Category Archives: Honours system

What will you say when they ask what you did in the class war?


I seem to have hit a nerve when I said the Tories are waging a class war on anyone who isn’t filthy rich.

In fact, two Vox Political articles touched on this class war – the first implied it, the second made it explicit.

Today I opened Twitter to discover those words all over the place:

I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.

That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.

In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.

It’s what the decision  – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.

The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.

And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).

You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.

Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.

The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.

They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.

The list goes on and on.

And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.

But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.

By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.

But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.

I can see that happening here in the future.

I would rather it didn’t.

But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.

Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.

If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.

The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.

And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.

That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.

We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.

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Johnson’s new lords: BLATANT corruption?

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: 10 days after saying he saw no evidence that Russians were influencing UK politics, Johnson has elevated a Russian to the House of Lords.

Boris Johnson has started packing the House of Lords with his cronies in what seems an example of blatant political corruption.

First, look at the number of new peerages he has announced – 36 – at a time when all the debate has been about reducing numbers in the Upper House of Parliament.

Every lord receives an allowance of £305 per day, simply for attending debates – which is why so much television coverage seems to show decrepit members of the gentry snoring on their red benches rather than doing any actual work.

With the number of peers approaching 830, if they all attended sessions, the public would be spending nearly a quarter of a million pounds subsidising their sleep, every day.

And look at the candidates Johnson has chosen!

At a time when concern over Russian intervention in politics is at a height, he has given a peerage to Russian-born newspaper magnate Evgeny Lebedev, who owns both The Independent and the Evening Standard. Lebedev is a personal friend of the prime minister who threw a party for him after Johnson’s election victory last December.

Other appointments show similar cronyism:

Johnson’s brother Jo, who quit a ministerial role – and then stepped down from the Commons – last year saying he did not believe supporting the then-new prime minister was in the national interest, gets booted up to the Lords.

It means he’ll have access to public cash (the £305 per day) for life, and if he opposes his brother’s policies it won’t matter – because brother Boris’s 80-strong majority in the Commons will reverse any major changes to legislation that the Lords try to impose.

Former Chancellors Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond, who both lost the Tory whip last year because they rebelled against Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit, also get booted up to the Lords, where they can rant all they like without doing him any harm.

From the Labour Party, prominent Brexiteers Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart are rewarded for their betrayal of the nation with seats on the red benches.

And so is former Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field, who gave himself a bad name in his own party by joining in with accusations of anti-Semitism, while supporting the Tory government in Brexit votes.

Ruth Davidson will get to take up a peerage after she stands down from the Scottish Parliament next year – but is it in gratitude after she led the Scottish Tories to become the second most popular party north of the border behind the SNP? Or is it to neutralise an influential Tory who had once been tipped as a possible UK party leader, who openly criticised Johnson’s Brexit plans and decision to suspend 21 Tory MPs who didn’t agree with him?

Also getting a peerage in what seems a straight reward for services rendered is Sir Edward Lister, who was Johnson’s chief strategic advisor.

So far I have mentioned only nine of the 36 people Johnson has nominated.

Notable absences from the list include former governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who was perceived as hostile to Brexit, and former Commons Speaker John Bercow, whose hostility to Johnson’s attempts to corrupt Parliamentary process were plain to everybody. Convention dictated that both should be elevated – but Johnson had no room for them, despite drawing up a much longer list than anybody expected.

Do you honestly believe those he has chosen will use their new positions in the interest of the people of the United Kingdom? I don’t.

I think Johson is baking his corruption into the fabric of the UK’s Parliamentary system – deliberately wrecking our democracy.

Oh, and he’s giving a knighthood to former PM Theresa May’s husband Philip – presumably in gratitude for selling all those missiles that the Saudis have been using to annihilate Yemen and its people. Did I get that right?

Now brace yourself – because it could have been worse.

According to the Daily Telegraph – the Torygraph, for crying out loud – Johnson is now threatening “reform” of the House of Lords after the House of Lords Appointments Commission objected to his plan to reward Tory donors with peerages.

It seems he is absolutely furious at being blocked from stuffing the Upper House with fatcats. Presumably he was planning to let them take back from the national Treasury what they gave to the Tories’ private funds.

But his plan has only been delayed – a new list of peerages for Tory supporters including businessmen Johnny Leavesley and Peter Cruddas, due to be published in the autumn

Nobody can do anything about this scandal apart from comment – and the outrage has come thick and fast on Twitter:

Sadly, the new New Labour Party is too deep in its own hypocrisy to do anything about the situation.

The UK’s democracy could have been saved from all this if right-wing factionalists in Labour had taken their heads out of their own rectums and supported Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign in 2017, instead of sabotaging it. They managed to do just enough harm to give Theresa May leadership of a hung Parliament, we’re told.

So it is unsurprising that criticism of Johnson’s nominations by Labour centrists like Chris Bryant has been treated with the contempt it deserves:

Source: Botham and PM’s brother to join House of Lords – BBC News

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More than 250,000 people have signed a petition to deny Iain Duncan Smith a knighthood.

The worst thing about this is, he probably thinks it’s not enough.

Here‘s a link to the petition. Iain Duncan Smith was granted a knighthood in the New Year honours.

And here’s petition author Mona Kamal, explaining why he should be divested of it:

It is … an insult to all those who suffered needless distress, impoverishment and humiliation as a direct result of his attacks on our welfare system.

During his time as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith was responsible for some of the cruellest and most extreme welfare reforms this country has ever seen.

Under his stewardship of the DWP, the UK became the first country to face a United Nations inquiry into human rights abuses against disabled people – an investigation which later confirmed that our government had been guilty of “grave and systemic violations of the rights of disabled people”.

Over the past decade of austerity very little has demonstrated the callousness and incompetence of this Tory government than their treatment of those with disabilities and chronic mental illness.

The legacy of Iain Duncan Smith is one of incompetence, hypocrisy and above all cruelty to the most vulnerable in our society.

The fact he is to be rewarded for this is a travesty of natural justice which reveals the rottenness at the core of our establishment.

Source: Petition · UK Government and Parliament : We object to Iain Duncan-Smith receiving a Knighthood · Change.org

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The revolving door – between PARTIES – that keeps the privileged in power

Nicola Blackwood: It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know that counts.

It’s hard to tell what’s worse about this:

The fact that Nicola Blackwood, rejected by the voters of Oxford West and Abingdon, has been given a free peerage so she can return to the government?

The fact that she has been given this despite (due to?) a Commons record that includes voting against gay marriage (why does she think she should have a right to meddle in other people’s affairs?) and supporting fox hunting (does she enjoy cruelty to animals?) among her support for other abhorrent Tory policies?

The fact that the tax-paying public is having to fork out an extra £300 for every day she spends in this occupation?

Or the fact that she has spent the time between being voted out of the Commons and nominated into the Lords, working for New Labour grandee Peter Mandelson?

Some might say he can employ anybody he wants, and political leanings should not get in the way of professional suitability.

But it looks like more evidence that New Labour was too similar to the Conservative Party, by far.

You see, if one is willing to employ a person because of their political views, it doesn’t seem logical to belong to an opposing political party.

It isn’t an age since a Labour cabinet minister described the Conservatives as “lower than vermin” yet we find another, former, Labour cabinet minister giving one a job.

We should thank our lucky stars the Party of the People has gone back to its roots.

The government has used a loophole to make unelected Nicola Blackwood a health minister.

Blackwood was the Tory MP for Oxford West and Abdingdon before being defeated by Liberal Democrat Layla Moran in the 2017 general election.

As an MP, she was criticised for voting against gay marriage and supporting fox hunting.

After losing her election, she went to Peter Mandelson’s lobbying agency Global Counsel, advising its clients on political risks.

Now the government is giving her a peerage so that she can re-join the government as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Health.

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Ill-gotten gains; DWP staff get New Year honours while benefit claimants go hungry

Disgrace: Amber Rudd thinks DWP staff deserve honours for the harm they have done to huge numbers of vulnerable people.

LUCKY FOR SOME: 13 staff from the Department for Work and Pensions are named in the New Year Honours, for “making a real difference to the lives of countless individuals”.

The announcement has been welcomed by Amber Rudd, the disgraced former Home Secretary who is currently disgracing the position of Work and Pensions Secretary:

For the rest of us who have received treatment that makes a “real difference” to our lives, it is an insult.

“Honoured for ruining people’s life’s.. This proves how crooked the NY Honours are,” tweeted Charlotte Hughes. Charlotte writes the Poor Side of Life blog, which has highlighted years of ill-treatment inflicted on benefit claimants by the staff at Ashton Under Lyne Job Centre.

Anita Bellows, a campaigner with Disabled People Against Cuts, added: “It is an affront to all the people who suffered at the hands of DWP staff, from the people sanctioned, to the ones unlawfully losing their benefits.”

And Keith Lindsay-Cameron, whose Letter A Day To Number 10 highlighted the abuses against ordinary people by the Conservative government, had wise words for everybody who thinks this honour is a good thing: “Never imagine for one moment that the treatment we receive is anything other than deliberate, thrilling and rewarding for the Tories and their quisling collaborators.”

It is entirely possible that the DWP staff receiving the honours have improve the lives of some benefit claimants.

But if so, why are we only told they made a “real difference”? A “real difference” could mean real harm.

And that’s what the vast majority of benefit claimants have suffered under Conservative rule.

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UK tax avoiders face being blocked from honours list – to avoid bad publicity?

I’ve said it before: Image is everything to the Conservatives.

If they have initiated plans to block tax avoiders from the honours system, it means they want to avoid any (more) adverse publicity attached to such favours – or they have already rewarded all the tax avoiders they care to.

Tax avoiders are being shunned for knighthoods and other honours as authorities clamp down on rewarding people with “poor tax behaviour”, it has been revealed.

HM Revenue and Customs has been alerting the Cabinet Office to individuals involved in controversial tax planning schemes, with a memorandum of understanding obtained by the Times saying “poor tax behaviour is not consistent with the award of an honour”.

A document published on the Gov.uk website said HMRC used a traffic light system for the vetting process, assigning a low, medium or high risk rating to prospective nominees in order “to minimise the risk that prospective candidates have behaved in ways likely to bring the system into disrepute”.

Source: UK tax avoiders face being blocked from honours list | Politics | The Guardian

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