Tag Archives: Wales

Why are devolved governments accused of failure after the Tories couldn’t roll out Covid vaccine properly?

Tory mouthpiece news media seem keen to blame the UK’s devolved governments for failing to roll out Covid-19 vaccines fast enough – but in fact the blame lies with the Conservative-led Westminster government.

Distribution of the vaccines is being carried out centrally from Westminster but has been hampered by delays in obtaining supplies of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

It seems that, as a result, the Tories have been restricting supplies to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and then blaming the devolved governments in those other countries (none of which have Conservative-run administrations) for providing a smaller proportion of injections.

According to Nation.Cymru,

In the run up to Christmas Frontline NHS staff in Wales complained they were struggling to get access to the recently launched Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and Len Richards, the chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University health board, warned of “an indisputable supply and demand constraint” in an email and said access to the jab was being rationed because “the supply is so low”.

What do you think of this?

Should the Tories get away with restricting vaccine supplies and then blaming their counterparts in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for failing to protect as many people?

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If you think conditions in Priti Patel’s planned concentration camp are bad, you should see them in the ones she already has

Auschwitz was a concentration camp: it seems Priti Patel may have found in Covid-19 a more socially-acceptable way of wiping out her refugees than the gas chamber.

It seems a lot of people were shocked by the revelation that Priti Patel is planning to open a concentration camp in Hampshire – with all the connotations of that phrase – for foreign refugees.

If you thought that was bad, what will you think of the fact that she is already running two such camps – subjecting the inmates to squalor, indignity and the threat of Covid-19 – in south Wales and Kent.

An article in The Canary describes conditions in the Penally camp, south Wales, as “hellish”.

Camp residents complain of inadequate and poorly cooked food, no privacy, and inadequate shower and toilet facilities. They are unable to socially distance, or to take proper precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

60% or more of the camp’s 42 toilets were not working, leaving the residents in severely unsanitary conditions. The toilets were eventually fixed but … this wasn’t the first time the toilets had been out of action. In fact: “This is the fourth time in three weeks.”

The only functional showers in Penally are shared, without any private cubicles. “A month ago they brought in caravans containing private showers, but no-one use them because they have no hot water. So they are just for show.” When residents have finished showering, they have to put on their coat straightaway to go out into the freezing cold.

There are precious few measures in place to protect against the spread of coronavirus in Penally. “Hand sanitiser and soap dispensers are often either empty or not working. Outside the canteen, there is one dispenser which is often left empty, including for three days on one occasion.” Mask wearing is only enforced within the dining area, and masks are only available on request.

A minibus of 15 new residents arrived at the camp on Wednesday 16 December. Some of the existing camp residents asked if these newcomers had been tested for coronavirus; they were told ‘It’s not your business’. “They say that we need to be careful about spreading Covid, but they put us all together in shared rooms, with not enough toilets and shared showers We eat in the same dining hall, and we wait together in the queue for food – I think they sent us here to get Corona and die.”

This is the situation in Priti Patel’s concentration camp Britain. People are sent to filthy, degrading hovels which they are forced to share with others who may have a disease that is currently killing hundreds of people in the UK every day.

And she wants to open more.

Source: ‘Every day it’s getting worse’ – a refugee calls for ‘massive protests’ over conditions at Home Office camp | The Canary

Twitter tries to break the law – but is this the person who had Mike suspended?

Identified? This person posted screenshots that appear to show they are responsible for the complaint that had Vox Political’s Mike Sivier suspended from Twitter. Mike has no idea who this person is and a Twitter search provides no evidence of any contact.

There have been developments.

Readers of This Site will be aware that This Writer’s Twitter account was suspended on Saturday, December 12. The most likely excuse, I thought, was the link to the Vox Political article discussing the evidence used in Rachel Riley’s application to strike out my defence against her High Court libel action against me.

As you can see from the image above, it seems I was correct in that. But we’ll come to it.

On advice, I contacted Twitter to appeal against the suspension, and also submitted a Subject Access Request (SAR) for the information on which my suspension had been based.

Twitter seemed keen to help. I had to poke it about the SAR but eventually Twitter Support came back to me with a request for specific instructions, on Wednesday (December 16). I tried to provide this but the link didn’t work, so I had to demand one that did.

Then on Friday (December 18), I received the following message:

Thank you. Our record indicates that your account is not suspended. This case will now be closed.

It really won’t, you know.

Yes, my account was restored on Thursday (December 17), but it had still been unavailable to me for five days and I want to know why. I have a right to know why. Remember, Twitter never contacted me with a reason for my suspension.

I submitted a Subject Access Request, which is a legal requirement. By UK law, Twitter has one calendar month from the date I submitted my request (December 12) to honour it. No excuses. No apologies. If it fails to provide the information, Twitter will have broken the law.

I have emailed Twitter UK’s CEO, Dara Nasr, to remind him of this, along with overall boss Jack Dorsey. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, after my account was restored, I saw an interesting tweet in reply to one that I couldn’t see, being blocked by the account holder:

Holocaust denier and anti-Semite? For fuck’s sake. Does he think the Holocaust happened? And what did he say that was anti-Semitic?

It was clearly about me; someone had repeated the old lies that I was a Holocaust denier and an anti-Semite – so I did the necessary work and got a copy of the tweet I was blocked from seeing.

Dated December 13, it said (as you can see above):

Mike Sivier – @MidWalesMike

You sent me threats & abuse in the 2019 British election. Enjoy your Twitter suspension.

Hope Rachel and Tracy-Ann win in court. Show you as an antiSemite and Holocause Denier.

The account holder was, apparently, “Festive Fionn” – @Fionn_Grunspan.

I have no idea who this person is.

I do not recall having any contact with them and use of Twitter’s advanced search facility has produced no evidence of any such contact.

The likelihood of me sending “threats & abuse” to anybody is ridiculous. I have received threats and abuse from people; I don’t send it myself. Of course, some people may consider civilised responses to be abusive; it depends on your point of view.

As there is no evidence of me having contacted @Fionn_Grunspan for any reason at all, I am led to speculate on whether they were operating under another Twitter handle at the time of the alleged “threats & abuse” – if such an altercation every took place. That would suggest that the account holder had changed it for some reason, which in turn suggests that they had been caught doing something wrong.

Obviously “Rachel and Tracy-Ann” can’t win against me in court because “Tracy-Ann” (Oberman) is not one of the parties. It’s a small point but it indicates that this Twitter account cannot get its facts right.

Nor will they show me “as an antiSemite and Holocaust Denier”. Riley’s case against me is a claim that I libelled her and has nothing to do with anti-Semitism or Holocaust denial. In any case, claims that I was a Holocaust denier have been demonstrated to be lies and The Sunday Times (principally; other newspapers had to do the same) published a lengthy correction after having wrongly accused me of it, in early 2019.

Is Twitter trying to protect this – apparent – liar? If so, why?

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Who are the troublemakers pretending that Welsh shops will be banned from selling alcohol?

It isn’t true – and that’s official.

Rumours have started circulating that the Welsh Government is to ban the sale of alcohol anywhere in the country from December 17.

But the Welsh Government itself has stated categorically that the claim is a lie.

Clearly somebody thought they could capitalise on the ban on pubs selling alcohol by spreading a scare story. Who are these troublemakers? Name and shame them where you can.

Obviously Christmas is a time when more people like to sit back and enjoy a taste of their favourite tipple (but drink responsibly, folks!) and an alcohol ban would be an extremely unpopular move.

It would also be completely pointless. The ban on alcohol in pubs was to curb the spread of Covid-19 through the hospitality industry and there is no perceived need to stop alcohol entering socially-distanced homes.

So the rumour can only be an attempt to discredit the Welsh Government and score political points.

Let’s find out who started it so we can discredit them instead.

Source: Rumour of imminent ban on buying alcohol in shops in Wales ‘simply not true’ – Nation.Cymru

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BBC’s Munchetty calls out Williamson for forcing BAME English children to sit exams. Gammons are furious

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was put on the back foot over his plan to force disadvantaged black and minority ethnic children in England to sit exams, despite the disruption of Covid-19 – and racists across the UK supported him.

Interviewed by the BBC’s Naga Munchetty, he gave an incoherent performance in which he tried to say that disadvantaged children always fare better in exams than when their results depend on teacher assessments.

Was he basing his claim on the fiasco that he himself caused last summer – when a Tory government-created computer algorithm automatically assigned higher grades to pupils at public schools and artificially lowered those of pupils considered to be disadvantaged, without any reference to the grades that had been predicted for them, if they had been able to take exams as normal?

I think he was.

Look at this:

” Children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds and children from Black and ethnic minorities communities are given the best advantage by sitting examinations and having that test.”

Because it means they won’t fall foul of Williamson’s brutally biased algorithm?

Munchetty interrupted, setting him up for a fall: “I understand from that point then that those disadvantaged children in Wales and Scotland are going to be more disadvantaged because they’re not having exams.”

This should put an obvious further question in viewers’ minds: What if, when it happens, they’re not? What if the Welsh and Scottish systems provide accurate assessments of these pupils’ abilities?

Won’t Williamson – and the government he represents – then appear to be attacking children who are trying to work their way out of the disadvantages that their social positions have forced on them, simply because he can?

Sadly, our thickie Education Secretary didn’t even realise he was walking into a trap, and carried on blithely: “Every study that has been carried out that’s looked at this has shown that predicted grades most disadvantage children from the poorest backgrounds.

“Predicted grades and teacher assessments disadvantage children from Black and ethnic minorities so we do believe exam assessment is the best form.”

His predicted grades, maybe. Teacher assessments were overridden by his predictions, as the huge scandal over school exams last summer made clear.

This Writer thinks we’re going to see a shocking contrast between exam scores for disadvantaged and BAME children in England and those in the rest of the UK next summer.

The kids in England – whether they sit exams or not – or likely to fall far behind those in the other countries, where their abilities will be assessed using a fair system that has nothing to do with Tory algorithms that falsely weight results in favour of kids who are already absurdly privileged.

And Williamson – along with his corrupt Tory pals – will be exposed again.

Of course the gammons in the BBC Breakfast News audience were incensed at Munchetty for daring to hint that their Tory minister might possibly discriminate against people of minority racial backgrounds and the poor (as they have throughout history):

If you check the critics’ bios, you’ll see that most of them are anonymous, with few followers – classic signs of trolls or paid bots.

And it seems they flooded Twitter after the interview in the hope that they could fool you into thinking Munchetty was in the wrong.

She wasn’t. I trust Vox Political readers can think for themselves, rather than be guided by people who are paid to lie to you.

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Welsh government’s decisive action on school exams would shame Johnson – if it were possible to

Socially-distanced exams: they won’t mean anything if school pupils can’t be guaranteed a full education in the 2020-21 academic year – and they can’t.

Days after it was revealed that Boris Johnson’s government was issuing contradictory demands to schools and had made no decision on next year’s exams, the Welsh government has shamed him.

School pupils in Wales will not take GCSE or A-level exams in 2021; instead, pupils’ futures will be decided by teacher-managed assessments, according to Welsh education minister Kirsty Williams.

This Writer knows Ms Williams personally; she’s my Assembly Member. We have collaborated on some political projects – and we’ve also clashed, because her politics isn’t the same as mine.

That said, she is clearly right on this: “It is impossible to guarantee a level playing field for exams to take place.”

What a contrast with the dithering and confusion of Boris Johnson, as reported by This Site on Saturday (November 7):

After the Times Educational Supplement revealed that the government hasn’t even bothered to plan the school year in advance, taking into account the possibility of Covid-19 interference in next year’s exams, it turns out that staff are working flat-out to accommodate contradictory demands from the Department for Education, some being changed within hours

And Johnson is still dithering!

Boris Johnson’s spokesman said there were no plans for England to follow Wales. He said: “There’s no change in our own position in relation to exams. We’ve set out that they will take place slightly later this year, to give students more time to prepare. We continue to think that exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance.”

Perhaps he’s kidding himself that he is being strong by ignoring the ridicule he’s getting.

Perhaps he’s simply taking an opportunity to build more inequality into the education system – state-educated English school pupils will now be at a further disadvantage in comparison with those who are educated privately – or in one of the other UK countries.

The latter possibility should not surprise anybody after Dominic Raab’s bid to penalise millions of exam-takers across the UK for being educated by the state, earlier this year.

Experts are insisting that a level playing-field cannot be guaranteed, in line with Ms Williams’s statement.

How long will Boris Johnson insist on letting English education slide?

Source: Welsh move to cancel GCSE and A-level exams puts pressure on No 10 | UK news | The Guardian

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#Lockdown2 highlights the Tory way: lie in haste – deny at leisure

Robert Jenrick: every time he turns up he’s telling a different story.

The Johnson government’s promises about its November lockdown in England – and the effect it will have on the other UK countries – are falling apart. Quelle surprise.

It should be clear to even the most casual spectator that it is now the Tory way to make wild promises alongside a major announcement of this kind, in order to put people off their guard.

They then renege on those promises in the days following the announcement – if they aren’t called out on the falsehoods first.

So here we see Boris Johnson telling the House of Commons that there will be funding to keep employees in furlough – across the UK, even in countries where lockdown does not coincide exactly with that in England…

… and Robert Jenrick, not 24 hours later, confirming that it won’t.

Kay Burley’s response to Jenrick is well worth preserving here:

“Don’t worry about repeating yourself, it’s very important to the people of Scotland. It might make the difference between being able to feed their families and not.”

That also applies to Wales; it applies to Northern Ireland.

Water off a duck’s back to Jenrick, though. He genuinely couldn’t care less if your kids starve.

The lie was told by Boris Johnson to the leader of the Scottish Tories, Douglas Ross – but people all over Scotland will be harmed because of it:

Perhaps less critically-important is the ability to play tennis and golf.

Michael Gove said on Sunday that tennis courts and golf courses would be open during the lockdown. Jenrick then merrily told BBC Breakfast News that they wouldn’t:

Worst of it all is that we can’t trust a word that Jenrick said – and I’m not referring to the fact that, in terms of corruption, he’s as bent as a nine-pound note.

Consider the knot into which he tied himself when talking about the new plan to test everybody in Liverpool for Covid-19:

Oh, really?

So how many tests are available to Liverpool, then?

He didn’t know.

It’s another test, track and trace disaster-in-the-making – and another Tory lie.

I don’t think any UK country will get furlough cash after December 2; Johnson just said that to keep us all quiet.

I don’t particularly care about tennis courts and golf courses but I’m sure those who do will be upset that they must close. In fact, all sporting facilities, including local gyms (for example) perform a vital function for not just physical but also mental health, and there is a strong argument for keeping them open that the Johnson government won’t hear, because it isn’t actually interested in our health at all.

And I certainly don’t think a Labour city like Liverpool is going to get the benefit of a decent Covid-19 testing system when the Tories haven’t managed it anywhere else in the UK!

The tactic is clear: say what people want to hear – because the line can always be changed tomorrow.

Next week the Tories and their Twitter trolls will be denying that they ever misled us – and that will be another lie to add to the list.

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Twit Tory’s tweet shows the Labour Welsh government is handling Covid-19 better than his rabble

James Cleverly: He was once described as “the Tories’ go-to eejit when they need someone to tweet absolute nonsense or defend the indefensible”.

James Cleverly is a gift to everyone who opposes Tories and Conservative policies.

His latest blunder was a tweet trying to claim that Labour would have failed to handle the Covid-19 crisis as well as the Conservatives – by suggesting a comparison between Westminster and the Labour-run Welsh government:

Wales is doing very well, thank you very much – as experts lined up to explain to the misnamed dimwit.

Worse still (for Cleverly), his tweet provided another Tory an opportunity to make an utter fool of himself – and by extension, his party – by trying to spread a lie about the current Welsh lockdown. Here’s the tweet:

Here’s the response that best skewers Cllr Hill:

Just for completeness, here is the Welsh Government’s response to Katie, from the thread in question:

Tesco has apologised for the mistake.

I wonder if Cllr Hill, any of the other Tories who have tried to spread the lie, or Cleverly himself will ever have the courage also to apologise?

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Welsh Tory MP voted to starve English children while Welsh Labour feeds those in her constituency

I raise this to point out the hypocrisy of Conservative MPs.

Last December, people in This Writer’s constituency – Brecon and Radnorshire, in Wales – voted Conservative Fay Jones into Parliament as their MP.

The Welsh government – run by the Labour Party – has already legislated to ensure that children who have been flung into poverty by UK-wide Tory policies and/or by the Covid-19 crisis will enjoy free school meals to ensure they do not grow hungry.

Last week, Jones was among the 322 MPs who voted to ensure that English children – afflicted in the same way by Tory policies – starve.

What utter hypocrisy.

The worst part of it is that people here will probably vote for her again, in the mistaken impression that she had something to do with the decision to provide free meals for children here in Wales.

I note that Ms Jones has been in Parliament for less than a year but has already incurred expenses claims totalling £25,717.57 – equivalent to the average wage in the UK – on top of her MP salary of around £82,000. She seems far more a waste of money than English children – the feeding of whom I would consider to be more an investment.

It is notable that she has also received a supporting donation from the bottled water company Radnor Hills, totalling £10,000.

Considering that fellow Tory MP Selaine Saxby has said she hopes firms providing food to starving English children should not seek government support, it seems appropriate that this firm (that would receive any such support from the Labour-run Welsh government, rather than Westminster) should be deprived of public support in return for backing Jones.

Don’t you agree?

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Rees-Mogg’s hypocrisy over England-Wales travel ban is borderline schizoid

Rees-Mogg: doesn’t he look properly psychotic in this image? Little did we know that it reflects his actual personality. Or did we..?

See what I did there? No? Allow me to explain:

Jacob Rees-Mogg has supported to the hilt plans that would put permanent borders within the United Kingdom – in the middle of the Irish Sea and on the inland border of Kent.

But he reckons a plan by Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford to ban entry into that country by people from other areas of the UK with higher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions is “unconstitutional”.

It isn’t; it simply puts those other parts of the UK in the same situation as those parts of Wales that are under more stringent restrictions and Drakeford is well within his rights to impose this temporary rule.

It seems, regarding internal borders, Rees-Mogg is schizoid – he is literally of two minds.

Here’s Nation.Cymru:

Jacob Rees Mogg replied: “What would you expect of a hard-left Labour Government?

“The approach to putting a border between England and Wales is unconstitutional and will place the police in an invidious position considering that they serve the whole of the United Kingdom.

“We are one single United Kingdom and we should not have… borders between different parts of the United Kingdom.

“And I’m afraid that is what you get when you vote for socialists.”

He did not offer any evidence that the Welsh Government’s plan was unconstitutional. Health is a devolved issue in Wales and can be legislated upon by the Welsh Parliament.

Police are not devolved but organised on an England and Wales, Scottish, and Northern Irish basis.

The measures regarding people coming to Wales from England are the same as those that exist between Welsh authorities.

You can see him making his comment here:

Phew, what a loony!

“Hard-left Labour government”? Rees-Mogg’s own constituency of Bath and North-East Somerset is very close to Wales. All he has to do is cross a bridge to realise that this is not a country full of Bolshevik revolutionaries.

Drakeford himself always struck me as being more of the ‘New Labour’ persuasion than a socialist. Perhaps he’ll take the hint from Rees-Mogg and adopt a more left-wing policy from now on (that would be welcome).

Realistically, we could suggest that Rees-Mogg’s attitude is that of the spoilt boy who finds that someone else has been playing with his toys; perhaps he thought nobody else was allowed to do as Drakeford has – now he knows better.

Alternatively, he’s mad as a bag of cats.

Our friends in the social media have an opinion about that, of course:

Come to that, so do a few people from Wales itself:

Of course it is perfectly permissible to travel out of Wales in order to give Rees-Mogg a verbal battering.

And if you don’t travel through any English Covid hotspots, it’s perfectly permissible to travel back in again.

The only people under any restrictions are those who should not be travelling anyway.

So this Tory fool is making a fuss about nothing.

Source: Rees-Mogg incorrectly claims new Welsh Covid-19 restrictions are ‘unconstitutional’ – Nation.Cymru

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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