Tag Archives: divide

Deluded, treacherous Keir Starmer thinks he can win elections after splitting the Labour Party

The only response Keir Starmer deserves: his treatment of Ken Loach is just one reason this nasty little creature and his cronies deserve our contempt.

This is one of the rare occasions when This Writer actually feels sympathy for Laura Bloody Kuenssberg.

The Bane of BBC News must have needed a disinfecting shower after Labour non-leader ‘Little Keir’ Starmer opened his mouth and ejaculated a stream of pure bullsh*t over her, as appears to have happened today (September 28).

She has faithfully transcribed the incident in a BBC report that we can analyse. Prepare to be sickened.

The headline reads: “Winning election more important than unity, says Sir Keir Starmer.” What an odd thing to say when no UK political party has ever won an election if the public perceived it to be divided.

In the text of the article he explained that he came into politics “to go into government to change millions of lives” – but that is clearly not going to happen. He has spent the whole of the Labour conference positioning himself as ‘Continuity Johnson’ – a ‘safe’ pair of hands for the Establishment (whoever that is) to hand the government, on the strict understanding that he won’t change anything at all.

He’ll never change millions of lives – unless he can find ways to make them even worse than the Tories have.

He said he didn’t come into politics to “lose and then tweet about it”.

Fair comment. After he lost at Chesham and Amersham, Starmer didn’t tweet about it, despite having tweeted regularly, up until polling day on June 17:

Afterwards – nothing. If you lose an election in Keir Starmer’s Labour, he won’t acknowledge your efforts or those of everybody who came to help you; it will be as though you never existed.

That’s the kind of leader he is: the kind whose only interest is his own image. The kind that nobody wants.

Kuenssberg’s article goes on to say that Starmer called on “every single Labour Party member and supporter” to have the same focus on the ballot box as he did.

In other words: your principles mean nothing – abandon them. All that matters is that Keir Starmer wins and takes power for himself.

I don’t think that’s a stance that Labour Party members will accept. Not those who joined to make the UK better, at least. His privileged, parachuted-in, right-wing cronies will be all for it, of course.

But most Labour members do have principles. They joined because they thought the party stood for something.

Over the 18 months of his non-leadership, Starmer has stripped away Labour’s policies until there was nothing left. He then spent the last few days at conference offering a new set of policies that were either dismissible as outright lies or unacceptable to anybody who holds the ideals for which Labour was originally formed.

Explaining his thinking, Starmer said: “Two years ago we were here in Brighton at Labour party conference and within a few short months we’d crashed to the worst general election results since 1935. I am not prepared to let that happen and if that means tough decisions to change our party, which is what I did on Sunday, I am going to take those tough decisions.”

How disingenuous. Starmer knows that Labour lost in 2019 because right-wing factionalists within the party had spent the previous two years undermining previous leader Jeremy Corbyn, in terror at how close the UK had come to having a transformative, socialist Labour government in 2017.

Starmer himself spent the early part of his term as leader protecting those people from scrutiny and presenting the most feeble excuses possible for doing so (think of the lawsuit brought by the former party officers who took part in the BBC’s Panorama non-documentary, Is Labour Antisemitic; advised that he would win, Starmer instead paid off the litigants at huge cost to party members).

This Writer is not the only person who can see what he has done. We all can. Most of us were disgusted by this failure of leadership. And here he was, defending it. Weak.

Kuenssberg wrote: “He was … asked why he did not seem to inspire Labour members in the same way his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn did.”

I have scanned the article thoroughly, but could not find any answer to the question, anywhere in it. Starmer evaded the question completely. Perhaps he knows that he will never inspire Labour members – and certainly not voters – in the way Corbyn did.

So he avoided answering. I think he knows that he will get his response at the ballot box – if he even gets that far.

Because Starmer’s continued leadership of the Labour Party is by no means a foregone conclusion. He was elected on the basis of 10 pledges – all of which he subsequently abandoned.

“The world has changed since they were made,” he pleaded. Not very much!

“I stand by the principles and the values that are behind the pledges I made.” That is only believable if we take those principles and values to be treachery and dishonesty.

“But the most important pledge I made is that I would turn our party into a party that would be fit for government.” And that is yet another pledge broken.

If Starmer became leader in the role of a doctor, come to heal the ailments that have led voters to consider Labour unfit, then his subsequent actions are equivalent to breaking the patient’s arms and legs, blinding them, injecting them with acid and unplugging their life-support machine.

This Writer feels defiled, simply reading the article and writing about it afterwards. There is something inherently unpleasant about Starmer and his approach to politics.

I remember with distaste the way he cold-shouldered a party activist who wanted to discuss how Labour would tackle climate change. Faced with the result of a conference vote that fully-endorsed the activist’s views, his lieutenant Rachel Reeves then adopted much of what had already been approved, as if it had been the party leadership’s idea.

That’s nauseating.

So.

How does he think he can win?

If he’s honest with himself, I think he’s relying on the claim – over-employed by his adherents – that there simply isn’t any other choice. “If you don’t support Starmer, you’re supporting the Tories,” they lie.

The reason is as described above: Starmer is “Continuity Johnson”. And there is no point in replacing the Tories with a party that is exactly the same – or, in Starmer’s case, very slightly worse.

After this week’s conference, Labour members across the UK will be taking a long, hard look at the party they joined, and asking themselves if it measures up to their standards.

You see, UK politics is too often characterised as tribal – join our tribe, support our tribe; you have no other choice.

That’s not acceptable now; not when the two main tribes are as close to the same as makes no real difference.

It is time for us all to compare what the UK’s political parties – all of them – have to offer us with what we actually want.

If they won’t offer it, then we need to walk away…

,,, and start a movement of our own that does.

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/


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

Labour leader candidates sign Board of Deputies’ pledges in bid to become completely unelectable

Rogues’ gallery: Five of the six Labour leader candidates have signed up to the Board of Deputies’ undemocratic, divisive and damaging list of pledges. Only Clive Lewis has had the good sense to decline (so far) – and he is struggling to get enough nominations from fellow MPs to get on the ballot paper!

This is either an act of unutterable stupidity or a conscious betrayal of the entire Labour Party membership – and four of the five leadership hopefuls have committed it.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews – a self-appointed organisation claiming to represent Jews in the UK, believed to be composed mostly of Conservative voters – has released a list of 10 pledges  – in fact demands – its members claim Labour must support “in order to begin healing its relationship with the Jewish community”.

The Board of Deputies has no right to claim that it represents all British Jews; it doesn’t.

As for the list – let’s have a look:

“1. Resolve outstanding cases: All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale.”

This is an insult to justice. Cases take as long as they take – otherwise more innocent parties will fall victim to miscarriages of justice, as has already happened in the cases of Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Chris Williamson and myself, to name only a few.

“2. Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent: An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism.”

And how is that supposed to happen? The Board of Deputies will be certain to demand a veto on any organisation chosen to carry out such work, ensuring that its disciplinary process could not be independent. This demand also conflicts with pledge 7, below. Come to that, it’ll be a neat trick marrying this up with pledge 10.

“3. Ensure transparency: Key affected parties to complaints, including Jewish representative bodies, should be given the right to regular, detailed case updates, on the understanding of confidentiality.”

This is a demand for access to confidential information about party members to be provided to people from outside organisations who may belong to organisations that oppose the Labour Party. I’ve already mentioned the BoD’s apparent preference for Conservative government; who else would want access under this unreasonable demand. And isn’t it contrary to the Data Protection Act?

“4. Prevent readmittance of prominent offenders: It should be made clear that prominent offenders who have left or been expelled from the party, such as Ken Livingstone or Jackie Walker, will never be readmitted to membership.”

This Writer is currently in the process of court action against the Labour Party over its decision to wrongfully expel me. If I succeed, then the party will be legally bound to readmit me, no matter what some third party like the BoD may think. This is simply an attempt to prevent Labour from reconsidering decisions to expel innocent members under false pretences.

“5. Provide no platform for bigotry: Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”

This is a blatant attempt to thin out the party, ensuring that it remains too weak to win any future election. All members who were falsely accused have supporters who remain members, but this means anyone saying anything remotely supportive will face automatic suspension and possible expulsion. It is a fascistic attempt to exert control. And if anyone signing up to this pledge becomes leader, it will probably be unnecessary as the exodus is likely to be thunderous. People who have supported me have already indicated their disgust with Labour’s behaviour over the last few years, and a willingness to leave of their own accord.

“6. Adopt the international definition of antisemitism without qualification: The IHRA definition of antisemitism, with all its examples and clauses, and without any caveats, will be fully adopted by the party and used as the basis for considering antisemitism disciplinary cases.”

The man who wrote the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism is on the record as saying that it has been weaponised by hard right-wing characters to demand support for criminal activities by the government of Israel. It was intended to be a working definition and is flawed in that it can be interpreted as demanding that anyone criticising the Israeli government should be treated as an anti-Semite.

See for yourself:

“7. Deliver an anti-racism education programme that has the buy-in of the Jewish community: The Jewish Labour Movement should be reengaged by the Party to lead on training about antisemitism.”

So much for “make the Party’s disciplinary process independent”. Labour has, in the past, told members to take anti-Semitism training from the JLM, but those members would be fools to accept it as the JLM has been known to fake evidence in order to get party members expelled.

“8. Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups: Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through fringe organisations and individuals.”

This is an example of genuine anti-Semitism. The Board of Deputies is trying to ensure that groups representing a more common-sense attitude, like Jewish Voice for Labour and Jewdas, are denied a voice. That’s denying Jewish people a right to self-determination, and it’s a claim that members of this organisation are “the wrong kind of Jew”. Despicable. It’s also undemocratic, of course.

“9. Communicate with resolve: Bland, generic statements should give way to condemnation of specific harmful behaviours – and, where appropriate, condemnation of specific individuals.”

An attempt to turn the anti-Semitism circus that Labour has become into a full-on witch-hunt. The demand for individuals accused of anti-Semitic behaviours to be named is a malicious attempt to blacken the names of people who may be perfectly innocent.

“10. Show leadership and take responsibility: The leader must personally take on the responsibility of ending Labour’s antisemitism crisis.”

The leader has always been responsible for tackling claims of discriminatory behaviour by party members. But this is a contradiction as the Board of Deputies is trying to claim seniority over the party leader – make the leader kowtow to its demands. That is simply unacceptable.

But five out of the six leadership candidates have signed up to it: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry.

And deputy leadership candidates Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray has also backed the pledges.

None of these turncoats should be allowed to have any position of authority – at all – in the Labour Party.

Already the move has put people off joining Labour – like Michael Siva, below:

And others both within the party and outside have voiced their outrage:

It goes on and on. These probably aren’t even among the strongest examples.

The Board of Deputies – and their Labour-hating allies – are undoubtedly loving the division they’ve caused. If party members elect a leader who supports these pledges, the resulting split could plunge us into far right-wing dictatorship for decades.

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/


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

Brexit: Tory ‘divide-and-rule’ tactics won’t work in the EU

Unfocused: Theresa May has no chance of convincing European leaders that her vague Brexit is a good idea. Emmanuel Macron is clear about the EU’s position, and his own – and he is in the best position to get what he wants.

Theresa May doesn’t have a hope.

She is in France at the moment, trying to inflict the Conservative Party’s classic ‘divide-and-rule’ game on the European Union by approaching national leaders, rather than negotiating with Michel Barnier and the European Commission.

This is a strategy that was suggested last week by nascent Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who seems keen to follow his record of smashing up the National Health Service by making an even worse hash of the UK’s relations with other countries.

He said: “The probability of no deal is increasing by the day until we see a change of approach from the European Commission who have this view that they just need to wait and Britain will blink. That is just a profound misunderstanding of us as a nation.

“There is real chance of no deal by accident. Everyone is assuming, no, no, no, this will never happen. Well, actually, it could.

“France and Germany have to send a strong signal to the commission that we need to negotiate a pragmatic and sensible outcome that protects jobs on both sides of the Channel because for every job lost in the UK, there will be jobs lost in Europe as well if Brexit goes wrong.”

Mr Barnier has already gone on the record to poo-pooh Mr Hunt’s suggestion.

He said: “Anyone who wants to find a sliver of difference between my mandate and what the heads of government say they want are wasting their time, quite frankly.”

I believe him.

You see, Tory ‘divide-and-rule’ depends on ignorance. It works in the UK because, when they say something divisive – about immigrants, say – they have the support of the right-wing press and the BBC.

These media channels pump fake news at the masses, polarising opinions to receive the desired effect.

Then the Tories get what they want and can inflict all kinds of damage while blithely claiming that public opinion is on their side.

But the leaders of countries like France (and Germany, for that matter) don’t rely on biased media sources for their facts.

They gather their own information and make their own judgements. And they won’t be swayed from their opinion that Mrs May’s vague notions about relations between the UK and the EU after Brexit are utter bilge.

