Tag Archives: whistleblower

Police inspectorate skewed report to support government clampdown on protests – claim

Whistleblower: this image is representative (the revelations in the article were made by a woman). Many whistleblowers suffer for their principles, in spite of assurances that this won’t happen. It will be interesting to see what happens to Alice O’Keeffe’s career from now on.

The timing is exquisite.

On the day This Site published an article about allegations that a report on institutional racism was scripted by the Tory government to support a lie that there isn’t any in the UK, a whistleblower attacked another report – on the policing of protests – saying it was scripted by the Tories too.

The claim is a huge blow to the credibility of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Another blow to its credibility is the fact that it will apparently examine whether there is any truth to it.

For clarity, whistleblower Alice O’Keeffe has said

The official policing inspectorate showed repeated bias in favour of the police and against peaceful protesters…

[The report] was skewed in favour of the government view, with conclusions reached before evidence was gathered and assessed.

The civil service code was breached.

HMICFRS told the home secretary in a private letter it backed the need to change protest laws five months before its report was published.

Some in the inquiry team… likened peaceful protesters to the IRA, which waged a terrorist campaign against the UK.

Ms O’Keeffe’s written complaint was made as HMICFRS worked on a separate report on the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard. She said the biases she had seen left her fearing a report into the policing of the vigil would be a whitewash.

And, as we have seen, it seems she was right.

That report totally exonerated the police and found fault with those of us who criticised police violence against and manhandling of women at the Clapham Common vigil.

HMICFRS has defended itself by claiming independence – based on nothing more than reputation. But reputations can be broken by facts.

And Ms O’Keeffe has spent five years working for the police inspectorate, so it is reasonable to believe she may know her subject.

Well, I hope she made copies of her evidence and put them in a safe place because if HMICFRS holds any information corroborating her claims then you can bet the hard drives have been wiped and the hard copies shredded already.

The upshot of all this is that in the short term we have another reason to distrust a police service that seems to be working for a totalitarian Tory government – and against us.

And in the long term?

We can expect another report that whitewashes the Tory-supporting inspectorate and gives us even more reason to live in fear of our government and the police force that smashes our heads in its name.

Source: Police watchdog accused of skewing report to back protests clampdown | Police | The Guardian

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Let’s ALL show our support for this whistleblower dismissed by DWP

Whistleblower: Enrico La Rocca deserved protection as a whistleblower but the DWP ignored that in order to sack him.

The PCS union has asked for members to send messages of support to a whistleblower after the Department for Work and Pensions broke rules by dismissing him.

Perhaps we should all do the same?

Would that send an appropriate message?

Here’s the story:

The DWP dismissed Enrico La Rocca, an employee for more than 27 years, then working in Preston Carers’ Allowance unit, in May.

Mr La Rocca had highlighted serious concerns about the department’s handling of CA overpayments over a number of years.

His concerns were taken up by the National Audit Office (NAO), whose investigation resulted in a report revealing that the DWP’s own 2019 internal audit had found two-thirds of earnings-related CA overpayments over £2,500 could have been stopped earlier, if DWP officers had looked at all the data-matching alerts produced by its systems.

A subsequent Work and Pensions Select Committee report into these concerns said the DWP was “culpable” for the Carers Allowance overpayments due to “administrative failure”

The committee’s chair referred to “shocking ineptitude” in the handling of the overpayments.

The committee recommended that the department should write off the overpayments, rather than continue to prosecute claimants.

The DWP took little action to address these concerns, so Mr La Rocca sought to have them taken up as a whistleblowing complaint by the Civil Service Commission.

This was refused, due to a lack of a proper internal investigation by the DWP; the commission refused to consider the whistleblowing complaint until the department responded to the concerns internally.

Meanwhile, concerned by media reports of claimants having cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) despite the DWP’s failures to address these serious issues, Mr La Rocca contacted the Crown Prosecution Service to ask for disclosure of the NAO report to the court – in order to ensure a just decision could be made.

It was this – the effort to contact the CPS and request that the NAO report, already in the public domain, was shared with the court – that was used by DWP as justification for his dismissal.

As far as the PCS union is concerned, Mr La Rocca’s decision to contact the CPS was part of ongoing whistleblowing, addressing a clear and legitimate concern.

Therefore he should have been provided with whistleblower protection and not dismissed, according to the union.

PCS is supporting Mr La Rocca in challenging his dismissal, taking legal advice on his behalf to seek his reinstatement via an Employment Tribunal.

In its story, PCS has requested that any branches wishing to pass on messages of support to Mr La Rocca and his branch in opposing what the union’s members believe is an unfair and unwarranted dismissal can email either [email protected] or [email protected]

As a former Carers’ Allowance recipient who has just been contacted – nine months after I closed my claim – by the DWP, seeking details of my earnings during the period of my claim, I’m quite keen to send my own support to this man – who was obviously doing valuable work.

How about you?

Source: Whistleblower dismissed by DWP | Public and Commercial Services Union

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LabourLeaks: will party leaders take disciplinary action while inquiry is ongoing?

The scope of an investigation into the leaked Labour report on a right-wing faction’s interference will not stop party members being suspended and investigated for improper behaviour, it seems.

So it is entirely possible for Keir Starmer and his team to suspend the memberships of all those who are named as responsible for misconduct in their roles as party officers, investigate what happened alongside the investigation into the report, and finally expel them if necessary.

The investigation’s full terms of reference have yet to be published but a LabourList report states that:

  • “The inquiry does not preclude disciplinary action by the party… the new leadership team was not trying to discourage such action from being taken by the party in line with normal processes, and in fact “they’re encouraged” to do so.”
  • The person who leaked the report will be protected as a whistleblower. A Momentum spokesperson said: “While the report should not have been leaked unredacted, Labour is Britain’s largest political party and the contents were clearly in the public interest. Labour’s half a million members deserved to know what was happening at the top of their party, and those involved in bringing these actions to light must not be penalised.”
  • Sources say the independent investigation will not focus on the leaking of the report in terms of identifying the leaker(s), though how and why the leak occurred will be considered.

Of course, both Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner have said they support introducing an independent complaints system.

For the benefit of Labour members: this means the party, as data controller, would pass your personal details to somebody completely unconnected with it, who you may not wish to have information about you, without consulting you about it and without asking your consent. This runs contrary to the Data Protection Act.

A majority vote in Conference will not be enough to give the party legal justification for such a move. It will have to gain the consent of every single party member – and if just one of you refuses to allow it, then the party will be acting illegally in doing it.

That’s the law.

This Site will continue to report on this matter as developments continue to take place.

Source: Labour’s ruling body agrees scope of investigation into leaked report – LabourList

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Whistleblower explains how DWP sets up ‘gullible’ claimants for sanctions and closed claims

NOTE: It has been brought to This Writer’s attention that the video on which this article is based is six years old. The person who posted it on the social media neglected to mention this fact. I’m keeping the article up as it is still relevant today – but it also stands as a warning to myself and others that we all need to check sources.

The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.

If anybody still believes the system of benefit sanctions is intended only to weed out the so-called “shirkers” and “scroungers”, watch this – it’s the latest evidence that the Department for Work and Pensions is actively targeting people who deserve state social security payments for sanction and the unfair closure of their claims:

We all know this is going on but the DWP continues to deny it, in the fact of the evidence.

When a Labour government is finally returned to Parliament, the DWP’s offices in Caxton House and elsewhere will need to be entered and files seized, before they can destroy the evidence and hide the names of those who are involved.


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It’s time to stand up for the whistleblowers

Hervé Falciani, the HSBC whistleblower - currently on the run from the Swiss authorities.

Hervé Falciani, the HSBC whistleblower – currently on the run from the Swiss authorities.

We owe a great debt to the whistleblowers – people who alert us to the misdeeds of the major corporations and public organisations whose decisions affect our everday lives.

Acting entirely altruistically – with no thought for personal gain – these people warn us about the cheats who squat at the top of the economic food chain, doing everything they can to screw the system.

The whistleblowers deserve congratulation and promotion, while the cheats should be removed from their positions, prosecuted, and ordered to pay substantial sums of money as penalty for their actions.

And what do we do? The exact opposite. We prosecute the whistleblowers and elevate the cheats.

Look at Hervé Falciani, the former HSBC systems engineer who revealed that the bank was helping clients avoid paying tax. According to Tax Research UK, he has been on the run from Swiss authorities because he broke Swiss bank secrecy laws to reveal the information, and is living under protection.

Antoine Deltour, who blew the whistle PricewaterhouseCoopers’ lucrative tax avoidance sideline, is now being prosecuted in Luxembourg at the behest of that firm.

Meanwhile, Stephen Green, who chaired HSBC at the time of its offences, was ennobled and made a Conservative minister, while PwC continues to advice the Tory government on its policies to tackle – yes – tax avoidance.

It’s a backwards culture that can only benefit the criminals, and it’s time for legislation to reverse the situation.

Is any political party brave enough to do the honourable thing?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Hidden plan for ministers to axe laws that protect you – with a penstroke

Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister's whim.

Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister’s whim.

I have spent much of today putting old paperwork through the shredder in advance of tomorrow’s debate on the Deregulation Bill.

Why? Hidden among the plans to revoke ancient laws regulating pigsties is a clause that revokes the freedom of the press – in particular, the freedom of journalists to protect their sources.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don’t want reporters to be able to protect political whistleblowers and the information they release from state harassment and confiscation.

Vox Political has long warned that the Coalition government was pushing us towards totalitarianism, and that is exactly what this apparently innocuous – but in fact deeply pernicious – piece of legislation proves.

We’ve had the gagging law, to silence organised dissent; we know that police chiefs want to use water cannons to stifle public protest; now we are faced with a cloak-and-dagger scheme to silence the press.

The removal of these privileges means the media will be unable to report anything that does not meet government approval – or face confiscation of equipment including computers, notebooks, recordings and correspondence that will lead to the identification of people who provide information that the government wants hushed up.

As a blogger who is also a qualified journalist, this directly affects me – and that is why I have been destroying paperwork. Tomorrow is only the Bill’s second reading – it must go through the committee stage, report stage and third reading before moving on to the House of Lords – but it is better to be well-prepared than to be caught napping.

Far more insidious than this, however, is the other part of this ‘red tape-cutting’ Bill that goes unmentioned. The really harmful part…

The part that says ministers should have the power to revoke any law they like, using statutory instruments (at the stroke of a pen) rather than taking the issue to a democratic vote in Parliament and, you know, actually telling anybody about it.

This means freedoms we have enjoyed for centuries-  or just a few years – could be removed with no prior notice, under the pretext of getting rid of ‘red tape’.

We would certainly be living in a police state if this were allowed to happen.

So here’s the big question: Do you think your MP even knows about this?

I only know because I read it on Another Angry Voice – from which site this article has swiped much of its information.

In his article, AAV creator Thomas G. Clark points out: “The Tories that devised this scheme… are clearly relying on the vast majority of Coalition MPs voting this through as the whips instruct them, without bothering to even read the documentation, understand the intricacies or even participate in the debate.

“If you chose to ignore the wealth of evidence and refuse to believe that David Cameron and the Tories would use these new powers to… stamp out dissent for their own sociopathic reasons, then at least consider the possibility that they are enabling the possibility of an unimaginably invasive totalitarian regime in the future. One where open justice is abolished, the population permanently monitored for signs of dissent, and dissenters are silenced in secretive Stalinist style legalistic proceedings.”

Obviously AAV and Vox Political will be right in the firing-line if this happens.

You need to contact your MP and ask what they’re going to do about this appalling assault on your freedom. Tell them about the clauses in the Deregulation Bill that have nothing to do with removing archaic regulations and everything to do with clamping down on your freedom and tell them in no uncertain terms that you won’t have it.

It’s a good bet that they won’t know what you’re talking about. Clause 47 relates to the press, as this Guardian report and this article from Inforrm’s blog make clear.

I believe Clause 51, and those following, relate to the repeal of laws by statutory instrument.

You can find contact details for your MP on TheyWorkForYou.com

If you get an email off to them quickly, there might even be a chance to nip this in the bud.

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Will you support the day of action against Atos?

disabilitysuicides

Ordinary people around the UK will gather outside centres where Atos administers its work capability assessments on benefit claimants next month – to demand an end to the system that is continuing to cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people across the country.

They will gather at 144 of the locations used by Atos to carry out the discredited assessments, under a contract written by the Department for Work and Pensions, on February 19.

It is known that 10,600 ESA/Incapacity Benefit claimants died within six weeks of their claim ending after Atos assessments between January and November 2011, although the DWP seems unwilling to divulge the percentage of those claims that ended because claimants were found fit for work by ATOS. Currently roughly one in four ‘fit for work’ decisions by ATOS is overturned at tribunal.

In July 2013, ATOS whistleblower Greg Wood lifted the lid on the toxic culture that existed within the organisation – carrying out assessments that were not fit for purpose, with huge pressure on assessors to fail ESA claimants. Dr Wood was shocked by the ineffectiveness of the assessment procedure.

A report from the Centre for Welfare Reform showed that informal targets were being set by ATOS which had assessors under pressure to fail around 65 per cent of claimants (Vox Political has estimated 70 per cent in the past).

A petition set up by campaign group WOW (The campaign against the ‘War on Welfare’), calling for an immediate halt to the Work Capability Assessment and an independent, committee-based inquiry into welfare reform – including the ATOS contract, excess claimant deaths and the disregarding of medical evidence in decision-making, gained more than 100,000 signatures. The WOW campaign is currently supported by 57 MPs and there is a commitment to debate the issue in the House of Commons.

Labour MP Hilary Benn said: “As the Labour opposition we have called ATOS a disgrace and said they should be sacked… The system needs to change.”

Labour Councillor Alison Lowe said simply, “I have no problem supporting this. The Government are evil and they don’t care about people who are poor.”

At the demonstrations on February 19, ordinary people will demand an apology from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith and Thierry Breton, chairman of Atos – not just the disabled, or opposition politicians, but anybody who believes that the Atos-run, DWP-devised assessment system is leading to the deaths of innocent people.

In particular, demonstrators will demand an apology to the families of benefit claimants who took their own lives following decisions made by ATOS, including: Iain Caress, Brian McArdle, David Coupe, Edward Jacques, Tim Salter, Nick Barker, Helen and Mark Mullins, and Paul Wilcoxson.

In Mid Wales, where Vox Political is based, the event will be at the Newtown Assessment Centre, St David’s Business Centre, St David’s House, New Road, Newtown, starting at 11am. Details are on Facebook here.

For readers elsewhere in the UK, details of events closer to you are on the UK Rebellion site and the Atos national demo Facebook page.

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‘Moaning’ Work and Pensions committee lets IDS ‘off the hook’

131210IDScommittee

It is said that you can get the measure of a man, not from his words, but from his actions. Iain Duncan Smith brought bodyguards to the Commons Work and Pensions Committee yesterday. (Monday)

Why did he need the muscle? Probably because he knew how his behaviour would be received. This is a man who is absolutely not going to accept criticism, in any form at all.

The man whose benefit reforms were mocked by Ed Balls last week as “In Deep Sh…ambles” batted away concerns about inaccurate statistics as somebody else’s fault and, when confronted with a whistleblower’s claim that jobseekers were being sanctioned indiscriminately, said he wanted to see the evidence.

That’s a bit much, coming from the man who is still withholding the mortality statistics of people going through the assessment regime for Employment and Support Allowance. Where is that evidence?

Our evidence that he had a bodyguard comes from Paula Peters on Facebook, who attended the meeting. She wrote: “The police, and they were armed, hustled him into the room. He had a bodyguard in the room with him! What the hell for? We are entitled to watch proceedings and follow due process.”

Dame Anne Begg, chairing the meeting, pointed out that the UK Statistics Authority has received more complaints about the Department of Work and Pensions’ use of statistics than any other government department.

His response: “Yes, but I’ve had two letters. One was about two years ago, concerning something about the use of them on immigration, but they let that one sit – and the last one was where we had a discussion on the use of where I referred to those going back to work on the back of the benefit cap. They said that … I should not make the link. I believed it to be the case – that those people were going back to work due to the fact of reducing the cap; that’s my belief. They said it should not remain as a flat statistic, which we’ve accepted.”

So in that one respect, he admitted that he was wrong.

But he also said: “We have published, over the period that I have been there, over 500 statistical releases. We’ve also started the innovation of ‘ad hoc’ releases – which, actually, we were congratulated for by UKSA… We try and publish as regularly as possible… We try to sell a positive message, and I know there have been issues around negativity with regard to disability benefits.”

Pressed on the fact that Grant Shapps had claimed nearly 900,000 people shuffled off ESA because they weren’t willing to take the work capability assessment, the Secretary of State denied responsibility: “We didn’t actually – and have never – given them that idea about those figures. It was something that they put together and released themselves. I wasn’t even aware that they were going out with that comment at the time… I have had conversations with him and others about being careful to check with the department.”

Committee member Debbie Abrahams wanted to know about the claim by a whistleblower in Job Centre Plus, that JSA claimants were deliberately being set up to fail, contrary to the Civil Service code, with ploys including making appointments without telling the claimant, in order to create an easy opportunity for a sanction and thereby distorting statistics – not after they had been collected but in the collection itself.

She said the whistleblower had tried to raise the issue with managers at all levels, but had been rebuffed each time.

“Well, I’m not aware of that,” drawled Mr Duncan Smith, “and I have to say that I would like to see his evidence for that. With respect, he is making an allegation about some of the incredibly hard work that job advisors do. There’s always one or two people who have a different view about operating in an organisation. I happen to believe that, unless it is proved to the contrary, people in Job Centres do a very good job, work very hard, and they apply sanctions within the rules.”

Challenged on this by Dame Anne, he started to claim that sanctions are always issued because of failure to comply with the strictures imposed on claimants, provoking an interruption from Debbie Abrahams that caused his mask to slip momentarily. “I have listened a lot to what has been said – and moaning about this… You’ve had a fair crack at this.”

So there you have it. Statistical errors are nothing to do with Iain Duncan Smith. Sanctions are always applied fairly and never to distort the statistics.

And anyone who thinks otherwise is “moaning”.

Paula Peters, in her Facebook post, said that disability minister Mike Penning met people from organisations representing the disabled. She reported his words as follows:

“Our disabilities are our fault.

“Diabetes is a lifestyle choice.

“Everyone who claims benefits is frauding the system.

“Everyone who uses the access to work programme is frauding it.”

The public verdict on the meeting has been universally negative. Nicola Clubb (again on Facebook) summed it up well: “I have just watched an hour’s worth of IDS and the DWP evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee and they let him and his three cronies off the hook.

“They did not push him him to explain his use of dodgy stats, they just asked him about a couple of pieces of data released by people.”

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Gauke’s attack should be a rallying cry for Labour

Another fool who doesn't think before speaking: David Gauke, pictured here with jaws clamped shut in a desperate attempt to prevent his foot from leaping into his mouth. It would serve him right if his ill-judged attack on a Labour MP brings the entire party and all its supporters together for a concerted attack on the Conservative-led coalition's silly and baseless policies.

Another fool who doesn’t think before speaking: David Gauke, pictured here with jaws clamped shut in a desperate attempt to prevent his foot from leaping into his mouth. It would serve him right if his ill-judged attack on a Labour MP brings the entire party and all its supporters together for a concerted attack on the Conservative-led coalition’s silly and baseless policies.

Tory Treasury tax-avoidance fan and whistleblower-basher David Gauke’s attack on the Labour Party is yet another shot in the foot for the Government That Can Do Nothing Right.

His ill-judged, ill-timed remark that Labour MPs were “turning on each other” is more likely to galvanise Her Majesty’s Opposition into more co-ordinated and powerful attacks on Coalition ideology and incompetence – especially after we learned the Tory claim that they inherited an economic mess from the last Labour government was nothing more than a blatant lie.

“They don’t really have anything to say and they’re now turning on each other and I think their own backbenchers are beginning to realise that the Labour leadership haven’t really got a voice,” Gauke told the BBC in response to a piece by Labour’s Swansea West MP, Geraint Davies, in The Independent.

In doing so, it seems Gauke was trying to distract attention from what Mr Davies was actually saying – which is worth repeating here, because it is likely he speaks for a huge majority of Labour members who are becoming increasingly frustrated by the contradictory and self-defeating behaviour of their leaders.

So what does Mr Davies say?

First: “The electorate doesn’t yet see a clear choice between the parties on cuts vs growth.” This is because Labour has promised not to reverse Conservative-led ideological cuts and to keep spending at Tory-set levels for 2015-16, if returned to office at the general election – even though the Conservatives have decisively lost the argument on austerity. It simply isn’t necessary.

Second: “The Tories have been relentless in asserting that Labour messed up the economy. Not rebutting this charge makes us look like a shamefaced schoolboy admitting responsibility by omission.” Mr Davies makes a second good point here – more so because, as William Keegan reported in Sunday’s Observer, the spring issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy exonerates the last Labour government of any economic wrong-doing. Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling did the right thing – and it is worth reminding everybody that the Conservatives, at the time, supported their actions. That was when the Tories were led by – who’d have thought it? – David Cameron and George Osborne, just as they are now!

The Observer article went on to note that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has also endorsed the Labour government’s actions in his recognition that demand in our economies must be stimulated. Conservative-led Coalition policy has drained demand away. This is why the smart commentators are pointing out that the unforeseen upturn in the UK economy in recent months has nothing to do with government policy; it’s just that things had to get better, sooner or later.

Third: He puts up his opinion – that a Labour government should boost the UK’s productive capacity “by linking industry, universities and councils. We need a sharper focus on the growing export opportunities to China, India, Brazil and Russia. We must invest in homes and transport, use public procurement as an engine to grow small and medium-sized firms…. We need to continue a journey towards jobs and growth, not to be diverted into a cul-de-sac of more cuts.”

The last comment dovetails perfectly with the attack launched by Labour this week on the Coalition’s record – which claims the average worker will have lost £6,600 in real terms between the 2010 election and that due to take place in 2015.

Paraphrasing former Tory PM Harold Macmillan, Labour said many workers had “never had it so bad”, pointing out that David Cameron has presided over a more sustained period of falling real wages since 2010 than any other prime minister in the past 50 years.

The Tories’ only response has been to repeat the lie that the Coalition was clearing up a “mess” that we all now know for certain Labour neither created nor left.

Conservative business minister Matthew Hancock was the one voicing it this time, so voters in his West Suffolk constituency please note: This man is a liar. You must not trust him.

And of course David Gauke weighed in as well. He’s the minister in charge of tax – who was revealed to have worked for a firm specialising in tax avoidance. Do you trust him? He’s also the minister who reportedly green-lit a plan to discredit Osita Mba, a solicitor with HM Revenue and Customs, after he blew the whistle on the notorious Goldman Sachs “sweetheart” deal that wrote off millions of pounds in interest charges on tax owed to the UK Treasury by the multinational corporation. A trustworthy man?

David Gauke is the MP for South West Hertfordshire. Voters there may wish to reconsider their opinion of him.

What these chuckleheads are missing is the fact that Mr Davies is not a lone voice in the wilderness; his article expressed the opinions of a wide majority of Labour members and voters.

And it cannot be coincidence that only a day after his Observer article appeared, veteran Labour MP Michael Meacher weighed in on his blog with a few opinions of his own about what Labour’s leaders should be saying.

“Will the Labour party declare it is opposed to zero hours contracts and will end them?” he wrote (perhaps after reading the Vox Political article on that subject).

“Will it show it is opposed to blacklisting by making it an imprisonable offence, prosecuting the 44 companies who indulged in it if convicted, and making it sure that all the 3,213 building workers secretly subject to blacklisting are informed of the cause of their up to 20 years’ joblessness and fully compensated? Will it say loud and clear that a decade of pay cuts for those on the lowest incomes is flagrantly unjust when the 0.01 per cent richest have not only not paid any price, but have seen their wealth continue to grow untouched?”

This is the sort of fire Labour members and voters want to see from the leaders. There is nothing to fear from tissue paper-thin Tory arguments and outright lies. It is time to stand up for Labour principles, damn the Tories for their evil, damn the Liberal Democrats as fools and dupes, and set out a plan to get the ship of state off the rocks and into calmer waters.

If Ed Miliband, Ed Balls, and the rest of the Labour front bench have any sense, they’ll realise that continuing with the course they have set will put them in a tiny minority that cannot possibly hope to win the next election. Alignment with Geraint Davies, Michael Meacher and the millions like them should ensure an overwhelming victory.

It isn’t even a choice, is it?

The government’s plan to smash workers’ rights

You may not be aware of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

It is the Coalition’s latest legislation against ordinary working people, currently moving through the Parliamentary process. Today (October 17) was the second day of the debate on its second reading.

The Bill contains some horrendous proposals that could seriously damage workers’ rights. Here’s the letter I wrote to my MP, pointing them out:

Dear Roger Williams,

I am writing with regard to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which, as I understand it, is likely to cause serious harm to the relationship between workers and (certain) employers if it ever becomes law.

Please do not support this Bill. I know this request puts you in a difficult position as a member of the Coalition, but if you cannot bring yourself to vote against it, at least don’t vote in favour of it.

If the Bill becomes law, it will diminish the rights of all employees in this country. The proposals it contains would reduce the amount of compensation payable to unfairly dismissed workers – and this comes after the time an employee is required to be employed before they are able to claim for unfair dismissal was raised from one year to two.

I understand the Bill also proposes to reduce protections for whistleblowers at work. This is completely wrong-headed as it protects abuses and attacks those who seek justice.

If the Bill is passed, it will allow employers to make minimal offers to workers to leave, then gag the same workers from even mentioning this at employment tribunal, even if they reject the offer.

It will leave thousands in fear for their jobs at a time when the government should be making it easier for firms to hire.

Not content with that, whoever drafted the Bill has included the abolition of the Human Rights Commission’s duty to promote a society free of discrimination. Why? Is that not something we should all be striving towards?

Is the government sending a message that it intends to promote intolerance against minorites – or, to give it its proper title, bigotry?

Do you want to be a member of a government of bigots?

The product of these complex clauses in the Bill, combined with the fact the Government are also going to start charging fees for employment tribunals, has been termed ‘Beecroft Lite’, as it virtually amounts to Adrian Beecroft’s call for ‘compensated no-fault dismissal’.

Many people will agree to a poorly-compensated ‘settlement agreement’ as, for many, accessing justice will seem too complicated and too expensive.

We already have millions of people out of work – this Bill will make it easier to fire people.

The working people of Brecon and Radnorshire rely on their rights at work to give security for them and for their family.

Please consult your conscience before voting on this Bill.

I will be very interested to see if he paid any attention to me. As he is a Liberal Democrat, and therefore a member of the Coalition, my hopes are not high.