Tag Archives: abroad

Evil Priti Patel rejoices as she ends freedom of movement for 66 million UK citizens

Happy hater: Priti Patel’s new law would have deported her own parents. The big question is: would she care?

“Dumpy she-Hitler” Priti Patel has publicly celebrated ending a fundamental freedom for every citizen of the United Kingdom.

Her Immigration Bill has just passed into law, meaning that those of you living in the UK will find it just that little bit harder to leave the country in the future – especially if we’re going to the European Union.

As for immigrating out of the burnt-out wheelie bin Patel and her fellow Tories have made of the country – forget it!

She didn’t mention that in her publicity tweet, though.

No – like the true-blue fake she is, she emphasized the aspect that would appeal to the Brexiters who voted for her cruelty…

… little knowing that it affects them as much as it does people from other countries.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that Patel’s own parents would not have been allowed into the UK under the laws that she has introduced – that’s the level of hypocrisy she exemplifies:

Still, it seems unlikely her parents will be upset by their daughter’s new law – father Sushil Patel ran for election to a council as a representative of UKIP, meaning that – in her family – she’s probably the nice one.

Vilification of this hateful spite queen has been running through Twitter since she made her announcement – but it seems she is protected by a thick shield composed entirely of bigotry, from which the condemnation will rebound like water off a snake’s skin.

We can enjoy it, though:

How ironic that this has come on a day when supporters of Donald Trump have been announcing that they plan to quit the United States and come to the UK.

They’ll get cold comfort here: all they’ll find is Priti Patel waiting to deport them.

They’ll probably end up on Ascension Island or St Helena.

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Old anti-doctor story revived to take the heat off the Tories during NHS winter crisis – claim

“This same article came out in the middle of junior doctors’ strikes,” wrote Dr Lauren Gavaghan when she retweeted the article quoted below, on Twitter.

“Now middle of NHS crisis.

“It might just help,” she added, “to make the NHS a more attractive place to work, so doctors and nurses wouldn’t want/need to leave.

“But no…let’s drum up some bad press for doctors.”

Poor show, Torygraph. You’ve let the side down.

Junior doctors who go abroad to work after benefiting from £220,000 worth of world class training should be forced to pay back some of their costs to the NHS, healthcare leaders say.

Source: NHS ‘should consider forcing doctors to pay back training costs if they quit’ 


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Warmonger Fallon wants the UK to sell arms to anyone who wants them

Michael Fallon dismissed concerns about arms sales to dictatorships [Image: Getty].

The man who once tried to claim that the UK had a moral responsibility to bomb people in the Middle East is now saying he wants the UK to become the world’s biggest armaments marketplace after Brexit.

Yes, Michael ‘Bomber’ Fallon, speaking at the World’s largest arms fair (which is, to all our shame, held in London), said demand was going “through the roof” because of increasing war and terror.

How insensitive of him, at a time when it is known that the UK provides weapons to Saudi Arabia, which has used them against Yemen. Saudi citizens were also among those who planned and carried out the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre back in 2001 (unless you believe the conspiracy theorists).

And how insensitive of him at a time when the UK is suffering an increase in undetected terror attacks, due to the short-sightedness of his prime minister, Theresa May, who cut police budgets while she was Home Secretary.

But then, Mr Fallon isn’t interested in your feelings. He’s got his eye on the massive profits to be made from killing people abroad. If a few of you get caught in the crossfire, he couldn’t care less.

Britain will “spread its wings across the world” with increased arms and equipment exports after Brexit, the Defence Secretary has said.

Addressing the world’s largest arms fair in London, Sir Michael Fallon outlined his vision for the UK to take a bigger share of the international defence market and claimed demand was going “through the roof” because of increasing war and terror.

Hailing programmes to build frigates, marine patrol aircraft and the F-35 fighter jet, the Defence Secretary claimed the industry could strengthen international alliances.

Read more: DSEI 2017: Michael Fallon outlines vision for increasing UK arms trade after Brexit


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NHS Wales should be praised for employing agency nurses to keep care standards high

zcoalitionfailnhspay

The facts about health service pay: If NHS Wales is having to employ agency staff, perhaps it is because the Conservative Government does not provide enough funding for NHS employees. Maybe this is why so many have been lured abroad by higher pay and better standards of living.

A Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives has revealed that NHS Wales had to spend £190 million on agency doctors and nurses in the last four years. Shame on NHS Wales, right?

Well, no. This merely demonstrates the cack-handed way the Conservatives have been running the health service since taking office as part of the Coalition Government in 2010.

Does anybody remember reports last year that the Conservative-led Coalition Government had dumped 4,000 senior nurses since 2010, considering them to be “disposable” and “a quick way to save money”?

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said at the time: “We are facing a Europe-wide shortage of nursing staff and the last thing the NHS should be doing at this time is treating its highly experienced staff as disposable.

“We need to be doing everything we can to retain the skills we have in the NHS rather than using them as a quick and easy way to make savings.”

These words clearly fell on deaf ears in the Department of Health, which continued to cut nursing staff. Cuts in health spending in England are mirrored, via the Barnett formula, in funding provided to the devolved health services elsewhere in the UK, meaning that the Welsh Government has had to reduce money provided for other services in order to address the cut in spending – and service standard – caused by Tory changes.

That has taken several years to accomplish – as this blog has made clear in previous articles. The Westminster government’s grant to Wales has been cut by a massive 10 per cent since 2010.

And what has happened to our highly-qualified NHS staff members in the meantime? It seems they have been attracted abroad by foreign health services that treat their workforce with more respect.

Vox Political commenter karenmarieuk, responding to a recent article, told us: “My daughter now lives in South Africa and is treated by British staff at both her GP surgery and her local hospital.”

She asked: “Why do our health care professionals have to emigrate to earn the respect they deserve? Our nursing staff are canvassed regularly by Australia, being offered incentives such as housing and vastly improved lifestyles as well as pay that puts the UK to shame! This is just one country from many.

“When, I wonder, will the UK stop this mass exodus and try keeping staff here?”

When indeed? Never, under a Conservative government.

The Welsh Tories have shot themselves in the foot (again) with their ridiculous claims following this FoI request. The total amount spent on agency staff by NHS Wales comes to 1/120 of funding every year, to be compared with the 10 per cent cut from Conservative and Conservative-led Westminster governments.

Conservative politics has caused the problem, not a Labour-run health service.

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Cameron’s terror tactics hold no fears for the fanatics

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So “British jihadists who travel abroad to fight could be prevented from returning under new powers” outlined by David Cameron, could they?

Whose stupid idea was that?

Not everybody who goes to the ‘danger’ countries is going to be a threat; they could have perfectly legitimate reasons for going. In fact, the vast majority have been proven to have no interest in violence at all.

But anyone who goes out could have their passports taken away for two years, unless they agree to be escorted back here and then undergo an extensive “de-radicalisation” programme – brainwashing, it seems.

The move puts the government on extremely dodgy ground because, legally, it can’t take away anybody’s passport while they’re abroad because that could leave them – effectively – stateless, or at least lead to them acting as if they are, and this is illegal under international agreements. Or is Cameron reneging on international – and indeed common – law?

It assumes guilt before trial. People who are suspected – take note of that: suspected – of being jihadists will be told they cannot return to their home country, despite having been found guilty of nothing, unless they submit to measures that some may describe as extreme. There appears to be no appeal mechanism.

And what are people going to do, if they’re being prevented from coming home? The proto-terrorists are more likely to spend their time seeking out the professional terrorists and learn all they can in order to become actual terrorists on their return – pro-Brit brainwashing or no. The innocents could fall into the hands of the terrorists and become radicalised.

Fundamental to all this is the fact that the new measures are attacking the symptoms of radicalisation, rather than the cause. They assume that people flying out to ‘danger’ countries are up to no good, and they facilitate action by the British state that is more likely to make that the case than achieve the opposite.

Is anything being done to stop the radicalisation of British citizens here in the UK – to prevent them from wanting to join some deranged terrorist cause, out in the desert? No.

It is as if our government – which some might describe as deranged itself – wanted to create an army of anti-British terrorists, composed of British citizens.

Cameron can’t even get Parliamentary procedure right these days. He has run foul of the Speaker, John Bercow, for announcing the new rules from Australia. The comedy prime minister’s claim that there was an urgent need is one that can’t be confirmed – who knows what secret plots are being hatched an foiled at any time? – leading to the obvious rejoinder that he could say that any time he liked, bypassing protocol whenever he feels like it.

Is he deliberately destroying British justice and the rule of law?

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How do we wrestle fairness from a rigged economic system?

The problem in a nutshell - and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman]

The problem in a nutshell – and this cartoon was drawn in 1972! [Image: Alan Hardman]

It’s terrific when an article makes you think.

Why Capitalism needs unemployment, by Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, tells us that unemployment is used as a weapon against the workers – with the threat of it used to force pay cuts on employees, while we are told to fear inflation if unemployment falls.

So fatcat company bosses win either way, it seems.

The article commented on Margaret Thatcher’s ideological mentor, Milton Friedman, who “understood that low levels of unemployment give confidence to workers, who can fight for better pay and conditions. When they’re successful, the profit margins of capitalists are reduced, causing them to put their prices up in response“.

We know this happens; we have seen it many times. Some may argue that it is different from cases in which shortages of particular commodities push up their prices and the prices of products that are made from them – but, with fuel prices as the only notable exception, have you ever seen prices drop after these shortages end?

The system is rigged to ensure that working people stay poor, either through pay cuts during high unemployment or inflation in low unemployment; meanwhile the employers and shareholders ensure that they stay rich, by sharing out extra profits gained by keeping pay low or by putting up prices.

What do they do with this money?

The answer, it seems, is nothing. They bank it in offshore tax havens and leave it there. This is why, we are told, Britain’s richest citizens have more than £20 trillion banked offshore at the moment.

That’s more than £20,000,000,000,000! Enough to pay off this country’s national debt 18,000 times over and still have plenty to spare. Enough to solve the problems of the world, forever. It is, in fact, more money than we can comfortably imagine.

It is doing nothing.

Faced with this knowledge, there can only be one logical question: Why?

Why rig the system so that ever-larger sums of money pour into these offshore accounts, if nothing is to be done with it? Where is the sense in that?

The only logical answer appears to relate to its effect on workers: Keeping the profits of their work away from the workforce means they are kept in misery and servitude to the ruling classes – the parasitical board members and shareholders.

There are knock-on effects. Taxpayers are hit twice – not only are they forced to grapple with ever-more-hostile pay offers, but their taxes pay for in-work benefits that subsidise corporate-imposed pay levels; they support people who have been forced into unemployment unnecessarily and the silly make-work schemes that are forced on those people by the Department for Work and Pensions, under threat of sanction.

It’s a protection racket. There should be a law against it. And this begs the next question: Why isn’t there a law against it? How can this corrupt system be dismantled and what should replace it?

That’s a very good question, because the other cosh being held over our collective heads is the possibility that firms will move abroad if new laws in this country threaten their massive profits. This is where an international agreement between nations or groups of nations would be very useful, if it was carried out in the right way – a Transatlantic, or Trans-pacific, Trade and Investment Partnership, perhaps.

And what do we see? Plans for such agreements have been put together and they do the exact opposite of what they should – tying the workers into ever-worsening conditions. This is why the TTIP, currently being pushed on the European Union, must be rejected – and why bosses will do anything to ensure it succeeds.

This is the situation. It seems clear that nothing will change it for the better until somebody has the courage to stand up to these manipulators (who were probably schoolyard bullies back in the day) and say enough is enough; change is coming – do what you will.

Tax evasion and avoidance is already a huge issue here in the UK; perhaps we need to make a criminal offence of manipulating the economy – with prison sentences for bosses who put their prices up purely to retain high profit margins when their salaries are already dozens of times higher than those of their workers.

But what else is needed? How can such a mechanism be brought in without scaring off business? Or should we let them go, and put something fairer in their place? Ban them from trading in the UK unless they conform to the new model?

These are ideas that need exploration – by many people, not just a few.

What do you think should happen?

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How can we believe the government’s ‘health tourism’ statistics?

"It's my policy and I'll cry if I want to" - or is Jeremy *unt simply responding to criticism of his bid to climb on the anti-immigration bandwagon?

“It’s my policy and I’ll cry if I want to” – or is Jeremy *unt simply responding to criticism of his bid to climb on the anti-immigration bandwagon?

A speech by Iain Duncan Smith is immediately reminiscent of a wasp negotiating its way through a bulldog’s digestive system; there’s a lot of droning and implied pain, but through it all you know exactly what the outcome will be.

From this starting point, one may liken a speech by Jeremy Hunt to a hippo having an unhappy bowel movement as a result of an unwise dietary choice; much clumsy blundering in the wilderness and a fair amount of distress – which may be transferred to any poor creature unlucky enough to get in the way.

It seems that migrants and visitors from abroad who use the NHS are now facing the full onslaught of the Health Secretary’s metaphorical indigestion, with nary a bucket of Rennie in sight – except in this case the cure would be a set of reliable statistics covering the use of NHS services by our foreign-born friends.

Armed with new reports by independent firms Prederi and Creative Research, the Health Secretary (and well-known misprint) believes ‘health tourism’ is costing the NHS £2 billion every year – and has announced that he plans to claw back around £500 million of that money.

A BBC report states that ministers believe some of the spending is unavoidable but “it would be realistic to save a quarter. Savings would come from deterring so-called health tourism, recovering money owed by other countries and a levy on non-European temporary residents”.

But the cost of health tourism, as set out in the report, is tiny – at a maximum of £80 million it would be four per cent of the estimated total loss – and this is based on evidence which even one of the reports’ authors, Prederi, have admitted is incomplete. On its own, it could not possibly generate the saving demanded by the new policy, nor could it justify the claim that £2 billion is currently being lost.

That is not the point, though. This is about getting the NHS on the anti-immigration bandwagon.

The study has been released to coincide with the Immigration Bill, which (surprise, surprise) includes plans for a £200-per-person-per-year charge for temporary migrants to use the NHS during any stay lasting between six months and five years.

The Conservative-led Coalition government says this could recoup around £200 million per year, but this is clearly nonsense.

Put yourself in the position of a person from abroad, considering an extended stay in the UK. If an extra cost of up to £1,000 for a five-year stay was added to the trip, out of the blue, would you go ahead with it? Or would you consider other destinations?

Alternatively, if the trip could not be avoided, would this not make you more likely to use the NHS, in order to simply get your money’s worth? The trouble with this is that such a person would not know the cost of a consultation. According to Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee, the cost of a single hospital outpatient appointment would equal the £200-per-year levy.

And then there is the administration cost. New Statesman revealed that the chair of the Royal College of GPs, Claire Gerada, has warned that the cost of administrating the new system could outweigh the savings, while also increasing public health problems such as TB by deterring temporary migrants from seeking treatment when they first fall ill. This gives rise to the possibility that we are facing another Tory policy that could have deadly consequences for the population.

This is not a plan to deal with health tourism at all. This is an attempt by an increasingly-desperate Conservative Party to claw back some of the voters who have (themselves) migrated to UKIP because of fears that have been planted in their minds by political spin-doctors, rather than any real threat – the phantom problem of immigrants getting benefits they haven’t earned.

Health tourism is not costing the UK £2 billion a year, and the measures outlined by the government will not stop it, or save any lost money. If anything, it will cost the country millions of pounds.

But then, when has Jeremy Hunt bothered with the facts, when he can have his way simply by playing on people’s fears and manipulating their beliefs?

This is why reference was made, at the top of this article, to Iain Duncan Smith – another Tory minister who won’t let thousands of possible deaths interfere with his beliefs.

Why does Gove want to sell school places to foreigners when there aren’t enough for British children?

The stupid boy sitting at the back: Michael Gove has just one aim for the education system - to make it profitable. If he succeeds, YOUR children will pay the price.

The stupid boy sitting at the back: Michael Gove has just one aim for the education system – to make it profitable. If he succeeds, YOUR children will pay the price.

The revelation that Michael Gove has a plan to sell places in academy schools to students who currently live overseas came less than a week after the BBC reported that a shortage of school places was likely to harm the quality of education here.

England needs to find 250,000 primary places – within two months – and this means that schools that perform poorly may expand to accommodate the need, even though the education they provide is substandard.

It is into this environment that Michael Gove apparently wants to introduce a paying market.

Academies are not allowed to make profits at the moment, but it seems likely that a Conservative government would change this requirement in order to allow paying pupils in – effectively accelerating towards the privatisation of the education system.

In an environment with too few school places for the British, parents need to realise that their children will be passed over in favour of paying foreign students. In essence, this is a plan to exclude poor people from education.

The evidence suggests that this has been the plan all along. A Guardian article yesterday noted that “Other milestones are already in place: performance-related pay for teachers is on its way. Around half the country’s secondaries are now academies, reluctant primaries are being forced down the same route and the 2011 Education Act decreed that if a new school is needed, it can only be a free school or an academy.

“Once schools are out of the maintained sector, only governed by a commercial contract with the secretary of state (the basis on which “independent” state schools are set up), it is only a short step to a new procurement process, which allows multinational for-profit chains to enter this market.

“And the point about schools run for profit is that they do what they say on the tin – seek to make a profit. So the first stop may be wealthy foreign pupils seeking access to selective, oversubscribed academies, but where would that stop? Co-payments? Fees for domestic families?”

The article continues: “Profit-making schools have a very mixed record in nearly every country where they have already been tried, notably Sweden, the US and Chile. Quality is often poor.

“If they fail they are swiftly closed down or reopened under new management – hardly a culture conducive to fostering sustained improvement.”

From here on, the article suggests, we should rename the British education system the “domestic market for education businesses”.

And your child’s education can go to hell. After all, the Tories educate their children privately, don’t they?

It is not only notable but sinister that Downing Street has declined to comment on the leaked letter that revealed the proposal.

Silence is not denial. In fact, with the current government, it might as well be an admission of guilt.

David Cameron has started to privatise the National Health Service; he has started to privatise the police. Now it seems he is ready to privatise education as well.

How long do the so-called ‘Working-Class Tories’ have to be exposed to this before they realise that their government is screwing them over?