Tag Archives: block

Why are sex criminals not AUTOMATICALLY BLOCKED from standing to be an MP?

Sexual crime: is it right that people who have been convicted of much worse offences than touching someone on the shoulder (this was the most usable image I could find) may seek election to Parliament?

Imagine This Writer’s surprise when I read a headline stating that prime minister Rishi Sunak is being urged to block anybody who has been convicted of sexual offences from seeking election to Parliament.

Shouldn’t that be automatic in any case?

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Here’s The Guardian:

At least six MPs have lost their seats because of alleged sexual misconduct since the 2019 general election, and 10 MPs have been suspended from their parties pending investigations.

While all political parties have their own procedures for vetting MP hopefuls, politicians and unions believe formal rules to block relevant candidates will make it easier to “weed out the bad apples”.

A former minister said: “I can’t believe this has to become formal policy, but history shows how bad the working environment in Westminster has become for this to be needed. Working standards for people on the estate are at a pretty low bar.”

The Scottish parliament is expected to vote through rules to bar anyone convicted of a sexual offence and subject to a restriction order from standing to be an MSP or as a councillor [because] like councillors, MSPs were in a position of power and authority and often dealt with vulnerable constituents, an official briefing paper said.

“The roots of this move are grounded in both protecting the public in personal encounters with elected representatives and also a more general reputational concern based on trust and confidence,” the briefing paper said.

A link to the article is below, along with a satirical comment on implications for the future of MP candidate selection that might be a little close to the truth:

It could be argued that introducing such restrictions assumes there is no hope for reform, or that it may lead to “mission creep” that rules out candidates who have been convicted of much more minor offences.

But those are issues that could more rightly be addressed at a more appropriate time.

Aren’t they?


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‘Life-critical’ fire issues found in 56% of Grenfell cladder’s residential blocks

Grenfell Tower: when this is the result of failing to ensure the materials used in building work meet safety standards, one would have expected developers to act fast. Instead, they have done little in almost seven years.

It is now nearly seven years since the inferno at Grenfell Tower in Kensington, London, that killed 72 people. The Tory government of the day promised to make sure the situation could not arise again – and has done nothing, it seems.

Those involved in the Post Office scandal that has captured the public imagination over the last week or so will know how that feels. It took a TV drama during an election year to shift Tory ministers off their thumbs, and even now we don’t know whether anything tangible will come of it.

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Here are the facts, according to The Guardian:

More than half of the residential blocks built by the company responsible for installing the deadly cladding on Grenfell Tower have “life-critical” fire safety issues, it can be revealed.

Government figures analysed by the Guardian show the development arm of Rydon, the company that installed the flammable cladding which was the primary cause of the spreading fire that killed 72 Grenfell residents, has built 25 residential blocks across England and 14 have been found to have issues.

The data, newly published by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, shows the country’s biggest property development firms are responsible for building at least 1,325 buildings above 11 metres that have been deemed unsafe.

It seems that, rather than take direct action and make sure change took place, the government started a “remediation” scheme in which developers would take responsibility for fixing problems on buildings they had put up.

Last year, the country’s largest developers signed up to a government scheme in which they agreed to take responsibility for addressing life-critical fire safety issues on all of the buildings taller than 11 metres erected in the last three decades.

Well, at least we know that these developers have done the work to find out what work needs to be done.

Will they go any further?

Source: ‘Life-critical’ fire issues found in 56% of Grenfell cladder’s residential blocks | Grenfell Tower fire | The Guardian


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Why you can trust Vox Political: Lords torpedo Tory plan for developers to pollute rivers

Housebuilding: but it won’t happen on the flood plains of environmentally-sensitive rivers, thanks to the Lords.

Allow me to take this opportunity to remind you of something I suggested when the Conservative government first announced its plan to end “nutrient neutrality” rules that protect environmentally-sensitive waterways from pollution by new housing estates:

They’ll be built on the flood plains of environmentally-sensitive rivers, and most likely without any of the mitigation measures the government has promised.

So when they flood – and they will – those houses will be filled with human “wee and poo”.

Do you really want that stuff to get into everything you own? Have a think about it.

It seems the members of the House of Lords did have a think about it (those peers love Vox Political) and threw out the whole idea:

So there you have it.

These houses would indeed have been built on flood plains or areas at high risk of flooding – so not only would the rivers have been full of pollution after the “nutrient neutrality” rules were scrapped, but your house would have been full of it too.

The developers wouldn’t have cared because they would have had your money already.

Oh – but now it looks like they’re not going to have your money because they’re not going to be able to build on these flood plains.

And that means they won’t be keen to donate some of that money to the Tories (which is what This Writer thinks was the whole point of the plan in the first place).

So guess who’s really mad about it? Here’s Tory MP Simon Clarke, who has indeed taken at least one donation from a property developer (I stopped looking when I found one) – and a response from a right-thinking member of the public:

And would you like to know the real joy of this Tory defeat? Here‘s the BBC:

Because of the late stage at which the government tried to introduce the change, it cannot try again in the House of Commons now it has been defeated in the Lords.

Ministers would need to bring the proposal forward in a new bill.

I wonder if they will?


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The news in tweets: Sunday, July 23, 2023

‘No more Green New Deal’ is what we can see on the banner – and that is exactly what Keir Starmer is offering as he panders to the fossil fuel firms in his relentlessly grubby bid for power.

Tories AND Labour throw green policies into the fire – but who is most responsible?

Let’s make a few connections.

Energy minister Grant Shapps has unilaterally decided that the environment can burn, and to this end has announced that he’ll extract all the remaining fossil fuels from the North Sea in the name of “energy security”:

If we’ve learned anything from the state of the environment lately, it is that there is no security in energy generated from fossil fuels. As Richard Murphy states, the planet is burning and the Tory response is to stoke the fire.

Now let’s go over to the party formerly known as Labour, where leader Keir Stürmer is trying to dictate to London Mayor Sadiq Khan that he should “reflect on” (ditch) the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone that keeps more heavily-polluting traffic out of the centre of the capital because it was the issue that lost their party the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

This is idiotic for several reasons. Firstly, Stürmer’s STP (Substitute Tory Party) should not have lost because of ULEZ, which is a Conservative policy. It was imposed by Boris Johnson – the former MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, whose resignation triggered the election – so all Stürmer’s candidate had to do to counter criticisms of his party and mayor was point this out.

Secondly, we know this didn’t happen because people with non-polluting cars, who would not have paid the charge, were complaining about it on the doorstep. Perhaps they didn’t like being told it was nothing to do with them, but it’s more likely that they simply weren’t told that at all.

Thirdly, the ULEZ is not something Khan can unilaterally change; it was imposed on London by the Department for Transport when it was being run by… oh yes! Grant Shapps.

So Shapps is magically facing in two different directions at once.

And Stürmer is apparently being dishonest about the reason his party lost the election.

It’s all very well saying, “We lost because of the ULEZ”, but if his people didn’t actually defend themselves on it, that’s their fault.

Doesn’t it seem more likely that it is an excuse that is being inflated to hide a different reason for the loss.

What could that reason be?

That’s not his only blunder…

Also:

Call me a scaremonger if you like, but it seems to This Writer that the most logical reason his party lost in Uxbridge and South Ruislip is Keir Starmer himself.

Keir Mather: fact and fiction about the new, Starmerite MP for Selby and Ainsty

And on that subject…

Apparently he was a researcher for former Tory MP Matthew Parris.

Forgive me, but I question whether that’s the right sort of grounding for a person who now represents the party that is supposed to support working people.

The Tory government has decided that saving the lives of disabled people who have to live in high-rise tower blocks is too expensive

How many hundreds of billions of pounds have they given to their friends and donors in return for absolutely nothing at all?

Sunak’s doublespeak: he wants you to think his theft of your rights is something you have demanded

Standing ovation for Mick Lynch after speech about the ‘stench of corruption’ in Tory government


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Islington North Labour – and others – react to Labour NEC’s Jeremy Corbyn decision

Jeremy Corbyn: we should forgive him if he takes a moment of quiet pride in the support he has received from his fellow Islington North Labour members, constituents, trade unionists, and both party members and voters across the UK.

There will be voices that support the Labour NEC decision to bar Jeremy Corbyn from seeking re-election as a party candidate in Islington North – but it seems clear that they are in the minority.

And they’re also irrelevant when one considers the response from the only group that really matters: Islington North Constituency Labour Party.

It seems the CLP is planning to select Mr Corbyn anyway, no matter what Keir Starmer’s NEC lapdogs say.

You can understand why, from this clip of reactions to Mr Corbyn’s suspension from the Parliamentary Labour Party, back in 2020:

Did you mark the comment that the constituency is “Corbyn country”?

It seems this is one place where the person has eclipsed the party, and won’t be easily unseated by a drone parachuted in by Head Office.

That’s not the limit of the Labour leadership’s troubles, though:

And what are the people in Unite doing..?

If Starmer manages to foil Islington North’s apparent plan to select Mr Corbyn anyway, people are already lining up to help him seek election as an independent:

I live a little way away and transport would be difficult, but I’d love to do a bit with the Absolute Boy.

And it goes on. It seems people are resigning from CLP executives…

Looking at the resignation letter above, it seems the treatment of Mr Corbyn isn’t the only bone of contention with the party leadership and there may be much that is being kept from us (unlike during the years when he was leader, and the right-wing media insisted on examining every piece of rubbish in the bins, looking for scandal).

If this snowballs, Keir Starmer will only have himself to blame – but don’t expect to hear about it from the right-wing media that support him!


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Labour Party democracy ended by ruling committee in landmark Corbyn vote

Facepalm: Jeremy Corbyn is now free to stand as an Independent candidate in Islington North, if he so chooses. He knows the Labour Party has harmed itself by blocking him.

Watch – if you can bear it – the video version of this article:

It’s done, then.

The Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee has voted to override the wishes of party members in Islington North, denying them the opportunity to re-select Jeremy Corbyn as their Parliamentary candidate in the next general election.

This will not be a big deal for Mr Corbyn. He’ll just stand as an independent and win his seat again anyway. He’s won it at the last 10 elections and he’ll probably be helped by many soon-to-be-former members of Islington North Constituency Labour Party.

But for the Labour Party it is massive.

It means that Starmer has reneged on a promise he made when he was trying to trick Labour members into making him party leader.

He stated: “The selections for Labour candidates needs [sic] to be more democratic and we should end NEC impositions of candidates. Local party members should select their candidates for every election.”

His motion to the NEC to ban Mr Corbyn from standing is a clear betrayal of this.

What is Labour Party democracy now? That local party members can select any candidate they want – as long as that person has been pre-selected and approved by Keir Starmer?

That is not democracy. That is dictatorship.

Picture the scene in the House of Commons after the next election: Keir Starmer sitting on the front bench, surrounded by his cabinet of red Tories. And behind them, row upon row of identical Starmtroopers, itching for their turn to stand up and regurgitate whatever words the Starmperor puts into their mouths.

Picture them performing a version of the Nazi salute as the lurch to their jackbooted feet, because they might as well.

And those feet will spend the following five years stamping on your face in true Orwellian tradition.

I’m not keen on that.

I’d rather give it a miss.

The trouble is, in a two-party monopoly where the only other popular choice is the Conservatives, I’ve been left with no choice at all.

It’s either one set of fascists – and I use the term advisedly – or another.

In a country that is predominantly left-wing – the only reason the Tories keep getting in is the First Past The Post system that allows candidates with the largest minority of the vote to take the seat – it means the vast majority of voters are disenfranchised. We have nobody left to vote for.

So we come back to Mr Corbyn’s option – to stand as an Independent candidate.

Is it time for others who have been pushed out of Labour for their popular views to band together with him? He already has an organisation – his Project for Peace and Justice. Perhaps it is time to make it a political party. Perhaps it could link up with other such groups that have sprung up over the last few years.

Perhaps they could offer us an alternative that we could all support.


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No honour in Labour: Ed Miliband backstabs the man who defended his late father

He’s got your back: Ed Miliband is pictured behind Jeremy Corbyn – presumably working out where to put his knife.

Ed Miliband, whose father was defended by Jeremy Corbyn when the Daily Mail said he “hated Britain”, has shown his true colours by stabbing Mr Corbyn in the back.

In October 2013, after the Mail ran an attack piece against the then-Labour leader (Ed Miliband) by accusing his father, Mr Corbyn appeared on BBC News to defend him – as you can see:

Note also that Mr Corbyn was the only Labour MP to defend Miliband’s father publicly.

Today (March 28, 2023), as Labour’s NEC considers a motion by current Labour leader Keir Starmer to ban Mr Corbyn from ever again standing for election as a candidate for that party, Miliband also made an appearance on the BBC – to trot out yet again his leader’s tired and ridiculous whinge about anti-Semitism.

He said:

It’s about one thing, which is about Jeremy Corbyn’s reaction to the EHRC report on antisemitism and his refusal to apologise for that reaction. That is the background of this. I don’t think there’s any mystery about that.

There’s one problem with that: Keir Starmer’s motion does not mention anti-Semitism at all.

It is, therefore, entirely inappropriate for Miliband to trot it out as a reason for denying the members of Islington North’s Constituency Labour Party their democratic right to choose their candidate for Parliament.

Remember: Keir Starmer is on the record as saying he wanted to end NEC interference in local selections of Parliamentary candidates:

The move to bar Mr Corbyn is a clear betrayal of that promise.

So we see an honourable man – Mr Corbyn – backstabbed by not just one but two betrayers who are members of the Labour Party leadership. Doesn’t that tell us that Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is not worth your time? That it should be shunned, avoided, and vilified wherever possible?

Ironically, Miliband’s ill-intended comment about Mr Corbyn came the morning after his victim was outside Parliament, speaking at a rally against racism:

Finally: the reason that is actually given by Keir Starmer’s motion, for wanting Mr Corbyn’s candidacy to be blocked, is the fact that Labour lost an election under his leadership.

By that standard, Ed Miliband should also be barred. He was the leader in 2015 when Labour won a much smaller share of the national vote than in 2017 or 2019, when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

But he is a member of the Shadow Cabinet.

The double-standard could not be clearer.

Miliband’s treachery has certainly provoked a strong reaction from the public. I provide a selection below, for those of you who would appreciate further depth:

The facts are clear – and they mitigate against Keir Starmer, Ed Miliband, and all the other fetid liars infesting the corpse of a once-great political organisation.

I don’t think the NEC’s decision will even matter now. The damage has been done.

Starmer, Miliband and the others have shown that Labour will betray anybody.

If that party – in its current form – gets into government, that is exactly what it will do to you.


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Has ‘factional intrigue’ blocked this former Labour MP from standing to represent her community?

Emma Dent Coad, the former Labour MP for Kensington.

Former Kensington and Chelsea MP Emma Dent Coad has been blocked from standing to represent the constituency again. According to her, this is due to “factional intrigue” in the Labour Party.

In a statement, the former MP has said trade union backing should have seen her longlisted in the selection process, but the candidate selection process is now being factionally abused and is not fit for purpose.

This Writer recalls her outspokenness on behalf of the people of Kensington after the inferno that rendered Grenfell Tower uninhabitable – a fire that was entirely preventable, caused by the installation of entirely unsuitable cladding.

Here’s her statement:

“I am devastated that the Labour Party has blocked me from standing to once again represent my community in Parliament, the community I have spent the last 20 years of my life fighting for. At the same time, I am angry that local members and our local community in Kensington have been denied the opportunity to vote in a free and fair contest, which has been sacrificed for the sake of factional intrigue.

“This campaign has never been about me. I stood to offer dedicated representation for the people of Kensington in Parliament, from someone who knows and cares for our communities. From my role as local councillor and Labour Group leader, to my campaigning efforts as Kensington’s MP on housing issues so dear to our hearts, I have only ever sought the chance to champion our people, whose voices all too often go unheard.

“If I have been outspoken in my politics, it is due to my passion and care for Kensington – for my neighbours and friends – and because of my burning desire to stamp out injustice and build a fairer, more equal society. Upsettingly, unaccountable Labour officials have exploited this outspokenness to unjustly prevent me from standing for the seat I won just five years ago, the seat I came agonisingly close to holding even in 2019, despite the trade union backing which should have seen me longlisted automatically. It is plan as day that the candidate selection process now being run by the Party is being factionally abused and is not fit for purpose.

“I deplore injustice, and through my 16 years on the Council, various reports and my recent book, ‘One Kensington’, I have done my utmost not only to draw attention to the very real inequalities in our community but to actively fight it, from the council chamber to the House of Commons. Above all, my driving ambition has been to combat the inequality which scars our community, the systematic disregard for working-class people which led to the atrocity of the Grenfell Tower fire, and which has led many to lose faith with the political process.

“These people deserve and need representation in Parliament. I hope that Labour’s eventual candidate will gain the respect and trust of all communities in Kensington. It won’t be easy.”

The Guardian reports that the former MP, who was a member of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Corbyn-loyal wing of the parliamentary Labour party, was the target of a number of stories in the tabloids during her time as an MP:

They included a string of stories on the London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey whom she had called a “token ghetto boy” and “scumbag”.

Labour sources said Dent Coad had been served with a “due diligence” dossier and met with officials on Friday evening. As well as some of the tabloid news stories about Dent Coad’s criticism of Conservatives and the royal family, officials expressed concern that Dent Coad had spoken at Stop the War Coalition demonstrations, though the group has not been officially proscribed.

So: hearsay and activity that is not prohibited. That’s not a good look for Labour officials.

A Labour source said that selection procedures were stringent and involved high levels of due diligence. “It’s right that the Labour party expects prospective MPs to uphold the highest standards. Under Keir’s leadership that’s not going to change,” the source said.

The report goes on to state that the exclusion is one of a number where leftwingers have been excluded from a list of candidates:

Maurice McLeod, a Labour councillor and longstanding anti-racism campaigner, said he had been disallowed from contesting the Camberwell and Peckham seat.

In Sedgefield, the seat of former prime minister Tony Blair that Labour lost to the Tories in 2019, 13 constituency officials resigned in protest after the CLP chair was blocked from standing after making a series of critical social media comments about Starmer. The candidate, Paul Daly, has resigned from the party.

Earlier this week, Sam Tarry, the MP for Ilford South, was deselected by his local party in favour of the Redbridge council leader, Jas Athwal, in the culmination of a long-running local dispute.

It seems the frontrunner to be Labour’s candidate for the seat at the next general election is Mete Coban, a youth campaigner from Hackney who founded the My Life My Say campaign.

Source: Labour blocks ex-Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad from running at next election | Labour | The Guardian

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#PoliceBill: The Lords have blocked the #Tory plan to outlaw #protest

This is a bit huge, isn’t it?

Members of one House of Parliament have shown that they are capable of listening to the public, and have voted to block a plan by the Tory government to outlaw “noisy” and/or “disruptive” organised protests.

The decision to erase this part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has come after a weekend of “noisy” and/or “disruptive” organised protests against this government policy.

And it followed a debate that was punctuated by the noise of a demonstration against the Bill outside the Lords Chamber, to which peers did not object at all.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams tried to persuade peers that police would only use the proposed new powers where “necessary” and “appropriate” – but it seems nobody believed her on that. Once the law is passed, police will be allowed to adhere to its letter, not whatever meaning is being applied to it now. That means they’ll be able to do what they like – and that’s not acceptable in a democratic society.

