Tag Archives: domestic

Should the Royal Household take anti-racism training from the charity whose boss it abused?

As This Writer suggested in a previous article:

Mandu Reid, the leader of the Women’s Equality Party, has told Sky News that Meghan Markle’s claims of racism within the royal household have been “validated”.

It comes after Lady Susan Hussey, the godmother of Prince William, asked charity boss Ngozi Fulani at Buckingham Palace “what part of Africa are you from?”.

I really like the moment in this clip in which Ms Reid said she didn’t want Lady Hussey to step down, but to step up – acknowledge that racism exists in the Royal Household and that they will take steps to remove it.

Perhaps they could start by taking training from Sistah Space, the charity to which Ms Fulani belongs. It’s what that organisation does.

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Palace race incident was at supposed ‘safe space’ event

Charitable: Ngozi Fulani has said she would not like to see Lady Susan Hussey “vilified” because of her ill-chosen words.

At first, I thought this was a story about Prince Harry’s wife Meghan, and in a way it is.

She denounced racism in the Royal Household some time ago. I seem to recall she took a lot of stick for it – but now it seems she is vindicated after a charity representative from an ethnic minority was repeatedly asked where she was “really” from, by Prince William’s godmother.

Lady Susan Hussey, resigned after she repeatedly asked that question of Ngozi Fulani, a black British charity boss, at an event to support the Queen Consort’s campaign against domestic violence at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (November 29).

Ms Fulani recounted how said Lady Hussey, 83, approached her and moved her hair to one side to allow her to read her name tag – which some might say was already extremely presumptuous; high-handed.

Then – well, here’s Ms Fulani’s own account:

Lady SH: Where are you from?
Me: Sistah Space.
SH: No, where do you come from?
Me: We’re based in Hackney.
SH: No, what part of Africa are YOU from?
Me: I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records.
SH: Well, you must know where you’re from. I spent time in France. Where are you from?
Me: Here, UK.
SH: No, but what Nationality are you?
Me: I am born here and am British.
SH: No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?
Me: ‘My people’? Lady, what is this?
SH: Oh I can see I am going to have a challenge getting you to say where you’re from. When did you first come here?
Me: Lady! I am a British national, my parents came here in the 50s when-
SH: Oh, I knew we’d get there in the end. You’re Caribbean!
Me: No, lady, I am of African heritage, Caribbean descent and British nationality.
SH: Oh, so you’re from…

Ms Fulani said she believed the member of the Royal Household was trying to make her denounce her British citizenship, and the incident had led her to question how a situation like this could happen in a space “supposed to protect women against all kinds of violence”.

She said: “Although it’s not physical violence, it is an abuse.”

She added, charitably, that she did not want to see Lady Hussey “vilified” over her behaviour.

But that was always going to happen, I think – especially after some ill-advised Royal supporters chipped in to support Lady Hussey with the excuse that “she’s 83”:

George Stephens’s point is extremely strong – if also strongly-worded.

This Writer’s mother is of the same generation and would never treat another person in such a way. It simply would not occur to her.

I would say it was people of the generation before hers who may have displayed casual racism because they didn’t know any better. Most of them have passed away and that kind of behaviour should have passed with them.

If members of the Royal Household are displaying such traits, then it raises serious questions about standards there.

If I were from an ethnic minority, or an organisation that includes ethnic minorities in any way, I would certainly be having second thoughts about attending any Royal event in the future.

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University bosses are planning to price less wealthy students out of education

University cash claims: are foreign students really pushing lower-paying UK candidates out of education – or are they subsidising the places?

Tuition fees should never have been introduced, of course – and this just proves it.

The bosses of four universities – Sunderland, Cardiff, Sheffield Hallam and Gloucester – have said the government needs to increase the cost of tuition for UK students, or they will overlook domestic students in favour of foreigners.

They say the frozen rate of £9,250 for UK students is not enough, meaning they have to take on an increasing number of applicants from countries such as China and India, who pay average annual fees of £24,000.

It is certainly true that a fifth of places at Russell Group universities were awarded to overseas students, an increase of seven per cent compared to last year. Meanwhile, the number of British undergraduates declined by 13 per cent.

But are universities really suffering from anything other than greed?

The University and College Union (UCU) is currently balloting for industrial action on the basis that academic institutions finished the 2020/21 financial year with £3.4 billion more than they started it with – but rather than spend some of the money improving pay and conditions for staff, they are putting £4.6 billion into “vanity” construction projects.

If they have money for that, then they can’t be struggling too hard – can they?

And the government has claimed that the university bosses’ argument is false.

According to the Telegraph, a spokesperson said: “It is a myth that offering a place to an international student takes a place away from a student in the UK. They actually support the creation of more places for domestic students.”

And the government said it is providing £750 million in extra funding for universities over the next three years.

So it seems to This Writer that uni bosses are just getting greedy. Am I right?

Source: Tuition fees for British students must be increased, university bosses warn

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As England’s football team scales the heights, how many of its fans will be plumbing the depths?

Try to take this in:

“If England get beaten, so will she.

“Domestic violence increases 26% when England play, 38% if they lose.”

At a time when the England squad and its manager are winning universal praise for the examples they are setting – in leadership, against racism, and for any number of grassroots causes that, frankly, shame the UK’s fascist government, it shames the entire nation that so-called supporters are likely to respond like this.

It could be argued that people who inflict domestic violence on others are going to do it, no matter what the stimulus – but that doesn’t make it acceptable.

This Writer is no expert on what is to be done, so in the run-up to a match where tension will be at its highest for 55 years, and nerves are likely to be frayed to their limits, I can only echo the advice on the image:

“For help with a protective injunction text ‘NCDV’ to 60777 or call 0800 970 2070.”

If anybody has better or alternative suggestions, please send them in to the comment column.

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Tories vote down plan to register stalkers and domestic abusers – because of how it would affect them?

Priti Patel: she initially said she would support a register of stalkers and domestic abusers, but reneged on that promise when it came to a vote. Was it because it wouldn’t directly target immigrants?

Boris Johnson’s government is showing us in increasingly blatant ways that Tories only ever make law for their own profit.

David Cameron’s Greensill scandal came about because it seems he designed his law to register lobbyists specifically to ignore the lobbyists who would employ him in the future – to quote just one example.

So what are we to make of this?

The government is facing growing anger after voting against putting serial stalkers and domestic abusers on a national register, despite briefing they were likely to support the measures following the death of Sarah Everard.

Conservative MPs voted against amendments to the domestic abuse bill on Thursday that would have placed serial domestic abusers and stalkers on the current Violent and Sex Offender Register (Visor).

MPs also voted down House of Lords-supported amendments that would have given family court judges training on sexual abuse and provided greater protection to migrant victims of domestic violence.

Why would a Tory government reject a change in the law that would make people safer?

Is it because they don’t think it would affect them?

Or is it because they do? Think about it.

Source: Anger as Tory MPs vote against register for stalkers and domestic abusers | Domestic violence | The Guardian

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Brexiteers’ justification for breaking international law on Brexit is illiterate. Why hasn’t Braverman resigned?

Suella Braverman: She used to chair a secret group of Brexit-supporting MPs and is now Attorney General. Yes, she is as daft as she looks.

In trying to humiliate a leading Remainer – and justify its own contempt for international law – Boris Johnson and his government have made the UK a laughing-stock once again.

And our Attorney General, Suella Braverman, should be offering up her resignation. Rather than uphold the rule of law, she has sided with a government that intends to break it, turning the UK into nothing better than a rogue state.

Almost as bad, she offered as justification for this lawbreaking a Supreme Court ruling that Parliament is sovereign in domestic matters – a ruling won by Remain campaigner Gina Miller in a challenge to previous Brexit legislation.

But the same Supreme Court ruling made it clear that this does not excuse the UK government from honouring its obligations under international law.

Here’s Braverman’s statement, as exulted by Brexiteers. I’ve found a more level-headed response to it:

What is the appropriate response? This:

Perhaps. This:

Mmm… How about two in-depth Twitter threads? First this:

(After that lesson in the law, I think the Secret Barrister may be allowed to advertise a book about it.)

And then there’s this:

It is not for members of the public to challenge this.

I have a feeling that the Tory government will face serious and well-funded legal challenges both from within the UK and outside.

I am concerned that this will lead to an equally serious financial penalty – a bill that, once again, the taxpayer will have to pay.

We always end up bailing out these incompetent Tories when we should be sending them to jail instead.

Last word goes to Mark Elliott (again):

It is par for the course in a government that is as bent as a nine-bob note.

But Suella Braverman’s resignation is definitely required.

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If Tories don’t support abusers, why does Universal Credit push people to stay in abusive relationships?

Abuse: the Tories have ensured that people can’t escape if it means claiming Universal Credit. That way lie only debt, depression and mental breakdown.

Twisted Tory rules mean that people are financially encouraged to stay in abusive relationships rather than claim Universal Credit.

The Conservative government has deliberately weighted the conditions under which the so-called benefit is paid to make it more difficult for people to survive by claiming it than by living with an abuser – even if this means endangering their own lives.

People with disabilities are particularly at risk. But then, those of us who are familiar with the Tory record on disability have come to expect that.

Unite the Union has provided the story of Emma (not her real name), who lived a life of psychological abuse, control and marital rape until she was helped to divorce her husband and strike out on her own.

She did not think there would be any hardship as her husband, it seems, was a genuine skiver who refused to work, meaning she had been the main earner – despite being able to work only 24 hours per week, due to a serious autoimmune disease.

But the Tories made sure she would suffer.

Previously, as a working person, she had been receiving tax credits, and would have been better-off had she continued to do so.

But the Tories used her change of circumstances to force her onto Universal Credit, leaving her £350 per month worse-off.

There are several reasons for this:

The disabled worker allowance she used to receive under tax credits was stopped. This is because the allowance can only be accessed through a work capability assessment, which grants benefits to people unable to work, rather than for disabled people who can work.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has stated that this has resulted in a Catch 22 where “a worker must be assessed as not fit for work to receive targeted in-work support”.

Have you ever heard of anything as flat-out daft?

I bet if anyone tried to point it out, they’d have to fight an expensive court case before the Tories did anything about it, too.

Worse still, Emma ran into a problem that has now been challenged in court, with a ruling made against it:

Her wages are paid on the last Wednesday of every month rather than on the same date. This resulted in her claim being cancelled and her payments being stopped for three months. She was also ineligible to claim her entitlement back for the month in which the claim was ended.

This is a widely experienced problem for Universal Credit claimants whose regular wages are paid on different days each month and stems from an ill-considered policy stipulation that the benefit amount is calculated to a strictly defined time period.

Now Emma is among 85,000 people who should be able to claim compensation, after the Court of Appeal have ruled that it was “irrational” for the Department for Work and Pensions – and the Secretary of State in particular – to ignore the fact that computer systems would assume that claimant had received double the money expected and cancel their payments.

The Conservative government spent two years fighting this court case – indicating that, despite being well aware of the issue, Tories were determined to continue depriving some of the poorest workers in the UK of vital benefits – including victims of outrageous domestic abuse like Emma.

I asked in my previous article about the court case whether the Tories were sadists or perverts, commenting that “perverts” seemed closest to the mark as one of the judges had described the situation as “perverse”.

Considering Emma’s case, it seems they were sadists as well.

The court ruling came too late for her, by the way – forced into an ever-mounting debt crisis with not even an offer of support from the Department for Work and Pensions, the weight of a life suffering abuse came crashing over her and she suffered a nervous breakdown.

She is now diagnosed as suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

After 22 years as a healthcare professional in which she had always paid her bills, taxes and pension contributions, she now says she is “mortgaged up to the hilt… living off a credit card and have taken out two personal loans”.

So Universal Credit has put Emma exactly where the Tories want her – deeply in debt and forced to work like a beast of burden in the forlorn hope of clearing that debt again.

Consider the fact that 85,000 people are likely to have been put in the same situation by the ‘pay date’ scandal alone – never mind those who lost the disabled worker allowance, and it seems clear that the Tories are trying to create a “zombie economy” – with working people forced to wear themselves out trying to pay off an impossibly-high debt while their creditors sit back and count their profits.

It seems a limited amount of help is available for people who have suffered domestic abuse – but anyone seeking it must provide “written evidence” (of what kind?) within one month of discussing it with a work coach.

Emma is clear about the end result:

“Had I known that I would lose my tax credits and be transferred to Universal Credit before I separated from my ex-husband, I most definitely would have remained in the marriage and that is a worrying thought.

“Universal Credit, I believe, traps people in unhealthy relationships and causes more difficulties to individuals who are already in a vulnerable and distressing situation.”

So much for Iain Duncan Smith’s brainchild.

The only way for vulnerable people like Emma to avoid its debt trap is to go back into domestic degradation and abuse.

And the only conclusion we can draw is that Conservative politicians have designed the system to achieve this.

So it would be fair to say the Conservative government – and every MP who is a member of it – in league with the worst kind of physical, psychological and sexual abusers.

If they try to deny it, let them explain why they designed Universal Credit that way – and why they fight court cases to keep it that way.

Source: Domestic abuse survivor speaks out about Universal Credit nightmare

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Coronavirus: where’s the help for domestic abuse victims during lockdown?

Behind closed doors: abusers could be having the time of their life in the lockdown. What is the Tory government doing to protect victims?

Labour’s new Shadow Home Secretary is right on this.

But let’s not be too praising just yet; there has been a lot of concern about domestic abuse victims in the media, after the lockdown was announced. And for a very good reason.

After all, it was – potentially, at least – locking victims in with their abusers for periods of weeks at a time.

The “pressure cooker” effect has created increased demand for charity aid, with helplines and online advice sites raising concern.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has said victims of domestic abuse and child sexual abuse have not been forgotten – but she appears to have done nothing to help them.

What are they supposed to do?

Organisations providing domestic abuse support services during the Covid-19 crisis must get an emergency financial package from the government, the new shadow home secretary has said in his first intervention in the role.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, who was appointed to the shadow cabinet by the new Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sunday, has written to his Conservative counterpart Priti Patel to request funds for organisations that run “frontline” domestic abuse services, as well as to turn underused hotel chains and university halls into emergency accommodation.

Source: Labour urges emergency aid for domestic abuse services | Society | The Guardian

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This leading Tory just made a mockery of his party’s claims about the climate crisis

Climate denier: Matt Hancock.

So much for green Conservatism.

Matt Hancock has said he’s happy for the entire planet to burn, as long as businesspeople get to their meetings a bit quicker.

Oh, and he’s the Health Secretary, by the way.

Do you think that might be the reason the Tories have helped save the airline Flybe, when they couldn’t give a damn about retail firms like Mothercare (for example)?

This Conservative government is a sick joke – and the laugh is on everybody who voted for it.

The Tory Health Secretary has declared Brits should carry on taking short-haul internal flights despite the climate crisis.

Matt Hancock said people shouldn’t cut down on domestic air travel – because it’s quicker than taking the train.

It comes despite Chancellor Sajid Javid saying Tory plans for government were “the most green manifesto any party has ever published”.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “Either Matt Hancock thinks airplanes run on fairy dust, or he does know they’re a major source of planet-heating emissions but simply doesn’t care.

“Whichever it is, his comments fly in the face of the Conservative manifesto commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

Source: Top Tory says we should all carry on taking short flights despite climate crisis – Mirror Online

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Government fails to properly fund domestic abuse refuges: a war on the vulnerable

Domestic violence: 60 per cent of people fleeing domestic abuse are refused access to refuges. The government says it is providing more funding but one in six refuges have closed since 2010.

A Conservative mouthpiece was on the BBC’s Politics Live this morning, saying that Brexit must be pushed through because it was stopping MPs from dealing with poverty that affects £14 million people in the UK today.

But the foul funding of refuges shows that Tories are lying – or at least being frugal with the truth – about any intention to tackle poverty or help vulnerable people.

In fact, Tory behaviour is more like a war on the vulnerable.

Oh, they announce huge amounts of funding – like the £15m raised by Robert Jenrick – but they don’t mention that it won’t actually help any individuals.

What is the intention, then? Is it just to appear saintly while actually damning people in hard times to intolerable living conditions?

The government has been criticised for failing to offer a sustainable funding solution to refuges providing support to women fleeing domestic abuse which have been “ravaged” by austerity measures.

Robert Jenrick, the Communities Secretary, has announced an additional £15 million for refuges and safe accommodation projects in 2020 to 2021.

However, frontline service providers have hit out at the pledge and argue it will not help to tackle the “funding crisis” faced by refuges because it does not provide money which can be spent on day to day costs of service provision.

One in six refuges have closed since 2010 and local authority spending on refuges has been slashed from £31.2m in 2010 to £23.9m in 2017. Some 60 per cent of women are turned away from refuges because there is not enough space.

Source: Government criticised for failing to provide sustainable funding solution to domestic abuse refuges | The Independent

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