Daily Archives: May 23, 2020

Hypocrisy: Will Tories try to force parents to send kids to schools, after supporting Cummings?

Unreasonable: plans like this for social distancing in schools simply won’t work. Parents, teachers and unions are right to refuse to participate in this nonsense and Tories will find it hard to criticise them after supporting Dominic Cummings’s decision to take his children to Durham, allegedly to protect them.

Here’s a great scenario from a commenter to Vox Political on Facebook:

Tory: Dominic Cummings was only trying to protect his 4-year old child. Every parent has a right to make common sense decisions for their children.

Parent: I don’t want my 4-year old child to go to reception class.

Tory: Irresponsible parent, how could you keep them at home! Send them to school!

It’s a good point.

No evidence has been provided to show that children (and therefore their parents and any other adults they meet) will be entirely safe from Covid-19 at school.

But the Tories have slammed parents who said they’ll keep their kids away from schools in order to protect them.

Now, backing up Cummings, they have hypocritically claimed that parents have every right to protect their children.

Pathetic.

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Independent Group for Change’s financial records were destroyed

Anna Soubry: she was leader of Change UK at the end, while her partner was Treasurer.

Remember Change UK, the company-pretending-to-be-a-political-party that went through multiple name-changes in its short life?

Well, it seems the auditor handling the wind-up has discovered irregularities.

Will anything come of it – prosecutions? Doubtful.

Should prosecutions happen? Hard to tell.

Politicians seem to get away with so much these days, it’s impossible to tell whether they’re innocent of wrongdoing or not.

Staff at the Independent Group for Change, the disbanded party established by centrist MPs in 2019, “inappropriately destroyed” financial records, a report by its auditors has found.

According to the auditors, documents including bank statements and files recording details of donations to the party were destroyed by former members of staff. None of the documents, auditors said, could be “satisfactorily reconstructed”.

The report, contained in accounts filed at Companies House on Friday, said the loss of the documents had limited the scope of the auditor’s review of the party’s finances.

Source: Independent Group for Change’s financial records were destroyed | Politics | The Guardian

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Sunak wants employers to pay a quarter of furloughed staff wages from August

Rishi Sunak: is he opening the door for employers to exploit their staff?

Funny how this story comes out when everybody’s talking about Dominic Cummings instead, isn’t it?

This Writer has said before that employers won’t pay – most probably because they can’t afford it.

But here’s a thought. Will employees go back to their old jobs, after being callously laid off over coronavirus?

And if they will, will employers try to get them to do it for lower pay?

I think it’s a definite possibility.

Employers will be expected to pay at least a fifth of the wages of furloughed staff from August, it is claimed.

The Treasury is said to be considering asking businesses to cover between 20% and 30% of staff wages.

Companies may also be told to cough up for national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5% of people’s wages, according to The Times.

Source: Employers may have to pay 25% of furloughed staff wages from August | Metro News

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Tories who laughed off Cummings’ Durham visit now have to explain his SECOND trip

Dominic Cummings: he took a second trip to Durham, breaking lockdown rules again.

After the Conservative government spent all day protesting that Dominic Cummings wasn’t wrong to drive all the way to Durham if it was to protect his children from Covid-19, it has emerged that he was seen there AGAIN, days after he had returned to London.

And there’s no excuse this time!

This is from the Mirror:

Dominic Cummings is under huge pressure to explain TWO trips which defied lockdown rules HE helped draw up.

Boris Johnson’s top aide was spotted in Houghall Woods a fortnight after the first sighting.

He was first spotted in Durham on April 5 while self isolating with the coronavirus.

A return to London saw him back at work on April 14. But by April 19 he was back in Durham.

On the second visit, fellow walkers spotted Mr Cummings at the local beauty spot.

Downing Street – and multiple ministers who should all resign with Cummings – spent all of May 23 claiming that it was entirely within lockdown rules for Cummings to have driven 260 miles from London to Durham.

