Tag Archives: boost

Johnson and Patel’s police state takes shape

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson: They’re telling us they want to restore law and order – but are they simply planning for the effects of a ‘no deal’ Brexit or positioning for a general election?

Boris Johnson has announced a tightening of security in prisons, to go with yesterday’s increase in funding for lawyers to deal with violent crime cases, and a review – and toughening – of  prison sentences.

This Writer cannot help but notice that these announcements, along with a plan to build more prisons, are arriving alongside news that the UK’s economy has hit a downturn.

Economic activity fell in the second quarter of 2019 – for the first time since 2012. And unemployment has risen by 31,000.

Is Boris Johnson planning for unrest after a ‘no deal’ Brexit that harms jobs and our way of life?

Well, no. The worst part of this is that he probably isn’t.

The one-off payment of £100 million might help in the short term, but Labour’s shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon has described it as “tinkering at the edges”.

And the Howard League for Penal Reform said prisons have become centres of crime and violence and drugs, and the Tory government need to “pour good money after bad” (provide continuous funding) to solve a problem it has created.

The Crown Prosecution Service will receive £85 million to help it prosecute violent offenders – but the Criminal Bar Association has said that this will not seriously improve a system that has been “severely underfunded” by Conservative governments of the last nine years.

It has led to a situation in which “those who commit crime walk free and the innocent risk being convicted”, the organisation has said.

These claims follow assertions that the promise of 10,000 new prison places will not be enough; courts will order criminals to serve tougher sentences before those places become available, meaning that there will still be too few.

We can only conclude that these announcements do not indicate a serious commitment to tackle crime.

So why make them?

One theory is that the prime minister we call BoJob is trying to discourage people from participating in civil unrest if a ‘no deal’ Brexit takes place on October 31.

The thinking would be that a show of sabre-rattling now might reduce violence later.

But we’re being told that, even with the new funding, the authorities would not be equipped to deal with such unrest. So that plan has backfired.

The alternative – and far more likely – is that these announcements are simply attempts to position the Conservatives as the “Party of Law and Order” once more in the run-up to an autumn election.

The government has denied any intention of calling an election – which of course makes it more likely in the mind of a general public that is used to Tories who say one thing and then do another.

And of course there is a possibility that Mr Johnson will be forced into an election after an early vote of no confidence in his government.

September 9 is the date this is most likely to happen, we’re told – less than a month away.

Make a note in your diary.

Source: Prisons: Boris Johnson pledges £100m to boost security – BBC News

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Was Huawei contract a pay-off for former Conservative advisors?

Well, well, well… Huawei.

I didn’t know what to make of it when the row broke out over a leaked report saying Huawei was being contracted to help build the UK’s 5G communications network, despite concerns over national security.

Concerns over whether spyware would be inserted into the network had been commonplace in advance of the decision and it seemed odd to me that the Conservative government would ignore those concerns.

The possibility that this was the result of mischief by leading Tories who saw the issue as a tool to win points in a future leadership race seemed likely.

I mentioned this on Twitter last week:

Another user added a new perspective:

Now I’m hearing something else:

Could this be the reason the Conservatives are awarding a contract to Huawei – that they are giving a financial boost to former advisors?

It will be interesting to see whether the mainstream media ever allow this to see the light of day.


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Tories have DELIBERATELY increased poverty in the UK, according to UN inspector

Professor Philip Alston: He came to his conclusions by listening to people affected by Conservative policies on the poor, sick and disabled. Tories implemented those policies by ignoring the very same people – and now they have vowed to ignore Professor Alston.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on poverty, Philip Alston, has said he believes the UK’s Conservative government deliberately increased poverty in the country, for ideological reasons.

He said the harm done to the poorest and most vulnerable could be reversed with very little investment; all that is needed is the political will. Sadly, we all know that a change of government will be required to achieve this.

The Tories themselves confirmed this, by stating that they do not recognise the findings of Professor Alston’s report. Clearly they will not act upon those findings either.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, he said the following:

And this is from his verbal report:

A wealth of material has appeared about this – mostly on the social media (and we’ll discuss the reasons for this below), so it is possible to put together a good summary of the report, the reaction to it, and wider issues from that. So here are the headlines:

Here’s the underlying implication – that the Tory government intended to create this problem for the people of the UK in order to achieve “radical social re-engineering”:

Professor Alston said the situation could change overnight with very little investment, if there was a different government:

But the current government is unlikely to do anything because it is in a “state of denial”:

https://twitter.com/Anoosh_C/status/1063402905569583107

It is well worth noting that Professor Alston used the words “hostile environment” to describe the Conservative government’s policies brings to mind the Windrush Scandal – and the Department for Work and Pensions, which is responsible for so many of the policies which have caused the harm, is now being run by the woman who took the rap for Windrush – Amber Rudd.

The effect of Tory policies on women was highlighted by the special rapporteur:

This Site suggested yesterday that Esther McVey resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary, not because of Brexit but because she did not want to face the criticism she would receive from Professor Alston. In his report, he revealed that he had met Ms McVey – and her comments were alarming:

https://twitter.com/Anoosh_C/status/1063405551852404736

One can see why she may not have wanted to stick around for the fallout from that. Instead, as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell points out, they “manipulate statistics” and “refuse to accept responsibility”.

And how do they get away with it? The answer is obvious:

Excellent points. And if you think the BBC isn’t hiding important facts from you, were you aware of the following?

No? Then the BBC, together with other right-wing news organisations, has been hiding the facts from us all.

We need responsible news media, holding the government to account for its actions, and a cabinet minister willing to accept the facts and act on them in the national interest.

We have been given Amber Rudd.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: This would be a farce if not for the fact that people are dying.

Theresa May’s 70th birthday present for the NHS: A big, fat funding LIE

Unconvincing: Theresa May couldn’t make her announcement seem realistic, even under the friendly interrogation of Andrew Marr.

UK prime minister Theresa May has said the National Health Service in England is to receive a funding boost of £20 billion a year by 2023, with money from a so-called ‘Brexit dividend’ and a rise in taxes.

She said: “There will be that Brexit dividend. We will have that sum of money that is available from the European Union.”

There’s only one problem: Like most things she says, her promise is a big, fat lie.

For a start, there is no Brexit dividend.

If you’re a Tory, or a Leave supporter, this may be hard to accept at face value. Let’s have an educated opinion on it – from Paul Johnson, director of the financial think tank, the Institute of Fiscal Studies:

Here he is on the BBC’s Daily Politics, explaining the facts to a reluctant Sarah Smith:

There is no Brexit dividend; Theresa May lied. Are you happy with that?

The Patients’ Association isn’t. It responded, “A giant sticking-plaster is still a sticking-plaster.”

The IFS itself said the NHS needed an increase of more than four per cent per year to modernise; any less would be treading water. It is getting 3.4 per cent.

Here’s another thing: Theresa May has said there must be “efficiencies” alongside the new money. Why? The NHS has already been pared to the bone and there is no more efficiency to be squeezed out of it. In fact, the reason extra funding is required is that her government’s ruthless cuts and introduction of profit-grubbing into the UK’s healthcare system has made it more inefficient.

And she has refused to say which taxes will rise to pay for her mythical spending splurge – possibly because this is the only part of the announcement that might actually come true; the promise of more and better service hides the threat to take more money from a population that has already been squeezed hard over the last eight years.

Mrs May said only, “We will be contributing more as a country.” As a resident of Wales, I find this extremely disturbing as the funding increase is said to be for the NHS in England only.

I see no reason why the other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (what will the DUP think of this?) should pay for funding increases that will not benefit them.

So why make this rash, and completely false, claim?

Simple: Theresa May needs to talk up the benefits of Brexit.

Her EU Withdrawal Bill is returning to the House of Lords for further consideration over the next few days, after Mrs May lied to her colleagues in the Parliamentary Conservative Party in order to prevent a rebellion that would have harmed her as a credible prime minister.

Without any factual benefits to talk up, she has latched onto the biggest lie told during the EU referendum campaign – that, after leaving the European Union, the UK would be able to spend £350 million more, every week, on the NHS.

Her current offer is even more – £394 million a week – but that doesn’t really matter because she is lying.

She has invented a fake boost to the National Health Service in just one part of the UK in the long term, to generate a short-term lift for her government and to hide an increase in taxes – most likely for the poor majority of the population, rather than the obscenely rich minority in whose interest she governs.

It is not a birthday present for the NHS – it is the foretelling of a further theft from us.

This announcement, like Mrs May herself, is nothing but a mealy-mouthed con.


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NHS bosses ordered trusts: Lie to the public about scale of winter crisis – claim

[Image: Science Photo Library.]

It seems we have all been deceived, and the scale of the crisis facing emergency medicine may be greater than first thought.

Emails from NHS Improvement told Trusts to boost their treatment figures by including data from walk-in centres, in conflict with guidance issued by NHS England in 2015.

It means trusts’ performance since last October, when the first email was sent, may have been artificially inflated.

The UK Statistics Authority has demanded an explanation.

Crucially, This Writer wants to know who ordered the changes – and why.

NHS hospital trusts in England may have to recalculate A&E performance figures from last October onwards.

The UK Statistics Authority has told NHS England to explain changes to the recording of A&E data.

It says the changes – highlighted by BBC News – could have left people reaching “misleading conclusions”.

They raise questions over some trusts’ performance on the highest profile NHS performance target – that patients in A&E are seen within four hours.

The official target requires 95% of patients to be treated, assessed or discharged within four hours, a figure the NHS has failed to meet since July 2015.

A hospital trust’s performance figures include the main accident and emergency department (known as Type 1) and minor injuries or care centres (known as Type 3).

These centres tend to see and treat patients a lot more quickly than those needing emergency care.

Data in these clinics tends to pull up the overall performance of a trust. This is confirmed by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

The BBC has seen emails sent by NHS Improvement, the body responsible for overseeing trusts, in October last year.

The implication is that including these centres would help improve overall performance.

This, and another email sent later in October by NHS Improvement, was seen by trusts as a request to add in data from walk-in centres not run by them and not on hospital grounds.

This is in direct conflict with clear guidance issued in November 2015 by NHS England, which says walk-in centre data can be included only if the trust has clinical responsibility for the service or if it co-located on the trust’s grounds.

Source: A&E stats may have to be recalculated


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This is SO wrong: EU says refugee crisis is ‘sizable’ economic benefit

Refugees walk through fields in Romania after crossing from Croatia [Image: AP].

Refugees walk through fields in Romania after crossing from Croatia [Image: AP].


There are so many levels on which this statement from the European Commission is offensive.

Firstly, if the refugee crisis is improving the economies of EU countries, is the Commission saying that’s a good thing?

Is the Commission saying we need more pointless wars, stirring people up out of their homes to help the economies of countries they probably never wanted to visit, even on holiday?

The report states that the UK will lose out because David Cameron will only allow 4,000 refugees into the country per year. Is this a barely-concealed bribe, to encourage us to take more?

Figures reported yesterday (Thursday) have already shown that the UK has the fastest-growing population in the western world, but that’s not the point.

The point is that the European Commission appears to be saying that the EU should take the opportunity to profit from the suffering of others – and that the UK should participate in this behaviour.

When did the EU become a pack of ghouls?

The refugee crisis is actually having a “sizeable” positive economic impact on some EU countries, European Commission figures suggest.

Economists at the EU’s executive agency say the large influx of people to the bloc from Syria and other conflict zones is likely having a positive effect on growth, employment rates, and long-term public finances in the most affected countries.

The Commission’s autumn economic forecasts 2015 calculate that the expected three million refugee arrivals by the end of 2016 will produce increases in annual GDP growth ranging from 0.2 to 0.5 per cent in EU countries affected by the crisis.

But Britain’s limited contribution for 4,000 refugees a year means it is unlikely to benefit.

Source: The refugee crisis is actually having ‘sizable’ economic benefits in European countries, EU says | Europe | News | The Independent

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Drug-induced? Conservative policy is to increase the national debt and make you pay

131121osborne

Isn’t it shameful that the Conservatives are attacking Labour because the Co-op Bank chief has been behaving like the Chancellor of the Exchequer?

The ex-chairman of the bank, Paul Flowers – who is a former Labour councillor, is being investigated by police after he was filmed appearing to buy drugs. How is that different from the above photograph of one G. Osborne (now Chancellor of the Exchequer), raving it up at a party with a lot of cocaine on the table (ringed in red)?

Comedy Prime Minister David Cameron made much of the Flowers investigation at Prime Minister’s Questions – even suggesting, after the unimpeachable Michael Meacher asked an important question about business investment, that the honourable gentleman might have “been on a night out on the town with Reverend Flowers” and the “mind-altering substances have taken effect”.

Apparently it is all right for Gideon to be a drug casualty because he is a Tory; only Labour supporters who take drugs can be bad in Cameron’s addled world.

No wonder Labour MPs chanted “Shame!” at Cameron as he slunk out of the Chamber.

His attitude seems wrong-headed because, as managed by Mr Osborne for the past three and a half years, the economy can only be regarded as improving if one has the aid of Mr Cameron’s “mind-altering substances”.

Economic figures released this week are being touted as good news, with tax revenues “boosted” by “a recovering economy and housing market”, according to the BBC.

Take a closer look at those figures and they fall down. Borrowing (excluding the cost of interventions like bank bailouts, so we’re already in the realm of made-up figures) fell by two one-hundred-and-thirds, from £8.24 billion in the same month last year to £8.08 billion in October. Less than two per cent and they’re calling it a “boost”. It might be wiped out again in November’s figures.

Also, it should be borne in mind that growth in the housing market is due to the bubble created by our formerly-substance-abusing Chancellor, while any other economic growth has nothing to do with him and, in any case, does not help the vast majority of the population.

Total public debt has risen again, to £1.207 trillion or 75.4 per cent of gross domestic product – the highest it has ever been – under the Conservatives.

The aim for the national deficit, we are told, is to keep borrowing for 2013-14 at £120 billion or below. In his ‘Emergency Budget’ of 2010, Osborne predicted that borrowing this year would be down to half that – at £60 billion, and estimates have been rising ever since.

The 2011 budget had the 2013-14 deficit at £70 billion; in 2012 it was expected to be £98 billion; and now – £120 billion. Perhaps his original estimate was a coke-fuelled fantasy?

Of course – as this blog repeated only days ago – the Conservative-led Coalition never intended to cut the national debt. This was just a claim ministers made while they changed the system to take as much money as possible from the poor while making it possible for the rich to remove their personal earnings and corporate profits from tax to the greatest extent possible.

Result: Increasing debt and lower-than-necessary tax returns, making it possible for the Tories to claim they must cut public services and the benefit system, while laughing all the way to the banks (the ones that were never penalised for burning all our money in the first place).

So much for “We’re all in it together” – unless that was another reference to “mind-altering substances”, and we didn’t understand it until now.