Tag Archives: damage

UN report shows irreversible damage to the planet. Why aren’t polluters being jailed?

Pollution: did your home suffer flooding last year? Here’s the reason. And I bet you haven’t done anything about it, have you?

A landmark United Nations report has demonstrated that the planet where we live – Earth – has suffered irreversible damage to its ecosystem because of pollution by big business moguls.

But it does not propose any punishments for those people that would deter them, so they will keep right on with it.

Here in the UK, a group of right-wing politicians has rebranded itself specifically to fight against efforts to clean up industry, we’re told.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that

the warming we’ve experienced to date has made changes to many of our planetary support systems that are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.

The oceans will continue to warm and become more acidic. Mountain and polar glaciers will continue melting for decades or centuries.

It predicts a rise in sea levels that will threaten millions of people living in coastal areas with flooding by the year 2100.

But the behaviour of some UK members of Parliament shows that the people who can stop this vandalism of paradise simply don’t care.

They never wanted poor people to have fresh air and clean water anyway.

It seems the former European Research Group (ERG) of far-right Tory MPs (including Jacob Rees-Mogg, if memory serves) has undergone a metamorphosis.

After briefly becoming the Covid Recovery Group, an Orwellian perversion of the words by an organisation that wanted to do as little to fight the virus as possible, it now appears to have become the Climate Action Group – determined to prevent government from halting climate change.

As Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK states,

The plan is to argue that climate science is wrong, and we can’t afford it anyway.

Destroying the economy and national health is not enough, the aim is to trash the planet as well.

He continues:

We have due warning that the right wing are lining up to demand the right to take us to oblivion.

This one is the fight for survival, and we have to win it.

It will be a particularly hard fight, when one notes that the IPCC report does not even suggest penalties for polluters.

Given that the damage they have done is said to be irreversible – that is, there is no going back – it seems to me that those responsible should receive irreversible punishments.

I would suggest that they be removed from their jobs and banned from any executive positions in any firm globally, that their life savings should be confiscated and used to fund initiatives to de-pollute the planet, and that they should face imprisonment for varying terms, depending on the harm that has been done on their watch.

I would also suggest that their firms should be ordered to pay fines for the damage they cause – on an ongoing basis, so each year they would have to fund measures to roll back this damage, according to the amount of damage done. If the firms were to be dissolved, then all of their assets should be taken for this purpose.

Nothing like that has been suggested but it is what is needed. And it won’t happen unless you demand it.

Ah, but you’re afraid of taking part in this, aren’t you?

I only have to look at the response to This Site’s article yesterday to see the evidence of that.

I warned that people are “switching off – not just their TVs and radios, but their minds. They can’t face it. They want somebody else to come along and make it better.

“But nobody will. What these people are really doing is handing the planet over to people like Alok Sharma” who will allow the polluters to carry on polluting if they think they can make a farthing out of it.

I stated: “If you run away and hide from it because you’re afraid that bad things will happen to you in the short term, then just you remember – always – that you are making sure that bad things will happen to you in the long term.

“And that future is accelerating towards you at a terrifying pace.”

And I asked: “Are you really such a craven coward? If you do nothing, then you are contributing to it. You are supporting it. You are saying you want it.”

At the time of writing, that article has been read just 246 times. It is the least-read piece I have written this month.

And that’s because people like you simply don’t want to have to get their hands dirty, fighting to live in a clean world.

Well, as I implied yesterday: if you don’t do anything for it, you won’t get it – and that will be because you don’t want it.

If you do want to live in a clean world, you could start by writing to your MP, to Alok Sharma (as he is hosting the climate summit COP-26 in November) and possibly even to our daft prime minister Boris Johnson.

You could say that you have read the findings of the IPCC report and are horrified, that you don’t believe any businessperson will stop the pollution that is poisoning the planet – and therefore all of us – without sanctions.

And you could put forward the penalties I have proposed, above, as starting-points.

That is something you could do.

If you had any guts at all.

Source: The next fight with the right wing is for planetary survival

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Police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’. What about the Tories – and Murdoch?

The disgrace – no, the word ‘disgrace’ isn’t strong enough: this is the Sun story that mentally scarred survivors of the Hillsborough disaster and the families of those who died. It wasn’t ‘The Truth’ at all; it was a pack of lies.

More than five years after a jury ruled that 96 people were killed unlawfully in the Hillsborough disaster – and that their behaviour did not contribute to the situation – police forces have agreed to pay compensation to more than 600 people for mental distress caused by the attempted cover-up.

I have two questions.

Firstly: why did it take so long for South Yorkshire and West Midlands police to agree to pay up?

Secondly: Why aren’t the Conservative Party and Rupert Murdoch’s News International paying compensation, too?

Let’s go into the circumstances:

We all know that the Hillsborough Disaster was a fatal human crush at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, hosted at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989.

It happened due to gross negligence by match commander David Duckenfield of South Yorkshire Police.

The police service then attempted to hide the fact that its failures caused 96 deaths and 766 injuries – the worst disaster in UK sporting history – by trying to blame it on the fans who were injured and died, saying those people caused the tragedy by being drunk and misbehaving.

West Midlands was the force appointed to investigate the disaster, but has since been accused of malpractices and failures that have been subject to a long-running investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Not only that, though: the prime minister of the day, the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, refused to release information that made the police look bad.

And The Sun, a newspaper published by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, published a story headlined The Truth that was nothing but a pack of lies, supporting the fantasy created by the police.

This Writer believes a strong argument could be made that the newspaper story – which led to The Sun being boycotted in Liverpool ever since – caused more distress, more anguish, to survivors, and to relatives and friends of the deceased, than the police cover-up on which it was based (although I know it could not have been written if the police and the Tory prime minister had not lied in the first place).

Civil claims for compensation due to malfeasance in public office by the two police forces were submitted in 2015, during inquests into the reasons the 96 died.

The claimants said the lies had caused them to suffer trauma and psychiatric damage, and the compensation is to cover not only those injuries but also the cost of treatment and counselling.

Those claims were made nearly six years ago and the payments haven’t been made yet (at the time of writing). So I repeat: why not?

And how much are these people getting, to make one of the claimants describe the payout as “insulting” in The Guardian‘s news article about it?

The behaviour of the police was shocking, and undermines public faith in the reliability of our law enforcement officers across the UK – not just in the forces concerned.

But – as mentioned above – they weren’t the only organisations caught lying; they weren’t the only people who deliberately caused further distress over Hillsborough.

Margaret Thatcher withheld information – which was as bad as lying because it presented a false impression that the police were blameless.

She was able to do so because she was prime minister at the time – and she was prime minister because she was leader of the Conservative Party that had formed the then-current government.

She died in 2013 but it seems perfectly reasonable to hold the Tories responsible for putting her in a position where she could distort the facts.  Why has the Conservative Party avoided compensating these people?

And that Sun headline has gone down in the history of journalistic infamy. The disgust of the city of Liverpool – in perpetuity – is not enough. Why has News International not offered compensation as well?

All three of these organisations should have offered payouts voluntarily, considering the enormity of the harm they have done, but they didn’t.

The police are only paying up because they were forced to.

Perhaps that aspect of this tragedy is the most damning of all.

Source: South Yorkshire and West Midlands police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’ | Hillsborough disaster | The Guardian

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Journalist arrest after Kent refugee camp protest shows how the Tories put down dissent

Napier barracks: I believe this is one of the images that led to the police arresting Andy Aitchison. But if he was behind a camera, how could he have been carrying out criminal damage?

Whoever would have predicted that the United Kingdom would descend to this?

The Conservative government, under xenophobic Home Secretary Priti Patel, has opened a series of concentration camps where they have dumped hundreds of asylum-seekers.

I wrote about them in December last year.

The camps have inadequate and poorly cooked food, no privacy, and inadequate shower and toilet facilities.

Camp residents are unable to socially distance, or to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

They have to sleep in dormitories of up to 28 people – which is probably why more than 100 people at the Napier Barracks camp in Kent have contracted the virus in the last two weeks.

The Home Office reaction was to blame people living in the camp, saying residents (inmates would be a better word) refused to self-isolate or follow social distancing rules that they could not have followed because of the conditions forced on them by the Home Office.

Conditions there led to activists protesting outside the site on Thursday morning, where they allegedly threw buckets of food colouring, water and shampoo or conditioner – fake blood – at the gate and on the ground in front of the gate.

