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


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    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Newsnight last night presented a truly warped picture of Keir Starmer, tarting up his flagging reputation to make him sound like a massively popular savior of the Labour Party instead of a right wing, Trojan horse, wrecking ball! From an enthusiastic Kirsty Wark to a line up of mostly Labour centrists if you didn’t know the Labour Loser before last night you would have thought that Starmer had single-handedly transformed the party to rescue Labour from Electoral oblivion. In reality this sleazy Captain of Capitulation’s reputation is now on life-support, with party members leaving in droves, election canvasers on strike and multiple Trade Union disaffiliations. The BBC all but erected an iron scaffold around Starmer to keep him propped into position as their most reliable centrist sell-out, raving about his popularity and ‘forensic’ skills of non-opposition at PMQs. Corbyn was demonized as a disaster and only the Momentum rep questioned how Starmer might reinvent himself again in his next vacious speech. This was the ultimate BBC fake-news propaganda spin; it was absolutely vomit worthy!

    With the BBC, ‘Auntie,’ already so heavily right leaning, why should we be seriously concerned about the establishment of not just one, but two ‘Fox News’ style TV channels with foreign influenced alt-right backing for competition? The total lack of political balance is extremely worrying especially with the toxic involvement of Australian billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch who already has far too much leverage in UK politics. In the Byline Times Article entitled, “Exclusive: Rupert Murdoch in Series of Meetings With Boris Johnson and High-Profile Ministers,” Sam Bright reports that, “The right-wing billionaire gained unprecedented access to ministers in August and September last year. Right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch repeatedly gained special access to the UK Government in recent months, Byline Times can reveal. Newly-released records show that News Corporation CEO Murdoch and his right-hand woman Rebekah Brooks held seven private meetings with five senior ministers over a seven-week period in August and September 2020.”

    Reporting on the privileged access, Bright says that, “This included a meeting between Murdoch and Boris Johnson on 18 September, followed just a few days later on 21 September by a meeting between News UK CEO Brooks and the Prime Minister. Rishi Sunak was taken out to lunch by Murdoch on 26 August, perhaps benefitting from the Chancellor’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, followed by breakfast with Brooks on 17 September. Home Secretary Priti Patel held a meeting with Murdoch on 14 September, though perhaps thought it was politically prudent not to name him directly, instead saying she had a ‘private dinner’ with the ‘Executive Chairman of News Corp’. Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg was less bashful about his meeting with the billionaire however, listing his lunch with Murdoch on 25 September as an ‘informal lunch between friends’.”

    Bright says, “All of these meetings preceded a dinner bash between Murdoch and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove on 8 August. Gove, whose wife Sarah Vine is a columnist for the Daily Mail, was joined at the soiree by a guest (though their identity is not disclosed). Gove, who used to work at the Murdoch-owned Times, has maintained an ongoing friendship with his old boss during his political career, Murdoch joining Gove for an interview he conducted with President Donald Trump for the newspaper in 2017. Gove also had a tipple with Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere, again with a guest, a week later on 15 August. No other media executives seem to have been afforded the same access to ministers as Murdoch and Brooks during this time period.” Bright lists, “Meetings between Murdoch, Brooks and senior ministers: 8 August, Michael Gove; 26 August, Rishi Sunak; 14 September, Priti Patel; 17 September, Rishi Sunak; 18 September, Boris Johnson; 21 September, Boris Johnson; 25 September, Jacob Rees-Mogg.”

    Bright notes that, “Despite being logged as official meetings, the content of the discussions are entirely hidden from public view. When Byline Times reported in December that Sunak had been schmoozed by Brooks earlier in the year, we filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain the minutes from the meeting, only to be told by the Treasury that no record existed. A notorious right-wing media operator, Brooks runs News UK, which publishes the Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers. The publisher is owned by News Corp, which in turn is owned by Murdoch and his family. Murdoch also owns Fox News, the hard-right US broadcaster that acted as a mouthpiece for Donald Trump during his time in the White House – often fanning his half-baked conspiracy theories. Indeed, Murdoch’s stranglehold on the news business stretches across the globe and is perhaps most acutely experienced in his native Australia, where Murdoch-owned newspaper titles account for more than 60% of metropolitan circulation.”

    “This influence has also been keenly felt in the UK, with the political fortunes of a particular party or leader seen to be reliant on the stance taken by Murdoch-owned titles. Indeed, after the surprise election victory of John Major’s Conservative Party in 1992, Murdoch’s red-top-title emblazoned a headline that stuck in the British media membrane: ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’.” Bright says that, “Consequently, when Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, a key facet of his ‘modernisation’ project was to curry favour with Murdoch and his newspapers, much to the chagrin of left-wing activists. For her part, Brooks is firmly embedded in the Murdoch machine. She was the editor of the now defunct News of the World from 2000 to 2003, editor of the Sun from 2003 to 2009, and CEO of News International from 2009 to 2011. Brooks was a prominent figure in the phone-hacking scandal, when it was revealed that a News of the World story published during her tenure allegedly involved illegal phone-hacking. She was cleared of charges in 2014.”

    Bright reports that, “As mentioned, the content of the meetings between Murdoch and ministers is not for public consumption. However, one could reasonably speculate that the menu of conversation may well have included News UK TV, Murdoch’s latest media venture. As reported by the Guardian in December, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom has given approval for the platform to launch whenever it is ready, rumoured to be this Spring. It’s said that News UK TV will launch as an evening-only service, on air for around four or five hours a night. Although it reportedly will launch as a streaming-only service, News UK TV also applied for a full Ofcom broadcast licence, which means it could eventually be expanded into a traditional television channel.”

    Bright reminds us that, “News UK TV will be launching in competition with GB News, a startup broadcast venture chaired by former BBC presenter Andrew Neil and backed by a range of foreign investors.” Despite that overwhelming saturation of right leaning news presentations, he says that, “Both are seeking to exploit a perceived deficit of conservative thought on British airwaves.” But he qualifies that by noting, “I say ‘perceived’, because the new director general of the BBC is a former Conservative councillor, its new chairman has donated £400,000 to the party in recent years, and opaquely-funded right-wing think-tanks have a regular spot on BBC political debate programmes. Nigel Farage, for example, has been one of the most regular guests on Question Time, despite never having been elected to Parliament, rejected by the electorate on seven separate occasions.”

    Bright warns that, “Meanwhile, it looks like both these projects will be aided by the UK Government, with speculation mounting that Boris Johnson is set to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as the head of Ofcom, a man who has been fervently opposed to media regulation in the past. Perhaps Murdoch was keen to make sure that ministers were still following his playbook, given his plans afoot. ‘Ministers have meetings with a range of individuals and organisations, this includes with the media,’ a Cabinet Office spokesperson told Byline Times. ‘The Government is open and transparent in publishing ministerial meetings with senior media executives’.” This is one of the obligatory core control levers that’s required by a fully functioning Dictatorship: absolute control of all public broadcasting and the Media in order to sedate the population into accepting authoritarian control through fear propaganda!

    In another Byline Times Article entitled, “Exclusive: Cummings and Cain Held Private Meeting With New BBC Bosson Day of Internal Market Bill Vote,” Sam Bright again reports on a dubious meeting. He reports on, “how the Prime Minister’s former top advisors met with Tim Davie on the day of a Brexit vote that threatened to break international law. Two of the Prime Minister’s closest advisors held a private meeting with the new director general of the BBC on the day that MPs voted on controversial Brexit legislation, Byline Times can reveal. Newly-released records show that Boris Johnson’s now-former chief aide Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain met with the BBC’s Tim Davie on 14 September ‘to discuss the Prime Minister’s priorities’. On the same day, MPs were due to debate and vote on proposals, made by the Government, to breach international law in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”

    Bright says that, “The Internal Market Bill, which was later neutered by the Government, was condemned by every living former Prime Minister. In the days following his promotion to the top job at the BBC, Davie used his new platform to warn his journalists from expressing their ‘personal agendas.’ The law was designed to give the Government power to override the Northern Ireland Protocol, an element of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement signed by the UK on 24 January 2020, in order to maintain the same trading rules in Northern Ireland as the rest of the UK. The vote passed in the House of Commons, though not without much rancour from opposition MPs, accusing the Government of failing once again to respect the rule of law. Indeed, in the Summer of 2019, Johnson attempted to prorogue (shut down) Parliament in order to curtail scrutiny of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement he had negotiated with the EU, a move that was ruled to be unlawful by the Supreme Court.”

    Bright explains, “So, in short, the Internal Market Bill proposed violating the Withdrawal Agreement, an international treaty that Johnson had attempted to push through Parliament by acting unlawfully. The minutes of the meeting between Cummings, Cain and Davie are not publicly available. When Byline Times pressed the Government to release minutes of a previous rendezvous between Chancellor Rishi Sunak and right-wing media supremo Rebekah Brooks, the Treasury said that no record existed. It’s understood that the Internal Market Bill was not discussed at the meeting, though neither the BBC nor the Government would go on the record to formally confirm or deny this point. Cain and Cummings, who have both subsequently been relieved of their Downing Street duties, are primarily Brexit operatives, both having graduated from senior positions in the Vote Leave campaign to become Johnson’s Government henchmen.”

    According to Bright, “Cummings in particular was seen to be the source of many of the Government’s anti-democratic instincts, epitomised by his stubborn refusal to appear before a committee of MPs investigating the dissemination of fake news during the EU Referendum campaign. Cummings still remains in contempt of Parliament.” This should not have been legally permitted in a functioning democracy especially with Cummings still able to retain a powerful Chief Special Advisor role. The very public exit out of the front door of number 10 carrying what looked like a large seemingly empty cardboard box had all the classic signs of a ruse to fool the British public into thinking Cummings and co had gone. In reality, we have absolutely no way of knowing for sure that they are not still heavily involved in pulling strings behind the scenes in this corrupt Tory Government under the weak leadership of Johnson.

    Bright informs us that, “For his part, Tim Davie formally assumed the director general role on 1 September, less than two weeks before his meeting with Cain and Cummings. Prior to his appointment, Davie had served in several management roles at the national broadcaster, despite not having any editorial experience. Davie also boasts past links to the Conservative Party, namely that he stood as a councillor for the party in 1993 and 1994, and was deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservatives in the 1990s.” This follows a well established pattern of appointing inexperienced and incompetent right-wing Tory connected individuals from the wealthy elite to insure compliance with the political agenda of the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

    Bright says that, “In the days following his promotion to the top job at the BBC, Davie used his new platform to warn his journalists from expressing their ‘personal agendas’. ‘If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC,’ he said. Managers subsequently informed BBC staff that they would not be allowed to participate in gay pride marches, under new rules implemented by Davie, only for this policy to be reversed after a social media backlash.” Bright says that, “Davie is not the only new BBC executive with ties to the Conservative Party. Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp is set to be appointed as the BBC’s chairman, following his nomination by the Government. Sharp has donated more than £400,000 to the Conservatives since 2001, and was Rishi Sunak’s mentor during his time at Goldman Sachs.” The chumocracy rumbles on securing power for the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

    Bright points out that, “Davie has appealed to staff to be assiduously impartial in their work. This appeal would undoubtedly carry more validity if the BBC’s board of directors didn’t increasingly resemble a Conservative reunion party.” Once again the same bland statement, “The Prime Minister’s special advisers have regular meetings with a range of individuals including the media,’ a Government spokesperson told Byline Times. “The Government is open and transparent in publishing these meetings with senior media executives.” They might as well also say that they welcome independent scrutiny as long as they are able to very carefully select those providing the regulatory scrutiny! This is the alarming point: the Tories are not only locking down our broadcast as well as our print media, they are also appointing compliant ‘regulators’ to provide a vanier of impartiality while abolishing all accountability!

    In the Canary Article entitled, “Newspaper editors raise concerns over whether the government is blacklisting journalists,” the expose this Tory Government’s aversion to scrutiny. They say that, “Downing Street has insisted it welcomes press scrutiny after newspaper editors signed an open letter calling for a review into the government’s use of freedom of information (FOI) requests. Former and current Fleet Street editors have raised concerns about a ‘clearing house’ within the Cabinet Office, which has been advising government departments on the handling of FOI requests. The existence of the unit was revealed by an openDemocracy investigatio which said the team collates lists of journalists with details about their work. Media organisations are calling for an investigation into the clearing house unit, whether journalists and others submitting FOI requests are being ‘blacklisted’ and whether this is illegal.”

    The Canary report that, “The prime minister’s official spokesperson told a Westminster briefing on Tuesday there is no ‘blacklist’ of journalists and said the ‘sole purpose’ of the unit is to provide advice. They said: ‘I would point to the fact that the clearing house has been operating as part of the Government’s approach to FOI since 2005, so it is not a new body within the Cabinet Office. ‘It acts to ensure that the advice and information we provide is consistent and compliant across Government to ensure freedom of information requests are handled in the proper and sensitive way. I would point to the fact that we regularly, routinely, disclose information. Not just as part of the FOI process, but as part of the regular transparency documents that we publish on the Cabinet Office website and will continue to do so’.”

    The Canary reveal that, “The joint open letter has been signed by editors of newspapers across the political spectrum, including the Guardian, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times. Addressed to the chairs of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, it calls on MPs to raise the issue ‘as a matter of priority’. In response, Julian Knight, Conservative chairman of the Commons DCMS Committee, said press freedom was a ‘cornerstone of our democracy’ and that he would raise the matter with the government. ‘It is concerning that questions have been raised about the openness and transparency of Government in dealing with freedom of information requests made by members of the press,’ he said.”

    National Union of Journalists Tweeted: “Journalists who have submitted #FOI requests should follow up with Subject Access Requests, we need to get to the bottom of how the government’s Clearing House is operating and find out if they are monitoring the media; #NUJ #saveourFOI ‘The actions of Government in enabling proper scrutiny of it must be beyond reproach and I shall be raising these matters with DCMS secretary of state Oliver Dowden.’ The letter has also received backing from Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). ‘The media industry is united in backing a Campaign to Expand the right to information and secure greater transparency in public life,’ she said. ‘We want our Government to be less secretive, not more. ‘That is why the existence of a so-called clearing house, profiling requests, stonewalling requests and essentially thwarting and blocking journalistic scrutiny is so disturbing and outrageous.” This is all about achieving a toxic manipulation of the Media!

    Why should we worry about the privileged access afforded to Media magnates like Rupert Murdoch and the like? They are all billionaires, dedicated to protecting and advancing the financial and strategic interests of the super wealthy elite to the punitive and sometimes deadly detriment of the working poor, deprived and the extremely vulnerable who the Covid crisis has demonstrated are considered ‘expendable’! To prevent the destitute from rioting in desperation requires absolute control of all areas of the Media: lie to people in propaganda broadcasts with supporting press articles, to convince them, ‘black is the new white;’ they are ‘privilaged’ to continue being exploited for a pittance well below survival pay! The Media message is key to successful authoritarian repression, subjugation and exploitation for profit that the Tories are determined to achieve. Massive public protests, legal challenges and robust Investigations can expose the corruption to derail this plan and remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship from office ASAP. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67449 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    The BBC, once trusted with the endearing title ‘Auntie,’ has chosen to maximize their endless stream of worthless propaganda briefing today by focusing wall to wall attention on former royals who no longer even reside in the UK. In essence the story was remarkably simple and could have been reduced to a very brief statement of reality as they finalized the royal rift: “You cannot have your cake and eat it too!” Brits are familiar with this principal after trying to cherry-pick EU privileges and exiting with the extremely basic raw deal of the PM’s choosing, even the Erasmus students were thrown under the bus. The deluge of vacuous commentary on royal privileges lost and how our ultra wealthy monarch feels let down by her grandson is intended to distract us from paying any attention to far more important issues of the day that should dominate our thinking. Harry and Megan have merely swop one set of privileges, that came with strict obligations, for the ongoing wealth of being able to freely monetize their celebrity.

    While we should all wish the Prince Consort a full and speedy recovery, at the ripe old age of 99, that his elitist privilege has so graciously assured, perhaps our Queen might spare a thought and show more sympathy for the increasing homeless population in her realm; destitute individuals who on average do not survive sleeping on our frigid streets beyond the age of 47! Despite the measures to get homeless people off the streets due to the Covid risk; I doubt any of this Socialist style generosity will persist beyond the crisis. This Tory Government will be keen to implement one of their most shockingly vile manifesto pledges, to target the gypsies, criminalize them and destroy their homes. Without hesitation our aging Queen gratefully accepted when her loyal Tory Government prioritized toping-up the income lost to the royal estate due to the economic stagnation of the pandemic. When it comes to money the royals know the difference between ‘the have’s and the have not’s’ and they fully intend to keep it that way.

    This warped news coverage comes two days on from a heavily biased Newsnight presentation aimed at persuading the public that Sir Keir Starmer was that knight in shining armor riding in on his trusty steed to save the Labour Party from oblivion; rather than the pro-right Trojan horse who lied and misled party members in order to seize power! There were more centrist commentators ready to endorse Starmer’s ‘Fork in the road’ vision as Prime Minister in waiting as they encouraged the public to keep guzzling the neo-con Kool Aid of business as usual. Sir Keir is earning their accolades for his important work dismantling the Socialist movement in this country that threatened the ability of the ultra wealthy elite to endlessly exploit the vulnerable and the working poor. Although none of the Mainstream Media will acknowledge the reality of the growing push-back against Starmer, it will soon reach a point where it can no longer be ignored and this incredibly divisive and highly unpopular Captain of Capitulation will be forced out.

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Trickett blasts Starmer’s sickly speech – with a 10-point plan of actual policies,” they report that, “Starmer proposes ‘recovery bond’ that shores up Tory austerity lie and would make corporations even wealthier. Trickett lists ideas that would actually improve the country. Trickett’s platform puts Starmer’s drab conformism to shame. Backbench Labour MP Jon Trickett, who has been outspoken in his criticisms of Keir Starmer’s dire performance and conduct as Labour leader, has blasted Starmer’s dreary and unimaginative ‘policy’ speech today, with ten points of actual policies that would make life better for the vast majority of people in this country.” The Skwawkbox claim that, “The best Starmer could come up with, as he tried dully to climb up the rear end of big business, was a ‘recovery bond’ to ‘allow’ the country to afford a post-COVID recovery. This was a clear reinforcement of the austerity lie and patent nonsense in a country that has plenty of cash, just badly distributed.”

    The Skwawkbox say that, “Trickett made his opinion of Starmer’s visionless speech and its failure to tackle the real issues this country faces very plain: But he didn’t stop there, tweeting his own ten-point plan for a real recovery:” Trickett Tweeted: “My *alternative* economic speech: Ÿ Invest for growth Ÿ A Wealth Tax Ÿ Proper workers rights Ÿ A proactive state Ÿ End NHS privatization Ÿ Cut power of Mega Corps Ÿ No bailouts for tax dodgers Ÿ Extend Furlough to Xmas Ÿ No fire and rehire Ÿ Ful, well paid, employment.” They say that, “Investment, growth, the restoration of a real National Health Service and concrete financial assistance for those hit hardest by the pandemic, combined with curbs on the power of huge corporations, taxes on those who can easily afford it and a ban on the tactics many are now using to enrich themselves further at the expense of workers.”

    “It’s not rocket science, Keir Starmer has no excuse for failing to come up with a similar plan, but it is inspirational,” say Skwawkbox “and it does address the real problems of inequality, exploitation and cronyism that have blighted this country under Tory rule. Keir Starmer is not fit for the position he now occupies and his supposed ‘big’ speech today, of which many said the highlight was when Labour’s own live feed of it crashed, does nothing but confirm that.” However, Jon Trickett wasn’t the only person to point out the failings of Starmer’s pledge, the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Rothery’s manifesto for Liverpool shames Starmer’s pallid pitch,” features a Liverpool Mayoral candidate. They say that “On the day Keir Starmer was lambasted for his dreary ‘paint drying’ speech about the economy and for attempting to crawl up the nether regions of big business, Liverpool’s Anna Rothery published a manifesto for the city’s mayoral contest that showed the Labour leader what ambition and vision for real change look like.”

    Skwawkbox contrast how,“While Starmer’s ‘plan’ essentially consisted of some buzzwords and a ‘recovery bond’ that would allow huge corporations and wealthy investors to enrich themselves even further at the expense of ordinary taxpayers. Rothery laid out a plan for transforming the city’s governance that includes: Ÿ genuine ‘levelling up’ Ÿ a rigorous clean-up of local politics Ÿ a plan to build decent, council homes Ÿ a local ‘green new deal’ Ÿ grassroots democracy to empower communities Ÿ bringing council services fully back ‘in house’ and Ÿ abolishing the executive mayor structure that was imposed on the city without its consent, to return to a more transparent and accountable leader/cabinet model.” They say that, “All this in a proudly bright red, eye-catching manifesto, none of Starmer’s ‘let’s hint at being Tory really’ purple.” Bold statements on her handout include the following sentiments, many that are shared by citizens right across the UK, but with special relevance to people living in the ‘forgotten North’ of England.

    Skwawkbox say first up is,“Leave No One Behind: Liverpool has been hit hard by a decade of Tory cuts and now the impact of COVID-19. My first priority will be supporting local people, opposing austerity and leading a joint campaign with core cities to demand a fair funding settlement for local authorities. I support grassroots anti-poverty campaigns like the right to food. Clean Up Local Politics: We need to restore trust in local politics. I will root out conflicts of interest and urgently strengthen checks and balances to ensure transparency and scrutiny at every level. I will lead a culture-change based on the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. Deliver a Local Green New Deal: I will deliver a local Green New Deal to decarbonise Liverpool’s economy by 2030 and create well-paid, unionised jobs. I will promote green transport and municipally-owned energy infrastructure. Working with local Friends groups, I will protect and nurture our precious parks and green spaces.”

    Skwawkbox continue with Rothery’s visionary list of pledges that include, “Extend Democracy: I will extend democracy at every level putting local communications at the heart of decision-making, ensuring democratic accountability of elected representatives, promoting working democracy by supporting and working in collaboration with trade unions, and standing up for member led democracy in the Labour Party: I have publicly called for the whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn and for wrongly suspended CLP officers to be reinstated. I believe that the current Mayoral model is unaccountable and concentrates too much power at the top. My preference is for a more collaborative Leader and Cabinet model, with the Leader elected by members. I will continue to listen and learn and implement whatever form of governance the people of our city decide in a democratic vote.”

    Last, but not least, Skwawkbox report that Rotherly’s list of pledges culminates with, “Tackle the Housing Crisis: I will take a new approach to planning that puts the interests of local people and communities first. We need to build many more decent and genuinely affordable council homes. I will work for the reintroduction of a city-wide landlord licensing scheme, back a Healthy Homes Act and support organised tenants to improve conditions across our city. Bring Services in House: Working closely with trade unions. I will work to insource local services, including social care, and bring outsourced workers back into the public sector where they belong. #AnnaRothery4Mayor.” Skwawkbox say, “Small wonder Rothery’s supporters fear that the party’s decision to delay the issuing of ballots and re-interview all three shortlisted prospective candidates is cover for an attempt to scupper Rothery’s candidacy. She makes ‘Dear Leader’ look bad by showing what a Labour vision looks like.”

    But Keir Starmer’s concerns go well beyond his palid presentation as he seeks to reinvent himself yet again in his endless quest for purpose and acceptance as he is basing his pitch for support on a false perception of what the general public really want in a PM. In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Corbyn’s successes, not his failures, haunt Keir Starmer,” they say that, “Three months since he removed the whip from his predecessor, the shine is coming off the ‘new leadership’. Three months have passed since Sir Keir Starmer withdrew the Labour whip from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn. Two Jewish members of Corbyn’s own constituency party have marked the occasion by writing directly to Starmer demanding it be immediately restored,” but, “Corbyn is far from the only Labour member to be targeted by the new leadership. The growing Tory lead over Labour has provoked talk, probably unrealistic, of a leadership challenge, hints of an impending policy blitz and demands for a change of direction even from Starmer allies.”

    The Morning Star report on what the describe as, “A withering assessment by Tom Kibasi, who worked on Starmer’s leadership campaign, savages a strategy of going easy on the Conservatives while provoking an ‘unnecessary war on the left’ that has alienated a party membership that overwhelmingly picked him to lead it. Kibasi’s logic is impeccable, but he takes too much for granted, firstly in taking Starmer’s election as proof that Labour members saw Corbynism as ‘a political project that had hit the buffers,’ and secondly in assuming the war on the Labour left is designed to win back voters. After Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the US presidency in 2016, left-wing Democrats quipped: ‘Don’t tell them Bernie would have won. They know. That’s why they stopped him.’ Similarly, it is not 2019, when Labour led by Corbyn crashed and burned, but 2017, when Labour led by Corbyn bagged its biggest vote share increase in seven decades, that haunts the Labour right.”

    The Morning Star say that, “When 2017 is mentioned at all, it is treated as a strange anomaly. But understanding this anomalous election is of critical importance, because it explodes the ‘electability’ myth that has so often helped the right to dominate the Labour Party and demand ‘realism’ (lack of radicalism) from the trade unions. Starmer wasn’t elected to drop the Corbyn project, the leadership candidate who defined herself against Corbyn, Lisa Nandy, came last. Starmer made 10 now infamous pledges which appeared to commit him to most of the political content of a Corbyn project that retained the enthusiasm of Labour’s mass membership. That is why, in the Labour right’s eyes, the war on the membership is far from unnecessary, they are an affront to the cosy politics of the Westminster bubble.”

    According to the Morning Star, “Starmer was picked because he was supposedly ‘electable.’ Finding the polls say he isn’t, he has summoned Blair-era strategist Peter Mandelson to fix the problem in the way a celebrity chef turns round the fortunes of a failing restaurant on reality TV. Unfortunately, ‘reality’ TV is a misnomer. Blair chased Tory voters on the premise that voters in Labour heartlands had nowhere else to go. It should be obvious following the collapse of the ‘red wall’ that the premise no longer applies.” That is of course if you believe the bogus ‘borrowed votes’ lie told by the Tories to explain their unfathomable ‘landslice victory’ in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. A Robust Investigation of the result of that stolen election would expose the high probability that industrial scale fraud involving the postal votes was more likely. The say that, “Less remarked is that winning over voters from other parties can be done by engagement, persuasion and mass politics, not by attempting to close the political gap between left and right.” But targeted PsyOps is even more persuasive!

    The Morning Star point out that, “Labour’s vote in 2017 rose in many unexpected places: the shock victory in Canterbury was merely the most famous. Labour piled on votes by the thousand in Tory strongholds from the Cotswolds to Cornwall. At the same time, most of its northern and Midlands MPs saw their majorities increase, and its vote rose in Wales and Scotland. What this said about the common anxieties of millions of people all over the country around jobs, privatisation and living costs has been lost in the wreckage of the subsequent 2019 election. But electoral success and socialist policies are not an either/or. Voters’ cold reception of Labour’s non-opposition is a signal to the left to counterattack. The policies the country needs can become the focus of public campaigning with or without the Labour front bench.” The say that, “The trade union movement can use it to point out that trashing Corbyn isn’t doing the party any favours. Starmer should be warned that continuing to withhold the whip will have consequences.”

    In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Jewish constituents of Corbyn demand restoration of Labour whip three months after its withdrawal, they say that, “Two Jewish constituents of Jeremy Corbyn have written to the Labour leadership to demand the party whip be restored to their MP three months after it was withdrawn. Tomorrow marks three months since Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer withdrew the whip from his predecessor. Islington North constituency Labour Party (CLP) members David Rosenberg and Julia Bard wrote to Sir Keir and deputy leader Angela Rayner to call for the ‘immediate restoration’ of the whip to their ‘exemplary’ MP. Mr Rosenberg and Ms Bard described themselves as ‘Jews who have been combating and educating people about anti-semitism over decades (including being educators on trips to Auschwitz).’ They said that they were ‘dismayed by the injustice’ of Mr Corbyn having the whip withdrawn on the same day his three-week suspension was lifted in November.”

    The Morning Star report, “It was reported in November that the withdrawal of the whip would be in place for at least three months. Mr Corbyn is considering legal action against Labour that could see him seek an injunction to restore the whip immediately. He was suspended by party officials in October for claiming that the scale of anti-semitism in Labour was ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its report on the allegations. Despite a panel of the party’s national executive committee deciding to readmit Mr Corbyn after he clarified his statement, Sir Keir refused to restore the whip, ignoring a warning by the EHRC against political interference in such cases.” Supposedly the Labour Party response to EHRC demands remains under scrutiny, so it’s hard to see how they could possibly condone the extraordinary level of interference in disciplinary matters being exercised by Keir Starmer and his acting General Secretary David Evans!

    The Morning Star stated that, “Mr Rosenberg and Ms Bard wrote that they ‘sympathise strongly’ with Mr Corbyn’s criticism of the political and media commentary relating to the EHRC report. They also criticised the party HQ’s ‘absurd’ punishment of suspending CLP chairs and members for discussing and passing pro-Corbyn and pro-Palestine motions. It comes as a researcher who was suspended from Labour before he resigned from the party is set to reveal results of his survey into a ‘monstrous mass purge’ of members. Dr Neil Todd has been researching party members and CLP officers suspended and expelled since Sir Keir became leader. He said: ‘Whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn or ordinary members, the purge is sending out a message that Israel and anti-semitism are intertwined, and topics which are not for discussion.’ The Labour in Exile Network group will be hosting an online event at which Dr Todd will reveal his findings at 7pm on Saturday February 20.”

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that Keir Starmer will not be able to throw his weight around with impunity for much longer. Even a predominantly right-leaning NEC cannot allow Starmer to reinvent the Labour rule book; if his heavy–handed inappropriate interventions were presented to EHRC while the party remains under scrutiny he would be exposed. The Forde inquiry has access to incriminating evidence that will be hard to whitewash over especially in light of various potential legal challenges revealing the truth. Starmer’s authoritarian dictates will be challenged in the Courts and he will lose, the most the Tories can do is manipulate the BBCto keep the situation under wraps for as long as possible. After the betrayal of Starmer we could see the pendulum swing back in the direction of the progressive Socialist left, finally granting the public access to robust opposition to call this corrupt Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to account. We must continue to protest, challenge and demand justice to derail this corrupt cabal before it is too late. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67514 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    There was a seismic Court ruling in the news on Friday despite valiant attempts by the BBC to sideline the issue by keeping the general public distracted with inconsequential royal rubbish over formalizing the rift between ‘the family’ and the hollywood breakaway couple. This type of vacuous coverage I now refer to as ‘handifloss!’ Why? Like Candyfloss: puffed-up, but lacking real substance, sticky and sickly. In the London Economic Article entitled, “Time for Uber to accept its responsibilities’ – Union hails ‘historic’ ruling that drivers are workers,” Joe Mellor says, “Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.” A union has hailed a ‘historic’ Supreme Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers.” These days there are so few victories for ordinary workers and the progressive Sosialist movement, but this ruling will prove truly historic as it throws a monkey wrench into the exploitative practices of today’s gig economy; this will have a wide reaching impact.

    Mellor reports that, “Supreme Court justices ruled on the latest round of a long-running fight between Uber operating companies and drivers on Friday. Lawyers say the ruling means Uber drivers will be entitled to workers’ rights such as holiday pay, and will have implications for the gig economy. Uber operating companies, who said drivers were contractors not workers, appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight. But justices unanimously dismissed Uber’s appeal. A law firm enlisted by the GMB union to represent Uber drivers says drivers will be entitled to compensation for lost pay. A GMB spokesman said officials would now consult with Uber driver members over forthcoming compensation claims.” Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members, but it’s ended in a historic win.”

    Mellor says that according to GMB, “The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage. ‘Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.’ An employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that Uber drivers were workers, and were entitled to workers’ rights. That ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal, and by Court of Appeal judges. Lawyers representing Uber operating companies told Supreme Court justices that the employment tribunal ruling was wrong.” GBM Union Tweeted: “BREAKING: It’s the end of the road for Uber’s mistreatment of drivers. This landmark Supreme Court ruling puts all debates to bed. Time for Uber to accept its responsibilities, compensate drivers and discuss a way forward.”

    Mellor reports that Uber had consistently claimed, “They said drivers did not ‘undertake to work’ for Uber but were ‘independent, third party contractors’. But lawyers representing drivers said the tribunal was entitled to conclude that drivers were working. Justices unanimously ruled against Uber. ‘It can be seen that the transportation service performed by drivers and offered to passengers through the Uber app is very tightly defined and controlled by Uber,’ said one Justice, Lord Leggatt, in Friday’s ruling. ‘The employment tribunal was, in my view, entitled to conclude that, by logging onto the Uber app in London, a claimant driver came within the definition of a ‘worker’ by entering into a contract. ‘I think it clear that the employment tribunal was entitled to find that the claimant drivers were ‘workers’.”

    Mellor examines the, “UK gig economy and employment law,” saying that, “IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has responded to the Supreme Court Ruling today against Uber, saying the judgement shows the ‘glaring need for clarity’ in the gig economy and UK employment law. IPSE has said the very fact this case has come to the Supreme Court shows ‘UK employment law is not working’ and that to clear the confusion of the gig economy, government should introduce a statutory definition of self-employment. The Association has also argued that in the financial strain of the pandemic, the need for clarity and for those who are truly workers to get their fair rights ‘is more urgent than ever’.”

    Mellor reported that, “Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE” had claimed that: “The very fact this case has come to the UK’s Supreme Court shows the UK’s employment law is not working. There is a glaring need for clarity in this area, to clear the confusion in the gig economy. The gig economy is enormously complex, including many people who are legitimately self-employed and many others who really, based on their working circumstances, should be classed as workers. It is a patchwork of grey areas between employment and self-employment: the only way to resolve this tangle is to clarify employment status in UK law. With the pandemic still raging and its financial impact ever more visible, it is more urgent than ever that struggling people who should technically be classed as workers get the rights they deserve. To bring this about, and protect the freedom of legitimately self-employed people, we urge government to write a definition of self-employment into law.”

    On a CrowdJustice Post entitled, “Uber attacks right of workers to organise a data trust,” they elaborate on another aspect of the ongoing battle for worker justice from Uber. They write that, “On December 16, we are in court at the Amsterdam district court against Uber and Ola. Both companies are fiercely resisting their legal obligations to data access and algorithmic transparency. Uber and Ola are tied together by the large investment in both by Softbank. Both firms have obfuscated the proper fulfillment of access requests and wrongly attacked the motives of the 13 claimants. They say any question of personal data being accessed for the purposes of a data trust to boost the collective power of workers is an abuse of GDPR rights. We say this is quite wrong and that Uber and Ola must obey the law without further delay. We are somewhat taken aback by the strong attack on the idea of worker and trade union controlled data trusts.”

    On CrowdJustuce they state that, “As such, there is a lot riding on this. If Uber and Ola are successful, the right of workers to organise a data trust could be suppressed. Your help is now more urgent than ever.” They lay out their case starting with, “Who we are?” The answer is, “The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) is UK registered trade union serving the needs of private hire drivers and couriers whose work is digitally mediated. Our members often work for companies like Uber, Deliveroo, Ola, Addison Lee, Bolt and FreeNow. We are proud to be members of the International Alliance of App based Transport Workers (IAATW) who are working with us on this important campaign. The action is supported by Worker Info Exchange, a non profit organisation dedicated.”

    CrowdJustice elaborate on their case by saying, “We are launching legal action in the district court in Amsterdam over Uber’s failure to to respect the digital rights of drivers and couriers under the GDPR. Uber has illegally:
    • blocked workers from accessing all of their personal data at work.
    • failed to provide workers transparency to algorithmic management and control of drivers when requested to do so
    Uber pretends not to be the boss so it can avoid employer obligations such as the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay as well as health, safety & equalities protections. We all know Uber manages by algorithm but we don’t know exactly how even though workers have the legal right to know.”

    CrowdJustice explain, “We have evidence that Uber maintains secret driver and courier profiles which it uses to rate worker their performance with categories such as ‘late arrival/missed ETA’, ‘negative attitude’ or ‘inappropriate behaviour’. For years, we have worked with hundreds of drivers to make data requests but Uber always blocks the process and refuses to accept any collective approach. Now we are going to ask the courts to order Uber to provide drivers and couriers access to their data and to make algorithmic management transparent.” They insist that, “Digital rights are worker rights! Members of the ADCU won a landmark 2016 worker rights claim against Uber which the firm will appeal once more against us at the UK Supreme Court this week. But this hard won victory could be lost over time if we continue to allow Uber to flout the law to hide more and more management control in secret algorithms.”

    But CrowdJustice point out that, “How can drivers challenge discrimination or unfair algorithms if everything is hidden from us? How drivers and couriers ever level the playing field to bargain for a better deal if Uber blocks our data requests so we can never establish our own worker’s data trust? In today’s world, digital rights are the gateway to worker rights.The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives everyone to access the personal data any organisation holds on them and the right to an explanation of how this data is processed in algorithms used by firms such as Uber. In practice, this means that drivers have the right to access all personal data which includes every trip, every fare, all GPS data, telematics and so on. Crucially, we also have the right to know how Uber algorithms manage us and we can challenge automated decision making.”

    CrowdJustice outline their “Call to Action,” saying that, “There are two things you can do to help
    1. Please donate as little or as much as you can to help us raise £20,000 to bring this action, future similar actions and to cover any potential adverse cost awards.
    2. If you are an Uber driver or courier living anywhere in the UK or in the European Economic Area (EEA) please follow the link to register to join our collective action campaign. ADCU.org Give us your permission to make a data request to Uber on your behalf as part of a very large group of drivers in a joint action. Your data will eventually be sent only to you and not us. Our lawyer will liaise with Uber and monitor the process to ensure everyone is treated fairly and receives all the data and information they are legally entitled. If you do not, we will take action on behalf of the group by making another complaint to the court. There is no cost to drivers and couriers for this and we ask as many local driver groups and unions to join us and get involved in this campaign.”

    CrowdJustice elaborate on their legal representation saying, “We are represented in this case by Anton Ekker of Ekker Advocatuur. Mr. Ekker is a renowned lawyer specialising in the field of data protection and personal privacy. He most recently won an important landmark victory in the landmark SyRI case against the Netherlands government.” They ask, “ Who else is involved? The ADCU is proud to be a member of the International Alliance of App based Transport Workers (IAATW) who are working with us on this important campaign. The action is supported by Worker Info Exchange, a non profit organisation dedicated to helping gig workers protect their digital rights at work. We thank you for your kindness, solidarity and support. Now more than ever, we must support one another and work together to bring fairness, respect to our common digital workplace.”

    Back in December 2016,on the SocialistRevolution.org, Warwick Marxists and Thomas Soud triumphantly announced that, “Britain: Uber Drivers’ Victory Strikes Blow Against Gig Economy.” Soud reported of a much earlier time when, “In front of big square boxes, blinded by flashing lights and slowly dialing up to a new network known as the World Wide Web, a group of young, wide-eyed entrepreneurs had an idea. With the two-ton machines that currently lay crushing their desks, they could create a new version of capitalism: an economic ecology freed from the robber barons and satanic mills of old, where free, rational individuals, guided by the digital hand of the market, could be united to create new riches for themselves and all of society in the process. This was the silicon dream.”

    Soud lamented that, “Nearly 30 years on from this initial daydreaming and we find that this new reality, for many, has become more of a nightmare. Rather than calibrating and equalizing the desires, preferences, and rationales of free human beings, the apps, internet, and computers at society’s fingertips have simply become yet another tool for the exploitation of the working class. Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Uber are but three of the new household names in this latest tech wave known as the ‘gig economy’.” Soud killed, “The myth of the micro-entrepreneur,” saying that, “In essence, this new digital ‘paradise’ is no different from the old satanic mills. Their meteoric rise is a graphic display of capitalism’s need to grind down workers’ rights, increase the working day, and lower workers’ wages, all in the name of profit. The move to ‘gigs,’ with an army of precariously employed workers, forced to compete in a race to the bottom for small scraps of work and pay has allowed the bourgeois vultures to achieve this historic task in new forms.”

    Soud exposed how, “Rather than give people decent wages and conditions fit for human beings, the capitalists now skirt around the gains won through struggle by previous generations, claiming that they are not required to provide such luxuries to these gig workers. Uber, Deliveroo, etc., so we are told by the bosses, are apparently not companies, but ‘platforms.’ The workers in the gig economy, therefore, are in fact the entrepreneurs, ‘micro-capitalists’ controlling their own minibusinesses via the generosity of corporate multinationals. Yet what capitalist earns $7.50 per hour? What entrepreneur lacks all but the most measly amount of capital, so that all they can offer is a single cab ride? What business owner has no employees and must routinely work long past the point that all regulations prohibit, and (to add insult to injury) has all this decided by those who control their income?! Such conditions are not that of the boss, but the worker.”

    According to Soud, “This is not the hard work of the Protestant Ethic, but blatant, brutal, and illegal exploitation. We do not see progress in such a system, but simply a rehashing of the same crimes that have haunted humanity since the inception of capitalism.” In what he describes as, “A blow to the bosses, workers have never taken such attacks lying down, and will not start to today simply because their bosses sit at a keyboard rather than in industrial factories.” Referring to the very beginning of the 2016 push-back targeting Uber, Soud reported, “Recently, on October 28, two brave Uber drivers, backed by the GMB union, said enough is enough, taking the international corporate giant to court and securing a monumental victory. No longer would the pretense of a self-employed micro-entrepreneur be allowed to be maintained; instead, the courts decided that they were employees, members of the working class, entitled to the same rights as all other workers in the UK.”

    Soud reported that was when the Courts decided, “It was deemed that Uber must provide the minimum wage, holiday pay, and pensions, and stop trampling over workers’ rights. This decision immediately sent convulsive fits around the headquarters of the leading companies of the gig economy, since what applies to Uber will undoubtedly apply throughout all similar organizations. The legal requirements this precedent sets now place the profits and futures of these corporate monstrosities under existential threat; they will not, therefore, accept this setback lightly. Uber has already appealed the decision and sent out a pack of lies to all of its ‘partners’ (a.k.a. ’employees’) that this will only affect the two drivers concerned. It frames the debate as one of flexibility vs. bureaucracy. In reality, it is exploitation vs. decency.” Uber certainly didn’t give up without a fight, their huge profit margins were at stake and so it was worth splashing the cash to fund the first of several appeals anll of which they have now lost.

    Those courageous drivers took a stand and they have finally been rewarded showing that, “Militancy pays.” Soud explained the formidable odds against them by noting, “Uber’s strength can appear overbearing, and the fight will not be easy. If these two drivers and others like them are to succeed, then the first task must be to work on unionizing and organizing those in the gig economy, starting with other Uber drivers. This is no easy task. But the inspiring strikes and victory by Deliveroo drivers recently shows that it can be done, that organization and militancy do pay. At the same time, it must be stressed that such struggle is the only genuine defense that workers have in the face of the aggressive rat race of modern day capitalist competition. Only by exerting the power and pressure of the organized working class and not relying upon the benevolence of the courts of the capitalist state, can concessions be won, guaranteed, and maintained.”

    Describing the deliberate pattern of disrupting worker solidarity, Soud said, “In replacing relations between worker and worker with username and username, we see how technology designed to bring the whole world closer together is in fact used to isolate and divide the working class even further. Many in the gig economy may never see a fellow colleague in the entire time of their employment; indeed, they are instead placed in direct competition with each other, with the only winner being the corporation and its profits. The extremity of these conditions demonstrates the need to get organized. Failing to do so will only result in continued exploitation, as more and more malevolent routes are devised in order to exploit workers. On the other hand, successes and victories could cause shock waves throughout the gig economy and the labor movement as a whole, showing that if unions can take hold in this most precarious of industries, it can and must, happen everywhere.”

    Soud appealed to readers, “End exploitation! End capitalism!” He said that, “Ultimately, however, even such industrial struggles cannot secure a decent, long-term future for ordinary men and women. The ruling class will strike back with a vengeance and seek to strip away all the hard-won gains of the past for the sake of their profits. If we desire a world without exploitation, without long working hours, low pay, and vicious attacks on our basic rights, then the only solution is to abolish the inherently exploitative capitalist system, to instead plan production on a socialist basis, for use rather than exchange, with democratic workers’ control of the workplace and the whole economy. Solidarity with Uber drivers! You have nothing to lose but your chains! There is a world to win!”

    In the Labour List Article entitled, “The Uber ruling is a huge achievement. We can build a more secure future,” MP Andy McDonald described Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of Uber drivers as, “a massive achievement that will benefit gig economy workers across the country, and it is thanks to years of hard work by the trade unions. For too long, the likes of Uber and Amazon have been getting away with gaming the system. They have tried to pretend that people who work for them aren’t, in fact, workers who are entitled to basic rights, including a fair wage, holiday and sick pay, safety and job security. This was always morally wrong; now the court has ruled it is also legally wrong. For the last ten years under successive Conservative governments, this mistreatment of workers who deliver vast profits for these companies has been allowed to go unchecked. On their watch, there has been an explosion of exploitative zero hours and insecure contracts.”

    McDonald explains how, “To deny them these rights not only has a devastating impact on their lives and wellbeing, it also has a disastrous impact on wider society and is plain economic illiteracy.” He says of the Tories, “They simply cannot be trusted to rebuild a fairer and stronger society as we recover from the pandemic. If you want to know where improving conditions for people at work ranks on the list of Tory priorities, take their long-promised employment bill. It has been postponed indefinitely.” He claims that, the Tory, “Contract with the British people, that their hard work would enable them to get on in life and give them the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families, has been broken.” This is why noone should be taken in by the new set of Tory lies hinting an end to austerity, ’40 new Hospitals,’ the ‘Lev…up’ lie and ‘borrowed voes’ that stole our democracy in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We must Strike, Protest, Challenge, Investigate and take the Tories to Court to win: Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67557 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    I have never enjoyed sweets, so I’m scathing in my description of ‘Candyfloss’ as “Puffed-up sickly sweet, vile sticky goo, devoid of any real substance, clinging to a stick.” We are currently being overwhelmed with another sticky gloop of airy ‘floss,’ that can easily be ‘spun,’ to placate the masses with soothing junk disinformation I call ‘Handyfloss’! I would define Handyfloss as, “Grotesquely over-exaggerated sickly sweet vacuous rubbish and vile sensationalist compulsive reporting, totally devoid of any real substance, and frequently centered around an expansive empty pledge or a blatantly obvious fabrication. Handyfloss is the convenient, as in ‘handy,’ propaganda spin of devious, lying politicians trying desperately to hide corruption or a mendacious power grab agenda to facilitate their endless profiteering and privilege at the expense of the general public. Our greedy, narcissistic PM, Boris Johnson, is a ruthless, perpetual motion, Handyfloss generator, but we really must stop consuming his sweet compulsive lies like Kool Aid!

    This is an insidious part of a Tory forced lurch to the right. In the Canary Article entitled, “The left is under the most extensive attack since the 1950s,” they caution that, “A former Labour MP has been tasked with examining left wing groups as part of a government review into UK ‘extremism’. But this move is just the thin end of the wedge. It is one part of a much wider assault on left-wing views and activity. Taken as a whole, we are witnessing perhaps the system’s greatest attack on us since the McCarthyism of the 1950s.” They describe John Woodcock as a,“witchfinder general” and “As The Canary‘s Tom Coburg recently wrote: In November 2019, home secretary Priti Patel appointed lord Walney (former Labour MP John Woodcock) as the government’s envoy on countering violent extremism. According to the Telegraph, Woodcock will be looking at ‘progressive extremism’ in Britain. That includes how ‘far-left’ groups could infiltrate or hijack environmental movements and anti-racism campaigns.”

    The Canary insist that, “To be clear, ‘extremism’ is a nonsense term. As police monitoring group Netpol’s Kevin Blowe wrote for The Canary, it can mean a number of things: from being a member of a civil disobedience group to being part of a campaign that challenges corporate power. Moreover, the government hasn’t even defined the term extremism or extremist in law. So it allows the state, and its agents, to decide who gets labelled as one.” The Canary describe this as, “The thin end of the wedge,” saying that, “Already, the right wing in the UK is cheering Woodcock on. The Telegraph wrote with glee that he’d be looking at ‘anti-capitalist’ groups. Woodcock himself stated that: ‘I want to look at the way anti-democracy, anti-capitalist far-Left fringe groups in Britain like the Socialist Workers Party tend to have much more success hijacking important causes… than the far-Right, and the harm that may do. Woodcock’s review is the thin end of the wedge. Because it sums up what’s happening across society.”

    The Canary point out that Woodcock is, “implying there is no alternative to corporatism (or ‘capitalism’ as he incorrectly refers to it). Anything ‘anti’ that is wrong and must be stopped.” They say that, “in the wider world, this is already happening. It can be broken down into several areas.” First up, “Un-social media: controlling the narrative: Facebook and Twitter have been actively silencing dissent. This has now been happening for a while. In 2017, Facebook changed its algorithm to intentionally remove smaller, left-wing news outlets from people’s feeds. The Intercept reported last year that as Facebook was banning far-right, QAnon-related groups, it was doing the same to antifacist ones, too. It consistently shuts down pro-Kurdish accounts. Also, UK Twitter has repeatedly banned left-wing voices.” They say that now, “Facebook will be ‘depoliticising’ its platform. In short, it’s looking to reduce the amount of news in people’s feeds. But campaigners say this will hit small, grassroots groups the hardest.”

    The Canary say, “Now, you could argue ‘it’s the algorithms what did it’. But someone designed those algorithms and according to reports, CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally intervened to make sure left-wing sites were hardest hit. Why? It’s about control of the narrative and it’s also about protecting powerful people and companies’ interests. The internet nearly caused control of the narrative to be lost. In the early days, it was a fairly open platform. But then, the dot com crash of 2000 came. The demise of countless new, smaller tech start-ups was a disaster capitalist’s dream. It paved the way for the domination of the internet by a few companies.” They say that, “In turn, these companies have ended up being some of the biggest in the world. At first, this was about concentrating ownership. But after events like the Arab Spring, the system realised the power the internet could yield for the people. So, the shutting down began.”

    The Canary report that, “Just recently, we’ve seen some tech giants openly go to war with governments. Most pointed in this is Australia. Its government is making companies like Facebook pay the media for its content. Facebook isn’t happy. In response, it has blocked all news content from its Australian site. Google, meanwhile, is so far going along with the Australian government’s plans. The situation in Australia sums up another problem. Namely the establishment corporate media. Because it too has massive control over the public narrative.” The Canary describes this as, “Manufacturing consent, 21st century-style.”

    “The Canary‘s Tom Coburg recently summed up the problem with the establishment corporate media. He wrote that: Professor Noam Chomsky co-wrote Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which famously argued that the mainstream media’s role was all about suppressing criticism of the powerful. Now recent moves by media in the UK are about to see that ‘manufactured consent’ taken to a whole new level. Coburg argued that UK media is already dominated by a few players. People like right-wing Rupert Murdoch control huge sections of it. But Coburg wrote about how it’s about to get worse. He said that: In February 2021, Ofcom was reported to have given its approval for Murdoch and Brooks to launch News UK TV, an outlet that will undoubtedly reflect the political leanings of its owner. Meanwhile, it’s understood that former editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, is rumoured to become the next chair of Ofcom [the broadcast media regulator].”

    The Canary warn of the danger of allowing these powerful entities to dominate the narrative as, “In January, it was reported that Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker who donated an estimated £416,189 to the Conservative Party, is to be chair of the BBC’s board of directors. In short, the corporate media was already run by a few, right-wing people. Now, it’s about to get worse. The new Australian rules are all the more concerning, too. Because with Google and Murdoch now in financial cahoots, power over the narrative is even more concentrated. Overall, the left wing is being shut down on social media. It’s actively deplatforming our news sites. The establishment corporate media is more and more dominant. So, we all better get back to protesting on the streets, yes? Well, we are facing a clampdown there as well.”

    The Canary describe the, “Co-opting of climate chaos,” saying that, “Whatever you think of Extinction Rebellion (XR), it’s gotten a name for itself. Its protests in London and around the world have been high-profile. But the system is determined to shut the group down. UK home secretary Priti Patel called its members ‘criminals’. She said its methods were a: shameful attack on our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority. Billionaire tech mogul Bill Gates said XR was not ‘constructive’. And Woodcock will be including the group in his review. So, why are the establishment attacking XR? It’s about control of the climate change narrative. In short, we’re seeing corporations and those in power co-opting the green movement for their own benefit. Gates is one example. Elon Musk is another. Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is another; rolling out low carbon fuels. The system and its proponents know that we’ve screwed the planet. They know it needs fixing.”

    The Canary point out that, “n the process, these disaster capitalists also see a money-making opportunity. Plus, if the system fails, so do they. So, XR and its people-led approach needs stopping and the UK’s increasingly authoritarian police are central to this.” The describe the, “Increasing authoritarianism” noting that the, “Police monitoring group Netpol recently wrote that the UK government: ‘Is planning to introduce major changes to public order legislation to crack down on protests, under a new ‘Protection of the Police and Public Bill’ planned for 2021. It’s looking to increase police powers over protest. These include police being able to control where they happen and using stop and search powers on protesters. Netpol says it comes in the wake of not only XR but also Black Lives Matter (BLM). Patel accused the latter of ‘hooliganism and thuggery’. Little wonder, when its call for defunding of the police is, like XR, a threat to the system. BLM’s drive for equality and social justice is the same.”

    But it doesn’t stop there as sadly the Canary report that, “Corporate capitalism needs inequality to function. Any true levelling of the playing field would be too damaging for it.” If the Spycops Bill isn’t seriously amended both the police and private investigators hired by Corporate entities, will have unaccountable expanded powers to infiltrate and spy on law abiding citizens who oppose Tory Government or Corporate exploitation of workers, minorities and the environment. They say, “So, what if the police do arrest and charge you over a demo? At least lawyers will be able to help you. Or so you’d think. The government is also attacking the legal profession. As former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett recently wrote for Bright Green: ‘It’s not just that the government has drained away the resources of legal aid: the annual legal aid budget is now £1.6bn a year, £950m less in real terms than it was in 2010, or removed all support for large areas of work under the 2013 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO).”

    The Canary report that, “It’s also that the government has actively attacked the role of lawyers in upholding the rule of law: Priti Patel attacked ‘do-gooders’ and ‘lefty lawyers’, her Home Office tweeted (although after an outcry deleted) an attack on ‘activist lawyers’ and even produced a video with the same theme (also eventually deleted). Marina Sergides, a barrister at Garden Court, testified to the APPG: ‘We are public servants but we are not treated as public servants… we are actively attacked by the government’. That attitude permeates throughout government action. Just this weekend, Paul Powlesland tweeted that while assisting, pro bono, anti-HS2 protesters at Euston, he was slapped with a £200 Covid regulation fine. He said he’s confident of being able to fight it in court, but what a pass we’ve come to when police are acting against legal protection.”

    As the Canary highlight how, “the left is becoming increasingly squeezed. We’re unable to operate effectively online. Our media outlets are impaired. The corporate news is all the more dominant. Physical protest is becoming more and more restricted and our right to legal recourse is also under threat. So, we’d best hope that Generation Z is going to save us then?” They also report on “Indoctrinating the youth,” saying that, “In 2020, the UK government issued new education guidance. Vice reported that it: ‘told leaders and teachers involved in setting the RSE curriculum that anti-capitalism is categorised as an ‘extreme political stance’, comparable to the opposition to freedom of speech, antisemitism and the endorsement of illegal activity. Of course, this would mean students would not hear any opposing views on capitalism. But it could also mean erasing huge parts of history.”

    The Canary report, “As George Monbiot said in a Twitter thread: ‘Behind these histories lies an even bigger and more sacrilegious truth. It’s that the system we call capitalism… is really a system of global theft… Let’s imagine there’d been no theft. No gold, silver and land stolen from Native Americans, no people stolen from Africa, no wealth stolen from India and the other colonies, no ransacking of our life support systems. How successful would this system we call capitalism have been? How rich and powerful would nations like ours have been? I would guess: not very. Capitalism is not what it claims to be. It is not the great success story its beneficiaries proclaim. It is the ideological structure we use to shield ourselves from brutal truths. So, the system has to erase valid criticism of it for it to continue to evolve. And it’s embedding this further, too.”

    The Canary describe the, “Cancelling of cancel culture,” they say, “We’re also seeing a ‘twin’ attack on so-called ‘cancel culture’. The UK government has just said it’s ‘strengthening’ free speech at universities. Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘I am deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring. That is why we must strengthen free speech in higher education, by bolstering the existing legal duties and ensuring strong, robust action is taken if these are breached. In short, the UK Tories are targeting students trying to shut down transphobes, racists, and misogynists. Also with this comes a government focus on ‘heritage’.”

    The Canary describe the “war on woke.” They say, “The government is bringing together 25 of the UK’s biggest heritage bodies and charities in an attempt to whitewash British history. Third Sector said that the government has ‘summoned’ them: ‘to a summit where Oliver Dowden [the culture secretary] is expected to tell them ‘to defend our culture and history from the noisy minority of activists constantly trying to do Britain down’. It is being seen as an escalation of the government’s ‘war on woke’ against so-called ‘cancel culture’, amid concern at senior levels in the government over what it sees as attempts to rewrite Britain’s past. It’s an obvious attack on BLM and the removing of slave trader statues. But moreover, it’s an attempt to shore up the false nationalist history peddled by the establishment that has led the system to the point it’s at today. So, you’d be hard-pushed to find somewhere the system wasn’t attacking the left. These individual cases are nothing new. But what seems new this time is the sheer scale of it.”

    According to the Canary, “A freelance journalist has compared this to another time in history: A new McCarthyism? Tim Fenton said that much of this is a new form of McCarthyism. Historically, it’s not far off in terms of the current system’s MO. Woodcock’s review is the same as a ‘Salem Witch Trial’. That is, in the context made famous by Arthur Miller in his play The Crucible. Miller’s Salem witch trials were a metaphor for the clamp-down on communists during the 1950s in the US. But Fenton’s point is also useful in seeing why this is going on. In the 1950s, two forces were pulling the world apart: communism and capitalism. Human society was at a crossroads of ideologies. It could have gone either way. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we are in a similar position. Except this time, the forces are not communism and capitalism. They are corporatism on one side and humanity on the other.” We must Protest, Challenge and Investigate Corruption to make sure that humanity not rabid Tory Corporatism prevails.

    The Canary insist that, “This isn’t just a UK phenomenon, either. It’s been the same in the US and it’s the same in France. It’s the same in Australia. Power is now highly concentrated and those with it want to make sure it stays that way. But in the UK, Woodcock’s review isn’t the end of the story.” The Canary say that, “The left wing: being dunked, Tory style,” noting that, “The government will soon be introducing the Online Safety Bill.” Steve Topple says as he “previously wrote for The Canary, this proposed legislation is peak Tory government. It’s dressing up an overarching attack on freedom and democracy as something that’s good and protective for us. Put this authoritarian piece of law in tandem with Woodcock’s review. Then, tie in all the other crackdowns mentioned above and what you have is perhaps the greatest attack on the left since McCarthyism in the 1950s. In fact, it may end up being even worse.”

    The Canary report, “With the advances in technology have come more and more ways for activists to organise. But consequently, traditional methods have been lost. Our lives and our human interactions are now dominated by tech. This leaves us exposed to governments and corporations exerting more power than ever before over them. My late father was a prominent member of the communist party in the 1950s/60s. He used to have a favourite story to tell. When they held meetings, the chair would always end his opening speech by saying: ‘finally, a very special welcome to our friends at the back of the room.’ He was referring to undercover police. But the meeting would still go ahead. Now, we live in the age of virtual organising and our right to even discuss having a meeting may end up being curtailed. Our freedom to object to, and protest against, what the system is meting out has never been under such a threat. It’s up to all of us to push back, before it’s too late.”

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled, “In attack on academic freedom, Gavin Williamson puts ally in charge of uni speaker lists,” Joe Lo elaborates on a worrying trend.” He says, “In a new reform allegedly designed to protect freedom of speech, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will hand control over who can speak at universities to his friend and Tory peer James Wharton. Using research from a discredited dossier, Williamson has claimed that freedom of speech is under threat because some controversial speakers have been uninvited from speaking at university events. Unions representing students and lecturers have both denied there is any such crisis. But to fix this phantom threat, Williamson plans to give the Office for Students the power to fine universities who ‘fail to promote free speech’. This gives a lot of power to an unelected public body and its new chair James Wharton, who ran Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign along with Gavin Williamson and was made a Tory lord in return.”

    Lo warns that, “By deciding how to define freedom of speech and when and how to enforce it, Wharton and his staff will essentially decide who is allowed to speak at universities and who is not. This is a grave threat to academic freedom; the university staff union UCU have warned that it’s not the only such threat. In a complaint to UNESCO, they said: ‘The reality is that, in the overwhelming majority of instances, UK academics report statistically significantly higher levels of systematic abuse of their academic freedom, than their European counterparts”. One reason for this is the Conservative’s 1988 Education Act, which abolished the concept of academic tenure, removing job security from academics. That’s increasingly been replaced by short-term precarious contracts which leave staff very vulnerable to management’s whims and limits their power to choose their own research topics and voice their own opinions.”

    Lo explains that, “Repeated ‘national research evaluation excercises’ means academics are under pressure to prove their research has ‘impact’, influencing what they look into. On top of this, academics don’t ultimately control what they teach and how they teach it or how students are examined as that power is reserved for management. The government’s ‘Prevent’ rules, designed to counter terrorism, are also limiting what materials students and academics can access. At the University of Reading, students have to ask university management for permission to access certain books, like the Brazilian revolutionary ‘Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla’. With all this bureaucracy, many will decide certain issues are too much hassle to investigate. Yet instead of addressing these real academic freedom issues, or the numerous other problems education is facing right now, Gavin Williamson has chosen the headline-grabbing non-issue of ‘no platforming’.”

    Lo insists that, “When combined with the appointment of James Wharton, it looks less like he’s simply misguided and more like a cynical Whitehall power grab over centres of learning.” In essence this is another ploy for the alt-right to not just shut down genuine free speech, but force their warped Tory perspective into the minds of our most progressive thinking young people. Combined with other toxic Government appointments aimed at attacking and shutting down progressive Socialist viewpoints this is very worrying. Especially so as the alt-right are getting set to drench the public in Tory inspired ‘Handyfloss’ and fake news via two newly created ‘Fox News’ style TV channels spewing hateful propaganda to help maintain fear and division within the population. We cannot afford to wait until new Tory laws make it impossible or seriously dangerous to protest and the Judicial process is permanently altered to protect those who exploit and oppress our freedoms. We must act now before it is too late to oust the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67589 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    We must be a lot more vocal in demanding answers from this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship because they are manipulating our national broadcaster, the BBC and will soon back up their alt-right messaging with more extreme right TV in addition to saturating our print media. The vile agenda of eugenics policies that led to the horror of Nazi Fascism cannot be repeated. The Canary Article entitled, “UK media is about to take Noam Chomsky’s ‘manufacturing consent’ to a whole new level” they examine his ground breaking book. “Professor Noam Chomsky co-wrote Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which famously argued that the mainstream media’s role was all about suppressing criticism of the powerful. Now recent moves by media in the UK are about to see that ‘manufactured consent’ taken to a whole new level. These big media players won’t be content with greater dominance and they, along with the help of the government, will do everything they can to crush the opposition.”

    “New kids on the block?” The Canary ask, noting that, “The national mainstream media in the UK has always been dominated by the Conservative right. The Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun are owned by Rupert Murdoch and family via News UK, in turn, owned by News Corp. The main shareholder of the Daily Mail (as well as the i newspaper) is viscount Rothermere. The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph are owned by billionaire Frederick Barclay. And the Daily Express is owned by Reach (which also owns the Daily Star and the Daily Mirror). Each newspaper offers similar political content but tweaked for different audiences. As for broadcast news, the main players are the BBC (funded by the license fee) ITV, Channel 4, and Sky News (each dependent on advertising). But there are now old players masquerading as new players waiting in the wings.” They refer to “News UK TV”

    In earlier Canary articles they reported on how, “In August and September 2020, Murdoch and his sidekick Rebekah Brooks met regularly with UK government ministers, including prime minister Boris Johnson. Then in February 2021, Ofcom was reported to have given its approval for Murdoch and Brooks to launch News UK TV, an outlet that will undoubtedly reflect the political leanings of its owner. Meanwhile, it’s understood that former editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, is rumoured to become the next chair of Ofcom.” The Canary say this, “isn’t the only new upcoming media venture. The ‘right-leaning’ GB News, which is part-funded by Legatum, a Dubai investment firm that via its chair is linked to the Brexit-backing Legatum Institute. GB News is headed by Angelos Frangopoulos, a former Sky News Australia boss. In 2018, former Labor minister Craig Emerson quit Sky News Australia after it “broadcast an interview with far-right extremist Blair Cottrell“. No doubt GB News’ politics will be of a similar hue.”

    The Canary note that, “According to Byline: GB News appears to be owned by a company called ‘All Perspectives Limited’, which is in turn equally owned by media moguls Mark Schneider and Andrew Cole. Cole is a director and board member at Liberty Global, a multinational telecommunications company with roughly 47,000 employees. According to the trading website Wallmine, Cole is also a shareholder at Liberty, reportedly owning stock worth more than $1 million. Liberty Global has an interest in mainstream broadcasting in the UK, owning 9.9% of ITV Plc, the company that effectively owns and operates the ITV network. There has even been speculation that Liberty could launch a full takeover of ITV, with this rumour circulating via City AM as recently as May. Byline adds that Virgin Media is also owned by Liberty.” The Canary ask if this constitutes, “Political cronyism or conflict of interest? But, “It doesn’t stop there.”

    The Canary say that, “In January, it was reported that Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker who donated an estimated £416,189 to the Conservative Party, is to be chair of the BBC’s board of directors.” They provide a listing: “Some of the donations he made to the Conservative Party.” They say that, “The Guardian also reported that: Sharp’s family foundation donates to the Institute for Policy Research, an obscure charitable organisation that funnels money to the CPS [Centre for Policy Studies], as well as to other organisations aligned with the right of the Conservative party, among them the Taxpayers Alliance, MigrationWatch UK and News-watch, an organisation that has produced a number of reports alleging anti-EU bias in BBC reporting. The Canary add that, “Sharp happens to be the former boss of UK chancellor Rishi Sunak. He was also an economic adviser to Boris Johnson when mayor of London. Sharp will join Conservative supporter Tim Davie, who took over as BBC director general last September.”

    The Canary previously reported that, “Davie met with former Downing Street special advisers Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain some two weeks after he assumed the role, although no minutes of that meeting are available. Meanwhile, the Johnson-led government is accused of blacklisting journalists and doing its best to sabotage freedom of information requests.” They describe, “Manufacturing consent; The media landscape in the UK is undergoing a major shift. More right-wing players are stepping forward to work alongside media moguls, establishing control both in existing organisations and in creating new ones. It’s nothing less than a media coup, with the beneficiaries being the Conservative Party and their friends in business. Moreover, the right-wing media monopoly will no doubt want to destroy all effective opposition to its political dominance, including using any means it can to eliminate independent media. Or as Chomsky puts it better, a manufacturing of consent; they include his Youtube Video.”

    Even more alarming, the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship’s ‘Manufactured Consent’ isn’t just aimed at staying in power, and eliminating scrutiny so that they remain unaccountable for plundering public funds with impunity, there is a far more ominous agenda. The dangerous pseudoscience of eugenics that inspired ‘Herd Immunity’ still remains a Tory strategy for selectively targeting and culling the elderly, the poor and ethnic minorities. In the Byline Times Article entitled, “Free speech’ Czar role linked to Toby Young’s Free Speech Union & US Right-Wing Funding Network,” they note, “Nafeez Ahmed’s investigation reveals that the Government’s new proposal is inspired by attempts to suppress free speech about racism. The Education Secretary’s proposal to regulate free speech at universities by appointing a national ‘free speech champion’ at the Office for Students (OfS) came from an academic defender of white identity politics who has argued that ethnic diversity in itself increases ‘white threat perceptions’.”

    Ahmed reports that, “Professor Eric Kaufmann, of Birkbeck College, is an advisor to the Free Speech Union run by Toby Young, the disgraced former OfS appointee who resigned from the role after critics highlighted his history of bigoted tweets. Kaufmann first proposed the idea of a ‘national academic freedom champion’ at the OfS to investigate alleged breaches of free speech rights in a co-authored report published by the Policy Exchange think tank in November 2019. Kaufmann joined the advisory board of the Free Speech Union when it launched in February 2020, when Young publicly endorsed Kaufmann’s proposal. Young’s influence on the Government’s latest proposals raises questions, given his own role in defending scientific racism and biological theories of racial and gender inequalities.” It follows the typical ‘divide and rule’ Tory technique of racist, anti-immigrant, nationalist ‘othering!’

    “Byline Times has previously exposed his defense of pseudoscience funded by the Pioneer Fund, a neo-Nazi eugenics foundation established in 1937. Among other things, the Fund’s affiliated authors, several of whom Young has openly supported, claim that black people have lower IQs than white people. Toby Young is also the man behind a free speech students network with the same name as the new OfS role, Free Speech Champions, launched in February. Although it claims to be ‘led by young people’, Byline Times can reveal that the project is, in reality, a Toby Young front trying to suppress free speech on equalities among university students.”

    “Documents and email communications obtained by Byline Times, as well as interviews with students, confirm that Free Speech Champions’ network is actually controlled by its funders, the Free Speech Union and the Battle of Ideas, which is part of a network sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation. Under the guise of promoting ‘free speech’, Toby Young’s Free Speech Champions promoted alt-right figures such as Jordan Peterson, defended the alleged speech rights of Nazis in universities, fed students an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and discouraged students from using words such as ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’. That the Government’s new role was inspired by an academic advising Young suggests that, far from defending ‘free speech’, Gavin Williamson is attempting to shut it down to defend ‘alt-right’ speech. The Department for Education did not respond to a request for comment.”

    In a move Ahmed describes as, “Promoting Free Speech for Nazis” he says, “In January, the Guardian exposed the role of the Free Speech Union in the Free Speech Champions project, interviewing a range of students who had been involved. The students eventually resigned over concerns they were ‘censured if they disagreed with the group’s right-of-centre orthodoxy’ and described Free Speech Champions as an ‘astroturfed’ front for Young’s Free Speech Union. However, the Guardian story only scratched the surface of what the Free Speech Champions project represents. The project was not conceived by any of the students described as ‘founding champions’. Instead, Inaya Folarin Iman, who sits on the board of directors of the Free Speech Union, sent unsolicited emails to students at different universities early in 2020 asking them if they wanted to join the project.”

    Despite the innocuous-sounding invitation the racist agenda soon became clear. Ahmed reports that, “Students who agreed to get involved were then enrolled in a series of meetings and workshops to receive training on free speech and to help develop the project. On 9 November, Iman emailed the participants links to online videos on free speech, including one titled ‘Would Today’s ACLU Defend the Speech Rights of Nazis’, published by Reason magazine. The video calls for Nazis to be able to freely express their views. Other videos recommended by Iman included one by the controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson and another by Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked magazine. Peterson, described by The Times as an ‘alt-right darling,’ has been widely criticised for claiming that gender and class hierarchies are a function of the natural order. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Peterson has a track record of promoting revisionist falsehoods about Hitler, the Holocaust and Nazism.”

    According to Ahmed, “Iman’s interest in defending the free speech rights of Nazis was in contrast to the opposition to students talking freely about the idea of ‘punching a Nazi’. In an email to participant Harry Walker, president of the Bristol University Free Speech Society, Iman appeared to oppose the freedom of speech to advocate punching Nazis, while simultaneously defending the right of Nazis to advocate genocide: ‘One thing I hope for this project is to see whether it’s possible to engage with the most reprehensible ideas in a way that is in the spirit of intellectual ambition, bravery and curiosity’.” I wish the example given had not mentioned a physical attack, as that isn’t essentially ‘free speech;’ it plays into the hands of a group that advocates violence.

