Tag Archives: lying

Is this the reason Lancet editor said government advisors were lying on Covid-19?

Dominic Cummings: he can’t give advice on science, so why has he been attending Sage meetings on handling coronavirus?

Dominic Cummings and a data scientist from his Brexit campaign, Vote Leave, have been influencing the scientific group advising the government on coronavirus, it has been revealed.

Is this the reason Lancet editor Richard Horton reckons “supposedly independent medical advisors” have been telling “manifest untruths” – lying – to support a “political regime whose credibility is rapidly collapsing”?

We have already heard that Cummings was involved in a meeting in late January, when Covid-19 was played down as “just a bit of flu”.

He apparently said the UK would be better able to resist a second wave of the disease next winter if 60-80 per cent of the population became infected and the survivors developed “herd immunity”.

Cummings was paraphrased after speaking at a private engagement at the end of February, in which he said the government’s strategy was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.

Now The Guardian has claimed that both Cummings and Warner have been taking part in meetings of the group, raising questions about the independence of its scientific advice.

The government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir David King is quoted in the article, saying Cummings may have been reporting his own “interpretation” of Sage advice to Boris Johnson.

Mr Horton wrote in the Lancet criticising Dr Jenny Harries, England’s deputy chief medical officer, at the end of March. She had stated that England had a “perfectly adequate” supply of Personal Protective Equipment.

We all now know that this was not true.

Mr Horton wrote: “I am sure Dr Harries believed what she said. But she was wrong and she should apologise to the thousands of health workers who still have no access to WHO-standard PPE.”

On Sunday, Dr Harries seems to have made matters worse by saying: “The UK, regardless of the position that we may be in now, has been an international exemplar in preparedness.”

It sounds like propaganda.

And what about when government ministers say they have been “following scientific advice”?

If they’ve been getting this advice from Dominic Cummings, then it cannot be considered to have any value at all.

Source: Revealed: Dominic Cummings on secret scientific advisory group for Covid-19 | World news | The Guardian

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Lying DWP facing court action over failure to improve safeguarding after claimant deaths


The one organisation in the UK that regularly gets away with forcing innocent people to their deaths may soon have to account for its behaviour in Parliament – and in a court of law.

Sadly the Parliamentary action is unlikely to make any difference at all; MPs have called for accountability far too many times and all Department for Work and Pensions does is utter meaningless promises to improve its procedures. Then it ignores those promises in order to continue persecuting vulnerable benefit claimants.

The current pressure from the Commons Work and Pensions committee follows last week’s adjournment debate on the deaths of claimants including Errol Graham, who starved to death after the DWP cut of his benefits for no good reason.

Committee chairman Stephen Timms has announced that he will question ministers on their department’s refusal to protect people like Mr Graham and the thousands of others who have died as a result of the cruelty imposed on them by the DWP, on the orders of the Tory government.

He said despite scores of internal inquiries into claimant deaths – many of them as a result of suicide – officials were unable to show that they had done anything at all to improve the safeguarding of vulnerable claimants.

“The idea that people are taking their own life as a result of DWP actions is so awful,” Timms said. “It is unacceptable for the DWP to keep obfuscating. It cannot avoid the subject any longer. This is clearly something serious and it needs to engage and resolve it.”

Mr Timms mentioned the National Audit Office (NAO) report showing that, despite reviewing at least 69 suicides that could have been linked to benefit denials over the last six years, the DWP had not acted on any of the recommendations of those reviews.

The figures in the report did not include cases like that of Mr Graham, in which suicide was not the formal cause of death.

Sadly, the Commons committee is all-too-likely to be fobbed off with the usual protestations from DWP ministers – that they are doing something. They – and/or their forerunners – have made such claims before and got away with it.

We may hope that Mr Graham’s family have more luck with their court action against the Department.

They are claiming that the DWP acted against the law by failing to take all reasonable steps to check on the health of a claimant they knew to be highly vulnerable before removing his only source of income.

Family members are also arguing that secretive investigations and reviews being conducted by the DWP into benefit-related deaths are unlawful and must be reformed.

There is also the question of a promise made by a DWP representative at Mr Graham’s inquest, in order to prevent the coroner from writing a ‘Prevention of Future Deaths’ report, which would have required the DWP to formally explain what steps it was taking to improve its safeguarding policy.

The DWP’s chief psychologist, David Carew, told coroner Elizabeth Didcock that a safeguarding review would report in the autumn of 2019. He said it would urgently consider measures to protect highly vulnerable claimants at risk of having their benefits cut off, including changing safeguarding guidance to staff.

But no such report has been made. There was no review team, no formal commission to publish a review, and staff have received no changes to their guidance.

In short, it seems Mr Carew misled Her Majesty’s Coroner; he lied.

We may hope that a judge will give appropriate weight to all this information.

There are calls for an independent inquiry, with some MPs suggesting that this may restore confidence in the DWP.

This Writer disagrees. As the Labour Party stated in its election manifesto last year, there is no way to restore confidence in a government department that has deceived MPs, the courts and the public in order to ensure a steady stream of benefit-related deaths.

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Johnson caught lying AGAIN: His hospital junket WAS a ‘press opportunity’

Caught lying again: Boris Johnson.

Here’s more damning evidence against Boris Johnson, provided by Swawkbox, about his claim that his visit to the hospital where he was accosted by Omar Salem wasn’t a “press opportunity”.

It’s self-explanatory so I’ll hand you over:

When the angry dad told Johnson he was there on a ‘press opportunity’, Johnson looked him in the eye and said “there’s no press here”.

Johnson even looked at the press cameras as he said it – but now the briefing notes his team supplied to the press before the visit have put the matter beyond doubt.

The notes… not only show that the visit was prepared in advance as exactly a ‘press opportunity’ – but even include a pre-prepared press statement by Johnson:

Source: Briefing note proves Johnson knew full well he was lying about ‘no press’ on hospital visit | The SKWAWKBOX

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Exposed: Torygraph lies about Labour and anti-Semitism

False accusation: Labour Against the Witch-hunt does not claim all claims of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members are false or politically-motivated.

The Torygraph is the latest right-wing newspaper to descend into conspiracy-theory anti-Semitism smears to undermine Labour’s chances in forthcoming elections.

The “newspaper” – if you can call it that – has allowed itself to repeat the conspiracy trope that criticism of Israel must equal anti-Semitism. It doesn’t.

Even hardened campaigners against A-S have affirmed that reasoned criticism of Israeli politics cannot be equated with hatred of all Jews.

We have evidence that, for example, “the “Act.IL” organization, which is coordinated, backed and has been funded by Israel’s so-called Ministry of Strategic Affairs, had used a troll army to spread false information about Jeremy Corbyn – the leader of the UK’s official opposition party”.

So the Telegraph is wrong to suggest this:

“A Labour activist who claimed the Israeli lobby had “manufactured” the party’s anti-Semitism crisis has been selected as a candidate for the European elections, deepening the row over claims of anti-Jewish hatred in the party.

Israel is not Judaism and the Israeli government, in fact, is not representative of the opinions of all Israelis – so it cannot be suggested that the claims suggested here relate to anti-Semitism in any way.

… That’s unless the person making the suggestion has a political interest spreading falsehoods, of course.

Here comes another fake claim:

Martin Mayer, a former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee and a Unite union activist, has been chosen to stand as MEP for Yorkshire & Humber.

The retired transport worker has been active in Labour Against the Witchunt (LAW), a group which claims accusations of anti-Semitism are a ruse to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Against the Witch-hunt claims that some accusations of anti-Semitism are false, and have been made to undermine Mr Corbyn and his supporters.

But the omission of that word – “some” – in the article creates an implication that the organisation is saying all such accusations are politically-motivated falsehoods. That is not true.

Mr Mayer’s selection as an MEP candidate is likely to raise questions about the suitability of the candidates being selected by Labour.

It is only likely to raise such questions among people with a vested interest in spreading falsehoods about the Labour Party and anti-Semitism.