Demonstrators had signs reading: “Close Napier now” and “Priti Patel: there will be blood on your hands”.

Freelance photographer Andy Aitchison attended and took photographs, some of which appeared in local press reports of the protest.

Around six hours after the protest, matters took a sinister turn when police arrived at Mr Aitchison’s house and arrested him for criminal damage.

Really? Criminal damage? He took some photos of a demonstration that was embarrassing to the Conservative government and to Priti Patel and this arrest looks like suspicious use of the police for political purposes.

On Friday afternoon (January 29), a fire broke out in the camp – cause unknown. Fortunately Mr Aitchison can’t be blamed – one of his bail conditions is not to go to the camp.

Patel herself had the cheek to publish a statement accusing people at the barracks of vandalising property, threatening staff and putting lives at risk.

She actually told us that this behaviour was “deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country”:

No, Priti Patel. You are deeply offensive to the taxpayers of this country. You have made us complicit in providing facilities of such poor quality that they actually endanger the lives of the people you force to live there.

This Writer thinks there should be an investigation into what is happening at Napier Barracks and any connection between that and Patel.

I think the use of the police to intimidate a photojournalist for doing his job must also be probed.

Sadly, I know the UK’s institutions are as corrupt as they come. No such investigations will happen and if there has been corrupt behaviour, those responsible will be protected. Over the last 40 years, it’s what we’ve all been voting for.

Source: ‘It’s censorship’: Journalist arrested after photographing protest outside controversial asylum camp | The Independent

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Should anyone be surprised that Brexit will cost more than Covid – in the long term?

This Writer’s initial reaction to Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s claim that a no-deal Brexit will cost more than Covid was:

Is that because most of the cost of Covid was due to short-term profiteering by Tory crony companies?

The cost to the UK of this nonsense is short-term, though; when the pandemic is finally under control, the profiteers won’t have an opportunity to screw any more cash out of the Treasury.

But the loss of the free trade deals the UK enjoyed as a member of the European Union will have long-term effects that may last many years:

LSE modelling estimates a reduction in GDP worth 8% over a decade compared with remaining in the EU.

Asked about the research, Bailey said economic models suggested there would be long-term consequences, as it could take a long time for the UK to adjust to a new trading relationship. “It takes a much longer period of time for the real side of the economy to adjust to the change in openness and change in the profile of trade,” he said.

Bailey was talking about the effects of a “no-deal” Brexit but be warned that even a deal will place the UK at a disadvantage.

Source: No-deal Brexit to cost more than Covid, Bank of England governor says | Politics | The Guardian

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Universal Credit causes mental illness – but won’t get you a new job, study finds

A study of Universal Credit has found that it increases mental illness in claimants while failing to get them into new employment.

The finding should cause huge concern among the two million people who are said to have signed up for the benefit after the Conservative government imposed its coronavirus-prompted lockdown, forcing them to sign onto the benefit when their incomes disappeared.

The study of able-bodied people (those with disabilities have already been shown to suffer adverse effects due to changes in their benefits) found a 6.57 per cent increase in psychological distress.

This led the study’s authors to estimate that an extra 63,674 people suffered psychological distress between 2013 and 2018, as a result of being put on Universal Credit.

They estimated that 21,760 might reach the diagnostic threshold for depression.

They believe that, although the effect sizes identified are moderate, the potential for psychological impact is substantial owing to the widespread national policy implementation.

Levels of distress remained constant for people who were not put on the new benefit.

The study revealed that there was no increase in the transition into employment amongst those on Universal Credit, compared with those who were not – despite this being the key rationale given for its introduction.

The Tory government has commissioned its own evaluation of Universal Credit – but this will focus on labour market outcomes and not assess the effect on health and wellbeing.

Won’t it be interesting to see whether this study finds an improvement in employment?

Source: Universal Credit mental health problems, but not employment

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Man arrested for vandalising eight ambulances: this is deliberate danger to life

The vandal put eight ambulances out of action when they are needed to handle coronavirus cases.

Take note: selfish idiots are still trying to harm our chances of surviving the coronavirus.

At a time like this, criminal damage to ambulances – putting them out of action – is nothing short of a deliberate attempt to endanger human lives.

The charges against the arrested man should reflect that – as should the penalty if he is convicted.

A man has been arrested after eight ambulances were damaged in Kent, forcing them out of service as medics across the UK contend with the spread of coronavirus.

The 47-year-old from Ramsgate, Thanet, was detained on Wednesday morning on suspicion of causing criminal damage on two dates last month.

Kent Police had launched an appeal after holes were drilled into nine tyres on six ambulances at a depot overnight on Saturday 21 March.

Source: Man arrested after eight ambulances vandalised and forced out of service during coronavirus crisis | The Independent

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PIP assessor terrorises household. What kind of people is Capita hiring?

This should concern anybody who has a long-term illness or disability, who has a family member with one, or may develop one in the future.

Disability News Service has reported that an assessor working for Capita, the sub-contractor hired by the Depatment for Work and Pensions to assess claims for Personal Independence Payment, basically terrorised a household.

The man, believed to be in his 50s, was carrying out the assessment at the home of Cheryl Matthews, in Cardiff.

Ms Matthews works as a customer service agent and has several long-term health conditions, including one that could cause a fatal aneurysm if she becomes anxious.

She already receives the PIP standard rates for daily living and mobility, but had requested a new assessment after her health worsened in recent months.

But the assessor seems to have been determined to ignore her information about recent events, describing them as “irrelevant”.

His attitude angered Ms Matthews’ 22-year-old son, who asked for the assessment to be ended.

On his way out, it seems the assessor shoved her son so hard that he fell against a door – then challenged him to a fight before leaving the front door open and kicking the safety gate – that protects their three dogs – off its hinges, damaging the wall of the house.

He made off, saying that he would be back to fight Ms Matthews’s son.

She has struggled to sleep since the incident, according to the report. Considering her health condition, it seems that – rather than helping Ms Matthews meet the challenges of life with a disability – the assessment put her life in danger.

We are told Capita has suspended the assessor and offered Ms Matthews £600 in compensation. South Wales Police has launched an investigation into allegations of criminal damage.

To This Writer, that seems right and proper – but what about other people facing assessment?

I should say that Mrs Mike had her PIP assessment at home, and the Capita assessor in that instance behaved in an exemplary manner. She was polite and considerate, and paid attention to everything Mrs Mike had to say.

But the incident in Cardiff suggests that others may not be so lucky.

It certainly seems appropriate to raise questions about the standards under which private companies, working for the government, hire people to carry out this work.

While the policy of privatising this task may be attractive – it allows the Conservative government to distance itself from incidents like this – it does suggest that the government is also putting people at risk.

Is this incident not an argument for these assessments to be brought back in-house – under the auspices of the public service, with higher, public-service standards?

Source: PIP assessor told claimant to ignore her ‘irrelevant’ suicide attempt… then challenged her son to a fight – Disability News Service

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Tories block move to publish Universal Credit briefings. You KNOW what this means

Under Universal Credit, child poverty is skyrocketing. It seems the Tories knew this would happen but decided to hide it from you.

For years, the Conservatives in government have been telling us that Universal Credit is better for everybody, helping the claimant into work and then towards better-paid work at less expensive to the taxpayer in a streamlined system.

But the result of Labour’s Opposition Day debate on the controversial system seems to prove one thing:

The Tories’ claims were nothing more than the vilest of lies.

Why hide the reports otherwise? If they don’t say anything that would turn the public against the Tories, then there wouldn’t be any need to keep them from public view.

Therefore they contain information that shows the Tories knew UC claimants would lose money – badly.

We’ll consider some of the ways they lose out, later.

Here’s the headline:

And here’s Labour’s official response from Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Margaret Greenwood: “The Tories have voted to shamefully cover up the impact that Universal Credit is having on families and people who most need our support.

“We all know that this policy is causing chaos and misery but this Government is refusing to listen and refusing to come clean.

“The roll-out of Universal Credit must be stopped immediately.”

Dawn Butler agreed that the Tories need to reveal the facts:

Members of the public have already drawn the correct conclusion:

The Tories came out with false arguments during the debate:

And they made offers they had no intention of honouring:

Apparently people have already tried, and had no response.

Tory Johnny Mercer trotted out the old chestnut that the best way out of poverty is employment. We all know that this is no longer true, as more people in work are in poverty than those who are out of work.

Claimants who tried to get assistance from the Department for Work and Pensions have found their pleas falling on deaf ears:

But what does Universal Credit actually do to claimants? We have already learned that it causes disproportionate harm to families with children, women, and people in minority groups. Here, Jeremy Corbyn elaborates:

And there is evidence to show the harm to children:

Those are merely the latest revelations this week!

What more could we learn over the next few days?

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Tax offices refuse to charge rich people with evasion – to avoid reputational damage

How sympathetic of our tax guardians! And if I get caught evading my tax responsibilities, will I receive the same treatment?

No?

Then this is unfair and must end.

It also seems contradictory. Look:

A senior HMRC official admitted that the UK tax authority panders to the rich and powerful when chasing them for tax evasion so they can avoid “reputational damage“.

If you ever had any doubt that in Britain there really is “one rule for them, and another for the rest of us“, this utterly astonishing admission by the UK’s tax authority proves it.

Richard Las, a deputy director of HMRC, said that criminal prosecutions are not the “default option” for cases of tax evasion, money laundering or fraud. He went on to say:

“When deciding whether to deploy our resources, we try to understand what motivates different types of offenders. For example some tax offenders are very wealthy, prominent members of the community. We know that these types of people do not want the reputational damage of custodial sentences, and we can use that to our advantage.”

I could understand this strategy if it resulted in a larger repayment to the Treasury, but the evidence indicates that it does not.

Can HMRC point to anyone who has paid more back to the state as a result of the organisation using the threat of reputational damage “to our advantage”? No – because that would make the whole exercise pointless.

And consider this: Is HMRC admitting it blackmails the rich?

The more one thinks about the HMRC statement, the less credible it seems.

This government department is apparently admitting blackmailing rich people with the threat of reputational damage if they don’t pay up – but we have no evidence to show that they have paid everything they owe.

We need a lot more information.

Source: HMRC refuses to charge rich and powerful people with tax evasion to ‘avoid damaging their reputation’ | Evolve Politics

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The Tories’ lack of a Brexit plan will harm the UK more than anything in last 50 years

Sir Michael Leigh.


This is hugely damaging for the UK’s reputation, let alone the country’s future.

Sir Michael Leigh is saying that David Davis has no authority as the UK’s lead negotiator, because there is division in the minority Tory government’s cabinet and no firm direction from the prime minister because she has lost power as a result of the general election she called for the sake of her own vanity.

Nobody believes that the Tories have prepared for Brexit negotiations in any serious way.

Nobody believes that a new free trade agreement will be in place in less than two years.

And nobody believes the UK will be able to pick and choose the conditions of EU membership it will be able to retain during any transitional period.

The EU has the upper hand – as does the strongest party in any negotiation. Theresa May should consider this carefully before launching any free trade negotiations with Donald Trump’s United States – but she probably won’t because she simply isn’t intelligent enough.

The decisions taken by Prime Minister Theresa May and her predecessor David Cameron over the UK’s relationship with Europe will be as harmful to Britain’s interests as any decision the government has taken for over 50 years, a former EU negotiator has told Business Insider.

“The decisions taken by the former prime minister David Cameron, exacerbated by the decisions taken by his successor, are the most harmful decisions that have been taken by a British government for decades,” Sir Michael Leigh, who was a European Commission Director-General from 2006 to 2011, [said].

“You have to go back to the Suez crisis in 1956 or to Munich in 1938 to find decisions taken by a British government that will turn out in time to have had such negative consequences for the United Kingdom.

“It’s clear that the Commission has used the full period since the notification under Article 50 to prepare detailed position papers.

“The general impression is that Britain has not used the time since notification to prepare detailed negotiating positions. The main reason for that is division among Cabinet ministers as to the approach to be taken and of course, that’s exacerbated now by the loss of the government’s majority and therefore the loss of authority for the prime minister.

“Michel Barnier [chief EU Brexit negotiator] may notionally have David Davis in front of him as his negotiating partner, but if senior Cabinet ministers go on record almost every day with divergent positions on key issues like the single market and transitional arrangements, then it’s a fact that the person opposite Barnier does not have the authority to take a clear and sustainable negotiation position.

Read more: Former EU Official: Conservative Brexit strategy the most harmful government policy for over 50 years


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