Tag Archives: state

Why are people petitioning to remove Schofield and Willoughby from their TV presenting job?

One can’t help feeling there’s some malice behind the “queue jump” saga involving Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.

The This Morning presenters have been accused of jumping the queue to attend the body of the late Queen Elizabeth II as she lay in state in Westminster Hall – a queue that, at one point, it would have taken 14 hours to traverse.

But it seems to This Writer that they were just doing their job – reporting on the event for viewers of their show. They had press passes and were accorded the same access as others who were covering it. And of course, they were there because their producers had told them to go.

Yet a petition demanding their removal as presenters has hit 55,000 signatures.

Here’s a video clip about the controversy:

Personally, I’m sure they have done much more questionable things on their show – supporting Boris Johnson in some of his more idiotic moments springs to mind. Why couldn’t they be pilloried for that?

Source: ITV This Morning fans’ petition to ‘axe’ Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield reaches milestone – Manchester Evening News

Why are NHS trusts being told to cancel treatment on the day of the Queen’s funeral?

Party girl: this is how Therese Coffey commemorated the removal of £1,040 per year from Universal Credit payments. As Health Secretary, is she partying in similar manner while appointments are cancelled because they are scheduled for the same day as the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II?

Vital hospital appointments and treatments are being cancelled by NHS trusts because they were due to take place on the day now scheduled for the funeral of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

This is hugely dangerous for the patients involved. Waiting lists are at record lengths. How long will it take for the appointments to be rescheduled?

(To give you a clue – and I know this is slightly different: Mrs Mike badly needed to have a tooth filled and the dentists offered her an appointment the following week, which required rescheduling of other events… or in December. Who knows how badly her tooth would have deteriorated by then?)

Here’s Maximilien Robespierre with a video clip:

And here‘s the Open Democracy article to which it refers. I’ve excerpted the following:

Some NHS trusts have said that all non-urgent procedures and clinic appointments will be postponed, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery, maternity checks and some cancer treatments.

Many patients had been waiting months for surgery – only to have it cancelled a week beforehand. In a letter to one patient, the NHS blamed “unforeseen circumstances”.

Doctors at one central London hospital trust were told: “The day of the State Funeral will be treated as a bank holiday so please go ahead and start rescheduling patients.”

It follows the announcement that the UK will have a bank holiday on September 19 to mark the Queen’s funeral. But government guidelines says: “There is no statutory entitlement to time off,” adding that this is “a matter for discussion between individuals and their employer”.

So it is clear that the decision has been made unilaterally by the NHS trusts involved and there is no reason at all for the treatments to have been cancelled and rescheduled.

This Writer looks forward to hearing the rationale from party-girl Health Secretary Therese Coffey. Is she still having the time of her life?

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Economist explains why Truss’s early choices have all been bad

Liz Truss: bad choices already mean we have another rotten prime minister.

This Site has a lot of time for Richard Murphy. As an economist, he seems to be on the side of the people, rather than selfish commercial interests, and he also seems to know the right way to run an economy.

That’s why I was very interested to read his thoughts on the early decisions of Liz Truss as Tory leader and prime minister.

He’s horrified:

That’s a prediction, right there: Truss will seek to dismantle the state.

So: Truss intends to bring in more pollution as part of a policy of climate change denial.

So: Truss is determined to worsen your money woes, not ease them.

This is fascism, by the way.

To survive, we have to do better than this. He’s saying that if Truss sees through her agenda, we won’t.

Mr Murphy also had this to say about Truss’s immediate spending plans with regard to the current cost of living crisis:

So now you know.

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How is foreign access to MPs the NEXT big scandal when they’ve had Boris Johnson for years?

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko, who allegedly has very close links with the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to BBC News, the next big scandal to sweep Boris Johnson’s sleaze-ridden Parliament is likely to be one of hostile states buying access to MPs and Lords.

But we already know that Russia has had access to Johnson himself since long before he became prime minister!

The BBC report says All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are vulnerable to “improper lobbying” by foreign actors, quoting the case of Christine Lee, of the Chinese Communist Party, who helped set up the Chinese in Britain APPG.

It also says she made donations to Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs. Let’s have a bit of balance:

Political influence: Christine Lee has been donating money to the Conservatives for many years, and has been seen with David Cameron (pictured), Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

This Writer considers the report to be a sign of bias against those parties by the BBC, as the report makes no mention of the massive influence exerted over the Conservative Party – through its leader – by Russia.

And the Russians have never needed APPGs to wield this power – they just went straight to Tory MPs.

Let’s remind ourselves of the UK government’s Russian connections. Consider this:

The so-called ‘Russia Report’, released in July 2020 after being delayed by Johnson for more than nine months so it would not harm his chances in the 2019 general election, defined Russian influence over UK politics as “the new normal” – at least while Tories like Johnson are in charge.

It said successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

This has led, the report states, to the growth of an industry of “enablers” who are “de facto agents of the Russian state”. The report does not explicitly state that these enablers include Conservative government politicians, but its assertion that Russia had access to “the highest levels” of political figures certainly suggests that this is the case.

Johnson himself was considered a security risk by the UK’s national security services while he was Foreign Secretary – and with good reason.

Remember the time he went to a party to meet a former KGB agent, Alexander Lebedev, days after attending a Nato summit on Russia?

Who knows what secrets may have emerged from this tactless and indiscreet fool’s flapping gums?

That’s just one incident that is known to us. How many more have there been?

How about this?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has definitely taken donations from people linked to Russia’s President Putin – and provided private meetings with the last three UK prime ministers in return.

The money totalling £1.7 million came from Vladimir Chernukhin via his wife Lubov, according to the so-called FinCEN files – leaked “suspicious activity reports” by banks.

And a lot of information came out when Johnson’s government dragged its heels about imposing sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine war:

Public opinion is that the Tories have been slow to act because they have taken a fortune in donations from Russians – and they want to know what these UK politicians were asked to do in return for that – as they understand it – dirty money.

Rather than respond to that question, the government seems to have chosen to leave it hanging in the air – trying to divert attention to what it is doing now:

Apparently a minister (was it Hinds?) said that Unexplained Wealth Orders were introduced years ago to allow the government to confiscate assets from people suspected of wrongdoing – and it is widely believed that much of the Russian cash flowing around the UK – and British politics – is ill-gotten. But this just provoked another hard question – and embarrassing answer:

So, Unexplained Wealth Orders have been an unqualified failure – were they mentioned merely to provide an appearance of activity when none has taken place?

Meanwhile:

It was Boris Johnson’s old friend Lubov Chernukhin. She donated £13,750 in October and £66,500 in December, just months before Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine. In total she has handed £2 million to the Tories.

And what do you think of this?

The analysis – which includes many legitimate companies – suggests that thousands of firms listed on the UK’s business register are controlled by Russian nationals who live in the country, with some linked to Putin’s allies.

The final example of Russian influence in the UK, that I’ll include in this article, is something I heard on Radio 4’s Today programme on March 3:

The presenter – I think it was Evan Davis – said it had been suggested that properties like Sutton Place could be seized and used to house displaced Ukrainians. He expressed deep scepticism that the Tory government would ever have the courage to make such a move.

The Tories have only just announced that they’re postponing publication of any revelations of how Evgeny Lebedev – son of the former Russian spy Alexander who Boris Johnson was reported to have met (above) – was made a UK Lord despite deep reservations by the security services. Because the revelations will be damning and they don’t want to mess up their chances in the local elections?

And yet those Tory stooges at BBC News want you to think APPGs, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are the security risk.

Guaranteed Minimum Pensions holders set to lose thousands due to DWP disdain

The Tory government has shafted pensioners – again.

Around 11 million people were contracted out of the State Earnings-Related Pensions Scheme by their employer, on condition that they would receive an index-linked guaranteed minimum pension.

This arrangement, for anyone in the private sector, was scrapped when the new state pension was introduced in 2016 – but remains in place for public sector workers.

The decision to scrap it was never mentioned in Parliament or in any Pensions legislation.

Women are the most seriously affected. Everybody involved is losing cash ranging from a few pounds a week to tens of thousands over the lifetime of their pension.

That’s the historical situation.

Now, after two people won £1,250 each in compensation after complaining to the Ombudsman, the government has decided not to ensure that everybody affected – who might also deserve payment – is told.

The Ombudsman recommended action “to ensure that affected individuals receive appropriate communication from the DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] about their state pensions”.

But in response, all the DWP has done is publish a factsheet on the GOV.UK website. It has not informed anybody who is affected by the changes that the factsheet exists, or even put out a press release.

You can read the factsheet here – and by publishing the link, This Site has done more to inform those affected than the UK government.

Taking this into account, it should be no surprise that only 6,922 people have read the factsheet and only four people (according to DWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield) have made inquiries about it.

None received any compensation because Schofield said they were not eligible.

So, of a possible 11 million people affected by the GMP change, the DWP’s tailor-made strategy (in response to an Ombudsman’s recommendation, remember) has reached nobody.

As intended?

Read a deeper analysis of the implications here: Rip off: DWP to take no further action to compensate millions who lost thousands of pounds of extra pensions | Westminster Confidential

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State not responsible for health care says Javid – lining up NHS for full privatisation?

Covid Javid: he was happy to whip off his mask (in a secure environment) but his words and his deeds as Health and Social Care Secretary mark him out as a danger to public health.

I know his nasal whine is irritating but try to get through the following clip of Sajid Javid’s speech to the Tory conference so you can understand what he’s saying.

I think Alex Andreou has it pretty much right:

Family first, then community, then the state? What?

So, with Covid-19 (for example), by Javid’s lights, we should all have sought a remedy from our families? That would have achieved nothing apart from their infection.

Having failed there, were we then supposed to go to the community – other people’s families – and infect them too?

By the time we got round to asking the state – as demanded by Javid in his speech to the Tory conference – many of us would already have been dead.

What a puerile claim from our supposed Health and Social Care Secretary! No wonder 1,000 people are dying every week while he mouths these platitudes.

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Latin to be offered to state school pupils to make the UK even more out-of-touch

Wearing the dunce’s cap yet again: but should Gavin Williamson get all the blame for wanting to inflict Latin on our unsuspecting sprogs? I suspect this is another daft demand from Boris Johnson and Williamson, being a dimwitted yes-man, is just pushing it through.

It is as though Gavin Williamson actually sat in the Department for Education, thinking: “I can’t screw up exams this year; how else can I bugger up state school kids?”

Here’s what he came up with:

Latin lessons are to be offered to thousands of state school pupils in England as part of an effort by the Department for Education to make the language less “elitist”.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said a new programme would ensure the subject was not “for the privileged few”.

A £4 million Latin Excellence Programme will see the ancient language offered to 40 state schools in England as part of a four-year pilot, according to The Daily Telegraph.

It makes a perverse kind of sense: having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of other things to which Williamson could be devoting his time – as the Twitter community was quick to point out:

All good points as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Other commenters have taken glee in pointing out that Williamson has, yet again, drawn attention to his own shortcomings:

I’m sure nobody would want to argue with that!

Source: Latin to be offered to state school pupils to make subject less ‘elitist’ | The Independent

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£2.6 million Downing Street briefing room was built by Russians. Not ‘very sensible’!

The new government media briefing room: your local parish council could have done a better job, and cheaper, but Boris Johnson gave the contract to a company based in a hostile state.

After This Site’s article yesterday showing that Boris Johnson is trying to hide the idiocy of his decisions by claiming they are “very sensible”, this:

His government paid £2.6 million to a Russian company for construction of the new media briefing room – in Downing Street, the heart of the UK government.

Despite being sued for unlawfully withholding details of contracts, the Tory government has refused to say whether the work was put out to competitive tender. It should have been, because the contract was not awarded as part of an emergency.

In fact, no details of the contract with Russian-owned Megahertz have been published.

Megahertz carried out the main work on the project, including installing computers, cameras, microphones and a control desk. Its owner Okno-TV has previously carried out similar technical work for Russian state-controlled broadcasters Russia Today, Channel One, and Public Television of Russia.

It has not been suggested that the company is influenced by the Russian government, but the question has to be asked:

Why did Boris Johnson hire a company from a country that has been designated a “hostile state” to build a communications hub for the UK government?

It’s a security nightmare.

And, after the Salisbury poisonings, a public relations disaster.

Worse still, the briefing room itself looks amateurish.

Advance photos of the space, released before it goes into daily use, show a layout that could have been put together at a village hall, with a central podium backed by two Union flags and a TV screen on one side facing rows of the kind of chairs you see stacked at the side of your local meeting-room.

It doesn’t look like a £2.6m facility. Let’s be honest, it doesn’t look like it cost £2,000.

Admittedly, the broadcasting equipment was probably expensive. But, coming from a Russian firm, who knows what might be included in it, alongside what Johnson asked for?

The work also comes after a Tory government had to end the involvement of Chinese firm Huawei in the rollout of 5G telecommunications in the UK.

So This Writer is in a rare position of agreement with Labour’s Chris Bryant, who chairs the all-party Parliamentary group on Russia, who said,

What shocks me most is that the Johnson government seems to have learnt nothing about the involvement in sensitive UK projects of companies with [links] to autocratic regimes, whether in Russia or in China.

Fundamental to the whole issue, of course, is the fact that Johnson spaffed this cash to Russia while do the dirty on nurses by giving them a pay cut.

It is clear that Johnson’s claim that he could not afford to pay any more to the people who saved so many from Covid-19 is bunkum; he’s got money to burn.

The problem is that his priorities are wrong.

Source: Exclusive: Russian-Owned Firm Played Key Role In Downing Street Media Refit | HuffPost UK

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The Tories are cheating us out of our pensions – and our retirements

Arguments used by the Conservative government to justify increasing the age at which we may draw our pensions are increasingly false, it seems.

Fellow social media journalist David Hencke has all the information on his website.

He says the Tory claim is that as life expectancies continue to rise, it will be impossible for the pension fund to pay out for everybody unless the pensionable age rises too.

There’s just one problem:

Ministers always quote figures up to 2011… [the] last year of any big rise in longevity which had risen for decades.

Since then the rise has flattened – in one year it actually fell – and last year was the first in five years that showed a small rise. Next year the ONS is warning will be the first year they will have figures of the effects of Covid-19 – and the hint is that longevity will fall because of the disproportionate deaths among pensioners.

Worse still:

When you compare the UK to many other developed countries both men and women have lost out big time in the longevity stakes. The countries that make up the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) are all near the bottom of the table.

So while we all are being expected to wait longer for our pension in the UK, our extra weeks of life expectancy fall well below many comparable developed countries. We are being cheated – or at least not given the full facts – by our political leaders. So don’t believe any facile claims we have a world beating system for pensioners. Far from it.

The increased longevity argument was used strongly by the Department for Work and Pensions in its court battle to avoid paying compensation to 3.8 million women whose pension age rose from 60 to 66 – but who were not given enough warning to make proper preparations for it.

But our people aren’t living as much longer as people in other countries. What are those nations doing about pensions? And how are they doing it?

It seems clear that Mr Hencke is right and we are being cheated.

I wonder what we can do about it, if DWP representatives are prepared to perjure themselves in court to preserve a lie.

Source: The chances of living longer are getting shorter – new Office of National Statistics figures show only small rise in longevity | Westminster Confidential

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‘No deal’ Brexit looking more likely as UK negotiator rattles his sabre at the EU

If the UK government is not “scared” of leaving the EU without a trade deal, then it is because the interests of UK government ministers will not be harmed.

Reading between the lines of the BBC’s story, perhaps they expect the taxpayer to fund any businesses in which they have an interest?

The downside is that UK negotiator David Frost is saying your Tory government couldn’t care less if your business crashes to dust as a result of high tariffs that will be imposed by the EU nations in January.

Both sides want a deal agreed next month in order to have it signed off by politicians on both sides of the Channel by the end of the transition period on 31 December.

Differences remain on issues such as fishing and the level of taxpayer support the UK will be able to provide for businesses, also referred to as state aid rules.

The EU has said it wants full access for its boats to fish in UK waters in return for giving the UK fishing industry full access to EU markets.

On state aid, the EU has expressed concern that it could give business in the UK an unfair advantage over their European competitors and Mr Barnier has previously said the EU will require “robust” guarantees in this area if it is to agree a deal.

This Writer would be inclined to suggest that the EU should keep its nose out of the UK’s businesses if we could be sure that taxpayer funding for our firms could be administered in a reasonable way – but that’s not what we’re seeing.

Look at the Covid-19 crisis: the Tories have deliberately manipulated government procurement mechanisms to give whomping great wodges of public money to private companies run by their friends. That’s not reasonable!

On balance, the EU’s insistence on interfering in the way UK businesses are run is not acceptable, though. Does Michel Barnier really think a little state aid is going to make much difference for a single country dealing with the world’s largest trading bloc?

If This Writer was running a large concern, though, I would be worried.

Whatever happens, it seems UK businesses will end up paying large tariffs to sell into the EU, while receiving no support from their own government. Am I right?

Source: Brexit: Negotiator David Frost says UK not scared of walking away – BBC News

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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