Tag Archives: propose

Another Brexit plan has been announced – and shot down in the same day

Boris Johnson: he’s still doing the Hokey-Cokey (“In, out, in, out, shake it all about”) during Brexit negotiations.

Brexit buffs – celebrate! Your favourite time has happened again! The Tories have leaked another plan for a withdrawal agreement!

And it’s another stinker!

Your favourite!

You could probably tell how this one was going to go when the Tories put it out officially and The Guardian headlined its article Dismay in Brussels as Boris Johnson finally reveals Brexit plan.

The copy states:

Despite concerted attempts to avoid publicly trashing the UK proposals, there was dismay behind-the-scenes in Brussels after Johnson tabled his first concrete proposal for replacing the Irish backstop.

Johnson’s plan involves Northern Ireland leaving the EU’s customs union at the end of transition, together with the rest of the UK, necessitating checks and controls on the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland would also stay aligned with EU standards on goods if Stormont agreed by December 2020, the end of the transition period, and then in a vote every four years.

But the UK has also requested that both sides commit at treaty level “never to conduct checks at the border” even if Stormont vetoes the arrangements laid out in the new 44 page Irish protocol.

Barnier said that this commitment would prevent Brussels from protecting its internal market if the Northern Ireland assembly blocked the arrangement in 2020 or at a later date.

“The EU would then be trapped with no backstop to preserve the single market after Brexit,” he warned.

EU sources said that such were the flaws in the UK’s proposals that there appeared scant chance of agreement by a crunch EU summit on 17 October. “Unfortunately we are heading for an extension,” said one diplomatic source.

The proposal – if that’s what you want to call it – was trumpeted by Tory press release copyist Laura Kuenssberg – and trashed pretty much immediately:

Tory mouthpiece Newsnight put forward a positive spin from Brian Blessed impersonator Geoffrey Cox…

You’ll have noticed that, referring to a deal, he said everybody in the Conservative government wants to “do one”.

It turns out a few people, both in the UK and in the EU want the Tories to “do one” as well…

Still, every cloud has a silver lining. Labour has been absolutely festive about this:

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “Any responsible prime minister would have spent the past three months trying to build a consensus in parliament and across the European Union in order to break the deadlock.

“However, Boris Johnson has neither the intention nor ability to negotiate a deal or protect jobs and communities across the United Kingdom.”

McDonnell added that he thought Johnson’s plans were “a cynical attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit”.

Opposition parties were united in rejecting the prime minister’s proposal for a deal.

So: it’s “no deal” for the October EU summit, meaning Mr Johnson will be legally bound to beg for an extension – which, you’ll notice, the Eurocrats are minded to grant.

But if the Tory plan really is to offer this travesty once and then walk away, what do they have up their sleeves?

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An appointments system for Accident & Emergency is the stupidest NHS idea yet

The whole point of Accident & Emergency is that people don’t need appointments to be seen.

A person who has just become the victim of a life-threatening injury, illness or condition isn’t going to have time to wait around until a doctor is ready to see them.

And the fact that this is being proposed to save face, for a service whose lack of money means it isn’t hitting targets is the biggest insult of all.

Yes, the National Health Service needs major changes.

They are a change of leaders – and a change of government.

Patients could have to start booking appointments in A&E units, and those with only minor ailments wait many hours before they are seen, under a proposed shakeup of NHS targets.

NHS England chiefs are examining whether to relax the longstanding obligation to see 95% of A&E patients within four hours.

They are also under growing pressure from hospital bosses to ease another key NHS waiting time target – the duty to give patients non-urgent surgery within 18 weeks of being referred by their GP.

Source: NHS proposes A&E appointments system in targets shakeup | Society | The Guardian

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The ‘Free Schools’ vanity project has wasted millions when the government said there was no money to spare

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The Tory ‘Free Schools’ vanity project has been a complete disaster, with more than £51 million wasted on new schools that failed to meet inspectors’ standards or proposals for schools that were cancelled or withdrawn.

A report compiled by the Labour Party shows that £50m has been spent on free schools either declared inadequate by the education standards watchdog, Ofsted, or requiring improvement. A further £1.043m was spent on applications that were cancelled or withdrawn.

Of the 79 free schools opened in the first and second waves of the Michael Gove project, no less than one in three have been declared inadequate or requiring improvement by schools watchdog Ofsted. This compares with one in five schools overall – that’s including the institutions that ‘Free Schools’ were expected to outperform.

It is noteworthy that, according to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, the number of “inadequate” schools is equal to the number employing, as teachers, people with no teaching qualifications – one in three.

Worse still, the government has been caught trying to “massage” the figures. The example provided to us by a report in The Independent shows that the Hartsbrook E-Act Free School in north London, declared inadequate by Ofsted, was given a new name and number. This means the school appears as closed, even though it is now operating under a different name (Brook House Primary School), with the same head teacher and pupils in the same location. The re-designation means it won’t be inspected again until four terms have passed.

That could be disastrous for pupils, who by then will have spent almost another quarter of their primary school career in an environment that has been declared substandard, simply to save the government from embarrassment.

It seems the pupils aren’t the only ones who need to learn how to grow up and act in a mature and responsible manner!

Overall, primary ‘Free Schools’ are underperforming in reading, writing and mathematics, in comparison with the rest of the state sector.

It gets worse: Of those free schools whose 2013 national-curriculum test results were published, all bar one underperformed compared with the rest in their local authority and the national average.

Is this the revolution announced so boldly in the Coalition Agreement?

“We … believe that the state should help parents, community groups and others come together to improve the education system by starting new schools,” it told us in 2010.

“We will promote the reform of schools in order to ensure that new providers can enter the state school system in response to parental demand; that all schools have greater freedom over the curriculum; and that all schools are held properly to account.

“We will give parents, teachers, charities and local communities the chance to set up new schools, as part of our plans to allow new providers to enter the state school system in response to parental demand.”

Which parents demanded this?

Free Schools also offered the opportunity to employ unqualified people as teachers. The Tory-run Education Department claimed this was a way of bringing in expertise that would not otherwise be available – now we know the facts.

‘Free Schools’ have been an expensive waste – not only of money, but of time and the potential of the school pupils they have failed.

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