IDS – The Successful Failure!

Election time approaches and, true to form, IDS is doing his utmost to mislead and distort.  According to him, the Universal Credit scheme is working well and not only is it all going according to plan, but it is under budget too!  “You can fool some of the people …” comes to mind!

The truth is closer to IDs’ track record of failures.  Let’s face it, he is very successful at failing!

A failed military career (resigned his commission after eight years in the Army and still only a lieutenant – clearly, he was going nowhere).

A failed academic – remember his false declaration that he had a university degree?  Not merely a failed academic history (I do not know how he got on with his ‘O’ levels), but a failed fraud too.

A failed Party leader – even his own Party wanted no more of him after an embarrassingly short two years.

And, of course, an on-going failure as Secretary of State at the DWP.

Without doubt, an enviable and wide-ranging success – as a Failure!

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary.

Best place for him? – Behind bars?

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The Ageing Crisis – The Disingenuousness of Government

Self IIIaIt cannot have escaped the notice of anyone interested in or involved with the “later life agenda” that government – and the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health in particular – is bleating about the financial crisis being inflicted upon the exchequer because of the current and projected increasing costs of caring for those in later life.  (“Care” in this context meaning ensuring that older people have enough to live on – in a word, pensions, and also have the personal care and attention they need as time takes its toll and recourse has to be had to health and associated welfare support.)

The title of this posting refers to the disingenuousness of government.  I use this term because, if one reads what certain government ministers want you to start believing, this pension and care crisis is the blame of the elderly!  And, from time-to-time, one can almost read into some government or ministerial comment that they have been caught by surprise by the implications and the finanical implications of it in particular.  But one thing governments, every one of them since the 1939-45 war, cannot deny, every one of them regardless of colour, hue or tendency cannot deny is that, today, 2014, they have had over 60 years notice that this “problem” was coming!  Remember the “baby boom” and the “baby boomers”?

Every government since the war has known that this problem was backing up and, as we are now seeing, the floodgates would no longer be able to resist the pressure and they would be opened.  In short, and the disingenuousness of it all, to the extent that the government has been caught with its pants down by all of this, it is government itself which is to blame.

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April 2014 – Forum Election Results

It is said that the electorate gets the government it deserves.  We have just followed through an election process for a Vice-Chair of the Forum.  Without casting aspersions on anyone, it was disappointing to note that there was but one person who put themselves forward for this elected office.  Hence, and by default, that person was deemed elected. 

This West Midlands Later Life Forum is fortunate in that its Planning Committee (the “executive committee” of the Forum) has within it some conscientious and, by experience and knowledge, valuable and valued members.  It is to be hoped that the new “blend” within the Planning Group will continue to serve the Forum as well as it has done in the past.  It hasn’t been easy and, as has been said by one of the business management gurus, the only constant is change – there is a constantly changing background of change and flux and consequent uncertainty. 

There will be the country-wide parliamentary election coming up soon enough.  I am left to wonder at what it is we, the electorate, will deserve this time!

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Annoy a Politician – Think!

Self IVaI was amused when I first saw the bumper sticker on a car with the slogan “Annoy a politician – think!”  But, over time, I have come to learn that there is nothing which annoys politicians (MPs, local councillors) more than a failure on the part of someone to simply do as their told.  And when groups of individuals do it, then listen out for the platitudes but, far more often than not, at best the well-rehearsed excuses for a lack of action, or, more usually, nothing at all other than a resentful acknowledgment to the effect that “your voices have been heard”.

In my own words, and as I see increasingly now and certainly at a local level, Democracy Inaction!  (That used to be three words, but it is now far more usually evident as just two.)

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Iain Duncan Smith found fiddling again!

Self IIIa    For those who take note of some of the less lurid head-lines in the news (but head-lines they remain), it will not have escaped notice that IDS is at it again!  Fudging the figures, cooking the books, call it what you will, but he is at it again!  With the key word being “again”.  This is far from the first time that IDS has misrepresented his own department’s statistics.

For a more erudite examination of and explanation for the cynical reasoning as to why IDS would so blatantly misuse and abuse his own department’s statistics, have a look at

Shame on you, Mr. Secretary of State!

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Digital By Default, or …..

….. Digital in Default?

Government departments, and the DWP in particular, are attempting to move everyone associated with their departments on to computer-based communications.  All of this regardless of whether individuals have computers or, much more to the point, know how to use them.

There have been many (too many?) errors and, it has to be said, stupid assertions on a variety of matters coming from the Secretary of State to the DWP.  It is to be noted that he has kept his head well down on the latest fiasco.  Read on for the following article dated 2nd May and note how the DWP demonstrates that it has, at last, caught up with the 20th Century (but don’t hold your breath as to when it is going to dip its toe into the 21st!).

THE UK GOVERNMENT has shown it’s at the forefront of modern technology and online services with its latest form for claiming benefits online.

Those who want to claim either Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Overseas State Pension can simply visit the Gov.UK website, where they are then pointed to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) website to fill out a form online.

So far, so impressive, in that the government is allowing citizens to apply for benefits over the web, rather than having to fill out forms and send them in via the post or visit offices in person.

However, it seems that many of those claimants could fall at the first hurdle due to some rather outdated stipulations about the computer systems supported by the DWP.

“This service doesn’t work with some modern browsers and operating systems,” the DWP notes. “We are considering how best to provide this service in future. You may want to claim in another way.”

That is putting it mildly. Normally, we’d take the time to go through these system requirements and highlight only the most interesting points, but in this case we’ve decided to make an exception and post them here in their full glory, as we couldn’t word them better than the DWP.

“The service does not work properly with Macs or other Unix-based systems even though you may be able to input information.

“You are likely to have problems if you use Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 and 10, Windows Vista or a smartphone. Clearing temporary internet files may help but you may wish to claim in another way.

“There is also a high risk that if you use browsers not listed below, including Chrome, Safari or Firefox, the service will not display all the questions you need to answer. This is likely to prevent you from successfully completing or submitting the form. You may wish to claim in another way.”

And now on to the much more restricted list of what your computer needs to be running if you actually want to claim a benefit online.

“The service was designed to work with the following operating systems and browsers. Many of these are no longer available:

  • Microsoft Windows 98: Internet Explorer versions 5.0.1, 5.5 and 6.0, Netscape 7.2

  • Microsoft Windows ME: Internet Explorer version 5.5 and 6.0, Netscape 7.2

  • Microsoft Windows 2000: Internet Explorer version 5.0.1, 5.5 and 6.0, Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, Mozilla 1.7.7

  • Microsoft Windows XP: Internet Explorer 6.0, Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, Mozilla 1.7.7.”

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“Stupid is as stupid does!”

Self IIIa    By virtue of yet another example of Ministerial stupidity I am increasingly reminded of the quotation made in the film wherein I so easily identify the astonishingly ‘simple’ likeness as between Iain Duncan-Smith and Forrest Gump:  “Stupid is as stupid does!”

As those who have followed his most recent display of failing to engage his brain before he speaks, IDS has declared the half-a-million on-line petition for him to, literally, eat his own words by actually living on what he says is adequate for people to live on as a “stunt”.

Go on, IDS, prove the “stunt” wrong!  You made the claim, now live up to it.  But, so as to make it entirely fair, and honest, and real, do it for at least eight consecutive weeks, not just a week.  Better still, if you really, really believe the nonsense you come out with, do it for at least eight consecutive weeks in mid-winter.

In short, IDS, Practice what you preach!

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