Tag Archives: talk

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump DID discuss selling the NHS – as Jeremy Corbyn said

Buddies: Boris Johnson and Donald Trump really were discussing the sale of a privatised NHS to firms in the United States, it seems – while dishonestly accusing Jeremy Corbyn of lying when he exposed the plan.

Here’s a revelation…

… except it isn’t; some of us have known about it for years…

(In fact, let’s have a bit of video of the moment we were told…)

… but for those who refused to accept the evidence then, let’s go over it again quickly now (from the Byline Times article:

Boris Johnson privately discussed privatising the NHS with Donald Trump, according to a new biography of the former Prime Minister.

The claim… suggests that the former PM asked Trump not to publicly mention their discussions as they could create “mischief” if they were to become widely known.

However, he suggested that they could privately discuss it together.

“Some people in my party and other parties might make mischief if you talk about doing that, Donald,” Johnson told him. “Let’s talk about it all you like in private when you’re here, but we can keep it to ourselves.”

Claims of secret talks between the two countries about privatising the NHS were denied at the time.

Johnson’s Government faced allegations in 2019 of secretly planning to privatise the National Health Service as part of a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. At the time, then Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn published official documents suggesting UK officials had been in secret trade talks with US firms about the NHS.

The documents suggested that America was seeking “total market access” to the UK’s health service after Brexit.

Johnson’s Government dismissed the claims at the time, insisting the NHS would always remain “off the table” in talks with the US.

So there you have it.

Jeremy Corbyn was right about plans to privatise the NHS and sell it off to the United States, and Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and the rest of the Tories were themselves lying when they called him a liar for mentioning it.

Or so the evidence states. I’d like to see any hard facts from Johnson, Truss, or indeed anyone else that can refute it.


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Junior doctors’ strike day three: will the health secretary turn up to talk today?

Absent: Health Secretary Steve Barclay. If he isn’t present, then he can’t put forward an argument against the strikes.

What was the most notable element in day two of the junior doctors’ strike?

Was it the lack of a Conservative government minister to explain the official position?

The absence was noticed…

Fortunately, we have Peter Stefanovic to provide context:

Let us hope the government is able to bring something more substantial to the table today.


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‘People aren’t dying because of doctors’ strikes but because of cuts to the NHS’

Junior doctors: they’ll strike again tomorrow (Tuesday, April 11, 2023 – this is an image from 2016) for four days while health secretary Steve Barclay dithers over whether to negotiate with them.

Junior doctors are presenting a strong case for a pay rise ahead of a four-day strike this week – citing the fact that MP salaries have risen almost in line with inflation whereas they have taken a 26 per cent pay cut.

Doctors’ representatives have taken to the TV studios to explain their case – and it is compelling.

Here’s Dr Amir Khan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain:

Part of the problem, it seems, is that the Tory government simply isn’t telling anybody its own starting position for pay negotiations. Here’s Dr Mike Greenhalgh on BBC Breakfast:

With no movement from either side, NHS Confederation chief executive Matthew Taylor has called for the independent Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) to be contacted for help with negotiations.

Acas used to be in the news all the time during the strikes of the 1970s and 80s, but seems to have fallen out of favour over recent decades.

Mr Taylor warned that 350,000 appointments and operations could be cancelled during the four-day strike that starts tomorrow (Tuesday, April 11, 2023) and said both sides needed help to progress:

We should consider asking the government and the trade unions to call in Acas, the conciliation service, to provide some basis for negotiations, because if anything the positions seem to have hardened over the last couple of days.

Services are stretched and there’s no question there will be a risk to patient safety, there will be a risk to patient dignity because we’re unable to provide the kind of care we want.

To be facing this situation where those waiting lists are going to get longer, cancelling work, not being able to guarantee the level of care you want to provide – well that’s heartbreaking for an NHS leader.

Health secretary Steve Barclay has said he is refusing to negotiate until doctors pause their strike and step back from their demand to have pay brought back to parity with its position in 2010.

He’s saying he wants junior doctors to accept that they deserve lower pay rises than he does.

Considering the huge amount of good that doctors do for so many people every day, and the huge amount of harm that the Conservative government of the last 13 years has done to so many more, This Writer has a question:

Who do you think is being unrealistic?


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Tories book residential home beds to relieve NHS pressures after strike negotiations fail AGAIN

Health Secretary Steve Barclay outlined plans to ease “severe pressures” on the NHS and free up hospital beds.

The emergency measures were announced hours after talks intended to end strike action by NHS workers ended in failure.

So what happened?

Well… First we were told that prime minister Rishi Sunak was planning to offer a lump sum to help nurses who were facing “hardship”.

But this created a problem for the government because it meant the Tories had to admit that their starvation wages were causing hardship – and that’s a bad look for any government:

Did he even offer these payments?

Apparently not. All we know is that leaders of Unite said the government had missed “yet another opportunity” by demanding “productivity” improvements …

And those at Unison came out of the talks complaining of no “tangible” offer from the Health Secretary…

So there you have it.

Steve Barclay is bulk-booking beds in private residential homes – with £250 million of public money – because he refuses to pay nurses a living wage.

Indeed, he has demanded that they should work longer than 18 hours a day in order to justify any increased payment.

This is simply unreasonable and reinforces claims that the Tory government is pushing NHS wages down in order to make it more appetising for private buyers after the public has been convinced that privatisation is the only way to improve healthcare in the UK…

And we know that this is a lie. Private health cherry-picks the most lucrative health procedures but then cuts corners in order to make ever-higher profits, and the public purse ends up being forced to pay to put matters right.

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Monarchist talk show host insults caller who calls him ‘subservient’

This being a bank holiday weekend, This Writer is either otherwise occupied or almost totally incapacitated, so I’m putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

Actually I do have something to say about this. Yesterday (Sunday), I met a friend who showed me the injuries he had suffered at the hands of a member of the armed forces who had taken offence when he had voiced anti-Monarchist sentiments in a pub.

My friend had not been threatening in his behaviour but this serviceman had taken it upon himself to attack and injure him – for a reason that would not stand up in court.

This is not acceptable behaviour in a country whose leaders still claim to uphold the principle of free speech.

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Cost of living: is the Don’t Pay campaign viable or is there a better way?

Take a look at this discussion of the Don’t Pay campaign, that calls for a million people to cancel their Direct Debits to energy firms:

Is it viable? Well…

There are pitfalls.

As I understand it, the suggestion is that you cancel your Direct Debits and make a complaint about the amount to your energy supplier, who cannot then switch off your supply for non-payment while the complaint is ongoing. It is important that you make your complaint direct to the supplier and not to any debt collection agency they may send to you.

According to the narrative, you may be offered a small reduction – but you should not accept it. Instead, you should wait for a letter of “deadlock” – meaning your supplier is saying they can’t come to terms with you.

Then you complain to the Ombudsman. What is not said here – but is apparent from the Ombudsman’s documentation – is that the complaint must be ongoing for at least eight weeks – or your supplier must have signposted you to the Ombudsman – before you can do this. And you must give the company an opportunity to resolve the issue.

Every complaint the Ombudsman receives is said to trigger a charge of £375 (some say £500) to the energy supplier. Strangely, the Ombudsman’s website does not mention the amount it charges.

The idea is that if enough people get to this point in the process, the energy firms will be paying £375 million on complaints alone and may fall into financial difficulties themselves.

However: these are firms that have built up huge profits over the last two years, and it is entirely possible that they could simply wait out any protests; I understand the proportion of customers needed to complain would have to be more than 15 per cent before any real threat to the firms’ viability is registered. That might be too much to ask.

Alternatively, instead of paying Direct Debits, you could instead arrange with your energy supplier simply to pay for what you use each month – meaning your energy firm doesn’t take more than you can pay because you can regulate it. But the tariff may be higher so you could still be out-of-pocket by doing this.

I imagine it would still be possible to make a complaint about the amount being charged via Direct Debit being too high, so you could still go through the Ombudsman process.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media are scaremongering with warnings that energy suppliers may simply get a court order allowing them into people’s homes in order to fit pre-payment meters or cut off the energy supply (although this last option is extremely rare).

Suppliers cannot move anybody to pre-payment if it is not practical – for example, if an illness or disability means a customer would be at risk if their gas or electricity was cut off. This Writer has seen information from a person on Personal Independence Payment whose supplier extended their present tariff until next March.

Suppliers also need to follow clear guidance and make sure they have given adequate notice, time to pay any debts and offered alternatives to being moved on to a pre-payment meter.

So what’s the best thing to do?

From what This Writer has seen so far, the best advice is to get in touch with your energy supplier and simply tell them that you are concerned that you will not be able to pay a Direct Debit if it increases hugely in October or January.

Explain your circumstances because, like the PIP claimant mentioned above, you may be able to negotiate an extension of your current tariff.

Discuss the benefits and pitfalls of every alternative that is available to you. Warn them that you are concerned you may have to take action against them if you cannot come to affordable terms – as a last resort.

And make clear exactly how much (or, realistically, how little) your financial situation is likely to change between now and next January; any payment plan needs to be practical.

Then see what they say before committing to any action that could harm your credit rating.

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Boris bombs in Northern Ireland talks – he has managed to upset everyone

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald meets Boris Johnson: she said she received no straight answers from him. Great result! The rest of us have to put up with outright lies.

Boris Johnson has managed a rare achievement in modern politics: having travelled to Northern Ireland for talks on how to restore the devolved government there, he managed to upset everybody he met.

The prime minister’s visit comes after the Democratic Unionist Party blocked the election of a Speaker to a new assembly at Stormont last Friday, meaning it cannot function.

The DUP – and other unionist parties – want changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK’s agreement to leave the European Union, which they say creates a hard trade border between the Province and Britain.

Johnson claimed to be there to build a consensus with political parties in Northern Ireland – but faced considerable distrust because they all know his foreign secretary, Liz Truss, is expected to make a statement on the government’s plans to act on the protocol on Tuesday – possibly overriding parts of the Brexit deal.

So, while they disagree on the issue that divides them, the Northern Irish parties seem to be united in their distrust of the man with ultimate power to act on it.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald accused Mr Johnson of unacceptable and obstructionist tactics, placating the DUP and giving “no straight answers”: “The British government is in a game of brinkmanship with the European institutions, indulging a section of political unionism which believes it can frustrate and hold society to ransom.”

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson said he would judge Johnson on his actions, not words: “We cannot have power-sharing unless there is a consensus. That consensus doesn’t exist.”

Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry was no more positive: “We’ve seen a lot of soft words from the prime minister, an attempt at some sort of consensual way forward, but those words belie the fact that tomorrow Liz Truss is set to make a statement to parliament setting out the basis of the UK taking unilateral action on the protocol.”

And Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) leader Colum Eastwood said: “If the British government tomorrow signal their intent to break international law by legislating to rip up the protocol at Westminster he will not have the support of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.”

Johnson was jeered by about 200 people as his cavalcade arrived at Hillsborough, including campaigners for Irish language legislation, anti-Brexit activists and victims’ campaigners objecting to the government’s proposed legislation for dealing with legacy cases from the Troubles.

So in fact, Johnson has achieved a positive result.

He has united the people of Northern Ireland. None of them would trust him further than they could spit a rat.

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Was Vox Political article the blueprint for Russo-Ukrainian peace?

The negotiators: it may look as dull as ditchwater but it seems peace may break out as a result of what has been happening in this room.

Even This Writer can’t seriously make the claim in the headline.

But isn’t it curious that negotiators have come up with a 15-point plan for peace, after This Site published its own naive – I thoughtconcepts of what might work.

The one element that seems to be public knowledge at the time of writing is that Ukraine would give up its bid to join Nato, becoming neutral but able to call on protection from allies like the US, UK and Turkey.

That’s very close to my suggestion that Ukraine remain outside Nato but be able to call on the organisation for protection if its borders were violated – isn’t it?

Perhaps the negotiators could take up my ideas about the breakaway eastern territories and those seized by Russia in 2014 too?

This Writer’s biggest concern is that sanctions imposed by other nations against Russia become a sticking-point in international relations.

Logically, any that have been imposed by the UK will be dropped with indecent speed by Boris Johnson, because he’ll want to restore his funding stream.

But Russia’s claim that Western sanctions against Russia are “aggression and war with economic, political, information means” is a cause for concern.

Sanity may be breaking out between Russia and Ukraine, but is there any hope that it may spread elsewhere as well?

Source: Ukraine war: Reports ’15-point’ peace deal being ‘seriously discussed’ as Putin says he’s ‘ready to talk’ | World News | Sky News

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Russia-Ukraine: third round of talks begins – but will Johnson try to sabotage them?

Is Boris Johnson Vladimir Putin’s useful idiot? If Johnson announces new sanctions against Russia while that country is holding peace talks with Ukraine, it could provide an excuse for Putin to continue the war.

Russian and Ukrainian diplomats are meeting for a third round of peace talks, amid a wave of propaganda from both sides.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy reckons “there will be judgement” on Russia for its invasion of his country, while Vladimir Putin says Russia would quit Ukraine immediately if Ukraine agrees to demilitarise, and to allow the disputed regions in eastern Ukraine their autonomy.

None of the claims are realistic, and This Writer doubts they will be mentioned when the talks restart at 2pm today (4pm in eastern Europe). The negotiators will be looking for a mutually-acceptable conclusion – not trying to score public relations points.

I don’t think Russia will be prepared to give any ground on the disputed eastern regions that are inhabited by people of Russian ethnicity, who identify with Russia and who have (allegedly?) been persecuted for many years.

Nor will Russia relent on its determination that the Crimea should be acknowledged as a Russian territory. This is not unreasonable as it was only given to Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in an act of remorse for what he saw as that country’s poor treatment within the USSR.

But the demand for Ukraine to demilitarise is unreasonable. If that country rid itself of all military forces, there would be nothing to stop Russia from rolling straight back in and taking over completely.

And there’s no reason for Ukraine to do as Russia demands; when an invader finds out he can’t win, you don’t offer to make it easier for him.

Realistically, both sides know this. They’ll be seeking a solution that allows them both to walk away with dignity.

Unfortunately, Boris Johnson has decided to hold talks on further sanctions against Russia, at the same time as the peace negotiations are taking place. He started his meeting with the Canadian and Dutch prime ministers at midday and is planning a press conference at 2.50pm – while the Russia-Ukraine talks are taking place.

Will he make an announcement that could upset the peace process? Probably. Johnson is a fool who acts only in what he sees as his own interest.

But what is Johnson’s interest?

Judging by his behaviour so far, his interests lie in prolonging Russia’s war, protecting that country’s interests in the UK, and preventing Ukrainian refugees from gaining asylum here.

An announcement of further sanctions – to be imposed at an undefined point in the future, as far as the UK is concerned – may be just the inflammatory stimulus Russia needs to call off peace talks again.

Bear in mind: it is the timing of the press conference that is contentious. By making an announcement on sanctions while the peace talks are taking place, Johnson is denying Putin and Zelenskyy a chance to come to an agreement.

If they were to make progress, an announcement on sanctions may be unnecessary in any case.

It seems that, by trying to appear proactive, Boris Johnson is simply trying to get in the way.

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Putin has found ANOTHER way to make the West look stupid: talk

Buddies: Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China. Putin seems keen to go back to the negotiating table after a chat in which Xi reminded him of China’s preference to leave other countries’ borders inviolate and their internal affairs to their governments.

Having almost conquered Ukraine within two days, Russian president Vladimir Putin has found another way to make Nato and the western powers including the UK and USA look stupid: negotiations.

According to Reuters,

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to send a delegation to Minsk for negotiations with representatives of Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Friday after the Russian leader held a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The shift in mood could throw a lifeline to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has always said he knows his country can’t withstand an attack by Russia on its own.

He has had to watch Russian troops move into his capital city of Kiev, despite the heroic efforts of his outnumbered and outgunned military – and armed civilians. This could prevent further violence.

And it’s a good move for Putin because it makes the western jingoists look daft again. They’ve been saying he wants to create a new Soviet Union, starting with an occupation of Ukraine, and a trip to the negotiating table – most likely to secure Ukrainian neutrality so it won’t join Nato – will well and truly end that story.

This Writer is willing to bet he’ll take the disputed eastern territories into Russia as part of the negotiations; he’s in a position of power and will use it. He’ll say it’s what the people there want.

If Zelenskyy agrees to talks, and if we’re all very lucky, the violence could be all over by Monday.*

*All right, that’s highly optimistic. But a phrase reminiscent of “It’ll all be over by Christmas” reminds us all of what we’re risking, doesn’t it?

Source: Putin tells China’s Xi that Russia is ready to talk with Ukraine – Kremlin | Reuters

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