If one thing is ever certain and crystal-clear, it is when government “reforms”, it comes back to bite them.
Any moment now Michael Gove’s Great Educational Crusade will be seen to be an unmitigated disaster. Certainly the treatment of thirty Bradford parents, left to find new schools a week before the start of term, should start minds working, opinions forming. Particularly so, since Gove’s Department (which would never gamble with the future of our children) made promises to those parents as late as June. If, as claimed by Labour, Gove’s expenditure on aborted “Free Schools” already amounts to £2.3 million, he has serious questions which must be answered.
Parliament understands government waste. It rarely manages to comprehend the human pain involved in last-minute shifts of policy, such as this Bradford “One In A Million Free School” (only wrong by a factor of 2.3, then).
There is worse …
And, on the BBC website, here it comes —
Atos appeal woman Cecilia Burns from Strabane has died
A cancer sufferer, who had her benefits cut by government officials who said she was fit to work, has died.
Cecilia Burns, 51, from Strabane, County Tyrone, had started a campaign in February to have the decision overturned.
Ms Burns had her benefits cut after she was assessed by government contractor Atos Healthcare.
She had her benefits reinstated just a few weeks ago but died on Monday.
This is not an isolated case. Here’s another one:
Karen Sherlock died on 8 June [this year], just a fortnight after she was told that she would be eligible once again to receive out-of-work disability benefits.
ATOS seems hardly to have a caring attitude to its assessments:
One of the two Atos staff members now being investigated says on his Facebook page that he is an administrator at one of the company’s medical examination centres.
Describing his job, he says he does “everything office-wise and having to put up with parasitic wankers at the same time”.
The other staff member caught out is a nurse, who says on her Facebook page that she carries out WCAs for Atos.
She has repeatedly posted messages that refer to disabled people who attend her assessment centre as “down and outs”.
ATOS have already received, last financial year — 2011-12, £112 million for these “fitness to work” assessments. Each face-to-face assessment therefore costs over £150. Four in every ten appeals against assessment succeed. The National Audit Office is severely unimpressed by ATOS, and by the way the Department of Work and Pensions continues to shovel public money at a sordid and failing operation.
Meanwhile the Department of Work and Pensions deals with criticism on “a good day to bury bad news” basis:
The government appears to have delayed publishing crucial evidence that undermines a key part of its controversial welfare reform bill until weeks after the legislation completed its passage through the House of Commons.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) report, which details the growth in the number of claimants of disability living allowance (DLA), appears to have been signed off by its author in May, weeks before MPs began the bill’s critical report stage.
But the statistics were only published last week, while MPs were on holiday and weeks after the bill had passed through the Commons.
Now, were the pious God-fearing Right Honourable Iain Duncan Smith MP, the DWP’s own Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros of our time, to traverse the lanes and by-ways around God-fearing Strabane, he is likely to find those roadside hand-painted boards, which are a delightful addition to the countryside of God-fearing Northern Ireland.
He is certain there to find the Book of Numbers, chapter 32, verse 23:
Behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.