Tag Archives: local

Hypocrite Starmer promises to promote local democracy – after destroying it in the Labour Party

Empty: Keir Starmer’s claims are as empty as the promises in the 10 pledges he made when he was trying to be elected Labour leader (all of which he has now broken).

This went down well, didn’t it?

After Keir Starmer claimed in a newspaper column that he would promote local democracy and empower local communities, people on the social media have been queuing up to slap him down.

The classic comment comes from a Twitter account holder who stated: “It’s laughable hypocrisy to carp on about direct democracy when your party scratched locally chosen candidates and imposes its own shortlist.”

Skwawkbox article on the subject states:

Starmer made same promise as part of con to persuade Labour members to vote him in as leader – and has waged war on their rights to democracy and free speech ever since.

You can read more about this issue here: Starmer pilloried for farcical pledge to promote local democracy – after non-stop war on it – SKWAWKBOX

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How badly will you be hit if Tory cuts mean councils cancel services?

Liz Truss: her lunatic economic ideas created an economic black hole. Jeremy Hunt’s attempts to fill it are likely to harm us all – including people who say they can’t be bothered with politics.

This is another story about how politics affects you, even if you don’t want anything to do with it.

Councils in England are warning that the cuts Jeremy Hunt is likely to force on them – in a desperate bid to fill the financial black hole that Liz Truss created with her daft neoliberal trickle-down economic plan – will mean the cancellation of everyday services.

They mean services they provide that help you do the things you need to, every day.

The BBC is reporting that a survey of county councils suggests bus services, home care for the elderly and climate change projects are most likely to face the axe.

Other services under threat are leisure centres and parking.

So you will be faced with the added expense of driving to work – and spending a lot of time in traffic jams because many more vehicles will be on the roads.

If you have elderly relatives who need care, then you’ll be the one providing it. While their pensions and possibly other benefits will help financially, your free time will be wiped out.

And obviously any project that actually helps reduce the threat of climate change is vital for our future existence. Who knows what could be cancelled that may otherwise change the world for the better?

You won’t have anywhere to go to relieve the pressure on you because all the leisure centres will be closed.

And you wouldn’t be able to drive there anyway because so would all the car parks.

All because Liz Truss couldn’t do her sums, because 12 years of Tory rule made the UK vulnerable to energy and food price inflation, and because the Tories had spent all that time cutting council funding to the bone, so there is nothing left to tackle emergencies.

Council funding from central government – which makes up the vast majority of the money councils use – has been halved by the Tories since 2010.

And there are more services facing cuts: road maintenance, home-to-school transport, and opening hours of libraries and recycling centres may all be cut. Charges may be introduced to use public toilets and may be increased in car parks. You may be forced to wait longer for your rubbish and recycling to be collected (which may create a problem with vermin).

Apparently the best idea the Tories have is to raise the cap on council tax increases so local authorities can charge already-impoverished residents even more money for the meagre services they continue to offer.

And the Tory government of Rishi Sunak seems to be in denial. A spokesman has said Westminster gave £3.7 billion to councils last year, to shore up services. But that was before inflation went through the roof. How much was actually needed to maintain them at their proper level?

You won’t hear an answer from Downing Street. The press office there is all about damage control, not factual accuracy.

And when I mention damage control, I mean controlling any damage to the reputation of the Tory government – not controlling damage to the fabric of UK society.

Damaging our society has been Tory policy since before they slithered back into government in 2010.

But we still have people who say they’re not interested in politics and they don’t think politics have anything to do with them.

Someone should create a checklist to demonstrate exactly how badly they already have been affected by this country’s political choices – and how much worse it will be in the future.

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Is government reassurance that care charges won’t swallow cost of living payment true?

Money: Rishi Sunak is offering cost of living payments of £800 for people with disabilities – but are government assurances that the payment won’t be taken by councils worth the time taken to provide them?

Are you convinced by this?

Concerns had been raised that people with disabilities will not gain any benefit from government payments of £650 for those on means-tested benefits, and another £150 for recipients of disability benefits.

This is because disabled people receiving social care provided in their own homes by their local council must make a financial contribution – usually everything above the minimum income of £94.15 per week.

So, in theory, all £800 of the cost-of-living support provided by the government could be taken by local authorities in care charges.

Challenged on this by Disability News Service, the Department for Health and Social Care has said it does not think the payment will be taken by councils.

The DHSC reckons that, because the payment is a one-off, it will not be considered as regular income and so will not be included in disabled people’s regular incomes and affect the so-called Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG).

That’s all very well – but why not simply make an announcement to that effect?

