Tag Archives: politician

Legal action over Russian intervention in UK politics? Let’s hope it happens before Johnson gags the courts!

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Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: 10 days after saying he saw no evidence that Russians were influencing UK politics, Johnson elevated a Russian to the House of Lords. He says there’s no evidence for an investigation into Russian influence in UK politics, despite a Parliamentary committee producing a lengthy report containing a large amount of it.

A group of MPs has threatened court action to compel the Johnson government to investigate allegations in a report on Russian intervention in UK politics.

Well, let’s hope they follow it through soon because Johnson is acting to stop the courts from having any power over his government.

Yes, that is dictatorship. You voted for it, folks! (Or if you don’t, being good, decent Vox Political readers, your neighbours did.)

It was in the Tory manifesto for the December 2019 election, for everybody to see, on page 48: a plan to forbid the courts from making orders that restrict the government from acting in any way it pleases.

I’m sure Hitler did something similar in Germany during the 1930s.

A group of politicians are threatening legal action unless Boris Johnson orders an independent investigation into Russian interference in elections.

The letter signed by Green MP Caroline Lucas and Labour’s Chris Bryant follows a report which said the UK “badly underestimated” the Russian threat.

The parliamentarians argue the prime minister’s “lack of action” breaches the right to free elections.

The government said the UK had “robust systems” to protect elections.

Johnson has very close personal relationship with very notable Russians based in the UK. But we’re sure that has nothing to do with his reluctance on this matter… aren’t we?

Source: Boris Johnson threatened with legal action over Russia threat – BBC News

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New rules at DWP – to stop benefit claimants getting help from elected representatives

Underclass: If you’re a benefit claimant, the DWP wants to prevent you getting help from your elected representatives.

The Tories are trying hard to turn benefit claimants into an underclass – now they are being forbidden from seeking advice from their elected representatives.

New changes imposed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) require claimants who have approached politicians for help with a benefit appeal to sign a waiver form explaining why they have done so, rather than going directly to the Job Centre.

The changes also require claimants to state exactly what they have discussed with their elected representative before information can be disclosed regarding an appeal.

To This Writer, the explanation would be simple: they want their appeal to succeed, and it has more chance with a politician helping than with DWP lickspittles who get a bonus every time a claimant is knocked off the books.

Recently it seems an approach to local newspapers can also be rewarding.

Politicians themselves are up in arms about it.

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani was quoted as saying:

The Universal Credit system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be halted. With so many loopholes and barriers put in place to stop claimants receiving the support they are entitled to, it’s no wonder people come to their MSP for support.

Neither the DWP, nor Boris Johnson’s Tory government, has the right to stop people approaching their elected representatives for help and support – that’s what we’re here to do.

This is just the latest extension of the hostile environment introduced by this right-wing Tory government designed to lock people out from receiving the financial support they are entitled to.

Quite right too.

And if this rule is being rolled out across the UK, it is every local politician’s duty to fight it.

Source: Tories Trying to Keep Universal Credit Claimants In The Dark Say SNP – Association of Pensions & Benefits Claimants CIC

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Mainstream news boss says journalists have a right to call politicians liars. She’s right – but a little late

Dorothy Byrne: I considered it wiser to use an image of her than to focus on a lying politician. I’m sure you can think of plenty of them.

Some of us over here on the social media have been calling Boris Johnson, Jo Swinson and their ilk liars for a considerable time.

But I welcome Dorothy Byrne’s call for mainstream media journalists to subject the political class to far closer scrutiny than they get at the moment.

She is absolutely right to say that a politician who has deliberately spoken a falsehood should be challenged over it – immediately.

I look forward to seeing this policy implemented across the BBC, ITV and Sky News, as well as Channel 4 – although I am concerned that Andrew Marr and/or Jo Coburn may choke while trying it.

Channel 4’s head of news has defended the right of journalists to call out politicians for telling lies.

Dorothy Byrne delivered a keynote speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday, calling Prime Minister Boris Johnson a “coward” for not granting news interviews.

She also said he was “a known liar”.

Byrne told the BBC: “If someone has deliberately spoken an untruth and we have evidence, we have to consider saying that what is said is a lie.”

Source: Channel 4 News boss says media have right to call politicians ‘liars’ – BBC News

Tory minister suspended after he grabbed Greenpeace activist by the throat

Attack: Mark Field said he acted in the belief that a peaceful, female Greenpeace protester might be about to do violence. But – in this image – who is attacking who?

If you had not heard of Mark Field before today, nobody could blame you.

The only reference to him on This Site is from 2014, when he was named as one of many Conservative MPs with a stake in private health companies who was therefore likely to profit by allowing those firms to provide NHS services.

It’s a reasonable bet that you’ll have heard of him now, though – he has become infamous overnight after he grabbed a female Greenpeace activist by the throat and forcibly ejected her from the Mansion House, where she was taking part in a climate change protest at the annual dinner for bankers and politicians where Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond was making a speech.

As I type this, it is emerging that (caretaker) prime minister Theresa May has suspended Mr Field from his job as a Foreign Office minister, due to his apparent behaviour in this incident.

Let’s look at the video footage, courtesy of ITV reporter Paul Brand:

Mr Brand’s subsequent thread is worth reading:

Take note of that – he says she did not appear to present any immediate threat. That is important when considering the subsequent protestations of people like Peter Bottomley.

Not half!

No complaint has (yet) been made to the police. But fellow activist Hannah Martin has tweeted this statement:

Some Tories rushed to defend Mr Field’s behaviour, quoting bizarre reasons. Peter Bottomley was quoted by The Mirror as saying it was justified because “a person could be carrying a collapsible truncheon”. Mr Bottomley added: “He intervened. I congratulate him for that. I would have done the same.”

Have a look at the footage again and ask yourself where she could have been hiding a truncheon. In her (tiny) handbag?

Here’s Mike Hurst, who labels himself as a security professional, standing up for Mr Field – and being thrown a truth bomb by another Twitter user:

How about this comment – and the response from a formerly battered wife:

Mr Field himself has released the following statement: “In the confusion many guests understandably felt threatened and when one protester rushed past me towards the top table I instinctively reacted.

“There was no security present and I was for a split second genuinely worried she might have been armed.

“As a result I grasped the intruder firmly in order to remove her from the room as swiftly as possible.”

“Grasped the intruder firmly”? He slammed her against a pillar.

He added: “I deeply regret this episode and unreservedly apologise to the lady concerned for grabbing her but in the current climate I felt the need to act decisively to close down the threat to the safety of those present.”

The “Tory Racism” Twitter account has slowed the footage and added a commentary – making the important point that not one person out of the 350 at the dinner lifted a single finger to help the peaceful protester who was being manhandled out of the room by a man who had gone for her throat:

This lack of intervention has been roundly condemned:

Tim O’Seery tweeted: “I actually find this quite harrowing. He brutalised this young woman while the rest of the Chinless Wonders just sat there and watched. This was assault and people have a Public Duty to prevent this sort of thing happening, if they can.”

Mr Field’s action is even more questionable when one examines his own – expressed – attitude to climate change. In a tweet just two weeks ago, he stated: “Climate security must be at the heart of foreign policy work at a global level. I am grateful for Germany’s action in shining a spotlight on this issue at the Climate and Security Conference yesterday and look forward to continuing our work together.”

To this, ‘Geri the Gerbil’ appended: “As long as they don’t interrupt my dinner.”

Of course there is a political aspect to this:

A petition has been launched to get Mr Field sacked:

Last word on this (for now) should go to Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice:

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Priti Patel received £17,000 payout – from the public purse – after being forced to quit Cabinet role

No wonder she was smirking: Priti Patel leaving 10 Downing Street after being forced to resign.

This is despicable.

The public have been made to pay the cost of a “golden handshake” for Priti Patel, who was forced to leave her job in disgrace.

Ms Patel was told to resign after it was revealed she was trying to carry out her own foreign policy, independent of the Conservative government, holding meetings with senior Israeli politicians while supposedly on holiday.

This Writer thinks a prison sentence would have been more appropriate.

Priti Patel walked away with a pay-out of nearly £17,000 after being forced to resign as International Development Secretary , the Standard reveals today.

She received the sizeable “termination” payment despite admitting she blundered by holding unauthorised meetings in Israel last summer, including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Brexiteer Ms Patel was humiliatingly summoned back to London from East Africa in November to be axed from the Cabinet by Theresa May. At the time ministers are dismissed or resign, the Cabinet Office refuses to disclose if they are given pay-offs, despite them being funded by the taxpayer.

It still will not say if Boris Johnson received a payment when he quit as Foreign Secretary last month over Mrs May’s Chequers Brexit blueprint, or if David Davis did when he stood down as Brexit Secretary.

But details of the payment to Ms Patel are in the Department for International Development’s recently published annual accounts for 2017-18.

Source: Priti Patel received £17,000 payout after being forced to quit as International Development Secretary | London Evening Standard

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Why isn’t there a statutory penalty against politicians lying to the public?

Liar: Theresa May told Tory-supporting 17-year-old Calum that taxpayers would support students who would become better-paid, under Labour’s plan to axe tuition fees. But everybody benefits from having well-educated professionals, and there would have been no increase in taxes for the low-paid.

Peter Stefanovic makes a good point (in fact, he’s probably re-stating it, as the Tory penchant for lying to us is well-documented).

The answer to the question in the headline is obvious, though – there isn’t a statutory penalty for politicians lying to the pubic because politicians would have to impose it, and they all know they’re going to want to lie to us at one time or another (with the possible exception of Jeremy Corbyn).

So they lie, and lie, and lie again, and hope that we won’t remember by the time the next election comes around.

That’s why it is our responsibility – those of us who operate within the social media – to record these instances, follow their consequences, and remind the wider world at the necessary time.


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This is a list of misleading words used by politicians and the media. Can you add to it?

This was posted on Twitter by Mark Curtis (@markcurtis30) with a request for additions or criticism.

Feel free to get in touch with him with suggestions.


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Ridicule of May’s #Brexit speech shows her weakness – and that of her supporters in the press

The front page of German newspaper Die Welt after Theresa May’s Brexit speech. The cover blurb, translated, says: “Prime Minister Theresa May leads Great Britain into isolation”.

Confession time: On Tuesday afternoon I had a brilliant idea to contrast the reaction to Theresa May’s Brexit speech – as provided by her supporters in the right-wing press – with the response from real people on the social media, and from the press and politicians in other countries, inside and outside the EU.

I would have published comments about different parts of her speech next to each other, with a ‘pro’ comment following an ‘anti’ remark, to demonstrate the strengths – or weaknesses – of each view. Good idea, right?

There’s only one problem: It’s impossible.

The amount of commentary coming in is like an avalanche, and with new stories happening all the time – plus real-life pressures here at Vox Towers – there simply isn’t enough time in the day.

So, with apologies, I’ll just have to settle for publishing the comments I’ve collected against Mrs May below – all in a jumble – and ask you to pick your own choices from the right-wing gibberish we’ve seen in the likes of the Daily Mail.

Shall we begin?

“From professing a tepid and bashful Europeanism when she was Home Secretary under David Cameron, [Theresa May] now supports a shameful, xenophobic nationalism… The nub of her 12-point programme is this exclusion of the UK from the market of 500 million consumers, which will fall to 65 million, plus those Britain can add through new trade deals – something hypothetical and difficult for a country which after four decades has lost experience in this arena outside the Union. Everything in May’s speech grated. The promise of a “positive” accord is fallacious. It is not positive to spurn European citizens, nor to discriminate against residents. Nor does it make sense to threaten the Europeans with whom she will have to negotiate over the next two years.” Spanish newspaper El Pais.

“Theresa May is ready to turn the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation haven after Brexit, her spokesperson confirmed today”. There was more. “Asked whether the prime minister backed comments made by the Chancellor Philip Hammond that the UK could be forced to abandon its ‘European economy with European style taxation’ her spokesperson said she ‘stands ready to do so’”.  UK Business Insider

“May will make clear that the UK will default to slashing taxes and regulation if we don’t agree an acceptable trade deal with the EU – in other words she will say ‘be nice or it’s commercial war’”. Robert Peston

Any Trades Union that backed Brexit must now know they have been had for mugs. Their members are set to be royally shafted. As to all those working class voters UKIP has been targeting – they will feel the full force of being made even more flexible, even more disposable, even less protected than before. Tim Fenton

Leaving the single market and turning the UK into a low-tax, low-regulation island off the coast of continental Europe may be how many Tory Brexiteers see our future — but for anyone who relies on the protections at work, who relies on public services or who provides those services, that would be a disaster. No-one voted to leave the EU to weaken their rights at work. Dave Prentis, Unison

https://twitter.com/Barkercartoons/status/821450379053375488

Announcing that Britain will inevitably leave the single market, before the negotiations have even begun, is a disaster for the British economy. Accepting that immigration must trump all other concerns, whatever the cost, is a political failure. Suggesting that Britain may walk away from negotiations with no deal at all — as May has done — shows an astonishing lack of ambition. Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin, Left Foot Forward

For months, May has promised ‘the best deal for the United Kingdom’, but instead she’s delivered this. It’s a plan that — by her own admission https://www.theguardian.com/politics/video/2016/oct/25/theresa-may-private-brexit-warning-speech-to-goldman-sachs-audio — will leave the country materially worse off. We have to assume that some of her ambitions — like associate membership of the customs union — will never actually be achieved. Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin

“I did not really get it out of this speech that she wants to give up something. It was a little bit like cherry picking. So to speak: you can’t eat a cake without paying for it.” Michael Fuchs, senior advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel

“A hardline approach to Brexit may hold the Conservative party together, but it could rip Britain apart. And if we continue on this path – towards a hard Brexit – we risk having to explain to future generations why we knowingly put their economy, their prosperity and their place on the world stage in such peril.” Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

https://twitter.com/pauljholden/status/821509402440171520

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If Jeremy Hunt will go to A&E rather than wait for a doctor…

Will he look as happy after a 3am interview with Dr Rachel von Simson?

Will he look as happy after a 3am interview with Dr Rachel von Simson?

… why shouldn’t Dr Rachel von Simson go to David Cameron rather than waiting to see Mr H*nt at an inconvenient time?

It seems the fashion this summer will be for people to challenge the Conservative Government’s inconsistencies (hypocrisies?) with open letters, and this one is published to follow the missive published by This Blog on Tuesday by Tony Cartwright.

This Writer’s favourite parts are highlighted in bold.

Dear Mr Hunt,

I would like to come and see you this Saturday at 3am to discuss the issue of street lights in Hindhead. I know you run regular constituency clinics to discuss these matters and that there are other services I could contact in an emergency, but these are not convenient for me as I work on week days. And really Mr Hunt, this is the 21st century and people have questions for their MPs 24 hours a day, not just during office hours. If I can buy a Tesco sandwich at 3am, I should be able to see a politician.

If you won’t see me during the hours that I find convenient, I shall turn up at the Prime Minister with this question. I know it isn’t really part of his remit and he’s quite busy with lots of other emergencies, but much like when you said you go to A&E with your kids rather than wait for a GP appointment, I don’t really feel like I want to wait until Monday to talk to you about this.

I know that going to your clinic at 3am means in addition to you you will also have to have security turn up, and a receptionist and you don’t have money to pay for that but otherwise your building will just be sitting empty and that is a waste of money. I don’t care that you claim that you need the weekend to catch up on unpaid work or see your kids, I know that you are actually just playing golf and doing private consulting work instead even though you are grossly overpaid. I don’t think you should have got a pay raise recently to cope with rising of living, because this is austerity and I really can’t see a problem with you having to catch a bus for two hours in each direction after your working day to get home.

Even if you were to claim that public satisfaction was high in politicians and that you provided good value for money compared to the much more expensive systems in other countries, I’m just not interested. I want to see you at 3am to discuss street lighting and if you disagree that is because you are a lazy fat cat who doesn’t care about the public.

I would also like you to raise the issue of getting the Ukrainian Holodomor recognised as a genocide during upcoming parliamentary sessions. I know it is going on recess on July 21st for two months but I think it is outrageous that non-urgent matters should wait that long. I don’t care if a lack of recess would cause childcare problems or discourage women from being part of parliament. I don’t care if one of the reasons people went into politics was that despite it paying a lot less than the private sector, it left weekends and recesses free for family time. You should have anticipated that politics would become a 24/7 profession and if you won’t adapt, I’m going to just force your contract to change for no extra money.

If you cannot attend the session at 3am because you have already worked all week, but have managed to find another politician at short notice to step into to do this, I don’t want you to be paying them more than £10 an hour, because it is an outrage to waste public money and he should understand that being asked to work at the last minute during unsociable hours when he has already worked plenty this week is part of what he signed up for when he became a politician.

I’ve not actually consulted with any politicians about whether they think 24/7 politicians will work, and yes, I’ve never actually worked as a politician but I have a 1st in a totally unrelated subject from Oxford, so I don’t see why there is any problem with me telling you how politics works and how to do your job. I know you think with these suggestions and no extra money I will ruin public politics and that I and the people I work with have ties to private politicians that could come in and replace you, but this is all a fantasy. I’ve got the best interests of politicians at heart.

Yours sincerely

Rachel

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‘Not quite true’ – it’s the story of Iain Duncan Smith’s life

"Not even this much": Iain Duncan Smith demonstrates how much he cares about the fact that his claims about unemployment being a lifestyle choice have been revealed as lies. It WON'T change his attitude and it WON'T change his policies.

“Not even this much”: Iain Duncan Smith demonstrates how much he cares about the fact that his claims about unemployment being a lifestyle choice have been revealed as lies. It WON’T change his attitude and it WON’T change his policies.

A comment piece in today’s Guardian has used new research to demonstrate that RTU’s (that’s Iain Duncan Smith to the uninitiated) claim about people opting for unemployment as a lifestyle choice is “not quite true“.

Hopefully the piece’s author, Hugh Moir, will forgive us if we don’t bat an eyelid in surprise.

Researchers spent eight months failing to unearth any examples of joblessness as a lifestyle choice, or multiple generations of a family in which nobody had worked. And – crucially: “They did not find any prevailing aversion or reluctance to work.”

The article continues: “The new research does suggest that the reasons for long-term endemic joblessness are much more complicated than the story crafted by government and eagerly gobbled up by irresponsible programme makers and scrounger-seeking tabloids.”

What’s unusual about this particular article is that, rather than end it there, Moir goes in for the kill: “Attention to the multiple causes of long-term joblessness would require well-funded, well-staffed social services, a focus on problems such as alcohol abuse in deprived communities and resources to fight the ravages of drug addiction in poor areas. But these are the very services that feel the full effect of the government’s cuts in local-authority funding and its wider objective to shrink the state.

“This is waste of potential on a grand scale, ruining lives, and damaging to the economy. But in the absence of any strategy to deal with the problem at its most complex, we are offered a narrative to define it at its most superficial. Four years in, subjected to scrutiny, that approach may at last be starting to unravel.”

As, of course, it should.

Interestingly, the piece starts by referring to stories crafted by other politicians about themselves, to make them seem more appealing. So Bill Clinton was “the boy from Hope” – a small-town boy from Arkansas who did well, rather than a privileged American who had studied at some of the best universities in the world; and George W Bush claimed he was an average boy from an average family when we know his father was a leading Republican and president-to-be.

It does not mention RTU’s own self-crafted story – that he attended the Universita di Perugia in Italy, that he was educated at Dunchurch College of Management, that he had a glittering Army career. This is odd, because it is more clearly bunkum than either of the US Presidents’ claims.

Vox Political has produced an entire article about his lies – one which, due to their sheer weight of numbers, remains unfinished. For further information, why not take a look at it?

After that, you’ll never believe a single word he says.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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