Tag Archives: respond

The Tories axed their defence against coronavirus years before it arrived. Deaths were inevitable


Not only has Boris Johnson’s response to coronavirus sparked ridicule around the world, but he is also being pilloried for failing to do anything to prepare for it.

It seems to validate criticisms that he was hoping the pandemic would simply kill off all the so-called “useless eaters” – people on benefits with illnesses or disabilities that make them vulnerable to Covid-19 – meaning that his government wouldn’t have to support them any more.

According to the Huffington Post, the Cabinet Office has been producing a National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies – a list of possible disasters that may face the UK – along with plans to deal with them.

Every such document – every single one – has listed pandemic flu as the most probable and devastating threat to the UK.

The government knew it was coming – but the strategy to deal with it was written in 2011 and is therefore many years out-of-date.

Also out of date is the government’s UK Pandemic Influenza Communications Strategy, the crucial document for getting the right messages across to the public. It was written in 2012 and is wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people now get their information.

It gets worse.  The guide to dealing with the fatalities of the pandemic, complete with supposed key named contacts, was last published in 2008.

And the dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team based in the Department of Health, and tasked with tackling this type of crisis, vanished around 2011.

That’s right – the Tories got rid of the organisation that would have had the expertise to deal with coronavirus, way back in the first round of austerity-driven cuts.

How short-sighted can these daft toffs be?

The Tories deliberately divested themselves of the latest evidence, policy or science.

HuffPost says this means “the government has had to either make policy up as it has gone along or is having to beg, borrow and steal from other countries who have been better prepared”.

It means that lives have almost certainly been lost unnecessarily.

And the rest of the world is well aware that Boris Johnson has been a bigger danger to the British public than the disease itself, as The Guardian has reported.

Greek newspaper Ethnos described him as “more dangerous than coronavirus”. It said: “Boris Johnson had gone out publicly and essentially asked Britons … to accept death.”

“Boris Johnson is gambling with the health of his citizens,” said the Irish Times.

The HuffPost‘s claim that Johnson had been trying to catch up because his party had rid itself of all its own useful guidance is borne out by The Guardian‘s sources:

Politicians, scientists and commentators greeted the prime minister’s U-turn on Monday night, when he ordered a UK-wide lockdown, as a belated but welcome decision to join the rest of Europe, and much of the world, in a necessary strategy.

The mystery is why it took so long.

After the prime minister’s sudden reversal, one official in Dublin expressed relief. “The Brits were doing their own thing and it looked like we were going to have to live with it. They got there in the end.”

It was a variation of an observation attributed to Winston Churchill about America doing the right thing after exhausting all other options.

Last week the prime minister made an initial concession to physical distancing – a key tactic to slow contagion – by asking people to avoid pubs. But he did not close them and many people, including his own father, Stanley, cheerily said they still planned to go out for a drink. Nevertheless, Johnson expressed confidence such limited measures were working and could “turn the tide” within 12 weeks.

Many outsiders were aghast. The pandemic was out of control in Italy and Spain, killing thousands, and surging across the globe, prompting a scramble to emulate Chinese-style lockdowns.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, reportedly threatened to close France’s border with Britain last Friday if it did not intensify measures.

Others worried about the fate of friends and relatives in Britain. Giorgio Gori, the mayor of Bergamo, the city hardest hit by Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, flew his two daughters out of the UK, deeming them safer at home.

Let that sink in.

Italy is the country hardest-hit by coronavirus, and the mayor of the Italian city that was hardest-hit flew his own children back there, because he thought they would be safer there than in the UK.

Looking at all the evidence, doesn’t he have a point?

Source: The Government Knew A Pandemic Was Coming But They Didn’t Do Anything To Prepare | HuffPost UK

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Leading Labour figure joins documentary to counter biased BBC Panorama

An MP who is a major figure in the Labour movement has volunteered to narrate a planned documentary programme refuting the claim by the BBC’s Panorama that the Labour Party is anti-Semitic – but only if the makers can crowdfund enough cash to film it.

