Category Archives: Conservative Party

Sunak’s spending review shows some common sense. But has he put enough cash into it?

Rishi Sunak looking nervous: is he being honest with us? Does he even know?

There were no surprises in the announcements that formed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spending review – but it did mark a major change.

Sunak has abandoned the failed “starve the beast” economic model that was favoured by George Osborne and that caused such economic havoc between 2010 and 2015.

Instead of forcing austerity on the UK by cutting investment, thereby restricting the amount of money passing through the UK economy and shrinking it, creating a spiral of steadily decreasing funds, Sunak has reverted to a tried, tested and effective model.

He has elected to borrow money and use it to pump fresh blood into the economic veins of the country. The question is: can a Tory ever put enough cash into the system?

This Writer was on Twitter during the Chancellor’s speech, and provided my own commentary throughout. I reproduce it here, along with other comments I’ve picked up:

We should all remember that announcements mean nothing; Labour has announced that it will implement all the recommendations of an EHRC review of the way the party handles anti-Semitism complaints but it seems this is because it won’t make any difference to what the party does.

So we need to watch what the Tories do, and check not only the amounts of money they hand out – but who gets it.

The so-called “chumocracy” has had far too much of our money lately and This Writer, for one, fears that they haven’t finished slurping up the blood that keeps our economy alive, vampires that they are.

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Carers are being pushed further into exhaustion, poverty and despair by government neglect, survey says

I once stated that we thought this window-writing was by a child in care, but it could also have been drawn by an adult recipient of care – or it might have been by a carer instead.

Government neglect is pushing unpaid family carers into poverty and leaving many exhausted and fearful of the future, according to a survey from the Carers Trust.

The charity found that the majority of unpaid carers feel they are not getting enough support from the social care system, with only 12 per cent saying the support they receive is adequate to meet their needs:

Almost two thirds of unpaid carers taking part in the survey (64%) said they do not receive enough support. A further 24% responded that they weren’t sure whether they got enough support. Only 12% of respondents agreed that they were getting enough support from the social care system.

The survey also points at Government cuts to local authority funding as one of the main reasons as to why unpaid cares aren’t receiving enough help and support. According to the survey, almost two thirds of unpaid carers (64%) are now spending 50 hours or more per week caring for a family relative.

Carers Trust says this suggests that in just nine years the proportion of unpaid carers providing 50 hours’ care or more per week has almost tripled since the 2011 Census (23%).

This Writer was an unpaid carer for years, until This Site started to offer me a better living.

It is work that takes up as much time as a person can devote to it – and is often thankless, as the person who needs the care often has their own pain to accommodate and may be inconsiderate as a result.

This can lead to difficult decisions between earning and caring – and in many cases to mental illness as the pressures affect carers.

How typical of Tories that they are worsening these pressures.

Source: Government ‘neglect’ pushing unpaid carers into poverty, exhaustion and total despair

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Gavin Williamson scrapped dozens of protections for children – unlawfully

Williamson the dunce: I know it’s a duff image but it reflects this MP’s abilities so I’ll keep using it as long as he continues to be a dunce.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stripped children in care of 65 legal protections illegally, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Judges said he should have consulted the Children’s Commissioner and other stakeholder organisations before inflicting such a “substantial and wide-ranging” “bonfire of children’s rights”.

The regulations affected included legal timescales for social-worker visits to children in care, six-monthly reviews of children’s welfare, independent scrutiny of children’s homes and senior officer oversight of adoption decision-making for babies and children.

The protections affected also cover disabled children having short breaks and children in care sent many miles away from home.

It seems Williamson did conduct a consultation but was selective about whose opinions he sought – adoption agencies, private providers and local government bodies.

But organisations representing the children and young people who were to be affected by the changes were not consulted and the Children’s Commissioner only found out about the changes after they had been forced through Parliament through the Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) regulations in April.

We are told that all of the changes were temporary and have now expired.

We have yet to hear – may never hear – how many children were harmed as a result of them.

Williamson has been told to run proper consultations in future.

But will he? And doesn’t this simply reignite the debate over whether Conservatives should be allowed anywhere near children in care.

Source: Education secretary ‘unlawfully scrapped children’s rights’ – BBC News

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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?

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Slap in the face for civil service as Boris Johnson endorses Priti Patel’s bullying

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson: you’re probably sick of this image but I’ve now associated it firmly with the ongoing Patel bullying story. She and Johnson appear to be very firm buddies and he has joined demonstrated that he is happy to trash the ministerial code to keep her in his government.

Alex Allan was right to resign after Boris Johnson metaphorically spat in his face – and in the faces of every civil servant who has ever been abused by an ignorant, self-important MP.

The report on bullying allegations by the now-former government adviser on ministerial standards stated clearly that Priti Patel was guilty of bullying civil servants while a minister in three government departments.

Under current Parliamentary rules, this means she has broken the ministerial code and must resign.

But Johnson has abused his position as prime minister – and therefore the ultimate judge of whether the code has been broken or not. In the face of the evidence, he has ruled that she did not break the code and may continue as Home Secretary.

Standards chief Sir Alex Allan found that Ms Patel had broken the code governing ministers’ behaviour.

But the PM rejected his findings, saying he did not think Ms Patel was a bully and had “full confidence” in her.

Perhaps we should not be surprised that Johnson rejected the report. It seems he had been trying to rally support for Patel, on the quiet, for some time:

It … emerged that he had urged Tory MPs, in a WhatsApp message, to “form a square around the Prittster”.

That approach seems to have worked in the case of Tory nodding dog Matt Hancock – who of course says anything he’s told to say:

Another block in the “wall around the Prittster was Dehenna Davison, who the people of Bishop Auckland – in a moment of madness – seem to have elected as their first Conservative MP.

Her tweet is nothing but whataboutery and she deserved the put-down she received:

Mention of John Bercow puts the seal on the matter, as far as the reliability of her fellow MPs’ comments goes:

And there’s a big difference between allegations about Bercow and those about Patel:

Patel herself has seized on part of the Allan report that said “no feedback was given to the home secretary of the impact of her behaviour, which meant she was unaware of issues that she could otherwise have addressed”.

She has apologised for upsetting people in any way, saying it was “completely unintentional”.

It makes a nice story.

But Sir Philip Rutnam, who resigned as Permanent Secretary to the Home Office earlier this year, said the report was inaccurate on this point and that

Patel was advised not to “swear and shout” at staff last year.

In a statement issued by the FDA union, Sir Philip said: “I have a high regard for Sir Alex Allan and regret his resignation, but I was at no stage asked to contribute evidence to the Cabinet Office investigation which gave rise to his advice to the Prime Minister.

“The advice states that no feedback was given to the Home Secretary and that she was therefore unaware of issues that she might otherwise have addressed. This is not correct.

“As early as August 2019, the month after her appointment, she was advised that she must not shout and swear at staff. I advised her on a number of further occasions between September 2019 and February 2020 about the need to treat staff with respect, and to make changes to protect health, safety and wellbeing.”

So the report did not contain all the information but still found that Patel was a bully – and that was not enough for Boris Johnson to have her removed.

The only conclusion is that Boris Johnson does not care if his MPs mistreat the staff of their government departments.

This means civil servants are not safe in their work and may be subjected to abuse by Conservative MPs at any time – and now know that they may not rely on fair treatment from the Conservative government if this happens.

If any such abuse happens in the future, there’s only one course of action for them to take: the same course as Alex Allan.

Perhaps a mass exodus of expertise will teach Johnson the error of being a bully-supporting bonehead.

But I doubt it.

Source: Priti Patel: Bullying inquiry head quits as PM backs home secretary – BBC News

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Look out! Defence funding boost means Johnson wants to start a war

Boris Johnson: all he wants to do is cause trouble.

Boris Johnson is up to no good.

“What’s new?” I hear you cry in one voice.

Fair point. But whereas recently he has focused his diabolical efforts on harming the population of the UK with an income of less than £80,000 a year, it seems he is now widening that focus.

He has announced plans to increase spending on defence by 10 per cent, even though his government simply doesn’t have the money.

It seems his answer to all the poverty and misery he has caused is “Let them eat bombs”.

His efforts to contain Covid-19 by giving billions of pounds to Tory crony companies that have provided very little in return have swelled the national deficit to the extent that his government has borrowed more even than Labour during the year of the great recession.

At that time, the Conservative Party that Johnson currently leads said that Gordon Brown’s New Labour had bankrupted the UK (a false claim; as a nation with its own currency it is impossible for the UK to be bankrupted), and won an election – in coalition with Nick Clegg’s turncoat Liberal Democrats – that has led to more than a decade of “austerity” cuts to government funding that helps people on low incomes.

(These have been bonanza years for the super-rich, though.)

All of Johnson’s words about the new funding boost are threatening.

A defence spending boost will ensure “the safety of the British people must come first”, Boris Johnson said.

Translation: “I intend to manufacture a crisis. Margaret Thatcher did it – and won an election that ensured the progression of her neoliberal project to increase poverty and uncertainty for working people and help the rich do whatever they want again, while also forcing Labour to become more right-wing and expel socialists.”

It will “end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces and bolster our global influence”, he said.

Translation: “I want to kill Johnny Foreigner.”

Johnson is probably hoping to ingratiate himself with new US President Joe Biden, if that leader decides to launch military expeditions over the four years of the term he has just won.

Such military adventures always lead to attempts at revenge attacks against the UK, and these have caused considerable injury and loss of life over the last 10 years. Johnson may consider this an acceptable risk when balanced against the economic activity created by attempts to prevent it.

Johnson may also be unconcerned at the harm he will do to the UK’s international reputation if he starts throwing his currently-negligible weight around internationally.

He has already ruined the UK’s reputation as a trading nation by announcing his contempt for international law with a Bill that would overthrow the terms of the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

This is what happens when you give the most important job in the United Kingdom to an idler.

Johnson wants to make an impression on history and doesn’t care what it is. He probably hatched this lunacy while self-isolating in the Downing Street flat, thinking it a more profitable use of his time than… I don’t know… releasing the report on whether Priti Patel is a bully or not.

There is a saying that the Devil makes work for idle hands. It seems the Devil is now Boris Johnson’s drinking partner.

Source: Defence funding boost ‘extends British influence’ – BBC News

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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