Tag Archives: destroy

Government is delaying Covid-19 inquiry, say bereaved families threatening court challenge

Satire? This image suggesting the Tories were lying about their Covid-19 strategy may be more accurate now than at the time it was made. Why is an inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic being delayed? Is evidence being altered or destroyed before it becomes illegal to do so?

Families who lost loved ones in the Covid-19 crisis are preparing a court challenge against the Tory government, which they fear is delaying an inquiry into its handling of the pandemic.

Boris Johnson appointed Baroness Hallett to chair the inquiry in December 2021, and has said it would begin in spring this year. But spring is over and no terms of reference have been published nor setting-up-date specified.

Under the 2005 Inquiries Act, an inquiry “must not begin considering evidence before the setting up date” and once an inquiry is under way it is an offence under the Act to destroy or tamper with evidence.

So the longer the setting up date is delayed, the more evidence it is possible for … someone… to alter or destroy.

That’s the concern of the group Covid-19 bereaved families for justice, who are planning a judicial review into the failure.

Elkan Abrahamson, head of major inquiries at Broudie Jackson Canter, who is representing the group, said taking legal action is the “last thing” families want but they may be left with no choice. He said: “In the vast majority of inquiries a setting-up date is given within days or weeks of the chair being appointed, so this delay of over six months is both unprecedented and totally inexplicable.

“The consequences are extremely serious, as it only becomes a criminal offence to destroy or tamper with evidence after the inquiry’s start date. By failing to give one, the Prime Minister is opening the door to key evidence being destroyed.”

Not only that, but a delay like this means it will take longer, and be more difficult, to learn lessons from the pandemic and the government’s failures in handling it.

Perhaps most to the point, though, is this: Boris Johnson has claimed that he needs to stay on as prime minister to “get on” with tackling the issues that matter most to people – but instead he is delaying a vital inquiry.

He can’t say it’s because he had to deal with the challenges to his own leadership because he has already told us he considers them to have been nothing more than a time-wasting sideshow; he should have been handling the issues that matter – not diverting time and energy to his own self-preservation.

All the government has been able to say is that the inquiry’s terms of reference will be published shortly. Nothing has been said about the setting-up date.

So, what’s really going on here? And do we need a judicial review to establish what’s really going on at the heart of our government?

Source: Bereaved ready to take Government to court over Covid inquiry delay

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Government plans to burn unused & unusable PPE – destroying the evidence?

This image never gets tired: the kind of “PPE” initially used by UK NHS staff is shown at bottom right.

Do you think it’s an accident that the Tory government is planning to destroy billions of pounds worth of Personal Protective Equipment it bought during the Covid-19 crisis, that proved to be unusable?

Of £12 billion the Department of Health (DoH – perhaps to be pronounced “D’oh!” in resemblance of Homer Simpson’s catchprhase whenever he does something idiotic) spent on PPE during the crisis, £8.7 billion had to be written off, including £4 billion because the equipment, including masks and gowns, did not meet NHS standards, was defective or not needed.

This was the time of Matt Hancock’s “VIP lane” procurement system that prioritised Tory friends and donors with no experience of providing medical equipment over firms of seasoned professionals. 24 per cent of the PPE contracts awarded are now in dispute.

Not only that but, in defiance of the government’s own pandemic plan, Boris Johnson had allowed supplies of protective equipment to dwindle before the pandemic struck. It was supposed to be possible to replenish them with “just in time” supplier contracts, but Johnson waited until too late to call them in; the (mostly Chinese) suppliers were already swamped by demand from their own health service and elsewhere.

Worse, he actually sent 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks – 278,800 items in total – to China, five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare”.

And now the DoH is planning to burn public money – literally – by incinerating the unusable equipment in order to generate power. It has not explained what the environmental impact of this plan will be.

Doesn’t it seem that the Tories are trying to destroy the evidence of their Covid-19 PPE mismanagement, before an inquiry into it is launched?

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How will minister be punished for replacing phone before it could be searched?

Lord Bethell: he previously claimed he never used his private accounts for official business so we know he’s a liar. Shouldn’t he be sacked by the Tory government?

The answer is that Lord Bethell probably won’t be punished at all.

But if he were involved in a criminal investigation (and he might as well be – as the awarding of many deals for supply of Personal Protective Equipment to Tory chums and/or donors who were incapable of providing it seems extremely crooked) and he ditched the evidence, he would be charged with a crime.

Here are the facts:

Labour has called for an inquiry into the use of WhatsApp within the government, after it emerged a health minister replaced his mobile phone before it could be searched for information relevant to £85m of deals that are subject to a legal challenge.

James Bethell, who oversaw the award of Covid contracts, is one of those under scrutiny over the way deals for personal protective equipment (PPE) and tests were allocated at the height of the pandemic.

As part of legal proceedings issued by the Good Law Project, the government is expected to disclose Lord Bethell’s correspondence including by email, WhatsApp and SMS relating to the award of £85m of contracts for antibody tests to Abingdon Health.

The secretary of state has a responsibility to preserve and search documents for information relevant to the case from the point at which judicial review proceedings were issued in late 2020, under the government’s “duty of candour”.

However, a witness statement from a government lawyer revealed Bethell replaced his phone in early 2021 and it may no longer be possible to retrieve the information about his dealings with Abingdon, although efforts are being made to recover them from his mobile phone provider.

The statement said Bethell had used his official email account as well as his private email account to send and receive emails relevant to the contracts, and that he had also used his mobile phone for SMS and WhatsApp messages. But it said Bethell had confirmed that about six months ago his phone was broken and replaced and that his new phone did not contain the phone data.

Government lawyers revealed Bethell had not been issued with a “preservation notice” requiring him to save documents because ministers’ official correspondence was routinely saved as a matter of course. However, this did not cover government business conducted by private means.

What does he have to hide?

When they’re under an investigation with legal consequences, people with nothing to fear don’t destroy the evidence.

And Bethell must know that the information will be available by other means – although logically there shouldn’t be anything to stop him from reactivating his WhatsApp, SMS and private email accounts. Why hasn’t he done so?

The fact that government preservation notices don’t cover business conducted by private means, while government ministers are allowed to carry out government business in that way and are trusted to duplicate it into the public system, is a huge opening for corruption.

And it seems clear that this particular minister has exploited it.

Maybe I’m wrong – and I’ll be happy to apologise of Lord Bethell can provide clear proof that he was not responsible for any wrongdoing.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

Source: Covid contracts: minister replaced phone before it could be searched | Health policy | The Guardian

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David Attenborough is preaching to the wrong people

Misguided: David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet preached the depressing truth that human beings are destroying their own ecosystem – to human beings who either aren’t or don’t have a choice – they must participate in it or starve. Nobody who can make a difference could care less.

Here’s everything that was wrong with David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet yesterday:

Sarah Vine, if you didn’t know, is not only a right-wing journalist but the wife of Michael Gove, who happens to be the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – a very senior Conservative government politician.

She doesn’t care about the harm her husband and his government’s policies are doing to the planet. She just wants to see pretty photography of elephants before they become extinct due to her husband’s bad decisions.

And, by virtue of being married to him, she has influence over such matters. She would never use it to stop other Tories (and exploiters from other countries and political parties) from ravaging the world for the sake of a quick buck.

Meanwhile, David Attenborough has been on the BBC telling you and me – I can’t do a single damn thing to stop the destruction of our ecosystem in the name of profit; can you? – that we’re responsible.

Doesn’t he recognise the contradiction in his own stance? He’s saying this on a TV channel that is run by supporters of the Conservative government (current BBC chair Richard Sharp has donated heavily to the Conservatives – more than £400,000 by 2010) and broadcasts Tory propaganda instead of news.

Indeed, just to rub it in our faces, the BBC ran an advert for its news programme right after A Perfect Planet, telling us that while we might have had a rotten time for the last few months – and be in for worse in the future, and it’s all very depressing (they’re sure), we are “not alone” and they are on our side.

Mrs Mike and I stared at this in amazement and disbelief and then both uttered the same explosive eight-letter expletive at the television (I’ll leave you to imagine what it was, for your own entertainment).

If Attenborough really wants to change the direction of travel, he would be demanding change from his BBC bosses but he isn’t.

Instead, all he has done is upset millions of ordinary people who have absolutely no say in such matters and cannot do anything about it.

Some of us may even be employed in jobs that worsen the situation, coerced into doing so by the fact that there is no other work available and they must either take part in the long-term murder of the ecosystem or starve in the short term. Attenborough didn’t mention that on his programme last night but it is a policy of the Conservative government that his employer supports.

I’m not saying he doesn’t make a good point, or shouldn’t be warning everybody about what is happening.

I’m just pointing out that his argument is misdirected. The people who could make a difference simply don’t care. They think he should shut up and show them nice piccies of elephants.

Attenborough stated in the film that his hopes now lie in the new generation of human beings – avoiding the fact that the vast majority will be even less able to change anything than his, or mine, due to political policies across the globe that are concentrating power in the hands of very few people.

I remember back in the 1980s, in the Genesis song Land of Confusion, Tory Phil Collins singing that his generation would “put it right”. His generation didn’t.

My generation hasn’t (to my infinite chagrin).

The next generation won’t have the opportunity.

Attenborough, bless ‘im, needs to get to grips with that reality.

Otherwise, he might just as well give up and give Sarah Vine her elephant pics.

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DWP admits abusing data protection laws to shred 50 reviews of benefit-related suicides

Not smiling: and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey really won’t be, once it gets through to her that the public now knows her department has been taking the p*ss out of all the people it has killed.

This is typical of the DWP: in the week that the minister for disabled people promises the department is working to improve its response to benefit-related deaths, we find it has been destroying records of them.

Particularly interesting for This Writer is the fact that they were records dated before 2015 – a period that I inquired about in a Freedom of Information request that the Department refused to honour.

I had to force the government to issue what turned out to be a tragically limited response, via an order from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

All of the above suggests that Linda Cooksey, sister of DWP victim Tim Salter (who took his own life after being deprived of benefits in 2013), was right to say the Department has been trying to “cover up” the facts.

It seems the DWP has feebly tried to excuse itself with a claim that the destruction was necessary due to data protection requirements.

But the Information Commissioner’s Office (again) has made it clear that there was no need to destroy any documents by a particular date, and in any case they could have been made subjects of a “public interest” protection.

It is interesting to hear that Stephen Timms, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, said there was a “lack of seriousness” about “putting things right when they go wrong”.

Perhaps that explains why Justin Tomlinson (the afore-mentioned minister for people with disabilities) was caught smirking during a debate about the DWP’s failure to address these issues.

So we see that the DWP minister was making fun of everybody who has suffered at the department’s hands, and the Department itself is laughing at anybody who seriously expects it to change its ways.

Source: ‘Cover-up’: DWP destroyed reports into people who killed themselves after benefits were stopped | The Independent

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Labour’s leader candidates seem determined to destroy their own party. Here’s how it works

Labour: why are those at the top consciously colluding on activities that are undermining the party?


Here’s a man with a very strong grip on current events at the top of the Labour Party.

This Site recently published a story about Simon Maginn calling on the Charity Commission to investigate examples of interference in politics by the Board of Deputies of British Jews – in what seem to be clear attempts to prevent the Labour Party from being elected to form a government.

He had already posted a 15-tweet thread on Twitter, detailing ways in which Labour’s leaders were themselves sabotaging the party by kowtowing to the desires of the Board of Deputies and like-minded anti-Labour groups.

But after This Writer’s recent run-in with people claiming to be acting against transphobia, it seems the steps work very well in relation to that, too.

See for yourself:

Note the part stating that no attempt will be made to resolve the issue. That’s how you know that the plan is simply to disrupt the Labour Party.

And pay close attention to the participants.

Now watch the news and see if Mr Maginn – and/or This Writer – is right.

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Tories split over plot to destroy the BBC

“Blatantly Backing Conservatives”: and a fat lot of good it did the BBC! De facto Tory leader Dominic Cummings wants the BBC privatised and he has employed ‘Minister for Murdoch’ John Whittingdale to do it.

Days after the man formerly known as the Minister for Murdoch returned to the government, unelected leader Dominic Cummings has apparently declared war on the BBC.

It seems Cummings was just waiting to get the right man for the job – and the well-connected Whittingdale fitted the bill perfectly.

So it fell to The Sunday Times to herald the forthcoming assault on our national broadcaster:

“Downing Street turned on the BBC last night — vowing to scrap the television licence fee and make viewers pay a subscription. The national broadcaster could also be compelled to downsize and sell off most of its radio stations.

“In a plan that would change the face of British broadcasting, senior aides to the prime minister insisted that they are “not bluffing” about changing the BBC’s funding model and “pruning” its reach into people’s homes.

“The blueprint being drawn up in government will:

“● Scrap the licence fee and replace it with a subscription model

“● Force the BBC to sell off the vast majority of its 61 radio stations but safeguard Radio 3 and Radio 4

“● Reduce the number of the corporation’s national television channels from its current 10

  • “Scale back the BBC website
  • “Invest more in the BBC World Service”

It’s an interesting plan – especially, as Zelo Street points out, considering the fact that the BBC’s current agreement with the government runs until 2027, three years after the current Tory government’s term runs out.

Cummings is either incredibly confident of getting a new term with his puppet Boris Johnson, or he’s sure that Tory plants in the Labour Party will keep it riven by controversy and unable to mount a meaningful challenge.

That blog also points out that the plan has not been properly thought through: how can the government expect to dictate that BBC stars can’t have second jobs if they become part of a subscription service that is independent?

The announcement has provoked considerable debate online – and a clear contradiction has emerged in that most of those who oppose the BBC are only angry with it’s pro-Tory current affairs bias. It would be lunacy to think the Tories are going to create more balance!

(It’s worth pointing out that Raj Ganesh – above – considers the Conservative Party to be left wing and may therefore be considered a far-right extremist. That’s the kind of person who really hates the BBC. But expect also his phrase “telly tax” to catch on – Tories love that kind of thing.)

But it seems the plan does not have wholehearted support – even within Conservative Party ranks. Sure, some have described it as “Tory vandalism”…

… and, sure, some Tories have helped undermine the BBC and are now using the results of their own actions as reasons to attack it again…

… but some are standing by it:

Before anybody jumps in and tries to rubbish Mr Green’s opinion because of his past connection with certain forms of online… entertainment… let’s just remember that Whittingdale had a relationship with a female sex worker that only ended when he discovered the story was likely to be sold to the tabloid press.

And Mr Green isn’t alone, anyway. The Independent reports:

“Huw Merriman, another Conservative MP who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, also warned that the corporation should “not be a target”.

“Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said ‘it feels as if senior government aides are now ramping up an unedifying vendetta against this much-admired corporation’.

“A third Tory MP, Damian Collins, a former chair of the Commons culture committee, added: “No surprise that no-one has put their name to this destructive idea.

“’This would smash the BBC and turn it from being a universal broadcaster to one that would just work for its subscribers. The biggest losers would be the UK’s nations and regions.’”

The consensus among Tory opponents of the plan is that it will cost the party votes.

Personally, I don’t think that will stop Dominic Cummings.

He wants to smash everything of “cultural importance”, as Steve Coogan put it, to the UK. He’ll happily sell the lot to foreign investors and see all the money we earn dribble abroad, reducing the UK to Third World status. The NHS is set to be privatised, with the profit-making parts sold off to the US, remember.

Now why would a patriotic UK citizen want to do such a thing?

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Supporters up in arms that HS2 might not be allowed to ruin irreplaceable natural habitats

Saddened: After all David Attenborough’s warnings about damage to the ecosystem on which human beings rely, it seems English people are quite happy to condemn species upon species to extinction in order to shorten their rail journeys by 20 minutes.

The HS2 high-speed rail link between London and the north of England could divide and destroy “huge swathes” of “irreplaceable” natural habitats – but supporters are reportedly devastated that part of it may be scrapped.

So much for our concern for the environment. Nobody cares that any number of rare species could die out, as long as they get to their destination 20 minutes faster.

And after all the warnings from David Attenborough. I wonder how he feels, now he knows he was wasting his breath on the general public.

It may seem trivial but it contributes to the expected destruction of a million animal species, ruining entire ecosystems on which human beings depend, as Sir David says, “for every breath of air we take and every mouthful of food that we eat.”

No, no – you’d rather make your journey 20 minutes shorter.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what members of the general public think.

It seems the Tory government is likely to scale down or even cancel HS2, because politicians like Boris Johnson want to put the money elsewhere.

Johnson’s transport adviser, Andrew Gilligan, is known to be against HS2, and Dominic Cummings, his chief adviser, is also not keen, having described it last year as a “white elephant”.

Johnson has for months been expected to endorse HS2 if it can reduce its costs, after commissioning a review by Douglas Oakervee, which is understood to support the whole line going ahead.

However, the government is dragging its feet over the publication of the Oakervee report and final decision, claiming the document is not finished yet even though it was submitted to the Department for Transport in November.

A DfT source insisted “there is no final report” as Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, “had some questions” about earlier drafts and it was sent back for revisions.

It seems that, if the government does cancel or restrict HS2, it will have made the right choice, at long last – although, as usual, for the wrong reasons.

Source: HS2 supporters fear Boris Johnson plans to scrap part of rail project | UK news | The Guardian

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Labour urges Boris Johnson not to sign trade deal that would aid Amazon destruction

Bolsonaro’s legacy: The fires set in the Amazon rainforest, apparently on the order of the Brazilian president – and the cost to animal life. Boris Johnson seems keen to contribute to this slaughter.

Look at the images above and bear in mind that Boris Johnson may try to sign a trade deal with Brazil that would accelerate the deaths of these animal breeds and the destruction of the so-called “lungs of the world”.

In world trade terms, after Brexit, he’ll be a beggar and not a chooser, meaning if Jair Bolsonaro – the Brazilian president most people consider responsible for the fires destroying the rainforest and its animal habitats as I type this – tells him to sign a deal that increases the harm, he’ll do it.

Labour has appealed to Mr Johnson to show sense, pointing out that “We cannot risk our planet to buy cheap beef.”

But when has BoJob ever shown any sense at all?

Consider this, from the Independent‘s report:

Mr Johnson has refused to join French president Emmanuel Macron and Irish premier Leo Varadkar in threatening to block a South American trade deal if Mr Bolsonaro fails to live up to his commitments to protect the environment.

Stressing his unwillingness to disrupt trade at a time when fears of a global showdown are rising, the PM said that some leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz were using the catastrophic wildfires in the Amazon as an “excuse” to interfere with free trade.

He hasn’t got a clue.

And if he has his way, we’ll all end up breathing ashes instead of oxygen. Who will he blame then?

Source: Labour demands Johnson refuse to sign post-Brexit Brazil trade deal that aids Amazon destruction | The Independent

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Labour’s pre-budget message shows how Tory austerity will make society collapse


Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond is due to announce his latest Budget on Monday afternoon (October 29) – with a new set of austerity measures designed to hammer the poor and cosset the rich.

Don’t believe Theresa May’s pleading that austerity is over! If that were true, Hammond would be restoring services across the country – and you won’t see that in his statement.

No – austerity is here as long as we have penny-pinching Conservatives.

But the Labour Party has released new video messages showing exactly what this means for the fabric of UK society – and it’s not a pretty picture.

See for yourself. Here’s the first:

And now try this:

Get the message? Then please share the videos.

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