Tag Archives: Michael

No emergency budget to help with cost-of-living crisis

Michael Gove: it seems there won’t be any levelling-UP of opportunity while he’s in charge of it.

The Secretary of State for ‘Levelling Up’ has made a mockery of his title by saying there will be no emergency budget to provide help for families facing financial hardship in the cost-of-living crisis his government has caused.

Michael Gove said Boris Johnson’s claim that Chancellor Rishi Sunak and he “would be saying more about this in the days to come” had been widely misinterpreted:

“The prime minister is right. We will be saying more and doing more in order to help people with the cost of living challenge we face at the moment, but that doesn’t amount to an emergency budget. It is part of the work of government.

“Last night the prime minister convened a group of ministers – we have all done work on some of the things we could do to help. Those policy initiatives will be announced by individual departments in due course as they are worked up.”

And the Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart, said

the cost of living crisis was “now the most important challenge” in Britain which he and Cabinet colleagues would be discussing how to solve this week.

“You will hear more probably on Thursday after the Cabinet has met,” he told TalkTV.

This Writer will believe in new measures only when I hear them.

The ideas on the table so far are pathetically weak – cutting the frequency of MOT tests on cars to once every two years, for crying out loud! How is making our roads unsafe going to save money after the collisions start happening?

Put it together with the words of Johnson, Gove and Hart and we see a government that is happy to put us all in an impossible situation, and then delighted to leave us all to find our own way out of it.

Source: PM’s cost of living hint has been ‘over interpreted’, says Gove – and no emergency budget

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Septic Starmer’s new policies attack nurses and teachers – like a toxic Tory

Apt: Keir Starmer reckons he was named after original Labour leader Hardie – but can anyone doubt that his illustrious forerunner might have said these words, if confronted with evidence of Starmer’s determination to destroy the party he helped to found.

Keir Starmer has, it seems, provided ample further evidence that he is deliberately trying to destroy the Labour Party from within.

According to Skwawkbox, Starmer’s Labour would freeze the pay of teachers and nurses.

The claim follows comments by Tory Michael Fabricant that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak should be excused their criminal lawbreaking (and dishonesty, in Johnson’s case) in attending the infamous Downing Street parties.

He said he knew of nurses and teachers who went for a quiet drink in staff rooms after shifts during lockdown.

According to the BBC,

Teaching leaders criticised the comments as “deeply insulting”… The RCN said it wanted to formally complain.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen criticised the MP’s comments and said nurses and nursing support staff would, after finishing well past the end of their shifts, “get home, clean their uniforms, shower and collapse into bed” rather than “have a quiet one in the staff room”.

“It is utterly demoralising – and factually incorrect – to hear you suggest that our diligent, safety critical profession, can reasonably be compared to any elected official breaking the law, at any time,”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders’ union, said in a letter to the education secretary Mr Fabricant’s suggestion was “wholly inaccurate and deeply insulting” to teachers as a profession.

Mr Fabricant’s comments were “as insulting as they are offensive”, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said.

And now it seems Starmer is in full agreement with the Tory (again) and determined to stick the knife into teachers and nurses too.

Other policies announced by Starmer, according to Skwawkbox, include:

  • Protecting non doms – Labour wants to ‘reform’ the system that allows hugely-wealthy foreigners to live tax-free in the UK, just as the Tories are already planning to do. Is this because Starmer is still scrabbling around for donations to save his nigh-on-bankrupt party?
  • And arresting environmental campaigners and people who go on strike to defend their rights from removal by government.

If this is true, then it validates that great Left thinker Noam Chomsky’s assertion that Starmer’s Labour is “Thatcher-lite” and there’s no difference between his so-called “Opposition” and the hated Boris Johnson Tory government – an administration that fits all the qualifications to be described as Fascist.

And this is interesting. Only days ago, on Facebook, several commenters vociferously objected after I suggested that voters should boycott Labour in the May 5 local elections in order to engineer a change in that party’s direction before Starmer gives Boris Johnson an even bigger Parliamentary majority at the next general election.

Considering the implications of this – and of what it means about future policies from Starmer’s toxic team – I wonder if those people are ready to change their minds?

Source: Starmer finally announces 3 policies – like toxic buses all arriving at once – SKWAWKBOX

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Tories fall out: Heseltine lays into Sunak’s Spring Statement

Michael Heseltine at Downing Street in 2017 when he was sacked from his advisory roles for rebelling against the government in a Brexit vote in the House of Lords.

Don’t you just love it when Conservatives start arguing amongst themselves?

It tends to indicate that their government doesn’t have much life left in it.

Rishi Sunak’s spring statement has been labelled “cloud cuckoo land” by the former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine.

Asked on LBC radio by presenter Andrew Marr for his thoughts on the chancellor’s spring statement, which did not land with “universal enthusiasm”, Lord Heseltine replied: “No and nor can it, it’s cloud cuckoo land.

“As the chancellor has said that public finances are in a difficult situation, the debt is rising and inflation is likely to force up interests are so, all this talk about tax cuts and cutting public expenditure and all this sort of thing is simply not real in the present circumstances.

He added: “What is needed is a strategic plan to battle our way through by increasing the scale of the economy and economic activity and more productive investment. But there are no plans expect in a limited number of places.”

“The one thing that I’m as sure as I can be from any experience I have is that the next twelve months with the cost of living rises and the reduction in living standards is going to be, very, very difficult for the government. “

Let’s hope so – as the architects of our difficulties, they deserve to suffer much more than we will.

Source: Rishi Sunak’s spring statement labelled ‘cloud cuckoo land’ by Lord Heseltine

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Grade confirmed as Ofcom chair despite MPs’ warning about lack of knowledge

Not ideal: Lord Michael Grade’s understanding of the social media comes from his own children – he doesn’t use it himself. And remember, this is a man who failed to realise Jimmy Savile was committing many terrible crimes, while an executive at the BBC.

Former BBC chair and Channel 4 boss Lord Michael Grade has been confirmed as the new chair of Ofcom, despite apparent glaring gaps in his knowledge of the social media and online safety.

This is important because Ofcom will be responsible for policing online safety after the new Bill on that subject becomes law.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said Grade had been appointed by the culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, to the £142,500-a-year role for four years from 1 May.

This was despite concerns raised by the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that it was concerned by Lord Grade’s admission this week that he does not use social media but is aware of how it works thanks to his children:

“His clear lack of depth when talking about social media and online safety gives us concerns,” said the committee in a report published on Friday, hours before the government confirmed his appointment.

“He appears to understand the importance of Ofcom’s new role in regulating the online space. It would be difficult to find a candidate with deep experience across the whole of Ofcom’s remit, and we hope that he will be well supported with the necessary advice to fulfil his role as chair.”

The committee, which did not have the power to block Grade’s appointment, was scathing about the DCMS hiring process… Conservative chair Julian Knight said: “This shambles of a process gives us great concern about the department’s ability to run effective and impartial public appointment competitions.”

In a statement issued after Grade’s confirmation, Knight said the rapid appointment of Grade and that of Orlando Fraser as chair of the Charity Commission on Friday showed the appointments process was “broken”. “The fact that the DCMS department has taken only a matter of hours to put aside our concerns highlights once again that there are serious underlying issues at play here,” he said.

The concerns about Grade’s ability to tackle online safety may be well-founded.

Bear in mind this comment on his appointment, from a reader on Facebook:

“What, the guy who let [Jimmy] Savile run riot when running [the] BBC? *That* Michael Grade?

Source: Michael Grade confirmed as Ofcom chair despite MPs’ warning | Ofcom | The Guardian

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Tory lord Michael Grade is government’s (new) preferred candidate to run Ofcom

The ideal candidate? Michael Grade.

The Tory government’s convoluted quest to find someone sympathetic to them to run the comms regulater Ofcom may soon be at an end.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has said ministers reckon former BBC1 and Channel 4 boss – now a Tory lord – Michael Grade is the “ideal candidate” for the role.

If appointed, Lord Grade will move to the cross-benches in the House of Lords and will give up any non-executive roles that could cause a conflict of interest in his new position.

