Archives For racism

1) Inside Whitehall: Iain Duncan Smith must go

The Major Project’s Authority (MPA), designed to oversee implementations of public services and schemes, released it’s second annual report last week. In it, contained the failures and successes of government flagship schemes such as HS2 and Universal Credit.

The schemes are graded on a green, amber, red rating. But Universal Credit, had been given a “meaningless” ‘reset’ rating. A lie.

The Universal Credit scheme had been given a red rating by the MPA but this had been changed due to protestations from Minister for Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, and his DWP department.

IDS has shown himself to be incapable of overseeing this scheme time and time again, with losses in the millions written off and damaging staff surveys revealing poor management, high stress and frustration. One member of staff said the work was “soul-destroying.”

Iain Duncan Smith Image: The Guardian

Iain Duncan Smith Image: The Guardian

The MPA’s red rating deems the scheme “unachievable within reasonable timescales and to a reasonable budget without urgent remedial action.” IDS’s attempts to manipulate the outcome and public fallout by falsifying the rating portrays the ignorance which Whitehall uses to gloss over huge failures.

Apparently, David Cameron considered replacing IDS at the last re-shuffle of government, and this is more likely now. It cannot come a minute too soon, because for the rest of us, IDS’s record of failures and abuse of power without consequence, has long since moved past disbelief into outright despair.

Read more about this story here.

See a timeline of how the problems emerged here.

2) Racism on the rise in UK, increasing social division and placing more people at risk of poverty, warns JRF


Racism has increased since the start of the millennium with 30% of people admitting they at least a little prejudice towards people from other races. No prizes for guessing how this issue has been exacerbated by political discourse recently. But, the JRF warn that this means something far more damaging for our society:

“Over the last two years JRF has funded seven projects that have explored how poverty and ethnicity are linked. They found that racial prejudice can restrict people’s opportunities at work and their earning potential, cut their access to essential services and can affect children’s education, all of which increase the risk of poverty.”

“Racism was not something we asked the researchers to focus on. But it emerged as a key theme from every single study. We found that:

  • “Racism, and the fear of it, restricts access to social networks, preventing people from making links which could lead to jobs, support for small businesses, training and other opportunities.
  • “It can prevent people from being promoted at work, wasting their skills and potential.
  • “In some parts of the UK it leads to people from ethnic minority backgrounds being directed into work for which they are greatly overqualified.
  • “It intimidates people from leaving their own area to look for work or access services.
  • “It underlies some concerns that people from certain ethnic minority backgrounds have about using childcare or formal care for older people.
  • “Children’s education is affected by low expectations among teachers and by racist bullying.
  • “Access to vital services, such as primary healthcare, is affected by experiences of racism, particularly from frontline staff such as receptionists.”

Read more about this story here.

3) Council Tax Arrears now most common debt problem for Citizens Advice

Council tax arrears have become the most common debt problem for families needing help due to welfare reforms and changes in support, Citizens Advice announced on Monday.

The charity have dealt with 27,000 people needing help with council tax in the first three months of this year, up 17% on last year.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

Citizens Advice said that the increase had come since the abolition of help with council tax in April 2013, with new rules introduced relying on councils to offer help. There are varying degrees of support from council to council but 244 out of 325 in England now require all working-age households to make some contribution. Council tax has now overtaken credit cards and loans as the number one debt problem for those seeking advice.

“Of those contacting the charity about council tax arrears, 42% were employed and 28% unemployed. The rest were full-time carers, or similar.”

Read more about this story here.

4) Labour will not undo unpopular coalition cuts

Shadow chief secretary to the treasury, Chris Leslie announced on Friday that Labour ‘could not afford’ to undo unpopular coalition cuts. Sorry to say but you will get more of the same from a Labour government, who undoubtedly released this news to prove they are ‘responsible’ with money. We would prefer if they were just as focused on being responsible with people’s lives too.

‘I’m not heading into this expecting popularity. Quite the opposite. All government departments in the next Labour Government will have to face fundamental questions as never before. We won’t be able to undo the cuts that have been felt in recent years. And I know that this will be disappointing for many people. A more limited pot of money will have to be spent on a smaller number of priorities. Lower priorities will get less.’


by Kam Sandhu @KamBass


1. Iain Duncan Smith used false statistics to justify benefit cuts



Following a complaint from the charity Parkinson’s UK, the official statistics watchdog has revealed that the DWP repeatedly used false disability statistics to justify welfare changes and cuts.

