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The assault on the poor and disabled

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The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by skwalker1964 on Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:48 am

First topic message reminder :

I reblogged this post in 'honour' of the Tory party conference and Ivan asked me to post it here, too. You can find the original post complete with links at: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Here are two true stories:

A friend of mine once picked up a hitch-hiker at a motorway service station. The bloke looked a bit down on his luck, so my friend asked what his story was. The guy said he’d been living in service stations, bathing in the shower facilities at lorry-driver stops, for several days as he tried to make his way from one end of the country to the other to where a hotel job was waiting for him if he could get there. He’d lost all his benefits and had no way to get the money to take a train or bus.

My friend gave this man all the money he had in his pocket, which was £60. The man seemed genuinely overwhelmed and grateful, seemingly unable to believe that someone would give him a fairly serious amount of money within minutes of meeting him, on the basis of the story he’d just related.

I asked my friend whether he thought the man had been genuine, or might he have been ripped off? His answer was that his gut instinct was that the man was for real – but that if he wasn’t, he’d rather be conned than be hard-hearted and risk ignoring someone in genuine need.

By contrast, the incredibly rich (some $287 billion in today’s money) industrialist Andrew Carnegie once famously said that it would be better for the world if a rich man threw his millions into the sea rather than give any to the ‘unworthy’. To be fair to Carnegie, he gave away a vast proportion of his wealth – but the rich and privileged have a long history of presuming that, from their pinnacle of wealth and comfort, they are able to decide who is ‘worthy’ and who isn’t. The concept of the ‘deserving poor‘, by denoting that some poor are by definition not deserving, has resulted in great suffering while allowing the wealthy to feel satisfied with their lack of concern or action.

The current crop of Tories are truly in line with their predecessors in this regard – except that they’re even worse. Even though they can’t possibly be ignorant of the consequences, they push this line in the most cynical way, with the aim of dividing the British public, fooling the undiscerning into allowing or even approving of policies aimed at stripping the vulnerable of crucial protections. And for the basest of reasons – for short-term political gain (persuading some people that the Tories are ‘at least doing something about something!’), and to release even more public funds that can be channelled into tax-cuts for the already-rich or even greater profits for private corporations.

With their limited moral imagination, the Tories really only know two tactics. Both are calculated to appeal to the baser instincts of the small-minded and thoughtless: fear and vilification. There may be different facets or manifestations – they might try to invoke suspicion, or envy, or to dehumanise or caricature one set of people to get another set to back their policies – but the roots are the same.

I’m working on a post about economic fear and the way that’s fostered by government spokespeople and tame media, but it’s proving to be quite a big project and I’m not going to be online much over the next few days, so it will be a little while in coming. But the other tactic – vilification or demonisation of the vulnerable or resistant – is so plain that this post almost writes itself. Whether explicitly or in the omission, the Tories are at it constantly.

Just in recent weeks, we’ve had:


  • Iain Duncan-Smith accusing Britons of not working hard enough, while bare-facedly distorting figures on fraudulent claims for disability benefit (claiming a 30% fraud rate when in fact it’s bare over one percent) to gain public support for his hateful Welfare Reform Act.


  • A smug Frances Maude announcing that the bottom 10% of civil servants has a year to improve or be fired – conveniently leaving out the fact that if everyone in the civil service was a workaholic genius, there would still be a bottom 10%. Being at the bottom doesn’t mean you’re incompetent or unproductive. He insists that this is not an ‘attack’ on the civil service, even though at the same time he’s making cuts of 25% in civil servant numbers and talking of removing any terms and conditions that are better than those of the private sector that the Tories and their pals have already robbed.


  • Andrew Lansley calling on doctors not to take industrial action and having his department and tame journalists conduct an orchestrated propaganda campaign to persuade the public that doctors are rich, privileged, selfish and uncaring of their patients (‘After all’, he might as well say, ‘we’ve robbed the rest of the public sector, why should doctors be any different?’) This in spite of the fact that the doctors’ pension scheme is not in shortfall and that the Health Secretary, having specifically abdicated his legal responsibility for healthcare provision in his new Health & Social Care Act, is really not entitled to comment one way or the other, let alone to impose new pension terms.


  • David Cameron underlining again that the Tories are on the side of ‘strivers’, thereby saying that they’re not on the side of anyone who can’t strive, or who simply wants to live a decent, balanced life.


