Tag Archives: destroy

DWP admits abusing data protection laws to shred 50 reviews of benefit-related suicides

Not smiling: and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey really won’t be, once it gets through to her that the public now knows her department has been taking the p*ss out of all the people it has killed.

This is typical of the DWP: in the week that the minister for disabled people promises the department is working to improve its response to benefit-related deaths, we find it has been destroying records of them.

Particularly interesting for This Writer is the fact that they were records dated before 2015 – a period that I inquired about in a Freedom of Information request that the Department refused to honour.

I had to force the government to issue what turned out to be a tragically limited response, via an order from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

All of the above suggests that Linda Cooksey, sister of DWP victim Tim Salter (who took his own life after being deprived of benefits in 2013), was right to say the Department has been trying to “cover up” the facts.

It seems the DWP has feebly tried to excuse itself with a claim that the destruction was necessary due to data protection requirements.

But the Information Commissioner’s Office (again) has made it clear that there was no need to destroy any documents by a particular date, and in any case they could have been made subjects of a “public interest” protection.

It is interesting to hear that Stephen Timms, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said there was a “lack of seriousness” about “putting things right when they go wrong”.

Perhaps that explains why Justin Tomlinson (the afore-mentioned minister for people with disabilities) was caught smirking during a debate about the DWP’s failure to address these issues.

So we see that the DWP minister was making fun of everybody who has suffered at the department’s hands, and the Department itself is laughing at anybody who seriously expects it to change its ways.

Source: ‘Cover-up’: DWP destroyed reports into people who killed themselves after benefits were stopped | The Independent

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Labour’s leader candidates seem determined to destroy their own party. Here’s how it works

Labour: why are those at the top consciously colluding on activities that are undermining the party?


Here’s a man with a very strong grip on current events at the top of the Labour Party.

This Site recently published a story about Simon Maginn calling on the Charity Commission to investigate examples of interference in politics by the Board of Deputies of British Jews – in what seem to be clear attempts to prevent the Labour Party from being elected to form a government.

He had already posted a 15-tweet thread on Twitter, detailing ways in which Labour’s leaders were themselves sabotaging the party by kowtowing to the desires of the Board of Deputies and like-minded anti-Labour groups.

But after This Writer’s recent run-in with people claiming to be acting against transphobia, it seems the steps work very well in relation to that, too.

See for yourself:

Note the part stating that no attempt will be made to resolve the issue. That’s how you know that the plan is simply to disrupt the Labour Party.

And pay close attention to the participants.

Now watch the news and see if Mr Maginn – and/or This Writer – is right.

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Tories split over plot to destroy the BBC

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: and a fat lot of good it did the BBC! De facto Tory leader Dominic Cummings wants the BBC privatised and he has employed ‘Minister for Murdoch’ John Whittingdale to do it.

Days after the man formerly known as the Minister for Murdoch returned to the government, unelected leader Dominic Cummings has apparently declared war on the BBC.

It seems Cummings was just waiting to get the right man for the job – and the well-connected Whittingdale fitted the bill perfectly.

So it fell to The Sunday Times to herald the forthcoming assault on our national broadcaster:

“Downing Street turned on the BBC last night — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

“In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

“The blueprint being drawn up in government will:

“● Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model

“● Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4

“● Reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from its current 10

  • “Scale back the BBC website
  • “Invest more in the BBC World Service”

It’s an interesting plan – especially, as Zelo Street points out, considering the fact that the BBC’s current agreement with the government runs until 2027, three years after the current Tory government’s term runs out.

Cummings is either incredibly confident of getting a new term with his puppet Boris Johnson, or he’s sure that Tory plants in the Labour Party will keep it riven by controversy and unable to mount a meaningful challenge.

That blog also points out that the plan has not been properly thought through: how can the government expect to dictate that BBC stars can’t have second jobs if they become part of a subscription service that is independent?

