Tag Archives: collapse

Labour suffers worst by-election result in party’s history. Will Starmer accept the blame?

What will be the excuse this time? Whatever Starmer says, the facts are clear: he has led Labour to its worst by-election result EVER. The party is on course for destruction under his leadership. If he stays, we’ll know that is what he wants.

Don’t think for a moment that the Liberal Democrats are on the rise again.

Ed Davey’s claim that his party’s victory in the Chesham and Amersham by-election means his party is now the main threat to the Tories in many areas is nothing but hot air.

No – the main shock of the by-election (triggered by the death of Tory Cheryl Gillan) is the collapse of support for the Labour Party under Keir Starmer.

Labour scraped together just 622 votes – that’s just 1.6 per cent of the votes cast, meaning the party even lost the £500 deposit it paid to take part.

It is the worst by-election result in Labour’s 121-year history.

Yes, turnout was lower than at a general election; yes, there may have been tactical voting to remove the Conservatives; and yes – Labour has never been in a position to win this particular Parliamentary seat.

But in general elections with turnout twice as high, Labour has historically won around 7,000-8,000 votes, with the 11,374 it received under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in 2017 its best result of all.

Once again, claims that Labour would do better with any leader other than Corbyn are destroyed.

And once again, Starmer will be looking to his Big Book of Excuses for a way to explain why he is dragging a once-great socialist party down to ruin in a mire of sub-Tory neoliberalism, focus group psychobabble and flag-waving.

Once again we see that the British public wants genuine, traditional (pre-Blair) policies and won’t be fooled by sharp haircuts, sharp suits, and vague announcements.

Labour is now in crisis. If Starmer continues as leader, he could drag the party down to destruction.

Source: Chesham and Amersham: Lib Dems overturn big Tory majority in by-election upset – BBC News

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Hillsborough trial collapses as judge rules there’s no case to answer

Betrayed again: it seems early inquiries into the Hillsborough tragedy were organised in order to deflect criticism of the police while having no legal weight at all.

It seems to me that somebody has been dancing around the law in a very clever way.

Three people accused of perverting the course of justice, with regard to the Hillsborough disaster that killed 96, have been acquitted.

The reason? The statements they prepared – which have been called into question – were provided to a public inquiry chaired by Lord Taylor in 1990 – but it was not a statutory inquiry, therefore not “a court of law”, so there was no “course of public justice” which could be perverted.

In that case, what was the point of having such an inquiry?

Nothing it found can be considered safe.

We have no information on whether the statements by retired Ch Supt Donald Denton, retired Det Ch Insp Alan Foster and former solicitor Peter Metcalf were slanted to minimise blame on South Yorkshire Police.

Without knowing that, we cannot know whether the conclusion of the inquiry – the inquiry, mark you – was accurate or not.

The question therefore arises: why was this not a statutory inquiry? Was a political decision made to run it as it was, in order to avoid possible legal repercussions in the future – like the accusation of perverting justice now?

Some might be hoping that this judgement will close the book on Hillsborough – but it has only given us more reason to demand justice for the 96.

Source: Hillsborough trial: Men acquitted as judge rules no case to answer – BBC News

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Covid-19: Worst-yet infection & death rates; hospitals breaking… & Johnson is pinning all his hopes on vaccines?

Boris Johnson: he has relied on mindless optimism and wishful thinking, and he has failed. The NHS in London is at the point of collapse and it is his fault.

The UK has recorded 1,325 Covid-19 deaths and 68,053 daily cases – the highest level of both in a single day.

Total – official – deaths are nearly up to 80,000, and nearly three million infections are known to have happened in the UK – almost one-twentieth of the population.

Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan has declared a major incident as the number of Covid cases in the capital’s hospitals hit “critical” levels.

He said the virus in London is now “out of control” and the NHS is “on the cusp of being overwhelmed” with 7,000 Covid patients in hospital – almost 2,000 more than the first peak last April – and almost 1,000 on ventilators.

The UK now has more Covid-19 cases per head of population than any other nation in the world.

This Writer has yet to see evidence that the Nightingale hospitals have been pressed into service, though.

There is good news: apparently the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective against the new variants of Covid-19 – both from the UK and South Africa.

Another vaccine has been approved by the UK’s regulator – made by Moderna – but the 17 million doses on order won’t arrive until March.

And a fourth – single-dose – vaccine by the Belgian arm of Johnson & Johnson could be approved in early February.

Finally, it seems two arthritis drugs may be able to save the lives of Covid patients, also.

But the speed at which the emergency has fallen out of control shows how ill-advised Boris Johnson has been in his strategy. He has relied on wishful thinking, and it has let him down.

His current plan is to put all his eggs in one basket and rely on the vaccination programme – which is stuttering due to supply issues and a failure to inoculate the designated number of people on time.

Only days ago he was promising an early release from lockdown with the creation of “mega-vaccination” centres in the Nightingale hospitals (indicating we may finally get some use out of them).

It is sheer, boneheaded stupidity.

All the way down the line he has adhered to a slack-jawed, mindless optimism. He thought Covid-19 was just a touch of flu – and was proved wrong. He thought it would be all right to let the infection run rampant through the population until herd immunity was established – wrong again. He thought it was okay to sell off personal protective equipment before the pandemic arrived, even though he knew it was coming.

He thought ventilators wouldn’t be needed.

He thought lockdown didn’t have to last very long.

He thought he could send people back to work and they wouldn’t catch or spread the disease.

He thought he could send children back to school and they wouldn’t catch or spread the disease.

He thought it would be okay to prioritise the economy – his friends’ bank balances – above our lives.

And he forced his opinions on the rest of us.

And 80,000 people are dead.

And three million people have been infected.

And millions of people will suffer the lasting effects for a long time to come.

And the National Health Service is at the point of collapse – exactly as he and everyone else in the Conservative government were told after Operation Cygnus in 2016.

He thought it would be okay to let that happen.

Well, if you live in London, with your health service in critical condition, I’d like to know: do you think it’s okay? I’m especially keen to hear from people who voted Conservative.

Remember: Johnson knew Covid-19 was coming.

He knew what he needed to do, and didn’t do it.

He knew it was likely to mutate, and ignored that.

And that’s how we got where we are.

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Hancock on the spot as ICU nurse asks ‘how he can look NHS staff in the face’ (Vox Political Scrapbook)

Matt Hancock was left looking sheepish on Good Morning Britain today as he was confronted by an ICU nurse who had earlier asked how he could “look NHS staff in the face.

The Health Secretary appeared on GMB today as he addressed whether there would be a national lockdown, the confusion regarding schools and on ICU wards struggling over understaffing.

During the interview, Susanna Reid pointed out ICU nurse Dave Carr’s remarks that hospitals are “beyond breaking point”.

Hancock was shown a clip of what Dave would ask him if he was able to, which saw the nurse respond: “How he can seriously look any health worker in the face and tell us that he is stewarding the NHS and managing this pandemic properly?”

Fumbling, Hancock awkwardly replied: “Well, the staff across the NHS have done a great job… I’m very pleased that earlier in the year that we were able to give a significant pay rise to nurses across the board.”

Susanna … remarked that Dave had certainly not described the pay rise as “significant”.

Source: Matt Hancock confronted by ICU nurse on ‘how he can look NHS staff in the face’ – Mirror Online

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Jane got justice in Rachel Riley court case – will Vox Political’s Mike get the same?

Rachel Riley has withdrawn her libel case against Jane Heybroek, and it seems they will pay part of her costs in an agreement that – surprisingly – does not include a demand for confidentiality.

Here’s Jane’s statement on Twitter:

It states:

“I am Jane Heybroek, a barrister specialising in immigration work. I was the subject of discourse on Twitter, and reports in the mainstream media, earlier this year, as a result of a libel claim being brought against me by the television presenter Rachel Riley and the actress Tracy Ann Oberman.

“I am now able to report that the claim against me has been withdrawn and that Ms Riley and Ms Oberman have agreed to make contributions towards my legal costs. I wish to thank everyone who has helped me in the last 18 months; it will not be forgotten.

“Ms Riley and Ms Oberman are not personally known to me. Their claim saw them seeking damages and costs in respect of my re-tweet of a tweet by the blogger Shaun Lawson, which contained a link to a blog article he had written about them in January 2019.

“Mr Lawson’s article, which concerned the celebrities’ alleged behaviour towards a teenage Labour supporter on Twitter in January 2019, had been re-tweeted/shared by hundreds of people. Some of those people were threatened with legal action like me; others were not.

“Ultimately, despite press reports which suggested as many as 70 people might face legal action, I was the only person who was sued.” [Before people question this, she’s saying she was the only one sued for retweeting a link to the Lawson article. I’m being sued over my own piece that was based on it, and a member of the band Reverend and the Makers settled before proceedings went to court.] “This was despite the fact that I had deleted my re-tweet before I had even received Letters of Claim. I did not even know how long my re-tweet had been live for. Neither, it seems, did Ms Riley or Ms Oberman.

“There was no evidence, that I am aware of, to suggest that anyone had read the blog article as a result of clicking the link in my re-tweet. There were also various other ways in which the claim against me could have been (and would have been, had it proceeded) defended.

“Ms Riley and Ms Oberman were being represented, from the very outset, on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, and had ‘after the event insurance’. This meant that there was almost no risk to them in bringing the claim. Many people would have felt forced to settle for reasons of pragmatism. Whilst I am in a more fortunate position than most, after having spent almost £30,000 by a very early stage, it was clear to me that I would have no prospect of funding my defence to trial without help. I therefore launched a fundraiser on the website CrowdJustice.com, and was overwhelmed by the response which I received.

“Due to the support of a great many people, I was able to continue to retain leading defamation lawyers, and properly contest the case.

“I am making this statement for the benefit of those who have supported me emotionally and financially, and to address one other issue.

“Ms Riley and Ms Oberman’s vocal stance against antisemitism (and perceived antisemitism) has been widely documented, as has their involvement in other legal cases. This claim, however, did not actually involve any allegations of antisemitism against me or indeed Mr Lawson.

“I understand that Mr Lawson is himself Jewish and that his grandmother was a holocaust survivor. For my part, I abhor all forms of racism. Unfortunately, as a result of the litigation, I was subject of a number of nasty comments from a small minority of people who simply presumed to know what the case was about and what the outcome would be. They were wrong on both counts.

“Finally, as I have said throughout to those who have supported me, I ask people, for their own sakes, not to discuss the content of Mr Lawson’s article, nor to comment on Ms Riley or Ms Oberman on social media more generally.

“Notwithstanding the fact that I am a lawyer by profession, this has been a long, and at times exhausting experience, and I would not wish anyone to find themselves on the receiving end of legal action.”

This is an excellent outcome for Jane.

And it gives hope for my own case.

Part of Ms Riley’s libel case against me concerns my own reference to Mr Lawson’s articles. I have applied to the court for this aspect of the case to be struck out and have no doubt that this will happen at a hearing on November 6.

With that and Ms Heybroek’s case in mind, and also considering Ms Riley’s recent tweet that appears to encourage her followers to provide information that she can use to start more libel cases, I think my own case is becoming stronger by the day.

Ms Heybroek’s case was crowdfunded and so was mine – and I still need help. If you would like to provide some, here are the details:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

This battle is won, but the war isn’t over yet.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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‘Overwhelming majority’ of rapists going free because of collapse in prosecutions

The “overwhelming majority” of rapists are walking free because of a collapse in prosecutions in England and Wales, campaigners have warned.

Only 1.5 per cent of almost 55,300 rapes recorded by police in 2019 saw a suspect charged, down from 7 per cent four years before.

An alliance of women’s groups attempted to launch a legal challenge accusing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of changing its practices,  but were refused permission by the High Court in March.

On Tuesday, they published testimonies from complainants, statistical analysis, a CPS whistleblower’s allegations and other evidence from the case.

Some of these testimonies need to be read to be believed. Try this:

A woman who alleged that a man had raped her at gunpoint was told in a CPS letter that the weapon “was not a serious threat” during the alleged attack, and that the man may have thought she consented.

Who wrote that? They should go into the dock alongside the alleged rapist, as an accessory to the crime.

In a separate case, a gay woman who said she was raped by a man was accused of “engaging with the defendant” before the attack. Charges against a suspect, who was caught on CCTV, were dropped.

So there’s video evidence against this person but they weren’t charged because someone said the victim “engaged” with them. What does that even mean?

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) has accused the CPS of dropping a “merits-based approach” credited with increasing the number of rape prosecutions, but officials said they had not.

The High Court refused permission for a judicial review of the plummeting prosecutions, saw EVAW has appealed, and has raised more than £80,000 via crowdfunding to back the action.

That seems like an appeal worth supporting.

Here’s the web address.

Source: ‘Overwhelming majority’ of rapists going free because of collapse in prosecutions, campaigners warn | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Hinkley tower collapse: what did you expect from this duff, expensive, USELESS project?

Hinkley C: does this look like safe construction to you?

The dust has probably settled by now – physically, if not metaphorically.

The decision to build a third nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset was hugely controversial and had been fought for 40 years before the Tories finally had their way in 2016.

They signed complex financial agreement with Électricité de France (EDF), the energy giant that is 83% owned by the French government, and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), a state-run Chinese energy company for the provision of the reactor, in a new design that has never been made to work, anywhere in the world.

For this, the UK is paying £20.3 billion and when it is working – if it ever does – the UK will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour, which is roughly twice the current market rate for this kind of energy.

In a comment that typifies the scandal that has been Tory privatisation of UK utilities like energy, former EDF director Gérard Magnin has described Hinkley C as “a way to make the British fund the renaissance of nuclear in France”.

And now part of it has collapsed, sending a huge dust cloud into the skies above Somerset:

The 35-metre tower, weighing around 5,000 tonnes, suffered “structural damage” at around 7.30am, when onlookers claimed to have heard what sounded like an explosion.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang at around 7.30am, but energy supplier EDF has denied that a blast occurred, Somerset Live reports.

In a statement the company said no one had been hurt.

The energy supplier stated: “At around 7.30am a silo in the concrete batching plant at Hinkley Point C suffered structural damage, releasing a dust cloud around the area.

“Nobody has been injured and the emergency services were not required.

“An investigation is underway to understand the cause of the event.”

I reckon the cause is obvious: bad design, substandard construction materials, corner-cutting in order to maximise profits.

So not only is this project a hugely expensive white elephant, it is a nuclear disaster waiting to happen.

Are we looking at the West Country’s future Fukushima?

Source: Huge dust cloud released at UK nuclear power site after tower ‘collapses’ – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Coronavirus: homeless families moved into unsafe buildings. What good will THAT do?

Unsafe: these tower blocks on the Ledbury estate, Southwark, are in danger of fire or collapse – and the council has put 60 homeless families into empty flats there.

What’s the thinking behind this? If the disease doesn’t get them, the building might collapse on them instead?

Southwark Council (Labour-run, God help them) has moved homeless families into an estate of tower blocks that require major works to make them safe from fire or collapse.

The four towers on the Ledbury estate have many empty flats because they are unsafe.

They were built using the ‘large panel system’ construction method, which became notorious after the partial collapse of Ronan Point in Newham in the 1960s.

That’s more than 50 years ago! Why was nothing done about these buildings decades ago?

Families who were living in temporary accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchens are being moved into 60 empty flats in the towers, to allow them to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak.

Southwark reckons it has agreed “extra safety measures” with the fire service in order to ensure the flats are safe to occupy.

What’s the last time we heard of a council making arrangements with a fire service about the safety of a tower block? Ah yes: Grenfell Tower.

What can possibly go wrong?

Source: Inside Housing – News – Homeless families to be moved into blocks with systemic safety issues amid coronavirus crisis

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Years of Tory cuts led to the collapse of this Derbyshire dam

Skwawkbox has it right: The Toddbrook Reservoir dam only collapsed because Conservative governments of the past nine years have starved flood defence spending.

Click over to that blog for the details.

A Derbyshire town is undergoing emergency evacuation after parts of the wall of a nearby reservoir collapsed in floods.

Toddbrook Reservoir dam was damaged after heavy rains and police have told 6,500 Whaley Bridge residents to gather at a local school ready for evacuation after a severe flood warning was issued, meaning there is a threat to life:

The collapse comes after years of a Tory austerity programme that saw significant cuts to spending on flood defences in almost all parts of the country:

Source: Breaking; Derbyshire town evacuated as dam wall collapses in floods following years of Tory flood-defence cuts | The SKWAWKBOX

Raab resigns, McVey quits: May’s Brexit ‘deal’ throws her government over a cliff

Theresa May: Staring over the edge of the cliff.

It should have been a moment of triumph – the announcement of an agreement with the 27 nations remaining in the EU over the manner of the UK’s departure from that bloc. Instead, Theresa May’s government is on the point of collapse.

Dominic Raab.

Dominic Raab – the man who, as Brexit Secretary, admitted he had no idea how important the Dover-Calais crossing was to the UK’s trade – resigned this morning (November 15), saying the deal agreed by Mrs May – not by him – could lead to the break-up of the UK as it offers Northern Ireland special treatment, and makes it impossible to negotiate trade deals with other countries as we will remain in a customs union with the EU indefinitely.

Esther McVey: She was probably glad to have an excuse to quit as Work and Pensions secretary.

Esther McVey has also quit, saying the deal does not offer the Brexit that the Conservative government had promised.

And condemnation of the deal in Parliament – when Mrs May tried to persuade MPs to support it – was almost universal.

Labour opposes it because it does not meet any of that party’s six tests.

Labour’s pro-Brexit rebels won’t support it because they see it as a capitulation to all of the EU’s demands.

The DUP can’t support it because of the way it addresses the Northern Ireland border issue – creating fears of a reunification vote with the Republic of Ireland.

The SNP won’t support it because the deal doesn’t mention Scotland once.

Tory Brexiters won’t support it because they say Mrs May lied about what the deal would do – she has betrayed them.

Jacob Rees-Mogg even voiced an intention to trigger a “no confidence” vote against Theresa May during the debate in the Commons – in harsh contrast to her own appeal for support.

And government resignations are still happening. Three MPs in minor positions have also resigned, including Suella Braverman, who had been vociferous in support of the Tory government’s Brexit policy. Northern Ireland office junior minister Shailesh Vara has also gone.

Mrs May is now in an impossible position.

Her deal with the EU has been agreed – she can’t go back on it.

But the Parliamentary numbers are against her. She cannot win the vote.

Her own leadership is at issue and she may face a challenge within days.

And her government’s ability to act in the national interest has been trashed. It may not last beyond the vote on the deal.

Mrs May, the Conservatives and the Brexit process are standing on the edge of a cliff. Is this the end – for all of them?

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