Tag Archives: strip

Johnson to strip Electoral Commission of power to prosecute after it threatens action over his flat

Tinpot dictator: Boris Johnson wants to strip the Electoral Commission of its power to prosecute law-breaking – not because it is a bad idea, because it isn’t. He’s doing it because the commission may use this power to prosecute HIM over the funding of his Downing Street flat refurbishment.

Of course Boris Johnson is taking away the Electoral Commission’s power to prosecute people because it criticised him. It’s what he does.

Look at his current attack on the courts’ powers of judicial review. That happened entirely because judicial reviews ruled that he had broken the law by proroguing Parliament, and with his Brexit policy.

He is a classic, small-minded, tinpot, banana-republic dictator. His only function is to satisfy his own personal desires and to attack anybody who frustrates those desires.

And the UK’s voters put him in charge of one of the world’s richest and most powerful countries. Perhaps a few million people need to take their vote a little more seriously next time?

Boris Johnson is to strip the Electoral Commission of the power to prosecute law-breaking, just weeks after it launched an investigation into his controversial flat refurbishment.

Ministers have announced that a new Elections Bill will remove its ability to prosecute criminal offences under electoral law – arguing it “wastes public money”.

The watchdog launched an immediate protest, warning the move would “place a fetter on the Commission which would limit its activity”.

The shake-up was condemned as a “thinly-veiled government power grab” by the Electoral Reform Society.

Source: Electoral Commission to be stripped of power to prosecute after probe into Boris Johnson’s flat makeover | The Independent

Queen’s Speech confirms it: Boris Johnson is renewing his attack on your freedom – because it’s what Britain wanted

Manifesto commitment: the Conservatives made their plan to end democracy clear in their 2019 election manifesto. Every Conservative voter demanded an end to democracy and a slide into dictatorship.

Boris Johnson is getting back to business after the Covid crisis – and his business is stripping you of the liberties and freedoms your ancestors fought hard to win over the last several hundred years.

Be in no doubt: you will have lost most of your rights by the end of this Parliamentary term, and you can thank your Tory-voting neighbour for making it happen.

Included in the Queen’s Speech were announcements that all three main planks of the attack on democracy – listed on Page 48 of the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, so everybody who voted Tory absolutely supported them – are still going forward. They are:

  • Removing your right to protest so they can use the police and armed forces to put down any dissent.

  • Imposing dictatorship by ensuring that the courts cannot stop the Tories from breaking the law.

  • Imposing indefinite Conservative government.

The only one of these that has been given prominence by the mainstream media is the last – the planned repeal of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act. This has been reported as meaning that Johnson would be able to call elections before his Parliament has served its full five-year term.

But it could also mean that he will allow himself to delay elections indefinitely.

The FTP Act repealed the previous electoral law that allowed prime ministers to call elections at any time during their five-year term, but demanded that they must call an election to be held after five years, no matter what.

So repealing the FTP Act means that unscrupulous prime ministers like Johnson would be able to call elections whenever they liked – or simply neglect to call them at all and remain in power indefinitely.

This is what will happen unless he specifically writes new limitations on Parliamentary terms into his new law. And why would a corrupt liar like Johnson do that when he has a majority of 80 seats in the Commons and can currently do whatever he likes without fear of punishment?

Worse still, the new legislative programme includes more attacks on democracy, the most important being the planned limitation of the right to vote to those who can afford to show the proper photographic identification.

This, Johnson claims, is to stop electoral fraud. You may assume that this is a rampant problem across the UK, but in fact it is practically nonexistent. His plan will strip the vote from around two million people:

Here’s a graph showing the scale of voter fraud as a percentage of all votes cast:

You see the picture?

Further information is available below:

The plan will strip votes from people who are poor and young – in other words, people who will not vote for the Conservatives at the next election. It is corrupt Tory gerrymandering to prevent the voice of the people from being heard at elections.

Typically of the current Tory government, its MPs tried to justify the planned law by lying to us about it. Gillian Keegan, whoever she is, claimed you need photo ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office – and was put straight in no uncertain terms by fact-checking site Full Fact:

Many of us think valuable Parliamentary time would be better spent preventing the kind of corruption that allowed Tory cronies to gain multi-million pound contracts to provide vital supplies in the fight against Covid-19, that they were totally unable to fulfil. What happened to all that money?

