Tag Archives: persecute

Sunak’s online sales tax really is just another way to attack people with disabilities

Rishi Sunak: he keeps interfering with the market, despite his party’s claim that it’s better to leave it alone. Is it because Tories love to torture people with disabilities?

Rishi Sunak isn’t making any sense at all.

He says his plan for an online sales tax is intended to push people back onto the High Street, to physically go out and buy products in order to save businesses that are in danger after the lockdown forced us to stay indoors.

We’ve been buying products online while Covid-19 remains a threat.

And we’ll go back to the High Street, but only once we are convinced the danger is over.

So if High Street shops are in danger, it’ll be because we can’t trust Sunak and his fellow Tories on when that’s likely to be.

Not only that, but in considering such a tax, Sunak is saying the UK is hostile to the new commerce that the Internet represents – as net-based firms still pay business rates and all the other taxes associated with sales.

That’s not good for any country’s economy in this day and age.

It simply doesn’t make sense.

But, considering the Conservatives’ well-known passion for cruelty, there is one reason for bringing in an online sales tax that does make sense: they’ve found out it’s another way they can attack people with disabilities.

People whose health conditions mean they can’t get out of the house have to use the Net to get their stuff, and many shops don’t have access for people with disabilities anyway – despite disability access laws having been enacted many years ago.

People with disabilities don’t have much cash to enjoy, either. They’re either on benefits or in low-waged employment.

So the logical reason for imposing an online sales tax is to push disabled people further into poverty – or to deprive them of goods that they should have the same opportunity to enjoy as the rest of us.

Tories have form in this regard; “Eat out to help out” was another attack on people with disabilities, as you can’t benefit from a discount on restaurant meals if you can’t actually leave home.

Underlying it all is yet another big lie:

Tories have supported, on the face of it, neoliberal ideology since Margaret Thatcher became their leader in the mid-1970s – and that means they support a laissez-faire attitude to the market.

This means they believe the market will automatically adjust to prevailing conditions in order to keep going.

So the proper government policy is non-interference.

Yet here they are, interfering.

Source: Rishi Sunak’s planned online sales tax is a tax on disability | Disability | The Guardian

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Coronavirus discrimination: surgery asks chronically sick and disabled patients to refuse treatment

People with serious health conditions and disabilities who are registered with a GP surgery in Wales had a nasty surprise in the post.

The surgery sent them a letter saying if they caught the coronavirus, the best thing for them to do would be to reject treatment and wait for death – and it asked them to sign a form confirming it.

Llynfi Surgery, in Llynfi Road, Maesteg, sent the letter to patients with serious health conditions such as incurable cancer, motor neurone disease, and untreatable heart and lung conditions, on March 27.

It comes as further confirmation that people with disabilities will suffer adverse discrimination in the coronavirus crisis – that government guidance is to abandon them.

The letter states that people with these conditions are “unlikely to be offered hospital admission” if they become unwell with coronavirus and “certainly will not be offered a ventilator bed”.

It continued: “We would therefore like to complete a DNACPR form for you which we can share with the OOH [out of hours] GP services and which will mean that in the event of a sudden deterioration in your condition because of a Covid-19 infection or disease progression the emergency services will not be called and resuscitation attempts to restart your heart or breathing will not be attempted.”

Going on, it suggested that the “best option” for patients is to stay at home to be cared for by their family with “ongoing support from ourselves and community nursing services”.

It listed “benefits” to signing the DNACPR form:

  • “Your GP and more importantly your friends and family will know not to call 999”;
  • “Scarce ambulance resources can be targeted to the young and fit who have chance of surviving the infection”, and;
  • “The risk of transmitting the virus to friends, family and emergency responders from CPR (even chest compression alone) is very high. By having a DNACPR form in place you protect your family and emergency responders from this additional risk”.

The final line reads: “We will not abandon you but we need to be frank and realistic about what the next few months holds for all of us.”

Wales Online reported on this scandalous correspondence, saying that the local health board had contacted patients who were upset by the letter, to apologise and “answer any concerns”.

And both the Welsh Assembly member and MP have issued a joint statement saying this was “not a standard letter” and the board is working with the surgery “to offer compassionate and sound advice in the very best traditions of our health service”.

You’ll notice that there isn’t a single line in these comments that contradicts the suggestions in the letter.

If anything, it seems the authorities have simply been embarrassed that it has stated the facts about government guidance on long-term sick and disabled patients who contract the coronavirus in a blunt way.

The affair seems to be confirmation that the government is indeed using the coronavirus to cull “useless eaters”, in line with the eugenics beliefs of Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings, and the Nazi-style persecution of people with long-term health issues that has been carried out by successive Conservative governments over the last decade.

Source: Surgery asks sickest patients to sign ‘do not attempt CPR’ form if they get Covid-19 – Wales Online

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Labour: the party of bigotry and intolerance?

Labour: is it becoming a party of intolerance and bigotry under the misguidance of those at the top.

This is ugly and Labour’s leadership candidates need to own it.

You will all be aware, already, of the illegal behaviour of Labour’s leadership in “tackling” (their word) anti-Semitism, whereby the party faked evidence to make it appear that I was an anti-Semite, broadcast the lies to the newspapers in order to induce people to believe them, and then used them as an excuse to expel me from the party.

I believe the current plan is to change the rules so even an accusation will be enough to justify expulsion.

Today, it seems at least one leadership candidate has announced that she is keen to spread the bigotry around, with a plan to expel people accused of being transphobic.

Wouldn’t it be better to talk to them instead? What happened to the art of discussion and explanation?

I have trans friends. I recently supported a person who – originally female – spent some time determined to become a man. Now she has had second thoughts and has decided not to go through with it, and that’s okay too. I supported her throughout, because that’s what friends do.

But I know that some people have a problem with that and I have talked some of them through. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of showing them a way of thinking that they haven’t considered before.

So when I saw on Facebook Rebecca Long-Bailey advocating the immediate expulsion of “transphobes” (I put the word in quotation marks because her interpretation of it and mine are likely to be very different), I couldn’t help but react with the “Ha ha” icon.

“What happened to the idea of Labour being inclusive?” I asked.

The initial response gave me a moment’s hope. James Waterhouse stated: “It should be mate. The amount of transphobia by some people whether members or supporters is depressing.”

But then the conversation went downhill:

Let’s have a look at this:

Lianne Powell: “I don’t think he’s being supportive considering he laughed at the post. Mike probably thinks we should be inclusive and allow transphobes to stay…”

According to whose definition are people to be tarred as “transphobes”, now? Is it to be on the same lines as Labour’s definition of “anti-Semite” – anybody who is accused of it?

That’s not acceptable and it isn’t inclusive. Hence my answer: “Don’t be silly, now.”

Lianne responded: “Says the person who thought it appropriate to laugh at this post…”

But it was appropriate. Labour’s record in dealing with anti-Semitism accusations is a disgrace, and now a leadership candidate is planning to eject anybody accused of something else? Ridiculous! Who will they be throwing out next – people with freckles?

I have to admit that my response – repeating “Don’t be silly, now,” wasn’t the best I could possibly have devised. I was disappointed that this person was so determined to see the matter in black and white, refusing to accept that it is possible for people to make mistakes and to learn from them. To be honest, I didn’t see the point in trying to reason with that kind of bigotry.

But worse was to follow:

In Lou Kilmartin we see a genuine, gold-plated bigot:

“What’s funny about the original post?”

I replied: “The idea that that is any way for an inclusive leadership candidate to behave.”

The response: “Seems pretty inclusive to me. No tolerance for intolerance is a pretty good jumping off point.”

No, it is not.

It is an opportunity for unscrupulous people to attack people they don’t like, tar them as something they aren’t, and ban them from a group – as we have seen with the anti-Semitism fiasco. The instant you start banning anyone for even questioning the wisdom of a course of action, you have left the progressive path and joined the fascists.

Who’s right?

I said: “Not at all. You don’t leap to expulsion. You discuss and you educate. This is just an attempt to find an excuse to purge the party of “people we don’t like”. Or didn’t you think of that?”

The response: “If you genuinely believe that the terf movement [it means Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminst] in the Labour Party is open to discussion or education, then you’re either incredibly naive or a flat out moron.”

Really? It seems to me that Lou Kilmartin is the one who isn’t open to discussion or education. But Lou Kilmartin does seem very keen, on the other hand, to engage in accusation and vilification. That encourages me to suggest that Lou Kilmartin is on the wrong side of this argument.

