Tag Archives: halt

Election 2019: Tory halt on fracking condemned as a lie and a stunt

Boris Johnson: Do you have any reason to believe this liar will really ban fracking?

The government has halted fracking in England in what most commentators see as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

It seems nobody seriously believes that Boris Johnson won’t allow fracking to resume on December 13, if he gets enough votes to form another government. See:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pointed out that Boris Johnson himself once described fracking in the most glowing terms possible:

And Mr Corbyn was right – here’s an extract from the Telegraph article Mr Johnson wrote about it, headlined Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking:

“The extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracture, or fracking, seems an answer to the nation’s prayers.

“By offering the hope of cheap electricity, fracking would make Britain once again competitive in sectors of industry … where we have lost hope.

“We should get our act together, and make use of what nature has bestowed on Lancashire and elsewhere… It is glorious news for humanity.”

But it is also electoral poison, it seems.

So Mr Johnson has shelved it for the time being.

Oh, but look at this – dissent from Andrea Leadsom which suggests that he is lying. It seems she described the Conservatives’ announcement about pausing fracking as a ‘disappointment’, saying that fracking is a ‘huge opportunity’ for the UK and that we will need shale gas for ‘the next several decades’.

Labour’s shadow secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, Rebecca Long-Bailey, was on the case.

She said: “The Conservatives usually wait until after elections before breaking their promises but this time they’ve u-turned on their fracking policy within hours of announcing it. Their own Energy Secretary has described pausing fracking as a ‘disappointment’, says fracking is a ‘huge opportunity’ and that the UK will rely on fracked shale gas for decades to come.

“This confirms that the Tories are only temporarily pausing fracking to try to win a few votes. They have no intention of stopping fracking, which Boris Johnson described as ‘glorious news for humanity’.

“Labour will ban fracking. That’s real change.”

So the choice is simple: A makeshift, make-believe, pretend freeze on this dangerous process under the Tories that will last until just after the general election – or a genuine ban under Labour.

Boris Johnson is a proven liar. Jeremy Corbyn is known to keep his word.

Who do you believe?

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Apparently Boris Johnson has no problem with his MPs abusing women

Abusive: Mark Field said he acted in the belief that a peaceful, female Greenpeace protester might be about to do violence. But – in this image – who is attacking whom?

Boris Johnson has quietly dropped a cabinet office investigation into the way former Foreign Office minister Mark Field manhandled a protester during the recent Mansion House dinner.

BoJob seems to think the investigation is no longer needed because he sacked Mr Field from his government role last week (he had been suspended by Theresa May shortly after the incident). According to The Guardian:

Boris Johnson has dropped the Whitehall investigation into Mark Field, the Tory MP who was caught on camera manhandling a Greenpeace activist out of a black-tie dinner.

Johnson has sacked Field from his role as a Foreign Office minister since taking over as prime minister and decided that the investigation was no longer needed.

A No 10 spokesman said: “Mark Field has now left the government. The current PM considers this issue was a matter for the previous PM concerning his conduct during his time as a minister under her appointment.”

But there’s just one problem:

Mr Field remains a Conservative MP. Is this

– really what Mr Johnson considers acceptable behaviour among his backbenchers?

I don’t.

If you do, read this to refresh your memory.

Activist Janet Barker, of Builth Wells, said after the MP assaulted her that she would not press charges, but that Mr Field should attend an anger management course:

Bear in mind that Ms Barker revealed that after he shoved her out of the Mansion House, Mr Field said: “This is what happens when people like you disturb our dinner!”

I wrote at the time: “Make no mistake; when this man said “people like you” to Janet Barker, he meant people like you, dear reader.

“He meant members of the general public who are harmed by Tory policies. He thinks your place is to suffer in silence while he and his kind eat slap-up meals, bought by causing that suffering. He is a fairly typical Conservative in that respect.”

I sincerely hope Ms Barker makes a complaint to the police. It isn’t too late!

And will this have an effect on the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election?

We now have further evidence that Tories can’t be trusted to do anything for ordinary people – but will always cover up for their mates.

In Brecon and Radnorshire, convicted criminal Chris Davies is hoping to win back the seat for the Conservatives.

We already know he is corrupt – that’s why he was convicted.

Considering the behaviour of Mr Field – and now Mr Johnson – one hopes voters will draw the obvious conclusion…

And treat the Tories like the abusive thugs they are.

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Lancashire fracking halted after 17 EARTHQUAKES in nine days

Graphic showing progression of tremors over time. A is the first tremor (October 18) and L was on October 25. Tremors C and E are in almost the same location.

Carbon fuel energy company Cuadrilla has been forced to stop its controversial fracking operation in Lancashire after no fewer than 17 earthquakes took place there within nine days.

The British Geological Society recorded three tremors on October 18, one the following day, one on October 20, six on October 24, three on October 25 and and three on October 26.

The intensity of the quakes had been increasing, to the point at which a tremor was declared a “red event” and operations had to be halted.

The incident prompted calls for fracking to be banned:

But the corrupt Conservative government has no intention of halting what it sees as a potentially lucrative income stream for the already-very-rich, and never mind the cost to the environment or the poor.

The Tories know how unpopular this policy is, though – and that is probably the reason Energy Minister Claire Perry has been holding secret meetings about exporting fracking across the world, breaking the Ministerial Code in doing so.

Perry and officials met with all the key shale players – Cuadrilla, Ineos, iGas and Third Energy – along with oil and gas companies including BP on 21 May. While her meeting with wind power executives on the same day was recorded on an official transparency register, the shale event was not.

Minutes of the shale meeting, which were eventually released under freedom of information rules, reveal:

  • Perry hopes to “create a ‘UK model’ for shale gas extraction which can be exported around the world”.
  • The UK plans to “make a virtue” of the industry’s regulation to help “export expertise abroad”.
  • The government will make the case for shale gas to “get past myths on the topic”.
  • Gas, including that extracted from shale wells, is seen as a key part of the future energy mix.

It will be interesting to see how the Tories “get past” the “myth” that fracking causes earthquakes!

Also worth noting are the suggestions that polluting processes like fracking, that produce global warming fuels like shale gas, are considered by the Tories to be a “key part” of the UK’s future energy providers.

And the suggestion that the Tories will “make a virtue” of the way it regulates the process is extremely sinister as it is tacit acknowledgement that the process is harmful.

Despite the obvious harm being done to the fabric of Lancashire, fracking is set to continue there – and may expand to more than 100 sites across the UK, if the Conservatives have their way. Vast swathes of land will be rendered unstable and water sources polluted in order to enrich a small number of greedy speculators. There are far more effective – and far less polluting – sources of energy that could be exploited instead but the Tories are trying to close them down.

If you are concerned about the effect of fracking, then you have only one option:

Remember this at the next election.

Horror of living on Universal Credit laid bare as outrage becomes outcry to end it

Driven to tears: Holly Sargent’s story came to light exactly a year ago, when it was revealed she was having to sell all her possessions to survive because the DWP had failed to pay single instalment of Universal Credit, eight months after she first started claiming it.

The Tories’ insistence that Universal Credit is a force for good would be inexplicable by now, if not for the revelation that organisations working with them have been made to sign ‘gagging’ clauses, preventing them from criticising the Department for Work and Pensions and its secretary of state, Esther McVey.

Fortunately the mainstream media are at last waking up to the enormity of the crime that is being committed against some of the UK’s most vulnerable people – and the stories of their suffering are starting to proliferate.

Consider the case of Jimmy Ballentine, who took his own life last year. He had been struggling with depression and anxiety, worsened by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who hounded him incessantly for money they thought he owed them, according to his son Dale.

The younger Mr Ballentine has written to prime minister Theresa May, applauding her appointment of a new minister for suicide prevention but begging her to consider the effect of her benefit system on the suicide rate – and pleading with her to scrap the migration of benefit claimants onto Universal Credit.

Or how about Melanie Goss, from Somerset, who told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that her experience of Universal Credit had been an “absolute nightmare”?

She told Tory MP Nigel Mills, who sits on the Commons Work and Pensions committee he was “fumbling”, and said: “Pause it. How dare you just lump millions more other people next year on the same problem that everybody else is having.”

“It’s disgraceful. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Despite these stories, the Conservative government is determined to continue rolling out Universal Credit across the UK – as Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom made clear in a Commons clash with former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams:

It seems the DWP is to be the subject of a Parliamentary debate, covering all eight years of Conservative and Tory-led ‘reforms’ of the benefit system.

But don’t get your hopes up about it. We’ve had such debates before. They tend to be full of terrifying stories covering the agonies suffered by the Tories’ victims – but while the Tories are in charge, they result in no action at all.

The big question is, do enough people in the real world even care? Some believe most people would rather immerse themselves in the make-believe world of, for example, Strictly Come Dancing:

https://twitter.com/JohnnyMabon/status/1050806773165318145

But I hope enough people do care – and they can prove it by signing a petition raised by the Labour Party, demanding that the roll-out of Universal Credit be stopped.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Tweeted: “The Tories’ Universal Credit is pushing families into poverty. They need to halt the roll-out now to stop it causing more suffering.

Sign the petition if you’re with us.

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Refusal to investigate Leave campaigns is direct police interference in politics

Corruption Yard: Police have stalled an investigation into possible criminal offences by the Leave campaign in order to influence the progress of Brexit.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Service have taken it upon themselves to interfere in the most important political issue of our time.

After the Electoral Commission handed over a large amount of evidence on the expectation that the police would investigate whether serious criminal offences had been committed by three pro-Brexit campaigns in the EU referendum of 2016, officers have sat on their thumbs.

They say the matter is politically sensitive because it relates to an election “and much else besides”.

Not very convincing, it is?

Firstly, the referendum was not an election. It may have had relevance to the 2017 general election but that is a secondary concern.

Secondly, when anyone mentions “much more” or, in this case, “much else”, it usually means there isn’t much more and the person saying it is hoping you don’t notice.

The point is that this investigation needed to be handled immediately because it has a direct bearing on the validity of the decision to leave the European Union – a departure that is now less than six months in the future.

If the various Leave campaigns indulged in criminality to achieve their aim, then the result of the referendum is not valid. That would have huge significance.

And a crime is a crime. When evidence is available to them, it is the responsibility of the police to investigate it immediately. Justice brooks no delay.

So we must conclude that the police officer(s) who halted the investigation have done so in order to interfere with political affairs – allowing Brexit to happen when an investigation may prove that it should not.

Who are the officers responsible?

Why are they not stepping forward to give a full and frank account of this abhorrent behaviour?

There is no place for this kind of political interference in the modern police service and in This Writer’s opinion the culprits should be resigning their positions and submitting themselves to criminal investigations of their own.

The Metropolitan Police has stalled the launch of any criminal investigation into three pro-Brexit campaigns – citing “political sensitivities”.

Despite being handed their first dossier of evidence of potential crimes committed by pro-Leave groups over five months ago, the police force has made no progress nor logged a formal case into the activities of either Vote Leave, fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, or Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign bankrolled by Arron Banks.

In May and July this year, the UK Electoral Commission reported that multiple breaches of electoral law, false declarations and covert campaign over-spending had taken place by pro-Leave groups during the 2016 EU referendum.

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) was then expected to investigate whether key individuals, including Leave.EU’s campaign chief, Liz Bilney; Vote Leave’s board official, David Halsall; and the founder of BeLeave, Darren Grimes, had committed related criminal offences.

The Met revealed it has yet to start any formal investigation, and has remained effectively stalled for months in “assessing evidence”.

Pushed on why there has been no progress, or no formal case logged, a Scotland Yard spokesman admitted there were issues and “political sensitivities” that had to be taken into account. The Yard spokesman later added that the political issues related to “any allegation or referral relating to an election, and much else besides.”

Source: Police still not investigating Leave campaigns, citing ‘political sensitivities’ | openDemocracy

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There’s no place in politics for Blairites who are disgruntled by their abrupt loss of influence

Telling it as it is: Michael Meacher has more to say about the current Labour Party than yesterday's man, Tony Blair.

Telling it as it is: Michael Meacher has more to say about the current Labour Party than yesterday’s man, Tony Blair.

Michael Meacher has it right (as usual). In the same Guardian article that publicises Tony Blair’s latest attack on Jeremy Corbyn, he explained why the former Prime Minister and his followers are so disgruntled by the return to real Labour Party values he represents:

“Understandably,” he said, “the Blairite faction is disconcerted by their abrupt loss of power.”

That is the meaning of everything that has been said by these people – by Tony Blair, by Alastair Campbell, by Simon Danczuk, by John Mann, and by all the others who are bleating that the democratic system of electing a new leader – that they all supported – should be halted because it might mean they’ll have to follow a real socialist instead of a Tory in a red tie.

Blair’s comments aren’t worth repeating because they contain nothing of substance at all. “The party is walking eyes shut, arms outstretched over the cliff’s edge to the jagged rocks below,” is it, Tony? What makes you say that? What particular policies of Corbyn’s will cause the catastrophe you have made up inside your mind? You don’t say, so we shouldn’t pay any attention.

Blair appears to support calls for New Labour hangers-on to split from the party in the event of a Corbyn win: “This is not a moment to refrain from disturbing the serenity of the walk on the basis it causes ‘disunity’.”

This, of course, runs against party discipline and Mr Meacher was right to counter it: “They have a duty to remain loyal to the Labour party as the left has always done.”

Again, Meacher is right; Blair is wrong.

Let’s have a bit more of Meacher. Referring to the rise of Corbyn, he said: “It is the biggest non-revolutionary upturning of the social order in modern British politics.

“The Blairite coup of the mid-1990s hijacked the party to the Tory ideology of ‘leave it all to the markets and let the state get out of the way’, and when asked what was her greatest achievement, Mrs Thatcher triumphantly replied, ‘New Labour.’

