Tag Archives: head

Brexit: outrage as Tory lord falsely claims businesses have ‘head in the sand’

Lord Agnew: he appears to have an honesty deficit.

Business leaders are furious after Cabinet Office minister Lord Agnew told them they’ve had their “heads in the sand” by failing to prepare for new border checks at the end of the Brexit transition periods.

They say they have spent the last four years asking the Tory governments of David Cameron, Theresa May and now Boris Johnson what they need to do, only to be met with silence.

You can read the news story here

… or just see the reactions for yourself:

The facts seem clear:

  1. Businesses have spent four years – ever since the EU referendum vote happened – demanding clarity from the Tories on what Brexit will mean for them. They received no response.
  2. Now that the reality is almost upon us, Lord Agnew has been wheeled out to pretend that the situation in 1. above has not taken place.
  3. His lie has been exposed, and
  4. The government has still not told businesses what they need to do.

Have I missed anything?

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All Boris Johnson had to do to distract us from his latest Covid disaster was have a close-up

#HeadAndShoulders: Boris Johnson’s terrible turnout is a disgrace to the nation.

Who knew?

The UK’s prime minister managed to distract everyone from his new nonsense policy that won’t keep us safe from Covid-19, simply by looking what he is – a mess.

And now everybody’s talking about the fact that our prime minister can’t wash and dress himself properly:

This will set an unhygienic trend for the future.

I foresee times when Johnson will appear before the public with bad news – and also with no tie, or with his short untucked, or with his trousers at half-mast because he now knows that we’ll be so busy gossiping about the mess he‘s in…

… that we won’t realise he’s telling us the country is collapsing around us.

(Douglas Adams predicted this in The Hitch-Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, with reference to bad language: “In today’s modern Galaxy there is of course very little still held to be unspeakable….So, for instance, when in a recent national speech the Financial Minister of the Royal World Estate of Quarlvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another and the fact that no one had made any food for a while and the king seemed to have died and most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy was now in what he called “one whole joojooflop situation,” everyone was so pleased that he felt able to come out and say it that they quite failed to note that their entire five-thousand-year old civilization had just collapsed overnight.”

(What a shame he never lived to see his comedy become a reality.)

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Tories want to hire a new ‘head of pandemic preparedness’ – after they axed the old systems for doing that

Head of Pandemic Un-preparedness: Boris Johnson’s reaction to Covid-19 was so poor that he actually caught the disease himself and then sent us all letters, claiming to provide advice on how not to do the same.

The Tories have been accused of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, after they advertised for a new ‘head of pandemic preparedness’ six months into the Covid crisis.

But the facts are actually worse than that.

The idea is to pay someone £61,000 a year to “learn the lessons” (how many times have we heard that?) from the crisis and ensure the UK is properly prepared for any similar situation in the future.

And yes, it is too late for all that.

But the reason it’s too late is that the Tories spent the last 10 years dismantling the UK’s system of preparation for any pandemic disease.

I wrote about this back in March so perhaps people have forgotten. Here’s the gist:

The UK government has strategies for dealing with events like this. The Cabinet Office keeps a National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies which it must keep up-to-date – and every single copy of this document ever made lists “pandemic flu” as the most probable and devastating threat to the UK.

This means the government has devised strategies to deal with such a threat. The problem is, they are all out of date.

Oldest of them all is the guide to dealing with the fatalities of the pandemic,  last published in 2008. This has never been updated since the Conservatives took over responsibility for it.

The last strategy written specifically to deal with pandemic flu was published in 2011 – the same year David Cameron’s Conservative-led Coalition government closed the dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team based in the Department of Health, which was tasked with tackling this type of crisis.

It may explain much that the government’s UK Pandemic Influenza Communications Strategy, the crucial document for getting the right messages across to the public, was written in 2012 and is now wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people get their information.

In October 2016, David Cameron’s now wholly-Conservative government carried out an exercise to estimate the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic on the United Kingdom. Exercise Cygnus showed that such a pandemic would cause the country’s health system to collapse, due to a lack of resources.

The Chief Medical Officer of the time said that a lack of medical ventilators was a serious problem that should be rectified, but in 2017 this advice was ignored by the Department of Health under Jeremy Hunt – because it would cost too much. The government was committed to austerity policies, remember.

So you see, we used to have whole teams dedicated to ensuring that the UK could weather a pandemic without serious harm to the population.

And the Tories got rid of the lot.

And now they want to replace them with a single person.

So let’s float a wild theory.

Is it possible that the Tories knew a pandemic like Covid-19 could cause huge numbers of unnecessary deaths, and decided to allow it to happen?

I’ll answer that for you: we know it is because it is exactly what Boris Johnson advocated on live television in early March.

Is it possible that all their decisions since then have been dedicated to this end, rather than towards saving people’s lives, and this is why every single strategy they have started has been a dismal failure?

And, in line with this thinking…

Is it possible that this position will be nothing more than a “figurehead” role, to be quietly dissolved after a few years so we can all fall victim to the next viral disaster?

Source: Government to hire ‘Head of Pandemic Preparedness’ six months into Covid-19 crisis – Mirror Online

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Rapper holds up severed dummy head of Boris Johnson at awards – so BBC cuts HIM off

Slowthai and his dummy head of Boris Johnson: The BBC did not broadcast his political message – but in putting a lid on protest of this kind, is this Tory propaganda outlet creating the conditions for something worse?

The BBC showed us all where its political allegiances lie in a broadcast of the Mercury Prize awards ceremony.

As rapper Slowthai finished his performance, the BBC cut him off:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYYJHkeh1eE

“His own views”? But what were they? Well, let’s have a look at what he did next:

That’s right – he held up a dummy of Boris Johnson’s severed head, then shouted: “F*** Boris Johnson! F*** everything! And there ain’t nothing great about Britain” – a reference to his album.

Coming after Laura Kuenssberg trolled the father of a seriously-ill newborn girl who challenged Mr Johnson over the Conservative government’s slow destruction of the National Health Service, this could not have been a worse time for the BBC to censor political criticism.

No doubt the Corporation would say the rapper’s outburst used language that was considered unacceptable for the national audience, and imagery that some may consider upsetting.

But of course there is a serious censorship issue here.

If propaganda outlets like the BBC continue to put a lid on unrest, then the pot will boil over – sooner, rather than later.

And then we won’t be seeing rappers waving the heads of politicians around in effigy, on stage.

We’ll be seeing footage of genuine body parts. But by then, it will be too late to placate the mob.

Source: Slowthai Holds Up Severed Dummy Head Of Boris Johnson During Mercury Prize Awards – LADbible

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House of Commons needs Head Barista – capable of handling fat cats who don’t pay their bills?

It seems the House of Commons is recruiting a new head barista for its coffee bar(s). Here’s where it is mentioned on Twitter.

On that wage?

https://twitter.com/shadowman2205/status/1090734440949653507

Also, considering the habits of some of the clientele, I think there’s one skill that all applicants need to have – or they need not apply:

The ability to ensure that all bills are paid promptly.

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Tories inflict head louse epidemic on poor children with new NHS cost-cutting measure

Head lice: Your scalp is probably itching at the sight of them.

Did a private pharmaceutical company lobby the Tories to take bug-busting shampoos off the NHS, so it could double its income?

Interesting thought, isn’t it?

And, if austerity is over, why can’t the Tory NHS afford simple anti-headlouse shampoo?

A head lice epidemic could be coming to … schools after the NHS banned GPs from prescribing “bug buster” shampoo.

NHS England changed its guidelines in March on what over-the-counter items could be routinely prescribed in a bid to save £100m from its budget, with head lice treatment axed from the list.

Previously, the insecticide treatment cost the NHS £4.92, but parents fighting off itchy bugs will now be forced to fork out double that to buy the same product over-the-counter.

A spokesman for the NHS said head lice could be “safely and effectively treated by wet combing”, with chemical intervention recommended in only the most “exceptional circumstances”.

Emma Hardy, Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, said: “This is just another example of this Tory government making a small saving in the short term that could lead to a much bigger cost in the long term.

“They’ve also completely failed to recognise how significant a cost this treatment could be to someone who is just about managing to get by.”

Source: Warning Hull could face ‘head lice epidemic’ as GPs ban shampoo – Hull Live

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Tory starvation of school budgets has sold out the future, say head teachers on protest march

You can’t create the future of a country on the cheap – that is the message of the Worth Less campaign by head teachers. They’re saying no child is worth less funding from the ignorant rich who form the Conservative government; for all our futures’ sake, they deserve every opportunity.

Our future has been sold out because Tory policy demands it.

That is the message behind the protest at Downing Street by more than 2,000 head teachers.

The Conservative government doesn’t care because rich Tories can afford to send their kids to private schools – not that it helps them much, considering the lack of quality evidenced by recent graduates. Look at Boris Johnson (if you can bear it).

So our children are forced to bear the brunt of Tory cut after Tory cut, and their head teachers have been forced into the impossible situation of having to try to balance the books when it is impossible to do so without harming their pupils’ education – and jeopardising the future of the United Kingdom.

You see, every school-age child whose education suffers today is a future doctor, nurse, teacher, firefighter, captain of industry, leader in the fields of science and technology or pillar of the community who won’t achieve their potential because of the selfishness of the obscenely rich.

So enjoy the fruits of your tax cuts, all you Tory-voting idlers. You’ll be dining on ashes one day soon.

More than two thousand headteachers skipped class for an “unprecedented” march on Westminster demanding increased funding for schools.

School leaders from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland met in Parliament Square before marching to Downing Street where a letter was delivered demanding more money.

The protest – organised by grassroots campaign group Worth Less? – saw thousands of school leaders collectively take the day off work to ensure their voices were heard.

Headteachers on the rally warned of collapsing school buildings, significant cuts to teaching staff, bigger class sizes and a loss of support for the most vulnerable pupils amid budget pressures.

And more parents are being asked to pay for essentials – such as loo roll, paper and pens – while an increasing number of schools are considering a four-and-a-half day school week, unions said.

Of course the Conservative government’s Department for Education tells a different story – of huge amounts of money going into schools, with advice on how to cut non-staffing costs and government-backed deals on equipment and energy.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “There is more money going into schools than ever before, rising to a record £43.5bn by 2020 – 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than in 2000.

“The OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending more per pupil than countries including Germany, Australia and Japan.

“Every school attracts more funding per pupil through the National Funding Formula, high needs funding has risen to over £6bn this year and the 3.5 per cent pay rise we announced for classroom teachers on the main pay range is backed by £508m government funding.

“We know that we are asking schools to do more, which is why we are helping them to reduce the £10bn spent each year on non-staffing costs, providing government-backed deals for things like printers and energy suppliers that are helping to save millions of pounds.”

But you’ll have noticed that none of the information from the DfE refers to any independent research on the amount of money needed per pupil to provide even the most basic education.

Does the £508 million of funding set aside for a 3.5 per cent teachers’ pay rise actually meet the cost of the increase, or will some of it have to come from other budgets?

An increase of 50 per cent more in real terms per pupil than in 2000 means nothing if it isn’t enough.

Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, put the right perspective on it:

As did Dr Lauren Gavaghan:

And Rachael Swindon:

Source: Thousands of headteachers march on Westminster over school funding ‘crisis’ | The Independent

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Tory social policy at work: Head teachers seek charity help for families sleeping by bins

East London headteacher Lorna Jackson says that by working with the charity SHS her school has helped more than 100 families with basic needs such as food

So much of the Conservative master-plan for the general public is visible here:

They want to disrupt the education of children from poor families, so they have no opportunity to eclipse the academic abilities of the rich (no matter how stupid those rich kids may be – think Boris Johnson).

They want to deprive poor families – even those earning a full-time wage – from the ability to own their own home, or even to rent one if possible.

They want to make sure there is no way for such people to claw their way back out of the hole that has been dug for them by the Tory government.

Result: Families are sleeping on the streets, by dustbins.

And then the Tories have the sheer cheek to lie to us that the number of people sleeping rough is decreasing.

It was a sight Lorna Jackson, a London headteacher, had never expected to see: two pupils at her primary school sleeping behind bins at the station with their parents. “Mum, dad and the two little children were all sleeping on a mattress they’d found. The family had been evicted and the children had very little to eat.”

Jackson’s school, Maryland primary in Stratford, is in a deprived area of east London. As well as suffering homelessness, her pupils are regularly victims of domestic violence. “I realised that my role had changed. Unless I addressed our children’s wellbeing, their education was not going to have impact at all.”

Source: Headteachers turn to charities as families sleep by bins | Education | The Guardian

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‘You cannot decide in 24 hours what type of poison was used’ – first OPCW head condemns UK reaction to Skripal poisoning

Jose Bustani.

This is self-explanatory.

No doubt the UK government will try to condemn this as fake news because it is from Russia Today – but Jose Bustani’s words are reported verbatim. Watch:

What do Boris Johnson and Theresa May have to say about that?


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James Harding quits as BBC-Tory head of news – and the relief is palpable

James Harding arriving for his first day as BBC director of news and current affairs in August 2013 [Image: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images].

It would be nice to believe that this will herald the end of the last few years of pro-Conservative bias at the BBC – Mr Harding has been there for more than four years – but it seems doubtful.

There are still far too many out-and-out Tories, and who knows which way the next head of news will lean?

It seems almost certain that person will be chosen because their face fits – among the mass of other Tory faces that infest the BBC newsroom.

Still, he’s going – to start a media company providing “analysis”. Would that be overtly pro-Tory analysis, by any chance, as opposed to the covertly pro-Tory stuff we get at the BBC?

Many of us on the social media will be delighted, considering recent opinions of Mr Harding’s work:

https://twitter.com/lilyallen/status/917510354023968768

https://twitter.com/louisecoatz/status/917729575815303168

 

They have also displayed a certain cynicism regarding any new candidates for the post he is leaving:

James Harding is to stand down as director of news and current affairs at the BBC and set up a media company that will offer “a clear point of view”, a perspective the impartial corporation is not allowed to provide.

The £340,000-a-year executive had been considered one of the frontrunners to eventually succeed Tony Hall as director general of the BBC, but his sudden departure leaves the director of radio, James Purnell, as the favourite.

Explaining his decision in a letter to staff, Harding wrote: “There is some journalism that the BBC, for all its brilliance, can’t, and probably shouldn’t, do. And that’s what I want to explore: I am going to start a new media company with a distinct approach to the news and a clear point of view.

“I know I will enjoy the chance to do some more journalism of my own and, at such a critical time, I’m seriously excited about the prospect of building a new venture in news.”

It is understood that Harding, who will leave the BBC early next year, has backers for his project and that it will focus on analysis rather than news. The 48-year-old joined the BBC in 2013, having left his previous role as editor of the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times newspaper the year before.

Source: James Harding quits as BBC head of news | Media | The Guardian


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