DWP Benefits Bungle

A great-grandmother’s grieving family have blamed her death on the pressure of having to dispense with a benefits bungle. Thomasina McIver, of Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, died from a blood clot following weeks attempting to sort out payments for her disabled husband Herbert, 70.

The couple couldn’t access the £1000 he was due, and their children maintained Thomasina, 69, who had asthma and used a Zimmer frame to get around, fought to breathe after one highly stressful telephone call to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Her efforts to sort out housebound Herbert’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) took its toll on the mum of five’s well-being, and she was on the telephone to the DWP continually.

Thomasina McIver died on August 27 and this has added to that with all the pressure. The family said the difficulties started after Herbert was sent a new payment card, which enabled him to withdraw his cash at a PayPoint at a local store.

dwpIt worked two or three times, and that was it. The DWP was unwilling to grant another one. They said it was probably the workers in the store scanning it wrong. Yet it was tried in other stores and it still didn’t work, so finally the DWP sent out another card and that lasted one payment and then stopped again.

Thomasina was told the £145-a-week payments were going through but the couple couldn’t obtain the cash.

Wheelchair user Herbert had a stroke 12 years ago which left him paralysed on his left side. He further suffers from memory loss and angina, and Thomasina managed everything for Herbert. She was on the telephone for hours with the DWP. People were putting the telephone down on her. She was getting upset and worried, and they were struggling for money.

It all added to her stress levels, and on the day of Thomasina’s death, Terry raced to his parents’ house after his dad said she was ill. Paramedics found her gasping for breath and thought it was an asthma attack.

Thomasina died at home, with a blood clot recorded as the cause on her death certificate, and her husband is devastated, they were married for 51 years, and following her death, her husband has spent hours on the telephone with the DWP but still hasn’t resolved the problem.

A DWP spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts are with Mrs McIver’s family.

“We’re committed to ensuring that people get the support they’re entitled to. If someone is having issues with their payment card, we aim to replace it within two weeks and we can issue vouchers for any immediate payments due.”

Obviously, the DWP aren’t concerned about ensuring that people are supported, particularly to something they’re entitled to, and if two of their payment cards didn’t work, the DWP should have found another way of giving them their money.

No wonder there is so much resentment towards the DWP by people that are on benefits because the DWP have no empathy whatsoever. After all, they’re merely people that work there, dishing out instructions and penalties to claimants.

Although it’s difficult not to see a perverted ironic wickedness in this because it’s pure evil that the DWP didn’t find another way for Herbert McIver to access his money, money that he was entitled to.

Disabled people should not have to go through this sort of pressure, particularly when they’re so sick. The entire system is a shambles, and the DWP abuses people on benefits to save money, and it makes my blood boil because claimants are not supported and if this family had been supported Thomasina McIver might have still been alive today.

It’s nothing short of picking on the vulnerable, and most of the people that work at the DWP are devoid of any compassion, and of course, blunders are made but it actually looks like the DWP simply laughed it off and carried on regardless.

The DWP could have sent a Fast Payment to the McIver’s, but this is getting dangerously ludicrous because the DWP either send through late payments, no payments and give no reason why, and phoning the DWP is a nightmare because usually one hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing, and every time you telephone you get a different outcome each time.

DWP call handlers have no time to care about your disability, and if a person phones up and is sobbing down the telephone, the person on the other end might have some kind of compassion, but if they talk to you for longer than 23 minutes and go off-script they risk losing their job.

Twenty-three minutes is how long it should take to help someone, even though some of these people are at their weakest point. These are people who require help to navigate the complicated system so that they can get their payments.

These people are usually vulnerable and desperate by the time they reach the call handler. The headset beeps and the call handler launches into a scripted greeting, and the caller wants to tell the handler what they’re phoning up for, but the handler doesn’t have time, all the handler wants to hear is yes and no responses.

All the caller wants is a friendly listener to reassure them that they will get their money, when they will get their money and how they will get their money, but for the call handler, the only thing that’s actually relevant is how long each call takes.

They’re measured on an average handling time, known as AHT, and if this slips beyond 23 minutes per call they face performance management, which is a cypher for “you’ll get in trouble”. This involves anything from severe words and increased micro-management from the line manager right up to written warnings and dismissal.

They have a script they read from, over and over again, it’s the DWP’s modern-day version of a sweatshop, and workers are singularly ill-equipped to actually give any advice or assistance.

Quality checking is done but it’s about whether the call handler is reading every word of the text, and there’s no measure of how good a service they provide. If the call is listened to by the line manager, it will be flagged up on an area where the call handler is missing time targets because three minutes beforehand in the call where the call handler let the claimant sob quietly down the telephone because the claimants life was imploding and afraid of what the future will bring and this is all too much for them, but a more motivated call handler would have got her back on track.

A call handler might feel like crying after this call because they know they’ve failed the claimant in so many ways, but there’s no time for the call handler to cry, there’s no pause between calls, the headset beeps again quickly, and now it’s another woman with kidney failure.

The call handler will fail this woman too, and this will continue probably until the government eventually finds a way to do away with benefits completely, at which our sick and disabled people will be left with nothing.

There’s no moralistic and humane vacuum within the system, and that makes it materialistic, unworkable and barf provoking, and then we have the temerity to call ourselves a cultured society, and this country is really messed up, we’re just a bunch of petty criminals selling to one and all, then the roller coaster stops and we swap over.

Sadly, financialisation is everything in society, even in life and death and support. It’s the consistent mantra that barters everything financial to live exclusively according to what can be measured and can have a price tag attached to it.

They even charge you to call them because it’s all about making money. To make calls to the DWP, struggling families spend up to 45p a minute to claim necessary payments by telephone, which is extortionate.

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When the government introduced Universal Credit, families were forced to phone a 0345 number, incurring charges of up to 45p a minute to claim their benefits. It’s hard enough as it is living on disability benefits without being charged 45p a minute to phone the DWP.

And more often than not it’s not the claimant’s fault they’re rectifying the oversights of the DWP when the claimant calls, so why should they be imposed such extortionate fee’s to just make a telephone call?

Anybody directly employed by the DWP has to sign the Official Secrets Act but one of the most disturbing things about Civil Service jobs is that from day one it’s made quite apparent you’re employed by the state, not the public and consequently their allegiance is to their employer and government, therefore they have to satisfy the wishes of the government, not the people, hence the 23 minute targets.

They also removed all the telephones from the Job Centre where you used to be able to call and the DWP footed the bill, which is an utter disgrace, and you can wait up to 45 minutes phoning the DWP with a treat to Vivaldi for the duration, and sometimes after some waiting you get cut off, and get charged for the privilege, and it costs even more if the claimant is using a mobile, using the last of their credit while they’re attempting to get a small advance, or find out why their benefits haven’t been paid into their account, or even worse, Universal Credit tell you that they can’t access your information because the bloody computer has frozen, or worse still, they’re all down for the day.

Ministers who run the benefits system should experience it first hand by attending DWP offices, and they should remain there and listen to calls and claimants, perhaps that way they can dispense with the matter at hand after understanding it, rather than reading about it in a memo, or what the media is spinning.

Ministers should be glued to a chair and pick up every phone call to the DWP personally until they can’t take any more. Sadly, Ministers only get off their arse to support their constituents when they stand to personally or politically gain something.

Music from Vivaldi always sounds when you’re hanging on the phone, waiting to be connected to someone for an emergency payment because the DWP have messed up yet again. Then after about twenty-five minutes of “Your call is important to us” over continuous loops of The Four Seasons, you’ll end up hating Vivaldi for life, wanting to spew with anger every time you hear it.

But this music will not sort you out when you’re desperate to feed your children and put money on your electricity metre, it will do the absolute opposite, it’s awful, and they removed all the telephones from the DWP offices so people without money couldn’t afford to make welfare claims, and when you ask the DWP why they were taken out, they simply say that they don’t know with a somewhat troubled look.

Clearly, something is unquestionably rotten in the United Kingdom and the decay will eventually destroy it and the fissures are now visible, and this is a deliberate long-term policy and the government know that if they make benefits too difficult and expensive to claim that fewer people will claim for benefits, therefore economic policies must be working.

These are terrible conditions with a growing disregard for life, and the government doesn’t inherently want any good for its people when privatisation is clearly immoral.

Both this government and the former two governments have failed disabled and sick people. In fact, they have done worse than that, they have actively persecuted them, and this is a country which doesn’t protect all its citizens, a country which doesn’t support those in need, this is what Britain has been allowed to become.

Disabled and sick people and the lack of public awareness is sickening to the stomach, and we’re not part of a society anymore, we’re part of a regime.

I guess we should be thankful that there are some human beings with some morals that are still in the loop, rather than people being managed by a computer with voice recognition spewing out pre-recorded messages, or would an automated system be more caring?

The unfortunate thing is that most of us are not far away from being plagued with sickness, bereavement or losing a job, and at some time or another the preponderance of the population will be in a situation like this. However, people still vote for parties who are set to make the life for the poor and disabled as tough as possible.

Our government is full of broken promises, and the prospect of job loss, sickness, bereavement or retirement faces all of us at some time, yet this is a Tory attempt to undermine the fundamental case for support and security for people through the joint pooling of risk.

This is the government’s naked attempt to turn people against one another, in order to undermine any idea of a safety net, young against old, disabled people against non-disabled people, those in work against those looking for work.

The opposition will tell you that they won’t play that game, that they’re not invested in those divisive Tory tactics. That they want to bring down the Welfare Bill by making work pay, getting the homes they need to be built, bringing down unemployment and increasing our economy, supporting our foundation industries, such as steel manufacturing, which is being waived by the government.

The Tories faced embarrassing and justified defeat in the House of Lords, in part due to their incompetence to outline where cuts will fall and being less clear about their plans.

Just like their cuts to tax credits, this breaks the Conservatives manifesto promise, promises to protect pensioners, to help the young, to encourage the disabled to work and to support working families, and it’s a brutal Tory manifesto that’s not deserving the paper it was printed on.

It punishes children, takes money from low and middle-income workers, drives families from their homes, punishes disabled people and will drive hundreds of thousands of children into poverty.

Being in government should not equate to a dictatorship, but that’s the way that it is and it’s a really disheartening insight into Great Britain today, and how those in charge think it’s acceptable to treat people like trash, and 23 minutes to deal with a claimant is set up so the claimant will break and the call handler will get their gratuities.

But these call handlers are dealing with claimants, dealing with the vulnerable and 23 minutes is no time at all in which to deal with the complexities of individual claimants, and most people need some sort of guidance when phoning because some of these claimants simply wouldn’t understand some of the questions.

Obviously, these call handlers don’t want to lose their jobs, some of them have families, and have outgoing costs to pay for, so they simply follow the script so that they don’t get the sack because it’s better to obey orders because they need the money.

The Tory government is wicked and guilty, and it’s a shameful policy with loads of deception, and this wicked policy is so weighted against the most vulnerable people who need it, and the government should be ashamed of themselves and the people who put them there.

And yet we British consistently vote in government’s who pledge not to increase taxes, but we should feel very sad for the people who are unfortunate enough to be left in a position where they have to claim benefit due to ill health, but we should likewise feel sad for the call handler which I’m imagining would make them really depressed but in contrast, not as depressed as the claimant might feel.

The government are merely a pack of superior bureaucratic tormentors where their DWP staff are told to act like twats, but either way, this is totally unacceptable when the stance of the government departments act like they’re never wrong.

Even if the call handler tried to bend the rules, management would pound them, so the best they can do is attempt to give guidance and then that’s not helpful as not all staff are trained across all benefits.

It’s usually the claimant who tends to know more than the DWP, particularly now that it’s gone over to Universal Credit and nobody actually appears to know what they’re doing, but the claimant has been through every imaginable platform by leaping through hoops to arrive at a correct verdict and more so because they’ve had to complete an extensive application pack, and have to find out what all the questions mean, quite similar to much of the content of the letters they get from the DWP.

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Of course, this was Iain Duncan Smith’s legacy but now he’s not around to pick up the pieces and some other nincompoop has to do it instead who has no idea what they’re doing, but then Duncan Smith wasn’t much better as he strolled about with his head up his anus for most of the time.

But none of this should come as a shock because this government want stumbling blocks put in the way of anyone who needs to claim a benefit, and it’s obvious from the onset, that call handlers read from a script, filling in a box-ticking form and have barely any or no training.

It’s not their fault, the government simply don’t want them to really help the people that need help because that would result in successful claims, and that wouldn’t accommodate their unemployment figures, and any help is left to massively overstretched Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB) volunteers, but the odds are you won’t be able to get an appointment with them in time – their funding has been cut!

A decade has witnessed how much the DWP, the Job Centre and associated offices have changed. Ten years ago they were accommodating, even nice and I dare say, caring about peoples situations and circumstances and would accommodate as much as possible.

But, since then and not down to all of them personally, it’s as if they’re actually handing out their own money from their own pockets, and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are at breaking point and essentially crushed with people coming in for help.

There are other professionals out there who can assist such as the Welfare Rights Officers, Age UK and other charities dealing in chosen regions but even they’re at breaking point with the government slashing money from those funds as well.

There are even less well-known places that a person can go. If you’re a tenant of a Housing Association or local authority resident, these normally have in-house benefit advisors, as this is no doubt their chief source of income, and if tenants don’t have benefits, they, in turn, don’t get housing benefits et cetera.

Another place where help can be obtained is specific specialised hospitals such as MacMillan who can assist, and in some areas, there are volunteer groups who can assist in completing and submitting forms, and there are countless vulnerable people out there who, due to their illness or disabilities are even unable and don’t know about the help, or are really unable to approach those who can support them.

The situation got worse in 2002 when the Employment Service took over the Benefits Agency and they didn’t realise how complex benefits were, it must have been quite a culture shock, but the DWP like all government agencies are striving to do more with less and struggling because of George Osborne’s autocratic slash to their budget which has pushed the DWP to move towards telephone and online services that is more affordable and simple to manage rather than friendly handlers getting the people the services that they require.

But this doesn’t work so well for people who are sick, stressed by their circumstances and simply don’t have the ability to cope with complex problems, and job seeking, claiming benefits and maintaining entitlement is usually much more difficult and demands more energy than most people realise.

Therefore, some people suffer and their benefits are lost or delayed or their frustrations prevent some people from claiming. For these people there is the fear of hardworking people that have suddenly become reliant on a system they’ve dodged all their lives, and now they’re hit with illnesses or disabilities that now make them lose their independence and income.

The government are tough on these people, and they don’t get much guidance on their entitlements. Of course, there are people out there that shun the sick and disabled community because they consider that anybody on benefits, whether they’re disabled or not are scroungers on benefits with their fancy mobile phones and too many children.

It’s these people that bolster the idea that all people claiming benefits fall into this classification even if that’s not what they meant. Nobody is insinuating that there are people who do exploit the system, but the danger comes when that tiny number of cases is amplified into “They all do it!” and echoing this kind of generalised claims serves to immortalise that hypothesis, and then it becomes difficult to see what is the truth and what’s not.

And some people are so broken that they’d like to see people on benefits covered in burlap, wandering around barefooted because some people are so insecure and judgemental, assuming that everybody on benefit is bleeding the system dry.

There’s a bunch of disabled people that go to charities to help with their forms to claim sickness associated benefits like PIP, ESA and Attendance Allowance. Usually, they get a minimum of an hour and half of that is face to face to chat with voluntary advisors.

Claimants are usually urged to bring with them someone that’s familiar to them, as frequently claimants misunderstand the deliberately rigged questions or unintentionally play down their disabilities and illnesses, and having another person with them could actually correct things that the claimant has missed out.

You don’t get a lot of time with the advisor and most of that is routine ID verifying and fact-finding about their name and address and date of birth, National Insurance (NI) number et cetera, all of which they have to go through before they can get to the important part of the questionnaire, the illness, disability and its outcomes.

Sad to say, these people have no chance, and the knowledge on what’s happening to the vulnerable in our community is out there for all to see, with disability charities and support groups continually circulating press releases and appeals.

There’s no justification for stupidity, and our electoral society is essentially supporting this, and there’s no possibility of diversity at the polling box, and the United Kingdom is changing into a country where more and more people are becoming prejudiced and uncaring, and some even relish the suffering of others.

These are the people that are very ignorant because most of us are only one illness or a piece of rotten luck away from requiring state support, and some are even proud of how dumb they are, coupled with unclothed prejudice and economic stupidity of the decision to leave the EU, and we should question as we stroll down the street which of these people fall into the category of “The world would be a better place without disabled and sick people.”

It’s probably approximately a third of the population, and the rest of them are too pig lazy to even vote, so in effect, they’re just as bad, and there’s a bunch of people who are convinced that somehow the economic crash was because of people on benefits, but what about those tax-dodging millionaires?

MAYBE I’M IN THE WRONG JOB!

For call handlers at the DWP their job can be very demeaning, as well as the claimant on the other end of the telephone, but before you get through to the call handler you end up speaking to a robot, press 1 for Cancer and press 2 for any other illness, because the benefits system is cruel and far too rigid.

And ultimately, with speech recognition, DWP pawns will no longer be needed because employees are there solely to manage calls and to reach as many targets as possible, but for decades there’s been this recognition of these systemic failures, however, the public sector appears to be immune from wanting to fix anything.

There’s no fairness in the system in the United Kingdom and this malicious and corrupt legislation which is legislated every day in this sewer of a country, and the well-connected aristocracies and the 98 per cent of the gentry conspiracy, control everything behind the scenes in there, not so clandestine fellowships.

And our muppet government bend over backwards for this crap so that they can shaft the rest of the population, and politicians of both stripes enjoy talking about modernising and finding 21st-century solutions to 21st-century problems.

But when it comes to welfare they can’t seem to get out of the 18th century way of thinking when it comes to the worthy and undeserving poor, and neoliberal democracy is making life uncertain for more and more people and disciplinary welfare is part of that.

We need to adopt new strategies and progress past this harsh stigmatising policy of support we now suffer, and we need a more civilised policy which could make life better for people in need, but for senior civil servants and bureaucrats the concept of modernising has become synonymous with privatising, lack of funding, outsourcing, and not giving a shit.

If something feels cold and callous it normally suggests that it is, and claimants shouldn’t have to go into their medical circumstances on a form if they’ve had a diagnosis from their doctor of longer than 7 years, and their doctor has enough training to know when a person is malingering or not.

And doctors are being countermanded by civil servants using a vile government system to make people work who are obviously incapable of working, and this is clearly really draconian, and this is another stark reminder of the total anarchy David Cameron and George Osborne have built in their demonising of the sick, disabled and the poor.

It’s shocking how this country now violates the disabled in every way imaginable, and now this is the United Kingdom, the supposed country of humanity, revealing how prejudiced it actually is when it comes to the disabled minority who are unable to fight back, and it’s utterly shameful!

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Westminster took their ten grand increase and pounded the sick and disabled into poverty, and for the true blues who believe that’s incorrect, remember that for the last six years the disabled have only had a 1 per cent rise in their benefits, or approximately £1 a week.

Whilst MPs have had a rise two hundred times and that’s for one year, so now the disabled are being socially excluded and the benefit claimants will once again have a decision to heat or eat throughout the winter months, and 1 million at food banks is a public scandal.

The land of freedom and humanity, I don’t think so, and the persecution of the disabled in this country brings a resemblance to the persecution we fought so courageously against and gave so many lives for 70 years ago. Shame on every MP in Westminster that they don’t see, and the exploitation they exercise on their people on an everyday basis.

 

 

 

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Tories Plot To Oust Theresa May

“She must go!” Raises the roar from the Tory seats.

We’re about to be chained to the EU without any voting powers! We’ll be a slave nation, just as some people predicted a month before the election. It’s all Theresa May’s failing, off with her head! And so they meet in conspiratorial groups to quietly plan her ruin while bragging to journalists about the support they don’t have and things they can’t guarantee.

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If anyone has a sense of the 2016 déjà vu that’s presumably because the Conservative Party are re-fighting the EU election with themselves, and without learning a single lesson of how they messed it up last time.

Brexit is the first time in British democratic history that the manifesto turned up two years following the election, and we’re all told that despite the apparent imperfections this decision was binding, unchangeable, and must be upheld at all expenses.

Which is a little like having an arranged marriage with a man of Turkish descent who you’re told has both substance and humour, and hoisting the veil to see the groom is a gurning Boris Johnson.

As with the EU, they have acquired an illogical aversion to a thing they wanted, encouraged, and rebuked with doing all the hard stuff, and now they have decided it is time to defenestrate Theresa May, just as the EU arbitrators say a settlement can be done inside 6 weeks and she seems to have squared the circle of doing an especially disruptive thing rather smoothly.

And they’re using the same strategy as they did with the EU, blaming her of high-handedness, stupidity, distortions, unnecessary paperwork, and being anti-democratic, and to top it all they have absolutely no real idea what to do if they get their way.

Not a single scooby doo about who, exactly, will be smart enough to run things.

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Boris Johnson is a mad wheelie bin of confusion, scattering old pants and stinky chicken juices in his path. His international relationships have already created diplomatic trepidation, abandoned a British subject to an Iranian prison and managed to make the White House seem poised and thoughtful by comparison.

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You wouldn’t leave him and Donald Trump alone in a ball-pit, never mind give them nuclear weapons, and giving Boris Johnson the keys to Number 10 would be like holding a Black Friday sale in a brothel, a well-lubricated spree of quivering bellies.

Boris Johnson is interesting, but so are toddlers who are still struggling with their motor skills and continence. Which brings us to Lord Voldemort Rees-Mogg, who wants child abuse victims to bear the babies of their rapists, and thinks that 50 years is a moderate period of time to wait for national prosperity, and no doubt cleans his teeth with the rib bones of peasants who have offended.

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Under his tenure, Downing Street might not be plagued by desires of the flesh, but it would have to put up with strategies centred on investment funds, paperwork annotated in Latin and a nursemaid determining when it was the Prime Minister’s bedtime.

With Mogg in charge of Brexit, there’d be a border wall in Northern Ireland guarded by gamekeepers, fishing boats in the Channel crewed by Dementors and a police force composed of beadles, child-catchers and Dixon of Dock Green.

That might all float the boats of the Tory faithful, but Mogg could get Labour into power faster than reintroducing the poll tax of 1380.

After those two are knocked out of court, the Tories are left with the snake-like Michael Gove and Sajid Javid, a man tipped for the best post solely because his dad once drove a bus, although there was no evidence of whether he drove the bus well, or had any inkling about where he was going, or if his passengers yelled at his cornering.

If that’s the requirement to manage the country, Gove must be beating himself for being adopted by a fishmonger. A man proficient of Shakespearian conspiracy and who seems to be a version of Iago turned inside out in the wash, the best that could be expected of Gove is that he is a Snape-like double agent secretly working to save us all.

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But the Queen would abdicate before agreeing to watch him slurp tea every week. Tory MPs would freeze to death, Vladimir Putin would be allowed across the threshold and once Gove had access to the nation’s blood banks they’d be sucked dry.

If Brexit has been cocked up, it wasn’t Theresa May who did it. She’s arguably had a near-impossible job to achieve a referendum about a vision, extract a nation from 40 years of custom and legislation, and find a way to regulate our borders when our only land border with the EU has previously chosen not to have any restrictions on it.

Brexit was declared a failure by the same headbangers on the run from rationality who are currently chanting “Theresa must go”, and who fought for a thing without any thought about what to do once they actually got it.

And we have all been able to see that, once they had the thing they hoped for, they started to attack each other. They’ve wasted two years glutting themselves on each other’s soft entrails and are presently raising their gore-smeared faces to notice, with trepidation, that they’re beset by DNA evidence and eyewitnesses.

With 6 months to go until a Brexit which, fortunately for most of us, may well not make our lives much different, the vultures have started to circle above the heads of those who wasted millions and caused anarchy for so little purpose.

They’re now interlocked in a scurry for survival, sliding through each other’s bodily fluids in a struggle to shift the guilt onto someone, anyone, else. But if the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing repeatedly in the hope of a different outcome, then Tories Not Having Any Sensible Plan At All is like watching them hold a fireworks display in the Parliamentary basement, a party everyone else will dodge.

Boris (Boffin) Johnson and countless other fabulists have a lot to answer for. Hopefully, the day will come when they can all be rounded up and put in front of a court for misleading and lying to the public while in public office because they’re all a disgrace.

Badger Cull

Forty thousand badgers risk being killed in the latest slaughter intended to clear out TB in cattle. Shooters will take aim at the animals in 32 areas across 11 English counties, including two where the programme will take place for the first time.

A total of 40,892 face the death sentence under proposals drafted by the Environment Department, which awarded 11 new permits for executing the creatures. The scheme has already been in operation in Dorset, Cornwall, Devon, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cheshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Staffordshire and Cumbria have been added to this year’s slaughter, and a total of 19,724 badgers were slaughtered last year, indicating a doubling of the death toll if all the animals designated for slaughter are destroyed.

By supporting 11 new cull permits which now brings the number in England to 32 over 40,000 more badgers could be destroyed this autumn bringing the total destroyed since 2013 to over 75,000, and by 2020 over 150,000 are expected to have been destroyed as a consequence of the badger slaughter, driving this preserved species to the brink of extinction in parts of Britain where it has been occupied since the Ice Age.

Experts have condemned the badgers for stoking the spread of TB in cattle, and last year, more than 33,000 cows were killed in England to regulate the disease.

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Farming Minister George Eustice high pointed figures noting that in the two counties where culling first took place, outbreaks of TB in cattle had halved, and in Gloucestershire, the percentage rate has decreased from 10.4 per cent before culling started to 5.6 per cent in the 12 months following the fourth cull. While in Somerset it has fallen from 24 per cent to 12 per cent.

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Taking widespread action to stop bovine TB disease of cattle from the pool of infection in local badger communities is a vital part of the government’s 25-year plan to exterminate the disease in England.

Backed by stronger cattle checks including those areas seeing a decrease in cattle-badger-cattle disease, improved biosecurity and vaccination, and the commissioning of additional areas is important to understand infection control benefits across England.

It’s a sad day when our animals have to be culled and reports that it’s already failed is pretty frustrating, and this unfortunate development is born of a perversion of the true facts, backed by fake promises and propaganda dumped onto the farming community.

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So much for Gove being a new man, feeling compassion for all breathing things, but that was always a stretch of the imagination and the reality that they don’t listen to the experts, and that’s only part of the reason. They disregard the fact that not only is it heartless it’s also ineffective and not cost-effective.

The Tories appear to be masters in creating destruction, devastation and misery because there is mounting proof that badgers have little to do with the spread of bovine tuberculosis. And there are no grounds whatsoever for thinking that badger slaughter has made the smallest impact on the epidemic, but the government are apparently pushing forward, supported by the National Farmers Union.

Vaccination was pointed out at being much cheaper and more humane and more effective, but like all reports that the media do, once all the badgers are gone they’ll publish that vaccination is the safest way to go, and the government are like a rancid stench because no consideration whatsoever is given to the suffering of the badgers, and an expert panel presented a finding that the cull was neither humane nor effective.

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In fact, from David Cameron’s government, there was a shocking acknowledgement from his government to ensure that there was no independent panel for the next round of culls.

It now seems that bovine TB is spread to badgers from infected cattle, which the Badgers then go on to spread to other herds, and it certainly isn’t the badger’s crime as they’ve been tainted by mismanagement of cattle farmers and a failure to execute a wide vaccination programme.

It’s not only badgers that can spread bovine TB, but deer can also, so what are we going to do, wipe out all the indigenous wild animal population of the country to protect the cattle farmers?

The contribution of badgers to bovine TB may only be 6 per cent. That suggests that at least 94 per cent of the problem rests with the cattle herd itself. The overriding evidence is that the method of skin testing and elimination of individual reactive cows leaves infected and contagious animals in the herd, and so, of course, the problem returns time after time.

Save money, destroy a badger. That’s the Tory opinion, even if it suggests our entire wildlife’s been wiped out, and there’s no social conscience, and no concern for the natural environment either, and condemning reinfection on wildlife is a suave piece of manipulation, but it’s not backed by any proof.

Quite the opposite, and it’s worth mentioning also that even inside the so-called hotspot zones for bovine TB, numerous farms have never harboured the disease.

Cattle could easily be vaccinated against bovine TB but it’s too expensive and it’s cheaper to destroy the poor animals, and we should be concerned it doesn’t rub off onto humans because someday our government will be announcing that it’s too costly to vaccinate human beings and more cost-effective to exterminate us!

OR IS THAT WHAT THEY’RE TRYING TO DO ALREADY!

Culling badgers is a pill that is being given as a consolation prize to farmers who are desperate for something to be done. It’s a placebo. What the farmers need is a proper testing regime that really does clean up their herds.

Grandad, 62, Battered By Six-Foot Security Guard

A grandad of 62 was attacked by a muscle-bound security watchdog after he took his disabled wife for a benefits assessment. Keith Langham was left with blood pouring from a head injury after helping his wife Karen, 61, with the interview for her Personal Independence Payments.

She was told that people like her ‘needed to learn to help themselves’ amid ugly scenes at her first appointment which was carried out on behalf of Independent Assessment Services, formally known as Atos, in Carlisle, Cumbria.

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At the second interview, Keith, who is 5ft 5in tall and 10-and-a-half stone, had to be taken to hospital after he was grabbed by powerfully-built six-footer Chris Bryan, then aged 30. He shoved him into a door then held Keith in a headlock where he fought for breath.

The episode was recorded on Keith’s phone before police were summoned to the centre in Newcastle Business Park. Keith a Grandfather of two had to have seven stitches in his head, and his wife then faced the ordeal of having to give evidence against Bryan, a ‘Boxercise’ personal trainer who was found guilty of assault by beating in May this year.

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Bryan who is a pretty big guy and about 6ft 4inch tall and 16 stone, heavily built, with a shaven head was a security guard at the centre and said that Keith had to vacate the building, but Bryan was not bearing any identification. Keith questioned who Bryan was and he said that he didn’t have to tell Keith and that they had to leave.

As Keith and his wife were heading towards the reception one of the nurses said ‘get them out through the fire doors.’ Keith could feel Bryan’s breath on the back of his neck, as he put one hand between Keith’s shoulder blades, the other in the small of his back and propelled into him, launching Keith into the door frame.

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He then had Keith in a choke hold and Keith said, which was recorded by audio, ‘I’m calm, can you let me go?.’

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This sort of response by Bryan was random, cowardly, and excessive.

Keith’s wife Karen who suffered a string of strokes in 2002 and walks with a cane went into meltdown. She was yelling at Bryan to let her husband go, but Bryan had Keith in a choke hold for approximately two minutes.

The couple, of Haltwhistle, Northumberland, now understand the second appointment had been flagged by the assessors owing to difficulties with their workers at the first interview, and the security guard was brought in as a consequence.

The whole process was callous, to put it mildly, and these assessments are especially harsh and it was shameful what occurred.

Northumbria Police was called to the incident on Aug 18, 2017, and Keith was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, where he received seven stitches in the head wound.

Bryan, of Birtley, Co Durham, was found guilty of his crime at North Tyneside Magistrates court following a hearing. He was given a 12-month community order, with 150 hours of unpaid work. He was further ordered to pay £620 in court costs, a £85 victim surcharge, and £150 compensation to Keith.

Bryan has appealed against the conviction, and that is expected to be heard before Newcastle crown court on Sept 28. He refused to comment, and the Independent Assessment Services emphasised their delivery partner running the site had promptly discharged Bryan from service and a thorough investigation was conducted.

Complete co-operation was given to the police in their own investigation, and Bryan then left the contracted security firm with whom he was hired soon after the event and before any additional disciplinary action could be taken.

The DWP paid Independent Assessment Services and Capita almost £255 million last year for PIP assessments, and a cancer-stricken father died days before he was set to appeal against his benefits being removed. Joseph MacMillan, of Glasgow, was considered fit to work while further suffering from Diabetes, Pancreatitis, Heart problems, and Depression.

Mr MacMillan, who had to have his nose removed owing to Cancer, had £8 in his bank account when he died aged just 56 on August 9, only 15 days before he proposed to appeal against his PIP being cancelled.

Security services are supposed to screen all their security personnel before hiring them, and they’re supposed to have complete police checks, but you’ll always get the cowboy services that other companies will not dispense with, and the cheapest ones are the ones they use.

This security guard was over 6 ft tall, and Keith was 5 ft 5 inches tall, Bryan did not have to use force to get him out of the building, and this sort of behaviour was simply out and out bullying. Most doormen pride themselves on never having to beat anyone, and had this security guard not been so brain dead, he could have easily have escorted him out of the building without any injury.

Atos and Capita do not own the premises that they do the assessments in, the hubs are rented and the workers are employed by private companies, which are not all registered to work by the General Medical Council (GMC), some are foreign with no UK qualifications or certification.

Some are retirees, some are physiotherapists, paramedics and school nurses et cetera, but how would you feel being assessed by such incompetents who get approximately £300 per case, as well as a gratuity if they fail enough people to save the DWP money?

But actually it’s never been about saving money, it’s about exploiting the most defenceless people in society because filthy wealthy toffs feel they should be the only ones to get bonuses, not people who they deem to be the most putrid scumbags on the planet.

This is what happens when a country is governed by the excretions of society, backed by clueless imbeciles.

These are defenceless people who are genuinely sick and are being denied benefits and Atos and Capita are using people who haven’t got a clue about their illness that affects their everyday life. They assess how you look and if you say you can lift your arms, then they deem you fit to work, these are barbarian times and it needs to stop NOW!

The problem with this is that the Tories debate is that there are fraudsters, but that is so tiny compared to the rest that are genuinely sick and who are handled like felons by the state, but the true offenders are the wealthy tax dodgers with offshore accounts who pay nothing into our society.

The security guard has no authority to attack anyone, and if he was actually a true instructor then he should have had the discipline to not use force, it was not in his job description to attack anyone, and if there was a problem the police should have been summoned.

Assessment centres use CCTV, but the CCTV is largely used to observe people roaming about the building and observing you in the waiting area to conclude if your claims are bogus.

I frequently question how the powers that be actually sleep at night knowing that people are destitute and sick with worry and stressed and the only income they have is so limited, that they don’t have enough money to pay their rent because in the mind of the Government everyone is a liar.

I truly hope that they appreciate their nice warm homes because they don’t have to agonise over money, the money that they’re taking from innocent sick people. The point is the Government tar everyone with the same brush, and that’s the problem and they should be ashamed of themselves, and not everyone is a liar like they believe they are.

Keith is a 62-year-old man, and I would imagine isn’t as physically fit as the security guard who harmed him, so he was helpless against Bryan. Keith may have been identified as a troublemaker, but that’s not a criminal offence unless you can prove criminal grounds, but then the assessment centre who was dealing with his wife, if they were actually that worried, should have communicated with the police beforehand, and obviously they didn’t, they simply set their Gorilla onto him instead.

Keith was launched in the back by the security guard, what was Keith doing, reversing into the security guard? So, the old man answered the security guard back and might have offended his pubescent brain, so Bryan waited until Keith’s back was turned and pushed him into the door head first which makes the security guard a spineless bully.

But the fact is if Tory government simply trusted doctors opinions like we have done for decades upon decades we wouldn’t have this mayhem now, along with an unbelievable so-called assessments being overthrown in court, and the Government could save the taxpayers hundreds of millions if we only put such decisions back the way that they were.

The Tory government are really to blame for putting innocent people in this situation by using anti-social villains to implement their degradation, and when involved in a job with the public a person should be adequately qualified in all regards of public performance as no one has the right to attack or injure you.

The only people who are lawfully allowed to restrain you are the police, and to even touch a person is intimidation, but obviously, this security guard thought that he was above and beyond the law.

As for the DWP saying they’re completely committed to the disabled, it’s only a statement and it means nothing. The main problem is that too many face to face assessors and DWP decision makers are gravely inadequate, and it’s a travesty.

It seems to be that only a limited number of people are being given benefits at the first hurdle in the hope that it scares the claimant enough to give up or die waiting, and the DWP is managing a brutal and faulty policy, and rather than targeting the malingerers they throw everyone in the same bracket and put many thousands of people through needless stress when their lives are hard enough.

Apparently, we have the Royalty of Cruelty here with Iain Duncan Smith and Ester McVile. You know when you’re young and you have those daisies and you pick off each petal, “He loves me, he loves me not.” Well, here’s Smith and McVile, “They live, nah, they die.”

The policy of putting disabled people through assessments has been made extremely traumatic for them under this Government and it’s consequently reasonable if people get discouraged and maybe elevate their voice, but unless the husband of the disabled woman was actually assaulting a member of staff, there really was no justification for this sort of brutality from a very poorly trained security guard.

Claimants are being rejected by Atos and Capita only to drop dead a day later. The system is defective, and if it wasn’t then people wouldn’t need to raise their voices and get annoyed.

The system clearly needs fixing, and these private firms who most of the time don’t even have medical experience need to be abandoned, and this entire mayhem is because of the pathetic Tory party who handles everyone who is somewhat different as a threat to their profits.

No matter what the old man did, there’s no justification at all for brutality, the guard was clearly extremely badly qualified, not to mention, totally abandoned his duty of care as evidenced by the man’s injuries.

Force should only ever be used as an absolute last resort, and if this incompetent lump couldn’t control a 62-year-old man, then obviously he’s in the wrong job. Not to mention he had Keith in a choke hold which is forbidden and totally banned within the security industry, not to mention super dangerous.

Those people that are sick are being slandered and treated worse than trash, not because it saves the public pocket any actual money but because the Tories are ideologically predisposed to it. The trouble is, there are terrible dangerous people out there that let them get away with it, and those people will swallow anything the Government tells them.

These people will convene on the sidelines and tell you that people on benefits and sickness and those who are disabled are affecting our budget, but you should be far more worried about the Government misleading you. The Tories will say anything to distract attention away from tax breaks for capitalists and corporations, and Theresa May and her forerunners have brainwashed the public to shun the poor.

And even if this couple were a tad bad-tempered at her earlier assessment, I’ve been to some of these assessments where the workers are ignorant, appalling and incredibly uncaring, enough to dishevel the wings of a saint, and there’s definitely no justification for mistreating an elderly gentleman and wounding him.

The security guard is appealing, and obviously not so appealing from his mug shot, and on his appeal, his sentence should actually be extended because nobody has the authority, particularly if they’re in a job of power, to harm or maim another person.

The United Kingdom is getting a little like Hitler’s Germany. Hitler’s racial cleansing programme actually began with the euthanasia of the disabled, then moved on to Gipsies and Jews. Now we have the disabled and all classes of the unemployed.

The Government Has Stolen Our Money

Sofa-surfing and queuing for the food bank are not where a generation of women who are now in their 60s ever predicted after a lifetime of active work and child-rearing. But since the Government shifted the goalposts, twice, adjusting the age at which women born in the 1950s could claim their state pension, more and more are finding themselves homeless and poverty-stricken.

Without exception, they’re resentful and furious at what they define as daylight robbery with each one, on average, short-changed by well over £40,000 by the time they reach pensionable age, and there have been widespread reports lately of women in pension limbo-land who are scraping by on only £3 a week.

The 1995 Pensions Act to equalise the age of entitlement of the state pension for men and women to 65 was expected to be phased over ten years, totalling four-and-a-half working years for women. But in 2011 this change was ratcheted up by an added 18 months, leaving countless women having to wait until they’re 66 to claim their state pension.

For millions, it came as a blow, and globally, they profess to never have received a notification telling them what was going to happen, and now as coach-loads of them plan to gather in London next month, cutting a purple drape across the capital in their trademark colour, the Gloucestershire group will be heralding the campaign call, loud and clear.

Following 2015 there has been an increasing campaign around the country of WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) advocates. The government has stolen money that is rightfully theirs and it didn’t even tell them until it was far too late for most of them to make plans.

Maud Lomberg, coordinator for Cirencester hasn’t however met anyone who has been in receipt of a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) setting out the Government’s plans. Some women in demanding jobs took early retirement, entirely assuming they could survive until their pension kicked in at 60, and abruptly they discovered they had an additional six years to wait, and there are women out there who are still oblivious of the changes.

It was all forced through without fuss with the overall opinion that a group of old women wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyhow, and if that was the reasoning behind it, the decision-makers seriously underestimated this generation of women.

And now women resent that they’ve been cheated of their retirement plans, and who are the Government to turn their lives upside down like this? These women paid their contributions and they had a contract that they would go to work and pay in and retire at 60, and now the Government has taken what is legitimately theirs, and the Government simply assume they can simply get away with it.

dwp.pngAnd some women who were born in 1955 have been told by the DWP that because of the delay, they will not even break even on their state pension until they reach their 86th birthday. Most women don’t even reach their 86th birthday, but that’s the whole intent. You work all your life, you pay into your state pension, but you won’t even get it if you’re dead so they would have paid all that money for absolutely nothing.

And presently pensions are a complex trail of correspondence, which leaves them baffled and discouraged and makes them feel like they’ve worked for nothing, and all of them feel greatly let down by the Government.

Some have resigned themselves to the fact that they will have to work until they’re 66 but what they find especially discouraging is that despite having 48 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions they have been told that they will need to continue paying as long as they’re working, no surprise most young people don’t want to go to work because they’re not crazy enough to let the government take advantage of them.

In 2016 the amount of qualifying years of paying National Insurance was also changed, increasing from 30 to 35, and numerous women of that generation didn’t have salaries as high as men’s and weren’t permitted to pay into pensions and certainly couldn’t afford private pensions, and to be handled like this is contemptible.

How on earth are our children now supposed to have faith in a system that has failed us so terribly?

Most women in the 1955 bracket have worked laboriously since they were 15 years old, they have brought up a family and now want to use what years they have left enjoying their grandchildren and supporting their children, and should be able to do so on the pension they were guaranteed they would get at 60.

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In the last year, food has been given out to women at food banks, but the food bank was only supposed to be for short-term emergency relief, but these women will require relief for years in some circumstances, and the Government maintains it’s delivering balance by shifting the pension age for women and then they have the temerity to say it’s long overdue.

The Government are now telling women in their 60s to retrain or take on apprenticeships, which leaves me as a woman boiling with rage. Even if they did retrain or take on apprenticeships they wouldn’t get work afterwards because most businesses want young blood, people who are in it for the long haul and aren’t going to keel over and die on them.

The Government are simply fleecing everyone, making them think that they will get work afterwards but of course they won’t. The Government primarily want you to work until they bleed you dry, it’s all about accumulating money and hoping that they will work you into the ground so they don’t have to pay you any state pension at all.

These women are morally and contractually entitled to their pensions, and there’s been a clear rise in poverty amongst 60-62-year-old women, and the number of women aged over 60 are now claiming benefits, and that has more than increased since 2013, and there’s been a five-fold rise in the number of women over 60 made to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Women have been pressured to sell their homes because of the fiscal cliff edge they face, but it’s not that women want to be treated differently, but women born in the 1950s are bearing the brunt of a change that’s been introduced too fast.

The chairman of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) has presented a Private Member’s Bill on this matter which is currently awaiting a debating opening and also currently waiting is the Government’s coming Pensions Bill, which would be a fitting vehicle to execute the campaign demands on in the form of amendments.

But according to the Government, this is all being done in the interest of fairness! There is nothing fair about this at all, everyone pays National Insurance contribution for their state pension, and I emphasise PAID. Many work laboriously all their life, and the single thing they have to look forward to is that pension, so they can then decompress with their families, their grandchildren, and their children.

Now it’s a work till you drop shop because the Government want to conserve cash, which suggests they twisted the facts to everyone by moving the goal posts, but they’re more than prepared to allow asylum seekers into the United Kingdom and give them what they want at the drop of a hat.

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And the Prime Minister Theresa May should intercede and address the potential solutions of recompense because the Governments reforms were executed quicker than agreed and left women with no time to make alternative arrangements, which have reached overwhelming consequences, and now the Government should be pulling towards a suitable solution.

A remarkable 3.8 million women have been affected by the state pension rise, and every day there are women who are struggling to make ends meet, women who can’t afford to pay their bills, women who have had to sell their homes to get by, women who are now reliant on their families for their income, women who are no longer able to provide care to loved ones and are forced to return to work, women who are sofa surfing or sleeping in cars.

Women were given little to no notification of the exceedingly significant increase in their retirement age, and all have experienced a loss of income, with some losing as much as £45,000 as a consequence, and now the aim is to get the government to reconsider pension arrangements for women born in the 1950s who have or will be financially deprived by the variations to balance the state pension age between men and women, and acknowledge the costings for three solutions.

Countless women have worked laboriously for 49 years full time on low pay and have never claimed benefits in their life but were informed when they were 59 that they had to work another 6 years. These women believed they would be safe after paying National Insurance contributions for 49 years but now they’re still having to work which is pretty distressing for them.

These women paid into a system called National Insurance contributions, they paid and it should be theirs and if they had been paying into a private pension and that occurred, the company would have been taken to court and been made to pay what they were in debt to at the age that they said they would get their money, but the Government appear to be unmindful of this reality, and they appear to believe that they’re beyond any crime, and it’s simply a bullying strategy by our Government.

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The state pension was recognised by Parliament, but Parliament appears to have the power to shift state benefits when they like, but this is what equality looks like folks.

Of course, the Government will tell you that they don’t have the reserves to do that, not unless they’re on the set of “Back to the future.”, and they have some kind of DeLorean machine…

Most women that we’re talking about are in their fifties or sixties, most of the men will be younger and won’t remember an era when women didn’t work full time but stayed at home and cared for their family.

Many women were frowned upon if they returned to work, therefore the opportunity to pay the small stamp duty so that they could use their husband’s contributions to claim their state pension.

Women had limited worth in the working environment, this is the environment that women from that era knew, and very few women had any aspirations or a working career.

The reforms to state pension were induced stealthily and the large preponderance of women really didn’t know what the switches meant for them, and the odds were actually stacked against women born in the fifties, and reading the Financial Times was just not considered for most women except if they worked in finance, but the Government wants to punish women for neglecting to read government pamphlets et cetera.

Our Government is unable to confirm that they notified women, and the Government failed fifties women, and two former ministers acknowledged that and the Government through the former chancellor said that to increase the ages of women’s state pension was the simplest way to save money he knew, so where’s the equality in that comment?.

These women paid into their National Insurance contributions towards their state pension regardless of their financial stature. They entered into what should have been recognised a promise to pay those contributions until their 60th birthday, and then receive a reimbursement founded on those contributions.

To amend the terms and conditions so harshly for some is totally insufferable to any decent person, and if you had taken an endowment or a pension out with an end date and the Insurance company said you’re going to have to wait another 6 years to get your money because we haven’t got the money now to pay you, I think that person would get really upset, but only our Government would expect to get away with it.

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But to add insult to injury, after all these women have paid towards the NHS and pensions all their lives, the Government is now saying they want them to voluntarily pay more to help with the cost of the elderly as the elderly now have the audacity to live longer!

I’m not sure if people are really living longer like the Government have stated, in fact, if anything its flatlined a little, so the mystery is, why is the Government telling us they need to raise the pension age?

Furthermore, where is all that National Insurance money going to, that people have paid in? Maybe pensions shouldn’t be under the authority of the Government and should be controlled by an autonomous body who make sure that the money is put in the proper pension pot.

This Government isn’t for the people, it’s immoral and unfair, and we must petition to change this, not just for ourselves but for our future generations.

The DWP Is Accused Of Hiding Secret Reports

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has contravened the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) in an apparent effort to block the release of secret reports, and in 2017, the DWP began recruiting community partners to work in jobcentres. It endeavoured to recruit around 200 of them, represented by the DWP as people with personal and professional experience of disability.

Their purpose would be to work with Jobcentre staff, to:

build their capability and provide valuable first-hand insight into the issues individuals with a health condition or disability face in securing and sustaining employment… Community Partners will also engage with local employers to help improve the recruitment and retention of disabled people and people with health conditions.

According to the Disability News Service (DNS), community partners submit regular reports on their work, often based on their experiences of visiting jobcentres. It states these reports are secret.

The DNS submitted a Freedom of Information request to the DWP, asking to view the reports written by community partners in London jobcentres in 2017 and 2018. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, authorities are expected to reply to requests for information inside 20 working days.

The DWP did not reply inside that time, so the DNS contacted them twice more to ask for the information. The DNS reports that a staff member from the DWP’s FOI department told the service:

I chased it again this morning and I don’t know why it has taken so long. I have reminded them of their duty to reply in time and that is where I am with it…

I have tried. I don’t know why they are digging their heels. I am sorry.

In a statement, the DWP asked the DNS not to quote what the staff member stated in its reporting. The DWP further stated:

If you are unhappy with the handling of an FOI request please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office. The latest statistics show that DWP answered 95 per cent of FOI requests within 20 working days, exceeding the information commissioner’s compliance threshold of 90 per cent.

The DWP is a lot tougher on claimants than it appears to be on itself. People can be sanctioned for countless reasons, including being late for appointments or failing to update their CV. In its guidance to claimants on how to keep their benefits, the DWP recommends:

Provide as much information as you can, as quickly as possible.

The Guardian reported on the case of a disabled woman who lost her benefits after she failed to send in a form on time because of her sickness. And a former jobcentre staff member maintains they were supposed to sanction people if they were five minutes late for an interview.

So the DWP can be late, but others can’t. Welcome to the department’s double standards.

Not only that, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been conspiring with Sainsbury’s to spy on welfare claimants and disabled people.

In its CCTV use and requests privacy policy, Sainsbury’s states:

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Occasionally we share CCTV with public or regulatory authorities such as the police or the DWP or in response to requests from individuals seeking to protect their rights or the rights of others.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson reported to The Canary:

As will be the case with other businesses and public organisations, from time to time we will receive requests to share CCTV with the police or regulatory authorities. We will consider each request on its own legal merits and only share where appropriate.

A DWP spokesperson told The Canary:

Surveillance helps us to prevent and detect crime and is only used in strict accordance with the law. The DWP uncovers thousands of benefit fraud cases every year and recovered a record £1.1bn in overpaid benefits last year.

The DWP collects information when it examines suspected benefit fraud is nothing new. As it said in response to a Freedom of Information request (FOI):

Fraud investigators can where appropriate access publicly available information, such as on Facebook, Twitter etc., to gather evidence. Investigators cannot create fake social media profiles to engage with suspects in order to obtain evidence about that individual and again these activities are carefully managed and controlled.

Fraud investigators can request CCTV footage as part of a specific investigation or operation under and in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the CCTV Code of Practice 2008, issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

There has been anecdotal evidence that the DWP has been asking leisure companies, like theme parks, for CCTV footage of claimants using their facilities. But further, this big brother approach to welfare claimants and particularly disabled people has been growing for years.

And the UN denounced successive Conservative-led governments of having some responsibility for society seeing disabled people as parasites, living on social benefits, and living on the taxes of other people. It previously stated that successive governments had built a public perception where disabled people:

have been negatively portrayed as being dependent or making a living out of benefits; perpetrating deception as benefit claimants; being idle and putting a strain on taxpayers, who are paying money for nothing.

The evidence verifies the UN’s claims, and between 2010 and 2015 the public reported over 1.6 million cases of alleged benefit fraud to the DWP. But of these, 85 per cent were incorrect. Furthermore, as The Canary previously reported, actual benefit fraud is comparatively rare totalling 1.1per cent of the tax credits bill. For the DWP, benefit fraud and error accounted for 1.9 per cent of its total bill.

Meanwhile, according to a group of experts, disability hate crime increased by 213 per cent under the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government. This has all happened while the people have been served a TV diet of ‘poverty porn‘ on shows like The Great British Benefits Handout.

The United Kingdom has a hostile environment where welfare claimants and disabled people live under a veil of doubt and unworthiness. It’s this which makes Sainsbury’s plotting with the DWP all the more concerning, if we have reached the point where welfare beneficiaries can’t even do their shopping without fear of being ‘shopped’ to the DWP, then the policy is even more damaged than we imagined.

Especially when a woman with mental health problems was asked by DWP disability benefit assessors why she had not killed herself.

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Alice Kirby, who also has physical disabilities, accused the Department of Work and Pensions of institutional abuse as she talked about her experience attempting to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The claim comes as new figures reveal private companies that manage the assessments on behalf of the DWP and rake in more than £700 million from their five-year agreements, but Labour denounced the Government of rewarding failure by contractors Capita and Atos, who had originally been expected to take just over £500 million from the contracts.

The DWP says the PIP assessment balances support for the most vulnerable with value for money for the taxpayer, but Labour promised to revise the laws for all private contractors to hold them to a higher standard.

Phrased competently and sensitively, questions about suicide and questioning a person why they haven’t killed themselves could be relevant in a psychiatric evaluation, but it should not be addressed in a benefits evaluation.

In this setting, it’s not safe to ask questions like these because assessors have not the experience or abilities to assist people with mental health problems, and there’s no consideration of the repercussions it could have on a person’s mental health.

This kind of questioning is completely unnecessary and would have no impact on that person’s award

Alice Kirby was horrified to learn how many other people had been asked comparable questions as part of assessments, and some people answered saying they felt suicidal or had attempted suicide, assessors said things such as ‘that’s understandable’, but some other people had been asked in detail precisely how they would carry out suicide if they were to kill themselves.

After Alice’s payments were reduced she believed that her health had deteriorated.

The payouts to the firms by the DWP were calculated at £198 million in 2015, £91 million in 2014 and £7 million in 2013, the year PIP started. Maybe if they stopped giving out to these wretched companies, there would be more in the kitty for people like Alice Kirby, and figures released in January and February 2017 show the firms have been given an extra £25 million.

Atos won two of the three original tenders, a £206.7 million agreement to carry out evaluations in the North and Scotland, and a £183.9 million settlement for London and the South. The other £121.6 million settlement for evaluations in Central England and Wales was gained by Capita.

More than 160,000 people originally refused PIP have had this ruling overthrown since the benefit started in 2013, and according to DWP figures, Atos and Capita have been hounded by allegations of callous evaluations, and it’s beyond belief that this Tory Government is rewarding incompetence.

The PIP process is in chaos and these private firms are getting enormous payouts in a time of severe austerity, and it’s obvious that these costs are spiralling out of control.

The Government must get an urgent grip on these extravagant salaries to private firms, particularly at a time when they’re getting more and more assessments overthrown in the courts, and the DWP maintains that all workers giving out PIP assessments get training on mental health conditions, including concerns around self-destructive thoughts, which have to be investigated further given their duty of care to claimants.

The DWP has stated that helping people with mental health conditions is their priority, and that’s why the government are giving a record amount on mental health support, over £11 billion a year, and they said that there are presently more people with mental health conditions receiving the higher rates of both PIP components than the former DLA equivalents.

They further stated that PIP assessors get training on mental health conditions, so that they’re able to examine the claimant’s circumstances, accurately and sensitively.

download-1.pngA spokesperson for Atos, which carried out Ms Kirby’s evaluation, stated: “The professional and compassionate service we provide to claimants is our primary consideration.

The specific question is inappropriate and if asked would not meet the high standards and training in place which enable the sensitive and appropriate handling of assessments by our professional assessors for those with mental health conditions.

They maintain value for money for the taxpayer, yet a small amount of searching reveals that the DWP wasted pretty nearly £1.4 billion pounds of taxpayers money in 2015 berating disabled people, and it’s hard enough speaking to a counsellor who’s there to help you about their illness, let alone someone who is looking for a reason to weaken their claim.

It’s not rocket science if a doctor and a hospital say that the patient is ill, then obviously they’ve had tests done to confirm that’s the case. If a patient has mental health, the doctor doesn’t simply glance at them and assume, “Oh yeah, they’ve got mental health problems. If a person has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, certain tests have to be done to reach that conclusion. If a person has been diagnosed with Cancer, multiple tests have been done to determine that fact and the list goes on.

This can’t be done by a tick box exercise, they’re real illnesses that have been checked and determined by tests, probably over and over again. These sick people don’t then need to be assessed and examined again, considering many of these ill people have been through enough already.

There are people out there that fake it, but they’re pretty limited related to the number of people that are genuinely ill.

Many people have a physical disability that you can see, others don’t have any obvious manifestations at all, such as a patient that suffers from mental health, but they don’t need to be questioned why they haven’t killed themselves because obviously as far as the assessor is concerned they have nothing to look forward to. Not only is it distressing, it makes that person feel inadequate, which is presumably why it’s done.

This is beyond shameful.

A person might be suffering from Anorexia because they were abused at school and further had families struggles, which made them go down a horrendous spiral of depression, henceforth no life and actually never went out the house except if it was to hospital appointments and then they had to go with somebody else.

Atos would find them fit for work, and then they would lie over and over stating that they enjoyed normal social activities despite never leaving the house or having a single friend because they had no social life. This would be founded on the basis that the person went to hospital appointments to see their shrink, but not on their own because they wouldn’t have been able to go out on their own, but clearly going to see your shrink is classified as social dexterity.

There are assessors out there telling people that they’re getting old and that their life is slipping away, it’s no surprise people want to kill themselves after they’ve been to see an Atos assessor.

Firms like Atos and Capita haven’t been put there for any other purpose other than to make sure people don’t claim sickness because the plan is that once the information gets out there on how tough it is to get PIP many people will feel crushed and not bother because after all, all those sick people are going to bankrupt the country. No, I think Atos and Capita are going to bankrupt the country with all the money their making, it’s not like their doing much aside from reprimanding honest people and checking off a tick list.

Being unemployed can often mean being treated as if you are less than human, and there’s the antagonistic attitude of a rather substantial abundance of people in this country towards those who aren’t healthy, rich and white is a public scandal frequently immortalised by the far-Right tabloids, and frequently by the Tory party, and usually by diehard loyal taxpayers.

But for this repugnant stance to be frequently used by the state to victimise people for what they’ve now undergone is a public scandal.

And even though suicide was sanctioned in 1961, this kind of burden is being put on a person by the government, and it appears that the government is implying that people should commit suicide rather than be a strain on the country, which is a shocking thought.

This government has endorsed the ill-treatment of people, and it should be unlawful to harry people with a disability or mental health difficulties, and it’s essentially influencing or urging people to commit suicide, and humiliating them for trying to stay alive.

It’s utterly shameful misconduct, and whoever in the government deems this is acceptable should be ousted, but how do we go about ending this abuse? Because we’re all accountable for this degradation if we look the other way.

The problem is, this is not new, and it’s been going on for years, with ludicrous sums of money going to private firms simply to make decisions they’re not equipped to make, and the number of victorious appeals is evidence of that, and it would definitely be more tangible to listen to doctor’s and psychiatrists et cetera that are actually treating the patient day to day.

That way they would know how likely the patient is able of specific tasks and whether they simply need a little push or help to be able to achieve a better life, or if it’s the worst thing for them at that present time, because there’s no way an assessor going through a checklist for 45 minutes could possibly evaluate an often extremely complex mental health condition, but then I doubt that reasoning and concern has no part to play in this brave new world of the demonised disabled formulated by our government.

The DWP are nothing more than nasty, malicious money taking savage cruel reprobates who tell us that they’re professional and compassionate and that they provide their claimants with primary consideration… more hogwash!

The very fact that the government has persecuted the disabled to the degree that it has, and including the outrageous reality that they’ve wasted more taxpayers money than they have saved.

Never judge a book by its cover, each disability or illness is complex, and simply because a person with a mental illness might be able to climb a ladder, that doesn’t mean they’d be able to get work because mental illness is highly diverse, and if your assessment was carried out by a nurse working for Atos or Capita and you felt that they’d failed to do their job correctly, you could report them, but you don’t appear to be able to report anyone from Atos or Capita, as well as, the fact that you’re in the room alone with them and they could freely abuse you physically but instead they abuse you mentally.

Not only that, we should be allowed to know the requisites of the assessor, and they should be able to show you their ability to dispense with your disability or your mental health, and anyone below the level of a psychiatrist is not equipped to diagnose or recognise a mental illness because there are many other physical causes that can prompt comparable manifestations.

images.pngIf you went in with Cerebral Palsy, you wouldn’t expect to be seen by a Physiotherapist, if you went in with Cancer, you wouldn’t expect to be seen by an eye doctor, but this frequently happens.

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If a person is at the end stages of having Alzheimer’s, clearly incontinent, wheelchair-bound and on a fluid intake, would the DWP demand that person to come for an assessment, of course, they would. They would stop all payments save pension because that said person couldn’t get to the assessment centre.

Eventually, they would agree to visit at that said persons home and then label that person uncooperative, totally missing the point that the person couldn’t, in fact, talk because the system is utterly idiotic, and it’s amazing how quickly the disabled have been stigmatised.

Did our country as a nation lose that amount of compassion for each other that fast? And I fail to understand how asking a person who is or has been suicidal why they haven’t killed themselves, and there’s no justification for this cruel way that people are being treated.

And even though we’re aware that fraud does go on, ironically it would be more economical to simply pay each person that is fraudulently claiming disability than it is to pay these private companies to try and stop these fraudulent claims.

The fraud percentage is 0.7, which is lower than anything else related to the government, and it seems like we now have teenagers in the bodies of adults who are governing the world, and if the DWP insist you have to have an assessment, they say that everything you say will be written down and used in evidence, what are they the Gestapo police?

There’s a daft volume of money being paid to Atos and Capita, then you need to figure in all the costs being incurred by the DWP. They’ve spent £22 million hiring additional staff to deal with appeals, each appeal costs at least £3,000.

In 20016 over 51,000 PIP or ESA appeals were lodged and statistically about two-thirds of them were victorious, so that’s at least another £10 million down the drain, and as stated by Penny Mordaunt, the Minister accountable for the disaster, if the service providers fail to deliver, DWP can implement “agreed financial remedies” but we don’t see any indication of that.

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Many of these assessors have absolutely no knowledge of mental health past looking at other peoples claim forms, and then they have the boldness to ask if you’ve attempted suicide because it’s on your form, then they ask if you’re suicidal now, while the claimant is sobbing into a piece of tissue paper, and then when you tell them that you have attempted suicide, they have the temerity to ask what method you used, or do you have scars from a previous suicide attempt. The assessor is barely 22 years old who’s a nurse and who has only been qualified for 12 months but is now working for Capita doing medical assessments.

This appears to be intentional and well practised by our government. How does a political leader obtain control? Divide and control, there can be no inside without an outside to scorn or hate, by creating or pointing to an adversary, demonising them, dehumanising them, and then you can get the people to elect you and destroy those people less able.

The difficulty arises from outsourcing to private companies. The scope of the contract suggests there are so few firms competent of running it, let alone implementing. Atos and Capita are only in it to make money, integrity doesn’t come into it. It would make interesting reading to have sight of their Service-level Agreement (SLA) and how fees are structured in as £198 million in 2015 appears extreme and the expression ‘creaming fees’ comes to mind.

Please remember that some of these people are Old Age Pensioners (OAP’s), the people who played as children amongst unexploded bombs, some even exploded them! People who worked with Health and Safety Protection, not to mention the chemicals like Asbestos, and then they got sick, this is why the amount of unhealthy people is bigger than you can imagine.

The policy is based solely on the need to deal with the harassment of a few which punishes everyone because it mistrusts everyone. This comes from competitively franchising out these obscure assessments to widespread corporations with fingers in various pies, who use ill-trained and ill-paid workers who pressure them to maximise their profit.

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But who should we be condemning, the sheeple who voted for Tony Blair, or the government as a whole? Because I’m still confused as to why people still continue to choose Tory when they whine about them so much, people you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Tory policies are intended to serve the wealthy minority and poop on the majority. Empathy has been lost in the United Kingdom, and austerity is a philosophy, not a necessity, and seemingly prejudice and resentment are deliberately fuelled by the powers that be.

And it appears to be from where the Tories are standing, is that a dead claimant is one less claimant for the country to support, and Atos and Capita are the freaks that have resulted from this privatisation. They’re not even British firms, and why is Jeremy Corbyn not vilifying and demonising these hideous outfits which toady money from the taxpayer through a Tory government?

And now we’re witnessing the abuse and destruction of our institution’s and the decimation of our Civil Service, which was once capable for making choices.

sdh2colorspecs3.gifWe have Sodexho, a French company, managing hospital catering and car parks, raking money in that should go to patient care rather than shareholders who profit from misery. The Labour government should terminate the agreements of all these firms and return to the practice of public service staffed by equipped segments of the public with a sense of responsibility, rather than silly automated models that are ruthless and unfair.

Our government are criminals, they’re knowledgeable of early mortality created by their policies, and still, they do nothing, and then they use the 30 per cent of people who voted for them as a justification of their cruel destructive policies, and they don’t have to account for anything.

Once you pay your tax, it’s no longer yours, and money raised from taxation, you don’t get to ring-fence it or track it, or choose what is done with it by the government. Therefore, if people aren’t happy about what their taxes are being used on, then just don’t pay it, yeah, like that’s going to happen!

We live in a cosmos of people who are rather idiotic, and we have crazy people that are running our motherland, and if you were a regular person doing the stuff that the government are doing, you’d have been sectioned by now.

The government are determinedly treating the most defenceless constituents of our society as vermin, and it’s shocking that disabled and chronically sick people are being intentionally withheld money they require to simply survive, whilst fat cats are being overcompensated, and then fraudulently refuse them money.

The Idea That Corbyn Is An Antisemite Is, Quite Frankly…

It’s very important for Jews to go out on the streets of London. There were loads of Jews who were refugees, some came on the kinder transport and most Jews for most of their life have lived with European antisemitism and its consequences.

Many of them thanked Britain for letting them in and aspired to give something back, and some became local political activists in London where some have worked really closely with Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott and have dealt with a huge array of dilemmas in London as colleagues and friends in the 1980s.

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The notion that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-semite is quite honestly thick-witted, so then we have to consider what’s going on, and there are profound problems around anti-semitism, not so much in Britain, but in Europe and elsewhere, and we must focus on the serious stuff, and this is a manipulation by an Israeli propaganda outfit, of the right-wing Labour party, and lord knows what else, to ferment an issue that has no spine.

With members of the Jewish Defence League (JDL), they come from constituencies from around the country and there’s nothing to report about anti-semitism, and Britain continues to be one of the safest countries to live as a Jew on the whole planet.

That doesn’t imply there’s no anti-Jewish hatred here, it’s simply that there’s a vast deal less of it than some people want you to believe, and that’s true for now, but how long will it last?

Thanks to a Jewish communal leadership and a Jewish press which have united Jewish interests in Britain with the need to defend the interests of the State of Israel, we’re set on a path that endangers turning false anti-semitism into actual anti-semitism.

What we’re seeing could be an on-coming, self-inflicted disaster for the Jewish population in Britain, and shouting it out now is the best way to prevent it from occurring.

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Dame Margaret Hodge, a former minister braved Jeremy Corbyn behind the Speaker’s chair following crunch votes on Brexit, and called him a “f****** racist and an anti-semite”

The Labour leader is supposed to have responded: “I’m sorry you feel like that.”

Senior Labour sources didn’t argue reports of the exchange and suggested Jeremy Corbyn would seek a meeting with Dame Margaret Hodge to address the subject. She’s was also expected to be reported to Labour whips for the harangue.

It came following Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) approved a controversial code of conduct that only partially uses the internationally-recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-semitism.

The party has agreed to use the definition but has not directly fostered four of the IHRA examples of anti-semitism. They are: accusing Jewish people of being more loyal to Israel than their home country, claiming the existence of Israel is a racist endeavour, holding Israel to higher standards than other countries, and comparing Israeli policies to those of the Nazis.

Labour has insisted the examples are incorporated elsewhere in the code of conduct, but Jewish community groups denounced the document.

Facing a burgeoning backlash, the NEC acknowledged “serious concerns” had been raised and proposed continuing consultation with Jewish groups.

Anti-semitism is a strange kind of discrimination, and rather than disparaging Jews as inferior, it casts them as maliciously superior, and it’s a prejudice that’s as popular on the left as it is on the right, and whereas leftist politics dictates that something is offensive if the oppressed group maintains it is, those who otherwise profess to be progressive have an annoying inclination to maintain that, actually, anti-semitism isn’t actually a problem at all.

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This pattern has been recently illustrated by the UK Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and Spectator magazine assembled a roster of 50 recent anti-semitic occurrences connected with the party, and hardly a month goes by without someone in Labour making yet another biased criticism.

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Many of the wrongdoers are still party members, and former London mayor Ken Livingstone stated that a Jewish journalist was “just like a concentration camp guard” and that Adolf Hitler advocated Zionism.

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Jackie Walker, the former vice-chair of Corbyn-supporting organization Momentum, questioned why Jewish schools require security and complained that Holocaust Memorial Day wasn’t inclusive enough, and under Jeremy Corbyn’s administration, both got deferments but were not expelled from the party.

In the meantime, according to Jackie Walker, concerns about anti-semitism inside Labour are driven by Israel, the Tory party, and the right-wing newspapers as a method to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

Following on from this series of transgressions and denials, the Labour party saw it fitting to form a new meaning of anti-semitism. Their resulting recommendations were immediately denounced by 68 rabbis, making it the first time ultra-orthodox rabbis and progressive female rabbis have co-signed the same letter.

In answer, secular Jewish MP Margaret Hodge called Jeremy Corbyn a racist and anti-semite, and the Labour Party, in turn, started a disciplinary hearing into Margaret Hodge, so obviously, Jeremy Corbyn thinks he’s been unjustly accused.

But at what point does an easygoing approach towards anti-semitism become itself a manifestation of discrimination? In other words, when can Jeremy Corbyn or anyone be deemed a real anti-semite?

The key to this enigma rests in recognising the nature of anti-semitism.

Normally, biases are discourses of mediocrity: women are less able than men, sexual minorities are perverted and immoral, ethnic minorities are less intelligent, but the most dominant patterns of anti-semitism, including those used by the Nazis and the Soviet Union, are quite the reverse. It’s that Jews are too smart by half, too powerful, and historically, anti-semitism is the very first conspiracy theory.

Jewish people present a convenient scapegoat for the world’s evils, and so anti-semitism persecutes Jews by maintaining that Jewish people are the persecutors, and if the Jew did not exist, the anti-semite would invent him.

The fact that Jewish people are frequently indistinguishable from a majority-white society further feeds conspiracy theories: Anti-semitism is the fear of the stranger passing as an insider, the suspicion and hostility of an unseen network pulling the strings.

This theory also encompasses any foreigner, including people of the Muslim belief, and this dynamic is evident in comparisons about Jewish people dominating capitalism, the media, and Hollywood, and feeds into attempts to condemn all Jews for the actions of the Israeli government.

The narrative, which sees Jews as oppressors to be overthrown, also makes it a more suitable fit for left-wing politics than most other modes of bias. Hence anti-semitism has been called the fool’s socialism.

Because anti-semitism is established on the notion that Jewish people are uniquely powerful, the discrimination is frequently visible in claims that anti-semitism isn’t a concern or doesn’t exist, and the anti-semite sees Jewish people as powerful brutes, and so can’t acknowledge that it’s possible for Jews to be victimised.

How does this apply to Jeremy Corbyn? In one striking instance, the Labour leader faced objection for supporting an overtly anti-semitic mural in 2012. It’s probably likely, though unlikely, that Jeremy Corbyn didn’t realize the mural was anti-semitic at the time.

But, earlier this year, he had a distinctly unemotional response to the upset and outrage prompted by his remarks. Though the initial transgression was outrageous enough, his absence of care presented a distinct indifference towards Jewish people.

But Jeremy Corbyn has stated that he can’t be anti-semitic because he loathes all discrimination. But the idea that people can be biased even without conscious, malicious intent is a fundamental left-wing dogma, and progressive politics supports that discrimination is systemic and that everyone has a duty to consider how they contribute to prejudice.

Is Jeremy Corbyn anti-semitic, or is he anti-semitic according to the left’s own perception of what constitutes prejudice and discrimination? And denials, mean little to Jewish people when they’re regularly faced with anti-semitic comments and response.

And even the most genuine, heartfelt claims to egalitarianism don’t protect against the decaying influence of anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism is a politics of hostility against the wrong things. It’s a politics of deflection and untruth, and it will never be able to resolve the real and present pressures and dilemmas of society. That’s why it’s really dangerous, and it will always destroy its users.

Experiences of anti-semitism these days in England are rare, so it’s important that we take each and every accusation of anti-semitism really seriously and with the highest level of concern, not slothful indifference.

Political parties are by definition places of tribalism: organisations that cultivate a feeling of opposition between distinguished and polarised sides. Our electoral policy generates space for merely two important parties, and the official opposition’s job is to scrutinise the actions of government and holding them to account.

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It doesn’t take a Westminster staff member to see that inside party structures there are comparable pressures, and Brexit has created a virulent rift within the Conservatives that seems far from healing, while the split in Labour over Jeremy Corbyn’s premiership, while gradually diminishing, preponderates anyway.

But as these Labour encampments have been developed in this municipal war, so too has anti-semitism’s position within it, and what has become self-evident since the most recent story surfaced is that we’ve lost the vision of a simple truth: some Jewish segments have stated they sometimes feel uncomfortable, and that the party isn’t always a safe place for them.

Furthermore, some Jewish people who have reprimanded Jeremy Corbyn have received anti-semitic persecution, and all sides of the Labour Party must now take stock of their positions because there have been some harsh realities that many others, had wished were not there.

It’s true that for years now Jeremy Corbyn and his followers have been unfairly characterised as raging anti-semites, and critics have told Labour members that their behaviour can be equated to facilitating anti-semitism, that they’re an army of racists who deserve to be shunned.

At times, this was done by organisations with people who have rightly been kicked out for their repugnant views, at other times it was nothing more than defamation, but in fact now Labour is the home of people committed to fighting prejudice.

The left has an abundant and impressive history of standing up for oppressed and marginalised people, and a swift flick through your history books will reinforce that this is the case. Yet just because many of the allegations against Labour and Jeremy Corbyn have been groundless, it doesn’t imply Jeremy Corbyn is beyond judgment.

He does screw up, and five years ago that’s precisely what he did.

It was back in 2012 when Jeremy Corbyn, then an unknown back-bencher, posted a comment on social media which has now brought massive critique, and a large amount of media consideration.

Why Jeremy Corbyn wrote on the underneath of an image of a mural on Facebook with a heading that revealed that the next day it would be taken down from a wall in London, “You are in good company,” the Labour leader continued, “Rockefeller destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin.”

The mural in question portrayed anti-semitic tropes that have no place in society, and it’s right that Jeremy Corbyn apologised and revealed how his remarks came about, and this appears to have been more like an error rather than being motivated by the loathing of Jews, and there’s no doubt the man is an active anti-racist campaigner.

Of course, anti-semitism exists in Britain, and it displays itself in a diversity of forms. The neo-Nazis and the racialists who attack and denounce us are a menace to our safety, but so too are the more indirect manifestations of prejudice that pop up in our everyday life.

There are the conspiracy theories and the hooked-nose illustrations, those who use the word Jew as a synonym for stingy, and those who say Jews run the world, and for those who continue to indiscriminately support Jeremy Corbyn on this issue, claiming that this is simply another attempt to weaken his leadership in a long-running smear campaign shows a clear absence of judgement and rightly offends Jewish people and we must always hold our leaders to account.

It doesn’t matter that the issue today is being weaponised by some. Jeremy Corbyn gave them the ammunition, and it doesn’t even matter that some of those continuing to reprimand Jeremy Corbyn today do so with ambitions to remove him from the Labour leadership. What matters is that it happened, and can never be allowed to happen again.

The broad preponderance of those racing to support Jeremy Corbyn today is doing so because it’s now second nature. They’ve become accustomed to the media unjustly criticising him. On this occasion though, there’s merit in the turmoil.

Listen to the concerns being raised, and view the reply Jeremy Corbyn wrote. These bold replies are, while not excusable, or justifiable, they’re a consequence of a never-ending smear campaign. If Labour is going to be a truly anti-racist party, it has to adhere to this fundamental policy of anti-racism: you listen to people from minority ethnic communities, you consider their backgrounds, and you don’t tell them it’s all in their head.

There’s also a fair amount of fear-mongering from those looking to whip up anxieties that don’t need to be there. “The reality is that there are no safe spaces online or in meetings for Jewish people within the Labour Party,” reads a letter written to Jeremy Corbyn by the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council.

Many Labour members are the most committed opposers of prejudice, and making such all-embracing and bogus generalisations are not helpful, but as Jewish people who define themselves in light of their progressive values, they’re compelled to hold themselves to higher standards when it comes to anti-semitism, as with all forms of discrimination.

Two separate groups assembled outside Parliament, one was in support of Jeremy Corbyn, the other was critical of him, the fact both were united in abhorring anti-semitism has been wasted in hysteria, and we’ve let an in-house battle over the Labour Party and its future deflect us from the real and immediate dangers that anti-semitism presents us with.

In January 2018, figures released by the Community Security Trust revealed that anti-semitic incidents had reached an all-time high in Britain, with a 34 per cent rise in the amount of violent anti-semitic attacks. The situation is even murkier in America.

When the level of anti-semitic assaults on our streets is rising, why are all the op-eds, leader columns, news accounts and TV discussions about a Facebook post by Jeremy Corbyn?

Tackling anti-semitism doesn’t simply mean Labour throwing someone out of the party. What should be obvious is that is just the start. It implies taking a hard look at our culture which tolerates prejudice and discrimination to flourish and ensuring that we strive to make sure prejudice is eradicated today and for generations to come.

This means taking on the far-right but further making it clear conspiracy theories aren’t left-wing, and there’s no place for apologists in progressive movements. It’s Labour’s duty, as the country’s most progressive party, to take on that responsibility.

We know that Jeremy Corbyn is no anti-semite just as well as he does, but there’s no harm in rising to the occasion and proving your doubters wrong.