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Rosie Duffield’s DARVO: is she trying to rehabilitate herself by blaming her victims?

Rosie Duffield: she broke lockdown to meet her married lover and had to resign as a Labour whip as a result. Now she’s claiming she is a victim of misogynistic abuse.

Former Labour whip Rosie Duffield is trying to reclaim the moral high ground by playing the victim and we need to reject her.

She has given an interview in The Times in which she claims that she is the victim of misogynistic abuse and death threats over her opinions about anti-Semitism, Brexit and – particularly – transphobia.

The article points to her Commons speech about domestic abuse – for which she received a standing ovation from teary-eyed fellow MPs – as a sign that she’s on the side of the angels.

It doesn’t mention the fact that she broke lockdown in order to commit adultery with a married lover last May. Is her new media appearance an attempt to rehabilitate her image?

Many seem to think so, and the article has triggered a storm on the social media – mostly, it seems to This Writer, between opponents on the transphobia issue.

I stay out of that discussion as much as I can. My personal opinion is that the way a person identifies their gender is nobody’s business but their own.

Nobody should receive death threats for the simple holding of a belief; if their belief is against the law, or encourages people to break the law (especially in violent ways) then there are legal remedies. I wonder whether the Times reporter responsible for the article has seen evidence of such threats, though.

I have seen many tweets like this:

I have also seen t

And then I saw these two…

… and it made sense.

If you check the Metro article, DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender“.

It states: “First you have Deny – that’s pretty self-explanatory. You’ll see the person accused of wrongdoing simply denying that that’s the case; ‘I do not hold those views’, ‘I never said that’, ‘I did not do that bad thing’.

“The Deny stage is where gaslighting starts to come into play, with the person often trying to simply deny someone else’s lived reality. ‘No, that doesn’t happen’, ‘no, you’re making that up’, or ‘that might have happened, but it’s not as bad as you say it is’.

“Then there’s [the] Attack bit. This is when the accused person will turn around the criticism to focus blame on the person calling them out. So let’s say a celebrity was called out by someone on Twitter – they might go into attack mode by accusing that person of just being jealous, or bitter, or a liar.

“Finally, you’ve got the Reverse Victim and Offender stage. This is where things get sneaky and subtle. Suddenly, the accused person will turn things around and say that actually, they’re not guilty of doing something terrible. In fact, they are the ones being treated poorly.

“In this stage, you might see someone introduce their own trauma as an excuse or a distraction tactic. They’ll respond to accusations of racism, for example, with a story about how they faced gender discrimination when they were younger. Or they might focus their statement on how they feel ‘bullied’ by the accusations, so those reading feel that the person who has been called out is actually the victim, facing online abuse rather than being challenged on their actions.”

Metro goes on to give an example that is pertinent to Duffield’s case:

“Let’s say an influential person is accused of transphobia. They issue a response in which they deny that they are transphobic – ‘I love trans people! I have many trans friends!’ – then attack their critics – ‘people saying I’m transphobic are just cruel, hateful people who want to cause division’. Finally, they Reverse Victim and Offender: ‘I’m receiving so much online abuse because I’m a woman and we live in a sexist society’.

“Now, as a critic, you’re stuck. If you continue to call that person out, you’re ‘cruel, hateful and want to cause division’. You’re being sexist. You’re piling on the online abuse.”

Isn’t that exactly what Duffield is trying to do?

Source: Rosie Duffield: ‘It feels like Gilead where women aren’t allowed to ask questions’ | Times2 | The Times

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Why aren’t Tory voters furious after their party u-turned on free school meals and all their other disastrous policies?

Tearing Britain apart: it’s what Conservative voters supported, so why aren’t they complaining about every policy alteration that prevents it?

This Twitter user makes a very good point:

Mr Maginn is absolutely right.

If you voted Conservative, you voted for a party that would starve your children in the school holidays. Why aren’t you demanding that they stick to their principles?

