Category Archives: Incompetence

Nazanin sentenced to ANOTHER year in Iranian prison – this is what happens when you ask a Tory for help

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this wrongly-jailed woman has become a pawn in an international power struggle.

This poor woman might have been freed years ago if Boris Johnson hadn’t become involved and said the wrong thing at every opportunity.

For clarity:

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been sentenced to a further year in prison and a one-year travel ban after being found guilty of propaganda against the regime in Iran.

Her lawyer said she was accused of taking part in a protest in London 12 years ago and speaking to the BBC Persian service.

Johnson was asked to help arrange the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when he was Foreign Secretary, way back in 2017 after she was first imprisoned in Iran on a false charge of sedition.

Idiot that he is, our current prime minister botched it to such an extent that she was told she may face new charges.

Now she has been convicted – again.

Nazanin’s husband Richard now believes that she is a pawn in negotiations over £400 million owed by the UK to Iran after a former ruler of that country, the Shah, paid for tanks that were never delivered because of the 1979 revolution in that country.

The current issue seems to be about interest payable on the debt. Johnson doesn’t want to pay the figure demanded by Iran, one expects.

I wrote last month that I don’t think Johnson cares what happens to Nazanin – he’d rather keep the cash.

That opinion can only be strengthened by the recent claim that he said he would rather see “bodies piled high in their thousands” than order another economic lockdown that harmed business profits.

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe sentenced to a year in Iran prison – BBC News

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‘Major Corruption’ mocked by Greta Thunberg over ‘bunny hugger’ stupidity

Too late, Johnson, you’ve already said it: and the prime minister may have cause to regret calling climate activists “bunny huggers” for some time to come.

I wonder how Tim Fenton of Zelo Street, and anyone else who got there first, feel about the BBC lifting this story?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind. The more people who get to see what an absolutely dunderhead Boris Johnson really is, the better.

But for the record, the Zelo Street story was posted at 10.38am, while the BBC’s version dropped a few hours later. It seems clear somebody at the Corporation realised it was newsworthy belatedly, after picking up on that story – or a similar one elsewhere that This Writer hasn’t seen.

The story is a cracker, and Tim broke it wonderfully.

Johnson tried to play the clown at the current climate summit – but fell flat on his globe-sized arse:

It’s vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive, politically correct, green act of … er … of … er … of bunny hugging.

Er, or, er, however you want to put it, I call it bunny hugging, but you know what I’m driving at, friends and colleagues.

“What a complete and utter numpty,” as Zelo Street observed.

Shortly afterward, this appeared on teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Twitter account:

The BBC article hits the same notes but excises all the er-ing from Johnson’s comments.

All of which just goes to show that, if you want to know what’s going on, you should be following social media sites like Zelo Street (and this one) – and that and 18-year-old girl can get the better of Johnson, any time she likes.

Source: Greta Thunberg becomes ‘bunny hugger’ on Twitter – BBC News

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Tory Covid-19 mismanagement means 10 MILLION PEOPLE missed hospital care in 2020

Hospital ward: many people who desperately need medical care will not get treatment in one of these for years, because the Conservative government spent years starving the NHS of cash and resources (including staff) before the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s right – around one-fifth of the UK population did not receive hospital care because Boris Johnson’s Tories couldn’t be bothered to fund the NHS properly.

Don’t tell me the money isn’t there because experience over the last year has shown that it quite clearly is – the Tories simply don’t want to spend it on a service they are quietly trying to privatise.

We all knew that the Covid-19 pandemic would disrupt normal NHS services; this was inevitable no matter how well-resourced the health service would have been.

But the Tories have spent years starving it of funds and hiving off elements of it for sale to private companies that are simply incapable of helping in a crisis, even if their bosses were inclined to do so.

As a result, we now see that 4.6 million people missed out on hospital treatment – mostly because hospitals suspended their normal services in order to handle the huge influx of people who were severely ill with the virus as a result of Boris Johnson’s incompetent failure to lock down the UK in time to prevent a tragedy.

A further six million fewer people were referred by GPs to hospital for diagnostic tests and treatment because of the disruption to care, a wish not to further pressurise the overstretched NHS, and a reluctance to send patients to a place where they could catch the virus.

This means the NHS is likely to face even more pressure as these missing millions demand treatment as the pandemic eases off. And what if another wave pushes hospital admissions up again?

More to the point: how many patients have died?

And crowdfunding website GoFundMe has reported a huge increase in the number of people seeking donations to support medical care: 87 per cent more citing “waiting lists” as their reason, 60 per cent more stating they need cash for “clinical trials” and a deeply concerning 55 per cent more saying they need cash to buy cancer drugs.

The concern here is that people who pay for private surgery often end up being sent back to the NHS to have botched operations fixed.

So people who pay for operations to take pressure off the NHS could find that they are still only making matter worse.

The extent of the problem is highlighted by The Guardian:

The number of people forced to wait more than a year for their operation has rocketed from 1,613 before the pandemic to 304,044 in January this year, and more than 1 million people have been waiting at least six months, even though 92% of patients are supposed to be treated within 18 weeks under the referral to treatment scheme.

“The waiting list is already at the highest level it’s been since comparable records began in 2007, and if it did rise from 4.6 million now to 9.7 million by March 2024 as we estimate, that’s more than double the waiting list now,” [said Tim Gardner, a senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation].

Rachel Power, the chief executive of the Patients Association, pointed out that patients have gone without life-saving treatments:

She said the association was “particularly concerned by reports of treatments being cancelled that could be life-saving”.

Finally – and to hammer home the point that this is a political issue: the disruption to hospital treatment was almost one-and-a-half times as bad in poorer areas than where people are richest. The worst-affected English region was the North West.

This confirms not only that poverty affects health but also that Tories like Boris Johnson couldn’t care less; after all, they haven’t done anything about it.

It will take years to reduce the number of people waiting for treatment until the 18-week target time is achieved – even with a government that genuinely wanted to help. The experts say it won’t happen until long after the next general election.

But local elections are happening much sooner – on May 6. Tories will be concerned that voters will use them to express their displeasure with a government that let them down badly, and has been lying about what a good job it has done.

Source: Covid: 4.6m people missed out on hospital treatment in England in 2020 | NHS | The Guardian

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The Tories have run the UK into the dirt and Labour needs to ram the point home. Here’s how

Money, money, money: Boris Johnson thinks it’s for handing out to his party’s friends and donors rather than for investing in the UK economy. Labour needs to explain why his Tories, despite their false claims, are silly with our cash.

It’s no secret that Labour under Keir Starmer is failing to make the right points against Boris Johnson’s lying Tories.

Some of the worst falsehoods in the Tory narrative are about the economy – but, as Mainly Macro‘s Simon Wren-Lewis mentioned (on which I expanded), Labour has consistently failed to address them in any meaningful way.

Professor Wren-Lewis has followed up his article with a new piece suggesting possible pressure-points Labour could attack.

I think he’s wrong to suggest Keir Starmer should do so, as Starmer is unlikely to want to – or indeed to be around for long after the local elections next month, but the ideas are sound and whoever becomes the new leader should certainly consider them seriously. They are:

1. Austerity – Conservatives from David Cameron onwards claimed austerity was a vital response to the economic crisis of 2008 onwards; in fact it harmed the economy.

Labour should assert – forcefully – that there was no debt crisis and the economy needed stimulation rather than starvation. Tory austerity not only delayed any recovery, but diminished it so that wages are now – perhaps permanently – lower.

So the Tories attacked the UK’s economic well-being in order to impoverish the wider population.

2. The second wave of Covid-19 was much worse that it could have been because Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak resisted an early lockdown.

This delay meant not only that many more lives were lost to the virus than ever needed to be, but also that the lockdown that eventually had to be imposed had to be much longer.

So the Tories attacked the UK economy – and caused many thousands of unnecessary deaths – by failing to lock down strongly and early when cases started rising.

3. Brexit has created a bureaucracy mountain that has hit exports and many firms very badly. I suspect Professor Wren-Lewis wrote his piece before the extent of the violence in Northern Ireland became clear to him, otherwise he could have mentioned this.

It means the Tory-created bureaucracy has harmed the UK economy in a way that has actually re-kindled the Troubles in Northern Ireland after 23 years of hard-won peace.

Professor Wren-Lewis goes on to state that Labour avoids the argument because party leaders know the Tories will answer it with claims about “overspending” by the last Labour government.

But these claims have always been false:

Prof Wren-Lewis also suggests a few responses to the usual attacks we can expect from the Tories and their lackeys in the mainstream media. For example:

No, the Coalition government’s austerity measures did not save the UK from a financial crisis. The Conservatives have demonstrated, many times now, that the Bank of England will create any money needed to cover the UK’s debts, if the markets won’t or can’t do so. Risk of inflation is negligible for reasons we’ve seen in action in the Covid crisis.

No, it isn’t reasonable to suggest Labour was partly responsible for the damage the crash of 2008 onwards caused by pointing at its failure to regulate the banking sector. At the time, the Conservatives were demanding even less regulation, meaning they would have caused more harm to the economy if they’d had the chance.

And no, Labour did not “overspend”. That party left office in 2010 with a record deficit of more than 10 per cent of GDP, but only because of global economic events and measures taken to prevent job losses after banks started collapsing. After 11 years of Conservative rule the UK has a record deficit of 17 per cent of GDP – because of “overspending”? Arguments that Labour would also have introduced austerity can be overcome by pointing out that the party’s critics can’t criticise the party for both over- and underspending.

Finally, Prof Wren-Lewis suggests that the argument about Tory economic incompetence may be wrapped up in a larger attack on Tory incompetence in general:

Boris Johnson and his Tories have been incompetent in handling Covid, running the NHS, looking after law and order, and handling public money.

Their only success has been in handing public money to their personal friends and funders.

Put it like that and Labour is on a path to electoral victory again – if that party can devise policies that capture the public imagination (Jeremy Corbyn was very good at that) and defend them against Tory attack lines (he wasn’t quite so successful there).

But Keir Starmer won’t put it like that because he simply doesn’t have the grit for it. That’s why we have to wait for the next Labour leader and hope that they will.

Source: mainly macro: Labour should start contesting the Tory record in running the economy

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Tory idiocy means that on Mother’s Day, mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was back in Iranian court on new charge

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: this wrongly-jailed woman has become a pawn in an international power struggle.

This is what happens when you appeal to Boris Johnson for help.

Johnson was asked to help arrange the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe when he was Foreign Secretary, way back in 2017 after she was first imprisoned in Iran on a false charge of sedition.

Idiot that he is, our current prime minister botched it to such an extent that she was told she may face new charges.

It seems his untrue statement that she had been training journalists is not the reason she has been brought back to court. This Writer wonders whether it induced the Iranians to search for other reasons to imprison her, though.

She appeared in court on March 14 on a new charge of propaganda against the regime – apparently based on allegations that she took part in a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy in London 12 years ago and gave an interview to the BBC Persian service.

Nazanin’s husband Richard now believes that she is a pawn in negotiations over £400 million owed by the UK to Iran after a former ruler of that country, the Shah, paid for tanks that were never delivered because of the 1979 revolution in that country.

The current issue seems to be about interest payable on the debt. Johnson doesn’t want to pay the figure demanded by Iran, one expects.

So Nazanin stays in Iran – if not in prison (because of Covid-19) then under arrest.

Johnson doesn’t care. He’d rather have the cash.

Meanwhile his propaganda machine is trying to pretend that his government is still doing everything it can – and failing:

How sad that this Tory government’s failure to protect a woman should happen alongside the backlash over police oppression of women at the Sarah Everard vigil – on an annual day set aside to celebrate women.

Nitpickers can grip that it was Mother’s Day and not all women are mothers. Nazanin is, though – and she is separated from her child because of the wrong decisions of the UK’s prime minister.

Many of the people at Clapham Common were mothers – some were there with their daughters. No doubt all were there because they want their children to live in safer communities than we have now, due to Tory misrule.

So a day of celebration has turned – for many – into a day of anger and bitterness.

Source: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Tehran court on new charge – BBC News

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Have the Tories been SHAMED into bringing their £2.6 million ‘briefing room’ out of mothballs?

£2.6m on a TV studio and it will look much like this: the flags will be there but probably not the fireplace, and Johnson is likely to be speaking from a podium. One thing that is likely to remain absent is a comb.

Funny how the Johnson government has announced it is planning to run daily press conferences from its £2.6m media briefing TV studio, shortly after the social media reported that the space was going unused and the money had been wasted, isn’t it?

This Site’s own story appeared on February 22 and you can read it here.

I said at the time that the spending on a Boris Johnson vanity project showcased his fascination with the United States presidency. Perhaps he wants to seem presidential?

If so, it won’t work because he simply doesn’t have the personality to pull it off. All that will happen is we will be able to identify his lies more quickly, without a layer of client-journalist interpretation to get in our way.

This in turn causes me to speculate on the selection of press representatives who will be allowed access to the briefings.

It seems unlikely that anybody without a Conservative Party membership card in their pocket is likely to get past the Downing Street gates.

With the briefings being televised, that may not matter. But how long will that last?

I can see live briefings turning into “selected highlights” as the novelty diminishes and ratings decline.

And who will select them?

Source: Downing Street: Millions spent on new media briefing room – BBC News

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Bang goes the Good Friday Agreement as paramilitary groups accuse Johnson of betraying peace

Northern Ireland: it seems Boris Johnson’s stupidity may end not only his post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU but also terminate 23 years of peace.

Paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland have withdrawn support for the Good Friday Agreement due to Brexit – and they aren’t nationalists but unionists.

The Loyalist Communities Council, a group representing the views of the UVF, UDA and Red Hand Commando, are protesting at Boris Johnson’s Irish Sea trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

The group has written to Johnson and Ireland’s taoiseach, Micheál Martin, warning of “permanent destruction” of the 1998 peace agreement without changes to post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The letter said unionist opposition to the Northern Ireland protocol – the part of the Brexit deal that keeps Northern Ireland a part of the EU’s single market for goods – should remain “peaceful and democratic”.

But this is a decision to withdraw support for a peace deal that underpins power-sharing in Northern Ireland. If a solution is not found quickly, peace in the province could be lost – again.

And it would be Boris Johnson’s fault.

In fact, the Brexit deal seems to be unravelling fast for Johnson. The European Union has refused to ratify it for a second time after Brussels accused the UK of violating it.

The decision came after Johnson’s ministers said they would unilaterally change parts of the agreement to give businesses in Northern Ireland time to adapt to new trade rules.

Johnson is unsafe wherever he goes now.

If he decides to change the Brexit deal again, to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, his dream of free trade with the EU (which turned out to be a nightmare in any case) will be over forever.

But if he doesn’t, he risks re-igniting the Troubles – as violence by nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1998 was known.

Loyalist paramilitary groups endorsed the Good Friday agreement and say they have no desire to reignite the Troubles.

But the LCC said the Northern Ireland protocol had breached safeguards in the Good Friday agreement to protect the status of the province and the rest of the UK.

So Johnson has put himself in the worst of all possible worlds. And he only has himself to blame.

Source: Brexit: loyalist paramilitary groups renounce Good Friday agreement | Northern Ireland | The Guardian

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Iain Duncan Smith is to give his ignorance to post-Brexit government reform

The pick of the Tories: Iain Duncan Smith is a creature of odious habits and even worse politics.

The former Tory leader whose ‘reforms’ of social security have led to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people has been appointed to lend his ignorance to the government again.

Iain Duncan Smith will chair the new Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform.

The title of the organisation creates the acronym TIGRR – tiger, get it? But Duncan Smith is no kind of tiger. As benefit claimants know from his time as Work and Pensions Secretary, he’s a little bitch.

This Site has its own acronym for him – RTU. It stands for “Returned To Unit”, the message of shame on the record of armed forces personnel who fail training for promotion up the officers’ ranks – as he is said to have done.

The government has claimed that the TIGRR will “identify and develop proposals across a range of areas that will drive innovation and competitiveness, reduce barriers to start-ups and scale-ups, create opportunities for innovation to make the most of cutting-edge technologies, and support growth and dynamism right across the UK economy”.

But with RTU at the helm it is more likely to reduce competitiveness with new schemes that will be massively expensive while helping nobody (like Universal Credit), create barriers that stop people getting what they need (as he did with all benefits, particularly those for the sick and disabled), and abandon cutting-edge technologies for paper and ink (as DWP workers were forced to do when his plan for Universal Credit to be fully computerised fell on its ass).

He didn’t even help his own government! All his so-called “reforms” created more expense and none of them saved any money at all.

Labour has said it is ready to fight over any reforms that could be harmful – particularly to employment rights.

While This Writer has nothing personal against Andy McDonald, I remember when the party under Ed Miliband, in the dying days of its previous right-wing, neoliberal incarnation, voted in support of RTU to harm benefit claimants and I have a doubt.

The simple fact is that the appointment of this death machine should tell us everything we need to know about what his organisation will do. And it won’t help anybody.

Source: Iain Duncan Smith appointed post-Brexit government adviser | The New European

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£2.7m TV studio shows Johnson hasn’t only been wasting cash on Covid-19

Press briefing: Johnson spent millions of pounds of your money on a TV studio he hasn’t used once, despite an apparently endless succession of press briefings and ministerial broadcasts.

Sometimes the news is focused so heavily on the Coronavirus that it’s easy to forget that Boris Johnson’s government is incompetent in every other way, too.

Case in point: he spent £2.7 million on a television studio that has never been used.

Worse, there are doubts that it ever will be, as attitudes have changed since your money was used to pay for it.

I’d say the money could have been spent on personal protective equipment but I am reminded that Johnson’s government has spent £15 billion on PPE – and then lost the lot.

This is incompetence on a historic scale.

The TV studio was part of Johnson’s infatuation with the presidential system in the United States:

The room is believed to have been modelled on the press room in the West Wing at the White House in Washington.

It was intended to be used for on-camera briefings from press secretaries and ministers.

The plans for the briefings had to be delayed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions preventing journalists from gathering.

But with the plans on hold, it isn’t clear when they may be back on the table.

They may never be revived. This studio – worth a fortune – may remain unused for years to come, until somebody remembers it and finds a better use for the space.

In the meantime it stands as a metaphor for the contents of our prime minister’s skull:

Dark and empty.

Source: Boris Johnson ‘spent £2,700,000 on a TV studio which hasn’t been used’ | Metro News

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Latest Tory failure: government has lost billions of pounds worth of PPE

Remember this? PPE was a tragic joke during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rishi Sunak later spent £15 billion to secure a supply of the equipment (after his boss Boris Johnson had sold it all off in the belief it wouldn’t be needed. And now the Tories have lost it.

This site’s coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic – or rather, the political tragedy that has accompanied it – has been patchy lately, I’ll admit.

But how can one keep up with the constant stream of inadequacy excreted from Downing Street, Whitehall and the Palace of Westminster, often at a rate of several times a day?

The constant barrage of blunders has put us all into a state of desensitised delirium in which it is hard to distinguish the important milestones from “Same Sh*t, Different Day”.

I read a message on Facebook that struck a chord:

“The seven-day rolling average of new Covid cases per day is down to ~15K… almost exactly where it was before the government relaxed the lockdown at the start of December. A relaxation, lest we forget, that scientists were *begging* the government not to do.

“And 55,000 people have died during that period.
“I am genuinely unable to comprehend the free ride this government is getting in the media, and the lack of outrage among the public.
55,000 people dead so Johnson could get a few “Boris saves Christmas” headlines… and he didn’t even do *that*.”
The statement attracted a comment that I thought was spot-on, too:

“The media side is easy – most papers are ferociously right wing and only turn on a Tory PM once they’ve got an alternative lined up and get the nod from the power brokers. Other news outlets just follow the agenda set by those papers, so there’s a huge swathe of stuff that never gets addressed.

“As for the public…I don’t know. I think we’re punchdrunk from five years of very intense bad shit happening, and a general sense of endtimes malaise. There are so many problems that have been around for so long that I think most have just given up trying to reconcile them, and that’s how you get shit like the “Boris is doing his best” excuses. We can’t get our head around it, and have stopped expecting our politicians to as well.
“I also think the pandemic stuff is so big, the death toll so outrageous, that it has become abstract. 100 people die in a disaster, we (as a society) can grasp that, we can picture it. Over 100,000 people die over the course of a year? It almost becomes invisible, even when it’s right in front of us.
“I’m trying very hard to be positive, but I can’t shake the feeling that we’re in the final spins of a very long cultural death spiral.”
Finally:
“I think we’ve become so numb to the constant exposure. It’s almost like the Government are trying their hardest to make us more apathetic with every wrong turn, u-turn, bullshit ppe fiasco and statements they have done everything they can, so when the next election comes they get a free ride and carry on. Why we’re not all buying pitch forks online is beyond me.”
It’s a good question, especially when you see the Tories failing yet again over a matter for which they have already been hammered in the press and condemned in the court of public opinion.
What the blazes are they doing, losing billions of pounds’ worth of personal protective equipment?

The government is not sure where billions of pounds worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) is located, the head of the National Audit Office has disclosed.

Gareth Davies, the comptroller and auditor general, said outside consultants had been brought into Whitehall to find all equipment, which is stored at different sites around the country, or is in transit from abroad.

Under questioning from the public accounts committee, Davies said: “We have been working closely with the DoH. It has commissioned consultants to advise it on first of all understanding where all the PPE that has been bought actually is. It sounds like a strange question but it is a really big issue because it is not all standing neatly in an NHS store somewhere.

“We have amounts in containers, in storage around the country, there’s some on the docks and there is some en route somewhere from China.”

I seem to recall writing a few months ago that Boris Johnson actually sold off UK stockpiles of PPE before the pandemic arrived here, under the pretext that it wasn’t needed.

That’s how incompetent he and his Conservative Party really are.

As I write this, another 621 deaths over a 24-hour period have been revealed. That’s roughly equivalent to everybody on the Mid Wales estate where I live dying overnight.

The number of deaths overall – the real number rather than the sanitised figure you get from the government – is almost equivalent to the entire population of the county where I live (Powys).

An entire county, emptied because of Boris Johnson’s bone-headed stupidity.

And yet we’re not buying pitchforks and throwing them at Tories whenever we see them; we’re not setting fire to Tory property in an effort to erase their misrule from the face of the UK.

Why are we, as a nation, so apathetic? Why won’t we stand up for ourselves?

Source: UK government not sure where billions of pounds’ worth of PPE is | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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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