Tag Archives: Shropshire

Bombshell #NorthShropshire by-election result: MORE reactions

Boris Johnson: “Today I have mostly been combing my hair with a toffee apple and drinking Special Brew” (not This Writer’s comment but it seems to sum up his reaction to the loss of North Shropshire).

You’ve already read my opinion on the North Shropshire by-election (or you can if you click on this link), but that’s no reason not to have fun reading the many other comments that have sprung up since the result was announced!

Let’s start with the Tories:

(We’ll come to Labour very soon!)

I’ve enjoyed seeing people dissecting the Liberal Democrats…

It seems only fair to remind people of what the Yellow Tories did with the Blue Tories – for five years between 2010 and 2015.

But that’s not to let Labour off the hook for its failure in the present day:

(Was the candidate the previous three times a socialist, by any chance?)

Of course, some of it is absolute bilge:

For Corbyn supporters, the real priority has always been defeating the Conservatives. They were foiled in that aim by people who now support Starmer. And Starmer himself has proved unwilling to fight them; the North Shropshire result is a symptom of this.

So defeating the Conservatives requires Starmer to step aside – or be removed – and Labour to adjust its policies so they fall in line with what the majority of people actually want. Sadly those are long-term goals at the moment. It’s how Sir Keir and his supporters want it.

So it seems clear that Mr Corbyn, and his supporters, aren’t the problem. They never were. The problem is Starmer and his people. They are the Tory enablers.

It’s time people like Mr Hopkin, above, realised this – or accepted that they’re pushing a lie.

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#Tories are ignoring the message of the #NorthShropshire by-election – but YOU can bring it home to them


It must take years – maybe decades – of practice to be this ignorant.

After Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan humiliated the Conservatives in one of their heartlands – North Shropshire, defeating their candidate with the seventh-biggest vote swing in by-election victory, Tory chairman Oliver Dowden appeared on the morning media round, telling us all that his party had heard voters’ message “loud and clear”.

He then demonstrated, loud and clear, that his party was ignoring the message of the by-election and would carry on as though nothing had happened.

According to the Mirror,

he claimed the circumstances were “unique” and Boris Johnson “has the vision to get us through this period. He added: “Voters are clearly fed up and they want us to get on with the job and focus on the job.”

Oh, really?

On BBC Breakfast, Dowden said, “Voters … were fed up with a byelection that was called because of sleaze allegations; they were fed up with all the sort of stories that are going on at the moment.”

Elsewhere, 78-year-old Tory veteran Sir Roger Gale told the BBC’s Today programme that Boris Johnson had taken “two strikes” this week, with his own party’s rebellion against him over new Covid-battling measures and the by-election: “One more strike and he’s out.”

He said: “The Conservative Party has a reputation for not taking prisoners. If the Prime Minister fails the Prime Minister goes.

“We got rid of a good Prime Minister to install Mr Johnson.” [If he really thinks that, then perhaps he should go, too. Theresa May was considered the worst British prime minister since Lord North.]

“Mr Johnson has to prove he’s capable of being a good Prime Minister, and at the moment it’s quite clear the public don’t think that’s the case.”

Clearly, even though he was taking a harder line, this MP was showing that he hasn’t got the message either.

Voters don’t want Boris Johnson to have another chance because they know he’ll only mess it up and create worse problems for us. We want him to go now.

On the social media, members of the public are sending messages to their Tory MPs, saying Johnson has done enough harm to the UK – after the by-election result was announced, they were being called “unforced errors”.

Certainly the scandals over his alleged Christmas parties, over his redecoration of the Downing Street flat he occupies, and over corruption (that led to the resignation of Owen Paterson and the calling of the North Shropshire election) were all such “unforced errors”.

And while Dowden was happy to trot out the sad old 2019 election line that Johnson managed to “get Brexit done”, we now know that his Brexit is a huge attack on our living standards that will reduce the UK economy by four per cent – double the effect of the Covid pandemic that caused whole industries to collapse overnight.

This Writer would certainly encourage anybody who’s had enough of Johnson to write to their MP – if that person is a Tory – and ask them to hand a letter of ‘no confidence’ in to the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, who will call a vote on it if 54 such notes are received.

