Tag Archives: ignore

If Matt Hancock has broken his own 10pm pub curfew, why should YOU honour it?

Matt Hancock – and the best word to describe him.

So much for the 10pm pub curfew. Once again, it seems, the Tories have led by example – if it’s okay for them to break it, it’s okay for you to break it too.

According to the Mail, of all papers, Matt Hancock – the Health Secretary who championed lockdown measures like the curfew – was caught breaking it after a late-evening vote:

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was last night accused of breaking his own Covid curfew by drinking in a Commons bar beyond 10pm – where he made a crass joke about the Government’s test and trace failings.

Mr Hancock arrived at the bar just before a 9.40pm vote, ordered a glass of white wine and announced: ‘The drinks are on me – but Public Health England are in charge of the payment methodology so I will not be paying anything.’

His ill-conceived joke came after he had tried to explain to the Commons why the quango had lost nearly 16,000 positive coronavirus tests – a fiasco which Labour claimed had put ‘lives at risk’.

A senior Tory MP told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Hancock remained in the Smoking Room bar until at least 10.25pm, despite Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle insisting that Commons venues must abide by the same 10pm drink-up-and-leave curfew as all English pubs.

A spokesperson for Hancock has tried to explain away what happened, but the comment lacks something – namely any explanation of where Hancock was after 10pm on the evening in question:

In a carefully worded statement last night, a spokesman for the Health Secretary said: ‘No rules have been broken.

‘The Secretary of State was in the Smoking Room prior to the vote that evening.

‘The Secretary of State left the Smoking Room to vote. The vote took place at 9:42pm. ‘The Secretary of State then departed the Parliamentary estate to go home.’

Asked whether Mr Hancock had returned to the bar after voting and before he went home, the spokesman failed to respond.

Doesn’t that tend to indicate that he had?

The public verdict is out already:

But the story was omitted from mention on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show today (October 11) – for no apparent reason:

I publish this tweet also, as it links Hancock with the acts of other Tories:

The practical upshot of all this is that Hancock has provided us all with an excuse to drink – in pubs – after the 10pm curfew.

If it’s okay for the Health Secretary to carry on drinking in the Smoking Bar of Parliament, it is clearly fine for the rest of us to do the same.

That’s leadership by example.

And if we all do it, there’s nothing the Tories or the police can do about it.

Yes – there is the question of public safety. But the government has never provided a scrap of evidence that drinking in pubs between 10pm and 11pm actually increases the risk of catching Covid-19 to those involved.

And there needs to be accountability.

If these arrogant, unaccountable Tories keep breaking their own rules, they need to see that we will ignore those rules as well. We are all in this together.

Source: Matt Hancock makes tasteless Covid test joke in Commons bar as he ‘joined MPs flouting 10pm curfew’ | Daily Mail Online

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Backlash against Sunak’s ‘meal deal’ voucher scheme that ignores people in genuine need

Members of the public are speaking out against Rishi Sunak’s offer of vouchers supporting half the price of eating out – pointing out that people need to be able to afford the other half of the cost before they can use it at all.

It’s an upper-middle-class jolly that won’t help people who rely on food banks, or carers, or beleaguered NHS staff who Sunak’s own government is persecuting, they say – rightly.

And they say the decision to offer meal vouchers was in very poor taste when Boris Johnson was keen to stop providing such vouchers to parents of children who receive free school meals over the summer holidays, even though the Covid-19 crisis has put many of them in extreme need.

Here’s just a selection of the responses. See if you agree with them, rather than Sunak:

(Good point about the self-employed.)

https://twitter.com/CptPicardigan/status/1280947082879254528

Yes, what a world.

To think that we could have had fairness under a Jeremy Corbyn government instead, if only people had engaged their brains before going to the polling booths last year.

Come to that, isn’t it incredible that it is too much to hope for people to engage their brains before voting?

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Expert legal advice supports law graduate in crowdfunded private prosecution of Dominic Cummings

Mahsa Taliefar: there is a case against Dominic Cummings and she needs your help to take it to court.

Dominic Cummings could find himself facing an unlimited fine for breaching the Covid-19 lockdown after expert lawyers said there is a case against him.

Law graduate Mahsa Taliefar launched a funding campaign to help her bring a private prosecution against Cummings over his now-notorious trip to Durham at the end of March this year.

She sought legal advice from Benjamin Douglas-Jones QC and Nathaniel Rudolf on the practicalities of bringing a prosecution.

Their opinion is that he could indeed be prosecuted under Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020
Prosecutions.

These state that “during the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse”.

The lawyers’ advice states: “The published guidance… in our view reinforces the conclusion that there is a realistic prospect of conviction in relation to this conduct.”

The penalty, if such a conviction is won, would be an unlimited fine.

Concerns had been raised that Regulation 11 of the same law prevents private prosecution. It states: “Proceedings for an offence under these Regulations may be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service and any person designated by the Secretary of State.

The advice states: “At first blush this may be seen as preventing a prosecution by anyone other than the CPS or a person designated by the Secretary of State. In other words preventing a private prosecution.

“The regulation is not drafted with any precision: a literal (and absurd) reading would be in that in the absence of anyone designated by the Secretary of State the CPS may not prosecute.

“It seems to us that… permitting the Secretary of State to designate people who can prosecute the section simply clarifies that this does not oust the ability of the CPS to do the same. It does not go further.

“If Regulation 11 were to be read as excluding private prosecutors, it would also exclude the police from prosecuting, unless the police were designated by the Secretary of State as persons who can prosecute. As far as we can tell no such designation has taken place.

“Our view is that the Regulation 11 is sufficiently clear so as not to warrant, at this stage, our consideration of whether the right to bring a private prosecution had been prevented by its language. A private prosecution may be classed as a ‘constitutional’ right founded in statute (or common law). It would require the most explicit language to extinguish that right.”

So not only could Cummings face a large fine if found guilty of breaching the regulations, but it seems entirely possible that a private prosecution may be launched against him, in order to ensure that he does so.

As This Site has already reported, Ms Taliefar is already crowdfunding for this purpose and her site may be found here.

If you agree that Cummings should be brought to book, feel free to contribute to the fund.

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Planning corruption: it seems Jenrick isn’t the only Tory accused of breaking the rules

Robert Jenrick: while he was presenting press conferences about Covid-19, he has also been mired in an apparent corruption scandal.

The evidence is mounting against planning minister Robert Jenrick in the scandal over the Westferry development – and interest in the controversy has revealed further potential corruption.

It seems Robert Jenrick was induced to overturn the refusal of the Westferry planning application after property developer Richard Desmond showed him a promotional video for the £1bn development. Here’s The Guardian:

“What I did was I showed him the video,” Desmond told the Sunday Times, adding that Jenrick had watched it for “three or four minutes”, and adding: “It’s quite long, so he got the gist.”

Jenrick subsequently overturned a decision by a local council and the government’s planning inspectorate in order to approve a 500-apartment, 44-storey development at Westferry Printworks, a former printing plan in east London.

Viewing the video would appear to constitute lobbying by Desmond, potentially giving rise to a conflict of interest.

Labour will use the opportunity of a three-hour opposition day debate on Wednesday to discuss the controversy.

That’s today – June 24.

Meanwhile, according to The Mirror

A Tory former planning minister is reportedly under investigation for failing to declare an interest in a hotel development in his constituency.

Sir Bob Neill wrote a letter to his local council in December 2018, urging them to approve the redevelopment of The Royal Bell – a neglected hotel in his Bromley Constituency.

But he failed to mention in his letter that he was on the payroll of the Substantia Group – the firm handling the planning application for the hotel.

Sir Bob has been paid £50,000 by the firm for “strategic consultancy advice” since 2016, according to the register of members’ interests.

But his links to the firm were not explicitly outlined in the letter.

Shadow Housing Minister Mike Amesbury said: “It beggars belief that a former planning minister would not be aware of the obvious conflict of interest in this case.”