Finally, shall we consider the misplaced priorities of these entitled Tories who have spent more than a decade manslaughtering benefit claimants without feeling any need to reform the system?

Come to that, why isn’t the government introducing plans to end tax evasion? I mention this because the deaths of disabled benefit claimants are linked to the Tory clampdown on claims – the so-called “magic cures” that claimed hundreds of thousands of people were not disabled at all, despite volumes of medical evidence showing they were. These people were unceremoniously stripped of their benefits and many of them subsequently died. The figure of 120,000, quoted above, is a very low estimate.

The Tories spend huge amounts of money every year on their campaign to strip disabled people of their ability to survive. It is a campaign of persecution that has been more successful in eliminating the disabled than the infamous Nazi “Aktion T4” in 1930s and 1940s Germany. In comparison, they spend hardly anything on tracking the rich Tories – let’s not deny it – who have evaded their tax responsibilities in order to squirrel away trillions of pounds in tax havens abroad.

Absent from the new legislative programme are any plans to support the rights of workers with promised reforms to zero-hours contracts and the gig economy, and an end to the practice of “fire and rehire” – terminating workers’ contracts and then demanding they take new contracts with lower pay and fewer privileges:

“Fire and rehire” is a key element of Howard Beckett’s campaign to lead the UK’s largest union, Unite. He was in London to campaign about it while the Queen was delivering her speech:

He has also made the very obvious point that the currrent Labour leadership has no interest in looking after the interests of British workers – because Keir Starmer actually refused to oppose “fire and rehire”.

The oppression goes on and on:

Long-awaited plans for reform of social care – promised by the Tories years ago – went undiscussed. There is no plan for such reforms in the current Parliamentary term.

Admittedly, Andy Burnham is right to say all parties are responsible for allowing social care to fall into the disrepair we have today; New Labour failed to do anything about it too.

And Death Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed the government is committed to social care reforms this year – 2021:

He spent the whole of 2020 lying about the severity of Covid-19 and justifying his decisions to award government contracts worth billions of pounds to Tory cronies who couldn’t fulfil them. What are his words worth?

Oh, and before anyone suggests that plans to address the climate crisis show at least some hope for the Tories, they don’t:

For a more detailed attack on the new legislative programme, take a look at Unite’s response (under current leader Len McCluskey). I’m sure other critiques are also available.

Last word can go to Smokey, below, who makes an excellent point despite their inability to spell the word “speech”:

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Highest ever number of new Covid-19 infections recorded in the UK in a single day

 Overloaded: Boris Johnson and the Tories before him de-funded the National Health Service and stripped it of its ability to fight pandemic viruses, knowing that only the poor would suffer if a crisis arose. That is exactly what has happened.

The authorities are desperate to say it’s not as extreme as it looks, as testing has increased significantly, meaning more infections are being discovered than before.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t as bad as it looks. 41,385 new infections in a single day is an astonishing amount.

And of course, not everybody is being tested every day, so undoubtedly more infections are being missed.

The number of new deaths – 357 – is a significant decrease on the highs of more than 600. It is still equivalent to more than two disasters such as plane or train crashes, though.

The fall in the number of deaths may be at least a hint that vaccination is starting to work.

But the toll on our hospitals has reached a new high point – at a time when the National Health Service is at its lowest ebb in years due to more than a decade of Conservative underfunding and the loss of staff who have been turned away by Tory underpayment policies.

Hospitals have been told to free up every possible bed – meaning other treatments and procedures will be delayed (again) – to make way for an influx of very sick patients. This increase has been worsened by the new strain of the virus and Boris Johnson’s decision to delay taking any action over it for almost four whole months.

In a six-page letter to NHS care providers on 23 December, health service chiefs said:

“With Covid-19 inpatient numbers rising in almost all parts of the country, and the new risk presented by the variant strain of the virus, you should continue to plan on the basis that we will remain in a level four incident for at least the rest of this financial year and NHS trusts should continue to safely mobilise all of the available surge capacity over the coming weeks.”

