Tag Archives: partisan

General Election 2019: Beware of ‘tactical voting’ websites that are really party propagandists

A timely warning from Another Angry Voice.

As we go into general election campaigning, this is vital information from Another Angry Voice:

Since the announcement of the December General Election there has already been a proliferation of different tactical voting websites, but you have to be extremely careful with them.

One of the major problems is that some of them, especially the supposedly Remain-focused “Best For Britain” Get Voting site, are clearly hyper-partisan party political propaganda outfits disguising themselves as ‘useful advice’.

In several marginal Tory/Labour constituencies this dreadfully partisan site is advising people to vote for the Lib-Dems, despite the fact they got less than 5% of the vote last time around.

This outrageous Get Voting site is recommending the Lib-Dems in a whopping 99 seats where they trailed the incumbent by over 25,000 at the last election!

To put this absolute insanity in perspective the biggest swing of the 2017 was a swing of just over 15,000 in Gordon, north East Scotland.

What this “Best For Britain” Lib-Dem front operation is advocating is trying to achieve 99 record-breaking mega swings simultaneously.

After years of contemptuously dismissing Leave voters as total idiots who believe in unicorns, these Lib-Dem Remain Ultras are actively advising people to waste away their votes on an absolutely ludicrous unicorn hunt!

The site mentioned above is only one of several; until you know otherwise, I think you should consider all of them to be suspicious.

The best advice This Writer can give is to use your own intelligence.

Source: Beware of dodgy tactical voting sites

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‘Scaremongering’, Iain? Isn’t that more your line of work?

Iain Duncan Smith reckons there is no link between his regressive changes to benefits and the rise of food banks. Let's check that. First, we'll look at wages - because working people are going to food banks as well as the unemployed. This graph clearly shows how wage increases have dropped (while inflation has continued to boost prices).

Iain Duncan Smith reckons there is no link between his regressive changes to benefits and the rise of food banks. Let’s check that. First, we’ll look at wages – because working people are going to food banks as well as the unemployed. This graph clearly shows how wage increases have dropped (while inflation has continued to boost prices).

As far as the effects of benefit up-rating measures are concerned, reductions in entitlement are unsurprisingly concentrated in the bottom half of the income distribution. The lowest-income decile group see the largest fall in entitlements as a percentage of income (1.5%) as a result of measures in the Bill, and the second decile see the largest decrease in cash terms, losing about £150 per year on average.

As far as the effects of benefit up-rating measures are concerned, reductions in entitlement are unsurprisingly concentrated in the bottom half of the income distribution. The lowest-income decile group see the largest fall in entitlements as a percentage of income (1.5%) as a result of measures in the Bill, and the second decile see the largest decrease in cash terms, losing about £150 per year on average.

What does this mean for foodbanks? This graph, showing the exponential rise in their use, should be self-explanatory - to everyone not at the DWP, at least.

What does this mean for foodbanks? This graph, showing the exponential rise in their use, should be self-explanatory – to everyone not at the DWP, at least.

Iain Duncan Smith needs to think before making unwise statements.

He was in the headlines over the weekend after he accused food bank charity The Trussell Trust of “scaremongering” in order to get publicity for its work.

Refusing to meet representatives of the trust – thereby reneging (in advance!) on a promise we all heard during the food bank debate in Parliament last week – he stated in a letter written during November that the increased poverty forcing people to seek food bank aid was not linked to his regressive changes in the social security system, and that the charity was using this claim to get publicity for itself.

Quoted in The Observer, his letter began by criticising the “political messaging of your organisation”, which “despite claiming to be nonpartisan” had “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform”.

He went on to reject suggestions that the government was to blame: “I strongly refute this claim and would politely ask you to stop scaremongering in this way. I understand that a feature of your business model must require you to continuously achieve publicity, but I’m concerned that you are now seeking to do this by making your political opposition to welfare reform overtly clear.”

Has nobody noticed that this attitude is clearly contradictory? If The Trussell Trust was a corporation that was seeking to increase its share of a market, then he might have a point, but the entire thrust of this charity’s argument is that everyone involved wishes they were not having to do this work. Any publicity it seeks is intended to reduce the need for food banks, rendering Mr Duncan Smith’s claims about publicity-seeking null and void.

One would have expected him to realise this when he found himself writing that the Trust had “repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network” – a growth that the Trust deplores – “to welfare reform”.

Also, if he wants to refute any claim he must provide evidence to the contrary – a feat that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has yet to manage regarding any of his policies.

But then, as Sir John Major has pointed out, he isn’t very bright.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson, quoted in the same newspaper report, said, “There is no robust evidence that welfare reforms are linked to increased use of food banks.”

Oh no? Let’s resort to a little common sense then. What do you think happens when wages are pushed downwards for a period of more than three years, while benefits are slashed to the bone?

Exactly. Perhaps, if the DWP wants evidence, it should do some empirical research.

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Thatcher’s police state – the culture that led to Hillsborough

It seems amazing that Jack Straw, a former Home Secretary, can be described as “very silly” for saying what we have all known for nearly 30 years.

Responding to the announcement of the Hillsborough cover-up by South Yorkshire Police, he said Margaret – now Baroness – Thatcher, the Prime Minister at the time, had created a “culture of impunity” in the police that made such corruption possible.

Anyone who lived through the 1980s should be well aware of this. Mrs Thatcher used the police as a political weapon throughout her period in office.

Look at the way she used police – and in fact transported officers from forces across the country – to intimidate miners during the strike of 1984-5; look at the way she used them to stop people celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

The Levellers even wrote a song about it.

According to the BBC website, Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Thatcher government, because they needed the police to be a partisan force, particularly for the miners strike and other industrial troubles, created a culture of impunity in the police service.

“They really were immune from outside influences and they thought they could rule the roost – and that is what we absolutely saw in south Yorkshire.”

In a time when most workers’ pay was being severely restricted by her government, Mrs Thatcher boosted police pay – by up to 45 per cent in some cases. I seem to recall she built up their pensions as well, and her government broke the link between a local beat policeman and his community, so that police were put on patrol in places away from their own homes.

These moves created forces that were loyal to the Conservative government, and who believed they could act without fear of reprisals; they had the government backing them up.

Many of those who took part in the Hillsborough cover-up – and other abuses of power across the country – will never be brought to justice. I mention this because I was in a hospital outpatients’ waiting room today, watching Loose Women (of all things). Before I was distracted by a young girl wearing a wrist brace, who wanted to tell me about her dead gerbil, I heard Janet Street-Porter announce to the viewing world that the police who were involved in the cover-up should be suspended.

It was 23 years ago; many of them will have retired by now, and former police officers are never questioned on their activities when they were on duty.

How do I know this?

Let’s just say I know a few ladies who were subjected to serious physical, mental and sexual abuse (over a 28-year period, in one case), at the hands of one man. These ladies appealed to the police for help on several occasions, documented by doctors – but not by the officers who dealt with them. Instead, they were told to go home. The ladies concerned escaped after years of abuse, but when they tried to seek justice against those in the police force who collaborated with their abuser, they were told there was no record of their allegations and the police officers concerned had retired. The police service refused to track down these former officers and so the crimes have gone unpunished.

This is what I think will happen with the police who were at Hillsborough.

A “culture of impunity”? Yes, I think so.