Is the Fight for Truth Important?

As reader are fully aware, Debbie Sayers and I presented our first petition to Parliament last year which helped get Iain Duncan Smith & Lord Freud called into the Work & Pensions Select to answer for their misuse of statistics.

At that time RosWynne Jones of the Mirror asked me if it had been worth the effort, I replied  We’ll keep up the fight and keep campaigning. It doesn’t end here” and it hasn’t. Since then Debbie and I have worked tirelessly on collating the data that demonstrates our claim and of course we published our 2nd petition demanding the House of Commons accept the Selects three recommendations on delivery and use of statistics.

Since the publication on 15 May, there have been numerous accounts of Politicians continuing to spin statistics and deny the reality of Welfare Reform issues, I’ve personally written about Evidence behind growth in food banks,  Rising ESA sanctions, the numbers dying every week as a result of being found fit for work after an assessment, the truth behind the Benefit Fraud Campaign, the extent of Poverty today in the UK, and how the Government attempts to catch people allegedly falsely claiming benefits, are using falsified data to justify it; and this in less than three weeks!

Curiously in about the same time as the above, our first petition had received 92,500 signatures; whilst our current one stands at just 1,478! We have been discussing the reasons for this and have come to a conclusion that generally people either haven’t connected our demands to the next step in our Campaign for the Truth and Statistics; it is viewed as unrealistic/untenable or, people have lost interest?  We are fully aware that people feel overloaded with petitions, but we have demonstrated that they can work;  if this petition is to succeed we must find a way to obtain 100,00+ signatures, which at the very least will be read out in Parliament and, I’m confident, will also receive media coverage

I put the question to you and ask for your feedback, How do we ensure the House of Commons accepts the below  guaranteeing –

19.  DWP  exercise care in the language used in accompanying press releases and ministerial comments in the media. 2013 saw heightened and quite widespread concern—including from the UK Statistics Authority and organisations representing disabled people—about the DWP commentary accompanying releases of benefits statistics. (Paragraph 141)

20.  The Government is doing a great deal to promote a positive image of disabled people, including in the principles behind its Disability Strategy and the Disability Confident campaign to help disabled people into employment. However, this positive action risks being undermined if the language used in DWP press releases and ministerial media comments accompanying releases of benefit statistics adopts a tone which feeds into negative preconceptions and prejudices about people on benefits, including disabled people. (Paragraph 142)

21.  We agree with our colleagues on the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) that Government statistics should be presented in a way that is fair, accurate and “unspun” and that this is especially the case when they are being used to justify a particular policy or a particular allocation of resources. We reiterate our view that DWP should avoid feeding into negative public views about people who receive benefits, and that statistics should be used objectively to shed light on policy implementation, not to prop up established views and preconceptions. We recommend that, in response to this Report, DWP sets out the specific steps it has taken in response to the comments from PASC, the UK Statistics Authority, and this Committee, to ensure that statistics are released in a way which is accurate, and fair to benefit claimants. (Paragraph 143)

If Government won’t be held to scrutiny by the Select then We must scrutinise their actions. We need to know if you believe this is our campaign for the Truth and Statistics is worth fighting and ask for your suggestions??

 

 

 

 

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53 thoughts on “Is the Fight for Truth Important?

  1. Pingback: Is the Fight for Truth Important? | Welfare, Di...

  2. Reblogged this on Christopher John Ball and commented:
    Jayne poses a simple question ‘Is the Fight for Truth Important?’ The answer, for me at least, is a simple one ‘ YES!’
    The Government is lying to the people and has placed scapegoating at the heart of its social and economic policy. You may be happy with that but, as someone who is both disabled and primary carer for a disabled partner, I am very unhappy about being lied about. In fact, I’m not sure I can survive it.
    It seems Iain Duncan Smith is frightened of the truth but the truth is always worth fighting for – always.

    Like

  3. The fight for truth is imperative – how these ‘elected’ ministers get away with lying to the public & manipulating statistics to their own end is beyond me.

    We call ourselves a civilised and democratic society, but without any accountability, the word democracy is irrelevant.

    Government ministers are elected to act in our best interests, however as recent experience has shown, many are interested only in their own gain & agendas…these people are a scourge on our society and are destroying entire lives – human lives. Not chickens, cows or goats…humans. There is no humanity in the current administration, or we wouldn’t have foodbanks, sanctions and disabled people dying with no support, having been judged ‘fit for work’ by someone ill-qualified to judge disease or chronic illness. In fact, someone with no medical qualifications whatsoever in many cases.

    What has happened to our culture, our society and our right to be treated fairly & equally regardless of heitage or bank account status??

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  4. Is fighting for the truth important ? I believe that it certainly is. Truth, or what is perceived to be the truth, is a major facet of how people view the world. I say perceive, as often what we are told is the truth and our perception of it, is based more on the power and idolatry of the people delivering that message, rather than the content of what is been said and written.

    This is very much the case here, as too much of the rhetoric around benefits is based on the actions of those in power, than any unspun statistics that prove their argument. This combined with the idolently or incapability of people to look statisitics more throughly, means that this rhetotic is fed to the masses ad nauseam.

    As for ensuring that the DWP ensures that statistics are released in a way which is accurate, and fair to benefit claimants, perhaps one way is to have a set criteria that the DWP must follow a strict criteria list to ensure that the language used in both their reports and press releases, as well as in their reporting of statistics is balanced. I know that to a degree this has been discuIssed to a point on this and other blogs, but as a example the criteria could include guidelines such as deflammory nor divisive language, only presenting statistics as they are and not as a compare and contrast scenerio.

    Admittedly this has flaws and is far from perfect. But I am sure that people smarter than me will be able to commnet to this and come up with improvements with this. But either way, as long as the language the DWP uses non-discrimatory and the statistics are presented in a fair and accurate way, then that is all that matters.

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  5. Fighting for the truth is of HUGE importance and I think your blogs and other activism are a really important contribution to that. We are living in a time of unparalleled communication but also, I believe, unparalleled greed and negativity. It is greed driving the power-junkies, who in turn attempt to scapegoat the sick, the disabled, the unemployed or the immigrant in order to avert attention away from those who are really bleeding the public purse dry.

    If I put my old journalist hat on and try to be objective about it, I think there’s a few reasons why the new petition hasn’t taken off fully as yet, even though it’s really important. IDS is such a hate-figure that the first petition was a great conduit for people to register their anger. #IDS is a hashtag, keyword and a sound-bite that’s easily recognisable. When people are faced with a sea of information keeping it simple and catchy makes it memorable and makes it easier to find if you are looking for it . With the second petition perhaps you need to find a catchy hashtag or similar to make it stand out in the crowd of petitions out there? One that will also make it more easily identifiable in the slew of petitions against the cuts something like #stopthespin? Wow Petition worked really well because it was easily recognisable and because it really got people on board.

    Another suggestion I’d make is that you, Debbie and supporters add a shortcut to the petition on your Twitter and Blog profile pages. I would RT the petition over an over again if I had access to it as an easy link. Like everyone I get a bit forgetful in a sea of issues I feel are important to highlight, so it disappears from my things-to-do list.

    I also wonder at times whether it’s the human tendency to herd together. People can tend to stick with who they perceive to be their own interest groups, but to me this can be self-defeating. We know the DWP has been spinning, but we have to reach people who don’t know and inform them also.

    How about getting a group of like-minded together to challenge any DWP spin and post the petition link on any newspaper articles which use them like the odious Daily Mail? I’d be up for that. 🙂

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  6. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    Please read the following from our friend and advocate Jayne Linney’s blog. Lets all give as much support to the 2nd campaign push as we did to the first last year. With a target of at least 100,000 signatures and less than 1,500 so far, please support this petition so we can bring IDS,McVey,Freud and the rest of the Tory hierarchy to book.Thank you.

    Like

  7. Hi Jayne, nay I venture to suggest that maybe this petiition isnt as well publicised ? I signed the 1st one, but have only just signed this one after reading your blog.

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  8. Imagine if through the years we never had people fighting for the truth, the world we know would be such a scary ignorant place in which to live.
    Its only because of people like Jayne, Debbie and others like them that we have the freedoms to actually challenge the ruling classes and show them we know how duplicitous they are.We keep them in check with these campaigns and they hate our guts for doing so, and with that being the case, lets keep pissing them off!

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  9. YES this fight is very important, how do you/we get across just how important it is? I wish I knew! I don’t believe it’s a loss of interest or apathy I think there are those like me that have felt and are feeling swamped and scared by the almost daily lies etc against us and maybe even less and less hopeful we can change anything as we see every petition/article etc blatantly ignored by this government. I do know I have had to take a step back and deliberately avoid reading too much in this subject for the sake of my health and sanity. We are not being heard 😦

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  10. I remember your first petion very clearly and signed it, but have no memory at all of the second. Please resend.Such a desperately important issue.
    Jenny

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  11. Just tried to sign the petition but the site froze and there are no other signatures on there so I’m guessing everyone is having the same trouble. The site needs fixing before you will get any signatures maybe.

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  12. Hi Jayne, you’ve done so much, so much more than many of us have. I’m not sure how to get it across any better than you already have done. You know my thoughts on many people by now, and I don’t want to discourage you. All the best, and keep on keeeping on, sharing once again now on the page 🙂

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  13. I would have said get the left wing press – or even the honest press involved but there aren’t any that are not regarded as ‘tainted’ by page 3 girls etc. What about the Guardian? Some of it’s writers are at least willing to consider that the govt might occassionally tell porkies. Other than that, sharing this kind of information on social media is an obvious way. Can you get the law involved? Isn’t it against the law to represent false statistics? I’d offer to march but am physically unable to.

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  14. The fight for Truth is important, and petitions do help show the peoples disgust at the lying, thieving, corrupt leeches slithering about the halls in the houses of the privileged. Where our problem lies is in the fact that online petitions can be tampered with. I have recently had trouble trying to get my vote registered on certain petitions, where as in the past I never had a problem. There are Millions of us. As well as the sick and or disabled and their carers, there are the unemployed, the low paid, the single parents, Students, the 60% of voters who don’t bother to vote for whatever reason, and a myriad of other groups all affected by the Greed, Lies, and utter Corruption of those leeches in government, local and national. They can wipe Data, they can burn paper. What would the powers that be do, if say four million people converged on the Houses of the Privileged to make their disgust known? Turn out the Police, the Army? many of whom probably have relatives suffering because of the corruption. We need petitions to keep the problems in the public view, But the old saying ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS come to mind. I just wish that the British public would wake up before it’s too late.
    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK LADIES We’re all behind you

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  15. i believe the need to know the truth and the tactic and methods employed remain as important as they did at the outset of the campaign(s) against this governments policies and the damage and effect they cause. I think there is a fatigue that on occasions can translate to feeling defeated, i don’t think people are defeated or giving up, it just appears like a relentless struggle against ministers and a coalition which has surpassed itself in its attacks and exploitation of its friends in he media. I was pessimistic about how this coalition would embark on attacking the weak and vulnerable, but they have surprised me in their capacity to obstruct the truth getting out, and grind even the most vulnerable into the ground! Taking their unwillingness to face and accept the reality of the proliferation of food banks, it emphasises the need that is crying out for as many ‘friends’ in political parties and trade unions! In fact, support and allies are desperately needed everywhere. Bloggers and writers like yourself are the glucose that provides the energy to keep united and maintain our vigilance against this coalition, as well as optimism that it will improve and change , it must at some stage.

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  16. Jayne what we have is a Government that is so deluded in that they believe if they tell a lie long and hard enough the public will swallow it, that mentality we must break as what this government is doing is enough to break society and the very foundations we believe in as we are already seeing.

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  17. Jayne, I believe “truth” and honesty are vital for all human affinities, including between the government of the day and the governed. I wonder whether it might be better to push for an enforceable code of conduct for parliamentarians, ministers, department heads, bureaucrats and all offices representing the people/state to be obliged to tell the “truth” and to be reprimanded/punished for deliberate distortions. Obviously what is “truth” is verging on the philosophical, but there has to be a common-sense definition. Certainly examples as listed are flagrant untruths, part of what can only be a deliberate campaign of misinformation and propaganda.

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  18. Pingback: Is the Fight for Truth Important? | stewilko's Blog

  19. Pingback: Cast-on Cast-offs | juxtaposed

  20. Pingback: Cast-on Cast-offs – The Official ‘Truth’ Campaign Poem | jaynelinney

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