Tag Archives: II

Even the Queen didn’t look like she believed her speech

The Queen’s speech: the only part of it that sparkled was her jewellery.

Parliament has just undergone its most underwhelming State Opening – possibly ever – with a speech delivered by a gimlet-eyed Queen who sounded like she didn’t believe a word she was saying.

And what she said was vague beyond expression.

Here’s the first bit, about Brexit:

(If you can’t see the video, it’s on Twitter here.)

And here’s the rest of it:

It was a speech that will have satisfied very few people apart from Boris Johnson’s sycophants.

It contained nothing on alleviating poverty, nothing on productivity, nothing on the causes of crime.

Nothing for the WASPI women.

Poor measures on education.

Climate change was included at the end, as an afterthought.

And none of it is likely to be enacted in any case.

It was a stunt by Boris Johnson to distract from his Brexit bungling, that has already been rightly described as disrespectful of the Queen.

And she knew it.

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‘Sack me if you dare’? Johnson will be lucky if the Queen doesn’t send him to the Tower

Boris Johnson and the Queen: She should be slapping him in the face, not shaking his hand.

Beleaguered Boris Johnson will dare the Queen to sack him rather than quit over Brexit , it’s claimed.

If reports in the Sunday Times (quoted above by the Mirror) are accurate, Boris Johnson is showing the ultimate contempt for the British way of life. The Queen should do much worse than sack him.

He is insulting the Queen in the worst possible way – by suggesting that she is nothing but a figurehead with no real influence at all, and that she will not dismiss him from his job as prime minister because she is his puppet.

It seems he believes that if he takes one of any number of possible courses to an illegal “no deal” Brexit, then rather than sack him outright, the Queen will call a general election – which is exactly what he wants.

He believes he would win, and then he would be able to force whatever he wants on a population of 66 million victims – including a deal with Donald Trump’s America that will scrap your human rights, your environmental protections, and food safety standards.

All of this merely reinforces the claim that BoJob is not working in the interests of the nation, but is serving the demands of a shadowy gang of hedge fund bosses who financed his campaign to be Tory leader and are now betting on a “no deal” Brexit being a disaster in the hope making billions of pounds from our misery.

Taking all that into account, Her Majesty would be ill-advised to do anything other than sack Boris Johnson.

If she allows him to continue, she will be making the Royal Family complicit in his scheme.

And if she avoids sacking him by calling a general election, she will still bring herself and the constitution into disrepute, as she will have failed to stop a rogue prime minister and a criminal government.

Mr Johnson has already disrespected the Queen twice; first when he misled her into proroguing Parliament on a basis that was overturned by the courts, and then then he failed to apologise and resign over that debacle.

Will this be the third strike that takes him out of power?

Source: Boris Johnson ‘will dare Queen to sack him’ rather than quit over Brexit – Mirror Online

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Prorogation: Has Johnson even bothered to ask the Queen if she’ll allow it?

It’s “duper’s delight” yet again: It seems Boris Johnson thinks he can fool the Queen into giving him a free Party Election Broadcast. Wouldn’t she rather get her reserve powers out and sack him, instead?

Boris Johnson is planning to prorogue Parliament again next week, according to the political correspondents on the mainstream news. But they’ve been very quiet about whether the Queen will let him.

I made the point a couple of days ago that he brought exactly no new policies to the Conservative conference, yet now he is saying he wants to shut down Parliament for a further three debating days – on top of the 10 or more that were lost in the illegal prorogation – and re-open it with a Queen’s Speech detailing a new legislative programme. Is he delusional?

Private Eye certainly seems to believe Her Majesty is likely to cast a jaundiced eye over any future proposals from the man we call BoJob.

According to Beastrabban, “The magazine’s ‘Court Circular’ … covers the fall-out from Lady Hale’s judgement, including the Queen’s immense displeasure at hearing that the judges concluded that sovereignty lay with parliament and the orders written in her own hand were absolutely valueless. But she is also angry with Dictator J. Peasemold Johnson for not defending her in this fiasco. The mag’s correspondent, ‘Flunkey’, writes

“Johnson’s phone call with Brenda later on Judgment Day was similarly perplexing. He had part-blustered, part-charmed Brenda into believing his vision of a prorogational paradise and presented her with legal opinions to back up his case. But lawyers can be found to argue that black is white if someone is paying them to. Brenda bowed to Johnson’s demands because she had no choice. But it is the job of prime ministers to protect a monarch who has no voice, and that is what Johnson failed to do. Worse, he didn’t even try very hard. The palace had assumed that Johnson’s phone call, with officials listening in on both sides, would consist of an apology and a request that she return to London to accept his resignation. But no. Despite briefings to the contrary from Downing Street, Johnson merely told her he “deeply and sincerely” regretted the supreme court’s decision… and that was it.

“Things look set to change now that the Supremes have sung. The palace will not indulge Johnson so readily in future. A normal state opening of parliament this month has been almost impossible: what if Lady Hale and her colleagues were to conclude that the Queen’s Speech, too, was written in invisible ink? Private audiences between Brenda and Johnson may become not so private, with suggestions they should be recorded in some form and stored in the archives just in case. And it is possible that a very reluctant Brenda might be talked into using her untested reserve powers to act in a crisis by dissolving parliament or sacking the prime minister.”

And then there’s this, from The Independent: If a Queen’s Speech is made within weeks of an expected general election, will it not assume the characteristics of a Party Political Broadcast for the Johnson government?

After the prorogation fiasco, Her Majesty is unlikely to take kindly to that!

The article states: “Boris Johnson will be using the Queen ‘to make a Conservative Party political broadcast’ if he launches a new session of parliament just weeks before a general election, a constitutional expert is warning.

“The prime minister is being urged not to ‘further abuse her position’ – after the embarrassment of the Queen’s signature being used to shut down parliament before being declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.

“Mr Johnson’s new plan is to prorogue parliament for just a few days, to allow a Queen’s Speech on 14 October when the monarch will set out his flagship domestic legislation amid huge pomp and ceremony.”

It quotes Professor Robert Hazell of the constitution unit at University College London as follows: “The Queen’s Speech will be not so much the government announcing the legislative programme for the next session, but more of an election manifesto.

“The Queen will have been used to make a Conservative Party political broadcast.

“It would bring more embarrassment to the Queen, dragging her again into political controversy.

“Boris Johnson has already caused the greatest constitutional controversy of her reign; he should not further abuse her position.”

He added something that the rest of us have suspected for some time: “This would be the first Queen’s Speech when the government had no real intention of introducing the bills it had just announced, because it hoped that, within weeks, parliament would be dissolved for an early election.”

So those funding promises on the NHS and all the other services BoJob and his cronies promised to boost really were examples of “duper’s delight” and they had no intention of fulfilling them.

Put it all together and, if I were in the Monarch’s position, I would be very nervous about agreeing to anything this man wants. He has proved himself to be uninterested in preserving the reputation of any of the UK’s constitutional pillars – and there is also a suggestion that his real purpose may be to make money for a shady group of backers at the expense of the entire nation.

Will the Queen really allow herself to be brought down by the antics of this liar?

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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Anti-Labour campaigners, get real; supporting the OBR charter isn’t supporting austerity

150113milibandalternative

It’s amazing, the lengths to which some people will go in order to discredit someone else.

As this is being written, Twitter seems abuzz with claims that Labour has finally admitted its full support for austerity because it has supported the latest updates to the Charter for Budget Responsibility.

The charter commits the government to a goal of balancing the structural deficit by 2017-18, and to ensuring that debt is falling as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2016-17.

According to the BBC, “The Treasury says that to meet these targets a new government would have to make additional tax rises or spending cuts of around £30bn – more than Labour plans.”

But Labour has supported the targets, saying they match its plans to eradicate the current deficit “as soon as possible” in the next parliament.

That’s why, at the vote, only 18 MPs opposed the changes. Anti-Labour campaigners on Twitter hastened to flag these people up as the only anti-austerity MPs in the House – possibly because they included Green MP Caroline Lucas, and the Green campaign seems to hinge on painting Labour as a party of right-wing neoliberals.

Silly, silly people.

You see, tax rises or spending cuts are not the only options available. They never were.

What about economic expansion? Ed Balls has been trying to tell the world that Labour intends to create an expanding economy in which the UK can pay its way. Martha Kearney might have cut him off on November 10, but that didn’t stop him saying it.

Remember, this is how Labour set the UK on the road to recovery – real recovery – after World War II. We had 30 years of expansion before Margaret Thatcher and her stupid, selfish neoliberals messed it up for 30 pieces of silver.

It cannot be by chance that Ed Miliband referred to that success in his New Year message.

Link this expansionary economic strategy with other plans, such as those for progressive taxation – ensuring that those who can pay, do pay – and suddenly we’re not looking at austerity at all.

Labour will stick to spending plans for 2015-16 because it would take a while to release the UK government from existing contracts. But that isn’t proof of a commitment to austerity either.

The difference is huge. In the BBC article, Institute for Fiscal Studies director Paul Johnson said “Under the Autumn Statement plans, Conservatives could be cutting unprotected budgets by 26% after 2015-16 – or an extraordinary 41% over the period from 2010.

“Labour would need to implement cuts of just three per cent.” And that’s without the benefit of an expanding economy.

The cynics and manipulators have their own agenda – and it’s not about helping you.

So let’s not rush, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, to believe them.

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Why D-Day and the victory over Nazism must be linked to the welfare state and the NHS

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A veteran’s view: Click on the image to read Harry Leslie Smith’s Guardian article.

I was disturbed, this morning, to read that parts of the media were trying to silence people who had created images and sites linking D-Day and its 70th anniversary with the National Health Service – its creation and current problems.

The comment was made by an organisation calling itself The Labour Forum and ran: “D-Day and the NHS have nothing to do with each other. Whatsoever. Any photos trying to link today’s political issues with D-Day are offensive and will be deleted immediately.”

This seems extremely strange to me because, from what I have read, the creation of the NHS and a ‘welfare state’ (the term did not actually enter the Oxford English Dictionary until 1955) were exactly what the soldiers at Normandy were fighting so steadfastly to ensure.

When Britain went to war in September 1939, it was woefully ill-prepared for the task. Our professional army was not a match for Germany’s well-nourished, well-trained and well-equipped war machine (Germany’s welfare state had been ushered in by Otto von Bismarck during the 19th century). Not only that, but the crop of recruits brought in by conscription was a step in the wrong direction, being untrained, in poor health and malnourished after 20 years of Conservative rule.

Yet these were the men who were going to win the war, supported by equally poorly-served women, youngsters, and pensioners on the Home Front.

We know the first few years of the war went badly for Britain. We were forced out of Europe and attempts to create a front in Africa found themselves on uneven ground.

Then came the Beveridge report, Social Insurance and Allied Services. It was written by the Liberal Sir William Beveridge, who had been tasked with carrying out the widest social survey yet undertaken – covering schemes of social insurance and – as stated – allied services.

He went far beyond this remit, instead calling for an end to poverty, disease and unemployment by fighting what he called the five giants on the road to reconstruction – Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness – and claiming to supply the means to do so.

His plan dealt mainly with Want and Disease, proposing a system of social insurance against the interruption and destruction of earning power and a National Health Service for the prevention and cure of disease and disability, and for rehabilitation.

Winston Churchill (who was of course Prime Minister at the time) privately made clear his concern at the “dangerous optimism” created by the report’s proposals. In public, although he could not attend a debate on a Labour motion that – significantly – called for the early implementation of the plan as a test of Parliament’s sincerity, he sent a message saying it was “an essential part of any post-war scheme of national betterment”. But he refused to “tie the hands of future Parliaments” by starting any legislation to bring the plan into effect.

I quote now from The Welfare State, by Pauline Gregg (George S Harrap & Co, 1967): “To refuse its immediate acceptance, to refuse to make public any plan for its immediate post-War implementation, even if not for its implementation then and there, was to the people betrayal… You cannot refuse to welcome a saviour without being suspected of not wishing to be saved – or, at best, of being so blind that you do not know salvation when you see it!”

The social and economic questions that most troubled the electorate in 1944 were housing and jobs – as they should be today. But the wartime coalition broke over arguments about housing, and Churchill’s Conservatives refused to commit to full employment, as demanded by Beveridge. Instead it proposed that “a high and stable level of employment” should be one of its primary responsibilities, with no legislation planned on the grounds that employment could not be created by government alone.

This is why Labour won the 1945 election with such a landslide. The people expected the Tories to betray them when peace was restored, and they could not back Beveridge’s Liberals because they were afraid of half-measures.

And the people – both those who fought as soldiers and those who supported them at home – were determined that their war would mean something; that it would create a better future. They wanted Beveridge’s plan for social security and they absolutely demanded a national health service.

That is why they were prepared to fight so hard, and even die for their cause. Not the continuation of a British government that couldn’t care less about them until it needed cannon fodder – but the creation of a new system, in which every citizen had value and could rely on the support of their fellows.

It was a system that enjoyed success – albeit to varying degrees – right up to the early 1970s when Edward Health tried to replace it with neoliberalism. He failed but he paved the way for Margaret Thatcher, Nicholas Ridley and Keith Joseph to turn Britain into the mess it is today.

And here we sit, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, facing exactly the same issues as our parents and grandparents did back then.

Do we want a National health service? Or are we content to allow a gang of money-worshipping bandits to turn it into a profit machine for their own enrichment while our health returns to pre-1939 conditions? Rickets and tuberculosis have already returned. What next?

Do we want a housing boom for the rich, while the workers and the poor lose the benefits that allowed them to keep a roof over their heads (pay having dropped below the level at which people can cover all their bills without help from the state)?

Do we want a job market that deliberately ensures a large amount of unemployment, in order to keep wages down and ensure that the lower echelons don’t forget that their place is to serve aristocrats like Jacob Rees-Mogg?

Or shall we remember the sacrifices made by our forefathers on D-Day and throughout the war, and demand better?

The choice is yours – and no ‘Labour Forum’ has the right to stop you discussing it.

(The latest Vox Political book collection – Health Warning: Government! – is now available. It is a cracking read and fantastic value for money. Only available via the Internet, it may be purchased here in print and eBook form, along with the previous VP release, Strong Words and Hard Times.)

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‘New’ government plans – we really have heard it all before

You can’t make an old idea new just by saying it is.

David Cameron and George Osborne should have borne that in mind before they announced the ‘new’ policies with which they plan to relaunch (yet again) the Coalition government this week.

The plan appears to be threefold, with the government aiming to underwrite up to £10bn of new housing developments, and a further £40bn of private sector building projects which need finance – using money to be repaid on the government’s low interest rates, and it will also legislate to speed up planning conditions and encourage development on Green Belt land, if certain conditions are met.

New? Hardly.

The Labour Party has spent the last two years complaining bitterly at the government’s lack of interest in house building. It has been calling for construction of affordable homes, to be funded by a bank bonus tax.

Labour has also complained that major building projects have been falling backwards, due to a lack of investment.

It is also well-accepted that George Osborne’s plan to encourage building on Green Belt land is a renewal of a previous attempt.

But let’s go back a little further than recent history. I know I’ve already established that the new Tory plan is a modification of moves that Labour has been demanding for years, but there’s a better example that is decades old.

After World War Two, when the UK was in the deepest debt it had ever faced, the Labour government of the time decided that fiscal austerity was a move in entirely the wrong direction. Instead it invested in projects to rebuild the country and reinvigorate its industry. Barring the incursion into much-loved Green Belt land, this is exactly what Cameron and Osborne are planning now. But on a smaller scale.

So there it is. Not only are these ‘new’ policies unoriginal, they weren’t even Tory policies to start with (apart from the plan to kick us all in the teeth by relaxing planning regulations to prevent objections and build on the Green Belt – in other words, the nasty bits).

Somehow I doubt they’ll give credit where it’s due.