“Why do you expect trans people to constantly justify and debate our existence?”

I don’t. I never suggested that they should. And falsely attributing that attitude to me is a false argument.

“Would you be so accommodating to racist or homophobic factions within the party?”

I think readers of This Site know its author well enough to know that I would not – but nor would I be willing to accept someone else’s word on it. Who says they’re racist? Who says their homophobes. And why are they saying it?

Now look at this:

“Or DiDnT yOu ThInK oF tHaT?”

What is this? Was this person trying to belittle me with alternate caps? What’s that all about?

It seemed very silly to me, so I ignored it and focused on the accusation and vilification I noticed at the start of the comment:

“That is an intolerant attitude. Shame on you.”

No response to that, notice.

Then I added: “For the record, I have trans friends.” This is true, as I have explained above. I should admit that I wrote it to see how the bigot would respond.

I wasn’t disappointed: Ridicule. “i HaVe TrAnS fWeNdS”

The bigot was incapable of accepting the possibility and had to try to belittle me instead. What do you think of that?

Then Lianne re-entered the conversation. Clearly a follower, rather than a leader, this person had seized on Lou Kilmartin’s lead, and had also apparently done a minimal amount of research into me:

“Weren’t you accused of AS and suspended with the offer of being allowed back if you took the education course offered to you??? Bit rich to preach about education if that’s the case.”

It’s an interesting comment for what it omits. I was accused and suspended – on the basis of lies. I was offered “education” with the Jewish Labour Movement, that had secretly recorded another person at one of its courses, edited the recording to create a false impression, and handed it to the press and the Labour Party as proof of anti-Semitism. That is not education. It is despicable. And if Leanne wants to use that as justification for attacking me, then Leanne is on the side of the demons.

Still, Lou Kilmartin seemed pleased: “Lianne Powell Holy shit I love you.”

I made a brief response: “No – because the accusation was false and I have taken the Labour Party to court over it. Labour is expected to lose.”

Now look at this from Lou Kilmartin: “Mike Sivier you’re right on one count, I am intolerant to intolerance. Sounds like you’re a fucking gem all round. No room for bigots in the party.”

Looking at all of the above, is this person intolerant to intolerance? Or are we seeing intolerance to differing viewpoints? That’s just intolerance. I’m big enough to shrug off the flat-out insult – although anyone reduced to ad hominem insults automatically loses any argument; if that’s all they can say, then they don’t have anything to say. As for the last line, here’s my response:

“In that case I hope you are not a member. You seem intolerant of anybody who does not agree with anything you say. Perhaps you would be more comfortable with the fascists.”

It is a fascist attitude to demand that other people agree with the pronouncements of a leader-figure, no matter how insane they are.

“That’s very rich coming from the guy suspended for accusations of antisemitism.” This person didn’t have anywhere to go. I had already pointed out that the accusations were false but, hey, let’s go back to that if it’s all we’ve got!

I figured it was time to point out the obvious: “Shocking behaviour by some people on this thread. Desperate to kick out people they don’t like. Try talking. It doesn’t cost anything.”

But I couldn’t resist responding to that last jab: “Did you not read my response to that? I think you did and I think you need to grow up.”

And what witty gem did Lou Kilmartin grace me with by way of reply? “Okay, boomer.”

Ageism.

It’s a response to people born in the baby boom of the 1940s and 1950s (I wasn’t): “Oh, you’re old and you don’t understand.”

So there you have it. This is the kind of Labour Party Rebecca Long-Bailey (and, presumably, the other leader candidates because none of them have distinguished themselves in these matters) wants to lead.

A party of intolerance, bigotry, liars, ageism, and fascism.

If you’re still a member of the Labour Party, is that the kind of organisation you want associated with you?

Because I don’t.

I’m staggered that a membership of half a million has allowed the situation to degenerate this far.

There is only one answer to the kind of attack I experienced on Facebook today.

Rejection. These people, along with everybody who agrees with them, can – and I don’t say this often – FUCK OFF.

Postscript: In a move typical of those exposed as bigots, those responsible for the disgraceful display chronicled above have removed it from Facebook. Draw your own conclusions.

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Faced with five more years of Tory persecution, disabled people are losing hope

This didn’t happen: But you can bet the Tories would have wanted it.

