Tag Archives: CSJ

People with disabilities: do YOU want IAIN DUNCAN SMITH influencing how government treats you?

Iain Duncan Smith: apparently he isn’t demonstrating what he’d like to do to the throats of disabled people, although that isn’t clear from his record.

Iain Duncan Smith – his very name still triggers hate and fear in people with long-term illnesses and disabilities, in roughly equal measure.

It is now nearly five years since This Writer demonstrated that his Department for Work and Pensions had been responsible for more than 100,000 excess deaths of people claiming sickness and disability benefits.

The deaths had happened after he became Secretary of State and changed the way benefit entitlements were assessed, making it much more difficult for people who deserved them to make a claim.

And he perverted the appeal system into a labyrinthine, Kafka-esque nightmare designed to drive people to despair or starvation before ever seeing a penny.

Now, the right-wing think tank that this vile creature founded – and still chairs – is trying to interfere in the lives of vulnerable people once again.

The shockingly-misnamed Centre for Social Justice has launched what it calls a “Disability Commission” which it hopes will influence the Johnson government’s strategy for dealing with disabled people.

According to Disability News Service:

The commission appears set to focus on the role of business, employment and the free market, with CSJ calling on the government to use the disability strategy to “prove that only a market economy delivers sustainable social justice in a way that enables everyone to realise their potential”.

So it seems the plan is to throw people with disabilities into a free-market nightmare in which any skills they have will be ruthlessly exploited to make cash for the already extremely wealthy, while paying them as little as possible.

(Remember when Lord Freud suggested paying them as little as £2 per hour because they were “not worth the minimum wage”? That is what Tories think of the talents of people with disabilities.)

There appear to be a few names on this “commission” who have spoken out against Tory “reforms” in the past, but these seem to be token placements, intended to lend credibility to the project.

This can only be bad news for people on Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit and/or Employment and Support Allowance.

Source: Thinktank responsible for universal credit launches ‘Disability Commission’ – Disability News Service

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Planned pension-age rise means most will die before ever seeing it

Iain Duncan Smith is a genuinely evil little man, isn’t he?

He spent years orchestrating the deniable deaths of uncounted (literally – the Department for Work and Pensions deliberately did not check on what happened to these people) sick and disabled people by changing the benefit assessment system to make it easier to cancel their payments.

Now the Centre for Social Justice think tank, of which he is chairman, is recommending that the age at which we may qualify for the state pension should be raised to 75 by the year 2035.

(Its previous big success – ha ha – was Universal Credit, which it dreamed up on the back of a fag packet in 2009 and which David Cameron adopted as Coalition government policy a year later.)

Apparently all the state-shrinking cuts inflicted by the Tories, along with the tax cuts they have given themselves and their super-rich friends, mean that the Treasury can no longer afford the ballooning cost of supporting an ever-increasing elderly population while the birth rate continues to decline.

Importing workers from other countries would have helped, but Brexit and the xenophobia the Tories have nurtured alongside it have put an end to that.

The aim, of course, is to avoid paying the state pension at all – to make ordinary people work until they die.

This is one of the reasons the Tories have been working to ensure that life expectancy – the age at which we may expect to die – falls.

They have succeeded in this aim, as David Hencke noted in an article last year:

“Britain is literally dying. Ever since the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition came to power a 50 year improvement in the death rate year on year went into reverse.”

He wrote that the lowest life expectancy in April 2018 was in Glasgow, Blackpool, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, where men could expect to live until the age of 75.4 at the most.

Under Iain Duncan Smith’s plan, that means most men living in these places would never draw the state pension, despite having paid into it for the whole of their working lives.

As comedian George Carlin told Americans, the same now applies in the UK: “They’re coming for your social security money, they’re coming for your retirement money. They want it back.”

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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Iain Duncan Smith has emerged from under his rock to announce means-testing for disability benefits

Conference speaker: It seems Iain Duncan Smith was at the Tory conference after all - talking about some hare-brained plan to use pre-paid cards to limit what benefit claimants buy.

Conference speaker: It seems Iain Duncan Smith was at the Tory conference after all – talking about some hare-brained plan to use pre-paid cards to limit what benefit claimants buy.

Iain Duncan Smith was practically invisible during the Conservative Party conference. He made a speech – apparently. Can anybody remember what it was about? It seems to have been obscured by overarching interest in what people like Theresa May, George Osborne and even David Cameron had to say.

Well, he’s back now, talking such flagrant and unremitting nonsense about his job that it is hard not to remove the asterisks from the following description of his words: B*llsh*t.

So in Saturday’s Telegraph he was b*llsh*tting about his mission to kill as many people with long-term illness or disabilities as he can, and to kick social housing tenants onto the streets: “I don’t think about this as a job… I have a vocation.”

Oh is that right? Let’s see what RTU has to say when the public kick him out of office next May, when he’ll be told in no uncertain terms – as he was when he was in the Army – that his Services are No Longer Required (and never were).

