Tag Archives: meeting

Shame on Sue Gray – it seems she has let Boris Johnson off the hook over Downing Street parties

Sue Gray’s report on alleged Downing Street parties has been published and is likely to cause further controversy rather than quiet it.

She claims that the very first event she discusses – in which Boris Johnson and others were pictured sitting around a table drinking wine on May 15, 2020, was a legitimate work meeting.

But the rules she herself describes in her report stated that “participating in a gathering of more than two persons in public was prohibited except where the gathering was ‘essential for work purposes’… Social distancing guidance applied, with workplaces required ‘to maintain 2m social distancing wherever possible'”.

Was the gathering “essential for work purposes”? Sue Gray tells us, “the Prime Minister, Martin Reynolds (his Principal Private Secretary), and Dominic Cummings (his senior adviser) were continuing a lengthy meeting that had started in the Prime Minister’s office, before moving to the garden at around 18.00.” Why did they have to meet in person for this meeting? Why were they not socially distanced (you can see from the image above that they are not two metres distant from each other? And crucially, how can it have been a work meeting if there was alcohol provided – and by the prime minister as well?

This Writer has never been to a work meeting at which alcohol was freely available and imbibed by those present.

Those who were there were ignoring social distancing rules that they had imposed.

And there was no reason for them to be in the same space as each other at all.

This was a social gathering, not a works meeting, and Sue Gray has ignored the evidence.

In her favour, Gray criticises those who participated in the events for failing to come forward with full details after her investigation was announced, instead allowing information to become available “piecemeal” as it was revealed by the press. “This is disappointing. Given the piecemeal manner in which events were brought to my attention, it is possible that events took place which were not the subject of investigation.”

This can only be seen as criticism of Boris Johnson as he made it perfectly clear from the start that he would not willingly provide any information about what had happened in Downing Street on his watch.

That’s what This Writer sees after reading just 11 pages into the 60-page report. It seems clear that, like the police before her (or indeed, after her, if this report was in fact written before they started their investigation), Sue Gray has given Boris Johnson every break possible – even if there is damning information in the rest of her report. That is shameful in itself.

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Boris Johnson wants to tackle cost of living crisis in next few weeks? Will he still be there?

Pittance: any attempt by Boris Johnson to tackle your cost of living crisis will give you pennies when you need pounds.

The sense of urgency about Boris Johnson’s government is poleaxing, isn’t it?

With millions of families struggling beneath a cost-of-living burden due to increasing energy bills, council tax and National Insurance, and a 30-year high in inflation which rose to seven per cent this month, Johnson wants to chair a committee to tackle it “in the next couple of weeks”.

He really couldn’t care less.

You can bet he’ll hold meeting after meeting to find a way to save his own skin from the consequences of his Partygate indiscretions before he gets round to this.

Already ruled out is the prospect of the government spending any extra cash to help us out.

In that case, if we’re not to be helped to meet high prices, the only alternative will be to bring prices down.

But Johnson will be against that, as Tory policy for the last 12 years has been to give more money to the rich and increase the cost of living for the poor, in order to push the majority of the population into poverty and debt.

It makes it easier for the rich to exploit us, you see.

That’s why we’ve had Brexit, which has increased the cost of bureaucracy related to imports and exports, and has created a supply chain collapse that has sent goods prices rocketing. And they told you it would make everything cheaper!

It’s why we’ve had increasing privatisation of our national utilities – like energy – which has put the companies created that way into the hands of foreign governments that have been sucking the money out of us at a rate of knots while refusing to invest in improvements.

It’s why we’ve had tax increases – to pay the profits of the private firms that have been brought in to carry out council services or ruin the National Health Service in England.

Given the above unalterable facts, it seems Boris Johnson may consider being ousted from national leadership a lucky escape.

Source: PM to chair committee with aim of tackling cost of living crisis in ‘next couple of weeks’

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#Labour councillors crossed a #picket line they should have been joining. Here’s the shameful reason [VIDEO]

The Labour Party is supposed to represent workers and working-class people, especially if they are struggling for decent pay, in-work benefits and pensions, as part of its reason for existing – wouldn’t you agree?

Members of the University and College Union have been striking in a dispute that is partly over the management and financing of the University Superannuation Scheme (USS), which provides pensions to the UK’s older universities as well as research institutes and academic thinktanks, and partly over low pay and issues including insecure fixed-term contracts used to employ an increasing number of teaching staff.

So why did Labour councillors in Sheffield not only cross a picket line but, in one case, apparently assault a picketer?

It seems a meeting of Labour-led Sheffield City Council had been scheduled to take place in a university building – during the strike, which seems extremely insensitive of a Labour-run organisation.

These councillors were attending a pre-meeting, and it seems they crossed the picket line to do so, attracting cries of “Scab!” from some of the picketers. That’s how the incident came to take place.

Sheffield UCU subsequently released a statement:

For those who can’t read images, it says:

Today, the majority of Labour councillors entered a University of Sheffield building for a pre-meeting, and in doing so, walked past striking members of Sheffield UCU. Along with UCU members from 57 other HE institutions across the UK, today is our first day of strike action in our dispute over rampant precarity, unhealthy workloads, equal pay, and substantial cuts to our pay and pensions. These are issues that we trust would be of particular importance to the Labour party.

“We do not condone the use of university buildings during strike action, and when we learned of this meeting, had worked with the Sheffield Students Union to find an alternative location in the Students Union next door, which is treated as neutral ground during industrial action.

“We are extremely disappointed that any member of the Labour party would choose to cross past striking union members, despite being given an opportunity to support our action by simply relocating their pre-meeting to a nearby building. We understand that at this pre-meeting, the Labour members took a vote and were determined to not attend the later, full council meeting. This decision does not negate their previous choice to do so, but we are pleased they made the correct choice in the end.

“We appreciate the solidarity of those Labour, Green, and Lib Dem council members who chose to not enter the building.”

Yes indeed. Apparently the alternative, Student Union, building was turned down by councillors because they thought it was too small for social distancing.

That doesn’t excuse the Labour Party from having scheduled a meeting to take place at the university during strike action, though.

What were they thinking?

And isn’t this typical of Labour Party policy at the moment – that the challenges faced by workers and working-class people are increasingly overlooked by career politicians who are more concerned with keeping their positions as members of the Establishment?

If that’s the political position occupied by Keir Starmer’s Labour, then it is worse than useless to the people for whom that party was originally formed.

Labour Exploitation Party. They climb to the heights by walking all over us.

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Did Boris Johnson try to kill off the Queen with Covid-19?

Boris Johnson and the Queen: he wanted to continue meeting her every week after the Covid-19 pandemic broke out – and would certainly have passed Covid-19 on to her if he had done so.

That’s a bold suggestion in the headline – but it seems to be supported by the evidence.

WhatsApp messages supplied by Dominic bloody Cummings say that Johnson was unwilling to go back into lockdown in autumn 2020 because he considered Covid-19 only to be fatal to people aged over 80 – who have therefore lived longer than national life expectancy.

“So get COVID and live longer,” is the typically-insensitive Johnson remark.

Now, I was going to point out that Johnson was effectively sentencing his own father to death:

But then I saw the hammer-stroke:

Cummings also told the BBC that Johnson had been determined to go to see the Queen in person, despite people in Number 10 already ill with Covid in March 2020.

“I said, what are you doing, and he said, I’m going to see the Queen and I said, what on earth are you talking about, of course you can’t go and see the Queen. He said, ah, that’s what I do every Wednesday, sod this, I’m gonna go and see her,” Cummings said.

Cummings said he eventually convinced Johnson not to take the risk. “I said to him, there’s people in this office who are isolating, you might have coronavirus, I might have coronavirus, you can’t go and see the Queen. What if you go and see her and give the Queen coronavirus?

“You obviously can’t go … I just said if you, if you give her coronavirus and she dies what, what are you gonna, you can’t do that, you can’t risk that, that’s completely insane. And he said, he basically just hadn’t thought it through, he said, yeah, ‘holy s**t, I can’t go.’”

Downing Street has denied the account – which is hardly surprising as it suggests that Johnson was, at the very least, reckless with regard to the safety of the Queen.

The UK Establishment may be happy to tolerate the many harms he has inflicted on the population at large, but endangering Her Majesty (who was 93 at the time and therefore well within the extreme-danger zone) is a different matter entirely.

Did Johnson mean to endanger her life by exposing her to the virus?

In all honesty, it’s doubtful. He is a very stupid, selfish man and in March 2020, when Cummings says he had to be stopped from visiting her personally, he was saying he did not think Covid-19 was going to affect the UK seriously.

He didn’t even know whether he had the disease himself (he did contract it and spent time in hospital with it).

He certainly would have passed the disease to the Queen if those meetings had indeed continued.

Now: all this information comes from Dominic Cummings, and he has a grudge against Johnson; this is one of a series of attacks he has launched against his former boss.

But of course, he is not the only source of information and questions are being asked about why reporters for the mainstream media haven’t bothered to find it out for themselves. I have my own view about that:

Well?

All you national TV and newspaper reporters – what are you waiting for?

Get out there and rake the muck until you can provide evidence to prove whether Johnson was planning meetings that would have endangered the life of the Queen.

Or is that beyond your meagre skill set?

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As Stormont politicians meet, Northern Ireland violence escalates

Northern Ireland has now endured more than a week of violence related to Boris Johnson’s duff Brexit deal.

Johnson himself has said the violence in West Belfast “deeply concerned” him. He was right – it did, and it should; he is directly responsible for it.

He was told his decision to put a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea would tear up the Good Friday Agreement, triggering an end to the NI peace process and a return to violence – and he did it anyway.

Northern Ireland doesn’t have a single Conservative member of Parliament; nobody in the province voted to be governed by Johnson (or at least, nobody worth mentioning).

The province’s pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party propped up former prime minister Theresa May, and could therefore be said to have paved the way for him. It holds power in the Stormont assembly so This Writer wonders what its representatives have to say for themselves.

Last night alone, police officers were attacked, petrol bombs were thrown and a bus was burnt.

Here’s how it looked:

Police believe paramilitary groups were involved in incidents such as one in which several hundred people on each side were throwing petrol bombs in both directions in the loyalist Shankill Road and the nationalist Springfield Road.

The Shankill Road and Springfield Road in west Belfast are now added to the list that includes Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena and the Waterside area of Londonderry.

The BBC’s report editorialised:

The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to stop.

While it is a comment that should not have been made by a news reporter, This Writer tends to agree with whoever wrote it.

Sadly, with Boris Johnson running the country, he will undoubtedly dither, delay, take a holiday, and probably even hide in a fridge before taking any decisions – and by the time he does, it will probably be too late.

And, as This Site stated yesterday, this is what he wanted. He had been warned repeatedly that it would happen but he did nothing. We have to draw the obvious conclusion from that.

Source: Belfast: Emergency Stormont meeting after night of violence – BBC News

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‘Shadow’ Labour Party is a good idea – IF it can avoid the stigma that will be thrown at it for obvious reasons

Perhaps this is the moment for people who have been smeared for political reasons to form their own party.

Alex Salmond has formed Alba – a new Scottish nationalist party – after SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was found to have misled Parliament (albeit unintentionally) in evidence about accusations against him – and already one SNP MP has quit that party to join him.

Before Salmond made his announcement, suspended and expelled Labour Party members were already planning to create a ‘shadow’ Labour Party to fight back against the purge of left-wing members instigated by Keir Starmer and his unelected general secretary, David Evans.

The ‘shadow’ party is the brainchild of Labour In Exile Network (LIEN), a national organisation of members who have been unfairly suspended or expelled from the party headed by Starmer.

It is holding its first meeting today (March 27) at 6pm – and as an unfairly-expelled Labour member, This Writer did seriously consider attending.

But my problem is that I come with the kind of baggage that opponents in Labour and the other mainstream political parties could exploit.

And I’m not alone. Most, if not all, of the members of LIEN will have been removed from Labour accused of anti-Semitism or of supporting anti-Semitism by backing Jeremy Corbyn after Starmer (or was it really Evans?) suspended him.

I have no doubt that such accusations are false. They were in my case. But that won’t matter to seasoned politicians who will merrily manipulate a lie if it means keeping their privileged position.

So I hope one of the topics of tonight’s inaugural meeting will be a discussion of how to sideline such accusations and make the accusers look ridiculous.

LIEN has said this about the event:

How do we fight back against the ongoing onslaught against the left in the Labour Party? That’s the theme of LIEN’s first Fightback Meeting at 6pm on Saturday 27 March on Zoom – open to all members and supporters of LIEN (and no, you don’t have to have been expelled or suspended from the Labour Party to get involved!)

SHADOW CLPS: One key way is the building of shadow structures, “ghost” CLPs which enable members to continue debating how we advance the cause of the left. People will share their experience of setting up such structures and possibilities of national cooperation will be discussed.

WORKING GROUPS: From fighting the witch-hunt, racism and disability discrimination, to how we engage with the media and transform the Labour Party — LIEN is setting up a series of working groups to enable grassroots members to take their struggle forward. This meeting is your chance to get involved in an existing group or make the case for a new group. If you have an idea for a working group, please draw up a proposal of around 200 words and send it to [email protected] There are a few working groups already running/in preparation – see here: https://www.labour-in-exile.org/working-groups/

Please consider joining LIEN – annual minimum fee of£5 unwaged/£10 waged: https://membermojo.co.uk/lien

I have no doubt that this organisation will develop into a political party of its own, rather than concentrating on trying to save the original Labour Party; many are likely to believe this is a lost cause after more than 40 years of pollution by right-wingers, starting in earnest with Neil Kinnock but expanded hugely by Tony Blair. After that amount of time, the corruption runs deep.

I wish it the best in its inaugural meeting – and may apply to join later. I want to be sure it will be able to deal with the smears first. If you want to sign up for the meeting, you can do so here.

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Lockdown democracy exposes bizarre behaviour at local council

Zoom: who would have thought that holding a meeting over the internet would reveal so much about local councillors?

My sympathies go to the people of Handforth.

Their area of Wilmslow, Cheshire, has become a place of national interest – not to mention hilarity – after a parish council meeting held via the Zoom platform went viral with more than two million views.

Sadly, the reason for its popularity is the misbehaviour of the councillors.

Jackie Weaver, from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, said she was called in to help and “support” two parish councillors to hold the planning meeting. This is what happened:

The meeting, which took place on 10 December, descended into chaos with some people muttering under their breath while others tried to speak, hysterical laughter, participants answering phone calls and members being reprimanded.

When chairman Brian Tolver, who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the meeting, labelled himself as the “clerk”, Ms Weaver said: “The chairman simply declared himself clerk and notified everybody of the case.

“There is no way of stopping him from calling himself clerk. Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.”

Ms Weaver told the BBC there was a “positive spin” to the video going viral as it “raised the profile” of parish councils.

But she said it also showed an element of “bullying and bad behaviour” in local councils, adding: “A lot of us are working very hard – and that includes central government – to try to do something about that.”

I’m not going to link to any of the footage from the meeting. Feel free to click on the link below if you want to see it.

My point is that this is actually good for democracy. By seeing how our councillors behave (or misbehave) we become better-equipped to decide whether we want those particular people to represent us.

It also de-mystifies the processes of local government.

I predict hard times for some of the Handforth councillors in the future, as they are called to account for their behaviour.

But they have actually done us all a service.

Source: Jackie Weaver: Handforth Parish Council meeting goes viral – BBC News

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Is Whittome Labour’s latest hypocrite in the Corbyn/suspension/free speech controversy?

Nadia Whittome: her behaviour is all the more vexing because she has no reason to be loyal to Keir Starmer – he sacked her as a Parliamentary Private Secretary because she voted against a Bill that would have protected soldiers from prosecution if they participated in acts of torture overseas, and briefed the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog about the sacking BEFORE telling her.

A Labour MP who had been considered to be on the left of the party and who said Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated when his membership was suspended has become a turncoat, it seems.

Despite her own comments about Corbyn, it seems Nadia Whittome does not believe that her peers in the party should have the same right, as she stated in a Tweet following a meeting of Nottingham East Labour Party (she is MP for that constituency but not a member of the CLP):

It seems the agenda of last Friday’s CLP meeting included a motion that called for Corbyn’s reinstatement, the lifting of disciplinary measures from others for discussing the issues as well as for the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party, who imposed Corbyn’s suspension and the ban on discussing it that led to the suspensions of other party members.

Ms Whittome objected to the motion, despite having spoken against Corbyn’s suspension herself, it seems.

What are we to make of that? That she considers herself to be above her party colleagues? That she agrees that, while she may discuss such matters with impunity, it is right that rank-and-file party members be suspended for daring to do so? That she thinks party members should not be allowed to register their opposition when party officers flout rules and regulations?

That’s how it looks to This Writer.

Worse, Ms Whittome passed comment on an incident in which a Jewish CLP member left the meeting, claiming they did not feel safe there.

It appears that all was not as she led people to believe. Here‘s a statement from the CLP itself:

“There was only one interruption during the meeting. This arose when one member stated that in his personal experience he had never witnessed any antisemitism in any of our meetings. As he continued with his personal view, another member shouted out – in a manner that some found to be aggressive – that he himself had suffered personal, antisemitic abuse from the person speaking, who was taken aback and stated that this wasn’t true; the Chair intervened and tried to calm things down. At this point the member who had interrupted declared that he no longer felt safe at the meeting and left.

“The member who left has changed his narrative on social media to stating that the member he accused had ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than had attacked him personally.”

