Tag Archives: united

Awkward AUKUS is victory for opportunism – and a chance for Johnson to bash the French

This baby’s nuclear: I have no idea if this is the kind of submarine Australia is getting.

Isn’t it?

This Writer wasn’t aware of Chinese sabre-rattling around Taiwan – I’m more concerned with domestic politics, and face it: how much did the BBC tell you about it up until now? – but I’m happy to accept that there’s an issue.

It seems the United States has been supplying Taiwan with military support of some kind, in order to fend off encroachment by the so-called Red Menace, but decided more help was needed and turned to Australia.

The Aussies saw an opportunity to progress into the military major leagues and said they’d help out – if they could have nuclear submarines – and the UK stepped in to offer to build them.

This meant Australia had to cancel a previously-existing deal for submarine upgrades – with France.

No wonder the French government is denouncing the deal as a “stab in the back”!

To This Writer’s way of thinking, it seems the United States is trying to drag the UK into yet another ill-advised foreign adventure.

Harold Wilson had the good sense to stay out of Vietnam, back in the 1960s – but then, he was probably the most intelligent prime minister the United Kingdom ever had.

Now we have Boris Johnson in charge – a man whose intelligence rates only slightly higher than a swamp filled with quicksand. And he has already started ramping up the UK’s warfaring capabilities in the hope that he can start a rumble that might make him popular at election time.

Let’s face it – all Joe Biden would have to do to drag that blonde lemming over the cliff* is whistle and point.

And Johnson gets to say he has whisked a plum contract out from under the noses of the French.

Never mind the fact that he’s bringing loads more nuclear waste into the country – it’s loadsamoney for… someone!

Yeah. This particular deal looks less and less tasty, the more I look at it.

Oh – and the Chinese have said they’re not happy with all this, but they would, wouldn’t they?

*I know Disney made up that particular urban myth but it’s such a well-known story that the comparison still works.

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Also in the news: Johnson’s plan won’t even start to fix social care crisis

Less than this much: Boris Johnson explains how much concern he has for improving social care for people who are poor.

A smaller-than-usual edition of ‘Also in…’ today because This Site was afflicted with technical problems yesterday (September 14), Enjoy:

Social care: Boris Johnson’s “plan” won’t improve quality but is only intended to help the rich

Winter flu: Johnson is ‘finalising’ plans – that will be diabolical if his social care ideas are a yardstick

The Tory ‘chumocracy’ is huge: one quarter of donors have received honours in return

This is from Byline Times:

More than a quarter of Conservative donors who have given more than £100,000 to the party hold a title or honour.

Three-quarters of the party’s elite donors received these titles after the Conservatives came to power in 2010, an investigation by the Byline Intelligence Team and The Citizens has found.

Of the Conservative Party’s 20 biggest donors since 2010 – those donating more than £1.5 million – 55% (11) have received an honour or title. Ten were given these rewards in the last decade.

Industry boss says food and drink shortages are ‘permanent’ but Johnson protests that Christmas will be ‘normal’

This is from The Independent:

Food shortages in supermarkets and restaurants are “permanent” and shoppers will never again enjoy a full choice of items, an industry boss has told Britons.

In an extraordinary warning, the head of the Food and Drink Federation said staff shortages – triggered by a combination of Covid and Brexit – had killed off the “just-in-time” delivery model.

But Downing Street rejected the claim of a broken system and, in a potential hostage to fortune, predicted the shortages will be over by the festive season.

Pressed on whether the shortages will ease to allow people to enjoy a “normal Christmas”, Boris Johnson’s spokesman told The Independent: “I believe so, yes.”

It’s another wild boast from a man with a bad reputation for making false claims.

What will people think when Christmas arrives and it is plagued with the shortages Johnson swore would not happen?

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Also in the news: right-wing media plan to speed NHS privatisation?

Today’s headlines:

Are the right-wing papers trying to hasten privatisation of the NHS by discrediting staff?

This Writer can’t really understand why the Tories want to move us on to an insurance-based health system when that’s what we’re on already. Attlee and Bevan didn’t call it National Insurance for fun, you know!

The simple reason privatised health care won’t work in the UK is that we already pay out health insurance into a system that is far more efficient – because it pools our resources – than a system in which we all pay individually ever could be.

Any problems with the NHS lie in the choices of what is done with the money. Those choices are bad at the moment because the Conservatives are desperate to hand the whole thing over to private firms who prize their profits over your health. If they gave up and concentrated on providing good health care, the situation would reverse rapidly.

Today’s reason to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel

If I were still a member of the Labour Party, I would probably be expelled for publicising this.

But that is because Labour is currently run by puppets of the Israeli government. Think about it.

After one manifesto promise was broken, they’re all tumbling

Government ran national disability survey – but didn’t bother to read most of the responses

Boris Johnson’s £250m ‘Best of British’ flagship could be designed by foreigners

That’s Tory outsourcing and globalism for you. It would make him into a liar (again) – so he’s obviously not going to be bothered about that.

It should be scrapped anyway.

Johnson threatens to remain as prime minister for another decade

Well, Labour certainly won’t be able to stop him, with Keir Starmer or any of his right-wing cult members as leader – and they aren’t going to let anybody lead the party who actually knows how to beat the Tories.

Still, there’s always the chance that one of Johnson’s own cronies will backstab him instead.

Oh, but wait…!

Oh. My goodness.

He has written 14,000 words in yet another attempt to reset his failed leadership – why can’t he just give up? – and still won’t actually stand for anything by the end of it!

That’s convinced me. Johnson will be in government until he dies – or we do, whichever comes first.

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Also in the news: emergencies the Tories are creating – to break the law?

“If you let politicians break the law in an emergency, they will create an emergency in order to break the law.”

Under national emergency Boris Johnson, the UK is lurching from one disaster to another.

Are they deliberately engineering these problems, just so they can change the law in increasingly corrupt ways? You decide…

Distribution of this year’s flu vaccine is delayed due to failure of deliveries nationally

It seems the Tories aren’t happy with Covid-19 killing off tens of thousands of older people; they want flu to finish the job and terminate the rest. It will also paralyse the National Health Service.

The problem is caused by a shortage of drivers, which should remind us that a Brexit-caused HGV driver shortage is ongoing… unless you’re a Tory minister, in which case it was caused by Covid-19. Or whatever excuse Transport Secretary Grant Shapps can dream up today.

The Tory refusal to acknowledge the cause of the problem means it may be with us for a while…

… but we can still derive some (rather bitter) humour from it:

Priti Patel’s attack on channel-hopping migrants: intended to distract from the Tories’ National Insurance daylight robbery?

If so, it seems to be working:

But some of us can see what’s at the heart of it:

So let’s remind ourselves of the Tories’ achievements, courtesy of Steve Howard, below:

History repeats itself: UK had Covid-19 ‘freedom day’ in the summer – now Johnson is threatening ‘Locktober’ in the autumn

Apparently the government is lining up the NHS to take the blame.

And why not? By then, doctors and nurses will be too busy dealing with elderly flu victims to defend themselves.

Also in the news:

Here’s the real reason younger people can’t afford to buy houses

Since the 1970s, house prices have risen at more than twice the rate that wages have increased – mostly due to the last four decades of neoliberal pay-squashing nonsense:

DWP to be humiliated by museum of its greatest hit-jobs on people with disabilities

After demanding that schools re-open too early, Labour demands return of face masks to make sure they can stay open

Meanwhile Covid infections spread via schools are skyrocketing.

Tories may be delaying compensation payments to Windrush scandal victims in the hope that they’ll die first

And finally: after Boris ‘Rivers of Sh*t’ Johnson allowed polluters to dump nearly-raw sewage in rivers, will it hasten the date when England runs out of its water supply?

This is what he did:

But is he hoping we’ve forgotten this?

It’s too late anyway: the rivers are already filling up with Johnson’s… product:

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Next week’s news: NHS victory – and politicians make fools of themselves

Here’s a start-the-week roundup of what’s likely to be in the news in – at least – the early part of the coming week.

1, NHS data dump to private firms is cancelled

Well done everybody! More than a million people opted out, after they finally found out about it, so the plan is now on indefinite hold while NHS Digital tries to find another way to hoodwink us into letting our private information go public.

2. Dominic Raab continues to be lazy and stupid

I know this isn’t news but the fact that he still has a Cabinet job continues to be amazing.

Then there’s this. Wasn’t he on holiday at a Russian-owned hotel, too?

3. Keir Starmer’s new slogan shows he’s out-of-touch to the point of illiteracy

4. Grant Shapps is axing the Eastern leg of HS2 because it costs too much. So much for ‘levelling up’!

5. Brexiteers are still unhappy that they’ve got the hard Brexit they wanted

6. Michael Gove accused of lying to Parliament about another PPE deal

Or it may be one of the deals we’ve already heard about. Who can keep track with these shifty Tories?

And finally: Keir Starmer is irrelevant

I wouldn’t be surprised if, rather than being Labour voters, the people in the photograph turn out to be his in-laws.

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UN report shows irreversible damage to the planet. Why aren’t polluters being jailed?

Pollution: did your home suffer flooding last year? Here’s the reason. And I bet you haven’t done anything about it, have you?

A landmark United Nations report has demonstrated that the planet where we live – Earth – has suffered irreversible damage to its ecosystem because of pollution by big business moguls.

But it does not propose any punishments for those people that would deter them, so they will keep right on with it.

Here in the UK, a group of right-wing politicians has rebranded itself specifically to fight against efforts to clean up industry, we’re told.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that

the warming we’ve experienced to date has made changes to many of our planetary support systems that are irreversible on timescales of centuries to millennia.

The oceans will continue to warm and become more acidic. Mountain and polar glaciers will continue melting for decades or centuries.

It predicts a rise in sea levels that will threaten millions of people living in coastal areas with flooding by the year 2100.

But the behaviour of some UK members of Parliament shows that the people who can stop this vandalism of paradise simply don’t care.

They never wanted poor people to have fresh air and clean water anyway.

It seems the former European Research Group (ERG) of far-right Tory MPs (including Jacob Rees-Mogg, if memory serves) has undergone a metamorphosis.

After briefly becoming the Covid Recovery Group, an Orwellian perversion of the words by an organisation that wanted to do as little to fight the virus as possible, it now appears to have become the Climate Action Group – determined to prevent government from halting climate change.

As Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK states,

The plan is to argue that climate science is wrong, and we can’t afford it anyway.

Destroying the economy and national health is not enough, the aim is to trash the planet as well.

He continues:

We have due warning that the right wing are lining up to demand the right to take us to oblivion.

This one is the fight for survival, and we have to win it.

It will be a particularly hard fight, when one notes that the IPCC report does not even suggest penalties for polluters.

Given that the damage they have done is said to be irreversible – that is, there is no going back – it seems to me that those responsible should receive irreversible punishments.

I would suggest that they be removed from their jobs and banned from any executive positions in any firm globally, that their life savings should be confiscated and used to fund initiatives to de-pollute the planet, and that they should face imprisonment for varying terms, depending on the harm that has been done on their watch.

I would also suggest that their firms should be ordered to pay fines for the damage they cause – on an ongoing basis, so each year they would have to fund measures to roll back this damage, according to the amount of damage done. If the firms were to be dissolved, then all of their assets should be taken for this purpose.

Nothing like that has been suggested but it is what is needed. And it won’t happen unless you demand it.

Ah, but you’re afraid of taking part in this, aren’t you?

I only have to look at the response to This Site’s article yesterday to see the evidence of that.

I warned that people are “switching off – not just their TVs and radios, but their minds. They can’t face it. They want somebody else to come along and make it better.

“But nobody will. What these people are really doing is handing the planet over to people like Alok Sharma” who will allow the polluters to carry on polluting if they think they can make a farthing out of it.

I stated: “If you run away and hide from it because you’re afraid that bad things will happen to you in the short term, then just you remember – always – that you are making sure that bad things will happen to you in the long term.

“And that future is accelerating towards you at a terrifying pace.”

And I asked: “Are you really such a craven coward? If you do nothing, then you are contributing to it. You are supporting it. You are saying you want it.”

At the time of writing, that article has been read just 246 times. It is the least-read piece I have written this month.

And that’s because people like you simply don’t want to have to get their hands dirty, fighting to live in a clean world.

Well, as I implied yesterday: if you don’t do anything for it, you won’t get it – and that will be because you don’t want it.

If you do want to live in a clean world, you could start by writing to your MP, to Alok Sharma (as he is hosting the climate summit COP-26 in November) and possibly even to our daft prime minister Boris Johnson.

You could say that you have read the findings of the IPCC report and are horrified, that you don’t believe any businessperson will stop the pollution that is poisoning the planet – and therefore all of us – without sanctions.

And you could put forward the penalties I have proposed, above, as starting-points.

That is something you could do.

If you had any guts at all.

Source: The next fight with the right wing is for planetary survival

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Should Northern Ireland split from the UK to end deadlock with the EU and keep Biden happy?

Deadlock: The EU has a trade agreement and couldn’t care less if it harms Boris Johnson. And Joe Biden’s commitment to co-operation with the UK may waver if a solution can’t be found and the Troubles return. What if the Province splits from the UK – for the good of its people?

It makes a nice story on the eve of a G7 summit – especially one taking place in the UK. And that’s what the BBC propagandists want.

But while US President Joe Biden and the UK’s pipsqueak Boris Johnson might agree that trade problems in Northern Ireland due to last year’s UK-EU deal need to be solved, we have no reason to believe they agree on how.

The European Union has no problem with the current situation. All the problems were created by Boris Johnson because he rushed through a trade deal, either without understanding it or without caring what was in it – to meet a deadline he thought he needed to maintain public confidence.

Even the BBC had to admit it:

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “I think it’s not serious to want to review in July what we finalised after years of debate and work in December.

“We have a trade deal – it has been painfully discussed for years… if six months later, they say: ‘What we negotiated with you, we don’t know how to respect it’, then that means that nothing is respectable anymore.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the Northern Ireland protocol – the name for the post-Brexit trading rules – was the “only solution” and should be implemented fully.

Biden’s interest dates from the 1990s, when his forerunner Bill Clinton worked with people on all sides of the Northern Ireland question to help bring about the Good Friday Agreement that ended the so-called “Troubles”.

The BBC (again) has already published details of a planned speech in which Biden was set to voice concerns that deadlock on the Northern Ireland Protocol could jeopardise peace in the Province.

Sadly, with Biden taking pains to stress that he is not “warning” the two sides in any way, the EU unwilling to give any ground at all, and Johnson incapable of understanding the complexities involved, it seems there may be “Troubles” ahead once again.

There is a simple way out, of course: Northern Ireland could vote to leave the United Kingdom.

I’m not even suggesting that this means joining the Republic of Ireland.

The simple fact is that the people of this region have suffered terribly because of the “Troubles”. If I was living there, I would be furious that Johnson’s insensitivity has put NI back in the firing line and would be prepared to consider any alternative to prevent it.

And there’s no reason they would want to stay in the union – Johnson has created a situation where they are actually worse-off, the longer they put up with the current situation.

If Northern Ireland quit the UK but did not join the Republic, Biden would be happy; future violence could be averted. The EU would be happy too – it would make trading much simpler.

The only loser would be Boris Johnson. He would become the prime minister who forced the nation to split – and voters are not likely to forgive him for that.

It would be poetic justice. He thought he could get away with any old rubbish. He thought wrong.

Source: G7: UK and US in complete harmony over Northern Ireland – Boris Johnson – BBC News

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The Tories are running scared into the local elections – and scared Tories are DANGEROUS Tories

Face of fear: Boris Johnson’s time is running out. The local elections will show him just how short that time may be. How far is he prepared to go to hold on to power?

Enjoy this video by Richard Murphy (I did):

Yes – Tory policies are going very badly, and the propaganda machine won’t be able to hide that from the majority of us when those failures hit our quality of life.

Brexit has screwed our businesses.

Covid-19 isn’t over – there could be another wave by July (possibly fuelled by variant strains that have bred in the gap between vaccination doses).

The Conservative government is rife with corruption.

And nationalism is on the rise in Wales and Scotland, while Northern Ireland is on fire because Unionists have realised that they have been sold out by the Westminster government and their own DUP politicians who supported the Tories during Theresa May’s ministry.

What’s Boris Johnson’s response?

He’s provoking people. He’s trying to blame those who oppose as if they are the provocateurs.

Through his ‘identity politics’ process of calling out those he describes as “woke”, who he is therefore chastising for their commitment to equality on a range of grounds… he is trying to provoke [them] to attack him.

That is standard right-wing … fascist policy.

Murphy’s conclusion is accurate, too, I think:

They know that their policies are failing so all they can do is use blunt force to try to maintain their position in office.

… Like the fascists they are.

Hence the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that proposes draconian new powers for the police, who are to be used as political tools, putting down any opposition to Tory dictatorship. And to ensure that these powers are exercised, what do the Tories do?

They are provoking crowds; they are seeking riots.

Because then they can point at the rioters, and at the peaceful people who agree with the reasons for rioting, and claim that they are the enemy.

Toryism is about “othering”. It is about dividing us and setting us against each other, so we fail to act against our real enemy: them.

It is encapsulated in the story about the Tory, the worker and the immigrant:

A Tory, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 20 biscuits. The banker takes 19 biscuits, turns to the worker and says: “Watch out, that immigrant is going to take your cookie away.”

Murphy’s last point is chilling:

They’re not sure they want to go without a fight and we don’t know how tough that fight is going to be.

This Writer reckons it will be very tough.

Tories don’t mind spilling the blood of poor people. In fact, they delight in it. When they send the police to break up protest demonstrations, they see it as poor people fighting among themselves. It’s a huge jolly for them.

In the past, Tories have always known when to give up. They’ve recognised the signs and withdrawn before events escalated too far. That’s why the UK has never had a popular uprising or revolution like those in France, Russia, or China, to name a few other countries.

But the current Tory leadership isn’t like those old statespeople. Boris Johnson wants to hold on to power and will do anything to keep it.

I wonder what we’ll be prepared to do when the time comes to take it away from him.

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GP surgeries are being privatised by the Tories. Do you really want your healthcare dictated by profit?


Doctors’ surgeries across the UK are being bought up and run for profit by private firms – including at least one from the United States.

American health insurance giant Centene has just taken over 49 NHS GP practices. In the last few years, they have bought NHS surgeries in Nottingham, Basingstoke, Milton Keynes, and Leeds. Yours could be next.

Centene appears to be a “bad actor” too – described by the Daily Mail as “profit greedy”.

In 2018, the company took control of a group of surgeries in Essex, including the historic Osler House surgery, founded in 1955. Soon after, Osler House was closed, leaving thousands of residents without a GP within 40 minutes’ drive from their house.

Healthcare provision doesn’t matter to them, you see. Their only concern is their profit.

In the US, Centene has been sued by thousands of people who bought insurance from them. Court papers showed that those people had “difficulty finding — in many cases cannot find — medical providers”.

Campaigning group We Own It said: “Your own local GP surgery or the local GP surgery your friends and family depend on may not be affected today. But if this takeover goes ahead, your GP surgery is not safe.

“Our local Clinical Commissioning Groups – the bodies that make local healthcare decisions in every area – can stop this.”

The group is urging you to sign a petition calling for an end to Boris Johnson’s privatisation of GP services, and for you to urge your family, friends and colleagues to sign it too. Will you?

The petition is here.

The choice is yours.

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Record annual slump for UK economy in 2020 – but should Johnson be slammed for it?

Johnson’s blunders: he made promise after promise – and mistake after mistake. And the UK’s economy suffered.

Yes he should, although it may have seemed a tricky one to call.

The simple fact is that the UK’s economy was bound to suffer in the year of Covid-19.

Business – and school – closures were inevitable. Even though Johnson didn’t want to do it, eventually he had to.

And that’s part of the reason he should be blamed: he had to be dragged into every correct decision he made – and usually too late to prevent some harm from being done.

His lockdowns were only ever partial (so not really lockdowns at all), and he pulled out of them too early.

We recently learned that he ignored scientific advice to do so.

He diverted commercial contracts connected with tackling the virus away from experts in order to hand billions of pounds to friends of the Conservative Party who knew little or nothing about the work they were being asked to do.

Test and trace work, to quote a much-criticised example, suffered badly because he put an ex-jockey in charge, who didn’t realise that a virus can mutate – something that seven-year-old children read in school textbooks.

As a result of all this, the pandemic affected the UK far more than it might otherwise have, and the economic effect was worse, as we can see:

The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% last year as coronavirus restrictions hit output, official figures show.

The contraction in 2020 “was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Muddying the issue is the fact that previous governments had dismantled the UK’s ability to cope with a pandemic infection over many years. But Boris Johnson was part of some of those governments, so he still can’t dodge some of the responsibility.

And, because it is a deadly infection, we don’t know how many people were likely to have been infected – or died – if Johnson had acted more responsibly… or indeed if he hadn’t bothered to do anything at all.

So we don’t know what would have happened in either a worst- or best-case scenario.

So we are left with the knowledge that the economy was going to suffer in 2020, no matter what.

But Johnson did not act fast enough to minimise the damage – and his choices were either wrong or, on the rare occasions they were right, delayed.

We don’t know how badly the economy would have been affected in different circumstances.

But it’s a fair bet that it would have fared better if Johnson’s choices had been wiser.

Source: UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020 – BBC News

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