Tag Archives: regional

Is Boris Johnson using abortion rights to bribe the DUP into supporting his Brexit deal?

Boris Johnson: The right of women in Northern Ireland to get an abortion if they need it is nothing to do with him – so it is entirely possible that he will cancel it to get his Brexit deal.

Without the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party supporting his new Brexit deal, Boris Johnson will lose the Parliamentary vote on it tomorrow. So is he bribing Arlene Foster’s group?

The DUP is known to oppose the new legislation championed by Labour MP Stella Creasy to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland. That change will happen in March 2020 – but only if devolved government in Northern Ireland has not been restored by October 21 – Monday.

Abortion law is a devolved matter but the Northern Irish assembly in Stormont collapsed in January 2017 and the Conservative government has shown little interest in restoring it.

Until now. It seems the government is ramping up efforts to restore the power-sharing devolved government, ending the chance to extend abortion rights into NI.

So it seems the Tories will sell out women across an entire country of the UK to pass its Brexit deal in the most squalid way possible.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of using abortion rights in Northern Ireland as ‘bargaining chip’ to get DUP to back Brexit deal | The Independent

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Tories plan benefit system massacre

zIDSmurderer

 

The headline is no joke. Based on the plans revealed by the BBC, if the Conservative Party is re-elected in May, all but the richest of us can look forward to the death of a loved one – perhaps many loved ones.

They’ll have to hang signs over entry points into the UK: “Conservative Britain, 2015-2020: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”. At least now we know why David Cameron was determined not to reveal any details of the proposals to cut £12 billion from the benefits budget.

Chequebook euthanasia play a prominent role, and it is clear that the plan is to push as many benefit claimants into destitution as possible while encouraging suicidal thoughts. It has already worked with many people on Employment and Support Allowance; they want to spread their version of Aktion T4 more widely.

Top of the proposals is the replacement of the Industrial Injuries Compensation Scheme with an insurance policy provided by companies. Any not doing so would become members of a default national industrial injuries scheme, similar to the programme for asbestos sufferers. This is the long-anticipated arrival of private health insurance in the British benefit system; we have been expected this ever since Peter Lilley invited the criminal American firm Unum into the then-Department of Social Security in the 1990s. Vox Political predicts that nobody taking out such insurance will ever receive a payout on it; it will be run by Unum.

The DWP predicts that £1 billion will be cut from the benefits budget. The human cost might be significantly higher, especially when you consider the following:

Carer’s Allowance may be restricted to those caring for somebody eligible for Universal Credit. We know already that Universal Credit has been designed to prevent genuinely sick and disabled people from receiving their benefit, and that Universal Credit doesn’t work; this attack on their carers will tip both deep into poverty. Leaked documents suggest about 40 per cent of carers would lose their payments, despite the fact that they genuinely need the money.

The DWP hopes to cut another £1 billion from its bills with this. As it ties in with current chequebook euthanasia programmes, expect many thousands of deaths.

Employment and Support Allowance and Job Seekers Allowance claimants may be denied the privileges that should be afforded to them by virtue of having paid enough National Insurance contributions; your record will not count if you claim these benefits. The plan here is to cut benefits for more than 300,000 families – by around £80 per week. Those on ESA may have carers who will also lose their benefit, therefore we can conclude that this is another planned area of chequebook euthanasia.

Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance (for over 65s who have personal care needs) would be taxed in order to cut payments by around £1.5 billion a year (based on IFS Green Budget calculation ). Many of those claiming these benefits will also be claiming ESA and will have carers as well, so chequebook euthanasia – again – applies. Who knows how many will live to see the 2020 general election if the Tories gain another term in May?

Council Tax Support may be incorporated into Universal Credit. This blog is prepared to be corrected on this, but wouldn’t that mean the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament (and the Northern Irish Assembly if it runs a relief scheme) would be unable to pay the council tax demanded under the Pickles Poll Tax that came in after Council Tax Benefit was scrapped? This would cut funds to claimants of ESA, JSA, DLA, PIP, AA, carers, and those claiming Housing Benefit and therefore – again – the government is opening itself to accusations of chequebook euthanasia.

Child Benefit may be limited to the first two children in any family. How nice that the Tories may be planning to spring this on families without enough prior warning. This writer would suggest that 18 years’ warning is necessary, to clear the books of people who could reasonably have expected child benefit to be paid as it always has. What about those having triplets? Apparently little would be trimmed from the benefit budget at first, but up to £1 billion might be kept, every year, in the long term.

Regional Benefit Caps – instead of £26,000, the Tories are planning to cut its already-too-low Benefit Cap to £23,000 – and then vary it still further in different parts of the UK. Londoners would receive the top amount due to the higher cost of living; people in rural areas could be forced out of their homes by this.

The leaked documents were prepared by civil servants and commissioned by Conservative Party officials.A spokeswoman for Iain Duncan Smith, the architect of previous state-sponsored pogroms against the poor, sick and disabled, told the BBC: “This is ill informed and inaccurate speculation… Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians… It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any of this is part of our plan.”

In other words, this will definitely happen if the Conservatives are elected in May.

This blog has made much of Labour’s own failure to plan the scrapping of the homicidal Work Capability Assessment if that party is elected into office in May (the other parties’ plans aren’t as important; they won’t be running a government for the next five years). Labour is still wrong to inflict it on people who have illnesses and disabilities through no fault of their own.

However, faced with a choice between the Tories’ certain death and Labour’s possible death, the decision should be obvious.

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Cameron has reneged on his promise to Scotland – why is Miliband getting the blame?

Effing who? It seems that, when Cameron talked about "giving the effing Tories a kicking", he was in fact hoping to kick Labour instead - and he has found plenty of FOOLs (see the article) to help him.

Effing who? It seems that, when Cameron talked about “giving the effing Tories a kicking”, he was in fact hoping to kick Labour instead – and he has found plenty of FOOLs (see the article) to help him.

It seems a lot of people have become terribly confused and are making a lot of rash assumptions.

The first is that promises by the political leaders in Westminster – to hand Scotland new powers over tax, spending and social security – persuaded voters in Scotland to reject the opportunity to split away from the United Kingdom and form their own country. We don’t know that this is the case. In the run-up to the vote, the result was too close to judge, depending on perhaps six or seven per cent of the total number of voters. If they were persuaded by the offer, does that invalidate the belief held by the other 48 per cent, who always thought Scotland was better off with the rest of us?

The second is that Labour has reneged on the promise to give more powers to Scotland. This claim is utterly inexplicable as Labour has not done any such thing. Only this morning (Sunday), on Andrew Marr’s TV show, Ed Miliband said: “Yes. Yes. Yes. We’re going to deliver. No ifs, no buts. We’re going to deliver on that promise.” That’s about as straightforward as it can get. Labour will keep its word.

Finally, that English devolution is tied up with the promise of more powers for Scotland. It isn’t. David Cameron never mentioned more powers for England until the morning of the referendum result and it was not part of the offer he made alongside Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in the run-up to the vote.

It seems that the problems have arisen from the last point. Cameron – ever the opportunist – saw a chance to gain something from the unexpected victory, and cobbled up a plan to resurrect the long-dead West Lothian question.

This asks why Scottish MPs can vote on English matters in Westminster, when English MPs cannot vote on matters that have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. Cameron wants to introduce a law to ban Scottish MPs from voting on England-only matters in Westminster, tied in with the new powers for Scotland.

It is, as with most Cameron Government ideas, monumentally stupid. The way to ensure Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish MPs don’t vote on England-only matters is to devolve powers to deal with such matters to an English Assembly – or several regional assemblies. In fact, such bodies used to exist; what happened to them? With those powers safely devolved, Westminster could continue dealing with matters that concern the whole of the UK.

There’s only one problem with that: It runs entirely counter to the whole of Conservative policy during the last four-plus years.

The Tories have worked very hard on concentrating power centrally in Westminster, by constricting the flow of money to all other UK authorities and telling them what to do with what they’ve been given. Devolving power to regional English assemblies means a loss of influence that the toffs who pull Cameron’s strings simply won’t countenance. The BBC’s Mark D’Arcy put it very well: “Devolution to regions or city-regions would mean more Labour enclaves.”

Labour clearly wants English devolution to be handled separately from the referendum promises, and this is entirely reasonable; tying them together is something Cameron is trying to do unilaterally – it was never agreed by the unionist parties when they were putting together their offer to Scotland.

The Tories and their followers are trying to spin this, to make it seem that Labour is the renegade party – with some success among the weak-minded, it seems.

Most of all, though – certainly on the Vox Political Facebook page – we’re seeing wave after wave of claims that Labour and the Conservatives are the same because they campaigned side-by-side as unionists, even though this makes absolutely no sense at all in the context of either Scottish devolution or the West Lothian question.

It seems that the many Tory minions who see this muddling of the facts as the only way to win the next election have been released into the community again to do their worst. The mission is explained by Robert Livingstone on the ‘We hate Iain Duncan Smith – The Minister For Manslaughter FB page: “BBC Tory correspondent Nick Robinson has stated that David Cameron’s best chance of winning the next election is to convince the electorate that all parties are the same.”

So we see:

“Tory/Labour theres no real difference and anyone with any sense knows that.”

“Darling Milliband and Brown campaigning with the Tories was the final straw.”

“Labour and Tory are two sides of the same coin.” (This one was from a UKIP supporter, who then claimed “I might yet vote Green”. Whatever.)

“Labour has said its keeping most Tory policies.” (See this Vox Political article for the facts about that claim)

“In bed with the torys all the way.”

It occurs to Yr Obdt Srvt that, if Nick ‘Tory’ Robinson is right and Cameron’s best chance lies in convincing the electorate that all political parties are the same anyway and voting won’t make a difference, then he’ll have asked his campaign chief Lynton Crosby to make it happen.

Therefore it seems that we can safely consider anyone promoting such views to be allied to Mr Crosby – a Friend Of Ol’ Lynton (FOOL) if you like.

You can tell where this is going…

So the next time you hear anyone uttering such tosh, or read it in the social media comment columns, see if you can be the first to ask that person: “Are you a FOOL?”

fool

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DHP actual spend reveals it is time to radically rethink the impacts of welfare reforms

Joe Halewood on his SPeye Joe blog has come up with a well-informed (but extremely involved) article exposing how the government’s changes to social housing benefits will have markedly different impacts – not just in different regions but in different parts of those regions.

Any one of the (literally) scores of research reports which came out a few months back claiming to comment on how the bedroom tax impacted are flawed.  This is because the bedroom tax like the benefit cap and LHA reforms impact differently inter regionally and intra regionally and those impacts depend upon the markedly different housing conditions in each local authority area or council,” he writes.

“In simple terms to say the bedroom tax did ‘X’ to downsizing or did ‘Y’ to HB savings can only be a generalism that may hold in London but not in the North West or may hold in Oldham in the North West but not in neighbouring Rochdale.”

For all the information, visit SPeye Joe here.

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The benefit cap: Popular, but ill-judged and supported by lies

Mark Hoban has a history of lying to the people, as the above image shows. How can we believe what he's trying to tell us about the benefit cap?

Mark Hoban has a history of lying to the people, as the above image shows. How can we believe what he’s trying to tell us about the benefit cap?

What a shame that so many Vox Political articles this week are on the same subject: Your Government Is Lying To You.

Today, the lies are clustered around the benefit cap, which has been launched this week – in only four London boroughs, rather than nationally.

Perhaps the Tory-led Coalition government already has an inkling that it got its sums wrong?

Nevertheless, David Cameron’s Twitter feed announced to the world that yesterday (April 15) was “A big day for welfare reform as we pilot a cap on benefits equal to the average wage. Amazingly Labour oppose it.”

Two sentences, two untruths.

Firstly, let’s look at the average amounts that families bring into their homes. While it may be true that the average family wage is £26,000 per year – equal to the £500 per week at which benefits will be capped – it is not true that this is the total amount of income such a working family may receive. A couple with four children earning that much after tax, with rent and council tax liabilities of £400 a week would get around £15,000 a year in housing benefit and council tax support, £3,146 in child benefit and more than £4,000 in tax credits: £48,146.

That’s not an average; just an example. The average income of a working family is, we are told, £31,500, or £605 per week, with a little change left over. So there is a huge difference between what Mr Cameron says the average working family takes home, and what the average working family in fact takes home.

If benefits were capped at this figure, though, most unemployed families would already be receiving less, so there is no saving to be made – and the whole point of this, from the Coalition’s point of view, is to cut the benefit bill. It isn’t about fairness at all.

The second lie is that Labour opposes it. In fact, the Labour Party agrees that there should be a limit on the amount of benefit working-age people may receive – for exactly the same reason the Coalition keeps using: Limiting benefits is an incentive to seek work.

Obviously, employment should pay more. If people have a particular way of life and they want it to continue, then they should earn it. There is cross-party support for that principle and, by stating otherwise, Mr Cameron is feeding falsehoods to the public, trying to create a false impression.

Is he doing this because this is his most popular policy (wrongly so, for reasons we’ll address shortly) and he doesn’t want to admit that Labour would have carried it through as well?

Of course, there would have been one difference: The Labour version would have been fair.

