Tag Archives: fall

This former Commons speaker can still put a prime minister firmly in his place

This clip speaks for itself.

Former Commons Speaker Lady (Betty Boothroyd), speaking in today’s (October 19) Lords debate on how badly Boris Johnson has cocked up the UK’s departure from the European Union, said the following:

“Never in my Parliamentary experience have I witnessed such a collapse in the people’s trust.”

That is a warning.

Johnson will be too stupid – or too selfish – to take it.

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Hancock lied yet again: if anything, suicides have INCREASED during the Covid-19 pandemic

Smug little liar: when Matt Hancock opens his mouth to make a claim, it will probably be wrong.

There was a time when lying to Parliament meant immediate expulsion but don’t expect to see deceitful health secretary Matt Hancock thrown out on his ear.

When the whole government is corrupt, he is merely one liar among many.

His latest attempt to mislead us is in the number of people committing suicide.

He told the Commons that figures for England showed a decrease but this is not true.

Here’s Full Fact:

“Some cautiously positive news announced today ​by the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of suicides during the peak of the pandemic was down from 10.3 per 100,000 to 6.9 per 100,000”. – Matt Hancock MP, 1 September 2020

While the figures quoted by Mr Hancock are the latest reported by the ONS, it has clearly said that this data “cannot be used to show the number of suicides with a date of death in 2020, including those that occurred during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic”.

The provisional data, released on 1 September, shows the rate and number of suicide deaths registered up to June 2020. This data reported 10.3 suicides per 100,000 people between January and March (equivalent to 1,262 registered deaths), and 6.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people between April and June, equivalent to 845 registered deaths.

It is important to note that these figures show when these deaths were registered, not when they happened.

The 845 suicides registered in the second quarter of 2020 is the lowest number of any quarter since the figures began in 2001, and the ONS said it is “unlikely that the reduction in registered deaths reflects a genuine reduction in the number of suicides”.

Mr Hancock was wrong to say that suicide deaths fell during the peak of the pandemic, as it is too early for the evidence to show what happened.

Hancock’s lie was all the more blatant when we remember that the ONS – the same organisation whose figures he quoted so wrongly – has reported that suicides in England and Wales last year were at their highest in nearly two decades:

Men accounted for around three-quarters of suicide deaths registered in 2019 – 4,303 compared with 1,388 women.
The male suicide rate of 16.9 deaths per 100,000 people was the highest since 2000, but is in line with 2018’s figures.

For women, the rate was 5.3 deaths per 100,000 – the highest since 2004, but again consistent with the previous year.

Source: There’s no evidence the number of people taking their own life fell during the Covid-19 pandemic – Full Fact

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More than 600,000 jobs lost – so 45 fat cats can increase their wealth by £25 billion?

Loadsamoney: and Boris Johnson has been spaffing it up the wall on furlough schemes so his big business pals can make a killing from Covid-19, it seems.

Covid-19 has had remarkably divergent effects on people, depending on their status in our society.

At the bottom, more than 600,000 people have lost their jobs:

The number of paid employees in the UK fell by 449,000 between March and April 2020 and early estimates suggest that a further 163,000 people lost their jobs in April.

It is believed that this number would have been much higher if not for the Government’s furlough scheme, and other support measures introduced to help businesses.

But with this scheme due to be wound down from August, it is feared that the UK could yet see a second spike in job losses and a subsequent rise in unemployment.

The data also shows a significant drop in median pay and recent wage growth has been reversed. Early estimates for May suggest that median monthly pay fell by 1.8% to £1,778 and the rate of growth in median pay became negative in April, falling to minus 0.75%.

So more people are unemployed and those who have kept their jobs have endured a drop in pay.

Meanwhile, at the top:

Britain’s billionaires have seen their fortunes soar by £25bn during the coronavirus lockdown – while some are criticised for using millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash to pay wages of the staff in their companies.

New analysis shows 45 of the richest in the UK have seen their Covid-19 pandemic wealth snowballing by 20%.

Analysis shows the collective wealth of Britain’s richest since five days before the coronavirus lockdown at the end of March has risen from £121.57bn to £146.61bn.

It comes as Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an economic crash three times greater than the 2008 financial crisis.

It seems the secret of their success is to have multiple business interests – and to take advantage of the government’s furlough scheme to get taxpayers to subsidise their payrolls.

The biggest winner, according to a study of Forbes data tracking billionaire wealth, is James Ratcliffe. He’s founder, chairman and majority owner of chemical giant Ineos, with wide North Sea energy interests.

Mr Ratcliffe’s net worth has risen from £8.75bn to £13.83bn. He has taken advantage of the government scheme to furlough almost 800 members of staff from his luxury hotel groups Home Grown and Lime Wood.

Under the scheme the State covers up to 80 per cent of the salaries of staff if companies keep them on the payroll. The payments are capped at £2,500 a month for each employee.

So he continues coining it from his energy firm, with lower outgoings because public money is funding his hotel staff.

Was this the intention?

It’s a valid question.

We were told the furlough scheme was to protect businesses and jobs, and that they would go to the wall without it.

But we see that the people behind the biggest businesses – who are therefore taking the most advantage of the furlough scheme – are raking in astronomical amounts of money.

Meanwhile the rest of us go without, and the national Treasury is emptied, meaning the poorest of us (again) will be told to pay more for the services the richest of us have received.

It’s wrong.

Nobody should be profiting from a pandemic that has killed nearly 70,000 people.

Perhaps Marcus Rashford should start campaigning for a windfall tax on the UK’s super-rich?

Source: Over 600,000 jobs lost to COVID-19 as Labour calls for an urgent ‘Back To Work’ budget – Welfare Weekly

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Priti Patel takes herself too seriously and that’s why this blunder is so satisfying

Gone is the trademark smirk: perhaps Ms Patel doesn’t think it’s funny when she makes a stupid mistake.

This is so funny I can’t let it pass by.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, announced over the weekend…

Without the slightest hint of self-consciousness, This Writer should add…

That shoplifting in the UK has fallen, when compared with the same time last year.

It seems she had forgotten a small detail:

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Johnson loses again! His second attempt to have a general election is scorned by MPs

Frustration: Is this how Boris Johnson felt after losing the vote?

Boris Johnson has lost his sixth Parliamentary vote in a row – and his second attempt to hold an early general election.

Once again, hundreds of MPs abstained because they knew that Mr Johnson needed 434 votes in support of his motion – and wasn’t going to get them.

As the vote did not take place until well after midnight, perhaps they decided they would rather have an early night.

Only 293 MPs voted in favour of BoJob’s motion – fewer than last week. But then, only 46 voted against it, and that was fewer than last week as well.

As Speaker John Bercow said, “The majority does not satisfy the requirements of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.”

Parliament will now be prorogued for five weeks, with a new session beginning in mid-October.

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Graun reckons Brexit has cut Labour membership – but the figures tell a different story

What are they on about? You could forgive Jeremy Corbyn for facepalming in response to The Guardian‘s claim that Brexit and anti-Semitism are pushing people out of his party.

Fake news rears its head at The Guardian again!

The paper is saying unrest over Labour’s stance on Brexit has led to a 10 per cent fall in the party’s membership, with 6,000 leaving each month in the last two months.

But its own story goes on to state that this drop-off is due to “lapsers” – people who joined in the pro-Corbyn surge following the 2017 general election who have allowed their annual membership to lapse.

They do not show up in membership figures until 18 months after they joined / their last renewal because the party gives them time to choose to renew.

Obviously if these people lapsed their memberships six or seven months ago, they weren’t thinking about Labour’s attitude to Brexit in the EU Parliament elections at that time!

For one thing, we didn’t know we would be taking part in that poll.

Ah, but the Graun reckons “several MPs claim scores of local activists have become disillusioned and drifted away, as a result of what they regard as the party’s ambivalent stance on Brexit”.

Would these be Remainer MPs who think Labour should alienate half the UK’s population by joining demands for a new referendum – which may only confirm the mandate for the nation to leave the EU?

No mention is made of their own views on Brexit so the report omits important information. How are readers supposed to make up their own minds on this if they don’t have all the facts?

Also harmful is the claim that Labour’s attitude to claims of anti-Semitism in the party is turning members away – although this is more nuanced than mainstream rags like the Graun are reporting.

People aren’t merely dismayed that the party may be “institutionally anti-Semitic” as The Guardian (and others) has claimed.

They are also angry that the Labour leadership has not defended itself – and its members – against false accusations but has tried to find excuses to dismiss high-profile members facing them.

So while Labour’s membership has fallen – as is usual in the middle of a Parliamentary term, let’s not forget – the Graun is not being straight over the reasons.

My advice: Don’t take this nonsense at face value. Do your own research. Think for yourself.

Source: Labour membership falls 10% amid unrest over Brexit stance | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour retains Newport West – with lower proportion of the vote, triggering media hysteria. Deservedly?

Smiling: Labour’s Ruth Jones [Image from The Guardian‘s coverage of the Newport West by-election].

No.

Labour’s Ruth Jones has taken the Newport West Parliamentary seat in a by-election prompted by the death of the hugely popular Paul Flynn, but fewer people turned out to vote, Labour’s share of the vote fell, and all parties reported unrest over Brexit on the doorstep.

It doesn’t mean Labour is losing popularity, and it is possible that the result shows support for the party’s policy on Brexit, but media spin may suggest otherwise (especially if you caught the BBC’s Politics Live today (April 5).

I tried to encourage a debate about it on Twitter, and the responses were revealing.

My first tweet was deliberately provocative:

And I followed it up with another that was intended to prompt response, claiming: “It’s pretty close to the most recent opinion polls!”

I was referring to polls that put Labour ahead of the Conservatives, with 41 per cent against the Tories’ 36, according to DeltaPollUK, and you can see that I exaggerated slightly.

Some of the responses took that on board:

https://twitter.com/architectishly/status/1114132499100258306

I took a different tack, pointing out that the seat had been held by veteran Labour MP Paul Flynn for 32 years until his death, and that he had huge personal support – and one response showed up the failings in the arguments above:

So there we are: The result is consistent with previous polls on Newport West, with 2017 being an exception – perhaps a response to the pathetic Conservative campaign and Theresa May’s then-complacent belief that she would win a huge majority against Jeremy Corbyn, allowing her to bulldoze her (as we were to learn) dire Brexit plan over us all.

Newport West is a Labour heartland, and the weather did put some of the electorate off voting. The uptick in percentage support for the smaller parties may be a reflection of the lower turnout.

But the result broadly upheld the findings of recent national opinion polls, and suggests that Labour’s Brexit policy is not a vote-loser.

The big question now is, what kind of Labour MP will Ruth Jones be?

Initial evidence is positive – she opposes Tory austerity that has taken £1 billion in investment away from Wales; she opposes Universal Credit and the huge financial harm it represents to her constituents; and Tory cuts mean fear of crime in her city is rising. On top of that, there is huge controversy over plans to build a new motorway in Newport.

Ms Jones said she regretted the low turnout but was hoping to engage with all voters to ensure their voices are heard and that they re-engage with politics.

That could be difficult, considering the bad publicity that has been attracted by Labour’s own treatment of its members recently.

The National Constitutional Committee, which handles disputes involving Labour members, has been dubbed a “National Kangaroo Court”, and the party has been accused of pandering to its critics, rather than listening to members. The most obvious example is the response to often-spurious claims of anti-Semitism against members who are then automatically treated as guilty before any inquiry takes place, with the results of the disciplinary process pre-determined to support the prejudicial behaviour.

Will Ruth Jones support changes that could restore justice to that process? Or will she keep her head down and allow the wrongs to continue – because supporting justice may create adverse publicity?

We’ll be watching.

Pro-Labour poll boost leads to Tory panic – and propaganda backlash?

Tom Watson: The Tories’ secret weapon?

Labour’s poll lead over the Conservatives is widening – just as This Writer said it would – and it seems part of the phenomenon is due to the splitter group Change UK (as it now wishes to be known) taking traditional Tory votes.

A version of the poll that allows voters to support the new party, Change UK, provides a hint as to the reason for the Conservatives’ fall:

A Twitter user delighting in the handle “You’re terrible, Luriel”, stated: “It *is* funny that the Tinge have done more damage to the Tories than Labour though, isn’t it? Big shoutout to , , , et al. Who knew that the greatest service you could do the Labour Party was not be in it?”

I think it tells us something we knew all along – that TINGe/Change UK/CHUK or whatever you want to call it is just another brand of Toryism. It has attracted traditional – non-neoliberal – Tories away from the Conservative Party, thereby weakening Theresa May’s increasingly feral pack of animals.

The poll ratings appear to have induced panic in the Tories’ high command, which seems to be splitting over Theresa May’s alleged offer of a general election in the event of further deadlock over her Brexit plan.

According to The Observer, MPs from all sides of the Conservative Party are saying they would block any move by Mrs May to lead them into a general election, fearing a worse wipeout than in 2017 – and who can blame them?

Meanwhile, Amber Rudd is said to have formed a party-within-the-party to stop what’s seen as a disturbing rightward drift, perhaps spearheaded by the European Research Group (ERG) of right-wing MPs; pro-Brexit ministers are threatening to resign if Mrs May agrees a permanent customs union with the EU; and other Conservatives are preparing to support a referendum on any deal eventually passed by Parliament.

In other words, the Conservatives are a mess and the only reasons they are likely to stay in government are selfish. No wonder they are plummeting in the polls.

After all, when even the Mail‘s principal ugly, Dan Hodges, is saying this –

– they know they’re deep in the doo-doo.

But all may not be lost for them!

Their secret weapon – Labour deputy leader Tom Watson – was set to appear on the BBC’s flagship politics discussion programme, The Andrew Marr Show, on Sunday morning. It is entirely possible he’ll find some piece of anti-Labour dribble that he’s been saving for a rainy day, that the pro-Tory Corporation can overhype until somebody believes it.

Watson has already said he would work with the Conservatives in a “government of national unity”, whatever that is, so we know he can’t be trusted to support a Labour government. By rights he should be drummed out of the Labour Party for suggesting the answer could be anything other than a Labour government – but of course he is a senior party representative and a member of Parliament to boot, so he remains impervious to any attempts to put him through the party’s grotesquely biased and one-sided disciplinary procedure.

The trouble is, the clocks have gone forward and most people are likely to oversleep and miss it. I’m writing this at 2.20am, so I know I will!

Who knows what else the Tories will try, if Tom doesn’t turn the tables for them?

We may find out in unintentionally (for the Tories) hilarious ways.

In a nutshell: The Conservatives are unsafe whatever they do – and it’s all their own fault.


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Tory raid on legal aid has seriously harmed justice for the disabled – as intended

Justice is blind – but there’s no justice for the blind here: Protesters argue against legal aid cuts.

This Site was among those who deplored the Tory plan to steal legal aid from poor and vulnerable people, including the disabled, from the start.

The new official figures show that I was right.

Back in 2013, I wrote:

“This vindictive government of millionaires intends to make it impossible for the poorest and most vulnerable in society to seek legal redress against cruel and unwarranted decisions that will withdraw from them the money they use to keep themselves a hairs-breadth away from destitution.

“It is a decision to attack the poor for the fun of it.”

I added: “We all thought the Tories would be left heartbroken after the Hunting Act took away their favourite extracurricular pastime. It seems they have found another blood sport to replace it.”

How right I was.

The extent to which savage government cuts have deprived disabled people of legal aid in disputes over their benefit payments is revealed today by new official figures that show a 99% decline since 2011.

The total number of disabled people granted legal aid in welfare cases has plummeted from 29,801 in 2011-12 to just 308 in 2016-17, cutting some of the most vulnerable people in society adrift without expert advice in often highly complex and distressing cases.

MPs and charities representing disabled people reacted furiously to the figures, released in a parliamentary answer, saying they bore out their worst fears at the time ministers announced the cuts several years ago.

They called on the government to speed up an ongoing review of the legal aid system and to end a Whitehall culture that, they say, too often views disabled people as easy targets for savings.

Source: Disabled people lose legal aid in 99% of benefits disputes | Society | The Guardian


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Life expectancy falls AGAIN as Tory cuts bite into our health

Residents in post-industrial towns were more likely to die younger than those in the southeast [Image: Getty].

It isn’t that long since people were telling me life expectancy wasn’t dropping.

They said figures showed the increase in the age to which we could hope to live was slowing down.

Would anybody like to suggest that now?

Last April, The Independent reported that men could expect to live to 87, on average, and women to 89.

Now, the same newspaper is saying that, by 2041, the average age of death will be 83.4 for men and 86.2 for women.

That’s a major fall in life expectancy.

And – read the extract below – it’s all due to Conservative government policies. They are engineering early deaths for us all.

Life expectancy in some parts of the UK has plummeted, according to official figures.

By 2041, women will live to 86.2 years and men 83.4 years, projections by the Office for National Statistics showed – a decrease of almost a whole year compared to previous figures released in 2015.

An analysis of the data, conducted by Public Health England, found alarming disparities in longevity by local authority.

Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, said influenza, obesity, alcohol and smoking could largely be ruled out as contributory factors.

“The fall in life expectancy in several geographical areas of England is most likely a result of the effects of public service cuts and austerity,” he said. “Many other possibilities can be ruled out. Rates of smoking and drinking alcohol have fallen in recent years so that cannot be blamed. Between 2009 and very late 2017 there has been no serious influenza outbreak.

“A government that has chosen to make these cuts, and any of the organisations it directly sponsors, will understandably find this very hard to face up to.”

Source: Life expectancy in parts of the UK plummets by more than a year


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