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Tory Britain: we can’t afford to eat every day and we’re setting fire to our homes, trying to keep warm

Secret smile: Boris Johnson probably thinks it is very funny that his policies have made more than two million people unable to afford to eat every day, and that some people have set fire to their homes while trying to heat them by burning timber indoors.

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Because more than 12 years of Conservative government has laid the once-great United Kingdom lower than it has been in decades – possibly more than a century.

More than two million people – one in every seven adults – can no longer afford to eat food every day:

More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat

The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.

And fire brigades are now overworked dealing with blazes in houses where people started burning timber in open fires because they could not afford the cost of central heating any more:

A man in south-west London set fire to his property by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.

The man was trying to avoid putting on the central heating in his home, fire investigators said.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the incident – one of at least 100 involving open fires, log burners and heaters in the capital in the last few months – laid bare “the harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

Some might say that they don’t care; these incidents involve other people. It’s very easy to throw shade on others by saying they are unable to keep their finances in order.

But the Tory cost-of-living crisis affects us all.

Food costs more because of Brexit-related supply issues; housing costs more because the banks have increased interest rates, meaning mortgages and rents are going up; heating costs more because of the shortage of gas created last winter and accelerated by the Russia-Ukraine war; we are paying more tax to the Tory government than any UK population in more than 40 years.

Only people who are extremely rich can afford to blame others for being unable to stay warm or feed themselves in these circumstances. If you’re on a normal wage, you’ll feel the pinch soon enough.

And it’s all due to Conservative economic incompetence – sold to you with a lie that they knew what they were doing.

Or was it a lie? How much worse would you find it if this enforced starvation and these house fires were intended to happen by Boris Johnson and his party?

Source: More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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Why are the #Tories handing £270 million pounds to #privatehealth if #Covid19 is declining?

Backhander: private health companies are being given a fortune in public money by the Tory government – and the cash will go to firms that are part-owned by Tories and Tory donors.

Can anybody make sense of this?

But all the indications are that the Omicron wave has peaked and Covid-19 is declining.

There is no reason at all to give any public money to private health companies for Covid-related services.

But the money has gone and is not coming back. It seems clear there is only one reason for it:

The only reason This Writer can find for such funding is the one that has been causing the Tories all their problems at the moment: deception.

Only recently, we were told NHS England did not have enough Covid-19 tests – LFT or PCR – to cover demand; indeed, it had to take four million kits from NHS Wales in an effort to cover the shortfall.

So when we see that the number of infections is down to around 70,000, can we really believe it? Or is the investment in private healthcare justified?

It doesn’t matter – because the Tory government is deceiving us in any event.

If the number of infections isn’t really down, then the government is lying about that; if it is, then the government is lying about the need to pay private health.

My personal opinion? The number of deaths appears to have reduced as well as infections (although we’ll have to see what Monday’s data brings), so I’m willing to hazard a guess that the Omicron wave has broken.

That means there’s absolutely no reason to give any money to the profit-grubbers and Sajid Javid is simply lining shareholders’ pockets for no reason other than squandering your cash.

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#TonyBlairPetition: bid to stop former PM from having a #knighthood tops a million signatures

Tony Blair: he thought he was going to be knighted after dragging the UK into a genocidal war against a country that wasn’t doing us any harm. Now he may have to think again.

The petition to stop Tony Blair being made a “Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter” has now acquired more than a million signatures – but the tiny minority of the privileged in Westminster are digging in their heels.

The petition passed a million signatures yesterday – January 7 – and at the time of writing has nearly 1,050,000.

Some have commented on the number in terms of the number of deaths Blair caused during his disastrous adventure into Iraq with George W Bush of the United States:

But others have been busy devising spurious arguments to stymie the will of the people.

This Writer has heard rumours that Downing Street will refuse to accept the petition, point-blank. No explanation, no justification – just entitled disdain for the demands of the grubby Great Unwashed (as they still consider us).

An alternative has been put by Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey – that whether Blair receives a knighthood is a matter for the Queen:

There’s just one problem with this – but it’s a big one: the Queen is not responsible for decisions on who receives a knighthood; she acts on the recommendation of the prime minister – and in this case, he is acting on the recommendation of Labour leader Keir Starmer.

So for Davey – sorry, Sir Ed – to suggest that the petition is flying in the face of the Queen’s wishes is nonsense.

And all the time, the total number of signatures is mounting up. So far, nearly one-fortieth of the electorate has signed.

How many will have to, before the Establishment realise we won’t back down?

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‘Rescind #TonyBlairknighthood’ petition tops half a million signatures

Tony Blair: half a million (so far) say he doesn’t deserve a knighthood. What do you say?

A petition calling for Tony Blair to be denied the knighthood he has been given in the New Year Honours list has received more than half a million signatures in two days.

That’s still fewer than one per cent of the UK’s population, but the number of signatures and the speed at which people have signed the Change.org online petition clearly indicates a huge groundswell of protest against the honour for a former prime minister who led the UK into a war that killed a million people on the strength of a lie, and whose name appears in child sex procurer Ghislaine Maxwell’s infamous ‘black book’.

It is now one of the most popular petitions ever to be hosted on Change.org.

Blair’s nomination to the highest order of knighthood in the UK – the Order of the Garter – is also considered to be a signal to the general public from the UK’s rich and entitled Establishment, that our opinions don’t matter a jot, that they will do whatever they like, and that they will rub our faces in it whenever they get the chance.

Blair was nominated for his honour by Labour leader Keir Starmer, who also nominated Islamophobe Trevor Phillips for a knighthood – for his services to equality!

Starmer really insulted us with that one – having a racist knighted while claiming that his version of the Labour Party is fighting hard against racism.

If you haven’t signed, and this article has encouraged you to do so, please visit Change.org and follow the instructions.

£2.6 million was spent on Downing Street TV studio for nothing as media briefings scrapped

The briefest of briefing rooms: your local parish council could have done a better job, and cheaper, but Boris Johnson gave the contract to a company based in a hostile state. Now it is being withdrawn from service. How many times was it used?

Boris Johnson has scrapped plans for White House-style press briefings from a new £2.6 million TV studio in Downing Street – meaning he spent all that public money for nothing.

Apparently the room will be used for internal government briefings by Johnson and his ministers instead. They could do that in any ordinary Whitehall office.

Most of us have been doing much the same from our own homes, using Zoom, Skype, or even Facebook Messenger.

The decision confirms what This Writer believed – that this was nothing but another hugely expensive vanity project for Johnson.

His overspending on fripperies like this, described by some as “spaffing cash up the wall”, has brought a new meaning to the phrase “quantitative easing” (which is what the Bank of England has been having to do in order to allow the nation to cover the cost).

Johnson was shamed into admitting the existence of the studio in February, after it was reported on the social media that, after the huge expense, the space was going unused.

Last month he announced that he would be using the studio after all – and we all warned that he doesn’t have the personality to pull it off.

And then we discovered that the studio had been fitted out by a tech firm based in Russia. Who knows what surveillance equipment was installed there?

(I suppose we’ll find out soon enough, if Johnson really intends to have private briefings there instead of public, press affairs; any really embarrassing secrets will soon get out if the place is full of bugs.)

The whole sorry saga has been a national embarrassment.

Our man-child of a prime minister wanted to play with a new toy that he thought would make him look good – and has wound up looking like a spoilt brat squatting in his own mess.

Source: Downing Street scraps plans for White House-style press briefings – BBC News

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Tory Covid-19 mismanagement means 10 MILLION PEOPLE missed hospital care in 2020

Hospital ward: many people who desperately need medical care will not get treatment in one of these for years, because the Conservative government spent years starving the NHS of cash and resources (including staff) before the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s right – around one-fifth of the UK population did not receive hospital care because Boris Johnson’s Tories couldn’t be bothered to fund the NHS properly.

Don’t tell me the money isn’t there because experience over the last year has shown that it quite clearly is – the Tories simply don’t want to spend it on a service they are quietly trying to privatise.

We all knew that the Covid-19 pandemic would disrupt normal NHS services; this was inevitable no matter how well-resourced the health service would have been.

But the Tories have spent years starving it of funds and hiving off elements of it for sale to private companies that are simply incapable of helping in a crisis, even if their bosses were inclined to do so.

As a result, we now see that 4.6 million people missed out on hospital treatment – mostly because hospitals suspended their normal services in order to handle the huge influx of people who were severely ill with the virus as a result of Boris Johnson’s incompetent failure to lock down the UK in time to prevent a tragedy.

A further six million fewer people were referred by GPs to hospital for diagnostic tests and treatment because of the disruption to care, a wish not to further pressurise the overstretched NHS, and a reluctance to send patients to a place where they could catch the virus.

This means the NHS is likely to face even more pressure as these missing millions demand treatment as the pandemic eases off. And what if another wave pushes hospital admissions up again?

More to the point: how many patients have died?

And crowdfunding website GoFundMe has reported a huge increase in the number of people seeking donations to support medical care: 87 per cent more citing “waiting lists” as their reason, 60 per cent more stating they need cash for “clinical trials” and a deeply concerning 55 per cent more saying they need cash to buy cancer drugs.

The concern here is that people who pay for private surgery often end up being sent back to the NHS to have botched operations fixed.

So people who pay for operations to take pressure off the NHS could find that they are still only making matter worse.

The extent of the problem is highlighted by The Guardian:

The number of people forced to wait more than a year for their operation has rocketed from 1,613 before the pandemic to 304,044 in January this year, and more than 1 million people have been waiting at least six months, even though 92% of patients are supposed to be treated within 18 weeks under the referral to treatment scheme.

“The waiting list is already at the highest level it’s been since comparable records began in 2007, and if it did rise from 4.6 million now to 9.7 million by March 2024 as we estimate, that’s more than double the waiting list now,” [said Tim Gardner, a senior policy fellow at the Health Foundation].

Rachel Power, the chief executive of the Patients Association, pointed out that patients have gone without life-saving treatments:

She said the association was “particularly concerned by reports of treatments being cancelled that could be life-saving”.

Finally – and to hammer home the point that this is a political issue: the disruption to hospital treatment was almost one-and-a-half times as bad in poorer areas than where people are richest. The worst-affected English region was the North West.

This confirms not only that poverty affects health but also that Tories like Boris Johnson couldn’t care less; after all, they haven’t done anything about it.

It will take years to reduce the number of people waiting for treatment until the 18-week target time is achieved – even with a government that genuinely wanted to help. The experts say it won’t happen until long after the next general election.

But local elections are happening much sooner – on May 6. Tories will be concerned that voters will use them to express their displeasure with a government that let them down badly, and has been lying about what a good job it has done.

Source: Covid: 4.6m people missed out on hospital treatment in England in 2020 | NHS | The Guardian

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After £2.6m ‘TV studio’, Johnson’s £9m ‘situation room’ is adding insult to injury

Seriously?

Some prime ministers would have taken the hint after a £2.6 million TV studio attracted flak, first as a white elephant vanity project that was built only to gather dust, and then when it was announced alongside a meagre one per cent pay rise for NHS staff.

Not Boris Johnson!

No, he has decided to announce a further £9 million “situation room” to be used as a command centre during emergencies like terror attacks and disease epidemics.

What’s wrong with Cabinet Office Briefing Room ‘A’ – the eponymous “COBRA”?

That is, what’s wrong with it apart from the fact that Johnson seems allergic to the place?

It took months for anybody to entice him into it when the Covid-19 pandemic first struck.

But here’s a thing: There’s no reason to believe Johnson will darken the doorss of this new facility, should an emergency occur. He’s far more likely to run away again like the coward he is.

This is money for old rope – far better spent on developments the UK needs.

This is not the time for Johnson’s over-expensive vanity projects. Someone should have the guts to tell him.

Source: Government to spend £9m on Whitehall ‘situation room’ | Boris Johnson | The Guardian

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£2.7m TV studio shows Johnson hasn’t only been wasting cash on Covid-19

Press briefing: Johnson spent millions of pounds of your money on a TV studio he hasn’t used once, despite an apparently endless succession of press briefings and ministerial broadcasts.

Sometimes the news is focused so heavily on the Coronavirus that it’s easy to forget that Boris Johnson’s government is incompetent in every other way, too.

Case in point: he spent £2.7 million on a television studio that has never been used.

Worse, there are doubts that it ever will be, as attitudes have changed since your money was used to pay for it.

I’d say the money could have been spent on personal protective equipment but I am reminded that Johnson’s government has spent £15 billion on PPE – and then lost the lot.

This is incompetence on a historic scale.

The TV studio was part of Johnson’s infatuation with the presidential system in the United States:

The room is believed to have been modelled on the press room in the West Wing at the White House in Washington.

It was intended to be used for on-camera briefings from press secretaries and ministers.

The plans for the briefings had to be delayed due to coronavirus lockdown restrictions preventing journalists from gathering.

But with the plans on hold, it isn’t clear when they may be back on the table.

They may never be revived. This studio – worth a fortune – may remain unused for years to come, until somebody remembers it and finds a better use for the space.

In the meantime it stands as a metaphor for the contents of our prime minister’s skull:

Dark and empty.

Source: Boris Johnson ‘spent £2,700,000 on a TV studio which hasn’t been used’ | Metro News

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Covid-19 – don’t be fooled: 15 million ‘first jabs’ do not mean 15 million people have been vaccinated

The disinformation is strong in the government’s story.

The Tory government has been making a huge song and dance about having vaccinated a quarter of the UK’s population against Covid-19 – even though they haven’t.

They had an opportunity to vaccinate large numbers of the population – but with both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, that would involve giving people two injections, with the second preferably happening after a three-week interval.

That hasn’t happened. Instead – in an attempt to grab headlines by publicising a large number of people getting the vaccine – the Tories ruled that nobody would receive their second jab earlier than 12 weeks after the first.

(That’s nobody apart from super-rich people like Boris Johnson’s father Stanley who could afford to pay for it, of course).

By then, the effects of the first injection are likely to have worn off.

The 15 million people mentioned in the headline are, in fact, unlikely to have any protection at all.

Still, it’s nice that they think they’re protected, isn’t it?

I wonder what will happen if (when?) somebody who’s had the injection then contracts the disease, or even – God forbid! – dies of it.

Who will Johnson try to blame then?

I’m not saying this will definitely happen.

But by ignoring scientific advice – from the manufacturers of these vaccines, for crying out loud! – Johnson and his government have made it much more likely.

Source: Covid: UK vaccinates 15 million people | The Independent

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£831m ‘recovery fund’ for 72 high streets. But what will they do with £11.5m each?

Lip-chewing Sunak: if I kept wasting money on projects that won’t actually help the economy, I’d be nervous too.

I don’t get it. If high street businesses across the UK have gone to the wall because of the government’s lacklustre response to the economic effects of locking us all away from Covid-19 – how will this cash be spent?

The Tory government has announced that 72 high streets will get a share of £831 million – that’s around £11.5 million each.

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is bitching because Boris Johnson had offered £1 billion previously, but that’s not the point.

The question is: how is it going to help?

Many people – not just conspiracy theorists! – reckon the hardship forced on small-to-medium-sized business people may have been deliberate, in order to concentrate shoppers’ money in the hands of a few very large consumer chains.

I see little actual support for high street businesses in the projects mentioned by the Guardian article:

Among the projects selected for the funding were £17.9m for the renovation of the Scala Theatre and Corn Exchange in Worcester, a scheme to build 186 homes in Birkenhead and a plan to convert empty retail units in Tamworth, Staffordshire, into community spaces.

But according to Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, the money is supposed to be for

projects that level up opportunities and create jobs right across the country.

I don’t see how the latter will be achieved by the former. It’s just throwing cash away.

It should be injected into businesses to ensure they continue to be going concerns.

But then, of course, Sunak’s government is now best-known for spaffing £11 billion on companies owned by Tory cronies, for Covid-19-related supplies that they had no idea how to provide, while experts who had applied for the work were ignored.

That should tell you everything you need to know.

If I had a pound for every time Sunak has messed up someone’s finances, I would be richer than his wife.

Source: Government names 72 high streets in England to share £831m recovery fund | Business | The Guardian

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