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

In the week just past a certain cruel dichotomy could not have been more stark. Newsnight featured pictures from Mars as the US landed a roving vehicle on its barren red surface. The thrill… what a tremendous achievement for mankind, plucky or just lucky the rover aptly named ‘Perseverance’ had arrived safely on the Martian terrain ready to collect samples to bring back to earth ten years on. Yet on our own lush ‘blue planet’ a far darker scenario unfolds as the US and UK back the Saudi efforts to bomb the people of Yemen into a barren wasteland that will rival Mars; do those broken bodies of emaciated children belong in the same time frame? Our scorched earth policy of destruction overseas is matched by a callous disregard for life here in Brittain, where our ruthless Tory Government is content to see school children falling through our gutted social safety net, driven into abject poverty and destitution. When forced back to class, they will battle pangs of hunger learning a harsh reality of the barbarity that passes for modern society!

How can such an impressive, technological advanced society that landed a rover on the surface of Mars, ignore the mayhem of the devastation of their high-tech weaponry or ignore the impact of sanctions and other ruthless fiscal policies they fully realize are perpetuating misery here on earth? There is no need for such destruction, such unconscionable manipulation of the global and local economy that deliberately created a chasm of disparity between the super-wealthy elite and the grinding poverty of the global majority. The innovative thinking that took us to another planet could so easily have eliminated the gross inequality of our world. The exploited and oppressed will need a good deal more than ‘perseverance’ to survive the billionaire Barron’s boot on their necks. There is a conscious choice to perpetuate the deprivation that leaves so many in dire survival poverty while our ruthless politicians brag about the triumphs of scientists with their victorious conquest of space; as a humane pragmatist I cannot share that pride!

As those scientists enthusiastically tell us of rocks that can be returned from Mars in ten years time perhaps we should imagine what we might so easily accomplish here on earth by then: ending our jingoistic interventions in endless futile proxy wars, stoping sanctions, and treating all people with basic humanity. The haunting image of a child’s skeletally frail body no longer shocks the public into outrage over the atrocities in Yemen, for which the US and UK are partially to blame. One such emaciated child’s picture tops the Morning Star Article headline entitled “16 million risk starvation in Yemen, says UN as Saudi war rages.” They report that “More than 16 million people in Yemen will go hungry this year, a United Nations agency warned today ahead of a conference to drum up humanitarian aid. The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the risk of a major famine in the country, subjected to brutal bombardment and blockade by Saudi Arabia since 2015, ‘has never been more acute’.”

In a recent development the Morning Star report that “Though the new US government of President Joe Biden has blocked arms sales to the Saudis for use in the war, which has killed an estimated 130,000 people and given rise to what the UN deems the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, the Gulf kingdom has shown no sign of backing down in its bid to crush the Shi’ite Houthi movement, which took control of Yemen in 2014, overthrowing Saudi ally Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Riyadh said on Saturday that it had intercepted a Houthi missile over its territory and shot down three bomb-laden drones in a southern province. A major new Houthi offensive in the province of Marib has prompted an escalated Saudi bombing campaign in response, killing hundreds of people. The OCHA said that the fighting there had displaced more than 8,000 people and 380,000 more may have to flee if fighting reaches the provincial capital, many of them already refugees from other theatres of the war.”

The Morning Star claims that “A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, said that the Houthis were targeting civilians ‘in a systemic and deliberate way.’ Yet Saudi Arabia has faced international condemnation for causing heavy civilian casualties by its own bombing of Yemen over successive years, including the targeting of residential areas and hospitals. An August 9 2018 attack on a school bus that killed 40 children and 11 adults sparked worldwide uproar, and the subsequent revelation that the bomb used had been supplied by the United States swung US public opinion against the war, leading Mr Biden to pledge an end to support for Saudi Arabia.” When will the British finally pay more attention to the carnage on earth and a little less attention to the recovery of rocks from the surface of Mars?

the Morning Star note that “Despite publishing a report by US intelligence agencies on Friday that concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had personally approved the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Washington will not be taking any action against him, while its ban on arms sales has not been emulated by Britain, which continues to sell weaponry to Riyadh.”
For a few billionaire Brits the bottom line is essentially the bottom line, wars are massively profitable for those willing to supply the weaponry and so the global carnage continues unabated. In an earlier Canary Article entitled, “The UK has made billions from helping Saudi Arabia create a humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” they outline the solid financial motivation behind distressing UK foreign policy. They say that “In its latest report, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) has revealed that the UK has exported £6.2bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in the last four years.”