Is he a good choice, though? Well, he has made some… controversial decisions. In 1985, as controller of BBC1, he launched a vendetta against Doctor Who that led to the show being axed four years later. It was relaunched 16 years later and became the BBC’s flagship drama show.

However, he has spoken in favour of privatising of Channel 4 and recently criticised the BBC’s coverage of events like the Downing Street parties as “gleeful and disrespectful”. So he seems perfect for the Tories’ purposes.

But then, they – including Dorries – already spent years trying to shoehorn Paul Dacre into the role, until he eventually gave up, saying the civil service had prejudiced the process against him because of his right-of-centre “convictions”. We may have different ideas about where the prejudice lies, Paul!

Lord Grade will now appear before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee for pre-appointment scrutiny on a date yet to be confirmed.

Ofcom deals with licencing and complaints to do with radio, television and telecoms, among other things – and its scope is likely to be expanded hugely by the Online Safety Bill which will give it new responsibilities and resources to ensure online platforms tackle illegal and abusive material.

There may be one fly in the Tory ointment: at 79, one wonders how long Lord Grade will be able to keep a grip on the role. Will they be looking for a new candidate in a couple of years?

Source: Tory peer and ex-broadcaster Michael Grade named as preferred govt candidate for Ofcom chair

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Gove slams criticism of ‘ungenerous’ scheme that only helps refugees IF YOU KNOW THEIR NAME

Michael Gove: This Site has better pictures but the Spitting Image dummy’s cheeks look like what he was talking in the House of Commons.

Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove had a rather spectacular meltdown in the House of Commons when he attacked critics of the government’s new Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Let’s have a look, shall we?

This Writer recalls there were a few allegations about him flirting with a certain white powder a while ago. Based on this performance, one has to question whether the claim was accurate.

He banged on the Dispatch Box, he strutted up and down the Chamber, he wagged his fingers around in aimless gestures, and as for his language… “Chuck it?” Really?

Let’s have a look at that “ungenerous” claim.

Under the new scheme, people who wish to offer a rent-free space in their home or a separate residence, for at least six months, can register their interest online.

Each household housing a refugee will be offered £350 a month, tax-free. They will not be expected to provide food and living expenses but can choose to offer this.

But they can only sponsor a Ukrainian national to receive an entry visa into the UK if they already know the individual by name.

Bearing in mind that 43,800 people signed up for the scheme in its first five hours, I wonder whether they all have that kind of connection with people from the eastern European country.

Time will tell but people are already having their say about Gove’s outburst – and it hasn’t been complimentary:

(Gove was probably referring to a claim that the “hostile environment” policy was made possible because a Labour Home Secretary (Alan Johnson?) authorised the destruction of many documents proving that people of the so-called Windrush Generation (for example) had a right of residence in the UK. The documents were destroyed during the term of his successor, Theresa May, though.

May went on to coin the term in a 2012 speech: “The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants.” So it is her policy – Conservative policy.

The last point is very good: the accusations aren’t that the UK isn’t generous but that the Conservative government running it isn’t.

The UK’s citizens didn’t create the conditions under which Windrush people were thrown out, and they didn’t create the conditions in which Ukrainian refugees are being refused entry.

A Tory government is – one that contained Michael Gove in some capacity.

He’s got a lot of cheek, coming out with that.

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‘If Boris goes, Brexit goes.’ Would that be such a bad thing?

A perfect metaphor: Boris Johnson tried to publicise Brexit by coming down a zipwire waving Union flags. He got stuck and was left hanging helplessly in the air – just as his half-baked “oven-ready Brexit” has left many of the rest of us.

Former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine has raised a serious possibility: with Boris Johnson in danger of losing his job because of rule-breaking, his Brexit may lose its credibility.

Lord Heseltine, writing in The Guardian, suggested that

Having proclaimed the Brexit referendum triumph of 2016 as the unique achievement of Boris Johnson and praised his historic success in the election three years later with the slogan “get Brexit done”… the wreckers of the European dream slowly begin to realise that if Johnson goes, it shifts the sands from beneath their feet.

He and Lord Adonis, leaders of the European Movement, devised and publicised the slogan, “If Boris goes, Brexit goes”. It’s causing hysteria among Brexiteers, but they have a point:

 If the prime minister is found to have lied to parliament and to the people, what defence is there to the allegation that the Brexit cause – mired in similar controversy over lies and dissembling – was conducted with the same disregard for the truth?

We all have a clear memory of the Brexit campaign and what was said. That we were being run by Brussels. That European restrictions were holding back our economy and lowering our living standards. That we could keep all the benefits of the single market and customs union, while negotiating trade deals with faster-growing countries in a world that was shifting east. That we had to regain control over our borders. That there would be no new border between Northern Ireland and mainland Great Britain, and that the Good Friday agreement, having ended years of strife, would be fully honoured.

[Johnson] claimed that a barebones trade deal – without most of the benefits of the customs union and the single market – was “oven ready” and would “get Brexit done”.

Except [the] deal didn’t “get Brexit done”. Within months it had seriously frustrated trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and the government threatened to tear up the very deal it had itself negotiated to safeguard the position of Northern Ireland. Lord Frost resigned from the cabinet as Brexit minister last December after less than a year, complaining of the Covid strategy but also bemoaning that, regarding Brexit, the correct agenda was not being pursued.

He gave no detail as to what that agenda should have been or who was holding it up, but the villains were familiar: the metropolitan elite, the civil service, the BBC, Brussels, the remoaners – … Everyone except the actual people in positions of power.

And now Johnson, under serious threat of losing his job, has made Jacob Rees-Mogg Frost’s successor – a man so clueless he has actually asked Sun readers if they have any ideas that could save Brexit.

Meanwhile, the bombshells continue to land: now, even cows have become a Brexit sticking-point – because their ears have to be re-tagged if they move from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.

It’s another example of the “burdensome red tape” that has been choking the UK ever since Johnson’s “oven-ready Brexit” was enacted – a change that, remember, he promised would release us all from bureaucratic restrictions.

So Brexit may unravel altogether if its biggest cheerleader bites the bullet over Covid-19 rule-breaking.

Would that be such a bad thing?

Source: Why the panic among Boris Johnson’s allies? Because they know Brexit is unravelling

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Michael Gove appoints apparent racist to advise on ‘levelling-up’ plan

Paul Collier: does his appointment make Michael Gove’s ‘Levelling Up’ project racist?

Is this an admission that Boris Johnson’s Tory government intends to treat non-white citizens as second-class (or worse)?

It seems so.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up (as if that title means anything), has appointed Paul Collier to advise him on his plan for the nation.

The development economist at Oxford University is infamous for having claimed that immigration has made indigenous British people a “minority” in London.

He also said nobody born in the UK but with even one parent who was an immigrant should consider themselves indigenous, and that people born of immigrants who had been here longer may only call themselves indigenous if they have integrated into society.

And this is the man Gove wants to advise on the 12 points of his “Levelling Up” plan, including schemes to improve everything from pay, jobs, research and development spending and transport connectivity in struggling areas, to “restoring local pride”.

Does this mean the only people who’ll receive “Levelling Up” help are those who can trace their ancestry back to Alfred the Great? I think even the Queen might have a problem with that.

It certainly seems geared to exclude large numbers of the population on the basis of race.

And this would fit with the Johnson government’s fascism, as it would identify ethnic minorities as enemies who may deprive areas of “Levelling Up” funding, in a bid to unify Collier’s “indigenous” people against them.

Source: Professor who suggested non-white Britons not ‘indigenous’ to advise Gove on levelling-up plan

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#BorisJohnson reshuffles #Cabinet to shift blame – but can’t even do that well

Thumbs up: Boris Johnson has announced new roles for some of his MPs in a bid to be seen to be cleaning up the government. But there’s no indication of HOW they’ll do it – so what’s the point?

Errant prime minister Boris Johnson, still trying to divert attention – or blame – away from his (alleged) participation in those lockdown-busting Downing Street parties, has decided to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Many of us predicted that he would carry out a reshuffle to present one or more scapegoats to the public – and save his own alcohol-soaked neck.

But this one seems more a case of Johnson lining up sacrificial lambs – to take the heat off him in the future.

So Jacob Rees-Mogg becomes Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, even though experience has shown that there are no opportunities arising from Brexit that are worth having.

That being said, the wording of his new title is vague enough that it could refer to opportunities arising from Brexit for a very few, very rich people – those for whom Brexit was originally intended.

As for government efficiency – exactly what does Boris Johnson want his government to be efficient at doing?

Ultimately, This Writer doesn’t think it matters – if public opinion turns against Johnson because of misbehaviour by government personnel, it will be Rees-Mogg’s responsibility; if the cost of living rises further because of Brexit (for example, due to increased bureaucracy at our borders), it will be Rees-Mogg’s fault.

Chris Heaton-Harris becomes the new chief whip, because his forerunner Mark Spencer is replacing Rees-Mogg as Leader of the House of Commons.

Spencer’s appointment has been questioned because he is currently being investigated for Islamophobia after allegations were made by former Tory Cabinet Minister Nusrat Ghani.

Logically he should have been suspended from any position of responsibility, at least until such time as the investigation is complete – not promoted to a position of more responsibility.

Indeed, as Leader of the House, he is responsible for standards of behaviour in Westminster. Doesn’t that make him responsible for the investigation into himself? And isn’t that a conflict of interest?

I think it is.

Paymaster General Michael Ellis takes on some roles currently carried out by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, lifting some weight from Steve Barclay, the incumbent, who Johnson appointed as Downing Street Chief of Staff this  week, in addition to his ministerial role and his duties as a constituency MP.

Questions have been raised about Barclay’s ability to carry out three jobs at once, and Ellis’s appointment seems to have been an attempt to address that issue – alongside being a reward for his attempts to defend Johnson from allegations about the Downing Street parties in Parliament.

In agreeing to take on three jobs at once, of course, Barclay has shown that Johnson didn’t learn any lessons at all from the Owen Paterson scandal last year, which was all about MPs having more than one job (although, admittedly, their second and subsequent jobs were outside Parliament, not in it).

So it seems that Johnson is lining the ways of the Cabinet Office with potential fall guys if the government comes under further criticism for letting us all down.

And – crucially – we’ve heard nothing about how putting these people into these jobs will ensure that Downing Street – and the government generally – will clean up its act. Are we just to take it on trust? Only, some of us don’t have very much trust left for Boris Johnson.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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#LevellingUp, #Tories? By cutting #taxes for the rich and heaping them on the poor?

Michael Gove: this Tory has been part of the government for 10 of the last 11 years and says levelling-up is needed because poor communities have been undervalued for years. Wasn’t that his doing? He’s not providing enough. And he’s busily giving tax breaks to bankers while punching working people down with the biggest tax burden in decades.

Michael Gove’s “levelling up” project is already an embarrassment to the Tories and the UK – and he’s only just provided any details?

The plan is to close the gap between rich and poor areas by 2030 through improving services such as education, broadband and transport.

The Tories say they’ll provide £11 billion for projects between now and 2030, including:

  • £100m of new investment for innovation centres to boost research and development in Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Glasgow
  • A £1.5bn fund to give loans to small and medium-sized house builders for new homes mostly outside London and the South-East
  • £5bn in bus services and active travel
  • £1.8bn invested in new housing infrastructure, turning brownfield land into projects across the country
  • £230m extra in grassroots football
  • £30m allocated to improving parks and urban green spaces
  • An extra £560m in activities for young people
  • An additional £150m in a safer streets fund

Does that seem generous? Not when compared with other countries, as critics have pointed out:

It doesn’t even compare with the amounts the Tories have wasted:

But there is a solution!

Some have pointed out that Gove has been a poor choice to front this project:

But the biggest flaw in the Tory plan for “levelling up” is that party’s own ongoing project to overbalance the nation’s wealth in favour of people who are already super-rich.

On the same day as Gove announced this project, the Tory government pushed through a plan to cut taxes for rich bankers – by £1 billion per year. This is at the same time as they are inflicting a 10 per cent increase in National Insurance on working people, after cutting Universal Credit for the same workers by more than £1,000 per year.

Ultimately we come to the big question: why is there a disparity between “rich” and “poor” areas that needs “levelling up”?

One-word answer: Tories like Michael Gove.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook