Tag Archives: learn

Education Secretary denies refusing cheap internet for children, to ensure they couldn’t learn at home

Gavin Williamson: so stupid, he thinks his daft excuse about quality control will hold water. His Tory government doesn’t have any?

It seems Gavin Williamson is making a fuss about this.

According to the Mirror,

Gavin Williamson turned down an offer to get free or cheap broadband for thousands of disadvantaged families, the Mirror has learned.

Broadband giant BT offered to supply families basic connections to allow children to access online learning with schools closed for months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the firm’s Chief Executive revealed they had given free wifi vouchers to the Government in June but the Department for Education ‘struggled to distribute them effectively’ and returned them.

Williamson tells a different story:

A spokesman for the education department said a pilot of the scheme had not provided “reliable and consistent” internet connection.

Who do you believe?

Well, BT is an Internet Service Provider of very long standing, with experience in providing a reliable service to many thousands – if not millions – of homes.

And the Conservative Government of which Williamson is a member has also displayed consistency – in wasting public money on services offered by cowboy companies cobbled together by Tory donors or spoilt friends of Cabinet members.

It looks like another ideologically-motivated attack on the poor; pretend the offer doesn’t meet what passes for Conservative government quality control and reject it – to ensure that poor kids miss out on the education that might otherwise give them an advantage over rich kids who tend not to have two brain cells to rub together.

How does it look to you?

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Cameron promises to protect pensioners’ benefits. Do you believe him?

He's dreaming of all the cash he'll take away from the old, after he has hoodwinked them into voting for him again.

He’s dreaming of all the cash he’ll take away from the old, after he has hoodwinked them into voting for him again.

Why should you believe a word David Cameron says?

He has repeated a pledge not to introduce means testing for benefits such as bus passes, TV licences and the winter fuel allowance, if elected (not re-elected; he didn’t get enough support for that in 2010) in May.

This is the man who “looked down the barrel of a camera” (as he describes it) in 2010, promised to protect the NHS, and to tell any cabinet minister proposing cuts to frontline services that they should go away and think again.

He is denying the state pension to increasing numbers of people with a staged plan to raise the pensionable age. Members of Parliament, meanwhile, will receive transitional protection as the pensionable age rises – meaning they won’t miss out. Members of the public fund 60 per cent of Parliamentarians’ pensions.

Firefighters could lose their pensions altogether because of his plan to raise their pensionable age. Iif they don’t serve their full term, they won’t get the pension – but they can be ruled out of service if they fail the fitness tests (and older firefighters are more likely to fail).

What good is the promise to protect pensioners’ benefits if they have to learn how to use the Internet in order to get them? Remember, Francis Maude has proposed this extra hurdle for senior citizens and you won’t see Call-Me-Dave speaking against it.

He has already ended protections for those who receive Pension Credit. From April, 2016, the ‘assessed income period’ system will be abolished and pensioners will be exposed to the same draconian system of monitoring and case reviews as the disabled and jobseekers.

And we have to ask ourselves how safe pensioners’ free bus passes, TV licences and winter fuel allowance really are. Iain Duncan Smith announced more than a year ago that he was considering removing benefits that are exclusively for pensioners, in order to strengthen his benefits cap – and we know that David Cameron can’t stand up to Iain Duncan Smith.

So, do we believe him when he promises now that he will protect pensioners’ benefits in the future?

Not likely!

Afterword: A commenter on Facebook has just pointed out that pensioners will also be subject to the Bedroom Tax under a future Cameron government – yet another backdoor way of penalising people who worked hard all their lives and deserve better in retirement.

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Osborne wants a ‘year of hard truths’. Here’s one: He’s HIDING the truth

Swivel-eyed loon: This is the kind of man who listens to George Osborne's comments about the economy. [Picture: Left Foot Forward]

Swivel-eyed loon: This is the kind of man who listens to George Osborne’s comments about the economy. [Picture: Left Foot Forward]

It must be panto season because the Conservative Party’s very own Ugly Sisters have just wheeled themselves out to deliver another helping of hilarious family fun:

Even more cuts are needed, worth billions of pounds, and there are still huge underlying problems with the economy, said Sister George, even though he knows that cuts are not the answer.

The small upturn he managed to engineer last year came from a natural upswing in the economy and the artificial housing boom that he created by Keynesian means and was nothing to do with austerity cuts. As for the economy, he’s had three and a half years to fix it! It seems clear that if there is an underlying problem, its surname is Osborne.

We may also extract some bitter humour from his words. Only days ago, his cabinet colleague Michael Gove attacked TV comedy Blackadder Goes Forth for claiming that our leaders in World War One never learnt from their mistakes but merely repeated them, over and over again, at huge cost in the lives of the working-class people who had to suffer the consequences of their decisions.

Now here’s George, telling us that he’s following up his failed austerity cuts with… more austerity cuts.

So we will see another £25 billion cut out of the British economy after the next election if the Conservatives win, including £12 billion from social security, he told us, providing everybody with an income lower than £50,000 per year with a perfect reason not to vote Conservative in 2015.

Come to think of it, why do working-class people ever vote for clowns like him?

He’ll cut departmental budgets by £13 billion, starving already wafer-thin public services and paving the way for their takeover by the private sector – on the long-disproved premise that profit-making businesses can do a better job for less money.

He’ll cut housing benefit for young people (under-25) who are just trying to get started in work – but he won’t force under-paying firms to boost their wages in order to offer a decent standard of living!

He also said – no, wait, that’s all he had to offer.

George justified his plan by trotting out the now-classic justification line of this Parliament – that the deficit was down by a third since 2010. He has been saying this for the last two years, and in all that time, the deficit hasn’t dropped at all! Last year the difference was a fraction of one per cent.

This is because the drop was achieved by cutting capital projects and there aren’t any more to cut. Taking billions out of the economy with benefit cuts and investment cuts actually harms the economy – there is less money moving through the system and therefore less opportunity for the fiscal multiplier effect to take place, for profit to be made and for taxes to be taken.

George has always had a bit of a blind spot there.

Sister George said he supported universal benefits for the elderly as they will only save around £10 million – but Sister David has suggested cutting free TV licences, bus passes and winter fuel allowances. Pensions are also taking a battering – never mind what they’re saying about the triple-lock.

David also said he wanted to cut taxes for the poor before the wealthy – but planned to do so by raising the threshold at which they begin to pay tax. This means they will not pay National Insurance either, and will have to find a higher-paying job before they can expect to contribute to their own pension fund. This means some people may never qualify for the state pension.

So they’re starting 2014 by promising austerity cuts that will harm the economy, cuts in benefits for the elderly that will save a comparatively negligible amount but will cause misery, and cuts in government budgets that will open the way to further privatisation and corporatisation of the state.

Those are the real hard truths – but you won’t hear these two characters admitting them.

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