Daily Archives: November 13, 2019

If Tory policies are so great, why are so many more of us forced to visit food banks?

A food bank.

Boris Johnson tells us the UK’s economy is fundamentally sound, and only “small improvements” are needed, such as “addressing transport bottlenecks, improving rural bus services and broadband connections”.

None of that is true, though.

If it were, the Trussell Trust would not be telling us – on the same day – that more people are being forced to resort to food banks than ever before.

The charity has said problems with the benefit system run by the Tory-controlled Department for Work and Pensions have created a 23 per cent increase in the number of food parcels it has handed out, compared with the same period last year. It is the steepest rise since the organisation’s network of food banks was fully established.

That is not an indication of a “fundamentally sound” economy.

It is a sign that millions of UK citizens are on the brink of starvation, destitution, and collapse.

That is what nine years of unremittingly cruel Tory austerity has done to people like you and me.

The figures make nightmarish reading:

The trust distributed a record 823,145 food parcels between April and September, including 301,653 that went to children.

The DWP was responsible for all of the top three reasons cited by people needing emergency food: insufficient benefit income (36 per cent), delays in benefit payments (18 per cent), and changes to benefit (16 per cent).

It supports the findings of the Trust’s own State of Hunger report, that said benefit changes such as the imposition of Universal Credit and the Bedroom Tax were driving the increased use of food banks.

Of course, the link between benefit policies and extreme poverty is hotly contested by Tory ministers – despite the fact that it is clear to anybody capable of reason.

People only started going to food banks after the Conservatives cut tens of billions of pounds from the benefit budget. No other explanation presents itself and even if it did, this would be the simplest. Occam’s razor tells us that the simplest explanation for a phenomenon is most likely correct.

Labour has accused the government of pushing people into destitution, and promised to lift them out of it:

The Trussell Trust has called for politicians of all parties to protect people from hunger – but you’ll notice that the Tories don’t even acknowledge that as being an issue to be addressed.

And when the government of the day refuses to admit the existence of a very clear and obvious danger to its citizens, it is time for the electorate to remove it.

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Johnson finally calls emergency meeting on flooding – after Corbyn tells him to

Mop-head: Next time, Boris Johnson should be the worker following the decision-makers with a mop – not a decision-maker himself.

At last we’re seeing some decisive action over the flood disaster that has hit northern England – because Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded it.

Boris Johnson – our so-called prime minister – was not going to help at all. He said last weekend that the floods, which have already killed one person, were not a national emergency.

Then this happened:

And then this happened:

The ITV article states: “Downing Street’s announcement of the meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, came after Jeremy Corbyn sent a letter to Boris Johnson calling on him to hold a Cobra meeting and “take personal charge” of the Government’s response.

“The Labour leader said he disagreed with the Prime Minister’s assessment at the weekend that the flooding was “not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency”.

“Mr Corbyn said that if the flooding had occurred in Surrey, rather than Yorkshire or the East Midlands, it would be “far more likely” that a national emergency would have been declared.”

Was Mr Johnson trying to stop himself losing ground to Mr Corbyn? If so, that’s just too bad:

What a wet letdown.

It’s a good thing we have Jeremy Corbyn to tell him what to do. Let’s vote Mr Corbyn into Downing Street so he doesn’t have to go through a proxy next time – we’ll get results a lot quicker.

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Bigots try to stop ‘anti-Semitism’ documentary filming – so it’s now at a secret location [STRONG LANGUAGE]

First – an apology. This Writer misconstrued a press release about the new documentary Reaching over the noise – Is Labour really Anti-Semitic?

I mistakenly believed the documentary was all but finished and people were being invited to a screening, at which more filming would take place.

In fact, people were being invited to come and take part in the documentary, offering their own views on the so-called Labour anti-Semitism crisis.

Next – som facts: Indy Media Productions, the crew behind the film, has been making it in response to the BBC Panorama documentary Is Labour Antisemitic? that was riddled with falsehoods and gave an inaccurate impression of the situation in the Labour Party

Anyone with left-wing political loyalties is welcome to attend the event at the Britons Protection in Manchester.

The meeting will be captured on film and used in the final scene of the documentary (and also in the trailer).

Tickets are available from this site. The 50p price is only so organisers can gauge the numbers attending.

“There is an election taking place and the antisemitism narrative is being used against us,” said a spokesperson for the production company.

“It is vital that during this election, as Labour supporters and Labour members, we hit these allegations head on and state exactly where we stand.

