Monthly Archives: April 2014

The ILF is about quality of life – and you can help save it

There have been so many cuts affecting the disabled that this is one that should be stopped. Please share and support Paula and the campaign.


Mike Sivier's blog


Paula Peters is a friend of Vox Political who campaigns on behalf of the disabled (she has disabilities herself). Here, she writes about the value of the Independent Living Fund, which is scheduled to be closed by the Conservative-led Coalition government next year.

If you are disabled, you will appreciate what Paula has to say; if you are not, please try to imagine what it must be like to cope with debilitating conditions that can turn even getting out of bed into a feat of endurance. That person, one day, could be you. That’s why it is important to keep this fund open.

“I got up this morning, brushed my teeth, showered, ate breakfast, got dressed, checked my e mails, went to work, had lunch with colleagues, met with friends on the way home from work, popped in on my mum to see she was alright before coming home to…

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A funny thing happened on the way to the tribunal…..

Fascinating and a very good illustration of how we need to work together to support each other. Brilliant!

The lovely wibbly wobbly old lady

Most of the regular readers of my blog will be aware of the DWP’s refusal to put into the public domain, the statistics of those people who were in receipt of Incapacity Benefit, who were deemed fit for work by way of the Atos Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and then subsequently died.

I, along with many other bloggers believe that the DWP don’t want this information out in the open because the figures are so high, that it will cause a public outcry and blow the governments claim that welfare reforms are working, out of the water.

You can read more about the actual tribunal here, over at Vox Political (Mike Siviers blog)

What I wanted to do, is focus more on the behind the scenes work and some of the bizarre things that happened at and before the tribunal.

I came across Mikes blog when searching for Atos…

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Coroner blames man’s death on government cuts to ambulance service

Another death which should not have happened.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UK today)

It’s official.

Government cuts to ambulance and A&E services are causing deaths.

Hartlepool coroner Malcolm Donnelly ruled the death of William Gouldburn, 73, was a “sad consequence” of a lack of ambulance resources.

In his ruling the coroner also said about Mr Gouldburn’s death: “Had there been more ambulances available the outcome might have been different.

Here’s the full story from the Hartlepool Mail:

Hartlepool man died after waiting two hours for ambulance


Please feel free to comment.


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Case proven? Government stays away from benefit deaths tribunal

Well done!! That the DWP didn’t put in an appearance speaks volumes.

Mike Sivier's blog

Seen to be done: The tribunal took place at the Law Courts in Cardiff (pictured), in public - which allowed friends of Vox Political to hear the case. Seen to be done: The tribunal took place at the Law Courts in Cardiff (pictured), in public – which allowed friends of Vox Political to hear the case.

The Information Commissioner’s Office and the Department for Work and Pensions have highlighted the weakness of their own case for hiding the number of people who have died while claiming sickness and disability benefits – by failing to turn up at a tribunal on the subject.

They had the opportunity to explain why mortality statistics for people claiming Employment and Support Allowance since November 2011 have been suppressed, at a tribunal in the Law Courts, Cardiff, yesterday (April 23).

But, rather than be grilled on the reasons for their decision by a judge, a specialist in this area of law, and a ‘lay’ person (representing the opinions of right-thinking members of the public), they chose to stay away.

The tribunal had been…

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Freedom of Information tribunal on benefit deaths – April 23

Hope it’s going well, Mike.
Our thoughts are with you!

Mike Sivier's blog

Vox Political may seem a little quiet over the next 30 hours or so. This is because the site’s owner, Mike Sivier (that’s me), will be travelling to Cardiff to take the Information Commissioner and the Department for Work and Pensions to a tribunal.

The aim is to secure the release of mortality figures – death statistics – covering people who were claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance during 2012.

Figures for later dates were not part of the Freedom of Information request that forms the basis of this action (submitted back in June 2013, nearly a year ago), so it is unlikely that these will be forthcoming. The hope is that the tribunal will judge in favour of the information being released, ensuring that further requests cannot be blocked by the DWP.

The government’s claim is that a single-sentence, off-the-cuff line at the end of a Vox…

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Cameron’s office calls police on Bishop trying to deliver letter on poverty (not satire!)

Well, what can I say? Don’t the police have better things to do.

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s David Cameron)

Amazingly, David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney called the police when the Bishop of Oxford tried to hand in a letter about food poverty signed by church figures.

Anglican priest the Reverend Keith Hebden – who accompanied the Bishop on his visit to Cameron’s office – had this to say about the encounter:

Summoning the police like that illustrates the sense of panic in this government about rising food poverty levels because they are in such denial about this problem.”

Here’s the full story from Al Jazeera:

UK row over Christian values and food poverty

This happened last week. So why has this not been reported in the UK media, I wonder?


Big thanks to Richard Bowyer for the heads up on this.


Related articles by Tom Pride:

Cameron’s morality resigns after being declared bankrupt

Scientists Claim Tiny Sub-Atomic Traces of Ethics Discovered in Barclays

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The Current Nonsense About Religion

What is religion? A way of controlling society and so cameron takes it on himself to co-opt it in the name of his heartless ideology.
And hopefully the church leaders will rise up and slate him and so will the congregations. Didn’t thatcher start this??


When Cameron, or a PR flunkie in his name, spooned out some stuff last week about how all Christian he is, the first assumption might’ve have been that it was seasonal padding: “Easter’s on it’s way Dave, lets knock together a few hundred words on how you like Jesus.”

The surface result – headlines about Jesus “Inventing” the so called “Big Society” was risible.

There are 2 main meanings to that stupid BS soundbite, one giving surface cover to the other. The first is a vapid, wooly message that can’t boil down to much specific beyond “Let’s all be nice”.

Jesus, for all his qualities, didn’t invent being nice.

The second function is an insulting blag for government not doing nearly as much as it used to in return for all the money we give them, not least because lots of that money is destined for banks and other vast…

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An open letter to the Daily Mail…

Excellent response to the DM article. The real scandal is that we need food banks in this 7th richest economy in the world in 2014. Utter shame on this coalition.


The Daily Mail chose today to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, champion of the oppressed, by publishing this article today.  Here’s my response.


Dear Daily Mail,

I’ve got a little boy.  His name is Isaac, and he’s nearly three.  Like any little boy, he loves cars, balls, and running around.  He’s barely ever still.

A few days ago though, he was.  I took him to the supermarket to spend his pocket money, and we passed the donation basket for our local food bank.  It was about half full – nothing spectacular, in fact, mostly prunes and pasta – and he asked what it was.  As simply as possible, I tried to explain that it was for people to give food for other people who couldn’t afford it.

This affected his two year old brain fairly deeply.  After a lot of thought, he decided to spend a little bit of…

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Conservatives in chaos over food bank stance

Excellent. Very clear statistics and some very concise comments. Exactly what is government for? They have indeed forgotten they are our public servants who need to carry out the will of the people. They are clearly failing in that so they need to go! NOW.

Mike Sivier's blog

Credit where it's due: The vast majority of reasons for people being referred to food banks are attributable to the Department for Work and Pensions. Could that be why the DWP is so desperate to silence the food bank charities? Credit where it’s due: The vast majority of reasons for people being referred to food banks are attributable to the Department for Work and Pensions. Could that be why the DWP is so desperate to silence the food bank charities?

Tories – what are they like?

The answer is, of course, even they don’t know – as evidenced by their current confusion over food banks.

David Cameron has enthusiastically backed their work at a Christian faith group’s Easter reception (and so he should, having sent so much of it their way), and Treasury minister David Gauke also praised them in an interview on Channel 4 News last week.

But the DWP says leading food bank provider the Trussell Trust is guilty of “misleading and emotionally manipulative publicity seeking”, with the rise in food bank use being the result of the charity’s leaders “aggressively marketing their services” and “effectively running a…

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Information tribunal on deaths of IB/ESA claimants – next week

This is so important! Please share widely.

Mike Sivier's blog

I have just sent out a ‘diary marker’ to press organisations, notifying them of the Information Tribunal that will be held in Cardiff next week.

Inevitably, there will be organisations I have missed – and I also want as much of the social media as possible to be aware of this and to be spreading the word. For that reason, I’m publishing the text of the press release below.

If you have a Facebook page, blog site, Twitter account or whatever, please feel free to use what follows and make sure people know that this is going on.

Diary marker

Tribunal – Law Courts, Cathays Park, Cardiff, April 23, 2014 at 10am

Incapacity benefits – deaths of claimants

A tribunal will decide whether the Department for Work and Pensions should be ordered to release its statistics on the number of people who have died while claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment…

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