Ms Whittome also mentioned the possibility that disciplinary proceedings had been launched against a member of the CLP. This appears to be CLP chair Louise Regan, a former NUT president and (I really hope this has nothing to do with it) vice-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

It seems Ms Regan’s party membership was, in fact, suspended:

This can only be for allowing the motion to be heard (it was passed by 23 votes to 10). Ms Regan’s conduct during the meeting was described in the CLP statement as “exemplary” and Ms Whittome is said to have joined in thanking her for the way she chaired it.

If that was everything, it would be bad enough, but it seems even worse than that, as evidence has come to light claiming that Ms Whittome actually participated in a smear campaign against Ms Regan. Read:

Maybe Mr Kazmi has his own axe to grind (although, considering the number of Tweets by other people linking Ms Whittome with this AWL group, this seems doubtful). In any case, This Writer will be happy to hear what the MP has to say about all this.

At the moment, it seems likely she has fatally wounded her reputation among the very people on whom she would have to rely in order to be re-elected in any future Parliamentary poll.

And at the very least, it seems likely that she should expect a flood of complaints to Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit, that her comments have brought the party into disrepute – the very charge which, when used against her colleagues, she supported.

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U-turn and u-turn again as Boris Johnson first agrees, then refuses to meet bereaved Covid campaigners

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is resorting to flat-out lies.

How galling for the 14 million who voted for him to realise that Boris Johnson is such a craven coward.

He can’t even bear to meet people who have lost family members due to his mistakes – so he has made up a succession of reasons not to.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK may not have a snappy name but they do have a good reason for existence – they want an inquiry into the Johnson government’s decisions on the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The organisation wisely distrusts Johnson’s claim that he will hold an inquiry “at the appropriate time” and has already issued a “letter before action”, warning that the group is considering litigation to secure an inquiry.

But a letter before action is not itself litigation.

So when Boris Johnson said, “It turns out that this particular group are currently in litigation with the government. I will certainly meet them once that litigation is concluded,” he was lying.

He had previously promised to meet them.

Perhaps he was hoping that most people would not know enough about court action to tell that he was telling a falsehood in order to run away from the potentially disastrous publicity a meeting would create.

It’s also possible that he was hoping his u-turn would not come to public attention.

This Writer is already on the record as saying it is unlikely an inquiry will take place. Politicians like Johnson say there will be one “at the appropriate time” when a crisis is ongoing and people are demanding it but, the instant the trouble is over, they insist that it would be better to put the matter behind us.

Let’s face it: Johnson is notoriously bad – embarrassing, in fact – when he doesn’t have a script to read out. He may be afraid he’ll say something that may be used against him later.

So he’s running away from a meeting he promised to attend.

And that, dear reader, is the act of a coward.

Source: Coronavirus: Campaigners reject PM’s ‘poor excuse’ for not meeting them – BBC News

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Confirmed: Boris Johnson met ex-KGB agent at party, days after Nato summit on Russia

Boris Johnson: This time it’s more hair-raising for the rest of us that he has been talking to at least one former Russian KGB agent when he was not accompanied by government security experts. What did this tactless and indiscreet man let slip?

How much more evidence do you need that Boris Johnson is a security risk and a danger to everybody in the UK?

I’m writing this hours after publishing an article linking Mr Johnson to the Lebedevs, among other Russians who funded campaigns including his to become Tory leader (and therefore prime minister).

The mere fact that Mr Johnson – a man who is not known for having any tact or discretion – has met a Russian ex-KGB agent without being accompanied by his personal security detail strongly suggests that he may already be harming the UK’s security in relationship with Russia.

The meeting happened within days of his attendance at a Nato meeting in which Russia was discussed. What did he say?

I don’t know. And we cannot rely on Mr Johnson to tell us because it is well-known that he is a monstrous liar.

It seems clear that the safest thing to do is vote Mr Johnson out of 10 Downing Street, to prevent him from doing any (more?) harm.

Boris Johnson met an ex-KGB agent during a highly controversial trip to attend a party two days after attending a high-level Nato summit that focused on Russia.

The prime minister, who was foreign secretary at the time, met Russian billionaire businessman Alexander Lebedev, whose family owns Britain’s Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, following a summit of foreign ministers in Brussels staged in the wake of the poisoning of ex-Russian agent Sergei Skripal.

The two met in Italy in April 2018, a month after the attack using the novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, when Johnson, in what appears to be a highly unusual break with protocol, apparently left behind his personal security detail and flew to a lavish party at a palazzo near Perugia hosted by Lebedev’s son Evgeny.

A spokesman has gone on to acknowledge that the meeting between Johnson and Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB officer, did take place, though he insisted there was nothing was out of the ordinary.

Source: Revealed: ex-KGB agent met Boris Johnson at Italian party | Media | The Guardian

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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