“We are not racists. We are not anti-Semites. We are just people who care deeply about injustice, equality, poverty and homelessness.

“If we don’t speak out and state exactly what we stand for, others will do it for us and what they say will not be the truth.

“We are hoping to capture footage of as many speakers as possible but we may also ask questions of some that attend to get their opinions on the allegations of institutional anti-Semitism made against Labour.

“This is your opportunity to have your voice. It is time for those on the left to speak out and not be silent. There is a lot at stake at this election and a lot to lose.”

Finally – the unpleasantness: Almost immediately after my original article went up, managers of the original venue were subjected to abuse from the kind of bigots responsible for the false “anti-Semitism” narrative.

Here’s an example of the kind of message they received (now edited to stop Facebook shocking readers when I try to share it):

 

Yeah.

Hard to believe these people are claiming the moral high ground, isn’t it?

They never succeed in stopping the facts from getting out; they just show themselves up for what they are.

To attend the event, use the link above and you’ll receive directions. Enjoy it!

Source: Buy tickets for Reaching over the noise – Is Labour really “anti Semitic” ? Open Documentary Scene, Manchester. at The Briton’s Protection, Sun 24 November 2019

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Crowdfunded documentary on fake Labour anti-Semitism has been made. Come to the premiere

Tickets are now available for the first screening of a new documentary countering the fake narrative linking the Labour Party with anti-Semitism.

Indy Media Productions, the crew behind a new documentary entitled Reaching over the noise – Is Labour really anti-Semitic? wants left-wing and Jewish speakers to attend the event.

But anyone with left-wing political loyalties is welcome to attend the event at the Britons Protection in Manchester.

The film has been made in response to the BBC’s Panorama documentary, Is Labour Antisemitic? that was riddled with falsehoods and gave an inaccurate impression of the situation in the Labour Party.

The meeting will be captured on film and used in the final scene of the documentary (and also in the trailer).

Tickets are available from this site. The 50p price is only so organisers can gauge the numbers attending.

“There is an election taking place and the antisemitism narrative is being used against us,” said a spokesperson for the production company.

“It is vital that during this election, as Labour supporters and Labour members, we hit these allegations head on and state exactly where we stand.

“We are not racists. We are not anti-Semites. We are just people who care deeply about injustice, equality, poverty and homelessness.

“If we don’t speak out and state exactly what we stand for, others will do it for us and what they say will not be the truth.

“We are hoping to capture footage of as many speakers as possible but we may also ask questions of some that attend to get their opinions on the allegations of institutional anti-Semitism made against Labour.

“This is your opportunity to have your voice. It is time for those on the left to speak out and not be silent. There is a lot at stake at this election and a lot to lose.”

Source: Buy tickets for Reaching over the noise – Is Labour really “anti Semitic” ? Open Documentary Scene, Manchester. at The Briton’s Protection, Sun 24 November 2019

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Hubert Howard has died – and he won’t be the last victim of the Tory Windrush scandal

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 them all again.

If you’re wondering who Hubert Howard is – that is precisely the point.

He wasn’t famous.

He was just an ordinary person – like you or me.

And the Conservatives, in government, treated him abominably.

Another victim of the long-running Windrush scandal, he died on Tuesday – just three weeks after being granted UK citizenship, 59 years after he arrived in the UK, aged three.

Here‘s The Guardian:

“Howard spent much of the last two months of his life still fighting for British citizenship from his intensive-care bed in hospital. He was granted it at the end of October when his lawyer informed the Home Office that he was critically ill, and highlighted the urgency of his case.

“Howard had not left the country since he arrived here legally in 1960. He first realised he had problems with his documents in 2005 when his employers, the Peabody housing association, asked him to show that he was in the UK legally. He tried to get a passport the following year so he could visit his sick mother in Jamaica, but the Home Office said it had no record of him and warned him that if he left the UK he might not be allowed back into the country. His mother died before he was able to see her again.

“He tried on numerous occasions to apply for a passport. In 2012 he was dismissed by Peabody because he was still not able to prove he was in the UK legally. He died in debt as a result of losing his job.”

Note that he continued to be treated with contempt by the Conservative government, even after the Windrush scandal became headline news in 2018.

This is just one example of the contempt in which the Conservatives hold ordinary people who deserve respect.

If they get the chance, they will go out of their way to harm you.

Think about that when you’re voting on December 12.

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Nigel Farage admits he was offered a peerage 48 hours before Brexit U-turn

Nigel Farage: You know the saying – everything before the ‘but’ is meaningless.

This is revealing:

Nigel Farage claimed he was offered a peerage 48 hours before blinking first in his Brexit stand off with Boris Johnson.

The Brexit Party chief was forced to scrap plans to stand candidates in hundreds of seats amid mounting warnings he risked scuppering EU withdrawal.

He claimed he was offered a peerage on Friday night – just two days before his screeching U-turn boosted the Prime Minister.

Mr Farage says it had no effect on his decision:

But he denied the Christmas bauble was behind his decision – and vowed to snub the offer.

But is he protesting too much?

Source: General election: Nigel Farage admits he was offered a peerage 48 hours before Brexit U-turn – Mirror Online

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Lib Dem rift as local members refuse to help replace candidate who stood down to stop a Tory win

Too close to Johnson: Jo Swinson (left) has made it seem she is supporting Tory Brexit after announcing her determination to stand a candidate in Canterbury, possibly splitting the vote to allow a hard-Brexiteer Tory to take the seat.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was facing a swingeing attack today – from her own party, as she moved to replace an election candidate who has withdrawn in order to allow a ‘Remain’-supporting Labour representative a stronger chance to beat a Brexiteer Tory.

The decision to replace Tim Walker with another candidate has opened Ms Swinson to accusations that she wants Tory Anna Firth, a former “Vote Leave stalwart” to take the seat from incumbent Rosie Duffield, in a move that would support Boris Johnson’s plan for a ‘hard’ Brexit.

Mr Walker made his feelings clear in a comment piece for The Guardian. He wrote: “In the last election, she [Ms Duffield] won the traditionally Tory seat on the slimmest of margins – fewer than 200 votes – and, while I was confident I could substantially increase the Lib Dem vote on the back of my party’s national resurgence, it was clear there was a danger I’d divide the remainers. That would allow in our common enemy, Anna Firth, the Tory candidate and an avowed hard Brexiter and former Vote Leave stalwart.

“I share with many members of my party locally a visceral dread of the Commons being filled with people like Firth. Trying to stop that happening is now more important than ever given Nigel Farage’s unholy alliance with Johnson.

“I’ve therefore asked that my local party withdraw my nomination papers to stand for Canterbury… The nightmare that kept me awake was posing awkwardly at the count beside a vanquished Duffield as the Tory Brexiter raised her hands in triumph. I wanted no part in that.”

How sad that it seems his party leader does want a part in that.

Almost immediately after Mr Walker made his announcement, the Liberal Democrat leadership announced that Mr Walker would be replaced with another candidate – indicating a willingness to create exactly the situation he wanted to avoid.

Now, local party sources have said all four members approved to stand as MPs have said they will not. And if a candidate is parachuted in by Ms Swinson, they are unlikely to receive any support – and may even be met with negativity.

The decision to replace Mr Walker has created an opportunity for Ms Swinson’s political opponents – and they have seized it:

And this is not the only problem the Liberal Democrats are facing.

Kevin McNamara has withdrawn as candidate for Thurrock after a series of images emerged purporting to show tweets posted by him that included racial and homophobic slurs.

It seems the Liberal Democrat campaign is falling apart, before it has properly got started.

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Boris Johnson’s obscene insult will merely cement the nation’s opinion – of him

Hair-raising: Mr Johnson’s use of an archaic obscenity is a disgrace.

Boris Johnson has seen fit to debase the office of prime minister once again, resorting to an obscene insult against the Labour Party in his first speech of the election campaign.

He was set to accuse the Labour leader of political “onanism” – an arcane word meaning masturbation – in a speech today (Wednesday).

I think we all know who’s the w*nker in this situation!

Speaking at an electric vehicle manufacturer in the West Midlands, Mr Johnson will admit that countries around the world are “baffled” that the UK – meaning the Conservative Party – has squandered three years of time and energy on the Brexit debate.

He will refer to the movie Groundhog Day by repeating the boring Tory cliches about “getting Brexit done” and avoiding a “horror show” coalition between Mr Corbyn and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon. And he will describe plans for a new Brexit referendum and one on Scottish independence as “political onanism”.

The reference has attracted well-deserved ridicule. Here’s an example:

A Labour source said: “We’re not bothered by Johnson’s obscure, crude insults because we’ve got our eyes on the prize – real change for the many not the few.”

And The Independent has reminded us that “it is not the first time that Mr Johnson has resorted to off-colour language in public. He once referred to money spent on child abuse enquiries being ‘spaffed up the wall’, ridiculed gay men as ‘tank-topped bum-boys’ and rhymed a reference to the president of Turkey in a limerick with the country’s capital Ankara.”

This is not statesmanlike behaviour.

And the leaders of those other countries that have caused Mr Johnson such concern will be even more “baffled” if he wins an election with language like this.

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‘Massive’ investment for Scotland if a Labour government is elected

Jeremy Corbyn has launched a campaign for Labour to win back the confidence of Scottish voters with a promise of “massive” investment.

In a clear challenge to the SNP, which has dominated Scottish politics since the Conservatives came back into office in 2010, he said:

“We will build the homes people need and end homelessness, tackle the climate emergency, provide a social care system that gives dignity to our older people and the carers who look after them, end child poverty and end fuel poverty.

“The SNP and the Tories have neither the ideas or the will to transform Scotland for the better, so are hiding from their records in government.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform Scotland and the whole UK. When Labour wins, Scotland wins.”

Mr Corbyn was set to reveal details of his plan while visiting Scotland today (Wednesday).

Boris Johnson has already reverted to the scaremongering tactics of the 2015 and 2017 elections, claiming that an alliance between Mr Corbyn and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon would be bad for the UK (with no evidence to support his words, as usual).

But Mr Corbyn’s aggressive stance suggests he is trying to win back large numbers of Scotland’s Westminster Parliamentary seats for Labour.

His aim appears to be to ensure that the anti-Tory vote is not divided, as it was in 2017, allowing Conservatives to win Scottish seats.

And his support for another Scottish independence referendum is also likely to charm voters who have supported Scottish nationalists.

The SNP has had little to say after Mr Corbyn laid down his gauntlet – but that may change once the details become clear.

That party’s lukewarm offer on childcare is unlikely to win voters over, in the face of the promises to young people that Labour as already revealed.

Source: General election 2019: Corbyn pledges ‘massive’ Scottish investment – BBC News

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No justice for man the Tory-run DWP said wasn’t sick enough for PIP

Dave Smith with his (now late) brother Jamie Oliver. After denying him PIP twice, the DWP wanted him to attend an appeal hearing – five months after he died.

Remember Jamie Oliver, who the Tory government said wasn’t sick enough for PIP, right before he died?

It seems the Tories would rather you forgot about him – they have cancelled a petition to get justice for him, by calling the general election.

Mr Oliver died on April 9 after a long battle with chronic liver disease – and after being refused Personal Independence Payment by the DWP on the grounds that he wasn’t sick enough – twice.

Five months after his death, in one of the hugely distressing and insulting cock-ups that have made the DWP infamous, one of Mr Oliver’s children discovered a letter saying an appeal hearing had been arranged for late September.

The situation infuriated Mr Oliver’s brother, Dave Smith, who stated that “one of the last things he said to us [was] “I don’t believe it. I’m going to die and I’m still not sick enough for PIP.”

Mr Smith said: “I honestly cannot think of an organization as shambolic, insensitive, incompetent and unhelpful as the DWP and the sooner all this PIP/Universal Credit fiasco is kicked into touch the better.”

Last month (October) he launched a petition that he hoped would secure enough signatures – 100,000 – to ensure the issues are debated in parliament.

The petition on the government website called for an end to the use of private contractors for DWP disability benefit assessments, both for PIP and for employment and support allowance (and its universal credit equivalent).

He said the disability benefit assessment system is linked to many suicides and “accelerated deaths”, like his brother’s.

And he said he believed there have been “multiple lies” in the written assessment reports completed by nurses, paramedics and occupational therapists working for Atos and Capita (the other PIP assessment contractor).

But with the dissolution of Parliament and the launch of the general election campaign, not only have any Bills been dropped but all petitions have also been cancelled and will not be reopened.

Mr Smith told Metro:

“They have taken the f***ing piss, not just after all the hours I and my supporters have put in but all those poor people who have reached 100,000 signatures will now never get their debate.

“I am angry beyond belief, for me, for other petition creators and for every supporter of every petition. ‘There is something badly wrong here. The problem you are petitioning about hasn’t gone away and you can’t use another petitioning site as the results are not recognised.”

Source: Petition for man DWP said ‘wasn’t sick enough for PIP’ is scrapped | Metro News

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