It will be interesting to see who puts their head above the parapet. We can start the list with Telegraph reporters Patrick Sawer, Edward Malnick and Hayley Dixon.

Source: Labour activist who claimed Israeli lobby ‘manufactured’ anti-Semitism crisis selected as MEP candidate


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Tories and their media are LYING about Labour MP’s plan for councils to buy private houses

It’s incredible how the lying Tories and their press try to twist information to turn public opinion against good ideas.

The Sun, for example, is trying to push its readers into thinking Labour would “seize” private houses, buying them back into council ownership – and Tories like party deputy chairman James Cleverly are lying that these homes would be bought – not at market value – but at a price of Labour’s choosing.

They are claiming it is a Labour nationalisation scheme.

Drivel!

The newspaper’s article claimed that Labour would demand the mass compulsory purchase of council housing stock that has been sold into the private sector, along with houses that had always been intended for private owners. The facts don’t tally with this claim.

It is based on comments by Corbyn-supporting MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle at an anti-austerity event in London – but it does not directly quote him demanding lower-than-market-value purchases.

Instead, he is quoted as saying: “We need to develop a system that slowly over time takes property out of private hands and puts it into public hands.

“For example, why not give every council the first right of refusal with any houses put up for sale?”

The right of first refusal is not the right to compulsorily buy houses at a value that puts the current owners out-of-pocket.

And it isn’t a right to buy houses that aren’t already on the market.

Finally, this is not a Labour policy – it is an idea put forward by an individual MP.

So, when James Cleverly said, “Your home isn’t safe under Labour,” he was lying:

If you own your own home, you are far more likely to lose it under the Conservatives.

They have allowed the value of mortgages to rise above the ability of most young people – first-time buyers – to support them.

The “Help To Buy” scheme helps the rich – and people who already have homes – more than those for whom it is said to be intended.

And what about those of us who have to rent from private landlords?

Costs have rocketed while standards have plummeted. The Conservatives have ensured that many such dwellings are unfit for human occupation – and have voted down attempts to enforce their improvement.

Changes to the benefit system – the introduction of the Bedroom Tax (for those in social housing) and Universal Credit – mean people on benefits and in low-income employment are finding it hard, and extremely stressful, to maintain their rent payments. Many of them face eviction at least once – some on a regular basis.

Mr Russell-Moyle’s plan would restore the public housing stock – at least in part – without harming the finances of people selling the homes, and without demanding that people who don’t want to be rooted out of their homes should have to. And it would provide secure homes for people on low incomes.

That’s a big difference from the Tory way.

Isn’t it a better way?

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UK government spending watchdog confirms what we already knew: There really is NO BREXIT DIVIDEND

The Leave campaign infamously claimed Brexit would result in a £350m a week dividend for the UK.

This is not news.

We’ve been saying this ever since the stupid ‘Brexit bus’, with its lie that £350 million per week would become available for the NHS, was first rolled out.

And the Institute for Fiscal Studies made it clear that there is no ‘Brexit dividend’, exactly one month ago – as reported by This Site here.

It isn’t even news that known liar Theresa May has used the Leave campaign’s lying ‘Brexit dividend’ claim to lie to the country again. What else are we to expect from a liar?

The Government’s official and independent spending watchdog has confirmed that there will be no “brexit dividend” for the UK, despite the claims of ministers.

Theresa May said last month that the extra £20bn a year pledged to fund the health service would be partially paid for by UK money no longer being sent to the European Union.

That claim was universally slammed by economists as grossly misleading, since the Government’s own projections suggest Brexit is already weakening the public finances, rather than strengthening them and that any fiscal gains from zero EU payments will be wiped out by feebler tax revenues.

The Government has also already earmarked much of those net £13.3bn a year EU budget payments for other major spending items such as support for farmers and science.

And on Tuesday the Office for Budget Responsibility, established in 2010 to provide authoritative and independent fiscal forecasts for the Government, confirmed that no Brexit boost for the public finances is expected.

“Our provisional analysis suggests Brexit is more likely to weaken than strengthen the public finances overall,” the OBR said in its latest Fiscal Sustainability Report.

Source: ‘Brexit dividend’ for health service a myth, Government’s official spending watchdog confirms | The Independent

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Double miracle as BOTH Skripals are now said to be recovering from deadly nerve agent attack. How?

Caught lying: Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

Isn’t it interesting that, despite allegedly being clobbered by a nerve agent that should leave them seriously ill for the rest of their tragically-shortened lives, both Yulia and now Sergei Skripal are said to be on the mend?

Russian news agencies have released a transcript of a telephone conversation they allege took place between Ms Skripal and her cousin Viktoria, earlier today (April 5). According to BBC News, it runs as follows:

Viktoria: Hello?

Alleged Yulia: Hello. Do you hear me?

Viktoria: Yes, I hear you.

Alleged Yulia: It is Yulia Skripal.

Viktoria: Oh, Yulka [diminutive of Yulia] it is you! I recognise from your voice that it is you but cannot understand. So, they gave you a telephone, didn’t they?

Alleged Yulia: Yes, yes.

Viktoria: Thanks God! Yulyash [diminutive of Yulia], is everything okay with you?

Alleged Yulia: Everything is ok, everything is fine.

Viktoria: Look, if tomorrow I get a (British) visa, I will come to you on Monday.

Alleged Yulia: Vika, no-one will give you the visa.

Viktoria: Well I thought so too. Oh well.

Alleged Yulia: Most likely.

Viktoria: If they give it, I need you to tell me whether I can visit you or not, tell me that I can.

Alleged Yulia: I think no, there is such a situation now, we’ll sort it out later.

Viktoria: I know it, I know it all.

Alleged Yulia: Later, we will get it sorted later, everything’s fine, we’ll see later.

Viktoria: Is it your phone?

Alleged Yulia: It is a temporary phone. Everything is fine, but we’ll see how it goes, we’ll decide later. You know what the situation is here. Everything is fine, everything is solvable, everyone (he and her father) is recovering and is alive.

Viktoria: Clear! Is everything ok with your father?

Alleged Yulia: Everything is ok. He is resting now, having a sleep. Everyone’s health is fine, there are no irreparable things. I will be discharged soon. Everything is ok.

Viktoria: Kisses, my bunny.

Alleged Yulia: Bye.

The Metropolitan police has released a statement from Yulia, apparently in response to the Russian television report – but it does not mention the telephone conversation. The Guardian reported it as follows:

“I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily,” she is reported as saying in the statement. “I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received.

“I have many people to thank for my recovery and would especially like to mention the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated. Further than that, I would like to thank the staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their care and professionalism.

“I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence.”

Note that she does say “when my father and I were incapacitated” [bolding mine]. Does this indicate an admission that he isn’t incapacitated any more?

The paper reported that, “If Mr Skripal is “fine”, it will be a remarkable turnaround from the previous detailed prognosis that emerged.

“A high court judgement related to the case and published following a hearing across 20, 21 and 22 March revealed that both Skripals were heavily sedated.

“’The precise effect of their exposure on their long-term health remains unclear, albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree,’ the judgment said.”

Blogger and former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, whose observations on the case have been far more reliable than those of the UK government, had this to say:

I have just listened to the released alleged phone conversation between Yulia Skripal in Salisbury Hospital and her cousin Viktoria, which deepens the mystery further. I should say that in Russian the conversation sounds perfectly natural to me. My concern is after the 30 seconds mark where Viktoria tells Yulia she is applying for a British visa to come and see Yulia.

Yulia replies “nobody will give you a visa”. Viktoria then tells Yulia that if she is asked if she wants Viktoria to visit, she should say yes. Yulia’s reply to this is along the lines of “that situation will not happen”, meaning she would not be allowed by the British to see Viktoria. I apologise my Russian is very rusty for a Kremlinbot, and someone might give a better translation, but this key response from Yulia is missing from all the transcripts I have seen.

What is there about Yulia’s situation that makes her feel a meeting between her and her cousin will be prevented by the British government? And why would Yulia believe the British government will not give her cousin a visa in the circumstance of these extreme family illnesses?

Looking at the transcript, it seems likely that he is making an alternative translation of the part where Yulia Skripal states: “I think no, there is such a situation now, we’ll sort it out later.”

It seems clear, either way, that she is saying the UK authorities will not allow anybody from Russia to visit the Skripals. Mr Murray is, therefore, justified in asking why.

It is just one of many questions about the UK government’s behaviour that Theresa May and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson need to answer – but they seem resolutely silent.

Labour MP Chris Williamson appeared on Russia Today to confirm what This Site stated yesterday – that the UK’s international reputation is in tatters after the Tories made such a huge mess of the Salisbury poisoning affair:

His words about Mr Johnson, in particular, were supported by these commenters to The Guardian:

 This has arguably been Boris Johnson’s first real, serious test as the UK’s leading diplomat, and he has failed it spectacularly. In normal times, what we have seen over the last few weeks would be more than enough to sack him.

YorkerBouncer

They made accusations which they have not yet been able to adequately back up with facts and evidence, which just makes them look incredibly foolish and incompetent. Truly embarrassing for the UK.

nemossister

Finally, there is the small fact that Mrs May and Mr Johnson have both broken the Ministerial Code.

At section 1.3.a, the Code states: “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”

It seems that both Mr Johnson and Mrs May have knowingly misled Parliament.

When may we expect their resignations?


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Zac and Sarah don’t exist – why should we believe anything from the DWP?

'Sarah' - she doesn't exist and her story is a fake.

‘Sarah’ – she doesn’t exist and her story is a fake.

How can we trust the Department for Work and Pensions’ figures on incapacity benefit claimants’ deaths when we’ve had scandal after scandal from it over falsified evidence?

The Department for Work and Pensions has been caught out in another lie – this time over the existence of people in two fake ‘case studies’ used to promote its cruel, unfair and vindictive sanctions regime.

‘Sarah’ was quoted praising the DWP for threatening to withdraw benefits if she refused to complete her CV, while ‘Zac’ praised the new benefit rules, which had allowed him to continue receiving his money because he had offered proof of a hospital appointment.

'Zac' - he doesn't exist either and his story has also been faked by the DWP.

‘Zac’ – he doesn’t exist either and his story has also been faked by the DWP.

There’s only one problem – neither ‘Sarah’ nor ‘Zac’ exist.

The woman posing as ‘Sarah’ was also pictured in another government blog, The Daily Job Seeker, which offers advice on interview tips along with techniques and information about Universal Credit.

The DWP has been forced to admit that their comments were among a series of quotes on leaflets that were “fabricated” for “illustrative purposes”. All references to ‘Zac’ and ‘Sarah’ have now been removed from the various DWP information outlets.

The revelation that the DWP has been lying about its policies, using fake identities, has aroused yet another storm of protest against the Department and its Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, the former Army bag-carrier who, This Blog maintains, should be removed from office as SNLR – ‘Services No Longer Required’.

It seems the DWP is claiming this blockhead had no knowledge of the deception, but it is impossible to accept this claim. The fictional accounts are intended to justify his failing policies and it is impossible to believe that civil servants would have created them if he had not demanded it.

Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn was quoted saying: “It is a damning indictment that civil servants are now being forced to make up quotes to cover for the failed political agendas of ministers, after the numerous debacles of Universal Credit, the work capability assessment, and the delays facing disabled people trying to get personal independence payments.”

Further embarrassment is in store for the DWP, after the industry body responsible for regulating the behaviour of organisations producing public relations material, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), launched an investigation into whether any of its members were involved.

CIPR president Sarah Pinch said: “Falsely creating the impression of independent, popular support is a naive and opaque technique which blatantly disregards the CIPR’s standards of ethical conduct. It is deeply disappointing if public relations professionals allowed it to be published.”

“A naïve and opaque technique which blatantly disregards… standards of ethical conduct.”

Let’s look at the DWP’s planned publication of Age-Standardised Mortality Rates for claimants of benefits including Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, and Several Disablement Allowance.

Firstly, we must ask why these figures are being prepared by the Department for Work and Pensions, and not by the Office for National Statistics (the organisation that has produced other age-standardised figures for the UK Government). Why?

The DWP and its representatives in Parliament have claimed that the creation of ASMRs has been undertaken by the Department, in order to meet “the high standards expected” by the UK Statistics Authority. Has anybody seen evidence that the UKSA has made any such demand?

Considering the ASMRs themselves, they provide a rate of deaths, per a certain number of the population, in comparison with the death rate among the population as a whole. It seems they are primarily used to predict future deaths. But the number of people on ESA is constantly fluctuating, meaning that a ‘standardised’ rate will be misleading – especially as we are led to believe the figures used will cover a 10-year period between 2004 and 2014.

Even if the DWP publishes a year-by-year analysis, the death rate per, say, 1,000 will not tell the whole story as a lower ratio in a year when more people were claiming may mask a higher number of deaths.

And that’s if the DWP is using reliable figures in the first place!

The only way to have factual accuracy from this lying tool of Conservative Party ideology is to have the data on which it is based – the genuine numbers of people who have died.

That’s what the Tribunal hearing on benefit-related deaths is all about.

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Tories might lose the country’s support over fox hunting, Macca? When did they have it?

150712mccartneyhunting

It’s funny, the way even high-profile figures can get the wrong end of the stick.

Paul McCartney, for example, has warned the Conservative Party that it could lose the support of the UK electorate if a free vote next week results in the re-legalisation of fox hunting.

Perhaps someone should remind him that the Conservatives have a wafer-thin majority of just 12 MPs; six by-elections and they’re impotent.

In fact, even with this vote they are playing dirty. Knowing that a free vote to repeal the Hunting Act will not win enough support, David Cameron and his friends have worked out that they could restore hunting by bringing the law in England and Wales in line with that in Scotland. The SNP’s 56 MPs would not be able to vote against this in good faith, and will probably abstain, leaving the Tories with a majority of around 50 (believe it or not, there are Conservatives who oppose hunting).

Cameron absolutely cannot rely on the support of the electorate: His party won only 24.3 per cent of the available vote at the general election in May, making his government one of the least democratic in our history. And polls have consistently shown that a clear majority of the British people want the barbaric practice of hunting foxes with hounds to remain illegal – more than 50 per cent of us.

Macca, 73, has spent decades campaigning for animal rights. He said: “The vast majority of us will be against them [the Conservatives] if hunting is reintroduced. It is cruel and unnecessary and will lose them support from ordinary people and animal lovers like myself.”

“Inexcusable”

Fellow musician Brian May has been far more outspoken; he accused supporters of next week’s vote of being “a bunch of lying bastards” on the BBC’s Newsnight programme last Thursday.

Some mouthpiece for the hunt-supporting Countryside Alliance had been on, spouting the usual tripe: “This is about addressing exemptions in the Act, which were agreed by both sides when the Act was going through, for pest control reasons, for catching a diseased or wounded animal or something like that.”

Dr May responded: “It’s a very underhand act I’m afraid, because Cameron for years has promised a free vote – a fair fight on the repeal of the Hunting Act.

“He has now realised that this probably won’t end up with what he wants so this whole thing has been put together by circumventing the normal democratic process.

“So you introduce a little modification to an Act but this modification actually disables the whole Hunting Act and effectively this is repeal under a new name. I think this is a very Machiavellian and rather inexcusable way of behaving.

“I believe it’s a pretence. I think you’re a bunch of lying bastards.”

Here he is saying it, at around 5 minutes, 40 seconds in:

Other notable celebrity opponents include Ricky Gervais, who tweeted:

150712gervaisfoxhunting

In fact, it seems the mouthpiece from the Countryside Alliance has shown us the way forward.

This Writer cannot imagine why a wounded animal would need to be “removed” by a hunting pack; in the wild, the law of natural selection would probably see that it is “removed” without human interference.

And if this is about pest control – removing a diseased animal so it cannot spread an infection – then it should be necessary for the hunters to prove any fox was diseased before they set the dogs after it.

This leads to a further question about epidemic: If hounds are sent after a diseased fox, won’t they catch and spread the illness themselves?

Perhaps the Tories – and their Countryside Alliance co-conspirators – should be made to answer these questions before any change in the law is considered.

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Vox Political vindicated on unemployment figures

austeritydolequeue

How pleasant to see Vox Political‘s concerns about the massaging of UK unemployment figures being taken up by the kind of people the mass media actually respect.

A report on the BBC News website states that Conservative Party claims that unemployment has dropped by around 60 per cent in some areas is based on “wrong data” – in other words, the Tories are lying.

This blog has been saying that for a very long time!

The story says Tories have been using Jobseekers Allowance figures – the so-called Claimant Count – to justify their claims, but the independent Office for National Statistics showed only a 20 per cent drop in those seats. The ONS said online: “the number of unemployed people in the UK is substantially higher than the claimant count”.

Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (and well-known to readers of this blog), said: “Many people who are unemployed don’t claim JSA… JSA figures at the local level are accurate, but it is not correct to confuse JSA rates and unemployment.”

In the BBC story, a Tory spokesman said the concern over the data was “nonsense”. He said: “This unemployment measure is provided by the independent House of Commons Library – and for constituencies they are the most up to date and most reliable numbers to use.”

Yes, the House of Commons Library does provide figures – with a caveat that they do not include the number of unemployed people claiming Universal Credit, and there is no date set for when those figures will be included in the Claimant Count (as reported by David Hencke in November last year). The current way of calculating these figures is misleading from the start.

In an article from the same month, This Writer made some other pertinent points:

“If employment has increased – and there’s no reason to say it hasn’t – we can also conclude that the reason employers are more willing to take people on is that they can pay peanuts for them and rely on the government to top them up with in-work benefits. It seems likely that the work was always there but employers weren’t going to take anybody on if it meant increasing the wages bill and reducing the amount of profit available to them. Now that zero-hours contracts are available, along with part-time schemes that deny people pensions and holiday pay, it’s a different matter.

“The number of people who were self-employed increased by a staggering 186,000, to reach 3.25 million, while people working as self-employed part-time increased by 93,000 to reach 1.27 million. That’s 4.52 million – almost one-sixth of the total number of people in work. If you think that’s great, you haven’t been paying attention. Remember this article, warning that the increase was due to older people staying in work? And what about the catastrophic collapse in self-employed earnings we discovered at the same time?

“How many of these are people who have been persuaded to claim tax credits as self-employed people, rather than jump through the increasingly-difficult hoops set out for them if they claimed Jobseekers’ Allowance – and do they know they’ll have to pay all the money back when their deception is discovered?

“The number of people in part-time employment has also increased, by 28,000 to reach 6.82 million. Are we to take it that this means under-employment has increased again?

“Public sector employment has fallen again. If you want to know why the government keeps messing you around, there’s your answer. There aren’t enough people to do the job. This month’s statistics show 11,000 fewer public sector employees than in March, and 282,000 fewer than this time last year.

“Unemployment is said to have dropped – but remember, this is not counting people who have been sanctioned. A recent study by Professor David Stuckler of Oxford University suggests as many as half a million people could have been sanctioned off-benefit in order to massage the figures, meaning that the total listed – 931,700 – is probably wrong. Remember also that Universal Credit claimants aren’t counted, nor are those on government work schemes – another 123,000 people.

“This means the actual unemployment rate is likely to be double the number provided by the official statistics.

“And what about people on ESA/DLA/PIP?”

In January this year, This Writer added: “New research by Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has shown that only around one-fifth (20 per cent) of people who have been sanctioned off of Jobseekers’ Allowance have actually found work, leaving 1.6 million in limbo; they’re off the benefits system but researchers can only surmise that they are relying on food banks.”

And in February, Vox Political had this point to make: “We also know that many thousands have died – through suicide or complications of their physical conditions (if claiming incapacity benefits) after receiving decisions that were not only wrong, but may have been fraudulent.”

Whichever way you slice it, the Tories aren’t being straight with you.

You can trust Vox Political to give you the facts, though.

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