Tag Archives: bill

Welsh Tory claims that ‘voter ID’ Bill is ‘nothing to fear’ are nonsense

Voting: if the Tories get their way, don’t bank on being allowed to put your ‘X’ in any boxes unless you are prepared to go through a new layer of pointless bureaucracy.

The Welsh Conservatives: what a ridiculous, small-minded clutch of creeps!

Their current wheeze is trying to pretend that the new Elections Bill in Westminster – that will cheat 3.5 million people out of being able to vote – is “nothing to fear”.

Well, it might be nothing for them to fear, but for Welsh voters it is very serious! This Site calls it the Voter Restriction Bill.

The Welsh Government is rightly opposing the Bill, for reasons we’ll discuss shortly.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar (who?) said: “This is nothing more than mischief making from the Welsh Government and its allies.

“Voters in Wales have nothing to fear from these proposals. The only people who should be concerned are those who intend to commit election fraud.

“People are required to present ID to vote in many vibrant democracies around the world including Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Iceland and Italy so I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the norm here in Wales.”

Fortunately there are adults in Welsh politics who are able to explain to these Tory might-as-well-be children what their own party’s legislation means.

Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru (Wales), said: “This Elections Bill could lead to a ‘two tier franchise’ in Wales, with some elections banning those without ID, and others remaining open and free.”

It means that, if any UK and Welsh elections took place on the same day, two sets of rules about how people take part would apply. Some people would be certain to become confused and fail to take ID – if they had it – meaning they would be excluded from voting in the Westminster election.

“This bill would ban anyone without ID from voting, while forcing over-stretched council workers to become bouncers at the ballot box, turning away potentially thousands of would-be voters each election. There is simply no need for this costly barrier to democracy. At a cost of up to £180m per decade, forcing this through is a strange priority for UK ministers right now.

“Moreover, the changes to the Electoral Commission represent a UK government power grab, with ministers given new controls over our elections watchdog. This is a dangerous and unprecedented move that the Welsh Government is right to oppose.”

Other plans would remove the 15-year limit on overseas electors in UK general elections – to allow Tory donors to continue participating in elections; ban party campaigners from handling postal votes, and stop people from collecting postal votes from people who are unable to get to post boxes and handing them in.

In a paper published on the Senedd website Counsel General Mick Antoniw wrote: “The Welsh government does not support the introduction of voter ID, the placing of unnecessary constraints on postal and proxy voting, or the extension of the overseas franchise.”

Do not be confused: the BBC may claim the move toward voter ID is a bid to prevent possible fraud from people pretending to be someone they are not at a voting station – but how can it be, when such crime is practically nonexistent in the UK and this legislation will cost £180 million per decade?

No – this is a bid to make it harder for working class, older and black, Asian and minority ethnic people to vote.

And the reason is clear: these are all people who are unlikely to vote for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.

Source: Welsh Tories claim there’s ‘nothing to fear’ from bill that bans those without ID from voting

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Tory corruption: they’ll change the law, just to keep receiving this man’s donations

Britain’s greediest man? Boris Johnson is changing electoral law so an ex-pat Tory millionaire can continue funnelling cash to the Conservatives beyond the current 15-year restriction on him being able to.

Greedy Boris Johnson is planning to scrap a law that stops ex-pats from voting and donating to political parties – purely so the Tories can continue receiving millions from one donor who lives abroad.

According to the Mirror,

John Gore, has given almost £4.2 million to the Conservative Party, making him the Tories’ number one donor despite having spent “more than a decade away” from the UK.

Currently donors can only fund parties from abroad for 15 years – but this will be abolished under the Elections Bill.

This is the same Bill that will deprive 3.5 million people – mostly the poor – from being able to vote because they won’t have the photo ID that Johnson will demand in future elections.

So we see that this corrupt Bill will not only steal your vote, but will give it to wealthy Tory donors who don’t even live here any more.

Source: Tory law change would let donors bankroll party from tax havens for life – Mirror Online

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Reactions to NHS privatisation Bill scream how bad it is. No comment from Starmer though

Masked like a bandit, not to protect others: it seems Keir Starmer is funded by a private donor who profits from illness and injury and cannot be trusted to safeguard our NHS.

What a strange man Keir Starmer is. His name was on Labour’s amendment calling for the Health and Care Bill to go no further towards becoming an Act of Parliament – but, after it failed, he has nothing to say against the legislation.

This Writer has waited more than 24 hours for Starmer’s considered response to the progress of a Bill that will seriously harm the UK’s greatest institution – and his party’s greatest achievement. Not a dicky bird.

He seems to be almost entirely alone, though. Labour’s MPs had a ‘form’ tweet to send out:

Others had more to say:

The Open Democracy article states that, considering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has two choices: it can either support the NHS to meet its legal obligations to provide us with the healthcare we need for the years ahead – or it can reduce those obligations; reduce our rights to access healthcare.

It says the Health and Care Bill proposes reducing the government’s obligations to secure NHS care for us all, further than the Tories have gone already – and cutting our ability to get that care. This fits with the conclusions previously put forward by This Site.

Labour’s Jon Trickett highlighted something the Bill doesn’t address:

Well, I did say the Bill would not make it possible to employ a single extra nurse or treat a single extra patient. Perhaps I should have emphasized that medical staff who are already employed by the NHS would find it hard to survive on the meagre pay it provides in the future.

Trickett makes other good points:

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn warned us about the Tory threat to the NHS in the run-up to the 2019 general election, as Cornish Damo reminds us:

How curious that Keir Starmer hasn’t thought to remind anybody of that!

Perhaps he’d rather not be associated with anything said by his immediate forerunner – even though Mr Corbyn was right.

Then again, perhaps there’s a more vulgar explanation:

Is this the answer, then?

Will access to the National Health Service in England be restricted by the Tories – at the demand of their paymasters in private industries that profit from illness and injury – with only token opposition from Labour because Starmer’s paymasters are also in private industries that profit from illness and injury?

Is that why we haven’t heard a word from him about it?

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Law to put private companies at the centre of the NHS passes second reading. Where are the news reports?

Backhander: the new Health and Care Bill will apparently allow private companies to take your tax money – intended to support the NHS – and then use “commercial confidentiality” laws to hide how they spend it.

What a blackout.

The Health and Care Bill – a planned law by the Conservative government that aims to put private, profit-making businesses at the centre of the English NHS – passed by a huge majority just after 7pm today (July 14).

At the time of writing – more than two and a half hours later – I found only one news report about it, in Scottish website The National.

Where’s your report, BBC? Where’s yours, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News? How about you, The GuardianThe Mirror? Anyone else at all?

During the debate, health minister Edward Argar admitted that the Bill would lead to increased private influence in the NHS – but tried to sugar-coat it.

“We are determined to embrace innovative potential wherever we find it,” he said.

Let’s consider what he calls “innovative potential”:

The Bill will break the NHS in England into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

The much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

The Bill will not treat a single extra patient, nor will it recruit even one more nurse.

That is exactly what I told my Conservative MP, Fay Jones, when I wrote asking her to speak against the Bill, and to vote against it. Of course, she did neither. She’s a Tory drone.

Fortunately, some others had the courage to stand up for their constituents who would be affected (including those in Scotland and Wales, of course).

Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP health spokesperson, said the Bill could mean private companies will be able to take public cash and not have to publish accounts of how it is used.

“It is hard to see this as anything other than a blatant conflict of interest,” she said. “Private companies hide behind commercial confidentiality and don’t publish accounts of how they spend public money.”

Labour’s Zarah Sultana said the Bill “will put on steroids the cronyism we’ve seen in this pandemic, where Tory mates and donors having handed billions of pounds in dodgy Covid Government contracts, and it will implement a healthcare model that incentivises cuts and closures, rationing funding to health boards. This dangerous Bill is another step to privatisation.”

But they were rare voices of reason among the bleating of almost 360 Tory sheep.

A Labour amendment to deny the Bill its second reading was voted down by 359 votes to 218, and the Bill passed to the committee stage of the legislative process by 356 votes to 219.

It seems Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid want to pass this Bill into law before the end of the current Parliamentary session on July 22. With this kind of complicity from their party faithful on the Green Benches, they seem certain to succeed.

And with an apparent news blackout on coverage of this crisis for publicly-provided health care, it seems the NHS will pass into the hands of the asset strippers before most of us even know it could.

Source: Health and Care Bill: NHS ‘takeover’ legislation passes second reading | The National

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Will Priti Patel’s new immigration Bill put her in conflict with the Queen?

The Queen: she has given the RNLI a Royal Charter to rescue anybody at all whose life is in danger on the sea near the UK. If Priti Patel wants to criminalise this activity, it seems likely that she will come to grief.

It’s a thought that would make a normal UK minister pause – but Priti Patel is not normal, and I mean that in the most unkind way possible, so This Writer is keen to see how events unfold.

Patel’s draft Nationality and Borders Bill, clause 38, potentially criminalises rescuers of asylum seekers if they are deemed to be “facilitating” their arrival in the UK.

Clause 38 amends the 1971 Immigration Act offence of assisting an asylum seeker, increasing the maximum sentence to life imprisonment, from 14 years, and removing the words “for gain”, which previously limited prosecutions to paid people smugglers.

This is potentially very bad news for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has vowed to continue rescuing anybody its crews find to be in danger at sea off the UK’s coast – no matter what their legal status may be.

This is in line with International Maritime Law and with the United Nations’ Safety Of Life At Sea (Solas) convention.

Crews could face imprisonment for life, according to the legislation.

The Home Office has said the Bill is intended to target “ruthless people smugglers” and organisations like the RNLI – and individuals – would be allowed to continue humanitarian rescue work.

But if that is the case, why amend the law to criminalise all rescues rather than merely those carried out “for gain”?

So, as George Peretz QC states, “Mere assertion doesn’t cut it.”

Here’s where it gets really interesting, though: The RNLI is mandated to carry out its rescues by a Royal Charter issued by its patron – The Queen.

That’s why it has the word “Royal” in its title.

The charter means the RNLI is permitted to rescue anybody whose life is in danger on the sea off the UK’s coast – by order of the Queen.

Does legislation by the Commons have authority to override that?

I don’t know. I think Patel needs to re-write her bad law to avoid finding out.

I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes if she tried to force the issue.

Source: RNLI vows to continue sea rescues despite prison fears for picking up migrants | Financial Times

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NHS privatisation Bill is in Parliament TOMORROW. Will your MP represent your wishes?

Smug asset-stripper: Sajid Javid is a banker who helped cause the financial crisis of 2007/8 onwards. He knows nothing about healthcare and intends to hand it over to private firms who consider your well-being to be nothing more than an opportunity to make a profit.

The misnamed Health and Care Bill (it will improve neither) will be put before the 360 rubber-stamping Tory drones in the House of Commons tomorrow (July 14) – and they will pass it without thinking, unless you do something about it. Can you be bothered?

This Site has warned of the dangers presented by the Bill in this article. If you haven’t read it, please do.

Labour’s Richard Burgon puts the important points across here:

He’s one of the few Labour MPs willing to speak up against the Bill. Keir Starmer and his shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth are all for it, because they are New Labour creeps and it follows on from the privatisation that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown introduced to the National Health Service between 1997-2010.

This video explains the issues in more detail:

Ah, but it’s 20 minutes long. Are you sure you’ve got time to watch it? Maybe you have a TV soap you want to see, or a video game you want to play. Perhaps you’re cooking some munch or you’d rather go to the pub?

It would be better for you if you just stop and think for a moment.

Think of the 150,000+ (possibly many thousands more) people who have died because Boris Johnson and his Tories couldn’t be bothered to prepare the NHS for a pandemic emergency. Instead they defunded it and sold off the vital equipment that we needed.

Think of the fact that the Health and Care Bill will allow private companies onto the boards of new local NHS organisations. They will profit by denying care to people who desperately need it – just as care was denied to people with Covid-19.

Think of what might happen if you become infected with a serious life-changing disease or suffer a life-changing injury. Yes, I know you’ve paid for the NHS with your taxes but that won’t make a blind bit of difference – all that tax money will be going into the bank accounts of US insurance firms like United Health rather than into medical treatment.

When you’ve thought of all that, perhaps it will be time to get in touch with your MP and tell them to vote against this horrific plan.

Oh, you don’t know how? It’s very simple. All the details are on this handy website.

You need to get on top of this before your MP puts you six feet under.

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.

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Why isn’t Labour SCREAMING about the new Bill to increase NHS privatisation?

From what Keir Starmer isn’t saying, should we now conclude that he supports the Tory plan for NHS privatisation?

The response? Silence.

Oh – Starmer posted a couple of “happy birthday” message son the NHS’s 73rd anniversary, back on July 5.

You can read about the government’s plan here.

Meanwhile, what’s going on in the NHS at the moment?

How about Covid-19. How’s that going?

Uh-huh!

Okay, well maybe it’s not the right time yet. Has any other left-wing leader said anything?

Okay, he’s not the Unite general secretary yet but at least he’s saying something!

So why is Starmer so quiet?

The only logical conclusion is that he supports the pro-privatisation plans within the Health and Care Bill.

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.

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Let’s call Priti Patel’s immigration Bill what it is: The Anne Frank Law

Who thought that, decades after fighting a war against the people who caught and murdered Anne Frank, the people of the UK would vote in a regime that would do the same?

“Tories have introduced an Anne Frank law, that means if someone hid Anne Frank in their attic [in the UK] today, they would be prosecuted as a criminal.”

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.

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The great #HealthAndCareBill LIE: it’s opening the way for MORE privatisation, not less

Not for sale: sadly, this is just an aspiration now – held by those of us who still think healthcare should be based on patient need and not on provider profit.

Services will be cut or rationed and the NHS will become an unregulated market for healthcare firms under Sajid Javid’s contradictorily-named Health and Care Bill which – if enacted – will support neither.

That’s the message from Keep Our NHS Public campaigners.

The Bill will break the NHS into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

Oh, and you remember the much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State? It means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

According to Dr John Lister, Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public and health policy academic

This Bill will not treat even one extra patient, or recruit one extra nurse

He asked why the new law is being deemed so urgent and important – but isn’t it obvious?

Javid, Johnson and the other Tory parasites want to turn your health into a profit-making industry for their donors as soon as possible.

I’ve just picked out the headline issues. Read more details here: Health and Care Bill means lucrative NHS contracts will be dished out ‘without competition’ | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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Tories and Labour in war of… infographics… over dictatorial anti-protest Bill

What the Police Bill means: political protesters will be arrested and women will be harmed under Boris Johnson’s Tory government.

Did we all blink and miss the mainstream news coverage of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s new Bill to kill political protest in the UK – and harass minorities – passing its final stages in the House of Commons?

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sailed through its Third Reading on July 5, meaning it will now go to the House of Lords for consideration before being passed into law.

When it is passed into law, it will seriously harm our freedoms in the following ways (as detailed previously on This Site):

The Conservatives are ending your right to protest.

The new law allows police to arrest anybody for putting on a political demonstration that is noticed by anybody else.

There’s no point in protesting if you’re not allowed to make enough noise for other people to notice it, of course.

The move has been interpreted – correctly – as an attempt to head off protests against the Conservatives’ planned political changes that will alter the UK from being a democracy (albeit a not-very-progressive one) into a full-blown dictatorship.

The Tories are giving the police huge new powers of oppression

The example I used was the new power to arrest travellers – not for committing a crime, but on suspicion that they might do so in the future. This comes with a power to confiscate their homes.

Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is full of similar increases of oppression, against people in all parts of the UK’s society, we’re told.

The Conservatives are continuing to turn a blind eye to crimes against women – especially if they are committed by the police

Hate crime is the trademark of Conservative governments in the UK since 2010. They have stirred up hatred against migrant workers; they’ve stirred it up against people with long-term illnesses and disabilities. Their new Police Bill will stir up more hate against minorities, while failing to protect more than half the population from crime.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill sets the penalty for attacking a statue at 10 years imprisonment. That is twice as long a term as the starting-point sentence for rape.

The strategy for getting the Bill passed is simple, childish, and therefore oft-repeated; the offensive measures are mixed in with measures that would create a genuine improvement*.

It is a strategy that the Tories plan to repeat with their forthcoming Bill to increase NHS privatisation.

The premise is simple: anybody opposing the Bill because it attacks our freedoms is accused of opposing the useful measures instead.

Want to see it in action?

The Tories launched a series of infographics into the social media on July 5, after Labour voted against the Police anti-protest Bill. Here’s how they describe Labour’s behaviour:

They also used this:

Labour hit back with this:

I wonder how many people even noticed.

Your legal rights were voted away behind a smokescreen of reasonable policies and it wasn’t reported at all by the mainstream press.

And this is all the Labour Party produced to attack what happened.

Don’t get me wrong; the failure to increase minimum sentences for rapists is important (although possible less important than the failure to secure any sentences at all for most of them?) but the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains much more material that is just as evil.

But nobody could be bothered to explain it to the public beyond a couple of infographics that didn’t even touch all the main issues.

*Of course a reasonable and responsible approach would be to separate out the measures that would win Parliament-wide approval and discuss the offensive material separately. But that would require our elected members to behave like adults – and that is well beyond Boris Johnson’s capabilities.

Source: Labour votes against “draconian” anti-protest bill but it passes by majority of 100 – LabourList

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.

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