Monday, 2 May 2011

Lies, Incompetence, Hypocrisy?

A guest post from John Souter to whom I offer my sincere thanks for his contributions.

Lies Incompetence Hypocrisy?

Real poverty is in the process of being dramatically increased by the measures now being implemented through welfare reforms.

Reforms that were initiated by Labour not, I hasten to add, as a result of the financial meltdown of 2007/8 but were introduced by stealth as the Social Security Act 2006 and passed by Parliament in 2007.

These affected housing benefit conditions and cleared the way for the implementation of the local housing allowance (LHA) along with the introduction of job seeker allowances and all the other euphemisms engineered to cut the responsibilities of the State to minimise the costs associated with the effects that same State failed to address; which was, and still is, its failure to create a thriving and progressive real economy.

So these measures were all in the Labour pipeline even before the idiocy of the financial gurus went into meltdown and the present incumbents in Westminster, while they may have added to them, are probably silently grateful to Labour for doing all the spade work necessary for the acts and regulations to be implemented and for them to get the kudos.

The result will be an increase in poverty levels through all the phases of life the poor are exposed too, but with an emphasis on the very young and the retired old and where many of the ‘customers’ of welfare will see their benefits cut; adding 10 - 50% on their outgoings to meet rent and council tax bills.

Which begs the question: what exactly are the responsibilities and expected competence of the representatives we supposedly send to Westminster to oversee our interests and well being?

I ask because the stealth adopted to introduce these measures are very similar to the methods used by Brown when he removed the 10% bracket on income tax; and the method used by Osborne to cut the Winter Fuel Allowance in the 2011 budget. Namely tagged on as an aside and blinded by the main points and message they wanted publicised: and, while by now we generally are aware of the shallow capacity of the media to report on anything in a meaningful way beyond bias and rhetorical handouts, our representatives should be capable of reading, analysing and evaluating the salient points of any proposed Bill that’s placed before them before its passed into legislation. 

Given their recent record, the examples mentioned, and the paucity of any discussion or exposure of the 2006 Act in the hustings and debates for the elections on May 5th I very much doubt if the majority of candidates – old or new – are aware of its ramifications and that the few who are, are desperate to keep it closed tight in the obfuscators box.

This is a Labour decision, in the control of Westminster which, because it’s not a devolved issue, will (Have) been implemented throughout the UK as of the 5th April 2011.

A dividend of Union created by Labour, implemented and refined by the coalition and sneaked on to the statutes under the blitzkrieg of financial idiocy being transfused with massive bailouts followed by the extortionate bill of their intensive care being met from the rumbling belly’s and empty purses of the poor.

They have a name for it – they call it Austerity – and they who shout for it are not the ones who have to live with it. But they do want you to believe your welfare, your NHS; your life is safe in their cold incompetent grasping hands.

John Souter 1/5/11


Anonymous said...

Good post Mr Soutar.

Whatever the "hard-working British families, up and down the country" which so many MPs seem to meet on a daily basis, think, most "welfare" goes to people who do need it; who would work if there was decent and suitable work, or who desperately need help in their illnesses, or old age.

This government, and as Mr Soutar rightly says, the previous one, are putting these people’s lives at risk.

Despite their best efforts to make us forget it by encouraging a wild orgy of partying and celebration over this extended bank holiday, which is estimated to have cost the British economy in excess of £6 billion in lost productivity, and to have had a minus 0.25% growth effect on the next quarter’s figures, they can’t hide the fact that we are suffering pegged wages (and most companies are using “these straitened times” to freeze or reduce wages), reduced in-work benefits, increased taxation (direct and indirect) and horrific price increases for essentials including food and domestic fuel.

The decision to cut pensioners’ benefits is unspeakable. Private or company pensions are more or less flat lining, bank interest which used to be a mainstay of elderly people, is practically zero (unless of course you have your money in the British Virgin Islands, eh Mr Osborne?) domestic fuel prices are rising at twice the rate of inflation so far this year and more increases are expected before winter, we already have a disgusting 3,000+ deaths every year from cold related illness, and this detached individual cuts £100 from old people’s winter fuel payment?

I wonder how the cabinet would feel if their own parents were sitting shivering in the house, wrapped in blankets with one bar of an electric fire on, checking the meter every half hour and spending most of the day in bed.

I wonder how they would feel if their own parents eventually gave up trying to keep warm and just slowly slipped away, alone, cold and miserable.

