Tag Archives: student

This nurse’s vote won’t go to Boris Johnson again. She explained why in a note that’s going viral

Student nurse Jessica Collins wrote a note to Boris Johnson, explaining why she won’t support his Conservatives again.

She didn’t think he would see it – but plenty of other people have, and it’s easy to understand the reasons for that.

See for yourself [boldings mine]:

Your government absolutely do not have my vote in the next election. I say this with the [utmost] certainty and unlike past voting decisions, I am 100% sure it is the right one.

This isn’t just because your government removed the bursary alongside funding for tuition fees, leaving student nurse mums like me in £60000+ worth of debt upon leaving this physically and mentally draining degree and condemning the future workforce to the same struggles.

This isn’t just because the government found a loophole in our opt-in contracts to help during coronavirus, to enable them to stop paying students for risking their lives on the frontline at the earliest opportunity.

This isn’t just because your designated minister for care declared in a letter addressed directly to me, that every single one of the 2,300+ hours I’ve completed in NHS hospitals as not being offering of any form of service to my patients.

This isn’t just because I watched a video back whereby 313 out of 317 conservative MP’s voted against a nurse pay rise (amongst other public sector funding) and then unashamedly laughed when they found out they had the majority.

This isn’t just because your ‘sing happy birthday twice whilst washing your hands’ was never ever going to be enough to avoid the the tens of thousands of deaths that have happened due to COVID-19. Nor is it just because you were too late to lockdown this country for whatever excuse you declare, and subsequently we paid heavily with the lives of so many of our incredible people.

This isn’t just because you left nurses, carers and other key workers specifically, out of a public sector pay-rise for those who have fought so hard against COVID-19.

This isn’t just because every single conservative MP voted no against a new clause intended to protect our NHS from any form of control outside of the UK, then tried to cover it up with sharing a positive story about giving doctors a pay rise.

This isn’t just because it takes a famous footballer calling you out on his public platform, to ensure that the most vulnerable children in our society had food to eat over summer.

This isn’t because of the many, many other things that yourself, or certain members of your party have done wrong, many of which I probably don’t know about.

The main reason you don’t have my vote, is because every single time you have failed, you’ve not once turned around, held your hands up and said that you’ve made a mistake. It’s because I’ve not once heard you say sorry but that you’ve learned and you’ll do better next time.

It’s because every single time you or a member of your party are called out on your failings, you either lay the blame somewhere else, boycott those who dare to seek the truth or just release the same statement quoting the same generalised political jargon.

As a nurse if I was ever to make a mistake, I would hold my hands up and take responsibility for it. I would absolutely say sorry anyone it’s affected. I would reflect on it and learn what I did wrong and then I would plan what I could do from then on to ensure I never make the same mistake twice. Now I know being a nurse is very different to being the prime minister however honesty, trustworthiness and humility should be attributes carried through any job at all if you are to earn any form of respect. Even more so one like your own where your decisions affect millions of people like me.

When people like me desperately try and express the unjustness of your decisions, you choose to ignore it, every single time. Your people don’t have a voice unless the complaints come from people of higher status or world renowned footballers who have the platform to make you look bad.

You made such a fuss of clapping for the NHS and indicated more, only to put us straight back in our under-valued places the first chance you got, with no explanation or apology.

The saddest thing is, for so long you and many others have played a part in conditioning nurses like me alongside other health professionals to believe that they should never complain about how they deserve better pay. If we dare to feel under-valued or ask for more, it reflects badly on us because we should be doing this job out of the goodness of our hearts with a view to making a positive difference in people’s lives. Asking for more goes against our compassionate, selfless natures right?

Wrong. From the start of my degree I’ve been made to feel worthless and I’m absolutely done with that. Yes I’m kind and caring, yes I try to be selfless and I will always give everything I have to those I care for, but I’m not some muddy ground for you to walk all over in your quest for I don’t quite know what.

We work hard, we work tirelessly and unlike you we do it with honesty, humility and compassion, however you will be the only one out of us to get a pay rise this year. Can you see where this might be a little unfair? Or will you just release another statement saying how we are appreciated expecting that to make us all feel a little better?

