Tag Archives: force

The Tories crippled their own border controls. Don’t let them use their own stupidity to boost racism

Tories like scapegoating immigrants – and have been doing it for decades: the current fad is for claiming illegal immigration feeds modern slavery, but the underlying threat has always been that Johnny Foreigner is taking your job. It’s an old con.

This Tory hypocrisy is a little too rich for our taste.

Boris Johnson’s government is whipping up jingoism against refugees secretly crossing the Channel to get into the UK:

It seems ministers have conveniently forgotten that successive Tory governments were responsible for stripping the country of its ability to catch the people-smugglers.

Former prime minister Theresa May, during her term as Home Secretary, spent years cutting Border Force, the organisation that – we’re told – protects our borders.

I published this story in 2014 and matters have only become worse.

If it can’t manage now – and the Tories have had to appeal to the Navy for help – that’s their fault and they should own up to it.

Instead, they’re trying to turn their latest fiasco into a crusade against Johnny Foreigner sneaking onto our shores and boosting modern slavery.

How utterly vile.

I accept that it is perfectly understandable to want to keep unmonitored people out of the UK during a time of international contagion.

However:

The issue is why these people want to come to the UK at all. If we really wanted to stop them, we need to help end their reasons for leaving their own homelands.

(Obviously, making the UK an unattractive destination has failed as a strategy.)

My guess is, these people are running away from wars, and the fallout from wars, that the UK helped start under recent Tory governments.

So whichever way you turn, the finger of blame points at the Conservatives.

It leads me to ask whether this is an attempt at distraction – and if so, I’m wondering what’s so bad that the Tories are happy to expose themselves to ridicule, simply to divert attention away from it.

Source: Home Office seeks military help over migrant crossings – BBC News

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Johnson sets up secret Whitehall task force to excuse him from Covid-19 mistakes

Johnson’s Covid-19 strategy: this Times cartoon seems to have it right; don’t expect his private inquiry to come to the same conclusions.

Isn’t it strange that Boris Johnson can tell us it isn’t time to have a public inquiry into his Covid-19 strategies – but then orders one to be carried out in private?

The claim is that the Department of Health team will examine lessons to be learned and recommend action.

But I think somebody on Twitter summed up the reality of the situation much better:

“Johnson isn’t looking for the facts. He’s looking for something he can tell Parliament.” That’ll be something to excuse him from any wrongdoing.

Source: Boris Johnson sets up secret Whitehall task force to examine Government’s virus mistakes – Mirror Online

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MPs must physically attend Parliament again from June 2. Let’s see how THAT works for them…

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he wants a return to the way Parliament was conducted long ago and he doesn’t care if MPs die as a result.

MPs have voted to end the “virtual” Parliamentary proceedings they have been enjoying since the lockdown started.

From June 2, they will have to attend in order to take part in debates – even though the limit of 50 people in the Commons chamber at any time will remain.

How’s that going to work, then?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, laughably the current Leader of the House, reckons the change will restore sufficient scrutiny of policy matters, but it is difficult to understand his reasoning.

With fewer people allowed in the Chamber, there will be less opportunity for our representatives to have their voices heard.

Rees-Mogg whined that virtual proceedings slowed down debates to one-third of normal pace – but isn’t that better than excluding MPs from debates altogether?

And then there’s the question of whether the decision is effectively one to “euthanise” MPs:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been told by a senior Conservative backbencher that an attempt to return to a “physical” parliament will in effect “euthanise” MPs who are sick, shielding and self-isolating.

Former minister Robert Halfon said the proposals would discriminate and threaten the lives of some MPs.

“Is it really morally just to say in effect to MPs, because you are not Tarzan-like and able to swing through the chamber, beating your chest shouting to your constituents: ‘Look, I am here!’ that you are effectively euthanised from the Commons?

“MPs who are disrupted by this awful pandemic are not just old horses to be sent to the knackers’ yard,” he said.

Some of you may be confused by Mr Halfon’s speech.

It seems he was not suggesting that MPs would catch the coronavirus and die in what some members of the public might consider a mercy-killing (as far as the UK’s citizens are concerned).

Instead, it seems he was suggesting that MPs would be excluded from proceedings, meaning they might as well be dead as far as the good of their constituents is concerned. It’s opaque.

More to the point, perhaps is a letter signed by 35 MPs, arguing that a return to a “physical” parliament could mean that those in high-risk categories including BAME MPs, older MPs or those who are pregnant will be disproportionately restricted.

