Tag Archives: restore

McKee murder prompts politicians to re-start NI power sharing talks

How welcome to see that Theresa May has finally got off her thumbs and made a start towards restoring the devolved government in Northern Ireland, after pressure from This Site and the general public.

I wrote after Lyra McKee’s murder last weekend: “It is now 21 years since the Good Friday Agreement heralded the end of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. Such an anniversary is a time to reaffirm the commitment to friendship – not to open up opportunities for a return to hate.

“Northern Ireland needs the restoration of its government in Stormont – now, not after Theresa May has spent another few months or years stalling so she can extend her own tenure in Number 10.

“The best way to shut down the possibility of violence is to deny people any excuse for it.”

Well…

An agreement has been reached to establish a new round of talks involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland the UK and Irish prime ministers, Theresa May and Leo Varadkar, have said in a joint statement.

The public clamour for political progress following the killing of the journalist Lyra McKee encouraged both governments to launch a fresh attempt to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland, they said in a statement released on Friday afternoon.

It seems this is one message that has managed to get through to the UK’s recalcitrant prime minister.

Source: Deal reached for Northern Ireland power-sharing talks | Politics | The Guardian


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Benefits restored to disabled gran who tried suicide after being told she was fit for work

The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.

A happy ending for a change – the DWP really is losing its touch.

Normally, we would be reading about benefits being restored only after the claimant has already died.

It is possible that the gran in this story was lucky because she had an MP who wasn’t a Conservative.

Of course she’s not out of the woods yet. The DWP has said she’ll be reassessed in two years, but the Department will undoubtedly do everything in its power to bring that date forward.

A disabled gran who tried to kill herself after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) claimed she was ‘fit for work’ has finally had her benefits reinstated, after an SNP MP highlighted her case in Parliament.

The 60-year-old gran of six, who we’ve decided not to identify, was deemed well enough to work after being assessed for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) by the private firm Maximus on behalf of the DWP.

She also struggles with arthritis and has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a long-term and chronic condition that causes pain all over her body.

Her case was brought to the attention of Parliament by SNP MP Alison Thewliss, who has welcomed the U-turn, after first being reported by the Daily Record.

The disabled Gran attempted suicide by taking pills shortly after receiving a letter from the DWP informing her that she had found ‘fit for work’, following assessment by Maximus, and that her benefits would be slashed.

The family has now been informed that the disabled gran’s ESA will be reinstated and that she will not face reassessment for at least two years.

Source: Disabled gran who attempted suicide after being found ‘fit for work’ has her benefits reinstated


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Tory restrictions on judicial review to be ended by a Labour government

Chequebook justice: Your unelected government wants to ensure that nobody can challenge its policies and decisions - by putting justice within the reach of only the wealthy.

Chequebook justice: Your unelected government has ensured that nobody can challenge its policies and decisions – by putting justice within the reach of only the wealthy.

Conservative Party changes that meant the public were effectively forbidden from questioning government decisions will be scrapped if Labour is elected in May, according to Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan.

David Cameron said an increase in judicial reviews during the current Parliament had delayed planning developments and deportations – ignoring the possibility that they may be justified.

Tory Justice Secretary Chris Grayling accused charities and left-wing campaigners of exploiting it to promote political agendas. He also ignored the possibility that the high number of successful actions brought by the public might indicate that the government had been making unjust choices.

Speaking to The Guardian, Mr Khan explained how the Conservative Party was willing to subvert the rule of law in order to cement unjust decisions in place and inflict their consequences (in terms of planning developments, for example) on people who cannot afford to stop them.

He said: “I’m really worried about the government’s attack on judicial review. When I was a lawyer, I used judicial review to challenge public authorities. When I became a minister, I accepted that judicial review was a pain in the backside; civil servants had to check and double-check. It may have been a nuisance but it’s a very important safeguard.

“So I will reverse all the changes the government has made. It’s important that the executive respects the powers citizens have to hold us to account.”

He said: “We need to give citizens the ability to challenge when they think there have been failings in decisions made by ministers, governments and councils. The new act … insulates power, makes us complacent and think that we can disregard procedural fairness, disregard consultation.

“If you are someone who wants to challenge power, you are now scared to do so. You are worried about your costs as a community group in challenging a public authority decision. That’s not the sort of country I want to live in.”

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Hinchingbrooke failure means end of public tolerance for health privateers

150110hinchingbrooke

Campaigning group 38 Degrees’ response to the announcement that Circle Holdings is withdrawing from its contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

The failure of Circle Holdings’ management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital has one serious consequence for all political parties – but particularly Labour – and it is this: The British public will no longer tolerate any suggestion that private firms should participate in the National Health Service.

The reason Labour is singled out for special attention in this regard is that Labour has made the repeal of the Conservative Party’s Health and Social Care Act a key campaigning pledge (yes, it was passed in Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, but Andrew Lansley – Conservative – was the MP who spent around seven years working on the legislation in secret while his party leader promised all and sundry, with his ‘sincere’ face on, that the NHS was safe in Tory hands).

Unfortunately for Ed Miliband’s party, such promises are being met with scepticism by the people who should be Labour’s core voters. Only a couple of days ago, Vox Political posted this image to its Facebook page:

150110labourfourmonths

Here are some of the responses:

“Labour are just another neoliberal party serving the financial elite,” wrote Max Anstey. “The economic ideology ‘neoliberalism’ involves the privatisation of things. As Labour are neoliberal, they will not renationalise the NHS. A claim to ‘restore’ the NHS is not good enough from a neoliberal party. We need our public services back in our hands.”

Here’s another, by Gareth Jones: “I would love to see an honest resurgence of socialist ideals in this country. I’d love Labour to be Labour again. However, I just don’t see Ed Miliband being the one to bring it about. Ed is no Tony Benn.”

And Janet Kaiser added: “Labour (if it can still be called that) are going to do bugger-all. You can hope as much as you want, but the fact is the party has been taken over by venture capitalists and shouting the contrary is not going to change anything.”

That is the attitude Labour has to overcome. What’s sad is that it is an attitude that, in many ways, Labour has created. Only today, this blog posted a link to an article by Labour MP Michael Meacher in which he criticised his own front bench’s failure to attack the Conservatives over the economy – and much of what he said there can be applied to the NHS as well.

“Why doesn’t Labour hit out against the Tories where it could so easily secure some significant breakthroughs?” he asked. Why indeed.

The voters didn’t want private companies interfering in the NHS when they went to the polls in 2010. Now that they’ve experienced what it means – and don’t forget the Tory NHS crisis that is most clearly being seen in Accident & Emergency departments is also a symptom of this – they are vehemently against it.

Hinchingbrooke is a perfect opportunity for Labour to lay its cards on the table and promise that all of the expensive, bureaucratic and utterly pointless measures imposed by the Tories, to ensure that private firms get preferential treatment in the awarding of NHS contracts, will be removed – and to vow that the NHS will be restored as a state service providing the best care along with the best value for money.

And Labour stays quiet.

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