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Fat Boris’s war on obesity is an insult to the poor

Fat Boris Johnson: his crusade against obesity ignores the fact that people cannot afford to buy healthy food, so none of the measures he has announced will have any effect at all.

Fat Boris Johnson really is an ignorant dimwit, isn’t he?

He has started a crusade against obesity, claiming he realised the need to lose some of his own tonnage after realising it was hindering his own ability to recover from Covid-19.

But here’s the problem: Under Tories like Fat Boris, obesity isn’t a personal choice; it’s a political one, made for the poor by national leaders like him.

He has chosen to make millions of people across the UK poor, thereby restricting the food we can afford to eat.

The cheapest food is high in sugars and fats – the ingredients that make us obese.

So we don’t have a choice. Until we can afford to buy healthier food, we will continue to struggle with weight gain.

And Johnson won’t let us earn enough.

So all his protestations about the need to lose weight, to be able to fight Covid-19, are pointless. We might as well listen to a whale spewing water out of its blowhole.

The Tory attitude is ridiculous, too – have you heard the nonsense spouted by the government about its “world-leading” plan?

Top of the list is a ban on adverts for “unhealthy” food before 9pm, when children can see them. Pointless if the adults left to watch them are financially bound to buy those foods in any event.

Next is an end to BOGOF – Buy One, Get One Free – promotions, meaning cash-strapped families will be forced to pay even more for their unhealthy food, while still being unable to afford better fare.

Large restaurant, cafe and take-away chains will be required to add labels to the food they sell, showing their calorie content. Again, this will make no difference to people who are forced by financial circumstances to buy what they can, rather than what they want.

There are other measures including diverting NHS time and effort to promoting weight loss, but this will not help people who simply don’t have the wherewithal to follow the recommendations of dieticians in the service. It will simply waste even more scant NHS resources.

Ultimately, Fat Boris isn’t helping you. He’s selling you a pup and asking you to swallow it.

Source: Poverty causes obesity. Low-income families need to be better off to eat well | Business | The Guardian

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Does Whately’s scorn for student nurses hide a deeper Tory agenda?

Airhead or conspirator? What did Helen Whately mean when she said student nurses were ‘not deemed to be providing a service’?

After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.

That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:

The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.

Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.

Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.

Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.

Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.

“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”

Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!

It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.

Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.

And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?

She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.

“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.

“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.

“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”

Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.

She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”

It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.

This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.

And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.

Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.

If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.

And now I must ask: is that the plan?

Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?

The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.

If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.

You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.

And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.

Are you looking forward to that?

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Universal Credit: Mentally ill man asked how often he changes his underwear


Tory Britain. And they’re trying to claim Boris Johnson is the “People’s Prime Minister”? Pull the other one.

A 35-year-old benefit claimant claims he was asked how often he changes his underwear during a humiliating face-to-face ‘fit for work’ assessment.

The unnamed individual is said to suffer from mental health problems which affect his ability to hold down a job.

He was told to attend a ‘Work Capability Assessment’ as part of a new claim for Universal Credit, despite being told by a doctor that he was unfit for work because of his poor mental state.

Source: Universal Credit: Mentally ill man asked how often he changes his underwear

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This is disgusting. If you ever need a reason NOT to vote Lib Dem, here it is.

This bird is dead: The Liberal Democrats’ behaviour in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election has fallen well below the standard expected of political representatives.

I’ve just read the, from a Labour canvasser who was out in Brecon today (August 1) for the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, and met a group of Liberal Democrats working the same streets:

“They accused us of letting the Tories in. I asked them about the 25 leaflets being delivered to every home and they pretended they had no idea about that.

“One of our team reported that one [of] them asked her when she was going to punch Jews.”

Let’s have that again, shall we?

“One of our team reported that one [of] them asked her when she was going to punch Jews.”

How much lower can the Liberal Democrats go?

I certainly hope this will be reported to the relevant authorities as it is shocking.

And if you were thinking of voting for the people who think this kind of behaviour is acceptable? Please think again – and vote Labour while there’s still time.

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Greta Thunberg: Critics can’t beat her with reason so they have fallen back on insult

Greta Thunberg: They couldn’t argue with her reasoning, so they insulted her instead.

The silly season has arrived early this year.

Extinction Rebellion has announced that its protest in London will end on Thursday with a day of disruption and a closing ceremony.

The organisation that spent nine days organising peaceful mass civil disobedience said it would leave its remaining blockades after opening up “a space for truth-telling” – and it was time to spread this space both locally, nationally and internationally.

One of the highlights of the protest was the visit by Greta Thunberg, whose speech at the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year galvanised a generation – of youngsters – to demand change on environmentally-catastrophic policies from uncaring world leaders.

She’s on her way home as I write this…

… but it seems certain malcontents couldn’t wait for her to leave before spreading some “truth-telling” of their own.

And it only proved the truth of Margaret Thatcher’s decades-old claim: “If they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left.”

Here’s a chap called Tom Harwood, who calls himself a journalist:

The clip is from the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009, when Ms Thunberg’s mother Malena Ernman, represented Sweden with a song entitled ‘La voix’.

Apparently Mr Harwood wanted us to think this was a bad thing. He didn’t get what he wanted.

Apparently the point was that Ms Thunberg was one of the fabled “One per cent” – the most privileged people in the world. If so, then she has more brains, more conscience, than most of the rest of them put together and is even more to be praised, This Writer would have thought. And I’m not alone:

https://twitter.com/mquinnNUFC/status/1121077264224018434

Jade Azim’s response was right to the point: “I cant believe she has the AUDACITY to have a singer as a mum and not want the ice caps to melt.”

Some chose to make a more pertinent observation – about the origin of the criticism.

Not only an employee of the Guido Fawkes blog site, but also a former press officer for the Brexiteer campaign group BeLeave, it seems:

Yes, it seems Mr Harwood was a press officer for the youth-focused Brexit movement that was used by fellow Brexit campaign Vote Leave to break spending limits in the run-up to the EU referendum in 2016, according to the Electoral Commission. According to Shahmir Sanni, he was Head of Media for BeLeave and Head of the Student wing of Vote Leave.

So before he tries to shame other people, perhaps he should learn a little contrition himself.

At least he didn’t make the enormous gaff committed by Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked.

In an article headlined The cult of Greta Thunberg and sub-headed This young woman sounds increasingly like a millenarian weirdo, he stated: “Anyone who doubts that the green movement is morphing into a millenarian cult should take a close look at Greta Thunberg.

“This poor young woman increasingly looks and sounds like a cult member. The monotone voice. The look of apocalyptic dread in her eyes. The explicit talk of the coming great ‘fire’ that will punish us for our eco-sins.

“There is something chilling and positively pre-modern about Ms Thunberg. One can imagine her in a sparse wooden church in the Plymouth Colony in the 1600s warning parishioners of the hellfire that will rain upon them if they fail to give up their witches.”

He’s entitled to his opinion, right? Well…

… maybe not.

At the end of the day, her critics have good reason to be grateful to Ms Thunberg: She is unlikely to respond in kind. For the reason, I’ll leave you with this:

Tory double standards: Abuse them and the police are called – but they can abuse anyone freely

Pointing the finger: A Conservative MP shouts at Commons Speaker John Bercow during discussion of the Grieve Amendment.

Conservative MPs have been at their abusive worst in Parliament – heckling Speaker John Bercow over his decision to allow a vote on the so-called Grieve Amendment, and hurling insults at Jeremy Corbyn, ironically as he called for a “safe space” from such behaviour during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The hypocrisy comes into sharp focus when one recalls that only two days before, Conservative MPs wrote to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger policing of the area outside the Palace of Westminster to prevent abuse of the kind directed at Conservative MP Anna Soubry by (right-wing pro-Brexit) protesters on Monday.

Note that I put “right wing pro-Brexit” in parentheses because there seems to be a concerted effort to airbrush this fact out of the record, along with the abuse of left-wing journalist Owen Jones by the same people. We’ll come to that shortly.

First, let’s consider yesterday’s Parliamentary antics, starting with the Grieve Amendment. Tory backbencher and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had proposed an amendment to legislation that gives the government 21 days to say what happens next if its Brexit deal is voted down, and a further seven sitting days (days in which Parliament is in session) in which to hold a vote.

The amendment reduces the time allowed before a statement is made to just three days. It isn’t binding, but it would be extremely damaging to Theresa May if she failed to do so.

MPs objected because they claimed the original legislation was unamendable. Mr Bercow held a different view:

Let’s see if I can dig out some examples of the behaviour he had to endure. Here’s Arj Singh:

That’s mild. Try this:

Mr Clarke’s reference was to the right-wingers who abused Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, and hints as to the attitudes he saw being expressed around him.

Then we had the hypocrisy of the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom:

Here’s the icing on this particularly rotten cake – the moment when Tory MP Adam Holloway accused Mr Bercow of trying to sabotage Brexit, claiming as evidence that the Speaker has a pro-Remain sticker on his car. The slapdown was brilliant:

https://twitter.com/SidUnite/status/1083002551493189637

It seems clear that the behaviour of these Conservatives lowered the tone of debate in the Commons and arguably harmed the reputation of Parliament itself – although some would say that this cannot happen as they have already damaged it irreparably:

The arguments over the Amendment were – sadly – only a sequel to a similar unseemly display during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn mentioned the intimidation of Ms Soubry and Mr Jones on Monday. The prime minister said politicians and the media should be able to go about their work without harassment and intimidation.

Sadly, her backbenchers did not pay any attention to her (perhaps cementing our opinion that she is no leader) and poured abuse at Mr Corbyn while he agreed with her. He said: “We also have to be clear that intimidation is wrong outside this building as it is wrong in any other aspect of life in this country, and we have to create a safe space for political debate.”

By this point, the level of heckling had reached a point beyond which he could not continue, so he pointed it out: “You see what I mean, Mr Speaker; I am calling for a safe space for political debate.”

The Tory perpetrators may have enjoyed themselves but the public drew the appropriate conclusions, as the following comments bear out:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1082976660322955264

And of course, that is what they have been trying to do.

Possibly worse than the habitually abusive behaviour of Tory MPs is the apparent attempt to pretend that the only person suffering abuse on College Green on Monday was Ms Soubry.

I myself was so surprised to see her mentioned on the BBC’s lunchtime Politics Live show – and not Owen Jones, who is a frequent panellist there – that I actually raised the matter with editor Rob Burley. Here’s the dialogue:

What do you think of that?

More concerning still were the efforts to mitigate the effect of Mr Burley’s choice – which was to play up the effect on Ms Soubry and play down that on Mr Jones – by members of the public. Here’s one such comment:

Owen Jones himself put that comment in its place, in a response to information from Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick that – as with the BBC – attempted to excise the abuse of Mr Jones from the record:

Left-wing members of the public have made it clear that they are not going to accept this kind of misreporting from the mainstream media:

If you are confused as to the reason television news reporters have tried to play down the targeting of people who represent the Left by people who are for all intents and purposes fascists, I refer you to this perceptive comment by Mr Jones, that makes it clear that the mainstream media have legitimised it:

The attitudes we have seen are sickening: Right-wing MPs have shown they are happy to abuse others before TV cameras in the Palace of Westminster, while decrying the same behaviour against their own by members of the public who were filmed on mobile phones, as their cronies in the mass media do their best to make it seem that they are the victims – when in fact they have stoked the extreme attitudes that lead to such abuse, threatening behaviour and, ultimately, violence.

These are our elected representatives but if this is how they conduct themselves, they do not represent me. We must demand better.

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Theresa May’s insulting payment offer shows her contempt for Manchester bomb victims

An explosion hit Manchester Arena at the end of a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande in May 2017, killing 23 people – including children – and injuring a further 500 others. Among the dead was the single male attacker who detonated the home-made bomb.

Theresa May has delivered a slap in the face to the people of Manchester, showing once again that she is running a country that works only for the rich – and not for everyone as her lying propaganda claims.

After the Manchester Arena Bombing last May, she promised the city, “Whatever you need, it’s there.” Now she has gone back on that promise. It was a lie.

The total cost of the bombing to the public, for police, health and council services, came to £17 million but, in a letter to Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Mrs May has offered to pay only £12 million.

She has told Mr Burnham that this is “reasonable”. The people of Manchester are likely to take a different view.

Mrs May’s decision shows her contempt for the city – especially when we consider the huge amounts of cash she has pulled from her Magic Money Tree for other purposes, while still claiming there is no money available for the rest of us:

The real reason Mrs May won’t stump up the cash seems obvious, although she’ll never admit it.

The people of Manchester aren’t rich Tory donors, and aren’t likely to prop up her government in return for a bung, like the DUP (for example). In other words:

There’s simply no profit in it for her.

Mayor Andy Burnham has slammed an offer from the Prime Minister to pay just £12m towards the £17m total bill arising from the Manchester Arena bombing.

The city believed the Government had promised to foot the entire £17m cost for policing, health and council services in the aftermath of May’s atrocity which claimed 22 lives and injured 512 others.

But now it has says it will pay only ‘reasonable costs’ of £12m.

Mr Burnham has slated the offer as ‘not good enough and we expect these costs to be paid in full’.

Last week Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament ‘the majority’ of the cash originally promised would be paid but in a letter to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham she has only vowed to pay ‘all reasonable costs’.

Mr Burnham declined to reveal the full contents of the letter but said it was ‘inconclusive’ and failed to give Manchester the backing it deserved.

He said he was told at the time ‘whatever you need, it’s there’, and added: “I think we can expect those words to be honoured.”

Source: Government will not pay Manchester the full £17m needed to cover Arena bomb costs – Manchester Evening News


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The ultimate insult: Tory privatisation means European state-owned rail firms profit – not you

[Image: TSSA Union.]

We’ve established that the citizens of the UK – whether we use trains or not – are subsidising rail companies by nearly £4 billion a year.

We’ve also established that £3.5 billion of that money is used as profit by the railway operating companies.

Now you have proof that most of the £3.5 billion goes to German, Dutch and French nationalised railway services. It makes their services better while we are given trash.

This is the ultimate result of Conservative privatisations. They LOVE it!

Tories don’t care where your money goes, as long as you don’t have it, or anything like decent services or a decent standard of living.

That’s why they intend to continue privatising your assets and services, until foreign nationalised industries control everything (apart from, maybe, the courts and defence, if you believe David Cameron).

If you think about it, the Tories are making sure that Germany won the Second World War after all – 70 years after the event.*

Even if you can’t accept that, ask yourself whose side the Tories are really on.

It will never be yours.

Here’s the TSSA video that hammers the point home:

British taxpayers are paying for nationalised rail services in Europe, and the French, Dutch and German people would like to say thank you.

And it’s nothing to do with us still being in the EU.

As ticket prices skyrocket again today, a new video points out the absurdity at the heart of Britain’s privatised railways.

Huge chunks of Britain’s rail operating companies are now owned by the French, Dutch and German governments.

A chunk of the profits made from hiking fares in the UK are paid in dividends to state-owned companies such as Keolis, Arriva and Abellio.

Source: British taxpayers are subsidising European train fares and it’s nothing to do with the EU

*This is not to suggest that the Nazis could ever be said to have won World War II. If you want to find anything corresponding with Nazism in Germany or the UK, your best bet is – again – the Tory government.

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The perfect scam: We will pay higher broadband bills so the government can spy on us

This is beyond the pale.

Not only is the government planning to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to spy on all their clients, but ministers are offering to provide only a fraction of the cost.

This means the vast majority of the financial burden will fall on Internet users. Our broadband bills will increase – possibly pricing many of us out of the market.

Those who are left will be paying for the government to spy on them. It is perhaps the greatest insult that a government can inflict upon its internet-using citizens.

Worse still, if the cost of broadband increases, there will be no guarantee that the terrorists the Snoopers’ Charter – sorry, the Investigatory Powers Bill – are intended to catch will even use the internet after the new prices have been set.

This legislation is expensive, insulting and pointless – much like the government.

Consumers’ broadband bills will have to go up if the investigatory powers bill is passed due to the “massive cost” of implementation, MPs have been warned.

Internet service providers (ISP) told a Commons select committee that the legislation, commonly known as the snooper’s charter, does not properly acknowledge the “sheer quantity” of data generated by a typical internet user, nor the basic difficulty of distinguishing between content and metadata.

As a result, the cost of implementing plans to make ISPs store communications data for up to 12 months are likely to be far in excess of the £175m the government has budgeted for the task, said Matthew Hare, the chief executive of ISP Gigaclear.

Hare and James Blessing, the chair of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), also warned the science and technology committee on Tuesday of the technical challenges the government would face in implementing the bill.

Source: Broadband bills will have to increase to pay for snooper’s charter, MPs are warned | Technology | The Guardian

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David Cameron has no answer to tax-dodging allegations

Time is running out for David Cameron - and on the strength of today's performance, it won't be a moment too soon.

Time is running out for David Cameron – and on the strength of today’s performance, it won’t be a moment too soon.

The circus that is Prime Minister’s Questions gave us some illuminating information today.

Ed Miliband kicked off his questioning strongly with the following facts: “An hour ago, we learned that linked to the HSBC tax avoidance scandal are seven Tory donors, including a former treasurer of the Tory party, who between them have given the party nearly £5 million. How can the Prime Minister explain the revolving door between Tory party HQ and the Swiss branch of HSBC?

Cameron didn’t have an answer, so relied on diversion instead: “I saw that list just before coming to Prime Minister’s questions. One of the people named is the Labour donor, Lord Paul, who funded Gordon Brown’s election campaign.”

Mr Miliband tried a different tack: “None of those people has given a penny [to the Labour Party] on my watch, and he [Cameron] is up to his neck in this. Let us take Stanley Fink, who gave £3 million to the Conservative party. The Prime Minister actually appointed him as treasurer of the party and gave him a peerage for good measure. Will he now explain what steps he is going to take about the tax avoidance activities of Lord Fink?

No, the Prime Minister wouldn’t. Instead he made a weak point that Tory donors don’t pick candidates or choose policies – which we know isn’t accurate. Tory donors pay for the chance to bend Cameron’s ear and influence his policies; that’s what the ‘Gagging Act’ was all about.

Miliband pulled him up on it: “He is a dodgy Prime Minister surrounded by dodgy donors. He did not just take the money; he appointed the man who was head of HSBC as a minister. It was in the public domain in September 2010 that HSBC was enabling tax avoidance on an industrial scale. Are we seriously expected to believe that when he made Stephen Green a minister four months later, he had no idea about these allegations?”

Cameron’s response was to point out that Labour has a history with Lord Green as well. The problem with this, of course, is that the facts about Lord Green were not known until May 2010, after Labour had left office.

Miliband’s last words on the subject: “The Prime Minister is bang to rights, just like his donors. And doesn’t this all sound familiar? The Prime Minister appoints someone to a senior job in government. There are public allegations but he does not ask the questions, he turns a blind eye. Isn’t this just the behaviour we saw with Andy Coulson?”

Bang on target.

Look at this exchange. We see a Prime Minister with something to hide. He has no answers to the questions and must resort to deflection and insult in the hope that nobody will notice.

It’s a forlorn hope.

And it doesn’t matter how much money the tax avoiders have given the Tories –

This man and his party are morally bankrupt.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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