Tag Archives: games

G4S – Securing More Fraud!

You would think that, in the week of the Maria Miller scandal, the Conservative-led Coalition would spurn any contact with people or organisations responsible for financial irregularity in connection with the government – right?

Wrong: Here’s G4S.

(You really need to be playing the Soundcloud clip – above – to get the full effect of this article. The song is the G4S anthem ‘Securing Your World’; it is sub-Bon Jovi cheese that sets you up perfectly for the facts about the firm.)

G4S is the company that famously failed to meet the terms of a contract to provide security guards for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This was a brutal embarrassment to our privatise-everything Government because it had to call in public servants – the Army – to do the work instead.

Not content with that cock-up, in July last year the Serious Fraud Office launched an investigation into G4S after it was alleged that the company was overcharging for the electronic ‘tagging’ of criminals in England and Wales. It was claimed that the company was charging for people who were in prison, outside the UK, and also for people who were dead.

It seems highly unlikely that there was any danger of this last group absconding.

The company agreed to pay £109 million back to the Treasury, which is as good an admission of guilt as any. G4S breached its contract; in fairness it should have paid back all monies provided to it by the UK government.

That was last November. Now – less than six months later – Francis Maude wants us to believe G4S has cleaned up its act and is worthy of our trust once again. Seriously.

For this reason alone it is worth checking whether Mr Maude has shares in the company.

Our government of crooks couldn’t wait to get back into cahoots with this company of crooks, could they? Delaying new contract bids until the start of the 2014-15 financial year was as much as they could manage.

If you ran a firm that behaved in this manner, you would face civil action for breach of contract and possibly criminal action for fraud – profiting from false claims. You would most likely be barred from ever bidding for such contracts again, and possibly even from working in the same industry for the rest of your career.

Yet here’s G4S, Securing More… well, you can read the headline.

It all bodes well for Maria Miller. Accepting her resignation, we are to understand, David Cameron made it perfectly clear that he would have the fraudster back in his Cabinet just as soon as he possibly could.

Villainy loves company.

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Part-time Chance(llo)r and towel-folder to explain how impoverishing people makes work pay.

Not fair at all: We love this shot of George Osborne because it clarifies perfectly that, as with Michael Howard before him, there is "something of the night" about him. Will YOU believe him when he says it is fair to punish the poor for an economic recession they never made, while rewarding the rich who did the damage?

Not fair at all: We love this shot of George Osborne because it clarifies perfectly that, as with Michael Howard before him, there is “something of the night” about him. Will YOU believe him when he says it is fair to punish the poor for an economic recession they never made, while rewarding the rich who did the damage?

You know the Tories are scraping the bottom of the barrel when they wheel out Gideon George Osborne to defend benefit changes as “fair”.

It’s hilarious (unintentionally, I’m sure) that they’re wheeling out a man whose appearance in last year’s Olympic Games prompted an international crowd in a full-to-capacity stadium to ‘boo’ him – in order to try to popularise their unjustifiable crimes against the poor.

This is a man whose only proper job was folding towels at a department store, if I recall correctly!

He’s due to make a speech at 12.30pm today (April 2, so it can’t even be defended as an April Fool) in which he is expected to say the Tory cuts mean “this month we will make work pay”, and nine out of 10 working households will be better-off.

They’ll be better of than the remaining one-tenth of households, maybe, but the Tories are never going to convince intelligent people that they’re making work pay by cutting anything! Common sense tells us that, in a country where wages are deeply depressed (such as the UK – oh yes they are) the only way to make work pay is to offer a living wage!

But what can we expect from a political organisation that is now focusing its efforts on redefining the dictionary?

The lexicon here at Vox Political gives multiple definitions for the word “fair”, so I’ll pick out those that may be applied, as follows:

“1. Reasonable or unbiased.” The changes include a below-inflation cap for people on working-age benefits and tax credits, meaning they will become worse-off, year-on-year, while the cap remains in place. Meanwhile, people in the top tax band – who therefore take home the most pay – are getting a £100,000 tax break. Reasonable? No. Unbiased? Not a chance in hell.

Let’s also remember that Osborne is the Chancellor who thought it was a good idea to promote tax avoidance schemes on the Daily Politics TV show, on January 9 this year.

“2. According to the rules.” The Tory-led Coalition is the government that changes the rules to suit itself. Let’s all remember that when Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions was found, by a court, to have been breaking the law by imposing sanctions against people who refused to take part in the ridiculous ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ schemes that take more than a billion pounds out of the economy every year (almost £900 million for companies offering placements, along with hundreds of millions more for ‘Work Placement Provider’ companies), this administration’s answer was to introduce retrospective legislation to wipe away its guilt.

“3. Describing light-coloured hair or skin, or somebody with this.” Let’s widen this definition a little; a person who is “fair to look at” would be deemed attractive, so let’s go with that. Are these changes attractive? Most definitely not. They are designed to make the claiming of benefits unattractive.

“4. Sizeable, as in ‘a fair number of responses’.” This is accurate – the changes will affect millions of homes, throwing many of them into abject poverty.

“5. Better than acceptable.” If they were acceptable, then we would not have seen thousands of people demonstrating against the new Bedroom Tax, in towns and cities across the UK. Nor would we have seen the huge amount of campaigning against the benefit changes online and via petitions. And there will be motions against implementing the tax in local authorities up and down the country. The people responsible for them don’t think these changes are acceptable; nor should you.

“6. No more than average.” It could be suggested that Grant Shapps has been saying the more stringent application of the Work Capability Assessment to applicants for Employment and Support Allowance has created a more representative average number of claims by ensuring 878,000 people dropped their claims when faced by those changes – but, wait a moment, this has been exposed as a lie, hasn’t it? In fact, the number of people dropping their claims has been revealed – by official DWP figures – to be the natural wastage you get from people getting better or finding work they can do while ill, and the number of people receiving the benefit has, in fact, risen.

“7. Not stormy or cloudy.” Clearly the storm of protest around these changes renders this definition irrelevant.

Osborne, who not only advocates tax avoidance but allegedly participates in it himself – he was the target of a campaign by 38 Degrees, early in the life of this Parliament – also seems a strange choice to talk about fairness and making work pay, because of his involvement in a ‘get rich quick’ scheme which was extremely unfair and had nothing to do with work.

Readers of this blog may remember that Osborne used taxpayers’ money to pay mortgage interest on a farmhouse and associated land that he claimed to use for Parliamentary purposes in his Tatton constituency (this has not been proved), and then sold the properties for around £1 million, pocketing the lot. He didn’t work for the money, and this exploitation of the taxpayer can hardly be considered fair – but he got away with it because his privileged position as an MP, apparently, allows it.

Fair? No.

Corrupt?

This seems more likely.

Encouraging words about disability – masking a sinister intent?

paralympians

Even when David Cameron is saying something positive, we need to look for the hidden meaning, it seems.

This week, in Comedy Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Cameron fielded a query from Liberal Democrat Greg Mulholland about last year’s Paralympic Games. Mr Mulholland said: “We were all hugely inspired by the wonderful Paralympic Games in London last year – not only a triumph for sport but also a triumph for perceptions of disability.

“Will the Prime Minister welcome the ‘Generation Inspired’ report which is going to be presented to Downing Street today, as a great opportunity to use the legacy of this to improve the lives of young disabled people?”

On the face of it, this might seem very bright and noble – reminding us all of our paralympians’ achievements and making a commitment to keep trying to help them, so that their aspirations will not outstrip the support they receive.

But let’s all remember that this question was being put in the same week that Channel 4’s Dispatches programme aired a documentary about the disappointment that awaited our paralympians after the Games – the loss of interest, the loss of help and, crucially, the loss of benefits.

It seems that they are capable of work, you see.

Look at Mr Cameron’s response in this context.

“I thought that the Paralympic Games were an absolute triumph for Britain – the way they were put on, and also the way that the auditoria, the stadia were full for almost every single event.” On the face of it, very supportive.

But then he said: “I thought it was a great testament to the generosity of people in this country and their enthusiasm for paralympic sport, but I think the most important thing is the change in perception about what disabled people are capable of, and I think that is a real gift and something we should encourage.”

A “change in perception about what disabled people are capable of”? This is very worrying indeed. He’s saying that the performances of athletes are comparable to the abilities of other people with disabilities – many of whom struggle simply to get out of bed in the morning and get dressed!

Would he have grouped his late son together with paralympians in the same way?

It is completely unrealistic to compare the two – akin to equating a marathon runner with a 50-year-old woman with a tendency to overweight, who survives on junk food and runs a supermarket checkout all day (with apologies to any such ladies who may exist).

He thinks that’s a “real gift”? There can be only one reason for that – it’s a gift because it supports his government’s policy of clearing disabled people – real, honest, disabled people who deserve state benefits to help them survive – off the benefit books.

If the wider public perception of disabled people is that they can compete and win in Olympic sports, then that’s half Cameron’s work done for him. No wonder he said it was “something we should encourage”!

Perhaps you thought the Paralympics were excellent – and they were. Maybe you thought they struck a blow for recognition of disabled people – and they did.

But not all disabled people are the same. I’m no marathon runner – and I consider myself to be relatively fit.

But I’m not superfit. Neither are the majority of disabled people even remotely able to achieve the feats of our Paralympians.

Cameron should be ashamed of himself for trying to group them all together in this way.

At the very least, Conservatives across the UK should be ashamed of him.