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Why are all these politicians using the same slogan, suddenly?

I’m not suggesting a conspiracy because this is right out in the open.

Here are four examples of top-level politicians using the same slogan with reference to Covid-19:

Is this a co-ordinated initiative?

If so, what is its intention?

And who will it harm?

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Johnson in leadership crisis over ‘back to work’ demand*

UPDATE – 4.30pm, August 29: Furious Tory backbenchers are demanding an explanation from Boris Johnson after an opinion poll showed he has squandered his thumping great lead over the Labour Party.

Charles Walker, vice-chair of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, said his colleagues were concerned that a series of u-turns over Covid-19 had undermined the party’s credibility to govern. This Site has already reported that this has been attributed to a desire not to be outflanked by Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP.

The fiasco over ‘A’ level exams and GCSEs, together with policy reversals – most recently on the wearing of face masks in schools – have created unrest that Walker said he will have to report to Johnson when MPs return to Parliament on Tuesday (those who do – many are likely to stay away due to social distancing).

Of course the poll lead the Tories enjoyed at the end of March, when with the help of misleading news media they were widely held to be handling Covid-19 well – and Labour was awaiting the announcement of its new leader, should not have been taken as an indication of the kind of lead the Tories could hope to maintain.

But new Labour leader Keir Starmer has failed to make a good impression on the general public with a series of questionable decisions, so the outlier Opinium poll showing his party neck-and-neck with the Tories is a major wake-up call for Johnson and his cronies.

The drama is related to the revelation that Boris Johnson could be facing a challenge to his continuation as prime minister – over his demand that we should all stop working from home and risk Covid-19 infection by going back to work.

It’s an odd demand to make as we come to a time of year when coronavirus infections normally increase – and indeed we are seeing a rise in the Covid-19 infection rate.

Doubly so, considering the fact that a majority of both employees and employers seem to be opposed to it.

iNews has reported that a month after Johnson ditched his advice that people should work from home in favour of them returning to the workplace, his demand has fallen on deaf ears. Town centres remain empty.

Ministers are trying to explain away the sluggish response by pointing to the fact that August is the height of the holiday season (even though, with Covid restrictions, there’s practically nowhere to go).

But there appears to be a growing wave of opinion that Johnson has failed to inspire the nation and should be replaced.

(To be continued…)

* This story is ongoing and will be updated as new developments come to This Site.

Source: Ministers may be wasting their breath with calls for people to go back to work

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London Tories threaten break from main party ahead of local election wipeout

[Image: The Agitator/Twitter].

This Writer agrees with Matt Thomas on Twitter, who said: “A. The Tories are in chaos. B. The Tories will stab each other in the back during a chaos.”

Let’s all leave them to it, then.

And hope any breakaway group elects Zac ‘Islamophobic campaign’ Goldsmith as its figurehead.

The Conservatives in London have reportedly held secret discussions about a potential breakaway from the national party, amid fears of an electoral wipeout in the local elections next month.

Senior Tories have hosted a series of meetings over the past year in order to draw up plans for a separate party which would boast its own brand, ­policies and figurehead separate to Theresa May.

The disclosure is deeply embarrassing for Mrs May, who is braced for the party’s worst performance in the ­capital in its 184-year history, when the ballots are cast next month.

Source: London Tories threaten breakaway from main party ahead of projected local elections wipeout


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‘If you vote SNP, you can’t expect a Labour government’

Don't they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they'll justify this little gem?

Don’t they look cosy together: Remember when the SNP was vilifying Labour politicians for appearing in photographs next to Conservatives? How do you think they’ll justify this little gem?

Scottish voters have been pulled hither and yon over the past few months – mostly by the claims of the SNP.

It is good, therefore, to have clarity from the Labour Party.

The message is clear, as reported by the BBC: “Labour leader Ed Miliband has told party members in Edinburgh … that ‘every one less Labour MP’ made it more likely the Conservatives would be the largest party” after the general election.

The much-maligned Jim Murphy added: “The biggest risk of Scotland getting the government it didn’t vote for is to believe you can get a Labour government while voting for somebody else.”

We’ve had a lot of SNP spin about Scotland’s relevance to the larger picture in general elections. “It doesn’t make any difference,” according to that party and its followers.

In that case, why are they hoping for a minority Labour government that needs SNP support to pass its policies? According to their own argument, this should not be necessary because Scotland “doesn’t make any difference”.

It is obvious that this argument is “pish”, as SNP adherents like to describe anything they don’t like.

Nicola Sturgeon has dropped demands that a minority Labour government must abandon the Trident nuclear weapon system if it is to have SNP support, indicating her own desperation for a deal (although, in reality, it may not make much difference; 75 per cent of Labour Parliamentary candidates oppose Trident out of principle).

The Tories are stupidly calling on Labour to rule out a deal with the SNP on the grounds that Labour would be relying on a party that wants to weaken the United Kingdom and eventually break it up altogether. Grant Shapps said: “Ed Miliband and the SNP have signed the pre-nup and are now half-way up the aisle.” Rubbish, of course.

But Murphy pointed out that the SNP brought down a Labour government in 1979 by opposing it in a vote of no confidence. That is what led to the Conservative governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

Labour hasn’t forgotten that betrayal. When somebody comes calling who has stabbed you in the back, you don’t welcome them with open arms.

Meanwhile, the SNP has been stupidly claiming that Labour is considering a coalition with the Tories, based on the flimsy evidence of a tweet from a now-departed Scottish Labour functionary and an off-the-cuff comment from an MP.

That silliness has also been dumped unceremoniously into the grave.

“We’ve got so little in common when it comes to the big issues that that is never going to happen,” said Murphy.

So if you’re Scottish, you’ve got the SNP claiming Labour will do a deal with the Tories (ha ha), and the Tories saying Labour is “halfway up the aisle” with the SNP (ha ha).

Only Labour is making any sense at all.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Whoever said Labour has no policies: Prepare to be embarrassed!

Michael Meacher MP has proposed that Labour make the end of austerity its flagship policy. Don't get too excited - Labour has to get into office first, and we've no idea how bad the Conservative-led Coalition will wreck the systems of government before May 2015.

The end of austerity should be Labour’s flagship policy, according to Michael Meacher MP. Don’t get too excited – Labour has to get into office first, and we’ve no idea how bad the Conservative-led Coalition will wreck the systems of government before May 2015.

This is turning into a very bad weekend to be a Conservative.

The Nasty Party has lost control of 10 councils, with hundreds of councillors unseated. Its claims about people on benefits are falling flat when faced with the facts. It has fallen foul of UK and EU law with its fake psychometric test, which turned out to have been stolen from the USA. Its claim that Labour has no policies has proved to be utterly unfounded.

… What was that last one again?

Yes, you must have heard at least one Tory on telly, rabidly barking that Labour can’t criticise the Coalition if it doesn’t have any policies of its own. Those people were not telling the truth – even though they probably thought they were (poor deluded fools).

I am indebted to Michael Meacher MP, for posting information on the following in his own blog. He lists Labour promises, as revealed to date – and it’s quite a long list. Much – or indeed all – of it may have also appeared in an article on the Green Benches site, I believe. So let’s see…

Labour has already promised to:

  • Repeal the Health and Social Care Act (otherwise known as the NHS privatisation Act)
  • Build 125,000+ homes
  • Regulate private rents
  • Promote a Living Wage for public sector workers and shame the private sector into following that lead
  • Offer a minimum 33-40 per cent cut in tuition fees
  • Limit rail fare increases to one per cent
  • Reimpose the 50p rate of income tax for the super-rich
  • Impose a mansion tax on the rich
  • Repeat the bankers’ bonus tax
  • Reverse the bedroom tax
  • Scrap Workfare and replace it with a ‘compulsory’ Jobs Guarantee (I’m not too keen on this one but it’s been promised)
  • Offer a VAT cut or a ‘temporary’ VAT holiday
  • Implement the High Pay Commission report in its entirety
  • Scrap Ofgem and bring in proper energy price regulation
  • Break up the banks and set up a National Investment Bank, and
  • Support mining communities and clean coal technology.

In his article, Mr Meacher suggests that Labour needs to go further, with a really strong hook on which to hang all these policies. He suggests the following:

We will end austerity.

Yes, I thought that might stun you. Let’s have it again:

We will end austerity.

Now that you’ve had time to get used to the idea, I hope you’re applauding as much as I was when I read the article. Why not end austerity? The squeeze on public spending and services that David Cameron and his Boy Chancellor imposed in 2010 has not worked at all. There is now no basis for it – I wrote to Mr Osborne, requesting information on the other foundations of the policy after it was revealed that his main justification contained a huge error, and he has not replied, so clearly he has nothing to say. Its loss will be unlamented and can’t come soon enough.

There’s more in the article so I invite you to visit Mr Meacher’s site and read it yourself.

As for Mr Cameron… he’s a survivor but he’s starting to look tired and the number of his own party members who are stabbing him in the back is growing – Lord Tebbit has stuck his own knife in (again) during a BBC interview.

I wouldn’t bet any money that Cameron will still be PM by the end of the year.

Are British workers being lured into health insurance that will never pay out?

unum

Working people in the UK could be facing a huge drain on their income, if they join an insurance scheme being offered by a discredited American firm.

It seems that the company behind the hated Work Capability Assessment that has denied disability benefits to thousands of genuinely sick and disabled people, has begun a mass-marketing campaign to encourage able-bodied members of the British public to invest in ‘Income Protection Insurance’, and another scheme known as the ‘Back-up Plan’.

This insurance scheme is only available via the workplace, and it is understood that it has been designed to ensure that the company can resist paying out whenever a claim is made.

In other words, if you join the scheme, you will be giving away your money to a criminal firm. If you become ill or suffer disability in the future, you will not receive a single penny of the insurance money that is due to you.

That is the allegation against Unum Insurance, the American giant that has spent more than two decades advising successive British governments on how to avoid paying sickness and disability benefits to the most deserving claimants in our society.

If you have been contacted in the workplace and offered a chance to take out this insurance, please get in touch. Your experience of this system and insights into its operating procedures could be invaluable.

For those who don’t know the Unum story, you can read some of it here. Unum’s bosses devised their current system to combat the rise of ‘subjective’ illnesses such as ‘chronic pain’, ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease.

The solution devised by the bosses was to reduce the number of successful claims it paid out, by aggressively disputing whether the claimant was ill. So the company skewed its medical examinations to its own favour by questioning illnesses that were “self-reported”, labelling some disabling conditions as “psychological”, and playing up the “subjective” nature of “mental” and “nervous” claims.

The acknowledged basis for this attitude is the Biopsychosocial Model of illness, developed by the psychiatrist George Engel – but it’s a bastardised version, removing the bio- and -social aspects and concentrating on the ‘psycho’. This version of the theory, as used by Unum, has been utterly discredited. It is nonsense, totally disregarding such inconvenient medical procedures as diagnosis and prognosis, or limited life expectancy.

But it proved a great success for Unum – so much so that the UK government sought advice from the company in the early 1990s, when Peter Lilley was running the Department of Social Security. He wanted to reduce the number of disability claimants on his books, and Unum was only too happy to help out. It has been at the heart of disability benefit policy ever since.

We have Unum to thank for the Work Capability Assessment (administered by another private firm, Atos – an IT firm that has no expertise in healthcare, even though that word occasionally appears on its company logo). The recommendations made by Atos representatives, following these assessments, have led to the deaths of at least 73 genuinely ill people every week (according to government figures that are now almost a year old), who have claimed Employment and Support Allowance (formerly Incapacity Benefit). The real figure may be much higher.

The Coalition government considers this to be a great achievement and has now begun expanding the Work Capability Assessment regime to cover claims for Disability Living Allowance, now branded the Personal Independence Payment, with criteria that are much more difficult to achieve.

We can all expect many more deaths to arise from this.

Now, it seems, Unum believes the UK is ripe for bleeding – and that is why it is trying to sell its bogus insurance to working people here.

If you have been contacted, please get in touch.

For further information (with annotations pointing to the really damning evidence) see ‘The Hidden Agenda’ by disability researcher Mo Stewart.