    The objective: “Shutting Down Speech about ‘Sexism’ and ‘Racism’” says Ahmed, “The Free Speech Union’s education and events director Dr Jan Macvarish was involved in steering discussions with the students from the beginning. According to Harry Walker, Macvarish ‘inexplicably sat-in on all of the meetings’ despite the students being told that the project would function independently of the Free Speech Union. WhatsApp logs reveal that, early on, she actively discouraged students from challenging racist and homophobic attitudes, describing doing so as an affront to free speech. Macvarish told the students: ‘I don’t think racism is irrational, it’s not a phobia. Neither is an objection to homosexuality.’ Macvarish described words such as ‘racism’, ‘sexism’ and ‘transphobia’ as ‘phobia’ words which, if used, would undermine free speech. She also dismissed the idea of Islamophobia: ‘If you look at who gets accused of ‘Islamophobia’ it really isn’t people who are actually oppressing and abusing Muslims though is it?”

    Ahmed reports that, “In several meetings, Walker said that Macvarish ‘was railing against the notion that ‘the personal is political’, suggesting this is the issue with the discourse around gender, race and so on. She also encouraged us not to use terms like sexism, racism, transphobia, arguing that doing so was making concessions to the anti-free speech camp’. In other words, in the name of free speech, the Free Speech Union was trying to convince the students that certain words around racial, sexual and gender equality should be expunged from discourse, while words opposing racial, sexual and gender equality should be protected. Macvarish, a visiting research fellow at the University of Kent, did not respond to Byline Times‘ request for comment.” We are now seeing this exact same ‘nothing to see here’ denial culture preached by Tory Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch in Parliament and she is well supported by other privileged ethnic minority Tory MPs and right-wing BAME commentators.

    Ahmed describes the, “‘Cultural Marxism’ Conspiracy Theory,” saying that, “In WhatsApp conversations, the Free Speech Union’s Inaya Folarin Iman also went on to endorse fears of ‘cultural marxism’, which she incorrectly defined as ‘rooted in a critique of the Marxist critique of capitalism’, supposedly in which certain ‘post-modernist thinkers’ moved on from Marxism to focus on identity politics such as ‘white = oppressor, non-white = oppressed (again, simple explanation)’. Her reference point was a book by James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose called Cynical Theories: How Universities Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity. Apart from the book offering a systematically flawed analysis of ‘critical theory’, Lindsay is funded by the conservative Christian nationalist Michael O’Fallon, who co-created a statement branding ‘social justice’ a threat to the gospel. O’Fallon is founder of Sovereign Nations, the entire remit of which is based on an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about George Soros.”

    Ahmed warns that, “Iman’s attempt to promote fear of ‘cultural marxism’ to the students is of particular concern as the term actually designates a far-right anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, thoroughly debunked by historians and quantitative analysis of academic research. Last year, the Board of Deputies criticised Conservative MP Suella Braverman for using this ‘anti-Semitic trope’. She refused to apologise and was instead made the Government’s Attorney General. As Jason Wilson has observed in the Guardian, the theory is ‘blatantly anti-Semitic, drawing on the idea of Jews as a fifth column bringing down western civilisation from within, a racist trope that has a longer history than Marxism. Like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the theory was fabricated to order, for a special purpose: the institution and perpetuation of culture war’.”

    Ahmed explains, “The theory of ‘cultural marxism’ is credited largely to white nationalist Kevin Macdonald and far-right ideologue William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation. But it originated from the Nazis, who first used the term ‘cultural Bolshevism’. It claims that a cohort of German Jewish Marxist academics behind the Frankfurt School orchestrated an academic and cultural effort to undermine the US through an ‘identity politics’-driven cultural war on US values, mobilised through the Trojan Horse of minority rights. The theory of ‘cultural Marxism’ has since become a staple of the alt-right, used by the likes of Steve Bannon, Breitbart and even neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.” Byline Times say, “Inaya Folarin Iman did not respond to request for comment.”

    What’s in a Name? Ahmed asks, saying that, “Perhaps the most direct evidence that the Free Speech Champions project is not led by young people is the fact that, despite going through the motions of allowing the students to brainstorm together a name of their own choosing, Toby Young’s Free Speech Union forced the project to take on the title ‘Free Speech Champions’ despite it being universally rejected by all of the students. In a letter to the group on behalf of members Harry Walker, Ben Sewell, Charlotte Nuernberg and Maya Thomas, sent in December 2020, they noted: ‘It seems that many of the major decisions regarding the project (its name, and belligerent approach to the culture wars to name a few) were made executively despite the group’s advice, not as a result of it; we don’t recall ‘Free Speech Champions’ being raised as a naming suggestion.’ The letter noted that the same name had been prematurely announced by Toby Young ‘nearly a month ago on Darren Grimes ‘Reasoned’ podcast’.”

    Ahmed reports that, “The students’ letter pointed out that, when participants voiced approaches different to that of the Free Speech Union, they were largely shut down: ‘Those criticising the predetermined FSU-esque direction of the project were dismissed as overly sensitive or caving to censorious factions.’ Ahmed is focused on, “The Koch Connection and the Battle of Ideas” saying that, “Young’s Free Speech Champions is plugged into an opaque network of lobby groups which are funded by the Charles Koch Foundation. Apart from the Free Speech Union, its other chief organisational sponsor is the Battle of Ideas, a charity which runs the annual flagship festival of the same name on behalf of the Academy of Ideas (formerly the Institute of Ideas), chaired by former Brexit MEP Baroness Claire Fox, who also sits on the Free Speech Union’s advisory board.”

    Ahmed says, “According to a joint investigation by the Guardian and DeSmogUK, Fox and the Battle of Ideas are part of the Koch-backed Spiked network of organisations which emerged from the ashes of the Trotsksyist left Living Marxism (LM) magazine, itself a splinter of the Revolutionary Communist Party. In 2000, LM was shut down after it became bankrupt due to losing a libel trial in 2000, in which it claimed falsely that ITN had fabricated evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims. The same figures involved in LM, including Fox, Brendan O’Neill and Frank Furedi, resurfaced through the Spiked network in the early 2000s. It later emerged that, from 2016 to 2018, Spiked US Ltd, the network’s US fundraising vehicle, had received $300,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation to produce public debates in the US about free speech.”

    Ahmed points out that, “The Spiked network’s interest in promoting ‘free speech’ is clear from what it publishes and promotes, namely opposition to bans on child pornography; regulations on tobacco; gun control; limiting hate speech; bans on Nazi free speech; Black Lives Matter; anti-racism; the Me Too movement; and so on. It also regularly promotes climate science denial. Battle of Ideas trustee Frank Furedi contributes to the Koch-funded climate denial lobby group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Another Battle of Ideas trustee is Luke Gittos, author of Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth. Gittos is a lawyer with ‘extensive experience in defending allegations of rape and sexual violence’, according to the book blurb, and is also a legal editor for Spiked. The Battle of Ideas did not respond to request for comment.” In a truly nauseating Rolling Stone Article entitled, “Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire,” you can discover the origins of their wealth and malevolent influence they have bought with that wealth.

    Ahmed insists that, “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Free Speech Champions is merely yet another astroturfed front group for the Koch-backed Spiked network. That its backer, Toby Young’s Free Speech Union, is linked to the Government’s new free speech czar proposal indicates that the biggest threat to free speech on campus is coming from an alt-right pincer movement with ties to the Government itself.” Rolling Stone say that, “Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world’s largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system.” They are described as, “each worth more than $40 billion” and these American “‘homegrown oligarchs’ have cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP.”

    In contrast to toxic racist messaging now being channeled via alt-right organizations targeting students, “The Office for Students told Byline Times: ‘Free speech and academic freedom are essential elements of higher education teaching and research. Our regulatory requirements are designed to uphold the widest possible definition of free speech permitted within the law. However, we all must be clear where the law restricts speech, for example prohibiting unlawful harassment and incitements to racial or religious hatred. ‘Free speech is never an excuse for illegality or violence. It is essential that higher education is free of all unlawful discrimination, harassment and violence, and all students should feel confident that that is the case. It is vital that any student who suffers this behavior is given the support they need, and that universities deal with complaints effectively and robustly.”

    Although the Rolling Stone Article refers to US politics, vile foreign manipulators like the Koch brothers, Steve Bannon and Rupert Murdoch have warped our democracy in the UK. The powerful Zionist Lobby has maneuvered into a strong position of influence over both the Tory and opposition Parties to forward the agenda of Apartheid Israel. We must oust these malevolent influences from our Universities and all aspects of our Media as well as our Political Parties because they aren’t acting in the interest of our citizens. We can no longer ignore such unacceptable incursions, so destructive to our democracy; we must protest, organize massive general strikes, robustly challenge the increasing injustices, taking legal action including demanding a full Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, the horrendous Covid death toll and the relentless squandering of public funds since this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship took power. In Myanmar they risk death to defy dictatorship, why can’t we even muster a whimper? DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67635 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    The BBC just featured a repeat of ‘Have I got News for You’ originally broadcast just the day after the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. While the show is aimed at political humour one message was abundantly clear from the two main panellists, the result had been well beyond astounding, it was simply not believable. While there were swipes from all sides, the ones pointing to the numerous very public gaffs of Boris Johnson were most noticeable. The fake claim of an ‘assault’ on one of his team, the disgrace of him refusing to look at a picture of a child improperly cared for in A&E, stealing the phone only to hand it back as if nothing in his vile conduct mattered because the votes were ‘sorted.’ The requests for him to present himself for questioning and his refusal to be interviewed, culminating in him running away to hide in a fridge! These were not the actions of a confident politician awaiting a really strong showing in the polls; it seemed everyone had expected a hung Parliament at best or even a narrow Labour victory.

    This show went out during that brief period of stunned shock before the impact of what had just occurred had really sunk in. The speed of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result announcement with what appeared like barely enough time to complete the counts, it was as if the BBC were well prepared ready to sell the scam quickly and decisively to a gob-smacked public. Despite being a truly unfathomable result that clearly no-one was expecting, due to the abysmal performance of Boris Johnson and the almost complete absence of any real campaign from the Tories, there were no interviewers eagerly questioning him, seeking to discover the secret of his astounding success: this was highly unusual and very suspicious. All of a sudden the BBC remembered that Labour MPs had fought the election; they were hurriedly called in for nauseating interviews, expected to explain how they lost so many traditional Labour seats! Many on the Labour right delighted in being able to denigrate and blame Jeremy Corbyn for losing the election.

    It was a unique chance for the unfaithful Labour centrist MPs, who had been trying to sabotage Labour just to oust Corbyn, to spew their venom and they eagerly complied with our not-so-impartial broadcaster as they sought to solidify and bed-in the fake news. The BBC featured an extraordinary invitation by offering an extended period of days of collective hand-wringing, breast-beating and self-flagellation to the Labour Party to convince the public that their MPs fully supported the unbelievable result: that they really had lost the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. Dissent was not tolerated, but few dared to question the validity of the so-called Tory ‘landslide victory.’ No one wanted to be criticised as a ‘sore loser’ so talk of challenging the results was kept well under wraps. The illegal prior knowledge of the postal vote results was never really investigated and the swift result-call was passed off as ‘normal.’ Some members of the public were crying foul, but they were being drowned out by the alt-right press and the BBC.

    Time and distance helped solidify the deception; so after a few short weeks of convincing the British public that black was white, that the man despised and jeered at right across the country had miraculously won by a ‘stonking majority,’ most settled into the true misery of what lay ahead. The only explanation concocted by the Tories was the bullshit about ‘borrowed votes’ and how ‘the people’ had wanted to ‘Get Brexit Done.’ After a decade of Tory austerity, the forgotten north had supposedly voted to have their own children starve and it certainly didn’t take long for ramped-up Tory deprivation to arrive. For a pathological liar like Johnson, it really wasn’t hard to come up with a catchy new theme for ‘Austerity Mark 2’ and so the ‘lev…up’ Lie was born. He needed another zero credibility massive fake pledge that he could pretend the plebs had fallen for; yes, 40 new Hospitals for their precious NHS while he got busy completing the full privatization. The Tories needed to act fast to get things done before their con trick came unravelled.

    Threatening the BBC had paid off; the total absence of impartiality from the BBC and UK Media was key tp obscuring the truth and marginalizing the potential for challenge. His handler Dominic Cummings wanted more control at number 10 despite the fact that he was an unelected… geek, the PM had him to thank for that weapons-grade PsyOps selling his propaganda so effectively. But look where we are now 120,000 Covid deaths on in just over a year of his shambolic premiership. The Pandemic gifted Boris an almost God-like power very early on into his corruptly acquired Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. Those who felt the most intense pain of his jackboot on their neck now patiently await a decree to allow the privilege of being able to hold their mum’s hand in a care visit; that is the paltry relief from oppressive misery that we are now reduced to as a nation. Where is that plucky spirit ready to defy the injustice with loud protests, nationwide strikes, legal challenges, and a demand for a full Investigation into that very dodgy election result?

    Johnson wasted no time in bullying his MPs into compliant submission to his dictatorial rule; the gravy-train perks of shovelling so much public money out the door in untendered contracts to placate their donors and buy future votes helped to persuade. A Court victory declaring Matt Hancock’s actions unlawful, like so many Tory transgressions, can be ignored. The public is expected to become accustomed to the new normal of zero accountability in office. It started back with Dominic Cummings refusing to appear before a Parliamentary Committee, then his violation of the lockdown rules, Priti Patel’s bullying of her staff, Robert Jenrick and fellow MPs cheating over allocation of the ‘Towns Fund,’ now it’s Matt Hancock’s inappropriate Government contracts. These minor distractions have become just a matter of refusing to resign or dismiss a miscreant then just bluffing things out for a while until we move on. Once again with compliant Press cover, a hobbled BBC, and a useful Labour stooge, all it takes is time and distance…

    We cannot afford to keep moving on! In Craig Murray’s Post “The Utterly Useless Keir Starmer” he says, “Ministerial resignations should be the least of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic procurement corruption scandal. Ministers, MPs and their corrupt mates who benefited from these contracts should be in the dock and looking at lengthy periods of imprisonment.” So too should the Tory Prime Minister who used public money to fund paying a fake charity, ‘Integrity Inititave’ to deliberately create and disseminate fake news propaganda to defame Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in order to steal the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. In any properly functioning democracy Boris Johnson and many of his cronies would be in jail not in office: we must fight for this just outcome. The Labour Party membership must wake-up to the fact that knight in shining armour ‘Sir Keir’ is a lying, cheating Trojan horse ushered in via alt-right Media accolades of his ‘forensic opposition,’ but dedicated to destroying the progressive Labour Left!

    In the Canary Article entitled, “Keir Starmer just rallied to protect snivelling Matt Hancock,” they criticize the total lack of opposition. They say that “Matt Hancock needn’t have worried about the Labour leader savaging him on Sunday 21 February’s political TV programmes. Because Keir Starmer completely let the embattled health secretary off the hook.” They describe, “Hancock: flouting his ‘legal obligations’ The Canary reported on Saturday 20 February about a High Court ruling. As it noted: The Government is required by law to publish a ‘contract award notice’ within 30 days of the award of any contracts for public goods or services worth more than £120,000. But the Good Law Project and a cross-party group of MPs said the Tories didn’t do this and a judge agreed with them. He said: There is now no dispute that, in a substantial number of cases… [Hancock] breached his legal obligation to publish contract award notices within 30 days of the award of contracts.”

    The Canary report that “There is also no dispute that… [Hancock] failed to publish redacted contracts in accordance with the transparency policy. So, were the Sunday 21 February political TV shows awash with calls for Hancock to quit? Of course not.
    Starmer: let me wring my hands…”
    First up was Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Moments before, the host asked Hancock if he should resign. ‘No’, was his predictable answer. So, Ridge posed the same question to the Labour leader. Again, ‘no’ was the predictable (but ridiculous) answer. Starmer said: I don’t want to call for him to resign. I do think he’s wrong about the contracts. There’s been a lot of problems with the contracts: on transparency, on who the contracts have gone to, and there’s been a lot of wasted money and I think that is a real cause for concern. But at the moment, at this stage of the pandemic, I want all government ministers working really hard to get us through this.”

    Taking a leaf out of the Johnson playbook he assumed the mantle of public consent for his spineless decision as the Canary report “He also said: But I think at this stage, calling for people to resign is not what the public really wants to see.” We the people are really furious at getting stiffed once again and Starmer cannot even manage a strong objection to the wrongdoing: both Starmer and Handcock need to go, but please take the rest of that corrupt Tory cabal out with you! The Canary report that, “Starmer thinks there have been ‘problems’ with the PPE contracts. Feel free to shout “FFS” while you read this. Because there haven’t been ‘problems’. There’s been unlawful activity from a senior government minister.”

    The Canary say that “Over on The Andrew Marr Show, and things weren’t much better. Lammy: missed Starmer’s ‘hand-wringing’ memo. First up, and shadow justice secretary David Lammy was at odds with Starmer. He said that Hancock: should publish the contracts because the court has found it unlawful. He should cancel the… temporary scheme that he’s been using without any accountability or any transparency. He should come to parliament on Monday and explain what he’s going to do. It is outrageous, frankly… This is the sort of behaviour, giving contracts to your pub landlord and your best mate, that you would expect in a banana republic. Ouch. Clearly, Starmer’s ‘hand-wringing on the fence’ briefing hadn’t got to Lammy.”

    Then Matt Hancock was on to defend his and the government’s actions… “Pulling on heartstrings, disaster capitalist-style.” The Canary describe how “The health secretary tried to pull on the public’s heartstrings. He said his department, ‘in the height of the pandemic’, published contacts on average within 47 days. Hancock pleaded that: my team were working seven days a week, often 18 hours a day, to get hold of the equipment that was saving lives. Indeed: ‘getting hold of equipment’ from Hancock’s family friends; Tory Party-linked firms and donors, and a hotel carpet company. Yet the health secretary repeatedly used the ‘saving lives’ line to defend his and his government’s cronyism.”

    The Canary report how “Marr asked Hancock to apologise for breaching the law. He predictably didn’t.” They point out how “Hancock even had the audacity to say the country should be ‘grateful’ for his department doing its job. But of course, Hancock whitewashing cronyism, exploiting a global crisis, and showing wilful negligence is all in a days work for our disaster capitalist-led government.” Caroline Lucas Tweeted: “Listening to this again from #Marr makes me so angry. How dare Hancock suggest he broke the law to prevent shortages of PPE on the frontline? Health workers died for lack of right PPE at right time because of incompetence, cronyism & waste – does he think our memories are so short?”

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Video: ‘Opposition’ leader Keir Starmer says deciding whether to oppose is a ‘difficult judgment call’,” he “claims he’s not a ‘tap-dancer’ for the Tories. Keir Starmer has appeared on LBC radio, where caller ‘Anna from Camden’ challenged him on being a ‘tap dancer’ for the Tories over his refusal to call for lawbreaker Matt Hancock to resign after the High Court ruled that Hancock’s awarding of contracts to Tory donors and mates has been unlawful. Starmer trended twice, at the same time, on social media yesterday after saying he didn’t want to call for Hancock’s resignation, despite the lawbreaking mate-enriching taking place while the Tories caused at least 150,000 needless coronavirus deaths. Starmer denied he was a tap dancer, but the ‘leader of the opposition’ went on to try to defend himself by claiming that deciding whether to oppose the Tories is a ‘difficult judgment call’: Clue’s in the job title, Keith.” Right now his fancy footwork is so good he’s looking like Fred Astair!

    In the Canary Article entitled, “Centrists promised In the Forensic Keir, but delivered Flaccid Keith,” they say that, “When centrists foisted Keir Starmer on a demoralised and defeated Labour Party membership, they promised he would be ‘forensic‘. But the only word that captures the limp futility of his first year is ‘flaccid’. Forensic Keir?” They justifiably ask? “Originally, the Left rebranded Keir as ‘Keith’ to dissociate him from the Labour legend he’s named after. Keir Hardie, the Scottish trade unionist who founded the Labour Party, began working the mines at the ripe age of seven. Hardie channelled a life of classist exploitation int politics to end it, and that was the mission of the Labour Party.” Sir Keir certainly has all the sparkling personality of a glass of distilled water; no wonder he was the perfect candidate for the role of Tory Trojan horse charged with dismantling the progressive Labour Left.

    The Canary elaborate, “So Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions prosecuted people he had previously defended. Not to mention the question marks over his role in covering up the undercover policing scandal. However, almost a year of impotence later, ‘Keith’ has come to epitomise Starmer’s beige banality.” The Canary doesn’t hold back in calling Starmer, “A man with all the charm of the pub bore, who’d find himself outperformed by a talking potato sack. His nasal delivery gives him the sound of a Poundland Ed Miliband, who was himself a Poundland Gordon Brown. Flaccid Keith has so far failed to land a single punch against the criminally incompetent, corrupt Johnson government. He’s had a honeymoon with the press, and the centrist Parliamentary Labour Party gave him their full backing. Yet he’s turned it into absolutely nothing. In fact, opposition has been led by unions and working people. Despite pleas for his support, Flaccid Keith either abstained or sided with government.”

    How could he have known it would be this demanding to ferment the type of catastrophic political sabotage the Tories had asked of him? The Canary describe, “The middle of the road to nowhere,” saying that, “Centrism isn’t about finding an objective middle ground. It is based on the assumption that there is no alternative to capitalism. But more than that, it’s based on a belief that capitalism is good, in and of itself. There might be a few rotten apples to deal with, but no major systemic issues. All capitalism needs, centrists argue, is a better manager. They are technocrats, suspicious of democracy. If only they were in charge, all would be well. Or at least, as well as anyone deserves. Because that’s the other thing about centrists, they fully buy into basing a person’s value on their contribution to capitalism. They’re likely to say things like: ‘Socially, I’m a liberal. But economically, I’m conservative’. They believe this compromise makes them grown-ups.”

    The Canary claim that, “This is a nonsense, because the two cannot be separated. Economic policy that privileges the already-wealthy over everyone else has social consequences. Those consequences are all around us. Homelessness, poor mental and physical health, addiction, suicide, all derive from this inequality.” They say that “The truth is, centrists aren’t even particularly socially liberal. If they were, they’d be confronting Apartheid in Israel rather than enabling it. They would be backing trans people in their civil rights struggle, not condemning them. They would have backed Corbyn, not assassinated him. Centrism is a vacuous ideology borne of privilege. It’s what happens when you spend too much time in the company of affluent sameness. A certain type of person starts to believe they’re better than those without, and that sense of superiority turns to contempt. So when the ‘contemptible’ working class found political expression through Jeremy Corbyn, centrists flipped their wigs.”

    The Canary explain that, “There was no political vision or values behind the centrist coup. It was a tantrum thrown by bourgeois prefects for the capitalist class. Now they have the Labour party, they have literally no idea what to do with it other than nod and curtsy.” They call out Starmer as, “The empty vessel” saying that the “Centrists have spent the past year continuing the chicken coup. They’ve purged the party membership of socialists with mass suspensions. They even aimed to decapitate the movement by suspending Corbyn on bogus pretexts. They’ve buried the Forde Report and any hope of holding to account the centrist staffers responsible for racist abuse against BAME MPs and members. In short, they’ve made the party a hostile environment for anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher.”

    According to the Canary, “At the same time, Flaccid Keith couldn’t bend over fast enough for the Tories. Watching his earnest defence of the indefensible, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a government minister. He’s meant to be the leader of the opposition. Keith has ordered his MPs to back (or abstain on) every mistake the Johnson government has made. When school staff and pupils fought the government for a safe learning environment during the pandemic, Keith sided with government. When Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s corruption was exposed in court, Keith refused to call for his resignation. Keith has done nothing but fight the left while assisting the right.” They point out that, “The result is complete irrelevance. Labour now trails in every poll and is losing ground in many. Flaccid Keith is a subject of derision and mockery. The empty vessel is sinking.” Flaccid Keith seems an appropriate condemnation of Starmer’s failure to rise to the occasion and make hard choices.

    The Canary comment on how, “When Jeremy Corbyn was holding mass rallies across the country and eight points up in the polls, centrists told us he was underperforming. Tony Blair himself stated that Corbyn should have been 20 points ahead. This became the battle cry of centrists in and out of parliament. Any other leader would be 20 points ahead, they said. So how do they account for Flaccid Keith falling further behind Boris Johnson? In the 2017 election, Corbyn won the greatest swing to Labour since the post-war government of Clement Attlee. The swing to Labour was greater in 2017 than in 1997. Centrists repaid the achievement by destroying the party. Corbyn’s leadership breathed life into a dead party. Haemorrhaging votes throughout the Blair era, centrist Labour was a busted flush.”

    According to the Canary, “Centrists are now trying to memory hole 2008-2017. In their world, Blair left, Corbyn took over, Labour lost, and now they’re back to win again. But this wasn’t what happened. Corbyn and socialism proved popular. So centrists joined forces with Conservatives in a five year assault on the Left to halt a popular movement,” but they point out, “Now the Left is gone, centrists are superfluous. They’re too left for the right and too far right for the left. No one wants what their selling except themselves and so they continue to stumble about, high on their own supply. Centrists have achieved nothing but civil war internally, and irrelevance externally.” They claim, “Flaccid Keith seems stuck in a groundhog day, constantly rebranding the party via mostly-ignored presentations against a purple backdrop. He’s not waving, he’s drowning.”

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Video: Jeremy Corbyn shows Starmer how it’s done – telling Johnson to sack Hancock and end scandal of NHS privatisation,” they say, “Corbyn shows how it’s done and shows more Labour principle and spine that Starmer and his front bench put together. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his successor an object lesson in opposition today when he did what Keir Starmer had refused to do: demand the resignation of the law-breaking Matt Hancock, after the High Court ruled Hancock’s awards of huge NHS contracts to Tory donors and cronies during the pandemic were unlawful: View Video here. I don’t know how the centrist wimp who had done the most to promote a second vote on Brexit, supposedly key to Labour’s defeat in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, was voted in as Leader, but surely people are missing real leadership and Labour opposition?

    The Skwawkbox note, “Corbyn seemed to gently rub Starmer’s nose in it, posting out the video of his parliamentary contribution on Facebook and commenting: ‘Today I asked Boris Johnson to end the scandal of privatisation and outsourcing in our NHS and to replace the Health Secretary after he was found to have broken the law by failing to reveal contracts worth billions of pounds. These are questions to which people deserve an answer. Corbyn is not even currently a Labour MP after Labour joined Hancock in acting unlawfully, by failing to end the already-unjust withdrawal of the Labour whip last week when the period mandated by the party’s rules expired. Yet in one minute’s intervention he showed more Labour principles and backbone than Starmer’s whole front bench.” Labour will remain floundering in the wilderness until they finally unite under honest, trustworthy, genuine progressive Left leadership after Jeremy Corbyn returns to provide robust Labour opposition. We will need to do a lot better to Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67658 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    The spirit of collaborative cross-party support that Sir Keir Starmer uses as an excuse for his spineless lack of opposition to the shambolic policy decisions of this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship are a lop-sided fxxk-you to all elected MPs. I say all because Tory MPs have no real choice in Johnson’s ‘my way or the highway’ corrupt Tory cabal; we have almost reached the point where there is no real ability for Parliament to continue functioning at all. In an ongoing display of utter contempt, even Rishi Sunak failed to attend the debate on a Labour motion that was a targeted appeal to the Chancellor regarding the upcoming budget. In the Labour List Article entitled, “MPs pass motion calling on Sunak to cancel ‘triple-hammer blow’ to families,” Elliot Chappell reports on yet another disgraceful Tory no show. He says, “MPs have passed by 253 votes, with Tories abstaining, a Labour motion calling on Rishi Sunak to abandon the planned cut to Universal Credit, the upcoming council tax rises and the public sector pay freeze.”

    Chappell reported on Tuesday that, “Opening the debate for Labour this afternoon, Anneliese Dodds described a ‘triple-hammer blow to family finances’ and warned that the Chancellor is pressing ahead with ‘economically illiterate’ plans that will stifle demand in the economy. The Shadow Chancellor told MPs today that Sunak ‘faces a choice’ next week as the March Budget is a ‘pivotal moment’ for the country and urged the government to learn from the mistakes of the pandemic and the past 11 years. She argued that Conservative austerity imposed since the financial crash in 2008, which saw wages ‘flatline’ for a decade and household costs rise, had left the country with a ‘worryingly low level of resilience’ ahead of the pandemic.” The problem is that any concession on this issue will mean admitting that the devastating decade of austerity wasn’t just a serious mistake, it was a deadly error that is estimated to have cost 120,000 lives even before the shambolic handling of Covid doubled that death toll.

    There is zero likelihood that this corrupt Tory Government will admit that their warped austerity agenda that forced the working poor into destitution via austerity was wrong. This was a conscious ideological choice, not a financial necessity which raises the issue of culpability for the needless deaths. Chappell reported that “Dodds said the damage done to the economy and to public health over the past year ‘didn’t need to be as severe’ as it had, and criticised Sunak for failing to understand that ‘the health crisis and the economic crisis are not separable’. ‘If economic support does not go hand-in-hand with the imposition of necessary public health restrictions, then we cannot get a grip on the virus nor will economic activity return to normal,’ she told the government minister. ‘If infections are not reduced, not only will restrictions be in place for longer but people will lack the confidence needed to get out and start spending again. Yet, time and again, the Chancellor has sought to pull back economic support with the virus still raging’.”

    Chappell noted that “The Shadow Chancellor highlighted the attempt from Sunak to roll back the furlough scheme last year, and the subsequent the ‘11th hour’ U-turn to extend the job support programme just hours before it was due to come to an end.” This was unbelievably cruel to leave so many truly desperate people in limbo right up to the last minute and they look like doing the same again in callous response to this motion. Yet the BBC continue talking up their ‘lev..up’ lie and it keeps appearing in the press in total denial of the reality of the ruthless Tory assault on the poor. This vomit-worthy lie is what Starmer should be ranting about at PMQ, not that the PM or any of his Tories mates believe in accountability as they adamantly refuse to apologise. Chappell quotes, “Coronavirus may have closed much of our economy, but this government’s approach is crashing it,” Dodds said. “Next Wednesday is a chance to change course. To learn from these mistakes, not just of these 11 months but of the last 11 years.”

    Chappell said “Dodds today urged the Chancellor to “harness the spirit of unity and solidarity” in the crisis by allowing those who have saved to invest in ‘British recovery bonds’, a proposal unveiled in a recent speech by Labour leader Keir Starmer last week.
    She reiterated Labour’s call for the government to allow businesses to pay back Covid loans once they are making money, and to expand the start-up loan scheme to support the creation of 100,000 new businesses over the next five years. She said: ‘We need a new approach. A government that is on people’s side, that understand the value of public services, that gives families and businesses the security they need in the tough times and offers them hope in the years to come’. Sunak will unveil the Budget on March 3rd. He has refused to make announcements ahead of the statement but is expected to defer plans for significant tax increases and extend support schemes including furlough and business interruption loans.”

    Chappell reported that “Left Labour MP Nadia Whittome urged ‘courage’ from the Chancellor, likening the moment to the post-war period, and called for a national care service, a green new deal, a long-term ban on evictions and a pay rise for key workers. Zarah Sultana MP emphasised the need for ‘ambition’. She argued: ‘This isn’t a time for tinkering around the edges. It’s 40 years of neoliberalism that got us here in the first place and we can’t go back to that. So let this be our 1945 moment’. ‘We must make a different choice. We must choose not the smallest state but an active and empowering state. We must renew our public services, not starve them of resources’,” Mention of 1945 will have sounded a ‘Socialist’ alarm bell for the Tories. He said, “Labour’s Angela Rayner told the Commons. Echoing lines from Starmer’s recent speech on the economy, she added: ‘As we seek to recover from this crisis, the state must work in partnership with business to lay the foundations of our future success and prosperity’.”

    Chappell noted that “Stressing low levels of statutory sick pay and zero-hours contracts, Labour MP Olivia Blake said: ‘Low pay and insecurity in our economy has created a perfect storm for transmitting the virus and the government has failed to learn the lessons. Throughout the pandemic, the government’s ‘whatever-it-takes’ rhetoric has rung hollow as for the past decade it has downgraded the public sector’s ability to respond to a crisis,’ the Labour MP for Luton South, Rachel Hopkins told MPs today. Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick told local authorities in March last year that ‘the government will do whatever is necessary to support their efforts to combat the impact of the virus in their communities. But analysis released last year showed that nine out of ten major local authorities in England do not have enough money to cover their spending plans this year and that the pandemic could result in them going £1.7bn over budget.”

    Funding that is vital to the survival of ordinary working families remains left up to a last-ditch reprieve from a millionaire Chancellor so removed from the reality of ordinary mortals that he feels justified in ‘playing-God’ with the less fortunate and totally destitute. According to Chappell, “Labour has repeatedly urged the government to provide more money to local councils instead of forcing the authorities to implement a near-mandatory increase in council tax this April to make up for lost funding. Sunak was not present for the debate this afternoon. Shadow apprenticeships minister Toby Perkins commented: ‘I don’t suspect that’s because he’s publicity shy… I suspect he doesn’t want to be associated with the Tory policies of the past.’ The government continued with Boris Johnson’s new policy today, adopted last month in the face of motions on free school meals and the Universal Credit cut, of ignoring opposition day motions and instructing Tory MPs to abstain.”

    Despite all of the genuinely desperate need throughout the UK, the one consideration hinted at in the Media is an extension of the Stamp Duty relief in order to stimulate the house buying market, a nice perk for those who aren’t facing severe hardship, imminent eviction or struggling to feed their families; this costly tax give-away is hardly a dire necessity! Labour List has included a copy of the full text of the motion tabled by the opposition, in one long, breathless mega paragraph that starts with a strong admonishment of past policy mistakes and their negative impact so far. It begins, “That this House believes that the last decade of UK economic policy weakened the foundations of this country’s economy and society, leaving the UK particularly vulnerable when the coronavirus crisis hit; further believes that many government choices and actions during the coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated the problems that the pandemic has caused, leading to the UK suffering the worst economic crisis of any major economy;…”

    The motion concludes with: “…Calls on the government, as the UK emerges out of the pandemic, to address the deep inequalities and injustices in this country and take the UK forward to a stronger, more prosperous future through a new partnership between an active state and enterprising business; further calls on the government to protect family finances by reversing the planned £20 cut in Universal Credit, reversing the key worker pay freeze and providing councils with the funding they need to prevent huge rises in council tax; and calls on the government to introduce a new British recovery bond to allow people who have accumulated savings during the pandemic to have a proper stake in Britain’s future and to back a new generation of British entrepreneurs by providing start-up loans for 100,000 new businesses.”

    The advice of the former Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell puts Sir Keir Starmer’s feeble input to shame as is readily apparent in the Independent Article entitled, “Impose windfall tax on pandemic profits to wipe the debt slate clean, says McDonnell.” They report his claim that “Many Britons facing ‘long trail of hardship’ after Covid is gone,” saying that, “McDonnell has called for a windfall tax on those who have profited from the coronavirus pandemic to pay to cancel households debts caused by the crisis. Writing in The Independent, Mr McDonnell said it was time to ‘wipe the slate clean’ on high-cost and unmanageable debt built up by millions of Britons, including many key workers who have fought on the Covid-19 frontline?”

    The Independent highlight that, “In a swipe at Sir Keir Starmer’s high-profile economic speech on Thursday, which was criticised for containing only modest proposals for reform, he said: ‘There is a time for framing speeches and political positioning but there is also a time to get angry and a time to demand immediate action to help people survive’. Mr McDonnell cited Citizens Advice warnings that an estimated 6 million people, including more than 20 per cent of key workers, have fallen behind on bills because of Covid-19.” McDonnell said, “that number in severe problem debt is believed to have doubled to 1.2 million during the crisis. The former shadow chancellor called for a Debt Charter to deal with the causes and consequences of debt. Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said.” Far from seeing wages go up it’s more likely they will fall due to ‘fire and rehire’ or zero-hours contracts.

    The Independent report that “He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to ‘rebalance power between lenders and the indebted’. He said bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19. In his most radical proposal, Mr McDonnell said: ‘We need to wipe the slate clean. That means a comprehensive package of debt cancellation, beginning with the worst kinds of debt: including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt, backed by a windfall tax on those that have profited from the pandemic’. Writing ahead of Rishi Sunak’s Budget on 3 March, Mr McDonnell said the chancellor had “virtually ignored the debt burden many people have been forced to take on over the last 10 months as their incomes have either been cut or dried up totally”. I fear the Tory jackboot will not be taken off our necks any time soon; the only way to effect change is to remove Trojan horse Starmer and the Tories from office.

    According to the Independent, “The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane has predicted a ‘coiled spring of demand’ from people wanting to spend savings built up during the pandemic.” This was a typical comment from a person so completely out of touch with the reality for the majority of Brits that it is beyond insulting. But Mr McDonnell told the Independent that, “other Britons were facing ‘a long trail of hardship, poverty and unmanageable personal debt unwinding’ because of financial problems caused by Covid. ‘Debt is an issue neglected by politicians for too long,’ wrote the former shadow chancellor. ‘The time for action has come’.” It is hard to imagine how abandoned our young people feel after being coaxed back to high-cost Halls accommodation where they were trapped during online tuition that they could just as easily complete at home. Students locked into accommodation contracts, despite moving away from campus, are saddled with this debt on top of over £9000 a year in tuition fees for a limited learning experience.

    But the Tories do not care about young people at all, there is no financial support and their job prospects after investing in costly education are abysmal. Mike Sivier comments on the debt relief alternative for those hit hard by Covid in his Vox Political Article entitled, “Windfall tax on pandemic profits should wipe out Covid-19 related debt says McDonnell.” If we hadn’t been cheated out of a Labour victory in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election as Sivier says of McDonnell he, “would have revolutionised the UK’s economy. Instead, the Tories have saddled one-tenth of the population with debt so great that they cannot pay their regular bills.” He notes, “A former Shadow Chancellor has proposed a radical set of plans to clear the debt created by the Tory government’s cack-handed handling of the Covid-19 crisis. John McDonnell pointed out that the richest firms in the UK have profited hand-over-fist during the crisis, and should pay a windfall tax to help pay for the measures to end it, which would ultimately help them, of course.”

    Siveir claims that “His proposals were not an attack on businesses, though – they were a criticism of a speech by current Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose best idea was to get members of the public to give all the money they have managed to save during the crisis to a new investment bank, meaning the nation’s poorest would foot the bill (again). What a socialist Starmer is!” He too emphasizes the point that, “In fact, according to Citizens Advice, more than six million people have fallen behind on their bills because of Covid-related hardship and the number in severe, problem debt has doubled to 1.2 million. They don’t have any spare cash for castle-in-the-air investment banks!” This was such an out-of-touch obvious ‘business as usual’ neocon proposal from Starmer, no wonder it has been heavily criticized by the progressive Left: at least those who have yet to be gagged or expelled for daring to speak their mind! We have zero opposition under Starmer and he needs to go ASAP s we can Get The Tories Out!

    Siveir hails the constructive solution proposed by McDonnell, who said “a comprehensive package of debt cancellation was needed to get the UK back on its feet, including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt, all to be supported by a windfall tax on businesses that have raked in billions of pounds over the last year.” One of Starmer’s loyal centrist followers, James Murray Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury was eager to tell Politics Live that there should be no new taxes any time soon as he tried hard to marginalize McDonnell’s the progressive Socialist input of getting the excessively wealthy to stump up. While he managed to identify deficiencies in the Tory Government’s ‘Catch-Up’ scheme as he focused on the lack of support for children’s mental health. He attacked the Tory defunding of Councils that has forced them to keep hiking Council tax, he was under pressure easily cornered into ruled out any tax increase on top earners and the windfall tax even if the Tories put that forward.

    Although there were questions re the continuation of the Furlough scheme and the vital extra £20 Universal Credit amount, the Tories are taking this to the wire, just to ramp-up the unnecessary anxiety across the nation while they delight in playing-God. James Murray tried to claim that McDonnall was in full support of the limp Labour Leadership under Starmer, but he simply is not. Siveir reports that McDonnell, “Called for the creation of a ‘Debt Charter’ to tackle the causes and consequences of debt in UK society. Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said. He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to ‘rebalance power between lenders and the indebted’.” McDonnell also identified that, “bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19.”

    Silver insists that “This is the kind of thinking, we need at this time. We could have had it, too, if only millions of people had not been hoodwinked by anti-Labour propaganda at the 2019 general election, including a Tory campaign that was found to be more than 80 per cent lies. So if you find yourself struggling with debt for years to come, while the Tories, their client media and their business-oriented donors tell you you’ve never had it so good, just remember that you could have had it better.” Siveir stresses that we must “remind everybody you know not to be fooled again.” Personally I still believe that not so many were tricked into ‘lending’ their votes; that in reality their votes were stolen in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and this still needs to be fully Investigated. The public have been fooled into thinking this was a free and fair election, but it the Tories are allowed to get away with this injustice once it will become the norm just as the zero accountability precedent has been normalized by this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #67760 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Labour MP Derek Twigg launched the first attack at PMQ’s, raising an issue that is crippling local authorities right across the UK as the Tory Government choke off repeatedly promised funds to cover the increased costs of dealing with the Pandemic. This callous move appears aimed at forcing Councils to raise Council Tax rates that will hit the poorest residents the hardest as Tories distance themselves from the impact. He asked, “Halton Borough Council ran out of funding for discretionary covid isolation payments despite the strict criteria for eligibility. Just 171 constituents have been helped. The council has applied for further funding, but what the Government have offered will not be enough. Other constituents failed to qualify for help due to the criteria set by the Prime Minister’s Government. Will he look again at this and bring forward a properly funded scheme so that no constituent is in a position where they cannot afford to isolate? We need this to happen if we are to continue to drive down covid-19 infections.”

    The problem of people not having sufficient funds to isolate when told to do so is far too well recognized for the Government to claim ignorance and it therefore clearly indicates a conscious choice to leave this massive breach in the infection control effort wide open to enable the targeting of poorer communities. There is simply no excuse for inaction, but again the tactic of distancing is being used to offload responsibility onto cash-strapped Councils forcing them to axe public services in another covert Tory austerity drive. Boris Johnson responded by saying “I thank the hon. Gentleman and pay tribute to the work of everybody on Halton Council for everything that they have been doing throughout this pandemic. I know it has been very tough on council officials and, indeed, on everybody else. Central Government have put in another £4.3 billion to help councils throughout the pandemic. We will continue to support our local authorities and he will be hearing more from the Chancellor next week.”

    Then Tory MP Duncan Baker asked, “If the UK is to become the Saudi Arabia of wind power, off my coast of North Norfolk is surely the capital. But the current piecemeal and environmentally damaging connection method to the national grid is holding us back, as was proven by the Vattenfall judicial review just last week. We need legal and regulatory reform now. Prime Minister, could this be a job for the new Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform to help us to implement the much-needed offshore transmission network and meet our net zero targets?” It was an invitation for the PM to brag replying, “Yes indeed. I congratulate my hon. Friend on his campaign to make his constituency the Riyadh, or possibly the Jeddah, of offshore wind. I can tell him that we are certainly looking at the issue of the transmission network review and we are developing the necessary regulatory changes.” Alignment with the murderous regime of beheadings, female repression and bombing Yemen into oblivion didn’t phase the PM.

    It was Sir Keir Starmer turn to present his weekly charade as Labour opposition, he said, “The principles behind the Prime Minister’s recovery plan, of caution and it must be irreversible, are plainly right, but one of the biggest threats to that is misinformation about the risks of the deadly virus. For example, there have been people saying that covid statistics ‘appear to have been manipulated and that Monday’s road map is based on ‘dodgy assumptions’ and ‘false modelling’. Does the Prime Minister agree that these kinds of comments are irresponsible and undermine our national recovery?” A pathetic non-question dribbled out as the PM sought more praise, “The road map that we have set out will, I believe, set us on a cautious but irreversible journey to freedom. I am glad that the right hon. and learned Gentleman supports the four steps of 8 March for schools, 12 April for shops, 17 May for hospitality and 21 June for everything. The data supporting all of that has been available to the House since I announced it on Monday.”

    Starmer failed to realize his own ineptitude saying, “I think the Prime Minister dodged that question, no doubt because all those comments came from his own MPs, some of the 60 or so members of the Covid Recovery Group. Perhaps the Prime Minister should have a word with them. Another big threat to the recovery plan is that around three in 10 people who should be self-isolating are not doing so. That is a huge gap in our defences, and the small changes on Monday will not fix it. That is why Labour has called for the £500 self-isolation payment to be made available to everybody who needs it. Will the Prime Minister just fix this?”

    The PM was still fishing for complements, a bit more grovelling was expected from his faithful Trojan horse so he tried once again to coapt the Labour Leader in his own deadly shambolic decision making saying, “The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows very well that those who are asked to self-isolate already have the £500 test and trace support payment, and I think he also knows because he supported the road map on Monday, that the eligibility criteria are being extended to allow parents and guardians who are staying off work also to receive a payment, provided they meet the criteria. I think he is aware of that.”

    The money wasn’t being supplied to Councils to cover the cost of paying people to isolate, but the opposition should be clearly pointing out that this is by design,’ a callous Tory strategy to target the poor in deprived areas, a ‘cull!’ Starmer said, “Three out of 10 people who should be self-isolating are not doing so. That matters to millions of people, and it matters if we are going to get the virus under control. The chair of Test and Trace said that people are ‘scared’ to come forward for a covid test because they cannot afford to isolate. The chair of Test and Trace says they cannot afford it. The Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre concluded that ‘unmet financial need’ was why some lower-income areas are seeing ‘stubbornly high’ infection rates. Why, after all the billions the Government have thrown around, is it still people in low-paid jobs who are at the bottom of this Government’s priorities?”

    The PM saw this as his opportunity to launch into PR bragging in the pretence that the public are appreciative of all the misdirected funding and the choked-off vital support. He said, “Actually, I think that most people looking at what we have done throughout the pandemic and looking at the £280 billion package of support can see that it is the poorest and neediest in society, those on the lowest incomes, who have been at the top of the Government’s priorities, and that is quite right. We will continue to act in that way and the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be hearing more about that next week from the Chancellor. That is in addition to the discretionary funding we have given councils to support those who need it most, including those who have to self-isolate.”

    The public are not fooled by the Tory, ‘black is the new white campaign;’ the money simply isn’t there and cash strapped Councils have no choice while billions in public funds are being squandered on Tory mates. Starmer hit back, “Here is the difference. If you need £500 to isolate, you are out of luck. If you have got the Health Secretary’s WhatsApp, you get a £1 million contracts. Turning to next week’s Budget, I do not expect the Prime Minister to pre-empt what is in the Budget, if I want that, I can read it on the front page of The Times, but will he at least agree with me today that now is not the time for tax rises for families and for businesses?” The progressive Left felt the bear trap snap shut as the Captain of Capitulation ignored the need to tax the wealthy elite.

    The PM seized the opportunity to force Starmer into abandoning tax hikes on the wealthy, he said, “I don’t know about you, Mr Speaker, but the Budget is happening next week, and it is not a date that is concealed from the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He knows when it is happening and he knows what to expect, but it is preposterous for him to talk about tax rises when he stood on a manifesto only a little over a year ago to put up taxes by the biggest amount in the history of this country. It is the Labour party, including his Labour council in Camden, that puts up taxes across the country. That is the way Labour behaves, and it is thanks to prudent fiscal management by this Government that we have been able to fight this pandemic in the way that we have.”

    Starmer’s ‘forensic’ skill wasn’t clear – he said, “The Prime Minister wants to talk about tax rises, and he should because it matters. Councils up and down the country are being forced to decide now whether to put council tax up. That is a £2 billion rise on families. I am not blaming councils. They have been starved of funding for a decade, and Labour and Conservative councils are in the same position. For example, the Prime Minister might want to concentrate on his own constituency. His own council, Conservative-run Hillingdon, is voting to increase council tax by 4.8%. Does the Prime Minister think that the council is right to do that?”

    The PM defended his record saying, “Hillingdon Council, in common with most Conservative councils has been running lower council taxes than Labour up and down the country. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is completely wrong, so I will correct him. The top 10 highest council taxing councils in this country are run by the Labour party, and they are all going to put their taxes up, except for one in the top 10, which is Burnley, which is currently in no overall control. He talks about London and my own record on taxes, but he should talk to the current Labour Mayor of London, who is putting up his council tax by 10%. I can tell him that the previous Conservative Mayor of London cut council tax by 20%. That is what Conservative councils do.” In reality, there is good reason why Councils in deprived areas need more support with fewer high-end business premises to boost revenues, but the PM was on shaky ground citing his London record after he gutted the Fire Department so it was ill-equipped to deal with Grenfell!

    Starmer said, “The fact is that £15 billion has been taken out of council budgets over the last 10 years. The Prime Minister should stop blaming others for the damage he has done. He quotes the Mayor. This is the former Mayor who bought water cannon that could not be used, spent millions on a garden bridge that never got built and then more recently gave a pay rise to Dominic Cummings.” He noted, “This is yet another PMQs with no answers. The truth is this. The Government spent a decade weakening the foundations of our economy and our country. As a result, we have the highest death toll in Europe. We have the worst recession of any major economy. Families are facing council tax rises and millions cannot afford to self-isolate. And all the Prime Minister offers is a return to business as usual. Next week’s Budget is a chance to choose a different path, to build a stronger future, to protect families, to give our key workers the pay rise they deserve and to back British businesses by supporting 100,000 new start-ups. Will the Prime Minister do so?”

    The pressure was on the PM to offer concessions; remaining stum he said, “If the right hon. and learned Gentleman will only wait until next week, I think he will find that we will do far more than that paltry agenda he has set out. It is quite mystifying to see the way that he weaves hither and yon like some sort of druidical rocking stone. One week he claims that he supports the vaccination roll-out. The next week, he attacks the vaccine taskforce, when it is spending money to try to reach hard-to-reach, vaccine-resistant groups, and says that that kind of spending cannot be justified. He calls for us to go faster with rolling out vaccines when he would have stayed in the European Medicines Agency, which would have made that roll-out impossible. He vacillates. We vaccinate. We are going to get on with our agenda, cautiously but irreversibly taking this country forward on a one-way road to freedom, and I very much hope that his support, which has been so evanescent in the past, will genuinely prove irreversible this time.”

    Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns was ready and willing to stroke the PM’s ego, saying, “The Prime Minister’s road map will provide many of my constituents in Morley and Outwood with a vision of hope that life is set to return to a new normal before the end of June, allowing us to celebrate the great British summer. Can he inform the House of the pre-emptive actions that the Government are taking to spot, prevent and limit the damage of any future health emergencies, so that local economies in constituencies such as mine have certainty that this will be their last lockdown?” The PM responded, “My hon. Friend is right to raise the issue of local outbreaks and how to tackle them, particularly with the threat of new variants, which she rightly raises. That is why we have a very tough border regime but also a programme as we go forward for surge testing, door-to-door testing, to ensure that, when there is a local outbreak, we keep it local and keep it under control, as we are trying to do at the moment with the South African variant”

    The SNP leader Ian Blackford asked, “Next week’s Budget gives the opportunity to tackle the financial costs of this pandemic. The UK has suffered its worst recession in 300 years. We now need a Government who understand the scale of this crisis, yet at the very moment that we need maximum investment to recover, the Tories are threatening austerity cuts that will leave lasting scars on all our communities. Families have already seen their incomes slashed under this Government, and now the Tories want to impose a public sector pay freeze and cuts to universal credit. Will the Prime Minister rule out a return to Tory austerity cuts and commit to a major fiscal stimulus of at least 5% of GDP, or will he threaten the recovery and leave millions of people worse off?”

    The PM just needed to bluff this out in the normal way, bragging over exaggerated spending on the wrong priorities, “I am proud of the massive investments that the UK Treasury has made throughout the whole of the United Kingdom, with £13 billion and more going to Scotland and huge sums going throughout the country. I wish that the Scottish nationalist Government would spend that money better because it is very sad to see some of the failures in education policy in Scotland and the failures in their criminal justice policy and fighting crime. I think what the people of the whole UK and, I believe, the people of Scotland would like to see is less talk about a referendum, which is the right hon. Gentleman’s agenda, and more talk about the real issues facing our country.” Cloaking himself in the mantle of assumed public approval the ‘Emporor’s’ nakedness exposed all his most sordid ‘bits!’

    Ignoring Johnson’s repeated childish insult of improperly recognizing the title of the SNP, Blackford hit back saying that “The Prime Minister is boasting, but the cold, hard reality is that the United Kingdom has suffered the worst slump of any major economy and 120,000 people have lost their lives. That is under your guidance, Prime Minister. Coronavirus has exposed the deep inequalities under this broken Westminster system. After a decade of Tory cuts, millions of families are in poverty and UK unemployment is soaring. In contrast, in the United States, President Biden understands what is needed. He has proposed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package to restart and renew the American economy. Prime Minister, will your Government follow the example of the US and boost the economy like Biden, or is the Tory plan to return to type and impose yet another decade of Tory austerity?”

    Damn him ignoring the insult, still, no apology was necessary the PM was free to hurl abuse as he pleased, even in the Chamber, such is the power of Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. He bragged, “This Government are investing £640 billion in infrastructure alone throughout the UK, a massive programme to get our country rebuilt and restarted again. I think that is what people would like to focus on, rather than the right hon. Gentleman’s agenda. He has talked about our broken politics, our broken country. All they want to do is break up Britain with another referendum, and I think that is the last thing this country needs at the moment.”

    Ed Davey briefly joined the Tory congratulatory chorus saying, “Can I start by thanking the Government for their change of policy, announced today, on the vaccination priority for people with learning disabilities, despite the Prime Minister’s rather more equivocal answer to me on this last Monday?” It was a victory for the Lib Dem Leader’s personal crusade. He then switched his attention to concern over China saying, “Today, millions of Uyghur people in China live in fear under a cruel regime. The BBC, international media and human rights non-governmental organisations are all reporting on forced labour camps, women being raped and sterilised, and families being separated. This is a genocide happening in front of our eyes. So does the Prime Minister agree with me that, unless China ends this genocide, Britain and Team GB should boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year?”

    The PM ignored Davey’s triumph to focus on China saying, “The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to highlight the appalling campaign against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and that is why my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has set out the policies that he has the package of measures to ensure that no British companies are complicit in or profiting from violations. We are leading international action in the UN to hold China to account, and we will continue to work with the US, friends and partners around the world to do just that. The right hon. Gentleman raises a point about a sporting boycott. We are not normally in favour of sporting boycotts in this country, and that has been the long-standing position of this Government.” In reality, both the US and UK are very selective in targeting outrage over human rights abuse, atrocities and genocide: Israel, Turkey and the Saudis get a free pass!

    Labour’s Dame Diana Johnson’s attack was short and razor-sharp as she demanded to know, “Is the 40% cut to Transport for the North’s budget part of the Prime Minister’s plans for levelling up the north?” Ouch! That other Johnson, our lying, cheating, shyster PM replied in defensive denial of the truth, claiming, “There has been no such cut, and we intend to invest massively in Northern Powerhouse Rail, and in railways in the north and across the entire country.” For over a decade Tories have maintained this con! Labour’s Wes Streeting poured shame on the PM citing how “We went into this pandemic with rising child poverty, a widening attainment gap, and school funding falling in real terms.” He asked the PM if he would be happy with just 43p per pupil per day spent on his own children? The PM “passionately disagreed” and tried to bluff the house with impressive totals that amounted to… just 43p a day! He went on to attack, “bankrupt policies of the Labour party;” presumably prioritizing feeding and educating kids!

    Labour Alex Cunningham highlighted one of the PM’s photo-op visits to a vaccine complex in his constituency pointing out a local tour that might have bought him down to earth. He said “I could have taken him to nearby Billingham food bank, where he would have learned that over a third of the children in my constituency live in poverty, yet two in five of those same children are still not entitled to free school meals because the threshold is so low. Will he urgently address that scandal, take long-term action on universal credit and school meals, and help free our children from poverty?” In the cruelest of denial tactics the PM pretended he had received a compliment saying, “I certainly am proud of what universal credit is doing…”

    Johnson then started ranting about the Labour agenda to replace Universal Credit with a functioning social safety net and banged on about “top-quality jobs” that simply do not exist. Jack Lapresti launched into another PR pitch for the pet Tory project of creating covert UK tax-haven Freeports with the false promise of creating, “50,000 jobs in the region” and linking this to building affordable homes throwing in the catch phrase “build back better.” It is vitally important that all opposition MPs consistently call out these lies and false promises by pointing to the stark reality of rapidly increasing deprivation and destitution throughout the UK while the Tory squandering of public funds on dodgy private contracts handed out to friends continue apace. In a functioning democracy, the perpetrators of this relentless corruption would be robustly Investigated for fraud including their manipulation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. They would be in jail not in office; it is time we demanded justice to remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

    We must change the narrative to prevent the British public being subjugated by the Tory propaganda and exploited for another decade or longer under their Dictatorship. The ‘lev…up’ lie must be banished from the political lexicon because the mere mention of this term breathes life into this dangerous myth. At Prime Ministers Questions reality returned when SNP Stuart C. McDonald asked, “Before the budget is finalised, will the Prime Minister ensure that his Chancellor reads the Trussell Trust’s new report, ‘Dignity or Destitution? The case for keeping the Universal Credit lifeline’? His Government have been incredibly generous to pals with personal protective equipment contracts, so surely, instead of cutting employment-related benefits to the lowest real-terms level in 30 years, he must now afford some basic dignity to 6 million people on universal credit and make the uplift permanent.” We cannot wait patiently for Tory Sovereign Dictator Boris Johnson to consider bestowing dignity on our people: he must go ASAP. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68075 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    The UK has just sunk to another level of extreme hypocrisy that screams massive injustice. Perhaps best expressed in a biblical passage that essentially says, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” The Chinese persecute the Uighurs, the Russians are not giving Alexey Navalny a far trial, but the Brits are simply above reproach! Somehow the British people have become so blind to the reality of grotesque injustice perpetrated by this vile Tory regime that we are incapable of demonstrating genuine humanity. The danger is that this steady dehumanization of those targeted by our Government will warp the opinions of the general public with regard to cruelty and injustice; this is an integral part of moving the UK towards the full acceptance of an authoritarian Fascist dictatorship. The establishment of scapegoat sectors within our population is promoted by the far-right and our rabid Tory Party: gypsies, migrants, Muslims who will be next?

    The public demonstrated genuine sympathy for a number of young teenage girls after discovering that had been groomed by a notorious paedophile gang in Rotherham. The child sexual exploitation scandal where widespread and prolonged sexual abuse was ignored for far too long, was eventually investigated and our legal system tried to put things right. It might be politically incorrect to point this out, but in light of our inappropriately disproportionate response to a more recent incident of grooming that few seem to care about, these victims predominantly white. The teenagers who were groomed and exploited were considered victims and treated with sympathy. But the UK Government is essentially claiming that the three teenage schoolgirls who were apparently ‘groomed’ by a former pupil at their school, after that fellow student moved to Syria, couldn’t possibly have been innocents led astray by their youth and naivety because… well because… well what? Because they were Muslim of Bangladeshi descent?

    All three girls were minors and while some might claim that their plight was basically a family matter the same can be said of other young people who gall prey to the Siren call of predators or radical extremist groups. Often parents are blissfully unaware that their children have been targeted and in our workaholic society, supervision of minors has become greatly reduced. Within a community that already feels unfairly targeted in this country, demonized by the tabloid press, and regularly facing unfair prejudice, it becomes far easier for extremists to preach their message of hate. The three girls might not have been fully aware of what they were doing, but in this case an article in the Independent claims, “that they were aware enough; they could not, at that stage, be saved from themselves,” and “Anyway, once with Isis in Syria, they were ranged with the enemy and no longer the UK’s responsibility.” Really? If that was your child you would move heaven and earth to rescue them from their misguided decision, we all would.

    The trio were brainwashed into believing that there was good reason to join the Califate, what drove that decision we do not know. After arriving in Raqqa the three schoolgirls were married to Isis fighters, but if at some point the enormity of their decision finally dawned on them there was no way back; they were not free to leave and return to England. Kadiza Sultana was reportedly killed in an airstrike at Amira Abase hasn’t been seen since; the third schoolgirl also reportedly died in Syria. When Shamima Begum was discovered in a refugee camp she was heavily pregnant with her third child after having lost two other children during the fighting. These were children she gave birth to while still a teenager in a war zone under heavy bombardment, but there is no compassion extended to her, despite the fact that by this time she would have had no alternative but to remain until she was captured. I cannot comprehend the complete lack of compassion for a young woman whose suffering has paid for her errors.

    By the time she was interviewed by a film crew, her baby had been born and she desperately wanted to return to the UK to protect her third child from the ravages of the camp. But, the then Tory Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, blocked her return, showed no mercy towards her or her innocent baby who soon died. Javid was able to ramp-up the nationalist hysteria in this country to score political kudos. The hateful British tabloids dehumanized this traumatized, grieving mother signalling their approval of increased ‘othering’ towards Muslims in this country. At a time when the Media had created a massive fantisemitism storm to break apart the Labour Party, they were actively supporting prejudice and persecution of another sector of our population. This is the exact path followed by the Nazis in order to dehumanize Jews in Germany that eventually led to the Holocaust. I can imagine how vile and toxic the sick tabloid headlines will be after this latest Supreme Court ruling against Begum; it makes me deeply ashamed to be British.

    In the Canary Article entitled, “Shamima Begum loses British citizenship in landmark test case,” they elaborate on the implications of this shocking decision. They say that “Shamima Begum has failed to restore her British citizenship after the Supreme Court ruling that she’d lost her case. 21-year-old Begum was infamously groomed as a 15-year-old child. She was a minor when she entered Syria and also when she married an ISIS fighter. All three of her children have since died. Begum was born in the UK. The government has cited her Bangladeshi heritage as proof of her claim to statehood in Bangladesh. However, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refused entry and citizenship for Begum. ‘Begum hasn’t been allowed to return to the UK over the course of the trial’.”

    The Canary say, “According to the Guardian: Lord Pannick QC, representing Begum, said [he] was unable to put her side of the case properly from al-Roj detention camp where she is held. He told the court she would be at risk of physical harm if she spoke by mobile phone to her British lawyers. This latest ruling has sparked concerns of civil liberty and human rights.” Calling it a “Threat to democracy, The Canary reached out for comment to civil rights organization Liberty. Liberty lawyer Rosie Brighouse said: ‘The right to a fair trial is not something democratic Governments should take away on a whim, and nor is someone’s British citizenship. If a Government is allowed to wield extreme powers like banishment without the basic safeguards of a fair trial it sets an extremely dangerous precedent. The threat to democracy is apparent in this case, as Brighouse continued: The security services have safely managed the returns of hundreds of people from Syria, but the Government has chosen to target Shamima Begum.”

    The Canary report, “This approach does not serve justice, it’s a cynical distraction from a failed counter-terror strategy and another example of this Government’s disregard for access to justice and the rule of law. The Canary also spoke to Muhammad Rabbani, managing director of advocacy organization CAGE, who said: The Home Office deliberately circumvents the right to a fair trial for those exiled and stripped of their citizenship by only doing so when they are not in the country. National security is used as a ruse to suspend long established legal norms. Rabbani pointed to politically motivated decisions as the reason for Begum’s treatment: The Supreme Court has not only upheld the Home Office’s politically motivated decision to deny a girl who was groomed as a child the right to return home but has provided cover for the deeply racist citizenship deprivation policy, and failed to address how the secret SIAC [Special Immigration Appeals Commission] fundamentally upend any semblance of a fair trial.”

    The Canary voice, “Concerns for the future” after “Several commenters also considered the implications of the case: The implications of the Shamima Begum case for people, like myself, whose parents were born abroad and who are theoretically eligible for citizenship of those countries is so grim and disturbing. Are we lesser-class UK citizens because we are of immigrant descent? Apparently so!” Sirin Kale Tweeted: “POC in this country know that if Shamima Begum can have her citizenship stripped away, a contradictory statement, then it can happen to any one of us. This ruling has set an incredibly dangerous precedent for us and I hope people who are happy about the ruling realize this.”

    Sade Tweeted: “Labour councilor Shaista Aziz asked who was responsible for Begum: A 15 year old school girl and her two friends from a high performing school in East London ended up running away to join a terrorist entity after being groomed online. How and why did this happen? How and why were these young girls failed by Britain? Begum is a British problem.” Shaista Aziz Tweeted: “Others drew comparisons to cases that didn’t see defendants stripped of citizenship. Even if you don’t care about the way a 15 year old girl was groomed and exploited, you should care about allowing a state to break international law as they see fit. Because once that precedent is set, you are naïve if you think that it won’t impact your life too.”

    Ife Tweeted: “Precedent Stripping Begum’s citizenship is yet another sign that Britain won’t allow international condemnation to stop it from behaving callously. If some people, in this case UK-born citizens with dual citizenship, can have their citizenship revoked, ‘citizenship’ itself is under attack?” Conditional citizenship for some is conditional citizenship for all. We should all be gravely concerned. Under the Tories ‘Hostile Environment’ immigration policies the Home Secretary, now the ruthless bully, Priti Patel, has been scaling up deportations and a number were rushed through over Christmas. The Government claim to be only deporting serious criminals who pose a threat to our security and have no legal right to be here, but in reality, the Tories have created a system where even minor charges can strip citizenship away from people who have lived here since childhood, worked, contributed and paid taxes, but they are deported destitute and vulnerable in a place where they have no connections.

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled, “Immigration lawyers: Attempts to strip Shamima Begum of citizenship are likely to be illegal,” they say that, “Begum was born, bred and radicalised in the UK. Javid will not succeed in stripping away her citizenship, argue two immigration lawyers.” That was back in early 2019, but today her appeal has been placed in a permanent state of limbo as she remains trapped in a refugee camp. This isn’t just grossly unfair to Begum it places a massive unfair burden on the Kurdish liberation forces who are trying to manage, feed and shelter a huge number of foreign fighters and their dependents in camps in the north of Syria. The UK wants to be able to deport those with even the most tenuous claim to another national heritage who may have fallen foul of our laws, but we do not want to accept prisoners from overseas: typical British ‘cake and eat it’! Begum accepts that she will need to face trial for possible participation in atrocities overseas: she need rehabilitation not further torment.

    Left Foot Forward reported that the Lawyers, “Danielle Blake and Ruth Mullen are experienced immigration lawyers for the Immigration Advice Service, and have represented various complex immigration and asylum cases, including British citizenship applications.” They say that “The legal basis for depriving Shamima Begum of her UK citizenship is found in the Immigration Act 2014. Firstly, the Secretary of State must determine that in his opinion the person has behaved in a way which justifies them being stripped of their British citizenship; secondly, he must be sure that they will not be rendered Stateless, that is, they must hold dual nationality. With regards to Shamima Begum, Sajid Javid argues that she is entitled to Bangladeshi citizenship. However, Bangladesh has responded robustly, asserting that they have no responsibility for Shamima and that they will not avail her of citizenship.”

    Left Foot Forward reported in 2019 that, “Articles appearing in mainstream media seemed to imply that she will have an easy ride in achieving Bangladeshi citizenship, an opinion that the Bangladesh government clearly does not agree with. If the laws of Bangladesh are as strict as those in the UK, original documents, such as birth certificates and passports for both herself and her parents, could be asked for. They could even go as far as demanding a DNA test, a process all too familiar to those in the UK who have applied for British passports for their foreign-born children. If Bangladesh succeed in denying Shamima Begum a passport then Sajid Javid’s attempts to cancel her citizenship will automatically fail.”

    Left Foot Forward reported, “There is also the very obvious issue of Shamima Begum’s current location. She is not living in a modern city, with easy access to public transport or consular buildings. She is living in a refugee camp, with the bare minimum essentials for survival, and her only communication with the outside world thus far has been via a handful of journalists.” At the time of writing, Begum had just given birth and they commented that “Shamima’s newborn son – a British citizen by descent and innocent of any crime, must also surely be considered. It is hard to see how Shamima’s son will be able to benefit from a UK future without having to give up any relationship with his mother. Once within UK jurisdiction, he would have access to lawyers who could invoke a whole array of laws which seek to protect the best interests of the child. However again, this will be hard to access from a refugee camp.” These points soon became irrelevant as the baby died soon after birth, another traumatic loss for Begum.

    Left Foot Forward said that, “Whatever crimes she has committed, Shamima Begum is a British citizen, culturally and by birth. Sajid Javid may feel as though he has triumphantly fulfilled the wishes of the British public by denying her the right to return to the UK. But offloading offenders onto another country and deeming them to no longer be our problem is a practice the UK has not undertaken for around 100 years and would most likely tumble in front of a well organized legal challenge. The Bangladeshi Government played no part in educating Shamima Begum and the people of that country played no part in her upbringing or her development, so it would not make legal sense for them to take responsibility for her. Regardless, Shamima’s interview from within the refugee camp, dismantled by the press into juicy soundbites, has provided the backdrop to her trial by social media.” The vile tabloid press were not kind or forgiving towards her at that time right after losing a third child’ what does that say about us?

    Left Foot Forward claim, “The laws regarding British nationality are hugely complex. This is an area of immigration that has gone through many changes over the years, mostly due to the high levels of discrimination that previously went unnoticed and unchallenged. Previously, a child had no claim to a British passport if only his mother was British: women were not allowed to pass on their citizenship.” They say, “A child born out of wedlock to a British father could previously only apply to register up until the age of 18, after which they would have just been considered unlucky. These are rules that have only been amended in the last five years. Shamima Begum’s situation is one that currently falls under a still existent discriminatory rule, as it is only people who have foreign-born parents who can have their citizenship taken away from them.”

    Left Foot Forward report that, “If a white British Islamic convert with British parents were to commit the same crime and then decided to return, yes, they would face punishment, but their re-entry to the UK could not be denied, and it is unlikely it would be lobbied for or discussed at length in various news outlets. Shamima was born, bred and radicalized in the UK. She is surely a symptom of a home-grown problem. Her innocent baby must also be considered. The law, as it is, provides for two different types of citizenship, one which is immutable, and one which can be stripped away. The discriminatory effect of it is chilling.” Over the past couple of years, this Tory Government have been pushing the boundaries of who can be stripped of their citizenship and deported. But at the same time, we want to preach about the injustices perpetrated in other countries in our holier than thou rants.

    In the Canary Article entitled, “Here’s how you can support the campaign to stop the deportation of Osime Brown” they highlight another desperate case of injustice. They say that “Osime Brown, a Black 21-year-old autistic man with learning disabilities, is facing deportation from his home in Britain to Jamaica. He was imprisoned in 2018 under the joint enterprise act for the theft of a mobile phone and lost his leave to remain. The Home Office now intends to deport Brown from his home in Britain to Jamaica, a country he left when he was four years old. Throughout his tumultuous life, Brown has been systematically failed by the services that were supposed to protect him – the education, health and social care, and criminal justice systems. Brown has a learning disability, has high support needs, and now suffers from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his distress.”

    The Canary report that “Regarding the Home Office’s plan to deport her son to Jamaica, Brown’s mother said: He doesn’t have anybody there. He hasn’t been back to Jamaica, he doesn’t know Jamaica. When he found out the Home Office wanted to remove him he said: “Mum, is there a bus that I can come back on?” His removal would be a death sentence. She told the Independent: He wouldn’t cope. If he can’t even cope here, how is he going to cope in an environment and a culture he doesn’t know? He would be exploited because of his vulnerability. 34 MPs have signed a letter calling on home secretary Priti Patel to halt the planned deportation of Brown, saying: If Osime is deported, it is our and his mother’s belief that he will die. #StopTheDeportation”

    The Canary say “Brown’s family have taken to social media to call for a twitterstorm at 7pm on 25 February to raise awareness about his case and stop the planned deportation: They have shared a useful thread on how people can get involved in the online campaign:
    JUSTICE FOR OSIME BROWN (Official Account @FreeOsimeBrown Please don’t forget about the #TwitterStorm happening for #OsimeBrown this evening from 7pm onwards (UK time) Please read the thread below for all ways you can take action this evening. #StopTheDeportation #OsimeNeedsHisFamily #JusticeForOsimeBrown”

    The British like to preach to others about their human rights abuses, only modifying such criticism when it stands in the way of lucrative arms sales as with their Contracts with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Israeli Governments. When it comes to assessment of our own human rights violations there is no tolerance for any reprimand or call to modify our conduct. The UK Government wanted to make an example of ruthless cruelty in the case of Shamima Begum, just as they have with the so-called serious criminals we are kicking out of the country. We have abandoned Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe after the PM’s gaff extended her sentence. The extradition hearings for Julian Assange are an extension of his torture by UK authorities called out by the UN. But the UN has also criticized this Tory Government for human rights abuse of the disabled in this country; all ignored. This is not a society I feel proud to be a part of; we must Protest, Challenge, Investigate and seek justice to remove this Tory Government. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68248 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    On Friday I was consumed by the saga of the Scotts. Alex Salmond delivered testimony and answered questions well and the Convener seemed fair, but it wasn’t about Scottish politics or the struggle for independence which doesn’t impact me personally. It was about the wider picture of justice and accountability throughout the UK as the remnants of our feeble democracy crumble and tumble into the seas that now isolate us from rescue by the EU. The breakdown in legal process and the maneuvers to deliberately manipulate the law for corrupt political ends were all exposed in a lengthy Scottish Parliamentary Committee hearing in a way that we can only hope that the rancid can of Tory maggots will very soon be torn open here in Westminster. Will it sound a warning to this corrupt Tory Sovereign Dictatorship that they might be able to cheat, plunder and exploit for a while, but in the end, justice will prevail? I doubt it; the focus south of the border was on how this disruptive battle might be used to derail Scottish Independence!

