Tag Archives: asbestos

‘Failing Grayling’ could cost the Tories hundreds of thousands of votes – Left Foot Forward

Almost where he belongs: But Injustice Minister Chris Grayling should be behind bars - not in front of them.

Almost where he belongs: But Injustice Minister Chris Grayling should be behind bars – not in front of them.

According to Left Foot Forward: 82 per cent of people in the legal sector say they would be less likely to vote Conservative in the general election if justice secretary Chris Grayling is not removed from his post.

The poll was conducted by new social networking site www.mootis.co.uk which focuses on the legal services sector. Many of the 350,000 people working in this sector are traditional Tory voters.

Grayling was defeated at least seven times in the courtroom last year, over policies aimed at reducing compensation for asbestos victims, cutting legal aid and banning books in prison… [his] career has been marked by controversies, including a scandal over expenses claims and a botched set of statistics on violent crime. In 2010 he was named ‘Bigot of the Year’ by gay rights charity Stonewall after he was recorded saying that B&B owners should have the right to bar gay couples.

Grayling is the first Lord Chancellor in 440 years who is not a trained lawyer. Mootis Chairman Bill Braithwaite QC said that it was clear that the vast majority of legal sector workers ‘are fed up of Grayling and are prepared to turn their back on the Conservatives if he remains as Justice secretary’.

Hilary Meredith, CEO of Hilary Meredith Solicitors Ltd in London and Wilmslow said: “It is time for failing Grayling to go. He is the most inept Justice secretary in living memory. The vast majority of lawyers would accept that cuts needed to be made to the legal aid bill but the ham-fisted way in which he has gone about his business has made a mockery of our legal system.”

Meanwhile, former Tory MP Jerry Hayes has also laid into the Justice secretary over his attempts to limit access to judicial review. In an astonishing attack, Hayes described Grayling as “a s*** which will have to be flushed” after the election.

Read the rest of the article on Left Foot Forward.

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Cameron has shown that protecting the NHS from corporate rape is the last of his concerns

What a bunch of... bankers: As mentioned in the article, government ministers are happy to spend your money defending bankers' bonuses in the European Union - but when it comes to defending your publicly-funded health service, they haven't squeaked.

What a bunch of… bankers: As mentioned in the article, the government is happy to spend your money defending bankers’ bonuses in the European Union – but when it comes to defending your publicly-funded health service, they haven’t squeaked.

Remember the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership? Also known as TTIP? The proposed agreement between the EU and USA that – in its current form – would lock future UK governments into a legal framework that protects the privatisation of health services in this country?

A part of the agreement called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement would allow any commercial organisation the ability to sue governments that acted in an anti-commercial way such as – for example – re-nationalising health services that the Conservative-led Coalition has sold off to firms in which many government MPs have shady personal financial interests.

David Cameron used to have a cabinet minister responsible for handling negotiations on the TTIP – Kenneth Clarke, the Minister Without Portfolio (aha! Now we know what he was supposed to be doing for a living).

But of course Clarke left the government in the July reshuffle. He gave every indication that he was delighted to be going, which suggests that work on the TTIP was not agreeing with him.

Perhaps it was the weight of all those people campaigning against the locked-in commercialisation of the NHS, in which treatment for particular conditions will depend on whether it is profitable where you live, coupled with the weight of Cameron’s determination to do nothing to prevent it – all obscured by the veil of secrecy that all involved have tried to draw across the negotiations.

Unite’s Len McCluskey told the Huffington Post: “First David Cameron claims there are no exemptions [so the NHS will be included in the deal – we should always remember that is Cameron’s default position], then EU Trade Commission[er] Karel De Gucht suggests that the NHS may have been exempted.

“Now civil servants are sending out statements claiming that the NHS was never in TTIP to begin with. It seems the government simply does not know what the world’s largest bilateral trade deal actually covers.”

Confusion! That’s an excellent way to slip in unwelcome changes – but it would mean the government was admitting its own incompetence.

McCluskey added: “David Cameron can choose to exempt the NHS if he’s prepared to fight for it. He was prepared to go to Europe to defend bankers’ bonuses.”

Good point. Despite the fact that bankers caused the financial crisis and many banks are still in debt, Cameron went to Europe to defend the ridiculously high bonuses they continue to award themselves. Then again, Cameron and his ministers have spent the last five years pretending that the crisis was entirely the fault of the previous Labour government. They must think we are stupid if they think we’ll swallow that – and we must bear that in mind when considering Coalition policy towards the TTIP.

Under the TTIP, a few other British standards will also suffer, according to the HuffPost:

  • We will be forced to accept other countries’ rules. UKIP voters take note that your party supports the TTIP.
  • Bosses will be allowed to reduce wages and hammer labour rights.
  • Food regulations will be weakened to allow banned products – like chlorine-bleached chicken and growth hormones in beef – into the country.
  • The UK could be forced to reverse its ban on asbestos in order to match US standards, leading to an increase in lung cancer and mesothelioma.
  • Private information about you could become public under e-commerce provisions – although it seems the Conservative-led UK government is already determined to publicise as much of your personal information as possible.

Put it all together and you can tell why the Coalition, the EU and the USA all want to keep this squalid deal secret!

The question is: Are you going to let them get away with it?

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The Queen’s Speech (translated) – brief words signifying so much harm

A true pro: It is a testament to the Queen's skill that she is able to get through her speech at the annual opening of Parliament without either laughing at the stupidities or choking in horror at the implied threats to her citizens.

A true pro: It is a testament to the Queen’s professionalism that she is able to get through her speech at the annual opening of Parliament without either laughing at the stupidities or choking in horror at the implied threats to her citizens.

Today the Queen made her speech at the official opening of Parliament. Her words were, as always, written by the government of the day, and therefore it seems appropriate to provide a translation, as follows:

“My government’s legislative programme will continue to focus on building a stronger economy so that the United Kingdom can compete and succeed in the world.” Focus on it, but do nothing about it.

“It will also work to promote a fairer society that rewards people who work hard.” If you haven’t got a job, you’re shafted.

“My government’s first priority is to strengthen Britain’s economic competitiveness. To this end, it will support the growth of the private sector and the creation of more jobs and opportunities.” There is no intention to take any action in this regard; the government will simply applaud actions taken by others.

“My ministers will continue to prioritise measures that reduce the deficit – ensuring interest rates are kept low for homeowners and businesses.” Interest rates are nothing to do with the government. It is easy to make promises when no action is required.

“My government is committed to building an economy where people who work hard are properly rewarded. It will therefore continue to reform the benefits system, helping people move from welfare to work.” My government is committed to building a low-wage economy where people have to work hard simply to keep what they’ve got. It will therefore continue to erode the benefits system, forcing people to move from welfare to destitution as a warning to those who’ve got jobs, that this will happen to them if they make a fuss.

“Measures will be brought forward to introduce a new employment allowance to support jobs and help small businesses.” A bung for our friends.

“A bill will be introduced to reduce the burden of excessive regulation on businesses. A further bill will make it easier for businesses to protect their intellectual property.” Deregulation worked so well with the banks in 2007, we thought we’d give other businesses a chance to ruin the economy. And it’s not enough that Facebook now owns everybody’s photographs – corporations want everything else as well.

“A draft bill will be published establishing a simple set of consumer rights to promote competitive markets and growth.” The rights of the consumer will be restricted to what we say they’re allowed, to protect corporate freedoms.

“My government will introduce a bill that closes the Audit Commission.” We don’t want the public to know the facts about our spending and where it goes (into our pockets).

“My government will continue to invest in infrastructure to deliver jobs and growth for the economy.” But we’re not saying where the money will go (into our pockets).

“Legislation will be introduced to enable the building of the High Speed Two railway line, providing further opportunities for economic growth in many of Britain’s cities.” Future economic growth, of course – we won’t see the benefit for many, many years.

“My government will continue with legislation to update energy infrastructure and to improve the water industry.” At huge cost to everybody who has to pay the bills.

“My government is committed to a fairer society where aspiration and responsibility are rewarded.” This is meaningless.

“To make sure that every child has the best start in life, regardless of background, further measures will be taken to improve the quality of education for young people.” This is meaningless.

“Plans will be developed to help working parents with childcare, increasing its availability and helping with its cost.” Private childcare organisations, starting cheaply but costing more as they get a grip on parents.

“My government will also take forward plans for a new national curriculum, a world-class exam system and greater flexibility in pay for teachers.” We’re going to stamp on teachers hard. And the new national curriculum means nobody from state education will be able to compete with our children at Eton.

“My government will also take steps to ensure that it becomes typical for those leaving school to start a traineeship or an apprenticeship, or to go to university.” We’ll shoehorn the state-school mob into something under threat of destitution, and save university for people who can pay for it (like us).

“New arrangements will be put in place to help more people own their own home, with government support provided for mortgages and deposits.” More second homes for Tory voters, as set out in the Chancellor’s Budget speech in March.

“My government is committed to supporting people who have saved for retirement.” If they have savings, they won’t need the national pension and can give it back, like Iain Duncan Smith suggested.

“Legislation will be introduced to reform the way long-term care is paid for, to ensure the elderly do not have to sell their homes to meet their care bills.” They can die there instead.

“My government will bring forward legislation to create a simpler state pension system that encourages saving and provides more help to those who have spent years caring for children.” It’ll encourage saving because it won’t be enough; and carers can have the kids taken away from them.

“Legislation will be introduced to ensure sufferers of a certain asbestos-related cancer receive payments where no liable employer or insurer can be traced.” Otherwise we’ll get the blame for abandoning them.

“My government will bring forward a bill that further reforms Britain’s immigration system. The bill will ensure that this country attracts people who will contribute and deters those who will not.” We’re scared that UKIP is taking our voters away.

“My government will continue to reduce crime and protect national security.” We will privatise the police, MI5 and MI6.

“Legislation will be introduced to reform the way in which offenders are rehabilitated in England and Wales.” If you thought our prisons were schools for criminals before, we’re turning them into universities.

“Legislation will be brought forward to introduce new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, cut crime and further reform the police.” We will privatise the police and introduce curfews.

“In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol addresses, my government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace.” We want to know how it works so we can make money off the internet.

“Measures will be brought forward to improve the way this country procures defence equipment, as well as strengthening the reserve forces.” We’ll buy the cheapest equipment we can find and ask the reservists to do it for no pay.

“My ministers will continue to work in co-operation with the devolved administrations.” Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will get even less cash.

“A bill will be introduced to give effect to a number of institutional improvements in Northern Ireland.” It’s too peaceful over there and we need something to distract the plebs from the mess we’re making in the rest of the country.

“Draft legislation will be published concerning the electoral arrangements for the National Assembly for Wales.” If we give the sheep the vote, they might vote Tory.

“My government will continue to make the case for Scotland to remain part of the United Kingdom.” We want their money; we want their oil.

“Members of the House of Commons, estimates for the public services will be laid before you.” Prior to privatisation.

“My government will work to prevent conflict and reduce terrorism. It will support countries in transition in the Middle East and north Africa, and the opening of a peace process in Afghanistan.” We want their money; we want their oil.

“My government will work to prevent sexual violence in conflict worldwide.” We can’t even stop it here.

“My government will ensure the security, good governance and development of the overseas territories, including by protecting the Falkland Islanders’ and Gibraltarians’ right to determine their political futures.” They’re strategically important so we’ll rattle the sabre for them.

“In assuming the presidency of the G8, my government will promote economic growth, support free trade, tackle tax evasion, encourage greater transparency and accountability while continuing to make progress in tackling climate change.” We’ll blame the other nations when none of these things happen.

“Other measures will be laid before you.”

That’s not a promise; it’s a threat.