Tag Archives: George

Chauvin guilty of George Floyd murder – and what it means for people in the UK

Derek Chauvin: this image was taken from video footage of him choking George Floyd to death by kneeling on his throat for nine minutes.

A policeman from the United States has been found guilty of all charges related to the murder of African-American George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin, 45, was found guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

He will remain in custody until he is sentenced and could spend decades in jail.

The death of Mr Floyd sparked an international wave of protest that resulted in multiple mass “Black Lives Matter” protests here in the United Kingdom and the toppling of statues celebrating slavers – like that of Edward Colston in Bristol.

But here’s the reason the verdict matters directly to people here in the UK:

Derek Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last May.

The widely watched footage sparked worldwide protests against racism and excessive use of force by police.

If members of the public hadn’t taken video of Chauvin choking Mr Floyd to death, it is almost certain that Chauvin would have been able to avoid any charges at all; it would have been the word of a few black people against that of a police officer.

Meanwhile, here in the UK, a police union – the Metropolitan Police Federation – has been campaigning to prevent what it calls “trial by social media”.

These people mean the practice of posting video evidence of police misdeeds on Facebook and (particularly) Twitter.

I wrote about this less than a week ago. At that time, I quoted this tweet –

– and added:

“Two good points, don’t you think? For clarity, they are:

“1. If nobody had taken footage of George Floyd being throttled under the knee of a US police officer, nothing would have been done about it.

“2. It is hypocritical of the MetFed to complain about the sharing of images that shame the police when its own officers have shared images of them behaving inappropriately (to say the least) with the dead bodies of members of the public.

“If the police did not behave inappropriately; if they weren’t prone to violence against the public they are meant to protect; and if we didn’t have reason to believe the system was corruptly supporting them, then nobody would be recording these images – they simply would not happen.

“So, before these people demand what are frankly fascist measures to stop us from holding them to account – and remember, they can still record us (although I understand footage from cop cameras is likely to be restricted due to failings in policing by the officers involved) – it seems clear they should try cleaning up their act instead.

“But I suppose that would take all the fun out of it.”

Well, I reckon they’re going to have all the fun taken out of it now.

Because, after the Chauvin verdict, nobody will have the nerve to suggest banning footage of police brutality from the social media.

Source: George Floyd: Jury finds Derek Chauvin guilty of murder – BBC News

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What’s the point of a ‘review’ of the Greensill Scandal that can’t actually effect change?

George Eustice has a record of defending the indefensible: he also believes children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

After the Greensill Scandal brought to light a mountain of evidence showing corruption at the highest level of government, Boris Johnson announced a ‘review’ – that won’t have power to change anything.

Environment Secretary George Eustace admitted the review will be utterly pointless:

Mr Eustice told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge: “This review doesn’t need enforcement powers as such, it just needs to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Asked if the government would act on any recommendations from the report, Mr Eustice said there probably wouldn’t be any.

He said: “I don’t think the review’s going to make any policy recommendations.”

Asked what the point of the review was, when it has no powers and won’t make any recommendations, he said: “People are raising questions about what happened in this particular instance around [failed bank represented by David Cameron] Greensill…The purpose of the review is to answer those questions, not prescribe policy.”

In other words, it seems the aim is to make up a plausible fairy story that the Tories think we’ll accept.

That’s about as reassuring as “Ministers ‘will look at’ ideas for new lobbying rules”.

Maybe they will. They’ll look at the ideas and then they’ll file them in a litter bin.

The review will undoubtedly find that Cameron’s activities were entirely legal and conformed to the rules – intentionally avoiding the point.

The point is that the rules are intentionally corrupt. They were devised by David Cameron to allow him to do – legally – what he did.

And they also allow any other Tory to take advantage of them in the same way.

That is the reason no member of the current Tory government is going to lift a finger to change them.

Source: Minister admits Boris Johnson’s ‘review’ of lobbying scandal will have no powers – Mirror Online

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George ‘Useless’ Eustace doubles down on lie that Tory government has provided money to feed kids

Defending the indefensible: Environment Secretary George Eustice believes children should starve during the holidays, asylum seekers should drown and people should die of Covid-19 rather than let the economy be harmed.

There’s a good reason his nickname is ‘Useless’.

Environment Secretary George Eustace has repeated the insistence of Boris Johnson’s government that it will not provide any funding to feed poverty-stricken children at Christmas.

Interviewed by Kay Burley on Sky News, he said:

Burley provided robust rebuttals of his claims, and could have also pointed out that there is a five-week wait before Universal Credit claims are honoured (if they are allowed) – and that free school meals were provided outside of term time earlier this year because of the Covid-19 crisis that has forced millions of people to take a huge pay cut and that crisis is still going on.

As for the £63 million fund to councils…

Useless – sorry, Eustice – covered himself with shame during his trip round the TV stations today (October 28).

After two adults and two children died on a boat trying to get into the UK, he supported Priti Patel’s line that, rather than creating a new system which would allow asylum seekers to apply for refuge in the UK from outside its borders, the UK should block off all legal channels to do so.

This, of course, creates a huge market for illegal traffickers to send would-be migrants on unsafe channel crossings in which they may die. To Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast, Eustice said:

As you can tell, he doesn’t care if Johnny or Jane Foreigner dies; he just wants to keep them out.

To top it all, when Walker asked why the Johnson government ignored the advice of SAGE to have a lockdown in September in order to avoid having more than 200 deaths a day by mid-November – advice which seems to have been borne out by the fact that 367 deaths were recorded yesterday (October 27) – Useless Eustice said Johnson had chosen to do what he thought was right for the economy, not for the people:

Eustice is a former public relations executive who apparently learned his journalism at Cornwall College in Pool, Cornwall – which happens to be where This Writer did a postgraduate course in journalism.

I don’t think he was there when I was. Otherwise I would now be filled with regret for missing the opportunity to contribute to the national well-being by putting him off politics.

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Is the Torygraph being a snake-in-the-grass about over-75s’ TV licences?

I don’t trust the Daily Telegraph‘s advice to the elderly on the fact they’re being asked to pay for their TV licences again.

“The elderly should be in no rush to pay the BBC,” the Torygraph‘s headline proclaims – and the piece itself seems to go on in confrontational manner, making Auntie out to be the villain:

“TV Licensing will write to all licence holders aged over 75 with clear guidance about how to pay,” says the BBC, which is a polite way of saying, “We know where you live.”

Admittedly, I can’t see more than the first paragraph of Charles Moore’s article because, being published by a Tory paper, it’s behind a paywall.

But it seems to be pretending that the BBC is forcing over-75s to pay TV licences unnecessarily, and this is a lie.

The change is happening because George Osborne didn’t want the government to pay the subsidy for senior citizens that was brought in by New Labour.

He announced that the Tories would stop paying it and the BBC would have to decide what to do about it.

The choice was between asking pensioners to pay up again, or drastically reducing the BBC’s output.

Either way, there was going to be an outcry. But whatever the decision, the BBC is not to blame.

George Osborne is, along with his Tory government and its successors.

Don’t let the Torygraph fool you into believing anything else.

Source: The elderly should be in no rush to pay the BBC

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Anti-Semitic ‘Jewish conspiracy’ story about Soros confirms the businessman’s own fears

I await with resignation what I expect will be a sorry lack of support for George Soros from those who claim to stand up against anti-Semitism in the UK.

Our good friends in the Campaign Against Antisemitism, for example, have failed to condemn the Torygraph‘s anti-Semitic article. Apparently co-author Nick Timothy is a friend of the organisation (besides being a former chief advisor to Conservative prime minister Theresa May), by its own admission.

Is that why the lie that Mr Soros is covertly funding pro-EU groups (he declares all such payments) is allowed to go unchallenged? It very clearly presents that classic anti-Semitic trope, of an international conspiracy by rich Jews who are secretly running the world.

And now I wonder if I’ll be accused of the same offence, just for mentioning it. After all, I was accused of it after responding in good faith to a commenter’s query about another version of it. It seems that, for some campaigners, anti-Semitism is in the eye of the beholder.

Mr Soros is on record as a critic of Israel’s government and those of its policies which his Open Society Foundation describes as “racist and undemocratic”. He has funded groups which support the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions – movement against the Israeli government. And he has warned that Israeli policies may be stoking anti-Semitism indirectly, in that attitudes towards Israel are shaped by the way people perceive the behaviour of a country that is determined to be synonymous with the Jewish people.

And he admits that his own success contributes to that attitude as, he says, the new anti-Semitism holds that Jews rule the world.

This is what the Torygraph article implies – that Mr Soros, a Jew, is using his vast wealth to covertly influence world affairs.

It seems, to This Writer, that he won’t have any help fighting that smear from those who claim to stand against anti-Semitism, or their supporters…

Because they don’t like his politics.

George Soros isn’t a universally-known name in the UK. But in the US, he is the bogeyman of the far right. Trump supporters and right wingers claim the Jewish billionaire is lurking sinisterly behind every liberal campaign and media outlet going.

Now, the antisemitic flu has crossed the Atlantic. Because on Thursday 8 February, The Telegraph newspaper published [the story in the image above].

In reality, Soros has provided financial support to pro-EU groups openly.

So, The Telegraph article is wrong. But what makes it antisemitic? Put simply, it promotes the long-running antisemitic conspiracy theory that rich Jews run the world.

Source: The Telegraph has published an antisemitic ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theory about Brexit [IMAGE] | The Canary


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Benefit claimant Prince George takes £18,000 a year from the taxpayer – just for his education

Thomas’s Battersea is considered a feeder school for public schools like Eton, Westminster and Marlborough [Image: BBC].

Days after we learned that his parents are expecting their third child – one more than other benefit claimants are allowed – Prince George, son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has gone to school for the first time.

His education at Thomas’s Battersea will cost us – you and me – £18,000 a year.

That’s nearly 17 times the amount of child benefit available for an older child.

And, of course, nobody is allowed child benefit for a third child unless they can satisfy the so-called ‘rape clause’ in the benefit regulations. The Royals get out of this because they are provided a separate benefit by virtue of being on the Civil List.

This Writer is not a republican; I think the Royals are a valuable part of the UK’s character and good for the economy.

But it isn’t right that they are immune to the ravages of austerity. Why should they have access to apparently-unlimited supplies of money while the rest of us suffer?

What about the future? Thomas’s Battersea is a feeder school for places like Eton, which are more expensive.

And will Prince George have any university education paid for him by the rest of us? Of course he will.

Of course, the British public is having its say:

https://twitter.com/tiktaliksantino/status/905743084197163009

https://twitter.com/AidanKelly4/status/905741695974821889

https://twitter.com/DiligentTruth/status/905741247142354944

You get the idea.

In fairness, there are plenty of supportive comments as well.

But do the people making those comments have to struggle to pay the bills every week?

Prince George has started his first day at school.

The four-year-old is attending Thomas’s Battersea, an £18,000-a-year preparatory school in London.

Source: Prince George starts first day of school – BBC News


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Royal couple expecting third child. What if they were treated the same as others who rely on state benefits?

More on the way: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with children George and Charlotte. Do they really need any more, considering WE are paying for them?

Nobody ever mentions it but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, like the rest of the Royal Family, are effectively benefit claimants.

They live on money provided by taxpayers for their upkeep – just like, for example, people claiming Child Benefit.

I mention this because there is a two-child limit on Child Benefit. Nobody who has more than two children can claim any extra money for them – except under certain circumstances.

Bearing in mind what one of those circumstances is, can you imagine the scandal if any government employee asked the relevant question before handing over the Cambridges’ share of our money?

The only difference between these people and Child Benefit claimants is an accident of birth – the Duke of Cambridge was born into a family that, as Tony Benn once described it, stole lots of land, claimed fancy titles and surrounded themselves with weak-minded followers.

Yet because of that, his wife can hold her hand out for as much of (our) cash as she wants – while other young mums have to suffer the indignity of being asked to satisfy the demands of the rape clause.

It is as described in today’s Independent article:

“The contrast lays bare the fundamentals of reproductive injustice: the fact that class, wealth and race control which groups are considered worthy of the privilege of reproduction. Underpinning this is the lie that the wealthy are self-sufficient, whereas the poor upon whose work they depend are parasites. We know this is not true.”

Perhaps the parasites who were the centre of media attention today should think carefully about contraception in the future.

Oh. By the way, I’m not a republican. I simply think the Royal Family have a duty to understand the harsh conditions under which most of us are living and behave in a responsible way – rather than rubbing our noses in the difference between their style of benefit conditionality and ours.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child, Kensington Palace has announced.

The Queen and both families are said to be “delighted with the news”.

Source: Royal baby: Duchess of Cambridge expecting third child


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Osborne’s ‘no gimmicks’ budget: How much can we trust?

What hope would the UK have if THIS man continues as Chancellor of the Exchequer after the general election?

What hope would the UK have if THIS man continues as Chancellor of the Exchequer after the general election?

George Osborne will deliver his final budget of the current Parliament on Wednesday and – if it proves to be the last he ever gives – it won’t be a moment too soon.

Ever since his ’emergency’ budget of 2010, which ended the economic growth created by Labour’s Alistair Darling and ushered in three years of economic flatlining, we have had to endure an unending stream of nonsense from this chancer-among-chancellors, this most mini-among-ministers, this least-treasured Treasurer.

Today we heard that he is again attempting to bribe pensioners into voting Conservative, with a plan that encourages them to take out their defined contribution pension annuities for a lump sum – which, it seems likely, will then be used up in short order, leaving the pensioner to fall on the mercy of the state.

It seems to be more short-termism – getting senior citizens to spend, in order to create a minor boost to economic activity now, while storing up problems for the future.

Osborne says no, and told the BBC that it was “patronising” to suggest people might blow the money on an expensive sports car, then come back for more when they ran out of cash.

This is from the Chancellor who, prior to the financial crash, told Gordon Brown repeatedly that bankers could be trusted to run their businesses unregulated; and who, once in government, based his entire economic strategy on a theory that has since been comprehensively trashed.

The Guardian has listed a few more claims that Osborne might make in his Budget speech, along with the counter-arguments. We shan’t bother with the arguments in support of him here – let’s skip to the good parts. Here are the claims – and their debunkings:

The Government’s plan is working – Deficit reduction has been much slower than Osborne forecast five years ago. In his first budget, in June 2010, the chancellor predicted that he would need to borrow £37bn in 2014-5 and that tax receipts would cover day-to-day government spending. The actual figure will be almost three times that, and, when adjusted for the state of the economy, the 2015 budget deficit is expected to be higher than any other EU country barring Croatia, according to Investec.

Britain has the fastest-growing economy in the G7 – Osborne’s account of his stewardship is partial and misleading. It ignores the first two years, in each of which austerity measures knocked one percentage point off growth, resulting in a flatlining economy. Britain’s recovery from the 2008-09 slump has been the weakest of any in the past 100 years, slower even than the bounce back from the Great Depression of the 1930s. Real wages have at last started to rise as a result of falling inflation, but incomes per head are on average the same now as they were in 2006, before the financial crisis. Business investment has fallen for the past two quarters, and the current account deficit is higher than ever, at 6% of GDP.

We are helping hard- working people by raising tax allowances – Raising the personal allowance is not a well-targeted way of helping the low paid because it helps earners further up the income scale as well. Britain’s low-pay culture means millions of workers don’t earn anything like £10,600 a year. As a result, Osborne is thought to be toying with the idea of raising the threshold for employee national insurance contributions, which is effectively another form of income tax but kicks in at a lower level.

We will ease back on austerity while sticking to our deficit-cutting target – Even after a trim, Osborne’s cuts programme will still look drastic. Labour will argue that he is taking too much of a risk with economic growth and jeopardising essential public services.

We will launch a new crackdown on tax evasion – This is too little, too late, and many of the perks that help the super-rich avoid tax – including non-domiciled tax status – remain in place. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are under fire for appointing former HSBC chairman Stephen Green as a trade minister, apparently without checking his possible involvement.

Feel free to copy out the above and check it against Osborne’s speech on Wednesday.

One thing is certain – it will contain nothing that should persuade you to vote Conservative in May.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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‘It is cheaper to help people die rather than support them to live’

Lord Carey: He may be demonstrating the amount of thought he has given to what unscrupulous people will do with his "change of heart".

Lord Carey: He may be demonstrating the amount of thought he has given to what unscrupulous people will do with his “change of heart”.

A “change of heart” by a former Archbishop of Canterbury over ‘assisted dying’ has dismayed at least one campaigner for the rights of people with disabilities.

Mo Stewart has been researching and reporting what she describes as the “atrocities” against the chronically sick and disabled in the UK for the last four years. She said Lord Carey’s decision to support legislation that would make it legal for people in England and Wales to receive help to end their lives would “play right into the hands of this very, very dangerous government”.

Justifying his change of position, Lord Carey said: “Today we face a central paradox. In strictly observing the sanctity of life, the Church could now actually be promoting anguish and pain, the very opposite of a Christian message of hope.

“The old philosophical certainties have collapsed in the face of the reality of needless suffering.”

The Assisted Dying Bill, tabled by Labour’s Lord Falconer, would apply to people with less than six months to live. Two doctors would have to independently confirm the patient was terminally ill and had reached their own, informed decision to die.

But Mo Stewart warned that the proposed legislation, to be debated in the House of Lords on Friday, would be subject to ‘function creep’, with unscrupulous authorities taking advantage of people with depression in order to relieve themselves of the financial burden of paying for their care.

“If this law is granted, what will be deemed a possibility for the few will, very quickly I fear, become the expected for the many,” she wrote in a letter to Lord Carey which she has kindly provided to Vox Political.

“It’s cheaper to help people to die rather than support them to live.

“There is a catalogue of evidence demonstrating that, in those countries where assisted dying is permitted, very often those taking their own lives are suffering from a clinical depression and leave our world to resist the perception that they are a burden to loved ones.

“I am stunned that you would use your voice to try to permit this to happen in the UK.”

She pointed out that medicine is an inexact science and policy changes such as this could have an enormous detrimental impact: “My own webmaster, who is now desperately ill with possibly only weeks to live, was advised he had less than six months to live over four years ago.

“Until very recently, he still enjoyed a high quality of life with his wife, family and friends; a life that could have been removed four years ago” had the Assisted Dying Bill been law at that time.

“What this debate is demonstrating is the failure of guaranteed high quality palliative care in the UK, that makes those with a life-limiting diagnosis feel that self termination is a reasonable solution,” she warned.

“If palliative care was at the peak of quality and access then there would be no need to ever consider such a Bill for this country, as those who wish to access self termination are usually living in fear of the possible physical suffering they may need to endure. This is a highway to clinical depression when quality of life is deemed to have disappeared with diagnosis.”

The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has described the Bill as “mistaken and dangerous” and Mo said she believed he had explained the dangers well.

He said: “This is not scaremongering. I know of health professionals who are already concerned by the ways in which their clients have suggestions ‘to go to Switzerland’ whispered in their ears by relatives weary of caring for them and exasperated by seeing their inheritances dwindle through care costs.

“I have received letters from both disabled individuals and their carers, deeply concerned by the pressure that Lord Falconer’s bill could put them under if it became law.”

Mo Stewart’s letter concludes: “In the real world, this Bill – if passed – would, I have no doubt, lead to abuses where some were actively persuaded to self terminate for the convenience, and possibly the inheritance, of others.

“It’s really not a very long way away from an assisted dying bill to an assisted suicide bill.”

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Budget fever grows but is Gideon up to the task?

Cart crash: In line with the theme explored in this article, not only is it likely that George Osborne won't even have the right vehicle to carry his budget - he'll probably crash it, too.

Cart crash: In line with the theme explored in this article, not only is it likely that George Osborne won’t even have the right vehicle to carry his budget – he’ll probably crash it, too.

Part-time Chancellor Gideon George Osborne will be having another go at delivering a budget next week; while we can all hope he does better than the last four wrecks, experience – and a voodoo poll on the ConservativeHome website – suggests the opposite.

The poll asks readers to prioritise possible policies on a scale of one to 10, where one is “low” and 10 is “high”. The policies themselves?

“Cut spending further, so that the deficit can be reduced faster”. Clearly this is nonsense. Osborne’s massive spending cuts have, so far, delivered tiny reduction in the national deficit of only £7 billion – from £118 billion to £111 billion. In four years. Clearly, he needs to change his ways.

Other possibilities include cutting the higher rates of tax (or raising the threshold for them) – helping the very rich; extending National Insurance cuts for employers taking on young workers – helping employers; cutting business rates – helping businesspeople; and privatising more state assets, such as roads – helping rich investors and penalising the poor.

Other ideas intended to harm the poor include regionalising public sector pay, extending the freeze on public sector pay rises or cutting public sector pay, lowering the benefit cap to less than the current £26,000 per family and lowering a cap on broader social security spending that is yet to be introduced (it is scheduled for 2015).

All of the measures mentioned in the above two paragraphs will harm the British economy, rather than helping it. If Osborne includes any of them, he will deserve censure (if not prosecution, although it might be hard to find an offence on which to charge him after five years of Tory/Tory Democrat tinkering with the legal system).

By now, dear readers, some of you will be sitting with your blood boiling at this insolent blogger who’s telling you your prized policy ideas won’t work. You’re probably itching to demand what I would do to address the challenge.

I would have examined the economy from a different angle. Let’s look at it metaphorically.

Imagine the British economy is a haulage lorry or, better yet, a horse and cart. Tories are pushing us back towards pre-industrialism so we might as well get used to the idea. Either way, the job in hand is to take provisions to different parts of the locality that will allow the people there to prosper – and return with a share of that prosperity, to be distributed equally for the benefit of everyone.

Firstly, you need fuel. This is where we can prove that Osborne’s austerity is completely useless. How far can a lorry travel with an empty fuel tank? How far will a horse pull a cart if you don’t feed it? Not very far at all.

Then you need to make sure you’re providing the right kind of fuel. A diesel lorry won’t go far on petrol or vegetable oil before it starts to complain; give a horse the wrong kind of food and it will develop who-knows-what kind of digestion-related illness and keel over. This is what happens to an economy that is over-reliant on – for example – a single economy sector such as finance, or an economic ‘bubble’ like the housing growth triggered by Help to Buy (although this scheme could work well with the correct controls, in the same way you can probably keep a horse working with the correct medicine).

The result in both cases – no fuel or wrong fuel – is the same: Your supplies don’t get out to your people and they suffer as a result. The last four years of Tory/Tory Democrat rule has proved this.

In non-metaphorical terms: There must be investment, and it must be the right kind.

Then, of course, there is the question of what you have in the back of your lorry (or on the cart). You must be providing your people with what they need, otherwise there’s no point in making the journey and the fuel/food in which you have invested – in fact, the whole journey – will have been wasted (like Osborne’s last four budget attempts). Your choice of supplies will depend on what your people are doing – what crops they are growing or products they are making – and on whether these can be traded with your neighbours. If they have been misled into producing wares that can’t be traded, what good is that?

Get it right and you’ll be able to make a return trip laden with goods and supplies that will – with a bit of wise distribution and trade – help build up your society, meaning that the load might not be so great on the next trip. This means less fuel/horse feed will be needed and there won’t be as large a load in goods to be redistributed on the return journey (although an expanding economy means there might be farther to travel, so this must be recognised in the amount of fuel to be used).

That’s about as simple a metaphor as I can devise at the moment.

If I had to predict what will happen on Wednesday, though, I would probably expect Osborne to be demanding that we leave the lorry in the garage (or the horse in the yard), and struggle out on foot with all our burdens on our own back.

Not so much “all in it together” as “everyone for themselves” – and that’s how we’ll all be ruined.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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