She might try blackmail of some kind – Mr Hunt’s comments suggested she could threaten the EU with job losses – but, again, she has the weaker hand.

She will come away from this meeting looking like a fool.

What am I saying?

I meant, she’ll come away looking like a bigger fool than she already is.

Theresa May’s hopes of prising away Emmanuel Macron from the rest of the European Union to sign up to her Chequers vision for Brexit looked tenuous on the eve of the pair’s crunch talks.

But while senior Whitehall sources warned that the French president would be tough to win over, they suggested that his influence could prove vital in swaying the rest of the EU27 member states if May were successful.

The UK has launched a diplomatic offensive, with the business secretary, Greg Clark, the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, all meeting their French counterparts in the past week. It is part of the strategy to go over the heads of the European commission and engage with national leaders directly.

Source: May prepares for talks with Macron that could make or break Brexit plan | Politics | The Guardian

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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

Brexit and the economy are inseparable and MPs are right to refuse ‘no deal’ while the cabinet splits

Imagine this container ship almost empty.
That would be what happens if Mrs May’s government remains divided over Brexit – with a knock-on, disastrous effect on the economy [Image: Reuters].

Cast your eyes over the following Twitter thread by Paul Mason:

With the above in mind, the following makes sense:

A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans that would make it impossible for Theresa May to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal in 2019. The move comes amid new warnings that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy.

One critical aim of the group – which includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several Conservative ex-ministers, together with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs – is to give parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a “bad deal” or “no deal” outcome.

Concern over Brexit policy reached new heights this weekend after the prime minister told the House of Commons that her government was spending £250m on preparations for a possible “no deal” result because negotiations with Brussels had stalled.

(Source: MPs move to block Theresa May from signing ‘no deal’ Brexit)

The issue is that Theresa May’s cabinet has split and there is no clarity on the way forward. This leaves the UK looking weak to foreign leaders – and a bad investment to foreign businesses. They won’t want to locate here and they certainly won’t want to spend their money on our goods. And home-grown companies – with the wherewithal to do so – will leave

That would be disastrous for the UK’s economy – the money would simply dry up.

So MPs who have more than their own interests, or even those of the Conservative Party, at heart have drawn up amendments to the current EU Withdrawal Bill, in a bid to force a united position on weakling prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet of chaos.

The immediate result is that committee stage discussion of the Bill will be held back while representatives of each party try to work out a compromise version of it that a majority can support.

This may not be possible.

If not, then the minority Conservative government is facing a serious – if not fatal – crisis.

Brexit is the issue Theresa May demanded a mandate to handle, and she didn’t get it.

With Parliament deadlocked, it is looking increasingly likely that she will be unable to deliver any agreement.

In such a situation, it is not beyond possibility that we will find ourselves facing another election.

And all the while, the clock is ticking down to the deadline for our departure from the EU. These are dangerous times – and our future is in the hands of fools.


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

Grenfell Tower and the social divide: If this doesn’t make you angry, what’s wrong with you?

On the day we heard Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow admit he felt he was on the wrong side of the social divide while reporting on the Grenfell Tower fire, we learn that former residents of the tower are still – still – being ill-treated by the authorities.

Mr Snow, delivering the MacTaggart lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival, spoke movingly about one of the victims – 12-year-old Firdaws Hashim, who had won a school public debating competition of which he was a judge just weeks before the disaster – and others who had lost their lives, along with those who had warned that a disaster was likely, before it took place:

And yet, how do we find out about the following?

https://twitter.com/xugla/status/900654480710139905

Through the social media.


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!

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
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

Evasive Theresa May seems unable to answer any question – especially on Trident

This Writer has been a little unwell over the weekend so I wasn’t actually able to watch Theresa May’s car-crash interview on Andrew Marr’s show this morning (January 22). From the responses on Twitter I missed a classic display of attempted evasion.

From what she didn’t say, she appears to have colluded in hiding the failure of a Trident missile test from MPs before they voted on renewing the rubbish nuclear weapons programme for hundreds of billions of pounds:

Jeremy Corbyn had this to say about it:

And consider this:

It is now clear that she definitely wants to turn the UK into a tax haven – to your (and my) disadvantage:

And she tried to pretend that her party’s ‘divide and conquer’ rhetoric was “bringing the UK together as a country” (we know the Scots and Northern Irish are desperate to leave):

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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!

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
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

Challenged to defend their record of persecution against the disabled, Tories have nothing to say

Debbie Abrahams in the House of Commons.

Debbie Abrahams in the House of Commons.

How pleasant to hear this said in a Parliamentary debate, with not a single word of denial from the Conservative Government:

“Last week there was an amazing sequence of events. On Monday, the Secretary of State told me that he could not publish … data because they were not kept, and told me to stop scaremongering; on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that they would be published; and this was swiftly followed by the Government saying that they were appealing against the Information Commissioner’s ruling, stating that publishing these data would lead to ‘probable misinterpretations’ and ‘was too emotive…and wasn’t in the public interest’. What an absolute shambles!”

This was part of the speech by Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, in a debate on ‘welfare reform and people with disabilities’, called by her to set the scene for any measures against the disabled that George Osborne is considering for his July budget. As the Government prepares to cut £12 billion from the annual social security budget next week, there are real concerns that – in addition to potentially slashing tax credits for the working poor – they will cut further support for working-age people with disabilities.

She was referring, of course, to the government’s increasingly confused response to This Writer’s request for an honest answer to the question, ‘How many people have died while claiming Employment and Support Allowance between November 2011 and May 2014 (the date of my request)?” But wait! She continued:

“I could not disagree more. This is definitely in the public interest. As a former public health academic, I am more than aware of the strict criteria for establishing causality, but there are no grounds for not publishing numbers of actual deaths as well as the Government-proposed standardised mortality ratios, including those who died within six weeks of being found fit for work. Will the Minister now confirm when these data will be published?

Dear reader, it falls to This Writer to report that not one word came back from the Government benches – not even when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Justin Tomlinson (who?) got onto his hind legs to give the Government’s response to the debate.

You can sign the petition demanding that the Government end its appeal against the order to publish the statistics, and provide the figures to the public, on the Change.org website.

She also asked when the Government will publish redacted information on the circumstances of the deaths of claimants who died while sanctioned, and what changes the DWP instigated in the light of reviews of these deaths – and whether the significant surge in suicide rates for both men and women since 2010— particularly for working-age men—is being analysed by the DWP. No response.

The Government doesn’t have anything to say to the sick, disabled or vulnerable, and even less to say about them.

Ms Abrahams began her speech by pointing out, “It is poignant that this debate falls on the very day that the Independent Living Fund closes. A further £1.2 billion is being cut from support for people with disabilities. Such cuts were a hallmark of the Tory-led coalition, and many are concerned that not only will this increase but the cuts will get worse under this Government.

“I … want to draw attention to the punitive and dehumanising culture that has been part of the delivery of these welfare reforms, which set the tone for the leadership within the Department for Work and Pensions and the Government’s wider tone on social security.”

Here’s a quick precis of the facts: She said that, by 2018, £23.8 billion of support would have been taken from 3.7 million people with disabilities, according to Demos. The measures include:

  • Indexation of social security payments was changed from the higher retail prices index to the lower consumer prices index
  • There was also a 1% cap on the uprating of certain working-age benefits.
  • People on incapacity benefit were reassessed.
  • The time that disabled people in the work-related activity group are able to receive the employment and support allowance was limited.
  • Disabled people in receipt of disability living allowance are being reassessed to determine whether they are eligible for the personal independence payment.
  • Disability benefits are approximately 15% of average earnings. With the recent changes—the 1% uprating and the indexation to the consumer prices index—they will fall even further below those in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • People with disabilities are twice as likely to live in persistent poverty as non-disabled people: 80% of disability-related poverty is caused by extra costs. This has implications for disabled people’s families – a third of all families living in poverty include one disabled family member.
  • Since the Government’s new sanctions regime, the rate of sanctioning of people on IB and ESA has doubled.

She said part of the Government’s strategy has been the “invidious” spreading of a culture of blame and fear.

“In the 1980s we saw the unions being targeted; today the focus is on the poor and the vulnerable.

“The narrative associated with the so-called welfare reforms has been one of divide and rule, deliberately attempting to vilify people who receive social security as the new undeserving poor.

“The Government have spread a culture of pejorative language, such as “shirkers” and “scroungers”. They have intentionally attempted to demonise social security recipients, including disabled people.

“The innuendo that people with a disability or illness might be faking it or are feckless is, quite frankly, grotesque… Unfortunately, the regular misuse of statistics is another way that the Government are trying to harden the public’s attitude.

“The facts are that, in an ageing population, the largest proportion of social security recipients are pensioners and not, as is often implied, the workshy.”

The whole debate can be found here.

Additional: It has been pointed out to me that Mr Tomlinson stated: “We will be publishing them [sic] the mortality stats—I know the hon. Lady is keen to see them soon; we would all like to see them as soon as possible.” Since he did not define the form those statistics would take, nor did he provide a firm date on which they would be published, it seems clear that what he did say was as near to nothing as makes no odds.

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
fighting for the facts.

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

Not tartan Tories, but the SNP have learned from ‘divide and conquer’ Tory tactics

scots2

Look at this – the Tories are proposing that Scottish MPs will not have the power to set Income Tax rates outside of Scotland, as part of devolution. This means Scottish MPs won’t be able to set any Income Tax rates at all, as Scottish taxes will be set by the Scottish Parliament.

This is an annoying complication for the system, created by the Tories in response to the plans for Scottish devolution. It is divisive on many levels. People in Scotland and the rest of the UK will be watching rates in each other’s territories like hawks, ready to complain at the slightest sign that they are getting a worse deal. Scottish MPs will effectively have less power than their counterparts in England, Wales and NI – will they be happy about that? The Welsh and Northern Irish will be pushing for similar powers, that would give their own MPs less power than those in England. People in England might just be unhappy that their Income Tax rates will be set by Conservatives, who hold more seats in England than anyone else. And Conservative MPs are already saying that Scottish MPs will still have too much influence.

Resentments will grow – but isn’t this what the Scottish National Party wants? Hasn’t it learned that the best way to have its way is to divide the opposition?

Isn’t that why SNP adherents have been spreading lies about the Labour Party north of the border? Claims about pensions, the Vow, working with the Tories and who knows what else are always made as bald statements because there is no evidence to support them, other than that they don’t lead to a fully independent Scotland.

Divide and rule – it’s an age-old Tory tactic. We all know that super-rich bankers caused the crash that provided George Osborne with his excuse to impose austerity on us all. But the Tory lie is that the previous Labour government overspent, and the Tory tactic has been to victimise claimants of unemployment and disability benefits under the pretext that they are skivers and scroungers. They’re not – these benefits are correctly claimed in 99.3 per cent of cases.

And pensioners have all this to come from 2016, if the Tories retain office in May!

Note that the measures proposed by William Hague today fall short of the English Parliament that many people wanted. The Tories know what they’re doing, you see – they want to spread resentment against the Scots. It’s the “Us” and “Them” mentality.

Note that Labour wants a cross-party investigation into the matter. No doubt the ScotsNats will call that “weak” if they get the chance.

So why this strategy by the ScotsNats?

Are they trying to irritate the rest of us so much – by their own admission they don’t think they have any influence on national politics, so this must mean they can only be an irritant – that, sick and tired of their nonsense, we end up declaring, in Cromwellian tones, “In the name of God, go”?

How would Scottish citizens who haven’t been seeking independence, and who haven’t been causing such annoyance, feel about being cut adrift with the rest of them?

And how would the rest of the world treat an independent Scotland whose leaders (and their supporters) had been shown to have been acting in such a childish way?

It seems to this writer that this divide-and-rule strategy marks the Scottish Nationalists as far too similar to the Tories than either would care to admit.

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
poking holes in the overblown claims of politicians.

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

Class divide in the arts – are they just for the toffs?

Charley's War: Top-flight comic-book drama that wouldn't be seen today - too working-class.

Charley’s War: Top-flight comic-book drama that wouldn’t be seen today – too working-class.

How many of you were on James Blunt’s side in his very public spat with Chris Bryant MP?

And now that Julie Walters has weighed in, saying Mr Bryant was right? What do you think now?

The Labour MP had claimed British culture was dominated by stars like Blunt and Eddie Redmayne, who benefited from a privileged background. Blunt took offence and they had a highly-publicised row about it.

But top actress Julie Walters agrees. Quoted in The Guardian‘s Weekend magazine, she said: “People like me wouldn’t have been able to go to college today. I could because I got a full grant. I don’t know how you get into it now. Kids write to me all the time and I think: I don’t know what to tell you.”

She said the problem extends to writers as well: “Working-class kids aren’t represented. Working-class life is not referred to. It’s really sad. I think it means we’re going to get loads more middle-class drama. It will be middle-class people playing working-class people, like it used to be.”

With Downton Abbey, written by the extremely plummy Julian Fellowes – otherwise known as Baron Fellowes of West Stafford, winning a National Television Award for Best Drama last week, she has a point.

The prejudice also seems to extend to all areas of the arts – even comics, as veteran writer Pat Mills explained in his own blog.

“Many people in our industry regard Charley’s War – featuring a working class hero, produced by working class-oriented creators with a strong anti-establishment agenda – as the greatest British comic strip. Middle Class comic aficionados would be far happier if it was a strip more oriented to their tastes, and – sadly – I have come across plenty of evidence to bear this out.

“Thus today it would be hard for a new Charley’s War to be originated in any format. The middle classes now dominate all media.

“But it’s some comfort to me that it secretly chokes them that a working class, not very bright, and very British hero, comes out way ahead of the icons they prefer. It’s a victory for mainstream comics, and mainstream readers, which I know many of them secretly despise.”

When the working classes are even prohibited from comics, you know there’s a problem. What are you going to do about it?

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
discussing the increasing gentrification of the mass media.

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

 

UKIP and the Conservatives – more similarities than differences?

No control: Nigel Farage in front of one of his party's anti-immigration posters. He says he doesn't hate foreigners; judge for yourself. [Image: BBC]

No control: Nigel Farage in front of one of his party’s anti-immigration posters. He says he doesn’t hate foreigners; judge for yourself. [Image: BBC]

Isn’t it interesting that the first of the large political organisations to descend into UKIP-style racism is the Conservative Party?

The BBC has reported that both have lost council candidates after they made anti-Islamic comments on the social media.

From UKIP, Harry Perry (candidate in the Offerton Ward, Stockport) was suspended after calling for Pakistan to be “nuked”, saying David Cameron was a “gay-loving nutcase”, Muslims were “devil’s kids” and homosexuality an “abomination before God”.

UKIP’s official line is that it has started disciplinary proceedings against this man and did not condone his “crackpot” views.

Nigel Farage has admitted his party contains “some idiots”, but added that the reporting of such problems within UKIP was “disproportionate”.

Then along came David Bishop (candidate in Brentwood South, Essex) to prove that the Tories have these problems too.

This man has resigned from the party after passing messages including one that said Islam was “the religion of… rape” and another that read “How CAN a gay guy keep a straight face?”

In a statement, he said, “I recognise that someone standing for public office should show leadership and seek to unite communities, not divide them.”

Isn’t dividing communities what both the Conservatives and UKIP are best at?

Self-preservation society: The Tory "all in it together" attitude, clarified here by Conservative poster-boy Michael Caine.

Self-preservation society: The Tory “all in it together” attitude, clarified here by Conservative poster-boy Michael Caine.

The Conservatives want you to believe that “We are all in this together”, but it seems clear that some of us are more “in this” than others – are we all “in this” with the “scroungers”, or “skivers” (the Tory label for people their policies have forced out of work and onto the state benefits for which they have paid all their lives)? Are we all “in this” with our fellow citizens who were unfortunate enough not to “sound British” (like those who were stop-checked during Theresa May’s ‘Go Home’ van campaign last summer)? They were encouraging people to accuse their neighbours; how divisive can they get?

What about the changes to pensions? Are the MPs who have “transitional” protection that will allow them to draw their extremely large, taxpayer-funded pensions at the same time as they always expected “in this” with those of us who are now having to work six years longer than we planned?

Of course not.

As for UKIP, try this comment from a UKIP supporter on the Vox Political Facebook page: “Britain is now full of multiregional people from other countries, by winning their vote he can sort out the rubbish later & give Britain back to the English!”

(English? I wonder how the Welsh, Northern Irish, and particularly the referendum-bound Scottish react to that.)

This person continued: “Not racist, just plain common sense!!!! The British want their Britain back.”

I asked then – and I ask now: “Does that include the Afro-Caribbean British, the Indian-British, the Pakistani-British, the southeast-Asian-British, the Polish-British (including both recent arrivals and those who stayed after World War II), British people whose racial origins are from any other part of the former British Empire or current Commonwealth – or just white Anglo-Saxon Britons like you and me, who are in fact descended from people of French and German origin?”

(Even this omits another foreign-descended group – those with Viking blood.)

I could never use my vote to support anyone who put forward such vile opinions; they are not “common sense” and the people spouting them are those who have no place here.

It doesn’t matter where our ancestors were born – we are all One Nation now.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook