Tag Archives: interview

Universal Credit rule change means working people may lose payments

Therese Coffey: would you trust her to make sure you knew about a change that could affect your income, when she could just sneak it out quietly and knock you off her DWP books?

Working people who still have to claim Universal Credit may have their payments stopped because of a rule change being sneaked in by Therese Coffey.

At the moment, people do not have to continue attending regular Job Centre appointments to seek more work if they are employed for the equivalent of nine hours a week.

The Work and Pensions Secretary wants to raise that to 12 hours, meaning more people would have to return to interviews.

No specific date has been set for the change, meaning UC claimants will have to be aware of what is happening. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is notorious for failing to notify people of changes and then suspending or cancelling their benefits.

Of course, the change means the DWP will need to employ more people as work coaches – if the Treasury provides some cash for it. So that’s an opportunity for someone.

Then again, This Writer wonders whether Coffey would be happy with the advice that may be provided by people who have endured her welfare regime.

Source: Major DWP rule changes could see Universal Credit payments stopped

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Police start interviewing witnesses about Downing Street parties

Boris Johnson: he has good reason to look worried.

Metropolitan Police officers have started interviewing witnesses about the alleged lockdown-breaking Downing Street parties.

After sending questionnaires to more than 100 people, officers have begun to sift through the information about participation in the alleged gatherings:

In a statement on Monday, the Met said detectives from the Operation Hillman investigation team had started interviewing “key witnesses”.

The force added: “To date, over 100 questionnaires have been sent out asking the recipients about their participation in alleged gatherings.

“The questionnaires provide recipients with the opportunity to give an account of their involvement and the responses form part of the investigative material for the operation.”

All recipients – including both the prime minister and Chancellor Rishi Sunak – were given seven days to respond.

The statement said: “As a result of responses so far, further individuals have been identified and questionnaires sent to them.

“As the investigation continues, we may need to contact more people as further information comes to light.”

The announcement means any hope Downing Street had that the investigation would end quickly, with a minimum of fuss, is likely to be dashed.

Instead, inquiries appear to be expanding, with suggestions that the size of the police inquiry team is to be increased to deal with the volume of work.

This suggests that, rather than providing a minimum of information (as some of us expected after it was revealed that they had received advice on what to say), some Downing Street employees have been accusing others.

What does this mean for Boris Johnson, though?

Well, we know that some Tory MPs have withdrawn their call for a vote of “no confidence” in Johnson’s leadership, because they don’t think one should take place during a crisis like the current war between Russia and Ukraine.

But with the investigation continuing indefinitely, it is now possible that they will have a chance to reconsider their decision a second time.

And with more mistakes and corruptions by the UK’s worst-ever prime minister coming to light all the time, this can only be heartening for those of us who believe the UK needs better.

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PM branded ’embarrassment’ – shame it wasn’t HIS #Partygate #questionnaire that was leaked

Boris Johnson: not just humiliated, but a national humiliation.

How disappointing. Like many people (I suspect), I was ready for some real gossip about Boris Johnson when I read the headline

PM branded ’embarrassment’ after leak of partygate investigation questionnaire.

But my hopes have been dashed. It seems it was not Boris Johnson’s own replies to the questionnaire that has been leaked, but a copy of the questionnaire itself, showing the questions alleged Downing Street party attendees have been asked to answer and indicating that it should be treated as an interview under caution:

The documents shared by ITV News appear to show a police caution advising those receiving the documents that they “do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention we questioned something which you later rely on in court”.

Respondents are advised to “ensure the caution is read and understand prior to any answers to questions being provided”.

According to ITV News, the document states that those sent the questionnaire are being provided with the “opportunity to cooperate with police in the form of a written statement under caution”.

We knew that! Nevertheless, Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, has demanded that Johnson should resign, simply because he has been effectively interviewed under caution:

“It is frankly a national embarrassment that Boris Johnson is now the first Prime Minister in British history to be questioned under police caution.

“How on earth can he stay on and claim to uphold British law and order after this?”

It has also been pointed out that Tony Blair was questioned as a witness by police when he was prime minister, over the cash for honours scandal, but never under caution. At the time, he said he would resign if he were interviewed under caution.

The point is clear: Standards have slipped over the last 20 years or so.

And are Boris Johnson and any of his Tories the people to restore them?

Clearly the answer is: no.

Source: PM branded ’embarrassment’ after leak of partygate investigation questionnaire

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#CarCrash: culture secretary’s TV interview is comedy of awkwardness

Who’s the most confused? Charlie Stayt, who can’t get a straight answer, or Nadine Dorries – in her natural state?

Nadine Dorries epitomises the Tory dilemma: Boris Johnson proved himself incapable of leading, but all his lieutenants are daft. Who could possibly replace him?

The Culture Secretary, who’s determined to destroy the BBC, was interviewed on that broadcaster’s Breakfast show today (February 5), when presenter Charlie Stayt found her inability to answer basic questions about her boss confusing:

What an awkward interview.

It really does offer validity to a comment on Twitter: “Perhaps No 10 and Parliament does need drug testing after all.”

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Boris Johnson isn’t the only Tory in trouble for breaking the rules

Daniel Kawczynski: this was his justification for bullying his staff.

Here’s Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham:

Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski is facing a one-day suspension from the Commons after being found to have broken the rules over an apology he gave for bullying parliamentary staff.

So, not only was he found guilty of bullying his own staff – he has now been found guilty of breaking the rules for apologising about it!

The recommendation has been made by the Commons Standards Committee and follows comments the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham made before he said sorry last June.

The committee ruled that interviews he gave on local radio and with a newspaper before the required apology in the Commons chamber meant he had failed to comply, as the apology was not “unequivocal”.

In its report, the committee said: “Although he says he was sincere by the time he made the apology to the House, he had that morning effectively undermined the sincerity of that apology by broadcasting the fact that he was making it because he was required to do so and he disagreed with the way the case had been conducted.

I wonder if he expected the government to change the rules for him, as it tried to do for his former North Shropshire colleague, Owen Paterson?

Read the full story here: Tory MP facing suspension for breaking rules over apology for bullying parliamentary staff

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Woman tests positive for Covid-19 – and is threatened with sanction if she doesn’t attend Job Centre

Habitual cruelty: if you thought the Tories stopped persecuting people with long-term illnesses and disabilities during the Covid-19 crisis, think again.

This is the UK in 2021, summed up in one series of tweets:

I don’t know where this Job Centre is, but its staff are clearly trying to create another Jodey Whiting.

Jodey had incurable conditions – they could only get worse – and failed to attend a benefit re-assessment interview because she was in hospital with a brain cyst at the time.

All her benefits were cut off – even though the interview can only have been to work out whether her conditions had worsened enough for her to require increased payments.

She took her own life soon afterwards. A coroner ruled that it could not be described as suicide because there is reason to believe her action could have been a cry for help.

This Writer has no doubt that Ms Whiting was pushed towards taking her own life by the Department for Work and Pensions.

If somebody on benefits contracts Covid-19, fails to attend a benefit interview, and the DWP cuts off all her payments – in the full knowledge of what happened with Ms Whiting – doesn’t that indicate, to you, that this government department is hoping for the same end result?

It does to me.

Let’s hope it doesn’t get that far.

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Challenged for failing to protect David Attenborough by wearing a mask, Johnson flails

Another day, another car-crash interview for Boris Johnson.

Today he was challenged over his decision not to wear a mask while sitting next to “national treasure” David Attenborough, who is 95 years old and therefore highly vulnerable to Covid-19.

Just because Johnson has been vaccinated, it doesn’t mean he cannot pass the virus on to other people and his masklessness has attracted huge criticism on the social media.

But just look at his face when an interviewer raised the matter. It seems he did not have the self-awareness to realise people would talk about it, and he quite clearly panics at the thought of the harm he has done to his own public image.

His answer, when it eventually came, was infantile:

Still, it could be worse.

Has anyone told Johnson what M. Macron did while he was enjoying his hangover nap (still maskless) next to Mr Attenborough while the speeches droned on? This could not have happened if he had only put a piece of cloth over his face:*

*Amazingly, to avoid criticism from the hard-of-thinking, I have to make it clear that this image is satirical.

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#ConcreteMike : interviewer tells #InsulateBritain spokesman you can grow concrete

This is what happens when a right-wing radio presenter thinks he’s smarter than a simple man with a simple message:

“You can’t grow concrete,” said Cameron.

“You can…” responded Mike Graham – and then had to eat silence while Cameron let the enormity of his mistake sink in.

This Talk Radio presenter actually suggested that people could grow concrete – a synthetic substance.

And then he went on to suggest that being a carpenter – making items out of a renewable substance like wood – is bad. It’s one of the oldest and most useful professions in any human culture!

No wonder Mr Graham said he didn’t want to talk to Cameron – or anybody else from Insulate Britain – ever again. As it is, he will undoubtedly receive a strong shaming over this.

If you really want to know what Insulate Britain is about – there’s a reason behind their road-blocking protests, you see – then enjoy This Writer’s interview with another member of the organisation, here.

The quick summary is that if you agree with Insulate Britain, then you want warmer homes, a solution to the dangers of climate change, and decent jobs for local craftspeople.

If you don’t, then you side with somebody who thinks carpentry is a bad idea.

And if we’d listened to people like Mike Graham back when humanity was first starting its ascent, we’d all still be living in caves, wearing animal skins and afraid of the dark.

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Interview: as Insulate Britain returns to our roads, here’s why you should support them

Back on the streets: Insulate Britain.

Activists from Insulate Britain have rekindled their campaign for better home insulation by supergluing themselves to roads in Liverpool Street, Limehouse Causeway, Bishopsgate and Upper Thames Street.

What a nuisance, right?

Wrong. Well, it’s wrong if you love your relatives and friends, anyway.

And it seems people are getting it – because members of the public reportedly told the protesters they were “doing a good job”.

It seems the organisation has gained a lot of ground since a London mother tried to run over members in a Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school:

The police were informed…

… so This Writer is sure we’ll hear more about that incident in due course.

But what is Insulate Britain all about? And what does insulation have to do with disrupting road traffic?

Vox Political had a chance to find out when This Writer interviewed Insulate Britain’s Steve Gower – appropriately enough, on a road. I recorded the chat, so you can hear it right here:

If you are deaf, please find a text version of the interview below:

Who are you? That’s a good start, isn’t it?

Yeah. I’m Steve Gower. I’m a volunteer advocate for the homeless, I’m currently unemployed, and I’m working – working! – I’m also a member of Insulate Britain.

Right. So what is Insulate Britain?

Insulate Britain is a group of individuals and a campaign that have made a demand to the government to insulate all the council and social housing properties in this country and to provide a meaningful statement to prove that they are serious about reducing the amount of CO2 in the environment [in accordance with] the Paris Agreement of 2015 that they’ve signed up to, by 2025.

How are you doing it?

By completing non-violent direct action around the M25 and surrounding areas.

Why around the M25?

Because unless a financial crisis happens as in disruption to the Capital, the government will not listen.

That’s the important point, I think, because we see it on the news – well, we do; you go and do it – and there’s a kind of disconnect, I suppose, because of the way it’s reported. We need to know what the necessity is. People need to find out why you are doing the things you are doing.

I agree with you there. We made a statement – I personally posted a written statement to the government in August, where our demands were exactly that – the insulation and retrofit of all council and social properties to be completed. Not just talked about, because we’ve been promised this before.

Over 20 years ago, the government of the day recognised that 50,000 people in the UK were losing their lives through the cold in their own homes. 20 years on, nothing substantial has changed. We have got the leakiest homes, not only in the whole of the UK, but in Europe as well.

Would it be spectacularly expensive for them to do? Is there any financial disincentive for them to do it?

It’s not going to be cheap – but my personal answer to that is [to ask] how much value you put on the life of your child, the life of your grandchild, or the life of your grandmother or grandfather.

In financial terms every house is different, but it has been estimated between £500 billion and £1 trillion or £1.1 trillion over a 10-year period.

Okay, but against that you balance the lives that are saved, and of course if you wanted to put it in money terms, a life has a huge economic value. So the economic argument doesn’t work anyway because it’s the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The other figure is that for every pound that is spent retrofitting and installing insulation into people’s properties, you will gain £3.20 back.

Yes, there you go.

But I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for my children and my children’s children.

Quite, but I think it is worth putting out there: there is no economic argument for it anyway.

If there was an economic argument about this, because we’ve put ourselves in debt, this country has been in debt since 1690. We have found money when we needed it in the past 3- or 400 years, for disasters or even wars. This is a humanitarian crisis on our island.

That’s right, because the UK of course is the home of the magic money tree.

[Laughter] You said that, not me!

I’ve been saying it for a while now. So you’ve been doing these demonstrations on the M25, these acts to disrupt, I suppose-

And for this conversation. You’re only talking to me now because of the fact that we’ve been on the roads for the last [few] weeks.

That’s exactly right.

I’ve been a ground worker in my past life. I’ve built houses in that lifetime. Those houses are not fit for purpose; they are as leaky as the ones I’ve mentioned before – we’ve got the leakiest properties in Europe. New properties today are within that scope as well. They will need retrofitting in the future. They are today not fit for purpose.

Strangely enough I was hearing something on the radio about that, only the other day. The idea is that they put plans up for approval based on how a place will look and then they try to put everything into it afterwards. It’s always many years behind the times.

There are houses today – built – that are eco-friendly and have zero carbon emissions. Every house, by law, has to be rated from A to G. My personal property is a one-bedroom flat, category E. I don’t drive – I can’t afford to drive, unfortunately. But if you drive, a family car emits less CO2 than my flat over the course of a year.

Wow!

Also, as I mentioned before, I’ve built properties – as the boys and the girls are doing now in the construction industry – that are not fit for purpose. With this – what we’re asking for – are proper insulation and retrofit, which will mean quality jobs, valuable jobs, and houses that will be fit for purpose, for not only the next 10 or 20 years but possibly into the next century.

How proud we would be of that! How proud a job, and significant, that you are building not only a house, and a home, for a family, but saving the planet as well.

Right. That’s what you’ve been doing; those are your reasons. What has the response been from the authorities?

We’ve had no response other than a mention in the Tory Party conference from Boris himself, calling us this, that and the other…

What an honour!

What an honour, yeah, it has been! I, and many of my comrades and friends on this campaign, may – probably will – end up in jail for our actions: non-violent, direct action.

But we are just the messengers. The real traitor in this episode is our government. They are traitors to our country by knowingly allowing people to die prematurely this winter, as they have done for the last 20 or 30 years.

There are estimates of tens of thousands of people living in fuel poverty who won’t be alive this time next year and we are the ones who will probably end up in the dock and in jail. That just tells you what sort of country we are in today.

And that’s the treachery of it as well, of course, that instead of taking you seriously, they are punishing you for doing something – for drawing attention to something that they should have been doing anyway.

They’ve got one job. For the safety and the well-being of the people.

Yeah, but they’re not very good at it…

Do you have a message for people out there who might be a bit confused about what’s going on?

We’ve got [a few] days now for the government to make up its mind what it’s going to do with our actions and the reasons behind them. It’s also an opportunity for the population of this country to find out exactly what we’re asking for.

We’ve had accusations of not letting ambulances through. There’s footage – I’m in one of the clips actually, where we let an ambulance through. That is the policy of Insulate Britain – to let any blue light through our barricade.

So you’ve got propaganda against you as well, then.

We apologise for temporarily halting the lives of individuals getting to school, getting to work and what have you; I have been, in the last 20 years, obviously, a parent; I have worked all the hours God sent on a construction site and had injury at work as well, and still gone back to work.

Where it has got me is where I’ve built houses that aren’t fit for purpose. I’ve built schools that I couldn’t afford to send my son to. And I’ve built shopping malls that I couldn’t afford to shop at.

You are looking at Christmas Future. I don’t want you to have the same future that I am living today. When I left school there was one job to every 10 individuals. They wrote a song about it.

Today the tables are turned. The people and the workforce, the working class, have got more power today than they’ve ever had because of the circumstances – what’s gone on for the past two years. They shouldn’t be rushing to work. They should be given a decent wage and decent working rights. That needs to be told as well.

This will not only provide quality jobs, but we demand that we want quality products as well.

Four years ago an incident shook the country, most of Europe and the world, and that was Grenfell. The materials that go on our houses tomorrow have got to be fit for purpose and not substandard. That is also what is on the agenda here.

How they do it – and this is my personal belief but I think there’s a lot of support for it – is we look after our own – we get local craftsmen, local jobs, local workers, local builders to do our work for us. We don’t want the corporates involved, and that includes the materials as well.

They’ve got to be sustainable materials, and certainly not the ones we’ve seen – unfortunately – in Grenfell.

Absolutely right. Okay?

Thank you.

That’s cool.

AFTERWORD:

So there you have it.

Trying to save many thousands of lives – and attack climate change – by improving home insulation=BAD. Actually aiding drug and financial crime=GOOD. That’s apparently according to the people who guard the law.

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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Car crash interviews show the Conservatives’ biggest liability in #CPC21 is their leader

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is being forced to face them – and has no answers.

Boris Johnson can’t say anything right, can he?

Listen to these diabolical responses to TV interviewers – on shortages caused by Brexit:

On crimes against women (pay close attention at 3 minutes 30 seconds when he says he wants to concentrate on real crimes – whatever he means by that):

Johnson’s lieutenants aren’t faring any better.

In addition to Kit Malthouse’s rinsing on Sky (above) I now have video of the confrontation between Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dominic Hutchins, who had to prove he still had cerebral palsy – a lifelong condition – to a Tory-employed benefits assessor, and whose job was taken away from him by Tory cuts. This is hard to watch:

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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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

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

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook