Tag Archives: delay

Excoriating report on Tory concentration camps is buried on last day of Parliament

Priti Patel doesn’t like answering hard questions: in this image she was defending Boris Johnson over ‘herd immunity’ so no wonder she has dodged interrogation over herding immigrants into overcrowded concentration camps to catch Covid-19 or get burnt when fires break out.

The Tories made sure a searing report on their failure to provide habitable accommodation for immigrants would not receive proper scrutiny – by releasing it the day after the relevant Parliamentary committee met for the last time before the summer recess.

The delay is all the more deplorable because Priti Patel has had the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration for months – but sat on it because she doesn’t like to be criticised – poor widdle baby!

According to the Mirror, the report only came out now because Labour’s Yvette Cooper accused Patel of delaying its release “for many months” in a “Kafkaesque” situation.

(Has Patel read Kafka? She probably thought he was a grotty foreign Communist and stuck to Ayn Rand and Mein Kampf.)

Conditions in her camps at Penally, Pembrokeshire, and Napier Barracks in Kent, certainly reflect the philosophy of Nazism (such as it is).

The reports findings certainly suggest that Patel followed Hitlerian thinking. It said overcrowding meant a major Covid outbreak at Napier was “virtually inevitable” once just one person was infected.

There was no way to isolate anybody; the outbreak eventually infected hundreds of people. Did anybody die? This Writer hasn’t seen the statistics.

And the report said: “Despite a large fire at Napier, inadequate action had been taken to address ongoing serious fire safety concerns.”

Furthermore, it said: “Managers at both sites lacked the experience and skills to run large-scale communal accommodation.

“Home Office staff were rarely present at either site. There were fundamental failures of leadership and planning by the Home Office, which had led to dangerous shortcomings in the nature of the accommodation and poor experiences for the residents.”

Yes indeed – they were locked into the camp, packed together like sardines, and treated like criminals even though they had not committed any crime.

A Home Office spokesperson said the government department has made “significant improvements” since the report was put together – which itself indicates that Patel withheld its release for an unacceptably long time.

And there has been a strong effort to hide events at the camp from public view. I’m not just referring to the intimidation of a photographer who took images of protests outside, either.

Simply withholding the report while changes were made is dishonest. It should have been published on receipt, and independent reviewers invited to examine any changes, to ensure that they were fit for purpose.

That hasn’t happened.

It is easy to form your own conclusion about the reason: Patel is a racist and hates immigrants – especially because she is herself a daughter of immigrants.

Source: All the bad news the Tory government buried hours before MPs’ summer holiday – Mirror Online

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Forde inquiry into leaked Labour anti-Semitism report delayed – but does it matter?

Jeremy Corbyn: the Forde Inquiry could have exonerated him from any implications of support for anti-Semitism but it seems to have been gagged from doing so.

Martin Forde QC’s report on the leaked report into the way anti-Semitism was handled by Labour Party officers has been delayed. But does it really matter after its focus was watered down to almost nothing?

Mr Forde told Labour’s National Executive Committee he was delaying his report to avoid prejudicing an inquiry by the Information Commissioner’s Office into whether the leak breached data protection laws.

But is this really likely, considering that the Forde Inquiry is apparently now focused only on examining “the structure, culture and practices of the Labour Party”.

It had originally been charged with some much more interesting and worthwhile purposes.

But in an all-but-ignored announcement last summer, Mr Forde announced that he would not, after all, “investigate and report on the truth or otherwise of the main allegations in the report”.

This was the inquiry’s most important purpose. The report had produced a mountain of evidence which, if true, cleared Corbyn of claims that he had been complacent on anti-Semitism.

Instead, it implicated party officials who had been among his fiercest critics with claims that they actively worked to prevent the party as led by Corbyn from winning a general election.

If the claims were found to be true, then claims that Corbyn and his supporters were soft on – or even supported – anti-Semitism would have been exposed as primarily a witch-hunt.

But now, nobody is checking the basic accuracy of the report at all.

Also ditched was the requirement to investigate why the report was written and how it was leaked.

So it seems there is little point in being concerned about when the Forde Report will be released. It simply won’t provide any information worth waiting for.

Source: Labour: Report into anti-Semitism dossier leak delayed – BBC News

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If the long-awaited Environment Bill has to be delayed, why not use the time to make it useful?

Pollution: the Bill will contain provisions to improve air quality – but not in the immediate future, and the watchdog body it will set up is unlikely to have any teeth.

Do you think it’s bizarre that our government(s) tell us constantly that their actions are for the good of the country, but they always seem to postpone anything for the good of the planet?

The case in point is the decision to postpone, yet again, an Environment Bill that has been waiting for a reading in the House of Commons since 2018.

Campaigners say the delay will harm action to lessen air pollution and improve water quality.

Ministers say the delay is necessary because of the amount of time being taken up by the Covid-19 crisis.

Dispassionate onlookers might say this discussion seems pointless anyway, as Boris Johnson’s government has resoundingly failed to cope with the pandemic on any meaningful level.

The Bill sets out a framework by which ministers can impose new targets on vital issues like air pollution and water quality, waste, resource use and biodiversity, which were previously regulated under EU directives.

But the bill as it stands makes these into long-term targets, meaning direct efforts to cut pollution may be left in limbo.

If passed into law, the legislation will create a new Office for Environmental Protection – a watchdog body that campaigners fear will not be sufficiently independent or powerful under the current bill.

The bill also includes measures to ensure consumers in the UK no longer contribute to the destruction of vast swaths of forested land overseas, through new rules intended to stop the import of goods to the UK from areas of illegally deforested land. UK businesses will need to show that the products they source that could come from at-risk areas – wood, but also soy, palm oil, beef, leather and other key commodities – are from supply chains free from deforestation. Breaches of the rules will incur fines.

So all in all, the Bill looks like reducing, rather than increasing, environmental protections.

It seems to This Writer that, if it must be delayed, then this is an opportunity to do some background work.

I remember hearing that US president Lyndon Johnson used to do much of his work in the backrooms of Congress, persuading (I won’t speculate on his methods) Congresspeople to support his laws – or finding ways to make them acceptable.

Perhaps if the Tories currently working on the Environment Bill – Rebecca Pow is named in the Guardian report – spend the spring and summer polishing it up to ensure that there are quantifiable short- and medium-term targets, and their new Office for Environmental Protection actually has the clout to live up to its name, then the amount of discussion time in Parliament could be cut down, the Bill could sail through and everybody will be (belatedly) happy.

But that may be too much like common sense.

Source: Fury as long-awaited UK environment bill is delayed for third time | Environment | The Guardian

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Tory vaccinations will provide only LIMITED protection for a SHORT time

Complacent flag-waver: Dominic Raab seems to think that a display of patriotism and an inane half-grin will excuse him for leaving the UK’s population unprotected while lying to them that they’ll be safe against Covid-19.

First we were told everybody would be fully vaccinated. That didn’t last long!

It required people to receive two doses – of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, three weeks apart.

Then the Tories sniffed a public relations opportunity and decided to go for numbers, so they said they would concentrate on getting the first jab into as many people as possible, meaning the second would have to be delayed until three months later.

Pfizer has already stated that this is likely to make the vaccine ineffective, the first shot long having worn off by then.

Now it seems the Tories are not sure they can even deliver this delayed service:

Cabinet minister Dominic Raab has refused to guarantee that all people who have received a first dose of coronavirus vaccine will get a second jab within 12 weeks.

The foreign secretary was repeatedly pressed in an interview on Sky News to give a firm guarantee that supplies of the vaccines would be sufficient to deliver the second injection within the target time.

But he declined to do so, instead saying: “We absolutely are aiming for that We should be able to deliver it… We’re quietly confident”.

The meaning is clear but for those who need it spelled out, here it is:

Source: Covid vaccine: Raab refuses to guarantee everyone will receive second dose | The Independent

Now we have a vaccine, Boris Johnson is messing with it. Hasn’t he done enough harm?

Only in Tory Britain would a government approve a vaccine, then ensure that people don’t get the doses they need.

The makers of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine have issued a warning about “alternative dosing” after the UK’s chief medical officers approved a change in guidance.

Now, instead of providing the second – booster – dose of the vaccine three weeks after the first injection, the jabs may be delivered up to 12 weeks later (nearly three months).

A spokesperson said: “There are no data to demonstrate that protection after the first dose is sustained after 21 days.”

The diffference has sparked something of a war of words between the chemists and Chris Whitty. His organisation said:

In terms of protecting priority groups, a model where we can vaccinate twice the number of people in the next 2-3 months is obviously much more preferable in public health terms than one where we vaccinate half the number but with only slightly greater protection.

But that’s not what Pfizer is saying.

The claim is that providing the booster jab so late means there will be no protection from Covid-19 at all.

