Tag Archives: postpone

Tory u-turn on primary schools is right – shame on those who supported early return

Social distancing? If this shot was taken after primary classes returned from lockdown, do you think these kids are at least two metres apart – or the teacher and child in the background?

The Tory government has shelved its plan to fully reopen primary schools before the summer holidays after admitting it is impractical.

Schools are unable to accommodate all their pupils while classes are limited to just 15 pupils – half normal size. Where would the other half go?

It would be impossible to police all the pupils, ensuring that social distancing rules were followed. Have you ever had to spend all day reminding a five-year-old not to do something they really want to do?

And then there’s the fact that pupils simply aren’t turning up. When schools reopened 10 days ago, predictions were that only half of Reception/Year 1 and Year 6 pupils would attend, with parents keeping the rest away due to fears of Covid-19 contagion.

In fact, only half of the predicted numbers actually turned up – a quarter of the expected intake.

And still social distancing rules aren’t being followed, if the image accompanying the BBC’s report (a version of which appears above) is indicative.

Most disappointing for This Writer has been the response of the Labour Party to the school reopening plan. Instead of standing up for parents and children across the UK, Red Tory Keir Starmer supported Gavin Williamson and Boris Johnson.

No amount of backtracking by Rebecca Long-Bailey can change that.

Labour should have listened to parents, teachers, and the education unions – all of whom spent weeks warning that the plan was nonsense – but didn’t.

I like the comment by ‘Molly’ in the BBC article: “”Until it is safe for Parliament to sit next to each other and until it’s ‘safe’ to cuddle your own blood mother, then how is it deemed safe to mix your children with numerous other households?”

It is a shambles that the Tory government owns – we must not forget that.

But Labour has lost a lot of confidence by supporting it.

Source: Coronavirus: All primary pupils no longer going back to school – BBC News

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Court confrontation over Riley libel case is postponed

A preliminary court hearing to discuss the issues of a libel case brought against Vox Political‘s Mike Sivier by celebrity parlour game-player Rachel Riley has been postponed after a judge decided to have a short “directions” hearing instead.

The intention had been to hold a hearing on the meaning of the words I wrote that Ms Riley claims were libellous, and on whether they count as assertions of fact or simply opinions based on the evidence available.

It seems a judge has asked for a short additional hearing to decide exactly what happens next. He has cancelled a hearing that was due to take place on Friday (October 11) and called for another hearing to be arranged. As this is a purely mechanical matter – no evidence is to be heard, I will not have to attend.

It will be a further drain on funds. And any decision to hold multiple hearings when only one was expected will drain them even more.

So the message to my supporters is: please continue to donate to the CrowdJustice fundraiser.

I do not know how long the preamble to the case will be dragged out, but I am concerned that attempts will be made to fritter away the donations you have already made, in order to make me unable to afford to have the evidence heard. That would be an insult to justice, as I have said all along.

It seems this remains a case in which wealth is set against the facts; an attempt to buy justice by pricing it out of my range.

So I must again appeal for you to follow the following instructions, if you would like to help me win:

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to this CrowdJustice site. The address is https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/

You could also post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

If you’re on Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you use other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

And if you can afford it, please consider pledging some cash yourself.

We are approaching the sharp end of this matter now, although increasingly slowly, it seems. Let’s make sure it goes all the way.

On a side issue: Facebook announced last Saturday that it was restricting the distribution of posts by Vox Political amid claims that I post “clickbait” – a form of false advertising that is deceptive, sensationalised or misleading, designed to attract attention and entice users to follow a link to online content. Of course, as readers of This Site will know, any such claim about it is false.

But I did wonder whether a complaint had been lodged by supporters of Ms Riley in order to prevent people from reading coverage of the case.

If so, we can all laugh at them because not only has their restriction come at the wrong time, but it has not reduced traffic to This Site in even the slightest way.

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Dictator Johnson’s latest anti-democratic scheme – call an election and shift the date

What the country should do: But should MPs take an offer of a general election at face value when Dictator Johnson could use anti-democratic powers to shift the date?

It’s one dastardly scheme after another in Dictator Johnson’s regime.

The latest, according to certain sources, is that he’ll mitigate the effects of any legislation to stop his “no deal” Brexit by calling a snap general election – some time within the next three days (so before the end of September 5).

It seems a motion to stop “no deal” Brexit will be seen as a motion of “no confidence” in BoJob’s bodge-up of a government.

Laura Kuenssberg suggested it on the BBC’s Politics Live:

And here’s ITV’s Paul Brand:

The “prerogative proclamation power” refers to the Royal prerogative, which the prime minister exercises in the name of the Crown.

It is – once again – anti-democratic in the extreme. Despotic, dictatorial – it would be kicking the British people in the teeth.

And as far as I can tell, it seems open to dispute by MPs as the exercise of such a power has never been fully defined.

In any case, Mr Johnson would have to gain the support of two-thirds of MPs in the Commons before he had approval to call a general election, as set out in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

While Labour has said it would support a general election if Mr Johnson asked for one, it would not be in the nation’s interest to do so under the circumstances on offer above.

It would be better to demand a resolution to the Brexit emergency now, and leave a general election for later.

Of course, that applies only to this situation. Who knows what BoJob will be saying tomorrow?

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Thugs force MP Williamson to postpone speaking engagement

Speaking engagement: Chris Williamson at a previous event.

Chris Williamson, a Labour MP facing trumped-up charges of anti-Semitism, has been forced to change the venue of a speaking event in Brighton after thugs threatened hotel staff with violence and social media abuse.

He tweeted an email from the Holiday Inn, Brighton, which stated: “Over the past 24 hours, our hotel and employees have been subjected to abuse and threats from members of the public on the phone, on email and on social media outlets.

“We cannot allow our guests and employees to be put at potential harm and we will therefore have to cancel your booking.”

This Writer hopes the hotel has lodged a complaint with the police.

Mr Williamson tweeted that the meeting would go ahead at another location: “We will never allow thuggery and intimidation to stifle freedom of speech!”

Mr Williamson is to face a hearing before Labour’s National Constitutional Committee – the so-called “kangaroo court” that has expelled other members (including This Writer) on the basis of flimsy, nonsensical and trumped-up charges.

He has won the support of many Labour Party members, and also that of leading intellectual (and Jew) Noam Chomsky, who branded the accusations a “disgrace” and an “insult to the memory” of Holocaust victims.

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Withdrawal Agreement Bill shelved as May desperately tries to postpone her own exit

Theresa May: She looks like a zombie and politically, she is the Walking Dead.

Yet again, Theresa May’s “strong and stable” government has wobbled. She has withdrawn her Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) until the first week of June.

The first anybody knew about it was when government whip Mark Spencer, announcing business for the House of Commons to carry out on Friday (May 24), failed to mention the WAB.

Of course it may never be published at all. Consider this:

It seems I may be right. Mrs May is under huge pressure to abandon the Bill, due to its unpopularity with ministers and backbenchers alike. But then she would have no reason to put off her long-overdue and expected resignation any longer – and as you know, I don’t believe there’s any way of removing her from 10 Downing Street other than violence.

The Guardian is reporting that she is having meetings with ministers to discuss re-writing the Bill, in an effort to stave off her ejection from the Tory leadership:

“The prime minister will delay publication of the legislation until the first week of June while she listens to the concerns of the cabinet about it opening the door to a second referendum. There is heavy speculation May will announce a timetable for her departure on Friday.

“Some No 10 insiders privately admit that May’s resignation as Conservative leader on Friday or Monday is a very likely outcome but say the prime minister may not have come to that conclusion yet.”

It is widely believed that Andrea Leadsom quit as Leader of the House of Commons in order to position herself as a leadership candidate, and we can all enjoy the sight of cabinet ministers putting on their best ‘startled gazelle’ looks as they are accosted by reporters. For example – Michael Gove:

And then he dived into his ministerial car, accompanied by a clutch of suitcases and handbags.

Last word for now: Mel Stride has become the new Leader of the House of Commons. Who? Exactly.

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Daniel Kawczynski’s Brexit appeal to Poland – so much for sovereignty and ‘taking back control’

Daniel Kawczynski: He really wants sovereignty for the UK but seems to have a problem understanding what sovereignty means.

So here’s Daniel Kawczynski: A confirmed Brextremist, he is dead set on the UK regaining its sovereignty on March 29 and making decisions for itself, rather than relying on any of the nations in the European Union.

And here’s the same Daniel Kawczynski – Polish-born Tory MP for Shrewsbury – proudly telling us he’s relying on the Polish Government to impose its will on the UK by preventing us from extending the date of Brexit to a later date; if the UK approves an extension, the EU would have to approve it too – otherwise it couldn’t happen. Here he is:

It’s great to see such a complete absence of self-awareness, isn’t it?

Even better to see so many people enjoying it too. Here‘s Daisy Ecksamania: “This is actively encouraging a foreign power to interfere in UK national affairs, which I would say is tantamount to treason

I love this one – Dr Karen QueueJumper Schafheutle: “Working with a foreign government to subvert the will of the UK parliament. And you put it in a tweet.”

Mike Vine: “We are now at the point where a serving MP openly boasts about working with a foreign government (a pretty extreme right wing one at that) against the interests of this country! Surely there must a word for such activities with associated legal sanctions!”

“The Amazin’ Chris Graylin'” had a new perspective: “Good plan. Could we reach out to France, Germany, Italy, etc as well. In fact, perhaps we could formalise this reaching out with some sort of permanent agreement that all the Euro countries agree to help each other out. Will put it to the PM, this could be a winner.”

London John told us all why he thinks Mr Kawczynski is keen on hard Brexit:

… and Huw Peach told us what happened when he told the public about it: “After I posted the same Private Eye article last summer, Mr Kawczynski asked by DM for my phone no, called me up & shouted at me for about 20 minutes, saying I was bringing politics into the gutter & that I was responsible for him being attacked in

(I’m not giving out my own phone number but I can’t wait for that call. I only hope I’m quick enough to be able to record it all!)

The worst of it is, he clearly doesn’t even understand how he has brought all this ridicule on himself. But we’re back to the self-awareness thing again.

And this is how Brexit happened: Complete lack of self-awareness by Tories.

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MP delays childbirth to vote on Brexit – sparking row over Tory untrustworthiness. Here’s the reason

Tulip Siddiq: Tory treachery is forcing her to take dedication to democracy to a rarely-seen degree.

Remember when Tory Party chairman Brandon Lewis broke a “pairing agreement” with a Liberal Democrat who was on maternity leave so his government could win a Brexit vote? Tulip Siddiq does.

Pairing is a longstanding convention in the House of Commons, where the whips of the government and an opposition party agree to allow MPs from one side to miss a vote because of personal reasons or official business. The other party agrees to hold back one of their MPs from voting so the two absences cancel each other out.

But it seems Conservative chief whip Julian Smith has been trying to get his party’s MPs to betray that convention. He was successful in getting Mr Lewis to vote on Brexit legislation when he had said he would absent himself to accommodate the fact that Jo Swinson was having a baby.

Remember?

Tulip Siddiq does.

Advised by doctors to have her second child by caesarean section today (January 15), she has opted to push the procedure back two days because she does not trust Theresa May’s government to act honourably.

Who can blame her for that?

Of course the decision has sparked a row, with other Labour MPs saying a proxy voting system should be introduced, making the now-discredited “pairing” convention unnecessary:

For members of the public, it seems to have become a matter of honour that every MP should turn up and vote.

https://twitter.com/LeeHow14/status/1084914541811642368

Here’s my preferred reason for that democratic fervour:

One thing is sure, no matter what the outcome of the vote (and I think we all know what it is going to be):

The Conservative Party will go into it in disgrace, and can only expect to come out of it in worse condition.

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Democracy strikes back: Corbyn secures emergency debate on May’s attempt to force her Brexit on us all

All stand: Every Labour MP got on their feet to support Mr Corbyn’s motion – and many Conservatives. They didn’t have to; a lack of objections would have been enough. They did it to show the strength of their feelings.

MPs on both sides of the House of Commons have supported a bid to force Theresa May to accept their decision on whether to delay the “meaningful vote” on her lousy Brexit deal, rather than letting her force the delay on them.

A three-hour debate was set to be held today (Tuesday, December 11) on whether Parliament should approve her postponement.

Mr Corbyn said Mrs May was ignoring a decision of Parliament to hold a debate and a vote and, in doing so, was disregarding Parliament and the rights of the House of Commons.

He demanded that the government should seek the approval of the House of Commons to defer the vote as this was the only way to honour the terms of the original decision on the business of the House.

He said: “On Tuesday 4 December, the House unanimously agreed a business motion that sets out the rules and timetable governing the meaningful vote debate. The Prime Minister has today unilaterally announced that she will ‘defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow, and will not proceed to divide the House at this time’.

“Neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the House has confirmed the date for the conclusion of the debate or the votes. This shows a disregard for Parliament and the rights of the House, as well as of the 164 Members who have spoken in the debate and those who are planning to do so. Once again, the decisions of Parliament are being ignored.

“It is clear, as the Prime Minister admitted in her statement, that she has decided to avoid a heavy defeat on her deal in the House of Commons tomorrow. Again, Parliament is being given no opportunity to express its view on her negotiation.

“It cannot be right that the Government can unilaterally alter the arrangements once this House has agreed on a timetable without the House being given the opportunity to express its will.

“The public will look at the behaviour of this Government and how they treat their democratically elected representatives with despair. Our constitution works on the basis that Governments control the business of the House because they have a majority in the House. The Government appear to be avoiding a vote on a change of business because they fear that they do not command a majority. We have no indication when the debate will be resumed or completed.

“The Government’s incompetence cannot be used as an excuse to threaten the country with no deal. It is vital that the Government treat Parliament with respect, honour the terms of the original business of the House motion as agreed and therefore seek the approval of the House, not act by Prime Ministerial fiat, to defer the meaningful vote.”

Mr Corbyn’s application was timely – and important: According to the House of Commons Twitter account, if the “meaningful vote” is delayed, it might not take place until March 28 – the day before the UK leaves the European Union.

So it should be a matter of pride for every MP who stood in support of Mr Corbyn’s motion – on both the Opposition and government benches.

The voting requirement on motions like this is for an MP to object – not for them to show their support. Nobody did so.

But every Labour MP stood up for Mr Corbyn anyway – along with some Conservatives:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1072236937644257290

Mrs May thought she could ride roughshod over the will of Parliament last week. She was wrong – and her government became the first in history to be held in contempt of Parliament as a result.

It seems likely she’ll be wrong again.

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Did Andy Serkis’ impression of ‘Gollum’ May prompt her to postpone her big Brexit vote?

Gollum: Andy Serkis plays Theresa May. Some of us think he looks more like Ann Widdicombe, though…

Theresa May must be regretting her ‘Gollum’ curtsy to the Royal Family – it gave ammunition to Andy Serkis, the actor who played the character in the Tolkien movies.

The nickname stuck to her – and when it became clear that her Brexit deal was splitting her own party, it provided the actor with a perfect opportunity for satire, using the fictional Gollum’s personality problem to highlight the divisions. See for yourself – it’s terrific:

https://youtu.be/ucJ6RPez06s

Mrs May earned the nickname after displaying obsequiousness towards the roles beyond all reason in a series of news images which people used to compare her with the famously-crawling movie villain. Images like this one:

This one:

This one:

And especially this one:

Could Mr Serkis’ send-up have been the last straw for the struggling Mrs May?

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Theresa May has ‘postponed’ the ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament on her duff Brexit deal. Does she mean ‘cancelled’?

Lying again: Theresa May was adamant that she would go ahead with the “meaningful vote” on her dire Brexit agreement – but now she has postponed (perhaps cancelled) it.

She said the vote on her Brexit agreement was definitely going to happen on Tuesday (December 11) – and government aides backed her up on it.

So of course, Theresa May is postponing it.

She has a history of denying allegations until she’s blue in the face and then acting in accordance with them – consider the run-up to the general election of 2017.

The question is: Will she ever put the “meaningful vote” back on the Parliamentary schedule – or will she risk being found in contempt of Parliament again?

And what does this mean for democracy? She would dearly love to avoid putting the deal up for Parliamentary approval as Parliament very clearly opposes it in the strongest terms. Without the vote, she could just push it through, no matter how bad it is for the country, and damn the consequences.

Are we living in a democracy? Or are we slaving under Dictator May?

Watch this space.

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