And in the meantime we are fighting two wars that are nothing to do with us, and we they throw Friday’s display of outrageous wealth at us, and try to pass it off as normal; “William was just like any other husband; instead of a golden coach, he drove his bride the (500 meters) from Buckingham Palace to Clarence House in his dad’s (£450,000) car.”

How little respect they have for us. How stupid they think us.

And now we have had our fun, ogling the rich and famous, we can get back to being poorer.

My disgust for the Westminster politicians knows no bounds.

petem130 said...

Watching the Leaders Debate last night immediately exposed the lack of real knowledge or the clear collusion by the politicians. Public spending increased last year. Fact. Whilst that may change this year it will almost certainly change in a manner which will be political rather than fiscal.

The councils have, for the most part, been addin to their reserves which are now pretty substantial. There is no sign that they will use these reserves to protect the front line services whilst at the same time driving efficiencies which further protect them.

Mr Grey (G for Grey) Grey represents a party who have almost destroyed the economy. Granny Annie talks a good game but will never deliver on it, Tavish McScottish is tarnished by the coalition in Westminster and the "do anything and say anything to stay in power and Wee Eck and Deputy Nippy actually believe that we can have all our energy needs satisfied by wind when not even the most rampant Eco loons claim this is possible.

WE get what we deserve. WE don't make a stand. WE don't change anything. WE are to blame. WE will reap what WE have sown until WE do something about it.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Tris-get in there write a post. Every point in your comment was cogent and accurate.

Westminster is initiating a return to the poorhouse.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

petem130 -yes the ignorance, or wilfull obfuscation of MP's does make you wonder what their allegiances are - the people, self, party or parlaiment?

Answer in a postcard please addressed to W.O.T. Westminster.

Demetrius said...

Having lived through one long dose of Austerity in the 1940's and into the fifties I am not going to enjoy another long dose in the coming years of the 21st Century. Like nearly everyone else I know the pinch is already there and will get worse. At least I know enough from experience to prepare but there are two generations who will not know what it is going to hit them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks C&RAP... ouch, I hate typing that! LOL.

Thanks for that.

I will write more on the subject, because there's a lot that needs to be said. Not today, I'm off to the hustings!!

Thanks again for your encouragement.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Don't hate it Tris - some time was spent tying a name to that acronym.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Demetrius- think of it this way - for labour to have any power or purpose the imperative for them was to keep the poor poor?

No the second poor is not a mistype.

And, just for the quirkiness of my curiosity and humour just what age are you?

I ask because while I've reason to remember some of the 40s and 50s I'd other things on my mind than recognising such abstract notions as austerity.

wisnaeme said...

One of the architects of the Social Security Act 2006 was struting the streets of Livingston today in the company of one Ian Grey.Prudence McCavity Brown no less. "Scottish" Labour protects Scottish jobs does it Mr Brown? As in, the feeble fifty who did a grand job protecting Scottish jobs from Maggie's axe. So Labour are the defenders of families, the needy and the unfortunate are they? One question I would like to ask, who will defend us from Labour?
Today, Mr Brown said that,"the SNP put jobs at risk on the abstract alter of independence."
There is nothing abstract about the freedom to choose. There is nothing abstract about being in control of your ain destiny.There is nothing abstract in deciding what sort of society one would wish for ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, our aquaintances, our neighbours and our community of Scotland. I wonder if other nations would care to call their democracies, their freedom to choose a mere abstraction of independent thought and action.

Mr Brown's ignorance of his birthplace is only excelled by his arrogance. That, and the fridgid, ruthless callowness of his own dead hands in the employ of others even more ruthless and uncaring than himself.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Wisneame - I'm not sure Brown or any MP for that matter are the 'architects' of anything.

Like double glazing salesmen,they may claim to be knowledgeable of the facts but, in my opinion its the Mandarins who devise the blueprints and produce the product leaving only the selling to the parliamentary wide-boys.

Other than the above I agree with everything you say.

Jo G said...

I think to be fair you can't ignore the fact that Labour at least gave us a minimum wage. It also brought in Working Families Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits. Sadly the Tax Credits situation became controversial when it emerged that fraudulent claims were very common and that under and overpayment levels were even worse. Some reform is needed to simplify it and I would back this. I also think there is confusion within the Benefit System and that this needs to be made more straightforward. It is a fact that such confusion causes increased administration costs and potential claimants are often completely bamboozled by how it all works.

