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Why Are Labour So Scared, When Their Opponents Seem Permanently Terrified? | TheCritique Archives

The Labour Party have missed so many “open goals” that people have to wonder why. Why have Labour not hammered the Conservatives (or the Coalition) when they have set themselves up to be knocked down with ease. It’s like watching a toddler at the bowling alley – the inflatable bumpers have been set up, and then the child insists on them being taken away.

Now there’s a chance that Labour might get a leader that actually takes the fight to the “enemy”… and a faction within Labour are terrified. It seems to many people that this is probably because those MPs & hangers-on actually *like* what the Tories are doing. Plus the party have had a huge influx of members (not just “supporters”, actual members) and rather than be thrilled and shouting loudly about it, they seem embarrassed & looking for ways to remove as many as they can.

Dear Ms Harman… I became disgusted with the Labour Party in 2003 (well, slightly earlier, but you know what I’m talking about), the fact that I have joined since the end of June should tell you something about why. Don’t touch my membership!

“It is December 2013. Iain Duncan-Smith, Work & Pensions Secretary, attends a hearing in front of the Parliamentary Work and Pension’s Committee. He is surrounded by armed police officers, and even has a personal bodyguard protecting him. They are there to keep him safe from ‘frenzied attacks’ he is apparently expecting from a small group of disability activists. Three of the activists, let it be noted, are in wheelchairs.Now that tells a story of a man who is really scared. Easily scared.”

Source: Why Are Labour So Scared, When Their Opponents Seem Permanently Terrified? | TheCritique Archives

Shameless: Charity Bosses To Gather In Luxury Hotel For £715 Homelessness Conference | the void

Source: Shameless: Charity Bosses To Gather In Luxury Hotel For £715 Homelessness Conference | the void


I’ve got to chime in on this one and it got too long for a comment.  I know this hotel quite well (I have “memories”) for reasons that will be explained.

The event is questions is The Under One Roof Conference that takes place in July 2015 –

There are very few large scale conference venues in the UK that can handle an event of this scope. Most have either not enough rooms for the various program items or the rooms they have are not large enough for the number of delegates. A conference/convention isn’t simply a few hundred (because it will be a few hundred) people sitting in a large room staring at the stage – although those do tend to be a part of any conference. Okay, I will admit that there are some conferences that are nothing BUT a series of interchangeable Ruperts & Emmas talking at an audience, but not all are like that & this one isn’t. To quote from the Under One Roof website “Over the two days, we’re running a series of masterclasses, workshops and debates.”

Having been on the organising committee for a 600-900 member convention for around 8 years* I know how few there are and what the hidden limitations can be of most of those. We even used the Hinckley for three events (2004, ’06 & ’08). At that time the main function room was not really adequate for our needs but it did have plenty of smaller rooms for various things to happen & a fantastic “chill out”/”break out” area in the atrium. It has been renovated since then – and hopefully it no longer floods every time there’s heavy rain! Though that could be an interesting wake up call for this particular event 🙂

This sort of thing canNOT be held “in a homeless hostel” for what I hope, after the above, are obvious reasons. It can’t be done as a “podcast” because it is not a single “one panel on stage speaking to an audience” event. It can’t be done as a tele-conference/skype for the same reason.  We regularly had/have suggestions from attendees that we hold our event “at a University” – which has it’s own set of limitations, not least that the student accommodation is generally single rooms (& bedding not included) with, often, shared bathrooms & kitchens and a long trek from the rooms to wherever on campus the action is happening.

One fact to bear in mind is that the ticket price (the £715 figure being bandied about is for 2 nights for non-members of any of the associated organisations who want to arrive the day before the event starts) includes not just the hotel room & dinner but the cost of hiring the function rooms. The goal should be to pay for the entire event through attendance. If that can’t be done, the event should be shelved. The event also has corporate sponsorship to cover any shortfall etc (including the cost of the meal, it seems).

Now, that “swanky meal”… the hotel is pretty isolated as I recall. There are no restaurants nearby unless you want to go for a drive & the hotel restaurant, like many hotels of that size, cannot deal with near enough 100% capacity all ordering different meals & all at the same time. So they put on a 3 (or maybe 4) course meal as part of the event – usually with a couple of choices for each course & to be advised in advance so the kitchen know exactly what they are doing.

The problem is ONLY that “4 star hotel!!!!!” gets people upset when it is put next to “Homeless Charity Conference!!!!!”  And don’t bloody bitch about “OMG! There’s a pool and a spa and a sauna!!!!!” Of course there is, you’d be hard put to find any large 4+ star hotel that doesn’t have either that on site or an agreement with one very close by.


* I finally hit “burn out” and had to resign from the committee. I’ll still attend the conventions though 🙂

Apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors, I just woke up.

Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham

Cameron's 2010 NHS promises

“Once again Labour shows us that there is no depth to which the Cameron administration will not stoop. This time they are using the summer Parliamentary recess to sign contracts intended to prevent any future government from restoring our health service and reversing the appalling damage they have done so that they and their friends can profit from the suffering and sickness of the poor.”

via Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham.

Thanks a bunch “Little Britain”

I have a whole new fun thing to look forward to (courtesy of the twits from Little Britain). I have purchased a self-propelled wheelchair, it’s red and needs Go Faster Stripes, so that I can get around more easily without exhausting myself. So that when I get somewhere, I can actually stand up and walk around a bit instead of collapsing in agony as soon as I get there. But people see a person in a wheelchair and assume “confined” is the correct word to use about them, that the only people who use wheelchairs are totally unable to walk or to move independently. Standing up from a wheelchair triggers thoughts (if not cries) of “fake” from some people. I half expect to be called “Andy” (the character in LB that is in a wheelchair). This is going to be so much fun. Not.

I used to find these sketches amusing, now they just irritate me.

I’ve been around council estates and all the houses have Sky dishes!

Because, of course, the presence of a satellite dish is absolute proof of a Sky subscription. And people on benefits have always been on benefits, never had a period of work when things like a satellite installation may have been paid for. Sky don ‘t come and take the satellite away when you cancel your sub, you know? You own the dish and the box so you can access the FreeSat channels. The same goes for TVs or cars or anything that someone might own. It doesn’t magically disappear if you become disabled/lose your job!

Did you know that with the changes the government want to make it will be essential to anyone claiming benefits to have internet access, every day? I’m afraid that internet access is rapidly becoming an essential part of life in this century. Though most of the poorest will never have it and will have to rely on the libraries (the ones this government and the last are continually closing) for access. A pay as you go mobile phone is cheaper than a landline and the DWP pretty much demand that you are contactable all the time (and how does a potential employer contact you if you have no phone?)

Did you know that an average family with *earnings* equal to the £26,000 benefits cap are also entitled to benefits that push their income up by around another £5K? So, in order to be paid enough to not get benefits at all, yeah, that friend who said he’d need to be paid more than £500 a week wouldn’t be far wrong! JSA is only a very small amount of the total Social Security bill, approx 3% of the total, in 2010 that was £5 billion. Pensions is by far the largest proportion of the bill at 36% or £67 billion with another 6% or £11 billion as “other pensioner benefits”. About 15% goes on various child related benefits; Employment Support Allowance – paid to people unable to work because of chronic illness or disability – & Income Support total about 8% – add that to the JSA and you have just over one tenth of the Social Security bill going to support people out of work. One tenth.

Do you know what the estimated amount of “benefit fraud” is? Out of a Social Security bill which ran at £194.3bn in 2011/12, fraud cost us £2bn and error, genuine mistakes made by claimants (have you seen the forms?) or official screw-up,cost £3.4bn last year – error costs us more than fraud! And that fraud amount is across ALL benefits, not just the out of work ones. DWP themselves estimate that around £7 to £12 billion is unclaimed by people entitled to it across all benefits (that’s often because many benefits are not advertised and if you’ve never claimed anything you really don’t know what you might be entitled to – especially if you, or your partner, have a job and simply assume you wouldn’t be eligible for anything).

In the greater scheme of government finances, fraud in the Social Security sphere is around 2% of the total monies the government is losing to fraud of various kinds.

Everybody “knows a bloke/girl” who they believe is “scamming” benefits. The thing is, that’s not a one for one figure when you count them up. A single person can be the same “fraudster” known by 50 people, the same “friend of a friend” or similar for another 100 or so. Those stories the media like to show are the outliers, the odd ones out, but the government and their mouthpieces in the media would like us to believe that they are representative of the whole. They aren’t.

If you don’t know why Unum should she shunned by all politicians, read this.

Mo Stewart

via Here's why Labour needs to go a lot further to win back our trust.

I’ve been saying this about Unum in various places for a few years. The mass media are deliberately ignoring them. So most people will go “who the hell are Unum?” A company that has been declared rogue in several US states; a company that has been banned from operating in at least one country (New Sealand); a company that uses an unproven and discredited “model” of sickness and disability in order to deny health insurance payouts by declaring some as “all in the mind” and therefore not “real”. Labour still consorting with them despite their recent promises to change things. They can sack ATOS, but that says nothing about changing the WCA & associated policies as dreamt up by Unum (who appear to have a revolving door system of senior executives with Atos anyway).

Review: The Steel Remains – Richard Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Audiobook, narrated by Simon Vance.

Ringil Eskiath, wielder of The Raven’s Friend, noble, warrior, hero, legend, pervert, degenerate, twisted abomination, outcaste, drunkard all true depending on who you ask. All he asked was to be left alone. He’d done his bit. He’d saved his people, and been rejected by them once the cheering died down. He certainly didn’t want to go off on some stupid search for a missing cousin, sold into slavery and abandoned by her immediate family, simply because his mother felt guilty about it. He would have been even more vehement in his refusal if he had known exactly where the search would take him. But mothers always know what levers will move their recalcitrant children. And so begin his first steps into a world where myths and gods of ages past walk the streets.

I usually listen to audiobooks while doing other things, but this one kept dragging me away from the mundane world and into Ringil’s. I’d find myself staring blankly at whatever I had been doing and realise that I’d just lost another half hour to the tale. I suspect that reading the book would be one of those times when I start reading in the evening and realise that the sun is coming up just as I finish it. The sequel, The Cold Commands, is calling to me now and I wonder if I can resist the call until my next Audible credits arrive!

View all my reviews