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Are we really “All in this together?” Not! The Covid crisis has put Tory greed into overdrove as they relentlessly squander public funds. In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Pay rise plans for MPs amid pandemic criticised by unions,” they report how, “Unions have condemned a proposal to raise MPs’ salaries next year while ministers refuse to negotiate a rise for public-sector workers who have maintained services during the pandemic. MPs could receive a pay rise of more than £3,300 a year from next April under new proposals from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). Ipsa is the body responsible for overseeing MPs’ pay, pensions and expenses and is independent from Parliament.” We should bear in mind that despite equally robust restraints on wage increases and the continuation of frozen benefits the Tories accepted an above inflation pay rise in 2019 and an additional operational bonus of £7000 due to extra pressures caused by Covid over and above their often obscene ‘expenses’ claims.
The Morning Star say, “some MPs have expressed unease about being awarded an increase in their current £79,468 salary at a time when many of their constituents are facing redundancies and economic uncertainty. Tooting Labour MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said she would not take the pay rise or, if unable to refuse it, would donate it to charity. Even Tory business minister Nadhim Zahawi described the proposal as ‘inappropriate.’ Mark Serwotka, general secretary of public-sector union PCS, told the Star: ‘The generous pay rise for MPs stands in stark contrast to the thousands of public-sector workers who have suffered pay restraint for more than a decade. Thousands of workers in job centres, at the borders, in tax offices and at airports have kept the country going during a global pandemic and public-health crisis. They deserve no less than a significant above-inflation pay rise and safe working conditions for the phenomenal work they have done throughout the coronavirus crisis. Anything less is an insult to their courageous efforts.”
According to the Morning Star, “The government is also being urged to give nurses an immediate rise, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been condemned for doing ‘absolutely nothing’ about bringing forward pay talks. Dame Donna Kinnair, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, will tell a virtual conference on Thursday that Mr Johnson has not yet entered into talks, despite 14 health unions calling for discussions since July. She will also say that the government should commit to a 12.5 per cent pay increase for NHS nursing staff when it sets out its spending priorities next month. Ms Kinnair will add: ‘Some of [Mr Johnson’s] colleagues tried to tell us we’d just had a rise. One even said there were other priorities. ‘Before they get any ideas this winter, I have something simple to say to Boris Johnson: we don’t want claps, medals or pin badges this time. Just pay us fairly for the tough job that we do’.”
The Morning Star report that, “Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘The public servants who really need a wage rise are the ones who’ve kept us safe, cared for us and kept services running for the past few months. With infections rising it looks like we’re hurtling towards a repeat of the situation in the spring. It’s time for the government to do the right thing and give an early and significant rise of at least £2,000 to every health worker in the country. Care staff also deserve a substantial increase in pay’.”
The Canary Article entitled, “Communities rally to feed hungry children as ministers leave them high and dry” they highlight the extent of the betrayal of our children by this selfish Tory Government. They say, “After a shocking 320 Tory MPs voted to prevent children living in poverty from receiving free school meals during the holidays, local businesses, authorities and community groups are stepping in to plug the gap in duty-of-care. Meanwhile, ministers face a damaging grassroots Tory revolt over the issue. Dozens of people from a range of organisations have stepped in to help their local communities. Health secretary Matt Hancock, who voted against the motion to feed hungry children, has leapt at the chance to praise their ‘absolutely wonderful’ efforts. Meanwhile, he insists that the government has already provided millions to town halls to help their communities.”
The Canary report on how the success of, “A Petition from footballer Marcus Rashford, who has been spearheading demands for the extension of free meals in England over the school holidays, has passed 800,000 signatures, piling further pressure on the government to act. Hancock told Sky News he agrees ‘very strongly’ with ‘the purpose’ of Rashford’s campaign, saying: ‘I think we’re all inspired by the way that he’s led that campaign.’ Whilst Rashford is no doubt delighted that the health minister is theoretically in favour of feeding children, he did question the government’s willingness to engage with him on the issue. Hancock told BBC Breakfast that the prime minister had communicated with Rashford on the topic: But Rashford’s reply suggested they had not spoken since the government’s U-turn on providing food vouchers during the summer break in June: “Hancock has also said that Universal Credit had increased by £20 a week, while central government has already provided £63 million to local authorities so that they can support people.”
The Canary say, “He hinted that further help could be given, amid reports the government is planning a partial climbdown in time for the Christmas holidays. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: Our attitude and our purpose it to ensure that everybody gets the support they need and no child, of course, no child should go hungry, nobody could possibly want that. The question is how best to do it. Hancock was challenged over whether decisions by councils, businesses and charities to step in showed that more direct action is needed. He apparently sidestepped the question, saying: I think that’s absolutely wonderful that companies have come forward and are playing their part and supporting people in these very difficult times.” He totally failed to comprehend that struggling businesses and concerned citizens should not need to take on the responsibility of the Government to protect children from the misery of starvation in a national health emergency.