“Basically now we are all buggered.

“No hope left for me as I’m disabled and they’ve messed me about so much already.

“I don’t see any compassion for people like myself and all the others like me out there – and to all the ones who have already taken their lives because of cuts cuts cuts cuts n more cuts.

“I’m so disappointed in people in general because of all the hatred towards different groups of people.

“And it’s now going to get worse. Thanks a bunch.”

Those aren’t my words; they were written by Mrs Mike, after the extent of Boris Johnson’s general election victory became clear.

I wonder how many of those who voted Tory because they really wanted Brexit stopped to think about the harm they were doing to their relatives on sickness and/or disability benefits, or to anybody else who is vulnerable because of the draconian Tory policies we’ve had to endure since 2010?

Did these people stop for a moment to think what the Tories will give us?

They won’t give us reform of the Department for Work and Pensions. Labour would have scrapped the DWP because the culture of persecution has now become so ingrained into it that the only responsible choice was to dissolve the entire department and replace it with a new Department of Social Security. That will not happen under the Conservatives and the culture of persecution will continue to kill people – your relatives, maybe.

They won’t reform the benefit system and scrap Universal Credit. UC has been a hugely-expensive ‘white elephant’ from the start – but it does exactly what the Conservatives want: It kills benefit claimants. With an 80-seat majority, Johnson will really put the screws on the poor and vulnerable. Mrs Mike was right and we can expect a bloodbath.

(But don’t expect the Tory-led mass media to report on it. Apparently there were huge demonstrations against the new Tory government in London over the weekend. Did you see it reported on the news? Neither did I. I did see a report on how Russian president Putin controls the news media so nothing is said against his government. That is what you’ll get from now on.)

They won’t reform the so-called “digital barrier” that obstructs people who have trouble coping with computers and the internet from claiming benefits. Telephone, face-to-face and outreach support cost money and might result in people actually being able to claim the benefits they deserve and no Tory MP wants that.

They won’t end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments. This plunges people into crushing poverty which is exactly where the Tories want them.

They won’t reintroduce fortnightly payments, to help people manage their money. Tories want benefit claimants to be in a permanent state of panic, poverty and – ultimately – despair. Look at what Mrs Mike said, above. It’s working (and she’s not even on UC).

They won’t end the evil sanction regime. It is unfair and harsh for a reason – to harm poor people.

They won’t scrap the benefit cap. Tories are about denying money to the people who really need it.

They won’t end the two-child limit on benefits and scrap the so-called ‘rape clause’. Despite being described as “immoral and outrageous”, Tories love it because it humiliates women.

They won’t pay the child element of benefits to the primary carer, to ensure that women are no longer forced to stay in abusive relationships by the system. Tories like keeping women in abusive relationships.

They won’t end the Bedroom Tax and increase the Local Housing Allowance to protect people against the threat of eviction. Tories want to pitch poor people into the street. Their homes can then be redeveloped into high-cost dwellings for the very rich, “gentrifying” – and socially-cleansing – whole towns if they can.

They won’t end the “dehumanising” Work Capability Assessments and PIP Assessments. Tories love humiliating the poor and vulnerable, remember.

They won’t stop benefit assessments being contracted-out to private companies and ensure that all benefit assessments are carried out by government employees in future. Privatisation is a Tory mantra. While it encourages corruption, it also puts any harm caused to claimants at arms’-length from the Tory government itself.

They won’t increase Employment and Support Allowance for people in the Work-Related Activity Group. Tories are about putting people into poverty and debt, remember.

Oh, and they won’t put people right when they ask Labour MPs why they aren’t putting a stop to the hate-filled persecution that is on its way.

Labour can’t stop the coming Tory wall of hate. Your vote put a stop to that.

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PIP appeal success shows how DWP persecutes the vulnerable – until it is found out

Uncannily accurate: The Conservative government’s genuine policy towards PIP claimants may as well be as it appears in this cartoon from 2017.

A woman with an extremely rare disability was told she qualified for a bare minimum on the disability benefit PIP – until a newspaper put it under the spotlight.

The Department for Work and Pensions changed its tune sharpish when The Lincolnite took an interest in Chelsea Tyler’s story.

Ms Tyler, 22, has Glutaric Aciduria Type 2, which means she cannot wash, take medicine or even go out to the shops without the help of her partner and full-time carer Michael Mitchell.

She cannot eat normal food because the fats and proteins will clog up her system and potentially kill her. It also means that she could go into a coma if she does any kind of strenuous exercise.

Her condition has worsened. She was diagnosed with respiratory and heart failure, so she is now forced to rely on a wheelchair.

But after her assessment for Personal Independence Payment, she was told she could have only the standard rate of £58.70 per week for her daily living needs and did not need help with mobility.

She was told she would have to submit more evidence to have the decision overturned.

Then suddenly everything changed – after she shared her story with the news outlet.

The form letter she received almost defies belief – because of the straight-faced way it pretends that it isn’t a complete change of direction on the basis of no new evidence at all.

“I can still award you” is as in the initial letter, but suddenly Ms Tyler was being awarded “the enhanced rate of £87.65 a week to help with your daily living needs”.

And instead of being told, “At this time I can’t award you PIP for help with your mobility needs,” she was now told: “I can still” – still? – “award you the enhanced rate of £61.20 a week to help with your mobility needs.”

It’s a great result for Ms Tyler – but it proves beyond any doubt that the assessment process for PIP is a fiction; a fake; a mockery.

It seems – and forgive me if you’ve read this many times before – that people are awarded the benefit, not on the basis of their needs, but on whether civil servants working for the Conservative government think they can get away with cutting these claimants off.

Can anyone deny it?

And now the Conservatives – who enforce these bewildering, nonsense policies – are seeking re-election with promises of change. Based on what?

It seems clear there is no rationale for providing or denying benefits.

The aim is to harm people – without being seen to do so.

That will continue, as long as we have a Conservative government in the UK.

The general election is a desperately-needed chance to make a change. Let’s take it.

Source: ‘Tears of joy’ as disabled Lincoln woman wins benefits appeal

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Netanyahu echoes Hitler. Will his followers call ‘anti-Semitism!’ on those who point this out?

Benjamin Netanyahu: echoing Adolf Hitler.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lowered himself to baiting his critics – trying to lure them into apparent displays of anti-Semitism – by paraphrasing Nazi tyrant Adolf Hitler in a comment on Twitter.

He stated, in a sabre-rattling speech aimed at Iran: “The weak crumble, are slaughtered and are erased from history while the strong, for good or for ill, survive. The strong are respected, and alliances are made with the strong, and in the end peace is made with the strong.”

As you can see from the response by Evolve Politics, Hitler said something almost identical in 1923: “The whole of nature is a mighty struggle between strength and weakness, an eternal victory of the strong over the weak.”

It is true that one of the examples of anti-Semitism listed with the IHRA working definition is “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis”.

For some, that would be enough. We know several right-wing Labour MPs who would scream “anti-Semitism” if anybody compared Netanyahu with Hitler.

However – and this is a biggie:

The working definition of anti-Semitism itself states that examples such as that listed above are “non-legally binding”, only “to guide IHRA in its work”, and are indications of what “might” be manifestations, “taking into account the overall context”.

So – as Martin Odoni clarifies in this Critique Archives article, “the notorious ‘examples’ in the IHRA definition… are not meant to be seen as cast-iron proof of anti-Semitic attitudes. They are merely meant to be seen as clues for ‘where to look’, as it were. Where these behaviours are seen, the person or people demonstrating them might be anti-Semitic in their intentions, and so it is advisable to investigate.”

So the IHRA accepts that drawing comparisons between contemporary Israeli policy and that of the Nazis may not be inherently anti-Semitic – and one occasion in which it most certainly would not is if the Israeli prime minister paraphrased the words of Hitler.

Furthermore, such behaviour encourages unfavourable analysis of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians – not direct comparisons with the Nazis’ persecution of European Jews, although it is clear that, as Hitler believed the Jews to be weak, Netanyahu applies the same description to Palestinians.

So, in context, there is nothing anti-Semitic about this tweet by Craig Murray, no matter how much the pro-Israeli-government lobby rages about it.

