Tag Archives: London

Sunak’s call for City of London tax exemption proves Tories can’t abide by a deal

Rishi Sunak: after his boss Boris Johnson tried to backpedal on the Brexit trade deal, he’s trying to get out of the G7 tax deal. Pretty soon, nobody will want to deal with these Tories at all.

This is the Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit trade deal all over again.

Boris Johnson merrily signed up to that without reading it because he wanted the UK out of the European Union by January 1 this year.

Now Rishi Sunak is trying to back the City of London out of a historic global tax change agreed by G7 finance ministers last weekend.

The aim is to ensure that the world’s top 100 businesses pay an appropriate amount of tax in the country where they base their operations, rather than moving their profits around to countries where they can pay the least.

Having agreed to it, Sunak is now trying to get an exemption – but only for the City of London, the super-rich business hub that has recently been losing business to Amsterdam because of – guess what? – Brexit.

He claims that he doesn’t want the UK’s banks to end up paying a grossly higher rate – but research suggests that this will not happen.

So the question arises: why does he really want an exemption? Is it to get all these juicy fat companies to pay their taxes in the UK, even if the amount is minimal?

And, topically:

Doesn’t this prove what we all believed after the Tories tried to back out of the Northern Ireland protocol – that they can’t be trusted to honour any deal so, fairly soon, nobody will want to deal with them?

Source: UK pushes for City of London to be exempt from G7 tax plan | G7 | The Guardian

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Doubletalking Johnson pollutes the skies with plane trip to Cornwall, then prattles about ‘Greener Britain’

Hypocrite: Boris Johnson on the boarding ramp of the plane he took from London to Cornwall, talking about creating a “greener” world after causing five times as much pollution as if he had just taken the train.

Once again, Boris Johnson humiliates everybody in the UK before the leaders of the world.

He said he will ask fellow G7 leaders to contribute to creating a “greener” world – but travelled to the meeting at which he’ll do it in an aeroplane. The short flight from London to Cornwall created almost five times more greenhouse gas emissions than the equivalent train journey would have, according to the government’s own emission figures.

Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Pollard said the stunt was “plane stupid” and This Writer agrees with him.

I stated in a tweet: “Typical doubletalk from Boris Johnson – claiming to be building a greener Britain while undermining it.”

Others were less charitable:

“The windup artist for the One Per Cent”? It’s a good point.

If the world is to reach “jet zero” emissions, how many of the flights that ordinary people take will be cancelled?

And how many flights taken by the super-rich, and by politicians like Johnson, will also be cancelled?

I’m willing to bet that the answers to those two questions are as follows: Many – and none.

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Was Sadiq Khan’s narrower-than-expected London Mayoral win due to Keir Starmer’s right turn?

Sadiq Khan said unflattering things about then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after his 2016 London mayoral victory. But at least Corbyn provided Labour policies for the public to support in the poll. Starmer put him in a vacuum and it is a miracle he received as many votes as he did.

Belated congratulations to Sadiq Khan on his re-election to the London Mayoralty.

But isn’t it disturbing that he won by a narrower margin than against Zac Goldsmith in 2016, against an equally inept candidate?

In the years preceding the election, Bailey had been criticised for racism (calling Khan “the Mad Mullah of Londonistan”, criticising celebration of Muslim and Hindu festivals and claiming that British people were being indoctrinated in the cultures of those religions).

He also proposed forcing larger London businesses to drug-test their employees – but with Parliament, dubbed the “corridors of powder” because of the huge “trace” amounts of cocaine that have been found there, exempt.

And he was accused of sexism as well as racism when it emerged that he had stated in 2006 that single girls in inner cities “deliberately become pregnant” in order to secure homes and benefits from the government.

Against such a man, Sadiq Khan gained more than 100,000 fewer votes than against Goldsmith.

I don’t think the drop-off was anything to do with Khan himself – or with his opponent, though.

I think it was about the leadership of Khan’s political party – Labour.

When he was elected in 2016, the people of London were riding high on the election of Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership with a set of genuinely socialist policies that had the potential to transform the UK into a vibrant example for the world.

By 2021, Corbyn’s right-wing opponents in the Labour Party bureaucracy had stabbed him in the back and had him replaced with suit-haircut-and-flag man Keir Starmer, who had promptly ditched all of those transformative policies in favour of an “any way the wind blows” approach.

In the absence of any policy support from his party leadership, it is a miracle Khan received as many votes as he did.

Source: Sadiq Khan wins second term as London mayor despite tighter-than-expected race | The Independent

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Brexit: Amsterdam overtakes London as Europe’s top share trading centre

Duper’s delight: Admittedly it was Andrea Leadsom, not Boris Johnson, who gave us the soft soap about Brexit leading us into “sunlit uplands” – but he was the figurehead for it. Surely he must have known it was a lie?

Didn’t the Brexiteers say this could never happen and that London would remain the financial centre of Europe (if not the world) no matter what?

Average daily trading halved from €17.5bn to €8.6bn last month, according to data released by the CBOE exchange – while trade in the Dutch capital surged from €2.6bn to €9.2bn as exchanges shifted order books abroad after Brexit.

It has happened because Britain failed to gain equivalence with the EU or strike a comprehensive trade deal covering financial services, meaning exchange operators such as the CBOE and Turquoise had to move their order books abroad by January this year.

The actual impact is small:

The change can be compared to moving a computer that processes online store orders from one city to another. While the computer has moved, all of its customers and suppliers are still in the same place. Likewise, while share trading has shifted, most of the traders, brokers and asset managers are still in London.

But the symbolic impact is huge.

Brexit is stripping the UK of its established place in the world. Thanks to Tories like Boris Johnson, the country is losing all of the power and prestige that ordinary people worked so hard to give our rich bosses.

In fairness, this decline may ultimately be good for us.

It might finally give apathetic Brits the kick up the backside they need to end the rule of the overprivileged few, introduce a fairer system that rewards those who actually contribute, and earn a return to the top.

But I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

Source: Amsterdam overtakes London as Europe’s top share trading centre | Financial sector | The Guardian

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In London’s mayoral race, UKIP pins its hopes on Gammons

Once again, the UK Independence Party has made itself the butt of the joke.

You’ll be familiar with the expression “gammon”, meaning “a middle-aged or older white man with conservative, traditionalist views, stereotypically characterized as having a red or flushed complexion”. It has been linked with supporters of UKIP for many years.

Today (January 15) we all discovered the name of the party’s candidate in the London mayoral election… and the fun began:

We all had a few giggles about the coincidence:

But the real punchline is the fact that this is not the first time UKIP has been ham-strung (sorry) by an unfortunately-resonating name:

This Writer, for one, is grateful to Mr Gammons.

He has brightened up an otherwise miserable day.

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Tories finally tell PRIMARY schools in LONDON to stay closed. Union calls for rest of England to do the same

Wearing the dunce’s cap again: for Gavin Williamson, the reopening of schools at the height of the Covid crisis isn’t a hard decision – he does what he’s told to do by Boris Johnson. That’s why he has made a fool of himself – and why he is deliberately endangering your children and (if you are a parent) you.

Could anything better illustrate the weakness of Boris Johnson and his Conservative government?

They want to keep the UK’s economy going, despite having done everything possible to let Covid-19 rampage through the population while pretending to restrict it.

So they need to keep schools open, so parents don’t have an excuse to stay at home.

That’s why none of their restrictions/lockdowns since September have included schools.

They seemed ready to keep up this farcical charade into the New Year – even though Covid-19 infection rates have soared and schools are the most common vector – right up until January 1, days before the new school term was due to begin.

Then – at the very last minute once again, meaning parents’ plans have been thrown into chaos for no good reason – Education Secretary Gavin Williamson u-turned, signing off on a plan for all primary schools to remain closed for the time being…

In London.

For clarity, you need to be aware that secondary schools and colleges were already set to be closed to most pupils for the first two weeks of term, while primaries in 50 local authorities in London and southern England were also told to remain closed until January 18.

It was only after council leaders in 10 other London boroughs, where Covid transmission rates are high but schools were told to remain open, said they would defy the government and support closures that Williamson agreed to close them all.

He had been backed into a corner. Whatever he did would have led to humiliation so he chose the option that would not result in open defiance.

But his decision only covers those 60 local authority areas in London and the south, prompting education unions – most prominently the National Education Union – to ask:

Why are are children and parents in the rest of England being left vulnerable to Covid?

The National Education Union’s joint general secretary, Mary Bousted, has called on the government to close schools across that country (remember: education is a devolved responsibility so the governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland choose whether their schools will open or not).

According to the BBC,

In Wales, there will be “flexibility” at the beginning of term, with teaching due to start in most places from 4 January. Schools are expected to offer face-to-face learning for most pupils by 11 January, with a full return by 18 January.

In Northern Ireland, primary school pupils will be taught online until 11 January. In secondary schools, years 8 to 11 will be taught online throughout January. Years 12 to 14 will return to school after the first week of January.

In Scotland, the Christmas holidays have been extended to 11 January, and the following week will be online learning only. A full return to face-to-face learning is planned for 18 January.

Dr Bousted pointed out that it is impossible to stop children from mixing with each other in large numbers and if just one has the virus, then they all may catch it and transmit it to their families – and out into the community:

She added, on Andrew Castle’s LBC radio talk show, that teachers have a legal right to refuse to work if they think opening schools will create a health risk:

For Gavin Williamson, the situation has now become extremely precarious:

Will Williamson cave in again, or will he stand accused of condemning thousands to catch the virus when the NHS cannot take the strain and fatalities are rising?

And what will happen to Boris Johnson’s precious economy if this irrational stubbornness over schools creates knock-on havoc in business and industry?

Whatever happens, responsibility for the result will lie entirely with Johnson and his Conservative government. But we, the people, will pay the price.

Source: All primary schools in London to remain closed after U-turn | Schools | The Guardian

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Did Johnson force Brexit on us just to maintain London’s status as the world’s financial crime centre?

Silent: did Boris Johnson force Brexit on us all, just to protect crooks in the City of London? If so, he’ll never admit it.

Beastrabban found this in conspiracist magazine Lobster, so take it as you like.

The claim is that Boris Johnson set his mind to return to the House of Commons after his term as London Mayor ended, purely to stop the European Union clamping down on the City and its role in money laundering and financial crime across the globe.

By taking the UK out of the EU, the theory states, he was preserving the City of London as the financial crime centre of the world’s economy.

The Beast points out that such a desire to protect the Tories’ city backers (as well, no doubt, as any financial criminals that might happen to be hanging around) “is going to wreck our manufacturing industry and agriculture, raise food prices, and create shortages of food, medicines and other goods”.

When you consider the kind of people with whom Johnson has been spending his free time recently, one has to wonder whether there might be a smidgen of fact to this…

Source: Did Boris Become PM and Back Brexit Just to Protect the City of London from EU Regulation? | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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‘Tis the season to be HOMELESS – especially if you’re a child in Tory Britain

I write this story every year – and every year the number of children who will be homeless at Christmas increases.

The reason is obvious: Conservative government.

Usually I get my figures from Shelter but I haven’t seen the press release yet. Sadly, the Evening Standard is here with figures that make depressing reading – because they are for London alone:

Nearly  90,000 children in the capital are expected to be homeless this Christmas, London Councils warned today.

This compares with 131,000 across the whole of Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) at Christmas last year.

It seems Covid-19 is going to take the blame:

The rate of families being placed in temporary accommodation is spiralling out of control as the pandemic continues to stretch local authority finances and demands for help reached record numbers, the umbrella group said.

It’s a scandalous figure – indicating an appalling increase in child homelessness.

And Boris Johnson’s government must take the blame. The arrival of the virus didn’t mean they could take their eyes off the UK’s other problems.

Indeed, some may argue that Johnson will be delighted by these figures.

We need to await Shelter’s official, national figures to be sure of the extent of this annual tragedy – but this report is advance notice that it will be extremely distressing.

Source: 90,000 London children to be homeless this Christmas, London Councils warn | Evening Standard

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If these lies are all Johnson has, Sadiq Khan is on course for a second term as London mayor

Boris Johnson used Prime Minister’s Questions to launch an unwise and unmerited two-pronged attack on London’s Labour Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

First he said that financial problems suffered by Transport for London (TfL) were Khan’s fault.

The Department for Transport is, it seems, refusing to provide £5.65 billion to keep TfL running after it suffered huge losses due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. It is offering a “papering-over-the-cracks” funding package that comes with a demand that Khan accepts measures including higher council tax, a larger congestion charge zone and higher tube and bus fares – including the removal of free travel for children and young people. Otherwise, the threat is that the Westminster government will take over control of TfL from City Hall.

Asked if he was going to inflict a congestion charge on four million Londoners who had already been afflicted with Covid-19 and financial ruin, Johnson said: “The current Mayor of London had effectively bankrupted TfL before coronavirus had even hit and left a massive black hole in its finances… Any expansion of the congestion charge or any other measure taken to improve the finances of TfL are entirely the responsibility of the bankrupt current Labour Mayor of London.”

Responding to a further question from Tory Bob Blackman, Johnson became extremely concerned with self-justification: “The black hole in [the] finances of TfL, the bankruptcy of TfL, which, by the way, was left in robust financial health by the previous Mayor—it certainly was—is entirely the fault of the current Labour Mayor of London, with his grossly irresponsible demagogic fare policies, which, I may say, were never pursued by the previous Mayor of London, and the fault lies entirely with him.”

But Johnson’s claims were put to rest within minutes by the fact-checkers at the BBC’s Politics Live:

Khan himself brought figures directly relating to TfL to TV audiences later:

Not satisfied with one lie, Johnson also used PMQs to claim that Hammersmith Bridge is falling down because of Khan’s “incompetence”: “Hammersmith bridge has been closed thanks entirely to the incompetence of the current Labour Mayor of London, and that Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate, is going to reopen it, which is the best thing possible.”

In fact, the incompetent who failed to repair the bridge at the right time was Boris Johnson himself.

The bridge was built 133 years ago and is structurally unsafe after decades of failure – by successive political authorities – to repair it while traffic for which it was never intended used it.

It was closed in 2014 and repairs could have been authorised in 2016 – but the mayor at the time – Boris Johnson – refused to authorise them.

Instead, Boris Johnson spent around £50 million on consultants working on his vanity ‘Garden Bridge’ project that was ultimately cancelled.

Oh, and didn’t a bomb go off there as well?

The public were having none of Boris Johnson‘s lies:

Shaun Bailey has agreed that he would re-open Hammersmith Bridge if he became London Mayor…

… he just didn’t say he would repair it first. So members of the public have drawn their own conclusions about what he would do:

Yes indeed: “Shaun Bailey will probably suggest a zip wire across the river.”

The issue of the bridge can be summed up in this tweet:

That’s right – Boris Johnson can indeed make it up. And he did.

But we know the facts. All he has done is show the world he’s the stupidest kind of liar – and that his lickspittle Bailey should never be given elected office anywhere.

When Khan became London Mayor, he was voted in with the highest personal mandate of any UK politician in history.

Johnson’s words today may help ensure that he is re-elected with a mandate that is even higher.

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#CorridorsOfPowder – hypocritical Tories will force big employers to do random drug tests. What about Westminster?

Shaun Bailey: he has already been branded as the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Now he’s adding hypocrisy to the list with a plan for drug testing in major firms, but not in Parliament – which is known to have a serious cocaine problem.

It seems Priti Patel has picked up on Tory London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey’s plan to force firms that employ more than 250 people to subject the workforce to random drug tests.

Her endorsement follows one by Iain Duncan Smith last month.

But how strange that the UK Parliament, where the House of Commons alone employes around 2,040 people – not counting MPs, is to be exempt from any such legislation!

The Conservative government are planning to introduce legislation which would force big employers to carry out random drug tests on their employees – but MPs look set to be exempt from the policy.

Yesterday, the Home Secretary Priti Patel endorsed controversial plans drawn up by the Tory candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey.

The Tory Mayoral candidate says the policy is designed to reduce ‘middle-class cocaine usage‘ in the capital. However, MPs – who are notorious users of the drug – will be exempt.

Yes indeed. Back in August, This Site pointed out that cocaine use in the House of Commons has become so bad that at one point even the arch-Tory Daily Mail published an article dubbing the Palace of Westminster “corridors of powder”.

Apparently the washrooms of Parliament are… awash with the stuff.

I wonder if this is not a subtle (especially for the Tories) bid to sabotage Bailey’s bid to be Mayor of London.

He has already blotted his copy book in the past and it seems hard to believe this plan will be a vote-winner. People who take the drug won’t support a man who has inflicted random testing on them and those who don’t will hate the fact that the Tories are imposing tests on others but not submitting to the same tests themselves, even though it is well-established that Westminster has a serious nose candy problem.

Perhaps someone thinks it is a way to get rid of him, while still imposing a little extra unnecessary unpleasantness into the lives of ordinary people (most of whom won’t have been anywhere near cocaine).

Source: The Tories are planning to force workers to undergo random drug tests – but MPs will be exempt | Evolve Politics

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