Category Archives: Scandal

Did ‘activist lawyers’ tell Home Office its Windrush compensation scheme was a disaster, too?

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

How unfortunate for the Home Office that it should fall foul of the lawyers twice in one day.

Or is it perhaps a sign of the Johnson government’s disregard for the law?

The Tory government’s much-maligned Windrush Compensation Scheme has been trashed by – one would expect – activist lawyers from no fewer than nine separate firms.

They say it is failing to provide access to justice – a claim that can only have gained validity after it was revealed that the HO tried to rush-deport 23 people illegally, because it had not allowed them their right to appeal.

The – activist – lawyers also said that while the Windrush scandal traumatised its victims, the compensation scheme is only worsening the trauma.

The HO has already confirmed that at least five people who applied for compensation died before receiving it.

Lawyers say they have experienced significant delays and difficulties filing claims for clients who were wrongly classified as illegal immigrants and lost their jobs, housing or pensions as a result.

The letter says many applications appear to be “appear to be lost in a kind of bureaucratic limbo”, with some people forced to wait more than a year for decisions.

Look at this:

The decision to put the Home Office in charge of processing of claims was particularly problematic, they write, given the criticisms of the department made in Wendy Williams’ official inquiry into the scandal. Williams’ report identified a “culture of disbelief and carelessness” within the Home Office and “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race”.

And now let’s all remember that the Home Office is carrying out its own inquiry into the death of refugee Mercy Baguma. What chance does justice have in a “culture of disbelief and carelessness” with “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race”?

Coincidentally (or is it?) yesterday HO permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft announced:

Perhaps inevitably, this was one of the responses:

Source: Windrush payout scheme not fit for purpose, say lawyers | Windrush scandal | The Guardian

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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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Advisor who got Tories to buy useless PPE loses his unpaid position. Is that really enough?

Liz Truss: she slipped her buddy Andrew Mills £150 million for useless PPE, launching a huge corruption scandal in the process. Now the Tories have quietly dropped him from his position as an unpaid advisor to the Board of Trade.

Some might say it’s poetic justice that Andrew Mills, the man who advised Liz Truss to buy unusable face masks for the NHS, has lost his position as an advisor to the Board of Trade.

But what’s happened to all the money that she paid the firm he also (as it happens) advises, Ayanda Capital?

Was that repaid?

If not, then it seems the loss of his unpaid position – as part of a wider reshuffle and not even connected to the PPE scandal – is no punishment at all.

Source: Adviser in £150m PPE scandal is axed | News | The Times

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EU citizen registration scheme isn’t risking another Windrush scandal – the first one isn’t over!

Bumi Thomas: this jazz musician’s citizenship of the UK is in the balance and the government has already tried to deport her.

EU citizens living in the UK may find themselves the focus of another Windrush-style scandal if they fail to apply for “settled status” – but it seems the first Windrush scandal isn’t over and people are still being deported.

According to The Independent:

EU nationals are in danger of slipping through the cracks of the government’s Brexit registration scheme and turning into another Windrush-style scandal, citizens’ groups have warned.

MPs on the EU future relationship committee were told by community groups that there was simply no way to tell whether how many people had been left out of the scheme because there were no accurate figures for how many were eligible.

EU nationals in the UK have been expected to sign up for “settled status” because of Brexit bringing an end to free movement, but campaigners have complained that the scheme is poorly designed and will leave some people behind.

There are concerns that some EU nationals – particularly vulnerable people – may not realise they need to register, and may find themselves being removed from the UK without understanding why.

This raises uncomfortable parallels with the Windrush scandal, in which documents showing that people had emigrated to the UK and had every right to be here were destroyed by the Conservative government.

The Tories then contacted these people, demanding proof of a right to live in the UK. When they could not produce it, they were deported.

And they still are.

Yes, government representatives have apologised; yes, they said it would not happen again. Either those Tories were mistaken or they were lying.

So we see twin brothers Darren and Darrell Roberts being threatened with deportation to two different countries after completing prison sentences because – despite having been born in the UK – the Tories say they have no legal status here.

Darren, 24, is being sent to Grenada because that’s where his mother was born; brother Darrell will go to the Dominican Republic in one of the errors for which the Home Office under the Tories is justly infamous – he has no family there because his father was born in Dominica, which is a completely different nation.

All children born in the UK are eligible for citizenship but there is an application process with attached costs, which have risen enormously in recent years. Some might argue that this has happened alongside the rise of overt racism in the UK’s government.

The correspondence received by Darrell is certainly racist; it offers him a financial incentive to “return home” – implying that his home must be a foreign country because he is black. This is a young man who was born in London and has lived in the UK for his entire life, remember.

Legally, the government will undoubtedly say it is well within its rights as neither brother has citizenship. But they were still minors when they were imprisoned and their childhood has been described as “traumatic”, so it may be unsurprising that no citizenship applications were completed for them.

Windrush was about sending black people “home” because they couldn’t prove they belonged in the UK. This is no different.

And what about jazz musician Bumi Thomas, who was born in 1983, after the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher passed their British Nationality Act that stripped automatic citizenship from children born to parents from UK colonies?

Despite having been born in Glasgow in 1983 and living in the UK solidly since 2000, she found herself fighting a -crowdfunded – legal battle to remain in the country of her birth.

An immigration tribunal judge has ruled in favour of withdrawing the threat of deportation, but she must wait two years before she can apply for British citizenship. Her status is still at the mercy of a divisive immigration policy – meaning her application may be turned down and she might have to go through this process all over again.

So it seems to This Writer that we should not be discussing the EU nationals’ registration scheme as “another Windrush”. The Windrush scandal is still going on.

EU nationals are merely in danger of joining the Windrush generations as victims of a racist UK government.

Source: Brexit: EU citizen registration scheme risks another Windrush scandal, MPs warned | The Independent

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Planning corruption: it seems Jenrick isn’t the only Tory accused of breaking the rules

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he has also been mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

The evidence is mounting against planning minister Robert Jenrick in the scandal over the Westferry development – and interest in the controversy has revealed further potential corruption.

It seems Robert Jenrick was induced to overturn the refusal of the Westferry planning application after property developer Richard Desmond showed him a promotional video for the £1bn development. Here’s The Guardian:

“What I did was I showed him the video,” Desmond told the Sunday Times, adding that Jenrick had watched it for “three or four minutes”, and adding: “It’s quite long, so he got the gist.”

Jenrick subsequently overturned a decision by a local council and the government’s planning inspectorate in order to approve a 500-apartment, 44-storey development at Westferry Printworks, a former printing plan in east London.

Viewing the video would appear to constitute lobbying by Desmond, potentially giving rise to a conflict of interest.

Labour will use the opportunity of a three-hour opposition day debate on Wednesday to discuss the controversy.

That’s today – June 24.

Meanwhile, according to The Mirror

A Tory former planning minister is reportedly under investigation for failing to declare an interest in a hotel development in his constituency.

Sir Bob Neill wrote a letter to his local council in December 2018, urging them to approve the redevelopment of The Royal Bell – a neglected hotel in his Bromley Constituency.

But he failed to mention in his letter that he was on the payroll of the Substantia Group – the firm handling the planning application for the hotel.

Sir Bob has been paid £50,000 by the firm for “strategic consultancy advice” since 2016, according to the register of members’ interests.

But his links to the firm were not explicitly outlined in the letter.

Shadow Housing Minister Mike Amesbury said: “It beggars belief that a former planning minister would not be aware of the obvious conflict of interest in this case.”

And the Telegraph today reported Sir Bob had intervened in another planning application being handled by the same firm – again without mentioning his paid position.

MPs voted in 2018 for investigations by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to remain secret. Some might suggest that this was an offence against justice, which must be seen to be done.

But it has been reported the Commissioner has launched an investigation into Sir Bob’s involvement in the project after receiving a complaint.

Source: Jenrick under growing pressure after fresh Desmond revelation | Politics | The Guardian

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Windrush scandal victims deliver petition to Downing Street – for all the good it will do

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

If ever you needed proof that your government tells you what to do, and not the other way around, it’s this.

The Windrush Scandal – and the “hostile environment” that spawned it – was created from a desire to rid the UK of huge numbers of citizens who came to the UK from Commonwealth nations, notably in the Caribbean, to help rebuild the nation after World War II.

Their job was done, you see, so racist politicians decided to destroy any information offering them a right to UK citizenship and then deport them on the grounds that they could not show a good reason to stay.

Of course, they were caught in the act. And in fairness, the Conservative Government apologised.

Only words.

When it came to actually providing compensation to the people they attacked – make no mistake, this was a deliberate attempt by a UK government to harm its citizens – our Tory administration has spent two years dragging its heels.

Yes – a recent docu-drama on the BBC has reminded us all of the extent of the crime here.

But I see no willingness to make recompense to people who, being poor, cannot exert any influence over the politicians who had all power over them.

Watch what happens and see if I’m right.

Survivors of the Windrush scandal have delivered a petition to Downing Street signed by 130,000 people calling on the government to speed up compensation payments and implement all the recommendations in the Windrush Lessons Learned review.

Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan – who were wrongly held in immigration detention centres and threatened with deportation to Jamaica, a country they both left as children in the 1960s and had not visited in more than 50 years – handed the petition to police officers at the gates of Downing Street on Friday.

They both expressed their anger that so few people affected had received compensation in the two years since the government first apologised for wrongly classifying thousands of legal residents as being in the country illegally.

They were joined by Michael Braithwaite, a special needs teaching assistant, who was sacked from the primary school he had worked at for 15 years; Glenda Caesar, who was sacked from her job as a GP administrator after more than 20 years working for the NHS; and Elwaldo Romeo, who was told by the Home Office he was facing detention and should return to Antigua, a country he left 59 years earlier as a four-year-old boy.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The home secretary has been clear that the mistreatment of the Windrush generation by successive governments was completely unacceptable and she will right those wrongs.” However, they added, Williams had recommended that the Home Office consider the review carefully before responding, “and we are committed to honouring that request”. Patel had said she would update parliament before the summer recess.

Officials in charge of organising the compensation scheme stressed that claimants should not feel discouraged by the difficulties experienced by others and should persist with making claims. A spokesperson said assistance in completing the claim form was available via the free Windrush helpline on 0800 678 1925.

Source: Windrush scandal survivors deliver petition to No 10 | UK news | The Guardian

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Why are Tory MPs manufacturing outrage that parents want the government to feed their children? They expect the same!

Ben Bradley: you’d think he would learn to keep his mouth shut after he called for poor people to be forced to have vasectomies and libelled Jeremy Corbyn.

How many MPs are claiming expenses to cover the costs of having children?

This Writer doesn’t have the current figures but in 2013 I know 148 of them were claiming extra money to rent larger homes and cover the cost of youngsters’ travel.

According to the Daily Mirror at the time, MPs had claimed around £140,000 for kids’ travel between 2010 and 2013.

And Parliamentary standards watchdog IPSA was allowing MPs to increase the maximum allowance they could claim by £2,425 for each child they said lived with them.

Some MPs – including nine cabinet ministers – were claiming more than £10,000 extra.

I mention this because certain Conservative MPs have been kicking up a fuss about the comparatively small amount – per person – that will go towards extending free school meals throughout the summer holidays in England.

Tory Sally-Ann Hart seemed to think it was wrong for parents to “expect” the government to feed their children, even though she is part of a government whose members expect their own childcare to be paid by the public and not from their own pay packets.

I find this part particularly interesting:

[She] said MPs must “not shy away” from the issue that some parents “just do not or cannot prioritise their children’s needs over their own”.

And she said the Government must “turbocharge” its efforts to understand why such neglect happens.

Perhaps Ms Hart should turn to some of her neighbours on the Green Benches and ask them – just as a starting-point?

As responses from the public go, I don’t think you’ll find one better than this:

Another Tory – Ben Bradley – demanded safeguards to ensure that parents could not use free school meal vouchers to obtain alcohol and cigarettes.

Fine words from a man who belongs to an institution where people like himself frequently run up huge bills at the various Parliamentary bars, on expenses.

In fact, some of them have even refused to pay altogether.

But Ms Hart and Mr Bradley – who is also on record as calling for poor men to be vasectomised, and had to apologise publicly and pay money to charity after libelling Jeremy Corbyn – don’t seem to be aware of these facts.

Perhaps they should examine behaviour closer to their own homes, rather than accusing people before they’ve even had a chance to do anything wrong.

Source: Tory MP says some parents ‘expect the government to feed their children’ – Mirror Online

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Tell your friends to watch Windrush drama Sitting in Limbo – it’s more than the BBC will do!

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

Did you know the BBC is screening a drama based on the “Windrush generation” racism scandal?

It’s on this evening (Monday, June 8, 2020), starting at 8.30pm and the BBC appears to have done its best not to promote it in any way.

Make up your own mind on what that says about the BBC’s relationship with the Conservative government, whose racism is likely to be a major story element.

And make up your own mind on whether the Corporation’s reticence has anything to do with the death of George Floyd in the United States, and protests in support of people of colour that have taken place in the UK since it happened, culminating in the removal and sinking of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol yesterday (June 7).

Fortunately, Radio Times at least mentions the play. It says:

Sitting in Limbo could hardly be more timely. Arriving at an extraordinary moment in history as the Black Lives Matter movement grows and as protests take place around the world, this feature-length BBC One drama shines the spotlight on the painful, raw and recent Windrush scandal.

Starring Patrick Robinson and written by Stephen S. Thompson,  the factual drama is based on the real-life experiences of a Jamaican-born British man whose life was upended when the Home Office decided that he was actually here illegally.

Anthony has lived in the UK since he was eight years old, but when he decided to obtain a passport and visit his elderly mother in Jamaica, he learnt that there was no record of him as a British citizen. The onus was now on him to prove his citizenship to the Home Office.

Unable to claim his benefits and forced to leave his job, Anthony was left in limbo. He was later forcibly removed from his home and detained as an illegal immigrant, placing his story at the heart of the Windrush immigration scandal, which saw a government crackdown on the children of the “Windrush generation,” who unlike their parents often travelled without their own documents.

Thompson said: “Like everyone caught up in the Windrush scandal, Anthony has been severely traumatised by the experience. It has badly affected his confidence and left him questioning his very identity. As his brother, I saw what he went through first-hand. I couldn’t bear the idea that he had suffered in vain and it made me determined to tell his story. For me, this is personal.”

Source: Sitting in Limbo – BBC One Windrush scandal drama | cast, air date, what it’s about – Radio Times

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Bad Times-ing: new radio channel announces Windrush Home Secretary will host show – in the middle of George Floyd racism riots

Amber Rudd: what a symbol of white privilege.

How tactless. How Murdoch.

Times Radio is a Rupert Murdoch venture – it’s run by his firm News UK – and will start broadcasting on June 29. So the organisation put out a press release today (June 2) announcing its initial line-up.

Fair enough? Not really.

You see, among the presenters is Amber Rudd, the former Tory Home Secretary who had to quit her job over her appallingly bad handling of the racist Windrush scandal.

She was the one who misled Parliament over a memo showing that the Home Office had a target number of people to deport from the UK, if you remember.

Now, after a week of violence in the United States over the killing by police of unarmed George Floyd, on the same day the Conservative governent here in the UK refused to release a report on the way black and minority ethnic people have been disproportionately harmed in the Covid-19 crisis… Times Radio announces this danger to black people will be hosting a happy-go-lucky radio talk show.

The message is clear: This privileged white woman persecuted vulnerable black people so we’re rewarding her.

The channel’s press release refers to “former Conservative Home Secretary Amber Rudd with her journalist daughter Flora Gill, talking about their different takes on the world, picking up on their popular social media interactions”.

And it quotes Rudd as saying: “It will be a great platform for me to put Flora in her place.” Will she be deporting her daughter, then?

If this Murdoch channel wanted to throw away listeners, it could not have done a better job than by starting with this. The reaction on social media has been poisonous:

https://twitter.com/JosieLong/status/1267774510339629058

Source: News UK announces Times Radio launch date: new national DAB station begins broadcasting on Monday 29th June | News UK

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Johnson’s smile shows he hasn’t seen evidence that allegations against Cummings are false

 

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. You can see it again in the clip of him answer Meg Hillier’s question about evidence showing allegations against Dominic Cummings are false.

This Site’s story about “duper’s delight” seems to be enjoying something of a revival at the moment.

It was a piece pointing out a certain kind of smile made by Boris Johnson when he’s telling a lie.

I was puzzled as to the reason for the piece’s renewed popularity. Then I saw the following exchange and all was explained:

He hasn’t seen any evidence proving allegations against Dominic Cummings are false.

He hasn’t got public servants working flat-out on more important things.

He just wants us to forget about the scandal. It’s our civic duty to remind him about it at every opportunity.

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