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

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

Kim Sanders-Fisher

The Tory track record is really spotty, performance at PMQs is spotty too; while points of Covid infection spread, control is way off the mark, spot checks for Covid, hey go to Durham? A blotch on the Tory reputation, the subliminal message is quite dotty, but do not put this PM on the spot by peppering him with pointed questions, as Tory ties once again distract debaters with a daft deluge dots! Boris Johnson expected the whole House to join him in “expressing our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Sergeant Matt Ratana,” the Croydon police officer killed in the line of duty. He also drew the attention of MPs to, “the start of Black History Month. For generations, countless people of African and Caribbean descent have been shaping our nation’s story, making a huge difference to our national and cultural life…” These words had a distinctly shallow ring coming from Johnson, a man widely recognized for bigotry, who has not had the courage and common decency to even apologise for his own seriously offensive racist remarks.

The uncertainty of what will happen in the US now Trump has tested positive for Covid was not yet the dominant news item when
Kier Starmer echoed the PMs sentiments in “sending my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant Matt Ratana.
This was a truly appalling incident, and I have to say that every time I contemplate the circumstances, I shudder, and I suspect I am speaking for a lot of people when I say that. It reminds us of the huge debt that we owe to all our police officers and of the risks that they take every day to keep us safe.” He then asked for information Johnson would not have even bothered to contemplate and was therefore guaranteed a non-answer padded out by a short period of PR bragging. Starmer’s first question was, “More than 16 million—around one in four—people are now living under local restrictions. In recent months, 48 areas in England have gone into local restrictions, but only one has ever come out and stayed out—Luton. Why does the Prime Minister think that is?”

Johnson loves questions like this as they offer a golden opportunity to brag and because he has a chance to reinforce his assertion of who is to blame: it was failure to obey his dictates, not the lack of access to tests or the inadequacies of a costly, centralized Tract and Trace service run by an incompetent private provider led by serial failure ‘Tallyho Harding’. He replied, “The right hon. and learned Gentleman is absolutely right to draw attention to the importance of local lockdown measures. I can tell him and the House that since I last updated the House, he is absolutely right to say that there is now a serious and growing problem with the resurgence of the virus, which is why we brought forward the package of measures that we did last week. The reason for the success of Luton is that local people pulled together to depress the virus—to follow the guidance. That is the way forward for the entire country, that is what we did before, in March and April, and I have no doubt that that is what we are going to do again.”

Starmer asked a related question, “When local restrictions were introduced, the Prime Minister described them as a “whack-a-mole” strategy. That implies that at some stage the mole goes down and restrictions are lifted, but in fact, in some lockdown areas infection rates are still going up, and in towns such as Bradford, Bury and Oldham restrictions have now been in place for months. For many of those communities that are affected, things feel like they are getting worse, not better, so I ask a question on their behalf: what is the Prime Minister’s strategy for bringing these places out of restrictions so that they can see their families again?” This might well illicit another blame game response from the PM who is taking no real responsibility for his policy failures.

Johnson replied, “Nobody wants to impose restrictions of this kind, whether in Bradford or anywhere else in the country. We work very closely with local authorities to ensure that we have the right mix of the approach that we adopt. Frankly, when we have the virus going up in the way that it now is in some parts of the country, we have to take strong local action. One important difference between the way the virus is behaving this time and how it behaved in the spring is that it does appear, at the moment, as though the illness is more localised. That is why we need direct local action of the kind that we are taking, in addition to the strong national measures that we announced last week, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman supported and whose effect we hope to see in the coming days and weeks.” The emphasis is always that somehow a high level of obedience will overcome systemic Tory policy failures.

In reality local engagement has been sadly lacking with local leaders discovering that restrictions at the last ditch just as they come into force with no additional support offered to enable implementation. Starmer attacked Johnson’s own confusion saying, “One of the major problems, as we have seen in the last 24 hours, is widespread confusion about the local restrictions, and I do not just mean the Prime Minister not knowing his own rules. Having sat opposite the Prime Minister at PMQs every week, that did not come as a surprise to me. But let me quote to him the Conservative council leader in Bolton, who said that the Government’s handling of restrictions was ‘breeding resentment’ and: ‘It’s become too complex, too complicated…People feel very let down, they feel frustrated…very forgotten’. If the Prime Minister does not understand the rules and his own council leaders are complaining about mixed messages, how does the Prime Minister expect the rest of the country to understand and follow the rules?”

Enlist ‘the people’ to support your chaos and hit back hard… The PM replied, “Actually, I think the people in this country do understand and overwhelmingly follow the rules, in spite of the Leader of the Opposition’s efforts continually to snipe from the sidelines and to undermine what we are trying to do. On the restrictions in the north-east, I cleared that matter up as fast as I could: it is very clear that people should not mix indoors either at home or in a hospitality setting and should avoid socialising outdoors. We need to apply that in the north-east, because that is where the virus is spiking. I think people do understand why we are doing that; I think people get it. I think people want us to defeat this virus, and they want to see us doing it together. Sometimes the Leader of the Opposition backs the Government, sometimes he snipes from the sidelines. May I ask him to be a little bit consistent and show some support. Let’s hear him try to instil some confidence in the British people in the measures that he supports.”

Annoyed, Starmer remarked, “The idea that anybody who asks the Prime Minister a question at Prime Minister’s questions is undermining the Government effort is wearing a bit thin.” Why was he criticizing his champion enabler? “We have openly supported the restrictions, but it is perfectly reasonable to ask why they are not working. I spoke to the leader of Newcastle City Council yesterday. He said the other big problem, apart from Government messaging, is the lack of economic support being provided to local communities under restrictions. Newcastle City Council indicates that by the end of the year 10,000 jobs in hospitality will have been lost. Many businesses are forced to stay closed. Prime Minister, but for these extraordinary restrictions, these are viable jobs. These businesses are doing the right thing. Why have the Government decided that these jobs are not worth saving?” It will be interesting to see how many of the lockdown areas unsupported by the Government just happen to be Labour run Councils?

Johnson started by extolling the virtues of one of his creepy ‘death hugs,’ replying, “As I have said repeatedly, we are putting our arms around the whole of the UK economy. We will do everything we can to save every job. I must say that I saw the Labour leader of Newcastle and I was rather surprised by his comments because, to the best of my knowledge, they were calling for the measures that we put in. The best way to protect our jobs and our economy is to continue to work together, to comply with the measures, to drive down the virus, to keep our children in education—which is an absolute priority for this country—and to keep the economy moving. That is what we want to do. That is the strategy; that is the approach that the Leader of the Opposition supported last week. He now both simultaneously attacks and does not attack the restrictions. Which is it? He has got to make up his mind. If he supports the Government’s policy—if he supports these restrictions—will he say so now?” The PM questions the questioner; he just didn’t get it, Starmer grovelled to Ware’s Whistleblowers and the BoD, why couldn’t he do more grovelling at PMQs?

The Captain of Capitulation was a committed Tory enabler, but Johnson pulled this stunt every week to try to wind Starmer up. Indignantly Starmer reminded him that he, “supported the restrictions, I have done so every single time the Prime Minister has introduced them; he wells knows that. Because of the restrictions, lots of people’s jobs—in Newcastle, it is 10,000 people’s jobs in hospitality—are at risk. I support the restrictions, but the question I asked the Prime Minister is: can the economic support go in for those who will lose their jobs? He did not answer that. There are 10,000 people who wanted an answer to that last question, because they are going to lose their jobs by Christmas. Prime Minister, you really should have answered it. The reality is that the Chancellor has made a political choice to reduce economic support just when the new health restrictions are coming in.”

Starmer continued, “If the Prime Minister does not accept that from me, maybe he will listen to the following example from the Chancellor’s own constituency. This is a business owner. Prime Minister, you might want to listen to what he has to say: “We own a wedding venue in Richmond, North Yorkshire. The Chancellor’s latest plan “does nothing to help us…We cannot employ people to work events which the government are not allowing to take place. Our events team are therefore looking in the face of redundancy as we simply cannot afford to pay wages when events are in lockdown…The jobs are viable if only the Government would allow us to return to work.” He goes on to say: “My events team are talented and fantastic and it is an insult to suggest their jobs are not worth saving.” This is not about supporting restrictions, Prime Minister; it is about what the Prime Minister has to say to those who are at risk of losing their jobs and businesses. What, on behalf of the Chancellor, does he say to that business owner?”

Speaker, Lindsey Hoyle interjected with a word of warning directed at Boris Johnson, “Order. May I just say that it is very important to remind everybody that it is Prime Minister’s questions, not Opposition questions? Prime Minister.” So glad he made that point. The PM said, “I am very grateful, Mr Speaker. I think the answer is very clear. Last week, the Labour party supported the package—the winter economic plan—that the Chancellor put forward. I think most people, looking at the £190 billion that we have invested in supporting our people across this country, will recognise that. The furlough plan alone is far more generous than any other European country. I think most people around the world can see that the Government are putting their arms around the people of this country and helping them through it. We will help. Oh no!” Not another Tory death hug from papa bear Boris!

Johnson continued, “I know that the wedding sector has had a particularly tough time, and of course I feel for the gentleman in Richmond in Yorkshire to whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman refers, who wants his business to go ahead, but the best way forward for him and for all other businesses in the country is if we all pull together now, get the virus done, and keep the economy moving. In the meantime, yes of course this Government are able to supply the support that is needed, which by the way is only possible because we have had a prudent, sensible, one nation Conservative party in power over the past 10 years. The Labour party would have bankrupted the country.”

Starmer said, “It is refreshing to hear the Prime Minister try to dig the Chancellor out of a hole for a change, but I do not think that will wash. The Prime Minister just does not get it. The problem with his argument is this: these are viable jobs, Prime Minister, but for the restrictions. The vacancies for new jobs just do not exist and the training scheme the Prime Minister announced yesterday does not start until April. There is a gap here, and the Prime Minister should not be so tin-eared to those whose jobs are at risk.” After added criticism, he asked one last question, “Finally, tomorrow marks the start of Black History Month. As well as celebrating the huge contribution black people have made to the UK, we must also reflect on the present, and the structural inequalities and discrimination that sadly persist. For example, black women in the UK are five times more likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth. That is truly shocking. Will the Prime Minister commit to addressing that and launch an urgent investigation into the issue?”

The PM tried to suggest Starmer was clueless saying, “The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows full well that the Government have launched an urgent investigation into inequalities across the whole of society. We will certainly address them in a thorough going way. I am amazed that he seems ignorant of that fact, absolutely amazed. It is a quite extraordinary state of affairs. Johnson then reverted to his painfully familiar broken record “is he with us, or against us” tactic to cause confusion and deliberately detract from the question asked. The right hon. and learned Gentleman’s general line of questioning is that one moment he is supporting the restrictions, the next moment he seems to be opposing them. One day the Opposition are theoretically marching side by side with the rest of us trying to defeat coronavirus, the next minute they are off in the undergrowth firing from the sidelines.”

So far, no chance to weaponize the worst Labour quote of the week. Johnson let rip, “I must repeat it: it was the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green), the shadow Education Secretary, who really revealed what Labour is all about. She said that this was a ‘good crisis’ that they intended to exploit. We see this as a moment for the nation to come together, and that is what we are doing.” Johnson had the gall to criticize Labour for “exploiting the crisis” while the Tories were siphoning public money to the Tory elite on an obscene scale. Time for the PMs standard PR pitch, “We are taking the tough decisions that will take this country forward: not just the lifetime skills guarantee, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman was kind enough to mention, but the huge investments we are making in the NHS, in our policing, in affordable housing. This is the Government and this is the party who are taking the tough decisions to take this country forward, while, I am afraid, once again all they want to do is snipe from the sidelines.”

Defending a dram Tory MP David Mundell, “Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is essential that the iniquitous tariffs the US has placed on Scotch malt whisky be removed during the current presidential term? So that that can happen, will he commit the Government, as a matter of urgency, to reaching a bilateral agreement with the US on the Airbus-Boeing dispute?” The PM replied, “I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for raising that important matter, which I have raised several times myself with President Trump and others in the US Administration. We will continue to take a very robust line. It cannot be right that American consumers should continue to pay over the odds for Scotch, or that this discrimination should continue. We will fight it every step of the way.”

SNP Leader Ian Blackford reiterated the previous condolences to the family of the murdered police officer, “Our thoughts are with Matt’s family, friends and colleagues” he said, applauding “the efforts of our police and all our emergency services, who do a wonderful job keeping the rest of us safe.” Blackford also associated himself “with the Leader of the Opposition’s remarks on Black History Month and the responsibility we all have to eradicate inequality;” he had discreetly avoided any mention of our racist PM in this regard. He asked, “Yesterday, the Scottish social attitudes survey revealed that just 15% of people trust the UK Government to work in Scotland’s interest. Last night, Scotland’s MPs voted overwhelmingly against the Tory power grab Bill, but the Prime Minister forced it through anyway, in the biggest attack on our Scottish Parliament in the history of devolution. If the Prime Minister cares to listen—it is not a difficult question—why does he think the people of Scotland have no trust in him or his Government?”

The PM retorted, “I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman is completely wrong in what he says about the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill. Perhaps the people of Scotland deserve to hear from him a clearer account of what it does. After all, the Bill, which I believe the Leader of the Opposition supports, actually devolves power back to Scotland—it gives power back to Scotland. Not only does it enable Scotland to take back control of its spectacular fisheries but it opens up markets for Scottish agriculture around the world. I can tell the House that today is an historic day: after 23 years in which every successive Government have failed, this Government have managed to lift the ban on British beef in America. Scottish beef will be going to the United States, thanks to the efforts of the British Government. That is a fact of which the right hon. Gentleman might, with advantage, inform his electorate in Scotland.” Nice try Johnson, but Blackford and the Scotish people are not so easily duped by your lies and subterfuge.

Questioners were often baffled by Boris’s replies. Blackford said, “I do not know what that was, but it certainly was not an answer to the question. After that performance, it is little wonder that trust in the Government is at 15% and falling. Here we go again—yapping, bumbling, mumbling, but no answer. Since he cannot answer a straight question, I will tell the Prime Minister ….” The Speaker called, “Order. I expected the Prime Minister to be heard; I certainly want to hear the leader of the Scottish National party.” Even with the greatly reduced numbers now attending at any one time the PMs still managed to kick up a din.

Blackford was grateful for the intervention and said, “Thank you, Mr Speaker. We are very used to Scottish voices being shouted down by Tories in this place. A Tory Government who casually and arrogantly break international law and break devolution have shattered any remaining trust in this broken Westminster system. Last night was a defining moment. If the attack on devolution fails to gain the consent of the devolved Parliaments in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, will the Prime Minister withdraw the legislation, or will he force it through against our wishes? Is not the Prime Minister demonstrating yet again that the only way to defend our Parliament and its powers is by Scotland becoming an independent country?”

In tin-ear mode, determined not to listen let alone answer with respect, the PM said, “I think the right hon. Gentleman demonstrates once again that his ambition is simply to foment grievance where no grievance should exist. All the Bill does, in fact, is devolve power back from Brussels to Edinburgh; it gives powers back to Edinburgh, which he should welcome. More important than the powers is the fact that the people of this country are not really interested in wrangling between parties. What the Bill does is protect jobs, protect growth and protect trade in the United Kingdom. That is the most important thing and that is why he should support it.”

A LibDem priority returned as Munira Wilson chided Johnson, “The Prime Minister has reportedly said that improving the lives of disabled people is a personal mission, but his Coronavirus Act 2020 has watered down the right to care for the most vulnerable—particularly the disabled, children with special needs and those struggling with mental ill health. How does renewing the Act today in full stack up with his personal mission, never mind his conscience? Will he finally commit to working across parties to replace these draconian laws to ensure that we protect our most vulnerable and safeguard our liberties?” The PM made an excuse for the negligence as he pretended to take note “We are making sure that everybody in our society gets all the protections they need. I am aware of the easements in the Care Act 2014 that the hon. Lady refers to. It was necessary to put them in temporarily, and we now need to make sure we give everybody the protection that they need. That is what this Government will do.”

The new LibDem Leader, Sir Ed Davies, who has a disabled child posed a similar question re this neglected and abandoned cohort at the last PMQs. It is certainly a valid cause to champion as this Tory Government has cruelly ignored the damning findings of the UN Rapporteur regarding the Human Rights of the disabled in the UK. Governance of a county should be judged by the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens and this Tory Government were already setting a shocking example before the Covid crisis, but they are getting worse while spouting lies about ‘levelling up!’ In reality vast sums of money are being moved from the working poor ‘up’ to the wealthy elite, so we must stop endorsing this Tory lie. The Covert 2019 Rigged Election ‘landslide victory’ was a massive lie that needs to be fully exposed in an Investigation of the result, but the fight-back starts when the public refuse to buy into the lies. The cruelty and inhumanity of this Tory Government will only come to an end by exposing the truth and removing them from office. DO NOT MOVE ON!