Tag Archives: Britain

#InsulateBritain activists are jailed by #GrantShapps – and then most of them walk free

Back on the streets: Insulate Britain. I don’t mean the freed activists went straight back to their protests, but This Site doesn’t have many pictures of group members and this one is purely representative.

This is amusing.

Knowing that seven were released immediately makes Grant Shapps’s comments a little silly, don’t you think?

Also the fact that he’s keen to jail anybody who makes motorists miserable. Like traffic wardens and police?

As with most Tory government schemes, Shapps simply didn’t think his words through.

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#BritainFirst v #RNLI: whose side are you on?

Not backing down: donations to the RNLI increased by 2,000 per cent in a day after Nigel Farage tried to stop them rescuing refugees. It would be nice if the same happened because of this campaign by far-right bigots.

Britain First? Britain’s Farts, more like!

(And I’m sorry if you feel This Writer has coarsened Vox Political with my choice of language but it is entirely appropriate in the circumstances, I think. They leave a bad smell wherever they go.)

The far-right political organisation has started bombarding the Royal National Lifeboat Institution with thousands of emails purporting to be from “concerned citizens”, trying to get the charity to stop rescuing everybody in danger of drowning in UK coastal waters and instead to concentrate only on “saving British lives”:

This is of course a hate campaign against Johnny and Janey Foreigner, orchestrated by, as it happens, a pitiful gang of old, bald men with a chip on their collective shoulder:

As an old, bald man myself, This Writer is angry that these old farts are giving us all a bad name.

They aren’t concerned citizens – they’re bigots.

Fortunately the RNLI isn’t the sort of group that is ever going to pander to this kind of racially-motivated hatred.

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Is negative reporting from the right-wing press fueling assaults on Insulate Britain?

Ink today – what tomorrow? This 77-year-old ex-doctor is afraid of what the next member of the public will do to him and/or his colleagues – and papers like the Mail are egging on the attackers.

Yes, it’s annoying when your driving experience is disrupted by people who have superglued themselves to the road to draw attention to life-threatening issues including climate change – but that doesn’t justify assaulting them by throwing ink in their faces.

But here‘s the Daily Heil showing off its worst fascistic tendencies by venerating some music promoter for doing just that.

It seems

Andrew Dutton was filmed calmly walking along the line of the protestors sat in the middle of the road and spraying them with ink as they blocked traffic yesterday.

The 38-year-old from Harlow, Essex, who works with bands and arranges concerts, later told friends he lost his temper after asking the protestors to move from the A40 in North Acton, West London, to allow an emergency vehicle through – only for them to refuse and stay put.

I’m not buying that. Insulate Britain activists have a standing rule to let emergency vehicles through.

As Steve Gower said when This Writer interviewed him,

We’ve had accusations of not letting ambulances through. There’s footage – I’m in one of the clips actually, where we let an ambulance through. That is the policy of Insulate Britain – to let any blue light through our barricade.

The Mail‘s report shows footage of Dutton assaulting the protesters with the ink – with not a single emergency vehicle in sight. So I have a couple of doubts about the claim made about him (it turns out his friends told the right-wing rag about the alleged ambulance, not him).

The piece is highly supportive of the aggressor. Besides the ambulance allegation, it said his friends had hailed him as a “hero” and the protesters – who want better insulation for social housing, to stop people from dying of the cold in their own homes and to help tackle climate change – as an “eco mob”.

The result is that these people are scared. This tweet, and the embedded video, sums up the situation:

We’ve recently seen footage of a woman who tried to run over Insulate Britain activists in her Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school. Commenters have questioned why he couldn’t walk.

The hypocrisy is palpable. Only days ago, politicians were calling for “respect” and for people to stop fuelling the kind of “hatred” that led to the death of Tory MP Sir David Amess.

After Tory MPs were criticised for letting water companies pump raw human waste into our rivers and other waterways, they whinged – falsely – that they were being attacked with hate speech.

But when people are confronted by someone with a cause to promote, suddenly it’s okay to roll a Range Rover over them or spray ink into their eyes?

That is the message the Mail is putting out.

And the Tories must be delighted because once again, they have succeeded in getting people to squabble with others instead of casting a critical eye over the many faults of our (Tory) government.

The protesters involved are afraid – but they aren’t going to stop because they know people have already died because they lived in badly-insulated homes and they know that it will happen to others if they don’t succeed in prodding the government to act.

The – video – evidence shows they are right to be afraid.

What happens if one of them ends up suffering serious injury? What if, next time, it’s – well, I’m not going to put ideas in the heads of the irresponsible.

Will the reporter who penned the Mail piece turn himself in for possibly having incited it?

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#ConcreteMike : interviewer tells #InsulateBritain spokesman you can grow concrete

This is what happens when a right-wing radio presenter thinks he’s smarter than a simple man with a simple message:

“You can’t grow concrete,” said Cameron.

“You can…” responded Mike Graham – and then had to eat silence while Cameron let the enormity of his mistake sink in.

This Talk Radio presenter actually suggested that people could grow concrete – a synthetic substance.

And then he went on to suggest that being a carpenter – making items out of a renewable substance like wood – is bad. It’s one of the oldest and most useful professions in any human culture!

No wonder Mr Graham said he didn’t want to talk to Cameron – or anybody else from Insulate Britain – ever again. As it is, he will undoubtedly receive a strong shaming over this.

If you really want to know what Insulate Britain is about – there’s a reason behind their road-blocking protests, you see – then enjoy This Writer’s interview with another member of the organisation, here.

The quick summary is that if you agree with Insulate Britain, then you want warmer homes, a solution to the dangers of climate change, and decent jobs for local craftspeople.

If you don’t, then you side with somebody who thinks carpentry is a bad idea.

And if we’d listened to people like Mike Graham back when humanity was first starting its ascent, we’d all still be living in caves, wearing animal skins and afraid of the dark.

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Interview: as Insulate Britain returns to our roads, here’s why you should support them

Back on the streets: Insulate Britain.

Activists from Insulate Britain have rekindled their campaign for better home insulation by supergluing themselves to roads in Liverpool Street, Limehouse Causeway, Bishopsgate and Upper Thames Street.

What a nuisance, right?

Wrong. Well, it’s wrong if you love your relatives and friends, anyway.

And it seems people are getting it – because members of the public reportedly told the protesters they were “doing a good job”.

It seems the organisation has gained a lot of ground since a London mother tried to run over members in a Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school:

The police were informed…

… so This Writer is sure we’ll hear more about that incident in due course.

But what is Insulate Britain all about? And what does insulation have to do with disrupting road traffic?

Vox Political had a chance to find out when This Writer interviewed Insulate Britain’s Steve Gower – appropriately enough, on a road. I recorded the chat, so you can hear it right here:

If you are deaf, please find a text version of the interview below:

Who are you? That’s a good start, isn’t it?

Yeah. I’m Steve Gower. I’m a volunteer advocate for the homeless, I’m currently unemployed, and I’m working – working! – I’m also a member of Insulate Britain.

Right. So what is Insulate Britain?

Insulate Britain is a group of individuals and a campaign that have made a demand to the government to insulate all the council and social housing properties in this country and to provide a meaningful statement to prove that they are serious about reducing the amount of CO2 in the environment [in accordance with] the Paris Agreement of 2015 that they’ve signed up to, by 2025.

How are you doing it?

By completing non-violent direct action around the M25 and surrounding areas.

Why around the M25?

Because unless a financial crisis happens as in disruption to the Capital, the government will not listen.

That’s the important point, I think, because we see it on the news – well, we do; you go and do it – and there’s a kind of disconnect, I suppose, because of the way it’s reported. We need to know what the necessity is. People need to find out why you are doing the things you are doing.

I agree with you there. We made a statement – I personally posted a written statement to the government in August, where our demands were exactly that – the insulation and retrofit of all council and social properties to be completed. Not just talked about, because we’ve been promised this before.

Over 20 years ago, the government of the day recognised that 50,000 people in the UK were losing their lives through the cold in their own homes. 20 years on, nothing substantial has changed. We have got the leakiest homes, not only in the whole of the UK, but in Europe as well.

Would it be spectacularly expensive for them to do? Is there any financial disincentive for them to do it?

It’s not going to be cheap – but my personal answer to that is [to ask] how much value you put on the life of your child, the life of your grandchild, or the life of your grandmother or grandfather.

In financial terms every house is different, but it has been estimated between £500 billion and £1 trillion or £1.1 trillion over a 10-year period.

Okay, but against that you balance the lives that are saved, and of course if you wanted to put it in money terms, a life has a huge economic value. So the economic argument doesn’t work anyway because it’s the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The other figure is that for every pound that is spent retrofitting and installing insulation into people’s properties, you will gain £3.20 back.

Yes, there you go.

But I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for my children and my children’s children.

Quite, but I think it is worth putting out there: there is no economic argument for it anyway.

If there was an economic argument about this, because we’ve put ourselves in debt, this country has been in debt since 1690. We have found money when we needed it in the past 3- or 400 years, for disasters or even wars. This is a humanitarian crisis on our island.

That’s right, because the UK of course is the home of the magic money tree.

[Laughter] You said that, not me!

I’ve been saying it for a while now. So you’ve been doing these demonstrations on the M25, these acts to disrupt, I suppose-

And for this conversation. You’re only talking to me now because of the fact that we’ve been on the roads for the last [few] weeks.

That’s exactly right.

I’ve been a ground worker in my past life. I’ve built houses in that lifetime. Those houses are not fit for purpose; they are as leaky as the ones I’ve mentioned before – we’ve got the leakiest properties in Europe. New properties today are within that scope as well. They will need retrofitting in the future. They are today not fit for purpose.

Strangely enough I was hearing something on the radio about that, only the other day. The idea is that they put plans up for approval based on how a place will look and then they try to put everything into it afterwards. It’s always many years behind the times.

There are houses today – built – that are eco-friendly and have zero carbon emissions. Every house, by law, has to be rated from A to G. My personal property is a one-bedroom flat, category E. I don’t drive – I can’t afford to drive, unfortunately. But if you drive, a family car emits less CO2 than my flat over the course of a year.

Wow!

Also, as I mentioned before, I’ve built properties – as the boys and the girls are doing now in the construction industry – that are not fit for purpose. With this – what we’re asking for – are proper insulation and retrofit, which will mean quality jobs, valuable jobs, and houses that will be fit for purpose, for not only the next 10 or 20 years but possibly into the next century.

How proud we would be of that! How proud a job, and significant, that you are building not only a house, and a home, for a family, but saving the planet as well.

Right. That’s what you’ve been doing; those are your reasons. What has the response been from the authorities?

We’ve had no response other than a mention in the Tory Party conference from Boris himself, calling us this, that and the other…

What an honour!

What an honour, yeah, it has been! I, and many of my comrades and friends on this campaign, may – probably will – end up in jail for our actions: non-violent, direct action.

But we are just the messengers. The real traitor in this episode is our government. They are traitors to our country by knowingly allowing people to die prematurely this winter, as they have done for the last 20 or 30 years.

There are estimates of tens of thousands of people living in fuel poverty who won’t be alive this time next year and we are the ones who will probably end up in the dock and in jail. That just tells you what sort of country we are in today.

And that’s the treachery of it as well, of course, that instead of taking you seriously, they are punishing you for doing something – for drawing attention to something that they should have been doing anyway.

They’ve got one job. For the safety and the well-being of the people.

Yeah, but they’re not very good at it…

Do you have a message for people out there who might be a bit confused about what’s going on?

We’ve got [a few] days now for the government to make up its mind what it’s going to do with our actions and the reasons behind them. It’s also an opportunity for the population of this country to find out exactly what we’re asking for.

We’ve had accusations of not letting ambulances through. There’s footage – I’m in one of the clips actually, where we let an ambulance through. That is the policy of Insulate Britain – to let any blue light through our barricade.

So you’ve got propaganda against you as well, then.

We apologise for temporarily halting the lives of individuals getting to school, getting to work and what have you; I have been, in the last 20 years, obviously, a parent; I have worked all the hours God sent on a construction site and had injury at work as well, and still gone back to work.

Where it has got me is where I’ve built houses that aren’t fit for purpose. I’ve built schools that I couldn’t afford to send my son to. And I’ve built shopping malls that I couldn’t afford to shop at.

You are looking at Christmas Future. I don’t want you to have the same future that I am living today. When I left school there was one job to every 10 individuals. They wrote a song about it.

Today the tables are turned. The people and the workforce, the working class, have got more power today than they’ve ever had because of the circumstances – what’s gone on for the past two years. They shouldn’t be rushing to work. They should be given a decent wage and decent working rights. That needs to be told as well.

This will not only provide quality jobs, but we demand that we want quality products as well.

Four years ago an incident shook the country, most of Europe and the world, and that was Grenfell. The materials that go on our houses tomorrow have got to be fit for purpose and not substandard. That is also what is on the agenda here.

How they do it – and this is my personal belief but I think there’s a lot of support for it – is we look after our own – we get local craftsmen, local jobs, local workers, local builders to do our work for us. We don’t want the corporates involved, and that includes the materials as well.

They’ve got to be sustainable materials, and certainly not the ones we’ve seen – unfortunately – in Grenfell.

Absolutely right. Okay?

Thank you.

That’s cool.

AFTERWORD:

So there you have it.

Trying to save many thousands of lives – and attack climate change – by improving home insulation=BAD. Actually aiding drug and financial crime=GOOD. That’s apparently according to the people who guard the law.

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Piers Morgan nails Matt Hancock on live TV as government ends GMB boycott: ‘Why haven’t you resigned?’

Matt Hancock on GMB: when he wasn’t doing his nodding dog routine, he was avoiding answering questions about his many failures over the 200+ days since any government minister has been interviewed on that programme.

After the mauling he took, Matt Hancock probably wishes the boycott imposed on ITV’s Good Morning Britain by former Tory Comms boss Lee Cain was still in place.

It isn’t; Cain is history – and presenter Piers Morgan was determined to go over all the history he could not discuss with government ministers during the more-than-200-day boycott.

It wasn’t pretty. But it was very entertaining:

Hancock tried to defend himself by raising his record on testing for Covid-19:

“On testing, we’ve hit each of the targets that I set – half a million tests a day capacity now. And I’m here to tell you we’re going to double that over the next few months.

“That means we can use testing in order to find where the virus is and crucially we’ve got those turnaround times down and people can isolate if needed.”

So Morgan examined the government’s pitiful record:

By now, if you’ve watched both clips, you’ll have realised what Hancock was doing:

He was avoiding the questions.

If he thought we wouldn’t notice, he was wrong:

Hancock hadn’t done any better with the BBC, where he had been interviewed on Breakfast News. There, he had been asked to defend a photograph of prime muppet Boris Johnson ignoring social distancing with MP Lee Anderson, who then tested postive for Covid-19.

Johnson is now self-isolating in his Downing Street flat, during a week that is crucial for the UK’s trade negotiations with the EU.

Here’s what Hancock said:

It was just a lot more evasion.

The simple fact is that while we all have the same rules, Boris Johnson simply doesn’t think they apply to him. If Downing Street has Covid-secure rules, they don’t mean anything if Tories don’t follow them.

At one point, Hancock said Johnson followed them, which is a flat-out lie.

Source: Piers Morgan asks Matt Hancock why he hasn’t resigned as Tory admits ‘mistakes’ – Mirror Online

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After #BorisJohnson complained about lack of cash, he’s had a #trolling from the #ChurchOfEngland

Realisation dawns: as he reads the passage chosen for him at the Battle of Britain commemoration service in Westminster Abbey, Boris Johnson discovers that the Church of England is trolling him.

Whoever chose the reading for Boris Johnson at Sunday’s commemoration of the Battle of Britain is a genius.

The service at Westminster Abbey celebrated the 80th anniversary of the crucial World War II battle:

The UK’s performing monkey prime minister Boris Johnson attended and gave a reading – but after he reportedly complained about having trouble making ends meet on his more than £150,000-a-year salary, it seems someone responsible for the order of service decided to have a laugh:

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

The church should be giving more of this kind of leadership.

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Why haven’t police arrested Britain First thugs who raided migrant-housing hotel?

Proud of it: the banner seems to set out the Britain First agenda clearly – racism.

Did Theresa May intend our police to be toothless, back when she cut law enforcement numbers by more than 20,000 in 2016 or thereabouts?

Coppers in the UK now seem far more interested in prosecuting parking and speeding offences than in investigating crimes of violence perpetrated against human beings.

How else could one explain the inability of police services across the UK to stop people who are exempt from wearing face masks in shops from being assaulted by their fellow shoppers, who have no right to do so?

And how else could one explain the ability of Britain First “activists” (read: racists) to raid a hotel housing asylum seekers with impunity?

Cheshire Police were called but by the time anybody turned up, the perpetrators of the harassment had long since departed.

The incursion into the privacy and dignity of the people at the hotel has been roundly condemned by right-thinking people – for example:

But it seems clear that people like the Britain First thugs will feel empowered by the fact that they got away with it – and are likely to get away with it if they do it again.

Apparently the Johnson government has offered protection to hotels housing asylum seekers, but can we really believe that?

It is the jingoistic rhetoric of these Tories – and the Tory governments that came before them – that has made these racists feel entitled to stick their faces where they don’t belong.

And look at the recent behaviour of the Home Office, regarding asylum seekers and the people who stand up for them.

It seems likely that Britain First’s “activists” have been doing exactly what the Johnson government wants.

* I’ve put “activists” in quotation marks because it is interesting to note the way the word is being used. The Home Office attacked “activist lawyers” in a hastily-deleted video tweet last week, and now we see the word again here. What are we to conclude from this use of language?

Source: Far-right Britain First activists branded ‘disgusting’ for raiding hotel housing migrants | London Evening Standard

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Is EHRC too busy scrabbling for anti-Semitism in Labour to bother with obvious Tory Islamophobia?

Islamophobia: the creator of this image thought it was bad enough in the Tories under Theresa May. Now, with racist Boris Johnson in charge, who knows how far the rot has gone?

How long has the Equalities and Human Rights Commission been looking for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party now? A year?

Either it is very well hidden – which would be odd, considering the number of (admittedly mostly false) claims made against the party – or the EHRC is determined not to stop until it has managed to concoct a convincing case.

It doesn’t fill one with confidence in that organisation.

And now we see that the EHRC is trying to squirm out of handling 300 documented cases of Islamophobia – in the Conservative Party.

Does anybody else smell a rat?

According to the Mirror, the dossier handed to the EHRC – by the Muslim Council of Britain – contains information about 16 Conservative MPs, one MEP, nine election candidates and 183 party members.

That’s 209 people, so presumably some are multiple offenders. I wonder if Boris Johnson is listed among them?

The allegations include:

  • A former councillor calling for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, who they label “brutes who beat, kill and maim young women”;

  • A local party association chair who called for Muslims to be banned;

  • A member who called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges;

  • Another member who called for the forcible sterilisation of Muslims.

The MCB also condemns the Conservative Party’s failure to suspend MP Daniel Kawczynski after he spoke at an event alongside far-right leaders, and for failing to take action on MP Karl McCartney, who shared Islamophobic and anti-Semitic social media content by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.

Secretary General Harun Khan said the EHRC had failed to give any response to the MCB’s first formal complaint in May 2019, and says it was ‘extraordinary’ that the watchdog had taken no action in the 10 months since.

“There is no doubt that the Conservative party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread” he said,

“The party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit – this results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion”

The EHRC says it is waiting for information about a promised internal inquiry by the Conservative Party, which it is claiming will be “independent” even though it is to be carried out within the party structure.

This Writer can only wish them good luck with that. We’re all also awaiting publication of the report on Russian influence on the Conservative government, and on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.

Wise heads think it won’t just be a cold day in Hell, but their subjects may actually have taken up residence there before these reports are published.

Former Tory-supporting columnist Peter Oborne thinks – well, see for yourself:

In his article, he wrote:

The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases.

Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies.

This should not come as any surprise to anyone, since poll results published by the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate last year showed that more than half of Conservative members thought Islam was “generally a threat to the British way of life”.

I’ve written before about Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, who shared an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League; hosted the anti-Muslim Tapan Ghosh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist; and shared far-right and Islamophobic content on Facebook.

Anti-Muslim bigotry is not a barrier to promotion. Nadine Dorries, who also shared a tweet by Robinson, is now a health minister. This is no surprise, given that Johnson himself has a long record of making anti-Muslim remarks.

Tellingly, Johnson is surrounded by Islamophobes. Dominic Cummings, his most senior advisor, reportedly had overall responsibility for The Spectator website in 2006, according to Stuart Reid, the magazine’s acting editor at the time, when a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted on the site.

One of Johnson’s up-and-coming advisors is Chloe Westley. She praised Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain, as a “hero”, even though Waters has called Islam “evil” and also has links to Robinson.

But he made a very important point: the UK’s mass media are ignoring this story:

I could find nothing at all about the MCB report in the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. There were seven paragraphs on page 16 of the Times and 11 paragraphs on page 7 of the Guardian. Nothing in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, or the Sun.

Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe.

It shows how the media have been manipulating your opinions and – by proxy – the actions of organisations like the EHRC.

The papers kicked up a huge fuss about the imaginary crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (where I doubt if even 200 genuine cases have been found among a membership of more than half a million in the past four years).

But their silence over 300 evidenced cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is much smaller than Labour, means few people know about it and any outcry is therefore minimised.

So the EHRC can say there’s no real demand for it to investigate, despite the fact that, in real terms, it is a bigger issue.

Source: EHRC Condemned For ‘Failure’ To Act On Tory Islamophobia

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Fraser Nelson’s comedy column about Britain’s well-being makes him a poor Marie Antoinette

Fraser Nelson: Another swivel-eyed loon?

Can you believe this nonsense? Please don’t say “yes”:

You can’t read the article without paying for it, so I haven’t bothered. It’s bad enough that Fraser Nelson has made himself the Tory government’s useful idiot by posting the tweet above.

For balance, let’s have some comments from people who know better than Mr Nelson – who, as editor of The Spectator, should know better himself.

Here‘s Peter Stefanovic: “Is this a joke? 4 Million kids are living in poverty, millions are reliant on food banks, GPs prescribing nutritional drinks to starving patients, homeless dying on our streets, 19 Million Workers now on the edge of poverty & 17 Million people with less then £100 in savings!!!!”

He has produced a short video clip to reinforce his points:

Tom London makes a valid point: “Fraser Nelson is the Louis XVI and Marie Antionette of our times
“All is well with him and everyone he knows
“He chooses statistics which “prove” all is well for the masses too

“He. Has. Not. A. Clue. About. The. Reality. Of. Life. For. Millions. In. UK
“Like most of the MSM & BBC”

Isobel has the ground-level take on Mr Nelson’s claim: “Have you ever read such a load of absolute you are too late for an Honour, hopefully she will be out next time round, don.t stand on one leg will you.”

Tom Pride sums up the way we should all describe Mr Nelson: “Another out-of-touch well-off journalist living in his comfy Westminster bubble telling struggling families how happy they should be feeling.”

But for the most to-the-point comment, let’s look to Helena Bowie, who simply asks: “Who paid you to say that?”

Who indeed?

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