Johnson is currently offering nurses like Jessica a one per cent pay rise (which is in fact a pay cut, once inflation is taken into account. Here’s how that compares with other nations:

You can understand why nurses like Jessica are angry; why they feel they have been taken for granted and are considered to be “muddy ground” for Johnson and his like to “walk all over”.

And you can understand her reasons for being furious at being denied a pay rise while Johnson rakes in the cash for himself.

If you can see all that, can you see a way to show your support for nurses like Jessica, so they can have the pay rise they deserve for keeping us, our friends, families and loved ones alive during the Covid-19 crisis when Johnson and his cronies were doing their best to make us die?

Source: This nurse’s note to Boris Johnson is going viral

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Johnson insults Turing with foreign education scheme on the cheap

Insult AND injury: if the injustice he suffered while he was alive wasn’t bad enough – and remember, it drove him to suicide – it seems Boris Johnson is trying to make it worse by linking one of the UK’s greatest minds with a scheme that will actually prevent students from achieving their potential.

We always knew the UK backed out of the ‘Erasmus’ scheme, for UK students to study in the EU, for only one reason: to save money.

Now the scale of Boris Johnson’s cheapness is becoming clear.

The new scheme, named after Bletchley Park code-cracker Alan Turing, will send students all over the world, rather than just into the EU.

But it will not pay for their tuition. Instead, universities are to be urged to agree tuition fee “waivers” with their counterparts abroad. Does anybody really think that’s going to happen?

Nor will the new scheme pay travel costs for UK students to study abroad – except in the case of students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (but we know that the Tories are biased against such students from last year’s ‘A’ level results so it seems unlikely that any travel costs will be paid at all).

The European Commission had paid up to £1,315 for UK students to study in the EU, so this will seriously hinder the ability of poorer students to travel.

Oh, and just for good measure, the living allowance has been slashed – by a fifth, according to the Scottish National Party.

Originally, Johnson had promised that UK students would remain part of the far better-funded Erasmus.

But it seems clear that he changed his mind when he realised there was an opportunity to cut spending – and victimise poorer UK citizens at the same time.

(Rich students will still be able to study abroad if they want, because they can rely on the bank of mummy and daddy.)

Instead, he announced the new Turing scheme, doing his best to make it sound like a huge stride forward into a brighter, wider world:

In fact, Johnson is pushing us into darkness and isolation.

Source: New ‘Erasmus’ scheme will not pay tuition or travel costs and living allowance slashed | The Independent

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Thousands of disabled students could get Universal Credit after woman wins legal fight

Tactical cruelty: perhaps DWP bosses realised they were going to lose a court case so they changed the law in order to ensure that disabled students would continue to be unable to claim Universal Credit.

This is good news for many – but not for everybody:

Tens of thousands of disabled students could qualify for Universal Credit after 22-year-old mostly-blind Sidra Kauser won a legal victory over a loophole saying she could not claim Universal Credit.

To receive the benefit, she would have had to take a work capability assessment – but the DWP’s rules contained a bizarre ‘Catch-22’ that she could not take the test, because she is a student.

As a result, she could not be found to have limited capability for work, and therefore couldn’t receive the benefit.

The High Court has quashed the DWP’s decision, saying it breaches the Tory-run government department’s own regulations, dating back to 2013 – and ordered it to pay Ms Kauser’s legal fees.

But this fight is not over because the Tory government changed the law on August 5, ensuring that disabled students claiming Universal Credit after that date would not be invited to a work capability assessment and therefore would not be eligible for the benefit at all.

That will have to be challenged in a future court case.

But this is another victory for crusading lawyers Leigh Day, who explained the case:

Sidra Kauser, aged 22, from Halifax, is visually impaired and is currently studying for a masters degree at York University.

She received Personal Independence Payment (PIP) but that, combined with a student loan, was not enough to provide her with an acceptable standard of living. After payment of her rent, she had £120 a month to live on.

She applied for universal credit, but because she was a student, she was refused a Work Capability Assessment (WCA), which meant she was effectively disentitled from claiming universal credit.

Sidra applied for a judicial review of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) policy (which stated that disabled students shouldn’t be invited to a WCA), arguing that the law required the DWP to conduct a WCA to determine whether she had limited capability for work, in which case she would be entitled to universal credit.

Now, after the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Therese Coffey, told the court in July, 2020 that she would not be defending Sidra’s claim, a high court judge has ruled that the SSWP had acted unlawfully and has quashed the decision to refuse Sidra’s claim for universal credit.

Sidra will now be given a WCA, and if she is deemed to be unable to work, she will be entitled to make a claim for universal credit.

The court ruling also has an impact on those disabled students whose applications for universal credit had previously been unsuccessful because they had been refused a WCA.

However, on 5 August the DWP changed the law so that other disabled students who made a claim for universal credit after that date would not be invited  to a WCA and would not therefore be able to establish their limited capability for work.

Ms Kauser said: “I am glad I decided to take a stand and pursue my claim for judicial review of the DWP decision to refuse me a WCA. Hopefully other students will benefit from the court ruling.”

Leigh Day solicitor Lucy Cadd added: “Sidra made a brave stand against the decision to refuse her a WCA and it has proved successful. It has been estimated by the charity Disability Rights UK that the Secretary of State’s unlawful policy, which has been in operation since 2013, could have adversely affected 30,000 disabled students. Other disabled students who were refused a WCA prior to 5 August 2020 and therefore lost out on their claim for universal credit, should ask the Secretary of State to revise her decision.

“Although the DWP has callously changed the regulations to prevent more disabled students being entitled to a WCA, there may be scope for legal challenge to the new regulations.”

Source: Disabled student wins right to be considered for universal credit

Does Whately’s scorn for student nurses hide a deeper Tory agenda?

Airhead or conspirator? What did Helen Whately mean when she said student nurses were ‘not deemed to be providing a service’?

After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.

That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:

The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.

Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.

Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.

Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.

Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.

“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”

Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!

It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.

Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.

And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?

She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.

“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.

“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.

“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”

Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.

She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”

It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.

This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.

And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.

Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.

If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.

And now I must ask: is that the plan?

Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?

The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.

If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.

You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.

And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.

Are you looking forward to that?

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Bolton cladding fire suggests Conservatives did NOTHING after Grenfell – other than blame firefighters

Tory response: This satirical image from Twitter reflects the public opinion of blame-shifting Tories.

Wasn’t there a warning that Grenfell Tower could happen all over again, if flammable cladding was not removed from the many other buildings across the UK that had it?

I think there was.

And were the residents at the Cube, student accommodation in Bolton assured that the cladding on that building was not the same as that used on Grenfell Tower?

I think they were:

Then, last night (November 15), this happened:

It seems clear that the cladding on the building was spreading the fire. And look at the way it was dripping, molten, to the ground outside:

According to Skwawkbox, “BBC now stressing the cladding in the #BoltonFire wasn’t the same flammable cladding used on Grenfell Tower. Just some other flammable cladding, so that’s ok then…”

But The Guardian has more useful information: “Students at the Cube had been visited by fire safety officers following the Grenfell Tower fire and assured that the building was not clad in the same material, the Bolton News reported.

“However, the planned cladding materials on one part of the facade included aluminium composite panels (ACM) or fibre cement panels, and high pressure laminated panels (HPL) fixed to timber battens on another, according to drawings submitted by RADM Architects to Bolton’s planning department in 2014. It is not yet clear which of these materials were used.

“ACM panels are filled with polyethylene, which, as at Grenfell, can be highly combustible or can contain a fire retardant to make them safer. HPL panels, made of compressed paper or wood fibre, also come with different combustibility ratings.”

It is all very well saying the cladding wasn’t the same as in Grenfell – but if it is still inflammable, then the students were in danger. They had a right to know this but it seems they weren’t told.

In this context, it is a miracle that only two people were injured.

And that miracle allows us to examine the political aspect of this – which is disastrous for the Conservatives.

Boris Johnson’s party had more than two years to clear flammable cladding from all the buildings in the UK that were in danger. They didn’t.

Why not? Was it expensive?

In the light of their current splurge-spending plans, offered in a desperate bid to bribe the electorate away from Labour’s better, costed plans to revitalise the nation, that would be an insult of possibly criminal dimensions.

And it is clear that the failure to take action constitutes a danger to the lives of the many thousands of people living in cladded tower blocks across the UK.

Those people should consider this very carefully when placing their vote in the general election.

Labour’s John Healey has said: “If … reports are right that the cladding has contributed to this fire, then the Government has serious questions to answer.

“As figures released this week show, two and a half years after the Grenfell Tower fire, thousands of tower block residents are still living in homes with deadly cladding. This should shame the Conservatives and they must now act to make all buildings safe.”

You can take that as a promise that a Labour government will take such action.

This Writer would like an inquiry into the issue of cladding, and the companies that have been responsible for it. Is it all flammable? Or is some of it safe? And can those responsible for covering buildings with life-endangering material be prosecuted for it?

Shouldn’t those in the Tory government who didn’t have it removed be prosecuted, also?

It is certain that the principle of collective responsibility applies – everybody in the Conservative government must take the responsibility for allowing this danger to continue.

And everybody living in a cladded building should take responsibility for ending that danger – by voting the Conservatives out.

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These hypocrites: Lib Dems took £9K from students. See what they want to do next

Hypocrisy: Vince Cable, who was a minister in the Coalition government and oversaw the disastrous privatisation of the Royal Mail as well as voting for the increase in tuition fees, is set to announce the new policy at the Liberal Democrat conference.

The Liberal Democrats are saying they want to give people £9,000 to fund learning, nine years after they reneged on their promise to end university tuition fees and increased them to £9,000 instead.

Does Jo Swinson think we have forgotten?

It was the fundamental betrayal that set the tone of the so-called ConDem coalition for the next five years.

Here’s the Mirror to explain the idea:

A motion at this weekend’s party conference will see Vince Cable push a £1.5 billion plan for a universal Education and Skills Account which would see the Government hand every person £3,000 when they turn 25, 40 and 55.

The amounts would be designed to “encourage workers to retrain into shortage occupations”.

It is hugely hypocritical of Swinson’s party.

This is the party that took away people’s ability to get the qualifications they needed for the career they wanted.

Now it says it would use the money from that policy to shoe-horn the same people into jobs a Liberal Democrat government would say are needed.

This is a policy to deny people the ability to choose their own careers; their own paths in life.

And they call themselves Liberals.

Shame on them.

Source: Lib Dems want to give adults £9k to learn – ten years after backing £9k uni fees – Mirror Online

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Tories admit planned election timing was to STOP students voting. Voter registrations SOAR

More than 200,000 people have applied to be registered as UK voters within 72 hours – as a national newspaper claimed Boris Johnson’s government had set the date of its planned election in the hope that students would not be able to vote.

The BBC is reporting that nearly 200,000 people have registered to vote in 72 hours, and more than half are aged under 35.

That’s twice as many as registered within 48 hours when this story was reported earlier this week.

The story states: “According to official government figures… more than 199,000 people have registered to vote in the last three days, with 118,000 of them between 18 and 35.”

The boost to the electoral roll came as Tory aides made this shock admission:

“Boris Johnson’s campaign team have privately admitted that one of the advantages of an October 15 election was that it could limit the number of students registering to vote.

“No 10 is said to have factored in term times in deciding to push for an early election as it would mean campaigns had less time to ensure that students registered to vote. Those on the electoral roll at their home address would be less likely to travel to vote.

“A large turnout of younger voters in the June 2017 election is thought to have contributed to the Conservatives losing their majority. Labour has also promised to scrap tuition fees.”

Here’s a link to the Times story if you want to see it for yourself – but be warned: it’s behind a paywall.

Clearly, if Boris Johnson wants to deny you your vote, it’s important that you do – and it is terrific, therefore, that so many have already signed up for it.

But the BBC report says despite the surge, there are still worries that if an election is called at short notice, people will miss out – as it is estimated that a third of 18-24 year-olds are not correctly registered, or missing entirely from the register.

