Tag Archives: harm

Could Boris Johnson be prosecuted under HIS OWN police Bill?

Don’t get your hopes up: remember that government ministers in the UK are automatically above the law and will never be prosecuted for breaking it. There is no rule explicitly saying this but just try to get the police to put one of them in jail.

Wouldn’t it be typically weird of Boris Johnson if he passed an Act of Parliament by which he himself could be imprisoned?

Take a look at this:

So according to Johnson’s own Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, anyone – at all – who commits an act that causes serious harm to the public or a section of the public, recklessly as to whether it will have such a consequence, could be sent to jail for up to 10 years?

Wouldn’t the catalogue of mistakes that has caused at least 150,000 deaths due to Covid-19 qualify as such an act?

Oh, but wait.

Johnson and all his Cabinet ministers are above the law and need never fear prosecution by the police services they own.

(Sorry. I forgot that for a moment.)

What? You thought nobody in the UK is above the law? Think again.

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Why were these pro-Palestine protesters hit by driver?

Two sides of the same coin? The hit-and-harm attack on pro-Palestine protesters happened around the same time the occupants of these cars were (allegedly) spreading anti-Semitic propaganda around a predominantly Jewish London neighbourhood.

At first, I was going to say this was the flipside of the anti-Semitic behaviour we’ve seen in the UK since Israel started its latest military purge of the population of Palestine.

But that would be simplifying matters.

The incident, resulting in the arrest of one man who apparently drove his car through a crowd of pro-Palestine protesters in Nottingham, could have other causes.

Perhaps the alleged perpetrator had a grudge against the victim(s) and merely used the pro-Palestine protest as cover.

Perhaps the injured person wasn’t the intended target at all.

It will be educational to find out, if a trial results from this arrest.

My bet is on it being the work of a pro-Israel nutcase, though. Occam’s Razor – the most obvious alternative is probably right.

Source: Man arrested after car hits pro-Palestinian protesters in Nottingham | The Independent

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Every new MP receives briefing on how Tory social security reforms have harmed us – so they can’t say they don’t know

Long-term readers of This Site will remember Mo Stewart, the researcher into the harm being caused to claimants of sickness and disability benefits by successive Conservative governments’ determination to convert the social security system to a for-profit insurance scheme.

Mo spent 10 years researching and writing a book on this subject: Cash Not Care – The Planned Demolition of the UK Welfare State.

After the 2019 general election, she became concerned that the huge new influx of Conservative MPs – along with those from other political parties – were ignorant of the harm that government policies had caused.

So she wrote a briefing paper specifically addressing the issue and sent it to all of them.

Labour’s John McDonnell has apparently offered to arrange a debate on the subject, if possible.

Whether or not that happens, Mo has provided me with a copy of the document so we all have a record of what these MPs should know – and so they won’t be able to plead ignorance.

And here it is:

Social Policy Abused:
The Creation Of Preventable Harm

Executive Summary

The Preventable Harm Project (the Project) ran for ten years and closed in November 2019, with the evidence identified within the Project findings widely promoted during 2019/20. The Project identified the bipartisan political ambition to eventually remove the UK welfare state, to be replaced by private income replacement health insurance. In order to remove the welfare state, it was first necessary to remove the psychological security provided by the welfare state. This was achieved by the adoption of a flawed disability assessment model, and the manipulation of the general public aided by the tabloid press, that successfully demonised claimants of disability benefit(s). Large numbers of suicides linked to the adoption of the Work Capability Assessment are overlooked by the Department for Work and Pensions, and successive Rule 43 ‘prevention of future deaths’ Coroners’ reports, highlighting the link between the Work Capability Assessment and suicides, have also been disregarded. The Work Capability Assessment was fatally flawed by design and should be abolished, and the departmental intimidation of disability benefit claimants should be outlawed.

Introduction: The Creation of Preventable Harm

1. Introduced in 2008 to restrict access to the new Employment and Support Allowance long-term out-of-work disability benefit, the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is a ‘non-medical functional assessment’ that disregards all clinical opinion. Since 2010, the WCA has been linked to the deaths of thousands of chronically ill and disabled benefit claimants who applied for state financial support when unable to work, yet were deemed to be ‘fit for work’ by the fatally flawed WCA.

2. Twelve years since the adoption of the WCA there is an identified and growing mental health crisis within the UK linked to claimants of disability benefit(s), and a disturbing increase in suicides directly linked to the WCA, as identified by published academic research but dismissed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

“The worst thing, I find, is realising that I am forced into looking for a life that I want but have no chance of having. I seriously feel I may kill myself because being sick, having next to no money, no life, no future, no cure, constant pain and constant disapproval defeats me.”

An extract from the ‘Fulfilling Potential? ESA and the fate of the Work-Related Activity Group’ project, conducted by Catherine Hale and published by MIND and the Centre for Welfare Reform.

3. In both 2006 and 2007 the government’s own expert medical panel warned the administration not to adopt the WCA, advising that it was ‘not fit for purpose’ due to the predictable negative impact on public mental health. The expert panel’s clinical opinion was disregarded by the DWP. The removal of clinical opinion from disability assessment using the WCA guaranteed that many of those in greatest need were destined to die, as the state removed the financial and the psychological security of a guaranteed income when unfit to work.

4. There have been two official Rule 43 ‘prevention of future deaths’ Coroners’ reports linking the WCA to suicides, with other Coroners expressing concern at inquests due to the identified enforced suffering of the deceased by the DWP. Coroners’ official Rule 43 reports and identified concerns are disregarded by the DWP, whose social policy reforms since 2010 created preventable harm to those in greatest need linked to intimidation. The constant threat of sanctions, which removes all disability benefit income, leaves the chronically ill and disabled community in need of state financial support living in fear of the DWP.

5. Regardless of the Jobcentre being advised that a claimant is unable to attend an interview due to ill health, disabled claimants are routinely met with an ‘institutional reluctance’ to meet their needs, as identified in Coroner’s reports. Jobcentre staff’s decisions to sanction a claimant can cause death by starvation, in C21st UK, when all income is removed for a period of weeks or months. No-one is held to account when some of those in greatest need are starved to death by the state.

6. The WCA is used to limit access to all state disability funding including the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Universal Credit and the War Pensions for older working-age disabled veterans, which is a military medical pension not an out-of-work benefit.

7. The WCA is regularly and inappropriately referred to as a ‘medical assessment’ by the DWP, MPs, academics, policy advisers and journalists. The WCA is not a medical assessment and is totally unrelated to clinical opinion. The adoption of the WCA is identified as being attributed to psychocoercion by successive administrations, to remove what once was the psychological security of the welfare state for anyone who is unfit to work.

8. Identified in 2008 by the American Association of Justice as being the second worst insurance company in America, the corporate insurance giant Unum (Provident) Insurance have been advisers to the UK government since 1992, and were appointed as the official UK government consultants for ‘welfare claims management’ from 1994. Concerned by the increase in various conditions that could not be confirmed by blood tests or x-rays, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Unum Insurance adopted a biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability assessment, which disregards all clinical opinion.

9. Unum advised the UK government as to how to adopt a similar BPS assessment model in the UK, and funded an assessment centre at Cardiff University for this purpose. The DWP adopted the discredited Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment for the WCA, which disregards diagnosis, prognosis, past medical history and prescribed medicines. The human consequences of using the WCA is that many of those in greatest need would die, with many driven to suicide with a common perception that anyone claiming to be unfit to work, and in need of state financial support, will be persecuted by the DWP. The Waddell-Aylward BPS model of assessment failed all academic scrutiny.

Policy recommendations

• Since 2009 every clinical authority in the UK have demanded that the WCA should be abolished. This includes the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Nurses and the British Psychological Society. Introduced by the private health insurance industry, disregarding clinical opinion was always dangerous. The WCA is fatally flawed and should be abolished without further delay, to be replaced with a disability assessment that considers clinical opinion, with many assessments being paper-based, so that the chronically ill and disabled community are no longer intimidated by the DWP.

Research findings
• In order to remove the past psychological security provided by the welfare state it was necessary to discredit vast numbers of disability benefit claimants, aided by the tabloid press, which helped to manipulate the British public.
• Social policies were adopted with a fiscal priority whilst disregarding health and wellbeing, which policymakers failed to take into account when recommending policies which were harmful.
• Since 2010 the social policy reforms, and the additional austerity measures, were destined to have a catastrophic and often fatal consequence for many of those in greatest need. Thousands of chronically ill and disabled benefit claimants have died when ‘killed by the state,’ with a 2014 NHS Digital Adult Psychiatry Morbidity Survey report that identified that almost 50 percent of ESA disability benefit claimants had attempted suicide at some point.
• Prosecuted disability hate crimes, including murder, increased by 213 percent between 2010-2016, during the coalition government’s term in office.
• The relationship between physical health and mental health is well documented. The numbers of benefit claimants who have perished due to social policies since 2010 will never be known.
• Published in September 2016 ‘Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state’ provides the results of the first six years of independent disability studies research for the Preventable Harm Project. The book is now recommended reading for various social policy, health and legal courses at universities in the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

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Ex-politicians shouldn’t harm public life, says man who’s busy harming public life as a government minister

Robert ‘bent as a nine-bob note’ Jenrick: his own activities as a housing minister suggest that he is the last one to criticise politicians who turn out to have acted corruptly while in office.

Robert Jenrick – he’s a fine one to talk, isn’t he?

He’s been a minister for three years and is already mired in more allegations of corruption than most MPs, yet he has taken it upon himself to criticise David Cameron.

The claim is that Cameron rigged the system, while in office, in order to feather his nest once he had left frontline politics.

While it may well be valid – and it is certainly worth saying that UK politicians should set an example to the world by turning their back on that kind of corruption… well, I shudder to think what we’ll hear about Jenrick after he retires from Parliament.

The simple fact is, our politicians – particularly our elected government – are able to twist the system so it delivers fat profits to them, knowing that they will never be penalised or prosecuted for it because they are above the law.

Repeat until you understand everything that it means: they are above the law.

They will never be arrested because the police never prosecute politicians, particularly those who have been senior members of a government. Never.

So there is absolutely no incentive for them not to corrupt the system to the limits of their imaginations, is there?

Oh, you disagree?

Take a look at history, and the revelations it provides about UK politicians’ behaviour both in and out of office.

Source: Ex-politicians should be very careful – minister – BBC News

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David Attenborough is preaching to the wrong people

Misguided: David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet preached the depressing truth that human beings are destroying their own ecosystem – to human beings who either aren’t or don’t have a choice – they must participate in it or starve. Nobody who can make a difference could care less.

Here’s everything that was wrong with David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet yesterday:

Sarah Vine, if you didn’t know, is not only a right-wing journalist but the wife of Michael Gove, who happens to be the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – a very senior Conservative government politician.

She doesn’t care about the harm her husband and his government’s policies are doing to the planet. She just wants to see pretty photography of elephants before they become extinct due to her husband’s bad decisions.

And, by virtue of being married to him, she has influence over such matters. She would never use it to stop other Tories (and exploiters from other countries and political parties) from ravaging the world for the sake of a quick buck.

Meanwhile, David Attenborough has been on the BBC telling you and me – I can’t do a single damn thing to stop the destruction of our ecosystem in the name of profit; can you? – that we’re responsible.

Doesn’t he recognise the contradiction in his own stance? He’s saying this on a TV channel that is run by supporters of the Conservative government (current BBC chair Richard Sharp has donated heavily to the Conservatives – more than £400,000 by 2010) and broadcasts Tory propaganda instead of news.

Indeed, just to rub it in our faces, the BBC ran an advert for its news programme right after A Perfect Planet, telling us that while we might have had a rotten time for the last few months – and be in for worse in the future, and it’s all very depressing (they’re sure), we are “not alone” and they are on our side.

Mrs Mike and I stared at this in amazement and disbelief and then both uttered the same explosive eight-letter expletive at the television (I’ll leave you to imagine what it was, for your own entertainment).

If Attenborough really wants to change the direction of travel, he would be demanding change from his BBC bosses but he isn’t.

Instead, all he has done is upset millions of ordinary people who have absolutely no say in such matters and cannot do anything about it.

Some of us may even be employed in jobs that worsen the situation, coerced into doing so by the fact that there is no other work available and they must either take part in the long-term murder of the ecosystem or starve in the short term. Attenborough didn’t mention that on his programme last night but it is a policy of the Conservative government that his employer supports.

I’m not saying he doesn’t make a good point, or shouldn’t be warning everybody about what is happening.

I’m just pointing out that his argument is misdirected. The people who could make a difference simply don’t care. They think he should shut up and show them nice piccies of elephants.

Attenborough stated in the film that his hopes now lie in the new generation of human beings – avoiding the fact that the vast majority will be even less able to change anything than his, or mine, due to political policies across the globe that are concentrating power in the hands of very few people.

I remember back in the 1980s, in the Genesis song Land of Confusion, Tory Phil Collins singing that his generation would “put it right”. His generation didn’t.

My generation hasn’t (to my infinite chagrin).

The next generation won’t have the opportunity.

Attenborough, bless ‘im, needs to get to grips with that reality.

Otherwise, he might just as well give up and give Sarah Vine her elephant pics.

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Cut court jury size to clear Covid backlog, says Labour in descent to dribbling insanity

Blinding justice: cut jury sizes to seven and save time, says Labour’s David Lammy. Maybe it would, but it would almost certainly prejudice the result of difficult cases.

There is a reason we have 12 people in court juries and the idea of changing that number just to get through court cases faster is an offence to justice.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary, David Lammy, wants to resurrect so-called “wartime juries” of seven rather than 12 members, to speed up the process.

And the only casualty will be justice.

Why not just announce that anybody accused of a crime will be automatically declared guilty? That would save time. And that’s the intention here, right?

“Victims of rape, murder, domestic abuse, robbery and assault are facing delays of up to four years because of the government’s failure to act,” Mr Lammy said.

Right. And so are people who have been wrongly accused of those crimes.

Waiting for justice can be extremely stressful. Trust me – I know!

But it is better to let the wheels of justice grind slow and smooth than to risk even the possibility of injustice.

This plan would open the door to injustice, just to save a bit of time.

So I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I actually agree with the Tories that there should be no tinkering with the system at this time.

The justice system already gets enough flak for failing the public. There’s no justification for laying it open to even more.

Source: Coronavirus: Cut jury size to clear courts backlog – Labour – BBC News

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Yes, but what does Covid-19 do to people who DON’T die?

Spotted on Facebook:

Some other stats were discussed based on the question “if we let the virus rip through the population on an assumed 1% mortality rate, how could this shut down the U.K.?”
Here was the answer:
There are two problems with this question.
1. It neglects the law of large numbers; and
2. It assumes that one of two things happen: you die or you’re 100% fine.
The UK has a population of 66,650,000. If one percent of the population dies, that’s
666,500 people dead.
Six hundred thousand people dead would monkey wrench the economy no matter what.
That more than doubles the number of annual deaths all at once.
The second bit is people keep talking about deaths. Deaths, deaths, deaths. Only one percent die! Just one percent! One is a small number! No big deal, right?
What about the people who survive?
For every one person who dies:
– 19 more require hospitalisation.
– 18 of those will have permanent heart damage for the rest of their lives.
– 10 will have permanent lung damage.
– 3 will have strokes.
– 2 will have neurological damage that leads to chronic weakness and loss of
coordination.
– 2 will have neurological damage that leads to loss of cognitive function.
So now all of a sudden, that “but it’s only 1% fatal!” becomes:
– 666,500 people dead.
– 12,471,600 hospitalized.
– 11,815,200 people with permanent heart damage.
– 6,564,000 people with permanent lung darnage.
– 1,969,200 people with strokes.
– 1,312,800 people with muscle weakness.
– 1,312,800 people with loss of cognitive function.
That’s the thing that the folks who keep going on about “only 1% dead, what’s the big deal?”
don’t get.
The choice is not “ruin the economy to save 1%”.If we reopen the economy, it will be
destroyed anyway. The UK economy cannot survive everyone getting COVID-19.
Here’s more information on ‘Long Covid’ from the British Medical Journal.

We’re not at one per cent deaths yet, but even the official figures (which are probably false) show 0.1 per cent deaths.

So we can assume current figures are one-tenth of those listed above.

That’s 1.25 million people hospitalised.

1.2 million with permanent heart damage.

656,000 with permanent lung damage.

200,000 with strokes.

131,000 with muscle weakness.

131,000 with loss of cognitive function.

Now.

How many of those are – or rather, were – contributing to the economy before catching the disease? How many will be able to continue doing so?

By failing to prepare properly; by selling off our PPE and failing to stock up on ventilators; by delaying positive action; by keeping the borders open (a contradiction of Tory policy, surely?); by using the emergency procurement procedure as a subsidy system for their spoilt friends; and by fooling around with the distribution of the new vaccines for the sake of a false public-relations coup, Boris Johnson and his Tories have crippled the UK’s population for years – possibly decades – to come.

And you know what’s going to happen?

It will be the people who can no longer work who will get the blame (and who won’t get any benefits).

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Should anyone be surprised that Brexit will cost more than Covid – in the long term?

This Writer’s initial reaction to Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s claim that a no-deal Brexit will cost more than Covid was:

Is that because most of the cost of Covid was due to short-term profiteering by Tory crony companies?

The cost to the UK of this nonsense is short-term, though; when the pandemic is finally under control, the profiteers won’t have an opportunity to screw any more cash out of the Treasury.

But the loss of the free trade deals the UK enjoyed as a member of the European Union will have long-term effects that may last many years:

LSE modelling estimates a reduction in GDP worth 8% over a decade compared with remaining in the EU.

Asked about the research, Bailey said economic models suggested there would be long-term consequences, as it could take a long time for the UK to adjust to a new trading relationship. “It takes a much longer period of time for the real side of the economy to adjust to the change in openness and change in the profile of trade,” he said.

Bailey was talking about the effects of a “no-deal” Brexit but be warned that even a deal will place the UK at a disadvantage.

Source: No-deal Brexit to cost more than Covid, Bank of England governor says | Politics | The Guardian

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Starmer’s Tory-supporting crackdown on his own party makes him a danger to people with disabilities

[Image: @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter.]

Apologists for Keir Starmer who reckon he’s easing the way for Tory legislation to make them “own their mistakes” will have a hard time justifying this.

Starmer and his team are working behind the scenes to stop Labour MPs from criticising the Conservatives.

After significant rebellions against one-line Labour whips on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligent Sources Bill (the so-called ‘Spycops’ bill that allows government agents to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape), the whips office has broken party protocol to issue written reprimands to the rebels.

The letters stipulate a reprimand period of six months, to be extended to twelve if the recipient continues to break the whip.

They have been shared with Labour’s parliamentary committee – a group of backbench MPs elected by the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), and currently dominated by the right – which will determine whether to inform the MP’s constituency Labour party (CLP), as well as the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

This information could then be considered when an MP seeks reselection ahead of a general election.

“That’s the fear factor,” one MP told Novara Media. “This could impact your reselection [and] it might be over a one-line whip. It’s intimidation plain and simple.”

