So it would obviously be a terrible shame for the Tory party if people widely shared this article detailing what they’re sending out to particular demographics when they think nobody else is looking wouldn’t it?
Oh, hey – I wonder if you can find out how many ads the Liberal Democrats took out, and how much they cost?
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.
I had been delaying comment on the controversy generated by Boris Johnson’s comments on Saudi Arabia.
I wanted to be able to explain the contradictory nature of his actions, which have always sided with the government in support of Saudi Arabia, and his words, which have condemned that country.
But other matters took priority over the posturings of an over-inflated politician and the passage of time made it less newsworthy.
Fortunately, our friend the Angry Yorkshireman at Another Angry Voice has written the article I wanted to produce. He hits the nail right on the head – and nails Mr Johnson at the same time.
Here’s an excerpt; please visit AAV for the full article.
One thing that we can be quite sure of is that Boris Johnson had a reason for blatantly contradicting his own government’s stance on Saudi Arabia, because he’s a cynical political opportunist.
In my view Johnson deserves severe condemnation for admitting the truth about Saudi Arabia just a few weeks after voting down an opposition motion to cease UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
The argument that the UK should continue selling weapons to a country that stands accused of grave human rights violations in Yemen because “if we don’t cash in, someone else will” is disgusting enough in its own right, but in light of Johnson’s subsequent critical comments about Saudi Arabia, such an attitude is utterly abominable.
The fact that Johnson has managed to win plaudits from liberally minded people for criticising Saudi Arabia just weeks after he colluded with his fellow Tories to continue supplying them weapons is a demonstration that empty words speak a lot more loudly than actions in the modern political word.
Boris is clearly playing the long game. He’s confident that people will judge him on his words rather than his actions because that’s how the mainstream media works these days, and he suspects that he’ll be able to continue posing as the straight-talking harmless buffoon until he can nip in as the next Tory leader and Prime Minister after Theresa May has suffered all the reputation damage caused when his Brexit mess causes another significant declines in living standards for millions of British people.
Reposted from Another Angry Voice (the AAV juggernaut doesn’t need any help from VP but this will hopefully lead in to an article that should make interesting teatime reading):
In this article I’m going to explain twelve things that you should know about the Tories and the NHS.
David Cameron Lied about the NHS
Before the 2010 general election David Cameron promised “no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS”, then within months of coming to power his Health secretary Andrew Lansley launched the biggest top-down reorganisation in the history of the NHS (the Health and Social Care Act). Cameron also made the pre-election promise that the Tories would “cut the deficit, not the NHS”, before launching £20 billion worth of NHS cuts.
Portillo was right, the privatisation of the NHS is a very unpopular idea
According to a 2013 YouGov poll, 84% of the public would prefer to see the NHS run as a not-for-profit public service, whilst just 7% favour privatisation. [source]
Even though they were facing a Labour party led by an incredibly unpopular and blunder prone leader in Gordon Brown, and in the wake of the biggest economic meltdown in generations, the Tories were still incapable of even winning a majority government. Had they admitted their intentions to carve up the NHS and hand out the pieces to their corporate mates, this would surely have cost them hundreds of thousands of votes, and potentially left Labour to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.
Loads of Tory politicians have vested interests in the privatisation of the NHS
Dozens and dozens of the Tory MPs and Lords who voted in favour of the privatisation of the NHS had clear vested financial interests in private health corporations. Here is a detailed list of some of those politicians who look set to benefit from the NHS privatisation bill they voted for.
One of the most notable examples is Lazy Lord Coe, who barely ever turns up to vote in the House of Lords (he voted in just 7.9% of debates between 2000 and 2013). However when the opportunity to benefit his numerous private health interests (PruHealth, AMT Sybex, Chime Communications) presented itself, he was amongst many Tory lords with financial interests in the private health sector to make rare appearances in the House of Lords and vote in favour of greater NHS privatisation.
The Tories have been carving up the NHS and giving away the pieces to their donors
Circle Health, which is 29.2% owned by a hedge fund run by major Tory party donor Paul Ruddock has been handed over £1.3 billion in NHS contracts. Other Tory party donors with major investments in Circle Health include Martyn Arbib, Crispin Odey and Michael Platt.
Care UK has received over £100 million in NHS contracts. Their chairman is John Nash who has made £247,250 worth of donations to the Tory party. Aside from his company picking up huge NHS contract as a result of Tory party legislation, he has also been handed a seat in the unelected House of Lords.
The NHS is one of the best health services in the world A recent study by the Washington based Commonwealth Fund has shown that the NHS is one of the best, cheapest and most efficient health services in the world, whilst the private sector dominated US health system is the worst, most expensive and least efficient of the eleven different health care systems that they looked at. The NHS reforms introduced by the Tory party are designed to make the NHS much more like the US system by bringing in ever more private health corporations to take over NHS services. The Tory mantra about bringing in the private sector to “make the NHS more efficient” is just a smokescreen. The real reason for bringing in the private sector is to soak as much profit out of the system as possible, with no regards for the quality or efficiency of the service.
The fact that David Cameron would appoint a Health Secretary who is on record saying that the NHS should be abolished illustrates exactly how gullible he imagined the general public to be when he made the pre-election promise that “the NHS will be safe in my hands“.
He’s absolutely correct, of course. To hammer the point home, the Angry Yorkshireman has provided us with the following – visual – indication of just what a small drop in an extremely deep ocean this money would be:
The real answer wouldn’t be clear to a privateer like Osborne, which is why he should go back to folding towels.
Eurostar must remain a public asset!
When the UK government has a massive debt to pay off, the idea of selling a profit-making enterprise indicates stupidity of earth-shaking proportions!
You keep Eurostar and use its profits to pay off your debts!
While you’re at it, there are a few other profitable concerns you should be nationalising, too.
Osborne is a child, trying to do a grown-up’s job.
Clegg went on to run a relatively successful campaign (as far as these things go for the Lib Dems) on the back of that promise – a promise he had already broken.
Now he’s accusing his Conservative Coalition partners of following a “serve the rich, smash the poor” agenda since they got into office. He was a willing part of that agenda.
In The Guardian on Saturday, his excuse was that the Tories had “mutated almost out of recognition” since the Coalition agreement was signed. This is not true. The Tories we have seen since then are the Tories we recognise. David Cameron’s “compassionate Conservatism” was the lie.
“We went in with partners who told us they were green, but they are not. They told me they weren’t going to bang on about Europe, but it’s all they bang on about. They said they believed in civil liberties and they want to trash them,” said Clegg.
“I can understand why they have done it. They are in a complete blind panic about UKIP, but I like to think we have not raced across the political spectrum like that.”
Wrong again. The Tories are in a panic about UKIP (see yesterday’s article on the Hunting Act) but that has little to do with the policy areas Clegg was highlighting. Tories always want to trash civil liberties; they always trash the environment – one of their first planned acts was to sell off all the common land in the UK; and they always, always “bang on” about Europe. Even if they weren’t so bitterly divided about it, they would use it as a distraction technique to dupe voters.
[Image: Another Angry Voice.]
Now the Tories have ‘scooped’ the Lib Dems by claiming they will increase the tax-free personal allowance for low earners to £12,500 per year, something Clegg was planning to announce as one of his own party’s policies – and something to which UKIP beat them both.
Labour has ‘scooped’ the Lib Dems on the NHS, with a pledge to increase funding by £2.5 billion per year, knocking Clegg’s £1 billion promise into the proverbial cocked hat. Labour is also promising to introduce a ‘Mansion Tax’, stealing another well-known Clegg aspiration (and did you see how the Tories responded to that? Hypocritical, when one considers their rabid support of their own Bedroom Tax).
Disrespectful: The laminated messages that were attached to the wreaths. David Cameron was the only political leader allowed to write a personal message by the Conservative-run Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
This is a new low for the Conservative Party.
Leaders of British political organisations laid wreaths at Glasgow’s cenotaph to mark 100 years since the beginning of the First World War – but only David Cameron was allowed to write a personal message.
Former Tory MP Louise Mensch showed exactly why she deserves to be out of Parliament by tweeting: “Really we need to ask where we are as a society, when politicians are so casual as ‘hand me the wreath’ without asking to write on it.”
And Telegraph blogger Dan Hodges brought his paper into disrepute by tweeting, without checking the facts: “Just seen the wreath. Ed Miliband is becoming a parody of Ed Miliband.”
Asked to explain Mr Miliband’s actions, a Labour spokesman told the BBC that his wreath – with a card stating only “From the Leader of the Opposition” – was handed to him by a representative of organisers the Department of Culture, Media and Sport only seconds before it was laid.
“Ed Miliband was not given the opportunity to write a personal message on the wreath,” he said.
Perhaps an even worse indignity was that into which Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was forced. His read “From the Deputy Prime Minister” and a Liberal Democrat source said the gap between Mr Clegg being handed the wreath and laying it had been “a 10-second thing”.
The BBC checked with the manufacturers of the wreaths – Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, and was passed on to Poppy Scotland, whose spokeswoman said: “We were asked to send [the cards] to the DCMS and the wreaths were sent through to Glasgow in advance, but the blank cards to London.”
So what happened, in fact, was that the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – which is run by the Conservative Sajid Javid – decided that the Conservative Prime Minister should be the only person allowed to write a personalised tribute. Every other political leader – including those of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland – had to lay wreaths with a laminated description of their job, so they could not even scribble something quickly in the few seconds available to them.
The tell-tale was the fact that all messages other than Cameron’s were written in the same handwriting.
Worse still is the fact that Cameron’s message wasn’t even appropriate. He had written “Your most enduring legacy is our liberty. We must never forget.” Very stirring, but it would be more appropriate to attribute that to those who died in the Second World War, rather than the First.
It was a silly tactic, easily exposed. David Cameron’s only logical move was to apologise for what happened, for the insult to his fellow political leaders and for the upset it has undoubtedly caused to all those who lost loved ones in the war and wanted them commemorated respectfully.
True to form, he showed he had a yellow streak instead. Our gutless Prime Minister had nothing to say.
Oh, 15 babies were poisoned by drips – and one has sadly died as a result – but the contamination is believed to have come from liquid feed manufactured by a private, London-based health company called ITH Pharma Ltd, and not from any equipment provided by the National Health Service.
Lazy reporting – or part of an ongoing campaign against the NHS by the privatisation-crazy right-wing press?
If the latter, it clearly backfired – as the public backlash against the story demonstrates.
Look at the ‘Comment’ column following the article. ‘Cochranereturns’ wrote: “Another headline from the DT trying to pin blame on the NHS when the fault lies outside the organisation. I complained to the Press Complaints Commission under clause one of their charter about the following headline last week: “NHS breaks promises after staff torture patients at Winterbourne View”: the PCC responded within 24 hours (and the DT removed the link I’d complained about). I suggest people do the same about this article.”
‘Cydee’: “Bad reporting.”
‘Mynydd’: “This is the result the right wing media, and Mr Cameron/Hunt’s philosophy that private companies through competition will always produce the cheapest product, quality, and quality control is of secondary importance.”
‘Percypottamus’ warns: “Much more blatantly Tory-inspired anti-NHS propaganda like this and I will be cancelling my subscription.” Good for you, Sir!
‘Ostercy’: “Odd how you try to blame the NHS for this and not private medicine.”
‘NitroFan’ raised another aspect of the ongoing NHS saga – the too-close relationship between private health firms and the MPs they sponsor, and to whose parties they donate. Or, as ‘NitroFan’ put it: “I would be extremely interested (doubt I am alone) to know who owns ITH Pharma Ltd and the basis on which their contract was awarded! And who awarded it!”
Wouldn’t we all?
On the Vox Political Facebook page, coverage of the story was universally condemned as well. “As usual blame socialised medicine and not the private company contracted to provide the service (devices) in the first place,” commented ‘The Bullingdon Club’.
Sean Young picked up on the obvious inconsistency in the way the story was presented: “Clearly the way to stop such terrible deaths caused by the incompetence of a private company is to increase privatisation!” Riiiiight…
And that’s just the reaction to the story in the Daily Telegraph. The image at the top of this article presents our favourite Angry Yorkshireman’s opinion of the Murdoch Media version of these events.
It won’t change the way these ignorant right-wingers try to influence your thinking but it is encouraging to see that the once-impressionable British public is having none of it.
Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister’s whim.
I have spent much of today putting old paperwork through the shredder in advance of tomorrow’s debate on the Deregulation Bill.
Why? Hidden among the plans to revoke ancient laws regulating pigsties is a clause that revokes the freedom of the press – in particular, the freedom of journalists to protect their sources.
The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don’t want reporters to be able to protect political whistleblowers and the information they release from state harassment and confiscation.
Vox Political has long warned that the Coalition government was pushing us towards totalitarianism, and that is exactly what this apparently innocuous – but in fact deeply pernicious – piece of legislation proves.
We’ve had the gagging law, to silence organised dissent; we know that police chiefs want to use water cannons to stifle public protest; now we are faced with a cloak-and-dagger scheme to silence the press.
The removal of these privileges means the media will be unable to report anything that does not meet government approval – or face confiscation of equipment including computers, notebooks, recordings and correspondence that will lead to the identification of people who provide information that the government wants hushed up.
As a blogger who is also a qualified journalist, this directly affects me – and that is why I have been destroying paperwork. Tomorrow is only the Bill’s second reading – it must go through the committee stage, report stage and third reading before moving on to the House of Lords – but it is better to be well-prepared than to be caught napping.
Far more insidious than this, however, is the other part of this ‘red tape-cutting’ Bill that goes unmentioned. The really harmful part…
The part that says ministers should have the power to revoke any law they like, using statutory instruments (at the stroke of a pen) rather than taking the issue to a democratic vote in Parliament and, you know, actually telling anybody about it.
This means freedoms we have enjoyed for centuries- or just a few years – could be removed with no prior notice, under the pretext of getting rid of ‘red tape’.
We would certainly be living in a police state if this were allowed to happen.
So here’s the big question: Do you think your MP even knows about this?
I only know because I read it onAnother Angry Voice– from which site this article has swiped much of its information.
In his article, AAV creator Thomas G. Clark points out: “The Tories that devised this scheme… are clearly relying on the vast majority of Coalition MPs voting this through as the whips instruct them, without bothering to even read the documentation, understand the intricacies or even participate in the debate.
“If you chose to ignore the wealth of evidence and refuse to believe that David Cameron and the Tories would use these new powers to… stamp out dissent for their own sociopathic reasons, then at least consider the possibility that they are enabling the possibility of an unimaginably invasive totalitarian regime in the future. One where open justice is abolished, the population permanently monitored for signs of dissent, and dissenters are silenced in secretive Stalinist style legalistic proceedings.”
Obviously AAV and Vox Political will be right in the firing-line if this happens.
You need to contact your MP and ask what they’re going to do about this appalling assault on your freedom. Tell them about the clauses in the Deregulation Bill that have nothing to do with removing archaic regulations and everything to do with clamping down on your freedom and tell them in no uncertain terms that you won’t have it.
It’s farewell to your centuries-old right to free speech today, after your Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs won their bid to get the Gagging Bill passed by the House of Lords. It won’t go back to the Commons because the Lords made no amendments.
While you, personally, will be allowed to continue complaining about anything you want, you will no longer have the ability to link up with others to protest government actions in any meaningful way as such action may breach Liberal Democrat and Tory government-imposed spending limits. Your personal complaints will be deemed unrepresentative of the people.
You will still be able to have your e-petition on the government’s website – if you win enough signatures to have it debated in Parliament – ignored by the Tories and Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons.
The Liberal Democrats and Tories have even managed to rub salt into the wound by creating a register of all the corporate lackeys who will still be able to influence their policies – freelance lobbyists employed by large companies for the specific purpose of swaying government policy. Lobbyists who are company employees will not be listed as the government says their purposes for meeting MPs should be obvious.
This means the new law will do nothing to restrict the power of corporations to write government policy or prevent lobbying scandals such as those involving former Tory MP Patrick Mercer, along with Tories Peter Cruddas and Liam Fox.
The new law protects in-house corporate lobbying operations from official scrutiny, while preventing the public from enjoying the same privileges of access to the government. That is what your Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs have fought so assiduously to obtain, over the eight months or so that this legislation, “one of the worst… any government produce[d] in a very long time”, has spent being digested by Parliament.
In a Commons debate in September, Glenda Jackson MP warned that her constituents “know that the Bill… would prevent democratic voices from being heard”.
In response, Andrew Lansley – the Conservative who gave us the hated Health and Social Care Act 2012, another incredibly poor piece of legislation – said; “I look forward to the Honourable Lady having an opportunity… to go back to her constituents, to tell them that the things they are alarmed about will not happen.”
@UKJCP immediately resurrected itself as @DeadParrotJCP and @Director_UKJCP. We’ll see how long they last.
Let us not forget, also, that the third part of this law cracks down on trade unions, enforcing strict rules on membership records to ensure, it seems, that it is possible to ‘blacklist’ any trade unionist who finds him- or herself seeking work.
With free speech flushed away, you may still resort to public protest – but the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has that covered.
ACPO is an organisation that has tried to put ‘agent provocateurs’ into legitimate protest groups and promoted ‘kettling’ to stop peaceful protests (as used in the student protests early in the current Parliament), among many other reprehensible activities.
Considering its track record, it seems clear that ACPO wants to use water cannons against legitimate political protests, on the assumption that the increasing imposition of ideologically-imposed austerity on the country by the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives will lead to more political protests, as people across the UK finally realise that the Tories and their corporate lobbyist friends are actually working against the wider population.
ACPO’s report on water cannons makes it clear that “it would be fair to assume that the ongoing and potential future austerity measures are likely to lead to continued protest” and “the mere presence of water cannon can have a deterrent effect”.
The Home Office response? “We are keen to ensure forces have the tools and powers they need to maintain order on our streets. We are currently providing advice to the police on the authorisation process as they build the case for the use of water cannon.”
So there you have it. Take to the streets in peaceful protest and your police service will assault you with water cannons, with the blessing of your government.
There remains one option open to you – your vote. You could get rid of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats at the next general election in 2015.
But that leads us to ask why the government has launched its attack on free speech and free protest.
Perhaps it wants to control the information you receive, on which you base your voting intentions?
We already know the unelected Conservative and Liberal Democrat government is using the predominantly right-wing media for this purpose. For example: George Osborne made a great deal of fuss earlier this week, alleging a huge resurgence in the British economy. With help from Tory mouthpiece the BBC, he was able to put out the headline figure that the economy grew by 1.9 per cent in 2013 – its strongest rate since 2007.
Osborne also claimed that Britain is doing better than all comparable economies in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and that the upturn is due to his imbecilic “expansionary fiscal contraction” policy, otherwise known as austerity.
All of these claims are false, or intended to create a false impression.
Firstly, his 1.9 per cent of growth started at a much lower level of output than would have been the case if Osborne had not imposed austerity on us all and stopped the 2010 recovery dead. GDP would now be 20 per cent higher than its current levels if not for this single act of stupidity from the stupidest Chancellor in British history.
Secondly: The US economy recovered from an eight per cent fall after 2008 to a five per cent rise above its previous peak by the third quarter of 2013. Germany is the only major European country to enjoy growth of two per cent or higher, after an initial recovery based on increased public expenditure – not austerity. Even France has nearly reached its pre-crisis peak. The UK remains two per cent below its previous economic peak.
Finally, Osborne did not even get to this miserable excuse for a recovery by imposing austerity. He quietly adopted a stimulus policy to avoid going back into recession. What do you think ‘Funding for Lending’ is? Or his mortgage guarantee scheme?
If George Osborne, Home Secretary Theresa May, ACPO and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition in Parliament had their way, you would not have access to any of these facts.
You would be led to believe that the governments policies are working, exactly the way the government says they are working.
You would not have any reason to believe that the government is lying to you on a daily basis.
You would be tranquillised.
Would you vote against a government that tells you such wonderful things, even when your own circumstances might not reflect that story (real wages fell by seven per cent in the private sector and five per cent in the public sector between 2007-13)?
David Cameron is betting his career that you won’t.
“This government is taking action domestically on [tax] avoidance and evasion,” wrote George Osborne in an article for The Observer, back in February. How right he was.
The Tory-led Coalition has done everything in its power to facilitate tax avoidance and ignore evasion, it seems, including the latest wheeze, which is to link it with a feeble attempt to get working people to throw away their rights in exchange for a few shares.
The BBC has reported that the new status of “employee shareholder” has come into force, allowing working people to claim shares in the company that employs them, if they give up the rights to claim unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, the right to request flexible working (except in the case of two weeks’ parental leave), and some rights to request time off for training.
Nobody in their right mind would do this and expert opinion is that take-up will be small. So why do it?
Well, it’s not about the workers at all. It’s about helping company bosses avoid paying their taxes. Even the right-wing-leaning BBC was unable to cover up the facts (although it left them until the end of the article):
“Companies can also claim some corporation tax deductions on the issuance of shares to employees.”
Yes – it’s a tax dodge!
Here’s how it works, according to the Mirror: “New analysis show[s] it could also allow executives to avoid paying revenue on company shares. Tax experts commissioned by the TUC believe ruthless bosses could classify themselves as ’employee owners’ to escape Capital Gains Tax. And the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the scheme could cost up to £1 billion, mainly due to tax avoidance.”
This will, of course, involve a drop in tax income to the Treasury, meaning increases in the national debt and deficit, which the Tories will no doubt use to justify further cuts to public service budgets as part of their ‘Starve The Beast’ agenda. Remember, this country has a chancellor who, for ideological purposes, actually wants to harm the British economy.
Meanwhile, as our friend at Another Angry Voice has put it: “If you’re thick enough to cash in your labour rights for a few grand worth of shares in the company you work for, then in a couple of years time when people are calling you ‘feckless’ for being unemployed, you’ll be one of the minority that actually deserve it (and your shares might well be worth only pennies in the pound compared to the value they had when you scrapped your labour rights to get them).”
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