This got me thinking about all the other ways the Tories have let their voters down over the last few months.

For example, we know that the Tories dismantled all the systems that had been in place to combat a pandemic like Covid-19. Conservative voters supported that.

So, if you’re a Conservative voter, why aren’t you absolutely raging that your demand for the entire nation to be infected, in order to develop “herd immunity” has been rejected? Voting Tory means that’s what you wanted, no matter how many people it killed.

Why aren’t you furious about the lockdown that interfered unforgivably with your ability to make money for yourselves and your family and boost the economy? You voted Tory – that’s what you had a right to expect, even if it meant your entire family caught Covid-19 and died.

Why aren’t you frothing at the mouth about the fact that the Tories were shamed into casting around for PPE (personal protective equipment) for NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus in hospitals? You voted Tory and the Tories decided long ago that this equipment would not be necessary – and we know they have been quietly dismantling the NHS for the last decade; if doctors, nurses and support staff all caught Covid and died, that would achieve the aim very well.

If you voted Conservative, then you supported that party’s Brexit policy that has discouraged foreign workers from coming to the UK – so you must be seething at Tory attempts to entice them back to harvest this year’s fruit crop before it rots. You voted for that crop to rot in the fields! It is unconscionable that the Tories should go against your wishes in trying to save it.

Progressing from there, if you voted Conservative, then you support the underlying racism that supported the “hostile environment” policy, and the Windrush generation deportations. You must be raging against the Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK and the calls for statues glorifying slavers and racists to be taken down. Why aren’t you contacting your MP, demanding that charges against the Nazis who rampaged through London on Saturday be dropped on the grounds that they are only good British citizens acting in concord with the policies of the Conservative government and its racist leader Boris Johnson?

Need I go on?

Too often, voters confuse what the Conservatives have done with what they wanted to do.

If Boris Johnson’s government had done everything it wanted, then the United Kingdom would already have been decimated by plague and famine (caused by deliberate starvation as well as failure to bring in the crops) – with worse to follow.

It’s what Conservative voters wanted. Perhaps someone should point that out to them.

UN poverty expert condemns UK coronavirus response as ‘utterly hypocritical’

Philip Alston: he warned us all about the Tories before but they were voted back in because people didn’t listen.

How else would you describe the way the UK’s Tory government threw away austerity the instant the well-being of the rich was threatened?

Philip Alston, the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty, made a good point when he pointed out that the harm caused by austerity policies of the last 10 years cannot be undone – but the policy itself was reversed the instant it seemed likely to harm the rich.

He told The Guardian:

“My thoughts of course hark back to the sense of how utterly hypocritical it is now to abandon ‘austerity’ with such alacrity, after all the harm and misery caused to individuals and the fatal weakening of the community’s capacity to cope and respond over the past 10 years.

“And of course, many of the worst and most damaging aspects of ‘austerity’ cannot and will not be undone. The damage caused to community cohesion and to the social infrastructure are likely to prove permanent.

He said that globally “the most vulnerable have been short-changed or excluded” by official responses to the disease:

“The policies of many states reflect a social Darwinism philosophy that prioritises the economic interests of the wealthiest while doing little for those who are hard at work providing essential services or unable to support themselves.

“Governments have shut down entire countries without making even minimal efforts to ensure people can get by.”

The Tories would undoubtedly argue that they have indeed made efforts to ensure people can get by… but some would argue that those efforts have indeed been minimal.

Across the UK, people who claimed Universal Credit because their income dried up in the lockdown have found their five-week wait for benefit cash has culminated in a cheque for no money at all.

Others have been unable to claim the benefit because they don’t meet the government’s criteria.

And of course Boris Johnson won’t agree to a Universal Basic Income that will help everybody – and will be cheaper to administer than UC. Why? Because he likes to keep people poor and – if possible – push them into debt.

Look at the other coronavirus-related policies and you’ll find that most of them aren’t working – at least, not the way we were led to expect.

