Tag Archives: fair

Jenrick’s definition of fair funding: £237/person in his rich constituency – £7.95/person in Manchester

Robert Jenrick: what dictionary did he use when he looked up his definition of fair?

Why was housing secretary Robert Jenrick part of the negotiating team handling support for Greater Manchester while it is in Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions?

Clearly, it can’t be because he can be trusted with money; he corruptly induced a fellow MP to approve a grant for his constituency totalling £237 per person recently – contrast that with the £7.95 per person for Manchester. And Jenrick’s constituency isn’t in Tier 3!

Doesn’t it seem more likely that the opposite is true – that he was certain to deprive Manchester of the cash it needed? The precedent is there in his handling of Richard Desmond’s Tower Hamlet’s planning application, which Jenrick manipulated in order to deny London’s poorest borough £45 million.

He seems to have thought he could get away with this sleight of hand.

He thought wrong.

So after he appeared on TV saying this…

… the public responded with the facts:

And today the Commons will be debating whether children should have free school meals because, after years of Tory deprivation, their parents can no longer afford to feed them. What will Jenrick’s contribution be?

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Support nurses’ campaign for fair pay!

A nurse: doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 for the last six months – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

Yes, that means you!

The Royal College of Nursing has launched a campaign to pressure the government into paying nursing staff what they’re worth. Here’s what’s happening and how you can get involved:

The RCN wants nursing professionals to be valued for their high level of knowledge, expertise and skills with pay that reflects the complexity of their roles and the impact of their work.

This means campaigning for an early and significant pay rise for NHS staff and influencing independent health and social care employers, so they recognise and reward nursing staff properly.

That would involve a fully funded 12.5 per cent pay increase for all NHS nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands.

That’s right – an increase of one-eighth of wages for all nurses. When the Tories recently mentioned large-sounding pay rises, they only applied to a tiny proportion of staff; most nurses got around one per cent – less than inflation.

The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is about recognising the complexity of skill, responsibility and expertise demonstrated every day by nursing support workers, nursing associates, registered nurses and all members of the profession. It is about making sure that a safety critical profession can reach safe staffing levels and fill tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs. Ultimately, it is about providing safe and effective care for all people of the UK.

And you can help.

1. Find out more about the pay campaign and what it seeks to do.

2. Spread the word about it on social media using #FairPayForNursing, sharing your thoughts on why nursing staff deserve a fair pay rise.

3. Speak to family, friends, patients and colleagues about why you believe nursing staff deserve an early and significant pay rise.

Source: Demanding fair pay for nursing now | Bulletin | Royal College of Nursing

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Daily Mail has attacked the Human Rights Act whilst also seeking to shelter behind it

Rafał Trzaskowski, the Polish minister who has called for the UK government and media to provide this country’s electorate with fair and accurate information about the meaning of a departure from the European Union, need look no further than the Daily Mail to see how our media behave.

As a recent article by Inforrm’s Blog shows clearly, the Mail is happy to twist the facts whichever way best suits that paper’s editors and owners – in this case regarding the Human Rights Act.

The principle applies to any other major issue; people in the UK would be far better-off researching the facts for themselves than trusting a right-wing press that is biased in favour of a right-wing government and its own interests.

The Daily Mail has been reassuring its readers that the delay in the repeal of the Human Rights Act (HRA) will not be indefinite and is just a matter of getting the detail right. “This is going to happen,” it quoted a government source as saying. “We will deliver it – but we are not going to be rushed.”

Getting rid of the HRA has been a Mail cause for several years. The paper accuses the Act of “undermining the sovereignty of Parliament and our judicial system”. It also denounces the European Convention on Human Rights, which the HRA incorporates into British law, as “a charter for criminals and politically-correct interest groups”.

The paper’s actions in relation to the Act, however, have not always matched these expressions of disgust and revulsion. Even in recent years the Mail has been content to seek the shelter of the Human Rights Act in court, and to threaten to use it against others. And it has also enjoyed the benefit of rulings arising from the Act – though without necessarily giving credit where it was due.

The Daily Mail actually tried to use the Human Rights Act to gag whistleblowers.

Source: Daily Mail has attacked the Human Rights Act whilst also seeking to shelter behind it – Brian Cathcart | Inforrm’s Blog

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‘Don’t fool voters over EU referendum’ says Polish minister who doesn’t understand how the UK media work

Rafał Trzaskowski, Poland’s secretary of state for European affairs, seems a little confused.

