Monthly Archives: May 2020

New lockdown sex rule seems pointless

Closed: from June 1, nobody will be legally able to open their doors to a sex partner from another household. Isn’t it a bit late for that?

For people like Rosie Duffield and Neil Ferguson, this is probably fixing the barn door after the horse has shot his bolt (or whatever the phrase is).

For the rest of us who have been observing lockdown rules, it seems pointless.

We were told to stay in our homes from the moment lockdown started in the middle of March, and to stay at least two metres away from anybody else.

So even if we wanted to do the naughty, we haven’t had the opportunity. And this new rule that sex in our houses with someone from another household is illegal is superfluous.

In fact, the only visitors anybody is likely to have had – within rules, since they were laid down – are neighbours’ cats. And while they might appeal to a certain kind of person… well, the less said about that, the better.

In any case, if people have been breaking lockdown to have some fun, then any transmission of Covid-19 will have happened already.

Am I missing something?

Source: Sex in your house with a person from another household illegal from tomorrow – Mirror Online

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Do you think ONLY one million children will stay off school?

 

Social distancing for infants: This Site never tires of showing this image of one school’s attempt to impose social distancing on children who will have no idea what it is or why it is necessary, and who will be deeply upset at being told to stay away from their friends.

The Guardian and the Mirror have led with headlines that are overly optimistic for the Tory government’s school plans, in the opinion of This Writer.

A million children is about half of all those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 who could return under lockdown easing – and about 49 times more than were likely to be sent by parents, according to This Site’s own (unscientific) poll.

Of the 532 respondents (at the time of writing), 528 said they would not send a child back to school at the whim of the UK’s apparently homicidal government. Only four said they would.

Here’s a preview of the front pages:

The Mirror article states:

Worried parents are expected to keep at least a million eligible primary pupils at home today as schools allow more children to go back to classes.

That is around half of those in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 who could return under lockdown easing – in a major blow to Boris Johnson ‘s hopes of getting back to normal before the summer break.

And headteachers predicted more than one in five teachers will be forced to work from home due to health conditions, their age or having ­vulnerable family members.

The school-or-no-school division across the country became apparent yesterday as the Prime Minster was criticised over shambolic planning – with ministers producing a blueprint for reopening schools on May 12 and then changing it 41 times.

This Writer is looking forward to finding out how many children actually turn up.

But considering the Tory government’s current penchant for … mislaying?… the facts, we may all have to seek alternative sources for them.

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Housing minister Jenrick faces ‘resign’ demands after approving donor’s £1bn scheme

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he was also mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

The news seems to be full of stories alleging corruption by Tory minister. Does the Covid crisis mean they have nothing better to do?

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick is facing calls to resign after he admitted “unlawfully” signing off a 1,500-home development that saved a Tory Party donor millions of pounds.

The £1bn project on the former Westferry Printworks site on London’s Isle of Dogs was approved in January by Jenrick – a last-minute reprieve after the council and then the independent Planning Inspectorate both deciding it should be refused. They had said it lacked enough affordable housing and conflicted with local conservation policy.

But the housing secretary’s decision came just a day before Tower Hamlets Council approved a new rate for its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) – a move that would have increased the property owner’s financial liability to the local authority by between £30m and £50m.

That money would have been spent mitigating the impact of the development on the local area, and improving local services. Instead, thanks to Jenrick’s timing, it stayed in the pocket of the developer.

So this was a development proposal that did not meet planning conditions.

It did not provide enough affordable housing.

It conflicted with conservation policy.

It should not have been approved.

But Jenrick stepped in to do just that – and on the day before a new rule was imposed that would have compelled the developer to pay between £30-50 million that would have minimised any harmful impact on the Isle of Dogs.

The money would also have improved local services. All lost, due to this Tory minister’s intervention.

We need to ask who benefits from this decision?

The local authority? No.

People who need affordable housing? No.

The public? Certainly not!

The environment? Don’t make me laugh!

But the developer did.

The land is owned by publisher and former Tory donor Richard Desmond.

The local council – Tower Hamlets – began legal action in March, alleging that the timing of the decision appeared to show bias. It asked the High Court to order the government to disclose documents that, it argued, would show Jenrick was influenced by a desire to help Desmond save money by avoiding the charges.

Faced with the prospect of having to publicly release documents relating to the case, Jenrick accepted his decision letter was “unlawful by reason of apparent bias” and confirmed it was deliberately issued before the new CIL policy could be adopted. He agreed planning permission should be quashed and decided by a different minister.

So the minister admitted interfering in the planning process to grant planning permission to a development that should not have been allowed, and to save a developer connected with a Tory donor from paying extra costs.

This is not the standard of service the public should expect from a government minister.

Should he step down? Should he face disciplinary or legal proceedings for corruption?

Source: Robert Jenrick Faces Calls To Resign After ‘Unlawfully’ Approving Tory Donor’s £1bn Housing Project

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Did £100K in donations influence Newmarket MP Hancock to let horse racing restart?

Matt Hancock: did donations from equestrian businesses influence him to demand the restoration of horse racing?

Newmarket is a big equestrian centre and its MP is Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is deeply involved in the Tory government’s strategy to handle the Covid-19 crisis.

Hancock himself is a lover of horse-racing and once considered a career as a jockey, it seems.

He is said to have received £100,000 or more from horse racing businesses in the last year alone. It is easy enough to check this so I am happy to assume that Carole Cadwalladr (among others) has done so:

And horse racing resumes tomorrow (June 1).

Did those donations encourage Matt Hancock to influence government policy into allowing racing to resume? I don’t know.

It would be a clear case of corruption if they did.

There is a law, introduced by David Cameron’s Conservative-led government, that was said to be intended to ban the influencing of MPs by special interest groups with money to burn, but This Site and others reported at the time that it was mis-named and was in fact meant to reduce the influence of the Left.

Events will not be held in public so the only people at risk will be those who work in that particular industry.

We will need to monitor carefully what happens. If Covid-19 cases spike, then serious questions will have to be asked about the reasons this industry was allowed to resume business.

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Cummings scandal: Duffield right to resign for breaching lockdown; Labour MPs wrong to back her

Rosie Duffield: she broke lockdown to meet her married lover.

This is an open-and-shut case, isn’t it?

Rosie Duffield seems a nasty character. The Labour MP for Canterbury marched in the ‘lynch’ mob with Ruth Smeeth and others to have Marc Wadsworth ejected from the Labour Party in the kangaroo court that was his hearing before the party’s National Constitutional Committee.

She campaigned for Chris Williamson to get the same treatment from his kangaroo court (NCC) hearing.

Now she has been caught breaking lockdown – possibly more scandalously than Dominic Cummings – in travelling to meet her lover, who happens to be married. So she’s an adulteress. Shocking behaviour, and a terrible example to set – especially at a time when her party leader has been (rightly) criticising Cummings:

In contrast with Cummings, Duffield has done the right thing: she has resigned from her job as a Labour Whip. Here’s the reason it’s right:

The hypocrites in this situation are any Labour MPs who have voiced support for Ms Duffield, saying she shouldn’t quit, after spending more than a week saying Cummings had behaved appallingly and should quit.

That is the scandal in this story and Keir Starmer needs to take action before the tabloids use it to drag him down. And just when Labour was catching up with the Tories in the polls, too.

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POLL: as Boris passes the buck, would YOU send a child to school on June 1?

And now it seems he wants to kill some more: children may be more resistant to Covid-19 than many adults, but they are susceptible to a variant of Kawasaki disease. How many will be laid low by a stupid prime minister’s stupid decision to reopen schools a stupid amount of time too early?

Boris Johnson has refused to take responsibility for deciding what should happen if teachers don’t turn up when schools reopen on Monday.

In that case, he can hardly hope to impose any authority on parents – one would imagine.

Johnson announced on May 10 that he hoped to be able to reopen schools for Reception and Year 6 pupils at the beginning of June.

We all knew this meant schools would be reopening then, even if a second wave of Covid-19 infections had broken over the United Kingdom, causing chaos; he’d said it so he was damn well going to do it.

But little effort has been made to protect teachers or children from possible Covid-19 infection if they go back.

Regulations for teachers tell them that they must continue working if they are exposed to anyone with the virus, meaning they may then go on to infect all the children in their class and, via their colleagues, all the children in the other classes too.

Social distancing plans suggested by some schools have prompted ridicule from the people – not least because they rely on Reception-age children understanding that they need to stay two metres or more away from each other. Fat chance!

Given all of these failures, this poll may seem a forgone conclusion, but with only a day to go, it seems worth asking the question of everybody, whether you have a child to send back to school (and bear in mind that this affects England only) or not:

Downing Street suggested that teachers and other staff who refuse to turn up in schools over safety concerns will be a matter for heads to sort out.

Asked whether they would be deemed to be in breach of their terms of employment, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Head teachers I’m sure will be having conversations with their own staff in the usual way.

“The Education Secretary has been working very closely with schools and unions for the last 10 weeks. He met with the unions again yesterday.

“Our approach throughout this has been to work closely with schools, heads, and teachers’ representatives to ensure that we deliver a cautious and phased return in a safe way.

“But I’m sure head teachers will have been having discussions with individual teachers.”

Source: Number 10 dismisses teachers’ fears about returning to school as matter for heads – Mirror Online

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Coronavirus test and trace programme hit by further disasters on only its second day

This is going well, isn’t it?

Let me put it another way: it isn’t.

There are serious IT problems which mean contact tracers can’t use the dedicated “test and trace” website.

There isn’t enough work yet, meaning contact tracers are being paid for nothing – although they are being made to wait for it; payments have been unreasonably delayed or were for the wrong amount.

And they don’t even have dedicated team leaders to help them sort out these problems.

NHS workers in the scheme reported being unable to log into the new website, with staff saying they received a message saying a “critical incident” has been reported.

[Also:] “They’ve recruited all these people and there’s not enough work… launching this early was purely to try and dominate the news.

The tracer said she can see there are hundreds of contact tracer shifts available, commenting that, given there are no cases assigned to her, “I could book every day if I was that inclined and get money for sitting painting my nails!”

Another issue that contact tracers have told Sky News about is delayed pay.

One area of progress is that she now has been provided a number to talk to the team leaders but still has not been assigned a specific one for her.

Source: Coronavirus: Test and trace programme ‘hit by more problems’ on day two | UK News | Sky News

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UK electors flood MPs with criticism of Dominic Cummings scandal

Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson: we expect a higher standard from government than this shifty pair.

Congratulations to the Great British (and Northern Irish?) public for refusing to meekly accept the unacceptable from Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings.

They – we – expect a higher standard from our elected representatives.

If you haven’t written to your MP already – or if you have and fancy adding a bit more – you can do so by visiting Write To Them.

The furore over Dominic Cummings’ breach of lockdown rules has prompted tens of thousands of people to flood their MPs’ inboxes in what some described as the biggest outpouring since Brexit, a Guardian analysis has found.

As Boris Johnson tried to draw a line under the crisis involving his chief adviser, constituents across the country sent missives to their MPs, with many sharing stories of their own lockdown hardships.

A Guardian analysis covering 117 MPs found they have received a total of 31,738 emails since a joint Guardian and Daily Mirror investigation a week ago divulged that Cummings had travelled to County Durham and taken a trip to a beauty spot with his family after suffering coronavirus symptoms.

If that level of correspondence was reflected across all 650 MPs, it would suggest the revelations may have sparked as many as 180,000 items of correspondence. The numbers were either provided in response to the Guardian’s request for figures, or in statements MPs had released to constituents.

Source: Constituents bombard MPs with tens of thousands of emails over Dominic Cummings | Politics | The Guardian

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Spain approves Universal Basic Income – and it’s more than UK sick and disabled get

Universal Basic Income: the Spaniards are getting it (in Euros, obviously) – why can’t people in the UK have it?

Only a few weeks ago, Tories were delighting in claiming that no other nation had adopted a Universal Basic Income scheme in response to calls for the UK to adopt it during the Covid-19 crisis.

Now they can’t say that any more.

And the amount being provided to Spanish citizens will be more than people on the normal rate of Universal Credit, on Employment and Support Allowance, or on the lowest rate of Personal Independence Payment (if I recall correctly) – around £95 per week.

If anyone is wondering how we reached a point where Spain supports its people better than the UK, just remember we’ve had more than 40 years of right-wing governments and they have laid us low.

Spain’s cabinet has approved the creation of a national minimum income, according to a government spokesperson.

Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a news conference on Friday the creation of a minimum income worth €462 (£416.92) a month will target some 850,000 households or 2.5 million people.

The government would pay the monthly stipend and top up existing revenue for people earning less so that they receive at least that minimum amount every month, he said.

Source: Spain approves national minimum income scheme | The Independent

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Durham police may face inquiry into handling of Cummings case; is this the reason?

It seems Boris Johnson isn’t the only one who can’t put Dominic Cummings’s Durham trip behind him.

The local constabulary has fallen foul of the general public:

Durham police is facing a possible inquiry into its handling of the Dominic Cummings saga after complaints were passed to its internal investigation team.

The force has received a number of complaints from members of the public angry at the way it dealt with Boris Johnson’s aide over his travels during lockdown.

Durham police said it believed the special adviser probably did break lockdown rules by embarking on a 52-mile round trip to the town of Barnard Castle with his wife and son on her birthday.

Officers might have intervened to send him home had they caught him on the trip on 12 April, or fined him if he refused, the report said.

Its investigation also concluded that Cummings did not break health protection regulations by making the 260-mile trip to Durham with his son and wife, who had coronavirus symptoms, though it made no finding in relation to the “stay at home” government guidance.

The force’s findings have been met with anger in some quarters, prompting several emailed complaints which were then passed on to its professional standards department as is protocol.

The nature of the complaints is not known.

Is it possible that the force has been accused of favouritism – of according Cummings a privilege not provided to others?

I mention this merely because of the following:

Durham police issued fines to two people – from different households – who travelled together from London to County Durham during lockdown.

The two individuals fined by the force travelled to nearby Peterlee.

The BBC is seeking further details from Durham Constabulary about the two individuals who were fined for travelling from London to Peterlee, about 13 miles east of Durham, on 8 April, a week after Mr Cummings made his trip.

So, they fined these two people for travelling a similar distance up from London, after Cummings made his journey – but they decided not to fine Cummings or take any other action against him?

The question is simple: Why?

I fear we know the answer.

Source: Durham police facing possible inquiry into handling of Cummings case | Politics | The Guardian

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https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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