Tag Archives: Royal

Nurses to strike on December 15 and 20 after the government TURNED DOWN talks

A nurse: I’ve said this before and it still rings true – doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 for the last six months – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

Nurses across the UK will strike on December 15 and 20, after the government refused to take part in negotiations over pay and conditions.

Patricia Marquis of the Royal College of Nursing England, said Health Secretary Steve Barclay was “not willing” to talk about what needs to be discussed – pay and safe staffing.

Here’s the gist from Good Morning Britain:

This may strike you all as a naive take on the situation, but here it is:

We know that governments spend whatever they want to meet their goals every year – they create the money to do it.

We also know that taxation takes money out of the system in order to counter inflation. This can be done to correct inequalities in society, if the government of the day is minded to do so.

UK society is currently unequal on a shocking scale; millions of people are in poverty, relying on food banks (including nurses), while a relative few millionaires and billionaires are profiting hugely from the overbalanced system that Tories like Steve Barclay have created for them.

The solution is clear: tax the super-rich, then the country will be able to afford to pay nurses their due.

The added bonus of this, of course, is that the money will go to people on the bottom tier of society and will go through many pairs of hands before it is taxed back out, creating a huge boost to the economy. Money that goes to billionaires gets banked in the Cayman Islands (for example) and is no use to the economy at all.

Barclay is misleading us when he says that the country “can’t afford” to pay nurses properly. He simply doesn’t want to.

Worse still, he and his cronies – both within the government and outside – will whine that the strikes will disrupt a health service that is already at breaking point. But it was the choice of his government to push the NHS into that situation, with under-funding, privatisation and poor staffing.

Here’s the proof – a Sky News report emphasising that “patients will suffer” (watch until the focus shifts to wider strike action, around the five-minute point on the clip, which is quite long):

Possibly one good argument to use against Barclay is simply to ask how far his own pay has risen since 2010 – and how many lives he has saved during that time.

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The Tories have (again) dropped their plans for a new ‘royal yacht’

Expensive vanity project: this artist’s impression of the Tories much-desired Royal Yacht project was released when it was announced last year.

What a circus.

A little more than a year after launching a competition to build a new ‘royal yacht’ to replace the long-since-mothballed Britannia, the Tory government has withdrawn the project.

The ship was commissioned by Boris Johnson in June 2021, to host trade fairs and diplomatic events – and Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the £250 million plan to build it had been terminated today (November 7, 2022).

The announcement came as part of the government’s search for spending cuts, and 10 Downing Street said it was right to “prioritise” spending “at a time when difficult spending decisions need to be made”.

The plan had been criticised as Boris Johnson’s “vanity project” – not least by This Writer – but in fact it has long been a Tory dream to have a new state-of-the-art maritime toy on which to gad about the world pretending to be players.

I wrote about it when the project was announced last year:

Tories have been trying to build themselves a new luxury yacht – at our expense – since at least 2012, when Michael Gove suggested spending £60 million on it to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee:

“This boat would cost £60 million, apparently – a million for every year she’s been on the throne. It would be a pointless present because, at Her Majesty’s age, she’s hardly going to be able to steer it.”

By 2016, the projected cost had nearly doubled:

“Now we learn that Conservative MPs want to give the Queen another yacht – at a cost of £100 million that could be better-used elsewhere, perhaps on benefit payments for a further £16,666 sick people for a year.

“When [Gove] suggested it, back in January 2012, the cost was said to be £60 million. Why has it nearly doubled in the years since?

“At least we have an answer to my question of the time – whether Tories try to spend our money on such unnecessary lavishments habitually.

“Yes. Yes they do.”

Amazingly, that price had remained static when the possibility was floated yet again in 2020:

“The twist this time is a proposal to split funding three ways between businesses, the public and the National Lottery (so the public pays twice).”

The idea of boosting trade has been there since Gove, and I addressed it last year:

“The point about trade deals is interesting at a time when the Tory government is desperately trying to re-establish the UK as a trading nation after severing ties with the European Union.

“But who benefits from such deals?

“Rich businesspeople, perhaps – but would they pay their taxes or send the cash to tax havens?

“If the latter, then why should the public pay for something that will not help us in the slightest?”

Exactly. Thankfully, the public will be saved from having to pay for this monumental White Elephant – this time.

How long until the idea is resurrected yet again?

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Police are arresting people for free-speech protests against the monarchy – due to Tory law

People across the UK are being arrested for exercising what should be their free-speech right to protest against the continuing existence of the monarchy.

