Tag Archives: rescue

New non-political campaign aims to Rescue Britain from ‘impossible’ cost of living


The UK’s population is facing an “impossible” situation with “punitive” utility costs, high fuel prices and a hugely spiralling cost of living – so a new campaign is being launched to combat them all.

Rescue Britain is a non-political effort to relieve the nation from constantly-increasing costs that are not countered by rising wages, to save our “failing” democratic institutions, and to halt what appears to be the collapse of society.

A statement on the Rescue Britain Facebook page makes the intention clear:

“The United Kingdom is facing a social and economic crisis of a scale not seen for generations. Citizens and businesses are facing out-of-control cost increases in all staple product areas, centred around energy and fuel costs. The cost increases at the point of purchase have rapidly outpaced wholesale and supply-side pricing, indicating that rather than being a genuine cost-led increase, the price increases are a market-distorting profiteering exercise by companies and their owners.

“Since the beginning of 2022, the steady increase in fuel and energy prices has multiplied the already-high background inflation rates experienced in the UK and beyond. With the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, and the attempted (failed) weaponisation of the energy and fuel markets against Russia by western powers, a cascade failure in the external/internal regulation of the market has taken place.

“This cascade failure has been tolerated and even encouraged by a broad consensus within the UK Government, aided and abetted by their associated energy lobbyist peers. Instead of viewing the situation as a crisis, much of the political class view it as an opportunity to leverage progress towards their associated political agendas, with cover provided by a constant state of socio-economic emergency.

“The result? A cost-crippled UK populace, obscene profits obtained by energy and fuel corporations – including their shareholders/execs, and a subservient UK political class failing in their duty to the British public.

“Britain is under attack by enemies within and without, and our democracy is fading fast.

“Now is the time to Rescue Britain.”

It seems the organisation has a strategy, with specific subjects to tackle and phases to work through – but This Writer hasn’t seen what they are yet. This may be because it seems the infrastructure is not yet ready because it had to launch before intended, for reasons that have not been made clear.

Further details are on the Rescue Britain FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/Rescue-Britain-107145638743018/

And you are encouraged to join the Rescue Britain FB Supporters Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/rescuebritain/?ref=share_group_link and the Rescue Britain Twitter Profile: https://twitter.com/RescueBritain 

If the issues raised by this organisation are of concern to you, click on the links and consider offering your support. You could help Rescue Britain!

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#ForeignOffice admits it was wrong to deny #BorisJohnson authorised Afghan animal evacuation

The Foreign Office has admitted misleading MPs over whether Boris Johnson authorised the evacuation of Pen Farthings dog rescue charity Nowzad from Afghanistan last year.

But you won’t realise that from looking at the BBC report!

Foreign Office boss admits error over Afghan animal evacuation reads as though Johnson had nothing to do with it.

And you have to read a long way into the story to discover that Sir Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, was saying that he had not seen emails sent within his department, indicating that Boris Johnson did indeed authorise the evacuation.

If he did, then he lied about it to the media afterwards, when it was suggested that he had prioritised animals over human beings.

People the UK abandoned in Afghanistan when the Taliban took over have since tried to reach this country via the refugee route – crossing the Channel – and this has led to at least one death.

Appearing before the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, the prime minister’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Nigel Casey was asked if he knew whether the PM had intervened “in the evacuation of Nowzad staff or animals” and replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

In  written evidence to the committee, published on Wednesday, Sir Philip denied that Mr Casey had received “any correspondence referring to the prime minister’s intervention in the Nowzad case”.

This was contradicted in leaked emails published by the committee subsequently.

And BBC Newsnight’s Sima Kotecha has seen two emails with the subject heading “Pen Farthing and dogs”, showing the Foreign Office and Mr Casey sought guidance from No 10 over the issue.

So now Sir Philip has had to write back to the committee, apologising for misleading its members.

But he stuck to the part of the story covering his involvement:

“As Nigel said to the committee on [Tuesday] he has no recollection of having seen emails in which staff attributed this decision to the prime minister. Nor do I.”

Downing Street is saying that the decision may have been interpreted as coming from Johnson when that was not the case – but it has provided no evidence to support this claim.

So Labour’s Chris Bryant, a member of the committee, is well within his rights to say (as he did on BBC Breakfast News): “All I want to know is who made the decision?”

We all want to know that, Chris. At the moment it seems clear that Johnson has lied again and our civil servants are disgracing themselves in their haste to cover up for him.

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#BorisJohnsonlies: it seems he authorised animal charity airlift from Afghanistan after all

The only airlift he’ll admit authorising: Boris Johnson.

Remember when Boris Johnson insisted that he had nothing to do with a decision to airlift Pen Farthing and animals at his Nowzad dog rescue charity from Afghanistan, in the retreat from that country last August?

Here he is:

Cracks appeared in that claim last month:

And now it seems to have been shattered altogether with the release of two Foreign Office emails.

One lobbies for the rescue of a second animal charity because Johnson had agreed to evacuate Nowzad: “The PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated.”

The second, between FO officials, states: “In light of the PM’s decision earlier today [August 25, 2021] to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity, the [other animal charity – name redacted] is asking for agreement to the entry of [details redacted] staff, all Afghan nationals.”

The issue is controversial because human beings were left behind. Some have since travelled out of Afghanistan and tried to gain entry into the country.

Damningly for the UK’s Tory government, some have died in the attempt.

Downing Street insists its position is unchanged and that Johnson did not authorise the airlift.

But then, Downing Street insisted that no lockdown-busting parties had taken place there, so what are those words worth?

#BritainFirst v #RNLI: whose side are you on?

Not backing down: donations to the RNLI increased by 2,000 per cent in a day after Nigel Farage tried to stop them rescuing refugees. It would be nice if the same happened because of this campaign by far-right bigots.

Britain First? Britain’s Farts, more like!

(And I’m sorry if you feel This Writer has coarsened Vox Political with my choice of language but it is entirely appropriate in the circumstances, I think. They leave a bad smell wherever they go.)

The far-right political organisation has started bombarding the Royal National Lifeboat Institution with thousands of emails purporting to be from “concerned citizens”, trying to get the charity to stop rescuing everybody in danger of drowning in UK coastal waters and instead to concentrate only on “saving British lives”:

This is of course a hate campaign against Johnny and Janey Foreigner, orchestrated by, as it happens, a pitiful gang of old, bald men with a chip on their collective shoulder:

As an old, bald man myself, This Writer is angry that these old farts are giving us all a bad name.

They aren’t concerned citizens – they’re bigots.

Fortunately the RNLI isn’t the sort of group that is ever going to pander to this kind of racially-motivated hatred.

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Will Priti Patel’s new immigration Bill put her in conflict with the Queen?

The Queen: she has given the RNLI a Royal Charter to rescue anybody at all whose life is in danger on the sea near the UK. If Priti Patel wants to criminalise this activity, it seems likely that she will come to grief.

It’s a thought that would make a normal UK minister pause – but Priti Patel is not normal, and I mean that in the most unkind way possible, so This Writer is keen to see how events unfold.

Patel’s draft Nationality and Borders Bill, clause 38, potentially criminalises rescuers of asylum seekers if they are deemed to be “facilitating” their arrival in the UK.

Clause 38 amends the 1971 Immigration Act offence of assisting an asylum seeker, increasing the maximum sentence to life imprisonment, from 14 years, and removing the words “for gain”, which previously limited prosecutions to paid people smugglers.

This is potentially very bad news for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has vowed to continue rescuing anybody its crews find to be in danger at sea off the UK’s coast – no matter what their legal status may be.

This is in line with International Maritime Law and with the United Nations’ Safety Of Life At Sea (Solas) convention.

Crews could face imprisonment for life, according to the legislation.

The Home Office has said the Bill is intended to target “ruthless people smugglers” and organisations like the RNLI – and individuals – would be allowed to continue humanitarian rescue work.

But if that is the case, why amend the law to criminalise all rescues rather than merely those carried out “for gain”?

So, as George Peretz QC states, “Mere assertion doesn’t cut it.”

Here’s where it gets really interesting, though: The RNLI is mandated to carry out its rescues by a Royal Charter issued by its patron – The Queen.

That’s why it has the word “Royal” in its title.

The charter means the RNLI is permitted to rescue anybody whose life is in danger on the sea off the UK’s coast – by order of the Queen.

Does legislation by the Commons have authority to override that?

I don’t know. I think Patel needs to re-write her bad law to avoid finding out.

I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes if she tried to force the issue.

Source: RNLI vows to continue sea rescues despite prison fears for picking up migrants | Financial Times

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Police inspectorate skewed report to support government clampdown on protests – claim

Whistleblower: this image is representative (the revelations in the article were made by a woman). Many whistleblowers suffer for their principles, in spite of assurances that this won’t happen. It will be interesting to see what happens to Alice O’Keeffe’s career from now on.

The timing is exquisite.

On the day This Site published an article about allegations that a report on institutional racism was scripted by the Tory government to support a lie that there isn’t any in the UK, a whistleblower attacked another report – on the policing of protests – saying it was scripted by the Tories too.

The claim is a huge blow to the credibility of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services. Another blow to its credibility is the fact that it will apparently examine whether there is any truth to it.

For clarity, whistleblower Alice O’Keeffe has said

The official policing inspectorate showed repeated bias in favour of the police and against peaceful protesters…

[The report] was skewed in favour of the government view, with conclusions reached before evidence was gathered and assessed.

The civil service code was breached.

HMICFRS told the home secretary in a private letter it backed the need to change protest laws five months before its report was published.

Some in the inquiry team… likened peaceful protesters to the IRA, which waged a terrorist campaign against the UK.

Ms O’Keeffe’s written complaint was made as HMICFRS worked on a separate report on the policing of a vigil for Sarah Everard. She said the biases she had seen left her fearing a report into the policing of the vigil would be a whitewash.

And, as we have seen, it seems she was right.

That report totally exonerated the police and found fault with those of us who criticised police violence against and manhandling of women at the Clapham Common vigil.

HMICFRS has defended itself by claiming independence – based on nothing more than reputation. But reputations can be broken by facts.

And Ms O’Keeffe has spent five years working for the police inspectorate, so it is reasonable to believe she may know her subject.

Well, I hope she made copies of her evidence and put them in a safe place because if HMICFRS holds any information corroborating her claims then you can bet the hard drives have been wiped and the hard copies shredded already.

The upshot of all this is that in the short term we have another reason to distrust a police service that seems to be working for a totalitarian Tory government – and against us.

And in the long term?

We can expect another report that whitewashes the Tory-supporting inspectorate and gives us even more reason to live in fear of our government and the police force that smashes our heads in its name.

Source: Police watchdog accused of skewing report to back protests clampdown | Police | The Guardian

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Victim of its own success: Banksy-funded migrant rescue boat is itself rescued

A ship funded by Bristol street artist Banksy to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean was so successful that it had to call for help itself after it became too loaded with migrants to move.

The ship, the Louise Michel, ended up with more than 200 traumatised migrants on its deck, meaning it was unsafe to move, while it was in the see near Malta.

The Italian coastguard responded to calls for help and took 49 people, and another rescue ship, Seawatch4, arrived to help as well.

But the ship’s 10-strong crew poured scorn on the lukewarm attitude of most European countries who, they said, had been “ignoring our emergency calls for immediate assistance”.

The Italian coastguard finally responded after the crew warned Maltese and Italian authorities: “Don’t let it become a body count. Do your job. Rescue them.”

It seems the UK’s is not the only European government for whom humanitarian aid is a foreign concept.

Source: Banksy-funded refugee rescue boat in distress helped by Italian coast guard

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Why is the field Starmer bought for his parent’s rescue donkeys a scandal, but Osborne’s paddock wasn’t?

Keir Starmer: at least this time he has reason to look relaxed – he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Let’s get one thing clear: Keir Starmer has been a disaster (so far) as leader of the Labour Party.

It comes as a relief, therefore, to learn that he is at least a good son.

Using his own money, Starmer bought a field near his parents’ home, so his mother could look after rescued donkeys. This was before he was a member of Parliament, when he was working in the legal profession.

Apparently the land is now worth “up to £10 million”, but he bought it in 1996 when it is likely to have been worth a considerable amount less.

And reporters in the Mail on Sunday want us to believe that Starmer is set to sell this Green Belt land to the local council – for housing:

The claim is false. Even the MoS article features a quote from a Labour spokesperson, saying that the field is not for sale – but a strip of land next to his late parents’ house is being sold, in accordance with his father’s will.

Contrast this with George Osborne and his paddock.

Remember that?

I wrote about it in 2012, as follows:

“Osborne – who is, let’s remember, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and therefore should know the rules extremely well – included the mortgage for a paddock in his taxpayer-funded expenses.

“He bought a farmhouse in Cheshire, along with the neighbouring land, for £455,000 in 2000, before he became an MP – but then, between 2003 and 2009, he claimed up to £100,000 in expenses to cover mortgage interest payments on both the land and the building. The mortgages were interest-only. After 2003, he never paid a penny himself.

“When he re-mortgaged in 2005, he increased the amount to £480,000 – again on an interest-only basis – to cover the intial purchase costs and £10,000 for repairs. He was using public money to claw back his outlay on the property, so from then on, none of the money paid on that building or land was paid by Mr Osborne. It all came from the taxpayer.

“During the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 we learned that he had “flipped” his second home allowance onto the property and increased the mortgage. What we didn’t know was that the expenses payments were not just for the house, but for the paddock as well; it is registered separately with the Land Registry.

“Osborne sold the house and the land – both of which are now firmly established as having been funded with your money, not his – last year, for £1 million. That’s more than double the original price. He has pocketed that money; the taxpayer won’t get any of it back.”

Osborne did not need this building or the adjoining land to discharge his Parliamentary duties, nor did he pay back anything like the amount he claimed, when he was found to have overclaimed for mortgage interest on the farmhouse (and only the farmhouse).

The difference is clear.

Osborne used public funds to pocket hundreds of thousands of pounds. Starmer used his own money to help his mother.

And the Mail on Sunday attacked Starmer!

Perhaps this is because Osborne is a Conservative and could therefore do no wrong, as far as the Tory rags are concerned. Starmer, on the other hand, despite being practically a Red Tory, is Labour and therefore a target.

Fortunately the Twitterati feel otherwise:

That’s the truth of it; this is just a prelude.

Who knows what they’ll throw at him after the Covid-19 crisis finally subsides?

That’s likely to be a long way off yet (because the Tories are busily turning coronavirus into the biggest massacre of UK citizens ever to happen in peacetime).

But Starmer’s record as Labour leader suggests that this merely means they will have plenty of ammunition by then.

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Want to know what Brandon Lewis’s privatised fire service will look like? It’ll look like this

<RING RING!> <RING RING!> <RING RING!>

<click>

“Nine-nine-nine emergency; which service do you require?”

“Fire service, please.”

“Thank you! Your fire service today will be provided by G5S/CrApiTOS. Putting you through…”

<click>

“Hi! Your fire and rescue services today are sponsored by U-None Insurance – when U need a payout from us, U get None!”

“At last! I need you to come to -”

“One moment, caller! How will you be paying for today’s service? We take Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, PayPal, Bitcoin or blood.”

“Huh?”

“We take-”

“Forget it. It’s too late now. The fire is everywhere. There’s no way out for me, even if you could get here in time.”

“Okay. We’ll bill your heirs for this call.”

That’s the Conservative privatised fire and rescue service – if it is ever allowed to happen.

They’ll make you pay, or they’ll make you pay with your life. Is your credit good enough?

Don’t let it happen.

All 46 fire and rescue services in England could be sold off to private firms under secret Government plans.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis calls for new laws that “would enable fire and rescue authorities in England to contract out their full range of services to a suitable provider” in a letter obtained by the Mirror.

He continues: “I appreciate that the proposals are not without controversy; however these changes will help remove barriers and to increase choices that fire and rescue authorities have to contract out their services.”

Source: Privatised fire and rescue services: Secret Government plans to sell off 46 fire and rescue services revealed – Mirror Online

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Ask a serious question of Amber Rudd…

Amber Rudd: This resident of Cloud Cuckoo Land was never in danger of losing her Cabinet seat in the reshuffle. What does that say about Theresa May?

… Get a bizarre answer.

Chris Williamson, Labour’s shadow minister for fire and emergency services, should know his numbers when it comes to those services’ budgets.

When he says these organisations have reserves of £143 million, to set against a budget of £2.3 billion, This Writer is inclined to accept his figures.

But look what happened when he tackled Home Secretary (yes, even after the reshuffle) Amber Rudd about the pitiful inadequacy of this amount of reserve cash.

Was Ms Rudd making up these figures as she went along? If the reserves were 40 per cent of annual revenue – meaning, one supposes, the £2.3 billion annual budget – then they would stand at £920 million, wouldn’t they? Or what was she talking about? Without hard figures to support her statement, it was meaningless.

And as for taking “a little more scrutiny to this matter, rather than treating it like some Venezuelan dictatorship” – that’s exactly what Mr Williamson was trying to do!

So, yes, it was certainly generous of Ms Rudd to suggest of herself that she isn’t living in Cloud Cuckoo Land. From this performance, it seems she is planning to take up permanent residence there.


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