Tag Archives: strategy

Boris Johnson to launch food strategy: work harder for less

Soil degradation: It’s a huge threat to UK farmers but Boris Johnson seems to be encouraging them to over-farm their land and ruin it.

Boris Johnson really is the lawmaker of diminishing returns, isn’t he?

He’s about to launch his new ‘Grow for Britain’ plan – the UK’s first food strategy since the country was in the midst of rationing 75 years ago –

Rationing. Doesn’t that say everything about the poverty of Johnson’s thinking?

and it’s all about working harder for no material gain.

The food strategy… will say farmers need to be more productive and that planning rules should be relaxed to make it easier to convert land into farms to grow fruit and vegetables.

The document points out that currently, 57 per cent of British produce comes from 33 per cent of agricultural land – showing that farms could be more productive.

So – what, Johnson wants to over-farm our land, reducing it to uselessness in a few years’ time?

The strategy is also expected to contain plans to solve the migrant worker shortage, including by giving new seasonal worker visas to poultry workers on British turkey farms and replacing fruit pickers from eastern Europe with robots.

Is this the thin end of a wedge that will take jobs away from working people in the UK, increasing poverty, homelessness, lawlessness and illness?

Even though Britain’s climate would previously have prevented the growing of many crops, farmers now use “a new generation of sustainable and efficient greenhouses” which “provides opportunities to reduce our reliance on overseas production”, the strategy is to say.

Monday’s strategy will announce a “focus on pioneering more organic-based fertilisers” that are less reliant on global supply chains.

But the strategy will not announce any immediate support for households, focusing instead on “longer-term measures to support a resilient, healthier and more sustainable food system”

… but not a resilient, healthier and more sustainable population.

This is a short-term people-pleaser to win more votes for a prime minister with no idea how to fix the real problems underpinning the current crises destabilising the UK.

He’s just trying to shore up his own position and win a few votes from gullible people in rural constituencies like Tiverton & Honiton.

Source: Boris Johnson unveils ‘grow for Britain’ plan

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Boris Johnson said he would take control of energy prices. Another lie?

Duper’s delight yet again: was this the look on Boris Johnson’s face when he announced his new energy strategy that won’t reduce your bill or help you in any way at all?

Boris Johnson has short-changed the people of the United Kingdom yet again with his hopeless “energy strategy”.

I put the words “energy strategy” in quotation marks above because very little of it makes strategic sense and neither is it in any way energetic.

How is building hugely expensive and polluting nuclear power stations, that won’t be ready until 2050, going to reduce my energy bill today? It isn’t.

How is building offshore wind farms by 2030 going to reduce my energy bill today? It isn’t.

And when is Johnson going to order the privatised energy firms to cut their bills? Never.

That’s right – never.

If he had any intention of helping reduce your bills, his “strategy” would have started with a plan to insulate everybody’s home so that we wouldn’t have to use as much electricity and gas as we do now.

We’re told the Treasury has blocked such ideas but if Johnson really wanted to help us, he would have told Rishi Rich where to stuff his objections.

The fact is that, by his inaction, Johnson has condemned us to endure high energy costs for years, if not decades, to come. It’s what he wants.

It makes a nonsense of his claim that “we’re setting out bold plans to scale up and accelerate affordable, clean and secure energy made in Britain, for Britain… so we can enjoy greater energy self-sufficiency with cheaper bills.”

The people of the UK need cheaper bills now, not in 10 or 20 years time when other costs will have increased, when the energy company executives have become even more greedy and therefore when it won’t make a scrap of difference.

And why is nobody mentioning the elephant in the room – that if Johnson re-nationalised the energy firms, he could wipe away the unnecessary costs of making profits for their (mostly foreign) shareholders at a stroke?

For all the hot air he has spouted, Johnson isn’t helping you at all. He’s helping himself and his fatcat friends with a grotesque lie.

Source: PM promises to take back control of energy costs in long-awaited strategy | Evening Standard

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Why are the Tories running a survey on a planned disability strategy without telling anyone?

If you have a disability, did you know about this? It has been running since January 15.

Has there been a whisper about it in the national, or even local media?

If so, This Writer hasn’t seen it.

I was alerted to it by a contact, to whom I think we should all be grateful.

Let’s try to get the following shared with as many people as possible – obviously anybody with a disability needs to see it and take part.

Because it seems people with disabilities are the last ones the Tories want to hear from.

The Disability Unit at the Cabinet Office is developing a National Strategy for Disabled People. Publication is planned for Spring 2021.

To help the government with understanding the barriers that disabled people face and what it may need to focus upon to improve the lives of disabled people, we need to hear about your views and know more about your experiences.

This survey will ask about your life experiences either as a disabled person, a carer or parent or as someone who has an interest in disability issues.

Many people have had big changes in their lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and there will be an opportunity at the end of the survey to state if your life has changed notably due to COVID-19, and in what ways. However, please answer other questions thinking about yourself, your own experiences and your current situation.

The survey will be open until 23 April 2021. Responses received before 13 February 2021 will inform the development of the National Strategy, while those received after this date used to inform its delivery.

Source: UK Disability Survey – Disability Unit – Citizen Space

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Did Matt Hancock axe Fat Boris’s national anti-obesity fight after just one month?

Matt Hancock: the eyes are open but the brain is dead.

Apparently so.

Boris Johnson launched a new strategy to tackle obesity in the UK – claiming it was crucial in the fight against Covid-19 – only for Matt Hancock to close the organisation running it.

It was unlikely ever to come to anything, because the scheme was being run by Tories and they are ideologically opposed to changing the systemic poverty that forces people to buy unhealthy (but cheap) food.

But nobody expected Health Secretary Hancock to axe the organisation that was running it – Public Health England – while Johnson was on his holibobs in Scotland.

He has made no directions on how the initiative will proceed.

Hancock’s failure to realise that PHE has work other than the fight against Covid-19 signifies disastrous incompetence in a minister of the Crown.

And failure to acknowledge this and deliver an appropriate punishment – in this case, the removal of Hancock from ministerial duties – would signify disastrous incompetence in a Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson is back from his holibobs now.

What’s he going to do?

Source: UK anti-obesity fight ‘at risk’ after Matt Hancock closes health agency | Obesity | The Guardian

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Tories want to hire a new ‘head of pandemic preparedness’ – after they axed the old systems for doing that

Head of Pandemic Un-preparedness: Boris Johnson’s reaction to Covid-19 was so poor that he actually caught the disease himself and then sent us all letters, claiming to provide advice on how not to do the same.

The Tories have been accused of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, after they advertised for a new ‘head of pandemic preparedness’ six months into the Covid crisis.

But the facts are actually worse than that.

The idea is to pay someone £61,000 a year to “learn the lessons” (how many times have we heard that?) from the crisis and ensure the UK is properly prepared for any similar situation in the future.

And yes, it is too late for all that.

But the reason it’s too late is that the Tories spent the last 10 years dismantling the UK’s system of preparation for any pandemic disease.

I wrote about this back in March so perhaps people have forgotten. Here’s the gist:

The UK government has strategies for dealing with events like this. The Cabinet Office keeps a National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies which it must keep up-to-date – and every single copy of this document ever made lists “pandemic flu” as the most probable and devastating threat to the UK.

This means the government has devised strategies to deal with such a threat. The problem is, they are all out of date.

Oldest of them all is the guide to dealing with the fatalities of the pandemic,  last published in 2008. This has never been updated since the Conservatives took over responsibility for it.

The last strategy written specifically to deal with pandemic flu was published in 2011 – the same year David Cameron’s Conservative-led Coalition government closed the dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team based in the Department of Health, which was tasked with tackling this type of crisis.

It may explain much that the government’s UK Pandemic Influenza Communications Strategy, the crucial document for getting the right messages across to the public, was written in 2012 and is now wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people get their information.

In October 2016, David Cameron’s now wholly-Conservative government carried out an exercise to estimate the impact of a hypothetical influenza pandemic on the United Kingdom. Exercise Cygnus showed that such a pandemic would cause the country’s health system to collapse, due to a lack of resources.

The Chief Medical Officer of the time said that a lack of medical ventilators was a serious problem that should be rectified, but in 2017 this advice was ignored by the Department of Health under Jeremy Hunt – because it would cost too much. The government was committed to austerity policies, remember.

So you see, we used to have whole teams dedicated to ensuring that the UK could weather a pandemic without serious harm to the population.

And the Tories got rid of the lot.

And now they want to replace them with a single person.

So let’s float a wild theory.

Is it possible that the Tories knew a pandemic like Covid-19 could cause huge numbers of unnecessary deaths, and decided to allow it to happen?

I’ll answer that for you: we know it is because it is exactly what Boris Johnson advocated on live television in early March.

Is it possible that all their decisions since then have been dedicated to this end, rather than towards saving people’s lives, and this is why every single strategy they have started has been a dismal failure?

And, in line with this thinking…

Is it possible that this position will be nothing more than a “figurehead” role, to be quietly dissolved after a few years so we can all fall victim to the next viral disaster?

Source: Government to hire ‘Head of Pandemic Preparedness’ six months into Covid-19 crisis – Mirror Online

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Coronavirus: Higher death rate in poorer areas – because that’s what the Tories want

Well, what do you know? The useless Tory compensation schemes mean poorer people are going hungry, and there’s a higher death rate in poorer areas.

Coincidence? Don’t kid yourself.

People living in more deprived areas of England and Wales are more likely to die with coronavirus than those in more affluent places, new figures suggest.

Office for National Statistics analysis shows there were 55 deaths for every 100,000 people in the poorest parts of England, compared with 25 in the wealthiest areas.

Mortality rates are normally higher in poorer areas. But the ONS said coronavirus appeared to be adding to the problem.

It isn’t just the coronavirus adding to the problem.

It is clear that the Tories have arranged affairs – via their inadequate compensation schemes for working people – so the coronavirus can be the excuse when a disproportionate number of poor people die.

But I suppose it’s unpatriotic to point that out while Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock and the others are busy eliminating my friends and yours?

Source: Coronavirus: Higher death rate in poorer areas, ONS figures suggest – BBC News

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Families are going hungry because of Conservatism, not the coronavirus

Tories harm children: the coronavirus is just the latest excuse they’re using.

Why should we be surprised? The Tories have a history of lying when they say we’re all in it together.

It seems our caring government has engineered the coronavirus crisis to ensure that the number of households with children going hungry has doubled since lockdown began.

Millions of people are struggling to afford basic food items as parents lose income and both the school meal voucher scheme and food banks are overwhelmed:

New data … has revealed that almost a fifth of households with children have been unable to access enough food in the past five weeks, with meals being skipped and children not getting enough to eat as already vulnerable families battle isolation and a loss of income.

The strain on larger families, single parent homes and those with disabled children has been immense. A reported 30 per cent of lone parents and 46 per cent of parents with a disabled child are facing food insecurity and finding it difficult to manage basic nutritional needs at home.

With schools no longer providing a reprieve for children reliant on free breakfast clubs and school lunches, poorer families are at crisis point.

A government scheme to give pupils food vouchers worth £15 a week until schools reopen has been beset with problems, with many parents unable to download the vouchers or redeem them in supermarkets.

According to the Food Foundation, of the 621,000 children who were accessing free breakfast clubs before the pandemic, only 136,000 are being provided with an alternative. However, 31% of children entitled to free school meals are still not getting any substitute, leaving more than 500,000 children going without.

Food banks have been overwhelmed with demand during the lockdown. Last Friday, the Trussell Trust reported an 81 per cent increase in people needing support from its food banks at the end of March compared with the same period last year.

Demand from children for food-bank services had also increased by 121 per cent. The Independent Food Network reported a similar surge, with a 59 per cent increase in demand for emergency food support between February and March.

This is not an accident. The Conservatives are deliberately using the pandemic to punish the most vulnerable in society yet again – and to bring those who had been more secure down to the same level.

It’s ironic. Many of these families are likely to have voted Conservative in December, thinking they were bringing stability and security to the country.

Instead their votes have doomed their families – and themselves.

