Category Archives: Wales

Twit Tory’s tweet shows the Labour Welsh government is handling Covid-19 better than his rabble

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”.

James Cleverly is a gift to everyone who opposes Tories and Conservative policies.

His latest blunder was a tweet trying to claim that Labour would have failed to handle the Covid-19 crisis as well as the Conservatives – by suggesting a comparison between Westminster and the Labour-run Welsh government:

Wales is doing very well, thank you very much – as experts lined up to explain to the misnamed dimwit.

Worse still (for Cleverly), his tweet provided another Tory an opportunity to make an utter fool of himself – and by extension, his party – by trying to spread a lie about the current Welsh lockdown. Here’s the tweet:

Here’s the response that best skewers Cllr Hill:

Just for completeness, here is the Welsh Government’s response to Katie, from the thread in question:

Tesco has apologised for the mistake.

I wonder if Cllr Hill, any of the other Tories who have tried to spread the lie, or Cleverly himself will ever have the courage also to apologise?

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Rees-Mogg’s hypocrisy over England-Wales travel ban is borderline schizoid

Rees-Mogg: doesn’t he look properly psychotic in this image? Little did we know that it reflects his actual personality. Or did we..?

See what I did there? No? Allow me to explain:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has supported to the hilt plans that would put permanent borders within the United Kingdom – in the middle of the Irish Sea and on the inland border of Kent.

But he reckons a plan by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford to ban entry into that country by people from other areas of the UK with higher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions is “unconstitutional”.

It isn’t; it simply puts those other parts of the UK in the same situation as those parts of Wales that are under more stringent restrictions and Drakeford is well within his rights to impose this temporary rule.

It seems, regarding internal borders, Rees-Mogg is schizoid – he is literally of two minds.

Here’s Nation.Cymru:

Jacob Rees Mogg replied: “What would you expect of a hard-left Labour Government?

“The approach to putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional and will place the police in an invidious position considering that they serve the whole of the United Kingdom.

“We are one single United Kingdom and we should not have… borders between different parts of the United Kingdom.

“And I’m afraid that is what you get when you vote for socialists.”

He did not offer any evidence that the Welsh Government’s plan was unconstitutional. Health is a devolved issue in Wales and can be legislated upon by the Welsh Parliament.

Police are not devolved but organised on an England and Wales, Scottish, and Northern Irish basis.

The measures regarding people coming to Wales from England are the same as those that exist between Welsh authorities.

You can see him making his comment here:

Phew, what a loony!

“Hard-left Labour government”? Rees-Mogg’s own constituency of Bath and North-East Somerset is very close to Wales. All he has to do is cross a bridge to realise that this is not a country full of Bolshevik revolutionaries.

Drakeford himself always struck me as being more of the ‘New Labour’ persuasion than a socialist. Perhaps he’ll take the hint from Rees-Mogg and adopt a more left-wing policy from now on (that would be welcome).

Realistically, we could suggest that Rees-Mogg’s attitude is that of the spoilt boy who finds that someone else has been playing with his toys; perhaps he thought nobody else was allowed to do as Drakeford has – now he knows better.

Alternatively, he’s mad as a bag of cats.

Our friends in the social media have an opinion about that, of course:

Come to that, so do a few people from Wales itself:

Of course it is perfectly permissible to travel out of Wales in order to give Rees-Mogg a verbal battering.

And if you don’t travel through any English Covid hotspots, it’s perfectly permissible to travel back in again.

The only people under any restrictions are those who should not be travelling anyway.

So this Tory fool is making a fuss about nothing.

Source: Rees-Mogg incorrectly claims new Welsh Covid-19 restrictions are ‘unconstitutional’ – Nation.Cymru

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New pub closure rules can only increase Johnson’s lockdown muddle

Closed: but under what circumstances? Restrictions are now different across the UK and people are likely to catch Covid-19 due to confusion.

Boris Johnson’s ‘local lockdown’ plan is degenerating into incoherence as each tiny part of the UK adds new – and conflicting – Covid-19-related restrictions.

The latest addition to this babble is a restriction on pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues in England, forcing them to close at 10pm, starting on Thursday (September 24).

Why’s that? Does Covid-19 only come out for a drink after 10 o’clock?

It doesn’t make any sense at all – and in fact will only add to the confusion.

Look at Wales, where six local authority areas have local lockdown rules.

From 6pm on Tuesday (September 22), Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, and Newport join Caerphilly in having these restrictions: business closures are in line with national restrictions in Wales (meaning they’re different from those in England); you cannot meet indoors with anyone outside your household; you can no longer form a social bubble with another household; you cannot leave the local area without a reasonable excuse; and everyone over the age of 11 must wear a face covering in indoor public spaces unless exempt. I wonder if everybody there knows which indoor public spaces are exempt.

But in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the first four of those restrictions are the same – but the face mask rule doesn’t count. Instead, all licensed premises have to close at 11pm.

In seven local authority areas in northeast England, hospitality venues can only provide table service and take away orders, you cannot meet people outside your household/social bubble in a home/garden; travel is advised only for essential reasons, and a curfew applies to certain businesses between 10pm and 5am.

In seven local authority areas in Scotland, you cannot meet people outside your household/social bubble in a home/garden.

All of the places listed above are next to areas where these restrictions don’t apply – but others (that apply to all areas in their country of the UK) do.

There’s an area of northwest England that is really confusing: restrictions in Bradford are different from Pendle, which in turn differs from Burnley. Nearby Bolton is different again.

Is your head spinning yet?

Schools will remain open in all these places, despite the fact that they are now well-established as the principle route of transmission.

Further restrictions will also be announced in Scotland on Tuesday, while restrictions on households mixing indoors will be will be extended to all of Northern Ireland.

Ye gods!

It’s a lot of effort to be seen to be doing something when in fact – let’s be honest – Boris Johnson and his government are doing nothing to stem the tide of Covid’s second wave.

On Monday,  4,368 daily cases were reported – up from 3,899 on Sunday – along with 11 deaths.

This Site has already reported that a televised briefing by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance warned that, if unchecked, the number of infections could be as high as 50,000 per day by mid-October.

Well, I’ve got bad news for them. Confusing as the restrictions are, none of them are going to stop that disaster from happening.

What we need is a working test, track and trace system that isolates people who have been in contact with those who have been infected – and prevents them from infecting other people.

Sadly, Johnson and his government have put the responsibility for such a system in the hands of profit-grubbing corporates who simply aren’t responsible enough to do it properly.

Johnson has offered to lift his “rule of six” restriction on social gatherings for 24 hours on Christmas Day, if we manage to turn back the new Covid tide – but this seems an empty promise; he knows it won’t happen.

My advice: go back into behaving as if the national lockdown in March never ended – if you can. If you can’t, do everything possible to avoid contact with other people.

You cannot rely on government intervention to save you from the virus.

So it’s up to you to do what you can yourself.

Source: Covid: Pubs and restaurants in England to have 10pm closing times – BBC News

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Wales’ First Minister blasts ‘utterly shambolic’ Tories for decisions over quarantine rules

Mark Drakeford: Wales’ First Minister described the Tory government in Westminster as “utterly shambolic”.

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has described dealing with the UK Government on quarantine relaxation as “an utterly shambolic experience”.

His words follow the scrapping of the 14-day self-isolation policy for people returning to or visiting England from certain destinations.

Travellers returning from countries such as Spain, France, Italy and Germany will no longer need to self-isolate for two weeks.

The UK Government said, “We have been working with all devolved administrations on quarantine from the outset and we will continue to do so.”

But Mr Drakeford has a different view. Here it is:

“I’ve seen it as our responsibility to put onto the statute book here in Wales the regulations that allow that UK scheme to operate here in Wales,” Mr Drakeford said.

“But dealing with the UK Government over the last few days has been an utterly shambolic experience.

“If ever there was an example of making an announcement first and then trying to work out what you meant by it – that is what we have seen since this announcement was first trailed in the press.

“And day after day we have attempted to get a sensible answer from the UK Government on how they intend to make these changes, which countries they intend to extend the arrangements to, and I just have to say it’s been an impossible experience to follow.”

Asked about the issue of air bridges and border quarantine, Mr Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff that they were matters for the UK Government because the Welsh Government is not in charge of border security.

Source: Mark Drakeford blasts UK Government for ‘utterly shambolic’ decisions over quarantine rules | ITV News

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Coronavirus: ‘Not a penny’ for Wales from Johnson’s ‘new deal’ – BBC News

Boris Johnson’s special message for Wales.

“Not a single penny” of new investment will come to Wales as a result of Boris Johnson’s post-coronavirus recovery plan, the Welsh Government has said.

Mr Johnson promised a £5bn infrastructure “new deal” for England and to work with the Welsh Government to “get spades in the ground”.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said all four UK nations should “work together”.

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething said it was not “a new deal but no deal” with no extra cash for Wales.

This Writer said it was “no deal” – didn’t I? Vox Political – right again!

Source: Coronavirus: ‘Not a penny’ for Wales from Johnson’s ‘new deal’ – BBC News

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Coronavirus: Wales starts easing the lockdown – one rule at a time

The Welsh government has announced that it is easing lockdown restrictions – but only one part of them, and for a very good reason.

From Monday, people from two different households in the same local area will be able to meet up outdoors. They must continue to maintain social distancing and strict hand hygiene.

As a general rule, people will not be allowed to travel more than five miles for these meetings – which comes hard for those of us in rural areas who have friends more than five miles away that we haven’t seen in nearly three months.

There will be exceptions including travelling to work, shopping for essentials that aren’t available locally, and to seek care.

That last exception seems to be an attempt to legitimise behaviour like Dominic Cummings’s trip from London to Durham, which caused a hugely embarrassing scandal that the Tory government has been trying to silence for the last week.

The reason for lifting just one rule at a time is simple, as First Minister Mark Drakeford was told:

“Making more than one significant relaxation was too dangerous because if the infection rate went up, it would not be clear what had caused it.”

Contrast that with Boris Johnson’s idiotic rush to get everybody back to work as soon as possible, and damn the consequences!

Is it any wonder that this decision has been followed by another one – to stop showing the daily number of Covid-19-related deaths?

Source: Why the Welsh Government is only making one major lockdown change | Wales – ITV News

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Scotland joins Wales to ban Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens

Registered in a tax haven? Then no tax-funded help for you: there’s no reason the UK should give tax-dodging firms a hand during the coronavirus crisis if they haven’t paid their full dues. Wales and Scotland have made this clear; let’s see Westminster do the same.

Quite right too. If you’ve opted out of paying tax when the going was easy, then you can’t try to get help from the taxpayer in hard times.

Has the Tory government in Westminster made this decision yet?

The Scottish parliament has voted to block companies based in tax havens from using millions of pounds in coronavirus relief funding, in emergency legislation.

MSPs approved measures on Wednesday night brokered by the Scottish Greens to prohibit firms or individuals who are registered in tax havens, or are a subsidiary of an offshore company, from getting support grants.

The vote follows similar decisions by the Welsh government last week and by other EU member states, including Denmark and France, but ministers have yet to say how much Scottish government spending will be affected or how it will be enforced.

It is thought it could prevent companies with offshore links from applying to a new £120m enterprise resilience fund that provides grants for small- and medium-sized firms, and a £30m creative, tourism and hospitality bailout fund for firms that cannot get business rates relief.

The Welsh government blocked companies with headquarters in a tax haven from accessing its £500m economic resilience fund on 15 May. Ministers in Cardiff said last week it would affect a small number of companies.

Source: Scotland bans Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens | Politics | The Guardian

Coronavirus: the Tories are trying to blackmail other UK countries into lifting lockdown early

Rishi Sunak: he seems to be denying the facts of the coronavirus crisis, in order to force an early end to the lockdown.

Never underestimate a Tory minister who apparently has mass murder in mind:

It seems Rishi Sunak is upset that the Scottish Parliament is more concerned with saving people’s lives than getting the economy back up and running for the benefit of a cadre of lazy billionaires, and has threatened to withdraw funding for the “furlough” scheme that pays for workers to stay at home if Holyrood extends the lockdown longer than Westminster.

The UK-wide furlough scheme has been extended until October, but when Scottish ministers called for clarity about the future, they received a discouraging response:

Scottish economy ministers Kate Forbes and Fiona Hyslop … appealed to the Treausry for assurances that workers will continue to access support even if Scottish firms are not reopened at the same time as English ones.

In a letter to the Chancellor, they wrote: “We understand that the support will need to be scaled back over time, but it is imperative that is done in a carefully considered way, and reflects the economic priorities of each of the four nations and the different sectors of our economies.

“The ability to stagger the closure of the scheme may be beneficial in considering how we safely exit the restrictions currently in place.”

But [a] Downing Street source said that furlough payments are now likely to be distributed by the Treasury on a “sector-by-sector” rather than geographical basis.

The Conservative government has made it clear that it intends to lift the lockdown as soon as it considers this to be possible – but has given no reassurances at all that it will carry out any tests to prove that it is safe to do so.

Indeed, the plan to force schools to reopen at the beginning of June has become a raging controversy, with fears that teachers, parents and friends could fall victim to Covid-19, and children themselves (who seem likely to suffer only light symptoms of that disease) may succumb to a follow-on infection that bears similarities to Kawasaki disease.

Conservatives have shown no concern about these issues at all.

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BoJob booed again as the new PM fails in Wales

Farmers at last weeks Royal Welsh Show demanded answers from new prime minister Boris Johnson about the effect of a “no deal” Brexit which they fear will harm exports and bring a fall in animal welfare and environmental standards – along with a massive cut in funding. If they expected answers when he visited Wales yesterday, they were disappointed.

Mr Johnson was booed as he arrived at the Welsh Assembly for talks with First Minister Mark Drakeford. He had previously visited a chicken farm near Newport and an online retailer in Brecon.

Boris Johnson: A clown, even when he isn’t wearing the make-up.

After behind-closed-doors discussions, Mr Drakeford was disparaging about BoJob. Here’s the BBC’s report of his words:

He held talks with Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford, who said there was a “deeply concerning lack of detail” from the new prime minister.

The Welsh Labour leader said he pressed Mr Johnson to explain the path to a deal with the EU but did not get a “clear sense” from him of what the plan would be.

Mr Drakeford said he emphasised the “catastrophic effect” a no-deal Brexit would have on the Welsh economy, and said the PM provided assurances of support for manufacturing and agriculture in such a scenario.

“But asked to describe the nature of that support, I’m afraid that there is a deeply concerning lack of detail that is available to people whose livelihood is on the line”, Mr Drakeford said.

The first minister said the PM told him there would be many new opportunities for Welsh agriculture and businesses, but he had “no sense again” there was detailed thinking behind what “otherwise becomes vacuous optimism”.

Mr Johnson said: “We’re not aiming for a no-deal Brexit, we don’t think that’s where we’ll end up.”

“This is very much up to our friends and partners across the channel,” he added.

A Welsh farmer called on Mr Johnson to stop “playing Russian roulette” with the lamb industry over the threat of a no-deal Brexit.

Members of the press are starting to call Mr Johnson “Maybot Mk II” after he refused to respond to a single on-camera question.

Adrian Masters of ITV Cymru/Wales explained on Twitter:

Of course, control of the mass media is a warning sign of fascism – see this article for the rest and consider how many other conditions the Conservatives have already met, and how many more they are likely to meet as BoJob’s leadership continues.

The fledgeling PM was much-criticised for leaving his meeting with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon by the back door.

Having failed in Wales, I wonder whether he left Mr Drakeford by the same route.

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