Tag Archives: house

Tory heretic Baker says Church of England could lose official status for criticising Brexit

Steve Baker: what’s the line I’m looking for? “Before he demands the bishops remove the mote from their eye, he should remove the plank from his own”?

Perhaps Steve Baker should be excommunicated? His true religion appears to be Brexit, anyway.

After Church of England bishops spoke out in the House of Lords against Boris Johnson’s ridiculous ‘Australia-style’ (read: ‘no deal’) Brexit, the oily Baker slithered straight to The Times with his ridiculous suggestion.

The Times is behind a paywall, which limits the damage. I certainly won’t pay Rupert Murdoch any money just to see what he said… but then I don’t have to. Here’s what he said:

I don’t know why Tories say stupid things like this, though. It only lays them wide open to mockery and ridicule, viz.:

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Tories have Commons Twitter account banned from tweeting vote results

He fought propagandists – but did he expect his own party to become the enemy? Churchill’s statue stares toward Parliament. If it was the man himself, it would probably turn its back in disgust.

Can you believe this? The Tories have contrived to have the House of Commons Twitter account stopped from tweeting vote results – because Johnson’s party said it was biased against them.

The House of Commons Twitter account has been banned from tweeting the results of votes after Tory MPs complained it was breaking impartiality rules when one tweet went viral.

During the passage of the trade bill, intended to pave the way for post-Brexit trade deals, the Commons Twitter account shared the outcomes of votes on amendments and new clauses: a 326-263 defeat for a clause relating “to parliamentary approval of trade agreements”, and approval without division for amendments about “sharing information and ministerial functions relating to trade”.

The descriptions were taken from the explanatory statement written by the MP who proposed the motion, and the tweet about new clause 17 was no different. That clause, the tweet said, was “intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK”, explaining that it had been defeated 340 votes to 251.

The defeat allowed Labour to argue that Conservative MPs had voted against protecting the NHS from overseas control. The tweet itself was a key piece of evidence, which is why it gained 5,000 likes and almost 17,500 retweets in less than 24 hours.

That drew the attention of Tory MPs, who were bombarded with questions from constituents about why they had voted against such protection. The day after, MPs from the party made a complaint to the clerk of the House, the politically neutral civil servant who oversees the work of the support staff, including the social media team.

They argued that the tweet was in breach of the Commons’ requirement for impartiality. By the end of the day, the Commons team had deleted it and posted an apology.

So it was perfectly permissible for the offending words to be published in the explanatory statement by the MP who proposed the motion; the Tories just didn’t want them to get to the public.

What does that tell us about the Conservative government?

That they don’t want us to have full information about what happens in Parliament?

That they think Parliamentary media should not provide information to the public?

That they want such media to offer pro-Tory propaganda instead?

Johnson and his cronies have really taken the Josef Goebbels method to heart.

But the act has been a huge turn-off to the public – including This Writer (but you’d expect that, I’m sure):

I would have thought the answer was obvious: a would-be fascist dictatorship. But Johnson’s Tories are even failures at that.

Source: Commons Twitter account banned from tweeting vote results | Politics | The Guardian

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Johnson’s hypocrisy: before attacking Starmer over IRA sympathy, he gave a GENUINE IRA sympathiser a peerage

Sympathy: this is a Labour Party image so the support for Keir Starmer may be overstated – but the fact about Boris Johnson is accurate enough. What a shame he didn’t remember it in PMQs.

Two-faced Boris Johnson accused Keir Starmer of supporting an IRA sympathiser – but it turns out he himself is more guilty of that.

Johnson’s ill-advised outburst during Prime Minister’s Questions on September 3 was nothing more than a “dead cat” to distract attention from his inability to explain the algorithm that downgraded millions of ‘A’ level students just because they didn’t go to private schools.

But it seems he spoke without considering his own actions.

Thanks are due to Evolve Politics for researching the background of one Claire Fox, most recently a Brexit Party MEP but previously of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) and the Irish Freedom Movement (IFM):

Fox was involved with both groups during The Troubles – a time in which they overtly supported violence carried out by the IRA.

Following the 1993 Warrington bombing – which killed two children, Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball – the RCP responded by condoning the killings, writing in their newsletter that it was “the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom“.

Shortly before the European Elections in May 2019 – in which she was elected as an MEP – Fox was asked in an interview whether she still agreed with the RCP’s stance on the Warrington bombing

However, not only did Fox again refuse to condemn the bombing, she also refused to apologise to the father of one of those killed, stating:

“I’m not going to apologise. I didn’t do anything. […] I think that there was a war going on at that time, and you have to accept that I think that is long since gone and […] move on with it.”

So not only did she sympathise with the IRA, but she remains unrepentant about it.

And Boris Johnson put her in the House of Lords.

What a hypocrite.

He is the UK political leader who supports and IRA sympathiser.

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Johnson’s new lords: BLATANT corruption?

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: 10 days after saying he saw no evidence that Russians were influencing UK politics, Johnson has elevated a Russian to the House of Lords.

Boris Johnson has started packing the House of Lords with his cronies in what seems an example of blatant political corruption.

First, look at the number of new peerages he has announced – 36 – at a time when all the debate has been about reducing numbers in the Upper House of Parliament.

Every lord receives an allowance of £305 per day, simply for attending debates – which is why so much television coverage seems to show decrepit members of the gentry snoring on their red benches rather than doing any actual work.

With the number of peers approaching 830, if they all attended sessions, the public would be spending nearly a quarter of a million pounds subsidising their sleep, every day.

And look at the candidates Johnson has chosen!

At a time when concern over Russian intervention in politics is at a height, he has given a peerage to Russian-born newspaper magnate Evgeny Lebedev, who owns both The Independent and the Evening Standard. Lebedev is a personal friend of the prime minister who threw a party for him after Johnson’s election victory last December.

Other appointments show similar cronyism:

Johnson’s brother Jo, who quit a ministerial role – and then stepped down from the Commons – last year saying he did not believe supporting the then-new prime minister was in the national interest, gets booted up to the Lords.

It means he’ll have access to public cash (the £305 per day) for life, and if he opposes his brother’s policies it won’t matter – because brother Boris’s 80-strong majority in the Commons will reverse any major changes to legislation that the Lords try to impose.

Former Chancellors Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond, who both lost the Tory whip last year because they rebelled against Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit, also get booted up to the Lords, where they can rant all they like without doing him any harm.

From the Labour Party, prominent Brexiteers Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart are rewarded for their betrayal of the nation with seats on the red benches.

And so is former Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field, who gave himself a bad name in his own party by joining in with accusations of anti-Semitism, while supporting the Tory government in Brexit votes.

Ruth Davidson will get to take up a peerage after she stands down from the Scottish Parliament next year – but is it in gratitude after she led the Scottish Tories to become the second most popular party north of the border behind the SNP? Or is it to neutralise an influential Tory who had once been tipped as a possible UK party leader, who openly criticised Johnson’s Brexit plans and decision to suspend 21 Tory MPs who didn’t agree with him?

Also getting a peerage in what seems a straight reward for services rendered is Sir Edward Lister, who was Johnson’s chief strategic advisor.

So far I have mentioned only nine of the 36 people Johnson has nominated.

Notable absences from the list include former governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who was perceived as hostile to Brexit, and former Commons Speaker John Bercow, whose hostility to Johnson’s attempts to corrupt Parliamentary process were plain to everybody. Convention dictated that both should be elevated – but Johnson had no room for them, despite drawing up a much longer list than anybody expected.

Do you honestly believe those he has chosen will use their new positions in the interest of the people of the United Kingdom? I don’t.

I think Johson is baking his corruption into the fabric of the UK’s Parliamentary system – deliberately wrecking our democracy.

Oh, and he’s giving a knighthood to former PM Theresa May’s husband Philip – presumably in gratitude for selling all those missiles that the Saudis have been using to annihilate Yemen and its people. Did I get that right?

Now brace yourself – because it could have been worse.

According to the Daily Telegraph – the Torygraph, for crying out loud – Johnson is now threatening “reform” of the House of Lords after the House of Lords Appointments Commission objected to his plan to reward Tory donors with peerages.

It seems he is absolutely furious at being blocked from stuffing the Upper House with fatcats. Presumably he was planning to let them take back from the national Treasury what they gave to the Tories’ private funds.

But his plan has only been delayed – a new list of peerages for Tory supporters including businessmen Johnny Leavesley and Peter Cruddas, due to be published in the autumn

Nobody can do anything about this scandal apart from comment – and the outrage has come thick and fast on Twitter:

Sadly, the new New Labour Party is too deep in its own hypocrisy to do anything about the situation.

