Tag Archives: block

MPs from all parties say failure to release Russia report is ‘affront to democracy’

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko.

If a week in politics is a long time, how would you describe eight months? An eternity?

That’s the length of time Boris Johnson has been sitting on the report into Russian interference in UK democracy.

He says it cannot be released because the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee has not been reconvened since it was dissolved for the December 2019 general election and has no members.

But this is a feeble excuse when one realises that the only reason for this is, Boris Johnson nominates everybody on this committee – and he hasn’t bothered to do so.

It is the only committee that Parliament has yet to appoint, and it is extremely unusual for a Parliament to fail to appoint it for six months – one-tenth of its term.

If Johnson wanted, this committee could meet on Monday and the report could be out on Tuesday (June 23).

He simply doesn’t want to – and now a cross-party group of MPs have slammed his inaction as an affront to democracy. They’re absolutely right:

MPs on Tuesday wrote to the UK prime minister to tell him it “is untenable for you to continue to block the publication of the Russia report,” adding that “the situation is an affront to democracy.”

The letter… tells Johnson “your refusal to allow publication of this crucial document raises serious concerns and questions about the transparency and integrity of our democratic process.”

Johnson faces fresh pressure to publish the report after the Electoral Commission last week published new data showing continued financial support for the Conservative party from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The letter to Johnson says this new information highlighted “the party’s deep connections to Russian oligarchs,” and “further questions as to why you are so reluctant to reconstitute the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

Source: Boris Johnson failure to release Russia report an affront to democracy – Business Insider

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Coronavirus: homeless families moved into unsafe buildings. What good will THAT do?

Unsafe: these tower blocks on the Ledbury estate, Southwark, are in danger of fire or collapse – and the council has put 60 homeless families into empty flats there.

What’s the thinking behind this? If the disease doesn’t get them, the building might collapse on them instead?

Southwark Council (Labour-run, God help them) has moved homeless families into an estate of tower blocks that require major works to make them safe from fire or collapse.

The four towers on the Ledbury estate have many empty flats because they are unsafe.

They were built using the ‘large panel system’ construction method, which became notorious after the partial collapse of Ronan Point in Newham in the 1960s.

That’s more than 50 years ago! Why was nothing done about these buildings decades ago?

Families who were living in temporary accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchens are being moved into 60 empty flats in the towers, to allow them to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak.

Southwark reckons it has agreed “extra safety measures” with the fire service in order to ensure the flats are safe to occupy.

What’s the last time we heard of a council making arrangements with a fire service about the safety of a tower block? Ah yes: Grenfell Tower.

What can possibly go wrong?

Source: Inside Housing – News – Homeless families to be moved into blocks with systemic safety issues amid coronavirus crisis

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Is coronavirus panic buying going to block up our drains?

Mrs Mike tells me about an unfortunate side-effect of the coronavirus epidemic, due entirely – it seems – to stupidity.

The panic-buying of toilet roll that has emptied supermarket shelves has, apparently, forced people to use other items, which they are then flushing down the toilet.

These items include kitchen rolls and wet wipes.

Have these people not realised that those items will block up their drains, causing huge problems?

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Paper highlights government-created barriers to work for people with disabilities

Brick wall: Wheelchair-user Abbi Brown may have felt that using public transport was like running up against a similarly-impenetrable barrier.

This is a pleasant surprise.

I had expected an article in The Express about the way people with disabilities are kept out of jobs to be an attempt to pressgang them into inappropriate positions; it isn’t.

Instead, it highlights the problems faced by people who want to work but are hampered by attitudes to their disabilities.

So we read the story of the woman behind the Maltesers “disability” advertising campaign, whose journeys to work took twice as long as anybody else’s because rail operators have failed to make their journeys accessible for people with disabilities.

We learn about the man who struggled to get job interviews until he stopped mentioning that he is almost totally blind.

He works in information technology using adapted software and magnifiers that mean the quality of his work is not affected.

He was even put off attending an interview by one firm’s illegal attitude to his guide dog! While he did take part, after reminding the company representative of their legal obligation, the experience convinced him that he would not want to work there.

Finally, we were told about the man who tried to use the Tory government’s ‘Access to Work’ scheme – only to struggle with asphyxiating bureaucracy and the short deadlines it demands.

These are real problems for people with disabilities who want to get into work, that the Tory government has done its best to ignore.

For example, nine railway operators have had the deadline for making their trains accessible extended after failing to do anything about it. What happens when they break the new deadline? Will it be extended again?

A fat lot of good that will be for people with disabilities.

And what happens to those who are blocked from work through no fault of their own?

They have to claim state benefits – and readers of This Site should know very well how badly the assessment systems are rigged against them.

We end up with a situation in which some of our brightest and best people may be thrown onto the street to curl up and die, simply because they are slightly different from the rest of us.

This is a timely article from the Express.

It reminds us that, while the UK is becoming demonstrably racist amid the controversy over Brexit, there is a terrifying undercurrent of disablism going generally unreported.

Source: How one million disabled people are shut out of employment in the UK | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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Government enacts more of its ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy on people sleeping rough

Red light for rough sleepers: We are told the ‘night shift’ left their tunnel, which led to Elizabeth Tower, every morning at 6am and tidied up after themselves.

Parliament has installed rolldown shutters on an underpass leading to the Parliamentary estate, preventing a group of rough sleepers from staying there overnight.

The homeless people involved had been meticulous in their behaviour and saw no reason for the draconian move.

But This Writer recalls the fuss after two homeless people died within sight of Parliament last year.

Rather than act to help stop people from becoming homeless, Parliament acted to remove homeless people from the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster.

The policy has become known as “out of sight, out of mind”.

And I think this is part of it.

It doesn’t matter how well-behaved these people are; the fact that they exist is a reminder of the real effect of Conservative government policies in the fifth-richest economy in the world.

A group of rough sleepers who describe themselves as the parliamentary “night shift”, moving into an underpass leading to the parliamentary estate after MPs have left for the day, have been barred from accessing their relatively safe bed space underneath the street.

The group of about 10 rough sleepers formed a distinct community with rules of conduct. They made themselves invisible from MPs and parliamentary workers and visitors during the day and only emerged after 11pm to lay out their cardboard, newspaper and sleeping bags in the exit 3 underpass from Westminster tube station to the parliamentary estate.

None of the group were involved in begging, substance abuse or rowdy behaviour and those who joined had to abide by the group’s informal code of conduct, especially being willing to get up before 6am to vacate their nocturnal space before parliament’s daytime business begins and leaving the tunnel clean and tidy with no newspaper, cardboard or food and drink waste left behind.

Source: Westminster rough sleepers evicted from parliamentary estate | Society | The Guardian

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Lords bid to block ‘no-deal’ Brexit as OBR raises recession fears

An anti-Brexit demonstration outside Parliament on June 12 last year.

The possibility of a Tory prime minister trying to prorogue Parliament – discontinuing it without dissolving it – in order to pass a “no-deal” Brexit has been pushed back by the House of Lords.

Peers voted by a majority of 103 to ensure Parliament will sit in the weeks leading up to the October 31 deadline, making it impossible for Boris Johnson (or, indeed, Jeremy Hunt) to ensure the deadline can pass without MPs interfering.

The vote happened the day before the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned that a “no-deal” Brexit could trigger a recession, shrinking the economy by two per cent by 2020.

The organisation said increased uncertainty and falling confidence would deter investment and hit trade.

The decision was an amendment to the Northern Ireland (executive formation) Bill which returns to the Commons today (July 18).

Voting by MPs is likely to be tight.

Supporters of Mr Johnson are saying that concerns over the economy are fear-mongering, and that it is buoyant at the moment.

That may be, but the OBR is saying leaving without a deal would add £30bn a year to borrowing from 2020-21 onwards and 12 per cent of GDP to net debt by 2023-24.

Watch how your MP votes – and take note of the effect on the economy. There will be an election soon, and you should judge your MP on whether they are reckless about your well-being.

Source: House of Lords passes amendment to help prevent no-deal Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

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‘Change UK’ spends fortune on social media ads – but is blocked for violating Twitter rules

This is very amusing from Skwawkbox, and is more proof of the ineptness of the Change UK team. The message is clear: don’t vote for people like this.

Twitter is taking action against CUK over its paid advertising on the platform. In just the past week, two out of its three paid ads have been removed by Twitter for violating its policies.

Twitter has not stated which of these were the issue with the CUK ads.

Twitter is not the only – or apparently even the major – target for CUK’s paid advertising. The outfit is spending a huge amount on Facebook – well over £50,000 just in the last week.

Source: ‘Change UK’ spends fortune on Facebook ads – but blocked for violating Twitter rules | The SKWAWKBOX

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Childish Chope blocks anti-FGM bill because he doesn’t know any better

Christopher Chope: He seems to think he should have the right to treat women’s genitals in any way he chooses – without any interest in what their owner might want.

How do you solve a problem like Christopher Chope?

The Conservative MP for Christchurch says he blocks private members’ Bills in Parliament because he doesn’t approve of them – but his behaviour in stopping a Bill safeguarding women against female genital mutilation (FGM) was against the wishes of his own prime minister and government.

Here’s Mrs May, discussing FGM on Twitter on February 6:

He is therefore putting his own narrow-minded attitude before the wishes of his government, his party, Parliament and the nation as a whole. That isn’t principle – it’s egotism.

One has to ask whether he would object if he knew somebody who had been subjected to this form of permanent bodily mutilation himself – or if it was a kind of torture to which he himself might have been subjected if he was unlucky enough to have been born into a culture that supported such barbarity.

Considering his previous objection to a Bill that would have prevented upskirting – the practice of pointing cameras up women’s skirts in order to take images of their underwear or genitals – one is drawn to conclude that he has an unhealthy interest in preventing women from protecting their private parts.

This Writer first heard about FGM in high school, and the thought of it turned my stomach. I don’t understand how anybody could possibly object to a law that would allow courts to issue protection orders if a woman was at risk of being subjected to it. There is no medical justification for FGM and the procedure violates the human rights of women and girls, according to the World Health Organisation.

But Mr Chope (he was awarded a knighthood by Theresa May last year, but it was for no very good reason and his behaviour does not justify any acknowledgement of it) seems to think he knows better. He doesn’t; his attitude belongs in the Dark Ages.

Now, measures to prevent FGM will have to be included in a government Bill, meaning a delay in which more women and girls may be forced to undergo genital mutilation.

Will Mr Chope accept responsibility for their pain and humiliation? If not, perhaps any such victims should take out a private prosecution against him.

Public opinion is certainly not with him – although that won’t bother this pig-headed individual in the slightest:

He is, as one might expect from a Tory, perfectly happy to support his government’s wishes when it harms the many and helps the few, as his Parliamentary voting record shows:

So perhaps we should simply accept that he blocked the Bill against FGM because this principled man believes in the principle behind FGM: That those with power are entitled to do anything they like with those who have none – and do all we can to remove this dinosaur, and his prehensile principles, from Parliament at the earliest opportunity.


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Dominic Raab’s hissy fit at Victoria Derbyshire over food bank comment is hilariously hopeless

Dominic Raab.

The former Brexit Secretary who didn’t understand the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing has blocked BBC anchorwoman Victoria Derbyshire from following him on Twitter after she reminded us how clueless he was about food banks last year.

Ms Derbyshire, who hosts a Bafta-winning news show every weekday, posted the following on the mini-blogging site:

She’s absolutely right. Here’s a clip of him saying it:

Notice he mentioned the Trussell Trust’s data on the reasons people attend food banks? Here’s what the charity actually said, in handy graph form:

No – I can’t see “Episodic cash-flow problem” there either.

can see “Low income”, which is not episodic; while “Benefit delays” and “Benefit changes” are more appropriately described as perennial issues – they keep reoccurring as claimants are victimised by the Tory system. Look further along the graph and you’ll see that very few could be described as an “Episodic cash-flow problem”.

But when Ms Derbyshire tweeted her reminder of Mr Raab’s claim, this happened:

It seems Mr Raab doesn’t like to be reminded of his mistakes.

That’s a shame, because the history books will have no other reason to mention him.

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Tory MP objected to female genital mutilation being stopped and everybody chose an appropriate word to describe him

Christopher Chope: His obsession with female genitalia has earned him a nickname which, like his real names, also begins with a ‘C’.

It begins with ‘C’ but it isn’t ‘Christopher’ and it isn’t ‘Chope’ either.

Yes indeed – Christopher Chope has struck again. The man who killed a proposed law to ban “upskirting” has now blocked a Bill that would have made it easier to stop female genital mutilation (FGM) being inflicted on children.

This man has no business dictating what happens to the private parts of females members of the human race – for at least two obvious reasons.

Ironically, he opened his mouth to shout “Object” on the day his fellow Tory, Penny Mordaunt, pledged £50 million to end FGM globally by 2030:

The public response to Mr Chope has been widespread and vitriolic. Below are some of those containing language This Site can publish:

The embarrassment of the people of Christchurch at having elected Mr ‘C’ could not be clearer, as constituents lined up to condemn him and others begged for him to be ousted at the next election:

With Theresa May – and her entire government – on the brink of collapse due to her pathetic bid to negotiate a withdrawal from the EU that will benefit elite Tories and nobody else, it seems the people of Christchurch may have an opportunity to rectify the problem of their errant MP, sooner rather than later.

Let us hope they take it.

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