The announcement has provoked considerable debate online – and a clear contradiction has emerged in that most of those who oppose the BBC are only angry with it’s pro-Tory current affairs bias. It would be lunacy to think the Tories are going to create more balance!

(It’s worth pointing out that Raj Ganesh – above – considers the Conservative Party to be left wing and may therefore be considered a far-right extremist. That’s the kind of person who really hates the BBC. But expect also his phrase “telly tax” to catch on – Tories love that kind of thing.)

But it seems the plan does not have wholehearted support – even within Conservative Party ranks. Sure, some have described it as “Tory vandalism”…

… and, sure, some Tories have helped undermine the BBC and are now using the results of their own actions as reasons to attack it again…

… but some are standing by it:

Before anybody jumps in and tries to rubbish Mr Green’s opinion because of his past connection with certain forms of online… entertainment… let’s just remember that Whittingdale had a relationship with a female sex worker that only ended when he discovered the story was likely to be sold to the tabloid press.

And Mr Green isn’t alone, anyway. The Independent reports:

“Huw Merriman, another Conservative MP who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, also warned that the corporation should “not be a target”.

“Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said ‘it feels as if senior government aides are now ramping up an unedifying vendetta against this much-admired corporation’.

“A third Tory MP, Damian Collins, a former chair of the Commons culture committee, added: “No surprise that no-one has put their name to this destructive idea.

“’This would smash the BBC and turn it from being a universal broadcaster to one that would just work for its subscribers. The biggest losers would be the UK’s nations and regions.’”

The consensus among Tory opponents of the plan is that it will cost the party votes.

Personally, I don’t think that will stop Dominic Cummings.

He wants to smash everything of “cultural importance”, as Steve Coogan put it, to the UK. He’ll happily sell the lot to foreign investors and see all the money we earn dribble abroad, reducing the UK to Third World status. The NHS is set to be privatised, with the profit-making parts sold off to the US, remember.

Now why would a patriotic UK citizen want to do such a thing?

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Supporters up in arms that HS2 might not be allowed to ruin irreplaceable natural habitats

Saddened: After all David Attenborough’s warnings about damage to the ecosystem on which human beings rely, it seems English people are quite happy to condemn species upon species to extinction in order to shorten their rail journeys by 20 minutes.

The HS2 high-speed rail link between London and the north of England could divide and destroy “huge swathes” of “irreplaceable” natural habitats – but supporters are reportedly devastated that part of it may be scrapped.

So much for our concern for the environment. Nobody cares that any number of rare species could die out, as long as they get to their destination 20 minutes faster.

And after all the warnings from David Attenborough. I wonder how he feels, now he knows he was wasting his breath on the general public.

It may seem trivial but it contributes to the expected destruction of a million animal species, ruining entire ecosystems on which human beings depend, as Sir David says, “for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food that we eat.”

No, no – you’d rather make your journey 20 minutes shorter.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what members of the general public think.

It seems the Tory government is likely to scale down or even cancel HS2, because politicians like Boris Johnson want to put the money elsewhere.

Johnson’s transport adviser, Andrew Gilligan, is known to be against HS2, and Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, is also not keen, having described it last year as a “white elephant”.

Johnson has for months been expected to endorse HS2 if it can reduce its costs, after commissioning a review by Douglas Oakervee, which is understood to support the whole line going ahead.

However, the government is dragging its feet over the publication of the Oakervee report and final decision, claiming the document is not finished yet even though it was submitted to the Department for Transport in November.

A DfT source insisted “there is no final report” as Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, “had some questions” about earlier drafts and it was sent back for revisions.

It seems that, if the government does cancel or restrict HS2, it will have made the right choice, at long last – although, as usual, for the wrong reasons.

Source: HS2 supporters fear Boris Johnson plans to scrap part of rail project | UK news | The Guardian

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Labour urges Boris Johnson not to sign trade deal that would aid Amazon destruction

Bolsonaro’s legacy: The fires set in the Amazon rainforest, apparently on the order of the Brazilian president – and the cost to animal life. Boris Johnson seems keen to contribute to this slaughter.

