Tag Archives: Sivier

Johnson tries to take credit for Crossrail – but he won’t railroad us

Lying Boris Johnson has been caught being dishonest again – this time about the new Elizabeth Line in London, formerly known as Crossrail.

In Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (May 18), Johnson attacked his opponents in the Labour Party, saying:

“It was fantastic to see Her Majesty the Queen open Crossrail yesterday…Who was the Mayor of London when Crossrail was first started to be built, and who was the Prime Minister who completed it?

“We get the big things done. And that’s why there’s never been a Labour government who’s left office with unemployment lower than when they began.”

He was being extremely economical with the truth, as usual.

Crossrail was approved under a Labour government in 2007. Work did indeed start on it around a year into Johnson’s first term as London Mayor, in 2009 – but that was still under a Labour government.

And Westminster Labour councillor David Boothroyd had something to say about that. He tweeted: “The Mayor of London who got the Crossrail scheme going was [Labour’s] Ken Livingstone.

“The Mayor of London who forgot about Crossrail and led it into delay was Boris Johnson. The Mayor of London who got Crossrail delivered was Sadiq Khan.”

It is true that the central stretch was due to open in 2018 but was delayed, and costs soared from a predicted £14.8 billion to nearly £19 billion.

A spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan was more diplomatic: “Crossrail got the green light under the previous government and first started to be built back in 2009. Since then the project has been supported by successive governments, Mayors and businesses in our city, with over two-thirds of the budget coming from London government and London’s businesses.

“The completion of the Elizabeth Line shows the benefit of politicians working together and taking long-term decisions when it comes to crucial infrastructure projects that will have a positive impact across the whole country for many decades to come.”

Johnson made a blatant factual error when he said the new rail line had already delivered 72,000 jobs. In fact, it will be able to transport 72,000 people per hour.

Possibly worse than all of the above is the fact that Johnson was trying to use the new Elizabeth line to justify, in some way, the huge costs his government has forced onto ordinary people – pricing a dialysis user, in his own words, “out of existence“.

In fairness, he had requested details of the case but it was not reasonable to make a bald – and false – claim about the economy and the Elizabeth Line.

It demonstrates what a despicable opportunist Johnson is.

Source: Elizabeth line: Boris Johnson mocked for claiming credit for Crossrail despite law passing under Labour

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Tory MP Lee Anderson has been talking rubbish – and expecting us to eat it

Lee Anderson (right) with his leader Boris Johnson: Anderson was talking rubbish (as his boss often does) – and expecting the rest of us to eat it, too – according to an expert chef

After Tory MP Lee Anderson claimed it was possible to cook “nutritious meals” for 30p, professional chef Gareth Mason tried it.

The chef, who has 19 years’ experience, set himself the task of cooking seven basic meals that fit within the 30p budget.

Mr Mason made crab stick salad, burgers, spaghetti Napoli, beans on toast, a jacket potato with beans, and a ‘spam fritter’ made from cheap luncheon meat.

His verdict? They were not nutritionally balanced or big enough to sustain an adult:

“I’ve come to the conclusion it’s a load of rubbish,” the head chef at Absolute Bistros in Westhoughton, Lancashire told HullLive.

“These meals I’ve done, as soon as you put any protein or dairy into them, it’s not feasible to do it for 30p.

“If you eat beans on toast for every meal, it might work, but even if you did cheese on toast, the cost of cheese would be more than 30p on its own.

“And you have the cooking cost on top of the cost of the food.”

That last point is right on the nose.

At a time when the cost of the energy needed to cook is rocketing, this overprivileged MP didn’t even have the intelligence to include it in his claim.

And Mr Mason had another thought about Lee Anderson’s disproved theory:

Gareth said while Mr Anderson’s 30p figure may be achievable using batch cooking methods in a professional kitchen, there aren’t many people who have the space or storage required to make it work.

“Has this guy ever eaten a 30p meal in his life? I doubt it,” Gareth asked.

“He’s contradicted himself by having chefs cook the food in a big kitchen with an industrial oven.

“Where does he expect the average person to cook all this food and then freeze it all?”

Where indeed? And freezers don’t work for free.

“You could just about feed yourself, but it’s not going to be healthy or nutritious or get anywhere near the number of calories an average adult needs to function each day,” he said.

“He’s treating people like peasants. Energy prices are going up, people are struggling, the cost of living is on the rise, and what’s their solution? Eat for 30p?

“The cheaper you go, how much rubbish is in the food?

“It will be full of additives and preservatives and all sorts of junk. It’s not fresh, nutritious food that people need to have a healthy diet.”

So there you have it. Lee Anderson’s claims have been definitively disproved.

Remember that, next time a filthy rich Tory MP makes wild claims about what can be achieved with very little, when they’ve never had to face the same restrictions.

Source: Chef says Tory MP is ‘treating people like peasants’ after cooking 30p meals

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Priti Patel is refusing to pay police enough to do their job & then demanding power to criticise them for it

Here’s the contradictory nature of Tory policy exposed in all its grubby grimness:

Priti Patel has been challenged to explain whether she could “survive” on the salaries she pays to local police officers – and ran away from answering.

Meanwhile, she is demanding the right to interfere in local policing matters – possibly criticising officers for failing to do work she does not pay them enough to manage.

According to Nation.Cymru,

Detective Constable Vicky Knight, a single mother who had worked in policing for more than two decades, asked Priti Patel if she would be able to “survive” on £1,200 or £1,400 a month.

Describing how she is paid “a couple of hundred pounds a month more than the workers in McDonald’s flipping burgers” and less than her “local manager at Lidl”, Ms Knight told how ahead of her most recent pay day she had to borrow £40 from her mother so she could put fuel in her car and buy food for her son’s school lunches “because I had no money left at the end of the month”.

“I went to see an accountant and the advice was leave the police, work for 22 hours a week and claim benefits and you will be better off. How can that be right?”

Patel did not answer the question; we don’t know whether she thinks she could survive on the pay she tells police officers to accept.

But we do know delegates at the annual conference of the Police Federation of England and Wales groaned when she whined that their organisation had not been “at the table” for pay negotiations; it is currently in dispute with her because she has imposed a pay freeze for officers and there were, therefore, no negotiations to be done.

While she is depriving police of the salaries they need in order to be able to do their jobs, it seems Patel is demanding the right to criticise them for any failures.

In a row with Police and Crime Commissioners, she is planning a unilateral revision of rules that define where policing responsibilities lie, in order to grant herself more power to interfere in local services.

She wants to take back power to demand answers from chief constables on local policing matters – and ability that was given to commissioners a decade ago when their role was created.

Obviously the ability to demand answers also provides an implied ability to criticise police services for failings – even though any failures may be because she has not provided the resources to do the job.

According to The Guardian,

The proposed protocol says: “We propose to lower the threshold for home secretary intervention in appropriate circumstances. This would equip the home secretary to intervene earlier as required, thus reducing the risk of failing to deliver effective policing.”

Apparently this is a reflection of a policy adopted by Patel since she became Home Secretary, called “lean in”. Perhaps it would more accurately be phrased as “lean on“.

Another example of this policy would appear to be her demand that chief constables act “in a politically neutral manner”, which has been added to the previous stricture that they must be impartial.

This would restrict them from commenting on public policy that they believe may affect crime fighting – such as the effects of austerity. Nor would they be allowed to speak out publicly on issues of political dispute like tougher sentences or opposing the decriminalisation of cannabis, which is supported by some frontline politicians.

In their response to Patel’s proposals, commissioners said she would need to seek an Act of Parliament to impose them as they are beyond her statutory powers at the moment – “ultra vires”:

“Creation of new powers of strategic oversight can only be achieved through primary legislation and must be subject to the full scrutiny that is required of primary legislation.”

So we see a hardline Home Secretary, attempting to dictate the behaviour of local police forces while denying them the resources to their job.

How ironic that she is currently being restricted with rules imposed by her own Tory forerunners.

Source: Home Secretary confronted by ‘desperately struggling’ North Wales Constable over low pay

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Help this crowdfund for journalism to support human rights in Palestine

It isn’t easy to be taken seriously if you’re a journalist trying to report events in Palestine accurately.

The dominance of the pro-Israel lobby means coverage of human rights violations in occupied Palestine are played down or ridiculed – and the reporter involved may face attacks against their professionalism, along with those of a more personal nature.

One such journalist is Peter Bolton of The Canary, who has written extensively about the conflict in Palestine, human rights violations committed by the state of Israel, and the impact of the Israel lobby on British politics.

He’s currently involved in a lawsuit relating to this part of his work – and needs help to progress it.

Peter himself is currently being cagey about the purpose to which the funds will be put. This Writer knows what it is all about – and I can say that it will serve a very useful purpose.

But you can probably draw your own conclusions from Peter’s words on his CrowdJustice page:

This case could serve as a turning-point in the fight for a public space in which no one gets targeted for simply speaking up for the Palestinian people. I see this case as being as much about vindicating others who have been attacked as it is about my own circumstances.

So this is about protecting those who speak up for people in Palestine from being attacked unreasonably.

As another writer who has suffered such attacks, I strongly urge anybody reading this to support Peter’s CrowdJustice page. I will.

The reason those of us who support human rights – anywhere, but particularly in Palestine – are derided is the fact that the other side is vastly better-resourced than any of us individually.

But I know from personal experience that, together, we can achieve wonders.

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ANOTHER Conservative MP has been arrested for sex crimes

Police have arrested yet another Conservative MP for sex crimes.

The Tory Parliamentarian, who has not been named, had his collar felt by the long arm of the law after an investigation lasting no fewer than two years.

As a result, he now stands accused of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office – all between 2002 and 2009.

The latter two accusations suggest that this is someone who may have used his position as a member of Parliament in order to commit the crimes.

The arrest follows the resignation of another Tory MP, Neil Parish, after he admitted having watched pornography in the Commons chamber.

And that came after yet another Conservative MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, resigned after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. His victim said that he had alerted the Conservative Party before Khan had been elected – but his warnings had fallen on deaf ears.

Prior to that, three cabinet ministers were among 56 MPs said to have been accused of sexual misconduct and referred to Parliamentary watchdog the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

On This Site, I questioned whether those 56 names included some of those on a list known to the Tory whips during Theresa May’s leadership – and asked why these people, if they were known to have committed offences, had been allowed to continue as MPs for years when they should have been arrested.

Leaving sexual offences behind, Conservative MPs have been at the centre of a string of corruption allegations. Remember Owen Paterson?

Guilty or not, this accusation leaves another grubby mark on the Conservative Party’s reputation.

This is an organisation that claims to be fit to run the United Kingdom, for the benefit of everybody, yet its members – possibly including people in the highest offices in the land – seem determined to act on their own basest instincts to harm others.

And the party’s leaders seem completely unconcerned.

Why do we let these creatures govern the country when experience shows they can’t even govern themselves?

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With more job vacancies than seekers: if employers can’t pay, TAKE YOURSELF AWAY!

What you’re worth: with more jobs available than workers, you’re doing employers a favour if you decide to work for them. MAKE SURE THEY PAY YOU PROPERLY FOR IT.

Official figures are telling us there are more job vacancies than people looking for work – for the first time since records began.

So why aren’t employers paying enough for their staff to survive?

This Writer remembers a moment, back when I was looking for my first newspaper job. I called up for an interview and the guy on the phone asked me if I could make the following Monday (or whenever).

“Oh,” said I. “I’ve got another interview then. How about another time?”

“Too bad!” said he, and rang off – because so many people were looking for work then that employers could afford to treat people like dirt.

(I got the other job, though – and it was better-paid.)

Now the tables are turned. Jobseekers can afford to treat poor-paying bosses like dirt for a change.

So, work out how much you need to earn in order to live comfortably, and when you go to that job interview, make sure they pay it to you.

Because if they can’t (or, more probably, won’t), then they’ll have to do without your expertise.

And their company will probably collapse due to the lack of it…

… like the newspaper whose editor couldn’t be bothered to give me a mutually-convenient interview!

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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‘Trussted trader’ plan for Northern Ireland is a smugglers’ charter

Liz Truss: she once warned that Brexit would seriously harm the UK. Did she know that she would be inflicting some of that harm?

Why doesn’t Boris Johnson’s government just legalise smuggling and have done with it?

Jacob Rees-Mogg has already abandoned checks on goods entering the UK from the EU, meaning anything may be imported from that bloc without anyone checking if we’re getting what we’re being told we’re getting.

Now, Liz Truss is telling us she wants to impose a new “Trusted Trader” “green lane” for goods coming into and leaving Northern Ireland, meaning that organisations bringing items across from mainland Britain will not have them checked, either.

That will establish a possible smuggling route from mainland Europe, not only into mainland Britain but also through it to Northern Ireland and the republic (because there are no checks on goods going between the Province and Eire).

Anything could go through unchecked – including people.

Oh – the plan to change the Northern Ireland Protocol unilaterally may also trigger a trade war with the European Union – the EU said it would “need to respond with all measures at its disposal” if the UK went ahead with the legislation.

And it may well upset nationalist leaders in Northern Ireland – including the party with the largest representation in Stormont, Sinn Fein – who had no objection to the Protocol as it is now.

Nice one, Liz! You should have stuck to cheese.

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Was protester who egged Margaret Thatcher statue just the first of many?

Hanged in effigy: how many people wished the statue’s head would snap off after a rope was strung around its neck in order to allow a crane to place it on its plinth?

We now know that the man who threw eggs at Grantham’s new statue of Margaret Thatcher was an arts centre deputy director who lives on the street where she was born.

According to Metro, Jeremy Webster proclaimed that he was “the first egg thrower” on social media shortly after doing it.

But the paper’s claim that the 59-year-old made a “call to arms” may have been exaggerated. He had tweeted, “Grantham unveils Thatcher statue, so guess where we are going?” That could have referred simply to himself and his partner, who filmed the egging.

The Telegraph also claimed that he put up a now-deleted post on Instagram which said: “South Wales miners are heading up to Grantham to remove her head.”

It is certainly known that the statue is a target for vandals:

After a large-scale £100,000 unveiling ceremony was approved by South Kesteven District Council in 2020, a Facebook group proposed an ‘egg-throwing contest’ at the event.

More than 2,400 people confirmed they would take part in ‘egg throwing’ and ‘potentially graffiti art’.

As a result of the warning, the council installed a CCTV camera directly opposite the statue.

Call it a hunch, but This Writer doesn’t think CCTV is going to stop anybody from expressing themselves.

Source: Protester who egged Margaret Thatcher statue ‘revealed’ as arts centre boss

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Cost of living crisis: How will prescription charge freeze help people who need it?

Sajid Javid: the eyes are open but the mind is not.

Sajid Javid’s an ignorant little… banker, isn’t he?

This entitled Tory twit has frozen prescription charges in England, saying keeping the charge at an extortionate £9.35 until next year will “put money back in people’s pockets.”

No, it won’t – certainly not for me. I live in Wales.

And it won’t even do that in England. It just won’t take any more money from people hard-pressed by the cost-of-living crisis.

And, of course, it won’t help everybody – just those who are ill…

… who aren’t among the 90 per cent who already get their prescriptions free of charge.

So that counts those on state benefits, pregnant women and new mothers, people with specified medical conditions or disabilities, the over-60s and under-16s out of having any money put back in their pockets by this change.

And of course people here in Wales, and also in Scotland and Northern Ireland, also have free prescriptions.

“The rise in the cost of living has been unavoidable as we face global challenges and the repercussions of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine,” Javid said. “Whilst we can’t completely prevent these rises, where we can help – we absolutely will.”

But it seems the only people likely to benefit from this help with the cost of living are people who don’t need it. He’s just saving cash for his fellow Tories.

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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Boris bombs in Northern Ireland talks – he has managed to upset everyone

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald meets Boris Johnson: she said she received no straight answers from him. Great result! The rest of us have to put up with outright lies.

Boris Johnson has managed a rare achievement in modern politics: having travelled to Northern Ireland for talks on how to restore the devolved government there, he managed to upset everybody he met.

The prime minister’s visit comes after the Democratic Unionist Party blocked the election of a Speaker to a new assembly at Stormont last Friday, meaning it cannot function.

The DUP – and other unionist parties – want changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK’s agreement to leave the European Union, which they say creates a hard trade border between the Province and Britain.

Johnson claimed to be there to build a consensus with political parties in Northern Ireland – but faced considerable distrust because they all know his foreign secretary, Liz Truss, is expected to make a statement on the government’s plans to act on the protocol on Tuesday – possibly overriding parts of the Brexit deal.

So, while they disagree on the issue that divides them, the Northern Irish parties seem to be united in their distrust of the man with ultimate power to act on it.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Johnson of unacceptable and obstructionist tactics, placating the DUP and giving “no straight answers”: “The British government is in a game of brinkmanship with the European institutions, indulging a section of political unionism which believes it can frustrate and hold society to ransom.”

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said he would judge Johnson on his actions, not words: “We cannot have power-sharing unless there is a consensus. That consensus doesn’t exist.”

Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry was no more positive: “We’ve seen a lot of soft words from the prime minister, an attempt at some sort of consensual way forward, but those words belie the fact that tomorrow Liz Truss is set to make a statement to parliament setting out the basis of the UK taking unilateral action on the protocol.”

And Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood said: “If the British government tomorrow signal their intent to break international law by legislating to rip up the protocol at Westminster he will not have the support of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.”

Johnson was jeered by about 200 people as his cavalcade arrived at Hillsborough, including campaigners for Irish language legislation, anti-Brexit activists and victims’ campaigners objecting to the government’s proposed legislation for dealing with legacy cases from the Troubles.

So in fact, Johnson has achieved a positive result.

He has united the people of Northern Ireland. None of them would trust him further than they could spit a rat.

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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