Daily Archives: June 15, 2016

Is Osborne’s Brexit budget an invitation to get rid of him?

Not in the pilot's seat: George Osborne and Alistair Darling, who he appears to have taken for a ride.

Not in the pilot’s seat: George Osborne and Alistair Darling, who he appears to have taken for a ride.

There’s only one problem with George Osborne’s heroic speech: We all want to take it at face value and kick him out of office.

He’s talking about doing the responsible thing in the face of a Brexit shock to the UK economy – but economists don’t think it is responsible at all; they’re saying, “Wait.”

And we all know how badly wrong Osborne’s instincts have been in the past; the UK is still in the throes of the longest and most painfully-drawn-out economic recovery in our country’s long history.

He has missed every economic target he ever set himself. He has more than doubled the national debt – that’s not something he can blame on Labour; the choices were all his own.

Now he is taunting us with another stupid plan, saying: “We do this, or you can sack me.”

Bye bye, George.

George Osborne has said the fight to keep Britain in the EU is bigger than his own political career, after at least 58 Conservative MPs indicated his position would be untenable if Britain voted to leave the EU.

Their opposition means it would be impossible for Osborne to get an emergency budget through the House of Commons, given that the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, made clear he would never support an austerity budget.

It also means it will be very difficult for Osborne to survive in his job if the country votes to leave the EU. Even if the UK votes to remain, his leadership hopes have already been wounded by U-turns over tax credits and disability benefit cuts, and the animosity of much of the Conservative grassroots towards Downing Street’s campaign to stay in.

Pressed on whether it would spell the end of his own career, Osborne said: “It’s not about one politician, it’s not about one political career … This is about the future of our country, about who we are as a country.

“What’s the point of getting involved in public life if you’re not prepared to fight for the things you think are really important to our country and its future, its standing in the world and for jobs and prosperity?

“And I tell you there is only one thing worse than not passing a budget like that and that’s not passing a budget to deal with that situation and sending the economy into a tailspin.”

Source: Osborne on ropes after ‘punishment budget’ plan infuriates Tory MPs | Politics | The Guardian

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Why are we all so clueless about the EU referendum?

Look at this:

160616 EU misinformation

What is the matter with people?

The referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union is a serious question, being asked of people who are (allegedly) grown adults who are capable of checking the information offered to them and making up their own minds.

And this is the best we can do?

It seems people would rather base their vote on hearsay than fact.

I fear for the future of our nation.

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cameron says Tories will come together after EU referendum split

Cameron said his Party was not in danger of splitting after high-level divisions over whether Britain should remain in the EU [Image: Yui Mok/PA Archive].

Cameron said his Party was not in danger of splitting after high-level divisions over whether Britain should remain in the EU [Image: Yui Mok/PA Archive].


What do you think? Let’s have a poll.

David Cameron has insisted the Conservative Party will reunite after the EU referendum, despite the divisions exposed by the Brexit campaign.

“We’ll accept the judgement of the British people,” he said.

“There’s huge challenges to overcome and I think you’ll be surprised how politicians can have an argument, have that decided and then get on with the other things about which they by and large agree.”

Source: David Cameron Says Conservative Party Will Come Together After EU Referendum Splits Exposed

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

#Brexit budget threat is tearing Tory Party to shreds

Yesterday's man: George Osborne will be an irrelevance if the UK votes 'Leave' [Image: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian].

Yesterday’s man: George Osborne will be an irrelevance if the UK votes ‘Leave’ [Image: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian].

The papers are full of George Osborne’s plan for an emergency ‘Brexit budget’, in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote in the EU referendum on June 23.

The Guardian, for example, claims: “Osborne will warn that he would have to fill the £30bn black hole in public finances triggered by a vote to leave the European Union by hiking income tax, alcohol and petrol duties and making massive cuts to the NHS, schools and defence. In a sign of the panic gripping the remain campaign, the chancellor plans to say that the hit to the economy will be so large that he will have little choice but to tear apart Conservative manifesto promises in an emergency budget delivered within weeks of an out vote.”

It’s almost a classic example of baby throwing his toys out of the pram; if the vote doesn’t go his way, Osborne is threatening to reverse all the policy decisions of the last six years, make liars of Tory colleagues who have promised to protect the NHS (for example) and above all, make everyone pay.

Will he be able to see it through?

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK says no: “Osborne will not be Chancellor to deliver another budget. If Leave win he and Cameron will have to go… If Remain win he has little chance of staying either because the margin of victory is likely to be so small that this will also require that he and Cameron go.

