Tag Archives: digital

Suspend benefit cap to protect disabled people in coronavirus crisis? It’ll never happen under Tories!

She’ll never support it: Therese Coffey’s record suggests she is not sympathetic to disabled benefit claimants.

It’s a good, solid, practical suggestion: with disabled people most at risk of financial loss during the coronavirus crisis, the government should suspend the penalties it has imposed on them in the last 10 years.

These include the benefit cap and the “two-child policy” for benefits relating to children.

Also suggested by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) is conversion of the Universal Credit advance loan into a non-repayable grant.

In fact, the DBC requests the suspension of all debt repayment deductions from UC.

And the organisation calls on the government to suspend work-related conditionality and associated sanctions for those receiving benefits.

Other proposals include a call to give higher priority to resolving technical and capacity issues in the benefits system, as well as providing clear guidance for making both a digital and non-digital claim for UC. This is practical as the Department for Work and Pensions has been swamped with claims after the coronavirus lockdown began.

And there is absolutely no hope that the government will grant – or even seriously consider – any of these requests.

The Tories have turned the benefit system into a very efficient device with which to persecute people with disabilities.

They seem to see the coronavirus as a handy aid to this cause, with hospitals already being told to ration ventilators to those with a better chance of surviving – which is prejudicial against the disabled.

In fact it would be easy to see the crisis as providing the Tories with an opportunity simply to continue their hate campaign by other means.

When the final figures are summed up, it will be interesting to see what proportion of the dead happen to be disabled.

Source: Coronavirus: Suspend the benefit cap during crisis to protect disabled people, charities ask – Mirror Online

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Removal of Katie Hopkins from Twitter shows my enemy’s enemy is NOT my friend

Some may say Rachel Riley has done the public a huge service by campaigning for – and achieving – the removal of Katie Hopkins from Twitter.

This Writer finds Ms Hopkins, her politics and her behaviour unspeakable. Consequently I have refused to comment on them, often responding to comments about her by others with: “I don’t know who that is.”

The last week Ms Riley, along with a representative from the Campaign to Counter Digital Hate (CCDH), visited Twitter bosses, demanded Ms Hopkins’ removal from Twitter, and got it. She’s locked out of her own account for the time being.

And that’s good. I approve of what has happened.

But I still don’t approve of the person who did it.

And I wonder if the CCDH has taken a hard look at Ms Riley’s own account.

What about the hatred directed at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and anybody remotely associated with him? What about the time she compared the Durham Miners’ Band with the Ku Klux Klan for no good reason? Or the time she wrongly accused a Labour election candidate of anti-Semitism?

What about the abuse and harassment of a teenage girl, and the accusation of libel against people like myself who stood up to defend that girl?

And what about the fact that Ms Riley gets away with all of this because she is an overpaid TV celebrity who can use her wealth to bully into submission anybody against whom she has a disagreement?

If you don’t think legitimate anti-hate campaigns should be consorting with the likes of Ms Riley, contact them and make the point. CCDH is on Twitter: @CCDHate and the representative who met Twitter bosses with her was @imi_ahmed

You could also – or alternatively – call for people of genuinely good conscience to support my CrowdJustice campaign to make Ms Riley rethink he abhorrent behaviour.

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

You don’t fight hate by supporting haters. Please support justice instead.

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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Rachel Riley spoke out in support of an anti-trolling charity – and the response was damning

A few hours ago (as I write this) I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my CrowdJustice site, which raises cash to fight the libel case against me launched by Rachel Riley, was gaining funds – at speed.

I had done nothing to prompt this sudden influx of funds, so I wondered why it had happened – aloud, online.

Here’s the reason:

High profile celebrities – including ex-England striker Gary Linekar and Countdown presenter Rachel Riley – have pledged not to publicise the social media abuse they receive from vile online trolls.

Instead, the group of television stars, politicians and campaigners will be muting, blocking and reporting “abhorrent” and derogatory comments – with the worst handed to the police – in a bid to starve so-called trolls of the wider audience they reportedly crave.

The likes of Lineker and Riley have signed-up to instead reporting the worst cases of online abuse and vile messages to the police, while sending lesser examples to social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook to put pressure on them to act.

New charity, the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), the group behind the Don’t Feed the Trolls report, is advocating an even simpler solution for those being badgered online.

It recommends muting notifications and taking a break from social media in the first instance, before escalating anything thought to be unlawful.

Muting, blocking, and avoiding are parts of advice I have been giving whenever I’ve spotted trolls on my own timeline – who are often supporters of Ms Riley.

I’d say it was cheeky of her to be lining up with this new charity to advocate my tactics, when she is also taking me to court over a trolling incident that she instigated.

But I don’t have to.

While viewers of the mainstream media may be convinced by what I’m told has been a deluge of TV reports and appearances all day, social media users are much more aware of Ms Riley’s own online behaviour, and wasted no time in reminding her of it:

“Riley conveniently fails to mention all the anti-Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Labour abuse that she puts out on an industrial scale on Twitter and elsewhere,” tweeted ‘Is it just me?’

Anita K added: “Is that the same Rachel Riley who online bullied a 16 year old girl with mental health problems, and goes around smearing and doxxing others?”

https://twitter.com/CathyKirby65/status/1173709873219084289

And Eddy39 stated: “Rachel Riley compared the Durham miners gala with a KKK rally and now she’s out front and centre complaining about trolls. Oh the irony.”

This was a response to Ms Riley’s appearance on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme:

(I wonder how many hundreds of abusers have blighted my own Twitter timeline, thanks to Ms Riley’s unwanted attention?)

Grace4JC stated: “RR is the biggest troll around. The sheer arrogance and nerve of a Gnasher operative accusing others of being trolls is unbelievable. She ruins people’s lives.”

The term “Gnasher operative” refers to the infamous “GnasherJew” troll network, with whom Ms Riley proudly associates.

As PeoplePowerGal adds: “The hypocrisy is almost painful! There must be loads of evidence out there of her abusing others & she’s known to work in tandem with renowned Gnasher troll who are horrifically abusive & racist. Someone should write a big evidenced exposè on her involvement with them!”

And this is why people were contributing to my CrowdJustice site – in disgust at what they considered to be Ms Riley’s astonishing hypocrisy.

If you are unaware – or need reminding – of the behaviour Ms Riley encourages, here’s an example from today (although I have no idea if “Corbyn Out – he’s a chlorinated racist chicken” is a member of the GnasherJew troll collective):

Hopefully, somebody has thought to notify CCDHate (as it models itself on Twitter) that its poster-girl is exactly the kind of troll it is trying to silence.

Otherwise, it seems people may start to associate it with the phonetic pronunciation of its chosen title: “See seedy hate”.

For Ms Riley, the tactic has backfired badly.

While it might have seemed a clever idea to hide the true nature of her own social media activities by backing an anti-troll campaign, all she has done is remind people of why they dislike her so much – and, of course, boost the funds available to me to oppose her.

To Ms Riley herself, if she’s reading: thanks for the extra cash – and I’ll see you in court.

Source: Gary Lineker and Rachel Riley in new social media pledge to silence trolls – ITV News

If you want to support my defence against Ms Riley, here are some instructions you may find helpful:

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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It is time for a publicly-owned digital information and entertainment organisation

Man with a plan: Jeremy Corbyn proposed a public provider to challenge private corporations.

I wouldn’t mind being a part of a publicly-owned digital information and entertainment provider.

It ought to be the BBC but that organisation has been inundated with stooges for the Conservative Party and private business.

As for a publicly-owned Facebook… there are already other platforms, run by socially-minded people. Perhaps it would be better to nationalise one of these – as it would be established already?

Jeremy Corbyn has proposed establishing a British corporation that would commission online TV, offer easy access to archive material held by public sector institutions and operate a social networking arm that could play a role in direct democracy.

“The public realm doesn’t have to sit back and watch as a few mega tech corporations hoover up digital rights, assets and ultimately our money,” the Labour leader said.

He said the British media was failing and that multinational corporations dominated the internet.

Delivering the Alternative MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh television festival on Thursday, Corbyn said: “A BDC could use all of our best minds, the latest technology and our existing public assets not only to deliver information and entertainment to rival Netflix and Amazon but also to harness data for the public good.”

Source: Corbyn proposes ‘public Facebook’ as part of media overhaul | Politics | The Guardian

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Jobseeking goes digital – a lesson in how propaganda gets into the press

Computer illiterate: The government is forcing people to claim benefits and search for jobs online - and then claiming that they are "flocking" to it of their own free will.

Computer illiterate: The government is forcing people to claim benefits and search for jobs online – and then claiming that they are “flocking” to it of their own free will.

We seem to be going through another period of closely scrutinising the practices of the press, in the wake of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre’s reprehensible treatment of Ralph Miliband (and others) in the pages of the Rothermere Rag.

Let us take a moment to remember that most articles that are published in newspapers are not actually generated by their editors (even in right-wing, attempted-mind-control efforts like the Mail and the Murdoch pulps); many originate as press releases from outside sources, including the government.

This brings us to that great bastion of honesty and truthfulness – and how to hide it – the Department for Work and Pensions’ press office.

This organisation’s latest effort is entitled Jobseekers embrace digital revolution and has about as much to do with making jobseeking easier in 21st century Britain as I have with cock-fighting in 19th-century America.

“The way people claim benefits is being revolutionised with the proportion of claims made online more than doubling in a year – saving taxpayers money and paving the way for the introduction of Universal Credit,” the release begins. This may be true, but is it being presented in a truthful manner?

Isn’t it more accurate to say that the DWP has demanded that more benefit claims must be made online, making it more difficult for jobseekers who do not have their own computers, who are not computer-literate, or who do not live in areas with high-quality internet access to make any kind of claim at all?

And “paving the way for the introduction of Universal Credit” seems a misrepresentation as well. Wasn’t UC supposed to have been introduced in April this year, but has been delayed because of problems with the software that is supposed to get several computer systems communicating together?

To act as spokesman for the announcement, Employment Minister Mark Hoban is wheeled out. He’s the one who has admitted that he doesn’t understand how any of the benefit system works, so how is he supposed to have any kind of grip on what’s happening online?

“Employment Minister Mark Hoban has hailed the dramatic rise in online claims as the digital revolution in action. In August 2011 only around 1 in 10 people claimed online; that increased to 3 in 10 in August 2012 – and a year later this has rocketed to 8 in 10.”

In fact, it is true that much of this would have happened as part of the continuing revolution the Net is bringing to people’s lives. For many, online claiming will now be much easier than sending off for a paper claim form, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. The problem is the way this is being pushed as the future when it is a future that still excludes a small but significant proportion of the population. Online claiming discriminates against some people – why is the DWP so relaxed about that? Because it wants to prevent people from claiming?

Now for an outright lie: “Jobseekers are also increasingly finding jobs online – the government’s new jobsite, Universal Jobmatch, which automatically matches people’s skills to a job which suits them, is now receiving more than 5 million searches every day.”

So much about that paragraph is wrong. People aren’t finding that many jobs online because Universal Jobmatch is riddled with errors and – let’s be honest – crime! The scandals have been racking up ever since it was introduced late last year – fake job ads that are actually phishing scams, intended to get jobseekers to part with their bank account details; ‘opportunities’ that actually seduce young women into working in the sex industry; job ads that demand money from applicants before they may be considered for positions that (most likely) don’t exist.

So why is UJM receiving more than five million searches every day? Answer: because Job Centre employees keep telling people that using it is mandatory – even though it isn’t; this is a lie – and they must not only spend huge amounts of time using it but must apply for something like three jobs a week in order to avoid having their benefits sanctioned.

Then there’s the rarity of updates. One user complained to yr obdt srvt that no new jobs have been added to the system for the last three weeks – but he is still expected to apply for three jobs a week. How is that supposed to work?

Under those conditions, it’s not quite such an achievement, is it? It’s more like blackmail, intimidation with threats.

And, let’s not forget – searching for jobs is not the same as getting jobs.

“Mark Hoban, Employment Minister said: ‘The modern world is digital. Many employers only advertise vacancies online, and most want their new recruits to have IT skills. So it is vital that we support jobseekers to develop the skills they need.'”

Hang on – what? How does forcing people to apply for jobs, using a discredited system, count as support to develop skills? It doesn’t. Also, while it may be true that many employers now only advertise online, it is also true that many of those vacancies – if not most of them – do not appear on UJM and it is therefore more of a liability than an asset.

“‘These figures show that our efforts are paying off, with jobseekers flocking to use Universal Jobmatch and 80% embracing the opportunity to manage their benefits online. People are showing us that they are ready for the digital shift that Universal Credit will bring.'”

No, they’re not. He – or at least whoever told him to say those words – is deliberately confusing a system that forces people to carry out certain tasks with one to which they come willingly. The latter would suggest that they are ready for the “digital shift” he describes; the former – what we are seeing – shows us that people are being forced to use a flawed system against their better judgement in order to allow a lying government to justify its next crime against the poor and unwaged.

“The focus on online services is part of a cultural change in how people will interact with the welfare state and is an essential part of Universal Credit. The new benefit is claimed and interacted with online.”

That’s right. And woe betide any poor soul who doesn’t have the ability to do this.

“As well as being more convenient for claimants, this digital push better prepares them for the world of work, where digital skills are increasingly required.”

No it doesn’t, for reasons already stated.

This kind of propaganda is bread and butter for the press. The current squeeze on newspaper profits means that more and more papers are employing fewer and fewer reporters – and those who get jobs aren’t likely to have been properly trained (we’re more expensive, you see). Therefore, reporters’ time is at a premium and press releases are a quick and easy way to fill papers. Most don’t get a spelling check, let alone a fact check.

And that is how a lot of inaccurate information gets downloaded straight into the brains of an accepting readership.