Tag Archives: Steve

Amplifier confiscation destroys all Boris Johnson’s work attacking Russia. Here’s how

Politically closer than comfort allows? Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin.

Oh what a shame. After all his talk about opposing Russia, someone has pointed out that Boris Johnson imitates the repression of that country.

Labour’s Chris Bryant was pointing out that the removal of ‘Stop Brexit Steve’ Bray’s amplifiers, which he used to protest against the UK’s departure from the EU, was reminiscent of the kind of suppression of the people for which Russia used to be famous.

The equipment was taken under a clause of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act that seems to have been written specifically in order to allow Mr Bray’s equipment to be removed.

In the clip you can hear Andrea Leadsom weakly trying to defend the draconian policy – but even she knows she’s on a hiding to nothing.

See/hear for yourself:

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Fascism? Anti-Brexit protester silenced (almost) on day anti-protest Act comes into law

How do you like the new British fascism?

On the very day the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act that bans “noisy” protest became law, police swooped on anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray and confiscated his amplifiers.

Mr Bray, of Port Talbot, has been a regular feature in Westminster for many years, protesting against Brexit. He regularly used his equipment to broadcast protest songs about Boris Johnson, notably during Prime Minister’s Questions.

But after the new Act came into force, which extends a “controlled area” around Westminster where activities like sleeping in a tent are restricted, around 15 police officers swooped on Mr Bray and took his equipment:

According to the Mirror,

One clause that commenced this morning is for police to “impose conditions on one-person protests” – a law critics have speculated was drawn up because of Mr Bray.

A senior police officer can impose conditions on a one-person protest if they “reasonably believe” the noise it creates “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation in the vicinity, or have a significant, relevant impact on people in the vicinity.”

This disruption includes if people in the organisation can’t “reasonably carry out any one of their activities for a prolonged period of time.”

This Writer has seen no evidence that this was the case when Mr Bray’s equipment was taken.

I would certainly encourage you to read the Mirror article, especially the comments by representatives of organisations opposing the draconian measures in the Act. They make its consequences very clear.

This is likely to be the mildest example of the new policy’s enforcement.

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StarmerLabour launches new smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn – and it is VERY shady

Backstabbers? Steve Reed attacked Jeremy Corbyn in the Mirror, as The Times suggested Keir Starmer would try to push Corbyn out of the Labour Party by whatever means necessary.

News moves fast. When This Writer published an article speculating on Keir Starmer possibly planning to dishonestly push Jeremy Corbyn out of Labour, it seems the party leader had already put this into action.

In a Mirror interview, new shadow justice secretary Steve Reed put out a claim that Labour “cared more about criminals than their victims” under Jeremy Corbyn. He said:

“Given the period that Labour’s gone through over the last 10 years, but particularly under the last leadership – the days when Labour cared more about the criminals than about their victims are well and truly over.”

Mr Reed said rehabilitation and tackling the causes of crime are essential. But he added: “I think when Jeremy Corbyn was the leader, we gave the impression that we were more concerned about the criminals than about their victims.

Let’s put the record straight: Jeremy Corbyn saw the Conservatives as being the party that was soft on crime – as has every Labour leadership since Tony Blair. Consider Skwawkbox‘s reaction to Reed’s smear:

Leaving aside the obvious, that rehabilitating criminals makes us all safer, the claims are an outright falsehood. Labour’s 2019 manifesto was clear on the need for a strong justice system, promising to:

• end short prison sentences
• recruit and fund 5,000 more prison officers
• recruit and fund 10,000 more police officers
• recruit and fund 1,000 more border guards

It does seem strange that Reed tries to say Mr Corbyn’s plan to do that means he “cared more about criminals”, while at the same time saying rehabilitation of criminals is useful.

A bit hypocritical, perhaps?

But then, Reed himself says – and seems proud of it – that he helped set up the Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) which (while it has successfully campaigned for the removal of some genuinely poisonous individuals from the social media) is best-known as a highly-politicised pressure group that targets left-wing websites with vicious campaigns.

We’ve known of CCDH’s behaviour – and its origin as a creation of right-wing Labour to smear the left – for more than a year.

The organisation lists as its “ambassador” – and she has been described as its only patron in the past – Rachel Riley. This backfired badly against it when she announced she was supporting its “Don’t Feed The Trolls” campaign in 2019.

My CrowdJustice site, raising money to defend me against libel claims by Riley, suddenly enjoyed an unexpected windfall from people reacting against what they saw as the TV host’s hypocrisy.

Just read some of the comments in the article linked above and you’ll see clear evidence.

So not only is Reed smearing Corbyn with a false claim about his attitude to crime, but he is associated with an organisation whose patron has habitually smeared Corbyn with unsupported accusations.

If this is how Keir Starmer hopes to undermine support for his immediate forerunner as Labour leader, he’ll deserve the massive backlash that I expect to see him suffer.

Source: Steve Reed interview: Labour ‘cared more about criminals than victims’ under Corbyn – Mirror Online

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Tory #SteveBaker reckons #BorisJohnson is facing #checkmate over #Partygate

Steve Baker.

Boris Johnson’s position must be precarious indeed if arch-Brexiter Steve Baker is saying he’s had his day.

Baker, interviewed by the BBC’s Nick Robinson, admitted that Johnson wasn’t elected for his grasp of “tedious rules”, but… well, see/hear it for yourself:

It’s possible that this MP’s words are motivated by his own issues with Johnson’s Covid-19 strategy.

But Johnson is (prematurely, perhaps) scrapping health protection measures (Baker would call them restrictions) related to the Omicron wave of Covid-19. As a staunch opponent of Covid-related protections that hinder the economy, Baker might be expected to get behind his prime minister in support, and not to stab him in the back.

But the crux of the matter is Johnson’s persistent breaking of his own Covid-19 rules. Perhaps this has offended Baker’s sense of fair play (if a Tory can be said to have such a thing): the rest of us have been having to abide by rules that Baker didn’t think were necessary, yet Johnson seemed clearly to have decided to ignore them, even before he read them out to us.

It’s likely that this is the reason Baker denounced Johnson’s behaviour as “appalling”, saying the public were right to be “furious” and suggesting that the prime minister is facing “checkmate”.

The word from Downing Street is still to wait until Sue Gray reports on her inquiry. But she’s a Johnson employee, of course.

And with accusations that Johnson’s allies are blackmailing Tory MPs to withhold “no confidence” letters, will we really have to wait that long until he’s ousted?

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Interview: as Insulate Britain returns to our roads, here’s why you should support them

Back on the streets: Insulate Britain.

Activists from Insulate Britain have rekindled their campaign for better home insulation by supergluing themselves to roads in Liverpool Street, Limehouse Causeway, Bishopsgate and Upper Thames Street.

What a nuisance, right?

Wrong. Well, it’s wrong if you love your relatives and friends, anyway.

And it seems people are getting it – because members of the public reportedly told the protesters they were “doing a good job”.

It seems the organisation has gained a lot of ground since a London mother tried to run over members in a Range Rover because she wanted to drive her son to school:

The police were informed…

… so This Writer is sure we’ll hear more about that incident in due course.

But what is Insulate Britain all about? And what does insulation have to do with disrupting road traffic?

Vox Political had a chance to find out when This Writer interviewed Insulate Britain’s Steve Gower – appropriately enough, on a road. I recorded the chat, so you can hear it right here:

If you are deaf, please find a text version of the interview below:

Who are you? That’s a good start, isn’t it?

Yeah. I’m Steve Gower. I’m a volunteer advocate for the homeless, I’m currently unemployed, and I’m working – working! – I’m also a member of Insulate Britain.

Right. So what is Insulate Britain?

Insulate Britain is a group of individuals and a campaign that have made a demand to the government to insulate all the council and social housing properties in this country and to provide a meaningful statement to prove that they are serious about reducing the amount of CO2 in the environment [in accordance with] the Paris Agreement of 2015 that they’ve signed up to, by 2025.

How are you doing it?

By completing non-violent direct action around the M25 and surrounding areas.

Why around the M25?

Because unless a financial crisis happens as in disruption to the Capital, the government will not listen.

That’s the important point, I think, because we see it on the news – well, we do; you go and do it – and there’s a kind of disconnect, I suppose, because of the way it’s reported. We need to know what the necessity is. People need to find out why you are doing the things you are doing.

I agree with you there. We made a statement – I personally posted a written statement to the government in August, where our demands were exactly that – the insulation and retrofit of all council and social properties to be completed. Not just talked about, because we’ve been promised this before.

Over 20 years ago, the government of the day recognised that 50,000 people in the UK were losing their lives through the cold in their own homes. 20 years on, nothing substantial has changed. We have got the leakiest homes, not only in the whole of the UK, but in Europe as well.

Would it be spectacularly expensive for them to do? Is there any financial disincentive for them to do it?

It’s not going to be cheap – but my personal answer to that is [to ask] how much value you put on the life of your child, the life of your grandchild, or the life of your grandmother or grandfather.

In financial terms every house is different, but it has been estimated between £500 billion and £1 trillion or £1.1 trillion over a 10-year period.

Okay, but against that you balance the lives that are saved, and of course if you wanted to put it in money terms, a life has a huge economic value. So the economic argument doesn’t work anyway because it’s the equivalent of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The other figure is that for every pound that is spent retrofitting and installing insulation into people’s properties, you will gain £3.20 back.

Yes, there you go.

But I’m not in it for the money. I’m in it for my children and my children’s children.

Quite, but I think it is worth putting out there: there is no economic argument for it anyway.

If there was an economic argument about this, because we’ve put ourselves in debt, this country has been in debt since 1690. We have found money when we needed it in the past 3- or 400 years, for disasters or even wars. This is a humanitarian crisis on our island.

That’s right, because the UK of course is the home of the magic money tree.

[Laughter] You said that, not me!

I’ve been saying it for a while now. So you’ve been doing these demonstrations on the M25, these acts to disrupt, I suppose-

And for this conversation. You’re only talking to me now because of the fact that we’ve been on the roads for the last [few] weeks.

That’s exactly right.

I’ve been a ground worker in my past life. I’ve built houses in that lifetime. Those houses are not fit for purpose; they are as leaky as the ones I’ve mentioned before – we’ve got the leakiest properties in Europe. New properties today are within that scope as well. They will need retrofitting in the future. They are today not fit for purpose.

Strangely enough I was hearing something on the radio about that, only the other day. The idea is that they put plans up for approval based on how a place will look and then they try to put everything into it afterwards. It’s always many years behind the times.

There are houses today – built – that are eco-friendly and have zero carbon emissions. Every house, by law, has to be rated from A to G. My personal property is a one-bedroom flat, category E. I don’t drive – I can’t afford to drive, unfortunately. But if you drive, a family car emits less CO2 than my flat over the course of a year.

Wow!

Also, as I mentioned before, I’ve built properties – as the boys and the girls are doing now in the construction industry – that are not fit for purpose. With this – what we’re asking for – are proper insulation and retrofit, which will mean quality jobs, valuable jobs, and houses that will be fit for purpose, for not only the next 10 or 20 years but possibly into the next century.

How proud we would be of that! How proud a job, and significant, that you are building not only a house, and a home, for a family, but saving the planet as well.

Right. That’s what you’ve been doing; those are your reasons. What has the response been from the authorities?

We’ve had no response other than a mention in the Tory Party conference from Boris himself, calling us this, that and the other…

What an honour!

What an honour, yeah, it has been! I, and many of my comrades and friends on this campaign, may – probably will – end up in jail for our actions: non-violent, direct action.

But we are just the messengers. The real traitor in this episode is our government. They are traitors to our country by knowingly allowing people to die prematurely this winter, as they have done for the last 20 or 30 years.

There are estimates of tens of thousands of people living in fuel poverty who won’t be alive this time next year and we are the ones who will probably end up in the dock and in jail. That just tells you what sort of country we are in today.

And that’s the treachery of it as well, of course, that instead of taking you seriously, they are punishing you for doing something – for drawing attention to something that they should have been doing anyway.

They’ve got one job. For the safety and the well-being of the people.

Yeah, but they’re not very good at it…

Do you have a message for people out there who might be a bit confused about what’s going on?

We’ve got [a few] days now for the government to make up its mind what it’s going to do with our actions and the reasons behind them. It’s also an opportunity for the population of this country to find out exactly what we’re asking for.

We’ve had accusations of not letting ambulances through. There’s footage – I’m in one of the clips actually, where we let an ambulance through. That is the policy of Insulate Britain – to let any blue light through our barricade.

So you’ve got propaganda against you as well, then.

We apologise for temporarily halting the lives of individuals getting to school, getting to work and what have you; I have been, in the last 20 years, obviously, a parent; I have worked all the hours God sent on a construction site and had injury at work as well, and still gone back to work.

Where it has got me is where I’ve built houses that aren’t fit for purpose. I’ve built schools that I couldn’t afford to send my son to. And I’ve built shopping malls that I couldn’t afford to shop at.

You are looking at Christmas Future. I don’t want you to have the same future that I am living today. When I left school there was one job to every 10 individuals. They wrote a song about it.

Today the tables are turned. The people and the workforce, the working class, have got more power today than they’ve ever had because of the circumstances – what’s gone on for the past two years. They shouldn’t be rushing to work. They should be given a decent wage and decent working rights. That needs to be told as well.

This will not only provide quality jobs, but we demand that we want quality products as well.

Four years ago an incident shook the country, most of Europe and the world, and that was Grenfell. The materials that go on our houses tomorrow have got to be fit for purpose and not substandard. That is also what is on the agenda here.

How they do it – and this is my personal belief but I think there’s a lot of support for it – is we look after our own – we get local craftsmen, local jobs, local workers, local builders to do our work for us. We don’t want the corporates involved, and that includes the materials as well.

They’ve got to be sustainable materials, and certainly not the ones we’ve seen – unfortunately – in Grenfell.

Absolutely right. Okay?

Thank you.

That’s cool.

AFTERWORD:

So there you have it.

Trying to save many thousands of lives – and attack climate change – by improving home insulation=BAD. Actually aiding drug and financial crime=GOOD. That’s apparently according to the people who guard the law.

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Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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Shock for Tories as they learn austerity affects THEIR voters too

Steve Baker: the pro-austerity, pro-Brexit High Wycombe MP is claiming surprise that his constituents are starving, and trying to blame it on Covid-19 rather than the policies he wholeheartedly supported.

Tories like Steve Baker, whose High Wycombe constituency has been found to be suffering high levels of poverty-induced hunger, are trying to blame it on Covid-19.

This is not true.

And the falsehood should be pointed out to them.

Yes, the claim that “Mother” puts, below, is correct:

But High Wycome – and Buckinghamshire in general – were identified as suffering from these problems eight years ago. That’s long before anyone ever heard of Covid-19:

So it seems that Tom Bradley has the right idea:

It seems some Tories are using the revelation (in fact nothing of the kind, as the information has been available since 2013) to call for the loss of the £20 Universal Credit “uplift” to be rethought.

Doubtless they will want more for their constituencies as well.

But can you see what this means, for austerity-loving economic incompetents like Rishi Sunak?

He’ll say the money will have to come from somewhere else, and will cut vital funding to constituencies that haven’t voted Tory. See if he doesn’t!

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Regret as Beckett withdraws from Unite union leadership election in favour of Turner

Withdrawing: Howard Beckett.

Howard Beckett has withdrawn from the campaign to elect the next general secretary of the UK’s biggest trade union – to gasps of disappointment from members and commentators.

He has announced that he will be supporting fellow left-wing candidate Steve Turner against hard-right Gerard Coyne, who many consider to be a threat to the union, and who is also considered to be politically allied to disastrous Labour “leader” Keir Starmer.

You can read Beckett’s announcement here:

In This Writer’s opinion, the wrong man is going forward.

Just take a look at Beckett’s Twitter output in comparison with Turner’s and you’ll see that the former showed a commitment to campaigning – on a variety of issues – that the latter did not. Here’s Beckett’s feed from the last few days:

Here’s Turner’s:

There is a third left-wing candidate – Sharon Graham – who seems to lack any purpose other than to split the left-wing vote, thereby allowing the hard-right Coyne to take over. She certainly hasn’t made much of an impression on This Writer in any other respect.

The loss of Beckett as a candidate is likely to hit Unite members hard.

Many of them considered him to be the natural successor to Len McCluskey and the only hope for the future of the union – and are likely to boycott the vote as a result, making it more likely that the right-wing Coyne will win.

I would certainly urge those people to reconsider. A lesser left-winger is still far better than a right-winger who is likely to dismantle Unite in terms of everything it stands for.

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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.:

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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