Tagged: Conservatives

There’s a storm brewing …

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Reposted from the Guardian on line

Steve White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.”
Steve White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.” Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Police will be forced to adopt a “paramilitary” style of enforcement if the government inflicts big budget cuts on them, the head of the police officers’ organisation has warned.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation, said his 123,000 members, from police constables to inspectors, fear a move towards a more violent style of policing as they try to keep law and order with even fewer officers than now.

White told the Guardian that more cuts would be devastating: “You get a style of policing where the first options are teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon, which are the last options in the UK.”

White…

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Tory councils tell Osborne “No more cuts!”

Order Of Truth

torynomorecutsIt appears that even stanch Conservatives have had enough of the inner-circle of government’s ‘austerity’ measures.

In an unusual move, Conservative led local authorities have formed an alliance with Labour and LibDem led authorities to tell Osborne enough is enough.

The Conservative controlled Local Government Association (LGA) said in a letter to the Observer that they have already imposed cuts of 40% since 2010 and can not afford more cuts.

They state that any further cuts will have more serious ramifications for community life and social care and will have a knock-on effect on other services such as the NHS,

“Councils have worked hard to shield residents from the impact of funding cuts. However, efficiencies cannot be remade or buildings resold,” they say.

“Further local government funding reductions over the next five years are not an option. The new government must consider the consequences that further funding cuts, without radical…

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‘Saint Cameron’ – according to the BBC

Order Of Truth

saintcameronThere are reports and articles in some of the mainstream press that we just pass by as the usual propaganda initiated by the Tory spin machine, and there are others that are truly sickening.

The BBC’s ‘article’ entitled ‘The David Cameron story’ falls into the latter category. In fact, it is beyond sickening, as it clearly displays the sycophantism that is rife throughout the public broadcaster.

In the article, writer Brian Wheeler attempts to put a positive spin on every aspect we have come to despise in Cameron.

Wheeler writes: “Not only was he the first former pupil of Eton to hold office since the early 1960s, he can also trace his ancestry back to William IV, making him a distant relative of the Queen,” in the context that both of these are an attribute – which we consider neither to be.

Having had a privileged and cosseted…

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Illegitimate Tory government started their path of destruction within hours of election (#UK #politics #bedroomtax)

Order Of Truth

illigitgovWithin hours of the general election result being announced the Conservative party announced several policies, some of which had been ‘hampered’ by their coalition partners in the last government.

As the results came in and it was clear the Conservatives were heading back to Number 10, Theresa May announced that the party would reintroduce the Draft Communications Data Bill, giving the government unprecedented surveillance power.

The snoopers’ charter received huge criticism from computing experts and civil liberties campaigners in the wake of introduction. It was set to come into law in 2014, but Nick Clegg withdrew his support for the bill and it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

Cameron indicated that the government would seek even more surveillance powers. Speaking in Paris in January, he said there should be no form of communication that the government was unable to read, which could lead to encrypted messaging applications such as…

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Tory’s secret £8 Billion child benefit and child tax credit welfare cuts revealed

Order Of Truth

torycutThe Liberal Democrats have blown the lid on Tory plans to cut £8 billion from the child benefit bill if they are re-elected.

The Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, made a statement in which he revealed that the plans for the cuts was outlined in a document entitled “Welfare Reforms Quad Summer Reading Pack” by Iain Duncan Smith which was sent to members of Quad (the four most senior cabinet members) in June 2012.

The proposed cuts contained in the document included:

  • Limiting support to 2 children in child benefit and child tax credit, so cutting up to £3,500 from a family with three children.
  • Removing the higher rate child benefit from the first child, an average cut of over £360 for every family with children.
  • Means testing child benefit – cutting £1,750 for a two child middle income family
  • Removing child benefit from 16 to…

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Vote swapping and tactical voting – should you get involved?

Vote swapping was credited with taking seats from the Tories in the 2001 general election, so should claimants be doing it now?

This election is on a knife edge.

The Conservatives are pouring huge amounts of money into identifying and contacting a tiny number of undecided voters – perhaps 40,000 – in key marginals. If they succeed in persuading them to vote Tory, the election may well be theirs.

This is a tactic that won’t even show up in the polls.

So, should claimants – who have the most to lose if the Tories get in – also be resorting to ‘under the radar’ tactics, such as vote swapping and tactical voting?

Green/Labour swaps
Vote swapping is a kind of DIY proportional representation, allowing your vote to be placed somewhere where it might count, rather than being pointless.

So, for example, if you are a Labour supporter in a safe Conservative seat then your vote is wasted.

But there may be a Green supporter in a Labour/Conservative marginal with a very small Labour lead. Their heart says vote Green, but their head says that doing so increases the chances of the Tories getting in.

So, you swap votes.

The Labour supporter in a safe Tory seat votes Green. It won’t get the Greens a seat, but it will increase their national vote share. The Green supporter votes Labour, knowing that they’ve helped reduce the chances of a Tory success and also added an extra vote to the Green’s total.

The same could be true if you’re a Labour supporter in a very safe Labour rather than Conservative seat. You may feel that your vote could be put to better use elsewhere and look to do a vote swap.

If swapping votes with a Green or labour supporter appeals to you, there’s the Vote Swap website devoted solely to Labour/Green swaps which you might want to check out.

When we visited, the site claimed to have arranged almost 10,000 swaps already.

Lib Dem/Labour swaps
Labour and Green supporters are likely to be fairly equal in their antipathy towards the Conservatives. So there’s a good chance your vote swap partner will honour their side of the bargain?

But what if you are in a Lib Dem/Tory marginal?

Perhaps you can’t stand either party, but one of them is going to get the seat anyway.

However, every seat the Lib Dems take from the Tories reduces the Conservative’s chances of being the largest party. And the Lib Dems have said they wouldn’t support the full £12 billion in benefits cuts.

So you might be prepared to vote Lib Dem if a Lib Dem supporter in a Labour/Conservative marginal will vote Labour for you.

But could you trust a person claiming to be a Lib Dem supporter to vote Labour, when the party clearly favours another coalition with the Tories?

Well, perhaps. There are undoubtedly still some left-leaning Lib Dems and the Swap My Vote site gives you a chance to make contact and check out their political opinions, because you can only register using your Facebook or Twitter login.

But, even if they don’t keep their end of the bargain, you’re probably no worse off. Your vote will not have helped the Tories and their vote in their own constituency will make no difference.

Does vote swapping work?
Vote swapping is not new.

According to a 2005 article in the New Scientist:

“In the 2001 election, the Lib Dems captured Cheadle in Cheshire from the Conservatives with a majority of 33. Online vote trading had seen 47 Labour supporters in Cheadle agree to vote Lib Dem. Assuming they kept their bargain, these vote-traders turned the tide on the Conservatives. There was a similar result in South Dorset, where a Labour majority of 153 followed 185 internet vote-trade pledges.”

So, it’s legal and it quite possibly does make a difference.

The tactical voting alternative
In some circumstances, an alternative to vote swapping is traditional tactical voting. If you’re in a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal you could vote Lib Dem simply to try to deprive the Tories of a seat.

Clearly, whichever way the seat goes it’s still going to be part of any Tory/Lib Dem coalition. But, as noted above, the Lib Dems have said they will oppose the Conservative’s £12 billion benefits cuts plan, aiming to move it closer to their £3 billion cuts. Whether you believe them is another matter.

But voting Lib Dem will also reduce the chances of the Tories being the largest party, making it harder to argue that a Labour minority government lacks legitimacy.

Is it worth it?
Even if vote swapping is effective, could you bring yourself to trust a stranger with your vote?

Likewise, tactical voting definitely works, but could you put your cross next to a Lib Dem candidate?

Is it better to vote as your beliefs dictate and take the consequences, whatever they might be?

Only you can answer those questions for yourself, but many of our readers would be interested to hear your opinion.

So, please leave a comment below or complete our Vote Swapping and Tactical Voting Survey. It’s anonymous, there’s only 4 questions and the results are posted online as they come in.

Source –  Benefits & Work, 27 Apr 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3081-vote-swapping-and-tactical-voting-should-you-get-involved

IDS plans “dramatic and “life-changing” benefits cuts

Iain Duncan Smith yesterday warned that claimants face “dramatic”, “life-changing” cuts if the Conservatives win the election. He refused to rule out cutting disability benefits and the support group, whilst explaining that the Conservatives “may not decide that it’s relevant” to tell people prior to the election where the cuts will be made.

Chilling warning
In an interview on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, IDS gave what many sick and disabled claimants will view as a chilling warning that:

“I didn’t come into this job after years looking at this to just make cheese paring cuts.”

Instead, he said, he wanted to do things that will have a “life changing, dramatic effect, and that is about getting people back to work and improving their life chances.”

The ‘back to work’ reference appears to be a clear warning that employment and support allowance (ESA) claimants are in the firing line of any ‘dramatic’ changes.

This is especially the case as Jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) is expected to cost just £2.39 billion in 2016-17, when the cuts come in, compared to £14.47 billion for ESA. So cuts to JSA would go nowhere near meeting the £12 billion in welfare savings the Conservatives have said they will make in just two years.

Disability benefits
But cuts to ESA would still not go far enough and IDS refused to rule out an attack on disability benefits as well. He argued that:

“Throughout all of my changes, we have protected the most disabled, we have kept disability benefits out of the freeze and we’ve supported the support group.”

But when Marr asked: “Will that continue?”

IDS would only respond that:

“Well, as I said, as and when the time is right, we will make it very clear what our position is.”

“When we’re ready”
Unfortunately for voters, IDS repeatedly made it clear that the right time to reveal their plans may not be until after the election, saying that “when we’re right and when we’re ready, we will talk about what we plan to do.”

When specifically asked by Marr:

Will they know before they vote what you plan to do?

IDS replied:

“Well you know we may, we may not decide that it’s relevant to put something out there about some of those changes.”

No decisions made yet
In fact, according to IDS it would be impossible for the Conservatives to reveal their plans to voters because, in spite of warning for two years that they planned to make £12 billion in benefits cuts, no decisions have been made yet about what to cut.

I can tell you now no decisions have been made. As and when decisions are made, of course we will be very open to the public.”

Improved quality of life
Perhaps the most alarming claim made by IDS was that his time at the DWP has resulted in an improvement in people’s lives:

“And I’ve said that these changes would improve the quality of lives, and I have to tell you right now our welfare reforms have improved the quality of life for the vast majority of the British people and also saving taxpayers’ money – which is the key point.”

Sick and disabled claimants have already been hit by the bedroom tax, the switch from DLA to PIP, the time-limiting of contribution-based ESA, changes to council tax, changes to the way benefits are uprated and more.

The prospect of IDS spending another five years improving their lives may ensure a very high turnout of claimants on May 7th.

You can read the full transcript of the Andrew Marr interview here.

Source – Benefits & Work, 30 Mar 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3057-ids-plans-dramatic-and-life-changing-benefits-cuts

Sick and disabled claimants to lose up to £80 per week under leaked Tory plans

Plans leaked to the BBC reveal that the Conservatives are considering cuts of up to £80 a week for sick and disabled claimants if they win the election.

The leaked documents show that the Conservative party commissioned research into how much could be saved by measures including:

Taxing disability living allowance (DLA), personal independence payment (PIP) and attendance allowance (AA), saving a predicted £1.5 billion a year.

Abolishing contribution based ESA and JSA entirely, so that only claimants who pass a means test can claim these benefits. According to the BBC, DWP analysis suggests 30% of claimants, over 300,000 families, would lose about £80 per week, saving a predicted £1.3 billion a year. In fact, some families would lose more than £80 per week if these benefits were abolished.

Cutting the number of people getting carer’s allowance by 40% by only awarding it to those eligible for universal credit (UC), saving a predicted £1 billion.

Limiting child benefit to the first two children, eventually saving £1 billion but very little in the short-term.

Other plans include replacing industrial injuries benefits with an insurance policy for employers, regional benefit caps and changes to council tax.

The Conservatives deny that these proposals are party policy.

A spokesperson for Iain Duncan Smith told the BBC that:

“This is ill informed and inaccurate speculation.

“Officials spend a lot of time generating proposals – many not commissioned by politicians.

“It’s wrong and misleading to suggest that any of this is part of our plan.”

However, the Conservatives still refuse to say what benefits they will cut.

Earlier this week Benefits and Work suggested that working age claimants would lose an average of £19 a week under Conservative plans. We pointed out that some would lose less and some might lose much more – but we hadn’t realised quite how much more.

Would you be affected by these cuts and could you cope financially if they were imposed?

Read the full story on the BBC website

Source – Benefits & Work, 27 Mar 2015

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3055-sick-and-disabled-claimants-to-lose-up-to-80-per-week-under-leaked-tory-plans

General election apathy reigns supreme in South Tyneside.

General election apathy reigns supreme in South Tyneside.

That was the conclusion to be drawn from talking to a cross-section of would-be voters approachedin King Street, South Shields.

There are now just over two months to go before the nation decides on its next government.

The odds are on another coalition pact, with neither the Conservatives or the Labour Party predicted to win an overall majority.

 A lot is riding on the May 7 poll.It is being heralded as the most important election in a generation, thanks to the emergence of the UK Independence Party and the Green Party as political forces to be reckoned with.

But on the streets of the borough, we found little appetite for any of the parties jostling for our votes in the coming weeks.

Retired panel-beater Russell Dodds, 74, of Biddick Hall, South Shields, said:

“I am a bit mystified by the whole political scene.

“Nobody seems to have answers on anything, from the Middle East to pensions and even the Metro system, which is always breaking down.

“I’m sad to say there is a blandness about politicians these days.

“You have to look for the difference between the parties. No one really stands out.

“Look at Nigel Farage. He’s always pictured looking happy with a pint of beer in his hand, but does that really make him qualified to run the country?”

Ex-shipyard worker Norman Ogden, 72, of Hebburn, said:

“It’s hard not to be cynical about politics when you hear about MPs fiddling their expenses and former ministers being filmed trying to bolster their incomes.

“At the same time, hospitals are struggling because there are not enough nurses.”

South Shields shopper and retired foundry supervisor Leslie Milburn, 75, said:

“There used to be an old saying that it’s six and two threes. Now, it’s six and three twos.

“There is more choice as far as the number of parties, but there is less choice because everyone is the same.

“I’ll vote, but only because if I don’t vote, it will be my own fault if we get the worst option in.”

South Shields shop worker Stephanie Doxford, 23, voted for the first time in 2010, and she intends to do so again on Thursday, May 7.

She said:

“I’ll definitely be voting, although part of me thinks they are all as bad as each other.

“I voted Conservative in 2010, and I’m inclined to do so again, but I’ll hear what the other parties say in the run-up to the election.

“Ed Miliband doesn’t come across well to me. It all seems about badmouthing the other parties. I don’t really know what his party stands for.

“I think the election will be close, but my instinct tells me it won’t be a coalition this time, that the Conservatives might get an overall majority.”

Retired Merchant Navy bosun Denis Atkinson, 67, of Jarrow, said:

“I’d be inclined to stick with the Conservatives. I think David Cameron is doing a pretty good job, particularly with the economy.

“Why change things when we’re heading in the right direction?

“I know this is a Labour heartland, and I was Labour years ago, but I think the tide is turning away from them, even here in the North East.”

The most of apathetic of those we spoke to was unemployed George Pattison, 45, of Jarrow. He said:

“I won’t be voting. I never vote. I don’t believe in politicians. I get on with my own life and make my own decisions. I want nothing to do with them.”

> That’s not apathy though, is it ? It’s someone actively making a decision and carrying it through.

Aource – Shields Gazette, 28 Feb 2015

Tory Youth Welfare Plans An Attack On The North

David Cameron’s plan to make 18- to 21-year-olds work for their benefits is “cynical electioneering” as it would hit people hardest in the north and Midlands, where the Conservatives traditionally have little support, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.

The party laid into its coalition partners over the proposals to make school leavers do community work or face losing state support, saying it showed the Conservatives were “choosing to be tough on the vulnerable and young, whilst being weak on the rich and powerful”.

> Well ? It’s not as if they’ve suddenly betrayed long-held values – they’ve always acted like this. A fact which the Lib Dems must have been aware of before they got into bed with them.

Obviously they were quite willing to overlook this in return for a little bit of power. Oh, to sell your soul for such a low price…

 Its analysis of the top 25 places in England and Wales where there are the most young people not in employment, education or training found that 20 of these were in the north or the Midlands.

None of the top 25 areas where there are the most “Neets” are run by Conservative councils, the research found.

John Leech, the Lib Dem MP for Manchester Withington, said it was nothing more than an attack on the north.

“These placements are not designed to help someone into work, more to punish. Just like the Tory plans to axe housing benefit for young people,” he said.

The Tory plans to make £12bn of welfare cuts for the working-age poor means 8 million low-income families will be £1,500 worse off a year.

Under the plans, those aged between 18 and 21 will be barred from claiming benefit unless they agree to start an apprenticeship or complete community work.

It is designed to ensure that the 50,000 young people “most at risk of starting a life on benefits” find that their first contact with the benefits system is a requirement to undertake community work and search for jobs. The claimant will be expected typically to undertake at least 30 hours community work a week and 10 hours looking for jobs.

Anyone required to undertake community work would be paid a youth allowance equivalent to the jobseeker’s allowance rate for young people.

In a speech in Hove, East Sussex, Cameron made an attempt to answer some of his critics who say the planned cuts are too harsh.

“I would ask them: is it compassionate to leave people on the dole for years with no incentive to get into work?” he said.

“Is it big-hearted to leave people on sickness benefit without checking if they can work, if given the right help? Is it kind to sentence people to never going anywhere, of letting people in their teens and 20s sit at home all day slipping into depression and despair?”

> Is it compassionate or big-hearted to subject people to a sanctions culture at the whim of DWP so-called work coaches ?

Following the announcement, Jonathan Portes, from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, pointed out that pilots conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions suggested “compulsory community work for unemployed had little or no positive impact”.

The Conservatives want to make £12bn of welfare cuts in the next parliament, while the Liberal Democrats are budgeting for £4bn. Labour has not made clear what it would do to the benefits bill in order to balance the books.

Source – The Guardian, 18 Feb 2015