And now there’s huge pressure to sway public opinion in favour of lifting the lockdown so we can all go back to work, making profits for the rich again – before their income is harmed as that of the poor has been.

Put it altogether and it seems Mr Alston has a very good point.

Source: UK coronavirus response utterly hypocritical, says UN poverty expert | Politics | The Guardian

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Disabled man gets PIP back after newspaper story got DWP to change decision

Shaun Howard was lucky: he had family who managed to attract media attention after the Department for Work and Pensions stopped his Personal Independence Payments.

What about people who don’t have family members who can step in when the DWP picks on them?

Mr Howard, 29, has a condition called global development delay. He is unable to read or write, struggles to socialise and cope with everyday tasks, and lives in sheltered housing in Clacton.

His financial affairs are handled by an organisation called Essex Guardians, that helps people who do not have mental capacity to handle their own money.

He was called in by the DWP for a PIP reassessment last month, and a decision was made to stop his benefits.

Essex Guardians was told – but Mr Howard didn’t receive a letter and did not know his benefit had been cancelled until that organisation informed him.

The DWP didn’t even have the courtesy to let him know it had cut off his lifeline.

Fortunately for him, his parents spoke to a local newspaper and when the DWP realised its decision had attracted media interest, the decision was magically reversed.

A spokesperson said his case had been reviewed.

But would the DWP have reviewed his case and restored his payments without the attention?

Of course not.

This story has a happy ending.

But it also shows why we need to elect a Labour government, close down the DWP and built a better benefit system.

Source: DWP does U-turn after stopping Shaun’s benefits | Maldon and Burnham Standard

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Victory for Hazel Macrae – DWP u-turns on decision that blind disabled woman is fit for work

Hazel MacRae from Byker, who has won her case against the DWP [Image: Newcastle Chronicle].

Well done, everyone who kicked up a fuss about the unfair and farcical decision to find Hazel MacRae fit for work.

The DWP has reversed its decision in an unusually hasty about-face. Was the publicity getting a bit rough, guys?

The joy of it is that people still aren’t letting this go. Check out some of the comments on the Chronicle story detailing the happy news:

Here’s Longsufferingfan: “This is not an unusual occurrence, about 60% + of people who are rejected win on appeal. the System is set up to reject people and hope that they don’t appeal. It needs overhauling but so far the Govt are happy with the way it is performing as it works in their favour!”

And Ruiseart adds: “This woman is just one of many, many thousands of people who the government has directed the DWP and the assessment companies to declare “fit for work” in an attempt to save money on the welfare bill.

“Examining the figures shows that had they left every person they declared “fit” alone, and not tried to deny their disabilities, they would have spent £millions LESS!

“The whole assessment regime is designed to fail the people the DWP is supposed to be helping and it should be scrapped and the people behind it should be hauled up before a court and charged with MULTIPLE MURDER!”

Feel free to add your own observations, here or on the Chronicle‘s site.

Blind and epileptic Hazel MacRae has won her appeal after a public outcry was sparked when she was deemed ‘fit for work’.

The 62-year-old received the good news on Wednesday after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) performed a u-turn.

Hazel’s fight made headlines across the country after the Chronicle revealed how she had been classed as fit for work despite being blind since birth and suffering with epilepsy, Type 2 Diabetes and osteoarthritis.

But that decision has now been reversed, and Hazel, of Walker, could not be happier.

She said: “I can’t thank the Chronicle enough for their help . The support I have been getting is fantastic.”

Source: Victory: Blind Hazel Macrae wins her fight after she was deemed fit for work by DWP – Chronicle Live


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Labour groups rally to support Vox Political writer’s bid to restore party democracy

[Image: Getty Images.]

[Image: Getty Images.]

Labour branches and constituency parties across the UK are being asked to support a series of moves intended to restore democracy in the party – and This Writer couldn’t be happier because they are based on a motion that I drafted.

The summer of 2016 was a long and difficult one for Labour Party democracy. There was the rebellion and attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn that ended with him being re-elected as party leader with a larger mandate. And there was the election of six new Constituency Labour Party representatives to the ruling National Executive Committee.

All six places went to members of the Corbyn-supporting Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance (although one of the candidates, Ann Black, has since proved to be less loyal than some of us might have hoped) – giving Mr Corbyn a narrow majority.

It seems right-wingers in the Labour Party decided to dispense with the rule book – and party democracy – and introduced a plan to put two new members on the NEC to overthrow Mr Corbyn’s majority. The idea was that Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour would be given representatives on the NEC, who would be nominated by the leaders of those party groups, who are both anti-Corbyn, rather than elected by their memberships who support the party leader.

The resolution to add these new members to the NEC was passed as part of a package of 15 changes to party rules at the national conference in September. They were pushed through against the wishes of delegates who wanted to vote on each matter separately, and who demanded a card vote. Instead, then-NEC chair Paddy Lillis refused both demands – breaking conference procedural rules in the process. The full story is here.

This is where I became involved. I raised the matter with my local Labour Party branch, and wrote a motion pointing out that Mr Lillis broke conference rules, that the changes he imposed are therefore undemocratic and may not be enforced, and that the decision should be nullified.

That motion was supported by Brecon and Radnorshire Constituency Labour Party and is to be considered by the NEC as soon as possible.

I publicised the matter on This Blog, and I know other CLPs have passed similar motions. I was also contacted by Steve Burgess, a Labour member based near Manchester, who raised issues with the wording of my motion and with my opinion of Ann Black, who was present as a speaker at the CLP meeting when it won members’ support, despite her comments in opposition to it (a dialogue with Ms Black followed in the comment columns of This Blog, ending with this article, after I finally lost patience with her).

Mr Burgess thought my motion needed to be modified in order to pinpoint exactly the faults in Mr Lillis’s behaviour and the breakdown in party democracy that followed. He has devised a series of five motions which he urges Labour Party branches to consider passing and taking to their CLPs, and from there to the CLP representatives on the NEC. He has gained the support of Corbyn-supporting group Momentum in this, and his motions can be found on an unofficial Momentum website, here.

The introduction to the page suggests, “These are the most important motions in the recent history of the Labour Party, since [they defeat] a constitutional amendment that undermines the will of conference to direct and veto changes to the supreme ruling executive body which controls everything from expulsions to shortlists and membership in the Labour Party.”

Some might think that I should be offended by what appears to be an attempt to seek credit based on work that I have done. Well, I’m not offended.

It is extremely flattering to have created the basis for “the most important motions in the recent history of the Labour Party”. It is unlikely that they would have appeared as the do – possibly at all – without my original work.

I think Mr Burgess has produced an interesting and exhaustive piece. It’s a little long-winded – I was told my own motion was extremely long, and it is much shorter than the series of five that he has produced.

My feeling is that other BLPs and CLPs may wish to render the actual motions down to the basic demands, with everything else tacked on as supporting information.

I know several CLPs have already submitted motions based on mine; hopefully more will submit motions based on his.

I’m pleased to have started this but I knew that it wasn’t something I could manage alone, so I am delighted that others are doing their own thing with it.

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Labour NEC member should reconsider her position if she continues to oppose democracy

[Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images].

[Image: Oli Scarff/Getty Images].

By “reconsider her position”, I mean Ann Black should resign and make way for somebody who is willing to represent Labour Party members, if she is determined to deny the facts.

Readers of This Blog will know that Ms Black has taken issue with me for sending a motion to Labour’s National Executive Committee, calling for it to nullify rule changes that were wrongly imposed at the party’s conference.

Then-NEC chair Paddy Lillis, who was chairing the conference at the time, broke the conventions under which voting is carried out at the conference – its rules, if you like – in order to deny delegate a chance to vote on 15 rules changes separately, and by card (which gives an accurate number of votes ‘for’ and ‘against’) rather than by hand (which doesn’t).

The package of changes included one that would put members of Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour on the NEC who would not be elected by their respective membership, but nominated by the regional leaders. This would have changed the composition of the NEC in a material way, as the balance of power would have changed from a narrow majority in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to a narrow majority against him.

I have reported on these facts, and on the motion that was raised by my local Labour branch and passed at a Constituency Labour Party meeting which Ms Black attended. You can read my report on it here.

Ms Black, it seems, is not happy with the result of that meeting and has been trying to claim that the motion is based on errors ever since. She is either mistaken, or she is deliberately attempting to mislead Labour Party members. If the latter, then I think it is time she handed in her resignation.

It would indicate that she got onto the Welsh Labour Grassroots ‘Left Slate’ under false pretences and should make way for somebody who actually represents the views of that organisation, including respect for democracy.

Her latest comment to This Blog was received on Thursday, when This Writer was at a meeting of a local organisation, of which I am vice-chair of its board of trustees. The meeting was 30 miles away from my home and took all day. By the time I got back, I was too tired to do anything but put up a few articles and call it a day. I spent yesterday (Friday) working to get caught up on the blog, and also dealing with other matters (don’t forget that I am a carer and this site is a spare-time occupation).

In the meantime, I received a message on Facebook from a Labour member elsewhere in the country, who has been communicating with me because he is interested in submitting a motion to his own CLP, similar to mine. He told me he had been in communication with Ms Black and she had said she had submitted comments to my blog but I had not published them.

Is it paranoid of me to take this as an implication that I only publish comments that support my own opinions? That would be outrageously offensive.

You can see from the foregoing that I have been busy, and you can also see – from the comment columns attached to other articles – that I publish comments of all kinds, reserving the right to respond if I think it is necessary.

This is the first chance I have had to respond to Ms Black, so I think I’ll make her a special case. After all of the foregoing, I’m sure you’ll want to know what she had to say – and I certainly have a few things to offer in reply. She begins:

Life is too short to pick up all the errors online and elsewhere, but here goes:

Oh, I’m in error online and elsewhere, am I? How interesting that she frames her comment with such an assertion from the start.

1) Lifting the motion from a website. I said this because someone in Lewes submitted a motion with text identical to that on voxpoliticalonline, right down to mis-spelling Christine Shawcroft’s name as Shawcross. Clearly they had the same origin. I don’t believe Mike gave his surname at the Brecon meeting, but accept that he wrote the motion and Lewes lifted it, rather than both lifting from the voxpolitical original. Interestingly after I’d corresponded with Lewes they amended their motion to keep the sense but correct most of the inaccuracies in Mike’s version;

This refers to her claim, voiced at the CLP all-member meeting, that I lifted my motion from another website. I commented on this in an email to branch members, who knew that I had published the motion on Vox Political. As a result I received a rather incredulous reply from one member, asking: “She thinks you plagiarised yourself?” Yup.

She accepts now that I wrote the motion and the website where she read it was my own. She says she was confused by a motion that went to Lewes CLP(?) that was exactly the same, including the misspelling of Christine Shawcroft’s name (which is simply a typo. I try to ensure everything is right but sometimes errors creep in).

She says Lewes has since amended its motion to remove the inaccuracies in mine – presumably these are limited to the misspelling of Ms Shawcroft’s name and, possibly, an amendment of the claim that the CAC committee’s conditions are rules, even though they are de facto rules for the running of conference, as we have discussed already. If that’s what she wants to call an error, I think she’s in a minority.

2) I took no part in running the meeting, either to curtail or extend discussion – I’m not a member and would not dream of intervening;

Nor did I suggest that she did. She was a guest speaker whose speech was primarily a long attempt to justify the actions of the NEC over the summer – the moratorium on meetings, the ‘purge’ of party members in the run-up to the leadership vote, and so on.