And the Telegraph today reported Sir Bob had intervened in another planning application being handled by the same firm – again without mentioning his paid position.

MPs voted in 2018 for investigations by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to remain secret. Some might suggest that this was an offence against justice, which must be seen to be done.

But it has been reported the Commissioner has launched an investigation into Sir Bob’s involvement in the project after receiving a complaint.

Source: Jenrick under growing pressure after fresh Desmond revelation | Politics | The Guardian

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Law graduate launches private prosecution bid against Dominic Cummings. Will you help fund it?

Mahsa Taliefar: she has already received abuse from supporters of Dominic Cummings. Have a guess at their reasons – then scroll down through the article to see if you’re right.

How will the populist, propagandist supporters of our far-right government de-legitimise Mahsa Taliefar, the 25-year-old law graduate who wants to take Dominic Cummings to court?

Well, for a start she has a foreign-sounding name (her background is Iranian), so obviously she’ll be trying to harm all good, right(-wing)-thinking British people, right?

And from the photograph she’s physically attractive, so she’ll be talked down as a know-nothing bimbo (qualifications notwithstanding).

Undoubtedly Gina Miller will be able to provide advice on some of the other ways.

Oh hey! It’s already happening:

She has … been targeted by abuse and misogynistic comments from Dominic Cummings’ supporters on social media.

“I have been subjected to nasty comments about my facial features and hairstyle,” she said.

“There have also been many Cummings supporters who have suggested that the money may be going towards aesthetic lip fillers and hair maintenance.

“I find this totally unacceptable. This campaign has nothing to do with my gender or looks. Many people supporting Dominic Cummings have also aggressively told me to ‘move on’ – but we should not until he does.”

Ms Taliefar – like those of us who know right from wrong – was incensed by Cummings’s decision to ignore lockdown rules and drive off to Durham with his wife and son.

These feelings were undoubtedly aggravated by his decision to (again) ignore rules – this time relating to government advisers – to hold a press conference in which he defended his behaviour.

So she has launched a funding campaign to help her launch a private prosecution against Cummings.

“It was like Dominic Cummings was spitting in the face of everyone who adhered to the lockdown,” she said.

“People were not able to see their families and friends and were not even able to bury their loved ones and grieve properly.

“This is because we were all following the laws that were put into place to protect the public.

“Dominic Cummings had a direct hand in the making of those Covid laws and I was extremely offended when he didn’t even apologise for breaking the rules – he seemed very arrogant and there were people in government standing by him.”

She makes good points about the insult Cummings’s behaviour represents to people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds:

Mahsa, who is from an Iranian background, says Dominic Cummings’ behaviour is also a kick in the teeth for people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities who have been harder hit by coronavirus and are more likely to die of it.

“People from ethnic minority backgrounds are affected more by this virus and have less money and resources and are less likely to have powerful friends and connections,” she said. “Everything Dominic Cummings has, most people from ethnic minorities don’t.

“That makes me angry as when people from ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by coronavirus, why should someone well off and more powerful put other people’s lives at risk by breaking his own laws?

“People from ethnic minority backgrounds also tend to have more people in our households and a lot of families have grandparents living with them. So it is really difficult for these communities to understand why someone like Dominic Cummings would travel so far and potentially put his parents at risk.”

Ms Taliefar reckons it will cost £300,000 to take a lawsuit all the way – and any funds not used for the private prosecution will be donated to Vision Aid Overseas – a charity dedicated to helping those with eyesight problems.

Here’s that GoFundMe campaign address again. With no interest in justice from the government, it seems this is the best way to get it.

Source: Law Graduate Pursues Private Prosecution Of ‘Arrogant’ Dominic Cummings | HuffPost UK

Did Tories ignore reports demanding action to prevent deaths of disabled benefit claimants?

[Image: www.disabledgo.com]

When the government is dragging its heels over publishing years-old coroners’ reports that called for measures to protect disabled people from death, what does that suggest to you?

To This Writer, it suggests that the Tories ignored the reports and allowed deaths to continue for up to five more years after the first report was written.

It is for the Conservative government to publish the reports – unredacted – if it wants to prove me (or any other critics) wrong. If they remain covered up, I think we’ll have to draw our own conclusions.

Here’s Disability News Service:

The government is facing calls to publish two coroners’ reports that link the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with the deaths of benefit claimants.

New information shows that the missing reports were written by coroners in 2015 and 2016, but neither of them have ever been published.

Both “prevention of future deaths” (PFD) reports warned DWP that more disabled people could die if the department failed to act.

But both DWP and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are refusing to release the reports.

Source: Net closing on government departments that refuse to publish deaths reports – Disability News Service

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Brace yourself for new Covid-19 peak because your neighbours are berks*

They think the rules don’t apply to them: this is in fact an image of people flouting social distancing rules at the end of March. The VE Day celebrations were probably worse.

What a stroke of genius by the Tory government to go ahead with a major celebration when everybody in the United Kingdom is supposed to be staying a safe distance from everybody else.

Did they? No they bloody didn’t.

Here’s the result in just one UK hospital, as recorded by just one NHS professional:

Clearly people in Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot decided that the coronavirus went on a break for the VE Day 75th anniversary bank holiday.

How many of them will find themselves in hospital again in 12 days or so, struggling to breathe and begging for sympathetic help from the doctors and nurses they let down so badly on May 8?

(For clarity, it seems a “CT head” is a scan of people’s heads to check for internal injuries. Obviously anybody with such injuries has decided that social distancing restrictions didn’t apply to them.

This idiocy endangers us all.

And, as it happens, it is also disgracefully disrespectful to everybody who helped win that victory 75 years ago – the departed as much as those who are still with us.

Here’s a snippet from another Facebook user, explaining the situation in more detail:

“I am sad the general public believe this virus is all over and life can return to normal as we have hit the peak.

“We still have people in hospital we are battling to save who may have tested negative but are still displaying all the signs and symptoms of Covid-19…

“I am still having to phone families and tell them their loved ones are very sick and they may need to prepare for the worst…

“I’m still having to hold the hands of patients who are frightened whilst they struggle to breathe.

“Don’t be fooled, people, a second wave will cripple the NHS if it comes… Have you all forgotten 30,000 people have died from this virus including 150 NHS workers who I may not have known personally but feel like family?

“This is not over, it has not passed and it could come back at any moment.”

And now, thanks to a few selfish idiots*, it almost certainly will.

This Writer certainly hopes that nobody who shamed us all so badly will have the cheek to stand up and applaud the NHS staff they have stabbed in the back, as Ms Newman states, above.

But I bet they will because these hypocrites have no shame.

*Feel free to choose an alternative expletive that you may find more appropriate.

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Coroners told to ignore lack of PPE in coronavirus-related inquests

One more time: PPE provided to UK medical staff is at the bottom right. Coroners are being told not to consider whether a national failure to provide proper equipment contributed to the deaths of medical staff.

Now the coroners’ courts are being told to hide the fatal results of failed Conservative policies to tackle the coronavirus, it seems.

Guidance handed down by Mark Lucraft QC, chief coroner for England and Wales, says “an inquest would not be a satisfactory means of deciding whether adequate general policies and arrangements were in place for provision of PPE to healthcare workers”.

He said that “if there were reason to suspect that some human failure contributed to the person being infected with the virus”, an inquest may be required.

The coroner “may need to consider whether any failures of precautions in a particular workplace caused the deceased to contract the virus and so contributed to death”.

But he added: “An inquest is not the right forum for addressing concerns about high-level government or public policy.”

Isn’t that an attempt to palm off responsibility for a lack of PPE onto “a particular workplace” rather than keeping it where it belongs – with the government that sent all our equipment to China and sold domestic stockpiles to a private, US-owned company?

Source: NHS staff coronavirus inquests told not to look at PPE shortages | Society | The Guardian

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We KNEW Tory ministers were warned about coronavirus in 2019. Now we have damning details

Boris Johnson: If he had taken seriously the briefings on coronavirus he had LAST YEAR, he might not have caught it.

There is nothing new in the Guardian headline that UK (Tory) ministers were warned last year about the risks of the coronavirus pandemic.

One day This Writer will tire of mentioning this, but my blog article of March 30 – gosh, nearly a month ago, now! – made this abundantly clear:

Boris Johnson was first briefed about a new virus causing havoc in Wuhan, China, in November 2019. He did nothing.

Okay?

The details now reported by the Graunare damning:

The recommendations within it included the need to stockpile PPE (personal protective equipment), organise advanced purchase agreements for other essential kit, establish procedures for disease surveillance and contact tracing, and draw up plans to manage a surge in excess deaths.

Having plans for helping British nationals abroad and repatriating them to the UK was also flagged as a priority.

All of these areas have come under relentless scrutiny since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the government accused of being too slow to react to the crisis. It is now under sustained pressure to provide answers about what was done nationally and locally to provide the support that planners have long called for, amid growing fears ministers were “caught out” by the crisis and have been playing catchup ever since.

So where, later in the same article, we see a government spokesperson saying:

“This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we have taken the right steps at the right time to combat it, guided at all times by the best scientific advice.”

This is quite clearly false.

I would agree with the source who said the Tories had not properly focused on the pandemic threat and had been “caught out” flat-footed.

Watch, in the months to come, as the Tories fall over each other to claim there won’t be any need for an inquiry into their sheer, possibly-criminal, incompetence.

Source: Revealed: UK ministers were warned last year of risks of coronavirus pandemic | World news | The Guardian

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Jenrick ignored lockdown rules to visit his family. Should he resign or be sacked?

Robert Jenrick: he thinks he’s above his own government’s social distancing rules.

It seems the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick – who has made broadcasts calling for us all to obey social distancing rules – thought they didn’t apply to him.

He says he visited his parents 38 miles from his own Shropshire home to deliver supplies and medication – which is allowed according to the rules.

But members of the local community have already been delivering supplies to them. He wasn’t needed.

Other people in the same situation have resigned – such as Scotland’s chief medical officer.

And New Zealand’s health minister was demoted after he flouted that country’s social distancing rules, which are stricter than ours. PM Jacinta Ardern said normally she would have sacked him but could not afford the “massive disruption” to her coronavirus response this would cause.

What will happen to Jenrick? Will he resign, be sacked or be demoted?

Let’s not kid ourselves.

He’s a Tory. He’ll apologise and carry on as normal. They all think they’re above the rules.

But here’s a thing: there’s been quite a fuss about people ignoring the social distancing rules so they could go out and enjoy the warm weather.

Even though it will worsen the crisis, they’re thinking the obvious: why should they observe the rules of the government can’t be bothered?

The cabinet minister Robert Jenrick is facing questions after travelling to visit his parents at the weekend, despite repeatedly urging the public to stay at home during the lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Guardian has established that the housing, communities and local government secretary – who has made media appearances urging people to save lives by remaining in their properties even if tempted to see loved ones – went to see his parents at their Shropshire home, 40 miles by road from his own.

A witness has told the Guardian they saw Jenrick, 38, visiting the property at the weekend.

A source close to the cabinet minister admitted that he had made the journey during lockdown conditions, but defended the trip by saying he dropped off food and medication, and did not enter the house. Jenrick later confirmed this in a tweet in which he said his parents were both self-isolating, because of age and his father’s medical condition, and he had respected social distancing rules.

Government instructions say: “You should not be visiting family members who do not live in your home.” The only exception is if they need help, such as having shopping or medication dropped off.

The Guardian understands that the local community has been supporting Jenrick’s parents by delivering groceries in recent weeks. This was not denied, though the source said Jenrick had collected and delivered medication for his parents, too.

Source: Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick visited his parents during Covid-19 lockdown | World news | The Guardian

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