From 2016: Rogue company Unum’s profiteering hand in the government’s work, health and disability green paper

Politics and Insights

aaeaaqaaaaaaaamkaaaajgq4nzqyyjexltu3ngmtndk3zi1hmjgyltziytjkmjdhyzjmnwI wrote an extensive critique of the recent government green paper on work, health and disability. I mentioned that a government advisor, who is a specialist in labour economics and econometrics, has proposed scrapping all Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) sickness and disability benefits.

Matthew Oakley, a senior researcher at the Social Market Foundation, recently published a report entitled Closing the gap: creating a framework for tackling the disability employment gap in the UK, in which he proposes abolishing the ESA Support Group.

I also said: “Oakely also suggests considering a “role that a form of privately run social insurance could play in both increasing benefit generosity and improving the support that individuals get to manage their conditions and move back to work.” 

And: “I’m sure the private company Unum (formerly UnumProvident) would jump at the opportunity. Steeped in controversy, with a wake of scandals that entailed…

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Free Money = Freedom: Why the Labour Party must support the Universal Basic Income.

LABOUR MUM

I’ve been thinking about Universal Basic Income (UBI) a lot recently…in a good way. What sort of society could we become if each adult citizen was given say £1000 a month each, from the state? There would be no strings attached; that £1000 per month would be a right for each man or woman over the age of 18. A study released by the University of Bath in September suggested that 49% of 18-79 year olds would support a policy of this nature and certainly, in principle at least, UBI tackles poverty in a brave, bold way. It is ‘Tom-Paine-Thinking’ for the Twenty-First Century.

TenPoundNotes

I think to my friends. Most of whom are in their 30s and 40s and what you could politely describe as being stagnantly mid-career. Would being in receipt of UBI change what we were doing with our lives? Would my teacher friends still teach? Would my…

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BBC use ‘independent’ organisation funded by Daily Mail and UK government as fact checkers

Pride's Purge

Recently the British Medical Journalpublished a report compiled by researchers from various universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and University College London which suggested as many as 120,000 people have died as a result of Tory austerity since 2010:

Unlike other media outlets, the BBC refused to report the story, claiming its ‘independent’ scientific advisers had recommended they ignore the figures, because they were “highly speculative” and should be treated with “caution”:

So who is this mysterious ‘Science Media Centre‘, which is so influential on the BBC that when it comes to science, its opinion trumps the British Medical Journal and both Oxford and Cambridge Universities?

Shockingly, it turns out the SMC is not independent at all. It is an organisation with a history of pushing corporate interests as well as anti-environmentalism, funded by industry and headed by a controversial genocide-denying journalist with no background in science who…

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The social architecture of capitalism

from here to there

Things are getting worse

In the last 30 years economic inequality has significantly increased. People at the bottom struggle for food and shelter, while those at the top earn many years worth of the average salary while they sleep. The majority in the middle work hard yet lack savings, living their entire lives a few paychecks from destitution.

Recently I counted 5 people sleeping in shop doorways on the Cowley Road. Such a scene was unthinkable 30 years ago. But homelessness is just one highly visible symptom of a much bigger social catastrophe.

Things have got so bad that even mainstream discourse has shifted to reflect the new reality. We’re routinely told that millennials face low wages, poor quality jobs, high debt, and worse economic outcomes compared to their parents. People now accept that the political system is rigged by a rich elite who’ve captured the institutions of the nation…

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Austerity is “economic murder” says Cambridge researcher

Politics and Insights

Image result for austerity and deathsA research report, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) Open – theEffects of health and social care spending constraints on mortality in England: a time trend analysis, concludes that austerity cuts are correlated with an increase in mortality rates, confirming what many of us have proposed for some time. The research revealed that there were 45,000 more deaths in the first four years of Tory-led “efficiency savings” than would have been expected if funding had stayed at pre-election levels.

The new study strongly suggests that austerity policies have caused 120,000 deaths. 

The joint research was conducted by Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, and it makes clear links between cuts in government health and social care spending and higher mortality rates in England. 

Cambridge University’s Professor Lawrence King, who contributed to the study, said: “Austerity does not promote growth or reduce deficits – it is bad economics. It…

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Tory #CutsKill 120,000 people

The SKWAWKBOX

may reaper.pngImage by @ukdemockery

A report by the British Medical Journal published just minutes ago links almost 120,000 ‘excess’ deaths – in England aloneand across a period of just seven years – to Tory cuts in health and social care spending.

120,000.

If those people – people who could have been alive today and are not, because of Tory decisions – were a town, they would be comfortably inside the top eighty most populace towns and cities in the whole UK.

A Tory councillor on BBC’s Question Time last week said that claims that Tory policies kill people were ‘inflammatory rubbish’. But now we have firm evidence that those claims have barely scratched the surface.

The death toll is huge – and the Tories will throw everything they can at this report to try to discredit it – just as they did when the UN condemned the…

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Theresa May’s Mansion House speeches: Is Putin an agent of the British state?

Road To Somewhere Else

By Daniel Margrain

In Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1959 film, North By Northwest, Cary Grant plays the part of an advertising executive who inadvertently gets caught up in a web of espionage after he is mistaken for “George Kaplan”, a fictional persona created by a government agency in order to thwart the nefarious activities of a spy, Phillip Vandamm (James Mason).

After reading the transcript of Theresa May’s recent Mansion House speech in which she alluded to the alleged nefarious activities of Vladimir Putin, one might reasonably conclude that real life imitates art and that the Russian leader is a creation of Britain’s secret services.

Hard power

Resplendent with cliches and insubstantial rhetorical flourishes low on substance, May’s projection of hard power harked back to the days of the British Empire in which, as George Galloway famously remarked, “the sun never set because God would never trust the English in the…

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