They said because he was trying to protect his children from Covid-19 it was fine for him to take a house near his parents’ (I think this has yet to be verified) for the 14-day period of his self-isolation.

That’s interesting, because… well, look:

You might say, “That’s okay because the kids didn’t stay with the grandparents after all,” but…

Now consider this, if you can stand the hypocrisy:

So it seems that the most accurate thing to be said about the government’s attitude is this:

Also:

That’s right: Downing Street knew Cummings had left London and lied about his location.

Of course, even though he doesn’t think they count for him, Cummings is happy to inflict lockdown rules on others:

So Cummings, Boris Johnson, his ministers, Downing Street and any journalists who defended them are all mired in a mess of lies, rule-breaking and hypocrisy from which they cannot extricate themselves.

They’ll laugh it off and ignore it because the people of the UK decided to give them a massive 80-seat Parliamentary majority in the last election.

So it is our public duty not to let them.

Source: Dominic Cummings ignored coronavirus lockdown rules for SECOND time to visit parents – Mirror Online

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Will the Tories answer my question about Dominic Cummings?

I have submitted a question to the Tory government, for its representative to answer during the daily briefing. You can read it above.

For those who can’t read image files well, it says: “Given the support offered by government ministers to Dominic Cummings after he travelled 260 miles to visit his family when he should have been self-isolating, would it have been permissible for all the other families in a similar situation to have made journeys to be with their own families? If so, why was this not explained to us? And if not, then aren’t Mr Cummings and all the ministers who supported him acting irresponsibly? Should they not reconsider their positions as members of the government?”

In fairness, I may have submitted it a little late to be in today’s (May 23) briefing.

But do you think I’m ever likely to get an answer?

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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Why does Dominic Cummings still have his job after breaking lockdown rules?

Dominic Cummings: he thinks he’s above the law that governs the rest of us. Shame on the Tory ministers  – and the BBC journalist – who have supported him.

Let’s get this clear: after contracting Covid-19, Boris Johnson’s closest advisor, Dominic Cummings, broke lockdown rules and travelled 260 miles to the Durham home of his parents who, being elderly, are more vulnerable to death caused by the disease. Police investigated his appearance there but the whole event was hushed up and Cummings’ journalist wife later (falsely) reported emerging from isolation into the London lockdown.

So Cummings – and his entire family, it seems – unilaterally decided that the rules for the rest of the United Kingdom didn’t apply to him (as his boss, Johnson, had done in the past).

He broke the rules on self-isolation.

He broke the rules banning long-distance travel.

He endangered his own parents.

He distracted police officers, who had to abandon their other duties to investigate his irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.

And everybody involved lied to the public about it – including Downing Street and Johnson in particular, who would have known exactly where Cummings was at all times.

He has to go.

This is the man who, we’re told, advocated the “herd immunity” strategy that Johnson supported until mid-March, meaning tens of thousands more people died as a result of this poor decision-making than would have done otherwise.

It seems that, rather than obey the new rules, this man decided to spit on them. Anybody who supports his position is doing the same:

Oh, but wait! It seems some people – like Downing Street and BBC politics editor Laura Kuenssberg – are saying that he didn’t break the guidelines!

A Downing Street statement runs as follows [with my comments in bold]:

“Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for.” In the same way that the families of infected people across the country needed proper care? They were told to self-isolate, in their homes, with their children. What makes Cummings think he’s special?

“His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed.” The family members were wrong to volunteer their help, which was against the guidelines. It doesn’t matter if he went to a house near his family, rather than staying with them – travelling 260 miles during lockdown was prohibited.

“His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside.” This would have been fine if Mr Cummings’s London home had been within reasonable travelling distance from hers. It wasn’t, so it wasn’t.

“At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported.” This is a lie:

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “On Tuesday, March 31, our officers were made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city.

“Officers made contact with the owners of that address who confirmed that the individual in question was present and was self-isolating in part of the house.

“In line with national policing guidance, officers explained to the family the guidelines around self-isolation and reiterated the appropriate advice around essential travel”.

Several days later on April 5, a neighbour of Mr Cummings’ parents, Robert and Morag, claims they spotted him outside the property while passing for their daily exercise .

“His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines.” They were not – and Ms Kuenssberg has also been swatted down over this:

Nevertheless, Tory ministers have been lining up to support Cummings’s position – which only demonstrates that they, too, should be drummed out of their positions. He was irresponsible and dangerous, and in supporting him, so are they.

They are:

Dominic Raab (“Caring for your wife and child is not a crime.”) If it involves breaking the lockdown, it really is!

Michael Gove (“Dom and Mary’s journey was necessary and therefore within rules. What’s also necessary is not attacking a man and his family for decisions taken at a time of great stress and worry, the fear of death and concern for a child. This isn’t a story for the normal political shitkickery.”) A lie, followed by an appeal to emotion. But what if everybody else in the country had done the same?

Rishi Sunak (“Taking care of your wife and young child is justifiable and reasonable, trying to score political points over it isn’t.”) So, again, he would have been happy for members of the general public to fill up our roads and motorways, breaking the lockdown to unload their children on relatives, possibly spreading the virus (which doesn’t make itself apparent for around 14 days, remember)?

And Robert Halfon (“Ill couple drive 260+ miles to ensure that their small child can be looked after properly. In some quarters this is regarded as crime of the century. Is this really the kind of country we are?”) Taking those comments in turn: if they were ill, they had no right to travel anywhere. Nobody is regarding it as the “crime of the century”, but it is hugely irresponsible and dangerous behaviour by a government representative. And no – it isn’t the kind of country we are; it’s the kind of government we’re unfortunate enough to have.

Perhaps the clearest reason for Cummings to be removed is given in this response to the question, “What kind of a man goes to visit his ‘elderly parents’ when sick with an illness that disproportionately targets the old?”

Source: Dominic Cummings investigated by police after breaking coronavirus lockdown rules – Mirror Online

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Riley launches pointless ‘strike-out’ bid against Mike’s libel defence. Please help defeat it!

Countdown: the clock is ticking but I have no idea how soon Ms Riley’s pointless application to strike out parts of my libel defence will be heard in court. I only know that defending against it will cost a lot of money.

Rachel Riley is dragging me back to court with an attempt to “strike out” some of my defences against her libel claims.

Even if she succeeds in any way (this is unlikely), the application to a High Court judge is procedurally pointless because it is unlikely to narrow down any of the arguments or evidence at trial.

It seems the intention is merely to delay the actual trial and run down the funds that you have so generously donated to help me refute her claims.

(Yet again we see that her case is most strongly based on the fact that she has more money than me and can afford to waste it – and time – on this nonsense, rather than on any factual evidence.)

I knew it might happen. Her legal team advised me that she was planning this move – but I responded with a quite detailed letter explaining why their arguments were not valid.

They have not engaged with any of the points I made; in fact it seems unlikely they even read the letter in any detail as their response makes inaccurate claims.

So now I must prepare for another unnecessary and expensive court hearing – this one likely to last a whole day – because of Ms Riley’s (in my opinion) vexatious behaviour.

And I have to go back to you and ask for more help to pay for it, when you’ve only just made a brilliant response to my last appeal. I was stunned by the generosity of contributions, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis that has squeezed everybody’s finances, and I want to put my appreciation on the record.

The good news is that the “strike out” hearing is unlikely to happen in the immediate future; the bad news is I don’t know exactly when it will be, so I cannot plan a funding campaign of any length for it.

I can only make the same appeal as ever. So, please:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via my own CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

I’m sitting here seething while I’m writing these words.

I think it is outrageous that Riley is doing this right after you have already contributed so much – and when it is hard for any of us to contribute more. It confirms my opinion that this case has absolutely nothing to do with justice.

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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