Tag Archives: lost

‘Lost control’ of Covid-19? When did Tory ministers have any control over the virus?

Rampant: the Covid-19 virus is once again on the loose across the UK because the Tories haven’t just lost control; they’ve deliberately thrown it away.

Let’s be honest: Covid-19 infections in the UK are skyrocketing again and there’s nothing the Tory government can do about it.

Monday (September 7) was the second day running that nearly 3,000 new infections were recorded – and remember, that’s only among people who have been tested and the number of tests available are limited. Allow me to demonstrate:

Professor Gabriel Scally, a member of the Independent Sage group and a former NHS regional director of public health for the south-west, reckons that government ministers have “lost control of the virus”.

“It’s no longer small outbreaks they can stamp on,” he told The Guardian. “It’s become endemic in our poorest communities and this is the result. It’s extraordinarily worrying when schools are opening and universities are going to be going back.”

But it should be obvious that the Tories haven’t got any control at all.

They might have had some when the lockdown was in force but those days are long gone. It seems increasingly likely that lockdown was only imposed to keep on the right side of public opinion and the real plan was “herd immunity”.

This is the idea that if enough of us develop antibodies to the disease, its effect will be negligible. But “herd immunity” requires a majority of the population to be vaccinated against a disease and there is no vaccine.

Allowing a majority to become infected merely increases the likelihood of unnecessary deaths.

The number of infections started rising as soon as the first lockdown relaxations happened and it seems to This Writer that the exponential rise now may be partially due to schools returning…

Sickness Secretary Matt Hancock is trying to push responsibility for curbing the virus onto young people –

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1303062692471672832

– but it’s nothing to do with them and everything to do with him.

That’s because the situation is worse than I suggested in the headline.

Not only did the Tories not have control over Covid-19 infections – they have deliberately avoided it.

Source: Coronavirus: Ministers have ‘lost control of the virus’, says health expert following spike in cases | Independent

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Coronavirus tests lost, unpaid volunteers hired to work on them – and the Tories STILL miss targets!

The UK’s Tory government has lost control of the coronavirus testing process.

First, the Tories lost thousands of tests that they had handed over to private companies. Here’s the Health Service Journal:

Data on the outcome of tens of thousands of tests carried out outside the NHS is ‘disappearing into a data black hole’, making it harder for local organisations to respond to the spread of coronavirus in their area.

An internal NHS update email seen by HSJ, which is meant to tell local organisations how many residents and staff in their areas have tested positive, states that full information is “increasingly becoming unavailable” and cannot be reported “until further notice”.

Instead the reporting is based only on NHS lab tests, which make up less than half of total tests now being carried out, a proportion which is still shrinking further.

Why would any government hand over vital work to a private firm that simply isn’t up to the job?

Oh yes – they’re Tories.

They are ideologically inclined to give work to privateers, which is why Boots – we’re told – is now recruiting volunteers to carry out this work for no pay, as The Independent reports:

An army of unpaid volunteers is being recruited to carry out coronavirus tests across the country as ministers try to hit their target of 200,000 a day.

They are being asked to sign up to work at least 32 hours a week, swabbing the noses and throats of people who may be infected, for no pay.

The high-street chemist Boots is advertising the roles across the country, with the support of ministers.

And the upshot?

The Tories haven’t hit their 100,000-a-day test target, let alone the intended 200,000-a-day by the end of May.

Worse: as the information from the tests is being lost, local areas will be handicapped in their attempts to treat people with the disease because they simply won’t know who those people are or where to concentrate their efforts.

And Tory dogma means this situation can only get worse.

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140,000 retail jobs lost in worst year for quarter of a century. That’s Tory government for you

Pretty soon, high street shopfronts will be no use as anything other than sheltering spots for homeless people.

So much for the party of business.

Guess what I’m going to say?

That’s right: 14 million Tories voted to flush our shops down the sewer.

Let’s sit back and watch…

… as Boris Johnson does nothing about it apart from talk out of his clacker.

