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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Michaela Community School's 'discipline' , Universal Credit's 'in-work services' (sanctions), and search-engine-rankings

Wembley Matters blogger Martin Francis has republished an excellently incisive Morning Star editorial comment about Michaels Community School [sic] of Wembley Park and its Headteacher Katharine Birbalsingh.  (1) (2)

To summarise and go beyond that editorial, the real reason Michaela Community School [sic — featured in recent Kwug Blog post] have punitively high standards -- and routine punishments — is to produce output for production lines who would gladly punish others for supposed misdemeanours.(3) (Torture is a means of inducting future torturers.) 

The supposed 'misdemeanours' associated with poverty are set to increase with Universal Credit roll-out and an inadequate 'national minimum wage' eventually replacing Working Tax Credits. Universal Credit brings 'in-work conditionality' by which low paid people deemed to have too few working hours — rather than too low an hourly labour rate — would be punished for not having tried hard enough to get extra waged work.

Already, low-paid jobcentre workers are being registered for Universal Credit at jobcentres other than where they work, so that they will not be sanctioned by their immediate colleagues;(4) and how will 'claimant commitments' go for out of waged work youth in a future of Britain 'freed from' the maximum working commitment of the EU's Working Time Directive'
"Some under 25s on Universal Credit have been made to sign a Claimant Commitment to look for work for 48 hours a week, not 35, to compensate for their lower minimum wage."(5)
I suspect — and hope — that the more we keep up the pressure on Katharine Birbalsingh and Michaela 'Free' School, the more under pressure that institution will get from the pressure of public revulsion — though maybe Google may profit from bribery/blackmail affecting Michaela Free School's 'search rankings'? 

Paid for search rankings and public standing of corporate bodies

Martin Francis generally ascribes the school's name as Michaela Free School, and that is the basis on which the following Internet search exercises are conducted. Compare current Google search Michaela Free School(6) with Yahoo search "Michaela Free School". (7)

The Google search

Top pane of Google search finds for "Michaela Free School"

At this time of commenting, the lead 'in the news' find from the Google search is, as depticted above but as a screen capture image rather than clickable and 'find on the page'-friendly text:

In the newsImage for the news resultMichaela free school threatens isolation for lunch debt pupils (8)Schools Week - 2 days agoA London free school's controversial policy of isolating pupils whose parents or guardians ...More news for "Michaela Free School" (9)
Lower pane of Google search finds for "Michaela Free School"
And — on the lower pane — beyond the listed Michaela Community School (MCS) [sic] finds in that list, after one favourable entry about MCS from David Didau, the next four entries on the first 'finds' page are all from Wembley Matters!

The Yahoo! search "Michaela Free School" 

Yahoo! search "Michaela Free School" top pane

Yahoo! search "Michaela Free School" lower pane
Most of the finds on the Yahoo! search first page of finds are either advertising or published over a year ago. The 'schoolsweek' story that features as the main 'In the news' item from the Google search does appear near the bottom of that page, however.(8)

Google searching "Universal Credit"

Google has far more capital to invest in keeping up to date than its rivals, and can thus afford to feature 'in the news' items; yet there are no current 'in the news' entries to kick off the 'found' items for a Google search "Universal Credit".(10) In fact the top pane of 'found' items is made up entirely of paid adverts for 'help dealing with Universal Credit'!
Google searching for "Universal Credit" — top pane of finds p1 is entirely paid adverts!
You have to search diligently to the bottom of the first finds page to find any 'news content' about Universal Credit.(11) (12)
Google search "Universal Credit" — news items do not appear till pane 4 of the first page
Meanwhile, the Kilburn Unemployed's Kwug Blog has a much more up-to-date blog post relating to a think tank's report on how 'public service delivery' post-Brexit might be conducted to accommodate Universal Credit's 'in-work services' — eg, benefit sanctions! Disability impact assessments and 'think tank' reports by the clueless (13)

How much taxpayers' money might government be paying Google to keep news items out of the top search finds for "Universal Credit"?

Link addresses

  1. http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/morning-star-on-michaela-schools-versus.html
  2. http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-d8eb-Schools-versus-communities#.V53xAY_GOJ9
  3. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/come-autumn-term-201617-good-reason-for-kwuggies-to-leaflet-outside-a-wembley-park-free-school.html
  4. https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/2016/07/15/sharing-knowledge-in-the-face-of-further-attacks/
  5. https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/2016/07/15/sharing-knowledge-in-the-face-of-further-attacks/
  6. https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=h_adV7CqFYvW8AfMkp7ADw&gws_rd=ssl#q=%22Michaela+Free+School%22
  7. https://uk.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hspart=avast&hsimp=yhs-brwsr001&type=osf01s1&p="Michaela+Free+School"
  8. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj0-7at4Z3OAhWFB8AKHXg3CR4QqQIIHTAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fschoolsweek.co.uk%2Fisolation-of-pupils-with-lunch-debt-inappropriate-but-rare-say-school-leaders%2F&usg=AFQjCNG4EOqzpdClCAsLpjdcBr9BYHt6fg&sig2=fOdTXJbJkk16RGrRlcBW0g&bvm=bv.128617741,d.d24
  9. https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22Michaela+Free+School%22&biw=1152&bih=597&source=univ&tbm=nws&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj0-7at4Z3OAhWFB8AKHXg3CR4QsQQIHg
  10. https://www.google.co.uk/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=h_adV7CqFYvW8AfMkp7ADw&gws_rd=ssl#q=%22Universal+Credit%22
  11. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRqenh753OAhVILcAKHbMOABgQFgiMATAN&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fsociety%2Funiversal-credit&usg=AFQjCNG9UCthh9uDKWhKSQawgrFUpFZhxg&sig2=_11QdFN59PjtTujGQyxvGQ&bvm=bv.128617741,d.d24
  12. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=15&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjRqenh753OAhVILcAKHbMOABgQFgiSATAO&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mirror.co.uk%2Fmoney%2Funiversal-credit-jobseekers-allowance-benefits-5170581&usg=AFQjCNGyeCCd8ayW761Zsjej1fS1DI4Ahw&sig2=cbDyTY39y1ID8SHa207gFQ&bvm=bv.128617741,d.d24
  13. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/disability-impact-assessments-and-think.html

Friday, 29 July 2016

Come Autumn Term 2016/17, good reason for Kwuggies to leaflet outside a Wembley Park 'free school'

Thanks to Wembley Matters blogger Martin Francis for bringing this Daily Mail story to the attention of non-Daily Mail readers:(1)
"Michaela Secondary Free School punishes children for having hard-up parents
"I suspect not many of my readers also read the Daily Mail so here is a brief summary of an on-line story carried by the Mail LINK.(2)

"Katharine Birbalsingh who hit the headlines when she became Michael Gove's darling after she told a Tory Conference that the education system was broken based on her experience at a London secondary school, is head of Michaela Secondary Free School in Wembley Park.  The school advertises its strict discipline policy and 'private school ethos' and has a laudatory comment from Boris Johnson hanging on its exterior.

"The Mail story is not about the school's strict umbrella code (black or navy blue only) or its service to parents whereby they can text pictures of school shoes they are about to buy for approval LINK, but about its attitude towards the children of hard-up families.(3)

"Superhead who claimed Britain's education was broken puts pupils in detention at lunch and restricts food if their parents have failed to pay for school meals
"The Mail reveals that children whose parents are behind with meal payments are put in lunch isolation, being made to sit on their own for the whole lunch hour, and are given a sandwich instead of a hot meal with dessert.

"The Mail quotes a letter from the deputy headteacher, Barry Smith, to unemployed care worker Dionne Kelly. Dione had paid by the time she received the letter but her child was punished anyway:
'The deadline for this term's lunch payment was 1st June 2016. You are currently £75 overdue. If this full amount is not received within this week your child will be placed into Lunch isolation.

'They will receive a sandwich and a piece of fruit only. Only when the outstanding sum is paid in full will they be allowed to eat lunch with their classmates.'
"Birbalsingh told the Mail that the letter was sent in an attempt to encourage the parent to change her ways and support her son by paying for his food.

"Sam Royston of the Children's Society said, 'No school should punish and potentially stigmatise a child because a parent has not paid for, or is unable to afford, school meals.'"

Dude Swheatie of Kwug comments: Because this school head was such a darling of a previous Conservative Party Conference, maybe we should hold a demonstration of some sort outside that school during the week of Conservative & Unionist Party Autumn Conference 2016, and get the Brent & Kilburn Times involved?

Source link addresses

  1. http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/michaela-secondary-free-school-punishes.html
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3713583/Superhead-claimed-Britain-s-education-broken-puts-pupils-detention-lunch-restricts-food-parents-failed-pay-school-meals.html
  3. http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/will-breathing-be-allowed-in.html

Disability impact assessments and 'think tank' reports by the clueless

This blog post started off as a comment in relation to Kate Belgrave's excellent coverage of jobcentre practices regarding how to treat claimants who have learning difficulties.(1)

When I was into reading and challenging government ‘green papers’ on, say, welfare reform with Green Party comrades around 2008/09, there was a standard heading, ‘disability impact assessment’. (A ‘green paper’ is a government discussion or consultation document toward putting in new legislation.) Perhaps the reason I forgot about the ‘disability impact assessment’ is that it was generally recorded as ‘Not Applicable’!
And now one of those wonderful ‘think tanks’ that work with governments toward privatising government services has a new report out called, The future of public services: digital jobcentres.(2) I find the introductory blurb so unbelievable that maybe that is why I did not even refer to it when I blogged about it last night. The introductory blurb reads:
“Today’s report, The future of public services: digital jobcentres, sets out the opportunity to transform public employment services in the UK. This paper is the fourth in a series, conducted in partnership with Accenture, which looks at the role technology will play in the future delivery of public services.
“Jobcentre Plus – the UK’s public employment service – won plaudits for its performance over the financial crisis….”
Plaudits from whom, I wonder? Then of course the blurb goes on to talking about financial pressures on the UK economy post-Brexit vote and with Universal Credit’s ‘introduction of in-work services [sic]' bringing about a ‘need to do things differently’. (I’ve heard it all before with ‘austerity’, haven’t you?)
But anyway, it struck me that with online tools, I could do a word search in the pdf document of that report The future of public services: digital jobcentres, in search of the term ‘disability impact assessment’.(3)
Lo and behold, as I typed into the ‘Find’ bar within that document window and reached the letter ‘s’ of the word ‘disability’, the background of that ‘Find’ bar turned a pinkish colour indicating that the word ‘disability’ did not occur in that document.
Anyhow, my blog post announcing the existence of that wonderful new think tank report started from the Boycott Workfare Welfare Action Gathering recognition that online signing would lead to greater isolation for benefit claimants and reduced opportunities of solidarity between jobcentre clients and self-help groups such as the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group (KUWG), Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, etc.
My own initial blog response to the Reform report Digital jobcentres to heighten isolation and reduce solidarity? focuses much more on who are the ‘movers and shakers’ advising government on how to privatise everything?(4)
Yet the matter of ‘disability impact assessments’ or the lack of reminds me of something I said at the KUWG’s first burnout workshop this last Tuesday.(5) I observed that while I do get burnt out occasionally, as an integral member of the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group I am far less burnt out on ESA Support Group status than I ever would be on Jsa conditionality and the like, where those who told me what to do would not have a clue who I was and had been institutionalised into sanctions targeting, not caring. 
When I was a jobseeker on far less money than I receive as an ESA Support Group person, and stressed out wondering how I would get through the week with woefully inadequate income, basically all I had to live on was the hope that all the effort I put in would be rewarded one day with a job that would allow me to at least 'break even'; but then I discovered that everything I volunteered at in teaching other slower learners in learning basic skills was wound down through lack of funding.

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Link addresses

  1. http://www.katebelgrave.com/?s=learning+difficulties&submit=Search
  2. http://www.reform.uk/publication/the-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres/
  3. http://www.reform.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/The-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres.pdf
  4. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/digital-jobcentres-to-heighten-isolation-and-reduce-solidarity.html
  5. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/kuwg-burnout-workshops-1-and-2-tues-26-july-and-2-aug-1pm-to-5pm.html

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Digital jobcentres to heighten isolation and reduce solidarity?

I also reckon that it will tie in with the findings of Stanley Milgram's experiment into torture, that stated that torture is more easily delivered in terms of reducing the torturer's resistance to being inhumane, where the torturer has no real face-to-face contact with the victim of the torture.(2)

And now I see that the think tank known as 'Reform' has released a report entitled: The future of public services: digital jobcentres.(3)

I also notice that the pdf of the report bears the branding of 

So perhaps after global high stakes companies are found guilty of fraud, it seems, given the existence of dodgy American insurance company Unum — formerly Unum Provident — as advisers to successive UK governments on 'welfare reform' since 1994 despite an intervening record of fraud, there is still the potential to carry on uninterrupted as advisers to UK government on how to more fully screw up the lives of disadvantaged people?(5) (6)

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Link addresses

  1. https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/2016/07/15/sharing-knowledge-in-the-face-of-further-attacks/
  2. https://uk.search.yahoo.com/search?p=stanley+milgram%27s+experiment&fr=yfp-t-423
  3. http://www.reform.uk/publication/the-future-of-public-services-digital-jobcentres/
  4. https://uk.search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A9mSs2ECaJpXUn4AE4JLBQx.;_ylc=X1MDMjExNDcxNzAwMwRfcgMyBGZyA3lmcC10LTQyMwRncHJpZANNSmgyQU9iX1FkbU1DLkVBWVM3WEpBBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMwBG9yaWdpbgN1ay5zZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzc4BHF1ZXJ5AyUyMmFjY2VudHVyZSUyMGFydGh1ciUyMiUyMCUyMmFuZGVyc2VuJTIwYWNjb3VudGluZyUyMiUyMCUyMmVucm9uJTIwc2NhbmRhbCUyMgR0X3N0bXADMTQ2OTczNzMzMA--?p="accenture+arthur"+"andersen+accounting"+"enron+scandal"&fr2=sb-top-uk.search&fr=yfp-t-423
  5. http://kilburnunemployed.blogspot.co.uk/
  6. http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatoslettersgbbc.html#BBC

Special 'training' session for private equity firm's migrant worker staff was actually deportation session

Wembley Matters blogger Martin Francis reports:

Solidarity with deported Byron Burger workers -demonstration Monday

From a group of campaigns and organisations acting in solidarity with Byron Burger workers


Last week, the Spanish language publication El Ibérico reported that on the evening of July 4th, the private equity fund* owned Byron burgers chain brought a large number of their migrant worker staff members to special 'training' session across 15 Byron restaurants in London.

When they arrived, immigration police were waiting for them and a reported 50 were arrested and deported. A further 150 managed to avoid deportation and are in hiding acording to the source.

Those deported were mostly Latin American workers. It is not clear what kind of shock and hardship their families in London are now experiencing, or whether the workers were paid their wages or any monies owed by the company.

Say 'no' to work schemes with a smile, not a sanction

While our friends at Scottish Unemployed Workers Network report:

.... there is no attempt to inform people that they can say no to being sent on a work scheme without incurring a sanction; and within the DWP’s punitive regime we have been taught not to question instructions. The system still promotes a culture where people are expected to work for free to earn the right to get a job interview, and to ‘volunteer’ as part of their thirty-five hour a week jobsearch....(1)

we can still do our bit as a pro-claimant support group! So here goes:

Say 'no' to work schemes with a smile, not a sanction

The Human Placard Flower

Link address

Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance conference hears calls to build a stronger alliance

Disability News Service reported on 21 July:

ROFA’s conference hears call to build a stronger alliance

A campaigning alliance has called for disabled people and their organisations to join its fight to use the UN disability convention to defend attacks on their rights by the UK government.
The Reclaiming Our Futures Alliance (ROFA) was holding its third national conference in the five years since it was founded by a small group of disabled people’s organisation (DPOs) and grassroots groups.

More at http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/rofas-conference-hears-call-to-build-a-stronger-alliance/

What does Brexit mean for tax justice?

Naomi Fowler of New Internationalist magazine writes:

"In this podcast, our friends at the Tax Justice Network speak with two journalists who got the Panama Papers scoop, Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier who’ve written a book about their experience."

For further info and the podcast, go to https://newint.org/blog/2016/07/27/what-does-brexit-mean-for-tax-justice/

Could Brexiteers Johnson, Gove, Farage be prosecuted for lies?

From New Internationalist magazine

Could Brexiteers Johnson, Gove, Farage be prosecuted for lies?

DSCF2880.JPG [Related Image]
Anti-Brexit protest, London, July 2016. by Vanessa Baird
Vanessa Baird reports on new citizen initiatives calling for honesty in politics.
A crowd-funded campaign could see leading British political figures such as Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Michael Gove facing legal investigation for their conduct during the EU referendum campaign.....

More at https://newint.org/blog/2016/07/25/could-brexiteers-johnson-gove-farage-be-prosecuted-for-lies/

New Internationalist Magazine: Beating the digital titans

The July 2016 issue of New Internationalist magazine affirms that there are considerable dangers in the public 'handing over too much power' to the few very wealthy men who 'offer free services' on the Internet such as Facebook, Google, youtube, and Twitter.

You can take action at a practical and technological level – and a political one.

For further information, go to https://newint.org/features/2016/07/01/beating-the-digital-titans/

"Make sure you have your say on Mayor’s pollution proposals" — Caroline Russell, London Assembly Member

Caroline Russell is one of two London Assembly Members represented by Proportional Representation to represent all of London for the Green Party of England & Wales. As she and the other Green Party London Assembly Member Siân Berry operate to 'hold the London Mayor to account', one of Caroline Russell's main responsibilities is tackling air pollution.

Air pollution has obvious health and safety implications for people in general, especially for people with respiratory problems. Cyclists and pedestrians, too, of course! Caroline Russell AM (Assembly Member) writes:

Make sure you have your say on Mayor’s pollution proposals

The Mayor of London has recently announced an initial consultation on new charges on the most polluting cars in central London and the expansion of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone across the whole of inner London up to the boundaries of the North and South Circular. Make sure you have your sayThe deadline for public responses is Friday 29th July 2016.
The Mayor’s proposals include:
  • bringing the implementation of the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) forward by one year to 2019
  • expanding the ULEZ beyond central London in 2020
  • introducing a new Emissions Surcharge from 2017 for the most polluting vehicles entering central London
  • giving TfL the go-ahead to start looking at a diesel scrappage scheme as part of a wider national scheme run by the government
  • keeping Londoners better informed and alerted when pollution is at its worst
  • making sure TfL leads by example by cleaning up its bus fleet and buying only hybrid or zero emission double-decker buses from 2018.
The Mayor will undertake a further, more detailed consultation later this year.
No more delays on clean air
My overriding concern is to ensure the new Mayor of London takes the range of actions necessary to deliver safe breathable air for all Londoners and to bring London’s air within legal limits in the shortest time possible, and by 2020 at the latest....

Corbyn rival Owen Smith's 'brand positioning'

KUWG leafleters outside Kilburn Jobcentre yesterday heard with some hilarity of Jeremy Corbin's Labour Party leadership rival Owen Smith's release of a manifesto for his leadership bid. In terms of worker representation and rights, it really did seem that he wanted to 'out-Corbin Jeremy Corbin'.(1)

Then today a news story came this blogger's way, Former miner tackles Owen Smith for 'exploiting Orgreave as the site for his policy speech'.(2) Owen Smith's siting himself at Orgreave for his policy speech brings to mind these words from Craig Murray's blog:
Note “to pitch himself”. For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning. On Channel 4 News last night, an incredulous Michael Crick pointed out that the “soft left” Smith had previously given interviews supporting PFI and privatisation in the health service. He also strongly supported Blair’s city academies.(3)
Meanwhile, though this blogger is sympathetic to Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is not the only political party having leadership elections at present; and as I am a member of the Green Party of England & Wales, I ought to get my head around the choices I am faced with for Leader and Deputy Leader.(4)

Dude Swheatie of Kwug

Link addresses

  1. Meanwhile, the Institute for Employment Rights think tank is claiming Smith's policies as theirs http://www.ier.org.uk/news/owen-smith-workers-policies-mirror-ier-manifesto
  2. http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2016/07/28/former-miner-tackles-owen-smith-for-exploiting-orgreave-as-the-site-for-his-policy-speech/
  3. https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/07/entirely-fake-owen-smith/
  4. http://londongreenleft.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/green-party-leader-deputy-and-tulo.html

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Some placards about Claimant Commitment, Universal Jobmatch and Universal Credit

Some of these placard designs below previously appeared without the KUWG two handed salute logo that has since become a feature of Kwug placards.

Claimant Commitment will make a fag out of you
Punitive Jobmatch is state terrorism
Universal Jobmatch? For jobs on Pluto?

Universal Credit will sink you in rent arrears

"Universal Credit can require people to wait up to 12 weeks for their first payment – and eviction processes in England can start after just 8 weeks."(1)

Link address

  1. https://scottishunemployedworkers.net/2016/07/15/sharing-knowledge-in-the-face-of-further-attacks/

Monday, 25 July 2016

Stop damaging health with Council Tax and Bedroom Tax enforced against vulnerable citizens with no income

Guest blog post by Revd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty

STOP DAMAGING HEALTH WITH THE COUNCIL TAX AND BEDROOM TAX enforced against vulnerable citizens with no income.
Further details of the case for vulnerable people against Haringey Council and Tottenham Magistrates can be found on the TAP website.

I have been summoned to a liability order hearing at Tottenham Magistrates Court at 10am on Thursday 4th August Lordship Lane, Tottenham, N17 6RT.

There will be a demonstration at the court at 10am on the 4th August against the damage to health by the simultaneous taxation of benefit incomes with council tax and bedroom tax.

When the liability orders are granted by the magistrates to the council they add £115 to the council tax and rent arrears and are able to take one or more of the following actions:

"Instruct bailiffs to take your goods to settle your debt - this can include your car. You will be liable to pay the bailiffs costs which could substantially increase the debt. Instruct your employer to deduct payments from your salary or wages. Deduct money straight from your jobseekers allowance or income support. Make you bankrupt. Make a charging order against your home. Have you committed to prison”.

Haringey has been enforcing the council tax against the most vulnerable benefit claimants since April 2013, when they began taxing benefit incomes.

from the Reverend Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
No citizen without an affordable home and an 
adequate income in work or unemployment. 

93 Campbell Road, Tottenham, London N17 0BF, 0208 3765455, 07961 177889,