Monthly Archives: January 2024

Is this how the Tories hope to win this year’s general election?

We laugh because it’s funny – but it might be true:

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​Tory minister quit as he ‘couldn’t afford mortgage hike’. How does he think WE feel?

George Freeman MP: has it not occurred to him that, if he can’t make ends meet because of high mortgage interest rates, people on lower pay might be in an even worse situation?

Can anything demonstrate how out-of-touch the Tories in government are, as well as this?

A senior Tory MP has admitted resigning from Government because he couldn’t afford a hike in his mortgage payments on his £118,000 salary.

George Freeman quit as Science Minister in November saying “the time has come for me to focus on my health, family wellbeing and life beyond the frontbench”. But writing on his blog just days ago he complained that his monthly mortgage repayments had more than doubled.

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Millions of people have been hit with higher mortgage costs after the economic carnage caused by Liz Truss’s mini-Budget sent interest rates soaring. Around 1.6 million homeowners are due to come off fixed-rate deals this year and face considerable hikes in their monthly repayments.

From what form of insanity are Tories like Freeman suffering?

They know their policies – intentionally or not – pushed interest rates through the roof, and that included interest on mortgages.

So they knew that people were going to be paying more – including, if they had mortgages, them.

If they can’t shoulder the extra burden on a ministerial salary of more than £100,000, how do they expect people on average pay of around £30,000 to cope?

Now that Freeman has felt the pinch, though, one might hope that he would have used his position to lobby for more to be done to help mortgage-holders cope.

Alas, no. Freeman has simply cleared off to the back benches – and possibly to a second, third, fourth (or whatever) job, which he maytake because he can. The rest of us don’t have the same options.

We have to conclude that MPs like Freeman just don’t care – and we need to remember that when the next election comes around.

Source: ​Tory MP quit as minister as he ‘couldn’t afford mortgage hike on £118,000 salary’ – Mirror Online


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Water boss bonuses show privatisation is a gravy train for the greedy

Rivers of Shit: Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to think about the details of his Brexit, and now the UK is suffering shortages of materials including those used to clean sewage. So partially-cleaned and harmful crap is going directly into our rivers.

This is the second half of the privatisation scam.

Back on January 25, This Site explained how privatising governments like the Tories give themselves an excuse to sell national assets like water, electricity and railways into private hands.

They do this by de-funding the service to ensure that it cannot employ the right people, buy the right equipment and/or accommodate demand.

The aim is to make people angry at the public service, so they demand privatisation – or at least accept it when it is proposed.

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But what happens after a service is privatised?

This:

Water company bosses have received over £25m in bonuses and incentives since the last general election, according to analysis by Labour.

The analysis found that nine water chief executives were paid £10m in bonuses, £14m in incentives and £603,580 in benefits since 2019.

It comes amid outrage over illegal sewage dumping, with water firms in England seeking to hike customers’ bills by an extra £156 a year to invest in Britain’s Victorian infrastructure.

The blatant greed is staggering in the flagrancy of the insult to bill-payers.

Instead of using the money paid for the service to provide it, shareholders and executives take it for themselves and then (in the case of water firms, literally) flush that service down the drain.

And then they demand more money, under the pretence that they’ll use it to fix the problems they have created.

You’d have to be a fool to believe that one. So what do you think the Tories are planning to do?

And, come to think of it…

What do you think of the plan by both Tories and Labour to increase privatisation of the health service?

Source: Water bosses have received £25m in bonuses since last election, Labour says | Politics News | Sky News


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IDF troops invade West Bank hospital to murder three patients

So much for Israel’s regard for International Humanitarian Law.

It is a violation of International Humanitarian Law for armed military personnel to raid a hospital, which is a protected area and is never to be considered a military target.

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It is also a violation of International Humanitarian Law for those personnel to disguise themselves in order to carry out such a raid.

Finally, the victims of the executions were all receiving treatment at the hospital as patients; in other words, they were using it for its proper purpose. That means Israel can’t even justify the attack by claiming the hospital was being used as a military base (which would have made it a reasonable military target, which it wasn’t).

And how do Israel and its mouthpieces respond to the international wave of revulsion that greeted its unprovoked and unwarranted attack?

See:

The only even slightly useful element to arise from this shameful stain on the people of Israel (why do they allow their government and military to behave like this? Aren’t they a democracy?) is the fact that it happened in the West Bank, not Gaza.

This demonstrates to the world that Israel is grinding its military boots down on all of Palestine, not just Gaza. No Palestinian is safe from these genocidal goons with guns.

Of course, Israel needs to demonstrate that it supports International Humanitarian Law in order to conform with the directions laid down by the International Court of Justice in its ruling of January 25.

I’d say that’s going to be a major fail.


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Why is the DUP returning to power-sharing in NI assembly if nothing has changed?

Return to Stormont? Chris Heaton-Harris (left), the Northern Ireland Secretary, seems to have done a deal with DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson.

The Democratic Unionist Party has apparently agreed to resume its power-sharing deal in the Northern Ireland Assembly, even though none of the objections to post-Brexit trade rules over which its members walked out seem to have been addressed.

The DUP quit the Stormont assembly nearly two years ago, in protest at the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol for post-Brexit trade that would put a border between the Province and the rest of the United Kingdom.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak proposed a new deal, called the Windsor Framework, last year. This adopted a suggestion from the European Union that ‘Green’ and ‘Red’ lanes be set up at borders.

There would be a ‘Green Lane’ for goods going into NI, and they won’t be checked, while goods going through the province and into the Republic (or the other way, and into the UK) will be subject to customs procedures.

And the DUP didn’t like it – so Stormont remained closed for business.

Now, after talks with NI Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has announced that a deal has been reached.

But nothing seems to have changed!

Heaton-Harris has said full details of the deal won’t be available until all-party talks are finalised, and it contains “significant” changes.

However, according to the BBC:

“Not one word of the Northern Ireland Protocol has been altered, and that means Northern Ireland remains under the EU’s customs code, and that means Great Britain continues to be regarded, in law, as a foreign country when it comes to trade.”

He tells gathered reporters: “Under the protocol there are hundreds of EU laws that we do not make and cannot change.”

He points out that those laws which shape NI’s goods economy are “identical” to those that govern the goods economy of the Republic of Ireland.

He says it’s all a “tawdry climbdown by the DUP on their own tests which have not been met” and accuses the party of “accepting foreign law”.

This Writer suspects that the change of heart may be partly to do with one aspect of the ‘Windsor Framework’ deal that Sunak mentioned when he announced it last year.

He said the Northern Ireland Assembly would decide whether the ‘Windsor Framework’ should be supported, in 2024.

This means, I think, that if the DUP wishes to oppose it, there needs to be a functioning Assembly, and if that party continues to refuse to take up its seats there, stopping it from working, then government of Northern Ireland goes back to Westminster, which will support the new deal.

Either way, it seems the DUP is checkmated because the Assembly will probably back it.

So the reasoning may be that it is better to go back to Stormont, debate the deal there and see what can be negotiated than to let the Tory government in Westminster make the decision and be forced to live with it.

But I’m prepared to be wrong.

We’ll find out, when the details are published.


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ASLEF’s Mick Whelan schools ignorant Tory minister on reasons for rail strike

Train drivers with the trade union ASLEF are on strike again this week (January 30 – February 5) as they enter a third year of dispute with 14 privatised rail operators.

The strikes have affected train operators including Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, Great Northern, GTR Thameslink, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line.

They have caused widespread disruption, and passengers have been advised to check with their respective train operators for the latest updates on the situation.

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Drivers are stopping work region-by-region over the course of the week, couple with a nine-day ban on overtime that started on January 29 and will end on February 6.

Amazingly, the Tory government’s ministerial mouthpiece on the morning media round today (Tuesday, January 30) claimed he did not know why drivers were on strike:

ASLEF’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, explained why this might be, when he said neither the government nor the train operating firms had engaged with the union for a year.

In a Sky News TV interview, he added:

The government and rail firms say they have offered to raise average pay for drivers from £60,000 to £65,000 per year. That’s an increase of 8 1/3 per cent on the pay rate five years ago, which strikes This Writer as low – for example, MP salaries increased by 12 per cent in the five years between 2018 and 2023.

But which side will have public sympathy, in a country where the national mass media are rich businesspeople’s lapdogs?


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Angela Rayner in trouble AGAIN over Labour’s terrible attitude to the Gaza genocide

Angela Rayner: in trouble and she knows it.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has again been challenged over her party’s – and her own – failure to demand an end to hostilities between Israel and the people of Gaza.

As the number of innocent people who have been killed in the enclave rises toward 30,000, Rayner told interviewers on ITV’s Good Morning Britain that she would do “everything I possibly could” to stop the slaughter.

Sadly, “everything I possibly could” did not include voting to demand a ceasefire when that motion was put before Parliament. In the interview, Rayner agreed with Richard Madeley’s claim that it would be an empty gesture: “It’s not going to make it happen.”

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She dodged questioning about the fact that she had to be escorted by police out of a Labour fundraising event in Stockport after pro-Palestine protesters accused her of standing by while thousands died.

And of course the fact that Rishi Sunak has said the whole of the UK stands by Israel (we don’t), and Labour leader Keir Starmer backed him up to the hilt, went unmentioned.

And then – what about this?

For context: over the weekend, MP Kate Osamor was suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party for expressing the opinion that what is happening in Gaza is a genocide. If the official line is that Labour leaders “don’t know” whether a genocide is happening, then that should not have happened; Ms Osamor has a right to her opinion.

Instead, she is out of the (Parliamentary) party, Labour refuses to support calls for Israel to stop murdering innocent Palestinians and party leader Keir Starmer endorses Rishi Sunak’s claim that everybody in the UK wants Israel to carry on killing – while denying that there is any evidence of genocide.

There will be a general election soon. How can anybody vote for this Labour Party when it is nothing but a gang of genocide deniers?


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See how national governments ignore the International Court of Justice when it suits them

This is what a holocaust looks like (or at least one interpretation): and as the artist intends, it might accurately refer to what Israel is visiting upon Gaza now. The International Court of Justice agrees that a genocide may be taking place but some national governments have chosen to ignore this. Who do they think they are?

After the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel may have been committing genocide in Gaza, national governments have been queueing up… to deny it.

Here are a few examples I’ve found:

Here’s the editor of the Jewish Chronicle being debunked:

There were probably loads of these loonies popping out of the woodworking to deny the genocide that many of us can recognise going on before our eyes.

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Fortunately, there are those who can see that the ICJ’s ruling has been a huge blow to the credibility of the genocidal regime in Israel. Here’s South Africa’s Ronnie Kasrils, who was nothing to do with the submission to the court, but knows a few things about fighting an apartheid-based government:

Some have said South Africa was mistaken in its submission, but most of us are with Martin Shaw, below – aren’t we?

But with a national government that supports Israel and is apparently (even if only tacitly) cheerleading the Gaza genocide, what can be done in the UK to support moves to stop Israel from causing more harm?

Well…

Probably not. But it’s worth asking – and This Writer will try to keep the pressure up.


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How can our politicians commemorate past Holocausts while denying what’s happening now?

Remembrance: A woman and a man at the memorial plaque at Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar, Germany. Would they approve of the widespread decision to ignore what’s happening in Gaza right now?

Holocaust Remembrance Day happened on Saturday, by the way. Did you miss it?

For the last few years, this event has been a big deal because it was a chance for right-wing nutjobs to lay into Jeremy Corbyn (yes, even after he stopped being Labour leader) – but now it should have gathered added significance because of the situation in Gaza that the International Court of Justice has said may be a genocide.

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However…

There have been messages. Here’s Rishi Sunak’s:

And this is from Keir Starmer:

Neither of them mentioned Gaza at all.

In fact, rather than raise awareness that Israel’s military action in Gaza may be a genocide, Sunak has ordered airstrikes on the Houthis in Yemen who have been blockading the Red Sea in order to hinder Israel’s economic ability to continue – and Starmer has supported him (because they both value money over lives).

So…

Some of our politicians have been challenged on their attitudes:

Starmer was also challenged:

Sadly, when Kate Osamor did mention Gaza in her Holocaust Remembrance Day post, Starmer and Labour suspended her membership of the Parliamentary party.

Still, we can get something useful out of it.

If you feel like it, get on the social media and look up your own political representatives – MPs, AMs, councillors, whoever – and see what they’ve said (if anything) to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Then, if you supported them in the past, tell us if you’ll support them in the future.


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What really caused the inflation crisis? Here’s Gary to explain why rich people have your money

The real cause of inflation: the super-rich sucked up government cash that was given out to keep working- and middle-class people alive during the Covid crisis – by being the providers of the services and supplies everybody else needed. But that was a crisis and it should be time to normalise the situation. Why won’t politicians do it?

According to Gary Stevenson, governments like those in the UK and US caused the post-Covid inflation crisis by giving away thousands of pounds to keep us all going when the economy was locked down.

The problem was that those of us who normally work for a living had to then use that money to pay our bills (that’s not including This Writer; I just carried on writing Vox Political all the way through and lived on the money I earned from it, plus savings – those were happier days) while the rich, who issue the bills that we have to pay, just sucked up all the cash.

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They then started using that cash to buy what they could – not luxury items, because they were forbidden from doing it due to the shutdown of the economy, but so-called economic assets like houses. This stopped the rest of us from being able to buy them by keeping prices high – as Gary has discussed in previous clips.

Notice: he doesn’t say there was anything wrong with governments spending the money in the way they did; people needed cash to survive and it was inevitable that providing it to them from the Treasury, rather than the economy, would increase the national debt and massively increase wealth inequality between the poor who spent the cash and the rich who received it.

But because the circumstances were extraordinary, and the result was an unbalanced economy (increased inequality), the government should then have taken action to re-balance the economy by using the levers available to it to re-distribute the wealth.

It should have taxed the money back off the rich. Logically, the government could have got away with calling it a windfall tax because that’s what it would have been.

That hasn’t happened.

And neither of the ‘Big Two’ political parties – Labour and the Conservatives – are even considering such a rebalancing of the economy. Instead, they are both planning to bake it into our lives for a long time to come.

So we can say that Labour and the Tories both intend to increase wealth for the richest and poverty and debt for everybody else – and that includes those of you who are middle-class, sitting there smugly thinking you’ll be all right (you won’t).

There’s only one answer, but This Writer doubts many people will take it up.

You have to think for yourself.

That’s right; you have to get details of the political plans of every candidate standing in your constituency in the general election and you have to work out which of them – if any – intend to re-balance the economy to prevent us all falling into this debt trap.

How do you fancy that?

And politicians? Here’s a challenge for you:

Are you going to produce manifesto commitments to tax the money back off the super-rich – who don’t need it, remember – and re-balance the economy or are you too scared of them to dare upsetting them?


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