Tag Archives: shame

Guilt-shaming Gove should know: people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones

Michael Gove: that’s a Chelsea FC scarf he’s wearing. His love of that team led him to fly to Portugal where he had close contact with people who had Covid-19. He didn’t follow the rules that we must; he put himself on an elite ‘daily testing’ scheme instead, potentially endangering his work colleagues. And now he’s threatening to deny people who don’t have the vaccine access to events like the one he attended. What a barefaced hypocrite.

It’s a classic ‘nudge’ strategy: you want somebody to do something, you make them feel guilty about it.

So Michael Gove probably thought it was perfectly reasonable to say people who don’t want the Covid-19 vaccine are selfish; that they are endangering the rest of us.

Trouble is, he‘s the selfish Tory minister who refused to self-isolate after the Covid-19 app on his phone pinged him for close contact with infected people when he flew off to Portugal to watch the Champions League final. Instead, he availed himself of a ‘daily test’ regime available only to a select few.

So he added another stick to poke the non-vaxxers into the vaccination centres: anybody turning down the vaccine may be barred from events he described as requiring a certain level of safety.

Like football matches?

His argument doesn’t work. His own history makes this another “one rule for Tory ministers, a different rule for everybody else” situation.

And if the vaccine is so fantastically good, then the people refusing it will be the only ones likely to die if they catch Covid-19. Everybody else will be protected – right?

Right?

The alternative is that there really is a covert reason for making us all have these injections.

Are the conspiracy theorists right?

What are these Tories pumping into us?

So now Gove has gone from making us feel guilty if we haven’t had the jab to making us all worry that the injection is secretly an attack against us.

And what does it mean?

It means if I hadn’t already had my jabs, I’d be seriously considering turning them down. I don’t go out much anyway.

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Nadine ‘window lickers’ Dorries patient-shames women in car-crash interview

This woman is a health minister: Nadine Dorries once used a derogatory description of people with mental disabilities to describe her critics on Twitter. Now she has appeared on the radio, telling women that they can expect no help from her if they suffer sexism from doctors [Image: The Prole Star.]

Nadine Dorris is a perfect example of the Tory government having to promote people beyond their abilities.

The health minister who once used the description “window lickers” (an insult against people with mental disabilities)…

… appeared on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour where she tried to shame female NHS patients while denying responsibility for any of their problems.

You can hear the interview for yourself:

Those who have already heard the car-crash interview had nothing but derision for Dorries…

…and praise for her interviewer Emma Barnett:

The message is starkly clear: if you are a woman and you are being failed by the Tory-run health service, you will get no help from the Tories who are running it into the ground.

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Priti Patel has ashamed us all with her mistreatment of asylum-seekers

Remember this?

The Guardian has reported on what happened to these people – and it reflects very poorly on Priti Patel and her Home Office.

The 11 men were left destitute after being dumped in Madrid, Spain, by the Home Office chartered flight:

Barbara Pomfret, an adviser to corporate companies about social responsibility, who is based in Granada, said she wanted to offer support to the asylum seekers, especially when she learned they had been left in the street. The 40-year-old paid for food and a few days of accommodation for the group and set up a crowdfund page with her husband, Thomas Pomfret, to help support them.

“As a UK citizen I am ashamed that our government would leave asylum seekers on the streets with absolutely no support. As I see it the only difference between me and this group of people is luck. And if I was ever so unlucky as to find myself in a similar situation I hope that someone with more luck would be willing to help me.”

Several of the asylum seekers told The Guardian they had close family members in the UK. All had fled persecution and some had experienced torture.

All but one of them say they were removed from the UK without having their identity documents returned to them. Home Office sources said they were looking into this.

The Home Office has said it is under no obligation to monitor the treatment of asylum seekers it has returned to another country.

In other words, Patel and her cronies would have been happy if these people had starved, as long as it was on the streets of some other country.

I am reminded again of the words of Tony Benn: “The way a government treats refugees shows how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”

I am also reminded of the way the Tories have treated sick and disabled people they have unfairly cut off from receiving benefits; they never bothered to check up on the well-being of those people so we have no idea what happened to them.

So Ms Pomfret is right: we should all be ashamed of living in a country whose government turns its back on people who need help.

Source: Woman who helped deported Syrians ‘ashamed of UK government’ | UK news | The Guardian

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Daily Heil’s teacher-shaming propaganda campaign is potentially deadly – and racist, too

‘Let our teachers be heroes’: is that because DEAD heroes don’t cause trouble for Tories?