My real shock came when I submitted a FOI request to DWP asking how much public money had been paid to the private company Atos to bring in those on sickness benefit for "examinations". I asked for 3 years figures. I was given 2008/9 £122m, 2009/2010 £131m and 2010 to date (this was November 2010) £65m. Think about those figures. These people are not employed to do fair and proper medicals. They are there to sign people off sickness benefit.

Cameron's mob continues to use Atos in the same way Labour did. Yet Cameron claims to want to give GPs "more powers". But GPs aren't trusted to judge when people aren't fit to work? Instead they claim we need private company employees doing examinations, some of whom aren't even doctors, who then send letters out saying, "You're fit to work"?

subrosa said...

Jo, I have a friend who is very pro the proposal for changes to the benefit system but also she's fiercely against Atos because, being a member of the medical profession herself, she considers using medically unqualified administrators to make medical assessments is wrong.

I support her point.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Jo -sorry about the delay, have just noticed your post.

I never knew about this Atos thing - but it seems very similar to the methods they propose to adopt for the NHS - which, in a nutshell boils down to getting the maximum bucks out of the public purse and into the pockets of the private speculators.

We all know the NHS could be improved and the welfare system is abused; I've no problem with each of these issues being addressed provided they're accurately targeted and not abused to the extent they put the innocent under duress and use it as an excuse to cut welfare to those with a legitimate need. Which is in fact exactly their intention.

As to the minimum wage; much as it pains me since I'm not a supporter of the institution. but I believe its incorporation was more down to the EU than Labour.

Jo G said...

John, I still have the email response with the figures. If you want I'll send it on to Subrosa and she can send it to you.

Jo G said...

That's the Atos figures I mean.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, it is incredible the areas where Atos have crept in. They are now officially "Occupational Health" for the whole of the Civil Service for example as well as the agency which conducts "medicals" for those on benefits. On all occasions the views of the GP are set aside and Atos have the final say. It is absolutely scandalous. And WE'RE paying for them. We're also paying for GPs yet this is duplication of work only the role of Atos is not to fairly and genuinely assess the sick: it is to produce false assessments.

Anonymous said...

Jo G

The work is paid for by result.

The object of the organisation is to make a profit. It has nothing to do with people's health.

There have been three deaths recently in Scotland whilst people were waiting for a tribunal to hear their appeal against their decisions, as I reported on my own blog.

But they made a lot of money, so I don't see it changing.

subrosa said...

Jo, I don't think John has read your comment yet as he's busy with other matters. Please do send the figures because I know he will be interested.

Many thanks.

subrosa said...

That's it in a nutshell Tris.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Jo -I would be interested in the figures and thanks for the offer.

Jo G said...

Tris, when we say, "I don't see it changing." it means we've given up on all of us. If there was enough opposition it would change.

Right now the UK is bombing Libya because "the Libyan people" wanted that. Those of us in the UK could quote that right back at governments on both sides of the border. And we could challenge them too. We claim here to believe in democracy: we could make them prove it if the will exists to do so.

Jo G said...

Subrosa, I've sent on to you.

John if you have any trouble downloading let Subrosa know and i'll send it another way.

subrosa said...

Jo, I've sent it to John. I'm sure he'll contact you.

Anonymous said...

We very rarely get anything changed in the UK Jo G.

We are apathetic, and of course our governments know it. A week is a long time in politics, and if you can hold out for that long it will all go away.

We were going to be having mass demonstrations over the period from the wedding to May Day, but we didn’t.

Even when we do have demonstrations and hundreds of thousands of people turn up the government ignores it. The war in Iraq had massive, peaceful demonstrations. Did Tony Blair change one single thing? No.

The cuts, and English student fees in particular saw a massive demonstration or two, but nothing has changed.

Cameron can muster a majority with his puppets; the senate is toothless and the monarchy useless.

Ergo there will be cuts; people will die; but Cammy will go down in history for reducing the deficit in a few years. And that’s all that matters to him. After all it’s not going to be his type that dies. It’s a sub-species called the “ordinary person”

The only time demos have ever changed anything was when the poll tax riots turned nasty and we took a leaf of the book of the French demonstrations and burnt things down.

The only way to get their attention is to burn London down... and no one is going to do that. More’s the pity.

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