One very dangerous aspect will be the return of physical voting, in which MPs will be packed into small spaces as they file through the “aye” or “no” lobby. That creates a threat of contracting Covid-19, that could be fatal for some.

But Rees-Mogg was never likely to listen to arguments against it. That is the traditional way in which MPs vote and, as the “Member for the 18th Century”, his emotional tie to it far outweighs any concern for the wellbeing of others.

ADDITIONAL: A reader has just reminded me that MPs were all given £10,000 to facilitate working from home. Are they going to give any of that money back? Ten big ones for just eight weeks’ lockdown seems exorbitantly excessive to This Writer!

Source: MPs told to return to Parliament by June 2 despite health concerns – ITV News

Coronavirus: Tories don’t know number of NHS deaths but are BLAMING the health workers they are working into the grave

Hancock: he doesn’t know how many people have died of coronavirus but is happy to encourage the spread of the disease by failing to follow his own rules.

Matt Hancock and his team should resign in disgrace, if only that wouldn’t upset the government’s handling of coronavirus – what little there is!

At the latest press conference, Hancock was asked if he knew how many NHS staff have died of the coronavirus. To his everlasting shame, he didn’t:

The refusal to provide figures is based on a lie – it won’t affect or upset anybody to provide numbers.

In any case, we know the number now. It’s 31:

And this number includes 10 doctors – all of whom are from Black And Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

Isn’t it a little odd that they should all be from minorities?

Here’s The Guardian:

Dr Fayez Ayache had retired as a Suffolk GP but had been working part-time in North Clacton, Essex, until three weeks ago. He had also volunteered to help refugees from his native Syria. He died on Wednesday after being diagnosed with pneumonia and Covid-19.

Interesting to note that he received a tribute from the president of the Syrian British Medical Society.

Here are the others:

Like Ayache, all the other nine doctors to have been named as victims of coronavirus have been from BAME backgrounds. They are:

  • Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, a consultant urologist at Homerton hospital in Hackney, east London, who had pleaded with the prime minister for more PPE.
  • Sami Shousha, a British-Egyptian doctor who specialised in histopathology, and had worked for more than 40 years at Charing Cross hospital in west London.
  • Dr Edmond Adedeji, an A&E doctor at the Great Western hospital in Swindon.
  • Syed Haider, a British Pakistani retired GP, who had worked at the Valence medical centre in Dagenham, east London.
  • Anton Sebastianpillai, a consultant geriatrician who trained in Sri Lanka and died in Kingston hospital, south-west London, just over two weeks after completing his last shift there.
  • Dr Alfa Saadu, a retired medical director born in Nigeria, who had been volunteering at his local hospital in Welwyn, Hertfordshire.
  • Amged el-Hawrani, an ear, nose and throat consultant of Sudanese descent who was working at Burton hospital near Derby.
  • Adil El Tayar, a surgeon from Sudan, who died after volunteering in A&E departments in the Midlands.
  • Habib Zaidi, 76, a GP with Pakistani origins, who died after showing “textbook symptoms” of the virus.

It seems clear that the NHS is being held together by professionals from outside the UK. Didn’t this country leave the EU in order to close our borders to such people?

The blank stupidity of the Tories seems to know no bounds. And 17 million people voted for Brexit – many of whom were probably among the 14 million who voted for Boris Johnson in December last year – so it seems stupidity is a worse contagion than the coronavirus in the modern UK.

Worse than all though, though – the crowning disgrace – is this:

Hancock has tried to blame the high number of deaths on NHS staff.

Watch:

What a piece of filth – supported by the gutter-rag Tory press, of course:

Would you like to know the real reason NHS workers – and so many patients – are dying?

You won’t like it.

It’s apparently because Tories like Hancock are insisting that staff who have caught the coronavirus must return to work before they have recovered:

I’m waiting for proof of this but I don’t think it’s going to be controversial.

The message is clear.

Rich, privileged, secure Hancock is blaming his failures on cash-poor, unwell NHS staff who have been told to get back to work too soon or lose their jobs, and that is the reason people are losing their lives.

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Are landlords trying to force Labour-voting tenants to support the Tories?

Votes for rent: How many people are tenants of private landlords? Enough to unduly influence an election if they are coerced into voting for a candidate they don’t want; a party whose policies would harm them?

I find this tweet extremely disturbing:

When I first moved to Mid Wales, I was told that it had been a common event for Conservative-voting landlords to visit their Labour-supporting tenants during a general election and blackmail them: vote Tory or be kicked onto the street.

I asked whether that still happened and didn’t get a clear answer.

So when I saw Grace Krause’s tweet, alarm bells rang in my head.

Are landlords blackmailing their tenants into voting for a government that intends to harm them?

If so, that is to be stopped.

The Tories won’t stop it – they love a bit of corruption if it favours them.

So let me appeal to anybody facing this kind of coercion: DISOBEY. Vote Labour and report your landlord to the Electoral Commission for trying to influence the result of the election.

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‘Degrading and humiliating’ – why do police treat disabled people so badly?

Targeted: Is the Met police’s ill-treatment of disabled people part of an overarching policy of discrimination against them?

The Metropolitan Police has been accused of “degrading and humiliating” treatment of people with disabilities who took part in the Extinction Rebellion protests in London.

In isolation, this would be bad enough – but it is just the latest in a series of incidents targeting disabled protesters, by forces across the UK.

Now the Met’s independent advisory group says the bullying that took place may have caused “irreparable damage” to relations with disabled people.

Stop and think about that. This isn’t just a public relations problem – it’s a disaster for the police: “irreparable damage.”

According to The Guardian, advisory group chair Anne Novis said everybody in that organisation – all of them – were on the point of resigning because of the stories they were hearing from disabled people.

This is entirely understandable. The claim is that people with disabilities were deliberately and aggressively targeted by police.

Here’s an example of what police were doing: When a disabled protester outside Scotland Yard needed a carer to adjust her supplemental oxygen and provide other medicine, police arrested both on the grounds that they were an illegal assembly.

They had been there to protest after police had confiscated independent living equipment including wheelchairs, disability ramps, noise-cancelling headphones, specially adapted toilets and other items intended to make protest sites accessible to disabled people.

Another incident saw a blind protester released without his cane. And left to get home without any help at all.

Legal observers for Extinction Rebellion said they had expected violence by police – but had not reckoned on it being almost exclusively directed at disabled people in what appeared to be a “deliberate intimidation tactic”.

The Met has claimed that it does not single out any minority group or community – but this is unpersuasive in the light of the mountain of evidence against it.

And it seems part of a nationwide policy to target the disabled. Remember when anti-fracking protesters in Lancashire were targeted by police?

Those people then faced a secondary attack from the Department for Work and Pensions, who claimed that they did not deserve sickness and/or disability benefits because they were well enough to take part in a protest. Remember that?

We discovered then that the police had an agreement to share information on protesters with the DWP, precisely to help that government department unfairly strip disabled people of their benefits.

Loss of state benefits – for a disabled person – has led to starvation, the worsening of their condition through lack of medication, and – in some cases – suicide.

It may be considered an attempt to pass a death sentence on them, simply for daring to protest against something that is wrong.

Has the Met passed the details of the disabled XR protesters to the DWP, in the hope of forcing them into that fate?

I don’t know. But I feel sure we will find out.

Let us hope that we do so before it is too late.

Source: Met police accused of ‘degrading’ treatment of disabled XR activists | UK news | The Guardian

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‘We don’t care that you’re disabled and distressed – don’t miss your DWP courses’ | The Poor Side of Life

Arbet macht frei: There was a big fuss over an image like this recently, so I’ll tell you what: I’ll stop using it when Job Centres stop persecuting the benefit claimants they process.

Parliament may be all about Brexit and an early election right now but out in the country the business of the Conservative government is the business of depriving ordinary people of their cash and their dignity.

This Site has been following the stories of genuine people at Ashton under Lyne Job Centre, as posted by Charlotte Hughes in her Poor Side of Life blog for years.

This week she brings us the following cautionary tale.

Bear it in mind when Boris Johnson is whining on the telly about how he’s the one having a hard time.

Jill is disabled but the DWP are treating her terribly. I’ve noticed her having to attend appointments at the Jobcentre every week. If that alone isn’t stressful enough she been forced to attend a DWP course elsewhere.

Jilll is really struggling with this. She feels that she’s being targeted both by the DWP and the course providers and she can’t cope.

Visibly distressed she told her adviser that she couldn’t cope with the demands made to her both both on the course and the DWP, she asked if she could stop attending the course.

Her advisor then told her that she would have to attend the course regardless and she started to cry. Her tears were ignored by the DWP but not by us.

I get both angry and upset when I see the DWP treat vulnerable people like this. It shouldn’t be happening but it is and to thousands of people every day up and down the country. Luckily I and my comrades were there to support and advise her.

Can you imagine how hard it is to cope with the constant stress and discrimination relentlessly metered onto you from the DWP? It makes people I’ll, many take their own life because they can’t cope.

In an ideal world this wouldn’t happen. We would all be treated with respect and dignity. I know that this is a dream and it most likely never happen but it doesn’t do any harm to want to achieve this.

Source: We don’t care that you’re disabled and distressed you still have to attend DWP courses. More tales from Ashton-under-Lyne Jobcentre. – The poor side of life

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Remembrance Day travesty: While Corbyn pledges to house homeless veterans, his critics carp about his coat

 

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Anybody catching this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony on television this year will have spotted Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wearing an anoark rather than the black overcoat worn by many of his fellow wreath-laying political leaders – as you can see in the image above

I did. I wasn’t actually taking part in any events this year so I had a chance to sit down and watch it instead. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of coat because it meant he stood out from the crowd that included Vince Cable, Theresa May and John Bercow. Also I dare say it would have protected him from any rain.

So imagine my surprise when I scanned Twitter afterwards and found this:

I did! Fortunately, others had decided to respond before I had a chance, robbing the world of the opportunity to see me letting rip on some poor sap.

Rachael Swindon wrote: “Shocking revelation here. Jeremy Corbyn wore A COAT on a showery day in London today. I think Kev is a bit of a knob.”

So say we all. ‘Gary the opinionated insignificance took it a step further: “Did he do a “jig” on his way there this year or is that lie not being wheeled out this year?”

Remember that silliness? Eoin Clarke does:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1061605175654342656

This year’s wheeze didn’t seem to be working too well, though – as you can probably tell from the results of the poll in the following tweet:

https://twitter.com/jongaunt/status/1061585959815471104

When I voted and checked, it was clear that the majority support Mr Corbyn’s choice of outdoor wear.

So the loonies doubled down. Going back to the image, can you see that Mr Corbyn was sporting a poppy that was considerably smaller than those worn by his fellow wreath-laying political leaders?

I did. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of poppy because I have one very similar to it. They are metal, and cost considerably more than the normal, disposable poppies worn by most of the other bigwigs.

Imagine my surprise when, still scanning Twitter, I found this:

You have to scroll down quite a way to see all the responses to this one.

Rachael Swindon (again) drew the logical conclusion:

I also liked Cllr Cassi Perry’s rejoinder: “As a veteran I say wind your neck in. Ensuring it never happens again is the best way to honour our service and Corbyn is the one fighting hardest for that. And no we don’t care about the size of a bloody poppy. How old are you?!”

How about this from Sandy S? “Guess what, my 96 yr old Dad who flew Lancs in the war has just been to a rememberence parade, wearing the same poppy JC was wearing. Now stick that up your kite and smoke it. PS, he was wearing a raincoat too. You’re a disgrace.

And Clare Hepworth OBE was glowing in her indignation: “Oh for goodness sake! What a puerile , infantile – just plain STUPID comment to make on a day like this! Do you honestly believe that sensible people will take your comment seriously?”

Some focused on the fact that Mr Corbyn’s critics were focusing on the wrong thing. Remembrance Day is about commemorating our war dead and pledging to put an end to wars. Owen Jones tackled the first matter:

And genuine war veteran Harry Leslie Smith made an excellent point that the person standing next to Mr Corbyn in the image (above) is actually making it possible for wars to take place:

Rachael Swindon made it perfectly clear:

Then there’s this:

And Aleesha related it all to a very specific incident taking place as I type this:

By now, the right-wing mainstream media had jumped on the bandwagon and the Daily Mail was kicking up a song and dance:

… only to get exactly what it deserved:

That’s all very amusing.

But it seems there is another reason right-wingers were trying to distract us with nonsense about Mr Corbyn’s choice of clothing. Here’s Richard O’Neill:

He’s absolutely right.

Only the day before the Remembrance parade, Mr Corbyn pledged to put an end to the “scourge” of homelessness among armed forces veterans.

Here‘s the Independent: “Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to end the “scourge” of rough sleeping among armed forces veterans as he calls on Theresa May to officially register the number of homeless ex-servicemen and women.

“The Labour leader will mark the historic occasion by outlining his party’s “social contract” for veterans, including provisions for free education and treating mental health issues as “seriously as physical health issues”.

“He will also call on ministers to use the government’s “long overdue” Veterans Strategy – due to be published later this month – to officially record the number of homeless veterans in the UK, including statistics on those who take their own lives.

“Mr Corbyn said: “The next Labour government will guarantee armed forces personnel the opportunity to have a home, to heal and to retrain when they complete their time in service.

““We will do the right thing by ending the scourge of rough sleeping and helping veterans embark on new careers.””

And this help is desperately needed – under the Tory government, war veterans are more likely to lose their homes than be given one.

According to Mirror Online: “At least 13,000 of our war heroes are homeless after leaving the military, a Sunday People probe reveals.

“Military charities said the shameful figure is a record high and the Government is failing those who risk their lives for Queen and country.

“They also issued a stark warning that the crisis deepens every month.

“Charity bosses say the problem has been made worse by cuts to the armed forces, which has led to almost 30,000 troops losing their jobs since 2010.

“Homeless numbers have soared, despite the Government outlining its duty to serving and former personnel by enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant in law in 2011.

“The covenant says veterans “should have priority status in applying for Government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge”.”

It seems all this fuss about Mr Corbyn’s coat is meant to distract us from his commitment to help service veterans who have been failed by the Conservatives.

Labour to vote against Brexit deal, Emily Thornberry says – but will Tories really rebel?

Emily Thornberry: This is the image the FT chose to accompany its story – with the shadow Foreign Secretary apparently raising two fingers to Mrs May.

Haven’t we been here before?

While it seems likely that all Labour MPs – even the Brexiters – may follow the party whip in a bid to force a general election, I’m not sure they can rely on the so-called Tory rebels to do the same.

Conservatives are notorious for being spineless when faced with a choice between standing up for their principles and hanging on to power.

The task for Labour is to convince the Conservatives who oppose Mrs May’s ‘Chequers’ plan that Brexit under a Labour government is likely to offer better prospects for them – personally – in the long term.

Is that achievable?

The UK’s opposition Labour party is set to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to one of Jeremy Corbyn’s most senior colleagues, who predicts that the lack of a viable exit from the EU would lead to the prime minister being forced from office before Christmas.

Emily Thornberry, shadow foreign secretary, told the Financial Times that a workable deal was “just not going to happen” under Mrs May.

She said there would need to be a general election within months given the likelihood that the prime minister would be defeated on the crucial vote on any Brexit deal.

Labour’s opposition to the deal means that it would require as few as 10 Tory MPs — from either the party’s hardline Eurosceptic or pro-EU wings — to defeat the government.

Some Labour Brexiters could still swing behind Mrs May but few would want to avoid a chance to bring down the government.

Already 25 Conservative MPs have pledged to defeat Mrs May’s Chequers blueprint for the UK’s relations with the EU post-Brexit, while several Europhile Conservatives have backed a second Brexit referendum.

Many MPs argue that the prime minister could not survive a defeat on her Brexit deal, which has become the centrepiece of her two years in office.

“It all depends on what Labour does,” said one minister. “If they are going to vote against us then that means she really is in trouble.”

Source: Labour to vote against Brexit deal, Emily Thornberry says | Financial Times

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Judge rules David Gauke was wrong to push Parole Board chair out of his job

Wrongly forced to quit: Former Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick.

This is further evidence to add to the mountain we already have, demonstrating the corruption inherent in any Conservative government.

The simple fact is that they think they can do anything they like.

A high court judge has ruled it was unacceptable for the justice secretary to pressurise the Parole Board chair Nick Hardwick into resigning, and that the board lacks independence from the government.

Hardwick resigned in March when David Gauke told him that his position was untenable following the Parole Board’s decision to release serial sex offender John Worboys.

The case was brought by Paul Wakenshaw, a British prisoner, who argued that although the Parole Board was a de facto court under both common law and the European convention on human rights, Hardwick’s removal proved it lacked the independence of a true court.

He said it was constitutionally improper for the justice secretary to have requested that the head of a judicial body resign without any procedure being followed to determine whether there were grounds for his removal. Wakenshaw also sought an order postponing the recruitment of a new chair, for which interviews are scheduled to take place this month.

On Tuesday Mr Justice Mostyn granted Wakenshaw permission to judicially review the independence of the board on the grounds there was a lack of security of tenure for Parole Board members (including the chair) – as evidenced by the circumstances in which Hardwick offered his resignation.

The judge also said that if the justice secretary decided to remove a member of the Parole Board, there was no mechanism to ensure it was a fair decision.

Source: Justice secretary wrong to push Parole Board chair to quit, judge rules | Society | The Guardian

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