Tag Archives: power

Leaked report warns of Covid-Brexit “horror show” – remember THIS IS WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WANTS

Two-fingered salute: the UK might fall into lawlessness and chaos because of Boris Johnson but he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants.

A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.

Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.

It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.

Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.

And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.

The article goes on to state:

  • One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
  • The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
  • Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
  • Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
  • Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.

The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on ­disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”

It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.

Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.

And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.

Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.

“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.

But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.

But there’s one more matter to remember:

If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).

I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.

Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.

Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):

It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.

Source: Leaked document reveals Cabinet’s emergency plans for perfect storm of No Deal Brexit and coronavirus second wave

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Hinkley tower collapse: what did you expect from this duff, expensive, USELESS project?

Hinkley C: does this look like safe construction to you?

The dust has probably settled by now – physically, if not metaphorically.

The decision to build a third nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset was hugely controversial and had been fought for 40 years before the Tories finally had their way in 2016.

They signed complex financial agreement with Électricité de France (EDF), the energy giant that is 83% owned by the French government, and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), a state-run Chinese energy company for the provision of the reactor, in a new design that has never been made to work, anywhere in the world.

For this, the UK is paying £20.3 billion and when it is working – if it ever does – the UK will pay £92.50 per megawatt-hour, which is roughly twice the current market rate for this kind of energy.

In a comment that typifies the scandal that has been Tory privatisation of UK utilities like energy, former EDF director Gérard Magnin has described Hinkley C as “a way to make the British fund the renaissance of nuclear in France”.

And now part of it has collapsed, sending a huge dust cloud into the skies above Somerset:

The 35-metre tower, weighing around 5,000 tonnes, suffered “structural damage” at around 7.30am, when onlookers claimed to have heard what sounded like an explosion.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud bang at around 7.30am, but energy supplier EDF has denied that a blast occurred, Somerset Live reports.

In a statement the company said no one had been hurt.

The energy supplier stated: “At around 7.30am a silo in the concrete batching plant at Hinkley Point C suffered structural damage, releasing a dust cloud around the area.

“Nobody has been injured and the emergency services were not required.

“An investigation is underway to understand the cause of the event.”

I reckon the cause is obvious: bad design, substandard construction materials, corner-cutting in order to maximise profits.

So not only is this project a hugely expensive white elephant, it is a nuclear disaster waiting to happen.

Are we looking at the West Country’s future Fukushima?

Source: Huge dust cloud released at UK nuclear power site after tower ‘collapses’ – Mirror Online

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Prorogation: Has Johnson even bothered to ask the Queen if she’ll allow it?

It’s “duper’s delight” yet again: It seems Boris Johnson thinks he can fool the Queen into giving him a free Party Election Broadcast. Wouldn’t she rather get her reserve powers out and sack him, instead?

Boris Johnson is planning to prorogue Parliament again next week, according to the political correspondents on the mainstream news. But they’ve been very quiet about whether the Queen will let him.

I made the point a couple of days ago that he brought exactly no new policies to the Conservative conference, yet now he is saying he wants to shut down Parliament for a further three debating days – on top of the 10 or more that were lost in the illegal prorogation – and re-open it with a Queen’s Speech detailing a new legislative programme. Is he delusional?

Private Eye certainly seems to believe Her Majesty is likely to cast a jaundiced eye over any future proposals from the man we call BoJob.

According to Beastrabban, “The magazine’s ‘Court Circular’ … covers the fall-out from Lady Hale’s judgement, including the Queen’s immense displeasure at hearing that the judges concluded that sovereignty lay with parliament and the orders written in her own hand were absolutely valueless. But she is also angry with Dictator J. Peasemold Johnson for not defending her in this fiasco. The mag’s correspondent, ‘Flunkey’, writes

“Johnson’s phone call with Brenda later on Judgment Day was similarly perplexing. He had part-blustered, part-charmed Brenda into believing his vision of a prorogational paradise and presented her with legal opinions to back up his case. But lawyers can be found to argue that black is white if someone is paying them to. Brenda bowed to Johnson’s demands because she had no choice. But it is the job of prime ministers to protect a monarch who has no voice, and that is what Johnson failed to do. Worse, he didn’t even try very hard. The palace had assumed that Johnson’s phone call, with officials listening in on both sides, would consist of an apology and a request that she return to London to accept his resignation. But no. Despite briefings to the contrary from Downing Street, Johnson merely told her he “deeply and sincerely” regretted the supreme court’s decision… and that was it.

“Things look set to change now that the Supremes have sung. The palace will not indulge Johnson so readily in future. A normal state opening of parliament this month has been almost impossible: what if Lady Hale and her colleagues were to conclude that the Queen’s Speech, too, was written in invisible ink? Private audiences between Brenda and Johnson may become not so private, with suggestions they should be recorded in some form and stored in the archives just in case. And it is possible that a very reluctant Brenda might be talked into using her untested reserve powers to act in a crisis by dissolving parliament or sacking the prime minister.”

And then there’s this, from The Independent: If a Queen’s Speech is made within weeks of an expected general election, will it not assume the characteristics of a Party Political Broadcast for the Johnson government?

After the prorogation fiasco, Her Majesty is unlikely to take kindly to that!

The article states: “Boris Johnson will be using the Queen ‘to make a Conservative Party political broadcast’ if he launches a new session of parliament just weeks before a general election, a constitutional expert is warning.

“The prime minister is being urged not to ‘further abuse her position’ – after the embarrassment of the Queen’s signature being used to shut down parliament before being declared unlawful by the Supreme Court.

“Mr Johnson’s new plan is to prorogue parliament for just a few days, to allow a Queen’s Speech on 14 October when the monarch will set out his flagship domestic legislation amid huge pomp and ceremony.”

It quotes Professor Robert Hazell of the constitution unit at University College London as follows: “The Queen’s Speech will be not so much the government announcing the legislative programme for the next session, but more of an election manifesto.

“The Queen will have been used to make a Conservative Party political broadcast.

“It would bring more embarrassment to the Queen, dragging her again into political controversy.

“Boris Johnson has already caused the greatest constitutional controversy of her reign; he should not further abuse her position.”

He added something that the rest of us have suspected for some time: “This would be the first Queen’s Speech when the government had no real intention of introducing the bills it had just announced, because it hoped that, within weeks, parliament would be dissolved for an early election.”

So those funding promises on the NHS and all the other services BoJob and his cronies promised to boost really were examples of “duper’s delight” and they had no intention of fulfilling them.

Put it all together and, if I were in the Monarch’s position, I would be very nervous about agreeing to anything this man wants. He has proved himself to be uninterested in preserving the reputation of any of the UK’s constitutional pillars – and there is also a suggestion that his real purpose may be to make money for a shady group of backers at the expense of the entire nation.

Will the Queen really allow herself to be brought down by the antics of this liar?

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Police service rejects new powers lowering bar for stop and search

West Midlands Police was among the services included in a pilot scheme to lower the level of authorisation needed for stop-searches – but didn’t take up the extension of powers at all.

Police and crime commissioner David Jamieson said Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision to expand the pilot scheme nationwide suggested she had not bothered to examine its findings.

He said West Midlands police did not use the extra powers because they didn’t need to – and condemned the extension announcement as an attempt to get headlines ahead of an election.

Amazingly, considering his comments, the Home Office has asserted that all forces involved in the pilot had said they are “using some or both”* of the relaxed restrictions on powers.

West Midlands police have refused to take up an offer of new powers to make it easier for officers to conduct stop and searches.

The force was included in a pilot scheme to lower the level of authorisation needed for such searches, but data shows officers still sought approval from assistant chief constables.

Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act allows officers to search anyone in a designated area without suspicion for a defined period if police anticipate serious violence.

On Sunday the home secretary, Priti Patel, announced a nationwide extension of the pilot scheme lowering the authorisation needed for a section 60 from a senior officer to an inspector.

Source: Police force declines new powers lowering bar for stop and search | Law | The Guardian

*Whatever that means!

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McKee murder prompts politicians to re-start NI power sharing talks

How welcome to see that Theresa May has finally got off her thumbs and made a start towards restoring the devolved government in Northern Ireland, after pressure from This Site and the general public.

I wrote after Lyra McKee’s murder last weekend: “It is now 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement heralded the end of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Such an anniversary is a time to reaffirm the commitment to friendship – not to open up opportunities for a return to hate.

“Northern Ireland needs the restoration of its government in Stormont – now, not after Theresa May has spent another few months or years stalling so she can extend her own tenure in Number 10.

“The best way to shut down the possibility of violence is to deny people any excuse for it.”

Well…

An agreement has been reached to establish a new round of talks involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland the UK and Irish prime ministers, Theresa May and Leo Varadkar, have said in a joint statement.

The public clamour for political progress following the killing of the journalist Lyra McKee encouraged both governments to launch a fresh attempt to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland, they said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

It seems this is one message that has managed to get through to the UK’s recalcitrant prime minister.

Source: Deal reached for Northern Ireland power-sharing talks | Politics | The Guardian


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It’s a Tory total collapse as they are forced to accept every Labour amendment to the Budget

Labour could have moved that the Treasury be re-named “Philip Hammond is a dunce” and the government would probably have agreed to it.

Too harsh? Well, let’s be satisfied with the amendments to the Finance Bill on tax evasion, gaming duty and Fixed Odds Betting Terminals – and with the promise that there is worse to follow for Theresa May and her cronies.

She had to capitulate because, if a vote had been taken and she lost, it would have been considered proof that her government does not have the confidence of the Commons. By convention, any government in such a position should resign and allow the main Opposition party a chance to form an administration.

Instead, Mrs May is now the head of a minority government, critically vulnerable to collapse if the Opposition parties demand a vote of “no confidence”, because the Democratic Unionist Party has withdrawn its support over her disastrous Brexit agreement with the EU.

As Mrs May is determined to have her deal or no deal, and the DUP’s MPs believe neither will support what they consider to be good for Northern Ireland, it seems unlikely that they will restore their support for her government.

I predict that if the current Brexit deal goes to a vote, Mrs May will lose badly. Labour may then demand a vote of “no confidence” in the Conservative Party’s ability to govern – and such a vote seems certain to topple the government.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was quick to capitalise on the situation. He said: “It’s absolutely staggering that the Government has accepted all Labour amendments to the Finance Bill because it couldn’t rely upon the DUP’s support. The Tories are in office but not in power. We’re watching a government falling apart in front of us.”

Mrs May is currently in Brussels, where she is probably begging the Eurocrats for latitude to resolve the impossible situation into which she has put herself – because we should all remember that this is a crisis entirely of the Conservative government’s own making.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond are both set to appear at the DUP’s conference over the weekend. If they think they can bully the Irish into backing them again, they’ll be in for a shock.

It has been great fun watching the drama play out on Twitter:

So the current situation can be summed up as follows:

https://twitter.com/MsParaDoxy/status/1064673997974065152

Of course we now know that Mrs May’s strings are being pulled by the Opposition parties – and any opportunity available (to mention the backdrop sign at the Tory conference) will be theirs.

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DWP worker took more than £1,400 of other people’s benefit money

Barbara Johnstone [Image: Gazette Live].

This is not a good look for a government department that just as-good-as admitted it denied sickness and disability benefits to people under false pretences – as a matter of policy.

A Middlesbrough woman diverted over £1,400 into another account she could access while working for the Department for Work and Pensions.

Barbara Johnstone was employed by the DWP and was working at the benefits centre in Stockton when she began moving the money into another account.

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how the 65-year-old stole £1,498.75 between May and October this year.

The court heard that the money came from the benefits of nine people.

Johnstone… pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position.

Source: DWP worker diverted over £1,400 of people’s benefit money for own gain – Gazette Live


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Yes, Nusrat Ghani, let’s have that debate about MPs abusing power – we can look at your fellow Tories [STRONG LANGUAGE]

How can Tories complain about anybody’s attitude to women or minorities when Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary?

Tory MP Nusrat Ghani reckons she will demand an urgent debate in the House of Commons about the incident in which Clive Lewis used the word “bitch” during a social event connected to the Labour Party, a month ago.

Some of us may find it worth comment that she wants an “urgent” debate about an incident that is a month old and is only being discussed now in order to distract the public from the growing list of the minority Conservative government’s failures. Where’s her demand for an urgent debate on her own government’s failure to support the will of Parliament and suspend the Universal Credit rollout?

Here are her tweets:

Oh, right. Using the word “bitch” implies a lack of respect for women. This Writer can certainly get on board with that – but not with the hypocrisy of saying it after reading an article about Mr Lewis on the Guido Fawkes blog, which has a record of abusing that word:

And what about the misogynistic abuse Guido‘s followers heap on women after they’ve been targeted on that website? Here’s an example:

Here’s another:

And there’s this one as well:

The event at which Mr Lewis misspoke was run, presented and owned by women – and no objection was raised at the time. Some have tried to raise indignation because a female voice was heard saying, “This is supposed to be a safe space”. Here’s the owner of that voice:

On top of all the foregoing is the fact that Mr Lewis himself has apologised for his words, which he accepts were completely inappropriate (even though the way they were said ran counter to the misogynistic use that is correctly vilified).

So we’ve established that the fake outrage over Mr Lewis is a storm in a teacup. But a debate could still be useful – to point out the many similar outrages caused by Conservative MPs.

I mean, opponents of the government could raise the obvious policy points:

But let’s admit it – the time would be far better-used discussing the transgressions of individual Tories. Aaron Bastani, whose social media organisation Novara hosted the event at which Mr Lewis said his offending words, listed a few possibles – including, for the sake of fairness, one example concerning a Labour MP:

Boris Johnson is worth an article in his own right – and the Metro has obligingly provided one. In it, Yvette Caster comments on his claim that women go to university because “they’ve got to find men to marry”, that female graduates are responsible for rising house prices – and are making it difficult for other families to get housing, that working women should get back to the home because they are responsible for young people’s antisocial behaviour.

There’s this: “Voting Tory will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.”

I strongly recommend that you visit the article to experience the full horror.

But Mr Johnson isn’t the only Tory transgressor. What about James Heappey?

I wrote an article on Vox Political about this – ahem – “gentleman”, along with Tory Nick Harrington who said Ireland could “keep its f’king gypsies”. What charming men!

Moving back to the Cabinet, what about Michael Fallon, who called a journalist a “slut”, although it seems he would be more accurate if he applied the term to himself:

Fallon’s people have denied that he used the word but they would, wouldn’t they (to paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies’s words about another Tory defence minister, in another scandal)?

And then there’s the deputy chairman of Bermondsey and Southwark Conservative Association, Rupert Myers QC. Journalist Kate Leaver has alleged that he “forced himself” on her – and I hope everybody reading this knows what that means. If it is true, then not only should he be imprisoned but he should be stripped of his Tory membership and dismissed from the bar (of the court – although it seems he should also be banned from reputable drinking establishments):

Finally, let’s all remember that the inappropriate misuse of language is not restricted to men speaking about women. Let us consider Anna Soubry:

This incident happened in the House of Commons itself, during a Parliamentary debate. Ms Soubry’s words were not picked up by any of the many microphones in the chamber, but she certainly appears to be using those words.

These are just a few examples of incidents in which, mainly, Conservatives have used their “position of power and establishment” abominably and it could easily be argued that they have undermined Parliament by doing so.

So, yes, Nusrat Ghani – let’s have that debate – and let us use it to expose your Tory colleagues as sexist, misogynist, and criminal vermin.


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The lie that shows Theresa May cannot be trusted with Brexit

Liars: Theresa May (left); Brexit Secretary David Davis (right).

Theresa May and David Davis want us all to accept their word that they won’t use ‘Henry VIII’ powers to rip up the rights of UK citizens if the EU Withdrawal Bill – in its current form – makes it onto the statute book.

But we would be fools to believe her. She can’t even be trusted to be honest about the reasons she thinks she should be allowed these powers.

Mrs May said the House of Lords had endorsed her claim – but the Lords have publicly denounced this as a lie. Here’s The Independent:

Lords have accused Theresa May and David Davis of “selectively” quoting from their inquiry report and claiming it endorsed their Brexit legislation, when actually the study raised major concerns.

Peers on the Constitution Committee said they had in fact called for a “number of key limitations” to be placed on the legislation.

Baroness Taylor of Bolton, Chairman of the Committee, said: “The EU (Withdrawal) Bill represents an extraordinary transfer of legal powers from Parliament to the Government, without the additional oversight we recommended.

“We believe this will create very real difficulties for Parliament in fulfilling its constitutional role to scrutinise this Bill.

“We acknowledge that the Government needs significant powers in order to deliver legal certainty after Brexit. However, we warned the Government that such powers must come with tougher parliamentary scrutiny mechanisms and we are disappointed that we have not only been misquoted by the Government, but that our key recommendations have been ignored.”

It wouldn’t be quite as bad if Mrs May had a record of supporting citizens’ rights – but she doesn’t.

Time and again, the Tory leader has led or voted in favour of draconian attempts to cut down on the rights of working people and their protections against unscrupulous bosses.

That’s according to the Daily Mirror, which provides a handy list of seven such incidents. You can read it here.

If you’re confused about why it’s important, this is the reason:

You can’t trust Theresa May. She must not get these powers.


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Everybody who wanted to ‘take back control’ when they voted ‘Leave’ must be feeling sick now

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said his party would try force the Government to give Parliament more control over Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations [Image: Rex].

“Take back control” was the big, banner-riding rallying-cry for Brexiteers everywhere in the run-up to the EU referendum. Did those people have any idea they would actually be handing control to Tory ministers and not to the UK Parliament?

Under the terms of Theresa May’s plans, Conservative cabinet ministers will be able to ditch your hard-won human and working rights without any Parliamentary scrutiny at all.

The response from Labour, as outlined by Keir Starmer, seems to be what This Site and its readers reasoned last week: Support the implementation of Article 50, because that’s what the public demanded, but oppose anti-democratic plans by Theresa May and her government.

This refers to the so-called Great Repeal Bill, rather than the vote on any expected exit agreement Mrs May might make with the EU. The Bill would repeal the 1972 European Communities Act with which the UK joined the EEC (as it was then known) and enshrine all EU law relevant to the UK into UK law.

Then comes the sticking-point: Tory ministers would then be allowed to ditch anything they didn’t like, using so-called ‘Henry VIII’ powers.

Labour will not accept this. Nor should you.

So next time you see someone who told you that Brexit meant “we” would “take back control”, ask them who, exactly, “we” are supposed to be.

Did they mean “we, the people” – or “them – the Tories”?

Labour will not back a vital piece of Theresa May’s Brexit legislation if it contains sweeping powers allowing ministers to scrap vital workers’ rights, human rights and environmental provisions.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer vowed his party would fight Ms May “all the way” if she tried to use Brexit as an opportunity to adopt the so-called “Henry VIII powers”.

The expected move by the Government would render Parliament almost powerless to stop Tory ministers in post-Brexit Britain from dumping rights previously enshrined in EU law.

Because the terms of Theresa May’s Brexit deal will not be known when the legislation is to be passed this summer, the bill is likely to include a “Henry VIII clause” – named after the all-powerful king – allowing ministers to ditch bits of EU law they do not like with little parliamentary scrutiny.

Source: Brexit: Labour vows to reject Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill if it hands ministers powers to dump rights

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