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Don’t be fooled by Johnson’s pose on MPs’ pay rise. Why didn’t he oppose it sooner?

Isn’t it curious that Boris Johnson has taken so many weeks to come out in opposition to the planned basic-rate pay rise of £3,300 for MPs?

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority announced in October that MPs could be entitled to the rise, starting next April.

Johnson said nothing at the time. If he genuinely believed that it was not appropriate for MPs to have the extra cash, at a time when the rest of us have been forced to tighten our collective belts due to the Covid crisis and his government’s calamitous response, he would have mentioned it then.

By a curious… coincidence?… the time period between that October announcement and now is roughly the length of time one would expect a focus group to report back to Johnson on whether such a pay rise was likely to affect his popularity.

Is that the real reason for his sudden piety?

It isn’t that long since we were all being told he was complaining about being poorly paid.

We all know Johnson is two-faced; I wouldn’t place much value on the face he’s showing us now.

Source: Boris Johnson against MPs’ pay rise, says No 10 – BBC News

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Sunak gets the collection bowl out – and the cosh. But why should we pay?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak wants us to cough up the money he, Boris Johnson and their government have wasted on crony companies that have done nothing – and in some cases weren’t even real (we’re told).

According to the Office of Budget (Ir)Responsibility, by the end of the financial year in March 2021, Johnson is likely to have spent £316.4 billion more than was spent in the previous 12 months.

Not all of it was wasted, even This Writer has to admit. But much of it was – and Sunak is now suggesting that the general public should stump up the cost – even though we’re the ones who have felt the brunt of the harm caused by Covid-19.

And remember, Brexit is likely to take between one and two per cent off the UK economy from January:

And the BBC report states that Sunak

old the Sunday Times people would soon see “the scale of the economic shock laid bare” , indicating taxes might have to start rising next year and there could be spending cuts.

Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies agreed:

Why should we pay a single red cent to cover Sunak’s – and Johnson’s – mistakes?

One of the Tories’ selling-points – on which they stake their reputations and their chances at every election – is that they are the party of financial responsibility. They fool people into voting for them on this premise and then immediately betray those people by throwing money away stupidly.

That is what has happened after every election over the last 10 years, in spite of what David Cameron and George Osborne said about the need for austerity, and in spite of what Johnson and Sunak are saying now.

If you want to get a grip on the scale of Tory waste, visit My Little Crony – the app that shows exactly how the Tories have been siphoning off public funds and giving them to their friends – ostensibly for work to tackle Covid-19 but actually with very little result.

We have very little to do with the way governments spend our money.

We vote according to their promises in election manifestos but, once they’re in office, we can’t force them to honour their promises – and when a crisis like Covid-19 comes along, we have to bow to the inevitability that something had to be done and it had to be funded.

(Was Covid-19 unforeseen, though? Johnson knew about it in November last year – before the election. Why didn’t he mention it?)

Worse, we have no leverage to force a government to keep its spending under control – which would then remove the need for extra taxation. We cannot legally withhold the extra money if the government increases taxes – indeed, we face heavy penalties if we try.

But governments do have alternatives.

There is no laissez-faire in economics. Public demand for goods, services and other commodities changes all the time and it is a matter of good government to anticipate the changes and prepare for them.

So, for example, if a government wanted to divest itself of carbon-fuelled energy and invest in the green economy, in response to public demand and environmental pressures, it might launch a long-term strategy that would involve heavy investment immediately, to be paid off over a long period of time in the future – with no extra burden on the taxpayer. The cash borrowed to carry out the work would be paid down over future decades as the benefits made themselves felt.

This does not work for investments in defence, which carry no immediately-apparent economic benefits beyond the obvious one of a nation remaining free from invasion by its opponents. This is one reason Boris Johnson’s determination to increase defence funding by 10 per cent, at a time of economic trauma to the UK, is confusing.

Sunak doesn’t need to raise taxes. The UK’s borrowing level will decrease – hopefully after the anticipated Covid vaccines arrive. He can impose measures to ensure the costs will be paid off.

He can also make an effort to recoup the cash he wasted on crony companies (although it seems doubtful that he will; the whole point of the exercise seems to have been handing out free money to Tory pals). If he doesn’t, then he’ll be hard-pressed to persuade any of us to part with our cash.

