Tag Archives: meet

Coronavirus: Wales starts easing the lockdown – one rule at a time

The Welsh government has announced that it is easing lockdown restrictions – but only one part of them, and for a very good reason.

From Monday, people from two different households in the same local area will be able to meet up outdoors. They must continue to maintain social distancing and strict hand hygiene.

As a general rule, people will not be allowed to travel more than five miles for these meetings – which comes hard for those of us in rural areas who have friends more than five miles away that we haven’t seen in nearly three months.

There will be exceptions including travelling to work, shopping for essentials that aren’t available locally, and to seek care.

That last exception seems to be an attempt to legitimise behaviour like Dominic Cummings’s trip from London to Durham, which caused a hugely embarrassing scandal that the Tory government has been trying to silence for the last week.

The reason for lifting just one rule at a time is simple, as First Minister Mark Drakeford was told:

“Making more than one significant relaxation was too dangerous because if the infection rate went up, it would not be clear what had caused it.”

Contrast that with Boris Johnson’s idiotic rush to get everybody back to work as soon as possible, and damn the consequences!

Is it any wonder that this decision has been followed by another one – to stop showing the daily number of Covid-19-related deaths?

Source: Why the Welsh Government is only making one major lockdown change | Wales – ITV News

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BBC silent as top Tories exposed holding secret meetings with neo-Nazi leader accused of antisemitism | Evolve Politics

Racist: Steve Bannon.

Would anybody at the BBC – or indeed the mass media in general – care to explain their silence on this, in contrast to the screams about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party?

I was wondering what the Tories had been doing while the focus was on the fabricated anti-Semitism debate in the Labour Party.

Now we know.

The mainstream media’s wall-to-wall coverage of the seemingly never-ending Labour anti-Semitism saga shows that they *clearly* must care about the issue a great deal. However, given the unprecedented coverage they’ve given to Labour’s ongoing issues surrounding antisemitism, it seems slightly odd that the same people have offered nothing but eerie silence regarding the fact that three top Conservative politicians have been exposed holding secret meetings with an openly racist White Supremacist neo-Nazi leader who is accused of outright antisemitism, and whose supporters were recorded chanting “Jews will not replace us“. Very odd indeed.

In contrast to Labour’s extremely nuanced debate around the precise definition of antisemitism – one that has now, incredibly, led to both a Jewish member of the party being suspended for alleged anti-Jewish hatred, as well as a now-deceased Corbyn-supporting Holocaust survivor whose parents were both murdered by the Nazis being labelled an antisemite by the mainstream media – the debate around the Tories’ dealings with actual Jew-haters are far more clear cut.

Steve Bannon is a White Supremacist neo-Nazi leader whose supporters hold views that, if they were to be implemented, could easily lead to another Jewish genocide.

Bannon openly defends the presence of these genocide-advocates in the movement he leads, using the pitiful excuse that there are supposedly extremes on both sides of the debate, and so, he believes, it is only right that proponents of the mass murder of Jews should have a political home:

“Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe. Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that’s just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements.”

This disgusting racist is the very person who top Conservative politicians Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jacob Rees-Mogg have just held secret meetingswith. But you probably wouldn’t know it from the complete and utter silence from the BBC.

Source: BBC silent as top Tories exposed holding secret meetings with neo-Nazi leader accused of antisemitism | Evolve Politics

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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Corbyn meets Jewish right-wingers and agrees to none of their demands

Jeremy Corbyn: Not an anti-Semite, no matter how hard certain organisations try to claim it.

I’m sure everybody is glad that Jeremy Corbyn has finally met the right (-wing) kind of Jew to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism which they say is growing in the Labour Party – although everybody else has seen the statistics showing the exact opposite.

Mr Corbyn met representatives of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust on the afternoon of April 25. These organisations had refused to attend a roundtable meeting with other groups who (as I understand it) they claimed were the “wrong kind of Jews”.

They had six demands:

  • That there should be a fixed timetable to deal with anti-Semitism cases
  • That Mr Corbyn should take personal responsibility for Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism
  • That Labour should expedite the long-standing cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker
  • That no MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism
  • That Labour should adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism with all its examples and clauses
  • That there should be transparent oversight of Labour’s disciplinary process

It is easy to see why Mr Corbyn did not accept these.

A fixed timetable means justice would be abandoned in favour of getting through all the allegations as quickly as possible. In the current atmosphere of false, malicious and opportunistic claims against party members, it would be easy to overload the system with frivolous accusations, making it harder for the innocent to have the exoneration they deserve.

What would these representatives demand if Mr Corbyn agreed to take person responsibility and then they (perhaps arbitrarily) decided he wasn’t doing a good enough job? His resignation? That would not be acceptable to the majority of Labour members but This Writer is sure it would suit the Tory Party very well.

It is true that the cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker have been taking a long time. But the Labour leadership was harshly criticised for its treatment of Mr Livingstone when he was suspended for quoting historical fact (don’t believe the nonsense that he said Hitler was a Zionist – he said no such thing) and we all know Jackie Walker was set up by the Jewish Labour Movement, and what they called anti-Semitism on her part was in fact her contribution to a discussion at which people were asked to voice their concerns, in a ‘safe space’ meeting where no recording equipment was supposed to be present. Strange that the JLM brought some along specifically to record and entrap her, isn’t it?

Personally I don’t see anything wrong with the demand that no Labour MP should share a platform with someone who has been expelled for anti-Semitism. But Labour’s process for dealing with these cases is extremely dubious at the moment – that’s one of the reasons new General Secretary Jennie Formby has been asked to review and revamp it. Members who have been suspended on suspicion are not guilty of anything – we have a convention in the UK that people accused of anything are innocent until their guilt has been proved – so I would not agree that that no MP should share a platform with a person who has only been suspended. It’s possible that the process of suspending someone while an investigation is carried out will end, though, so the issue might go away.

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, with all of its examples and clauses, is not acceptable to many people for several reasons – see this analysis by Hugh Tomlinson QC.

And by “transparent oversight”, what did these representatives mean? That they should have some influence over the workings of the Labour Party disciplinary process? Influence from external organisations would be unacceptable to the Labour Party under any circumstances.

Mr Corbyn was graceful about the meeting:

His full statement, on Facebook, followed the lines he had set out in his Evening Standard article prior to the meeting:

“I am grateful to the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust for a positive and constructive meeting about tackling antisemitism.

“I am absolutely committed to rooting out antisemitism from our party and our society.

“When members of Jewish communities express genuine anxieties, we must recognise them as we would those of any other community. Their concerns are not ‘smears’. Jews belong in the Labour Party and we are utterly committed to making it a safe and welcoming place for them.

“I have charged our new General Secretary Jennie Formby with improving our disciplinary procedures as her top priority to ensure all complaints are dealt with swiftly and fairly. We are grateful for the input from Jewish community groups, who we will continue to listen to carefully.

“We will lay out the further steps we are taking in the coming weeks. We will continue to engage and work with Jewish community organisations to deal with this issue. Our party will not fail our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

The JLC and the BoD were … less graceful:

It says:

“Our meeting with Jeremy Corbyn today was a disappointing missed opportunity regarding the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party. We welcomed Mr. Corbyn’s personal involvement in the discussion and his new comments recognising and apologising for antisemitism in the Labour Party but he failed to agree to any of the concrete actions we asked for in our letter to him of 28th March.

“Last month the Jewish community held an unprecedented demonstration outside Parliament to express our hurt and anger about the level of antisemitism in the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to take strong action against it. Following that demonstration we wrote to Mr. Corbyn to set out six areas of concrete action he and the party could take to address the antisemitism that has grown under his leadership. These represented the minimum level of action the community expected after more than two years of inactivity. Today we met Mr. Corbyn to convey in no uncertain terms the Jewish community’s feelings to him in person and to discuss his response to our proposals. It was a difficult yet important meeting.

“We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn’s proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested. In particular, they did not agree in the meeting with our proposals that there should be a fixed timetable to deal with antisemitism cases; that they should expedite the long-standing cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker; that no MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for antisemitism; that they adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses; that there should be transparent oversight of their disciplinary process.

“Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Mr Corbyn’s words have changed but it is action by which the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party. Our sole objective from this meeting was to build trust with Mr Corbyn, but this will not be possible until and unless he and the party turn their many strong words against antisemitism into equally strong actions in order to bring about a deep cultural change in his supporters’ attitude to Jews.

“Thousands of British Jews did not demonstrate outside Parliament just for a few lawyers and another newspaper article; they demanded action and so do we. We will hold the Labour Party to account for any future failures and continue to represent the interests of British Jews with clarity and resolve. We also commit to do our utmost to work with all those within Labour who want to help make it a safe and equal space for all of its members.”

The statement has been greeted with disdain by some – including that organisation of the “wrong kind of Jew”, Jewdas, with whom Jeremy Corbyn controversially celebrated Seder a few weeks ago:

Carole Hawkins, below, makes an important point:

This is absolutely true. Suggesting that any Jews are not “true” Jews, or “the wrong kind of Jews” is an anti-Semitic stereotype. It isn’t acceptable for anyone to be behaving in this manner. Judge the three organisations Mr Corbyn met by that standard!

And the following should put all of the above into perspective:

https://twitter.com/xugla/status/988822303080439809

I wonder – of the people Mr Corbyn met – people who made very specific demands, including that he take personal responsibility for investigations into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, so presumably he should take the fall if THEY decide he hasn’t done enough …

How many of them even support the Labour Party or vote Labour?


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Here’s why Theresa May must go: She doesn’t care about people

Some might say This Site uses this image too much, but it amply demonstrates Mrs May’s lack of empathy with other human beings – even children [Image: Getty].

The rest of the Tory Party might be ganging up on Theresa May, but that doesn’t mean she should remain as prime minister. She should go, not because her own people are pushing her, but because she won’t meet the people of the UK unless she is pushed.

Consider her reaction to the Manchester bombing. Has she bothered to meet relatives of the people who were murdered? No:

What about her public relations skills after the Grenfell Tower fire?

She simply doesn’t want to know.

And if she doesn’t care about us, there’s no reason we should care about her.

Today (October 6), Mrs May told us she would continue as leader because the members of her Cabinet support her. But how long can she continue when nobody else does?


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Here’s why Theresa May must go: She doesn’t care about people

Some might say This Site uses this image too much, but it amply demonstrates Mrs May’s lack of empathy with other human beings – even children [Image: Getty].

The rest of the Tory Party might be ganging up on Theresa May, but that doesn’t mean she should remain as prime minister. She should go, not because her own people are pushing her, but because she won’t meet the people of the UK unless she is pushed.

Consider her reaction to the Manchester bombing. Has she bothered to meet relatives of the people who were murdered? No:

What about her public relations skills after the Grenfell Tower fire?

She simply doesn’t want to know.

And if she doesn’t care about us, there’s no reason we should care about her.

Today (October 6), Mrs May told us she would continue as leader because the members of her Cabinet support her. But how long can she continue when nobody else does?


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Doubletalking DWP’s new assault on the sick

Their doctors will say you're not sick: The DWP's new policy is another sign of disrespect to PROPER health professionals across the UK; their diagnoses aren't good enough for the Department. It's bringing its own people in, to pretend more sick people are health, no doubt.

Their doctors will say you’re not sick: The DWP’s new policy is another sign of disrespect to PROPER health professionals across the UK; their diagnoses aren’t good enough for the Department. It’s bringing its own people in, to pretend more sick people are actually healthy, no doubt.

“People on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists to help them address their barriers to work – or face losing their benefits,” the Department for Work and Pensions announced yesterday.

The initiative was revealed under the euphemistic headline ‘Help for people on sickness benefits to address barriers to work’ and shows yet again that ministers in the DWP do not understand the meaning of the word “sick”.

“Around 3,000 people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who have been assessed as being able to work in the future will have regular appointments with healthcare professionals as a condition of receiving their benefit. The meetings will focus on helping claimants to move closer to being able to get a job,” the DWP press release states.

“The proposed pilot scheme will compare the help given by doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists to two other pilot schemes which will offer enhanced support from Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme providers to see which is best at helping people off sickness benefits and into work.”

This is all very well, but has it not occurred to DWP officials that perhaps a person who is off work because of illness may already be involved in meetings with healthcare professionals?

This is anecdotal evidence, I know, but Mrs Mike has attended many, many appointments with her GP, physiotherapists, osteopaths, other back specialists, nerve specialists, surgeons, she’s had MRI and CT scans, spent a week at the pain clinic in Bronllys Hospital (recently featured on a BBC documentary which notably focused on its successes and not its failures – it does have them) and is currently due to attend an appointment at the orthopaedic hospital in Gobowen.

What do DWP officials think its people can do, that these specialists – who are experts in their field – cannot?

Employment minister Mark Hoban trotted out the usual line that “we need to ensure that people who are able to work get the encouragement they need to get a job, while those who are too sick to work get real support”. What, by threatening them with losing their sole source of income? That’s not encouragement – it’s bullying; it’s threats; it’s intimidation.

“Many people on sickness benefits want to work, so it’s vitally important that we give them the right help to move into a job if they are able. The help we give people at the moment tends to focus on work-related skills, but doesn’t necessarily address health problems. But by giving people regular support from doctors, occupational health nurses and therapists we can do more to help people manage or improve their conditions.”

The thought of the DWP – an organisation that absolutely refuses, under any circumstances, to publish the number of people its policies are killing every week (or have killed already) – claiming it is trying to help people into work is laughable. The fact that it will do this by threatening to remove their benefits is serious to the point of being deadly.

The release goes on to remind us all that people in the work-related activity group of ESA recipients already have ‘work-focussed interviews’ with Job Centre Plus staff as a condition of receiving their benefit. This is true – Mrs Mike attended and, due to her interest in finding work, was passed on to a work programme provider who immediately – within one telephone conversation – told her she was not fit for any kind of work, the Atos assessment had put her in the wrong group and she must seek re-assessment with a view to going into the support group immediately.

That was in January; the DWP has been dragging its heels somewhat. I would say this demonstrates the department’s real concern for people with long-term health problems (almost as much as those nebulous death figures).

In the pilot area, the press release states, the work interview would be replaced by meetings with healthcare professionals – provided by the DWP. The length and frequency of the meetings would be flexible, depending on the individuals’ needs.

Would these healthcare professionals by contracted in from private health companies? If so, isn’t this just another ‘bung’ of taxpayers’ cash to friends of the Conservative ministers in charge of the DWP? Does anyone else sense yet another monumental, Work Programme-style waste of taxpayers’ cash on the horizon here?

“The regular discussions will focus claimants on how they can improve their view of their readiness for work by taking steps to manage their health issues,” the release claims. “They will not replace a person’s GP, but can promote health support and help a claimant to re-engage with their GP if they are struggling to adapt to their condition.” Plausible language, but let’s remember this is DWP doublespeak, so we must not expect anything of the sort.

There will be three separate pilot schemes:

  • Healthcare professional-led – mandatory engagement with health care professionals. Interestingly, this will use funding from the European Social Fund. How they managed to persuade the EU that this was a good idea defies rational explanation.
  • Jobcentre Plus – enhanced Jobcentre Plus support
  • Work Programme – enhanced support designed by Work Programme provider

The pilots will begin in November and will run until August 2016 – so, if there’s any justice, they will be terminated in May 2015 when a sensible government takes over. This depends on whether Labour can devise any reasonable ideas for Work and Pensions in the next 18 months or so, of course.

The pilots will involve people on ESA in the work related activity group who are expected to be able to return to work in 18 months or over – based on the flawed Atos work capability assessments that we all know make wrong decisions in an unacceptable number of cases.

While we’re discussing ways of getting sick people off-benefit (which is what this is about – never mind putting them back into work), I wonder whether DWP officials partaking in this scheme will also employ the “Pester Power” strategy?

I learned about this from Vox Political commenter Maria Nelson this morning. She wrote: “They partake in something called ‘Pester Power’ to bully and harass claimants… knowing it may push people over the edge.”

Apparently it is employed by staff “who bully claimants by hanging up on them and aggravating stressed, angry claimants, losing paperwork etc to create misery – sanctioning etc… Their horrid phone service is privately operated and numbers changed regular[ly] – wrong numbers given out – and it generates nice profits for that private company, and there’s supposed to be a free number for mobile callers but no-one gets told… I was so shocked [by] what I was told, I forgot to ask [for] it”.

Following on from the negative response to my Freedom of Information request about the Atos/DWP deaths, we all know that the DWP is monitoring this blog – so how about making yourselves useful? Why not come out of the undergrowth and give us some useful information about this alleged strategy?

Come to that, why not come out of the undergrowth and give us the facts about the number of people who are dying because of the fatal policies practised by your department? You do realise, don’t you, that your continued participation involves you in mass murder, don’t you? After the response to the FOI request, I see no reason to give any of you the benefit of the doubt; not only are you participating in a scheme that leads to death – it is revealed as a scheme that is intended to cause death. You don’t cover up mass deaths, with an intention to continue the policies that cause them, without intending to induce those deaths.

That’s murder. If you are an employee of the DWP involved in this process, then you are implicated. There will be trials; the dead will have justice. And, just as in Nuremberg in the 1940s, saying you were “only following orders” will not help you.

You should consider a change of career.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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