  • Iain Duncan-Smith (again!) announcing plans to remove benefits from anyone who dares strike against the removal of pay, pensions, conditions and protection that is now the norm for the treatment of ordinary working people.


  • Claims by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, vocally supported by Housing Minister Grant Shapps and many others, and by the right-wing press, that the UK has 120,000 ‘problem families’ who cause 80% of societal problems, even though not one of the criteria used to decide who is a ‘problem family’ relates to criminality, but instead refer to poverty and physical or mental illness.


  • Endlessly repeated soundbites about ‘benefit scroungers’ to justify capping housing benefit, even though the vast majority of people receiving this benefit are working, but can’t afford outrageous rents.


  • Cameron and others vilifying transport workers for daring to plan industrial action during the Olympic Games money-making exercise, even though industrial action is really their only negotiating weapon and it’s perfectly sensible for them to aim it at the periods when it will be most effective. The Tories really do want a workforce that’s powerless to stand up for itself.


I could go on, but I want to keep this post to a readable length.

The aim of all these policies and pronouncements is very clear: persuading whichever sections of the public that are not affected by a particular measure that those who are affected are not worthy of support, and definitely not worthy of help.

The consequences of these and other Tory measures are not hard to imagine – and they’re already being played out. Disabled, ill or mentally ill people spend their days in fear at the prospect of having their benefits stopped because they’re ludicrously assessed as fit for work, while some even attempt or commit suicide. People are forced to accept part-time ‘work’ that offers few (or even zero!) hours while the government crows that it has reduced unemployment; jobless people are forced to work for free and sleep under bridges by companies who ruthlessly exploit them to maximise profit. And so on.

In this context, it’s patently clear that the Tories’ policies, attitudes, sleaze, self-enrichment and their unholy alliance with powerful corporate and media interests show that they are not fit to judge a vegetable show, let alone judge whether a vulnerable person is ‘worthy’ of help.

Fortunately, we get to choose whether we believe them. To choose whether we agree with the kind of approach to life that says that, while no system is perfect, it’s much better to err on the side of goodness than of suspicion and selfishness, that it’s better to set up or protect systems that protect the genuine many than one which might prevent a very few ‘playing the system’ but that also strands people in genuine need in a situation of despair. We have the privilege of deciding what kind of society we want to be.

From everything I’ve written, you’ll probably have guessed that I absolutely agree with my friend, rather than with Carnegie, about which side it’s better to err on. But Mr Carnegie did say something that I agree with very much:

‘A man who dies rich dies disgraced’

In our current government, and in the people who support and fund them, we have a lot of walking ‘disgraces in the making’. Let’s think for ourselves, see them for what they are, and not make it easy for them to become even bigger disgraces than they already are.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:29 pm

I have my dog too Phil.

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Guest on Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:46 pm

That's good! Razz
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:25 am

It is Phil as she keeps me calm and makes me laugh with her frolics.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Claudine on Thu Apr 23, 2015 6:36 pm

Last night, I came across a poster that has been linked to Conservative Home.

This poster made me so angry, so incandescent with rage that it almost brought me to tears. I was literally shaking with rage. Not only is it an attack on Ed Miliband but it is breathtakingly abusive to disabled people and stroke victims in particular, of which I am one.

The person who created this image, a Maxwell Woodger, has cynically used a section of people who are seen as vulnerable, all in the name of humour. The poster has since been removed from Conservative Home, previously Young Conservatives, and the Tory party has moved to distance itself from it. Well, that's just too little & too late. This was done in the name of the Tory party who only had something to say when they were called out on it.

This party is reprehensible and completely amoral.

I'm currently trying to work out how to upload the poster here but when I have, I'll post it!!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:08 pm

Very sorry Claudine to hear that you have suffered a stroke, I too am disabled with various illnesses and take over 3.000 tablets per year, and it makes me raging mad about the conservatives when they use us for humour or lower our pay, and entitlements.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:15 pm

There is little - if anything -that is too low for the Tories, especially when they are in pursuit of the prospect, or retention, of power. A Tory seeing an opportunity to obtain some advantage will not rule out any lie, misleading statement, or fabrication - nor any insult, if it is perceived to enhance their 'cause'.

Collectively, the Tory faithful are a despicable bunch, who can happily tolerate anything from the deeply unpleasant ( eg John Redwood,, Michael Fallon, Grant Shapps, Theresa May et alios multos) to the sub-human (especially Ian Duncan Smith, Margaret Thatcher), the unforgivably weedy ( John Major, Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogg) and the disgustingly blubbery ( Nicholas Soames and the doubtlessly equally gluttonous Eric Pickles). Please forgive me for missing out the dozens of others I have failed to mention.

Has the nation ever before been inflicted with such a line-up of nauseating political specimens...?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Claudine on Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:26 pm

Stuart: I was unlucky enough to have four strokes in the space of one night. That's how quickly your life can change.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Thu Apr 23, 2015 7:35 pm

Four strokes, oh Claudine I am sorry to hear that, one is bad enough but four!!
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Thu Apr 23, 2015 10:46 pm

The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know

From an article by Lee Williams:-

The increase in food poverty in the UK, illustrated by the latest food bank figures, is a human rights abuse that you wouldn’t inflict on criminals. According to the Trussell Trust, its food banks have been used more than a million times in the 2014-15 financial year, a 19% increase on the previous 12 months.

These figures expose a double-edged Tory lie connected with their benefits and back-to-work policies. One side of this is the supposed record numbers back in employment. But the fact that the second largest cause of food bank referrals (22%) is from people on low income, shows this employment "miracle" is due, at least in some part, to driving people into underpaid and insecure jobs.

The other side of this grubby coin is the ruthless cutting of the benefits system which demonises the poorest in our society and denies them money to the extent that they go hungry. The majority of referrals to food banks (44%) are caused by delays or changes to benefit payments including sanctions, which are often unfair.


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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:53 am

In an earlier post I inadvertently misspelt the name of Iain Duncan Smith .

I correct this now because I don't want them to get the wrong man when they eventually come for him...
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:50 am

As his real name is George Smith (and there must be plenty of those in the UK), let’s hope they don’t get the wrong man.

Not only is IDS a cruel bastard whose policies have led to the deaths of many poor and disabled people one way or another, but he is an inveterate liar who even falsified his qualifications. In most jobs, if you are found to have a bogus CV you are likely to get the boot, but in the Tory Party you get promoted to the cabinet (Grant Shapps can confirm that). IDS’s claim that he studied at the University of Perugia was later found to be false after an investigation by the BBC. His office eventually admitted that he attended the Università per Stranieri (for foreigners) in Perugia for a year, but he didn’t obtain any qualifications or finish his exams. His biography on the Tory Party website claimed he was "educated at Dunchurch College of Management", but following questioning by the BBC his office confirmed that he didn’t get any qualifications there either.

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It’s interesting that George Smith didn’t want to be called George, but Gideon Osborne did! Something similar occurred in the Labour Party many years ago, when James Harold Wilson called himself Harold, while Leonard James Callaghan preferred to be known as James.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:51 pm

Yes and my real name is david cameron but I have to use Stu for a cover up Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:55 pm

I only wish I had his bloody money then at least a few more charities would be better off, like the poor and disabled, as that what he thinks we are.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:47 pm

The Tories’ war on welfare has caused untold suffering. Here are three ways we can stop it

From an article by Tom Clark:-

Food banks are everywhere, and all the volunteers are agreed on the cause. It is cuts, delays and sanctions to benefits that have made Britain a hungrier nation than it was at the beginning of the Cameron term of government. After 2010, a historic assault on the ideal of social security gradually emerged. Experts warn that the household benefit cap will leave some children in London being raised on 62p a day; the Supreme Court concludes that that is at odds with the UN convention on the rights of the child. No matter: polls find that voters want the cap further reduced, and the Tories promise to do precisely that.

So how do you turn the tables? I propose three principles of combat. The first is to pick the right words – and to refuse to accept the jargon that masks so many horrors. Only one of the coalition’s benefit cuts has run into serious difficulties in the opinion polls: the “removal of the spare room subsidy”. It is surely no coincidence that this was also the only one to be successfully rechristened – as “the bedroom tax”.

The second imperative is to challenge the “welfare myth of them and us”. One way to do that is to point out that benefits are something that the vast majority of citizens will be grateful for at some point in their life. The third rule should be: divert the fury that is currently trained on benefit claimants. Think of villains of other sorts, particularly corporations. If well-founded pleas in defence of the undeserving poor are falling on deaf ears, let’s turn the conversation round – to freeloading employers and the undeserving rich.


For the whole article:-
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phillip J H on Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:31 am




headbang Arrow Arrow Arrow
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:59 am

Ivan, that is a very good article, which clearly lays out the extent of the problem we have, as a country, with the language used to discuss the important political questions around social security and poverty .

One of the reasons I, in conversation, insist on using the older term, 'social security' to refer to cash benefits paid by the state is to underline that this is a right of citizens in a civilised society to receive support from their government when, for whatever reason, they are unable to provide for themselves.

Among the reasons lately that citizens currently can't always support themselves is the sorry state of the job market, with the proliferation of insecure zero hours contracts, the incredible erosion of employment rights, the fact that pay has not kept pace with the cost of living, despite large employers apparently making the same huge profits - I could go on.

The point that emerges for me is that this problem really can't be addressed by the mouthing of tired old tribal slogans - as Tom Clark points out, we need instead to move away from the lazy binary approach - skivers vs strivers; Labour vs Tories; rich vs poor - and start to address the structural factors that have allowed this state of affairs to arise.

A starting point here might be the election of a government that will try to look at equality issues , so I suppose until May 7 we are condemned to some tribal stuff; however, the real battle is going to be to reverse the direction of the narrative and begin the process of understanding that we are all, rich and poor, citizens of the same nation and that nation has among its responsibilities the task of providing for the social security and welfare of ALL its citizens
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:58 pm

It's the job of any successful Politician to master the use of words. "Semantics" is the
technical description. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

What other weapon do they have?

It's up to us to decipher their true meaning, or as Jeremy Paxton once expressed it, "Why is this bastard lying to me?"
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:15 pm

Jeremy Paxton is very good at deciphering though is he not OW. Laughing
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Do you know how close your nearest foodbank is?

Post by stuart torr on Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:18 pm

I was so shocked yesterday to find out that the nearest foodbank to myself is only 220yards away from me, there was I like so many others I expect thinking that no such thing existed in their area.
The first thing that I did today was get on my computer,as the closest supermarket is too far away too walk.
I thought what they would need before I finally got in touch with them, and they told me what they were short of, so I ordered them items, this is what Cameron has done to my community,thankfully I am in a position to help,please if you can help at all find how close your nearest foodbank is it may shock you too.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:24 pm

I've heard of Joseph Paxton, who was quite good at designing large greenhouses. However, should we assume that some of you are talking about Jeremy Paxman, the former 'Newsnight' presenter who describes himself as a "one-nation Tory" (an oxymoron if ever there was)?

The Trussell Trust has 445 foodbanks across the UK, and there are others run by local churches and charities, so it's hardly surprising if there's one near you. The nearest one to where I live is about a mile away.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:42 pm

You say that so off the cuff Ivan as though I should not be shocked that my neighbourhood has fallen into such hard times that it needs them?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:44 pm

There are three in the small conurbation of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston - they share the week between them and each provides at least one hot meal a week besides
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:45 pm

As it goes, Stu - every neighbourhood, more or less, needs one - I think there's even one in Cameron's wealthy constituency
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:47 pm

I thought the more well off lived in that area too boatlady, as they more obviously do in Ivans area.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Tue Apr 28, 2015 9:49 pm

I wonder how often Cameron donates to his eh boatlady?
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:00 pm

Ivan, the Bamber Gascoigne impersonator is only referred to in our household as "Paxo", so how he actually spells his name is not always uppermost in my tiny mind.  Anyway you and anyone else reading our little impromptu variation would probably not have been unduly perplexed for very long.  
Put it down to temporary dyxlesia.  Apologies, and yes, David Cameron has a nearby Food Bank should the need arise: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Wed Apr 29, 2015 1:09 pm

Surely such an aberration warrants an investigation as to whether the title of 'sage' should be withdrawn - that, and the fact that said title-holder actually remembers Bamber Gascoigne ( check that he didn't mean Paul , incidentally...). Smile
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phillip J H on Fri May 01, 2015 3:06 am



Wink
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phillip J H on Fri May 01, 2015 3:13 am

Post deleted. The site owners have decreed that “messages which promote or evoke illegal practices are prohibited”.

http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t18-posting-rules

http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t110-starting-new-threads

http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t391-posting-tips

Perhaps you would be so kind as to familiarise yourself with the forum rules before making any more postings. Thank you.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phillip J H on Fri May 01, 2015 3:16 am



Good though it is, this video has been posted on this forum before, on 13 June last year, and a transcript of it has as well.

http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t814p200-iain-duncan-smith

That's what happens when you resort to dredging up old stories instead of concentrating on what is being said and done now.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Phil Hornby on Fri May 01, 2015 8:53 am

Ms Yaqoob doing in a minute what Ed Miliband has largely failed to do for the best part of five years. And we wonder why we are going to get saddled with another dose of Cameron...!
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Victory for Vox Political: DWP ordered to give details of benefit-related deaths

Post by Phillip J H on Fri May 01, 2015 9:06 pm




Brian McArdle. On the BBC’s Question Time in November 2012, Iain Duncan Smith flew into a rage when Owen Jones challenged him about what happened to Mr McArdle, “57 years old, paralysed down one side, blind in one eye; he couldn’t speak. He died one day after being found ‘fit for work’.”

The Department for Work and Pensions has been ordered to disclose the number of Incapacity Benefit and ESA claimants who have died between November 2011 and May 2014.

http://www.newsfixboard.com/t9265-victory-for-vox-political-dwp-ordered-to-give-details-of-benefit-related-deaths#178125

This is brilliant news, for the family of this man and many others.

I hope that Duncan Smith is shamed by this and possibly more, but i very much doubt whether he would be prosecuted and sacked from any future Tory government. Twisted Evil
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Mon May 04, 2015 4:45 pm

Lots of people have been found fit for work even though they are clearly unable.
None of them have been quite as bad in health as Mr McArdle, but I have been too even though my specialist and G.p supplied letters to say that I was not fit.
The DWP finally stopped bothering me after 2years.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Norm Deplume on Mon May 04, 2015 8:40 pm

This site is simple but illustrative of attitudes.

Conservative Long Term Economic Plan
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Thu May 07, 2015 2:33 pm

Our thoughts of it anyway Norm.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by boatlady on Thu May 07, 2015 4:50 pm

Conservative Long Term Economic Plan

naughty
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sun May 10, 2015 9:29 am

100 days of Tory cuts carnage as George Osborne plans to fast-track £12 billion in savings

Officials are already drawing up plans to squeeze a host of benefits: “Without the restraint of the Lib Dems, it means we can go further and faster when it comes to controlling the welfare bill.

Everyone will have to stand on their own two feet – even people with no legs.” (John Mann)

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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Sun May 10, 2015 11:09 am

Read that this morning Ivan, including taxing the invalidity benefit ETC, more of my money gone.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by oftenwrong on Sun May 10, 2015 12:34 pm

The Tory manifesto for the next five years includes abolition of the Human Rights Act, re-drawing of Constituency Boundaries, English votes for Little English Laws, and millions of pounds to be lopped off welfare spending.

The fortunate ones may be those who don't survive for as long as five years.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by stuart torr on Sun May 10, 2015 9:50 pm

Well with a bit of luck OW, I will not last that 5years, especially after they have cut my monies down even more.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

Post by Ivan on Sat May 30, 2015 4:04 pm

Desperate DWP’s last minute appeal against revealing benefit-related deaths

From a blog by Mike Sivier:-

"The Department for Work and Pensions has appealed against the ruling compelling it to disclose the number of Incapacity Benefit and ESA claimants who have died between November 2011 and May 2014.

The ruling came from the Information Commissioner on April 30. The DWP had 28 calendar days in which to submit an appeal – and it arrived via email at 3.25pm on May 28 – just one hour and 35 minutes before the close of business for the day. Clearly the cowards of Caxton House are terrified of revealing the true numbers of those who have died as a result of Conservative policies towards the sick and disabled, and have delayed their appeal until almost the last minute in order to delay, for as long as possible, the moment when they have to provide the facts.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not allow any public authority discretion to refuse a request because it fears what a person may or may not do with the information. If it holds the information, it must communicate it to the person making the request.

It seems reasonable to conclude that the number of deaths – when it is finally revealed – will be devastatingly large. The behaviour of this government department would be laughable if the subject matter was not so serious – the deaths of many thousands of sick and disabled people, due to the way this department treated them.
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Re: The assault on the poor and disabled

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