Part of the problem is that, despite the Conservative government’s insistence that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is now available, it has been denied to almost two-thirds of medics who have asked for it:

A new survey reveals that almost two-thirds of medics who responded to it have still not had the vaccine, half believe its delivery to the NHS frontline has been “ad hoc” and a third have no idea when they will be offered it.

Not only that, but hospitals are suffering their own individual emergencies, like Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London, which had to divert emergency patients to other hospitals because excessive demand by Covid-19 sufferers had caused a shortage of oxygen.

It is the latest in a string of London hospitals to declare major incidents in the past 10 days.

It’s a cascade.

Patients with other conditions are turned away because scant resources have been diverted to handle Covid-19, because Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to take the right precautions at the right time, Tory leaders before him systematically stripped the UK of its ability to handle virus, and long-term Conservative policy has been to deny resources to the NHS in order to fool the public into thinking a private health service would be better.

You can see as easily as I can that responsibility lies with a single group: the Conservatives.

It doesn’t change the fact that the UK faces a very clear and pressing crisis.

This Writer would urge everybody with the necessary abilities to do everything they can to help.

But whatever happens, don’t let the Tories take the credit for it.

Source: COVID-19: UK records 41,385 new coronavirus cases and 357 more deaths | UK News | Sky News

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Tories tell DWP to strip families of tax credits if they make Universal Credit claim

It would have been nice to be told this in advance.

Apparently more than two million people have claimed Universal Credit after losing income because of the coronavirus crisis.

If any of them were claiming tax credits before applying for the benefit, they have been cancelled.

And the government has refused to give advice on whether a person is better-off claiming tax credits or Universal Credit.

Add it all up and if it looks like a trap, then that’s what it is.

The guide published by the DWP explains that “not all tax credit recipients will be eligible to receive universal credit. If you claim universal credit, your tax credit claim will be closed, even if you aren’t eligible to receive universal credit.”

The UK government has also refused to give guidance on which benefit people should be claiming, stating: “DWP and HMRC cannot advise whether claiming universal credit or tax credits will be better for you.”

SNP MSP Bob Doris said… “This guidance appears reckless and spiteful. Now, more than ever, we need a welfare system which is easy to use, so that people don’t fall foul of the complexities of applying for benefits and end up with no support whatsoever.”

There is a welfare system which is easy to use – they’re using it in Spain right now. It’s called Universal Basic Income.

The UK’s Tory government passed on that. It preferred the complicated way.

We see now that this is because it would cause the maximum harm to the greatest number of people.

And every day they tell you they’re doing their best to protect you. And every day millions of people believe them.

If you’re on lockdown and looking for something useful to do, here’s a thought:

Why don’t you tell people what’s really going on?

Source: ‘Reckless and spiteful’ DWP stripping families of tax credits after an unsuccesful universal credit claim – Welfare Weekly

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Commons exposure for climate change threat as protestors lay it all bare

Eye-opener: When you see what the Extinction Rebellion campaigners were doing, you’ll understand why Ed Miliband’s eyes were popping out of his head [This image from the Guardian‘s report, obviously].

Activists from Extinction Rebellion made the debate on Brexit “indicative” votes a lot more interesting when they stripped off to draw attention to the “elephant in the room” – climate change and the ecological crisis.

They made their way to the front of the public gallery and pressed their posteriors against the glass partition as Labour’s Peter Kyle opened the debate for his motion for any Brexit deal to be subjected to a confirmatory public vote before Parliament acts on it.

MPs got into the swing of things with references to “the naked truth” and “fleshing out the argument”.

But police later said they made 12 arrests after having to use soap spray to peel parts of some activists off the glass. It seems they weren’t prepared to turn the other cheek (sorry).

In a tweet after the event, Extinction Rebellion stated: “Some of the MPs in the Commons might have been able to avert their eyes tonight but as the climate and ecological crisis worsens this will become increasingly difficult for them to do.”


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Tory Brexit trade bill will rob disabled people of the few rights left to them

Looking guilty: But Liam Fox won’t lift a finger to make his trade bill acceptable to disability rights organisations.

If you think the Conservative Party – and in particular a minister who is a doctor by training – would not do everything in its power to harm people with disabilities, you simply have not been paying attention.

Tories are keen on “chequebook euthanasia” – pushing the unemployed and disabled into early graves with the excuse that supporting them is just too expensive.

That is why the concern raised in the Independent article quoted below is so convincing.

Robbing disabled people of transport by claiming it is necessary for the purposes of trade will isolate some of the UK’s most vulnerable citizens and deny them access to employment or meaningful lifestyles.

The examples of the last few years show what happens next: Malnutrition, depression, and eventual suicide.

And the Tories wash their hands of any responsibility, saying there are “many reasons” for a person to take their own life.

Perhaps the most foul aspect of this is that it would be collateral damage – a tangential consequence of Brexit on which none of the Tories in Parliament would waste a moment’s thought.

Of course the Department for International Trade insists that the continuity powers in the trade bill could not be used without Parliamentary scrutiny and says that it has held discussions with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission about the bill.

If so, why would signatories including Liberty, the Business Disability Forum, Disability Rights UK, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Mencap, The National Aids Trust, the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Amnesty International UK, Ambitious About Autism and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations feel the need to write?

Once again, disabled people are to bear the brunt of Tory cruelty.

The irony is that even the Confederation of British Industry has made it clear that the Trade Bill will not help the UK deal with other countries at all; the only purpose will be to increase the suffering of our own population.

And – if you voted ‘Leave’ – you thought Brexit would make our lives better!

An inevitable consequence of a Brexit run by the Conservative Party is that the interests of society’s most vulnerable people are being trampled upon in an unprecedented manner

The latest example of that happening comes courtesy of the Trade Bill that will be debated on the floor of the House of Commons.

According to a letter sent to the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, the bill “lets ministers change a wide range of laws – including the Equality Act – without parliamentary scrutiny, in order to implement international trade agreements”.

It continues: “There are no safeguards to prevent ministers from using these new powers to remove rights granted by Parliament.”

It could [for example] be used to change those parts of the Equality Act that require public vehicles to be made accessible to disabled people. This is important because people with disabilities rely far more on public transport than non disabled people… for access to [work], leisure facilities, local services, shops and the like.

Source: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade bill set to crush disabled people | The Independent

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May and Rudd ‘stripped anti-extremism unit to focus on Brexit’ | The SKWAWKBOX

Amber Rudd and Theresa May.

Is this more irresponsibility from the least responsible UK government ever?

Theresa May stripped the UK’s police of their ability to handle terrorist attacks (as we saw in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing).

Now, it seems, we are finding that she stripped the country of its ability to anticipate attacks such as that at Manchester.

All because she didn’t have enough resources to handle Brexit properly – probably because of her own party’s cuts to the public sector.

And how’s Brexit going?

The Home Office has a department named the Extremism Analysis Unit responsible, as its name suggests, for identifying and analysing potential extremist groups and individuals in order to identify the most serious threats to the safety of UK citizens.

And a civil servant close to the unit alleges that Theresa May, along with her successor Amber Rudd, intentionally moved resources away from it in order to increase resources available to Brexit teams.

Source: Exclusive: May, Rudd ‘stripped anti-extremism unit to focus on #Brexit’ #GE17 | The SKWAWKBOX


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Sell-off means ‘Green Investment Bank’ is now mis-named

Perhaps a better name, now that it has been taken over by Australian money-grubbers Macquarie, would be ‘Bank of Asset-Stripping, Turpitude* And Recondite** Debt’.

Unfortunately the acronym spells out ‘Bastard’. Some may think that’s about right.

There certainly seems to be a certain lack of moral rectitude about the sale.

The minority Tory government’s press release states that “new owner Macquarie has committed to the GIB’s target of leading £3 billion of investment in green energy projects over next 3 years”.

Only £3 billion? The GIB ploughed more than £5 billion worth of investment into green projects in its first two years of existence. Isn’t it supposed to be increasing investment, rather than cutting it?

The press release continues: “The Climate Change and Industry Minister, Claire Perry, confirmed [on 18 August 2017] that the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie Group Limited has now been completed”.

And how nice it is to see Macquarie confirmed as the buyer. Back in January, the Tories refused to admit that Macquarie was the preferred bidder, citing “commercial sensitivity”.

