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

Boris Johnson began Prime Minister’s Questions with classic nationalist bragging “The whole House can be proud of the UK’s vaccination program, with more than 22.5 million people now having received their first dose across the UK. We can also be proud of the support the UK has given to the international covid response, including the £548 million we have donated to COVAX. I therefore wish to correct the suggestion from the European Council President that the UK has blocked vaccine exports. Let me be clear: we have not blocked the export of a single covid-19 vaccine or vaccine components. This pandemic has put us all on the same side in the battle for global health. We oppose vaccine nationalism in all its forms. I trust that Members in all parts of the House will join me in rejecting this suggestion and in calling on all our partners to work together to tackle this pandemic.” We should question how much this Tory Government might have pressured AstraZenika to reduce supplies to the EU to enable the PM’s political sparring?

The PM gave his usual ‘meetings’ preamble before Labour’s Daisy Cooper asked the key question on everyone’s mind given the Nursing pay issue and release of information on the abysmal record of a failing program the PM entrusted to serial looser Dido ‘Tallyho’ Harding. Cooper’s scathing rebuke was well put as she inquired “The Government are throwing a staggering £37 billion at a test and trace system that we know has made barely any difference, yet they say they cannot afford to give more than a pitiful 1% pay rise to NHS workers. The Prime Minister has said that he owes his life to them. He stood on the steps of No. 10 and applauded them. So will the Prime Minister do more than pay lip service? Will he pay them the wage that they deserve?”

Boris Johnson started into a familiar pattern of distraction and deliberate obfuscation that has become the hallmark of the PM’s rebuttals at PMQs. He was schooling his Ministers in this deceptive technique in order to detract from the relentless squandering of public funds and repeated Tory failures. It required obsessing over the vaccination program, reveling in huge cash expenditures and compulsory use of the term ‘Levelling up’ to brainwash the public into thinking austerity 2.0 wasn’t being aggressively pursued. He replied “The hon. Lady is indeed right that we owe a huge amount to our nurses, an incalculable debt, which is why I am proud that we have delivered a 12.8% increase in the starting salary of nurses and are asking the pay review body to look at increasing their pay, exceptionally of all the professions in the public sector. As for test and trace, it is thanks to NHS Test and Trace that we are able to send kids back to school and to begin cautiously and irreversibly to reopen our economy and restart our lives.”

Tory MP Mr Gagan Mohindra said “I recently visited Long Marston, Bovingdon, Rickmansworth and Berkhamsted to see the damage that flooding caused to our communities at first hand. Will the Prime Minister assure this House that as the weather gets better we will not lose the momentum of finding long-term, sustainable solutions to prevent flooding in the future and to give residents the security they deserve all year round, irrespective of the weather outside? The PM responded, “I thank my hon. Friend for what he is doing to campaign for his local area on flood defenses. I thank the Environment Agency for the tireless, imaginative and creative work it does to find solutions, and we are investing £5.2 billion to build 2,000 new flood defenses over the next six years.” If this were true it might compensate for a portion of the money Tories have cut from the flood defense budget.

Keir Starmer’s first question was short but not sweet, “Who does the Prime Minister think deserves a pay rise more: an NHS nurse or Dominic Cummings?” The PM started into what was soon to become like a ‘broken record’ of repetitive defensive lies saying “As I told the hon. Member for St Albans (Daisy Cooper) earlier on, we owe a massive debt as a society, and I do personally, to the nurses of our NHS. That is why we have asked the public sector pay review body, exceptionally, to look at their pay. I want to stress, however, that, as the House knows, starting salaries for nurses have gone up by 12.8% over the last three years, and it is thanks to the package that this Government have put in place that we now have 10,600 more nurses in our NHS than there were one year ago and 60,000 more in training.” What Johnson fails to recognize or acknowledge is that many among that impressive influx of Nurses brought into service in 2020 were retirees who returned to help out, but their service is purely temporary.

Starmer would have been foolish to stray from this extremely sensitive question so he asked “The Prime Minister says nurses’ pay has gone up; I know he is desperate to distance himself from the Conservatives’ record over the last decade, but as he well knows, since 2010 nurses’ pay has fallen in real terms by more than £800.” He baited the PM further insisting “He did not answer my question, it was a very simple question. The Prime Minister has been talking about affordability; he could afford to give Dominic Cummings a 40% pay rise. He could afford that; now, he is asking NHS nurses to take a real-terms pay cut. How on earth does he justify that?” The public outrage over the conduct and special treatment of the PM’s puppet master remains a gapping Tory wound.

The PM defensively replied “I repeat the point that I have made: I believe that we all owe a massive debt to our nurses and, indeed, all our healthcare workers and social care workers. One of the things that they tell me when I go to hospitals, as I know the right hon. and learned Gentleman does too, is that in addition to pay one of their top concerns is to have more colleagues on the wards to help them with the undoubted stress and strains of the pandemic. That is why we have provided another £5,000 in bursaries for nurses and another £3,000 to help with the particular costs of training and with childcare. It is because of that package that this year we are seeing another 34% increase in applications for nurses. This Government of this party of the NHS are on target to deliver 50,000 more nurses in our NHS.” Johnson is counting on the general public ‘forgetting’ the fact that it was the Tories who removed the Nursing Bursary and burdened Student Nurses with Tuition Fees while working a very demanding apprenticeship!

Missing the very important point regarding replacing funding that was once in place to support Nursing training and not pointing out that many of those who returned to the frontline will soon want to continue their retirement was a missed opportunity. But Starmer responded by saying “The Prime Minister talks about recruitment; there are currently 40,000 nursing vacancies and 7,000 doctors’ vacancies. How on earth does he think a pay cut is going to help to solve that? Frankly, I would take the Prime Minister a bit more seriously if he had not spent £2.6 million of taxpayers’ money on a Downing Street TV studio, or £200,000 on new wallpaper for his flat. They say that charity starts at home, but I think the Prime Minister is taking it a bit too literally. Let me try something very simple: does the Prime Minister accept that NHS staff will be hundreds of pounds worse off a year because of last week’s Budget?”

Johnson needed to offload responsibility for the final decision on Nursing pay so he said “No. Of course, we will look at what the independent pay review body has to say, exceptionally, about the nursing profession, whom we particularly value, but the right hon. and learned Gentleman should also know, and reflect to the House, that under this Government we not only began with a record increase in NHS funding of £33.9 billion, but because of the pandemic we have put another £63 billion into supporting our NHS, on top of the £140 billion of in-year spending. It is because of this Government that in one year alone there are another 49,000 people working in our NHS. That is something that is of massive benefit not just to patients but to hard-pressed nurses as well.”

He still failed to remind the PM he would soon lose many of these staff. Starmer got personal “My mum was a nurse; my sister was a nurse; my wife works in the NHS,I know what it means to work for the NHS. When I clapped for carers, I meant it; the Prime Minister clapped for carers, then he shut the door in their face at the first opportunity. The more you look at the Prime Minister’s decision, the worse it gets, because it is not just a pay cut; it is a broken promise, too. Time and time again he said that the NHS would not pay the price for this pandemic. Two years ago, he made a promise to the NHS in black and white: his document commits to a minimum pay rise of 2.1%. It has been budgeted for, and now it is being taken away. The Prime Minister shakes his head. His MPs voted for it, so why, after everything the NHS has done for us, is he now breaking promise after promise?”

Then Boris Johnson told a ‘Porky’ saying “The right hon. and learned Gentleman voted against the document in question, which just crowns the absurdity of his point. Under this Government we have massively increased funding for our amazing NHS, with the result that, as I say, there are 6,500 more doctors this year than there were last year, 18,000 more healthcare workers and 10,600 more nurses. We are going to deliver our promises, I can tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman that, and we are going to go on and build 40 more hospitals and recruit 50,000 more nurses, and we are going to get on and deliver on our pledges to the British people. We are going to do that because of our sound management of the economy and the fastest vaccine roll-out program of any comparable country which, frankly, if we had followed his precept and his ideas, we would certainly not have been able to achieve.” More PR spin bragging with promises he’s unlikely to fulfill or corrections of past Tory cuts; I thought it was 48 new Hospitals now?

Starmer was so wedded to a predetermined script that he failed to correct the PM or defend the truth of his own voting record! He said “The Prime Minister says that he voted for it; he did. Now he has ripped it up, 2.1% ripped up. If he will not listen to me, he should listen to what his own Conservative MPs are saying about this. This is from his own side. This is what they say, behind you, Prime Minister. ‘It’s inept.’ ‘It’s unacceptable.’ ‘It’s pathetic.’ These are Conservative MPs talking about the Prime Minister’s pay cut for nurses, and that was before his answers today. Perhaps the most telling of all the comments came from another MP, sitting behind him, who said: ‘The public just hear ‘1 per cent’ and think how mean we are.’ Even his own MPs know that he has got this wrong. Why is he going ahead with it?” He will U-turn in deference to a pay review decision be praised for a meager concession!

The PM ‘broken record’ bragging of pseudo generosity was vomit-worthy! “What the public know is that we have increased starting pay for nurses by 12.8% over the past three years. They know that, in the past year, this Government have put another £5,000 bursary into the pockets of nurses, because we support them, as well as the £3,000 extra for training. It is very important that the public sector pay review body should come back with its proposals, and we will, of course, study them. As I say, it is thanks to the investment made by this Government that there are 49,000 more people in the NHS this year than last year. That means that there are 10,600 more nurses helping to relieve the burden on our hard-pressed nurses. That is what this Government are investing in.”

Why didn’t Starmer attack these claims based on their deceptive inaccuracy: the replacement of funding that the Tory Government had taken away in the first place, the recruitment of Nurses driven out of the profession due to low pay and the temporary return of retirees? He just replied “The Prime Minister says, ‘We support them. We’ll reward them.’ He is cutting their pay. ‘Not true’, he says. Prime Minister, a 1% rise versus a 1.7% inflation rise is a real-terms cut. If he does not understand that, we really are in trouble. Mr Speaker, the Government promised honesty, but the truth is that they can afford to give Dominic Cummings a 40% pay rise, and they cannot afford to reward the NHS properly. The mask really is slipping, and we can see what the Conservative party now stands for cutting pay for nurses; putting taxes upon families. He has had the opportunity to change course, but he has refused to do so. If he’s so determined to cut NHS pay, will he at least show some courage and put it to a vote in this Parliament?”

The PM lied “The last time that we put this to a vote, the right hon. and learned Gentleman voted against it, as I said before. We are increasing pay for nurses. We are massively increasing our investment in the NHS. We are steering a steady course, whereas he weaves and wobbles from one week to the next. One week he is attacking us and saying that we should be doing more testing, and the next week he is denouncing us for spending money on testing. One week he calls for a faster roll-out of PPE, and the next week he is saying that we spent too much. He has to make up his mind. One week, he calls for a faster vaccination roll-out when he actually voted, although he claims to have forgotten it, to stay in the European Medicines Agency. Perhaps he would like to confirm that he voted to stay in the European Medicines Agency, which would have made that vaccine roll-out impossible. We vaccinate and get on with delivering for the people of this country. We vaccinate, he vacillates, and that is the difference.”

Starmer had failed to refute the PM’s lie on his voting record so Johnson took the opportunity to reinforce the deception as he started into the main PR Spin of his regular PMQ Party Political Broadcast before his Tory MPs started into their obsequious non-question ‘stroking’ routine. Scott Benton was up first and didn’t disappoint crediting the PM and Tory Government, rather than the NHS, for “The incredible success of our vaccination program…” He was looking forward to a prosperous Summer season in Blackpool and asked the PM to “support a campaign encouraging people to holiday here in the UK…” Latter, in total denial of the incredible damage Brexit has done to our fishing industry, Grimsby’s Tory MP Lia Nici, after hailing the Towns Fund and Humber Freeport and criticizing Labour neglect, appealed for the PM to encourage people to eat ‘British fish;’ (all carrying blue passports?)

Due to technical difficulties with the connection Kirsten Oswald was speaking on behalf of SNP Leader Ian Blackford, when she said “Yesterday, the Prime Minister published his plans for an Erasmus replacement, without any consultation or discussion with the devolved Governments. The replacement scheme offers lower living support, no travel support and no tuition fee support. Why are this Tory Government taking opportunities away from our young people?” The PM remarked “That was a delightfully concise question,” sadly it did not receive an honest answer. Johnson falsely claimed: “the hon. Member is wrong about the difference between Erasmus and the Turing project. Unlike the Erasmus scheme, which overwhelmingly went to kids from better-off homes, the Turing project is designed to help kids across the country, of all income groups, get to fantastic universities around the world.”

Oswald was not content with lies saying “That is just not the case. We know that we cannot trust a word that the Prime Minister says on this. He told us that there was no threat to the Erasmus scheme, but he clearly will not match EU levels of support. And it is not just us saying it; his own Scottish colleague, the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Andrew Bowie), told the BBC last week that young people will not benefit from Brexit. The Government have saddled a generation with tuition fee debt, and are now closing the door on Erasmus. It is no wonder that students are choosing the SNP and independence for a prosperous future. Prime Minister, will you think again, do the right thing, engage with our EU friends and rejoin Erasmus?”

The Speaker interveined with a technicality saying “May I just remind Members not to use ‘you’?” Johnson replied: “I think students should choose the Turing project because it is fantastic and reaches out across the whole country. I believe, by the way, that they should reject the SNP, a Scottish nationalist party, Mr Speaker, because it is failing the people of Scotland, failing to deliver on education, failing on crime and failing on the economy. I hope very much that the people of Scotland will go for common sense. Instead of endlessly going on about constitutional issues and endlessly campaigning for a referendum, which is the last thing the people of this country need right now, I think people want a Government who focus on the issues that matter to them, including a fantastic international education scheme like Turing.” His repetition of the childish ‘Nationalist Party’ insult showed his desperation!

The SDLP’s Colum Eastwood MP exposed Boris Johnson’s insane fixation with bridges in his quest for more expansive ways to squander public funds on white elephant vanity projects. Londoners have not forgotten the ‘Garden Bridge’ debacle, but the PM never learns from his failures. Eastwood said “The Prime Minister’s fantasy bridge to Northern Ireland could cost £33 billion, this, while our road and rail networks have been absolutely decimated from decades of underinvestment. The Conservative party got a grand total of 2,399 votes at the last Assembly election. What mandate does he think he has to override the democratically elected people of Northern Ireland to impose a bridge that goes through miles of unexploded munitions and radioactive waste?” Due to the probability of lengthy winter closures, the latest rumor is of a ‘Boris Burrow’ under the Irish sea: great for hiding out in a crisis!

Deeply hurt the PM said “If the hon. Member had read the article I wrote this morning in The Daily Telegraph, he would have seen that the things that we have set out in the Hendy review will be of massive benefit to Northern Ireland. That includes upgrading the A75, which is the single biggest thing that people in Northern Ireland wanted, by the way, and which the Scottish nationalists (dig), the Scottish National party, have totally failed to do. The review also includes better connections east-west within Northern Ireland, which we should be doing, and better connections north-south within the island of Ireland. It’s a fantastic Union connectivity review. The hon. Member should appreciate it; it is the way forward. I am amazed, frankly, by his negativity.” Onerous Brexit red tape has denuded store shelves while breaking an International treaty with the EU has spawned a legal Case, endangers future trade deals with the US and elsewhere as we become untrustworthy; it might also reignite ‘the troubles’ but how about a Boris Bridge?

The SNP’s David Linden critically asked “In extending the £20 uplift to universal credit, which we welcomed at the beginning of the pandemic, the Prime Minister was clearly conceding that social security support in the UK is inadequate, so while I welcome the fact that it has been extended for six months, I would like to see it being made permanent. But can he tell the House why, if it was so inadequate, it was not extended to those on legacy benefits, such as disabled people?” The PM bragged of “doing everything we can” and attacked Labour for wanting to replace dysfunctional Universal Credit. The SDLP’s Claire Hanna highlighted the cost of Northern Ireland’s 16,000 dedicated nurses saying it was “less than 2% of UK sales for just one internet giant, Amazon, whose revenues doubled during lockdown.” She wanted to know why the PM and the Chancellor had not raised the money needed to pay for Covid by applying “a modest windfall tax on those businesses who have benefited so much….” The PM waffled about G7.

Labour’s Alison McGovern said “In this House, we all know the importance of the people who have looked after our vulnerable loved ones over the past year when we have been unable to do so, so will the Prime Minister explain to me why in this country we have 375,000 care workers on zero-hours contracts?” To which the PM made a deceitful excuse claiming “record increases in the living wage” and boasted of “vaccinated care home workers and their elderly charges” without acknowledging responsibility for the ‘Holocaust in Care!’ Tory MP James Grundy thanked the PM for his commitment to “levelling up the north, the benefits of which we are already beginning to see, with a £15 million allocation from the Government’s transforming cities fund…” But Labour MP Dan Jarvis challenged this deception by saying “If the Prime Minister is serious about levelling up the country, does he honestly think that favoring the Chancellor’s Richmondshire constituency over Barnsley for financial support is the best way to do it?” Ouch!

Johnson’s loyal Tory sycophants had raised non-questions in the usual manner, showering praise on the PM for copious funding promised while vying for more corrupt squandering on pet projects in their patch. Tory MPs have gleefully expressed approval for Freeports that will facilitate their race to the bottom. If we fail to robustly challenge this blatant corruption, they will continue to take copious advantage of ‘Pork-Barrel’ projects like this, hoovering up gerrymandered cash from the grossly misnamed ‘Leveling-up Fund’ in the same way they warped the ‘Towns Fund’. Our only hope of derailing this gravy-train of profiteering and exploitation is to remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship from power as there is no way to win this relentless war of attrition. Are we a legitimate functioning democracy? This obscene level of Tory corruption is so extreme that even without demanding a full Investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, repeated abuses of power are more than enough to legally call out the PM and his rabid Tory cabal.

PMQs ended as Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said “On a point of order, Mr Speaker.” The Speaker asked “Is the point of order relevant to Prime Minister’s questions?” Ashworth replied “It is indeed, Mr Speaker. The Prime Minister has twice, from that Dispatch Box, said that the Labour Opposition voted against the NHS Funding Bill and the 2.1% increase for NHS staff. This is not the case. Indeed, in the debate, as Hansard will show, I was explicit that we would not divide the House. Can you, Mr Speaker, use your good offices to get the Prime Minister to return to the House to correct the record? And do you agree that if the Prime Minister wants to cut nurses’ pay, he should have the courage of his convictions and bring a vote back to the House?” The Speaker said “May I just say that that is not a point of order? It is certainly a point of clarification, and that part has been achieved. But I am certainly not going to be drawn into a debate, as the shadow Secretary of State well knows.” Lying Boris bolted for the door! DO NOT MOVE ON!