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Covid-19: recriminations as the UK heads for disaster on July 19

The UK is well on-target to have more than 50,000 new Covid-19 infections per day by July 19 – when Boris Johnson insists on unlocking all lockdown restrictions and abdicating any responsibility for the consequences.

Today – July 15 – the UK recorded 48,553 new cases and 63 deaths (within 28 days of a positive test) – those are the highest levels since January 15 and March 26 respectively.

More than 1,200 scientists have signed a letter accusing the Tory government of “recklessly exposing millions to the acute and long-term impacts of mass infection”.

Branding the government’s plans “dangerous and premature”, it described Johnson’s strategy as “herd immunity by mass infection” and said that opening the country should be delayed until “everyone, including adolescents, have been offered vaccination and uptake is high”.

“A strategy that chooses mass infection in children and young people now as a way to protect the vulnerable in winter, instead of taking the time to vaccinate our young is unethical and unscientific,” the letter added.

It also said the pandemic plan risked “burdening a generation with long Covid, the long-term consequences of which are unknown”.

Lancet editor-in-chief Richard Horton has accused government Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty of “wilfully misrepresenting scientific opinion across the country”.

He said: “I found it extraordinary that the Chief Medical Officer suggested and emphasised that there was widespread agreement across the scientific community whereas in fact there is profound disagreement in the scientific community.

“He did not mention the letter… that we published, and I’m afraid I have to conclude that the Chief Medical Officer is wilfully misrepresenting scientific opinion across the country, and that is extraordinary to observe.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that the city’s transport network will continue to make wearing face masks mandatory after July 19 – and cartoonists have gleefully seized on the obvious opportunity for satire:

A SAGE expert has warned that young people in particular will suffer “acute Covid injury” – damage to their lungs and kidneys that will seriously harm their future health – due to the felaxation of social distancing restrictions:

Economist Richard Murphy raises another concern – that the decision to relax face mask rules was down to Tory vanity. He points to an article in the Financial Times, to which this tweet refers:

“The message is loud and clear,” Murphy states. “The right-wing of the Tory party want to end Covid restrictions without caring for the consequences. The government knows that this is madness, but will not rely on Labour votes to retain masks. And so, to save Boris Johnson masks must go, even if (as will happen) thousand will die as a result.

“This is democide in action.”

Read it yourself via this tweet:

It seems thousands of people are to die because Boris Johnson is scared of his backbenchers – and too proud to rely on support from Keir Starmer – that he has enjoyed throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

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Has the government announced that July 19 will be ‘Freedom Day’ to catch #LongCovid?

‘Covid Boris’: this satirical image was made when Johnson caught the virus in April 2020. He didn’t get Long Covid – and you can bet that he

According to the BBC’s Panorama, 33,000 children are suffering with Long Covid. Didn’t the government tell us children didn’t get Covid-19?

Wow. 33,000 children sentenced to lose an undetermined length of their life because the government they didn’t even elect is incompetent – or, worse, intended to harm them.

And some of you, reading this, will argue that it doesn’t even exist. It is this kind of ignorance that gives Boris Johnson the space to inflict the damage.

In fact, it does exist. It does harm people continually over a period of months and years. There is no established treatment for it because it is a new disease and the causes of the symptoms it produces are not known.

And thanks to more than 10 years of Tory defunding – because they want to privatise the NHS – the health service does not have the capacity to research Long Covid, let alone treat it.

According to Lucy Adams, in the programme, many thousands of people are likely to be off work for years, with a huge knock-on impact on the UK’s society, economy and culture.

Why does Boris Johnson want that?

Why has he decided to remove social distancing restrictions just as infections of a new, more virulent strain of Covid-19 are increasing exponentially?

He says he wants the country to get back to normal but the decision to end restrictions now is – according to the scientists from SAGE – definitely going to put more people in hospital, give more people Long Covid, and send more people to their graves.

And Johnson knows this.

He is deliberately crippling the UK for years to come.

Source: Long Covid: Will I ever get better? – BBC News

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Tories are preparing to delay lockdown end date after Covid infections skyrocketed

Jabber Johnson: Boris Johnson has invested everything in the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccinations – but a quarter of new infections are in people who have had both injections.

The weekend turned out to be a disaster for the Tories, after all their crowing about getting Covid infections and deaths down.

On Bank Holiday Monday the government recorded no Covid-19 deaths for the first time in more than a year – but the euphoria over that was short-lived.

It was a statistical blip caused by the fact that the people who record deaths had been on holiday.

Since then, with the arrival of the Indian delta variant in the UK due to Boris Johnson’s ridiculous insistence on keeping our borders open to anybody with the virus, infection rates have skyrocketed – on Saturday, 70 per cent more people were recorded to have contracted it than the previous Saturday.

The disease is being transmitted most commonly through secondary schools after Johnson said pupils there should take off their masks.

And now we discover that one in 25 people who have been infected with the new strain are supposed to be fully inoculated against it, having had both the required vaccination injections:

What a homicidal idiot Johnson is!

So now the Tories are having to backtrack on their plan to finish lifting lockdown restrictions on June 21:

Matt Hancock says 21 June is a “not before” date for ending England’s remaining restrictions.

They are going to extend the agony for all of us – and, incidentally, harm the economy that has been their “sacred cow” throughout the crisis, because they keep making the same damned stupid mistakes.

And they’re stupid enough to think that we haven’t noticed.

Are they right, though?

I fear they may be.

After all, they’re only in power because people were stupid enough to believe the Tories’ claims that Jeremy Corbyn would be worse. And now we know he couldn’t possibly have been.

Source: Covid-19: Government ‘open’ to delaying 21 June England lockdown end date – BBC News

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Queen’s Speech confirms it: Boris Johnson is renewing his attack on your freedom – because it’s what Britain wanted

Manifesto commitment: the Conservatives made their plan to end democracy clear in their 2019 election manifesto. Every Conservative voter demanded an end to democracy and a slide into dictatorship.

Boris Johnson is getting back to business after the Covid crisis – and his business is stripping you of the liberties and freedoms your ancestors fought hard to win over the last several hundred years.

Be in no doubt: you will have lost most of your rights by the end of this Parliamentary term, and you can thank your Tory-voting neighbour for making it happen.

Included in the Queen’s Speech were announcements that all three main planks of the attack on democracy – listed on Page 48 of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, so everybody who voted Tory absolutely supported them – are still going forward. They are:

  • Removing your right to protest so they can use the police and armed forces to put down any dissent.

  • Imposing dictatorship by ensuring that the courts cannot stop the Tories from breaking the law.

  • Imposing indefinite Conservative government.

The only one of these that has been given prominence by the mainstream media is the last – the planned repeal of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. This has been reported as meaning that Johnson would be able to call elections before his Parliament has served its full five-year term.

But it could also mean that he will allow himself to delay elections indefinitely.

The FTP Act repealed the previous electoral law that allowed prime ministers to call elections at any time during their five-year term, but demanded that they must call an election to be held after five years, no matter what.

So repealing the FTP Act means that unscrupulous prime ministers like Johnson would be able to call elections whenever they liked – or simply neglect to call them at all and remain in power indefinitely.

This is what will happen unless he specifically writes new limitations on Parliamentary terms into his new law. And why would a corrupt liar like Johnson do that when he has a majority of 80 seats in the Commons and can currently do whatever he likes without fear of punishment?

Worse still, the new legislative programme includes more attacks on democracy, the most important being the planned limitation of the right to vote to those who can afford to show the proper photographic identification.

This, Johnson claims, is to stop electoral fraud. You may assume that this is a rampant problem across the UK, but in fact it is practically nonexistent. His plan will strip the vote from around two million people:

Here’s a graph showing the scale of voter fraud as a percentage of all votes cast:

You see the picture?

Further information is available below:

The plan will strip votes from people who are poor and young – in other words, people who will not vote for the Conservatives at the next election. It is corrupt Tory gerrymandering to prevent the voice of the people from being heard at elections.

Typically of the current Tory government, its MPs tried to justify the planned law by lying to us about it. Gillian Keegan, whoever she is, claimed you need photo ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office – and was put straight in no uncertain terms by fact-checking site Full Fact:

Many of us think valuable Parliamentary time would be better spent preventing the kind of corruption that allowed Tory cronies to gain multi-million pound contracts to provide vital supplies in the fight against Covid-19, that they were totally unable to fulfil. What happened to all that money?

Finally, shall we consider the misplaced priorities of these entitled Tories who have spent more than a decade manslaughtering benefit claimants without feeling any need to reform the system?

Come to that, why isn’t the government introducing plans to end tax evasion? I mention this because the deaths of disabled benefit claimants are linked to the Tory clampdown on claims – the so-called “magic cures” that claimed hundreds of thousands of people were not disabled at all, despite volumes of medical evidence showing they were. These people were unceremoniously stripped of their benefits and many of them subsequently died. The figure of 120,000, quoted above, is a very low estimate.

The Tories spend huge amounts of money every year on their campaign to strip disabled people of their ability to survive. It is a campaign of persecution that has been more successful in eliminating the disabled than the infamous Nazi “Aktion T4” in 1930s and 1940s Germany. In comparison, they spend hardly anything on tracking the rich Tories – let’s not deny it – who have evaded their tax responsibilities in order to squirrel away trillions of pounds in tax havens abroad.

Absent from the new legislative programme are any plans to support the rights of workers with promised reforms to zero-hours contracts and the gig economy, and an end to the practice of “fire and rehire” – terminating workers’ contracts and then demanding they take new contracts with lower pay and fewer privileges:

“Fire and rehire” is a key element of Howard Beckett’s campaign to lead the UK’s largest union, Unite. He was in London to campaign about it while the Queen was delivering her speech:

He has also made the very obvious point that the currrent Labour leadership has no interest in looking after the interests of British workers – because Keir Starmer actually refused to oppose “fire and rehire”.

The oppression goes on and on:

Long-awaited plans for reform of social care – promised by the Tories years ago – went undiscussed. There is no plan for such reforms in the current Parliamentary term.

Admittedly, Andy Burnham is right to say all parties are responsible for allowing social care to fall into the disrepair we have today; New Labour failed to do anything about it too.

And Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed the government is committed to social care reforms this year – 2021:

He spent the whole of 2020 lying about the severity of Covid-19 and justifying his decisions to award government contracts worth billions of pounds to Tory cronies who couldn’t fulfil them. What are his words worth?

Oh, and before anyone suggests that plans to address the climate crisis show at least some hope for the Tories, they don’t:

For a more detailed attack on the new legislative programme, take a look at Unite’s response (under current leader Len McCluskey). I’m sure other critiques are also available.

Last word can go to Smokey, below, who makes an excellent point despite their inability to spell the word “speech”:

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Thousands of renters who just voted Tory could be evicted next month – because of Tories

Stop evictions: this was a protest in 2016 – before Covid, furloughs, and eviction bans. The question is: will the Tories do anything to stop evictions in 2021? My guess is they won’t.

The short-sightedness of the voting public can be astonishing.

As a result of the Covid-19 furlough scheme that asked people to live on 80 per cent of their normal income, families – that’s right, families – are facing eviction from their private-sector rented homes when the eviction ban ends at the end of this month.

According to Citizens Advice, half a million private renters were behind with their rent in January. That figure is only likely to have increased.

Average debt is £730, but the total amount of arrears is said to be £370 million, and around 150,000 people are likely to face eviction after the end of the month.

More than 2,000 possession orders were made between October and December last year – and those tenants are likely to be forced out of their homes in June.

They had a stay of execution (of those orders) because of the eviction ban that stops landlords from sending in the bailiffs and obliges them to give six months’ notice of court action.

Of course, all that ends on May 31, meaning hundreds of thousands of people could be homeless by June 2.

They are typically in insecure jobs, often on zero-hours contracts, and in industries that have suffered disproportionately over the past year.

Strange, isn’t it? Back in, say, the 1970s, an entire family could afford to mortgage a house, cover their living expenses and enjoy a decent holiday, all on the earnings of just one parent.

Now, most people can’t afford to rent a home, even with both parents and all the children (who can legally do so) working.

That’s 40 years of Tory – or fake-Tory – government for you.

And last week, I’m willing to bet, a significant proportion of those facing eviction voted for the party that put them in danger of it – the Tories.

Source: Rent arrears put thousands at risk as end of eviction ban in England looms | Renting property | The Guardian

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Johnson’s keenness to end lockdown shows those who don’t learn from 150,000 deaths will repeat them

This Site has been warning that the NHS is gearing up for another wave of Covid-19 infections by or around July – now here’s expert opinion:

Leading scientists have warned that the government is risking a third wave of Covid-19 by easing the lockdown at a time when official data still shows virus hotspots across many parts of the country.

With the UK poised to lift many Covid restrictions on Monday, the scientists accuse ministers of abandoning their promises to “follow the data, not dates” in a rush to reopen society and the economy.

A more cautious, sensible approach would be to wait until more among the tens of millions of people who have yet to be inoculated have had their vaccinations, they say. In addition, they point out that without an adequate system for isolating people who become infected, there could be significant rises in daily Covid cases that could erupt over the next few weeks.

So it seems a delay until July may be overly optimistic and a new wave could happen within weeks!

Take special note of the observation that Johnson is following his timetable rather than paying attention to the facts. “Follow the data, not dates,” he was told – but we know he never does what he’s told.

And you thought the suffering was over.

Source: Virus hotspots could lead to third Covid wave in UK, scientists warn | Coronavirus | The Guardian

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Boris Johnson’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown ignores the science YET AGAIN and the death toll could be huge

Mess: Johnson’s plan to ease lockdown is as muddled as his hair. Even with 80 per cent vaccine efficacy, half the population will still be vulnerable to infection.

Scientists have warned that Boris Johnson’s plan to end lockdown restrictions will cause a huge increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations – even in the most optimistic scenarios.

So much for “following the science”, eh?

It seems that

The government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) [said] tens of thousands more people can be expected to die from Covid because vaccines will not provide complete protection against the disease, and not everyone will have the jabs.

All scenarios led to a resurgence of cases because so many vulnerable people remained unprotected, even with high vaccine coverage.

Johnson’s plan is a bespoke model that does not correspond with any of the SAGE scenarios – but its closest equivalent, scenario three, predicts a resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK around September.

At yesterday’s press briefing on the government’s plans, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance, who is said to have shares in a pharmaceutical company that was working on a vaccine, warned that even with 80 per cent efficacy, half the population would still be at risk from the disease.

He said a cautious step-by-step process, with pauses of four or five weeks between each to monitor the impact, was the right way to go.

It seems strange, then, that the Johnson plan will reopen all English schools on March 8.

Scientific modellers predict that this will drive the infection rate up by between 10 and 50 per cent – negating the reductions of the current lockdown and vaccinations.

They said a limited reopening, possibly starting with primary schools, was a far better option and would allow scientists to assess the impact on infections within the community.

Johnson has ignored this good advice and intends to steamroll his easements through – as he did last year.

We all know how that turned out. Why are you letting him do it to you again?

Source: Demand from Tory MPs to scrap Covid rules ‘could bring huge death toll’ | Politics | The Guardian

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Senior Tories including ‘Brexit Steve’ Baker demand continuation of Covid death spiral

The image above may not be the most sophisticated graphic This Site has ever published, but it is accurate all the same.

The Tory rabble who have been pushing for more deaths in a bid to keep the economy going and their paymasters in big business happy have been pressuring Boris Johnson for another early end to the restrictions he has (laughably) encouraged us all to call a lockdown.

The infection and death rates are back at pre-‘lockdown’ levels, they say, so he she start easing us all back into work at the beginning of March.

Shockingly, arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, clearly believing he hasn’t done enough to wreck the nation, has been traipsing around the broadcast media today, claiming that we need to give Covid-19 a chance at a third wave, for the sake of the poorest in society.

“Think of the poor!” How disgusting.

As the infographic above points out, he couldn’t care less when he voted against letting the poor keep the Universal Credit uplift they need to get by.

In this light, he seems clearly revealed as the kind of opportunist who says whatever he thinks will get him what he wants.

And he isn’t the only one:

Lockdown-sceptic Tories have piled pressure on Boris Johnson, calling on him to commit to a timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions with a complete end to controls by the end of April.

In a letter to the prime minister, the leaders of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said the “tremendous pace” of the vaccination rollout meant restrictions should begin easing from early March.

They said ministers must produce a cost-benefit analysis to justify any controls that remain in place after that date, with a “roadmap” stating when they would be removed.

The letter was organised by the CRG chair and deputy chair, Mark Harper and Steve Baker, and was said to have the backing of 63 Conservative MPs in all. However, scientists advising the government are warning that lifting restrictions too quickly risks another wave of the disease as big as the current one.

Of course, 63 Tory MPs in rebellion isn’t enough to bother Johnson – the Tory majority in Parliament is 80 – but it might be enough to rattle his cage, reminding him that he needs to keep his members happy.

He has already said he hopes to map out a “cautious” route out of lockdown on February 22 – next Monday.

The CRG people, led by Baker and Mark Harper, reckon they can dictate its pace – demanding that schools reopen by March 8 and hospitality businesses by Easter.

So we’ll be well on the way to another surge by Whitsun, then.

Source: Tory MPs tell Johnson to commit to lifting Covid restrictions by end of April | World news | The Guardian

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Kwarteng gives up plan to cut workers’ rights post-Brexit

Kwasi Kwarteng: “We’re not interested in watering down workers’ rights.”

It seems Kwasi Kwarteng has been shamed into giving up on a review of UK workers’ rights post-Brexit that could have significantly reduced the living standards of millions of people.

Only last week, the Business Secretary confirmed that he was consulting businesses in plans that could include an end to the 48-hour maximum working week, changes to rules about breaks at work, and the removal of in-work benefits.

But he told Robert Peston yesterday (January 27):

“The review is no longer happening within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). I made it very very clear to officials in the department that we’re not interested in watering down workers’ rights.

“I can’t have been more clear about this on a number of occasions. I’ve said repeatedly that Brexit gives us the opportunity to have higher standards and a higher growth economy and that’s what officials in the department are 100% focused on.”

Was he shamed into this u-turn?

This Site and many others recently reminded Kwarteng that he is a co-author of the notorious collection of hard-right-wing Tory essays, Britannia Unchained.

The book dared to claim that British workers – the power behind the Industrial Revolution and a huge amount of progress that has changed the world – are lazy.

But Kwarteng and his fellow authors, including current Home Secretary Priti Patel, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and Queen of Cheese Liz Truss, were found to be among the laziest MPs in Parliament at the time, with some of the worst attendance records.

This change of plan comes after the union Unite struck a deal with British Airways to end the despicable practice of “fire and re-hire” – forcing workers out of their jobs in order to make them re-apply for the same work at lower pay and with worse working conditions.

It is another great victory for working people at a time when Tories might expect to be able to get away with anything.

Source: Review of UK workers’ rights post-Brexit is axed in sudden U-turn | Kwasi Kwarteng | The Guardian

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Johnson says he’s not planning to scrap workers’ rights. Do you believe him?

Boris Johnson has insisted he is not planning a post-Brexit bonfire of UK workers’ rights, after the Financial Times reported on a meeting between him and business chiefs.

The report states that worker protections the Tories repeatedly promised to protect after the UK left the EU will be “ripped up”.

The paper claims the Tories are planning laws to slash holiday pay entitlements, bin rest breaks, and allow bosses to force you to work longer hours, among others.

Analysis by Evolve Politics states that

The secretive plans are also predicted to benefit wealthy bosses to the tune of billions whilst severely impacting the take-home pay of many ordinary workers.

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband, on Twitter, got straight to the point:

What a relief to see that someone on Labour’s front bench seems to remember what his job is supposed to be. But what a shame that it comes after Miliband voted in favour of the Brexit deal that makes the alleged Tory plans possible.

Labour owns Brexit as much as the Tories do – with the exception of those who defied Keir Starmer’s whip and voted against it.

Johnson has denied everything – as might be expected.

According to the BBC,

A government spokesperson said: “We have absolutely no intention of lowering the standards of workers’ rights.

“The UK has one of the best workers’ rights records in the world, and it is well known that the UK goes further than the EU in many areas.

“Leaving the EU allows us to continue to be a standard setter and protect and enhance UK workers’ rights.”

But the report adds:

When the UK left the EU it retained many of its laws, but it is now able to change them.

In the 2019 Queen’s Speech outlining the government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session, changes in employment law were promised.

A new Employment Bill is expected to be published in 2021.

It goes on to say that the Bill is expected to cover issues including the distribution of tips.

Considering the Johnson government’s track record, the best advice This Writer can give is that of Peter Stefanovic in the tweet below:

Source: Brexit: No plans to dilute workers’ rights, minister says – BBC News

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