A Brexiteer’s Godsend

All those pesky EU laws you can’t name

This is Jim Grace. Well actually it’s his Twitter account, @Mac_Puck and if you’re a Brexiteer his stuff will be right up your street. A proper Godsend.

Have a look at this ‘mega thread’ and you’ll be able to name those laws that we pesky Remoaners (now rejoiners) keep asking you about. The link is in the description but here are a few highlights…

Jim found that we objected to (and were outvoted on) only 72 pieces of EU legislation out of around 35,000 laws passed.

You can follow the ‘Mega thread’ link below to see what those laws were about but here are those highlights.

We voted against consumer protection and food safety… 17 times!

We voted against laws to combat cybercrime

We voted against laws ensuring workers’ rights and protection in the workplace

We voted against Laws opposing tax avoidance, including stopping people like Farage and Rees-Mogg using tax-Havens (to name but 2)

We even voted against legislation to maintain fish stocks and so protect our fishing industry – and we all know how well we’ve done handling that on our own, don’t we?

Fortunately for you, Jim Grace has linked to every piece of legislation so you can look up all those details you don’t usually have available for the next time you’re asked about it – unless, of course, having followed the links you’d prefer to keep your head buried firmly in the sand and pretend you still can’t think of any.

Then there are the European judgements against us. Jim found 72 of those for things like failing to prevent cybercrime, failure to protect womens’ rights in the workplace and elsewhere and failing to protect us from pollution.

But don’t take my word for it – follow the link below and see the details for yourself.

It’s no wonder that so many people who voted Brexit now openly regret it or just keep their mouths shut as the reality hits, is it?

UNESCO international Day of solidarity with the Palestinian people

UNESCO, the ‘United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation’ has observed November 29th as the International day of solidarity with the Palestinian people since 1978. There’s a good reason for that. This is the date when, in 1947 the partition plan (Resolution 181) was passed. The plan was to partition Palestine and in so doing create both a Jewish and a Palestinian state.

By 1979 it had become clear that Palestinian people have not been able to secure basic rights as a nation state ever since. Ongoing occupation and annexing of land by Israeli settlers has robbed many Palestinians of their homes and forced them to flee to makeshift and yet cruelly permanent camps.

Some remain there for decades. Some have lived their entire lives in the camps, robbed off their land by Israeli ‘settlers’, beaten and abused by the Israeli occupation forces and treated as though human rights just didn’t apply.

So today, on UNESCO’S International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People I, like many others will be watching to see what our British politicians have to say to mark the occasion.
Both our main political parties claim to oppose oppression and the mistreatment of entire populations. How will they acknowledge this day of solidarity in the face of what has been described an ongoing land grab of monumental proportions in direct contravention of resolution 181? The land claimed by Israeli settlers, often with the aid of Israeli military forces goes far beyond the borders drawn up in the original partition. You can download the original document here.

Will our illustrious leaders comment upon the absolute disregard for the rights of those denied both sovereignty and statehood?

And if they, our elected representatives on the world stage do not, I think we must all ask ourselves one very important question…

Why not?

Lincoln YMCA: A validating environment

This weekend I went to Lincoln, a city I first visited during my homeless days back in the 1980s. It gave me a chance to meet some old friends and make a video combining my two main passions… Left wing politics and social/mental health care. What’s not to like?

Email to my MP about SAGE’s scientific integrity

Dear Mark Jenkinson MP,

I have a couple of questions. They relate to the current debate about the membership of SAGE. The government’s position appears to be unclear but do you personally believe that science should inform politics or that politics should inform science?

Bear in mind that previous attempts by politicians to influence science have resulted in dangerous psuedoscience like eugenics (AKA Social Darwinism) which completely bastardised a scientific theory for nefarious, discriminatory ends against poor people, the sick and disabled and non-Europeans.

What’s your personal view, Mark?

Should politics inform science or should science inform politics?

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Sorensen

Workington resident

Email to Jenky with date stamp

The great PPE swindle

Last Friday Matt Hancock, Secretary of state for health and all round bad egg stooped about as low as he could. He actually tried to blame hard-pressed clinicians on the front line in the fight against coronavirus for over-using the PPE that his own department had spectacularly failed to plan for or provide.

Like all tory politicians, Hancock wilfully left the NHS under-resourced and now attempts to cover his guilt by throwing the blame on to his victims. Shame on you Hancock! Shame on you.

So I decided to make a short, 3 minute video, highlighting just some of the statements made by Hancock and his cabinet cronies in the face of questions asked by more sensible heads. Enjoy!

A little history: Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus crucifiedThe Nazarene (0-33) seems to have been an extreme lefty by today’s measures. He preached against greed (many of his followers conveniently ignore that bit) and recommended compassion instead. He even got a bit ‘fighty’ with the capitalist pigs in the Temple grounds.

Like other socialists, he was especially unhappy with the usurers (like modern day bankers) whom he described as ‘thieves’. These were the money changers, the guys who took normal money in exchange for unsullied ‘Temple coin’ that could be used to purchase sacrificial lambs at Passover. The money-changers charged exorbitant rates – a bit like Wonga (which is linked to the Tory party, by the way) and so profited from the obligatory observance of the faithful. Jesus seems to have had a point there.

Jesus apparently hated inequality. He was the guy who said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He lived among the poor, helped the sick and the disabled and eschewed the tables of the wealthy whose oppressive ways simply maintained the suffering of their fellows.

Like many others before and since from Confucius, the Buddha and Lao Tzu to a host of Gurus and philosophers he recommended living by the Golden rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That’s why he fed those who were hungry and advocated help for the sick and those without shelter, the direct opposite of this present government’s actions. The tories have spent the last 10 years increasing homelessness, forcing people to use foodbanks to survive and denying sick and disabled people the resources they need. They’re even starving the NHS of funding in preparation for selling it off to private enterprise as a way of increasing personal profit through the suffering of others.

It’s amazing how many Tories profess to be Christians and yet ignore almost everything their Messiah said.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once remarked…

“I am confused as to which Bible people are reading when they suggest that religion and politics don’t mix!”

To those non-religious Tories and others and others who either support oppressive Tory ideology or stand idly by and look the other way, the good Archbishop had this to say…

“When the Elephant stands on the mouse’s tail, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality”

Wot… Still no Russian report?

On December 23rd I posted a little article pointing out that we still hadn’t seen the promised report on Russian interference in British politics and Conservative party funding. There have been some very serious allegations made, not least about the tory party’s electoral strategy and elements of political espionage and misinformation. So you’d imagine that Boris would be keen to publish the report as he promised.

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One commenter on the blog pointed out that Boris couldn’t now publish until after January when a new defence committee would be formed. OK then, thought I – we’ll see it by February.

Well… it’s over a week now since the end of January and still no sign of the document that presumably would clear the conservative party of any wrongdoing. A fact which makes me wonder… what has Boris got to hide?

Tory MPs caught telling the truth

stokehospfe-581175Yes, I know – trawling through Hansard can be a pain. So much of a pain that few people ever bother but I promise you, it’s well worth it if you want to know what’s actually going on. It’s one thing to see how an MP votes but if you want to actually catch them in their hypocrisy then Hansard is the place to go.

On Thursday January 16th, the House of Commons debated a motion tabled by Shadow secretary of state of health, Jon Ashworth. It was a proposed amendment to the new Health and Social care legislation proposed in the Queen’s Speech. The amendment would acknowledge that nothing less than a cumulative 4% increase in NHS funding would suffice to repair the damage caused by long-term Tory underfunding since 2010. Mr. Ashworth began…

“I beg to move an amendment, at the end of the Question to add:

‘but respectfully regrets that the Gracious Speech fails to ensure that the National Health Service and social care will be properly funded;
and calls for the Government to bring forward a plan and additional funding to end the crisis in social care and provide for at least a 4 per cent per year real terms increase in health spending.’. “

Yasmin Qureshi Shadow Minister for Justice reported that…

“When Labour came to power in 1997, there were 1.3 million people on a waiting list—the highest number since the NHS was created in 1948. The Labour Government used targeted and sufficient funding to bring all those figures down, to the point where A&E waiting times were down to four hours and waiting lists were down to 18 weeks. It is regrettable that the Government now want to abolish the A&E waiting time target. Is that simply to spare Ministers’ blushes? Since last October, 320,034 people waited more than four hours at A&E, whereas in 2010 the figure was just 41,231.”

This is, of course a damning indictment of not only the conservative mishandling of the NHS since 2010 but also of the previous tory government that ran it down in much the same manner prior to 1997.