The Canary report how “The trade has fed Saudi Arabia’s ongoing war in Yemen and contributed to a growing humanitarian crisis. The Saudi-led war in Yemen has now created what the UN has described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. On 15 August, NGOs Mwatana and Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) reported that Saudi Arabia had ‘whitewashed significant civilian harm’ and was guilty of violations of international humanitarian law. The Canary has previously reported on the extent of the UK’s complicity in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. A briefing paper from the House of Commons states: ‘the UK was the second-largest exporter of arms to Saudi Arabia (after the US) between 2010 and 2018, and larger than all other countries combined. Between 2010 and 2018 Saudi Arabia was the largest importer of arms from the UK; the total volume of arms transfers was around 43% of the UK’s total arms export volume.”

The Canary reported that “On 20 June 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that weapons exports to Saudi Arabia are ‘unlawful’. But according to CAAT: ‘[The] UK Government has invited Saudi Arabia and other coalition members to London next month for one of the world’s biggest arms fairs.’ Andrew Smith from CAAT stated: ‘Thousands of people have been killed in the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen, but that has done nothing to deter the arms dealers. The bombing has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the complicity and support of Downing Street. These arms sales are immoral and illegal.’ CAAT has also reported on British arms trade to other Gulf countries that form part of the Saudi coalition, adding that: ‘In reality, the figures are likely to be a great deal higher, with most bombs and missiles used by Saudi forces being licensed via the opaque and secretive Open Licence system.” A revealing RT News Video presentation is included in the piece.

The Canary Quoted “Sarah Waldron of CAAT said: ‘These new figures are shocking and once again illustrate the UK government’s determination to keep supplying arms at any cost. UK-made weapons have played a devastating role in the Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, and the humanitarian crisis they have created, yet the UK government has done everything it can to keep the arms sales flowing.” But this is just one foreign arena of British-sponsored aggression for profit and the UK’s determination to monetize misery. The unconditional support of Apartheid Isreal in their systematic persecution of the Palestinians remains another of the most lucrative among profitable UK atrocities overseas. UK bulldozers are used to obliterate homes and encampments in occupied West Bank, sweeping the earth clear of human detritus to render the vacated ground as bare and lifeless as the Martian terrain. Is Keir Starmer now ready to hail this as another victory of modernity as Israel consolidates its theft of Palestinian land unabated?

In the Canary Article entitled, “Israeli army repeatedly destroys Palestinian Bedouin village,” they expose the relentless ongoing persecution of the Palestinians. Back in early February, they documented how “On Monday heavily armed Israeli soldiers arrived in the Palestinian Bedouin village of Humsa. They used a bulldozer, manufactured by British company JCB, to flatten people’s tents and possessions while the villagers looked on. This was the third time in just one week that soldiers had come to demolish homes in Humsa. The demolitions are part of a colonial policy, aimed at stealing Palestinian land. Aisha, one of the residents of Humsa told journalists from Middle East Eye: ‘The community has become rubble. The Israeli army came and destroyed all of our homes and tents. We are now in the open, between the grounds and the sky. …We have no alternative but to remain here on our land. They will continue to demolish and we will continue to build and remain steadfast here’.”

“The Canary also spoke to Palestinian activist Jamal Jumaa. He told us: The destruction of Humsa community in north of Jordan Valley by the Israeli occupation forces is part of an ethnic cleansing plan targeting Palestinian communities this is a crime against poor people, who [have been] living on their land hundreds of years, destroying their future, terrifying them.” He said in outrage, “for those companies [whose] bulldozers are used for the destruction of these communities, I’m telling them, ‘shame on you’. JCB is owned by the Bamfords, one of the wealthiest families in the UK. The company is currently facing an investigation over the use of JCB machines in home demolitions.” But we can take protest action here in the UK in solidarity with the oppressed. The efforts of ‘Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) are far-reaching and capable of exerting great pressure on the ruthless Israeli Government if we continue to escalate our involvement; remember it was pariah state isolation that brought South African apartheid to an end.

The Canary said that they, “Asked Jamal how we should respond to these demolitions and what action ordinary people could take against companies like JCB. Here’s what he said. We should gather our efforts to boycott them, to isolate them, and to tell them: ‘what you are doing is violating international law; what you are doing is horrible. It’s crimes against humanity used by this criminal state’. JCB has been told time and time again that their equipment is being used in Israel’s home demolitions. It’s time for JCB’s directors to distance themselves from state-sanctioned racism, and to prevent JCB equipment being used by the Israeli army.” We cannot allow the new rogue leadership of the Labour party under Trojan horse Starmer to force the thus far Palestinian supporting, Labour membership to condone of facilitating the expansionist Zionist cause. The Starmer lurch to the right, cheering for nationalism, patriotism, flag-waving and toxic foreign intervention is a return to Blairite warmongering; this must be rejected: Starmer has to go.