3) Ditto the vote on the motion, where I gave my views, but as always it’s up to local members to decide;

Again, I did not suggest otherwise. Was it appropriate for her to comment as part of a discussion among CLP members, where she was not a member? I didn’t have the chance to call for her not to take part on the day – I tried but was not able to be heard. It seemed to me that her comments as an NEC member might carry more weight with members than they deserved. As it turned out, I need not have worried.

4) However where Mike says that there was “a huge amount of support”, the vote was recorded as 17 in favour, 11 against, two abstentions. I can understand why calls for a card vote at conference were seen as having “a huge amount of support” if that’s your definition;

Yes, the vote was recorded as 17 for the motion, 11 against, and two abstentions. In fact, one of the ‘against’ votes was intended to be for the motion but the lady doing the voting was 96 and was not able to get her hand up in time. I was only made aware of this fact at a branch meeting on Wednesday, otherwise I think the vote should have been run again to allow her vote to be recorded accurately. The motion had nearly twice as much support as opposition.

Even taking the vote as recorded, it’s 56.67 per cent in favour against 36.67 per cent against – almost as large a majority as Jeremy Corbyn’s “landslide” first Labour leadership election victory. I think support for my motion was big enough – don’t you?

5) Mike and other speakers for the motion said that it was nothing to do with Scottish and Welsh representation on the NEC. Which raises the question of why he put them into his motion and why they are mentioned in most of the commentaries here and elsewhere about rule changes at conference.

This comment seems to be suggesting that the motion is about eliminating the nominated representatives to the NEC, and the illegitimacy of the way the vote was carried out is simply a means to that end.

It seems to me that this is nothing more than an ad hominem attack – Ms Black is suggesting that my motives are other than I have presented them – in an attempt to undermine support for me, as the person putting forward the motion, because she cannot defeat the logic of the motion itself.

What a nasty, underhanded way to behave! Is that the behaviour we would expect from a member of Labour’s highest authority? I don’t think so.

I could argue, in opposition, that Paddy Lillis intended to gerrymander those undemocratic, nominated-rather-than-elected, members onto the NEC and denied delegates their right to a card vote, taking each of the 15 rule changes separately, in order to achieve that. Such a suggestion would have more validity than Ms Black’s, because the facts strongly support it.

We have seen evidence, since I wrote my motion, that the 15 rule changes were not sent to the NEC as a package, but as separate measures; that the CAC members were misled into believing they were to be taken as a package; and that there is no precedent at all for new rules to be forced through as a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ package at an annual conference, meaning the claim from the platform that it was standard practice is a lie.

None of the above changes the facts as laid out in my motion – that Mr Lillis broke the rules (or conventions, if you like) under which votes are taken at conference, meaning the result of that particular vote is therefore his will and not the will of the conference, and should be disregarded.

I mentioned Scottish Labour and Welsh Labour representation on the NEC in the motion in order to make absolutely sure that there could be no doubt about the package of measures to which I was referring. If I had not, it seems possible (if not downright likely) that attempts would have been made to confuse those measures with some other conference vote, or otherwise render my motion invalid or void.

I have no wish to deny Welsh Labour or Scottish Labour an opportunity to have representatives on the NEC – but I do believe those representatives must be democratically elected by the memberships of Welsh Labour and Scottish Labour, not unelected nominees of the regional parties’ leaders (or, in the case of Scottish Labour, the leader herself, having taken it upon herself to seize the seat on the NEC that was offered to her).

There are serious and legitimate concerns here, but it’s helpful to get the facts straight first.

It is indeed – but Ms Black was trying to distort them.

I think she needs to reconsider her position, as a matter of urgency – not just regarding this matter, but also her position on the National Executive Committee.

Looking at the recent controversy over the NEC’s support for a report attacking members of Wallasey CLP, that contains accusations of criminal behaviour without solid evidence to support it, I wonder how Ms Black voted on that matter?

This behaviour should not be tolerated. We need representatives who will actually represent us, rather than peddling lies and distortions.

Am I right?

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Liberal Democrat hypocrisy over rail fares and energy prices

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Pre-election policy reversals are suggesting that the Liberal Democrats’ co-operation with the Conservative Party will cost them dearly.

The Liberal Democrats say they want to make it much easier for households to switch energy suppliers, and are pledging to end above-inflation rail fare increases.

They’ve got a nerve, haven’t they?

Check They Work For You and you may find that most Liberal Democrat MPs have voted against slowing the rise in rail fares. Vince Cable did. So did Danny Alexander and Ed Davey – and This Writer’s own MP, Roger Williams.

As for making it easier to switch energy suppliers, let’s look at the record of Mr Davey – who, until very recently, was the Coalition Government’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Faced with Labour’s proposals to freeze energy prices, he said this would be disastrous because the so-called ‘Big Six’ energy firms would all push up their prices both before and after such a freeze.

He was, of course, completely wrong. The energy firms have all cut their prices – before Labour even had a chance to gain office and implement its planned freeze.

According to the BBC, “the Liberal Democrats say their plans will shift the balance of power back in favour of consumers and commuters to ease the cost of living and save families hundreds of pounds a year” – but Labour’s price freeze plans have ensured that this has already happened.

So it seems the Liberal Democrats are proposing a complete policy reversal on rail fares, while refusing to face the facts about energy.

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Give the public a say before selling off the NHS, demands Burnham

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Scheming, lice-ridden vermin: All the airbrushing in the world could not erase the brutal, calculating dishonesty of the Conservative 2010 election poster.

This guy has been impressive from the get-go: Today (Tuesday) Andy Burnham will call on the Coalition to put its plans for further NHS privatisation on hold until there is clear evidence that the public wants the health service to be sold off.

The speech in Manchester is being timed to take place before the Conservative-led government signs a series of new NHS contracts that will – underhandedly – tie the hands of a future government.

Sly little devils, aren’t they?

The British public has never given its consent for far-reaching and forced privatisation of services – and that’s what Mr Burnham will be saying.

He will point out that the forced privatisation of the NHS is entering new territory and becoming harder to reverse: Contracts are being signed that will run throughout the next Parliament and beyond, tying the hands of the next government in a crucial area of public policy.

Not only is this unacceptable to Labour, but it has never been accepted by the public, and Mr Burnham will say that comedy Prime Minister David Cameron needs to be reminded that the NHS does not belong to him but to the British people – and he never received our permission to put it up for sale.

He will remind everybody that Cameron was dishonest about his privatisation plans before the last election. Cameron said there would be “no top-down reorganisation”.

If he wants to continue to force privatisation through, he should seek the consent of the public at the 2015 Election, Mr Burnham will say.

And he will contrast the increasingly fragmented and privatised travesty that Cameron wants to force on you – where service has become a postcode lottery dependent on the cost-effectiveness of providing certain forms of healthcare in your locality – with a public, integrated NHS as Labour intends to re-form it.

It was confirmed last week that NHS spending on private-sector and other providers has exceeded £10 billion for the first time.

“For all its faults, it is a service that is based on people not profits,” Mr Burnham will say. “That principle sets our health service apart and was famously celebrated two years ago at the Opening Ceremony of our Olympic Games.

“When his reorganisation hit trouble and was paused, David Cameron explicitly promised that it would not lead to more forced privatisation of services. But… on his watch, NHS privatisation is being forced through at pace and scale.

“Commissioners have been ordered to put all services out to the market.

“NHS spending on private and other providers has gone through the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

When did the British public ever give their consent for this?

“It is indefensible for the character of the country’s most valued institution to be changed in this way without the public being given a say.”

Among the long-lasting agreements due to be signed by the Coalition in a bid to tie the next government into its privatisation of services are two contracts for cancer care in Staffordshire lasting no less than 10 years and worth a massive £1.2 billion; a five-year contract worth £800 million for the care of older people in Cambridge; and a contract in Oxford and Milton Keynes set to begin a month before the General Election for medical staffing.

The last of these is using a ‘reverse auction’ process where the lowest bidder wins, confirming fears of a ‘race to the bottom’ culture and contradicting claims from the Government of no competition on price in the NHS.

Once again Labour shows us that there is no depth to which the Cameron administration will not stoop. This time they are using the summer Parliamentary recess to sign contracts intended to prevent any future government from restoring our health service and reversing the appalling damage they have done so that they and their friends can profit from the suffering and sickness of the poor.

They could not do more damage if they were a filthy, sickening, scheming plague of lice-ridden vermin; in fact, that is exactly what they resemble.

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Hidden plan for ministers to axe laws that protect you – with a penstroke

Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister's whim.

Gone in a penstroke: If the Deregulation Bill becomes law, Acts of Parliament that protect your freedom could be removed from the statute book at a minister’s whim.

I have spent much of today putting old paperwork through the shredder in advance of tomorrow’s debate on the Deregulation Bill.

Why? Hidden among the plans to revoke ancient laws regulating pigsties is a clause that revokes the freedom of the press – in particular, the freedom of journalists to protect their sources.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats don’t want reporters to be able to protect political whistleblowers and the information they release from state harassment and confiscation.

Vox Political has long warned that the Coalition government was pushing us towards totalitarianism, and that is exactly what this apparently innocuous – but in fact deeply pernicious – piece of legislation proves.

We’ve had the gagging law, to silence organised dissent; we know that police chiefs want to use water cannons to stifle public protest; now we are faced with a cloak-and-dagger scheme to silence the press.

The removal of these privileges means the media will be unable to report anything that does not meet government approval – or face confiscation of equipment including computers, notebooks, recordings and correspondence that will lead to the identification of people who provide information that the government wants hushed up.

As a blogger who is also a qualified journalist, this directly affects me – and that is why I have been destroying paperwork. Tomorrow is only the Bill’s second reading – it must go through the committee stage, report stage and third reading before moving on to the House of Lords – but it is better to be well-prepared than to be caught napping.

Far more insidious than this, however, is the other part of this ‘red tape-cutting’ Bill that goes unmentioned. The really harmful part…

The part that says ministers should have the power to revoke any law they like, using statutory instruments (at the stroke of a pen) rather than taking the issue to a democratic vote in Parliament and, you know, actually telling anybody about it.

This means freedoms we have enjoyed for centuries-  or just a few years – could be removed with no prior notice, under the pretext of getting rid of ‘red tape’.

We would certainly be living in a police state if this were allowed to happen.

So here’s the big question: Do you think your MP even knows about this?

I only know because I read it on Another Angry Voice – from which site this article has swiped much of its information.

In his article, AAV creator Thomas G. Clark points out: “The Tories that devised this scheme… are clearly relying on the vast majority of Coalition MPs voting this through as the whips instruct them, without bothering to even read the documentation, understand the intricacies or even participate in the debate.

“If you chose to ignore the wealth of evidence and refuse to believe that David Cameron and the Tories would use these new powers to… stamp out dissent for their own sociopathic reasons, then at least consider the possibility that they are enabling the possibility of an unimaginably invasive totalitarian regime in the future. One where open justice is abolished, the population permanently monitored for signs of dissent, and dissenters are silenced in secretive Stalinist style legalistic proceedings.”

Obviously AAV and Vox Political will be right in the firing-line if this happens.

You need to contact your MP and ask what they’re going to do about this appalling assault on your freedom. Tell them about the clauses in the Deregulation Bill that have nothing to do with removing archaic regulations and everything to do with clamping down on your freedom and tell them in no uncertain terms that you won’t have it.

It’s a good bet that they won’t know what you’re talking about. Clause 47 relates to the press, as this Guardian report and this article from Inforrm’s blog make clear.

I believe Clause 51, and those following, relate to the repeal of laws by statutory instrument.

You can find contact details for your MP on TheyWorkForYou.com

If you get an email off to them quickly, there might even be a chance to nip this in the bud.

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