Tag Archives: U-turn

U-turn again, Boris Johnson – every time you do, you lose more credibility

What he thinks we want to hear: Boris Johnson turns with the wind, as this excellent infographic from @dayvidart shows.

The continued support Boris Johnson enjoys from the UK public is becoming a constant surprise – especially as he is now u-turning several times a day.

It seems clear that he and his people are saying whatever they think they can get away with, according to the news agenda of the day – as Ian Dunt points out here:

When lockdown was imposed in March, we all had to work from home if we possibly could.

Then Johnson changed his mind in June and wanted us all to go back to the workplace and catch Covid-19 from our colleagues.

Now it is September and we’re all staying at home again. At this rate, he’ll have us back in the salt mines again around Christmas.

On the subject of staying at home or going somewhere, shall we discuss schools?

Here’s some footage of Johnson at the Commons Liaison Committee, saying that children readily transmit Covid-19 to adults.

But Adam Hamdy is right:

So Johnson – who said, only at the beginning of September, that it was “safe” to go back to school – has now reversed his position entirely. But it’s a bit late now:

In our houses, out of doors, in, out, shake-it-all-about… We wouldn’t need to do any of this if we had a decent Covid-19 test, track and trace system – but we don’t.

Johnson handed the contract for this to a private company – Serco – that has made a complete hash of it.

So he keeps calling it “NHS test-and-trace” instead, in the hope that nobody will remember it’s a privatised cock-up. Fat chance:

When the Department for Health and Social Care launched its contact tracing app (which version of that are we on now? Two or three?) the announcement stated that it would not carry out contact tracing.

Guess what? Another u-turn was on the way!

Here‘s The Independent:

No 10 has been left red-faced after wrongly saying the long-delayed NHS coronavirus app will not carry out contact-tracing – only to be slapped down by health officials.

The technology will finally be launched on Thursday – four months late – but without its original purpose, Downing Street had claimed, sparking fresh criticism.

But, within hours, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) issued a correction, insisting contact-tracing would be “at the heart of the NHS Covid-19 app”.

The fiasco over the four-month-delayed track-and-trace system led to uncomfortable moments for Johnson in the House of Commons where – as usual – he made a proper fool of himself:

If you’re having problems understanding what’s wrong with his words, see the following:

And here’s another thing: if the UK is such a freedom-loving country and those others aren’t, then why are we having to put up with endless – and constantly-varying – restrictions from Johnson while they are practically back to normal?

This idiot’s words stand on their heads!

For further proof – if you can believe it – Johnson actually said that contact tracing had nothing to do with the resurgence of Covid-19 in the UK:

Needless to say, the satirists have been having a field day:

I’m going to end with one that’s not related to the rest of the story but refers to Johnson’s intention to bring the armed forces onto our streets to enforce his ridiculous new restrictions on our freedoms. The point, I hope, is clear:

The UK may be a freedom-loving nation – but Boris Johnson doesn’t like it at all.

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Jenrick says Grenfell recommendations will be implemented. Get ready for ANOTHER u-turn

Inferno: The Grenfell Tower blaze caused the greatest single loss of life in London since World War II, with official figures showing 72 people lost their lives.

How can we believe a Tory claim that the recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on safety for people living in flats will be put into practise?

For a start, Robert Jenrick is the one making the claim and he’s as crooked as a nine-bob note (in This Writer’s experienced opinion)!

The recommendations

required flat owners or building managers in England and Wales to:

  • Share information with their local fire service about the design of external walls and the materials used
  • Carry out regular inspections of lifts and individual flat entrance doors
  • Share evacuation and fire safety instructions with residents of the building

But we will have to monitor the Tories carefully, if we want to be sure they don’t pull yet another u-turn.

And remember: they have already prevented the most important change – the removal of all flammable cladding from tower blocks.

What conclusion are we supposed to draw from that, apart from:

The Tories never cared about the lives lost at Grenfell and will happily watch more people die the same way.

Source: Grenfell recommendations will be implemented, says Robert Jenrick – BBC News

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Sunak threatens tax raid in yet another Tory u-turn

Rishi Sunak: I like this shot because he looks nervous. If I was in his position, asking Tory backbenchers to raise taxes, I’d be nervous too.

This won’t play well with the Tory backbenchers: after u-turn after u-turn over Covid-19 and schools, their government is promising yet another u-turn – over tax.

Tories pride themselves on being a tax-cutting party. But Rishi Sunak is said to be threatening not just one but several tax hikes:

And to add insult to injury, the planned policy change means the Conservatives will be mirroring a policy planned by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in its 2019 election manifesto:

And if the voters don’t like it – and they don’t:

… What are Johnson’s already-disgruntled backbenchers going to do?

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Starmer’s shame: are the many Tory u-turns due to fear of being outflanked… by Nicola Sturgeon?

Starmer and Sturgeon: in opposition to Boris Johnson’s Tories, he trails behind her in every way.

Sam Coates makes a good point in his Sky News article:

There is one common denominator which runs through too many of the U-turns to be ignored, and hints at a bigger neuralgia in government: nervousness about being outflanked by Nicola Sturgeon.

The pattern is easy to see. Tuesday’s mask U-turn came after Scotland’s first minister had also announced schools north of the border would require masks at the start of the week.

Ms Sturgeon abandoned the exam algorithm more than a week before Mr Johnson followed suit.

Free school meals were extended for further months by Ms Sturgeon weeks before Tory MPs joined a coalition forcing ministers to change tack in Westminster.

Masks in shops were required by Ms Sturgeon north of the border for less than a month before Mr Johnson copied that too.

Many of these U-turns by Mr Johnson’s government have been reluctant, angry and preceded by repeated denials that they would happen, maddening Tory MPs that defend the government’s initial position but are then left floundering when Number 10 changes its mind.

It seems the fear in Johnson’s camp is that Sturgeon is offering a better alternative to Scotland – independence – than the Tory government is offering to a United Kingdom with Scotland as a part of it.

And Keir Starmer – the leader of the party that is supposed to be the main opposition to Johnson’s Tories – is nowhere to be seen.

Labour has followed Johnson’s lead on these issues, where it has expressed any opinion at all. It certainly hasn’t offered alternatives in the same way as Sturgeon – even in Scotland.

No wonder public opinion of Scottish Labour is at such a low ebb!

This Writer has no doubt that Labour will continue to trail behind the Scottish National Party in its opposition to the Tories, just as long as Keir Starmer remains party leader; his heart simply isn’t in it.

He is an Establishment figure; he supports activities that maintain the status quo.

That’s why he has abandoned the traditionally “Labour” policies of Jeremy Corbyn in favour of “Tory-lite” policies that – at best – water down the worst excesses of Johnson’s Conservatives.

Johnson is the danger but Starmer is the problem.

As long as Starmer is Labour leader, Johnson – or a similarly harmful Conservative – will sit in Downing Street inflicting harm on the rest of us willy-nilly.

Yes, Sturgeon has been able to put a brake on his stupidities. But there is an election due in Scotland next year, when she is likely to win a huge majority in support of her policies – including secession from the United Kingdom.

And what happens if she succeeds, and Scotland wins its independence?

Who will provide checks and balances against Johnson’s excesses then?

It certainly won’t be Keir Starmer.

Source: Why the government’s many U-turns may be down to nervousness about Sturgeon | Politics News | Sky News

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Victory for school pupils as Tories give up attempt to downgrade them for not being rich

Gavin Williamson: he had to find an excuse to backtrack.

Tory Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has given up his bid to use the Covid-19 lockdown as a weapon against school pupils.

After a wave of protest swept the UK over his use of an algorithm that automatically gave pupils at private schools higher grades than those at state schools – and in fact downgraded state school pupils’ grades based on the performance of previous exam candidates from their school who were nothing to do with them, it seems clear that Williamson has been looking for a way it.

He found it today (August 17). Consider this, from the BBC’s article: “He added the government decided to change policy – bringing England in line with the other UK nations – after it saw a number of outliers that did not ‘make sense’ when Ofqual released additional data about its algorithm at the weekend.”

