Tag Archives: live

Website whitewash of Cornwall Job Centres is a bad joke for anyone using them

The facts: This graffiti was not painted outside a Cornwall Job Centre but it does accurately describe the way Universal Credit sufferers feel about it.

Vulnerable people in Cornwall were likely to be left reeling in disbelief at the glowing terms in which a web news service has described their local Job Centre.

Is this an outlier of the campaign that saw the free Metro newspaper run a huge – and hugely expensive to the taxpayer – propaganda campaign on Universal Credit over the summer?

The plan – before it was outed by This Site, among many others – was to present the propaganda as a series of news stories, with nothing to indicate that the Department for Work and Pensions was responsible.

It didn’t work.

And the backlash led to revelations that the DWP had been filling local news outlets with similar disinformation, intended to brainwash people into thinking that the overwhelming disaster we call Universal Credit is somehow a good thing.

Judge for yourself whether the article in Cornwall Live is news or propaganda. It states:

“The Jobcentre is the only government department you can come in off the street without an appointment.”

Really? This Writer cannot recall the last time I attended a Job Centre without an appointment – or accompanied anybody else who didn’t have one.

“Services users – known these days as customers rather than benefit seekers – have a set appointment to suit their needs and are met with smiling greeting staff. Waiting times are no more than a few minutes.”

Because “smiling” staff have an opportunity to cancel anybody’s claim if they are late by even a moment?

“Anyone coming through the doors will be met by staff on the ground floor who will help people sign up for Universal Credit or help them find employment but upstairs is another floor with capacity to increase the number of work coaches if required or host job fairs, events and seminars and courses.”

Are people claiming sickness or disability benefit required to attend appointments upstairs? And is there a lift?

“[Jamie Dean, Jobcentre customer service manager for Devon and Cornwall District, said:] ‘Universal Credit is so much better than the previous claim systems. It’s the Facebook of the benefits world. It moves it to the 21st century.'”

Does this mean it stops people seeing the information they want, while trying to take money off them at every opportunity?

“Mr Dean believes the fit-to-work agenda is one that has attracted the wrong kind of headlines when people who claimed to be invalidated off work were seen kite surfing in the Caribbean.”

This reinforces the false claim that people claiming sickness and disability benefits are “shirkers” who have nothing wrong with them.

“But not all disabilities are physical. Mental health, depression, stress can all affect a person’s ability to work.”

And mental illnesses are not taken into account when judging a person’s eligibility for sickness and/or disability benefits. There is no place for them on the computerised, tick-box, point-based system that has been used by the DWP – in the face of the evidence that it is wrong – for many years.

This nonsense goes on and on. Click on the link and scroll down, and you’ll see that it is full of disinformation about the Tory government’s broken-down system.

I have a doubt about this feature. I doubt that staff members at Cornwall Live had anything to do with it beyond putting it on a page.

It looks like an advertorial for the DWP in Cornwall, put together by the DWP to create a false impression of the work it carries out.

I see no information to show this.

It seems a referral to the Advertising Standards Authority may be in order.

Source: Inside the Cornwall Jobcentre and the impact of Universal Credit – Cornwall Live

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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Jeremy Hunt’s ‘Facebook Live’ chat goes down in infamy

[Image: PA].

It was a terrible idea from the get-go.

What did Jeremy Hunt think he would achieve by appearing on a ‘Facebook Live’ session in which he would discuss his stewardship of the National Health Service with members of the public?

Ralf Little – with whom Mr Hunt has been enduring an embarrassingly public spat over the facts behind the statistics the Health Secretary likes to quote – set the tone with his response to the announcement that the event was taking place:

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/941751107549843456

It just got worse from there.

Among the comments featured in the images above are:

“Liar you wrote a book on privatising the NHS.”

“I am so worried about the NHS, it is struggling, you and the government are doing nothing to help it.”

“After everything that’s happening in OUR NHS, I don’t believe a word you are saying or have ever said.”

“Nobody believes a word that comes out of your lying mouth.”

“Why are so many of our health and social care services in total chaos. Could it be the billions of pounds that have been spent on monstrous radical reforms that have caused crisis after crisis?”

And here’s one of the reasons people are so angry:

The Independent article reads:

One out of every five NHS trusts has hit maximum capacity at least once already this winter, as seasonal illnesses and cold weather push bed availability in the health service to its limits.

The Independent’s analysis of the first two weeks of winter performance data found 18 per cent of trusts, 25 out of 137, have had one or more days with no spare beds.

In total, trusts have declared 100 per cent bed occupancy 99 times in 14 days.

Informing everything, of course, is the policy of privatisation that informs everything that Mr Hunt has done since he became Health Secretary – epitomised by this image:

The text states: “Within six years, I’ll be working for one of the private healthcare providers that I’m selling your NHS to.

“KERCHING!

“Merry Christmas suckers x”

Still, the event did achieve one thing…

It cemented Jeremy Hunt’s status among the UK’s most loathed politicians.


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BBC gets the Ralf Little – Jeremy Hunt debate completely backwards

Jeremy Hunt and Ralf Little [Composite: BBC].

Note to the editors of the BBC’s Newsbeat: It’s Ralf Little who has challenged Jeremy Hunt to a debate, not the other way around.

And Mr Hunt’s claim that he’s waiting for Mr Little to “show the evidence” is arse-backwards – all the information was put to the world in a mammoth Twitter thread by the actor/footballer, weeks ago.

This Writer recorded the whole thing for posterity and you can read it here.

Mr Hunt responded with his own version of the facts – that thread is here.

Finally, Mr Little made a very few pointed remarks about Mr Hunt’s claims here.

So the information is all out in the public domain and, to be honest, I’m not sure anybody will be able to see what’s stopping Mr Hunt from getting into a TV studio and actually standing up for himself, rather than running away as usual.

Mr Little himself clearly thinks he provided all the information necessary for Mr Hunt to get into the TV studio, and is ready for more:

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/939821587880206336

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/939944229912137729

Yes – game on.

It’s time for Mr Hunt to stop hiding behind a lie about lack of evidence and concentrate on his own counter-claims…

In a TV studio. In front of millions of viewers.

We’re all waiting – for him.

The health secretary says he’ll debate actor Ralf Little over claims he’s lied about the NHS.

In an interview with Newsbeat, Jeremy Hunt says he’s waiting for the Royle Family star to “show the evidence” that he hasn’t expanded NHS mental health provision.

The pair started rowing on Twitter weeks ago after the MP appeared on TV talking about investing in care.

Asked about the row with Ralf Little, he said: “I get involved in lots of Twitter spats with lots of different people when I think they’re not being fair about the progress the NHS is making.

“He’s got to show me the evidence of what he’s said.

“When he provides that, I’ll happily come into your studio and debate with him, but he hasn’t been able to do that.”

Source: Jeremy Hunt challenges Ralf Little – BBC Newsbeat


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Ralf Little v Jeremy Hunt round three: Let’s have that live TV debate

Ralf Little: Don’t let the smile in the photo fool you – he’s totally serious about mental health.

If Jeremy Hunt thought he could get the better of Ralf Little with a belated barrage of warmed-over statistics from several years ago, he now knows otherwise.

After waiting more than a week for a reply to his challenge to the Health Secretary, Mr Little wasted no time showing the politician how it’s done.

Here’s what he had to say:

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/933051665795731461

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/933052048735637504

https://twitter.com/RalfLittle/status/933052747808759809

Mr Little’s words raise a couple of issues:

Firstly, it was always going to be impossible to prove that Mr Hunt “knowingly” lied in his Andrew Marr Show interview. The fact remains that the Health Secretary should be fully conversant with his facts before appearing in a television interview and it is not acceptable for him to provide false information. Would he have corrected the record at all if he had not been called out on it by members of the public?

Secondly, the claim is that Mr Hunt told a falsehood when he claimed he was overseeing the biggest expansion in mental health provision in Europe is open to debate. It seems possible to This Writer that Mr Hunt may be correct in his claim – but what good is that to people with mental illnesses if, starting from far behind the other European countries, the Health Secretary robs other areas of healthcare of their funding to actually achieve the biggest expansion in MH provision in the continent… and we end up still lagging behind those other nations?

It would be entirely reprehensible if Mr Hunt tries to win his argument on a technicality and ignores any adverse effects on NHS patients.

The aim of the health service must always be to provide the best possible care for all patients. Mr Hunt must demonstrate that his activities with regard to mental health are not harming other patients, and that the same activities don’t just achieve the “biggest expansion” that he has mentioned, but produce tangible results – a significant improvement in mental health outcomes, not only in the UK but in relation to the other European countries. He set the NHS up against them; he must deliver an NHS that bears comparison with them.

For these reasons, This Writer supports Mr Little’s challenge; I want to see the live TV debate.

I want to see Mr Hunt, supported by his people, trading facts with Mr Little, supported by his people.

And I want to see the debate arbitrated independently – meaning nobody from the BBC Tory-supporting news team.

Make it happen, Mr Hunt. Put up or shut up.


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‘It is cheaper to help people die rather than support them to live’

Lord Carey: He may be demonstrating the amount of thought he has given to what unscrupulous people will do with his "change of heart".

Lord Carey: He may be demonstrating the amount of thought he has given to what unscrupulous people will do with his “change of heart”.

A “change of heart” by a former Archbishop of Canterbury over ‘assisted dying’ has dismayed at least one campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities.

Mo Stewart has been researching and reporting what she describes as the “atrocities” against the chronically sick and disabled in the UK for the last four years. She said Lord Carey’s decision to support legislation that would make it legal for people in England and Wales to receive help to end their lives would “play right into the hands of this very, very dangerous government”.

Justifying his change of position, Lord Carey said: “Today we face a central paradox. In strictly observing the sanctity of life, the Church could now actually be promoting anguish and pain, the very opposite of a Christian message of hope.

“The old philosophical certainties have collapsed in the face of the reality of needless suffering.”

The Assisted Dying Bill, tabled by Labour’s Lord Falconer, would apply to people with less than six months to live. Two doctors would have to independently confirm the patient was terminally ill and had reached their own, informed decision to die.

But Mo Stewart warned that the proposed legislation, to be debated in the House of Lords on Friday, would be subject to ‘function creep’, with unscrupulous authorities taking advantage of people with depression in order to relieve themselves of the financial burden of paying for their care.

“If this law is granted, what will be deemed a possibility for the few will, very quickly I fear, become the expected for the many,” she wrote in a letter to Lord Carey which she has kindly provided to Vox Political.

“It’s cheaper to help people to die rather than support them to live.

“There is a catalogue of evidence demonstrating that, in those countries where assisted dying is permitted, very often those taking their own lives are suffering from a clinical depression and leave our world to resist the perception that they are a burden to loved ones.

“I am stunned that you would use your voice to try to permit this to happen in the UK.”

She pointed out that medicine is an inexact science and policy changes such as this could have an enormous detrimental impact: “My own webmaster, who is now desperately ill with possibly only weeks to live, was advised he had less than six months to live over four years ago.

“Until very recently, he still enjoyed a high quality of life with his wife, family and friends; a life that could have been removed four years ago” had the Assisted Dying Bill been law at that time.

“What this debate is demonstrating is the failure of guaranteed high quality palliative care in the UK, that makes those with a life-limiting diagnosis feel that self termination is a reasonable solution,” she warned.

“If palliative care was at the peak of quality and access then there would be no need to ever consider such a Bill for this country, as those who wish to access self termination are usually living in fear of the possible physical suffering they may need to endure. This is a highway to clinical depression when quality of life is deemed to have disappeared with diagnosis.”

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has described the Bill as “mistaken and dangerous” and Mo said she believed he had explained the dangers well.

He said: “This is not scaremongering. I know of health professionals who are already concerned by the ways in which their clients have suggestions ‘to go to Switzerland’ whispered in their ears by relatives weary of caring for them and exasperated by seeing their inheritances dwindle through care costs.

“I have received letters from both disabled individuals and their carers, deeply concerned by the pressure that Lord Falconer’s bill could put them under if it became law.”

Mo Stewart’s letter concludes: “In the real world, this Bill – if passed – would, I have no doubt, lead to abuses where some were actively persuaded to self terminate for the convenience, and possibly the inheritance, of others.

“It’s really not a very long way away from an assisted dying bill to an assisted suicide bill.”

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Tories are using the poor for medical experimentation

Seal of approval: We asked TV doctor House MD whether he foresaw any problems with the Early Access to Medicines scheme. "Nuh-uhrr," he replied.

Seal of approval: We asked TV doctor House MD whether he foresaw any problems with the Early Access to Medicines scheme. “Nuh-uhrr,” he replied.

Concern has been raised over a plan announced by Health Secretary (and misprint) Jeremy Hunt to give new medicines to people who are severely ill, years before they are licensed.

In comparison, little has been said about findings by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showing that people in deprived areas live shorter lives and spend more of those lives in poor health.

There is an obvious conclusion to be drawn from this:

If poorer people spend more time in ill health, then they are more likely to be given experimental drugs before those treatments are clinically proven.

In other words, the Conservative-led government is using the poor as guinea pigs for drug trials.

