Thursday, 21 August 2014


I was brought up to believe that the worst thing you could ever call anybody was a liar.  Even when they clearly were.  Even when it was Iain Duncan Smith.  But (I'm sorry, Mum) I have to say it.  Esther McVey lied today in the Mail and the Express.  Since the quote is the same in both I have to assume that it's her lie, not the papers'.  "‘I meet with thousands of young people a year and they all say the negative picture painted by opposition politicians about young people and their bleak future has a very negative effect on them."
You can imagine it.  She's got a captive audience of unemployed kids in a jobcentre or somewhere, and every single one of them says, "Well, it's Labour telling us how bad things are, and there's no future."  
You may say it was just exaggeration.  But what about the substance of this mendacious piece?  Try the Mail's lengthy version.  Count the number of assertions which are simply not true.  The Express resorts to quoting the Mail, but at least it gives Rachel Reeves the chance to describe the comments as "pathetic".
We could dismiss all this as tripe, and rather desperate tripe at that, were it not for a piece on the Huffington Post site which makes it look like part of a concerted effort directed by Lynton Crosby, the Tories' campaign guru.  We heard this week that self-employment is at its highest level since records began, and that of the 1.1 million people who have started a job since January 2008, two thirds are self-employed.  (The figures are on the BBC news site.)  Over the last year it's over half of new "jobs".  But all is wonderful according to scary Tory MP Matthew (call me Matt) Hancock.  "There are more jobs available than ever before in this country, the vast majority of the jobs are full-time contracts of employment, and there has also been a very strong growth in self-employment. " [my italics]  This is simply not true.  The article gives plenty of space to voices refuting Hancock's claims.
But it seems that the tactic is simple.  Get out there and lie.  Blame Labour.  Deny the figures.  Just lie.


  1. Earlier this year there was a day when Esther McVey spouted her usual dishonest nonsense for the media and her fellow MPs. It was about the alleged advantages of becoming a barista.

    That same day, Miriam Clegg and SamCam made a joint visit to a girls’ school in Essex. Mrs Clegg is a frighteningly well-qualified lawyer who has a frighteningly successful legal career in London. She & SamCam told the schoolgirls, “You can achieve anything you want to achieve provided that you are willing to make the necessary effort and do the hard slog, starting today.”

    Mrs Clegg was a million times more convincing than Ms McVey will ever be. Mrs Clegg also has the academic and professional track records to prove her own credentials.

    Whilst Ms McVey was trying to tell young people to “dumb down” their own hopes and aspirations, Mrs Clegg told her own youthful audience the exact opposite.

  2. When you get a mini-campaign like this happening it's usually a distraction. What else is going on they want us to not notice?

  3. One thing which has been constant thru the last four and half years of Tory rule is their continual blame for the economic woes of the country on Labour. I find this lack of responsibility strange given that the Tories believe that if you are out of work it is your fault i.e. the unemployed should take more responsibility of their won lives.

    Is it a case of double standards or a fact that they have no control over the economy?

    Also, McVey can say what she likes but looking at the council elections not many people believe them.

  4. An interesting comment on that Huff Post article -
    I can only speak from the perspective of the couple of hundred new, Self Employed clients, my accountancy practice have taken on & represented, in the last five years. The trickle became a flood and NONE, of those that started up before 2011, are still in business - that's 43 SME's calling it a day. Of the remaining start ups, they are making losses or tiny profits & only 12 (from 155), paid any tax on their profits, for the 2013 Tax Year.

    Before I was sent to A4E I looked at their website and they were hyping a disabled woman whom they had got to set up a business selling alternative/gothic baby clothes. I always wondered what happened to her, because there's no way that was going to remain as a long term viable sole business, especially not for someone with vision problems (speaking from experience here, vision problems and sewing and dressing my baby in tiedye clothing!), and having taken out a loan she'd have ended up even worse off. Given the above and my own experiences with A4E's self employment people I can quite see that what the accountant says is likely to be true

  5. My experience talking to young people is FAR different to that of McVey's. I attended the Work Programme in Lancashire for three years and the most common complaint among everyone including the young was the lack of jobs; something the Tories have done absolutely ZERO to tackle; a fact backed up by evidence that most new 'jobs' can be explained by people becoming 'self-employed' (which we all know is a euphemism for car-booting and claiming working tax credit).

    There are about 11m people in this country economically inactive (who are not at school or retired). This figure will include people who are looking after their kids but I reckon this figure is closer to the TRUE unemployment figure.

    If the Tories were more honest about un/under employment in the UK economy it would give them the opportunity to do tackle these problems but they appear to be more intent on spinning certain economic statistics to give the ILLUSION of an improving economy. Which is both misleading and irresponsible.

  6. Young people are if anything going to have a pop at ALL politicians, not just opposition ones. If McVey does indeed have meetings with young persons I'd be very surprised if she herself were not a prime target for their disdain.

    As for self employment, this basically falls into three caps. Genuine entrepreneurial self employment where a chap thinks he has a solid business idea.

    Then there's the woman who takes up self employment in order to avoid the ever draconian sanctions of JCP. Or she's possibly persuaded to go SE by her WP adviser in order to remover herself from the unemployment register and hopefully aid the provider in gaining a taxpayer funded bonus.

    And then there's the chap who is working as a salesman for a firm. But is taken on as 'self employed'. Even though he is being given set start and finish times, told what areas to cover and what items to sell. All in order for the firm in question to avoid responsibility for paying this person's income tax and NI, for which THEY are now responsible.

    Far too much self employment are clearly second and third examples. All that'll happen is these people will still end up claiming benefits in the form of tax credits anyway!

    I think both Smith and McVey now spin so many lies, they have lost all sense of what is truthful and what is not!!!

  7. Should be very interesting the % of defaults from the self assessment next April. My 'induction' whilst on the WP with A4e felt more like a timeshare presentation with 2 spivs from the financial sector promoting the benefits of self employment. There was a poor chap with little English who I spoke to, he had been sanctioned and had not eaten for two days. I asked the two spivs to offer him some much needed financial advice, they were not interested!
    I remember the old 'Enterprise Allowance' scheme from 20 odd years ago, where you would get financial (and business advice) support for a year. Now it is only 6 months cash (no support). A profitable business in six months? Yeah, right!

    1. I have been in and out of work the last five years and to be honest nobody has pushed me into self-employment including the Job Centre. In fact nobody has even mentioned it. That said I have not had a lot of help finding work either! I think this shows that there is no co-ordinated back to work policy.


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