Tag Archives: individual

Why are individual schools being asked to pay millions for Covid-19 safety?

Schools: it seems the cost of measures to protect children from Covid-19 will be paid using individual school budgets, meaning less money for teaching. Won’t that harm their education?

If the Tory government wants children to go back to school, then why isn’t Gavin Williamson prepared to pay the £216 million we’re told will be needed to protect them from Covid-19?

Here’s The Mirror:

Heads will have to pay the £216million cost of making schools safe for pupils to return this week.

And staff fear they will have to raid cash meant for teaching.

One union boss said: “The Government should cover these costs.”

Teachers’ leaders say that England’s 21,622 schools – already cash-strapped after a decade of austerity – are each spending an average £10,000 to prepare.

It seems strange to This Writer that people like Boris Johnson and the afore-mentioned Williamson are claiming that children’s education will suffer if they stay away from school, when they are ensuring that kids’ education will suffer due to lack of funds for teaching.

Source: Struggling schools must find cash for £216million bill to keep our kids safe – Mirror Online

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The list of Tory donors to boycott is growing. If you really want to beat them, starve them of cash

It’s all about money: if Boris Johnson didn’t have any, he couldn’t harm anyone. So why are we supporting the people who support him?

[Update: if you want to see the eye-watering amounts that Boris Johnson has received in donations – and the names of the private companies providing the cash – visit this article.]

[Update October 25, 2020: New additions added today. They are listed in this colour.]

The response to my article calling for people to stop buying products provided by firms that donate to the Conservative Party had a great response.

Originally I intended to update that article with new additions to the list of Tory donor firms, but it occurs to me that this may not attract as many readers as regular (or semi-regular) updates, so I’m taking the latter route.

I am aware that some respondents have expressed scepticism about the idea. It won’t produce results overnight, that’s for sure – but then, we’re stuck with Boris Johnson and his cabal of incompetents until 2024, thanks to the 2019 general election. Do you have anything better to do?

This Site can’t change the situation on its own, either, so don’t expect me to. It is the individual responsibility of everybody in the UK to obtain the best government possible – and to change that government by any legal means if a wrong decision is made; you can’t expect the rest of us to do it for you.

That means changing your behaviour to cut out the Tory businesses, and finding new suppliers of goods and services you need.

It also means pestering your friends and colleagues to do the same. Expect resistance because people are naturally lazy. Use the exam results fiasco to persuade parents, and the Covid-19 disaster on others. As the Tories perpetrate more cock-ups – and they will – add those to the list you can use.

And here’s the list of Tory donor firms to shun:

Addison Lee (via founder John Griffin)

Airbus Group Ltd

Airport Park & Ride Ltd

Alfred Dunhill Ltd

Allinson’s (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

Amey Group Services Ltd

Annabel’s (Berkeley Square) Ltd

Asda Property Holdings

ASDA Stores Ltd

Askey’s (ice cream – owned by Associated British Foods)

Associated British Foods

AXA Trading Limited

BAA Airports Ltd

Balfour Beatty

Beds and Bars Ltd

Bell Pottinger Communications Ltd

Bestway (cash and carry)

Betfair Ltd

Bicester Shopping Village

Billington’s (sugar – owned by Associated British Foods)

Birmingham Airport Ltd

Boden

Cameron Mackintosh (theatre company: Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, Oliver!, Miss Saigon, Cats and Hamilton)

Caxton Associates (via boss Andrew Law)

Country House Weddings Ltd

Crusha (milkshakes – owned by Associated British Foods)

CVC Capital Partners (via co-founder Bruce Hardy McLain)

Delamere Dairy

Dorset Cereals (owned by Associated British Foods)

Dunelm (owner Bill Adderly donated £500,000 to the Tory 2019 election campaign)

Dyson (household appliance manufacturer)

E.On (gas and electricity supplier)

Express Newspapers

Flamingo Land (Yorkshire theme park)

Gatwick Airport

Genix Healthcare (NHS and private dental clinics)

Ginsters (pasty and pie manufacturer, owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

Golden Wonder (crisps)

Hooch (drink, owned by Tory donor Global Brands Ltd)

Iceland (supermarket)

Imperial London Hotels Ltd

Jacksons of Piccadilly (tea – owned by Associated British Foods)

JCB (construction, but has also licenced hundreds of other products)

Jordans (cereals – owned by Associated British Foods)

JP Morgan Cazenove (via former chairman David Mayhew)

Kingsmill (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

LNT Group (boss Lawrence Tomlinson donated £40,500 to 13 Tory candidates in 2019 election)

The London Cabaret Club

Lycamobile (SIM card company)

Melton Mowbray pies (owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

Microsoft Ltd (UK branch of the US corporation. This could be tricky as I expect we all have Microsoft products!)

National Express

New Cross Nursing Group Ltd (nurse agency)

Next

Nielsen Massey (vanilla and food flavourings – owned by Associated British Foods)

Ocado

Ovaltine (owned by Associated British Foods)

OVO Energy (through managing director Stephen Fitzpatrick)

Palantir

Patak’s (owned by Associated British Foods)

Petrofac (via chairman Ayman Asfari)

Pimlico Plumbers

Radnor Hills Mineral Water

Frederic Robinson Ltd (owns Robinson Breweries and 280 pubs in the North West, producer of bottled and cask beers)

Ryvita (owned by Associated British Foods)

Sainsbury’s (supermarket) (due to donations by Tory Lord John Sainsbury, the company’s president, totalling more than £1 million between 2001 and 2017. There is also a Lord David Sainsbury who donated £8 million to the Liberal Democrats – but his holdings in the firm are now managed as a ‘blind’ trust to prevent any conflict of interest with his political career.)

Scottish Power (although this firm seems confused and has also given to Labour)

Selfridges (department store)

Serco

Silver Spoon (suger manufacturer, owned by Associated British Foods)

Soreen Malt Loaf (owned by Tory donors Samworth Brothers)

The Spectator (magazine, via former owner Sir Henry Keswick)

Speedibake (bakery products – owned by Associated British Foods)

The Sun (newspaper (it says))

Sunblest (bread – owned by Associated British Foods)

Tate & Lyle (sugar manufacturer)

Tempcover (car insurer)

Truvia (sweeteners – owned by Associated British Foods)

Twinings (tea manufacturer, owned by Associated British Foods)

Tyrells (crisps)

VK (alcopop owned by Tory donor Global Brands Ltd)

Warburtons (bread manufacturer)

Westfield

Wetherspoons (pub chain)

Wren Kitchens

It’s still not an exhaustive list. I’m working through the evidence as fast as I can.

And it may be inaccurate in places. Any firm or person listed above who thinks they shouldn’t be is invited to get in touch (politely, please!) and we can talk about it.

I must emphasize that this is not something that can achieve results overnight. It requires a behavioural shift by a large number of people, into awareness of where their money goes after they use it to buy goods/services.

And I must also remind you of one very important fact:

If you – personally – don’t do anything, nothing will change. It really is your choice.

(NOTE August 17: Richer Sounds has been removed from the list as I have been informed that the company is very far from being a Tory donor; it is now largely employee-owned and supports a large number of progressive causes and campaigns, in line with the activities of its founder, Julian Richer. I am delighted to make this correction and hope to run an article about what appears to be an exemplary UK business in the near future.)

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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If you want to stop the Tory class war, boycott the businesses that help them

It’s all about money: if Boris Johnson didn’t have any, he couldn’t harm anyone. So why are we supporting the people who support him?

In a previous article I called for anyone harmed by Tory policies – like students whose ‘A’ level results were downgraded at random by the Department of Education, relatives of people who have died of Covid-19 and so on – to do what they can to stop the Johnson government at a grassroots level.

This means starving it of cash.

The way to do that is to boycott businesses that are run by Tories or that donate to the Tory Party; if you run a business, deny employment to graduates of further education institutions that have denied students places because of the Tory ‘A’ level downgrade; and to urge your friends who have been simiilarly affected to do the same.

I think it would be valuable to have lists of such organisations, so everybody knows who to avoid – and already some names are coming in.

The information is unconfirmed, but so far I am told that these firms donate to the Conservatives:

Tate & Lyle (sugar manufacturers)

Warburtons (bread manufacturers)

Wetherspoons (pub chain)

I’d like to add to this list as I go.

Feel free to contribute names of offending organisations – national, international and local. I’ll look up Tory donations soon.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Scandal of the million voters ‘missing’ from electoral register

[Image: BBC]

[Image: BBC]

The BBC reports: “Almost one million voters are “missing” from the electoral register in England and Wales, Ed Miliband is to say.

“In a speech, the Labour leader is expected to blame the “hasty” introduction of the new system of individual voter registration, with students particularly affected.

“People must now register to vote individually rather one member of a household filling in a form.

“Ministers say online registration has made the process easier.”

Seriously – that’s their response? That the process is now easier?

Then why are one million people now missing from it who would have been present before?

Mr Miliband is quite right to say that the number of young people not registered to vote is a “scandal” – and he’s quite right to be doing it at Sheffield Hallam University, in the constituency of Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader whose party helped the Tories push through this insult to democracy.

“Labour said 307 of 373 local authorities that provided data had recorded a reduction in their electoral roll. Overall there had been a reduction of 950,845, the party said,” according to the BBC.

Mr Miliband was expected to tell students: “This election is a hugely important moment for young people. It is a choice that will have implications now and for years to come. It is about who this country is run for: working people, young people, or just a very few people at the top?

