Tag Archives: remove

Tories announce new scheme for buildings with ‘Grenfell’ cladding – while taking millions from builders who used it (allegedly)

Inferno: Grenfell Tower went up like a roman candle because it was covered in flammable cladding – killing an official total of 72 people.

The wrongness of this should be evident for all to see.

Firstly there’s the wrong of the new scheme to replace Grenfell-style cladding on tower blocks.

If you live in a block that’s taller than six storeys, your building will get a share of a £3.5 billion government fund to get rid of the flammable death stuff.

If your block is smaller – four to six storeys, then the government will stuff you with a loan, so you have to pay to strip off your own cladding. You get to pay it back at £50 per month, for “many years”.

Okay, they’re “low interest” but they’re also “long term”. Okay, they’re attached to the property – not the occupier – but that just means anybody in an affected block of four-six storeys is hammered with negative equity for – as good as – ever; new buyers would factor the loan into any decision on whether to buy and it is likely to lower prices.

Secondly, there’s the wrong of the £2.5 million allegedly donated to the Conservative Party – the political organisation running the government that has introduced these cladding replacement schemes – by the builders who installed the terminally-flammable cladding in the first place.

That’s right. The Tories stumped up £3.5 billion for one scheme, knowing they’ll tax that money right back*, set up a second scheme that takes cash direct from the people affected – and the people responsible for all the trouble, gave the Tories £2.5 million (allegedly).

*Apparently there’ll be a £200 million a year tax on the property industry to pay for all this – but you know the top bosses will just pass the cost on to clients rather than pay any of it themselves.

That’s great value for money – for the (allegedly) builders!

And that’s especially true when we remember that the firm that sold the cladding used at Grenfell Tower knew about the risk of fires in 2013, but continued to offer a flammable version of it.

And there’s even more wrong!

There was no announcement … for people in buildings of three storeys or less, who it appears could still be hit with eye-watering cladding bills by their freeholders.

There was also no new answer to who will pay for expensive “waking watches” – wardens who patrol buildings to check they are not currently on fire. Mr Jenrick referenced a £30m fund to replace waking watches with fire alarms, that was already open.

We also don’t know when the new support will launch or when we will get more detail about it.

And we don’t know if the £50-a-month loans for people in low-rise blocks will ever be written off. If they’re not, the announcement indicates a flat that faced a £50,000 bill could be paying it off for more than 80 years.

Some have condemned the Tory government’s behaviour as “incompetence” but let’s try to be honest about it, shall we?

If they really did take money, it’s corruption.

Source: Fury at new cladding scheme – how it works and why it ‘betrays’ flat owners – Mirror Online

Corbyn calls in the lawyers – just as This Site asked him to

What a coincidence!

The day after This Writer called for Jeremy Corbyn to take court action to stop the current Labour leadership from playing fast-and-loose with party rules to persecute him – he did just that.

Jeremy Corbyn’s solicitors have written to Labour calling for his suspension as one of the party’s MPs to be lifted, the BBC has been told.

I can’t take credit for the move – this is a tiny website with a very small readership – around 16,000 a day on average – but I think it is worth recording my gratitude to everybody who did pass my message on to Mr Corbyn, just in case.

Keir Starmer has built up a reputation, in a very short time, for conceding court cases Labour’s legal advisers say the party should win. In this instance, the opposite should apply – so I fear he’ll decide to fight.

Possibly mitigating against this is the letter to the party’s acting general secretary, David Evans (his appointment has yet to be ratified by a Labour Party conference), demanding that the Parliamentary party whip be restored to Corbyn.

According to Skwawkbox, the letter

  • condemns the ‘double jeopardy’ and ‘deliberate political interference’ of withdrawing the whip from Corbyn after he was reinstated by an NEC panel
  • makes clear that the decision of the panel was based on independent legal advice and the recommendation of Labour’s disciplinary investigative unit
  • implies that their advice was that there were no valid grounds for Corbyn’s suspension
  • confirms that the whip had been restored to Corbyn on the lifting of his suspension, making an utter mockery of Starmer’s excuse that he was ‘not restoring’ the whip rather than withdrawing it
  • makes clear that the meddling in the disciplinary outcome is exactly that kind of ‘political interference’ the EHRC has ruled unlawful
  • accuses Starmer and other right-wing MPs of smearing the NEC panel members who acted in accordance with the party’s rules and the legal advice they gave
  • says that Starmer has put NEC members in a legal bind – and that as a highly-qualified barrister he has no excuse for his ‘unconscionable’ choice
  • demands that Evans rebuke Starmer for his political interference in party processes and undermining public confidence in Labour’s disciplinary process
  • ‘requires’ Evans to immediately ‘demand’ that Starmer upholds the NEC panel’s decision and restores the whip to Corbyn

So now Starmer is well and truly caught between a rock and a hard place.

I wonder what sanctions will be carried out by the NEC members who signed the letter, if they don’t get what they demanded?

Perhaps Starmer’s decision will be made easier by the continuing rebellion of party members across the country, who continue to ignore his diktats that they should not speak up on Corbyn’s behalf or campaign for him.

This Writer is delighted to see that Bristol South CLP (I’m from that part of Brizzle) has just voted to support Corbyn:

I understand Brent Central CLP has also passed a motion demanding the restoration of the Labour Parliamentary whip to Corbyn.

And it seems another CLP has passed a motion calling on the NEC to take all steps possible to remove David Evans from office.

November 19 has been a disastrous day for Keir Starmer and his cronies.

How much worse can it get before he bows to the inevitable?

Source: Jeremy Corbyn’s lawyers challenge Labour over MP suspension – BBC News

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Starmer broke Parliamentary Labour Party rules to remove the whip from Corbyn. Quelle surprise

Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn: one of these men has torn up the Labour Party rule book and made a mockery of the organisation. If you think it was Corbyn, you have been badly misled by the mainstream media.

It’s sad that Keir Starmer is forcing this controversy into the spotlight all the time, isn’t it?

I could have been writing about Boris Johnson’s latest attempt to steal a Labour policy with his “green industrial revolution”.

I could have been discussing the way David Cameron’s deregulation apparently allowed the company responsible for the cladding on Grenfell Tower to lie about whether it was flameproof in order to sell its product – proving that Tory self-regulation is harmful.

Instead I have to point you to Skwawkbox‘s research because it shows that Starmer was wrong to do what he has done.

I have to do this because otherwise, Starmer’s narrative might gain traction it does not deserve; we don’t give credibility to liars.

So here’s Skwawkbox:

The code of conduct applicable to all Labour MPs lays out the rules that must be observed and the conditions that must be met before the whip is withdrawn from one of them.

It appears that Keir Starmer broke every one of them when he withdrew the whip from Jeremy Corbyn.

The article lists the rules on withdrawal of the whip and states whether they were followed by Starmer:

  • decided at a meeting of the PLP – nope, Starmer took the decision ‘on the fly’ and apparently in panic
  • motion of withdrawal – nope, just a high-handed decision made behind closed doors
  • prior notice of the motion – nope, there was no motion
  • motion to include the term of the proposed withdrawal – nope, there was no motion
  • motion to include the length of time – nope, there was no motion and Starmer has simply said he will keep it ‘under review’
  • communicated to the CLP of the MP – nope, the media appears to have had it first again
  • three days’ notice – nope, decision on the fly
  • right to be heard before the decision – nope, not even remotely
  • put to a vote – nope, there was no motion to vote on

Starmer is trying to claim that Jeremy Corbyn is the rule-breaker, the bad influence, the bad element who must be removed from the Labour Party.

At least Corbyn followed the rules.

To be honest, as Starmer’s decision is not in accordance with Labour’s rule book, Corbyn should ignore the party leader and sit with his colleagues.

And party members across the country need to get their motions in support of Corbyn – and in condemnation of Starmer – passed by their local CLPs at their earliest opportunity.

There is only one way to stop the rot and end the corruption at the heart of the Labour Party – and that is to remove Keir Starmer.

Source: Starmer’s suspension of Corbyn broke parliamentary party rules. All of them – SKWAWKBOX

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Facebook HAS been filtering out left-wing news. Is it time to check your settings? 

Facebook: presumably, all the silhouetted people here have been cut off from the left-wing news-related articles they wanted to read and are wandering aimlessly in search of them. Isn’t it time this interference was ended?

The social media platform Facebook has confirmed that it knowingly changed its news algorithms to filter out sites like Vox Political from your feeds.

The claim is that this was in response to pressure from right-wingers who claimed that they were being victimised.

Two wrongs don’t make a right, Mark Zuckerberg.

This lopsided treatment appears to have continued: SKWAWKBOX readers have reported posts they have shared disappearing from their newsfeeds, ‘see first’ settings disappearing in spite of repeated attempts to prioritise the page’s updates and other anomalies when they try to view or share news.

If you get your links to articles by This Site, or Skwawkbox, or The Canary, or any of the other left-wing sites via Facebook, it seems now would be a good time to check that the system hasn’t messed with your preference settings.

Alternatively, why not cut out the middle man altogether?

In the right-hand column of this page (if you’re using a computer) there’s a section marked “SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL”. It’s easy to use and won’t take more than a minute of your time.

Then you can be sure of receiving the articles you want to see. Isn’t that better than letting some faceless Facebook fascist separate you from what you want to see?

Source: Confirmed: Facebook changed its system to filter out left news from user feeds while leaving right untouched – SKWAWKBOX

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Bristol ‘Black Lives Matter’ protesters tear down statue of slaver Colston – and about time, too!

Over it goes: could there be any more clear ‘down with racism’ demand than the toppling of the statue to slaver Edward Colston in Bristol?

Having been born in Bristol, This Writer is aware of the unsavoury slaver history of Edward Colston, and the reverence in which he has been held has confused me for years.

But, being part of a Bristol family, it was hard to criticise him directly. Many of us have historical links with slavery and until earlier this week, I had believed that my family had such links.

Apparently I was mistaken. A BBC documentary about former Mayor John Kerle Haberfield (a great-(many times)-uncle revealed that he had not been involved with the slave trade and nor were any other of my family on that side. It’s possible that other ancestors were, although I have no evidence to suspect it.

I attended St Mary Redcliffe & Temple School, where around a fifth of the pupils were members of Colston House, named after the slaver. The school changed the house name last year (2019) in favour of African-American female mathematician Katherine Johnson. I was a member of Francombe House, which was less controversially named after a former head teacher of the school.

Campaigners have been working to end the veneration of the slave trader Colston, who ran the Royal Africa Company that enslaved around 12,000 children, for many decades. My understanding is that calls to tear down the statue of Colston were taking place 40 years ago, at least.

Read more about him here:

(Historians may also find this interesting:)

Well, yesterday it finally happened.

Public feeling against racism boiled over during a “Black Lives Matter” demonstration prompted by the death of George Floyd in the United States, and after years of campaigning to get rid of the Grade II listed (why was it Grade II listed?) statue, people decided to tear it down themselves and throw it into the River Avon – in a manner reminiscent of the way Colston himself would throw unruly slaves – weighed down with chains – into the sea during slaving voyages.

Satirically, Google Maps sprang into action, providing at least one element of humour:

Police have said they are treating the incident as an act of criminal damage, which they are investigating. This has given some people another opportunity for satire:

How will the people of Bristol replace the statue? It seems some have ideas already:

Personally, I don’t think a statue to a Sheffield group, in Bristol, would particularly please the people of either city.

I really don’t think this would be appropriate, either:

Maybe in Islington.

Perhaps most revealing has been the reaction of different public figures to what is a clear act of vandalism, even if the reasoning behind it is supportable.

Priti Patel’s response should be shocking, considering her own racial background:

As should Sajid Javid’s:

And, indeed, some members of the Labour Party have questions to answer:

Others take a different view:

If you’re confused about “structural” racism:

Of course, it’s not unknown for statues to be torn down if people and/or their deeds fall out of favour with the public.

You won’t see a statue glorifying Nazism or anybody who supported that movement in Germany!

And in Russia and Iraq, statues of Communist leaders and Saddam Hussein (respectively) were torn down after those regimes were toppled.

Even yesterday, the toppling-in-effigy of Colston wasn’t unique:

And back in the UK, people are eyeing possible future candidates for the Colston treatment:

https://twitter.com/niall_nowhin/status/1269725946778714112

https://twitter.com/JordanGSmith25/status/1269664099652308997

And of course the situation has provided more opportunities for right-wing idiots to make fools of themselves:

We are left with the overwhelming impression that the removal of the Colston statue was right, no matter how it was achieved.

But we live in a country where somebody may go to prison for making it happen. If you don’t think that’s right, you need to be thinking about what you are going to do about it.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Tories text cancer, transplant and asthma patients to axe them from shielding list

Big Brother: he’s watching vulnerable people and has decided that too many of them are getting government help. So some will lose it, no matter how badly they need it.

What the actual blazes is the Tory government trying to do now?

The apparently unilateral decision to axe people with serious medical conditions from the shielding list will undoubtedly have severe consequences.

(Although This Writer’s own contact who is on the shielding list only ever received one food parcel, in any event. It came unheralded and unlabelled and he had no idea what it was at first.)

People with cancer, liver disease or severe asthma have been dropped from the UK government’s coronavirus shielding list by text message before their doctors have been able to speak to them.

The decision to remove people with various health conditions from the shielding programme has caused upset. The text also informed people they would no longer qualify for government food parcels.

Many who received the messages last Friday believed they were fake. But the government has since confirmed the texts are correct and are official government communications.

Certain patients who have had a liver transplant, are on immunosuppressant medication, or have decompensated cirrhosis have also received texts. People with brittle asthma and those with other types of cancer were also told they were no longer getting additional help from the National Shielding Service.

Apparently, a government spokesperson said: “The government is committed to supporting the clinically extremely vulnerable and all decisions about whether someone should shield are clinically led.

“In some cases health experts have advised that a patient no longer needs to shield themselves from coronavirus. Where this is the case, the person will be informed that they are not on the shielded patient list.

“Those advised that they no longer need to shield may still access forms of support including the NHS Volunteers network, and will retain their supermarket priority delivery slots.”

The claim is that the government had asked clinicians to review people’s records to ensure that only those who needed to shield were on the shielded patient list.

Apparently doctors should have written to explain the decisions that had been made, and the text was supposed to both confirm that support would end and direct patients to other forms of help.

Clearly, that hasn’t happened.

This looks like an attempt to save money by withdrawing support from vulnerable groups, who may then contract Covid-19 or die for other reasons.

With no advice on other forms of help, and no wherewithal to collect supplies (if they wisely ignore the government’s claims and continue to shield at home), what are these people going to do?

You can guess what the Tories want.

Source: Cancer, transplant and asthma patients axed from shielding list by text message | World news | The Guardian

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Tory Coronavirus Bill removes vital rights from people with disabilities. The persecution goes on…

Tories just can’t stop aiming spite at vulnerable people, the sick and the disabled – can they?

They have just passed new legislation, apparently to help safeguard the UK’s population against the coronavirus.

But what good is it if it still puts people in danger?

A personal friend of This Writer has written to our MP, pointing out this problem, along with others. My friend states that the new law will:

• Remove disabled people’s entitlement to social care. In practice, this will mean local authorities will no longer be legally required to provide support to people who they already recognised as needing it.

According to the Government, this is to ensure local authorities can prioritise and meet the needs in new cases.

The Government made more funding available, so it is hard to see why it is necessary to remove the entitlement to social care for those who already get very little. It is worth remembering that community groups and volunteers cannot deliver the support many disabled and older people need.

Experience and research have illustrated that the lack of social care support puts more strain on the NHS. Surely this is a wrong thing to do at a time when the Government tries to free up resources for the NHS. This way of dealing with the immediate crisis can have considerable and devastating consequences in the longer run.

• Change the duties to educate to meet children’s educational requirements to a ‘reasonable endeavours’ duty.

• Make it easier to detail and treat people involuntarily under the Mental Health Act. The existing safeguards are already too weak, and the number of people who are detained has grown significantly in the last few years. Detention will be a severe interference with a person’s fundamental human rights to liberty and freedom. Moreover, detaining people will cost the NHS a lot of money. Instead of making it easier to detain people, more support should be put to help people in the community.

My friend isn’t the only one complaining. Disability Rights UK, alongside other national disability organisations, has urged the government not to withdraw Care Act rights from disabled people as proposed in the Bill.

As that organisation states, these are unprecedented times.

But removing rights and protections from disabled people who are most at risk cannot be justified.

One has to question why a government would even contemplate that – let alone pass it into law as an emergency power.

Source: Government urged not to remove Care Act rights from disabled people – Welfare Weekly

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Tories to cut £70 a week from 11,000 state pensions

Short-changing the elderly: the Tories love taking money from people who depend on it.

Statistics show older people constitute the majority of Conservative voters – I bet they never knew the Tories would stab them in the back so soon!

It’s even worse because the allowance for adult dependents is being phased out in any case – the Tories are simply cutting it earlier than it would have ended.

It turns out 11,000 pensioners are still receiving the allowance. From April, those people will lose £3,500 per year.

The DWP is claiming that current recipients of the allowance will be able to claim a means-tested benefit like Universal Credit or Pension Credit. Good luck with that, folks!

The simple fact is that Tories love to take state money away from people who depend on it.

And they don’t even care that they’re attacking people who helped put them in office; they think you’re so stupid you’ll vote for them again. Are they right?

Source: Government to cut £70 a week from thousands of state pensions – Mirror Online

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Standards on environment, safety and human rights to be slashed for a grubby trade deal with Trump

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump: Enemies of the UK?

The Tory minister who once complained that the UK imports too much cheese is set to abolish the UK’s environmental safeguards – to get a food import deal with Donald Trump.

Theresa May promised that the UK would keep within EU rules on the environment, safety standards and human rights after Brexit.

But Boris Johnson will get rid of all these rules – that protect you – so he can sign a grubby deal with Donald Trump, to import genetically modified, inferior US food products at a high cost to the UK.

He describes this a way of gaining “flexibility”.

It seems responsibility for scrapping our protections will fall to cheese-loving international trade secretary Liz Truss.

This will require a huge admission of hypocrisy on her part – the woman who said importing two-thirds of our cheese was a “disgrace” –

– now seems perfectly happy to lower standards across the country in order to import all kinds of junk.

EU officials say that British negotiators are particularly keen to jettison EU restrictions on genetically modified foods – a key demand of American trade negotiators.

One EU official with knowledge of the Brexit talks suggested US trade officials appeared to have been in contact with British negotiators and told them standards would need to be slashed if there was any chance of a US trade deal.

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, said scrapping the protections was “vital for giving us the freedom and flexibility to strike new trade deals and become more competitive”.

And of course rejecting EU standards means there can be no free trade deal with the bloc after the UK leaves it.

The intention seems to be to put the entire country at Donald Trump’s mercy – and he doesn’t seem to have much of that.

It seems clear that this plan is in the interests of nobody in the UK – apart from, possibly, Boris Johnson.

He certainly seems not to be interested in his duty to act in the interests of the people of this nation.

Of course, none of this can happen while the UK remains in the EU – and without an exit deal that MPs and MEPs can support, the UK will do just that.

Source: Brexit: Boris Johnson moves to scrap environment safeguards to get deal with Trump | The Independent

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May is going, Cable is going, and is there going to be another Labour leadership coup?

Tom Watson: On his way out?

We seem to be in another period of apparent change, with leaders being replaced by popular political parties in an attempt to change their image.

The Conservatives finally plucked up the courage to backstab Theresa May on Friday; she’ll be gone by June 7.

Meanwhile, Vince Cable has announced that his own long-trailed departure as leader of the Liberal Democrats will happen on July 23. It seems he has been waiting for a moment when it seemed his party’s fortunes were improving and thinks that it has now arrived.

These are cosmetic changes. Nobody seriously believes that the new leaders of these parties will take them in a different direction. The Conservatives may get a more strongly-Brexiteer leader but their main policies of oppression against the poor will remain the same. The Liberal Democrats will remain an irrelevance.

And then I saw this on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MarxyMarxy/status/1131894227061940224

That would be very silly – and therefore exactly the sort of tactic the Labour Right is likely to employ. And it won’t get them anywhere because, despite all their whining about Jeremy Corbyn, we all know that their claims about him are not true. Consider Rachael’s tweet, below:

Exactly.

Of far more interest is the possibility that Tom Watson will be replaced as deputy leader after years of trying (and failing) to undermine Mr Corbyn.

Look at the latest news item to feature him – a claim that people who supported remaining in the European Union are abandoning the party. That supports the claim that “Remain” anger could be harnessed as a way of levering Mr Corbyn out, to be replaced by another faceless so-called “Centrist” with policies the same as the Tories and Change UK, no doubt.

It would be far better for Mr Watson to be removed and Labour to retain its current reforming socialist position.

His card has been marked for a considerable amount of time.