Tag Archives: shut down

These cabinet ministers said proroguing Parliament is wrong. Where are their resignations?

Of course it shouldn’t come as any surprise that people working for Boris Johnson are hypocrites.

Here’s Amber Rudd saying she has told Mr Johnson that “prorogation is the wrong step… the wrong move… and I will continue to say that”.

Is she still saying that, now BoJob has told the Queen to prorogue Parliament?

How can she bear to continue working for him, if she is so set against prorogation?

Yet I don’t see any resignation from our Work and Pensions Secretary. Perhaps she’s tired of handing in her notice to prime ministers.

How about Sajid Javid?

Is he still in his new job as Chancellor of the Exchequer? Will he be delivering the speech on the spending review next week?

I guess that principle didn’t last very long, then.

Okay, how about fellow former Tory leadership candidate Matt Hancock?

The letter says “attempting to prorogue Parliament to deliver a no deal Brexit is neither serious nor credible… One of the benefits of Brexit is to restore Parliamentary sovereignty to the UK [he was wrong about this; Parliamentary sovereignty has never been surrendered by the UK]… To suspend Parliament explicitly to pursue a course of action against its wishes is not a serious policy of a prime minister in the 21st century”.

That is, unless the prime minister is Boris Johnson, of course.

Is there any movement out of the Cabinet on Mr Hancock’s part?

Not yet, it seems.

No – in fact they all appear to be perfectly happy to support a course of action they previously said they could not possibly accept.

They’re all on Twitter, though – so why not get in touch and ask them when Dictator Johnson will receive their resignation letters?

Amber Rudd is @AmberRuddHR

Sajid Javid is @sajidjavid

And Matt Hancock is @MattHancock

Dave M has already made his feelings clear:

If you can send them something wittier than Dave, please feel free to send it here too.

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Thousands demonstrate across the UK to #StopTheCoup

It won’t make a blind bit of difference, of course.

Like the petitions that have popped up online demanding that the decision to prorogue Parliament be reversed, mass demonstrations by the people of the United Kingdom won’t affect Boris Johnson at all.

He doesn’t care what you want. He doesn’t do anything for you. He’s doing it all for himself.

He is, in a nutshell, a Conservative Party MP.

But it does stand as a historical record – that one of Boris Johnson’s first acts as prime minister was to reject democracy, and the people stood up against him in protest.

Here’s a selection of images of the demonstration(s), from Twitter:

There is hope, though – even if these demonstrations aren’t going to change Mr Johnson’s mind.

Parliament still has time to stop him, according to arch-Remainer Lord Adonis:

So take heart! And make sure your MP knows what they have to do.

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Dictator Johnson demands: ‘Shut down Parliament so I get my ‘no deal’ Brexit!’

Boris Johnson: He is acting like a dictator.

We expected this, didn’t we?

Boris Johnson has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament from September 10.

The only possible reason for this is to prevent MPs from stopping the imbecilic ‘no deal’ Brexit he seems determined to force on us all.

It is an insult to Parliamentary sovereignty – the very sovereignty that Brexit was intended to restore – and a step towards Mr Johnson becoming a dictator, rather than a democratic leader. Remember, only 0.14 per cent of the electorate made him prime minister.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the plan to suspend Parliament is “an outrage and a threat to our democracy”.

“I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no-deal Brexit. This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.

“If Johnson has confidence in his plans he should put them to the people in a general election or public vote.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow has called the demand a “constitutional outrage”.

He said: “However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of [suspending Parliament] now would be to stop [MPs] debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country.”

BoJob has responded by saying the claim is “completely untrue”. But it will have that effect, won’t it?

He came out with a load of blather that didn’t make sense – firstly that he did not want to wait until after Brexit “before getting on with our plans to take this country forward”. But with Parliament set to return only on October 14, it seems his own plan is to do exactly that.

The reason I suggest this is that BoJob also insisted there would still be “ample time” for MPs to debate the UK’s departure from the European Union before it was too late to do anything about it.

I make it 15 debating days at the most – but by October, it is most likely that time will have run out for anyone opposing Dictator Johnson’s reckless plan to do anything about it.

And the week Parliament returns from recess is likely to be occupied with a debate on the 12-month spending round to be announced by Chancellor Sajid Javid on September 4.

This is uncommonly early – certainly earlier than expected – and suggests that BoJob is trying to fill Parliamentary time in order to prevent discussion of Brexit.

BoJob said he wanted to bring forward his “very exciting agenda” – worrying words in themselves as they suggest that he wants to jolly us along with upbeat adjectives, while the meaning behind his words may be very different indeed.

And what of opposition parties’ intention to block ‘no deal’ Brexit with legislation?

That was the upshot of the so-called Church House Agreement (why do people have to come up with such pretentious names for these deals, especially at times when we don’t know if they’ll achieve anything?).

That choice seems to have been made after party leaders failed to agree on support for a vote of ‘no confidence’ in BoJob’s already-nightmarish government.

It is possible that he has announced his current plan in response to their deal, knowing that they won’t be able to stop him having his way.

So it seems, in the end, a vote of ‘no confidence’ may be the only way to stop him.

That would put the focus back on Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats, who have refused to support the possibility of Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister for even a limited period.

Is she so desperate to keep him out that she’ll betray everyone who voted ‘Liberal Democrat’ in the belief that they would stop Brexit?

Source: Government asks Queen to suspend Parliament – BBC News

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Fake ‘anti-Semitism’ witch-hunter apparently poses as Vox Political writer to shut down crowdfunding site

[Note, February 1, 2019: I have had to change the headline to reflect developments in this story as it has developed. Further information in a future article.]

It seems somebody has impersonated This Writer in order to shut down the JustGiving crowdfunding page to provide funds for court action against people libelling me as an anti-Semite.

I’ve got a pretty good idea who it was – they appeared on my Twitter feed claiming that JustGiving rules do not allow crowdfunding for legal fees, shortly after I published my article on Rachel Riley last weekend.

This was the first I had heard of any such rule. I had set up the crowdfunding campaign in good faith, shortly after being libelled in several national newspapers at the beginning of last year, and had seen nothing in JustGiving’s terms and conditions to suggest I could not do so – nor did any representative of that site contact me with such information (obviously, as the page would not have appeared). I wonder if this was a new rule that has appeared since then.

Still, rules are rules and if there was one, fair enough. It’s a shame this site had not told me about it.

I was surprised when JustGiving contacted me this morning with an email that began, “Thanks for getting in touch with JustGiving.”

What?

I had done nothing of the sort!

So it seems this person had impersonated me in order to get the site to shut down the fund.

Doubly despicable.

We have a situation in which a person who falsely accused me of anti-Semitism then posed as me to prevent me receiving funds to challenge those false accusations.

Fortunately most of the money is safe I had already withdrawn it.

But some of you will have received refunds of donations that you made in good faith.

If you have had a refund and still want to support me – and let’s face it, there’s clearly a need to challenge these creeps – please use the “Donate” button below, and clearly state the purpose for which you want the money used.


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Food bank charity told to stop criticising benefit system or face shut-down – by the government

131219foodbanks

What would you do in that situation?

It seems that food bank charity The Trussell Trust has been making too many waves around the Conservative-led Coalition government’s policies regarding benefits, social security and welfare.

Readers may recall how the charity warned that Coalition policies had created a need for a huge expansion in the number of food banks across the UK. The Tories countered this by accusing the trust of “misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity-seeking”, and also of “aggressively marketing [its] services”.

After this failed to make a dent in public opinion, the Daily Mail tried to discredit the trust by claiming it was handing out food parcels without checking whether the people claiming them were bona fide.

But it turned out that the paper’s claim of “inadequate checks on who claims the vouchers, after a reporter obtained three days’ worth of food simply by telling staff at a Citizens Advice Bureau – without any proof – that he was unemployed” was not true. The reporter in fact committed fraud by telling a string of lies in order to falsely claim his food parcel in a flagrant abuse of the system.

The public response was immediate – donations to the Trussell Trust’s fundraising appeal shot through the roof.

Now the government has tried a different tack: blackmail. Instead of trying to justify the government’s position or undermine that taken by the trust in public, it has been revealed that, recently, “someone in power” told trust bosses that the government “might try to shut you down” if the trust continued to cause it embarrassment.

This detail was revealed while Trussell Trust chairman Chris Mould was giving evidence to the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector this week.

The Trussell Trust is in a fairly robust position with regard to government interference; a 2005 decision by the charity’s trustees to avoid seeking government funding means it is in a better position to resist pressure.

But the trust has to consider the worst-case scenario. If the government did manage to shut it down, hundreds of thousands of people would starve.

That is the real threat posed by the Conservative-led government. Shutting down the Trussell Trust won’t hurt anybody who runs the charity or volunteers for it.

But it could kill food bank users across the country.

It is exactly the kind of covert, backstabbing move we have come to expect from the likes of Iain Duncan Smith.

Oh, come on! You knew RTU (it means Returned To Unit and is our tribute to his Army career) would figure in this article somewhere.

According to Mr Mould, he received a phone call from “someone” in the office of the Secretary-in-a-State about Work and Pensions, back in 2011. He said it was “basically to tell me that the boss was very angry with us because we were publicising the concerns we have over the rising number of people who were struggling as a consequence of delays and inefficiences in the benefits system”.

Unfortunately – for sly abusers like Duncan Smith – the kind of threats recorded above are really only useful when they are kept secret. The idea is always to present the victim with a double-bind – in this case, not only would food bank users suffer, but the Trussell Trust would get the blame for having withdrawn the service (whether voluntarily or not).

Now that we all know the government itself is putting the screws on – and is doing so in retaliation against the Trussell Trust’s entirely legitimate attempts to raise awareness of government policies’ disastrous effects – it would be electoral suicide.

That being said, watch Iain Duncan Smith on Question Time today.

He’s probably stupid enough to go through with it anyway.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The DWP: Where incompetence is described as a ‘positive benefit outcome’

Good shot: Work and Pensions secretary Iain 'Returned to Unit' Smith takes delivery of the nation's verdict on his management of the benefits system. No wonder Britain is falling apart, if the entire Coalition government works on similar lines.

Good shot: Work and Pensions secretary Iain ‘Returned to Unit’ Smith takes delivery of the nation’s verdict on his management of the benefits system. No wonder Britain is falling apart, if the entire Coalition government works on similar lines.

The Department for Work and Pensions is now such a shambles it should be a national scandal.

Not only do its ministers try to deceive you about its purposes and successes (12,000 people did NOT sign off benefits because of the cap, for example, and they still won’t tell us how many people died in 2012 while going through the ESA assessment procedure), but ground-level workers are praised if inappropriate action on claims results in a sick or disabled person being refused benefit or their claim being shut down. This incompetence is described as a ‘positive benefit outcome’.

I write from experience – Mrs Mike appears to be one such ‘positive benefit outcome’, despite our best efforts to prevent this.

Let me tell you a tale. I shan’t go into all of Mrs M’s details as they’re not really necessary and some of them are disturbing; suffice it to say that she has multiple long-term conditions.

She was subjected to a Work Capability Assessment for ESA in July last year, and received notification dated July 17 that she had been put into the work-related activity group, commencing August 14. This meant she would have until August 13 this year to recover from conditions which have plagued her for more than a decade; a totally unrealistic target invented by people whose main aim is to sell bogus insurance policies (see previous articles on Unum).

Being in the WRAG means that you have to try to prepare for work, with guidance to help introduce you back into the job market. Mrs M waited very patiently to be contacted about this, and was eventually called in to the local Job Centre Plus in December last year – one-whole-third of the way through her claim period.

Arrangements were made for her to have a telephone interview with a representative from a company that provides help in getting people back to work, but there were more delays. When it finally happened, the lady on the line told me: “I’ve spoken to your partner and from what she tells me, we can’t do anything to help her. She’s not going to get better in the timeframe within which we work. I know people with fibromyalgia and that’s just not going to happen. I recommend that you appeal against the decision to put her in the work-related activity group… Ask for a review of the decision, with a view to going into the support group. Go back to her doctor and request reassessment.”

We sought advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau over the possibility of making an appeal, and it seemed that there were legitimate grounds for doing so – not just the word of the work programme provider (my understanding is that this is the occupation of the lady who phoned us) but also medical evidence that had come to light after the WCA. So, with CAB help, Mrs M put in her appeal in February. She has yet to receive a response from the Department for Work and Pensions.

In May, however, she did receive another claim form. I filled it out for her (writing for prolonged periods increases the pain) and we sent it off on May 17. There has been no acknowledgement of receipt and the DWP has never mentioned it since.

This is unsurprising as we have had no contact at all from the DWP, from the time we received that form until yesterday (August 19), when Mrs M telephoned the Job Centre to find out what’s going on. Inevitably, this led to the phone being handed to me. “Oh yes,” said the man on the end of the line. “This claim terminated on August 13.”

So it seems the DWP is now in the habit of closing claims without informing the claimants. (In fact this is the second time someone I know has experienced this impoliteness; it happened to someone else in March).

We are now unexpectedly having to deal with the loss from our household income of more than £110 per week – that’s nearly £6,000 per year. We had hoped to avoid the possibility of this happening by means of the appeal, but the gentleman at the Job Centre helped us out there as well: “Yes, an appeal has been logged.” I asked what we being done. “It doesn’t say.”

So nothing has been done, then.

This is a serious matter. Firstly, the decision after the WCA was incorrect – Mrs Mike should have been put in the support group but was put in the WRAG instead. This could be because assessors are on orders to put only around 12 or 13 per cent of claimants into the support group, whether their conditions demand it or not, on the orders of ministers at the DWP.

Then there’s the nonexistent handling of the appeal. The DWP seems to be pretending it hasn’t happened.

Then there’s the repeat ESA50 form in May. What happened to that?

And finally there’s the complete – and no doubt intentional – failure to notify Mrs M of the termination of her benefit, a termination that should not have taken place if the DWP had done its job properly.

Is this what happens when the government lays off more than 400,000 public sector workers – the system seizes up because nobody can do the job properly anymore?

Fortunately – and full credit to him for doing this – my Liberal Democrat MP tweeted me yesterday evening and offered to help, so I have provided him with the details and hopefully something will come from that. We have a little cash coming in and a few friends who can help, so we are not in dire financial straits yet.

What if we didn’t have these safety nets, though?

By now, all readers of this blog should be well aware of the widely-reported statistic claiming that, on average, 73 people die every week because of bad decisions by the DWP – they either become depressed and commit suicide or the strain of going through the process worsens their health problem, the problem the DWP considered too inconsequential to merit receipt of benefit, until it kills them.

That statistic comes from a DWP report released more than a year ago and is now out of date. I have been trying to secure the release of up-to-date numbers but ministers have done everything in their power to prevent this and the only reasonable conclusion is that the death toll is now far worse.

A Freedom of Information request earlier this year was refused on the grounds that it was ‘vexatious’ and a demand for an internal review has been met with stony silence for more than a month. Today I emailed ministers to ask when they were going to respond or if I should just proceed to the next stage, which is a complaint to the Information Commissioner.

So you see, the DWP is in a terrible, terrible mess of incompetence rewarded and extravagant claims that amount to poorly-executed attempts at distraction fraud.

What if this is a microcosm for the entire Coalition government? What will be the result?

A weakened Britain, that’s what.

This blog has said it before and will say it again: They would kill us and call it ‘help’.