Category Archives: Pollution

Was Tory crackdown on protest really prompted by this oil-funded think tank?

Targeted: Extinction Rebellion members – here protesting at a Murdoch print works – were briefly defined as an extremist group. Although they have now been removed from the list, Home Secretary Priti Patel has continued to refer to climate protesters as “criminals”.

A Tory crackdown on legal political protest was devised by a right-wing think tank that is funded by the US fossil fuel corporation ExxonMobil, it has been alleged.

And it is easy to see the reason: it removes the right of ordinary citizens to protest against the climate-wrecking policies followed by the oil industry.

According to Open Democracy,

Policy Exchange explicitly said the government should pass legislation to target Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a 2019 report that got the attention of Tory MPs and peers.

The report called for protest laws to be “urgently reformed in order to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”.

Sections of Priti Patel’s controversial policing bill, which became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, appear directly inspired by the Policy Exchange report.

The Policy Exchange report that appears to have contained the seeds of the policing bill was later cited in the House of Commons by Tory MP Steve Baker, who urged ministers to read it, and in the Lords by Tory peer Matt Ridley. Baker is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group that has received money from groups with oil interests in the US. Ridley is a member of the group’s academic advisory council.

Patel said openly that the legislation was intended to stop tactics used by Extinction Rebellion. The home secretary first pledged to introduce the bill just over a year after the Policy Exchange report was published.

Policy Exchange does not disclose its donors, but openDemocracy has uncovered that ExxonMobil Corporation donated $30,000 to its American fundraising arm in 2017.

There is much more information on the Open Democracy site (link below).

Circumstantial evidence?

Maybe – but then it isn’t likely that the Conservative Party, Policy Exchange and ExxonMobil are ever going to admit conspiring to silence legitimate political protest.

Source: Policy Exchange: Was oil-funded think tank behind anti-XR policing bill? | openDemocracy

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Back to coal says Johnson as energy crisis puts carbon-zero plan on indefinite hold

Carry on polluting: Boris Johnson’s – and Tory in general – short-sightedness means coal-fired power plants will remain open for the foreseeable future. He’s blackmailing us by saying it’s that or power cuts when winter comes.

How fortuitous for fossil fuel profiteers.

Boris Johnson’s government has ordered Britain’s last coal-fired power plants to remain open this winter after predictions warned up to six million households could be affected by power cuts.

The excuse is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it’s really because successive Tory governments since 2010 have ignored renewable energy sources in favour of helping fossil fuel corporations maintain their profits by stinking up the country with their greenhouse gas pollutants.

Downing Street confirmed a request had been made to keep coal power plants running, which had been scheduled to wind down operations by the autumn.

The move has raised questions about whether plans to slash carbon emissions were still on track, as the heavily polluting fuel source had been due to be phased out.

A Government spokesman has said it was still committed to ending coal power use by 2024.

Yeah, right. And what excuse will they use when 2024 rolls around and it still hasn’t been turned off?

Source: Government sneaks out bad news under the cover of the Queen’s Jubilee

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Is this really what the Tories call URGENT action to curb river pollution?

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

How can the Tory government claim to be taking “urgent” action to curb river pollution when its targets are 13 and 28 years away?

Are we all expected to put up with being hip-deep in human waste in the meantime?

According to Environment Secretary George “Useless” Eustice, he’s taking “urgent” action to cut the “most damaging” overflows into rivers and the sea by 75 per cent – by 2035, with all discharges cut by 80 per cent by 2050.

If that’s “urgent” action, I’d hate to think what “Useless” describes as inconsequential!

Eustice said the government was investing £7 billion until 2025 to upgrade sewage infrastructure but admitted water bills will rise by about £12 a year to cover costs beyond that.

Didn’t the Thatcher Tory government of the 1980s, in its push to privatise water, say that bills would be cheaper and private firms would upgrade infrastructure using their profits? Yes, it did.

So why are we paying for it, in money provided by the government and directly through our own bills?

Some background: last autumn, the Tory government gave polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea, after it turned out that Brexit had closed the UK’s borders to chemicals that are used to treat effluent.

The Conservatives followed this up by defeating Lords Amendment 45 to the then Environment Bill, which would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.

One Conservative, This Writer’s MP Fay Jones, said the amendment would have forced taxpayers to stump up £600 billion to “dig up” and modernise the UK’s sewer system, that has remained unchanged since Victorian times (apparently).

She then blocked responses that requested a breakdown of the figures. Considering her party is now saying £7 billion will cover the work, with an increase in bills to fund further costs, I think it’s fair to say that she overinflated the figures somewhat.

Mind you, she’s not the only one who seems to have – inadvertently? – misled the public. On October 25 last year, The Big Issue published a tweet, and an article, reporting that the water companies were saying they did not know how much sewage they were dumping into England’s rivers because the technology did not exist to monitor it.

But new data released on Thursday showed that in 2021, there were more than 372,000 spill events from from storm overflows, which release untreated sewage and rainwater into the environment to ease pressure on the system.

The Environment Agency said it has made water companies fit monitors to their storm overflows in order to capture information on how they are performing. 2021 was the second year the organisation published figures so it seems the firms were being economical with the facts.

And the facts are that we are being forced to live in our own effluent – along with muck imported from the Netherlands, due to EU restrictions on what can be dumped there – while water companies that are mostly owned by foreign governments coin it in.

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#AndyBurnham hammers Tory hypocrisy

Andy Burnham: he’s Mayor of Greater Manchester and he knows the reasons for every political policy being enacted there.

Here’s a great clip highlighting the Conservative government’s hypocrisy towards local government.

It’s from last Thursday’s (February 17) edition of the BBC’s Question Time. The issue here is Clean Air Zones (CAZs) but could be applied to any number of local policies, as Mr Burnham rightly states in the video.

Have a look, and a listen:

So the Conservative government imposed a requirement for local authorities to improve air quality – but it did not supply the necessary funding, and it has been campaigning against the measures that have been introduced under the conditions it created.

Rank hypocrisy. It stinks.

With local elections coming up in May, we should be asking questions about these policies.

Do you have a local issue that upsets you – in which you think conditions imposed by the authorities are unfair?

Do you know which authorities imposed those conditions? Were they brought in by local councillors or imposed by a central government that made extravagant demands but provided no help?

If so, you’ll know that the one thing you don’t need at local government level is a lot of Conservative councillors who will make matters worse.

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#PritiPatel’s #NewYearResolution is to direct her hate at individual groups – like #ecoprotesters

Vile.

Priti Patel – who, please remind yourself, is actually the UK’s Home Secretary and not a lunatic screaming from the social media sidelines – has released a video announcing her intentions for the New Year.

It’s ugly propaganda.

In part of it, she announces an intention to clamp down on eco-protest. This comes after the government that she represents pushed through a legal change that allows water companies to pump raw, untreated sewage containing human waste, condoms, tampons and who-knows-what-else into the UK’s waterways.

Her speech may be directed at people like Insulate Britain but you can be sure she’ll use new laws to attack anybody who dares to question the Tories’ right to fill the whole of the UK with their sh*t.

Here’s a quick video summary I did on TikTok (still testing what I can do):

@voxpolitical

#PritiPatel plans clampdown on #eco protest after government voted to dump #rawsewage into UK waterways.

♬ original sound – VoxPolitical

(Apologies to those who want subtitles but I still haven’t worked them out yet.)

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Johnson’s green credibility is blown; he flew back to London for meal WITH CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER

Not the Garrick Club dinner: you can bet Boris Johnson wasn’t drinking water (if that’s really what it was in this pic) at the booze-up with climate denier Lord Moore on Tuesday.

So much for all that nonsense Number 10 was spouting about Boris Johnson’s plane being super-green and its carbon footprint being negated.

It turns out he couldn’t catch a train back to London from COP26 because he was going to a meal with a climate change denier and wanted to get there on time.

Downing Street also said “time constraints” prevented Johnson from travelling by train – and this is clearly more true than all that crap about the environment.

According to the Mirror, Johnson left COP26 at 6.20pm on Tuesday, arriving at London Stansted at 7.16pm.

The train journey would have taken four and a half hours – meaning he would have been very late for the flash dinner reunion for Daily Telegraph journalists, including former editor Lord Charles Moore, who once said the climate crisis was “speculation”.

So there you have it.

After falling asleep at the major meeting to stop climate armageddon – maskless, thereby polluting the atmosphere around national treasure David Attenborough…

He took a plane – the more polluting option, no matter what Downing Street says (have those carbon-offsetting trees been planted yet?)…

And spent the evening at a slap-up meal in the Garrick Club with a self-confessed climate denier.

What a hypocritical puff of hot air.

Source: Boris Johnson took private jet from Cop26 to dine with climate sceptic at members’ club | The Independent

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Tory ban on foreign mineral water means we must drink our own that is polluted with sewage

This is the plan by Boris ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ Johnson, isn’t it?

It certainly seems suspicious that, having ensured that so much water in the UK is undrinkable, the government should order that we cannot have bottled water from a foreign country, meaning that we can only drink the stuff they’ve filled with sewage.

And that is what has happened. The ban will be enforced from January 2022:

The decision was taken before the Lords forced the government to promise that it will force water companies to make a “progressive reduction” in the sewage it dumps in rivers, remember.

Ah, but now we have that promise, don’t we?

Yes, but it doesn’t mean much.

Remember Fay Jones, This Writer’s MP, who was caught banging on about the cost of improvements to the “Victorian sewerage system” earlier?

She said in the same tweet that the government was already working to reduce discharge from storm overflows. You can see that at the start of the clip below. The rest of it is worth watching too.

So the government had claimed that Brexit would make it possible to improve standards, and has gone back on that claim. And now mouthpieces like Ms Jones are saying water companies would pass costs on to customers if forced to maintain health standards.

Hmm…

My understanding, when the utilities were privatised back in the 1980s, was that they would be cheaper for the country’s taxpayers because they would use part of their profits to maintain health standards and there would be no extra cost to customers.

It seems to me that, with a government formed by the same party that was responsible for the privatisation now saying the opposite, this organisation may clearly be seen to have been duplicitous – either then or now. The Tories lied to us.

Here’s another clip explaining the current situation:

Yes, it also reflects badly on the water companies. But it seems to me that they are simply acting according to the conditions on which they were sold these going concerns. So the responsibility falls back onto the Tory government.

The rivers are full of human waste now. The ban on foreign mineral water starts in January. And the water companies certainly won’t bother to change their working practices significantly before it begins.

So I hope you’ve all got your water purifiers installed and in full working order.

And this means that, yes indeed, the chances of any future environmental action are slim – not just with regard to rivers, but also from any decisions made at the imminent COP26 climate conference, that is being run by the Conservatives.

They haven’t ensured our rivers will remain free of sewage; they won’t do much (if anything) to improve that situation; so we may conclude that they’ll do nothing to end the threat of climate change.

That’s a shame, because COP26 is being touted as our last chance to avoid climate armageddon. The fact that it is being hosted by Boris Johnson’s Conservatives heralds doom for the whole world.

That is not a joke or hyperbole.

Meanwhile, we have the current situation, as immortalised in satire…

… in images that should stay with us forever (but probably won’t)…

… and in profits for the water companies (together with the Tory Party that receives their donations):

The moral of the story?

Money talks to Tories, in a language they understand better than survival.

AFTERWORD: Following a query from fact-checking organisation Full Fact (over Facebook links to this article) I am happy to clarify that manufacturers of EU mineral water may continue to export it to the UK if they renew their accreditation under UK rules by January 7, 2022.

This information is available to readers of the article who click on the link to the government announcement, above, and then read the government letter. If this context is not clear, the fault lies with the Tory government for ignoring this fact in favour of propaganda promoting UK mineral waters.

But of course, this raises a further question. EU mineral water producers may certainly apply for UK accreditation, but why should they bother?

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Get your cholera jab booked; MPs won’t stop pumping raw sewage into our waters

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

Here’s an MP who doesn’t know when to keep quiet – This Writer’s MP, as it happens (although I didn’t vote for her):

Fay Jones didn’t vote to defeat the Lords’ amendment to the Environment Bill and allow water companies to continue dumping raw sewage into the UK’s waterways. I don’t know the reason.

She could have distanced herself from a decision that means raw sewage will be pumped into waterways across the UK – not just on the coast…

… but instead she has tried to justify the decision with a false argument – about money.

Firstly, taxpayers would not fund the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system – the cost would be paid by the government, which may then decide to tax us in order to prevent that expenditure from pushing up inflation; that is how taxation works in the UK. The current tax system puts too much of the burden onto the poor, but that’s what happens when you vote for a Tory government.

Secondly, the cost of digging up the Victorian sewerage system should be borne by the privatised water companies, if it is necessary. Their shareholders bought these companies from the then-UK government (Conservative) on the understanding that they would fund improvements from their own budgets – not demand handouts from the government while paying huge profits to themselves.

Thirdly, where did Ms Jones dig up this £600 billion figure? Our river quality correspondent has asked her…

… but it seems Ms Jones is more interested in blocking people who make such inquiries:

Oh, and Ms Jones’s claim that the government is already reducing discharge from storm overflows seems to be contradicted by much of the evidence we’re seeing:

At the end of the day, I’m finding Mitch Benn’s theory quite compelling:

There is a cholera vaccine available in the UK.

Be careful not to overstretch the NHS when you demand it!

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MPs complain of ‘hate’ after complaints over vote to fill rivers with raw sewage

What do you get if you allow raw sewage to be pumped into rivers, and those rivers then flood?

Cholera.

This Writer is therefore looking forward to the BBC’s Coast special on the cholera outbreak of 2022, after Tory MPs voted en masse to allow cost-cutting water companies to keep pumping sewage into our coastal rivers.

Constituents are – justifiably – complaining. And what do you think the Tories are doing?

They are hiding behind the murder of David Amess to claim that these concerned citizens are “spreading hatred” against them.

Here’s David TC Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, accusing a constituent of just that.  I provide the constituent’s complaint so you can see that there is no reason whatever for him to have claimed what he did:

Here’s a comment on it so you can see it’s not just me kicking up a fuss:

Yes, the conned can be that stupid – especially when they don’t even know what has happened:

Fortunately, the social media are seething…

…and Mr Davies’s lie about “spreading hatred” isn’t stopping people from outing their own MPs. Here’s just a smattering:

And you are encouraged to do the same:

Here’s a handy link to the full list of MPs who supported the raw sewage motion, to help you get started:

Oh – and if you’re thinking we’re all making a big deal out of nothing, think again. Here’s our river quality correspondent:

Sadly, due to the lack of reporting (hello, BBC?) most people probably still don’t know that their rivers and beaches are poisoned, and that their homes will be – after the annual floods hit next year.

Some people are advocating stronger measures than harsh words…

It’s not advisable, really. You don’t win an argument against spreading disease by spreading disease.

In the meantime…

If you’re near the coast, you’ll be getting it anyway.

Come to think of it, the Thames flows into the sea. It’ll probably start stinking soon.

I wonder if the Tories in the Palace of Westminster will even understand that the nasty smell that’s making their taxpayer-funded dinners taste so bad is a result of their own decision?

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On eve of COP26 conference, Tories endorse dumping sewage in rivers

Here’s an angry public figure: Feargal Sharkey was the singer of The Undertones and The Assembly before having a career as a solo performer – and he is now an environmental campaigner against the pollution of British rivers. He knows his stuff.

Here’s what made the dumping possible:

The Tory government had previously given polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea, after it turned out that Brexit had closed the UK’s borders to chemicals that are used to treat effluent.

The Environment Agency said companies struggling to get hold of the chemicals would be allowed to “discharge effluent without meeting the conditions” of their permits, which normally require water to be treated by a multi-step process.

Companies should “resume use of chemicals to treat effluent as soon as is practicable”, the agency said.

But now it seems the government has reneged on this demand. According to Evolve Politics,

Lords Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.

Treating raw sewage costs money – and many have speculated that privatised water companies are simply dumping it into our waterways in order to make bigger profits.

Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustace recommended to his fellow MPs that they should reject it.

And, owing largely to the government’s 80 seat majority, the amendment was indeed defeated – by a margin of 268 MPs to 204.

You can see how your MP voted on the amendment here.

There has been a lot of speculation about the Tories’ reasons for blocking the amendment. For example:

Others have suggested the possibility that MPs have shares in the polluting companies and hope to make a fortune on the cash saved by not cleaning the water before dumping it.

Whatever the reason, the optics (as they are known) are terrible, right before the big COP26 climate change summit.

Boris Johnson is on record as having said he wants the UK to be the “cleanest, greenest” country; instead, he’s sending his lieutenant, Alok Sharma, to host the climate conference in one of the world’s major water polluters.

If either of them try to claim the moral high ground on the environment, the hypocrisy will sink them – hopefully, beneath a wave of their own effluent.

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.

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


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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