The Torygraph article seems an attempt to rehabilitate the image of this evil dunce by claiming his founding of the (let’s give it its proper name) Centre for Social Injustice brought into being “one of the most influential centre-right thinktanks in British history”. Does it deserve this gushing praise? Not at all; its only influence is as a cheerleader for RTU’s policies of hate.

“Mr Duncan Smith’s animating passion is to help the workless poor to help themselves by moving off benefits and into employment,” gushes the article by some apparatchik called Tim Ross (who?). “It is easy to see how much value he places on meaningful work, especially after a recession.

“’People at the bottom end have felt it worst,’ he says. ‘I just want to get on and improve their quality of life. This is my mission so I’m going to continue on it.’”

Let’s look at how he plans to do that. According to The Independent, it involves taxing disability benefits for the first time, in order to make it even harder for people living with permanent and progressive conditions to “get on and improve their quality of life”.

The new Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is already much harder-to-get than the benefit it replaces, Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Smith reckoned this was fair when he introduced it but now he has decided it would be more fair to reduce the amount of cash available still further.

He’s saying that those on higher incomes should be taxed in order to subsidise higher benefits for the poorest – but the same article states that the move is intended to raise £7 billion, not for people with disabilities, but for the Tory-led government.

It quotes a government source, talking to the Sunday Times: ““It cannot be right that those on the lowest incomes get the same disability benefits as those who are millionaires.” Do we know many millionaires who have claimed DLA or PIP – other than David Cameron?

Ending the universality of disability benefits would involve means-testing. This is complex and costly and results in people who need the benefit not claiming it because the process is too complex or intrusive. Iain Duncan Smith – that odious worm – is aware of this. Why else would he be proposing it? You can expect the new system also to have a version of his ‘mandatory reconsideration’ procedure, currently ruining Employment and Support Allowance, to make sure possible claimants get the message and clear off.

For further evidence against means-testing, read this Vox Political article. It should make you angry.

And keep scanning the newspapers for more stories about poor people who have died as a result of our now-punitive benefit system.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tories should check their own ranks before accusing Labour of infiltrating thinktanks

Double standards: Philippa Stroud, paid to advise Iain Duncan Smith on DWP policy issues, who was also paid by the right-wing thinktank the Centre for Social Justice to lobby him on the same policy issues.

Double standards: Philippa Stroud, paid to advise Iain Duncan Smith on DWP policy issues, who was also paid by the right-wing thinktank the Centre for Social Justice to lobby him on the same policy issues.

Department of Double Standards: According to the Telegraph, the left-wing Institute of Public Policy Research is being investigated by the Charity Commission because of its connections with the last Labour government.

The Torygraph reckons half of Gordon Brown’s special advisers now work for charities or “supposedly neutral” thinktanks, many of which now lobby the Coalition government.

“There is increasing concern among Conservatives that charities and thinktanks are being used as vehicles for a pro-Labour agenda,” the paper crowed.

On the face of it, it may seem reasonable for charities to be investigated for putting forward partisan opinions as they should remain politically neutral.

Thinktanks like the IPPR, on the other hand, are entirely free to put forward any political philosophy they choose; it’s part of their reason for existing.

But what about when a Conservative government minister actually employs, as his special adviser on policy, a person who is not only already an employee of a right-leaning government thinktank – set up by the minister himself – but actually co-founded it with him?

Step forward Philippa Stroud, who co-founded the Centre for Social Justice alongside Iain Duncan Smith in 2004, as a right-wing research and lobby group. When Mr… Smith became a government minister in 2010, he appointed her as his policy special adviser, even though she was still employed by the CSJ as co-chair of its ‘board of advisers’.

The special advisers’ code of conduct stipulates that they “should not receive benefits of any kind which others might reasonably see as compromising their personal judgment or integrity”.

An annex to the code, titled the Seven Principles of Public Life, adds: “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”

The code also makes clear that ministers making such appointments, in this case Mr… Smith himself, are held responsible for their advisers’ conduct.

So Philippa Stroud, a prominent member of the Conservative Party, took public money on top of her own salary and had a job as a senior member of a pressure group that tries to influence his department, when her role within that department was to give him advice on what to do.

That’s a conflict of interest, right there.

Oh, but the arrangement was cleared by the DWP and the Cabinet Office, both of which are currently headed by members of the Conservative Party, with no mention made of any conflict of interest they might have been enduring at the time.

Chris Grayling, writing in the Telegraph, claimed: “Britain’s professional campaigners are growing in number: sending emails around the country, flocking around Westminster, dominating BBC programmes, and usually articulating a Left-wing vision which is neither affordable nor deliverable – and wholly at odds with the long-term economic plan this Government has worked so hard to put in place.”

Sauce for the goose, Mr Grayling!

If it’s fine for a Conservative Party member and special adviser to Iain Duncan Smith to be employed by a thinktank that foists right-wing policy views on the government, then it should be perfectly acceptable for Labour Party members to be employed by thinktanks too.

In fact it is clear that the Labour members are committing the lesser of the two evils.

The moral: If you’re going to accuse your enemy of cheating, make sure you’re not doing it yourself.

Also: Chris Grayling is a fool.

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