The BBC quoted Mr Hunt: “What patients want is sometimes to try medicines that may not be clinically proven to be effective but are clinically safe. We are streamlining the process so these medicines can be used much earlier – particularly if they have early promise – and that is something which will bring hope to a lot of patients.”

How does he know these medicines are safe? How does he know that people want them? How does he know that they’ll do what they say? He doesn’t.

This shows what he wants – to make the UK a profitable place for pharmaceutical companies by giving them a market for drugs that could be completely useless – or could have unforeseen effects.

It’s more marketisation for our once-great NHS.

Long-term readers will be aware that Mrs Mike has been receiving treatment from the NHS in England, including injections to alleviate the severe back pain from which she suffers.

I asked her if this announcement was worrying for her – as a poor person who has spent much of her life in ill-health.

“Nuh-uhrr,” she said. That seemed conclusive, so I threw her lunchtime slab of raw meat into the cage and locked the door before she could reach me.

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How about a live blog on the benefit debate?

I’m thinking of doing a ‘live blog’ on the WoW Petition/incapacity-disability benefits debate in the House of Commons tomorrow (Thursday).

Previously I had intended to go along myself, but donations to the site have been almost non-existent this month, meaning I don’t have the financial wherewithal. It occurs to me that this might be a better use of my time.

The idea would be that I would post developments into the article as they happen, along with appropriate tweets from other people who are watching the debate, and comments from readers who want to contribute to the discussion.

I would not be able to make the article self-refreshing, like they do on the newspapers’ websites, so readers would have to refresh the page themselves in order to keep up with what everyone is saying.

It would start with the debate – around 11.15am, with an introductory paragraph posted up earlier in the morning so that people have a web address to refresh in the first place.

Good idea?

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Coalition policy on sex: A return to the bad old (VERY old) days?

Government-approved sex industry: A "gentleman's" club - possibly as Conservative MPs understand them. Indeed, some sitting members may have posed for this very portrait.

Government-approved sex industry: A “gentleman’s” club – possibly as Conservative MPs understand them. Indeed, some sitting members may have posed for this very portrait. Picture: As attributed.

We seem to be returning to the days when our so-called betters dictated to us that the mere sight of a lady’s ankle was enough to inflame the blood and led to lewd, lecherous and scandalous behaviour – before the hypocritical old nobs headed off to the “gentlemen’s” club for an appointment with ‘Lady Lola’ or some similarly-named professional whose main talent was wrapping her own ankles around her ears.

We know that David Cameron wants to inflict a so-called ‘Pervert Database’ on us, in which anyone wishing to view indecent/pornographic images has to register that intention publicly.

We also know that this attitude is hypocritical, if only because he won’t apply the same censorious mentality to, say, Page 3 of The Sun in case it upsets Rupert Murdoch – and Cameron knows he can’t win a general election if Murdoch isn’t on-side.

Now we can see that, even while the government cracks down on internet pornography, it is actively promoting live sex work (in the flesh, as it were) by advertising jobs in the sex industry on its Universal Jobmatch website. Jobseekers can be sanctioned if they fail to use this site, so it seems likely there is a high chance they will be exposed to this sort of thing.

So it seems the government wants to force porn addicts away from indulging their obsession in the comfort of their own home and into “very professional and discreet” clubs. Could there possibly be a money incentive in this?

To make these clubs enticing, the government’s jobsearch site is advertising for female “table top” dancers who need a “good sense of rhythm”.

According to Iain Duncan Smith, Universal Jobmatch is used for five million jobsearches every day (caveat: it’s a LieDS statistic and you can’t even trust him to tell you where he got his education).

Cameron’s stated aim is to protect children but there is nothing to stop people under 18 from applying for the jobs. It is even possible that Job Centre Plus staff may try to force teenagers into them, with the threat of benefit sanctions if they do not acquiesce.

Cameron’s claim is that internet porn features “vile images that pollute minds and cause crime”. It’s most likely a fair comment (this writer can’t claim to have been polluted in that way).

But suppose he’s right; statistically speaking, it’s undoubtedly possible that some of the people who look at online porn may go on to commit crimes – possibly sex crimes.

Suppose these people, unable to look at their filth online, instead attend one of the clubs advertising for “very well groomed” table top dancers. They’re likely to have a frustrating night, with real, naked bodies only inches away from them for as long as they can stand it, and no (legal) outlet for the urges this may create in them.

The club closes; they get turned out onto the street, possibly on their own, possibly with friends. What are these potentially-criminal porn addicts likely to do if they see a lone woman, possibly a dancer from the club, with nobody nearby to help her if she gets into trouble?

I don’t know.