He seems to think that, before voting on whether the UK should stay in or leave the European Union, the electorate should be given fair and accurate information on the consequences.

Doesn’t he know that this simply is not how things are done here?

Look at the Scottish independence referendum. Scots are still complaining that the ‘Better Together’ campaign fed them false information. Some of these complaints are inaccurate but This Writer can’t say for certain that all of them are.

Look at the general election last month – won by a Conservative Party that manipulated Scottish people into believing that a vote for the SNP was the best possible outcome, while telling the English this meant the nationalists would team up with Labour to rob them blind.

Now the Tories have secured power – albeit by a tiny margin – they are setting about their own agenda, which involves – you guessed it – robbing the people of the UK of the services and benefits for which they have paid, all their lives.

The media have been complicit in these deceptions.

It is unrealistic to think that anything will change for the EU referendum.

The Guardian reports:

The minister, who reiterates his country’s refusal to accept Cameron’s central demand – that social benefits should be denied to all EU migrants for at least four years after arriving in the UK – says Britain would no longer be an important player, in Europe or the world, if it left the EU. He warns that the ability of British people to travel as freely as they do now, and to work and buy homes in other EU countries, would also be lost, and that UK businesses would suddenly face new problems, as the country would no longer be able to influence the rules of the internal market.

Trzaskowski, reflecting growing fears in the EU that the UK government is setting itself unrealistic targets for reform which British people are being led to believe are achievable, says all European leaders want Britain to stay in the UK, but not if it means undermining EU principles, such as the free movement of labour.

Cameron is now urging fellow European leaders to reach an outline deal on the UK’s demands, which also include an opt-out from the EU commitment to “ever-closer union”, by the end of this year, in time for the referendum to be held next year.

Should he fail to secure reform on his terms, more than 50 Tory MPs are poised to lead the campaign for the UK to quit the EU.

Source: Poland warns David Cameron not to fool voters over EU referendum | Politics | The Guardian

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Harsh criticism for Miliband’s advisors – and about time too

The right man for the job? Despite what follows, Ed Miliband must take much of the responsibility for the Sun photoshoot cock-up. If he's going to slavishly do whatever his political advisors say then he is a follower, not a leader. He should be thinking very carefully about the right thing to do - not only for his future, but for the future of the nation.

The right man for the job? Despite what follows, Ed Miliband must take much of the responsibility for the Sun photoshoot cock-up. If he’s going to slavishly do whatever his political advisors say then he is a follower, not a leader. He should be thinking very carefully about the right thing to do – not only for his future, but for the future of the nation.

Ed Miliband has lost far too much political ground by making silly schoolboy mistakes, but it is right that he should not take all of the blame.

The Labour leader is surrounded by advisors who should be warning him away from having his photograph taken with a football-promoting copy of The Sun in the week that the Hillsborough inquests were taking place. Instead it seems they egged him on to do it.

That’s completely wrong-headed and suggests that there are people close to Miliband who are working against him. Blairites who want to discredit ‘Red Ed’, perhaps? It would explain why Labour is still coming out – and getting bogged down – with ‘Red Tory’ ideas when it should be pushing a new anti-austerity, anti-privatisation, pro-equality and pro-fairness position.

The party’s former deputy chairman, Tom Watson, wants to see better results or resignations – but he’s being far too charitable to people who are idiots at best, fifth columnists at worst.

“The people around Ed… they’re very powerful political people; they carry a lot of power in the Labour party,” Watson told Radio 5 Live (as reported in The Guardian). If that’s true, then they probably gained that power as part of neoliberal New Labour. Their ideas will be as out-of-date as those of the current Conservative-led Coalition.

Look what Watson said shortly after: “We had a leader of the Labour party who was publicly embarrassed on Thursday because whoever was in charge of press let him go through a process where we had councillors in Merseyside resigning. It was a schoolboy error from someone who doesn’t understand the Labour party.” And yet, by his own admission, these are some of the most powerful people in it!

But you didn’t have to be a powerful political advisor to know what the right decision should have been; a commenter on Facebook pointed it out. Miliband should have declined The Sun‘s invitation and arranged a photo shoot of his own, preferably with a local football team; “Labour supports British football from the grass roots upward.” That would have highlighted, also, the commercialisation (and corruption?) of the game at higher levels.

It’s what I would have suggested.

So here’s a thought: Let’s tell Ed to fire whoever told him a Sun photoshoot would be a good idea and hire me instead. Not only do I know what the score is (more than his current yes-men, for sure), I won’t cost as much, and it’s a job I can do from home – so my activities as a carer won’t be affected.

You think that’s a mistake? Surely not.

How much time do you think it takes to tell a man the difference between a good idea and a duff one?

All you need is the sense to know the difference…

… and the proper political motives.

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Is it wise to combat Islamic extremism in schools by sending in Tory extremists Theresa May and Michael Gove?

Extremists: Theresa May (left) and Michael Gove. [Image: BBC.]

Extremists: Theresa May (left) and Michael Gove. [Image: BBC.]

The alleged rift between Michael Gove and Theresa May over claims that Muslim extremists have taken over 25 Birmingham schools is bizarre.

These are government ministers who most closely share the extremist attitudes that the ‘Trojan Horse’ school governors are said to have; their methods are the same, even if their aims are different.

Consider this. The claims made about the Birmingham school are that:

  • A ‘Trojan Horse’ (stealth) takeover of schools in Birmingham, by Islamic extremists, has taken place.
  • Governors were installed who undermined and then replaced school leaders with staff who would be more sympathetic to their agenda.
  • Boys and girls have been separated.
  • Assemblies put forward extremist Islamic views.
  • Other religions are downgraded.

Now let’s look at Theresa May, who:

  • Took part in a backdoor (stealth) takeover of the UK government after the Conservative Party failed to win a majority in the 2010 general election.
  • Wants to repeal the Human Rights Act as it protects UK citizens against some of her favourite policies:

The duty to refrain from unlawful killing, investigate suspicious deaths and prevent foreseeable loss of life runs against the results of the Coalition’s changes to incapacity/disability benefit assessment which led to the unnecessary deaths of 73 people per week between January and November 2011.

The prohibition of slavery, servitude and forced labour is contrary to the government’s mandatory work activity schemes.

The right to a fair trial contradicts the changes the government has been making to Legal Aid.

The right to respect for one’s privacy, family life, home and correspondence runs against the “snooper’s charter” that Mrs May wished to impose.

And so on. The Tories would dearly love to remove your rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, as that means they could outlaw this blog and abolish trade unions.

  • Authorised a plan to use a fleet of advertising vans telling illegal immigrants to “go home”, which split the London communities in which they were used and led to false accusations against British citizens.
  • The phrase “go home” on the vans attracted criticism from the Advertising Standards Authority as it was a reminder of an extremist racist slogan.

And Michael Gove:

  • Took part in the backdoor (stealth) takeover of the UK government.
  • Has imposed an army of independent advisors on his education department, to overrule the opinions of expert civil servants, grind down their morale and force them out of their jobs.
  • Planned to give a Bible to every state school in the country, clearly implying an intention to assert the supremacy of Christianity over every other religion practised in the UK, with others downgraded.

They’re all as bad as each other.

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At last the crisis of British democracy is addressed by a party leader: ED MILIBAND

Champion of democracy: Ed Miliband told the country he wants Parliament to provide what the people want, signalling a return to the principles of democratic government that have been abandoned by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Champion of democracy: Ed Miliband told the country he wants Parliament to provide what the people want, signalling that Labour plans to return to the principles of democratic government that have been abandoned by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

Hopefully the naysayers among Vox Political‘s readership will have a little more respect for Mr Miliband after today.

He is the first – and so far, the only – leader of a mainstream British political party to have correctly identified the biggest problem facing our democracy at this time:

The fact that people aren’t bothering to vote.

Here’s what he said, in his response to the Queen’s Speech:

“The custom of these debates is to address our opponents across the despatch box in this House, but today on its own that would be inadequate to the challenge we face.

“There is an even bigger opponent to address in this Queen’s Speech debate – the belief among many members of the public that this House cannot achieve anything at all. Any party in it.

“About 10 per cent of people entitled to vote, voted for UKIP in the recent elections. But – as significant – over 60 per cent did not vote at all.

“And whatever side we sit on, we will all have heard it on the doorstep: ‘You’re all the same, you’re in it for yourself, it doesn’t matter who I vote for.’

“Of course, that’s not new, but there is a depth and a scale of disenchantment which we ignore at our peril – disenchantment that goes beyond one party, beyond one government.

There is no bigger issue for our country and our democracy.

“So, the test for this legislative programme, the last before the general election, is to show that it responds – to the scale of the discontent and the need for answers.

“In this election, we heard concerns about the way the EU works and the need for reform. We heard deep-rooted concerns about immigration and the need to make changes. But I believe there is an even deeper reason for this discontent.

“Fundamentally, too many people in our country feel Britain doesn’t work for them and hasn’t done so for a long time:

“In the jobs they do and whether their hard work is rewarded.

“In the prospects for their children and whether they will lead a better life than their parents, including whether they will be able to afford a home of their own.

“And in the pressures communities face.

“Above all, whether the work and effort people put in is reflected in them sharing fairly in the wealth of this country.

“The Governor of the Bank of England gave a remarkable speech last week saying inequality was now one of the biggest challenges in our country. We should all be judged on how we respond to this question, right as well as left.

“There are measures we support in this Queen’s Speech including tackling modern slavery, an Ombudsman for our Armed Forces and recall.

“But the big question for this Queen’s Speech is whether it just offers more of the same or whether it offers a new direction, so we can genuinely say it works for all and not just a few at the top.”

Yes – exactly. Yes!

Within the last couple of days, I was saying on the Vox Facebook page that Labour needs to recognise the threat posed by UKIP in the context of disenchantment with democracy: With so few people voting, the door is thrown open to loony extremist right-wing parties.

The only solution is for the mainstream parties to ensure they know exactly what the people will support and offer the electorate what we want, rather than what they want to push on us.

With this speech, Mr Miliband has made it clear that he gets it, and that he is listening.

As the only leader who does – and is – this should put him well ahead by next May.

All he has to do is deliver what he has promised.

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Why Labour SHOULD be ‘the party of welfare’

[Image: Redpepper]

[Image: Redpepper]

What follows is intelligent, adroit and not mine. It was written by Bernadette Meaden on the Ekklesia website and passed on to me by a mutual friend.

It constitutes what I think may be a complete answer and refutation of ‘accusations’ that the Labour Party is the so-called ‘party of welfare’. Tories love to bandy this about as though it is an insult. What they don’t tell you is that their alternative is abject poverty for all but an elite few.

I’m jumping ahead of myself. Here’s what Bernadette had to say:

“Conservative MPs frequently say that the Conservatives are the party of ‘hardworking people’, and the Labour Party is ‘the party of welfare’. It’s said as an accusation, an insult, and many Labour MPs take it as such, attempting to deny the charge as if it’s something to be ashamed of.

I would like to see Labour MPs acting as an Opposition, and to meet this ‘accusation’ head on, with conviction and pride. Here is what I’d like to hear a Labour MP say.

“Yes, we are the party of welfare, and we’re proud to be so. Let me tell you why.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that, if you have a stroke tonight, you should have poverty added to your misfortune.

“We’re the party of welfare because, if you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease tomorrow, we don’t believe that you should worry about eviction as you wait six months for an assessment, only to be denied the support you so obviously need.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that when 1,700 people apply for eight jobs at Costa, or when 1,500 people queue for hours to apply for 40 jobs at Aldi, there is a big problem with people being ‘workshy’. We don’t believe unemployed people are to blame for unemployment.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe ordinary workers need to be motivated by the threat of hunger, whilst bankers need huge bonuses to motivate them.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that if a person loses their job, they need to have their distress exacerbated with the threat of benefit sanctions if they are late for a Jobcentre appointment.

“We’re the party of welfare because we don’t believe that ‘hardworking people’ and people in receipt of benefits are somehow two different species. We know that in an unfair economy, many hardworking people rely on benefits to keep a roof over their head and their children fed. And until such time as the economy is fair, and those people’s wages are sufficient, we will not begrudge them the support they need.

“So yes, we are the party of welfare, because we’re the party of humanity, compassion, and fairness, and we do not view people who are poor or in difficulty with thinly disguised suspicion and contempt.”

That is what I would like to hear a Labour MP say, the next time they are ‘accused’ of being the party of welfare.”

Hear, hear.

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Vox Political is the blog of hardworking people AND those on benefits
… but we do not have a wage and we can’t rely on the state.
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Coalition to impose sanctions on housing benefit

130905universalcredit

Part-time workers who are judged to be doing too little to find full-time work could have their Housing Benefit sanctioned by the government when Universal Credit comes into full force, according to Inside Housing.

The revelation is the latest in a long line of benefit betrayals to be inflicted on the poor by the Coalition government. The new development also means landlords stand to lose out.

The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed to Inside Housing that under Universal Credit, where a tenant is working less than 35 hours per week at minimum wage and is not eligible for JSA or ESA, then the housing element can be sanctioned instead.

It seems clear that the government is determined that it should be able to take income away from everyone who is not being properly paid by their employer. Does this seem fair to you?

Under the present system, Housing Benefit is paid direct to landlords, meaning sanctions against tenants can only be applied to out-of-work benefits like Jobseekers’ Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. The aim is to use Universal Credit to spread the threat of sanctions so that it covers people in low-paid work as well. Would you consider any government that did this to be standing up “for hardworking people”?

The article quotes a DWP spokesperson who said: “It is only right that people claiming benefits should be aware that not sticking to the rules can have a consequence.”

This, of course, assumes that a person is breaking the rules if their employer refuses to improve their working conditions… but we know that the government has altered working conditions to ensure that employers are under no pressure to do so; the benefit cap, and the one per cent limit on the annual uprating of benefits have ensured that people without jobs will become continually worse-off, so those who are in work cannot demand pay increases for fear of being handed their P45s and told that someone else will do their job for less.

Are these the actions of a government that believes we are “all in it together”?

If anybody thinks they can find justification for this behaviour, please get in touch.

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Police State Britain: Tories would arrest you for looking at them in a funny way

Antisocial: Under the new legislation, the role of the police as the strong arm of the state will increase; law and order will have increasingly less to do with their job.

Antisocial: Under the new legislation, the role of the police as the strong arm of the state will increase; law and order will have increasingly less to do with their job.

Isn’t it nice for our police that they seem to have had a long time to prepare for the new Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill’s passage into law – as long ago as 2010 they were warning a 12-year-old boy, who wanted to save his youth centre, that they could arrest him.

The Mirror reported at the time that Nicky Wishart was removed from class – by anti-terror police – after he used Facebook to organise a protest outside David Cameron’s constituency office. His innocent request for people to “save our youth centre” was used as evidence against him.

Nicky lives in Cameron’s Witney, Oxfordshire constituency. The paper reported him as saying, “All this is because Mr Cameron is our local MP and it’s a bit embarrassing for him.”

On a personal note, this story bears a strong resemblance to what happened when I submitted my Freedom of Information request on mortality rates for people claiming Employment and Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefit. My own request for anyone else who believes the facts should be known to follow my example was held up as an excuse to dismiss the request as “vexatious” and refuse to answer it – and it is clear that this site continues to be monitored by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Nicky’s story could be repeated many times every day if the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill becomes law.

As Jayne Linney has pointed out in an article I reblogged here today, it criminalises “any behaviour that may be deemed as “nuisance”, or liable to cause annoyance… it actually allows the police to arrest any group in a public place they think may upset someone!”

Peaceful protest will become a criminal offence.

The basic assumption of British law – that a person is innocent until proven guilty – will be swept away and forgotten.

Not only does this link in with the aims of the so-called Transparency of Lobbying Bill – to gag anyone who would inform the public of the ever-more harmful transgressions committed by our ever-more despotic right-wing rulers – it also provides an easy way of filling all the privately-run prisons they have been building.

Of course, some might argue that this would be no hardship, since the new private prisons are run appallingly badly. However, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has praised the failing Oakwood, mismanaged by G4S, as his favourite prison and anyone saying differently after the Lobbying Bill is passed, or campaigning to make it less easy to get drugs and more easy to get soap there after the Antisocial Behaviour bill is passed, will face the possibility of a term inside.

And consider this: The Conservative-led government has hundreds of millions of pounds for projects like Oakwood, run by their favourite firms like G4S – but if you want help getting a business going you’re pretty much on your own. They will change the law to ensure that their version of events and opinion on issues can be broadcast to the masses, while opposing views are gagged. Yet they describe all their actions as “fair”.

How would you describe their behaviour?

Get your answers in quickly; they’ll soon be illegal.

(Thanks, as ever, to the ‘Constable Savage’ sketch from Not The Nine O’clock News for help with the headline.)

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