Police are able to do this because Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act allows them to arrest people who are deemed to be causing a disturbance, or simply to be annoying.

This is the Tory boot stamping on your face, of course. Royalists may approve of republicans being silenced, but will they be as happy when they’re on the receiving end of this repression?

Here’s the evidence:

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Cornwall’s biggest event discriminates against hidden disabilities – claim

What were the organisers of the Royal Cornwall Show thinking? “If it’s good enough for the government…”?

That must be the thought going through the heads of people with disabilities – and campaigners for them like This Writer – after hearing that the biggest show in Cornwall would only give a free carer ticket on the day to people in wheelchairs:

Marie Louisa Ralph, whose two sons are autistic and whose elder son Malachy also has Tourette’s Syndrome, accused the Royal Cornwall Show (RCS) of being in breach of equality laws and ignoring the needs of disabled people whose disability may not be as obvious as being in a wheelchair.

Marie said: “Wheelchairs are no proof of disability but RCS are effectively putting their own interpretation on what disability is. They haven’t got a clue. I’m a big believer in independence for disabled people, many of whom can work and are just as entitled as anyone else to access public event. They might just need a carer with them even if they’re not in a wheelchair.”

The show’s organisers seem to have claimed that Ms Ralph was mistaken and there was a concession for carers – if they pre-booked online. The deadline for that had passed and so the only concession available was if a disabled person arrived in a manual wheelchair.

They provided no rationale for this restriction.

Organisers also insisted that their scheme works well – and that it is a voluntary provision that they are not duty-bound to offer.

So disability discrimination is still considered to be perfectly acceptable at major public events, then?

Source: Royal Cornwall Show accused of hidden disability discrimination – Cornwall Live

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#BorisJohnson would rather build a #RoyalYacht vanity project than protect children from #Covid19

Endangered: I don’t think school pupils are allowed to sit this close to each other any more (are they?) but if they were, air filters in their classrooms would help attack the spread of Covid-19. Too bad Boris Johnson would rather spend twice as much money on a so-called Royal Yacht, to tickle his vanity, isn’t it?

I’m writing this on the day the UK recorded a new daily record of Covid-19 infections – 129,471 cases, and the Tory government announced that the current evidence does not support more measures to combat the spread of the disease.

In fact, the Tories may well be right. At 9,546, the number of hospitalisations is much lower than the peak of 34,336 on January 18 this year, when fewer infections had been recorded.

But there’s an enormous cohort of the population that has not been fully vaccinated, and today – it seems – we have evidence that the government would rather build a new “Royal Yacht” in which privileged people would gad about the world trying to do trade deals than protect them.

I refer, of course, to school-age children.

That’s certainly what the above tweet leads This Writer to believe (that we are being led to believe what Shuaib is saying).

It’s based on this Guardian article, which says scientists and campaigners have claimed fitting air filters would “significantly” reduce the transmission of Covid-19 in schools.

Without such a measure, the statistical likelihood is still that huge numbers of school pupils and their teachers will catch the disease and that an appreciable number of them will be hospitalised; a lower proportion of the total, perhaps, but when the total is so much higher, the actual number may also be large.

The statistical likelihood is also that some of these children and adults will die – or will suffer Long Covid for an unspecified time afterwards.

But Boris Johnson doesn’t care about your kids or their teachers! He wants his yacht, because a hugely-expensive status symbol is far more important than some poor person’s brat!

Right?

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

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

Britain First? Britain’s Farts, more like!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hastings lifeboat crew blocked from launching Channel rescue. Will the criminals be punished?

Homicidal hate: Priti Patel has already tried to stop lifeboat crews from rescuing refugees with planned legislation. Now, hate-filled racists are apparently lining up on beaches to make sure that innocent people drown in the Channel.

Hate-filled xenophobes blocked a lifeboat crew from launching to save refugees in danger of drowning in the Channel, it has been confirmed.

Everybody involved in the obstruction is guilty of a criminal offence punishable with an unlimited fine – it has been an explicit crimes since 2006. But will they face justice?

The lifeboat was able to launch, but crews had to call on police to end the obstruction.

The incident came to national attention last week when a caller on James O’Brien’s LBC radio show told him she had witnessed the group blocking the lifeboat, shouting: “don’t bring any more of those home, we’re full up, that’s why we stopped our donations, and that kind of really horrible stuff.” She added: “It was really upsetting, and you could hear the hatred in their voice.”

She said as the “lifeboat crew pulled the boat out and were going to go into the water”, a group of people “stood directly in the line of the boat so the boat couldn’t be put in the water.”

Sussex Police confirmed the incident to LBC:

In a statement, Sussex Police said: “Just after 4pm on Saturday, November 20, police were made aware of reports of a disturbance near to the Hastings RNLI Lifeboat Station.

“A police officer attended the scene while also being supported by colleagues monitoring the situation on CCTV.

“No arrests were made.”

So it seems nobody will be punished for the crime – this time.

But will it embolden others to do the same – or worse?

And what does it say about the United Kingdom, that people here are willing to stand in the way of rescuers in order to ensure that other people drown in the Channel?

The incident has sparked outrage in many people – but not everyone.

Liam Thorp tweeted: “It must take a special level of hate in a person’s heart to try and block a lifeboat from saving people from drowning. This is despicable.”

His views are representative of many.

And Labour MP Nadia Whittome added her support to the RNLI volunteers:

I won’t publish the bile that has emerged from the haters.

The fact that racists feel emboldened to physically try to stop a life-saving rescue from taking place shows just how low the Conservative government has dragged the country.

It shows that everybody in the Tory government, from Boris Johnson to Priti Patel, down to the lowest-level civil servant pushing through her policies of hate, is also a racist who wants innocent people to die.

And it shows that everybody working in the media organisations that promote this hatred is a homicidal racist too.

Is that you?

If so, This Writer would like to know how you justify yourself – and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

How do these people sleep at night, knowing that they have tried to ensure that another person – who has done them no harm at all – will die?

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DWP tries to blame Royal Mail for PIP delays but do we believe it?

It’s a sad consequence of having to fight a court case that I don’t have as much time for some of the subjects that made This Site’s name – such as the persecution of benefit claimants by the DWP.

This particular issue is one on which I have personal experience, though – as, I dare say, has anybody who has had to deal with DWP letters.

My case differs from that outlined by Disability News Service, though – in that the DWP contacted Mrs Mike to tell her that her PIP review was due, and could she return the form within a month of the date of the letter?

The letter arrived no less than 10 days after the date on it. That left three weeks to get the review done.

It is not enough time. Not only do PIP claimants have to navigate the form, which is worded in an open way but which is marked according to very specific requirements, but they must also seek corroborating evidence from carers, community helpers and healthcare professionals.

All of this takes considerable time.

As her carer, I knew that we needed to seek expert help in writing the form, so I contacted Citizens Advice and was immediately told that I would have an appointment to talk to someone in a few days’ time – and that I should seek an extension on the deadline at once.

I can’t say that conditions are the same across the UK – I live in Wales – but once I managed to get through to DWP (there was an inevitable wait of more than an hour) the department could not have been happier to extend the deadline.

I think I was given a couple of extra weeks.

I therefore advise everybody to do this – especially if receiving a letter with a deadline that appears to have been delayed in the post. It makes the argument between DWP and the Royal Mail irrelevant.

And I needed the extra time. Mrs Mike has a condition that can only get worse, but it wasn’t until I spoke to somebody else about it that I realised the extent to which her condition had degenerated.

Help I had provided as a favour when she was feeling particularly bad had become a habit – meaning that he condition has worsened – and the very shape of our days had changed as these accumulated.

The changes had been so gradual that I had not taken them into account – but they mean a great deal when dealing with the DWP.

I therefore advise everybody going through a benefit review to seek expert help from Citizens Advice or an organisation that is similarly qualified.

Finally there was the question of corroborating evidence. I provided a letter, as Mrs Mike’s carer, describing the obstacles she faces getting through the day, and the ways I have to help her.

We sought letters from community organisations and some professionals but received no interest in return.

And we contacted Mrs Mike’s doctor, too. This seemed likely to be problematic. “Oh, you’ll get no help there,” people said. “Doctors have been discouraged and disincentivised by the DWP! If you do get a letter, they’ll charge you a fat wad of cash!”

Not a bit of it was true.

We received a letter in due course, containing a printout of Mrs Mike’s medical history and a medical opinion that was adamantly in favour of her receiving the highest degree of benefit available to her.

Finally, when it was time to post the completed form, I took it to the post office and paid extra to ensure that the DWP would have to sign for it, to confirm receipt.]

This is very important. I know from personal experience and the experience of others that the DWP finds it easy to claim non-receipt – as it did in the case of the claimant in the DNS story.

This cannot happen if you have evidence that somebody signed for it. It bypasses any concerns about whether delays were caused by the Royal Mail or the DWP because it provides proof of delivery within the time stated.

The decision took about a month to come back. It confirmed Mrs Mike’s benefit would continue at the highest rates possible.

So that is my advice for anybody going through the benefit review process:

  1. Seek expert advice on filling out the form because they must provide specific information that the DWP must see before it awards any points.
  2. Contact the DWP and ask for an extension on the deadline if its letter arrived late.
  3. Seek evidence from anybody who has experience of the claimant’s disability. The worst that can happen is they decline to provide it. Don’t be put off asking your doctor.
  4. When you post the form back, make sure the DWP has to sign for it to confirm that it has been received.

These are measures that work.

They deprive the DWP of any excuse to blame another organisation for delays in processing a claim.

And they ensure that your benefit payments are disrupted by any nonsense if the DWP claims that you haven’t returned your form.

Source: DWP and Royal Mail dispute cause of PIP delays – Disability News Service

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RNLI donations INCREASE in the face of negative comments by racists

Everything before the ‘but’ is meaningless: Nigel Farage has been foiled in his attack on the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, as has some far-right kid on Twitter.

Congratulations to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has enjoyed a massive increase in donations after racists in the media criticised it for rescuing refugees.

Don’t believe the BBC’s coverage, that claimed the £200,000 it received in donations in 24 hours (it usually gets £7K in that period) was because it posted “rescue footage” on social media.

This was a reaction against loudmouths like Nigel Farage (are you happy now your Brexit has emptied our supermarket shelves, Nigel?) who said on far-right propaganda purveyor GB News that the lifeboats were now a “migrant taxi service”.

And it was a reaction against swivel-eyed boy-fascist Darren Grimes, who was schooled by Julia Hartley-Brewer, of all people, over his daft claims about the legendary life-saving organisation:

“I find lifeboat charity RNLI’s rescue missions in the Channel to be deeply irresponsible,” tweeted the callow youth.

“If you’re sure that getting into an unseaworthy vessel will see you carried across the Channel by trained professionals, why wouldn’t you?”

Even Hartley-Doodah thought this was too much – and corrected him like the errant child he is: “No, Darren, the RNLI are there to save lives – of anyone and everyone in need. It doesn’t matter who they are or why they are there.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and call these negative comments by Farage and Grimes out as racism.

They would rather see people – of colour – escaping violence and persecution in their home countries drown than give them a moment’s safe haven in a safe country. That screams “racism” to me and it is an attitude of which anybody should be ashamed.

I mean all the rest of us as well – we shame ourselves that these attitudes are even tolerated in the UK, let alone putting them on our media in an attempt to whip up support.

Thank goodness it backfired. It turned out to be one of the rare occasions when right-wing aggression leads to a positive outcome.

The Farages and Grimeses of this country have been foiled and the RNLI is much better-off as a result of their ignorant interference.

What a great result!

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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Tories justify Royal Yacht price hike by saying UK can ‘show off’. What is there to show? Their LIES?

Spaffer: in this image we see a delighted Boris Johnson signifying his joy at being able to throw money belonging to the people of the UK at any damnfool plot that lands in his empty head.

When is Boris Johnson going to stop spending our money on tat?

His latest vanity project – a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia that nobody who works for a living has ever missed – has just been launched with an announcement that it could cost one-fifth more, even, than the hugely inflated £200 million bill that’s already been pushed at us.

Someone realised that this might not be popular after the Tories spaffed the GDP of half the world on hastily-made-up fake firms run by their cronies for Covid-19-related equipment that they failed to supply so they got a reassuring comment from a top minister.

Unfortunately, the minister who commented was notorious liar and part-time prime minister Boris Johnson.

According to The Independent, Johnson “denied his plan to spend up to £250m on a new royal yacht is a waste of money” – so now we know for sure that it is a colossal waste of money.

And he said it would allow the UK to “show off” to the world. But what do we have to crow about? The monumental number of our own population that Johnson has managed to kill by cocking up his Covid-19 response? The spectacular economic incompetence of Brexit that has left our supermarkets with more empty shelves than infamous Soviet store GUM? The astonishing waste of money on Johnson’s vanity projects?

Yes, that last one seems likely.

Here’s a short list of some of Johnson’s other vanity projects:

If this silly boat gets launched – beyond the project launch that just happened, I mean – at least our foreign friends will be able to see Johnson coming – and run away.

As for those of us who can’t get away from the lying parasite… Well, according to Will Thorpe, above, he has already – by himself – cost the public purse very nearly £580 million.

From now on, every time he appears in public, let’s ask him to pay that money back, from his own personal bank account(s).

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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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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