Tag Archives: public

This former Commons speaker can still put a prime minister firmly in his place

This clip speaks for itself.

Former Commons Speaker Lady (Betty Boothroyd), speaking in today’s (October 19) Lords debate on how badly Boris Johnson has cocked up the UK’s departure from the European Union, said the following:

“Never in my Parliamentary experience have I witnessed such a collapse in the people’s trust.”

That is a warning.

Johnson will be too stupid – or too selfish – to take it.

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#SpaffingTories: they’re giving even more money to their toff friends

Spaffer: Boris Johnson has thrown so much money at private consultants and contractors that the UK’s financial situation is in peril.

Conservatives. They’re rubbish at running a country but really good at stealing public money and handing it to posh people.

Only days ago, we learned that they’ve wasted more than £3 billion on the Covid crisis so far. That’s money Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak will want you to pay back, by the way. They won’t.

https://twitter.com/RussInCheshire/status/1310615498023936003

Now we see that, far from learning any lessons, they’re funnelling even more cash to the upper classes:

The responses to this announcement tell their own story:

Your money.

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Restless public holds up Jon Snow monstering of ‘death minister’ Hancock as example of how media should hold Tories to account

People are getting tired of the BBC and other Tory-supporting media letting Boris Johnson’s government get away with its mistakes.

That’s why this drubbing of Tory “death minister” Matt Hancock by Channel 4’s Jon Snow – carried out while Parliament was deadlocked over Brexit last year – has suddenly become hugely popular on Twitter.

Snow? It’s more like a blizzard:

People haven’t been holding back in their criticisms of certain hacks in the mainstream media:

Will it do any good? Of course not.

As I type this, the BBC’s Politics Live has been discussing Chris Bryant’s nomination of US Presidential candidate Joe Biden for the Nobel Peace Prize rather than any of the disasters that the Tories are bringing to the UK.

Perhaps they’ll get around to the Tory cowards who are abstaining on the Internal Market Bill that plans to break international law and return violence to Northern Ireland later but I doubt it.

Oh look! They’re discussing Boris Johnson’s daft speech about re-skilling people for the post-Covid economy as if he knows what he’s talking about.

Perhaps we should all just adopt the Jon Snow ‘blizzard’ approach whenever we see our own Tory MPs instead.

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Why can’t the ‘NHS’ Covid-19 contact tracing app register NHS test results?

I think we all know the answer to that: it isn’t an NHS app after all.

After This Site was criticised – quite harshly by some – for connecting the ‘NHS’ Covid-19 contact tracing app with Serco and suggesting that it is a data harvesting tool for private contractor Serco, and had to publish a story yesterday (September 25) providing the information on the government’s press release…

It seems I may have been right in the first place after all.

Concerns have been raised after a user discovered he could not enter details of a test he undertook that was processed at an NHS/Public Health England laboratory. It seems the app can only take details of Serco tests:

We in the general public aren’t stupid. We asked questions and we drew conclusions:

The BBC got the story wrong; the headline mentions nothing about the failure to accommodate NHS/PHE results…

… but it did tell us about a few other cock-ups:

  • People who test negative can’t share the result with the app if the test wasn’t booked through the app.
  • People who enter their symptoms but not a test result find the app puts them onto a self-isolation countdown anyway.
  • They cannot stop the countdown, even if they enter a negative test result later.

And it does mention the main issue – but buried low in the story, possibly in the hope that the mass of the general public (70 per cent of the UK public gets its news from the BBC, apparently) will not notice and will carry on along its brainwashed way.

The Department for Health and Social Care has said the app will be updated (although it hasn’t said that these problems will be resolved).

This Site ran a Twitter survey when the app was launched, asking if it would be withdrawn by the weekend. There was a low take-up but the result was decisive:

It isn’t being withdrawn but it seems clear that it should be.

The DHSC is still claiming – somewhat desperately – that “by downloading the app you are helping protect yourself and others”. But it seems clear that the app’s real purpose is entirely different:

This is what we’re finding. And as long as the government keeps lying to us about what it is doing, it is also sapping away public trust in anything Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and the other crooks are doing.

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Priti Patel: ‘it’s okay for Tory MPs to break the law but I’ll call the cops if you have a garden party’

The UK has become a police state under the Tories, with them breaking the law left, right and centre while the public are punished.

That is what Home Secretary Priti Patel told us today (September 15), when she said she would inform the police if she found people breaking the so-called “Rule of 6” that bans public gatherings of more than six people.

She, of course, has just voted for her Tory government to break international law by overriding the EU withdrawal agreement.

And let’s not forget that she was ousted from Theresa May’s cabinet when she started carrying out her own foreign policy in Israel, independent of her own government.

She’s a serial villain, and she has the hypocrisy to claim the moral high ground:

The Home Secretary told BBC Breakfast “I don’t spend my time looking into people’s gardens” but added: “I think anybody would want to take responsibility and make sure we’re not spreading this awful disease.

“If I saw gatherings of more than six people, clearly I would report that.”

That’s except for her fellow Tories, of course. They can do what they like.

Did she object when Dominic Cummings broke lockdown to go and visit his family in Durham? No.

Did she call the police when Robert Jenrick did the same? No.

But she’ll happily dob you in because you’re not in her exclusive club.

Given this behaviour by the Home Secretary, This Writer is not inclined to accept her demand.

Other people have brains and can use their own judgement to decide what they do.

I certainly won’t be bothering the police with it. If Covid-19 rises, I will blame the Tories for failing to provide an example to follow.

Source: Priti Patel says she’d snitch on her neighbours to police under ‘rule of six’ – Mirror Online

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Spectators told ‘stay away’ from St Leger after This Site’s story about it

Jam-packed: This is how the crowd at the St Leger event in Doncaster usually looks. With Covid-19 back on the rise in the UK, Boris Johnson’s Tory government was happy to allow it to go ahead. Fortunately, the local authority was more interested in public safety than private profit.

This Writer would love to take credit for the latest u-turn but I don’t really think it is anything to do with me.

Shortly after This Site asked whether the decision to impose new Covid-19-related restrictions on public gatherings after the weekend had anything to do with the St Leger horse racing event being during the weekend, organisers were told to forbid entry to the public in any event.

I had pointed out the extraordinary business interests in horse racing held by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and ‘Test and Trace’ boss Dido Harding.

As MP for horse racing centre Newmarket, he receives significant donations from the horse racing industry, while she is a director of the Jockey Club.

So it seemed reasonable to ask whether these facts had anything to do with the delay in the new restriction. Many others have pointed out that you can’t do a deal with Covid-19 to wait until after the weekend, after all.

And we should all be reminded that the Cheltenham Festival, in March, was allowed to stay open to the public – and expert evidence suggested that this led to “increased suffering and death”.

In the end, it seems, any personal interests people like Hancock, Harding, or indeed Boris Johnson may have in the St Leger turned out to be immaterial:

Doncaster Racecourse has been told by local health officials to stop spectators attending its St Leger meeting after Wednesday’s opening day.

“On the grounds of public health and public safety I have instructed the course to hold the St Leger Festival behind closed doors from tomorrow,” said Dr Rupert Suckling, director of Public Health for Doncaster.

So any corrupt or greed-motivated reasons for delaying the restriction have been thwarted.

Good. It is the right decision for the health of the nation.

Source: Doncaster Racecourse told to stop spectators attending St Leger meeting – BBC Sport

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‘No deal’ Brexit looking more likely as UK negotiator rattles his sabre at the EU

If the UK government is not “scared” of leaving the EU without a trade deal, then it is because the interests of UK government ministers will not be harmed.

Reading between the lines of the BBC’s story, perhaps they expect the taxpayer to fund any businesses in which they have an interest?

The downside is that UK negotiator David Frost is saying your Tory government couldn’t care less if your business crashes to dust as a result of high tariffs that will be imposed by the EU nations in January.

Both sides want a deal agreed next month in order to have it signed off by politicians on both sides of the Channel by the end of the transition period on 31 December.

Differences remain on issues such as fishing and the level of taxpayer support the UK will be able to provide for businesses, also referred to as state aid rules.

The EU has said it wants full access for its boats to fish in UK waters in return for giving the UK fishing industry full access to EU markets.

On state aid, the EU has expressed concern that it could give business in the UK an unfair advantage over their European competitors and Mr Barnier has previously said the EU will require “robust” guarantees in this area if it is to agree a deal.

This Writer would be inclined to suggest that the EU should keep its nose out of the UK’s businesses if we could be sure that taxpayer funding for our firms could be administered in a reasonable way – but that’s not what we’re seeing.

Look at the Covid-19 crisis: the Tories have deliberately manipulated government procurement mechanisms to give whomping great wodges of public money to private companies run by their friends. That’s not reasonable!

On balance, the EU’s insistence on interfering in the way UK businesses are run is not acceptable, though. Does Michel Barnier really think a little state aid is going to make much difference for a single country dealing with the world’s largest trading bloc?

If This Writer was running a large concern, though, I would be worried.

Whatever happens, it seems UK businesses will end up paying large tariffs to sell into the EU, while receiving no support from their own government. Am I right?

Source: Brexit: Negotiator David Frost says UK not scared of walking away – BBC News

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U-turn and u-turn again as Boris Johnson first agrees, then refuses to meet bereaved Covid campaigners

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is resorting to flat-out lies.

How galling for the 14 million who voted for him to realise that Boris Johnson is such a craven coward.

He can’t even bear to meet people who have lost family members due to his mistakes – so he has made up a succession of reasons not to.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK may not have a snappy name but they do have a good reason for existence – they want an inquiry into the Johnson government’s decisions on the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The organisation wisely distrusts Johnson’s claim that he will hold an inquiry “at the appropriate time” and has already issued a “letter before action”, warning that the group is considering litigation to secure an inquiry.

But a letter before action is not itself litigation.

So when Boris Johnson said, “It turns out that this particular group are currently in litigation with the government. I will certainly meet them once that litigation is concluded,” he was lying.

He had previously promised to meet them.

Perhaps he was hoping that most people would not know enough about court action to tell that he was telling a falsehood in order to run away from the potentially disastrous publicity a meeting would create.

It’s also possible that he was hoping his u-turn would not come to public attention.

This Writer is already on the record as saying it is unlikely an inquiry will take place. Politicians like Johnson say there will be one “at the appropriate time” when a crisis is ongoing and people are demanding it but, the instant the trouble is over, they insist that it would be better to put the matter behind us.

Let’s face it: Johnson is notoriously bad – embarrassing, in fact – when he doesn’t have a script to read out. He may be afraid he’ll say something that may be used against him later.

So he’s running away from a meeting he promised to attend.

And that, dear reader, is the act of a coward.

Source: Coronavirus: Campaigners reject PM’s ‘poor excuse’ for not meeting them – BBC News

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Do you believe this ‘four-day working week to create half a million jobs’ bunkum?

Commuters: to many of them, the idea of a four-day working week may seem highly attractive – but not on these ‘castle in the air’ terms.

Someone’s trying to lead us up the garden path:

The public sector should switch to a four-day week to create 500,000 jobs and help ease a predicted spike in unemployment following the coronavirus outbreak, according to a report.

The Autonomy think tank said “the time has come” for a shorter working week as the end of the government’s furlough scheme in October is expected to cause an unemployment crisis.

Research by the thinktank suggests public sector workers could move to a 32-hour week without any loss in wages at a cost of up to £9bn a year.

This figure, according to Autonomy, represents 6 per cent of the public sector salary bill and costs the same amount as the furlough employment scheme brought in to save jobs during the peak of the pandemic.

Who says any government is going to give public sector workers a cut in their working hours while keeping their wages the same (that’s a massive real-terms raise) – especially a Tory government? They imposed a public sector pay freeze for years!

And the claim that it would cost up to £9 billion a year – the same as Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme – is just more evidence that it wouldn’t work. Sunak is scrapping the furlough scheme on grounds that it is too expensive to continue indefinitely.

Not realistic.

Source: Four-day working week in public sector could create 500,000 jobs, says thinktank report | The Independent | Independent

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Ofqual chief Sally Collier resigns – over letting Cummings chum’s company have contract?

Exams: If Sally Collier had examined Public First a little more closely, she might not have had to resign.

The big development in the ‘A’ level scandal yesterday (August 25) was the resignation of Ofqual boss Sally Collier – apparently under criticism about the algorithm that marked down students from poorer backgrounds.

That’s what Tory mouthpiece the BBC is saying:

Ofqual chief Ms Collier has been under fire for a controversial algorithm which changed GCSE and A-level marks, making them unfair, according to heads.

It also led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered, and a crunch on degree places.

But didn’t that only happen because Ofqual had hired useless lobbying/research firm Public First, run by friends of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove?

A spokesperson said: “Due to the exceptional circumstances presented by the cancellation of exams, the single tender justification process was used for this contract, due to the need to urgently procure the work, in line with our procurement policy.”

This comment makes it clear that Public First was hired to find a way forward for students’ exam results. It came up with the infamous algorithm and caused a scandal.

And we now know that the government paid £49,000 for that disaster.

So it seems Ms Collier has resigned, but the fault lies with James Frayne and Rachel Wolf, the people behind Public First.

Other contracts given to the firm under the “no competition” regulations which apply when a service is deemed “urgent” during emergency circumstances include £840,000 to research public opinion on government policies – including Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Not bad for a firm whose registered office is a residential address – a house – in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.

Another contract saw the company handed £116,000 by the Department of Health and Social Care to identify ways to “lock in the lessons learned” by the Government during the Covid-19 crisis.

But will the Tories learn the obvious lesson – that Public First should not be hired to carry out any work under any circumstances at all, whether in an emergency or not?

It seems doubtful.

Source: Ofqual chief Sally Collier steps down after exams chaos – BBC News

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