Tag Archives: equalities

Commission’s refusal to probe disability deaths proves that some are more equal than others

Read this and draw your own conclusions about the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and the views of its members on whether people with disabilities are either human, or have rights:

The equality watchdog has rejected calls for it to investigate deaths linked to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), more than a year after an MP asked it to launch an inquiry.

Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, a former shadow work and pensions secretary, first approached the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in April last year with her concerns about links between DWP and the deaths of benefit claimants, and the wider impact of DWP policies on disabled people.

Eight months ago, the commission said it was reviewing what “potential” work it could undertake to tackle “discriminatory decision-making in the social security system” and would respond to Abrahams “in due course”.

Now, 14 months after she first raised concerns with the commission, and following another “holding reply” in February, EHRC has finally decided that, “due to the pandemic”, it will not be able to carry out an inquiry into DWP this year.

It only produced this response after being approached again by Abrahams and Disability News Service (DNS).

Source: Watchdog snubs call for probe into DWP deaths, after delay of more than a year – Disability News Service

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

People with mental illnesses and disabilities may be falling foul of video court hearings

Court: moving hearings to audio/video because of the coronavirus has made them useless for some people, due to their disabilities. (How many of your are going to criticise me over the fact that UK courts don’t use the gavel?)

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission has called for the government to collect information on the effect of video court hearings on people with mental illnesses and other conditions.

It is feared that people with conditions including learning disability, autism spectrum disorders and mental health conditions – who are significantly over-represented in the criminal justic system – are at a disadvantage when cases are conducted without them being present in court.

The Ministry of Justice has switched magistrates’ hearings to video sessions in response to the coronavirus lockdown, with 85 per cent of cases heard in England and Wales this month carried out using audio and video technology.

Defendants have complained that they did not have enough time to discuss their cases with lawyers, and that they could not hear or understand what was going on during their hearing.

The EHRC has said that everyone should be equal before the law, and this means nobody defending themselves before a court should be at a disadvantage because they are disabled.

Will the government pay attention? It seems unlikely.

Tories have victimised people with disabilities since the moment they got back into office in 2010 – imposing harsh restrictions on who could receive state benefits, and demonising people claiming those benefits as shirkers and scroungers.

They have already made it hard for people to take a benefit case through to a legal tribunal; but the majority of cases that then succeed suggest that it is only logical that they would want to make it harder for a disabled person to achieve a victory, in any court situation.

Perhaps my opinion is over-judgemental.

So we shall have to judge the government by what it does.

If we never hear about this issue again, we’ll have our answer – and it won’t be good.

Source: Court hearings via video ‘risk unfairness for disabled people’ | UK news | The Guardian

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 officers spent years stabbing Corbyn in the back, according to suppressed report

“Straight talking”? “Honest politics”? Prove it, Lord McNicol; prove it.

Labour lawyers have stepped in to stop a report on the party’s response to anti-Semitism accusations being submitted to the Equalities & Human Rights Commission – because it shows that right-wing party officers spent years backstabbing Jeremy Corbyn.

The report runs to 860 pages and concludes that factional hostility towards Mr Corbyn amongst former senior officials contributed to “a litany of mistakes” that hindered the effective handling of the issue.

It provides evidence that senior staff “openly worked against the aims and objectives of the leadership of the Party, and in the 2017 general election some key staff even appeared to work against the Party’s core objective of winning elections”.

In other words, by the time Jeremy Corbyn became leader, it seems the organisational structure beneath him was riddled with individuals who hated the Labour Party and were actively working to ensure it would not win a general election.

Reading between the lines, it seems this means they misled the elected leadership about the number and nature of anti-Semitism allegations, hid documents to make some claims appear more credible than they were, and deliberately obstructed investigations to falsely make Mr Corbyn’s leadership appear incompetent.

Of course, there’s no way to know whether that’s true, until the report is published. I look forward to seeing new leader Keir Starmer order it, although I fear I may be waiting for some time.

What we do know, from a Sky News report on the document, is that it says there was “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ” towards Jeremy Corbyn which “affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints”.

It seems the anti-Corbyn faction ensured a lack of “robust processes, systems, training, education and effective line management”.

The report doesn’t find any anti-Semitic intent behind the behaviour, or that anti-Semitism complaints were handled differently to any other – but this should not come as any surprise.

The anti-Corbynites’ intention was to create an impression that anti-Semitism was a huge problem in the party – not to engage in it themselves. That would have been counter-productive.

And why should anti-Semitism complaints be handled any differently when the intention was to portray Mr Corbyn as incompetent?

In this context, the report casts doubt on the validity of claims made by the BBC in last year’s Panorama documentary, Is Labour Antisemitic.

Some of the stars of that particular film – which took their claims as cast-iron fact – are also heavily featured in the report, including the former General Secretary, Lord McNicol, and the former acting head of the governance and legal unit, Sam Matthews.

Lord McNicol and other senior figures are accused of providing “false and misleading information”on the handling of anti-Semitism complaints to Mr Corbyn’s office, which the report claims meant “the scale of the problem was not appreciated” by the leadership.

Note that we are not told whether this means anti-Semitism was more or less prevalent than Mr Corbyn was led to believe.

According to Sky News, the report quotes:

  • Conversations in 2017 which appear to show senior staff preparing for Tom Watson to become interim leader in anticipation of Jeremy Corbyn losing the election

  • Conversations which it is claimed show senior staff hid information from the leader’s office about digital spending and contact details for MPs and candidates during the election

  • Conversations on election night in which the members of the group talk about the need to hide their disappointment that Mr. Corbyn had done better than expected and would be unlikely to resign

  • A discussion about whether the grassroots activist network Momentum could be ‘proscribed’ for being a ‘party within a party’

  • A discussion about ‘unsuspending’ a former Labour MP who was critical of Jeremy Corbyn so they could stand as a candidate in the 2017 election

  • A discussion about how to prevent corbyn-ally Rebecca Long-Bailey gaining a seat on the party’s governing body in 2017

  • Regular references to corbyn-supporting party staff as “trots”

  • Conversations between senior staff in Lord McNicol’s office in which they refer to former director of communications Seamus Milnes as “dracula”, and saying he was “spiteful and evil and we should make sure he is never allowed in our Party if it’s last thing we do”

  • Conversations in which the same group refers to Mr. Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy as “medusa”, a “crazy woman” and a “bitch face cow” that would “make a good dartboard”

  • A discussion in which one of the group members expresses their “hope” that a young pro-Corbyn Labour activist, who they acknowledge had mental health problems, “dies in a fire”

The report was drafted as a submission by the Labour Party to the EHRC’s ongoing investigation into “institutional anti-Semitism” in the Labour Party, and contains passages that refer to that organisation or address it directly. It therefore seems strange in the extreme that the party is now refusing to submit it, and claiming that it is out of the scope of the EHRC’s inquiries. Here’s Sky’s Tom Rayner:

The quoted extract says, “We hope the EHRC will focus on the documentary, primary-source evidence that the Party has made available to it… rather than the personal accounts of staff or former staff.” How is the EHRC supposed to do that if Labour won’t hand over the report?

Mr Rayner went on to say that a Labour source who worked in Mr Corbyn’s office said the report showed the leadership had been “sabotaged and set up left right and centre by McNicol’s team”.

Now read the quotes he had from McNicol himself, and from Matthews:

From McNicol we get whataboutery: party officers have been “trawling 10,000 emails rather than challenging anti-Semitism”. Of course, it would not have been necessary if he had done his job properly, right? And, really, an issue affecting only 0.06 per cent of party members (some of whom have been falsely accused, like This Writer) doesn’t merit the attention of every single person working for Labour.

Matthews simply attempts to divert blame. But here’s the thing: the report asks for the primary evidence – the documents – to be considered, rather than the comments on those documents by interested parties. The data doesn’t lie.

https://twitter.com/UmaarKazmi/status/1249283358305198080

The report’s non-publication has scandalised those of us with a stake in the issue – and should upset anybody else with an interest in justice. Many in the media leapt on the fabrication and treated it as real, without any reason to do so.

For example: remember Phillip Schofield demanding an apology for the anti-Semitism crisis in Labour, on live TV during the general election campaign? Now we see evidence that it was cooked up by backstabbers, will Mr Schofield be issuing an apology for sabotaging Labour’s election campaign?

Twitter has been alive with outrage:

There is already a mechanism by which anybody who is concerned about this issue can demand that the report be published for all to read, including the EHRC. Here it is:

Please visit the site and sign the petition. I have!

Source: Report in to antisemitism in Labour Party concludes that Jeremy Corbyn and senior leadership were stitched up – Dorset Eye

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

Is EHRC too busy scrabbling for anti-Semitism in Labour to bother with obvious Tory Islamophobia?

Islamophobia: the creator of this image thought it was bad enough in the Tories under Theresa May. Now, with racist Boris Johnson in charge, who knows how far the rot has gone?

How long has the Equalities and Human Rights Commission been looking for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party now? A year?

Either it is very well hidden – which would be odd, considering the number of (admittedly mostly false) claims made against the party – or the EHRC is determined not to stop until it has managed to concoct a convincing case.

It doesn’t fill one with confidence in that organisation.

And now we see that the EHRC is trying to squirm out of handling 300 documented cases of Islamophobia – in the Conservative Party.

Does anybody else smell a rat?

According to the Mirror, the dossier handed to the EHRC – by the Muslim Council of Britain – contains information about 16 Conservative MPs, one MEP, nine election candidates and 183 party members.

That’s 209 people, so presumably some are multiple offenders. I wonder if Boris Johnson is listed among them?

The allegations include:

  • A former councillor calling for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, who they label “brutes who beat, kill and maim young women”;

  • A local party association chair who called for Muslims to be banned;

  • A member who called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges;

  • Another member who called for the forcible sterilisation of Muslims.

The MCB also condemns the Conservative Party’s failure to suspend MP Daniel Kawczynski after he spoke at an event alongside far-right leaders, and for failing to take action on MP Karl McCartney, who shared Islamophobic and anti-Semitic social media content by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.

Secretary General Harun Khan said the EHRC had failed to give any response to the MCB’s first formal complaint in May 2019, and says it was ‘extraordinary’ that the watchdog had taken no action in the 10 months since.

“There is no doubt that the Conservative party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread” he said,

“The party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit – this results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion”

The EHRC says it is waiting for information about a promised internal inquiry by the Conservative Party, which it is claiming will be “independent” even though it is to be carried out within the party structure.

This Writer can only wish them good luck with that. We’re all also awaiting publication of the report on Russian influence on the Conservative government, and on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.

Wise heads think it won’t just be a cold day in Hell, but their subjects may actually have taken up residence there before these reports are published.

Former Tory-supporting columnist Peter Oborne thinks – well, see for yourself:

In his article, he wrote:

The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases.

Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies.

This should not come as any surprise to anyone, since poll results published by the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate last year showed that more than half of Conservative members thought Islam was “generally a threat to the British way of life”.

I’ve written before about Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, who shared an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League; hosted the anti-Muslim Tapan Ghosh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist; and shared far-right and Islamophobic content on Facebook.

Anti-Muslim bigotry is not a barrier to promotion. Nadine Dorries, who also shared a tweet by Robinson, is now a health minister. This is no surprise, given that Johnson himself has a long record of making anti-Muslim remarks.

Tellingly, Johnson is surrounded by Islamophobes. Dominic Cummings, his most senior advisor, reportedly had overall responsibility for The Spectator website in 2006, according to Stuart Reid, the magazine’s acting editor at the time, when a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted on the site.

One of Johnson’s up-and-coming advisors is Chloe Westley. She praised Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain, as a “hero”, even though Waters has called Islam “evil” and also has links to Robinson.

But he made a very important point: the UK’s mass media are ignoring this story:

I could find nothing at all about the MCB report in the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. There were seven paragraphs on page 16 of the Times and 11 paragraphs on page 7 of the Guardian. Nothing in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, or the Sun.

Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe.

It shows how the media have been manipulating your opinions and – by proxy – the actions of organisations like the EHRC.

The papers kicked up a huge fuss about the imaginary crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (where I doubt if even 200 genuine cases have been found among a membership of more than half a million in the past four years).

But their silence over 300 evidenced cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is much smaller than Labour, means few people know about it and any outcry is therefore minimised.

So the EHRC can say there’s no real demand for it to investigate, despite the fact that, in real terms, it is a bigger issue.

Source: EHRC Condemned For ‘Failure’ To Act On Tory Islamophobia

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

Equality watchdog may act to stop DWP discriminating against people with disabilities

If the Equalities and Human Rights Commission does decide to investigate discrimination against disabled people by the DWP, This Writer will applaud.

It means every time a departmental spokesman tries to evade responsibility for causing hardship or even death to a disabled benefit claimant, we can all say…

How disgusting of the DWP to say this, when it is being investigated for discrimination by the EHRC!

… in exactly the same way that the crazy bigoted witch-hunters have been, whenever accusations of anti-Semitism are batted away by the Labour Party.

Anybody suggesting this is unfair treatment of the DWP would have to admit it is also unfair for people to say it of Labour in respect of alleged anti-Semitism – and This Writer would say they were right to do so.

Such claims may only be made if the EHRC records a finding against the organisation it is investigating.

In that – of course – the Labour Party’s situation differs hugely from that of disabled benefit claimants. There is a wealth of information to show discrimination against people with disabilities.

This is also an opportunity to praise Labour’s Debbie Abrahams, who has continued to champion the cause of disabled benefit claimants, even after she was replaced as shadow work and pensions secretary.

I have known Debbie for years, as we have both worked on this issue, and can confirm that she is absolutely dedicated to protecting vulnerable people in the benefit system.

I hope the EHRC makes a swift decision to investigate this ongoing scandal as soon as possible.

Yes, we are going into a general election and a future government may not be formed by the party responsible for the way disabled people are currently treated.

But any findings from an EHRC investigation will serve to inform that government’s future policy – and may even lead to justice for those the current system has so badly betrayed.

The equality watchdog is considering taking action to tackle discrimination in the way decisions are made in the social security system, it revealed this morning… in response to continuing calls for action from Labour MP Debbie Abrahams.

She had told Disability News Service that evidence from disabled people about their appalling experiences of benefit assessments was helping to build a case to persuade EHRC to launch an inquiry into links between the government’s actions and the deaths of claimants.

Abrahams has met with EHRC to discuss her concerns about the actions of the Department for Work and Pensions, following a letter she wrote to the watchdog in June.

She asked EHRC in her letter to investigate why ministers hid documents from Dr Paul Litchfield, their own independent reviewer of the work capability assessment (WCA), when they knew the information would link the “fitness for work” test to the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.

And she told EHRC of her “grave concerns” about how DWP investigates deaths linked to its activity, and the lack of official scrutiny of the treatment of disabled people by DWP and its private sector contractors, Maximus, Capita and Atos, which carry out assessments.

Abrahams is working with disability blogger Dr Chris Whitaker, who has so far collected 570 stories in less than two months from disabled people who have been through the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment system.

Source: Equality watchdog ‘considering action’ on benefits discrimination – Disability News Service

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

So much for the Equality Act: Tory government and watchdog let ageist discrimination run ‘rife’

The Equality Act: Government complacency is allowing rife discrimination in the workplace against the over-50s.

Tories don’t care about your rights and certainly won’t lift a finger to uphold them.

From the moment Brexit happens, they’ll have absolute power over every hard-won right you have.

And if you think they’re planning to step up their game, you may need specialist help.

Here’s David Hencke (if you aren’t following his articles already, why not?)

A damning report from the Commons women and equalities committee has attacked the country’s equality watchdog and ministers for their complacent attitude in tackling age discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere.

The report released by the all party committee of MPs warns that the talents of up to one million women over the age of 50 are being wasted by outdated employment policies.

Its strongly-worded condemnation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and ministers responsible for equality follows what can only be described as a pretty lack lustre response from both.

Read on: MPs slam complacent equality watchdog and the government over “rife ” ageist discrimination – David Hencke

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

So many different groups say Tory-DUP deal breaches the rules – why don’t they team up?

The confidence and supply agreement signed in Downing Street between the DUP and the Conservatives [Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA].

We have already heard – several times – concerns that the deal between the Conservative Party and the DUP breaches power-sharing agreements in Northern Ireland.

Now it seems the deal is questionable because spending commitments may breach equality duties.

The people behind these claims have launched separate challenges, it seems.

Why don’t they just get together and put the most forceful case possible?

It seems to This Writer that Conservatives are very handy at doing everything they can to cling to power, and they may use contradictory arguments to undermine separate challenges.

But that wouldn’t work if a single, unified challenge took place.

Or am I being too sensible?

The £1bn deal between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist party securing Theresa May’s parliamentary majority is being challenged on the grounds that the spending might breach equality duties.

An exchange of letters between the Treasury and a prominent Northern Ireland human rights group… has raised questions about whether the extra funding will be allocated on a non-partisan basis.

In July, shortly after the confidence and supply agreement was signed in Downing Street, the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) in Belfast wrote to the government in London raising concerns about how the money would be allocated.

Fidelma O’Hagan, a solicitor with the CAJ, pointed out that the agreement implied that a “number of decisions have already been taken to earmark funding that have equality implications”.

Source: Tory-DUP £1bn deal may breach equality duties, says NI rights group | UK news | The Guardian


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

Cameron’s candidate list is like his cabinet: full of empty suits

David Cameron and Tory election candidate Chris Davies: A suit full of hot air next to a suit full of nothing at all.

David Cameron and Tory election candidate Chris Davies: A suit full of hot air next to a suit full of nothing at all.

Here’s one to file under “missed opportunities”: David Cameron passed within seven miles of Vox Political central and we didn’t know about it.

He made a surprise visit to the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd, Radnorshire, to talk about some agricultural scheme – but we don’t need to discuss that. Nor do we need to discuss the fact that the bronze bull statue in nearby Builth Wells town centre was found to have had its tail ripped off shortly after the visit; it would be wrong to suggest that the comedy Prime Minister was responsible but if he starts sporting a uniquely-shaped swagger stick, well, you read it here first.

We don’t even need to discuss the fact that Cameron arrived by helicopter, which is an exorbitantly expensive form of travel. Yr Obdt Srvt was watching a documentary about a Doctor Who serial made in 1969 and featuring a helicopter – just starting the rotors cost £70, which was a lot more money then than it is now! Next time you hear that there isn’t enough money around, bear in mind that this government always has the cash to hire out a pricey chopper!

No, Dear Reader – what was really shocking was the fact that Cameron allowed himself to be photographed with Chris Davies, the Tory Potential Parliamentary Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire – a man who this blog has outed as having no ideas of his own, who parrots the party line from Conservative Central Headquarters and who cannot respond to a reasoned argument against the drivel that he reels off. Not only that but the new Secretary of State for Wales was also at the Showground – his name is Stephen Crabb and he is on record as saying that the role is “emptied and somewhat meaningless”.

Bearing this in mind, those who didn’t attend the event, but would like to recreate the spectacle of David Cameron flanked by Messrs Davies and Crabb, can simply fill a few children’s party balloons with hot air, arrange them in a roughly human shape, and put a suit on them – that’s Cameron – then add two more, empty, suits on either side.

Discussion of empty suits brings us inexorably to the dramatic cabinet reshuffle Cameron carried out last week, in which he replaced his team of tired but recognisable old fools with a gaggle of new fools nobody’s ever heard of. The whole situation is reminiscent of a routine that Ben Elton did back in 1990, when he was still a Leftie comedian.

Still topical: Ben Elton's 'cabinet reshuffle' routine from 1990.

Still topical: Ben Elton’s ‘cabinet reshuffle’ routine from 1990.

The parallel with today is so close that the routine may be paraphrased to fit the moment:

These days the cabinet minister is a seriously endangered species, constantly culled by the boss… How stands the team today? All the personalities have been de-teamed, and Mr Cameron was rather left with a rack full of empty suits. So he reshuffled Philip Hammond, a suit full of bugger-all from Defence across to the Foreign Office. Then he reshuffled Nicky Morgan, a skirt-suit full of bugger-all who had been at the Treasury for 13 whole weeks. She was reshuffled to Education and is also now Minister for Women and Equalities. A suit full of bugger-all called Wright, who nobody had heard of that morning, became Attorney General. This is the British cabinet we are dealing with; not the local tea club.

Now Nicky Morgan, come on, be honest, six months ago, who’d heard of her? Hardly anyone. Since then she’s been Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Education Secretary; nobody can say the girl hasn’t done well because she has. She reminds me of Jedward – everyone’s saying, ‘She may be rubbish but at least she’s trying!’

Who the hell is Jeremy Wright? He’s the Attorney General, that’s who. When he leaves home for work in the morning, even his wife doesn’t recognise him! ‘Bye bye darling – who the hell are you?’ … I confidently expect to see Keith Lemon elevated to cabinet status, with Gary Lineker becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer due to his amazing powers of prediction (“The Germans really fancy their chances, but I don’t see that”). He’ll be joined at the Treasury by financial wizard Jimmy Carr. Katie Hopkins takes over as Iain Duncan Smith so no change there.

140724cabinet3

This isn’t a party political thing. There have been lots of towering figures in cabinet before. Tebbit! Heseltine! … Lawson! You may not have liked them but at least you’d heard of them! These days, what have you got? The only reason a ‘dramatic’ reshuffle is ‘dramatic’ is because it takes so long to prise all their faces off the team leader’s backside, that’s why! They’re all stuck down there like limpets; they’re clinging on to the mother ship! If they all breathed in at once, they’d turn him inside-out.

That’s why they all speak so strangely – their tongues are all bruised and knotted from the team leader trying to untangle the top Tory tagliatelli flapping about behind.

Cabinet government is one of the safeguards of our precious democracy. It involves discussion, consensus, and it has produced great cabinets on both sides of the House. Churchill – the largest, perhaps the greatest political figure in the last century – a Tory, he was a constant thorn in the side of his boss, Baldwin. Wilson included Tony Benn, even though they were never friends, let’s face it. Heath employed Mrs Thatcher. They all understood that cabinet is a microcosm of democracy – but these days, it’s different. Nobody must dissent in cabinet. And nobodies are exactly what we’ve got.

There was more talent and personality in JLS – and at least they knew when to quit.

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 Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

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

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cumulative effect of welfare reform revealed – deprived areas hit much harder than the rich

Deprived parts of Glasgow were worst-affected by 'welfare reform' according to The Courier [Image: thecourier.co.uk].

Deprived parts of Glasgow were worst-affected by ‘welfare reform’ according to The Courier [Image: thecourier.co.uk].

The headline should not come as a surprise – of course changes that cut benefits for the poor are going to harm them more than rich people.

But do you remember David Cameron’s claim that his government would be the most transparent ever?

Isn’t it interesting, then, that the independent Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has found a way to compile information on the effects of tax, social security and other spending changes on disabled people, after the government repeatedly claimed it could not be done?

It seems Mr Cameron has something to hide, after all.

We already have a taste of what we can expect, courtesy of our friends in Scotland, who commissioned the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University to study the relationship between deprivation and financial loss caused by “welfare reform”.

The study shows that more than £1.6 billion a year will be removed from the Scottish economy, with the biggest losses based in changes to incapacity benefits. The Scottish average loss, per adult of working age, is £460 per year (compared with a British average of £470) but the hardest hit area was impoverished Glasgow Carlton, where adults lost an average of £880 per year.

In affluent St Andrews, the average hit was just £180 per year.

Of course, the cumulative effect will hit the poorest communities much harder – with an average of £460 being taken out of these communities it is not only households that will struggle to make ends meet; as families make cutbacks, local shops and businesses will lose revenue and viability. If they close, then residents will have to travel further for groceries and to find work, meaning extra travel costs will remove even more much-needed cash from their budget.

For a nationwide picture, the EHRC commissioned the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) and the consultancy Landman Economics to develop a way of assessing the cumulative impact of “welfare reform”.

The report will be published in the summer, but Landman Economics has already told Disability News Service that the work was “not actually that difficult”.

Why, then have Mark Hoban, Esther McVey and Mike Penning, the current minister for the disabled, all claimed that a cumulative assessment is impossible?

Some might say they have a vested interest in keeping the public ignorant of the true devastation being wreaked on Britain’s most vulnerable people by Coalition austerity policies that will ultimately harm everybody except the very rich.

Some might say this is why the BBC – under the influence of a Conservative chairman – failed to report a mass demonstration against austerity by at least 50,000 people that started on its very doorstep.

Misguided conspiracy theorists, all!

Or are they?

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 Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

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

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Fraudulent minister gets (metaphorical) slap on the wrist

One law for them...: This image appeared on Twitter, summarising how the law treats MPs in comparison with the rest of us.

One law for them…: This image appeared on Twitter, summarising how the law treats MPs in comparison with the rest of us.

Fraudster – and Minister for Equalities – Maria Miller has been ordered to repay £5,800 and apologise to Parliament after an inquiry found she had over-claimed mortgage expenses.

In essence, she made fraudulent expenses claims that were not reduced to accommodate a fall in interest rates.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards launched an investigation into her behaviour after it was reported that, between 2005 and 2009, she had claimed £90,718 in Parliamentary expenses for the mortgage and upkeep of a south London house that was occupied, not by Mrs Miller, but by her parents.

The Commons Committee on Standards did what’s usually expected and cleared Miller of the central charge – deliberately submitting expenses claims to which she was not entitled. Instead, she is being penalised because her attitude to the inquiry breached the ministers’ code of conduct.

The committee rejected the charge that she or her parents had benefited financially from the arrangement. That’s very interesting, considering that Miller recently sold the south London house at the centre of the affair, making a profit of £1 million (according to the Daily Telegraph).

John Mann MP, whose complaint led to the inquiry being launched, has been tweeting on the subject. He says: “Miller forced to apologise for showing ‘completely inappropriate attitude to the inquiry’. Doesn’t take it seriously.

“Miller’s attitude will infuriate the public, who have had enough of expenses scandals and MPs’ arrogance. David Cameron will be accused of hypocrisy if he does not sack Maria Miller today.”

He’s right – look at this representative tweet from ‘Amy’: “MP Maria Miller expected to repay thousands in overpaid expenses & make an apology. If she was a benefit claimant she would be jailed.”

Mr Mann’s own article about it can be found here.

If Miller had been arrested and put on crown court trial for fraud (as seems likely, considering the “legalistic” way she tried to defend herself against the Parliamentary commissioner’s inquiries), she could have been imprisoned for up to 10 years. That is what happens to other people. But Parliament looks after its own.

Do you think that is fair?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political supports justice – impartial and unbiased
… but we cannot do so without 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