“After 20 years of swashbuckling capitalism, the people of Britain have said enough, and Labour is finally regaining its real principles and values.”

Blairites in the Parliamentary Labour Party have a stark choice, if Corbyn is elected by the party membership they claim to serve: They can knuckle under and toe the party’s new line, as the left-wingers have been forced to do – in the name of party unity, Tony Blair – for the last 20 years…

Or they can sling their hook.

That doesn’t mean resigning the Labour whip and sloping off to the Liberal Democrats (or wherever), as Shirley Williams has suggested.

It means resigning their position as MPs and making way for the election of somebody who will support Labour’s new direction.

The behaviour of men like Danczuk and Mann is nothing less than treachery against their party – meaning the people who voted them into Parliament, a majority of whom – it seems – want Jeremy Corbyn to be the new Labour leader.

The people are speaking. They want the New Labour dinosaur to go into extinction. Let us hope the hangers-on get the message.

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Syriza’s lessons for Britain – Michael Meacher MP

Alexis Tsipras: He's making all the right moves - so the European Right will do everything in its power to break him. Let us hope they don't succeed.

Alexis Tsipras: He’s making all the right moves – so the European Right will do everything in its power to break him. Let us hope they don’t succeed.

It would be idle to pretend that Britain’s economic problems resemble those of Greece when the latter has suffered a 25% reduction in its national income and where three out of every five young adults are now out of work, writes Mr Meacher.

But there is one parallel between them which is shared by both countries, as well as several others in the EU, and that is increasing resistance to endless austerity.

Osbornomics has not produced a genuine or sustainable recovery, but rather an elongated austerity which offers not the faintest hope of escape within the foreseeable future… But one might well ask, why has he got away with it for so long? There are basically two reasons which interact between themselves. One is the sheer power of the Thatcherite ideology by which the (Tory) political and economic elite have for the last three decades enriched themselves massively at the expense of the rest of the nation and through networking with the controllers of the finance sector, the media and the multinational corporates have established a dominance which until recently seemed impregnable. Opposition to it was either ignored, vilified or laughed out of court.

But the dam burst with the momentous victory of Syriza, the ripples of which will play out across the whole of the EU, including the UK, over the next few years.

The second reason is the poverty of challenge from the Labour Party [bolding mine] which remains the one single force in the country which can stop the Tory marauding in its tracks. Ed Miliband has bravely championed the fight against predatory capitalism, and Ed Balls has carefully excluded capital expenditure from Labour’s spending cuts. But sadly, so far at least, this has been for the cognoscenti who read the small print; it’s not the message that’s getting across on the streets of Britain.

That’s why Labour is now at risk of haemorrhaging votes to the leftish-seeming SNP in Scotland, to the Greens increasingly voicing the Left’s message, to LibDem deserters from the coalition who may now be drifting further leftwards to the Greens, and even (impossible as it may sound) to UKIP for whom a sense of insecurity and abandonment is a major driving force.

There has never been a time when a radical Left message from Labour was more needed.

Yesterday, Greece’s new government announced that it was halting major privatisation projects that had been demanded by the country’s creditors as part of the bailout agreement for the country.

Quite right, too.

You see, the privatisation of national assets is an opportunity for foreign corporations to leap in and buy them, then raise the price for users of those assets. It’s how Third World countries have ended up handing over the keys to their hospitals, schools and water supplies to multinationals.

Come to that, it’s how many UK reservoirs came to be in the hands of foreign water companies, meaning we were unable to use them in recent droughts, how our railways ended up in private hands and ticket prices skyrocketed, even though British taxpayers continued subsidising them – to a level never-before-seen, and how our energy suppliers ended up in foreign hands as well.

The result is best described by this quote from You Are Here, by Rory Bremner, John Bird and John Fortune: “At a… conference in Cancun to discuss how global trade barriers could be removed and markets opened up still further, three ministers from Ghana, Barbados and Malawi were wheeled out to describe how such liberalisation had helped their respective countries escape the poverty trap. Sam Mpasu, the Malawian minister for commerce and trade, was first to speak, and surprised the G7 delegates with his candour:

“We have opened our economy. That is why we are flat on our back.”

So you see, privatisation of its assets including the port of Piraeus and the Public Power Corporation of Greece, would not have helped the country balance its books – quite the opposite.

Mr Tsipras is absolutely correct to halt the privatisation projects and ensure that income generated by those assets continues to boost his country’s Treasury.

The weird dances currently being undertaken on the Greek stock and currency markets are merely symptoms of the European Right’s apoplexy at having its fun disrupted.

If only a visionary political organisation here in the UK had a radical plan to similarly unencumber this country of its privateer parasites…

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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