Tag Archives: Equalities Act

Are ALL the anti-Semitism screamers going to turn out to be religious bigots?

Facepalm: one can imagine Jeremy Corbyn’s shocked ‘not in my name’ response to what’s going on here – if he’s ever asked about it.

I suppose it was inevitable that the people who have been screaming about Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism wouldn’t know when to stop – but they’ve really shot their feet off this time, let alone their mouths.

After an attack piece against Jeremy Corbyn led to a complaint of hate crime because it featured these words…

Corbynism has multiple weird parallels with Christianity – they share a saviour concept, and an enemy in Jews

… I published a piece suggesting that the words of the author, one Tanya Gold, as published in a newspaper, may not only be a hate crime as defined by the Equalities Act 2010, but may also be incitement to others to commit such crimes.

Within less than a day, this already seems to have come true:

The comment is clearly wrong because it proceeds from a false premise: the original claim was that Jews were the enemies of Christians (it was Jews who were actively opposed to Christians) and not the other way around.

I am reminded of one of the pillars of Christianity, which is the phrase, “Turn the other cheek.” It advocates pacifism.

In this particular case, though, it seems clear that such a course will not deter the aggressor, so I certainly recommend recourse to a legal solution.

In other words, let’s make sure the bigot referenced above, along with anyone else suggesting that either Christians hate Jews or (as Ms Gold suggested) Jews hate Christians, is reported to the police for hate crime, and for inciting it in others.

It’s the only way to stop them.


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Jewish Chronicle attack piece on Jeremy Corbyn leads to police hate complaint

Jeremy Corbyn: he doesn’t talk about his own religious beliefs, describing them as “personal”, but he does say there is a Jewish element in his ancestry – probably from Germany. So why is a Jewish Chronicle writer apparently using him to incite hatred by Jews against Christians?

An article in the Jewish Chronicle attacking Jeremy Corbyn has been reported to the police as a religious hate crime.

Here’s the offending passage, re-presented for us by Aaron Bastani of Novara Media:

It was reported to the police by Simon Maginn, whose It Was A Scam hashtag about the anti-Semitism hysteria whipped up against Mr Corbyn generated considerable hatred towards him personally.

He tweeted:

Then he had a short dialogue with the article’s author…

… that had this result:

Personally, I think any claim that Jews are enemies of Christians, that is based on words in the Bible, would need to be justified in a modern context.

Of course, if Ms Gold is stating that Jewish people – as a group – actively consider themselves to be enemies of Christians, and is able to justify that statement in the way I have described, then the Jewish people she mentions are definitely in breach of the Equalities Act 2010 and should be punished under UK law.

If the matter goes to law, my instinct tells me only Ms Gold will be found to have infringed the law – but her words, published in a newspaper, may be considered incitement.

Put it all together and I can see the JC picking up yet another judgment against it.


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Vigil to support judicial review for ESA claimants with mental health issues

Vigil: This was taken when the case was appealed in October 2013.

Vigil: This was taken when the case was appealed in October 2013.

Does anybody fancy helping create a stir outside the Royal Courts of Justice next week? Don’t worry, you shouldn’t get arrested.

The courts will be the venue for the judicial review of government policy regarding claimants of Employment and Support Allowance who have mental health issues, from July 7-9. That’s between Monday and Wednesday next week.

On Tuesday (July 8), the Mental Health Resistance Network, supported by Disabled People Against Cuts, will be holding a vigil at the front entrance of the Royal Courts of Justice building on The Strand, between midday and 2pm.

The aim is to highlight the important issues around the case.

This should help: Buses 4,11,15,23,26,76,172 and 341 all stop at the front of the Royal Courts of Justice, 171, 188, 243, 521 and X68 stop at Kingsway and Aldwych Junction nearby. The nearest underground station is Temple (District Line), Holborn (Central and Piccadilly Line) and Chancery Lane, (Central Line).

Anyone with stories of how you have been affected by the Work Capability Assessment is invited to come and share them – and support the fight for justice.

So how about it?

DPAC’s website has this to say about the judicial review: “Two people who claim benefits on mental health grounds initiated a judicial review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), supported by the Mental Health Resistance Network (MHRN). In May 2013, the judges presiding over the case ruled that the WCA places mental health claimants at a “substantial disadvantage” and that the DWP should make “reasonable adjustments” to alleviate this.

“Often mental health claimants struggle to provide further medical evidence to support their claim for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and may not be able to accurately self report how their mental health conditions affect them, either when completing forms or at face to face assessments. Many claimants are wrongly found fit for work and subjected to the stress of appealing the decision.

“The claimants who brought the case, DM and MM, asked the court to rule that the DWP should be responsible for obtaining further medical evidence at every stage of the process to improve the chances of a more accurate decision being reached about whether a person is able to work or to start preparing for work and to avoid the need for a face to face assessment in cases where this would be especially distressing for the claimant. In addition, claimants who are at risk of suicide or self harm would be more likely to be identified. In such cases, regulations 29/35 would apply. These regulations are intended to reduce risk of harm but the DWP often fail to identify who they apply to.

“The Department for Work and Pensions appealed the judgement. Their appeal arguments were mainly concerned with legal technicalities but in December 2013 the judges issued a ruling that upheld the original judgement in May. The DWP did not launch a second appeal.

“Under the Equalities Act of 2010, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to mitigate any disadvantages experienced by disabled people. The forthcoming hearing will be concerned with establishing what adjustments the DWP should make to the WCA process. We already know from the original hearing that they plan to run a pilot study to assess the “reasonableness” of obtaining further medical evidence. We want to ensure that any study will be fair, honest and approached with an open mind. Unfortunately we find it hard to trust that this will happen.

“In his witness statement of July 2013 Dr Gunnyeon, Chief Medical Advisor and Director for Health and Well-Being at the DWP wrote, ‘ESA was designed to be a different benefit from Incapacity Benefit (IB), being a functional assessment rather than a diagnostic one. The face-to-face assessment is a key part of this process as the only truly independent part of the process. Moving away from this would, I believe, be a retrograde step which would seriously undermine the way in which the assessment process has been conceived and designed. It would represent a return to the position in Incapacity Benefit (IB), where claimants were “written off” on the basis of their diagnosis’.

“Most people would be amazed to learn that the DWP are fighting tooth and nail against having to consider a person’s actual problems when assessing them for benefits.”

For those who cannot attend the vigil, it is still possible show your support on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #wcamentalhealth

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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DWP allowed to appeal against ruling that ‘fitness for work’ test is illegal

All rise: The British court system is supposedly the best in the world - but can we trust it to make the right decision when it is the government that is appealing against a ruling?

All rise: The British court system is supposedly the best in the world – but can we trust it to make the right decision when it is the government that is appealing against a ruling?

It may have taken almost a month and a half, but judges have agreed to let the Department for Work and Pensions appeal against the judgement that the work capability assessment discriminates against people with mental health problems.

According to the Mental Health Resistance Network the DWP was denied permission to appeal on the first attempt.

Iain Duncan Smith’s lackeys then resorted to a second route – applying directly to the Court of Appeal – and it was this court that granted permission.

A spokesperson for the Mental Health Resistance Network said: “This is not the news we wanted, but the Tories were never going to give up without a fight as they are desparate to destroy our welfare state.

“Needless to say we will be fighting back.”

Vox Political was one of many who reported, back in May, that a judicial review had ruled that the work capability assessment actively discriminates against the mentally ill.

The tribunal found that, no matter how ill or even delusional a person may be, the system places on them the responsibility for gathering their own medical evidence and sending it in – otherwise the material will not be considered.

For the DWP to win at appeal, it will have to prove that this is possible for anyone, no matter how severe their mental illness may be.

The current system, for which the DWP lost the judicial review, means that paperwork sent in by anyone else on behalf of a patient with mental illness may be ignored and their ability to work judged using evidence from a 15-minute interview with a stranger who is unlikely to have had any mental health training, and who has no idea what expert opinion has to say.

Vox Political said at the time that we all knew Iain Duncan Smith would not accept this. That prediction has been borne out by current developments.

Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said after the tribunal decision that it meant the government should halt the mass reassessment of people receiving incapacity benefits immediately, until the system is fixed.

Does anybody think this has happened?

If not, then the government has been acting illegally for almost a month and a half. It is to be hoped that the appeal tribunal takes this into account when considering its decision. If assessments have continued, then the DWP has shown flagrant disregard for the legal process.

Such behaviour would also add emphasis to the Black Triangle Campaign’s comment in May, that the assessment system was “completely at odds with the government’s repeated insistence that mental health is a top priority”.

The campaign’s spokesperson said it was “sad that it took a court case to force the DWP to take action”.

It’s even more sad that the only action so far has been an appeal against the decision.

Some commentators speculated that Iain Duncan Smith might introduce retroactive legislation to re-legalise the work capability assessment – as he did with workfare after Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson won their cases against the department.

Unfortunately for him, the current controversy involves a breach of the Equalities Act, which has far-reaching effects.

If he tries to repeal it, we’ll know two things for sure:

1. Iain Duncan Smith is a dangerous fool.

2. The Coalition government has no respect for the rule of law.

To be honest, we knew both of those already.