Tag Archives: news

An alternative view of PMQs – and it echoes Vox Political

I promised to publish alternative takes on Prime Minister’s Questions – and here’s one now.

But it doesn’t say much that I haven’t already.

There’s a bit of context: Rishi Sunak recycled lots of Boris Johnson’s old lines against the Labour Party because he was coached by Michael Gove, apparently.

But much of the rest of the commentary follows This Writer’s initial take, as PMQs was happening:

What do you think?

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‘Enough is Enough’ protests take place across the UK – and go reported everywhere but here

Here’s yet another indictment against the UK’s news media:

Fortunately there has been some coverage on the social media. Want to see some?

Here’s the RMT’s Mick Lynch:

Eddie Dempsey:

Jeremy Corbyn:

NHS Doctor Rita Issa:

So: 10,000 people came to the event in London alone, and it wasn’t worth reporting on the BBC (apparently).

Dozens more events took place across the UK and they weren’t worth reporting either (apparently).

Perhaps we should all switch to foreign news outlets, like “nurseybird”?

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NHS delays, strikes and sewage – also in the news on August 24

‘Your call is in a queue…’: is this guy waiting for the NHS to answer him, now he’s on his way out of his big job?

Politics doesn’t seem to be taking a summer holiday this year, so This Site is falling behind what’s happening – and that would never do!

So here’s a quick round-up of some of the stuff that has also been happening while Vox Political has been concentrating on other things:

NHS 111 delays force patients to wait 20 times longer than promised

Patients calling NHS 111 are being left on hold for 20 times longer than the expected time, data show, as the public is urged to use the service instead of going to accident and emergency.

The helpline for medical advice aims to answer calls in 20 seconds or less on average, according to an NHS benchmark. However, the latest official figures show the average time to answer a call was 395 seconds – six and a half minutes.

It seems the Tories have finally put the NHS on its last legs. If you do get through, but you have a serious problem, what are the chances of being treated when fundholding GPs are incentivised to work on the cheapest and easiest problems first, leaving people with more difficult ailments to wait – or go private and have to deal with doctors who don’t have a clue?

Union admits supply chain will be ‘severely disrupted’ as port workers go on strike

Almost 2,000 workers have walked out of their jobs on an eight-day workers’ strike – the latest in a summer of industrial action.

About 1,900 members of Unite, including crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores, are taking part in the first strike to disrupt the port in 31 years, following a more than nine-one vote in favour.

The union is asking for a pay rise in line with inflation – which currently stands at 12.3 per cent. Workers had previously been offered a 7% increase, as well as a £500 lump sum payment.

Strikers have accepted that their action will severely disrupt the supply chain – which has already suffered deep harm because of the Tory Brexit. It seems Conservative government policy is to inflict shortage after shortage upon the people – in the hope that many of us won’t survive it?

‘Nobody is helping’: Barristers vote for ‘indefinite’ strike starting next month

Criminal barristers in England and Wales have voted in favour of an escalation of strike action.

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which represents lawyers prosecuting and defending those accused of crimes in England and Wales, said its members had backed a plan to go on strike “on an indefinite basis” from Monday 5 September.

They join rail staff, teachers and civil servants in backing or considering industrial action over the coming months at a time when pay awards are lagging behind the four-decade high rate of inflation.

The CBA has said its members have suffered an average decrease in earnings of 28% since 2006 – when taking inflation into account – and has accused the government of refusing to engage in negotiations “aimed at finding a fair settlement”.

There is a backlog of more than 60,000 cases, with 6,000 having suffered disruption due to this strike action. The victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said the action was “the latest symptom of a criminal justice system that is severely and recklessly underfunded” and warned that victims of crime will pay the price and continue to suffer while the government allows criminals to go unpunished.

Sharkey says Government to blame for ‘sorry mess’ of sewage on our beaches

The Government’s failure to control the water industry is to blame for the “sorry mess” of sewage pumped into Britain’s beaches, an environmental campaigner has said.

Feargal Sharkey said three decades of poorly regulated profiteering among water companies and a “vacuum of political oversight” had resulted in a state of “extraordinary chaos”.

