Tag Archives: drop

Hancock lied yet again: if anything, suicides have INCREASED during the Covid-19 pandemic

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim, it will probably be wrong.

There was a time when lying to Parliament meant immediate expulsion but don’t expect to see deceitful health secretary Matt Hancock thrown out on his ear.

When the whole government is corrupt, he is merely one liar among many.

His latest attempt to mislead us is in the number of people committing suicide.

He told the Commons that figures for England showed a decrease but this is not true.

Here’s Full Fact:

“Some cautiously positive news announced today ​by the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of suicides during the peak of the pandemic was down from 10.3 per 100,000 to 6.9 per 100,000”. – Matt Hancock MP, 1 September 2020

While the figures quoted by Mr Hancock are the latest reported by the ONS, it has clearly said that this data “cannot be used to show the number of suicides with a date of death in 2020, including those that occurred during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic”.

The provisional data, released on 1 September, shows the rate and number of suicide deaths registered up to June 2020. This data reported 10.3 suicides per 100,000 people between January and March (equivalent to 1,262 registered deaths), and 6.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people between April and June, equivalent to 845 registered deaths.

It is important to note that these figures show when these deaths were registered, not when they happened.

The 845 suicides registered in the second quarter of 2020 is the lowest number of any quarter since the figures began in 2001, and the ONS said it is “unlikely that the reduction in registered deaths reflects a genuine reduction in the number of suicides”.

Mr Hancock was wrong to say that suicide deaths fell during the peak of the pandemic, as it is too early for the evidence to show what happened.

Hancock’s lie was all the more blatant when we remember that the ONS – the same organisation whose figures he quoted so wrongly – has reported that suicides in England and Wales last year were at their highest in nearly two decades:

Men accounted for around three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 – 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.
The male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 people was the highest since 2000, but is in line with 2018’s figures.

For women, the rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 – the highest since 2004, but again consistent with the previous year.

Source: There’s no evidence the number of people taking their own life fell during the Covid-19 pandemic – Full Fact

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Is it true that senior Tories tried to bully alleged rape victim into dropping her case?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: it seems he couldn’t be bothered to act on the allegations himself but told the victim to contact the police.

Allegations have arisen on Twitter that senior Tories tried to persuade the alleged victim to drop her case against a Conservative MP, with promises of good jobs if she signs a non-disclosure agreement/accepts a small settlement.

I’m not aware of the source of this claim and would appreciate confirmation – but there is evidence to support the broad meaning of part of it.

The BBC has reported that Tory chief whip Mark Spencer was contacted by the alleged victim in April.

He now insists that she did not make any allegation of serious sexual assault (the current claim is that four incidents took place between July 2018 and January 2020).

Sources also say Spencer had not known the “magnitude” of the allegations.

The BBC continues:

A report in the Daily Telegraph suggested the woman became frustrated after they spoke that nothing was done.

It is also understood the Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, was told by an MP in recent weeks about the claims – with sources saying he had said the woman should contact the police.

So neither Rees-Mogg nor Spencer took appropriate action themselves, at the appropriate time.

Their excuses for failing to do so seem flimsy – to This Writer, at least.

Hopefully we’ll find out the facts if the case comes to court – but that’s a big if.

The number of rape cases coming to court has plummeted since the Tories have been in power.

Perhaps, as Home Secretary and the minister therefore responsible, this is where Priti Patel’s failures lie?

It seems Tories don’t consider it to be a serious crime.

Source: Rape claims against Conservative MP taken ‘very seriously’ – BBC News

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Good news: plan to gerrymander constituency borders for Tories is scrapped

Boris Johnson’s government has given up a plan to cut the number of MPs in the House of Commons.

The Tories have been trying to reduce the number of MPs from 650 to 600 since David Cameron slithered into Downing Street in 2010.

The aim was to change constituency borders in order to deliver Conservative-voting majorities to most UK Parliamentary seats for the foreseeable future.

That plan was hatched when the Conservatives were unable to achieve a majority by themselves; Cameron’s first ministry was a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, headed by Nick Clegg (who?).

But now, with the help of the Brexit-related division Cameron created in his second ministry, Boris Johnson has a huge majority of Tory MPs supporting him.

Ironically, he is saying the Brexit-related workload has pushed constituency reorganisation off the agenda.

Notice that the threat is still there – the Tories are still planning to create constituencies with near-equal numbers of voters, and you can bet they’ll rig it so the majority of voters in the majority of constituencies are theirs.

Like the SNP’s David Linden, This Site welcomes the government’s “screeching U-turn”.

And I agree with Darren Hughes of the Electoral Reform Society who said: “The proposals always seemed more like an executive power grab than a genuine move to improve the function of the Commons, so this is a small but welcome victory for backbenchers and voters.”

Source: Plan to cut the number of MPs axed over ‘Brexit workload’ – BBC News

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Apparently Boris Johnson has no problem with his MPs abusing women

Abusive: Mark Field said he acted in the belief that a peaceful, female Greenpeace protester might be about to do violence. But – in this image – who is attacking whom?

Boris Johnson has quietly dropped a cabinet office investigation into the way former Foreign Office minister Mark Field manhandled a protester during the recent Mansion House dinner.

BoJob seems to think the investigation is no longer needed because he sacked Mr Field from his government role last week (he had been suspended by Theresa May shortly after the incident). According to The Guardian:

Boris Johnson has dropped the Whitehall investigation into Mark Field, the Tory MP who was caught on camera manhandling a Greenpeace activist out of a black-tie dinner.

Johnson has sacked Field from his role as a Foreign Office minister since taking over as prime minister and decided that the investigation was no longer needed.

A No 10 spokesman said: “Mark Field has now left the government. The current PM considers this issue was a matter for the previous PM concerning his conduct during his time as a minister under her appointment.”

But there’s just one problem:

Mr Field remains a Conservative MP. Is this

– really what Mr Johnson considers acceptable behaviour among his backbenchers?

I don’t.

If you do, read this to refresh your memory.

Activist Janet Barker, of Builth Wells, said after the MP assaulted her that she would not press charges, but that Mr Field should attend an anger management course:

Bear in mind that Ms Barker revealed that after he shoved her out of the Mansion House, Mr Field said: “This is what happens when people like you disturb our dinner!”

I wrote at the time: “Make no mistake; when this man said “people like you” to Janet Barker, he meant people like you, dear reader.

“He meant members of the general public who are harmed by Tory policies. He thinks your place is to suffer in silence while he and his kind eat slap-up meals, bought by causing that suffering. He is a fairly typical Conservative in that respect.”

I sincerely hope Ms Barker makes a complaint to the police. It isn’t too late!

And will this have an effect on the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election?

We now have further evidence that Tories can’t be trusted to do anything for ordinary people – but will always cover up for their mates.

In Brecon and Radnorshire, convicted criminal Chris Davies is hoping to win back the seat for the Conservatives.

We already know he is corrupt – that’s why he was convicted.

Considering the behaviour of Mr Field – and now Mr Johnson – one hopes voters will draw the obvious conclusion…

And treat the Tories like the abusive thugs they are.

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Graun reckons Brexit has cut Labour membership – but the figures tell a different story

What are they on about? You could forgive Jeremy Corbyn for facepalming in response to The Guardian‘s claim that Brexit and anti-Semitism are pushing people out of his party.

Fake news rears its head at The Guardian again!

The paper is saying unrest over Labour’s stance on Brexit has led to a 10 per cent fall in the party’s membership, with 6,000 leaving each month in the last two months.

But its own story goes on to state that this drop-off is due to “lapsers” – people who joined in the pro-Corbyn surge following the 2017 general election who have allowed their annual membership to lapse.

They do not show up in membership figures until 18 months after they joined / their last renewal because the party gives them time to choose to renew.

Obviously if these people lapsed their memberships six or seven months ago, they weren’t thinking about Labour’s attitude to Brexit in the EU Parliament elections at that time!

For one thing, we didn’t know we would be taking part in that poll.

Ah, but the Graun reckons “several MPs claim scores of local activists have become disillusioned and drifted away, as a result of what they regard as the party’s ambivalent stance on Brexit”.

Would these be Remainer MPs who think Labour should alienate half the UK’s population by joining demands for a new referendum – which may only confirm the mandate for the nation to leave the EU?

No mention is made of their own views on Brexit so the report omits important information. How are readers supposed to make up their own minds on this if they don’t have all the facts?

Also harmful is the claim that Labour’s attitude to claims of anti-Semitism in the party is turning members away – although this is more nuanced than mainstream rags like the Graun are reporting.

People aren’t merely dismayed that the party may be “institutionally anti-Semitic” as The Guardian (and others) has claimed.

They are also angry that the Labour leadership has not defended itself – and its members – against false accusations but has tried to find excuses to dismiss high-profile members facing them.

So while Labour’s membership has fallen – as is usual in the middle of a Parliamentary term, let’s not forget – the Graun is not being straight over the reasons.

My advice: Don’t take this nonsense at face value. Do your own research. Think for yourself.

Source: Labour membership falls 10% amid unrest over Brexit stance | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour retains Newport West – with lower proportion of the vote, triggering media hysteria. Deservedly?

Smiling: Labour’s Ruth Jones [Image from The Guardian‘s coverage of the Newport West by-election].

No.

Labour’s Ruth Jones has taken the Newport West Parliamentary seat in a by-election prompted by the death of the hugely popular Paul Flynn, but fewer people turned out to vote, Labour’s share of the vote fell, and all parties reported unrest over Brexit on the doorstep.

It doesn’t mean Labour is losing popularity, and it is possible that the result shows support for the party’s policy on Brexit, but media spin may suggest otherwise (especially if you caught the BBC’s Politics Live today (April 5).

I tried to encourage a debate about it on Twitter, and the responses were revealing.

My first tweet was deliberately provocative:

And I followed it up with another that was intended to prompt response, claiming: “It’s pretty close to the most recent opinion polls!”

I was referring to polls that put Labour ahead of the Conservatives, with 41 per cent against the Tories’ 36, according to DeltaPollUK, and you can see that I exaggerated slightly.

Some of the responses took that on board:

https://twitter.com/architectishly/status/1114132499100258306

I took a different tack, pointing out that the seat had been held by veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn for 32 years until his death, and that he had huge personal support – and one response showed up the failings in the arguments above:

So there we are: The result is consistent with previous polls on Newport West, with 2017 being an exception – perhaps a response to the pathetic Conservative campaign and Theresa May’s then-complacent belief that she would win a huge majority against Jeremy Corbyn, allowing her to bulldoze her (as we were to learn) dire Brexit plan over us all.

Newport West is a Labour heartland, and the weather did put some of the electorate off voting. The uptick in percentage support for the smaller parties may be a reflection of the lower turnout.

But the result broadly upheld the findings of recent national opinion polls, and suggests that Labour’s Brexit policy is not a vote-loser.

The big question now is, what kind of Labour MP will Ruth Jones be?

Initial evidence is positive – she opposes Tory austerity that has taken £1 billion in investment away from Wales; she opposes Universal Credit and the huge financial harm it represents to her constituents; and Tory cuts mean fear of crime in her city is rising. On top of that, there is huge controversy over plans to build a new motorway in Newport.

Ms Jones said she regretted the low turnout but was hoping to engage with all voters to ensure their voices are heard and that they re-engage with politics.

That could be difficult, considering the bad publicity that has been attracted by Labour’s own treatment of its members recently.

The National Constitutional Committee, which handles disputes involving Labour members, has been dubbed a “National Kangaroo Court”, and the party has been accused of pandering to its critics, rather than listening to members. The most obvious example is the response to often-spurious claims of anti-Semitism against members who are then automatically treated as guilty before any inquiry takes place, with the results of the disciplinary process pre-determined to support the prejudicial behaviour.

Will Ruth Jones support changes that could restore justice to that process? Or will she keep her head down and allow the wrongs to continue – because supporting justice may create adverse publicity?

We’ll be watching.

Life expectancy falls AGAIN as Tory cuts bite into our health

Residents in post-industrial towns were more likely to die younger than those in the southeast [Image: Getty].

It isn’t that long since people were telling me life expectancy wasn’t dropping.

They said figures showed the increase in the age to which we could hope to live was slowing down.

Would anybody like to suggest that now?

Last April, The Independent reported that men could expect to live to 87, on average, and women to 89.

Now, the same newspaper is saying that, by 2041, the average age of death will be 83.4 for men and 86.2 for women.

That’s a major fall in life expectancy.

And – read the extract below – it’s all due to Conservative government policies. They are engineering early deaths for us all.

Life expectancy in some parts of the UK has plummeted, according to official figures.

By 2041, women will live to 86.2 years and men 83.4 years, projections by the Office for National Statistics showed – a decrease of almost a whole year compared to previous figures released in 2015.

An analysis of the data, conducted by Public Health England, found alarming disparities in longevity by local authority.

Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, said influenza, obesity, alcohol and smoking could largely be ruled out as contributory factors.

“The fall in life expectancy in several geographical areas of England is most likely a result of the effects of public service cuts and austerity,” he said. “Many other possibilities can be ruled out. Rates of smoking and drinking alcohol have fallen in recent years so that cannot be blamed. Between 2009 and very late 2017 there has been no serious influenza outbreak.

“A government that has chosen to make these cuts, and any of the organisations it directly sponsors, will understandably find this very hard to face up to.”

Source: Life expectancy in parts of the UK plummets by more than a year


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Graphic proof that Theresa May causes the problems she blames on Labour

Mad-eyed May: The Maybot is clearly malfunctioning and should be packed back in her box.

Remember this, from Friday:

One of the perils of electing Labour, according to Mrs May in her pretty little speech, is a run on the pound – a drop in its value caused by the actions of the government. This Writer mentioned in my previous article that Mrs May was prone to causing such calamities herself, whenever she gives a speech on Brexit.

Here’s visual evidence of it:


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A job only half-done: Tories SAY they are dropping ESA and PIP Mandatory Reconsideration targets

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign]

The claim that there has never been a Mandatory Reconsideration target for upholding original decisions is, of course, not true.

The Mandatory Reconsideration system was introduced on October 28, 2013, and This Site reported in 2015 that the proportion of ESA decisions overturned by MR had fallen from 35 per cent to 20 per cent – in line with the DWP’s then-secret target.

By the 2016-17 financial year, 87 per cent of MR requests were resulting in the original decisions being upheld.

The fact that the DWP had a target to reject 80 per cent of ESA – and later PIP – appeals at Mandatory Reconsideration was not made public until mid-May this year (2017), when the admission was made in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The revelation prompted an immediate chorus of outrage from organisations that work to protect people with long-term illnesses and disabilities, who rightly pointed out that having a target means the Department for Work and Pensions cannot be trusted to carry out MRs in a trustworthy manner – people who deserved their benefit would be denied it in order to allow the DWP to meet its quota.

Their concerns have been upheld by the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, as you can see in the extract from the UK Parliament website below.

The DWP’s response was to categorically deny the existence of the target and to claim it was simply an “internal measurement”. But the Department has still agreed to drop it.

But will this happen?

It has taken four years to establish that the DWP has this target and force the Department to scrap it. During that time, hundreds of thousands of claimants have had decisions to reject their claim for ESA or PIP upheld. The fact that these decisions were target-based and not evidence-based casts doubt on the entire process.

And what has happened to the people whose claims have been rejected?

It seems clear to This Writer that every claim rejected under the former system should be re-examined – independently. We need to know how many erroneous decisions were not identified and corrected.

Dropping the target alone will leave the job half-done. We need to know how many people were falsely denied their benefits and we need justice for those people.

When may we expect it?

In response to pressure from the Work and Pensions Select Committee the Department for Work and Pensions has announced that its target for upholding original PIP and ESA decisions at the first stage of appeal, known as Mandatory Reconsideration (MR), will be dropped.

On 28 November the Committee wrote to DWP with concerns about MRs, which had come up in the Committee’s current inquiry into the medical assessments carried out by ATOS, Maximus and Capita to inform DWP’s decisions on awards of disability benefits PIP and ESA.

The Committee had heard of “pressure to turn out numbers” in relation to both the original decision and at MR stage, and that MRs simply “rubber stamp” the original decision. The DWP revealed in an FOI request in May 2017 that one of the performance indicators for MRCs was that 80% of the original decisions are to be upheld. The Committee queried how a target for upholding original decisions could be compatible with ensuring that questionable reports are thoroughly investigated, and erroneous decisions identified and corrected. MR should be an important extra safeguard, but instead appears to be creating another “hurdle” in a process that is already arduous and stressful for many claimants, as the Committee has heard directly in nearly 4,000 individual accounts submitted to it.

The Department’s response “categorically state(s) that there has never been a Mandatory Reconsideration target for upholding original decisions”, and that the 80% target, “an internal measurement only used to indicate areas” where there were problems with the original decisions being made, will be dropped.

Commenting on the response, Rt Hon Frank Field MP Chair of the Committee, said

“It is great news that the target has been dropped and we congratulate the Department on this response. This is a great victory for the thousands of PIP and ESA claimants who have responded to our inquiry, and for anyone going through this process, who can now go to the first stage of appealing a benefits decision with more confidence that the reconsideration will be fair and impartial.”

Source: Victory for claimants as Government agrees to drop MR measure – News from Parliament – UK Parliament


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Philip Hammond LIED about effect of disabled workers on the economy; Theresa May defended him. BOTH must pay

Partners in lies: Philip Hammond and Theresa May [Image: The Independent].

Isn’t this enough to justify petitions against both Philip Hammond and Theresa May for Contempt of Parliament?

We have clear evidence that Mr Hammond, giving evidence to MPs on the Commons Treasury Committee, said lower productivity was due to the presence of disabled people in the workforce.

Now we have clear information that Mr Hammond had no reason to make that assertion:

He lied to Parliament.

People are angry about this:

And what did Theresa May have to say about it in Prime Minister’s Questions?

This:

The Chancellor did not express the views that the hon. Lady claims he expressed. This is a Government who value the contribution that disabled people make to our society and to our economy in the workplace. This is a Government who are actually working to ensure that more disabled people get into the workplace. We have had some success; there is more to do, but we will continue to work to ensure that those disabled people who want to work are able to do so.

That’s right – she lied to Parliament.

Charity leaders are furious about this – witness this extract from a Sky News report:

Mark Atkinson, chief executive of charity Scope, told Sky News: “The Chancellor did explicitly link increased participation of disabled people in the workforce with productivity.

“We wrote to the Prime Minister last week to request an explanation for these unacceptable and derogatory comments. There hasn’t been a reply.

“The Chancellor still hasn’t withdrawn his comments, or offered a full apology.

“He has to do this now, before further doubt is thrown onto the Government’s policy to get more disabled people in to work.”

Susan Daniels OBE, chief executive of the National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Given the right support a deaf person can do anything a hearing person can, yet we know that 56% of deaf people have experienced discrimination at work and 25% have left a job as a result.

“In its words and actions the Government needs to show complete commitment to breaking down the barriers to employment for deaf young people and others with disabilities.

“Anything less is unacceptable”

It isn’t merely unacceptable – it borders on hate crime.

The Conservative Party has been victimising disabled people for seven years – seven years in which people with disabilities have seen opportunities for them to gain paid employment diminish markedly – does anybody even remember that Remploy used to be an employer of disabled people? –  while right-wing ‘news’ media have demonised them as scroungers and skivers, determined to spend their entire lives on benefits.

Meanwhile, the – Conservative-run – benefit system has systematically stripped away extra help intended to enable people with disabilities to get jobs. It has cut the amount of benefit payments they receive. Assessors have worked hard to push claimants off disability benefits with false claims that they are faking their disabilities – and have tried to push disabled people towards suicide.

It is in this context that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has lied to Parliament about the role of disabled people in the workplace, and the Prime Minister has lied to Parliament about his comments.

Should they face Contempt of Parliament proceedings?

Yes – of course they should.

And this is exactly the right time for such proceedings.

The government has just lost a key vote on Brexit and has been shown to be weak. A direct attack on the honesty of its two most powerful members – now – could have a far-reaching result.


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