Tag Archives: dishonesty

If ‘dangerously incompetent’ Amber Rudd didn’t see leaked report on police cuts and violent crime, her plan to tackle it won’t work

“Dangerously incompetent”: Amber Rudd.

The Tories are trying to cover their embarrassment over this latest blunder, but it is already too late.

Amber Rudd is on record as saying police cuts have not contributed to the rise in serious violent crime on the UK’s streets – in direct contradiction of a Home Office Report that has been leaked to the press:

Government cuts to the police “may have encouraged” violent offenders and have “likely contributed” to a rise in serious violent crime, leaked Home Office documents have revealed.

The documents cast doubt on claims by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, on Sunday that cuts to the police were not to blame for rising violence.

The Home Office said it would not comment on leaked documents.

Rudd will on Monday launch a strategy aimed at tackling serious violent crime, which officials and ministers have been working on for months.

Any such strategy will be flawed if it does not take into account the harm caused by the Tory policy of cutting police numbers. And how can it, if the Home Secretary is determined that she hasn’t seen the report?

One person who has seen the report is Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who commented on the situation in his speech launching the party’s London local elections campaign:

We always said cuts have consequences and now the Home Office’s own officials agree with us.

Todays leaked documents make a nonsense of the Tories’ repeated claims that their cuts to police numbers have had no effect.

You cannot protect local communities when you cut funding to local councils to such an extent they are unable to provide the essential youth service support that stops many young people being drawn into violent crime.

The Tory record on policing and crime is one of reckless failure. Plain and simple – you can’t have security on the cheap and cuts have consequences. Too many communities are living with those consequences.

But Ms Rudd has moved on. It seems she is now blaming local Police and Crime Commissioners:

In fact, it seems senior police officers and the London Police Commissioner had warned Ms Rudd about the logical result of her cuts:

What are we to conclude?

That Amber Rudd is, as she has been described, dangerously incompetent. Her claim that she has not seen a report that contradicts her position on police cuts is, as LabourList claims, “either incompetence or dishonest” – and neither is acceptable in a Minister of the Crown.

That Jeremy Corbyn has a much firmer grip on the situation than Ms Rudd.

That voters in London can indicate their dissatisfaction with the situation by voting Labour – and giving Ms Rudd and her Tory blunderers the kicking they deserve for placing the citizens of our capital city in danger.


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Nicola Sturgeon’s intellectual dishonesty exposed in her failure to say ‘Don’t vote Tory’

150421SNPmanifesto

Isn’t the similarity between the SNP manifesto and Labour’s astonishing?

Shall we count some similarities? Yes, let’s.

Both parties want to scrap the bedroom tax and zero-hours contracts, reverse the privatisation of the NHS, increase NHS spending and integrate health and social care.

They both support a 50p top tax rate, the mansion tax, the bankers’ bonus tax,  abolishing non-dom status and ending the married couple’s tax allowance.

They would both increase the minimum wage to more than £8 (although Labour would promote the higher Living Wage as well), and both want benefits to rise in line with inflation.

Both parties would cut tuition fees across the UK and increase free childcare (to 25 hours per week (Labour) or 30 hours (SNP)).

Both would set a target for house-building, although Labour’s – at 200,000 – is twice as high as that of the SNP.

Both would oppose any moves to take the UK out of the European Union, and both support the current level of overseas aid spending.

Both Labour and the SNP would abolish the House of Lords.

And both would implement the Smith Commission’s proposals in full, along with further powers for Scotland (differing on the details – Labour would not wish to grant full fiscal autonomy due to fears of a £7.6 billion ‘black hole’).

With so many similarities, it seems strange that Nicola Sturgeon has claimed an alliance with the SNP is necessary to “pull Labour leftwards”.

Isn’t it more likely that she is hoping to claim success in this regard, during a future alliance, despite having done nothing to achieve it?

All she’d have to do is wait for Labour to put through the relevant legislation, after all.

But what seems most strange, considering the overwhelming similarity with Labour, is the similarly-overwhelming negative campaign against Labour, on the grounds that Labour is too right-wing! There’s simply no justification for it – other than a hunger for power. This leads to another question:

If the SNP wants a louder voice in the whole of the UK, and wants to “lock the Tories out of government”, then why hasn’t the SNP told the electorate not to vote Tory?

Nicola Sturgeon is perfectly happy to tell Scottish voters not to vote Labour. About the Tories? Not a word. Perhaps she thinks they’re not a threat but there were nearly half a million Conservative voters north of the border in 2010 and with Labour and the SNP at each other’s throats, the right-wingers have freedom to campaign without hindrance.

