‘Compassionate Conservatism’: Covid deaths to cut state pension costs, says BBC

This BBC story could explain much about the Corporation’s wholehearted support for Rishi Sunak, even though he’s utterly vile.

The Beeb presents as a good news story the deaths of so many over-65s that the cost of paying pensions is set to plummet by £1.5 billion by 2022.

And wait! because there’s even more Good News!

The government will also receive an extra £0.9bn from inheritance tax, partly due to Covid-related deaths.

Every cloud has a silver lining, eh? As in thirty pieces of silver, if you recognise the reference.

Here’s an interesting slip, though:

More than 144,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in the UK since the start of the pandemic, figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show.

That’s 21,000 more than the official figure of 123,000 at the time of writing.

I think somebody’s been lying again – don’t you?

Source: Budget 2021: Covid deaths set to cut state pension costs – BBC News

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Ex-head of OFSTED says teachers should be prepared to lose lives to Covid. Haven’t they?

Sacrifice: Sir Michael Wilshaw looks like he’s forced more than a few people to fall on their swords.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, former head of schools inspection organisation Ofsted who was once dubbed its “Dirty Harry”, has come out as the latest ex-government employee to have sawdust between his ears.

Watch this if you’ve got the stomach for it:

Of course, teachers have already lost their lives. This fool doesn’t understand his subject – and that’s a terrible indictment against a school inspector.

And yes – as a commenter on the tweet stated – healthcare workers deserve better than to have their deaths described as some kind of worthy sacrifice.

But worst of all, this school inspector has belittled the commitment of teachers up and down the UK.

Teachers have gone to enormous lengths during the Covid-19 crisis.

Most particularly, they have done all the could to ensure the safety, both of school staff and pupils – which is more than has been managed by either Sir Wilshaw or the government he used to serve.

Source: Ex Head of OFSTED: Teachers should be prepared to give their lives… – Dorset Eye

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Hardship for one in three people by May as Tory plans to impoverish us grind onwards

Small change: ironically, that’s probably how the Tories think of the 21.7 million people they’ve tipped into poverty.

One in three people will be living in hardship by May, according to a report by the New Economics Foundation.

This means 21.7 million people will still not have a decent standard of living even though the £20 per week Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit uplift has been extended.

Here’s Charlotte Hughes:

The report goes on to say that 12.9 million of the people in financial difficulty will be receiving less than 75% of the Minimum Income Standard which is defined as being £19,200 for a single person and £37,400 for a family of four.

Despite the furlough scheme, unemployment has continued to rise over the last year. According to the latest government data it shows that unemployment has increased by 1.3% points higher than the previous year. It also also shows the largest annual decrease in employment since the aftermath of the financial crisis. This being half a million fewer people employed than there was last year. Redundancy rates have also risen from 8.4 per thousand on the year, to 12.3 per thousand employees.

This leaves millions of people that are now dependant upon our social security system to support incomes, help with housing costs and to feed people.

At the time of writing the latest government data reveals there are 5.9 million people on universal credit with 3 million receiving housing benefit, 2.5 million receiving personal independence payment, 1.9 million receiving employment support allowance, 1.4 million receiving disability living allowance, and 0.3 million receiving jobseeker’s allowance.

We know that the UC/WTC uplift will continue until September but after that, claimants face a “cliff-edge” situation that could tip a further 1.1 million people into poverty.

But, you know what?

None of them will be members of the Tory government or doners to the Conservative Party, so they don’t matter. Do they?

Source: 21.7 million people will be living in hardship by May despite the Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit £20 uplift. ‹ The poor side of life ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

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BBC accused of ‘client journalism’ as it tries to make Rishi Sunak acceptable to the public

SuperTory: this previous BBC attempt to make Rishi Sunak acceptable had just one thing right – the “£” sign on his chest, signifying that he exists for one thing alone: money.

Let’s get this straight: Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak is an out-of-touch money-grubber whose wife is richer than the Queen.

He has nothing in common with you.

But the BBC keeps trying to turn him into something acceptable – as if there was any such thing as a “cuddly Tory”.

Its latest attempt at a free party political broadcast for the Tories was broadcast today – Budget day – and received the roasting it deserved:

Steve Topple’s piece in The Canary* hit exactly the right notes:

BBC News‘s video was little more than a cuddly look at a man who, however you dress him up, is a Tory. He’s one who’s left some sick and disabled people in dire straits. Sunak is a man who’s ignored the plight of the so-called three million “excluded” people. Yet BBC News even went as far as to push the idea Sunak could one day be PM.

Client journalism” is where the government uses reporters for its own agenda. Peter Oborne wrote about this for openDemocracy. He noted an example where both BBC and ITV political editors Laura Kuenssberg and Robert Peston quoted an unnamed government source in 2019. Here the news they put out was, as Oborne said, “fake” with no basis in fact. But the two corporate journalists pushed it anyway.

This latest BBC video, with its upbeat music, rapid-fire delivery, and glossy production reeks of client journalism. What the public needs on Budget day is critical and unbiased analysis of Sunak and his policies. It doesn’t need yet more pro-government propaganda from the BBC posing as something informative.

Damn straight. Now try complaining to the BBC about it. You’ll get a load of hogwash about “balanced reporting”.

But this is nothing like that.

It’s unbalanced reporting – verging on insane.

Source: Here’s the BBC’s most insidious bit of Rishi Sunak propaganda yet | The Canary

And there’s another excellent take on this issue here: BBC, is this your idea of journalism? | The Critique Archives

*If you’re about to hit the ‘comment’ button to come out with a claim that “The Canary is unacceptable because…” then step away from the keyboard because you have been brainwashed.

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Budget response by the Leader of the Opposition to the Tory Government

Here it is.

It is particularly enlightening where it refers to the Member for Hayes & Harlington:

You didn’t really expect this to be a video of Keir Starmer, did you?

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Nothing for you if you’re sick, disabled, at school or in care: reaction to the Tory budget

They all do this: but the way Rishi Sunak held the red box indicated there wasn’t much in it. And there wasn’t.

Rishi Sunak’s budget has shown he is a diehard Tory, with concessions for businesses while those of us in need can go whistle.

He has claimed his hands are tied by huge Covid-19-related debts – but we all know that he has already paid them off, by the simple means of creating the money needed to do so.

And his big plans for the future were pathetic: new ‘free ports’ that have always been a bad idea, and an investment bank to replace the one a previous Tory government sold off a few years ago.

We are ruled by intellectual pygmies – and that is being harsh on the pygmies.

I watched the budget speech and commentated on it on Twitter, so I can provide a first-hand account of the announcements – but first, I’d like to go straight to what wasn’t announced, with comments from people who were reading at the time:

So the people who did all the hard work during the Covid-19 crisis will receive no reward for their sacrifices at all – even though many of them sacrificed their lives, contracting the virus and dying because Matt Hancock couldn’t be bothered to supply proper personal protective equipment (PPE) at the right time.

However:

People with disabilities who did not receive the £20 benefit uplift because they are on so-called “legacy” benefits will still receive nothing more, even though the uplift will remain in place until September. After then, it seems people who lost their jobs because of Covid-19 will fall over a so-called “cliff edge”, with the uplift cancelled, forcing them to live on much less.

The Tories have made a major issue of education in the crisis, demanding that our children must go back to school as soon as possible in order to catch up on what they have missed – but Rishi Sunak has provided no extra facilities for this in his budget. It seems it was all talk and – in fact – the plan is to reopen a major vector for transmission of Covid and hope that the increase in infections – and deaths – won’t be noticed amid the falling numbers triggered by the vaccination programme.

And after years of promising to fix problems in the social care system – that became hugely pronounced when 30,000 people died in care homes because of Tory stupidity – Sunak is breaking that promise by offering nothing.

Meanwhile, those who profited hugely from the pandemic – either by being perfectly situated to continue selling goods to people in lockdown or by receiving government Covid-related contracts to provide services at hugely-inflated costs (many of which were not actually provided because the contractors were not qualified to do so) are to get off scot-free because Sunak has backed away from calls to impose a wealth tax.

So, what has he done?

Well, he carped on a lot about borrowing a huge amount of money to pay for Covid-19. That was a stream of lies from start to finish, as I pointed out:

So we were led to expect tax hikes a-go-go. But this didn’t happen:

The refers to income tax, National Insurance and VAT. However – and this is indeed a ‘however’:

This is the amount you earn before you start paying tax, or before you start paying it at a higher rate. Because these thresholds are frozen, it seems more people will pay at a higher rate due to wage inflation, so there will be a de facto increase in taxes. But this depends on people receiving pay rises to cover their costs and Tory policy over the last 11 years has been to discourage that – it’s the reason real take-home pay has fallen by thousands of pounds per year since 2010.

This was the only increase in taxation, and it is only on a tax on profits. So firms that pay corporation tax can avoid it by ensuring that they make no profit from 2023. The best way to do that is to invest in infrastructure and wages (by employing more people, perhaps).