It seems Boris Johnson is offering people the illusion of protection, while in fact making us more vulnerable to infection (because people who’ve had one jab will think they are safe when in fact – according to Pfizer – they aren’t).

And there is even a suggestion that doctors will be asked to mix vaccines, so that people who have had the first Pfizer/BioNTech dose might get the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab as their second. What possible good will that do? They aren’t the same.

Doctors are complaining because they have been told to mess the most vulnerable people in the UK around – contacting them to say their booster shots have been delayed.

The move has prompted criticisms that this is a public relations con by the Conservative government. The reasoning is clear and obvious:

It looks much better to say a million people have been vaccinated (albeit with one shot) than that half a million people have had the full protection of the initial injection and the booster.

And here’s Matt Hancock:

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock said one million people have been given the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the UK.

It’s clear that the critics have a good point.

And what will Boris Johnson say if a person who’s had the inoculation catches Covid and dies? “Bah!” isn’t going to impress anybody.

Source: COVID-19: Chief medical officer Chris Whitty warns coronavirus vaccine shortages will last months | UK News | Sky News

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Did ‘activist lawyers’ tell Home Office its Windrush compensation scheme was a disaster, too?

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

How unfortunate for the Home Office that it should fall foul of the lawyers twice in one day.

Or is it perhaps a sign of the Johnson government’s disregard for the law?

The Tory government’s much-maligned Windrush Compensation Scheme has been trashed by – one would expect – activist lawyers from no fewer than nine separate firms.

They say it is failing to provide access to justice – a claim that can only have gained validity after it was revealed that the HO tried to rush-deport 23 people illegally, because it had not allowed them their right to appeal.

The – activist – lawyers also said that while the Windrush scandal traumatised its victims, the compensation scheme is only worsening the trauma.

The HO has already confirmed that at least five people who applied for compensation died before receiving it.

Lawyers say they have experienced significant delays and difficulties filing claims for clients who were wrongly classified as illegal immigrants and lost their jobs, housing or pensions as a result.

The letter says many applications appear to be “appear to be lost in a kind of bureaucratic limbo”, with some people forced to wait more than a year for decisions.

Look at this:

The decision to put the Home Office in charge of processing of claims was particularly problematic, they write, given the criticisms of the department made in Wendy Williams’ official inquiry into the scandal. Williams’ report identified a “culture of disbelief and carelessness” within the Home Office and “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race”.

And now let’s all remember that the Home Office is carrying out its own inquiry into the death of refugee Mercy Baguma. What chance does justice have in a “culture of disbelief and carelessness” with “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race”?

Coincidentally (or is it?) yesterday HO permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft announced:

Perhaps inevitably, this was one of the responses:

Source: Windrush payout scheme not fit for purpose, say lawyers | Windrush scandal | The Guardian

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Universal Credit claimants have been forced to wait 11 weeks for benefits

Hundreds of thousands of universal credit claimants have been forced to wait for around 11 weeks to receive their benefits, it has been revealed:

The National Audit Office (NAO) finds that although the government has significantly improved the proportion of claims paid on time – from 55 per cent to 90 per cent in the last three years – “unclear” communication from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has caused people with complex needs and circumstances to “slip through the net”

In 2019, new claimants who were paid late faced average delays of three weeks in addition to the five-week wait for a first universal credit payment. Around 6 per cent of households – amounting to 105,000 new claims – waited around 11 weeks or more, according to the report.

There have been 2.5 million new household claims for universal credit since mid-March, with one in five adults in Britain having applied or planned to apply for benefits as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NAO carried out the research before the pandemic hit, but the watchdog said the issues raised were only going to become more important as the economic upheaval caused by the crisis continue.

And the Tories said they’ve been handling this so well!

For the record, 11 weeks is more than twice as long as claimants should expect to wait – and it is well-known that the five-week wait is considered to push people into poverty and debt.

How much worse have the Tories made it for all the claimants they’ve had since the Covid lockdown?

Source: Hundreds of thousands of universal credit claimants forced to wait 11 weeks for benefits, watchdog warns | The Independent

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Review of harmful impact of Covid-19 crisis on BAME people delayed twice – because it shows RACISM?

Racism is hard-wired into Conservatives. This poster was from 1964 and attitudes haven’t changed since then.

When the Tories delay a review of the impact of Covid-19 on black and minority ethnic communities because of “worries” around “current global events”, you know the result can’t be good.

Considering “current global events” include escalating riots in the United States over the way the authorities treat black people, you can expect it to be scandalous.

Demonstrations against the attitudes that caused George Floyd’s death have taken place in the UK and it seems logical that the Tory government – already well-known for its racist policies and racist prime minister – would not want to enflame feelings to boiling-point.

But it makes perfect sense for the review to show that BAME people have been disproportionately harmed by Covid-19 – because the Conservative government has prioritised help away from them.

We already know that Tory Covid-19 policies have been disablist and ageist – look at the massacre in our care homes. Harm to BAME people completes their hat-trick.

Look at the language in the Sky News report:

They now say it has been delayed further because it is in “close proximity to the current situation in America” and it would be a “bad combination” if it was released amid global outrage over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

One Whitehall source told Sky News: “The government won’t be able to put this out without concrete and solid next steps.”

To make matters worse, the Department of Health has tried to deny that the killing of George Floyd had anything to do with the delay.

This comes from the organisation that claimed the UK had enough personal protective equipment and ventilators for everyone, and that 100,000 tests were carried out on a day when only 70,000 took place.

We’re left with the obvious question:

Is it better to withhold the review and let us all think government policy has been racist – or to release it and have our suspicions confirmed?

Source: Coronavirus: Review into impact of COVID-19 on BAME community delayed again | UK News | Sky News

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Coronavirus delays former Labour member’s day in court

The arena: The lies Labour used to expel one member are to be exposed at Bristol Civil Justice Centre.

Remember the court case This Writer launched against the Labour Party, after I was expelled on a trumped-up anti-Semitism charge?

It was set for trial at Bristol Civil Justice Centre on May 26 – until the Covid-19 lockdown happened.

Obviously the lockdown won’t be lifted by next Tuesday, which is when May 26 actually falls, so the court got in touch with both myself and Labour’s solicitors to see if a telephone hearing or a hearing based on the papers alone could take place. We have agreed that they cannot.

So the case has been adjourned.

It has now been set down to be heard on October 2 this year, at Bristol Civil Justice Centre (Redcliff Street, Bristol), starting at 10am. I am happy for press and public to attend.

My case is that Labour faked evidence and then passed it to like-minded members of the press, in order to create a false impression that I was an anti-Semite. The party then used this as an excuse to expel me.

As I stated before:

The party breached its own disciplinary rules and regulations, and data protection procedures – in the process breaking the Data Protection Act – in its determination to expel a perfectly innocent member with one of the most abhorrent smears there can be.

But party leaders did not realise that they had laid themselves wide open to a legal challenge in the courts – over breach of contract.

The party is governed by its rule book and it broke those rules in its attack on me. I feel sure that other people will have been similarly wronged.

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Disabled benefit claimants are sidelined* again as DWP assessors diverted to Universal Credit

Once again the Tory government shafts people with disabilities.

More than a quarter of a million people who should be receiving sickness and/or disability benefits are falling into debt because the DWP is forcing them to wait for a decision while it deals with coronavirus-related Universal Credit claims.

Yes – it is important to help the people claiming UC because the government’s lockdown deprived them of their income. We must not hold a grudge against them because they were dumped in a bad situation.

But the Tory government has a responsibility of care – in which it failed by diverting staff to handle UC and cutting PIP (Personal Independence Payment) and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) claimants adrift.

Why not just divert staff who would have been working in job centres? Why not employ somebody new, on a temporary basis, if necessary?

These are rhetorical questions.

The answer is that no Conservative government will lift a finger to help people with illnesses and disabilities if it can find an excuse not to.

People who are physically or mentally infirm are unable to work for Tory-supporting employers and are therefore of no use to that party.

As Tories consider all working people to be nothing more than “stock”, we may conclude that they consider sick or disabled people to be defective stock, and therefore fit only to be scrapped.

This is the only rational explanation for the way Tories have treated people who deserve as much respect as anybody else.

The worst of it is that these overlooked claimants probably expect to receive attention as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends. This is doubtful; the Tories will find another excuse to make them wait.

Reason: making sick and disabled people wait is a great way of making them die, without any fear of blame.

Figures published by the DWP in response to a parliamentary written question show that as of 27 April there were 166,630 personal independence payment (PIP) claimants with either an assessment scheduled or awaiting scheduling. As of 4 May, 101,910 people were waiting on employment support allowance (ESA) claims.

Charities are also concerned that people who are trying to appeal decisions to reduce their sickness and disability benefits are facing longer than usual delays.

*Feel free to read in a more colourful verb of your choice.

Source: Coronavirus: Hundreds of thousands of benefit claimants facing delays as DWP staff diverted due to pandemic | The Independent

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