Many of us have lost our jobs. We have lost relatives to the disease because the Tories failed – perhaps deliberately – to contain it. We are poorer and we are demoralised by our government’s lack of ability to get to grips with even the simplest tasks that have been put before it.

And now Sunak wants us to pay up because he can’t do his job properly. What do you think of that?

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#Whitty and #Vallance TV briefing shows incompetent Tories failed to contain #Covid19UK while causing maximum public inconvenience

[Image tweeted by The Brexit Comic.]

There’s no way around it: Boris Johnson and his gang of Tory nincompoops have really cocked up the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s the message This Writer took from the televised briefing by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance.

Here’s a summary of what they said, courtesy of that great critic of the Johnson government, Piers Morgan:

Those are the points I got from it too – and here’s my conclusion:

That’s right:

Here’s the rest of what I took from the briefing:

So what can we all expect in the future from Johnson?

More of the same.

He may impose more restrictions on our freedoms but he won’t tell us not to go to work again, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

His policies will be intended to keep hospital admissions within treatable levels – to prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming the UK’s doctors and nurses – as it always has been. But they won’t be about reducing levels of infection to zero because he has never been interested in that. Making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

Johnson may even try to justify his refusal to impose measures that would eradicate the disease by saying the effect on the economy would cause even more harm to public health. As I tweeted, that’s a political decision – he could legislate to ensure that any such harm is prevented. But he won’t, because making money for his friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

And that means many more people are going to die – your relatives and friends, perhaps. Maybe even you. Because making money for Johnson’s friends is more important to him than saving our lives.

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Covid-19 latest: it’s rising uncontrollably across the UK


Here’s the bad news:

Incidentally, that was at 1.46pm. Here’s the situation at 5.59pm:

That’s right – in four hourse, 23 more schools were revealed to have Covid-19 outbreaks.

The BBC reported 3,497 new cases today (September 12).

Boris Johnson and his government have nothing to say.

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POLL: with the second Covid-19 wave well under way, shall we pre-empt the Tories and lay blame?


Who can disagree with this?

It does indeed.

And the Tories seem keen to spread the blame, offering several candidates for us to accuse already.

But we don’t have to believe them!

It’s time for a poll:

Who do you think is responsible?

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Hancock’s blame game: young people are causing the rise in Covid-19, not him. Oh really?

Matt Hancock: the lights are on but nobody’s home.

Did you believe our lying Sickness Secretary when he tried to blame young people breaking the rules for the spike in Covid-19 cases?

Only last week, Matt Hancock was caught lying about the suicide rate in the UK.

Now, as the number of Covid-19 infections reaches a level it hasn’t approached since the middle of lockdown in May, it seems he’s trying to justify refusing to lock down again by blaming it on people aged 20-29 who are breaking the rules:

Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, the health secretary pointed to France and Spain, “where that second wave started largely amongst younger people, it then spreads”.

“And now we’re seeing a sharp rise in the number of people in hospital and the number of people who are dying in those countries.

“That hasn’t happened here yet. And if people follow the social distancing rules, then we can stop that from happening here.”

On Sunday the government announced 2,988 new cases – the highest figure since 22 May.

Let’s remember that Hancock caught Covid-19 himself – and then famously failed to observe his own social distancing rules in the chamber of the House of Commons. He’s a fine one to accuse others of breaking the rules!

More to the point, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence supporting Hancock’s attempt to blame young people.

The rise in infections has happened after his government relaxed those rules, though.

It could even be a seasonal change.

We don’t know, because the Department of Health doesn’t know – because Matt Hancock is a liar and an imbecile.

Source: Coronavirus: Young people breaking rules risk ‘second wave’ – BBC News

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Sunak threatens tax raid in yet another Tory u-turn

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

This won’t play well with the Tory backbenchers: after u-turn after u-turn over Covid-19 and schools, their government is promising yet another u-turn – over tax.

Tories pride themselves on being a tax-cutting party. But Rishi Sunak is said to be threatening not just one but several tax hikes:

And to add insult to injury, the planned policy change means the Conservatives will be mirroring a policy planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in its 2019 election manifesto:

And if the voters don’t like it – and they don’t:

… What are Johnson’s already-disgruntled backbenchers going to do?

