Tag Archives: tragedy

Outrage as Labour MP writes in The Sun. Where is Starmer?

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has betrayed the people of one of its stronghold cities by allowing one of its shadow ministers to write an article in The Sun, days after the death of a victim of the Hillsborough tragedy that that rag misrepresented so grievously.

And Wes Streeting isn’t even sorry about it (yet). Is it because he’s an out-of-touch Londoner who thinks he’s above the concerns of people in the North?

The Ilford North MP was putting forward the latest part of Starmer’s campaign to turn the clock back to 1997, with a “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” attitude that focused on child poverty. But, as one commenter put it, when has any UK political party claimed to be soft on crime?

On Twitter, he said he had written an article in The Sun:

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves then retweeted the announcement, making it clear that this was a move that had been endorsed – hypocritically, but we’ll come to that – by the Labour Party leadership.

The choice to write for Rupert Murdoch’s far-right hate-rag was highly controversial – and Streeting’s justification for it was risible:

While it may once have been true that Labour-leaning voters read The Sun (most of its readership in the 1980s voted Labour and bought it to get angry at the pro-Tory bias it contained), those days are long gone. Dwindling readership means it is now a loss-making minority-interest hack-rag, written by rabid Tories, for rabid Tories.

Those are the voters Wes Streeting wants to attract to Labour.

Labour can happily do without them – and him. He has made his own political preferences abundantly clear:

And he could not have done this at a worse time.

Remember: The Sun blamed the people of Liverpool for the Hillsborough disaster that killed 96 people, when in fact the responsibility lay with the police. Its editors and publisher (Murdoch) colluded with Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government and the police to push on us a lie that Liverpool fans caused the deaths.

The people of Liverpool have never forgiven Murdoch and his filthy little toilet-paper periodical has been boycotted there ever since. Traditionally, Labour has supported this choice – until now.

That’s a general rule – but it became far more specific this week because Streeting chose to publish his article in the sun only days after the death of Andrew Devine, who became the 97th victim of Hillsborough.

It was an act of phenomenal insensitivity, and arrogance bordering on callousness.

Labour – and left-wing – voices who genuinely seek to represent the people – especially when faced by Establishment lies and corruption – have leapt to condemn Streeting:

Streeting’s monumental insensitivity can possibly be best described by comparing his desire to chum up with the Conservative rag and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attitude – which was to have nothing to do with it and to seek to reduce the power and influence of its owner:

And what of the current Labour leader?

Remember above, where I mentioned that Labour’s bosses have endorsed Streeting’s article and it is hypocritical? Here’s the reason: in January last year, during a Labour leadership campaign hustings in – guess where? – Liverpool, Starmer attacked The Sun, saying he wouldn’t be giving any interviews to Murdoch’s rag. However…

… did you spot the “get-out” clause in his speech? He said he wouldn’t be giving any interviews to The Sun “during this campaign”. Labour members in Liverpool – and elsewhere – saw it as support for their campaign – “don’t buy The Sun“. They were all mistaken.

He was only saying it for effect.

He was only saying it to dupe them into voting for him.

And now he is actively courting The Sun‘s (dwindling) readership, via Streeting.

I wonder what good he thinks this highly-visible about-turn will do him – especially at a time when a poll of the British public shows that we want him to resign:

On the basis of this disgusting betrayal, Starmer’s departure – and that of Tory suck-up Streeting – can’t come soon enough.

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Brexit – and Grenfell – reveal two faces of Theresa May within a single day

Former prime minister Theresa May seemed to have developed a backbone when she stood up to Boris Johnson over his Brexit u-turn – but that’s only if you haven’t noticed her betrayal of the dead of Grenfell, that happened less than 24 hours before.

As the Johnson government introduced new legislation into Parliament, contradicting the withdrawal agreement that Johnson himself negotiated and signed, Mrs May had this to say about it:

It was a principled stand, and won support in the social media from those of us who understood what she meant:

Of course, there were some well-aimed barbs too:

But while we may praise Mrs May for her response to the withdrawal agreement, er… withdrawal, she has disgraced herself over the response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

May was prime minister when the London tower block was engulfed in flames, due to the fact that it was covered in highly-flammable cladding.

She said at the time that she would work to make sure no such tragedy ever happened again.

Well, cladding on another London block caught fire with the same effect between then and now – fortunately with no fatalities.

And yesterday, Mrs May happily voted to ensure that the recommendations of the Grenfell Inquiry – including the removal of such cladding from private and publicly-owned residential properties – will not be implemented by the government:

We cannot praise her comments on Brexit without condemning her actions on Grenfell.

I agree with Mr Patel (above):

Never trust a Tory.

Council worker steals money meant for Grenfell victims while authorities continue to ignore its lessons

Jenny McDonagh.

The contempt in which Kensington and Chelsea council holds its social housing tenants is breathtaking.

For months, we asked what was happening to the money that had been raised to help the survivors of the blaze who had lost their homes and possessions – and were told it was all well in hand.

And it was – in the hands of a dishonest council finance manager who stole more than £60,000 of it and frittered it away on her own pleasures.

Isn’t that par for the course with Tory councils like K&C? They and their employees don’t consider the money they handle belongs to the people; they think it is for their own benefit.

That’s how it seems to me.

And we have evidence that councils across London – not just K&C – are ignoring the lessons of Grenfell. For example, they are still turning their backs on the concerns raised by residents.

So, after the deaths of so many people (I don’t believe only 72 lost their lives in that horror), it’s business as usual for the bureaucrats.

Let’s hope we all remember that, next time there’s an election.

A [council] finance manager splashed out on trips around the world, gambling and fancy dinners using money meant for the Grenfell Tower fire victims.

Jenny McDonagh, from Kensington and Chelsea Council, has admitted defrauding around £60,000 from the victim fund.

She withdrew a total of £62,000 meant for survivors of the tragedy and victims’ grieving family members using pre-paid credit cards.

She spent the funds on trips to Dubai and Los Angeles, expensive dinners and online gambling.

The 39-year-old, from Abbey Wood, South East London, pleaded guilty to two offences of fraud, one of theft and another of concealing criminal property at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday.

She was bailed for sentencing at a later date.

Source: Kensington and Chelsea council worker admits spending £60k of Grenfell victims’ money on holidays and gambling – Mirror Online

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Hillsborough families will ‘fight on’ after CPS drops charges against Norman Bettison

Case dismissed: Sir Norman Bettison speaking outside court. He was not exonerated; it seems that there has been so much delay in prosecuting a case against him that one witness died and evidence from another became questionable.

Who can blame the Hillsborough Family Support Group for being incandescent with fury about the way charges against Sir Norman Bettison have been dropped?

Bettison, formerly a Superintendant in South Yorkshire Police, had been charged with four offences of misconduct in public office relating to telling alleged lies about his involvement in the aftermath of Hillsborough and the culpability of fans. Given his role as a senior police officer, the CPS had declared an intent to show that this was misconduct of such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder.

This declaration was made in 2012 – 23 years after the disaster in which 96 people were killed in a crush at Hillsborough while supporting Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest on 15 April 1989.

The families of the deceased have spent years demanding answers about Bettison’s involvement for South Yorkshire police, particularly as he went on to become the chief constable at Merseyside in 1998.

Wasn’t that a potential conflict of interest? Have a think about that one.

It has long been believed that a full investigation into the disaster was delayed because of political interference and it could be argued that this delay has served its purpose. Here’s the reason:

The case against Bettison was not dismissed because he was found to be innocent in the light of the evidence. It was dismissed because one of the chief witnesses against him, Mark Ellaby, had died. When the Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) visited another key witness – aged no less than 85 – “significant contradictions” emerged in her evidence.

Delaying an investigation into high-profile allegations of wrong-doing is a tactic we all recognise now, I hope. In this case, it has led to the death of one witness, while another has now reached great age and her evidence is no longer reliable.

That is how Norman Bettison has escaped prosecution.

(As a sidebar, This Writer has experience of investigations into police conduct, and I would not trust the IOPC’s verdict on the second witness for a single second. That’s a personal opinion.)

So it comes as no surprise to me that Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said members had “grave concerns about the handling of this case by the CPS”.

She said: “We … can confirm that we will be exercising our right to an independent review under the right to review scheme.

“It is our view that the wrong charge was brought in the first place and we will be using the review process to argue this point strongly. We know how our supporters will feel about this decision and, of course, we all share all of those feelings.”

And she pledged to “fight on” while saying that the families struggle at times to “find the strength to keep going”.

All things considered, this is entirely understandable.

The collapse of the case against Bettison leaves five others facing charges over Hillsborough:

David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire police chief superintendent in command of the semi-final at Hillsborough, is charged with 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Graham Mackrell, the former secretary and safety officer for Sheffield Wednesday, is charged with three breaches of safety legislation; former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent Donald Denton and chief inspector Alan Foster are charged with doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice, as is the force’s former solicitor, Peter Metcalf.

Duckenfield’s trial is due to start in January.

The Crown Prosecution Service has dropped all cri

David Duckenfield, the South Yorkshire police chief superintendent in command of the semi-final at Hillsborough, is charged with 95 counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Graham Mackrell, the former secretary and safety officer for Sheffield Wednesday, is charged with three breaches of safety legislation; former South Yorkshire police chief superintendent Donald Denton and chief inspector Alan Foster are charged with doing acts tending and intending to pervert the course of justice, as is the force’s former solicitor, Peter Metcalf.

Duckenfield’s trial, which is listed first, is due to start in January.

minal charges against Sir Norman Bettison relating to his conduct as a South Yorkshire police chief inspector in the force’s response to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

Bettison, who was subsequently appointed chief constable of Merseyside and then West Yorkshire police, was charged last June with four counts of misconduct in a public office for statements he allegedly made about Hillsborough and his role, which the CPS claimed were untrue.

Bettison had made an application for the charges to be dismissed, which was due to be heard at Preston crown court on Tuesday, but the CPS barrister, Sarah Whitehouse QC, told the judge, Sir Peter Openshaw, that all four charges against Bettison were being withdrawn and the prosecution discontinued.

Bettison was not charged for his actual conduct or role in the South Yorkshire police’s response to the disaster. Instead, the CPS alleged that Bettison lied about his role in statements he made years later, in 1998 and 2012. Two charges alleged that in late 1998, during his application process for the Merseyside position, Bettison described his Hillsborough role as “peripheral” and told the Merseyside Police Authority he had “never attempted to shift blame on to the shoulders of Liverpool supporters”.

The two further charges related to press releases he issued in September 2012 after the Hillsborough Independent Panel published its report, in which he stated that he had never “besmirched” Liverpool supporters or suggested privately or publicly that they had caused the disaster.

Source: CPS drops all charges against former Hillsborough officer | Football | The Guardian

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Survivors of Grenfell Tower are trying to commit suicide. Why?

Grief: Firefighters found it hard to keep themselves together as they dealt with the tragedy at Grenfell Tower. How much worse would it have been for residents? [Image: PA].

It may come as scant surprise to you that people who survived the inferno at Grenfell Tower are so troubled by it – and its aftermath – that they are trying to end their own lives.

Survivors’ guilt is a well-documented phenomenon.

But there is also the issue of the treatment these people received after the tragedy – from the public services that are supposed to exist to help victims of such terrible events.

Can anyone say Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council has acted well in this matter? I can’t.

Claiming a network of support is available does not amount to a resounding show of succour in these people’s time of need.

At least 20 survivors and witnesses of the Grenfell Tower fire have attempted suicide, a support network has said.

Silence of Suicide founder Yvette Greenway told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme the number was based on conversations with residents.

Campaign group Justice4Grenfell said those working with survivors had heard of 20 suicide attempts, but the BBC has been unable to verify the figure.

A network of support is available, Kensington and Chelsea Council said.

Source: Grenfell Tower: ‘Twenty suicide attempts’ since fire – BBC News


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