Starmer is working to destroy the progressive Left of the Labour Party, courting the Zionist Lobby, appeasing the Tories by offering zero opposition in total support of Boris Johnson, regressing Labour to a familiar Neocon stance of the past. Starmer will help with the continuing Tory revamp of austerity! In the Canary Article entitled, “Exposed: Devastating DWP cuts have led to more people dying during the pandemic,” they reveal the extent of damage this Tory Government has wrought here in the UK. “Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) welfare cuts have had a “direct” and “negative” impact on people’s mental and physical health. That’s the view of a new report into the UK’s social security system. Moreover, the research also highlights how DWP’s changes over the past five years led to a perfect storm of deprivation and ill health when the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic hit. Taken as a whole, the report’s findings suggest a greater number of people have died and suffered during the pandemic because of the cuts.”

The Canary outline how back to 2016, “The Conservative government put in place the Welfare Reform and Work Act. It made sweeping changes to the social security system. The then work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said at the time it would form part of: the Government’s aim to move from a high tax, high welfare and low wage society to a low tax, lower welfare and higher wage society. This Bill lays the ground for that commitment and helps us to continue the job of reversing the Labour’s Government’s failure that led us into the difficulties we inherited. Now, five years on, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Health in All Policies has looked at the Act. It has analyzed the effect it has had on social security claimants. And the APPG has also looked at how the 2016 changes have affected society overall. Its findings and conclusion are damning.”

The Canary describe the “Sweeping changes,” saying that “The act made numerous changes to social security. As the APPG’s report laid out, it: ‘Reduced the benefit cap (the total income from social security support)’; Put in place the ‘benefits freeze’; ‘Limited the amount of support provided by child tax credit for families who become responsible to a third or subsequent child born on or after 6 April 2017’; ‘Limited the child element of universal credit to a maximum of two children’; ‘Removed the Work-Related Activity [WRAG] component in Employment and Support Allowance [ESA] and the Limited Capability for Work element in Universal Credit’. In short, all these were effectively cuts or restrictions on the amount of money the DWP gave to claimants. Now, by combining lots of research, the APPG has reported on the vast impact the act has had.”

The Canary focused on the “Five key areas” as “The APPG looked at the act in the context of five areas. These were: Benefit cap: £1.62bn cut; Benefit freeze: £10.2bn cut; 30% of households saw a reduction in money; Two child limit: £5.35bn cut, affecting 3.8 million families – ‘Abolition of £30 a week support for disabled people who were unfit for work (ESA WRAG)’: £1.365bn cut, affecting half a million disabled and sick people – ‘Extension of sanctions to ‘responsible carers’ (parents of pre-nursery age children).’ Then, its report compiled lots of evidence. This showed that the 2016 act has not done what the Tories claimed it would do. In fact, when you look at what has happened, it has really done the opposite.”

With the impact well illustrated by graphs included in the article, the Canary reported on the “Overarching negative effects,” noting that “After the Tories put the 2016 Act, and one from 2013, in place, The APPG report notes the following effects. Child poverty went up: The number of homeless children in March 2019 was 51% higher than in 2014 – Trussell Trust foodbank use went up –
There was a rise in children on Free School Meals. But it was the APPG’s analysis on welfare reform’s effects on people’s physical and mental health which made for the starkest reading. DWP reforms: literally making people sick Its research noted that: Infant mortality rose from 3.6 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 3.9. The report said this was ‘unprecedented in modern history’. The report also said that from 2016-18 there was a ‘16.4% increase in the number of women with 2 or more children terminating their pregnancies compared to increases of 7% and 10.3% for women with no children and one child, respectively’.”

“The Canary documented other negative health impacts: Disabled people’s anxiety increased; Disabled people’s loneliness increased. It also noted that: more than half of the 14 million people living in poverty have a disabled person in their household. Approximately 6.5 million disabled adults and children are living in poverty, with disabled working-age adults having the highest rate (40%). Although physical disability rates have stayed the same over the last 5 years, mental health conditions have increased. Since 2012, there are an additional 1.6 million people with a severe mental health condition or mental disability. Then, it cited 2017 research which said that negative health behaviors like smoking and not eating fresh fruit and vegetables were associated with increased poverty. More research showed that poor children: were more likely to have socioemotional behavioral problems, cognitive disability and to be overweight or obese.”

The Canary reported on another disquieting revelation potentially “Shortening claimant’s lives? The report also noted that: There was a 9% increase in claimants with ‘depressive-like symptoms’ due to the benefit cap. Another study found a ‘causal relationship between the psychological distress that claimants experienced and moving onto Universal Credit. Abrahams summed up by saying: The impacts of this social security-driven poverty on the health and wellbeing on the population is profound. The United Kingdom is one of a few advanced economies where our life expectancy has flatlined since 2018, with poor areas seeing a decline. But the impact of this poverty on our children on their life chances but also on their longevity is shocking for the 5th richest country in the world. The evidence that for every 1% increase in child poverty there’s an extra 5.8 infant deaths per 100 000 live births shame us. But then the pandemic hit. The report highlights, all of the problems the DWP created made this worse.”

The Canary described how these issues were becoming entrenched noting how, “In early 2020, professor Michael Marmot released a report. It looked at the 10 years after The Marmot Review and looked at the health of society. Marmot found that: People can expect to spend more of their lives in poor health; improvements to life expectancy have stalled, and declined for the poorest 10% of women; the health gap has grown between wealthy and deprived areas. In December last year, he added to his ‘call’ on the government. This was because coronavirus had hit the poorest communities the hardest. Marmot said that the causes of this were the: ‘governance and political culture which has damaged social cohesion and inclusivity; ‘widening inequalities in power, money, and resources’; ‘regressive austerity policies over the last decade’; ‘declining life expectancy and healthy life expectancy of the poorest, particularly women, which is amongst the worst of all comparable economies’.”
The Canary claimed, “In other words, things like the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 had directly led to people dying during the pandemic,” They described “The ‘dehumanization’ of claimants. Abrahams said in a statement that: There is a growing evidence base of the direct and negative impacts of different aspects of the social security system on the mental and physical health of claimants and their families, in addition to the indirect impacts mediated by poverty as a result of having inadequate income from work and/or social security support. In addition to quantitative evidence, we looked at qualitative studies which pointed to a process of ‘dehumanizing’ claimants that eroded their self-esteem and confidence, making them feel worthless. In some cases, the whole experience had proved too much for some claimants and they have taken their own lives. It’s important to note the knock-on impact that this ill health will have on health services and for social protection to be recognized as mitigating against socio-economic health risk factors.” The Canary asked “So, what can be done? Overarching changes needed.”

The Canary report that “The APPG said it wanted the government to make 16 changes. These included: ‘making permanent’ the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift; ‘Removing sanctions’; ‘Eradicating benefit caps and lifting the two-child limit’; ‘Ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit and providing cash grants for low-income households’. But will the DWP and the Tories listen? The Canary asked the DWP for comment. It said in response to the APPG report: This Government has always been committed to supporting the most vulnerable and targeting support to those in greatest need, including boosting welfare support by billions and investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year in mental health services by 2023/24. The DWP also pointed The Canary to additional measures it has put in place. These included the £20 Universal Credit uplift which runs until the end of March, and additional investment in mental health services. Abrahams disagrees” claiming “Money-saving at the expense of people’s lives.”

She told the Canary “The 2016 act has literally done little else except save money. Although the Government achieved their aim of cutting welfare spending by introducing these measures, working-age spending on social security has shrunk by £34bn since 2010, there has been minimal impact on helping to get people into work who wouldn’t have got into work without these measures. In the short term, Abrahams said: This is a clear warning to the Chancellor that, as a bare minimum, he must maintain the £20 Universal Credit uplift in his Budget this week to help alleviate some of the devastating damage caused by this act, and the ongoing effects Covid, on low income families who are already struggling to survive. But it remains to be seen how UK social security will pan out in the long term. The number of Universal Credit claimants has doubled since the pandemic started.” The much-touted vaccines will allow the surviving working poor to return to a ‘new normal’ of ramped-up Tory exploitation with forced repayment of their debt!

Regarding the broken system of Universal Credit the Canary warn that “With around six million people now claiming, it’s likely the problems that the APPG highlighted will now affect even more people and given its track record, it’s unlikely the Tory government will act to stop this.” Both with their jingoistic foreign policy and their torturous continuation of austerity here in the UK the Tories have perfected the art of monetizing misery for the many to enable the enrichment of the few! This is no brave new world of hope and opportunity; the Brexit promise of ‘Global Brittain’ is merely an expansion of Tory exploitation while their ‘Freeports’ provide a Tax Haven closer to home. Their rape of the environment will bring the fantasy of ‘life on Mars’ into stark reality as we turn the blue planet into a desolate lifeless terrain surrounding bombed-out cities filled with starving refugees. The rampant corruption of this rabid Tory Sovereign Dictatorship demands Protest, Challenge and Investigation: they must be removed from office before it is too late. DO NOT MOVE ON!