Tag Archives: Victims

Police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’. What about the Tories – and Murdoch?

The disgrace – no, the word ‘disgrace’ isn’t strong enough: this is the Sun story that mentally scarred survivors of the Hillsborough disaster and the families of those who died. It wasn’t ‘The Truth’ at all; it was a pack of lies.

More than five years after a jury ruled that 96 people were killed unlawfully in the Hillsborough disaster – and that their behaviour did not contribute to the situation – police forces have agreed to pay compensation to more than 600 people for mental distress caused by the attempted cover-up.

I have two questions.

Firstly: why did it take so long for South Yorkshire and West Midlands police to agree to pay up?

Secondly: Why aren’t the Conservative Party and Rupert Murdoch’s News International paying compensation, too?

Let’s go into the circumstances:

We all know that the Hillsborough Disaster was a fatal human crush at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, hosted at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989.

It happened due to gross negligence by match commander David Duckenfield of South Yorkshire Police.

The police service then attempted to hide the fact that its failures caused 96 deaths and 766 injuries – the worst disaster in UK sporting history – by trying to blame it on the fans who were injured and died, saying those people caused the tragedy by being drunk and misbehaving.

West Midlands was the force appointed to investigate the disaster, but has since been accused of malpractices and failures that have been subject to a long-running investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Not only that, though: the prime minister of the day, the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, refused to release information that made the police look bad.

And The Sun, a newspaper published by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, published a story headlined The Truth that was nothing but a pack of lies, supporting the fantasy created by the police.

This Writer believes a strong argument could be made that the newspaper story – which led to The Sun being boycotted in Liverpool ever since – caused more distress, more anguish, to survivors, and to relatives and friends of the deceased, than the police cover-up on which it was based (although I know it could not have been written if the police and the Tory prime minister had not lied in the first place).

Civil claims for compensation due to malfeasance in public office by the two police forces were submitted in 2015, during inquests into the reasons the 96 died.

The claimants said the lies had caused them to suffer trauma and psychiatric damage, and the compensation is to cover not only those injuries but also the cost of treatment and counselling.

Those claims were made nearly six years ago and the payments haven’t been made yet (at the time of writing). So I repeat: why not?

And how much are these people getting, to make one of the claimants describe the payout as “insulting” in The Guardian‘s news article about it?

The behaviour of the police was shocking, and undermines public faith in the reliability of our law enforcement officers across the UK – not just in the forces concerned.

But – as mentioned above – they weren’t the only organisations caught lying; they weren’t the only people who deliberately caused further distress over Hillsborough.

Margaret Thatcher withheld information – which was as bad as lying because it presented a false impression that the police were blameless.

She was able to do so because she was prime minister at the time – and she was prime minister because she was leader of the Conservative Party that had formed the then-current government.

She died in 2013 but it seems perfectly reasonable to hold the Tories responsible for putting her in a position where she could distort the facts.  Why has the Conservative Party avoided compensating these people?

And that Sun headline has gone down in the history of journalistic infamy. The disgust of the city of Liverpool – in perpetuity – is not enough. Why has News International not offered compensation as well?

All three of these organisations should have offered payouts voluntarily, considering the enormity of the harm they have done, but they didn’t.

The police are only paying up because they were forced to.

Perhaps that aspect of this tragedy is the most damning of all.

Source: South Yorkshire and West Midlands police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’ | Hillsborough disaster | The Guardian

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Hancock pledges payouts over infected blood scandal – like those the Windrush victims are still awaiting?

Matt Hancock: would you believe a promise by this man?

Matt Hancock has promised that the government will pay compensation to people infected by contaminated blood products – and their families – if a public inquiry into the scandal demands it.

What a pretty promise!

Here it is:

The health secretary told the inquiry: “I respect the process of the inquiry and I will respect its recommendations, and should the inquiry’s recommendations point to compensation, then of course we will pay compensation.”

This Site has reported on the infected blood scandal before, and the Guardian‘s account of it is as good as any:

As many as 30,000 people became severely ill after being given factor VIII blood products contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C imported from the US in the 1970s and 80s. Others were exposed to tainted blood through transfusions or after childbirth. On average one person is dying every four days, with approximately 3,000 haemophiliacs having died to date.

The question is: why should we believe Hancock?

His record hardly speaks for his honesty.

And as for his government’s record on payouts… here’s the National Audit Office, discussing another recent scandal:

If the death rate really is as reported, then considering the government’s tardiness in stumping up compensation cash…

I wonder if any of the victims will see a single brass farthing before they die.

Source: Infected blood scandal: Hancock pledges payouts if advised by inquiry | Contaminated blood scandal | The Guardian

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Windrush campaigners are right. Tories can’t recognise their own racism; their report is meaningless

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

This Writer was hoping people affected by the Windrush scandal would have something to say about the government’s attempt to whitewash institutional racism in the UK.

And they do.

The Windrush scandal happened because a Conservative Home Secretary deliberately destroyed documents that proved people who immigrated into the UK to help rebuild after World War Two – and their descendants – had a right to remain here.

Years later, after allowing time for those affected to forget that there was likely to be any problem, the Tory government started contacting members of the so-called “Windrush generation” and their descendants, declaring that there was no record of their UK citizenship, stripping them of their rights and deporting many of them.

It was, by definition, a racist scandal, instigated by the nation’s most fundamental institution – its government. And now a government run by the same party is trying to claim that the UK does not have a problem with institutional racism.

The report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities mentions Windrush in its foreword, as an instance “where ethnic minority communities have rightly felt let down”, but continues: “Outcomes such as these do not come about by design, and are certainly not deliberately targeted.”

The second, and only other, reference to the scandal comes in the conclusion, when it is mentioned in passing as an exceptional example of things going wrong.

This is clearly inaccurate. The Lessons Learned review, an independent investigation into the causes of the Windrush scandal, found that the Home Office had displayed “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness” on race issues, “consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism”.

Let’s see what some of the Windrush generation have to say about it:

Patrick Vernon, whose campaigning helped force the government to take action on Windrush, said: “I can see why they haven’t included it. If they had focused on the scandal they would have had to admit that there was a systematic, structural failure in how the Home Office targeted the Windrush generation.”

Anthony Brown, who runs the Windrush Defenders Legal group in Manchester, and who was himself affected by Windrush problems, said he was frustrated by the suggestion that the scandal had been dealt with and it was time to move on. “I don’t feel that the government has fundamentally taken on board what the Windrush scandal means. A whole cohort of people were marginalised.

“The narrative of the report is that it is up to the individual to succeed: if you work hard, keep your head down, you will achieve and be successful in Britain, and if you don’t then, that’s your fault. The policies of the hostile environment took away people’s rights, but the report tries to say: actually you have all the rights you need.”

Satbir Singh, the chief executive of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said it was remarkable that Windrush attracted barely a passing mention in the report. “To suggest that these are solved problems that do not need addressing is to gaslight millions of people who know the difference between their own lived experiences and the fictions the government would prefer us all to believe,” he said.

Community activist Desmond Jaddoo, who helps run the Windrush National Organisation to secure justice for thousands of people who were wrongly classified as immigration offenders by the Home Office, was disappointed by the report. “There was a culture of not believing members of the Windrush generation, who had to jump through hoops to prove that they were telling the truth.”

Elwaldo Romeo, who was told he was in the UK illegally and faced detention after 59 years in the country, said he was disappointed by what he had heard of the report. “There’s no compassion and no understanding of what we have gone through,” he said. “Of course they want to sweep it under the carpet. Is there racism within the governmentint and the Home Office? Yes.”

Yes there is. Think of the obstacles Priti Patel put in the way of people trying to get the compensation they deserved after being targeted for discrimination.

Even after being told they were wrong, Tory ministers tried to pretend they didn’t owe restitution to the people they had wronged for the injustice they had wrought.

The only question now is how long we have to wait until Boris Johnson retracts the report and apologises for releasing such an arrogant screed of gaslighting propaganda.

Source: Windrush campaigners alarmed by omissions of No 10 race report | Race | The Guardian

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Windrush scandal victims deliver petition to Downing Street – for all the good it will do

The Empire Windrush brought many people to the UK to help rebuild the country after World War II. If it had still been in service a couple of years ago, the Tories would have been trying to use it to deport them all again.

If ever you needed proof that your government tells you what to do, and not the other way around, it’s this.

The Windrush Scandal – and the “hostile environment” that spawned it – was created from a desire to rid the UK of huge numbers of citizens who came to the UK from Commonwealth nations, notably in the Caribbean, to help rebuild the nation after World War II.

Their job was done, you see, so racist politicians decided to destroy any information offering them a right to UK citizenship and then deport them on the grounds that they could not show a good reason to stay.

Of course, they were caught in the act. And in fairness, the Conservative Government apologised.

Only words.

When it came to actually providing compensation to the people they attacked – make no mistake, this was a deliberate attempt by a UK government to harm its citizens – our Tory administration has spent two years dragging its heels.

Yes – a recent docu-drama on the BBC has reminded us all of the extent of the crime here.

But I see no willingness to make recompense to people who, being poor, cannot exert any influence over the politicians who had all power over them.

Watch what happens and see if I’m right.

Survivors of the Windrush scandal have delivered a petition to Downing Street signed by 130,000 people calling on the government to speed up compensation payments and implement all the recommendations in the Windrush Lessons Learned review.

Paulette Wilson and Anthony Bryan – who were wrongly held in immigration detention centres and threatened with deportation to Jamaica, a country they both left as children in the 1960s and had not visited in more than 50 years – handed the petition to police officers at the gates of Downing Street on Friday.

They both expressed their anger that so few people affected had received compensation in the two years since the government first apologised for wrongly classifying thousands of legal residents as being in the country illegally.

They were joined by Michael Braithwaite, a special needs teaching assistant, who was sacked from the primary school he had worked at for 15 years; Glenda Caesar, who was sacked from her job as a GP administrator after more than 20 years working for the NHS; and Elwaldo Romeo, who was told by the Home Office he was facing detention and should return to Antigua, a country he left 59 years earlier as a four-year-old boy.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The home secretary has been clear that the mistreatment of the Windrush generation by successive governments was completely unacceptable and she will right those wrongs.” However, they added, Williams had recommended that the Home Office consider the review carefully before responding, “and we are committed to honouring that request”. Patel had said she would update parliament before the summer recess.

Officials in charge of organising the compensation scheme stressed that claimants should not feel discouraged by the difficulties experienced by others and should persist with making claims. A spokesperson said assistance in completing the claim form was available via the free Windrush helpline on 0800 678 1925.

Source: Windrush scandal survivors deliver petition to No 10 | UK news | The Guardian

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Has hand-shaking Johnson taken his whole cabinet down with coronavirus?

Johnson: The prime minister seemed close to incoherence during press conferences and broadcasts.

Not only has Boris Johnson been found to have the coronavirus, but his Health Secretary Matt Hancock is self-isolating with symptoms too.

How long until the rest of the Tory cabinet come down with it?

They’ve all been in close contact with each other, especially in the days before the country was locked down.

And Mr Johnson’s attitude to the disease was deplored as irresponsible, even after it was known to be in the UK.

Remember when he said, “I can tell you that I am shaking hands continuously. I was at a hospital the other night where … I think there were a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody, you’ll be pleased to know, and I continue to shake hands… Washing your hands is the crucial thing.”

Well, it seems Johnson didn’t wash his hands well enough, or often enough!

And if he has to give up his job to recover, so much the better. As the New York Times has just put it: “Britain needs a leader, not a joker.

According to that publication [boldings mine]: “Mr. Johnson has been indecisive, contradictory, confused and confusing, jovial when he should be grave, muddled when a frightened nation desperately needs him to be clear.

“The man picked for his supposed talents as a great communicator has stumbled his way through news conferences.

“His careless, inexcusable reluctance to track and halt the virus earlier will have cost lives.

“His switches of strategy and his lack of clarity left far too many Britons oblivious to the importance of social distancing until far too late.”

It seems poetic justice that one of the people to suffer because of this irresponsibility is the Clown Minister himself.

Source: Coronavirus: Prime Minister Boris Johnson tests positive – BBC News

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Rees-Mogg’s ‘common sense’ claims turn the heat on the Tories [STRONG LANGUAGE]

Jacob Rees-Mogg: The way he looks in this image reminds me of somebody else…

Jacob Rees-Mogg tried to talk about ‘common sense’ in an LBC radio interview about the Grenfell Tower fire – proving he doesn’t have any of his own.

He said residents of the tower, which was consumed by fire due to having been covered with inflammable cladding by a Conservative-run council, should have used their common sense and left the building, rather than follow the ‘stay put’ policy imposed by the same Conservative-run council.

His comments led to condemnation, including this from rapper Stormzy:

https://twitter.com/stormzy/status/1191727557349130241

(Apologies for the weird state of the video.)

Stormzy continued:

https://twitter.com/stormzy/status/1191739324901076993

Comedian Russell Howard also attacked Mr Rees-Mogg, delivering Bristol’s verdict on the representative for neighbouring North East Somerset:

Mr Rees-Mogg has apologised for his words, even though it is clear that they represented his thinking on the subject, and has been keeping a low profile since. Conservatives have tried to defend Mr Rees-Mogg – but feebly:

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen made matters even worse by saying Mr Rees-Mogg was “cleverer” than the Grenfell residents who died.

He has been forced to apologise too:

And the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg predictably tried to protect the Tory by pretending he had made a mistake – and got her own roasting for it:

I understand the company that put the flammable cladding on Grenfell Tower is still listed by the Conservatives as a “trusted” supplier. What’s that about?

And how can anybody vote for a party that knowingly not only puts citizens at risk, but causes their deaths?

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Revealed: ConDem ‘vendetta’ against citizens it believes are livestock

"Fascist Britain, 2013. Everybody knows you can't beat the system. Everybody but...?"

“Fascist Britain, 2013. Everybody knows you can’t beat the system. Everybody but…?”

It has been rumoured that V for Vendetta ‘Guy Fawkes’ masks are to be banned from large-scale public demonstrations in the UK.

They have already been banned in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The masks were adopted by the loosely-affiliated protesters Anonymous as a clear indication of members’ feelings towards a Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition government whose actions, they believe, have been increasingly fascist.

These people have a point.

Has anyone read V for Vendetta lately? An early chapter, ‘Victims’, provides the historical background to the fascist Britain of the story – and provides very disturbing parallels with the current government and its policies.

In the story, there is a recession and a nuclear war. Fortunately, in real life we have managed to avoid the war (so far) but the recession of 2007 onwards has caused severe hardship for many, with average wages cut by nine per cent (in real terms) due to government policies.

In the story, the line “Everybody was waiting for the government to do something” is notable. Isn’t that just about as British as you can get? As a nation, we seem unwilling to take the initiative; we just wait for someone else to do something. We queue up. And then we complain when we don’t find exactly what we wanted at the end of the queue. But then it’s too late.

Does the government “do something”? Well, no – not in the story, because there isn’t any government worth mentioning at this point. But then… “It was all the fascist groups. The right-wingers. They’d all got together with some of the big corporations…”

Here’s another parallel. How many corporations are enjoying the fruits of the Conservative-led (right-wing) government’s privatisation drive?

Look at my IDS (I Believe) video on YouTube – which features only a tiny minority of those firms.

The NHS carve-up signified huge opportunities for firms like Circle Health and Virgin, and Bain Capital (who bought our blood plasma supplies). Care UK, the firm that famously sponsored Andrew Lansley while he was working on the regressive changes to the health service that eventually became the Health and Social Care Act 2012, no doubt also has fingers in the pie.

The Treasury is receiving help – if you can call it that – from the ‘big four’ accountancy firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young and KPMG. They have written the law on tax avoidance. By no coincidence at all, these are the firms that run the major tax avoidance schemes that have been taken up by businesses and rich individuals who are resident in the UK. For more information on the government’s attitude to taxing the rich, see Michael Meacher’s recent blog entry.

The Department for Work and Pensions has employed many private firms; this is the reason that department is haemorrhaging money. There are the work programme provider firms who, as has been revealed in previous blog entries, provide absolutely no useful training and are less likely to find anyone a job than if they carried on by themselves; there are the IT firms currently working on Universal Credit, about which Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith lied to Parliament when he said he was having to write off £34 million of expenditure – the true figure was later revealed to be closer to £161 million, almost five times as much; there are Atos and Capita, and probably other firms that have been hired to carry out so-called ‘work capability assessments’ of people claiming sickness, incapacity and disability benefits, according to a plan that intentionally ignores factual medical evidence and places emphasis on a bogus, tick-box test designed to find ways to cut off their support; and there is Unum Insurance, the criminal American corporation that designed that test, in order to push British workers into buying its bogus insurance policies that work on exactly the same principle – this is theft on a grand scale.

So we have a government in cahoots with big business, and treating the citizens – the voters – like cattle. We’ll see more of this as we go on.

“Then they started taking people away… All the black people and the Pakistanis…” All right, these social groups have not been, specifically, targeted (yet) – but we have seen evidence that our government would like to do so. Remember those advertising vans the Home Office funded, that drove around London with a message that we were told was for illegal immgrants: “Go home”?

“That is a term long-associated with knuckle-dragging racists,” said Owen Jones on the BBC’s Any Questions.

“We’re seeing spot-checks and racial profiling of people at tube stations. We have a woman on the news… she was born in Britain; she was told she was stopped because she ‘didn’t sound British’. And we have the official Home Office [Twitter] account being used to send gleeful tweets which show people being thrown into vans with a hashtag, ‘#immigrationoffenders’.

“Is this the sort of country you want to live in, where the Conservatives use taxpayers’ money to inflame people’s fears and prejudices in order to win political advantage? Because I don’t think most people do want that to happen.”

This blog’s article on the subject added that not only this, but other governments (like that in Greece) had created an opportunity to start rounding up anybody deemed “undesirable” by the state. “Greece is already rounding up people of unorthodox sexuality, drug addicts, prostitutes, immigrants and the poor and transferring them to internment and labour camps,” it stated.

Note also the government’s response to criticism from UN special rapporteur on adequate housing Raquel Rolnik. Grant Shapps and Iain Duncan Smith and their little friends tried to say that she had not done her job properly but, when this was exposed as a lie, they reverted to type and attacked her for her racial origin, national background, and beliefs – political and personal. You can read the lot in this despicable Daily Mail smear piece.

Back to V for Vendetta, where the narrative continues: “White people too. All the radicals and the men who, you know, liked other men. The homosexuals. I don’t know what they did with them all.” Well, we know what Greece is doing with them all, and in the story, such people also ended up in internment and labour camps. We’ll come back to that.

“They made me go and work in a factory with a lot of other kids. We were putting matches into boxes. I lived in a hostel. It was cold and dirty…”

Last month this blog commented on government plans for ‘residential Workfare for the disabled’, rounding up people with disabilities and putting them into modern-day workhouses where someone else would profit from their work while they receive benefits alone – and where the potential for abuse was huge. If that happens, how long will it be before every other jobseeker ends up in a similar institution?

A while ago, a friend in the cafe I visit said that a Tory government will always see every class of people other than its own as “livestock”. That’s the word he used – “livestock”. From the above, with descriptions of people being treated like cattle, or being herded into the workhouse for someone else to profit from their work, it seems he has a very strong case.

So let’s go back to these internment and labour camps – in V for Vendetta they’re called “resettlement” camps. A later chapter – The Vortex – reveals that inmates at such camps are subjected to unethical medical experimentation. The doctor carrying out the trials notes in her diary that the camp commandant “promised to show me my research stock… they’re a poor bunch.”

Her research stock are human beings who have been subjected to conditions similar to those of the Nazi concentration camps. Notice the language – this doctor considers the other human beings taking part to be her property. And they are “research stock” – in other words, she does not see them as other human beings but as livestock – exactly as the friend in the cafe stated.

And jobseekers in today’s UK are being coerced into experimental drug trials, disguised as job opportunities, according to the latest reports.

V for Vendetta‘s tagline – the blurb that set the scene – was: “Fascist Britain, 1997”. It seems the only part that its author, Alan Moore, actually got wrong was the date.