The UK’s democracy could have been saved from all this if right-wing factionalists in Labour had taken their heads out of their own rectums and supported Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign in 2017, instead of sabotaging it. They managed to do just enough harm to give Theresa May leadership of a hung Parliament, we’re told.

So it is unsurprising that criticism of Johnson’s nominations by Labour centrists like Chris Bryant has been treated with the contempt it deserves:

Source: Botham and PM’s brother to join House of Lords – BBC News

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Police refuse to investigate House of Commons racist who targeted sports commentator

Dan O’Hagan: he was targeted with a racist email, sent from the House of Commons.

It seems racists in the House of Commons know they are above the law and are happy to rub the fact in our faces.

Otherwise, you might expect racists in high places to keep their prejudice to themselves at the moment. Clearly that is not the case on the Westminster estate.

Here’s sports commentator Dan O’Hagan, who has worked for the BBC, Eurosport and ESPN:

“You cannot be allowed to belittle, mock and intimidate working class white men, whilst peddling your bourgeoisie [sic], privileged leftism in your highly paid career.

“Football is not for white elites like you. It belongs to working class men of all colours.” [Spot the sexism that’s slipped in there too!]

“Send me your address now and we can discuss this further in person.”

It was signed “David” – although This Writer has a doubt about whether that’s the person’s real name.

What had Mr O’Hagan said to provoke this malicious communication (of which more shortly)? See for yourself:

Information that came with the email showed that it was sent from the House of Commons, hence Mr O’Hagan’s request for the authorities there to locate the person responsible. Here’s the response:

He also contacted the police…

But – how normal – they recoiled from investigating anybody at the House of Commons:

It says – as This Writer pointed out very recently – that people working in our corridors of power are above the laws they make.

Now take a look at the image on the right, in the tweet directly above. Here it is in full:

It is illegal in England and Wales to “send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety”, and this also applies to electronic communications.

That’s unless you work in the House of Commons – as a high-ranking politician or someone working for them, of course.

Even Mr O’Hagan has admitted he doubts the identity of the culprit will ever be revealed:

Sadly I’m sure we won’t get a name. The last few months judging the Government record, I have no faith of anything coming from this.

“It might get put on to the most junior person they can blame for it, that’s what might happen. But if there is a name, a big name, I doubt they will admit this I’m afraid.”

The same article quotes the police:

“Officers received a report yesterday (Tuesday 9 June) after a man in his 40s had allegedly received a threatening email.

“Enquiries into the incident found that no criminal offences had been committed and the investigation has therefore been closed.

Apparently they’ve never heard of the Malicious Communications Act, then. 

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Are we letting Dominic Cummings off, now we have other things to entertain us?

Dominic Cummings in the Rose Garden: his attitude was “I can do whatever I like”.

Whatever happened to Dominic Cummings?

Did he quit his job as a prime ministerial advisor, ahead of being sacked? Did he apologise to the nation?

No.

Boris Johnson told us he was on his “last warning”, as if that means anything to us.

His arrogance has been unforgivable. His “last warning” should have been before the lockdown was imposed in Mid-March – not after he broke it in everybody’s face.

Nobody believed it anyway. When Boris Johnson failed spectacularly during Prime Minister’s Questions this week, we all thought he was wearing an earpiece so Demonic could Dominate him from a backroom.

There has been one dead cat after another. Today’s was the revival of a plan to build a new Royal Yacht, to cost the people of the UK £100 million that would be better-spent rebuilding the fabric of our ruined society after 41 years of neoliberal conservative rule and the Covid-19 pandemic.

So this question is pertinent:

Also, if Cummings was on his “last warning” earlier this week, shouldn’t he be out on his ear after this revelation?

Apparently…

Dominic Cummimgs; a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, made it clear that he had stayed at a “spare cottage” at his father’s farm when he addressed allegations that he had broken lockdown restrictions in April.

The cottage in question is not registered for Council Tax, nor has planning permission been sought for the cottage from Durham County Council.

So he broke lockdown and social distancing rules in order to stay in a house that is a standing violation of planning laws, where Council Tax is avoided. Am I correct in that assumption?

And still this creepy little rule-flouter is drawing fat amounts of cash from the public purse.

Why?

Simon Wren-Lewis makes some good suggestions on Mainly Macro. He writes:

The old rules, like when an adviser becomes the story they go, just do not hold anymore, because this government has no respect for those rules.

