In Memory of My Pop a WWI Soldier, who Fought for Honesty and Freedom

As a child of the Sixties I absorbed the new ‘freedoms’  of that era like a sponge; I watched the development of  the sexual revolution which, to me was everyday women finding a voice, previously before only accessible to the middle class and above.  I read about the Civil Rights movement, and became sickened by the Racial prejudice and discrimination; particularly as I was friends with many children whose families had come to the UK as refugees from Uganda. These struggles instilled me with a personal power, no longer did I have to defer to my ‘betters’, I could and should, question and challenge my elders.

Having said this, my strongest influence at home at this time was my granddad (Pop), he was born in 1899 and lied about his age to serve his country in WW,  only for him to be the victim of a rogue grenade. This resulted in him spending his life in and out of hospital undergoing surgery after surgery, as the countless pieces of shrapnel he carried in him moved towards his vital organs. I adored him, but he was a man of his time born when Victoria was still Queen, and we had endless discussions about right and wrong. I like to think he really heard me when I argued for Equality, but maybe he indulged me as his only grandchild, either way he listened, and even when we disagreed he never shot me down, he taught me to debate and for this, and everything else he was to me, I adored him .

With today being the Centenary of  WWI, these memories of my pop are more emotive than ever, his desire for honesty was I believe, born from his experience of soldiering, he was sold a story of  ‘Britain needing him’  how he was fighting for freedom and this would be “The War to end All wars”; in return he was damaged, physically and emotionally. He never spoke to me (or any other family members) about his experience, but we lived with its effects.  Today I’m convinced he would have been diagnosed with PTSD, he certainly suffered from brain damage, being blown up does that, and this revealed itself in his occasional outbursts of rage. However, despite the pain he lived with for the next 70 years, he always demanded Truth; whether this be because he lived with the fact he suffered as a result of the Lies sold by the ruling classes I can’t say, but knowing him I can’t help but think this is so.

These experiences laid the blueprint for who I am today, I remain committed to Equality, I fail to understand how prejudice and discrimination are anything but destructive, and I believe wholeheartedly in Truth. In this week as I especially remember Pop, I read that  Lord Freud  has been proven to have Lied AGAIN,  joining Mark Hoban, Esther McVey and Mike Penning  to become the Fourth DWP Minster to have Made the SAME LIE – Impact Assessment are Impossible.

This default position of Lying when proven incorrect is unacceptable, the reality is the Lies Politicians spew out today, are resulting in pain as those told 100 years did; and albeit in much lesser numbers, people are still Dying  as a result of the Policies they Lie about.

I can’t help but think it must be common knowledge that Politicians Lie, they’ve been doing it for at least a Century now, and maybe this is the reason people don’t feel the need to demand it should End and End Now?

I can’t and won’t accept this, to do so would not only dishonour my Pop, but I would feel  in collusion with these Lying Ministers, and this I will not do. For these reasons and because I feel if We don’t scrutinise this unelected Government No one will; I continue to urge you all to please share our petition demanding TRUTH from Parliament; the House of Commons has responded to the Recommendations of the Select by basically informing us the DWP is doing a great job!

If you share my belief , this response is yet another example of Government Spin – please Sign, Share and talk to everyone about the NEED for The TRUTH Campaign.


#NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP


A Quick update on the petition  – THANK YOU – we’ve now passed 2,500 signatures and some very kind person had paid to promote the petition (a SPECIAL Thanks to you xx), Now WE NEED to SHARE this as much as possible

If you need any more evidence Joe Halewood of the excellent SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites) informs us in June 24 Lord Freud deliberately mislead the House of Lords over bedroom tax; by quoting figures easily proved to be bogus, he stated ” There are some 200,000 smaller premises in the social rented sector available through each year” ! But the actual and universally accepted figure is 68,000 not 200,000 and so we see Lord Freud tripling the amount of the real figure as is his want. Freud also said “The process of which I am aware is when people appeal to the tribunal; there have been more than 100 such cases,” However Joe claims “Having personal knowledge of over 80 bedroom tax appeals myself just from one small part of Merseyside alone and further knowledge, some first-hand and some second-hand of a further few hundred bedroom tax appeals in Merseyside and hundreds more across the UK we again see Lord Freud knowingly misleading the House of Lords yet again.”

Further, as Bernadette Meaden yesterday wrote in Disabled people demand truth in politics. “Statistics should give us a true picture of what is happening: if the government misuses them it distorts the public debate, and leads people to judge policies on an inaccurate basis. It undermines democracy”. We know this to be true  and this is why the TRUTH Campaign formed a part of this article in Ekklesia.

If Debbie & I have learnt anything over the past 4 years it is – If WE don’t scrutinise and Challenge Government – No One Will!

So if you believe Government Budgets, Polices and Programmes should be based on FACTS and not skewed statistics; PLEASE continue to push this.

Join out Thunderclap and help us get the SOCIAL REACH of 69,038 to sign our Petition

Tweet – #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

As Robert Livingstone shows in his latest piece


Unfair Policies, a result of Government denying the Truth? #ImpeachDWP #NOWPetition

Two very different articles in my inbox this morning,  epitomise the way Government purposefully Selects what information to use and,or misuse at will; this (mis)management of data hides the Truth and unfortunately appears to underpin the current behaviour of some MPs.

At a recent Scrutiny meeting of the Public Accounts Committee,  the Head of the Major Projects Authority (MPA), John Manzoni confirmed the  ‘reset’ Universal Credit Project budget is still un agreed, this was one of several revealing disclosures about UC; Manzoni, in the final minutes of the hearing stated “I am not actually sure that DWP has set out Universal Credit budget at the moment“. This statement is alarming, particularly as it comes  four month after The Minister for DWP Iain Duncan Smith. informed the Work & Pension Select “We understand that DWP has now submitted the Universal Credit Strategic Outline Business Case to the Treasury for approval and expects to receive a final response in mid-April“.

This is yet another situation where a Minister of State appears to make claims, without any underpinning knowledge of the facts.  For the people the reality will presumably be, another few Billion pounds of our taxes being wasted on this ill thought, untenable project; and thousands of jobless, or part-time ‘customers’ of the DWP,  continually forced to comply with the ill conceived demands of the seemingly unworkable UC project.

The second article is a life story of 27 year old David, who since losing his job in February 2013 has experienced what can only be called, a catalogue of errors from the current Government favourite, the multi-agency approach.  In David’s case agencies seem to have included DWP,  Justice system, Probation, Housing Depts,  out of which came a situation described by David as “ if you went 24 hours without food you will shoplift“.

David’s story is well documented by the author Ann McGauran, and I urge you to read it; In her conclusion Ann says “The government is still arguing that there is no link between welfare reforms and the use of food banks.  Is it equally convinced that benefits sanctions don’t lead directly to desperate people shoplifting to feed themselves?

This is a question I’ve asked before and appears to be paradoxical to the behaviour noted above; these actions have Government denying an abundance of statistical and other evidence, despite it coming from multiple sources, including members of the Scottish ParliamentTrussell Trust, the Government led Defra and, perhaps most interestingly  Kent County Council, which was later suppressed.  These examples along with many others demonstrate  direct links between Welfare Reform & Foodbanks.

Denial of selected evidence, combined with a persistent misuse of other information, results in uniformed Policies, Projects, Reforms and Acts, with both participants and recipients experiencing what can be deemed as unfair and unjustified treatment by their elected Government.

It is for these reasons we have launched our Campaign for the Truth which challengesGovernment denial and misuse of information.

The Campaign  is currently at stage three, and includes a petition demanding it is time Government STOPS The SPIN and accepts the recommendations of the third report from the Works & Pensions Select.

This is NOT the End of the War merely the battle for the moment #NOWPetition #ImpeachDWP

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??





New Childcare Contract for ATOS – WHY

I know from the number of press articles, I’m not the only one astonished that ATOS – the now infamous IT Company with more trading arms than an octopus and renowned for both its part in the disastrous Border Agency computer meltdown in 2012 and its failure to administer the equally beleaguered Work Capability Assessments (WCA) for the DWP, have now been given the contract for delivering the Coalitions Childcare Voucher scheme. What I don’t get is WHY?

Before anyone tells me about the links between ATOS, and the extensive range of links – I’ve seen the speculation; but what I don’t understand is, given the recent scathing reports from both the public accounts committee, and the Work and Pensions Select on ATOS; WHY has the Treasury backed NS&I decided that ATOS are a suitable company to deliver anything?

I find the Government outsourcing any contract worrying enough, as it removes even more money from the UK into offshore accounts but even with that; what is particularly disturbing about ATOS with its proven inability to deliver and, is that it indicates this Government believes itself above its own scrutiny?

The whole point of having a democratically elected Government is to hold those in power to account, and within Parliament this is undertaken by Select and other Committees, these are the scrutiny groups composed of cross party membership and exist to “hold to account individual departments and the Government as a whole“. The Committees do this through undertaking 10 core tasks which include the investigation of documents and reports, and via interviewing relevant Civil Servants and Politicians; the findings are then reported to Parliament.

ATOS have featured negatively in a number of reports from Committees, and in a copious number of Early Day Motions all offering hard evidence of the company’s ineptitude, which brings me back to the question of WHY, against evidence and advice of Select Committees and despite the concerns of so many individual MPs, have they been appointed yet another contract?

To this end I’ve decided to send this to Mr Andrew Tyrie MP, chair of the Treasury Committee, who apparently “played a major role in the examination of bank bosses over the banking crisis in 2009“; maybe he’ll be able to answer why one of, if not the the most, incompetent companies fleecing the nations money via outsourcing has received yet another lucrative contract.

I’ll keep you posted, but if you fancy asking the same question – Mr Tyrie can be contacted at, but please don’t just forward this or else we’ll be accused of being vexatious!

ATOS tentacles