Tag Archives: lynch

The news in tweets: Sunday, July 23, 2023

‘No more Green New Deal’ is what we can see on the banner – and that is exactly what Keir Starmer is offering as he panders to the fossil fuel firms in his relentlessly grubby bid for power.

Tories AND Labour throw green policies into the fire – but who is most responsible?

Let’s make a few connections.

Energy minister Grant Shapps has unilaterally decided that the environment can burn, and to this end has announced that he’ll extract all the remaining fossil fuels from the North Sea in the name of “energy security”:

If we’ve learned anything from the state of the environment lately, it is that there is no security in energy generated from fossil fuels. As Richard Murphy states, the planet is burning and the Tory response is to stoke the fire.

Now let’s go over to the party formerly known as Labour, where leader Keir Stürmer is trying to dictate to London Mayor Sadiq Khan that he should “reflect on” (ditch) the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone that keeps more heavily-polluting traffic out of the centre of the capital because it was the issue that lost their party the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election.

This is idiotic for several reasons. Firstly, Stürmer’s STP (Substitute Tory Party) should not have lost because of ULEZ, which is a Conservative policy. It was imposed by Boris Johnson – the former MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, whose resignation triggered the election – so all Stürmer’s candidate had to do to counter criticisms of his party and mayor was point this out.

Secondly, we know this didn’t happen because people with non-polluting cars, who would not have paid the charge, were complaining about it on the doorstep. Perhaps they didn’t like being told it was nothing to do with them, but it’s more likely that they simply weren’t told that at all.

Thirdly, the ULEZ is not something Khan can unilaterally change; it was imposed on London by the Department for Transport when it was being run by… oh yes! Grant Shapps.

So Shapps is magically facing in two different directions at once.

And Stürmer is apparently being dishonest about the reason his party lost the election.

It’s all very well saying, “We lost because of the ULEZ”, but if his people didn’t actually defend themselves on it, that’s their fault.

Doesn’t it seem more likely that it is an excuse that is being inflated to hide a different reason for the loss.

What could that reason be?

That’s not his only blunder…

Also:

Call me a scaremonger if you like, but it seems to This Writer that the most logical reason his party lost in Uxbridge and South Ruislip is Keir Starmer himself.

Keir Mather: fact and fiction about the new, Starmerite MP for Selby and Ainsty

And on that subject…

Apparently he was a researcher for former Tory MP Matthew Parris.

Forgive me, but I question whether that’s the right sort of grounding for a person who now represents the party that is supposed to support working people.

The Tory government has decided that saving the lives of disabled people who have to live in high-rise tower blocks is too expensive

How many hundreds of billions of pounds have they given to their friends and donors in return for absolutely nothing at all?

Sunak’s doublespeak: he wants you to think his theft of your rights is something you have demanded

Standing ovation for Mick Lynch after speech about the ‘stench of corruption’ in Tory government


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Why are private rail firms paying shareholders so much profit when they’re so far in debt?

Mick Lynch: he knows what he’s talking about. What a pity his interviewers can’t say the same.

Have a gander at this video clip, courtesy of the TUC – if you can get past the bizarre behaviour of the interviewers.

To me, it seems a very strange way of running a business.

If a firm is making a loss, it seems very strange behaviour for a national government to subsidise it – especially if it is still handing over huge amounts in dividends to shareholders.

That money should be covering the firm’s losses, shouldn’t it?

No wonder Mick Lynch’s union members haven’t had a pay rise in four years – and I’m willing to bet it was a pittance then!

Some might say low wages are better than being unemployed – but if these firms are being parasitised by fatcat investors, then by rights, they should be closed down and the bosses (and the investors) prosecuted for misuse of public funds.

Or so it seems to me.

Perhaps the government believes that the railways must continue running – but in that case, the obvious answer presents itself. It’s one that Mr Lynch himself points out the government has used.

Re-nationalisation.

Then there would be no shareholders to take dividends that should be invested.

Am I mistaken?


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Rail strike: Network Rail says a deal is close – the RMT says otherwise. Who’s right?

Network Rail’s chief negotiator Tim Shoveller reckons a “repurposed” version of a pay off made to rail union members last September may bring the rail strike to an end – but is he telling the whole truth?

He told Sky News that a ballot on the offer had won support from 36 per cent of the RMT members who voted on it:

But RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch pointed out that 36 per cent in favour meant 64 per cent – an overwhelming majority – were against the offer. He said the companies have continued to make profit during every strike day because the government has taken the losses instead – around £320 million.

And he added that the government and the railway companies are determined to run down pay, conditions, and – crucially – safety in a rush to grab as much profit as they can from the UK’s rail network, that suffers from crippling underinvestment:

This Writer is just a lay-person but from my position it seems this industrial dispute is far from being over – and won’t be until the company bosses and the government start listening to the concerns of the people who do the actual work.

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Why is the Transport Secretary trying to force ‘reforms’ on unions that want better pay?

Mick Lynch: he’s frustrated because the rail companies and Network Rail say they don’t have the power to negotiate meaningfully with him over pay and safety conditions for RMT Union members.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper reckons rail unions need to accept “reforms” that would free up money for pay rises.

Why?

On the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg show, he said: “It is the reforms that free up the savings that then unlock the ability for the companies to make an offer to the trade unions on pay.”

But that is to assume no more money could be brought in – and that is a political choice by the Tory government.

He also said: “I do not have a bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money to throw at this problem.”

And he doesn’t, because taxpayers’ money doesn’t pay for any public services at all. Public money – created by the government – does. It’s time our politicians stopped trying to hoodwink us with this lazy lie.

The government can very easily create as much money as is needed to provide a “proper seven-day rail network” – also Harper’s words, and why doesn’t the UK have that network any more since privatisation anyway?

Taxation relieves inflationary pressures that may be created by investing money into public services – and may be used by progressive governments to re-balance the gap between the richest and the poorest citizens in the country, by taking money from those who can most easily bear it. Of course the UK’s Tory government is as far from progressive as one can get.

And Harper said any money saved through reforms would have to be split “fairly between the taxpayer and the people who work in the industry”. Why give savings back to taxpayers when so much needs to be done to improve the rail service? Is he looking for another tax cut for the rich?

The whole spiel strikes This Writer as self-serving claptrap.

If Harper really wanted to do some good, wouldn’t it be better for him to offer to give the private rail operators and Network Rail the mandate for meaningful negotiations with the RMT union that its general secretary, Mick Lynch, has been told they don’t have?

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Rail strikes suspended for talks on new deal – but is anything new on offer?

Mick Lynch: he wasn’t holding back when he appeared on the BBC’s Question Time. Has anything changed?

Does Mick Lynch have a good reason to suspend rail strikes?

Here’s a quick summary of the story:

Mr Lynch, the RMT union’s general secretary, said

there had been “the promise of an offer” on pay from the rail operating companies.

However, when contacted by the BBC, rail employers and the government said their position had not changed.

If they’re not offering anything new, then there’s no reason to suspend strike action – is there?

The BBC’s report added that the suspension has been announced 11 days before a fresh RMT strike ballot is due to close on November 15.

Mr Lynch previously told the BBC that he expected workers to vote in favour, and warned that there could be strikes for another six months if no agreement is reached.

Will the new talks affect the way the ballot goes? Will they even take place before it finishes, so union members can be sure of the situation when they go to vote? Is the new offer – whatever it is – just an attempt to interfere with the result of the ballot?

Could Mr Lynch have behaved any differently?

This Writer isn’t sure he could have. But I wonder whether the future of rail services is being wagered on a form of negotiation brinkmanship.

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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Rail union’s Mick Lynch gives top-notch analysis of Boris Johnson. WATCH

Mick Lynch: he wasn’t holding back when he appeared on the BBC’s Question Time.

Here’s Mick Lynch of the RMT Union, giving a terrific verdict on Boris Johnson during last week’s BBC Question Time.

You only need to watch the first minute and 50 seconds; the rest takes the debate beyond Mr Lynch and you end up listening to a lot of meaningless Tory ranting. Here it is:

We need more people like Mr Lynch in Parliament. We used to have them, too – before the Labour Party was taken over by students in suits.

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US pundit ridicules Kay Burley for trying to incite RMT’s Mick Lynch to promote violence

Better times: Kay Burley of Sky News once interviewed an empty chair while Tory chairman James Cleverly cowered 15ft away, too terrified to face even the kind of cross-examination she gave Mick Lynch.

This is very funny and I’m planning to keep an eye on Jimmy Dore from now on.

Have a gander at his analysis of Kay Burley’s interview with Mick Lynch of the RMT, in which the Sky News host tries to talk the union boss into promoting violence by striking rail workers:

This Writer isn’t totally hostile to Burley; her line of questioning is likely to have come entirely from the news producer talking into her earpiece. That’s the usual way.

But Dore’s ridicule of the whole interview is well-deserved.

And his discussion of the strike is well worth watching.

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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Vile Tory ploy portrays McVey as a victim

Esther McVey: She was Theresa May’s second choice for the role of Work and Pensions Secretary – and now the Tories have launched a bogus campaign to distract us from her appalling record [Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA].

What do Tories do when their (second) choice as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is shown up as a liar and a law-breaker who positively revels in torturing the unemployed, the sick and the disabled?

They dig out an old recording of a Labour frontbencher talking about her, clip it so the words are taken out of context, and use it to accuse their opponents of abuse.

This is low, even for them.

And as inept as ever.

The person they chose to launch their ‘Respect’ offensive (and I use the word with several meanings) was Brandon Lewis, the new Tory Chairman and private landlord who is on record as having shown his own kind of respect for his tenants by voting down a Labour Bill to ensure that all rented properties are fit for human habitation. That shows which side his bread is buttered.

Politics Home explains:

New Tory chairman Brandon Lewis has called on the Labour party to crackdown on abuse in politics by pledging to suspend candidate who breach a new code of conduct.

Mr Lewis… challenged Jeremy Corbyn to tackle the ‘rot’ of violent language being used by senior political figures.

He announced a new ‘respect pledge’ which all Tory candidates will have to sign up to, binding them to “behave responsibly” throughout the election process, and urged Mr Corbyn to follow suit.

Mr Lewis also criticised John McDonnell for previous remarks in which he referred to Tory MP Esther McVey being lynched and called her a “stain on humanity.”

Mr Lewis said: “When we have got people at top of the party, of the Labour party, the Shadow Chancellor, using the kind of actions and language and behaviour they are and endorsing threats against other MPs, physical threats… He has not apologised for that he has simply condoned that.

When it was put to him that Mr McDonnell maintains that he was merely repeating comments made by others, he replied: “If you look at the recording that is what he actually said.”

It’s not good form to start your campaign for respect with a fat lie, but there you are. When you have friends in the media, you hope to get away with it, one supposes.

That seems to be the message from the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, which ran a segment on the McDonnell claims, including the edited recording of Mr McDonnell’s comments about Ms McVey, from 2014:

Presenter Sarah Smith, discussing the issue with Barry Gardiner, admitted that Mr McDonnell had been quoting other people, but went as far as to say he did so “approvingly”. Mr Gardiner dragged the discussion back to the real political issue – Esther McVey’s suitability for her DWP job.

And after the Labour Party complained about the inaccuracy of the segment, Ms Smith had to eat humble pie:

Still, The Spectator seemed content to hop on the bandwagon, publishing its own perverse version of the story:

Why wouldn’t Labour complain about broadcasters referring to this three-year-old story out of context? It’s an unwarranted attempt to blacken a man’s name – as Ms Smith had to admit in her “clarification”.

The Tories are pressing on with their campaign:

But they’re only preaching to the converted; the only support they’ve received is from Tories.

The rest of us take a different view:

Apologies for the profanity in the tweet quoted above, but I wonder how many readers saw that and thought it was meant seriously, rather than ironically?

Susan, below, nails the Tory credibility problem:

Mention of racist, misogynistic, homophobic abuse instantly brings Toby Young to mind – and raises a pertinent question:

If you need reminding of his behaviour (it has been a few days since Mr Young resigned from the Office for Students), here’s Evolve Politics with a brief refresher:

So, yes – let’s see the Tories sign up Mr Young to their “Respect” pledge. Oh – but he’s not likely to be a Conservative Party electoral candidate, is he? So it won’t count for him. Or perhaps the Tories think their pledge should only apply to Labour candidates and members?

Yes, that seems more likely.

But Labour candidates and members are encouraged to be respectful, and avoid abuse, at every opportunity. Look:

Here are some of the tweets that resulted:

https://twitter.com/ClareClarke51/status/952983465066196994

They’re not friendly – and nobody would expect them to be. But they aren’t abusive either.

And right-wingers? Shall we see the kind of “Respect” they show – for example, in response to the Spectator tweet? Let’s see:

https://twitter.com/caroselambra777/status/952669807404617728

https://twitter.com/CreigiauBear/status/952940612134801408

And so on. Of course, the whole story is a matter of deflection – from Esther McVey’s unsuitability to be Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams, has written to Ms McVey, in accordance with Parliamentary protocol, with an offer to “work constructively”.

But she has made her opposition to Ms McVey’s appointment to the role an underlying theme, quoting many – if not all – the concerns that have been raised about her.

Here are the relevant parts of what Ms Abrahams had to say:

“As we know from numerous studies more and more people, in work and out of work, are living in poverty. More worrying still is that these numbers are expected to rise over the next few years. But instead of getting the support that they need, they are being driven to destitution as a result of the decimation of the social security safety net by your Government. On top of this the culture you and your predecessors have developed in your department has meant that instead of feeling supported and enabled, people feel demonised and even dehumanised. Your policies are hurting the people they should helpl most.

“The manner in which you quietly pushed back the retirement age for women born in the 1950s has detrimentally impacted on a generation who have worked hard, paid into the system, often for decades, only to be badly let down when they most needed it. So much for “tackling burning injustices”. Your predecessors’ unwillingness to even consider Labour’s cost-neutral or low cost proposals that would make an immediate difference to millions of older women’s lives is unfathomable.

“Sick and disabled people have faced savage cuts in support which at the very least have driven more and more into poverty and isolation, and, at worst, has led to many deaths of disabled people. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has estimated the average cumulative cuts for a disabled adult at £2,500 a year, and the UN Committee on the Convention of the Rights of Disabled People has said this Government’s treatment of disabled people amounts to a “human catastrophe”. Your Government’s failure to make any reduction of the Disability Employment Gap adds insult to injury.

“The incompetent roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) is having a devastating effect on these claimants, causing rent arrears, debt and even homelessness. The poverty that they and their children are facing in 2018, in the sixth richest country in the world, shames us all. I recognise the measures introduced at the Budget to address some of the many issues associated with Universal Credit, but as I said to your predecessor, these are not nearly enough. I set out Labour’s key asks on UC and I look forward to your response on these.

“Of course, as a previous DWP minister, you have personally seen through many of these ill-advised reforms. In fact, we have had exchanges at the Work and Pensions Select Committee on these matters on many occasions. I’d be grateful to know, given the impacts of these reforms, if you now have a different position?

  • You saw through a cut in support to more than 300,000 disabled people when Disability Living Allowance was replaced by Personal Independence Payments.
  • You refused to undertake a second full independent inquiry into the effect of the Government’s punitive sanctions policy.
  • You suggested that the bedroom tax was never about saving money.
  • You originally estimated the number of children to be lifted out of poverty be 350,000 but downgraded this in 2013 to 150,000. Now your Government has refused to publish figures on the impact of UC on poverty, although the Child Poverty Action Group has estimated that by 2022 the number of children living in poverty will increase by one million, directly as a result of cuts to UC.
  • You suggested rising foodbank use was not the fault of Conservative social security reforms although foodbanks across the UK have consistently maintained that the demand for emergency food is as a direct result of social security cuts, sanctions or delays; in UC areas demand is up by an average of 30 per cent.

“Do you still stand by what you said? Do you finally acknowledge the real hurt these so-called reforms have inflicted? Do you recognise that you need to go beyond the measures introduced in the Budget to fix UC and when will you be making a statement to the House on this? Will you guarantee, as your predecessor David Gauke did, that there will be no further cuts to the social security budget?

“Will you look again at the ‘rape clause’? It is fundamentally wrong to include a ‘rape clause’ in our social security system. This, and the wider impact of the two-child policy on the poorest busts the myth of your Government’s support for families.

“I share my colleague Jon Trickett’s concerns, outlined in his letter to the Prime Minister, about your record as a director of J G McVey & Co regarding Health and Safety breaches. Given that Health and Safety at work are DWP responsibilities, how is your role compatible with your record as a director of this company?

“The DWP has a huge impact on millions of lives. It needs compassionate leadership. At a time when your local Mid Cheshire foodbank has seen a 30 per cent increase on food parcels in the previous year you must now fix the botched roll-out of Universal Credit. You much rethink the inhumane cuts that disabled people are facing and provide the dignity and security in retirement that our older people deserve.

“We need a fairer social security system which works for the many, not the few, which provides hope and restores trust between citizens and Government. I am willing to work constructively with you in the best interests of the country. However continuing down the current road will only cause more misery.”

These are the issues – and Brandon Lewis wants his “Respect” campaign to distract you from them.

How would you describe that?

I would call it: Disrespectful.


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