Cummings is so valuable… He gaslighted half a nation into making them[selves] poorer because of an issue few of them had cared about before the referendum. To then convince enough people that Johnson accepting a deal which the EU originally proposed and the UK rejected was some kind of triumph was also impressive. Winning a large majority in the subsequent election sealed his reputation as a master manipulator of voters, although it has to be said that with all these things he had tremendous help from the collective media.

He wants a say in everything any minister does that might influence his mission… [and Boris Johnson] is happy to allow his partner in crime to pursue his own agenda, because Johnson does not have an extensive agenda of his own.

The ultimate in Cummings gaslighting was his appearance in the Rose Garden of No.10. As Frances Coppola writes, it was a gigantic show, a show of personal power. Look what I can do, he was saying. I can lie about why I went to Barnard Castle, I can lie about how I foresaw how vulnerable the UK was to a pandemic, and there is nothing you can do about it, much like all the previous lies I have made in the past and got others to say.

Yup. This Site drew attention to this lie but hardly anybody paid attention.

And later, when a BBC presenter tells the truth about what he did, his helpers get the BBC to give her a reprimand.

Again, I highlighted the injustice of this, to a chorus of tumbleweeds.

It is not as if Cummings necessarily improves Johnson’s decision making capacity. What Johnson desperately needs is someone with a proven record of gaslighting a nation to get voters to forget about it all as quickly as possible. For that reason Cummings survives, for now at least.

So there you have it.

Dominic Cummings will remain at Downing Street as long as he manages to do what Boris Johnson cannot, which is to make Boris Johnson look acceptable.

He has enjoyed the complicity of the right-wing media in this.

But the press pack has shown signs of turning lately. With Keir Starmer dragging Labour back across to the political right-wing, they have a new horse to back while still supporting the idea that rich people should be allowed to do what they want, especially if it humiliates the poor.

Maybe Demonic’s days are numbered after all. But don’t get your hopes up because even if that does happen, you won’t reap the benefits.

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Coronavirus: Boris Johnson puts the UK under – practical – house arrest

Johnson: The prime minister seemed close to incoherence during his broadcast.

Can anybody remember what Boris Johnson said about 2020? It was right after he was elected, last December, I think.

He was trying to tell us that this would be a bonanza year for everybody. Days of wine and honey – or some such.

Famous last words.

For today (March 23) he has told us that we all have to stay in our homes in a bid to contain the threat of the killer coronavirus pandemic. He said:

People must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.

Shops selling non-essential goods will also be shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together prohibited.

Other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship must also close immediately.

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies – but funerals will be allowed.

If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

He says he’ll review these restrictions in three weeks’ time and will lift them as soon as he can.

Given the quality of his decisions up to this point, I think that’s a promise to lift them too soon. Johnson will want to get the herd back to work as soon as possible, to make money for him and his cronies – and that makes it more likely that he’ll put us straight back in danger.

So we may end up in a position where – despite being out of our minds with boredom – we end up having to ignore any such lifting, for our own safety.

That will depend on the advice from the real experts, and I think we’ll all have to pay careful attention to what they say, and to developments in other countries. I don’t think we’ll be safe again until the end of the year at the earliest.

Source: Coronavirus: Strict new curbs on life in UK announced by PM – BBC News

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‘Help to Buy’ hijacked by the rich – or do Tories really think £100,000 earners are struggling?

Tories really have strange priorities, don’t they?

They seem to think people earning more than 80,000 a year – those in the top five per cent of earners in the entire UK – are more likely to need help getting onto the housing ladder than the other 95 per cent.

Can you understand that?

At the time of writing – less than an hour into the New Year and several bevvies the worse for wear – all I can suggest is that the Tories have been desperately trying to shore up the finances of this endangered minority of extremely rich people, in case Labour won the election on December 12.

But Labour didn’t win the election. And it’s the rest of us who are endangered.

So my guess is that in reality, the Tories were just pretending to be helping struggling first-time buyers.

They were previously criticised for handing money over to help pay for second homes, remember.

And I predict that many more policies will be presented as helping the poor… and then turn out to be excuses to give cash to people who don’t need it.

Meanwhile the rest of us will go to the dogs.

If you hear any Tory voters complaining, kindly remind them that it’s what they wanted. No – it’s what they demanded. And tell them: Own it.

Government loans to help families onto the housing ladder have been hijacked by rich buyers, new figures reveal.

The loans, part of the Help To Buy programme launched by former Tory chancellor George Osborne, see the government lend up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home to buyers.

But more than 10,000 of the loans have been taken out by households earning more than £100,000 a year, according to figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

And almost 16,000 have been taken out by households with an income between £80,000 and £100,000.

Source: Help to Buy hijacked by rich as 10,000 loans handed to £100,000 earners – Mirror Online

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Immigration minister humiliated over information sharing blunder

Caroline Nokes: It seems she prefers horses to human beings.

Caroline Nokes – what a piece of work.

She tried to bluff Home Affairs Select Committee chair Yvette Cooper that she didn’t have the relevant information to deal with a case in which serious defects had been discovered in accommodation for seven asylum-seeking mothers with young children. The house was infested with vermin.

Here’s how the conversation unfolded:

“You didn’t need telepathy; all you needed was a telephone.” I’m no fan of Ms Cooper, but she was absolutely right there.

Ms Nokes’s response – that she “would be very pleased” to receive the information – was belied by her icy expression and body language.

And when Ms Cooper asked, “Might you not have wanted to make that call yourself rather than leaving it for us to do in this public way?” it was telling that Ms Nokes paused for a long time before adding: “I think that is a conversation I need to have with my officials.”

I think we can all tell what that conversation was going to be.

It wasn’t going to be about them failing to get the information she needed to help asylum-seeking mothers.

It was going to be about the fact that Ms Nokes had been made to look a fool in public.

She doesn’t care about those mothers, their children, or the rodent-infested house to which they have been banished.

She didn’t show the slightest interest in their plight, or in helping them out of it.

If she had been interested in such matters, then the problem would have been solved months ago (a damning report had been issued in July).

Remember: This is the Tory minister who defended a policy to accelerate the deportation of hunger-striking women at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre.

This is the attitude typical of Conservative ministers in Theresa May’s government.

Their concern is for their own advancement – not for the provision of a service to the public.

They take after their leader in that respect.

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CJD sufferer to be homeless – Tories will call this their greatest achievement (Part One of Three)

The latest atrocity to be inflicted on the innocent by the Conservative government became the opening act of a three-part farce on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (November 18), demonstrating everything that is wrong with our government and its complicit media.

The story, broken by The Sunday Times, concerns 19-year-old Emily Lydon, who was born brain-damaged after her mother contracted the human form of mad cow disease (BSE), but now faces losing her home because of benefit cuts linked to the switch to Universal Credit.

Her mother died when she was seven months old and since then she has been raised by her grandmother, 68-year-old Jean Godfrey. But last month the Department for Work and Pensions told Ms Godfrey their joint income was to be slashed from the £720 a week needed to pay for Emily’s 24-hour care and transport to £342. She now faces having to sell their bungalow in East Markham in Nottinghamshire.

Ms Godfrey pointed out that it was a failure of a former Conservative government that allowed BSE into the food chain – by allowing sick cows to be slaughtered, minced and fed back to other cattle as “cannibal cow-feeds”, spreading BSE to herds across the UK and into human beings who ate beef.

Emily’s mother, Sally Evans, was unknowingly developing variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) before becoming pregnant. It attacked her brain and that of Emily, and she died in May 2000, aged 24.

Emily cannot speak or eat. She is fed with a syringe, is doubly incontinent and cannot walk – but DWP staff made her attend a work capability assessment at a job centre in Retford, then sent staff to review her case at her day centre.

They awarded her £58 a week in Universal Credit – and cut other benefits totalling £520 a week.

The review left them with £342 a week — less than half what they had been getting — and they were also left with extra mortgage and transport costs.

After The Sunday Times spoke to the DWP, a civil servant contacted Ms Godfrey and offered an extra £150 a week – but she said it still wasn’t enough to prevent her from having to sell the house.

You can read the full story in the newspaper. For some reason it isn’t behind a paywall (or wasn’t when I read it).

Reaction to the story has been universally negative:

It even attracted sympathy from Tory MP Anna Soubry, who tweeted: “No ifs no buts no excuses this is a disgrace & NOT what I voted for when supporting much needed benefit reforms.”

Unfortunately for Ms Soubry, and as Frances Ryan points out below, it was exactly what she voted to support. Dr Ryan, whose work in The Guardian has exposed the facts about Tory cuts to sickness and disability benefits, was right to point out that Tory rhetoric about protecting the “real disabled” was nothing other than a filthy lie.

Jonathan Portes offered up a more plausible reason for Ms Soubry’s outburst:

We shall see that it would have been better if Kwasi Kwarteng had adopted a similar attitude…

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