Another regular reader of this blog has jumped in to send a brilliantly-worked, challenging email to Work & Pensions minister Mark Hoban, who has been responsible for some ridiculous, condescending, deeply dishonest letters about his department’s performance recently.
The email stands on its own, without further input from me – except to say don’t hold your breath for any response, and if one does come then expect more evasion, obfuscation and outright lies:
Dear Mr Hoban,Thanks to the concerned efforts of a blogger I follow (Swawkbox blog) I’m aware of a written response you made to David Rutley MP to a question about welfare reform. I’m also aware that you sent exactly the same response to an entirely different question from another MP, Simon Kirby.I couldn’t fail to notice the irony of this situation in which two totally different questions elicited identical letters. The irony is contained in your own words in that letter in which you claim that the ‘open approach’ of the DWP in publishing a variety of statistics on public webpages allows ‘politicians, academics, the media and wider public’ to be ‘readily able to debate and interpret’ the performance of your Department.I wonder, Mr Hoban, if you realise that the patent refusal of you and your fellow ministers and indeed, it would seem, all members of the Coalition government, to actively engage in any kind of real debate about your performance ( as your letter clearly indicates) is perceived by those academics, the media and the wider public as a tacit admission of your government’s abject failure to conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the offices you all hold?The question of interpretation of those statistics points to an even greater indictment of the Conservative Party’s sickening dishonesty and partisan preoccupation with retaining the power you all consistently abuse. The persistent and deliberate misrepresentation of these statistics in order to mislead the public and stigmatise poor, sick and disabled citizens is despicable and has resulted in much unnecessary suffering and even death. And your persistent denials of these stark realities – such as Mr Duncan Smith’s recent claim (echoing that of David Freud) that the huge increase in demand for food banks is in no way related to the unprecedented slashing of benefits – are patently disingenuous and frankly, insulting to those who are reduced to relying on such charity to feed their families.I would suggest, Mr Hoban, that you and your fellow ministers at the DWP are very well aware of the real effects of your welfare reforms despite your persistent reiterations that they will ‘reduce poverty’. It was obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that your cart-before-the-horse policies of impoverishment before credible job creation would lead to the dire situation we now live with. To claim otherwise is to allow the triumph of vain hope over decades of bitter experience.Will you now take this opportunity to admit the truth – that your policies are causing actual harm and severe hardship to a growing number of people and commit at least to withdrawing the bedroom tax and also to undertaking a comprehensive cumulative impact assessment of your other benefit cuts on the lives of this country’s disabled people?I will refrain from the temptation of harbouring any vain hope when sending you this email since my bitter experience of the past three years teaches me to expect yet another copy of the letter you sent to those two colleagues of yours, which is what caused me to write to you today.However, since this letter and your response (if any) will likely be published on the above mentioned blog you might wish to avoid repeating your mistake and the potential damage that might do to your party’s reputation.yours sincerely