Reacting to reports that monitors being used for measuring the levels of sewage in the sea are faulty, he warned that beach-goers have no clear picture of the amount of waste in the water they swim in.

Event Duration Monitors (EDMs) used by firms across the UK either did not work for at least 90% of the time or had not been installed at all, the Liberal Democrats have found.

One has to admire Feargal Sharkey, the former pop singer turned environmental campaigner. His is the voice to trust on the ongoing pollution of our waterways that was precipitated by the imbecilic sale of the UK’s water and sewage systems to private owners by Margaret Thatcher in 1989. Sadly there is no political will to bring this nightmare back under control.

Britons facing prospect of higher food prices after US firm rejects offer to save crucial manufacturing plant

Britons are facing the prospect of higher food prices after a US firm rejected an offer to save a crucial manufacturing plant, an MP has warned.

The shutdown of CF Industries’ fertiliser factory in Ince, Cheshire, is all but complete after a UK-based group of investors failed in a rescue bid. Hundreds of jobs have been lost at the facility.

CF produces 60 per cent of Britain’s CO2 supplies as a by-product of agricultural fertiliser. The gas is crucial in packing and preserving fresh food and salads.

Labour MP Justin Madders, whose constituency includes Ince, said the factory closure means CF has a ‘stranglehold over fertiliser prices in the UK’.

There’s an opportunity here for someone. It seems former Army chief Lord Dannatt wanted to buy the plant but CF didn’t want to sell, which indicates that it wanted to push up CO2 prices – understandable, considering it had a government bailout in 2021 so its finances can’t be particularly good. One wonders how much its bosses and shareholders take home in pay and dividends, though.

And if one fertiliser factory can offer CO2 as a by-product, can’t others do the same? There must be a business model that will work.

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#BBC uses military parade as #Ukraine ‘invasion’ footage. #Propaganda?

Following on from an article This Site has literally just published, pointing out that calls to censor Russia Today as a state-sponsored propaganda unit make no sense when the BBC is unhindered, here’s Skwawkbox:

The BBC has been caught presenting video of a military parade fly-by as footage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Full Fact confirmed that the video broadcast on the Breakfast programme yesterday as showing the invasion was in fact 2020 footage of a fly-past as part of a parade in May 2020.

The BBC claimed the footage was ‘used once briefly in error’ and that it had spoken to staff about the importance of checking what they are showing.

It’s very difficult to use old footage “in error” as it has to be specially ordered from the BBC archive.

Skwawkbox points out that the BBC was caught using this dodge before – swapping old footage of Boris Johnson laying a Remembrance Day wreath for current images in which he insulted veterans by laying it upside-down in 2019. The BBC did apologise for this – although it did not admit doing it to cover up the insult.

In a similar vein, the BBC has been running articles on false images purporting to be of the Russia-Ukraine conflict while in fact being archive footage or images from video games – here’s one – but there has been no article acknowledging its own use of such material (at the time of writing).

Source: BBC uses military parade as Ukraine ‘invasion’ footage – but their excuse is ‘near-impossible’ – SKWAWKBOX

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Work and Pensions Secretary DEMOLISHED in TV interview on her work and Johnson’s lies

Time of her life: Therese Coffey danced (badly) and sang (off-key) as her government removed the Universal Credit uplift that has been a lifeline for millions of people.

Bizarrely, Therese Coffey probably thought that she did well in her interview with Kay Burley on Sky News today (January 27).

For the rest of us, the message was very different: stonewalling doesn’t work when the evidence is on a screen behind you.

On Boris Johnson’s party lies, the woman who raved it up (legally, but in extremely poor taste) as her policy to remove the Universal Credit uplift was inflicted on millions of people said she was not aware of any parties happening in Downing Street.

On his admission that if he had broken the Ministerial Code he should resign, she evaded.

On the evidence that he had lied about authorising the transport of an animal charity from Afghanistan instead of people, she denied the evidence on the screen behind her.

On the UK’s abandonment of that country, with people being forced to sell their kidneys in order to eat, she displayed indifference; she couldn’t have cared less.

On child poverty in the UK, she showed similar indifference while claiming to be working to ease deprivation.

And when she was challenged on her plan to cut people’s benefits to force them into jobs, she showed no concern at all.

The performance was an indictment against a government that allows people like Coffey to be elected into Parliament, let alone high office.

And Burley may have felt that Coffey’s answers were like spitting in her face; Sky took her off-air for an extended period after she was found to have held a birthday party during lockdown, and she said she works in a food bank on Fridays where she sees the results of Coffey’s impoverishment strategy for working people.

But this is where we are. The people of the UK elected this creature into government in 2019 and should not be surprised that she behaves according to her vile nature.

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Covid-19: it isn’t over, the news media are lying to you, and you are MORE likely to die

Lying: Boris Johnson has fed us a lot of diseased tripe about Covid-19 since February 2020 and the news media have been happy to help him. They’re still doing it now.

Feeling good about yourself because you’re double-vaccinated and the Tories have ended social distancing rules? How do you feel about this, then?

I know what some of you will say: it’s still better than everywhere else because Boris Johnson and his crooks have done such a good job with the vaccine. Right?

Wrong:

In a nutshell…

Here’s the reason:

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s someone who’s just back from abroad:

The death toll since Johnson’s so-called Freedom Day (July 19) is appalling – and families of the deceased are being urged to take action:

And nearly as many more people are expected to die before Christmas – who would live if Johnson only saw sense and re-imposed life-saving restrictions. Ah, but he’s on his holibobs, isn’t he?

Among the dead are NHS nurses like this one, meaning the number of people qualified to help fight Covid-19 is decreasing.

Meanwhile the media are feeding is misinformation. Consider the BBC’s claims that the vaccination programme is good reason to excuse the government for the tens of thousands of deaths it caused at the start of the pandemic crisis:

It is reckoned that 20,000 people died because of mistakes made in the first few weeks of the crisis. That’s as many as are expected to have died between July 19 and December 25, after Johnson’s Freedom Day stunt.

Oh, and then there’s this:

And this:

And still the Tory apologists leap forward to excuse them. Jolyon Rubinstein is (almost) right on the button with his comment below (one Tory has stepped forward to apologise – although he’s nobody important):

Along came Ryan (below) to let the Tories off the hook with a lot of twaddle.

If the blame game gets us nowhere, why is Health Secretary Sajid Javid preparing to blame GPs for failing to hold enough face-to-face appointments with patients, after creating a funding scheme that doesn’t help?

Not only that, but we know that the government didn’t pay attention to expert advice and take action accordingly.

Covid-19 is indeed (partially) a natural disaster, but it is one that has been made much worse by Boris Johnson and his cronies.

The situation is crystallised by the hypocrisy of the “He’s doing his best” narrative about Boris Johnson:

Yes, he’s “doing his best” by pretending to be Picasso in some paradise villa. Meanwhile:

Of course we know why Johnson took his holiday this week. It was to avoid having to answer the damning report on the government’s response to Covid-19 that became public this week.

He left that to his ministers, including a Health Secretary who hasn’t even bothered to read it…

… and a former Health Secretary who lied to us that one of the countries that has performed best in handling the pandemic is now doing worse than the UK. It isn’tNew Zealand is much, much healthier than we are:

Now get ready for the really bad news:

The situation in the UK is about to get much, much worse. And that will happen because your Tory government couldn’t be bothered to prevent it, and because its complacent, client news media couldn’t be bothered to warn you.

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What’s happening? New online news show highlights grassroots activism to improve lives

This is interesting – and may work if it gets a chance:

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Stop lying, BBC! Starmer wasn’t heckled over his mother but for failing to support the NHS

Why do people bother to pay the licence fee when BBC News feeds them lies?

The current editor-approved attack line against socialists is that people who – rightly – heckled Keir Starmer’s speech to the Labour conference were mocking him for talking about his mother being in intensive care.

This is a lie.

See it in action in this clip in which Laura Pidcock was asked for her reaction:

Note that the false implication about Starmer’s mother isn’t fanfared – it’s just slipped into the clip to take you by surprise.

Here’s the reality of the situation:

The correct news angle would have been to ask why Starmer doesn’t support a 15 per cent pay rise for nurses if he appreciates the work they did for (among others) his own mother. Isn’t it hypocritical and insensitive of him to use his own mother in such a way?

Starmer’s speech was full of similar howlers. Top of this list is his announcement of a new organisation, Labour Friends of the Police, on the day we heard how a police officer used his powers to arrest, kidnap, rape and murder a woman, and then burned the body.

If that is the kind of friend Keir Starmer wants, then he is no friend of yours.

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Also in the news: Johnson’s plan won’t even start to fix social care crisis

Less than this much: Boris Johnson explains how much concern he has for improving social care for people who are poor.

A smaller-than-usual edition of ‘Also in…’ today because This Site was afflicted with technical problems yesterday (September 14), Enjoy:

Social care: Boris Johnson’s “plan” won’t improve quality but is only intended to help the rich

Winter flu: Johnson is ‘finalising’ plans – that will be diabolical if his social care ideas are a yardstick

The Tory ‘chumocracy’ is huge: one quarter of donors have received honours in return

This is from Byline Times:

More than a quarter of Conservative donors who have given more than £100,000 to the party hold a title or honour.

Three-quarters of the party’s elite donors received these titles after the Conservatives came to power in 2010, an investigation by the Byline Intelligence Team and The Citizens has found.

Of the Conservative Party’s 20 biggest donors since 2010 – those donating more than £1.5 million – 55% (11) have received an honour or title. Ten were given these rewards in the last decade.

Industry boss says food and drink shortages are ‘permanent’ but Johnson protests that Christmas will be ‘normal’

This is from The Independent:

Food shortages in supermarkets and restaurants are “permanent” and shoppers will never again enjoy a full choice of items, an industry boss has told Britons.

In an extraordinary warning, the head of the Food and Drink Federation said staff shortages – triggered by a combination of Covid and Brexit – had killed off the “just-in-time” delivery model.

But Downing Street rejected the claim of a broken system and, in a potential hostage to fortune, predicted the shortages will be over by the festive season.

Pressed on whether the shortages will ease to allow people to enjoy a “normal Christmas”, Boris Johnson’s spokesman told The Independent: “I believe so, yes.”

It’s another wild boast from a man with a bad reputation for making false claims.

What will people think when Christmas arrives and it is plagued with the shortages Johnson swore would not happen?

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Also in the news: right-wing media plan to speed NHS privatisation?

Today’s headlines:

Are the right-wing papers trying to hasten privatisation of the NHS by discrediting staff?

This Writer can’t really understand why the Tories want to move us on to an insurance-based health system when that’s what we’re on already. Attlee and Bevan didn’t call it National Insurance for fun, you know!

The simple reason privatised health care won’t work in the UK is that we already pay out health insurance into a system that is far more efficient – because it pools our resources – than a system in which we all pay individually ever could be.

Any problems with the NHS lie in the choices of what is done with the money. Those choices are bad at the moment because the Conservatives are desperate to hand the whole thing over to private firms who prize their profits over your health. If they gave up and concentrated on providing good health care, the situation would reverse rapidly.

Today’s reason to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel

If I were still a member of the Labour Party, I would probably be expelled for publicising this.

But that is because Labour is currently run by puppets of the Israeli government. Think about it.

After one manifesto promise was broken, they’re all tumbling

Government ran national disability survey – but didn’t bother to read most of the responses

Boris Johnson’s £250m ‘Best of British’ flagship could be designed by foreigners

That’s Tory outsourcing and globalism for you. It would make him into a liar (again) – so he’s obviously not going to be bothered about that.

It should be scrapped anyway.

Johnson threatens to remain as prime minister for another decade

Well, Labour certainly won’t be able to stop him, with Keir Starmer or any of his right-wing cult members as leader – and they aren’t going to let anybody lead the party who actually knows how to beat the Tories.

Still, there’s always the chance that one of Johnson’s own cronies will backstab him instead.

Oh, but wait…!

Oh. My goodness.

He has written 14,000 words in yet another attempt to reset his failed leadership – why can’t he just give up? – and still won’t actually stand for anything by the end of it!

That’s convinced me. Johnson will be in government until he dies – or we do, whichever comes first.

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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