Tag Archives: table

Why the fuss about Johnson putting his foot on a table? He’s been this rude for YEARS!

People seem to be making an awful lot of fuss about this photograph:

Apparently they think it’s awfully rude of Boris Johnson to put his feet up on a table – especially one that may have had some of Marie Antoinette’s cake on it (or whatever).

“He has no regard for history!” seems to be the cry.

Silly, silly people. You forgot to consider BoJob’s personal history.

Let me take you back to 2002 when, as part of the new intake of Conservative MPs after that year’s general election, BoJob was inducted to help Iain Duncan Smith battle the permanent frog he had in his throat during Prime Minister’s Questions, facing Tony Blair.

He was one of a group of four, the others being David Cameron, George Osborne and Paul Goodman (who?).

And, according to Peter Snowdon in his book Back From The Brink, they were as arrogant a gang of snot-nosed punks as you could imagine: “They were pros and better at it than Iain, but thought they knew it all, and would talk over him in the meetings or put their feet up on coffee tables.”

I know people have come up with stories that French President Emmanuel Macron had claimed the table would work equally well as a footstool and BoJob subsequently tried it, but let’s be honest.

He was just living down to his boorish, arrogant, and downright rude nature.

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/


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IDS and too many other ministers are having their way by playing ‘fast and loose’ with the facts

Hoban lies: And this is just a taste of the many ways the Conservative-led government has been trying to hoodwink you and me since 2010.

Hoban lies: And this is just a taste of the many ways the Conservative-led government has been trying to hoodwink you and me since 2010.

It seems the Conservative Party is doing exactly as many of us feared, and using the attack in Woolwich on Wednesday to revive its proposals for laws to snoop on the emails and social media communications of law-abiding citizens.

Make no mistake – these powers would not be used for the good of the country, but for repression. And bear in mind that, for a Tory, the law is something that they set, and the poor obey. They think it doesn’t apply to them.

Let’s all remember that these new calls have been prompted by the actions of two men who were already known to – and monitored by – the security services. Monitoring your internet communications would not have made any difference to what happened in such a situation.

You cannot trust the Tories with the facts – all we have to do to prove that is look at Iain Duncan Smith.

Here is a man who will say anything to get his own way – which is to impoverish people who are already poor, pushing them beyond breaking-point with ridiculous ‘directions’ and unreasonable decisions in the hope, one presumes, that they will sign off benefits. The reality is that many of them go on to die from aggravation of their illnesses (if they are sick or disabled) or commit suicide.

He will be dragged before the Work and Pensions Committee within the next few weeks to answer for some of these transgressions, including his claim that 8,000 people who would have been affected by the benefit cap had moved into jobs instead, which the UK Statistics Authority rubbished by pointing out that the report from which he drew the figures “explicitly states that the figures are ‘not intended to show the additional numbers entering work as a direct result of the contact'”.

Worse than that was the claim, taken up by fellow Tory truth-fiddler Grant Shapps (if that’s his name today), that 878,300 people people decided not to pursue their claims for Employment and Support Allowance because a change in the benefits system meant that they’d have to be assessed for their level of disability – and that this showed how necessary this government’s attack on disabled people is. In fact, the figures represented nothing more than ‘churn’ – a turnover of claims withdrawn because of perfectly normal things like people getting better, or finding a job they can do even if they’re ill. After the government intensified its scrutiny of disabled people, the number in receipt of the benefit increased.

Iain Duncan Smith isn’t the only one making mockery of the facts. Look at George Osborne, who made unsupportable claims about the value of another DWP effort – Workfare – a few weeks ago.

Osborne also talks tough on tax avoidance, but he himself is known to have taken part in a legal tax avoidance scheme; he advocated one to a caller on a TV politics show; he re-wrote the law to make it easier for firms in the UK to stash their cash in offshore subsidiaries, putting their profits into tax havens rather than the British tax system; and he allowed tax lawyers from the so-called ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms into his department, where they re-wrote tax laws to make it easier for their clients to dodge high tax bills.

David Cameron said the amount of money available to the NHS was rising, when in fact it had fallen.

Cameron also claimed – on a party political broadcast! – that the national debt was falling under his Conservative Party. In fact, it has risen massively during the course of this Parliament, due primarily to the poor decisions made by the comedy Prime Minister and his allies.

It seems Cameron is a serial exaggerator of the truth. On April 15 he tweeted that the benefit cap is equal to the average wage. His claim was, therefore, that this is £26,000. Average family income, when benefits are taken into account: £31,500.

The government also lied that disability benefits were not affected by the benefit cap. Employment and Support Allowance is a disability benefit and is counted when considering whether a claimant’s income is to be capped.

On March 19 this year, Tory employment minister Mark Hoban lied to Parliament that there were no league tables in place showing which Job Centres had applied the most sanctions on jobseekers. Just one week later, those league tables were leaked to the press. Like his boss, Iain Duncan Smith, Hoban should have been expelled from Parliament under Parliamentary convention. Both are still in office. Why?

Fellow DWP minister Esther McVey has also misled Parliament and the public, this time with regard to Disability Living Allowance.

And, if you want proof that Tories like to play ‘fast and loose’ with the law:

Smith’s department has been forcing people to take rubbish ‘psychometric’ tests that have been rigged to produce set results, as part of an illegal experiment by Downing Street’s so-called ‘nudge unit’ (such experiments require the willing consent of the participants and none has ever been given).

The test itself was stolen by the ‘nudge unit’ from an organisation in the USA, and the UK government has been facing legal action from those people as a result.

The DWP lost a judicial review earlier this week, when a tribunal found that the ‘work capability assessment’, a so-called medical test (in reality nothing of the sort) designed to make it easy to push people off of the sickness and disability benefit Employment and Support Allowance, discriminates against the mentally ill.

Worst of all was the moment in March this year when Iain Duncan Smith decided to actually change the law, because his policies had been found to be illegal. Think about that! If you or I did something illegal, we would pay a penalty ranging from a fine right up to imprisonment for an indefinite period of time; if Mr Smith does it, he changes the law so he can be whitewashed. Tories think the law doesn’t apply to them. His department had been found to have breached human rights laws with the regulations it had been using to sanction people who refused to take part in Mandatory Work Activity or Workfare schemes. Utterly despicable – and worsened by the fact that the Labour Party colluded with the Conservatives to change the law, with no meaningful concessions to show for it.

Come to think of it, if you can remember far enough into this Parliament’s useless history, you might recall that the Department of Health, under Andrew Lansley, started implementing changes to the structure of the National Health Service – illegally – before his Health and Social Care Act was passed by a misguided and misled government.

The Information Commissioner had repeatedly ordered Lansley to publish a risk assessment which had been compiled by civil servants, and which is believed to have explicitly warned that the financial viability of the Tory NHS Bill was seriously questionable, predicting “deteriorations in the financial positions of one or more NHS organisations”. Practices could go bust or require central intervention to prop up their financial position. The Risk Report also warned of economic ‘slippage’ and ‘cost pressures’ arising. The London NHS risk report – which was made public – categorically stated that commissioning groups run by GPs may “not be able to secure [services] […] within the running cost range”.

As Mark McGowan pointed out on his blog, the entire top-down reorganisation of the NHS was done “without a mandate, having concealed their health policy”.

All of the above examples either occurred, or were referenced, within the last two months alone.

With a record like that, how could we possibly believe the ‘snoopers’ charter’ will be a blow for freedom?

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Lies, damned lies and… ‘forward-looking’?

Don't drool, David! Mr Cameron takes questions after his speech on immigration, earlier this week. See those white flecks on his chin? He had been spitting down his face throughout the event. Perhaps he should not allow himself to get so excited?

Don’t drool, David! Mr Cameron takes questions after his speech on immigration, earlier this week. See those white flecks on his chin? He had been spitting down his face throughout the event. Perhaps he should not allow himself to get so excited?

This week we all learned a new euphemism. From now on, it seems, the less-offensive synonym for a governmental lie will be: “forward-looking”.

As in, for example: “Part of [David Cameron’s speech on reducing immigration] is on the importance of reducing pull factors from people who may be considering coming… There is a forward-looking angle to the speech.” (A Downing Street spokesdrone)

Okay, so when he said he was giving migrants from the European Economic Area – in other words, people who already live here – a “very clear message” that there will be no absolute right to unemployment benefit, those words were referring to the future?

That’s fine, but only 0.65 per cent of the two million net migrants to the UK from countries who joined the EU in 2004 – 13,000 people in total – have ever claimed Jobseekers’ Allowance, and that figure is unlikely to rise in the future.

So for Cameron to be claiming this is an important step forward would be a li- it would be a l- It’s forward-looking??

Downing Street’s claim that there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of social lettings to migrants between 2007-8 and 2011-12 cannot be taken as forward-looking. It’s a statistic – and a typically-distorted one.

The number has indeed risen by 40 per cent – from 6.5 per cent of the proportion of such lettings to nine per cent. All of those people qualify because they are either working, self-sufficient or have a permanent right of residence in the UK – in other words, they are not a burden on the benefits system.

Eligible foreign nationals have their housing needs considered on the same basis as other, UK-born, applicants in accordance with each local authority’s allocation system – in other words, they get no preferential treatment.

Mr Cameron also said Britain has a “free National Health Service, not a free International Health Service”. It seems likely this claim was based on concerns raised by the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who seems to think foreign nationals owe the health service £200 million a year, despite the fact that official Department of Health figures place the total for 2011-12 at £33 million – less than one-sixth of his claim (but still a substantial sum of money)

Mr Hunt has announced plans to limit free NHS care to permanent, not temporary, foreign nationals, on the basis of these fake- sorry, forward-looking, figures.

Mr Cameron has also announced plans regarding foreign migrants – he’ll limit their benefits. While this shows a certain consistency within the Coalition government – it is already limiting benefits for people who were born here – Cameron seems to be making no effort to tackle illegal immigration, or exploitation of foreign migrants.

But let us not criticise this new “forward-thinking” breeze that is blowing through the corridors of power without considering some of its other applications.

For example, employment minister Mark Hoban said last week, during the debate on the Jobseekers (back to the Workhouse) Bill that there were no national targets for applying sanctions against jobseekers, nor were there league tables of Job Centres, ranging from the best to the worst in imposing those sanctions.

How does he reconcile this with the leaked letter from an employee of Walthamstow Job Centre, which is 95th in the allegedly nonexistent league table – out of only 109.

The letter states: “I have until the 15th Feb… to show an improvement. Then it’s a PIP [Performance Improvement Plan – the first stage of disciplinary action for Job Centre Employees] for me… to improve my teams SBR [Stricter Benefit Regime – in other words, sanction] referral rate.” The letter went on to say the Job Centre’s manager was looking for 25 such referrals per week, from each section.

“Guys, we really need to up our game here,” the letter concludes. “The 5% target is one thing, the fact we are seeing over 300 people a week and only submitting 6 of them for possible doubts is simply not quite credible.”

Another thing that is now “not quite credible” is Mr Hoban’s claim that there are no targets and no league tables. Or was this another bit of “forward-looking” – to a time when there won’t be any need for them? Perhaps when everyone has been cleared off benefits altogether?

A leaked newsletter for Malvern Job Centre, quoted in The Guardian, also refers to the five per cent target.

Liam Byrne, the Labour work and pensions spokesman who traded away his Party’s opposition to the Jobseekers (back to the Workhouse) Bill for a nebulous promise of an independent review of back-to-work schemes, lasting 12 months and with no deadline set for the government to respond to its report, demanded that this review should be set up immediately, “so it can begin the job of putting the DWP’s house back in order” – even though it has nothing to do with the sanctions regime.

He clearly doesn’t want to rock the boat.

So we have government ministers – and a Prime Minister – determined to lie- sorry, look forward about as many policies as possible, while Her Majesty’s Opposition is determined to look the other way.

And, out in the real world… How are your finances looking for next month?