part in ‘compassionate’ Conservatism.
He moved on to a property firm, but after six months found himself back on the dole (and housing benefit, one presumes). Then he sold gun-related magazines for Jane’s Information Group.
Then he got elected to Parliament, in 1992. Every year since then, he has been paid more than most taxpayers earn, and currently receives £134,565 per year.
He has had four children and received child benefit for all of them. He currently plans to restrict child benefit, making it payable for only two children per household. He put all of his children through private school – with the help of his MP’s salary which is paid by, you guessed it, the taxpayer.
His wife’s record of work, since they married, totals 15 months as his diary secretary – for which the taxpayer gave her £15,000. It has been suggested that she did not, in fact, do any work at all while drawing this paycheck.
A more recent example of this behaviour pattern involves his policy adviser Philippa Stroud, who also receives cash from a political thinktank. Read about it here.
He lives rent-free in a £2 million Tudor farmhouse on his father-in-law’s ancestral estate in Buckinghamshire, with three acres of land, a tennis court, swimming pool and some orchards.
One would think, if anybody had reason to be grateful for taxpayer-funded benefits, and to understand how this funding can help improve the life of somebody on the dole, it would be this former jobseeker, whose salary is paid by us to this day.
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