Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019


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#56181
Kim Sanders-Fisher

Johnson began Prime Minister Questions on Wednesday by giving our favourite political football a swift kick. His determination to race ahead with the easing of lockdown restrictions has NHS staff bracing for the inevitable ‘Boris Spike’ rolling down the road at top speed. The resurgence of cases in Leicester was not enough to deter his wholesale enthusiasm for getting phase two of the Herd Nerd’s vile eugenics program underway. Cummings remains in post so the ‘Slaughter of the Sheeple’ will proceed as planned, eliminating the ‘economically inactive’ and a few targeted minority groups. Johnson’s glowing praises for NHS workers are shallow words to all the staff who felt so despicably abandoned by this callous Tory Government when they repeatedly begged for adequate PPE supplies as they lost valuable colleagues to Covid 19. The PM had basked in the glory of his Nightingale vanity project, facilities converted at huge profit to his elitist palls but, with no staff to man them, they remain barely used white elephants.

The Tory Government who froze their wages has no shame and the PM who cheered when Nurses were denied a fair pay rise still fails to recognize the hypocrisy of his ‘Clapping for Carers.’ Johnson drew together his next hit on the NHS scheduled to be launched on the day before the anniversary of the inauguration of our NHS. His bluster was unstoppable as he said, “May I start by commending the Together Initiative for organising this coming Sunday what will hopefully be the nation’s biggest ever Thank You Day to mark the birthday of the NHS? It will provide the perfect moment to thank not just our amazing NHS and care workers, but also those key workers who have helped in the national effort throughout our fight against Coronavirus and, indeed, all those across the country who have gone the extra mile for their local communities in these challenging times. I am sure we can agree across this House that the NHS represents the very best of us, and that we will always be there to support it.”

tHEN fellow Tory Richard Graham chimed in saying, “Today is the 72nd anniversary of the NHS and a good moment for us all to appreciate the immense role of the NHS in all our constituencies…” He went on to hype-up Boris Johnson’s ambitious infrastructure and building pledges, in reality a ‘New Steal’ from Labour, only temporarily on offer to placate the masses and distract from the inevitable misery of rampant unemployment and deprivation that will hit the poor the hardest. Graham had his own pet proposal to pitch for an eco park and green energy park plus a “shovel-ready” cycleway project; as if Tories actually understood environmental protection and the looming climate crisis; they will always revert to: “get rid of all that green crap!” But it was just the kind of resounding supportive praise this narcissistic PM so desperately craves and Johnson was ready to reciprocate in the ‘stroking,’ thanking his hon. Friend.

It was time for a more challenging real question, but Keir Starmer started calmly with a subtle dig, perhaps alluding to the paradox elaborated on above, he said, “May I, too, celebrate the birthday of the NHS, as we all will this Sunday, particularly at this time?” Starmer seized the opportunity to attack the weakest link of this shambolic Government’s delayed action plan for Leicester caused by the obsessive centralization of data to stoke the profits of crony capitalism. Going straight for the jugular he asked, “At the daily press conference on the 18th of June, the Health Secretary said, “There’s an outbreak of Covid-19 right now in parts of Leicester”, yet it was only on Monday evening this week that the Government introduced restrictions. That is a delay of 11 days, during which the virus was spreading in Leicester. Why were the Government so slow to act?”

This had been deeply embarrassing for the Government and Johnson needed to muster his ‘Boris-Shit’ and bluster to spin his way out of this with the pretence of decisive action. He said, “Well, actually, the Government first took notice and acted on what was going on in Leicester on 8 June, because we could see that there was an issue there. We sent mobile testing units – four more mobile testing units – shortly thereafter. We engaged actively with the authorities in Leicester, with public health in Leicester and with everybody responsible in Leicester in the way that we have done with other areas that have had similar issues. Unfortunately, in Leicester, it did not prove possible to get the results that we have seen elsewhere, so on Monday we took the decision, which I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman approves of, to go into lockdown in Leicester. I have been absolutely clear with the House and with the country that we are going forward. We have made huge progress, but, where necessary, we will put on the brakes. We acted decisively, and I think it was the right thing to do.”

Starmer was about to drop the starkest of truth bombs as the discrepancy in reported test results between pillar 1 and 2 was simply staggering. He said, “I do support the Government’s decision of Monday, but I think the 4,000 businesses and 160 schools that are now shut might take some persuading that the Government acted quickly enough. One of the problems in Leicester was that the local authority had only half the data. It had data for pillar 1 Covid tests–NHS and care worker tests, and tests in hospitals–but not for pillar 2 tests, which are the wider tests in the community. That may sound technical, but it meant that the local authority thought there were 80 positive tests in the last fortnight when the real figure was 944. The local authority was given the real figure only last Thursday, so there was a lost week while the virus was spreading. There are now real fears of further local lockdowns across the country. Can the Prime Minister give a cast-iron guarantee today that no other local authority will ever be put in that position again?”

The truth was not about to set him free, but Boris Johnson has always felt really comfortable lying, so he claimed, “I am afraid the right hon. and learned Gentleman is mistaken, because both pillar 1 and pillar 2 data have been shared, not just with Leicester, but with all authorities across the country. We did in Leicester exactly what we did, for instance, in Kirklees, Bradford, Weston-super-Mare or other places where very effective whack-a-mole strategies have been put in place.” When scrambling for who to blame, it was standard Tory policy to coapt the whole House and blame the victims. True to form the PM said, “For reasons that I think the House will probably understand, there were particular problems in Leicester in implementing the advice and getting people to understand what was necessary to do. But, let’s face it: we have had to act and the Government have acted. He wants to know whether we will act in future to ensure that we protect the health of the entire country, and I can tell him that we will, absolutely.”

Starmer couldn’t let the lie stand, he had to clarify, “I spoke to the Mayor of Leicester this morning, and I know the Prime Minister spoke to him yesterday, and he was absolutely clear that he did not get that data until last Thursday – I doubt he told the Prime Minister something different yesterday. The Prime Minister cannot just bat away challenge; these are matters of life and death, and people’s livelihoods. For example, last week, my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Peter Kyle) asked the Prime Minister, ‘How can seaside towns be expected to cope with the likely influx of visitors to beaches and parks during the hot weather?’. The Prime Minister replied, ‘Show some guts’.” Too many of us fail to realize that to create victims ripe for blame the Tories must ramp-up their seriously bold prodding! Did Starmer really expect a humble admission of guilt when he asked, “Two days later, Bournemouth beach was closed; there were 500,000 visitors and a major incident was declared. Does the Prime Minister now regret being so flippant?”

He had been proud of his Churchillian “show some guts” incitement which succeeded in sending the Sheeple flocking to the beach; foolish blame worthy victims to fuel the next ‘Boris Spike!’ Johnson criticized, “I really think the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not distinguish himself by his question, because I was making it absolutely clear that as we go forward with our cautious plan for opening up the economy, it is very, very important that people who do represent seaside communities, places where UK tourists will want to go, should be as welcoming as they can possibly be. That was the message that I think it is important to set out. But it is also vital that people behave responsibly. That is why the scenes in Bournemouth were completely unacceptable and it is why we stick to the advice that we have given. I made it absolutely clear that if people are going to travel to the seaside and take advantage of the easing of the lockdown, they must observe social distancing, and it is everybody’s responsibility to ensure that that is the case.”

Starmer proceeded with his attack saying, “The Prime Minister must understand why this is of such concern. There is a nationwide lifting of restrictions this weekend, without an app, and without clear data for local authorities or the world-beating system we were promised… I do support it, but I am not blind… I support the easing of restrictions but, unlike the Prime Minister, I am not blind to the risks, and I do not think anybody else should be. Last week, I pointed out to the Prime Minister that two thirds of people with Covid-19 are not being reached and asked to provide their contact details. The Prime Minister, typically, said it was all a stunning ‘success’. The updated figures now show that things have got worse; of the 22,000 new cases of Covid infections per week in mid-June, just 5,000 were reached and asked to provide details. So now three quarters of people with Covid-19 are not being reached. How does the Prime Minister explain that?”

Through no fault of the workers involved the Government outsourced track and trace staff are sitting idle while local authorities are doing all the heavy lifting; Johnson will not admit to that. Instead Boris proceeded to brag and tout big numbers to impress. He said, “As the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows very well, the test, track and trace operation is reaching huge numbers of people and causing them to self-isolate in ways that I do not think he conceivably could have expected a month ago when the system was set up. It has now reached 113,000 contacts who have undertaken to self-isolate to stop the disease spreading, and that is why the number of new infections has come down for several days running to below 1,000, and the number of deaths continues to come down. That is a great achievement on the part of the entire population and their willingness to support test and trace.”

Starmer tried to press his point saying, “If the Prime Minister cannot see that three quarters of those with covid-19 are not being contacted and asked for their own contacts, that is a real gap in the system. He cannot just brush it away by referencing those that are contacted. It is a real problem and it is growing; it is going to have to be addressed. The Prime Minister did this at phase 1, brushing away serious concerns.” It was time for another line of attack, he continued, “I want to turn to the Prime Minister’s speech yesterday, if I may. Amid the normal bluster, there was a really striking line in that speech. The Prime Minister said: ‘We…know the jobs that many people had in January are…not coming back’. I fear that this is the equivalent of the line in the Prime Minister’s speech of 12 March when he said: ‘I must level with you… Many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.’ We know what happened next. That is why there needs to be a laser-like focus on protecting jobs, so how many jobs does the Prime Minister think yesterday’s announcement will protect?”

First Johnson needed to establish the false impression that Starmer was not in favour of the job protections he put in place. The PM said, “ The right hon. and learned Gentleman might first pay tribute to the work of this Government in protecting 11 million jobs throughout this crisis. He might draw attention to the fact that we have supported huge sectors of the UK economy at a cost of £120 billion. I am not going to give a figure for the number of job losses that may or may not take place, but of course the risk is very serious, as he rightly says.”

There was no way Johnson was going to quantify the massive unemployment disaster that lay ahead, so what did Starmer expect to accomplish when he asked a question that was bound to elicit copious bragging from the PM over Government projects that may never transpire? There would be more than enough Tory MPs ready to bolster Johnson insatiable ego with non-question ‘stroking’ that easily got the PM spouting fake promises of prosperity, without Starmer joining in the stroking process! Johnson was on a roll with his reply, “That is why we are proceeding with the new deal, the fair deal for the British people, which will be not just massive investment in our national health service – £34 billion in our NHS – and £14 billion more into our schools but an investment in infrastructure going up to £100 billion. We are going to build, build, build and deliver jobs, jobs, jobs for the people of this country.”

Perhaps Starmer had elicited the PM’s bragging to set a trap and Johnson raced right into that trap! Starmer hit him with the facts, “The reality is that the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday was investment equivalent to less than £100 per person across the United Kingdom – 0.2% of GDP. Not much of his announcement was new and it certainly was not much of a deal. Meanwhile, as the Prime Minister was speaking, Airbus announced 1,700 job losses, EasyJet announced 1,300 job losses and T. M. Lewin and Harveys announced 800 job losses. That was just yesterday. There was nothing in the Prime Minister’s speech for the 3.2 million people in hospitality or the 2.9 million in retail. Next week’s financial statement could be the last chance to save millions of jobs. Will the Prime Minister start now by extending the furlough scheme for those parts of the economy that are still most at risk?”

Johnson’s illusionary bubble of generosity just burst, but realizing that he was in a hole, he kept digging furiously, saying, “Let me repeat and remind the House that, overall, the package represents a £600 billion package of investment in the UK economy. The best single thing we can do is get our economy back to health by getting our people back into work and getting the virus defeated and under control, and the best thing that the Opposition could do is stop equivocating – doing one thing one week and one thing another week – and decide that they emphatically support ending the lockdown and emphatically support kids being back in school rather than being bossed around by the unions. We are the builders; they are the blockers. We are the doers; they are the ditherers. We are going to get on with it and take this country forward.” Johnson was trying to sound Churchillian, but his message was falling flat; they had all heard similar hype and empty promises from the Tories before, ho hum!

The furlough scheme had served its purpose well, conveniently spreading the massive Covid driven unemployment crisis out more evenly over several months to reduce public alarm, avoid spooking small businesses while siphoning Government money towards favoured Corporate cronies and major Tory donors. In addition a number of high wage employers had realized there was a great opportunity to move from furlough, to redundancy, to rehire for lower wages and curtailed benefits all under cover of the scheme. The Canary Reported that, “Boris Johnson has said there will be no further extension to the government’s furlough scheme. His comments come despite a fresh wave of job losses across the country. We’ve spent £120 billion supporting people, it’s a huge commitment… But I think people need to recognise that the particular restrictions that furlough places on you are not, in the long term, healthy either for the economy or for you as an employee.”

Also buried in Johnson’s blizzard of rhetoric he recklessly taunted the Labour Leader over caution from Teachers regarding a safe return to the classroom by saying Starmer should, “emphatically support kids being back in school rather than being bossed around by the unions.” It has already emerged that it was in fact a battle over Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey’s safety first, principled stand on Labour’s school return policy that caused Starmer to sack the only staunchly progressive Socialist in his Shadow Cabinet. Despite protestations that he was adhering to a zero tolerance policy on anti-Semitism this feeble excuse has been ridiculed and thoroughly debunked in a Skwawkbox Article covering her sacking. This has signified an unpopular lurch to the right in a bid to oust the entire Left wing faction of the Labour Party and banish them into obscurity, but despite accolades from the media and jubilation from the Tories, there are strong indications that Starmer’s clean sweep will seriously backfire.

In documenting verbatim the exchanges between Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer, the inadequacies of the opposition response are obvious. The admonishing tone of Starmer’s questioning fruitlessly invites a fulsome confession of serious wrongdoing and incompetence that a PM of Johnson’s extremely fragile ego is not going to provide. From examining Johnson’s duplicitous responses it’s clear that all this strategy has ever managed to accomplish is the provision of an open invitation for an extremely accomplished liar to reinforce and embellish his fanciful promises of massive funding and shovel-ready projects that will never reach fruition! Starmer and his team need to make an honest assessment of the validity of this strategy and significantly change tactics. I am not saying that Starmer shouldn’t criticise Johnson and his corrupt Tory cabal, far from it, but this skilled former Prosecutor’s approach must be to entrap the PM with his own rash statements. He must be forensic in exposing and prying open the damaging documented facts that Johnson is so successfully keeping hidden.

In the past when Starmer has announced that he will expect to see a particular piece of data, it puts Johnson on the spot, forced to produce it the following week. Repetition isn’t always redundant; the PM needs to hear that Cummings removal is still an issue and the Russian Report must be published. I must repeat, “Time and distance will not erase the public perception of injustice and corruption so it must become a regular demand, week on week, until it’s a constant buzz in the media and too embarrassing for Johnson to ignore. The message right now is that Johnson, all Tory MPs, Advisors and appointees are above the law; this is a perfect prelude to decades of dictatorship! Following the as yet still totally unchallenged success of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election there is an even greater need for a strong opposition; without it we will descend into fascism with little or no resistance.” Starmer is failing to provide strong opposition, hence the accolades from the BBC and far right media; the progressive Left must regroup to strengthen their resolve. DO NOT MOVE ON!