Archive for category Not science at all
Even better, take the rest of your working life off.
Well, this is going to go well.
New figures show that under Labour the state was happy to pay your way, no questions asked.
Those claiming Disability Living Allowance soared from 2.1million in 2000 to 3.1million last year. The annual cost is now £12billion.
So, 3.1 million have “taken the rest of their working lives off” on Disability Living Allowance, and the state is “paying their way”? Well, no.
Disability Living Allowance is a supplementary payment, given to people with disabilities, which helps cover their care and mobility costs – in The Sun‘s case, they seem to be talking solely about the part of the DLA that covers care, since that’s where the 3.1 million figure comes from. There are different levels of DLA, depending on how severe the disability is, but even in the most severe case – someone who requires 24 hour care – the recipient would only get £73.60 a week, or about £3,800 a year, and on average, people only receive about £46.30 a week, or £2,400 a year (and 500,000 of that 3.1 million get nothing at all). No-one has “taken the rest of their working lives off” to live on £2,400 a year.
Incidentally, that part about the annual cost being £12 billion does seem to be including the cost of mobility allowance as well – the cost of the care part of the DLA is only £6.4 billion a year. It sounds like a lot, but like I say, it only actually works out at about £46 per person per week – not very much at all when you think about the cost of a private carer, or the earnings lost by a friend or family member who takes time off work to provide care.
Clearly The Sun must realise this – they complain that “Many of those handed up to £73.60 a week are laid low with ailments such as “alcohol abuse” or allergies“, clearly hoping that we won’t realise that £73.60 is not all that much money. There maybe people on DLA because of alcohol abuse or allergies, but in that case, it will be because their condition is so serious that they need part-or-full-time care. To qualify for even the lowest rate, you need to be either physically unable to cook for yourself or require care for part of the day. That’s more than just “someone who cannot get out of bed because their hangover is so bad“.
The Sun also says that “The vast majority of claimants have never been medically assessed“, which also isn’t true. Most people aren’t assessed by the Department of Work and Pensions, true, but in order to qualify for DLA, you need to have been diagnosed by your doctor. Everyone who is on DLA was assessed by their doctor.
Now at last the Government plans to order regular assessments to weed out the workshy.
It should make the economy look healthier by a few billion pounds a year.
That’s something not to be sneezed at.
Unpaid carers are worth about £87 billion to the economy per year, by reducing the strain on the NHS. Making it even harder for them is hardly going to make the economy any healthier.
Edit: The Express’s coverage is more or less the same, but with TPA quotes and the added bonus that they express incredulity that people with back pain might have trouble moving around. WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT?
(The Sun discards its “Sun Says” columns each day. I’ve preserved this one beneath the fold)
In the Telegraph today: “Sesame Street and Friends ‘pumping out left wing messages’“
Oh man, what horrible, depraved messages was Sesame Street pumping out?
One of the founders of Sesame Street told [Ben Shapiro] that the show had sought to address how conflict could be resolved peacefully after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
OH MY GOD. A CHILDREN’S SHOW TELLING CHILDREN TO SETTLE CONFLICTS PEACEFULLY INSTEAD OF BEATING EACH OTHER UP? THAT COULD ONLY BE LEFT WING BIAS.
Insiders also told him that the Korean War medical comedy MASH promoted pacifism
(There is one other substantive claim of left-wing bias – that Sesame Street once parodied Fox News as “Pox News”, and described it as “trashy”, except that the actual context of the scene was that it was a parody of CNN – the “all grouchy, all disgustin’, all yucky” Grouch News Network – starring the dustbin dwelling Grouch. Surely that’s anti-CNN bias as much as anti-Fox bias? And no, they never explain the left wing bias in Friends)
Oh look, the front page of the Express has a ludicrous EU scare story! What are the odds?
BRUSSELS will attempt to “rig” any referendum asking the British people if they want to quit the EU, it emerged last night.
It would unleash a multi-million pound pro-Europe propaganda campaign – and get UK taxpayers to pick up the bill.
Except it’s not actually Brussels “rigging” anything, as the article explains later:
Up to now, MEPs have been allowed to use the funds only to campaign in elections for the European Parliament.
But in future they will be able to spend the cash campaigning where a referendum has a “direct link” to an EU issue – such as on UK membership.
So in other words, while pro-EU parties will be allowed to use EU support to campaign on the issue, anti-EU parties – EUDemocrats, for instance, who campaigned in Ireland against the Lisbon Treaty – would likewise be able to use the same funds to campaign as well. It’s not Brussels co-ordinating these campaigns either – it’s a matter for the individual European political parties representatives in each country.
(Edit: Zelo Street points out that this just a proposal taken from a draft report – there have been no changes to party funding, so this story is doubly ludicrous.)
Still, it’s funny that the Express considers running “propaganda” about Europe to be “vote rigging”.
Is this an example of vote rigging, Daily Express?
I could go on… so I will.
Since the Daily Express clearly feels so strongly about any attempt to rig a referendum using biased or blatantly untrue propaganda, I wonder how long it will be before they furiously denounce the articles linked above.
Any second now…
Edit: This post originally claimed that UKIP would be eligible for funding, but although they are members of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, they are not members of a pan-European party at present, which would be required before they could be funded.
The Daily Express stepped up its crusade for the UK to cut ties with Brussels by calling for the planned referendum on electoral reform to be turned into a historic vote on EU membership.
Leading MPs and campaigners backed the move. Tory MP Peter Bone, of the Better Off Out group, said: “This is a splendid idea by the Daily Express. It makes absolute sense.”
“A splendid idea that makes absolute sense”, except that it is impossible. The wording of the referendum question is set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act, which received Royal Assent on the 16th of February. There has to be a minimum of 10 weeks between the bill passing and the day of the referendum, so the Electoral Commission can decide which groups officially represent each side of the debate; if the question was changed or a new question was added, you’d need an amendment or a new bill to change the questions on the paper and that would reset the clock – especially since in this case, the Electoral Commission would suddenly be tasked with not only registering all pro-AV and anti-AV groups, but also pro-EU and anti-EU groups as well.
We’re now way closer to May 5th than 10 weeks; even if Parliament could somehow draft, debate and pass a European Referendum Bill in one night (and it would have to be Parliament – David Cameron doesn’t have any magical amendment powers here), the new question would need another 10 week waiting period. It simply could not be done any sooner.
Conservative MPs Peter Bone and Philip Davies, Labour MP Kate Hoey and UKIP MEP Nigel Farage all put their weight behind this idea even though all of them must know it wouldn’t be possible;* after all, the media made so much of the 10 week deadline that it would be impossible to be oblivious. Still, I’m sure they must have had important reasons to support something that would be illegal (trying to change a referendum question less than 10 weeks beforehand), unconstitutional (David Cameron pushing the amendment without support from either House) and impractical (writing, reading, debating, reporting on and passing a bill on an issue as critically important and controversial as the European Union in a matter of weeks) besides an excuse to get their names in the paper next to a burning European flag…
* Incidentally, at the time when it was possible – though still massively impractical – to put this question into the bill, none of the MPs proposed putting a question like this into the referendum. Funny, that.
A few weeks ago, the Daily Star ran a fairly shameful piece which claimed that “Thousands of illegal immigrants will flee riot-torn Egypt and flood to Britain, the leader of Nato has warned” even though the Nato Secretary-General had been talking about what may happen to the whole of the EU (not Britain in particular) if unrest in North Africa damaged the Middle East peace process. Tabloid Watch has a very good takedown of that story.
Anyway, today its stablemate the Daily Express has a very similar piece, this time about the situation in Libya: UN tells Britain to open its doors to refugees.
BRITAIN faces a wave of migrants from Libya after a demand from the UN yesterday that Europe opens its borders to refugees.
The article appears to be based to be based on an interview with Baroness Amos, who leads the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, on the Today programme yesterday. As quoted by the Express, she said:
“In asking for the borders of neighbouring countries like Tunisia and Egypt to stay open, it is important that EU borders also stay open.
“I know the EU countries are going through a difficult financial time but they are still much better off than people who are fleeing a violent and difficult situation in Libya.
“We will continue to ask the EU and neighbouring countries to keep their borders open.”
This is a less a “demand” and a more a very politely worded “If you wouldn’t mind…“; the European Union’s borders are already open to refugees fleeing Libya, and have been since the start. More importantly, she doesn’t mention Britain once. Nothing here supports the Express‘s claim that a “wave” of Libyan migrants is heading that way – it would after all be very difficult for anyone displaced by the fighting (almost certainly without access to much money) to, at short notice in a country with virtually no infrastructure, travel all the way from Libya to Britain, when there are other countries much nearer – not just Tunisia and Egypt but Italy and Spain as well.
Indeed, the question she was answering makes it clear that this isn’t about Britain at all, it’s about Mediterranean countries who actually would expect to receive some refugees from the conflict:
What about the role of the European Union, both in the short and in the longer term? If there’s going to be a large number of people who are displaced and who are very close to the European Union’s southern border, it does sort of raise a whole set of new questions, doesn’t it, over the way in which the EU deals with people who are often very desperate and trying to get into the EU?
Unless the UK has suddenly become part of Europe’s southern border, none of this has anything to do with migration to Britain. The Daily Express has co-opted an ongoing human rights crisis and turned it into yet another immigration scare story. Even the Daily Mail, not normally known for its balanced coverage of stories about refugees and asylum, has managed to be reasonable about the situation in Libya.
Sure enough, while the Mail has a mixture of comments both sympathetic and unsympathetic to the refugees, only one comment on the Express‘s article doesn’t demand that we “SEND EM ALL BACK”* – and that comment is just pointing out that the UN asked, it didn’t demand. The other comments look like this:
I’d like to tell the UN where they can stick this proposal – and it wouldn’t be anywhere pleasant. Libya & its people are not our problem; we have a shortage of decent jobs & affordable housing for our own people, so letting in yet more foreigners is preposterous. These people need to stay in Libya & weather the storm.
If this does happen,people we must act not just chat on paper sites.This country is dieing and cameron is no doctor.More mouths more human rights to pander to and more death on our streets.The world can go stuff itself my england has had a running sore since labour got into power,IMMIGRANTS.Increase foreign aid dave,well his big society must refer to the big foreign society that darkens our shores.Their will be blood,I really hope the bnp in power sends them all packing,I’ll be there waving them a good british clear off.Two fingers optional.
NOW IS THE TIME TO TELL THESE MIGRANT WORKERS TO GO BACK TO THEIR OWN COUNTRIES. WE IN THE UK ARE FED UP OF BEING DUMPED ON BY THE REST OF THE WORLD AND ESPECIALLY THE EU.
THE ROMANS HAD A GREAT IDEA A CENSUS MAKING ALL IT’S PEOPLE GO BACK TO THEIR PLACE OF BIRTH SOMETHING THAT LEADING POLITCIANS SHOULD THINK ABOUT FOR TODAYS SOCIETY.
Oh joy. Why is it always us that get told what to do regarding refugees? We already have 1.5 million from labors criminal actions plus a further 1 million illegals. The vast majority of these are Muslim and the chances are that Libyan, Egyptian and Tunisian are Muslim as well. We can no longer support the huge number of migrants that want to come here and seriously put the religious balance at risk. I have a suggestion for the UN. Get Russia to take them. I would think that if the immigrants were not going to Western Europe but to some place out on the Steppes they might prefer to stay where they are and rebuild their country.
I’m sure that has nothing to do with the misleading headline, which seems carefully calculated to rile people up, right?
* There’s one other comment that’s sort of sympathetic, but, err…
However, refugees are refugees – not ‘asylum seekers, potential residents, parasites on society or disruptive elements'; they should be treated as guests and behave as such.
Moreover, while guests in a country they should be looking to return home as soon as possible – and if the international community deems that their home country is run by an ‘oppressive regime’ then these refugees sould be armed, trained and sent back to their home countries as the spearhead of a UN force to liberate their kinsmen.
That would definitely prevent the situation escalating into civil war, right? Right?
Inspired by my last post, I’ve decided to have a quick look at the Express‘s TV review archive.
Channel 5 was bought by Richard Desmond, owner of Express Newspapers, on 23 July 2010.
So far this year, a Channel 5 show has been a “Pick of the Day” 38 times (warning: all links are direct to the Express site)
- Law and Order, 18th Feb
- OK! TV, 17th Feb
- Starlight: For the Children, 16th Feb
- Stansted: The Inside Story, 15th Feb
- OK! TV, 14th Feb
- Law and Order, 11th Feb
- Julius Caesar: Rome Unwrapped, 10th Feb
- NCIS, 9th Feb
- Stansted: The Inside Story, 8th Feb
- The Vanessa Show, 7th Feb
- Royal Navy Caribbean Patrol, 7th Feb
- Ice Road Truckers, 4th Feb
- Secrets of the Vanishing Sphinx, 3rd Feb
- The Punisher, 3rd Feb
- NCIS, 2nd Feb
- CSI, 1st Feb
- Home and Away, 31st Jan
- Britain’s Secret Schindler: Revealed, 27th Jan
- Justin Lee Collins: Turning Japanese, 27th Jan
- Cowboy Builders, 26th Jan
- CSI, 25th Jan
- Neighbours, 24th Jan
- Secrets of the Blitz: Revealed, 20th Jan
- Cowboy Builders, 19th Jan
- CSI, 18th Jan
- The Wright Stuff/The Vanessa Show, 17th Jan (two separate shows both on Channel 5)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The True Story, 14th Jan
- Ripped from the Cockpit: BA Flight of Terror, 13th Jan
- Neighbours, 12th Jan
- Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Story, 11th Jan
- CSI/Taggart, 11th Jan (CSI is on Channel 5, Taggart is on ITV)
- The Vanessa Show, 10th Jan
- How Do They Do It?, 10th Jan
- Titanic: The True Story, 7th Jan
- Highland Emergency, 5th Jan
- Rhino In My House, 5th Jan
- How Do They Do It?, 4th Jan
- Goering’s Last Secret Revealed, 4th Jan
There have been 35 weekdays so far this year. On average, that means a Channel 5 show is a pick of the day slightly more than once a day – 1.09 times per day to be precise.
Over this time last year, a Channel 5 show (back then, the channel was called “FIVE”) was a pick of the day 3 times:
That works out at roughly one pick every twelve days, or 0.085 picks per day.
CSI and Law and Order were both on FIVE at the time, but funnily enough, neither of them were mentioned at all over this period. CSI was hardly ever an Express pick of the day before the takeover – from the looks of it, it got four mentions between 2007 and 2009, or about twice a year. Since October 2010, however, it’s been pick of the day 10 times in just 16 weeks.
I know it’s hardly surprising that the Express and Channel 5 are a bit chummy, but that doesn’t make it any less of a shock when you see it in terms of raw numbers.
Edit: Thanks to Lazer Guided Melody in the comments for pointing out that the statistics need more context. Here’s a very quick count of the number of recommendations over the same period for each of the major channels:
BBC1: This year, 25. Last year, 48
BBC2: This year, 21. Last year, 13
ITV1: This year, 31. Last year, 42
Channel 4: This year, 8. Last year, 37
Channel 5: This year, 38. Last year, 3
From last week, the BBC’s iPlayer service has been linked to various other online video services, so it acts as a catalogue of all the British TV programmes available online, regardless of whether or not they were broadcast on the BBC. All the terrestrial channels have joined, as well as MSN Video and Seesaw, so there are loads of content providers involved. All in all, this isn’t really very exciting. The shows are still hosted on the websites of the channels in question – 4od, ITV Player, Demand5 and so on – the BBC just offers links to them.
How does the Express cover this; an almost total non-story, involving all the TV channels?
CHANNEL 5 AVAILABLE ON IPLAYER of course!
At time of writing, this was higher on the Express website than “4,000 women are victims of rogue cancer causing gene”, “David Cameron under pressure to defy Europe on human rights” and “Bahrain protesters shot as ‘day of rage’ sweeps region”.
Partner abuse. It’s often a difficult topic to discuss, and the countless factors involved – from victims defending their abusers, to the devastating affect it can have on the children of the families – mean you often have to handle it with utmost sensitivity. Unless you’re the Mail that is!
The Supreme Court ruled that women whose partners shout at them persistently can claim they are effectively ‘homeless’ – and will be entitled to a council house.
In a test case, the judges ruled that Mirhmet Yemshaw was the victim of ‘violence’ at the hands of her husband even though she was never physically attacked.
Her local authority had earlier ruled that she was at low risk of being physically attacked by her partner.
The decision could have wide-ranging implications for councils across the country.
If a couple split and the ‘abused’ partner is shouted at they will potentially be entitled to be handed a new home by their local authority.
First of all, the law in question is gender neutral on this issue – men who are the victims of abuse have exactly the same rights as women to receive council accommodation if they are made homeless.
But look at the Mail‘s wording, and how it uses scare quotes. Yemshaw wasn’t homeless, she was ‘homeless’. She wasn’t a victim of violence, she was a victim of ‘violence’. She wasn’t abused, she was ‘abused’. Time and time again, it’s almost as if the Mail is trying to downplay the abuse, not least by repeatedly characterising this abuse as just “being shouted at”.
Of course, the Mail‘s readers – obsessed as they are with council houses and the people who may or may not deserve them – have picked up on the dog-whistles and run with them, apparently oblivious of the difference between a loveless relationship and an abusive one.
What a joke … This can’t be right ! A horrible nagging mad cow ex-wife used to shout at me all the time. How come she ended up with the house , the contents and most of my wages then? Maybe I should have shouted at her and she could have been given a council house instead.
There’s a lot of “What about the men?” comments too – understandable given that the Mail hints (falsely) that this the law benefits women at the expense of men (and yes, for you concern trolls out there, it also applies to gay couples) – and even more comments from readers who think that the housing system is clogged with women pretending to be abused for a free council house:
Saves going to all that trouble of having a baby, just move in with some poor mug for five minutes then start crying that ‘he shouted at me’ and bingo. Next ruling will probably make the man responsible for paying the rent/bills/council tax. The government have been treating grown people like babies for the last 13 years so I’m not surprised that vast swathes of the population now act like babies. Victim culture is a pathetic selfish ideology that might seem OK to the ‘protected groups’ that can claim compensation for anything but it’s going to end in tears one day
So if you want another house just go down to the local council office and tell your husband / partner has shouted at you. Do these judges live in the real world?
Women who are shouted at by partners should be entitled to council property? Well, Mugs UK, you’d better start building a great deal more council property. I see another clever little scam looming.
SHOUT AT ME!! I WANT A COUNCIL HOUSE!! I never realised it was that easy.
Of course, none of them can say why this system would be any more open to abuse than the current system, or why the risk that some people might try to take advantage of the system automatically means no-one should receive its protection.
Those comments all had dozens of green arrows, by the way, though that’s not to say every top-rated comment is dreadful. I’ll leave you with this comment, from Nina, Suffolk, which has 94 upvotes at time of writing.
A friend of mine recently finally left her husband after suffering years of aggression from him. He never actually hit her but threw things which narrowly missed her making holes in the wall, hit walls & doors with his fists, screamed at her in the steet on a daily basis, screamed at her at home on a several times a day basis, screamed at their friends who dared to point out that his behaviour was unreasonable and never once was prepared to take responsibility for his anger and tried to blame her. When she asked for examples of what she did that upset him so much, he couldn’t give an answer. But it was still all her fault, not his. Thankfully she had her family to go back to in the end but a lot of women aren’t that lucky. What kind of a society do we live in if a woman (or a man) has to actually be physically attacked before they can get help? Surely helping them get out before that happens is better?
Edit: Natalie Dzerins points out that overnight, the Mail has managed to make that headline even worse. How?
Sunday has always been a slow day for newspapers, hence the venerable old tradition of the Sunday document leak. The newspapers find a few fairly uninteresting reports, blow them out of all proportion, and voilà! Instant front page (picture via @JonathanHaynes).
Today’s Mail on Sunday exclusive, which took the joint efforts of both Jonathan Petre and Chris Hastings to write, can be summed up by its over-long headline:
Gays on hovercraft? Chinese fishermen? How mad!
The gist of the article is simple enough: the Mail claims that because of the Equality Act 2010, the government has wasted taxpayers money on “bizarre reports” – supposedly to the tune of £30 million. But how “mad” are these reports, anyway? Let’s go through each of the documents the Mail calls “bizarre” and see.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) paid £100,000 to consultants who produced a report investigating how efforts to boost Britain’s coastal fish stocks would affect minority communities including the Chinese, homosexuals and Welsh speakers.
That refers to this document: Draft UK Marine Policy Statement: Equalities Impact Assessment Screening report. The only time Chinese people, gay people and Welsh speakers are mentioned is once in a piece of boilerplate listing various groups that live in Britain (and yes, that includes white people and men) and asking whether any of them might be affected, with the answer of course being “No”. According to the Mail, “the assessment was a ‘small part’ of the total work by Hyder Consulting, for which it was paid £111,477,” though that doesn’t stop them insinuating that every single penny of that hundred grand was spend ticking one checklist.
The Department for Transport issued a study this month looking at harassment and discrimination on ships and hovercraft. The report covered a range of groups, including transsexuals.
So it’s ships and hovercraft? Why are you just focusing on hovercraft then, Mail on Sunday? Oh wait, it’s because hovercraft are inherently silly, which means homophobic or transphobic abuse on board them is also silly!
The study itself mostly seems to be dealing with clarifying whether the Equality Act should apply to all British flagged vessels, whether it should apply to all vessels in British waters, that sort of thing. A bit of space is also dedicated to making sure disabled people have access to ships – as you can imagine, ships are often not very wheelchair friendly. Transgender people are only mentioned once, in some standard boilerplate, which, again, is just saying “We foresee no special problems for transgender people using ships, no further action is necessary.“
Officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport [carried] out a so-called ‘equality impact assessment’ to ensure minority groups are able to take a full part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next summer.
This seems to be based on a piece that the Mail got caught plagiarising from a blog last month (the report itself is not out yet). Not sure why that’s meant to be bizarre. After all, The Mail‘s always going on about how immigrants should integrate with British society more. You’d think they’d love the idea!