A number of those who received letters are seeking legal advice from union representatives, the MP added.

But that’s not all.

It seems someone in Starmer’s office has taken it upon themselves to water down criticism of the Tory government’s failure to protect people with disabilities by reducing the disability employment gap and mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on them, and in its new COVID-19 guidance for people placed in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group.

Someone in the office of the shadow minister for people with disabilities, Vicky Foxcroft, sent a draft of her comments to John Pring of Disability News Service which differed significantly from the official version of her comments released by the Labour Party.

The changes include the removal of a reference to the “vital” role played by trade unions in protecting disabled people from discrimination, along with any reference to disability discrimination.

Read the DNS article and see for yourself. It states,

Responding to the new pandemic guidance… her official statement said that disabled people were just “anxious” rather than “extremely worried”. Her call for disabled people who might need to shield again needing to be “properly compensated and not left without enough money to survive” had vanished.

This represents a serious policy change from Labour – back to the indifference to anti-disability discrimination that marred the New Labour years and Ed Miliband’s leadership.

People with disabilities can no longer rely on Labour MPs to stand up for them because it seems the party leadership now supports the Tories’ campaign to punish them, just for existing.

Starmer seems determined to let Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories do whatever they want – harm whoever they want – while threatening to sabotage the careers of anybody in his own ranks who dares to protest.

The big question is: What is to be done about this?

The union Unite has already cut its funding to the Labour Party by 10 per cent, and the decision to remove a supportive reference to trade unions from an official comment could be interpreted as an attack – or even a retaliation. Should that union – and others – cut support for Labour even more?

And what about constituency Labour parties? The threat to MPs – which includes sanctions that could lead to their deselection (to be replaced by right-wingers parachuted in by head office, no doubt – that was Tony Blair’s practice) – is also an indirect attack on the power of members to choose their representatives.

Will they act? Should they?

What do you think?

Source: Keir Starmer Has Launched an Unprecedented Crackdown on Rebel MPs | Novara Media

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If the Tories are keen to preserve lives, why are they threatening people who are shielding from Covid?

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons the role of the House of Commons “can only properly be fulfilled when members are here in person”, and says his decision is “completely in accordance” with the “equalities considerations” of the government and parliament. Phew, what a loony!

People who are vulnerable to Covid-19 are very much second-class citizens to the Conservative government, aren’t they?

Consider teachers who have been ordered back into work even though their physical health means they must shield against the virus – that is, they need to stay in their homes, away from anybody who might possibly pass it onto them:

Teachers with underlying medical conditions have been threatened with pay cuts or disciplinary action if they do not come into school.

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union – which opposed the reopening plan – [said]his union had received “lots of worries” from members this week.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic in relation to teachers with underlying health conditions,” he said.

“We’re now seeing some schools insisting that shielding is over and that those individuals who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be back in the workforce,” he said.

“We’ve come across one or two examples of schools threatening to deduct pay or put people on disciplinary procedures if they don’t come into the workplace.

“Of course we’ll continue – and have done – pushing back with those employees with some success, but nevertheless this shouldn’t be happening out there.”

Conversely, MPs are being deprived of the ability to carry out their responsibilities, even though they could do it from home if they were permitted to:

The shadow minister for disabled people has taken legal advice over the government’s “outrageous” decision to prevent MPs at serious risk from coronavirus from continuing to vote and take part in debates from their own home.

Labour’s Vicky Foxcroft, who has a long-term health condition, was unable to vote on Tuesday [June 2] because of the government’s decision.

She [said] she and other MPs at particular risk from COVID-19 had been discriminated against.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also criticised the government this week over its stance, after refusing to do so last week.

There is no consistency in this behaviour by the Tory government; one group is penalised because their health forbids them from working while the other is penalised because its members want to.

It seems the Johnson government is happy to contradict itself, simply to inflict harm on the vulnerable.

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