Tag Archives: untruth

As police get access to #trackandtrace data, the public swaps stories about #ToryLiars

A load of bull: how many people believe the childish chatter the Tories give us every day in place of facts?

Public patience with the lies of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government is running out.

The latest revelation of their duplicity – that supposedly confidential information provided by people who use the Tories’ silly ‘contact tracing’ app is being passed to the police – has triggered a wave of social media posts under the hashtag #ToryLiars.

Here’s the story that triggered it:

It states that there is a legal requirement for contacts of people who’ve had a positive Covid-19 test to self-isolate for 14 days, but fewer than 11 per cent are actually doing so.

Police are being given their identity details in order to chase up enforcement.

Reasons given for breaking self-isolation include believing there was no point isolating from strangers if you cannot properly distance from those in your household; not developing symptoms; or visiting shops or a pharmacy.

Obviously the second excuse is made by idiots; we’ve already been told symptoms may develop over a period of up to 14 days, so failure to see them before the full period is over is no excuse for ending self-isolation.

But the point about not isolating from strangers if you can’t isolate from other members of your household who don’t have to self-isolate under Tory government rules is a good one. I have said before that, if symptoms develop, then the housemates may have spent many days merrily spreading the virus.

And my own knowledge of friends and family who were told to “shield” from the virus by isolating themselves while healthy is enough for me to understand why people have been forced to give up self-isolation to buy food and/or seek medication.

It isn’t a failure of intelligence because it was easy to see these problems coming and while I do believe our government ministers are stupid, I don’t believe they were not warned. I think they chose to ignore those warnings and left people to struggle – and spread the virus.

You see, a partial lockdown is as useless as no lockdown at all, when you’re trying to contain a disease.

So the Tories have created a situation where their own failure to create proper conditions for self-isolation has created a need for police enforcement that should not be there.

The public know this and resent it. Hence the charge that the Tories have lied about the app’s confidentiality.

I know some have pointed out that no information on the app itself is being shared – just registration details – but of course people hand those details over in order to use the app so it is a very flimsy excuse.

The claim that this is a lie has led to further comments on other recent Tory lies. And there have been a lot of them:

Undoubtedly the list is lengthening as I type this.

Look up the #ToryLiars hashtag on Twitter and learn something.

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.

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

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

Right?

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

That looks far more serious, doesn’t it?

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

Why else would they lie?

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

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

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

…and you know what Johnson did?

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

Very revealing, that.

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

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

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

Try this, from talk radio channel LBC:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerry-Anne is right. It is a massacre.

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

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

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


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Shame on Victoria Coren Mitchell for joining the anti-Corbyn, anti-Semitism witch-hunt

Lost respect: She might have been smiling but not only did Victoria Coren Mitchell lose the respect of knowledgeable TV viewers, her actions were deeply upsetting to those who had previously thought better of her.

This Writer’s television had a lucky escape last night. I was out watching a gig in Shrewsbury and did not see Victoria Coren Mitchell making a fool of herself – and no doubt many millions of viewers – on Have I Got News For You.

I understand from reports following the travesty that she made a comment to camera after a segment suggesting that the Labour Party had gone from being several million pounds in profit to hundreds of thousands in debt.

Apparently addressing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the gist of the joke – if you can call it that – was that if he wanted someone good with money, he should try the Jewish bankers he believes are conspiring against him.

Firstly: Jeremy Corbyn has never – ever – given voice to the anti-Semitic trope about a conspiracy of Jewish bankers.

So Ms Coren Mitchell was broadcasting a lie. Claiming it was a joke doesn’t make it acceptable. Nor does claiming it was part of a script; she knows about the anti-Corbyn smears and the witch-hunt in general and could have refused.

Secondly: As she was the one who invoked the ‘Jewish banking conspiracy’ trope, it is Ms Coren Mitchell who committed an act of anti-Semitism.

Worse still, she doubled down on the transgression when she was challenged about it on Twitter, although she got what she deserved in response.

If I had seen it – well, as I stated at the top, my TV set had a lucky escape.

In the name of balance, we should mention – as Beastrabban has – that Mr Corbyn is on the record as having criticised the BBC for failing to broadcast enough programmes catering for the Jewish community in the UK. That should be indicative of his attitude to Jewish people.

The BBC, of course, has ‘form’ when it comes to anti-Corbyn smears. One has only to consider the outrage caused by its grotesquely biased Panorama documentary Is Labour Antisemitic? that was broadcast in July.

But I must echo Beastrabban’s disappointment in Ms Coren Mitchell – and that of the many others who voiced similar feelings. We all thought she was better than that. How shaming for her that we were mistaken.

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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This is all the proof you need that the lying Tories have set targets for refusal of benefits

Audio anywhere: Benefit assessors can use their own laptop computers to create audio recordings of work capability assessments. They can then use onboard software to burn a CD of the interview and hand it to claimants on the spot. What’s the problem?

Watch (and more importantly, listen to) the following:

It is unreasonable that the Tories are still claiming benefit assessments may only be recorded in an extremely limited way after so many years.

Oh, you think this issue has only just arisen?

I was producing articles about it in 2013!

Does anybody remember Mark Hoban?

If not, it’s hardly surprising. He was a Tory MP between 2001-2015 and the Minister of State for Employment who had to answer questions from Labour’s Sheila Gilmore on the recording of Work Capability Assessments by Atos (as it was then known) for Employment and Support Allowance in June 2013. I know ESA is not the same as PIP but the assessment system might as well be – certainly when it comes to the issue of recording the assessments.

I reported on the situation prior to those questions being asked, in June 2013 – when even the hated Atos stated: “Our recommendation would be that recording should become routine as it is in a call centre or for example – NHS direct.”

I wrote: “Ms Gilmore goes on to attack the government’s claim that the number of claimants requesting a copy of their recording is just one per cent. This cannot be regarded as an accurate assessment of the number who would like a copy, for two reasons, she tells us.

“Firstly, the assessors used handheld devices to make their recordings, meaning they would have to be transferred to computer and burnt to CD afterwards, preventing claimants from taking recordings away with them on the day. Instead they had to make a further request – in writing. “Unsurprisingly this suppressed uptake,” Ms Gilmore’s speech states.

“Secondly, claimants were warned off applying for copies by assessors who told them recordings would only be useful to them if they appealed. The report that stated only one per cent of claimants persisted in their request was completed only days after the pilot study ended, meaning most of those involved had not received a decision on their claim and therefore did not know whether they needed to appeal. Demand may well have been higher, had the measurement been taken after a reasonable time.

“This is just one example of the DWP timing processes in order to get its way.

“[Ministers] also stated that the DWP would offer “everyone who wants it” the opportunity to have their assessment recorded. In practice, this seems an empty promise, as Atos had around 50 audio recording machines on May 22 [2013], but undertakes more than 11,000 assessments every week.”

Under questioning, Mr Hoban said, “I do not think that it was that difficult to get hold of [a recording of an assessment]. The recording might need to be held on a handheld device before it is transferred to a computer and a transcript is printed, but that does not stop people asking for a copy.”

I pointed out, in my article after the Parliamentary session: “This is inaccurate. For those who have never attended a work capability assessment, the Atos assessors complete them using laptop computers – because the assessment is a tick-box test that demands simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Laptops generally come with not only audio recording but also CD burning programs as part of the package, and even if they don’t, freeware recording software is widely available and CD-burning software is also available, if not for free, then for a reasonable price. If the onboard microphones aren’t adequate to the task, it is possible to buy them very cheaply – especially if buying in bulk.

In short, it should be entirely possible to record every single assessment at a reasonably high quality, burn it onto CD and hand it to claimants on the spot.

Now, four years later – to quote the desperate Theresa May: Nothing has changed.

If anything, the quality of recording software is much better.

So there can only be one reason the DWP is clinging to its demand for people to use “expensive specialist devices that claimants must provide themselves”?

That is: To put people off recording assessments so the DWP may lie about their findings and push people, who deserve the benefit, off it.

There can be no other reason.

A response to a Freedom of Information request (read the story here) shows that four out of five requests for mandatory reconsideration of benefit refusals – the first stage in the appeal process that the DWP deliberately lengthened in order to make appeals more difficult for cash-strapped claimants to endure – supports this assertion.

It is easier to refuse an appeal when there is no recording to show where assessors have lied.

So, despite having claimed they have no targets for benefit refusal since taking office in 2010, the Conservatives are proved to have been lying.

In summary:

There is no physical reason for claimants to be denied recordings of their benefit assessments.

The only reason the DWP can possibly have for doing so is to deny claimants a decent hearing at benefit appeals.

The only reason the DWP would want to do this is to hide the fact that the assessors hired from private firms to do this work are lying about the information they receive.

And the only reason they would lie is because they have been told to refuse benefits to a significant number of claimants – whether they deserve them or not – and this is the only way to meet their target.


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It’s time to debunk a few common myths about the Labour Party

myth-busted

The Vox Political Facebook page has become a lively place over the last couple of days – mainly because of the presence of misinformed people purveying hand-me-down myths about Labour Party policies, accompanied by the odd troll who wants to cause mischief by supporting those beliefs, even though they know them to be false.

This makes it a frustrating place for Yr Obdt Srvt, who has had to respond to every other comment with a rehash of explanations provided to other people on other comment threads. It’s like trying to have a conversation in which you have to repeat yourself after every couple of sentences because you’re talking to people who keep coming out with the same – disproved – claims.

Clearly it is time to provide these people with a common point of reference, to which they may refer – it won’t shut up the trolls but at least they’ll look stupid if they’ve been given an answer and still carry on.

So! Let’s have a look at some of these claims.

1. “Labour voted to support the Bedroom Tax and it is hypocritical of them to oppose it now.”

Labour never – categorically NEVER – voted for the Bedroom Tax.

The entire Parliamentary Labour Party (barring possibly any who were ill or had some other reasonable excuse not to be present) voted against the Welfare Reform Act (which contains Bedroom Tax legislation) when it was pushed through Parliament in February 2012. Look up Hansard debates, February 21, where MPs’ speeches, and the way they voted, are reported verbatim.

Since then, the party’s campaigning against the Bedroom Tax has been constant.

If you have been making this claim, you stand corrected.

Do not come to this blog or the Vox Political Facebook page repeating that claim again.

In addition, you should now take responsibility for preventing other people from spreading that falsehood. If you spot anyone doing so, you just make sure they know the facts – along with everyone they’ve been misinforming.

2. “Labour has committed itself to following Coalition spending plans and is therefore no different from the Conservatives.”

The Tory spending limits myth is another one that has to be challenged at every turn because a lot of people misunderstand it.

Firstly, just because Labour has committed itself to keeping the same limit on its spending as the Tories, for one year only, does not mean that Labour will spend the money in exactly the same way!

Too many people make this assumption when there is absolutely no basis for it in fact – including some newspapers, it is sad to report. They got it wrong.

Secondly, government spending for the first year is tied down, to a certain extent, by commitments made by the previous administration. Once those are out of the way, it leaves the board clear for the new government to be as bold as it wants.

And, as the New Statesman has pointed out: “It is worth noting that Labour’s room for manoeuvre is greater than it might appear.

“First, the party’s pledge to match the coalition’s spending totals in 2015/16 does not mean that it has to spend each budget in the same way. In education, for instance, it could devote less funding to free schools and more to schools in areas where demand is greatest.

“Second, the commitment to match planned government spending only applies to the first year of the next parliament: the party is free to outspend the coalition after that and to make greater use of tax rises to reduce borrowing.

“Third, while promising to eliminate the current account deficit, Labour (unlike the Tories) has not pledged to eradicate the total deficit, leaving room to borrow to fund capital projects such as housing and transport infrastructure (provided that the rate of spending growth is slower than the growth in GDP it will still be able to meet its promise to reduce the national debt).”

3. “Ed Miliband is a closet Tory because he has said he wants to govern like Margaret Thatcher.”

Some people seem determined to shoehorn this statement into a belief that Miliband was confessing that he is a Conservative.

He was talking about Margaret Thatcher’s style of leadership, not her political beliefs – Thatcher led from the front, telling her cabinet what she wanted done and expecting them to do it. In contrast, for example, Johon Major was a consensus leader who discussed big decisions with the other members of his cabinet in order to find out their opinions before making a decision.

Now, you might have an opinion on which of those styles is the best, but you won’t even be able to start forming a judgement if you’re unable to recognise what it really is!

4. “We cannot trust New Labour, the party of Tony Blair and his brand of neoliberalism.”

New Labour ended in 2010.

Go to a search engine and type in ‘Ed Miliband new labour dead’ or something similar. The relevant articles are dated around September 26. New Labour was a neoliberal mistake.

New Labour made too many errors – it was a silly experiment to take Labour down the same neoliberal cul-de-sac as Thatcherite Tories. This is why the current leadership has turned its back on the whole project.

Yr Obdt Srvt joined Labour to help turn the party back into what it should be. Yes, there are still New Labour hangers-on, but Vox Political does its bit to expose them for what they are on the blog (as you’ll know, if you’re a regular reader).

We’re not all Red Tory propagandists, you know!

5. “Labour has not opposed any of the Coalition cuts to services or social security. Labour has supported them.”

This misconception seems to have grown from the fact that the Coalition has been able to push through all of the changes it wanted, no matter how damaging – and arises from a misunderstanding of the way Parliament works.

While the Coalition has a majority, it doesn’t matter what Labour does in Parliament – the Coalition will always win the vote.

In fact, Labour has opposed every single cut inflicted on the UK by the Coalition, except in one case where the party abstained in order to win concessions.

Labour MPs and activists have campaigned ceaselessly against the cuts that have led to many thousands of deaths, speaking out in the Commons Chamber, in newspapers, at demonstrations, rallies and public events. They have made it perfectly clear that they intend to hold the Coalition to account.

Claims that Labour “sat idle” for the last four years are dangerous nonsense as some people may believe them without checking the facts for themselves.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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