The Daily Mail has scored a spectacular own-goal by not only attacking teachers who are fighting to keep our children safe from the coronavirus, but by doing it in a racist way.

The right-wing rag is supporting Education Secretary Gavin Williamson in his claim that teachers should “do their duty” and get children back into school at the beginning of June – despite the fact that Williamson has offered no evidence to reassure either teachers, parents or pupils that measures will be imposed to make them all safe from infection with the coronavirus.

This Site published information earlier, in which the Department for Education’s own scientific advisor admitted that reopening schools could potentially create hundreds of potential “vectors” – per school – that could then transmit Covid-19 into society at large. He offered no proof that scientific evidence had played any part in the decision to demand that schools reopen. And he admitted that he had not assessed whether the government’s proposals for opening schools safely could be implemented in an effective way.

In short, the plan to reopen schools is a deathtrap. And the Daily Mail supports it.

Not only that, but the paper that supported Adolf Hitler in the run-up to World War Two (he was also a racist) has managed to demonstrate its own racism with the stock picture it used to illustrate its Tory government propaganda piece – by cutting out the children of minority ethnic parentage from the image:

Sickening.

Fortunately, right-thinking people across the UK have been standing up to humiliate the Mail. Here’s just a sample of their comments:

https://twitter.com/Tobysdad41/status/1261247011149529088

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Disabled man gets PIP back after newspaper story got DWP to change decision

Shaun Howard was lucky: he had family who managed to attract media attention after the Department for Work and Pensions stopped his Personal Independence Payments.

What about people who don’t have family members who can step in when the DWP picks on them?

Mr Howard, 29, has a condition called global development delay. He is unable to read or write, struggles to socialise and cope with everyday tasks, and lives in sheltered housing in Clacton.

His financial affairs are handled by an organisation called Essex Guardians, that helps people who do not have mental capacity to handle their own money.

He was called in by the DWP for a PIP reassessment last month, and a decision was made to stop his benefits.

Essex Guardians was told – but Mr Howard didn’t receive a letter and did not know his benefit had been cancelled until that organisation informed him.

The DWP didn’t even have the courtesy to let him know it had cut off his lifeline.

Fortunately for him, his parents spoke to a local newspaper and when the DWP realised its decision had attracted media interest, the decision was magically reversed.

A spokesperson said his case had been reviewed.

But would the DWP have reviewed his case and restored his payments without the attention?

Of course not.

This story has a happy ending.

But it also shows why we need to elect a Labour government, close down the DWP and built a better benefit system.

Source: DWP does U-turn after stopping Shaun’s benefits | Maldon and Burnham Standard

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WASPI women stage noisy walkout of Commons after minister denies them pensions help

WASPI protesters (these were in Norfolk) [Image: Eastern Daily Press.]

Proceedings in Parliament became a little noisier than usual yesterday – and for a good reason:

I’ll let Labour’s Laura Pidcock explain:

Mr Opperman had just refused to provide any transitional help for women who are facing an increase in the age at which they will be paid the state pension.

Changes to the state pension age for women were introduced in Acts of Parliament in 1995 and 2011 and mean that, by 2020, 2.6 million women will have to wait until they are 66 before receiving their pension.

Mr Opperman, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “People living and staying healthier for longer is to be welcomed, but the Government must not ignore the fact that it also brings enormous financial and demographic pressures. The key choice that a Government face when seeking to control state pension spend is to increase the state pension age or pay lower pensions, with an inevitable impact on pensioner poverty. The only alternative is to ask the working generation to pay an ever larger share of their income to support pensioners.

“In July 2017 the Government published their first review of the state pension age, which set out a coherent strategy targeted at strengthening and sustaining the UK state pension system for many decades to come. It accepts the key recommendation of John Cridland’s independent review which was to increase the state pension age from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039.

“The review is clear about increasing life expectancy and the challenges it poses. People are living longer. Almost 6,000 people in the UK turned 100 in 2016, compared with 3,000 in 2002. By 2035 there will be more than twice as many people over 100 as there are now.”

It was while he was saying these words that the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) representatives in the public gallery stood up and, at first, turned their backs on Mr Opperman, before shouting “Shame on you!” and staging a mass walkout.

This Writer can sympathise. Not only was Mr Opperman quoting inaccurate statistics about longevity – people have started living shorter lives since the Conservatives came to office – but he was also wrong about an increase in the amount working-age people would be asked to spend on pensions – the National Insurance fund for Great Britain was in surplus by nearly £21 billion in October last year, while the Northern Ireland fund was half a billion pounds in surplus, and there is no reason to believe that the transitional arrangements being requested would put that fund into deficit.