If the government stipulates that this money may not be considered in council’s calculations, then councils will have to accept that, and leave the cash alone.

Without such a rule, there is no cast-iron guarantee that this will happen. I wonder why the Tories haven’t bothered to make it already. And I wonder how many other people are in a similar situation.

Source: Government eases concerns over cost-of-living payment care charge fears – Disability News Service

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Banning UK citizens from protesting against Israel’s government is anti-democratic. Here’s why

Anti-Semitism? The Tory government’s plan to ban public bodies from taking part in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against a murderous foreign apartheid regime will be painted as a crusade against anti-Semitism. But it is one that will lack accurate evidence.

One of the (many) planned laws in Boris Johnson’s new legislative programme is one said to “prevent public bodies from adopting their own approach to international relations” by adopting ethical positions against foreign human rights abusers with boycotts of their exports.

It is widely understood that Johnson’s aim is to protect the government of Israel from the growing BDS movement, which seeks to end that country’s apartheid regime in Palestine.

This is – of course – hugely undemocratic. Local authorities and the devolved governments are elected by the UK’s voters and should be allowed to procure goods and services as they see fit, including according to a higher standard of ethics than that of the national UK government itself.

In essence, it seems the legislation is intended to smear those who refuse to tolerate the Israeli persecution of Palestine as anti-Semites. For some of us, it’s a familiar tactic.

Many people, including This Writer, have already been smeared as anti-Semites for opposing the harmful – indeed, homicidal – activities of a national government that presents itself as representing an entire ethnic group (it doesn’t; many Jews around the world are repulsed by the way Palestine is being treated).

Perversely, it is anti-racism campaigners who are being branded as anti-Semites – a brand that the UK’s own government intends to burn into local authorities, devolved governments and other public bodies if they insist on acting against the persecution of Palestine.

You can find out more about what has already happened – and help fight what is happening now – by visiting the website of a relatively new organisation whose title states exactly what it is about: the Campaign Against Bogus Antisemitism.

The organisation’s website states: “It is deeply hurtful to anti-racist campaigners to be branded as antisemitic. People are broken by the embarrassment and shame of attacks they suffer in the media, there for friends, family and other campaigning bodies to see – as if it were the truth… CABA aims to help set the record straight.

“We are a volunteer-led group dedicated to exposing and countering bogus antisemitism- through education and championing those unjustly accused.

“We are building a network of activists across UK, Palestine and further afield, working in a concerted manner, campaigning to allow us to decry apartheid in Israel without being branded ‘anti-Semites’.”

There’s a lot of information on the CABA site – This Writer hasn’t been able to read all of it, and I’m sure that much of it will be disputed by those with an interest in doing so.

But the intention seems an honest one – which is more than the Tory government can offer with its pro-racist, pro-apartheid planned law.

Give it a look and judge for yourself. You may learn a lot.

Source: About Us- and Joining – Campaign Against BOGUS Antisemitism

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After the elections: should both Boris Johnson AND Keir Starmer lose their jobs?

All in it together: neither Boris Johnson nor Keir Starmer fared well in the local government elections, and both may have broken Covid-19 lockdown laws. So it may be appropriate for both their jobs to be in danger.

There’s no doubt about it: the local elections have been a disaster for the Conservatives – and far from a victory for the Labour Party.

The Tories have lost 490 council seats in England, Wales and Scotland, with blame being placed squarely on the shoulders of Boris Johnson for his Partygate scandal and his failure to keep the cost of living within reasonable levels.

Conservative MPs are certain to be discussing whether Johnson has a future as prime minister over the next few days, before starting to make decisions about it after the new Parliamentary session begins.

They will also discuss the policy direction of Johnson’s government, with Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh quoted by the BBC as saying, “I do think radical change in the policy is required and, if it doesn’t happen, there really isn’t an electoral future for the party, because I think it will get crucified at the next election having bombed the economy.

“And if the team [running the government] is not able to adapt to reality, then the team needs to make way for someone else.”

But Labour – or at least Keir Starmer’s side of it – is in an equally precarious situation after voters gave a lukewarm response to his offer.

His party made some gains in London – and crowed about taking over Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet councils from the Tories – but lost Harrow council to the Tories, while the mayoralties of Croydon and Tower Hamlets also went to a Tory and to Lutfur Rahman and his Aspire organisation respectively.

Labour gains outside London were hardly worth mentioning. It took the new Cumberland unitary authority, and Southampton – but failed to take authorities where it had been expected to make gains, including Hartlepool, Peterborough, Redditch and Ipswich.

While the Tories have lost support in the south of England, Labour lost more in the north. It seems to have drained from both parties to the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party.

Of all Labour’s net gains – 137 seats, 65 of them were in Wales where the party is led by “continuity Corbyn” First Minister Mark Drakeford. The contrast is made more clear if we compare Labour’s gains with those of the Greens.

In England, Labour gained 52 seats while the Greens gained 60.

In Scotland, Labour won 20 seats with the Greens close behind on 16.

But in Wales, Labour was boosted by 65 seats, while the Greens could only muster up an extra eight.

The message is clear: the voting public doesn’t want Starmer’s tepid Tory policies; we want a genuine alternative to the Conservative nightmare that has engulfed the UK for more than 12 years, and we won’t be told his party of empty suits is the only alternative.

Indeed, as Skwawkbox quoted a left-winger in Harrow: “Despite expelling their best activists, despite purging all the left who wanted to stand despite disenfranchising in a most brutal persistent fashion, [Labour has] shown a talent for catastrophe with all [its] handpicked candidates.”

But you won’t hear that from Starmer himself! He’s living in a fantasy England where Labour is on the crest of a wave: “From the depths in 2019 we are back on track now for the general election, showing what the change that we’ve done, the hard change that we’ve done in the last two years, what a difference it has made.”

He actually claimed the results marked a “massive turning-point for the Labour Party”.

So perhaps it is just as well that he is about to have his attention occupied by a police investigation into whether he broke the law by having a beer in a Labour MP’s office during Covid-19 lockdown.

Durham Police had said it would not re-open an investigation into the incident in April last year, when Starmer was taking part in an online event ahead of a by-election in neighbouring Hartlepool.

But immediately after the local elections took place, the service changed its story, saying it had received “significant new information” but had delayed an announcement until after the vote.

If the finding is that the Labour leader did break the law, he will face calls from Tory MPs demanding that he resign. Sauce for the goose; he has demanded Boris Johnson’s resignation after the prime minister was fined for the same offence, after all. And if Starmer is fined, both leaders will be said to have lied about it.

But there is a significant difference between them: Johnson drew up the rules by which he demanded the rest of us should live, and it was on his behalf that police forces across the UK enforced those rules. He then deliberately broke those rules. And then he lied about having broken them to Parliament, which is an offence for which an MP may be expelled.

Starmer may have merely broken the rules while believing he was following them.

Ultimately, the difference may be irrelevant; Starmer has failed to win convincingly in a midterm election and is therefore unlikely to win a general election, so his party’s “grey suits” may use the so-called “BeerGate” affair as an excuse to remove him.

Either way, it seems clear that neither the Tory nor Labour leader should feel secure in their jobs.

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Terrible night for Tories – but Labour fails to break through in local elections

Boris Johnson is facing disaster after voters turned on his Conservatives in the 2022 local elections.

At the time of writing, the Conservatives have lost more than 120 council seats after an election in which they should have expected to take large numbers of seats from Labour (the reason being that Labour had gained massively the last time these seats were contested in 2018, due to the so-called ‘Corbyn bounce’).

But Labour has failed to make the breakthrough that some party supporters predicted for it in the run-up to the poll; claims that it would gain 800 seats seem certain to be scotched with the party only 35 seats better-off at the time of writing.

Party leader Keir Starmer has been talking up the party’s success in taking the London councils of Westminster, Wandsworth and Barnet from the Conservatives, but elsewhere the party has only retained control of councils with lower majorities as voters turned away from the “tepid Tory” fake alternative.

The strongest gains were made by the Liberal Democrats, with an increase of 58 councillors to 261 at the time of writing – and by the Green Party which has won 39 seats, a gain of 23 in the seats for which results have been declared so far.

The vote share for both Labour and the Conservatives has fallen – by a significant four per cent for the Tories, and by part of one per cent for Labour. The Greens have gained the most – three per cent.

The message so far is that Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservatives is in the balance as voters turn away – but Keir Starmer’s Labour has not picked up enough momentum to form a credible alternative.

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Will you really vote for one of the ‘big’ parties in the local elections?

The ballot box: but will you be putting a vote into one of these on Thursday, May 5? Or do you think Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer have so badly harmed the UK’s democracy that it doesn’t matter whether you vote or not?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (and that’s not beyond reason), you’ll know local elections are taking place across the UK tomorrow (Thursday, May 5).

We’ll be electing councils to run services in England, Wales and Scotland, and the government in Northern Ireland.

But probably more importantly, these elections will be viewed as a test of the mood on national issues like the government’s provocation of Russia over the war in Ukraine, its disastrous mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis and the row over parties held in Downing Street while the rest of us were in lockdown, and particularly the current cost-of-living crisis affecting most of the population (but not the Tories’ extremely rich supporters).

If that makes it seem that the Tories should take a hammering, don’t be so sure!

Many parts of England are Conservative heartlands where people will vote for a monkey if it is dressed in a suit with a blue rosette.

And Labour has not acquitted itself in any way honourably over the two and a half years since the last election, with outrage over Keir Starmer’s blind support of the Conservatives during Covid, and his persecution of left-wing party members under a pretence of attacking anti-Semitism.

This Writer asked commenters on Vox Political‘s Facebook page for their opinions and the responses may be informative:

“No reason to vote either Tory or Labour, under current conditions,” wrote one respondent. “Green or PAL if available or you could vote LibDems if no other possibility but I won’t, if there is no Green or PAL candidate I’ll vote independent.”

Another stated: “I think people are seeing the light more and more now. I believe there can and will be change if enough stand together. We are reaching the point where many folk have nothing left to lose, and that will bring change .”

And yet another stated: “Why pretend there’s any reason to vote Labour! Say it how it is!”

There was a large amount of support for denying votes to Labour: “Go green or independent – or do the Labour thing: ABSTAIN,” said one respondent.

“If they can abstain on important issues then you can abstain on Election Day. I plan to,” added another.

“Independent socialist if any available or green,” stated another.

One point of view may be easily encapsulated in this comment: “I won’t be voting Labour whilst Starmer is leader.”

Another respondent added: “With Starmer in charge [of Labour] it’s effectively a one party state.”

But another insisted, “We can all bang on about what ifs and maybes but there are only two parties to vote for,” meaning the Tories or Labour. But they continued: “You have to question your integrity, honesty and morals when voting if you can honestly say the Tories have done nothing wrong and hide behind the saying Johnson is doing great for Ukraine what is he actually doing for this country?”

There was a discussion of whether votes should be spoiled – as these are included in the counts and people believed a large enough number of spoiled ballot papers may spur electoral watchdogs to consider changing the system.

“My advice and I say this every year: if a party doesn’t represent you then write none of the above on your ballot slip and spoil it,” said one respondent. “If enough people do it then they’d have to take notice. Spoiled votes aren’t just discarded; they’re actually counted.”

“I’m gonna advise my fellow no political home pals to discuss exactly this,” another commenter stated.

Nobody advocated voting Conservative.

And the only support for Labour was on the basis that “tepid Tory” was better than “Fascist Tory”. Nobody believed that a Labour Party under Keir Starmer would provide a genuine alternative that might offer prosperity to more than a small number of extremely rich political donors.

Most support went to independent candidates or members of the new left-wing organisations that are springing up to replace Labour as representatives of the majority of UK citizens who are poor and struggling – or for spoiling ballot papers.

So, what will you do?

Will you take the tired old route of supporting whichever of the Big Two parties you think can remove a candidate you despise, even if you don’t support the policies of either of them? (Personally, I would call that madness.)

Will you try supporting somebody new, despite fears that most people will take the first option and your vote will be wasted?

Will you spoil your ballot paper in protest at the undemocratic farce that Johnson and Starmer have made of the UK’s voting system?

Or will you stay at home and not vote at all? If you do, then you’ll have to take the blame if a disaster happens as a result.

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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Starmer ‘rule breach’ looks like Tory mud-slinging ahead of local vote

Keir and the beer: but isn’t the real question what the person who took the image thought they were doing? VoyeurGate, anybody?

Did Keir Starmer have a bottle of beer in a Durham MP’s constituency office last year?

Yes.

Was it against the rules at the time?

Probably not. There isn’t really enough information to be sure.

Skwawkbox has provided a handy list of the rules here – and that site considers Starmer to have broken the rules.

But the BBC takes a more nuanced view.

Labour itself says Starmer was at the office of City of Durham MP Mary Foy for an online event ahead of the Hartlepool by-election – a neighbouring constituency. As pubs were closed, getting take-out food was the logical course of action.

Rules in force at the time said people should work from home if they could. It could be argued that this was an occasion in which working from home was not possible – and there was an exemption for “work purposes”. There were no specific rules for meals at work events or for socialising at them.

Durham police have investigated and said they were satisfied that no rules were broken.

That wasn’t enough for North West Durham Tory MP Richard Holden. He argued that “this location was not the usual workplace” of Sir Keir, and there was “no necessity” for him to attend the event.

Really? If it was billed as an online rally with Keir Starmer and Mary Foy, then it was probably reasonable for him to attend, and if it was organised by Ms Foy’s constituency party, then it was probably reasonable for him to attend it there.

And now there’s a question about Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner attending – which, again, is probably neither here nor there, considering the restrictions described above.

So on balance, This Site tends to agree (for possibly the first time!) with Starmer: “We’re a few days away from local elections, and Conservative MPs are trying to throw as much mud as possible.”

There isn’t any correspondence with the so-called Partygate scandal because the Downing Street gatherings were social events. Boris Johnson was fined for attending a party, not a work event.

So this issue is nothing more than a distraction – and a shot in the foot for the Tories.

That’s because, by concentrating on alleged lockdown rule-breaking, the Tories are focusing attention on their own wrongdoing more than anybody else’s. Their prime minister has been caught breaking those rules; Starmer is only accused.

And the simple there are far worse failings in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party that the Tories could be exploiting.

What surprises This Writer is that either party is anywhere at all in the polls. Other political organisations should be walking all over them while they squabble about this.

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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Partygate signals huge local election losses for Tories, campaigners say

Caught by the ballots: if Boris Johnson continues to show the lack of contrition over Partygate that we have seen so far, his own backbenchers will probably backstab him, fearing that losses of local councillors will endanger their own Parliamentary salaries and expense accounts.

Boris Johnson will make this worse because he simply doesn’t care.

He has been told that the Conservative Party – of which he is the leader – will lose huge numbers of council seats in the May local elections because he attended illegal parties in Downing Street while the rest of us obeyed his lockdown laws.

The losses are likely to be worsened if he receives any more fixed penalty notices for attending parties other than the birthday event for himself, for which he has already been fined – and police are said to be investigating five.

The Metropolitan Police have said they will not announce whether Johnson receives further fines during the pre-election “purdah” period (as it may be construed as an attempt to influence the way people vote) but Downing Street has said that it will make a statement if the prime minister receives any.

Johnson is facing an inquiry into whether he deliberately misled Parliament with multiple claims that there were no rule breaches before he received his first fine for breaching his own rules.

He apologised to Parliament on April 19 but Conservative MP Steve Baker has denounced Johnson’s words as insincere: “The contrition didn’t last much longer than it took to get out of the headmaster’s study. By the time we got to the 1922 Committee meeting that evening it was the usual festival of bombast and orgy of adulation.

“It took me about 90 seconds to realise he wasn’t really remorseful.”

That is what’s going to turn voters away from the Conservatives on May 5.

Johnson doesn’t care because he thinks the loss of local councillors won’t affect his position as prime minister.

But his attitude fails to take into account the fact that Tory backbenchers will be in danger of losing their seats if he continues to show the indifference that we are seeing now.

And like Johnson himself, the Tory MPs’ first loyalty is to their own income stream. If his continuation as PM puts their Parliamentary jobs in jeopardy, they’ll take action to prevent it.

Expect more letters of ‘no confidence’ in his leadership to flood in to Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, pronto.

Source: Tories face heavy local election losses over Partygate, PM told | Conservatives | The Guardian

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Chomsky damns Starmer’s Labour – will you boycott that party on May 5?

Noam Chomsky: the world’s leading left-wing thinker has nothing good to say about Keir Starmer and his Labour Party.

I’m not going to make a fuss because Noam Chomsky called Keir Starmer “Keith”. He knew he was belittling the Labour leader, and rightly so.

But his words about what Starmer has done to the Labour Party are far more damning. In video published by the New Statesman, he said:

“He is returning the Labour Party to a party that is reliably obedient to power; that will be ‘Thatcher-lite’ in the style of Tony Blair.”

The comments of the world’s leading left-wing thinker are important and relevant because they contribute to the demolition of the anti-Semitism smears to which Starmer has wedded himself.

As Skwawkbox states,

The Jewish academic is on record dismissing the Establishment’s antisemitism smears… as a ‘disgraceful game’ and a ‘largely fabricated tale’ created for the sole purpose of destroying Labour as a threat to the Establishment.

There is only one way to show your support for Chomsky’s – correct – analysis of Starmer’s strategy: that is to deprive Labour of your vote in the local elections next month.

If his candidates receive even the slightest amount of support, Starmer will claim a huge victory for his right-wing, Blairite, political trash.

He needs to be told in no uncertain terms that he isn’t wanted – nor are his lies and the hangers-on who mouth them for him.

Will you boycott Labour on May 5?

Source: Video: world’s foremost living left thinker calls Starmer ‘Keith’ – and the rest is damning – SKWAWKBOX

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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