Tag Archives: statement

Yes, it is more ‘meal deal’ than ‘new deal’ – but Sunak’s summer statement isn’t ALL bad

Rishi Sunak: his job could be hanging on the result of this plan. Shame it has already been sabotaged by his boss Boris Johnson.

It didn’t matter what Rishi Sunak was going to say in his summer statement because Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and the other Tories had already sabotaged it.

Sunak’s objective is to save jobs while the UK works through the post-Covid recession, but his problem is that his colleagues’ insistence on easing lockdown means the Coronavirus isn’t over yet – no matter what Johnson says.

In this nation of shopkeepers (as Napoleon had it), if we want to keep people in their jobs, we need to keep spending money into – and through – the economy. That means going out and paying for things.

But the number of new infections in the UK is high – and will remain so, while Johnson insists on helping the virus infect other people by opening pubs, schools, and whatever else he’s planning next.

That means people are going to be reluctant to resume normal patterns of social consumption.

It’s going to be difficult in the extreme to restore confidence after these Tory blunders. After schools and pubs, Johnson can claim it is our social duty to go back out and spend until he is redder in the face than the gammons he represents, but the public will only hear him telling us to go out, catch the virus and die.

That’s the second hurdle that Sunak faces; thanks to Johnson, public trust in the claims of politicians is at an all-time low, being worsened all the time by his insistence on lying whenever the mood takes him and refusing to apologise when his lies are exposed.

So the ending of the furlough scheme in October is directly counter-productive; watch the number of redundancies increase when that month comes round and try to tell me I’m wrong.

The offer of a £1,000 “jobs retention bonus” is likely to fall similarly flat. The conditions are that employees must be carrying out proper work, and be paid at least £520 per month – the lower limit of National Insurance payment – and it seems unlikely that many employers will be able to manage this.

Similarly, the VAT cut from 20 per cent to just five per cent to help out restaurants, pubs, cafes, B&Bs, hotels, theme parks and cinemas may only have limited success. Who’s going to go, if there’s a chance they’ll catch a fatal disease?

Sector-specific stimuli such as this are a good idea – don’t get me wrong – and this would work if the number of Covid infections was much lower than it is (in England, at least) – and if more people were interested in wearing face masks, perhaps (how would that work, when they’re eating food?) – but as I’ve already mentioned, Johnson has put a stop to that with his ridiculous blunderings.

And the already-infamous “meal deal” voucher, offering 50 per cent of the cost of meals for everybody eating out between Monday and Wednesday, throughout August, may go hungry for customers. Here’s the reason:

On the other hand, raising the threshold for stamp duty from £125,000 to £500,000 might conceivably be a good idea, if it stimulates construction work as people are encouraged to buy new homes.

Possibly best of all the measures laid out in the statement was a scheme to create jobs for young people, subsidising six-month work placements for people aged 16-24.

If this is used to re-skill the workforce – actually preparing the UK for future opportunities – then it has enormous merit.

But I can see employers using it as a cheap alternative to the workers they already have. Why take just £1,000 over three months to keep on your current workforce when the Tories will give you a teenager for twice as long and pay all of their costs?

So my initial verdict is that this is final proof of the Conservative government’s economic illiteracy; they really couldn’t run a p***-up in a brewery.

But it would be wrong to pre-judge a plan that hasn’t gone into practice yet.

The sad part is that this may break Sunak but Johnson will laugh it off, no matter how disastrous the result.

Source: Coronavirus: Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils £30bn plan to save jobs – BBC News

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TV satire show responds to criticisms over its treatment of Jeremy Corbyn – but ignores the main issue

Jeremy Corbyn: still not an anti-Semite.

Thank goodness Beastrabban has been watching Have I Got News For You; it means I don’t have to.

He was the one who alerted me to Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s false claim that Jeremy Corbyn believes the anti-Semitic “Jewish bankers’ conspiracy” trope, broadcast on the show last month (October 2019).

Now he has written to say that the host of Friday’s (November 1) show, Jo Brand, made an announcement regarding complaints raised since that previous edition.

He wrote:

“The Beeb’s satirical panel game, Have I Got News For You, decided to reply to certain criticism regarding their treatment of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn. This week’s guest host, Jo Brand, stated that the programme had been widely attacked by supporters of the Labour leader because the programme continued referring to him by his surname, while the Prime Minister was more informally called by his first name, Boris. This, it was claimed, showed a bias towards the Tory leader, which the programme disputed.

“Ummm, no. This is not why many of us object to the programme’s bias against Labour. We object to it because it pushes, like the rest of the media, the flagrant lie that he and his supporters are anti-Semites.

“Last Friday I put up on this blog immediately after the programme an article expressing my dismay at seeing this pushed once against by Victoria Coren-Mitchell, a broadcaster for whom I have otherwise immense respect. She made a joke about Corbyn believing in the anti-Semitic Jewish bankers conspiracy. He doesn’t. Never has done, and never will.

“He has a proud record of supporting Jews and Jewish issues in the UK as part of a general commitment to combating racism.

“But he frightens the British, American and Israeli political establishments by supporting Palestinian rights. And more alarming, horror of horrors!, he has the support of self-respecting Torah-observant and secular Jews.

“It seems that the outrage on social media with the programme and its treatment of Corbyn has got to the point that its producers realise they have to do something to tackle it.

“But they can’t defend their linking of Corbyn with anti-Semitism and bogus, murderous conspiracy theories, it seems. Nor can they acknowledge, it appears, that there is a serious issue here.

“And so they tried to head off criticism by rebutting a different issue entirely.

“This is not good enough, not by a long way. Some people might object to the programme for the above reason, but that’s not why an increasing number do.

Perhaps if we continue to voice our real objections, the Beeb might just have to come clean on the real issue. I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath.

Source: No, HIGNFY, That’s Not What We Object to in Your Treatment of Corbyn | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

Tory muckraker Kuenssberg is trying to undermine NEC statement on Brexit

Labour’s NEC has released a statement of support for Jeremy Corbyn’s preferred policy on Brexit – and the BBC’s Tory-supporting political editor is already doing everything she can to undermine it.

The statement shows that a Labour government would negotiate a new Brexit deal with the EU and put it before the people in a new referendum within six months of coming into office.

This deal, following discussion with industry, trade unions and the EU, would include a new UK-EU customs union, a close relationship with the Single Market, protections of the Good Friday Agreement with no hard border, securing the permanent rights of three million EU nationals in the UK and one million UK nationals in Europe, guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections, and membership of key bodies to ensure joint co-operation in areas like climate change, counter-terrorism and medicines.

And Labour would decide how to campaign in a referendum on this deal – or remaining in the EU – after a special one-day party conference, to ensure that the will of party members is upheld.

Here’s the meat of the statement:

Labour will put control of Brexit back in the hands of the people in a new referendum with a real choice between a sensible leave deal or remain.

The NEC further welcomes the role of the Labour Party in Parliament to work cross-party to legislate against crashing out on 31 October. There is no mandate for No Deal.

A Labour government will get Brexit sorted one way or another within six months of coming to power, allowing us to concentrate on all the issues that matter to people most.

A Labour Government would secure a sensible leave deal with the EU within three months, and within six months would put it before the people in a referendum alongside the option to remain.

Jeremy Corbyn is right to say that as a Labour prime minister he would implement the will of the British people in that referendum.

The Labour frontbench has consulted with industry, trade unions and EU leaders and officials on a deal that protects jobs and investment, while respecting the 2016 referendum result.

Labour’s leave deal would include a new UK-EU customs union, a close relationship with the Single Market, protections of the Good Friday Agreement with no hard border, securing the permanent rights of 3 million EU nationals in the UK and 1 million UK nationals in Europe, guarantees of workers’ rights and environmental protections, and membership of key bodies to ensure joint co-operation in areas like climate change, counter-terrorism and medicines.

If people vote to leave on those terms, Labour will deliver that and leave the EU with that negotiated deal. If people vote to remain, Labour would implement that and seek to reform the EU as members. A Labour government will deliver whichever decision is made by the people of the UK.

The NEC believes it is right that the party shall only decide how to campaign in such a referendum – through a one-day special conference, following the election of a Labour Government.

It’s a strong policy, ensuring that the people of the UK have the opportunity to determine their own future – unlike the policies of the Boris Johnson’s Conservatives or Jo Swinson’s Liberal Democrats.

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1175733913668542464

So of course BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg – who already crashed the BBC switchboard with complaints after she outed a concerned father who challenged Boris Johnson over the collapse of the NHS as a “Labour activist” and told Twitter’s Tories where they could dogpile him – had to try to cause trouble.

In a series of tweets, she claimed that the Labour leadership had emailed the statement to NEC members with a request to get replies in before 1.30pm:

But her claim doesn’t take in the realities of conference participation. Was she suggesting that NEC members should have abandoned their commitments to appear, in order to have a meeting about it?

In practice, a round-robin email was the easiest way – and the deadline was late enough that everyone involved would have had time to respond, between conference appearances.

As it was, there was a majority for the statement before midday, so it was released.

So much for the threat that Brexit divisions would overshadow the conference. But how many people will dwell on Ms Kuenssberg’s distortion rather than the facts?

Source: Breaking: NEC statement ratifies Corbyn’s Brexit position – and post-GE special conference plan | The SKWAWKBOX

Government announces refusal to accept ‘Revoke Article 50’ petition, no matter how many people sign it

So much for democracy under a Conservative government.

So much for its ePetitions website, which was introduced as a huge step towards giving the people a stronger voice in government (if you can remember that long ago).

So what does the government response to the ‘Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU’ petition actually mean? Nothing at all.

The statement was released on the day the petition topped 5.8 million signatures. Although the rate at which people are signing has slowed considerably, it still seems likely that more will have signed it than voted for Brexit in the EU referendum, by the time the revised departure date of April 12 comes around.

Opponents of the petition’s aim have tried to undermine it by claiming it has been overrun by bots, foreign people signing it under the pretence of being British, and multiple signings by the same people. There is no evidence to support these claims.

As for the government’s statement – well, let us examine it.

This Government will not revoke Article 50. We will honour the result of the 2016 referendum and work with Parliament to deliver a deal that ensures we leave the European Union.

Translation: “Expect a general election soon. We are unable to deliver a deal that both Parliament and we can accept.”

It remains the Government’s firm policy not to revoke Article 50. We will honour the outcome of the 2016 referendum and work to deliver an exit which benefits everyone, whether they voted to Leave or to Remain.

But we know that Brexit will harm the economy – that it has already done so, thereby harming those who voted Leave and Remain alike.

Revoking Article 50, and thereby remaining in the European Union, would undermine both our democracy and the trust that millions of voters have placed in Government.

Voters put their trust in governments to lead their nations to prosperity – not ruin. We have seen that Brexit is hugely harmful to the UK economy, yet the Conservative government is determined to pitch us over that metaphorical cliff.

Therefore this statement confirms that the government does not deserve your trust.

The Government acknowledges the considerable number of people who have signed this petition. However, close to three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 referendum, trusting that the result would be respected. This Government wrote to every household prior to the referendum, promising that the outcome of the referendum would be implemented. 17.4 million people then voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at UK Government.

Gosh. And if more than 17.4 million people sign the petition, that will provide the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at the UK government.

One wonders whether this statement, made at a time when the petition is one-third of the way to passing 17.4 million, has been timed to discourage people from signing.

The statement also fails to acknowledge that the question posed by the referendum was flawed, in that no attempt was made to describe the form in which the UK’s departure from the European Union would take. This failure has led to nearly three years of paralysis, with the government failing to strike a withdrawal agreement with the EU, and failing to address the “burning injustices” (as Theresa May famously described them) at home.

It fails to acknowledge that many of the three-quarters of the electorate who took part in the referendum, even though its terms were vague beyond incompetence, may have done so in the knowledge that abstaining might result in a huge national mistake.

And you should note well that the government chooses it set the referendum above the petition, even though it has denied us the opportunity to have another referendum to gauge public feeling now. In such circumstances, it seems the petition is the only avenue via which people may make their opinions felt, but the government is saying it will not take any notice of those opinions. That is not democracy.

British people cast their votes once again in the 2017 General Election where over 80% of those who voted, voted for parties, including the Opposition, who committed in their manifestos to upholding the result of the referendum.

How disingenuous. The government has no way of knowing that any members of the electorate voted on the basis of the parties’ policies on Brexit. Opinion within all UK political parties is divided, as the last few months of deadlock have proved beyond any doubt.

And the electorate votes for candidates – not parties.

This Government stands by this commitment.

Even though it does not know whether the majority of the people voted to support it.

Revoking Article 50 would break the promises made by Government to the British people, disrespect the clear instruction from a democratic vote, and in turn, reduce confidence in our democracy. As the Prime Minister has said, failing to deliver Brexit would cause “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”, and it is imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them.

The whole farce of Brexit has already caused “potentially irreparable damage to public trust”. What else may we conclude from the fact that only seven per cent of the population consider the Conservative government to have handled this matter well?

If it really is “imperative that people can trust their Government to respect their votes and deliver the best outcome for them”, then the current Conservative government has no mandate to continue.

More than 80 per cent of the population do not believe the Conservative government is capable of delivering “the best outcome for them”. Many of us do not believe the Conservative government ever tried to do so.

Based on a response like that quoted above, it seems clear that the UK electorate should demand a general election before this fiasco goes on any longer.

If the Tories are determined to fail us, it is time to seek a government that won’t.

Government ePetitions website crashes as thousands PER MINUTE call for Brexit to be revoked

Backfire: Theresa May’s Brexit statement proved hugely divisive (as she intended) – but with general opinion siding against her (which she probably didn’t). Open mouth, insert foot…

That’s handy, isn’t it? The government ePetitions website crashed at a time when 1,500 people per minute were trying to sign a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked and Brexit halted.

The petition, launched about a month ago, started gaining signatures in huge numbers after Theresa May’s statement yesterday evening (March 20).

It seems signatories objected to the prime minister’s claim that members of the public want her to “get on with” Brexit, and that she is “on your side”.

It had received almost 600,000 signatures when it went down around 9am today (March 21). The site was restored by 9.40am but crashed again shortly afterwards.

Some might say the faults were fortuitous for a government that has done little over the last two years except spend huge amounts of time, effort and money trying to get us all to accept a departure from the European Union that will benefit only a tiny minority, rather than the nation as a whole.

However, at the time of writing (3pm, March 21) it is up again and showing more than one million signatures.

That’s nearly half a million signatures in six hours. Do a quick bit of maths and you’ll see that a question arises:

What if this petition tops 17.4 million signatures – totalling more people than voted for Brexit in the first place?

Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons, addressed this in the debate on her statement regarding the business of the House next week, saying: “Should the petition reach more than 17.4 million signatures, there would be a very clear case for taking action.”

So it seems the general public could have a final say on Brexit after all?

For clarity, if you would like to sign the petition, please visit the government website here.

Theresa May has been reported to the police for endangering MPs in her latest statement

Behind bars: If convicted, Theresa May could face a prison sentence lasting up to six months – which would be a welcome break for everyone.

Alex Tiffin, writer of the Universal Credit Sufferer blog, has reported prime minister Theresa May to the police after she blamed MPs for delaying Brexit in a statement.

He is justified in doing so. As he reports in his article, MPs are increasingly having to endure threats to their personal safety which require them to have security for basic functions like constituency surgeries.

And her outburst yesterday –

– in which she said, “You’re tired of the infighting. You’re tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows. Tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit, when you have real concerns about your children’s schools, our national health service, knife crime. You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side. It is now time for MPs to decide,” provoked a strong response from those she had blamed.

Mr Tiffin quotes a tweet from Labour MP Wes Streeting:

And he quotes Conservative MP Sam Gyimah, who said: “Resorting to the ‘blame game’ as the PM is doing is a low blow. Democracy loses when a PM who has set herself against the HoC then blames MPs for doing their job. Distracts from Art 50 extension, all part of her strategy to run down the clock and rule out other options. Toxic.”

Mr Tiffin himself wrote: “Given the state of politics in the UK just now Theresa may will be well aware that anything she says will carry consequences. Jo Cox MP was murdered by a far-right extremist because of her views. MPs are being accosted daily outside the Houses of Parliament and they face very credible death threats all the time and have had to increase their security.

“Had an ordinary citizen acted in this way, they would at the very least be investigated. She has blamed MPs for delaying Brexit. Such a delicate issue as this should, lead public figures to be careful of that they say. In this case, I can’t see how the Prime Minister thought this was wise.

“At the very least, there should be a full investigation of May’s actions last night and also a review of MPs security arrangements. Anything short of that will tell the public that holding a high office makes you immune from scrutiny under the law.”

We all know that holding high office makes people immune from the law.

You only have to look at the various paedophile scandals that have been swept under the carpet in the last 50 years – some of them by Theresa May – to know that is true.

And I doubt that any investigation would get very far, as it opens the door to investigations into statements by public figures that may have endangered other members of the public.

Wes Streeting himself joined in the condemnation when This Writer was accused of anti-Semitism, and I was certainly forced to endure a large amount of unwelcome – and wholly unwarranted – abuse during that time. Was he responsible? If I had been subjected to physical attack, would he have taken any responsibility for directing the attackers toward me?

What about Rachel Riley and Tracy Ann Oberman, whose unwise behaviour on Twitter caused a huge amount of unwanted and undue attention towards a young teenager?

The relevant law is section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986, under which it is an offence if a person uses “towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour … whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that [unlawful] violence will be provoked”.

We should all await with interest the response from the Metropolitan Police.

This charity chief broke the Tory gagging order on the effect of Universal Credit. Her words are heartbreaking – and infuriating

The lady in the video below is Ellie Waugh, chief executive of the charity Humanity Torbay, which aims to help the vulnerable secure homes, jobs and training.

Part of that mission has involved working with the Conservative government – but this has come with strings attached, including a demand not to criticise Tory policies such as Universal Credit on pain of losing grant aid.

Ms Waugh has chosen to speak out despite these threats because she thinks the public needs to know how bad the situation is.

Her statement is clear: “It is absolutely awful out there.”

Anyone who is not heartbroken by her message and infuriated at the Conservative government for making it necessary, and for creating the situation that made it necessary, should seriously consider trying to find their own humanity.

Please share the clip. People need to see it.

https://www.facebook.com/HumanityTorbay/videos/2204242062919810/?__xts__[0]=68.ARDU0Sb56a7RWSz7D1qmPA3kTStfGfqAqIYIpRKXmZ3o4yzaUaU_oYBru8hvEpnMSdgxTszHIO6lz0vJEZZONNpr7_SVEPcqddTOXluOxl3-DEEVMJi9i_0BW2Kc1jwapSuvnn1NtnIzRv-IcBRVu2DxbPi3WR0WIQwrUCPKaB6ieLtE2M1tcQfyUNw6H8t9nGaEw14adslWJNKUFKiFQKwVtRBwmF73bbVojPc&__tn__=-R

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After Salzburg we thought it couldn’t get worse for Theresa May. It did

Theresa May: She looks like a horse, bridling at the EU’s rejection of her plan.

Faced with an absolute refusal of her useless ‘Chequers’ plan from the EU, Theresa May has doubled down on her own position – with a public statement that piles embarrassment upon humiliation.

She said this:

And this:

I don’t often swear on This Site but I am sure you will understand me when I say: What a bag of sh*t.

What was she trying to achieve with this broadcast? One look at the two Union Flags behind her and you’re thinking of nationalistic pride. Defiance, perhaps? “Britain stands alone”? The “Dunkirk spirit”?

But this is not defiance. This is petulance.

And it is stupidity:

Commentators from all sides have piled in to pour ridicule on Mrs May’s latest attempt to appear strong:

https://twitter.com/MattTurner4L/status/1043128686164279296

She did insult them; she said she would be a “bloody difficult woman” – right, Angela Rayner?

Right. Tom Pride has put her behaviour in a nutshell:

Is that respect? No.

Her demand that the EU propose a solution to Brexit’s insoluble problems is laughable.

So, what are we to conclude?

https://twitter.com/JJenkinsSJB/status/1043127960084066304

That seems clear.

Leaders and representatives of other political parties had their say, too:

It hasn’t all been condemnation, though. Look at the state of this Express headline:

The facts tell a different story, though:

This is true. Every time Mrs May opens her mouth, she makes the entire country poorer.

And Britons living in the EU remain in limbo. What will happen to them? Or don’t they count to Mrs May?

Add it all up and the effect of her little speech is not Churchillian but evokes lines from Shakespear instead:

“A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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Shredded: May’s claim that Russian secret agents committed Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Theresa May had been able to provide a statement on the Salisbury and Amesbury poisonings that we all could believe?

Undoubtedly many people will have swallowed the prime minister’s statement, naming suspects who allegedly work as Russian secret agents – but it seems many do not.

Personally, I think the problem is that there are too many inconsistencies in a story that has changed too many times – and people know this. I was going to write an analysis of these inconsistencies myself – but why not turn it over to the public instead?

What better way to make the point?

The following is part of Hansard’s transcript of Mrs May’s statement to the Commons yesterday, with accompanying comments by members of the public (and a couple from more well-known names) debunking it. I’m only going to cover the evidence provided to support her conclusion, not what she proposes to do, having made it. Let’s begin:

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to update the House on the investigation into the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, and the subsequent poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley earlier this year. This was a sickening and despicable act in which a devastatingly toxic nerve agent, known as Novichok, was used to attack our country. It left four people fighting for their lives and one innocent woman dead.

Fact – A weapons-grade nerve agent is so strong that a person dies immediately or within a few minutes. (Shaka, Twitter)

Forensic investigation has now produced sufficient evidence for the independent Director of Public Prosecutions to bring charges against two Russian nationals for the conspiracy to murder Sergei Skripal; the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey; the use and possession of Novichok; and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Yulia Skripal and Nick Bailey. This morning, the police set out how the two Russian nationals travelled under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, names the police believe to be aliases. They arrived at Gatwick airport at 3 pm on Friday 2 March, having flown from Moscow on flight SU2588.

Daniel Sandford asked a very good question at the press conference this morning. What kind of visas did the two Russian suspects travel to Britain on? The police officer said he didn’t know. But how were the men identified?’ (Neil Clark, Twitter)

[There is also the issue of the photographs that were released by the Met Police, showing the two suspects walking through the entry channel at Gatwick, being ‘doctored’. They show both men walking through the same corridor – at exactly the same time. See Craig Murray’s article for more details including his explanation of why it is unlikely they were walking through different but identical corridors at the same second.]

They travelled by train to London Victoria, then on to Waterloo before going to the City Stay Hotel in Bow Road, east London. They stayed there on both Friday and Saturday evenings, and traces of Novichok were found in their hotel room.

I think she blew it when she said today in PMQT that traces of Novichok were found in the hotel room that they stayed in in London! (Kristina Ramsden, Facebook)

So why don’t we have dead guests who used the room after or dead cleaners?! This stinks IMO. (Vine Hill, Facebook)

On Saturday 3 March, they visited Salisbury, arriving at approximately 2.25 pm and leaving less than two hours later, at 4.10 pm. The police are confident this was for reconnaissance of the Salisbury area. On Sunday 4 March, they made the same journey, travelling by underground from Bow to Waterloo station at approximately 8.05 am, before continuing by train to Salisbury.

The police have today released CCTV footage of the two men

Interesting they’re here for under 3 days but wear diff shoes, hats, one has 2 jkts according to cctv. (Julia Jay, Twitter)

which clearly places them in the immediate vicinity of the Skripals’ house at 11.58 am, which the police say was moments before the attack.

If those two were poisoned at home and then went to a restaurant ate food passed money over staff would of served them and handled their cuttelry and pots and there would of been other diners and yet nothing no sickness nothing but the police man who found them on the park bench nearly died? (Janet Healy, Facebook)

This police reports implies both Skripals did get poisoned around 13:00 with their home single doorknob, and then got their first yet critical symptoms at exactly the same time 16:15 (+/- 2 min). This cannot be physiologically possible. Those are not the guys who hit Skripals. (Mat4Rou, Twitter)

They left Salisbury and returned to Waterloo, arriving at approximately 4.45 pm and boarded the underground at approximately 6.30 pm to Heathrow, from where they returned to Moscow on flight SU2585, departing at 10.30 pm.

This hard evidence has enabled the independent Crown Prosecution Service to conclude it has a sufficient basis on which to bring charges against these two men for the attack in Salisbury. The same two men are now also the prime suspects in the case of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie ​Rowley, too. There is no other line of inquiry beyond this. The police have today formally linked the attack on the Skripals and the events in Amesbury such that it now forms one investigation.

If they were hit men they’d have surely killed. Its thrown up more unanswered questions. (Sharon, Twitter)

Our own analysis, together with yesterday’s report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has confirmed that the exact same chemical nerve agent was used in both cases.

Well it was surpose to be a gel on the front door but it’s a perfume bottle spray for the other 2 you can’t spray gel out of a perfume bottle. (Tiddles Denise Mclean, Facebook)

How can two samples of a toxin taken a couple of months apart be 100% identified as being the one and same used in both incidents? I ask this as the Government themselves claimed at the time that whilst being a very dangerous toxin its rate of degrading would pose no threat within hours to others. Stinks of a security services cover up again to give credence to the original attack claims. (Mark Bennett, Facebook)

With such purported evidence-based certainty, it does make you wonder why Boris Johnson deemed it necessary to make inaccurate statements about Porton Down scientists’ reports which destroyed his government’s credibility in the first instance. (Samson, Twitter)

There is no evidence to suggest that Dawn and Charlie may have been deliberately targeted, but rather they were victims of the reckless disposal of this agent.

Polis combed that park at the time, then after everyone had given up roasting their bullshit a couple a patsy junkies turn up with a bottle of Novichock they happened upon in the park. Totally legit sounding! (Botty McBotface, Twitter)

Yep, we have to believe the bottle carrying the chemical lay for several months in a street bin that was never emptied. (GerryBoyce, Twitter)

The police have today released further details of the small glass counterfeit perfume bottle and box discovered in Charlie Rowley’s house which was found to contain this nerve agent.

They say they found the bottle on a kitchen table, yet Charlie told his brother the bottle splintered in his hand. (Norma Ballingall, Facebook)

[For supporting evidence, visit this story]

How can the police search the house on 10th July – and then find a bottle on a kitchen worktop on 11th July… “Well, I didn’t see that…” (Liam Hennesce, Twitter)

Particularly when what they were searching for was a small bottle of liquid. (Craig Murray, Twitter)

The manner in which the bottle was modified leaves no doubt it was a cover for smuggling the weapon into the country and for the delivery method for the attack against the Skripals’ front door.

Were they in full protective gear when the smeared the front door and if not why are they not dead? (Patrick Mahony, Facebook)

The police investigation into the poisoning of Dawn and Charlie is ongoing, and the police are today appealing for further information. But were these two suspects within our jurisdiction there would be a clear basis in law for their arrest for murder.

I can today tell the House that, based on a body of intelligence, the Government have concluded that the two individuals named by the police and CPS are officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU. The GRU is a highly disciplined organisation with a well-established chain of command, so this was not a rogue operation. It was almost certainly also approved outside the GRU at a senior level of the Russian state.

Having read the official release stating doubt that the names used were their real names, then the belief they are linked to the GRU seems to be lacking evidence. (John Beilby, Facebook)

I did a search of their names, apart from a Russian Actor and a sportsman, nothing, that is after I scrolled past a million me too news articles, but…. I did find several links to Gay Porn actors with said names en route. (Mark Savai, Facebook)

What conclusion does the public draw? This:

Two TOP Russian operatives whose faces we know, but not their names, Failed to kill the target, contaminated their hotel room, and disposed of the bottle casually. My sources say they had a hand in planning 9/11. (SpoilPartyGames, Twitter)

Aaand these highly trained TOP “Russian agents” go about losing “novichok” everywhere, from door handles to bushes in a bottle and hotel rooms. That they’re alive at all is supposedly testimony to their expert handling. (Entelekheia, Twitter)

Now you know what other members of the public think.

Taking it all into account, what do you think?

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New evidence has cast doubt on Theresa May’s Syria claims *WHILE SHE WAS MAKING THEM*

Theresa May: Protesting too much?

If Theresa May thinks we’ll swallow unquestioningly her “statement” on the air strikes she ordered last Friday, she must think we were all born yesterday.

We all know the justification by now, right? The claim is that the town of Douma, in Syria, was attacked by government forces using chemical weapons. These have been banned across the world for a century and the US, UK and France launched air strikes against facilities believed to be involved in the manufacture of chemical weapons for humanitarian reasons – to discourage any further use of such weapons. The strikes were said to be tightly targeted, focused on this single objective.

That was the substance of Mrs May’s speech. But it has been seriously undermined already.

She said: “On Saturday 7 April, up to 75 people, including young children, were killed in a horrific attack in Douma, with as many as 500 further casualties. All indications are that this was a chemical weapons attack. UK medical and scientific experts have analysed open-source reports [she means social media posts], images and video footage from the incident and concluded that the victims were exposed to a toxic chemical. That is corroborated by first-hand accounts from NGOs and aid workers, while the World Health Organisation received reports that hundreds of patients arrived at Syrian health facilities on Saturday night with ‘signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals’.”

But as she was participating in a Parliamentary debate on the air strikes, journalist Robert Fisk published a claim that the casualties in the Douma attack were treated for dust inhalation – and not for a chemical gas attack. Listen:

Fisk Douma

Breaking: Robert Fisk reports doctors in Douma Hospital featured in infamous video, claim patients were being treated for dust inhalation, not gas.

Posted by EL4C on Monday, 16 April 2018

You can also read the Independent article.

“We needed to intervene rapidly to alleviate further indiscriminate humanitarian suffering,” said Mrs May. “It was not just morally right but legally right to take military action, together with our closest allies.

“We have published the legal basis for this action. It required three conditions to be met. First, there must be convincing evidence, generally accepted by the international community as a whole, of extreme humanitarian distress on a large scale, requiring immediate and urgent relief. Secondly, it must be objectively clear that there is no practicable alternative to the use of force if lives are to be saved. Thirdly, the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian suffering, and must be strictly limited in time and in scope to this aim.”

We have already seen that claims of convincing evidence may have been exaggerated – and in any case, claims that action on a humanitarian basis is legal have been disputed. As the use of chemical weapons is now in doubt, the second condition is also unmet – people are still being killed in Syria. Thirdly – well, we’ll come to that.

“This was a limited, targeted and effective strike that would significantly degrade Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and deter their future use, and with clear boundaries that expressly sought to avoid escalation and did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

“As a result, the co-ordinated actions of the US, UK and France were successfully and specifically targeted at three sites. Contrary to what the Leader of the Opposition said at the weekend, these were not “empty buildings”. The first was the Barzeh branch of the Scientific Studies and Research Centre in northern Damascus. This was a centre for the research and development of Syria’s chemical and biological programme. It was hit by 57 American TLAMs and 19 American JASSMs.”

In that case, if chemical weapons were present – or just the ingredients for them – they would have been spread out over a wide area by the explosions. There has been no report of any such contamination.

Quite the opposite, it seems. I accept that the link runs to a report by Russia Today, so perhaps you’d prefer a report by CBS News – the US media outlet. Both make it clear that reporters saw no evidence of harmful chemicals – just anti-venom for snakebites (as reported on This Site previously). We now see that Barzeh was the planned base for the OPCW inspectors, who would have taken up residence there on April 15. Well, it’s rubble now. Who benefits from that?

“The second site was the Him Shinsar chemical weapons bunkers, 15 miles west of the city of Homs, which contained both a chemical weapons equipment and storage facility and an important command post. These were successfully hit by seven French SCALP cruise missiles.

“The third site was the Him Shinsar chemical weapons storage site and former missile base, which is now a military facility. This was assessed to be a location of Syrian sarin and precursor production equipment, whose destruction would degrade Syria’s ability to deliver sarin in the future. This was hit by nine US TLAMs, five naval and two SCALP cruise missiles from France and eight Storm Shadow missiles launched by our four RAF Tornado GR4s. Very careful scientific analysis was used to determine where best to target these missiles to maximise the destruction of stockpiled chemicals and to minimise any risks to the surrounding area. The facility that we targeted is located some distance from any known population centres, reducing yet further any such risk of civilian casualties.”

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, in his response to the statement, pointed out that OPCW inspectors had given both Barzeh and the Him Shinsar facilities a clean bill of health in November 2017.

He said: “In relation to the air strikes against the Barzeh and Him Shinsar facilities, the Prime Minister will be aware that the OPCW carried out inspections on both those facilities in 2017 and concluded that ‘the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations’ under the chemical weapons convention.”

Mention of the OPCW brings us to further questions about the intelligence Mrs May has used:

The new questions are:

  1. If we knew where [Syrian president Bashar al] Assad was stashing his chemical weapons, why did we wait for him to use them again?
  2. If we just bombed chemical weapons factories in Syria, why was the existence of these factories never reported before – to the UN, the OPCW or the public?
  3. Why did the bombing commence before the OPCW had concluded their chemical weapons investigation?

In this context, it was bizarre to hear Mrs May saying that she supports the OPCW investigation, after having blown up the investigators’ base: “”e support strongly the work of the OPCW fact-finding mission that is currently in Damascus.”

She went on to say that she decided to act ahead of any results because the OPCW would not be able to attach blame, due to a Russian veto on a UN resolution to establish such a mechanism. She said: “Even if the OPCW team is able to visit Douma to gather information to make that assessment… it cannot attribute responsibility.

She continued: “Even if we had the OPCW’s findings and a mechanism to attribute, for as long as Russia continued to veto the UN Security Council would still not be able to act.”

So Mrs May hid evidence that Syria was developing chemical weapons from the OPCW, supported a military operation that bombed the OPCW’s planned base of operations, and would have taken part in air strikes no matter what report the OPCW investigators would have given. That doesn’t seem very supportive to me! 

Mrs May denied acting on the orders of US President Donald Trump: “It is in our national interest to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in Syria and to uphold and defend the global consensus that these weapons should not be used, for we cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised—within Syria, on the streets of the UK or elsewhere.”

“On the streets of the UK or elsewhere”. She had to mention the alleged chemical attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, you see. It is as though that incident was staged in order to soften up the British public to the idea of military action on the pretext of preventing the use of such weaponry. Isn’t it?

Mrs May later added: “Last Thursday’s report from the OPCW has confirmed our findings that it was indeed a Novichok in Salisbury… While of a much lower order of magnitude, the use of a nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury is part of a pattern of disregard for the global norms that prohibit the use of chemical weapons.”

The problem is, the lab that tested the Salisbury substance for the OPCW found that it was BZ – a chemical agent apparently used by the UK and the US.

And there is no evidence of chemical weapons at Barzeh, and both that facility and those at Him Shinsar were cleared by the OPCW five months ago.

Without actual evidence of chemical weapons, it is impossible for Mrs May to justify these activities. And she has no evidence.

Mrs May continued: “Why did we not recall Parliament? The speed with which we acted was essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.”

We have established that it wasn’t. Blowing up facilities that have nothing to do with chemical weapons will not alleviate humanitarian suffering (actually, what does that even mean? She was trying to say she was acting on humanitarian principles but mangled the English language instead).

“This was a limited, targeted strike on a legal basis that has been used before.”

And falsely used in this instance.

“And it was a decision that required the evaluation of intelligence and information, much of which was of a nature that could not be shared with Parliament.”

But it could have been shared with other members of the Privy Council, like Mr Corbyn. Clearly it was not, which casts it into doubt.

The best that can be said of Mrs May’s statement is that it is unconvincing.

We have an eyewitness account that the alleged victims of a chemical attack in Douma were in fact under treatment for dust inhalation, there is no evidence that chemical weapons were manufactured or stored at the sites the UK, US and France bombed last weekend (and claims that a Russian chemical weapon was used on the Skripals have been contradicted), so there was no justification for the military action.

On the other hand, Mrs May’s keenness to ascribe the Salisbury poisoning to Russia without evidence, her support for a military adventure that stymied OPCW inspectors, her withholding of evidence – or inability to supply it – from the same organisation – all these elements seem very suspicious indeed.

As this situation is ongoing, further information is likely to become available and I stand ready to be corrected if Mrs May is vindicated.

At the moment, she seems a weak leader, desperately trying to manufacture some popularity – and failing.


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