Tag Archives: protect

Hypocrisy: Will Tories try to force parents to send kids to schools, after supporting Cummings?

Unreasonable: plans like this for social distancing in schools simply won’t work. Parents, teachers and unions are right to refuse to participate in this nonsense and Tories will find it hard to criticise them after supporting Dominic Cummings’s decision to take his children to Durham, allegedly to protect them.

Here’s a great scenario from a commenter to Vox Political on Facebook:

Tory: Dominic Cummings was only trying to protect his 4-year old child. Every parent has a right to make common sense decisions for their children.

Parent: I don’t want my 4-year old child to go to reception class.

Tory: Irresponsible parent, how could you keep them at home! Send them to school!

It’s a good point.

No evidence has been provided to show that children (and therefore their parents and any other adults they meet) will be entirely safe from Covid-19 at school.

But the Tories have slammed parents who said they’ll keep their kids away from schools in order to protect them.

Now, backing up Cummings, they have hypocritically claimed that parents have every right to protect their children.

Pathetic.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Care home deaths cover-up suggests Johnson and Hancock are guilty as sin

Suppose a disaster happens and people die. The authorities in charge say they failed to anticipate it, take responsibility, someone resigns and we all say: fair enough – they made a mistake and they admitted it.

Right?

Now suppose people die but the authorities pretend they had taken precautions to prevent it – and we find out that they were lying.

That looks far more serious, doesn’t it?

It makes it seem that the authorities concerned intended that the disaster would happen.

Why else would they lie?

Now let’s consider the fact that more than 9,000 people have died in care homes, with a further more-than-10,000 deaths unaccounted-for.

Boris Johnson told the nation in Prime Minister’s Questions that the government imposed safety procedures on homes, the day before they were imposed on the rest of the country – and then he tried to tell us Keir Starmer was lying when he said that wasn’t true.

Starmer then quoted the government’s own guidance back to him in a letter…

…and you know what Johnson did?

He sent Starmer a note warning him to get back in line – because he’s supposed to be supporting the government.

Very revealing, that.

It doesn’t matter, though – because Starmer has already let the cat out of the bag, so Johnson’s attempt to bring him down means nothing.

Oh, and we’ve also got more evidence from first-party sources:

Okay “a care home manager” might not seem convincing to you.

Try this, from talk radio channel LBC:

LBC’s Ben Kentish pointed to tonight’s press conference which saw deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries state care home advice issued on 25 February stayed in place until 12 March because “they had the view that there was no sustained community transmission in the UK.”

However, Ben Kentish found minutes from a sub-committee at scientific advisory group SAGE on 10 February which said:

“It is a realistic probability that there is already sustained transmission in the UK, or that it will be become established in the coming weeks.”

Ben reiterated that this was dated 10 February – two weeks before the official care home guidance was issued and more than a month before it was withdrawn.

So SAGE advice on February 10 was that “there is already sustained transmission in the UK” but from February 25 to March 12 the government’s line was that “there is currently no transmission of COVID-19 in the community. It is therefore very unlikely that anyone receiving care in a care home or the community will become infected”. But Matt Hancock said the Tories were protecting care home residents from February. Clearly that is not true.

And what happened? Here’s the Office for National Statistics:

And look – all those excess deaths started happening right when the Tories said they were protecting care home residents. How about that?

In fact, the Tories didn’t lift a finger to stop deaths in care homes until April 15, when the epidemic there was well advanced:

So, doesn’t it seem that Matt Hancock has been telling untruths but Owen Jones is right? See for yourself:

And coronavirus infections have broken out in one-third of all English care homes – more than 5,000 homes:

Kerry-Anne is right. It is a massacre.

And all the information suggests that’s exactly what Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock intended it to be. Otherwise, why lie?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour anti-Semitism report: Starmer acts – to cover his supporters’ arses

No Labour leader: Instead of taking action to identify and expel the wrongdoers in the leaked Labour report on anti-Semitism, Keir Starmer seems to be trying to protect them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has issued a statement on the leaked Labour report that shows evidence that right-wing party staff members actively campaigned to undermine previous leader Jeremy Corbyn – by promising to protect the members implicated in wrongdoing, and investigate how the public got to find out about them.

Or so it seems to me.

In a joint statement with deputy leader Angela Rayner, he said the following. I’ll comment on his words [in bold] as we go through it:

“We have seen a copy of an apparently [apparently? It is an official Labour document on anti-Semitism and as such he is certain to have known about it. Isn’t he? Skwawkbox reckons he had a copy of the report shortly after his election as leader was announced yet he was completely relaxed about it until it was leaked] internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism. The content and the release of the report into the public domain raise a number of matters of serious concern.

“We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter. This investigation will be instructed to look at three areas. First, the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved [which, as leader, he should already know. In any case, it is made explicitly clear in the text of the report]. Second, the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report [which suggests an attempt to deny the findings and whitewash the wrongdoers]. Third, the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain [which suggests he would have preferred it to remain secret and the wrongdoers to go unquestioned, let alone punished].

“We have also asked for immediate sight of any legal advice the Labour Party has already received about the report.

“In the meantime, we ask everyone concerned to refrain from drawing conclusions before the investigation is complete [why? The report is complete and its conclusions are clear] and we will be asking the General Secretary to put measures in place to protect the welfare of party members and party staff who are concerned or affected by this report [but not party members and former party members who were clearly victimised by those party members he is trying to protect].”

I would not want to see anyone face unreasonable abuse – either verbal or physical – for having taken part in the activities mentioned in the report.

But the behaviour it describes is utterly vile and, if true, anybody who was involved in it should – no, must – be expelled from the Labour Party forever.

If anyone thinks a lifetime expulsion is too much, bear in mind that these senior Labour staff used language that was considerably more abusive and inappropriate than that cited as justification for suspending many Labour members who supported Jeremy Corbyn in 2016.

Labour members past and present are lining up to demand action.

But it seems Mr Starmer is more interested in protecting the perpetrators of these offences.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Carillion protected bosses’ bonuses before running into financial crisis

Bonuses: Carillion is under pressure to recoup some of the millions of pounds shelled out to former chief exec Richard Howson (pictured) and ex-finance chief Richard Adam.

What an astonishing coincidence!

And what an amazing stroke of luck that these executive bonuses were protected months before anyone had any idea that Carillion would get into financial trouble.

Isn’t it?

Now, instead of having to fund the hole in its finances from its own resources, Carillion and its lenders are expecting us – you and me – to subsidise its failures. Here’s Martin Shovel to explain, better than This Writer managed in my previous article:

Troubled engineer Carillion introduced tougher rules that protect bonuses paid to bosses – just months before it was embroiled in an accounting crisis that wiped £600 million off its shares.

The firm changed the wording of its pay policy to make it harder for investors to claw back bonuses paid to executives in the event it ran into financial difficulty.

Essentially, this means that executives would have to be guilty of fraudulent behaviour rather than just the more general failure of the firm.

In recent days Carillion has been under pressure from investors to recoup some of the millions of pounds in bonuses paid to former chief executive Richard Howson and ex-finance chief Richard Adam when they were in charge.

A probe by the Mail has found that previously bosses could have been forced to hand back their annual bonus and share awards in ‘circumstances of corporate failure’.

Source: Carillion protected bosses’ £4m bonuses before crisis | This is Money


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The plan to let councils opt out of child protection – are your children safe with the Tories?

"The Bill does not require any consultation with children, care leavers or families before the removal of legal duties" [politics.co.uk]

“The Bill does not require any consultation with children, care leavers or families before the removal of legal duties” [politics.co.uk]

No – they aren’t.

Here is just some of the evidence from an article on politics.co.uk – I urge you to read the full article as well.

In a recent House of Commons debate on social work reform, children’s minister Edward Timpson MP called for “a debate based on facts, not on unfounded propositions”. He was speaking about the clauses in the Children and Social Work Bill which, if passed, will permit individual councils to be excused from legal obligations to vulnerable children and care leavers.So let us focus on those facts. Here are seven for starters.

FACT 1: The government has plans to ‘academise’ children’s social care. In December 2015, the then prime minister, David Cameron MP, said six of the country’s best local authorities would be given “academy style freedoms” in children’s services. Clause 29 of the Children and Social Work Bill allows every council in England to ask to be excused from legal obligations. Clause 32 permits the secretary of state to remove duties from struggling children’s services, even when a council hasn’t asked for it.

FACT 2: Our country’s most vulnerable children and young people rely on social care duties for protection and support. Deregulation in social care involves exponentially more risk than in education.

FACT 3: There is no evidence that legal duties get in the way of innovation in children’s social care. Councils can already innovate.

FACT 4: Parliamentary scrutiny of exemptions will be weak. Parliament has very limited powers when it comes to statutory instruments (which is the form exemption orders will take).

FACT 5: There was no consultation before this Bill was introduced into Parliament. The Bill does not require any consultation with children, care leavers or families before the removal of legal duties.

FACT 6: The government is keen to create a ‘market’ for children’s services, but not to share its market-scoping report.

FACT 7: The government is ploughing ahead with ‘Takeover Trusts’ in children’s services without any evidence they work better for children. It states that the Bill will not lead to more profit-making in children’s social care services and has tabled an amendment to that effect. But there is no empirical evidence that children benefit from social care services moving away from local councils.

Source: The truth about plans to allow councils to opt out of child protection laws

Do you want Vox Political to cover a story? Use this form to tell us about it (but NOT to comment on the article above, please):

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cameron promises to protect pensioners’ benefits. Do you believe him?

He's dreaming of all the cash he'll take away from the old, after he has hoodwinked them into voting for him again.

He’s dreaming of all the cash he’ll take away from the old, after he has hoodwinked them into voting for him again.

Why should you believe a word David Cameron says?

He has repeated a pledge not to introduce means testing for benefits such as bus passes, TV licences and the winter fuel allowance, if elected (not re-elected; he didn’t get enough support for that in 2010) in May.

This is the man who “looked down the barrel of a camera” (as he describes it) in 2010, promised to protect the NHS, and to tell any cabinet minister proposing cuts to frontline services that they should go away and think again.

He is denying the state pension to increasing numbers of people with a staged plan to raise the pensionable age. Members of Parliament, meanwhile, will receive transitional protection as the pensionable age rises – meaning they won’t miss out. Members of the public fund 60 per cent of Parliamentarians’ pensions.

Firefighters could lose their pensions altogether because of his plan to raise their pensionable age. Iif they don’t serve their full term, they won’t get the pension – but they can be ruled out of service if they fail the fitness tests (and older firefighters are more likely to fail).

What good is the promise to protect pensioners’ benefits if they have to learn how to use the Internet in order to get them? Remember, Francis Maude has proposed this extra hurdle for senior citizens and you won’t see Call-Me-Dave speaking against it.

He has already ended protections for those who receive Pension Credit. From April, 2016, the ‘assessed income period’ system will be abolished and pensioners will be exposed to the same draconian system of monitoring and case reviews as the disabled and jobseekers.

And we have to ask ourselves how safe pensioners’ free bus passes, TV licences and winter fuel allowance really are. Iain Duncan Smith announced more than a year ago that he was considering removing benefits that are exclusively for pensioners, in order to strengthen his benefits cap – and we know that David Cameron can’t stand up to Iain Duncan Smith.

So, do we believe him when he promises now that he will protect pensioners’ benefits in the future?

Not likely!

Afterword: A commenter on Facebook has just pointed out that pensioners will also be subject to the Bedroom Tax under a future Cameron government – yet another backdoor way of penalising people who worked hard all their lives and deserve better in retirement.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
warning you against lying Tories who will steal
from the elderly.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour’s plan to protect animals

150221labouranimals1

Here’s another terrific Labour Party policy announcement that seems to have been overlooked by the news media: Animal protection.

The policy was announced by Maria Eagle and runs as follows:

1)         Labour will protect the Hunting Act
Ten years ago the Labour Party ended the cruel practice of hunting with dogs, because we believe that causing defenceless animals to suffer in the name of sport has no place in a civilised society. But just as we celebrate the Hunting Act, the Tories plan to repeal it. Only Labour can protect the Hunting Act because Labour is the only major party committed to defending it.

2)         Labour will ban wild animals in circuses
Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals. Being moved from place to place in cramped and substandard enclosures, forced training and performance, loud noises and crowds of people are the unavoidable distressing realities for animals in circuses. Despite promising to ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, the Tory-led Government has failed to do so. The next Labour government will ban this cruel practice.

3)         Labour will end the ineffective and inhumane badger culls
Badger culls are supposed to reduce Bovine TB but experts say the Tories’ culls will make the problem worse. Following repeated failures to meet deadlines and targets, the Tories are effectively pursing an unscientific mass cull with no rigorous monitoring or evaluation. Labour will end this and develop a better plan to eradicate Bovine TB.

4)         Labour will improve the protection of dogs and cats
At present we have ineffective regulation, a lack of information for pet owners and a failure to deal with irresponsible and cruel breeding practices. Labour will review the inadequate regulations on the sale and breeding of dogs and cats and develop a new strategy to improve their welfare.

5)         Labour will tackle wildlife crime and reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
More needs to be done to protect animal welfare on shooting estates. The next Labour government will undertake an independent review into the most effective way to end the illegal persecution of birds of prey, such as the hen harrier; prevent non-target animals getting trapped in snares; and ensure the humane treatment of game birds.

6)         Labour will lead the fight against global animal cruelty
The humane treatment of animals should be a benchmark for any civilised society. National governments have a duty to work together to prevent cruelty around the world. Labour will push to end all commercial whaling and prevent the poaching and near extinction of endangered species such as elephants, rhinos and tigers.

These are great strides forward for animals.

What are the Tories doing?

Oh yes: Subsidising grouse-shooting.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
telling you what the right-wing media don’t want you to know.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Iceland is jailing bankers – we’re still giving them bonuses

150219icelands-jailed-bankers

Iceland’s Supreme Court have sentenced four bank bosses from Kaupthing bank to serve jail time, according to yournewswire.com.

Bankers Sigurdur Einarsson, former chairman of the board, Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson, the former chief executive, Magnus Gudmundsson, the former chief executive of the Luxembourg branch and Olafur Olafsson, one of the majority owners, were sentenced to jail time of between four and five and a half years each.

The court found that they hid the fact that Qatari investor Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad al-Thani bought a stake in Kaupthing, using money borrowed illegally from the bank itself.

Al-Thani’s purchase, a 5.1 per cent share, was announced only a few weeks before the bank collapsed. It was seen as a confidence boost for the bank while rumours circulated that it was in trouble.

These are the heaviest sentences for financial fraud in Iceland’s history. The four will have to pay their own legal costs for the case, which amount to 82 million kronur or approximately 670 thousand US dollars.

You can read the full story on yournewswire.com.

Meanwhile, in the UK – where bank bonus culture continues unabated – the former boss of a huge multinational bank (HSBC) that illegally helped more than 7,000 customers to avoid paying their taxes appears to be under the protection of the country’s prime minister – whose own family (as has been well-established) made its money from advising people on how to avoid paying taxes.

HM Revenue and Customs has identified 1,100 UK citizens who could be prosecuted for avoiding tax – only one person has faced such prosecution.

One of the UK’s most respected newspapers, the Daily Telegraph, has been avoiding the story (allegedly) because it wants to protect a lucrative advertising contract with HSBC.

Our government of Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat MPs is – as far as anybody can see – protecting the people who caused the financial crash of 2007 onwards, along with those who – by withholding the tax money they owe the UK Treasury – have forced unnecessary austerity onto the poorest people in the country.

It is estimated that thousands – perhaps tens of thousands – of people have died because of benefit cuts and sanctions that have been administered either by fraud or error.

Yet the Conservative Party is still expected to return nearly 300 members to Parliament on May 8.

Can anybody explain that?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
casting light on the international banking scandal.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Are we really stupid enough to believe Israel is spending £7.8bn on CRYPTOGRAPHY?

[Image: International Herald Tribune. America has been debating government surveillance for a while now.]

[Image: International Herald Tribune. America has been debating government surveillance for a while now.]

After yesterday’s article on Gaza was written, Yr Obdt Srvt opened the new edition of Private Eye and read the following on page 29:

“Downing Street’s promise on Monday to review all the UK’s arms export licences to Israel will come as no surprise to anyone who has perused a recent report from MPs… The report revealed the continuing mystery of licences for £7.8bn worth of equipment, mainly ‘cryptographic equipment, software and technology’.”

Really?

But page 5 of the same magazine states: “Many of the countries the UK supplies are flagged up by the Foreign Office as being ‘countries of human rights concern’. They account for £11.9bn of UK arms sales and include China, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, who have been sold ‘cryptography’ equipment – essentially kit to disguise communications, infiltrate external websites and protect their own from surveillance.”

Really.

That costs £7.8 billion in Israel but only £3.1 billion to all these other countries, does it? And it’s before taking out sales of any shoot-bang-kill weapons, too.

Arms exports to Saudi Arabia total more than £1.5 billion, and to China another £600 million or so. That leaves £1 billion between Yemen, Iran (!) and anyone else not mentioned in the article.

It’s not believable. Even if the software licence was the most expensive ever, it beggars belief that Israel would be willing to pay 16 times as much as – for example – Iran, for the same equipment.

Meanwhile, an article in today’s Guardian clarifies how this kit will be used. The country’s right-wing government is intent on suppressing dissent against its military operations in Palestinian areas and has worked hard to ensure that around 95 per cent of the public support it.

This leaves five per cent of the population, who are afraid to voice their opinion openly for fear of being attacked in the street. Left-wing commentator Gideon Levy, who has written in opposition to the assaults, has suffered epistolary attacks from (among others) Eldad Yaniv, former political adviser to ex-prime minister Ehud Barack. Yaniv wrote on his Facebook page: “The late Gideon Levy. Get used to it.”

It does not seem far from the realms of possibility that a government that has generated this kind of support would buy surveillance equipment to snoop on its detractors in search of any evidence that could bring them down.

“What is different this time is the anti-democratic spirit,” Levy states in the Guardian article. “Zero tolerance of any kind of criticism, opposition to any kind of sympathy with the Palestinians,” says Levy. “You shouldn’t be surprised that the 95 per cent [are in favour of the war], you should be surprised at the 5 per cent. This is almost a miracle. The media has an enormous role. Given the decades of demonisation of the Palestinians, the incitement and hatred, don’t be surprised the Israeli people are where they are.”

Is this not exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews in Germany, back in the 1930s? Isn’t it exactly what Roger Waters was protesting against, as mentioned in yesterday’s VP article? And did the Nazis not use surveillance techniques via their secret police, the Gestapo, to ensure dissent was suppressed and propaganda in support of their policies held sway over public opinion?

(It should be noted that none of this should be used to suggest that the Palestinian organisation Hamas was right to launch attacks on Israel. The plight of the people of Gaza is real but must be settled by peaceful means; violence can only ever make matters worse in the long run.)

Now come back to the UK, where we have a right-wing government that has worked extremely hard to ensure that the mass media put forward only stories supporting its policies and point of view. Is it not possible that a government in possession of the kind of surveillance equipment it is exporting to ‘countries of human rights concern’ – a government that is known to have extremely unsound beliefs about human rights – might turn that equipment on its own people?

These are dangerous times for all of us.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books and find out why the British government
might want to silence this site!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
Y
ou can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Jobseekers told to do more to find (non-existent) work

Esther McVile: The employment minister, who claims adamantly that changes to housing benefit do not constitute a 'bedroom tax', is pictured complaining about a so-called 'tunnel tax' in her own constituency in a blatant display of double standards.

Esther McVile: The employment minister, who claims adamantly that changes to housing benefit do not constitute a ‘bedroom tax’, is pictured complaining about a so-called ‘tunnel tax’ in her own constituency in a blatant display of double standards.

WARNING: This article has been edited using the ‘Guide to DWP euphemisms’ published by Richard Hutton, and with inspiration from it.

New rules coming into force at the end of the month mean jobseekers will have to do more to find work – even though there are currently five of them for every job available – the Department for Work and Pensions has announced.

Simply ‘signing-on’ for benefits will be a thing of the past under the draconian and repressive new rules.

Employment Minister and double-standards queen Esther McVey has hailed the new rules as undermining the range of support available, which helps diminish aspects of the social security system so that it no longer protects anybody from being left impoverished – in this case by making sure people cannot start claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) by just signing-on without first humbling themselves before the Tory-led government.

She said: “With the economy growing, unemployment falling and record numbers of people in work, now is the time to start expecting more of shirkers if they want to claim benefits. It’s only right that we should push people who are unemployed into such a depth of poverty that even ‘in-work’ poverty is a step-up.

“This is about taking support away from people and undermining the range of support available to them so they can hit rock bottom faster. In return, we will give people as much harassment as possible, to make them stop scrounging or face sanctions, because we know from employers that we have to break people’s spirit before they’ll work for a really low wage.”

To prepare for their first interview with a Jobcentre Plus adviser, people looking for work will be told they will not even be able to sign as unemployed until they have prepared a CV, set up an email address – even though they might not have a computer on which to use it – and registering with the government’s discredited jobs website Universal Jobmatch, which will expose them to identity thieves and exploiters looking for sex workers. This change will make it possible to exploit people as soon as they start their JSA claim.

People who don’t tow the line will receive more harassment from their Jobcentre Plus adviser – weekly rather than fortnightly – to ensure they can be cleared off the books via sanctions if it proves impossible to push them into poverty work.

All new JSA claimants will also now have a quarterly review with their adviser, who will try to find a reason to impose sanctions and get them off the books.

These new measures are being introduced as figures show the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by over 363,000 on the year, the largest annual fall since 1998. This shows that the system of sanctions, putting people on Workfare to hide the fact that they are unemployed, and asking them to pretend that they are self-employed in order to fraudulently claim tax credits instead, is working.

The government is committed to sanctions and the vast majority of people are bullied off JSA quickly – more than 75 per cent of people end their claim within six months. Every working day Jobcentre Plus advisers shout at 98,000 interviews jobseekers and there are a range of ploys available to push them off the system. These include:

• Hiding them on the Work Programme
• Referring them for ‘training’ by companies that provide the minimum help available, take the money and run
• Putting people on pointless ‘work experience’ that won’t lead to a job but will clear them off the claimant count
• Fooling people with ‘incentives’ that mean nothing
• Getting people to pretend they are self-employed.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political wants to see more honesty in government press releases
… but we need YOUR help to keep up the pressure.
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook