Tag Archives: pandemic

The people want a windfall tax on big firms’ pandemic profits. Why is Keir Starmer getting in the way?

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

I bet certain commentators will be doing their best to muddy this issue so let’s make it clear:

There are moves to increase Corporation Tax, forcing companies to pay more when they could be investing that money in (for example) employment of people who desperately need a regular paycheque. This is a bad idea.

There are also moves to levy a windfall tax on firms and individuals who have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic – such as Amazon and all those Tory cronies who won huge Covid-related contracts. This is a good idea and is supported by 70 per cent of the population, according to a Survation poll.

Keir Starmer and his Zombie Labour party oppose any increase in taxation for businesses.

There will be voters who are shocked that anybody claiming to be a Labour Party representative should plead against taxing corporations, and while there are good reasons for leaving Corporation Tax low at the moment, although it is likely that firms will need further incentives to keep them on the straight and narrow, there is no reason at all to back away from a windfall tax.

This decision is spitting in the faces of the voters – at a time when Starmer desperately needs to get them on-side.

Labour is falling increasingly further behind, at a time when – we were told – the party should be at least 20 points ahead of anybody else, having dumped Jeremy Corbyn.

Is it time his supporters’ club admitted that this wasn’t true and Starmer is a non-starter?

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Wealth tax plan to help pay for Covid crisis could be ignored if you don’t have your say

Cash: The richest people in the UK can afford to lose one per cent of theirs much more easily than you can afford to lose nine per cent of yours. But the Tory government listens to them, not you. What are you going to do about it?

The UK’s wealthiest households should pay a special tax to help cover the enormous cost of the Covid-19 crisis, according to an independent team of experts.

The Wealth Tax Commission said it would be better to pay part of the £394 billion in Treasury borrowing, incurred this year, with a tax on those who have profited during the crisis than by causing more hurt to those whose lives have already been seriously disrupted by the pandemic.

The Commission said a rate of just one per cent per year on households with more than £1 million would raise £260 billion over five years.

The Conservatives are, of course, biased against a wealth tax, with Rishi Sunak saying in July that he could see no reason to impose one.

But times change, and huge increases in taxes on the poor – income tax would have to rise by 9p per pound to produce the same effect; that’s nine times as much as the proposed wealth tax – would seriously harm Tory electability in the future.

That being said, critics have justifiably questioned why the proposed tax is being touted only as a way of paying off a national debt.

They say it would be better to invest the money in projects that will raise more revenue for the UK in the future, helping to reduce the wider national debt which the Tories have more than doubled to over £2 trillion in the 10 years since they took office in 2010.

The message for ordinary people is simple: If you don’t want to end up with an almost 50 per cent increase in income tax – or a 6p rise in VAT, which is the other alternative – get on to your MP at once and lobby for the wealth tax.

The richest people in the UK won’t want it, even though the loss of £10,000 harms them less than the loss of £260 (the equivalent from the so-called average pay packet) harms an ordinary working person.

Better still, how about forming groups to lobby your MP? Large numbers of people working together seem to impress the authorities more than individuals, who they can dismiss as lone voices.

The alternative may be a very expensive, poverty-ridden future.

Source: COVID-19: Experts make case for one-off £260bn tax raid on wealthy | Business News | Sky News

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It’s November 5 – and ‘V for Vendetta Day’ has never been more relevant

Talk about life imitating art!

It is November 5, 2020 – and This Writer half expects to hear of a man in a Guy Fawkes mask setting off an explosion that destroys Parliament later this evening.

That is what happens in the movie version of V for Vendetta, Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s seminal graphic novel. And there are more similarities…

In the movie, Britain is under the control of a ruthless fascist dictatorship that offers security but not freedom. Does this seem familiar to you?

This administration has used a viral pandemic to seize power and keep the people of Britain under control. Does this remind you of a situation in the real world?

(Just to hammer the point home, the first dialogue in the first episode of the graphic novel includes these words: “The Brixton and Streatham areas are quarantine zones as of today. It is suggested that these areas be avoided for reasons of health and safety.” The locations may be different but that’s not too far from what’s happening today.)

The country is kept under curfew, enforced by a brutal police force known as “Fingermen”. As England goes into lockdown for a second time, do you remember Boris Johnson’s plan to give special enforcement powers to a select few people, to ensure that we all follow his rules?

It seems plenty of people do:

The situation in the real world – now – demonstrates the point the film – and the original graphic novel that was originally serialised from 1982 onwards – made:

This Writer was among the first people to read V for VendettaI was 12 years old at the time, and an avid consumer of Alan Moore’s stories.

The thought of living in a country like that, frankly, terrified me. But I could see its roots spreading, in the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher and the so-called “surveillance society” she created.

So could Moore. In the introduction to the 1988 serialisation of V, he wrote: “The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top… one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against.

“Goodnight England. Goodnight Home Service and V for Victory.

“Hello the Voice of Fate and V for Vendetta.”

All very grim.

But the story ends on a hopeful note, and so will this article – because the message that has resonated with the public today is this:

“People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.” I hope Boris Johnson hears those words today.

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Tories want to hire a new ‘head of pandemic preparedness’ – after they axed the old systems for doing that

Head of Pandemic Un-preparedness: Boris Johnson’s reaction to Covid-19 was so poor that he actually caught the disease himself and then sent us all letters, claiming to provide advice on how not to do the same.

The Tories have been accused of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, after they advertised for a new ‘head of pandemic preparedness’ six months into the Covid crisis.

But the facts are actually worse than that.

The idea is to pay someone £61,000 a year to “learn the lessons” (how many times have we heard that?) from the crisis and ensure the UK is properly prepared for any similar situation in the future.

And yes, it is too late for all that.

But the reason it’s too late is that the Tories spent the last 10 years dismantling the UK’s system of preparation for any pandemic disease.

I wrote about this back in March so perhaps people have forgotten. Here’s the gist:

The UK government has strategies for dealing with events like this. The Cabinet Office keeps a National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies which it must keep up-to-date – and every single copy of this document ever made lists “pandemic flu” as the most probable and devastating threat to the UK.

This means the government has devised strategies to deal with such a threat. The problem is, they are all out of date.

Oldest of them all is the guide to dealing with the fatalities of the pandemic,  last published in 2008. This has never been updated since the Conservatives took over responsibility for it.

The last strategy written specifically to deal with pandemic flu was published in 2011 – the same year David Cameron’s Conservative-led Coalition government closed the dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team based in the Department of Health, which was tasked with tackling this type of crisis.

It may explain much that the government’s UK Pandemic Influenza Communications Strategy, the crucial document for getting the right messages across to the public, was written in 2012 and is now wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people get their information.

In October 2016, David Cameron’s now wholly-Conservative government carried out an exercise to estimate the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic on the United Kingdom. Exercise Cygnus showed that such a pandemic would cause the country’s health system to collapse, due to a lack of resources.

The Chief Medical Officer of the time said that a lack of medical ventilators was a serious problem that should be rectified, but in 2017 this advice was ignored by the Department of Health under Jeremy Hunt – because it would cost too much. The government was committed to austerity policies, remember.

So you see, we used to have whole teams dedicated to ensuring that the UK could weather a pandemic without serious harm to the population.

And the Tories got rid of the lot.

And now they want to replace them with a single person.

So let’s float a wild theory.

Is it possible that the Tories knew a pandemic like Covid-19 could cause huge numbers of unnecessary deaths, and decided to allow it to happen?

I’ll answer that for you: we know it is because it is exactly what Boris Johnson advocated on live television in early March.

Is it possible that all their decisions since then have been dedicated to this end, rather than towards saving people’s lives, and this is why every single strategy they have started has been a dismal failure?

And, in line with this thinking…

Is it possible that this position will be nothing more than a “figurehead” role, to be quietly dissolved after a few years so we can all fall victim to the next viral disaster?

Source: Government to hire ‘Head of Pandemic Preparedness’ six months into Covid-19 crisis – Mirror Online

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Johnson rejects demand for inquiry into handling of coronavirus. Will he ever accept it?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying. Was he wearing it in Parliament when he deflected calls for an inquiry into his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic?

This is a classic Tory dodge.

They say “now is not the time” for, say, an inquiry into decisions they’ve made that have hugely harmed the nation. They explain that the issue is ongoing.

So we wait.

When the issue stops going on, we repeat our demand. And you know what they say?

They say: “We think it’s time to move on.”

Boris Johnson has already carried out the first part of this dodge.

Here’s The Independent:

Boris Johnson has rejected demands for an urgent independent inquiry into his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

The prime minister was challenged to call an inquiry by Liberal Democrat acting leader Ed Davey, but insisted it would not currently be “a good use of official time”.

Davey told MPs that it was time to “learn the lessons” from the government’s widely-criticised response to the outbreak.

The acting Lib Dem leader called on Mr Johnson to “urgently set up an independent inquiry into the Government’s handling of this pandemic”

But Mr Johnson replied: “I’m sure there will come a moment where lessons need to be learned, we’re learning them indeed the whole time, but I do not consider at the moment, that a full-scale national inquiry is a good use of official time.”

He never will.

Source: Boris Johnson rejects demand for urgent inquiry into government’s handling of coronavirus pandemic | The Independent

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