Tag Archives: Royal

Support nurses’ campaign for fair pay!

A nurse: 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?

Yes, that means you!

The Royal College of Nursing has launched a campaign to pressure the government into paying nursing staff what they’re worth. Here’s what’s happening and how you can get involved:

The RCN wants nursing professionals to be valued for their high level of knowledge, expertise and skills with pay that reflects the complexity of their roles and the impact of their work.

This means campaigning for an early and significant pay rise for NHS staff and influencing independent health and social care employers, so they recognise and reward nursing staff properly.

That would involve a fully funded 12.5 per cent pay increase for all NHS nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands.

That’s right – an increase of one-eighth of wages for all nurses. When the Tories recently mentioned large-sounding pay rises, they only applied to a tiny proportion of staff; most nurses got around one per cent – less than inflation.

The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is about recognising the complexity of skill, responsibility and expertise demonstrated every day by nursing support workers, nursing associates, registered nurses and all members of the profession. It is about making sure that a safety critical profession can reach safe staffing levels and fill tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs. Ultimately, it is about providing safe and effective care for all people of the UK.

And you can help.

1. Find out more about the pay campaign and what it seeks to do.

2. Spread the word about it on social media using #FairPayForNursing, sharing your thoughts on why nursing staff deserve a fair pay rise.

3. Speak to family, friends, patients and colleagues about why you believe nursing staff deserve an early and significant pay rise.

Source: Demanding fair pay for nursing now | Bulletin | Royal College of Nursing

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Bread and circuses: why should we be uplifted if £100 million of our cash is spent on a new royal yacht?

Typical Tories: faced with a choice between helping people who need it and spaffing a fortune on a boat for a super-rich toff’s jollies, they will always make the wrong decision.

This is the third time a Tory has tried to foist a new Royal Yacht on us; 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).

This time the idea is being suggested by Lord Jones of Birmingham, formerly Digby Jones, who ran the Confederation of British Industry for six years between 2000 and 2006. He also served as a minister in Gordon Brown’s Labour government, which tends to ruin any left-wing credentials New Labour might have claimed.

The cost – this time – is £100 million. That’s the same as it was in 2016 and £40 million more than in 2012, when Michael Gove was the one putting it forward.

In 2012, This Site treated the idea as comedy. We were in the grip of the Tories’ pointless austerity drive that caused a huge amount of harm – we may never know how many UK citizens died as a result of the cuts inflicted on them by David Cameron and his cutthroat cronies, because they simply didn’t bother to keep a record of the fatalities.

I wrote: “Would he [Michael Gove] spend his own money on such lavishments? Perhaps he’s trying to tell us that his Department for Education and Science is bucking the national trend by making money hand over fist. This would be strange behaviour for an organisation that is supposed to spend money in the most cost-effective way possible.”

In 2016, I concentrated on other uses for the cash: “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.

“Ah, but the last Royal Yacht secured trade deals worth billions between 1991 and 1995, they argue.

“Sure – but times have changed hugely since then. With no guarantees, this is the equivalent of burning £50 notes in the faces of the poor.

“Perhaps Conservative MPs should be searched for matches and cigarette lighters before being allowed into the Treasury.”

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?

And why should we ever be expected to be happy about it?

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Harry and Meghan step down as senior Royals – because of bad press?

Bye bye: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan wave farewell to the corporate mass media hacks who they have accused of “misreporting” and spreading “false impressions”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex – that’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (still) to most of us – have announced their intention to step back as senior members of the UK Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while still fully supporting the Queen.

It seems they are unhappy with certain aspects of the job – one of which appears to be the way their activities are reported in the press.

In that respect, This Writer thinks they’re right up with the rest of us.

Complaints and criticism of the way the general election has been reported are rife. And it seems these Royals are equally unhappy with the way they have been treated by the Fourth Estate.

In a statement on the Sussex Instagram page, they ripped into the Royal correspondents working for the UK’s mass media organisations [boldings mine]:

“Britain’s Royal Correspondents are regarded internationally as credible sources of both the work of members of the Royal Family as well as of their private lives. This misconception propels coverage that is often carried by other outlets around the world, amplifying frequent misreporting.

“Regrettably, stories that may have been filed accurately by Royal Correspondents are, also, often edited or rewritten by media editorial teams to present false impressions.”

The statement also announced a new publicity plan that takes them off the Royal Rota system, in which only a limited number of mainstream media organisations are allowed to attend Royal engagements – so they are obliged to share material that they gather there.

Instead, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said they will be adopting a revised media approach to ensure diverse and open access to their work:

“This updated approach aims to:

“Engage with grassroots media organisations and young, up-and-coming journalists;

“Invite specialist media to specific events/engagements to give greater access to their cause-driven activities, widening the spectrum of news coverage;

“Provide access to credible media outlets focused on objective news reporting to cover key moments and events.”

They will continue to share information directly to the wider public via their official communication channels.

This could really shake up the way Royal events are covered in the news.

Being somewhat long-in-the-tooth, This Writer doesn’t expect to benefit from the engagement with young, up-and-coming journalists – but I look forward to find out who these may be, and what grassroots organisations they Sussexes choose to carry their stories.

The idea of “widening the spectrum” of those who cover Royal news could really shake up a stagnant system, and if it jolts some of our more complacent reporters and corporations out of their smug security, I’m all for it.

Of course, it is entirely possible that the Sussexes want to go to the grassroots because they think less-established media organisations may be easier to manipulate.

I’ll be watching for that, too.

But at a time when the so-called media Establishment may have thought they had news coverage sewn up as propaganda for their chosen (right-wing, let’s face it) causes, this should come as a body blow.

Members of the UK’s fundamental institution don’t trust the Tory media – and they’re telling us not to trust them either.

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Psychiatrists try to defend failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ Universal Credit project

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has tried to explain its reasons for failing to object to a pilot project in Cornwall in which Job Centre advisors – with no training – decide whether claimants need mental health care.

This Site reported on the project in August:

The department… is trying to cut doctors working on mental health out of the benefit system by claiming that rank-and-file Job Centre advisers are just as able to spot mental health problems – and recommend the best treatment.

They aren’t; they can’t. It’s just a cynical bid to stop people with mental health problems from claiming Employment and Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

The Tory government’s press release stated: “The initiative means work coaches can continue to refer people with mental health conditions to specialist one to one support, without the need for a GP or clinical assessment.”

I responded:

“Without the need”? Translation: “Without the support of evidence from a qualified doctor who can bring their expertise to a benefit tribunal.”

The press release said: “The support is also designed to help people find their way back into the workplace when they’re ready.”

I responded:

Translation: “The intention is to ensure that people with mental illnesses must continue to seek employment, whether they are ready or not.”

Disability News Service is now reporting that the Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to this insult against its practitioners – after being nudged to do so by no fewer than five disability groups.

RCP states, according to the article, that:

RCP’s social inclusion lead has “continued to raise concerns and provide expert advice about the impact of welfare reform on people with mental illness and those with learning disabilities”.

[It says] it is “clear that anyone undertaking a mental health assessment needs to be sufficiently qualified to do so and, as part of the assessment, should engage with clinicians involved in providing care to the person concerned”.

[It also says] RCP believes that a jobcentre would not be “a suitable therapeutic environment to assess and discuss an individual’s mental health”.

[It adds:] “Having to do so would likely increase the stress and pressure on people with a mental illness when seeking support, and the possibility of them seeing the receipt of benefits as being conditional on them agreeing to mental health treatment.

“In addition, there is a risk that being referred to the wrong type of treatment may reduce the likelihood of seeking help in the future, make their illness worse and increase the likelihood of experiencing a future crisis.”

The disability groups are not happy with this response – and rightly so.

Why the delay in responding? Were these psychiatrists hoping the issue would go away?

Is the RCP going to talk to the Department for Work and Pensions about its concerns? Or were its comments just a sop to the disabled people’s representatives?

And what about the people of Cornwall?

What have they experienced while the RCP stood by in silence?

Source: Dismay over psychiatrists’ failure to speak out on ‘abusive’ universal credit project – Disability News Service

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Dictator Johnson’s latest anti-democratic scheme – call an election and shift the date

What the country should do: But should MPs take an offer of a general election at face value when Dictator Johnson could use anti-democratic powers to shift the date?

It’s one dastardly scheme after another in Dictator Johnson’s regime.

The latest, according to certain sources, is that he’ll mitigate the effects of any legislation to stop his “no deal” Brexit by calling a snap general election – some time within the next three days (so before the end of September 5).

It seems a motion to stop “no deal” Brexit will be seen as a motion of “no confidence” in BoJob’s bodge-up of a government.

Laura Kuenssberg suggested it on the BBC’s Politics Live:

And here’s ITV’s Paul Brand:

The “prerogative proclamation power” refers to the Royal prerogative, which the prime minister exercises in the name of the Crown.

It is – once again – anti-democratic in the extreme. Despotic, dictatorial – it would be kicking the British people in the teeth.

And as far as I can tell, it seems open to dispute by MPs as the exercise of such a power has never been fully defined.

In any case, Mr Johnson would have to gain the support of two-thirds of MPs in the Commons before he had approval to call a general election, as set out in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

While Labour has said it would support a general election if Mr Johnson asked for one, it would not be in the nation’s interest to do so under the circumstances on offer above.

It would be better to demand a resolution to the Brexit emergency now, and leave a general election for later.

Of course, that applies only to this situation. Who knows what BoJob will be saying tomorrow?

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What he thinks they want to hear: Farage attacks Royals in speech to far-right Aussies

What a drip: He might be a big hit with foreign Conservatives, but this is how British people see Nigel Farage.

This is typical populist behaviour. Nigel Farage told Australian Conservatives what he thought they wanted to hear.

So he praised up the Queen, but then attacked other Royals for social justice and environmental campaigns because he knew that this would be popular with his audience.

Did he mean what he said? Who cares?

The only thing that matters to Mr Farage will be the effect his words had on his audience – that they leave their conference believing what he has told them about the UK, and that he is their ally.

He’s drumming up support from rich foreigners.

Nigel Farage has derided the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their “irrelevant” social justice and environmental campaigns while abusing Prince Charles and describing the late Queen Mother as an “overweight, chain-smoking gin drinker”, in an incendiary speech to an Australian rightwing political conference.

Farage’s speech to Sydney’s Conservative Political Action Conference – from which media were barred – ranged across his views on Brexit, media bias and the United Nations, but he reserved his fiercest condemnation for members of the royal family, including princes Charles and Harry, and the Queen Mother.

Source: Nigel Farage attacks Harry and Meghan, jokes about ‘overweight’ Queen Mother | Politics | The Guardian

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Labour would halt RBS privatisation – in return for investment

 

This looks like Labour’s plan for a national investment bank, writ smaller.

A Labour government would halt privatisation because it would not profit the state. This makes perfect sense – far more than the current Tory plan to sell to the rich at a loss for the poor.

But the offer is only to delay continued privatisation of RBS – and only if the bank commits itself to lending money to the regions, and to small businesses.

For This Writer, it is not enough. RBS played a large part in the financial crisis of 2008 and it would be fitting if that bank were kept in public ownership and made to put right the damage it caused.

Put the Tories in Labour’s place, with a similar kind of offer, and I’d be calling them liars. History shows that Conservatives will say what they think others want to hear, to get them on-side. Then they renege on the deal.

I wouldn’t mind at all if Labour reneged on this one and turned RBS into a part of – or the basis of – the National Investment Bank in the party’s manifesto.

But Labour is not the Conservative Party and I have a feeling this is a sincere offer. But will the RBS bankers – and their shareholders – share my belief?

[The] Labour party would halt the privatisation of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) if it came to power but would not seek to exert day-to-day control, the opposition party’s shadow banking minister told Reuters.

RBS shareholders voted on Wednesday to approve the bank’s plans to begin buying back its shares from the government in order to accelerate a return to majority private ownership, with more than 98 percent backing the proposal.

RBS remains 62 percent owned by British taxpayers after a £45 billion bailout in the 2008 financial crisis, although the Conservative government has conducted two share sales as it looks to return it to private ownership.

The government’s two RBS equity sales so far have crystallised deep losses for British taxpayers on shares that have almost halved in value since the bank’s rescue.

“If RBS is now paying dividends, and the price of the shares is under what was paid, we cannot see the rationale for selling more shares,” said Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds.

Having previously suggested full nationalization of RBS, Labour has been rowing back as it seeks to build bridges to the City of London and ease concerns about a Labour-led Britain.

The extent of state involvement would depend on RBS’ willingness to increase lending to Britain’s regions and small businesses.

“We don’t have a policy of day-to-day control of RBS,” he said. “But there is clearly unmet demand in lending and a problem with financial inclusion.”

Source: Britain’s Labour says it would halt RBS privatization


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Remembrance Day travesty: While Corbyn pledges to house homeless veterans, his critics carp about his coat

 

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Anybody catching this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony on television this year will have spotted Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wearing an anoark rather than the black overcoat worn by many of his fellow wreath-laying political leaders – as you can see in the image above

I did. I wasn’t actually taking part in any events this year so I had a chance to sit down and watch it instead. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of coat because it meant he stood out from the crowd that included Vince Cable, Theresa May and John Bercow. Also I dare say it would have protected him from any rain.

So imagine my surprise when I scanned Twitter afterwards and found this:

I did! Fortunately, others had decided to respond before I had a chance, robbing the world of the opportunity to see me letting rip on some poor sap.

Rachael Swindon wrote: “Shocking revelation here. Jeremy Corbyn wore A COAT on a showery day in London today. I think Kev is a bit of a knob.”

So say we all. ‘Gary the opinionated insignificance took it a step further: “Did he do a “jig” on his way there this year or is that lie not being wheeled out this year?”

Remember that silliness? Eoin Clarke does:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1061605175654342656

This year’s wheeze didn’t seem to be working too well, though – as you can probably tell from the results of the poll in the following tweet:

https://twitter.com/jongaunt/status/1061585959815471104

When I voted and checked, it was clear that the majority support Mr Corbyn’s choice of outdoor wear.

So the loonies doubled down. Going back to the image, can you see that Mr Corbyn was sporting a poppy that was considerably smaller than those worn by his fellow wreath-laying political leaders?

I did. I was pleased to see Mr Corbyn’s choice of poppy because I have one very similar to it. They are metal, and cost considerably more than the normal, disposable poppies worn by most of the other bigwigs.

Imagine my surprise when, still scanning Twitter, I found this:

You have to scroll down quite a way to see all the responses to this one.

Rachael Swindon (again) drew the logical conclusion:

I also liked Cllr Cassi Perry’s rejoinder: “As a veteran I say wind your neck in. Ensuring it never happens again is the best way to honour our service and Corbyn is the one fighting hardest for that. And no we don’t care about the size of a bloody poppy. How old are you?!”

How about this from Sandy S? “Guess what, my 96 yr old Dad who flew Lancs in the war has just been to a rememberence parade, wearing the same poppy JC was wearing. Now stick that up your kite and smoke it. PS, he was wearing a raincoat too. You’re a disgrace.

And Clare Hepworth OBE was glowing in her indignation: “Oh for goodness sake! What a puerile , infantile – just plain STUPID comment to make on a day like this! Do you honestly believe that sensible people will take your comment seriously?”

Some focused on the fact that Mr Corbyn’s critics were focusing on the wrong thing. Remembrance Day is about commemorating our war dead and pledging to put an end to wars. Owen Jones tackled the first matter:

And genuine war veteran Harry Leslie Smith made an excellent point that the person standing next to Mr Corbyn in the image (above) is actually making it possible for wars to take place:

Rachael Swindon made it perfectly clear:

Then there’s this:

And Aleesha related it all to a very specific incident taking place as I type this:

By now, the right-wing mainstream media had jumped on the bandwagon and the Daily Mail was kicking up a song and dance:

… only to get exactly what it deserved:

That’s all very amusing.

But it seems there is another reason right-wingers were trying to distract us with nonsense about Mr Corbyn’s choice of clothing. Here’s Richard O’Neill:

He’s absolutely right.

Only the day before the Remembrance parade, Mr Corbyn pledged to put an end to the “scourge” of homelessness among armed forces veterans.

Here‘s the Independent: “Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to end the “scourge” of rough sleeping among armed forces veterans as he calls on Theresa May to officially register the number of homeless ex-servicemen and women.

“The Labour leader will mark the historic occasion by outlining his party’s “social contract” for veterans, including provisions for free education and treating mental health issues as “seriously as physical health issues”.

“He will also call on ministers to use the government’s “long overdue” Veterans Strategy – due to be published later this month – to officially record the number of homeless veterans in the UK, including statistics on those who take their own lives.

“Mr Corbyn said: “The next Labour government will guarantee armed forces personnel the opportunity to have a home, to heal and to retrain when they complete their time in service.

““We will do the right thing by ending the scourge of rough sleeping and helping veterans embark on new careers.””

And this help is desperately needed – under the Tory government, war veterans are more likely to lose their homes than be given one.

According to Mirror Online: “At least 13,000 of our war heroes are homeless after leaving the military, a Sunday People probe reveals.

“Military charities said the shameful figure is a record high and the Government is failing those who risk their lives for Queen and country.

“They also issued a stark warning that the crisis deepens every month.

“Charity bosses say the problem has been made worse by cuts to the armed forces, which has led to almost 30,000 troops losing their jobs since 2010.

“Homeless numbers have soared, despite the Government outlining its duty to serving and former personnel by enshrining the Armed Forces Covenant in law in 2011.

“The covenant says veterans “should have priority status in applying for Government-sponsored affordable housing schemes, and service leavers should retain this status for a period of discharge”.”

It seems all this fuss about Mr Corbyn’s coat is meant to distract us from his commitment to help service veterans who have been failed by the Conservatives.

Why should you and I pay for Buckingham Palace renovation? We don’t live there

161119-buckingham-palaceThat’s right – the public purse is being opened to pay for a £369 million renovation of Buckingham Palace. Why?

The Royal Family is worth a fortune and the money could – and should – be spent on things that are far more important to the national good.

But this just shows how twisted Tory morality is. Faced with a choice between the national interest and paying more money to people who are already filthy rich, they hand the money to the monarch every time.

People are responding, as they generally do, creatively. Here’s Brian Bilston’s poem, They’re Renovating Buckingham Palace, with apologies to AA Milne:

161119-renovating-buckingham-palace-poem

Prefer your satire visual? Try this:

161119-queen-theresa-may

Or, indeed, this:

161119-queen-buckingham-palace

No doubt the Royal Family will sail through this situation with their reputation untarnished, because the British people see to have a remarkable blind spot when it comes to them.

But then, the decision to give away our money wasn’t made by the royals – it was made by Theresa May and that gang of fawning toadies, the Conservative Government.

Please sign the petition calling on them to tell the Queen to fix up her own gaff.

Buckingham Palace is about to be given a £369m refurbishment. Tax payers are paying for it. The Crown and its estates should be made to fund its own renovations.

There is a national housing crisis, the NHS is in crisis, austerity is forcing cuts in many front line services. Now the Royals expect us to dig deeper to refurbish Buckingham Palace. The Crown’s wealth is inestimable. This is, in a word, outrageous.

Source: Make Royals Pay for Palace Renovation | Campaigns by You

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