It would be wrong to say that Sunak’s budget does nothing for ordinary people – but it’s all based around existing Covid-related schemes:

Sunak went on to announce plans for government investment. The main points were:

But “free ports” are not new, nor are they likely to help:

Here’s an interesting point:

Mr McDonnell himself promptly answered it:

There was also some muttering about policies that give a nod to the environment but if you blinked, you missed them – and This Writer blinked. They certainly don’t constitute a “Green Industrial Revolution”!

As Tory budgets go, this is not the disaster for working-class people that it could have been – although the main hits have been offset, so it may be a few months or years until we can know the effects for sure.

The lack of any hard taxes or austerity measures suggests a tacit admission that Covid-19 really is bought and paid-for, and there won’t be any real need to pay for it again.

So This Writer is left with a huge sense of anticlimax. I was expecting to be fearful after today; instead I feel let down.

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The Budget-related press interview you WON’T be hearing today

Rishi Sunak: he’s about to claim we need cuts to pay for the Covid-19 pandemic but that will just stop money from flowing through the economy, making it impossible. And in any case, it is unnecessary as he has already paid for it!

As the Tories continue to pretend we have to pay the cost of Covid-19 twice, it’s clear we’re going to hear a lot of double-talk in today’s (March 3) Budget speech.

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has released a video of the kind of media interview he’d like to hear, with a politician who doesn’t mind telling the facts as they are, rather than as Rishi Sunak would like to pretend.

Here it is:

It won’t happen because too many people are supporting the lie – for reasons already mentioned on This Site and elsewhere.

But it needs to be said – and you need to hear it before Sunak pumps his nonsense into all our heads.

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Tory opinion poll asks ‘degrading’ question about disability – and it will help form national policy

As a man in a relationship with someone who has a disability, I can confirm that this is disgustingly inappropriate.

What do you think of this tweet by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire?

Four those who can’t read images well, the question is: “Do you agree or disagree that you would be happy to have a physical relationship with a disabled person?”

The implication is that people with disabilities are sub-human and should not enjoy the same relationships as the rest of us – and that shows despicable prejudice by the Tory government.

As I say, my own partner has a disability so I know this subject very well.

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The people want a windfall tax on big firms’ pandemic profits. Why is Keir Starmer getting in the way?

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

I bet certain commentators will be doing their best to muddy this issue so let’s make it clear:

There are moves to increase Corporation Tax, forcing companies to pay more when they could be investing that money in (for example) employment of people who desperately need a regular paycheque. This is a bad idea.

There are also moves to levy a windfall tax on firms and individuals who have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic – such as Amazon and all those Tory cronies who won huge Covid-related contracts. This is a good idea and is supported by 70 per cent of the population, according to a Survation poll.

Keir Starmer and his Zombie Labour party oppose any increase in taxation for businesses.

There will be voters who are shocked that anybody claiming to be a Labour Party representative should plead against taxing corporations, and while there are good reasons for leaving Corporation Tax low at the moment, although it is likely that firms will need further incentives to keep them on the straight and narrow, there is no reason at all to back away from a windfall tax.

This decision is spitting in the faces of the voters – at a time when Starmer desperately needs to get them on-side.

Labour is falling increasingly further behind, at a time when – we were told – the party should be at least 20 points ahead of anybody else, having dumped Jeremy Corbyn.

Is it time his supporters’ club admitted that this wasn’t true and Starmer is a non-starter?

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Riley libel case: she responds to my appeal

That is to say that Rachel Riley’s lawyer, Mark Lewis, has responded. Whether Riley herself pays any attention to what’s going on or has anything to do with it is debatable.

Whoever turns out to be responsible, they are apparently trying to introduce new reasons why the judge should have struck out my public interest defence.

It seems her side is trying to argue that, given the truth defence has been struck out, I cannot rely on the facts in the truth defence as part of the public interest defence.

That would be to approach the issue backwards – I can continue to rely on the assertions I make in my defence, simply not that they are evidence of truth. And remember that the truth under discussion is a very narrow one.

Riley’s side did not make any of these points in the original strike out application and did not even target the public interest defence other than as part of a general effort to strike out the lot, so it will be interesting to see how far she gets with this.

Her legal team intends to provide a skeleton argument within the next 14 days and we will know more about the thinking behind this response then.

In the meantime, please continue to contribute to the CrowdJustice fund when you can the details are the same as always. Please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the CrowdJustice site.

I don’t know what skulduggery to expect, but experience tells me to expect it.

So please help me make sure I can afford to fight it when it comes.

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