This was at a time when Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said that “Macquarie not only has a dismal and terrible environmental record, it also has an appalling track record of asset-stripping… This selling off could lead to the bank being fatally undermined as an enduring institution”.

We were told at the time that the Green Investment Bank was set up with £3.8 billion of government (meaning our) money, but the Tory press release states: “The £2.3 billion deal ensures that all the taxpayer funding invested in GIBsince its creation, including set-up costs, has been returned with a gain of approximately £186 million.”

It continues: “The sale proceeds of £1.75 billion, which has [sic] now been received, sees all taxpayer funding invested in GIG returned with a gain of around £186 million. This, together with over £500 million of current outstanding commitments which will now be met by Macquarie and its partners rather than taxpayers, means that the transaction value is around £2.3 billion.”

Something can’t be right because the total is £1.5 billion short of the original investment.

The Tories seem to want us to believe that only £1.565 billion of our money was put into the Green Investment Bank. What about the rest of it?

And, even if the claim of £186 million profit is to be believed, that would account for less than half of the £447 million debt the UK racks up every day under Conservative economic mismanagement. That money has already gone.

It seems likely that the bank will be stripped of at least some of its assets by Macquarie – and the Tories knew about this. In January, former Energy minister Nick Hurd (son of Douglas; it must be nice to have your entry into Parliament ensured by your parentage) said he was unopposed to the sale of assets: “Let’s not get into a position where we say holding on to assets is good in itself.”

But selling them for the sake of selling them is just as bad, isn’t it?

These are probably just some of the reasons the Tories were keen to distract us all from the sale – by crying about the fact that Big Ben, the famous bell in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, has been taken out of action for four years, while restoration work takes place.

So what? It won’t be gone forever – which is more than can be said for the Conservative Party’s commitment to the environment.

*It means ‘corruption’.

**It means ‘concealed’.


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Has the Coalition set Labour an impossible task – to rescue politics from corruption?

Not a good egg: Ed Miliband was hit by an egg on his first campaign visit after returning from holiday abroad. The thrower, Dean Porter, said: "They do nothing. The government do nothing. The shadow government do nothing. I don't believe him at all. If you are poor, you are considered a burden."

Not a good egg: Ed Miliband was hit by an egg on his first campaign visit after returning from holiday abroad. The thrower, Dean Porter, said: “They do nothing. The government do nothing. The shadow government do nothing. I don’t believe him at all. If you are poor, you are considered a burden.”

Yesterday’s article, DWP denials: They would kill you and call it ‘help’ received an unprecedented reaction – considering it was only intended to prepare the way for a larger discussion.

In less than 12 hours the article went viral and galvanised many of you into vocal support, sharing your stories of government (and particularly DWP) ill-treatment and urging others to follow this blog – for which much gratitude is in order. Thanks to all concerned.

The aim was to show how low politics and politicians have fallen in public estimation. The general consensus is that our politicians aren’t interested in us. They make promise after promise before elections – and the party (or parties) in office often set up tax breaks for sections of society their focus groups have told them are needed to secure a win. After they’ve got what they want, they don’t give a damn.

Look at the Coalition. The consensus is that this is a failed government. That it has broken one promise after another. That its ministers are liars and its Prime Minister is the worst charlatan of the lot.

That its rallying-call, “We’re all in it together”, refers only to Conservative and Liberal Democrat Members of Parliament and their close friends in the most lucrative (and therefore richest) industries, along with the bankers (of course), and that they have all dug their noses deep into the trough and are (to mix metaphors) sucking us dry. Look at the way Mark Hoban employed his former employers to rubber-stamp the DWP’s new plans for the Work Capability Assessment.

In short: That the Coalition government is the most incompetent and corrupt administration to blight the United Kingdom in living memory, and possibly the worst that this land has ever endured.

We fear that these tin-pot tyrants are carrying out a eugenics programme to kill off people who have become sick or disabled; we fear that their economic policies are designed to put anyone less than upper-middle-class into the kind of debt that current wages will never permit them to pay off – a debt that can then be sold between fat-cat corporations who will hold the masses in actual – if not admitted – slavery; that they will dismantle this country’s institutions, handing over everything that is worth anything to their buddies in business, who will make us pay through the nose for services that our taxes ought to cover.

And yet a recent poll suggests that we would prefer this corrupt gang of asset-stripping bandits to run the economy of the country (into the ground) rather than give Her Majesty’s Opposition, the Labour Party, an opportunity to restore the country’s fortunes.

Are we all going schizoid? Are we really saying that, while we don’t believe the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats could organise a binge in a brewery without stealing the booze from us while we’re drinking it, we do believe them when they say the current economic nightmare was because Labour mismanaged the economy?

(In case anyone hasn’t really thought it through, the current lie is that the international credit crunch that has cost the world trillions of pounds was caused, not by bankers (who have never been punished for it) but by the UK Labour Party giving too much money away to scrounging benefit cheats. In fact, only 0.7 per cent of benefit claims are fraudulent and, while they cost the taxpayer £1.2 billion a year, that does not justify the £19 billion the Coalition has given to its private, for-profit friends to make a pretence of dealing with it.)

Are we really saying that even though we all now know that George Osborne’s economic policy is nonsense, based on a theory that has been comprehensively rubbished, we’re all happy to give him and his miserable boss David Cameron the credit for the slight improvement in the UK’s economic fortunes that we have seen in recent months? It was always going to improve at some point, and the current upturn is more likely to be part of that kind of cycle than anything Osborne has done.

If we really are saying that, then we all need to put in claims for Employment and Support Allowance, on grounds of mental instability!

That’s not what’s going on, though.

It seems far more likely that the general public is having a crisis of confidence. As a nation, we know what we’ve got is bad; we just don’t have confidence that we’ll get better if we put our support behind the Opposition.

This is the Coalition’s one great success: It has damaged the reputation of politics and politicians so badly that nobody involved in that occupation can escape being labelled as corrupt, or liars, or worse.

And Labour is doing far too little to fight that.

A BBC article on the problems facing Labour states that the Coalition has sharpened up its messages on, among other things, welfare and immigration. The message is still the usual hogwash; the problem is that Labour has made no meaningful response. Her Majesty’s Opposition appears to have given up Opposing.

Is this because the main political parties are now so similar that Labour is now supporting Coalition policies? That would make sense in the context of statements made before the summer recess by Ed Miliband and Ed Balls, in which Labour appeared to capitulate over welfare and the economy, even though the Coalition had lost all the major arguments.

When they did that damned stupid thing in that damned stupid way, Vox Political was the first to say “watch their poll lead disappear” – and it has more than halved from 11 percentage points to five, according to The Guardian.

This lackadaisical attitude from the Labour leadership has not gone unnoticed among the backbenchers and the grass roots, and the last few weeks has been notable for the rising chorus of dissent against Ed Miliband’s leadership. Some have described the Labour front bench as “Plastic Tories”.

Even Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham took a pop, saying Labour needed to “shout louder” and produce attention-grabbing policies by next spring – or lose any chance of winning the 2015 election.

Miliband’s response to that was to claim that Burnham was really saying the Labour Party was “setting out how we would change the country”. This is nonsense. He was saying that was what Labour needed to do, and Miliband rendered himself untrustworthy by suggesting otherwise.

It is very hard to put your support – and your vote – behind somebody you don’t trust, who seems completely unable (or unwilling) to fight your oppressor on your behalf; in short, someone who seems just as corrupt as the government in power. At the moment, Ed Miliband doesn’t stand for anything – so there’s no reason you should stand up for him.

What, then, should Labour do?

Easy. The party needs a clear, simple message that everybody can understand and get behind; one that members can support because it reflects Labour beliefs rather than whatever Coalition policy currently seems popular, and above all, one that comes from verifiable truth.

He could take a leaf from Paul O’Grady’s book. In a clip on YouTube, the entertainer says: “We should be vocal in our fight against oppression. We should let them know that we are not taking these draconian cuts lightly!

“We should fight for the rights of the elderly! Of the poor! Of the sick! And of the children!”

Rapturous applause.

Labour needs more than that – but a commitment to protect those who have been most harmed by the Conservative and Liberal Democrat doomsday spree would at least be a start.