Burden of proof – innocent until proven guilty

There is a basic and essential principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This parliament, the authorities and the right-wing media are circumventing that principle by means of propaganda and mass accusations. It is now assumed within these groups (and elsewhere) that a person in receipt of disability benefits is defrauding the taxpayer. They are standing the legal entitlement to a presumption of innocence on it’s head.

They are taking apart a vulnerable section of the community and forcing them to prove their innocence of that accusation, not just once, but over and over again. Wherever there’s any doubt about the validity of a claim, guilt is assumed and the benefits stopped. This happens to thousands of people every week, not because they are defrauding the taxpayer, but because the assessment process is deeply flawed and heavily biased against claimants. The consequences are extremely serious. People are starving, losing their homes, their already damaged health and in so many tragic cases, their lives.

Added to this outrage is an utterly inadequate appeals system. In the many cases where appeals are eventually successful, enormous damage has already been done to the lives and health of the claimant.

I struggle to believe that this is all the result of catastrophic incompetence. This parliament is eagerly pursuing the same frenzy of contempt and hatred whipped up in the electorate by sensationalist media. There is no leadership, they are selling their souls for votes and the chance to continue ripping off the nation via dubious expenses claims and the feathering of corporate nests. In any society worth belonging to, this vile witch-hunt would be outlawed rather than driven by the government.

My knowledge of the law is only that of a layman but I have a strong sense of justice. Surely there’s someone out there with enough knowledge and experience to stand up against this social cancer which is destroying this once Great Britain?

Let’s end the 21st century slavery

Why do we let loan and credit companies enslave us? We are held to ransom purely by our own honour, a trait that the loan sharks neither have nor respect, even though they rely on ours.

It’s not just the outrageous payday loan companies but the banks and credit card companies too. They hook people in and change the rules to suit themselves. I’ve stood up to them in the past and I’ll do it again. If everyone realized that they had no moral obligation to these thieves, their corrupt empire would collapse overnight.

They sell us our own shackles and we dutifully pay up. We’re told that we should buy our own homes, but that’s only really selling us fear. Once we are on the treadmill we dare not get off or stop treading the mill. If we do, we stand to lose too much.

We are persuaded that we need the latest gizmo or whizz-wham because “it’s cool” and “everyone who is anyone has them”. It’s all utter shite of course, just fancy baubles for a modern age. Nobody who really matters cares whether you are keeping up with the Joneses or not. The real product they are selling is the whip that drives us: the mortgages, the contracts or the credit agreements.

We meekly accept our lot and dutifully sign our lives away in pursuit of the capitalist dream: to own it all, to keep pace with the treadmill, to have the latest and greatest of everything, even if we’re only on top for a week.

As a sub-species, western homo sapiens has forgotten how to survive. It has lost sight of the most basic human instincts. We are free but we have allowed the bullies and the corrupt governments and businesses to convince us otherwise.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Stop collecting death stats if you like, DWP – it’s what you’ve got already that we want to see!

Vox Political

“The DWP has quietly decided to ditch statistics it used to collect on the number of deaths of recipients of incapacity benefits (now ESA) and its predecessors Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Severe Disablement Allowance (SDA),” according to Liberal Conspiracy.

The story, by Sunny Hundal, claims: “It is thought the numbers of deaths has sharply increased since the Coalition government’s severe cuts to social security benefits.

“But to ensure that deaths aren’t cited as evidence of failure of the changes, the DWP won’t be collecting and updating its statistics.”

No supporting information is provided and nobody from the Department for Work and Pensions is quoted. Does this change the chances of success for my Freedom of Information request, in which I asked for statistics in ESA/IB claimants who have died?

No. Not at all.

I requested statistics for 2012, which we all know already that the DWP has collected. They are…

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So the government want to end benefit dependency? Their’s or everyone else’s?

Benefit dependency? What a malicious and malignant term that is. It’s used as an attack on the poor, the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. It’s used to brand them as lazy and sub-human. It’s used to bully them.

The vast majority of people who are dependent on benefits are employed, retired or in charge. First of all, the government relies heavily on the benefits system. It allows them a psychological comfort zone when their self-justifying meddling backfires as it habitually does. It allows them to keep inflation down by the suppression of wages, and it provides them with target groups to be used as scapegoats.

Businesses are heavily addicted to the benefits system. It allows them to hire and fire at will with no impact on any residual vestiges of their consciences. It allows them to split 4 full time jobs into 10 part time jobs so that they have a worker-pool which is 2.5 time the size and costs them less. They are also the main drivers and beneficiaries of the suppression of wages.

The ordinary working people depend upon benefits, either directly through in-work benefits or indirectly as a safety net. Believing that they won’t starve if they get sick, made redundant, or have an accident allows them a sense of security (if only they knew).

Most pensioners are in direct receipt of benefits. They prefer not to think of pensions as benefits, but that’s exactly what they are.

I would dearly love to know what all these other groups are planning/expected to do to overcome THEIR benefit dependency.

WoW Petition for rethink of disability ‘reforms’ hits its target

This is a great response from the people of Britain! Thanks to Vox Political (Mike Sivier) for bringing us the good news and all his efforts in highlighting this campaign. Cheers Mike!

Vox Political

What a great result for the WoW Petition – it has reached its target of 100,000 signatures with time to spare!

The petition calls for a cumulative impact assessment of welfare reform and a new deal for sick and disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions – rather than the political aims of the current Westminster administration or any motive to cut welfare budgets.

WoW (it stands for resistance to the ‘War on Welfare’) demands an immediate end to the humiliating work capability assessment and a free vote on repeal of the Welfare Reform Act, along with an independent, committee-based inquiry into welfare reform. And it wants an end to forced work under threat of sanctions for people on disability benefits, along with other demands.

Passing the magic 100,000-signature mark does not mean the petition has automatically won a chance to be debated in Parliament; the Backbench Business Committee has to…

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