Why are Government Ministers so eager to use public funds to carry out unnecessary and costly military interventions overseas that only serve to intensify terrorist activity targeting the UK, nut they consistently fail to protect the most vulnerable members of our society from harm? We do not need Trident we need to end child poverty, destitution and homelessness! The Canary quote Hancock saying that, I also think that it’s brilliant that the councils are coming forward, having been funded by central government, £63 million has gone to councils so that they can do exactly what you say, so that they can support people and make sure that everybody and every child gets the support that they need,” he said. They say “Despite rumours of a grassroots revolt among local Tory councils, Hancock persisted in his view that all was well, saying ‘of course’ he welcomes the support from councils, ‘because that is the councils delivering with the funding that has been provided by central government’. To put the £63m funding in perspective:
• Greater Manchester alone has been granted a £60m relief package to help businesses affected by coronavirus restrictions. Local leaders originally asked for £90m.
• The £63m funding is intended to cover all coronavirus related hardship; not school meals. Leaders of Warwickshire County Council said to the BBC that ‘they had already spent all the money allocated under the £63m fund… and it was not enough to fund school meals too.’
• As The Canary previously reported, the government has squandered nearly a billion pounds giving out coronavirus related contracts to its friends. Much of that money has simply been wasted.
• Meanwhile, taxpayers continue to subsidise MPs’ meals – to the tune of £4.4m in 2018.” That really is an obscene fact!
The Canary point out, “While government ministers stand by and applaud, humans are stepping up, despite their own hardships, to feed hungry children in their communities.” They list a few of the businesses who were eager to contribute, “First stepping in to help include Barry’s Tearoom in Cumbria, Greenfields Farm in Telford, The Watering Can in Liverpool, Jordan’s Cafe in Worthing and Count House Cafe in Cornwall. Rashford, who has used his social media profile to highlight examples of businesses that have pledged to help with meals for local children tweeted: Once again, communities are showing their power and resilience to look after each other in the face of shocking behaviour from ministers who’ve seemingly abandoned hungry children.”
The Tories remain oblivious to the rampant inequality ravaging the UK. In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Millions face poverty and deprivation under strict Tier-3 lockdown restrictions,” they highlight workers severely impacted by the Tory Government’s self-serving and unnecessarily punitive Covid restrictions that have uniquely targeted northern Labour heartlands including those stolen in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. Following Andy Burnham’s defiant protest over the impoverishment of the city they report on, “Protesters to take to Manchester’s streets in anger at government’s ‘disgraceful’ treatment of the city region and its workers,” saying, “Millions of workers face the prospect of poverty and deprivation after being forced into draconian Tier-3 lockdown restrictions from this weekend with utterly inadequate financial support.” They report that, “Protesters will take to the streets of Manchester on Saturday, demonstrating against the government’s ‘disgraceful’ treatment of the city region and its workers.”
The Morning Star detail the extent of the problem as, “A swathe of the North is now subject to the government’s Tier-3 lockdown, which shuts businesses and lays off hundreds of thousands of workers. More than seven million people are affected in areas including Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and South Yorkshire. It was also announced today that Warrington in Cheshire will move to Tier-3 from next week. Laid-off workers will receive only 67 per cent of their income because Chancellor Rishi Sunak axed the furlough scheme, which maintained wages at 80 per cent. Hardest hit will be those on the minimum wage of £8.72 an hour.” In reality the most seriously impacted will be young people who under our warped entrenched inequality are not even entitled to the amount euphemistically called the living wage. Their reduced wage and equally reduced benefit entitlement id predicated on the harsh reality that they must remain living at home with parents, but some cannot rely on this luxury.
In a disgraceful exposure of worker exploitation the Morning Star report that, “As the new restrictions were implemented last night, government figures revealed that an estimated £3.9 billion has been fraudulently claimed by some employers who instructed furloughed staff to keep working and pocketed the payments. HMRC has urged workers to report employers if they suspect furlough payments have been claimed fraudulently.” You would have thought there was a simple way to prevent such exploitation and fraud, but inexplicably this wasn’t written into the program. In this Tory ‘business friendly’ era exposing and prosecuting such employee exploitation cases will be a very low priority. The Morning Star say, “Saturday’s Manchester demonstration in Piccadilly Gardens, organised by Manchester People’s Assembly Against Austerity, is ‘in opposition to the government’s disgraceful treatment of Greater Manchester as we are forced into Tier-3 restrictions without adequate financial support’.”
Chris Neville, one of the organisers, told the Morning Star: “We believe that the government is failing in its duty to protect the population from coronavirus. ‘We fully support the arguments Mayor Andy Burnham has been making as he sought to protect the most vulnerable from the destitution they face after being forced to survive on two-thirds of their income. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have no problem lining the pockets of greedy shareholders by paying private contractors billions of pounds to mess up our track-and-trace system. Yet we are told there is no money to help those who will struggle as a result of their workplaces being forced to close down.” He said, “The People’s Assembly demands that this government agrees to Andy Burnham’s requests for a return of the furlough scheme, as well as income-support – at 80 per cent – for the earnings of the self-employed.”
The Morning Star warn that the, “hospitality industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by Tier-3 restrictions. Pubs, clubs and bars must close completely unless they usually serve “substantial” meals. Those that remain open have a 10pm curfew. Hospitality workers have launched a Cancel the Curfew campaign given the lack of evidence to suggest it has any effect on the spread of the virus. Beginning in Manchester it has been taken up in towns and cities nationwide, including Bristol and London. Bar worker Adam Wilson from Manchester is one of the organisers. ‘A lot of hospitality workers are in dire straits,’ he said. ‘Every city and major town has a Facebook group where we talk to each other and the campaign started from there. We look out for each other. Then it extended to putting pressure on local MPs. Within two weeks we had a question asked in the House of Commons. It’s fully nationwide.”
The Morning Star reported that, “Speakers at Saturday’s Manchester rally from 12 noon include anti-racism campaigner Deej Malik-Johnson, student Lucy Nichols, who contracted coronavirus while confined to her Manchester hall of residence, Steve North of Unison, and Richard O’Brien of Unite. Wales also began a two-week ‘fire-break” national lockdown last night, which economists say will damage the Welsh economy to the tune of £500 million.” Ultimately there are strong indications that the tier system of regional lockdowns will not significantly lower the ‘R’ rate especially while Test and Trace remains so unreliable. This flawed policy is impoverishing already neglected northern communities for no good reason. This shambolic government continues to ignore the rising infection rates in schools where children are being used as the unwitting vectors to spread Covid to older relatives in cramped multigenerational living conditions; this is the motivation for not providing meals to children when they are not in school.
Meanwhile in the Morning Star Article entitled, “Test and trace privatisation is ‘dangerous,’ says Arthur Scargill,” they highlight this Tory Government’s grotesque misappropriation of public funds to channelled to profiteering Corporate entities for the shambolic mishandling of this critical service. They say that, “Arthur Scargill joined the chorus of criticism against the government’s failed coronavirus test and trace system today following calls for the Tory peer overseeing the mayhem to go. The former miners’ leader presented himself as an example of the system’s failure as MPs and ministers called for Dido Harding to be given the boot. Mr Scargill told the Star that he had to self-isolate for two weeks after being in contact with a person who had tested positive. But when he asked to be tested he was told he was not entitled to a test, even though he might have been the original source of the infection.” This is far from a rare occurrence in the abysmal response to tackling the virus.
The Morning Star say that, “Mr Scargill, who was president of the National Union of Mineworkers during the miners’ strike against pit closures of 1984-5, called the privatisation of the service ‘stupid’ and ‘dangerous.’ He said: ‘If the Chinese can test nine million people in a week in Qingdao, I have no doubt that our NHS surgeries and laboratories can test our entire population in eight weeks’.” They point out that, “The government has outsourced testing to a complex network of profiteering, mainly non-medical companies. Accountancy firm Deloitte was given the contract to set up and manage a network of 50 testing sites. Deloitte hired Serco, Sodexo, Mitie, G4S and Boots to staff and manage the sites.” Each time one clueless profit making giant subcontracts to another, often equally inept and inappropriate, private company to accomplish tasks our NHS has excelled in for decades, we lose out. The Tories have taking full advantage of this crisis to set up a profiteering gravy train for their cronies, donors and supporters.
The Morning Star report that, “Senior Tory backbencher Sir Bernard Jenkin, an ally of PM Boris Johnson, said: ‘The immediate priority is to fill the vacuum of leadership in test and trace’ and suggested that Baroness Harding ‘could be given a well-earned break.’ Labour’s shadow mental health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said that Baroness Harding’s position as head of the test, track and trace system was ‘untenable.’ But the government is resisting pressure to sack the baroness, with Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis insisting that she was doing ‘a very good job’.” This is the serial failure Dido ‘Tally-ho’ Harding we are discussing here; the same woman who presided over the massive personal data theft at disgraced phone provider ‘Talk-Talk’. But despite her calamitous track record, the PM rewarded Ms Harding with this staggering responsibility for personal Health data on our entire population and now she is safely ensconced in post she is making an absolute ball-up of the responsibility placed on her.
The determination to keep throwing good money after bad, relying on dysfunctional centralized profiteering companies led by serial loser Dido Harding will effectively kill off whole swaths of the UK population, but that is part of Cummings warped eugenics plan: a ‘Slaughter of the Sheeple!’ We need no more proof of this ruthless Tory agenda, it’s time to stop drinking the Kool-Aid; no, the Tories have no intention of ‘levelling up’ they are “Decimating Down” with cruel avengeance. Their corrupt plundering of public funds paid for the Integrity Initiative to create defamatory propaganda targeting the opposition, but when that was not enough I believe they stole postal votes in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. The first act was crime enough, but a full Investigation would reveal the truth and hopefully delegitimize the fabricated Tory claim to power. The wilful damage being wrought by this corrupt Tory cabal is costing lives; we urgently need to derail this jugenaught of deception before they solidify decades of Dictatorship in the UK. DO NOT MOVE ON!