This is why a minimum, consistent 4% increase is so vital. But it’s not only the opposition that are highlighting such damning figures. The tories themselves are unhappy at the state of the NHS too. That’s why Conservative MP. Desmond Swayne’s words near the beginning of the proceedings were so important…

“This motion is about giving the NHS the funding it needs. It is a motion that will test every newly elected Conservative Member of Parliament on their commitment to the NHS.”

And test them it will!

JenkyEvery single Conservative MP claimed to support the NHS. My own MP, Mark Jenkinson was extremely clear about his intention to support extra funding for health and social care services of a kind that would make a genuine difference to the level of service available to his working class constituents.

Swayne continued…

“The hon. Gentleman will recall that the Government accepted the Dilnot proposals and even put in place certain legislative provisions for them to be implemented in the next financial year.”

The Dilnot proposal recommended placing a maximum cap on the amount that individuals could be asked to contribute to their care in any circumstance, including issues related to old age or chronic illness. The conservative government scrapped their commitment to it in 2017 leading to the famous ‘Dementia tax’ proposal that lost Theresa May so much ground in the election of that year.

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“…I never understood why, during the 2017 election campaign, they departed from that position—but what is the Opposition’s position on Dilnot?”

The commitment to Dilnot has still not been reinstated by the Conservative government despite its popularity within the country at large. Speaking for the labour party Jon Ashworth, Secretary of State for Health responded…

“We have long argued for a cap on care costs, but of course the Government, as the right hon. Gentleman says, dropped their support for this policy.”

He went on to remark that…

“This is a motion about the 4.5 million people on waiting lists… This is a motion about the 34,000 people who wait more than two months for cancer treatment. This is a motion about those constituents, such as mine in Leicester, who had their bladder cancer operations cancelled twice. This is a motion about the 79,000 cancelled operations last year, and the 18,000 children’s cancelled operations. This is a motion about the 110,000 children denied mental health care, even though they are in the most desperate of circumstances. This is a motion about the 98,000 patients who waited on trolleys last month—a 65% increase on the previous year—many of them elderly, many of them in their 80s and 90s, languishing for hours and hours on trolleys in hospital corridors… This is a motion about the 1.5 million people, many of them with dementia, denied the social care support they need after years and years of swingeing cuts.”

Mr. Ashworth later remarked…

“The Secretary of State is proposing a Bill that fails to reverse the £850 million of cuts to public health prevention services… He is asking us to approve a Bill that does not reverse the raids on capital budgets or deal with the £6.5 billion backlog of repairs facing our hospitals… He is proposing a Bill that does not give the NHS the 4% uplift annually that many experts say it needs. That is why Labour has tabled an amendment today to give the NHS a 4% uplift, and every Tory MP who believes in the NHS should support it.”

Every Tory MP who believes in the NHS should support it.

But that’s all very well. The opposition is supposed to call out the government on its plans and claims. What did the Conservative MPs have to say about the NHS after 10 years of their own party’s policies? For example, Caroline Johnson, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham pointed again to the ‘creative accounting’ of the Prime Minister’s claims about new nursing staff…

“I want to ask him about the 44,000 vacancies that he talked about. Is it not right that when the Health Committee looked at that, it found that 38,000 of those places were actually occupied by nurses who work on the bank?”

Daniel Poulter MP is a Conservative with grave concerns about the impact of market forces on the NHS…

“There is a particular concern among patients and people who work in the NHS about the fragmentation of services, which has been the result of the sometimes market-driven approach to the delivery of healthcare and the encroachment of the private sector on the delivery of traditional NHS services.

“As a clinician, what matters most to me is that we deliver the right services for patients. We need to recognise that the involvement of private sector provision has sometimes led to greater fragmentation and a lack of joined-up care for patients.”

The damage caused by this fragmentation is plain to see thanks to the targets and metrics set up by the last Labour government. And they make very telling reading.
What is the Tories’ answer to the worst A&E performance figures on record? It is to scrap the four-hour A&E target. Abolishing the target will not magic away the problems in A&E. It will not suddenly fix a system that saw 100,000 people waiting on trolleys last December.

Perhaps most bizarrely, Mike Penning is the tory MP from Hemel Hempstead. Despite knowing full well the problems resulting from the last 10 years of tory governance he still intends to vote against the amendment…

“We have got into a situation where the only way we can fight this, believe it or not, is to take the trust to court. There is a lack of accountability—I have called for debates in this House on that for years now. The only way we can fight the fact that the trust has only put in a bid for refurbishment of the Watford site is to take it to court and challenge it under judicial review. I have a fantastic community. We have raised the money. We will go to court. But is it not crazy that here I am praising, and I will be voting for, the Queen’s Speech and against Labour’s amendment, when I am saying that the £400 million being offered by the Government is going to the wrong place?”

Those voters local to me might be interested to know that despite assurances to support our health and care services, Mark Jenkinson MP also voted not to increase funding for the NHS and Social care last week.

James Davies MP is a Conservative. He’s also a doctor. He seems less than confident that the concerns of his profession will be met sympathetically by the Secretary of State for Health.…

“I have outlined not only interesting statistics, but sadly an indication of unnecessary loss of life and of harm to real patients. At the very least, there is a need for UK-wide patient safety mechanisms and rigorous inspection regimes, underpinned by comparable statistical data on performance and outcomes. I urge the Secretary of State seriously to consider that when progressing the initiatives outlined in the Queen’s Speech.”

Barbara Keeley, Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care may have made the most direct appeal, whilst calling out Boris on his lies about a ‘clear plan’ before the General election…

“Proposing a solution to the crisis in care should be the Government’s top priority, as we have heard in many of the speeches this afternoon. However, despite the Prime Minister’s earlier pledge to fix the crisis in social care once and for all, and with a clear plan we have prepared, he now says only that he will do something ‘in this Parliament’. After 10 years of inaction, is that the best the Prime Minister can say, alongside a vague offer of cross-party talks?”

But for me it was the many Conservative voices highlighting the inadequacy of their own government’s funding strategy that resonated the most. If only these people would vote with their consciences. But hey ho – they are Tories, after all!

The bastards still voted not to increase it though!

Government refuses to honour pledge to European citizens.

7/1/2020: Despite reassurances that European citizens living in the UK will be treated fairly the conservative government used its majority to refuse to honour that guarantee. They also ensured that any such citizens will be denied the right of appeal. This from the BBC website

Tories pledge to increase wages… or not

Minimum vs living wage pledge.pngThis is a screenshot of the tory manifesto. It’s an unusual combination of part fact and part fiction intended to make working class voters think that leopards really could change their spots. Here the conservatives promise to raise the minimum wage to £10.50 an hour by 2024. That was nothing compared to the fully costed Labour plan to increase it to a tenner immediately but hey ho – you pays your money and you takes your choice. And pay we will – through the nose.

Now, despite claiming that their manifesto was fully accounted for (it seems that it wasn’t), the tories have rolled back their commitment to our lowest paid workers. Now it’s more an aspiration “if economic circumstances allow”.

Well what did you expect? They are tories, after all. They don’t give a stuff about the working class.

Gutted!

Gutted

Last night at 10pm the exit polls announced their results. Right from the word go, even as the count was only just getting started TV pundits were predicting a landslide majority for the conservative party. And they were right.

The tory party now has a massive overall majority in the British parliament and there’s nothing to stop them doing exactly as they please. And there’s the rub.

No excuses

There are no longer any excuses for Boris and his disreputable gang of bully boys. There’s nobody to blame for their failures or for their cruelties. Whatever they do in the next five years, longer if they implement their ‘enabling act’ (see p.48 of the Tory manifesto) will be entirely down to them.

Well, they made a lot of promises, as tories always do. Election time is the only time when the conservative party starts talking like socialists. As if by magic they suddenly begin en masse to care about the NHS waiting lists they created. They start to worry about people struggling in poverty due to Tory party policies and they claim to want more educational opportunities for our young people who’ve had their prospects decimated by 9 years of Tory rule.

We’ll be watching

So let’s make sure they do what they set out to do. Let’s make sure they keep those promises too. After all, we know they’ll keep the right wing pledges they made to take even more from ordinary people and give it to the super rich. We know they’ll be falling over each other to flog our NHS to the Americans and there’s absolutely no doubt that they’ll further decrease our access to legal redress when our rights are trampled. That’s the trajectory they’ve been on for years.

Let’s hold them to their words about the good stuff too.

Left eye view

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Left eye view will keep watching this government and compare its actions to its manifesto and election promises. New laws, changes to taxation and reductions in funding for necessary services will be compared against Boris’ promises to us, the people. Let’s see how sincere this government really is.