Note that the government is also lying about the benefits affected by the cap. It says Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support, Child and Housing Benefit all count towards it, but not disability benefits.

What is Employment and Support Allowance if it isn’t a disability benefit, then? ESA is also counted when calculating whether a claimant’s or family’s benefits should be capped. It is only provided to people with a long-term sickness or disability.

So: Labour supports the benefit cap and would probably have brought it in. But Labour would have installed the cap on a regional basis, taking account of variations in the cost of living across the country. Labour said this would help ensure that the policy works in practice.

As long ago as January last year, Labour was saying that the version of the policy that has now come into effect would backfire.

When rolled out nationally, it is expected to save £110 million per year from the £201 billion benefits bill. For the drop-in-the-ocean effect it will have, we can see that it is already disproportionately popular. But consider the knock-on effects and it becomes clear that the benefit cap may cost the taxpayer much more than leaving matters as they were!

How much will local authorities have to pay on homelessness and housing families in temporary accommodation? Most out-of-work families with four children, and all those with five or more, will be pushed into poverty – Department for Work and Pensions figures show that the poverty threshold for a non-working family with four children (two of whom are over 14) is £26,566 – £566 more than the cap.

“Serves them right for having so many children while on benefits,” you might say. What if they weren’t on benefits when they had the children? The UK has been plunged into a recession after a period of full employment (more or less) as defined back in the 1940s, when the original Welfare State was created. The number of families forced into unemployment has grown massively as a result of the credit crunch and banking crisis, and they have been kept there by the policies of the Coalition government, which continue to depress the economy and prevent growth. Anybody can fall on hard times unexpectedly and it is one of the principle injustices of the current government that a person can be labelled a “striver” one day, lose their job the next and instantly become a “skiver” in the opinion of, among others, Daily Mail readers.

Of course the DWP has not released any estimates of the increase in poverty – especially child poverty – but a leaked government analysis suggests around 100,000 children would be impoverished once the cap is introduced nationally.

The first benefit to be trimmed, if families’ or individuals’ current benefit exceeds the limit and is deemed to need capping, is Housing Benefit (or, let’s be accurate here, Landlord Subsidy). It is expected that 40,000 families will be unable to pay their rent and will become homeless. That’s a lot of work for local authorities, who will have to try to find reasonable accommodation for them while paying the (higher) cost of putting them up in bed-and-breakfasts.

Many families may break up in response to the pressures. Parents who live separately and divide the residency of their children between them will be able to claim up to £1,000 a week in benefits, while a couple living together will only be able to claim £500. Of course, this would completely wipe out any saving the government would have made on that family and in fact would cost £13,000 more every year, per family.

Finally, Mark Hoban was on Radio 4’s Today programme, telling the nation that the best way to avoid the benefit cap is “to move into work” – completely ignoring the fact that there is hardly any work available. When thousands of people apply for a single job in a coffee house, as happened within the last few weeks, you know the employment situation is dire. Perhaps the government is playing fast and loose with its increased employment figures as well?

So which do you believe – the comfortable lie that the benefit cap ensures people in work earn more than those on benefits (there was never any danger of the situation being otherwise), or the unpalatable truth that the government’s imbecilic handling of the situation will cost us all many millions more in damage control when it all goes wrong?

The future’s terrifying – if the future’s Tory

camspeech5What does the future have in store for the UK, if the Conservatives win the 2015 election?

It seems sensible to conclude my loose series on the current changes to social security benefits – see here, here, here, here and here – by taking a look at what we know they have planned, and what we can reasonably expect from them. Some of this comes from the document ‘2020 Vision’, which has been produced by a group of Conservative Parliamentarians; some is just pushing current activity to a logical conclusion.

It’s all horrifying. Let’s have a look:

1. Conservative ministers to be above the law. That’s right; they want their future governments to be answerable only to Parliament, not to judges. Apparently they think the possibility of judicial review when they make illegal decisions means that the system is too slow. Of course, being answerable to Parliament means being answerable to nobody because a Conservative majority means Parliament will rubber-stampe anything they do, no matter how hare-brained, harmful or tyrannical.

2. NHS to be fully privatised. Of course this is already well on its way now, with the collusion of the right-wing press in keeping some of the major changes quiet. Just take a look at some of the measures being brought in by Jeremy Hunt, right now, if you don’t believe me.

3. Benefits system to be privatised. There has been some discussion of this on the blog already. The idea is simply to switch the system from being nationwide and run by the state to a patchwork of private insurance, run by private companies, for profit. From what’s being said, the biggest player in this would be Unum, the disgraced American company which is already doing considerable damage in the Netherlands, from what one reader has been telling us.

4. Police to be privatised. This is being piloted in certain parts of the UK already. Of course, with private companies running a police service for profit, only the rich will be able to afford their services. In other words, its a wheeze to ensure the poor lose what little luxuries they currently have and are unable to turn to our law guardians for justice.

5. Regional pay for all employees. This is in order to accelerate the race to the bottom of the pay scale for the people who do the actual work. If pay for the same job varies between UK regions, then employers can happily turn to their workforce at any time and say, “They’re doing it for less over the border, so you can take less as well.” The government tried it with public sector pay but was told to think again. We know some of them want to do it with benefits. It’s only a matter of time before it happens.

6. UK to exit Europe. Not because the EU is anti-democratic, forcing unreasonable demands on the UK, but because its human rights laws are damned inconvenient for a political party that wants to crush anyone who isn’t in the top 10 per cent of earners (I may be exaggerating this; it could be that they’re only interested in the top one per cent).

7. Free movement to be discouraged. They already have plans for a two-tier road tax system.

8. Education to be fragmented so you only get the best if you pay for it. Obviously we’ve always had private education but the starvation of the state system to fund ‘free schools’ is softening the system up for worse to come. Can anyone say they honestly understand Michael Gove’s divisive and wasteful policies?

9. Flat-rate taxes. This is a Conservative dream, because flat-rate taxation – one percentage for everybody – provides an unfair advantage to those who have more money to start with. They recognise that there are people in the UK who understand how unfair it is, so they launch periodical campaigns to point us in the other direction. Hence the current push to get us to believe a 20 per cent rise in JSA, from £59.15 to £71 (a rise of just £11.85), is totally unfair when compared to a 12 per cent rise in average wages, from £420 to £468 (a rise of £48 – more than four times as much). How can it be unfair to keep the level of the former the same, as a proportion of the latter – especially when one considers the rocketing prices of groceries and utilities? Those of use who can remember the Community Charge should also remember that this was also a flat-rate tax. People took to the streets to put an end to it but clearly the Conservatives have not learned the lesson. ‘2020 Vision’ suggests that Income Tax could come down to 20 per cent for everybody. This means someone earning £25,000 a year would have £20,000 left after Income Tax. Someone paying themselves £1 million a year would have £800,000 left afterwards. And we wouldn’t have anything like the public sector services that we have, even today after nearly three years of Coalition rule – that level of taxation cannot sustain that level of spending.

10. Continuation of the high-level national deficit and debt. This is to justify the shrinking of the state. The changes that have been made so far, including those that are to come in this year, are not intended to boost the economy – quite the opposite. If this government wanted to boost the economy it would close tax loopholes (including those that have been created by the current Chancellor) that allow the richest in the UK to avoid paying more than £100 billion every year and ensure that any of them who wish to leave this country as a result pay their fair share before they leave. It would also borrow – yes, borrow; don’t you know that interest rates are fantastically low just now? – in order to invest in British jobs and industry, the new technologies that will power the world in the future. They’re not doing that, for specious reasons, and they know that the poorest in the UK will suffer as a result.

That’s what the UK will look like under a government of Tory tyrants.

No wonder so many Scots want to leave.

Iain Duncan Smith’s shirkers and scroungers: Soldiers, teachers and nurses

 

David Cameron, pictured in the Telegraph article: "I want to go on," he says, neglecting to add, "harming the honest, the hard-working, the strivers and the tryers of the UK. I want to go on rewarding the tax-dodgers, the bankers, the exploiters and Parliamentary scroungers. I want to go on deceiving the easily-led into believing that my way is the only way, and duping my Coalition partners into supporting my extreme right-wing policies until I can sling them into the gutter in 2015". Does that seem about right to you?

David Cameron, pictured in the Telegraph article: “I want to go on,” he says, neglecting to add, “harming the honest, the hard-working, the strivers and the tryers of the UK. I want to go on rewarding the tax-dodgers, the bankers, the exploiters and Parliamentary scroungers. I want to go on deceiving the easily-led into believing that my way is the only way, and duping my Coalition partners into supporting my extreme right-wing policies until I can sling them into the gutter in 2015”. Does that seem about right to you?

Apparently ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ doesn’t extend to people in certain professions.

According to a new analysis by The Children’s Society published in The Observer, almost half a million soldiers, teachers and nurses will lose hundreds of pounds every year when the Coalition’s latest benefit cut comes into force.

The cap of one per cent on benefit and tax credits upratings over the next three years means up to 40,000 soldiers will be worse-off: A second lieutenant in the army with three children, earning £470 a week and whose wife does not work will lose £552 per year.

Around 150,000 primary and nursery school teachers will lose out: A couple with two children where the sole earner is a primary school teacher earning £600 per week will lose £424.

But the majority of losers in the professions will be nurses – 300,000 of them. A lone-parent nurse with two children, earning the profession’s average of £530 per week, will lose £424 per year.

For a government that likes to state “We love the NHS”, the Coalition seems to really enjoy attacking nurses and trying to cover it up. By December 13 last year, 7,134 nursing posts had been lost since the Coalition came into power, 943 in the previous month alone. But when the issue was raised in Parliamentary debate, Health Secretary and gynaecological slang-term Jeremy Hunt did his level best to avoid giving a straight response. “The nurse to bed ratio has gone up. The average bed is getting an extra two hours of nursing care, per week, than under Labour.” That didn’t tell us how many nurses had lost their jobs. So we got: “The number of clinical staff in the NHS has gone up and not down. I don’t want to micro-manage every hospital in the country and tell them how many doctors and how many nurses.”

Perhaps there’s some deep-seated childhood trauma affected all the members of the Coalition government, that makes them want to persecute nurses and then try to cover it up? Whatever the case, I’m sure the facts would form the skeleton of a terrific little crime thriller.

Don’t be fooled by the fact that the government will be debating an increase of one per cent in benefits this year. With inflation at 2.7 or 3.2 per cent, depending on which system you use, that’s a real-terms cut of two per cent every year for the next three years.

I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that these figures were compiled by The Children’s Society, meaning they relate only to working parents. The one per cent cap on benefit rises will hit single working people as well – we just don’t have the figures for them yet.

The figures make a nonsense of Iain Duncan Smith’s increasingly desperate claims that his policy of cuts and persecution to achieve lower take-up of welfare benefits is fair.

The Tories have now alienated working people and those on benefits. Who’s next, do you think? I reckon pensioners had better prepare for the worst!

Remember last week, when he trotted out a roll of fabricated figures to make it seem that the tax credit system had run out of control under Labour (tax credits are among the benefits to be capped at one per cent)? It turns out that all his figures were wrong, with his claims about fraud – which stands at less than one per cent of total claims – spectacularly inaccurate.

How about the very next day, when he was dribbling about the relative percentage rises in Jobseekers’ Allowance and private sector salaries, claiming that the unemployed were getting a far better deal than workers – only to be rebuffed when we all checked how much this was in real money, found out that workers were still making far more (although not enough – remember many employers pay so little that people working full-time still have to claim state benefits, so that’s a subsidy for private companies, being paid out of our taxes). The amount paid in benefits as a proportion of average wages has stayed the same, as it should. The Work and Pensions Secretary is hell-bent on breaking that link in order to inflict real harm on Britain’s poorest.

Does anybody remember the Tory slogan “Broken Britain”? What they didn’t tell us was that they were the ones who wanted to break us!

And now David Cameron has told the Telegraph he wants to be Prime Minister for another full term, from 2015 to 2020. If he manages that feat, he will no doubt face pressure from some of his own cabinet members to inflict further harm on those receiving benefits.

For example, a group of 70 Tory MPs including Michael Gove and David Willetts have published an agenda of policies that one minister has already – according to the Torygraph – described as a “blueprint” for the party’s next general election manifesto.

It includes plans to lengthen the school day “to help working parents” – how do you like that, all you teachers who are losing benefits this year? You can rest assured that your pay won’t increase to cover the extra hours!

And it calls for benefits to be cut for people who live in the North, and other parts of the country where the cost of living is lower. They love regional pay, don’t they? And they WILL drive it through, no matter how much of the population oppose it!

For a representative selection of citizens’ opinions about this, I suggest you visit the MSN news site’s version of this story where (when I looked last night) the Comment column was unanimously opposed to Cameron continuing. That’s something like 20-odd pages of people demanding that he be ousted at the first opportunity.

It did my heart good to see that.

The sad truth is that none of the above will change the result of the debate and vote on benefits uprating, due to take place in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

As long as the Tories have the support of Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, they have a majority and can vote through any ludicrous and harmful policies they please.

The only thing I can suggest is that you all email your MPs in advance of the debate and put pressure on them to do the right thing – or account for their decision if they vote with the government – especially if you live in the North, or in rural areas!

As ever, you can find your MP’s contact details here: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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