Tag Archives: red

Stable-heater Zahawi rushes to deny #OperationRedMeat to save #BorisJohnson’s bacon

Duper’s delight: Boris Johnson (wherever he is) may well be wearing this smile today, as his lieutenants rush to defend him and sway public opinion back in his favour with a dripfeed of drivel. Are you going to let him get away with it?

Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, wants us to know that he is refusing to recognise suggestions of an “Operation Red Meat” strategy to save Boris Johnson’s bacon.

Zahawi, who himself is no angel after trying to get the public to pay for his stables to be heated by claiming it on his MP expenses, wants us to think Johnson is in no danger of dismissal, despite votes of “no confidence” from 35 sitting Tory MPs and one suspended Tory (Anne Marie Morris), and revelation upon revelation every day.

“He’s human and he makes mistakes,” said Zahawi. Yes indeed, we all are and do. But most of us don’t make the same mistake continually over a period lasting at least 11 months, possibly much longer. That is a pattern of behaviour.

Zahawi has also denied some of the details of “Operation Red Meat”, saying sending the military to deal with refugee boats trying to cross the channel was something the government had been “seeking to address for a long time”  – and got into hot water on Sky News for doing so:

It’s true: You don’t crack down on people traffickers by sending the military to attack a flimsy boat full of vulnerable refugees from a country the UK abandoned.

Zahawi wasn’t the only one coming out with nonsense to the media.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, challenged by (Islamophobe) Trevor Phillips on Sky News yesterday (January 16), said Johnson would address the culture that allowed the Downing Street parties to happen:

There’s just one problem with that: Johnson won’t do anything about any such culture because he is the one who created it and fuels it.

All Dowden’s other comments – the vast majority of his speech, in fact – were tangential; Johnson’s decisions on Covid-19 have little bearing on the parties that were hosted at his house. And in any case, those decisions were either wrong or late, meaning the UK’s Covid-19 death toll has been far higher than it should have been.

The only way Tory Covid policy could be linked with the parties is if it is pointed out that Boris Johnson made a decision to enjoy drinkies with his party buddies while the rest of us were losing loved ones because of his decision not to fight Covid-19 in the proper way and at the proper time.

We need to keep that in mind, no matter what drivel the Tories and their mouthpieces in the media throw at us.

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#OperationRedMeat: How destroying the UK’s institutions may save #BorisJohnson

Operation Red Meat won’t help you or anybody you know. Its only purpose is to save Boris Johnson’s career by destroying much-loved UK institutions and making promises that, let’s face it, our lying prime minister won’t keep.

Boris Johnson is pandering to the worst demands of his backbenchers in a desperate bid to stop them booting him out of 10 Downing Street, it seems.

He has apparently drawn up a list of extreme actions that he hopes will persuade his Parliamentary party not to challenge his leadership.

They include:

  • Promising to end the BBC licence fee, putting the existence of the UK’s beloved public service broadcaster in jeopardy.
  • Announcing plans to tackle the backlog of operations in the NHS that has arisen because of his party’s failure to fund and staff the public health provider properly.
  • Lifting Covid-19 health protection measures (otherwise known as restrictions) on January 26, whether it is safe to do so or not.
  • Ordering the military into the English Channel to stop foreign nationals from crossing to the UK.
  • Forcing the 1.5 million people who are out of work and on Universal Credit into government-funded skills and job training (but not creating actual work for them).
  • Publishing Michael Gove’s “Levelling-Up” White Paper, that aims to improve neglected towns in northern England. So far, so-called “levelling-up” money is notable for having been used to improve a Tory aristocrat’s driveway, costing the public £300,000.
  • And announcing a workplace booze ban to end the drinking culture in what has been called “Club Downing Street”.

If any of that sounds good to you, it shouldn’t.

The BBC remains the best creator and broadcaster of TV and radio in the world – because it is funded by licence fee and does not have to pander to shareholders, advertisers or even ratings. This means programming for minority interests is not only possible, but encouraged. Johnson’s plan will make it the same as every other broadcaster – if it survives. Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has leapt at the opportunity to kill off this huge national asset, like the raving dunderhead she is.

How will Johnson tackle the backlog of operations that his own idiocy has run up? He’ll probably farm it out to private companies, funnelling even more of our money into shareholders’ pockets. If previous records are any yardstick, many of the operations will be botched and NHS surgeons will have to repair the damage.

Johnson’s attitude to Covid-19 has been wrong throughout the crisis. Here he is being influenced by his backbenchers who don’t care about public health but do want the proles to get back to work, making money for them and their doners. If he lifts the measures that protect us too soon – again – he will pitch us back into crisis.

What will happen when the Royal Navy – intentionally or otherwise – sinks a boat full of refugees? How will Johnson respond to the international incident he will have created?

Funding skills and work training may seem a good idea, but there is no guarantee that this training will be of any use at all; based on Johnson’s criteria for handing out Covid-19-related funding, it seems likely that it will be a tick-box exercise for hastily-created firms founded by friends of Conservative MPs to take more money from the public purse.

The failings of “Levelling-Up” are already well-documented, and publishing a White Paper is not the same as putting the right money in the right places. In fact, experience of Johnson suggests the exact opposite will happen.

And announcing a booze ban isn’t the same as stopping the drinking culture in Downing Street. Far from it. Johnson is a liar. He’s most likely to tell us he has done something, and then carry on partying as though no scandal happened at all. What do his MPs think the public will do, when we find out that he has let us down again?

The whole strategy – if it can really be dignified with such a description – is being called “Operation Red Meat”. One questions how Johnson arrived at the title.

Is it because he intends to rip the best parts of the UK – its finest institutions – into bloody shreds and then feed them to his toadies?

We can all foresee the harm Johnson is planning. Here’s just one comment on his plan to destroy the BBC:

And then, of course, there’s this:

Worst of all is: You won’t have any say in whether this happens or not.

The decision will be left with Conservative MPs – and we all know that their first priority has never been the good of the nation; they will do whatever they think will enrich themselves in the extreme short term.

You’ll get your chance to vote them out in 2024. If these plans – including the Police, NHS privatisation and anti-refugee Bills – have been enacted by then, it will be too late to save the institutions that have made Britain great.

And the alternative, of course, will be an extreme right-wing organisation masquerading under the name of the Labour Party, whose policy platform will bear no resemblance at all to traditional Labour philosophy.

In other words – and purely for your information: Boris Johnson is trying to use this threat to his leadership as a way of screwing you even harder than he was doing before.

Music organisations are restoring visa-free touring in the EU. Dorries steals the credit

Nadine Dorries: she likes to take credit. Shame she doesn’t deserve it.

How do you like the nerve of the Culture Secretary?

Nadine Dorries (the people of Mid Bedfordshire must be so proud of her) has tried to take credit for the hard work of LIVE, the Association of British Orchestras and others who have been working hard to cut the red tape that her government has wrapped around musicians from the UK who want to perform in EU countries.

What motivates people like her to lie so brazenly?

Will she try to convince us that God told her to do it?

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Brexit ‘red tape’ slashes UK trading revenue with EU by £17 BILLION in just three months

Prophetic: I made this infographic in December 2020 – almost a year ago.

Remember when David Cameron – the architect of the EU membership referendum – said his Conservative-led government would ‘slash red tape’?

It’s almost funny, with hindsight.

Today we learned that the departure from the European Union that his referendum triggered has resulted in a loss of £17 billion in revenue to UK businesses, while they have been swamped in a quagmire of red tape that Brexit has created.

According to The London Economic:

Despite promises from the Leave campaign that red tape would fade after Britain quit the EU, UK companies have had to fill in an astonishing 48 million customs declarations and 140,000 export health certificates in the eight months since the UK quit the single market and customs union , according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The NAO blamed Brexit for a sharp decline in trade between the UK and EU this year. “Total trade in goods between the UK and EU was 15 per cent (£17bn) less in Quarter 2 when compared with the equivalent quarter in 2018,” the watchdog’s report said.

An additional £600 million in costs has hit British importers since January according to HMRC data seen by The Guardian. The cause has been identified as Brexit, because the taxes were not required for EU imports when the Britain was in the single market.

But isn’t that the exact opposite of what Boris Johnson promised? Didn’t he say there would be no barriers to trade after Brexit?

Why, yes – yes he did:

In fairness, Cameron did cut a lot of “red tape”.

It turned out that these rules and regulations were necessary to keep us safe and secure in our workplaces and financial transactions. I’m sure you can think of your own examples.

Their loss has endangered us.

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Red faces over ‘RedThroat’ as reporters line up to say Greensill leaks were NOT from Labour mole

David Cameron: there are genuine concerns about his conduct on behalf of Greensill – so why is a columnist for a Tory rag trying to make trouble for the whistleblowers?

The trouble with Dan Hodges’ assertion that a Labour Party mole leaked embarrassing information about the Greensill scandal is that a falsehood can go around the world before the facts have got their boots on.

In this case, the refutations have come fast – and there have been a lot of them – but the implication that this huge scandal has been fabricated by Labour will undoubtedly be taken up by the Tory-supporting trolls for use in the future.

Here’s Hodges:

In the article, he writes:

‘It’s pretty clear we’ve got a Labour mole inside Government,’ a Minister tells me. ‘There were suspicions before the Greensill affair, but this has basically confirmed it. It’s the only explanation for where all this stuff is coming from.’

Alternatively…

Tim Fenton, over on Zelo Street, has described the Tory frenzy to find Labour moles as “Amateur hour at the paranoia bar” and his article is well worth reading.

Even Gabriel Pogrund over at The Sunday Times, who seems to hate Labour so much that he published lies about This Writer (for which the paper later had to publish a humiliatingly-lengthy retraction), had to agree that Hodges is wrong here:

I wonder whether this is a thinly-veiled attempt to unmask the alleged moles, so the Tories can root them out of Whitehall.

If so, it is to be resisted.

Tory corruption is rampant and they are hardly likely to broadcast their misdeeds willingly.

We need whistleblowers in Whitehall to tell us what these people are really doing with our money.

We should not sit back and allow them to be punished for their honesty.

Of course, Hodges won’t take any punishment for publishing a falsehood.

Undoubtedly his article has boosted sales/reads of his rag, the Mail on Sunday.

As an ex-newspaper hack, This Writer can assure you that such a boost was all that its bosses wanted.

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Are Tory right-wingers proposing a ‘Northern Bang’ or just another clusterf***?

Money: Margaret Thatcher’s favourite thinktank, the Centre for Policy Studies, says England needs a “Northern Bang” – like the so-called “Big Bang” in the financial markets that ultimately led to the financial crisis of 2008-10. It’s begging for disaster, as Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy explains.

Tories can’t help themselves, these days. Whatever they do turns into a “complete bureaucratic nightmare” and this plan is no different.

It’s certainly nothing new.

Let’s all be grateful to Richard Murphy for his analysis.

In his introduction, he states: “Margaret Thatcher’s favourite think tank, the Centre for Policy Studies, has published a new report suggesting what they call a Northern Bang – aimed at the Tory Red Wall seats.

“Let’s ignore the fact that they want to favour these seats over those in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Instead let’s note that this is all the usual right-wing nonsense, including relaxing planning rules, providing state subsidies to big, foreign-owned businesses whilst ignoring those already based here, and reformed tax reliefs, for which there is absolutely no evidence of success in encouraging new investment.

“This is a Northern Whimper delivered by a think tank right out of ideas, but which still knows that its real purpose is to shovel wealth upwards from taxpayers to those who own and run large companies.

“The CPS report is here https://www.cps.org.uk/research/a-nor… and my proposals on capital allowances are here https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/w….”

Here’s the video, and it’s worth seeing:

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Why did the Tories use Brexit to stab our musicians in the back?

Festival: this site stated before Brexit happened that, if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

This is unlikely to be music to anybody’s ears: not only are musicians facing red tape and costs that make touring in Europe prohibitive after Brexit – it turns out the Conservative government deliberately arranged it that way.

According to the Independent,

The UK rejected an offer of visa-free tours by musicians to EU countries, despite blaming Brussels for what the industry is calling the devastating blow of them requiring permits.

A “standard” proposal to exempt performers from the huge cost and bureaucracy for 90 days was turned down… because the government is insisting on denying that to EU artists visiting this country.

It seems insane. Last year the UK music industry brought £2.9 billion into the country.

Some of that came from tours that went to EU countries. This Writer is willing to bet that more money came from the EU to the UK than in the other direction.

So by denying a reciprocal deal for visa-free tours, Boris Johnson has turned down a huge amount of tax income.

Maybe he isn’t musical.

(More accurately, it seems Priti Patel is the one with the tin ear – as the extra red tape is part of her crackdown on immigration which has introduced tough restrictions on tours by EU musicians.)

If you’re wondering why this is such a problem, the new rules that make touring in the EU under post-Brexit conditions prohibitive are detailed here.

Stars including folk singer Laura Marling and Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess have signed a parliamentary petition demanding visa-free tours, backed by almost 230,000 people.

Burgess explains the problems in another Independent article:

Bigger artists putting on stadium shows will more than likely be able to survive, but anyone below that level will be hit hard. Primarily by, you guessed it, “bureaucracy and red tape”.

Those costs mean that the precarious economics of touring Europe would make it impossible for so many artists starting out. Those artists that are lauded when they make it – those future Florences, Adeles and Eds – are having so many more obstacles put in front of them. It puts the music industry everyone is apparently so proud of under serious threat.

The government has said the Independent‘s story is incorrect and misleading.

But the restrictions have been imposed.

So who, exactly, is misleading who?

And how long will it be before the Tories realise they’ve made a mistake?

Source: UK ‘rejected offer’ of visa-free tours by musicians in EU, despite blaming Brussels for permit blow | The Independent

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Brexit: EU firms refuse UK deliveries (Vox Political Scrapbook)

So much for the big tory “bonfire of red tape”.

It was a David Cameron project, as was the EU membership referendum of 2016. Cameron succeeded in creating more red tape than any previous UK prime minister, it seems.

Oh, and the bureaucracy that he destroyed? That was saving us from the corruption that is now the hallmark of Boris Johnson’s administration.

A growing number of retailers in the EU have decided they won’t deliver to Britain because of the new costs involved in sending packages after Brexit. Companies have said they are unwilling to register for VAT in the UK, with one Dutch firm calling the red tape “ludicrous”.

Brexit disruption means Sainsbury’s has reportedly lost around 700 product lines in Northern Ireland – where it has been forced to stock goods from Spar. And Marks & Spencer said new trading rules in place since Britain left the EU were delaying deliveries of food to its stores in France – where branches had empty shelves on Tuesday.

Source: Brexit news – live: EU firms refuse UK deliveries as Boris Johnson’s India trade trip scrapped

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Musicians: brace yourselves for the hidden costs of EU touring the Brexiteers never mentioned

Festival: if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

As a musician myself – even though I’ve never toured in Europe – this is infuriating.

I know musicians who do gig on the Continent, and the new costs triggered by Brexit are likely to make it impractical for them to continue.

Wasn’t Brexit supposed to make it easier for us all to ply our trades? Do you know anybody who actually and materially benefits from January 1 onwards?

Here’s Howard Goodall to explain the bad news:

Last summer, the arts/culture charity I currently chair – Radnor Fringe Festival – ran an online version of its annual event because Covid-19 made a physical festival with thousands of people standing around shoulder-to-shoulder impossible. It was a huge success.

We’re currently working on making the online festival an ongoing thing, with new content by musicians, artists, actors and so on, to be funded initially by donations.

Personally, I see this as one way for UK musicians to get their sounds out to the Continent while the Brexit insanity holds sway.

It won’t be the same as being there at a gig, but it might be the only cost-effective way of being heard.

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The dehumanisation game: Homeless man sprayed with red paint by thug is found dead days later

This is what happens when you dehumanise people.

You give others an excuse to abuse them and, ultimately, expose them to danger.

That is what happened to homeless Michael Cash, who was sleeping rough in Middlesbrough.

He was captured on a video posted to Facebook, being spray-painted red by a thug. The video was taken by Aaron Jones (pictured above) – although he has denied carrying out the spray attack.

On the soundtrack, a man’s voice could be heard saying, “this is how we deal with the beggars on the street,” and claiming, “he’s not even a beggar”.

Days later, Mr Cash was found dead in a graveyard.

Read about the incident here.

Mr Jones has admitted taking the video but denied responsibility for the death. He said all he was doing was highlighting the problem of people sitting outside supermarkets.

People sit outside supermarkets all the time. Would he and his presumed accomplice have spray-painted a shopper and recorded that? No.

Mr Jones has also requested police protection.

Tough.

There is no way he should receive any consideration from the authorities at all.

He may not have been involved in the death of Mr Cash, but his actions in recording an attack on the homeless man (he can even be heard saying, “There he is, sprayed to death”) may certainly have encouraged somebody else to have committed the crime.

He made it seem acceptable to treat people who sleep rough as less than human – deserving none of the respect that should be accorded to every human being – and therefore made it seem acceptable to abuse this man, possibly to the point of death.

If so, then when the perpetrator is brought to justice, Mr Jones should stand trial alongside that person, as an accessory.

People are people. Wealthy, poor, working, unemployed, homeless or whatever – they all deserve the respect we would wish others to give us.

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