It’s a rather obvious excuse.

In reality, I think we all know that the Tories – who currently rely heavily on public opinion to form their policies – had realised that they had gone too far with what seemed a clear example of class war.

The attack on ‘A’ level students’ grades would have affected their entire future lives and careers – and although the electorate is generally thought to have a short memory, nobody is likely to forget that kind of betrayal in a hurry.

Here’s the evidence:

The weekend saw a wave of protest:

… including ill-feeling towards the children of richer parents who benefited from the algorithm the Tories used to pretend they had fared better than their poorer counterparts:

But the last straw was probably the decision by the Labour-run Welsh government to follow its Scottish counterpart and ignore the prejudiced Tory algorithm in favour of teachers’ assessments.

It meant the general public would consider the devolved governments – run by political parties other than the Tories – to be on their side, while the Tories were trying to harm them.

So we get this decision to give up and let both ‘A’ level and GCSE pupils have the grades they deserve, and a claim that it is because the government found a fault in its algorithm – which is easy to make as we all know prejudice was written into it.

But I don’t think it will save them at election time, once these pupils are old enough to vote.

They know what the Tories were doing – what Gavin Williamson wanted to do.

He wanted to steal their futures and hand them to people who don’t deserve them.

And I think they’ll remember that.

Note: Say what he likes, Keir Starmer had nothing to do with the government’s u-turn.

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Why aren’t Tory voters furious after their party u-turned on free school meals and all their other disastrous policies?

Tearing Britain apart: it’s what Conservative voters supported, so why aren’t they complaining about every policy alteration that prevents it?

This Twitter user makes a very good point:

Mr Maginn is absolutely right.

If you voted Conservative, you voted for a party that would starve your children in the school holidays. Why aren’t you demanding that they stick to their principles?

This got me thinking about all the other ways the Tories have let their voters down over the last few months.

For example, we know that the Tories dismantled all the systems that had been in place to combat a pandemic like Covid-19. Conservative voters supported that.

So, if you’re a Conservative voter, why aren’t you absolutely raging that your demand for the entire nation to be infected, in order to develop “herd immunity” has been rejected? Voting Tory means that’s what you wanted, no matter how many people it killed.

Why aren’t you furious about the lockdown that interfered unforgivably with your ability to make money for yourselves and your family and boost the economy? You voted Tory – that’s what you had a right to expect, even if it meant your entire family caught Covid-19 and died.

Why aren’t you frothing at the mouth about the fact that the Tories were shamed into casting around for PPE (personal protective equipment) for NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus in hospitals? You voted Tory and the Tories decided long ago that this equipment would not be necessary – and we know they have been quietly dismantling the NHS for the last decade; if doctors, nurses and support staff all caught Covid and died, that would achieve the aim very well.

If you voted Conservative, then you supported that party’s Brexit policy that has discouraged foreign workers from coming to the UK – so you must be seething at Tory attempts to entice them back to harvest this year’s fruit crop before it rots. You voted for that crop to rot in the fields! It is unconscionable that the Tories should go against your wishes in trying to save it.

Progressing from there, if you voted Conservative, then you support the underlying racism that supported the “hostile environment” policy, and the Windrush generation deportations. You must be raging against the Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK and the calls for statues glorifying slavers and racists to be taken down. Why aren’t you contacting your MP, demanding that charges against the Nazis who rampaged through London on Saturday be dropped on the grounds that they are only good British citizens acting in concord with the policies of the Conservative government and its racist leader Boris Johnson?

Need I go on?

Too often, voters confuse what the Conservatives have done with what they wanted to do.

If Boris Johnson’s government had done everything it wanted, then the United Kingdom would already have been decimated by plague and famine (caused by deliberate starvation as well as failure to bring in the crops) – with worse to follow.

It’s what Conservative voters wanted. Perhaps someone should point that out to them.

Coronavirus: Starmer’s Labour abandons thousands to fall through gaps in the Tory benefit system

He’s all right, Jack: Keir Starmer has an enormous salary as an MP and leader of the Opposition, plus £10,000 extra that MPs voted for themselves in order to work from home – all at the taxpayers’ expense. He doesn’t care that the same taxpayers who funded him have been left with nothing because of the coronavirus lockdown that his Parliament imposed.

Well done, Keir Starmer! What a socialist you are!

Labour’s new leader has said it would be inappropriate to impose a Universal Basic Income (UBI) benefit system during the coronavirus crisis.

This means people who have been deprived of their income by the Tories imposed lockdown are condemned to live without any money until the lockdown ends – possibly for some time after, while the nation picks up the pieces.

Mr Starmer seems entirely relaxed about this u-turn – he had previously demanded a national “income guarantee scheme” to fight the economic impact of Covid-19 and still says the benefit system isn’t fit for purpose.

His spokesperson has said that Labour will “be making arguments for a new settlement that is more simple, more effective and offers proper protection to people” after the lockdown ends – when it is no good to the people who need it most now.

Last month, Labour MP Alex Sobel led a cross-party group of more than 170 MPs and lords in demanding a move to UBI.

Spain has introduced UBI – and did so while that country was facing its highest level of coronavirus infection and deaths.

Labour’s election manifesto last year – which Starmer obviously supported – included plans to pilot UBI across the UK, with areas including Liverpool and Sheffield bidding to test the scheme.

And the new Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, is also said to be a supporter of the system.

But Starmer has said no.

Starmer is happy for thousands of people to fall through the huge gaps in the government’s current system.

Starmer is happy for them to starve.

Perhaps that’s what we should call him from now on: Starmer the starver.

Source: Labour rejects idea of universal basic income during Covid-19 crisis – LabourList

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Hammond’s NHS funding u-turn has endangered millions of patients

NHS England’s chief executive Simon Stevens [Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA].

Here’s the apparent situation: Philip Hammond has been caught giving the NHS far less than it needs (by This Site, among others, I’m sure), so he uses Simon Stevens as a scapegoat.

The NHS is still £2.4 billion short of the funding it needs.

And you’ll notice from the words below that Jeremy Hunt was apparently bidding for only £3 billion of extra funding, rather than the £4 billion that experts say is needed (at least).

So it seems that, not only did the Health Secretary deliberately endanger lives by requesting less funding than is required, but the Chancellor then more-than-doubled the danger to NHS patients by slashing even that amount – almost in half.

End result: The NHS gets just two-fifths of the conservative (ha ha) estimate of what it needs…

And we have evidence that the Conservative government is intentionally putting patients’ lives at risk.

This Writer would strongly urge staff at every NHS hospital to start recording details of patients who lose their lives because operations are delayed.

Mr Hammond might think he was clever to reprimand Mr Stevens in this way but let’s see how much he enjoys a corporate manslaughter charge.

Philip Hammond backtracked on plans to give the NHS more money than it eventually got in the budget after reacting with “fury” to its boss Simon Stevens’s public demand for an extra £4bn next year.

The chancellor viewed Stevens’s plea, in which he urged ministers to deliver on leave campaigners’ promise of £350m a week more for the NHS, as “very, very unhelpful” when he was facing so many pleas from other services for cash.

At the time of Stevens’s speech on 8 November, Hammond had already begun discussions with the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, over his formal pre-budget request that the NHS in England be given a £3bn uplift for 2018-19.

But sources close to the talks say that both Hammond and Treasury officials felt that the NHS England chief executive’s move meant that the chancellor could not be seen to be acceding to what they saw as “overt public blackmail”.

“At the point when everyone else was clamouring for more money, if he gave in then to the NHS’s claim for £4bn, what was he going to say to everyone else? If Stevens hadn’t intervened the NHS would have got more. Giving in to the NHS would have made it really hard to resist everyone else who wanted more money,” said one source with knowledge of events.

Source: Hammond backtracked on funding after ‘fury’ at NHS boss’s demands | Society | The Guardian


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Universal Credit helpline announcement is another silly Tory trick

David Gauke announcing the u-turn to the Work and Pensions committee.

They must think we are all really stupid.

Here’s David Gauke:

That’s right – the Universal Credit helpline will be a freephone line by the end of the year.

And the reason this is happening is concern that has been raised over the last week. In other words, this is happening because the Tories got caught charging the poor a fortune for help.

Here’s the Mirror:

Tory David Gauke has been forced to make a humiliating u-turn on the Tories’ 55p a minute Universal Credit helpline.

The Work and Pensions secretary bowed to public pressure and revealed this morning that all DWP phone lines will be made free within three months.

It comes a week after Jeremy Corbyn blasted the Prime Minister after it emerged the DWP charged claimants struggling with the bungled rollout of the benefits shake-up up to 55p a minute.

It comes as Theresa May faces a backbench rebellion on the rollout [of Universal Credit], which the Citizens Advice Bureau [has] branded a “disaster waiting to happen.”

Around 25 Tory MPs are understood to be ready to rebel in an opposition vote on Universal Credit later today.

The motion calls for the rollout to be halted until the failings in the system can be ironed out.

While the vote is non-binding, it would be an embarrassing defeat for the government.

Yes indeed – isn’t the timing interesting?

The announcement comes just before Prime Minister’s Questions, pre-empting any further attempt by Jeremy Corbyn to capitalise on the issue.

It also comes right before an Opposition Day debate in which Labour is calling for a halt to the UC rollout, in order to fix the problems.

A significant number of Conservative MPs were threatening to vote against their own government on the issue, and Labour has called on concerned Tories to support the motion, but now – well, look at this:

It would be typical of Heidi Allen if this is what happens. She is a serial complainer who raises serious issues, gets her face in the papers, then votes with her masters like a good little poodle. We can hope this is not the case with Universal Credit, but not with any confidence.

This Writer stated that we could expect an announcement of some kind, but that it would not amount to much. I pointed out: “Any such concessions are likely to be symbolic only, and unlikely to end the agony for people already consigned to the UC scrapheap. “Now we have seen it.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has made it clear that the excruciating at-least-six-week wait before anybody is paid Universal Credit will not be abolishedTories like to make the poor suffer.

But if the Tories thought they would win any brownie points for their u-turn today, they are mistaken. Labour is taking all the credit because Labour revealed the cost of the helpline last week. See:


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Tories u-turn on ivory trade – now they want to ban it again

Apologies if the image shocks, but the Tories have spent seven years dithering about whether to ban ivory trading, while the UK remains the world’s main exporter of ivory.

The Tories promised to ban ivory sales in their 2010 and 2015 manifestos, and did absolutely nothing about it.

In 2017, they dropped all pretence – possibly at the urging of a certain third party – and didn’t bother mentioning it in their manifesto.

Meanwhile, in its own 2017 manifesto, Labour introduced a promise to ban ivory sales.

So the Tories had to u-turn, didn’t they?

Environment Secretary (God help us) Michael Gove has launched a 12-week consultation, ending on December 29. It suggests a series of exemptions, detailed below.

But This Writer isn’t sure anybody needs to be worried about that.

Who reckons the Tories will kick it into the long grass again, before quietly u-turning one more time when nobody’s looking?

The UK will impose a ban on ivory sales to help bring an end to the poaching of elephants, under plans announced by Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

The proposals will protect elephants and help combat poaching by removing opportunities for criminals to trade illegally-poached ivory. Today’s plans will be subject to a 12 week consultation and cover items of all ages, not only those created after a certain date.

In line with the approach taken by other countries, the government is proposing certain narrowly-defined and carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching of elephants and where a ban would be unwarranted.

The consultation proposes four categories of exemptions:

  • Musical instruments;
  • Items containing only a small proportion of ivory, a de minimis exemption;
  • Items of significant historic, artistic or cultural value;
  • And sales to and between museums

The government will work with conservationists, the arts and antiques sectors and other interested parties through the consultation period on exactly how these exemptions can be defined, implemented and enforced so as to ensure there is no room for loopholes which continue to fuel the poaching of elephants.

Source: Government sets out plans for ivory ban – GOV.UK


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