JobCentre Call Police On Claimant Because He Begs For Advisors’ Help


Same Difference

With many thanks to Justice4Jobseekers.

Thanks to Julie O’Dwyer for sharing this with us. More evidence of the increasing level of inhumanity shown by so-called Jobcentre advisers:

“I was in the job centre several weeks ago. Whilst waiting to be seen I could hear a gentleman begging for somebody to properly explain why he had been sanction. The advisor refused to speak to him any further and so the gentleman said he would sit and wait until somebody could explain things to him. He was totally non aggressive and not at all confrontational. The job centre called the police and they forcibly removed him from the building. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life! The poor guy was desperate and the people who are there to supposedly support him just turned their backs and had him turfed out onto the street! That one incident said it all to…

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Now it’s time for a review OF the ISC


Paul Bernal's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 06.45.25Like many others in the privacy field, I had waited for the Intelligence and Security Committee report ‘Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework’ with some trepidation – though after having made a submission myself, and participated in the ISC’s ’round table’ events that formed part of the consultation I had felt a little less overwhelming pessimism than I had previously. Having read it through after its release yesterday I feel a little underwhelmed. It isn’t quite as bad as I had feared – but it does come close. The general feeling I had, though, was that the ISC is still essentially out of touch, out of date, and unable to fulfil the critical role of scrutiny that it is tasked with.

One particular paragraph made the point most directly – and it concerned one of the most important areas of the review insofar as it relates to the…

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Princes, Privacy and Power…


Paul Bernal's Blog

Prince CharlesLast week was a momentous one for information law. Two dramatic and potentially very significant rulings. The first was the Black Spider memos Freedom of Information  case through which it now appears certain that 27 ‘private’ letters from Prince Charles to government ministers will be published. The second was the decision in the Vidal-Hall vs Google case, which may have opened the doors for people whose privacy was effectively being invaded by Google to take action through the UK courts, despite their being unable to demonstrate economic damage from that privacy invasion. I won’t go into the legal details of either: far better legal minds than mine have already done so, the two pieces on the 11KBW blog about the Black Spider letters and Vidal-Hall vs Google respectively explain them really well. Instead, I want to look at one particular issue – the relationship between privacy and power, which is played…

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Storm in a tea-cup?


Paul Bernal's Blog

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 07.34.32I have to admit, I was one of the ‘lefties’ upset by the ‘controls on immigration tea cup’ over the weekend. Maybe I got too upset – some Labour stalwarts said it was a ‘storm in a tea cup’, others that I was missing the point in a number of ways. Maybe the fact that I’m married to an immigrant makes me extra-sensitive to this kind of issue – or perhaps it makes me more aware of the impact of the UKIP agenda really is.

Others told me ‘it’s just one of the pledges, we do mugs for all the pledges’ – to which I say that’s the bigger, and even worse point. Why is controlling immigration one of Labour’s five pledges at all? To start with all the evidence suggests that immigration isn’t really a ‘problem’, except in the false agenda driven by the likes of UKIP and the…

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What Would Robert Peel Think Of William Hague’s Last Act As An MP? #GE2015


The Tory Party has been to date the most effective election winning party in British politics since 1688.  Whilst the Left frets about compromising its principles, if it ever gains power, an unhelpful tradition the Greens are now following, the Right worries about not being in power and, thereby, being able to steer, if not stop dead in their tracks those parties with reforming instincts.

The Tory Party’s lack of firm principle is how it has survived over three centuries of economic and social change.  It is Darwinian evolutionary theory displayed in a political setting.  Only when it has become obsessed with policies such as resisting parliamentary reform, opposing free trade or being against our having more than a guest membership of the European Union has it weakened its electoral chances.  It is worth reflecting that since the National Health Service was founded in 1948 by a Labour Government, the Tory Party has been in government, if not always in power for 40 years out of the 67 that the NHS has been in existence.

Robert Peel in his Tamworth Manifesto of 1834 set out his view of Conservatism, a refinement of the policy of opposing change, merely because it was change.  Peel said Conservatism was about reforming the bad and conserving the good.  I share his vision, but I suspect we would not necessarily agree on the definitions of what is bad and what is good.  Peel was seeking to break with the High Toryism of the likes of the Duke of Wellington, a great general, but a lousy politician and one high up on any list of the worst Prime Minister since that title was accorded the First Lord of the Treasury.

One wonders how Peel would have regarded Hague’s last act as a Member of Parliament?  The independence of the Speaker of the House of Commons is, in my humble opinion, more than worth conserving.  We executed a King to make just that point in 1649.  One would have thought Hague, who has aspirations to be treated as a serious historian, would have remembered the words of Speaker Lenthall, addressed as they were to Charles I when he entered the Commons Chamber to attempt to arrest five Members of Parliament:

“May it please your majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this house is pleased to direct me whose servant I am here; and humbly beg your majesty’s pardon that I cannot give any other answer than this is to what your majesty is pleased to demand of me.”

The Speaker did his duty to the House and refused to assist Charles in his attempt to subvert the will of the common people as represented in the Commons (the very name of the House is no accident).  Now William Hague seeks to give the executive, standing in for the Monarch, the power to unseat the Speaker.  Never forget that the payroll vote, that is the number of Ministers and other MPs linked to Ministers, exceeds 100 and whilst that block may be embarrassed being seen to vote en bloc in an open election for the Speaker, one assumes Hague hopes to vote away that hindrance to the executive, as opposed to the Commons, determining who should sit in the Speaker’s chair.  Moreover, once the precedent has been set for secret ballots in our Parliament how far might it extend?  Perhaps to contentious pieces of legislation where MPs would prefer anonymity to explaining to their constituents as to how they voted or why they were not in the House to vote?

I fear that for many Hague’s proposed change may seem a minor one in elections to a position that may not seem to be of much consequence.  But the guy in the funny wig, bellowing, “Order, order!” is as much our representative in the House of Commons as our MP.  We, the people, have a right to know not only who is in the running for Speaker of the House of Commons, but as for whom our MP votes in elections for that position.  I want a Lenthall or a Bercow as Speaker, regardless of which party sits on the right of that person’s chair.  I am confident that Peel and I suspect most, if not all of my other political heroes, from Wilkinson to Castle, Bevan to Wilson, FE Smith to Jenkins, Gladstone to Lloyd George, Disraeli to Churchill, Asquith to Attlee, Bevin to Bright, Canning to Grey, Benn to Skinner and Russell to Melbourne would agree with me.  I suspect that even the Baroness would have thought twice about what Hague is proposing and in which the Liberal Democrats are acquiescing.

I beseech the House to defend its right to decide who sits in the Speaker’s chair for the holder of that position is their servant, their shop steward even and crucially the only person capable of forcing Ministers to attend Parliament to account for their actions.  Surely that is a good which is worth conserving against the High Toryism that Hague now represents?  As for William Hague’s ambitions to be taken seriously as a historian?  I am not convinced that the world needed another biography on William Pitt the Younger, but both literature and the study of history have been enriched by Ffion Jenkins’, sorry, Hague’s engaging, sympathetic portrait of Lloyd George’s women.  I commend Ms Hague’s book to my readers.  I urge MPs to consign her husband’s last act as an MP to the pile marked remaindered, fit only for pulping and recycling.

Paul Nuttall, Lacking In Hwyl, Declines To Translate #ukip Into Welsh … #GE2015 #BattleForNumber10


Kippers Tell Welsh To Speak English at Meetings in Wales

(courtesy of Beastrabban\’s Weblog)

Paul Nuttall told hecklers at a meeting in Porthmadog that they should speak English at ukip meetings in Wales, “We are one country, the majority of people in Wales speak English, if people come here they should learn English.”

Mr Nuttall, a here today, gone tomorrow politician, might care to reflect on the words of a former Member of Parliament for the constituency in which Porthmadog stood when that Right Honourable Gentleman was alive:

“Two thousand years ago the great Empire of Rome came with its battalions and conquered that part of Caernarvonshire in which my constituency is situated.  They built walls and fortifications as the tokens of their conquest, and they proscribed the use of the Cymric tongue.  The other day I was glancing at the ruins of those walls.  Underneath I noted the children at play, and I could hear them speaking, with undiminished force and vigour, the proscribed language of the conquered nation.  Close by there was a school, where the language of the Roman conquerors was being taught, but taught as a dead language!”

The Welsh language is one of the languages of the British.  English is a mere stripling interloper in comparison.  May be it too will be taught as a dead language some day?

May I further suggest to Mr Nuttall that he study well the style of the Welsh Wizard, a man who knew how to handle hecklers with finesse.  One of his best retorts in his early days was to a Conservative who came to a Liberal meeting determined to stand no nonsense.  “We must give Home Rule,” declared David Lloyd George, “not only to Ireland, but to Scotland as well, and to Wales.”  “And Home Rule for Hell,” shouted a man in the audience.  “Quite right,” said Lloyd George; “let every person stick up for his own country.”

Good advice, Mr Nuttall, you speak up for your idea of your country and let the rest of us stick up for ours.  In doing so, you will be in line with ukip’s 2010 Manifesto commitment that “All cultures, languages and traditions from around the British Isles will be celebrated.”

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