Look at the images above and bear in mind that Boris Johnson may try to sign a trade deal with Brazil that would accelerate the deaths of these animal breeds and the destruction of the so-called “lungs of the world”.

In world trade terms, after Brexit, he’ll be a beggar and not a chooser, meaning if Jair Bolsonaro – the Brazilian president most people consider responsible for the fires destroying the rainforest and its animal habitats as I type this – tells him to sign a deal that increases the harm, he’ll do it.

Labour has appealed to Mr Johnson to show sense, pointing out that “We cannot risk our planet to buy cheap beef.”

But when has BoJob ever shown any sense at all?

Consider this, from the Independent‘s report:

Mr Johnson has refused to join French president Emmanuel Macron and Irish premier Leo Varadkar in threatening to block a South American trade deal if Mr Bolsonaro fails to live up to his commitments to protect the environment.

Stressing his unwillingness to disrupt trade at a time when fears of a global showdown are rising, the PM said that some leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz were using the catastrophic wildfires in the Amazon as an “excuse” to interfere with free trade.

He hasn’t got a clue.

And if he has his way, we’ll all end up breathing ashes instead of oxygen. Who will he blame then?

Source: Labour demands Johnson refuse to sign post-Brexit Brazil trade deal that aids Amazon destruction | The Independent

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Labour’s pre-budget message shows how Tory austerity will make society collapse


Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to announce his latest Budget on Monday afternoon (October 29) – with a new set of austerity measures designed to hammer the poor and cosset the rich.

Don’t believe Theresa May’s pleading that austerity is over! If that were true, Hammond would be restoring services across the country – and you won’t see that in his statement.

No – austerity is here as long as we have penny-pinching Conservatives.

But the Labour Party has released new video messages showing exactly what this means for the fabric of UK society – and it’s not a pretty picture.

See for yourself. Here’s the first:

And now try this:

Get the message? Then please share the videos.

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Nurse given a year to live will use it to stop Tories ‘killing’ the NHS

David Bailey was diagnosed with aggressive oesophageal cancer in October [Image: John Gladwin/Sunday Mirror].

I don’t know David Bailey – but it seems he is well-known to others.

So let’s see what they have to say about this:

This is the kind of man who believes the Conservative Party is determined to destroy the NHS and – even though he may not have long to live – will defend it to his dying breath.

Any questions?

For 35 years, David Bailey has dedicated his life to helping save others – working as a nurse on surgical wards and in an overstretched A&E.

Now he faces his own fight for survival, diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Yet despite undergoing gruelling chemotherapy, David is determined to ‘do his bit’ to stop the Tories “killing” his beloved NHS.

He will take to the streets on Saturday [February 3] with thousands of others in a day of protest against the Government’s destruction of the health service.

He blasted a funding crisis which has cut beds, driven out nurses who have had no pay rise for eight years, and strangled recruitment.

He said many NHS services were becoming unsustainable though lack of qualified nursing staff, with 40,000 vacancies available.

David pointed to a 23 per cent drop in trainee nurses since the Tories’ £9,000-a-year tuition fee.

Source: Nurse given a year left to live says he will use time he has left to stop Tories ‘killing’ our beloved NHS – Mirror Online


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Why are expense fraud MPs above the law?

One law for them...: This image appeared on Twitter, summarising how the law treats MPs in comparison with the rest of us.

One law for them…: This image appeared on Twitter, summarising how the law treats MPs in comparison with the rest of us.

How strange that John Bercow would want to make himself an accessory to MPs’ fraudulent expenses claims!

It seems the Speaker of the House of Commons has ordered that details of all MPs’ expenses, claimed before the system was reformed in 2010, should be shredded.

The decision will have come as good news for Members such as George Osborne, who made a cool £1 million off the taxpayer from expenses payments made to cover a mortgage on open land in his Cheshire constituency which he claimed he was using for Parliamentary business.

(The bad news for him is that Vox Political holds copies of relevant documents and will certainly launch another attempt to have Osborne prosecuted, if the opportunity presents itself. Oh, and the Daily Telegraph – which has a complete record of claims made under the former system and used it in a series of reports that shocked the nation and led to the system being reformed, a matter that has now become a two-edged sword.)

Bercow’s reasons for burning the books are a mystery. According to the Telegraph, weakling standards watchdog Kathryn Hudson has been dealing with multiple allegations raised by constituents. Now she is able to tell them that their concerns cannot be investigated due to lack of evidence.

This is not good enough.

In fact, it is worse than the original, scandalous system. At least, with that, it was possible to find out who had claimed money and why; that is no longer the case.

The Telegraph article tells us that the Commons’ ‘Authorised Records Disposal Practice’ lays down guidelines about the length of time for which records may be kept. Thousands are stored indefinitely in the Parliamentary Archive. The pay, discipline and sickness records of Commons staff are kept until their 100th birthday. Health and safety records are kept for up to 40 years.

How long are records of MPs’ expenses kept until they are destroyed? Three years.

Why such a short period? “Data protection”.

Why does this only apply to MPs’ expenses and not to the other matters? No answer.

We know why, though, don’t we? It’s in order to cover up the wrongdoings of the most corrupt Parliament in living memory.

We know that the government has been legislating to ensure that money is drained from the poor and needy into the hands of the rich and the powerful corporations they run, in return for generous donations to the Conservative Party (arrangements for the Liberal Democrats are not known to this blog).

Who knows what backbenchers have been doing in the meantime? They’ve certainly been living the life of Riley while some of us have had to struggle simply to secure the state benefits that we have spent our entire working lives subsidising – and many others, having been denied those benefits for spurious reasons, are no longer with us as a result.

Still, considering the limp punishment handed down to Maria Miller, who between 2005 and 2009 claimed £90,718 in Parliamentary expenses for the mortgage and upkeep of a south London house that was occupied, not by herself, but by her parents, there is no reason to believe any of them would have received a just and proper punishment.

(She was fined £5,800 and made a half-hearted apology – not to the taxpayer, but to Parliament, after a committee of, you guessed it, MPs overruled the standards commissioner’s recommendation that she be made to repay £45,000.)

If any other citizen (who did not have the right business- or class-based connections) embezzled that much money, they would be jailed for a lengthy period of time – in fact we have recently seen cases in which people who were reduced to stealing from supermarkets or food banks, after the DWP sanctioned their benefits, have been jailed for unduly lengthy periods. Yet MPs are, essentially, let off the hook.

The problem is: They’re above the law.

There won’t be any justice in this system until the whole mechanism for investigating allegations against MPs – of any kind – is handed over to the police, where it belongs.

And not just the Metropolitan Police, who are nearby and may end up facing their own corruption allegations. Perhaps it is best that the responsibility be handed between forces on a rota system, in order to minimise the opportunity for underhandedness.

No MP would ever vote for that, of course. In a perfect world they might but, in this one, all that is required to buy their silence is peer pressure. In a perfect world (again) the electorate would be able to hold MPs to account with the threat of being removed from their seat at the next election, but we know that this does not happen in practice. Some ex-MPs who were disgraced in the last expenses scandal will be standing for election again next May.

What’s the answer, then?

A petition has been started, to have MPs accused of fraud investigated and prosecuted – but this seems doomed to failure for practical purposes; the evidence no longer exists!

Perhaps the best way forward would be to pursue Bercow, for ordering the destruction of the files, and the weakling Hudson for allowing them to be destroyed.

Alternatively, the Telegraph could make its files publicly available, and we could all carry out investigations of our own.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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