Tag Archives: Leicestershire

What it means: Starmer tells 19 councillors they can no longer be Labour candidates

Keir Starmer: pointing the finger.

Keir Starmer has added racist undertones to his purge of Labour election candidates.


Here’s the news story:

It states: “The choice of who can and cannot stand in May’s election was taken out of the hands of local party members after national Labour figures decided to take control. They announced the decision to overrule any local decision making in February, saying “power struggles and organisational issues” could damage Labour candidates’ prospects in both the local council and city mayoral elections.

“That decision was widely condemned by local members at the time as undemocratic. The national party has now made its decision – and 19 Labour councillors, some of whom have served their wards for decades, will be deselected and not be able to stand for Labour.

Here’s the point:

Starmer did indeed make such a promise. But his promises mean nothing – look at the shattered “10 pledges” he made when campaigning to become party leader. They have all been broken.

The Jacobin website explains the Labour leadership’s current policy:

“The party bureaucracy has embarked on a concerted operation to purge left-wingers from selection races. Popular local candidates are being bureaucratically blocked by right-wing NEC (National Executive Committee) members working hand in glove with fixers in Starmer’s top team. Their aim is to stop anyone to the left of center getting onto the shortlists put in front of members for the vote on who will be Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for that constituency.

“Their modus operandi is simple, and it involves breaking Labour’s own rule, agreed by Starmer’s NEC, that trade union-backed candidates would be automatically long-listed. Yet every left-winger blocked has enjoyed trade union backing, often from Unite and the Communication Workers Union  (CWU). In the case of Lauren Townsend, who stood for Milton Keynes North, she was backed by six affiliated unions including Unite and Unison. Consequently, Starmer’s fixers have had to come up with a workaround: “due diligence.”

“A “dossier” is compiled of “concerning evidence” that has supposedly “come to light” in the course of routine “due diligence” checks on social media. There are some truly laughable examples of what this evidence consists of, such as liking a tweet by Caroline Lucas or one from Nicola Sturgeon about testing negative for COVID. Equally, there are some disturbing examples of “evidence” used as grounds for blocking, including simply having mentioned Palestinian refugees— a blatant act of anti-Palestinian racism — and liking a tweet calling on Labour to be bolder in its economic policy, as well as one candidate being cited for a general “history of protest.” It’s a democratic scandal.

“The Labour leadership’s half-hearted claim that this is about “quality control” is easily debunked. For example, the leadership’s preferred candidate for Milton Keynes North did the exact same thing as Lauren Townsend yet proceeded to the shortlist without issue. In Barking, Labour Right NEC members first ignored, then swept under the carpet, evidence of Blue Labour figure Darren Rodwell engaging in what has been termed racist jokes. He was subsequently selected, with leading black British media outlet the Voice sounding the alarm on a “crisis of anti-black racism” within the party.

“More to the point, the leadership has been clear about what it’s up to, briefing the press that it’s pursuing what it calls the “heir and the spare” strategy, whereby left-wingers are blocked, a Starmer-backed candidate goes through, and their only competition is someone else the leadership also favors. In some cases, none of the candidates on the shortlist are local. And where leadership doesn’t get the shortlist it wants, it simply dissolves the local selection committee, as in Kensington & Camberwell Peckham this week.”

In increasing numbers of cases, the selection committees are now resigning – as are constituency party executives.

That isn’t all, though: now Starmer has resorted to telling party members what films to watch:

Add it all up and what you’ve got may add up to this:

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DWP calls in Rentadoc to harass the sick off-benefit

Ingeus out of favour: This image was found on a site protesting against Workfare and demonstrates the high regard in which it is held by previous users of the Ingeus service.

Ingeus out of favour: This image was found on a site protesting against Workfare and demonstrates the high regard in which it is held by previous users of the Ingeus service.

Perhaps we’re jumping the gun with the headline but alarm bells tend to go off when you read that “people on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to help them with their barriers to work”.

Everyone working on Employment and Support Allowance should already know what everyone receiving it knows – it’s more a bloodbath than a benefit.

This is down to the attitude of the healthcare professionals already working on it – the people who (and God forbid you should ever ask to see their qualifications) automatically sign 70 per cent of claimants as ‘fit for work’, whether they are or not, and tell most of the rest they need to be work-ready within a year.

The result? Mental breakdowns, depression and suicides; physical breakdowns, worsening of existing conditions, and premature deaths. By the thousand.

These are the people who ask claimants when amputated limbs are going to grow back, and who tell people with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that they’ll be fit for work within six months.

If you did (God forbid) ask them where they got their qualifications, it was probably the Teaching Hospital of Noddyland.

“People on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to help them address their barriers to work – or face losing their benefits [italics mine] – in a two-year pilot scheme in central England which begins in November,” the DWP press release states.

Isn’t this what happened with people on Jobseekers’ Allowance? Suddenly they had to start fulfilling lots of pointless extra requirements or their benefits would be withdrawn? Part of that is a regular meeting in which – as far as we can ascertain – innocent people are harassed, threatened and abused by DWP employees who are themselves, it seems, millimetres away from nervous exhaustion brought on by the pressures of the job.

Claiming benefits, it seems, is now an endurance test: Who cracks (up) first?

Now, for 3,000 people in the work-related activity group for ESA in the Black Country, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Staffordshire and Shropshire, there’s no relief even if they have a nervous breakdown and have to claim ESA on mental health grounds.

“People involved in the pilot – who have all been assessed as being able to work at some point in the future – will have regular appointments with healthcare professionals as a condition of receiving their benefit, to focus on helping them move closer to being able to get a job.”

There you go – all judged as able to work in the future. Presumably Iain Duncan Smith has taken a look at their files, glanced into his crystal ball, and declared that he has a “belief” in their fitness to work. If any of these people are reading, please contact this blog if you have a progressive health condition that won’t ever improve.

Because the meeting is a condition of receiving benefit, anyone attending can expect to be treated abominably. This is not about helping you back to work, or even back to health; it’s about kicking you off-benefit and nothing further. The aim, as with JSA, is to cut claimant numbers and thereby cut spending.

“It’s really important we give people who are disabled or have a health condition the support they need to get into work if they are able,” said employment minister Esther McVey who knows nothing about this at all (despite having been minister for the disabled).

“Traditionally, this help has tended to be work-related, but this pilot will look at whether a more holistic approach is more successful in helping people to manage their conditions and so break down their barriers to work.”

The biggest barrier to a person with a disability getting work is the fact that the Conservative-led Coalition government has been closing down employment opportunities for them and removing incentives for employers to take them on.

The healthcare professionals will be provided by Ingeus UK – a welfare-to-work provider that has been involved in the Work Programme – you know, the time-wasting scheme in which jobseekers are taken off the unemployment statistics while they learn simple skills that, in fact, most of them already have.

The company’s website is very slick but contains no information about the number of doctors in its employ.

Oh, and guess what? The company is half-owned by Deloitte, one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms that currently writes British tax law to make avoidance easy for the big corporates. How much tax has Ingeus paid lately?

“Everything we do is results driven”, the site declares.

One wonders what Ingeus will do when the casualties start piling up.