Tag Archives: anniversary

Journalist shot dead in Northern Ireland, 21 years after Good Friday Agreement. WHY?

Did Lyra McKee die because Republican opportunists are seeing an opportunity to restart the ‘Troubles’ in the continuing uncertainty over power-sharing in Stormont and the Brexit border row?

Northern Ireland is at its least stable in more than 20 years, and it seems to This Writer that terrorists – or would-be terrorists – are seeing this as an opportunity.

Is that the reason police were on the Creggan estate in Derry, looking for arms and ammunition they believed would be used in violence to mark the 1916 Easter Rising?

Is that the reason a crowd gathered and the situation developed into a riot in which around 50 petrol bombs were thrown and two vehicles hijacked and set alight?

Is this the reason Lyra McKee was shot dead by a Republican with a gun?

If so, it is not good enough. No reason is good enough to justify murder.

It is now 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement heralded the end of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Such an anniversary is a time to reaffirm the commitment to friendship – not to open up opportunities for a return to hate.

Northern Ireland needs the restoration of its government in Stormont – now, not after Theresa May has spent another few months or years stalling so she can extend her own tenure in Number 10.

And the six counties need proof that their borders with the Republic of Ireland will remain open, no matter what happens about the UK’s relationship with the European Union.

The best way to shut down the possibility of violence is to deny people any excuse for it.

Bear in mind that the New IRA, who have been blamed for this murder, set off a car bomb outside a courthouse in Derry in January.

I wrote at the time that it had a political cause and needed a political solution.

But in the words of Mrs May, “Nothing has changed.” Why has nothing changed, Mrs May?

Source: Lyra McKee: Journalist shot dead during Derry rioting – BBC News


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Tories must ‘call time’ on a decade of failed austerity cuts, says SNP. You know they won’t

The price of austerity: While the Tories laugh all the way to the bank, the rest of us are queuing up for the food bank.

Fat chance!

The Conservatives didn’t impose austerity on the majority of people in the UK to ease the effects of the financial crisis that happened 10 years ago.

Their austerity doubled the national debt and pushed millions into poverty – but it made a tiny minority very, very rich indeed, and that was the only reason for it.

It also shrank the state – public services were cut and public facilities sold off, in an attempt to make sure the people of the UK could never benefit from them again.

From the Conservative point of view, then, austerity has been a rip-roaring success.

So don’t expect the Tories to change direction just because the people are suffering.

They’re too busy lining their own pockets.

The SNP has said Chancellor Philip Hammond must use the forthcoming UK budget to “call time” on a decade of failed austerity cuts – as the UK marks ten years since the financial crisis.

Kirsty Blackman MP, SNP Economy spokesperson, said millions of families had suffered “years of pain” and are still being made to pay a “heavy price” as a result of “self-defeating” Tory and Labour cuts.

Speaking at a rally outside the Bank of England on Saturday, with civil society groups including Positive Money, Christian Aid, Unite, and War on Want, the SNP MP for Aberdeen North warned UK government austerity cuts had caused “self-inflicted” harm to the economy – and left the whole country poorer.

The SNP is calling on the UK government to admit failure and “consign austerity to the dustbin”, replacing Tory plans for further cuts with a programme of investment to boost economic growth – and ditching plans for a hard Brexit, which would cause further economic devastation.

Source: Tories must ‘call time’ on a decade of failed austerity cuts, says SNP

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Singing about it won’t save the NHS


Look at the state of this:

I tweeted her back. One word: “Hypocrite.”

Johnny Vegas had it right:

Yes that’s right. On its 70th anniversary, we all need to fight for the NHS.

But turn on the TV and it seems all you’ll see is people singing about it.

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Peter Tatchell disrupts Jeremy Corbyn speech with misguided Syria protest

Peter Tatchell and friends disrupt Jeremy Corbyn’s speech marking the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – for no very good reason.

Who can disagree with the Twitter user who asked: “Why is #PeterTatchell protesting Corbyn at a #HumanRightsDay event? Why isn’t he protesting against May”?

The human rights campaigner disrupted a speech by Mr Corbyn at an event to mark the anniversary of the United Nations general assembly signing the universal declaration of human rights in 1948.

He demanded that Labour should call for humanitarian aid to be sent to Aleppo by air, and fellow protesters brandished posters calling for sanctions against Russia, for bombing the city.

“We do think there should be aid given to the people in Aleppo; we do think the bombing should end; we do think there should be a ceasefire; we do think there should be a political solution; we do think the war should end in Syria.”

Mr Corbyn was, quite naturally, taken by surprise. He left the platform to seek advice, then returned to put the record straight.

He said: “Emily Thornberry, on our behalf, during Foreign Office questions and on many other occasions, has made it absolutely clear that we do think there should be aid given to the people in Aleppo; we do think the bombing should end; we do think there should be a ceasefire; we do think there should be a political solution; we do think the war should end in Syria. We are absolutely supporting the people.”

In other words, Mr Tatchell was absolutely wrong to be protesting against the Labour leader on this matter.

Why hasn’t he launched highly visible public protests against Theresa May, whose government voted for the Royal Air Force to launch air strikes on Syrian targets last year?

Possibly the worst aspect of this is that it has allowed unscrupulous individuals in the mass media – and social media – to take Mr Corbyn’s words out of context.

At one point, off-stage, he can be heard asking, “When did we condemn the bombing?”

Taken out of context, that could be used to suggest he was saying Labour had not done so. In fact, he was simply asking for clarity on when it happened.

This was a shameful, turncoat display by Mr Tatchell, who should have known better. What induced him to do it?

Protesters led by Peter Tatchell have disrupted a speech by Jeremy Corbyn, calling on the Labour leader to demand action to end the conflict in Syria.

Corbyn halted his speech while several protesters held up banners with slogans including “Step up and demand action in Syria” and “End the suffering in Aleppo”.

Tatchell, a human rights campaigner who has previously supported the Labour party, shouted over the party leader to demand he do more to condemn the actions of Russia in the Syrian conflict.

As the protesters stood silently in front of Corbyn, the Labour leader said: “It’s all right, it’s OK.”

Source: Peter Tatchell disrupts Jeremy Corbyn speech with Syria protest | UK news | The Guardian

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Kristallnacht resurrected – will YOU stand by and let the fascists return?

[Image: Shana Knizhnik/Twitter.]

[Image: Shana Knizhnik/Twitter.]

People do these things because they think they can.

Only 15 hours ago, at the time of writing, Jack Monroe tweeted the following:

https://twitter.com/MxJackMonroe/status/796275010629406720

I’m willing to be even Jack didn’t expect America to respond so quickly.

It’s a small sign, but could be a portent of bigger things to come.

They do these things because they think they can – and the election of Donald Trump means they think they can.

But let’s not get holier-than-thou about it; in a few weeks, Nigel Farage intends to lead 100,000 like-minded individuals in a mass rally intended to intimidate the Supreme Court into overturning the rule of law regarding plans for the UK to leave the European Union.

He thinks this is permissible because around a quarter of the UK’s population voted ‘Leave’, although he’ll tell you it was 52 per cent.

Kristallnacht happened in 1938 – nearly six years into Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror in Nazi Germany. For the US – and us – to be in a similar situation now tells a terrifying tale about the direction of western politics over the last few years.

It has to stop.

And the only person who can stop it…

Is you.

What are you going to do?

“Sieg Heil 2016,” read black letters, scrawled across a shop window in Philadelphia.

The Nazi-era phrase was written the day after Donald Trump won the presidency, and on the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht in Germany.

On [9] November 1938, fascists torched, vandalized and destroyed Jewish homes, shops and synagogues.

They painted stars and racial slurs, broke windows and caused fear and panic as Hitler rose to power.

On a grey, damp day in November 2016, the vandalism on the streets of Philadelphia is a haunting reminder of the all too recent past. A vandal wrote a Nazi phrase in black spraypaint on the window of an abandoned fur shop on Broad Street, alongside a swastika.

Source: Vandals destroy shop windows and graffiti anti-Semitic slurs in Philadelphia on 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht | The Independent

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Hunt’s hypocrisy on NHS anniversary

A time for silence: If Jeremy Hunt opens his mouth again, no doubt his own foot will go flying into it and he will need the help of NHS surgeons to remove it - if any can be bothered. Apparently they had enough trouble removing his head from David Cameron.

A time for silence: If Jeremy Hunt opens his mouth again, no doubt his own foot will go flying into it and he will need the help of NHS surgeons to remove it – if any can be bothered. Apparently they had enough trouble removing his head from David Cameron.

Hypocrisy, your name is… still Iain Duncan Smith, in fact. He doesn’t get off the hook just because Jeremy C… Hunt has put his foot in his mouth.

Hunt does appear to be challenging LieDS for his crown, however.

For those who aren’t aware: Back in 2005, the now-Health Secretary co-authored a miserable little screed calling itself Direct Democracy, in which he made clear some of his opinions about the National Health Service which was – at the time – getting some of the highest satisfaction ratings it had ever enjoyed.

Let’s compare some of the things he had to say today, celebrating the health service’s 65th anniversary, and in the book.

Today, he said: “In 65 years, the NHS has quite simply done more to improve people’s lives that any other institution in our history, and its equity and excellence make us the envy of the world.”

In his book, he wrote: “The NHS was designed over half a century ago, at a time of rationing and deep poverty. It was, and remains, a child of its time” [page 76] … “A 1940s monopolistic structure is no longer relevant in the 21st century” [page 80].

He said: “Today we express our thanks to the millions of hard-working NHS staff who literally save lives round the clock. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”

In his book, he wrote that it was “a fundamentally broken machine” [page 80].

Today, he announced changes for the vulnerable and elderly, adding: “this is only the starting point of a much broader transformation in ‘out of hospital’ care – one which will help every single patient and make sure the NHS stays true to the values that underpinned its founding in 1948”.

In his book, he wrote: “We should fund patients, either through the tax system or by way of universal insurance, to purchase health care from the provider of their choice” [page 76] … “our ambition should be … denationalising the provision of health care in Britain” [page 78].

Today he said; “I believe the NHS once again has the opportunity to steal a march on other healthcare systems and turn heads by the scale of its ambition – just as in 1948.”

In his book, he wrote: “They are told that record investment has transformed the NHS; but their hospital seems as grimy as ever” [page 31].

What a load of hypocritical flannel.

I’m fed up of these Tory wet-wipes trying to wash away what they’ve done in the past and thinking we won’t notice. James Naughtie had Hunt pegged when he came up with that profane nickname for him.

The Health Secretary continues to live down to that nickname, every day of his life.