Baroness Williams tried to gather support by saying the noisy protest outside would not be stopped – which is odd, as part of the Bill would have banned protest from Parliament Square.

Instead, she said noisy anti-vaccination protests outside a school or nursing home were a different matter – and that police should have the powers to intervene if necessary. But such protests are unique to the Covid-19 crisis; they don’t need a permanent law.

So it seems Priti Patel’s Bill is intended to address only current, short-term issues – but will then leave the measures to address them on the statute books in order to oppress people who would otherwise be described as entirely law-abiding exercisers of their democratic rights.

Again: not acceptable in a democratic society.

The Lords also voted to make misogyny a hate crime in England and Wales, in spite of the government’s policy not to.

Baroness Williams reckoned any evidence that a crime was misogynistic would be entirely subjective, and police would get tied up in reporting and monitoring statistics and data which are unlikely to be reliable.

Well, This Writer is not convinced. Misogyny is quantifiable and I’m sure people who investigate crimes will know how to do that. Perhaps Priti Patel could try talking with police sometime, instead of talking at them.

The Bill cannot be passed into law until both Houses have agreed on what it should be – so it will go back to the Commons, where the Tory majority will undoubtedly reverse these changes, along with several others agreed by the Lords.

They won’t think about it; they’ll just nod the stupidity back in.

And so the long year begins.

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Hastings lifeboat crew blocked from launching Channel rescue. Will the criminals be punished?

Homicidal hate: Priti Patel has already tried to stop lifeboat crews from rescuing refugees with planned legislation. Now, hate-filled racists are apparently lining up on beaches to make sure that innocent people drown in the Channel.

Hate-filled xenophobes blocked a lifeboat crew from launching to save refugees in danger of drowning in the Channel, it has been confirmed.

Everybody involved in the obstruction is guilty of a criminal offence punishable with an unlimited fine – it has been an explicit crimes since 2006. But will they face justice?

The lifeboat was able to launch, but crews had to call on police to end the obstruction.

The incident came to national attention last week when a caller on James O’Brien’s LBC radio show told him she had witnessed the group blocking the lifeboat, shouting: “don’t bring any more of those home, we’re full up, that’s why we stopped our donations, and that kind of really horrible stuff.” She added: “It was really upsetting, and you could hear the hatred in their voice.”

She said as the “lifeboat crew pulled the boat out and were going to go into the water”, a group of people “stood directly in the line of the boat so the boat couldn’t be put in the water.”

Sussex Police confirmed the incident to LBC:

In a statement, Sussex Police said: “Just after 4pm on Saturday, November 20, police were made aware of reports of a disturbance near to the Hastings RNLI Lifeboat Station.

“A police officer attended the scene while also being supported by colleagues monitoring the situation on CCTV.

“No arrests were made.”

So it seems nobody will be punished for the crime – this time.

But will it embolden others to do the same – or worse?

And what does it say about the United Kingdom, that people here are willing to stand in the way of rescuers in order to ensure that other people drown in the Channel?

The incident has sparked outrage in many people – but not everyone.

Liam Thorp tweeted: “It must take a special level of hate in a person’s heart to try and block a lifeboat from saving people from drowning. This is despicable.”

His views are representative of many.

And Labour MP Nadia Whittome added her support to the RNLI volunteers:

I won’t publish the bile that has emerged from the haters.

The fact that racists feel emboldened to physically try to stop a life-saving rescue from taking place shows just how low the Conservative government has dragged the country.

It shows that everybody in the Tory government, from Boris Johnson to Priti Patel, down to the lowest-level civil servant pushing through her policies of hate, is also a racist who wants innocent people to die.

And it shows that everybody working in the media organisations that promote this hatred is a homicidal racist too.

Is that you?

If so, This Writer would like to know how you justify yourself – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

How do these people sleep at night, knowing that they have tried to ensure that another person – who has done them no harm at all – will die?

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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