Tag Archives: politicians

Twitter unites to help British man struggling with his mental health. Why won’t the UK government?

 

A British man tweeted that his mental health was suffering – and people from across the world responded with uplifting words, images and video clips.

It’s not clear exactly why Edmund O’Leary – a follower of This Site – was moved to express his distress, but living in a country that is shambling from one crisis to another under a government that is worse-than-useless, that takes money from people who need it in order to hand it to the very rich (in return for nothing), that has caused the Brexit crisis and worsened the Covid-19 calamity, might have something to do with it.

How uplifting, then, to see an international range of people using the often-abrasive social media platform to help – incidentally providing all of us with a bit of cheer on a gloomy October weekend:

All the above (and more) being said, I have to agree with the following Twitter user, who makes the important point that, perhaps, we would not have to mount this ad hoc effort on Edmund’s behalf if the UK’s mental health care services had not been cut to the bone by successive political administrations who simply don’t care that they are driving people to despair:

Let’s all try to do a little more to make sure people like Edmund don’t have to go to Twitter for help – and that everybody in need of mental health care can get it. I know Edmund will read this and I hope he’s feeling better. Send us a message!

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Why is Israel’s latest bombing campaign against Gaza going unreported?

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Heavy damage: this is what Israel is doing to Gaza – and none of your elected representatives has anything to say about it.

I think we know the answer to the question in the headline but let’s establish the facts.

At the time the Morning Star article was published, Israel had been bombing Gaza for eight days, non-stop, in response to – Israeli authorities claimed – two missiles.

Civilian property – mark that: civilian property – has suffered heavy damage, according to the report.

In addition, Israel has forced Palestinian fishing boats out of the sea and cut off the only commercial route into the enclave, stopping crucial supplies of fuel, meaning the energy supply will have to be cut to around three or four hours per day.

This Writer is reminded of an attempt by a noted celebrity who is strongly in favour of Israel’s aggressively-Zionist policies of extermination against the Palestinian people, to paint Israel as the victim.

A commenter to This Site tells us she said, referring to the recent explosion in Beirut:

“As soon as Lebanon happened, I can imagine the types that were ready to say, ‘Israel’s on the border, did they, would they, could they?’ I’m very grateful that Hezbollah said they did it.”

Journalist : “Wait, what? It was an accident resulting from political fecklessness, Hezbollah isn’t even the largest party in the Lebanese parliament, and definitely nobody said they did it. She makes a noise as though we’ll just agree to differ……”

You see how it goes?

As mentioned before on This Site, violence by either side in a conflict is abhorrent. But it behooves the better-equipped antagonist to respond to outbursts from a weaker foe in moderation – and that simply isn’t happening.

Every day – if we know where to look – we can find accounts of atrocities carried out by the euphemistically-named Israel Defence Force.

But we don’t see these reports on our national news because anyone reporting them would instantly be labelled an anti-Semite by people like the celebrity mentioned above.

It’s time that changed.

Much of Twitter seems to agree with me – those on the right side of history, anyway:

This thread shows what Palestine is being put through and why it is wrong:

And this response to the same tweet asks a question I think we’d all like to see answered:

It’s true. Who’s the foreign secretary now? Dominic Raab? Still? Oh well – where’s his condemnation of the Israeli government?

What about Keir Starmer? Does he really have nothing to say? Perhaps he’s too busy accusing Labour members of anti-Semitism for sharing a Vox Political post, or victimising people in some other way to get involved in the realities.

There’s only one way to get change, and that is to demand it – in a way that threatens the muttonheads in power.

Will you speak up for Gaza? Or are you afraid the nasty big boys (and girls) will call you a name?

Source: Electricity cut to three hours a day in Gaza as Israeli bombing continues for 8th day | Morning Star

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Lord Steel quits over failure to report child sex abuse claims. Is that really enough? [POLL]

Cyril Smith and David Steel: The paedophile and the accessory to his crimes?

Lord Steel has resigned his membership of the Liberal Democrats and announced his intention to resign as a Lord after damning criticism by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

In a 190-page report, the inquiry accused Steel of “abdication of responsibility” after he failed to act on allegations about the late MP Sir Cyril Smith’s sexual interest in children.

Smith, who died in 2010, was investigated by police in 1969 over claims he sexually abused teenage boys at a hostel in Rochdale – and admitted he had acted as the boys claimed. But police decided not to prosecute, and we are left to question that decision.

Steel told the inquiry last year that he failed to pass on allegations against Smith even though he believed them to be true, because it was “past history”. He even recommended Smith for a knighthood later.

This is just one example of a political culture in the 1970s, 80s and even later that the inquiry described as valuing politicians’ reputations “higher than the fate of children”.

Those are chilling words, and anybody reading them should be shocked and disgusted at the behaviour, not just of those who abused children, but of those who went out of their way to protect the abusers.

They are accessories in some of the most serious sexual crimes.

As such, do you think a mere resignation by Lord Steel is enough? Shouldn’t the police be considering prosecution? Didn’t he aid and abet a sex criminal? Didn’t he pervert the course of justice in doing so?

What about Baroness Thatcher? She is implicated in the case of late Tory MP (have you noticed how the perpetrators all seem to have died, now the evidence is coming to light?) Sir Peter Morrison who “had a penchant for small boys” and was allegedly caught by police in 1989, molesting a 15-year-old boy on a train in Crewe.

The following year, he became Mrs Thatcher’s top aide, and he was knighted in 1991.

The report said it was unclear whether she had been told he was gay or that he was a paedophile – but this rings false. If her party whips knew, then as leader she should have known. It was her business to know.

Consider the recent scandal of the dossier that Tory whips have kept on recent – and, presumably, current – MPs’ sexual activities. It seems incredible to expect a prime minister not to have information about such – potentially hugely damaging – behaviour by members of their team.

The report said people in positions of public prominence had been given deference that meant their crimes had been ignored.

That is unacceptable.

Nobody engaging in criminal activity of any kind should be above the law – as Cyril Smith, Peter Morrison and – yes – Lord Steel and Baroness Thatcher seem to have been.

Those who have died should be stripped of any titles they had and any historical record of them should show that they disgraced their positions in the worst possible way.

And those who are alive should pay a heavy penalty, as described by the law – including those who knew what was happening but didn’t raise the alarm.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

Source: Lord Steel quits after inquiry slams his failure to report child sex abuse claims – Mirror Online

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Awful politicians and their 1972-81 Doctor Who counterparts

Winner: any game where you get to compare Boris Johnson with a giant maggot is well worth playing.

Well done to Sarah Dempster for bringing this satirical fun to Twitter!

Of course, you may not agree that the politicians mentioned are as awful as all that, but the comparisons are – well, see for yourself:

That’s Kate Hoey looking rather like Scaroth of the Jagaroth there.

And here’s Sajid Javid’s impression of a Sontaran warrior…

… followed by a flattering comparison for Priti Patel – with Eldrad, owner of The Hand of Fear.

Next, a rather obvious comparison between Nigel Farage and a Sea Devil…

… but the attempt to link Matt Hancock with a regenerative Fifth Doctor is inexcusable. Foul, I say!

The thread gets right back on track with this link between Theresa May and Dalek creator Davros. They could have been separated at birth!

… and while the comparison with Styggron of the Kraals is accurate, I’ve lost track of who the human being actually is.

Dominic Raab and the Melkur? Well, he is a bit stiff…

… and we’ll just have to call her ‘Adric’ Foster from now on.

This one’s a ‘gimme’: Boris Johnson and a yeti:

Rather wonderfully, other people have taken up the baton and made their own links:

This one could run and run (like Doctor Who itself, in fact)…

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Why we should all fight the politicisation of the poppy

161104-remembrance-poppies

There was discussion of the Remembrance poppy on the BBC’s Question Time yesterday, including from one audience member who didn’t realise it is worn to commemorate all our war dead, right up to the present day.

The debate was about FIFA banning footballers from wearing poppies on November 11 (the organisation does not allow players to wear political, religious or commercial messages on their shirts). The comments quoted below are by 90+ year old pro-NHS campaigner and political commentator Harry Leslie Smith, who won’t be wearing a poppy either because he suspects politicians of subverting their message.

It seems there are a lot of misconceptions going around, and very few people willing to put them to rest.

This Writer won’t stop wearing a poppy in the near future. But I don’t want to see it used as a justification for further warfare either – that is the exact opposite of its purpose.

And I think that is the answer.

Perhaps it is time to start questioning politicians when they start sabre-rattling. Let’s call them out on their action. Do they wear poppies in the run-up to November 11? Then why agitate for further military action?

Don’t they know they’re disrespecting our honoured dead?

Perhaps that might engender a swift shift of rhetoric.

I can no longer wear a poppy because its meaning of respect for the fallen and the motto “never again” on the First World War memorial has been profaned by our wars to maintain our empire after the fall of Hitler, and our modern conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

I feel now that wearing the poppy gives a blank cheque to our politicians to justify their folly in wars of questionable merit, as well as the needless deaths their sanguine votes for boots on the ground costs both our soldiers and innocent civilians in foreign countries.

Wearing the poppy today lets our politicians off the hook for their symbiotic relationship to the arms industry and their criminal disregard for the refugee crisis.

We have lost our right to collectively mourn our war dead if we are unwilling to at least investigate the notion that our military industrial complex might not have our country’s best interests at heart when they sell bombs to tyrants.

It is why the insistence of certain media outlets to name and shame those who don’t wear the poppy is not only reprehensible, but jingoistic, and will ultimately help lead us into conflicts that will threaten the lives of thousands of our young like the First Great War did.

Source: Remembrance Day: Why I stopped wearing a poppy

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‘Gagging Bill’ put on hold as government fears defeat

[Picture: PR Week]

[Picture: PR Week]

The Coalition government’s latest attack on democracy has been halted before it reached the House of Lords, after ministers realised peers weren’t going to put up with it.

The ‘Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration’ Bill was due to be discussed by peers this week, but the part dealing with third-party campaigning such as that carried out by charities and popular organisations has been put back until December 16 after a threat to delay the entire bill for three months.

The government wants to “rethink” its plans to restrict campaigning by charities, it seems. Hasn’t it already done so twice before?

Andrew Lansley tabled a series of amendments, including one reverting to wording set out in existing legislation, defining controlled expenditure as any “which can reasonably be regarded as intended to promote or procure electoral success”, on September 6.

But the plan was still to “bring down the national spending limit for third parties, introduce constituency spending limits and extend the definition of controlled expenditure to cover more than just election material, to include rallies, transport and press conferences”, as clarified by the government’s own press release.

Lansley published further amendments on September 26, claiming that these would:

  • Remove the additional test of “otherwise enhancing the standing of a party or candidates”. This is to provide further reassurance to campaigners as to the test they have to meet in order to incur controlled expenditure. A third party will only be subject to regulation where its campaign can reasonably be regarded as intended to “promote or procure the electoral success” of a party of candidate,
  • Replace the separate listings for advertising, unsolicited material and manifesto/policy documents with election “material”; this is the language used in the current legislation that non-party campaigners and the Electoral Commission are already familiar with, and on which the Electoral Commission have existing guidance,
  • Make clear that it is public rallies and events that are being regulated; meetings or events just for an organisation’s members or supporters will not be captured by the bill. “We will also provide an exemption for annual events – such as an organisation’s annual conference”,
  • Ensure that non–party campaigners who respond to ad hoc media questions on specific policy issues are not captured by the bill, whilst still capturing press conferences and other organised media events, and
  • Ensure that all “market research or canvassing” which promotes electoral success is regulated.

But this blog reported at the time that anyone who thinks that is all that’s wrong with the bill is as gullible as Lansley intends them to be.

As reported here on September 4, the bill is an attempt to stifle political commentary from organisations and individuals.

New regulations for trade unions mean members could be blacklisted – denied jobs simply because of their membership.

Measures against lobbyists – the bill’s apparent reason for existing – are expected to do nothing to hinder Big Money’s access to politicians, and in fact are likely to accelerate the process, turning Parliamentarians into corporate poodles.

Where the public wanted a curb on corporations corruptly influencing the government, it is instead offering to rub that influence in our faces.

In fact, the Government’s proposed register would cover fewer lobbyists than the existing, voluntary, register run by the UK Public Affairs Council.

And now a bill tabled by Andrew Lansley has been given a “pause” for reconsideration. Is anybody else reminded of the “pause” that took place while Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act was going through Parliament? In the end, the government pushed it through, regardless of the screams of outrage from the medical profession and the general public, and now private health firms are carving up the English NHS for their own profit, using Freedom of Information requests to undermine public sector bids for services.

In the Lords last night, according to The Independent, ministers were pressured to include in-house company lobbyists in the proposed register, if it is to have any credibility.

But Lord Wallace said the proposed “light touch” system would be more effective and the register was designed to address the problem of consultant lobbying firms seeing ministers without it being clear who they represented – in other words, it is intended to address a matter that isn’t bothering anybody, rather than the huge problem of companies getting their chequebooks out and paying for laws that give them an advantage.

We should be grateful for the delay – it gives us all another chance to contact Lords, constituency MPs and ministers to demand an explanation for this rotten piece of legal trash.

If they persist in supporting this undemocratic attack on free speech, then they must pay for it at the next election.