Tag Archives: harass

Libel case: After Rachel Riley goes quiet, her follower starts abuse campaign against Vox Political’s Mike

You may have been wondering why there haven’t been any updates on the crowdfunding campaign to oppose Rachel Riley’s libel accusations. There hasn’t been much to say.

After she lost her bid to hold a premature hearing on her application to strike out part of my case (and mine to strike out part of hers), Ms Riley seems to have calmed down for a while.

Partly this may be because she was caught touting for her followers to tip her off about people against whom she could launch more court cases for libel; this would be vexatious litigation which is a big no-no.

I wrote about that on July 27. Curiously, one of Ms Riley’s followers – who will remain nameless (why give them publicity?) started a vilification campaign of their own against me – on Twitter, the day before.

You’ll be aware that the case centres on Ms Riley’s interaction with a teenage girl on Twitter. In August 2019, my new Twitter abuser doxxed her father – revealing his identity and Twitter address (and therefore providing information enabling people to track her down).

This person also described the teenager as a “homely” girl and stated “natural selection will take its course” – which a reasonable person may take as meaning that she will never have children and her line will die out. Some may suggest it implies contemplation of violence against her if this was not the case.

That demonstrates their interest in this – this person is a supporter of Ms Riley who took her side, to the extent of carrying out a breach of another person’s privacy – and of Twitter’s rules..

So far, I have received 51 tweets from this person. I would have preferred to have none.

They have attacked IPSO’s finding in my favour after several national newspapers accused me of anti-Semitism and depicted me as a “loony goon”, a “chippy goon”, a “‘hard’ left goon”, a “plonker”, someone with “no career, future or health to fight for”, of “foul qualities”, a “liar” and “fantasist”, writing a “blog of bile”.

There have been other comments of the four-letter kind that I will not repeat here.

This person would not have crossed my path if I hadn’t taken issue with Ms Riley.

This person has proved the basis of the claim I made about her – that her behaviour towards another Twitter user has induced her followers to launch their own campaigns of abuse against that other user.

Now who’s the goon?

That’s a rhetorical question; if my crowdfunding campaign doesn’t receive your help, I won’t be able to present these arguments in court and my abuser will have the last laugh – so please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

It doesn’t matter whether Rachel Riley asked this person to harass me; it hs happening because of her.

Let’s show them both the error of these underhand methods.

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/


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BBC ‘journalist’ harasses Bercow on the street over refusal to allow third ‘meaningless vote’ on Brexit

John Bercow: Politeness and restraint.

When I reported that Commons Speaker John Bercow had ruled out a third “meaningful vote” (three? They’d be more aptly described as “meaningless”) on Theresa May’s duff Brexit deal, I did not expect her to try to get around it by underhand means.

As she is determined not to change a single line of her appalling document, options included a “paving vote” to set aside the convention under which the same proposal could not be put to the vote twice in a single Parliamentary session, or proroguing Parliament – ending the current session and starting a new one to get around the issue.

And then there was the lowest tactic of all – pretending that Mr Bercow made his ruling in order to derail democracy (and halt Brexit), rather than as a matter of duty as the chairperson of the House of Commons, responsible for ensuring that its decisions comply with law and precedent.

The aspect of it that really astonishes This Writer is that the BBC – currently under investigation by Ofcom on the possibility that it has been failing in its duty of impartiality – seems to have led the attack on Mr Bercow’s credibility.

And the corporation got what it deserved. Consider this response to a BBC reporter’s on-street harassment of the Speaker on his way to work.

Mr Bercow responded with politeness and restraint. The BBC reporter’s questions were – well – as Tom Pride described them.

One more thing: Suppose Mrs May manages to get another vote on her deal, and it wins support from MPs. Will they be doing so because they honestly believe it is a good deal, having read the nearly-600-page document from cover to cover?

Or will they just be tired out and afraid that they’ll lose the support of an impatient public if they don’t?


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‘Top’ libel lawyer ridiculed all over Twitter after threatening tweets

Presumably Mark Lewis thought it was a good idea to approach people like me with messages on Twitter threatening us with court action.

He was wrong. But I bet he makes the same mistake again.

On the evening of February 20, I got home from a hospital trip with Mrs Mike and her mum to be greeted with the following messages:

That last comment was a good idea because I had no intention of responding at all.

What kind of lawyer contacts his intended victims on Twitter?

The wrong kind, apparently. I took a bit of legal advice, which may be summed up in this short Twitter (again) thread by Shaun Lawson:

So there were no grounds for legal action in the original behaviour of the people being contacted (I had written my own article, followed with a piece about the kind of people who support Ms Riley and Ms Oberman – based on their own tweets, so it’s still not actionable) – and Mr Lewis was apparently trying to trap us and provoke us into something actionable.

No thanks!

I noticed activity on my Twitter feed had picked up and checked it out. Some of it was from the usual stormtroopers* of the anti-Semitism witch-hunt, but it very quickly became clear that these were being ignored.

Instead, other Twitter users were responding to the threat against me by reporting Mr Lewis to both Twitter itself and the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which had already fined him £2,500 for a previous transgression:

https://twitter.com/j43kfr05t/status/1098319656027328517

Some pointed out that Mr Lewis was apparently trying to bully minors:

https://twitter.com/LabLeftVoice/status/1098344677563133953

After a while, the ridicule took on a festive tone. People were really enjoying taking down this alleged expert:

https://twitter.com/JOShUAkANE013/status/1098347604059045888

https://twitter.com/rdudley55/status/1098647231505276931

Perhaps the most embarrassing part of this is that some in the mainstream media have taken all this seriously.

The Guardian reported: “The Countdown presenter Rachel Riley and former EastEnders actor Tracy Ann Oberman are preparing legal action against up to 70 individuals for tweets relating to their campaign against antisemitism in the Labour party, according to the pair’s lawyer.

“Mark Lewis, who made his name representing phone-hacking victims, said he is contacting people who have either posted allegedly libellous claims about his clients or repeatedly sent them large numbers of messages, which he says is tantamount to harassment.”

Wrong way round. If I recall correctly, they were doing the harassing.

“At the end of last year he and his partner moved to Israel, citing the level of antisemitism in Europe.”

https://twitter.com/saeed6ali/status/1098562045820186624

Perhaps this is a serious attempt at using the law to bully perfectly decent people, but it is clear that the people behind it cannot be taken seriously.

I’ll take it seriously when I see a reason to do so. Right now, I don’t.

*If anyone wants to claim anti-Semitism because mention of “stormtroopers” calls the Nazi variety to mind, be assured that no such comparison is possible. Nazi stormtroopers were successful in the horrible things they did – at least, during the first few years they were around.


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Lefty journo and Tory MP confronted by wall of gammon. Guess who gets Establishment support

For the record: Owen Jones, pursued by James Goddard – both recording the encounter on their mobile phones, while a policeman watches. The behaviour of these right-wingers is like that of cartoon villains, so I’ve cartoonised this scene.

Some of what follows is very ugly indeed.

The left-wing journalist Owen Jones, together with Conservative MP Anna Soubry and who knows how many others were targeted by right-wing pro-Brexit protesters outside Parliament yesterday (Monday, January 7).

They were wearing yellow vests because they have styled themselves after France’s gilets jaunes, protesters against rising fuel prices and taxes who blocked roads wearing yellow high-vis jackets on November 18 last year, sparking a pan-European movement.

Think about that for a moment. These anti-EU protesters were aping people who are citizens of the very bloc they hate. That should give you an inkling as to their twisted thinking. But it gets worse.

Here’s Mr Jones’s tweeted video clip of his treatment at their hands:

I’ll be honest – sometimes I disagree with Mr Jones’s opinions, but always in the most cordial way and always with reason. Calling him a “tampon”, a “traitor”, and a writer of “fake news” is neither cordial nor reasonable. And take note of the way the chief bully in the crowd called Mr Jones a bully; it’s a classic tactic, accusing a victim of one’s own behaviour.

The principle antagonist in the clip appears to be one James Goddard. You can witness more of his behaviour here:

It seems astonishing that this man retained his liberty after the behaviour in the clip tweeted by Another Angry Voice. If you’ve seen any of the many reality documentaries showing the police on duty, you’ll know that they usually issue a stern warning to members of the public who start exhibiting loud and threatening behaviour to desist, and arrest them if they don’t comply. The racist claim that the officer in the clip isn’t even British would be a chargeable offence, I believe.

