Tag Archives: moral

Coffey’s not your mate! Watch her dodge duty of care to vulnerable benefit claimants

Therese Coffey: she’ll dodge any implication that she has a duty of care to vulnerable benefit claimants – remember, she couldn’t care less about a human being who starved to death because of the decisions of her Tory colleagues.

This is very revealing.

Questioned on whether the Tory government has a duty of care towards vulnerable benefit claimants – think “people with disabilities”, “people with mental health issues”, “people with long-term illnesses” – Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey could only say that no such duty has been written into the statute books.

She avoided giving an opinion on whether she had a moral duty to look after the interests of people claiming state benefits:

Well she would, wouldn’t she?

Since 2010, the Conservatives have presided over – no, they’ve precipitated – the deaths of uncounted numbers of people: with disabilities, with long-term illnesses, with mental health problems, in care homes, in their old age, and I’m sure I’m missing a few categories.

They have deliberately avoided any effort to count the dead, saying once people have been pushed off benefits, the government has no responsibility for them.

But that isn’t true.

There’s a question of whether the government is right to deny benefits to people, or to make them so low that people starve, or fall into despair, and die.

That’s where the moral question is useful.

Is there a likelihood that a person’s health will suffer as a result of benefit denial?

If so, shouldn’t the government monitor their progress?

If not – how does the government know, and shouldn’t it monitor them anyway, to make sure they have other means of support – both financial and mental?

That’s the question Ms Abrahams was asking.

Ms Coffey’s response tells you everything you need to know about her, and the Tory government she represents.

They say they aren’t killing anybody, but it’s only because they aren’t actually stabbing or shooting people. The effect is the same.

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We have no ‘moral duty’ to do anything Fat Boris Johnson says – especially about schools

Lecturing: when Boris Johnson gets behind the pulpit, you know he’ll only give you a load of bull.

Fat Boris Johnson really has a lot of cheek, hasn’t he?

Trying to tell us what our “moral duty” is!

Did he mention “moral duty” to his boss buddy Dominic Cummings when the latter unilaterally decided that lockdown rules didn’t count and took his trip to Barnard Castle, encouraging so many other Brits to disregard the rules in the same casual manner?

Did he consider his own “moral duty” during the many affairs he’s had with women who were not his wife?

Did he think about his “moral duty” to hold an inquiry into Tory racism while he was delaying it for eight months (and counting)?

I doubt it.

So when he told us

There is a “moral duty” to get all children back into schools in England next month

It can hardly be surprising that we reacted like this:

We all know what he means.

He knows parents won’t go back to work unless their kids have a place to go, so he’s trying to emotionally blackmail us into sending them back before we know it’s safe. And consider this:

Furthermore: after Children’s Commissioner Annie Longfield said there should be weekly Covid-19 testing in schools to detect (or better still, prevent) outbreaks, Johnson’s schools minister Nick Gibb rejected the suggestion out-of-hand.

I expect this follows his government’s promise to provide weekly testing at care homes… which has since been withdrawn. Clearly Johnson can’t even manage a simple testing system.

But it raises an obvious question:

If Johnson cannot see that he has a “moral duty” to protect our children when they go to school, then it is our moral duty to ignore him.

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Cameron’s ‘mission’ is morally bankrupt

140117democracy

When David Cameron stands up in all his hypocrisy and tells you that tearing apart the basic safety net that guaranteed people would not be left in hunger or destitution is part of his “moral mission”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the country has taken a turn for the worse.

When he defends an administration that has become so punitive that applicants who don’t get it right have to wait without food for months at a time, by claiming he is doing “what is right”, even die-hard Tories should agree that the man who claims he is Prime Minister has diverged from reality.

That is precisely what he has done, and you can bet that the Tory diehards will quietly go along with it because they think it is far better for other people to lose their lives than it is for their government to lose face.

Cameron has been responding after the Catholic Bishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, delivered a vehement attack on the social security “reforms” being forced on the country’s most vulnerable people by Iain Duncan Smith.

In the Daily Telegraph, Cameron smarmed: “Our long-term economic plan for Britain is not just about doing what we can afford, it is also about doing what is right… Nowhere is that more true than in welfare. For me the moral case for welfare reform is every bit as important as making the numbers add up.

“We are in the middle of a long and difficult journey turning our country around,” Cameron said. “That means difficult decisions to get our deficit down, making sure that the debts of this generation are not our children’s to inherit.

“But our welfare reforms go beyond that alone – they are about giving new purpose, new opportunity, new hope – and yes, new responsibility to people who had previously been written off with no chance.

“Seeing these reforms through is at the heart of our long-term economic plan – and it is at the heart too of our social and moral mission in politics today.”

Drivel. Any evidence-based analysis will find the exact opposite. Where are the opportunities in Workfare schemes that pay only benefits, meaning travel expenses alone put claimants out of pocket, and then send jobseekers back to the dole queue so rich companies can profit further by taking on more claimants on the same terms?

How can anyone derive hope from taking responsibility for their job search, when DWP staff at Jobcentre Plus are ordered to ignore their own responsibilities in favour of harsh sanctions for invented infringements of the Jobseeker’s Agreement?

And how is encouraging people to say they are self-employed, even though they have little chance of earning enough to support them and none of enjoying a holiday or a pension, different from writing them off with no chance?

Look at the new employment figures from the Office for National Statistics – the Coalition government has been making a song and dance about them ever since they came out. On the face of it, they seem reliable: In December 2013, 30.15 million people were in work of some kind, up by 396,000 from the same time the previous year; there were 2.34 million unemployed, down 161,000 from December 2012; and the Claimant Count (those on Jobseekers’ Allowance) was 1.22 million in January, down 327,000 from a year earlier.

However, the number of people marked as self-employed has rocketed to a record level, totalling one in seven of the workforce. That’s 4,370,000 – up 150,000 on the previous year. This is extremely suspicious, as the increase in the previous year totalled 25,000 – just one-sixth of this week’s figure.

Some of these people might be genuinely self-employed and making their new business work – but all of them? In an economy where productivity hasn’t increased since the Coalition took office? You’d have to be stupid to believe that.

Assuming the amount of real self-employment has increased in line with economic growth (at 1.9 per cent), that’s an extra 25,475 in 2013, leaving 124,525 in limbo. Are these really self-employed? Or were they told by Jobcentre advisors to say so and claim working tax credits (as we’ve seen in the past), leading to a huge debt when HMRC tells them they have been claiming fraudulently and have been overpaid?

How many of the unemployed have been wiped off the books due to sanctions? We don’t know, because we don’t have figures up to December 2013. We do know that 897,690 sanctions were enforced in the year to September 2013. We don’t know how many were for one month, how many for three months or how many for three years, but we do know that the rate was six per cent of jobseekers per month in the three months to the end of September 2013. Assuming that rate stayed solid, it suggests that 73,200 were off-benefit due to sanctions in December and should be added to the Claimant Count to give a more accurate figure.

How many of the unemployed have been wiped off the books due to Workfare? We don’t know. How many are unemployed but on Universal Credit, which isn’t included in the Claimant Count? We don’t know – 3,610 were on it at the end of November last year, but the DWP has not divided them into those in work and those without.

David Cameron has access to all of this information, and he doesn’t care. He also has access to the mortality figures for claimants of Incapacity Benefit/Employment and Support Allowance, that the DWP has been withholding from the rest of us, probably for fear of sparking an international outcry. He doesn’t care about that either.

His comments are therefore doubly outrageous – not only is he claiming that his Coalition’s changes are having a beneficial effect when the figures demonstrate the opposite, but he is also claiming the moral high ground when his actions are more appropriate to the populace of the Pit.

In terms of his morality, there can be only one description for him and his cronies:

Bankrupt.

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Let’s kill the myth that right-wingers merely think those on the left are ‘misguided’

Dominic Lawson: He thinks left-wingers are "driven by hate" while "most Tories... regard the Left as just misguided". He's wondering how else he can patronise you today.

Dominic Lawson: He thinks left-wingers are “driven by hate” while “most Tories… regard the Left as just misguided”. He’s wondering how else he can patronise you today. [Picture: BBC]

Dominic Lawson, writing in the Daily Mail (yes, we’re still having fun at the Rothermere Rag’s expense – any objections? I thought not), has told us: “The tribal left is driven by hate.”

Paraphrasing an article he wrote previously in the Sunday Times, he continued: “It is one of the factors tending to distinguish the left in politics from the right, that the former frequently regard the latter as actually wicked, if not evil; whereas most Tories tend to regard the Left as just misguided.”

That is not my experience.

I have found that right-wingers and Conservatives (who tend to claim the middle ground in politics, while still claiming to differentiate themselves from “you lefties”) tend to fall into insults, invective and profanity – hate speech, if you like, with extreme rapidity. It is they who are driven by hate – in my experience – and not those of us on the left who enjoy a reasoned debate. So nobody in the Conservative Party, the right-wing press, or even offering right-of-centre views on Facebook pages should claim any moral superiority over the rest of us on those grounds.

I have an example to illustrate my case. It developed from the earlier Vox Political post on the Mail‘s attacks against Ralph Miliband and Mehdi Hasan. Those of you who are familiar with it will know it quoted the fact that Mr Miliband Senior – who the Mail claimed was The man who hated Britain – served in the Royal Navy during World War II, while the proprietor of the Daily Mail, Viscount Rothermere, had been a supporter of Adolf Hitler, and the father of the Mail’s current editor, Peter Dacre, had been a fashion reporter at the age of 19, when he should have been doing National Service and fighting the Nazis.

I received the following, from a commenter called Raymond Northgreaves (quoted verbatim): “should he have served in any of HM Forces he would have been given a service number and then can be identified”.

Several possibilities were available as to who “he” might be. I wasn’t willing to make an inaccurate guess – nobody was disputing that Mr Miliband Senior had seen active service, so there was a presumption that it might be somebody else, but that’s all it was – so I asked: “To whom are you referring – Dacre Senior?”

In reply, I received the following, which I again quote verbatim:

“Mark Sivier, Hi! You know to whom I am referring to, so why play the cretin left wing anti human. many of us who are from working class family’s know what the value of labour and what it stood for. Now its taken away the voice from the many, and given it to the Marxist rich. Fact, which you and your left wing friends will never understand, you attend Uni and had to slum it in some dose house, which was beneath your middle class upbringing, and you all took on the “we the working class” are fighting to be??? something that you have never dreamed could happen to GB subjects(sovereignty is in the many and not the one), ‘yes’ subjects, before you jump through a window, screeching your left wing head off, British citizens are the one’s going around bombing and murdering people! My age group know all about DS, from the second world war; the mistake that Winston Churchill made was putting people like him in prison, when he should have executed them all. In my life time, I have never knowingly put my hand in shit, and I am not going to start writing to it The rest of us center of the road people know that the left and right are the one. When you all stand up and defend my homeland, then come back and communicate with me, until then, do what you left do, and renumber, it was Blair, Campbell, Prescott and Reed, that sold us all out to the USA, and made us all murderers to 1.5 million people; they also condoned the murder of 2514 British soldiers by the Roman Catholics, and some 30,000 civilians, of which many of their bodies have never found as yet? You and yours are no better then Hitler or your Icon Starling. pro patria!”

I was going to try to analyse this but, look at it; do I really have to?

Point made, I think.