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30+ years on, no change. Get used to it people, this is how it is, nothing ever changes regardless of whoever is in charge, power corrupts.


you were saying in another thread how the entire financial system is about to collapse, surely that would be a change?


Not relevant, "the man" would continue to treat the little people with contempt and screw them over at every opportunity, same as always. It matters not one jot what faces or party colours hold sway at any given time, nor the state the country may be in, the country is run from top to bottom by civil servants who want to keep their own personal gravy trains filled to the brim permanently.


so... all party colours are evil.


but surely some party colours are more evil than others?


i still think collapsing economies would result in *something* changing. hopefully for the better. it would take something big like that to create the impetus for real change. when the chaos hits and it gradually becomes clear that it really doesn't matter what peter andre's career is doing or who will be lucky enough to possess all the strict requirements to qualify to be paris hilton's friend, there will be a very necessary refocusing of priorities...

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Welfare butchery spells curtains for 'Better Together' campaign

By Mark McNaught



As an American, it’s a grim day when the UK government makes US Republicans look like philanthropists. Newt Gingrich once opined that poor children should clean the toilets in their schools to learn the work ethic their parents so evidently lack. Tories don’t seem to want the UK poor to realise even that degree of upward mobility.


With the enactment this week of the savage 'Bedroom Tax' and other radical changes to the social welfare system, the UK government has rendered 'better together' an oxymoron and doomed any prospects of convincing Scots to remain within the Union.


This may take some time to be reflected in the polls, but once Scots become fully aware of the real effects of these changes, the poll numbers will shift dramatically, and Scotland will vote for independence in 2014.


The 'Better Together' campaign has based its case exclusively on the illusory perils of independence. As the real perils of remaining in the Union become manifest, especially increased homelessness and destitution among the poor, Scots will rightly see staying in the UK as a societal death wish.


It is astonishing to reflect on the logic underlying this scheme. Societal well-being was obviously not a concern. Helping the poor find non-existent jobs is not in there, however paradoxical. Families are not strengthened. What are they thinking?


They are certainly not thinking about the reaction of the Scots, and whether such barbaric measures may induce them to vote for independence. If they had, they would have remembered the poll tax imposed on Scotland before the rest of the UK in 1989. Riots, and massive non-compliance ensued.


Imagine how boneheaded it would have been if they had imposed that in 1979 during the referendum for a Scottish Assembly. The UK government is doing something at least as inane with the welfare changes, while they are purportedly trying to convince Scots that they are 'better together'.


The bedroom tax comes in the context of the unravelling of many other arguments for staying in the union. The premise that Scotland benefits from the UK being able to borrow more cheaply because of the AAA rating was demolished by Moody’s downgrade.


The fantasy promoted by shady think tanks - that Scotland would be worse off if it received the taxes from oil off its own shores - has been shown to be a lie even by Vince Cable. The question of Scotland remaining in the EU has been overshadowed by the very real possibility that the UK will leave the EU.


The notion that Scotland is subsidised by the UK has been shown to be the other way around, especially if oil revenues are counted. Many Scots were surprised to know that their country had been 'extinguished' by their union with England in 1707.


The ‘better together’ campaign is rapidly being robbed of even remotely plausible scare tactics. With its new welfare policy, the UK government has demonstrated downright contempt for its less fortunate citizens, that will have disastrous real world consequences for many people. In its wake, the 'better together' campaign is left stammering to make a positive case.


Of course, in the run up to the 2014 referendum, they will function as a campaign. However, I believe this week will mark the moment when the unionists went from playing offence to defence. They will not recover.


This should not be a reason for complacency within the 'Yes' campaign. All in favour of independence must continue to talk to their neighbours and the undecided to convince them that the bedroom tax is exactly why Scotland needs independence. This issue marks the beginning of the end for the better together campaign, precisely because it amply demonstrates that they are not. Even the name of the campaign is now patently inaccurate.


This idea that these cuts to welfare will 'make work pay' and get the unemployed, destitute, and disabled to work is a dangerous fallacy. Ham-handed Tory social engineering has failed over the last 30 years to help the most destitute, because it is not designed to do so.


There is no better argument for independence than the opportunity to chart a course away from the slide towards neo-Dickensianism. The 'Yes' campaign must seize this opportunity and not let go.


Mark McNaught is a member of the Constitutional Commission and an Associate Professor of US Civilisation at the University of Rennes 2 France. He also teaches US constitutional law at Sciences-Po Paris.

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Tories caught out again with their misleading and simply untrue figures!


Letter to the Sunday Telegraph on ESA migration drop outs


Today I’ve written a letter to the Sunday Telegraph following a story that gave a misleading figures on the numbers of people being migrated from Incapacity Benefit to Employment and Support Allowance who drop their claim before going through with an assessment.


SIR – In the Sunday Telegraph on 30 March 2013 Patrick Hennessy wrote an article entitled ‘900,000 choose to come off sickness benefit ahead of tests’, apparently inspired by some figures from Tory Chairman Grant Shapps. The headline and the subsequent story are fundamentally misleading because they conflate two related but separate processes.


The sickness benefit in question is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which replaced Incapacity Benefit for new claims from October 2008.


The figure of 900,000 refers to all those who have applied for ESA since its introduction over four years ago, but who have withdrawn their claim before undergoing a face to face assessment. These people weren’t claiming the benefit before and generally drop their claim for perfectly innocent reasons – often people become ill, apply as a precaution but withdraw when they get better.


Since April 2011 people who were on Incapacity Benefit have been migrated to ESA. This has yet to be completed but of the 600,000 who have already been processed, only 19,700 have dropped their claim.


19,700 makes a far weaker headline than 900,000, but Grant Shapps has never been one to let facts get in the way of a good story. This is only amplified when he accuses Labour of using Incapacity Benefit to ‘hide the unemployed’, conveniently forgetting that numbers soared under Thatcher, and Labour introduced ESA in an effort to get people back to work.


By Sheila Gilmore

Labour MP for Edinburgh East

Member of Work and Pensions Select Committee

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Surely not more lies from Mr Iain Duncan Smith?




Did claims for DLA increase in the run-up to PIP?




In an article in yesterday's Evening Standard Iain Duncan Smith is quoted as saying that there has been an increase in DLA claims because people were trying to qualify for the benefit before its replacement by the new Personal Independence Payment introduced this week. "We've seen a rise in the run-up to PIP. And you know why? They know PIP has a health check. They want to get in early, get ahead of it. It's a case of 'get your claim in early'.'' http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/disabled-reforms-are-common-sens...


I presume Mr Duncan Smith has some basis for this claim, but it's not supported by the published data on DLA. The changes only affect people of working age, so I've charted the number of claims by people age 16-64 with a duration of three months or less, using the data available on Nomis. A sudden increase in people claiming should show up in these figures: I don't see it. On the contrary, the latest figures are the lowest on record. Note that these figures are for new claims, not for the total caseload.


In another article http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/9978231/Disabled-bene... it is claimed that there has been a rise in claims in the North East and North West. On the same basis as the national data in the chart I still don't see it. You can get the data here https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/ [update]


The data only runs up to August 2012. Maybe there's been some change since then? But ministers are bound by National Statistics rules on the use of official statistics prior to publication, so if there's any new data it should be publicly available.


See also




It gets worse. Let me explain.


Say you suspected people who would be affected by the change to PIP were rushing to get new DLA claims in: how would you go about checking this? It's obvious: you would look at new claims for the benefit from people in the relevant age groups (16-64) and compare them with earlier periods. That's what I've done here.


You would not look at changes in the caseload, because that wouldn't tell you anything about whether new claims had increased (change in the caseload will reflect both on- and off-flows). You especially wouldn't look at changes to the overall caseload for all ages, because only people of working age are due to be affected by the changes.


In the Telegraph story cited above, there are some very specific figures: claims for DLA are said to have increased by 2,600 in the North East and 4,100 in the North West. It took me a while to locate the source for these figures because it never occurred to me that anyone could be so amateurish as to use caseload change to back up an assertion about new claims. That is precisely what has happened here. I downloaded the total caseload time series from DWP's tabulation tool and looked at the years to August 2011 and 2012 for both regions. The fit is exact, as you can see from the sheet labelled 'DWPtabtooldata' in the attached workbook.


Caseload change can not support the assertions made by Mr Duncan Smith. But the data does show something else. When we look at those affected by the replacement of DLA with PIP - claimants aged 16 to 64 - the numbers in both the North East and North West are /down/ over the same period. The figures are not only irrelevant to the claims made by Mr Duncan Smith, they show the opposite of what he says. (The data here is from Nomis, sheet labelled 'Nomis total' in the workbook. It's slightly different to the DWP tabtool data because it covers all entitled cases, not just all cases in payment. Nothing funny going on here - like most people, I just prefer using Nomis to DWP's wretched interface.)


I can only conclude that whoever put these figures together either didn't know what they were doing or, worse, new exactly what they were doing and was out to deceive.


I find it hard to believe that ordinary DWP civil servants could possibly have been party to such amateurish and misleading distortion of what are, after all, National Statistics. It is possible the briefing was pulled together by someone with a political role, either within the Department or at Conservative Central Office. Whatever the case, this raises serious issues about the use of official statistics in briefing

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That is part of the problem. Working to be a few quid a week better off (including working part time) may not tempt everyone but even when it does then when the cost of meals at work and transport can mean working for less money than one was getting on the dole/sick. In other words there is not enough of a gap between benefits and wages.


So you raise wages.


Benefits are already so low that you can barely live on them. There is nothing further to cut.


You must raise wages.


Knowing this and not doing it, but rather doing the opposite, is not just wrong, it's evil.


If you are a tory, this makes you complicit.

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Can you show us his model?


Are you sure your teacher advocated taking money from people to drive prices down.


I sorta wonder how that was, when folk were poor in the 70's yet inflation was quite high.



Model? Oh, I'm sure you can find it somewhere if you Google long enough, SP. Examination Board twas University of Cambridge, one of the first to allow calculators into the classroom apparently.


Well, not all the working class were miners, were they? :wink:

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Ah, well, take that with a pinch of salt, for now.


Prices went up before folk were well off in any stages, you showed that with the 100s% increase in a short time for tobacco.


Folk are generally less well off than they were in 2010 yet prices rise.


So, no matter what you do, prices will rise.


It is called a drive for profit, hence because of this, more folk now owe utility companies money and folk have to choose between heating and eating, some, even the usage of water.

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