Daily Archives: October 22, 2019

MPs reject Brexit bill timetable – they’re not worried about Johnson calling an election

Boris Johnson: He may have just realised he has miscalculated.

What did I tell you?

MPs have rejected a proposal to examine Boris Johnson’s Brexit bill in the Commons in three days.

The Commons supported the Withdrawal Agreement Bill earlier, but have now voted against the short timetable.

Earlier, the PM warned he would seek an election if MPs dismissed the plan and the EU granted an extension to 31 October Brexit deadline.

After the vote, he told the Commons he would “pause” the legislation until the EU had “stated their intentions”.

Source: MPs reject Brexit bill timetable – BBC News

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Johnson threatens election if he can’t rush through his Brexit bill. Good luck with that!

Boris Johnson: He’d stick his thumb up if he was on the Titanic and the iceberg had just hit.

Is anybody else starting to think that Boris Johnson really is stupid?

He has threatened to withdraw his Withdrawal Bill, after MPs spoke against his rushed timetable; he wanted Parliament to consider a Bill of more than 100 pages, plus extras, within just three days.

Instead, he said he would force a general election.

But there’s one problem – he would need the consent of Parliament to do this, and Parliament doesn’t want an election quite yet – if it is called before October 31, with no Brexit extension agreed, then the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

That’s what Boris Johnson wants, of course. But Parliament will block it as it is the will of Parliament that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal.

So this is an empty threat intended, it seems, to scare MPs into acting rashly rather than thinking matters through.

We’ll see what happens when the timetable is put to the vote this evening (October 22).

But expect yet another defeat for the prime minister who has never yet won a vote in Parliament.

Boris Johnson has threatened to pull the Brexit legislation and seek an election before Christmas if MPs vote to stop him rushing it through the House of Commons in three days.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, the prime minister said a vote against his timetable would delay Brexit for three months if the EU decided to grant the extension.

“I will in no way allow months more of this. If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen and instead gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in no circumstances can the government continue with this. And with great regret, I must say the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election,” he said.

A No 10 source highlighted the key caveat that the bill would be pulled only if the EU grants a three-month extension – the length of delay requested under the Benn act. It raises the possibility that Johnson could accept a shorter extension if one were to be offered by the EU.

Source: Johnson threatens to scrap Brexit bill and seek election before Christmas | Politics | The Guardian

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Watchdog to investigate after DWP refuses to provide information on benefit-related suicides

Pushed too far: How many people have been driven to consider taking their own lives because of brutal DWP policies? How many have actually done so?

The National Audit Office (NAO) is to investigate the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over its refusal to provide figures on the number of benefit claimants who have committed suicide.

It seems the situation at the DWP is so bad that the NAO may attempt to collate the figures itself, if the government department fails to co-operate.

Ministers denied a request from Frank Field MP, who chairs the Commons Work and Pensions committee. In a letter to the NAO, he stated: “I struggle to believe that, given the time it must take to put together evidence for inquests, attend court hearings, and internally review the decisions, that there is no record of such.

“It shocks me even more that the DWP is apparently unconcerned with the most drastic efforts [sic; I think he meant “effects”] of its policies and conducts no internal monitoring of the tragedies in which it is complicit.”

“The tragedies in which it is complicit.” What a damning line from the chairman of the MP committee tasked with scrutinising the DWP. He was stating the belief that the DWP, its ministers, controllers and workers, are all knowingly involved in an activity that they are aware is morally wrong – that leads to the deaths of claimants.

There have been many studies linking with suicide the so-called “reforms” of DWP benefits since the Conservatives came back into office in 2010 and I do not propose to go over that old ground here.

I practically kicked off these investigations myself, when I forced the DWP to publish figures on the number of people who had died after being denied sickness benefits in 2015 – after a two-year struggle.

So I welcome this intervention by the NAO.

I hope it will include in its investigations all benefit claimants who may have taken their own lives as a result of the DWP meddling with their claims.

For example: the figures I extracted from the department in 2015 related only to those who died within a two week period of being denied their benefits. No effort had been made to discover the fate of those who survived beyond that point – although we have a multitude of news stories about people who died weeks or months afterward. They should be included in the NAO’s work.

I find myself in agreement with Sue Jones, who wrote, on her own website:

“An inquiry is long overdue.

“How many people with chronic illness and disability have simply died because they can’t meet their most fundamental survival needs in light of austerity cuts?

“What kind of government shows no concern or remorse that its policies are destroying some citizens’ lives?

“And continually denies that this is happening?

“Does the government intentionally disregard us as economically “surplus to requirements” and ultimately disposable? When the evidence points so clearly to the relationship between austerity cuts, which have disproportionately been targeted at the poorest and most fragile citizens, and suicide, it’s hard to reason otherwise. Especially when the government shows nothing but supreme indifference to those of us raising these serious concerns.”

Exactly.

The Tories’ attitude suggests that they regard benefit claimants as “useless eaters” – in just the same way the Nazis viewed people with long-term illnesses and disabilities in Germany between 1933 and 1945.

The only difference between their policies is that the Nazis took direct action to “euthanize” their “useless eaters”, while the DWP seems to prefer pushing UK-based benefit claimants to suicide, starvation, or death due to illnesses they can no longer afford to treat.

We have long suspected that the consequences of DWP – Conservative government – policy were far more serious than we had been led to believe, and we already have evidence that they are extremely serious.

Perhaps this investigation will prove it.

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Haters attack Jewish candidate lined up to replace Louise Ellman in Liverpool – because she is pro-Palestine?

Jo Bird: Bigoted witch-hunters are conducting a hate campaign to sabotage her chances of being a Labour Parliamentary candidate – but the facts are against them.

Appointing a Jewish person to replace Louise Ellman as Labour’s candidate to represent Liverpool Riverside in the next general election might seem the most natural thing in the world.

Ms Ellman quit the party acrimoniously ahead of a re-selection trigger vote that she seemed certain to lose, after she accused members of her local party of anti-Semitism. When she quit, she threw a few more un-evidenced anti-Semitism accusations at party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

So it would seem good politics to nominate another Jewish party member to replace her – if only to show that the party is not institutionally anti-Semitic, or whatever today’s buzz-phrase from the witch-hunters happens to be.

Apparently not.

The favoured choice, you see, is Jo Bird – and she’s not the kind of Jewish Labour member the witch-hunters would ever approve.

For a start, she’s pro-Palestine.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that her party membership was suspended earlier this year on a trumped-up charge. Now the witch-hunters and bigots are trying to influence Labour against selecting her on the basis of this false claim…

… and Twitter is giving them exactly what they deserve.

The most inflammatory salvo against Ms Bird came from Karen Pollock who, as chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, should know better. Note from her tweet that she was referring to an article in the Jewish Chronicle, which has been instrumental in stirring up hatred against innocent people in the past.

The paper libelled This Writer in 2018 and was forced to publish a grudging correction after I took the matter to press regulator IPSO.

Note also that she omitted the fact that Ms Bird is Jewish.

Here’s Ms Pollock’s astonishingly ill-advised tweet:

The hypocrisy of the claim – especially as fuelled by the Jewish Chronicle, is clear:

Oh, and Ms Bird herself has made a video explaining the circumstances of her suspension:

The conclusion is clear: if there is any anti-Semitism going on here, it is being perpetrated by the Jewish Chronicle, Ms Pollock, and anyone else who wants to attack Ms Bird:

Well said, Ian and Sparky.

This Site wishes Ms Bird success in her campaign to replace Louise Ellman. It seems to me that it would be a huge step forward in the fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

EXTRA: I note that Rachel Riley is on the record as having attacked Ms Bird over the words that triggered her suspension. I wonder if Ms Riley had the courage – and the honesty – to apologise for the mistake after the councillor was exonerated?

Ms Riley is currently suing me for libel – another trumped-up charge. Details of how to support my fight against her lawsuit are below.

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UKIP leader suspended over data theft allegations. Is this the end for the kippers?

The United Kingdom Independence Party appears to be coming to an ignominious end.

Directionless after the apparent victory in the EU referendum of 2016 and the departure of demagogue leader Nigel Farage, UKIP has stuttered from one leader to the next.

Now a party leader has been suspended amid allegations of criminal behaviour.

Perhaps this organisation had its day a long time ago and it’s time to give up.

UKIP has suspended its leader and three other members after they were accused of stealing data from the party.

An email to all members from chairman Kirstan Herriot said she was “forced to take serious action” against Richard Braine, Tony Sharp, Jeff Armstrong and Mark Dent.

This included reporting them to Action Fraud – though it is not yet known if the police body will investigate.

But Mr Braine denied the allegations, saying the “whole thing was absurd”.

Source: UKIP leader suspended over data theft allegations – BBC News

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Activists fighting climate change have won cast-iron support – from the Terminator himself

Star support: Arnold Schwarzenegger with Greta Thunberg.

Even the Terminator can see that Greta Thunberg and the activism against climate change that she promotes deserve support – or at least the actor and former politician playing him can.

Arnold Schwartzenegger, former Republican governor of California, has spoken out in support of Ms Thunberg’s environmental activism.

It’s good to see the movement getting such high-profile support.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed his support for environmental activist Greta Thunberg, after he offered to lend her an electric car so she could get around the US.

The actor is currently doing the press rounds for the latest Terminator film, Dark Fate, alongside co-star Linda Hamilton, who reprises her role as Sarah Connor.

Speaking to Sky News, Schwarzenegger said that politics “gets in the way of good policy”, which he cited as the reason he now tends to steer clear of political commentary,

However, he made it clear he was a fan of Thunberg, calling her “fantastic” and adding: “She’s a child and here’s children saying ‘when you screw this up with the environment, it’s our generation that’s going to suffer’, and I think that’s a very compelling message and I think politicians are listening.”

Source: Arnold Schwarzenegger praises climate activist Greta Thunberg: ‘I think politicians are listening’ | The Independent

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