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After the elections: should both Boris Johnson AND Keir Starmer lose their jobs?

All in it together: neither Boris Johnson nor Keir Starmer fared well in the local government elections, and both may have broken Covid-19 lockdown laws. So it may be appropriate for both their jobs to be in danger.

There’s no doubt about it: the local elections have been a disaster for the Conservatives – and far from a victory for the Labour Party.

The Tories have lost 490 council seats in England, Wales and Scotland, with blame being placed squarely on the shoulders of Boris Johnson for his Partygate scandal and his failure to keep the cost of living within reasonable levels.

Conservative MPs are certain to be discussing whether Johnson has a future as prime minister over the next few days, before starting to make decisions about it after the new Parliamentary session begins.

They will also discuss the policy direction of Johnson’s government, with Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh quoted by the BBC as saying, “I do think radical change in the policy is required and, if it doesn’t happen, there really isn’t an electoral future for the party, because I think it will get crucified at the next election having bombed the economy.

“And if the team [running the government] is not able to adapt to reality, then the team needs to make way for someone else.”

But Labour – or at least Keir Starmer’s side of it – is in an equally precarious situation after voters gave a lukewarm response to his offer.

His party made some gains in London – and crowed about taking over Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet councils from the Tories – but lost Harrow council to the Tories, while the mayoralties of Croydon and Tower Hamlets also went to a Tory and to Lutfur Rahman and his Aspire organisation respectively.

Labour gains outside London were hardly worth mentioning. It took the new Cumberland unitary authority, and Southampton – but failed to take authorities where it had been expected to make gains, including Hartlepool, Peterborough, Redditch and Ipswich.

While the Tories have lost support in the south of England, Labour lost more in the north. It seems to have drained from both parties to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Of all Labour’s net gains – 137 seats, 65 of them were in Wales where the party is led by “continuity Corbyn” First Minister Mark Drakeford. The contrast is made more clear if we compare Labour’s gains with those of the Greens.

In England, Labour gained 52 seats while the Greens gained 60.

In Scotland, Labour won 20 seats with the Greens close behind on 16.

But in Wales, Labour was boosted by 65 seats, while the Greens could only muster up an extra eight.

The message is clear: the voting public doesn’t want Starmer’s tepid Tory policies; we want a genuine alternative to the Conservative nightmare that has engulfed the UK for more than 12 years, and we won’t be told his party of empty suits is the only alternative.

Indeed, as Skwawkbox quoted a left-winger in Harrow: “Despite expelling their best activists, despite purging all the left who wanted to stand despite disenfranchising in a most brutal persistent fashion, [Labour has] shown a talent for catastrophe with all [its] handpicked candidates.”

But you won’t hear that from Starmer himself! He’s living in a fantasy England where Labour is on the crest of a wave: “From the depths in 2019 we are back on track now for the general election, showing what the change that we’ve done, the hard change that we’ve done in the last two years, what a difference it has made.”

He actually claimed the results marked a “massive turning-point for the Labour Party”.

So perhaps it is just as well that he is about to have his attention occupied by a police investigation into whether he broke the law by having a beer in a Labour MP’s office during Covid-19 lockdown.

Durham Police had said it would not re-open an investigation into the incident in April last year, when Starmer was taking part in an online event ahead of a by-election in neighbouring Hartlepool.

But immediately after the local elections took place, the service changed its story, saying it had received “significant new information” but had delayed an announcement until after the vote.

If the finding is that the Labour leader did break the law, he will face calls from Tory MPs demanding that he resign. Sauce for the goose; he has demanded Boris Johnson’s resignation after the prime minister was fined for the same offence, after all. And if Starmer is fined, both leaders will be said to have lied about it.

But there is a significant difference between them: Johnson drew up the rules by which he demanded the rest of us should live, and it was on his behalf that police forces across the UK enforced those rules. He then deliberately broke those rules. And then he lied about having broken them to Parliament, which is an offence for which an MP may be expelled.

Starmer may have merely broken the rules while believing he was following them.

Ultimately, the difference may be irrelevant; Starmer has failed to win convincingly in a midterm election and is therefore unlikely to win a general election, so his party’s “grey suits” may use the so-called “BeerGate” affair as an excuse to remove him.

Either way, it seems clear that neither the Tory nor Labour leader should feel secure in their jobs.

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Russia-Ukraine war: Jeremy Corbyn was right all along about Putin and his oligarchs | Middle East Eye

Right all along: but the press and other politicians have lied persistently about Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude towards Vladimir Putin.

We know Jeremy Corbyn was right about Vladimir Putin all along – it’s been covered in a previous article.

Peter Oborne’s article is still well worth reading because it casts light on the reasons the UK’s media and political establishment, including Keir Starmer, have lied so insistently and poisonously about the former Labour leader:

Keir Starmer, has spotted the chance to define himself as a tough leader by waging war on the Corbynite left. Meanwhile, Corbyn himself has been singled out by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Tory party as the ultimate vindication of the British voters’ decision to vote Conservative in the 2019 elections.

Hence the recent burst of headlines.

Corbyn sides with Russia (again), announces the Spectator. Meanwhile, the BBC announces that Starmer has slapped down Corbyn for criticising Nato.

Corbyn’s leadership of Labour was defined by one slur and lie against him after another. The lies have started again and simple decency suggests they should be rebutted.

The Tory Party and Labour establishment have their reasons for taking aim at Corbyn. He gives them an alibi. For the Tories and the Labour establishment, mocking Corbyn distracts from their own long-lived collaboration with Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs.

The smearing of Corbyn tells us there is something very wrong about contemporary public discourse. The former Labour leader may be a dissident, but he speaks with deep knowledge of foreign affairs. We need more such dissident voices, not less.

Spot on. And Labour, the Tories and their client media are all trying to stifle those voices, wherever they may be heard.

Source: Russia-Ukraine war: Jeremy Corbyn was right all along about Putin and his oligarchs | Middle East Eye

Why are we waiting for court decision on ‘legacy’ benefit back-payments?

It is now nearly three months since the High Court held a judicial review into whether a decision to restrict a £20-per-week benefit uplift to Universal Credit was fair to people on ‘legacy’ benefits.

Why are we waiting so long for the verdict?

Hundreds of thousands of people on benefit like Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), didn’t get the extra money, that was intended to help with the cost of living during the Covid crisis.

Campaign groups say the decision by Boris Johnson’s Tory government disproportionately harmed people with disabilities.

The uplift lasted from April 2020 until October 2021, meaning legacy benefit claimants could be due a payment of around £1,560 if the court finds in their favour.

On November 17 and 19 last year, the High Court heard a judicial review on behalf of four legacy benefit recipients who say the failure to provide them with the £20 weekly uplift constituted “unlawful discrimination.”

Claimant representatives at Doughty Street Chambers have issued an update due to the number of people making enquiries about the outcome. It said:

Judgment is awaited in the case.

It is not unusual that in a case of this type and importance for many hundreds of thousands of people that judgment takes some time.

Chambers acknowledges that many people are anxiously waiting for the outcome… Please be assured that as soon as judgment is handed down it will be communicated. In the meantime, please bear with us.

Source: Update for benefit claimants waiting on court decision over possible £1,500 backdated payments from the DWP – Daily Record

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This short clip shows why the UK is slipping into corporate fascism – and what YOU can do


This Writer was always a fan of clips like this; Stephen Fry’s videos about NHS privatisation are another good example of this style.

It seems Steve Topple and our good friends over at The Canary have put some effort into explaining why six Tory Bills currently going through Parliament strip us of our rights and make us prey to corporate fascism.

If you don’t know what corporate fascism is, that’s explained in the clip too.

Take a look:

You may feel that the call to action at the end is somewhat extreme. That’s perfectly normal if you’re British.

But the question posed in the video is a good one: “If we don’t stand up to them now – when?”

Married to that is another obvious one: “If we don’t do something, who will?”

So, what are you going to do? Are you going to act in your own best interests? Or are you going to let the Tory(/Labour, under Starmer) jackboot stamp your face into the ground (possibly quite literally)?

The choice is entirely yours but be warned that its consequences will affect everybody you know and millions you don’t.

That’s because this is a national crisis. And if our action, as a nation, is to let the Tories win, then the nation will be lost – certainly for all of your lifetime.

Have a little think: is the quality of your life significantly better than it used to be before the Tories got back into office in 2010? If you can remember further back than that, is it better than in 1997? Or even 1979?

We all know it isn’t. We all know it will get worse under Boris Johnson and whoever replaces him, if we allow the Tories to continue. So the question remains: what are you going to do?

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#Partygate: Fabricant’s #blackmail retort tars the Tories as abusers – and criminals

Michael Fabricant: in this image he appears to be clamping his mouth shut – to avoid putting his foot in it?

What a spectacular blunder from a former Tory whip.

Michael Fabricant tried to dismiss MPs’ claims that the Conservative Party’s whips were blackmailing them out of submitting letters of “no confidence” in Boris Johnson’s leadership due to the “Partygate” scandal.

Tory Parliamentarians said whips had threatened to defund their constituencies or worse, and responded by themselves threatening to release texts and a recording of a “heated” exchange of words with chief whip Mark Spencer.

Fabricant tweeted in response to the initial blackmail claim by fellow Tory William Wragg: “If I reported every time I had been threatened by a Whip or if a Whip reported every time I had threatened them, the police wouldn’t have any time to conduct any other police work! What nonsense from WW.”

It seems he had not considered the significance of what he was saying. So members of the public pointed it out to him – en masse.

They reminded him that commonplace behaviour can be unacceptable:

They asserted that he was saying blackmail – a crime, remember – is common practice in the Conservative Party:

And they raised the point that threatening work colleagues is also unacceptable:

So that’s the Boris Johnson Conservative Party, according to one of its members: an abusive work environment that is so riddled with crime that if all the offences its members committed were reported to the police, our law enforcers would never have time to deal with anything else.

Source: Tory MP’s attempt to slam ‘blackmail’ allegations spectacularly backfires

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#DowningStreetParties : #BorisJohnson has turned the UK into a tinderbox. Will it explode?

Duper’s delight: once again, the smile used by Boris Johnson when he is lying has spread across his face whenever he has been asked about the lockdown-busting party he attended in May 2020. He is laughing at you because he made you follow his rules; he separated you from your dying friends and relatives; he had you arrested if you broke his rules – and all the time, he and his corrupt cadre of Conservatives were partying it up at Downing Street.

That will be Boris Johnson, then – the prime minister who has such contempt for the people who elected him into office that he could not be bothered to attend Parliament to answer an urgent question on why he attended “Bring Your Own Booze” parties in Downing Street while we were locked down by his rules.

Instead of Johnson, questions from highly emotional, enraged MPs were evaded by Paymaster General Michael Ellis…

…who managed to add a fair few lies of his own to those that have already been spoken by his boss.

After an email inviting 100 Downing Street employees to a party in the garden of Number 10 was publicised – more than a year and a half late, for reasons known only to whoever leaked it, Labour’s Angela Rayner secured time for an Urgent Question in the House of Commons.

It seems witnesses have said both Johnson and his wife were at the gathering on May 20, 2020 – the same day minister Oliver Dowden announced harsh new lockdown rules for the general public. Clearly, Johnson (again) did not feel those rules applied to him.

And days later, the same garden was used as the venue for a televised press conference in which then-advisor Dominic Cummings received Johnson’s support in justifying his lockdown-busting trip to see relatives in Barnard Castle. It seems Cummings knew he could count on Johnson’s help because he knew about Johnson’s involvement with the parties. Wouldn’t you agree?

Ellis repeatedly stated that an independent investigation is taking place, headed by second secretary to the Cabinet Office, Sue Gray.

But it has now been revealed that Gray herself was invited to these parties:

So she knew about them from May 2020 onwards but said nothing.  The previous lead investigator on Downing Street Parties – Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – recused himself after it was alleged that he had personally attended such a party.

So the current lead investigator was invited to the parties whose existence she is investigating, and didn’t say anything about it at the time.

Oh, and her investigation can’t be independent. She is a civil servant in the Cabinet Office, who is directly responsible to Boris Johnson. He is her boss. So Michael Ellis must have been lying when he made his claim.

Lying to Parliament is forbidden by the Ministerial Code, and the penalty is that an MP must resign. Strange that Michael Ellis has done no such thing.

But then, the Ministerial Code is overseen by – guess who? – Boris Johnson. And he has already overridden the findings of one “independent” report in order to protect a minister in his government (Priti Patel) so perhaps Ellis felt secure in his actions.

Ellis also said that Johnson himself would answer questions about the Downing Street Parties in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (January 12). But this only led to speculation about his reason for not facing MPs at the Urgent Question:

None of it is good enough.

The simple fact is that participation in large gatherings was against the law at the time and we have evidence that Johnson was there.

It is therefore the duty of the Metropolitan Police to arrest him and interview him to determine the extent of his involvement in this crime.

The Met has said it is in contact with Downing Street about the matter but if Johnson is not arrested, it will raise – once again – concerns that the UK’s prime minister really is above the law…

… that we really do live in a nation that has one rule for the majority of the population – law-abiding citizens – and no rules at all for those like Johnson who set the rules for the rest of us.

That revelation will erode the fabric of society.

People will rightly demand to know why they should follow demands by Johnson that restrict our freedom, when he merrily does whatever he feels like, whenever he feels like it.

They will decide that they can break the rules too. And if the police turn up, they’ll remind the coppers that policing in the UK is by consent – and that their consent is withdrawn in response to the failure of the police to uphold the law impartially.

If the police were to try to clamp down on those people, they would create an incident that could seriously harm public order across the country.

Perhaps Johnson and his cadre, sitting in their ivory tower in Westminster, don’t realise what they have done.

They have turned the UK into a tinderbox. One wrong move by just one bright spark among them and it could explode.

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#Tory plans for #Covid19 have fallen into incoherence. Can anybody #makeitmakesense?

Boris Johnson says the UK’s position with regard to Covid-19 is “incomparably better” than it was this time last year.

I don’t get it, so I’m willing to bet that you don’t either.

Covid-19 infections in the UK have skyrocketed over the Christmas period – and that’s just those we know about!

At the time of writing, the number of new cases in England and Scotland stood at 157, 758 on January 3. Those for Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the figures from Public Health England.

And there is a shortage of test kits, meaning the figures available to us are likely to represent only a fraction of the real total.

Only 42 deaths have been recorded. Again, these are likely to be a fraction of the real total, but the figure is one of the best This Writer has seen in months.

The number of hospitalisations is not listed on any of the press releases I’ve seen, but it likely to be around 9-10,000.  That’s about 50 per cent more than the previous week, indicating that while the Omicron variant may not kill people, it will certainly put them in hospital, tying up NHS resources.

The government’s response? Revive Nightingale hospitals.

That’s right. Apparently eight new Nightingales are being set up in car parks across the UK, aiming to provide 4,000 extra beds for Covid-19 patients.

Sadly, there are no extra NHS staff available to run these so-called hospitals. The NHS is overstretched, just staffing the genuine hospitals it has. Boris Johnson’s claim to be recruiting 50,000 new nurses had the same validity as most of his pronouncements (in other words, none at all) and Sajid Javid’s appeal for former healthcare professionals to help out has fallen on deaf ears.

It seems both men are hoping that nobody will realise that a tent in a car park without hospital staff isn’t a hospital; it’s just a tent – in a car park.

Heaven help you if you end up being sent there.

While all this was going on, the government assured everybody in England that it was perfectly safe to enjoy New Year parties – without any health protection measures at all. This was probably motivated by fear of being shamed again if evidence comes to light of more Downing Street parties at a time when people were not allowed to enjoy themselves, and hope that the inevitable increase in Covid cases comes as those with other causes start to tail off.

Oh, and the shortage of NHS staff is not being addressed at all. In fact, the Tories have refused to provide the FFP2 or FFP3 face masks that will protect them from being infected by their patients, meaning he is deliberately directing the NHS towards what could be its worst ever winter crisis.

Then there’s the question of schools.

The new term begins on January 4 (which could be today, depending on when you’re reading this), with only one health protection measure in place: secondary pupils must wear masks.

There is no plan to address the acute shortage of teachers caused by the government’s refusal to impose protections on their health after the Omicron variant arrived in the UK.

This means classes – and indeed entire schools – are likely to close this month.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has told head teachers to consider merging classes (to ensure that pupils who may not be infected have a chance to catch Covid from those who are?) or sending groups of pupils home if staff absences reach critical levels.

This suggests that his own appeal for former teachers to volunteer to help has fallen on the same stony ground as his colleague Javid’s did within the NHS. And quite right, too – retired staff are in the Covid-19 danger zone and must consider their own safety first.

So government policy is another massive contradiction. Health protection measures are minimal and the assumption is that schools will stay open until closure is the only choice remaining to them – meaning they must become breeding grounds for the virus, once again.

Calls for better ventilation, filtration, and social distancing have been rejected by the government – possibly because acting on them would involve spending money, and the only spending the Tories plan to do on Covid-19 is wasting cash by handing it to their friends (no matter how amateur they may be).

Sadly we cannot expect opposition to any of these hare-brained policies from Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Starmer supported, to the hilt, everything Johnson has done – and failed to do – about Covid-19. That includes demanding that schools should stay open.

A U-turn now would leave him and his Tepid Tory party wide open to criticism from the real Tories.

Labour had the chance to demand school safety, support for the vulnerable, and help for businesses but squandered it. Now it is too late for Starmer to change.

Add it all up and it makes nonsense of Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK is in an “incomparably better” position than this time last year.

We are on the edge of a cliff and he is trying to push us over.

That’s unless you can make it make sense for the rest of us.

Social media comments on the information supporting this article – and more – are below:

The government’s Christmas message was that it’s bringing back pint bottles of Champagne. So?

Daft: Liz Truss is trying to woo the public with empty promises.

You may have been wondering where Vox Political has been for the past few days, Christmas notwithstanding.

Well, I want you all to know that I was not partying it up like a crazed Bacchanalian baboon. No!

I was at a business meeting.

For this reason, I was unable to report on the latest Brexit-related development, that turned into the Tory government’s message of great joy for Christmas – until it backfired:

The fact that it’s a brainchild of possible Boris Johnson backstabber may be a source of some consolation for the prime minister, who would be having a rotten Christmas if he was capable of understanding the world of torment into which he is slowly falling.

Quite a few people have been having fun with it.

I certainly can’t understand why anybody would care.

Most of us in the UK don’t remember pint-sized champagne bottles and wouldn’t see the point of them anyway. We would be paying more money for less product, yet again.

And why would any French wine producer (champagne can only come from that region of France) bother changing their production process to provide smaller bottles to the UK market? It would be costly and, with no guarantee of a market, risky.

So it was a meaningless statement: the government is making it possible for manufacturers to sell UK customers pint glasses of champagne – but nobody is likely to do it.

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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#Tory policies to attack the #NHS have crippled UK healthcare far more than #Covid19 [tweets]

Tory political policies are causing huge harm to the health of people in the UK – in many ways.

In fact, the number of different ways in which the government headed by Boris Johnson is attacking you is hard to quantify – because there are so many and they come at you from so many angles.

So we should be grateful to Labour’s Clive Lewis for the Twitter thread below:

Some people have responded by pointing out that Labour under Keir Starmer is unlikely to do anything about the problems that Mr Lewis raises.

While this is probably accurate, This Writer would say it is misguided.

The aim isn’t to score party political points.

It is to demonstrate that the Conservative government is trying to harm you – and if you support it with your votes, then you are actually self-harming.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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#ShaunBailey: Former London Mayor candidate quits police committee role after rule-busting Christmas party

Shaun Bailey: he was the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Now he has resigned from a police committee after breaking rules on attending Christmas parties last year.

Remember Shaun Bailey?

I do.

He was the Tory racist and sexist who stood as their candidate in the London mayoral election that Sadiq Khan won.

Here‘s the BBC:

A former Conservative mayoral candidate who attended a Covid regulation-breaching Christmas party has quit as chair of a police and crime committee.

Shaun Bailey’s team organised the gathering at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters on 14 December 2020 when London was under Tier 2 restrictions banning household mixing.

He has now stepped down from the role but remains a member of the committee and the London Assembly.

Note that Bailey would have been quite happy to stay on the London Assembly’s Police and Crime committee if a photo of him at the rule-busting party had not been published in the Mirror.

And he’s happy to remain a member of the committee, even now!

These Tories. There’s not an ounce of integrity in any of them.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook