Tag Archives: maternity pay

UKIP: They don’t like it up ’em!

UKIPpolicies

Was anybody else astonished to read, on Facebook this afternoon (May 12), that police had visited a person who had posted a version of the above meme on Twitter, and told said person to remove it as UKIP had made a formal complaint?

The truth of the matter became irrelevant very shortly after, when the image was merrily shared and re-shared across the social media by those of us (let’s face it; a version is directly above these words. VP is as much a part of this act as anyone) who weren’t going to put up with even the rumour of such heavy-handed behaviour.

Shortly afterwards, the referenced version of the meme appeared – it’s what you saw when you loaded up this article.

Readers with good taste in comedy will recognise our headline as a catchphrase of Lance Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army, made with reference to the German Army and to the “fuzzy-wuzzies” – as Jones refers in casually racist (yet of-the-times) terms to his erstwhile opponents when he was fighting colonial wars in South Africa. Although they’re not likely to enjoy being ranked alongside either of Jones’s targets, UKIP supporters proved that they really don’t like it up ’em – and responded with fury.

“This is not doing the right thing by Britons by posting propaganda rubbish like this one,” wrote one outraged ‘Kipper’.

Propaganda?

That would be “misleading information that is systematically spread”, according to the VP dictionary. Thank goodness we can look up the websites referenced on the image and make up our own minds! But it should be noted that anyone trying this should hurry – some of the sites mentioned have already been changed.

For example, VP is informed that Amjad Bashir has changed his website to remove the reference to maternity pay and other employment rights. Fortunately, another member of our online community had the presence of mind to keep a copy of the site as it was before the edit, and created an image that demonstrates the differences.

140512amjadchanges

The point is confirmed on UKIP member Keith Rowe’s website, where item 3.2 states: “UKIP proposes to vastly simplify this legislation. It would be up to each employer to decide whether to offer parental leave.” That would mean the end of Statutory Maternity Pay.

Further down, Mr Rowe confirms UKIP’s plan to raise Income Tax for most of us, while also cutting it for the richest people in the UK: “The cornerstone of UKIP’s tax policies is to roll employees’ National Insurance and basic rate income tax into a flat rate of income tax of 31 per cent for all sources of personal income (except pension income).”

On holiday entitlement, Mr Rowe tells us: “UKIP would put an end to most legislation regarding matters such as weekly working hours, holidays and holiday, overtime, redundancy or sick pay etc.”

UKIP supporters would argue strongly that the party does not intend to speed up privatisation of the NHS, and Mr Rowe’s website expends a large amount of verbiage trying to obfuscate what is intended. But the gist is here: “UKIP will abolish the complex competitive tendering rules which currently make it very difficult for smaller companies to bid; as a result of which, a small number of large companies have a disproportionate share of NHS business. In addition, the UKIP will require the NHS to use people with commercial experience to negotiate with the private sector.” This means that UKIP would continue the Coalition policy of inviting private companies to bid for the right to provide NHS services, making a profit from the taxpayer in doing so.

The section entitled ‘Looking Ahead’ suggests worse to come: “UKIP would like to offer people a choice of how they wish their health care to be delivered… We believe that other models are worth considering to see whether lessons can be learned from abroad… which appear to offer more choice, shorter waiting times and objectively better health outcomes at comparable cost and have been praised for their lack of bureaucracy.”

On climate change, the UKIP leaflet referenced in the meme states: “UK’s cuts in CO2 emissions will have no meaningful effect on global climate and … the Climate Change Act’s unilateral action is in vain”. Further on, it states: “We criticise the EU for creating serious market distortion by favouring some low-carbon technologies (wind, solar) over others (e.g. nuclear). There are, however, some clear priorities: gas, nuclear, and coal.”

UKIP’s own ‘issues’ page makes it clear that the party will “remove the UK from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights” (even though this would be a travesty – the UK was instrumental in setting up that institution and wrote much of its rule book).

Coming to marital rape, if the reference in the meme does not provide help, then try this link. It shows that, of the 14 MEPs who voted against ‘Combating violence against women’, which included “to recognise sexual violence within marriage as a crime and to make rape within marriage a criminal offence”, nine were members of UKIP. Thanks to Rachel Harvey (on Facebook) for this information, and for sourcing the image on maternity pay.

Ms Harvey adds: “The ‘no’ vote to rape within marriage being a criminal offence was also a no vote to making FGM [female genital mutilation] illegal. Such lovely blokes these UKIP MEPs.” Indeed.

Admittedly, policies are mentioned for which proof is not directly available at the time of writing (although any help with this would be appreciated). Nevertheless it should be clear that the image at the top of this article is absolutely not “propaganda rubbish”.

It is a genuine attempt to alert the British voting public to the true nature of the United Kingdom Independence Party.

And no – I didn’t create it.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The BBC: helping the Tories force-feed falsehoods to the masses

"Nation shall speak peace unto nation" according to the BBC's motto. But it seems that same nation's public service broadcaster shall speak lies unto its own people. Why?

“Nation shall speak peace unto nation” according to the BBC’s motto. But it seems that same nation’s public service broadcaster shall speak lies unto its own people. Why?

I think we should all play a little game, based around the Parliamentary debate on the one per cent benefit cap. It’s called ‘Count the Tory lies’ and I’ve already spotted a few on the BBC website’s latest article: Iain Duncan Smith “said inaction would leave the UK ‘bankrupt’, and that ‘like Greece and like Spain… we’ll have huge borrowing costs’.”

Bankrupt, is it? The UK wasn’t bankrupt when its national debt was two and a half times its GDP, so there’s no chance of it now! This is clearly a lie, trotted out to scare people.

He went on to say that pensioner benefits like the winter fuel payment weren’t being capped because pensioners didn’t have the flexibility of being able to go to work – that’s actually untrue as well. I know of many people past pension age who still work. The reason it isn’t being capped is that pensioners are more likely to vote – and the Tories want those votes, so need to keep pensioners sweet. Young people don’t vote as much, therefore they get hammered.

“‘No-one is going to be demonised on my watch,’ he promised.” Except the sick, the disabled, the unemployed, people in work but on low pay…”

Mr Duncan Smith said welfare payments had risen by about a fifth over the past five or six years while incomes had increased by only a tenth over the same period.” Twisting the statistics. In fact benefits as a proportion of average incomes, have been kept at 1/6 of wages, which seems perfectly reasonable to me, especially since wages have been depressed severely over the last 20 or 30 years.

Just to hammer this misleading point home, the article restates it: “Mr Duncan Smith said welfare payments had risen by about a fifth over the past five or six years while incomes had increased by only a tenth over the same period.” Therefore I’m happy to re-state that benefits have remained at only one-sixth of average wages. The difference between the percentages has to do with the differences in amounts – a 20 per cent rise in benefits equals just £11.85, while a 12 per cent rise in average wages is £49. Perhaps that might make it seem a little less unfair to your readers.

“Legislation is needed to implement changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne in last month’s Autumn Statement.” Doubtful – and the BBC should not be pushing this as fact. Was it a Guardian article over the weekend that said the vote was being introduced to make Labour look like the party of slobs, shirkers and scroungers? Instead, Labour will come out as the party for strivers, as it is defending benefits that working people, and people who want to work, need in order to survive in these hard times.

People have been force-fed falsehoods by a government that is desperately trying to justify its unreasonable attacks on the poor and vulnerable.

The BBC should not be part of this. It should set the record straight where figures are available, otherwise its reports are misleading readers.

Let’s have a bit of factual accuracy in the run-up to this vote.

The benefit cap WILL happen – but we don’t need to believe the Tories’ Big Lie

Big liar: Iain Duncan Smith, last week.

Big liar: Iain Duncan Smith, last week.

A little while ago, somebody said: “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”

It’s a comment that could have been tailor-made for the Coalition government, in the run-up to tomorrow’s debate and vote on the plan to break the link between benefits and inflation, ensuring that those on benefits fall further into poverty as the years pass.

Why? Because ministers have been preparing the ground by demonising benefits claimants – getting the public to believe not only lies, but huge lies about the level of benefits and who gets them.

They’ll get what they want – the Coalition between Tories and Liberal Democrats creates a majority in the House of Commons. In theory they can do what they want. But they know that public opinion will swing against them – and stay against them – unless the people can be softened-up with a few juicy non-facts.

Vox Political has already uncovered some of these lies. More have been found by the Trades Union Congress in a recent poll which reveals some of the “myths” the public has been fed about those who rely on benefits.

So, as we go into the debate, let’s look at some of these myths. The people spreading them are the usual suspects – George Osborne gave us his story about “the shiftworker, leaving home in the dark hours of the early morning, who looks up at the closed blinds of their next-door neighbour sleeping off a life on benefits”; and Iain Duncan Smith has highlighted figures showing that, in percentage terms, benefits have risen by almost twice as much as earnings in the past five years. In fact, as demonstrated in this blog, this simply means that benefits as a proportion of earnings have remained at the same level. It’s a manipulation of statistics in order to mislead the unwary. Were you caught?

A YouGov poll found 42 per cent of people think benefits are too generous.

It discovered 59 per cent believe the system has created a culture of dependency.

But just give those people a few cast-iron facts and their beliefs change drastically.

The plan to cap benefit rises at one per cent was supported by 48 per cent and opposed by 32 per cent – but only because three out of every four people asked believed the “myth” that it was the unemployed that would take the hit. When told that 60 per cent of those affected will be low-paid workers receiving tax credits (fact), the move is opposed by a margin of 40 per cent to 30 per cent.

Only one in four believe benefits should rise be less than wages or prices, and 63 per cent want to see them linked to wages, prices or both (in other words, keep them as they are – precisely the opposite of what Herrs Osborne and Smith are pursuing).

The TUC poll found:

People think 41 per cent of the entire welfare budget goes on benefits to unemployed people, while the true figure is just three per cent.

They think 27 per cent of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently, while the government’s own figure is 0.7 per cent.

They think that almost half the people (48 per cent) who claim Jobseeker’s Allowance go on to claim it for more than a year, while the true figure is just under 30 per cent (27.8 per cent).

They think an unemployed couple with two school-age children would get £147 in Jobseeker’s Allowance – more than 30 per cent higher than the £111.45 they would actually receive – a £35 over-calculation.

Only 21 per cent of people think that this family with two school-age children would be better off if one of the unemployed parents got a 30 hour a week minimum wage job. They would actually end up £138 a week better off – in other words, they’d have more than twice as much money. Even those who thought they would be better off only thought on average they would gain by £59.

Yes, you’ve been told lies.

Yes, they’re big lies.

What might surprise you is the amount of time the Tories, in particular, have been telling these lies.

I am indebted to skwalker1964, who pointed me towards the pro-Tory ‘research trust’ Reform. This organisation published a press release as far back as 2009, claiming that Britain had a welfare “dependency problem”.

It said benefit “gimmicks” – among which it numbered child benefit, winter fuel allowance, maternity pay and tax credits – were “benefiting nobody”.

And it called for an end to universal benefits (such as child benefit, which stopped being a universal benefit today) and the localisation of welfare (as demanded in a ‘blueprint for the next Conservative manifesto’ being promoted by 70 Tories including Michael Gove and David Willetts).

In 2009.

So you see, the person who made the comment at the top of this piece really knew what he was talking about. Who was he, again?

Oh, yes.

He was Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

And he was paraphrasing his own boss, Adolf Hitler.