Why benefit sanctions are both ineffective and harmful

Govt Newspeak

Image result for dwp sanctions images *image DPAC

Introduction of the UK’s harshest ever social security sanctions regime in 2012 reinforced a dramatic upturnin sanctions. In 2012-2013 alone, ‘more people received a benefit sanction than a fine in the criminal courts’. While this ‘great sanctions drive’ is a defining feature of Conservative-led social reform, the ‘big stick’ version of welfare conditionality was not tested before its application. Here we present evidence that sanctions are harmful and ineffective in moving benefit recipients into sustainable employment.

The problem(s) with sanctions

Sanctions remove benefit income from recipients who break the rules, but ‘the rules’ can lack legitimacy. For example, in the case of jobseekers, vacancies might simply not exist in local labour markets or there may good cause for non-compliance, including illness. At the same time, sanctions can be ambiguous and vary according to work coach discretion or interpretation. Penalties also tend to outweigh the ‘crimes’, such as…

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Third of UK’s universal credit claimants hit by deductions from payments

Govt Newspeak

Cuts to pay rent and utility bill arrears drive people into poverty, warn campaigners

A volunteer prepares parcels at a food bank as demand soars.

One in three people on the government’s new welfare system are having their payments cut to cover debts, the Observer can reveal.

In a sign of the troubling levels of indebtedness affecting some of the most impoverished communities, official figures show that hundreds of thousands of universal credit payments are being subject to deductions used to pay back arrears in rent, council tax and utility bills.

Charities and campaigners warned that the deductions were driving people into poverty. Frank Field, the Labour chair of the Commons welfare select committee, said they were “fast becoming a main supply route to food banks”.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions under the Freedom of Information Act show that in May this year, 316,100 universal credit claims had deductions imposed on them by the government for reasons other than…

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A police federation chair fails to mention local spycop when celebrating takedown of Lush posters


Liz Groom, Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair, tweeted her approval after the Lush shop in Peterborough took down its spycops display. But Groom failed to mention in her tweets that a previous representative of the same federation was spycop (undercover police officer), Andy Coles.

To read more on this, click here.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has published a statement on the spycops scandal, signmed by 74 victims:

“We are victims of what has become known as the “spycops” operation, and their legal representatives and supporters. In many of these secret undercover operations the police have admitted to violation of human rights, abuse of police powers and causing significant trauma, including inhuman and degrading treatment breaching article 3 of the European convention of human rights.

We are pressing for the current public inquiry into undercover policing to ensure that there is full disclosure of what took place, including who was targeted, by whom and…

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Fear the Machine: EM Forster’s “The Machine Stops”


I read “The Machine Stops” as part of a school text.  It seemed very futuristic at the time – in the sixties decades before the internet.  Now is seems a very close description of present day interaction on the internet, and growing dependence on computers in every aspect of our lives.  From this point of view, scarily prophetic.

The BBC did an excellent dramatisation.


via Fear the Machine: EM Forster’s “The Machine Stops”

Crunching The Numbers On Mortality

Tales from the Conspiratum

One of the key traits that make human beings unique on planet Earth is that we’re aware of our own mortality.

But, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley notes, scientific advances have given us insight into which behaviors may prolong life, and which activities carry the greatest risk of death. Naturally, there have been some unique attempts to create a unified structure around risk and benefit, and to quantify every aspect of the human lifespan.

As today’s graphic from TitleMax demonstrates, even when we’re thinking about death, the human desire to codify the world around us is alive and well.

Courtesy of: Visual Captitalist


Certain events – such as a parachute failing to open or being hit by a meteor – have an easily quantifiable effect on life, but how do we measure the riskiness of day-to-day habits and situations?

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“The Flu” and “Microwave Sickness” Share Many of the Same Symptoms

Tales from the Conspiratum

Germs May Be Everywhere But So Are WiFi and Other Sources of Electrical Pollution (Electrosmog). 

There’s a whole lot of sickness going on right now.  The media is reporting that much of this is due to “The Flu.”

“Microwave Sickness” and “The Flu” actually share many of the same symptoms.

Doctors introduced the term “Microwave Sickness” in the 1950s.  It is caused by exposure to WiFi and other sources of Electrical Pollution which is also referred to “Electrosmog.”

What most refer to as “WiFi” is “Wireless Frequency” which is actually Wireless Radiation.  WiFi is produced by Microwave Frequency which is actually Microwave Radiation – like what cooks food in a microwave oven.  This is also sometimes referred to as RadioFrequency Radiation or RF.

Many medical professionals aren’t aware that as many as 1/3 of the population is “sensitive” to some degree

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