Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Universal Credit Is Not Working – House of Lords Report.

with 322 comments

 

After having posted about mass unemployment looming people have been speaking more and more about redundancies and the prospect of being out of work. You don’t have to have family or friends who are affected, just look on the Web, and here (one of our contributors excepted).

It is seriously worrying when secure jobs are under threat.

These things tend to work out in ever-expanding rings.

Now people face the prospect of joining the inner circle of hell, the dole, and specifically Universal Credit.

Their Lordships have produced this report which is making a splash.

The reason is obvious, as this Sky headline underlines,

Universal credit ‘harms the most vulnerable’, says major report amid surge in claims

Some 3.2 million people made new Universal Credit claims between the start of the lockdown in March and mid-June.

The BBC covers the story

Universal Credit ‘failing millions of people’, say peers

Universal Credit is “failing millions of people”, especially the vulnerable, according to a new report from peers.

The Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee said it agreed with the government’s aim for the scheme – to bring together multiple benefits into one payment.

But it criticised its design, blaming Universal Credit for “soaring rent arrears and the use of food banks”.

Welfare delivery minister Will Quince said the government was “committed to supporting the most vulnerable”.

But he said the scheme had “defied its critics in unprecedented and unforeseeable circumstances” during the coronavirus pandemic, adding: “The case for Universal Credit has never been stronger.”

Reactions are beginning to tumble in.

One poverty charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the report “reinforced the scale and urgency of reforms needed”.

And Labour said the system was “simply not working”, instead “pushing people further into poverty and debt”.

Note well this bit.

The Lords’ report said cuts to social security budgets over the last 10 years had caused “widespread poverty and hardship”.

As a result, the committee said Universal Credit needed “urgent investment just to catch up and provide claimants with adequate income”.

The peers called on the government to make the rise in payments due to the coronavirus crisis permanent.

They also called for a non-repayable two-week grant to be introduced to cut the current five-week wait for a claimant’s first payment.

The government said urgent payments were already available, but peers said the standard five weeks “entrenches debt, increases extreme poverty and harms vulnerable groups disproportionately”.

So, Universal Credit is a problem.

Let’s begin with the beginning, with the money you have to live on.

Coming up to my Pension I notice that even the increased UC payment is far below Pension Credit.

It would also perhaps be better if this report came from other people  than those who Daily Allowance (£150) alone (excluding their other revenues, paid in guineas or  gold sovereigns)  is nearly the JSA rate for a fortnight.

This is what their Lordlyships say,

Lords Select Committee.

 

The Economic Affairs Committee publishes its report ‘Universal Credit isn’t working: proposals for reform’, which calls on the Government to make substantial changes to universal credit in order to protect the most vulnerable.

“Most people, including our Committee, broadly agree with the original aims and objectives of Universal Credit. However, in its current form it fails to provide a dependable safety net. It has led to an unprecedented number of people relying on foodbanks and not being able to pay their rent.

“The mechanics of Universal Credit do not reflect the reality of people’s lives. It is designed around an idealised claimant and rigid, inflexible features of the system are harming a range of claimant groups, including women, disabled people and the vulnerable.

“Universal Credit needs more money to catch up after 10 years of cuts to the social security budget. It requires substantial reform to its design and implementation, the adequacy of its awards, and how it supports claimants to navigate the system and find work.

“The five-week wait for a first payment must be replaced by a non-repayable two-week grant to all claimants. The monthly payment calculations which can result in big fluctuations to claimants’ incomes should be fixed for three months. Historical tax credit debt needs to be written off.

“The punitive nature of Universal Credit has not worked. It punishes the poorest by taking away their sole source of income for minor infractions. It needs rebalancing, with more carrot and less stick, particularly as large numbers of claimants will have ended up on it because of events completely out of their control.”

Other findings

The Committee’s other key findings and recommendations include:

  • The Government must prioritise helping people into work, particularly with the increase in unemployment that the Covid-19 pandemic is causing. All claimants should have a work allowance, at a higher rate than now, to allow them to keep more of their award as they move into work.
  • The Government should consider reducing the taper rate to ensure that the poorest in society do not pay higher marginal effective tax rates compared to the richest in society.
  • The conditionality requirements on claimants who can look for, or prepare for work, has been increased significantly over recent years. Less emphasis should be placed on obligations and sanctions. Instead, there should be more support to help coach and train claimants to find jobs or to progress in their current roles. Conditionality should be adapted to accommodate changing labour market conditions, including at the local level, particularly in the light of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The UK has some of the most punitive sanctions in the world, but there is limited evidence that they have a positive effect. Removing people’s main source of support for extended periods risks pushing them further into poverty, indebtedness and reliance on food banks. There is a substantial body of evidence which shows that sanctions harm people’s mental health. The Government should evaluate the current length and level of sanctions. It should also expedite its work on introducing a written warning system before the application of a sanction. Sanctions must be a last resort.
  • The Government is doubling the number of work coaches in response to potential levels of high unemployment. This may not be enough to support people to find work in a stagnant labour market with high levels of competition for jobs. A cap should be introduced on the number of cases for which each work coach can be responsible.
  • Paying awards on a monthly basis does not reflect the way many claimants live. It causes unnecessary budget and cash flow problems. All claimants should be able to choose whether to have Universal Credit paid monthly or twice monthly.
  • Including childcare support in Universal Credit was a mistake. Paying costs in arrears has been a barrier to in-work progression and in some cases, it has been a disincentive to work. The Government should remove childcare support from Universal Credit and be made into a new standalone benefit paid in advance.

ITN carried this story a couple of days ago,

Food banks report ‘unprecedented demand’ during Covid crisis as unemployment predicted to rise to 10% by the end of 2020

Food banks experienced their “busiest month ever” during the coronavirus crisis as families faced a loss of income due to job losses or furlough schemes, the Trussell Trust has said.

The food bank network saw an 89% increase in demand for emergency food parcels in April compared to the same period in 2019.

The figures included a 107% increase in food parcels sent to children with the number of families seeking help almost doubling since last year.

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) reported similar increases reporting 175% more emergency food parcels given out in the UK during April 2020 compared to last year.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 31, 2020 at 6:54 am

322 Responses

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  1. DWP Press Release 20th July 2020

    Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) forum launches this month

    The Disability Unit has established a new Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) Forum to strengthen its engagement with disabled people.

    In a world where coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect usual ways of working, the Disability Unit is holding the first virtual Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) Forum this month, chaired by the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson MP. It is hoped future meetings will be held in person, when it is safe to do so.

    Membership of the new forum will include national disabled people’s organisations, regional organisations and chairs of our Regional Stakeholder Networks. Forum members will be from DPOs, have lived experience of disability themselves, or represent others that do.

    The Disability Unit will use the forum to enable a high level group of DPOs and influential disabled individuals to have regular conversations with the Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work and government officials.

    As well as providing forum members with a regular opportunity to meet with the Minister, it will play an important role in bringing the voices and expertise of disabled people into the heart of government policy making.

    Justin Tomlinson MP said:

    “I am looking forward to working with this new DPO Forum as we develop the National Strategy for Disabled People, the DWP Green Paper, and beyond.”

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    July 31, 2020 at 8:22 am

    • Justin I have a question – How do disabled people become ‘Members’ of the Disability Unit ? Ok Justin they are vetted to be part of the forum. So only people in the Cabinet can be members of the Disability Unit.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      July 31, 2020 at 8:24 am

  2. ” it is seriously worrying when secure jobs are under threat”, it is for sure it’s worrying for any job. As a school cleaner in a state run school I’d say I’m secure, but I’m sure at some point my medical issues will surface again and I could be in the shit,
    I won’t even consider applying to , say, Primark, in case I can’t do the job, even high street giants can go bust too, my mindset is stay off UC whatever happens, and just pray I keep going I really don’t think I’ll even live to see retirementat 67 and if I do its more of the same probably insecure housing and poverty, unless I need nursing care, and hope I can get a place lol!
    Ironically in my case UC could be seen to be working, I’m too scared to claim it and realising I can’t afford a 1 bed or studio without UC help I’ve opted for this room in a shared house which eats up half my wages,maybe according to Ian Drunken Shite and Ms Coffee I’ve learnt responsibility lol!,

    katrehman

    July 31, 2020 at 8:52 am

    • Its been designed to make life as difficult as possible “Stakhanovite” and put people off but in todays world its come under the spotlight even more for its unfairness with growing size of the population relying on benefits with more closures and job losses on the way with a second wave of coronavirus ideally, there shouldn’t be any state reliance when in employment and the signs of a crisis has been a worry for some time.Its fallen apart.

      ken

      August 1, 2020 at 12:37 am

      • But what about the “wreckers” who Stalin deemed not to be working fast enough, who were trying to sabotage the Communist state… Those were shot on the spot!

        Stanlslav

        August 1, 2020 at 8:38 am

      • PS I didn’t realise you were a Stalinist, ken.

        Stanlslav

        August 1, 2020 at 8:40 am

      • Don’t you worry, ken. Unemployment will be solved at a stroke when Bill Gates releases his bio-weapon. Just you wait and see.

        Cloven Hoofed

        August 1, 2020 at 8:45 am

      • Bill gates and his bio-weapon… that would be Windows 11 one assumes?

        Jobs

        August 6, 2020 at 11:21 am

  3. I have a disability so i am scared of going for jobs I am unable to do them and getting them, knowing I am unable to do the job safely.

    I am happy doing my voluntary, they know I want paid work as the people I work with, know UC is a beast.

    I have had help from them with my UC50 appeal, as well as citizen advice, and my Dad who thinks it is barmy as he went to the assessment with me, one gp who works at job centre says I don’t have a problem, capable to do any job, whilst my own GP knows I have disability, anxiety issues etc.

    I just feel sorry for people who have lost their job due to covid 19 going on uc50 probaby for the first time, stepping in the arena of job centre

    my_final_username

    July 31, 2020 at 9:15 am

    • I am unable to do them and getting them.

      Its very hard today with psychometric tests exe.Without nothing someone is unlikely to walk into a job today.Its important to know your not the only one.

      ken

      July 31, 2020 at 3:50 pm

  4. carol

    July 31, 2020 at 11:27 am

  5. Goggles and gloves who’s laughing now.

    Cloverleaf

    July 31, 2020 at 11:53 am

  6. Andrew Coates

    July 31, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    • Everyone on benefits and it doesn’t matter what benefit they get should get £1000 extra a year especially in these trying times.

      Cloverleaf

      July 31, 2020 at 3:13 pm

      • Thérèse Coffey=U.F.O, useless fat object!

        superted

        July 31, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      • The point Mr Coates is quite rightly making is that ESA claimants are deserving of the extra £1000 a year whilst the JSA claimants are not. This is the thinking shared by Therese Coffey and the DWP. JSA claimants can easily just go and get a job which is not the case for ESA claimants as we are too sick and disabled to work no matter how much we want to. When you are inflicted with, say, depression getting out of bed in the morning is a struggle never mind going to work. We all know that it is because of the JSA claimants whom the DWP don’t want to pay that is stopping the DWP paying ESA claimants. The DWP has to find a way to disentangle ESA claimants from the JSA claimants who are dragging us down and implement a solution to pay us ESA claimants whilst leaving the JSA claimants to their own devices. Hopefully us ESA claimants will be receiving our money soon.

        ESA Claimant

        July 31, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      • Very amusing, but I did not write the Tweet.

        Equal benefit rates for UC and JSA claimants!

        Andrew Coates

        July 31, 2020 at 7:25 pm

      • but you can be on esa and still have to look for work if you are in the wrag group where those in the support group dont need to look for any work at all.

        im on jsa and i can get a 3 month sick note any time i want but id still be found fit for work even if i was put on esa and still get the same amount so whats the point lol.

        superted

        July 31, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    • If I was that ugly I’d have a chip on my shoulder too.

      Susan S.

      July 31, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    • Disabled campaigner’s mandatory reconsideration court victory over DWP

      A disabled campaigner says his high court victory over the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shown that it is possible to “put the rule of law into the hands of ordinary people”.

      Michael Connor spoke out after a judge ruled that DWP’s mandatory reconsideration (MR) process – introduced seven years ago as part of the coalition government’s programme of social security cuts and reforms – was unlawful when applied to claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA), the out-of-work disability benefit.

      https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-campaigners-mandatory-reconsideration-court-victory-over-dwp/

      ken

      August 1, 2020 at 12:24 am

  7. went past the jcp today and the doors are open but could not see anyone on the ground floor.

    superted

    July 31, 2020 at 3:09 pm

  8. Anybody heard from the Jobcentre or DWP over the last week or two? I haven’t heard anything since March!

    Whip

    July 31, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    • nope not even a letter.

      superted

      July 31, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      • same here was due to a phone call in March/April or May, and this got cancelled, and they can’t lie as there has always been someone in at home as I live with my parents.

        I am still in the appeal stages of my uc50, being moved into one group into another, as I have liimited capability of the type of work I am able to do due to my disability and to get a work allowance, currently I get 0 work allowance, as I don’t claim house benefits etc, and single,

        I have had a letter but no date for the appeal,

        my_final_username

        July 31, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      • A roach from the jokeshop is phoning me tomorrow, can’t say I’m looking forward to it!

        Tigerlily

        July 31, 2020 at 5:20 pm

      • ai answer phone 😉

        superted

        July 31, 2020 at 5:33 pm

      • @ Tigerlily

        Tomorrow? That’s a bit much isn’t it? Ringing you on a Saturday. Jesus.

        Le Week-end

        July 31, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      • To be honest I would rather have a telephone call than a trip to the jokeshop, what would be even better is that the lot of them just f*ck off and leave us all alone!

        Tigerlily

        July 31, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    • I had a phonecall out of the blue the other day… checking my personal details, advising me conditionality would soon resume (funny, thought it had as of July 1st) and then the biggest joke yet – Did I know they were recruiting for WorkCoaches and would I like to know about this two-week course I could go on?

      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oYK_m7fhMXhmjybpfnRwHiPb45l_FZnK/view?usp=sharing

      I would take the course but as someone who won’t hand out a single sanction and will actually treat the customer like a human being I fear pigs will learn to fly before I qualify for employment.

      ATP

      August 1, 2020 at 6:49 am

  9. Universal Credit isn’t going to work easily,these part time jobs are demanding more and more as well as checks,licences theres Basic level training in HSWA and COSHH regulations? and experience.

    Their looking for the right people with the right skills that means the right person in the job for them.standards have risen and demands/expectations are high.Its not just managing a job these days its also having to deal with the ever risk of an outbreak of the virus that could be around the corner.

    ken

    July 31, 2020 at 5:33 pm

  10. Jokecentre is now staying open longer in the week including weekends to cope with the mass of new unemployed thanks to the plandemic.

    Cloverleaf

    July 31, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    • They were talking about staying open in the evenings too in order to “help older workers find jobs”. Imagine having to go into the Jobcentre at 7.00 pm or 8.00pm for an appointment.

      Hanuman

      August 1, 2020 at 6:47 am

  11. Don’t forget the Sunak Summer Special starts today, kids. I know finances for those on the dole are tighter than a sardine’s arse hole but even you can afford this, and who could resist a Big Mac or bag of Mcnuggets at 50% off- I know Prime Minister Bunter sure as hell can’t!

    Fishy Sunak

    August 1, 2020 at 7:15 am

    • I cant afford to eat out and I DO work! Nor can I afford holidays or days out so I won’t be ablessed to support industry and kick start the economy!

      katrehman

      August 1, 2020 at 7:49 am

    • Actually the offer doesn’t start until Monday – it’s every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of August. I’ve had mass hordes of the morbidly obese swarming outside my restaurants since midnight,

      Ronald McDonald

      August 1, 2020 at 8:27 am

      • Oh yeah, er… I forgot my own scheme. Dominic Cummings decided the details.. whoops, the fish is out of the bag…

        Fishy Sunak

        August 1, 2020 at 9:22 am

    • Are McFlurrys included in this offer?

      Fatty Arbuckle

      August 1, 2020 at 8:29 am

    • I refused to eat out, as I am unemployed on UC, even though I am doing voluntary. I sooner take the £10 and buy some food in the supermarket

      my_final_username

      August 1, 2020 at 9:33 am

    • So if an even number of people go and order the same things half of the meals are free, eh? Nice.

      Arthur Daley

      August 1, 2020 at 5:54 pm

  12. Just think having to go into the job centre in the evenings in the middle of winter, when it is snowing.

    A quick sanction or two. for refusing to go

    my_final_username

    August 1, 2020 at 7:22 am

  13. DWP told to make 14 big Universal Credit changes – here’s what it means for you
    https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/uk-news/dwp-universal-credit-payment-changes-18697939

    superted

    August 1, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    • I know I live at home, but would prefer my uc to be paid weekly or once a fortnight, as all the job I had temporary via employment agenies were paid weekly.

      my_final_username

      August 1, 2020 at 2:01 pm

  14. superted

    August 1, 2020 at 3:40 pm

    • The answer is a universal NO!

      Ken Jeong

      August 1, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      • He’s playing things down a bit and then talking of car’s its all right for some.

        ken

        August 1, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      • Job hunting: ‘I apply everywhere – few firms reply’

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53581933

        “So far I’ve applied for 30 roles. I got rejections from three, and never heard back from anyone else. I’ve applied for everything – sales jobs, cashiers, shop work, restaurants, everything.

        superted

        August 1, 2020 at 10:57 pm

  15. Here’s a former DWP Minister looking chirpy!

    Andrew Coates

    August 1, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    • Here’s some more cheery people:

      Andrew Coates

      August 1, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    • Wonder Woman had an invisible jet and Esther McVey has an invisible car… if only she herself would vanish and disappear forever the world would be a much better place.

      Kneehigh

      August 1, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    • Please, for the love of God, go abroad for a holiday Esther. Preferably somewhere a long, long, LONG way away like Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica or Mars. Do us a favour. Leave the country and remain abroad out of the country for as long as possible and do us all a favour.

      Crackcorn

      August 9, 2020 at 12:20 pm

  16. I rarely hear back from companies as well. one reply automaitc response after 5 minutes, clearly this was done by a computer.

    If I tailed my cv and cover letter to some admin/data entry jobs there be nothing left on my cv, have some transferable skills

    my_final_username

    August 2, 2020 at 8:48 am

  17. Universal Credit is very obviously unfit for purpose and now is the time to replace it with Unconditional Basic Income. Or remove conditionality from Unemployment Benefits altogether and introduce annual signing (by return of a postal declaration form or online), along with permanent closure of Jobcentres and therefore an end to Sanctions. None of which will happen of course, because neither the Tories nor Labour would support it. Prepare to see a huge increase in poverty, evictions, homelessness, begging, shoplifting, mugging, and suicides, as Society falls apart and the Politicians wringing their hands say isn’t it awful but what can we do?

    trev

    August 2, 2020 at 10:54 am

    • “by return of a postal declaration form or online” – this is how the electoral register works. So the infrastructure is already there. Surely it can’t be beyond the wit of the DWP to institute such as system. They have already proven their technical know-how with the highly successful system of automatic payments introduced since the deadly pandemic struck. It is madness for the DWP to keep wasting £billions on the upkeep of those hideous monstrosities called Jobcentres that blight our towns and cities, as well as the huge salaries of the useless ‘work coaches’ that infest them.

      Sarah

      August 2, 2020 at 11:27 am

    • Only prosperous countries could afford a Universal Basic Income, trev, not a small over-populated country about to leave the European Union, struggling to recover from the biggest financial crash in one hundred years and then hit by an even bigger one, caused by the corvid pandemic, which has put the country into hock up to its eyeballs with a bleak future ahead of it. Much more likely will be cuts to social security and much leaner benefits due to the plain and unalterable fact that the country is on the bone of its arse and accelerated decline the nation’s future.

      The UK will never see a Universal Basic Income, trev, and you look immature and daft banging on about it.

      Chango

      August 2, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      • @ Chango

        Do you realize how many Billions of Pounds are wasted each year on running the Jobcentres? Can the country afford to continue pouring money down the drain on pointless Jobcentres that serve no purpose whatsoever?

        In Eire unemployed people are put on annual signing from age 62, and are exempt from doing any jobsearch requirements or back-to-work activities. We could do that here, at least for the over 50s.

        And if millions of people had more money to spend it would boost the economy, as an alternative to QE.

        trev

        August 2, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      • @ trev

        Thing is, trev, most of the unemployed don’t share your views and are as keen as mustard to get back into work as soon as possible. They – a majority of the unemployed themselves – would play up merry hell if the Jobcentres got closed down en masse and the government abandoned them completely. Universal Credit was supposed to be “digital by default” with people claiming, managing their claims, and interacting with the DWP and Jobcentre online rather than in person, or on the phone, and people hated it. If the DWP removed the “personal touch” completely the media and the public would be up in arms.

        Banana Split

        August 3, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      • @ Banana Split

        That’s quite an assumption. Everyone I know, and have ever known, and everyone I have spoken to at or outside a Jobcentre have all absolutely detested the place. I’ve never met anyone who likes the jobcentre or has enjoyed going there, or has had a good word to say about the place, not one single person.

        trev

        August 3, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      • @ trev

        Thing is, mate, most people have children, mortgages, debt and are accustomed to a certain comfortable standard of living which is impossible to maintain on any or all benefits. People are desperate to go back to work because if they don’t they could lose their homes, livelihoods, possibly lose everything and end up sheparding their children into a blighted future of poverty and suffering with them. It isn’t a choice between work or benefits for most people but a choice between work and and a life worth next to nothing. If life on benefits was as good or better than the lives people lived few would want to work for a living but life ain’t like that, mate, and shouldn’t be for obvious reasons.

        Snorky

        August 4, 2020 at 2:47 pm

      • @ Snorky

        I’m not suggesting it should be. A UBI of say £100 p/w would be an improvement on £74 JSA, especially if paid unconditionally. A min. wage of £10 p/h would pay £400 p/w Gross + £100 UBI. I can’t see many workers complaining at that. There would still be a need for Housing Benefit of course, but rents could be capped if the Political will was there.

        trev

        August 4, 2020 at 2:55 pm

      • @ Snorky

        And why does the Benefits system have to be punitive if the majority of people want to work? And when there are not enough jobs for everyone, and probably won’t be for a very long time come, hence many people must therefore be unemployed. The Jobcentre does not help anyone to find work, it punishes people if they fail to meet unreasonable conditions such as spending 35 hours per week looking for work that doesn’t exist. Even without a UBI unemployment benefits could be paid automatically without any need for Jobcentres, thereby saving the taxpayers many Billions of Pounds per year.

        trev

        August 4, 2020 at 3:16 pm

  18. Former Paisley DWP offices could be transformed into new homes

    The building which has lain empty since 2018 could be turned into a new housing development.

    A planning application has been submitted to turn the building into flats

    Former government work and pensions offices could be turned into a new housing development if plans get the go-ahead.

    The former Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) office on Lonend in Paisley closed in 2018 and has lain empty ever since.

    Now developer Ambassador Residential has submitted a detailed planning application to Renfrewshire Council to demolish the existing building and create eleven houses, 38 flats and parking spaces on the side.The developers instructed engineering firm Fairhurst to carry out a flooding assessment on the site as it is close to both the White Cart Water and Espedair Burn.

    A review of the site and surrounded watercourses using LiDAR topographic data and site visit observations found it may be at risk of flooding in an extreme flood event.

    It recommended hydraulic modelling of the White Cart Water and Espedair Burn is undertaken to quantify flood risk within the vicinity of the site.

    Information from SEPA found the site had flooded in the past, in 1987, twice in December 1994 and again in December 2006.

    The 0.57 hectare site is designated brownfield and has been occupied since 1888 with the history of the site showing a variety of old factories including dye works, a brewery, flour mills, Saucel Iron Works and Gleniffer Soap works in the area.

    A review of the SEPA flood map 200-year flood outline also indicates it is at a medium to high risk of river flooding.

    A decision on the planning application is expected by September.

    Bosses maintain more claimants are applying for benefits online, with less need for call centres.

    They say 80 per cent of Jobseeker’s Allowance and almost all Universal Credit applications are made on the internet, leading to under-use at a fifth of sites.

    Property Developer

    August 2, 2020 at 1:21 pm

  19. Andrew Coates

    August 2, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    • Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the Tory Welfare reforms go through the Lords in order to be passed as Law? The Lords (including the Bishops) were instrumental in this, they’ve all got blood on their hands.

      trev

      August 2, 2020 at 7:04 pm

      • The Tory and some Liberal Democrat peers voted it through while pretty all peers belonging to other parties, independents and cross-benchers were against it. The Tories can always stump up a majority in the House of Lords.

        Hansard

        August 2, 2020 at 8:57 pm

  20. With much of northern England in a state of semi-lockdown and speculation about shielding/isolating the over 50s, I don’t expect to hear from the Jobcentre anytime soon. Each day that goes past is a day closer to retirement (and/or a wooden box).

    trev

    August 2, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    • i am going to be cremated for free just put me in the brown wheelie bin on a Monday night 😉

      superted

      August 2, 2020 at 8:54 pm

      • “Don’t wanna be cremated,
        Or buried in a grave.
        Just put me in a plastic bag,
        And leave me on the pave…
        …ment”

        Y Los Trios Paranoias c.1978 (Snuff Rock E.P.)

        trev

        August 2, 2020 at 9:17 pm

    • This idea was floated by ‘experts’ at Warwick Uni back in April. Now the trial balloon is being floated to see if they can get away with it. It has got nowt do do with saving lives but everything to do with drawing a demarcation line and saying that the over 50s are worthless. Gammon is not on the menu. If you are 50 or over the best thing to do would be to grab some hair dye before the price gougers snap it up. Some future projections: This may give way to justify age discrimination, all employers have to say is that they are letting their older workers go or not employing over 50s because they may be a risk of dying. It might become a bit like Logan’s run (you were fed to the Morlocks on reaching the ripe old age of 30), and in the future only younger than 50 are allowed to work and from 50 that will be retirement age. As it progresses, over 50s may be forced either into luxury community housing areas for older groups with entertainment, rose gardens, their own hospitals and dreary institutions for the poorer over 50s, Housing associations and the like may force older tenants out of their homes into institutions to make way for the younger generation, homeowners may be forced to sell up and ‘gift’ their property to the younger generation. It may even get more callous and over 50s if they are poor may be sent to be slaughtered for food, like Soylent Green, or the Governments may decide that over 50s upwards cost too much and so anyone reaching 50 must be exterminated. And the under 50s will laugh and party on… until it is their turn. It is dangerous stuff. This is like something out of Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia. Picking off and singling out a specific demographic and exterminating them and all under the guise of saving them. They have already got away with killing off the care home residents and nobody bats an eyelid. Next up: age 50 and over. And don’t forget they want the over 50s savings, investments and property, all part of the ‘Great Reset’.

      Soylent Green

      August 2, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    • Sequestering everybody over 50 because of Covid-19? What complete and utter bollocks! If that isn’t an urban myth I don’t know what is.

      Stuff 'n' Nonsense

      August 3, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      • @ Stuff ‘n’ Nonsense

        It’s not an urban myth, it has been reported as “speculation”, as it is one of the options the Government are considering as an alternative to putting the whole country back into lockdown in the event of a second wave of infection. Might happen, might not.

        trev

        August 3, 2020 at 5:47 pm

  21. I’m following this with interest since I am 56, I suspect they will be told stay home all the time APART from going to work, accommodations wise I’d say I’m at risk anyway living in a shared house!

    katrehman

    August 3, 2020 at 8:08 am

    • It means you would be confined to your home 24/7. When Warwick University first suggested this they stated that those caught outside must face severe penalties including jail time. They also suggested the use of electronic tags like convicted criminals are fitted with when they have restriction of liberty orders but these are usually from 7pm to 7am not 24/7. You would expect a food parcel to be dumped on your doorstep once a week. You would no doubt be billed for it. You would not be allowed any contact with another human being. Stickers would be placed on all your windows and property: “50+”. Your neighbours would be encouraged to ‘notify’ the authorities if you were seen outside. Maybe the many over 50s who work would be expected to give up work. But most supermarket HGV drivers etc are over 50. Maybe that is another part of the plan. Being imprisoned in your home in solitary confinement with no contact with another human being indefinitely (until a cure for ‘coronavirus’ found) is a form of severe psychological torture. It would drive any sane person nuts.

      Sheila

      August 3, 2020 at 9:04 am

    • What if the government start rounding up the over 50s and transporting them to a ‘facility’ i.e. concentration camp somewhere in Eastern Europe never to be seen again? This is how these things start drip, drip, drip. First they came for…. And it is always ‘for your own safety’, ‘to protect you’.

      Lucy

      August 3, 2020 at 9:14 am

      • That won’t go down well, I won’t get to see my parents again

        Does the mean we won’t see some of the mps aain.

        my_final_username

        August 3, 2020 at 10:59 am

      • How many MPs are over 49, Lucy? Still in the sky with diamonds ain’t’cha girl?

        Lemon Juice

        August 3, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      • Justice

        August 6, 2020 at 11:25 am

    • @ Kat

      Surely if you have to go to work it defeats the purpose of shielding. That’s the sort of thing this govt would do though. Shielding advised for all over 50s except for working. Go to work but don’t do anything else. That said, they might intintroduce a new furlough scheme that over 50s can access if they wish (and their employers co-operate).

      KJ

      August 4, 2020 at 3:14 am

      • K J I’m sure at the start of the crisis it was stated: leave home to work or shop exercise medical etc then go home and stay there, I really don’t think they want anyone sitting home on furlough, we might get use to it lol

        katrehman

        August 4, 2020 at 7:45 am

  22. The 50’s cannot in now way be held to claims that this is to prevent a second wave.It sends a terrible message that over 50 is the end.

    https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-millions-of-over-50s-could-be-told-to-stay-at-home-to-avoid-second-nationwide-lockdown-12040780

    ken

    August 3, 2020 at 8:54 am

    • @ Ken

      Yet the Jobcentre pushes the opposite message, being over 50 (or 60) is not a barrier to employment in their eyes, and the Government think people can work until they drop, reaching State Pension age at 67 is no excuse to stop working. All this despite the fact that many people are dying in their 50s, as I can testify having lost about 15 former friends in the last 5 years.

      trev

      August 3, 2020 at 11:02 am

      • You are talking about the ‘old normal’, trev. This is the ‘new normal’. Do keep up!

        The New Normal

        August 3, 2020 at 11:19 am

      • @ The New Normal

        Yes ok point taken, but when the DWP think the solution is to hire 13,500 more Work Coaches it clearly demonstrates that they are clinging to the ‘old normal’, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Coronavirus is the catalyst for a paradigm shift.

        trev

        August 3, 2020 at 11:47 am

      • Andrew Coates

        August 3, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      • JOBSEEKERS DAILY RATE: £10.62

        ATP

        August 3, 2020 at 6:29 pm

      • @ ATP

        House of Lords daily rate = £323

        trev

        August 3, 2020 at 6:40 pm

      • But trev, us Lords & Ladies have to sign-in daily unlike you lazy dolies who only have to sign-on once a fortnight.

        Lady Muck

        August 4, 2020 at 9:31 am

  23. PCS to launch consultative ballot for industrial action over jobcentre hours extension

    PCS will ask DWP members whether they are prepared to take industrial action over the government’s insistence that jobcentres extend their hours until 8pm on weekdays and fully open to the public, despite the very real danger of a second Covid-19 spike.

    https://www.pcs.org.uk/news/pcs-to-launch-consultative-ballot-for-industrial-action-over-jobcentre-hours-extension

    xclausx

    August 3, 2020 at 8:59 am

    • Andrew Coates

      August 3, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      • Its becoming like a Captain Mainwaring episode.Its only my opinion but open no more then necessary and don’t think they should open.They don’t have the seating in there at least locally for any distancing in the numbers of people.

        ken

        August 3, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      • The time will come when there are no Jobcentres, they will become a thing of the past like Labour Exchanges, relegated to history like the Workhouses. “This too shall pass”. Might as well shut them permanently for what good they do, save Billions. But so long as conditionality and jobsearch requirements remain then some sort of public IT centres would be required. Alternatively, ditch conditionality too. Those who are able to work will find jobs anyway if they are available. Jobcentres belong to the 1980s, the product of a previous Century like clock cards and clogs, and notions of the undeserving poor.

        trev

        August 3, 2020 at 5:41 pm

      • Who the hell is going to want to turn up at the Jobcentre in the evening, in the dark, in winter for God’s sake? Seriously, what planet are Therese Coffey and the rest of the DWP living on? It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

        Dr L. McCoy

        August 3, 2020 at 5:37 pm

      • PCS consultative ballot of jobcentre and Universal Credit workers opens 17 August

        Ballots will be sent out by email to members who have registered a personal email address for an online vote, while those who do not have a registered email address will receive a postal ballot paper, which they will need to complete and post to the independent scrutineer.

        https://www.pcs.org.uk/news/pcs-consultative-ballot-of-jobcentre%C2%A0and-universal-credit-workers-opens-17-august

        ken

        August 8, 2020 at 8:03 am

  24. Lemon Tree, what nonsense is that?

    trev

    August 3, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    • @ Morrison’s Man

      I haven’t got a job at Asda, that must have been a different “trev”.

      trev

      August 3, 2020 at 3:26 pm

  25. Conspiracy bollocks. Covid doesn’t exist and it’s all “trauma-based mind-control”, if so they’ve failed because I for one am not traumatized. I don’t mind staying at home, or using hand sanitizer or wearing a face mask, I don’t go to pubs, restaurants, cafes or football matches, so none of it really affects me personally. Having to visit the Jobcentre traumatises me.

    trev

    August 3, 2020 at 3:23 pm

  26. Andrew Coates

    August 3, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    • The Dolphin Inn for lunch hey? Alright for some. I had two out-of-date crumpets that the foodbank were going to throw away.

      trev

      August 3, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      • Did they ask for names and address details? It has to be hoped that these reopening doesn’t add to the problems.

        ken

        August 3, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      • The Dolphin Inn is not as posh as you might think, but not affordable (even half price) for those of us on benefits,

        Salter and King platter – maple chorizo, glazed ham,
        apple and mustard sausage roll, ½ scotch egg, pitta,
        chutney and salad
        13.75

        Dressed Cromer crab OR Chilli kiln smoked salmon,
        mixed garden salad, potato salad, granary bread
        14.25

        I assume they had liquid refreshment of some kind.

        And the price above does not include service.

        Click to access summer-2020-dolphin.pdf

        Andrew Coates

        August 3, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      • trev

        August 3, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    • Did you get a discount on the cost of your grub via the government’s Eat Out scheme, Therese? I bet you did.

      Give 'em half an inch

      August 3, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      • No discount needed, it was all on MPs taxpayer funded expenses.

        KJ

        August 4, 2020 at 3:44 am

      • Not for mothers surely?

        Oedipus

        August 4, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    • Isn’t it a bit weird that Coffey keeps posting information about places where she’s dined? I mean that’s advertising isn’t it? Should MPs be really been doing that? And is she doing it for pecuniary reasons, e.g., having a free meal and drinks in exchange for publicity? Favouring private businesses like that in return for freebies can’t be right.

      Torchy the Battery Boy

      August 9, 2020 at 12:16 pm

  27. Over 50s in the UK will receive an electronic monitoring device that will alert authorities if they leave home.

    The UK announced it will track over 50s with electronic monitoring devices.

    Authorities framed the trackers as a positive for over 50s, noting they would prevent a second wave of coronavirus. Over 50s will be ordered to activate the devices , at which point they are programmed to alert the authorities should the user try to leave or tamper with the device.

    Sky Lies

    August 4, 2020 at 12:52 am

    • @ Sky Lies

      Where have you got that from? Any links please?

      trev

      August 4, 2020 at 8:32 am

    • That would be one hell of a big order for monitoring equipment and a big recruitment campaign for personnel to run such a system. Seem just a itsy-bitsy teeny-tiny wee little bit completely impossible to me.

      The Watcher

      August 5, 2020 at 5:08 pm

  28. Over 50s in the UK will receive an electronic monitoring device that will alert authorities if they leave home.

    The UK announced it will track over 50s with electronic monitoring devices.

    Authorities framed the trackers as a positive for over 50s, noting they would prevent a second wave of coronavirus. Over 50s will be ordered to activate the devices , at which point they are programmed to alert the authorities should the user try to leave home or tamper with the device.

    Sky Lies

    August 4, 2020 at 12:53 am

    • Will over 50s be imprisoned in their home, strapped to a chair, and forced to watch BBC FEAR porn 24/7. Holy Hell!!

      A Clockwork Orange

      August 4, 2020 at 1:41 am

      • No.

        Droog

        August 4, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    • Why should 30 year old Karen and Ken be able to take their 5 kids to Spain but people 50-70 can’t even go to the shops – madness!

      Sally Smyth

      August 4, 2020 at 1:54 am

  29. What you say is very true, Mr Coates. 88% of lay magistrates are white. That means 18% are not. The BAMES make up about 13% of the population. Now they want to push even more into the justice system, out of proportion to their population levels. Just like the woke, diverse politically correct, channel-that-no one-watches BBC.

    This diversity obsessed craziness has to stop. Somehow I don’t think our new masters will make the same concessions to us when we are the minority in our own land.

    Winston

    August 4, 2020 at 1:02 am

    • If you add 88% to 13% you get 106%, Winston. Have you been drinking again?

      Clemmie

      August 5, 2020 at 5:11 pm

  30. It is all very well to moan about lack of opportunities, but lack of opportunities for whom? For about 25-30 years after WWII there was a push for social mobility from the working to the middle class. And it was certainly happening. Now, under the tutelage of the leftist educational establishment, native British working class boys are being left behind as these vile socialist traitors “champion” the education of non whites and females. There are no quotas for white working class boys. They are the forgotten ones.
    Genetically their IQ’s are exactly the same as they were in 1930, higher than most ethnic groups and they still are today. They are clearly the victims of discrimination,just as there exists actual discriminatory legislation against white men in employment,since 2010. Not to mention jobs advertised with the likes of the BBC that specifically exclude white working-class males. The authorities clearly got terrified of their abilities as they entered Grammar schools and became educated, white working class educated males being the group that would have been the best moral compass for a homogenous people that would have acted in their own interests for social mobility and national defence.

    Fatima

    August 4, 2020 at 1:13 am

  31. I feel this joke blog makes stuff up to get to everyone on here, then the bots pile in to comment. I only use this site as its a free app. If I buy a paper I buy a proper one

    random thought

    August 4, 2020 at 2:02 am

  32. I’ve worked right through this and I’m over 50. If the bigwigs in Westminster think I’m stopping at home this winter, they can think again. I’m not giving up my job for anyone, least of all some bumptious 20/30 something. I’ll retire if the state allows a pension at a reasonable age. Till then you can stuff pushing us not very old at all people round like sheep. And Rishi can do one too!

    Mary Bumes

    August 4, 2020 at 4:23 am

  33. I’m in my 50’s run a business as a key worker and have even taken a second job delivering groceries, another key work job, to the vulnerable, furloughed and teachers. My wife has worked throughout in a key work job and we also have to look after two children. I have had one day off since March 23rd. I’ve taken no loans or Government grants, just grafted for my living. Furloughed workers didn’t have a choice? What about all those farm jobs everyone volunteered for but no one turned up for? If I have to listen to another teacher saying how much work they did, that one day every four weeks when you supervised 2 key worker children and sent out one email, made one call. One day someone might ask you what you did during the crisis, let’s hope you don’t lie.

    Large Gonad

    August 4, 2020 at 4:30 am

  34. Large Gonad ( apt name)! I too am a key worker, albeit a hidden forgotten one, a school cleaner, I saw first hand what we know now to be covid, rip through our school in the New Year before the s,,, really hit the fan,indeed I’m convinced looking back I fell victim to it back in February after I’d already been signed off with my disc problems in neck.
    Teachers may well have been in on a rota basis, with a tiny number of pupils, as per RISK ASSESSMENT AND OFFICIAL GUIDANCE of which there was plenty, I assure you of that, I’m also a Trades Union Officer, they weren’t at home drinking tea, they were preparing lessons for future use, writing reports, helping put packs of work together for kids to do at home. Teaching assistants were set online training to do at home.
    Had teachers not on the rota attempted to come in they’d of been turned away for everyone’s protection.
    As to furloughed staff doing other jobs, I believe some employers would forbid this and also, while in my skl cleaners were in on a rota basis too, I personally couldn’t have been taken on picking veg in fields due to my medical problems, this isn’t an excuse since I’m working with occupational health atm too!
    Yes it’s amazing your achievements, just remember though one size doesnt fit all!
    The welfare systems at fault too, a lot of the guys here are unwell too and some still on old style legacy benefits which offer slightly more protection than UC, should they taj9a job veg picking and then the season ended they would have to make a new claim to UC! The system is putting ppl off working, how is that fair?? I speak from experience there too, when my ex landlord sold up I list my legacy housing benefit and would have to of signed for UC which I am too scared to do, so now in my mid 50s I’m back to renting one room in a shared house!

    katrehman

    August 4, 2020 at 7:41 am

    • True story, kat. When I used to work in Sweden I could barely suppress bursting into fits of laughter every time someone introduced themselves as ‘Large Gonad’ – a very popular name over there, would you believe 🙂

      Dick Head

      August 4, 2020 at 8:58 am

    • Reaching the ripe old age of 55 would place you in a ‘priority’ category for social housing – at least around these parts. We do not expect people in the latter years of their life to be renting a room in a shared house.
      Anyway, something you may want to check out.

      Housing Officer

      August 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

      • It would? Thank you Housing Officer I’ll check it out, though typicall my town was considered a cheap place and a fair few further afield councils dumped their homeless here.

        katrehman

        August 5, 2020 at 8:27 am

      • @katrehman – You’ll have to come up with a months rent in advance and a deposit, even if you go the sheltered housing route. But if you can do this, it might be well worth your while. The council / housing association places are usually cheaper than private landlords. So you are getting a nice flat cheaper than you are probably paying for a shared room. It costs nothing to go the council list, so quite possibility worth considering.

        John

        August 5, 2020 at 4:10 pm

  35. Also Large gonad if anybody ever asks me what I personally did during the pandemic I can look them in the eye and say: I went to work when on rota, I kept up with all the Union Stuff, I spoke to all my members weekly, they knew they could ( and did) contact me anytime, I checked guidance about living in an HMO since I knew our landlord and his agent are typically clueless, and as the only native born Brit in the house I advised them of their rights and helped one claim UC, no I don’t want a bouquet of flowers for it,it’s just what I did, and I won’t have to lie about it

    katrehman

    August 4, 2020 at 8:05 am

    • @katrehman – It shows exactly what is wrong with the benefits system in this country, when someone who is working, but could still claim some help towards rent, is too scared to do so.

      John

      August 4, 2020 at 11:54 pm

  36. the UN Secretary General said that ‘a changing world requires a new generation of social protection policies with new safety nets including Universal Health Coverage and the possibility of a Universal Basic Income’

    https://basicincome.org/news/2020/07/un-secretary-general-proposes-basic-income/

    trev

    August 4, 2020 at 8:39 am

  37. Anyone can’t have failed to notice the dearth of customers in barbers shops after reopening post-lockdown. This has been attributed to the huge amount of contraband hair clippers in circulation that have been purchased during lockdown. In response Rishi Sunak has announced that he intends to ‘Get Britain Barbering’. During phase one of the campaign an amnesty will be declared on hair clippers. During this time you can dispose of hair clippers safely in a specially designated bin in a police station of your choice. After the amnesty ends it will be then become a criminal offence to be found in possession of or in the supply of hair clippers. This will be backed up by severe penalties in law.

    Leo Wahl

    August 4, 2020 at 9:21 am

  38. Looks like making over 50s shield is now off the cards on grounds it is ageist

    katrehman

    August 4, 2020 at 11:35 am

    • It wouldn’t be a good idea from the point of view of losing the most experienced people from the workforce as well. Imagine a country in which all the most capable managers, craftsmen, teachers, civil servants, technicians etc., were sentenced to house arrest for thirteen weeks or whatever. The world would stop turning in pretty short order.

      Omar Kibosh

      August 4, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    • It isn’t good for the over 50’s as their saying here they’ve been badly hit.

      People over State Pension age may be eligible to claim Universal Credit – here’s how

      There’s been a sharp rise in Universal Credit claims made by over-50s since lockdown began

      The number of Universal Credit claims made by the over-50s more than doubled between March and May, a new study suggests.

      “Prior to the pandemic, we already knew that older workers were more likely to be in long-term unemployment, were less likely to receive workplace training than their younger counterparts and were extremely likely to face age discrimination in the recruitment process.”

      https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/lifestyle/money/people-over-state-pension-age-22446369

      ken

      August 4, 2020 at 8:19 pm

  39. DWP Universal Credit: The desperate and depressed Hull jobseekers struggling to make ends meet
    https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/dwp-universal-credit-jobseekers-hull-4388175

    superted

    August 4, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    • Just been reading through that story of the Hull nan claiming JSA who (as we all know) didn’t get the extra £20 given to UC claimants, and then there’s a quote from the DWP saying;

      “A DWP spokesperson said job seeker’s allowance claimants could get a Universal Credit top up if they speak to their local job centre.”

      Wtf????

      trev

      August 4, 2020 at 1:25 pm

      • That’s ‘Hull man’, not “Hull nan” ! Typo.

        trev

        August 4, 2020 at 1:28 pm

      • the only way to get the extra 20 quid is to end the jsa claim and make a new uc claim there is no top up!

        superted

        August 4, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      • So as usual the DWP are lying, being liberal with the truth, misleading the public, and talking bollocks. What a surprise. Why are they never brought to account for their lies and false propaganda? If you or I tell a porkie to the DWP we risk Sanctions and prosecution. It’s like we’re living in a Dictatorship. Government departments have a duty and responsibility to provide clarity and truthful information at all times.

        trev

        August 4, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      • and that is why i do not listen to a word they say anymore as it is all bollocks.

        Pathological lying, also known as mythomania and pseudologia fantastica, is the chronic behavior of compulsive or habitual lying. Unlike telling the occasional white lie to avoid hurting someone’s feelings or getting in trouble, a pathological liar seems to lie for no apparent reason.

        thats what i call a work coach and they can stick there expectations up there ass and there so called mandatory courses.

        superted

        August 4, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      • Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reich_Ministry_of_Public_Enlightenment_and_Propaganda

        Therese Von Coffey und Iain Duncan Schmitt take note.

        trev

        August 4, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      • “A DWP spokesperson said job seeker’s allowance claimants could get a Universal Credit top up if they speak to their local job centre.”

        What they’ll do is close their jobseekers claim and then tell them to claim UC online and wait five weeks plus.theres no top up only on Universal Credit.

        ken

        August 4, 2020 at 2:53 pm

  40. I can see job centre will need more g4s secruity staff and the like (if jo b centre do open up more and signing on in person resumes) to deal with the high numbers of unemployed people. especially those who have to sign on for the first time, will not fully know the routine and may end up kicking off, being told what to do by someone less qualify in how to look for new employment.

    Also some people no matter how long you been signing on, will probably kick off about payments,

    my_final_username

    August 4, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    • The G4SS Goons look bored out of their skulls, it’ll give them something to do.

      trev

      August 4, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    • And again this defeats the object of trying to contain the virus, all these extra bodies milling about, more regular deep cleaning of bannister rails etc , staff rest areas, loos etc, it will be nigh on impossible to work to a secure risk assessment and follow bubble protocol, and if anyone kicks off and needs to be restrained by guards….
      The sheer amount of planning for a large organisation is staggering!!

      katrehman

      August 5, 2020 at 8:23 am

  41. I went past my jc today, big sign on the door saying do not enter.

    Big bird

    August 4, 2020 at 7:58 pm

  42. superted

    August 4, 2020 at 8:57 pm

  43. With the 4 million coming off the Fur Low scheme, the DWP want to fast track them straight onto Universal Credit so they can be a job figure working working for your benefits on the Government Work Programme. If however the 4 million were put on JSA Job Seekers Allowance they would be a unemployment figure. So the Tories have now put 4 million Fur Lowed unemployed into work on Universal Credit.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 4, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    • Which “Government Work Programme” is that?

      trev

      August 4, 2020 at 9:52 pm

      • All of them trev !!!

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 4, 2020 at 9:59 pm

      • Oh right, I thought you meant there’s a new Workfare scheme been introduced, wouldn’t surprise me if they did, get everyone working for their Benefits. I don’t think they can with UC though, cos the emphasis is on permanent jobsearch.

        trev

        August 4, 2020 at 10:15 pm

      • My point is that once on Universal Credit you become a job figure unlike JSA.

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 4, 2020 at 10:19 pm

  44. Therese Coffey: Reshuffle speculation ‘disruptive’ to DWP officials

    BBC – 17th July 2020

    Speculation about a cabinet reshuffle this autumn risks “disrupting” the work of her department, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has suggested.

    Although she was “not worried” about talk about her own future, she told Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking it could affect those working for her.

    People “may not work quite at the same pace on the current leader’s ideas” if they think change is coming, she said.

    Ms Coffey is the seventh person to hold the job in the past five years.

    Under her leadership the DWP has handling an unprecedented increase in claims for Universal Credit and other benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,.

    But Ms Coffey has kept a low profile during the crisis and, despite being one of the most senior women in cabinet, was not asked to front any of the No 10 press briefings.

    This has led to speculation that she could be moved in a cabinet reshuffle expected in September.

    Asked about this by the BBC’s Nick Robinson, Ms Coffey said there had been a lot of ministerial turnover at the department in recent years and further uncertainty could have an impact.

    “I think it’s fair to say that the DWP have been through a number of secretaries of state and the civil service have just got on with things, which is great,” she said.

    “But I think there is a wider issue that sometimes happens with reshuffles, and I don’t blame in any way the civil service for this, which is if you think you’re going to get a change of leadership then you may not work quite at the same pace on the current leader’s ideas and all of the rest of it.

    “It’s more that sort of thing that’s a bit more disruptive. It’s best not to worry about these things and I don’t.”

    Ms Coffey replaced Amber Rudd after she resigned last September in protest at the government’s Brexit policy.

    She is the sixth minister to have led the department since March 2016. None of her immediate predecessors spent more than a year in the job.

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 4, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    • Ms Coffey is the seventh person to hold the DWP Minster job in the past five years, along with 11 Disability Ministers it’s all sounding like the Watford football Team & Club.

      Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

      August 4, 2020 at 9:49 pm

      • At that rate will be have enough for 3 Watfords !!!!

        Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

        August 4, 2020 at 9:51 pm

  45. I’m Grant Shitty Shapps
    When It Comes To Work
    I Always Take A Nap
    I’m Grant Shitty Shapps
    I Got A Pair Of Slacks
    When I Go On Holiday
    I Always Have A Wax

    Waxing Lyrical

    I’m Grant Shitty Shapps
    I Know My Rapping’s Crap
    I’m Known To Wander & Lapse
    That’s Why I’m Grant Shitty Shapps

    Waxing Lyrical Again

    I’m Grant Shitty Shapps
    There’s No Need So For Maps
    I Know My Next Holiday Nap
    Waxing With My Rap

    You Sure Are Grant Shitty Shapps

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 4, 2020 at 9:58 pm

  46. There Was An Old Man Called Boris Who Lived In A Land Of Fuck Foster

    There Was An Old Man Called Cumming Who Live In A Land Of Dumbings

    Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    August 4, 2020 at 10:03 pm

  47. To work or not to work ? That is the question.

    Philos

    August 4, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    • Something Superted ponders on a daily basis.

      Zugzwang

      August 5, 2020 at 1:02 am

    • @ Philos

      It’s not as simple as that though is it Philos? It’s about the availability of suitable jobs compared to ones skills and abilities, not to mention location and lack of transport versus shift times, transport costs versus wage. And then there’s the age factor. When most jobs are Warehouse or Production often situated 10 to 20 miles away, involving awkward shifts that don’t line up with bus times, or are not on a bus route and “own transport is required”, and most of those jobs are described as “fast paced”, meaning they want younger people who can work fast, or sometimes stipulate “must have solid work history”, or “must have worked for last 3 years”, those of us aged in our 50s/60s with no transport and gaps in our employment don’t stand a chance.

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 9:37 am

    • What we need is a national work programme along the lines of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, not the crappy watered down and pretty useless New Deal and Flexible New Deal put in place by New Labour during the 1990s.

      https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Deal

      Useful paid work should be created and unemployed persons made to do that work, with help to overcome barriers such as transport, lack of qualifications and thin experience are concerned. No one should be left out or abandoned and everyone should be expected to make a contribution with pay for their efforts. No one should be allowed to moulder and become moribund on the dole. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” as Karl Marx wrote in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program.

      THAT is the way to go.

      Ladybird

      August 5, 2020 at 10:01 am

      • Good idea Ladybird, gainful and meaningful work that pays more than the dole. And those unemployed people who already do voluntary work should be left alone and exempt from conditionality. There was a Gov. scheme in my area in the early 80s (the Thatcher years) called C.E.P. the Community Enterprise Programme, which was optional, consisted of working 4 days a week, paid double the dole, no jobsearch or signing necessary. It was great. I did that for 9 months and got a job out if it.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 10:13 am

    • I wonder how trev would answer that one.

      Hamlet

      August 6, 2020 at 6:24 pm

      • @ Hamlet

        I already have.

        trev

        August 6, 2020 at 7:38 pm

  48. @Snorky – But that once again is their choice. To get a mortgage, have kids they can’t afford, a posh car, foreign holidays etc.
    Other people are not so bothered about material things. It’s wrong for these people who have bought into the protestant work ethic / capitalist system to try and force their consumer lifestyle on other people.

    Tom Sutton

    August 4, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    • They ‘work’ because they need the good salary rolling in to keep up the ‘affordable payment plan’ on the Range Rover, the private school fees, the six-bed room posh home in the suburbs, the four luxury foreign holidays a year, the designer dogs, the meals out in the fancy restaurants, the spa days etc. But they would not trudge through the rain to work for minimum wage in a dirty factory to return home a bedsit/room in a shared house/flat in a tower block to ‘dine’ on a can of cold baked beans. There is ‘work’ and there is work. We want to ‘work’ but at the same time do not want to work.

      Abigail Whitworth-Rothschild

      August 5, 2020 at 8:14 am

    • “It’s wrong for these people who have bought into the protestant work ethic / capitalist system to try and force their consumer lifestyle on other people.”

      It isn’t wrong, pal, it’s inevitable when you live in a society dominated by governments which champion the protestant work ethic and capitalist system elected into power fairly, democratically and repeatedly. If you don’t like living in a capitalist society with a work ethic it is YOU who should relocate to a country that better suits you or make some other internal arrangement in respect to your needs, e.g., become a monk supported by some religious order, not to expect the country harbouring you to treat you differently when a majority of the population of that land voted time after time for governments which made it so.

      Camp Freddy

      August 5, 2020 at 5:26 pm

  49. Suprised to see @trev on here, I thought he had a job now ?

    Jack Reid

    August 4, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    • Supposedly he got fired from Asda for proselytizing for Jeremy Corbyn.

      Sue Denim

      August 5, 2020 at 1:23 am

      • Jezza? I remember him as the agent provocateur who steered the Labour party onto the rocks, sinking Labour’s chance of being elected to office and forming government for a generation. Thick as mince and quite possibly in the pay of the Tories, Corbyn was a disaster for the Labour party and United Kingdom. When he eventually retires the Conservatives, who will almost certainly still be in office, will give Jezza his reward in the form of a peerage, which he will accept gratefully and then hardly ever turn up in the second chamber to speak much like other Labourites like Denis Healey and trade union “leaders” like Vic Feather and Frank Chapple.

        Cherie

        August 5, 2020 at 9:50 am

      • @ Cherie

        I very much doubt that JC was in the pay of the Conservatives but the Blairites within the Labour party who actively conspired to make Labour lose may well have been.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 9:57 am

      • Too right! It was deliberate sabotage of the Labour Party to make them unelectable. Jezza was a Tory stooge. The Labour Party was taken over by ‘Momentum’ ran by multi-millionaire property developer and evictor of tenants Jon Lansman. Why are all these ‘Marxists’. ‘Communists’, ‘far-left wingers’ never short of a bob or two? Going further back we had Neil Kinnock who also sabotaged the Labour Party. The Kinnocks done rather well out of it and became EU Commissioners on vast salaries. They are also multi-millionaires. Then we had John Smith ex_leader of the Labour Party who let out that Labour would raise taxes dealing the death blow to their election chances. Smith died of a heart attack – supposedly. His daughter Sarah was on Channel 4 and it now on the BBC. She is in the employee of MI5. And what about Boris? One of his special advisors is Munira Mirza. Mirza was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and a contributor to Living Marxism (LM) magazine as were Claire Regina Fox and Kate (Catherine) Hoey that Boris appointed to the House of Lords only the other day. You couldn’t make this shit up.

        Sheila

        August 5, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    • @ Jack Reid

      No I haven’t got a job, that must have been a different “Trev”, or someone mucking about posting under my name.

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 9:27 am

    • I, for one, never believed that scurrilous rumour circulating about trev for a moment.

      Doris Stopes

      August 5, 2020 at 9:37 am

      • me neither Doris, i don’t believe trev was a member of the yorkshire National Front

        Nostradumus

        August 5, 2020 at 5:18 pm

  50. I know an unemployed man
    He gets up at ten
    Has a quick cup of tea
    Then back to bed again

    Looks through the papers
    Good horse at 2.30
    So down to the bookies
    To see his mate Bertie

    Stops off on the way back
    To get a new tat
    Some fags and beer
    And food for the cat

    Then round to the estate
    With an aerosol can
    To spray
    ‘Dave was here’
    All over a van

    Down to the library
    Quick jobsearch or two
    Keeping the money
    Coming on through

    Pick up a curry
    And home to the wife
    Match on TV
    It’s a wonderful life !

    Tory Story

    August 5, 2020 at 12:00 am

    • @ Tory Story

      I am an unemployed man and the only two things on your list that apply to me are buying food for the cat and visiting the library to do jobsearch, the rest is nothing I recognize. I’ve only ever been in a Bookies once in my life, in 1980, and I lost so never went again. I don’t bet on horses or buy newspapers. I can’t afford to buy a curry, I make my own. Ive only been in a pub twice in the last 6 years. Oh, and I’m usually up before 9.00, often 6.30am.

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 10:05 am

  51. In reality it might be better for the Labour Party if they tried to put the Jeremy Corbyn years behind them.
    And moved on to a new future, as a progressive centre party. And perhaps less use of the word ‘socialist’, which does have some unfortunate associations.

    George Mortimer

    August 5, 2020 at 11:23 am

  52. @trev: But is that always the case Trev ? I know a number of people, left- leaning and socially progressive, who were appalled at the hard-left ideas of the Corbynites. And yet these same people would never vote Conservative. And then there was that rather disturbing Stalinist take-over, like some sort of political coup.
    It was obvious that with the worst political ratings in parliamentary history, Corbyn was on course for disaster. But no-one was allowed to dissent from the position that he would win ! I’m not sure it’s true that the Centrists are necessarily neo-liberals. They just realize that you cannot keep pushing unpalatable policies and an unpopular leader onto the general public. Not if you want to win an election.

    George Mortimer

    August 5, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    • @ George Mortimer

      There was nothing “Hard-Left” about any of Corbyn’s policies. He was demonized by the Rightwing and the media, and deliberately undermined by Blairites within his own party. I and many others are now very disillusioned and quite disgusted with the Labour party.

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 12:53 pm

      • Keir Starmer has a solid background on the left.

        I first met him at a Paris left wing rally in the mid-1980s, and knew him towards the end of the decade as a fellow member of the Socialist Society Steering Committee, along with Ralph Miliband, Hilary Wainwright, Caroline Benn and others you may not have heard of. This was very much part of the non-Stalinist left!

        I do not think he is right-wing, although he is no doubt more moderate than he was during his decade of activism on the radical left.

        I and others on the radical left, Paul Mason, Susan Press, Sarah Parker and others, backed Starmer in the Labour leadership elections.

        Andrew Coates

        August 5, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      • Exactly. “Socialism” is not a dirty word, and accusations/comparisons to “Stalinism” in the Labour party are just hysterical, even under Corbyn. I just think it’s disgusting how Corbyn has been treated by some of those within Labour. As for Starmer I’ll wait and see what policies he’s offering nearer to election time.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      • @george mortimer – Yes I agree totally with you George. A lot of people simply didn’t bother to vote in the last election because they couldn’t face voting for Corbyn, or the Conservatives, or the LIb Dems !!
        Of course Corbyn was hard-left, and everybody knew it. I’m sure he is a decent man , but he certainly was not a potential prime minister. A poor performer at the despatch box, arguably too old for the role, he reduced Labour quite frankly to a political joke, and made things very easy for the Conservatives.
        Like yourself I felt uneasy when critical positions within the party started to be filled up with Corbynites. When there no room for discussion or debate. When people had to pretend that Corbyn was doing a wonderful job, when in fact he was making a terrible hash of things.
        Remember when he lost the election and sulked his way into parliament besides a grinning Boris Johnson ?
        And when the Tories enthusiastically cheered Corbyn as he entered the chamber ?
        As well they might, he had gifted them an 80 seat landslide victory.
        With Keir Starmer it has been completely different. He has brought Labour back to a position of respect in parliament, instead of it being a laughing stock. He is intelligent, well-prepared and professional. Time and again his sharp questioning has shown up all the bluff and empty posturing of Johnson. Starmer has transformed PMQs in a way that Corbyn could never have achieved. I’m sorry for people like @trev, still clinging to their defeated guru, against all common sense and reason. I hope in time they will come to see that only by taking the political centre ground does Labour have any chance of victory. And that this need not come by giving up basic socialist policies, but by broadening the base of support, with realistic aims and ambitions. Real politics, not the angry politics of the student bedsit.

        Tom Sutton

        August 5, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      • @ Tom Sutton

        I’m not clinging to anyone, I’m merely correcting falsehoods. There was absolutely nothing “Hard Left” about any of Corbyn’s policies, they were all perfectly reasonable traditional Labour policies.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 3:45 pm

      • Well, you know what they say, trev: Communism is Socialism in a hurry 😉

        Uncle Joe Stalin

        August 5, 2020 at 3:41 pm

      • It doesn’t matter what you think, trev. The electorate perceived as ‘hard left’. They had visions of hyper-inflation, their pensions/investments being wiped out, empty supermarket shelves, massive borrowing to pay for huge public sector pay rises, constant strikes, brownouts/blackouts, mountains of waste strewing the streets, the dead laying unburied, money thrown at provider to pay for massive workfare programmes… and then after Labour have been milked for all they are worth and are booted from office a Tory government introducing a programme of ‘austerity’ to pay for what Labour had pissed up against the wall. All very predictable. And that is why the electorate said ‘no thanks’.

        Celia

        August 5, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      • @ Celia

        Unfortunately the vast majority of the electorate are very gullible, Reactionary, and easily fooled, not to mention Politically illiterate.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 4:47 pm

      • @ trev

        Whatever the electorate is, trev, isn’t going to change much by the time of the next general election which has to be won with those voters, as they are, not some population desperate for revolution but evolution, i.e., slow and small tweaks and changes to improve people’s lives and the health of society generally. Your position is ridiculous. Instead of Labour changing its leadership and policies to chime better with the hopes and dreams of the British electorate, as they are, you seem to pine to get rid of them and appoint a new electorate more sympathetic to Labour’s position who will slavishly vote for the party no matter who leads it nor what its agenda happens to be.

        A party that blames its failure on the electorate rather than itself is doomed to eventual extinction.

        As for me, well, I hope and pray that under Keir Starmer Labour will have the good sense and ability to change, evolve and win the confidence of enough if the electorate, as they are, to win power and return to government once again. And that is something that could never have happened under Jeremy Corbyn in a million million years if ever.

        Moderate Lefty

        August 6, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    • And as for a “political coup” that was what happened years earlier with the advent of New Labour when the party was infiltrated by neoliberals thanks to Blair and Mandelson who shifted the party to the Right. Corbyn was a Centrist and moderate who moved the party back nearer the Left after it had been moved so far to the Right!

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 12:58 pm

      • New Labour won THREE consecutive elections, trev, and Corbyn has the next to worst electoral disaster in the party’s history. The fact that Corbyn was the worst regarded Labour party leader EVER amongst Labour MPs and voters unaffiliated with the party might have had something to do with the catastrophe. Corbyn was absolutely awful, indecisive and apparently unable to answer random questions feilded at him, dodging the media and adopting a tight-lipped, sphinx-like persona when pressed to articulate Labour’s position on, well, pretty much anything and everything. Dull, plodding and slow-witted the general public was never going to vote for a party led by a man/woman clearly and blatantly unfit to hold the office of Prime Minister.

        Even Boris Johnson was preferable for PM than Jezza was to the voting public.

        Which says everything you need to know how Corbyn was regarded by people outside his circle.

        Hanks

        August 5, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      • People on the left have a variety of judgements about Corbyn, although many left-wingers are not so blind as to not know what the wider public thought of him.

        Some of us are very aware that he had not wanted to stand in the Labour leadership election but was for a variety of reasons, pressured into it. That is one of the reasons we are reluctant to criticise Corbyn, the other being his long-standing and respected work as a campaigner, although many of us had serious differences about the way groups like the Stop the War Coalition developed (for those with long memories, George Galloway was a leading figure in the StWC…).

        Whatever you feel about the way he was seen, and not everybody on the left would disagree with Hanks on the negative side – and we have had a lot more direct contact with Corbyn – he was without doubt a major reason why many people did not vote Labour.

        Andrew Coates

        August 5, 2020 at 6:25 pm

      • What’s the point in winning an election if you have to abandon your principles to do so? A number of times I saw a reporter on tv questioning members of the public in the street or on their doorstep, asking who they were going to vote for. A lot of people said they didn’t like Corbyn but when asked why they didn’t like him or what it was they didn’t like about him, they couldn’t say! They had been brainwashed by the media and didn’t even realize it. Sadly, many of the general public are as thick as pig shit, borne out by the fact that they keep voting Tory, like Turkeys voting for Christmas, in the mistaken belief that a bunch of very rich etonian toffs care a toss about the working class.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 6:26 pm

      • Corbyn was no Blair for sure.

        Tom

        August 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm

      • @trev- This is the problem with hard-left ideology Trev, it’s all or nothing. Everything black and white, when life just isn’t like that. There are always shades of grey, extenuating circumstances. Even the law recognises this.Which is better, for Labour to take power and be able to do 70% of what they would like to do ? Or cling to the very last details of the hard-left manifesto, that only a tiny minority will vote for ? And stay uselessly out of power, while the Tories do as they like for years on end ? Meanwhile the hard-left sulk in corners and argue small points of doctrine among themselves, like monks in some sort of political monastery. This is not politics, it’s self-indulgent arrogance, of which there are many holier-than thou examples on Labour’s left-wing.

        Tom Sutton

        August 5, 2020 at 10:36 pm

      • @ Tom

        What about Privatization of the NHS for example. Is that a grey area? That’s what the Tories and the Blairites want to do.

        trev

        August 6, 2020 at 6:58 am

      • I don’t think Hanks was encouraging a return to the days of New Labour only pointing out that a different flavour of the Labour party had been palatable enough to the electorate to get elected to office for THIRTEEN CONSECUTIVE YEARS and did a heck of a lot of good before it lost its way. Corbynite Labour was a dead duck from its inception. Absolutely the wrong leader who surrounded himself nepotistically with too many mates and duds, e.g., old pal Dianne Abbott promoted to Shadow Home Secretary. Labour was never going to regain power under such circumstances, split from bow to stern with infighting raging ceaselessly over power, policies and personalities all the while.

        I think Hanks is suggesting that to make progress Labour needs a Leader with a scandal free past, gifted with oratorical skills, charm, intellect, decisiveness and above all else competence; a person who can answer all of the questions asked of him without muteness and evasiveness. And I for one am hoping that Keir Starmer will turn out to be such a man. I’m quite impressed by his forensic performances against Boris Johnson at PMQs, exposing him regularly as clueless, even a liar, and several times forcing changes to be made in mistaken government policy. I can’t say that I am 100% sure that his shadow cabinet is peopled by the best that Labour has to offer, by way of talent, but Labour today looks a hell of a lot more likely to move forwards under Starmer than it ever did while stuck in reverse gear with Jezza behind the wheel.

        What a shame that Corbyn didn’t have the self-awareness to have realised how hopelessly limited he was when it came to leadership, had the courage to resign, and allowed someone more capable and clever to take over before the last general election. I’m not sure that Labour would have won power, in fact I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have, but I am sure absolutely that the party wouldn’t have lost sixty seats and suffered such a humiliating pasting by quite possibly one of the worst and most incompetent versions of the Tory party since the second world war.

        Tom

        August 6, 2020 at 8:24 am

      • O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!

        Robert Burns

        August 6, 2020 at 8:47 am

      • @ trev

        Mike Sivier is a rabid left-winger and his Vox Political blog is neither respected, respectable or reasonable.

        Silvertongue

        August 6, 2020 at 4:12 pm

      • @ Silvertongue

        That’s your opinion. I find him to be Politically astute. He also doesn’t hesitate to sue, so watch your (silver)tongue!

        trev

        August 6, 2020 at 7:35 pm

      • Stifling unflattering opinion by means of threat. How very left-wing, trev. Reminds me of Communist China, USSR, Venezuela, Cambodia and lots of other uber-leftist regimes during their worst days. What, pray tell, did Silvertongue write that any court would consider libellous? Come the revolution we’ll all be up against the wall, eh? Nice one. Don’t much like your true colours though although at least you are consistent.

        Pig Sticker

        August 6, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      • Silvertongue should also note the Mike reads this blog. A previous commentator was sued into a black hole in space for mentioning Mike’s Ray Ban shades. Mike will take you for everything. He says so on his blog. These are no idle threats. You do not mess with Mike Sivier. Mess with Mike at your peril.

        Goldeneye

        August 6, 2020 at 8:38 pm

      • I have refrained from saying anything about Mike Silver, with whose politics, as a left wing socialist internationalist and anti-Stalinist myself, I strongly disagree.

        There are lot simpler ways of dealing with him: that is simply remove any reference to him whatsoever.

        Andrew Coates

        August 6, 2020 at 9:22 pm

      • In trev’s world you have violated Article 58, Section 6 of the Criminal Code of the Soviet Union. Conduct with the purpose of weakening the Soviet Union. The penalty: execution. Trev pines for a Bolshevik Revolution. He hopes that Labour will ditch Starmer and he can get his man back in, Jezza, and the “gullible and brain-washed British public” will be stupid enough to vote for this Commie.

        Evanka Vasilky

        August 6, 2020 at 8:45 pm

      • Can we hope then, given the views of the owner of this blog, that all posts with links to Vox Political posted by trev will get summarily deleted in future? Many of us would hope so and that the Labour party under Starmer will move into the future leaving the dross of authoritarianism, repeated electoral rejection and a legacy of pitiful failure behind it, moving towards a more modern, pluralistic and consensual agenda, with a view to make our nation a better and more socially just country for all of us to live in. The views of everybody should be tolerated and bullies always challenged.

        Matt

        August 7, 2020 at 7:55 am

      • On this point I have just removed a post attacking Trev in personal terms by somebody who spells licence license, which leads me to suspect the US alt right are back.

        Hey, that’s me, let a thousand weeds get uprooted…

        Andrew Coates

        August 7, 2020 at 8:51 am

      • @ trev

        I don’t know how well Keir Starmer is doing for, sure although yougov gives him a 20% positive rating and 21% neutral opinion, while Jeremy Corbyn gets 59% negative opinion and 16% neutral opinion and Boris Johnson 41% negative opinion and 18% neutral opinion, so Starmer appears to be doing better than the current prime minister and a hell of a lot better than Corbyn if these numbers have anything to say about it.

        What puzzles me is that you seem to relish the possibility that Keir Starmer is doing badly and seem pleased to ill-wish him rather than see Labour make progress under him with a view to displacing the Conservatives. This makes no sense to me since I would prefer any kind of Labour government to any Tory government whereas you seem to despise any flavour of Labour that isn’t atavistic, old school and uber-left-wing which has zero chance of ever gaining political power and therefore no chance at all of making our country a better place. You remind me of a jilted lover who, if he can’t have the object of his love, kills the object of his love rather than letting anybody else have her. You politics would destroy the Labour party and if you want to get rid of the Tories you should get behind Keir Starmer because after the Covid-19 contagion, Brexit, economic decline and unpopularity the Conservatives and Boris Johnson will inevitably face over the coming years this may be the best chance ever to get them out of office and see Labour returned to power.

        Politics isn’t black and white, trev, like life itself it’s nuanced and colourful. People who cleave to outmoded and impossible so-called principles don’t win the day, trev, they get martyred. If you want to be hung on a cross to die as far as I’m concerned that’s fine, make a stand and die, but don’t take the unwilling innocents into the darkness with you, dooming them to live out their lives under Conservative rule because Labour is doctrinally pure but remains forever unelectable because the overwhelming majority of voters are practical people repulsed by the doctrinaire.

        It’s tragic that you cannot see this.

        Parsifal

        August 7, 2020 at 9:23 am

      • Andrew Coates

        August 7, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      • Well I would hope so too. I don’t know what goes through the minds of the British public (suckers for Populism I suppose)but let’s face it, Boris was never in the slightest bit fit to be PM. All Starmer has to do next is get a regular slot on HIGNFY and he’s cracked it.

        trev

        August 7, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      • @ Mr Coates

        The American alt-right are not nice people as a rule although, if people are reading your blog across the pond in the US, their presence shows your audience is international which is kind of nice I suppose. (From a glass-half-full perspective.) Plus unless people thought you had a serious purpose and a certain influence here in the UK naysayers wouldn’t bother with you at all I reckon. At least you’re being noticed. As Oscar Wilde once opined, “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about,” although in his case being talked about too much landed him in Reading Gaol, so maybe he was a tad wrong insofar as that particular epigram of his is concerned.

        Whistler

        August 7, 2020 at 10:06 am

  53. Why Bertrand Russell’s argument for idleness is more relevant than ever

    Russell’s observations on the value of leisure were made in an era of mass unemployment – and they are just as pertinent today.

    We are used to thinking of idleness as a vice, something to be ashamed of. But when the British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote “In Praise of Idleness” in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, idleness was an unavoidable reality for the millions who had lost their jobs. Russell realised that his society didn’t just need to confront the crisis of mass unemployment. He called for nothing less than a total re-evaluation of work – and of leisure.

    Russell believed that we don’t only need to reform the economic system in which some are worked to the bone while others suffer jobless destitution, we also need to challenge the cultural ethic that teaches us to value ourselves in proportion to our capacity for “economically productive” labour. Human beings are more than just workers. We need to learn how to value idleness.

    Russell’s call could hardly be more relevant today, as we face the prospect of another great recession. Millions may lose their jobs in the coming months and, as automation and technology continue to advance, the jobs lost during the pandemic may never return.

    Today, reformers point to the possibility of a universal basic income as a way to prevent widespread poverty. But, as many have learned while locked down at home on government-sponsored furloughs, a life without work can feel desolate even when supported by a steady income. Does a jobless future condemn us to live less meaningful lives?

    In 1930 the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that, within a century, advances in productivity would allow inhabitants of developed countries to maintain a decent standard of living while working 15 hours a week. If that prediction now looks laughable, it failed for reasons that Russell foresaw.

    Recalling the famous example of the pin factory that Adam Smith used to explain the division of labour, Russell imagined a new technology that will halve the amount of time it takes to make a pin. If the market for pins is already saturated, what will happen?

    In a sane world, Russell thought, the factory would simply halve working hours, maintaining the same wages but greatly increasing the time that the workers could devote to the joys of leisure. But, as Russell observed, this rarely happens. Instead, the factory owner will opt to keep half the workers on the same hours and lay off the rest. The gains from the advances of technology will be realised not as an expansion of leisure but rather as drudgery for some and jobless destitution for others, with the savings enjoyed only by the winner, the factory owner.

    Looking back over the past century, we can see Russell’s predictions borne out. Technological breakthroughs lead to layoffs and even when employment recovers we find that, rather than working less to maintain the same level of wealth, our society is one in which people work ever more while accumulating material goods that bring them little joy. Every year we throw away millions of items of clothing, old gadgets, used cars. Why don’t we have more free time instead?

    The solution, as Russell saw it, was not only economic and political but also moral and cultural. Keynes’s vision of a 15-hour work-week seems unthinkable because modern societies have inherited an ethic that prizes work – economically productive labour – as the source of meaning in life. To be good is to work hard and so we value ourselves by the hours we log, even if most paid work is tedious and unpleasant.

    In its origins, Russell speculated, this ethic of work was a tool of social control, a hypocritical doctrine propounded by leisured aristocrats and slaveowners to justify their oppression of the vast labouring class on whom they depended. Until we liberate ourselves from this ideal, we will never gain the true value that technological advances offer us: the value of leisure.

    Yet as the tedium of lockdown showed many of us, enjoying idleness is not so easy. This is not to dismiss the value of passive consumption and relaxation. But, as the weeks turned into months, the pleasures of Netflix in pyjamas and endlessly scrolling Twitter started to fade.

    Even the company (real or virtual) of friends and family can start to pall when you discover – as so many did during their confinement – that you have nothing new to talk about. Relationships are a source of meaning, but they need to be structured around other meaningful activities. So how can we find meaning in leisure?

    A first step lies in education. Schools and universities are not only valuable because they prepare us for work, but also because they prepare us for leisure. The arts, humanities, and pure sciences are often derided as useless. But someone who reads about physics or philosophy for fun, who paints pots or plays an instrument, who writes novels or makes films, is equipped to find meaning in their lives beyond the workplace. Russell argued that a central goal of education was to equip the population with the necessary abilities, knowledge and habits to enjoy creative leisure. This would mean reform: access to higher education would need to be greatly expanded, while university and school curricula should place as much emphasis on creative arts and the pursuit of pure curiosity as on employable skills.

    That might sound idealistic. Educators are constantly called upon to demonstrate the economic value of their degrees. But this only demonstrates another sickness of our society, the complement of the cult of work: the assumption that all value must be measured in sterling.

    In a different way, the current crisis has already eroded this idea: zealots aside, we have realised that it is worth taking an economic hit in order to preserve health. That, after all, is what money is for. Economic output is a means, not an end. Health is truly, intrinsically valuable. If we value health for itself, why not also recognise the intrinsic value of learning?

    Schools instruct children in sports, and we do not call this useless, even though most students will not go on to become professional athletes. Similarly, we do not insist that schools focus on those sports whose skills are most easily transferred to the workplace.

    Sports education is valuable because it promotes health and the joy of play. If we think that schools and universities should promote physical health and that physical play is a good in itself, why not acknowledge that they should also equip students for mental play and mental flourishing?

    The society that Russell imagines, the society that invests in meaningful idleness, is truly revolutionary – not just because its economic structures have been reformed, but because it has changed the way it understands, and values, itself.

    We are used to comparing the success of countries in terms of GDP. When we do this, we must deem one society a relative failure if its citizens earn on average £1,000 a year less than its neighbours, even if they have more leisure, play more sports, take more walks, read more books, listen to more music, and paint more pictures. But we are not doomed to think in this way. We should follow Russell’s advice, and learn to relish the fruits of idleness.

    Max Hayward is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield. This article is part of the Agora series, a collaboration between the New Statesman and Aaron James Wendland, Professor of Philosophy at the Higher School of Economics. He tweets @ajwendland.

    Jo

    August 5, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    • @ Jo

      Very well said. Russell was of course an atheist, which is another reason why he wouldn’t have accepted the PWE constantly being pushed or covertly enforced by the British Establishment.

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    • @jo – Very true, I’ve read the original of this. Russell quite rightly thought that there should be more to life than simply working like some sort of automaton. And that there were other worthwhile things you could do, other than trying to compete to see how much money you could make.

      Jeff Smith

      August 5, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      • The link for the full text didn’t show through in the comment so here it is:

        In Praise of Idleness:

        https://harpers.org/archive/1932/10/in-praise-of-idleness/

        Jo

        August 5, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      • People don’t want huge amounts of leisure because they don’t know what to do with it.

        When the internet began many people thought that a cultural renaissance would begin with people educating and bettering themselves now that they finally had unlimited access to all the knowledge of the world. That turned out not to be the case and that all millions of people really wanted access to was pornography, gambling, lowest common denominator entertainment and the ability to promulgate all sorts of disgusting vileness and brazen untruth on websites and blogs, exacerbating the rise of godawful “strong man” leaders like Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Recep Erdoğan, with all of their disgusting and vile policies and brazen lies which has ended killing multitudes, incinerating precious forests and polluting natural environments.

        Everybody thinks that leisure would enable individuals to do more worthwhile things, but people don’t want to learn a language in order to read the beautiful poetry of Arthur Rimbaud in French or Rainer Maria Rilke in the original German, but to have fantastical virtual sex with Marilyn Monroe, or some other contemporary starlet or porn star.

        For a minority with the means leisure might be good but for the majority of mankind it isn’t.

        Large Cod and Chips

        August 5, 2020 at 5:51 pm

      • Internet 1.0 was a library, it wasn’t called the ‘information superhighway’ for nothing. Even the search engines reflected. But then the google guys wiped them from the face of the Earth. As the barrier to entry lowered the internet became more crap. Junk ‘technologies’ like javascript came because static web pages weren’t good enough and the idiotic masses wanted moving images and crap. Then ‘social media’ and all that crap came along. The advent of the ‘smart’phone was the real tipping point into crapdom. The ‘smart’phone was developed so that every dumb fuck who couldn’t work a desktop or laptop could get online. And that is when the rot really set in. The asses are so dumb that they can’t even operate a web browser. That is why their ‘devices’ have Tellytubby-style pre-set buttons (or what they call ‘apps’); Fakebook, Twatter, Gugle, YouAreATube, Amazon, Instagram… and that is all the world wide web is to them.
        Dumb fucks and the ‘smart’phone have ruined the world wide web.

        Tim Berners-Lee

        August 5, 2020 at 6:06 pm

    • I read somewhere that Russell said the he would attempt sexual intercourse with his missus once a year. Now that’s what I call lazy. Personally, hand on heart, I have no wish to be, nor have I ever been, quite that lazy myself… as my darling wife would be able to testify. And that’s without help from the blue pill too.

      Ayer

      August 6, 2020 at 11:45 am

  54. Andrew Coates

    August 5, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    • Maybe at last, with so many people already unemployed, and many others expected to be, we will see a change of attitude in society towards people on benefits.

      Jeff Smith

      August 5, 2020 at 3:09 pm

      • Jobcentre staff will notice the camera and behave accordingly. It will be more like reality television, so called, rather than a candid record of what actually goes on in Jobcentres when out of the public eye.

        Bwatty Boy

        August 5, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      • Why have you chosen to use an offensive nom de plume?

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 6:02 pm

      • These scripted ‘inside the jobcentre’ programmes are a waste of time. You can see that the ‘claimant’ and ‘coachy’ are just out of ‘makeup’. They are sat there surrounded by lightening, microphones, cameras, director and a crew. Come on! How artificial can you get! Of course you play to the camera – it is right in your face. Everyone want to look good in front of the camera. It could be your big break. It is scripted, edited, shot over many ‘takes’. Better to watch some ‘raw’ footage captured by claimants on hidden recording devices.

        Reality TV Star

        August 5, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    • The Yorkshire Jobcentre? Wonder if mine will feature. They’ll have to wait til it reopens first.

      trev

      August 5, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      • I suppose we’ll have to endure the usual stereotypes. The Caring Work Coach who only wants to help. The Confused Claimant helped onto the right path. The Idle Claimant who finds new meaning in the joy of work.
        The Long Term Unemployed Claimant who thanks to guidance from his Work Coach, gets a wonderful highly-paid job. Marries a nymphomanic former model, and starts a successful sex-toy business that makes him a millionaire.

        Jeff Smith

        August 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm

  55. One in five workers at risk from over-50s lockdown

    Six million older employees could be forced out of jobs that cannot be done from home if a ‘shielding’ scheme is imposed

    Keeping over-50s at home for longer in a “shielding” scheme against the coronavirus could risk locking as many as six million workers out of their jobs.

    The mooted plan would particularly hit those who cannot work from home, as well as cutting off key customer groups for industries including leisure and travel.

    Low earners would be hardest hit as they are typically least likely to be able to operate from a home office, said Age UK, which warned of a “devastating impact” on those workers’ finances.

    It could ultimately mean a very premature retirement for millions of workers if they struggle to find work again.

    “Deprived of the ability to work they will be reliant on Universal Credit and its tough conditionality regime, an approach to welfare which Age UK has long criticised as being wholly unsuitable for the older unemployed,” said Caroline Abrahams at the charity.

    “If they are lucky enough to have some savings put by then these over-50s are likely to have to draw on them, just to make ends meet. This will leave them without a buffer in retirement, meaning they will enjoy a far less comfortable lifestyle as they age than they had been looking forward to.”

    More than 10m over-50s are in employment, amounting to almost one-third of all workers.

    Employment in this age group has risen by 2.5m over the past decade, according to the Office for National Statistics, accounting for the majority of the 3.9m increase overall.

    It shows they are key to the health of the economy, with workers in their 50s earning an average of almost £26,000 in 2019 and those in their 60s, who are more likely to work part-time, earning more than £19,000.

    They used these often above-average salaries incomes to spend £364bn per year.

    That includes £57bn on recreation and leisure. Cutting off this spending again would deal another blow to particularly hard-hit businesses.

    “The consequences for the economy as a whole would be no less severe, since the over-50s now comprise almost a third of the national workforce. Bringing many of their careers to a premature end would lead to a significant loss of output and remove a great deal of talent and valuable experience from the workplace as well,” said Ms Abrahams at Age UK.

    “If the idea – however theoretical – behind making all over-50s stay at home is to save the country from another national lockdown then our policymakers may discover that the cure is as bad as the disease – and the burden far less equitably shared. ”

    Most over-50s in work said they were not working from home, in an April survey, indicating that 6m will struggle if told to stay at home.

    In the region of one-quarter have been furloughed at some point in recent months.

    “Most over 50s are unable to work from home, so requiring older workers to shield in a blanket way would risk leading to a devastating second wave of job losses for this group,” said Stephen Evans, chief executive of the Learning and Work Institute.

    “If the Government does need to use such drastic measures, it must put in place support, including a flexible extension to the furlough scheme for those who are unable to return to work. Only then will we be able to protect jobs and incomes, and ensure that people are able to comply with the public health guidance.”

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/08/04/one-five-workers-risk-over-50s-lockdown/

    The Torygraph

    August 5, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    • Surely they are not really going to do this, lockdown everybody over 50 ?

      Dave

      August 5, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      • @ Dave

        I’m over 50 and the prospect of being locked down doesn’t worry me unduly. It wouldn’t make that much difference tbh, apart from I probably wouldn’t be able to volunteer at the foodbank for a while, but I’m sure they’d manage.

        trev

        August 5, 2020 at 4:56 pm

  56. You might as well say that everyone who is left-handed, has to stay at home.

    Garry

    August 5, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    • Surely they should be staying at home anyway ?

      Jackie

      August 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm

      • Along with people who part their hair in the centre and have rings on each finger ?

        Melanie

        August 5, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    • I’m worried for my wage if I get locked down, as a skl cleaner I can’t work from “home”, otherwise I’m not worried, my life consists of work/ back from work/ grocery shopping and that’s it no money for more. The 1st lockdown didn’t affect me, I found it a positive, I was paid, went in on a rota bas is once or twice a week for couple hours, I had a chance to rest up and heal my disc problems more, my mental health improved while spending time not doing a job I loathe!!

      katrehman

      August 6, 2020 at 7:45 am

    • Not really. The risk of death from Covid-19 increases exponentially with age and so if you decide to implement a partial lockdown and want, at the same time, to minimise deaths due to the virus it makes sense to isolate groups of people most at risk from the virus older people being the most generalised instance of one of them.

      Dr Jessica Amor

      August 6, 2020 at 10:11 am

  57. ”Eh up lad, have thee come in to sign ? Ay, happen thou has. Sit thee down, art thou comfortable ?
    Wouldst like a cup of tea or owt else ? A barmcake ? Or a cushion for the chair, no ? Well we’ll begin then.”
    ”First I would like to say well done lad. Thou hast made a very good jobsearch. Well done indeed. I’ve a job here I thought might do, look it over, but no matter if it don’t suit thee. Well. that’s all for this time, I’ll see thee again in a fortnight. Shall we say ten o’clock ? Or is that too early for thee ? Fine, and mind how you go lad, best of luck.”

    ”And Close up on the Work Coach camera 1, now big smile…and cut !… ”
    ”That was brilliant darlings…. take ten everyone .”

    Yorkshire Jobcentre

    August 5, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    • Iss ossin’ t’slart art there, mi fatha sez ah min fetch t’weshin’ in, arl ‘atta goor. Si’ thi.

      trev

      August 6, 2020 at 6:54 am

    • The trouble with people from Yorkshire is that they still haven’t got over the fact that the Lancastrians won the War of the Roses.

      Tudor

      August 6, 2020 at 10:13 am

      • The War of the Roses was between the House of York and the House of Lancaster, not between Yorkshire and Lancashire, nothing to do with the Counties themselves or the people who lived there.

        trev

        August 6, 2020 at 6:55 pm

      • @ trev

        Word.

        Dick III

        August 7, 2020 at 4:44 pm

  58. Government gives town councils power to bulldoze ‘contaminated’ homes to contain covid.

    /Daily Mail.

    Great! Since bonnie Prince Charlie “big ears” Windsor has tested positive for coronavirus, when can we expect Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral to be bulldozed!

    Cloverleaf

    August 6, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    • Don’t hold your breath Cloverleaf, the Windsor b@stards will be enriching themselves even more while this scamdemic plays out!

      Tigerlily

      August 6, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    • Hey Cloverleaf leave the Palaces standing, when I become prime minister I’ll move Liz and Phil to top floor of a tower block on the old Age pension, and move the homeless into the palaces!

      katrehman

      August 6, 2020 at 3:24 pm

      • Do you realise that what you are proposing is nothing more or less than naked republicanism ?

        James Hartley-Bowden

        August 6, 2020 at 3:35 pm

      • Lovely idea Kat.

        #10 and the house of common(ers) should also be bulldozed, it would make even more room for the homeless!!!

        Cloverleaf

        August 6, 2020 at 4:39 pm

      • I wouldn’t even give those two parasites a pension, make the swines do workfare complete with sanctions!

        Tigerlily

        August 6, 2020 at 5:26 pm

      • I’ll bet there are people on here that don’t even read the royal news in the newspapers !!

        Augusta Farlington

        August 6, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      • @augusta farlington. Don’t upset yourself Augusta my dear, that’s just what they want. These people are no more than socialists, so what else can you expect ? Just ignore them, that’s by far the best thing to do.

        Clarissa Darnley-Villiers

        August 6, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    • Why would they have to do anything like that when Covid-19 become inactive after 72 hours out of the body? Just move everybody out for a few days and then let them move back in again – job done!

      Bruce

      August 6, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      • Sadly this style of disease planning was also seen in WW2 concentration camps, instead of giving the detainees access to clean water, soap, etc if an epidemic of typhus got too bad they’d just gas loads more to slow the spread…..

        katrehman

        August 7, 2020 at 8:06 am

  59. Ah suppose ye sassenachs ne’er thought o’ haein a documentary made in a hielan Jobcentre ? Whin we hae mair on th’ broo than th’ thistles in th’ glenside. Tis aye th’ wey. Ye hae na interest o’ anythin’ north o’ Manchester.

    Angus McTavish

    August 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    • @Angus McTavish: Dinnae trauchle yersel’ Angus. Wance wee Nicky gets independence we’ll nae need th’ sassenach again or thair Brooshops.

      Caelan Macdonald

      August 6, 2020 at 4:49 pm

  60. @trev: Don’t you think it’s time you renounced Corbyn and Corbynism ? No-one holds it against you. Anyone can make a mistake. Sometimes sorry is the hardest word. Why don’t you reach out to your brothers and sisters in the centre of the party ? Comrades again in the true spirit of socialism.

    Kevin

    August 6, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    • @ Kevin

      Yes, sure, as soon as the Blairites who actively conspired in Labour’s defeat are expelled.

      trev

      August 6, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      • @trev – But there was no Blarite conspiracy Trev. Corbyn sunk his own canoe without any help from anybody else. It was beyond stupid for Labour to go into a second election, with a failed leader. One with the worst poll ratings of any political leader in the UK. And it’s no good clinging to these phantom conspiracy ideas.
        Do yourself a favour Trev, give him up, and move on.

        Kevin

        August 6, 2020 at 7:03 pm

      • @ Kevin

        “there was no Blarite conspiracy”

        You’ve not heard of the leaked report then? The report that Starmer has launched an investigation into who it was compiled and leaked by, rather than into what it contains. It’s very ugly and leaves a bad taste. Labour is a den of vipers.

        trev

        August 6, 2020 at 7:30 pm

  61. Number of families hit by cruel DWP benefit cap almost doubles due to coronavirus

    The number of people hit by the Tory policy has exploded and now includes 52,000 single parents with kids under five. Yet Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey has refused to launch a review

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/breaking-number-families-hit-cruel-22478085

    ken

    August 6, 2020 at 6:52 pm

  62. Looking forward to see the updated Full Monty Movie.

    my_final_username

    August 7, 2020 at 8:07 am

    • Is Michael Palin in it?

      Pythonesque

      August 8, 2020 at 2:01 pm

  63. Trev the crisis was always coming, it was just covid and not something else that was the trigger, those of us in the real world always knew these zero hours and gig jobs and agency jobs weren’t the saviours and we’re really pretty s…,
    As others have said, now there are those who NEVER claimed before now In the system, maybe ones who previously thought the unemployed were all lazy etc, we’ve already seen them saying but how do you begin to live on so little? And that’s without the shocking way legacy claimmanta are treated?
    I’ve said right from the start of this I can see more riots as of the scale of the London ones, it’s been said in the papers too…..
    What next indeed??

    katrehman

    August 7, 2020 at 9:04 am

    • @katrehman – That’s very true Kat, it’s one thing to keep cutting benefits and laughing about it, when there is only a relative minority of people on them. As with the ‘Skivers and Strivers’ campaign, and the 4 year benefit freeze. But it’s another thing altogether when millions of new claimants are forced onto the cruelty of Universal Credit. Sheer panic from the Tories made them stuff an extra £20 onto Universal Credit, as hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs. Because they knew damn well that UC was not a realistic
      amount of for families to live on. But there are many people now who voted Tory, and who supported the welfare cuts, who are in for a very nasty suprise when the furlough scheme ends in October.

      Jeff Smith

      August 7, 2020 at 11:54 am

    • Kat, many people will fall foul of the rules and get Sanctioned, as well as getting into debt/arrears whilst waiting for UC payments to begin (then subsequently be reduced through deductions).Foodbank use can only increase. It’s a ticking time bomb. But if I dare suggest that we need some form of Basic Income or that Benefits conditionality be scrapped no doubt someone will cry “Scrounger! Communist! etc.” Lol

      trev

      August 7, 2020 at 2:56 pm

  64. I seen this

    https://uk.yahoo.com/finance/news/how-to-tell-when-a-candidate-is-lying-on-their-cv-050017553.html

    I know one provider I went to encourge people to lie on the cv,

    my_final_username

    August 7, 2020 at 9:55 am

    • Many of these providers try to get people to downgrade their qualifications. Because they know that most jobs are only going to be zero-hours or part-time.The crap end of the jobs market. And the providers don’t want to put the employers off taking over-qualified people, who will soon be bored with the job and quit.

      Graham

      August 7, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      • @ Graham

        I have actually been referred to training courses for which I would not have been covered for funding had I truthfully declared (ticked a box) that I have a Level 6 qualification. Was asked by trainer to leave that bit blank and they would complete it later!

        trev

        August 7, 2020 at 2:49 pm

  65. THE NIGHTMARE SCENARIO

    Accelerating deficits and debts

    Falling dollar and other currencies

    Unlimited money printing to save banks, and failing financial system

    More printing to save failing companies

    Ever higher subsidies for furloughed and unemployed

    Universal Basic Income (UBI) introduced in most Western nations

    UBI means that everyone is paid a basic wage whether they work or not

    This will lead to ever fewer people working

    Higher unemployment means more printing

    More printing leads to more currency debasement

    This leads to higher velocity of money higher inflation

    Central banks lose control of rates as long end of bond market sells off

    High long rates push short rates up

    Rates reach 5% then quickly 10% and on to 15-20% at least

    At 10% rates interest cost on global debt of $275 trillion would be $27t

    $27t is 34% of global GDP – totally unsustainable

    So much more money printing required

    Bad debts surge leading to defaults, sovereign, corporate and private

    UnemploZeroyment escalates leading to more UBI and more money printing

    Banks start falling including the $1.5 to $2 quadrillion derivatives market

    Money printing reaches $ quadrillions leading to hyperinflation

    The financial system collapses together with major parts of industry and society

    Social unrest, civil wars, cyber wars and major conflict will be rampant

    Political systems fail as governments lose control leading to anarchy

    Zero

    August 7, 2020 at 11:27 am

    • Or alternatively, the Coronavirus pandemic, and mass unemployment, forces a radical change in society.
      People become less selfish, and more aware of their responsibilities to others, as part of the wider human race. It becomes unacceptable for some people to be immensely wealthy , while others have nothing.
      A new currency is launched, and wealth held in older currencies becomes worthless overnight.
      Newly named Peoples Shares are issued in every company, replacing the old shares and bonds.
      The Government makes a public accounting of it’s wealth and assets, and these are then equally distributed throughout the population, according to need.
      Social Property Commissions are set up to ensure that no-one has more than one property to live in.
      And that land and property can no longer be used to generate personal wealth.
      The National Health Service is greatly expanded, providing life-long care and security for all citizens.
      A Universal Basic Income is launched, generously funded to see that everyone has sufficient money for everyday living. And some extra for leisure and entertainment. The cruel benefits system launched by the Tories is consigned to history. A Museum of Social Cruelty is built in London, where citizens of the future can see for themselves the results of cruelty and discrimination, and learn from them.
      Crime rates fall dramatically, as evils such as hunger, homelessness and destitution become a thing of the past. Society changes, as the old attitudes give way to a strong desire for peace and understanding. Violence is shunned, in a new era where people support each other, and seek always to help and not harm.
      These things become a matter of pride, to help others, to make society a better, happier place for everyone. Instead of the endless search for wealth, as a means of feeling superior, and distancing themselves from their fellow citizens.And a wonderful new era in human development begins. One that looks forward with eager anticipation to the future, for everyone.

      Believe In Better

      August 7, 2020 at 12:36 pm

      • The posts above seem rather made-up to me with no mention of aliens and UFOs or the Illuminati. If aliens and UFOs or the Illuminati had been mentioned I would have found both theories much more believable, even possibly accepted them, but as is, no. Not without aliens and UFOs or the Illuminati. And, coming to think about it, the Aetherius Society. There. I have said my piece. Tetelestai.

        Lettuce Withers

        August 7, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      • @ Lettuce Withers

        You forgot to mention the Book of Revelations/End Time prophecy. Oh and the coming of the New Age. Covid could be seen as the Sword of St. Michael in that context, which may translate to Covid being a catalyst for paradigm shift. Do not be afraid, the 4th Dimension beckons!

        trev

        August 7, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      • This is the most beautiful thing I have read today. If only it was true !

        Helen

        August 7, 2020 at 3:06 pm

      • @ Helen

        I have the assurance of Higher Frequency Beings that it is true. There is a collective soul-group Consciousness emanating from the 6th Density (of the 4th Dimension) of planet Venus communicating (on the Ray of St.John) with earthly humans who have ears to hear. The name they go by has the initials W.E. Much can be learned also from the writings/experience/knowledge of W.T.P. who informed us that the process of Armageddon began around 1912, and we have been living through it, gathering momentum, ever since. 😉

        trev

        August 7, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      • @Believe In Better: Wonderful if things could only be like this in society !

        Susan H.

        August 8, 2020 at 12:02 am

  66. @Lettuce Withers: You know very well that certain rites and practices must be kept secret. As they have been for ages past. Just because there is one here who has achieved a certain eminence in esoteric matters, does not mean that the inner secrets of the Great Work should be paraded about for any unsuitable person to see.

    Zephirus

    August 7, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    • Let initiates beware lest secrets of the mysterium magnum be disclosed to the profane and suffer a penalty for their micreancy no less than to have their throat cut across, their tongue torn out by its roots, and buried in the rough sands of the sea at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty four hours, for violating the sacred and solemn oath of secrecy taken at the pylon of the temple of our order.

      Be wary fraters and sorors, keepers of the holy fire qadosh.

      With knowledge comes responsibility; with secrecy safety and security.

      Heed mine words.

      Vale.

      Frater Tenebris

      August 8, 2020 at 9:01 am

      • As Max Heindel said when he authored ‘Freemasonry and Catholicism’, “I have sworn no Oath”. Indeed, he only accepted the Mission when he learned from the Elder Brethren that he was intended to reveal this information to the whole of Mankind.

        trev

        August 8, 2020 at 10:51 am

      • @Frater Tenebris : Indeed Brother, and there are some here who have forgotten that the greatest wisdom is always the most secret.

        Athanasius

        August 8, 2020 at 12:42 pm

      • @Frater Tenebris: So mote it be.

        Fortunatus

        August 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm

  67. Back to this dimension of shadows, vales, and tears:

    Andrew Coates

    August 7, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    • So it was a policy decision all along and totally unnecessary, whilst people were pushed into arrears, debt, destitution, eviction, foodbanks, suicides – deliberately, by design. Can anyone deny that we are fighting a Class War?

      trev

      August 7, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      • Nonsense, the long wait for a first payment was always a major element of Universal Credit.
        In order to make it impossible for the unemployed to jump straight onto the benefits bandwagon.
        Which was seen at the time to be one of the major problems with the previous JSA system. It was too easy to get onto benefits, and the longer people were on benefits, the greater the risk they would stay on them long-term.

        Universal Credit has always had two particular features:

        1. Difficulty of access

        2. Strict conditions for claimants

        It is a profoundly ideological benefits system, which demands much more from the claimant in every way.
        And it is misleading for IDS, and any of the other leading Tories who supported it, to pretend otherwise.

        Jeff Smith

        August 7, 2020 at 11:54 pm

      • But from reading that article Jeff it seems to me that is what IDS is saying. He’s finally admitted that the delay didn’t arise due to a administrative structural problem in the system, it was simply decided it should be that way as a policy decision for no other reason than to fuck up peoples’ lives and teach people not to be poor, just a case of “why not make the bastards wait for their money”.

        trev

        August 8, 2020 at 12:48 am

      • @ trev

        “So it was a policy decision all along… ”

        You betcha. Doesn’t anybody remember Iain Duncan Smith repeatedly saying that the purpose of universal credit was “behavioural change” to make claimants more “responsible” and “independent”. Basically UC was designed as a system to reprogram claimants – Iain Duncan Smith said he wanted to “redeem” the unemployed with UC – to make them toe the line more and stand on their own two feet more like the middle classes. Problem was the middle classes usually had assets to fall back on, like savings, investments and property, whereas the poor had no resources to tide them over for long periods without income.

        The suffering IDS is responsible for is immense. This is what you get when messianic, incompetent and unintelligent men are allowed to run riot with social policy and not held accountable for their mistakes by their peers or the electorate.

        Piltdown Manny

        August 8, 2020 at 4:44 pm

      • IDS is a narcissist who sees himself as some sort of ‘Great Reformer’ rather than as a little man with big ideas, an incompetent arrogant twit with ideas above his station.

        trev

        August 8, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      • Red Pepper published a brilliant article about universal credit a couple of years ago. Here’s a quote referencing behavioural change agenda lying at the heart and kernel of the uinversal credit farrago:

        “But the disastrous roll-out of universal credit is not simply a crisis of implementation. Even if everything had gone according to plan, claimants would still be facing misery, hunger and eviction. Because this is, quite simply, what the scheme is designed to do: to re-draw the entire welfare benefits system in order to change unemployed people’s behaviour in ways amenable to the Tory party, using the need to ‘simplify’ the system as a smokescreen for attempts to discipline claimants.

        Here’s a link to the article itself:

        https://www.redpepper.org.uk/universal-credit-isnt-about-saving-money-its-about-disciplining-unemployed-people/

        Read it and weep.

        Holmes for Heroes

        August 8, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      • IDS belongs in jail for the wilful damage he’s done, but instead he got a Knighthood. As our American cousins might say, “Go figure”.

        trev

        August 8, 2020 at 7:41 pm

      • Absolutely right, the article is in… incredible, total must-read, manages to say just about everything that is wrong about Universal Credit, from start to finish.

        Thanks, or is that the right word….

        Andrew Coates

        August 8, 2020 at 8:11 pm

      • but you can make a uc claim over the phone and have a non digital uc claim so no journal just dont give them a email address.

        DSC_0695

        i failed all my brain washing courses on point 1 on day one lmfao

        superted

        August 8, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    • Which was seen at the time to be one of the major problems with the previous JSA system. It was too easy to get onto benefits, and the longer people were on benefits, the greater the risk they would stay on them long-term.

      Probably because they didn’t have the work skills or education with other barriers such as lack of vacancies employer attitudes travel for 10pm finishes on bus networks high demands/skills/knowledge for what would be seen as low skill work,plus it isn’t safe to walk the streets here anymore more so at night,police advice is that not to go out at night.Universal Credit does nothing to lift any of this.

      ken

      August 8, 2020 at 7:39 am

      • Withholding peoples’ Benefits for weeks on end for no good reason is downright criminal. If only we had someone in Opposition with a legal background who could challenge all this…

        trev

        August 8, 2020 at 10:56 am

      • @trev

        I take it you’re being sarcastic, mate. Kier Starmer is a trained lawyer and a former Attorney General or was it CPS chief, I can’t remember. But even he’s got enough sense not to tackle this issue. To say UC is labyrinthine is an understatement.

        jj joop

        August 8, 2020 at 12:29 pm

      • @trev- Personally I think Keir Starmer is doing an excellent job. Even though there are still some Corbynites who are trying to disparage what he has achieved. In a short time Starmer has put Labour back in the game, as a genuine opposition and not just a Corbynite comedy.

        Tom Sutton

        August 8, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      • Starmer’s been a bit quiet on Benefits though. The extra £20 denied to JSA claimants, and now IDS’s admission that the 5 weeks UC delay was never necessary! Something should be said about these gross injustices.

        trev

        August 8, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    • Universal Credit was always bollocks. The digital by default shit was sold as a way to give claimants experience with IT and so improve their chances of getting a job, if you can believe it, and the 35 hour a week work-search introduced after UCs inception by that arsehole David Freud, for purely political purposes, during the days of Cameron and Osborne where bashing benefit claimants buoyed up the Conservative’s popularity. I well remember the cancerous Freud saying that: “Looking for a job should be a full-time job and so the unemployed should spend a full working week, thirty-five hours a week, pursuing work until they find it.”

      Pretty much everything about it is as shite and shoddy as its inventors.

      I can’t understand how it can have gone on so long without major changes or scrapping.

      KY Jellyfish

      August 8, 2020 at 9:10 am

      • @Ky Jellyfish – It was able to go on for so long because of the deliberate government ‘Skivers v Strivers’ propaganda campaign. And the fact that in terms of the total population, the unemployed and the disabled are a relative minority. It’s easy to oppress a minority, but it becomes much harder when that minority starts to include large numbers of the general population.

        Jeff Smith

        August 8, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    • Kier Starmer will have to come to terms with some painful truths if he’s elected.

      ken

      August 8, 2020 at 10:25 pm

      • The strives v skiers debate hit us workers too, at one time ppl like me working part time were still classed as doing the right thing then literally overnight with UC we were hauled into meetings with coaches! I remember at one time I had 3 contracts the morning and evening cleaning plus a lunchtime, one which I had to resign for health reasons. It still wasn’t 35 hours a week though so I’d of been expected to look for 5 hours more work and I was too tired to even consider weekend work. I was so lucky UC hadn’t been rolled out in my area then or I’d of been sanctioned for leaving a job, as it was they just increased my housing benefit

        katrehman

        August 9, 2020 at 8:50 am

  68. We could easily be facing 10 more years of Tory government. An 80 seat majority is an almost impossible task to overturn in one election.

    Jack Reid

    August 8, 2020 at 1:07 pm

  69. Let’s not forget the Legacy Claimants, 2 Million people still waiting for their £20 a week increase.

    Legacy Claimant

    August 8, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    • Next April the benefits are due to go up again. So what will it be, £1.25 or £21.25 ?

      Darren

      August 8, 2020 at 9:58 pm

      • Universal Credit is due to LOSE the extra £20.00 a week so any inflationary increase will be wiped out by the massive reduction when the temporary Covid-19 bung come to an end. Unless they keep it which they might because there will be hell up if/when UC recipients lose £80.00 a month, overnight, in one fell swoop.

        String Bean

        August 9, 2020 at 7:57 am

  70. @trev – Yes I agree the issue of the legacy claimants does need to be addressed by Keir Starmer. But unfortunately it joins a huge list of injustices that the Tories have imposed on the unemployed. Also I think Labour are still a bit wary of the welfare issue. They don’t want to be seen as primarily a welfare party, or to have the new leadership branded as such, with the economy still reeling from the costs of the coronavirus pandemic.It’s a complex situation for Starmer, and we are now only in the early months of what will be a long haul to a hopeful Labour victory.

    Jeff Smith

    August 8, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    • I think Welfare and associated problems are about to go mainstream when millions of workers find themselves having to claim Universal Credit.

      trev

      August 8, 2020 at 7:44 pm

      • Return to work and redundancy worries affect more than half of workers, survey finds

        Research also reveals resentment among staff with furloughed colleagues, while those on the job retention scheme express concern about their future job security

        More than half of UK employees’ wellbeing has been negatively affected over the past month, according to a survey, as many employers start cutting jobs and asking staff to return to workplaces.

        The report by Perkbox found that 58 per cent of employees said changes to the furlough scheme and future uncertainty over the world of work had negatively impacted their mental health, leaving them with rising levels of stress and anxiety.

        https://www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/news/articles/return-work-redundancy-worries-affect-more-than-half-workers-research-finds

        ken

        August 8, 2020 at 11:21 pm

  71. Why Stephen Emmott fears the next pandemic could kill a billion people

    The UCL professor and author believes Covid-19 offers only a “small glimpse” of our possible future.

    In 2012 Stephen Emmott, then head of computational science at Microsoft and a professor of computational science at Oxford University, was persuaded to stage a one-man show at London’s Royal Court Theatre by theatre director Katie Mitchell, who wanted to encourage collaboration between scientists and the arts. It was called Ten Billion, and the Guardian and Financial Times reviewers both described it as “one of the most disturbing” productions they had ever seen.

    Standing in a re-creation of his cluttered laboratory, Emmott described the “unprecedented planetary emergency” that humankind faces as the global population – a mere three billion in 1960 – soars rapidly towards ten billion, plundering the planet’s resources, devastating the environment, spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and triggering the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth as we pursue ever more voracious lifestyles.

    The sold-out show was turned into a best-selling book with the same title and the same set of graphs – all resembling L’s tipped leftwards on to their sides as humanity’s destruction of the natural world took off properly with the Industrial Revolution. “We’re fucked,” Emmott concluded, and he ended by recalling the reply of a highly intelligent young scientific colleague when asked what he could do about the situation: “Teach my son how to use a gun.”

    At the time the genial, unpretentious scientist was accused of scaremongering, exaggeration and scientific distortion, but one consequence of mankind’s recklessness that Emmott predicted with absolute certainty was a global pandemic exactly like Covid-19. Indeed, he had collaborated with Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College epidemiologist, on developing the modelling framework for global pandemics that Ferguson would later use to persuade the government to order Britain’s lockdown in March.

    [see also: Neil Ferguson: the Covid modeller]

    A coronavirus-type pandemic was inevitable, Emmott, presently professor of biological computation at University College London, tells me by telephone from his home in Camberwell, south-east London. “This one is a very small glimpse – thankfully not as severe as it could be – into a potential and likely future.” The next pandemic could kill a billion people, he warns.

    “The population is set to increase from 7.7 billion to at least ten billion, and possibly more, before the end of this century. Urbanisation is increasing rapidly. ‘Wet markets’ have proliferated over the past two decades. The proliferation of habitat destruction, forcing animals into direct contact with humans, is increasing rapidly,” he says.

    [see also: Steven Pinker interview: How does a liberal optimist handle a pandemic?]

    All that, allied with the relentlessly escalating movement of people and goods around the world, means “we are increasing every day the likelihood of a Spanish flu-type pandemic that would make this one pale by comparison… We have no idea whether that’s around the corner in a month’s time, a year’s time or two or three decades’ time, but it’s almost certainly going to happen and that one is going to be really quite deleterious to the human species.”

    Of course, there have been plagues and pandemics in the past, he adds, but “this burying our heads in the sand, this view that we have this once a century so we just have to get over it, I think that’s nonsense”.

    Nor are zoonotic pandemics – those caused by pathogens jumping from animals to humans – the only threat to modern man. There could well be a “crop pandemic”, Emmott says.

    The “Green Revolution’” of the late 20th century vastly increased food production, but it did so by breeding genetic diversity out of cereal crops, leaving “monocultures” of wheat and corn. At the same time fungicides are becoming less and less effective. That means a range of novel plant pathogens has the potential to destroy much of the world’s food supply. “The consequences of that on political stability and forced migration are unforeseen, unknowable and probably unprecedented,” he says.

    Yet another potential threat comes from the melting of the world’s northern permafrost due to climate change. That could release a whole range of ancient pathogens that may have been locked in the ice for thousands of years. “Who knows what the consequences of that could be,” he says.

    ***

    The coronavirus pandemic has generated much criticism of governments for acting too late or doing too little, but Emmott says we should really be asking whether mankind is to blame. The answer, in his view, is an unequivocal yes.

    “We are largely continuing to ignore, and failing to understand or to attempt to understand, the impact of our behaviour collectively on our future selves and on the environment and ecology on which we and many other species depend,” he says.

    In his book he saw only two ways to avoid an apocalyptic scenario of not only pandemics, but also searing heat, famine, drought, mass migration and wars resulting from our ecological and environmental vandalism.

    One is technology. He fears it is already too late for that, though we should still urgently pursue radically new and different technologies. “The general view is we are so clever we can technologise our way out of this. Well, unfortunately we have technologised our way into it.”

    The other is drastic behavioural change on a global scale, by which he means ending our all-pervading “culture of consumption”.

    “No one needs a dress from Zara every two weeks,” he says. “We all seem to think it’s a right to have two or three holidays abroad every year. Eating has become a recreation. Everyone is changing their car every three years. No one needs to get the next model of iPhone every six months.

    “All this stuff has to come from somewhere. Ninety per cent of everything we consume gets shipped around the world. That has a tremendous ecological impact, let alone digging stuff out of the ground, and the vast majority of it is stuff we don’t even need.”

    ***

    Making do with less does not make life dull, says Emmott, who is largely vegetarian, wears old clothes, has few possessions other than books and drives his 16-year-old car less than 100 miles a year.

    People have been conditioned to equate consumption with happiness, he says, but “anyone who thinks that happiness is buying a T-shirt in H&M every two weeks is deluding themselves… Enlightenment or enjoyment in life can come, and I’m speaking personally here, from reading or walking. It doesn’t have to involve consuming something or getting in your car or going to Oxford Street every week.”

    But Emmott, who served as a scientific adviser to Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling when they were chancellors of the Exchequer, sees no prospect of the dramatic change needed.

    “Governments don’t want to do anything that won’t enable them to get re-elected, and nearly everything that’s required here, whether it’s to do with pandemics or climate change or ecological degradation, would make politicians unelectable.” On the contrary, they encourage consumption because “it creates jobs, it creates employment, it creates economic growth”.

    [see also: Covid-19 should be a wake-up call to get serious about the climate crisis]

    Emmott becomes noticeably more guarded when I raise the sensitive subject of population controls. He readily agrees that even the present population exceeds “the carrying capacity of Earth based on our current consumption and behaviour”, and that fewer humans would mean less damage. He says it is “unfathomable that talking about population at all remains a taboo subject. I just can’t understand it.” But it is not for him to say whether people should or should not have children, he insists.

    “I would prefer to say the issue here is that we’ve collectively got ourselves into a situation where everything seems to come back to human rights and the rights of individuals. I think that’s a mistake. It makes it impossible to say people should have fewer children.

    “Personally speaking, I think there should be no such thing as human rights. There should be a charter of human responsibilities, and if we were focused on human responsibilities rather than human rights we would be in a totally different place to where we are now. The root of this is about our collective responsibilities to each other and to other species we share the planet with.”

    For that reason he has chosen not to have children himself.

    ***

    Emmott, who is 60, is amiable, cheerful and level-headed, but readily admits to being a “rational pessimist”, or what Boris Johnson would call a “doomster and gloomster”.

    He disagrees with green activist Greta Thunberg, who wrote a book called No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference in which she contends that determined individuals can bring about the sort of collective behavioural change required to save the world. He has “no faith whatever in governments doing the right thing”, and sees even supposed triumphs of international cooperation, such as the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, unravelling. He believes there is no prospect of the Covid-19 pandemic changing our destructive ways – on the contrary, “governments will encourage us to resume our consumption in order to ‘get the economy back on track’ and ‘stimulate recovery’”.

    In his book Emmott argued that if an asteroid was on a collision course with Earth everyone would be marshalled into action, but faced with an equally certain man-made catastrophe, humanity is doing practically nothing.

    Eight years on, as we approach those environmental and ecological tipping points beyond which there is no return, he sees no reason to change his bleak conclusion that the world is “fucked”. “Everyone chose to ignore, and still does, the warnings in the book, even though almost every single thing I predicted is unfolding yearly before us.”

    Cynthia

    August 9, 2020 at 3:29 am

  72. Why Stephen Emmott fears the next pandemic could kill a billion peopleDelete
    Mark Unread Sticky Label Archive Share Menu | Friday, 7 August 2020 15:28 | Martin Fletcher |

    The UCL professor and author believes Covid-19 offers only a “small glimpse” of our possible future.

    In 2012 Stephen Emmott, then head of computational science at Microsoft and a professor of computational science at Oxford University, was persuaded to stage a one-man show at London’s Royal Court Theatre by theatre director Katie Mitchell, who wanted to encourage collaboration between scientists and the arts. It was called Ten Billion, and the Guardian and Financial Times reviewers both described it as “one of the most disturbing” productions they had ever seen.

    Standing in a re-creation of his cluttered laboratory, Emmott described the “unprecedented planetary emergency” that humankind faces as the global population – a mere three billion in 1960 – soars rapidly towards ten billion, plundering the planet’s resources, devastating the environment, spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and triggering the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth as we pursue ever more voracious lifestyles.

    The sold-out show was turned into a best-selling book with the same title and the same set of graphs – all resembling L’s tipped leftwards on to their sides as humanity’s destruction of the natural world took off properly with the Industrial Revolution. “We’re fucked,” Emmott concluded, and he ended by recalling the reply of a highly intelligent young scientific colleague when asked what he could do about the situation: “Teach my son how to use a gun.”

    At the time the genial, unpretentious scientist was accused of scaremongering, exaggeration and scientific distortion, but one consequence of mankind’s recklessness that Emmott predicted with absolute certainty was a global pandemic exactly like Covid-19. Indeed, he had collaborated with Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College epidemiologist, on developing the modelling framework for global pandemics that Ferguson would later use to persuade the government to order Britain’s lockdown in March.

    [see also: Neil Ferguson: the Covid modeller]

    A coronavirus-type pandemic was inevitable, Emmott, presently professor of biological computation at University College London, tells me by telephone from his home in Camberwell, south-east London. “This one is a very small glimpse – thankfully not as severe as it could be – into a potential and likely future.” The next pandemic could kill a billion people, he warns.

    “The population is set to increase from 7.7 billion to at least ten billion, and possibly more, before the end of this century. Urbanisation is increasing rapidly. ‘Wet markets’ have proliferated over the past two decades. The proliferation of habitat destruction, forcing animals into direct contact with humans, is increasing rapidly,” he says.

    [see also: Steven Pinker interview: How does a liberal optimist handle a pandemic?]

    All that, allied with the relentlessly escalating movement of people and goods around the world, means “we are increasing every day the likelihood of a Spanish flu-type pandemic that would make this one pale by comparison… We have no idea whether that’s around the corner in a month’s time, a year’s time or two or three decades’ time, but it’s almost certainly going to happen and that one is going to be really quite deleterious to the human species.”

    Of course, there have been plagues and pandemics in the past, he adds, but “this burying our heads in the sand, this view that we have this once a century so we just have to get over it, I think that’s nonsense”.

    Nor are zoonotic pandemics – those caused by pathogens jumping from animals to humans – the only threat to modern man. There could well be a “crop pandemic”, Emmott says.

    The “Green Revolution’” of the late 20th century vastly increased food production, but it did so by breeding genetic diversity out of cereal crops, leaving “monocultures” of wheat and corn. At the same time fungicides are becoming less and less effective. That means a range of novel plant pathogens has the potential to destroy much of the world’s food supply. “The consequences of that on political stability and forced migration are unforeseen, unknowable and probably unprecedented,” he says.

    Yet another potential threat comes from the melting of the world’s northern permafrost due to climate change. That could release a whole range of ancient pathogens that may have been locked in the ice for thousands of years. “Who knows what the consequences of that could be,” he says.

    ***

    The coronavirus pandemic has generated much criticism of governments for acting too late or doing too little, but Emmott says we should really be asking whether mankind is to blame. The answer, in his view, is an unequivocal yes.

    “We are largely continuing to ignore, and failing to understand or to attempt to understand, the impact of our behaviour collectively on our future selves and on the environment and ecology on which we and many other species depend,” he says.

    In his book he saw only two ways to avoid an apocalyptic scenario of not only pandemics, but also searing heat, famine, drought, mass migration and wars resulting from our ecological and environmental vandalism.

    One is technology. He fears it is already too late for that, though we should still urgently pursue radically new and different technologies. “The general view is we are so clever we can technologise our way out of this. Well, unfortunately we have technologised our way into it.”

    The other is drastic behavioural change on a global scale, by which he means ending our all-pervading “culture of consumption”.

    “No one needs a dress from Zara every two weeks,” he says. “We all seem to think it’s a right to have two or three holidays abroad every year. Eating has become a recreation. Everyone is changing their car every three years. No one needs to get the next model of iPhone every six months.

    “All this stuff has to come from somewhere. Ninety per cent of everything we consume gets shipped around the world. That has a tremendous ecological impact, let alone digging stuff out of the ground, and the vast majority of it is stuff we don’t even need.”

    ***

    Making do with less does not make life dull, says Emmott, who is largely vegetarian, wears old clothes, has few possessions other than books and drives his 16-year-old car less than 100 miles a year.

    People have been conditioned to equate consumption with happiness, he says, but “anyone who thinks that happiness is buying a T-shirt in H&M every two weeks is deluding themselves… Enlightenment or enjoyment in life can come, and I’m speaking personally here, from reading or walking. It doesn’t have to involve consuming something or getting in your car or going to Oxford Street every week.”

    But Emmott, who served as a scientific adviser to Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling when they were chancellors of the Exchequer, sees no prospect of the dramatic change needed.

    “Governments don’t want to do anything that won’t enable them to get re-elected, and nearly everything that’s required here, whether it’s to do with pandemics or climate change or ecological degradation, would make politicians unelectable.” On the contrary, they encourage consumption because “it creates jobs, it creates employment, it creates economic growth”.

    [see also: Covid-19 should be a wake-up call to get serious about the climate crisis]

    Emmott becomes noticeably more guarded when I raise the sensitive subject of population controls. He readily agrees that even the present population exceeds “the carrying capacity of Earth based on our current consumption and behaviour”, and that fewer humans would mean less damage. He says it is “unfathomable that talking about population at all remains a taboo subject. I just can’t understand it.” But it is not for him to say whether people should or should not have children, he insists.

    “I would prefer to say the issue here is that we’ve collectively got ourselves into a situation where everything seems to come back to human rights and the rights of individuals. I think that’s a mistake. It makes it impossible to say people should have fewer children.

    “Personally speaking, I think there should be no such thing as human rights. There should be a charter of human responsibilities, and if we were focused on human responsibilities rather than human rights we would be in a totally different place to where we are now. The root of this is about our collective responsibilities to each other and to other species we share the planet with.”

    For that reason he has chosen not to have children himself.

    ***

    Emmott, who is 60, is amiable, cheerful and level-headed, but readily admits to being a “rational pessimist”, or what Boris Johnson would call a “doomster and gloomster”.

    He disagrees with green activist Greta Thunberg, who wrote a book called No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference in which she contends that determined individuals can bring about the sort of collective behavioural change required to save the world. He has “no faith whatever in governments doing the right thing”, and sees even supposed triumphs of international cooperation, such as the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, unravelling. He believes there is no prospect of the Covid-19 pandemic changing our destructive ways – on the contrary, “governments will encourage us to resume our consumption in order to ‘get the economy back on track’ and ‘stimulate recovery’”.

    In his book Emmott argued that if an asteroid was on a collision course with Earth everyone would be marshalled into action, but faced with an equally certain man-made catastrophe, humanity is doing practically nothing.

    Eight years on, as we approach those environmental and ecological tipping points beyond which there is no return, he sees no reason to change his bleak conclusion that the world is “fucked”. “Everyone chose to ignore, and still does, the warnings in the book, even though almost every single thing I predicted is unfolding yearly before us.”

    Cynthia

    August 9, 2020 at 3:30 am

    • This is the kind of negative nonsense, all based on this man’s untested suppositions, that we could well do without.

      John Wentford

      August 9, 2020 at 10:53 am

    • Climate change is the greatest danger to ALL life on earth, not least mankind. Pandemics have happened regularly and killed millions throughout human history. The Spanish flu which swept around the world in 1918 killed 50,000,000 making the death toll from coronavirus look like small beer, however urbanisation and denser populated communities coupled with porous borders and air travel makes viral pandemics particularly difficult to control and deal with. If climate change continues to be ignored and not mitigated our species deserves to suffer even unto extinction but with ignorant pigs like Donald Trump being elected as world leaders what can you expect? The saddest thing of all to me is the death toll amongst non-human animal life that now looks inevitable before homo sapiens is finally held to account. A world without great apes, big cats and other apex predators because of humanity’s selfish idiocy is too high a price to pay in my opinion.

      Grasshopper Swann

      August 9, 2020 at 12:08 pm

      • Human beings are the most selfish piece of shit on the planet. Why in 2020 in the UK do some people still feel the need to have 10+ kids? What is the R (reproductive number) on that? And those kids will have 10+ kids. Each one another carbon-producing monster. Is that sustainable? We all know the solutions, but as the article above states any politician (at least in the UK) who suggests them become unelectable. The UK population is soaring towards 100 million. We are quadrupling the population density in our ‘smart cities’. As the coronavirus pandemic taught us when supplies run out things quickly turn nasty. There is definitely trouble ahead, with wars, famines and pestilence of Biblical fame on the horizon. We will be fighting over food/water. As always science is left to find solutions to feed more and more hungry mouths. The scientist who invented modern Franken-wheat was awarded a Nobel prize. And the rest of our food quality is deteriorating with GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) etc. We will see protectionism, mass migration and civil wars. It will be a fight to stay alive. Mother Earth will survive. Homo sapien not so sure about. And Mother Earth would be better off without us.

        Dickie Attenborough

        August 9, 2020 at 4:03 pm

      • @ Dickie Attenborough

        I don’t think there are many people these days who have 10 kids! They did back in Victorian times, but the infant mortality rate was a lot higher.

        trev

        August 9, 2020 at 4:12 pm

  73. A bit of hope and positivity for this Sunday morning:

    trev

    August 9, 2020 at 10:57 am

  74. So. I haven’t heard a word from my local Jobcentre or the DWP for four months and one week. Not a peep. No phone call: no message left on my UC Journal. Anybody else like this? Or have some of you been contacted in some way recently by the powers that be? I’m delighted myself but wonder how much longer the good times are set to roll.

    Ro

    August 9, 2020 at 11:55 am

    • @Ro – The DWP are preparing for the fight of their lives. A massive army of claimants is marching towards them. And only Therese Coffey, a hand-picked group of Caxton House Commandos, and the magic power of Universal Credit stand in their way.

      The Last Work Coach

      August 9, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    • No there hasn’t been anything.Social distancing is being ignored and groups are not wearing face masks on transport.This heading back to square one.They might has well have stayed in spain they stand a better chance of surviving this there.Opening Jobcentres is adding another nail all we need now is benefit claimant super spreader in the headlines.Perhaps its just me again and opinion but I don’t have any confidence i any of this.

      ken

      August 9, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    • Same here Ro, I’ve heard nothing from them, don’t even know if the place has reopened, but I’m on JSA so don’t have a journal. Hope it stays shut for ever and a day.

      trev

      August 9, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    • Local jobcentre has been sealed off. It is surrounded by a huge barbed wire fence and signs: “CONTAMINATED BUILDING. TOXIC ENVIRONMENT. HEALTH HAZARD. DO NO ENTER!!”

      UC CLAMAINT

      August 9, 2020 at 3:40 pm

  75. ” What did you do in the Benefit Wars Daddy ? ”
    ”Nothing”

    Garry

    August 9, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    • @ Garry

      trev

      August 9, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      • @trev – Is that young Boris about to shoot those soldiers with the cannon ?

        Dave

        August 9, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      • Could be!

        trev

        August 9, 2020 at 2:31 pm

  76. ken

    August 9, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    • There is a simple solution to all of this – get rid of the Jobcentres and pay a Universal Basic Income.
      It’s cheaper, it’s nicer and it’s more hygenic.

      Rob

      August 9, 2020 at 2:02 pm

      • @ Rob

        Absolutely, totally agree. It’s the only sensible way forward. Hiring an extra 13,500 Work Coaches is madness. Reopening Jobcentres will be a public health hazard. Exposing millions of people to possible infection and to the risks of being Sanctioned is no way for a civilized society to operate. Scrap Sanctions, scrap Universal Credit, shutdown Jobcentres, pay Basic Income automatically. Job done.

        trev

        August 9, 2020 at 2:44 pm


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