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If Grant Shapps wants us to go back to work, why is HE still working from home?

Failure of leadership: Grant Shapps, at home, telling us we should all go back to work. Why should we if he won’t?

Tories just don’t get it, do they? Leadership demands that you give people something to follow.

Example: Grant Shapps trying to get people to go back to all that time-wasting travelling to and from their places of work when they can do the job just as easily from home (and nine out of 10 people say they prefer it).

Here he is, being interviewed at his home, telling us to go to work:

It’s no inducement.

If Shapps wants us all to go – via overstuffed public transport – back to crowded workplaces full of other people who may have Covid-19 and could spread it to us and our families, why isn’t he leading by example?

Covid is on the rise again, with this week seeing the highest number of new cases recorded since June – more than when Shapps’s government put us all into lockdown in March – but now he wants us to go back to work. It’s a contradiction. It doesn’t make sense.

If he really believes that it is safe to go back, why is he not promising that when Parliament resumes next month he will be sitting on a crowded front bench, next to super-spreaders Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock, with all 635 (or so) other MPs, plus Parliamentary employees, crowded around him, as usual?

I’ll tell you why:

Because he’s afraid he’ll catch the virus.

And because he voted to give himself a £10,000 incentive to work from home, while the rest of us took pay cuts.

It’s not a persuasive argument, is it?

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‘R’ rate speculation show how even ‘experts’ say what suits them rather than what you need to know

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So, are Covid-19 infections about to rise exponentially again, now that the ‘R’ rate has risen above 1 for the first time on record?

Apparently not. The so-called ‘experts’ are telling us outbreaks in a few “hotspots” are pushing the average up.

But wasn’t that always the case?

Here in This Writer’s part of Mid Wales there have been very few cases. But the rate for Wales as a whole is between 0.80 and 1.1, meaning we should all probably be bracing ourselves for another wave of the disease.

The ‘R’ rate – in case there’s anybody left who doesn’t know – is the rate at which the disease is passed on; the average number of people an infected person is likely to pass it to.

If it is lower than 1, then the disease may be said to be in decline. But if it rises past that number, there are fears it could multiply uncontrollably again.

The Johnson government, announcing its rules for lockdown, initially said that if the ‘R’ rate passed one the country would go back into lockdown.

But the Johnson government has said a lot of things and it has now become nigh-on impossible to keep a record of all the backtracking and outright lies.

It would be pleasant to think that the ‘experts’ are right and this is no reason for concern. After all, they’ve managed to explain away every other spike (most notably those caused by the government’s lockdown easings.

But winter is coming, and coronaviruses like Covid-19 multiply in the cold.

Source: Covid: UK’s R value may be above 1 for first time on record | World news | The Guardian

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Awkward! Johnson proved wrong to ease lockdown as ‘R’ rate rises in most English regions

One of the main reasons Boris Johnson has given for easing lockdown conditions in England from July 4 is a reduction in the reproduction rate of Covid-19.

He said that, with ‘R’ well below 1 – meaning for each person infected, fewer than one person would catch the disease – restrictions could be loosened.

But it seems he spoke too soon. Look at this:

Skwawkbox explains:

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has tweeted the latest regional ‘R’-rate table showing how fast the coronavirus is spreading across England’s twelve regions – and the news is bad in all of them but one.

As Burnham pointed out, the ‘R’ has risen in every region except the south-east – and is at or above one in almost half, meaning the pool of infection was either increasing or not reducing. The latest table shows data as of 10 June and so would not reflect the acceleration effect of Johnson’s more recent relaxations of England’s lockdown.

The increases mean that, across the whole of England, the ‘R’ rate is no longer below one – yet Johnson ploughs ahead with a reduction in social distancing and the re-opening of retail and hospitality

Maybe it’s a blip!

Maybe the ‘R’ rate will settle down again.

But other countries have slammed their own lockdowns back on at the slightest increase.

Johnson is being dangerously – possibly homicidally – cavalier with our lives.

Source: ‘R’ rate rises in every English region but one – before Johnson’s lockdown changes – SKWAWKBOX

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