Tag Archives: Sunak

Now the #ToryScum are squabbling among themselves about #FreeSchoolMeals

Gavin Williamson: did he really ask Rishi Sunak’s Treasury for £150 million to provide meals for poverty-stricken children during school holidays?

Conservative cabinet ministers have started in-fighting over responsibility for blocking the provision of meals to poverty-stricken children during school holidays.

Somebody, it seems, has claimed that the Treasury blocked a request for £150 million to pay for such a scheme.

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak has hotly denied this, claiming that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson never asked for the funds.

Treasury sources said there had been no request from the education secretary for the £150m to provide meals for 1.4 million disadvantaged pupils during the holiday.

It seems perfectly reasonable to suppose that Sunak is right, in fact.

The call for the government to fund the meals came originally from footballer Marcus Rashford, and it was Labour who took it to Parliament in an Opposition Day debate last week – when the Tories ensured that it was rejected.

So it seems to me that Williamson would have had no reason to ask for the cash to make it happen.

Boris Johnson has since said that his government will not u-turn on the decision, no matter how hard public opinion turns against it.

His comments, along with the claim that no request has been made for the cash, will make it very hard for him to change his mind (as he often does if the focus groups tell him he needs to).

And he managed to cause trouble for himself by claiming local authorities could draw on a £63 million fund that his government has already created.

Council leaders angrily pointed out that the fund was intended to cover a wide range of hardships created by the Covid-19 crisis and most of it has been used.

Meanwhile, Nadhim Zahawi told Kay Burley of Sky News that kids were more interested in football than food:

The Tories have argued themselves into a corner and are digging themselves a hole in order to escape.

If I didn’t have some already, I’d be buying popcorn.

Source: Treasury rejects claims it refused extra £150m for free school meals | Education | The Guardian

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#ToryScum: MP whose inquiry into Tory Islamophobia never happened accuses left-wingers of racism

Sajid Javid: not only has he made himself look stupid, he has reminded us all that his political party is full of racists and reignited public fury at #ToryScum.

Conservatives who tried to claim on Twitter that left-wingers are racists have fallen foul of the facts – again.

Sajid Javid is the principle offender in this case – to judge by the number of responses to him, although James Cleverly was also involved, making it his second offence within the same day, along with a few other now-familiar Tory faces.

They were all responding to this clip, from the Twitter account @OneRuleForThem:

According to Javid, Cleverly, Tom Tugendhat, and the instigator of the #ToryScum controversy Christopher Clarkson, that advert is racist. Can you find anything in it that refers to Sunak’s ethnic origin at all, let alone in a negative way?

Neither can I.

But Javid responded thus:

Classic DARVO: “Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender”

Javid is saying there’s nothing dodgy about Sunak (despite the evidence in the clip). He’s attacking “The Left” (not just @OneRuleForThem, I notice) with a claim that they are racist. And he’s painting Sunak as a victim of that racism rather than the shady character his own history suggests he is.

Javid was joined by Cleverly, as this response shows:

Notice “The Left really” appears in both Javid’s and Cleverly’s tweets – because they were taken from the same source material?

At least the tweets from Clarkson and Tugendhat used different words – although that wasn’t enough to save them from public scorn:

Tugendhat’s tweet earned him a response from the clip’s creator – that made him look the fool he is:

The simple fact is that this particular organisation didn’t make a video about Hammond because it didn’t exist when he was Chancellor. It joined Twitter last month.

So let’s get back to the reaction to Javid. Here are a few examples:

That’s right – Javid did extract a promise from all the other then-Conservative leadership candidates that there would be an inquiry into Islamophobia into the Tory Party.

Once Boris Johnson was installed as leader (and new prime minister), the (also) newly-installed Tory chairman backpedalled on that promise. What was his name? Oh yes…

James Cleverly.

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Tories announce lavish new support scheme for businesses – after snubbing Manchester with a pittance

Stung: Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new support package for English areas under Tier 2 Covid-19 restrictions in a move that seems time to snub Greater Manchester.

The north-west English area had been under Tier 2 restrictions until earlier this week, when Sunak’s government forced it into Tier 3 with a financial support package that has been vilified as punitive and unfair.