If you’re still not convinced it’s important, here’s Ash:

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Commons showdown over scrapping of nurses’ bursary

Student nurses protest the cutting of the nurses’ bursary.

The Tory decision to scrap financial help for people training to be nurses has been a disaster for the National Health Service.

According to the Mirror article quoted below, applications plummeted from 65,620 in 2016 to 53,010 in 2017.

But Labour should not be overconfident about this motion.

Conservatives are vindictive by nature. If one cruel plan is defeated, they’ll probably replace it with something worse.

The only way to safeguard the NHS is to remove the Conservatives from power over it.

Theresa May faces a Commons showdown over the Tories’ cruel decision to scrap student nurses’ grants.

Labour will force a binding vote that sources claim could force the Prime Minister “back to the drawing board”.

Bursaries have already been axed last year.

But Labour says its motion – if it passed – would effectively stop the system that replaces them becoming law.

Labour sources claim this would send a “clear message from the Commons” that the grants should be brought back.

Source: Theresa May faces a Commons showdown over the Tories’ cruel decision to scrap student nurses’ grants – Mirr…


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Tories even screw up their pre-Budget smear attempt | The SKWAWKBOX

This is rather hilarious.

The Tories seem to have forgotten that their lying claim that Labour promised to pay off all student debt (it never happened – Labour promised to end tuition fees if elected in June) – has been debunked and nobody believes it.

Peter Stefanovic did a video blog about it:

He wrote: “It’s hard to believe but the Conservative Party is still tweeting today the old lie today about Jeremy Corbyn and student debt! I completely debunked this months ago! Isn’t it time they caught up?”

For clarity: The video in the tweet below is A LIE.

Furthermore, the Tories also seem to have forgotten Parliamentary procedure – the fact that it is the Leader of the Opposition, not the Shadow Chancellor, who responds to the Budget speech.

If their claim had been accurate, it wouldn’t be a big deal – the accusation would apply just as much to the Labour Leader as the Shadow Chancellor.

But it’s a LIE, so it doesn’t apply to anything at all.

… Apart from the boss of the Tory Party press office – one Carrie Symonds, if This Writer recalls correctly.

She is proving to be worth her weight in gold – to the Labour Party.

The Conservatives’ Twitter account put out their defamatory ‘fake news’ this morning:

Thing is, the Shadow Chancellor doesn’t respond to the Budget. The leader of the opposition does.

One Jeremy Corbyn, who haunts the nightmares of every reeling Tory incompetent – and of whom they’re clearly so terrified that they blocked out the thought of facing him across the despatch box tomorrow.

Source: Tories even screw up their pre-Budget smear attempt | The SKWAWKBOX


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Astrophysics professor’s response to universities’ Brexit letter is sharp – and hilarious

Professor Peter Coles.

[WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE]

In an effort to respond to Tory whip Chris Heaton-Harris’s call for universities to provide details of courses and lectures that refer to Brexit, Professor Peter Coles of Cardiff University has provided a breakdown of his syllabus.

The document lists the main points of his course, with references to Brexit highlighted in red. There’s only one issue:

Peter Coles is an astrophysicist.

Ah, but, you see, his course is on the physics of the early universe – the EU.

Here’s his syllabus:

For those who can’t read images, the document is entitled: “PXT223 Physics of the Early Universe (EU) and Brexit

Highlights include: “Basics of the Big Bang: Summary of basic cosmological theory as it relates to Brexit.

“Thermal History in the Big Bang: The cosmic microwave background. Radiation decoupling and recombination. The cosmic neutrino background. Cosmological Nucleosynthesis. Baryogenesis. Relic particles. Dark matter. Implications for Brexit.

“Cosmic Inflation: Cosmological models with scalar fields. Phase transitions in the early Universe. The horizon and flatness problems. Inflation. The ‘Graceful Brexit Problem’.

“The Cosmic Microwave Background: Physical origin of temperature and polarization fluctuations. CMB experiments, the establishment of the standard cosmological model by the metropolitan elite.

“Cosmic Structure: … The cosmic web, the large-scale structure of the Universe and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

“Unanswered Questions: Limitations of the Standard Model and why the fuck are we doing Brexit?


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