Tag Archives: Christmas

Right-wing rag attacks junior doctors as winter viruses surge

Striking doctors: they’re being blamed for the expected effects of increases in “winter viruses” – but won’t those increases be due to the stupidity of the people spreading them? And will they be spread as far, if Tory inflation means people haven’t been able to afford to go out as much this year?

How nice of the Tory-supporting rags to blame junior doctors for pressure on the NHS caused by the so-called “winter viruses” – flu, norovirus and Covid-19.

Junior doctors are set to walk out for six consecutive days next week, in the latest part of their long-running dispute with the government over pay.

So media outlets like The Times are blaming them for any increased suffering that may happen during that time – ignoring the fact that this, and the 974,000 missed appointments alleged to have happened so far, could have been avoided if the Tories had simply paid them the appropriate wage.

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The Times reported,

In the week to Christmas Eve, there were an average of 942 patients with flu in hospital each day, including 48 in critical care. It is almost six times higher than the 160 average four weeks ago. Meanwhile 452 hospital patients on average were there because of norovirus symptoms, which include diarrhoea and vomiting, and 3,620 patients had Covid-19 — up by over a half from the month before.

And it quoted Sir Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, who said the impact of care was likely to be

“much more severe next week with six days of industrial action planned by junior doctors, the longest in NHS history, at a time when hospitals usually experience the most pressure with high demand and higher levels of virus admissions”.

Covid cases were expected to rise to a peak around December 30, in the aftermath of Christmas gatherings. Here‘s the i:

Covid cases are expected to have risen sharply as JN.1, the new highly-contagious dominant subvariant, spreads rapidly – increasing its share of new UK infections to 48 per cent on December 23rd, making it the biggest strain in the country.

In the aftermath of Christmas, where people have spent prolonged periods together indoors, cases are expected to keep rising for at least the next few days, according to Professor Karl Friston, a virus modeller at University College London.

It is common for illnesses to increase around the Christmas period as people socialise more and cold conditions help viruses to thrive, at the same time as weakening our resistance to them.

There are also concerns about waning immunity to Covid … As a result, scientists fear that a higher proportion of those cases could become severe this year than last year.

The increased chance of serious illness also pushes up the risk of a person going on to develop long Covid because serious cases are more likely to lead to that condition.

This is all perfectly plausible – but it omits one important factor in the spread of any disease: human stupidity.

If sick people have been infecting others at Christmas gatherings, what possessed them to go there? If they were feeling flu-ey (or whatever), why didn’t they do the decent thing and stay at home?

In This Writer’s own family, Mrs Mike’s mother had to stay away from our family gathering this year because her boyfriend (I know it’s weird to talk about them like that when they’re in their late 70s, but what other word is there?) visited her, despite having Covid.

He ended up having to self-isolate – and is now in hospital because of complications that may have arisen because of the Covid – and she agreed that she should stay away, to avoid the possibility of infecting the rest of us.

So that was a couple of people’s Christmas ruined; worse than the one that it could have been if he’d stayed away, but better than spreading it among the rest of us.

Conversely, the dire economic effects of having a Tory government might have worked in our favour: I visited my local pub yesterday evening for the first time in a fortnight and it was very quiet indeed.

My friendly neighbourhood bartender told me it had been like that all the way through the Festive Season so far, and we agreed that, what with the higher cost of food this year because of Tory inflation, together with the strain of buying presents, people probably didn’t have any cash left with which to go out.

It harms the economy – if money can’t be spread around as much as it was before, then some businesses will suffer and may even go under.

But that’s Tory politics for you. Their aim is always to concentrate all the cash – and therefore all the power – among a few people at the top.

It may lead to lower-than-expected “winter virus” infections this year – I’d like to hope so and we’ll have to monitor the results carefully – but that’s an unintended consequence.

And the full extent of harm to the economy may not become clear for some time to come.

Source: Winter viruses surge before longest junior doctors’ strike


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Stephen Fry’s ‘alternative Christmas message’ sparks controversy

Selling his soul? Stephen Fry, that much loved institution of British comedy, seems to have swallowed a propaganda line that anti-Semitism in the UK has risen massively in response to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. Has it? And while any such behaviour is clearly racist and therefore wrong, why did he fail to take the opportunity to denounce the Gaza genocide?

Much-loved institution of British comedy Stephen Fry may have given himself a shot in the foot after he fronted a so-called ‘alternative’ Christmas message that was little more than a bare-faced attempt to make Israel’s genocide in Gaza look respectable.

The usual apologists and propagandists were quick to promote the much-loved etc etc’s little film – only to be debunked by the usual critics – but the broadcast itself is included in the ‘X’ post below so you can experience it yourself:

In fact there are certain elements of much loved etc etc’s speech with which This Writer would certainly agree: for example, that all forms of race hatred are wrong, and that Jewish people in the UK shouldn’t be attacked over what Israelis who happen to share their ethnic origin have been doing.

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But there are a few inaccuracies that crept into the speech and slanted it in an unacceptable direction. Here’s David Rosenberg, who is as Jewish as Stephen Fry:

You can’t immediately see all of Jackie Walker’s ‘X’ post below, to which Sue Jones responds, so I’ll quote it here: “Anti Jewish racism should be combatted at all levels, but the recent fashion for Jewish comedians to use their extensive platforms to suggest antisemitism is not given due attention, while at the same time not mentioning the extraordinary level of state and media support for the fight against Jew hate, as compared to any other racism, is a fraud. But to then use this argument to undermine those fighting against a genocidal state is just unforgivable.”

Ms Jones responds:

Strong words. Are they supported by the evidence of the much loved etc etc’s broadcast?

Well…

The following is anecdotal, but I wonder how many other British Jews have had the same experience:

Others have been harsher in their criticisms of the broadcast and of Fry himself:

It seems posts like the above sparked an interest in investigating Fry’s own activities and attitudes.

It seems that, in 2008, he signed a letter refusing to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary, calling it “a state founded on terrorism, massacres and the dispossession of another people from their land” – all of which, by failing to denounce what Israel is doing in Gaza now, he currently appears to support:

Why did he change his opinion? The following suggestion is extreme but I, for one, would like to know what reason Fry himself provides.

I pass the following on without comment; you may wish to research it for yourself:

And it seems the short film was produced by Zionists who are linked to the Israel Defence Force that is responsible for the genocide in Gaza:

The full post by MintPress News states: “The producers of Stephen Fry’s controversial Christmas message were members of a Zionist youth group that funnels members into the Israeli military. Fulwell73 was founded by Leo Pearlman, Benjamin Turner, Gabe Turner, and Ben Winston. All of whom were members of the Zionist youth group B’nei Akiva, which runs pre-military programmes to enrol members in the Israeli occupation forces. They have also spoken at events for the Israel lobby group, the Jewish Leadership Council.”

Again, I pass this on without comment.

Others have simply pointed to the alternative “alternative Christmas message”, that was provided by Fry’s fellow Jewish comedian, much loved institution of British comedy Alexei Sayle.

This was not broadcast on television, but was instead made available on the social media. You may draw your own conclusions about why one got wider distribution to the public while the other did not.

Here it is:

Which message do you prefer?

Or do they both have merit?


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Once again, ’tis the season to be homeless – if you’re a CHILD in the UK at Christmas

I used to write this story every bloody year.

Lost track a bit after2020. Back then, 131,000 children were set to be homeless at Christmas. That was a helluva lot more than in 2013, when I wrote my first article based on figures from homelessness charity Shelter. The total then was around 80,000.

Now it’s closer to 139,000.

So the number of children who are homeless in the UK has nearly doubled in 10 years.

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I’d call that a Tory policy failure but here’s Shelter’s version:

Nearly 139,000 children in England will wake up on Christmas morning without a place to call home. This is the highest number on record.

Yes, we are outraged too.

Forced to stay in cold shipping containers, badly converted offices, cramped B&Bs (sometimes with six people to a room), or in places where the locks don’t work properly.

This is not a home.

But how did it come to this?

A lack of affordable homes in the UK means the housing emergency is spiralling. More people are struggling in temporary accommodation or being forced onto the streets.

“My first six weeks living in temporary accommodation left me traumatised for life.”
– Fashmina

This is unacceptable.

We must act now.

Your donation today could:

  • answer an emergency call from a family who are facing the fear and uncertainty of being made homeless

  • help to pay for legal advice to help a family in crisis keep their home

  • advocate for access to secure and permanent homes for everyone

Your donation won’t be restricted to a single project but will be used wherever it’s needed most to help those fighting for their right to a safe home.

Yes – this is an appeal for financial help, to make life endurable for people like Fashmina – whose words above should chill you as much as they did me.

Get yourself over to Shelter’s appeal page now – and do what you can to help.

And remember it was Tory policies that have traumatised children like Fashmina.


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‘Every action becomes a TRANSaction’: the cost of living crisis is putting a price tag on everything

High energy costs have forced 6.7 million homes into fuel poverty – expected to rise to 8.4 million homes in April.

It means increasing numbers of households are checking their smart meters before doing anything that might cost money.

Campaigners are calling for the government to introduce a special “social energy tariff” to make it easier to afford heating:

And there has been a knock-on effect: shop sales over the Christmas period are down – by around 50 per cent in some cases:

It’s only to be expected.

If you starve working people of cash, as the government has by cutting real-terms wages, and then charge them a fortune for the basic necessities of life, then they won’t have any spare readies for non-essential items.

Shops are going to go out of business, worsening the current recession, and overbalancing the economy into collapse.

But the Tory government doesn’t seem to care.

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As the cost of Christmas rockets, MPs are now claiming it from us on expenses

This year’s Christmas dinner will be 22 per cent more expensive than last years – that’s almost a quarter as much on top of last year’s.

And it’s full of plastic, because of pollution.

Meanwhile, MPs have just been cleared to claim the cost of their Christmas parties – from us – on expenses.

That includes food, soft drinks and even decorations.

And then they have the cheek to tell us there’s no cash to pay nurses the wage they used to get 12 years ago.

Shops like Aldi are trying to put a smile on our collective face – but it’s not working well, as Russell Howard demonstrates:

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Martin Lewis on why government must act BEFORE CHRISTMAS on mortgages

The ‘Money Saving Expert’, Martin Lewis, spoke up on ITV’s Good Morning Britain to urge the government to act on mortgage costs, saying a plan is needed before Christmas:

He highlighted three core issues: interest rates, the affordability test and correction in the house price market:

Mr Lewis also spoke about the government’s decision not to run an information campaign on how to save money on energy bills – and how it is lunacy to suggest such a campaign is too expensive when it could save millions from what the government is expecting to pay to energy firms when subsidising our bills:

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Another #BorisJohnson #Partygate lie as he dismisses claims about new photo?

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was momentarily blindsided when a Labour MP challenged him with brand-new allegations about him attending 2020 Christmas parties, during Prime Minister’s Questions on February 9, 2022.

Here’s the moment when Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North East, brought the matter to Johnson’s attention:

He was referring to this photo:

How is Mr Hamilton “completely in error”? Johnson may not be “surrounded” by alcohol and food, but there is quite clearly an open bottle of what looks like champagne on the table in front of him, along with a packet of crisps that has been torn open in the way that happens at social events when many people are invited to dip in and take some.

And there’s definitely one person wearing tinsel.

It really does look “a lot like one of the Christmas parties that [Johnson] told us never happened”.

So… perhaps Johnson was mistaken in his answer. And of course he did not respond to the thrust of the question.

That’s okay – he was given an opportunity to correct the record only minutes later, courtesy of Labour’s Gerald Jones:

“That event already has been submitted for investigation,” Johnson spluttered, after stuttering several times (a sure ‘tell’ that he was trying to mislead us all).

Has it?

The BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg wasn’t so sure when she discussed it on Politics Live, a few minutes later. She said Cabinet Office secretary Sue Gray, who had carried out Johnson’s investigation (not an independent one), had chosen not to refer it to the police.

But this is a photo of the prime minister, in a party situation, at Christmas 2020 – and finding such evidence was exactly the purpose of the Gray investigation. If she did not pass this evidence of criminal activity on to the police, then she was derelict in her duty.

Gray’s interim report is vague about this. It states: “The Metropolitan Police has now confirmed that as a result of information provided by the Cabinet Office investigation team, as well as assessments made by Metropolitan Police officers, they are investigating the events on the dates set out above with the exception of the gatherings on:
• 15 May 2020
• 27 November 2020
• 10 December 2020
• 15 December 2020.”

It does not explain whether all the information Gray had received had been passed on to the police; it does not explain whether Gray herself chose to tell the police which events to investigate; and it does not explain whether the police made that decision.

In any case, it seems unlikely that Sue Gray even had the image (above) to pass on at the time she discussed these events with the police, as it has only just become public, according to Pippa Crerar in The Mirror, where the story of this new development was broken.

So it seems clear that this new evidence should indeed be passed to the police, who should reconsider whether to add the Christmas Quiz of December 15, 2020 to the 12 events they are already investigating.

If they don’t, even more serious criticisms will be made about Metropolitan Police bias and the suitability of Cressida Dick, who is an alumnus of Balliol College, Oxford, along with Boris Johnson, to continue in her role.

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Why did stable-heater #NadhimZahawi lie when the truth makes both #Tories and #Labour look bad?

Flag-shagging liar: Nadhim Zahawi.

The UK’s leaders – on both sides of the political divide – are insane.

With millions of people infected with the Omicron variant (and other variants) of Covid-19 over the Christmas period, many thousands hospitalised, and the National Health Service pushed beyond its limits in attempting to cope, hindsight tells us there should have been a lockdown the instant Omicron was discovered.

But Tory education secretary Nadhim Zahawi – the Tory who infamously claimed public money as expenses so he could heat his stables, interviewed by the BBC’s Sophie Raworth on Sunday morning, attacked Labour’s Wes Streeting for advocating just such an approach!

And – worse still – Streeting then insisted on correcting the record, pointing out that he did not call for a lockdown and posting video evidence to prove it:

How does this make Labour look better?

Streeting just admitted he supported a plan that has killed hundreds of people, hospitalised thousands, and may force millions to live with Long Covid for years to come, while crippling the National Health Service that was created by a previous Labour government.

And Zahawi just admitted that it was Tory policy to cause those hundreds of deaths, hospitalise those thousands of people, infect millions with Long Covid and attack the NHS.

Both the Tories and Labour have disgraced themselves.

Zahawi made matters worse for the Tory government by lying about investment in the NHS, repeating claims about the recruitment of nurses and doctors that were proved to be false, long ago.

I’ll hand you over to Peter Stefanovic for those facts:

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Back to work, Britain! But has #BorisJohnson come back from his #Chrimbo #holibobs?

Another late night, Boris? The prime minister may well have spent Christmas raving it up as usual. But the question is, where?

It’s a valid question – especially with Boris Johnson himself saying workplaces should be prepared for a quarter of employees to be absent.

But while they may be missing due to Covid-19 – Johnson himself is far more likely to have jaunted off to foreign parts on his holibobs.

Who can forget this interview from just after Christmas?

With his reputation for (dis)honesty, it’s entirely reasonable to wonder where Johnson is and what he’s up to.

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What a #stitchup! #Police watchdog whitewashes the #Met over #DowningStreetParty

Under suspicion again: Cressida Dick’s decision not to investigate an alleged Christmas party at 10 Downing Street on December 18, 2020 is being reviewed. But is the correct authority handling the case?

The Independent Office of Police Conduct has cleared the Metropolitan Police of misconduct over the alleged Christmas party at Downing Street on December 18 last year.

But the exoneration does not cover the Met’s failure to investigate an alleged breach of Covid-19 social distancing rules that were in force at the time.

No – it was cleared because the complainant, Baroness Jenny Jones, was not herself adversely affected by any such failure by the police.

Baroness Jones had stated that police working outside 10 Downing Street controlled “all access to and from Downing Street”.

“Put very simply, if there was an unlawful gathering taking place at No 10 Downing Street, then the police must have known and were highly likely to have played an active part in organising or facilitating the illegal gathering,” she said.

“I believe there is a case to answer for the police aiding and abetting a criminal offence or deliberately failing to enforce the law in favour of government politicians and their staff.”

She also argued that Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick’s decision not to investigate the reported party represented “a potential cover-up”.

Acting Detective Chief Superintendent Tony O’Sullivan of the Met Police responded that he had referred the complaint to the IOPC, “given that you effectively allege misconduct in public office by MPS [Metropolitan Police Service] police officers”.

But the watchdog said a “valid complaint” could only be made when “an individual, or someone acting on their behalf, has been adversely affected by the alleged conduct or its effects”.

And as there was no evidence Baroness Jones had been nearby when the event took place, “we have decided it is invalid”.

What a stitch-up!

It seems to This Writer that this superintendent only made the referral to the IOPC in the terms he did in order to secure a whitewash on specious grounds.

The issue isn’t whether Jenny Jones was personally affected by the alleged party, but whether it took place in defiance of then-enforced Covid-19 rules and police knew about it.

The grounds on which the IOPC looked into this are not valid at all because nobody is going to say they have been “adversely affected” by the conduct of police in failing to enforce those rules. They were having a party and the cops were (allegedly) turning a blind eye.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that Acting Det Ch Supt O’Sullivan has referred the second part of Baroness Jones’s complaint – that Commissioner Dick had not investigated the allegation of a party at 10 Downing Street – for investigation.

But this will be carried out by the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPC) which sets the direction and budget for the Met.

Is that the appropriate organisation to investigate such an allegation?

I don’t know.

But I fear another whitewash.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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