David Cameron (PM or merely Party Leader?) 's misleading Conservative Conference Speech re the sick & disabled

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please see this WhatDoTheyKnow Freedom of Information request:

"The PM's misleading conference speech, re sickness benefit claimants"
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/th...

If you read the response I received from the Cabinet Office - they say that your department is responsible for providing me with an answer.

Please would you therefore answer the request I put to the Cabinet Office?

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

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" David Cameron: the master of cynical propaganda

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/...

Cameron could blow Machiavelli out of the water. If he penned a book revealing his tactics, here's what it might include ... by Owen Jones
guardian.co.uk, Friday 13 January 2012 10.47 GMT

David 'Cameron is going where Thatcher never even dared on cuts and the NHS.'
" When David Cameron tires of this prime minister lark (don't feel you have to take your time, Dave), he should write a self-help book for aspiring rightwing politicians. It could be titled I Got Away With It – And Here's How You Can Too. I can think of some of the promo lines: "Are you a passionate believer in free-market economics who has been lumbered with the biggest crisis of capitalism since the 1930s?" "Are you keen to turn a crisis that looks like the death knell of all you believe in into your greatest opportunity yet?"

Since Lehman Brothers went under, I've watched in awe as the right transformed a crisis of the market into a crisis of public spending. Even as a battery of cuts suck jobs and growth out of the economy, Cameron's Tories still define the political debate. Despite winning just 36% of the vote, they look increasingly like Britain's third radically transformative government since the war – the other two being the Attlee and Thatcher administrations.

How are they getting away with it? Having a supine media and an opposition still lacking a coherent alternative helps. But I have to hand it to them: this government has one of the most effective propaganda machines of modern times. If Cameron was to pen a book explaining his secrets, he could blow Machiavelli's The Prince out of the water. While he mulls it over, I'll suggest some key tips.

First, revise the past. Cameron's Tories have driven it into our skulls that we have a deficit because Labour indulged in the most shameless spending spree since Imelda Marcos's shoe collection. Collapsing tax revenues and soaring unemployment never get a mention. But, above all, Cameron has managed to make us forget that he backed Labour's spending plans until the end of 2008. In July 2007, for example, he referred back to Thatcher and argued: "It is not now necessary in the same way to mend Britain's broken economy, but it is absolutely necessary to mend Britain's broken society." At the time he expressed few serious concerns about New Labour's economic management, leading to accusations he was acting as a mere thinktank for Gordon Brown's government.

Second, demonise anyone in receipt of public money. If unemployed or disabled people are just a faceless mass of scroungers, for example, who cares if their benefits are cut? The press certainly helps: this week's Sunday Times featured the headline "End the something for nothing culture", above a picture of the Gallagher family from the comedy-drama Shameless. According to the tagline, the entirely fictional Gallaghers "typify the 'money for nothing' culture". Other grotesque caricatures from TV – such as Vicky Pollard and Wayne and Waynette Slob – are also being wheeled out by journalists as supposedly accurate portrayals. Sitcoms and sketch shows are being used as political devices to hack slices off the welfare state. But it is being fuelled by government rhetoric on benefits. "If we want them to tap dance, then they will tap dance," a Whitehall official is quoted in the Sunday Times piece as saying of benefit recipients. It's a callous attempt to strip unemployed people of their humanity, but it works.

There's a similar approach with public sector workers. Instead of being people who teach kids, treat people with cancer and empty bins, they become "vested interests" and parasites on the taxpayer. It becomes so much easier, then, to make the case that they should cough up to pay off the deficit.

Third, clothe radical ideas in the language of moderation. Thatcher had an abrasive style, to say the least: all that "the enemy within", "no such thing as society" and "No! No! No!" From the outset, a coalition can easily present itself as inherently consensual and full of compromise. But Cameron is going where Thatcher never even dared – on cuts and the NHS, for example – and yet seems far more reasonable than his party's adored Iron Lady. As opposition leader, Cameron galavanted around the Arctic with huskies, got mocked for wanting to "hug a hoodie" and replaced the Tory logo with a tree. He uses the language of the "centre ground" – a term politicians of all stripes use to define their policies as normal, sane and moderate, and anybody who believes differently is so politically unhinged they're not even worth engaging with.

The biggest cuts since the 1920s become a regrettable, unavoidable means of slashing the deficit, rather than a desirable attempt to drive back the state. But we know both Nick Clegg and Cameron are ideologically committed to such an agenda. When Clegg was elected Liberal Democrat leader in December 2007, he made a Reaganite pitch for an "alternative to the discredited politics of big government". In October 2009, Cameron argued that "government got too big", and before the election, he argued that the cuts should remain in place even when the crisis was over. But, on the whole, the government has convinced a sizeable chunk of the population that it's just cleaning up Labour's mess, not engaging in an all-out ideological crusade.

Fourth, use common-sense language. David Cameron loves the term common sense, arguing repeatedly for a "common-sense revolution" and "common-sense Conservatism". The deficit is compared to a household budget: a fallacy that would have failed him his economics exam at Oxford. But it strips the politics out of a deeply politically charged offensive, and relates it to the everyday experiences of voters.

Of course, these are just suggestions, and I don't want to steal Cameron's thunder. But there's no doubt that this government is delivering a masterclass in cynical – but deeply effective – political propaganda. Whether he writes it up, rightwingers the world over will be studying Cameronese for years. If they want to fight it, it's time opponents started doing the same. "

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http://library.thinkquest.org/C0111500/p...

Just Google "propaganda techniques". This is just one example.

http://www.candocango.com/dla-reform-dam...

DLA reform: Dame Anne set to probe DWP’s Spartacus evasions
(18 January 2012)

A senior disabled MP is to examine the government’s failure to respond to allegations that it misled Parliament over its disability living allowance (DLA) reforms.

Dame Anne Begg, the Labour MP who chairs the influential Work and Pensions Select Committee, this week raised serious concerns about the government’s “overly dismissive” response to last week’s Responsible Reform, a ground-breaking report by disabled activists.

Dame Anne described the Responsible Reform report (PDF file, 505 KB) – also known as the “Spartacus Report” – as “coherent and consistent” and a “detailed analysis” of the responses to a government consultation on its DLA reforms.

But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been heavily criticised for avoiding answering a series of crucial questions about the report.

Now Dame Anne has told Disability News Service that her committee will consider – in its current inquiry on DLA reform – how DWP responded to the Spartacus Report.

She said: “Certainly I have concerns about the fact that [the DWP response] seems to be overly dismissive. I think this is a serious piece of work and is a serious analysis of the responses to the consultation.

“I am consistently disappointed about the way that DWP is handling information around this subject and is not taking seriously what are well-argued and well-researched points.”

She and other members of her committee have been outspoken about how DWP has issued information to the media, MPs and the public about disability benefits and welfare reform.

Last month, Dame Anne accused the disabled people’s minister Maria Miller of being “evasive” throughout an evidence session for the DLA inquiry.

She has also accused Miller’s fellow ministers Chris Grayling and Iain Duncan Smith of appearing to encourage the tabloid press to run stories attacking disabled benefit claimants.

A fellow committee member, Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd, accused the DWP last year of “pandering to the Daily Mail” in a press release about employment and support allowance, the new out-of-work disability benefit.

A DWP spokesman said: “The Work and Pensions Select Committee has yet to publish its report and the government will respond to the report after its publication.”

News provided by John Pring at www.disabilitynewsservice.com

Read more: http://www.candocango.com/dla-reform-dam...

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DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you I will have a look at your links.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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P. Smith left an annotation ()

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/...

More misleading info. from the government.

P. Smith left an annotation ()

The DWP response:

DWP Central Freedom of Information Team Annex A

e-mail: freedom-of-information
-[email address]

Our Ref: VTR 215

24 January 2012
Annex A

Dear Pat Smith,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 19 January 2012 in which you asked:

‘ Please see this WhatDoTheyKnow Freedom of Information request:

"The PM's misleading conference speech, re sickness benefit claimants"
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/th...

If you read the response I received from the Cabinet Office - they say that your department is responsible for providing me with an answer.

Please would you therefore answer the request I put to the Cabinet Office?’

The Department agrees with the previous responses you have received from the Cabinet Office, namely, that both the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Code – which are enshrined in law - prevent civil servants from supporting the Prime Minister (or any other
Minister) on purely party political issues. We therefore do not have information on where he obtained his information as this is a matter for the Conservative Party.

Instead I am interpreting your correspondence as a request for information on the number of people claiming benefits, the number of claims to sickness benefits and information on the number of those that have been assessed as fit for work or close their claim prior to assessment.

It is possible to find information on these topics from the following sources:

The Department publishes benefit statistics for Great Britain on its website, via the Tabulation Tool available at: http://83.244.183.180/100pc/tabtool.html

The Tabulation Tool allows you to construct tables to your own requirements. To produce analysis on working age benefit claims select Benefit/Scheme Client Group Analysis of the Working Age; then select Analysis Caseloads (thousands) and proceed to make your analysis selections including the Statistical Group variable.

For example, the following table shows that in May 2011 there were 2.57 million working age people claiming ESA and incapacity benefits.

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/wa/ccdate/cc...

In addition, the Department regularly publishes official statistics on Employment and Support
Allowance (ESA) and the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) at the following link. Previous publications are also available.
http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingag...

Table 1a or 1 of each publication shows the total number of new claims to ESA and their outcomes at their initial assessment. In the July 2011 publication, Table 1 showed 1,342,100 claims between October 08 and Nov-10. Of these, it shows that the total numbers assessed as fit for work at initial assessment was 517,900 and there were also 485,500 claimants who closed their claim prior to being assessed.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

P. Smith left an annotation ()

Whatever the statistics, the government seems intent on ignoring them, ignoring disability charities and disability support groups, and now the House of Lords. The government is ignoring fact and morality.

Many people with disabilities are in utter despair.

Are there any documents relating to rules or codes that might be relevant, to restrain this harsh coalition dictatorship?

P. Smith left an annotation ()

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