Tag Archives: old

Torygraph politics: paper praises Tories for saving money because senior citizens have died of Covid-19

Some institutions have twisted priorities:

That’s the Daily Telegraph for you.

But doesn’t it make you question whether the Tory intention really was for Covid-19 to kill as many pensioners as possible, in order to cut the National Insurance bill?

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Coronavirus UK: Are the Tories deliberately trying to increase the hysteria?

Only one element unifies the constant babble about coronavirus from the UK’s Tory government at the moment: it is contradictory, confusing and seems designed to increase hysteria, rather than reduce it.

For a start: what’s with the policy of drip-feeding information via individuals or single media sites, rather than broadcasting updates to everyone in regular press conferences and on the government website?

Today we see Matt Hancock – behind a paywall – on the Torygraph website, contradicting the government’s announcement last week that the Tories would be seeking to establish ‘herd immunity’ by allowing us all to be infected, thereby condemning the oldest and weakest of us to death.

Here is that article in full. The Telegraph‘s owners should be run out of the country for putting profit before lives:

That previous announcement was made by scientific advisor Patrick Vallance. His latest advice is in The Sun. I haven’t seen it because I won’t willingly visit that paper’s website and the physical copies are only good to be snapped up by people who need toilet paper as a result of the government-induced panic-buying we’ve all seen.

Robert Peston has been parrotting information he’s been given. Did he even know it was accurate before he repeated it? My understanding is no.

Is it, as Carole Cadwalladr suggests, an attempt to avoid these leaks being attributed to individual ministers who can then be questioned over the validity of their decisions?

Worse still is the claim that people attacking this strategy are “politicising” the corona crisis.

We had this after This Site pointed out the political implications of the Grenfell Tower inferno, back in 2017. I was vindicated, of course – Grenfell has been a scandal that has rumbled on to this very day.

The simple fact is that coronavirus is already political. As Grace Blakely points out here, people have already died as a result of political decisions and the only question is whether those decisions can reduce the toll.

At the moment, it seems that Boris Johnson and his government, by flip-flopping through the crisis, adopting one strategy for a couple of days and then denying it in favour of another, are doing everything they can to create chaos, boost hysteria and ramp up the human cost.

Consider South Korea, the country generally accepted to have got the best grip on the spread of coronavirus. Here’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha explaining to Andrew Marr that testing people for the virus is vital… followed by a tweet showing that the UK government has abandoned that vital testing:

Is this a death sentence for old and vulnerable people?

Oh – and apparently the old and vulnerable could be arrested if they don’t quarantine themselves:

So it seems we’re being faced with a situation in which the people most vulnerable to the virus are being told to hide themselves away from society for weeks at a time.

What happens then? Will we see government vans roaming our streets and suburbs, calling for you to “Bring out your dead”?

There will be a knock-on effect again food banks, most of which have already been harmed by the panic-buying spree:

So the “Bring out your dead” vans will remain gainfully employed, picking up the bodies of the underpaid workers whose wages the Tories have been sitting on for so many years.

Evidence is piling up to show that the National Health Service – weakened to a constant crisis point by 10 years of Tory underfunding – is simply unable to cope with the extra workload of thousands (if not millions) of COVID-19 patients. This is the opinion of the British Medical Association, as you can see here.

Already Hancock has admitted that the service doesn’t have enough ventilators:

So he’s trying to buy some more, or get manufacturers to make them:

But it’s an ill wind that blows no good to anybody: the Tories’ friends in private medicine are set to rake in £2.4 million every day, loaning out 8,000 beds to the NHS.

That’s more than 3,000 fewer beds than the Tories closed between 2010 and 2017 (I have yet to find figures leading up to the present day)!

Meanwhile, the crisis is revealing hard truths about ourselves:

There is only one conclusion to draw from the above: Don’t trust the Tory government. You’ll be putting your life in the hands of people who simply couldn’t care less.

I think it was Tim Fenton, on his Zelo Street blog, who said Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings and their cronies simply aren’t equipped to provide information; they offer information warfare – strong on falsehood and misinformation. And they can’t seem to stop.

Call me a raging conspiracy theorist if you like, but the thought has crossed my mind that everything we’re experiencing right now could be a sign of Johnson putting those eugenics ideas into practise – you know, the ideas about cleaning the gene pool of weaknesses and impurities for which Andrew Sabisky had to resign his job as a government advisor. We have enough evidence to conclude that Johnson supports those views, as does Cummings.

So we can’t trust the government.

How about relying on something we’ve had a lot longer.

Where’s our common sense? People have had to cope with disease epidemics – of this very kind – for centuries. Why not go back to tried-and-trusted remedies, at least while the politicians and the medics try to sort themselves out?

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Sound advice for Conservative voters?

161121-advice-for-tory-votersThis was posted by Tom Pride on Twitter.

The style looks like that of Private Eye but, in these post-truth, alt-right days, it now seems less like satire and more like genuine advice.

What do you think?

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As outsourcing contracts collapse, Tories are talking about charging for NHS services

An NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people collapsed after just eight months [Image: Getty].

An NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people collapsed after just eight months [Image: Getty].


This is where our money is going.

Because the Conservatives are keen to give public money to private enterprise, two NHS trusts banded together to become a service provider for older people and those who were mentally ill – and failed.

That means they were being paid our money for a service they couldn’t provide – so the people who needed the service didn’t get it.

They still need the service but the money has gone.

And now a Conservative MP has proposed charging people for NHS services.

No.

This fiasco happened because the Conservatives created a false need to pay private firms for services.

The answer is not to introduce more commercialism into the NHS, but to strip it out completely.

Private firms should be banned from competing for NHS contracts, and the service should return to being run on sound principles of financial competence.

That is the lesson.

But Tories won’t learn from it, because they are wedded to an outdated, market-driven philosophy that simply isn’t relevant to a service like the NHS.

A “catalogue of failures” resulted in the collapse of an £800 million NHS contract to outsource care of older and mentally ill people, the Commons spending watchdog warned.

An influential committee of MPs concluded that the NHS lacked expertise in procurement and it was “worrying” that untested contracting arrangements could form part of the plans being drawn up for further changes to services across England.

The Public Accounts Committee was scathing about the doomed deal between Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and UnitingCare Partnership, which collapsed after just eight months.

The cash-strapped CCG awarded a five-year contract to UnitingCare, an NHS consortium of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, but the deal was scrapped in December 2015 after it ran into difficulties.

The MPs said: “The procurement exercise was undermined from the start by poor commercial expertise, a lack of realistic pricing, and weak oversight.

“The CCG accepted the lowest bid on the table, without seeking proper assurance that the two trusts, which had combined to form the UnitingCare Partnership, could deliver for that price.

“It was then grossly irresponsible of the trusts and the CCG to rush ahead with the contract without having resolved significant differences in their understanding of the contract price or indeed the scope of services that were included in that price.”

Source: NHS outsourcing contract collapses due to ‘catalogue of failures’ | The Independent

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A Conservative victory: Now our suffering begins in earnest

150508NHSgone

If you thought you had it bad under the Coalition then, as someone once said, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

The Conservative victory in last night’s election has left many of us reeling – not just because of its disastrous implications for the future of the UK and its citizens, but because nobody saw it coming.

Some have blamed ‘shy’ Tory voters. These are selfish little liars who skew the polls by denying any intention to vote for the Nasty Party. In the case of yesterday’s vote, many will have done so against their own best interests.

So why did they do it? The most likely reason being touted overnight is the success of the Conservative Party’s big scare tactic: The lie that Labour would go into a coalition with the Scottish National Party in the event of a hung Parliament. Cameron made vague claims that this would hit everybody in the wallet and Middle England – already burdened by a £4,000 per year loss of earnings thanks to Tory austerity – turned into a tribe of ‘shy’ Tories.

With the polls duly skewed, there was no way for Ed Miliband and Labour to know that their strategy wasn’t going to work for them, so they carried on. Britain fell into the Tory trap and now David Cameron has a slim majority.

And we are all in deep, deep trouble.

For supporters of the SNP, the disappointment must be the most bitter. Still, they supported a party with the most contradictory message of all – vote SNP in Scotland because Labour is bad, so that the SNP can go into coalition with Labour MPs from everywhere else because Labour is good.

It seems likely the most straightforward reason they voted SNP is because they had been whipped into a frenzy of righteous indignance about the independence referendum, believing the SNP propaganda that Labour was “in cahoots” with the Conservative Party – not just over the referendum but on general policy as well; ‘Red Tories’ was the SNP brand on Labour.

(Of course, others responded by labelling the SNP ‘Tartan Tories’. It is ironic that all this bickering resulted in the real Tories seizing power.)

So Scottish voters believed an SNP lie about Labour, and the knock-on effect was that English (and some Welsh) voters were convinced by a Conservative lie about Labour and the SNP. This created a domino effect which eventually meant that every single Scottish seat could have gone to the SNP, and the UK would still have ended up with a Tory government.

Is Nicola Sturgeon proud of herself? She seems to be. One is led to wonder how her party will respond to Tory legislation, when Parliament resumes.

Interestingly, Jon Craig (of Sky News) tweeted: “Tory at East Renfrewshire count: ‘Nicola Sturgeon has won more votes for the Conservatives in England than she has for the SNP in Scotland.'”

If anything, the election has demonstrated that Conservative/Coalition policy has created an atmosphere of division in the UK, greater than at any time in our history. Nationalism is on the rise, with Scotland keen to secede from the union and the UK as a whole heading for a referendum on whether to stay in the European Union.

The SNP result should also signal the death-knell of the First Past The Post voting system in this country – although its demise is likely to be protracted (the Tories will fight tooth and nail to keep it). Where’s the fairness in a system that can deliver 56 seats to the SNP with 1.5 million votes, and only one seat to UKIP, with nearly four million votes?

(This Writer supports neither party, as previous articles on this blog make all-too-clear. Facts are facts.)

It will also be interesting to see what impact – if any – the Coalition’s ‘individual voter registration’ has had on the number of people who voted. Also, how many people didn’t bother to vote “because it never changes anything”?

Come to that, what about all those people who were forced to move out of affluent areas because they couldn’t pay the Bedroom Tax (which will, of course, continue)? Did they move into Labour constituencies?

We could be looking at interference in the electoral process on an industrial scale.

150508careless

Feel free to disagree with the free pass this image gives to Scottish voters if you like; the claim about voters in England is absolutely on the button.

Overall, the situation is best summed up by ‘Grumpy David’ on Twitter: “Seriously, who’s looked at the last five years and gone yeah, more of that please?”

What of the future?

Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK tweeted that a Tory victory would mean neo-feudalism is on its way in England, the union will be broken (with Scotland seceding), and the UK will leave the EU. He also predicted an economic crisis within a year.

Europe will be a major issue for the Conservatives now. With no Liberal Democrat partners to blame for government decisions, Cameron will be exposed to attack from his own backbenchers – many of whom are raving Europhobes.

Everyone on benefits will suffer, including those in work. Rachel Martin tweeted: “If exit polls are accurate I advise you not to be poor, not to be ill, not to be old and not to be in need of a job.”

The Tory victory means the end of the welfare state as we know it: People who deserve compassion will get none. Instead they will suffer £12 billion of cuts. Many thousands will die for the sake of a few pennies.

And the NHS? Privatised. With the provisions in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that will lock that privatisation into international law. Here’s Jacob Richardson: “Imagine seeing rape crisis shelters being closed and children’s palliative care being sold off to Virgin Healthcare, and wanting more of it.”

Workers’ pay will take a hammering – and our ability to protest and get a fair deal will be removed, along with the rest of our rights according to the Human Rights Act. They will be replaced by a ‘Bill of Rights’ telling us more about what we can’t do than what we can.

The Labour Party will need to get its act together quickly. Probably the best thing to do is get right back out to the general public and get confirmation of why the vote went to the Tories. Was Labour policy too close to the party’s arch-rivals, as some have surmised? Did people feel Labour wasn’t offering a genuine alternative? There will be a conflict between the neoliberal Blairites and traditionalists, and it is important that traditional Labour wins. If there’s one thing to learn from the SNP victory, it’s that a genuinely left-wing, anti-austerity platform delivers a massive victory at the moment.

The Liberal Democrats have been destroyed as a Parliamentary political party – and rightly so. The message for others to take away is that any form of compliance with Conservatives is fatal. The Tories will shift blame for anything bad onto their partners and contrive to win more votes.

UKIP is also a spent force. Despite increasing its vote share, its representation in Parliament has been halved. Voters will see this and abandon.

The SNP has taken on the role that the Liberal Democrats enjoyed at the 2010 election. They were the darlings of the voters this year but will lose out when it becomes clear that they cannot deliver a single promise – and, in fact, their victory in Scotland ensured that they would not be able to do so.

Finally, what can we do – the public?

We need to watch the Conservatives – and any of their known collaborators – hawkishly. We need to build up information about them, their policies, and any other interests – including and especially those that are less than legal (and there will be a lot of this). They won because the public believed them. It is important to undermine that trust with the facts.

We need also to ensure that the Liberal Democrats do not stage a comeback. That party betrayed the people and must be consigned to history. Again, we need to monitor the behaviour of its members and work to make sure the public is not gulled into a false sense of trust.

And it would be good to start thinking about the kind of country we would create, if we had the chance – and what steps we could take to build it. This may seem like pie-in-the-sky at such a dark point in our nation’s history, but it is only with careful and clever planning that anybody achieves anything.

We are in a very dark pit at the moment – dug for us by the Conservative Party. At least we can take heart that, from here, the only way is up.

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Pensioners knock the wheels off Cameron’s wagon

David Icke's website  took a particularly strong view of Cameron's performance.

David Icke’s website took a characteristically strong view of Cameron’s performance.

Late last night (Tuesday), this writer was surprised to read a tweet from arch-Tory Andrew Neil, asking, “Does anybody feel that wheels are falling off Tory campaign?”

Perhaps Mr Neil had seen David Cameron’s performance at an Age UK meeting yesterday, where pensioners – widely believed to be the Conservative Party’s most loyal and likely supporters – did everything but climb onto the stage and physically rip the comedy prime minister apart.

If they are representative of all the UK’s senior citizens, then yes – not only have the wheels fallen off Cameron’s cart but the horse has bolted.

Arriving late, Cameron explained himself by saying he had just taken his 175th cabinet meeting. This display of pride at his longevity in-post impressed nobody – let’s face it, the man was facing a crowd whose defining feature is longevity. Perhaps Cameron himself was impressed by his (non-)achievement. If so, one has to wonder why; one of his first acts as prime minister was to fix the length of the current Parliament.

It was at the questions that he really fell to pieces. The first was about his diabolical treatment of the National Health Service – on which many elderly people must rely, of course. Why was it falling apart? Cameron’s claim that there was an army of carers, plus more doctors* and nurses, was met with a succinct reply from several areas: “Rubbish!”

“The NHS needs more money,” shouted a member of the audience, while another shouted: “You promised free prescriptions… we want the NHS how it used to be.”

Following on from this, Cameron tried to tell these experts on the subject that his government had protected health and social care budgets. Big mistake – as some pointed out loudly: “The social care budget has been slashed.”

Here’s The Guardian‘s coverage of the next question: “‘I am 91 …’ Dave began to applaud enthusiastically, remembering that a good TV chat show host always likes to give an old person a clap for having stayed alive so long. He quickly stopped once he realised no one else had joined in and started stroking his chin instead. In that moment, no one had ever cared more or listened harder than Dave.”

Moving on, Cameron told the tough crowd he would not have a Cabinet member responsible for the elderly: “I don’t want you to blame other people. I want you to blame me.” The response? “We are. We do.

“It’s a dream come true that I am able to ask you a question,” said a member of the audience. “Then you’ve got very low standards!” was the instant response from the others.

Challenged on his arrogant suggestion that he would not serve a third term (when he hasn’t even won a second and only got into his first by the back door), Cameron began, “What I did in my kitchen…” and was drowned out by the laughter of people who have lived long enough to have done the kinds of things in their kitchens that only feature in Cameron’s buddy George Osborne’s dreams.

“Some people have said I have been too generous to old people.” – “Not us.”

“I hope I can count on your support for a future Conservative government.” – “Not a chance.”

*It takes seven years to train a doctor; any new arrivals on wards during Cameron’s time as PM would have been initiated under the previous Labour government.

Afterwards, Asima Rentulla told ITV News: “The NHS is not protected. We rely on the NHS. The NHS is ours.”

And Graham Curtis said: “The social care budget is being slashed and slashed and slashed and the National Health Service is having to backfill what’s happening there… He was being very disingenuous.”

It was a situation that Cameron couldn’t control. The opinion polls might put his Tories close to Labour and the right-wing press might be praising him to the heavens, but there’s no way to hide the honest reaction of the public when they finally get a chance to confront the man who has caused so much unnecessary misery.

On this performance, Cameron’s days in politics – let alone in office – are numbered.

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Chancellor fails to understand Welfare Reform Act – Jayne Linney

We’re spoilt for choice with this subject – so many people have commented on it. Here’s Jayne Linney‘s contribution, as hers was the first to reach Vox Towers:

I am totally unsurprised, albeit perturbed,  that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Second Lord of the Treasury George Osborne, has demonstrated his total lack of understanding of the Welfare Reform Act. In his Conference speech he announced ‘working-age benefits will be frozen for two years after 2015′ with an added proviso that “the elderly and the disabled will be protected”.

He then confirmed Cameron’s statement of yesterday, of a £3,000 reduction in the Benefits Cap; and this is where confusion arises. Despite his promise of protection for disabled people, individuals in receipt of the work-related activity component of ESA will be included in the cap. Clearly Osborne has failed to notice that many disabled people are in receipt of precisely this benefit; and frequently these are the same people awaiting mandatory reconsiderations and/or Tribunals.

For more of her observations on this, please read the rest of the article on Jayne’s site.

You might also wish to try the Same Difference blog, which links to Ekklesia‘s article on this.

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Welcome to North Britain – Bella Caledonia

It seems some of our friends north of England are having a hard time coping with the decision that came from the Scottish referendum. The following article by Mike Small sums up the different strands of feeling – but is it accurate? Isn’t it too soon to say the Westminster parties lied about new powers for Scotland and is it accurate to say they won’t be enough to ward off the next wave of austerity from the evil Coalition government? Here’s the article:

For my friends, the ‘Proud Scots’, congratulations on your victory. Now there’s good news and some bad news for you No voters.

The good news: your vague ‘sense of Britishness’ is secure. Hurrah, no need to worry yourself any more.

The bad news: you have opened the door to £25 billion of austerity measures that will redefine the fabric of our society. On the plus side, you’ll still be able to get The Archers, so while people living in destitution sounds harsh, you won’t be inconvenienced.

The good news: the media is busy telling everyone that ‘home rule’ is coming to Scotland.

Bx7BGk7IMAADXXM.png-largeThe bad news: Gordon Brown just made that up. He’s not in government, it’s not yet 24 hours after the polls closed and the ‘Vow’ is unravelling before our eyes. Already the timetable has disintegrated. Couldn’t they have waited until the weekend before pulling it?

Apparently “Baroness Goldie” thinks appointing “Lord Smith” to reform Scottish democracy is a “strong” move.

The good news: ‘Unionists’ are so happy at the result they’re burning the saltire in George Square, singing the Famine Song and telling asians to leave the area. Is this ‘No Borders’ with a twist? Luckily, you’ve defeated ‘narrow nationalism’.

The bad news: Nigel Farage says “absolutely clear” the Barnett Formula will have to be reconsidered. He’s not alone.

Your victory has left Scotland disempowered and isolated. 73% of over 65s voted No. 71% of 16/17 year olds voted Yes. The young & the poor voted to build a new country & a better future.But the old & the rich said it’s not worth the risk.

45% of Scotland doesn’t want to be part of Britain.

Did you think that by voting for less powers you would get more powers? Funnily enough that’s not what’s going to happen. Already the agenda has moved swiftly on to home rule for England.

So – congratulations Proud Scots – an evening of celebration perhaps? Just avoid George Square, there’s a riot on.

 

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Tory attack on the poor spreads from the disabled to the elderly and children

The big question: Tories want nurses to ask the elderly, "Will you die so we can save some pennies on your pension and healthcare?"

The big question: Tories want nurses to ask the elderly, “Will you die so we can save some pennies on your pension and healthcare?”

For once, the Daily Mail‘s indignation is right on the button.

It reports today that district nurses are being asked to encourage elderly people to sign their lives away.

These ask if people have a preference to die at home when their time comes – and go on to suggest: Do you agree to a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notice?

In other words, if they suffer a life-threatening health risk and doctors could bring them back, will they tell the medical professionals not to bother?

Nobody knows how long an elderly person might live after having their life saved. Some might say the Mail is simply trying to protect its readership – but this does seem to be a cynical attempt to save money – not only on health care but also on pension payments.

“The Royal College of Nursing says its members, most of whom will be meeting the patient for the first time, should not be put into the position of asking the elderly to sign their life away, particularly since they may be confused and not have a relative present to support them,” the Mail‘s comment column states.

It quotes a healthcare expert who said “the question itself is ‘callous’ and potentially disturbing, since it might leave the frail or vulnerable wondering if the visiting nurse ‘knows something they do not’, and death is imminent.

“Doubtless the NHS will say there is no malice intended, but this approach is as deeply troubling as it is insensitive. Don’t forget the Liverpool Care Pathway – under which patients judged to be dying were left without treatment, food or fluids – similarly began with supposedly humane intentions, only to be scrapped after… fears that it was being coldly misused to free hospital beds.”

Slightly less believable – on the face of it – is a plan reported in the Daily Mirror to force children in a central London council estate to use a play area underground.

The Conservative-led council that runs the Churchill Gardens estate wants to use current play facilities at the primary school to build an elderly people’s home, the paper reported.

Land marked out to accommodate the elderly will instead be used – get this – “for luxury apartments overlooking the Thames and the multi-billion-pound Battersea power station development. Flats that no-one in the overcrowded Churchill Gardens estate will be able to afford”.

Yes – it’s social engineering. Bring in the super-rich; bury the proles (and their children). Ensure enough Conservative voters live in the area to keep the Tories in control there.

Does anybody think the council has any intention of building children’s play facilities underground? It seems a bizarre effort, considering this council’s desire to do anything rather than spend money on the poor. Also, it would open up the estate to the possibility of terrible crimes, as children who are out of sight – as Tory councillors seem to desire – would be prey to criminals.

Both stories highlight the attitude of Conservatives in power in the UK today. They don’t care about anyone but their own.

They deprive the poor to save money, and then lavish it on those who have too much already.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Three cheers for free speech!

http://youtu.be/9DFWxd6FFWs

If you weren’t watching the BBC’s Question Time on Thursday, you didn’t miss much; questions about whether the young and poor should pay to maintain the lifestyles of the rich and old, and about whether the police should have shot unarmed Mark Duggan were deflected by Tory Nadine Dorries and Lib Dem Norman Baker – lamely, but that’s all they need to do with Dimbleby in the chair to protect them.

Dorries reckoned Mark Duggan was seen with a gun in his hand and threw it away but my information is that no witness actually said this. If so, then she should have been corrected but wasn’t – that’s the level of information you get on QT these days.

Then they moved on to immigration, and we got the wonderful speech by the lady in the YouTube clip above. She might not be the most sophisticated speaker ever to grace our screens but I, for one, don’t care a jot!

She made a point that Dorries, Baker, and particularly Dimbleby – look at the way he tried to shut her down – didn’t want aired: That this government is using the non-issue of Romanian and Bulgarian immigration as cover for its real work – destroying the National Health Service and the welfare state in order to force poor people to take out inadequate insurance against poor health and unemployment instead.

Bravo, madam!

Let’s see more people doing the same on future editions of the programme.

The Establishment (including the BBC) want to keep you quiet, so just go out and make sure these people fail.

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