    The SNP’s Maureen Watt MSP obsessed over the Me Too movement as if this seismic shift should herald the rewriting of all laws to prioritize sexual harassment, despite well-drafted, long considered, legislation already firmly in place. For her this inquiry wasn’t about examining and correcting deeply flawed legal procedures that had cost the Scottish taxpayer dearly; it was a chance to overturn the not-guilty verdict and force Alex Salmond to wallow in disgrace. Despite repeatedly framing her questions to meet this one objective, Salmond kept his cool, very patiently reminding her of the extensive Trade Union input during the eighteen months of formulating the ‘Fairness at Work’ Legislation. His message was ‘don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater;’ build on existing laws rather than focusing on the hastily concocted, poorly drafted, target law that had proved not fit for purpose in Court. She was fixated on retrospective judgment of former Ministers; his objective was to restore genuine access to justice universally.

    Another persistently hostile non-contributor to the hearing was Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton who aggressively and repeatedly tried to suck the Committee into the warped vortex of his vindictive ‘admit your guilt’ rabbit hole. He defied the very patient and fair Deputy Convener, Margaret Mitchell, several times with his flagrant attempts to retry Alex Salmond for trumped-up crimes he had already been acquitted of in a Court of law. Heaping discredit on himself, he stubbornly tried to force words of apology for Media stunt value, but Salmond maintained his composure by reminding those present of the Criminal trial acquittal and his Judicial Review victory. With his relentless badgering Cole-Hamilton offered nothing substantive that was material to establishing the facts that formed the subject of the hearing. Of course, positively contributing to the hearing was not his objective; he just wanted to toss some red meat to the tabloid press in the hope of damaging SNP support in the coming elections: in this he succeeded in spades!

    As anticipated the heavily biased BBC hosted an opportunistic Newsnight segment to mislead the public into believing that Salmon had deliberately set out to sabotage the cause of Scottish Independence to rescue his own ego. The botched attempt to criminalize him had devastated his reputation, caused untold distress, but thankfully it had failed to get him thrown in jail! Amol Rajan’s claim that clearing his name was just an ego trip or a personal vendetta against his protege was a really cheap shot, well off the mark. The Tories would like nothing more than to see this rift within the SNP as a golden opportunity to sabotage Scottish Independence, but the feeling in Scotland goes way beyond personalities to address the abject Tory betrayal of the Scottish people. Brexit was the last straw for the Scotts with the majority in favor of remaining in the EU and the catastrophic impact on their fishing industry all ignored by the Tories; it will take a lot more than this internal spat to derail the call for InfiRef 2! They could vote pro-EU Green!

    In the Scotsman Article entitled, “Alex Salmond inquiry: MSPs must test the truth of his incendiary claims about a ‘malicious scheme’ against him” they commented on the proceedings. They highlighted a clever nuance Salmond had used to avoid the term ‘conspiracy’ saying, “In his evidence to the MSPs’ committee investigating the Scottish government’s mishandling of complaints made against him, Alex Salmond said he was not alleging there had been a conspiracy against him.” This savvy politician chose his words carefully saying, “Instead, he called it a ‘malicious scheme or plan or campaign over a prolonged period of time’, making a distinction that may be lost on many members of the public.” In reality I think it was a smart calculation for a man combatting an overwhelmingly hostile media: ‘conspiracy theory’ is an easily discrediting hackneyed phrase.

    The Scotsman reported that “The former First Minister said he had evidence to support his claims, pointing to text messages sent by SNP figures, including one by Peter Murrell, Nicola Sturgeon’s husband and the party’s chief executive, in which, the day after Salmond was charged, he said it was a ‘good time to be pressurizing’ the police.” That was one of the less damaging messages among a selection that are already in the public domain. Salmond was determined to rigidly stick to the solid evedence that was in his possession, some of which is being deliberately kept from the inquiry team via threats of prosecution. The do admit that “he also made clear that he believes there is evidence that the committee has not been allowed to see that would provide further backing for his allegations.” The most damaging component of the entire hearing was the knowledge that evidence was being obscured for no legitimate reason and Salmond wanted the committee to demand access to it.

    The Scotsman took a slanderous personal swipe at Alex Salmond stating that “Given what we know about Salmond’s admitted behavior, his reputation will be forever tarnished and so he should not be regarded the most upstanding of citizens.” Determined to reclassify Salmond’s open and honest presentation they continued on the offensive saying, “However, his evidence will be fuel to the fire of conspiracy theorists who have not been quite so circumspect as him, and that poses a danger to the reputation of Scotland’s democratic and legal institutions. It is most unsatisfactory that this shadow of suspicion should be allowed to hang over them in this way.” Perhaps they should have acted with genuine honesty and integrity, but that is certainly not in vogue right now in UK politics in general. This is exactly what I mean in reference to the bigger picture,’ with our current Tory Sovereign Dictatorship rife with corruption and seeking to manipulate the Judiciary and regulatory bodies in their favor.

    The Scotsman explains how “The committee is examining the Scottish government’s handling of the complaints against Salmond and MSPs have stressed that he is not on trial.” It seems that some on the committee did not receive that brief… They continue “However, the conflicting accounts of Salmond and Sturgeon must be properly tested and so both are on trial if only in the court of public opinion.” Which they will no doubt seek to influence by inserting damaging insinuations regarding Alex Salmond’s character and honesty while at the same time loyally pitching Sturgeon’s popularity. They say that “The credibility and integrity of the current First Minister and other senior figures in the SNP and government have been called into question. The people of Scotland need to know whether or not Salmond’s claims are true or not and have confidence in the process of establishing this.”

    Although the Scotsman say that “All pertinent evidence, including the Scottish government’s legal advice about its position in the judicial review of the complaints process brought by Salmond, that can be made public, should be:” how will they react when the enemy Salmond is fully vindicated? They say that “The anonymity of the women who complained about Salmond’s actions must be preserved and if the Salmond inquiry committee must sit in private in order for this to be achieved, then so be it, but it does need to get to the bottom of whether there was a ‘malicious plan’ or a conspiracy, call it what you will, or not.” It is clear that the Scotsman is cheering for the ‘or not’ camp as it is not even thinly disguised in their cynical reporting of the matter. Salmond insists that the suppressed evidence that should have been made available to the committee holds no clues that would expose the claimants. If the evidence establishes a strong case that fraud was perpetrated then that anonymity should be stripped away in perjury charges!

    In the Politico Article entitled, “5 takeaways from Alex Salmond’s explosive Scottish parliament appearance,” they say that “The former first minister made a series of incendiary claims against Nicola Sturgeon’s government. ‘This is much, much bigger than me.’ That was the message from former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond during a long-awaited appearance before a parliamentary inquiry Friday. Even for the famously forthright politician, his over 4 hours of evidence was explosive. Ministers will have been expecting a political hand grenade, they got a thermonuclear detonation. Not only was there a conspiracy at the highest levels to expunge Salmond from public life, he claimed, involving the suppression of evidence and hamstringing a probe into the government’s handling of sexual harassment complaints against him, the malfeasance was eating away at Scotland’s democratic foundations.” The BBC had tried to pass this off as an inconsequential whimper and a private vendetta.

    The Politico reported that “The actions of senior ministers were ‘undermining the system of government in Scotland,’ Salmond said, even as erstwhile allies in the Scottish independence movement dubbed the performance a grandstanding distraction to salve his oversized ego.” I am sure the poor man had bottled his anger over the attempt to criminalize him for long enough; he was relishing the opportunity to put his case before the public in all its sordid detail and he did it with calm, calculating panache. The Politico highlighted him “Telling the committee he had turned down hundreds of media appearances in order to give his evidence direct to lawmakers, Salmond cast himself as the defender of truth in a murky affair that threatens to bring down First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and with her the cause of independence itself.” I wouldn’t have drawn that final conclusion from observing the entire hearing. As Politico presented them, “Here are five key takeaways from Salmond’s committee appearance:”

    1. “Top down,” Politico describes how, “The former first minister didn’t pull his punches. While Salmond rejected claims that the affair had rendered Scotland a ‘failed state,’ he said that the mishandling of his case stemmed from the very top. ‘Scotland hasn’t failed. Its leadership has failed,’ the 66-year-old said, laying blame squarely at Sturgeon’s feet. Salmond then went a step further, suggesting that Sturgeon’s administration, alongside elements of the civil service and prosecuting authority, was so incompetent that his dreams of independence were in jeopardy. ‘Our move to independence … must be accompanied by institutions whose leadership is strong and robust and capable of protecting each and every citizen from arbitrary authority,’ Salmond told lawmakers on the Holyrood committee. Sturgeon denies she has done anything wrong.”

    2. According to Politico the “Scottish National Party rift widens. The Salmond vs. Sturgeon saga has torn a hole through SNP ranks, splitting the party in two. Today’s blistering session will have done little to soothe tempers or bridge the divide. As the committee got underway, a string of SNP politicians changed their profile pictures to grinning snaps with Sturgeon. One of them, Brendan O’Hara MP, added a little context: ‘Please be in no doubt as to where my loyalties lie. #IStandWithNicola.’James Dorman MSP, who represents a Glasgow constituency, upped the ante, accusing Salmond of ‘undoing everything he fought for to salve his ego.’ The former first minister’s supporters weren’t to be outdone, however. ‘How much further can [the] jaw drop [?],’ tweeted MP Angus MacNeil, responding to claims of Scottish government bungling in a court case against Salmond. For a party trying to instill trust in the independence cause, these fissures threaten to upend voter confidence.”

    3. “Salmond the victim,” claim Politico on Salmond’s behalf, although not necessarily taking his side. They quote, “It has been a testing couple of years, Salmond told the committee: harassment claims, court cases, criminal prosecution, eventual acquittal. He described it as a ‘nightmare … among the most wounding that any person can face.’ But is he sorry for behavior towards multiple women that, though not criminal, he has admitted was sometimes inappropriate (he acknowledged that he could’ve been ‘a better man’ during the trial)? That’s what committee member Alex Cole-Hamilton wanted to know. ‘Laying aside the charges of which you’ve been acquitted and the allegations you deny, of the behaviors you have admitted to, some of which are appalling, are you sorry?” the Liberal Democrat MSP asked.

    The Politico report that “The former first minister did not offer an apology, instead referring to the Scottish government’s botched handling of claims, and the consequences that had had for all involved.” Alex Cole-Hamilton conveniently forgot the actual purpose of the hearing in order to have a rant that implied that the Jury who acquitted Salmond had made some grievous error of judgment, but he could save the day by retrying him in committee. In all fairness, the Convener wasn’t having it and reminded him that such questioning was not part of their remit, but it didn’t prevent the obnoxious MSP from rephrasing the exact same request several times before he finally shut up having contributed nothing relevant to the proceeding. Salmond diplomatically avoided being drawn into the trap of offering an unwanted apology by calmly reiterating the outcome of Court verdicts in his favor. Cole-Hamilton came across as petty and vindictive, but his questions will be quoted and embellished in our biased Media.

    4. Politico pointed out the “Election approaching” saying that “After Friday’s bombshell session, there’s little chance of the debacle blowing over before May’s Scottish Parliament election. For the SNP’s electoral rivals, desperate to counter the party’s seemingly ironclad popularity, that is good news. ‘I am no fan of Alex Salmond. He is not a man I respect,’ said Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross as the hearing commenced. ‘But he is right about at least one thing, truth, and honesty in government matters. And we’re not getting it from Nicola Sturgeon.’ Expect to hear this line over and over again. If the opposition can sow seeds of doubt in Sturgeon’s probity, the SNP, reliant on their leader’s public standing, will be in big trouble (a point borne out by recent polling).”

    5. But the Politico claim that “This is far from over,” saying “Salmond professed his wish to move on from the ugly affair, but there’s plenty of play in it yet. The prospect of new police involvement looms large after the hearing, with Salmond demanding that the leak of harassment allegations against him be investigated.” One can hardly blame him for wanting this after all the torment he has suffered. Politico point out that “next week, Sturgeon will be in the hot seat herself. She’ll be facing questions on a range of topics: not least whether she breached the ministerial code by pursuing a court case despite her team having had prior contact with complainants, or whether a complainant’s name was passed illicitly to Salmond’s chief of staff, two things her predecessor seems certain of. Even more dangerous for Sturgeon is a separate probe being conducted by James Hamilton, an Irish barrister investigating her conduct. He is due to give his verdict just weeks out from election day.”

    Someone should have reminded Sturgeon that when you’re in a really deep hole it is best to stop digging! There are already tentative grounds to charge her with breaching the ministerial code, but she arrogantly tried it on with another flagrant violation; does she really want to torpedo her political career? I have a funny feeling she knows it’s all over now baby blue… This latest gaff has prompted Justin to start a new Discussion Thread entitled, “Jim Sillars’ formal complaint re Nicola Sturgeon’s smears about Alex Salmond.” He reports that “Jim Sillars, former Depute Leader of the SNP, has lodged a formal complaint about Nicola Sturgeon’s rants during her televised official Covid briefing on Wednesday.” To read more visit Justin’s thread where he has posted a copy of Jim Sillars “letter of complaint” in full.

    Throughout this hearing Alex Salmond remained calm and level headed at all times answering without faltering or being evasive, He did not call for the entrapment techniques of two members of the committee who asked inappropriate and irrelevant questions in an attempt to implicate guilt over charges already dismissed as bearing no criminal liability. He was razor sharp and right on the money in his exposure of the grossly unnecessary squandering of public funds in the futile attempt to justify their relentless persecution of a case against him. This should be sounding alarm bells with regard to Tory squandering of public funds and the bottomless pit of public cash spent repeatedly defending unfair laws, corruption and other Government wrongdoing. If the persecuted and exploited are too impoverished to go to Court only the powerful and the egregiously guilty can afford limitless representation we have zero access to justice in the UK. Crowdfunding offers us the opportunity to rebalance the scales of justice and hold Government to account.

    On the rare occasion where Alex Salmond held back, he cited the evidence he was being forced to suppress, against his will, on pain of prosecution. He saved his greatest asset for a parting salvo when asked if he had any final remarks. He stated very clearly that this, or any other Parliamentary Committee, had an absolute right to access all relevant evidence without restriction and he suggested that they forcefully demand that access. Throwing down a confident ‘I’ve got nothing to hide’ gauntlet, he made it crystal clear that if such evidence was demanded of his legal team they would be obligated to hand it over to the committee and it would be in their possession by Monday. Come in Nicola Sturgeon, your time is up… This was genuinely forensic;’ exactly what is needed to expose obscene levels of squandered public funds that continue to enrich the Tory elite and also reveal the truth in a really robust Investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. Salmond is blazing an accountability trail: we really must Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68341 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    The revelations by Alex Salmond on Friday are set to rock the Scottish Government to its core, but the targeted persecution he suffered is not unique within UK politics, sadly it is rife. The exposure of the political dirty tricks to discredit and criminalize a man of integrity have become an acceptable norm and I can only hope that Salmond’s fight to clear his name should make us all pay far more attention to who is feeding us the news, and whose agenda they are promoting, to demand significantly greater scrutiny in future. It is a triumph that the trumped-up charges against Salmond were scrutinized sufficiently in Court to exonerate him and to support his Judicial Review of the unfair processes used to criminalize him. Truth is the best disinfectant so perhaps now those who targeted Salmond will be held accountable and the corruption that allowed them to do be so vindictive will be excised from the system. The Media are still trying to spin this to solidify the demonization of Alex Salmond and his personal battle is not over yet.

    There are very important lessons that we should be paying close attention to right now south of the border so that we can route out Political corruption here in the UK. A good place to start would still be in Scotland while they are in the process of purging the cancer that warps our political system by churning out toxic propaganda to disrupt, demonize and destroy progressive political leaders dedicated to serving the needs of ordinary citizens. The Scottish Registered fake Charity, the ‘Institute of Statecraft’ and its so-called ‘Integrity Initiative,’ is already known to have interfered with both foreign and domestic elections by propagating and disseminating fake news on behalf of the far-right agenda. This clandestine organization was supported by UK taxpayer funding to generate defamatorily material targeting Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party well in advance of and throughout the Covert 2019 Rigged Election campaign; this has already been exposed: it needs to be more fully Investigated as it invalidates the shock result.

    In a properly functioning democracy such a blatantly obvious and extreme level of incumbent Government corruption sponsored by public funds would bring down that Government, but the UK continues to stray further and further from the path of democracy and at this time can best be described as the authoritarian Fascist state of the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. Alex Salmond’s testimony was an attempt to drag Scotland back from the brink of becoming a failed state, but it is impossible to consider the dangerous Tory cabal recklessly running the UK into the ground as even close to legitimate governance and we must demand change. Salmond was forced to rely on crowdfunding to raise money for his legal battle; we should take note and utilize this valuable tool in our cases to rescue the progressive left from SLAPP Lawsuits as well as Judicial Review battles while this avenue is still open to us. If Corbyn had fought back aggressively to clear his name as Salmond has we would not be sinking in this Tory quagmire right now.

    “Question More” is the mantra at RT, that’s Russian Television to the uninitiated, a TV station that our Tory Sovereign Dictatorship would sorely like to shut down in their attempt to censor alternative voices. Alex Salmond presents regularly on RT and he is far from the only progressive voice to have turned to RT, among them Noam Chomsky, respected Investigative Journalist John Pilger and they have consistently supported Julian Assange. RT is criticized as just a Russian State propaganda station, but the news coverage is often more thoroughly investigated and well balanced than the BBC. It is truly shocking to admit how low our BBC has sunk in its sycophantic promotion of an increasingly radical Tory right-wing. The extreme extent of pro-Tory bias presented by the BBC during their coverage of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was far too glaringly obvious to be ignored. Salmond’s exposure of corruption in Scottish politics must be a wake-up call to us all: ‘no smoke without fire’ depends on who is creating the smoke!

    So while RT remains under attack from the Tories who feel threatened by their content, we should resist being sucked into a stupor of belief in what used to be a credible national news reporting station that has been reduced to a Tory propaganda mouthpiece. RT has not shied away from presenting Russian protests regarding Alexey Navalny, but they do not endorse the faux outrage over his trial. Meanwhile Neocon Governments around the world rant over the Russian authority’s treatment of Navalny as if he is a saint and a national hero, as this suits their concerted political campaign against Putin and the Russian Government. In reality, the entire fiasco involving the Navalny case was seized on by the US in order to sabotage completion of the Nordstream 2 Gas Pipeline as it does not serve American financial interests. No matter how we might feel towards Putin, the Russian authorities do have a right to arrest one of their own citizens in their own country and bring him to trial and we have no right to intervene in their legal processes.

    In a Tass Article entitled, “Diplomat slams foreign diplomats flooding Navalny trial,” a Tass correspondent reported earlier that about 20 foreign diplomats, including from the United States, Bulgaria, Poland, Latvia, Austria, and Switzerland, had been seen at the Moscow City Court hearing on possible replacement of Navalny’s suspended sentence under the Yves Rocher case with an actual prison term.” Without access to the charges leveled against him or any of the evidence for or against in his case, foreign supporters of Alexey Navalny’s political ambitions are demanding there should be no trial, it must be halted immediately to secure his unconditional release. But think about this rationally; would our UK Government or the Americans accept any similar external intervention or pressure in their Judicial system? I think not! Tass said “The presence of foreign diplomats at the court trial of Russian opposition blogger Alexey Navalny is not a general practice in diplomacy and can rather be interpreted as a political move.”

    Reporting from Moscow on February 2 Tass noted that, “Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday. ‘It is not a normal practice. A normal practice is when foreign diplomats are present in court when case of their nationals or international terrorists, or people who committed crimes in third countries, are tried,’ she wrote on her Facebook account. ‘But when diplomats, the more so, collectively, are present when cases of not their citizens are tried it is rather a political move. She also recalled that Russian diplomats are not always allowed to attend court trials of Russian nationals in Western countries. Tass noted her commenting that ‘In many cases, the US side refuses to allow Russian diplomats to attend court trials of Russian nationals,’ she added. ‘So, instead of inventing any non-existing diplomatic norms and practices, it is better to admit: it is Western money, Western diplomats (ask Washington what Japan is doing at court), a Western political project,’ she stressed.”

    The same level of scrutiny and criticism of our UK Legal system by overseas observers, diplomats, and even Amnesty International is simply not tolerated; take the Julian Assange extradition hearings as a case in point. On the Amnesty International Website, Stefan Simanowitz asks, “Why are Amnesty International monitors not able to observe the Assange hearing?” In late September of 2020, he wrote, “The street outside the Old Bailey criminal court in London, where Julian Assange’s extradition hearing has been taking place, was transformed into a carnival. Inside the Old Bailey, the courtroom has turned into a circus. There have been multiple technical difficulties, a COVID-19 scare which temporarily halted proceedings, and numerous procedural irregularities including the decision by the presiding judge to withdraw permission for Amnesty International’s fair trial observer to have access to the courtroom.” The situation of access had not improved a great deal for the hearing in early 2021.

    Although the extradition was blocked due to a perceived risk of suicide the outrageous US political persecution of Julian Assange was upheld as valid which does not bode well for the safety of Journalists around the globe and our access to free speech. Meanwhile due to a number of credible complaints regarding Neocon darling Navalny’s history of vile hate speech Amnesty International no longer feel it can categorize him as a ‘Prisoner of Conscience.’ in reality Navalny is a ruthlessly ambitious bigoted nationalist: not a particularly nice guy, although you certainly couldn’t learn that from our biased Media: Craig Murray was a lot more criticalin evaluating his integrity. Medical experts who have analyzed early testresults on Navalny say they reveal symptoms of acute pancreatitis, diabetes,liver failure, severe dehydration, muscular rigidity, a slew of bacterialinfections, even a possible heart attack associated with his kidney problems:”not recognizable symptoms of a nerve agent attack! No one was kitted up forhazmat. 

    Was the Navalny case another opportunistic false flag event weaponized to target Russia? But I digress… In reporting last years Assange trial Simanowitz described “Arriving at the court each morning was an assault to the senses with the noise of samba bands, sound systems and chanting crowds and the sight of banners, balloons, and billboards at every turn. The first day of the hearing, which started on Monday 7 September, drew more than two hundred people to gather outside the court. People in fancy dress mingled with camera crews, journalists, and a pack of hungry photographers who would disappear regularly to give chase to any white security van heading towards the court, pressing their long lenses against the darkened windows. One of the vans had come from Belmarsh high-security prison, Julian Assange’s home for the last 16 months. The Wikileaks founder was in court for the resumption of proceedings that will ultimately decide on the Trump administration’s request for his extradition to the US.”

    Reporting on the charges Amnesty say, “The American prosecutors claim he conspired with whistleblowers (army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning) to obtain classified information. They want him to stand trial on espionage charges in the US where he would face a prison sentence of up to 175 years. Assange’s lawyers began with a request that the alleged evidence in a new indictment handed down in June be excluded from consideration given that it came so late. The Judge denied this. In the afternoon session, the lawyers requested an adjournment until next year to give his lawyers time to respond to the US prosecutor’s new indictment. They said they had been given insufficient time to examine the new allegations, especially since they had only ‘limited access’ to the imprisoned Assange. Indeed, this most recent hearing was the first time in more than six months that Julian Assange had been able to meet with his lawyers. The judge rejected this request.”

    Simanowitz documents being denied access to the hearing as an observer for Amnesty International. “Reacting to the decision, Kristinn Hrafnsson the editor-in-chief of Wikileaks told me that: ‘the decision is an insult to the UK courts and to Julian Assange and to justice. For the court to deny the request to adjourn is denying Assange his rights.’ Amnesty International had requested access to the court for a trial monitor to observe the hearings, but the court denied us a designated seat in court. Our monitor initially did get permission to access the technology to monitor remotely, but the morning the hearing started he received an email informing us that the Judge had revoked Amnesty International’s remote access. We applied again for access to the proceedings on Tuesday 8 September, setting out the importance of monitoring and Amnesty International’s vast experience of observing trials in even some of the most repressive countries.”

    Simanowitz documented the official response to their request saying that “The judge wrote back expressing her ‘regret’ at her decision and saying: ‘I fully recognize that justice should be administered in public,’ Despite her regret and her recognition that scrutiny is a vital component of open justice, the judge did not change her mind. If Amnesty International and other observers wanted to attend the hearing, they would have to queue for one of the four seats available in a public gallery. We submitted a third application to gain direct access to the overflow room at the court where some media view the live stream, but this has also been denied.” So where was the global outrage over this arrogant refusal to submit to scrutiny? There was none! The UK demand immediate unconditional release for Alexey Navalny, no trial necessary, but do not dare to pry into corrupt Courts over here!

    Amnesty International claim that “The refusal of the judge to not to give any ‘special provision’ to expert fair trial, monitors is very disturbing. Through its refusal, the court has failed to recognize a key component of open justice: namely how international trial observers monitor a hearing for its compliance with domestic and international law. They are there to evaluate the fairness of a trial by providing an impartial record of what went on in the courtroom and to advance fair trial standards by putting all parties on notice that they are under scrutiny. Amnesty International has monitored trials from Guantanamo Bay to Bahrain, Ecuador to Turkey. For our observer to be denied access profoundly undermines open justice.”

    Simanowitz described other impediments to monitoring the trial saying “In the court, the overflow room has experienced ongoing technical problems with sound and video quality. More than a week after the proceedings began, these basic technical difficulties have not been properly ironed out and large sections of witness evidence are inaudible. These technological difficulties were not restricted to the overflow room. In court, some witnesses trying to ‘call into’ the courtroom last week, were not able to get in. These basic technical difficulties have hampered the ability of those in the courtroom to follow the proceedings.” There is simply no excuse for such easily corrected technical glitches not to be fixed promptly given the critical importance of the venue.

    Amnesty International said at the time, “We are still hopeful that a way can be found for our legal expert to monitor the hearing because the decision, in this case, is of huge importance. It goes to the heart of the fundamental tenets of media freedom that underpin the rights to freedom of expression and the public’s right to access information. The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression. The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who expose official wrongdoing by publishing information disclosed to them by credible sources could have a profound impact on the public’s right to know what their government is up to. If Julian Assange is silenced, others will also be gagged either directly or by the fear of persecution and prosecution which will hang over a global media community already under assault in the US and in many other countries worldwide.”

    Amnesty International claim that “The US Justice Department is not only charging a publisher who has a non-disclosure obligation but a publisher who is not a US citizen and not in America. The US government is behaving as if they have jurisdiction all over the world to pursue any person who receives and publishes information of government wrongdoing. If the UK extradites Assange, he would face prosecution in the USA on espionage charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life, possibly in a facility reserved for the highest security detainees and subjected to the strictest of daily regimes, including prolonged solitary confinement. All for doing something news editors do the world over, publishing information provided by sources that is in the interest of the wider public.” The US has regressed from thuggish global policeman to global mafia and the UK is facilitating this vile injustice.

    Simanowitz reported that “Outside the court, I bumped into Eric Levy, aged 92. His interest in Assange’s case is personal. He was in Baghdad during the American ‘shock and awe’ bombardment in 2003 having traveled to Iraq as part of the Human Shield Movement aiming to stop the war, and failing that, to protect the Iraqi population. ‘I’m here today for the same reason I was in Iraq. Because I believe in justice and I believe in peace,’ he tells me. ‘Julian Assange is not really wanted for espionage. He is wanted for making America look like war criminals.’ Indeed, it is ironic that no one responsible for possible war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan has been prosecuted, let alone punished. And yet the publisher who exposed their crimes is the one in the dock facing a lifetime in jail.” I was pleasantly shocked when Peter Hitchens wrote an article in support of Julian Assange despite admitting to not liking him, but we should expect integrity from credible Journalists and Political Commentators: they need to grow a spine!

    Instead they sop-up the garbage churned out by Integrity Initiative or endorse the fake news from discredited idiot Elliot Higgins at ‘Bellingcat.’ Craig was quick to call out fake sleuth, con-artist Higgins early on in his ‘espionage career in Murray’s Blog Post entitled, “Bellingcat’s attempts to gild the Chepiga lily are now becoming ludicrous. The photo they published today is a very obvious fake,” where he noted the glaringly obvious poor photo-shop that Higgins was claiming as evidence. He wrote, “Many people have noticed that the photo of Chepiga on this wall appears to be hanging in completely different lighting conditions from the others. That is indeed a good point.” He also documented the other major error made by this investigative retard when he put the replacement photo in a less than credible position. As Murray queried, “So why is Chepiga in a row of much earlier Heroes of the Soviet Union? Next in sequence in fact to Grigory Dobrunov who got his award in 1956!!!! The pictures are definitely otherwise all in date order.”

    Since those early scams you might have expected Higgins to perfect the art of creating photoshop ‘evidence;’ or used some of the copious Government money chucked his way to pay an expert forger. I also expected him to perfect his ludicrous plotlines to make them at least sound superficially believable, but no. His last piece of fantasy fiction rivaled a slightly kinky version of Hans Christian Anderson with a return to a suppressed underwear fetish! This time the magic, oh so deadly, Novichok managed to find its way into Alexey Navalny’s smalls, Ouch! Who put it there, how was it applied and when did this dastardly deed take place? Bellingcat is not yet ready to share the raunchy intimate details of our public hero’s privates. There must have been a highly sophisticated time-release dosing mechanism to conveniently incapacitate Putin’s target enemy mid-flight and not a second before: do not apply logic! The Pilot wasn’t in on the plot as he hastily landed the plane in order to get Navalny to Hospital where they worked to save his life.

    The Tories have learned from past successes that believability is superfluous when tossing hateful jingoistic nationalist red meat to the tabloid beasts. The more shocking the revelation the more readable by the gullible masses so any future exposure of the truth will pose no threat while key Media players have agreed to ignore all expert evidence to let their lies stand. The made-for-TV Skripal drama embellished the fake news from Government to hide their complicity in a false flag fraud: the public bought it ‘hook-line-and-sinker, despite glaring inconsistencies that grossly defied logic. The Duma false flag has been comprehensively debunked by credible experts who examined evidence on the ground, but Bellingcat’s lies still prevail because our corrupt Tory Government needs this fake news to be accepted as true by the public; that is disgusting and it really has to change. Will the Alex Salmond case serves as a shock awakening to the fact that we are being far too trusting and as RT promotes we should: “Question more!”

    You would have thought that when the neocons went looking for a useful idiot they might have managed to score one with a tad more credibility than Elliot Higgins of the fake news factory ‘Bellingcat;’ Belling ‘dead’ cat as I would more appropriately name his disinformation outlet. He was just featured on Politics Live trying hard to sound intelligent and failing miserably despite being wholeheartedly endorsed by Joe Coburn and her guests. So why give ‘bellylaugh’ Bellingcat a platform right now? We should be worried that perhaps the Tories are helping to buff hack Higgins’s credentials in advance of another dead-cat operation. But, why does the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship need to pull such a stunt right now when it appears all is going reasonably well for them due to the popularity of their vaccine roll-out program? It could mean that they are about to make highly unpopular decisions to inflict more pain on our destitute population; a serious incident supported by propaganda to prevent public protests would be of use. Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68420 Reply
    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!

    #68424 Reply
    SA

    In GMB this morning Piers Morgan grilled Kwasi Kwarteng about the governents reaction regarding the MBS revelations and the Saudi led war on Yemen. Kwartengs answers were so unconvincing, it was embarassing to see him squirm:
    Kwarteng replied: “I don’t think you’re right Piers. I think the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman cares deeply about his reputation across the world.

    Kwarteng about MBS “I think he cares a great deal when Great Britain says to him that some of his behaviour is unacceptable. I think that has a huge impact on him.”
    So Piers answered back
    “Come on you don’t believe that. Sorry Mr Kwarteng with respect even you don’t believe what you’ve just said to me,” Morgan hit back.
    It is interesting to watch the rest of this interview to see how decieptful Tory policy is..

    #68489 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    SA – I’m not a fan of Pears Morgan, I never watch his show, but he is sure perfecting the art of going for the jugular and not even giving the Tories an easy ride. They are such hypocrites, preaching human rights over Russian treatment of Navalny, but hands-off MBS; those arms contracts to blast Yemen into oblivion are just too lucrative. The Tories hate Alex Salmond, but delight in his takedown of Sturgeon. They are incapable of recognizing their decade-plus foul treatment of the Scotts and foolishly think that the Scottish clamouring for Independence is just a personality cult that can be quashed with her demise. The French have tried and convict Nicolas Sarkozy when will we acquire similar accountability in the UK? Maybe never! But today the Tories have so much at stake it will be really tough working ou what to force the BBC to cram into their fake news propaganda broadcasts to placate the masses. There will be a few peachy gifts tucked discretely into Sunak’s budget to please wealthy elite Tory donor friends no doubt!

    ‘Borrowed Votes!’ ‘Borrowed £300Bn!’ ‘Borrowed reality!’ Blame Boris for all that ‘borrowed bullshit,’ but it’s just a true-to-form deliberately deceptive Tory agenda con-trick to prepare the British public for yet another devastating wave of austerity. The fancy made-for-TV trailer staring hero Rishi Sunak striding in to save us from the economic impact of Covid 19 was just a stunt for those who generally pay no attention to the budget beyond an extra penny on a pint! There was no logical reason that worried workers on furlough and those relying on Universal Credit needed to suffer weeks of stress so that there were a few scraps to toss to the paupers as he grandstands over perks for wealthy homebuyers in his budget. This extension of the torment was an unnecessary act of deliberate cruelty, but we can expect a lot more when the Tories really start to ‘Decimate Down’ hard on the working poor and unemployed. For now, the first service cuts and tax rises will be delivered by Councils who have had their funding chocked off.

    The worst nightmare is that after we all thought that ‘austerity is necessary to pay down our massive debts’ myth had been very thoroughly debunked, it is being hastily resuscitated by the Tories for another round of persecuting the poor. In the Canary Article entitled “Marr just told one of the biggest lies of the pandemic, and it could impact all of us,” they say “Andrew Marr just repeated one of the biggest lies of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. What’s worse, it’s one that could help the Tories put in place more austerity. On your marks… get set… LIE! Chancellor Rishi Sunak was on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 28 February. His slot was ahead of the budget on 3 March. But before Sunak even spoke, Marr was already spreading propaganda for him.” Marr works for the BBC, it’s his job to function as a Tory mouthpiece! How did he wade hip-deep into the Tory bullshit? They noted that “In his intro, he said: Now, my final guest is a man who’s borrowed almost £300bn: the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak.”

    Steve Topple Tweeted: “#Marr compounding one of the biggest lies of the pandemic: that the Tories have ‘borrowed’ £300bn. Clear paving of the way by the government and corporate media for increasing austerity.” The Canary claim “That’s the lie right there. Because Marr claiming the Tories have ‘borrowed almost £300bn’ is simply not true.” They resolve to ‘unpicked’ Marr’s lie, noting that “Tax expert Richard Murphy was straight on it. He tweeted that: ‘How many times this week will we hear the lie that the government has borrowed £300bn to pay for Covid? It hasn’t. It has issued debt, but then immediately repurchased it using new money created by the Bank of England. This debt has already been repaid in that case, for good.’ Murphy is so ‘irritated‘ by this lie that he did a video.” In the Richard Murphy Video, he says: “There is nothing owing to anyone. How do I know? Because the bills have been settled.” Some people might be confused by this concept, but Murphy explains this well in his must-watch video.

    The Canary report that “He then says that the Tories have already paid the £300bn off: with money created by the Bank of England [BoE], which was used to buy government bonds, which bonds were issued by the Treasury simultaneously with their repurchase – in effect to fund the deficits that were required to ensure that government could continue to provide its services despite the collapse in tax revenues… How many bonds have been issued? Roughly £300bn… How many bonds have been repurchased by the Bank of England on behalf of the Treasury? Roughly £300bn… What is the consequence of that repurchase? That the Bank of England has injected roughly… £300bn worth of new money into the economy.”

    The Canary ask, “£300bn: where’s it come from, and gone to?” To answer, “Where has this £300bn gone? Murphy says it’s gone: either into savings, and savings have risen by roughly £300bn this year; in such things as stocks, shares, and other things, or in cash. Now, that is the end of it. There is no further bill to pay. So Marr was either lying, or he doesn’t get basic economics. Let’s say it’s the latter. To be clear for Marr’s benefit: what Murphy is saying, simply put, is this. The Tories just got their mates at the BoE to print a load of money. End of.” The Canary ask, Why would Marr, much of the corporate media, and the Tories keep lying about borrowing?” Are there “More cuts coming? SNP MP Angus MacNeil took Marr’s lie to a possible conclusion. As he tweeted:
    His #AusterityCausingTV hashtag is apt. Because this £300bn lie could well pave the way for more cuts to public spending and/or tax rises. That is, the Tories could bring in more austerity.”

    Truth be told they have already started because by not reimbursing local Councils for their Covid overspend the Tories are forcing a hefty rise in Council Tax rates and deep cuts to local services provided. This is a direct breach of the Tory pledge to refund our Councils enabling them to do ‘whatever it takes’ in the fight to get the virus under control. Meanwhile, it has foisted an additional burden on Councils by telling those who cannot afford to self-isolate that they can receive a £500 payment from the Council while again central Government is not covering the rising cost of providing such relief. This allows Chancellor Rishi Sunak to offload the financial responsibility onto Councils and let them take the flack for cuts to services. The Canary also remind us “We’ve already seen a bit of it, because the Tories have made a real-terms cut to some public sector workers’ pay. This, and any future cuts, are based on a lie that we owe someone £300bn. We don’t. So, for Marr to say otherwise, is him being complicit in this sham.”

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Poll shows Starmer’s really got his finger on the pulse in opposing corporation and wealth tax rises,” they ask “Or is it somewhere a lot darker..? Keir Starmer and his front bench have outraged Labour supporters by saying that they will oppose Rishi Sunak’s plan to increase tax on companies and wealthy individuals that have made a fortune during the pandemic, and at the same time, the Labour hierarchy is threatening councillors with severe disciplinary action if they oppose Tory cuts to local government budgets. Starmer’s opposition to tax rises, almost the only time in his leadership that he’s actually opposed anything, puts him alongside the hard right of the Tory party. His supporters claim that’s because it’s not the time tax rises don’t fit the ‘public mood’ and because he needs to pursue Tory voters. Well, the public, including Tory voters, seems to drastically disagree with him about what its mood is, with more than two-thirds saying they agree with tax rises right the hell now:” They post a
    Chart by @LeftieStats and say “Maybe it’s not just his finger he’s got somewhere dark.”

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled “Trickett, Beckett, Lavery unite against Labour HQ briefing against left MPs for saying they’ll vote for tax increases on wealthiest,” the progressive’s speak out. “Left Labour MPs and Unite general secretary candidate combine to denounce hostile briefing by Starmer’s crew, who are now further right than most Tories on tax. Labour MP Jon Trickett and Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett have united in solidarity with Ian Lavery and Richard Burgon, after both MPs were the target of hostile briefings to the press by ‘senior party sources,’ for the ‘crime’ of supporting an increase in taxes paid by the businesses and wealthy individuals who have made a fortune during the pandemic, while ordinary people struggle.”

    The Skwawkbox reported that “Lavery tweeted his own response to the sly and slimy message farmed out to Paul Waugh, a favourite of the Labour right: ‘Am I right to be slightly irritated that ‘senior Labour sources’ are briefing the right-wing press against @RichardBurgon and myself for our view on increasing corporation tax in next weeks budget? One senior party source tells me: ‘The approach being advocated by Ian Lavery and Richard Burgon is an unintended argument for austerity because it suggests you can fiddle with taxes and spending to pay off debt accumulated in an economic downturn. It’s the mirror of the argument George Osborne made a decade ago’. Starmer and his front bench, disgracefully, are now well to the right of Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak and his boss on tax, despite an overwhelming preference among voters for immediate increases in corporation tax.”

    The Skwawkbox claim that “Having blundered yet again and presumably feeling it’s too soon since Starmer’s last panicked u-turn on his dire ‘Recovery Bonds’ idea that was touted by his supporters as a game-changer, they are desperately trying to shore up the last vapours of their credibility by briefing against MPs who, rightly, oppose them. Jon Trickett, in his second blast at the party’s purple hierarchy in three days and his third in a week, stood by Lavery on the issue.” Trickett Tweeted, “Be clear this Labour Party source (anon) is distorting the Left’s view which has massive support in the Party as we shall prove on Monday Night. Join us @Nback20 on Monday to show which way Labour should take the country. We won’t be silenced by false briefings to the Torygraph.” These progressive MPs are deluded if they think they can rescue Labour without the immediate removal of Starmer

    The Skwawkbox say “Unite’s Howard Beckett namechecked both men as he took aim at the ‘disgraceful’ right-wingers: Starmer’s idiot pursuit of Tory voters has blown up in his face yet again: more than two-thirds of voters want corporation tax to increase, including very nearly two-thirds of Tory voters. Yet again, leading figures from the left of the movement are right and yet again the dreary Labour right is desperately trying to distract from the egg on its collective faces.” Skwawkbox provide a graph to prove their point. With the BBC and the Mainstream Media all hyping–up the massive debt issue the British people are being duped into the same old Tory trick for accepting budget cuts, pay freezes and more austerity, just packaged under a different name because Boris doesn’t like the term ‘austerity.’ Could be because Johnson knows the entire argument for austerity is not at all credible and it has been publically debunked, but that certainly won’t stop the Tories monetizing the misery of the many for the enrichment of the few.

    This Tory Government really must honestly level with us regarding the appalling state of our heavily lopsided economy. They have no intention of spreading any potential growth in the economy more evenly amongst our population as they claim with their latest ‘lev…up’ catchphrase. The ‘level’ of household debt has risen; the ‘level’ of DWP sanctions has risen; the ‘level’ of destitution has risen; the ‘level’ of homelessness has risen; the ‘level’ of child poverty has risen, the ‘level’ of infant mortality has risen, but the level of life expectancy has flatlined, and among some groups it has fallen. What else has fallen in real terms due to a decade of Tory austerity continuing now under another name? The ‘level’ of real-term wages not keeping pace with inflation; the ‘level’ of staffing in our NHS Hospitals; the ‘level’ of policing on our streets; the ‘level’ of public services provided by our cash strapped local Councils the ‘level’ of support provided to the disabled, the vulnerable and the unemployed have all diminished under the Tory cosh!

    Despite the growing witch-hunt targeting those on the left of the Labour Party another bold progressive Socialist proves unafraid to speak his mind in the Morning Star Article entitled “Socialist policies are the way to avoid economic ‘long Covid’ – Labour mustn’t shy away from them.” Ian Lavery MP writes that “research done by his organisation and polls nationally show that the only thing that reversed the decline of Labour’s vote in constituencies like his were the bold progressive proposals of the Corbyn era.” Wednesday will see one of the most consequential budgets of our time proposed to Parliament by Rishi Sunak. The importance of this budget simply cannot be overstated. It will reflect how the government chooses to rebuild Britain out of the devastation of the pandemic and it will show the government’s priorities and ambitions for the people of the country. It will also show quite clearly how the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer prioritises tackling the inequality that plagued this land long before coronavirus hit.”

    Lavery writes “2020 marked the year that, along with Jon Trickett MP and Cllr Laura Smith, former MP for Crewe and Nantwich, I co-founded the organisation No Holding Back. More than a year has passed since then, during which time we have undertaken a virtual tour of every corner of Britain, listening to the grassroots communities on which the politics we represent were founded. We published The Challenge for Labour, a report based upon the analysis of the conversations that we had. It is vital for politicians to listen but essentially it is even more important to then shape the policies and the solutions to provide answers to the problems raised. This must be an ongoing exercise. It is not good enough to just check in to tick a box. Building on that first initiative of the virtual tour, we have now set up a new Activists’ Assembly, the first iteration of which focuses on Wednesday’s Budget. We have been blown away by the response to our first consultation. Over 1100 have responded with their priorities for the Budget.”

    Lavery reports that “There is a clear signal of what people would like to see and we will be releasing the findings on Monday evening. The responses that we have had have come from a wide cross-section of society and it is absolutely crucial that their views are heard before the Labour front bench responds to Rishi Sunak’s fiscal plans. It is obvious that currently the Labour Party machine is prioritising returning to the acceptance of the status quo of the Blair years over the politics of progressive transformation of the Corbyn period. A rewriting of history and ducking and diving of responsibility is underway and frankly no good will be achieved long term if this approach continues. Labour was steadily losing support from the Labour heartlands for decades because solutions were not being offered to improve the lives and opportunities of those living there. People and communities whose votes had long been taken for granted felt alienated from the politics of Westminster.”

    Lavery rightly claims that “2017 was the only time that that changed when a real progressive agenda for change was put forward and people were excited about what that meant. For the Many, not the Few offered hope despite vicious internal attacks and, in my view, attempted sabotage from those who prioritise holding the gears of the internal machine as more important than getting the Tories out of power. By 2019 the hateful attacks on the party leadership by the media and organised sections of the Labour Party, plus the disastrous second referendum campaign and lack of discipline of the left on the matter had sealed the fate of socialist and transformational policies coming to the forefront of British politics.” Within this statement is an acceptance of the Labour loss in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election that I still cannot buy into. The defamation had an impact, but the prospect of a second referendum was far safer than ongoing austerity after a Tory controlled Brexit: we still need to fully Investigate this unfathomable election result.

    Lavery is right to claim that those transformational policies were popular and vote-winning but misled in his acceptance that the positive inspirational policy agenda of 2019 was blown off course by a fixation on Brexit at all costs. I don’t find it credible to believe that after a gruelling decade of intense suffering under Tory austerity a large faction of former Labour supports among the exploited working poor voted to extend the torment and abuse of Tory rule. Survival is the single strongest human instinct so at a point where the public came to realize that the conscious cruelty of Tory austerity was not a necessity, but ideologically driven by excessive greed, I seriously doubt they voted for their children to starve. How long did it take before the new Tory Government was putting the squeeze on school meals and forcing even greater reliance on food banks? Less than nine months after they stole the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, but the public were not in the least bit surprised because for the Tory elite it was business as usual!

    Lavery insists that “Those very policies are the blueprint to drive us out of the economic disaster that we face now. The answer to how we bridge inequality starts there. It is clear as day from our original tour with No Holding Back and this latest consultation that those popular policies are still popular. That has been proven in various polls nationally and it would be disastrous for Labour to ignore this and offer more or less the same as the Tories (and conceivably even less). The full economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic are still being quantified and understood, but it is already clear that it is a major economic event, unprecedented during peacetime. Government action will be critical to ensuring the avoidance of an “economic Long Covid” that could reshape Britain’s economy for years to come, accelerating inequality, deepening poverty and further widening regional economic disparities, with all the associated social, economic and political costs.”

    Lavery reminds us that “We must not forget however that not everyone has experienced economic losses because of the Covid-19 economy. At the very top of the income distribution, many amongst the very wealthy have been making a killing. The private contracts being dished out to friends and associates of the top leaders of the Conservative Party go to show how utterly divided and corrupt things have become. Given the social, political and ecological harm created by runaway inequality, Labour should call for a windfall tax on excess profits and/or a wealth tax, rather than increasing taxes on work or spending during an economic contraction. If the Labour leadership is to oppose any increase in corporation tax, they’d be out of step with the country at large, 67 per cent of voters, including 76 per cent of Labour supporters, say they’d favour an increase. Britain’s existing corporation tax rate, at 19 per cent, is the lowest in the G7.”

    Ian Lavery, who is the MP for Wansbeck, warns that “Starmer needs to stop listening to the likes of Peter Mandelson, who is famous for taking the heartlands for granted with his ‘nowhere else to go’ comments and instead, listen to those who live and breathe the concerns of real communities crying out for new politics. Taking bolder action, more in line with the scale of the Biden economic stimulus proposals we have seen in the US can begin to radically transform the situation and instead put Britain on a different path. Lives can be saved and a more hopeful future achieved, mass unemployment can be prevented and we can halt and reverse the spiralling levels of poverty and wealth inequality in this country. We need a budget that will protect health, jobs and incomes. That is what the Labour Party should be about.”

    Convincing arguments put forward by Robert J. Murphy refute the need to pay back a massive debt to avoid burdening future generations. ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE) sees the Bank of England injecting newly created money into circulation to spur investment and public spending. The real key is in the word ‘circulation;’ taxation is necessary to prevent funds being syphoned off by the super wealthy to be unproductively hoarded in offshore Tax Havens! The whole fake promise of ‘lev…up’ is just a cover for more austerity as the Tories monetize the misery of the many for the enrichment of the few. We must banish this grossly deceptive phrase from our lexicon as it continues to trick progressives into regurgitating this cruel Tory lie. There will be subtle hints in this budget of exactly how and when the Tories will ‘Decimate Down’ in their continued exploitation of the working poor. The Tory boot will remain on our necks until we take to the streets on mass to protest and challenge their claim to power: Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68516 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    In the Labour List Article entitled, “How the labour movement reacted to Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Budget,” Elliot Chappell documents the critical response from the left and representatives of the left behind he notes after “Rishi Sunak delivered the long-awaited 2021 Budget this afternoon. He announced the extension of the £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift via a one-off payment and confirmed that the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed will continue until the end of September. The Chancellor told parliament that the government’s restart programme’ would help get over one million people into work with the incentive for hiring apprentices doubling to £3,000 and £126m to help people offer trainee shifts to apprentices. He revealed that corporation tax, paid on company profits, will increase to 25% from April 2023. He added that smaller businesses will be protected, as firms with profits of less than £50,000 will pay the current 19% rate.”

    Chappell reported that “Sunak confirmed that business rates relief and the reduced VAT rate for leisure and hospitality businesses would continue and announced a £300m culture recovery fund, £300m for sports clubs and £19m to support victims of domestic abuse. The Chancellor said the basic allowance will continue to go up to £12,570 as planned but will then remain at that level until 2026, and that the higher rate threshold will also go up to £50,270 but then it will be frozen for the same period. He described the Budget as one that will ‘unite and level up” the country, but Keir Starmer declared that he “barely mentioned inequality let alone tried to address it’. Here’s what the rest of the labour movement had to say…”

    Chappell first looked at the “Trade unions” where he noted that “The Chancellor was ‘strangely silent on public services’, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said, commenting that workers will be concerned by what the Chancellor did not announce today. ‘Economic recovery and rescuing beleaguered public services should go hand in hand,’ she said after the Budget statement this afternoon. ‘Both are essential in the kind of society in which we all want to live’. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady warned that the Chancellor is ‘gambling with the recovery when he should have acted to create jobs’ and argued that the extension to the furlough scheme to September ‘ends too soon’. ‘After a year of key workers going above and beyond, it’s an insult that he announced no new support for our hard-pressed NHS or public services and no guarantee of a decent pay rise for all our public sector key workers,’ she added.”

    Chappell reports that “GMB acting general secretary Warren Kenny told the Chancellor that ‘warm words don’t pay the bills’, criticising the absence of support for public service workers and a commitment to take action on the low level of statutory sick pay. ‘The Chancellor has presided over a wasted opportunity in his Budget, again ignoring the plight of the travel sector and others who have been so badly hit in the pandemic,’ TSSA general secretary Manual Cortes said today. ‘Where were the rewards for our key workers who have done so much for our country throughout the pandemic?’ he asked. He said Sunak offered nothing on sick pay, the minimum wage, climate change or workers ‘after a decade of Tory cuts’.”

    Chappell heard that. “Extending furlough by six months, short-term business rates reductions and one-off grants do not allow retailers the opportunity to plan their recovery out of the pandemic and secure jobs,’ Usdaw’s Paddy Lillis declared. The general secretary added: ‘Huge issues like expensive rents and rates, along with unfair taxation continue not to be addressed by the government. Today’s Budget is yet another missed opportunity. Royal College of Nursing national officer Hannah Reed described a ‘failure to listen’ from Sunak in his refusal to give nurses a pay rise and warned that it ‘leaves even more contemplating their futures and only adds to the nurse staffing crisis’. ‘We hope the silence from the Chancellor on NHS pay in today’s Budget is not a sign of government inaction on a fair rise for all NHS workers,” Royal College of Midwives executive director of external relations Jon Skewes said’.”

    Turning to members of the Labour Party Chappell reported the following unflattering comments. “This budget won’t rebuild Britain,’ newly elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party Anas Sarwar told his followers on social media shortly after the Budget statement was delivered to the UK parliament today. ‘The UK is in the worst economic crisis of any major economy and the Scottish people need a plan for jobs, inequality, social care and more. The priority of the UK, and Scottish, [governments] must be Covid recovery and uniting our country’. ‘Have I missed the bit where the Chancellor announced a pay rise for health and social care workers?’ Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner tweeted. ‘I suppose last year’s clapping will have to pay this year’s bills’.Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds highlighted that Sunak failed to mention key workers, social care, high streets, sick pay or inequality and said, Tory mismanagement of the crisis meant the economy has been ‘hit harder’.”

    Chappell reported that “Jonathan Reynolds thanked people who had campaigned alongside Labour against cutting the increased rate of Universal Credit, and said on social media that it should remain in place ‘until Universal Credit is replaced’.” The switch to a one-off payment was ominous as it signals the Tory determination to return to the pre-Covid level of grotesquely inadequate benefit payments that were the result of George Osborn’s prolonged benefit freeze that have dragged so many into destitution, reliance on food banks and unacceptable child poverty. While the Furlough scheme could potentially be extended if the situation changes there is a sharp cut-off for that vital £20 a week, rendered invisible by no longer being included in regular payments. This decision also slams the lid down on the possibility that those on legacy benefits will be awarded parity. Tories realised what a serious mistake it was to offer the uplift in the first place as it exposed the fact that the benefit’s real spending power had been declining for years.

    According to Chappell “John McDonnell argued that Sunak ‘steals my rhetoric’ without the substance, condemning measures including the council tax rise, public sector pay freeze and lack of support for those excluded from the self-employed scheme. Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds declared that the economic statement ‘fails key workers who’ve done so much throughout the pandemic but are now rewarded with a pay freeze’ and added that this is ‘totally wrong’. Shadow minister Liz Kendall highlighted, as the Labour leader did, that social care was not mentioned by Sunak. ‘Elderly and disabled people need decent social care so they can live with dignity and respect,’ she said. Jess Phillips tweeted that ‘children were decidedly missing” from the Budget. She also said: ‘No social care, no child care, nothing about children. Nothing specifically targeting women’s jobs which have been damned’.”

    Chappell reported how “Justin Madders remarked that it seems the controversial Towns’ Fund will be allocated on the same party political basis as before’. The Tories were accused of directing funding towards its target seats in the 2019 general election.” This is highly likely because the Tory Party are not robustly challenged when it comes to this type of corruption or any type of corruption for that matter. When issues like this are exposed, usually in the alternative Media, the BBC and Mainstream Media still give the Tory Party and all Tory Ministers a free ride. They are caught cheating, lying and squandering public funds with impunity and are never held to account: Ministers are never fired or expected to resign because in the Tory Party corruption is backed-in! It goes back to a point well before the totally unfathomable result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election when nobody challenged the voting anomalies or demanded an Investigation. They got away with industrial-scale fraud and decided it was a valid working model!

    Sunak’s offer of funding to increase scrutiny over one area of fraudulent abuse was a pathetic token. Chappell noted that “Rosena Allin-Khan commented that the Chancellor’s £100m taskforce announced to tackle those abusing Covid schemes should; start with the list of donors to his party’, resharing an article on dodgy Tory contracting in the crisis.” The ‘taskforce’ is typical of the Tories ongoing commitment to go after those who have been forced through circumstances to avail themselves of Government help and may have made genuine mistakes. Sure there are some that will have gamed the system, but the amount will just like ‘benefit fraud’ be paltry in comparison to the excessive largesse available to companies who have had massive sums of money inappropriate awarded for shoddy goods and services not provided or the money syphoned out of our economy by the wealthy tax-dodging elite!

    Chappell reported that “Backbencher Bell Ribeiro-Addy criticised the Chancellor for not mentioning the NHS in his statement, telling her followers that a ‘government that doesn’t value NHS workers doesn’t value the NHS’. ‘Disappointed this budget does not address reform of social care, a pay rise for our brilliant NHS and care staff, a permanent increase to Universal Credit, investing in education and a plan to eradicate child poverty,’ Diana Johnson tweeted. ‘Is this a joke?’ Rebecca Long-Bailey tweeted this afternoon, slamming the measures on the climate emergency in the Budget and describing the £12bn announced for the new national infrastructure bank as ‘paltry’. Karl Turner criticised Tory mismanagement of Covid: ‘I’m baffled Rishi Sunak boasts that we need to spend £407bn to deal with the pandemic. Most other countries haven’t needed to spend anything like that. Why? Because they dealt with it early’.” The bill in the UK is astronomically high not just because of shambolic Tory policy, but their prioritization of greed!

    Chappell noted that “On spending announced to support sports clubs, Charlotte Nichols quipped: ‘Unsurprising the Chancellor is spending more money on supporting cricket because this Budget is a masterclass in spin’. The Labour MP for Warrington North added: ‘Statutory sick pay is not nearly enough to live on as is, but a real-terms cut is just unconscionable when it’s in the wider public health interest that everyone can afford to self-isolate!” Undoubted this issue has been deliberately systematically ignored because if the amount was raised now during the Covid crisis the Tories would have a really tough time pruning it back down again after the pandemic was under control. The UK‘s statutory sick pay was woefully inadequate before Covid hit and the crisis with the need for large numbers of people to self isolate just exposed this inadequacy. The Tories do not care that this has accelerated the spread of Covid 19 and put huge numbers of frontline workers at risk; they were considered expendable during the grand cull!

    Chappell said “Apsana Begum remarked that ‘austerity 2.0 v likely’ with ‘even larger insecurity on the cards. with the extension of support to September, noting the absence of a social care plan or any commitment to address child poverty.” Chappell then turned to representatives from “Charities, think tanks, campaign groups.” He reported “Fabian Society general secretary Andrew Harrop described the Budget as ‘very bad news for low income families, vital public services and affordable housing and said the cuts to benefits and tax credits ‘robbed low-income families’. ‘Instead of new ideas, they’re stealing ours,’ Momentum co-chairs Andrew Scattergood and Gaya Sriskanthan argued, citing the creation of the national infrastructure investment bank and the increase to corporation tax. They criticised Labour for ‘wobbling’ over corporation tax rises, adding: ‘By allowing themselves to be outflanked on profit taxes, the leadership has ended up gifting the party of cronyism a new source of anti-establishment legitimacy’.”

    Chappell noted that the “Institute for Public Policy Research North director Sarah Longlands said there was very little in today’s Budget to help bolster the creaking foundations of the North’s economy such as poor skills, health and child poverty.’ ‘Recovery in the North will take longer,’ she said. ‘What we needed today was long term, comprehensive investment plan for recovery. What we got doesn’t feel like a genuine attempt to ‘level up’ but a short-term package of measures to win votes’.” Chappell reported that the “Joseph Rowntree Foundation director Helen Barnard described as unacceptable the decision to cut the incomes of millions of families by £1040-a-year in six months’ and argued the Budget has created the ‘perfect storm for the end of this year’.”

    Chappell noted that “Generation Rent said the Chancellor’s promised 95% mortgages are ‘completely out of touch when 60% of private renters had no savings at the start of the pandemic and another 18% have had to use savings to pay their rent in the past year’. ‘The government tried a mortgage guarantee scheme eight years ago and all it did was push up house prices, while another half a million households have got stuck renting over the same period,’ director Alicia Kennedy said.” This is so typical of the Tory Party who refuse to learn from their mistakes.” Instead of investing in the building of much needed affordable Council Homes, the Tories decide to focus on helping those in the least distress, the wealthier sector of young people can afford to buy property or get into the buy to rent market. There is no debt right-off scheme to bail-out in those in rental arrears due to Covid related redundancy.

    Chappell said “The Chancellor’s Budget has fallen short when it comes to what councils up and down the country desperately need to help their communities out of this pandemic,’ Local Government Intelligence Unit chief executive Jonathan Carr-West declared. He described the state of local government finance as unsustainable and added: ‘Unless we are building prosperous, resilient, well-governed places then the Chancellor’s vision of a green, high-tech, high-skills economy will be built on sand.’ Locality chief executive Tony Armstrong welcomed the announcement of the community ownership fund in the Budget, which allows community groups to bid for up to £250,000 to buy or take over local assets at risk of being lost. But he warned that the £150m fund must provide a mix of capital and revenue funding to support assets to be sustainable in the long term and added that it is vital to ensure that communities with fewer resources are not disadvantaged.” I have to say this sounds like another selective Tory only perk!

    Josiah Mortimer examines another aspect of Sunak’s Bidget in the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “Budget: Is Rishi Sunak about to launch a wave of legalised tax-dodging?” He says “A new report has poured cold water on the Chancellor’s plans for freeports. They’ll be announced with grandiose rhetoric about forming ‘safe harbours’ for world trade and ‘levelling up’ the UK. But new analysis of the government’s plans for freeports, tax-free zones often based at ports and airports, has debunked Conservative claims about the proposals. A report from the independent UK in a Changing Europe think tank ahead of Wednesday’s Budget finds that freeports, likely to form part of Rishi Sunak’s plans, will at best relocate, rather than create, economic activity and jobs.” He declares that “They are unlikely to lead to the sort of transformation the government hopes for.”

    According to Mortimer “The Chancellor has long been wedded to the idea of freeports. When he was still a backbench MP, Rishi Sunak wrote a report for the Centre For Policy Studies extolling their virtues, with ideological zeal. He claimed they would ‘unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK’. The government’s consultation on the plans last year claimed they would ‘create national hubs for global trade and investment across the UK’, ‘promote regeneration and job creation,’ and ‘create hotbeds for innovation’. But there’s scant evidence to back up the tax-handouts, according to academics. The Government wants to launch up to 10 freeports across the UK, with one in each of the four nations. Freeport sites could be located inland as well as by ports, increasing the range of options for sites and potentially allowing existing manufacturing plants to be designated.”

    Mortimer notes that “A new report, Freeports, finds that evidence about freeports create additional jobs is unclear, and at best mixed. It notes that there is a ‘public cost’ of maintaining freeports, which is exacerbated by the necessity of providing financial incentives for businesses to relocate to them. And the groups that will benefit from freeports are businesses that relocate there and high net-worth individuals. Freeports, a type of ‘Special Enterprise Zone, have been used by countries such as the United Arab Emirates to create areas with 0% corporation tax, no VAT, income tax, indeed no tax at all. Such a radical scheme in the UK would simply see a rush of UK companies moving from tax-paying areas to tax-free ones.”

    Mortimer says “There are also fears over money laundering and international tax evasion: ‘Goods can enter a freeport, stay there indefinitely and trade an unlimited number of times without ever having been taxed…The Financial Action Task Force report[s] that this lack of scrutiny can ‘facilitate’ trade-based money laundering, through ‘relaxed oversight, lack of transparency, trade data and systems integration.’ The Geneva Freeport, for example, has reportedly been used to store stolen archaeological artefacts and artworks. The report notes one study by academics Larkin and Wilcox, concluded that ‘up to 41% of the 58,000 jobs created in the enterprise zones of the 1980s were relocated from elsewhere in the UK’ (and even the ‘new’ jobs might have been created elsewhere if enterprise zones had not existed)’. While they could help if focused on ailing sectors or move jobs from high-employment areas to low-employment ones, they are unlikely to offer real benefits.”

    Mortimer warns that “Instead, they look a lot like a giveaway to multinational firms who will go from paying tariffs to avoiding them legally.” This would make sense of Sunak’s early warning of a Corporation tax hike scheduled for two years hence. I do not know the particular advantages offered to companies operating within the Freeports, but I question whether the sizable rate increase in 2023 is a logical wait for the economy to recover enough for big companies to get back on track financially or if it is just a two year window for them to up sticks and relocate to a Freeport to dodge the tax burden? Mortimer says “The report notes the UK had freeports until 2012 when the relevant legislation lapsed, amid suggestions that freeports were of limited use, made no difference to Government revenue or customs reliefs, and that they introduced unnecessary complexities regarding customs.” It is therefore untrue for the Brexiteer Tories to tout this as a new benefit of our freedom from the regulatory constraints of the EU.

    Mortimer concludes by revealing that “Commenting on the findings, Professor Catherine Barnard, deputy director of UK in a Changing Europe and one of the authors of the report, said: ‘If the Government thinks freeports are a magic bullet that will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, bring billions of additional pounds to the Exchequer and radically transform an area it is mistaken. ‘That is not to say they should not be created but the thought they’re going to transform the wealth and prosperity of this country is simply untrue. It will help the regions that get a freeport, but possibly to the detriment of those that don’t’.” Undoubtedly the locations will be carefully considered to advance Tory Party influence in deprived areas where workers well accustomed to serious exploitation will be grateful to accept low pay and the barest means of survival in a continuing age of austerity. This Budget will monetize misery for the masses to further enrich the elite hiding their wealth in Freeports; we must Get The Tories Out ASAP! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68574 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Boris Johnson started into Prime Ministers Questions by resuscitating his favorite ‘dead cat;’ the now infamous Skripal Novichok poisoning, False Flag stunt staged in Salisbury. No doubt the PM gets perverse pleasure out of knowing how easy it was to dupe the British public with that ludicrous fantasy tale as it bodes well for the multiple scandals and corrupt practices that will require a similar fake news maneuver. He said, “It will be three years tomorrow since a chemical weapon was deployed by Russian military intelligence on the streets of Salisbury. All our thoughts remain with those affected, their families and loved ones, and we will continue to seek justice for them. I am sure this House will want to pay tribute to the people of Salisbury and Amesbury, and wish them well for the future.” No new evidence has ever materialized, the Skripals have been conveniently ‘disappeared without need of any explanation, the Russians remain demonized and now new incredulous allegations: Noviock in Alexey Navalny’s undies…

    Labour MP Kim Johnson replaced one type of rivalry with another by evoking the PM’s fond memories of Liverpool and whatever delightful mischief he was up to on an earlier visit. She said, “Liverpool is a welcoming city, with the oldest Chinese community in Europe, but in 1946 the British Government ordered the forced repatriation back to China of thousands of Chinese seamen who were living in Liverpool with their British families, causing lasting emotional trauma. Many of their descendants still live in my Liverpool, Riverside constituency. Will the Prime Minister take steps to acknowledge these events, and provide the descendants with a formal apology and the justice they deserve?” Johnson replied with a telling grin not lost on his fellow MPs, “I have happy memories of my own visits to Liverpool, and I can tell the hon. Member…” he paused, “I can tell her that we are certainly very grateful across the country to the Chinese community for their amazing contribution. Her message has been heard loud and clear.”

    The first of several Tory MPs to stroke the PM’s ego with “does he agree with me” groveling was John Stevenson who said, “The Pirelli factory in Carlisle employs around 800 people, contributes hundreds of millions of pounds to the local economy and is an exporter. Its location is a consequence of regional economic policy from 50 years ago. Does the Prime Minister agree that, if we are to rebalance the economy and level up the country, we need a modern-day, proactive regional economic policy? If he does agree, will he come to Carlisle to see the old and new in action?” Sycophants had to keep reinforcing the PM’s lies, “Of course,I am very grateful to my hon. Friend for what he says. He will hear more in just half an hour or so, let us try to keep it to half an hour, Mr Speaker, from the Chancellor about how exactly we intend to make sure we build back better across the whole of this country and unleash the tremendous potential of the whole of the United Kingdom, including of course Carlisle, which he so well represents.”

    His faithful Trojan Horse Sir Keir Starmer dutifully reinforced the Tory False Flag incident saying, “I join the Prime Minister in his comments about the Salisbury atrocity.” But he had to offer the team a nugget of opposition on behalf of the Labour Party, so he asked, “Does the Prime Minister agree with President Biden that the sale of arms which could be used in the war in Yemen should be suspended?” The PM’s response was entirely predictable, he said, “Ever since the tragic conflict in Yemen broke out, this country has scrupulously followed the consolidated guidance, of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be well aware.” Starmer rephrased his question saying, “The trouble is that, while President Biden has suspended arms sales that could be used in Yemen, the UK has not. In fact, we sold £1.4 billion-worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in three months last year, including bombs and missiles that could be used in Yemen.” Ouch! Starmer strayed out of bounds; you don’t question the Tory arms trade gravy train…

    But Starmer kept going, “Given everything we know about the appalling humanitarian cost of this war, with innocent civilians caught between the Saudi coalition and the Houthi rebels, why does the Prime Minister think it is right to be selling these weapons?” The PM was quick to justify the horrific carnage of this futile foreign war by claiming international consensus, “The UK is part of an international coalition following the UN resolutions, which the right hon. and learned Gentleman will know well and which are very clear that the legitimate Government of Yemen were removed illegally. Those are the resolutions that we follow, and we continue scrupulously to follow the humanitarian guidance, among the toughest measures anywhere in the world, in respect of all arms sales. He talks about humanitarian relief, and actually I think the people of this country can be hugely proud of what we are doing to support the people of Yemen: almost £1 billion of aid contributed in the past five years.” Tories know how to monetize misery!

    Starmer stuck with the same question yet again saying, “The Prime Minister says the system is very robust in relation to arms sales. It cannot be that robust: the Government lost a court case just two years ago in relation to arms sales. The truth is that the UK is increasingly isolated in selling arms to Saudi Arabia, despite what is happening in Yemen, despite Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, and despite the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a murder the US has concluded was approved by the Saudi Crown Prince. So I have to ask: what will it take for the Prime Minister to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia?” Of course, the logical answer to that question from any Tory PM would be ‘when hell freezing over!’ But the PM continued to trot out lame excuses claiming consensus saying, “We condemn the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. We continue to call for a full independent investigation into the causes of his death, and indeed we have already sanctioned 20 people in Saudi Arabia.” Not impressed.

    Johnson then tried his favorite trick of coapting the Labour Party for their complicity in past jingoistic foreign interventions. He said “I repeat the point that I have made that the UK Government continue to follow the consolidated guidance, which, by the way, was set up by the Labour party.” Starmer ignored the baiting and stuck with the same criticism, but added an important point about the recent decimation of the UK’s Foreign Aid budget saying, “To make matters worse, the Government decided this week to halve international aid to Yemen, to halve it. The United Nations has said that Yemen faces the worst famine the world has seen for decades, and the Secretary-General said on Monday that cutting aid would be a ‘death sentence’ for the people of Yemen. How on earth can the Prime Minister justify selling arms to Saudi Arabia and cutting aid to people starving in Yemen?”

    The PM started reinventing reality, black was the new white, he bragged about huge amounts of money spent; the UK is the most generous country on earth, he claimed. “It is under this Government that we have increased aid spending to the highest proportion in the history of our country, and, yes, it is true that current straitened circumstances, which I am sure the people of this country understand, mean that temporarily we must reduce aid spending, but that does not obscure the fact that when it comes to our duty to the people of Yemen we continue to step up to the plate: a contribution of £214 million for this financial year. There are very few other countries in the world that have such a record and that are setting such an example in spending and supporting the people of Yemen.” Sure, sell weapons to the Saudi regime to bomb Yemen into oblivion, then toss the innocent victims a bit odf aid money…

    There was no point asking a question about the budget, there would be time to criticize that later so Starmer stayed on message, saying, “This week the Government halved our international aid to Yemen. If this is what the Prime Minister thinks global Britain should look like, he should think again, and if he does not believe me, if he does not like it from me or the UN Secretary-General, he should listen to his own MPs. Just this morning, the Conservative MP the right hon. Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood) said: ‘Cutting support to starving children is not what Global Britain should be about. It undermines the very idea of the UK as a nation to be respected on a global stage.’ The right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell) said this was ‘unconscionable’. Will the Prime Minister now do the right thing and reconsider this urgently?” He knew descent in the Tory camp wasn’t tolerated!

    The PM was not on the moral high ground, climbing up would induce vertigo so he regurgitated perverse defensive claims of billions spent, “I repeat: we have given £1 billion since the conflict began; we are in support of UN resolutions; this year we are contributing another £214 million to support the people of Yemen. There are very few other countries in the world that have that kind of record. In these tough, straitened circumstances, bearing in mind the immense cost of the covid epidemic that has affected our country, I think the people of this country should be very, very proud of what we are doing.” The lying Emporer’s nakedness demanded that he cloak himself in ‘the will of the people.” Starmer scolded, “Britain should be a moral force for good in the world, but just as the US is stepping up, the UK is stepping back. If the Prime Minister and Chancellor are so determined to press ahead with their manifesto-breaking cuts to international aid, cutting the budget to 0.5%, they should at least put that to a vote in this House. Will he have the courage to do so?”

    Johnson began his spin pitch, “We are going to get on with our agenda of delivering for the people of this country and spending more than virtually any other country in the world, by the way, spending more, still, than virtually any other country in the G7on aid. It is a record of which this country can be proud. Given the difficulties that this country faces, I think that the people of this country will think that we have got our priorities right. The right hon. and learned Gentleman cannot work out what his priorities are. One minute he is backing us on the road map; the next week he is turning his back on us. He cannot even address a question on the issues of the hour. He could have asked anything about the coronavirus pandemic; instead, he has concentrated his questions entirely to the interests of the people of Yemen. We are doing everything we can to support the people of Yemen given the constraints that we face. We are getting on with a cautious but irreversible road map to freedom, which I hope that he will support.”

    The PM remarked, “Very shortly, Mr Speaker, you will be hearing a Budget for recovery.” The Speaker sarcastically replied, “I think I already know most of it.” Tory Dr, Liam Fox put the boot in re turmoil in Scotland saying, “My right hon. Friend will be aware that when devolution was established in Scotland, there was no separate Scottish civil service created; we have a UK civil service, with UK ministerial oversight. Given the turmoil in Scottish politics, will he confirm that any civil servants who feel pressurized to behave inappropriately have a mechanism to seek redress beyond the Ministers to whom they are immediately answerable?” Johnson said, “I thank my right hon. Friend, and of course we will support all civil servants. By the way, I thank them for the work that they have done up and down the country throughout the pandemic. I think everybody in this House would agree that now is the time, really, for our civil service to focus on working together to build back better together, rather than on measures that might divide our country.”

    Even SNP Leader Ian Blackford bought into the False Flag lie saying, “May I associate myself with the remarks of the Prime Minister on the terrible atrocity three years ago in the town of Salisbury? The situation in Yemen has been called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. One hundred thousand people have been killed, 16.2 million are at risk of starvation, and 2.3 million children, Prime Minister, are at death’s door, facing acute malnutrition. The UK Government’s response is not one of compassion; instead, it is to impose cuts. That is what you are doing, Prime Minister, a 50% cut to international aid to Yemen, a move that the UN chief, António Guterres, has described as ‘a death sentence’. Since the start of the war, the Tories have shamefully backed the Saudi regime through billions of pounds of arms sales and support, despite evidence of war crimes and of the targeting of civilians. Will the Prime Minister confirm that today’s Budget will force through the devastating cuts to international aid?”

    This was like a one, two punch from the left; I can imagine Boris Johnson was caught off-guard by the consolidated attack targeting a sensitive issue that had escalated in importance following the US announcement regarding Khashoggi’s murder. The PM was on the defensive, but being steadily worn down by the opposition. He repeated, “I think anybody listening to this debate will have heard me say that this country, this Government, in the last five years has given £1 billion to support the people of Yemen. I can tell the right hon. Gentleman, in case he thinks there is any diminution of our efforts, that on Monday we are going to provide cash support to 1.5 million of the most vulnerable Yemeni households, support 400 health clinics and treat 75,000 cases of severe malnutrition. That is the continuing effort of the British people and the British Government to help the people of Yemen.” There was no way he was going to let the opposition bully him into relinquishing lucrative arms deals or forking out more aid money.

    But Blackford persisted, “The reality is a 50% cut to Yemen aid at a time of a global pandemic. The coronavirus has hit poor and vulnerable countries the hardest, threatening decades of hard-won gains while exacerbating existing inequalities. During his leadership race, the Prime Minister made a commitment to stand by 0.7% for aid spending, a position he reaffirmed in June last year at that very Dispatch Box. What followed was yet another U-turn, another broken promise. Why is the Prime Minister breaking his own manifesto commitment, and why are his Government breaking the promises they made to the world’s poorest?”

    Johnson enlisted unanimous approval again bragging, “I think most people in this country will know that the Government have given £280 billion to support the people, the economy, the livelihoods and the businesses up and down the whole of the United Kingdom. That has, as you will hear from the Chancellor, Mr Speaker, placed strains on our public finances. In the meantime, we continue to do everything we possibly can to support the people of Yemen, including, by the way, through a massive vaccination program, to which the people of this country have contributed £548 million, the second biggest contributor in the world.”

    Boris Johnson’s disgraceful self-serving support for the Saudi war on Yemen, despite appalling human rights violations including the Embassy murder revelations now brutally exposed; he must have felt relieved when the coordinated attack was over. Tories are very selective in responding to atrocities: weapons contracts take precedence. But there was also the dramatic reduction in aid funding so Johnson needed to lean hard on his Media buddies to drown-out this concerted attack from the opposition benches, but the Budget announcements would help. Johnson’s Tory sycophants came to the rescue as an all too familiar pattern returned to PMQs: groveling non-questions to stroke his ego and prompt another advertising pitch in his funding pledge fantasy parade party political PR broadcast as delivered every week. Interspersed with tough opposition questions where scrutiny is easily rejected to ignore, not answer, ridicule or counter with more gushing boasts, the illusion of money spent or empty pledges for future funding.

    Two MPS from the DUP, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson and Carla Lockhart both expressed concern over the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland protocol saying “we are fast approaching the end of the three-month grace period.” They complained of the disruption the protocol was causing to trade between GB and NI; they warned of political instability and damage to the Belfast agreement. They were falsely promised “unfettered access to goods from Great Britain,” but the reality has blocked vital food supplies from reaching NI stores and swamped firms with gobs of onerous red tape paperwork. Lockhart pleaded with the PM to “make this aspiration a reality and ensure that they act in accordance with section 46 of the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020, which stresses the importance of facilitating the free flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland?” The PM said, “Yes, I certainly can do that.” The UK has now unilaterally violated the recently signed international agreement causing the EU to place ratification on hold!

    SNP Patrick Grady presented a tricky Catch 22 for Johnson, “We know that the Prime Minister is the proud leader of a British nationalist party, and he says that his no to another independence referendum in Scotland is final, so why are his colleagues in Scotland distributing leaflets that say a vote for the Tories is a vote to stop an independence referendum? If a vote for the British nationalist Tories in Scotland must be accepted as a legitimate vote against a referendum, surely a vote for the Scottish National Party in May must be respected as a mandate for putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.” Johnson was bound to launch into his standard SNP insult over the Party name, despite Grady’s attempt to weaponize it against him. His retort was to say, “I was delighted to hear a sort of acceptance there that the hon. Gentleman is running a nationalist party.” The Tories are counting on the charges threatening Nicola Sturgeon will magically derail calls for Scottish Independence, but anger over Brexit is the last straw.

    Labour MP Grahame Morris said, “I would like to ask about a very important domestic issue. The property tax system in England is broken. Council tax places an unfair burden on people living in the poorest communities without generating the revenues needed to fund local services. Does the Prime Minister agree that a proportional property tax, as proposed by the Fairer Share campaign, would create a transparent property taxation system, generate revenues that local government needs, and ease the tax burden on hard-pressed families across the country, including in my constituency of Easington?” The PM Started into a comparative attack rant trying to perpetuate the blatant lie that Tory-run Councils manage to deliver better services despite lower Council Tax than neglected Labour Councils the Government’s punitive cuts have hit the hardest. These are the truly deprived areas that should have been selected for grants from the ‘Towns Fund’ that has been plundered through corrupt Tory Minister gerrymandering.

    Labour’s Amy Callaghan was welcomed back after an illness and asked the PM about his promise “that there was no threat to the Erasmus scheme as a result of Brexit.” She said “Charities such as STAND International in my constituency that participates in the program are set to lose 96% of their funding as a result of the UK Government’s decision to pull the plug on Erasmus+.” She reminded the PM of his “Guarantee that charities will receive match funding under the new Turing scheme,” Johnson claimed that his Turing scheme would do more for Students from disadvantaged backgrounds taking an opportunistic dig at the well respected Erasmus program favoring high-income households, but ditching Erasmus was the most appalling betrayal of our young people.

    Labour MP Beth Winter questioned the ‘lev..up’ lie (LUL) saying “Eleven years of Tory austerity cuts have destroyed the capacity of our public services to withstand the pandemic…” The PM refuted her criticism, and fearing Wales would soon be clamoring for independence, he bragged that the Barnet formula alone was worth 2.4Bn. He teasingly dropped hints about Freeports and a new ‘LUL Fund’ that Sunak was about to announce in the Budget. But, there is every indication that the Tax Haven Freeports will help secure Tory seats while Labour strongholds will become abandoned ‘Freezeports’ and the new LUL Fund will be just as corruptly misappropriated by Tory Ministers as the ‘Towns Fund’ making it more of a ‘LULabye:’ a sweet tune to placate the easily fooled! We must fight back to end the escalating Tory corruption: protesting, challenging ‘chumocracy,’ taking the Government to Court and finally demanding a robust Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election that inflicted this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship on us. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68618 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Political commentators are still busy picking through Sunak’s latest budget. The Tories like to use the expression ‘in the round’ as a way of spreading the savage impacts of their negligent and vindictive decisions more broadly over a greater area, to diminish the stark reality of the damage done. We need to protest this conflation of fact and fiction that negates all scrutiny. No, it’s not ‘in the round,’ rather it creates a triangle of torment by perpetuating inadequate benefit payments; lack of affordable housing and rampant unemployment. What isn’t ‘in the round’ for the Tory Party? …Letting this massive financial stimulus of Quantitive Easing (QE) effectively ‘circulate’ within the economy to benefit the entire population. They allow the Tory elite to siphon off obscene amounts of public funding. When money that’s intended to stimulate public spending and Corporate investment in a productive rotation back through the economy, instead dissipates and disappears into hoarded wealth in offshore Tax Havens, it stunts economic recovery!

    Tory policies and incentives fail to promote investment as they are based on short-term exploitation opportunities directed towards the desperate, totally disempowered workforce. Austerity is like trying to extract blood from a stone as the Tories inhumane policies of cutting pay and benefits essentially sabotage QE by circumventing the circulation of money within the economy where the majority of people have a lot less money to spend. Wherever money is spent it creates the need for employment: if you cannot afford to get a haircut, the barber’s shop has less custom and requires less staff… This is why immigration is considered a “shot in the arm” for a local economy because the influx of people don’t just take jobs, the requirements of their daily life will create additional jobs. This is the very antithesis of the tabloid scare tactics stirred up by Nigel Farage on his hateful Brexit crusade to con the gullible into voting to leave the EU. The exodus of people from an area due to a major workplace closure has a knock-on effect on the local economy.

    The severe disruption of Brexit, supply chain problems and red tape, will force certain businesses to close if they become no longer profitable. This would not have been so traumatic if we had remained in the European Single Market, but the devastating impact of the self-harm Boris Johnson and his corrupt Tory cabal foisted on the people of this country is less obvious due to the jolt caused by their shambolic handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Covid will also force businesses to close and the Tories will be quick to blame the damage of Brexit on the equally preventable catastrophic damage to our economy caused by Covid. While all countries have suffered economic harm during this pandemic, few other nations have mismanaged Covid so badly, experienced such a massive death toll, or will face such a correspondingly huge hit to their finances as the UK. But the grand Tory Budget announcement concerning Freeports will create even further disruption as many companies will relocate to take advantage of new tax incentives.

    The PM is grossly manipulating our national broadcaster, the BBC, to pump out propaganda supporting a defunct ‘£300Bn dept’ myth in preparation for yet more foul Tory medicine with an impending austerity agenda. Once again they are forcing local Councils to inflict the first cuts. By convincing local authorities that they must do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop the spread of the virus promising this would all be funded by the Government: not! So debt has accumulated requiring Councils to cut services in forced compliance with the Tory agenda for smaller Government. Encouraging the people who need to self-isolate to seek access to a Council fund that the Tories have deliberately underfunded once again shifts the ‘bad guy’ burden onto local authorities as does the inevitable need to increase Council Tax. Meanwhile, after offloading this mayhem of indebtedness away from central Government the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship who created this perfect fiscal storm will ignore their responsibility with innocent cries of ‘not me Gov!’

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “This budget shows ‘leveling up’ is just a slogan,” Prof Prem Sikka “shares his analysis of Sunak’s ‘salvation’ for our strickem nation, but, as with most Tory offerings, it wasn’t drafted for the many, but to protect the few. Prem Sikka, who is an Emeritus Professor of Accounting and a Labour member of the House of Lords, claims “The budget will plunge more people into poverty and foodbank queues. He warns that “The post-Covid economic recovery needs to be built upon an equitable distribution of income and wealth and new jobs, accompanied by a boost to the purchasing power of the masses to enable them to buy goods and services produced by businesses. This is the practical translation of the UK government’s slogan of ‘leveling-up’, but that is not what budget statement has delivered.” We urgently need to banish that phrase that I call the ‘lev..up’ lie or just ‘LUL’ from all public debate because giving it oxygen gives people the false impression it refers to reality.

    Sikka highlighted a rare piece of “Good news is that the staff furlough scheme under which the government paid some of the wages of staff laid off during the pandemic will run until September 2021, but thereafter employers would need to pay more.” After months of wrangling over complaints of unfairness he reports that “Self-employed people will also get some help and the chancellor has said that 600,000 people previously excluded will get some financial support. However, there is no universal basic income or minimum base for support. The chancellor’s announcement does not take account of the specifics of industries. For example, the aviation industry is likely to struggle for some time but its employees have not been offered long-term assurances.”

    Sikka explained how “The government is to create an Infrastructure Bank with an initial £12bn capital to investment in the country’s infrastructure. Well, the UK had a state bank to address infrastructure issues. It was called the Green Investment Bank and was sold-off by the government in 2017. Now it is being reinvented with a puny budget. It is worth recalling that Labour had promised a £500bn national investment bank to regenerate cities and town, renew infrastructure and invest in green jobs over the duration of a parliamentary term.” This follows a Tory pattern of destroying projects that work well and then being forced to rebuild them!

    Sikka explains how “Since April 2021, stamp duty of house purchase of up to £500,000 has been suspended. This concession will continue until June after which the value of property qualifying for the concession would be reduced. The government has also announced a new mortgage guarantee scheme to enable homebuyers to secure a mortgage up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit. 95% mortgages are likely to overheat the housing market and when interest rates increase many trapped in higher mortgages will face negative consequences. Notably, there is no equivalent taxpayer-funded support for people living in rented accommodation. Redistribution is missing from the budget. The government did not end wage freeze for public sector workers. There is no increase in statutory sick-pay of £95.85 per week. The £20 per week top-up of Universal Credit, which was introduced at the start of the pandemic, will be temporarily retained. This will help some 6.5 million families, but only until September.”

    Sikka reports that “The main rate of corporation tax will increase from the present 19% to 25%, but not until 2023. This measure is expected to raise £17bn per year by 2025–26. The higher rate of corporation tax is sweetened by 130% allowance for amounts spent on selected investment. This and other sweeteners are expected to be worth £27bn over the next three years. There are tax rises by stealth on the way for households and these will hit the poor hardest. The tax-free annual personal allowance will increase by £70 to £12,570 from April 2021, and will then remain unchanged until April 2026. The current threshold for paying the 40% marginal rate of income tax is £50,001. It will rise to £50,270 from April and will then remain unchanged until 2026. The net effect is that 1 in 10 adults will pay higher-rate income tax and the poorest will end up paying a higher proportion of their income in tax. This measure alone will remove around £19bn over the next four years from household budgets.”

    More worrying, Sikka says “Many households will also face a council tax rise of around 5% as the government has refused to fund social care from general tax. In addition, household budgets will be further depleted by an increase in the cost of gas, electricity, food and other essential. VAT was cut to 5% for tourism, hospitality and accommodation businesses. This concession will come to an end in September, followed by a 12.5% rate until March 2022 and a return to 20% from the following April. Altogether, there is little relief for household budgets and the planned increase of 19p per hour in the rate of minimum wage will do little to help the less well-off. The small print of the budget shows that there will be cuts in public services. The budget for NHS England will be slashed from £147.7m for 2020-21 to £139.1m in 2021-22 even though there is a huge backlog of operations and urgent treatments.”

    What is deeply concerning is that, as Sikka points out “The Institute of Fiscal studies says that the government is planning to spend £14bn to £17bn less on public services each year after 2021 than planned pre-Covid. Each cut will be paid for by loss of jobs, wages and degradation of public services. No doubt, in due course the mantra of ‘we can’t afford it’ will be followed by more privatizations of public services. The government’s economic strategy assumes that people will borrow and spend their savings to boost the economic recovery. Levelling-up is just a slogan and the budget will plunge more people into poverty and foodbank queues. Finally, while the shadow of Brexit looms large on the UK economy, the chancellor said nothing about it.”

    In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Economists blast Sunak’s spending plans, warning proposals ‘do not look deliverable” they reveal how “Economists lambasted Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending plans today, warning that proposals to address Britain’s battered public finances ‘do not look deliverable’.” They say, “The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the biggest tax-raising Budget for 28 years has made the Chancellor look less like ‘Santa Sunak’ and ‘more like Scrooge Sunak.’ Mr Sunak is largely funding a mammoth £50 billion squeezes by freezing income tax allowances and hiking corporation tax in ‘screeching U-turns on Conservative policy,’ the economic think tank said in it’s damning analysis of Wednesday’s Budget. It said the corporation tax increase from 19 percent to 25 percent by 2023 was a ‘gamble’ but would not have a bad effect on much-needed business investment.”

    The Morning Star reported that “The IFS said Mr Sunak had been ‘silent’ on long-term recovery plans to address the future consequences of the pandemic. IFS director Paul Johnson said: ‘This was, of course, a tale of two Budgets’. ‘By the end of the forecast period we are looking at a fiscal tightening of over £30bn relative to previous plans. ‘Take account of the cuts to planned spending announced in the autumn and Santa Sunak, purveyor of billions, today looks more like Scrooge Sunak, cutting spending and raising taxes to the tune of nearly £50bn relative to his pre-pandemic plans of March 2020.’ He said the Chancellor’s spending plans look ‘implausibly low’ and questioned whether it was realistic to assume spending on the NHS from next year will not be more than before the crisis. He warned that Mr Sunak was unlikely to meet his goals, ‘at least not without considerable pain.’ ‘How he is actually going to fix the public finances remains to be seen,’ Mr Johnson said.”

    Even if one seriously believed the false promises of pathological liar Boris Johnson when he boasted of building 40 new Hospitals, that then magically became 48 as announced in Parliament, where is the funding coming from? Due to the devotion of our BBC and compliantly unquestioning Media the PM has never been quizzed on this point. But even if Boris had a secret benefactor lined up to cover the cost of the build and equip the facilities where would he find the staff when the NHS is desperately short of staff? The Morning Star note that “The IFS said freezing the income tax threshold would raise around £9bn, while the corporation tax changes could see revenues rise by more than £17bn by 2025. If spending plans and tax hikes go as planned, the government will be able to balance the books by 2025, according to the IFS. ‘The sad truth is that that would be a balance built on the highest sustained tax burden in British history and yet further cuts in unprotected public service spending,’ Mr Johnson added.”

    It is distressing that while John McDonnell meticulously costed every proposal in both the 2017 and the 2019 progressive Labour manifestos and was grilled on the spend; there was zero scrutiny regarding Boris Johnson’s most ambitious pledges, or any of his pledges for that matter. I fear the 40/48 new Hospitals are a projection of inward investment from giant US Healthcare Corporations once they have the opportunity to fully privitize our NHS; the Tories will use the ‘Scavenge, Exploit, Deport’ model to staff them. I’m astounded so few respected political commentators are prepared to publically debunk the £300Bn debt lie. I was encouraged to see economist and Chief Executive at the New Economics Foundation, Miatta Fahnbulleh, as a guest on Question Time trying to explain where the money is being ‘borrowed’ from, basically, the Bank of England borrowing money fro itself. She was supported by entrepreneur TV ‘Dragon’ Theo Paphitis who assured us that these ‘bonds’ aren’t vulnerable to an interest rate hike.

    Unless we stop people drinking the ‘KoolAid’ deception of a huge debt that inhibits all spending and the rediculous analogies with household budgets we are in danger of returning to public acceptance of austerity as a crisis necessity and we return to another cycle of intense impoverishment. I honestly think that the key to understanding both the source and the function of QE is by driving home the statement that the Bank of England has printed £300Bn of QE stimulus funding to inject into circulation in our economy for pay and investment. Reducing rates of pay, cutting benefit entitlements and eliminating services under austerity measures with the claim of saving money to repay the debt, seriously inhibits the intended circulation of money within the economy and will cripple our recovery. The model that conclusively proves the viability of this reality is the huge state investment in infrastructure, building of council homes and forming our NHS after WWII when we were massively in debt: we must build our way out of this recession too.

    Councils cannot create money so they must balance the local budget; this will force cuts to services and severe hardship on local populations all over the country. This damage can be manipulated by the Government to increase or decrease the burden in ways that serve their political agenda by channeling funding to Tory-run Councils or Tory constituencies just as they are doing right now with the ‘Towns Fund.’ Sunak announced a new pot of cash to be awarded for the regeneration of local high streets and we can fully expect that Tory Ministers will redirect that funding through the exact same corrupt means. There will be no scrutiny unless we demand it with our loud protestations and robust legal challenges. The Covert 2019 Rigged Election set a precedent in terms of the level of industrial-scale fraud the Tories could get away with without generating suspicion or demands for a full Investigation of the obscenely unfathomable fake ‘landslide Tory victory,’ but it is still not too late to insist on full accountability and get the Tories out!

    Pathological liar Boris Johnson could never have sold his hapless campaign as the winning ticket without the relentless propaganda extensively promoted by the BBC in direct violation of their impartiality mandate. Yes, people complained loudly about the BBC bias, but with Boris’s chum at the top just ignoring any obligation to the public to serve his Tory master all was sorted. The equally relentless defamation of Jeremy Corbyn was also bought and paid for by the Tories using public funds allocated to a fake Charity, the Institute for Statecraft’s inappropriately named ‘Integrity Initiative.’ This clear-cut scandal case of Tory Government corruption has been fully exposed with the evidence verified and no legitimate reason that very serious charges of corruption could see them removed from office. In a properly functioning democracy this would be more than enough damning evidence to end the political careers of a number of key members of the Tory Party including Boris Johnson.

    In Iceland some years ago charges of corruption took down a Government, now Nicolas Sarkozy has been tried and convicted in France although the sentence he received was ridiculously lenient. Benjamin Netanyahu clings to power in Israel to stave off facing justice on the corruption charges he is facing. Donald Trump might have evaded impeachment in the US, but he will be hounded by multiple corruption charges for years to come. It seems that if corruption is your crime of choice the profession for you is politics! When political criminals keep getting away with blatant corruption unchallenged they are emboldened by their success and they become complacent about risk thinking that they are invincible and beyond the law. The Tories are busy installing their compliant stooges in commanding positions that will allow them to perpetually evade scrutiny, but at the same time they are making significant mistakes and our efforts to crowdfund justice has permitted opportunities to challenge them in Court.

    The sanction offered by Judicial Review was identified for targeting in the Tory manifesto and it will soon come under attack. If the Tories are able to change the law might enable them to appoint compliant right-wing Judges to further support their pursuit of corrupt practices. There is nothing to stop the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship from accomplishing this goal as brief window of legal opportunity is about to slam shut. There is no time to waste if we want to derail this juggernaut of oppressive authoritarian disaster and ongoing corruption. This lawless and fraudulent standard of corrupt governance seriously needs to change both here and in a number of fascist regimes overseas. We have a growing body of evidence to support a strong case against Tory rule with a perfect opportunity here in the UK to set a groundbreaking example of scrutiny, accountability and justice by forcing the changes that remove our Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to install a fully functioning democracy that other countries will want to emulate. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68671 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    They say that “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping;” well Boris Johnson really knows how to take that to extreme levels. Who can forget the scandal as a young football hero’s desperate pleas to rescue our poorest children from hunger during at-home learning; only for this Tory Government to enlist a profiteering private company to provide grossly inadequate ‘free school meal’ starvation ‘hampers’ for the most vulnerable kids in the UK. Then there was the ‘oh so unnecessary’ pay freeze for all public sector workers, aside from a select few categories within our NHS. Now there is a massive smack in the face for those ‘select few’ spared the wage reduction of a pay freeze; they will get just a paltry 1%, still a below projected inflation pay rise, after a decade of pay cuts! Give the Tories a round of applause for their audacity in daring to describe this exploitation as ‘levelling up!’ While the 99% are now Flat Broke the PM and his current floosie are ‘going for broke’ on a £100,000 refurb of their posh Downing Street pad.

    In the BBC News Article entitled “Boris Johnson’s No 10 flat: Top level talks about cost of makeover,” the most glaringly obvious point is that, considering the extreme circumstances of a pandemic, if Jeremy Corbyn was PM, tarting up the flat would have been the very last thing on his mind. But, Boris is the ultimate ‘me-first guy.’ So “Top-level discussions have taken place within Downing Street about the cost of renovating Boris Johnson’s official flat, the BBC understands. Sources said setting up a charity to allow members of the public to donate towards the revamp has been considered to cover the cost.” Now that really is an extremely sick joke! Does the PM assume that in April, when benefits increase by 37p a week, those relying on foodbanks for their basic survival will have enough spare cash to splurge on donating to the worthy cause of redecorating the PM’s luxury, rent-free, accommodation in central London? What planet does this warped individual live on? This is a Marie Antoinette “Let them eat cake” moment!

    According to the BBC “Work on the flat, where the PM lives with his fiancee Carrie Symonds, is understood to be largely complete. The PM’s spokesman declined to comment on press reports about the cost. When asked whether a charity had been set up, as first reported by the Daily Mail, he said they ‘wouldn’t comment on speculation’. A source has told the BBC the interior designer Lulu Lytle has been involved in the upgrade. Like several of his recent predecessors, Mr Johnson is living in the flat above No 11 Downing Street, the chancellor’s official residence. Mr Johnson and Ms Symonds moved into No 11 in July 2019. Their son Wilfred was born in April 2020. The four-bedroom flat, which is much larger than the one above No 10, was extensively refurbished by David and Samantha Cameron in 2011. The Camerons spent £30,000 on their revamp, the maximum annual public grant available to prime ministers for the upkeep of their accommodation.”

    The BBC say that “According to the Daily Mail, Mr Johnson and his fiancee are considering options for how any expenditure over this annual limit could be covered. Sources have suggested the matter has been of some considerable concern in Downing Street, with high-level meetings taking place.” The BBC show “Designer Lulu Lytle (L), pictured here with Prince Charles on a visit to her firm’s workshop, is involved in the upgrade Interior designer Ms Lytle is a co-founder of Soane Britain, an upmarket London-based interior design firm which specialises in traditional craft methods. According to the company’s website, its furniture can be found in ‘fine hotels and restaurants,’ private members’ clubs, yachts and private houses. London’s Connaught and Claridges hotels, the Somerset Georgian manor Babington House and Shoreditch House private members’ club are listed as clients.”

    Despite Boris Johnson’s millionaire status, there’s little doubt the PM will be seeking ways to offload the rest of the exorbitant cost of this refurb onto the taxpayer. Citing “Calls for transparency” the BBC say, Downing Street has said details of any work carried out on the Downing Street property would be published in the normal way later this year. On Friday, the PM’s spokesman said the Downing Street complex was a ‘working building’ where refurbishments were made periodically. Opposition parties have questioned the cost of the refurbishment, and whether conflicts of interest could arise if Conservative donors are approached to contribute. Labour MP Sarah Owen has written to the PM asking him for details of taxpayers’ contribution. She has said the British public ‘rightly expect probity, integrity and transparency when it comes to spending public money’. The SNP has said the move would be ‘grossly inappropriate’, suggesting the PM, who is paid £150,000 a year, should fund the works out of his own pocket.”

    Sunak’s Budget does not include a bailout fund for those who, due to Covid, are now in rent arrears. With looming unemployment leaving many more that are now on furlough facing redundancy, spiralling debt and eviction the priority for the PM and his girlfriend is to get a designer makeover in the spacious property they live in at our expense! Well you really can’t expect the ruling elite to live in hovels like paupers; so spare no expense even in a time of crisis when money is so tight that feeding our poorest school children is unaffordable and a real term pay rise for Nurses, public sector employees and other key workers is out of the question! Where is your outrage? Why are the British people not tacking to the streets in massive protest demonstrations over such blatant corruption. Why is there so little scrutiny over the money squandered by the Tories on private contracts handed to their donors? Why did no one seriously challenge and demand a Robust Investigation into the unfathomable result or the Covert 2019 Rigged Election?

    But the Tory money squandering doesn’t stop there, because this consummate narcissist PM, Boris Johnson, has hired a new Press Secretary to give regular PR spin Press Briefings from a specially revamped press briefing room at number 9 Downing Street for which the refurb will cost a truly staggering amount! According to another BBC News Article entitled, “Downing Street: Millions spent on new media briefing room,” they say “Downing Street has spent more than £2.6m on fitting out a new media briefing room, it has emerged. No 10 plans to start televised daily press conferences, like those held at the White House, to be fronted by spokeswoman Allegra Stratton.”

    The BBC report that “The Cabinet Office said the spending ‘is in the public interest’ as it will increase public accountability and transparency.” Not from lying toad Boris or any the Tories! I must stress that making sure British kids survive their childhood and are not starved to death due to an ideologically driven, cruel and totally unnecessary form of rebranded Tory austerity is a far greater priority in the public interest’ of the 99%! The BBC report that “Labour said it reflected ‘Boris Johnson’s warped priorities. It comes as further details emerged about plans to renovate Mr Johnson’s Number 10 flat, including possibly asking the public to donate to it. The Cabinet Office issued a breakdown of spending on the briefing room, which totalled £2,607,767.67. The release was a response to a Freedom of Information request made by the Press Association news agency.” It took a FOI request because there was no way the Government would have let the public know about this obscene expenditure during a time of national crisis.

    The BBC say that “The money had been spent to allow various news organisations to broadcast from No 9 Downing Street, the Cabinet Office said. ‘This will necessarily require one-off capital works, including audio-visual equipment, internet infrastructure, electrical works and lighting,’ a spokesperson said. They added that ‘spending on maintenance and technical facilities reflects that 9 Downing Street is a Grade I listed building.’ Labour’s Angela Rayner contrasted the spending to the government’s proposed 1% pay rise for NHS nurses. The party’s deputy leader said: ‘It would take around 100 years for a newly qualified nurse to get paid this kind of money. ‘It sums up Boris Johnson’s warped priorities that he can find millions for vanity projects, while picking the pockets of NHS workers. ‘Our NHS heroes deserve a fair pay rise after all they have done for us’.” Perhaps we should designate all of our NHS staff ‘Grade A Listed Treasures’ to protect them from being exploited and trashed by this Tory Government?

    The BBC report that “The FOI release detailed spending of over £1.8m for the ‘main works’, nearly £200,000 for ‘long lead items’, and more than £33,000 for broadband equipment. The new briefings were expected to begin in the autumn, but have been delayed because of the pandemic. They will be held by the prime minister’s press secretary, Allegra Stratton. An advert for her taxpayer-funded role said the salary would be based on experience, but reports suggested pay would be around £100,000 a year. At the moment, political reporters based in Parliament, known as lobby correspondents, have daily briefings with the prime minister’s official spokesperson, but they are not televised.” This is the latest abuse of Party Political broadcasting to buff the profile of our hapless PM, with a Press Secretary to distance Johnson from any embarrassing questions during tightly controlled press scrutiny.

    But wait there’s more Tory money squandering in the continued pandering to Boris Johnson’s fragile ego. In the June 2020 the Guardian Article entitled, “Paint job on Boris Johnson’s plane will cost taxpayer £900,000,” they detailed the “Cost of union jack makeover” which was touted as representing value for money according to the PM’s spokesman. They say “Boris Johnson’s red, white and blue paint job on the prime ministerial plane is costing the UK taxpayer £900,000, his official spokesman has said. The spokesman confirmed that the RAF Voyager, previously coloured grey, is in Cambridgeshire for a makeover. ‘The RAF Voyager used by the royal family and the PM is currently in Cambridgeshire for pre-planned repainting. This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding, which will be in line with many other leaders’ planes,’ he said. He added that it would continue to perform its other job, refuelling military jets.”

    Another shock expenditure headline that hit the news during the dark days of 2020 was detailed in the Independent Article entitled, “Queen to receive government ‘bailout’ to top up income after Crown Estate hit by economic slump.” The warned that “This royal bailout will be tough to stomach for people who love the Queen but have lost their jobs,’ says Tax Justice UK. Boris Johnson’s government has confirmed it will top up the Queen’s income following a significant slump in the Crown Estate’s revenue during the coronavirus crisis. The royal family takes in rental receipts from shops in London’s Regent Street, alongside malls and retail parks around the country, but the value of its portfolio has fallen by more than £500m since the pandemic hit.”

    According to the Independent “The Treasury said it would provide the estate with extra money to meet any shortfall in profits and make sure the Queen’s sovereign grant remains at its current level. ‘In the event of a reduction in the Crown Estate’s profits, the sovereign grant is set at the same level as the previous year,’ a spokesperson said told The Independent. ‘The revenue from the Crown Estate helps pay for our vital public services, over the last 10 years it has returned a total of £2.8bn to the Exchequer. The sovereign grant funds the official business of the monarchy, and does not provide a private income to any member of the royal family.’ More details on the next sovereign grant are expected to be set out on Friday, but legislation governing the formula prevents the overall amount given to the Queen from ever being allowed to fall.” So austerity doesn’t touch the Monarchy!

    The Independent report that “Graham Smith, of the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic, described it as a “golden ratchet”, adding: “Once the grant goes up it can never come down, and the taxpayer loses out.” Nurses, other hardworking public servants and our key workers just get plain ‘rat shit!’ It would be greatly appreciated in this time of crisis, if the royal ‘we’ could manage to get by on a little less profit so that the NHS staff, on whom we all rely, could earn the decent pay rise they deserve and funding free school meals for poor hungry children didn’t take the herculean intervention of a football player now a national hero. The televised speeches to boost morale are as much an empty gesture as the ‘Clap for Careers’ when the elite 1% cannot make any sacrifice at all. While I hope that Prince Philip makes a speedy recovery from his heart surgery, the Queen should remember who cared for him in Hospital and perhaps also spare a thought for the homeless whose life expectancy is less than half that of her husband!

    But perhaps the most galling obscenity in Tory money squandering was detailed in the December BBC News Article entitled “Dominic Cummings: PM’s former aide got £45,000 pay rise.” They noted that “Boris Johnson’s former chief aide Dominic Cummings, who left No 10 last month after an internal power struggle, enjoyed a bumper pay rise earlier this year, new figures have revealed. His basic salary rose by about £45,000 to between £140,000 and £144,999. The PM stood by Mr Cummings this summer when he was embroiled in controversy over a trip to Durham during lockdown. Labour said the rise was an ‘insult’ to millions of workers whose pay is being frozen due to the Covid crisis.” The BBC reported that “Keir Starmer says Dominic Cummings lockdown breach journey was the ‘tipping point’ for a loss of trust over Covid.” Cumming should never have been in post after refusing to appear and give testimony before a Parliamentary Committee; just part of the Tories zero accountability culture.

    The BBC claim “Separately, it has emerged that Boris Johnson ignored the advice of the chief of the civil service in relation to a legal case brought by a special adviser sacked by Mr Cummings. Sir John Manzoni urged the PM to reach a negotiated settlement with Sonia Khan, who was led out of No 10 by police in August 2019 following a reported row with Mr Cummings. No reason was given for her sacking as an adviser to Chancellor Sajid Javid and before that Philip Hammond. In a letter to the PM in March 2020, Sir John raised concerns about the cost to the taxpayer of fighting the case. He sought a written instruction known as a ‘ministerial direction,’ a specific order sought by civil servants in instances where they have reservations over a particular course of action.” It is interesting to note that a massive overspend of public money on an unwinnable case just landed the SNP in hot water in Scotland. Sadly, Governments have a bottomless pit of public cash to throw at legal defence, but victims must crowdfund to seek justice!

    The BBC say “In response, the PM said he fully understood concerns over the use of public money but he believed ‘wider considerations’ took precedence in the case.’ He said he wanted to ‘test in litigation’ his belief that individuals should not receive more compensation than they are entitled to under their contract. ‘The legal position is clear that the prime minister can withdraw consent for the appointment of any special adviser,’ he wrote. ‘That is the reason for the termination of employment.’ Ms Khan settled her case last month, shortly before it was due to go before an employment tribunal.” Sajid Javid was not even consulted before Khan was fired without cause, but she was also publically humiliated with what I call ‘the walk of shame’ She was marched out by armed police officers, an extreme scare tactic common in the US where it is used to ostracize an employee so that former colleagues treat them like a criminal. I experienced the ‘walk of shame’ as a Whistleblower; it is a deeply traumatizing event.

    I am convinced that the ‘Herd Nerd’ is still pulling Johnson’s strings; the BBC report that “Mr Cummings is still on the government payroll but is working his notice at home, having left Downing Street in November following a bitter row over the running of Mr Johnson’s office. Figures released by the Cabinet Office show his salary rose during 2020 from between £95,000-£99,999 to £140,000-£144,999, making him among the highest-earning special advisers in government. It is not clear when the increase, revealed in an annual report on the pay of special advisers, came into effect. While Mr Cummings was in the highest salary band when he was first taken on by Boris Johnson in July 2019, his pay was considerably lower at the time than other senior political advisers in Downing Street. The pay rise brought Mr Cummings, whose Brexit strategy was credited with helping Mr Johnson win a thumping victory in the 2019 election, into line with other key figures such as Sir Eddie Lister, Lee Cain and Munira Mirza.”

    Although his menacing presence is no longer disrupting Number 10 I’m convinced that the ‘Herd Nerd’ still maintains a powerful hold over Boris Johnson as his ‘weapons-grade PsyOps’ warper minds in favour of Brexit plus I think he masterminded the fraud needed to take the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. The BBC note that “Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the pay increase was a slap in the face to the public. ‘Dominic Cummings’ bumper bonus is an insult to key workers denied the pay rise they deserve,’ she said. ‘It’s another example of how under this government it is one rule for the Tory Party and their friends and another for the rest of us.’ The figures show that while the overall pay bill for special advisers remained the same at £9.6m, having risen sharply the year before, the number of advisers earning more than £100,000 doubled on the year before. Those earning six-figure salaries included Allegra Stratton, the PM’s new press secretary and Dan Rosenfield, the newly appointed No 10 chief of staff.”

    In the August 2020 London Economic Article entitled “MPs get 8 pay rises in 10 years while nurses salaries are slashed,” Henry Goodwin points out that the “Average pay for all nurses, regardless of which salary category they fall into, has fallen by 7.4 per cent since 2010. Members of Parliament have been handed eight pay rises in the last ten years, while nurses have seen their average salary slashed by more than 7 per cent across the decade. Since the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) took control of MPs’ pay in 2010, salaries have been linked to average changes in public sector pay. In 2010, an MP’s annual salary was £65,738. It stayed at the same level until 2013, when it rose to £66,396.”

    Goodwin says that “It has climbed steadily since then and, in April this year, was hiked by an inflation-busting 3.1 per cent, meaning MPs now earn £81,932 per year.” Take a look at this MP Pay Chart that was included in this article to see the increases. He says that “The likes of Yvette Cooper or Jeremy Hunt, who chair select committees, earn an additional £16,422 each year on top of their standard salary. Announcing the changes earlier this year, Richard Lloyd, the interim chair of IPSA said that the salary spike would pay for; staff training and welfare, security and changes to the salary bands and job descriptions for MPs’ staff to bring them into line with the jobs they actually do’.”

    Goodwin claims that “Nurses and teachers suffer” saying “While there have been real-terms increases in nurses’ pay in recent years but, according to fact-checking charity FullFact, they haven’t balanced out the real-terms decreases that took place in the early and mid-2010s. Average pay for all nurses, regardless of which salary category they fall into, has fallen by 7.4 per cent since the year ending August 2010, when the NHS started publishing such statistics. All newly-qualified nurses start at Band 5, which pays £24,907 per year. The Band 5 starting salary has increased by 6.7 per cent since 2017/18 but, since 2010/11, has fallen by a total of 3.2 per cent, FullFact said.”

    Goodwin reports on the fate of Teachers salaries too noting that “A survey by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2017 found that teachers’ salaries in England had plummeted by more than a tenth in the last decades, despite earnings rising in comparable countries. Last month the Department for Education announced that salaries for new teachers are set to rise to £26,000 this autumn, as the government tries to stem the tide leaving the profession. It has pledged to raise teaching starting salaries to £30,000 by 2022-23. The latest report by the OECD found that statutory salaries for teachers in England and Scotland are yet to recover to ‘pre-Great Recession highs’. Salaries in England in 2018 were 10 per cent lower than in 2005, and 3 per cent lower in Scotland, despite the UK being one of the few countries seeing class sizes rise at the same time.”

    When the Bank of England decides to essentially print more money for Quantitative Easing (QE) to infuse into circulation in order to stimulate growth, the strategy will fail if funds are squandered on overpriced vanity projects that do not provide worthwhile long-term investment, training or properly paid jobs. Money syphoned off by the wealthy elite to be hoarded in offshore Tax Havens will deliberately sabotage QE; these are the unscrupulous low wage paying, exploitive zero-hours contract employers, the slum lords who charge exorbitant rent for run-down flats, and other greedy, opportunistic scroungers who rake in huge profits and bonuses, but manage to pay less tax than the staff who clean their fancy office! Funding of both paid work and even benefits, from Furlough to Universal Credit to Pensions, unilaterally expands the virtuous circulation created by QE for ongoing spending that will stimulate growth and eventually return to the treasury in taxes. This circulation of funds is vital to our economic recovery and trust the Canary and Richard Murphy, there’s no £300Bn debt to pay! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68727 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    There is a long-held tradition at sea, that in an emergency women and children should be the first to be placed in the liferafts. In this age of so-called equality you might say that women should not receive preferential treatment, but they deserve equal treatment and surely we should protect the most vulnerable: our children. It seems in the Tories neocon ‘new normal’ they believe women and children should come dead last. This harsh reality has never been more stark than during the Coronavirus crisis, where, due to Tory Government incompetence and dithering, frontline mostly female carers were denied proper PPE while caring for vulnerable elderly who were forced to return to Care Homes without a negative Covid test. The predominantly female NHS Nursing staff have been offered a 1% pay increase after putting their lives on the line, but paid Carers and those on Carers allowance don’t even get a mention. Shamefully, it took the determination of a football hero to force this Government to accept responsibility for making sure the poorest children didn’t starve!

    In the run-up to the latest Budget there were appeals to offer more help to the unpaid Carers identified in the Independent Article entitled “Call to help carers after shocking figures show 64 per cent have had no break since pandemic began.” They reported that “Lib Dems’ Ed Davey demands immediate emergency funding from Rishi Sunak” and highlighted that “The Liberal Democrats are today launching a campaign for unpaid carers to be given a break, after the release of shocking figures showing that 64 per cent have had no opportunity to take time off from their responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic. In an open letter to Rishi Sunak, published in The Independent, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey called on the chancellor to provide immediate additional funding of £1.2bn for support services to allow a weekly break for every carer looking after a loved one at home.”

    The Independent say “He cited a survey by Carers UK which found that 81 per cent of carers are spending more time on their caring responsibilities during the pandemic, either because of increased needs or the closure or reduction of support services because of lockdown restrictions. The survey found that 64 per cent of carers have not been able to take any breaks from their caring role during the pandemic, 74 per cent said they feel exhausted and worn out as a result and 44 per cent said they are reaching breaking point. In his letter, Sir Ed said: ‘During this pandemic, millions of people have stepped up heroically to look after elderly, disabled and vulnerable people. They are doing a remarkable and important job in very difficult circumstances’.”

    According to what Davie told the Independent “A recent survey by Carers UK found that 81 per cent of carers are spending more time on their caring responsibilities during the pandemic, mainly because the needs of the person they are caring for have increased or because the local care services they rely on have been reduced or closed. ‘The brutal combination of lockdowns, shielding requirements and reduced support services have made the pandemic especially tough. But now most carers are simply exhausted. Most haven’t had a single break since the pandemic started.” He urged Mr Sunak to provide emergency funding now, or if that was not possible then in his 3 March Budget, for local authorities to provide more support. “It is essential that services such as day centres can reopen Covid-safe now, so that carers can finally take a break while the people they care for get the support they need,” he said.

    The Independent report that Davie had said “With local authority budgets so badly overstretched, the government must provide immediate funding to make this possible, as part of a bigger emergency package to fill the funding gap in adult and children’s social care.’ Across the UK, some 6.5 million people, one in eight of the adult population, are carers, supporting a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill.” But did Sunak spare a second thought for our embattled Carers paid or unpaid? Absolutely not! Those working through agencies funded by local Councils will remain on minimum wage, zero-hours contracts where their frenetic care visits as brief as half an hour, interspersed with unpaid travel time. For those looking after a loved one at home there was no respite and because the meagre Carers Allowance is a legacy benefit there has been no uplift just a bleak future of minimal support. This is the demanding role that almost always falls to women, who the Tories put dead last!

    It seems that the Tory austerity drive was aimed directly at women in particular and this is still very much the case. In the Labour List Article entitled “92% of net savings to Treasury since 2010 shouldered by women, says Whittome” Sienna Rodgers highlights the obscene disparity. She emphasised the injustice that “92% of net savings to the Treasury via tax and social security changes since 2010 have been shouldered by women, Labour MP Nadia Whittome has highlighted on the basis of analysis released on International Women’s Day. Research by the House of Commons Library commissioned by Whittome, the Nottingham East MP who is the UK’s youngest, shows that just 8% of savings through welfare, state pensions and direct taxation have come from men. The 92% versus 8% figures include measures announced in Rishi Sunak’s new Budget. They do not include indirect taxation, business/corporation tax or pension tax relief, nor the Covid furlough or self-employment support schemes.”

    Rodgers points out that “The latest data suggests the disproportionate impact on women is intensifying, as the same analysis conducted in 2017, based on a methodology created by backbench Labour MP Yvette Cooper in 2010, revealed a split of 86% to 14%. Whittome has pointed out that despite exceptional measures being taken during the pandemic, such as the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit, the net savings generated from women since 2010 stood at £100.5bn compared to £8.2bn from men. ‘Women have overwhelmingly paid the price for a decade of austerity, with money taken directly from their pockets. Measures announced in Wednesday’s Budget failed to rectify this deeply unfair burden and may have actually made things worse. ‘We need a government that takes gender economic inequality seriously and is not oblivious to the impact its policies have on different groups,’ Nadia Whittome, MP for Nottingham East, said.”

    Rodgers reported her demand that “The Chancellor must now urgently publish the government’s equalities impact analysis of the Budget and explain what steps will be taken to rectify the massive disproportionate impact of government policy on the lives of women.’ Sunak unveiled an extra £19m over the next two years for domestic abuse schemes in England and Wales in the Budget on Wednesday. Leaders and organisations in the sector welcomed the move, but said a £200m ‘shortfall’ remained. The Chancellor’s lack of attention to the social care sector and decision to freeze public sector pay, particularly affecting women, were also criticised. Keir Starmer said Sunak ‘barely mentioned inequality let alone tried to address it’.” However, we need a much stronger voice offering robust opposition to this Tory Government’s toxic policies; the Labour Party has been severely weakened by the targeting of the progressive Left under the wrecking ball of Trojan horse Keir Starmer who really needs to go ASAP.

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “The government needs to protect domestic abuse shelters for women,” Sophia Dourou says that “Campaigners are calling for the government to protect lifesaving women’s domestic abuse services.” She highlights the “Launching on International Women’s Day, a petition by domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid,” they are asking for the government to require local authorities to fund women’s refuges. The domestic abuse bill, which reaches report stage at the House of Lords today, requires councils to fund accommodation for survivors but does not specify women-only shelters. The charity is asking for specific funding for women’s’ shelters because abuse is a gendered crime and the vast majority of victims who get seriously injured or killed are women. This petition follows a number of Women’s Aid member services losing local authority funding.”

    Dourou reports that “The charity’s recent Fragile Funding Landscape shows that one in five domestic refuge services are running without local authority funding, with spaces for Black and minority women far more likely to be unfunded. Women’s Aid chief executive Farah Nazeer said that the women-led domestic abuse services losing funding could lead to more women and children dying.” She said: “The decision by some local authorities to commission ‘gender-neutral’ services disregards the evidence that women experience the most severe domestic abuse; are more likely to be killed by their abuser; and that women experiencing domestic abuse need access to women-only support. ‘Women need to trust a service and feel safe to be able to access support, especially if they are leaving their home to move into a refuge with their children. Many will be living with long-term trauma, and will need specialist support to rebuild their lives’.”

    Dourou noted that “Nazeer said that 91% of domestic violence crimes that lead to injuries are against women and three women are killed every fortnight by a current or former partner in the UK. ‘Coupled with the current government plan to separate domestic abuse from the Violence Against Women and Girls strategy, this will only serve to encourage more ‘gender neutral’ responses to domestic abuse,’ she added. ‘Women-led domestic abuse services are under threat, and there will be severe consequences for women and children if we do not stop this now’.” Left Foot Forward encourages you to Sign the Petition.

    Posted on International Women’s day, in the Byline Times Article entitled “IWD 2021Internet Now ‘Most Dangerous Place’ to be a Woman Journalist,” Sian Norris exposes another danger facing outspoken women. She says that “A new study by Reporters Without Borders exposes the dangers faced by women journalists online and off. The internet has become ‘the most dangerous place for women journalists’, according to a new report from Reporters Without Borders – with 73% of those surveyed saying that they had experienced gender-based violence online. Published on International Women’s Day 2021, Reporters Without Borders gathered 112 responses from across the world, including from journalists who write about gender issues. It found that the “internet has become more hazardous for journalists than the street”.

    Norris reports that “In response to the question “do you feel that impunity prevails, that the violence could be repeated, and that another woman journalist could fall victim to the same perpetrator?”, 85% of respondents said “yes”. This question applied to violence offline as well as online. The report recommends that journalists are provided with training to help them ‘develop good reflexes and responses to cyber-harassment and to create an ‘emergency internal mechanism to respond to threats and sexist attacks online’. It also suggests to women journalists that ‘while you are being attacked, ask a trusted person to manage your social media accounts for you, sifting through what you are receiving, deleting insults, blocking accounts that are the source of insults, and reporting those accounts’. Online violence against women journalists can take many forms, from trolling and targeted abuse on social media to the hacking of email accounts and the posting of personal information.”

    Norris documents responses: “I get rape and death threats every day, aimed at me and my family,’ Syrian journalist Merna Alhasan told Reporters Without Borders. Indian investigative journalist Rana Ayyub said that she received ‘daily threats of rape and death’ and a wave of hatred on social media. Ayyub was targeted by abusers who used ‘deep fake’ technology to insert her image onto pornographic material. She said: ‘I felt like I was naked for the world. I was throwing up, I was in the hospital, I had palpitations for two days and my blood pressure shot up. I just couldn’t stop crying.’ India was found to be the most dangerous place to be a woman journalist. Women journalists who call out gender-based violence online also find themselves becoming a target. For instance, French journalist Nadia Daam, who accused the Blabla forum on gaming site jeuxvideos.com of fostering a culture of online bullying, received threats from men claiming they would ‘rape her dead body’.”

    Norris describes a situation where “Women’s Rights in the Firing Line,” as “Reporters Without Borders found that women reporting on gender issues were at a greater risk of violence, both online and offline. According to Juana Gallego, head of Spain’s Gender Equality Observatory and a lecturer in journalism, writing about women’s rights ‘can prove dangerous in some countries where it means undermining traditions and arousing awareness in minds that have been subjected to a machista society’. Over the past decade, 942 journalists have been killed, of which 43 were women. Four of these women were killed for their work on gender rights, Mexico’s Miroslava Breach, India’s Gauri Lankesh, Iraq’s Nawras al-Nuaimi, and Malalai Maiwand who was killed by the so-called Islamic State.”

    Norris says that “According to data collected in December 2020, two of the 42 women journalists currently in prison have ended up there as a result of reporting on women’s rights. They are Saudi journalists Nouf Abdulaziz al-Jerawi and Nassima al-Sada. A third Saudi journalist working on women’s issues, Eman al-Nafjan, was released on bail in 2019. One survey respondent in Spain told Reporters Without Borders: ‘The fact that women often write about women and feminism, as well as sensitive subjects such as human rights and minorities, exposes them to a two-fold danger, of being bullied which almost always includes sexist insults.’ Women who work in traditionally male-dominated fields, such as sport, are also routinely targeted with violence and harassment.” As the authoritarian rule of the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship intensifies its grip here in the UK, the situation will get more threatening for all outspoken journalists in this country and our Media is already leaning well towards the extreme right.

    Norris points out that “Journalists were routinely targeted by former US President Donald Trump’s administration, with women journalists and women of colour singled out for sexism and exclusion. He repeatedly made comments designed to demean and belittle women journalists, telling PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor that she asked a ‘racist question# when she queried his statements on nationalism, and ordering CBS’ Weijia Jiang to ‘just relax’, telling her to ‘keep your voice down’ and saying she had a ‘nasty tone’. Trump told Cecilia Vega of ABC News ‘I know you’re not thinking, you never do’ and called CBS’s Paula Reid ‘disgraceful’ and ‘a fake’. Members of Trump’s administration actively excluded women by refusing to take meetings with women journ Sexist harassment, online and offline, has a chilling effect on journalism and women’s rights to freedom of expression. At its most extreme, it kills women journalists.” Boris Johnson is eager to follow the Trumpian model, ready to sling insults at women.

    Norris claims that “Online violence in particular causes women to self-censor and discourages them from covering subjects which they fear will lead to harassment and abuse. Considering that women journalists are more likely to be the victims of this abuse if they report on women’s issues, this violence creates a vicious circle and silences writing and reporting on the issue of gender-based violence itself. According to the survey, violence against women journalists caused 48% of respondents to self-censor, while 22% closed their social media accounts and/or left professional networks. Another impact is on pluralism. If women are harassed out of journalism, issues that impact specifically on women are not heard and therefore not taken into account by decision-makers in politics, the economy and industry. It also allows everyday sexism in the media to flourish.”

    According to Norris “In defiance of a male-dominated media landscape, women are coming together to fight back. In the UK, the Second Source was set up in 2017 following the #MeToo revelations against male journalists. The scheme runs events and a mentoring programme to support women in the industry. Meanwhile, in Brazil, Agência Pública co-founder Natalia Viana, who is often the target of online attacks from persons close to President Jair Bolsonaro, has said that women journalists had taken steps to protect themselves and are trying to build a stronger form of mutual aid.” She says that “In France, Prenons La Une has built a support network for women journalists.” We have progressive Socialist news outlets here in the UK like Byline Times, the Canary, Skwawkbox, Left Foot Forward, The Morning Star, Labour List, London Economic, Vox Political and so many more. We must support them and above all make sure that this rabid Tory Government does not shut them down.

    The Government are using Covid as an excuse to shut down our valid right to protest; one Nurse in Manchester just received a hefty fine for organizing a protest against the 1% pay rise. But both Skwawkbox and the Canary are producing regular broadcasts available online so we don’t need to be drowned out by the Tory mouthpiece at the BBC. “#TheCanaryLive – International Women’s Day – Choose to challenge. The Canary is all about challenging the status quo and it runs through our blood as individuals. Join us to be a fly-on-the-wall while Canary women discuss the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day: ‘Choose to Challenge’. What does it mean to challenge gender bias and inequity? What can any individual really do to bring about social change? And with the trend of ‘cancel culture’ are the people who find themselves cancelled actually being given an opportunity to change and evolve? Are they really being held to account in a meaningful way? We’ll discuss this and more between 7 and 8 this evening.”

    The Tories want to shut down Russia Today (RT) claiming they are spreading Fake News, while in reality the real political hype, lies and propaganda is being churned out via the BBC under Tory control. The reality of renewed austerity, rebranded to hide the truth, is starting to dawn on people across the UK. The battle over school meals, freezing public sector pay and now the insulting offer to the Nurses who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic; is anyone still buying their ‘lev…up’ lie? People will need to start taking to the streets on mass in protest because in huge numbers it will become impossible to shut down without enlisting the arm to turn guns on us. The obscene squandering of public funds while they wine about a well-deserved pay rise and try to convince us there is a £300Bn debt to pay back. We need to demand a full Investigation ofthe Covert 2019 Rigged Election that foisted this corrupt cabal on us. We need to challenge their corruption in Court and get them removed from office ASAP. DO NOT MOVE ON! 

    #68765 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    I read Margaret Atwood’s book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ while delivering a sailing yacht across the north Atlantic. Between watches I shared the book with one of my crew, too gripped by the horrific content to wait until she had finished reading it. The really sick thing is that a national emergency created the perfect timing for a ruthless authoritarian coup to strip women of their rights and that component remains a distinct possibility right now due to the Covid Pandemic. We have already seen far-right Governments within Europe legislate to remove women’s rights. The single most powerful political weapon is to strip away the rights of half the entire population of a country and embolden the other half to express their grievances with failed Government policies by persecuting strong outspoken women; it is the ultimate divide and conquer’ tactic and shockingly, it is going global! Now that we have a Tory Sovereign Dictatorship in the UK, how long will it take them to weaponize Covid even further to emulate other despotic regimes?

    The evidence that this powerful assault on Women’s rights is growing is featured in a Byeline Times Article entitled “IWD 2021The Global Anti-Rights Networks Behind Madrid’s Anti-Feminist Rally.” Sian Norris warns us of “A virtual protest organized by Spain’s Women Of The World Platform is part of a global assault on women’s and LGBTIQ rights.” Featured “On International Women’s Day, the Women of the World Platform will hold its annual anti-feminist rally. The event will take place virtually due to Coronavirus restrictions. Attendees are rallying under the banner ‘Wo + Men: With the Other Half of the World’ and are encouraged to ‘stop for a moment to remember what is the feminine identity, so different from the masculine one, and that both are complementary’.” She says that “Complementarity is a concept on the religious-right that essentializes men and women into ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’.”

    Norris explains that this “Is linked to the concept of ‘gender ideology,’ a term invented by the Vatican in the 1990s to attack and undermine women’s and LGBTIQ rights. It portrays gender as an invented concept that is dangerous and destructive for children, families and society at large. Women of the World Platform (not to be confused with the feminist WOW festival) claims that feminism has been ‘derailed’ and is ‘hatred of men, it is victimhood, it is supremacy, it’s a struggle of the sexes, a rejection of motherhood’. It promotes a ‘reverse sexism’ narrative which states that quotas and anti-sexual harassment campaigns mean that men are the real victims of sexism. The strategy of ‘modern sexism,’ sexism against men, has also been adopted by Spain’s far-right Vox party which campaigns against abortion and LGBTIQ rights, and laws protecting women from gender-based violence. Vox and its allies claim that gender-based violence does not exist and that it should just be referred to as ‘violence’.”

    Norris elaborated on “The Women of the World Platform was founded in the early 1990s by Profesionales por la Ética. It is a coalition of anti-choice, ‘family rights’ groups from around the world, including Real Women of Canada, Pro Vita in Romania, and Pro Vita & Famiglia in Italy, In The Name Of The Family in Croatia, Peru’s Pro Mujer, Moms For America, Kenya Christian Professionals Forum, and more. The Platform has attended the anti-rights World Congress of Families, (WCF) where it met the Real Women of Canada before becoming partners. The WCF is an event that brings together anti-abortion, anti-LGBTIQ organizations to swap strategies and has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre. All of the organizations a campaign against women’s rights to safe and legal abortion, including in countries where abortion remains illegal, such as Fundacion Vida SV in El Salvador.”

    Norris reported that “The Women of the World Platform also partners with CitizenGO, a global anti-rights campaign with links to Spain’s far-right parliamentary party, Vox. CitizenGO presents itself as a community of active citizens working together to defend and promote life, family and liberty. It is famous for its online petitions against same-sex marriage, sex-education and abortion, while promoting a conservative Christian agenda. The WCF’s founder Brian Brown is on its board, along with Russian Orthodox oligarch Alexey Komov. The campaign group works across three different continents and has more than nine million followers, making it a major global force in the anti-rights movement. Its connections to far-right political parties go beyond Vox to include Germany’s AfD, Lega in Italy and Fidesz in Hungary. In 2019, it was accused of being a US-style ‘super pac‘, driving voters towards far-right parties in the European Parliament elections.”

    According to Norris “CitizenGO’s campaigns cover a range of issues. In 2019, for instance, a petition was launched to protest against LGBTIQ characters in Disney films. In the UK, it is currently campaigning to prevent the extension of telemedical abortion in early pregnancy. Disney films aside, CitizenGO focuses most of its energy on opposing so-called ‘gender ideology’, in concert with its founding group HazetOir and Agenda Europe. It campaigned to prevent the European Parliament from adopting the Estrela Report, which would have obliged EU member states to teach comprehensive sex and relationships education in schools. The report was replaced with a more conservative approach. It was also involved in promoting the European citizens’ initiative One Of Us, aimed at undermining women’s rights to abortion.”

    Norris reported that “In collaboration with Vox, HazteOir and CitizenGO have campaigned to implement a ‘parental pin‘, which requires parents to expressly authorize their children to attend sex and relationships education which they claim equates to ‘indoctrination of gender ideology’. A spokeswoman for the women’s rights organization Women’s Link Worldwide told Byline Times that CitizenGO uses legal avenues to try and roll-back abortion rights. ‘It has been very active against service providers on abortion rights,’ she said, citing examples such as when CitizenGO campaigned to defund the International Planned Parenthood Federation. It currently has a petition supporting attempts to get Spain’s Constitutional Court to rule on an appeal by the right-wing Popular Party against a 2010 legal change that allowed abortion on demand.”

    Noris reports “What we see here is similar to what is happening in other countries and similar to what happened in Poland,’ the spokeswoman added, referencing the recent ruling in Poland’s Constitutional Court that extended the country’s abortion ban.” She describes “A Global Anti-Rights Campaign” saying “These groups are very well-connected and they are replicating their strategies all around the world,’ the Women’s Link Worldwide spokeswoman told Byline Times. ‘We have seen CitizenGO replicate its strategies from Spain in other countries, particularly around sex education.’ This includes transplanting its campaigning and legal strategies to countries in East Africa and Latin America. In 2018, in Kenya, CitizenGo launched a petition that helped to close 23 Marie Stopes International abortion clinics in the country. Abortion is illegal in Kenya except when there is a threat to the mother’s life. It also launched a petition against comprehensive sex education in the country.”

    Norris warns that “The tactics employed by CitizenGO echoed its actions in Spain and the EU. In Argentina, where abortion was finally legalized in December 2020, CitizenGO via HazetOir is linked to the anti-abortion Catholic association Centro Nacional de Oración. The organizations are also connected to the highly-secretive, ultra-Catholic Mexican sect El Yunque. Back to Spain, the spokeswoman from Women’s Link Worldwide expresses her concern about what could happen if these anti-rights organizations and their far-right allies in Vox succeed. ‘We have already seen this roll-back in the winning of Vox,’ she told Byline Times. ‘We have seen what happens in other countries, in America, in Poland. They are examples of what can happen if we don’t stop this’.”

    The assault on women’s rights is not as extreme here, yet! But in the Canary Article entitled “The pandemic must not be used to force women’s rights back to the 1970s,” Jasmine Norden presents a few positive achievements before warning of the potential for retrograde steps. She said “On International Women’s Day, there’s lots to celebrate in terms of the movements for gender equality around the world. There’s been great progress in some places during the pandemic: Argentina’s abortion legalization signified a huge victory for reproductive rights; Donald Trump was voted out of office; a transgender woman achieved a landmark victory for transgender rights in the US. However, there has been a more sinister effect of coronavirus (Covid-19) for women.”

    The Canary say that “Increasingly, reports are finding that women are taking on the majority of childcare and home schooling, and have also been more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic. This has led to fears that the pandemic has hampered progress in gender equality. As a result, we must take extra care to ensure coronavirus recovery includes planning for recovering equality. Reporting on ‘Childcare and home schooling,” they point out that “In July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures showing that women spent significantly more time on childcare in a day. A third of women subsequently said their mental health had suffered because of home schooling. A further study by University College London (UCL) found that women were more likely to have given up working to look after and educate children during lockdowns.”

    The Canary quoted “Emla Fitzsimons, a research author and professor at UCL’s Institute of Education, said: Many mothers who have put their careers on hold to provide educational support for their children will need to adjust again once schools reopen and the furlough scheme tapers off. These figures show that women who have reduced work hours to help their children will need support to get back to the workplace. While reports show men are taking on more housework than they did decades ago, we cannot settle for women being the default for childcare responsibilities. Children are returning to school, but the future remains uncertain as to whether they will stay there; men must step up to take on an equal share of childcare.”

    According to the Canary “In addition, women have also been more likely to lose their jobs or be furloughed during coronavirus. Women are more likely to work in sectors such as hospitality, arts, and retail, which have been more likely to have to lay off workers over the course of the pandemic. For example, Debenhams and Arcadia, both recently bought by online companies, are likely to shed most of their store employees. At those stores alone, 77% and 84.5% of staff respectively were women. In the arts and entertainment sector, there was a two-fifths drop in the number of Black women working. This leaves many women in a precarious position.” The Canary warns that this “Further risks decades of progress in increasing women’s representation in the workforce. In this case, the government has the power to tackle this by maintaining furlough as long as it takes industries like hospitality to get back on their feet. This would protect industries from having to shed jobs that are likely to be held by women.”

    The Canary report that “Most terrifyingly, coronavirus has led to an increase in domestic abuse across the world. The UK saw a 49% rise in domestic abuse calls made to the police in just the first month after restrictions began. The United Nations (UN) has called the increase in domestic violence a ‘shadow pandemic’, urging global action to address the increase as countries map out recovery. While the government has announced £19m in funding to tackle domestic abuse, domestic violence charity Women’s Aid has called for more funding from the UK government to help women effectively. Women’s Aid chief executive Farah Nazeer said: Specialist women’s domestic abuse services continue to face a funding crisis, with funding cuts and poor commissioning decisions failing to keep them secure.”

    The Canary says that “Women’s Aid estimates that £393m is required for lifesaving refuges and community-based services in England, alongside ring-fenced funding for specialist services led ‘by and for’ Black and minoritized women, disabled women and LGBT+ survivors. However next year only £165 million will be delivered, with an additional £19 million announced today for work with perpetrators and ‘respite rooms’ for homeless women. We urge the government to provide further details of this funding, as it’s unclear what ‘respite rooms’ are. This shortfall of over £200 million will mean that women and children will be turned away from the lifesaving support they need. Without action, women are increasingly suffering violence in their own homes. We cannot allow this pandemic to mean less support for them.”

    The Canary asks “What does this mean for equality? In a recent survey by Mumsnet, more than half of the respondents said they believed gender equality was ‘in danger of going back to the 1970s,’ a horrifying thought. If we look to previous health emergencies, the outlook is bleak: one year removed from Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak, 17% of women have returned to work compared to 63% of men. An outbreak of Zika in Brazil five years ago still sees 90% of women who have a child with Congenital Zika Syndrome out of work. With that possibility in front of us, we must take this as a call to lobby for women’s rights globally, in the home and in the workplace. The fight for gender equality is a fight parallel to and inseparable from the justice called for by the Black Lives Matter movement, by campaigns for economic equality, we cannot allow it to go backward.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “On International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at one of the strongest women’s movements in the world,” they examined one of the world’s greatest female success stories. She noted that “Perhaps the strongest women’s movement in the world right now is the Kurdish Women’s Movement. On International Women’s Day, The Canary takes a look at these revolutionary women. Kurdish women came to world attention in 2014, gaining global media headlines in their fight against Daesh (ISIS/Isil) in Rojava, Syria. Yet, as is typical in a patriarchal society, western media outlets usually depicted the Kurdish Women’s Movement as young, beautiful twenty-somethings with guns, even appearing in women’s magazine Marie Claire. But Kurdish women, from the young to the very old, were struggling against patriarchy and fascism for decades before Daesh existed.”

    The Canary report that “Kurdish people are the largest stateless group on Earth. Most live in the geographic region of Kurdistan, which lies within Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The Kurdish people have experienced generations of oppression in all four countries, from Saddam Hussein’s Anfal genocide in Iraq, to the torture and disappearance of hundreds of thousands of people and the burning of villages in Turkey. Sakine Cansız. Yet this oppression contributed to the creation of one of the largest women’s struggles in the world in the Kurdish regions within Turkey and Syria. One of the biggest icons of this struggle is Sakine Cansız. She was a co-founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 1978 with Abdullah Öcalan. The PKK began an armed struggle against the Turkish state in 1984. Kommun Academi writes: Sakine Cansız was tasked by the leadership to build the women’s movement, a duty that she took very close to her heart.”

    The Canary says of Cansiz that “She single-handedly managed to gather large groups of young women, often students, for discussion and educations. On November, 27th 1978 only at the age of 20, Sakine Cansız became one of the two female co-founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, when she participated in the party’s founding congress. Cansız was imprisoned and tortured in Diyarbakır prison from 1979-1991. Kommun Academi continues: The resistance of Sakine Cansız in Diyarbakir prison led to a new approach towards women in Kurdish society. It encouraged women to join revolutionary structures in the cities and moved women towards politicization in the villages. Starting with her prison resistance, Kurdish women’s activism gained increasing respect and support among the popular masses. After her release from prison, Cansız continued in the PKK, and later as an educator of the Kurdish Freedom Movement in Europe.”

    The Canary report that Cansiz “Was murdered in Paris in 2013, along with Leyla Şaylemez and Fidan Doğan, both central women in Kurdish organizing.” They say that after “Decades of organizing” and “Long before the 2012 Rojava revolution in northern Syria, the Kurdish movement was developing structures for radically changing how society was organized. If you speak to any women in Kurdistan, they will tell you that this struggle didn’t start during the Arab Spring, or in the fight against Daesh. It began more than 40 years ago, though women such as Cansız, who organized tirelessly from prison. Democratic confederalism, an anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-state ideology, was created by Öcalan from his prison cell. Democratic confederalism ensures that power that would usually be held by governments is given to people at the grassroots level. Local communes were set up within the Kurdish part of Turkey in 2007, empowering people to make decisions over areas of their lives.”

    The Canary say that “In Syria, people began putting the ideas of democratic confederalism into practice in 2005. Within the Kurdish Freedom Movement, women’s councils, academies, and cooperatives have been created, while positions of power are always held by co-chairs, at least one of whom identifies as a woman. A crucial ideology within the Kurdish Freedom Movement is jineoljî, or women’s science. A role of jineoljî is to transform the patriarchal mindset: The patriarchy of the government, which has constructed itself on the basis of women’s bodies, feelings, ideas, beliefs and labour, intervenes constantly in our daily lives. It invades our space with violence, exploitation denial, murder and creating illusions. As important as tearing off these masks and organizing a strong self-defense against these patriarchal attacks is the construction of a mindset. Jineoloji, which we have reached by setting out from a paradigm based on freedom, will succeed in achieving this.”

    The Canary reported that “Cansız and the many other women who have died in their struggle for women’s liberation, continue to be a source of inspiration not just in Kurdistan, but around the world. Within Turkey, thousands of Kurdish women continue to be imprisoned, including Leyla Güven (to the right of the photo at the top of the page), who survived a 200-day hunger strike in 2019. The women currently imprisoned gain their strength from those who have struggled before them. In the UK, Kurdistan Solidarity Network Jin (‘Jin’ means ‘women’ in Kurdish) released a statement for International Women’s Day. They said: As feminists, we know that struggle involves work and it involves love. It is militant just as much as it is joyful. Whether we look to you, our sisters and comrades who have been imprisoned by the Turkish state, to the women fighting in the mountains of Kurdistan, or the women building new ways of life across society in all four parts of Kurdistan, we see this same love and dedication in their actions.”

    The Canary Continued with the bold statement: “We join your call to continue the struggle, to stand side by side as free women and raise our voices, to oppose all forms of injustice and fascism, to strive for building a society where justice and equality prevail and where the rights and dignity of women are respected. We call for unity and solidarity, against femicide and in defense of a free life and free society everywhere. United we will overcome. We salute you and wish you peace and strength. ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ is an important slogan of the Kurdish Women’s Movement. On this International Women’s Day, we must stand in solidarity with all women like Güven, locked up as political prisoners, and we must remember all those who have died in their fight against misogyny and patriarchy.”

    The achievements of these brave Kurdish women set a powerful example to the world of a stable genuine democracy built inclusively, from the bottom up, around the principles of progressive Socialist equality for the mutual benefit of the entire population. The Covid Pandemic has exposed grotesque inequalities that the Tories have capitalized on in the determined race to the bottom. I expect the pitting of one set of workers against another to ramp-up industrial strife, plus the rivalry between privileged and abandoned communities and the racial ‘othering’ will also increase, but the most powerful political oppression would be to strip away women’s rights disempowering half the population to ‘divide and conquer.’ Strong evidence of corruption and demanding a full Investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election could derail this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. We must protest on mass, challenge in Court and take such action immediately before the UK joins far-right Hungary, Poland and Turkey to inflict decades of oppression on us. NOT MOVE ON!

    #68796 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    In the Vox Political Article entitled “Here’s why a Decent NHS pay rise will help us all,” Mike Sivier highlights how “Paying NHS staff more money will improve the UK’s economy massively. That’s the educated opinion of Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, and who are we to argue with him?” If only our politicians would review Murphys sound common sense, Sivier says “In his latest a video clip, Mr Murphy explains that the Tory government’s decision to offer only a derisory one per cent pay increase, less than the rate of inflation, is actually harmful to its own hope of economic recovery. The Tories have based their offer on a false belief that the NHS does not contribute to the economy. This is easily disproved because a person who is fit and healthy is clearly more able to create profit than somebody who is ill or injured. The benefit to the economy provided by the NHS has actually been measured and it seems that for every £1 invested in the health service, the economy benefits by between £2 and £4.”

    Sivier rightly insists “That’s a hell of a markup! Think about it. Most supermarkets operate on the basis of profits between, what, five and 15 per cent, if I recall correctly. This is a profit of up to four hundred per cent. In a nation that badly needs to re-establish its economy after Covid-19, not to mention Brexit, that’s not to be sniffed at, but sniffing at it is exactly what Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and the other Tories are doing. At the moment there are 80,000 staff vacancies in the health service because the wages aren’t enough to compensate for the long hours, stress and heartbreak involved. This, along with the ongoing effects of Covid-19, means that patients aren’t getting the treatment, even the routine work, they need and there is a knock-on effect for the economy because they are being prevented from getting back into it and producing the content of work they should be able to provide at the standard they are expected to.”

    Sivier reports on the rediculous Tory defence that quoting the PM “It’s as much as we can give,’ said Boris Johnson. But this is sheer short-sightedness. A five per cent pay rise, as suggested by Mr Murphy, would pay for itself as the benefits spread through the economy.” He says “This Writer is left wondering whether Johnson is deliberately sabotaging the health service in order to make privatisation more acceptable; if it can’t recruit staff, then perhaps it should be handed over to private firms. The trouble with that is, private firms won’t pay any better because they’ll be busily grubbing for profits for their shareholders and they won’t provide the service the NHS offers because most people simply won’t be able to afford their prices. So the economy will suffer a much greater downturn as increasing numbers of people fall into illnesses from which they simply won’t be able to get up.”

    Sivier warns “It is economic idiocy. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s Mr Murphy” he says providing the latest Murphy Video for our viewing. He admits that there is “One part of the clip that I don’t understand is where he says the NHS is perceived to be free. It isn’t and never has been. Originally, the cost of the service was said to be paid by National Insurance. Nowadays I think that is not true, or certainly not as true as in the past. Much of the cost is now said to come from general taxation (although we know that tax doesn’t actually work like that; the money taken back by the government is more correctly said to be recycled into use to pay for the NHS). Either way, the NHS is at least partially supported with payments from the general public. It isn’t free and never has been. Isn’t it funny how that disappears from the minds of politicians whenever it becomes convenient?”

    In the London Economic Article entitled “NHS: Government’s own impact assessment shows 1% would hit BAME and Women workers hardest” Joe Mellor says that “This damning document proves that this paltry offer would hit the living standards of women workers and minority groups hardest. What is more, it proves that Ministers knew this and went ahead anyway. 80 per cent of workers affected by the NHS 1 per cent pay recommendation are women, according to the Treasury’s public sector pay Equality Impact Assessment released by GMB Union. It comes as a senior Government minister has said he hopes NHS staff will be given an ‘appropriate’ pay rise this year. The Government is facing a furious outcry after calling for a headline increase of just 1 per cent in its submission last week to the NHS pay review body. Ministers have argued that it was all that could be afforded following the massive hit to the public finances caused by the pandemic at a time when most public sector workers were facing a pay freeze.”

    Mellor reports that “Justice Secretary Robert Buckland appeared to strike a more conciliatory note, saying that the submission to the pay review body was only the ‘beginning of a process’. ‘The final recommendations have not yet been made,’ he told BBC Breakfast. ‘We have got to remember that in large other swathes of the public sector there will be a pay freeze save for the lowest paid. I don’t think at the moment we are at the end of this process. I think that we need to see what the recommendations are, and I very much hope that the outcome, whilst it might not be an outcome in these difficult circumstances that will result in pay rises that everybody would want to see, that the work that has been done by NHS workers will be recognised in a way that is appropriate, bearing in mind the constraints we are all under. ‘It is not for me to start to prejudge what the outcome of the negotiations is. I am simply pointing out that we are at the beginning of that process and we will have to see what the recommendations are.”

    According to Mellor “A Treasury Equality Impact Assessment seen by Ministers found that their policies on NHS pay would disproportionately affect women and BAME workers, new documents reveal. The news comes against a backdrop of growing anger against the Government’s 1 per cent pay recommendation for NHS workers in England after a year of the coronavirus pandemic. The paper, which was compiled by civil servants in November for the Comprehensive Spending Review, was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, is being released by GMB Union which represents NHS workers. According to the assessment, ‘women are relatively overrepresented in the NHS workforce compared to the [wider] public sector.’ 80 per cent NHS workers are women, the analysis found.”

    Mellor reports that “Almost a quarter (23 per cent) of NHS workers are members of an ethnic minority, the Treasury said. The Equality Impact Assessment said that ‘Asian and Asian British workers are relatively overrepresented in the NHS workforce when compared to the [wider] public sector. In particularly, 8% of the NHS workforce identify as Asian or Asian British whereas only 1% of the public sector identify as Asian or Asian British. In addition, there is a smaller proportion of individuals that identify as White in the NHS workforce relative to the [wider] public sector.”’ He says that “the 1 per cent recommendation, which would be a pay cut in real terms, contradicts a statement in the Treasury’s internal document that the Government would ‘exclude all members of the NHS workforce from public sector pay restraint’.” This is the reality of the hidden Tory Government agenda of ‘Decimating Down!’

    Mellor notes that “Inflation this year is projected at 1.5 per cent (CPI) or 2.5 per cent (RPI) by the Office for Budgetary Responsibility. The Treasury said that it had not been able to assess whether its pay policies would have a disproportionate impact on the characteristics of ‘marital status, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and maternity,’ which are protected under the Equality Act. Despite these limitations, the Equality Impact Assessment concluded that ‘the government does not consider that the implementation of public sector pay restraint over the spending review period will result in any unjustified differential impact.’
    The Treasury was criticised in November by the Women’s Budget Group for failing to carry out meaningful impact assessments, who said that ‘women and minority groups have experienced the worst impacts of the pandemic, in part due to the failure to do proper EIAs [Equality Impact Assessments]’.”

    Mellor reports that “Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: ‘The Government must U-turn on its disgraceful plan to impose a real-terms pay cut on NHS workers. This damning document proves that this paltry offer would hit the living standards of women workers and minority groups hardest. What is more, it proves that Ministers knew this and went ahead anyway. Our NHS workers have risked everything to keep us safe during the coronavirus outbreak, now they deserve a real pay rise after a decade of austerity and real terms cuts to pay. Many of our members are struggling to make ends meet. Ministers should do the decent thing and mark the week of International Women’s Day by changing course and setting out plans for a real pay rise for all NHS workers.” We must aggressively contest the Tory deceitful ‘lev…up’ lie by totally removing this Fake News myth from all public discourse.

    In the London Economic Article entitled “‘Spineless’ Matt Hancock fails to face MPs over 1% NHS pay rise proposal” Joe Mellor points out that “A Junior Minister was sent instead… Health Secretary Matt Hancock has swerved questions from MPs over the recommendation to give NHS workers in England a 1% pay rise. Junior health minister Helen Whately was sent in his place to respond to an urgent question from Labour. Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth had demanded Mr Hancock appear in the House of Commons to make a statement on the recommendations. Peter Stefanovic Tweeted: ‘Spineless Health Secretary Matt Hancock hasn’t even bothered to turn up to answer urgent questions today on NHS pay, sending Social Care Minister Helen Whately instead.’ He said: ‘I am grateful for the minister (Ms Whately), but where is the Secretary of State? Why isn’t the Secretary of State here to defend a Budget that puts up tax for hard-working family and cuts pay for hard-working nurses?”

    Mellor stressed the points raised “The Secretary of State has stood at that despatch box repeatedly waxing lyrical, describing NHS staff as heroes, saying they are the very best of us, and now he is cutting nurses’ pay. Last summer, when asked by Andrew Marr if nurses deserved a real-terms pay rise, he replied, ‘well, of course, I want to see people properly rewarded, absolutely’ and yet now he is cutting nurses’ pay.’ Ahead of the urgent question, Downing Street declined to rule out a one-off bonus for NHS workers amid continued anger over the pay recommendation. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We have been clear that we think the 1% pay rise is what is affordable. I’m not going to comment on speculation. We’ve set out what we think is affordable, it’s now for the pay review body to look at that and look at the other evidence and come forward with their recommendation.” Of course ‘affordability’ is contingent on the public continuing to believe in the deliberate Tory lie that the UK is in debt to the tune of £300Bn!

    Meanwhile that precious, heavily guarded, ‘Magic Money Tree’ is being carefully nurtured in the plush garden of Number 10! Forget Quantitive Easing to inject cash into circulation for the benefit of everyone in the UK; the PM has a few political favours to pay off. But, in typical despotic fashion, new PR frills are necessary to increase the naked narcissist Emporer’s personal aggrandizement; plus his supreme status demands lavishly increased opulence and comfort for his ‘love nest’ with Carrie. At Vox Political online Mike Sivier remarked “After £2.6m ‘TV studio’, Johnson’s £9m ‘situation room’ is adding insult to injury! Seriously? Some prime ministers would have taken the hint after a £2.6 million TV studio attracted flak, first as a white elephant vanity project that was built only to gather dust, and then when it was announced alongside a meagre one per cent pay rise for NHS staff. Not Boris Johnson!”

    Sivier reports that the PM “…has decided to announce a further £9 million ‘situation room’ to be used as a command centre during emergencies like terror attacks and disease epidemics. What’s wrong with Cabinet Office Briefing Room ‘A,’ the eponymous ‘COBRA’? That is, what’s wrong with it apart from the fact that Johnson seems allergic to the place? It took months for anybody to entice him into it when the Covid-19 pandemic first struck. But here’s a thing: There’s no reason to believe Johnson will darken the doors of this new facility, should an emergency occur. He’s far more likely to run away again like the coward he is. This is money for old rope, far better spent on developments the UK needs. This is not the time for Johnson’s over-expensive vanity projects. Someone should have the guts to tell him.” Instead the BBC are hyping-up ‘Boris’s Burrow,’ another costly, hair-brained scheme for connecting Ireland to the mainland via a minefield! Well, there’s a lot more space to hide in a tunnel than an industrial size fridge!

    As the debate over this contentious pay issue heats up the public are even more outraged by a really disgusting display of ‘Nasty Party’ meanness from one hereditary Tory peer, who demonstrated just how much the wealthy elite detest allowing the meagrest crumbs of well earned compensation to fall from their bulging banquet table of obscene neocon profiteering. In another London Economic Article entitled “Hereditary Tory peer claims nurses have ‘enviable’ job security amid pay backlash’ Henry Goodwin highlighted the fact that ‘Health minister Lord Bethell, who is entitled to sit in the House of Lords until his death, defended the pay proposal, blasted as ‘paltry’ by health unions, because NHS workers have ‘secure jobs’. A hereditary Tory peer has defended the government’s planned 1 per cent pay rise for the NHS by claiming that nurses have job security that many would ‘envy’.”

    Goodwin elaborates on just who this ‘Lord’ is “A former journalist, nightclub owner and Conservative donor, James Bethell the 5th Baron Bethell joined the House of Lords in 2018, after successfully contesting a hereditary peers’ by-election. Legislation removed all but 92 hereditary peers in 1999. Vacancies that result from death, retirement or resignation are now filled through a so-called by-election. In an electorate of 47, Lord Bethell won with 26 votes. Despite taking an unpaid ministerial role, Lord Bethell can claim more than £300 in allowances for attending the House, and can also claim travel expenses and subsidised restaurant deals. Defending the 1 per cent figure, he said: ‘There are millions of people out of work out of the back of this pandemic. There are lots of people who have had an extremely tough time and who face a period of unemployment.”

    Goodwin reported that Lord Bethel had continued his attack by saying “’Nurses are well-paid for the job. They have a secure job and they have other benefits. There are many people in this country who look upon professional jobs within the NHS with some envy and we shouldn’t forget the fact that some public sector jobs are, in fact, extremely well-paid.’ Lord McNicol of West Kilbride, Labour’s former general secretary, responded: ‘Government ministers have time and time again stated that supporting nurses is a top priority, but as unions have pointed out an offer that amounts to £3.50 a week looks more like a kick in the teeth than a top priority. ‘Nurses and other healthcare professionals have had to work in some of the most difficult, demanding and dangerous circumstances and they have done so with astonishing care, compassion and commitment. ‘The government has got this badly wrong and I urge them to reconsider their meagre, miserly, measly 1 per cent’.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “NHS worker fined £10,000 for organising protest against 1% pay rise,” they exposed the shocking news that “Police have fined the organiser of a nurses’ protest in Manchester £10,000 after shutting down the demonstration against the NHS pay rise. The protesters gathered in Manchester city centre on 7 March said officers told them they would be fined for violating coronavirus (Covid-19) restrictions if they didn’t leave. Unison maintained that the protest, against the government’s 1% pay rise for NHS staff, was safe and socially distanced. Police said about 40 people attended the demonstration in the centre of Manchester, organised by a 61-year-old NHS worker. Another NHS worker, 65, was arrested after initially refusing to leave or provide details when police broke up the demonstration. She was later de-arrested and fined £200.”

    The Canary report that “As protesters were told to leave, mental health worker and Unison rep Karen Reissmann addressed the demonstrators: Unfortunately the police have told us we can’t proceed with this despite what’s going on in the health service.
    We’ve been told we will not be able to go ahead with this, I’ll be fined and reported to my employer and disciplined and people here will be fined as well, so we will therefore be shutting it down. I think we’ve made the point we wanted to make, we sent a message to the government. I think it’s outrageous that somehow this is deemed illegal when the size of the crowd here will be ten times bigger in hundreds and thousands of schools tomorrow morning. This isn’t about safety, this is about the government trying to stamp down on protest which I think is a dying shame. The health service will lose out. 1% pay rise. There has been widespread outrage over the Department of Health and Social Care’s recommendation that NHS staff receive only a 1% pay rise.”

    The Canary report that “NHS Providers said the long-term funding plan for the NHS, set out by the government, had assumed a pay rise of 2.1% for 2021-22. The Royal College of Nursing is supporting members who want to strike following the pay rise. It has set up at £35m industrial action fund. Unison has also urged people to protest outside their houses on 11 March at 8pm by doing a slow clap. Labour has argued the pay rise amounts to a ‘real terms cut’, and some Conservative backbenchers have also criticised the proposal. Public gatherings have been banned under lockdown restrictions, but some have raised concerns that the right to protest may be under threat as the UK returns to normal. According to Netpol, the government is seeking to amend the Public Order Act in 2021” Under cover of Covid the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship want to introduce their ‘new norma’ of authoritarian oppression that will remain in place for the foreseeable future under one excuse or another: we must not allow this to happen.

    The Canary warns that “Netpol said the proposed changes could lead to increased police powers to control protests. It called for the protection of the right to protest, citing evidence from 25 campaign groups that were overwhelmingly in favour of stronger protections on protests.” The police can easily move in and make arrests at small protests, but when the outrage over Government corruption reaches a fever pitch of civil unrest and we all take to the streets on mass the police will require army backup to enforce the authoritarian power of the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. We should have challenged and demanded full Investigation of the unfathomable result in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; that success just emboldened the Tories to increase the level of corrupt profiteering and squandering of public funds. There’s more than enough evidence of corruption to remove the Tories from office but we must summon the courage to fight back, protest and challenge them in Court or we will not rescue our democracy for decades! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68821 Reply
    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!

    #68849 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    The Tory decision to sneak in derisory 1% pay rise for the Nursing staff that have done so much to save lives during the pandemic, even putting their own lives at risk, has seriously enraged people right across the UK as it is so offensive. However, the thing that we must maintain a laser-like focus on, is debunking the lie that there is a massive £300Bn debt to pay back: Richard Murphy’s Video helps tear down this crippling myth. Meanwhile the biased BBC and mainstream Media are peddling the Tories callous Fake News, created to help justify a new wave of rebranded austerity that as usual will target the working poor and the most vulnerable. In the Canary Article entitled “Don’t hate HMRC staff over their 13% pay rise,” they warn of the classic ‘divide and conquer’ tactic being used to turn anger towards each other, detracting from real issue of deliberate inequality perpetrated by our Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. They say “People have been reacting to the news that the government is giving some HMRC staff a pay rise.”

    The Canary say “Understandably, they’ve been making comparisons to NHS staff’s 1% increase. But as some people have said on social media, we shouldn’t begrudge HMRC staff a decent raise.” They analyzed the fact “That 13% HMRC pay rise,” noting that “The FDA is the trade union for ‘professionals and managers in public service’. It recently wrote about the government pay deal for some HMRC staff. The FDA said that talks on this pay deal started in July 2020 and now the government and trade unions have reached a deal. The FDA said this was: a three-year deal giving an average pay award of 13% across the term. A 3% increase would be awarded in March 2021 (backdated to June 2020), followed by a 5% increase in June 2021 and a 5% increase in June 2022. It wasn’t just the FDA which was involved. Other bodies such as the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union were too.”

    The Canary highlighted that “Some people on social media are upset about it. This is because the Tories are only giving NHS staff 1%.” Rachael Swindon Tweeted: “How on Earth can the government justify a 13% pay rise for HMRC staff while insulting NHS staff with a derisory 1%? And how comes hardly anyone knows about the 13% increase? Sneaky and callous.” Labour Front Tweeted: “HMRC staff receiving a 13% pay rise Anyone else a bit annoyed that NHS staff only got a 1% increase?” But they said “People also made important points. Lina said: I don’t think the argument should be that HMRC staff aren’t deserving of pay raises, but nurses are, it should be give them both pay rises.” Another user, Kaine Milner pointed out: “I think what people are getting at is that HMRC staff aren’t on the front line, in crowded COVID wards, doing 18-hour shifts day after day with very limited PPE. Especially in the first wave when a lot less was known about the virus. NHS should have 13% pay rise and HMRC 1%.”

    Danny responding in HMRC’s defense Tweeted: “HMRC payrise has nothing to do with the pandemic it’s to correct 10 years of pay freezes and is coming from existing HMRC budget so is not costing the govt any additional money. It’s also over 3 years. 3% backdated to 2020. 5% 2021. 5% 2023. Really not a big rise when broken down.” But that is the “Divide and conquer” point the Canary are trying to have us recognize saying “Moreover, people pointed out that it plays into the Tories’ divide and conquer agenda, among other things.” Katy Tweeted: “Perhaps an ulterior motive of the government’s 1% pay rise for NHS staff and 13% for HMRC staff is to play the politics of divide and conquer so that the NHS will be easier to privatize.” Responding to Lina’s point re: “…give them both pay rises,” Old Git Tweeted: “This is the game. Treat people with varying degrees of unfairness, and encourage them to resent each other for it.” “Of course, in reality most public sector staff have seen their real-term pay take a hit since 2010.”

    The Canary say that “As Unison pointed out, the cost of living (inflation) in the last decade rose by 35.6%. It noted that: The average public sector worker has seen an even steeper 14% decline in the value of their wages. For the public sector worker who has not benefited from any incremental progression in their pay, the cut has been 18%, leaving their 2020 wage over £6,800 down on the value of their earnings in 2009 and the accumulated loss from their wage failing to keep pace with inflation each year standing at over £53,307. So, HMRC staff’s 13% rise across three years barely makes up for a lost decade.” They say “Meanwhile, as one Twitter user said, the situation for nurses is dire.” Tory Fibs Tweeted: “Nurses’ Pay: • Given £3.50 a week rise in pay • But a £1.76 a week rise in tax from Apr 2022 • Inflation to rise by £7.00 a week By next April, nurses will be £5.26 a week worse off. A real terms deduction of £270 from their wages.”

    The Canary insists “Let’s not forget the ‘inadequate’ £20 Universal Credit uplift. Nor must we ignore the millions of legacy benefit claimants who haven’t got any increase at all. The number of households living in destitution more than doubled in 2020. But never mind.” They emphasize the stark contrast at the elite end of the scale saying “Because while all this was going on, Boris Johnson’s former aide Dominic Cummings got a 40% pay rise in 2020. And MPs, meanwhile, got an ‘inflation-busting 3.1% pay rise, bringing their annual salary close to an eye-watering £82k. So we shouldn’t be angry at other workers earning more money. Our anger should be directed at a system and its gatekeepers which allow so many people to live in poverty in the first place. HMRC staff getting scraps off the Tories’ table is the thin end of the wage crisis wedge.”

    The Good Law Project just sent me this informative email concerning the latest scam in the ongoing Tory Government corruption it said that: “Buried in the small print of last week’s Budget is what looks like an attack on yet another core constitutional principle: that public money should not be misappropriated to private ends, here the ends of the Conservative Party. What Rishi Sunak said was that he was going to spend the vast sum of £4.8bn on “redrawing the economic map” through a ‘Levelling Up Fund.’ But the evidence suggests much of that money is instead going to redrawing the political map: prosperous areas with Conservative MPs are being prioritized over struggling areas with Labour MPs. Analysis carried out by the Financial Times revealed that Conservative areas were consistently pushed up the queue for money and Labour voting areas pushed down the list. Diane Coyle, the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at Cambridge University, described the bias in favour of Tory seats as ‘pretty blatant really’.”

    “Although the Treasury promised it would show its workings they have yet to be published. Professor Coyle was, once again, pretty scathing: ‘I am sure there are civil servants trying to retrofit the methodology to justify the rankings as we speak.’ This is pork-barrel politics on a grand scale. £4.8bn is more than enough to give our 670,000 nurses a pay rise of 25% rather than the meager below-inflation 1% offered to them. We are deeply unhappy at this and have instructed Bindmans LLP, backed by a team of public law Counsel and a leading academic, to write to the Treasury, demanding it makes good on its promise to show its workings. If those workings reveal, as independent analysis suggests, a misuse of public money to benefit the Conservative Party we will issue proceedings without delay. Thank you, Jolyon Maugham Director of Good Law Project.”

    It is important to let that shocking ratio they highlighted sink in: public funds to pay for Tory gerrymandering are enough to secure a 25% pay rise for all NHS Nurses! But who else has been excluded from Sunak support packages and more importantly, why were they abandoned? In the Canary Article entitled “Rishi Sunak just made a shocking DWP admission,” they draw our attention to his massive blunder saying “Rishi Sunak just made perhaps the most damning admission of the 2021 Budget. His comment was about the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift. And it actually exposed why he and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) haven’t done the same for legacy benefits. In short, workers are worthy of extra money. Sick and disabled people are not. Campaigner and financial journalist Martin Lewis interviewed Sunak on the Thursday 4 March edition of Lewis’s ITV Money Show. The host was putting the public’s questions to Sunak. And during the show, the question of the DWP £20 Universal Credit uplift came up.”

    “The Canary reported that in his Budget, the chancellor said the uplift was staying until September. But as we noted: Some people still claim so-called ‘legacy benefits’. These include Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).” They noted that “The government has not increased their social security payments in line with the Universal Credit/Working Tax Credits uplift. The Oldham Times reported there are 2.2 million legacy benefit claimants, and that ‘three-quarters of these are disabled people’. On the Money Show Lewis read out a question on this. And Sunak’s answer was damning. Lewis said that Clare asked: I’m [a] shielding adult; disabled son for nearly a year; huge extra expenses due to Covid. Why have people who are on legacy disability benefits… not been included in the extra £20 a week [uplift].” It was a valid point that many people fail to understand.

    The Canary highlight the fact that “Sunak made it very clear why he and the DWP had not uplifted legacy benefits. He said: The original rationale for doing the temporary uplift in Universal Credit [UC] was to help… people in work but on lower incomes, whose incomes were going to be affected by the crisis. And it’s UC and Working Tax Credit that are the benefits that capture the vast, vast, vast majority if not all of those people.” However they point out that “What he said is not true. First, under ESA people can do permitted work. This is where they can work up to 16 hours a week and earn up to £140. Also, some people aren’t on legacy benefits, but they still claim social security.” But they noted “Back to the Money Show. Sunak then repeated his line on workers: The intervention for UC was to help those in work.”

    “Destitute and disabled? Move to ‘UC’,” the Canary try to decipher Sunak’s warped logic, “In other words, the Tories think sick and disabled people don’t need extra money due to the pandemic. But campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) said this is not true. For example, sick and disabled people have needed things like extra PPE and help with the costs of food deliveries. So, as DPAC said: disabled people’s unavoidable expenditure has sharply risen as a direct result of the pandemic. So, what if you’re sick and disabled, on DWP legacy benefits and are destitute? Sunak’s answer was: it is also possible for those that can… [to] transition to UC. But as Jules Pick tweeted: #MartinLewis #RishiSunak wants disabled people on legacy benefits to move to UC to receive the uplift. But they will eventually lose their severe disability premiums, will end up significantly worse off on UC, £80 a week. There’s been zero extra help for those on legacy benefits.”

    The Canary accuse Tories of creating “A two-tier welfare state,” saying “Here’s the thing. Sunak said before that the £20 uplift was for ‘low-income households’. So, his admission that the extra money was actually for ‘workers’ is revealing. Because it makes clear that the Tories still think sick and disabled people are ‘second-class citizens. As Rosina Cantaldo tweeted: ‘It’s blindingly obvious this government don’t give two shits about the economically inactive severe disabled. The decision to NOT uplift legacy benefits along with UC is clear evidence. Sunak even looked like he was relishing the refusal.”

    But the Canary point out “this is not new. Entrenching a ‘human catastrophe’ In 2016, the UN accused successive UK, Tory-led governments and the DWP of ‘grave’ and ‘systematic’ violations of sick and disabled people’s human rights. The chair of the investigating committee went further. She accused them of creating a ‘human catastrophe’ for sick and disabled people. She also said the situation in the UK had become ‘life-threatening’ for many. Nothing has changed. In fact, Tory contempt for sick and disabled people is now entrenched. It was already violating their most basic human rights. And now, during a global crisis, it has made the ‘human catastrophe’ even worse. Sunak implying workers are more worthy of financial support than sick and disabled people is the thin end of the wedge. Over a decade of human rights abuses has led to this point.”

    The ruthless Tory targeting of the disabled is the focus of another Canary Article entitled “DWP horror stories have come to light on Twitter” they expose the massive flaws in what is left of our denuded, chronically failing ‘Social Safety Net.’ They say that “A doctor shared his experience of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Twitter. But he may not have expected the response he got. Because it led to other professionals telling their horror stories of the UK’s social security system. Dr Adrian Heald is a specialist doctor and a vocal campaigner on the NHS and social issues. And he recently turned his attention to the DWP, which has hit the headlines throughout the pandemic. Not least because of the issue of the £20 a week Universal Credit uplift.”

    “The Canary recently reported on chancellor Rishi Sunak’s comments about this. Sunak said that the uplift was designed for ‘workers’. So you could read his comment as meaning that him and the DWP think sick and disabled people are second class citizens.” They say “Judging by the story Heald shared, Sunak’s thinking is par for the course. Heald tweeted that: I remember calling the DWP as a patient had to come in due to an emergency, somebody without a medical degree told me ‘If he is well enough to go to the hospital and see a Dr, he is well enough to come in’ – my jaw dropped, I was outraged – Dr Adrian Heald (@DrAdrianHeald) Heald’s tweet seemed to hit home with a lot of people because others were sharing their stories.”

    The Canary say that “Some people had supported claimants. Belinda Walker said: I had the misfortune of contacting DWP for a man who lost the ability to write following a stroke. They did not believe it possible and flatly contradicted me. I am Neuro Specialist Speech and Language Therapist with 26 years experience. She still insisted she knew more than me. Another person said: I have had DWP “assessors” question a patient’s diagnosis with absolutely no medical background at all. This was face to face with me supporting the patient because their PTSD was so bad. Claimants and their friends also shared their experiences. JEA Bell said:
    I felt hounded back to work after a brain tumor. After my SSP [Statutory Sick Pay] finished, I had to deal with DWP, they were calling me at home, asking about my illness, it was awful. I’d never ever claimed benefits before, it was a horrible experience.”

    The Canary report that “Andrea Jane said: People without medical degrees have told me that my many invisible illnesses don’t affect my life on a daily basis, I get fed up of applying for PIP and it getting rejected. Chris said: I know someone who had their benefits stopped as they had to wear a portable heart monitor for 48 hours, they canceled their DWP appt as doc told him he must rest during these 48 hours, DWP was 2 long bus rides away, sanctioned as doc’s advise was too vague. But, sadly, these stories are nothing new,” as they expose “Systemic problems.”

    “The Canary wrote in 2017 about DWP sanctions. As it noted, examples of bad DWP decisions include: Sanctioning a man, living with learning difficulties, for not completing his job search on the computer. He hand-wrote it instead, because he did not have the IT skills to use the DWP system. Sanctioning a woman with mental health issues for missing a Jobcentre appointment. This was because her mental health prevented her from leaving the house on that day. Then there was the scandal of DWP staff asking people ‘why they hadn’t killed themselves. And there was the story of a benefit assessor asking someone when it was that they had ‘caught’ Down’s syndrome. Also, the DWP previously had to tell assessors not to ask claimants to show self-harm scars. DWP negligence and cruelty is nothing new. But it seems that after years of disastrous conduct, things have not got any better.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “’Uber is not above the law’: MEP slams UK government over failure to protect gig economy workers” they say that a “Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Leïla Chaibi is ‘astonished’ that the UK government is no longer reviewing gig economy workers’ rights following the Supreme Court decision to classify drivers as workers. The French politician, a member of the European Parliament’s committee on employment and social affairs, said: Uber is not above the law and must respect Lord Leggatt’s judgment. The UK Government should now legislate and enforce the ruling made by the Supreme Court. It is important that the ruling is upheld in practice. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is now panicking and has wrongfully claimed that it is not possible to hire drivers as workers on permanent contracts.” Sadly, the people of this country were tricked into abolishing the ‘interference from the EU when they voted for Brexit: so we begin that ‘Nantucket sleigh ride’ to the bottom!

    The Canary explain that “Chaibi is a member of the democratic socialist La France Insoumise party. In November 2020, she submitted a draft proposal for a Directive on the legislation of gig economy workers across Europe. And the European Commission started consultations in February. However, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy scrapped a review on plans to cut critical rights and protections for workers. And there’s no mention of such a review by the Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform (TIGRR) either.”

    The Canary report that “Andy McDonald, Labour’s shadow secretary of state for employment rights and protections, said: The Government must legislate to bring protection and security to all those in the gig economy. Uber should enforce the ruling of the Supreme Court and recognize that its drivers are workers rather than attempting to dodge the ruling by interpreting it in a way so that it applies to a tiny minority of its drivers, forcing other drivers to litigate for their rights. The government refused to answer Written Parliamentary Questions on whether the slashing of workers’ rights previously being considered by BEIS was within the scope of TIGGR to review.” The Tories have proven that they have no respect for UK or international law; criticism from the EU and the UN is ignored and our Judicial system is coming under attack. While we still have recourse to justice through our Courts, we must protest, challenge and scrutinize, to include demanding a robust Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result.

    The EU has progressive Socialist thinkers to champion workers’ rights, but they are unable to help our workers here in the UK now that we have officially left the block. Our only hope is that the EU might challenge the decimation of UK workers rights and the blatant exploitation for profiteering as an unfair trade advantage and threaten the rudimentary abysmal Brexit ‘deal’ they struck with us since the UK has already started unilaterally violating the terms that were agreed. The Canary say that “Chaibi ‘welcomes’ the ‘Recover and Rebuild: Power in the Workplace’ taskforce, which formed in February. Spearheaded by McDonald, the taskforce aims to shape a new deal for workers and develop Labour’s agenda on workplace rights. Chaibi is ‘optimistic’ about the European Commission’s proposal which should be available by the end of 2021. However, she’s skeptical of whether this will translate into legislation, citing the example of the corporate lobby in California paying “$200 million to cancel the AB5 law”.

    Alarmingly the Canary report that “Uber has spent over 800k Euro on lobbying in Europe in 2019, and it’s held 71 meetings with the European Commission since 2014, most recently in January 2021. Meetings may have been held with lower-level staff, but such information is not published by the European Commission.” But Uber is far from the only ruthless exploiter in the UK’s rapidly expanding gig economy with more workers being switched onto Zero-hours contracts all the time. There are ominous new avenues opening up for the Tory elite to accelerate that lucrative race to the bottom; the latest trick unscrupulous employers are going for is ‘Fire and Rehire. Worse still the Tories much-touted ‘Freeports’ will create deregulated havens for worker exploitation and abuse. This will only continue if we passively accept each new injustice without protest. Reject the Fake News excuse about paying down a non-existent £300Bn debt: we must derail this Sovereign Tory Dictatorship ASAP or have their boot on our necks for decades!
    DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68858 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Oh please don’t ‘Nix Nish!’ His satirical political mish-mash brings a glimmer of frivolity as we combat the wall to wall propaganda spewed out day after ay by the Tory mouthpiece that used to be our unbiased BBC public broadcaster. The Covid crisis has been grossly manipulated to provide the Tories with a daily PR spin Party Political broadcast, where there is no opposition right of reply, and awkward press questions are ignored or rebutted with more Government lies. The relief that Nish’s mish-mash provides is vital to our mental health. I’m not a big fan of bland English food, but I do love ‘bangers and mash:’ food of the proletariat! The Beeb now firmly under Tory control, they want to remove our progressive Socialist mish-mash to force-feed us more Tory type from old ‘bangers and bigots.’ As the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship course us into more austerity belt-tightening, we can do without this worthless fascist fodder. The Mash Report has a following, so don’t despair Nish, we must make space for you on ‘Socialist Telly!’

    Mike Sivier coments in his Vox Political Article entitled “‘Left-wing’ Mash Report axed by BBC to make way for ‘new comedy’. It won’t be funny!” He calls out the BBC as “Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: I know this image refers specifically to BBC News. It seems with the arrival of ‘Tory Tim’ Davie, the Corporation’s right-wing bias is spreading to its comedy output. Look out, drama and documentaries! The BBC has axed Nish Kumar satire show The Mash Report on the grounds that it was biased toward the political left. Director General ‘Tory Tim’ Davie at first said he would not make big changes to the corporation’s comedy output, saying that comedy had always ‘poked at authority’. He seems to have changed his mind.”

    Sivier says “Of course, ‘ory Tim’ is at a bit of a disadvantage when referring to political bias, since it is widely understood that he owes his position to Tory intervention. James O’Brien Tweeted: “The Mash Report, a comedy program critical of the government has been axed by the state broadcaster, reportedly for political reasons, and at the behest of a director general appointed by the government. Finally, a stone-cold example of what ‘cancel culture’ looks like.”

    According to Sivier “Mash had been a target for right-wing commentators since 2018, when Andrew Neil singled it out while complaining that the corporation’s comedy output was too left-wing. Neil is, of course, chair of that ultra-right-wing publication The Spectator, so he’s a fine one to complain about bias! Asked for a comment on Twitter, Nish Kumar responded with this: A lot of people are asking me for a comment and here it is: ‘Boris Johnson is a Liar and a Racist’.” I am Listening Tweeted the reply: “Woke is good. There really is no culture war, just the Tory distract don’t act agenda. They hope to distract us from their world-beating worst death toll. The Tory regime like their freedom to speak but don’t think anyone else should have that right unless you agree with them.” They picture Boris Johnson as “The worst possible Prime Minister of the worst possible Government at the worst possible time” – adjacent to the book ‘George Orwell 1984!’ Was this something he wasn’t allowed to do on the televised show, and he was taking the opportunity now?”

    Meanwhile, let’s have a look at the kind of bias supported by a show with similar ratings to The Mash Report. I refer to Question Time. This is an actual question from the March 11 edition: “Do the panel believe that NHS staff deserve more than a 1% pay rise when they have had secure jobs and incomes throughout the pandemic unlike so many others.” This was an “Audience Question” as posed by a Surgeon who was content to see NHS staff shafted again. I feel compelled to share a little Operating Theatre secret: When a Surgeon is rude, abusive or screams at OR staff, his Scrub Nurse or Surgical Tech can easily signal disapproval by adopting the ‘painful pass.’ Instead of placing the required instrument firmly into the Surgeon’s hand with a gently positive tap, it’s delivered with a painful whack that really smarts. No this isn’t done where it can put anyone at risk, but Surgeons soon learn to become team players and treat other staff with respect; I think this selfish, ‘I’m all right Jack’ Surgeon might regret his very public arrogance!

    Returning to Sivier, he says “Do I need to spell out the wrongness of the question and the thinking behind it?” Few Question Time guests were in agreement and most revealed the very long hours staff have worked, overwhelmed by the abysmal support they got from the Government during this highly demanding situation. I think they should receive a decent pay rise of between 3.5 – 5% plus a one-off £1200 bonus towards a well-deserved family holiday. But, the Tory Minister was true to form, trying to reinforce the ‘can’t afford more – huge £300Bn debt to pay back’ lie at a time when this rabid Government wants to spring for an £80Bn Military spend! But where did the BBC manage to dredge up this freak Tory enabling Surgeon to diminish the sacrifice made by so many of his colleagues? He must hold a highly-paid and privileged position in a private healthcare facility, probably perfecting boob jobs for the rich and famous, where he might be spared the ‘painful pass’ treatment. Shame as it might have done him some good.

    Sivier comments “This Writer certainly wishes Kumar, and co-presenter Rachel Parris, a brighter future beyond the Beeb. As for the corporation’s new comedy output: I look forward to seeing the new wave of diversity heralded by ‘Tory Tim’. Looking at comedy history, I think we’re about to be deluged with right-wing material that simply isn’t funny.” Sivier isn’t the only one to voice dismay as Joe Lo voices disgust in the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “Tory BBC boss axes satire show over criticism of the government.” Lo reminds us “The BBC Director-General is a former Tory council candidate,” saying that the “BBC Director-General and former Conservative Party activist Tim Davie has scrapped ‘The Mash Report’, reportedly because he thinks it criticised the government too much. The Sun reports that ‘sources close’ to Tim Davie told them the BBC’s satire needed a radical overhaul as it was too biased against the Tories and Brexit.”

    Lo reports that “Davie was deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party in the 1990’s. Since then, he has remained friends with Stephen Greenhalgh, who was then a councillor and is now a government minister and ally of Boris Johnson from his Mayoral days. He was appointed BBC Director-General in June 2020 and there were soon reports that he would take on BBC comedy’s perceived left-wing bias. Publicly, he has dismissed these allegations as ‘nonsense’ and ‘ridiculous’. The Mash Report is fronted by comedian Nish Kumar, whose jokes are usually aimed at the government.” However. Lo points out that “It also features conservative commentator Geoff Norcott, whose segments took aim at targets like left-wing protestors, students, virtue-signalling brands and the Labour Party.”

    Lo says that “While several comedians said this decision was an example of cancel culture, right-wingers celebrated the decision to axe the show. The decision raises fears that Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and Have I Got News for You could also be scrapped. A spokesperson for the BBC told The Sun: ‘We are very proud of The Mash Report but in order to make room for new comedy shows we sometimes have to make difficult decisions and it won’t be returning. We would like to thank all those involved in four brilliant series and hope to work with Nish Kumar, Rachel Parris and the team in the future’.” But can we still rescue ‘Antie’? The Canary Article entitled “BBC attempts to ‘modernise’ leads to all-white news board” delivers more bad news.

    “As part of our #FactOfTheMatter series, The Canary can show that the BBC has appointed an all-white News Board. Director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth appointed the new board as part of the BBCs plan to ‘modernise’ the organisation. Not only does this break the BBC‘s own policy on representing ethnic minorities, but the BBC won’t admit to any wrongdoing. In fact, it claims it’s not broken any policy because two are only ‘acting’ members. A source at BBC News sent The Canary the image below of the new board as they were concerned with its lack of diversity. We understand why” from the picture “Introducing the ‘modern’ BBC,” the new cast of characters is totally devoid of ethnic diversity.

    The Canary report that “Unsworth has cut the number of board positions from 11 to eight, and in the process removed one of two BAME representatives at the time. Former editorial director Kamal Ahmed was made redundant in the restructure and as a result the board is not represented by anyone from communities of colour. Staff questioned whether ethnicity stopped their progression
    The BBC‘s own report into its diversity found that not only was there a lack of representation of BAME employees, but that staff questioned whether their ethnicity was the reason they hadn’t progressed.”

    The Canary say “The report found: The absence of a robust and targeted programme to track and progress high potential BAME talent across the business. A comprehensive and detailed leadership Development and training programme that fully supports the progression of BAME talent. An inconsistent approach across the BBC’s policy and procedures, which permits non-compliance, without compliance, action cannot be taken. Action needs to be taken to ensure greater accountability and to tackle perceptions of favouritism. Inconsistent approach to recruitment protocols which result in restricted pockets of excellence. In the absence of a consistent constructive and meaningful feedback system BAME employees are left questioning if their ethnicity is the real barrier to their progression.”

    The Canary point out that “The BBC broke its own policy. When the report was published, nine recommendations were made, which the BBC said that it had accepted ‘unconditionally’. The report recommended that: By the end of 2020 the executive committee and divisional senior leadership teams should each have at least two BAME members. The BBC would introduce a policy that ensures shortlists for all jobs at band E and above to include at least one BAME person. Dramatically increase BAME representation across our interview panels backed by performance monitoring. All development and leadership programmes to have significant BAME representation as part of their overall cohort. Inclusive leadership should be added to part of all leadership programmes. Accountability for Diversity and Inclusion targets and BAME career progression should be incorporated into senior leadership team objectives and progression reviews. Progress should be outlined as part of future annual reports.”

    According to the Canary other recommendations were to “Build a solid and sustainable BAME mid and senior leadership pipeline. As part of this, there should be developing programmes for candidates, backed by robust succession planning across the BBC. This should be in place by the end of the financial year. The Executive Committee should undertake a review of staff rotation to broaden the experience and knowledge base and explore what else can be done to make the BBC workforce more agile. Develop specific action plans based on further analysis of all divisions with less than 10% BAME representation or below par employee survey results including, Radio, Newsrooms, Newsgathering, English Regions and the World Service. Cultural awareness training should be compulsory for all team managers. This should be in addition to the current mandated Unconscious Bias training programme. The BBC should introduce a ‘Statement of Intent’ on Diversity and Inclusion. All staff would be required to abide by it. The statement should be published alongside the BBC’s Annual Report.”

    The Canary say that “By appointing the new board, the BBC has broken its own policy, as it doesn’t have a minimum of two BAME members, or any for that matter. The Canary contacted the BBC for comment and received the following response: The final membership of the BBC News Board has not been announced. Two out of the eight posts, a quarter, are currently vacant. The ‘vacant’ positions the BBC is referring to are acting HR director Kirsty Lee and acting senior controller, news international services Mary Hockaday. The BBC has confirmed that they’re ‘acting’ members of the board but has not confirmed if it’s actively recruiting for these roles. Because of this, it’s not clear when the BBC will be able to finalise the News Board. Regardless of whether the board has ‘acting’ members is not the point. The point is that the BBC has not only failed to implement the recommendations from its own investigation but that in the process it’s cultivating an environment that its staff are concerned about.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “Piers Morgan flounces off live broadcast after co-host calls out his Meghan Markle vendetta” the feature his childish conduct, but who is he trying to impress. They say “Piers Morgan stormed off the Good Morning Britain set this morning after presenter Alex Beresford criticised his comments about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Beresford was expressing his sympathy for the couple and the negative press they’ve endured. He said: ‘I think that we need to all take a step back and I understand that you don’t like Meghan Markle. You’ve made it so clear a number of times on this programme, a number of times. I understand that you’ve got a personal relationship with Meghan Markle, or had one, and she cut you off. She’s entitled to cut you off if she wants to. Has she said anything about you since she cut you off? I don’t think she has, but yet you continue to trash her.”

    The Canary say “At this point, Piers got up and walked out of the studio, declaring himself ‘done with this’. Beresford, in disbelief, said: Do you know what, that’s pathetic… This is absolutely diabolical behaviour. I’m sorry, but Piers spouts off on a regular basis and we all have to sit there and listen. Six-thirty to seven o’clock yesterday was incredibly hard to watch. Morgan’s display provoked an immediate online reaction criticising his behaviour.” Chris Ship Tweeted: “So @alexberesfordTV defends Meghan on @gmb and criticises @piersmorgan for what he’d said about Meghan’s mental health. Piers walks off the set. Surely Piers knows if you give it, you gotta be able to take it? He never called you diabolical until you walked off like a petulant child and that’s when he called your behaviour and absolutely rightfully ‘diabolical’ because it was!” Ash Tweeted: “You are happy to sit there and spout off but when someone gives it you back… you run off in the corner!”

    The Canary rightly point out that “Morgan has frequently criticised Markle since her engagement to Harry, to the point of some calling it an ‘obsession’. After the couple’s revealing interview with Oprah Winfrey aired, he continued the onslaught, saying: I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle, but for Harry to let her take down his family and the Monarchy like this is shameful. Markle admitted in the interview that her treatment by the royal family had at points led to suicidal thoughts. She also said a member of the family asked how ‘dark’ her son Archie’s skin would be. Morgan later suggested on GMB that the question wasn’t racist, and was told by Trisha Goddard: ‘I’m sorry Piers, you don’t get to call out what is and isn’t racism against Black people. Call out all the other stuff you want, but leave the racism stuff to us’.”

    Chris Rose Tweeted: “Regardless of your stance on Harry & Meghan, Piers Morgan who invites guests to sit there whilst he shouts over them, storming off the set after receiving a bit of criticism is pathetic.” Shaun Tweeted: “Piers Morgan walked off, just because he had to listen to the slightest scrutiny of his actions, but he also screams his head off because Harry & Meghan left the royal family after relentless abuse from the press & mistreatment from the family. Pathetic old Piers is at it again.” The Canary say that “Markle has also experienced constant criticism from the British press. The Daily Mail has already run several critical pieces about the interview. She recently won a privacy case against the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline after they published a letter she sent to her father. The constant targeted attacks on Markle by the UK media have been deemed racist by many, and Mogan’s obsession with her has only furthered this media climate.”

    Laurie Beth Tweeted “I suppose that Piers Morgan doesn’t see the irony in him getting up and leaving a situation that he feels isn’t good for him” Dr Ebun Joseph Tweeted: “Privilege on display! @piersmorgan spends hours trashing Megan a young lady, whose only crime was to fall in love with Harry & he can’t take 30 secs of gentle rebuke! We don’t have the privilege of only hearing about race, deciding it’s ‘too much and ‘be done with this’. Shameful!!” This, in response to Chris Rickett who Tweeted: “Piers Morgan just walked off the Good Morning Britain set (!!!) after co-presenter Alex Beresford defended Harry and Meghan and condemned Piers’ treatment of them in yesterday’s programming.”

    In a Canary Cartoon entitled “GMB leaks Piers Morgan replacement shortlist! The Image description says: This cartoon begins with the text title…” Then “Bellow that are the following list of names: Katie Hopkins; Jim Davidson; Nigel Farage; Tommy Robinson; The reanimated corpse of Enoch Powell. Each of the names has a caricature of that person beside it.” What conclusion should we draw from Morgan’s histrionics? To me it screamed major publicity stunt in the run-up to switching channels! It really isn’t hard to imagine where Morgan is heading next and his demonstrative exit was both a trailer and a very public audition for a more lucrative role on one of the two new far-right, Fox News style TV Channels. Morgan will want both new stations to vie for a slot featuring his controversial performances; he will go for the highest bidder, the BBC and ITV are not even close to satisfying is desire to spout abuse. Morgan needed to display his most hateful and cowardly credentials to beat out the competition lining up for unbridled far-right vitriol.

    The reality is that we will have not just one, but two, hugely toxic TV News channels coming online very soon to pump out hateful rhetoric. They will stir-up more racial anti-migrant, anti-Roma, anti-ethnic diversity hate, plus increase the rampant disability and benefit discrimination, all to serve the far-right Tory ‘divide and conquer agenda that keeps the 99% subserviently impoverished, starving, homeless, destitute and in debt, desperately kept ‘in their place’ with the Tory boot of exploitation firmly stomping down on their necks! The Tory propaganda and Cunnungs’s weapons grade PsyOps were powerful enough to persuade the public that the progressive Socialist agenda of Labour was rejected in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election; we have yet to challenge and demand a full Investigation of that fake result. We need bold progressive Socialist Journalism and ‘Socialist Telly’ alternatives to debunk the Fake News of a £300Bn debt that only miraculously serves the interests of the wealthy elite. We must Get The Tories Out now! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #68908 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    In India Protests are: Persistent, Peaceful and Pervasive as farmers fight to rescue their rural livelihoods from Corporate greed. In Hongkong Protesters risk Lengthy Lockups as they ingeniously evade capture with fluid gatherings in an effort to resist a Chinese Government crackdown on democracy. In Myanmar Protests are: Life Threatening as they try to overturn military dictatorship. In France Protests are routinely: Vocal, Vigorous and Violent. While I would never advocate such violence as I believe it negates any cause and permits authorities a justification for excessive use of force, we must reclaim our right to safely protest despite Covid restrictions. We cannot accept the eradication of our right to protest in the UK where Protest is now: Prohibited, Patroled, Prosecuted and ultimately Profiteering as, like all things Tory, it disproportionately plunders from the poorest and most desperate in society. A Nurse was just fined £10,000 for organizing a protest against the 1% pay insult and now the Police have blocked a vigil.

    In the Morning Star Article entitled “We must all stand for women’s right to Reclaim These Streets,” they describe what I would call the thin end of the wedge in the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship’s prohibition on protest. They picture the outpouring of, “Flowers left by members of the public near to an area of woodland in Ashford in Kent where human remains were discovered which have been confirmed by Scotland yard as missing woman Sarah Everard.” We must condemn the fact that “Women from London to Edinburgh are being told to stay at home rather than attend Reclaim These Streets vigils in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard. Though the advice is justified with reference to public health restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic, it smacks of cynical use of these powers to prevent public protest.” If toxic Home Secretary Priti Patel can wield her power over the police to shut down a vigil of grieving women then her battle to extinguish public dissent is won as few other protests are more deserving.

    Reporting that “Scottish Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman asks that we light a candle or engage in social media in Everard’s memory, and says she will mark her own private vigil to remember the huge numbers of women who continue to lose their lives to male violence. There is a place for such observances.” But the Morning Star insists “they do not ‘reclaim these streets.” Our public spaces aren’t ‘reclaimed’ by prohibiting a public demonstration of grief! The Star note that “The thoughts of the country are on the appalling abduction and murder of a young woman, but alongside distress and compassion for Everard and her loved ones there is palpable anger. Women have already raised their voices, on social media and elsewhere, on living with the ever-present threat of male violence. On personal experiences of stalking, harassment, assault, on the oppressive and continuous need to exercise vigilance and practise avoidance strategies in a sometimes futile bid to stay safe while going about their daily lives.”

    We are in danger of allowing this alt-right Tory cabal the power to strip women of other hard-won rights. The Morning Star point out that “Women should not have to live with this, let alone risk their lives because of it. Establishment and liberal narratives depict women’s oppression as a historical phenomenon, largely resolved by universal suffrage and equalities legislation. Where inequality is statistically undeniable (as with the gender pay gap), it is usually seen as a residual problem diminishing with time (though the gender pay gap is growing), or one that can be addressed by identifying and correcting for unconscious biases to ensure more women make it into the boardroom or the Cabinet. This picture fails to address the shocking scale of sexual harassment of women and girls and statistics indicating rising violence. A rise in domestic violence has been linked to the lockdowns over the past year, though the rise in ‘intimate partner homicides’ is, of course, a rise in men killing their partners, not women killing theirs.”

    There is a marginalizing of women’s suffering, with fewer and fewer rape convictions, this violence against women is trivialized by minimizing the consequences. The Morning Star highlight “Lenient sentences such as the five years given to Anthony Williams last month for the deliberate killing of his wife Ruth in ‘an act of great violence’ condone a worldview in which men can ‘just snap’ and lash out with sustained, lethal violence, without afterwards being held fully responsible. But even before lockdown, schools were reporting sharp rises in child-on-child sexual assault, a trend almost certainly linked to universal access to online pornography. Women are right to ‘reclaim these streets’ to assert their right to be safe in public places, and to deliver this message publicly and collectively. They are right to deliver a wake-up call on the scale of the problem, the purpose of the ‘every woman you know…’ posts which have gone viral on social media in recent days, recounting universal experiences of dangerous male behaviour.”

    The Morning Star note that “Like the killing of George Floyd last May, the killing of Sarah Everard, also, it seems, by a policeman, is simultaneously a human tragedy and a common event. The oppressed, as then, are standing up. Authorities cannot be allowed to hide behind Covid safety measures to prohibit this. Demonstrations should be socially distanced and masked, but as Reclaim These Streets organiser Anna Birley points out, the planned Clapham demonstration arranged for these precautions.” These Tory dictates are highly selective regarding safety. They say “A government which fails to heed scientific advice on school returns, that is still allowing employers to require staff to travel to non-essential work and failing to provide regular testing for those who have to go to work, is not afraid that political demonstrations will spread infection. As with its crackdown on the nurses’ pay protest whose organiser, a mental health nurse, was fined £10,000 in Manchester last week, it is afraid of defiance, resistance and revolt.”

    In a previous post I wrote about the powerful impression reading Margaret Atwood’s book ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ had on me noting how a situation could be manipulated to facilitate misogynistic oppression. Referring to the plot I wrote “The really sick thing is that a national emergency created the perfect timing for a ruthless authoritarian coup to strip women of their rights and that component remains a distinct possibility right now due to the Covid Pandemic. We have already seen far-right Governments within Europe legislate to remove women’s rights. The single most powerful political weapon is to strip away the rights of half the entire population of a country and embolden the other half to express their grievances with failed Government policies by persecuting strong outspoken women; it is the ultimate divide and conquer tactic and shockingly, it is going global! Now that we have a Tory Sovereign Dictatorship in the UK, how long will it take them to weaponize Covid even further to emulate other despotic regimes?”

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “Jo Maugham QC: This dangerous new Conservative bill threatens the right to protest,” Jolyon Maugham, who is the Director of Good Law Project said “This week the government announced its intention to legislate the right to protest out of meaningful existence. Other than at a General Election, an event occurring at five-yearly intervals that hands unconstrained power to a Party that wins a majority, a citizen has but one way of registering dissent at what is done in their name: the right to protest. Yesterday the government announced its intention to legislate that right out of meaningful existence. The legislative proposal comes in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021. It grapples with everything from road traffic offences to confected culture war issues like the protection of war memorials. But it also contains provisions that should concern each and every one of us.”

    QC Maugham points out that “High-profile protests around Brexit, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the climate crisis have been thorns in the government’s side over the last couple of years. By and large, these protests have been peaceful and have acted as effective ways for people to express their dissatisfaction with the government.” But, he says “The Home Secretary, in particular, doesn’t seem to like dissenting voices, nor does she want to engage with the root causes of these protests, preferring instead to brand protesters ‘so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals’ and to accuse them of ‘hooliganism and thuggery’. The government’s proposed solution? To clamp down hard on the right to protest. The Bill as it stands would give sweeping new powers to the police to restrict peaceful protests, including by giving them the powers to set conditions on the duration of protests, set maximum noise levels, and put restrictions on where protests can take place.” This is a blatant attempt to silencing dissent!

    QC Maugham notes that “As it seems to us, the very purpose of the right to protest is to enable people to register their profound unhappiness or strength of feeling in a way which compels the State to respond. To legislate so that right cannot have any impact is to legislate it out of meaningful existence. The disproportionate measures proposed in the Bill also risk undermining the freedom of assembly and association protected under the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. But these aren’t our only concerns with the Bill. It also appears to attack the way of life of some of the most marginalised groups in our country, the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities, by criminalising trespass (which is ordinarily a civil issue).” This community has proven an easy first target for Fascist regimes in the past and we should not forget how many Roma were also exterminated in German concentration camps: “First they came for…” Look where that vile episode of European history ended!

    In itself a truly disgusting comment since no form of racism is ‘respectable,’ Sir Trevor Phillips was quoted as calling “Racism against the GRT communities the ‘last ‘respectable’ form of racism’ when he was chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality back in 2004. But as the shocking example of Pontins recently showed us, not a lot has changed since. The government’s decision to villainise these communities by giving the police greater powers of enforcement is only likely to exacerbate the widening inequality experienced by them.” We must stop this enhanced level of ‘divide and conquer othering.’ QC Maugham warns “It should worry us all that the government has chosen to attack our rights and those of marginalised communities.’ We want to fully understand the human rights implications of this Bill, and have instructed an experienced QC and junior barrister from Matrix Chambers to provide us with written advice on this.” You are encouraged to support the Good Law Project’s work.

    In the Morning Star Article entitled “Police given ‘green light’ to expand surveillance of protesters, campaigners warn,’ they note the expanding authoritarian restrictions. We should recognize such serious moves as classic signs of the increasing powers of this Tory Dictatorship. They say that “Police have given the ‘green light’ to expand surveillance powers against political and social movements, campaigners warned today. Forces could be encouraged to use undercover officers, as well as live facial recognition technology, to monitor protesters as part of plans published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS). The report, which was ordered by Home Secretary Priti Patel last year, comes straight after the announcement of new legislation to crack down on protest.’ Police monitoring group Netpol warned that the HMICFRS report ‘offers the justification for an expansion of surveillance’ on the same campaigners targeted by the new Police, Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill.”

    The Morning Star note that “The report outlines the ‘need to develop’ covert intelligence gathering methods, saying this is ‘particularly relevant if the police are to improve their focus on aggravated activists.’ It confirms that the term ‘domestic extremist’ has been replaced by ‘aggravated activist,’ which could apply to anyone who has a ‘negative impact upon community tensions’ or causes ‘an adverse economic impact to businesses.’ Netpol’s campaigns co-ordinator Kevin Blowe said: ‘Historically every campaign, from the suffragist movement to trade unions and equality campaigners, have involved actions that at the time were considered to be criminal or unlawful behaviour, but which led to the freedoms and rights we now cherish’. The HMICFRS has given the green light to target their modern-day equivalents.”

    The Morning Star report that “Extinction Rebellion’s Alanna Byrne said: ‘Priti Patel can try and make the UK a protest-free zone, but it’s clear that the government is not going to do the right thing without protesters holding them to account. We don’t plan on stopping any time soon.’ HM Inspector of Constabulary spokesman Matt Parr said that police ‘too often’ fail to find the a balance between protecting the rights to protest and preventing disruption.” The latest Policing Bill will limit protests after the Covid crisis has passed, increased surveillance and the massive extension of powers authorized in the Spycops Bill will institutionalize nationwide Corporate oppression and securely maintain the authoritarian rule of the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship for decades into the future.

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled “Labour plans to abstain on Tory bill to make ‘annoying’ protests punishable by 10 years in prison,” they expose the danger of Sir Keir Starmer’s cowardly zero opposition policy. They reveal that “Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy informed MPs of leadership’s intention, but will Starmer cave after Clapham Common policing scandal? Labour is planning to abstain (again) on the Tories’ bill that will make ‘annoying’ someone by protesting a criminal offence punishable by up to ten years in prison. The bill is clear that mere ‘serious annoyance’ will become grounds for a prison sentence comparable with those for poisoning with intent to kill or cruelty to a child. In fact, such annoyance doesn’t need even to be caused. the sentence can apply if a ‘risk‘ of it is created: But David Lammy, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, has told the party’s MPs that Keir Starmer intends to have them abstain when the bill is voted on in the Commons.”

    The Skwawkbox remind us that “Starmer has already abstained on Tory bills to legalise murder and rape in the UK by undercover ‘intelligence sources’ and to legalise torture and other war crimes by UK forces overseas. Will he cave in after tonight’s shocking scenes of police manhandling women at a vigil for murdered victim Sarah Everard at Clapham Common and actually oppose for once? Or will he continue in his determination to avoid opposition at all costs? Labour back-bencher Jon Trickett has already announced that he will vote against the bill and other left MPs are expected to follow.” He Tweeted: “Unacceptable scenes tonight. Policing requires consent and understanding of the public mood. A number of us refused to vote with the whip in the #spycops bill for this very reason. I will vote against the Tory policing bill on Tuesday. It must be opposed.”

    Howard Becket Tweeted: “I am hearing @Keir_Starmer is going to whip to abstain on a Bill that makes a nomadic life of Gypsies & Travellers unlawful. And allows the state Police to prevent protest for annoyance. You Sir have become part of the problem. Shame.” Skwawkbox warn that “The bill will also criminalise the Gypsy Roma Traveller lifestyle, as Unite’s Howard Beckett has pointed out.” The targeting of Roma is the thin end of the wedge as this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship tries to expand authoritarian repression in the UK. Gypsies have proven a far too easy target in the past; the Nazis rounded-up and exterminated them just as ruthlessly as they slaughtered the Jews: we said never again, but fascist targeting is embedded in this bill! The intention to target our Gypsy Roma communities was in that lethal Tory manifesto that we didn’t vote for in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. It is never too late to demand a full Investigation of that unfathomable result that miraculously gifted an unstoppable majority to this dangerous regime.

    Skwawkbox report that “Other union leaders also led where Starmer seemingly will not, while Labour activists pointed out the nonsense of a ‘Labour’ leader siding with the oppressor.” Dave Ward Tweeted: “A woman was murdered 10 days ago. Today a serving police officer was charged with this sickening crime. Tonight, this is the image the met police has chosen to project to the world. Utterly shameful.” Alex Nuns Tweeted: “Labour is currently intending to abstain on this…” In response to a Tweet from Unite Politics who included a copy of alarming sections of the bill with the comment: “This is a section of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, ordered by @pritipatel following the BLM and XR demos last year. It comes to Parliament on Monday, and MPs will vote on it on Tuesday.” Alex Nunns concluded “… which I find ‘seriously annoying’.”

    In the Skwawkbox Article entitled “BBC deletes appalling tweet blaming Clapham Common vigil for police violence,” they expose the purely preventable trauma that occurred on Saturday night. But they say “Not in time to prevent yet more Establishment shame being captured. The BBC has deleted a tweet it posted this evening blaming those holding a vigil for murdered London woman Sarah Everard for shocking scenes of police violence. The Corporation initially tweeted describing a ‘confrontation with police at ‘unsafe’ vigil;’ ‘confrontation’ being a common Establishment media term for one-sided violence by those they support, after police waded into people gathered at a peaceful protest remembering Ms Everard and protesting against violence against women.”

    The BBC has now deleted the tweet after it provoked outrage, with one claiming that “Clashes break out between police and people attending a vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham, London”, followed by another advising that “This tweet replaces an earlier tweet, which has been deleted following an update to the story’s headline“: In tragic irony, footage taken at the vigil included police aggression toward mourners as horrified women called out in protest: ‘Shame on you;’ ‘You’re meant to protect us’ and chanted ‘You are scum’!” Skwawkbox report that “Labour MP Jon Trickett was one of the most outspoken against the conduct of police, pointing as well to the government’s ‘spycops’ bill legitimising state-sponsored violence against members of the public, a bill passed in a vote in which Keir Starmer whipped Labour MPs to abstain’. The Reclaim These Streets group issued a statement condemning the police for ‘manhandling women’ and working against the vigil instead of working with organisers.”

    Skwawkbox say “Shame on the BBC and all those complicit in tonight’s scandal.” It’s fitting that the push-back last night came from so many outraged women who will likely experience the brunt of increasing repression under the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. This was a vigil for a young woman allegedly murdered by a rogue cop. The organizers went to Court to try to overturn the blocking of what so easily could have been a well marshalled, Covid safe event. The Met’s refusal to cooperate and allow the vigil to go ahead safely led to an uncontrolled crowd with inappropriate police intervention. Cressida Dick made an abysmally poor decision and she should resign. But the real fault lies with Covid laws that, due to extensive vaccination decreasing risk at outdoor events, are resulting in restrictions being lifted for sports events, while the Tories want to retain special powers over public gatherings and protests. No logic supports the protest ban so we must reclaim the right to protest as we will need to protest on mass to Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69005 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Right before the Policing Bill comes to Parliament a critical flaw in police handling of a peaceful vigil points to future violent abuse. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of Labour Centrist Jess Phillips but, credit where credit is due, she certainly equipped herself well on Sunday. Generating the headline “In our current system ‘women don’t matter as much as cars,” her shocking statement made a mockery of the Policing Bill the Tories want to ram through Parliament in the coming week. Why the urgency one might wonder; surely there are far more urgent Government priorities? The Tory Sovereign Dictatorship are eager to enact new legislation that will put severe restrictions firmly in place before the Covid crisis is no longer available as an excuse for draconian policing. By the time Boris Johnson graciously allows the British people to hold hands again and enter the depleted number of pubs that have survived to reopen, he wants to have our ‘new normal’ under very strict authoritarian control with zero potential for public protest.

    In the Labour List Article entitled “Sunday shows: Labour demands action on violence against women and girls,” Elliot Chappell and Sienna Rodgers document responses to police violence at the vigil. Starting with “The Andrew Marr Show where Jess Phillips, Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said the police ‘got it wrong’ at Clapham Common on Saturday but did not call for Cressida Dick to resign. She explained Labour’s calls for longer minimum sentences for stalking and rape and for misogyny to be a hate crime. On whether the situation has improved since she started reading out the names of women killed by men every year: I wish that it had, but actually it’s got worse… It is this year at an all-time high,” she said. When asked “Whether the police ’got it right’ at Clapham Common on Saturday,” Phillips said, “No, I think the police got it wrong at every single turn.”

    LaboUr List reported Phillips had insisted that it was “Not just the final image that we see, but all day yesterday and the day before the police did not try to find a way for a peaceful protest’. On whether Cressida Dick should resign,” Phillips had said “Ed Davey maybe wants a headline that I don’t want. I came here this morning to talk about violence against women and girls… I don’t think the police over the past few years have done enough to increase charging over domestic abuse, have done enough to increase charging in rape, both are reducing. This is not the day for me to say whether she should go.” Phillips was determined that the interview that morning would not descend into recriminations targeting Cressida Dick, detracting from the topic she wanted to focus on the violence against women and girls. With regard to the Covid legislation she had said that: “Within the legislation that has been nodded through, there was room for yesterday a peaceful vigil to take place.”

    Philips was equally determined not to apportion blame when asked about “the upbringing of boys” Labour List noted that she had said “I’m not going to sit here and give mothers another reason to be bashed that they’re not bringing up their boys properly. But I think we’ve got a responsibility to look at the way we educate, the way all of society operates… It’s not all men, but it is all women’. She added that the government should ensure sex and relationship education is ‘robust’.” Asked about “Labour’s call for longer sentences for stalkers and rapists, they reported her shock headline response, “You should get more for rape than you do for defacing a statue… You can currently get more for fly-tipping than you can get for stalking.” They said “She added that Labour wants to see sentences doubled for stalking and the minimum sentence for rape extended from five years to seven years ‘at least’.”

    Labour List said that “On Labour’s call for misogyny to be a hate crime, despite Dick and others saying it is not a priority for the public, Phillips had admitted, ‘Where I live, the public is genuinely more interested in bins than they are in domestic abuse’.” She added: “The reason misogyny should be a hate crime is that there was a man who stood for election in this country and one of the things he said on political platforms is whether he would or wouldn’t rape me.” For Jess Phillips that particular point had obviously become very personal. Moving on to other policy areas Phillips was asked about, “the pay rise Labour wants for NHS workers” It seems every interviewer wants to trap MPs into blurting out a specific figure, but most are too savvy to fall for it. They said Phillips had stuck to the agreed award as a baseline saying “At a minimum, it has to be 2.1%… There are many different unions involved in this, and they’re all asking for something different.” She added: “If it was down to me, I think nurses are worth the moon.”

    Labour List reported that “On rewarding frontline workers” Phillips had made the important point that “By and large, the work done during the pandemic was done by women. I haven’t seen any policy come out of the government about the recovery that specifically targets the work of women. Nothing about childcare, which has been an absolute nightmare.” It was reassuring to hear a centrist Blareite like Phillips sticking up for the working poor and Labour’s core Socialist principals. The recent lurch to the right under Keir Starmer has been very alarming, leaving ordinary working people wondering if the Labour Party really represent them anymore. I thought this was the best interview I have ever heard from Jess Phillips, with stark comparisons that will resonate strongly with the general public and also be very hard for the Tories to out-gun in future debates in Parliament.

    The Labour List team then reported on the Marr interview with Government Minister Victoria Atkins who to my mind did not equip herself nearly as well as Phillips. However, it was the policy decisions and dire inflexibility of her Tory PM Boris Johnson, in his shambolic mishandling of Covid, that ultimately led to the debacle at the vigil on Saturday. Her comments came across as weak and mealy-mouthed; Labour List noted that she had “said she found the police approach to Clapham Common yesterday ‘very upsetting’ although ‘the overwhelming majority of people who did go there had a peaceful experience’.” I felt she had seemed eager to make excuses for the police action. They said that “Asked whether the leadership of the Metropolitan Police is in question now, the safeguarding minister replied that ‘we ought to take this a step at a time’, neither calling for Dick’s resignation nor defending the Commissioner.”

    Labour List noted how leaping on the typical Tory ‘kick, the can down the road’ merry-go-round “She highlighted that Home Secretary Priti Patel had asked for a report on the events of Saturday evening, and said: ‘There is good work going on in policing but we must look at what happened last night.” It was very non-commital, another of the Tory endless stream of reports with recommendations that we can guarantee will be totally ignored; this is the signature practice of our current zero accountability Tory Government: just ignore the mistakes and move on why not. We are likely to see this level of police violence become the norm as police powers are increased while scrutiny and accountability are scaled back with new legislation used to justify increasing use of excessive force.

    The Labour List team turned to ITV’s interviews captured on Sunday morning’s Sophy Ridge show where once again Jess Phillips made a strong showing maintaining a laser-like focus on important points and urging action over procrastination. They noted that “Jess Phillips demanded that the government take action on violence against women and girls, and criticised the police handling of a vigil for Sarah Everard on Saturday evening. Asked whether Priti Patel reopening a survey on violence against women and girls is ‘enough’,” they quoted Phillips saying “We know what the problems are. The Home Secretary has known for many years… We don’t need a survey, we can take action.” Labour List say when asked about police conduct she had told Ridge “The mistake, if we’re talking about the vigil specifically or that the police generally need to be doing more in cases of violence against women and girls, I’m afraid to say that both are true.”

    Labour List reported that re the vigil Phillips had said: “There were, oh gosh, so many missed opportunities throughout the day for the police to work with organisers to create a completely safe vigil so that people could have a moment of sorrow and a moment of resistance’.” They reported on Phillip’s response to the police’s actions quoting her claim that “There are brilliant police officers working… across the country who spend all their time trying to make it so that women feel confident to come forward, and yesterday the police undermined that.” Again “Asked whether Cressida Dick should go” They said Phillips had remarked “If Cressida Dick stays or goes doesn’t make women in this country more safe, and that’s what I want to talk about. We need to come together to take action.” It was an important point as it would be all too easy for the Government who have created this policing mess to target Cressida Dick as a scapegoat to hide the ambiguity in their ill-conceived rules.

    Labour List reported Phillips’s response to Ridge’s questions “On action from the government,” to which the reply had been “‘The minister should be able to lay out to us exactly what they’re going to do. The Labour Party has come up with endless suggestions throughout the domestic abuse bill. 37 amendments we put down.’ On upcoming legislation” Phillips had said, “On Monday, we will again be asking the government to look at things like misogyny as a hate crime, street harassment as a crime and increasing the tariffs on rape.” Ridge had asked about Domestic Violence Funding and this had provided an opportunity for Phillips to expose where a serious shortfall still remained when she replied “The £90m allocated in the Budget was largely to go into perpetrators services, which is absolutely something that we should be looking at. Only £4m of it was for directly for victims.”

    Labour List say that when asked about Government policy Phillips had said “We’ve got to get this right in education, we’ve got to get this right in health, we’ve got to get this right in welfare, we’ve got to get this right in housing and we’ve got to get this right in criminal justice.” It was heartwarming to hear Phillips, from the Labour right, championing Socialist issues and acknowledging that there are consequences to the grinding poverty in many parts of this country. Labour certainly should emphasize that the rampant inequality caused by a decade of Tory austerity has been a major contributing factor to many social ills. We do not need Labour to buy into the neoliberal £300Bn debt con-trick and endorse another round of swinging cuts targeting the working poor. They noted She added: “Because in every single metric we are failing and in every metric woman are getting less safe year-on-year if you look at the data for convictions and if you look at the number of women coming forward.”

    Labour List report that “Asked whether there can now be real change: ‘I really hope so. As somebody who has been ploughing this furrow for my entire career, not just my entire political career, I really, really, really hope that this is the turning point.’ On the Me Too movement,” they noted Phillips had pointed out that “Not a single piece of legislation has changed in the United Kingdom that would protect people from being sexually harassed at work that didn’t already exist. Every recommendation that has been made to the government on women’s safety in the workplace since the Me Too movement, which we all thought was a moment, has been rejected by the government out of hand.” When asked about “Taking action now” Phillips had said of the Tories: “They have an enormous majority in the Commons… I don’t want platitudes; I don’t want nice words; I don’t want clapping; I don’t even want candles. I want action.” It was another strong performance by Jess Phillips and her work on this issue is greatly appreciated.

    Labour List then reported on the interview with Hackney North and Stoke Newington Labour MP Diane Abbott who said “Cressida Dick has ‘questions to answer over police conduct on Saturday. The former Shadow Home Secretary called for the media to take violence against women and girls seriously. Asked whether Cressida Dick should go: “We would hope that if she goes that she’s actually replaced with somebody better. Someone that doesn’t deny institutional racism exists in the police force and someone with a much less heavy-handed approach.” On Saturday’s events: “It was Cressida Dick and people at Scotland Yard who insisted on banning it altogether when everybody knew people would turn up anyway. So, she does have questions to answer.” This point is certainly true, but the problem was ultimately caused by the Tory Government’s manoeuvres to use Covid restrictions to shut down public protest altogether and it will only get worse if the Policing Bill sails through Parliament unchecked.

    Labour List say that Abbott was asked “Whether harassment towards women has worsened and she had said that “In some ways, it’s got worse because what you’ve got is the online world, which feeds hostility and violence against women.” Asked “Whether politicians can change things, especially given the Me Too movement involving abuse in Westminster,” Abbott had replied, “When you want to see substantive change in society, the political process is part of that.” They noted that regarding “The media and violence against women,” Abbott had said “In the past, it hasn’t necessarily been seen as news by the media. We need a change in culture. We need the media to take these things seriously, not when there’s one dramatic case.” No one in Parliament has ever been on the receiving end of more hateful and violent abuse than Diane Abbott so few can speak with more authority on this issue.

    Labour List report that “Home Office minister Victoria Atkins also appeared on the show this morning. She described the scenes at the vigil in Clapham on Saturday evening as ‘very upsetting’ and said that she takes it ‘very seriously.” Just like on Andrew Marr her appearance seemed limp and carefully scripted to meet the standard noncommital Tory procrastination agenda. They said that “The parliamentary under-secretary of state for safeguarding told viewers that an ‘end-to-end review of the criminal justice system is taking place and that changes are being made to the sentencing of serious and violent offenders. Asked whether Cressida Dick should go, Atkins said: “I really, really want to support the Home Secretary in her request to have a report from Cressida. The police have got a tough job in policing the coronavirus pandemic at the moment.” The public will not feel any more reassured by what Atkins had to say as the ‘cover-up and carry on’ brigade are not interested in tackling any of the real issues of the day.

    In the Labour List Article entitled “Labour set to vote against ‘poorly thought-out’ Priti Patel policing bill,” Sienna Rodgers reports on this vital change of heart that took intense pressure from the progressive Left to derail yet another vacuous abstention from Keir Starmer. The opposition needs too apose, especially on toxic pieces of legislation like this, but Starmer’s relentless targeting of the Left Labour and his chronically weak leadership continues to let us all down. Finally, Rogers notes “Labour has announced that it will vote against the ‘poorly thought-out’ police, crime, sentencing and courts bill that could lead to harsher penalties for damaging a statue than for attacking a woman.” Sadly, it appears to have taken the massive groundswell of public opinion rather than respect for the views of other Labour MPs to get Starmer to take a stand: this is not strong, decisive leadership and robust opposition!

    Rogers says that “David Lammy confirmed on Sunday morning that Labour would oppose the bill in parliament. The party has called on the government to drop the proposals and instead legislate to tackle violence against women. The Shadow Justice Secretary said: ‘The tragic death of Sarah Everard has instigated a national demand for action to tackle violence against women. This is no time to be rushing through poorly thought-out measures to impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest’. LabourList sources say the Labour leadership was originally prepared to abstain on the government legislation, although MPs including Richard Burgon and Jon Trickett had already said they would vote against it. The whipping arrangement plans appear to have changed after the Metropolitan Police faced criticism from across the political spectrum over its handling of a vigil in south London for Sarah Everard, who went missing on March 3rd.”

    Rogers reported that “It was confirmed this weekend that remains found in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent were Everard’s. A serving police officer is in custody and was charged on Saturday with her kidnap and murder. Lammy added: ‘Now is the time to unite the country and put in place on long-overdue protections for women against unacceptable violence, including action against domestic homicides, rape and street harassment. And we must tackle the misogynistic attitudes that underpin the abuse women face. Instead, the Conservatives have brought forward a bill that is seeking to divide the country. It is a mess, which could lead to harsher penalties for damaging a statue than for attacking a woman. Labour will be voting against the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill on this basis. ‘We are calling on the government to drop its poorly thought-out proposals and instead work with Labour to legislate to tackle violence against women, which is forcing so many across the country to live in fear.”

    Rogers says that “Labour is demanding ‘tougher sentences for attacks on frontline workers and increased sentences for terrorists’, as well as longer minimum sentences for stalking and rape, and that misogyny be made a hate crime. The opposition would like to see a whole life tariff introduced for anyone found guilty of a stranger abductor murder, a new street harassment law and an independent review to look into increasing sentences for domestic murder. Shadow safeguarding minister Jess Phillips told The Andrew Marr Show: ‘You should get more for rape than you do for defacing a statue… You can currently get more for fly-tipping than you can get for stalking.’ The opposition party backs proposals in the bill on dangerous driving increased sentences for terrorists and other dangerous offenders, a police covenant, reform to criminal records and criminalising sexual abuse by people in positions of trust.”

    But Rogers warns that “The government legislation also gives the police powers to take a ‘more proactive approach in cracking down on protests that are considered to be ‘highly disruptive’, such as those by Extinction Rebellion. Civil rights organisations have criticised the proposals on the basis that they threaten freedoms. Liberty director Gracie Bradley said parts of the bill will ‘facilitate discrimination and undermine protest’. The bill states, in a section on ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’, that someone could face a fine and up to ten years in jail for causing ‘serious annoyance’ or ‘serious inconvenience’ to another person.” This Policing Bill seeks to protect powerful Corporations and rogue Government decision-makers in the rampant exploitation of our people and our planet by criminalizing all reasonable public protest and civil disobedience in a sharp authoritarian crackdown.

    Rogers reports that “The Sarah Everard vigil organised by Reclaim These Streets was cancelled after the Met said it could not go ahead due to Covid. Many, including the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton nonetheless attended. Hundreds gathered on Clapham Common on Saturday evening. Police officers were shown in videos and photos circulated online to have started forcefully removing women from the area once it was dark. Reclaim These Streets had originally told attendees to wear masks and to be socially distanced and said they made suggestions to the police including staggered start times and splitting the event into time slots. The organisers of the vigil released a statement on Saturday morning saying there were ‘positive discussions’ with local officers but ‘those from Scotland Yard would not engage with our suggestions’.” Probably the decision went as high as Priti Patel, determined to stop this vigil as, in anticipation of many protests in the near future, they want to totally shut down all public protests!

    Following the shocking unfathomable result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election that gifted absolute power to this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship, the Covid 19 Pandemic has provided cover for the implementation of draconian restrictions that this corrupt cabal are eager to retain. As the catastrophic self-harm of Brexit becomes more apparent despite the impact being blamed on Covid we must protest. Drafting in the Army to deal with civil unrest was already in the Yellowhammer planning document long before Covid and this Government will not hesitate to resort to excessive use of force. At this time when the progressive Socialist fight-back has never been more vital, we cannot condone any of the current legislation that will provide legal cover for violence against civilians. We should never have let the vote that brought this dangerous Government to power stand unchallenged, but a full Investigation is still possible. Just a year in power and the squandering of public money has added to their rampant corruption: Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69054 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    We should take note of the enormous sacrifices protestors are making all over the world to demand equality, end exploitation secure basic freedoms and overthrow authoritarian regimes even if it requires risking their lives. If we abandon our right to protest because this corrupt Tory Government has simply ordered us not to protest, we should hang our heads in shame. Protest has never been more vital to restoring our shattered democracy than right now. In the Morning Star Article entitled “Editorial: We must defeat this shockingly authoritarian Policing Bill,” they say that “Unions, campaign groups and charities are sounding the alarm over the shockingly authoritarian new policing Bill. Even senior police officers are speaking out over the dangerous implications of legislation that grants sweeping powers to the police to ‘act unilaterally with near-unlimited discretion,’ as a statement issued by scores of local Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion (XR) and other grassroots campaign organisations puts it.”

    The Morning Star say that “The government makes no bones about the fact that this legislationis designed to criminalise particular forms of public protest, particularly the mass actions mounted by XR in 2018-19. Labour’s Diane Abbott points out that not only do the police have extensive powers to close down protests already but they are clearly abusing these, as we saw in the violent attack on women holding a peaceful vigil for murder victim Sarah Everard in Clapham at the weekend. The arrogance and brutality of the Metropolitan Police has brought far greater numbers out in public protests since, with Parliament Square heaving on Sunday and today. It has also prompted Labour to do the right thing and announce it will vote against the Bill, dropping a previous position of abstention. In reminding the opposition what its job is, the courageous women who went to Clapham Common on Saturday demonstrate the importance of public protest.” The police conduct at the vigil was an ominous glimps of the Tories ‘new normal!’

    According to the Morning Star “The Home Office denies that our right to such protest is at risk: ‘The majority of protests … will be unaffected by these changes.’ But the very vagueness of the legislation makes that impossible to guarantee. Its provisions on ‘intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance’ allow huge leeway to police officers and the Crown Prosecution Service in deciding what constitutes ‘serious harm’ to ‘the public or a section of the public.’ Such harm can consist of causing ‘serious annoyance [or] serious inconvenience,’ and can land you in prison for up to 10 years. Sections dealing with ‘one-person protests’ leave it to the discretion of a senior police officer whether the noise you are making risks causing ‘serious unease’ in those who hear it. If so, it’s illegal. Shadow justice secretary David Lammy says the Bill is ‘poorly thought out.’ But this suggests Labour’s front bench has either yet to wake up to what the government is up to, or, more worryingly, has no fundamental objection to it.”

    The Morning Star insist that “The policing Bill is not some aberration. It has in common with last year’s spycops Bill, one Labour also had trouble opposing, the goal of facilitating the arbitrary exercise of power by state agents. Under this legislation protesters can be arrested and charged on grounds so vague that they are almost impossible to refute. Because of the spycops Bill a wide range of government bodies, including police forces but extending to the Department of Health, the Gambling Commission and others, can pre-authorise crimes, any kind of crime, there are no exceptions, even for murder. The only criterion they have to meet is whether, in their own judgement, the crime is necessary to deliver outcomes that are again defined in the loosest possible terms, including ‘to prevent disorder’ or to maintain ‘economic wellbeing.’ There is a clear direction of travel here: the British state is rapidly acquiring huge powers over citizens, and security agencies are being empowered to act as they please.”

    The Morning Star warn that “If the Bill cannot be defeated in Parliament, and the Tories’ large majority makes this unlikely. its repeal must become the cause of a new wave of mass campaigning. We have seen far too much abuse by state agents already, from undercover cops deceiving women into sexual relationships to police collusion in the illegal blacklisting of trade unionists. Our rights are under attack, but the left’s response has been piecemeal, criticising some authoritarian laws while endorsing others, failing to orient ourselves consistently as a democratic movement opposed to concentrating power in the hands of the capitalist state. That needs to change.” Sadly the Labour Party’s inconsistent and feeble opposition is being held hostage by Sir Keir Starmer the Tories loyal Trojan horse dedicated to tearing apart the progressive Socialist left: Starmer has to go ASAP!

    In the Labour List Article entitled “Why Labour is right to oppose the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill,” Russell Fraser quotes a judge who insists that “’Rights worth having are unruly things. Demonstrations and protests are liable to be a nuisance. They are liable to be inconvenient and tiresome, or at least perceived as such by others who are out of sympathy with them’. These were the words of one judge in a case concerning the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp, set up in the vicinity of an atomic weapons facility. Keir Starmer knows as well as anyone that protest rights are rights worth having. As his leadership campaign video emphasised, during his career he represented many people making a stand against the injustices of the day and seeking to vindicate their rights to assembly and free expression.” Labour members who were swayed by Starmer’s presentation are now horrified by his abstention and lack of opposition on the Spycops Bill with early indications of yet another abstention.

    Fraser warns that “Those rights are once again under attack in the form of the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill. The most pernicious aspects of the proposals would target activists across our movement, and David Lammy’s confirmation that the Labour Party will vote against the bill this week is both welcome and right.” Sadly it took significant push-back from the public before Sir Keir clambered down off the fence in response to public outcry; this cowardly indecision was not a good look and it will further damage public confidence in the Labour Party as Starmer continues to insidiously hollow out the progressive left. Fraser points out that “The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has not disguised her contempt for the Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion movements. The only surprise in the new bill is that those groups are not actually mentioned by name.”

    Fraser refutes claims that “the changes are necessary because of protest tactics like people glueing themselves to buildings or blocking roads to an organisation. In fact, those tactics are far from novel, and I have represented countless people charged with offences arising from exactly such conduct. There is no gap in the law as the bill’s explanatory note claims. The police currently enjoy a wide range of powers to control and restrict protest. Organisers of a planned march must notify the police in advance; police can seek the consent of the Home Secretary to prohibit a march if they fear it will lead to serious disorder; and they can impose conditions on demonstrations if they reasonably believe that it may result in ‘serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community. If there are gaps in the current law it has not prevented thousands of people participating in Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter protests being arrested and prosecuted.”

    According to Fraser “Priti Patel wants to lower those legal tests to make it easier for curbs to be imposed on protests. It would mean that noisy protests that may result in the ‘intimidation or harassment’ of bystanders or cause them ‘serious unease, alarm or distress’ can be curtailed, even where no such effect is intended by the participants. The bill also hands the Home Secretary the power to later define what terms like ‘serious unease’ mean for the purposes of these offences. This removes parliament from the debate entirely: if that term and expressions like ‘serious disruption’ are to be defined, then it should be done by parliament, not on the whim of a Home Secretary. At present, after conditions are imposed on a static protest, it is an offence to knowingly fail to comply with any such requirement. Under these new government proposals, it will be an offence if a participant fails to comply with any condition that ‘they ought to have known; was in place.” Bear in mind, Patel is a particularly cruel and vicious Home Secretary.

    Reminding us of the amazing persistence and determination of the most successfully prolific ‘Stop Brexit’ protester Fraser points out that “There is even a section that will surely become known as the ‘Steve Bray clause’: a provision aimed at ‘one-person protests’. While the targets of this bill are undoubtedly obvious, the wider effect of the bill is equally clear. There is no reason why the sorts of marches and rallies frequently organised by the TUC could not infringe this legislation and it would be wrong to assume that it could never happen.” In reality the wording is so ridiculously open-ended that it could be easily interpreted to prevent strike action as a Union organized strike by its very nature is designed to cause ‘serious disruption’ to business, deprive the public of a service and have a negative financial impact on the employer which could potentially render most strike action illegal under this law!

    This is a very slippery slope on our race to the bottom and the imposition of authoritarian rule to secure even greater exploitation of the working poor under the Tory elite. Fraser says that “Marches from Embankment to Hyde Park are always lively, colourful and boisterous, filled with chanting and music precisely in order to attract attention to the issue or cause. In another case in which Starmer himself appeared on behalf of anti-war protesters, a judge noted that ‘civil disobedience has a long and honourable history in this country’. The police, crime, sentencing and courts bill is a nakedly political attack not just on that history, but on some of the most well-supported and popular causes of the day. They are causes that are typically most enthusiastically supported in our movement and across the wider left. Our party is right to side with those concerned with climate and racial justice, and not with an increasingly authoritarian Home Secretary who thinks nothing of vilifying desperate migrants and lawyers who represent them.”

    The Labour opposition is failing us just when we need them to provide robust scrutiny. In the London Economic Article entitled “The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is rubbish. So is Labour’s response,” Henry Goodwin criticizes Starmer’s pathetically late call for united Labour opposition. He says that “After a weekend in which British policing was thrust into the spotlight, a remarkable twist of fate sees the government’s new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill receive its second reading in the Commons today. Even before the Metropolitan Police’s disastrous display of force on Clapham Common on Saturday night, civil liberties campaigners warned that the bill represented a ‘staggering assault’ on the right to protest. Human rights barrister Adam Wagner, of Doughty Street chambers, Keir Starmer’s former parish, said the legislation “would effectively put the current situation where Covid regulations have given police too much power over our free speech rights on a permanent footing.”

    Goodwin warns that “The bill will ‘hugely expand’ police powers to stop protests which cause ‘serious unease’ and create criminal penalties for people causing ‘serious annoyance’. Events of the past few days ‘have shown beyond doubt that the police cannot be trusted to protect free speech rights,’ Wagner said. ‘Well, it’s about to get worse’. So it’s good, you might say, that Labour, which, in a vintage bit of Starmerism, had planned to abstain, will now vote against (it’s still very likely to pass). David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, said the bill would impose ‘disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to protest,” which makes you wonder whether he found it ‘disproportionate’ before Starmer’s U-turn. Labour MPs are at pains to point out that, in the 296-page bill, ‘women’ are not mentioned once, but ‘monuments’ are cited frequently. It is undoubtedly true that the legislation is wholly inadequate for tackling violence against women. But so is what Labour is proposing in its place.”

    Goodwin reports that “Lammy called for increased minimum sentences for rapists and stalkers, as well as the introduction of life sentences for crimes like abduction, sexual assault and murder. In short, the same old tough-on-crime, law-and-order rhetoric as ever. Tougher sentencing, the logic goes, acts as a deterrent to potential criminals, and therefore makes a man less likely to assault a woman because he’s scared of spending decades behind bars. But there’s scant evidence that it actually works, the government’s own minister responsible for sentencing admitted last week that there is minimal proof that longer sentences cut crime. It’s not even especially popular with voters; fewer than one-in-ten people think locking more people up is the best way to deal with crime. Nor does it do anything to address the root causes of offending.”

    Goodwin points out that “Women who gathered across the country to mourn Sarah Everard on Saturday night weren’t just doing so because of the horrific circumstances of her disappearance and death. They were doing so because Sarah’s fate represented the extreme end of something they had all experienced: a society in which men habitually harass, assault and abuse women with impunity. Sending rapists to prison for 20 years instead of 10 will do very little to tackle the systemic issues which created that culture in the first place. Angela Davis, the veteran civil rights campaigner, wrote that the ideological function of a prison is as an ‘abstract site’ into which ‘undesirables are deposited’. Touting incarceration as the answer to complex societal issues is essential ‘out of sight, out of mind’ wrought physical, so long as we’re locking up more criminals for longer, we’re absolved of dealing with why they became criminals in the first place. It’s like sticking a plaster on a gaping wound.”

    So how does Boris Johnson and his ruthless authoritarian Government respond? In the London Economic Article entitled “Plain-clothes police will patrol bars and clubs ‘to keep women safe’,” but according to Henry Goodwin “The proposal was met with an instant online backlash, with many saying the police should not be given ‘extra powers.’ He says the proposal would have ‘Plain-clothes police officers will patrol bars and clubs as part of plans to keep women safe from ‘predatory’ offenders. Following a meeting of the government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce chaired by Boris Johnson, Downing Street said it was taking a series of ‘immediate steps’ to improve security. Among them is to roll-out across the country pilots of a programme where uniformed and plainclothes officers seek to actively identify predatory and suspicious offenders in the night-time economy.”

    Goodwin reports that “Dubbed ‘Project Vigilant’, the programme can involve officers attending areas around clubs and bars undercover, along with increased police patrols as people leave at closing time. Pilot schemes will run across the country, with more patrols to ‘identify predatory and suspicious offenders’. A fund to provide other deterrents, like better lighting and CCTV, will be doubled to £45 million. The prime minister said that Everard’s death has ‘unleashed a wave of feeling about women not feeling safe’, adding: ‘We must drive out violence against women and girls and make every part of the criminal justice system work to better protect and defend them’.” This sounds like ‘Big Brother on Steroids’ or perhaps a few pints would be necessary to avoid blowing police cover. No end of useful surveillance information could be gleaned snooping on relaxed punters drinking at nightspots; it would function as an open-ended fishing expedition for more intensive Spycops targeting.

    Goodwin says that “The meeting took place as demonstrators again took to the streets of central London to protest at the policing of a vigil for Everard on Saturday. There were a number of arrests after the police ordered the protesters to disperse, warning they were in breach of coronavirus regulations. Earlier Johnson backed Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick following calls for her resignation in the wake of the weekend’s events on Clapham Common where crowds gathered to remember the 33-year-old marketing executive. Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with her kidnapping and murder. Johnson acknowledged that the scenes, when a number of women were arrested, had been ‘distressing’ but said the police had a ‘very, very difficult job’ to do.”

    Goodwin reports that Johnson “Said that Sir Thomas Winsor, chief inspector of constabulary, would be carrying out a review into the way the event was policed. ‘I think people have got to have confidence in the police and Tom’s going to look at that,’ the prime minister said. However, proposals to place plain-clothed police officers in bars and nightclubs was met with hostility online, with one commentator suggesting that it was… ‘lions will patrol antelope enclosures to prevent hyena attacks’.” Well put! Eleanor Penny responded by Tweeting: “The key to a good night out is undercover state agents with complete impunity and an institutional history of murderous violence and sexual abuse rocking up to the club fresh off kicking the shit out of protesters.”

    According to Goodwin “Dr Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, said: ‘This is a cynical attempt to shift attention from the matter at hand. Undercover police have total immunity if they commit abuse while infiltrating criminal gangs, despite reality that many of the victims of abuse have been women. The police do not need extra powers.’ Others pointed out that the policy was a perverse response to the alleged killing of a woman by a police officer.” Talia Lavin Tweeted: “this seems like a really weird reaction to a woman being murdered by a police officer.” Some suggested the move would ‘kill the nightlife industry’.” Jason Okundaye Tweeted: “This must be a ploy to kill the nightlife industry because if they put plain-clothed officers in the clubs I’m not going ever again. It’s not me who’s getting murdered on the dance floor.”

    Goodwin reported that “In a Commons statement on Monday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said ‘too many’ women felt unsafe in public. ‘Too many of us have walked home from school or work alone, only to hear footsteps uncomfortably close behind us,’ she said. ‘Too many of us have pretended to be on the phone to a friend to scare someone off. Too many of us have clutched our keys in our fist in case we need to defend ourselves and that is not OK.’ She said footage of the Clapham Common event, where four protestors, were arrested had been ‘upsetting’.” But he said “She defended restrictions on protests put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, urging people not to participate in large gatherings while they remained in force. ‘The right to protest is the cornerstone of our democracy, but the Government’s duty remains to prevent more lives being lost during this pandemic,’ she said.” Despite the fact that our vaccination program is reducing Covid risk the Tories will hang onto this excuse as long as they can.

    Few Brits can imagine how anything might ‘upset’ ‘Ice Pick’ Patel as she certainly doesn’t show one once of empathy for those on whom she inflicts untold suffering. As.one of the most cruel and heartless Tory MPs, the current Home Secretary is the perfect ruthless Minister to aggressively advance authoritarian objectives as Boris Johnson seeks to solidify his Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. Like the Spycops Bill and other pieces of excessively toxic legislation this Policing Bill is being rammed through Parliament right now because the British people are too distracted by the treat of Covid to take to the streets on mass to protest the rampant corruption of this Government or demand a full Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result and Covid has provided an excuse to massively restrict our freedoms. But if we do not wake up from this daze of complacent apparently very soon and derail this fascist takeover it will take decades before there is any possibility to remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship from office: they must go ASAP! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69105 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    At a critical moment when our democracy is under the most horrendous Fascist authoritarian assault there was a truly shocking Media blackout where the headlines continued a tireless distraction of the public with obsessive ‘Royal Handyfloss.’ In the London Economic Article entitled “The government just voted to curtail our ability to protest, and the papers have ignored it,” Jack Peat warns that we should be very seriously alarmed. He says that “The scariest part about living under Orban was ‘when the silence came. The newspapers stopped criticizing and the protests stopped happening.’ Ian Dunt compared Britain’s political environment to that of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary in a tweet posted last night, saying that while we are ‘not there yet’, the intention to ‘silence and then criminalize dissent is now very clear’. MPs voted the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill through with a majority of 96 in the House of Commons at the second reading, despite it being described as legislation that would ‘make a dictator blush’.”

    Peat informs us that “The new bill will increase the police’s power to crack down on peaceful protests, with campaigners warning that the government is seeking to ‘silence dissent. David Lammy, the shadow secretary of state for justice, seemed to delve to the heart of the matter in a blistering speech given ahead of the vote. He said: ‘The truth … is (the Government) is introducing these measures because it dislikes Black Lives Matter, because it hates Extinction Rebellion, because both tell too many hard truths’.Despite the Bill having significant ramifications on the UK’s democracy it failed to appear on any of today’s front pages in the press. Six national newspapers, including the Mail, Express and Metro, focussed on the Royal Family instead as the Duke of Edinburgh was released from hospital and the Harry and Meghan scandal shows no sign of quieting down.”

    Peat reports that “As Dunt tweeted, the scariest part about living under Orban was ‘when the silence came’. The ‘newspapers stopped criticizing and the protests stopped happening’.” In another Tweet he made the point “This is a law enforcing the silencing of protestors. But the most alarming thing about it was not its provisions. It was the silence from ministers about what it contained and the silence from Tory backbenchers about their duty to scrutinize it. I keep thinking back to this thing that a Hungarian journalist told me about living under Orban. ‘That the scariest part was when the silence came, when the newspapers stopped criticizing and the protests stopped happening. That’s when you knew you were fucked good and proper’.”

    In the Labour List Article entitled “The authoritarianism of this government is clear. Here’s how we challenge it,” Clive Lewis offers warnings and encouragement for us to fight back. Lewis said “How often have we heard the notion that somehow liberty is an integral part of the English character? That we fortunate few in this country are somehow different from the rest of humanity. Not for us authoritarianism, or autocracy, or god forbid the dark slide into fascism. No, that’s for other people. Other countries. Not us. Well, today, in the second reading debate on the police, crime, sentencing and courts bill, we grappled yet again, with yet another bill from this government stripping the people of this country of yet more liberty and more of their democratic rights. English exceptionalism is a dangerous fallacy. None more so than when it comes to the constant vigilance required of any democracy. It’s hubris of the first order, one I fear has infected the government.”

    Lewis warned of “The potential for a slide into authoritarianism and worse is, as history has clearly demonstrated, part of the human condition. That is the painful and bloody lesson we must learn from the 20th century.” He said “Yet here we are, with this bill before us. It is the tip of an authoritarian iceberg, one that’s on a collision course with public defiance. Democracy is being swept away, in a calculated program to leave the public muted and powerless. We see this in the demonization of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma community as a cover to introduce the criminalization of trespass. We see it in the planned voter suppression bill, which will strip the right to vote from Black and other disadvantaged communities, adding yet another barrier to exercising the right to vote. We also see it in plans to limit judicial review, which will restrict the ability of the public to challenge the government’s decisions in court, shifting yet more power to the executive.”

    Lewis targeted another horrific Tory Fascist Bill as he reminded us that “We saw it in the overseas operations bill, too. The creation of a two-tier, ‘them and us’ system of human rights was something I could only ever reject in the strongest possible terms. Having now passed that, the government is coming for our rights, with a review of UK human rights legislation. These are rights that have already been eroded these past 40 years and handed to large, opaque vested interests, both individual and corporate. This is the crisis of democracy. In the debate, I told the benches opposite that I see how they are fast-moving from becoming a government to becoming a regime. They want to stifle dissent, so they are not accountable to the public. Our country, our economy, our politics, our media, is controlled by a small clique of individuals. Over the last 40 years, they have taken more power for themselves at the expense of our democracy. Now they are not even happy with us clinging on to the scraps we have now.”

    Appealing to his own Parliamentary colleagues Lewis said “To our own Labour frontbench, who were finally brought to the right position of opposition to this bill, I have this to say: it should not have taken the police assault on people gathered peacefully in memory of Sarah Everard to see the assault on democracy in this bill. It is writ large. Let this be a wake-up call. We have never seen anything like this government before. If this bill goes through, anyone who values their democratic rights must get organized and fight back.” The public allowed the BBC and Mainstream Media to dupe us into accepting the very obviously suspect result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election by drowning us in spurious pro-Tory propaganda to prop this corrupt Government into position. As the rampant corruption, squandering of public funds and systematic dismantling of our precious democracy, it has become even more urgent for us to demand a full Investigation into the unfathomable 2019 result and all of the ongoing assaults on our society.

    Clive Lewis made a bold and rebellious personal commitment saying “I will stand with protesters, irrelevant of the laws passed by the House of Commons.” He urges the public to take action saying “I have an appeal to make everyone who wants to live in a democracy, friends from across parties in parliament, in civil society, in trade unions, the public, please: we must face the reality of the scale of action demanded by challenging the authoritarianism of this government and responding to the climate and ecological breakdown, epidemic of inequality, surveillance capitalism, automation, and AI.” The future looks very bleak for our young people, the working poor, the disabled and the most vulnerable as the Social Safety Net is dismantled in favor of a ‘Social Sluce.’ The obsessive greed of rampant neo-liberal capitalism is returning former democratic countries to authoritarian Dictatorships controlling an oppressive Corporate Feudalism. Lewis is right to sound the alarm while there is still time to derail this corrupt Tory regime.

    Lews insists that “We must break out of the 20th-century political silos that have proven unfit for 21st-century challenges. We must create a democracy that is fit for purpose for the challenges we face: climate and ecological breakdown, the epidemic of inequality, and surveillance capitalism. That means a voting system where each vote counts equally, a fusion of direct and representative democracy, where people lead and act collectively, real power and resources distributed to communities, away from Westminster. I do not have the answers, but I believe the public does. So the future must not be imposed; it must be deliberated on in a people’s convention on the UK’s constitution. Proportionate action now demands an alliance of progressives both cross-party and wider civil society. If you want more democracy, not less, democrats must work together to remove power away from these aspiring authoritarians and give it over to the people of the UK.”

    Another aspect of our crumbling quasi democracy remains our unelected second Chamber, the House of Lords. In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “SNP accuse Tories of ‘dodging democracy’ as Ruth Davidson is lined up for a Cabinet role,” they note that “It seems that now Tories don’t even need to bother standing in an election.” They point out that “Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson is being lined up for a job in Boris Johnson’s government, the SNP has claimed, with the MSP soon to take a seat in the unelected House of Lords. Ruth Davidson is currently a member of the Scottish Parliament, but is standing down to enter the House of Lords. She is urging Scots to vote Conservative to stop an SNP majority this May. In a move that the SNP said would be ‘a democratic obscenity,’ Cabinet member Michael Gove indicated that Davidson could be handed a government role even though she has not been elected.”

    According to Left Foot Forward “In an interview with Scottish broadcaster STV, it was pointed out that with Davidson becoming a Baroness, ‘she’s not going to be part of the [Scottish Tory] team after the election’.” They say “Gove replied: ‘But Scotland has two governments, Scotland has two parliaments, and it’s important that we have talent in Westminster and in Holyrood and that they work together. That’s what I’m here to do, to make sure that those people work together’. The Tories have a track record for ‘undemocratic’ appointments to the unelected House of Lords. In January 2020, Nicky Morgan and Zac Goldsmith were appointed to the Lords so that they could keep their government positions. Goldsmith had been defeated by the Lib Dems in the 2019 election, while Morgan had stepped down as an MP. Other prominent non-elected appointments are Lord Andrew Dunlop and Lord Ian Duncan, who stood in an election and lost but was still appointed weeks later.”

    Left Foot Forward report that “SNP MSP Rona Mackay said: ‘Michael Gove’s refusal to rule out Baroness Davidson securing an unelected place in Boris Johnson’s Government from the House of Lords shows the Tories’ utter disdain for democracy. ‘It seems that now Tories don’t even need to bother standing in an election and being held to account by the public in order to keep the perks of ministerial posts. That is a democratic obscenity. It’s bad enough for Ruth Davidson to have accepted a seat in the Lords, if she had any shred of integrity she would make it clear now she will not accept an unelected role in government, working for a man who led the Brexit campaign she once repeatedly accused of having ‘lied’ to people.” ‘Glow ball Britain’s’ bulging second chamber helps make our waning Democracy appear even more incredulous to overseas powers with each new batch of Tory cronies Boris Johnson manages to ram through the door. Who will rescue the British people when that hyped-up glow is snuffed out?

    Still quoting Mackay Left Foot Forward say “Voters across Scotland would be rightly dismayed if an unelected politician was to pick up a ministerial salary on top of her cushy £300 [sic: £323] a day Lords’ job, after dodging democracy by running off to join a group of Tory donors, cronies and politicians rejected by the voters. The Westminster system is broken beyond repair,’ Mackay said. The SNP refuses to nominate peers to the House of Lords.” Other political parties just as vehemently opposed to our unelected Second Chamber have felt compelled to nominate peers to prevent an unstoppable Tory dominance in both Chambers, but it is a losing battle. Peers should be put forward for nomination based on service to the community and valued specialist knowledge not necessarily tagged to a particular constituency. Philanthropy should be judged relevant only as a percentage of personal wealth, but excluding political party donations. You might see Lord Jamie Oliver and Lord Marcus Rashford voted in by the people!

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “The Police Bill isn’t the only threat to civil liberties – just read the Coronavirus Act,” Charlie Jaay warns us of another expansive encroachment on our civil liberties. He says that “MPs are being urged to reject the ‘draconian’ Coronavirus Act when it returns for a vote later this month. The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force last March, as an emergency response to the pandemic. But how long will it last? The measures in the Act range from closing borders, postponing some elections and suspending the power to recall any MP committing a crime, to detaining anyone who might be infectious, and relaxing human rights safeguards in a range of settings. From increasing surveillance and retention of DNA, to closing off care homes, critics argue the Coronavirus Act has created a range of new ‘draconian powers which have eroded civil liberties. The Act marked the largest expansion of executive power in peacetime Britain.”

    Jaay claims “the government justifies this by describing measures as ‘reasonable, proportionate and based on the latest scientific evidence.’But a close look shows our lives and rights have changed beyond recognition, with almost no parliamentary scrutiny.” Jaay asks “What’s in the Act?” He explains that “Depending on the advice of the four chief medical officers, the new powers in the Act can be switched on and off whenever ministers feel necessary. Although time-limited to two years, the government states it is possible to extend the Act’s lifetime ‘if it is prudent to do so’ (para 8), therefore keeping these powers at their fingertips indefinitely. Some of the most far-ranging detention powers in modern legal history are found in schedule 21. It gives police, public health officials and immigration officers powers to forcibly detain, for up to 14 days (para 15.(1)), and take biological samples from anyone, including children, whom they have ‘reasonable grounds to suspect of being ‘potentially infectious’ (para 7.(1)).”

    Jaay points out that “As many Covid cases are asymptomatic, police could have unlimited freedom to detain just about anyone.” But it doesn’t stop there, he says “Schedule 22 provides powers to close premises, cancel events, prohibit gatherings and ban protests but has not yet been activated. Instead, the government has used powers under the Public Health Act 1984 to carry out these prosecutions. However, this has not stopped confused police officers charging people under Schedule 22, and magistrates who do not know the law well enough have accepted the charges. In these situations, charges are rushed through, without proper scrutiny, leading to unlawful prosecutions. Police are also regularly using the Coronavirus Act to break up socially distanced demonstrations outdoors, despite the risks of outdoor transmission being low.” Jaay asks “What’s the alternative?”

    Jaay highlights how “The UK’s leading human rights organization, Liberty, has drafted alternative legislation to the Coronavirus Act 2020, known as the Protect Everyone Bill, which it says will address the ‘civil rights crisis’ caused by the pandemic and ‘prioritize support over punishment.’ Liberty’s Director, Gracie Bradley told Left Foot Forward: ‘The pandemic has shown how much we rely on each other, yet politicians in charge have responded with a strategy that creates distrust and favors punishing people instead of providing support. ‘Those in power have failed to understand that we need to pull together and create strategies that protect everyone. A year into this crisis, we’re tired of waiting for alternatives, so we’ve come up with one ourselves.’ There are existing measures on the statute book that could be used instead. Two other alternatives to the Coronavirus Act, both of which contain sensible safeguards, are the Health and Social Care Act, 2008 and the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.”

    Jaay explains that “Powers in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (HSCA 2008) s. 129-130 are very similar to those in the Coronavirus Act 2020, allowing ‘medical examination, detention, isolation or quarantine of a person who is suspected of being infectious.’ However, a magistrate must authorize the HSCA 2008 provisions, before allowing an individual to be detained by police. The Coronavirus Act has no such safeguards. Similarly, the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA 2004) contains wide-ranging measures, enabling similar restrictions of movement and assembly CA 2020 but, crucially, with the added safeguard that they must be reviewed every 30 days.”

    Jaay reports that “Last year, civil liberties and privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch launched the Two years? Too Long campaign and helped ensure a six-monthly parliamentary vote on the Coronavirus Act. They believe it’s time to remove the extra policing roles from the statute books, particularly ones that aren’t being used.’ Madeleine Stone, Legal and Policy Officer for the group, said: ‘All the time [these powers] are sitting there they represent a danger to our rights. There’s been a lot of talk about ‘new normal’ recently, and we are deeply concerned these powers will remain in the statute books for a very long time to come,’ she said. Stone believes enforcing Covid rules through the police has been ‘unnecessary’: ‘People want to do the right thing, so using police to enforce these measures is counterproductive. It’s giving the police a whole new role in society, as public health officials, and that’s not what they are trained for’.”

    According to Jaay “Parliamentarians are under pressure to repeal schedules 21 and 22 of the Coronavirus Act later this month. ‘We expressed concerns early on about these powers, and our worries have been justified. Unlawful use risks damaging trust in policing and the rule of law, and threatens our human rights, whilst having no benefit to public health,’ Stone tells LFF. Jonathan Lea is one of the founding members of Lawyers for Liberty, a group of legal professionals who monitor, educate and act upon potential legal issues raised by concerned citizens relating to the national coronavirus situation. ‘I have become increasingly concerned as the UK government’s restrictions have continued to be extended. Lawyers for Liberty recently started a Facebook group for anyone wanting to join, and we have been inundated with all sorts of horrifying stories of people facing incredible injustices and infringements on what should be their essential human rights’.”

    Jaay says that Lawyers for Liberty concluded “This simply has to stop. I sincerely hope that the Coronavirus Act is repealed as soon as possible, before things get even worse for all of us,’ he said. ‘People should bear in mind Lord Acton’s infamous quote- ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ To date, all powers in the Coronavirus Act have been used unlawfully, with every single prosecution being dropped.” Covid has become a poor excuse that has enabled this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to shut-dow peaceable assembly and ban public protest despite the pace of vaccination. Work and school are declared ‘Covid safe; even when the correct measures aren’t in place; soon it will again be declared ‘safe’ in close proximity to a cash register and the supreme leader will allow us to visit sports events. But people gathering to voice their discontent presents a real danger to the corrupt cabal that seized power in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We must demand restoration of our right to Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69140 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Despite the shocking events of the past week Boris Johnson sounded upbeat as he waded into a potentially scathing session of Prime Minister’s questions by jovially “wishing everyone a very happy St Patrick’s day. I was delighted to visit Northern Ireland last week where I was able to thank military and emergency response teams for their brilliant work throughout the covid-19 pandemic.” Tory MP Simon Fell lamented that “A decade ago, GlaxoSmithKline announced a £350 million investment in my constituency, which would have led to 1,000 jobs. In 2017, it reneged on that, and a few weeks ago it announced that it is closing its business altogether. We have gone from the very real prospect of having 1,000 high-paying, high-skilled pharma jobs in my constituency to the risk of having none by 2025.” I wonder why? Could it be just one of the negative consequences of Brexit…? The PM blathered on “Bioscience is one of the great growth areas for this country in the future… take part in that boom… other high technologies.”

    After St Patrick’s Day wishes Starmer said, “My thoughts, and I am sure those across the whole House, are with the family and friends of Sarah Everard, who will be suffering unspeakable grief. There are five words that will stick with us for a very long time: she was just walking home. Sometimes, a tragedy is so shocking that it demands both justice and change. The Stephen Lawrence case showed the poison of structural and institutional racism. The James Bulger case made us question the nature of our society and the safety of our children. Now the awful events of the last week have lifted a veil on the epidemic of violence against women and girls. This must also be a watershed moment, to change how we as a society treat women and girls, and how we prevent and end sexual violence and harassment. I believe that, if we work together, we can achieve that, and the questions I ask today are in that spirit. First does the Prime Minister agree that this must be a turning point in how we tackle violence against women and girls?”

    Given the gravity of use of force at the vigil this was a weak request; the PM said “Yes I do, and I associate myself fully with the remarks that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has made about the appalling murder of Sarah Everard. I am sure that those emotions are shared in this House and around the country. That event has triggered a reaction that I believe is wholly justified and understandable, and of course we in government are doing everything that we can. We are investing in the Crown Prosecution Service, trying to speed up the law; we are changing the law on domestic violence, and many, many other things. But the right hon. and learned Gentleman is right, frankly, that unless and until we have a change in our culture that acknowledges and understands that women currently do not feel they are being heard, we will not fix this problem. That is what we must do. We need a cultural and social change in attitudes to redress the balance. That is what I believe all politicians must now work together to achieve.”

    Starmer groveled “I thank the Prime Minister for that answer. In that spirit, can I turn to the practical challenges we face if we are collectively to rise to this moment? The first challenge is that many, many women and girls feel unsafe on our streets, particularly at night. What is needed is legal protection. That is why we have called for a specific new law on street harassment and for toughening the law on stalking. Both, I think, are absolutely vital if we are going to make meaningful changes in the everyday experiences of women and girls. So can the Prime Minister commit to taking both of those measures forward?” The PM replied “We are always happy to look at new proposals. What we are already doing is introducing tougher sanctions on stalkers. That is already being brought in and we are bringing in new measures to make the streets safer. Of course that is the right thing to do. Last night there was a Bill before the House on police, crime and sentencing, which did a lot to protect women and girls. It would have been good, in a cross-party way, to have had the support of the Opposition.”

    Starmer said “I will come to last night’s Bill later, but it did say a lot more about protecting statues than it did about protecting women. Let me, if I may, given the gravity of the situation, continue in the spirit so far. I thank the Prime Minister for his answer. The next practical challenge is that many, many women and girls who are subjected to sexual violence do not feel confident to come forward and report what has happened to them. Nine out of 10 do not do so. We have to improve the support that is provided for victims. The Victims’ Commissioner published a report last month with 32 recommendations about this. This week, Labour produced a detailed survivor support plan, and five years ago I introduced a private Member’s Bill, with cross-party support, for a victims’ law to give legally enforceable rights to victims. The shadow victims Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Peter Kyle), has tabled a similar victims’ Bill that is before Parliament now. It is ready to go. All it needs is the political will to act.”

    Starmer asked “So will the Prime Minister commit now not just to the idea of a victims’ law, which I think he supports, but to a tight timetable, of ideally six months or so, to actually implement such a law? The PM replied “As I say, I would be very happy to look at new proposals from all sides of the House on this issue. That is why we are conducting an end-to-end review of the law on rape and how it works, and investing in the criminal justice system to speed up cases and give women and girls the confidence they need. The point the right hon. and learned Gentleman makes about victims and their need to feel confident in coming forward is absolutely right. That is why we have put £100 million so far into services for dealing with violence against women and girls, particularly independent domestic violence advisers and independent sexual violence advisers. I do not pretend that these are the entire solution; they are part of the solution. It is also vital that we have long-term cultural, societal change to deal with this issue.”

    Starmer said “I agree with the Prime Minister on that last point. Can I gently remind him that for 10 years this Government have been promising a victims’ law? I think it has been in his party’s last three manifestos. It still has not materialized. We do not need more reviews, consultations, strategies. The conversations our shadow Minister is having with Government, constructive conversations, are exactly the same conversations that I had five years ago: constructive conversations. We just need now to get on with it. Let me press on with the practical challenges. The next challenge is this. For many, many women and girls who do come forward to report sexual violence, no criminal charges are brought. Only 1.5% of rapes reported to the police lead to a prosecution. Put the other way, 98.5% of reported rapes do not lead to a prosecution. That is a shocking statistic. I appreciate that efforts are being made to improve the situation, but can the Prime Minister tell us: what is he going to do about this not in a few years’ time, not next year, but now?”

    Had Boris expected a more vigorous attack? Starmer was delivering the kid-glove accommodating, zero opposition treatment, the PM replied “The right hon. and learned Gentleman is entirely right. I agree with him; one of the first things I said when I became Prime Minister was that I believed that the prosecution rates for rape were a disgrace in this country. We need to sort it out. That is why we are investing in confidence-building measures, such as ISVAs and IDVAs, and investing in the Crown Prosecution Service in trying to speed up the process of the law to give people confidence that their cases will be heard in due time. We are also doing what we can to toughen the penalties for those men, I am afraid it is overwhelmingly men, who commit these crimes. I think it would have been a good thing if, last night, the whole House could have voted for tougher sentences for those who commit sexual and violent offenses and to stop people from being released early. In that collegiate spirit, I ask him to work together with us.”

    Starmer boasted “I was Director of Public Prosecutions for five years and spent every day prosecuting serious crime, including terrorism, sexual violence and rape, so I really do not need lectures about how to enforce the criminal law. Walking on through the system, as many women and girls have to do, and facing up to the challenges that we need to face as a House, the next challenge is the point that the Prime Minister just referenced, the sentences for rape and sexual violence, because they need to be toughened. Let me give the House three examples. John Patrick, convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl, received a seven-year sentence. Orlando and Costanzo, who were convicted of raping a woman in a nightclub, received a seven-and-a-half-year sentence. James Reeve, convicted of raping a seven-year-old girl, received a nine-year sentence. Does the Prime Minister agree that we need urgently to look at this and to toughen sentences for rape and serious sexual violence?”

    If there was a giant bear trap Starmer just blundered into it! Johnson crowed “Would it not be a wonderful thing if there was a Bill going through the House of Commons that did exactly that? Would it not be a wonderful thing if there were measures to defend women and girls from violence and sex criminals? Would it not be a wonderful thing if there was a Bill before the House to have tougher sentences for child murderers and tougher punishments for sex offenders? That would be a fine thing. As it happens, there is such a Bill before the House. I think it would be a great thing if the right hon. and learned Gentleman had actually voted for it. He still has time. This Bill is still before the House. He can lift his opposition. They actually voted against it on a three-line Whip and I think that was crazy.” It was also targeting Gypsies for ethnic cleansing, criminalizing protests and all in all the most aggressive assault on our civil liberties in decades, but who reads through the fine print in the Tories toxic legislation?

    Keir Starmer plodded on unruffled by gravity of the horrendous Policing Bill being rammed through Parliament he said “The Prime Minister mentions the Bill last night. That provided for longer maximum sentences for damaging a memorial than the sentences imposed in the three cases of rape I have referred the House to, which were all less than 10 years. I thank the Prime Minister for providing me with the best examples of why the priorities in his Bill were so wrong. Nothing in that Bill would have increased the length of sentence in any of those rape cases, nothing in that Bill. Let me try to return to the constructive spirit, because I think that is demanded of all of us. If this House came together on the points raised today, and there has been agreement across the Dispatch Boxes, it would make a real difference to victims of crime. This week, Labour published a 10-point plan. We published a victims’ law. In coming days, we are going to publish amendments in relation to the criminal justice system to make it work better.”

    Starmer’s constructive spirit should be confined to a few drams at the bar but he continued his tedious groveling saying “I do not expect the Prime Minister to agree with all of this and, frankly, I do not care if this becomes a Government Bill or Conservative legislation. All I care about is whether we make progress, so will the Prime Minister meet me, the shadow Home Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds), my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Yardley (Jess Phillips) and victims’ groups, who have spent many years campaigning on this, so that we can really and truly make this a turning point?” Relieved to see his faithful Trojan horse behaving so well that day Johnson said “I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the collegiate way in which he is addressing this and the way in which he is reaching out across the Chamber. I think that is entirely right in the circumstances, but I do think that he should not misrepresent what the Bill was trying to do.”

    The PM continued “The average sentence for rape is already nine years and nine months, as he knows full well, and the maximum sentence is already life. What we are trying to do is stiffen the sentences for a variety of offenses to protect women and girls and others, and that is entirely the right thing to do. We will go on with our agenda to deliver on the people’s priorities, rolling out more police, 7,000 we have already, investing in ISVAs and IDVAs and doing our utmost to accelerate the grinding processes of the criminal justice system, which, as he rightly says, are such a deterrent to women coming forward to complain as they rightly should. Until we sort out that fundamental problem, and until women feel that their voices are being heard and their complaints are being addressed by society, we will not fix this problem. I warmly welcome what he suggests about wanting to fix it together, and I hope that, in that spirit, he can bring himself to vote for the tougher sentences that we have set out.” ]

    At this point the Speaker interjected “We have to be a little bit careful, because nobody would misrepresent anyone in this House.” You could have fooled me. At a later point in PMQs the Speaker called ‘Order’ to clarify that “The hon. Lady just said ‘you.’ We cannot use ‘you’. I am not responsible for this,” despite the fact that ‘you’ was clearly aimed at the PM. I continue to take offense at the extraordinary scope the Speaker allows Boris Johnson in his expansive bragging that includes blatant lies. At the same time it violates the rules on the House of Commons to actually call out another MP for lying in the Chamber, (not to mention disrespectfully sprawling across the green benches!) This flaw in the system gives televised Parliamentary credence to Johnson’s pervasive lies.

    After a grateful plug from Tory Steve Double thanking the PM “for bringing the G7 leaders’ summit to Cornwall this summer” the SNP Leader Ian Blackford also joined in wishing everyone a happy St Patrick’s day. He then unleashed his wrath on the PM, this is what opposition looks like Starmer! He said “Across Scotland this week, a tale of two Governments with two very different sets of values has again been exposed. Yesterday, the Scottish National party Government passed landmark legislation that will put the UN convention on the rights of the child into Scots law, putting children at the vanguard of children’s rights. In contrast, we have a UK Government who have to be shamed into providing free school meals, who will clap for nurses but will not give them a fair wage, and who plow billions into a nuclear arsenal that sits redundant on the Clyde. Does the Prime Minister understand that the Scottish people are best served by a Government who live up to their values, a Government who prioritize bairns not bombs?”

    Once again Johnson arrogantly claimed to be speaking for the majority of Scotts as he said “I think what the people of Scotland need and deserve is a Government who tackle the problems of education in Scotland, a Government who address themselves to fighting crime and drug addiction in Scotland, and a Government who can wean themselves off their addiction to constitutional change and constitutional argument, because they seem, in the middle of a pandemic when the country is trying to move forward together, to be obsessed with nothing else, nothing else, but breaking up the country and a reckless referendum.” Blackford tried to remind Johnson that “Of course, this is Prime Minister’s questions, and maybe the Prime Minister might, just once, try to answer the question that is put to him. We are talking about a Tory plan to impose a 40% increase in nuclear warheads” The Speaker has given up reprimanding Boris for this repeated transgression.

    Blackford said “Our children have the right to a future that no longer lives under the shadow of these weapons of mass destruction. As the Irish President said on this St Patrick’s day, we need to find ways to make peace, not war. Every single one of those weapons will be based on the Clyde, so can the Prime Minister tell us exactly when the Scottish people gave him the moral or democratic authority to impose those weapons of mass destruction on our soil in Scotland?” They have every right to be outraged, but Johnson still tried to claim their support “The people of Scotland contribute enormously to the health, happiness, wellbeing and security of the entire country, not least through their contribution to our science, our defenses, our international aid and in many other ways. I am very proud that this Government are investing record sums in defense, including maintaining our nuclear defense, which is absolutely vital for our long-term security, and helping, thereby, to drive jobs not just in Scotland, but across the UK.”

    Tory Nick Fletcher started winging about not being one of the favored Tory constituencies to be blessed with a fanciful promise of a new Hospital, “among the first 40 hospitals promised in the manifesto,” he went on to allude to the latest expansion of the PMs empty pledge re “building of a further eight specialist hospitals.” Johnson fed into this illusion by telling him Doncaster was “very much in the running in the current open competition for the next eight hospitals, on top of the 40 that we are already building.” They say if you are going to lie, make it a very big lie and Boris really knows how to present some whopping Porkies, but no one in the UK Media is demanding the details on these elusive 40 new Hospitals, no one is calling him out on whether they are real or not.

    Green Party MP Caroline Lucas packs a hefty punch when she crams a massive opposition rebuke into her fast-paced question of the PM. She said “The creation of a no-protest zone around Parliament, a 266% increase from a maximum of three months to 11 months’ imprisonment for protest organizers, a direct attack on the Gypsy, Roma and Traveler community, up to 10 years in prison for any offense committed by destroying or damaging a memorial, and criminalizing people for taking part in protests where they ought to have known police conditions were in place. Does the Prime Minister agree that if the UK is to be a force for good in a world where democracy is ‘in retreat’, as the Foreign Secretary is saying today, it needs to start at home with the protection of the long-standing, precious and fundamental right to peaceful protest, which is a cornerstone of liberal democracy?” Can you imagine how badly she could decimate the Tories if they allowed our Geen Party Leader to as six questions in a row?

    The PM defensively replied “The hon. Lady is quite right to stick up for peaceful protest, and I understand and sympathize with that, but there are a couple of points. First, we are facing a pandemic in which, alas, we have to restrict human contact,” he halted in response to Lucas’s gesture of disgust over this no longer valid excuse to prohibit well-organized Covid safe events like this weekend’s prohibited vigil. He continued “Although the hon. Lady shakes her head, I think the people of this country do understand that and do understand the restrictions we are now under. I think we also have to strike a balance between the need to allow peaceful protests to go ahead, and we do on a huge scale in this country, and the need to protect free speech and vital parts of the UK economy.” He was referring to the right for the police to support Corporate thugs in bullying the public into silence. Tory Andrew Jones was quick to leap to the defense of the new powers Tories voted for in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

    What a pity men dominated PMQ when the focus was on the plight of women but Labour MP Charlotte Nichols weighed in saying “With the Government’s end-to-end rape review remaining unpublished, two years after it was promised, rape conviction rates having fallen to their lowest point on record and almost 90% of sexual harassment complaints not even reported to the police, women are increasingly being left without legal recourse against sexual violence. I have parliamentary privilege and can name the men who have hurt me, but millions of women in this country do not have that. Women are stuck between a criminal justice system in which only 1.4% of reported offenses result in charges being laid and too many survivors who speak out being pursued through the civil courts by their abusers to silence them. Can the Prime Minister advise how they are meant to get justice?”

    The PM’s shameless reply was to say “I am afraid that the hon. Lady is completely right, and I know that she speaks for many women up and down the country. We can do all the things we have talked about, two men arguing over the Dispatch Box. We can bring in more laws and tougher sentences, which I hope she will support. We can support independent domestic violence and sexual violence advisers. We can do all that kind of thing, but we have to address the fundamental issue of the casual everyday sexism and apathy that fail to address the concerns of women. That is the underlying issue.” The Tories decimated legal aid while raising the bar for rape prosecution eligibility, but they have also disproportionately targeted women with austerity cuts. After a decade long assault, punishing the most impoverished families, no one can convince me that women voted for their children to starve to secure the fake Tory ‘landslide victory’ in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election: demand a robust Investigation of the result! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69201 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    My perception of Gypsies was influenced by an experience in my early teens; I used to go fishing with the father of a friend of mine who was of Romany heritage. We shared a strong appreciation of the natural environment and he taught me a few useful survival techniques including how to recognize plants growing in the wild that that were safe to eat. I am deeply concerned that buried in the fine print of the controversial Policing Bill, and gaining a lot less publicity, is a direct aggressive assault on the Traveller’s way of life. While we should be outraged over the curtailment of basic civil liberties and the criminalization of our right to protest, another serious threat to basic human rights looms within this toxic piece of legislation the Tories just rammed through Parliament. Writ large in that Policing Bill was a powerful indication of where the UK is headed under this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship: a ruthless determination to emulate the repression and persecution of a minority ethnic group, Gypsies, under the Nazi regime in Germany.

    On a chilling Wikipedia page tracing the origins of the Nazi’s “Romani Genocide” they detail the changes in German Law preceding the final act of extermination. Under the heading “Persecution under the German Empire and the Weimar Republic” it says “The developments of racial pseudo-science and modernization resulted in anti-Romani state interventions, carried out by both the German Empire and the Weimar Republic. In 1899, the Imperial Police Headquarters in Munich established the Information Services on Romani by the Security Police. Its purpose was to keep records (identification cards, fingerprints, photographs, etc.) and continuous surveillance on the Roma community. Roma in the Weimar Republic were forbidden from entering public swimming pools, parks, and other recreational areas, and depicted throughout Germany and Europe as criminals and spies.”

    But where does the new UK legislation take us on this pathway to persecution? The Wikipedia segment continues in “1926 ‘Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants and the Workshy’ was enforced in Bavaria, becoming the national norm by 1929. It stipulated that groups identifying as ‘Gypsies’ avoid all travel to the region. Those already living in the area were to ‘be kept under control so that there [was] no longer anything to fear from them with regard to safety in the land.’ They were forbidden from ‘roam[ing] about or camp[ing] in bands,’ and those ‘unable to prove regular employment’ risked being sent to forced labor for up to two years. Herbert Heuss notes that ‘[t]his Bavarian law became the model for other German states and even for neighboring countries.’ The demand for Roma to give up their nomadic ways and settle in a specific region was often the focus of anti-Romani policy both of the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.” How much do the Tories hate our unemployed also demonized as ‘workshy’?

    “Once settled, communities were concentrated and isolated in one area within a town or city.[21] This process facilitated state-run surveillance practices and ‘crime prevention.’ Following the passage of the Law for the Fight Against Gypsies, Vagrants, and the Workshy, public policy increasingly targeted the Roma on the explicit basis of race. In 1927, Prussia passed a law that required all Roma to carry identity cards. Eight thousand Roma were processed this way and subjected to mandatory fingerprinting and photographing. Two years later, the focus became more explicit. In 1929, the German state of Hessen proposed the ‘Law for the Fight Against the Gypsy Menace’. The same year the Centre for the Fight Against Gypsies in Germany was opened. This body enforced restrictions on travel for undocumented Roma and ‘allowed for the arbitrary arrest and detention of gypsies as a means of crime prevention.”

    On the Hodge, Jones & Allen Website, Solicitor Cormac Mannion explains this deadly consequence of the Policing Bill, that has gained far less public attention, in a piece entitled “Criminalising a way of life: The Police Powers and Protection Bill” Posted on 9th February 2021 it says “In 2004, Sir Trevor Philips, then Chair of The Commission for Racial Equality, described discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities as ‘the last respectable form of racism’ in the UK. Members of the GRT community are protected from race discrimination by the Equality Act 2010, and yet a 2017 report by the Traveller Movement found that 91% of GRT individuals had experienced discrimination because of their ethnicity, 77% had experienced hate speech or hate crime, and, perhaps most worrying for legal aid lawyers, 77% had not sought legal help after experiencing discrimination.”

    Mannion warns that “Rather than seek to address the discrimination faced by these marginalized communities, it appears the government plans to punish them further by introducing legislation which includes proposals to criminalize trespass and the act of setting up an ‘unauthorized’ encampment. The Police Powers and Protections Bill, which has been consulted on and is due to be published soon, seeks to implement a 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto pledge to ‘give the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorized encampment” and to ‘make intentional trespass a criminal offense.’ Trespass is currently governed by civil law and upgrading trespass to a criminal offense would have significant ramifications for protesters, the homeless and GRT communities in particular.”

    Mannion rightly claims that “The Police Powers and Protections Bill is one of a raft of increasingly authoritarian Bills introduced by this government, others of which have garnered more media attention, such as the ‘Spy Cops’ Bill and the Overseas Operation Bill, the former of which was characterized by Labour peer and prominent human rights lawyer Shami Chakrabarti as ‘one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation I’ve seen.’ Despite the relative lack of media attention to the Police Powers and Protections Bill, an unlikely coalition has emerged opposing the proposed legislation. On 18 January 2021, a letter was sent to the Home Secretary denouncing the government’s proposals to criminalize trespass as ‘an extreme, illiberal and unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms.’ Signatories to the letter range from advocacy groups such as Homeless Link and Friends Families and Travellers to outdoor sports governing bodies such as the British Mountaineering Council and British Canoeing.”

    With alarm Mannion reports that “The letter raises concerns that ‘criminalizing trespass or increasing police powers of eviction would compound the inequalities experienced’ by GRT communities. The letter also suggests that ‘extending the definition of ‘unauthorized encampment’ would have the effect of criminalizing the increasing numbers of rough sleepers living in makeshift shelters or tents.’ As the composition of the unlikely coalition opposing the legislation suggests, the proposals in the Bill not only represent an attack on GRT communities, but also on the rights of everyone to freely access, explore and enjoy the British countryside without fear of prosecution. As the letter states, criminalizing trespass would ‘send a signal that the countryside is not an open resource accessible to all but a place of complex rules and regulations, where stepping off a public path could lead to a criminal sentence’.”

    Mannion elaborates on earlier state interventions to rob us of our rights “For those with an interest in British legal history, legislation that might have the twin effects of criminalizing the homeless and restricting the rights of people to access the countryside is uncomfortably reminiscent of two of the most controversial legislative developments in British history: the Vagrancy Act of 1824 which criminalizes the very act of being homeless and remains in force to this day (for now); and Enclosure, the bitterly fought centuries-long legal process in which the commons were privatized and the rights of ordinary people to access and make use of the land severely repressed. As legal aid lawyers who act for members of the GRT community in disputes ranging from eviction to discrimination, we are deeply concerned that the Police Powers and Protection Bill will represent a huge step backward for these communities and urge the government to reconsider their commitment to criminalize trespass and unauthorized encampments.”

    We need to realize that this draconian change in the law not only targets gypsies, but can be liberally interpreted to encompass everyone from the homeless on our streets to hikers, campers and those on a family campervan holiday. On the 17th of March the Gypsy-Traveller.org Website posted a “New tool launched for people to write to their MP about harsh new laws for roadside camps.” They reminded the public that “The Government is planning to bring in new harsh laws for nomadic people. Today, Friends, Families and Travellers launch a new tool which will support Gypsies, Travelers and members of the public to write to their MP, registering their concerns about the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. There is a significant national shortage of places for nomadic Gypsies and Travellers to legally and safely stop. However, the Government is planning to bring in new laws which means people who live on roadside camps could face time in prison, a £2500 fine or their home being taken from them.”

    Gypsy-Traveller.org say that “While the Government says that the laws are meant to target only a small number of people who engage in anti-social behavior on roadside camps, in reality, the proposals are widely open to interpretation and are likely to impact upon everyone who is or wishes to live nomadically, by culture, choice or necessity. Everybody needs a place to live. It should not be a crime to have nowhere to go.” They urge you to “Use our quick and easy tool to email your MP today.” Those who chose to live close to nature are far less inclined to be destructive and dump garbage. Our consumer-driven society results in a throwaway culture where people who live in comfortable homes fly-tip the items they regularly discard; this isn’t part of the Gypsy way of life. Having spent many years of my life in a nomadic lifestyle living aboard boats I can empathize with their desire to roam.

    I was just sent an email regarding the progress of the Petition that I signed “Don’t criminalize trespass” saying it will now be debated in Parliament. As our opportunities for dissent in the UK narrow considerably under this authoritarian Tory regime, we should not overlook the possibility still available via this Parliamentary Petition site to demand that an issue is debated in the House of Commons. We do not know how soon this avenue will be shut down to silence the public voice. The Petition appeal was worded to expose how “The Government’s manifesto stated ‘we will make intentional trespass a criminal offense’: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favor of the landowning 1% who own half the country.”

    In further detail the Petition warns that “For a thousand years, trespass has been a civil offence – but now the Government is proposing to make trespass a criminal offense: a crime against the state. Doing so could: – Criminalise ramblers who stray even slightly from the path; – Remove the ability of local residents to establish new rights of way; – Criminalise wild camping, denying hikers a night under the stars; – Clampdown on peaceful protest, a fundamental right and essential part of our democracy; – Impact Traveller communities.” The Petition closed with a grand total of: 134,932 Signatures. I was informed that “Parliament will debate this petition on 19 April 2021. You’ll be able to watch online in the UK Parliament YouTube channel.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “14 signs the UK is becoming a modern fascist state,” they offer a stark warning to the UK public saying that “#FacistBritain has been trending on Twitter. But can we quantify whether the UK is descending into a modern, fascist state? Simply put: yes, we can.” They describe “Fascism’s ‘defining characteristics’: nationalism and disregard for human rights. Che Scott-Heron Newton tweeted how she believed fascism was ‘presenting in modern Britain’. She noted four areas. One was ‘Powerful and Continuing Nationalism’. In this instance, she gave the example of police protecting a Winston Churchill statue: Heron’s second example was: Disregard for human rights: people are more likely to approve of longer incarcerations of prisoners, look the other way. She gave the example of the current furor of the so-called ‘Police Bill’.”

    But, the Canary report she said “the degradation of UK human rights has been ongoing for a long time. Back in 2016, the UN accused successive Tory-led governments of ‘grave’ and ‘systematic’ violations of sick and disabled people’s human rights. With the UK’s potential withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights, things will only get worse.” Under “The arts and crime” they say “Heron’s third point was: Disrespect towards intellectuals & the arts. Tory attempts to clamp-down on universities ‘cancelling‘ far-right bigots from speaking forms part of this. Or, as The Canary‘s Maryam Jameela put it, the Tories attempt to ‘quash dissent’. Then, you have the Tories’ attacks on ‘lefty lawyers’ doing human rights work. Meanwhile, in recent years, they’ve also cut public arts funding by 35%.”

    The Canary note that “Finally, Heron said: Obsession with crime & punishment. The recent Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (the ‘Police Bill’) is a case in point. As Liberty said, it includes: dangerous measures including restrictions on protest, new stop and search powers, a ‘Prevent-style’ duty on knife crime, and a move to criminalize trespass. Also, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill allows intelligence services to break the law on UK soil. So, Heron summed up some major indicators of fascism well. It was in-part based on historian Laurence Britt’s 2003 work on the signs of a fascist regime.” If this is the road we are heading down we would do well to remember that if we fail to remove this authoritarian regime from power ASAP, like Hungary, Turkey and so many repressive states we will be forced to endure decades of Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

    The Canary asks, “Picking apart his remaining ten points, how does the UK look? Signs of a Fascist regime,” “scapegoats and sexism, Britt noted: Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. From immigrants to Muslims via disabled people, the UK establishment has always had ‘enemies’ and ‘scape-goats’. Now, we’re seeing left-wing activists, Black Lives Matter and the ‘woke’ being the target. Another point Britt said was: Rampant sexism. The recent clamping-down on vigils and protests in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder is a chilling sign. Not that Tory misogyny is anything new. For example, just in the social security system you had the so-called ‘rape clause‘ and the benefit cap hitting lone mothers the hardest.” Rampant unchecked misogyny encourages the male half of the population to persecute the female half of the population, inhibiting their rights and limiting their opportunities while ignoring violence towards them is the ultimate ‘divide and conquer’ tactic used by repressive regimes all over the world.

    The biased BBC and alt-right UK Media barons convinced the public that the Covert 2019 Rigged Election was legit; no need to demand a robust Investigation of the unfathomable result, just ‘Keep Calm and Carry On” in complacent silence. The Canary next identify “The mass media and national security,” pointing out an area where we do not fare at all well, saying “Britt also listed: A controlled mass media. The UK media is already controlled by a handful of right-wing billionaires. Now, with GB News, Rupert Murdoch’s News UK TV, former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre potentially heading-up the media regulator Ofcom, and a Tory donor being put in charge of the BBC, it’s going to get even more dystopian. Britt added: Obsession with national security. The Tories’ upping the cap on the number of nuclear weapons the UK can have is one example. Its review looking at left-wing ‘extremism’ is another. Amnesty called the Investigatory Powers Act (which allowed mass surveillance) ‘among the most draconian in the EU’.”

    The Canary explain “The new religion and corporations” saying that “Another marker of Britt’s was: Religion and ruling elite tied together. Flip this into capitalism being the new religion, the mantra that guides how we all live our lives, and it fits with Britt’s description of fascism being marked by a ‘manufactured perception’ ‘that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion’. The Tories blocking of anti-capitalist teaching in schools sums this up. A crucial point of Britt’s was also: Power of corporations protected. This has been ongoing for decades. But it has reached a crescendo in recent years. The Tories allow big companies to pay tiny amounts of tax. Also, the revolving door between big business and big government is constantly open. As the Week wrote last year: Facebook has hired ten former UK government policy officials with insider knowledge of regulatory processes since the beginning of 2020, an investigation has found.”

    The Canary say that “The new claims about the so-called ‘revolving door’ between politics and the private sector come just a week after J.P. Morgan announced that former chancellor Sajid Javid has been appointed as a senior advisor to the banking giant.” In “Suppressing labour and cronyism,” they note “Britt then moved on to Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. The Tories moves to restrict protest is a current example. And in 2015, The Tories put in place what the Guardian called the ‘biggest crackdown on trade unions for 30 years’. The gig economy helps this. And the consistently low minimum wage puts the power in the hands of the bosses. Perhaps Britt’s most recognizable point was: Rampant cronyism and corruption. This is the Tories all over; not least during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. As Byline Times wrote on 16 March: A company owned by a Conservative Party donor has surpassed £200 million worth of Government contracts during the Coronavirus pandemic ‘Nuff said’.”

    The Canary then focused on “Election fraud” saying “Finally, Britt noted: Fraudulent elections. The 2015 election was marred by allegations of Tory election fraud. So was the EU referendum. The establishment corporate press helped get Boris Johnson into power in 2019. But the Tories are taking their election rigging agenda further. Our First Past The Post voting system has consolidated their power.” There was so little furor even from the progressive left with regard to disputing the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result at the time; instead of calling out the massive privatised electoral system corruption we had naval gazing and limp excuses in a rush to admit failure. They warn us that “Now, they’ll be rolling it out to all English elections. As City A.M. reported, in London Assembly elections this: would ‘wipe out’ many smaller parties like the Liberal Democrats and The Green Party. So, is all this truly fascism? On paper, the signs are there. But there’s probably a better name for it. And that is ‘Corporate Fascism’.”

    The Canary explain the term “Corporate fascism” noting “As Johanna Drucker wrote for Riot Material on the US under then-president Donald Trump: Fascism is defined as the alignment of power, nationalism, and authoritarian government. We are there. The power is capital linked to politics. Capital is not merely the currency of money, but a force with nearly animate capacity for agency. The nationalism is an inflammatory rhetoric that galvanizes affect from responses to actual conditions (the real erosion of social infrastructure) in combination with a fantasy of entitlement grounded in long-standing myths of American exceptionalism. And the authoritarianism is an increasingly evident fulfillment of the worst fears of the founding designers of Democracy, as its checks and balances are put aside in favor of the interests of corporate wealth and its beneficiaries as a grotesque populism feeds on lifestyle fantasies and delusional identification.”

    The Canary warn “Corporate fascism is wanton, virulent, and unregulated. Wanton because it has no regard for consequences (psycho-socio-political pathology is without constraints). Virulent because the full force of inflamed populism is fuelled by self-justified rage and unbounded triumphalism. Unregulated because the capital is now amassed in extreme concentrations of wealth without any controls. Corporate because Citizens United created the legal foundation for corporations to act with the same rights, privileges, and protections accorded to individuals, thus sanctifying the role of disproportionate power within a mythic construct of corporate entities. Johnson’s government is also using that MO. It’s no exaggeration to say that corporate fascism has been creeping into the UK for decades and it now appears the situation is only going to get worse.” The blatant targeting of one ethnic minority, Gypsies for systematic state persecution is a stark warning of what is ahead: we must get this Fascist Tory regime out ASAP! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69266 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    As the UK national Covid death continues its deadly climb towards 130,000, beyond the early reflections on what went wrong we should start with our preparedness, including the central role of that critical emergency stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment: PPE. Politicians are eager to proclaim what is universally accepted, that the first duty of any and all Governments is to protect the population of this country from harm. But, despite all of the warnings indicating that a consensus of opinion on the greatest threat to our national security was a global Pandemic the leadership in power for the last decade slashed the funding required to maintain this vital PPE preparedness. Instead of vigilantly monitored and upgraded the PPE supplies required to protect our NHS and care workforce so that they were ready to combat that threat they abandoned that duty, putting us all at risk. We are now living with the single worst consequence of warped Tory austerity: the highest Covid death toll in Europe and among the very highest globally.

    Although there is always empty talk of ‘lessons learned’ sadly we are encumbered with a rogue Tory Government even more toxic than past iterations of the political far-right: robust scrutiny and accountability are not in their lexicon and they never learn from their repeated catastrophic mistakes. Beyond the unforgivable failure of their ideologically driven economic disaster that rendered the UK so critically unprepared, they are seeking a new way to rebrand their dire austerity agenda. Contrast the cuts to public services and frozen wages with the relentless squandering of public funds on failed programs led by trusted cronies or the reckless ‘money is no object’ spending spree on the Downing Street propaganda suite, but even that is not the worst obscenity. No, while we are barely even beginning to emerge from the ignored Pandemic threat, there’s another stockpile Tories want to prioritize by increasing our nuclear arsenal by 40%, allegedly to protect us from a mirage of threats from biological to cyber from unspecified ‘hostile states!’

    “Bearns not bombs” intoned the furious SNP Leader at the last Prime Minister’s Questions; no wonder the Scottish people are so desperately eager to disconnect from this insane Westminster cabal: they do not want more nuclear warheads stockpiled in their backyard. The ominous threat that the UK might actually consider deploying such deadly weapons of mass destruction not just to deter a direct nuclear, but to ward off a biological incident or a pesky cyber nuisance from one of our confected enemies, no doubt identified by former panty salesman turned self-proclaimed search-engine sleuth Belingcat. Will the Tories adopt the ‘Bethlehem Doctrine’ of shoot first ask questions later in their ‘MAD’ Mutual Assured Destruction’s march towards global armageddon? Most of the major military confrontations of the past century have been deliberately engineered in response to a False Flag incident, Iraq and Vietnam being two clear examples. Now the annihilation of life on this planet could come down to the bum-steer of Belingcat!

    This destructive Tory brinksmanship is the latest ‘willy-wagging’ from insecure politicians eager to assert the forgotten dominance of our extinct empire with their ‘wet-dream’ fantasies of grandeur. Putting future nuclear disarmament into screeching reverse our current international commitment to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty would be abandoned with any pretense of a purely defensive motivation highly questionable. This unjustified and unprovoked unilateral turbocharging of the arms race obliterates our diplomatic trustworthiness globally just as we are seeking partners for new trade agreements. The US have rid themselves of their populist petulant child in the White House, but the UK is destined to endure decades of Tory Sovereign Dictatorship under a narcissistic tyrant and his Machiavelian side-kick Cummings. It is not too late to fight back; we must derail this deadly juggernaut with mass protests, Legal challenges, demanding a full Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and all ongoing Tory corruption.

    A few days ago I received this email from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It said “Dear Friend, The Government has announced a 40% increase in Britain’s nuclear arsenal – I’m sure you’re as appalled by this news as I am. Today the arsenal stands at around 200 nuclear warheads, each about eight times the power of the Hiroshima bomb. How can Boris Johnson conceivably justify that arsenal, never mind increasing it? A key question being asked across media and parliament is: is it legal? The answer is a resounding No. Increasing Britain’s nuclear arsenal contravenes our legal obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which Britain ratified in 1970. The NPT requires countries that have nuclear weapons to disarm, and those that don’t have them not to acquire them. There is no way in which increasing a nuclear arsenal is legitimate under the treaty.”

    CND rightly insist that “Johnson’s decision to increase Britain’s nuclear arsenal is a serious problem. It’s not just that we would rather the money was spent on something more useful; or that this flagrant breach of the NPT may encourage others to pursue nuclear weapons; it’s a question of what kind of world we want to see, what role we want Britain to play and what it actually stands for. Rearming with weapons of mass destruction is not something that we can accept. I know that this is not the kind of world that you want. CND will be actively campaigning to stop this illegal action on the part of the Government. We’ll be calling on all our members to get active, lobby MPs and, when we can, collectively demonstrate to not only oppose this increase, but to stop Trident altogether.” They asked “Will you join CND and help us campaign for a nuclear-free world?”

    The CND stance is supported in the London Economic Article entitled “Boris Johnson ‘in violation of international law’ with plan to build more nuclear warheads,” where Henry Goodwin lays out the facts saying that “Britain plans to increase the size of its nuclear stockpile by 40 percent, to 260 warheads, Johnson announced. Boris Johnson wants to increase the size of the UK’s nuclear weapons arsenal, a move which could amount to a violation of international law, campaigners and experts have warned. The government’s integrated defense review, published on Tuesday, revealed Britain would be increasing the size of its nuclear stockpile by 40 percent, to 260 warheads. The UK had previously committed to cutting its arsenal to 180 warheads by ‘the mid-2020s’, but the review said this stance would be changed ‘in recognition of the evolving security environment, including the developing range of technological and doctrinal threats’.”

    Goodwin says “Johnson’s announcement comes despite the UK being a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which commits the government to gradual nuclear disarmament under international law. Successive administrations have stuck to the policy. Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project, said the UK’s plan was ‘deeply disappointing. ‘This will put Britain in violation of its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Article 6 obligations,’ he said. Government ministers had publicly acknowledged, as recently as 2015, that cuts to the size of the country’s nuclear arsenal were part of its obligations under the treaty. Speaking at a United Nations conference in 2015, Baroness Anelay, a Foreign Office minister, said the UK ‘remains firmly committed to step-by-step disarmament, and our obligations under Article 6’. She suggested action would soon follow, including cutting “our total number of operationally available warheads to no more than 120” and reducing the ‘overall nuclear warhead stockpile to not more than 180 by the mid-2020s’.”

    This sounds like more typical Tory double-speak like the copious boasts of ‘levelling up’ while in the blatantly obvious process of ‘Decimating Down’ targeting the working poor, disabled, vulnerable and disadvantaged. Goodwin reports that “Reacting to the new announcement, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, said: ‘A decision by the United Kingdom to increase its stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the middle of a pandemic is irresponsible, dangerous and violates international law. ‘While the British people are struggling to cope with the pandemic, an economic crisis, violence against women, and racism, the government chooses to increase insecurity and threats in the world. This is toxic masculinity on display. ‘While the majority of the world’s nations are leading the way to a safer future without nuclear weapons by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the United Kingdom is pushing for a dangerous new nuclear arms race’.”

    Goodwin noted “In a further statement, the organization suggested that Britain would face censure at the upcoming NPT Review conference, which is due to take place at the United Nations in August. ‘The United Kingdom is legally obligated under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue disarmament. States will meet soon to review the NPT’s success and when they do, the UK will have to answer for its actions,’ the statement said. Kate Hudson, the general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said: ‘A decision to increase Britain’s nuclear arsenal absolutely goes against our legal obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. ‘Not only is the UK failing to take the required steps towards disarmament, it is willfully and actively embarking on a new nuclear arms race, at a time when Presidents Biden and Putin have renewed their bilateral nuclear reductions Treaty.”

    Goodwin also quotes Hudson saying that “Britain must not be responsible for pushing the world towards nuclear war. This is a dangerous and irresponsible move, and must be reversed. Speaking ahead of the review’s release, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said increasing the stockpile was the ‘ultimate insurance policy’. Asked why the government wanted to end three decades of gradual disarmament, Raab said: ‘Because over time as the circumstances change and the threats change, we need to maintain a minimum credible level of deterrent’. Why? ‘Because it is the ultimate guarantee, the ultimate insurance policy against the worst threat from hostile states’.” Meanwhile the single most credible threat remains the potential for future global Pandemics, but this Tory Government have yet to admit and apologize for letting the most vital UK stockpile of PPE, in logical preparedness for the most serious threat that we faced as a nation, dwindle, abandoned and neglected till this vacant stockpile took 130,000 lives!

    Goodwin says “The Scottish National Party, which is responsible for the territory where the arsenal is actually based, slammed the plans. Stewart McDonald, the party’s defense spokesperson, said it ‘beggars belief’ for ‘Boris Johnson to stand up and champion the international rules-based system before announcing in the same breath that the UK plans to violate its commitments to the international treaty on non-proliferation’. ‘Renewing Trident nuclear weapons was already a shameful and regressive decision, however, increasing the cap on the number of Trident weapons the UK can stockpile by more than 40 percent is nothing short of abhorrent,’ he added. ‘It speaks volumes of the Tory government’s spending priorities that it is intent on increasing its collection of weapons of mass destruction, which will sit and gather dust unless the UK has plans to indiscriminately wipe out entire populations, rather than address the serious challenges and inequalities in our society that have been further exposed by the pandemic’.”

    A massive hornets nest erupted with another stunning Raab revelation featured in the HuffPost UK Article entitled “Exclusive: Raab Says UK Wants Trade Deals With Nations That Violate Human Rights.” Captured on record the “Foreign secretary told staff that ‘restricting’ trade because of human rights abuses would mean missing out on ‘growth markets’. Dominic Raab has told officials in a leaked video call that Britain will seek trade deals with countries around the world that violate international standards on human rights. The foreign secretary told staff in his department that only trading with countries that meet European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) standards would mean the UK missing out on trade with future ‘growth markets’.” Obviously our Fascist regime cannot afford to be too picky after ‘cutting off our nose to spite our face’ over Brexit. Atrocities be damned, Glow ball Britain will be rushing to fulfill the arms trade requirements of like-minded foreign despots from Saudi, to Israel to Turkey and beyond…

    Reporting that “In a question and answer session with Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) staff, a recording of which has been heard by HuffPost UK, Raab said: ‘I squarely believe we ought to be trading liberally around the world. ‘If we restrict it to countries with ECHR-level standards of human rights, we’re not going to do many trade deals with the growth markets of the future’. HuffPost UK understands the foreign secretary also used the meeting to name countries where the UK had raised human rights issues with key trade partners. It is understood that Raab also said: ‘We don’t junk whole relationships because we’ve got issues, we have a conversation because we want to change the behavior and I think we’re in a much better position to do that if we’re willing to engage. I can think of behavior that would cross the line and render a country beyond the pale.”

    Obviously sending in a specialized team to hack an outspoken journalist to bits in one of their foreign embassies didn’t quite cross the line as a human rights abuse. The UK will keep sending munitions to Saudi so that they can bomb innocent civilians and their young children, in Yemen into a previous century and starving their population into submission because it is too lucrative a trade deal to pass up. How does Raab plan to use trade as a bargaining chip to ‘modify’ the carnage in Yemen and take a strong stand against the embassy slaughter? There are now more authoritarian states than genuine democracies in the world, but far from setting an impressive human rights and diplomatic example the Tories are demonstrating their eagerness to join the rogue gallery with autocratic policies both at home and abroad and a decimation of our free speech, protest and legal protections being rammed through Parliament.

    Raab has the background to know better, but HuffPost report he claims “Fundamentally I’m a big believer in engaging to try and exert positive influence even if it’s only a moderating influence, and I hope that calibrated approach gives you a sense that it’s not just words, we back it up with action.” HuffPost say that “Raab’s words came after the government published a major review of foreign policy, which includes plans for post-Brexit Britain to tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region as the world’s ‘geopolitical and economic center of gravity moves east. The increased focus on the region is an acknowledgment of Chinese influence, as well as the importance of countries including India and Japan. The shift will be underlined by the deployment of the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group to the region on its maiden operational mission later this year and a visit by Boris Johnson to India in April.” This is Johnson’s “let’s pretend we are a super power” imperialist bullshit bravado shining through to cloud common sense.

    The HuffPost report that “The prime minister said Brexit marked a ‘new chapter in our history’ and the UK was now ‘open to the world, free to tread our own path’ as the integrated review of security, defense, development and foreign policy was published. Responding to Raab’s comments, Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said it was the second time in as many weeks that ‘that the foreign secretary has exposed for talking up trade deals with countries that abuse human rights’. The Times reported last week that Raab had said the UK would be open to signing a future trade deal ‘with our Chinese friends’ at an event attended by senior Beijing diplomats. Nandy said: ‘This is the second time in as many weeks that the foreign secretary has exposed for talking up trade deals with countries that abuse human rights. “It is the latest example of a government entirely devoid of a moral compass and riddled with inconsistency, happy to say one thing in public and another behind closed doors?”

    In an embarrassing exposure of Tory hypocrisy the HuffPost document Lisa Nandy’s rebuke “Today the prime minister stood up in parliament and lauded the UK’s commitment to defending human rights around the world. This afternoon, the foreign secretary is sending a very clear message to countries engaged in appalling human rights abuses that this government welcomes them with open arms’.” They say “Labour’s shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry added: ‘Just weeks ago, Dominic Raab told Andrew Marr that Britain should not be doing trade deals with human rights abuses overseas. Now in private he says the government is prepared to sign trade deals with any country, even those violating the laws drawn up by British officials after the horrors of the Second World War. No wonder the government are talking up the prospects of deeper trade links with China in their integrated review and continuing to block the genocide amendment to the trade bill’.”

    HuffPost report that “Amnesty International UK said Raab’s ‘shocking’ comments would ‘send a chill down the spine of embattled human rights activists right across the globe’, and that they fit ‘a depressing pattern on human rights from this government’. Its director Kate Allen said: ‘So-called ‘growth markets,’ countries like India, Indonesia or Brazil, are often precisely places where human rights protections are fragile and under threat. And in some countries such as Myanmar, the army has control of economic activity which directly funds its military operations, including those implicated in human rights abuses. ‘Trade that arises from or contributes to human rights violations can never be truly sustainable. Companies will rightly worry about their obligations to avoid involvement in human rights abuse, investors will take fright and the whole edifice will come tumbling down.”

    HuffPost note that “An FCDO spokesperson claimed the audio had been “deliberately and selectively clipped to distort the foreign secretary’s comments’. They added: ‘As he made crystal clear in his full answer, the UK always stands up for and speaks out on human rights. ‘In his full answer, in an internal meeting, he highlighted examples where the UK has applied Magnitsky sanctions [sanctions to specific individuals and organizations rather than entire countries] and raised issues at the UN regardless of trade interests, and that this was a responsible, targeted and carefully calibrated approach to bilateral relations’. In a Commons statement on the integrated review, Johnson insisted the UK had led international condemnation of China’s alleged ‘mass detention’ of Uighur people in Xinjiang and its actions in Hong Kong. ‘There is no question China will pose a great challenge for an open society such as ours,’ Johnson said.”

    HuffPost report the PM continued “But we will also work with China where that is consistent with our values and interests, including building a stronger and positive economic relationship and in addressing climate change.’ The plans for closer engagement with China were criticized by senior Tory MPs, who warned Johnson to avoid the ‘grasping naivety’ of the David Cameron years. Julian Lewis, chair of the intelligence and security committee of parliament, also suggested the impact of the economic closeness with China sought by Cameron and his chancellor George Osborne was still evident. Lewis said: ‘It’s suggested on pages 62-3 [of the review] that our adversary Communist China […] is an increasingly important partner in tackling global challenges like pandemic preparedness, if you please, and that we want deeper trade links and more Chinese investment in the UK. ‘Doesn’t that unfortunately demonstrate that the grasping naivety of the Cameron-Osborne years still lingers on in some departments of state’?”

    According to HuffPost “During the statement, Johnson also faced opposition MPs shouting ‘genocide’ when he described China’s treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang as ‘mass detention’. Responding to Lewis, the PM said: ‘Those who call for a new Cold War on China or for us to sequester our economy entirely from China, which seems to be the new policy of the opposition, weaving as they generally do from one position to the next, are, I think, mistaken. ‘We have a balance to strike, we need to have a clear-eyed relationship with China. ‘Of course we’re protecting our critical national infrastructure and we’ll continue to do that. We will take tough measures, as I have said, to call out China for what they’re doing in Xinjiang.” The HuffPost Editor’s note: “This story was updated to include a statement from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and a fuller excerpt of the foreign secretary’s words to officials.”

    So when Tories winge into their BBC mouthpiece or preach to the press about their inability to afford any more than a 1% pay rise for the Nurses they betrayed by depleting and abandoning our vital stockpile of PPE, challenge them by questioning the need to increase that other entirely unnecessary stockpile of deadly weapons that could extinguish all life on this planet. When they plead that only when the economic crisis is over can they restore the Foreign Aid Budget, remind them that they are breaking their manifesto commitment. But demand to know, why while reducing vital Aid to Yemen they cannot halt arms sales to the ruthless Saudi regime? Ask how at a time when it took a football hero’s persistent begging to secure funds to supply impoverished children with free school meals, they still managed to find such an obscene amount of spare cash to splash out on revamping their Downing Street briefing room to spout relentless propaganda supporting their warped Tory priorities? We must Get The Tories Out ASAP! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69308 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    While I am not so vindictive as to resent Prince Philip’s longevity, it would be refreshing to see our venerated queen show genuine empathy towards her most impoverished and downtrodden subjects. She might consider relinquishing just a little of the funding that bloats her royal privilege in order to rescue the destitute homeless who, on average, won’t survive beyond half the age of her dear husband! But Corporate Feudalism is driven from the very top with ‘the will of the people’ now inextricably subjugated by this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship; we still grovel to the monarch, jingoistically waving that blood-soaked flag of past empire in the desperate hope that Britania will once again ‘rule the waves,’ despite our pathetic drift into the stormy seas of the icy north Atlantic. How long before Boris Johnson’s ‘sunny uplands’ Brexit myth is shattered, his obscene corruption and relentless squandering of public funds exposed? That will depend on our courageous mass protests, legal challenges and Investigation of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election.

    Our ageing Windsor is unlikely to yell ‘off with his head’ while Johnson remains firmly committed to her opulence. Royal compliance is paid for by loyal subjects, but the right to a political opinion is one of the small sacrifices the Queen must make in order to cling to her current lifestyle. Sorry if my failure to have sympathy for her majesty offends you, but this Tory Government just authorized the top-up of her profit margin millions to negate the impact Covid had on her unbridled wealth. The ‘Golden Ratchet’ prevailed while our NHS Nurses will be offered, well, rat-shit! Our long history of fealty to the Royals, noble gentry and the wealthy ruling elite persists despite centuries of exploitation as fundamentally nothing has changed: the robber Barrons will relentlessly steal from the poor! In the Byline Times Article entitled “Brexit has Revived the Power of the Unelected Aristocracy,” Sam Bright contends “David Frost’s latest promotion shows how the ‘democratic’ Brexit project has in fact emboldened unaccountable, hereditary power.”

    Bright reminds us of that oft-repeated Brexit gripe: “The European Parliament is a Democratic Facade Dominated by Unelected Bureaucrats’. This was a headline carried by the influential Brexit Central blog on 7 May 2019, neatly capturing the attitude of Brexiters towards the European Union. Clogged with grey-faced public servants and disgraced former European leaders, the institutions of the EU are invisible and undemocratic” they claimed. “So a national endeavour was launched to liberate Britain from the yoke of European oppression and return power over ‘money, laws and borders’ to our national Parliament. Yet, in the infinity circle of irony that has consumed British politics, Brexit was forced through by Boris Johnson, a Prime Minister who ruled for months without winning an election, other than a Conservative leadership contest involving fewer than 150,000 people.”

    Bright points out that “In office, Johnson’s agenda has largely been dictated by an unelected bureaucrat, Dominic Cummings, who lurked behind the pen name ‘senior Number 10 source’ for the 16 months that he served as a chief aide.” I am not convinced that Cummings was genuinely ousted from power when he very publically flounced out the front door of Number 10 carrying an empty cardboard box to face the barrage of press photographers. Who would be that keen to promote their own demise without cast-iron knowledge that the idiot ploy to fool the public would not be permitted to stymie excentric unfettered control of Government from a distance while maintaining a massive undeserved salary hike? I sincerely doubt that Cummings is gone; he’s just a less obvious presence among the unelected team of corrupt scoundrels dragging the UK into the gutter. He prides himself in accomplishing the theft of our votes with weapons-grade PsyOps and more; Cummings is still the grenade, oust him for real and we will pull that pin!

    According to Bright “Even now that Brexit has been implemented, the future of the UK’s relationship is not in the hands of an elected representative of the people. On Wednesday, Johnson announced that David Frost, the bureaucrat who led the final stages of the UK’s negotiations with the EU, will be anointed as a Cabinet Minister and given responsibility for future arbitrations with Brussels.” He explains how “The quirk in the UK parliamentary system that has allowed Frost to become one of the most powerful people in Government, despite never having received a single vote, is the ability of House of Lords members to be appointed as ministers. Usually this is an anomaly, very occasionally the Government anoints someone to the House of Lords in order to make them a minister, leading to a swift media backlash. Yet Johnson’s administration has been uniquely enthusiastic about tasking unelected peers with running the country.” Sadly, the biased BBC and compliant Media have provided an obliging silence on this!

    Bright claims that “This began after the 2019 General Election, when former Conservative MP Nicky Morgan was rapidly elevated to the red benches so that she could stay on as Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Secretary, while Johnson identified a replacement. At the same time, a peerage was given to Zac Goldsmith, who resoundingly lost his Richmond Park Commons seat at the same election. Goldsmith is a close ally of Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, and has since taken up two ministerial roles.” He says “So this process has multiplied. There are currently 19 unelected ministers in the Government, spanning 17 departments. While it is common for House of Lords members to be appointed to Government departments, this is not universally the case, and the number of Lords ministers has increased in recent years.”

    So we might ask, who are these UK Government’s unelected Ministers? Bright has presented us with a list of their names and where they are assigned starting with “Lord Frost’s powerful Brexit role. The rest of the formidable list includes: Baroness Evans – Cabinet Office & Lords; Lord Agnew – Cabinet Office & Treasury; Lord True – Cabinet Office; Lord Callanan ¬– Business; Lord Grimstone – Business & Transport; Baroness Barran – DCMS; Baroness Berridge – Education & Trade; Lord Gardiner – Environment; Lord Goldsmith – Environment & Foreign Office; Baroness Vere – Transport; Baroness Stedman-Scott – Work and Pensions; Lord Bethell – Health and Social Care; Lord Ahmad – Foreign Office; Baroness Williams – Home Office; Lord Greenhalgh – Home Office & Communities; Baroness Goldie – Defence; Lord Wolfson – Justice; Lord Stewart – Advocate General for Scotland.” All are unelected, entirely beholden to Boris Johnson and dedicated to supporting his Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

    Bright reports that “Most of these ministers hold peripheral positions on paper, only Frost (when he is formally appointed) and Evans are invited to Cabinet meetings, yet they are tasked with carrying out duties of great national importance. This guarantees anonymity for the ministers, who glide unnoticed along the corridors of power while the media’s gaze is fixed on the House of Commons. Take Lord Bethell. If you presented Bethell’s portrait to an ordinary punter, they would likely shrug. Yet, in March 2020, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, responsible for the supply of COVID-19 medicines and testing equipment, overseeing the Test and Trace system, international health diplomacy, NHS cyber security, and a long list of other jobs. It is also not as though he has entirely escaped the controversies of the Coronavirus pandemic, either.” Why does opposition outrage demanding more scrutiny and greater accountability amount to barely a whimper?

    Bright reminds us that “As revealed by Byline Times, Bethell met with David Meller, a serial Conservative Party donor, just a month before his firm, Meller Designs, was awarded a number of Government contracts worth more than £150 million. Bethell was joined at the meeting by Lord Andrew Feldman, the former chairman of the Conservative Party, who has reportedly been advising the Government on private sector procurement. Yet Bethell operates under the radar, almost entirely immune from public scrutiny or accountability. He has no constituents and is rarely questioned by the media. He answers only to the Prime Minister and the Health and Social Care Secretary, and his performance is checked by a small number of parliamentarians who know and care about his work. The irony is startling and the policy does not seem to be a coincidence.” Opposition MPs must demand full transparency!

    Bright says that “Speaking in 2014, Cummings made a speech in which he called for the Prime Minister to recruit ministers ‘from wherever’ and ‘whack ‘em in the House of Lords’ so that they could assume Government jobs. Incapable of hearing an idea from Cummings without fawning at its brilliance, Johnson seems to have dutifully followed this playbook. An old Etonian who embodies the blissful nostalgia of a country guarded by the sword of a hereditary ruling class, Johnson has a predisposition to the idea of aristocratic governance and has applied the Cummings mantra. Brexit, which promised to reinvigorate national democracy, has thus fuelled the creeping revival of unelected, unaccountable power in Britain. Manifesting through the Coronavirus pandemic, this philosophy has seen huge public contracts awarded to chums of the regime, dispensing with the conviction, even if it was insincere, that our country is a meritocracy. ‘Global Britain’ is starting to look a lot like Victorian Britain.”

    Theresa May had already appointed John Mann ‘anti-Semitism Tzar’ to head a government inquiry on an issue being manipulated to destroy the Labour Party. In the 2019 Dissolution Honours Boris Johnson appointed four of the most toxic former Labour MPs to join the ‘Vermin in Ermine’ in the House of Lords, essentially rewarding them with life peerages for their treachery towards Jeremy Corbyn! Kate Hoey became Baroness Hoey, of Lylehill and Rathlin in the County of Antrim; Ian Austin – Baron Austin of Dudley, of Dudley in the County of West Midlands; Rt. Hon. Gisela Stuart – Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, of Edgbaston in the City of Birmingham and John Woodcock – Baron Walney, of the Isle of Walney in the County of Cumbria. All four Labour MPs had backed Johnson’s Brexit deal or endorsed the Tory Party in the election. Woodcock will not only sit as a ‘so-called’ non-affiliated life Peer in the Lords he has also been appointed to investigate ‘progressive extremism’ specifically targeting the progressive Labour left!

    In an electoralreform.org Website Article entitled “Revealed: The true cost of Britain’s silent peer,” Jon Narcross points out that “There are many perks to being a member of the House of Lords. While many peers do work hard, it seems one of the perks is being able to claim expenses for doing very little. New research from the New Statesman has found that unelected peers are guilty of ‘expensive inaction’ by claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers money to attend the Lords whilst barely contributing to votes or debates in the chamber. Analysis by the outlet, which builds on ERS research conducted in 2017, found that on average life peers claimed £20,935 from April 2019 to February 2020, while contributing to an average of just 12 debates and seven written questions. Despite claiming over £20,000 in allowances for attending the parliament, the average life peer voted just 23 times.”

    Narcross highlights the fact that “The figures for hereditary peers, of which there are still over 90, shockingly, are similar. The average unelected aristocrat claims £20,604 over the 113-day period while speaking in an average of 10 or fewer debates, submitting six or fewer written questions, and voting just 22 times. Meanwhile, 140 eligible peers took part in no debates at all during this period, while voting less than 20% of divisions. For a third of the 140, there is no record of them voting at all. In total, 120 out of nearly 800 unelected Lords voted five times or fewer in this time period. Sadly, these statistics come as no surprise. In the 2016/17 session, the ERS found that 115 Lords, one in seven of the total, failed to speak at all, despite claiming an average of £11,091 each, while 18 peers failed to vote but still claimed £93,162.”

    Narcross notes that “These new figures suggest the problem of ‘silent peers’ is only getting worse. The ERS has long highlighted the something-for-nothing culture in Britain’s upper house that leaves unelected Lords able to do as much or as little as they like, free from democratic scrutiny of voters who are unable to kick them out. Our supposed revising chamber is sinking with dead weight, and zero accountability, giving a bad name to those peers who the public might support. These figures suggest that Britain’s super-sized second chamber needs to be made far leaner, with dedicated scrutineers replacing the current expenses free-for-all. As it stands, the House of Lords is the biggest parliamentary chamber of any democracy and the world’s second-largest after the Chinese People’s Congress.” This obscenity makes an absolute mockery of our claim to an established democracy.

    Narcross reports that “This year the Lords will swell to over 800 members with the creation of 36 new peerages announced by Boris Johnson on 31 July. The PM’s latest appointments have not come without controversy. The elevation of friends, supporters and political cronies, including his brother Jo Johnson, Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev, former cricketer Ian Botham, and ex-Brexit Party MEP Claire Fox, are among the second-highest number of new peers created in over twenty years. Crucially, the move undoes all but undo the progress made to slim down the chamber to a more manageable size. The ERS estimates that these new peers alone are likely to cost taxpayers an additional £1.1m a year. Worse still, there could be more to come later this year, according to reports in Private Eye.” The public need to express their outrage over this massive waste of taxpayer funds.

    Narcross insists that “At a time when there is plenty to scrutinise, ostensibly the upper chamber’s role, the time for piecemeal reform is long over. Voters deserve a revising chamber that is fit for purpose. We cannot again sit through another round of Lords appointees and see the already bloated chamber continue to be stuffed with political cronies and party donors. We need action now. Let’s move to a slimmed-down, elected chamber for the nations and regions. With proportional representation and a clear remit, we can get the scrutiny body we need. Only once we’ve done that can we finally get this house in order.” I wrote of my input on this “Peers should be put forward for nomination based on their service to the community and valued specialist knowledge, but not necessarily tagged to a particular constituency. Philanthropy should be judged relevant only as a major percentage of personal wealth, but excluding political party donations. You might see Lord Jamie Oliver and Lord Marcus Rashford voted in by the people!”

    In a piece “based on the introduction to a new book from Open Labour and Politics for the Many,” Tessa Milligan & Nancy Platts contribute to the Labour List Article entitled “Democracy is in retreat here in the UK. How should Labour respond?” They say that “The past year has shown the state’s capacity to swing towards the kind of cronyism beloved of authoritarian regimes. We have a government club with a VIP guest list, used as the basis for handing out contracts, favours and honours. Public procurement becomes a fast-tracked operation for friends, family and donors. We see clampdowns on protest, and plans to warp the voting system for police and crime commissioners and mayors. While Dominic Raab warns that ‘democracy is in retreat worldwide’, we need to look closer to home.” UK democracy has been obliterated by this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship: we must act now!

    Labour List report that “We face all manner of disasters that force us to re-examine the role of the state and whether it is fit for purpose. From a deadly pandemic to financial turmoil and the brutal effects of climate change, we have become increasingly aware of the power of our communities in rising to the challenge, taking action and protecting each other, and the limitations of the state in its current form to do the same. The political project of the right in recent years has been about exploiting the feeling of a lack of control over our lives and using it to usher in sweeping ideological changes which exacerbate these concerns rather than address them, using a rhetoric that puts the blame on ‘others’. For the left, the response must be about giving a voice to the diverse communities which make up our society, empowering people in their places of work, addressing inequality and strengthening rights and freedoms to give all of us greater personal stability.”

    Labour List say “That means a progressive government needs to reimagine the role of the modern state. Central to what we are about is shaking off the dead hands and drag anchors keeping us down and holding us back as individuals, as communities, and as the nations and regions which make up the UK. The task is to take control from warped institutions of government today, and unleash personal and political empowerment built on inclusion, equality, democracy and accountability. The labour and trade union movement has always led demands for greater democracy, empowering working people and communities, and offering a different vision of society. Today, a reimagined state is central to revitalising and rebuilding our country, and it is an urgent task.” Sadly this grand vision is sabotaged by Captain of Capitulation Keir Starmer whose gross manipulations of leadership control undermines our solidarity and has provided a Trojan horse for the Tories in their quest to destroy the Progressive Socialist Left in British politics.

    I think the Labour Party is stymied until it removes Starmer! According to Labour List “Young people in the UK see too many old institutions that were not fit for the last century never mind this century. Instead, the state exists in a transformed world with huge technological advancements, but it is built upon a creaking democratic structure, and institutions that are only marginally tweaked from their 18th-century versions. This argument is at the core of The New Foundations, a book released for free this Sunday from Open Labour and Politics for the Many: we have democratic, financial and state institutions that are not fit for purpose. The inequality and exclusions which come with them are not unfortunate and unavoidable flaws, they are hard-wired in. The effort to undo them, to open up, will be an uphill struggle. A quick makeover or replacing a few bricks in the crumbling edifice won’t do. To build a better society, we will need wide-ranging and fundamental change, not just defending democracy but transforming it.”

    Labour List warn “There will be opposition. Just as the flaws are built-in, so are the defensive barriers, because these institutions were not designed to represent everybody fairly. Instead, they were built to defend a particular group or groups of interests and they will fight like hell to keep doing so, as we’ve only too clearly this month. Real democracy and electoral reform should be a breath of fresh air to tired state institutions: shifting the culture towards bridge-building, rather than divide-and-conquer tactics. As Jess Garland and Willie Sullivan observe in their contribution to this volume, Westminster’s minority-rule electoral system is simply not designed to govern the kind of diverse, and over recent years, increasingly divided, country that the UK has become. As a result, Westminster is increasingly incapable of producing governments underpinned by genuine electoral legitimacy.”

    Labour List rightly point out that “The divide between the government and the governed is getting starker by the day. Parliament’s own legitimacy was battered by years of Brexit stalemate, revealing the vulnerability and weaknesses of our largely unwritten constitution and making the foundations of our politics look ever more fragile. Growing mistrust of politics and politicians is opening the door to a resurgent authoritarian right and this poses a huge problem for a Labour Party trying to enthuse voters with a positive vision for change. This is the context for this collection of new essays. Its primary focus is not on the nuts and bolts of an agenda for democratic reform, although the authors put forward many ideas. Instead, it shows how this agenda is inseparable from Labour’s wider aspirations to transform the country. Sign up to receive The New Foundations for free. The book will be launched at Open Labour conference on Sunday at 7pm. LabourList readers can use the discount code LabourlistOL21.”

    The very highest priority for the Labour Party right now is to replace their toxic Leadership ASAP before the progressive Socialist Left of the party is completely annihilated, by the dysfunctional, undemocratic, interventions of Trojan horse Keir Starmer. The damage started with not just accepting the unfathomable result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election unchallenged, but bending over backwards to try to construct a valid reason for this blatantly corrupt result. This was accomplished by demonizing Jeremy Corbyn and crediting the working poor with total idiocy in support the Tories after having suffered a decade of austerity knowing they were voting to have their children starve. This is simply not credible and we should demand a full Investigation into the fraudulent result and the multiple instances of corruption and squandering of public funds that have ensued since. Authoritarian regimes endure for decades so we must take to the streets on mass to protest loudly now to derail and remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. DO NOT MOVE ON

    #69352 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Desperate to paint all protesters as violent extremists I believe the far-right were just enlisted to initiate violence in the progressive Socialist stronghold of Bristol. In the London Economic Article entitled “Reaction as ‘Kill the Bill’ protest turns violent,” Jack Peat reports on the “Protests against anti-protest measures turned ugly in Bristol last night. Violent scenes which marred a ‘Kill the Bill’ protest in Bristol that saw a police station attacked, officers injured and vehicles set alight have been widely condemned. Home Secretary Priti Patel branded the scenes ‘unacceptable’ and said ‘thuggery and disorder’ would never be tolerated. Bristol mayor Marvin Rees, who said he had ‘major concerns about the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, condemned the thuggery but said the disorder would be used to justify the legislation. Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy’ Mass gatherings are currently banned under coronavirus legislation and anyone breaching the regulations could be fined.”

    Peat reports that “‘Many who attended the protest on College Green were wearing face masks and carried placards, saying: ‘Say no to UK police state’ and ‘Freedom to protest is fundamental to democracy’ and ‘Kill the Bill’. What started as a non-violent demonstration on Sunday afternoon turned violent after hundreds of protesters descended on the New Bridewell police station. Two police officers were injured, suffering broken ribs and an arm, and taken to hospital during violent skirmishes with masked thugs. Later, protesters attempted to smash the windows of the glass-fronted police station. They also tried to set fire to one of the marked police vans parked outside the station but the small flames were quickly extinguished by riot officers. Other protesters set fire to a police van parked on Bridewell Street, near to the police station. Rioters smashed the windows of the police station and also destroyed Avon and Somerset Police vehicles parked nearby, setting fire to a car and a van.”

    Peat points out that “Cars parked in a multi-storey car park adjacent to the police station were also damaged by protesters. Avon and Somerset Police said its officers had missiles and fireworks thrown at them and used mounted officers and dogs to disperse the mob. The mindless violence was condemned by the Home Secretary, police federation representatives and local leaders. Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: ‘Unacceptable scenes in Bristol tonight. ‘Thuggery and disorder by a minority will never be tolerated. Our police officers put themselves in harm’s way to protect us all. My thoughts this evening are with those police officers injured’.” What luck! This was just the kind of violent scene Patel wanted to ram through her draconian legislation.

    Bristol was the perfect place to infiltrate a peaceful protest. Peat notes that Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: “I have major concerns about the Bill myself, which is poorly thought out and could impose disproportionate controls on free expression and the right to peaceful protest. ‘Smashing buildings in our city centre, vandalising vehicles, attacking our police will do nothing to lessen the likelihood of the Bill going through. ‘On the contrary, the lawlessness on show will be used as evidence and promote the need for the Bill. This is a shameful day in an incredible year for Bristol. We have faced times of great confrontation particularly surrounding Black Lives Matter and the events that followed. ‘We have had numerous protests. Our police, city representatives and I have been able to point out with pride that we have faced these moments of conflict without the physical conflict that others have experienced. ‘Those who decided to turn the protest into a physical confrontation and smash our city have robbed us of this’.”

    Citing the “Right to protest” Peat reports that “Reaction elsewhere has been divided, with Ash Sarkar saying ‘if the government wants people to protest peacefully then they shouldn’t push through measures which would criminalise peaceful protest’.” Jake Hanrahan added that “if this happened in a foreign country the British press would frame it as a revolt against brutal measures brought in by a hardline government, Instead the clashes are ‘disgraceful’. What’s disgraceful is how staggeringly authoritarian the bill is. #killthebill” Our most serious problem remains that the majority of the British public still fail to recognize that the UK has rapidly descended into a repressive authoritarian police state. The extent of the brutality of our far-right fascist regime is evidenced by the glaringly obvious statistic, exposing the horrific death tolls directly caused by Tory austerity, poverty and only now Covid 19.

    But Peat did note that “There was widespread condemnation of the minority who hijacked the situation for their own aims.” John Apter Tweeted: “This is not about protecting the right to protest, it’s violent criminality from a hardcore minority who will hijack any situation for their own aims. My colleagues, some of whom are now in hospital face the brunt of that hatred. Thoughts remain with my colleagues. #Bristol Such as this familiar face:” There was report on Politics Live of a Tory MP claiming that such controversial legislation was introduced to deliberately stir-up trouble; if true it has certainly worked out well for this toxic regime. In a bewildered response to: Nigel Farage Tweeting: “In Bristol tonight we see what the soft-headed approach to the anti-police BLM leads to. Wake up everyone, this is not about racial justice. These people want all-out anarchy and street violence,” Alex Beresford Tweeted: “Sorry what has BLM got to do with the scenes in Bristol today?” No Nigel, the far-right want to precipitate violence, stir-up racial tensions and social unrest: it’s all part of their ruthless ‘divide and conquer’ strategy.

    In the Byline Times Article entitled “Peaceful Protests have Shaped Democracy We Must Do Everything we can to Protect Them,” Dr Meenal Viz makes a strong case for not allowing this Government to silence protest. They say “With a Government crackdown on protests to be voted on imminently, frontline NHS doctor Meenal Viz explores how powerful taking a stand can be in speaking truth to power and enacting change.” Dr Viz says “Last April, I was faced with a stark choice. As a doctor who was six months pregnant, I was forlorn. Just minutes from where I lived in Luton, Mary Agyapong had died. Mary was a pregnant nurse and died in the same hospital where she worked. She never got to meet her newborn daughter. Echoing my own experience, Mary’s concerns about working while pregnant during the pandemic had not been heard, and now she had no voice. I did not want to become another statistic and so I felt I needed to take drastic action. Peaceful protests are the common man’s conduit to power.”

    Dr Viz says “When routine escalation fails and bureaucracy obstructs, one of our last remaining options is to press a hard reset on the system. Pressure needs to be exerted on decision-makers, who are increasingly obsessed with focus groups and social media analytics. We shouldn’t have to fight for the right to protest in a functioning democracy and a clampdown on protests is ample evidence that our democracy is not functioning. In the absence of powerful contacts, PR firms and media managers, I knew that I had to create an image that would resonate with the public, iconic enough to empower pregnant women across the world and encourage them to stand up for their rights. I knew that I would be the first person to protest during lockdown and that in itself entailed a great deal of personal and professional risk. There was great ambiguity about the laws surrounding protest, just as there was great ambiguity about the status of pregnant healthcare workers.”

    “I was acutely aware that the Government’s instructions were to stay at home,” Viz says “I knew that the situation for pregnant healthcare workers was untenable and that the system’s inertia would put myself and colleagues at risk before a decision was made. A week after Mary died, I drove to London. I planned for every eventuality. My hunch was that the Government was already trying to stifle communication from healthcare workers as I was already aware of several colleagues who had been issued with eerily similar not-so-veiled threats about social media posts and media appearances. It is a system which tried to silence the truth, and this systematic suppression of voices is what causes people to mobilise. Protest does not happen in a vacuum; it is a symptom of systemic failures. On that Sunday morning, my bamboo sign was recyclable, my scrubs were reusable, and my cloth mask was washable. I had written my husband’s phone number on my arm in case I was arrested. I rehearsed my lines, but didn’t get much further than ‘I’m pregnant’ and pointing to my belly.”

    Dr Viz claims she “Only tipped off a trusted journalist minutes before my arrival because I was certain that, if Downing Street’s communications team was made aware of my protest, it would use every avenue, including the police, to discredit and discourage me. I marched down Whitehall by myself, we are allowed one hour of daily exercise, after all, officer, and positioned myself outside the gates of Downing Street for one hour. There, I reflected and I meditated in total silence. It was a pleasant spring morning and I spent much of my time admiring the sun-kissed cherry blossom. Mine was a silent protest, but it was a silence that I chose, in stark contrast to the draconian communications policies being imposed upon doctors. It was not lost upon me that I was a single person and, standing behind the Downing Street gates, were the usual number of armed policemen. (The policemen were all unfailingly polite during my protest and, as I left, I thanked them for allowing me to protest without disturbance).”

    Dr Viz says “The next morning, I was shocked to see that my picture had made the front pages of both The Times and the Telegraph. It had reached a worldwide audience with The New York Times and further syndication across the world. In one hour of silent protest, I had achieved what I had tried to do through months of escalation to no avail. I received a phone call from hospital management, advising me that I could now work from home. Ultimately, my protest gained mainstream political support and helped to shape policy to protect healthcare workers during the pandemic. One silent protest served to give a voice to many. Later in the year, I was also invited to advise some Black Lives Matter protests in the UK. During a pandemic, safety protocols are paramount and I was pleased to be able to help create practical and innovative solutions to allow safe environments for peaceful protest.”

    Dr Viz understands that “Some will argue that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, all mass gatherings are currently illegal and that protests should not be excepted. While recognising this concern, we must note that issues such as structural racism are also a public health crisis. It was therefore disheartening to see that the Metropolitan Police refused to allow permission for a peaceful vigil to take place in Clapham Common on Saturday evening, in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard. Instead of allowing the vigil to be observed and allowing the crowds to disperse naturally, police were seen to be using force against those who attended. This comes within a concerning context of the Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, a law which seeks to criminalise the more trivial aspects of protest.” This Tory Government crackdown is proof positive of just how effective our protests are, but we must be vigilant to ensure that far-right infiltrators do not spark violence and vandalism to negate our message.

    Dr. Viz warns that “If this bill is passed, a protestor could be banned if a person comes to harm as a result of ‘serious distress, serious annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss of amenity’. The penalty would be up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine. Worryingly, a crime could be committed by a protestor even if a person is merely at risk of suffering from serious annoyance as a result. You can be certain that the first protestor found guilty of causing harm as a result of serious annoyance is going to have to pay his fine to The Ministry of Silly Walks. By their very nature, protests are not meant to make everyone in the room happy. They are designed to disrupt the status quo. Throughout history, attempts to ban low-key peaceful protests have almost always resulted in accelerant being poured on a fire that might have otherwise burned out by itself. It could be that, in trying to limit the scope of protests, the Government will motivate a new generation of protestors to take to the streets.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “MPs and campaigners demand the home secretary stops police clamping down on protest,” they note that “Campaigners, MPs, and peers have written to home secretary Priti Patel. They’re calling for changes to coronavirus (Covid-19) legislation to allow for protests to take place during lockdown.” They insist on “Protecting the right to protest. The letter was organised by Liberty and Big Brother Watch. It calls on the home secretary to provide guidance for police on how to facilitate protests during the pandemic. And it also asks for clarity around laws on the right to protest. The letter emphasises that protest is a human right. This comes ahead of further ‘Kill the Bill’ protests to challenge the government’s draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The protests are due to take place nationwide on 20 and 21 March.”

    “MPs from various parties have signed the letter. However, the Canary say that Network for Police Monitoring co-ordinator Kevin Blowe highlighted that the Tory MPs who signed the letter previously voted for the bill which proposes to ‘clamp down on protest’: Note: the Tory MPs who signed the letter, Baker, Chope, Fuller, Green and Mitchell, all voted for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. https://t.co/HOLcwdCyF8 – Kevin (Aggravated Activist) Blowe (@copwatcher)” This is obviously a Tory Government attempt to ban protests, they say “Earlier in March, campaigners tried to secure exemption from lockdown legislation to attend a vigil commemorating Sarah Everard. The judgement handed down suggested ‘that the human rights of expression and gathering might be considered reasonable excuses in some circumstances’. But police still proceeded to harass and arrest vigil attendees. Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said:”

    The Canary report on “The harrowing scenes of police officers using force against women at Clapham Common recently were avoidable and wrong. Over the past week, many more demonstrators and even legal observers have been arrested or fined. This stain on our democracy is a direct consequence of this government’s disrespect for the most basic of British democratic freedoms. Sam Grant from Liberty added: Last week, the police conceded protest is not banned under the lockdown regulations, but used them to threaten then arrest demonstrators anyway. The home secretary must immediately issue guidance to all police forces to ensure socially distanced protests can go ahead and create an explicit exemption for protest in the current regulations.” General perception of the disproportionate use of force caused a public outcry and severe embarrassment to the MET. I wouldn’t rule out Tories recruiting thugs to spark a violent attack on police in Bristol in an attempt to rebalance opinion in favour of a crackdown!

    Yes the Tories are that untrustworthy and devious; for Boris this is all about the optics as Johnson knows he can rely on the BBC to spin this latest incident to overwhelm previous bad press and support the growing authoritarianism of his crooked cabal. The Canary say that “Doughty Street Chambers barrister Adam Wagner highlighted, as set out in the judicial review, that any police force with a blanket ban on all protest would be acting unlawfully.” Adam Wagner Tweeted: “Mr Justice Holgate’s judgment in the @ReclaimTS Judicial Review interim hearing from last Friday has been published. Paragraph 24 is key and couldn’t be clearer. Any police force with a policy which bans all protest would be acting unlawfully https://judiciary.uk/wp-content/upl” Netpol Tweeted: “This is Wiltshire’s Chief Constable, not knowing that the clear duty to facilitate protests has not been suspended or that Mr Justice Holgate’s judgment in the @ReclaimTS case says any police force with a policy that bans all protest would be acting unlawfully.”

    The Canary report that “Statements from the Metropolitan police, London mayor Sadiq Khan, and Wiltshire’s police constable are not in line with Holgate’s judgement: Wiltshire News Tweeted: During ‘normal’ times we have a very clear duty to facilitate legal and peaceful protest, but the covid-19 legislation has enforced a ban on large gatherings’ Kier Pritchard: Working hard to build confidence in county police force https://ift.tt/3lwvfSA. The letter to the home secretary states: The absence of clear guidance on these issues has created an entirely unsatisfactory situation, which has persisted to varying degrees for almost a year now. The police have no legal certainty as to their duties and powers, protestors have no legal certainty as to their rights, and there is inconsistent application of the Regulations across the country. This cannot continue.”

    Describing the lack of clarity Canary say that “Netpol suggested that the confusion created by ‘state-of-emergency laws and enforcement’ is ‘a very effective way of making people fearful about exercising’ their rights:” Netpol Tweeted: “The absence of clear guidance on these issues has created an entirely unsatisfactory situation… protestors have no legal certainty as to their rights, and there is inconsistent application of the Regulations across the country” “It is underappreciated how state-of-emergency laws and enforcement is intended to create uncertainty about our rights: it’s a very effective way of making people fearful about exercising them. This is also true of continually introducing more and new public order laws” The Home Office responded to the joint letter, saying: ‘While we are still in a pandemic we continue to urge people to avoid mass gatherings, in line with wider coronavirus restrictions.’ The Home Office also confirmed that stay at home regulations will remain in place until 29 March.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “‘Kill the Bill’ protests are happening across the country this weekend,” they warned ahead of time of the public backlash against “The bill saying that “The Tory government’s authoritarian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will not only clamp down on protest but will also target marginalised communities, criminalising the Gypsy and Romany Traveller (GRT) community and introducing more stop and search powers. As the call to action from Cornwall explains: The new bill gives the police more power to impose conditions on a protest, including ones they view as too noisy… and it’s not just protest. The bill will make trespass an offence, criminalising Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. It introduces new stop and search powers that will increase racial profiling and harassment.”

    “The Canary warned earlier this week that: The Bill will ban protests that block roads around Parliament. It also allows the police to impose conditions on one-person protests. And it will introduce a new offence, punishable by up to ten years in prison, of ‘public nuisance’ for actions that cause ‘serious distress’, ‘serious annoyance’, ‘serious inconvenience’. Yes, that’s right. If you cause serious annoyance on a protest, you could go to jail for a decade! Oh, and then there’s the ten year sentences for damaging a memorial or statue. Yep, you could get a longer sentence for damaging an inanimate object than the average sentence given to rapists. As a result, a coalition of groups is coming together to oppose the bill. Sisters Uncut have led the charge against the bill and in women’s demonstrations. In a press release, an anonymous member urged supporters to keep up the pressure.”

    The Canary note that “The last week has shown that protest works. That’s why they want to ban it, and that’s why we’re fighting back. The coalition that is coming together shows just how many people are angry about the brutal reality of policing in this country, and who are determined to roll back this dangerous extension of state power. Saturday night has shown us that the police are drunk on power, and should not be rewarded with more. Policing by consent is a story this country likes to tell about itself. The reality is that policing is unaccountable, aggressive and violent. Targets of police repression, working-class people, racial minorities, sex workers and many others, have had enough.” They listed the weekend protest against the bill held in: Liverpool; Bristol; Manchester, Cornwall, Truro; Newcastle; London (Deptford); Plymouth; Brighton; Cardiff; Birmingham; Sheffield; London, New Cross; Despite all but one of these protests proceeding peacefully; only the violence in Bristol made the BBC News agenda.

    The Canary say “News that the bill has been delayed is welcome and a victory. But the battle is far from over and everyone still needs to take urgent action to ensure this repressive bill doesn’t become law.” Priti Patel was so ‘seriously annoyed by Extinction Rebellion protests that she broke a fingernail rapping on her desk in a fit of peak; she wants protesters thrown in jail for inflicting such serious distress! This is the Tory ‘mountain out of molehill’ rant to strip away our civil rights and lock up all outspoken activists as criminals in their repressive authoritarian dystopian nightmare scenario of ‘new normal.’ We should never have allowed the Tories to seize control unchallenged in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, but it is not too late to demand a full Investigation of the result, along with the numerous corrupt abuses of power and squandering of public funds that have occurred since. In a functioning democracy such an extreme and relentless level of corruption would have seen the leadership team in jail not rewarded with office! DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69426 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    What didn’t we hear about from our once trusted public broadcaster the BBC? Few were reporting the hugely successful peaceful protests being held up and down the country this past weekend, but they were well attended. The Tory mouthpiece was primed and ready to focus on the violence and apportion all the blame on protesters, but I was immediately suspicious. In the Canary Article entitled “As the media fixates on Bristol, don’t forget thousands took to the streets this weekend to #KillTheBill, they note that “As the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill languishes in the committee stage, an increasing number of people have shown their opposition to the legislation. But while the escalation at the Bristol protest has dominated the headlines, let’s not forget that thousands of people took to the streets to protest the bill across the country at the weekend. The bill will give the police increased powers to impose conditions on protests as well as criminalising Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.”

    The Canary report from around the country starting in Birmingham where they say “Hundreds of people showed up to support the right to protest in Birmingham. Demonstrators socially distanced as they gathered at Victoria Square in the city.” Alice Matthews Tweeted: “Amazing turnout in Birmingham today to #KillTheBill and defend our right to protest. Everyone who came showed WM police, the PCC candidates and BCC: we won’t be ruled by fear. We’re policed by consent, & can remove consent. There is no place for police brutality in Birmingham.” Sean Farmelo Tweeted pictures: “Very proud to see numbers out for the #killthebill protest in Birmingham. Tories want to push it into the long grass but that won’t happen. We are organised and against it!”

    The Canary reported that in Brighton “Over a thousand people joined a march against the bill in Brighton on Saturday 20 March. The protesters gathered at around 2pm and marched through the streets, disrupting some bus services and traffic. After hearing speeches, protesters moved through the city, raising chants such as ‘we will not be silenced’. The demonstrators reportedly started heading home after 4pm, after a peaceful march.” Joyce Stack Tweeted: “Well done #Brighton. #KillTheBill,” as Will Flockton Tweeted a Video: “#KillTheBill protest in #Brighton. Easily 1000 people.”

    The Canary account of what occurred in Bristol exposes a different picture recorded both in pictures and in several pieces of video footage. They say that “The protest against the bill in Bristol has been widely reported, after some protesters set police cars on fire. Seven arrests have already been made. Prior to this, and until the police moved in, the demonstration which began on College Green, had been peaceful.” Billy Stockwell tweeted a Video: “Police using batons on #KILLTHEBILL protesters outside Bristol Police Station. @EpigramPaper.” Alon Aviram Tweeted two Videos: “People sitting down now outside Bristol’s central police station. Shields and horses out. Hundreds still lining the streets as night descends. #killthebill,” and “Backup arrives and the flames go higher #killthebill #bristol”

    The Canary say that in Leeds “Hundreds of people gathered in the centre of Leeds on Sunday to protest the legislation. Outside the Civic Hall, protesters listened to speeches and poems. As reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, One speaker said: Throughout history many significant improvements have been gained through protest. We have stood collective in our fight of injustice many times before. It is our time to make history and fight for improvements for our children and grandchildren. They are already fighting climate change and we need to give them the tools to do that and the democratic right to protest is one of them. This Bill is impacting on our freedoms and we shall not let it pass. Make no mistake, this Bill comes from a place of fear. They are frightened of our collective action and they should be. We are so powerful when we come together and they know it.”

    Haikool included a telling picture of all the cardboard Protest signs laid out on the ground in front of Civic Hall when the protest ended when the Tweet was posted: “Fight the power. #KilltheBill #BlockTheBill #Leeds.” By all accounts ‘Fight the power’ was a fight-free peaceful protest. George Aylett Tweeted: “Not only does the Policing Bill limit our fundamental right to protest but it also essentially criminalises the GRT community just for existing. A socially distant and mask-wearing crowd in Leeds says #KillTheBill to protect our right to protests and stand against antiziganism,” and also included a Video: “Chants of ‘Kill The Bill’ in Leeds. A huge spirit of solidarity here. #KillTheBill”

    Without further information regarding Police intervention the Canary report that in Liverpool “Two people were arrested at a protest against the bill in Liverpool on Saturday that attracted a large crowd.” Paul McGowan 4 Young Labour LGBT+ Officer included a Video in his Tweet saying that: “I was proud to support yesterday’s protest in Liverpool against the controversial Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill. We have to oppose the #PoliceCrackdownBill every step of the way, in Parliament in the courts, and in the streets.” Cinderella also Tweeted a Video: “Protest in Liverpool #killthebill”

    The Canary say that in Manchester “Thousands of demonstrators chanted ‘kill the bill’ as they took to the streets of Manchester on Saturday. Protester Anna Preston told the Manchester Evening News: We’re just angry and upset like everyone else. It’s the fact that the whole society we live in seems violent, particularly towards women of colour and disabled women. It’s getting worse. I wanted to come out as a tribute to the women who are murdered and assaulted. Protesters said demonstrations would continue until they were successful in stopping the bill’s process through parliament.” Lauren Tweeted: “Tonight’s protest in Manchester #killthebill,” while Joe White included a Video: “Still loads here at #killthebill Manchester.” Sisters Uncut Tweeted: “In Manchester, our Sisters organised a demo for all those affected by state end gendered violence, and to demand that no more power be given to police. #KillTheBill We will not be silenced by state violence. #KillTheBill”

    The Canary reported that in Newcastle “Three people were arrested at a Sunday demonstration that attracted around 600 people. One of the arrested protesters was photographed being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.” It’s important to understand that in the vast majority of situations there is no legitimate necessity to pin anyone to the ground; this is done to unarmed protesters to intimidate and humiliate them; it has killed victims in the past! “Protesters marched through the streets of Newcastle under heavy police presence. They called for the freedom to protest and an end to gendered violence.” Sol Gamsu Tweeted: “Big #killthebill demo in #Newcastle. Probably 1000 ppl- young, energetic & angry. Heavily policed- sending riot police into a park when things clearly calm & peaceful? Anyone wanting to leave flowers would’ve had to go thru line of heavy-duty men in riot gear- not a good look.” Yash included a Video in her Tweet: “amazing turnout in Newcastle today for the #reclaimourstreets #killthebill protest. feeling empowered.”

    The Canary say that in Truro “Police monitored a peaceful protest against the bill in Truro in Cornwall attended by more than 200 demonstrators. The Resist G7 Coalition, who organised the protest said: We made it clear: The Cornish community stands against the government’s push towards authoritarianism. We can’t thank you enough. To those that came today and those that watched and shared from home, you did this. It is your continued support that grows this movement. It is your commitment to determined actions which will help us kill this bill. The streets are where we won our rights, and the streets are how we keep them. Do not let this inept government throw away your democratic freedoms.” Amy Slack Tweeted: “Kill the #PoliceCrimeSentencingCourtsBill. We have the right to peaceful protest. This bill completely undermines our rights. #KillTheBill #Truro.”

    Emily Apple Tweeted: “So inspiring to see hundreds taking to the streets to #KillTheBill in Truro today. Cornwall is rising. And so is the rest of the country. Solidarity to all resisting the #PoliceCrackdownBill this weekend.” The response in Truro will seriously alarm the authorities now that they have forced the local community to accept the unwanted incursion of the G7 Summit. Boris Johnson’s decision to bring the G7 summit to one of the most severely deprived areas of the entire country demonstrates his extreme disconnect with the realities faced by our rapidly expanding working poor. To make situations worse in Cornwall numerous local properties have been bought as second homes, buy to let or vacation lets, making the housing market completely unaffordable to local people. There are limited plans to build social housing and the rental costs are high; so G7 just throws salt into a gaping wound.

    Thankfully the situation in Wales did not spark any violence in Cardiff, according to the Canary, despite recent protests against police brutality towards a man who died while in police custody there were no major incidents reported. They Canary say that “Similarly, Saturday saw several protests against the bill in Wales. The largest was in Cardiff, but demonstrators also turned out in Bangor and Wrexham. In Wrexham, the demonstrators marched to lay their placards at MP Sarah Atherton’s office. Bangor saw protesters hold a minute of silence to ‘honour the sisters we have lost’ and lay flowers of remembrance.” Me thinks it is hard for a Police Officer to justify beating someone or wrestling them to the ground and piling in on top of them if they are carrying a bunch of flowers. What could they say in Court? The protestor was carrying a weapon; we were in fear of being injured by the protestor hurling a dangerous projectile bunch of daffodils? Armed with just flowers the police excuse for resorting to violence evaporates.

    The Canary reported that “People in Cardiff have been protesting against South Wales police since Mohamud Hassan died in January after being held overnight in police custody. Four police officers have been served misconduct notices in relation to his death.” Pictures from the Welsh protests including a video were Tweeted by Voice.Wales: “People march through Cardiff chanting against Home Secretary Priti Patel, in a protest today against the Tory Police and Crime Bill.” Another highlighted: “The large demonstration is now heading down Bute St chanting ‘No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police.” SUTR Wales Tweeted: “Cardiff Reclaims The Streets #WorldAgainstRacism #TakeTheKnee #KillTheBill @AntiRacismDay @CardiffSutr”

    Reporting on “A country-wide movement” the Canary post a Link to “A petition against the Bill now has almost 200,000 signatures, meaning it will be debated in parliament. With more protests planned over the coming weeks, the number of people against this bill could not be clearer. With the bill still in parliament, we must continue to fight for our right to protest.” Sisters Uncut Tweeted: “From Manchester to London, through Bristol and Leeds, the past week has seen a mass uprising against the #PoliceCrackdownBill. We’re proud to be part of the movement to #KillTheBill. Whether you’ve been out on the streets or protesting from home, we see you. And we will win.”

    In the Canary Article entitled “You might want to check your privilege before condemning the Bristol riot,” they question those condemning the protesters. “As events in Bristol unfolded on 21 March, and as police vehicles burned, the mainstream media were quick to condemn protesters. And now we are seeing protesters themselves issuing statements, hurrying to distance themselves from the events. Politicians will be rubbing their hands with glee as activists split themselves into two camps, with one morally-superior group demonising the other, and therefore weakening our collective outrage. Bristol’s local Extinction Rebellion group released a statement about Sunday’s events, saying: In light of last night’s events, XR Bristol emphasises its absolute commitment to non-violence.”

    The Canary report on XR’s lofty statement of non-violence “This basic tenet is one of our core principles, and represents the values of our wide range of supporters, from grandparents to schoolchildren, to doctors, scientists, builders, shop workers, and teachers. Within their statement they included an image of a past XR action, showing a row of activists dressed in costume facing the police. ‘Check your privilege; The Canary’s Kerry-Anne Mendoza wrote a response to those who were condemning Sunday’s riot. She said: For many communities targeted by police violence, the white, middle class tendency to treat police as their mates is honestly galling. Those of us who have faced harassment and violence at the hands of police know it’s an institutional issue. We know we shouldn’t trust police accounts automatically. And honestly, given the revelations of past decades, neither should everyone else.”

    The Canary note “It is surely those with white, middle-class privilege who are most outraged by a few burnt-out police vehicles and a couple of smashed windows. If you’re reading this and feeling anger at these words, check whether you have that privilege. If you do, it’s unlikely that you’ve been very harassed by the police in your day-to-day life. Yes, I am aware that you may well have been arrested at an XR protest, and you may have possibly posted on social media that you did yoga in your police cell. But if you don’t have white, middle class privilege, you will know what it’s like to live with daily police violence towards you. You know what it’s like to be racially profiled. You may well have been taken into custody, and if you have, it’s unlikely that you’ve felt safe enough to practice yoga. Someone you love may even have been murdered by the police.”

    If that is your backstory the Canary say “You will likely be asking yourself, ‘what’s a couple of burnt-out cop cars in comparison to someone you love dying? Or if you’re a woman, you might have been tricked into a relationship with an undercover police officer, or raped by a police officer. You might even have a mother, a sister or a daughter who has been murdered by a police man.” They clearly assert “No, the police aren’t here to help you to ‘peacefully protest.’ XR Bristol continued their statement by saying: An organised protest can have safeguards in place, but Bristol police were warning last week of £10,000 fines for anyone who took an organisational role. The rally yesterday belonged to no organisation. When XR plans an action we organise stewards and marshalls, including stewards trained in de-escalation, plus a reasonable degree of police liaison. The escalation of yesterday’s peaceful protest demonstrates why it is essential that organised peaceful protest remains legal” They sound a bit ‘preachy!’

    The Canary report “Through XR Bristol emphasising their commitment to non-violence and to ‘organised peaceful protest’, they are assuming that their method of organising with stewards is the only successful way to bring about change. But this statement reeks of privilege. For a start, a vast number of people in the UK don’t feel safe enough around the police to ‘liaise’ with them. And while XR Bristol might think this the best tactic, it is a foolish one. Because if you politely ‘liaise’ with the police, they will gather evidence on you and your fellow-protesters to use against you. They are not your friends, despite their often-friendly chatter. Their job is to protect the state, gather intelligence and to defend the status quo. Even if you do want to ‘peacefully’ protest, there’s no guarantee that the police will let you.” Carry a brief legally valid written statement that says “I am not legally required to prvide my name or any information to the police; thank you for your acceptance of my legal rights!” Some of the Police tactics of crushing restraint carry a serious risk of death: it is only a matter of time before a protester is killed!

    The Canary say “Take this person who was beaten up at the Sarah Everard rally in London. He told The Canary: I am a strong believer of peaceful protesting, and I was just in the demo with some friends from work, when four officers grabbed me from the side, without explanation they put me to the floor. Whilst they were trying to handcuff me I was moving my arms because of the pain and then suddenly 10 more officers were on top of me. There was [an] officer sitting on my back, two officers on my shoulders, and the rest just using unreasonable force on me. They banged my head to the floor, scratched my hands, and the handcuffs were so tight that my wrists were bruised and knees. Or take Sunday’s Bristol protest. The Canary’s Sophia Purdy-Moore said: ‘We were literally sitting on the floor shouting ‘this is a peaceful protest’ while police hit protesters round the head with batons. At one point it looked like their horses were going to charge into the crowd. What response did they expect?’”

    We cannot afford to be intimidated by threats of huge fines or aggressive Police tactics as “We must continue to resist the Police Bill.” The Canary remind us that “The government knows by now that its hope of quietly slipping through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has failed dismally. In fact, their continuous violence towards protesters is just drawing more and more attention to it. If you’re sitting at home in a comfort that others can only dream of, please don’t condemn those who are fighting for our last slivers of freedom. Because banner-waving might not be enough to win this one.” Although I respect this argument and have not been among those criticizing the conduct of others; I do believe that a non-violent pathway is the most productive. This is primarily because the Tory authorities and their violent enforcers have absolute control over the media and that disgusting Tory mouthpiece the BBC. The slightest flicker of non-passive resistance will become the focus of attention for days on end.

    When the aggression is all very clearly one-sided and Police attacks are entirely unprovoked there is nothing for them to highlight and fill the airwaves and tabloids with. My tactic would be to gather a core of individuals who are prepared to function as a protective front line and equip them with crash helmets, face guards and padded protective suits to resist baton blows. You could even issue a press release announcing that this has become necessary due to the threat of unprovoked police violence. Helmets could be fitted with bodycams for continuous hands-free filming without relying on a mobile phone which is easily wrenched from your hand in a scuffle and dashed on the ground. Organising stewards and marshalls, including those trained in de-escalation is a sensible idea and this doesn’t have to involve liaising with the Police, as this will become more and more difficult in future.

    If protesters carry only flowers the Police excuse for resorting to violence completely evaporates. Breaking News: several Police officers were taken to hospital after being seriously injured when pelted by protesters with an avalanche of projectile daffodils! Your Honour, it was necessary for six officers to pin the petite female defendant to the ground after she threatened us with a sun flower! We do not have the climate for barefoot and half-naked Ghandi style, but he proved that non-violence can be powerful. It will take intense discipline to resist Police provocation, but it is the best way to disarm this Tory Government’s violent enforcers especially if everything is caught on camera. We should never have allowed this dangerous Fascist regime to corrupt our Electoral process and warp our BBC prior to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. It was their takeover of the state broadcaster and dominance in the Media that duped so many into believing the Tory lies about ‘borrowed votes:’ this truly unfathomable result must still be Investigated. DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #69649 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    I was about to post my reflection on the current situation when I was caught off guard a few days ago by the sudden shut down of this blog. It signified a grave development as Craig Murray’s predicament had worsened with the serious charge of contempt being supported by the Judge. He will need our moral and financial support in the weeks ahead, so I hope, like me, you will make a payment to his fighting fund. It was a very depressing sign to know that one of our finest ‘truth tellers’ was being persecuted to gag his writing and to reinforce the Scottish Government lies in the hounding of Alex Salmond. So much right now is grotesquely unfair as the innocent are punished and the guilty well rewarded for their treachery. However, these few days of blog blackout have had a profound effect on me, as if a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders when I was unable to write. I became less distressed and anxious I even slept well at night. I think I must scale back for my own mental health, contributing my thought less frequently here.

    Ever since taking Lariam for the Amazon portion of a lengthy millennial holiday jaunt around South America I have experienced really colourful, vivid, graphic and convoluted dreams. Lariam is a dangerous choice of prophylactic antimalarial medication that should be strenuously avoided due to its side affects, but that is another story; it changed my dream pattern for life! Sometimes my dreams are like beacon metaphors instructing my life choices and the temporary shut down of this blog presented my with a clear choice: to resume regular writing as before when it went live again or to scale back? That night I dreamt I was sailing offshore on a small yacht. As the wind picked up, I instructed a crew member how to help me secure a reef in the mainsail, reducing our sail area in preparation for a gale. Good preparation avoids panic and disasters; I think we all need to prepare for the horrendous storm that lies ahead. The better prepared we are, the better equipped we are to deal with the onslaught of authoritarian Fascism to come.

    Then, almost half awake, I imagined I was sailing towards a harbour entry at night in the pitch black, searching for an unlit buoy. I used to have excellent night vision that astounded fellow crew members when I was at sea, but I relied on a few tricks that bear a relevant message as we flounder in the darkness of impending dictatorship doom. Hyper-vigilance can be counter productive as it raises stress and overwhelms the senses that can pick up subtle indicators of great importance. I had two special tricks for spotting unlit buoys on the darkest nights and both demanded that I relax my eyes to a point where they were barely open, but receptive to vital visual ques. One method I called ‘track’ because it required me to look for a barely perceptible dark spot blocking the shore lights as it tracked in relation to our progress. The second again aided me on dark, moonless nights. I called it ‘the blink’ as it was literally a tiny blink of light visible for just a couple of seconds when star light caught the disturbed sea water as it riped past a buoy.

    Once spotted I couldn’t ‘unsee’ the object in the water and it was confirmed with other information from the chart. Both techniques require relaxation to be effective as hyper-vigilant nervousness will drown out such subtle, barely perceptible, pieces of crucial information. Watch, wait and prepare, respond when necessary: we must continue with robust resistance, but my constant battery of words is not informing the discussion and I must scale back for my own mental health, contributing when there is something of real importance to say. As I awoke that morning I thought of porridge oats. I am not a Scottish person craving my national staple; in fact I find porridge rather bland and last remember consuming oatmeal in the freezing Southern Ocean on a Whitbread race boat. So why was I thinking of porridge oats to the point where I recalled their long forgotten taste? For me those porridge oats represent a feeling of reassuring comfort a powerful desire for genuine security that I seriously crave right now in this time of national turmoil.

    So much has happened in the last few days following the ominous sign of Craig being temporary forced to close his blog thereby conceding to the wicked Scottish Government conspiracy targeting Salmond. But like that unlit buoy that once spotted cannot be unseen, his exposure of the untold truth behind their case to frame Alex was out there for all to see and so many avid readers of this blog read and absorbed that information. The Courts have closed the barn door after the horse has bolted, but the histrionic reaction in trying to gag a truth teller only served to shine a giant spot light on the truth. “Me thinks thou doth protest too much” as the saying goes; such a massive effort to target one of the very few people reporting on the reality of the evidence, rather than the salacious propaganda fed to the tabloid press, is concrete verification of the importance of what they tried so hard to expunge. Still there was a heavy price to pay for such success and unless this verdict is overturned on appeal Craig might well go to jail.

    I appreciated Craig’s recent post with an excellent explanation of the D’Hondt voting system, a recommended read if, like me, you are not already familiar with this voting option. The Mainstream Media aren’t keen to point out the idiosyncrasies of this system as it fully supports Alex Salmond’s canny decision to set up his new Alba Party: to win a ‘Supermajority’ for Scottish Independence. The impact of his decision will have the British Government very worried and we can expect them to spew a steady stream of bile to destroy the come-back kid, but the opportunity will not be missed by savvy Scots who see a chance to seize their independence. I wish him well with his project that will be gaining a full head of steam in the coming days. I am not sure that I understand why all of the AFI candidates including Murray stood down to avoid competing with Alba: surely it would have been better to join forces under one banner? Will Craig Murray and the others consider standing as Alba candidates? But Craig has other things to worry about…

    The violent resistance to the Policing Bill is increasing by the day and the single most important thing is that the truth of what is taking place emerges to counteract the deliberate Government disinformation campaign. Yesterday the army in Myanmar warned determined protesters that they could be shot in the head or in the back if they continued to defy the military coup. Did issuing a warning give them permission to shoot people stone cold dead? No, of course it did not allow them to deny guilt for the innocent civilians massacred in the continuing repression inflicted on the citizens of Myanmar. It has taken tremendous courage for their people to face the might of the military in full realization of the consequences. Avon and Somerset Police with riot control backup attacked without any warning in their unlawful violent break up of the peaceful protest in Bristol. The people of Bristol now realize the huge risk they must accept to continue protesting. We must demand an immediate end to the violence: this is not Myanmar!

    Perhaps I am trying to apply too much logic to what is obviously a hyped-up piece of pro-Tory propaganda, but something does not make sense here. How come a group of unarmed seated protesters managed to inflict ‘serious injuries’ on police carrying shields and armed with batons who allegedly suffered ‘broken bones.’ Let’s get real here, if a solid line of fully kitted-up riot police, with sturdy helmets and visors, cannot manage to protect themselves with large riot shields while wailing on unarmed protesters with their batons swinging then they are a pitiful and pathetic disgrace to the police force! But to save them any further shame, I will reveal what I read on the very last line of the BBC News Article entitled “Bristol protests: Police action at Kill the Bill demo,” where they stated: “Following medical assessments on two officers taken to hospital at the weekend, neither suffered broken bones.” This free-for all of unprovoked Police brutality was ‘sexed-up’ for the media by Persecutor Patel to demonize peaceful protesters!

    What has been totally ignored here is the reality that significant injuries were inflicted on protesters who had no means to defend themselves. There are accounts of protesters being beaten over the head with batons capable of causing severe concussion, loss of consciousness or in extreme cases death. There are also reports of protesters being slammed on the ground by police and having several officers pile in on top of them. It’s entirely unnecessary for an unarmed suspect to be forced down onto the ground in an excessively humiliating and punitive way that implies their criminality. Plus the current police tactic now gaining popularity, where as many as six officers kneel on the victim in an effort to secure restraint where there is no sign of resistance, risks crushing that person to death. But, ignoring the implications of the Derek Chavuin trial in the US, instead of ruling out this dangerously heavy-handed tactic the British police seem determined to precipitate their own ‘I can’t breath’ incident. It is only a matter of time before a peaceful protester is killed by police.

    Journalist Martin Booth, who attended the protest for the Bristol 24/7 website, said he believed police had been “quite heavy-handed” against protesters. “Some of them were sitting down as the police waded in and it was quite shocking to see,” he said. “These protesters may have been there against the law but they were not spoiling for any fight, from my perspective.” But, the force said, like on Sunday, it only took action after dark when people ignored instructions to leave. John Apter said: “My colleagues are battered and bruised, in some cases physically. We’ve got a number of officers who were injured on Sunday evening, some very seriously.” Avon and Somerset Police arrested nine people that day and according to Chief Supt. Carolyn Belafonte claimed to be conducting a ‘substancial’ investigation into assaults on 40 police officers in potentially ‘one of the largest’ in the force’s history! But, she stated “Following medical assessments on two officers taken to hospital at the weekend, neither suffered broken bones.

    This wild exaggeration of injuries suffered by police during protest that turn ugly is nothing new; it is their bog-standard response. Unfortunately the extensive disinformation regarding the alleged “serious police injuries” is far more visible and pervasive on the Internet and in the Media than the truth that there were no officers with broken bones. Although I respect those defending protester actions and haven’t criticized the conduct of others, I remain convinced that a non-violent pathway is the most productive. As stated before “This is primarily because the Tory authorities and their violent enforcers have absolute control over the media and that disgusting Tory mouthpiece the BBC. The slightest flicker of non-passive resistance will become the focus of attention for days on end.” We must call out the sheer hypocrisy of this Tory Government ranting about the suppression of peaceful protests in Myanmar while inflicting violent retaliation against protesters here in the UK, with deadly force capable of killing unarmed citizens just as George Floyd was “lynched by knee” in the US!

    Last week there was a truly historic moment of note in the inglorious career of our corrupt PM, Boris Johnson, as he totally stunned us all by ‘telling the truth;’ admitting that the success of our vaccine program was down to capitalism and greed! Yes, greed, sheer unadulterated greed, perpetrated by the wealthy Tory elite in their unrelenting exploitation of the working poor! Not as if we didn’t all know that already, but such candor from the PM took us, well… by shock. Could the Tory Sovereign Dictator and his rabid cabal of corrupt sycophants make further deeply embarrassing gaffs that dismantle the carefully scripted narrative being used to dupe the British people? Who is most likely to fall into a sinkhole of potent unconscious honesty about the underlying motivations behind the ruthless campaign of tyranny this Government is still responsible for? Self-awareness zero Matt Hancock is a strong contender and Robert Jenrick too, but my money is on Priti ‘Ice Pick’ Patel for the next almighty clanger in the Tory train-wreck ahead.

    With Priti Patel as Home Secretary overseeing the implementation of the most draconian piece of legislation ever to be rammed through our Parliament we are in a very bad place. Priti Patel claimed to be ‘upset’ by what was incorrectly described as ‘clashes between police and protesters’ when they grossly over-reacted to the peaceful vigil for Sarah Everad. “Few Brits can imagine how anything might ‘upset’ ‘Ice Pick’ Patel as she certainly doesn’t show one once of empathy for those on whom she inflicts untold suffering,” without doubt one of the most cruel and heartless Tory MPs. As stated in a previous post “Priti Patel was so ‘seriously annoyed by the Extinction Rebellion protests that she broke a fingernail rapping on her desk in a fit of peak; she wants protesters thrown in jail for inflicting such serious distress! This is the Tory ‘mountain out of molehill’ rant to strip away our civil rights and lock up all outspoken activists as criminals in their repressive authoritarian distopian nightmare scenario of ‘new normal’.”

    In reality this is one of three very dangerous pieces of legislation set to strip away our rights and reinforce illegal actions by our military abroad. The policing Bill joins the Spycops Bill and the Overseas Operations Bill, in addition to an ominous tilt in our military intentions with the threat of a nuclear response to a Cyber or Chemical attack, both so easily constructed as False Flag events for fake provocation. In 1930’s Germany the citizens failed to recognize the slide towards totalitarianism, but right now there is absolutely no excuse for us to cling to the facade of ‘British exceptionalism’ to pretend there is no danger here. We cannot ignore the march towards an authoritarian police state that those in Hungary, Turkey and elsewhere sadly failed to prevent. Their citizens are warning us of the fast approaching point of no return; once the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship is fully consolidated it will remain in power for decades! That’s the terrifying experience globally: it takes untold slaughter and decades of resistance to remove them.

    In the Labour Heartland Article Entitled “Protest laws move UK towards paramilitary policing, says former police chief,” there is a clear warning of where the UK is heading under this Fascist Tory regime. “A former police chief has warned that new protest laws move Britain dangerously towards ‘paramilitary policing’ and that UK ministers are ‘flexing their muscles via their police forces’ like repressive regimes around the world. The warning from Michael Barton, the former chief constable of Durham comes as policing braces itself for a report expected within the next 48 hours after Metropolitan police officers were accused of heavy-handed tactics at a vigil on Clapham Common for Sarah Everard. Under pressure, the home secretary has ordered a report expected to arrive early this week from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. The key question it will answer will be whether the Met’s actions were proportionate or not.”

    Labour Heartland report that “As the new protest laws pass through parliament, Barton and another former senior policing leader, Sir Peter Fahy, told the Guardian they held deep concerns about the dangers the new laws posed for civil liberties already reeling from a year of emergency Covid laws. Mick Barton, was head of crime operations for policing nationally, and led the Durham constabulary until 2019, which inspectors rated as one of the best performing forces in Britain. He says: “I’m not in favour of even more restrictive measures. Surely after an historically unprecedented year-long curfew, in peacetime, the government could show some common sense and gratitude for such incredible forbearance to allow civil liberties to once again flourish. Or are they happy to be linked to the repressive regimes currently flexing their muscles via their police forces? ‘Fortunately, in the UK we are not a paramilitary-style police force. But these powers dangerously edge in that direction.” Let us not remain complacent just asking “are we there yet?”

    Labour Heartland say “Fahy, the former chief constable of Greater Manchester police and former vice-chair of the police chiefs’ body, said the proposed protest laws were a mistake and posed a danger for policing. He said lessons from the past suggested danger, citing the quashing this week of 1970s convictions of trade union activists including the actor Ricky Tomlinson as a warning from history. ‘It is short-term and politically driven,’ he said. ‘It is a reaction to what happened with Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter [protests], in the same way Ricky Tomlinson was a reaction to the industrial strife of the 1970s. Policing was drawn into a particular stance and pose. ‘It reminds me of the miners’ strike when policing was mobilised for a political reason. It took policing a long time to recover. Policing should be very careful not to be drawn into the situation of being arbiters of which protests can go ahead, and become stuck in the middle. The policing of protest can cause long-term damage’.”

    But how can we best fight-back without resorting to violence and why pursue this pacifist tactic in clashes with police? As stated in my last post “When the aggression is all very clearly one-sided and Police attacks are entirely unprovoked there is nothing for them to highlight and fill the airwaves and tabloids with. My tactic would be to gather a core of individuals who are prepared to function as a protective front line; equip them with crash helmets, face guards and padded protective suits to resist baton blows. You could even issue a press release announcing that this has become necessary due to the threat of unprovoked police violence. Helmets could be fitted with bodycams for continuous hands-free filming without relying on a mobile phones which are easily wrenched from your hand in a scuffle and dashed on the ground. Organizing stewards and Marshall’s, including those trained in de-escalation? This is a sensible idea, but it doesn’t have to involve liaising with the Police, as this will become more and more difficult in future.”

    I suggested that “If protesters carry only flowers the Police excuse for resorting to violence completely evaporates. Breaking News: several Police officers were taken to hospital after being seriously injured when pelted by protesters with an avalanche of projectile daffodils! Your Honour, it was necessary for six officers to pin the petite female defendant to the ground after she threatened us with a sun flower!” The other day it was my birthday. Over the week during which Craig Murray’s Blog was in blackout I resorted to ‘retail therapy’ buying a few items online to try to convince myself that more than a year on from the Tories seizing power, and surviving to reach one year older, it was a ‘happy’ day for me. I was comforted to learn that Craig’s late mother had used the exact same fatalist expression my own late mother often repeated: “It is all part of life’s rich pageant.” I have never had a great deal of material wealth, but I’ve lived a very rich and colourful life, full of interesting and intense experiences good and bad.

    Murray potentially faces a grueling experience behind bars, punished for his activism and determination to expose the truth. He too has had an extremely eventful life with many positive accomplishments to be proud of, not least of which the interventions that now have him threatened with jail. I am confident he has the stoicism to accept his fate, but we must loudly and robustly criticize the authorities for this perversion of justice. I hope the new Party, Alba led by Alex Salmond, will compel the SNP to get their house in order as I can well imagine why the Scots are so eager to break away from the UK. A bizarre purchase of mine was a Union Jack apron, but before you carp-on about supporting that foul Tory flag fetish, I must tell you I intend to daub it in red stains to represent the blood on the ‘Butcher’s Apron.’ What if a significant group of protesters were all pictured wearing a blood soaked Union Jack ‘Butcher’s Apron?’ This is the kind of attention-grabbing visual that the press cannot help falling for: it gets printed and can go viral.

    Exposing the vile reality this iconic emblem of our past British empire steals the toxic symbolism that the Tories are trying to force on the rebelling public with their jingoistic nationalist fake patriotism. We have to be more savvy in our protests a target satisfying the press search for a ‘Hook!’ True, “We do not have the climate for barefoot and half-naked Gandhi style, but he proved that non-violence can be powerful. It will take intense discipline to resist Police provocation, but it is by far the best way to disarm this Tory Government’s violent enforcers, especially if everything is caught on camera.” As stated so many times before “We should never have allowed this dangerous Fascist regime to corrupt our Electoral process and warp our BBC prior to the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. It was their takeover of the state broadcaster and dominance in the Media that duped so many into believing the Tory lies about ‘borrowed votes:’ this truly unfathomable result must still be Investigated.” I will be writing here a lot less often in future, but: I HAVE NOT MOVED ON!

    #69869 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Two shocking white-wash reports, one to normalize police brutality the other to deny racism, emerge as Derek Chauvin goes to trial. Bad boys, bad boys whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you? A catchy tune for a popular TV presentation of US Law enforcement in action, a show where they begin with the incongruous statement: “All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a Court of Law!” Well you could have fooled me… That poor bastard, predominantly a man of colour, squirming, prostate face down on the ground in the dirt, ‘munching the asphalt’ so to speak, sure didn’t look like much attention was being paid to any ‘presumption of innocence.’ How did US policing reach such an extreme stage of manhandling suspects, but more importantly right now, when and why did the UK choose to emulate this excessive use of force? This aggressive, vindictive, public humiliation is an overt assertion of criminality and one that’s frequently grossly disproportionate to any violation that might have been suspected.

    I am eager to hear Derek Chauvin’s Lawyer construct some type of justification for his cliants cruel actions in the public murder of George Floyd. Why is this so important? Because only by fully understanding exactly what police training is instilling in the force and what procedures have become normalized and acceptable, do we have this unique opportunity to challenge this increasingly violent authoritarian culture and set new rules. If a suspect has a weapon, becomes violent or they are an imminent flight risk the order to “get on the ground” might be justified, but if they truly are innocent until proven guilty there is no legitimate reason to exact punishment of any kind let alone torture leading to an extrajudiciary execution in full view of impressionable minors. Those young people will be deeply scarred by witnessing this grusome public ‘lynching by knee’ as it has been called. A Firefighter testified how she was refused access to offer medical assistance; she will be forever traumatized by her inability to do her job of preserving life.

    They say to “Assume makes an ass out of you and me,” but perhaps there are certain things that conscientious Police Officers should ‘assume’ when approaching a suspect. If they have been called to the scene to apprehend someone under the influence of narcotics it’s crucial to ‘assume’ that opioid drugs might depress their breathing. What other reasonable ‘assumptions’ should a cautious arresting Officer make knowing a suspect has a history of opioid addiction? Cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases are common among chronic opiate abusers who may concurrently suffer from other comorbidities and exhibit a myriad of complications including hypotension. But, in light of these significant risks Chauvin decided it was appropriate to heighten Floyd’s stress level by slamming him onto the ground and actively compromising his breathing! Why did a drug disorientated unarmed man, presenting no threat, who may or may not have used a counterfeit $20 bill, but was already securely handcuffed need to go down on the ground?
    This grotesque indignity is resorted to by out-of-control Police Officers, often with racist motivations, to intentionally humiliate, bait, aggravate and escalate a situation that could have been dealt with calmly and rationally. After allegedly witnessing consumption of some pills and having been called to the scene regarding suspected drug intoxication there was even greater necessity to act with extreme caution. Chauvin’s Lawyer asked the jury to examine the facts rationally because his client had done exactly as he was trained to do. Well if that was truly the case there’s a lot catastrophically wrong with Police training! Despite the strong suspicion Floyd was under the influence of narcotics that could compromise his breathing and put a strain on a drug damaged cardiovascular system Chauvin clambered on top of his back and neck to constrict his breathing. What did he think was going to happen under such extreme circumstances? Why did he threaten the qualified medic, concerned enough to offer to check Floyd’s vital signs?

    Imagine if this were the defence Lawyer in a different murder/manslaughter case: “Your Honour the man was unable to swim and desperatly reaching for my cliants hand as he feared drowning. Naturally the defendant reached out and shoved his head under the water to expedite his demise, but he denies any wrongdoing or responsibility for the man’s death!” Chauvin’s Lawyer is trying to claim that it was George Floyd’s opioid addiction that killed him, his poor health, a heart condition probably as a result of his drug use, but kneeling on his neck just exacerbated his potentially fatally compromised breathing to hasten his death, while blocking his access to medical attention. Even the youngest of the children who witnessed this horrific event was smart enough to realize that George Floyd was being killed right there in front of them all. The defence want us to believe it was acceptable for a supposedly trained veteran Police Officer to be incapable of recognizing that his knee was choking the life out of a man yelling “I can’t breath.”

    Chauvin refusal to allow a trained Medic to assess and treat George Floyde is unforgivable as he must have been fully aware that he was commiting murder. But, like so many other rogue Officers before him, he was no doubt emboldened by the fact that such excessive use of force rarely results in any internal discipline let alone a criminal conviction. The total lack of humanity expressed by Chauvin during that excrutiating nine minutes of torture demonstrates his contempt for the law, the public he was employed to protect, but most of all the racial hatred he must have harboured to commit such an appauling crime. One of the observers noted how he appeared to be enjoying the pain he was inflicting on a black man; drunk on the euphoria of the power his badge conferred on him. As the prosecution Lawyer so eloquently reminded the jury, after going to great lengths to outline the fine ideals of every Police Force and the sworn commitment of Officer’s in a duty to protect and serve the public, ‘Derek Chauvin betrayed his badge.’

    Chauvin was a repeat offender with 23 complaints against him during his 19 years on the force. Right after his arrival on the scene he was pictured with both of his hands around Floyd’s neck after he was dragged back out of the police car. Chauvin’s bodycam fell to the ground with no explanation of why? I would say that the US authorities need to do so much more than find Chauvin culpable and guilty of murder because ‘this time he went too far.’ This is an opportunity for the public to demand that the obvious precursors to such inhumane treatment are entirely removed from common practice with use of force a real last resort in extreme emergencies both in the US and here in the UK. Instead of expanding the justification for excessive force we need to strip back authorization of such powers so that in future Police Officers never come close to taking another life because they ‘just went too far!’

    The defence want to exonerate Chauvin by claiming that an opioid overdose was the real cause of death, but their argument does not justify exacerbating the well recognized complication of: depressed breathing. The combative, doped-up, criminal defence is all too familiar, but in reality the escalating opioid crisis in the US is fueled by the overprescription of medications for chronic pain, a common problem that Floyd’s girlfriend admitted they both suffered from. With the growing number of Police call-outs to overdose situations, forces across the US are training their Officers to use Narcan (Naloxone) to reverse and prevent a deadly consequence: depressed breathing. Paramedics noted that Floyd’s pupils were dilated, not opioid pinpoints. Although the training teaches Officers to recognize the signs of an overdose, it’s a safe drug, causing no harm to a person not on drugs. Also Narcan doesn’t need to be injected and as one of the meds that can be applied down an endotracheal tube there is now an easy to use nasal spray applicator.

    Video footage appears to show that George Floyd had already been handcuffed and was in the police vehicle when Derek Chauvin arrived on the scene. It is unclear why he was dragged back out of the car, but the violence escalated when he was forced onto the ground. This unnecessary move was bound to induce panic initiating a vicious cycle, as such distress signaled an expectation of violence that was soon fulfilled! Anyone on the ground will instinctively resist the extreme discomfort of being held down which then escalates to the point where several Officers are pinning the suspect down with increasing pressure on the torso and possibly their neck. Floyd would either have needed to be allowed to stand up to get back into the police car or have the life crushed out of him to the point where he was carried from the scene; Chauvin consciously chose the latter thinking he would get away with it.

    I am not entirely ignorant of the potential for agitated individuals to become seriously unmanageable, exhibit seemingly super-human strength or become violent and a threat to others. There were occasions when I worked in the ED at Jackson Memorial in Miami when the Police brought in a patient under the ‘Baker Act’ who required restraint. It was crazy enough in that overwhelmed public facility without patients kicking-off, but we were all encouraged to take a course in non-violent crisis intervention. This two day course instilled a few important principles regarding de-escalation and how to stay safe while treating the mentally disturbed with humanity. Drugs offer an escape to the desperate who are often struggling in a dire situation without hope, but they are no less deserving of our care and sympathy than the terrified young man I witnessed experienced his first psychotic break as a schizophrenic in my ED. Code named a ‘vitimen H moment,’ when a patient at Jackson became extremely agitated or dangerously combative we administered Haldol.

    If a suspect’s hands are already handcuffed behind their back they cannot use a weapon or gain complete freedom by running, so logically there is no reason for them to be wallowing face down ‘chewing the concrete;’ this is sadistic, punitive and is bound to induce a desperate reaction. It appears that increasingly the Police don’t need to justify why such degradation might have been necessary due to serious combative behavior or flight risk neither of which was true in Floyd’s case. There are powerful indications that this extreme practice has just become routine practice even here in the UK. We religiously follow all US bad practice as the vigil arrests demonstrated. With the warped report on the Clapham vigil Priti Patel is seeking to normalize dangerous aggressive practice like bringing an unarmed person to the ground and piling in on top. In addition the Police cannot be allowed to revel in the adrenaline rush of uncontrolled violence as appeared to occur when Officers in Bristol used their shields as offencive weapons!

    This trial is taking place in the US, but we need to pay close attention here, because all of the dangerous precursors to extrajudicial executions by rogue Police Officers are being rationalized, right here, right now, in the UK. The exact same potential for extreme escalation exists within our law enforcement where Home Secretary Priti ‘Ice Pick’ Patel is eager to expand the Police powers to resort to excessive force on a more regular basis: against peaceful protesters to protect Corporate and Tory Government interests. Such was the case when an unarmed female morner at the Sarah Everard Vigil was wrestled to the ground by Police Officers in Clapham, but an ‘Internal Review’ of the event has completely exonerated the police of any wrongdoing. This was an inevitable conclusion that we must robustly challenge, as it effectively, very publically, normalized excessive use of force by the police. This was the hardest case for this authoritarian Tory Cabal to justify as it was a vigil for a woman allegedly killed by a Police Officer.

    It is not difficult for regular ‘white folk’ to dismiss the harsh reality of ongoing racial profiling as urban myth and try to find less toxic explanations for the experiences of even our most trusted friends. When I was putting together my international all female team to compete in the Whitbread Round the World Race, a creative young Puerto Rican entrepreneur offered to help me with computer graphic design for our Team Pro-Maxi logo. He was a highly motivated, extremely industrious individual who channeled all his funds and boundless energy into his business enterprise; despite losing touch I really hope he is doing well. He paid little attention to the condition of his rather beat up car, it was functional and got him around; he really didn’t need to impress anybody. However as a darkly complected Hispanic with a strong accent he got pulled over by Police a lot. At first I questioned his driving and the run down state of his car, but in reality, I was just incapable of comprehending the very real racial prejudice of ‘driving while black.’

    Throughout my life and despite intense pressure, due to my dyslexia, I resisted being forced to learn to drive a car; in the US this singles you out as downright weird. One evening while I was living in Fort Lauderdale it was dark as I walked home carrying two full bags of groceries; I took a shortcut beneath a building leading into an alleyway. As I emerged from the alleyway I intentionally ignored what seemed like heckling coming from a passing van. This turned out to be a police van and to them I looked like a really easy target for harassment as a ‘bag lady’! Two Police Officers bounded out of the van brandishing truncheons in an aggressive show of force. Brandishing my broccoli and milk wasn’t going to cut it; they wanted to take me down to the station. I felt totally helpless and terrorized, less than two blocks from where I lived with John awaiting my return. What ended this scarry standoff? I pulled out my business card with a business address in that same block they were claiming to protect from a ‘dangerois bag lady,’

    All of a sudden I was no longer an easy target for harassment; I was among the privileged white elite, an eccentric business owner risking walking home alone at night. I was so incredibly angry when I got home all I could think of for days was leaving the country. At last I finally understood those who felt targeted and were so angry at the Police. Those two Officers tapped their batons in their palms in a threatening manner to indicate that they wouldn’t hesitate to cosh me if I dared to move without their permission. But, they did not lay a hand on me, I wasn’t handcuffed, I wasn’t forced to get down on the ground or suck the curb; how lucky I was for all those white privileges! It was in that one brief moment when I came close to feeling the deep humiliation and anger that targeted minorities must feel on a daily basis. Looking back on this traumatizing event I realize it was a vitally important wake-up call and I am damn glad I was targeted! Screw the Tories bogus review, racism is not over in this country, we must robustly fight it head on!

    Racist PM Boris Johnson decided that the multiple reports on UK racial disparities he has simply dismissed to gather dust, with their important recommendations studiously ignored by his racist Tory Government, signaled the need for yet another report. In a callous response to the Black Lives Matter campaign the dictate regarding the remit required all the data to be very carefully cherry-picked in order to deliberately slosh several large buckets of whitewash over those past reports and bin them along with their tedious recommendations. The report’s warped findings were an urgent necessity to support the Tory double-speak of our racist PM in his La La Land pronouncements to the BBC, the press and in the House of Commons. Johnson’s hand-picked out-of-touch elitist team of hard-core diversity denialists, placed in key ministerial roles, are dedicated to a ruthless agenda of flushing future opportunities for their ethnic minority brethren down the sewer. The Sewell Report will certainly expedite their passage towards the sluice gates!

    One of the most deeply offencive passages in the report attempts to rebrand the atrocity of slavery as if it was some peverse fast-track to a better life under the British Empire boot. According to this slick report it would be unwise to teach our children the truth about this particularly brutal episode in the history of our nation. Such honesty wouldn’t be ‘on message’ at a time when the Tories are so determined to instil homage to the Union Jack untainted by the horrific reality of the blood soaked ‘Butcher’s Apron!’ The ongoing remembrance of the Jewish Holocaust is observed without question, not because anyone wants to revel in the carnage that occurred under the Nazis, but because we must continue to demand “Never Again.” If the British history curriculum remains in persistent denial of the subjugation, exploitation and ravages of empire perpetuated throughout the globe there is no necessity to correct that injustice and Tories will build support for their abandonment of Foreign Aid obligations in favour of continual greed.

    In the London Economic Article entitled “Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities chair accused of ‘putting positive spin on slavery and empire” Joe Mellor highlights reactions to Tony Sewell’s Report. He notes that in his foreword Sewell “argued that ‘neither the banning of white authors or token expressions of black achievement will help to broaden young minds’. The chairman of a Government-backed review of racial disparities in Britain has been accused of putting a ‘positive spin on slavery and empire’ when explaining its recommendation on teaching history in schools. The Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report published on Wednesday proposes a Making Of Modern Britain teaching resource to ‘tell the multiple, nuanced stories of the contributions made by different groups that have made this country the one it is today’.”

    Mellor says that “In commission chairman Tony Sewell’s foreword to the report, he said the recommendation was the body’s response to ‘negative calls for ‘decolonising’ the curriculum’. He wrote that the resource should look at the influence of the UK during its empire period and how ‘Britishness influenced the Commonwealth’ and how local communities influenced ‘modern Britain’. He added: ‘There is a new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a remodelled African/Britain.’ Highlighting the passage on Twitter, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova said it was ‘one of the worst bits’ of the report. She tweeted: ‘Putting a positive spin on slavery and empire. Published on a Government website in 2021. Is this for real?” Sewell’s swill can now be used to sanction racist Boris Johnson’s propaganda lies spewed during PMQs and Press Briefings.

    Mellor notes that “He added: ‘We have argued against bringing down statues, instead we want all children to reclaim their British heritage. We want to create a teaching resource that looks at the influence of the UK, particularly during the empire period. We want to see how Britishness influenced the Commonwealth and local communities, and how the Commonwealth and local communities influenced what we now know as modern Britain. One great example would be a dictionary or lexicon of well-known British words which are Indian in origin.” I guess what he means is that the ‘dirty dhoby’ of our disgraceful racist colonial past of obscene exploitation doesn’t need cleansing in the bright truthful sunlight of reflective awareness honesty. I find this nationalist flag waving fetish a truly sickening development of ‘divide and rule’ in the UK, with heavy jingoistic overtones in readiness for another unnecessary foreign intervention of distraction. Fxxk the Butcher’s Apron; I will remain a committed ‘Peaceful Patriot of the Planet!

    The unchallenged result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election gifted us far-right Tory bigots in Government, desperately defending the brutal excesses of their privileged elite ancestors who gained their wealth by plundering former colonies subjugated during imperial expansion. They want to deny the past to hang on to their current privilege, power and wealth while engineering a new wave of intense exploitation of the working poor here as they advance their greed under a banner of ‘Global Britain’ overseas. The debt they owe reversed to maintain a massive disparity of access to funds and resources, where former colonies rich in minerals remain indebted to the British crown in perpetuity. Our determination to control the patents of desperately needed vaccines will fuel even greater poverty and inequality as the profiteers continue their limitless plunder of the most vulnerable. Greatly reduced Foreign Aid is a pittance in comparison to our relentless plundering and the damage inflicted with our bombs: ill-gotten gains not yet repaid!

    In the London Economic Article entitled “Race report caps off a ‘big week for marking your own homework” Jack Peat remarks that “In the Netherlands there is a marketing expression. ‘We, the people at Toilet Duck, recommend Toilet Duck’. A landmark report commissioned by Downing Street has today dismissed that institutional racism might exist in the UK concluding that the country should, instead, be seen as an exemplar of racial equality. The report, which was presided over by two people who denied the existence of institutional racism from the outset, found that there is some evidence of overt racism, but denied it was structural. Commission chairman Tony Sewell had previously claimed that evidence of the existence of institutional racism was ‘flimsy’ while Munira Mirza, who heads up the Number 10 policy unit, has also hit out at a ‘culture of grievance’ among anti-racism campaigners in the past.” But ominously, on the day of the Sewell Report’s full release the only BAME Special Advisor at Number 10 just quit.

    Peat notes that “The findings come the day after the Met Police was commended for how it handled a vigil for Sarah Everard in Clapham Common. A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) found that officers at the event did their best to peacefully disperse the crowd, remained calm and professional when subjected to abuse, and did not act inappropriately or in a heavy-handed manner. That is despite footage appearing to show police grabbing and dragging several women away as the peacefully mourned Everard’s death.” Remaining in denial over the excessive use of force will result in a fatality. “Posting on social media, Jamie Johnson said this has been a ‘big week for marking your own homework’, citing Number 10 defences over the Jennifer Arcuri allegations as another case in point. He referenced a marketing slogan from the Netherlands which read ‘Wij van Wc-eend adviseren Wc-eend’, or ‘We, the people at Toilet Duck, recommend Toilet Duck’.”

    Peat reports that “The slogan remains used today as a general saying to dispute the independence of ‘expert’ statements when they align with self-interest.” However, the recent attention on the Arcuri affair is hardly the most egregious abuse of power or rabid Tory self-interest. Beyond the copious bucketloads of whitewash chucked at the public in the form of bogus reports to insist ‘black is the new white’ the single most grotesque Tory Government corruption after the endless squandering of public funds was the stolen vote that shoe-horned this regime into power. The UK started down a slippery slope towards zero accountability political totalitarianism after the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, when we decided that scrutiny was unnecessary as an unfathomable result could go unchallenged. However, it is not too late to demand a full Investigation especially in light of the huge volume of continuing corruption. In a functioning democracy Tories would be in jail not trusted with high office: end the Tory Sovereign dictatorship now! I HAVE NOT MOVED ON!

    #70129 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    It has become almost impossible for me to feel encouraged by anything these days, but quite by chance I stumbled across a really down to earth Video by Richard Murphy entitled “Why are the Tories so worried?” I hope that this corrupt cabal are paranoid and absolutely shit scared; after repeatedly cringing each time they succeed in ramming through one of their ruthless policies I was eager to hear Murphy’s opinion on why he thought they might be in the desperate throws of decline. He elaborates on the evidence of their current behavior, highlighting four main Tory failures: Brexit; Covid; Corruption and the break up of the UK. While not in his initial list the renowned economist doesn’t fail to add his favorite topic, the decline and inevitable demise of Neolibral economic policy making. All of Richard Murphy’s video presentations are well worth watching, but while this one inspired a glimmer of hope for the future, he did not provide a likely timescale or a clear roadmap out of this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship quagmire.

    With regard to Brexit Murphy points out how badly it has gone wrong coming from the enlightened perspective of an economist. The catastrophic failure of Brexit is being deliberately hidden from the public, buried under an all-consuming preoccupation with Covid, but as the data is incrementally revealed the news looks disastrous. Massive red tape and restrictive encumbrances have stagnated our exports while imports remained relatively steady thus creating a trade imbalance that Tory fantasy trade deals are unable to fix. We are not even experiencing the worst of the restrictions yet because the Government has postponed implementing certain measures that they know will exacerbate the problem. Despite breaking the terms of the recently signed agreement by maintaining relaxed rules regarding goods bound for Northern Ireland, the province has been the worst impacted by trade shortages that were anticipated well in advance of signing the contentious Tory protocol. This has now sparked violent protest riots in Belfast.

    Murphy is not fooled by the recent popularity of the much trumpeted, Tory manipulated, vaccine rollout to combat Covid, qiuping rather sarcastically that we have managed to reduce the death toll down to the equivalent of just one ‘jumbo jet load’ a week! We have surpassed the 150,000 fatality mark and nothing can make such a gargantuan deadly failure of public policy look acceptable. He points to SAGE warnings that we could see a fourth wave of infections and another shut down this summer just as the public are itching to get away on holiday. The copious BBC ‘handyfloss’ and Media hype emphasizing ‘bums on beaches,’ in warm and sunny places overseas, intentionally detract from the reality of the dire Tory decision making. Unvaccinated young people eagerly await increased freedom that Boris Johnson has sadistic and miserly control over with a very heavy emphasis on returning to working environments that are not necessarily safe and the need to spend money that most ordinary people simply do not possess.

    Boris Johnson made enemies on the continent with his one-way nationalistic hording of the vaccines in an effort to increase his popularity with the patriotic brigade back in the UK. Not only could Tory plans all go horribly wrong, but some of their selfishness and risk taking is already starting to backfire. Finally the Oxford team have admitted to a rare, but deadly possible side effect of the jab they prioritized for British use at the expense of reneging on EU contracts, probably done at the politically motivated behest of the PM. The reckless blunders in containment measures and woefully lax border control helped incubate a Kent Variant which now appears to be one of our most successful exports to the EU! In addition, and unique to the UK, the Tory punt on extended the gap between first and second jabs might offer the perfect environment for incubating another, more transmissible or highly resistant, mutant strain of Covid that could easily scupper Tory triumphalism with an even more virulent onslaught taking yet more lives.

    Tories have never commanded a crisis without seizing a massive exploitation opportunity for personal enrichment, so the Covid 19 Pandemic was just too great of a bonanza to pass up. The zenith of obscene Tory corruption has been too blatant to be kept under wraps or even glossed over discreetly by the compliant right-wing Media; it is right out there, in your face as they insist that their Tory Government is above and beyond the law. However although the Tories committed to hobling Judicial Review and gaining control over Judicial appointments in their manifesto, they have not accomplished that swiftly enough to avoid a number of crippling judgements coming down the pike. From bogus PPE procurement contracts to white elephant ‘Nightngale Hospitals’ they could never manage to staff and an exorbitantly expensive Track and Trace system that would have been more aptly named ‘Hinder and Hide’ under the misdirection of serial loser Dido ‘Tally ho’ Harding, corruption is the hallmark of this Tory cabal.

    To my great amusement Murphy shared a telling piece of trivia regarding the derogatory origination of the ‘Tory’ name: from the Irish language, meaning, ‘Outlaw, Robber, Brigand.’ I felt inextricably compelled to verify what Murphey had revealed. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary: “Tory (n.) 1566, ‘an outlaw,’ specifically ‘one of a class of Irish robbers noted for outrages and savage cruelty,’ from Irish toruighe ‘plunderer,’ originally ‘pursuer, searcher,’ from Old Irish toirighim ‘I pursue,’ from toir ‘pursuit,’ from Celtic *to-wo-ret- ‘a running up to,’ from PIE root *ret- ‘to run, roll’.” In the prophetic words of one of the cruelest Tory Prime Ministers: “Nothing has changed!” Exhibiting ever more brazen corruption, supported by copious amounts of ludicrously incredulous media spun propaganda and their stranglehold on power, the greedy Tory elite are still rampaciously plundering all of the country’s resources and callously impoverishing the British people while bragging about their fake Tory policies for ‘levelling up!’

    There is a finite limit to the profitability of plundering from the critically downtrodden working poor, so Murphy is right to point out that the Neoliberal model is unsustainable, but is he right to surmise that it’s nearing the end-game? Evidently one very serious financial collapse was not enough to clean up ‘Russian Roulette’ style banking practices and hedge fund gambling. There is no planet B, but despite fast approaching a tipping point in the climate crisis, like moths drawn to light that kills them, sadly the human race seems incapable of deselecting socioeconomic collapse or total planet-wide annihilation! Murphy reminds us that corruption has signalled the demise of Tory Governments in the past; we desperately need that day of reckoning and certainly within a functioning democracy this should be the logical conclusion. The question is, have the current Tory Sovereign Dictatorship managed to use their corruptly obtained power to inoculate themselves from scrutiny, accountability and the legal consequences of their relentless pillaging?

    Murphy’s fourth point regarding Tory failures focuses on the imminent break up of the UK starting with Scotish independence, a return of ‘the Troubles’ in Ireland that could lead to a United Ireland and now even Wales considering the benefits of breaking away from Tory dominated Westminster. The Tories like to downplay the resource wealth of Scotland that they have been in such a strong position to exploit for so long, but the Scots are not stupid when it comes to money. The Tories need Scotland to remain within the union to keep their nuclear submarines stationed on the Clide; independent Scotland wants rid of them and nowhere else is eager to provide safe haven south of the border. But as much as the Tories still determinedly cling to an increasingly fragile Union their toxic policies are seriously alienating the rebellious populations in all parts of the UK and it’s only a matter of time before the UK is torn apart just like the great former empire. This will not reflect at all well on the Prime Minister who oversees this fragmentation.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Richard Murphy he is a chartered accountant who has recently put out a number of excellent explanatory video presentations focusing on Modern Monetary Policy in an effort to educate the public regarding the failed Tory austerity agenda and the advantages of our fiet currency. His bio says “After training with what is now KPMG he established his a firm of accountants in London, of which he was subsequently senior partner, in parallel with a career as an entrepreneur and company director which lasted until his early 40s. He then moved to a career in campaigning and academia. He co-founded the Tax Justice Network in 2003, the Green New Deal in 2008, the Fair Tax Mark in 2013 and the Corporate Accountability Network in 2019. From 2015 to 2020 he was Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University of London and is now Visiting Professor of Accounting at Sheffield University Management School. His best known book is ‘The Joy of Tax’.”

    The British are a freedom loving people waking up to the reality that this rabid Tory Sovereign Dictatorship are determined to strip away not just workers rights, but a multitude of basic human rights in the most serious onslaught on our freedoms for over a century. The classic complacent ‘winging POM’ puts up with hardship and just grumbles about the impact of totally unacceptable injustice. That has led to the acceptance of the ruthless ravages of austerity only to now discover that this cruelty was a completely unnecessary political choice made by the Tory Party for personal enrichment. This fact was fully exposed before the Covert 2019 Rigged Election which is why I am in no doubt that the result was rigged to provide a Tory ‘landslide victory,’ a result which must still be Investigated. It is simply inconceivable that large numbers of desperately poor, relentlessly exploited former Labour voters wouldn’t have realized that voting for the Tories would mean condemning their children to starve as is happening right now.

    In the Canary Article entitled “The DWP policy that is nothing short of eugenics,” they say “We can now properly analyse the effect of a four-year-old Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policy. It’s caused poverty to increase.” The say “The policy may also have caused an increase in abortions. But exclusive research by The Canary has also found birth rates among the poorest women have dramatically fallen; potentially also due to the policy. Yet so far, the DWP maintains that there isn’t a problem. The two-child limit is a DWP policy. The then Tory government brought it in on 6 April 2017. It meant the DWP would only pay Child Tax Credit and Universal Credit for two children in a family; any more than this the DWP would not count in benefits calculations. The policy has been controversial. A court ruled in June 2017 that the policy was ‘discriminatory’ against single mothers with children under two. Then, in April 2018, another court said the cap was unlawful. This was in relation to young carers.”

    The Canary highlight another controversial outrage citing how “The so-called ‘rape clause‘, where women have to prove they’ve been raped to get an exception to the two-child limit, also sparked outrage. Now, four years on, the long-term effects of the two-child limit are clear. The Canary reported in 2018 that the number of households likely to be hit in the future by the cap would explode. In April 2018, just under 71,000 households were subject to the limit. Now, as of April 2020, the number has rocketed to 250,000.” The article includes a number of graphs that depict the impact of increasingly punitive Tory policy. “In April 2018, around 200,000 children were affected. Now, this figure is over 900,000. Meanwhile, the DWP has effectively cut over £5bn from people’s social security with the policy and the real-world impact is very concerning.” The Tories remain steadfast in their cruelty and immune to external criticism even as the UN steps in to feed starving children in London, England, one of the richest countries on earth!

    The Canary report on the “Increasing poverty” says that “According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) data on poverty, there has been a four percentage point increase in the number of households below average income where three or more children live; up four percentage points from 43% to 47%. That’s nearly a 10% increase. As the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) wrote: estimates suggest that by the end of this Parliament, more than 600,000 families are likely to be subject to the limit, pushing an estimated 1.3 million children into, or deeper into, poverty. The CPAG also looked at abortions. It found that there was a “sharp” overall increase after 2017: In 2016 in England and Wales there were just over 185,000 abortions. By 2019, this had increased by 11.74% to just over 207,000. But crucially the CPAG said that abortion rates for women who already had two or more children increased ‘most rapidly’ after 2017.”

    “The Canary analysed the birth rates for women by socioeconomic status; that is for the richest and poorest women” remarking that “Poor people: not having kids.” They say that their “Research found that birth rates fell generally. This was comparing 2017 and 2019 figures. The biggest falls have been among the poorest households.” In the table included in the article, “1.1 is the richest, 8 is the poorest. We cannot directly say that the falls are due to the two-child limit. But given the effect of the policy on abortion and poverty rates, this additional impact is likely. Moreover, the reduction in birth rates in the poorest groups is sudden. As The Canary previously reported, between 2013 and 2016 birth rates in groups 5-8 fell overall by 0.9%. Now, between 2017 and 2019 this accelerated to a 12.4% fall.”

    But, the Canary point out that “This drop also correlated with the 11.74% increase in abortions. Because the poorest women are having abortions at over twice the rate of the richest. There is no comparative yearly data for abortion rates per socioeconomic status prior to the two-child limit being introduced. But abortion rates had been rising across all groups between 2013-2018. It appears from the data that between 2018 and 2019, increases in abortion rates were most marked in the poorest groups (a 0.9 point increase in the poorest versus a 0.4 point increase in the richest).” Haughty elitist MP Jacob Reese Mogg is a practicing Catholic who has sired six children and is adamantly apposed to abortion, but aparently his beliefs and commitment to his faith isn’t strong enough to exclude the poor from the being forced to make a brutal pragmatic choice to abort their babies.

    “The Canary asked the DWP for comment. A spokesperson told us: Universal Credit has provided a vital safety net for six million people during the coronavirus pandemic and is supporting people back into work through our comprehensive Plan for Jobs. In 2020, 85% of all households had two or fewer children, which is reflected in our policy. There are appropriate exemptions in place. But the DWP’s own research shows that these exemptions are tiny. In April 2018, the number of households with three or more kids the DWP gave an exemption from the limit to was just over 2,800. By April 2020, the number was around 12,500; an average of 4.75% of households hit by the policy across the UK. This is actually a reduction on 2018, where the percentage was around 8% of the total households having an exemption.”

    The Canary asks was this “Intentional eugenics? The two-child limit has been perhaps the Tories’ most noxious policy. It’s hard not to look at it and think that the DWP and government intentionally designed it to stop poor people having children. Because as the CPAG noted: If these findings are related to the two-child policy, it is horrifying. China’s one-child policy was driven by burgeoning birth rates. We have sub-replacement fertility. There is no other country in history that has adapted social security policy to increase child poverty to reduce fertility or encourage abortion. It is a completely outrageous assault on liberty. The word for this would be eugenics.” The Canary insist that “Successive Tory governments and the DWP have meted it out, without recourse.”

    In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled “Four years of the Tories’ two-child limit: Here’s what it’s done,” Lucy Skoulding points out that “If the Tory policy was scrapped now 200,000 children would immediately be lifted out of poverty. The Tory party’s ‘obscene’ two-child limit and ‘rape clause’ has now been estimated to negatively impact 350,000 families and 1.25 million children in the four years since it was imposed. Since April 2017, parents having a third or subsequent child are not eligible for support, which is up to £2,830 per child per year, through child tax credit and universal credit if they need it. The policy also includes the caveat that, to claim for a third or subsequent child conceived through rape, women must make a declaration to the DWP, meaning they have to relive their previous trauma. A report by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) published today has also found that the impact of the two-child limit on families has been compounded by other Tory cuts to social security, including benefit freezes and the benefit cap.”

    Skoulding reports that “Before Covid-19, £36 billion a year had been cut from social security since 2010 because of Tory policies. The CPAG report estimates a further 15,000 families, amounting to approximately 50,000 children, have been affected by the policy because of the pandemic than would have otherwise ‘in spite of extensive measures taken to protect people from the economic impact of the pandemic’. In one case study shared, a whole family fell apart during the pandemic. The family ‘could easily afford’ to pay for all their children before the husband became ill and was unable to work. The youngest child needs childcare which the family cannot afford, meaning one parent has to work from home. ‘We are living in poverty,’ the case study reads, ‘with no way out before he starts school, or my husband recovers enough to restart work or look after the children’.”

    Skoulding reveals that “In another one, a parent says the policy makes it feel as if their third child doesn’t matter. ‘I made the decision to have a third child while my husband and myself were in work. My husband then left the day before the lockdown and I had to claim universal credit. It feels as though my third child doesn’t matter and his food, housing and basic living standards don’t matter.’ In addition to the negative impact this policy is having on so many children generally, the report has also found evidence to show it disproportionately affects women and certain religious and black and minority ethnic communities. Estimates, for example, show that that 29 percent of families impacted by the two-child limit are single parent families headed by women, while 1 percent are single parent families headed by men.”

    Skoulding notes that “Perhaps the most powerful finding of the whole report is that if the two-child limit were removed today, 200,000 children would immediately be lifted out of poverty and 600,000 children would be living in less deep poverty than they are now. At a cost of £1 billion, this makes scraping the two-child limit the most cost-effective way for the government to reduce child poverty. The SNP has staunchly condemned both the two-child limit and rape clause and is calling for the policy to be scrapped. SNP Shadow Chancellor Alison Thewliss MP said: ‘The Tory government has pushed millions of people into poverty with its barbaric cuts to social security. It’s obscene that they remain so wedded to the two-child cap and rape clause, despite the overwhelming evidence of the damage it is doing to our society. It must be scrapped. ‘Covid has exposed the deep inequality that exists under the broken Westminster system’.”

    Skoulding says “While the SNP government is putting money into people’s pockets with progressive policies like the Scottish Child Payment, the Tories are taking billions away with cuts to family budgets. ‘The DWP’s own statistics show the damaging impact their policies are having, with an unmistakable increase in poverty levels amongst families with three children or more, and 47 percent of children in these families now living in poverty. Not only does this harmful Tory policy make it increasingly difficult for families to get by in these challenging times, there is evidence that it forces women into an impossible choice between serious financial difficulty or terminating a pregnancy’.” Wall to wall coverage on the BBC as British subjects are expected to mourn the passing of HRH after an amazing 99 year life of opulent luxury. Condolences to the royals, but who is there to mourn the thousands of destitute homeless who die on the streets of our wealthy nation after surviving an average 47 years ignored in abject misery?

    The deafeningly silent scream of the millions who care about ending poverty and grotesque injustice was stifled with their invisible protests throughout the UK. “Nothing to see here…” as only the riots in Belfast made the BBC news cycle of the last week, but this belligerent and deliberate blackout of reality in response to ‘Kill the Bill’ protests cannot deter us from further action. If our actions were a welcome, accepted component of our vibrant democracy then they would be reported and responded to by the PM and his Ministers. Perhaps, despite outward bravado, they really are running scared. Richard Murphy says “You’d think that a government with a big majority and high on the polls would have little to worry about, and yet the Tories are showing signs of being very worried. How long is it before failings on Brexit and Covid 19 catch up with them, corruption is rumbled and Scotland declares it has had enough, leaving them as the party that killed the country? Their behavior suggests that they think the answer is ‘not long’.” DO NOT MOVE ON!

    #70384 Reply
    Kim Sanders-Fisher

    Fat Cat Boris Johnson is being ‘urged’ to sanction splashing out the totally obscene sum of £190 million on a luxury yacht with the vessel to be named in honour of the late Duke of Edinburgh. The public aren’t even shocked that another huge dollop of dough might be allocated to the super wealthy elite while the UN steps in to feed starving children in the capital of one of the richest countries on earth. If that doesn’t scream inequality, exploitation and corruption what will it take for our citizens to revolt? Amid the nationwide compulsory tributes thrust upon the long-suffering British public via the trusted Tory propaganda mouthpiece at the BBC, who drenched us in wall-to-wall coverage, now there is talk of commissioning a new Royal Yacht! While the public can certainly empathize with the Queen over the loss of her lifelong companion, husband and Prince Consort there are so many throughout the country whose desperate plight is ignored; where is our noble Queen’s compassion for those less fortunate masses she rules?

    As I have taken pains to point out here before, while HRH lived a very full life of opulent luxury, the average homeless person does not survive beyond half his age. The Tory Government didn’t quible for an instant before approving the staggering amount offered to the Queen to compensate for her financial losses from her extensive property portfolio due to Covid 19. While the Sovereign Grant Fund perpetually ratchits up, despite an economic downturn, the misery of the Queen’s subjects spirals remorselessly down towards destitution. You do not need to be rabidly anti-monarchy to scream in frustration that our privileged head of state really should at last set a clear example to the wealthy 1% that they could do so much more. The greatest speech Queen Elizabeth II will never deliver has the potential to mark the most important legacy in tribute to her dead husband HRH Prince Philip. So what could our revered Queen say and do to begin to redress the massive disparity between the privileged elite and the poor in the UK?

    She might begin by thanking the public for all their kind displays of sympathy providing so much comfort to her in her time of grief. She might then claim: “My husband and I have always maintained a sincere concern over the welfare of the British people…” But this hails from a lady whose opulence is so great that it provides an aloof detachment from the growing reality of rampant poverty among the majority of her ‘subjects.’ Is she blissfully unaware that the UN has stepped in to feed the starving children in London? Is she oblivious to the UN rapateaur’s repeated recriminations over Tory human rights violations in their punitive abandonment of the disabled resulting in thousands of unnecessary deaths? Why isn’t she deeply ashamed of the destitute homeless, as bundles of human detritus litter our streets, disgarded to die in abject misery at half the age of her beloved Prince Consort? Only a person totally devoid of any semblance of conscience could honestly express pride in ‘ruling’ over such a festering cesspit of corrupt depravity.

    The BBC and Mainstream Media’s PR machinery maintain the propaganda of this benevolent old lady to whom we all owe fealty and reverence. While she is constrained by historical obligation to refrain from political commentary she is not incapable of controlling her own finances and using generosity to set a compassionate example that other titans of wealth would feel compelled to emulate. The Queen could use the distressing occasion of Prince Philip’s death to establish a significantly generous fund in honour of her late husband and encourage the wealthy elite to chip in the spare millions in cash they have been raking in during the Pandemic, to eradicate poverty, destitution and homelessness throughout the realm. In such compelling circumstances, under an appeal directly from the Queen, those messages of condolence could be suitably monetized as prominent personalities outbid each other and the privileged 1% were publicly embarrassed into parting with their cash to help compensate for decades of elitist exploitation.

    The Queen is not short of money and this might offer her a unique opportunity to explain just why the crown accepted a massive compensatory payout, authorized by this crooked Tory Government, to top-up the Sovereign Wealth Fund at a time of crisis when impoverished British children were on the brink of starvation. She could explain that regrettably it took time to organize exactly how the fund would be managed and allocated, a task her now deceased husband would have helped her plan before his death. That really would be a stunning legacy, genuinely appreciated by her long-suffering ‘subjects,’ and it could be administered independently from Tory Government corruption and punitive means testing of recipients. Even overseas contributors including serial plunderers like Amazon’s Jeff Bazos might use this as a PR opportunity to provide philanthropic cover for their decades of exploitation. The Queen’s immense global influence could pry generous contributions from the Davos crowd as they jostled to publicly show respect.

    This is a unique opportunity for the Queen to establish her own legacy by initiating a global shift in priorities thus offering obscenely wealthy people a chance to absolve themselves of the crime of their rapacious greed. The British hate to admit that they see their own much revered monarch as the ultimate greedy parasite supported by the self-serving Parliamentary decisions of the horde of greedy parasites in Government who have extorted every last ounce of blood, sweat and tears from the population of this country for centuries. Their model of rampant inequality is unsustainable as there’s a finite amount of money you can manage to squeeze out of those on the brink of destitution, but Boris and his Tory cabal want the public to stump up for a new royal yacht! The Queen herself is nearing the end of her long life, does she really hope to see all of her massive reserves of hoarded wealth distributed among her obscenely wealthy heirs or will she be persuaded to make a historic commitment towards eradicating inequality before she dies?

    We should not forget the recent tragic failure of our monarchy to use the power that the British Queen uniquely still retains, to step in and rescue the country by demanding the resignation of her Prime Minister at a point where he Prorogued, Parliament, broke the law and forced us into a rigged election in which he should have been prohibited from participating. The Queen could have used her immense sway with the citizens of this country to set an important example of conduct that cannot be tolerated in a democracy and the Tory Party of ‘God, Queen and Country would be obliged to obey without question. While I am not a supporter of the Monarchy this course of action was within the Queen’s constitutional power under exceptional circumstances; Boris Johnson crossed the line to create that crisis. Despite probably realizing that the consequences of her inaction would be seriously harmful to our democracy and unnecessarily traumatic for her subjects she prioritized the interests of her own wealth threatened by equality under socialism.

    The death of the Duke of Edinburgh has been seized upon by Tories as a chance to promote their mantra of ‘God, Queen and Country’, as they desperately apply the pumps to salvage the sinking ship of isolationist patriotism. The monarchy cannot possibly endure much longer in its current form, a potent symbol of the inherited wealth of undeserved privilege juxtaposed to the grotesque extremes of poverty in the UK. If this were the gross inequality displayed by a foreign despot we would be clamoring for justice for an oppressed people; do the British people not deserve the justice of equality? The Brits are cajoled into reverance, clinging to the nostalga of the notorious victories of empire we were taught about in school that are now start to sour as we learn the truth of brutal subjugation, slavery and exploitation under the ‘Butcher’s Apron’. You cannot eat a Union Jack! Now only the barrier of troubled Ireland remains to prevent the untethered remnant of ‘little England’ from drifting out to its rightful place of isolation mid Atlantic.

    Homage to royalty, patriotism and the nationalist fervor are a desperate attempt to foster pride in our ruthless expansionist past that only the easily manipulated myopic sector of our increasingly multicultural society still cling to. It is heavily dependent on a culture of ‘divide and rule’ othering where all too many ordinary people are being swept into the net of targeted enemies of society. The Black Lives Matter protests were filled with white protesters who have come to realize the slippery slope we are being forced down by this rogue Government; now people are even prepared to protest in support of the Gypsies and Travelers the Tories thought of a safe bet easy target for their hateful ideology. Has the haunting message of a haunting poem that begins “First they came for…” resonated in the collective consciousness of the British public as a prophetic warning of the extreme and dire consequences of the road our nation is traveling down towards the far-right fascist goal of this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.

    Confident optimism is now reliant upon the expansive fake promises of a Government with a long and sordid track record of great abandoned pledges and a strong history of implementing austerity, but in the words of our former PM Theresa May “Nothing has changed!” Optimistic aspiration, striving to create a better life through hard graft is a whole world away from the current reality for most people in the UK who are caught in a desperate struggle for basic survival on a daily basis. There is a unique opportunity for this Tory Government to transform and drastically alleviate the mental health crisis, eradicate poverty and homelessness in this country by first and foremost, leaving office! An impressive consensus of cooperation and community cohesion is developing due to the unnecessary hardship and burdens inflicted upon vast swaths of the population impacted by this Tory Government’s criminally negligent exploitation of the Covid using the crisis as a tool to whitewash over the catastrophic mistakes of their hard Brexit.

    The Covid Pandemic has made ordinary working people realize how easily the demonized ‘them’ can become ‘us!’ A huge number of people who honestly believed that they had reliable, steady employment, have now been forced to join the ranks of the despised unemployed. Previously they were heavily encouraged to believe that only the ‘losers’ and the ‘work shy’ brought such dire shame upon themselves and needed to rely on that precarious and punitive Social Safety net they were so eager to strip away. They paid into the system with their taxes and only had the number of children they knew they could afford to raise. Only now are they finally coming to understand why the cruel Tory ‘two child policy’ is grotesquely unfair punishment that’s not deserved by anyone’s innocent offspring as we can all fall on hard times. The Tories so called ‘strivers,’ even former entrepreneurs and small business owners are entering food banks for the first time, worried about basic survival and the devastating impact of destitution on their family.

    This is the demographic who traditionally support capitalism, free enterprise, the security of empowered law enforcement, a strong overseas presence from our UK military, the importance of defence spending and retaining Trident, but at what cost? The current obscene level of Tory Government corruption has warped their perspective on ‘free enterprise’ as ‘crony capitalism’ has supported rampant profiteering during a time of crisis that has hit them hard. Our influence overseas is rapidly dwindling fast with the error of Brexit, untrustworthy adherence to signed treaties and the rule of international law, plus reversal of the Tory manifesto pledge on Foreign Aid. At a time when the Tories should be prioritizing the real threat to our precious NHS though underfunding, pay cuts, misguided outsourcing and privatization they are instead they boast of 48 new fantasy Hospitals they cannot staff and focus on saber-rattling against an unspecified foe to increase our nuclear arsenal and expanding justifications for deploying deadly weapons!

    While those who haven’t in the past had to worry about job security are now being plunged into poverty this Tory Government has exhibited the classic behavior of despotic regimes, spending eye-watering sums of money on superfluous fluff that create a false impression of power and control with the trappings of opulence. First there was an unnecessary nationalistic paint job on a military plane for the sole purpose of increasing our pathetically insecure PM’s overseas prestige with an ‘Airforce One’ look alike. The recent outlandish expenditure to create a Press Briefing Room similar to his US hero Donald Trump was another clear indicator of the growing despotic narcissism of our usurper PM. It is not aimed at providing greater transparency it’s a stage set for our ruling Dictator to spout an endless stream of Tory propaganda broadcast via their compliant mouthpiece the BBC. Will the public get stuck with the bill for the privileged designer choices of Boris Johnson’s mistress with the costly revamp of Number 10?

    Those who were moved to join the Sarah Everade vigil, some of whom had perhaps avoided public gathering due to the strict Covid restrictions or just not felt compelled to join protests in the past are now finding their voice only to have their delusion of ‘free speech’ in our democracy shattered by police violence. They are witnessing first hand the unprovoked attacks of police no longer focused on law enforcement to protect the public, but mobilized as the Government’s tool of repression just as it is used in brutal Dictatorships overseas. But with the UK populace are well connected online, regularly filming the reality on the ground and sharing YouTube videos while the BBC refuse to broadcast the news, this deliberate Government suppression of the truth cannot persist in keeping people ignorant of the facts. A totalitarian regime is rapidly securing absolute power in the UK and the disgruntled masses will need to unite as one to fight back to remove them from office before it is too late as Dictators cling to power for decades.

    No doubt the Tories would deeply lament the minimalist ceremony for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh due to their Covid restrictions, but the BBC were seriously committed to forcing the entire nation to a few more days of mourning for a man who has been virtually ignored during his 73 years of service to the Queen. Competing for our attention now is the exposure of layer upon layer of Tory Government sleaze and rampant corruption they were hoping to drown out with prolonged homage to the Prince Consort as royalty is such an easy sell. The ranks of those who were once economically secure, but are now struggling to cope has increased exponentially due to Covid. Those who ignored Tory overspending on things like a dysfunctional Track and Trace system under the direction of Tory chum serial loser Dido ‘Tallyho’ Harding, the Nightingale Hospitals that could not be staffed and the dodgy PPE that had to be dumped are now outraged to discover this is just the tip of the extensive Tory corruption iceberg.

    Former Prime Minister David Cameron never intended to address the Liberal Democrat proposals for reforming lobbying so he designed those so-called ‘reforms’ in such a way as to leave plenty of scope for future abuse. The lobbying of Charities on behalf of the public interest was more strictly curtailed which didn’t go unnoticed or unchallenged at the time. David Cameron’s obsequious overtures to Rishi Sunak and Mat Hancock onl serve to demonstrate the shameless expectation of privilege that is not a right of public office. Robert Jenricks maneuvers to assist a friend in tax avoidance and the exposure of tit for tat Tory leverage to insure that fanding intended for deprived areas is instead allocated to bolster the political hold of undeserving Tory MPs in a devious type of gerrymandering for votes. Dominic Cumings was the recipient of Tory largese and the PMs philandering led to the forking out of public funds to his mistress. Despite the legal challenges being brought will the public purse ever recover all the squandered funds?

    In another arena of extreme public concern the Canary Article entitled “The shocking numbers of insecure workers who died of coronavirus” they point out how according to TUC research “Insecure workers died of coronavirus (Covid-19) at twice the rate of people in other jobs. That’s the finding of new research into the pandemic. It shone a damning light not only into the government’s response but also the state of employment in the UK more broadly.” Highlighting the problem of insecure jobs they report on “The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has researched how the pandemic impacted insecure workers. It says these are people whose: contract does not guarantee regular hours or income (including zero-hours contracts, agency work and casual work) or are in low-paid self-employment (earning less than the government’s National Living Wage). In total, this is one in nine in of those in work.”

    But as the TUC said, insecure work is not just people like app-based taxi drivers. It said that the following percentages of workers were in insecure jobs. 15.6% of people in ‘caring, leisure and other service roles;’ 18.4% of those in ‘elementary roles, such as security guards, taxi drivers and shop assistants and 17.2% of ‘process, plant and machine operatives’.” The label it “Working chaos UK” saying “A lot of what the TUC found about the pandemic and insecure work was unsurprising. For example: Between those the government ‘excluded‘ and people who didn’t get help for other reasons, some three million people missed out on any kind of coronavirus support. In April 2020, two million people were not getting the minimum wage. Of these, 1.3 million were on furlough. Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) was not fit for purpose; 1.8 million employees had no entitlement to it, 70% of these were women. A third of people on zero hours contracts could not get SSP versus 6% of all employees.”

    The Canary report that “Care workers were particularly hard-hit. For example, the government put in place the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund. It was worth over £1.1bn. The fund was for care companies. Part of it was to pay staff who had to stay off work due to coronavirus. But as the TUC wrote: a UNISON survey of care workers revealed the money did not get through to workers, with more than two fifths (44%) saying their employer is offering just statutory sick pay (SSP) of £95.85. Around one in 12 (8%) workers say they and colleagues were not paid at all if they needed to stay at home.” This Tory Government put in place support packages without any necessary strings attached allowing exploitative employers to siphon off the money while they abandoned the needs of their staff; no where was this more abhorrent and abusive than in exploitation of Carers.

    “Overall, the TUC also said marginalised communities bore the brunt of this.” In a move the Canary describe as “Marginalising the marginalised” they say the TUC “Research found that the following percentages of people are in insecure work: 7.1% of women versus 6% of men; 16% of BAME workers versus 10% of white workers; 12.1% of BAME women versus 6.4% of white women and 5.5% of white men. Also, bosses are more likely to employ disabled people on zero hours contracts (3.8%) than non-disabled people (3.1%). But it’s the death toll of coronavirus on insecure workers which is particularly shocking.” The Canary article includes illuminating charts that demonstrate the impact of this on various employment sectors. This distressing reality is far more relevant than the triumphalist bragging over the vaccine that has helped rescue the PM from far greater social unrest.

    The Canary highlight the “Shocking coronavirus death figures” saying “The TUC found that insecure workers were more likely to have died from coronavirus. It noted that the death rates were: 51 per 100,000 for men in insecure work. This is versus 24 in 100,000 in ‘less insecure’ work; 25 per 100,000 for women in insecure work. This is versus 13 in 100,000 in ‘less insecure’ work. In short, the coronavirus death rate for insecure workers was double the national average. The TUC noted that the more insecure the industry, the higher the coronavirus death rate was: The TUC wouldn’t commit to why the rates were higher in insecure work. But it did note that: many of these occupations include work outside the home and that many insecure workers lack decent sick pay. In other words, people in insecure industries had no choice but to go to work in the middle of a global pandemic. Despite the risks, they could not afford to protect themselves and their families fully from coronavirus.”

    Change is needed the Canary insist “As the TUC summed up: The pandemic has exposed the lack of dignity that many insecure workers face. Society relies on these workers to carry out vital roles such as caring for sick people and delivering vital food and other services. In return, a significant number of these workers will have no job or income security. It says that three things need to change: Increasing and enhancing sick pay entitlement; New rights for workers to benefit from the protection that collective bargaining brings; A ban on zero-hours contracts. After such a devastating time for so many workers, you’d hope the government would listen. Whether it will or not remains to be seen.”

    Real change will take more than repeated reruns displaying the pageantry of a royal funeral to paper over the cracks. The feeble Prime Minister imposter is hiding from the reality of imminent collapse of his despotic rule of tyranny. Boris Johnson’s leadership failures have never been more starkly obvious as he hides behind this nationalist branding, with copious trappings of Union Jacks, as the Union goes into meltdown in Scotland, Northern Ireland, now even Wales eyeing independence. He cannot permanently dodge the catastrophic failures of his shambolic Covid strategy and badly botched Brexit leading to riots in Ireland and destruction of our export market. The growing number of street protests cannot be quelled with increased police violence without the distinct possibility that peaceful protesters will be seriously injured or killed. The systemic Tory corruption is creating a vile stench of sleeze that his nauseating attention-seeking photo-ops cannot dispel: Ian Hislop expose the PM’s façade on “Have I got News for you.”

    Boris Johnson is obsessed with creating a desirable image of himself as a rampant stallion conquering attractive blond bombshells due to his sexual prowess: this is a woefully feeble profile that screams massive insecurity. The pathetically contrived appearance of his permanently ruffled hair, as if to imply the robust lebido of a much younger man in a continual state of coitus interruptus, caught out during an indulgent perpetual sexual rampage: what a sick joke! In reality the PM displays all the vim and vigour of a sedated sloth as he cultivates the classic impression of an overindulgent lazy git who just fell out of bed after a night of excessively heavy drinking! The truth is that Boris is pudgy, pushing 60 and he’s far too narcissistic to consider diverting attention from his own instant gratification to ever devote even the briefest moment to the genuine desires of any female companion. The PM lacks the self-awareness to recognize the ridiculousness of this pathetic character he presents to the British public and to the world.

    Just as he was at the start of the Covid Pandemic, Boris Johnson is guaranteed to be strategically ‘missing from action’ with his tousled mop in the sand ostrich style as per usual. Now this spineless wimp is ignoring his ultimate responsibility for the broiling riots in Belfast as he runs off to the comfort of scheduled photo-ops in Cornwall, but still he remains too cowardly to face down the ridicule of locals demonstrating their disdain for his febrile attempts to cling to power through authoritarian policing policies. Like his rejected hero Donald Trump, he will never be taken seriously as a respected statesman by overseas dignitaries; it is our turn in the UK to endure the folly of his continuing public embarrassment until he is removed from office. We are entirely capable of truncating this torment by calling him and his corrupt Government to account over the mounting scandals of perpetual plundering of public funds and by demanding a full Investigation into the incredulous result of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election: Get The Tories Out Now! DO NOT MOVE ON!

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