There may be a reason he hasn’t been arrested, but it isn’t a very good one. We’ll come to it shortly.

(If I may interject a note of personal pride here, I seem to recall coining the term “Brextremist” on This Site. I am delighted to see that it has fallen into general usage.)

In a further tweet, Mr Jones added: “By the way, the things they’re yelling at me – traitor, terrorism supporter – are all legitimised by the right wing press and politicians. If anything happens to one of us on the left at the hands of these fascists, they will share the blame. Hope that’s clear.”

There’s just one issue with that comment, as Hazel Nolan makes clear:

Have we become so normalised to right-wing rhetoric that this loathsome language, and the behaviour it encourages, is now deemed normal?

The experience of Anna Soubry would suggest otherwise.

The Remain-supporting Tory ventured outside the Palace of Westminster to give an interview on College Green, only to be interrupted by chants of “Soubry is a Nazi”:

Afterwards, Twitter commentator Femi found her surrounded by the same people who had accosted Mr Jones:

Note the way they mistook him for Labour MP David Lammy. Was it because they are both of Afro-Caribbean descent?

Mr Goddard, it seems, followed up these incidents by crowing about them on the social media:

The displays against Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, attracted widespread denunciation from both members of the public and the political classes.

Aislinn M-D, a doctor, tweeted: “Now im no fan of Soubry but the accusation of being a ‘Nazi’ seems to be one of the most flippantly overused and totally disconnected insult from reality. It disgracefully undermines what the Nazis actually did and makes those using it demonstrate total ignorance of history.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon stated, “This is appalling – as is footage today of Owen Jones facing a similar experience. We all have a duty to stand against this kind of behaviour. Robust debate is the hallmark of any democracy – but so too is decency, civility and respect for those holding different opinions.”

So why weren’t the perpetrators arrested?

“Citizen of Everywhere”, responding to a similar question from the Mail opinion hack Dan Hodges (with whom, for once, I found myself in agreement), suggested: “They’re trying to provoke an overreaction from the police so they can paint themselves as victims fighting the good fight against an oppressive regime. It’s usually better to mock them than arrest them, but I agree that changes when they cross the line into individual harassment.”

Nick Church also suggested: “The MPs who have legitimized this level of racism and xenophobia and allowed it to become mainstream should be utterly ashamed.”

Sadly, it seems Parliamentarians were only interested in protecting their own when the issue was raised as a point of order in the House of Commons.

Tory Nick Boles asked Speaker John Bercow, “Will you consult the Serjeant at Arms to see whether the Metropolitan police are doing everything they can to protect the public’s right to protest but also to ensure that Members are able to go about their business in total safety?”

Here’s the answer: “The House authorities are not technically responsible for the safety of Members off the estate—that is and remains a matter for the Metropolitan police—but naturally, I take this issue very seriously and so, I am sure, do the police, who have been made well aware of our concerns.

“Reflecting and reinforcing what the hon. Gentleman said about peaceful protest, let me say this. Peaceful protest is a vital democratic freedom, but so is the right of elected Members to go about their business without being threatened or abused, and that includes access to and from the media stands in Abingdon Green. I say no more than that I am concerned at this stage about what seems to be a pattern of protests targeted in particular—I do not say exclusively—at women. Female Members and, I am advised, in a number of cases, female journalists, have been subjected to aggressive protest and what many would regard as harassment.”

It took a further intervention from Labour MP Pat McFadden, asking Mr Bercow “to do everything possible to ensure that journalists and broadcasters can do their job and that Members of this House are free to speak their minds” before the Speaker included all members of the press, including Mr Jones, in his considerations.

Following on from this exchange, more than 50 MPs wrote to Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger action to protect people who work in Westminster from aggressive far-right protesters.

The letter stated: “After months of peaceful and calm protests by groups representing a range of political views on Brexit, an ugly element of individuals with strong far right and extreme right connections – which your officers are well aware of – have increasingly engaged in intimidatory and potentially criminal acts targeting Members of Parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public.

“We understand there are ongoing investigations but there appears to be an ongoing lack of coordination in the response from the police and appropriate authorities including with Westminster borough policing – and despite clear assurances this would be dealt with following incidents before Christmas – there have been a number of further serious and well publicised incidents today.

“It is… utterly unacceptable for members of parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public to be subject to abuse, intimidation and threatening behaviour and indeed potentially serious offences while they go about their work.”

Would they have taken this step if only Mr Jones had been targeted? I have doubts about that.

He is a divisive figure, and often cannot count on other members of the media for support in matters such as this. Consider his clash with BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Tony Livesay. Mr Jones tweeted: “I went on earlier and the presenter said that by describing these fascists as “knuckle-dragging Tommy Robinson supporters” I was comparable to them. This is what we are dealing with in the British media.”

Mr Livesay responded: “Did I equate it @OwenJones84 ? Or did I say some people might say you’re not elevating the debate.”

In return, Mr Jones stated: “There is no debate to be elevated with fascists screaming abuse. This is beyond a joke.”

It is. I had intended to present an example of the abuse tweeted to Mr Jones by someone using the handle “MidNightLion1”, threatening extreme violence. It has been deleted, but it read: “You will get smashed one day Owen. Someone will beat the life out of you and it will be brilliant to see.”

Mr Jones responded: “Whatever happens to me, we crushed fascism before and we’ll crush fascism all over again.”

“Whatever happens to me”? Nobody should have to contemplate the possibility of serious harm coming to them, simply for expressing opinions – which, in contrast with those of the so-called yellow vest protesters, do not threaten harm to anybody.

As Grace Petrie tweeted: “It is gravely strange that not three years ago an MP was murdered in an act of far-right terrorism and it had no meaningful effect on this country’s discourse.”

That MP was Jo Cox. Her widower Brendan added: “The problem isn’t (just) extremists like this but mainstream commentators who spur them on with talk of traitors, enemies & betrayal. We should be able to debate difficult issues without making out the other side is evil.”

I hope I am not overstepping the mark if I include politicians among the “mainstream commentators who spur them on”, because, as “Red ’til I’m Dead” points out…

Yet when they start threatening people, the Establishment ranks rally around the Tory MP, while the lefty journalist is left to contemplate the possibility of serious physical harm.

Does that seem acceptable to you?

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Netanyahu’s Israel is victimising Jews who don’t support his apartheid regime

Victimised: Simone Zimmerman.

In the words of Jewdas: “The irony of Israel recently crowning itself as the ‘Jewish Nation-State’ at the same time as it is turning away increasing numbers of Jews due to their political views should not be lost on anyone.”

American Jews have good reason to be afraid. Recent interrogations, harassment, and deportation of left-wing Jewish American activists over their political beliefs and activities have ushered in a new political moment in the relationship between Israel and diaspora Jewish communities.

No longer is Jewish identity enough to protect American activists from the reach of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency. Jewish privilege is no longer enough to guarantee entry into the Jewish state should one’s ideology or political views contradict those of the Israeli government.

When Simone Zimmerman and Abby Kirschbaum were detained and interrogated on their way back from a weekend in Sinai, the Shin Bet and border authority interrogators were almost exclusively interested in why the two wanted to work with Palestinians. They wanted to know about their politics.

A week earlier, when Israeli-American author Moriel Zecher-Rothman was held by the Shin Bet at the airport, an agent warned him against going down a “slippery slope” of anti-occupation activism and demanded he provide intelligence on fellow left-wing activists.

Source: In Israel, American Jews can kiss their privilege goodbye | +972 Magazine

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DWP routinely harasses claimants. Isn’t it time we demanded change from this culture of abuse?

Stuart Chester and his mother Debbie McKenzie, with one of the DWP’s forms [Image: The National].

I could write a story every day about DWP harassment of individual claimants, and still leave thousands of people unrepresented.

It is only a week since I wrote about the way the DWP hassled 18-year-old David Brown into suicide by threatening to take away his Jobseekers’ Allowance.

The DWP said it would examine the circumstances that led to the young man’s death, implying that they were extraordinary – but today I am reporting similar behaviour against a young man in Scotland – who, fortunately, has his mother to look after his interests:

A severely disabled young man who is unable to talk, read or write and needs round-the-clock care has been targeted yet again by the Department of Work and Pensions because of Tory government changes to disability benefits.

Last year The National revealed how Stuart Chester, who has Down’s syndrome, epilepsy and autism and is unable to feed or wash himself, was sent a 20-page work capability assessment form to fill in to assess his fitness for work and whether he deserves his Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefits.

His mother Debbie McKenzie, 51, said receiving the form had caused her “undue stress” and after filling in the form last August she was told he would have DLA for life because his condition was never going to change.

Now the DWP has dropped another bombshell and sent Stuart a 42-page form to fill in to prove he is severely disabled and entitled to the the new PIP (Personal Independence Payment) that is replacing the DLA.

(Source: Hounded by the DWP: Mother yet again forced to prove her son is severely disabled (From The National))

To the best of my knowledge, Down’s Syndrom, epilepsy and autism are congenital conditions, that is, they are integral parts of Stuart Chester – as opposed to being diseases or conditions that may come and go.

So, what did the DWP think could possibly have changed about them in the last year?

Not only that, but after mother Debbie McKenzie filled out the new form – with all the further stress it entailed – included contact details of Stuart’s social workers and doctors and made it clear that the DWP could use all the details on the previous form… she received notice that it wasn’t the DWP’s job to gather evidence from medical professionals.

Why request those people’s details on the form, then?

The comment from a DWP spokesperson contradicted much of the behaviour we have seen in this story. “It’s really important that we get all the information to ensure people get the right support,” we are told.

Why give claimants this idiotic runaround, then?

“There is support available for claimants who need help filling out the form” – but this is never volunteered; people have to demand it, and this is hard to do when you don’t know it exists.

Furthermore, all the guidance from people who genuinely want to help claimants says the last thing anyone should do is seek help from the DWP in filling out one of its forms. This is a sure route to rejection of a claim.

We are left with Ms McKenzie’s comment: “Maybe the DWP are hoping it is so difficult for people to fill in the forms they just won’t bother.”

That is the conclusion many of us formed, several years ago. It is bizarre that the message still has not filtered through to the general public.

But the main issue is that this is another case of DWP harassment against a claimant, completely separate from the David Brown case and many miles away.

It proves that the harassment of claimants is systemic; it is DWP policy, and the intention is to do harm.

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A campaigner falls. Friends asked to remember Lotte Ryan

Those of you with an interest in such matters will know that another campaigner against DWP injustice has passed on.

How many of you are thinking to yourselves, "She doesn't LOOK ill"?

How many of you are thinking to yourselves, “She doesn’t LOOK ill”?

Charlotte Ryan – Lotte to her friends – was just 37 years of age when she died last week (February 23). She had an incurable version of cancer, brain stem glioma.

At the time of her death, the Department for Work and Pensions was trying to force her to take part in the Work Programme, despite the fact that she was in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance.

In a letter dated December 9, 2014, the local DWP Work Programme Provider – Prospects – notified her that she was expected to participate. The letter stated: “As part of your participation in the Work Programme, you have agreed to take part in work experience on a voluntary basis to help you gain work skills and experience.”

Writing just three days later, she stated: “I have terminal cancer, my prognosis is 0-3 years and I was diagnosed in March 2014 with my brain stem glioma. In April 2014 I was placed in the support group* for 3 years and I have gone from being able-bodied to hopelessly disabled. I have many neurological deficits including diploplia, dyspraxia, dysarthria and dysphagia. To save you googling, this means that I have double vision and am going blind, I’m very clumsy and most days I drop everything I pick up, my speech is failing and one day I won’t be able to communicate verbally at all and I have such difficulty swallowing that I now have a feeding tube.

“I cannot leave the house alone and I’m at risk of choking and need 24 hour care. They speak of me going into residential care, but they hope to keep me in my own home for as long as possible. The trouble is degenerative, nothing will get better, only worse, the cancer can’t be cured.

HOW SICK DOES A PERSON HAVE TO BE BEFORE THE HARASSMENT STOPS?”

Further information, including a copy of the letter, is available on the kittysjones blog.

This writer did not know Charlotte Ryan and this blog cannot, therefore, eulogise her.

But this blog can point out that her passage from this world would have been much easier without constant harassment by an inhumane government to take part in activities that were far beyond her abilities – or lose the benefits that were her lifeline.

Too many people believe that it is acceptable for the DWP – and the Coalition government – to treat the terminally ill in this way.

Perhaps they should read Lotte’s story.

If they won’t understand until they have to experience this treatment themselves, then it will be too late.

