Tag Archives: home

Are you reducing the risk of ingesting toxic microplastics at home?

This is a political issue – politicians could have prevented the spread of microplastics over many decades but they couldn’t be bothered. Out of sight, out of mind – right?

Well, now these almost-invisible substances are very much on people’s minds, and a study in Sydney, Australia, showed that we could be ingesting carcinogenic and mutagenic chemicals (causing cancer or harming our DNA) without knowing it.

The study found 39 per cent of deposited dust particles in participating homes were microplastics; 42 per cent were natural fibres such as cotton, hair and wool; and 18 per cent were transformed natural-based fibres such as viscose and cellophane.

The remaining one per cent were film and fragments consisting of various materials.

Between 22 and 6,169 microfibres were deposited as dust per square metre, each day.

We spend 90 per cent of our time at home – habitually. During the Covid-19 lockdowns, it is likely that we have spent even more of our time there. So it makes sense to do what we can to reduce any harm that might be lurking there – in our carpets, for example.

Most at risk of ingesting these substances are children aged under six, because they are smaller, have a lower relative body size, and breathe more quickly than adults. Kids aged five were likely to ingest microplastics equivalent to the size of a garden pea each year.

It may not seem much, but there is no established safe level of exposure.

But here’s the good news:

Having hard floors, using more natural fibres in clothing, furnishings and homewares, along with vacuuming at least weekly can reduce your exposure.

So the advice is: Get cleaning!

Source: We’re all ingesting microplastics at home, and these might be toxic for our health. Here are some tips to reduce your risk

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Social media site removes ‘Home Office’ article due to ‘misinformation’. Let’s have another look at that expenses list…

Satire: nobody really thought Priti Patel had spent a fortune of Home Office money making her eyebrows look good, did they? But she did authorise the payments to a firm that was dissolved in 2018 – so, what was really going on?

I received an email today from LinkedIn, of all places.

It stated: “Your post goes against our policy on misinformation. It has been removed and only you can access it.”

The post to which it referred was my article Huge wodges of your cash have failed to make Patel pretty. Why is she using your money to pamper herself?

Obviously the email doesn’t provide enough information for me to respond in any meaningful way, so I have requested a review and an explanation. In the meantime, we can have a look at some of the information in the article, which centres on expenses claims submitted by the Home Office and drawing on public money.

Lloyd Hardy on Twitter has been analysing the claims and produced the following thread:

So there is a large volume of evidence that these expenses claims are… suspicious, to say the least – and there is evidence that significant amounts of money were authorised by Patel herself.

This evidence, and the other information provided by Mr Hardy, needs to be investigated fully.

I understand he has received a threat of some form of legal action – that means in the courts, for the hard-of-thinking (I was once accused by a loonie anti-Semitism accuser who actually suggested I was saying that other behaviour by people like them was illegal/criminal), so I would suggest that this investigation happens quickly, to prevent any miscarriage of justice.

And LinkedIn should review its policies on the removal of articles for “misinformation”.

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Huge wodges of your cash have failed to make Patel pretty. Why is she using Home Office expenses to pamper herself?

Either Priti Patel has failed to realise that her Home Office credit card is for government work only, or she doesn’t care and is happy to abuse public funds for the sake of pampering herself.

Byline Times published a list of very strange Home Office expenses claims on Wednesday – and some of them are real eyebrow-raisers:

SELECTED HOME OFFICE PROCUREMENT CARD SPENDING, 2020

23 December: £669, Rachael’s Kitchen Limited
This is the firm that owns the Rachael’s Cupcakes brand

September: £5,415.90, Primark

15 June: £849.50, SportsDirect

2 April: £864, Hair There and Everywhere
This appears to be a hairdressing salon

6 April: £30,000, Global Beauty Products Limited
This firm runs the store ‘Beautiful Brows and Lashes’, but also appears to sell personal protective equipment (PPE)

6 March: £2,022.64, Neptun Qtu Tirane
This appears to be an electronics store in Albania

9 March: £1,040.69, Folkestone Garden Centre

12 March: £3,774.29, Pollyana Restaurant

13 March: £919.81, Entertainment EB

March: SP Beautiful Brows: £77,269.40
This company appears to be run by Global Beauty Products

26 February: £3,952.76, Pollyana Restaurant

27 February: £900, The Magdalen Arms
This appears to be a pub in Oxford

24 January: £2,000, Claudia Lamb Independent
It seems as though Claudia Lamb is a diet consultant

The story has been a gift to the Twitterati:

There is a serious side to this, on which some of the commenters above have touched – which is that Patel and/or others in the Home Office have abused their expenses privileges grossly.

She does have previous ‘form’ in this area of behaviour, though. Some may conclude that she’s now a habitual offender.

While they have been spending public money like water, the Tory government has been claiming it doesn’t have the cash for (as an example) free school meals for poverty-stricken children, or to properly manage what happens to asylum-seekers.

And – sadly – it seems working-class Conservative voters are happy to starve, and to let their friends and colleagues starve, while the likes of Priti Patel stuff themselves full of cupcakes and then charge their dietician’s bill to the public purse.

It isn’t acceptable on any level at all.

Still, we all know what to say next time Boris Johnson says he can’t afford a pay rise for the NHS, don’t we? “What has Priti Patel bought now – Uganda?”

UPDATE: It seems the Home Office has got a bit touchy about this. A few hours ago (at the time of writing) it published the following:

Sadly for the Home Office, that doesn’t explain all the expenses that were listed.

What about the cupcakes?

The hairdressing?

Folkestone Garden Centre?

Pollyanna Restaurant?

SP Beautiful Brows? I think we all want to know what that one’s all about. Did every single asylum seeker in Patel’s concentration camps need fixing?

Not forgetting the dietician, of course.

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Policeman who attacked terrified woman WHO WAS JUST WALKING HOME is spared jail

Police: even in the illustration it seems the policeman doesn’t want to be anywhere near the police woman.

It’s as though the last two weeks never happened.

The man attacking a woman while she was walking home in this video was a serving police officer – and remains a serving police officer after appearing in court and admitting the offence:

Let’s look a little more closely at that point about the victim facing an uphill battle to get justice:

So the first thing Warwickshire police did on receiving the complaint was ignore it.

Let us be clear: this was an unprovoked and violent attack by a large, drunken man, perpetrated at night against a much smaller woman.

And rather than treat it with the seriousness it deserved – especially as it related to one of their own – our law guardians did nothing.

I understand they would have brushed it under the carpet altogether if the CCTV footage had not been produced.

As it is, we can see that Oliver Banfield, 25, hurled a stream of misogynistic abuse at Emma Holmer, 11 years his senior, as he tried to employ techniques he learned from police training to drag her to the ground and put her in a headlock.

Apparently this has been described as an “unlawful arrest”. I’m sure you can think of a much better description for what is clearly a hate attack against a woman.

And how was she affected?

Miss Homer said the attack had a devastating effect on her.

She has suffered from anxiety, stress, panic attacks and insomnia and is undergoing therapy and counselling.

Miss Homer said being attacked by a police officer had shaken her belief system “to the core”.

“I often ask myself if the impact of the attack would have been so severe if my assailant was not a police officer,” she said.

“During the assault as I struggled to get to safety I was sure this drunk man was fulfilling a violent cop movie fantasy.

“To be verbally abused with misogynistic slang, grabbed by the neck and forced to the floor on a dark road by a drunk man, a foot taller than me, is terrifying.

“But to then find out he was a police officer shook my belief system to its core.

“Immediately after the assault I was in shock. I could not sleep

“I found myself compulsively running through the streets going through the events of the assault.

“What if I hadn’t got away? What if he had attacked another woman drunk?”

What, indeed?

Yet despite the aggravating features of this case – the use of police techniques, the misogynistic hate speech, and the slowness of his colleagues to prosecute Banfield – a judge at a magistrates court let this man – who should be stripped of his police career – walk free.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation and £180 court costs, and was put under a 14 week curfew that means he may not leave his house between 7pm and 7am – after he cried off community service, his lawyer saying it would be difficult for him to work with criminals.

WITH criminals? Perhaps somebody should point out that this man IS a criminal.

And let’s remind ourselves that Sarah Everard was “just walking home” (the words have been used as a slogan ever since the incident) when she was attacked and murdered – allegedly by another serving policeman.

Two incidents cannot suggest that such behaviour is epidemic in the UK’s police. But they are enough to instil fear in every woman who has to walk home in the dark because they know they cannot automatically rely on the police to keep them safe.

When a trust is betrayed, it can be extremely difficult to win back. Sometimes it is impossible.

It seems clear that the police – and the justice system – isn’t even bothering to try.

Source: Off-duty police officer, 25, who attacked ‘terrified’ woman walking home spared jail – Mirror Online

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‘Bullied’ former Home Office boss drops case against Patel in return for huge payout of YOUR cash

Sir Philip Rutnam: rather than prove claims of bullying against him – and demonstrate the culture of bullying allegedly created by Priti Patel in the Home Office – he’s going to take the money and run.

Pathetic.

The former Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, has stabbed his fellow civil servants in the back by coming to a settlement of his ‘unfair dismissal’ case against Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Rutnam had claimed he had been the victim of a “vicious and orchestrated” briefing campaign after trying to get Ms Patel to change her bullying behaviour.

His case was due to be heard by an employment tribunal in September – which seems a long wait, considering he quit in February last year.

But now it isn’t going to happen because he has opted to take Patel’s thirty pieces of silver instead – or rather, £340,000 plus his legal costs.

And when I say “Patel’s” money, I mean public money because of course she wouldn’t dream of paying him anything herself.

This is not an appropriate use of public funds.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said:

Taxpayers will be appalled at having to pick up the bill for the home secretary’s unacceptable behaviour.

(Strictly speaking, he’s not right. The government creates money to cover its expenditure. It taxes us to give that money its value. But he’s right that we should not expect public money to be used to pay for the indiscretions of Tory ministers.)

The government is saying it does not accept liability for the manner of Rutnam’s departure from his job.

If that’s true, then why pay a “substantial” amount to settle the case?

Source: Philip Rutnam: Ex-Home Office boss settles unfair dismissal case – BBC News

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Covid-related deaths in care homes rise 46% in a week – after Tories promised to protect residents

Visiting time: guidance for visiting relatives in care homes, published a few months ago, suggesting putting them behind glass, in order to conform with social distancing rules.

What happened?

The Tories were humiliated over care home deaths, way back in the spring of last year, after 30,000 people were said to have died because of government idiocy.

The Tories had ruled that Covid-19 patients from care homes should not stay in hospital but should be returned to their places of residence – most of which didn’t have any protective facilities so they were sent to infect their friends and neighbours.

And the Tories failed to order that staff who usually move between homes should stop, so their employers didn’t either. That meant staff were catching the disease in one home and then transmitting it to others as they did their rounds.

Now we’re being told the rise is due to the virus having mutated into a more virulent form – but it has to be carried in by someone. I wonder who.

Deaths in care homes in England have hit the highest level since mid-May, according to the latest official figures, which revealed a 46% jump in coronavirus-related deaths in the last week as the more transmissible variant of Covid-19 breaches care homes’ defences.

In the week to last Friday, 1,260 deaths in care homes involving Covid-19 were reported to the Care Quality Commission, a sharp jump from 824 and 661 in the previous two weeks. The weekly death toll in care homes had fallen to well below 100 in early October.

Staff say guidelines have been followed to the letter, which suggests to me that they need to be revised; they don’t work.

No wonder insurers have stopped providing coverage for those homes that have offered to look after discharged Covid patients – to prevent the possibility of infection at other locations.

Source: Covid-related deaths in care homes in England jump by 46% | World news | The Guardian

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Patel refuses to explain herself after Home Office wipes 400,000 police records

Priti Patel and the police: let’s hope one day they arrest her.

Isn’t it suspicious that the Tories keep wiping government records when they’re in charge?

The Home Office is building up a particularly strong reputation for this – first deliberately torching UK residence permissions of the so-called Windrush generation in order to provide an excuse for Theresa May (and her successors) to deport them…

And now deleting 400,000 police DNA, fingerprint and arrest records under Priti Patel.

Patel has said the deletions were a result of “human error” during a “routine housekeeping process”.

Funny how these human errors keep happening to Tories, though.

The arrogant Home Secretary refused to attend Parliament to give an account of her department’s behaviour.

This should come as no surprise. She never takes responsibility for her mistakes.

Look at the time she was trying to deport people (including victims of the afore-mentioned Windrush scandal) and was foiled by people she subsequently described as “activist lawyers”.

Her words apparently induced someone to enter a solicitor’s office and attempt murder on staff members.

The incident would not have happened if Patel had not uttered her inflammatory words.

But she has never shown any contrition for it.

Source: Home Office ‘working to restore’ lost police records – BBC News

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Home Office ignored warnings to prevent Windrush suffering. Why isn’t this a scandal?

The Empire Windrush: if the people who arrived on it to help the UK rebuild after World War Two had known how they and their descendants would be treated after 2010, would they have bothered?

If at first you don’t succeed (in persecuting and killing people), try, try and try again seems to be the Conservative motto.

The Windrush scandal was a national outrage. Now we learn that the Home Office could have avoided harming people – but deliberately chose not to.

Where is the fury over this?

the independent chief inspector of borders and immigration (ICIBI) said the department had failed to implement a series of recommendations he has made since 2016 calling for better monitoring of the impact of the hostile environment.

“Had they been, some of the harms suffered by the Windrush generation and others may have been avoided,” said the chief inspector, David Bolt.

The Windrush Lessons Learned review, published in March last year, demanded a “full review and evaluation” of the hostile environment policy devised while Theresa May was Home Secretary – and current incumbent Priti Patel accepted the recommendation in July.

But Mr Bolt said ministers had done little to evaluate the measures, both in terms of the efficiency of the processes underpinning them, including the costs to third parties carrying them out, and their effectiveness in delivering the hoped-for outcomes.

Chai Patel, legal policy director at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said the hostile environment must be scrapped before “more lives are lost or destroyed”.

“Even the government’s own immigration inspectorate no longer has any faith that Ms Patel’s Home Office intends to fix the mess it has made of the immigration system,” he said.

Does anyone?

But this story seems to have been buried.

Do thousands more people have to be harmed, deliberately, by Priti Patel before we all wake up again, or are we going to let her get away with it next time?

Source: Home Office ignored warnings that could have prevented Windrush suffering, finds watchdog | The Independent

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Education Secretary denies refusing cheap internet for children, to ensure they couldn’t learn at home

Gavin Williamson: so stupid, he thinks his daft excuse about quality control will hold water. His Tory government doesn’t have any?

It seems Gavin Williamson is making a fuss about this.

According to the Mirror,

Gavin Williamson turned down an offer to get free or cheap broadband for thousands of disadvantaged families, the Mirror has learned.

Broadband giant BT offered to supply families basic connections to allow children to access online learning with schools closed for months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the firm’s Chief Executive revealed they had given free wifi vouchers to the Government in June but the Department for Education ‘struggled to distribute them effectively’ and returned them.

Williamson tells a different story:

A spokesman for the education department said a pilot of the scheme had not provided “reliable and consistent” internet connection.

Who do you believe?

Well, BT is an Internet Service Provider of very long standing, with experience in providing a reliable service to many thousands – if not millions – of homes.

And the Conservative Government of which Williamson is a member has also displayed consistency – in wasting public money on services offered by cowboy companies cobbled together by Tory donors or spoilt friends of Cabinet members.

It looks like another ideologically-motivated attack on the poor; pretend the offer doesn’t meet what passes for Conservative government quality control and reject it – to ensure that poor kids miss out on the education that might otherwise give them an advantage over rich kids who tend not to have two brain cells to rub together.

How does it look to you?

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Williamson’s failures on home learning expose Tory policy stupidity on ‘Broadband Communism’

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson may be acting “to the utmost of his ability”, but so was Frank Spencer – the calamitous comedy character with whom Williamson has been compared.

If this inspires confidence in you, then you’re not thinking hard enough:

Saying the prime minister thinks Gavin Williamson is being Education Secretary “to the utmost of his ability” is not the same as saying he has “full confidence” in him.

Williamson has far too many mistakes in his recent history for any member of the public to have full confidence in him, let alone any school pupil.

Only yesterday he admitted that his Covid-19-related failures – in both policy and practice – have made it impossible to hold GCSE, AS and A level exams this year:

Perhaps you don’t grasp the enormity of the admission from what he said. Labour’s shadow Education Secretary, Kate Green, made it clear that she holds him to blame for the chaos in the education system.

The reason Williamson has cancelled the exams is that the Covid-19 crisis – and its effect on schools – has made it impossible to ensure that pupils across the UK have been educated to an equivalent standard.

The reasons for the uneven standards include the fact that teachers have been unable to plan their lessons properly due to Williamson’s unfortunate habit of announcing that schools will stay open no matter what – and then closing them.

Also, he was supposed to provide laptops to pupils, in order to ensure that they could carry on learning to an acceptable standard even if they were confined to their homes. He didn’t (or at least, he didn’t provide enough).

This has now necessitated children without laptops being added to the “vulnerable” list of youngsters who have to go to school during lockdown, alongside the kids of key workers. This amounts to another example of class warfare – kids without laptops are likely to be poor, and sending them to school exposes them to the most common vector for transmission of the killer virus:

Finally, there’s the fact that some families don’t have access to the broadband internet connections necessary to experience this kind of home learning.

The Tories now agree with Labour that this is a good idea – but it is too late to implement it in time to help this year’s crop of exam-takers.

Let us remind ourselves of the reaction – from the Tories and the mass media – when the Labour Party proposed free broadband across the UK in the run-up to the 2019 general election:

Who was right?

John McDonnell and Labour, of course (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, that is. Kate Green, while being right about Gavin Williamson, also said that schools should stay open. That’s the lunacy of the party under Keir Starmer for you)).

If that party had been elected, free broadband would have been brought to the UK, school pupils would have been able not only to do their homework but to carry out distance learning, preparing them for their exams which would not have had to be cancelled – and it would have helped adults to work from home as well, which would have been a great help to a great many people during lockdown, as well.

That’s the problem with silly Tory ideological incompetence.

Their failure to accept the wisdom of free broadband, and their failure to equip school pupils for home learning, means Williamson has been forced to cancel exams because pupils are not well-enough educated.

As a result, the UK’s workforce will be less competitive in the world marketplace in the future, when compared with other countries that were better-prepared and more willing to help everybody in their populations, rather than just the very rich.

So when we look at the malady afflicting the UK’s education system under the Conservatives, during the Covid-19 crisis, we can see one thing clearly:

Williamson is a symptom of the illness. Conservative government is the cause.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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