Tag Archives: closure

Why would Johnson apologise for ‘mine closure’ comments? He wanted to offend you

Great minds think alike: I was going to put together an image with the caption “Johnson is the pits” but someone got there before me – the Mirror, by the look of it.

The worst part of Boris Johnson’s comments on pit closures is not their crass insensitivity – it is the clearly-stated intention behind them.

Even the Tory-supporting BBC couldn’t hold back from commenting that “He is reported to have laughed and told reporters: ‘I thought that would get you going.'”

He had said:

“Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal altogether.”

He wanted to cause offence with his claim that Margaret Thatcher helped the environment by closing coal mines in the mid-1980s.

He knows perfectly well that she was no environmentalist; she wanted the mines closed in order to break the power of the unions. It was part of her plan to put millions of people out of work, because this would give employers the whip hand in wage negotiations (they would tell any applicant who wanted more that there were plenty of other people seeking a job).

Predictably, the Tory-supporting BBC has supported Johnson’s claim with a sidebar by “environment analyst” Roger Harrabin (who?) claiming that Thatcher had a point because she told the UN that greenhouse gases were “changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways” – in 1989.

That was five years later – an eternity in which she and her advisers had enjoyed plenty of time to dream up an excuse for the pit closures that plunged so many lives into poverty, uncertainty and despair.

Harrabin’s comment, “Her pit closures were not part of a green policy, but they did fortuitously show the UK could prosper without coal,” was as insensitive as Johnson’s. Tell that to the families of the mine workers who lost their livelihoods, and who are still struggling, even today!

Who exactly does Harrabin mean by “the UK”? Bosses of our big-business energy firms? But, they’re all foreign executives, most of whom work for the governments of EU countries. Privatisation led to shares in the formerly-nationalised energy industry being bought by those EU-based concerns.

Johnson, of course, is still claiming that the UK has Brexited itself away from giving money to the EU but this is clearly untrue.

Representatives of opposition political parties have demanded a retraction from Johnson – whose government has supported the opening of the UK’s first new coal mine in decades, in Cumbria.

So he was lying about switching to green power.

And let’s face it – he doesn’t care about offending people. He thinks it will boost his reputation among… a certain section of the British public.

Remember the other shocking things he has said:

Remember his Brexit campaign, when he lied that the NHS would be given £350 million a week? That investment might have done us all some good, prior to the coronavirus crisis but it was never going to happen because the Tories have been running the NHS down to make it ripe for privatisation – which would have made the UK even less capable of handling Covid-19.

Remember when he tried to make a joke of the massive loss of lives in the Libyan city of Sirte during that nation’s civil war? Or when he had to be stopped from inappropriately quoting a colonial poem by Kipling in Myanmar?

Remember when Eddie Mair, on BBC Radio 4, read out a litany of Johnson’s racist behaviour, to the dismay of Amber Rudd?

When Johnson refused to condemn widespread police violence against civilians in Catalonia?

When he spoke nonsense about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Parliament, and the Iranian government used it to threaten her with an extra five years in prison, beyond the five she was already serving on a trumped-up charge?

When he was reprimanded by then-Commons Speaker John Bercow for referring to Emily Thornberry in “frankly sexist” terms?

When he praised Viktor Orban on his election win in Hungary after an anti-Semitic campaign?

His sexist and Islamophobic comments about women who wear the burqa?

The racist poem he published, saying that Scottish people were a “verminous” race that should be placed in ghettos and exterminated?

His racist assessment of the French as “turds“?

His reference to gay men as “tank top-wearing bumboys“?

His question about Irish PM Leo Varadkar: “Why isn’t he called Murphy like the rest of them?”

His clueless claim that hard work can cure mental illness?

His relaxed attitude to his MPs abusing women?

His lie that the NHS would get 20 hospital upgrades, starting in his first week as prime minister – that he then edited out of a video?

His obscene description of then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn?

Let’s also add to it his apparent reluctance to go into Covid-19 lockdown last autumn, saying, “Let the bodies pile high in their thousands.”

Put all that together and you know Johnson won’t apologise for this latest outrage?

Why would he? He’s a serial offender.

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Covid-19: is Johnson about to mess up everybody’s plans YET AGAIN?

 

Boris Johnson seems to have an irrational urge to make life difficult for everybody.

Only yesterday (January 3), he was merrily telling Andrew Marr that schools should stay open outside London and southeast England, and that although stronger Covid-related restrictions were likely, they weren’t coming yet.

Many of us thought that was extremely off-colour, of course – he was condemning people to die because he, personally, didn’t feel like changing the situation so they would be saved.

Now we find he is announcing new national restrictions at 8pm today (January 4).

He’ll say the situation has reached Alert Level 5 – the NHS in danger of being overwhelmed. He will have known this for some time, of course. We could all see this from last Wednesday, or whenever the infection rate hit more than 50,000 per day.

But that is his excuse, it seems.

There’s no need to watch his broadcast, though – Robert Peston has already told us what the announcement will be!

Oh, and Hugh Pym from the BBC has got in on the act, too:

Why does Johnson bother talking to us himself when he leaks all his announcements to his client journalists?

This must be particularly hard for schools:

One thing’s for sure: whatever happens, Keir Starmer will still be the butt of many jokes:

Let’s be clear: This is the right thing to do – but it is happening far too late.

People have died, are dying, and are being crippled – possibly for life – because Johnson is too stupid to know when to stop trying to create a public relations victory and start trying to save lives.

He has not made a good decision about the pandemic since he first heard about it, back in November 2019.

That doesn’t change the facts:

I think James is being far too hopeful.

Johnson always starts lockdown too late and stops it too soon. We’ve seen that twice now.

I saw a great new term for this today: mockdown.

Let’s hope he doesn’t adhere to form and we don’t get another mockdown.

But I fear we will.

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Coronavirus: Tories push on with A&E closures that ‘will only result in death’

This takes Tory ignorance to new homicidal levels.

It seems the Conservative government is pressing ahead with the closures of Accident and Emergency departments and intensive care units in hospitals across London (the rest of the UK isn’t mentioned) despite the fact that the UK is in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic.

The likely result is summed up by GMB union organiser Helen O’Connor, who said: “The removal of these services at existing major acute hospitals will only result in death.”

That’s even though the Tories are planning to open a special Covid-19 hospital in the Excel Centre in east London to care for an additional 4,000 patients afflicted with the disease.

It seems these lunatic toffs really don’t have a clue what they’re doing or what it signifies for the fight against the virus.

Source: Government is pressing ahead with A&E closures despite Covid-19 – LabourList

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Coronavirus: Leisure venues to close for the foreseeable future as the government announces help for employees and business

Boris Johnson has announced that cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas and gyms are to close from tonight, to restrict the spread of coronavirus.

This should come as no surprise – operators of such venues were preparing to do so, if they haven’t already closed their doors.

Not only did they not want their establishments to be breeding-grounds for the spread of Covid-19; they knew that they absolutely didn’t want to turn people against them by appearing to be helping spread it.

And the simple fact is that people have been staying away in increasing numbers.

This Writer is chair of a local charity in Mid Wales and we were due to run a charity shop here for two weeks, starting last Saturday (March 14) – but we closed it down yesterday (March 19) for the reasons I mention above.

The biggest local hotel has seen a large amount of cancellations, including events and conferences.

One local pub didn’t open this week and the landlord of another had already announced his intention to close on Saturday.

All the local businesspeople have expressed concern about how they will keep going, as the measures announced by the government so far seemed not to apply to them. Odd, that…

Hopefully some of the new policies rolled out today may have changed that.

Employees will have 80 per cent of their wages paid by the government for the time being, up to £2,500 per month. This comes as a result of pressure on the Tories from unions, and should in turn take the pressure off our working people.

And business owners are getting measures to ease the burden on them while the crisis continues.

These are good policies, on the face of it – and, if we all accept and follow them, then the biggest fear as we go into enforced near-isolation, is about what to do with our time while we wait for the danger to pass.

Some of us will need to preserve our mental health very carefully.

As for others… well, to see how they pass their time, we’ll probably have to look at the register of births any time between nine months and a year from now.

The need was clear: after a decade of underfunding by the Tories, the National Health Service simply isn’t capable of handling an epidemic of the magnitude that coronavirus threatens.

Johnson tried to shrug his shoulders and tell us to expect a lot of deaths – and the response was disastrous for him.

So he had to find another solution and this is it. And on the face of it, it’s a good effort – albeit one that he had to be backed into.

But it might not save him – or us – because we don’t know how far the disease has spread while he was procrastinating and, with hospitals already running out of beds as cases multiply, we don’t know if even these measures will be enough to prevent a healthcare disaster.

Source: Coronavirus updates: Boris Johnson announces stricter new measures – BBC News

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Johnson follows Wales’s lead and decides to close schools at last. Is THIS the real reason?

Exams: it seems they’re not going to happen this year as schools are closing for the duration of the coronavirus crisis.

It took me a while to work it out, but the reason Boris Johnson dragged his heels on school closures should be obvious.

It was a double-edged sword hanging over his head – or so it seems to me, in metaphorical terms.

Yes: children are brilliant at spreading disease. I remember a trip to Lyme Regis, back when I was at junior school; one girl on the coach had chicken pox and was found to have it very soon – but by the end of the week we all had it and one of the teachers spent the following term extremely ill with it.

But send all the children home from school and it means their parents can’t go to work; somebody has to supervise the kids. This is certain to be disastrous for the economy.

And we all know how important it is to Boris Johnson to be seen to be making money.

But the simple fact is that schools were failing to function in any case. Parents were seeing their children showing symptoms and taking the responsible decision to self-isolate – so classrooms were already starting to empty.

I know this because I know a few teachers.

Then the Welsh government made the decision that it was “bringing forward the Easter break“. I understand Scotland went the same way.

That seems to have tipped Johnson’s hand, possibly because appearances are important.

Suppose coronavirus infections – or even deaths – turned out to be much lower in those countries than in England? Johnson would have been shown to have made the wrong decision, and he can’t afford that.

And what will be worst for the economy in the long term – leaving schools open and infecting everybody, or closing them for a short while and then getting everyone back to work after the worst of the pandemic is over?

So all UK schools are closing.

I understand that schools will continue to look after children of “key workers” such as people working in the NHS, and children who would otherwise be staying with people who are considered “vulnerable” to the virus.

At the moment, that seems a sound choice.

But it is deeply disturbing that, again, Boris Johnson’s government had to be pushed into making the right decision.

On his own, it seems he could be worse than useless…

He could be fatal.

Source: Coronavirus: UK schools, colleges and nurseries to close from Friday – BBC News

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Bishop Auckland switched from Labour to Tory and now its stroke unit is closing

What did the people of Bishop Auckland expect?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told everybody what would happen if the Conservatives were returned to government.

He said Tory privatisation of the NHS would continue and people in places like Bishop Auckland would be deprived of key services.

And now the people of Bishop Auckland are losing their stroke unit.

Bizarrely, the constituency’s new Conservative MP is campaigning for the unit to stay open. Seems a little two-faced to This Writer.

I have no idea which way Lisa Stoker voted but I certainly hope the Tories have only made fools of her neighbours, and not of her.

If not – and if anybody thinks my comment is harsh – just think of the harm that people across the UK are going to suffer over the next five years, because of people who thought voting Tory was a good idea.

They’re all going to find out it isn’t – the hard way.

A woman who has had repeated strokes has criticised the proposed closure of her local rehabilitation unit.

Hospital managers said centralising stroke services at the University Hospital of North Durham would improve treatment and reduce hospital stays.

But Lisa Stoker, 47, from West Auckland, said she would not feel safe if the rehabilitation unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital closed.

“It would be scary to think there was no support there,” she said.

“That would be the worst thing you could ever do,” her husband Richard said.

Source: Bishop Auckland stroke unit closure plan prompts patient fear – BBC News

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The downward spiral of UK high streets highlights the failure of Tory economic policy

Pretty soon, high street shopfronts will be no use as anything other than sheltering spots for homeless people.

See those empty shops on your local high street? They are a sign of Tory economic failure – and they’re not going to magically fill up by themselves to fulfil neoliberal dreams.

They need investment – which isn’t going to happen under a Conservative government because the Tories have managed to increase the national debt from around £800 billion to £2.2 trillion in the nine years they’ve had control of UK economic policy.

Put simply – and I’ve stated this many times before – Tories simply don’t understand how to run an economy.

One in 10 shops in UK town centres are lying empty, according to figures that underline the scale of the high street crisis.

The national town centre vacancy rate climbed to a four-year high of 10.2% last month, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) vacancies monitor. The vacancy rate has risen in each of the last four quarters to give the highest reading since April 2015, up from 9.9% three months ago.

The BRC’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said some struggling high streets were trapped in a downward spiral: “Empty shopfronts, particularly for larger stores, can deter shoppers from an area. This effect can be cyclical, with the long-term decline in footfall pushing up vacancy rates, particularly in poorer areas.”

Source: UK high streets ‘in downward spiral’ with one in 10 shops empty | Business | The Guardian

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Honda has confirmed Swindon car factory closure – saying it’s nothing to do with Brexit

This Site has taken a little flak from Brexiteers(?) after reporting then-current beliefs that the closure of Honda’s Swindon factory was to do with the UK’s departure from the EU.

Honda has since made an official announcement that the factory will close in 2021 – not the following year, as had been suggested – saying the move was due to global changes in the car industry and the need to launch electric vehicles, and had nothing to do with Brexit.

The BBC’s Dominic O’Connell, quoted in this article, said: “Brexit issues may be lurking in the background, but Honda’s real reasons for closing Swindon are about the future of the global car industry, not Britain’s future relationship with Europe.”

So there you have it.

But I wasn’t wrong to report what was being said at the time. Yesterday’s article featured a video clip of a disgruntled Honda worker laying the blame very firmly at Brexit’s door – and on the Conservative government that has handled it so badly.

That’s how the facts were understood then. This is how they are said to be now.

Who knows what we’ll hear tomorrow?


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London hospital drops chemotherapy due to Tory-caused nursing shortage

I agree with Youssef El-Gingihy on this:

The cuts, closures and privatisation were all demanded by the Conservatives who have been in government for the last eight years.

Did they intend to create the nursing shortage that is causing so much harm now? I don’t think so.

They simply didn’t think about it that hard.

Any situation that means people must go further, work harder, pay more to get the same result is to be deplored.

… Except by the Conservatives, of course. They won’t care.

It’s somebody else’s problem.

One of the biggest NHS trusts is to stop providing chemotherapy at one of its hospitals because it has too few specialist cancer nurses to staff the unit.

The Cedar Centre at King George hospital in Ilford, east London, will cease provision from 12 November because four of its nurses have quit and two others have gone on maternity leave.

It is thought to be the first time the NHS’s widespread staffing problems have led to a specialist cancer unit no longer being able to offer a vital service such as chemotherapy.

More than 500 patients a year received their cancer treatment there, and in future patients will have to go to Queen’s hospital in nearby Romford instead.

Source: London hospital drops chemotherapy due to nursing shortage | Society | The Guardian

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If employment is at its highest rate since 1971, why are wages and the tax take in the doldrums?

Full-time employment is on the rise in the UK [Image: SolStock/Getty Images].

I have a doubt about this employment miracle the Tories claim.

We’re told employment is at its highest rate on record, but wage rises are below inflation, and what is the tax take?

If the Treasury isn’t in receipt of more money, then the employment figure means nothing.

We know productivity is lagging behind the other G7 countries.

And what about the factory closures that have recently been announced?

I asked Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams, what it all meant.

She responded:

So we’ll have to wait and see.

Keep an eye on Vox Political. I’ll keep you informed. 

The pressure on employers to find skilled staff appeared to push up wages by more than expected in November as UK job vacancies reached a new peak.

City economists had expected the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit talks to limit wage rises, excluding bonuses, to 2.3%, the same rate as in October, but they increased to 2.4% in the three months to November. The figure rose to 2.5% when bonuses were included.

Vacancies hit the highest level since comparable records began in 2001, up 60,000 on a year earlier at 810,000.

Further indications that the labour market remained in rude health could be found in figures for the total number of people in employment, which hit 32.2 million, the highest on record.

The Office for National Statistics also said the employment rate, which measures the proportion of 16- to 64-year-olds in work, reached 75.3%, a figure that was higher than for a year earlier and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

Source: UK job vacancies and numbers employed both hit record highs | Business | The Guardian


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