* The support group is supposed to be for people who the Department of Work and Pensions consider to have such severe health problems that there is no likelihood of their being able to undertake work or work-related activities.

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Tax credit debt collection is a double-edged attack on the poor

140126facts

There’s more than a little of the piscine about the fact that our Conservative-led has set debt collection agencies onto poor families who have been overpaid tax credit due to errors made by HM Revenue and Customs.

Firstly, the move undermines the principle behind the tax credit system – that it is there to ensure that poorly-paid families may still enjoy a reasonable living standard. Tax credits are paid on an estimate of a person’s – or family’s – income over a tax year and the last Labour government, knowing that small variances could cause problems for Britain’s poorest, set a wide buffer of £25,000 before households had to pay anything back.

By cutting this buffer back to £5,000, the Conservatives have turned this safety net into a trap. Suddenly the tiniest overpayment can push households into a debt spiral, because their low incomes mean it is impossible to pay back what the government has arbitrarily decided they now owe.

And the sharks are circling. Instead of collecting the debt on its own behalf, HMRC has sold it on to around a dozen debt collection agencies who are harassing the families involved with constant telephone calls, mobile phone messages and letters to their homes.

In total, HMRC made 215,144 referrals to debt collectors in 2013-14. Of the working families involved, 118,000 earned less than £5,000 per year.

This takes us to our second area of concern. Remember how the Department for Work and Pensions has been encouraging people – particularly the disabled – to declare themselves as self-employed in order to avoid the hassle and harassment that now go hand in hand with any benefit claim? You know – the refusal of benefits based on arbitrary ‘descriptors’ that were originally devised by a criminal insurance company as a means to minimise payouts, and the constant threat of sanctions that would cut off access to benefits for up to three years unless claimants manage to clear increasingly difficult obstacles.

And do you remember how the DWP reported earlier this year that more than 3,000 people who were subjected to the government’s benefit cap have now found work? This blog suggested at the time that many of them may have been encouraged to declare themselves self-employed in order to escape the hardship that the cap would cause them.

Both of these circumstances are likely to lead to a verdict of overpayment by HMRC, as the self-employment reported by these people is likely to be fictional, or to provide less than required by the rules – either in terms of hours worked or income earned.

Suddenly their debt is sold to a collection agency and they are suffering government-sponsored harassment, alarm and distress (which is in fact illegal) far beyond anything they received from the DWP; debt collection agencies are not part of the government and, as Dame Anne Begg pointed out in the Independent article on this subject, “The tactics they use to collect the debt are not tactics a government should use.”

Maybe not. So why employ such tactics?

Let’s move on to our third, and final, worry. By setting sharks on the hundreds of thousands of minnows caught in the government’s trawler-net (that was formerly a safety net – and I apologise for the mixed metaphor), the Tory-led administration is creating a handy distraction from the huge, bloated, offshore-banking whales who donate heavily into Conservative Party funds and who are therefore never likely to be pursued for the billions of pounds in unpaid taxes that they owe.

The government has promised to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance, but ministers would have to be out of their minds to attack the bankers and businesspeople who pay for their bread and butter.

George Osborne suffered huge – and entirely justified – derision last year when HMRC published a list of its top 10 tax dodgers, which revealed that public enemy number one was a hairdresser from Liverpool who had failed to pay a total of £17,000.

It seems likely that the Conservatives have decided that future announcements will involve the reclamation of far larger amounts, and from far more people…

Innocent people who were either cheated by Tory-instigated changes to the system or by Tory-instigated misleading benefit advice.

Meanwhile the guilty parties continue to go unhindered. Their only payouts will continue to be made to – who was it again?

Oh yes…

To the Conservative Party.

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Jobseekers told to do more to find (non-existent) work

Esther McVile: The employment minister, who claims adamantly that changes to housing benefit do not constitute a 'bedroom tax', is pictured complaining about a so-called 'tunnel tax' in her own constituency in a blatant display of double standards.

Esther McVile: The employment minister, who claims adamantly that changes to housing benefit do not constitute a ‘bedroom tax’, is pictured complaining about a so-called ‘tunnel tax’ in her own constituency in a blatant display of double standards.

WARNING: This article has been edited using the ‘Guide to DWP euphemisms’ published by Richard Hutton, and with inspiration from it.

New rules coming into force at the end of the month mean jobseekers will have to do more to find work – even though there are currently five of them for every job available – the Department for Work and Pensions has announced.

Simply ‘signing-on’ for benefits will be a thing of the past under the draconian and repressive new rules.

Employment Minister and double-standards queen Esther McVey has hailed the new rules as undermining the range of support available, which helps diminish aspects of the social security system so that it no longer protects anybody from being left impoverished – in this case by making sure people cannot start claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) by just signing-on without first humbling themselves before the Tory-led government.

She said: “With the economy growing, unemployment falling and record numbers of people in work, now is the time to start expecting more of shirkers if they want to claim benefits. It’s only right that we should push people who are unemployed into such a depth of poverty that even ‘in-work’ poverty is a step-up.

“This is about taking support away from people and undermining the range of support available to them so they can hit rock bottom faster. In return, we will give people as much harassment as possible, to make them stop scrounging or face sanctions, because we know from employers that we have to break people’s spirit before they’ll work for a really low wage.”

To prepare for their first interview with a Jobcentre Plus adviser, people looking for work will be told they will not even be able to sign as unemployed until they have prepared a CV, set up an email address – even though they might not have a computer on which to use it – and registering with the government’s discredited jobs website Universal Jobmatch, which will expose them to identity thieves and exploiters looking for sex workers. This change will make it possible to exploit people as soon as they start their JSA claim.

People who don’t tow the line will receive more harassment from their Jobcentre Plus adviser – weekly rather than fortnightly – to ensure they can be cleared off the books via sanctions if it proves impossible to push them into poverty work.

All new JSA claimants will also now have a quarterly review with their adviser, who will try to find a reason to impose sanctions and get them off the books.

These new measures are being introduced as figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by over 363,000 on the year, the largest annual fall since 1998. This shows that the system of sanctions, putting people on Workfare to hide the fact that they are unemployed, and asking them to pretend that they are self-employed in order to fraudulently claim tax credits instead, is working.

The government is committed to sanctions and the vast majority of people are bullied off JSA quickly – more than 75 per cent of people end their claim within six months. Every working day Jobcentre Plus advisers shout at 98,000 interviews jobseekers and there are a range of ploys available to push them off the system. These include:

• Hiding them on the Work Programme
• Referring them for ‘training’ by companies that provide the minimum help available, take the money and run
• Putting people on pointless ‘work experience’ that won’t lead to a job but will clear them off the claimant count
• Fooling people with ‘incentives’ that mean nothing
• Getting people to pretend they are self-employed.

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Liars exposed! Why has nobody been sacked yet?

Questions to answer: Maria Miller, the minister for evasion, cannot be expected to respond. She obstructed Parliament's inquiry into her expenses claims and her eventual apology for her misdeeds lasted just 32 seconds.

Questions to answer: Maria Miller, the minister for evasion, cannot be expected to respond. She obstructed Parliament’s inquiry into her expenses claims and her eventual apology for her misdeeds lasted just 32 seconds.

This blog asked yesterday whether Downing Street communications chief Craig Oliver was a liar, an incompetent, or both after he denied that government officers threatened the Daily Telegraph with tougher press regulation if it published its investigation into Maria Miller’s expenses.

It turns out he was both.

The Telegraph has now published a recording of the conversation between reporter Holly Watt and Miller’s advisor Joanna Hindley, on which its allegations are based. There can be no doubt that the reporter did indeed have Leveson held over her (corruptly); there can be little doubt that this was done at the request of Miller; and there can be no doubt at all that Mr Oliver knew about it.

So – a liar. And incompetent, because he had obviously discounted the possibility that the Telegraph reporter might have recorded the exchange.

It appears that Mr Oliver still has his job, despite having become the second person to disgrace it out of only two appointed by David Cameron. We cannot comment on Joanna Hindley.

The bullying, possibly blackmailing fraudster Maria Miller – who also persecuted thousands of disabled people while she was minister for equalities, also remains part of the government.

This speaks volumes about the lack of judgement displayed by ‘comedy’ Prime Minister David Cameron.

The longer he delays removing his rotten minister, her rotten advisor and his rotten media chief, the more rotten he and his government will become – in the opinion of the public.

And for this Prime Minister, public opinion is everything.

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