You can contact your MP via WriteToThem.com.

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.

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#LiberalDemocrat wins #NorthShropshire by-election in hammer-blow to #BorisJohnson

Helen Morgan: the newly-elected Liberal Democrat MP for North Shropshire.

Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan has taken North Shropshire from the Conservatives in a shock by-election result that is a hammer-blow to Boris Johnson, asking serious questions about his right to continue as prime minister.

The Liberal Democrats turned a Conservative majority of almost 23,000 in the 2019 election into a majority for them of nearly 6,000.

That is a massive swing from the Tories to the Liberal Democrats – apparently the seventh-biggest in by-election history.

It was more than just another by-election – it was a referendum on the leadership of Boris Johnson, and the result was decisively against him.

Sure, turnout was down from the general election’s 67.9 per cent – but high for a by-election at 46.3 per cent.

Looking at both election results in terms of proportion of the electorate voting for the different parties – which is better when the number of people voting varies, in 2019 Conservative Owen Paterson won the support of 43 per cent of the electorate, while Labour had 15 per cent and Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan just 6.9 per cent.

Yesterday (December 16), the same Liberal Democrat candidate was supported by 22 per cent of the electorate, while the Tory candidate had 14.8 per cent. The Labour vote evaporated almost entirely, with that party’s candidate gaining just 4.5 per cent of the possible vote.

The Conservatives lost nearly 24,000 votes – 28.9 per cent of the possible electorate – in a stroke.

Ms Morgan gained many of those Tory voters, along with many Labour supporters who lent her their votes in order to send a clear message to Boris Johnson: “You are not wanted here.”

The winning candidate elaborated on this in her speech. She said Johnson was “no leader”, that his government is “run on lies and bluster” giving the UK a “nightly soap opera of calamity and chaos” and that, for him, “the party is over”.

But it seems clear that the party may also be over for Keir Starmer, over at Labour.

Starmer didn’t bother much with North Shropshire. He certainly didn’t put the campaigning effort into the constituency that the Lib Dems and the Tories did – possibly because he agreed that the Lib Dems stood a better chance of defeating the Tories (even though Labour came second in 2019).

He seems to agree with other parties an awful lot. This seems to be coming across to voters as a lack of confidence in his own party that is putting them off supporting it.

And the Liberal Democrats seem to have become the palatable alternative. They used to be considered the middle-of-the-road party for people who weren’t as right-wing as the Tories or as left-wing as Labour; now it seems they’re the opposition to two right-wing parties that are suddenly finding they can’t take their tribal voters for granted any more.

I don’t think the Liberal Democrats are going to jump to over-optimistic conclusions about this result; they know this was a protest vote that may not be replicated in a general election unless their new MP makes a big impact, standing up for her constituency in Parliament.

But both Labour and the Conservatives have to be scared by this result because it means the public don’t like the direction taken by either main party.

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.

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Let’s hope #NorthShropshire electors think seriously about this before voting [VIDEO]

This is what you get if you vote Tory: Boris Johnson partied it up (he’s seen here asking Christmas Quiz questions for groups of Downing Street workers at a Christmas party last year) while millions of people cancelled their own celebrations and hundreds more died alone because of his social distancing demands. Do the people of North Shropshire want another party boy, or would they rather try to have an MP who actually represents them?

Does Westminster really need another rule-breaking Tory who’ll rave it up at parties rather than work for the interests of everybody in the UK?

That’s the question that should be on the minds of every voter in North Shropshire as they head for the polling stations today (Thursday, December 16, 2021).

The Conservative candidate may have said he does not approve of what is alleged to have happened – but then, Boris johnson said last night that he follows the rules, and if you believe that, then you were born yesterday and shouldn’t be allowed to vote!

Some political agitators are claiming that the Tories who are already in Parliament aren’t guilty of committing crimes because the Metropolitan Police, run by a woman who owes her job to the Tory government, are refusing to investigate the rule-busting Christmas parties last year.

Well, workers at the Met had a bit of a surprise recently, when a mobile billboard used by the media organisation Led By Donkeys broadcast the facts of the case at them in their Scotland Yard offices, to great public interest.

Take a look at the message yourself:

Damning – of both the Met and the Tories.

Do the people of North Shropshire want a member of Parliament who will represent them? Or do they want to send another sponger off to have a party while hundreds of people die?

We’ll find out in a few hours.

#HobsonsChoice: Which set of #Tories is set to win #NorthShropshire? #RedTories, #YellowTories or #BlueTories?

Owen Paterson and the reason he resigned: his second job for a pharmaceutical firm prejudiced his behaviour as an MP – and that’s not allowed.

It seems the Liberal Democrats are polling neck-and-neck with the Conservatives to win North Shropshire in this week’s by-election, that was triggered by the resignation of Owen Paterson.

Good luck to them – they’ve put the effort in, which is more than Labour seems to have done.

This Writer’s Twitter feed has been full of Liberal Democrat promotion, and party leaders have been seen in the constituency regularly.

Labour’s candidate seems to have been abandoned by his party’s leadership, despite the fact that Labour polled second in the 2019 general election and could probably have taken the constituency if Keir Starmer had a clue.

He doesn’t, though. He has a haircut and a focus group, and that’s all.

Personally, if This Writer lived in North Shropshire, I still wouldn’t be able to vote for the Liberal Democrats. The memory of 2010-15 is far too vivid for that. If not for the Liberal Democrats, the UK would not be in the state it’s in now.

The vote tomorrow (December 16) won’t be about the Lib Dems or Labour, though.

It will be a referendum on Boris Johnson, his Christmas parties last year, and his disastrous last-minute-scramble Covid-19 ideas.

If enough people in North Shropshire are happy to be governed by an incompetent and corrupt liar then they’ll have another Tory MP.

If not, they’ll just have a Tory dressed up in another colour. Hobson’s choice!

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.

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#BorisJohnson plummets in polls after #DowningStreetParty #scandal. Will #Tories eject him?

 

 

Public opinion is swinging wildly against Boris Johnson over the allegations that a huge Christmas party was held in 10 Downing Street last December. But how far does it have to swing before his Tory colleagues stab him in the back and find another leader?

We all know what’s happened by now: a video clip has been made public, showing Downing Street staff laughing about a party at Downing Street on December 18, 2020, and discussing how to lie about it if questions are ever asked.

The revelation that government officials, and possibly ministers, were whooping it up at a time when the rest of London was in Tier 3 lockdown and people were dying alone because of social distancing restrictions they had helped impose, has provoked a wide variety of responses.

Some have been humorous (be warned that the first clip includes part of the Wham! track Last Christmas, so if you’re playing Whamageddon you may not wish to hear it. The second clip is also based on that track but isn’t the track itself so you should be okay):

Some have been incredulous:

 

And some have been acidic:

But the only response that really counts is the effect on the electorate’s voting intention – and it’s not looking good for the Tories:

This is a reversal of the usual situation, which puts the Tories on around 40 per cent and Labour in the low 30s. Keir Starmer has certainly done nothing to make this happen so the responsibility lies entirely with Johnson.

And with the media full of people in North Shropshire telling us how they’re planning to turn their back on the Conservative by-election candidate because of Johnson, it may be only a matter of days before Tory MPs decide to ditch him.

It’s what they always do, when a leader becomes a liability. And there’s ample evidence that that is what he has become.

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.

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#Tories (and former Tories) speak out against #BorisJohnson as focus shifts to #NorthShropshire by-election

Pack your bags, Johnson: with Tories lining up to stab him in the back, it would be prudent for the prime minister (for now) to be ready to move out of Downing Street. And he definitely shouldn’t have any parties there before going.

If there’s one thing the Tories hate, it’s a leader who becomes a liability.

Edward Heath discovered that to his cost when Margaret Thatcher stabbed him in the back.

Thatcher herself had the same treatment a decade and a half later.

Theresa May stepped down amid a clamour for her to do so, having failed to convince the nation about Brexit.

And now the knives are out for Boris Johnson – and he well deserves them!

Johnson is facing public calls for his resignation after it was revealed that a packed Christmas party took place at 10 Downing Street on December 18, 2020, when London was in Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions and around 500 people died, forcibly separated from their loved ones.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan summed up public feeling very well during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday (December 8):

Prominent among Johnson’s detractors is Dominic Grieve, a former Attorney-General who was ejected from the Conservative Party for daring to criticise Johnson’s Brexit plans in 2019. Two and a half years later we can all see that Grieve, and the score of Tories who went with him, was right.

See if you don’t think he’s right about this, too, from a BBC interview yesterday. The clips overlap a little but they present his view very well:

Tory peer and former Conservative chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi demanded the resignations of everybody who took part in the party – in any small way, including the cover-up:

Her words, “If consequences do not follow a breach of the law by law makers we send a green light to the public that laws and rules don’t matter,” are particularly pertinent after Johnson tried to distract us all away from the Downing Street party with new rules on Covid-19.

As This Site pointed out yesterday, people are unlikely to pay attention to any new rules that don’t suit them – and defend themselves by saying they’re following the prime minister’s example.

Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson has also gone public with her anger – and she hasn’t been forced out of the party:

Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet in Kent, told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One, “It’s worrying, isn’t it, that the man at the top of the tree doesn’t appear to know what’s going on in his own building two floors below him – I find that of concern.

“I don’t find it particularly attractive that the Prime Minister doesn’t know what’s going on in No 10 Downing Street, or doesn’t ask the right questions of his senior staff to find out what’s been going on in Downing Street, if something wrong has been going on. That’s worrying in itself.”

It indicates that he knew perfectly well what was going on but wanted to give himself at least a veneer of innocence. Well, we all know how that has turned out for him!

Duncan Baker, MP for North Norfolk, said leaked footage of Downing Street staff joking about how to cover up the party having taken place gave him great concern: “It signals such an utter lack of responsibility, whilst people throughout the country were abiding by the rules and sacrificing so much.

“There has been no proper explanation, or any effort to show understanding to how this sort of behaviour lacks empathy to how many people feel.”

Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris, herself no stranger to controversy after she used racist language to discuss Brexit, tweeted: “Clearly there were rules in place that most of us were diligently following (despite how difficult they were) and they decided to break them. It’s not on and, at the very least, they should admit their blatant error and apologise for breaking the rules they imposed on society.”

Others are more cagey about being identified, but are still being reported. The following comments are from this Guardian article, for example.

“I’m blowed if I’m ever listening to No 10 on comms strategy again,” one cabinet minister said.

“My views aren’t fit for broadcast, so I will just refuse,” an ex-minister added.

Johnson’s “unreserved apology” was met with near silence. “It was lies. No one believed him. Ministers didn’t believe him. They weren’t even nodding,” the former minister said. “This is not how you do an apology. We are constantly misled – and we were still in limbo about new Covid restrictions. This would never have happened under [Theresa] May and [David] Cameron.”

The Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross… said [Johnson] should resign if he misled MPs. “If the prime minister knew about this party last December, knew about this party last week, and was still denying it, then that is the most serious allegation.

“There is absolutely no way you can mislead parliament and think you could get off with that. No one should continue in their post if they mislead parliament in that way.”

Reality check: we know that Johnson has been misleading Parliament since he became prime minister, if not for many years previously. Veteran columnist Peter Oborne once said he had counted 400 direct lies to Parliament in the early months of the current Parliament.

It seems this will all come to a head in North Shropshire.

The Conservatives will be defending the Parliamentary seat there next week in a by-election triggered by the corruption-related resignation of Owen Paterson last month, and even senior Tories are sharpening their knives in anticipation of the loss of what should be a safe seat.

Many Tories, including cabinet ministers, have indicated that they do not intend to help campaigning efforts in North Shropshire.

On Wednesday, the Lib Dems created a campaign leaflet contrasting a crying elderly woman last Christmas with Johnson surrounded by festive drinks. “We’re going to lose North Shropshire and it’ll all be his fault,” [a senior Tory] MP said.

Most MPs believe few have as yet submitted letters of no confidence, but said the balance could tip if the election is lost. “In the new year, minds will focus on the next election – especially those who think he won them in his seats. And they will think about whether he is the right person to take us into the next election,” one said. “Things could start to move quite quickly.”

“In the new year”?

The way things are moving now, Johnson could be out before Christmas. And it won’t be a moment too soon.

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.

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DWP calls in Rentadoc to harass the sick off-benefit

Ingeus out of favour: This image was found on a site protesting against Workfare and demonstrates the high regard in which it is held by previous users of the Ingeus service.

Ingeus out of favour: This image was found on a site protesting against Workfare and demonstrates the high regard in which it is held by previous users of the Ingeus service.

Perhaps we’re jumping the gun with the headline but alarm bells tend to go off when you read that “people on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to help them with their barriers to work”.

Everyone working on Employment and Support Allowance should already know what everyone receiving it knows – it’s more a bloodbath than a benefit.

This is down to the attitude of the healthcare professionals already working on it – the people who (and God forbid you should ever ask to see their qualifications) automatically sign 70 per cent of claimants as ‘fit for work’, whether they are or not, and tell most of the rest they need to be work-ready within a year.

The result? Mental breakdowns, depression and suicides; physical breakdowns, worsening of existing conditions, and premature deaths. By the thousand.

These are the people who ask claimants when amputated limbs are going to grow back, and who tell people with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis that they’ll be fit for work within six months.

If you did (God forbid) ask them where they got their qualifications, it was probably the Teaching Hospital of Noddyland.

“People on sickness benefits will be required to have regular meetings with healthcare professionals to help them address their barriers to work – or face losing their benefits [italics mine] – in a two-year pilot scheme in central England which begins in November,” the DWP press release states.

Isn’t this what happened with people on Jobseekers’ Allowance? Suddenly they had to start fulfilling lots of pointless extra requirements or their benefits would be withdrawn? Part of that is a regular meeting in which – as far as we can ascertain – innocent people are harassed, threatened and abused by DWP employees who are themselves, it seems, millimetres away from nervous exhaustion brought on by the pressures of the job.

Claiming benefits, it seems, is now an endurance test: Who cracks (up) first?

Now, for 3,000 people in the work-related activity group for ESA in the Black Country, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Staffordshire and Shropshire, there’s no relief even if they have a nervous breakdown and have to claim ESA on mental health grounds.

“People involved in the pilot – who have all been assessed as being able to work at some point in the future – will have regular appointments with healthcare professionals as a condition of receiving their benefit, to focus on helping them move closer to being able to get a job.”

There you go – all judged as able to work in the future. Presumably Iain Duncan Smith has taken a look at their files, glanced into his crystal ball, and declared that he has a “belief” in their fitness to work. If any of these people are reading, please contact this blog if you have a progressive health condition that won’t ever improve.

Because the meeting is a condition of receiving benefit, anyone attending can expect to be treated abominably. This is not about helping you back to work, or even back to health; it’s about kicking you off-benefit and nothing further. The aim, as with JSA, is to cut claimant numbers and thereby cut spending.

“It’s really important we give people who are disabled or have a health condition the support they need to get into work if they are able,” said employment minister Esther McVey who knows nothing about this at all (despite having been minister for the disabled).

“Traditionally, this help has tended to be work-related, but this pilot will look at whether a more holistic approach is more successful in helping people to manage their conditions and so break down their barriers to work.”

The biggest barrier to a person with a disability getting work is the fact that the Conservative-led Coalition government has been closing down employment opportunities for them and removing incentives for employers to take them on.

The healthcare professionals will be provided by Ingeus UK – a welfare-to-work provider that has been involved in the Work Programme – you know, the time-wasting scheme in which jobseekers are taken off the unemployment statistics while they learn simple skills that, in fact, most of them already have.

The company’s website is very slick but contains no information about the number of doctors in its employ.

Oh, and guess what? The company is half-owned by Deloitte, one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms that currently writes British tax law to make avoidance easy for the big corporates. How much tax has Ingeus paid lately?

“Everything we do is results driven”, the site declares.

One wonders what Ingeus will do when the casualties start piling up.