Tag Archives: comment

Did King Charles just troll the leader of the DUP – in front of his face?

The royal and the republican: King Charles III meets Sinn Fein leader Michell O’Neill. The comments about the largest party in Stormont took place seconds later.

Here’s some good – if well-used – advice for DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson from the owner of the Maximilien Robespierre YouTube channel: “Never meet your heroes; you’ll be disappointed.”

He was referring to the moment when King Charles III met the leaders of the two largest political parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly and mentioned to Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill that he was aware that her republican party now has more members there than any other.

It was a direct snub for Donaldson and the unionist DUP, which had been the largest party from the Stormont Assembly’s inception until its most recent elections, and which is now delaying the resumption of devolved democracy there with a row over the Brexit-related Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Monarch’s words may have been unintentionally harsh – or they may have been a hint that democracy should be respected, the power-sharing agreement should be resumed, with Sinn Fein as (nominal) leader rather than the DUP, and they should sort out their differences by other means.

Or we may all be reading far too much into them.

Here’s the Maximilien Robespierre clip…

What do you think?

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Patel insists Rwanda is safe for asylum-seekers – despite expert advice on torture

Priti Patel: she’s not one to listen to advice she doesn’t like.

The Home Secretary has confirmed that she is ignoring the advice of an adviser who said the Rwandan government tortures political opponents, in pushing her policy of deporting asylum-seekers there.

Priti Patel insisted that Rwanda was a “safe country”.

She said the comments had been made by “officials in a different government department”.

She added: “But of course it is the Home Office who has led the economic development migration partnership which is our resettlement partnership to Rwanda. Rwanda is a safe country and all our work with the government of Rwanda shows that.”

She was responding to a High Court judgment that seven statements by an adviser should be made public in advance of a Supreme Court ruling on whether the Rwanda deportation policy is legal.

A judge ruled that a further four statements should not be published as they could potentially harm international relations.

It is not unreasonable – on the face of it – for the government to seek advice and then ignore what it is told.

Governments may take opinions from multiple sources before forming their own opinions and policy.

But this has the potential to blow up in the Tory government’s collective face, if the decision to ignore warnings about this foreign government leads to asylum-seekers being harmed.

Court ruling on Rwanda comments that should be published forces questions on those that won’t

Illegal policy? Priti Patel announced the plan to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK to Rwanda back in April. But a first flight there was aborted at the last minute as the legality of the scheme was challenged.

The High Court has ruled that a government adviser’s comment that Rwanda’s government tortures and kills political opponents – and six others – should be published ahead of a legal battle to decide whether deportations to that country are legal.

But four further comments by the same person were judged necessary to keep entirely secret because of the damage they would do to international relations between the UK and that country.

This leads to an obvious question:

Given the incendiary nature of the “torture” comment, how damning were the four that are being kept secret? And how can the UK’s Tory government justify sending asylum seekers to Rwanda after being provided with such information?

In his ruling, Lord Justice Lewis said:

“I recognise that there is a strong public interest in not undermining international relations with a friendly state. Nonetheless, that consideration is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring access to relevant information in this litigation and by the extent to which the information is already in the public domain.”

Migrants identified for the first aborted flight, and three media organisations – BBC News, including BBC Two’s Newsnight, The Times and The Guardian newspapers – sought the disclosure of the material.

The judge said given September’s major legal action had to decide whether sending asylum seekers to Rwanda was lawful, the claimants and the court needed to consider as much evidence as possible.

He said some of the official’s comments would have “evidential significance” – and the public interest in disclosing them outweighed the government’s case for keeping them secret.

The government has been allowed time to consider an appeal. If the judgment stands, the comments are likely to emerge in public in September.

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Priti Patel is refusing to pay police enough to do their job & then demanding power to criticise them for it

Here’s the contradictory nature of Tory policy exposed in all its grubby grimness:

Priti Patel has been challenged to explain whether she could “survive” on the salaries she pays to local police officers – and ran away from answering.

Meanwhile, she is demanding the right to interfere in local policing matters – possibly criticising officers for failing to do work she does not pay them enough to manage.

According to Nation.Cymru,

Detective Constable Vicky Knight, a single mother who had worked in policing for more than two decades, asked Priti Patel if she would be able to “survive” on £1,200 or £1,400 a month.

Describing how she is paid “a couple of hundred pounds a month more than the workers in McDonald’s flipping burgers” and less than her “local manager at Lidl”, Ms Knight told how ahead of her most recent pay day she had to borrow £40 from her mother so she could put fuel in her car and buy food for her son’s school lunches “because I had no money left at the end of the month”.

“I went to see an accountant and the advice was leave the police, work for 22 hours a week and claim benefits and you will be better off. How can that be right?”

Patel did not answer the question; we don’t know whether she thinks she could survive on the pay she tells police officers to accept.

But we do know delegates at the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales groaned when she whined that their organisation had not been “at the table” for pay negotiations; it is currently in dispute with her because she has imposed a pay freeze for officers and there were, therefore, no negotiations to be done.

While she is depriving police of the salaries they need in order to be able to do their jobs, it seems Patel is demanding the right to criticise them for any failures.

In a row with Police and Crime Commissioners, she is planning a unilateral revision of rules that define where policing responsibilities lie, in order to grant herself more power to interfere in local services.

She wants to take back power to demand answers from chief constables on local policing matters – and ability that was given to commissioners a decade ago when their role was created.

Obviously the ability to demand answers also provides an implied ability to criticise police services for failings – even though any failures may be because she has not provided the resources to do the job.

According to The Guardian,

The proposed protocol says: “We propose to lower the threshold for home secretary intervention in appropriate circumstances. This would equip the home secretary to intervene earlier as required, thus reducing the risk of failing to deliver effective policing.”

Apparently this is a reflection of a policy adopted by Patel since she became Home Secretary, called “lean in”. Perhaps it would more accurately be phrased as “lean on“.

Another example of this policy would appear to be her demand that chief constables act “in a politically neutral manner”, which has been added to the previous stricture that they must be impartial.

This would restrict them from commenting on public policy that they believe may affect crime fighting – such as the effects of austerity. Nor would they be allowed to speak out publicly on issues of political dispute like tougher sentences or opposing the decriminalisation of cannabis, which is supported by some frontline politicians.

In their response to Patel’s proposals, commissioners said she would need to seek an Act of Parliament to impose them as they are beyond her statutory powers at the moment – “ultra vires”:

“Creation of new powers of strategic oversight can only be achieved through primary legislation and must be subject to the full scrutiny that is required of primary legislation.”

So we see a hardline Home Secretary, attempting to dictate the behaviour of local police forces while denying them the resources to their job.

How ironic that she is currently being restricted with rules imposed by her own Tory forerunners.

Source: Home Secretary confronted by ‘desperately struggling’ North Wales Constable over low pay

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Sabisky quits after journalists unearth WORSE comments than his views on race, women and eugenics

Andrew Sabisky: Gone, but let’s not forget him. His kind of extremism is appallingly toxic.

If you thought the opinions of Dominic Cummings’s advisor Andrew Sabisky were horrifying when This Site published them yesterday, brace yourself.

He has resigned because of comments he made that were even worse:

Scottish newspaper The National dished the dirt:

“In one post, from seven years ago, a man explains that his Mormon wife is reluctant to have sex with him and asks for advice.

“Under the username thedovelamenting, Sabisky responds by urging him to try to “rewire” her brain “to the point where she no longer, consciously or subconsciously sees a conflict between a good Christian woman and serving you up 39 flavours of slut on command”.”

I’ll save you from the particularly vile last part of his comment.

“In another post, he recommends a 26-year-old man looking to lose his virginity pays “lots of money for a really good hooker”.

“When a woman posts about finding “disturbing porn” on her boyfriend’s computer, including erotic fiction about incest, paedophilia and rape, thedovelamenting tells her he doesn’t “see all that much to worry about here.

““Fantasies are strange things. Unpredictable, of uncertain origin, hard to figure how they’ll relate to real life. I have a thing for incest erotica myself despite never having had those fantasies relating to my actual family. So long as he’s not actually breaking any laws and is restricting his viewing habits to girls 18 and up I wouldn’t be too squicked.”

“He then suggests the woman is at fault for not offering her partner the right “kind of sex”, though he admits he “could be way off there.””

According to the article, the offending Reddit posts disappeared right after The National approached Sabisky for comment. Hmm!

Still, it’s a good result, even if it’s just a small part of a much larger picture.

Francis Elliott narrows it down:

Sabisky himself has said he is a victim of “selective quoting” by the media, and claimed to be “in the middle of a giant character assassination”.

But the resignation isn’t even the most interesting part of this story.

The fact that people found it easy to confuse Sabisky with nominal prime minister Boris Johnson – even in jest – is.

The reason it was easy to do is the fact that Downing Street was criticised for refusing to say whether or not Johnson agreed with Sabisky’s views.

This reluctance prompted fury from some Conservatives, according to Sky News:

“Former minister Caroline Nokes said there “must be no place in government for the views he’s expressed”.

“Select committee chair William Wagg declared “there is no way to defend it” and added: “I cannot be the only one uncomfortable with recent Number 10 trends.”

“One Tory staffer told Sky News after the resignation was confirmed: “I’m glad it’s happened but he should never have been hired in the first place. Two days of bad headlines for nothing.””

And it made this comment possible:

And what about this?

But then, we know Johnson is a sexist and a racist – from his behaviour over many years. Right?

Source: Number 10 adviser Andrew Sabisky quits after controversial comments revealed | Politics News | Sky News

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Charlie Brooker becomes next celeb to end his career with a ‘joke’ about Labour and anti-Semitism

Propaganda: It seems the BBC isn’t restricting its political lies solely to news programmes, but has expanded into comedy.

Has it become a contractual obligation that celebrities appearing on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You now have to reel out a duff comment connecting the Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn and anti-Semitism, and pretend that it’s a funny joke?

It was sad enough when Victoria Coren Mitchell did it, linking Labour with the anti-Semitic trope about a Jewish bankers’ conspiracy. Because the Labour leadership has never suggested it believes anything of the sort, it was in fact she who committed the anti-Semitic slur.

Now Charlie Brooker has used his appearance to link Labour with Holocaust denial:

Did you hear that audience reaction? They didn’t like it at all. That was the sound of a career ending, as Simon Maginn implies here:

And here:

As I say, though, it seems entirely possible that reading an anti-Labour jab from an autocue is now a contractual obligation. But Mr Brooker can’t be so hard-up for cash that he would abandon any principles and ruin his reputation for the sake of 30 pieces of silver from the BBC… can he? We note that he hasn’t exactly been running out to defend himself:

Sadly, Mr Brooker’s (probably-scripted) outburst seems to have achieved what these behaviours often do – and got someone else to join in. Isn’t this Phil Wang from the same programme?

It isn’t satire; it’s just a bad lie. What a way to commit career suicide.

And it seems Have I Got Lies For You may be on its way out now, as well.

There will be plenty of people who like the propaganda-pumping attitude the programme is currently showing – but if enough of us kick it into touch, then maybe the BBC will get the message.

We don’t like lies, and we don’t like people who lie to us.

Worst of all is the probability that Boris Johnson will use this as part of his excuse to axe the BBC’s status as the UK’s public service broadcaster and remove the requirement to pay the licence fee.

Still, the BBC did its best to ensure the Tories won the general election, knowing that this would be on the cards.

The Corporation’s bosses really are like turkeys voting for Christmas.

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Psychiatrists try to defend failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ Universal Credit project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has tried to explain its reasons for failing to object to a pilot project in Cornwall in which Job Centre advisors – with no training – decide whether claimants need mental health care.

This Site reported on the project in August:

The department… is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

The Tory government’s press release stated: “The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.”

I responded:

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The press release said: “The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.”

I responded:

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

Disability News Service is now reporting that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to this insult against its practitioners – after being nudged to do so by no fewer than five disability groups.

RCP states, according to the article, that:

RCP’s social inclusion lead has “continued to raise concerns and provide expert advice about the impact of welfare reform on people with mental illness and those with learning disabilities”.

[It says] it is “clear that anyone undertaking a mental health assessment needs to be sufficiently qualified to do so and, as part of the assessment, should engage with clinicians involved in providing care to the person concerned”.

[It also says] RCP believes that a jobcentre would not be “a suitable therapeutic environment to assess and discuss an individual’s mental health”.

[It adds:] “Having to do so would likely increase the stress and pressure on people with a mental illness when seeking support, and the possibility of them seeing the receipt of benefits as being conditional on them agreeing to mental health treatment.

“In addition, there is a risk that being referred to the wrong type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of seeking help in the future, make their illness worse and increase the likelihood of experiencing a future crisis.”

The disability groups are not happy with this response – and rightly so.

Why the delay in responding? Were these psychiatrists hoping the issue would go away?

Is the RCP going to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about its concerns? Or were its comments just a sop to the disabled people’s representatives?

And what about the people of Cornwall?

What have they experienced while the RCP stood by in silence?

Source: Dismay over psychiatrists’ failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ universal credit project – Disability News Service

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Tory Muslim peer receives ‘vile Islamophobic emails’ after calling for Boris Johnson to be kicked out – proving racism in the party?

Boris Johnson: All he wanted was publicity – and like gullible idiotrs, we gave it to him.

This Writer suggested – only two days ago – that Boris Johnson’s “joke” about burqa-wearing Muslim women was garnering support for him among racists.

It seems I was correct.

Of course we should not take anything a politician says at face value – Ruth Smeeth claimed to have received 25,000 anti-Semitic messages via social media, 20,000 of them in 12 hours. But research by Jewish organisation the Community Security Trust showed a peak of only 200 such messages, nationally, per day at the time of the alleged abuse, suggesting that she was… exaggerating.

And Mr Johnson?

He won’t care what Lord Sheikh says. Nor will he care about any disciplinary action by the Conservative Party.

He probably thinks, as other commentators do, that Theresa May will not want to upset supporters of Mr Johnson before crucial Brexit votes in the autumn.

So what has he achieved with his “joke”?

Publicity – for himself. And that is all he wanted.

Conservative Muslim forum founder, Lord Sheikh, has said he has received dozens of “vile” Islamophobic emails after calling for Boris Johnson to be removed from the Conservative Party after his remarks about niqabs.

The Tory peer said the ex-foreign secretary had also “let the genie out of the bottle” after he suggested veiled Muslim women resembled “letter boxes” and “bank robbers”.

He told BBC Newsnight he had received the “vile“ emails, with “obscene language” since calling for the Conservatives to withdraw the whip from Mr Johnson.

His remarks came after the Conservative Party’s decision to consider disciplinary proceedings against Mr Johnson – a move that has led to criticism of Theresa May from Brexiteer MPs who claim the complaints are politically driven.

Source: Tory Muslim peer who called for Boris Johnson to be kicked out of party receives barrage of ‘vile Islamophobic emails’ | The Independent

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Lipman gave the game away at protest against anti-Semitism

Maureen Lipman: You’d think a performer of her standing would know the danger in ill-advised words.

Actress Maureen Lipman gave the fake crusade against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party a shot in the foot on Sunday when she accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour members of opposing – not Jews, but Israel.

Opposition to the actions of the Israeli state is not anti-Semitism and never has been considered to be – at least, not by reasonable people. How could it be, when we see so many examples of Israelis behaving like this? The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which organised the demonstration on Sunday where Ms Lipman made her ill-advised comment, has a somewhat problematic position on the matter – as, of course, must the various Parliamentary ‘Friends of Israel’ organisations which are constituted to support the nation, not the Jewish religious/ethnic group.

Here’s Ms Lipman, talking herself into accusing Mr Corbyn of hating Israel and supporting Arabs:

One of the proposals for future ways in which Labour should tackle anti-Semitism is, of course, education – to ensure that members know what currently constitutes this attitude. But some of us are there already. Not only do we know what it is – we know what it isn’t, and we know what it means when people talk about it in a certain way:

Ms Lipman, of course, courted ridicule at the demonstration when she said Mr Corbyn was the reason she left the Labour Party. She had said the same thing about Ed Miliband in 2014, a fact that was – conveniently? – forgotten by certain newspapers (note the name of the paper mentioned below)…

… but not by members of the public…

…who, of course, found a unique way to remind the mainstream media’s representatives – who should have been reporting this to the public anyway:

This issue has always been about misrepresentation, though – misrepresentation of Jeremy Corbyn and notable Labour members (including myself) as aggressors; misrepresentation of Jews as victims (a position against which many right-thinking Jews have taken offence).

Result: British Jews are divided and the British public is disinterested. Who profits from that?


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Personal Independence Payment claimants! Send details of your experience for Parliamentary debate

Laura Pidcock MP.

Labour MP Laura Pidcock has tweeted the following:

So there will be a debate in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit on January 31.

If you have claimed PIP, please send your recollections and comments on the experience to Ms Pidcock at [email protected]


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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