A short while ago, the plan was to knock people off the electoral register – now it seems the Conservative Government wants to fine you £1,000 if you’re not on it.
It isn’t very long since the Conservative Government was trying to kick people off the Electoral Register – changing the conditions of registration to cut down the number of people eligible to vote.
Should we conclude from the administration’s current behaviour that this tactic has achieved its objective – the 2015 general election and the EU referendum are both in the past, and the figures on which they plan to gerrymander constituency boundaries in their favour have been finalised (as far as they are concerned) – and the plan is now to screw those people who aren’t on the Register with a £1,000 fine?
That seems the only explanation for the flurry of correspondence from the government – as described by a personal friend to This Writer earlier today.
He asked: “Have you heard of this recent trend of the government sending out electoral roll forms to people, threatening them with a £1,000 fine if they refuse to fill out the form?
“When did this come into effect? And is it legally legit, or are they just banking on peoples fear and ignorance like the TV licence people? On the gov.uk website it says the fine is £80. On the letters, it says it’s £1,000 – and most of the information theyre asing for is racial/citizen/nationality related.”
Does anybody have information about this?
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Amber Rudd says this is not a miscarriage of justice. Judging by appearances, it is impossible to agree.
How best to define Home Secretary Amber Rudd after today’s controversial announcement that there will be no inquiry into events at the “Battle of Orgreave”?
Well, I could say that – as her name suggests two of the colours used on traffic lights – she is extremely green to think she can make such an announcement and expect the issue to go away.
Or I could suggest that she has lived up to her surname, in that a ‘Rudd’ is defined (after Australian politician Kevin Rudd, not her) as an “extremely boneheaded political move”. The definition certainly seems appropriate here.
Explanations for Ms Rudd’s evasiveness have been flying thick and fast. A former BBC industrial correspondent, speaking on the BBC’s PM programme, said he thought an inquiry would reveal too many links between South Yorkshire Police and the Conservative Government of the day, as then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher was “micro-managing” its response to the miners’ strike.
This certainly seems to be borne out by Cabinet papers from the time, on which Mrs Thatcher scrawled a query about the possibility of direct government funding to provide horses and dogs for the then-chief constable, a Mr Wright.
As Steve Walker states in his Skwawkboxarticle: “The Orgreave scandal, at its heart, is not a scandal into a criminal police force, even though the same force was involved in both Orgreave and Hillsborough.
“It is a scandal that exposes the black heart of the Tory party going back decades and continuing right through to the present, which they and their backers have spent billions of pounds hiding.
“And that is why Rudd and her party had no intention of allowing public scrutiny.
“The police were not in any sense ‘rogue’. They were acting under instructions that were already in preparation fully 7 years before the Battle of Orgreave. The police were simply a weapon in the hands of the real culprits: self-entitled Tories who felt no compunction whatever about using the police and other state apparatus against ordinary citizens simply trying to defend their livelihoods and the communities that depended on them from the predations of arrogant politicians in the pockets of private interests.”
He adds: “They’ve never stoppeddoing what they were doing then.“
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed his party will continue to push for an inquiry.
He said: “What happened in Orgreave was dreadful. What happened in Orgreave was terrible. What happened in Orgreave damaged the lives of those families who were wrongly accused of things they did not do.”
This is not over. Amber Rudd – and her forerunner as Home Secretary, the current prime minister, Theresa May – would be a fool to think otherwise.
There will be no inquiry into the notorious events at the so-called “Battle of Orgreave”, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced.
Thousands of miners and police clashed at the Yorkshire coking site in 1984.
Campaigners said officers led by South Yorkshire Police were heavy-handed and manufactured statements.
However, Mrs Rudd said she did not believe there was “sufficient basis… to instigate either a statutory inquiry or an independent review”.
In a written statement, Mrs Rudd said: “Despite the forceful accounts and arguments provided by the campaigners and former miners who were present that day about the effect that these events have had on them, ultimately there were no deaths or wrongful convictions.”
Raheem Kassam had been second favourite in the Ukip leadership race [Image: Neil Hall/Reuters].
And good riddance. Do you know how many people he has told to “F*** off” (he didn’t self-censor, mind) on his Twitter feed?
Now he can f*** off as well.
Raheem Kassam, Nigel Farage’s former chief of staff, has withdrawn from the race to be Ukip leader, leaving just Paul Nuttall and Suzanne Evans in the running.
The rightwing journalist had been the most colourful contender in the field, expressing admiration for the US presidential candidate Donald Trump and gaining the backing of the major Ukip donor Arron Banks.
Despite causing controversy over comments in which he suggested Nicola Sturgeon should tape her legs shut and described Evans as a wrinkly ginger bird, he became the second favourite to win behind Nuttall.
Work and pensions secretary Damian Green leaves a cabinet meeting at Downing Street [Image: Peter Nicholls/Reuters].
Damian Green is another ideologically-twisted pervert who wants to clear sick people off of benefits and doesn’t care what happens to them afterwards, it seems.
The Conservative Government seems to have an unending supply of these sickening (if not actually sick) individuals.
Mr Green is currently parroting former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s propaganda, and trying to pretend that every word has come to him of his own accord.
“In the long run there is nothing more expensive than saying to someone, ‘Here’s a benefit you can have for the rest of your life and we will ignore you,’” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
You can see that he is not really concerned about anybody’s health. He just wants to keep the money they need to survive. One wonders why he thinks he needs it.
“It’s not only expensive but bad for the individual concerned. The great mindset change I want to achieve is the acceptance that a good job is good for your health. The idea that sitting at home living on benefits is in any way good for people, particularly people with a mental health condition, is completely wrong.”
But a good job isn’t good for your health if you are too ill to do it. Hasn’t this buffoon seen I, Daniel Blake?
Silly question. Of course he has. That’s why he is launching his review.*
He wants you to think the government is reacting to concerns raised by Ken Loach’s social comment masterpiece – but instead of helping the sick, he is forcing an agenda of harm onto them.
His review is setting out to find more ways of lying to people that they aren’t sick enough for benefit, in order to send them out looking for jobs they can’t do – because they are too ill.
He will set them up to fail; he will set them up to die.
But that’s all right – his government does not check what happens to sick people it flings off-benefit. If they die within two weeks of the decision, it is recorded.
But we know many examples of people who have died after that period. Their deaths go unrecorded and the DWP carries on its merry way.
Do you have a relative or friend who relies on sickness benefits?
If so – and assuming you can’t be bothered to complain about the Conservative Government’s plans – I recommend that you keep a watchful eye on them.
Take careful note of what happens after they are told they don’t need benefit and must work for a living.
You just see if they actually become more healthy.
My bet is, you’ll be at their funeral within a year.
And the Conservatives will be delighted because they will have saved a few pennies.
Working is better for people’s health than “sitting at home living on benefits” for sickness and disability, the work and pensions secretary has said before the launch of a welfare review.
Damian Green will launch a consultation on disability and sickness benefits later on Monday. It will look specifically at how people qualify for sick pay and doctors’ notes, and review the controversial work capability assessments which determine whether disabled people are eligible for welfare.
There are some concerns that sick and disabled people could be pressured to return to work before they are ready.
*It turns out he hasn’t – according to the Mirror. That means he isn’t in a position to criticise it, but he has. He says it is “monstrously unfair” to Job Centre Plus staff who are paid to persecute the sick and disabled. Now, we all know the arguments, and some JCP staff do seem to have a conscience – but far too few, otherwise the Tory pogrom would not have gained the traction it has. It’s all about creating an atmosphere of fear; the JCP staff fear losing their jobs, so they persecute the jobless.
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This Blog, and others like it, have been warning you about the Tory plan to privatise the NHS – for years. This infographic is from an article published in June 2015.
Are you looking forward to paying a fortune for health insurance that probably won’t pay out if you need it?
If not, then you’d better do something drastic, and quickly: The plan to privatise the NHS in England is moving steadily towards fruition.
No, you cannot rely on anybody else saving your National Health Service. You need to get up off your posterior and make a point to your MP. If that person is a Tory, they’ll be fully in support of privatisation and may even have shares in private health, so you’ll need to threaten their own livelihood.
Tell them they could lose their Parliamentary seat over this.
Yes, there is evidence that the “desperate measures” mentioned in today’s (October 31) news reports have been planned for six years, aren’t desperate at all, but are part of a deliberate strategy to deprive you of the best health system in the world and provide a nice little earner for those who have invested heavily in private health (these Tory MPs again).
Which would you rather have – a vibrant, fully-funded National Health Service, or private healthcare that might not provide what you need, where you live, and when you need it.
Mark my words: You will become ill at some point in your life. You will need medical help.
And if the Conservative Party is allowed to kill the NHS, you won’t be able to afford it.
Monday’s newspapers … carry news of ‘desperate measures’ to be implemented by the government that will result in reductions in hospital bed numbers in almost half of NHS authorities and the closure of or downgrading of Accident & Emergency (A&E) facilities in a third.
The ‘desperate measures’ quote is deliberately disingenuous, as is the statement that they are to ‘tackle the greatest financial crisis in the history of the NHS’.
As if this is just something that has happened and that requires hitherto-unthinkable steps to ‘tackle’. That’s what you’re meant to think. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The government wants you to believe that the crisis in the NHS is something inevitable that just happened. But proof exists that this manufactured crisis has been in preparation since just after the Tories came to power (and probably long before then).
Defund, cause to fail, privatise. Anything but a crisis that just happened and is leading to ‘desperate measures’.
On the contrary – a political, venal, long-planned choice.
As in so many areas, Jeremy Corbyn has always made plain that he intends to reverse the Tories’ NHS cuts and privatisation. Wonder why the press, broadcast media and right-wing politicians are so desperate to paint him as ‘unelectable’…
Awareness is vital to raising resistance to this planned destruction of our greatest national treasure, so please share this evidence.