This one, by John Clarke, is a valid expression of opinion:

And duncanpoundcake doesn’t go far enough: Hitler had shouted this crap, long before the Nuremberg rallies:

Marcus Chown’s comment can’t be touched because not only is he absolutely right, but he actually places Netanyahu’s remarks in their correct context:

But it seems the pro-Israeli-government lobby has the mass media neatly muzzled. Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice says it loud and clear:

Where indeed?

And Jill Segger teaches the lesson that Mr Netanyahu and all the supporters of his genocidal regime seem to have forgotten:

We are told – constantly – that the Nazi persecution of the Jews is, indeed, hateful to the Jews.

But the leader of what he himself has described as the “nation-state of the Jewish people” has not only embraced the rhetoric that informed that persecution – he uses it to justify doing what is hateful to his own neighbours in Palestine.

And, to their eternal shame, our mainstream news media are spineless, supine and silent.

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If we are aware of online hate speech, we can oppose it

National Alliance Neo-Nazi Rally, Union Station, Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, Saturday 24 August 2002 [Image: Flickr/ElvertBarnes].

Those who accused This Site of publishing hate material may be surprised to read that I am promoting awareness of the way those who are really responsible can be identified and shut down.

That’s their problem. They were wrong about me then, and they’re wrong now. They distract attention away from the real issue and have therefore helped online hate speech to thrive.

Charlottesville, and President Trump’s ill-advised remarks on what happened there, have brought the issue back into public view, and we should keep it there until it has been eliminated.

So let’s get wise and get active. The more we know about the way these creatures operate, the better-equipped we’ll be to stop them. Start here:

Anti-Semitic tweets were viewed ten billion times on twitter in 2016—that’s why the alt-right loves the internet.

2016 was one of the worst years for online hate speech, a year when neo-fascists overwhelmed the comments sections of many online forums. Members of the alt-right took popular platforms like Disqus, Facebook and Twitter by storm, flooding them with hateful posts. They attempted to reshape the debate on a wide range of issues including Brexit, Trump, immigration and Islam. What’s worse, in some ways they succeeded—and they’re not done yet.

Alt-right websites such as Infostormer, Daily Stormer (both currently inaccessible) and Breitbart have been instrumental in mobilizing right wing activists to popularise nationalistic hate speech online, and are quite open about their intentions to alter the status quo by passing off hate as acceptable.

Source: ‘Assemble ye trolls:’ the rise of online hate speech | openDemocracy


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Challenged to defend their record of persecution against the disabled, Tories have nothing to say

Debbie Abrahams in the House of Commons.

Debbie Abrahams in the House of Commons.

How pleasant to hear this said in a Parliamentary debate, with not a single word of denial from the Conservative Government:

“Last week there was an amazing sequence of events. On Monday, the Secretary of State told me that he could not publish … data because they were not kept, and told me to stop scaremongering; on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that they would be published; and this was swiftly followed by the Government saying that they were appealing against the Information Commissioner’s ruling, stating that publishing these data would lead to ‘probable misinterpretations’ and ‘was too emotive…and wasn’t in the public interest’. What an absolute shambles!”

This was part of the speech by Debbie Abrahams, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, in a debate on ‘welfare reform and people with disabilities’, called by her to set the scene for any measures against the disabled that George Osborne is considering for his July budget. As the Government prepares to cut £12 billion from the annual social security budget next week, there are real concerns that – in addition to potentially slashing tax credits for the working poor – they will cut further support for working-age people with disabilities.

She was referring, of course, to the government’s increasingly confused response to This Writer’s request for an honest answer to the question, ‘How many people have died while claiming Employment and Support Allowance between November 2011 and May 2014 (the date of my request)?” But wait! She continued:

“I could not disagree more. This is definitely in the public interest. As a former public health academic, I am more than aware of the strict criteria for establishing causality, but there are no grounds for not publishing numbers of actual deaths as well as the Government-proposed standardised mortality ratios, including those who died within six weeks of being found fit for work. Will the Minister now confirm when these data will be published?

Dear reader, it falls to This Writer to report that not one word came back from the Government benches – not even when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Justin Tomlinson (who?) got onto his hind legs to give the Government’s response to the debate.

You can sign the petition demanding that the Government end its appeal against the order to publish the statistics, and provide the figures to the public, on the Change.org website.

She also asked when the Government will publish redacted information on the circumstances of the deaths of claimants who died while sanctioned, and what changes the DWP instigated in the light of reviews of these deaths – and whether the significant surge in suicide rates for both men and women since 2010— particularly for working-age men—is being analysed by the DWP. No response.

The Government doesn’t have anything to say to the sick, disabled or vulnerable, and even less to say about them.

Ms Abrahams began her speech by pointing out, “It is poignant that this debate falls on the very day that the Independent Living Fund closes. A further £1.2 billion is being cut from support for people with disabilities. Such cuts were a hallmark of the Tory-led coalition, and many are concerned that not only will this increase but the cuts will get worse under this Government.

“I … want to draw attention to the punitive and dehumanising culture that has been part of the delivery of these welfare reforms, which set the tone for the leadership within the Department for Work and Pensions and the Government’s wider tone on social security.”

Here’s a quick precis of the facts: She said that, by 2018, £23.8 billion of support would have been taken from 3.7 million people with disabilities, according to Demos. The measures include:

  • Indexation of social security payments was changed from the higher retail prices index to the lower consumer prices index
  • There was also a 1% cap on the uprating of certain working-age benefits.
  • People on incapacity benefit were reassessed.
  • The time that disabled people in the work-related activity group are able to receive the employment and support allowance was limited.
  • Disabled people in receipt of disability living allowance are being reassessed to determine whether they are eligible for the personal independence payment.
  • Disability benefits are approximately 15% of average earnings. With the recent changes—the 1% uprating and the indexation to the consumer prices index—they will fall even further below those in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
  • People with disabilities are twice as likely to live in persistent poverty as non-disabled people: 80% of disability-related poverty is caused by extra costs. This has implications for disabled people’s families – a third of all families living in poverty include one disabled family member.
  • Since the Government’s new sanctions regime, the rate of sanctioning of people on IB and ESA has doubled.

She said part of the Government’s strategy has been the “invidious” spreading of a culture of blame and fear.

“In the 1980s we saw the unions being targeted; today the focus is on the poor and the vulnerable.

“The narrative associated with the so-called welfare reforms has been one of divide and rule, deliberately attempting to vilify people who receive social security as the new undeserving poor.

“The Government have spread a culture of pejorative language, such as “shirkers” and “scroungers”. They have intentionally attempted to demonise social security recipients, including disabled people.

“The innuendo that people with a disability or illness might be faking it or are feckless is, quite frankly, grotesque… Unfortunately, the regular misuse of statistics is another way that the Government are trying to harden the public’s attitude.

“The facts are that, in an ageing population, the largest proportion of social security recipients are pensioners and not, as is often implied, the workshy.”

The whole debate can be found here.

Additional: It has been pointed out to me that Mr Tomlinson stated: “We will be publishing them [sic] the mortality stats—I know the hon. Lady is keen to see them soon; we would all like to see them as soon as possible.” Since he did not define the form those statistics would take, nor did he provide a firm date on which they would be published, it seems clear that what he did say was as near to nothing as makes no odds.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Tories thought they could persecute the disabled; now Tories hide from them

150624saveILF-imgPaulaPeters

Protection: Members of the Conservative Government need large numbers of police to protect them from disabled people in wheelchairs [Image: Paula Peters].

Conservative MPs cowered behind the House of Commons doors and prayed they would be strong enough to keep out the horde of disabled and wheelchair-using protesters who were trying to push their way in.

They had to call in the police to hold back the mob as they blockaded Prime Minister’s Questions, just after midday today (Wednesday).

The activists from Disabled People Against Cuts, other organisations, and individuals were campaigning against the closure of the Independent Living Fund – the Conservative Government’s latest (although long-planned) blow against those who minister had believed were not strong enough to stand up for themselves.

This video link to the BBC News report provides a more accurate picture of British disabled people and their strength:

https://youtu.be/EgXVECJU0Xs

The Daily Telegraph (of all papers) was first to report the events:

“Onlookers said that dozens of police officers attempted to restrain the demonstrators… One woman was led away by police as she tried to get into the chamber.

“Mary Johnson, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said: ‘We tried to get down there because the Government needs to listen. We tried to get into the chamber but we were stopped by police.’

“She said she witnessed one protester being ‘dragged away by police’ claiming officers’ behaviour was ‘disgusting’ and that they had been ‘pushing wheelchairs around’.”

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