Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Skwawkbox Caught out Scaremongering (Lying) Again – on Universal Credit Serious Threats to the Disabled.

with 10 comments

Image result for bob pit skwawkbox

Past Lies by Skwawkbox; Now they spread Fear amongst Disabled.

The latest scaremongering by Skwawkbox has caused great distress.

They put about the rumour that disabled people will be subject to this,


The government is pressing ahead with the roll-out of its Universal Credit (UC) replacement to the benefits system in spite of huge delays and problems – and continuing problems so ingrained that foodbank use has increased sharply in every area where is has been implemented.

UC contains a draconian set of provisions, including a ‘Claimant Commitment’ (CC) – a set of imposed requirements to which the claimant has no right of appeal whatever. As the government’s guidance on CCs states:

There is no right of appeal if a claimant refuses to accept their Claimant Commitment and the requirements that have been set out in it.

A JCP adviser – who might be incompetent, inexperienced, bitter, have a personality clash with the claimant or just simply be having a bad day – is the final arbiter of whether a CC is reasonable and achievable, and even a patently bad decision cannot be appealed for a higher opinion.

The key bit is this:

A fixed time to find a job – or a one-year sanction? A sanction is the immediate and complete removal of support. Anyone who has seen Ken Loach’s superb I, Daniel Blake knows how devastating this is and what the consequences can be.

And the most hideous aspect of this hideous system is that it applies to disabled people. Two years to find work or you’re cut off from support.

It’s hard to imagine that this could be true, that anyone could be so lacking in humanity as to devise such a system, let alone enforce it. But it is true. A DWP insider told the SKWAWKBOX:

They are now furiously backtracking: IMPORTANT: WRAG/SANCTION – DON’T PANIC YET.

Earlier today the SKWAWKBOX published an article about the application of the Universal Credit (UC) ‘claimant commitment’ to disabled people. That article was based on information from a recent DWP employee and the details were confirmed before publication by a current DWP employee of 15 years experience. It indicated that disabled people not placed in the ‘Support Group’ by the DWP’s contracted medical assessors would have two years to find work and would then face sanction.

However, others have challenged whether the claimant commitment would be applied in this way, so the SKWAWKBOX has checked with other DWP veterans.

And has received mixed answers.

So the real situation may not be as bad as sources originally indicated – but it’s so unclear that the only thing everyone agreed on is that the rules are opaque and confusing.

So don’t panic yet. We’ll bring you a definitive answer as soon as one can be obtained.

There seems to be pattern about Skwawkbox’s behaviour.

  • First they spread outrageous panic inspiring lies.
  • Then they deny that they circulated them without careful consideration and qualification, not to mention ‘research’.
  • Finally, the accuse anybody who criticises their attention seeking sensationalism of being establishment touts, and take up the position of stout denial – that they are at fault in any way.

We await the latter ready and willing to do battle with those who have caused distress to people we know and love.

More see Bob Pitt: Skwawkbox — an embarrassment to the Left.

The reality, however, is that Skwawkbox functions as a sort of left-wing mirror image of the right-wing tabloid press, or of alt-right sites like Breitbart News. It employs the same unscrupulous, sensationalist journalistic methods, but for opposite political ends. Skwawkbox appears incapable of grasping that socialist aims cannot be achieved by such anti-socialist means.

And Phil:  The Alt-Left: A Critical Appreciation.

In his critique of Skwawkbox, Bob Pitt argues that blog proprietor Steve, and by extension the rest of the alt-left stable, blur the line between political analysis and conspiracy theorising – and establishes this via a forensic analysis of Steve’s piece on Grenfell and his argument the media were subject to a D Notice. As such, he suggests they have a cavalier attitude to the truth similar to the fake news we find peddled by Breitbart and co, except from the diametrically opposed perspective. Because these pieces can then easily be picked apart by fact-checking, Bob believes they flout journalistic ethics and embarrass the left as a whole.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 18, 2017 at 4:52 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Is the Bob Pitt you refer to the same as the one who ran the now defunct Islamophobia Watch? I’m just asking.

    Dave Roberts

    July 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

  2. Dave Roberts: why is that relevant? Squeekbox is the InfoWars of the UK left. It has run stuff suggesting that the Manchester attacks were a ‘false flag’, thereby suggesting that either victims or public service workers are ‘crisis actors’. It told Grenfall victims to contact the police (because they ran story after story questioning the death toll), blindly unaware of why unregistered migrants might not want to.

    Pabloite is quite correct to point at the real world impact of this site and is past time to call out those, like Clive Lewis and many others, who are providing it with credibility.

  3. I volunteer as an advisor at the CAB. The fixed time point cannot be assumed to apply. The difficulty is that Job Centre +/ DWP decisions are often arbitrary and some of their employees simply do not know the rules. Disabled people in my experience are more likely to get the dirty end of the stick. So I would cut Swawkbox some slack on this issue, particularly as they were quick to modify their initial response.. The general problem they have is that they see themselves as a tabloid type left wing answer to the Sun and Express. This involves, on occasion, positions that are over hyped, oversimplified and inadequately checked. All of those aspects do not help in the necessary building of a rational and objective response to the myths of the right


    July 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

  4. I am also very aware of the immense problems that people on the various disabilities faces.

    What they do not need is the threat of the 2 year period, which was the headline, being brandished to make them more anxious, particularly as Skwawkbox’s ‘evidence’ is based on “information from a recent DWP employee”, that is a single individual, and, as the backtracking indicates, somebody in no serious position to know the facts as will apply under Universal Credit.

    It is a disgrace.

    Yes, it is the Bob Pitt, also Editor of the journal (ceased publication) What Next? and an employee of Ken Livingstone when he was London Mayor.

    He is in a position to know something about London, the Labour Party, and the background that informs his critique.

    Andrew Coates

    July 19, 2017 at 11:08 am

    • As predicted he has squawked and squawk in an effort to get out of this one.


      “The SKWAWKBOX contacted a PCS union official who specialises in UC for clarification and received this response:

      I’ve been looking at the regulations and I can’t find anything that refers specifically to a fixed time limit in which to find employment.”

      But, refusing to admit scaremongering, he continues,

      “The sanction regime is clearly arbitrary, deeply unfair and dangerous – but there is no rule mandating a fixed time-limit for a claimant to find work.”

      And wriggles out of responsibility by saying.

      “”There are no automatic sanctions, but there does appear to be a de facto use of a 2-year period as a trigger for moves to manoeuvre or bully claimants into a position where they are subject to sanctions if they do not meet arbitrary conditions.

      This may be the source of the initial confusion of the reports the SKWAWKBOX received independently from DWP/recent-DWP employees. If you are subjected to this treatment, it is not in accordance with UC rules, so challenge it. Seek help to do so if needed.

      As far as there is a definitive answer, this appears to be it.”


      Moral: Do not Trust anything Skwarky says, ever.

      Andrew Coates

      July 19, 2017 at 12:10 pm

  5. Spot on. Skwakbox peddles fake news, then blames the establishment. Needs to be called out.

    John Davies

    July 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

  6. Paul Canning

    You sure it wasn’t Ipswich Unemployed Action, part of the Andrew Coates portfolio of websites, who ran a story suggesting that the Manchester attacks were ‘false flags’?


    July 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    • How we laughed Swaky….

      No. we did not.

      Andrew Coates

      July 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm

  7. “A lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

    — Mark Twain

    Mark Twain

    July 19, 2017 at 3:08 pm

  8. Swaky, F’off.

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