“In this election campaign we will be publishing a Young Britain manifesto and you have the chance to help shape it by telling us what your priorities are for this campaign and for the next government.

“There is nothing more pressing at this election than the future of young people. The future of the country depends on young people and the outcome of this election will determine what kind of future young people have.  Your job, your education, your home, your future depend on who wins this election.

“This government has betrayed young people. I am determined that we can fulfil the Promise of Britain so that the next generation does better than the last.”

This writer belongs to the last generation. So also do David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

In terms of performance, it seems clear that the next generation couldn’t possibly do worse than those two!

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Six million people fall off electoral register due to ‘lackadaisical’ councils

vote

Local councils have been failing to check voter lists by making door-to-door visits – leading to a loss of no less than six million people from the electoral register, the BBC has reported.

This is before a new system comes into operation that will require people to put themselves on the register individually, rather than being registered as part of a household. This has been designed by the Coalition government and it is widely believed that it will discourage people who are not Tories or Lib Dems from registering – effectively rigging elections in favour of the ruling parties.

In addition, it is widely believed that the public in general is losing faith in democracy after being forced to put up with one government after another who have sidled into office with a minority of the vote – most people have voted against them. These governments have then imposed policies that have sucked prosperity from those who rely most heavily on the state for support, handing ever more cash and power to people who have too much of it already. The leaders of the Coalition government (the Conservative Party) were supported by around 29 per cent of the electorate in 2010 (although not all of the electorate voted).

In the light of this, it seems unfair to penalise our already put-upon councils for failing to go door-to-door – the Coalition has contrived to suck resources away from councils, meaning fewer officers are being asked to do much more work, and electoral matters could be deemed easy to sideline in favour of more pressing issues.

The story mentions Mid Devon Council, whose chief executive said he did not believe house-to-house canvassing was an effective use of resources when budgets were being cut.

So the electoral roll dwindles, faith in democracy stutters, leaving zealots to vote in the worst possible governments.

Is there an alternative?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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The Coalition is creating serious problems and distracting you with phantoms

140124earnings

According to the beauty industry, women must now start deodorising under their breasts.

I kid you not – it was in The Guardian.

Columnist Jill Filipovic hit the nail on the head when she wrote: “I can already hear your objections: ‘But the area under my boobs doesn’t stink!’ or ‘What kind of marketing genius not only came up with the term “swoob,” but actually thought half the world’s population might be dumb enough to buy into it?’ or simply, ‘This is a dumb product aimed at inventing an insecurity and then claiming to cure it.’

“You would be correct on all three points.

“In fact, inventing problems with women’s bodies and then offering a cure – if you pay up – is the primary purpose of the multi-billion dollar beauty industry.”

The simple fact is that you don’t really need to worry about smells down there – a good old soapy flannel will cure any such problems.

That’s not the point, though. The aim is to get you thinking about it and devoting your energy to it, rather than to other matters.

Now let’s translate that to politics.

We already know that all the scaremongering about Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants storming the country from January 1 was a crock. That bastion of good statistics, The Now Show, told us last week that the total number of Bulgarian immigrants in the last couple of weeks was “around two dozen so far”, according to their ambassador. In the first three months after our borders were opened to Croatians, 174 turned up.

Yet the government wanted you to believe they would flood our immigration service in their millions, “taking benefits and yet simultaneously also taking all the jobs”.

My use of language such as “storming” and “flood” is not accidental. By far the more serious threat to the UK in the early days of 2014 was the weather – and, guess what, not only was the government unprepared for the ferocity of the storms that swept our islands, the Coalition was in fact in the process of cutting funding for flood defence.

This would have gone unnoticed if the weather had behaved itself, because we would all have been distracted by the single Romanian immigrant who was ensnared by Keith Vaz in a ring of TV cameras at Heathrow Airport.

Now the Tories are telling us that our take-home pay is finally on the rise for all but the top 10 per cent of earners, with the rest of us seeing our wages rise by at least 2.5 per cent.

The government made its claims (up) by taking into account only cuts to income tax and national insurance, using data leading up to April last year, according to the BBC News website.

This kind of nonsense is easily overcome – New Statesman published the above chart, showing the real effect of changes to weekly income for people in various income groups, and also provided the reason for the government’s mistake (if that’s what it was).

“The data used … takes no account of the large benefit cuts introduced by the coalition, such as the real-terms cut in child benefit, the uprating of benefits in line with CPI inflation rather than RPI, and the cuts to tax credits,” writes the Statesman‘s George Eaton.”

He also pointed out that other major cuts such as the bedroom tax, the benefit cap, and the 10 per cent cut in council tax support were introduced after April 2013 and were not included in the Coalition figures.

Once all tax and benefit changes are taken into account, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that almost all families are worse off – and the Coalition also appears to have forgotten the five million low-paid workers who don’t earn enough to benefit from the increase in the personal allowance.

Skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock compounded the mistake in an exchange on Twitter with Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Asked why his analysis “ignores more than four million people in work (the self-employed)”, Mr Hancock tweeted: “Analysis based on ONS ASHE survey of household earnings data”.

Wrong – as Mr Portes was quick to show: “Don’t you know the difference between household and individual earnings?”

Apparently not. ASHE (Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings) is a survey of employed individuals using their National Insurance numbers – not of households or the self-employed.

So the Coalition – and particularly the Tories – were trying to make us all feel good about the amount we earn.

That’s the distraction. What are we supposed to be ignoring?

Would it be David Cameron’s attempt to bribe councils into allowing shale gas companies to frack their land? Councils that back fracking will get to keep all the business rates collected from the schemes – rather than the usual 50 per cent.

He has also claimed that fracking can boost the economy and encourage businesses into the country, in a further bid to talk down dissent.

Or is it the growing threat of a rise in interest rates, which may be triggered when official unemployment figures – which have been fiddled by increased sanctions on jobseekers, rigged reassessments of benefit claimants, a new scheme to increase the number of people and time spent on Workfare, and the fake economic upturn created by George Osborne’s housing bubble – drop to seven per cent?

It seems possible that the government – especially the Tory part of it – would want to keep people from considering the implications of an interest rate rise that is based on false figures.

As Vox Political commenter Jonathan Wilson wrote yesterday: “If the BOE bases its decisions on incorrect manipulated data that presents a false ‘good news’ analysis then potentially it could do something based on it that would have catastrophic consequences.

“For example if its unemployment rate test is reached, and wages were going up by X per cent against a Y per cent inflation rate which predicted that an interest rate rise of Z per cent would have no general effect and not impact on house prices nor significantly increase repossessions (when X per cent is over-inflated by the top 1 per cent of earners, Y per cent is unrealistically low due to, say, the 50 quid green reduction and/or shops massively discounting to inflate purchases/turnover and not profit) and when it does, instead of tapping on the breaks lightly it slams the gears into reverse while still traveling forward… repossessions go up hugely, house prices suffer a major downward re-evaluation (due to tens of thousands of repossessions hitting the auction rooms) debt rates hit the roof, people stop buying white goods and make do with last year’s iPad/phone/tv/sofa, major retail goes tits up, Amazon goes to the wall, the delivery market and post collapses… etc etc.

“And all because the government fiddled the figures.”

Perhaps Mr Cameron doesn’t want us thinking about that when we could be deodorising our breasts instead.

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Don’t lose your right to vote because of apathy

vote

Individual voter registration will replace the current system in time for the general election in 2015, according to a government minister.

It will replace the current system in which households are asked to declare the identities of everyone living there who is qualified to vote.

Instead, it will be up to the individual elector to ensure that his or her name remains on the electoral register.

The Electoral Commission has welcomed the announcement, claiming that the measure will cut fraud and “lead to a more secure electoral register” – but Labour has raised concerns that some voters will be left out.

This is a genuine fear – that pressure of other commitments will push electoral registration out of mind. Most working people, along with the unemployed, are confronted with a multitude of matters that fight for their attention every day; registering for an event that won’t take place for several months is likely to slip their minds. There is also the threat of creeping apathy; the feeling that voting won’t change anything, that has been carefully promoted by right-wing propaganda and agents-provocateurs in the social media.

There is a very deep concern that this is exactly why Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are bringing in the new system.

Tory voters are well-regimented. They will make sure they stay on the register, and they will vote according to their instructions, on a regular basis. It is a gross generalisation, but they are generally less stressed than other voters, with fewer commitments. Liberal Democrats could face electoral annihilation in 2015, so this will add urgency to their attitude.

Labour voters – supporting the main opposition to the two Coalition parties – are often less committed to the process. It can be hard to motivate them to come out and vote, and individual voter registration adds a new layer to this difficulty.

It seems likely that people who have not registered under the new system will still be able to cast a ballot in the 2015 general election, under transitional arrangements – but the Shadow minister for constitutional reform, Stephen Twigg, has warned that 8.7 million voters are “on course” to fall off the register because of the way the government is rushing the change through.

Here at Vox Political, we believe that everyone in the UK should continue to enjoy – and exercise – the right to vote. In fact, ever since universal suffrage was introduced (as recently as the 20th century), it should be the duty of the government to ensure that this happens. Nobody should be turned away from a polling station.

This measure does not ensure that – in fact it makes such a situation less likely. That is why this blog will endeavour to ensure that all our readers are made aware of when the arrangement changes and what they need to do – and we will issue reminders, to ensure that you do not lose the right that your forebears suffered and died to win for you.

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