Boris Johnson: Lipstick on a pig, according to the artists at The Prole Star.
The president of the Irish Farmers’ Association came up with a fabulous comparison for Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit proposal.
And it has inspired artists on the social media.
Joe Healy of the IFA said Mr Johnson’s plan to install “Custom Clearance Centres” on both sides of the border was not a credible alternative to the Northern Ireland border backstop currently demanded by the EU.
But he didn’t put it like that. He said these “Custom Clearance Centres” were border posts under a different name and Mr Johnson’s plan was therefore an attempt to “put lipstick on a pig”.
“The purpose of the Backstop is to act as a fallback in the event that a future trade deal cannot address the NI Border issue to the UK and EU’s satisfaction.
“This latest proposal is an attempt to put lipstick on a pig. A customs post is a customs post, no matter what is called or where it’s located,” he said.
“The Irish Government should reject this CCC proposal and stick with the backstop which, after all, was agreed by the EU and the UK Government in the Joint Report of December 2017, when Boris Johnston was Foreign Secretary,” he said.
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.
The great Tom Baker celebrated his 83rd birthday yesterday, and the above image appeared on This Writer’s Twitter feed. Good old Tom – incisive as ever!
In a recent interview (Doctor Who Magazine #501, if you want to look it up – and you should because almost the entire magazine is devoted to interviews with him that are hilarious), Tom was asked what he makes of our current crop of politicians. His reply:
They’re mostly w***ers. I don’t think they have any ideas. They’re ruled by events. Like [Bertrand] Russell said, ‘Politics is largely governed by sententious platitudes’ – you know, we’re not allowed to know the reality.
Considering the amount of delusion currently being peddled over Brexit, for example, you can tell he has a point!
It’s incredibly frightening. Christ, what will become of us? Never have… well, I can’t say never, because in the late eighteenth century there was terrible contempt for Parliament… but right now, because we’re all in communication all the time, never have we all felt such utter contempt and mistrust of our governing class.
People say, ‘There’s an MP at the door? Well, kick his bollocks in!’
This may be the origin of the comment used in the image.
We’re living in tumultuous times. I could weep when I read terrible, crushing headlines about the mountain of grief in the world – how many people are crushed by poverty, how many people are uneducated, how many people are not getting proper schooling – but what can I do for them? I don’t have much of a future, in terms of time – so what can I do?
Asked about the EU referendum, Tom took a view that many of us may have wished other senior citizens should have taken:
I’m old, so it’s not my problem. When I’m asked if I’m going to vote Leave or Remain, it doesn’t agitate me either way, because I’m terribly aware that I won’t be here [to live through the consequences]. I’ll be dead. I’m resigned to that. I’m amazed, actually, that they allow old people to vote. It should be for the future generations to decide. I no longer care. Anyway, nobody knows, do they? Whether you vote Remain or Leave, in or out, nobody knows what the consequences will be.
The interviewer, Benjamin Cook, suggested that for many voters, it would be an emotional, rather than a logical response.
Yes, which I suppose is what most people do politically. You’re trying to do an informed thing, but from your heart. When the poor are shouting, ‘Down with the rich!’, I rather go along with that, because I’m very sympathetic to the poor, but you couldn’t have another mob over there, all very well-dressed, shouting, ‘Down with the bloody poor!’ The poor are beyond reproach. You’d have to have a heart of stone to criticise the poor.
One wonders whether Tom has every seen a Conservative MP discussing benefit claimants.
But when I see Mr Cameron… (shudders). He’s got a very pursed little mouth, hasn’t he? He hasn’t got the mouth of a leader, really. Nor has Jeremy Hunt [the Secretary of State for Health] – with that odious f***ing smirk of his. Why would you smirk? Oh, it’s vile.
We shan’t go too deeply into Tom’s speculations on whether Mr Cameron ever dallied with a pig’s head (“It’s an incredible story, isn’t it? Yes, if enough time has elapsed, you shouldn’t question it. Stories do get distorted over time… The imagination is the licence to trespass into areas that you wouldn’t do in real life. Perhaps with a pig”).
Instead, let’s go back to Hallowe’en 1992, and a very brief comment on the European Union as it was at the time, during an event at the Arnolfini arts centre in Bristol. I feel justified in publishing this because I asked the question to which Tom replied:
John Major [then-prime minister] says, ‘Britain will be at the heart of Europe.’
And it echoes out: ‘Heart of Europe, heart of Europe… heart of Europe.’
And then the echo comes back.
How prescient Tom was! One might almost believe he really is the Time Lord he portrayed on television for seven years.
When Tories fight, the battle can turn very mean indeed.
It seems Lord Ashcroft, upset that David Cameron did not offer him a top job in the Coalition government after the 2010 election, has revealed details of an incident during the Prime Minister’s student years in which Call-Me-Dave allegedly had sexual relations with a dead pig’s head.
Has any UK Prime Minister been able to weather such extreme allegations in the past?
It seems there is photographic evidence. If this exists, the image must be really grisly and if it ever comes to light, one wonders how much of it will be fit for publication.
Speaking before the event, Mr McGowan said a few words that were particularly illuminating. “Without a mandate, having concealed their health policy, this government is giving away NHS contracts to the highest bidder,” he said.
“Under the cloak of austerity, the primary purpose of this government is to move public money into private pockets, as fast as humanly possible. They are like pigs at the trough of public money.
“These people in government are liars, criminals and thieves and should be arrested for embezzlement of public funds. A staggering 206 parliamentarians have recent or present financial private healthcare connections; amazingly all of them were allowed to vote on the Health and Social Care Act.
“This is not a democracy.”
You’d have expected this expression of free speech to have received a huge amount of coverage in the free press, wouldn’t you? Well, think again because I just checked: An article in the Metro and a video on something called London24. That’s all.
Ah, but there’s always Facebook, where bloggers such as myself can freely direct readers such as yourselves to our work and highlight the subjects not covered in the so-called popular press, isn’t there?
Well, this was a story that Facebook was doing its damnedest to make sure didn’t get out.
Facebook then seemed to get a taste for censorship: The Pride’s Purge blog by Tom Pride received similar treatment after it posted links to an openly-satirical article (It was plainly marked ‘Satire’) about the Department for Work and Pensions and Atos.
Tom claimed in a later post that a JobCentre Plus worker “openly bragged” to him that JCP had complained to Facebook about him, and this had led to the censorship of his work.
Even this blog, which only posted links to other articles about these issues, was targeted for attack. As readers who link here from Facebook will know – you alerted me to it – we had a couple of days when visits here were accompanied by this stern warning: “Facebook thinks this site may be unsafe. If you’re not familiar with it, please provide feedback by marking it as spam (you’ll be brought back to Facebook).” As site statistics show, this was enough to put many readers off.
I wasn’t having it. I have written to Facebook, pointing out that the unfounded allegation is defamatory and demanding that reparations must be made – to charity, and to the Labour Party (of which I am a member), since this site is not for profit and the attacks seemed to be centred on left-leaning bloggers. They’ve got three weeks to respond, then I start adding noughts to the amount that I suggested.
Facebook has said the mass censorship was a mistake made by its automated systems – but you’d have to be gullible in the extreme to believe that.
So much for freedom of speech; so much for freedom of the press; so much for freedom on the Internet.
Yesterday it emerged that a man had been held in prison for two weeks after claims were made that he made a “threat to kill” during an Atos work capability assessment.
Steve Topley, a 49-year-old Hucknall father with multiple health conditions including Reynard’s syndrome, who has a heart replacement valve and lost one of his kidneys to cancer, and is on a strict medication regime including treatment to stabilise his blood levels and maintain safe blood pressure, was whisked away after he made comments about a person who was not present at the assessment.
He was arrested, subjected to a mental health assessment which offered no reason to detain him, so was re-arrested and taken to Nottingham police station where he was charged and kept in custody. He was refused bail twice in closed courts which, his family said, they were refused permission to attend.
Today (Friday) he was taken to another secret court, where he was charged, admitted the crime, and bailed – with the likelihood of a community sentence waiting for him at his next appearance.
Johnny Void, writing about this in his blog, made some particularly apposite comments on the subject, as follows: “This incident happened in the middle of an Atos assessment which are notoriously stressful and frightening for claimants. If he hadn’t been put through that, it is unlikely he would have said whatever he said, which it seems was not a very credible threat, at least as far as the Judge was concerned.
“It can make people react irrationally or angrily and they end up doing things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. The context these events take place in is often ignored by ‘professionals’, because to them it is all just a job and they can’t understand why people are not being reasonable. The stark terror felt by some people facing courts, benefit assessments, arrests, bailiffs, prisons or even more seemingly benign institutions such as social services, Jobcentres and community mental health teams can often cause people to destroy themselves. This can happen even if ‘professionals’ concerned do their jobs properly within the constrain of the system and no-one is really personally culpable.”
So much for personal freedom – but wait. The situation here is actually worse than even this story makes out. I am indebted to Vox Political commenter vince032013, who tells us the following, about so-called ‘reforms’ to Legal Aid (italics mine):
“Things might be about to get a lot worse. The government are now planning on reforming the criminal justice system. Highlights are 1. Suspects in the police station will not be able to choose a solicitor. They will be appointed one. 2. The number of solicitors’ firms is to be reduced by 75 per cent (that’s not a typo – 75 per cent). 3. The reduction in the number of solicitors is to be achieved by putting criminal work out to tender. 4. The bidders are not allowed to bid at over 82.5 per cent of the current cost of running a criminal case. 5. The consultation which has introduced this idea states in terms that it does not want solicitors to offer any more than an “acceptable” level of service to suspects. 6. Once charged, defendants may be represented in court by someone with no Crown Court trial experience (and will not be able to exercise a choice to change that representative). If you’re interested read the consultation here
In other words, this Conservative/Liberal Democrat government is determined to rig the justice system against anybody who becomes caught up in it. The conditions described by the commenter are utterly corrupt and offer nobody in this country any chance at justice – unless they can afford it. So the really serious criminals and gangsters have nothing at all to fear.
Today we also discovered that the so-called “big four” accountancy firms – Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers – who were brought into the Treasury to help the government draw up tax laws, have been using the ‘insider’ knowledge they have gained to help wealthy clients avoid paying taxes. They have been telling multinational corporations and wealthy individuals how to exploit loopholes in the legislation they have helped to write – according to the House of Commons’ public accounts committee.
This represents a staggering betrayal of the working- and middle-class citizens of this country, who have no choice but to pay all the tax that the government demands from them or face imprisonment – and an appalling display of hypocrisy on the part of David Cameron, the British Prime Minister who, only yesterday, said he planned to use the UK’s chairmanship of the G8 nations to tackle what he himself described as “staggering” worldwide levels of tax evasion and avoidance – levels that he, himself, is helping to boost.
Now, I’m not voting in the elections next week. There isn’t a poll in my part of the country. But if you are planning to vote…
Considering the way the government has pushed through its plans to sell the NHS to the highest bidders (without a mandate, having concealed its health policy); considering the way it has been implicated in attempts to stop the public from finding out about the plans and what they mean (in conjunction with Facebook); considering how its servants take it upon themselves to subject very-ill individuals to extreme pressure and then imprison them on the basis of what they say in those circumstances; considering the plan to deny justice to the poor and make high-quality legal advice available only to the extremely rich people, including rich criminals, who can afford it; and considering the fact that it has opened the door for those who should be paying the most tax in this country to avoid doing so altogether – while claiming it is doing the exact opposite…
Taking all those issues into consideration, if you are a working-class or middle-class person planning to vote Conservative or Liberal Democrat next Thursday, then for your own safety, submit yourself for medical assessment because you must be barking mad.
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