A new low for the Daily Mail…

If anyone still thinks the Daily Mail has any moral compass at all, this headline should disabuse them of the idea:-

‘We just thought it was jet lag’, say newlyweds who caught swine flu and brought it to UK

The mail must employ some deeply despicable, conscience-free, hacks, not to mention editors, to publish so scurrilous, and possibly untrue, a headline.

Every single person on that flight from Cancun had the potential to be infected before ever boarding the plane, as did Continue reading

More on Benefit Lies…

You know all those lies about Incapacity Benefit claimants that the Daily Mail just loves to trot out at every opportunity? Well, I’ve found the source (I suppose many of you will know already; this is for those, like me, who didn’t).

The culprit is David Freud, an extremely wealthy former City banker (banker – well, that’s almost right…), who claimed in an interview with the Telegraph, in February, that tests are done by people’s own GPs, that 5-7% of incapacity claimants are working in the black economy and that two thirds of claimants should not be receiving incapacity benefit.

The problem is that not a single word of that is true. GPs do not carry out disability assessments (though perhaps they should – who knows the patient/claimant better?), and the other nonsense simply isn’t supported by the DWP’s own figures.

Freud is, apparently, currently advising the DWP “on commercial and commissioning strategies and not with the design of the benefit system or its administration.” So wouldn’t it be a good idea if he shut the fuck up and stopped commenting on matters that are way outside his remit and, as far as I can see, beyond his intelligence to understand? Unless, of course, this was all entirely deliberate, and part of a campaign of lies and disinformation sponsored by the government. Paranoia? I don’t think so. After all, have you seen, or read about, a government minister, or even a spokesman, or a DWP official, coming forward to give the lie to what Freud said?

Stephen Timms, Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform, has made a half-baked attempt to distance his department from Freud’s absurd comments by claiming, rather oddly, that “the contents of Mr Freud’s recent press articles were not prompted by research commissioned by the Government, and reflect his own views.”

I’m sorry, that’s garbage. Freud is, in effect, employed by the DWP, which is within Timms’ area of responsibility, and was speaking ex officio, so it is 100% Timms’ responsibility, and it is incumbent upon him to ensure that Freud publicly recants. Six months down the line, though, and that’s not happened, and it’s clear it’s never going to.

By failing to publicly condemn and correct Freud, Timms – and by extension, the government – is tacitly endorsing Freud’s lies, giving them an entirely erroneous veneer of truth. I would urge those of you living in Timms’ constituency to bear that in mind when the general election comes around.

Sign of the times…

This is from today’s Daily Mail – breach of copyright, I suppose, but it illustrates perfectly why this country is so utterly and irredeemably fucked. If the victims dies, as it appears he may well, and his attacker gets anything less than life, well, that’ll just confirm it. Me? I’d hang the bastard… Note: The victim died shortly after I posted this item.

Shopping horror: A 57-year-old man was punched to the ground at this Sainsbury’s store in Merton, London

A shopper is fighting for his life after being viciously attacked following a queue-jumping row in Sainsbury’s.

The sickening attack apparently happened after a woman accused the 57-year-old man of pushing in front of her at the check-out.

CCTV reportedly shows her phoning her boyfriend, who arrived a few minutes later. The woman then allegedly points to the man she thought had pushed in.

Horrified customers, including young children, saw the 57-year-old man punched to the ground and left unconscious in a pool of blood.

Detectives were preparing to open a murder investigation last night as the unnamed victim – who has a young child – was not expected to survive massive head injuries.

The incident happened at the Sainsbury’s superstore in Merton, South West London shortly after 7pm on Tuesday.

A 37-year-old man has been charged with grievous bodily harm. Tony Virasami, 37, from Lewisham, will appear before Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court today.

The victim, who was with a group of people at the store, allegedly had no chance to defend himself.

He was knocked down by a powerful punch and suffered horrendous injuries as his head hit the floor, it is claimed.

He was briefly resuscitated in hospital but lapsed into a coma and is still in a critical condition.

A police source said: ‘There can be no more chilling example of yob Britain than an innocent man being subjected to a vicious attack in a supermarket over something so trivial.

‘The victim is in a very poor way and it will be an absolute miracle if he lives.’

Detectives appealed for more witnesses from among the dozens of shoppers who were in the store.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the victim was white and the attacker black.

A Sainsbury’s employee said: ‘He fell backwards and his head hit the ground. He just never got up. I didn’t see the punch but I saw the blood everywhere.

‘It was horrible. They evacuated the store and people were quite upset.’

Another man said: ‘The victim was simply standing at the entrance to the shopfloor. He was hit once with a powerful punch and slumped to the floor.’

Security guards were surrounding the two-storey building yesterday as detectives examined CCTV footage of the incident.

The victim, who is believed to live locally, was on a life support machine at St George’s Hospital in nearby Tooting.

Relatives were facing the agonising decision of whether to allow medical staff to switch it off.

The man was said to be in a long-term relationship and has a five-year-old child.

There were clear indications that doctors and police fear the worst.

Scotland Yard confirmed that murder squad detectives from the Specialist Crimes Directorate were already investigating the case.

A spokesman said: ‘Police were called at approximately 7.30pm on Tuesday to reports of a man assaulted inside Sainsbury’s supermarket, Merton High Street.

‘Officers and London Ambulance attended and the man was taken to a south London hospital suffering from a head injury.

‘He is currently in a critical condition. It is not believed any weapons were used.’

Knife crime and civil liberties…

I’m getting awfully tired, here in Britain, of everyone who carries a pocket knife being branded as a rabid psychopath – it’s just not so – carrying a knife does not automatically imply a willingness to use it to butcher my fellow man, despite what our god-awful government and the Daily Mail would have you believe.

I grew up at a time when every male carried a pocket knife from a relatively early age – certainly, by the time I reached my teens it was quite normal for me to have a knife in my pocket, as did my peers, almost without exception and, 50 years later, I still do – I can’t remember a time when I haven’t carried one. Oddly enough, the number of corpses littering my course through life are zero. I would be, however, should I ever be searched by the police, considered just as guilty as some scum-bag hoodie with a 9″ pig-sticker.

In 1960, I routinely travelled to and from work with a large sheath knife hanging on my belt (I needed it in my job and, had I left it in work, it would have disappeared), and nobody batted an eyelid. Of course, in those days there was the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, whereas now the presumption is automatically of guilt, regardless of whether a crime has actually been committed – if you look as if you might commit a crime, especially if you’re black, you’re nicked, sunshine!

Right now, I have a small, very sharp (no point in a blunt knife), pocket knife with a 2″ blade and, were I to be stopped by the police, for any reason (and if I was black, I’d really need to worry about this*), it may well get me 4 or 5 years in the pokey. I can’t tell you how much that pisses me off. It is, I suppose, theoretically possible to kill someone with it, but it’d take a hell of a lot of work!

* Mind you, it has to be said that knife crime is predominantly a problem of the black communities – maybe we’d all be better off if that was where the police focused their attentions, instead of criminalising perfectly innocent people, like me.

I can hear the Mail readers in the background, muttering “Nobody needs to carry a knife – if the do they MUST be up to no good!” Bollocks! Have you ever tried to open a CD wrapper with your nails (in the interests of instant gratification, I like to play mine in the car as soon as I buy them), or open a magazine which comes in a plastic, possibly Mylar, bag, without something sharp (I like to read mine in the pub – at home I’d use scissors), as many seem to these days, particularly my digital photography mags? It saves glueing the accompanying CD or DVD to the cover, and tearing it when it’s removed – I’m not paying a fiver for a mag to have it trashed before I’ve even opened it. Then there’s opening mail – yes, I could go and get a knife from the kitchen, but why, when I can just slip my hand in my pocket? I could just stick my finger in the envelope, I suppose, and tear it, but paper cuts are not a good way to start the day!

There are a great many uses for a small pocket knife (not pen-knife, please – no-one has needed to trim a quill pen for centuries), and I see no objection to carrying one. And consider this – if I was a pipe-smoker, part of my kit would be a sharp-bladed knife with which to scrape carbon from my pipe, and as well as a blade, it would have a spike, for poking out blockages. Just as potentially lethal as my little knife, but no-one is pillorying pipe smokers (and let’s face it, they deserve persecution just for being pipe smokers!). Likewise anglers – especially sea and game anglers – routinely travel with a knife in their kit, possibly even in a pocket, and sometimes by public transport, which makes them automatically criminals. Does any of this make any sense to you? It sure as hell doesn’t to me. Do Boy Scouts, I wonder, still have a knife as part of their kit and, as they’re teenagers (shock, horror!), are they going to become the focus of unwarranted police attention some time soon? (Sorry – no pun intended!)

Carrying a knife is not prima facie evidence of intention to commit a crime – it’s not evidence of anything other, than, perhaps, the intention to clean my fingernails at some point, and it’s high time the people of this country focused on matters like this, which could potentially lead to the undermining of all our civil liberties if extended into other areas – who knows where it will stop? We could wind up with a police state, in which the government has to approve our every activity, and no-one is allowed to deviate from the Daily Mail-approved norm.

We’re not too bloody far from that now, in some areas of life. You can’t even enjoy a drink without posters and beer mats – even bottle labels – preaching at you to drink responsibly and, whatever you do, don’t you dare enjoy yourself! And why do you think cannabis has recently been upgraded? Yep – to pacify the Daily Mail, as many commentators mentioned at the time. Watch your backs, people, it could be your turn next…

Incapacity Benefit – the lies…

Sicknote culture costs risen to £16bn a year … but two-thirds of claimants ARE able to work screamed the headline in the Daily Mail and, as so often with the Mail, it’s complete bullshit.

The scumbag Mail hack, Steve Doughty, goes on to say “Many claim to suffer from mental or behavioural disorders, in other words, stress,”. Lumping the entire spectrum of mental illness together and just calling it stress is an opinion so crass that the only sensible response would be a bloody good kicking, with a swift prayer to whatever gods there may be that Doughty succumbs to a hugely disabling mental illness as soon as possible, and that everyone he goes whining to tells him to bugger off, it’s just stress!

There is, it seems, a great deal of paranoia over the fact that many Incapacity Benefit claimants are 35 or under, as if there’s some magic cut-off age, below which you can’t possibly be disablingly ill. Complete bollocks, of course. When I left school, having been seriously ill since the age of 2, and missed about a third of my schooling (though I still did moderately well academically – well, as well as you could do in a secondary school in 1959), I was told by my doctor, that I must never work, as the risks of infection were too great, but if I felt I had to, I must never work in the winter. Advice, almost 50 years on, I wish I had taken. So you see, age is no bar to disability – just ask all the disabled children.

I started work the day after I left school – no gap years in those days, folks, we had to get out and earn a living – and worked until I became unable to continue, in my forties, during which time I lost almost every job I ever had through excessive sick leave. I have no compunction at all about claiming Incapacity Benefit (or DLA), though I have to say that the attractions of poverty are minimal. Luckily, I have a frugal lifestyle, or I’d not be able to afford luxuries like food, or clothes! Seriously, I do live frugally – if I had three meals a day, instead of just one, I’d really feel the pinch.

For the record, Incapacity Benefit amounts to approximately £4,500 per year, with minor variations depending on previous earnings. With DLA it comes in at something over £7,000 a year, depending on the rates of DLA claimed (compared to a minimum wage annual rate of around £11,500). This is, by any definition, poverty, yet we’re asked to believe that people in their many thousands are fraudulently claiming this when they could be working (I could, perhaps, more readily believe it if the claim was that they were working as well, but it’s not).

Before you start screaming that the minimum wage isn’t a fair comparison, bear in mind that income tax would be minimal – in fact there may well be tax credits – so I think it’s fair enough. After all, we all have the same outgoings – in fact, the disabled, being in many cases housebound, will have higher heating and lighting costs as they’re not out at work all day. So if the constant cry that the minimum wage isn’t high enough is credible – and it is – what does that say for benefit rates?

Here’s something that’ll wind up Daily Mail fruitcakes – readers and writers – I get free prescriptions. If I didn’t the bill would be £1,363.20 per year minimum. No doubt pillocks like Doughty would far rather I footed the bill myself, but at least getting older has some benefits. Mind you, that’s been a bone of contention most of my life. I have a life-threatening illness** that, without constant medication, would very likely kill me, yet like very many people in my position, until I turned 60 I couldn’t get free prescriptions. I could if I had one of a wide variety of unpleasant, painful but not necessarily life-threatening conditions, but not for one that at best could drastically shorten my life, and at worst could kill me at any time (if I live to draw my pension I’ll take that as a win – 2 years to go, watch this space!). That was, and continues to be, completely unacceptable.

Ah well, I seem to have wandered off the point, but those things are relevant to the chronically sick and disabled. But to get back to the alleged fraud, and the scale of it, which in my view is minuscule – we’ve been here before, with DLA some years ago, and many thousands of sick and disabled people had their lives blighted by Benefits Agency storm troopers, to find just a few “frauds”, and many of them were overturned on appeal. The level of benefits fraud claimed by wankers at the Daily Mail, and by failing politicians, eager to drum up the support of the more rabid sectors of their electorates (yes, you, Gordon, ya great gowk), just isn’t there.

There’s a very simple check – compare benefit records with tax and national insurance records. If many thousands of people are working and claiming, a lot will turn up in that search. Has that ever been done? To the best of my knowledge, no. On the other hand, maybe it has been done, and so few fraudsters were caught, just as with DLA, that it was hushed up as embarrassing and, of course, contradicting government propaganda (Goebbels would have loved these fuckers!).

So here’s a challenge for the Daily Mail – instead of publishing lies, distortions, and prejudice, SHOW US THE EVIDENCE! Or – and here’s an original thought, guys – get off your fat, overpaid arses and come and talk to us, the people you fuckwits are continually demonising – we ARE real people you know, not just cyphers. The crap you publish is seriously detrimental to us as individuals, and were it addressed to an individual instead of a faceless group, would quite definitely be libellous.

** From the age of 2 I had bronchiectasis and asthma – simultaneous measles and whooping cough really did a number on my lungs (note to idiot parents; get your kids vaccinated!!) – and at 17 was told I’d be doing well to get to 40. This, now I’m older and have emphysema, is all lumped together as COPD which, despite what many people think, is not exclusive to smokers – it is exacerbated by them, though! If smoking in the workplace had been banned 40 years earlier, I’d be a lot better than I am now.