One particularly strong argument in favour of transitional arrangements is the fact that the women who are being affected were not given sufficient warning of the change and will suffer considerable financial difficulty as a result.

So the WASPI women were right; Mr Opperman should be ashamed.

The debate served a useful purpose – the Commons agreed to call on the Government to publish proposals to provide a non-means tested bridging solution for all women born on or after April 6, 1950, who are affected by changes to the State Pension age in the 1995 and 2011 Pension Acts.

No doubt the miserly Tories will refuse the request – they would rather provide useless tax breaks to bankers, after all – but their response will undoubtedly provide another nail in the coffin of the arrogant and incompetent minority Conservative government.


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Tory legal aid cuts have turned courts into a national shame

Mr Justice Bodey said he had sometimes had to cross-examine witnesses on litigants’ behalf [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA].

This Writer has published many times on the national scandal that is the Conservatives’ removal of support for legal advocacy in our courts.

It has turned legal debate at hearings from expert discussion into farce, and justice into a thing of the past.

Fair play to judges like Mr Justice Bodey, but it is not their job to act as advocates for either side, let alone both.

How is justice served by this scurrilous and grubby Tory money grab?

One of the most senior family court judges has warned about the impact of legal aid cuts and said it was “shaming” to preside over cases in which individuals are forced to represent themselves.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark his retirement, Mr Justice Bodey explained how he sometimes had to help litigants in person by cross-examining witnesses on their behalf.

His comments highlight dismay among the judiciary about the Ministry of Justice’s slow progress towards reviewing the effect of the 2012 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (Laspo) Act.

The legislation removed more than £350m from the legal aid budget and ended the right to legal representation in large areas of the law on divorce, child custody, clinical negligence, welfare, employment, immigration, housing, debt, benefit and education.

Last year, Amnesty International said the cuts were far worse than anticipated and had created a “two-tier” system that denied the poorest people access to justice.

The family courts have been the worst-affected part of the justice system. More than a third of family cases involve litigants who are unrepresented on both sides.

Source: Senior judge warns over ‘shaming’ impact of legal aid cuts | Law | The Guardian


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Does anyone really think the UN can shame the UK over human rights failings?

[Image from Twitter.]


So the UK has a worse record for supporting United Nations recommendations on human rights than Saudi Arabia. That’s shaming.

Among those who should be particularly ashamed is Home Secretary Amber Rudd. We are being criticised over the fact that we can hold people in detention centres for unlimited periods of time and she is a serious offender – ignoring even court orders telling her to release at least one detainee.

Ms Rudd is also notorious for deporting people – sending them back to their home country where they may face danger or even death.

But that isn’t all. The Department for Work and Pensions, its ministers, and the minority Tory government in general, along with those who were Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs during the time of the Coalition Government and the short-lived Tory government of 2015-17, are all guilty of failing to uphold the human rights of people with long-term illnesses and disabilities.

At the present time the Tories are busily denying having caused any harm to the sick and/or disabled, even though the statistics tell a different story.

It is hard to imagine the UK doing anything regarding recommendations on abortion either, with the minority Conservative government dependent on the anti-abortion DUP to win votes in the Commons.

And what will happen after this week’s showdown? I’ll tell you:

Absolutely nothing.

The UN has no power to force the UK into upholding the human rights of its citizens – and, it seems, is unable to impose sanctions on this country for failing to do so.

Therefore the Tories can continue to do exactly whatever they like to the vulnerable. And they will.

There isn’t even the possibility of the Tories feeling ashamed. They don’t get embarrassed about hurting anybody in a weaker position then themselves.

Just look at Amber Rudd.

Britain is heading for a confrontation this week at the UN human rights council over its failure to support more than 100 recommendations on subjects ranging from the rights of children to the international law on abortion.

David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), will attend the UN’s universal periodic review (UPR) of the UK’s human rights record in Geneva, a process which takes place for every country once every five years.

Among the recommendations that the government has declined to back, a number outline the need for the UK to limit how long someone can be held in an immigration detention centre. The UK is the only European country without such a time limit.

Britain has also declined to support recommendations on the detention of children in immigration centres. Of a total of 229 recommendations by UN members, the government will confirm that it is supporting just 96 – 42% of the total. The government has chosen simply to “note” the remainder.

Source: Britain faces rebuke over refusal to back more than 100 UN human rights targets | Law | The Guardian


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Coalition government condemned over sanctions regime that tortures children

A poster against benefits sanctions in Salford.

Around 100,000 children were affected by benefit sanctions between the beginning of April 2013 and the end of March 2014, according to a new report.

In the same period, nearly seven million weeks’ worth of sanctions were handed out to benefit claimants.

The data, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, will feature in this evening’s episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches, entitled Britain’s Benefits Crackdown.

The report – Time to Rethink Benefit Sanctions – is published today by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Church Action on Poverty, the Church in Wales, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. It contains new data on the severity and length of sanctions under ‘welfare reform’, and on how sanctions affect vulnerable groups such as children and those with mental health problems.

It features the stories of people like James [not his real name] who have had their benefits sanctioned: “During the first three weeks of my sanction I continued to look for work as I was required to.

“By the fourth week, however, I was exhausted, unwell and no longer had it in me. I was not eating as I had no food and was losing a lot of weight. I told the Jobcentre I was unwell through not eating, but was sanctioned for another three months for not looking for work properly,” he added.

According to The Void, Job Centres are being awarded special 'sheriff stars' for meeting sanction targets (that's right - the sanction targets that the DWP keeps insisting don't exist, even after being presented with the proof). Link: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/sandra-gives-the-game-away-jobcentres-given-sheriffs-stars-for-hitting-benefit-sanction-targets/

According to The Void, Job Centres are being awarded special ‘sheriff stars’ for meeting sanction targets (that’s right – the sanction targets that the DWP keeps insisting don’t exist, even after being presented with the proof). Link: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/sandra-gives-the-game-away-jobcentres-given-sheriffs-stars-for-hitting-benefit-sanction-targets/

“Those who already have the most difficult lives are those most likely to be sanctioned,” said Paul Morrison, public issues policy adviser for the Methodist Church and one of the authors of the report. “Sanctions impact disproportionately on young people, care leavers, homeless people, single parents, the mentally ill and those with long term illness. This system causes problems for the very people that most need help.

“But sanctions don’t just have a financial impact. The people we’ve spoken to have told us of the shame, demoralisation and loss of self-worth caused by this system. As Christians we believe that everyone is loved, valued and made in the image of God, and we have a responsibility to challenge any structure or system that undermines that dignity.”

The Churches are calling for a full and independent review of the regime and for urgent reform of the hardship payments system to avoid the deliberate imposition of hunger.

This is worth highlighting – these churches consider the government to be deliberately forcing hunger on people. Doesn’t that run against Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as enshrined in the UK’s Human Rights Act? Human rights campaigning organisation Liberty says this is the case, with this web page quoting a case study that includes “food and drink deprivation”.

In the meantime, they are urging the Government to suspend all sanctions against families with children and those suffering from mental health problems. Most importantly, they say, there needs to be a change of culture, from one of enforcement and punishment to one of assistance and support.

“If you commit a crime, no criminal court in the UK is allowed to make you go hungry as a punishment,” added Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty. “But if you’re late for an appointment at the Jobcentre, they can remove all your income and leave you unable to feed yourself or your family for weeks at a time.

Most people in this country would be shocked if they knew that far from providing a safety net, the benefit sanctions policy is currently making thousands of people destitute. This policy must be reviewed urgently.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said: “The findings of this report are disturbing. It exposes a system that is harsh in the extreme, penalising the most vulnerable of claimants by the withdrawal of benefits for weeks at a time. Most worryingly, it appears from DWP guidance, quoted in the report, that deprivation and hunger are knowingly being used as a punishment for quite trivial breaches of benefit conditions. Employers would not be allowed to stop someone’s wages for a month the first time they were 10 minutes late for an appointment, but this is the kind of sanction that is being imposed on some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including those with mental and physical health problems.

Here is the DWP’s own guidance to Job Centre officials on the subject. Judge for yourself:

150121dmg-sanctions

The Archbishop continued: “We are concerned that the problem may be even worse in Wales, recognising the higher levels of poverty in this country. No Welsh data, however, is included in the report because despite submitting a Freedom of Information request to the DWP three months ago, we are still waiting for a reply. There is supposed to be a 20-day turnaround period for Freedom of Information requests. We are pursuing this.”

It is clear that the DWP is in breach of the Human Rights Act and is subjecting benefit claimants to torture as punishment for late attendance at appointments.

This report by the churches is to be welcomed. Now, what can they do to punish the government for torturing its own citizens?

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Minimum wage: 37 firms shamed for failing to pay

[Image: The Guardian.]

It is now easier to report employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. [Image: The Guardian.]

Retail giant H&M and service station operator Welcome Break have been named and shamed for failing to pay the minimum wage – along with 35 other employers.

The firms were exposed after investigation by HM Revenue and Customs. They will be fined a total of £51,000 and must also pay affected staff the £177,000 they were underpaid.

This is not an example of extraordinary work by the Coalition Government, though. It is an example of HMRC actually managing to do its job properly, despite huge cuts to its staff and harm to its working conditions.

HMRC staff are to be applauded for their sterling work; managers less so.

The 37 “named and shamed” employers are as follows:
•Kings Group LLP, Hertfordshire, neglected to pay £53,808.91 to 53 workers
•Kings Group Lettings LLP, Hertfordshire, neglected to pay £26,893.43 to 49 workers
•Chi Yip Group Ltd, Middleton, neglected to pay £15,566.78 to 13 workers
•Kingsclere Nurseries Ltd trading as Abacus Day Nursery, Newbury, neglected to pay £12,904.19 to 8 workers.
•Ms Thap Thi Ly trading as Sweet N Sour, Fleetwood, neglected to pay £11,039.14 to 2 workers
•Michael Kearney trading as Electrical Estimates, Ceredigion, neglected to pay £5,557.91 to 4 workers
•ABC Early Learning and Childcare Centre UK Ltd, Wolverhampton, neglected to pay £5,329.25 to 68 workers
•C J Hartley Ltd trading as Headwork, Sheffield, neglected to pay £4,762.64 to 4 workers
•Mrs Kelly Jayne Lockley trading as Diva Hair Design, Walsall, neglected to pay £4,103.65 to a worker
•Browncow Tanning Ltd trading as Fake Bake Hair & Beauty Boutique, Glasgow, neglected to pay £3,406.66 to 2 workers
•J Wood Joiners & Builders Ltd, Edinburgh, neglected to pay £3,373.19 to 4 workers
•Louise Ross Trading as Luxe Salon, Leeds, neglected to pay £3,368.13 to a worker
•H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd, London, neglected to pay £2,604.87 to 540 workers
•Building Projects Ltd, Dundee, neglected to pay £2,345.85 to 3 workers
•David A Farrer Ltd, Morecambe, neglected to pay £2,261.00 to a worker
•Julian’s Hair Salon Ltd, Newbury, neglected to pay £2,131.35 to a worker
•Motorists Discount Store Ltd trading as TMS Autoparts, Manchester, neglected to pay £2,025.19 to a worker
•Ms Dawn Platts trading as Level 2 Hair Studio, Barnsley, neglected to pay £1,186.89 to a worker
•Myers and Family Ltd, Wakefield, neglected to pay £1.598.82 to a worker
•Welcome Break Holdings Ltd, Newport Pagnell, neglected to pay £1,318.70 to 19 workers
•Callum Austin Ltd trading as Jason Austin Hairdressers, Kettering, neglected to pay £1,899.66 to 2 workers
•Mrs Karen Riley Trading as Crave, Preston, neglected to pay £1,179.09 to 7 workers
•RPM Performance Rally World Ltd, Maldon, neglected to pay £998.71 to a worker
•Ego Hair & Beauty (Anglia) Ltd, Colchester, neglected to pay £985.55 to a worker
•Mr Jinit Shah trading as Crystal Financial Solutions, Middlesex, neglected to pay £941.65 to a worker
•Counted4 Community Interest Company, Sunderland, neglected to pay £930.73 to a worker
•HAE Automotive Services Ltd, Harrogate (ceased trading), neglected to pay £798.16 to a worker
•Vision on Digital Ltd, Ossett, neglected to pay £683.86 to a worker
•Ultimate Care UK Ltd, Ipswich, neglected to pay £613.79 to 7 workers
•Century Motors (Sheffield) Ltd, Sheffield, neglected to pay £571.72 to a worker
•Mr D Eastwell & Mr G Brinkler trading as The Salon, Letchworth Garden City, neglected to pay £409.85 to a worker
•Rumble (Bedworth) Ltd, Nuneaton, neglected to pay £404.41 to a worker
•Shannons Ltd, Worthing neglected to pay £313.76 to a worker
•Holmes Cleaning Company, Worksop neglected to pay £240.48 to a worker
•Learnplay Foundation Ltd, West Bromwich, neglected to pay £224.73 to a worker
•Adrien Mackenzie trading as Maverick Models, Manchester, neglected to pay £205.52 to a worker
•QW Security Ltd, Hartlepool, neglected to pay £126.20 to a worker

Workers had made complaints to the free and confidential ‘Pay and Work Rights’ Helpline.

The scheme was revised in October 2013 to make it simpler to report employers who do not comply with minimum wage rules.

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