No doubt they’ll convince themselves that starvation is the price they’re paying to be free of the virus.

But Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock look very well-fed to me.

There is no need for anybody in the UK to go hungry. There hasn’t been any reason for hunger here since the 1950s.

The coronavirus isn’t causing it.

The Conservatives are.

Source: Exclusive: almost a fifth of UK homes with children go hungry in lockdown | Society | The Guardian

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Bid to blame Tory coronavirus strategy on Cummings is baloney. The buck stops with Boris

The blame game: attempts have been made to divert blame for the UK’s coronavirus policy disaster onto Dominic Cummings – but the buck stops with Boris Johnson.

It seems someone is trying to divert the blame for the Tory government’s original laissez-faire plan on coronavirus from Boris Johnson onto  Dominic Cummings.

Sunday Times article claimed that Cummings had outlined the government’s strategy at the time as “herd immunity, protect the economy, and if that means some pensioners die, too bad.”

Number 10 has denied it but it simply doesn’t matter…

Because the buck stops with Boris Johnson.

He was the one who broadcast to the nation with a message that many of us were going to die – unnecessarily – because his government wasn’t prepared to fight the virus.

Remember it? He said: “It is going to spread further and I must level with you, I must level with the British public: many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”

At the time, none of the “social distancing” restrictions had been brought in. Schools were expected to stay open, as were pubs, clubs and other leisure facilities, and public events.

In fact, he had announced that testing for coronavirus was to be stopped.

And his scientific advisor was about to suggest that the UK would aim for “herd immunity” by the never-before-achieved method of infecting us all (the normal method is by vaccination, but there isn’t a vaccine for Covid-19).

So nobody cares about Cummings (although he should be kicked out too). It is Johnson who has to carry the can – as evidenced by these responses on Twitter:

Source: No 10 denies claim Dominic Cummings argued to ‘let old people die’ | Dominic Cummings | The Guardian

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‘Shock doctrine’ plan to sell Tory Brexit denied by Downing Street

Well, they would, wouldn’t they?

And, as the Cabinet meeting on November 6 has apparently produced no decisions at all – let alone about Brexit – it seems either the leaked communications plan that “everyone’s talking about” (according to Paul Waugh of the Huffington Post) really is the nonsense Downing Street claims… or someone has been forced to make major changes very quickly.

It outlines a “shock doctrine” campaign to push an as-yet-unannounced Brexit deal on MPs and the British public, demanding that we believe there is no alternative, that the Tories have reached “a moment of decisive progress”, that Theresa May has “delivered the referendum”, the deal “brings the country back together”, and “now is the time… to unite behind it for the good of all our futures”.

Keep a careful eye on future Brexit-related government announcements; if they contain any of these phrases, we’ll know the leak was accurate.

Of particular interest should be the alleged plan for November 20 when, according to the leak, the Cabinet Office publishes an explanation of the deal and what it means for the public. The document says this would compare it with No Deal, “but not to our current deal”. Why not? Perhaps because it won’t do all the things listed in bold, above?

The leaked document is reproduced in full, below. Keep it handy, to check against what the Tories do over the next few weeks.

From what I’ve seen today, the scenario doesn’t seem possible:

Without that, there won’t be a Brexit deal.

Keep your eyes and ears open – and don’t let any of the following nonsense pass unchallenged.

Brexit Communications Grid Summary

Cabinet reviews the deal this Tuesday, the 6th November. They expect all the details to then leak.

“A moment of decisive progress” will be announced this Thursday. Raab to announce.

The narrative is going to be measured success, that this is good for everyone, but won’t be all champagne corks popping.

Then there’s recess until 12th.

After the announcement of decisive progress there follows the 10 days of Sherpa meetings with EU 27 and then daily themed announcements.

19th November – “We have delivered on the referendum” PM speaks at the CBI conference.

Saying this deal brings the country back together, now is the time for us all to unite behind it for the good of all our futures etc. She will also hold a business reception.

This is the day both the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework will be put to Parliament by way of a statement from Raab who will also do media. Junior ministers are doing regional media all day. Government lining up 25 top business voices including Carolyn Fairburn and lots of world leaders eg Japanese PM to tweet support for the deal.

20th – Theme is Delivering for the Whole of the UK – PM to visit the north and or Scotland and the Commons will debate in business motions the date of the Meaningful Vote.

PM will be back in the house to vote. The Cabinet Office publishes its explainer of the deal and what it means for the public, comparing it to No Deal, but not to our current deal.

Other business leaders to come out and back it eg Adam Marshall from Chambers of Commerce and supportive voices in devolved regions like Andy Street and Andy Burnham. Also hoping to get 3rd Sector voices out supporting it.

21st – Theme is Economy, Jobs, Customs. Philip Hammond to open debate in Commons and Raab to close it. Institute of Directors to speak out.

Hoping for Stephen Martin, Martin McTeague etc

22nd – Theme is immigration – take back control of our borders. Home Sec doing media and visits. Raab on QT in the West mids.

Hope Mike Hawes of SMMT will speak out in favour along with influential voices from the rest of the world saying how great this is for the flow of global talent.

23rd – Theme is money – NHS funding and structural funds. Matt Hancock hospital visit. David Everett to welcome the deal alongside Tech for UK.

24th Theme is Northern Ireland and The Union – no hard border in the UK and the integrity of the Union is protected. PM visits border communities and business in NI and maybe also to Wales to visit agri and export businesses. Karen Bradley doing media.

Trying to get Varadker to support and Anand Menon and Henry Newman too.

25th – Theme is global Britain. We can strike trade deals with RoW (rest of world) security in this one too.

Speech from Liam Fox. Jeremy Hunt on Marr. Hope Miles Celic to come out in support (City UK).

Lining up lots of former foreign secs to come out in support and Mark Littlewood of the IEA.

26th – theme is taking back control of our laws, Raab doing media. PM interview with Dimbleby.

27th – morning theme is agri and fisheries. Gove doing a visit and media.

Evening is the vote. HISTORIC MOMENT, PUT YOUR OWN INTERESTS ASIDE, PUT THE COUNTRY’S INTERESTS FIRST AND BACK THIS DEAL.

AFTERTHOUGHT: Downing Street’s denial has attracted debate. Here are just a few comments:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1059890103915503616

What do you think?

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Rudd runs away as reporters ask what she’ll cut to fund her ‘Serious Violence Strategy’

Home Secretary Amber Rudd remains in a political quagmire of her own making after Jeremy Corbyn savaged her for failing to read her own government department’s report on the link between police cuts and the rise in violent crime.

Worse still, she has announced £40 million of funds for a new strategy to counter serious violent crime – but ran away when asked what else she would cut in order to come up with the cash.

According to The Guardian:

Jeremy Corbyn has said Amber Rudd has been “completely undermined” by leaked Home Office documents suggesting government cuts are linked to the rise in violent crime, and demanded the home secretary explain herself to parliament.

“We always said cuts have consequences and now the Home Office’s own officials agree with us,” he said. “Today’s leaked documents make a nonsense of the Tories’ repeated claims that their cuts to police numbers have had no effect.”

Ms Rudd had to go ahead and release her ‘Serious Violence Strategy’ – but the damage had been done. She had intended to put the battle against knife crime in the spotlight, but instead it fell on the government’s own cuts:

https://twitter.com/liamyoung/status/983305019658264576

And when she was asked what cuts would be required to fund her new initiative – well, see for yourself:

Meanwhile, we learn that violent crime is on the increase in other UK cities:

James O’Brien had a lot more to say about this issue. Here he is, demonstrating very clearly that Tories including Boris Johnson, Ms Rudd and current prime minister Theresa May have all claimed, against any logic, that reducing provision will improve protection. All have been proved wrong. And what do they have for those who call them out on it? Contempt:

Here’s an easy summary for you:

Fortunately, there are alternative points of view. Here’s Louise Haigh, Labour’s shadow policing minister:

She, at least, is in tune with the Police Federation:

So what’s the solution to the current rise in violent crime?

Simple.

Remove the incompetent and arrogant Conservatives from office and put Labour ministers in place to get the job done properly.


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