Category Archives: People

Zahawi appointed minister for Covid vaccine deployment – so it’ll be a disaster

Do you really want a National Health Service profiteer and expenses cheat running the deployment of Covid-19 vaccines?

Nadhim Zahawi was among 24 Tory MPs and lords who were found to have links with 15 private healthcare firms that received £1.5 billion of NHS money due to privatisation, between 2012 and 2014.

Before that, in November 2013, it was reported that he had claimed £5,822 expenses for electricity for his riding school stables and a yard manager’s mobile home.

In 2015, he helped ensure that energy companies would not have to pass on price cuts to consumers when wholesale prices fall – meaning your bills stayed high, inflating profits for the bosses of our privatised energy firms.

There’s more – see the image above (which was created several years ago) for some of it.

This is the Tory that Boris Johnson wants to run the vaccination scheme.

He’ll probably have a private company providing the jabs (one in which he has a financial interest, perhaps?) and demand that we pay for them.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg thinks UK citizens are subjects of the Tory government. Not since 1948, baby!

Rees-Mogg: this cartoon makes him look like a fictional character. If he was, he still wouldn’t be acceptable.

The Leader of the House of Commons – Jacob Rees-Mogg – thinks that the rest of the UK’s population are his subjects.

The revelation in a tweet today (November 28), says much about this Tory’s twisted ideology.

And people are right to be angry about it:

The difference is very important because a subject is a person who is under the power of another; Rees-Mogg thinks you are under his power.

A citizen – which is what you actually are – is a member of a mass of free people who, collectively, possess sovereignty. We choose who represents us in Parliament, therefore we are the masters.

Many people believe that UK citizens are subjects – that we must all look up to a master – because it has been said that we are subjects of our monarchy. But this was changed by the 1948 British Nationality Act, which altered our status from “British Subjects” to “Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies”. The definition was further changed in 1981.

Perhaps Rees-Mogg thinks he is above us because we pay tax and he doesn’t – or at least, he hasn’t so far – on the profits of his firm.

His 15 per cent holding of Somerset Capital Management – an investment firm that is working on profiteering on the Covid crisis by buying devalued shares in firms that have struggled as a result of the pandemic but are expected to recover – may have earned him £15 million over the last five years.

But This Writer is told it doesn’t pay Corporation Tax because it is a partnership, meaning the partners (including Rees-Mogg) directly benefit from the profits, and bear the losses. The firm is based in the tax haven of Singapore, however, meaning it has not been required to provide information on its profits to HM Revenue and Customs in the past.

That has changed recently; changes in EU tax law that have been adopted into UK law mean Singapore is now providing that information to HMRC, which will have to decide whether to demand tax from those firms in the future.

But for the time being, Rees-Mogg has been making a killing.

Most of us are not in a position to hold shares in a partnership based in a tax haven, so it seems reasonable to suggest that this is where Rees-Mogg vests his belief in his own superiority.

There, and in his own boneheaded ignorance.

Are you sure you want somebody as vile as this to have any say in your life?

*For clarity, I should make it clear that I know UK citizens have never been subjects of their government. The 1948 Act seemed a handy hook on which to hang Rees-Mogg’s mistake.

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Starmer’s hollow politics: he wanted another referendum last year – now he’ll accept any rotten Brexit

Keir Starmer: hollow man.

What’s wrong with this?

How strange.

Only last year, Starmer was the one who came up with the Brexit policy that lost Labour the 2019 general election, when he demanded that the party must support another referendum on whether to stay in or leave the European Union.

Now – according to a report in The Guardian (I won’t go to The Sun if I can possibly help it),

Keir Starmer is preparing to risk a party rift by throwing Labour’s weight behind a Brexit deal if last-minute negotiations succeed in the coming days.

In what he hopes will be a signal to “red wall” voters that the party has heard them, multiple Labour sources said Starmer, and Cabinet Office shadow minister, Rachel Reeves – who has been liaising with backbenchers on the issue – are minded to impose a three-line whip in support of a deal, subject to the detail.

They have rejected the idea of abstaining or giving MPs a free vote, fearing it would suggest Labour has failed to absorb the lessons of the pasting it took in last December’s general election.

Tony Benn’s immortal comment about weathercocks and signposts springs to mind.

The late, great Benn said some politicians are like signposts – you always know what they stand for and in which direction they want to travel, politically. Others are like weathercocks; they blow with the wind of public opinion.

Starmer is, therefore, a cock.

His current Brexit dilemma could have been avoided if he – and others in Labour – had only worked out an appropriate Labour Party position on the possibility of leaving the European Union before the 2016 referendum but they didn’t.

For more than four years, these creatures have been “triangulating” – trying to work out what policy would be most popular with the voting public in order to pretend that it was what they genuinely believed.

Last year the position may have been slightly more complicated, as it is entirely possible that Starmer had an eye on bidding for the Labour leadership if the party failed to win an election with Jeremy Corbyn as leader, and his decision to demand a referendum may have had something to do with that.

Yes, I wrote it. Somebody had to, and I’m not the only one thinking it:

Now, it seems he is definitely back to triangulating, pretending he wants the same thing as the general public (in this cse the so-called Red Wall voters who defected to the Tories in the face of Starmer’s election Brexit policy.

And we all know it:

Sadly, those of us with an ounce of intelligence know that Starmer is simply leading Labour into another trap. An endorsement of a Tory Brexit will swap long-term harm to the party for an uncertain short-term election gain, and it will signal a capitulation to the Tory narrative on Brexit.

And there’s no need for any of that. Consider:

The smart choice is to abstain:

Even this is unpalatable for Starmer because of his recent behaviour towards votes on Tory government policy, that earned him the nickname “Keir Abstainer”.

Wise observers will take away just one message: that Starmer and his so-called “Centrist” friends are political frauds:

They simply don’t have any policies other than gaining power for themselves. Once they have it, they won’t know what to do with it.

I can demonstrate this with reference to the following:

Well, Starmer now has power within the Labour Party – for the time being, at least. He obtained it by stabbing Jeremy Corbyn in the back over Brexit, and now he doesn’t know what to do with it.

He is a hollowed-out politician – a fraud. He’ll say anything he thinks can advance him and he doesn’t have any political beliefs of his own at all.

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Shocking verdict in Mike’s court case against Labour means NOBODY is safe

Anybody who hands their personal information to a third party – a company, a club, a political party, the government or whoever – may see that data handed out to others or made public, with no way of seeking legal redress, according to the finding of a court case today.

And Labour members going through the party’s complaints procedure are still unlikely to get justice, even after the party promised to follow recommendations by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

These are the inevitable conclusions drawn from the verdict in This Writer’s court case, in which I accused the Labour Party of breach of contract.

I had said that Labour had failed to follow its own procedures for investigating complaints against party members after an allegation of anti-Semitism was made against me in 2017.

And I had said that a party official – or several – had leaked information, including lies, about me to the press while I was going through that process, in breach of the Data Protection Act.

Both of those claims were found to be accurate.

But in the hearing this afternoon, Deputy District Judge Whiteley said he could not uphold my case against Labour because the party’s Rule Book does not say that it must follow the procedures it has created to investigate complaints, or that it must adhere to the DPA.

That’s right. Unless an organisation’s rules specifically state that it will adhere to the Data Protection Act, then there are loopholes in the law – large enough to drive a lorry through – that mean your personal information can be passed on to anybody at all, regardless of your own wishes.

In this case, I had said somebody within the Labour Party had passed information that I had been accused of anti-Semitism to the Western Mail in 2017, and a Labour employee (I don’t know whether it was the same person) had passed false information about the allegations against me to The Sunday Times in February 2018. I said this breached the Data Protection Act because information about me had been passed on without my permission.

But Labour said that the party itself had not authorised the leak and that it had been unable to identify that anybody within its system had caused it. The party could not deny that the leak came from within Labour because the information had been generated as part of its complaint process and could only, therefore, have come from Labour.

The law states that an unincorporated association (which is how Labour is defined for legal purposes) is responsible for prohibited conduct carried out by its employees and agents against members and prospective members. Breaching the DPA would count as such.

But it also states that an association would not be legally responsible for the act of an employee that was not carried out in the course of their employment – and the court deemed that leaking information was not an act carried out in the course of their employment.

This means that any organisation that has your personal information may pass it on indescriminately – to anybody it likes, no matter what the Data Protection Act says or how avidly it states it adheres to that law, because anybody working there can follow the actions of Labour’s employee(s) and know they will get away with it.

So if you have provided your information to any third party at all, it is not safe.

Nor will it be safe until our lawmakers find a way to close this loophole in the law. They will not even consider doing so unless they are pressured into it. That will be your responsibility.

The judge also said that Labour had not breached its contract with me by failing to investigate the complaint against me according to its own procedures, because those procedures were not enshrined in the party’s Rule Book and therefore it had no obligation to follow them.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has announced that the party will follow the recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, whose report on anti-Semitism in the party contains a chapter on the failings of the process by which complaints are investigated.

The EHRC recommended that Labour should “publish a comprehensive policy and procedure, setting out how antisemitism complaints will be handled and how decisions on them will be made”.

It says the party should “develop and implement comprehensive internal guidance for all stages of the antisemitism complaints process”.

None of this means a damned thing because anybody challenging a failure by the party to follow its procedures will find that it has no obligation to do so; they are merely procedures, not rules.

Consider the way current complaints procedures have been flouted wholesale recently – not just over the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn but over complaints against allies of Starmer who have been accused of anti-Semitism – and against Starmer himself.

It seems clear that the Labour Party Rule Book is not worth the paper it is printed on – or the electricity required to put it on your screen.

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Is this the REAL reason Boris Johnson reckons the UK will be back to normal by Easter?

Money, money, money and none of it is his own: it seems Boris Johnson has chosen a convenient deadline for the Tory Covid contracts profiteering bonanza – to ensure that he can claim significant borrowing cuts in the next financial year.

Boris Johnson and his government are claiming that new vaccines mean the Covid crisis will be mostly over – and life mostly back to normal – by Easter.

Does he think his profiteering Tory friends will have had all the cash they can screw out of the national bank account by then?

It seems awfully convenient that the Easter deadline coincides with the end of the current financial year. Johnson couldn’t ask for a better cut-off point for Covid-related borrowing and “emergency rules” tendering.

Drawing a line under the crisis then will make it possible for him to claim a massive cut in borrowing. starting in the first quarter after the crisis ends (if predictions about the vaccine(s) are accurate).

And in the meantime, the Tory profiteers who got contracts they didn’t deserve and couldn’t honour – in place of professionals who had to lay off employees as a result, will carry on laughing to the bank (or their new country mansions, in some cases).

Source: Boris Johnson plan aims to return life to ‘close to normal’ by Easter

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Conservative Covid-19 contracts cronyism: professionals suffer as cash goes to Tory chums

One more time: we can hope the PPE provided by Platform 14 was better than what we see here – but the fact that this Tory-run company beat firms that may be considered better-qualified remains a scandal.

This is an outrage.

A Merseyside company specialising in medical wear from its establishment half a century ago was ignored and passed over by the Tory government’s “emergency” tendering process for PPE contracts.

Meanwhile a former Tory councillor was given £276 million worth of PPE contracts for a company that was dissolved in April 2019 after making a loss of around half a million pounds.

The Merseyside firm – Florence Roby – is having to lay off staff – while the owner of the revived Platform 14 has apparently skimmed £1.5 million off the top of his contract and used it to buy a 17th-century Cotswolds mansion with 100 acres of land.

This is Tory cronyism – and profiteering – at its worst.

If Florence Roby – which has five decades of experience – had won some of these valuable contracts, it would have produced excellent PPE. Moreover, the investment in this well-established firm would have provided employment and security to experts in their field.

You can draw your own conclusions about Platform 14 (est. 2012) from the fact that it managed to run up huge losses in seven years, and from what its owner has done with your money.

These are the decisions the Tories have been making regularly since they started using the so-called “emergency” system to avoid going through a proper tendering process for Covid-19-related contracts.

As a result, the effort to control the disease has been hampered by substandard products – where they have been supplied at all – and amateur manufacturers.

And Boris Johnson has run up a borrowing bill that is expected to total more than 316 billion more than this year’s national deficit, when the financial year ends in April 2021.

He’ll expect you to pay for Steve Dechan’s £1.5 million mansion. How do you feel about it?

Source: Mersey company forced to lay off staff as PPE contracts go to Tory connected firms buying from abroad – Liverpool Echo

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Web of lies around Priti Patel bullying report: why is she protected if she pushes people to suicide?

I don’t like it when people in my government lie to me.

I have a feeling I share that opinion with many people.

Priti Patel seized on the part of Alex Allan’s report into bullying allegations against her, that said she had not been warned that her behaviour towards civil service employees exceeded the bounds of acceptability.

But it seems that this was because Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip Rutnam, the former Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, who is suing the government for constructive dismissal.

According to The Guardian,

sources say Allan was informed he could not interview Rutnam because of the legal action. Allan, however, felt that his inquiry was being denied potentially crucial evidence.

Rutnam… said she was clearly advised not to shout and swear at staff the month after her appointment in 2019 and that he told her to treat staff with respect “on further occasions”.

The indication that Sir Alex was prevented from interviewing Sir Philip suggests that his claim is correct. Priti Patel – as the person who was given the advice – would therefore have known she had it.

So it seems she lied, in order to make herself look better. That in itself is despicable.

Worse still, we hear that the prime minister – Boris Johnson – himself asked for the report on Patel to be “palatable”. Doesn’t this suggest that he didn’t want the facts – just something he could use to deflect criticism?

Is it any wonder that Sir Alex resigned after Johnson ignored even the findings of his report as it eventually appeared?

Finally, there is the odious spectacle of Tory MPs and ministers rallying to support Patel – a colleague whose loathsome behaviour appears to have pushed one employee into attempting suicide:

Mr Khan attempted to endorse it because his boss told him to help “form a square around the Prittster”.

So now we have an increasing number of Conservative MPs – and, presumably, other Tories – trying to deceive us all into accepting that there’s no reason for Priti Patel to be removed from office.

It seems one bad apple really can spoil the whole barrel. Or were they already spoiled and this episode just showed us the extent of it?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘asked for Patel report to be palatable’, source claims – BBC News

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Tory irresponsibility: Sunak financial statement sparked four suicides in Merseyside

Who, exactly, are the Tories helping with the hundreds of billions of pounds they have borrowed?

According to the latest projections, the government is likely to have borrowed £316.4 billion more than last year, mostly on Covid-19-related measures.

That’s about £5,000 per person and This Writer can’t help thinking the money would have been better-spent if the Tories had just given it to each of us and told us to stay at home.

Instead, they devised a series of financial packages to fit people in certain circumstances – and to ignore others.

That’s the reason the Liverpool Echo is reporting that four people in Merseyside were known to have committed suicide after hearing Rishi Sunak’s most recent financial statement.

The Echo quotes Anneka Hicks of Excluded UK, an organisation to help a large proportion of the workforce who have been cut out of any ‘meaningful government support schemes’:

Over the past eight months many of our members have had to sell their homes, their cars – they have depleted their entire life savings.

They’ve lost their dignity. Many of them have been forced to take state benefits (if they can) and use food banks to feed their families, they’ve lost their businesses or made redundancies.

They are expected to start again with nothing, or less than nothing.

Sadly, we lost four members to suicide within 72 hours of the chancellor’s latest financial statement, but they are only the people we know about.

There are more details in the Echo article but look at the heartlessness of the government response:

We’ve acknowledged that not everyone has been helped in the way they would have wanted, but overall the Government has provided a huge amount to help businesses and families through this crisis.

The scheme’s eligibility criteria are designed to most effectively target support to low earners and prevent fraud.

It seems clear that it isn’t working.

And now Sunak wants people like these to pay increased taxes. One of them points out

I pay my taxes every year, I expected something back from that.

How can Sunak expect money from people he deliberately locked out of any help – or the families of people who have died as a result of his policies?

Source: ‘Four suicides within 72 hours of Rishi Sunak statement’ says campaigner – Liverpool Echo

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Sunak gets the collection bowl out – and the cosh. But why should we pay?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants us to cough up the money he, Boris Johnson and their government have wasted on crony companies that have done nothing – and in some cases weren’t even real (we’re told).

According to the Office of Budget (Ir)Responsibility, by the end of the financial year in March 2021, Johnson is likely to have spent £316.4 billion more than was spent in the previous 12 months.

Not all of it was wasted, even This Writer has to admit. But much of it was – and Sunak is now suggesting that the general public should stump up the cost – even though we’re the ones who have felt the brunt of the harm caused by Covid-19.

And remember, Brexit is likely to take between one and two per cent off the UK economy from January:

And the BBC report states that Sunak

old the Sunday Times people would soon see “the scale of the economic shock laid bare” , indicating taxes might have to start rising next year and there could be spending cuts.

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies agreed:

Why should we pay a single red cent to cover Sunak’s – and Johnson’s – mistakes?

One of the Tories’ selling-points – on which they stake their reputations and their chances at every election – is that they are the party of financial responsibility. They fool people into voting for them on this premise and then immediately betray those people by throwing money away stupidly.

That is what has happened after every election over the last 10 years, in spite of what David Cameron and George Osborne said about the need for austerity, and in spite of what Johnson and Sunak are saying now.

If you want to get a grip on the scale of Tory waste, visit My Little Crony – the app that shows exactly how the Tories have been siphoning off public funds and giving them to their friends – ostensibly for work to tackle Covid-19 but actually with very little result.

We have very little to do with the way governments spend our money.

We vote according to their promises in election manifestos but, once they’re in office, we can’t force them to honour their promises – and when a crisis like Covid-19 comes along, we have to bow to the inevitability that something had to be done and it had to be funded.

(Was Covid-19 unforeseen, though? Johnson knew about it in November last year – before the election. Why didn’t he mention it?)

Worse, we have no leverage to force a government to keep its spending under control – which would then remove the need for extra taxation. We cannot legally withhold the extra money if the government increases taxes – indeed, we face heavy penalties if we try.

But governments do have alternatives.

There is no laissez-faire in economics. Public demand for goods, services and other commodities changes all the time and it is a matter of good government to anticipate the changes and prepare for them.

So, for example, if a government wanted to divest itself of carbon-fuelled energy and invest in the green economy, in response to public demand and environmental pressures, it might launch a long-term strategy that would involve heavy investment immediately, to be paid off over a long period of time in the future – with no extra burden on the taxpayer. The cash borrowed to carry out the work would be paid down over future decades as the benefits made themselves felt.

This does not work for investments in defence, which carry no immediately-apparent economic benefits beyond the obvious one of a nation remaining free from invasion by its opponents. This is one reason Boris Johnson’s determination to increase defence funding by 10 per cent, at a time of economic trauma to the UK, is confusing.

Sunak doesn’t need to raise taxes. The UK’s borrowing level will decrease – hopefully after the anticipated Covid vaccines arrive. He can impose measures to ensure the costs will be paid off.

He can also make an effort to recoup the cash he wasted on crony companies (although it seems doubtful that he will; the whole point of the exercise seems to have been handing out free money to Tory pals). If he doesn’t, then he’ll be hard-pressed to persuade any of us to part with our cash.

Many of us have lost our jobs. We have lost relatives to the disease because the Tories failed – perhaps deliberately – to contain it. We are poorer and we are demoralised by our government’s lack of ability to get to grips with even the simplest tasks that have been put before it.

And now Sunak wants us to pay up because he can’t do his job properly. What do you think of that?

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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Labour civil war: now the suits are trying to undermine Young Labour

Even the most jaded and despairing old socialist must take some joy from Young Labour’s decision to support Jeremy Corbyn against Keir Starmer’s continuing abuse.

The organisation within the party has published a Twitter thread as follows:

Excellent points.

What a shame that people who should know better are desperately (very desperately, as you’ll see) trying to undermine these bright folk who represent the future of the party. Take a look:

Whataboutery – and evidenceless – from somebody who is clearly too old to be a member of Young Labour.

What would that reason be, then? That JLM is a primarily right-wing movement and its members were urged to support the right-wing candidate? And that this candidate then had to withdraw after she was found to have praised the “physical attractiveness of young Nazis”?

At least the next comment comes from someone who may at least claim an interest as a young Labour member…

… but what a shame that it ignores the conditions under which Young Labour representatives are elected. They are not required to seek the opinions of anyone else because they are elected to put forward the policies on which they campaigned for election.

On the other hand, there’s plenty of genuine support, published in good conscience:

Of course young Labour members have seen what’s been going on – and they weren’t happy about it:

The distinction is clear:

If you’re opposing Young Labour’s decision to stand by Corbyn, you have to fabricate claims to justify your position.

If you’re supporting Young Labour, you have the facts on your side.

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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