Tag Archives: adviser

Is this the reason Keir Starmer is so timid about the economy?

Funded by private business: Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves both receive donations from private businesses, and it is reasonable to conclude that they receive advice (let’s call it that) from those people too. Given that they don’t seem to have much personal understanding of how the economy works, this may be the reason they are now following right-wing, Establishment, ideas that will help billionaires and crush people like you.

That rising star of left-wing journalism Grace Blakely has written an interesting piece for Tribune, stating that Keir Starmer is too timid to run the UK economy for the people – basically because he doesn’t know enough about it.

Starmer relies on his economic advisers, she says, and they adhere to right-wing dogma that prioritises the rich over the poor:

It is no longer radical to argue that the UK economy requires deep, structural transformation. With the power to set taxes, levels of public spending, wages in the public sector, and regulation in the private sector, the British state is the only institution capable of enacting such a transformation… The British electorate is in favour of a radical shift in economic policy.  

Keir Starmer is undoubtedly a timid and conservative leader… His expert advisers inform him, allegedly objectively, which kinds of policies would be good for ‘the economy’, and he rigidly adheres to their advice.

Without ever providing any evidence, policymakers will state that ‘the economy’ requires tax cuts, or public spending cuts, or deregulation. Experts will nod along and, without the ability to challenge them, most people will simply accept their word as gospel. 

And the policies these ‘experts’ promote just so happen to privilege the interests of the already wealthy while eroding the power of the working classes.

An example of this in action is the National Health Service. When he was campaigning to be Labour leader in 2020, Starmer said he would follow Jeremy Corbyn’s policy to increase income tax on the top five per cent of earners.

This would allow more spending – for example, on the NHS. But now Starmer has rowed back on this pledge, despite the fact that it would help re-balance the economy, which the Tories have tilted to give more money to billionaires:

And now we learn that he’s giving a speech today (Monday, May 22, 2023) saying that the NHS doesn’t need more money – he thinks it is “not serious” to suggest that the NHS’s current issues can be fixed solely with more money.

He won’t say how he’ll change the way the NHS works in order to fix those issues, though – probably because he doesn’t know.

His favoured solution is to bring in more privatisation – as advocated by his Shadow Health Secretary, Wes Streeting.

Why does he say this? Would it be unreasonable to suggest that it is because they are both receiving donations from private firms that make a profit from the UK’s health industry?

Private companies don’t make donations to MPs without wanting something in return; we all know that – right?

And if you think that’s bad, what about the money going to MPs so they can employ staff and pay for “office costs”? If private firms or donors are paying this money, are they dictating who gets the jobs – putting their own people in a position to advise our MPs?

If so, then we should be deeply concerned that almost half of the £1 million that has gone to MPs for this purpose was given to just four Labour MPs – including Streeting.

Another major beneficiary is Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves.

With so much apparent influence from business people promoting their own selfish interests, is it any wonder that Starmer and his cronies are toeing the Establishment line, rather than supporting the radical, transformative policies of his forerunner Jeremy Corbyn?

Source: How Starmer Abandoned Left-Wing Economics


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The story of the Tory sleaze adviser is the story of Tory sleaze

This is hilarious.

It seems nobody wants to apply for the job of ethics adviser to the Tory government because they’ll only show that the entire Tory government is a cabal of crooks.

Rishi Sunak doesn’t want that to happen, of course – meaning that he’d put strong curbs on whoever became adviser anyway.

Or, as A Different Bias‘s Phil Moorhouse put it: “He can’t give the adviser the freedom they need to do their job properly, but nor can he persuade anyone to trash their reputation for the sake of being a puppet. This could damage Sunak’s claims to be governing with integrity further.”

Mr Moorhouse’s comments in the video clip are extremely amusing if you like a bit of schadenfreude. See for yourself:

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Patel insists Rwanda is safe for asylum-seekers – despite expert advice on torture

Priti Patel: she’s not one to listen to advice she doesn’t like.

The Home Secretary has confirmed that she is ignoring the advice of an adviser who said the Rwandan government tortures political opponents, in pushing her policy of deporting asylum-seekers there.

Priti Patel insisted that Rwanda was a “safe country”.

She said the comments had been made by “officials in a different government department”.

She added: “But of course it is the Home Office who has led the economic development migration partnership which is our resettlement partnership to Rwanda. Rwanda is a safe country and all our work with the government of Rwanda shows that.”

She was responding to a High Court judgment that seven statements by an adviser should be made public in advance of a Supreme Court ruling on whether the Rwanda deportation policy is legal.

A judge ruled that a further four statements should not be published as they could potentially harm international relations.

It is not unreasonable – on the face of it – for the government to seek advice and then ignore what it is told.

Governments may take opinions from multiple sources before forming their own opinions and policy.

But this has the potential to blow up in the Tory government’s collective face, if the decision to ignore warnings about this foreign government leads to asylum-seekers being harmed.

Court ruling on Rwanda comments that should be published forces questions on those that won’t

Illegal policy? Priti Patel announced the plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda back in April. But a first flight there was aborted at the last minute as the legality of the scheme was challenged.

The High Court has ruled that a government adviser’s comment that Rwanda’s government tortures and kills political opponents – and six others – should be published ahead of a legal battle to decide whether deportations to that country are legal.

But four further comments by the same person were judged necessary to keep entirely secret because of the damage they would do to international relations between the UK and that country.

This leads to an obvious question:

Given the incendiary nature of the “torture” comment, how damning were the four that are being kept secret? And how can the UK’s Tory government justify sending asylum seekers to Rwanda after being provided with such information?

In his ruling, Lord Justice Lewis said:

“I recognise that there is a strong public interest in not undermining international relations with a friendly state. Nonetheless, that consideration is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring access to relevant information in this litigation and by the extent to which the information is already in the public domain.”

Migrants identified for the first aborted flight, and three media organisations – BBC News, including BBC Two’s Newsnight, The Times and The Guardian newspapers – sought the disclosure of the material.

The judge said given September’s major legal action had to decide whether sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful, the claimants and the court needed to consider as much evidence as possible.

He said some of the official’s comments would have “evidential significance” – and the public interest in disclosing them outweighed the government’s case for keeping them secret.

The government has been allowed time to consider an appeal. If the judgment stands, the comments are likely to emerge in public in September.

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#Labour cash crisis: now #Starmer is cutting MPs’ advisers – starting with #Asian #women

Rosena Allin-Khan: she has been instrumental in exposing the Tory government’s Covid-19 failures so of course Labour leader Keir Starmer is penalising her.

And you still think Starmer’s not racist?

(Not you; the above is what you could say to anyone trying to justify this.)

But what happened to Labour’s short money? This is the cash given to Opposition parties in Parliament to help them with their costs. There was an attempt to take it away from Labour (Tories are like that – they try to screw the other side any way they can) but it failed, I thought.

So there should be cash for these two MPs to hire all the help they need.

That’s unless Starmer is using the cash for other purposes. I wonder what they are?

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#SackWhitty and #SackVallance, people are saying – before they’ve even made their broadcast

Chris Whitty: the Chief Medical Officer is facing calls for his removal – before he has even had a chance to broadcast to the nation alongside Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance.

New hashtags on social media are calling for the UK’s chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser to be sacked – before they’ve even had a chance to address the public on television.

The broadcast was scheduled for 11am today (September 21) but platforms like Twitter have already been filling up with attacks on Chris Whitty and – notably – Patrick Vallance.

The attacks don’t make much sense.

In fairness to the advisers, we don’t know what their advice to the government has been. Their meetings have taken place behind closed doors and when they have faced the public it has always been under the shroud of shared responsibility – a line has been taken by Johnson government ministers and the advisers are obliged to support it.

So comments like this…

… seem premature.

Worse still is the “blame game” that some people are playing:

“Bent science”? We don’t know that the gentlemen concerned have been bending science in any way at all.

We do know that the politicians have been as bent as the figure “8”, trying to delay lockdown to keep the economy going, trying to shorten lockdown to prevent the economy from being harmed more than it already has been… trying to continue making money for their party donors while people die (or suffer serious health consequences).

And it’s the politicians who have been misusing emergency procurement procedures to funnel vast amounts of public money into the hands of private firms – some running companies that have been dormant for years – that happen to be run by friends of theirs; the socialism of the very rich.

So This Site tends to come down on the side of those who have been standing up for the scientists:

So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt – for a little while, at least.

But let’s also remember…

… other scientific opinions are available.

Psychiatrists try to defend failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ Universal Credit project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has tried to explain its reasons for failing to object to a pilot project in Cornwall in which Job Centre advisors – with no training – decide whether claimants need mental health care.

This Site reported on the project in August:

The department… is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

The Tory government’s press release stated: “The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.”

I responded:

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The press release said: “The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.”

I responded:

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

Disability News Service is now reporting that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to this insult against its practitioners – after being nudged to do so by no fewer than five disability groups.

RCP states, according to the article, that:

RCP’s social inclusion lead has “continued to raise concerns and provide expert advice about the impact of welfare reform on people with mental illness and those with learning disabilities”.

[It says] it is “clear that anyone undertaking a mental health assessment needs to be sufficiently qualified to do so and, as part of the assessment, should engage with clinicians involved in providing care to the person concerned”.

[It also says] RCP believes that a jobcentre would not be “a suitable therapeutic environment to assess and discuss an individual’s mental health”.

[It adds:] “Having to do so would likely increase the stress and pressure on people with a mental illness when seeking support, and the possibility of them seeing the receipt of benefits as being conditional on them agreeing to mental health treatment.

“In addition, there is a risk that being referred to the wrong type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of seeking help in the future, make their illness worse and increase the likelihood of experiencing a future crisis.”

The disability groups are not happy with this response – and rightly so.

Why the delay in responding? Were these psychiatrists hoping the issue would go away?

Is the RCP going to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about its concerns? Or were its comments just a sop to the disabled people’s representatives?

And what about the people of Cornwall?

What have they experienced while the RCP stood by in silence?

Source: Dismay over psychiatrists’ failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ universal credit project – Disability News Service

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When did Job Centre advisers gain their doctorates in mental health care?

It seems the Department for Work and Pensions is on a mission to discredit the medical profession in its entirety.

The department has already done its best to deny the professionalism of doctors by disregarding their evidence in favour of the results of a “yes/no” multiple choice test administered by “health care professionals” who often know nothing about the health issue suffered by a claimant.

Now it is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

One would have thought the fact that mental health issues are routinely disregarded by decision-makers would be enough to discourage the mentally-ill from claiming these benefits; apparently not.

The government press release, announcing funds for a pilot project in Cornwall to continue, is transparent in its nonsense doublespeak:

Hundreds of residents from Bude to Penzance are set to benefit from improved mental health support as Amber Rudd announces £100,000 funding for a life-changing project.

The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

In fact, this treatment seems more likely to worsen their mental health and force them towards suicide – a “positive benefit outcome” as far as the DWP is concerned (as This Site has mentioned many times before).

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd showed her lack of any integrity at all by backing up the baloney to the hilt:

Amber Rudd, Work and Pensions Secretary, said:

“The pilot proved that work coaches are well placed to make sure people get help quickly and are supported to get their lives back on track so I’m delighted that it can continue.

“Importantly it has also shown that people trust their work coach to help them during their toughest times – and I’m very proud of that.”

Is that right?

I’d like to see independent evidence of that, from somebody who has been through the system.

Of course, that would be someone who is not still a part of the system – a person who could not be subjected to any coercion to say what Ms Rudd wanted; someone not living in fear of the cancellation of benefits.

Is there such a person?

And will they dare come forward?

In any case, if anybody in the DWP discovers what they consider to be a mental illness in a benefit claimant, they have a duty to report it to the NHS. Anything else is negligence and – if any harm comes to that claimant – could lead to serious allegations against the DWP.

Suppose somebody dies after the DWP decides to handle that person’s mental illness itself. Won’t it be opening itself to a charge of corporate manslaughter, at the very least?

Source: £100,000 fund to boost mental health support across Cornwall – GOV.UK

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Government advisors have had their leave cancelled – but is it really a hint at a snap election?

Why is The Guardian suggesting that a note cancelling all leave for government advisors until October 31 is a hint that Boris Johnson is preparing for a snap election after that date?

It suggests to This Writer that BoJob wants all the expertise he employs, available to him throughout the process leading up to Brexit – whether by a deal or “no deal”.

It is far more likely that a vote of “no confidence” will be triggered by opposition parties, leading to an election if they have a chance to avert “no deal” Brexit first – or at least that’s how it seems to me.

True, the Liberal Democrats are throwing the toys out of their pram at the thought of having to support a Jeremy Corbyn-led government – even for a short period – but voters may draw the obvious conclusion: That the Lib Dems will betray ‘remain’-supporting voters to keep Corbyn out.

Which would be more harmful for that party, with its tiny representation in Parliament, in the long run?

BoJob, it seems, wants all the advice he can get, in order to find a way past a “no confidence” vote and out of the European Union.

He doesn’t seem to have realised, yet, that if he even gets that far, his problems will only be beginning.

Boris Johnson’s chief of staff cancelled all leave for government advisers until 31 October in a missive on Thursday night, raising further speculation the government is planning for a forced snap election in the aftermath of the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

It remains unclear if anti-Brexit MPs in parliament would be able to swerve a general election, as senior Labour Iand Liberal Democrat figures clashed on Friday over their parties’ apparent willingness to place conditions on any unity government or coalition prepared to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Special advisers were emailed by Johnson’s senior adviser Edward Lister on Thursday night, saying there was “some confusion about taking holiday” and told none should be booked until 31 October, with compensation considered “on a case by case basis” for those who had already booked leave, though the email said advisors were free to spend their weekends “as you wish”.

Source: No 10 cancels staff leave, hinting at likelihood of snap election | Politics | The Guardian

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UKIP appoints jailbird who nearly ruined a rape trial as adviser on prison reform and rape gangs

Grinning idiots: UKIP leader Gerard Batten shakes all credibility away as he shakes hands with Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson) and gives him a position of responsibility in his inner circle.

No wonder Brexit is such a godawful mess when the political organisation that campaigned to achieve it for decades appoints a far-right extremist who was sent to prison after he nearly ruined the trial of a major rape gang as its special adviser on prison reform and rape gangs.

Not only has UKIP leader Gerard Batten allowed Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (also known as Tommy Robinson) into his party; he has also given him a job that can only be seen as an insult to the public.

And the reaction has been exactly what we should expect:

https://twitter.com/DickCoughlan/status/1065676244338057217

Andy King’s opinion is particularly sharp:

https://twitter.com/AndyMoboboKing/status/1065672803322658816

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