More than 140,000 jobs on UK high streets have been axed in the past year, new figures suggest.

2019 has proved the worst year for high street employment levels in a quarter of a century, according to a report by the the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

More than 16,000 stores shut their doors for good over the course of the year, the new data shows.

The CRR said job losses had leapt by more than a fifth over the past 12 months compared to the previous year.

It warned the year ahead could see an even more dire outlook for traditional retail stores and jobs.

The majority of job losses, around 78,600, came as part of store closures by retailers cutting costs, as the growth of online shopping and high fixed costs of bricks-and-mortar stores took a heavy toll.

Source: 140,000 retail jobs lost in worst year for quarter of a century

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Labour vows to help women affected by pension age changes after court lets them down

The Labour Party it will do what it can to compensate the so-called ‘WASPI’ protesters – Women Against State Pension Inequality – after the High Court ruled that the government had not discriminated against them on grounds of age and/or sex.

The government has implemented changes to the pension age for women, in order to equalise it with that for men, in a move that affected nearly four million women who were born in the 1950s – some became homeless as a result and many became suicidal.

They said not enough was done to publicise the changes and to ensure that those affected would be ready.

The UN committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has said the rise in the pension age has added to “poverty, homelessness and financial hardship among the affected women”.

“The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes. They will understandably be very disappointed by today’s finding,” said shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey.

“Labour has already made commitments to support women affected, including by extending Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women. We will consult further with the 1950s women affected as to what future support we can put in place once in government to help ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.”

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the women affected, added: “They have pushed women who were already disadvantaged into the lowest class you can imagine.

“They’re on the brink of survival, and I’m not overstating that. This group – especially the percentage of the group affected born in 1953 onwards – are increasingly having taken away from them four to six years’ worth of state pension. We’re dealing with very serious sums: £37,000 to £47,000. I think any citizen would be concerned by that withdrawal.”

In a summary of the court’s decision, Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple said their hands were tied: “The court was saddened by the stories contained in the claimants’ evidence. But the court’s role was limited. There was no basis for concluding that the policy choices reflected in the legislation were not open to government. In any event they were approved by Parliament.

“The wider issues raised by the claimants about whether the choices were right or wrong or good or bad were not for the court. They were for members of the public and their elected representatives.”

In fact, it seems the only person happy about the verdict was Boris Johnsons spokesperson, who crowed that it has “always been our view” the changes made were “entirely lawful and did not discriminate on any grounds”.

“Government decided in 1995 it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality,” the spokesperson said. “Today the court recognised the extensive communications that the Department for Work and Pensions made to publicise these changes over many years.”

Did it?

It seems clear that there’s only one way these pensioners are going to get compensation for this decision – made by a Tory government in 1995 and implemented by a Tory government in 2010:

Elect a Labour government.

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It’s a Tory total collapse as they are forced to accept every Labour amendment to the Budget

Labour could have moved that the Treasury be re-named “Philip Hammond is a dunce” and the government would probably have agreed to it.

Too harsh? Well, let’s be satisfied with the amendments to the Finance Bill on tax evasion, gaming duty and Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – and with the promise that there is worse to follow for Theresa May and her cronies.

She had to capitulate because, if a vote had been taken and she lost, it would have been considered proof that her government does not have the confidence of the Commons. By convention, any government in such a position should resign and allow the main Opposition party a chance to form an administration.

Instead, Mrs May is now the head of a minority government, critically vulnerable to collapse if the Opposition parties demand a vote of “no confidence”, because the Democratic Unionist Party has withdrawn its support over her disastrous Brexit agreement with the EU.

As Mrs May is determined to have her deal or no deal, and the DUP’s MPs believe neither will support what they consider to be good for Northern Ireland, it seems unlikely that they will restore their support for her government.

I predict that if the current Brexit deal goes to a vote, Mrs May will lose badly. Labour may then demand a vote of “no confidence” in the Conservative Party’s ability to govern – and such a vote seems certain to topple the government.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was quick to capitalise on the situation. He said: “It’s absolutely staggering that the Government has accepted all Labour amendments to the Finance Bill because it couldn’t rely upon the DUP’s support. The Tories are in office but not in power. We’re watching a government falling apart in front of us.”

Mrs May is currently in Brussels, where she is probably begging the Eurocrats for latitude to resolve the impossible situation into which she has put herself – because we should all remember that this is a crisis entirely of the Conservative government’s own making.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond are both set to appear at the DUP’s conference over the weekend. If they think they can bully the Irish into backing them again, they’ll be in for a shock.

It has been great fun watching the drama play out on Twitter:

So the current situation can be summed up as follows:

https://twitter.com/MsParaDoxy/status/1064673997974065152

Of course we now know that Mrs May’s strings are being pulled by the Opposition parties – and any opportunity available (to mention the backdrop sign at the Tory conference) will be theirs.

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Nottingham East CLP passes vote of no confidence in anti-Corbyn MP Chris Leslie

Chris Leslie (centre).

Chris Leslie is an outspoken critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and has been said to be threatening to leave the party, so it should be no surprise that he was next to feel the wrath of his constituents.

The motion, brought by members of the Mapperly branch of Nottingham East, attacks the former shadow chancellor for his “disloyalty and deceit”, which it dubbed “a severe impediment to Labour Party electability”, which is “incompatible” with his continuing as the Labour candidate for Nottingham East.

Nottingham North CLP have passed a motion of no confidence in Chris Leslie. The MP, who is an arch critic of Jeremy Corbyn lost the vote ‘overwhelmingly’ according to a local Labour member.

Leslie is the fifth Labour MP to have their local branch formally express their displeasure via a vote of no confidence. Frank Field, now an independent MP after leaving the party, Kate Hoey, Joan Ryan and Gavin Shuker have lost similar votes.

Leslie did not attend the vote and has previously labelled party members who had expressed disapproval in him the “intolerant hard left”.

Source: Nottingham East CLP pass vote of no confidence in Chris Leslie | TPN

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100,000 retail jobs lost – ironically, because of greed

What would Napoleon have made of this? His “nation of shopkeepers” is falling apart – all by itself.

And it’s all down to greed.

That would be greed by big companies, that are leaving the UK because they know a Tory-negotiated Brexit well mean a drop in profits.

Greed by company bosses who preferred to keep retail profits for themselves, rather than share them with staff.

Greed by central government, that has kept business rates too high to allow businesses to establish themselves on high streets.

Greed by shop landlords, who have pushed rents too high for businesses to be cost-effective in their spaces.

And greed by private car parking firms, making it impossible for shoppers to afford parking charges.

Most of the people named above are idiots.

Shop space that is occupied is better than shop space that is empty. It means retailers are making a profit and can afford to pay rents and business rates.

Some money is better than no money so any landlord with empty shops is a bad landlord and deserves to go bankrupt, and any government that sets business rates so high that retailers can’t afford to occupy the space is a bad government.

And any private car parking company charging so much that most people can’t afford to park in their spaces is a bad car parking company. They may say it’s fine because some people can still afford their prices, but it’s better – obviously – if lots of people can afford them. That way, everybody wins.

The question that arises is, why would anybody want to create conditions that stop retailers from taking up shop space, or employees from taking jobs with those retailers, or shoppers from being able to park their cars near those stores?

And that brings us back to the companies that are leaving the UK because of Brexit. They are greedy and want too much profit so we should have very little sympathy for them.

But we should also have very little sympathy for a government that knows it is creating economic conditions that will drive these big employers away.

Until all of these situations change, the UK’s economy will remain in deep, deep trouble. Who does that help?

Labour has called on the UK Government to save Britain’s “dying” high-streets, as new figures published by the Party reveal that 100,000 retail jobs have been lost over the last three years.

New analysis by Labour of ONS figures released on Tuesday has revealed that a staggering 100,000 retail jobs have been lost in stores across Britain since 2015, with Labour blaming poor wage growth and the Government’s handling of Brexit.

Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, has urged the Government to reform the business rates system to ease the burden on traditional high streets.

She also called for a register of landlords of empty shops, to make it easier to bring boarded up shops back into use, and an inquiry into excessive car parking charges levied by private firms.

Source: 100,000 retail jobs lost in the last three years, Labour analysis reveals

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Fabian doomsayer’s analysis of Labour is twaddle, designed to demoralise new members

The Independent‘s caption for this picture reads: “A little over half of Labour’s 2015 voters say they now support the party led by Jeremy Corbyn”. Gosh. And how many people who didn’t vote Labour now support the party? How many who didn’t vote at all, because the couldn’t support any of the right-wing parties (including Labour at the time) that were on the ballot paper? [Image: Getty].

Why has nobody seen through Andrew Harrop’s transparent and flimsy attempt to trash Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party?

His ‘research’ (if you can call it that) is riddled with false assumptions. In opposition, allow me to offer you this:

Get the picture now?

If you read his piece on the Fabian website, you can drive a truck through the holes in Mr Harrop’s logic.

“The Corbynite left has won the big internal battles but it seems to have no roadmap for winning back lost voters.” And which “lost voters” are these? The Liberal Democrat or Tory voters who had been temporarily won by the silly ‘triangulation’ policies of Blair, Brown and, to an extent, Miliband, that forced nearly five million voters from Labour’s natural constituency out the door? They were never truly Labour voters.

“On Brexit, the greatest political question for two generations, the party’s position is muffled and inconsistent.” Isn’t that because, with a “muffled and inconsistent” position from the Conservatives, there is nothing for Her Majesty’s Opposition to, you know, oppose?

Seriously, Labour did set out a consistent position. Unfortunately, right-wing Labour MPs with their own agenda seem to have taken delight in trying to confuse the electorate about the party’s attitude – with the help of a salivating press that relishes any opportunity to put Labour out of reckoning, especially when the Conservatives are in such poor shape. Keir Starmer has done the party no good at all by speaking out in public without having discussed matters in private.

“Labour remains strong in urban pockets but is faring very badly in by-elections.” This is a flat lie. Labour has been recording double-figure increases in voter percentages at by-elections. Sure, there have been some losses; that’s democracy – you don’t win every seat.

“If the opinion polls are any guide, it could soon cease to be a nationally competitive political force.” The opinion polls aren’t any guide, though. They’ve been consistently wrong for nearly two years.

“In Scotland there is no sign of recovery.” Scottish Labour has a right-winger – Kezia Dugdale – as leader. She is a huge liability, an obstacle to a left-wing Labour resurgence.

“The real threat in marginal seats is that former Labour supporters will scatter in all directions, while the Tories reach out to everyone who voted Leave.” It is misleading to refer only to “former Labour supporters”. If they are “former” supporters because they don’t like the party now, then they were never really Labour supporters at all. And what about people who didn’t support Labour in the last few elections but have returned to the party now? What about those who haven’t been voting at all, because they couldn’t support any of the right-wing parties (including Labour at the time) who were on the ballot paper? Is Mr Harrop ignoring them because they’ll mess up his propaganda piece?

As for Tories chasing “everyone who voted Leave”, perhaps Mr Harrop hasn’t noticed, but far fewer people would vote Leave again if the referendum was re-run, because they have realised that the Leave campaign fed the British public nothing but a series of lies from beginning to end. And has he forgotten that a significant proportion of Tories also voted Remain? Some might stay out of (misplaced) loyalty, but many may be put off by a party that is turning its back on them (if his claim about Tory policy is accurate).

“The Liberal Democrats now have their sights on the party’s 5 million remainers, and in the recent by-elections they’ve won plenty over.” This may be the only relevant point in Harrop’s entire piece. Yes. The Liberal Democrats are enjoying a resurgence – and Labour isn’t doing its job in response. The response is to point out that the Liberal Democrats are a right-wing party that allied with the Tories for five years and pushed through policies that were hugely harmful to the general population of the UK.

Anybody who votes for a Liberal Democrat, based on the party’s position on Brexit, is voting for a lie. The Liberal Democrats cannot affect the UK’s membership of the European Union – but they will happily ally with the Tories again if they get the chance. Tim Farron has said as much.

“To find a way back, Labour must therefore become the party of this cultural ‘middle’.” This is plain – Mr Harrop is advocating a return to the Blairite ‘triangulation’ that reduced Labour to the hollowed-out shell that lost the 2015 general election so badly.

Mr Harrop is completely wrong.

We’re back to Tony Benn’s “weathercocks” and “signposts”. Mr Harrop wants Labour to be a party of “weathercocks”, going any way the wind blows in a desperate bid for votes from people who – according to the assumption – won’t change their opinions. Labour has tried that plan. It is, in the words of Blackadder, “bollocks”.

British politics is at a low ebb and copying other parties is a sure way to self-destruction.

Labour members should be the “signposts” to a new kind of politics. Jeremy Corbyn has clearly expressed his direction of travel. If you need to be reminded, here it is:

Are these words not clear enough?

Sadly, it seems some in the media are keen to give Mr Harrop’s claims a semblance of credibility that they do not deserve.

Look at The Guardian‘s ‘fake news’ piece suggesting John Healey agreed with the Fabian doomsayer. The strapline has it that “John Healey … says report that party could shrink to 150 MPs is ‘warning’”.

Look at what he actually says, further down the piece, and you’ll see that this is an unwarranted misrepresentation. He didn’t support Mr Harrop’s attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s new direction for Labour. Instead, he pointed out: “Quite rightly, the Fabian Society say the roots of Labour’s problems pre-date Jeremy Corbyn. They were there in the 2015 election and in the 2010 election.”

In other words, he is suggesting the opposite of Mr Harrop’s claims.

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Man wins appeal against removal of sickness benefits – months after his death

The DWP says it is “irresponsible to suggest a causal link between the death of an individual and their benefit claim”, and “mortality rates among people with serious health conditions are likely to be higher than those among the general population”.

That’s all very well, but at the time of Mr Shawcross’s death, the DWP was saying that he was perfectly fit and healthy, and should be looking for work.

And is the Department seriously trying to tell a grieving widow that she is being “irresponsible” by drawing a logical conclusion from the events that led to her husband’s death?

It would be useful for all of us to hear that conversation!

A widow was horrified when a letter arrived for her late husband saying he had won his appeal against his sickness benefits being axed.

Graham Shawcross, 63, had potentially fatal Addison’s disease, but was ruled fit to work last November and had his £400-a-month incapacity benefit halted.

He died of a heart attack in February this year.

Yvonne, his wife of 23 years, claims the stress of losing his benefits, and of launching an appeal against the decision, caused his death.

Source: Man who had sickness benefits axed wins appeal – months after he died – Mirror Online

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Harriet Harman says Labour voters are privately relieved the party lost the General Election – Mirror Online

What a lot of horse… manure this woman talks!

Labour went out of its way to be the party that doesn’t support people on benefits – or at least, that’s how it felt to the people in question. It’s one of the reasons the party lost the general election.

When millions of sick and disabled people are telling Labour the work capability assessment regime that Labour imposed is rubbish, and Labour refuses to even offer to make changes, it’s no surprise that Labour lost the people’s confidence.

“Labour was seen as supporting ‘people on benefits’ but not those who ‘work hard’.

She said: “It doesn’t matter how many leaflets you deliver if the message is not right.”

The fact is, Labour wasn’t seen as supporting “people on benefits”.

People on benefits saw very clearly that Labour politicians were only interested in supporting themselves.

Source: Harriet Harman says Labour voters are privately relieved the party lost the General Election – Mirror Online

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