Tag Archives: student

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:

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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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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Tory MP’s letter revives old lie that educators indoctrinated students against Brexit

In an open tweet to Chris Heaton-Harris, fellow Tory MP Paul Scully claimed: “This is what a lecturer was handing out to my daughter who spends £9k pa for him to be teaching engineering, not politics.” Believable? Or a set-up?

Does anybody remember a story in July this year, claiming that teachers were indoctrinating students to support ‘Remain’ in the EU referendum?

That story has been revived by the Daily Heil, after Tory whip Chris Heaton-Harris wrote to universities, demanding details of their courses on the EU, with particular reference to Brexit.

This Writer understands that Mr Heaton-Harris might be in some difficulty after Jo Johnson suggested he wanted the information for a book he was writing. There was no mention of this in the letter, which was written on House of Commons paper. The suggestion is that, by pretending to be writing in his capacity as an MP, rather than as a private citizen researching a book, Mr Heaton-Harris was trying to gain a pecuniary advantage by deception (his book would earn money for him personally, you see. Writing in his capacity as an MP means the information would be used, at least nominally, in the interests of the national political debate). In layperson’s terms, that’s fraud.

But the Daily Mail has seized on the letter – and the reaction against it (one university lecturer told Mr Heaton-Harris that he can have access to the materials he requested by joining the course and paying £9,000, just like everybody else) – to claim that universities are a hotbed of Leftie ‘Remain’ support.

The Mail article stated:

The extent of anti-Brexit bias at some of Britain’s best known universities was laid bare last night amid a furious row.
A Tory MP was castigated this week and accused of ‘McCarthyism’ for asking universities what they are teaching about the UK’s departure from the EU.
But yesterday the Daily Mail uncovered a string of examples of senior figures at universities explicitly speaking out in favour of Remain.
Before the vote, a raft of senior academics spoke publicly to urge their students to back staying in the EU.

Source: How open-minded are our universities? As an MP provokes a storm just for ASKING what students are being taught about Brexit, disturbing questions about propaganda in the lecture halls emerge

Of course, it’s nonsense. As the Tory-run DWP would say, it is anecdotal evidence. If considered as a survey, there is no balance in the respondents. It is simply the opinions of Daily Mail readers – and of the right-wing rag’s reporters and editors.

And already a backlash is taking place:

https://twitter.com/MattTurner4L/status/923478029967548418

And what is Mr Heaton-Harris doing?

Not a lot, it seems, as this tweet from Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick suggests:


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Tory MP demands details of university lectures on Brexit. This lecturer’s response is perfect

Tory whip Chris Heaton-Harris: The new McCarthy?

Chris Heaton-Harris had it coming.

The Tory whip and staunch Brexiteer took it upon himself to write a threatening letter to universities, demanding that they provide him with details of courses teaching European affairs and the names of the lecturers teaching them.

https://twitter.com/KamBass/status/922805136728174593

The move has been condemned as an attempt to introduce McCarthyism into the UK – creating fears of a witch-hunt against pro-EU lecturers and thinking.

Mr Heaton-Harris has denied this –

– but he is a Tory, so of course nobody believes him.

https://twitter.com/Barkercartoons/status/922804410501263360

The best response is the one sent to Mr Heaton-Harris by Dr Ben Whitham, Lecturer in International Relations at Leicester’s De Montfort University. In fact, considering what the Tories have done to students, it’s perfect:

For those who can’t read images, it says: “Of course you can access my recorded lectures @chhcalling. Just enrol and pay the £9,000 per year your party deems fair, like everyone else.


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Tory attitude to students is scorned in this doctor’s terrific put-down

The Tories have tried to recruit young people with Momentum-a-like organisation Activate – to limited success. Mostly the attempt has attracted ridicule of the kind shown here.

The Tories want to reform their image in the opinion of young voters – but they won’t do it like this!

In a bid to attract students into the blue-blooded fold, they’re trying to kid Britain’s brightest and best that they’re about-turning on their own high-fee policy.

Here’s a tweet they’ve put out in support of this claim:

How silly! “We must take action on student debt” – as if the Tories haven’t done enough by creating that debt in the first place!

Here’s Dr David Wrigley’s put-down:

Who would you believe?


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook