Tag Archives: UK

Also in the news: state of the nation? The nation’s in a RIGHT state!


Here are some of the stories This Site hasn’t had time to cover.

They present a snapshot of the UK today – a country that is in serious danger from its own institutions.

The police:

The Home Office:

The way the UK looks after (ha ha!) its Armed Forces veterans:

The government:

The prime minister:

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UK citizenship to become ‘privilege’, not a right – according to daughter of immigrants

Priti Patel, a daughter of immigrants who fled their own country to become UK citizens, is planning to change the law so she can remove our citizenship at any time.

Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill would exempt the government from having to give notice if it is not “reasonably practicable” to do so, or in the interests of national security, diplomatic relations or otherwise in the public interest.

The Home Office is saying citizenship is a privilege and not a right.

I find this questionable. Under current UK law, anybody born in the UK to a parent who is a British citizen or “settled” in the British Islands is automatically a British citizen by birth. Whether that’s a right or a privilege is immaterial; it is the law.

So to whom will this change apply? To immigrants like Patel’s own parents? I wonder how they feel about it.

In reality, I think this is a bid to override the current law. Patel might be briefing (now) that this is about immigration and terrorism but the change, as worded, would apply to everybody. And, if that’s what it could mean, then you can be sure that a Tory like her would apply it that way.

Why else would she have added it to her nasty little Bill without bothering to tell anybody?

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Also in the news: our democracy is under threat – from incompetent Tory fools

Here’s some of the news that other people have seen fit to print in the last 24 hours or so.

(Does Keir Starmer have a second job, perhaps?)

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The UK caved in to France over the Brexit fishing row. Don’t let Kuenssberg lie to you!

How curious to see the BBC still trying to claim a UK victory against France and the EU in the row over fishing permits!

For clarity: the reason France has released a British trawler it detained is that the UK has now handed out the fishing permits that France wanted. Boris Johnson caved in.

Under the Brexit agreement, the EU and UK have agreed they will give fishing licences to boats if they can show they have fished in each others’ waters for years.

But the UK had rejected applications from French fishing businesses, quibbling over the amount of evidence that is needed. It is suggested that only around 40 boats were affected, who had either not taken part in a monitoring survey, or were replacement vessels for firms that had fished in UK waters with their previous boats.

France had threatened sanctions against the UK unless more licences were granted by November 2 – but then suspended the threats ahead of new talks set to take place today (November 4).

BBC Political Editor and Tory propagandist Laura Kuenssberg span – but nobody who knows anything about the matter was fooled:

So there you have it.

It will be interesting to learn what comes of these talks today, considering the main issue has just evaporated.

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The Castex letter DIDN’T say the UK should be punished. Kuenssberg was WRONG

Laura Kuenssberg: by publicising an apparent mistranslation of a letter by the French Prime Minister, she has caused a major international political row. Can she even read French?

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, misrepresented a letter on the UK/EU fishing row by French Prime Minister Jean Castex – apparently to stoke international tensions on the eve of the G20 and COP26 summits.

The UK and France are sabre-rattling over rights to fish in each other’s waters, after the UK prohibited some French trawlers over a technicality.

Kuenssberg aggravated the row by publicising a letter from Castex to European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, claiming it said the EU needed to demonstrate that there was “more damage to leaving the EU than remaining there”.

This is based on a translation publicised by Alex Wickham of Politico. In tweets, he claimed the letter said:

“It is indispensable to demonstrate to European public opinion that more damage is suffered by leaving the EU than by remaining.”

The implication is that the EU should actively punish the UK.

An alternative translation by Edwin Hayward states the following:

“The UK’s uncooperative stance today threatens to cause great harm not only to fishermen, especially the French, but also to them [European] Union as it sets a precedent for the future and challenges our credibility and our ability to enforce our rights in relation to the international commitments signed by the union.

“It therefore seems necessary for the European Union to show its full determination to achieve full respect for the Agreement by the United Kingdom and to exercise its rights in a firm, cohesive and proportionate manner using the levers at its disposal.

“It is important to make it clear to European public opinion that respect for commitment is non-negotiable and that leaving the union does more harm than staying there.

“If a satisfactory solution is not found in this context, the European Union must apply Article 506 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and take corrective measures proportionate to the economic and social damage that [violations] will cause.”

That makes it a little different, once it’s put into context!

As Hayward states in his own article,

It should be immediately clear from the above text that there is no active intent to punish the UK. All the French want to do is to highlight the problems that Brexit has been causing — they are not trying to inflict new ones on us.

And people know:

(He means “…can’t be as advantageous as being IN” of course.)

Robert Peston said in his tweet that Boris Johnson has swallowed the Wickham translation and is “visibly angry” about the letter. But is he?

If Johnson is as well-educated as he’s supposed to be (Eton and Oxford) then it is entirely possible that he can read French for himself and knows exactly what the letter said. If so, then he is simply trying to manipulate a situation created by reporters (who probably can’t – with apologies to Kuenssberg and Peston if they turn out to be fluent, but that just implies that they know they’re peddling falsehoods and don’t care either).

This Writer, as a journalist and editor of nearly 28 years’ standing, agrees with Marcus Chown, below:

Indeed. Or indeed any journalist-training organisation such as the one that taught me (the National Council for the Training of Journalists). Where did Peston and Kuenssberg get their qualifications?

Actually, let’s check.

Kuenssberg, it seems, has no qualification as a journalist. She studied History at the University of Edinburgh, then spent a year studying (but the subject is not clarified) at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she interned at the NBC News political programme. Returning to the UK, she eventually joined the BBC as a trainee journalist – but that doesn’t mean she was doing any training. ‘Trainee’ is just the name applied to a working reporter who hasn’t passed the test to become a Senior Reporter. If she was trained in the States, it was in an American standard of reporting.

Peston’s degree at Oxford was Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He then studied at the Université libre de Bruxelles – but again, it’s not clear what the subject was. He entered journalism via another back door, writing for the Investors Chronicle after being a stockbroker.

Those details aren’t very reassuring!

But it shouldn’t be up to the Kuenssbergs, Pestons, or even the Johnsons of this world to sort out this row. It’s a matter for the French.

All Jean Castex has to do is come out and read the relevant part of his letter, along with a translation into English saying exactly what he intended it to say.

That should end any ambiguity. How about it?

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Right-wing sabre-rattlers will only worsen UK-EU fishing rights crisis

It seems this prediction may have been all-too-accurate:

Sure enough, the UK and France are at loggerheads – over fishing rights, of all things. And it seems the UK is at fault.

Under the Brexit agreement, the EU and UK have agreed they will give fishing licences to boats if they can show they have fished in each others’ waters for years.

But the UK has rejected applications from French fishing businesses, quibbling over the amount of evidence that is needed. It is suggested that only around 40 boats are affected, who had either not taken part in a monitoring survey, or were replacement vessels for firms that had fished in UK waters with their previous boats.

It seems to This Writer that this is a classic case of “computer says no”; because these French applications did not tick all the boxes required by an automated system, they were automatically disqualifed. All that is really needed is for a human being to consider the circumstances. Sadly, it seems the UK government no longer has human beings working for it.

France has threatened to retaliate with sanctions described as “targeted measures”, if the row is not resolved by Tuesday. These may include blocking ports to UK boats, increasing checks on UK goods, boats and trucks, and cutting energy supplies.

(That is possible because a previous UK Conservative government privatised our energy suppliers, passing more than a third of them into the ownership of foreign governments, including that of France. French firm EDF controls 10.3 per cent of UK energy.)

The BBC has aggravated the row by publicising a letter by French Prime Minister Jean Castex, saying that the EU needed to demonstrate that there was “more damage to leaving the EU than remaining there”. Shouldn’t our public service broadcaster be impartial?

Of course the right-wing and racist flag-wavers have taken the opportunity to whip up anti-French feeling, banging the tribalist drum in the hope that nobody will bother to check whether the UK’s Tory government might actually be in the wrong (because it is).

,,, With limited success:

If France does take action unilaterally, the UK may have reason to escalate the matter – on a claim that our friends across the Channel have broken international law.

But…

Remember when the UK’s Tory government was threatening to break international law with its Internal Market Bill, that would have unilaterally rewritten the Northern Ireland Protocol? Boris Johnson would not have the moral high ground here.

Worse than “looking like total nobheads”, though, is the isolation in which the UK is viewed by practically every other nation in the world.

Boris Johnson’s government is not trusted at all and France, together with the EU, would be justified in doubting the sincerity of a national government that reneges on its treaties whenever its ministers find it expedient:

In this context, let’s turn to COP26, the imminent summit on climate change, taking place in Glasgow. Why should any nation stick to an agreement struck by Boris Johnson’s untrustworthy government?

If they don’t, though – or if he fails to achieve one because of his innate untrustworthiness, then the world burns.

Climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg has already condemned world leaders for spouting a load of “blah, blah, blah” and achieving nothing. Johnson may prove her right.

We should all hope that common sense will prevail.

But with Boris Johnson involved, if that does happen it will be the first time.

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Brexit is far worse for the UK than Covid. Why didn’t Sunak mention it in his Budget speech?

Big mistake: Johnson said Brexit would release a huge amount of money into the UK economy – instead it has shrunk the economy by four per cent. That’s more than any of the recessions of the 1970s and 80s.

Rishi Sunak’s big lie: in his Budget speech he referred time and time again to the effect of the Covid crisis, and the need to recover from it – and not once to Brexit.

So the Budget “does not draw a line under Covid”; it prepares for “a new economy post-Covid”; it forecasts that the economy with “return to its pre-Covid level” at the turn of the year; it says the Tory government has been “more successful” than feared in preventing the “long-term economic damage of Covid”.

Sunak talked about supporting theatres, orchestra, museums and galleries “to recover from Covid”; he refers to the business rate cut as being among “Covid reliefs”; and he says Covid was “not just a public health challenge and an economic challenge – it was a moral challenge too”.

What about the public health and moral challenges of Brexit, then – now that we know it has caused twice as much harm to the economy as Covid-19?

According to the Guardian article,

Richard Hughes said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had assumed leaving the EU would “reduce our long run GDP by around 4%”, adding in comments to the BBC: “We think that the effect of the pandemic will reduce that (GDP) output by a further 2%.”

“In the long term it is the case that Brexit has a bigger impact than the pandemic”, Hughes told the broadcaster.

And yet it hasn’t been mentioned by the government in its most significant financial statement of the year.

Could it be that someone (Boris Johnson) is a little embarrassed?

He should be:

Only yesterday – the day after the Budget speech – Parliament was hearing about the devastating effect on the economy… of Brexit:

Let’s be honest, minister Victoria Prentis’s reply wasn’t very reassuring, was it? The questioner had already said people aren’t queuing up domestically to harvest fruit and vegetables, and the EU recruitment schemes have all failed. That leaves automation, which will stop people from having jobs in the future.

It’s the elephant in the Treasury.

Sunak won’t talk about it because he knows a Tory government caused it.

And it has caused twice as much harm as the pandemic he has blamed for so many of the UK’s current problems.

It seems to This Writer – and doesn’t it seem the same to you? – that nothing he has said will count for anything if he continues to ignore the biggest single threat to our well-being, just because his boss caused it.

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Man arrested after MP Sir David Amess stabbed – BBC

Stabbed: Sir David Amess.

A man has been arrested after Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed at a constituency surgery.

The 69-year-old, who is MP for Southend West, is thought to have been attacked as he met constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church.

This Writer is not able to write full articles today (October 15) because I am preparing to take part in the Festival of Resistance in Nottingham over the weekend – but I wanted to make stories available for reader comment, and possibly for deeper discussion after I return.

Source: Sir David Amess stabbed at constituency meeting

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Private firm that screwed up 43k C19 tests only existed 4 months before Tory contract award – SKWAWKBOX

The private firm that gave at least 43,000 people infected with coronavirus a negative result had existed for only four months before being awarded a huge contract by the Tories.

Worse, the owner of the firm also runs another firm involved in PCR testing for the virus – and that firm, Dante, is under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over breaches of the law.

This Writer is not able to write full articles today (October 15) because I am preparing to take part in the Festival of Resistance in Nottingham over the weekend – but I wanted to make stories available for reader comment, and possibly for deeper discussion after I return.

Source: Private firm that screwed up 43k C19 tests only existed 4 months before Tory contract award – SKWAWKBOX

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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High Court refuses fresh inquest in Jodey Whiting case

Death by DWP? Jodey Whiting.

In Dove v HM Assistant Coroner to Teesside and Hartlepool & Anor [2021] EWHC 2511, the High Court considered the State’s obligations under article 2 ECHR with respect to those in receipt of welfare benefits as well as the scope of coronial inquiries both where article 2 is and isn’t engaged. Although it was argued that failings by the Department of Work and Pensions were relevant to a death by suicide, a fresh inquest was refused in the circumstances.

This Writer is not able to write full articles today (October 15) because I am preparing to take part in the Festival of Resistance in Nottingham over the weekend – but I wanted to make stories available for reader comment, and possibly for deeper discussion after I return.

Source: High Court refuses fresh inquest in welfare benefits case – UK Human Rights Blog

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