Yearly Archives: 2018

The UK’s shame: How did we end up calling for CHILDREN to be DROWNED?

Tom Watson: No wonder he looks depressed – he’s talking to one of LBC’s famous bigoted right-wing listeners.

What is the matter with us?

Back in the day, everyone I knew used to be tolerant, if not downright friendly, to people from other cultures. It’s what made us great – the ability to see the best in others and adopt it for ourselves.

Then something changed. A gang of liars slithered into Downing Street, Whitehall and Westminster and started spreading lies and divisive talk – about people who were unemployed, or sick, or disabled… or foreign.

Suddenly we’re all at each other’s throats; queuing up to run everybody else down.

And we end up lowering ourselves to this, as heard on LBC:

“Tom Watson told a caller that his views leaves him “worried for the future of humanity” after he said children migrants attempting to reach the UK should drown.

“Andy told the Labour MP that a “large portion of the country is in poverty” and that there should be “no more”.

“But when Tom asked about the English Channel, his response was shocking.

“”You’ve got a boat load of kids sinking in the English Channel, what would you do with them?” Tom asked.

“Andy responded: “I’d let them sink.”

“”So you would let children drown in the English Channel?”

“”Yep.”

“”How many?”

“”As many as it takes to stop them,” Andy replied.”

Here’s the exchange:

Some might say this is only what we should expect from people who call in to LBC, and there is truth in that.

But I think there is a more deeply-ingrained malaise.

There is no reason for anybody to wish death on people who are simply trying to escape hatred and persecution. The fault lies with the governments of their own countries.

But we can’t just pin the fault for callers like Andy on the Tory government. I reckon he has held his racist – because that’s what they are – views for a long time; the Tories just made him think it’s all right to voice them.

He was right that there’s a lot of poverty in the UK – but that is because a very small number of very rich people are keeping all the money for themselves.

They control the means of production, the supply of goods, the cost of goods, and the amount of pay given to employees. And by hiding their vast profits in offshore tax haven bank accounts, they avoid paying taxes that could support state systems such as the NHS and benefits.

And that gives the Tory government an excuse to say there isn’t enough cash to make these systems viable.

There’s plenty of cash. It’s just being kept from us, that’s all.

So the immediate cause of the problems raised by Andy is the Tory government.

But the cause of his bigotry needs to be rooted out. Somebody filled this man’s head with poison, and the only way to drain it out of him is education and persuasion. He needs to learn, not only that his belief is wrong, but why it’s wrong.

Shamefully for the nation, he’s not the only one.

I’m not often in agreement with Tom Watson; in the Labour Party, it seems to me that he has caused more problems than he has solved.

But I am in complete agreement with his fear for the future of humanity – if bigotry like Andy’s isn’t countered.

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Outcry against ‘settled status’ registration scheme for EU citizens is rising

Dr J Gorski-Mescir tweeted that this was “the last time my family qualified for registration and ‘settled status'”. I hope the reference is not lost on you.

The image above is a mild response to the Conservative government’s racist demand that foreign nationals from EU countries submit to a registration scheme in which their details may be passed on to third parties for reasons unknown, and pay to become a persecuted minority.

I have already referred to the work of Professor Tanja Bueltmann in revealing what this scheme actually means for people who have enjoyed the right to live and work in this country for many decades – many since before the UK joined the EU in the first place. Here’s another video clip, with further information:

The following thread by James Chapman raises extremely important questions about whether the new scheme even abides by current UK law:

He also asks: “10. (one more, a bit leftfield, that just occurred to me) Has Govt taken advice on whether UK citizens who actively want to apply for EU settled status would have any sort of legal claim that refusing them would be discriminatory?”

Mr Chapman’s remark about the lack of media interest (barring a few honourable exceptions) produces one very interesting such exception: The Sun. That’s right – even the most rabid of the right-wing rags has attacked the “settled status” scheme as “sinister”, saying “there is a difference between ensuring control of our borders and straightforward hostility” and warning about the tone struck by “the silent threat of imminent deportation”.

https://twitter.com/jamesrbuk/status/1078956903735148544

Of course, some have tried to defend the scheme – such as Conservative MP Chris Philp. His argument turned out to be child’s play to refute:

Meanwhile, the following two tweets demonstrate the reality for people who, until Brexit, had every right to believe they would be allowed to go on living in the country of their choice, unmolested, until the end of their natural lives:

And some have resorted to satire. Here’s TV comic Jon Richardson:

Going back to Professor Bueltmann’s video clip, it stated that the “settled status” scheme shows ‘Leave’ campaigners were lying when they promised that EU citizens in the UK would be allowed to carry on living in the UK, unmolested.

It’s just one of many broken promises. In the clip below, former EU commissioner Viviane Reding lists just some of the main points:

https://twitter.com/BrexitRaab/status/1078948973749116928

Somehow, though, I doubt that the fact we’re all being shafted, not just those of us having to apply for “settled status”, will be any comfort at all.

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Ill-gotten gains; DWP staff get New Year honours while benefit claimants go hungry

Disgrace: Amber Rudd thinks DWP staff deserve honours for the harm they have done to huge numbers of vulnerable people.

LUCKY FOR SOME: 13 staff from the Department for Work and Pensions are named in the New Year Honours, for “making a real difference to the lives of countless individuals”.

The announcement has been welcomed by Amber Rudd, the disgraced former Home Secretary who is currently disgracing the position of Work and Pensions Secretary:

For the rest of us who have received treatment that makes a “real difference” to our lives, it is an insult.

“Honoured for ruining people’s life’s.. This proves how crooked the NY Honours are,” tweeted Charlotte Hughes. Charlotte writes the Poor Side of Life blog, which has highlighted years of ill-treatment inflicted on benefit claimants by the staff at Ashton Under Lyne Job Centre.

Anita Bellows, a campaigner with Disabled People Against Cuts, added: “It is an affront to all the people who suffered at the hands of DWP staff, from the people sanctioned, to the ones unlawfully losing their benefits.”

And Keith Lindsay-Cameron, whose Letter A Day To Number 10 highlighted the abuses against ordinary people by the Conservative government, had wise words for everybody who thinks this honour is a good thing: “Never imagine for one moment that the treatment we receive is anything other than deliberate, thrilling and rewarding for the Tories and their quisling collaborators.”

It is entirely possible that the DWP staff receiving the honours have improve the lives of some benefit claimants.

But if so, why are we only told they made a “real difference”? A “real difference” could mean real harm.

And that’s what the vast majority of benefit claimants have suffered under Conservative rule.

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Fraser Nelson’s comedy column about Britain’s well-being makes him a poor Marie Antoinette

Fraser Nelson: Another swivel-eyed loon?

Can you believe this nonsense? Please don’t say “yes”:

You can’t read the article without paying for it, so I haven’t bothered. It’s bad enough that Fraser Nelson has made himself the Tory government’s useful idiot by posting the tweet above.

For balance, let’s have some comments from people who know better than Mr Nelson – who, as editor of The Spectator, should know better himself.

Here‘s Peter Stefanovic: “Is this a joke? 4 Million kids are living in poverty, millions are reliant on food banks, GPs prescribing nutritional drinks to starving patients, homeless dying on our streets, 19 Million Workers now on the edge of poverty & 17 Million people with less then £100 in savings!!!!”

He has produced a short video clip to reinforce his points:

Tom London makes a valid point: “Fraser Nelson is the Louis XVI and Marie Antionette of our times
“All is well with him and everyone he knows
“He chooses statistics which “prove” all is well for the masses too

“He. Has. Not. A. Clue. About. The. Reality. Of. Life. For. Millions. In. UK
“Like most of the MSM & BBC”

Isobel has the ground-level take on Mr Nelson’s claim: “Have you ever read such a load of absolute you are too late for an Honour, hopefully she will be out next time round, don.t stand on one leg will you.”

Tom Pride sums up the way we should all describe Mr Nelson: “Another out-of-touch well-off journalist living in his comfy Westminster bubble telling struggling families how happy they should be feeling.”

But for the most to-the-point comment, let’s look to Helena Bowie, who simply asks: “Who paid you to say that?”

Who indeed?

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A manufactured ‘migrant crisis’ – to create anti-EU sentiment ahead of the big Brexit vote?

Border Force: Some have criticised the government’s immigration control enforcers for failing to keep the refugees out, but the real question is what’s to be done in their best interests.

The Tories really think we’re stupid, don’t they?

They’ve dreamed up a crisis  – I mean “crisis” – involving people trying to get into the UK from the European Union. Clearly the EU isn’t doing its job and keeping these people out, right?

Well… It’s not actually that clear-cut.

Here‘s the BBC’s version of the story:

“The rising number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel in small boats has been declared a “major incident” by the UK home secretary.

“Sajid Javid has asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart about the situation.

“The Home Office said there was “concern that it is only a matter of time before people lose their lives”.

“It comes after at least 221 migrants have attempted to cross the Channel to England since the start of November.

“Most recently, 12 people were detained off the coast of Dover in the early hours of Friday morning.

“Officials on both sides of the Channel have warned of the dangers of crossing what is the world’s busiest shipping lane in a small boat. Police have likened the journey to trying to “cross the M25 at rush-hour on foot”.”

The factual information is accurate – it is extremely dangerous to try to cross the world’s busiest shipping lanes in a small boat.

But some information is being passed off as fact when it isn’t. For example, here‘s the Tory Fibs Twitter feed: “Dear BBC, they are not migrants. They are refugees. They are not migrating, they are fleeing. Words matter.”

And here’s a little more – factual – information about the huge numbers of people crossing the channel that prompted Mr Javid to declare his state of crisis:

So, 33 people coming into the UK constitutes a crisis. Really?

Here‘s Dr Lauren Gavaghan: “What a perfect way for Conservative MP’s like Sajid Javid to spend their Christmas hols. Whipping up just the right amount of hatred before the possibility of a second Brexit referendum.  I wonder if Steve Bannon is visiting again.”

This is the heart of the matter. Refugees are renamed “migrants” because that makes it easier to whip up anger against them – by lying that they’re not escaping persecution but trying to get into the good life by the back door.

(Although why anybody would think the UK was the “good life”, what with Brexit and all that, is anybody’s guess.)

It’s all part of the Conservative “divide and rule” philosophy. They manipulate the people to do what they want, and keep power for themselves. That’s why they are turning public opinion against these refugees.

Consider the words of Yannis Gourtsoyannis, below:

But of course the Tories have already used their puppets in the right-wing news media to turn public opinion against the homeless people who died in 2017 (that’s homeless, not “rough sleepers”). And they tell us regularly that poor people’s debts are their problem and nobody else’s – even though that problem arises from rich employers refusing to pay their employees properly, and from the Conservative government finding the flimsiest excuses under which to refuse payment of benefits – often to the same people.

Alan Gibbons adds: “And it is not ‘a major incident.’ It is 220 vulnerable people arriving since the start of November. We need more empathy and less anti-refugee sentiment.”

Do you want it in more blatant terms? Okay, try this:

https://twitter.com/Chewiebeast/status/1079292350277603328

Your government wants to scare you.

Just so. The Tories want you to think foreigners are bad, and that the EU in particular is bad because it isn’t helping keep those bad foreigners out.

All to win a vote in a couple of weeks’ time, that can’t be won anyway. To get Theresa May’s hopeless Brexit “deal” through Parliament.

Meanwhile, the real crises go unheeded, as Andrew Graystone points out:

Don’t be fooled. Take action. Contact the government and demand to know what is being done to keep these refugees safe and to protect them from whoever they are fleeing.

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What’s the REAL motive behind the Tories’ racist ‘EU Settlement Scheme’?

Oh yes you are: The Conservative government could have granted EU citizens in the UK a continuation of all the rights they enjoy now but it didn’t. Now they face a future of persecution by the most overtly racist administration the UK has had in decades.

The UK’s Conservative government is creating a central register for one minority in the UK – EU citizens – holding data it can share freely and in secret with undisclosed private and public organisation in the UK and across the world. Why?

Bear in mind that the current Tory administration is well-known as a persecutor of minorities. Consider its treatment of the Windrush generation, of people with disabilities, and of those with long-term illnesses.

I’ve already explored the basics of this horrible idea.

Here’s the3million Twitter account – the largest grassroots organisation of EU27 citizens in the UK, campaigning to protect citizens’ rights – to explain the rest:

The thread concludes: “In summary, the UK Govt is creating a central register just for one minority in the UK, EU citizens, holding data it can share freely & in secret with undisclosed private & public organisation in the UK & across the world. This is truly shocking. /end https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/settled_status_app_data_privacy#outgoing-838331 

Professor Tanja Bueltmann has made a video clip explaining the implications:

In response to the latest revelations, she has added: “This is a *much bigger* scandal than the Home Office clip about settled status. Make sure you read this. Herein also lies to answer to a question many have asked me about what you can do to help: support @The3Million! One direct route to do so is here.

The link encourages you to become an “EU Citizens Champion”, donating funds to support the campaign for a legal immigration status that will protect all EU citizens and their families after Brexit and for the rest of their lives.

And if you need another incentive to visit the page and donate, consider this:

Will you really stand aside and let the Tories launch another Windrush scandal? Are you really the kind of person who’ll let a criminal government persecute anyone else, until there’s nobody left to help when they come for you?

I don’t think so.

Please prove me right.

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Is this why Theresa May recalled her cabinet – to bribe more MPs into supporting Brexit?

Apocalyptic: John Redwood appeared on BBC News on a day the sky turned a foreboding orange. Many suggested he was broadcasting from his home planet of Vulcan.