The decision is not legally binding, although it may put challengers to Theresa May’s Brexit plans in Westminster in what’s known colloquially as “a bit of a bind”.
The judgement concerns itself only with the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s constitution – but it seems likely to inform debates in the Westminster Parliament as well.
It isn’t the end of the line for challenges to the legality of Mrs May trigger Brexit without Parliamentary approval – but it is a strong indication that challengers are running out of track.
A challenge to the legality of the UK’s departure proceedings from the EU has been rejected by the High Court in Northern Ireland.
In a judgment which will be of considerable interest to the government defending a similar challenge in England, Maguire J concluded that the UK government does not require parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty.
This is, par excellence, an area for the exercise of the government’s treaty making powers under the Royal Prerogative.
This ruling was made in response to two separate challenges. One was brought by a group of politicians, including members of the Northern Ireland assembly, the other by Raymond McCord, a civil rights campaigner whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997. They argued that the 1997 peace deal (“the Good Friday Agreement”) gave Northern Ireland sovereignty over its constitutional future and therefore a veto over leaving the EU. Like the English challengers, they also argued that Article 50 could only be invoked after a vote in Parliament.
At centre stage in the English case is the means by which Article 50 TEU is to be triggered and the question of the displacement of prerogative executive power by statute. While this issue was also raised in the challenge before the Northern Ireland court, Maguire J also had before him a range of specifically Northern Irish constitutional provisions which were said to have a similar impact on the means of triggering Article 50. To avoid duplication of the central issues which the English court will deal with, this judgment concerned itself with the impact of Northern Ireland constitutional provisions in respect of notice under Article 50.
It was “difficult to avoid the conclusion”, said the judge, “that a decision concerning notification under Article 50(2) made at the most senior level in United Kingdom politics, giving notice of withdrawal from the EU by the United Kingdom following a national referendum, is other than one of high policy. Accordingly, it seems to fit well into the category of prerogative decisions which remain unsuitable for judicial review”.
Another failure of privatisation: The freight trains concerned are owned by a (nationalised!) German company.
They use the same lines as passenger trains, which means if the dangerous practices aren’t stopped, sooner or later somebody is likely to die.
The rules, that mean drivers aren’t getting rest for up to 19 hours at a time, are being enforced by a foreign-owned company that bought into the British railway system when it was privatised.
Solution: Re-nationalise the UK’s railways and bring in proper safety measures. Right?
A highly respected but [previously] completely unnoticed report from Whitehall’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch… followed two cases of drivers last year “momentarily falling asleep ”while driving huge freight trains on the Great Western main line near Reading.
The report made damning reading of the way DB Cargo UK, the Doncaster based British subsidiary of state railway Deutsche Bahn, was treating its train drivers with little concern for their welfare and for that matter rail safety.
The report revealed that a combination of long shifts – ten hours at a time – and rest facilities which were ” unfit for purpose ” –two sofas in a brightly lit corridor – meant that drivers had little or no sleep. One driver hadn’t slept for 19 hours when he went over the danger signal. Another came to a halt where a luckily empty high speed passenger train was due to cross its path on the way to London Paddington. It was stopped by automatic train signals.
This is interesting, because This Writer came to the same conclusion completely independently.
I argued that Tories have re-introduced rationing – of education, healthcare, housing and more – and then allowed UK citizens to blame it on migrant workers.
I wrote: “People have become hugely protective of what little remains, and see immigrants as threats to their own ability to access that remnant.
“Meanwhile the Conservatives and the richest one per cent of UK citizens have more than doubled their already vast income over the last six years.
“So who is responsible for the lack of resources? Immigrants? Or the Tories who have drained away all the funds to make themselves richer?”
Interesting to see the LSE actually coming out and criticising the government over this.
Brexit, the campaign to leave, was never about the EU; it wasn’t even really about immigration; it was about foreigners. But the government’s own position was fatally compromised because it was unable to confront the use of xenophobia.
The campaigning use of immigration was to identify an enemy, exaggerated and partly imagined as enemies always are in this familiar political tactic, who could be blamed for longer waiting lists in the NHS, overcrowded class rooms in schools, reduction in public services. The government could never say these worsening of the conditions of the people were not because of immigration but because of its own old-fashioned economic liberal policy of austerity.
The government has avoided, once again, taking the blame for the erosion of public services, but at the cost of the unity of its party and its country.
How many people will blame the Post Office workers, rather than their employers?
Thousands of Post Office workers and managers will stage a fresh strike [today – October 31] in a dispute over jobs, pensions and branch closures.
Members of the Communication Workers Union and Unite will walk out for the second time in two months, with further action in the run-up to Christmas not ruled out.
The unions are in dispute over the closure of the final salary pension scheme, job losses and the franchising of Crown Post Offices, the larger branches usually sited in high streets.
The Post Office said most of its network of thousands of branches will not be affected by the industrial action.
The dispute affects thousands of staff working in Crown offices, administration and supply chain roles across the UK, and the strike follows a walkout in September which the unions said was strongly supported.
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