Tag Archives: Steve

Senior Tories including ‘Brexit Steve’ Baker demand continuation of Covid death spiral

The image above may not be the most sophisticated graphic This Site has ever published, but it is accurate all the same.

The Tory rabble who have been pushing for more deaths in a bid to keep the economy going and their paymasters in big business happy have been pressuring Boris Johnson for another early end to the restrictions he has (laughably) encouraged us all to call a lockdown.

The infection and death rates are back at pre-‘lockdown’ levels, they say, so he she start easing us all back into work at the beginning of March.

Shockingly, arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, clearly believing he hasn’t done enough to wreck the nation, has been traipsing around the broadcast media today, claiming that we need to give Covid-19 a chance at a third wave, for the sake of the poorest in society.

“Think of the poor!” How disgusting.

As the infographic above points out, he couldn’t care less when he voted against letting the poor keep the Universal Credit uplift they need to get by.

In this light, he seems clearly revealed as the kind of opportunist who says whatever he thinks will get him what he wants.

And he isn’t the only one:

Lockdown-sceptic Tories have piled pressure on Boris Johnson, calling on him to commit to a timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions with a complete end to controls by the end of April.

In a letter to the prime minister, the leaders of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said the “tremendous pace” of the vaccination rollout meant restrictions should begin easing from early March.

They said ministers must produce a cost-benefit analysis to justify any controls that remain in place after that date, with a “roadmap” stating when they would be removed.

The letter was organised by the CRG chair and deputy chair, Mark Harper and Steve Baker, and was said to have the backing of 63 Conservative MPs in all. However, scientists advising the government are warning that lifting restrictions too quickly risks another wave of the disease as big as the current one.

Of course, 63 Tory MPs in rebellion isn’t enough to bother Johnson – the Tory majority in Parliament is 80 – but it might be enough to rattle his cage, reminding him that he needs to keep his members happy.

He has already said he hopes to map out a “cautious” route out of lockdown on February 22 – next Monday.

The CRG people, led by Baker and Mark Harper, reckon they can dictate its pace – demanding that schools reopen by March 8 and hospitality businesses by Easter.

So we’ll be well on the way to another surge by Whitsun, then.

Source: Tory MPs tell Johnson to commit to lifting Covid restrictions by end of April | World news | The Guardian

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Tory heretic Baker says Church of England could lose official status for criticising Brexit

Steve Baker: what’s the line I’m looking for? “Before he demands the bishops remove the mote from their eye, he should remove the plank from his own”?

Perhaps Steve Baker should be excommunicated? His true religion appears to be Brexit, anyway.

After Church of England bishops spoke out in the House of Lords against Boris Johnson’s ridiculous ‘Australia-style’ (read: ‘no deal’) Brexit, the oily Baker slithered straight to The Times with his ridiculous suggestion.

The Times is behind a paywall, which limits the damage. I certainly won’t pay Rupert Murdoch any money just to see what he said… but then I don’t have to. Here’s what he said:

I don’t know why Tories say stupid things like this, though. It only lays them wide open to mockery and ridicule, viz.:

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DWP says there’s no need to review its safeguarding procedures. The late Stephen Smith might disagree

Remember the Department for Work and Pensions’ rejection of a petition demanding an independent review of its safeguarding procedures, after the death of Jodey Whiting?

The department had ignored its own safeguarding procedures no less than five times before Ms Whiting committed suicide in February 2017.

But the DWP said it had no plans for an inquiry into its treatment of claimants – and destroyed a report on other safeguarding failures – in only 18 London job centres – rather than allow it to become public after a Freedom of Information request was submitted for its release.

Only days after this became public knowledge, we learned that Stephen Smith – the man who was reduced to a state similar to concentration camp victims due to starvation caused by deprivation of benefits – had died.

He had succumbed to pneumonia which he had contracted as a result of DWP sanctions.

Now we find that the DWP had ignored the advice in not just one, but two letters from Mr Smith’s doctors, in its determination to find him fit for work in the fact of the evidence that he was not.

This is what one GP wrote in October 2017, after listing the serious health issues suffered by Mr Smith, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cervical spondylosis, osteoarthritis and the fact he had been fitted with a urinary catheter because of ongoing urinary issues:

“These medical conditions adversely impact upon his mobility and upon the activities used to assess eligibility for ESA and PIP. The nature of these chronic problems is such that they will worsen over time and mean that his mobility and functionality is impaired on a daily basis.

“Mr Smith will be in pain on standing and at the commencement of walking. Whilst on the balance of probability, he would be able to walk 20 metres, in my opinion, he could not mobilise a distance of twenty metres repeatedly without needing to stop due to pain and breathlessness.

“It is my opinion that not only could Mr Smith not walk 20 metres without pain or exhaustion, he coult not do it repeatedly or within a reasonable time period.

“In terms of cooking, his very limited respiratory tolerance, and his difficulties with lifting means that in practical term anything other than straightforward microwave cooking is likely to be beyond his physical capabilities.

“The need to monitor and change his catheter requires medical input and it would therefore be reasonable to describe Mr Smith as requiring assistance with toilet needs.

“The identified restrictions affecting Mr Smith’s mobility and daily living activities have been present for more than three months and, given the nature of his medical complaints, are likely to remain beyond the next nine months.”

Despite this expert advice, the DWP’s pen-pushers decided they knew better and found him fit for work, so in January 2018 another GP wrote to them again, as follows:

“Following a recent Work Capability Assessment this patient, in contradiction of my own knowledge of the patient over time, clinical assesment and medical certification, was found fit for work related activity.

“Because of my patient’s health condition there would be a substantial risk to my patient’s health if he were found not to have limited capability for work related activity.”

(Source: Revealed: Warnings about dying Stephen Smith that were cruelly ignored by the DWP – Liverpool Echo)

There was indeed a substantial risk to Mr Smith’s health. It was called the Department for Work and Pensions, and it led to his eventual death.

It’s a clear case of corporate manslaughter but nobody is facing any recriminations over it at all. The DWP says it is an “operational matter” and refuses to comment on it in any way other than that “lessons will be learned”, or some such blather.

Will any lessons be learned? We may find out the answer sooner than the DWP would like – ironically, from a man with almost the same name as the deceased.

Steve Smith had a stroke 11 years ago which left him paralysed from head to toe down the left side of his body.

The life-threatening condition struck while he was on holiday in Turkey. He also had a brain haemorrhage and spent six weeks in hospital abroad where surgeons had to cut away his skull and operate on his brain.

After flying back to England, he was given a year to recuperate by his employers but after his condition failed to improve he lost his job.

After years in receipt of Disability Living Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance – and with no sign of improvement in his condition – it seems the DWP has arbitrarily decided he is fit for work and shut down his ESA claim.

You can read about his ordeal here.

Will he be the next victim of a government department that seems free to condemn people at will, and with impunity? And what can be done to get justice for people like Jodey Whiting and Stephen Smith?


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Steve Barclay is the new Brexit Secretary. Who’s he?

“Who’s Steve Barclay?” I hear you cry.

And with good reason. I had absolutely no idea until he was named as Brexit Secretary.

It turns out he’s a career Tory politician who joined that party after leaving university in 1994.

He failed to gain Parliamentary seats from other parties twice – in 1997 and 2001, and it is worth noting that the North Cambridgeshire seat he currently occupies is habitually Conservative – he took it over from Malcolm Moss in May 2010.

He also took over as organiser of the Carlton Political Dinner, which raises money for the Conservative Party’s target seats, in 2007. As an MP, he is noteworthy for having been completely insignificant; he was named by ConservativeHome as one of a minority of loyal Conservative backbench MPs not to have voted against the government in any significant rebellions.

Mr Barclay had been a minister of state for health since January this year, a position in which nobody noticed him at all.

It has been reported that he will not be allowed to carry out any Brexit negotiations, meaning the role of Brexit Secretary now exists in name alone.

So it is unsurprising that Owen Jones should have commented on his appointment as follows:

The hollow nature of his appointment attracted comparison with former role-holders David Davis and Dominic Raab:

Others have picked up on the silliness of the situation:

He hasn’t resigned. There’s no reason for him to do so.

He doesn’t have a job description.

But then, why should he? He is a nobody.

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