The DWP and it’s spokespeople repeatedly claimed that the majority of those on DLA (Disability Living Allowance) were give benefits for life without supporting medical evidence. But the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) has revealed that only 10% of those passed for life support had no supporting medical evidence.

“The DWP also claimed that “under the current system of DLA, 71% of claimants get indefinite awards without systematic reassessments. However the UKSA found that in the last two years of the DLA, just 23% and 24% of claimants were given indefinite awards.

…..Last year Duncan Smith claimed that 8000 people who had been affected by the benefits cap had moved back into work. The UKSA found that this figure was “unsupported by the official statistics.”

Parkinson’s UK policy advisor Donna O’Brien said:

“The Department of Work and Pensions has a long track record of misusing statistics when it comes to the benefits system, and it’s clear this was a tactic to vindicate further welfare cuts.”

 Read more about this story here.

2. Farage’s excruciating LBC interview forces him and the public to face his hypocrisy, finally

Farage faced a difficult interview when he agreed to appear on James O’Brien’s LBC radio show which resulted in UKIP’s communications director intervening to stop the interview.

O’Brien questioned Farage on racism and discrimination, highlighting that Farage’s attitude and comments were discriminatory against his own wife and children who are German.

Well done James O’Brien. Just a shame it took so long for this sort of questioning on UKIP policies and rhetoric to happen.

Watch the full interview here.


3. Universal Credit could lead to increase in error and fraud, warns Work and Pensions Committee

The government has stated that the IT system IRIS (Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service) will be used to perform safeguards against fraud throughout Universal Credit, as it does with housing benefit now. However, there are now problems with how the system will run, and access the necessary data – which could mean the overhaul of the system and a design of a new one which could put the system back, and increase fraud and error in the meantime.

Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, Dame Anne Begg MP, said:

“Through the use of RTI—real-time information on PAYE earnings—Universal Credit has the potential over the longer term to substantially reduce fraud and error in the benefits system. However, this could be seriously undermined because of the uncertainty about how DWP will administer the housing element of Universal Credit without increased risks of fraud and error.”

Read more about this story here.

4. Government quietly announces proposals to privatise child protection services

The Department for Education, under Michael Gove, has a proposal to permit the outsourcing of child protection services to companies like G4S and Serco.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

This has alarmed experts, who say “profit-making companies should not be in charge of such sensitive family matters, and warn that the introduction of the profit motive into child protection may distort the decision-making process.”

Professor Ellen Munro, who was commissioned by Gove in 2011 to carry out a review into child protection services, said:

“……establishing a market in child protection would create perverse incentives for private companies to either take more children into care or leave too many languishing with dangerous families.

“It’s a bad idea,” she told the Guardian. “It’s the state’s responsibility to protect people from maltreatment. It should not be delegated to a profit-making organisation.”

Sign the petition to keep profit out of child protection here. 

Read more about this story here.

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

By Thomas Barlow

So with UKIP at nearly 40% in the polls, something the governing coalition can’t manage between them, it is probably time we started talking about them properly.

Oh what’s that, we already have?  Well, let’s offer up one of those 7 point digests that BuzzFeed love so much, and pretend we’re proper journos here at RealFare. Because a lot of people have been putting out what’s hot and what’s not about these ‘BNP in Blazers’ (or Purple Tories as I like to think about them), so here’s the full UKIP dossier to help you make your Euro Election choices.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

1. UKIP are the party of the super rich

Farage is an ex-banker, funded by ex-bankers, bankrupted and bailed out business men and ex-Tory toffs who think the current coalition is too kind to the poor. Farage has decided to open his own offshore account, because whilst Britain should govern itself, British people shouldn’t have to pay their taxes, at least not if they’re rich enough to hide it.

Their housing chairman makes his millions by renting to immigrants on housing benefit which is just socialism for the rich.

UKIP support TTIP – the deal which will allow corporations to sue governments and destroy public healthcare across the EU and the US amongst many other disasters.

Most importantly they planned to introduce a FLAT RATE TAX FOR EVERYONE OF 31%, that means the majority of us will pay way more tax, whilst the super rich get an awesome tax cut!

Actually the majority of their supporters support Green policies!

Which is a shame because UKIP want to tax bikes.

And double the prison population (because putting people in prison has worked so well – except for the 77% recidivism rate and the £44,000 cost per year per prisoner).

Ultimately they want to vastly increase the wealth of the rich, whilst leaving the rest of us stranded, charge for health services, unnecessarily increase the size of the army, and keep the flame of Thatcher alive.

They support big business over the rest of us – which even the BNP mock!

2. UKIP are corrupt even by government standards

Neil Hamiliton, of cash for questions fame, is deputy chair of the party. A man who would sell his Parliamentary power to the highest bidder.  This is a man so corrupt even the Tories expelled him.  Do you know how hard it is to get expelled by the Tories for corruption?!! I mean bucking the party line, or upsetting murdoch – easy, but corruption – they rally round the flag on that bad boy.

Many of the Councillors are ex Tories who have been caught in expenses fraud scandals. Lots of them.

At least two election hopefuls forged the signatures  needed to get nominated.

UKIPs former Commonwealth spokesperson created a kidnap gang.

Tom Wise, a UKIP MEP, was jailed for two years for fraud and you know rich people don’t go to jail unless they’ve done SERIOUS theft!

Another South East MEP was jailed was falsely claiming benefits – of £65,000!  And was found guilty of 21 charges of deception amongst a host of other crimes.

2 Senior MEPS used European funds (OUR TAXES) to illegally fund the party.

3. UKIP are blatant liars – or wilfully statistically inaccurate

75% of our laws are NOT made in Europe, which is a fact that has been based on a mistranslation of a youtube video, and is not substantiated anywhere by anyone.

He also suggests that European Commission makes all these laws and that they are unelected and irremovable.  They in fact do not make the majority of these laws, are elected, and are also completely removable.

The posters that suggest that immigrants are taking building jobs is also completely wrong as building companies announce labour shortages and the poster boys were both immigrants, one Irish, one Zimbabwean.

Their anti-scientific stance on Climate Change is jaw-droppingly moronic, and is ridiculed by anyone who values the idea that scientific truth comes from provable facts, not ideas you had over a pint (although admittedly the latter is more fun).

4. UKIP are a party of moronic bigots

NIGEL620_1820144aSo it is hard to list all the moronic and vicious things that UKIP members have said or done, but here are just a few.  Poster boy Andrew Lampitt made a litany of Twitter errors by publicly stating that Africans should be left to die, and that Ed Miliband was a Pole, amongst other things. Whilst a candidate in North London used the ‘send em back’ argument and applied it to Dudley’s favourite son Lenny Henry.

It is also worth noting their other poster boy is an Irish migrant to these shores, whilst a supposed potential UKIP voter in another poster is in fact their campaign manager.

Of course their donors are great fun as people as well, recently claiming that married women can’t be raped and that gay people can’t love. Oh, and that women wearing trousers is an abomination.
Add into the mix the comments on ‘bongo bongo land’, the argument that disabled people should be killed, or neutered, along with slagging off Nelson mandela and Steven Lawrence’s mother and basically a non stop peppering of homophobic, mysoginistic, racist, anti-scientific, pro climate change word turds emanating from every quarter of this knuckle dragging excuse of a party and you realise that actually all we have are a group of people who are united only by their hatred of the world and everything around them.

You can see why the founder left and has labelled them ‘morally dodgy’. And ex-members have accused Nigel Farage of everything from ‘Stalinist tendencies’, to racism, anti women prejudice and making Machiavelli look like an amateur’.

5. UKIP are a party of false hope, and false dissent

Thanks to Tory peers now making up the majority of the board of directors and the head of news at the BBC, it is now more right wing than ever.  The majority of the printed media is also right wing and pro rich. With disastrous and deeply unpopular austerity measures from a very pro rich government, seeds of massive dissatisfaction, and outright revolt have been sown.

As such the media need a rebel, but they can’t turn to the Greens, or any of the parliamentary parties that have larger numbers of representatives than UKIP, because broadly speaking they are progressive anti-Tory/rich parties.  They also can’t turn to the social movements that had originally mobilised such anti-government support, and that is why a media blackout on voices of dissent has occurred – most tellingly in the case of DPAC.

So they paint a man who is like a Tory on drugs as the new rebel, a man who basically promotes the same policies, but worse, and more extreme.  And they hope they can control him.  They may have got more than they bargained for, but don’t think for a second he is an anti-establishment rebel.

Hell no, his chums, funders and members are as establishment as you get.  If anything they are upset that they cannot make even more obscene amounts of money at our expense. And if they ever get any power they won’t be on your side.

6. UKIP are actually pretty fond of Europe

Nigel’s wife is German and his secretary, and the UKIP MEPS for London, the East Midlands and the South West hire at least two European assistants each.  Europeans are bad, unless you can afford to hire them to work for you it seems.

Of course what they are really keen on is the money.

As a failed banker Farage is not only hoofing up his £83,000 a year, but is going to claim two pensions and £15,000 a year in expenses on top of the £2million he already has claimed in expenses.

Europe is a fantastic gravy train for these boys – and one they know, regardless of what they say, is not going to run out any time soon. Especially as they never actually bother to turn up to create any of the changes they want, the work shy, lazy b******s.

Oh and UKIPs patriotic army have toured the country in a Mercedes Benz.

7. UKIP have a useless anti immigration policy

Let’s say that you bypass the arguments that say immigration is a massive boost to our economy, increases our tax revenue, enables older people to have pensions, and that without it our social services and healthcare would collapse.

Let’s forget that there are more British citizens living in the EU than vice versa, and that repatriation would leave us in a negative balance.

Lets even trounce the moral arguments that a measure of a society is how we treat others, regardless of where they were born, and that Britain used to pride itself on being a tolerant, kind and welcoming culture (whether this was ever true remains to be seen, but at least we were polite enough to pretend).

Let’s play the stop immigration game and see if UKIP have any sensible policies.

They plan to hugely increase military spending and support the massive corporations who plunder other countries to the point that economic migrants and refuggees are fleeing their homes in search of a better life.

More support for plundering UK corporations and an expanded UK military won’t decrease immigration, it will only increase it.

And putting controls on immigration numbers, as the Tories have discovered, only forces more immigration underground and allows sweatshop slave conditions to occur for those desperately fleeing their homes.

At the same time educated migrants bringing specialist skills to the country, or moving here simply because they love it or to be with partners and loved ones, are ultimately completely discouraged from being here.

Ultimately people are not even able to get the medical help they need – whilst the same exploitation and cheap labour continues unbounded.

It may seem idealistic, but until there are no borders and economic equality globally, we are unlikely to ever see the end of people moving to rich countries to find work.

Join national not voting UKIP day.



Image: Ipsos Mori

Image: Ipsos Mori

Many people in Britain believe that immigration is our biggest problem. In politics and media, it is certainly highly reported – which plays into our attention and the amount of importance we attach to a subject. By much of the coverage, immigration has become a word onto which the country is able to blame all it’s ills – housing, education, jobs, healthcare – problems in all of these areas have come to be blamed in part, or in large, on immigration.

This is due to an ever-flowing cycle of media and political debate, that continues stoking anti-immigration rhetoric, keeping it at the forefront and centre of debate, at the expense of other important issues.

“Media outlets often inflate or speculate about numbers of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants. Newspaper and TV images play into the dominant stereotype of the young dangerous man breaking into Britain and threatening ‘our’ communities. 31 percent of headlines and 53 percent of text about asylum across all newspapers has negative connotations. Language used to describe immigration is highly hostile across all newspaper types, with ‘illegal’ and ‘bogus’ the most commonly used terms to describe immigrants and asylum seekers.

In addition to mis-reporting, there is also ‘over-reporting’. In 2002, for example, 25 percent of Daily Mail and 24 percent of Daily Express articles were about asylum.”

This extract is from the brilliant ‘How Politicians and the Media Made Us Hate Immigrants’ and explains how immigration is presented as an ‘uncomfortable truth’ and ‘what the public is really thinking’ despite politicians and the media being the perpetrators of the language, stereotypes and rhetoric used.

This leads to a back and forth between parties who then attempt to demonstrate they are taking a harder line against the immigration issue which they themselves have talked into high importance. An example of this being the ‘Go Home’ vans – an idea thrown up in the haste and fire of anti-immigration policy tennis between UKIP and the coalition. The move proved a step too far for the public, and the idea was dropped soon after it came into existence, but immigration remains at the centre of debate.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

And while it continues to swamp the conversation, the issue is never really approached in a way that can allow analysis, or progressive debate. It remains unfettered with true statistics and facts, or long-term planned policy. Instead, the loaded language takes centre stage and is used as fact. The veil of ‘uncomfortable truth’ allows the politicians and media to remain vague about the factual aspect, yet weighted in their anti-immigration slant.

Create a problem, fix a problem

This maintains a steady air of anger and discrimination towards immigrants in the public sphere, and allows anti-immigration policy to be pushed through, despite it potentially being severely discriminatory. For example, the proposal to restrict healthcare to migrants for the first year of residency could be life-threatening should someone come to need it when falling ill unexpectedly or after an accident. But honing in on the effects in this way is left out of the political debate, due to risk of elevating immigrants to levels of human compassion and understanding. Instead, as a vague, negative sub-human force they are much more easily legislated against and blamed.

The rhetoric has also lead to huge amounts of time devoted to implementing ‘solutions’ to ‘problems’ that have been created through political and media conversation. For example, before Christmas the government promised to push ahead with plans to restrict other access to benefits for EU immigrants, such as housing benefits and employment allowances. The press and politicians vowed to fight ‘benefits tourism,’ and the extent of the coverage combined with continued speeches from politicians seemed to suggest that this was a huge issue that was bleeding the system dry. Yet, the EU released a report revealing that in most EU countries, the portion of EU migrants amongst welfare recipients was below 5%, as most migrants came to work or for family. Other research and fact-checks supported this:

“We found little empirical evidence that the problem existed.

But ministers continued to sound the alarm. Last year Chris Grayling warned that Britain’s welfare state could be “a magnet for other parts of the world”.

Again, we found that the facts didn’t support his case.”

 C4, Factcheck

Research has found that immigrants contribute £25bn to the UK economy. Yet legislation and media debate continues to attack immigrants, and politicians search for praise for doing it.

Similar problems have been created within the benefits system itself, with another law passing last year to increase penalties to a maximum jail term of ten years for those committing benefit fraud. Benefit fraud accounts for 0.7% of welfare spending – a level that has remained the same for a decade or so, yet the media campaigns and government rhetoric on ‘benefits cheats’ has created the idea that there is a more serious and growing problem. Around a quarter of all media coverage on welfare is about fraud, and this over-reporting leads to the creation of a problem in the public sphere, which does not exist in these proportions in reality. But policies are created to then deal with these ‘problems’ and the government receive praise for doing so, while other serious and damaging issues are once again left out of the limelight.



The impact of this kind of treatment of the immigration debate keeps an air of racism present in politics and amongst the public. The depictions in the media of immigrants and asylum seekers keep the public suspicious of visible ethnic minorities, who are seen as below them, or sub-human, undeserving of the same rights and services of those already here. The rhetoric is powerful and mature. And the impact of denying things such as healthcare to an immigrant who may be unfortunate enough to need it, is rarely seen or spoken about.

The attack on immigration is putting us back years in terms of race relations, as we now see pressure put on landlords and potentially doctors, to check immigration statuses of those needing their service. Suspicion will, like the media suggests, fall to those wearing cultural or ‘different’ clothing, with accents and different skin colours. And just as the words ‘scrounger’ and ‘skiver’ have entered the public language from media and politics, so too have the terms for immigrants as ‘illegals’ or ‘dodgy.’

And this blanket coverage of immigration is at the expense of everything else, as other issues are neglected and left out of debate, which can be fatal for services and other social issues.

The privatisation of the NHS has received markedly less coverage in the media. Similarly, the sell off of student loans with an increased interest rate has barely been mentioned in most news reports. In truth, immigration acts as a reliable smokescreen for politicians to fill public debate as other policies and issues are drowned out, allowing the government to continue with their course of action without public disapproval or knowledge.

And this perpetuating political showmanship will continue for as long as it maintains the status quo. We have seen this subject arouse and control the political debate time and time again during times of hardship. And the media often dictate that the election will be ‘won’ on a party’s line on immigration, or poke at politicians asking for a ‘harder line’ than the other party. When we see smaller parties such as the BNP and UKIP gain some electorate, despite their differences, it is to do with immigration. The effect of an unease thrust upon the public, stoking racial difference and entitlement, when people are struggling against austerity. To blind us with blanket coverage, as our NHS, education and social support is quietly snatched from our grasp.

Changing the debate

Immigration has been loaded with stereotypes and regressive attitudes through years of PR and media campaigns. It is used to distract debate, and divert anger at social problems to an already marginalized section of society. As this happens, government push through with damaging and unpopular policies that escape our sight.

We need to reject the language and media stereotypes of immigrants, and redress focus on issues such as the NHS, education and employment. In the run up to the election, politicians will up the ante on their immigration policies, but this will not solve the shortage of housing. It won’t protect the NHS. It won’t create employment or invest in young people’s futures. Immigration is used to divide people and now we need to reject the punch-and-judy show that rotates back forth between parties, in favour of implementing strong social policies and solutions to the problems that need our attention.

It seems strange that ‘Go Home’ advertisements were even tried in 2013. Political debate is regressing without people speaking up and rejecting what they’re told. We should start laying the foundations of a place we want to live in. As Shami Chakrabarti said, we need to look at the bigger picture here about what we want and what we should be working towards – ‘Do we want to be a foreigner in most places in the world? Or do we want to be a human being, everywhere in the world?’

 by Kam Sandhu @KamBass