The Department of Work and Pensions
It’s a sad day for BHS, asset-stripped by Sir Philip Green of hundreds of millions of pounds. There will be thousands of redundancies and a much larger number will see their company pensions disappear. Meanwhile we’re told that Green is buying a new £100 million luxury yacht.
It’s a sad day but of course nothing will happen apart from some Crocodile Tears and some interviews with Mary Queen of Shops and some tired old analysis of ‘What’s gone wrong with BHS?’ This is normal practice. We need to be ‘open for business’ and ‘cut re-tape’. Accountability is an anathema. Responsibility is for idiots. This is the Wild West presided over by a government you didn’t elect, whose values you don’t hold.
We’re told that: “Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green is facing calls to give up his knighthood if he does not pay back dividends received from BHS when he owned the stores chain.” To which he may turn round and holler from his new boat ‘Bovvered”.
Meanwhile North Ayrshire Council’s STRIVE programme have been suspended pending an investigation after it was revealed that individuals have been fined for as little as tutting or having their hands in their pockets. Shirkers on the one hand and tv stars in the making on the other: millionaires fit for the Lords. One community impoverished the other ennobled.
The fact that any of this is challenged or comes to light is only really the result of the relentless work of diligent campaigners, whistleblowers and volunteers. On Tuesday last week we were told that the ‘DWP may have to publish details of benefit claimant deaths’. This only came about because The Disability News Service (DNS) won its appeal against the DWP’s subsequent refusal to publish any information about the fact that they (the DWP) had conducted 60 reviews into the deaths of benefit claimants (this after a freedom of information request in 2014.)
Only recently we were told that this family of nations was held together by common bonds and to create a functioning democracy would leave us exposed and impoverished, we were ‘Stronger Together’. Each day it seems a new layer to that lie seems to be exposed. Yesterday it was revealed by official figures from Eurostat that parts of Britain are now poorer than Poland, Lithuania and Hungary. Whether it’s the rogue private utilities of Rip-Off Britain or conned shipyard workers being sold down the river as expendable pawns in the UK Govts economic catastrophe or the punitive world of benefit claimants, it’s a country where civil liberties are a joke and the rich are free to act as they like. It’s a society based on institutionalised inequality. All the lies are coming home to roost.