As in the case of the actor who is also set to appear, this Writer is not at liberty to name the Parliamentarian who has come forward to appear in the factual film.

But – as in the case of the actor, his arrival on the project is likely to boost the documentary’s profile hugely.

So it is even more important that the film-makers raise the cash necessary to finish the project.

If you aren’t familiar with it: Writers from a range of independent media outlets have joined forces to produce a documentary in response to a BBC Panorama programme in which interviewees alleged that The Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic.

They believe the accusation to be totally unfounded – as does This Writer. I produced a series of articles disputing the claims of the documentary and have submitted a complaint to the BBC (which has yet to respond).

But they need funds to get their rebuttal in the can. The money will be used to buy equipment and cover travelling expenses, so film-makers can interview those who have come forward, including former BBC staff and Jewish Labour members who have a very different account from those shown on the Panorama programme.

Sadly it seems that Facebook has shadow-banned the film. This is a process by which the owners of a social media platform stop posts by a particular source, or about a particular subject, from being shared to new readers. In this case, it would prevent information being circulated to people who are likely to want to donate to the project.

So, please share this article yourself if you support the aim of the project.

For more information and a chance to donate, visit IMP Documentary – A response to Panorama. – a Film and Theatre crowdfunding project in Manchester by The Prole Star

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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Will YOUR donation ensure documentary refuting BBC claims about Labour anti-Semitism is made?

A crowdfunding campaign to fund a documentary film that will counter false claims by the BBC’s Panorama about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is close to its target.

But it needs a few more donations to ensure the cameras can start rolling.

If you aren’t familiar with the project, watch this:

https://www.facebook.com/WearRedStandUpAndBeCounted/videos/2426369207687664/

Writers from a range of independent media outlets have joined forces to produce a documentary in response to a BBC Panorama programme in which interviewees alleged that The Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic.

They believe the accusation to be totally unfounded – as does This Writer. I produced a series of articles disputing the claims of the documentary and have submitted a complaint to the BBC (which has yet to respond).

But they need funds to get their rebuttal in the can. The money will be used to buy equipment and cover travelling expenses, so film-makers can interview those who have come forward, including former BBC staff and Jewish Labour members who have a very different account from those shown on the Panorama programme.

If it doesn’t reach its target, the film won’t get made and the BBC’s claims may pass into the public consciousness as fact – when the truth is the exact opposite in most respects.

If you value the facts, and want the public to have access to them, then please visit IMP Documentary – A response to Panorama. – a Film and Theatre crowdfunding project in Manchester by The Prole Star where you’ll be able to read more about the project and donate to it.

Which big-screen face is joining documentary to counter BBC’s biased Panorama?

A familiar face from cinema and TV screens is set to join the team on a documentary programme refuting the claim by the BBC’s Panorama that the Labour Party is anti-Semitic – but only if the makers can crowdfund enough cash to film it.

This Writer is not at liberty to name the performer who has come forward to appear in the factual film – but I can say that, if you have watched TV or cinematic drama at any time over the last two decades or so, it is likely you will have seen him on-screen.

And his arrival on the project is likely to boost the documentary’s profile hugely.

So it is even more important that the film-makers raise the cash necessary to finish the project.

If you aren’t familiar with it: Writers from a range of independent media outlets have joined forces to produce a documentary in response to a BBC Panorama programme in which interviewees alleged that The Labour Party is institutionally antisemitic.

They believe the accusation to be totally unfounded – as does This Writer. I produced a series of articles disputing the claims of the documentary and have submitted a complaint to the BBC (which has yet to respond).

But they need funds to get their rebuttal in the can. The money will be used to buy equipment and cover travelling expenses, so film-makers can interview those who have come forward, including former BBC staff and Jewish Labour members who have a very different account from those shown on the Panorama programme.

For more information and a chance to donate, visit IMP Documentary – A response to Panorama. – a Film and Theatre crowdfunding project in Manchester by The Prole Star

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Are they joking? UN poverty expert thought Tory response to his report was a ‘spoof’

Philip Alston: He came to his conclusions by listening to people affected by Conservative policies on the poor, sick and disabled. Tories implemented those policies by ignoring the very same people – and now they are complaining because Mr Alston hasn’t done the same.

At a time when we are all taking a long, hard look at the Conservative government of the last few years, this is damning.

Philip Alston, the New York-based human rights lawyer and United Nations rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, has responded with disbelief after the Tories responded to his report on poverty in the UK.

“I thought it might actually be a spoof,” he said after ministers claimed that his report was “a completely inaccurate picture of our approach to tackling poverty” and that the UK was among the happiest countries in the world.

“The statement is as troubling as the situation,” he said. “There is nothing that indicates any willingness to debate over issues which have generated endless very detailed, totally reputable reports across the political spectrum in the UK. All of these are dismissed.”

Alston’s report compared Conservative policies to the creation of Victorian workhouses. Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, said she felt it was politically biased and alleged that Alston did not do enough research, only visiting the UK for 11 days.

Alston retorted that the government response amounted to “a total denial of a set of uncontested facts”.

Particularly contentious was Mr Alston’s claim that the Department for Work and Pensions had created “a digital and sanitised version of the 19th-century workhouse”.

Tory apologists rushed to rubbish the claim, like historian Dominic Sandbrook, who wrote in the Daily Mail that it was “simply ridiculous” and “an insult to our national intelligence”.

“I think breaking rocks has some similarity to the 35 hours of job search [required per week to receive universal credit] for people who have been out of work for months or years,” Mr Alston responded. “They have to go through the motions but it is completely useless. That seems to me to be very similar to the approach in the old-style workhouse. The underlying mentality is that we are going to make the place sufficiently unpleasant that you really won’t want to be here.

“Is it the case that 14 million people do not live in poverty? Do they contest the child poverty predictions? That is what it seems to be.”

It seems clear that this man will not be backing down.

As long-term readers of This Site will appreciate, that is a stance with which I can sympathise.

And it really is the only position to take with a government of bullies like the Tories, who deliberately (it seems) ignore the facts in order to continue pursuing malevolent policies of hate towards the poor and vulnerable.

Sadly, as I mentioned previously, the UK government may merrily ignore the findings of the United Nations report, without suffering any adverse backlash.

We know the Tories are wrong because we can see the evidence all around us. We know they are driving the entire country to ruin.

But they refuse to see it. Their attitude is symbolic of the pig-ignorance that came into office with David Cameron, back in 2010.

Source: UN poverty expert hits back over UK ministers’ ‘denial of facts’ | Society | The Guardian

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Labour’s odd response over Labour Against Anti-Semitism data breach. Guilty conscience?

Sometimes, when you make a complaint to a large organisation, its representatives try too hard to hide information – and end up giving more away.

Consider the case of the Labour Party and Labour Against Anti-Semitism. You’ll be familiar with the situation: LAAS had used an email list of Constituency Labour Party secretaries to which the fringe group should not have had access.

So party members wrote to the party, asking for those involved to have their party membership suspended while a detailed investigation into their conduct is held, with the possibility of expulsion if they are found guilty of crimes.

Now read on, as Martin Odoni of The Critique Archives, who drafted the complaint letter template, details the response he received and explains what is wrong with it:

Following up on that complaint I lodged with the Labour Party over the weekend about the misdeeds of the fringe group Labour Against Anti-Semitism, I today received a reply from Tim Dexter of the complaints unit. Here is the text; –

_____

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your email.

I want to assure you that the Labour Party takes its responsibilities in handling sensitive data extremely seriously and we would never provide third parties with any sensitive information they are not entitled to.

LAAS are a completely separate organisation to the Labour Party. They are not affiliated to the party and do not hold any status within the party.

If you have concerns about how they have obtained your data I suggest in the first instance you ask them where they obtained the information from. If they are unable to provide a satisfactory response then you should consider raising a complaint with the ICO, information on how to do this can be found at the following website: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/your-personal-information-concerns/personal-information-concerns/personal-information-concerns-report/

I never implied that the Labour Party itself was leaking sensitive data to anybody – the thought had never even crossed my mind come to that – so this is the classic example of a guilty-sounding, unsolicited denial that, far from allaying suspicions, instead raises suspicions that were not there in the first place.

The bit about LAAS being a separate organisation is not really the point. I did mention it myself in the original complaint, come to that, and I was asking quite explicitly for the party to take action against them for operating in Labour’s name without permission. Mr Dexter displays startlingly little interest in that idea, or concern about the damage LAAS could do to the party’s reputation.

Some of LAAS‘ members … most particularly Euan Philipps, are members of the Labour Party. Even if they treat their capacity as LAAS members as a completely separate business, when they do what they do in the name of the Labour Party, that non-afiliation status should not afford them any protection. But Mr Dexter appears happy to let Philipps et al have it both ways.

I never suggested that LAAS has hold of my contact data at all. I am certainly not aware of receiving any communications from them. I was drawing the party’s attention to LAAS using contact data of an NEC member against his explicit instructions. Use of such data when ordered to delete it by their subject is expressly illegal. Furthermore, LAAS‘ attempt to use his request to damage his reputation over social media might also be illegal under defamation laws. Again, Mr Dexter appears to be utterly disinterested in this.

I can only conclude that the Labour complaints team are perfectly comfortable with members of the party being engaged in illegal behaviour when acting in the name of Labour. Given how over-zealous the complaints team are about going after members who criticise Israel, that seems to be a decidedly uneven attitude.

Either that or the complaints team did not pay proper attention to what I wrote.

I shall send a follow-up complaint to the Labour Party soon.

Will you do the same?

Source: Well… this is an odd response from the Labour complaints team | TheCritique Archives

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The people have their say on Margaret Hodge’s ‘Nazi Germany’ outburst

Vox Political reader got in touch after I published my piece about Margaret Hodge’s latest outrage, with his own opinion on the subject that he posted to her Facebook page. He’s not the only one offering a dissenting view!

These opinions need to be seen, because the pro-Israeli-government mass media will do everything possible to suppress them and support her instead:

Here’s Simon Goldberger: “I wonder if your father was on the same Kindertransport as mine (the last Kindertransport to leave Hamburg)

“My father brought me up to be socialist, to fight nationalism, populism and the inexorable slide to the right that the wealthy always sponsor for their own benefit.

“My family helped in building Israel.. My uncle being one of the founders of an early Kibbutz under the Golan heights.. my early memories are of the stories he told of Arab (or Palestinian) snipers shooting unarmed women and children as they walked around the camp.

“So I imagine in respect to the horrors of nationalism and populism I had a similar upbringing to you…

“So Dame Margaret what went wrong?

“When did you forget that “Never Again” meant never should the innocent be targeted on mass and not as purely a protection of the yet to be formed political state of Israel.

“When did you believe that conflating anti-semitism and criticism of a political party (and specifically a right wing Nationalist political party) was an acceptable stance?

“When did you decide that the best use of the platform our party and your constituences gave, you was to attack our party at a time when we are successfully fighting to remove an extreme right wing government, whose policies have killed over 114,000 people (and more depending on which report is referenced) and continue to do so; have armed Saudi Arabia in its illegal massacre of women and children in Yemen and whose most senior members have aligned themselves with self-proclaimed neo-Nazis (more honestly known as… Nazis).

“When did you decide to conflate anti-Semitism with criticism not of Jews, nor of Israel but of the right wing political party Likud and by inference their current abhorrent policies?

“And honestly when did you decide that having been held to the rules of our party (which you (as we members all) voluntarily signed up to in joining) was akin to suffering within the Shoah.

“You disgust me and your words in belittling the horrors of the Holocaust are an outright insult to its victims including my grandparents and their siblings.”

Here’s David Rosenberg:

Andrew Feinstein:

Read more on Skwawkbox.

We all need to get these messages out to the public.

Otherwise, all they’ll see is nonsense like the following from Sky News editor Beth Rigby (expertly demolished here by Tom Clark of Another Angry Voice):

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Holocaust denier dealt brutal put-down by Labour MP [WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE]

Jonathan Reynolds in Parliament.

I’m not sure I should even give this bonehead the time of day, but it’s a good story that makes an excellent point.

After Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds tweeted that he had written in the Holocaust book of remembrance, he received the following tweet from a Holocaust denier called Steve Steglitz:

https://twitter.com/steve_steglitz/status/957174884383248384

In case he deletes the tweet, he said: “You politicians are not doing your duty to the public. The Holocaust is one big lie. Time you put pressure on the media to do their job and start asking a few questions. But politicians and journalists are either owned or brainwashed themselves.”

The claim is highly-offensive nonsense of the kind that may conservatively be described as (and I’m sorry for the language but you’ll see the reason in a moment) bullshit.

Mr Reynolds made this clear in his put-down:

And, in case you think he didn’t mean it:


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Grenfell Tower: May admits Tory council didn’t act fast enough – but nothing has improved

Grenfell Tower: Theresa May, who was criticised for not visiting the scene quickly enough after the fire, privately met victims of the disaster [Image: Tang/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock].

What is the point in Theresa May privately admitting to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire that Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council responded badly to the disaster, when the same council is still failing its people?

According to The Guardian:

Theresa May has privately told survivors and relatives of victims of the Grenfell Tower fire that the Conservative-led Kensington and Chelsea council’s response to the disaster was slow and flawed, and assured them that the tenant management organisation (TMO) would no longer be responsible for the rest of the estate.

A Downing Street spokesman said the prime minister had acknowledged concerns about the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council and the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO), which was responsible for the tower and surrounding blocks of flats.

“She confirmed that the TMO will be removed from the management of the Lancaster West [Grenfell Tower] estate and she recognised that the council did not respond quickly enough after the fire,” the spokesman said.

“She agreed that it was important that the council listen to and respond to the issues residents face about the support and information they were receiving, including from key workers and housing officers.”

The prime minister was invited to the meeting by residents to hear about the challenges they continue to face, amid anger that a public inquiry will only look at the practical causes of the fire and not wider issues around the quality of social housing.

That was published early yesterday (August 23). Later the same day, the Huffington Post reported on a meeting, possibly between some of the same survivors and KCBC representatives, in which the council was pilloried for its continuing failure to address survivors’ needs.

Resident Cathy Cross said that Kensington and Chelsea, unlike other local authorities, is “very rich” and that it was time the council “upped their game”.

She said: “When is this council going to actually house people. When is this council going to get kids out of hotels. When is this council going to take care of people’s mental health?

“When is this council going to stop treating people with utter contempt, coming to these meetings and not having answers to questions, having senior managers who have to go across there and ask someone called Jim ‘where are our services?’ It is a disgrace.

“When are you going to up your game?

“When are you going to realise that when people have died that should be the worst thing you can do to your local citizens.

“The worst thing you can do to them should be murdering them. It should not be that 11 weeks on you cannot even provide survivors or the families of the dead with basic services. When are you going to up your game?”

“A woman who was suffering from PTSD asked the panel where the support services were for those needing help with their mental health… Robyn Doran, chief operating officer for Central and North West London Trust, said that there were pop up clinics being provided for the local area every day. But when there were shouts of “where”, the NHS boss was unable to name the locations and had to call for help from a member of her team.

There were calls for more services to go to survivors living in hotels.

Perhaps the most damning indictment was when Lancaster West estate resident Joe Delaney pointed out that the council’s “left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing”, after revealing confusion over when the Tenant Management Organisation had been removed from responsibility over the estate.

[Council chief executive Barry] Quirk said that the decision was made earlier this week, yet Delaney said he had been informed by TMO on June 22 that they had been removed from managing Lancaster West Estate.

So, what was Theresa May really saying when she admitted that the council did not respond fast or well enough, if it is still failing residents?

That the Conservatives in government and in Kensington and Chelsea Council are happy for the situation to stay that way?


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