Tag Archives: diminish

‘Zombie’ Parliament has nothing to do because of Cameron’s self-importance

Flinging around the bling: Someone should have told David Cameron that he shouldn't surround himself with gold when he's rubbing the proles' noses in unlimited austerity. The horse impression may also have been ill-judged.

Opulence in the midst of austerity: David Cameron doesn’t care about the suffering his government has caused – he’s been too busy enjoying the perks of wealth and power (also pictured: someone who recently had to quit her job chairing the inquiry into historical child sex abuse because of an unfortunate association with a – different – Tory minister. Still, it isn’t all bad, is it?) with his friends.

The cat’s out of the bag – tying Parliament to a fixed term of five years was an “irresponsible” act that has “diminished Parliament in the eyes of the public.

That’s the verdict of former House of Commons Speaker Baroness Boothroyd (who is neither the ‘cat’ nor the ‘bag’ mentioned in the introductory paragraph, thank you very much).

Research has shown that MPs sat for just 44 per cent of weekdays over the past year, and only 11 new bills have been introduced in this Parliamentary session – the second lowest in recent history.

Our MPs are working the equivalent of zero-hours contracts – but being paid almost three times as much as most people in full-time employment. Nice work if you can get it!

The revelation that Parliamentary business on Monday was finished after just three hours has led to revived accusations that the Coalition is now running a ‘zombie’ Parliament – just ticking over until the election, while doing nothing about the serious issues of our times.

Baroness Boothroyd said this time-wasting was “an insult to the Parliamentary system” – and she’s right.

We should all know where to lay the blame, too: David Cameron’s puffed-up sense of self-importance, coupled (disconcertingly) with his insecurity.

After he conned his way into Number 10, Cameron knew his position was precarious, so he set about ensuring that he would have the time he felt he needed to inflict on the nation the damage he intended for (among others) the NHS, the welfare state, the economy and the justice system.

That’s why he made sure that his government could only be removed with a confidence vote that would have to be supported by a large proportion of his own Conservative MPs. This would never happen because Tories love power.

Previously, a confidence vote only needed to be won by more than half the MPs in the House of Commons. Cameron changed this because more than half the MPs in the Commons belong to other parties.

That guaranteed his security, but we should also consider his sense of self-importance. Cameron didn’t care if his government ran out of work before the end – he was determined to be Prime Minister for the maximum amount of time possible.

That’s why we have been kept waiting for an election. He knows he won’t win but he’s determined to sit in Downing Street, crossing off the days on his calendar, for just as long as he possibly can.

He doesn’t care if this means a massive increase in the suffering caused by his policies.

He just wants to guarantee his own place in history.

In fact, we all know that Cameron’s place in history is guaranteed already. His place in history is already assured:

“David Cameron: Worst-ever British Prime Minister.”

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Jobseekers told to do more to find (non-existent) work

Esther McVile: The employment minister, who claims adamantly that changes to housing benefit do not constitute a 'bedroom tax', is pictured complaining about a so-called 'tunnel tax' in her own constituency in a blatant display of double standards.

Esther McVile: The employment minister, who claims adamantly that changes to housing benefit do not constitute a ‘bedroom tax’, is pictured complaining about a so-called ‘tunnel tax’ in her own constituency in a blatant display of double standards.

WARNING: This article has been edited using the ‘Guide to DWP euphemisms’ published by Richard Hutton, and with inspiration from it.

New rules coming into force at the end of the month mean jobseekers will have to do more to find work – even though there are currently five of them for every job available – the Department for Work and Pensions has announced.

Simply ‘signing-on’ for benefits will be a thing of the past under the draconian and repressive new rules.

Employment Minister and double-standards queen Esther McVey has hailed the new rules as undermining the range of support available, which helps diminish aspects of the social security system so that it no longer protects anybody from being left impoverished – in this case by making sure people cannot start claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) by just signing-on without first humbling themselves before the Tory-led government.

She said: “With the economy growing, unemployment falling and record numbers of people in work, now is the time to start expecting more of shirkers if they want to claim benefits. It’s only right that we should push people who are unemployed into such a depth of poverty that even ‘in-work’ poverty is a step-up.

“This is about taking support away from people and undermining the range of support available to them so they can hit rock bottom faster. In return, we will give people as much harassment as possible, to make them stop scrounging or face sanctions, because we know from employers that we have to break people’s spirit before they’ll work for a really low wage.”

To prepare for their first interview with a Jobcentre Plus adviser, people looking for work will be told they will not even be able to sign as unemployed until they have prepared a CV, set up an email address – even though they might not have a computer on which to use it – and registering with the government’s discredited jobs website Universal Jobmatch, which will expose them to identity thieves and exploiters looking for sex workers. This change will make it possible to exploit people as soon as they start their JSA claim.

People who don’t tow the line will receive more harassment from their Jobcentre Plus adviser – weekly rather than fortnightly – to ensure they can be cleared off the books via sanctions if it proves impossible to push them into poverty work.

All new JSA claimants will also now have a quarterly review with their adviser, who will try to find a reason to impose sanctions and get them off the books.

These new measures are being introduced as figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by over 363,000 on the year, the largest annual fall since 1998. This shows that the system of sanctions, putting people on Workfare to hide the fact that they are unemployed, and asking them to pretend that they are self-employed in order to fraudulently claim tax credits instead, is working.

The government is committed to sanctions and the vast majority of people are bullied off JSA quickly – more than 75 per cent of people end their claim within six months. Every working day Jobcentre Plus advisers shout at 98,000 interviews jobseekers and there are a range of ploys available to push them off the system. These include:

• Hiding them on the Work Programme
• Referring them for ‘training’ by companies that provide the minimum help available, take the money and run
• Putting people on pointless ‘work experience’ that won’t lead to a job but will clear them off the claimant count
• Fooling people with ‘incentives’ that mean nothing
• Getting people to pretend they are self-employed.

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Does Cameron really think Scotland will stay in the UK because he wants it?

Why Cameron is on a hiding to nothing: Many Scottish people have not forgotten how British governments have mistreated them. [Image: Ceasefire Magazine]

Why Cameron is on a hiding to nothing: Many Scottish people have not forgotten how British governments have mistreated them. [Image: Ceasefire Magazine]

David Cameron gave a speech today in which he made an impassioned plea for Scottish people to vote for staying in the United Kingdom – and if any of them needed an excuse to do the exact opposite, there it is.

He made his comments from the Olympic Park in London – which says everything you need to know about his relationship with Scotland. Was he afraid of the jeers if he travelled up to Edinburgh?

“I passionately believe it is in their interests to stay in the UK – that way Scotland has the space to take decisions while still having the security that comes with being part of something bigger,” Cameron wittered. But he has been shrinking the state. The UK as a whole is much smaller – economically and philosophically – than it was four years ago and that’s his fault.

“In the UK, Scotland is part of a major global player,” he burbled. But the rest of the world now looks down on the UK because of his unstatesmanlike behaviour when dealing with foreign powers. He has diminished the UK in the international community and the Scottish people are well able to see that.

Appealing for those of us in the other UK countries – England, Wales and NI – to apply emotional blackmail on our friends in Scotland, he gibbered: “From us to the people of Scotland, let the message be this: We want you to stay.”

Cameron must think we all have memories so short we could qualify as brain-damaged. Conservatives have historically used Scotland as the testing ground for every rotten little policy they wanted to try out – remember the Poll Tax? – because of no special quality other than the fact that there are no Conservative MPs there.

I don’t want Scotland to vote for independence because I think Scottish people have contributed hugely towards the culture shared by everybody living on the British Isles – it is possible they have added more to our society than the English who dominate our political lives.

In return, they have been treated abominably – most particularly by English Conservatives – and that is why I can’t see Scotland staying in the Union while an English Conservative is in charge in Westminster.

If Scotland does go, you should all know what will happen next: Wales will become the testing ground for rubbish Tory policies. They won’t try it on Northern Ireland because that province’s history tells them exactly what they’d get in return – and if that isn’t a good enough reason for the Welsh people to go feral and start causing havoc, I don’t know what is!

So well done, David – you have considerably worsened our chances of remaining united.

My only hope is that, if Scotland does secede from the union, its leaders keep the door open, so that there always remains the possibility of some form of reunification on terms that strengthen both countries – when (or if) a reasonable government is returned to office in the UK.

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