To the best of this writer’s knowledge, Nicola Sturgeon has never said: “Don’t vote Tory.”

The motive seems obvious: She needs a large Parliamentary Conservative Party, with many seats in England and Wales, blocking Labour from its majority – she she can blackmail Ed Miliband into a deal with the SNP. Considering the similarity between their manifestos, an alliance of any kind between Labour and the SNP isn’t really necessary anyway, so this can only be about one thing:

Power.

Ms Sturgeon is desperate for the SNP to gain the balance of power in Westminster, so she can blackmail Labour into providing what she wants.

And what does a nationalist political party always want?

Mark these words.

If the SNP has its way, we’ll be looking at the break-up of the UK again very soon. It’s the only way her actions make any sense.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
exposing the motives of the nationalists.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Work Capability Assessment fuss shows Labour must change its ways

There's a reason people created cartoons like this. They were rejecting the Work Capability Assessment and the thinking behind it; this is not how we want our government to run our country.

There’s a reason people created cartoons like this – they were rejecting the Work Capability Assessment and the thinking behind it. This is not how we want our government to run our country.

Yesterday’s article on Labour’s attitude to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), used on people applying for incapacity or disability benefits, was probably the most controversial to be published by this site.

Look at the article‘s comment column and you will see the strength of support for this writer’s planned open letter. It calls for Labour to accept that the public opposes the continued use of a system that is responsible for as much death as the WCA undoubtedly is.

You will also see a few critical comments, and it is fair to say that there have been quite vicious attacks on the other social media, including Facebook and Twitter. Let’s try to address some of those.

Some claimed this writer was some kind of agent provocateur who had timed an attack on Labour to ruin its chances – a curious suggestion, considering the report was about someone else’s response to the ill-considered comments of a Labour shadow cabinet member, over which Yr Obdt Srvt could not have had any control.

Some claimed that Labour’s attitude to the WCA has already been addressed by Rachel Reeves’ promise to reform it – even though it cannot be reformed. It is beyond rehabilitation. The Work Capability Assessment serves a twofold purpose: It shovels taxpayers’ money into the hands of private, profit-making firms, and in return those firms do their best to disqualify claimants from receiving payments. If there was no intention to pervert the benefit system, governments would rely on the word of claimants’ GPs and the specialists working on their case. The responsible course of action is to get rid of it – before it kills anyone else.

Some said the Green Party had seized in this as an opportunity to attack Labour. That’s nice for them, but nobody really cares what the Greens do. They said Labour voted for fracking when Labour was the only party that found a way to stop it. They said Labour voted for Tory austerity when Labour was doing nothing of the sort. Let them say what they like.

Most hinged on whether Owen Smith actually said what was claimed, at a meeting a couple of days ago. Here’s Liza Van Zyl, whose Facebook post sparked this controversy: “I was the person who asked the question of the Shadow Sec of State.

“I asked why, given that the WCA has caused a great many more deaths than the Bedroom Tax, is Labour scrapping the BT but not the WCA? He answered that Labour cannot commit to scrapping the WCA because it would look bad in the right wing press and would negatively affect Labour’s election chances.

“My question was clearly about the WCA causing people’s deaths. I stand by my comments.”

Vox Political has also been contacted by another person who was at the meeting, who said: “He did fudge a bit and she left the meeting.”

Later on, according to my contact, another questioner pointed out that the WCA “was introduced to stop people getting money, and the best person to say who can go to work or not is a GP.” This is in line with the view put forward by this blog. “He [Mr Smith] seemed quite happy with that and said after the election [Labour] would look at it”.

Of course there is a connection between the Work Capability Assessment and death; how much clearer could it possibly be?

Of course there is a connection between the Work Capability Assessment and death; how much clearer could it possibly be?

Several thoughts occur. Firstly, nobody is suggesting that Mr Smith said Labour was happy about the possibility of people dying, simply because the party wouldn’t stand up to the right-wing press. Let’s make that clear. But he certainly wasn’t going to say Labour would do anything to stop it – certainly not before the election.

So it is clear that Liza was making an honest comment on what Mr Smith was saying, based on knowledge of the subject. We know that the Work Capability Assessment has been a catastrophe for people all over the UK. It is based on a system evolved by criminal US insurance firm Unum, designed to be hugely difficult and stressful. The stress of having to prepare for an assessment kills many, as does that of taking it. Some commit suicide when they are refused benefit, some die from the stress of having to appeal. Some who are granted the benefit die from its requirements – like trying to become ready for work in a year if they’re in the work-related activity group of ESA. Some who are granted benefit die from the strain of being reassessed, sometimes at short notice. Death surrounds the process. When Mr Smith said Labour would not oppose the WCA because of the right-wing press, he was tacitly saying Labour is willing to let these fatalities continue – even if he wasn’t actually saying it.

It’s something that some people have found hard to accept, but that is the message being put out to people all across the UK by Labour’s unwillingness to denounce the process and Liza just happened to be the one who stood up and said it.

As a result, it seems she has been hounded off the Internet. She wrote: “Folks, if you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry I’m ok. I’ve given my phone and all means of Internet access to a friend… so that I don’t have to see all the horrible messages I’m being bombarded with.”

Secondly, if Mr Smith’s answer really was a “fudge”, then he has no right to be scandalised by Liza’s response. On Twitter yesterday he claimed it was a “lie”, prompting Yours Truly to put him straight – at length. Perhaps he should apologise for creating the misunderstanding and clarify what he really was saying about Labour’s position instead.

Ah, but (thirdly) he also said that Labour would look at the matter after the election, which touches on something else mentioned in the original article – electoral dishonesty. Voters don’t want a Labour Party that says one thing before the election, in order to keep the press from kicking up a fuss about being “soft on welfare”… and then do another thing after the election. That’s just what the Tories and Liberal Democrats did in 2010. We want a political party that will be honest with its voters and make a firm promise now. Don’t we?

Fourthly, isn’t Labour supposed to be brave enough to fight the right-wing press when it is wrong? What happened to Ed Miliband’s bravado on the subject?

Vox Political has spent nearly two years trying to get the DWP to divulge up-to-date figures on the number of deaths suffered by people going through the claim process that involves the WCA. The last published data – from November 2011 – showed around four deaths every three hours, or 220 per week. That’s a monstrous figure. It seems possible that the DWP may provide new figures soon, and we can hope that the average will be lower – but the sheer weight of punitive measures that have been put in place since 2011 suggests otherwise.

Just as shocking is Labour’s apparent disinterest in changing it. The sheer number of people who have contacted this site – via the comment column, Twitter or Facebook – to say they have tried repeatedly to engage Labour luminaries on the subject, only to get the cold-shoulder, is a scandal in itself.

We’ve already got enough political parties whose leaders are only interested in what they can get for themselves – they’re called the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Labour needs to be better; Labour needs to stand up and do what’s right for everybody.

And that is a big reason why this is so important. Labour is the only party with a hope of kicking the Conservatives back into Opposition. People up and down the country want to support Labour – but can’t, because they don’t believe Labour will support them. That’s the ultimate reason the WCA has to go; it doesn’t help people – it kills them.

If the alternative to being “soft on welfare” is causing the deaths of thousands of people who only asked for the benefits their tax money is supposed to have funded, then ‘One Nation’ Labour cannot afford to have anything to do with it.

Surely you can see that?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
speaking up instead of hushing up.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Clegg the Innocent – Diary of a Benefit Scrounger

Zliberaldemocrats

Sue Marsh published this last week but it is worth highlighting as it shows up the Liberal Democrats for what they are. You can read the full article on Diary of a Benefit Scrounger but here’s a quick summary:

Never has there been a better example of naive little fishes swimming in a vast, Machiavellian pond than Nick Clegg’s “Orange Bookers”.

It’s easy now to forget just how shocking and incomprehensible we all found even the concept of a Tory/LibDem coalition. To forget those 5 surreal days our democracy was in hiatus, holding it’s breath while just 4 men decided the future of our countries behind a locked door. For 5 days and 5 nights, Cameron, Osborne, Alexander and Clegg hammered out their agreement. A vacuum where one day, history would be.

In fact, Vox Political believes Rob Wilson, Tory MP for Reading East, who reckons the Coalition was in fact agreed in March 2010, two whole months before the general election.

After 29 million, 691 thousand, 380 people had voted, in fact they may as well not have bothered. The manifestos they thought they had voted for were discarded along with student trust and the last drop of belief in our political system. The party of civil liberties was artfully convinced to give them up for the promise of a few tempting beans.

Clegg… came out having ceded to Osborne’s right wing economic strategy, with the promise of a referendum on AV that was dependent on boundary changes that would see the Tories gain an almost indefinite majority in the commons, tripling tuition fees and supporting a welfare reform bill that would throw all but the most fortunate to the wolves.

Almost every policy decision for the next 5 years was decided in that room, by those 4 men. Since then, each time democracy has tried to object, she has been silenced with either bribery, dishonesty or the Whip. From using financial privilege to overturn Lord’s amendments and increasing government surveillance measures, to threatening the BBC and deleting old speeches from the internet.

They ripped up disability living allowance and replaced it with personal independence payments in that room, agreeing to slash a random 20% of people with disabilities from the budget – it was in neither manifesto. They awarded themselves 5 years of power with virtually no possibility of challenge the very day they left the room.

Nothing has demoralised me more than watching previously centre left politicians with apparently, well, Liberal values, file into those lobbies, one by one, in support of slashing payments for disabled children, selling off our NHS in piecemeal chunks and slashing legal aid.

What disgusted me, was being assured through it all that the Lib Dems had somehow stopped the worst excesses of the Tories. I have found myself living in a country that has allowed sick and disabled people to die in hunger and despair and they dare speak to me of mitigation?

Now, we start to see the predictable sight of the little fishes trying to swim like mad away from the shark.

But it’s too late to pretend they’re in the wrong pond now. 

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
supplying incisive political analysis!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Delays won’t stop Universal Credit’s ‘cultural change’ – to dishonesty, lies and threats

Sinking Shiplee: Howard Shiplee is the man who has been hired to spread the DWP culture of dishonesty and maladministration across all the major British social security benefits.

Sinking Shiplee: Howard Shiplee is the man who has been hired to spread the DWP culture of dishonesty and maladministration across all the major British social security benefits.

You know a Tory policy is in serious trouble when the Daily Telegraph starts publishing articles criticising it.

Today, Universal Credit is on the Telegraph‘s naughty step – not for the first time! – with current ‘director general’ Howard Shiplee (my word, they love making up impressive names for themselves, don’t they?) admitting it has been “plagued by problems”, as the newspaper’s headline puts it.

These include:

  • Technical problems in the merging of benefit office, HMRC and council IT systems
  • Bureaucratic problems
  • Scheduling problems as the scheme’s timetable has slipped further and further back
  • Personnel problems, with Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Failure Smith claiming official let him down, forcing him to employ private sector experts to get the scheme back on track (but it still isn’t)
  • Poor project management, including poor management of suppliers
  • Lack of transparency, with too much attention focused on what was working and not enough on what wasn’t

The plan was to roll out Universal Credit for all new claimants from October onwards, but this has been scaled back to just six Job Centres. It began in a single Job Centre in April, where calculations have been worked out on paper.

Ministers say the final deadline, to introduce the system for all claimants by 2017, will be met – but it seems increasingly likely that – if Labour wins the 2015 election – the whole plan will be consigned to the political scrapyard where, in this writer’s opinion, it belongs.

But Mr Shiplee said he was working on introducing the “cultural” elements of the proposed scheme while awaiting the development of a new IT system, and you need to know what that means.

It means spreading the culture of dishonesty, that has been bred and nurtured in the DWP’s handling of ESA, to the five other benefits that are to be merged into UC.

They are: Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, tax credits (child and working), housing benefit and budgeting loans.

“This is about changing the way we do business – and changing people’s behaviour by ensuring there is always an incentive to be in work,” said Shiplee. Meaning: We will lie when assessing your claims; we will intentionally mishandle your claim to make it appear that you do not deserve benefit and we will maladminister any appeals; if you do receive benefit, we will harass you to take part in our silly made-up programmes when you could be doing better things; if we find a way to cut you off, or you give up in despair, we will claim that as a positive benefit outcome; and if you suffer hardship, destitution or health problems up to and including death as a result, we will not record them because we can claim it is nothing to do with us.

That is my experience of the DWP, based on Mrs Mike’s experience with ESA.

You’ll be aware that she currently has an appeal against being put into the work-related activity group, based on medical evidence and the expert opinion of a work programme provider. The current word from the DWP is that she must undergo another work capability assessment.

The reason given is that she has claimed her health has deteriorated since her original assessment in 2012 but this is nonsense.

Her appeal was made against the original decision – based on that 2012 assessment. Another WCA won’t have any bearing on that.

Instead, the matter should have gone to a tribunal, as the DWP’s own decision maker failed to make a decision when the case was considered, in April.

That hearing could have taken place by now; instead the DWP has sat on its thumbs and done nothing, waiting for the time-limited claim to come to an end in order to claim – yes – a ‘positive benefit outcome’.

There was no communication with the claimant and therefore there was no way for Mrs Mike to know what was happening until she discovered her benefit had been stopped, a couple of weeks ago.

Now imagine that situation magnified to include not only every ESA claimant, but the many millions of UK citizens who claim all the other main benefits. What do you think will happen when this “cultural” change is applied to them?

Chaos.

Do you claim any benefits? Do you know somebody who does?

If so, you’d better do something about it, before it’s too late.