Now the BBC is reporting:

Rishi Sunak announced big changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) – set to replace furlough in November.

Businesses in tier two areas, particularly in the hospitality sector, had complained that they would be better off if they were under tier three restrictions.

Sunak delivered his announcement in the House of Commons:

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was unimpressed – and even that usually-staunch supporter of the Tories, the BBC’s Laura Kuennsberg, had to agree that he made a fair point:

Burnham expanded on this in a TV interview:

Anthony Browne, the Tory MP appearing on the day’s edition of the BBC’s Politics Live, tried to justify the timing of the announcement:

If it takes time to evolve a policy change like that which Sunak announced in Parliament, then that means it would certainly have been under discussion when the talks with Burnham were taking place.

So it also follows that the Conservatives holding those discussions – like Robert Jenrick, who spewed such a lot of nonsense about it earlier in the week – deliberately failed to mention it to Burnham.

Why?

The only reason that I can see would be to corruptly engineer a financial disadvantage for the Labour-voting people of Greater Manchester.

Once again, it seems, the Conservatives are using the Covid-19 crisis for their own selfish political gain.

How utterly despicable.

I am glad to see that the £2,100 per month grant is retrospective and may be backdated to August 2.

I hope hospitality businesses in Greater Manchester use it to take as much as they can from Sunak and his twisted government.

Source: New government Covid scheme to pay up to half of wages – BBC News

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#BringBackBrown: ex-PMs endorsement of Rashford school meals petition sparks support

The secret of great political drama – as with comedy – is timing. And the timing of Gordon Brown’s political intervention is very dramatic for Boris Johnson.

The former Labour prime minister, who was in office between 2007 and 2010, has declared his support for footballer Marcus Rashford’s petition for schools to provide free meals to children whose families are stricken with poverty – possibly because of Tory Covid-19 restrictions.

Johnson has already refused Rashford’s demand. As far as he’s concerned, poor people’s ankle-biters can starve.

Or, if you want a less partisan view, here’s The Independent:

Poorer pupils will not receive free meals during school holidays, No 10 insists – putting Boris Johnson on a fresh collision course with footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United star has launched a fresh campaign to help hungry children, calling for vouchers for October’s half-term break and at Christmas.

The England striker stepped up his campaign by launching a Commons petition, saying: “Whatever your feeling, opinion or judgement, food poverty is never the child’s fault.”

The petition is also calling for free school meals to be extended to any household which receives benefits – to help a further 1.5million under-16s, during term-time.

But the [prime minister’s] spokesperson said: “We took that decision to extend free school meals during the pandemic, when schools were partially closed during lockdown.

“We are in a different position now. Schools are back open to all pupils and do not regularly provide food to pupils during term-time.

“We believe the best way to support families outside of term times is through universal credit, rather than schools subsidising meals.”

It’s easy to punch holes in this statement – but I don’t have to.

Mr Brown appeared on the BBC’s Breakfast News to say that he has signed Rashford’s petition, and he was delighted to explain his reasons:

Politely and calmly, he absolutely shredded the Tory prime minister’s statement:

It’s clear that Naga Munchetty had been told to end that segment of the interview, giving the government the last word, but Brown wasn’t having any of it. He explained exactly why the statement was nonsense and put the ball back very firmly in Boris Johnson’s court, saying it is for the (current) prime minister to answer this – not a stooge.

Then the most successful UK chancellor of the 21st century (still) levelled his verbal guns on current chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying – effectively – that his economic plans are nonsense. And, again, he was making perfect sense:

The interview has sparked a surge of support for the former chancellor and prime minister, whose calm, reasonable delivery prompted nostalgia for the days when the government was run by reasonable people who understood how a country works, rather than by populist prattlers whose only concern is making a fast buck for themselves:

Perhaps we need more interventions like this – to put Johnson and his hysterics firmly in context.

God knows, we’re not getting it from Starmer the Abstainer.

Source: Boris Johnson rejects Marcus Rashford’s campaign to extend free school meals to half-term and Christmas holidays | The Independent

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‘Thanks, PM’ says Sunak – and a nation gags on its biscuits

I didn’t witness this travesty myself – I was doing something more important, like washing what’s left of my hair.

You have the social media to thank for what follows, therefore.

It seems that, during their broadcast to explain (ha ha!) their new Covid Alert Levels, Boris Johnson handed over the proceedings to Rishi Sunak. Here’s what happened next:

But it wasn’t Batman and Robin – it was more The Inbetweeners. See for yourself:

As the nation choked on its tea and biscuits, and tried to hold down its evening meal, the social media did their work and I am able to show you these further responses:

If it happened in any other country, the government would fall because of this.

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The big Tory ‘Rethink Reskill Reboot’ blunder that has backfired badly

Boris Johnson should have known better but he didn’t. Neither did his Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, who is more directly responsible.

You see, after he announced that he was re-focusing government support to concentrate only on “viable” employment, Sunak had to answer questions about what was to be done with people whose jobs were “unviable”, according to his reckoning.

His answer? “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.” He wanted people to re-train for different jobs.

No doubt he is now left wondering why people in some employment sectors have taken his words as an attack…

… especially after a government advert that appeared today:

It specifically targets entertainers – “Fatima” is a ballet dancer, and therefore belongs to a highly-exclusive corner of the live entertainment sector.

And it suggests that her time would be better-spent working at a desk, in front of a computer, making money for somebody else. Hence this response:

(Of course the reference is to the fact that the government lost more than 16,000 positive Covid-19 traces because it was recording them on an Excel spreadsheet that ran out of fields.)

Others have responded equally bitingly – and often amusingly. I’ll intersperse what follows with some of these.

But it is important to mention the elephant in this particular room: the fact that entertainment is a multi-billion pound industry that deserves government support that Sunak and Johnson aren’t providing.

The case was made very well by Rou Reynolds. If you’re not familiar with the name, he’s the lead singer of the band Enter Shikari – a personal favourite of This Writer’s stepdaughter, before you all start labouring under illusions that I’m suddenly “with it”.

In an open letter to Sunak, published by that venerable pop periodical Kerrang!, he made the case for entertainers to receive support – and he made it well:

Musicians rely on live performance for their main source of income.

The music industry has been one of the most drastically hit industries throughout the whole [Covid-19] crisis. And as the government furlough scheme ends in a few weeks, your government has decided to give the least amount of support for one of the hardest hit industries.

Like a fish writhing in the dust at the bottom of a drained lake, in losing the option of gigging, those in the music industry have been deprived of their life-source.

And the government is standing on what was once the shoreline, suggesting to the fish that it retrains as an elephant.

Most people in the music industry are now being told they no longer have a “viable job” and must retrain or otherwise adapt. There is to be no financial support for them. This, from the same government that wasted £2 billion on helping businesses that are actually thriving during the pandemic. From the same government that wasted millions painting planes, handing out dodgy coronavirus contracts to its ill-equipped pals and employing inept private companies to do jobs they aren’t trained for.

Lots of people are rightly focusing on the economics, pointing out that the music industry adds £5 billion a year to the UK economy. Live music specifically adds the same amount as the whole of the UK fishing industry.

But I would argue that even more important than the economics, live music creates community, friendships and it brings people together indiscriminately – something that this country desperately needs. It is a reliable tonic for our mental health, both for the performers and the listeners. It heals, it unites, it gives hope, it provides escape, it motivates us and it connects us.

Of course, these things are not measured in our economic statistics. Nor do they seem to be acknowledged at all.

Telling artists to diversify, retrain, or simply get another job is even odd in itself, to be honest. Most artists do have other jobs already. Most artists juggle multiple aspects of their own career already. Many could attempt to get more hours in the jobs they have outside of the music industry and just what…? Leave it to rot? Leave it in the safe hands of the well-funded, “establishment-approved” mainstream, and lose all the beautiful diversity and nuance of the underground, the alternative and the more esoteric scenes? The very scenes that have made UK music the world’s most inventive and leading cultural force for decades.

And it’s not just artists that are going to struggle either without support, is it? It’s not just whinging, complaining singers like me!

You remember those iceberg diagrams? The musicians are the little bit of the iceberg we see above the water. Look below the surface and you witness the true extent of the colossal size of the industry: it’s huge.

It’s the stage technicians, lighting designers, engineers, management and production teams, agents, press teams, media, photographers, videographers, promoters, venue staff, security, bus and truck drivers, caterers, even the kebab shop near the venue that relies on the gig-goer’s custom to keep its doors open. What happens to them?

And if you remove an artist’s main source of income, how are they then supposed to afford to record new music? You’re then impacting the record producers, the studio engineers, the mixing and mastering engineers, the session musicians, the video directors and music video production teams, the labels and the publishers.

You and your government must reconsider.

Yours,
Rou Reynolds (unviable content creator, awaiting retraining)

Source: An Open Letter To Rishi Sunak, By Rou Reynolds — Kerrang!

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Sunak announces furlough scheme replacement. Is it any good?

After he served up this little howler – and pushed up Covid-19 infections massively, Rishi Sunak needs to make a good impression with his plan to replace the furlough scheme for jobs affected by Covid-19. Has he managed it?

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a new “job support scheme” to replace the “furlough” programme he has been running since lockdown began in March.

This new scheme will run for another six months until the end of April 2021.

What is it?

A six-month scheme starting on November 1.

To be eligible, employees must work a minimum of 33 per cent of their normal hours.

For the remaining hours not worked, the government and employer pay one-third of the wages each.

So employees working 33 per cent of their hours will receive at least 77 per cent of their pay.

Where will employers get the extra money?

According to BBC News:

Sunak announced a “pay as you grow” scheme for businesses which took government guaranteed loans during the crisis.

“Loans can now be extended from six to ten years nearly halving the average monthly repayment,” he said.

They can also move to interest only payments or suspend payments if they are “in real trouble” for up to six months.

He said no credit rating will be affected.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans will also be extended for up to 10 years.

There will also be a new loan scheme in January, the chancellor says.

He is also extending the scheme for self-employment on “similar terms” to the existing job support scheme.

The scheme is mainly for small and medium-sized firms. Only large firms that can prove they have been harmed by Covid will be eligible for the Job Support Scheme.

What about VAT?

Sunak is also cancelling the planned increase of VAT from five per cent to 20 per cent, which was due to come into effect in January.

Instead, the lower rate of five per cent will remain until 31 March next year.

Viable jobs?

Sunak said the new scheme is intended to support “viable” jobs only – and that should ring alarm bells:

Of course – Tories being Tories – certain extremely rich people are enjoying the continuation of their own subsidies at the same level:

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Rishi Sunak thinks taking cash from the starving poor is the way to pay for Covid-19

Remember this? It led to a huge rise in Covid-19 infections. Now Sunak is planning to make the poor pay for his mistakes.

The absolute state of this.

The Chancellor who told us to “eat out to help out” – triggering an exponential increase in Covid-19 infections that led to new restrictions – is now trying to work out how the UK will pay for his government’s mistakes.

And of course he isn’t going to ask the filthy-rich corporates who have made a fortune while the crisis has been happening to pay a bit more.

No – he wants to grind you further into the dirt:

Rishi Sunak has looked at a freeze on benefits and public sector pay to fight the spiralling cost of the coronavirus crisis, it is reported today.

Sources failed to rule out the crushing blow to millions of workers and the poorest – just a few years after long austerity freezes finally ended.

The Chancellor is also said to be trying to persuade Boris Johnson to suspend the “triple lock” on pensions, reports the Mail on Sunday – amid fears it will artificially rise due to the economic turmoil.

So he’ll freeze wages and benefits at a time when his boss Boris Johnson’s international law-breaking Brexit is likely to cause massive price increases on basic food items.

And he wants to freeze pensions as well, to put the pensioners who were left after his government’s Covid-19-fuelled cull into the same predicament.

It has all been about protecting the super-rich, of course. The lockdown that was supposed to kill off Covid-19 didn’t, because Sunak, Johnson and their gang wanted to get us all back to the coalface, making money for the big corporate bosses who donate to the Tory party.

Now, despite the fact that this corporates have increased their riches steadily over the course of the pandemic, Sunak still doesn’t dare tap them to help pay for the results of their government lackeys’ efforts to keep them in gravy.

And this creep was supposed to be the great white hope of the Conservative Party?

Source: Rishi Sunak ‘considers freezing benefits and wages’ to pay for Covid crisis – Mirror Online

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Why does Sunak have billions for dormant companies, but not a penny to safeguard our jobs?

Rishi Sunak: he doesn’t want to save UK jobs. Meanwhile his government is funnelling billions into companies run by friends of the Tories – who can’t deliver what they promise.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak has again been urged to extend the furlough scheme that safeguards huge numbers of UK jobs during the Covid crisis – a scheme he is adamant will end on October 31.

The Commons Treasury select committee has urged him to renew support for sectors of the economy that are still suffering because of the pandemic, saying the alternative is mass unemployment and an end to viable firms.

But you can probably see the problem Sunak has in the committee’s own words:

“Effectively targeted assistance to those who need it is important,” the committee says in an 84-page report, ‘Economic impact of coronavirus : the challenges of recovery’.

“The Chancellor should carefully consider whether a targeted extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and/or other targeted support measures might be required and explain his conclusions.”

The problem is that the UK’s current Tory government hasn’t yet had a target that it could hit.

Meanwhile…

Yes, we deserve far better. But we’re not going to get it.

Source: Coronavirus furlough ‘must be extended’ to avoid mass unemployment from October 31 – Mirror Online

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Distraction tactics: why pay attention to all this right-wing fiddling while your country burns?

Jeremy Corbyn: it’s nice that a Twitter poll has rated him the best prime minister the UK never had, but the PM that we’ve got is turning the UK into a major disaster and this stuff is nothing more than an attempt to distract you. Did it work?

We all know bank holiday Mondays are where the news goes to die but August 2020 was particularly bad.

Judging by Twitter, the event that caught everybody’s imagination was a poll by right-wing Times Radio that resulted in a nobody presenter – This Writer has never heard of him – having to declare that Jeremy Corbyn is the best prime minister the UK never had.

(It means he would have been a better choice, not only than Boris Johnson or Theresa May, but better than many others as well – according to those who took part in the poll.)

Certain right-whingers immediately took it upon themselves to alleged – without any factual basis – that Corbynista Twitter users had ganged up to rig the poll.

Who cares?

It doesn’t matter. We didn’t get Corbyn. We got Theresa May in 2017 and Boris Johnson now – partly because Labour apparatchiks conspired to bugger up Corbyn’s campaigns on one or both occasions, if you believe a certain report (I do).

And it diverts attention from the failures of the government we have – especially at a time when Parliament is about to resume sitting after the summer recess.

The Guardian‘s editorial has identified a few of the political crises from which the poll has diverted our attention. For example:

Rishi Sunak is determined to end his Job Retention Scheme – the furlough to you and me – at the end of October, triggering a huge wave of unemployment. That’s right, even more people are about to learn what Universal Credit is all about – and they’re not going to like it.

He’s facing an annual national deficit that will have grown to twice the amount faced by Gordon Brown’s Labour government during the so-called “great recession” of 2008 or thereabouts. His party made a lot of mileage out of criticising Labour’s handling of that recession, slithering back into office by claiming it would end deficit spending and cut the national debt as well (instead the Tories more than doubled the debt to £2 trillion).

And in November Sunak has to produce a budget that will boost the economy and return the national finances to some semblance of balance (fat chance! He’s already facing a backbench rebellion on his mooted plans for tax rises).

Nobody’s going back to work because they don’t trust the government’s proclamations that it is safe from Covid-19. Nobody is likely to go back to universities for the same reason. The only people likely to want to go back to school are the kids – and that’s because they’re probably a bit bored by now and want to see their buddies again.

The Johnson government’s determination to push through Brexit as planned by December 31 means the party that pledged to end the scourge of “red tape” is more likely to throttle us with it, as businesses have to deal with an avalanche of pointless bureaucracy.

These are all problems that the Tories have created for the rest of us, either by incompetence or by design, since they first came back into power in 2010 – and most particularly since Boris Johnson became prime minister last year.

You need to be thinking about that, but instead you’re being seduced into thinking about a dopey Twitter poll that doesn’t mean anything at all.

You’re watching the right-wingers fiddling around while your country burns around you.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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