The connection between Universal Credit, ordeals and experiments in electrocuting laboratory rats

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Source: The connection between Universal Credit, ordeals and experiments in electrocuting laboratory rats

The connection between Universal Credit, ordeals and experiments in electrocuting laboratory rats

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Politics and Insights

Image result for skinner lab ratI’m currently writing an article about the intimacy between neoliberalism and behavioural economics, following Richard Thaler’s recent Nobel award. While I was researching, I came across an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) document about Nudge from 2012Tax and benefit policy: insights from behavioural economics, which suggested the introduction of “ordeals” into the social security system. The authors claim it would “deter fraud”. Although the IFS didn’t quite commit to calling for the idea to be implemented formally via policy, they did present the idea as an incontrovertible fact. Yet it is a controversial opinion, which is not supported by empirical evidence.

Introducing ordeals to social security also deters our most vulnerable citizens from claiming the support they need in order to live. Because of this, it wouldn’t be possible to determine the number of people who were intending to make a fraudulent claim. Prior to the welfare “reforms”…

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Video: senior Polish politician: EU would rather deal with Corbyn

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The SKWAWKBOX

Radosław ‘Radek’ Sikorski is a prominent Polish politician. As a former Defence minister, a former Speaker of the Polish ‘Sejm’ (lower house) and a seven-year Foreign Minister of the Polish government, he’s ‘been around the block’ – and as a member of the Bullingdon Club, whose former members include David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson, he’s hardly anti-Establishment.

So it carries a fair bit of weight when he says on national TV that the EU would prefer to deal with Jeremy Corbyn.

And that’s not the only thing he said that lays waste Tory and media claims that EU leaders were, supposedly, being ‘nice’ to Theresa May to endorse and strengthen her. Sikorski tells Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy that the claims are a ‘complete British illusion’.

He also:

  • describes the weakness of the Tories’ hand in negotiations
  • states that pretty much the only change the Tories are achieving is…

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Leonard looking strong in Scottish leader race

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Leonard looking strong in Scottish leader race

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The SKWAWKBOX

leonard sarwarThe contest for the leadership of Scottish Labour is a straight fight between the left’s Richard Leonard and former Progress vice-Chair Anas Sarwar. Sarwar’s campaign has hit a number of obstacles, with controversy over his family firm’s low wages to staff and refusal to say whether it recognises unions, over substantial dividends he has taken from it, and over the expensive private school his sons attend, leading to allegations that he is one of ‘the few’.

These revelations and Leonard’s clear anti-austerity stance appear to be taking their toll.

Most Labour MPs and MSPs (members of the Scottish Parliament) came out early for Sarwar – but those are the same MSPs who also came out against Corbyn’s leadership in 2016 and the leadership vote is OMOV (one member one vote), so their declaration is unlikely to have much impact on the result. Certainly it is starting to appear that Labour…

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May’s lie to Queen to cling to power should spark constitutional crisis

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Source: May’s lie to Queen to cling to power should spark constitutional crisis

May’s lie to Queen to cling to power should spark constitutional crisis

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The SKWAWKBOX

In June, the SKWAWKBOX published government documents and legal analysis by constitutional law experts showing that Theresa May ran out of time, according to constitutional law experts, in her attempts to do a deal with the DUP that would allow her to claim ‘the confidence of the House’, ask to form a government and pass a Queen’s Speech.

Last weekend’s Sunday Times ran a front-page story describing Buckingham Palace sources’ ‘exasperation’ that Theresa May ‘misled’ the Queen by claiming that she had done a deal with the DUP, when in fact it took her another seventeen days to do so:

may times.pngThe key parts – blurred but legible – show that this ‘misleading’ was not the only unprecedented aspect of the post-General Election events. May also delayed the Queen’s Speech to gain time for her negotiations, the first time this had ever happened:

may times croppedMay also angered the Queen by telling…

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