“Second, this is not true because he will not know the consequence within a weeks, and so would be most unwise to react hastily.

“Third, it may be that running a bigger deficit funded by QE (which will be much easier outside the EU) is a completely viable option post a vote for Leave and he might actually realise that and change his absurd adherence to the demands of a balanced budget.

“Fourth, his forecasting record is so bad… why believe him?”

Jonathan Portes of NIESR also says there won’t be an emergency budget:

160615 Portes on brexit budget

ITV News says more than 50 MPs will vote down George Osborne’s emergency budget.

But just take a look at the list of these MPs’ names. None of them strike This Writer as being particularly anti-cuts, and some have been positive cheerleaders for them. They are: Iain Duncan Smith, Liam Fox, Cheryl Gillan, David Jones, Owen Paterson, John Redwood, Sir Gerald Howarth, Tim Loughton, Crispin Blunt, Sir William Cash, Bernard Jenkin, Julian Lewis, Adam Afriyie, Nigel Adams, Lucy Allan, Steve Baker, Bob Blackman, Peter Bone, Andrew Bridgen, David Burrowes, Maria Caulfield, Christopher Chope, Chris Davies, Philip Davies, David TC Davies, Nadine Dorries, Steve Double, Richard Drax, Nigel Evans, Michael Fabricant, Marcus Fysh, Chris Green, Rebecca Harris, Gordon Henderson, Philip Hollobone, Adam Holloway, Kwasi Kwarteng, Jonathan Lord, Craig Mackinlay, Anne Main, Karl McCartney, Nigel Mills, Anne Marie Morris, Sheryl Murray, David Nuttall, Matthew Offord, Andrew Percy, Tom Pursglove, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Andrew Rosindell, Henry Smith, Derek Thomas, Anne Marie Trevelyan, Martin Vickers, David Warburton, Bill Wiggin and William Wragg [I’ve bolded up the names of some of the most infamous].

Looking at that list, Owen Jones had it right when he sarcastically tweeted: “Oh, so Tory MPs now oppose cuts, do they! What a miraculous political conversion.”

Miraculous indeed.

Perhaps they know they can say this because it isn’t going to happen.

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Never mind destitution – how many people are DEAD after dropping from welfare system?

Missing: Concerns have been raised over what happened to those who dropped off the claimant roll [Image: Daily Mirror].

Missing: Concerns have been raised over what happened to those who dropped off the claimant roll [Image: Daily Mirror].


Remember last year, when This Writer managed to force statistics on deaths of benefit claimants out of Iain Duncan Smith and his Department for Work and Pensions?

They only supplied information on people whose claims had ended within two weeks of their deaths. I argued that this excused the government from declaring many more deaths, of people whose lives ended while they were trying to cope without social security – but the Tories didn’t want to listen.

They still don’t. The Mirror‘s story states: “A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘There is no basis to these claims. People leave the benefits system for many reasons, including when they go to work – which is good news. It’s extremely unlikely anyone would leave the benefit system because of a sanction.'”

How unlikely? Let’s see the statistics, then. Otherwise, it’s the DWP claims that have no basis.

This Writer thinks the Civitas call for an urgent survey of former benefit claimants is an excellent idea.

It would be cheap, easy to manage, and could provide vital information on a Conservative policy that has victimised the most vulnerable people in the UK – people who were relying on the DWP to carry out its duty of care.

As many as 1.5 million benefits claimants could face destitution after disappearing from the welfare system, a report by a respected former Labour minister has warned.

The authorities are failing to keep tabs on why claimants have disappeared from the roll meaning it has no idea how many people are being left penniless, according to Frank Field.

The Work and Pensions Committee chairman said benefit sanctions are being applied on a “scale unknown since the Second World War” and the fate of at a least one third of those who have been penalised is “anybody’s guess.”

Around 1.5 million claimants fall off the welfare roll a year but their whereabouts is a “mystery” and it is unclear how many are left without work or benefit payments, according to Mr Field.

Some may be in jail or have moved abroad while others are people on benefits who have been hit by sanctions and dropped out of the system, according to the research.

The report, which will be published on Monday by think tank Civitas, calls for the Government to carry out an urgent survey to find out what happens to claimants expelled from the welfare rolls who appear not to find work.

Source: As many as 1.5m benefits claimants ‘could face destitution after disappearing from welfare system’ – Mirror Online

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

MPs tackle Jeremy Hunt over ‘meltdown’ at North Middlesex hospital

North Middlesex university hospital’s A&E department may become the first in NHS history to close because it is a danger to patients [Image: Dinendra Haria/Rex Shutterstock].

North Middlesex university hospital’s A&E department may become the first in NHS history to close because it is a danger to patients [Image: Dinendra Haria/Rex Shutterstock].


Correct me if I’m wrong, but This Writer’s understanding is that Conservative policy is to close all but around 50-60 Accident and Emergency departments across England.

This seems to be consistent with the strategy of privatisation identified by the US commentator Noam Chomsky: “Defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.”

Clearly, a medical department that has become a danger to patients doesn’t work.

What we must remember is that it worked just fine before Jeremy Hunt got his filthy little fingers on it.

So the fault lies very clearly with him, and we must demand that he put his mistakes right – without cutting down the National Health Service any further.

Right?

MPs whose constituents use North Middlesex hospital are accusing Jeremy Hunt of letting it descend into “complete meltdown” by allowing a nearby A&E unit to shut.

Joan Ryan, the Labour MP for Enfield North, says that the controversial closure of the emergency department at Chase Farm hospital in 2013 has led to such high extra demand for A&E care at North Middlesex that it cannot cope and has left it “in a crisis”.

The emergency department at the North Middlesex may become the first in the NHS’s 68-year history to be shut because it is a danger to patients. The General Medical Council and Health Education England have warned the trust that they may remove the 26 junior doctors from its under-fire A&E because of fears for patient safety.

Source: MPs round on Jeremy Hunt over ‘meltdown’ at North Middlesex hospital | Society | The Guardian

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Sir Philip Green grilled by MPs over role in BHS failure

Sir Philip Green giving evidence to MPs [Image: Sky News].

Sir Philip Green giving evidence to MPs [Image: Sky News].


Sir Philip Green, the Arcadia tycoon, has been appearing before Parliamentary committees to explain his role in the collapse of British Home Stores (BHS).

The issue is probably particularly important to him as he has faced calls to be stripped of his knighthood.

He owned BHS until a year ago, when he sold it to ex-bankrupt Dominic Chappell, who has already given evidence.

The firm collapsed in April, leaving a huge hole in its pension fund that means former employees face the loss of 30 per cent of their pension pot.

In evidence, Sir Philip appears to have admitted responsibility for the £50 million pensions black hole, although at the time of writing he has made no offer to sort it out.

One bizarre moment occurred when Sir Philip addressed Richard Fuller MP: “Sir, do you mind not staring at me like that… it’s making me uncomfortable.” Look at him in a funny way?

Mr Fuller responded that, in his career, he has learnt “if you’re doing something important you should look them straight in the eye”.

One very disturbing moment was when Sir Philip suggested that links between BHS and Arcadia should be dealt with at his offices, by back office staff. This information would not be evidence to the committee; Mike Ashley tried the same dodge several times regarding Sports Direct.

The billionaire businessman used his opening remarks to apologise to BHS staff affected by the collapse, saying there was “certainly no intent on my part to be involved in this”

Chair Frank Field asks why Sir Philip Green moved to Monaco, with all its tax advantages. An evasive Sir Philip Green responds: “Someone suggested it”.

Sir Philip seeks to avoid providing information regarding the link between BHS and his company Arcadia by saying. “I don’t want to discuss it because it’s not my forte,” he says, adding: “I might give you some wrong information.” He would prefer MPs visit the offices themselves and he’ll get his back office staff to deal with it.

Sir Philip Green addresses the central allegation he has has siphoned off cash from businesses he owned: “I have never made or moved one penny from any bank account of our company and I wouldn’t even know where to phone to get any money out of our bank.”

The former BHS boss is now being grilled on pensions. One of the key questions he has to answer is whether more could have been done under his management to protect the pension fund. The firm now faces a multi-billion blackhole following its collapse.

Sir Philip says “I was not in charge of the pension fund”, but MPs are not impressed. Michelle Thompson MP asks: “Surely you’re ultimately responsible?”

Sir Philip accepts responsibility for a £50m collapse in the BHS pension fund.

“It’s my fault. The answer is it wasn’t dealt with, we’re here and we’ve got to find a solution,” he says

Source: BHS collapse: Sir Philip Green grilled by MPs over role in failure of retail chain – live | Politics | News | London Evening Standard

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Leave now! Harrogate council slaps a parking ticket on Boris’ Brexit bus | Yorkshire Post

The Vote Leave battle bus gets a parking ticket on its visit to Harrogate [Image: Adrian Murray].

The Vote Leave battle bus gets a parking ticket on its visit to Harrogate [Image: Adrian Murray].

Activists campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union had a shock … when their official ‘battle bus’ was given a parking ticket.

The distinctive, red Vote Leave vehicle was parked on one of the main roads through Harrogate town centre while activists handed out flyers.

Sign-carrying supporters of the leave campaign had barely been gone for half an hour when the vehicle received the ticket from a council parking enforcer on West Park, overlooking the Stray by Bettys.

Source: Leave now! Harrogate council slaps a parking ticket on Boris’ Brexit bus – Yorkshire Post

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Corbyn came out fighting for a Labour ‘Remain’ vote, and he didn’t mince his words | The Canary

160615 Corbyn

He referred to economic claims made by the Leave campaign:

The Vote Leave bus said “we send the EU £350m a week, let’s fund the NHS instead”. There’s a couple of problems with that, firstly the UK Statistics Authority says that slogan is “misleading” and told them to stop using it. […] It’s an outright lie, and they know it. And they’ve since been forced to re-paint the bus.

“Outright lie”, from a man renowned for his generally calm and mild-mannered enunciation, was strong stuff. But it became stronger still:

Does anyone really believe that those from the hard right of the Tories and Ukip would spend any extra funds on the NHS? Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson really are wolves in sheep’s clothing, using this concern for the NHS to mask their real agenda.

You could almost sense the collective intake of breath from the assembled journalists – but Corbyn is correct.

Will Corbyn’s intervention be enough to sway both Labour supporters, and the public more widely?

Current polling has Leave ahead. Time will tell.

What can be deduced is a very unsubtle change of tactic from Corbyn and his camp. Jeremy the Fighter has arrived.

Source: Corbyn comes out fighting for a Labour ‘Remain’ vote, he didn’t mince his words | The Canary

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The BBC couldn’t possibly swap ‘right of reply’ for fact-checking; Tories would kill it – for obvious reasons

Sarah Wollaston: leaving in disgust [Image: Martin Godwin for the Guardian].

Sarah Wollaston: leaving in disgust [Image: Martin Godwin for the Guardian].

What a wonderful world we’d inhabit if the BBC ever got its act together enough to fact-check stories.

The Ken Livingstone ‘anti-Semitism’ row would have been buried before it had a chance to gain traction; the myth of the £350 million-a-week payment to the EU would have killed the ‘Leave’ campaign in the EU referendum, and Iain Duncan Smith’s career at the DWP would have been over before it got started.

But that’s not how it works in the UK’s mass media. All the news operations are run by very rich people with vested interests – including the BBC, which has a high number of Tories at the top.

But it’s important to remember there is another way that we are prevented from trying.

The Poynter Institute can find only three TV-led fact-checking operations worldwide: and the one that makes the clearest impact – in the teeth of another Spanish general election – is the Pruebas (testing) section of Channel Six’s El Objetivo programme run by the redoubtable Ana Pastor.

This is relentless checking, tailored for television. You watch videos of ministers or their opponents reciting a fib, cross-cutting back and forth: then you find the true figuring laid out clear as day. No ducking or weaving. It’s a regular, biting reproach to the phoney £350m challenge, one the BBC could provide in a trice (if rigorous public service and hard facts really go together, that is).

But see, then, how one pristine thing gets in the way of another. Sarah Wollaston MP, the health committee chair who was a Leaver till the rubbish about that £350m turned her stomach, made the point openly on the Today show. She’d long protested to Leave campaigners that the figure was a dud, but they’d told her that was fine by them: peddling calculated garbage got you an extra BBC slot for rebuttal under fairness and balance rules.

And lo! the calculated ploy worked yet again. There was Wollaston, leaving in disgust on the 7am news. And there was John Redwood, under F and B guidelines, instantly on tap to explain why the lie was really a sort of truth. Repetition is the name of the game. The first two Leavers up in the ITV debate solemnly recited the £350m mantra for obvious purposes: tell a porky and the next sausage comes free.

Rebuttal isn’t fact-checking. Rebuttal is also another opportunity to refurbish a deliberate untruth: which is why, so far, BBC sifting of facts from fibs has been rather spotty and feeble. So let the TV checking be upfront, on screen and definitive. Let one resounding correction end the debate. Stop slime in its tracks. Take moral control and make truth sovereign again.

Source: Memo to the BBC: balance is not fairness when one side is lying | Media | The Guardian

ADVERT




Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook