Things aren’t looking great (typical British understatement.) In a fortnight where we have seen events I never thought to witness, but are indicative of seven years of extreme Conservativism (only marginally blocked by the Lib Dems) have come home to roost. Greed, profiteering; seeing the poor, immigrants and the disabled as chattel or statistics; and a lack of compassion that has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths since 2010
- in the NHS,
- by the DWP,
- from the armed forces– before, during and after conflicts,
- from criminal shortcuts in the low income housing sector and the ludicrous definition of affordable housing
- as well as in public services and public sector pay, including the police which the Conservatives are under increasing pressure to stop
- from unclean air and illegal levels of urban pollution
- from illegal fox hunting (now quietly dropped) and pointless badger culling
In a week where we’ve seen
- Yemen, already beleaguered by chemical weapons, being deliberately starved and worse, possibly torture too, are in the grip of the worst cholera epidemic in history so Boris’ jolly-hockey-sticks approach last week worked really well there didn’t it? (He’s Foreign Secretary, though you wouldn’t know it…) Is this part of a US/Saudi push to further destabilise the Middle East? I can easily see Iran being next.
- six people are to be charged in relation to the Hillsborough disaster, including the Police Commander, Sir Norman Bettison and David Duckinfield. Bettinson has been served with four charges: two regarding misconduct in public office, alleged lies about involvement in the aftermath and fans’ culpability; and Duckinfield has been charged with manslaughter- so finally some justice and closure may be had
- the British High Courts rule the benefit cap and the rape clause unlawful;
- an overt connection being made between those in power pushing for hard B*exit and tax avoidance while the economy tanks
- ATOS and G4S being ‘outed’ for paying no corporation tax last year despite carrying out £2billion of taxpayer-funded work, according to an official audit
- An 18 month report on foodbanks came out today (29/06/17) showing that the situation is at breaking point for thousands of people due to loans, housing costs, rocketing energy bills and rising grocery prices.
- hundreds of people in Camden are being evacuated from their high rises for safety reasons and hundreds more high rise blocks and schools all over England checked only to find they have the same cladding as Grenfell Tower.
- The promise to Grenfell survivors to rehouse them inside 21 days has fallen through
- More buildings still have failed recent fire and safety checks done post-Grenfell. In Parliament today (28/06/17) May said 120 tower blocks across 37 local authority areas so far did not pass the checks. And there is no guaranteed funding for recladding these buildings or any other improvements or safety measures. yet she blames it on an order put in by Labour to move fire safety from the fire brigade to Councils in 2005. The only laws put in from 2005-6 are these, and there is no indication of doing that in those. The only mention of Councils is a “Bill [that] removes the requirement for there to be a revaluation for council tax purposes in England 2007 and at ten yearly intervals thereafter.” If I find factual basis for her accusation I will add it here. The problems with this assertion are that this cladding started going up in the 80s under Thatcher and that the fire service have been brutally cut, as Corbyn pointed out, by 40%, so even if this is true and even if the fire service still did these, they’d be horribly behind due to lack of staff; and it also suggests that all Councils and Councillors are automatically incompetent, venal and negligent– which is somewhat insulting. Plus the bureaucracy of this country has to be taken into account- the fact that there has to be a law saying not to put combustible cladding on buildings, not a funding issue when it should be a common sense matter to use fire retardant materials suggest long overdue reform of our systems is necessary and has been for decades.
- the police consider manslaughter charges in the Grenfell Tower inquest; and on 22/06/17 the survivors woke up to the news that the hotel they were staying in has evicted them on grounds of ‘lack of availability’
- and Rock Feilding-Mellen, who is deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council (KCBC), as revealed last week by LabourMuse HQ was said to be concerned for his safety after abusive posters and vandalism were found outside his house in north Kensington, so has moved himself and his family away from the area. Residents want him to answer to his approval of the cladding for the tower. Considering his conflict of vested interest as a property developer, I suggest he has more questions to answer than that.
- The new Conservative leadership battle more overt and hotting up with Hammond now the frontrunner and tiny rumours spreading that May has already moved out of number 10 (will confirm as soon as more surfaces)
- An attack on governmental IT systems thwarted but not announced for almost half a day and one that appears to be spreading worldwide, called ‘Petya’, that initially hit Ukraine, causing major disruption. It’s making the ‘WannaCry‘ hack that shut down the NHS last month look like a ripple across a puddle! Even new systems like Windows 10 with the most up to date anti-virus programmes are being affected. You can bet this will make the Conservatives more determined to implement ‘ToryNet’ even though hackers cannot be stopped by governmental ‘internet controls’. (See later on the blog for what the Conservative Defence Minister says about it! 🥔 )
- a five year limbo for EU citizens living here that May calls ‘fair and serious’ (including special ID cards (eek!); removal of their right to vote in local elections; and other totalitarian provisos) but the EU council have already deemed unacceptable- having made a far better offer on the 12th June for UK citizens living in the EU- where they can stay in the UK but who knows after that, an idea that May had already blocked in her voting history in the past.
- far right white terrorism has been proven to be on the rise, now at 1 in 3 (35%) (when white people only make up 16% of the world’s population)
- more people seem to be realising the MSM and Conservative rhetoric on ‘dole scroungers’ and ‘single mothers’ is a toxic lie. The stats from the ONS cannot be denied here either. There has been no rush over twenty years for women to have children on purpose to get more state benefits. This is especially pertinent when we consider Murdoch’s push again to control even more of the UK’s media, against which there is a petition (it’s closing soon as the decision is to happen by the 29th June) as he and Dacre (Daily Mail) are responsible for much of the foam and bile that has seen poorer people demonised.
- more records are declassified and further terror attacks by Irish (pro-British) Loyalists during the 90s emerge, for which one major perpetrator has been prosecuted; a man who was protected by the British Government in return for being an informant for them.
- even the right wing MSM are turning on the Conservatives (except for desperate last second fapping by the Mail, S*n and Express about Corbyn not bowing at the State Opening of Parliament when party leaders historically are not supposed to do this; and where foaming™ abounds about him going to Glastonbury -which went so well some Conservatives (and Farage) are accusing the BBC of bias for even showing it- instead of supporting ‘our’ heroes on Armed Forces Day; when the Labour manifesto is full of excellent armed forces provisions after years of cuts)
yet ‘polls’ are still showing at least 34% of support for May and the Conservatives,
- where 45% of people want May out and 48% do not,
- where May’s popularity figures are Favourable: 29% (-13)/ Unfavourable: 63% (+16) and Corbyn’s are Favourable: 46% (+10)/ Unfavourable: 46% (-4) YouGov)
- where May’s popularity as PM is at 39% (-4) and Corbyn’s at 39% (+7) (via YouGov & ShippersUnbound), the first time a Labour leader has been equal to a Conservative one since 2008 (though I cannot fathom why May still has this level of support) and this week, Corbyn has overtaken May in this regard and he has been consistently looking for force another general election
- where few policies on the ‘left’ or ‘right’ appear have trickled through to the People™ and
- The Conservatives clearly do not know how to negotiate though cutting their teeth on this process by trying to do this with the DUP is very much a baptism of fire. The EU will not be as unbending no matter what they propose. For more on the Conservative/ DUP deal, check out this blog.
Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell summed it up today (27/06/17) on what this ‘alliance’ should mean for the rest of the UK. Here is what he said:
The Tory–DUP deal agreed upon yesterday should see an extra £68bn of funding for the rest of Britain, if it were to be applied equally, John McDonnell has said.
The Tories agreed a deal with the Northern Irish democratic unionist party which involved giving them a rumoured £2bn of additional capital for Belfast’s budget, though the official figure is £1bn. This is to ensure that the DUP’s 10 MPs vote with the minority Conservative government in Westminster.
The £2bn boost to Stormont’s coffers would equate to an extra £59bn for England, £6bn for Scotland and £3bn for Wales. If the Barnett formula were followed, which was adopted to ensure fair distribution of government funds for all parts of the country, these figures would be owed to the nations of Great Britain’s public services.
“The coalition of chaos that was set up yesterday risks increasing division in our society by easing austerity in one part of the UK alone,” the shadow chancellor said.
“We need to see an end to austerity throughout the UK not just in Northern Ireland, and not just to prop up Theresa May and her failed government,” he added.
“Labour’s fully costed alternative programme of government stands ready to provide Britain with the leadership that will truly end austerity, and unite all nations and regions in our country.” [my italics]
Essentially he is correct should the Barnett formula be used. But as we have seen in the blog on this deal, the document clearly attempts to bypass the Barnett process. And such language suggests that Labour will indeed block the Queen’s Speech parliamentary votes on the 28th and 29th June. Now we need to know who is voting with Labour against it– time will tell here, and it will be added to this blog as soon as the votes are made. I think we know how the SNP might be voting; Pete Wishart stated they were going to try and secure an emergency debate on the ‘deal’ on the basis of huge issues that now arise on how the nations of the UK are funded. This request for an emergency debate was denied today (27/06/17).
No wonder the New Statesman is printing front pages like the one below!
Talks at Stormont to try and reset the governmental process as it were, now the DUP ‘deal’ is done, is likely to take most of the night in Belfast. With a cut off date in 48 hours (though here has been noise that the Budget does not need to be set till Spring- so where will be that £1BILLION be in the meantime?) there are plenty of issues to be discussed, not least the DUP‘s anti-human rights and anti-Irish language mandate. Apparently the DUP won’t entertain an Irish Language Act without the ‘Scots Gaelic’ of Ulster being on it too. Now while linguistically this is feasible, like many DUP demands, historically it would be hard for Sinn Féin to swallow after over 90 years of anti-Irish/republic/Catholic policy and treatment. This for them is likely to be faux inclusive. But they’ve compromised before, not least the 1994 ceasefire and the DUP don’t. Ever. While the DUP strawman the Scots Gaels many of them still consider an ILA to be hollowing out their ‘Britishness’. The Scottish Gaelic language, though with similar roots, does not have similar context and as ever the DUP are being disingenuous to want this.
Here is one take on it (which does ignore some issues (like the real reason for McGuinness resigning earlier this year), but has some merit in the summary of Sinn Féin’s tenuous position now):
But here is another view:
It sometimes makes you lament the torturous slothlike progress of political process and progress (or regress) that allows these situations to continue. Same goes for the ‘polls’ as they rush to catch up with snowballing political events. The last poll below is the most recent, from Panelbase, commissioned by the Sunday Times and ended on 21st June.
And talking of ‘Progress’ just two days after ex-Labour MP Alan Johnson says the ‘left’ support group Momentum should disband as they’re ‘no longer needed’ (in that case so should the ‘right’- Progress) they lost their biggest donor
Some are hailing this as part of the death throes of Progress and/or the collapse of ‘Bl*irism’; others feel it is confirmation the party has moved back to the ‘left’; and others still see it as a ripple effect of the ‘rich’ no longer being able to affect Labour policy with their money. Others still wonder if it’s because he’s too busy sanctioning the demolition of FairTrade. It looks like there is going to a last ditch attempt by such people still within the ‘right’ of the party’, however, to try and drag Labour back to the right, including
- the attack on Momentum above;
- but also manufactured anti-Semitism (that largely already failed, but still has MSM coverage);
- attacking the Shadow Cabinet;
- trying to foment dissent over B*exit and other foreign policy;
- and attacking independent leftist bloggers and media.
And if we concede that Progress never learn, and seem to be hellbent on destroying the party and their own livelihoods just twenty years after the gleefully doing the same to the more ‘left’ elements of Labour; the Conservatives never learn either do they? After ‘getting off through lack of evidence’ their last blatant electoral fraud, including in Scotland, they did it again, right up to the day before the election. In Channel 4’s exposé, it seems clear that a Neath (South Wales) call centre was pulled into it this time. These are allegedly some of the texts staff received.
This looks like unlawful practices taking place at this centre: making calls on behalf of the Conservatives. This includes:
- Paid canvassing for Conservative election candidates; definitely banned under election law.
- Political cold calling to numbers to which they should not have had access, so data-mining as well
- Framing the calls in a misleading way; claiming to be from an ‘independent market research company’ which does not appear to exist
The CCHQ admitted it had commissioned Blue Telecoms to carry out ‘market research and direct marketing calls’ during the campaign, but insist the calls were legal. How, exactly? They really do think the law does not apply to them.
The pollsters and number crunchers are still hard at work, trying to break down election voting percentages and Ipsos MORI came up with this. This does seem a little divisive to do it this way; on ‘social grades’ and age; as there are so many other factors involved, and the temptation to equate correlation to causation or even chicken and egg even is huge, but here we are:
What does this suggest? As an AB age group 2, I and just about everyone I know is a massive anomaly for starters. I even made this badge to celebrate this! 😉 Feel free, readers, to ‘take one’ 😉 if it applies to you too!
I am also critical of the I’m alright Jack connotations that come over on this. That the older and richer you are, the more likely you are to vote Conservative. So let’s bring education levels into this, from YouGov, done just before the election:
Would it be perverse to suggest that certain political parties might have a vested interest in keeping certain sections of the population away from education then? 😱
Of course this is all very tongue in cheek, yet indicative of the issues we face today as an electorate. The divide has not been larger in my lifetime and we should be progressing, not regressing. Some polarisation is inevitable before equity can happen though, sadly.
And talking of polls, we see today (27/06/17) that, according to the Independent
The survey by accountancy giant Deloitte shows that 36 per cent of non-British workers currently in the country say they are thinking about leaving by 2022, with 26 per cent planning to move even sooner, by 2020.
This figure represents 1.2 million jobs out of 3.4 million migrant workers in Britain, underscoring the severe jobs crisis facing the country as it begins the process of extracting itself from the European Union.
Deloitte surveyed 2,242 EU and non-EU workers, half living in the UK and half living outside.
Can we blame them for wanting to leave? Not in the least, especially after the five year limbo the Conservatives want to put them in, as discussed above. The MSM are already calling it a ‘Brexodus’. And while the sample, as is often the case, is small, it is something that needs to be countered at the ‘highest’ level. Cuts to essential services have left wage depressions and huge holes in our skills base that it could take years to fill.
*********In other news*********
- It seems Davey is not going for the Lib Dem leadership, as suggested last week, so Cable is likely to ‘win’ it unopposed.
- The Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley, former Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, Jo Swinson, SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, and the Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader, Liz Saville Roberts are all pushing for there to be a vote on extending the voting franchise to 16 and 17 year olds.
- Looks like the EU ‘negotiations’ are still going ‘well’ 🙄 and Hammond makes a joke in German at Boris’ expense– they were very much on the opposite side of the fences on B*exit: Hammond for Remain and Boris for Leave.
- Fallon (Conservative Defence Minister) went full potato v 3.0 today when he stated that the UK is committed to backing future military action in Syria in retaliation for any use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad (when there seems little indication he plans to do any such thing, and the ‘US intelligence’ on this has not been shared with the UK), thus further crawling up Trump’s back passage; and said he’d ‘set the armed forces’ on cyber hackers.
“Clearly has to be a point at which they cross a certain threshold, endangering the state itself, the daily existence of its people and that is why we have pressed for NATO to be clear that a cyber-attack can be just as threatening as any other kind of physical attack when you are getting into the territory of Article V.”
This is article V or 5. In brief:
- Collective defence means that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies.
- The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
- NATO invoked Article 5 for the first time in its history after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
- NATO has taken collective defence measures on several occasions, for instance in response to the situation in Syria and in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
- NATO has standing forces on active duty that contribute to the Alliance’s collective defence efforts on a permanent basis.
The rest of his statement was a little better, but how on earth does that work? What has Article V got to do with cyber hacking? It’s not a village [in somewhere the UK wants to bomb- and that currently looks like Syria], is it? Did he even cite the correct NATO Article? A bit of an escalation to his own words earlier where he called the attempt to hack Government computers as ‘blamed “sloppy” password protection by MPs and their staff’ isn’t it? And this is the man ‘in charge’ of ‘our’ defences. 🙄To me this just looks like a US (Saudi backed) push to bring war to Iran and Syria as part of an anti-Russian foreign policy move. Trump is not clever enough to have done this himself. And this would not be the first time ‘we’ have blundered into US foreign policy ambitions in the Middle East.
- The Queen’s Speech debates and votes are happening (28th and 29th June as has been said) and the first moves have been made. The Conservatives have been whipped to vote against Labour‘s alternative Speech but it is not clear how many will obey.
- There is increasing worry that human rights are being binned in the name of ‘countering terrorism’. Diane Abbott brought this up in Parliament today but was fobbed off, and it’s not only in the UK that such worries are surfacing. And today (28/06/17) Corbyn forced a vote in the House of Commons
to give Anti-Terror Police, Fire Fighters and others a pay rise as that is the only ethical way to provide effective services all across the emergency services, not just on terrorism issues. We could hope that it passes, and that the NHS front line staff will be next to receive just dues, but we know the likely outcome. And it appears that vote was blocked according to Hansard’s records thus far today- it was ‘under review’ for three hours, then quashed as a Conservative measure so the forced vote went ahead. And here it is: Ayes: 309 | Noes: 323.
So the pay freeze remains and the cuts will continue. For more on who voted for and against, check this out: Division199. Or the Hansard update.Not a single Conservative or DUP MP present voted for fair wages for the emergency services. There were four Labour and two Conservative abstentions (the tellers don’t count in the vote) and/or pairings.
And it looks like another election is on the cards. the Conservatives are hiring, and they don’t do this unless an election is looming
What a depressing but predictable way to end this week’s blog. I can’t see next week’s being any better for the 99% either. For week 4 of the post election rolling blogs, please go here.