“Swivel-eyed loon” John Redwood, who was once described as a “bastard” by former prime minister John Major, is to be knighted in the New Year Honours, courtesy of current PM Theresa May. She needs his support to get her duff Brexit plan through Parliament.

Remember, Mrs May gave a knighthood to Eurosceptic John Hayes back in November, for no reason at all – unless you believe it was intended to buy his support for her bad deal.

Mr Redwood has been a “vehement” critic of Mrs May’s deal. Why would she honour him, if not to secure his support?

You see, this is how bad ideas get through Parliament; MPs support them – not because they believe in them, but because they have been given something they want.

In Mr Redwood’s case, he was bought for the price of a ribbon to tie to his coat, as Martin Rowson puts it, below.

And Mrs May loses nothing – her integrity disappeared a long time ago.

So it doesn’t matter to her that Mr Redwood, who has a second job with an investment management firm, campaigned for the UK to leave the EU and then advised investors to put their money elsewhere because our economic prospects are so bad.

It matters to the rest of us, though:

https://twitter.com/ShehabKhan/status/1078794746632589312

I mentioned Martin Rowson, above. Here he points out that the New Year Honours also make Edward Leigh a Privy Counsellor.

Consider also this:

After all the rotten Tories named above finally get their marching orders, how long do you think it will take to wash the stench of corruption out of Westminster?

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Austerity policies are ‘social murder’, say experts who’ll be ignored by the Tories

New research by Lancaster University has shown that austerity policies, beloved by the Conservative government, amount to “social murder”.

But don’t get your hopes up that this might lead to a huge policy change. This isn’t the first such report to come from a British university, and the Tories are likely to treat it with the contempt they have given the last.

The new report by Dr Chris Grover, head of the university’s sociology department, defines austerity as a form of structural violence – built into society in the form of unequal power and unequal life chances – that deepens inequalities and injustices and creates desperate poverty.

As a result, the report states, working class people face harm to their physical and mental well-being and in some instances are “socially murdered”.

Dr Grover gives examples of where social security austerity has led to a range of harms:

·        an additional six suicides for every 10,000 work capability assessments done;

·        increasing number of people Britain dying of malnutrition

·        increasing numbers of homeless people dying on the streets or in hostels

He refers to the process as ‘violent proletarianisation’ – claiming that violent austerity is aimed at forcing people to do paid work, rather than being reliant upon benefits. This makes them vulnerable to exploitation by employers who have no reason not to pay the lowest wage possible.

Dr Grover is using the research to call on the government for fundamental change that removes the economic need for people to work for such low wages.

“The violence takes two forms,” said Dr Grover. “First it involves further economic hardship of already income-poor people.

“It causes social inequalities and injustices in the short term and in the longer term.

“Second, the poverty that violent proletarianisation creates is both known and avoidable.”

You can read his research here.

But don’t expect the Conservative government to pay the slightest bit of attention to it.

Remember when the universities of Oxford and Liverpool produced a report showing the work capability assessment used to decide whether people deserve Employment Support Allowance had caused a massive increase in mental illness among claimants? The Tories just shrugged it off.

I wrote at the time: “The research by Oxford University and Liverpool University shows that more than two-thirds of claimants who took the fake ‘medical’ test between 2010 and 2013 – 7,020 out of every 10,000 – received prescriptions for anti-depressant drugs afterwards.

“There were 2,700 cases of mental ill-health and – most damning of all, six suicides per 10,000 assessments. If these were all separate cases, that would leave just 274 people who, after the assessment, were only suffering with the illnesses they took into it.”

The mention of six suicides per 10,000 assessments corresponds with Dr Grover’s work, suggesting that the evidence base is at least partially the same.

That will not help prove the case to the Tories. They’ll only say suicides have many causes and should not be associated with a single element of a person’s life, blah blah blah. Oh, and that this evidence shows correlation, not causation – that is to say, there is no direct causal evidence linking the Conservative government’s benefit policy with mental illness and suicide, blah blah blah.

In fact, there is direct causal evidence – I’d say suicide notes by some of the deceased, directly blaming the government, are direct evidence. And there’s no evidence showing an increase in mental ill-health, malnutrition, deaths of the homeless and suicides of benefit claimants before the Tories forced austerity on those people.

But of course the government has other ideas. And we all know what Tories think of experts – remember what Michael Gove had to say about them?

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Tory post-Brexit residence scheme for EU citizens shows they’ve learned NOTHING from Windrush

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it was still in service, the Tories would be trying to use it to deport EU citizens.

Those racists in the Conservative government think we all have really short memories, don’t they?

Their colleagues and cronies at the Home Office have unveiled a new “EU Settlement Scheme” for citizens of the European Union who want to continue living and/or working in the UK after Brexit – and it looks startlingly – shockingly – Windrushy. I hope you understand what I mean by that.

Applicants under the scheme will have to provide proof of their own identity, proof that they live in the UK, and proof that they do not have a criminal record.

And it will cost them up to £65 to provide this information to a government that should have it all already.

Perhaps the Home Office destroyed it, along with the documents that would have saved thousands of the Windrush generation from deportation.

Here’s the Home Office’s tweet on the subject:

It seems clear these Tory racists have learned nothing from the Windrush scandal.

They see Brexit as an opportunity to humiliate Johnny (and Jane) Foreigner – make them leap through hoops for the dubious benefit of staying in a country that is about to fall off an economic cliff, thanks to the result of a referendum designed to end discord in their own bigoted, minority-interest party and their own ineptitude at any kind of negotiations (including Theresa May’s failure to negotiate her way out of a car door at one point) thereafter.

And they see it as an opportunity to deport anybody who fails to provide this information and/or cough up the cash.

Charming.

The social media have reacted appropriately. Here‘s Liisa Smith: “How disgraceful. I’ve been living here for nearly 18 years as a tax-paying resident and this is how the UK government treats people. It makes me sick.”

John Clarke tweeted for many when he wrote: “The Tories shame us all.”

As Rachael Swindon elaborated, the scheme is “horrific, cynical, threatening and unnecessary. They promised to learn the lessons of the hostile environment policy, and lied once again.”

Labour MP David Lammy added: “Shame. What a way to treat our neighbours, friends, family and partners from Europe. King Herod would be proud Theresa May. Screw this shit.” Strong words for an MP, but appropriate, perhaps.

But what do EU-born residents make of it all? The answer is: Not a lot.

Peter Stefanovic stated: “As the son of an immigrant and part of a European family I can honestly say this breaks my heart.”

And Stewart Wood told us: “Just told my 83-year old German mum, who has lived here since 1964, that she’ll have to go through (& pay for) this process – to prove to the Home Office who she is, & that she’s not a criminal. I tried hard, but couldn’t really explain why. It’s an awful stain on our country.”

That it is – by which I mean, obviously, the Conservative government is an awful stain on our country.

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One British leader is serious about sorting out the Brexit shambles – shame it isn’t Theresa May

Working for us: Jeremy Corbyn is trying to get Theresa May to sort out her Brexit shambles, but she persists in dragging her feet. Ask yourself why she wants to do that.

Criticise him all you like, but it is clear that Jeremy Corbyn is the only British political leader who is interested in sorting out Brexit – in the national interest.

The other opposition leaders are only interested in undermining him, and as for Theresa May… Mr Corbyn is right to claim that she wants to run down the clock so we have no choice but to accept her deal or “no deal”. Neither is acceptable to the British people.

It is notable that nobody has asked Mrs May the obvious question: Why is she so keen to delay matters? What does anybody have to gain? Is it correct that she wants to tie us to the March 29 deadline in order to ensure that tax avoiders don’t fall foul of new EU legislation coming into force in April? If so, how is that good for the UK as a whole? (Answer: It isn’t.)

We’re told that she has ordered her ministers to come back and help plan for a “no deal” Brexit – why can’t she get to work on a better Brexit deal instead?

It seems clear that Mrs May is the problem here. Mr Corbyn is working to find a solution.

So why are we all being told that he is the liability? Think about it.

Jeremy Corbyn has challenged Theresa May to cut short the Christmas recess and recall parliament early in the new year in order to bring forward a critical vote on the Brexit deal.

In an interview with The Independent, the Labour leader said he believed the prime minister and her allies were engaged in a “cynical manoeuvre” to run down the clock and offer MPs the “choice of the devil or the deep blue sea”.

His remarks come as the Commons prepares to vote on the UK-EU deal in the week beginning 14 January – in what is being billed as the most significant moment in parliament for a generation.

With just 91 days remaining until Britain formally leaves the European Union, Mr Corbyn also reiterated it is a matter of “when, not if” Labour attempts to force a general election by tabling a motion of no confidence in the government, which he signalled will come in the aftermath of Ms May’s deal failing to receive MPs’ backing.

But he refused to be drawn on whether a Labour government would seek to extend Article 50, given that just weeks would remain for any renegotiation of Britain’s exit from the bloc, and claimed: “Lots of things are possible, the EU has longform on reopening and extending negotiations, but let’s not jump too many hoops when we haven’t arrived at them.”

Source: Jeremy Corbyn challenges Theresa May to recall parliament early over critical Brexit vote | The Independent