Posts Tagged ‘Coronavirus’

Wednesday’s Online Meeting about Statutory Sick Pay

September 23, 2022

Wednesday evening, I went to a Zoom meeting organised by the Centre for Progressive Change about campaigning for much needed reforms to Statutory Sick Pay. The Centre for Progressive Change is a new organisation, and this is their first campaign, so they want to make a mark. As far as I could make out, the campaign is being led by the cleaners and their union, although other unions are also involved. At the moment there are a large number of workers, who aren’t getting statutory sick pay. I’ve forgotten the precise figures, but it’s something like a third or above. If they do qualify for it, they have to wait three days to receive it from the day they sign off sick, and the amount paid, £99 a week, isn’t sufficient to cover people’s needs. They are therefore campaigning for the amount to be raised, and for it to be paid from the first day of ill health.

They also mentioned cases where workers were denied time off work and SSP by their employers, even though they were perfectly entitled to it. This included one young man who came down with cancer a year or so ago. An operation was scheduled, but he was told he would have to isolate for a week or so before the operation to make sure he didn’t catch Covid and would need two weeks off work to recover. When he told this to his HR manager, who had previously been kind and supportive, he was told that the manager couldn’t run a place like this and so couldn’t take the time off work for isolation. Nor was he going to receive sick pay when he took time off work to recuperate. The boss told him instead that he’d have to take unpaid holiday.

This clearly isn’t acceptable.

The meeting itself was bilingual in English and Spanish. There was a button for simultaneous translation, so if you didn’t speak whatever language was being spoken at that moment, you could press a button and get the translation. It felt rather like being at the UN when the various ambassadors and officials there get the translations of speeches through their headphones. I was puzzled why it was in English and Spanish when we’re no longer in the EU, but it may just be that so many of the cleaning staff and other low wage workers involved in this campaign are Spanish.

They’ve got a petition to persuade the government to pay increased SSP and are also trying to get people to organise to see their local MPs about it. I’ve signed it because of the cost of living crisis and Truss’ renewed assault on working class wellbeing.

For more information, go to their website athttps://www.centreforprogressivechange.org/

Labour Left Proposed Motions for the Labour Party Conference

September 4, 2022

The Labour party conference is looming and Arise, the Labour festival of left-wing ideas, has sent these suggested motions out to their supporters so they can propose them to their local constituency parties, in the hope that they’ll accept them and propose them at conference. The email I had and the proposed motions run:

Model Motions Recommended for Labour Party Conference 2022

Hello David

Please find below and online here suggested model motions for Labour Party Conference. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 September 2022 at 5pm and the word limit is 250 words. They are on supporting public ownership, defending asylum seekers, supporting a pay rise for workers plus those unions taking industrial action to this end. and speaking up for Palestine.

Best wishes,
The Arise – a Festival of Left Ideas Volunteer Team.

1) Public ownership Motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Public Ownership is Necessary and Popular
 
Conference notes:
That public ownership is popular with voters, with polling indicating these levels of support:

  • Energy – 66% (Survation, 2022)
  • Water – 69% (Survation, 2022)
  • Royal Mail – 68% (Survation, 2022)
  • Railways – 67% (Survation, 2022)
  • Buses – 65% (Survation, 2022)
  • Social Care – 64% (Survation, 2020)
  • NHS – 84% (YouGov, 2017)

Additionally, 61% of the public think local and central government should try to run services in-house first, before outsourcing (Survation, 2015,) 82% want schools to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020;) and 63% want utilities to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020.)

Conference believes:

  • The crisis caused by soaring energy bills and the scandal of raw sewage being dumped into rivers this Summer have highlighted the failures of privatisation in Britain.
  • Private companies are making mega-profits from public services – these vast sums should instead be invested to improve services, to give their workers a pay increase and to lower costs for consumers.
  • That the Tory corruption and outsourcing crises during the pandemic have further illustrated the need for public ownership and democratic control.
  • A clear commitment to extending public ownership of key utilities and public services can be a big vote winner for Labour.

Conference resolves:

  • To oppose further Tory privatisation and outsourcing, including of the NHS, education and council services.
  • To support public ownership of key services and utilities including energy, water, railways, buses, social care, the royal mail and the NHS.

2) Motion on asylum seekers & Rwanda from the Arise Volunteer Team:

Labour should oppose the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

Conference notes:

  • the commitment of both candidates in the recent Tory leadership to the unethical, inhumane and racist Tory policy of forcibly sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, and the widely-condemned Nationality and Borders Act (NABA,) with its two tier system of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ refugees that would prevent some 99 percent of refugees from seeking asylum and its threat to the citizenship of 6 million people in Britain. UNHCR said the Nationality and Borders Bill would “penalise most refugees seeking asylum”.
  • the scale of opposition to the Government’s inhumane treatment of refugees who just want to rebuild their lives here in safety.
  • the decision of the European Court of Human Rights which forced the cancellation of the first scheduled flight on 14 June 2022.
  • Public polling shows increasing support for asylum seekers’ rights, including their right to work.
  • Other disastrous aspects of the ‘hostile environment’ policy over recent years including the Windrush Scandal and the notorious ‘Go Home’ vans.

Conference resolves:

  • For the Labour party to clearly oppose this obscene Tory policy in its entirety as part of campaigning for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ and against racist anti-immigrant narratives, including through a commitment that the next Labour Government will immediately cancel the Rwanda Asylum Scheme.
  • To oppose “no recourse to public funds”, NHS access restrictions and other ‘Hostile Environment’ policies.

3) Pay and backing trade union action motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity:

Britain Needs A Pay rise

Conference notes:

Twelve years of the Conservative Government’s low-pay agenda has significantly diminished the real value of people’s incomes with average real wages still below 2008 levels;

The situation is getting worse. Real pay dropped by 4.1% in June compared to the same period last year, with record falls of 3.4% in the private sector and 6.7% in the public sector;

The imposition of significantly below-inflation pay awards which amount to real terms pay cuts;

An increase in trade union campaigning for improved pay awards, from protests to strike ballots and industrial action;

That 76% of people support the view that pay should rise in line with the cost of living (Survation August 2022)

Conference believes:

Below-inflation pay offers will increase poverty and hardship;

That the Government should not impose real terms pay cuts on public sector workers;

It is wrong that many private firms are imposing real terms pay cuts while making big profits, awarding bonuses and large dividend payments;

Recent trade union campaigns, including strike action, have led to numerous enhanced pay awards.

Conference resolves:

To oppose the Conservative Government’s imposition of real terms pay cuts;

To support inflation-proofed increases in pay in both public and private sectors and urgent measures to restore the real value of pay lost under successive Conservative Governments since 2010;

To support a National Minimum Wage of at least £15 an hour.

To support trade union campaigning, including through backing workers taking industrial action, to achieve these aims.

4) Palestine motion from Labour & Palestine / Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Justice for Palestine

Conference strongly condemns:

  • Israel’s renewed bombing of Gaza in August 2022 killing 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and notes the UN Special rapporteur description of it as an  act contrary to International law. 
  • the Israeli army’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and beating of her coffin bearers by Israeli police.
  • the outlawing of 7 NGOs including Addameer; the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and Defence for Children International – Palestine.

Conference recognises that these events are illustrative of the conclusions of leading human rights organisations including B’tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, and further erode any possibility of a just solution.

Conference notes policy passed at Labour Party Annual Conferences 2018 ,2019 and 2021 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel’s ongoing violations of their rights and of international law.

Conference Resolves:

  • To support the application made in April to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for an investigation into the Israeli government’s systematic targeting of journalists.
  • To stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders and fully oppose the Israeli government’s attempts to silence them
  • To adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel in line with policy passed at previous Conferences, including banning trade with illegal settlements and ending the ongoing arms trade.
  • To oppose fully any UK legislation aimed at preventing legitimate and democratic solidarity actions in support of the Palestinian people.’

These policies are popular and necessary. Among the polls showing public support for renationalising the utilities, I’m massively impressed that 82 per cent want schools to be in public hands. As for the motion on Palestine, it really amazes me how anyone in a genuinely left-wing party could support the closure of quangos devoted to protecting women and children. If ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer supports this, then he’s a depraved monster, utterly unfit to govern any country devoted to humanity and the rule of law. This shows that hardly anybody wants academies or a return to grammar schools, despite the Tories constantly pushing them. I’m going to check with my local constituency party to see if these or similar are among the motions they are going to discuss this Thursday prior to conference. If they aren’t, I will propose them.

This will undoubtedly annoy the Blairites, especially the motion on Palestine. I’ll let you know if they start throwing around any fake accusations of anti-Semitism again.

‘Correct, Not Political’ Claim Teachers Now Asked to Collect Information on Pupils’ Beliefs in Conspiracy Theories

August 29, 2022

Correct, Not Political are a right-wing group who organise counter-protests and put up videos on YouTube giving their own coverage of Pride marches, Drag Queen Story Hour, anti-racist and pro-immigrant demonstrations, Extinction Rebellion and so on. Just how right-wing they are is shown by a section on their YouTube homepage devoted to ‘socialists and commies’. Having said that, watching some of their videos they do seem to be polite. Many of their videos about Pride and Drag Queen Story hour simply consist of them talking to the demonstrators, asking why they believe as they do and simply putting their own arguments. Quite often this is done simply and conversationally. I realise that with any broadcast material, including stuff from the official news organisations, you have to be careful of selective editing but they do come across much better than some of the left-wing demonstrators. Some of them come across as very aggressive, simply screaming ‘Trans Rights Are Human Rights’ and ‘Off Our Streets, Fascist Scum’, as if those are adequate replies or rebuttals. Other left-wing protests they interview are polite and personally reasonable.

They posted this piece up on their channel the other day, claiming that teachers have now entered into a contract with the government to report on whether their pupils hold one or more from a list of conspiracy theories. They are also asked how they are tackling these beliefs. This also includes whether they have been referred as radicalised.

This is the list.

They comment: Parents beware, the state have incentivised teachers to enter a contract in which they get subsidies on teaching materials in order for them to take part in surveys to collect data on your children, this is getting very scary.

See: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoFAZOEAhkrQVYVGuDeKIMA/community?lb=Ugkxg_YC8Wd9dAZJwdY7NODD525BjsJUW6Xr

I don’t know what’s going on here, as they have not said how they acquired this information, whether it was from a teacher or some other school or educational employee or official, nor how reliable this is. It could all have been cooked up as a form of disinformation designed to spread even more paranoia by someone. It’s possible that the list is correct, as the government is keen to prevent the radicalisation of young people through the Prevent programme, but it’s dubious whether this is part of it without further information.

They’re also wrong about one of the conspiracies. The Great Replacement, from what I understand, is the notion that the Jews are encouraging Black and Asian immigration to Europe to replace the White population. The idea that Muslims are going to replace us through immigration and outbreeding us is ‘Eurabia’.

I also wonder how many schoolchildren are actually interested in any of these stupid theories or have come across them on the web. It seems to me that a far greater problem is children seeing pornography or other age-inappropriate material, as well as the dangers of sexting and girls having the nude pics they sent to a boyfriend passed and put up for all to see.

Their commenters are naturally afraid of the state taking an interest and trying to control what pupils believe. I’ve got absolutely no problem with any teacher refuting any of these during lessons if they come up. But what is worrying is that some of their commenters seem to think some of them might be true. My guess, from some of the group’s content, this would be the theories about climate change and the ‘scamdemic’, in which the Covid crisis has been manufactured to take away our freedom.

Open Britain on the Heartbreaking Messages and Satirical Artwork for their Leaving Card to Bozo

August 20, 2022

I also got this email from the pro-democracy organisation Open Britain about the leaving card they’ve been organising for Boris Johnson. They’ve asked people to sign it and send a special message to the inane clown Prime Minister why they definitely are not sorry he’s departing. One of the examples they gave is from someone, who was bitterly hurt by the Covid restrictions that meant they could not socialise with the other mourners at a family funeral for a cousin, who died during the lockdown. And thus Johnson’s repeated parties – a total of 19 in all – are to people like this person and others like them a particularly bitter insult. Open Britain also reports that they’re getting a satirical artist to do the card’s cover. This all looks very fun indeed, and a good slap in the face to Johnson!

‘Dear David, 

We are delighted to announce that legendary satirical artist Cold War Steve has agreed to create an original artwork for the giant leaving card that we will be presenting to Boris Johnson ahead of his departure from Number 10.

Cold War Steve’s iconic art has been a constant feature of our lives since the EU Referendum, reflecting the absurdity and squalor of the Brexit project and the chaos and corruption of Johnson’s subsequent premiership. His work has opened the eyes of millions to the deficiencies in Johnson’s character and the dysfunction of his administration. In his own way, Cold War Steve has forced a kind of artistic accountability on a government famously shy of being held to account. We can think of no-one better to provide the image for our card and are over the moon that he has agreed to do so.

Over 12,000 of you have now submitted farewell messages to go inside the card…and they are still coming in. We’ve been blown away by the response…thank you!

While some of those messages are short and to the point (and…err…shall we say ‘colourful’), many are sobering and heart wrenching.

Here are just a few examples to illustrate that point:

“I am 83 years old and an old soldier. You are the first PM to make me feel ashamed of my government and my country.”

“My lovely cousin died during lockdown. I travelled to Holmes Chapel from Surrey and had to sit 3 metres away from people I love at the funeral. We couldn’t even hug or have a cup of tea together. We all left feeling very sad. You asked us to do that but didn’t seem to think you had to do something similar. It hurts still.”

“Thank you for making your millionaire friends so much richer and the rest of us so much poorer.”

“Jesus, Mary and the little wee donkey, will you not just f*** off into obscurity.”

ADD YOUR FAREWELL MESSAGE HERE

We launched this initiative to counter the outrageous narrative being put forward by Johnson’s political allies and his cronies in the media that he has been a great Prime Minister, who got all the big calls right, and who didn’t deserve to be kicked out of office. We wanted to give Open Britain supporters and the wider public a chance to express their thoughts and feelings on the matter.  Take a moment to read through some of those comments here and you will see that, for all the specious plaudits from his high-end friends, ordinary people have a very different view of him. We are glad those views have been recorded and that they will now form part of his legacy.

If you haven’t submitted your farewell message yet, make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to do so. We have only a few days left before we have to finalise the contents of the card and submit it to the manufacturers so we can get it to Downing Street before Johnson disappears. And, when you have submitted your message, make sure you click on the social media buttons to tell all your friends so that they too can have their say.

Thank you and all the best,

The Open Britain Team

SUPPORT THE MOVEMENT

Your generous support makes this movement possible. Thank you.

Brexiteer Michael Heaver Reveals Reclaim Party’s Exciting Warmed-Up Tory Leftovers Policies

July 26, 2022

Michael Heaver’s another right-wing, Brexiteer YouTuber. Most of his content seems to be about how wonderful Brexit it, or would be, if it wasn’t for those evil whining remoaners and the European Union trying to sabotage it all the time. He seems to have gone from the Tories to backing the Reclaim party, as well as wanting the return of Johnson. Today he put up a piece revealing Reclaim’s new, (ahem, cough, cough) policies. Laurence Fox’s party will be fielding 600 candidates, which, if true, is definitely a challenge to the Tories and the other established parties. Their policies are:

Do Brexit properly.

Net Zero immigration.

Cut taxes.

I think there’s also something about getting rid of the Green agenda. And I also think they want to support Johnson’s return to power, because the other Tory leadership candidates are so terrible and will hand the government over to Starmer. Or such is the fear amongst some Tories.

This is hogwash. Let’s go through them.

Do Brexit properly: Can’t be done. Uh-huh, no way. It’s simply impossible, like squaring the circle or redefining PI as equalling four, which is what the Nebraska legislature did way back in the 19th century. If this had gone ahead, it would have meant that clocks would have gained fifteen minutes everyone hour. But like ‘Get Brexit done’ it makes a good slogan. You can’t enact Brexit without reneging on one of the key policies of the Good Friday Agreement, which was an open border with the Republic. It’s either that, or the Irish backstop in the middle of the sea, thus alienating the Loyalists. Johnson got into power claiming that he’d ‘get Brexit done’. Well, he did, and it’s been chaos. Britain’s trade with the EU has taken a massive hit, there are real threats to British industry and agriculture, the financial sector the Tories and Blairites have been so keen to protect and establish London as a international hub has also been threatened. By Brexiteer Tories, like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who moved his investment business across the briny to Dublin. All while he was telling the rest of us that Brexit would be A Very Good Thing Indeed. There were delays at Dover months or even years ago because of the additional red tape added to hauliers and other travellers going to the continent now that we were no longer part of the EU. That red tape is also damaging our music industry, as it’s made it extremely difficult for British musicians and performers to travel over there to perform.

We were told that the Tories had an ‘oven ready deal’ with Europe for Brexit.

We were told that the millions saved on our EU contributions would be spent on the NHS.

We were lied to.

And this, as the late, great Max Headroom used to say, is simply ‘more of the same’. Except that he was talking about epic, rocking 80s pop music and videos.

Net zero immigration. More red meat for the Tory faithful, and other sections of the population worried about immigration. Mostly non-White immigration. And there are real moral and practical problems with that. Firstly, there’s the moral question of denying asylum to people, who may very well be in real danger of persecution in their countries of origin. I think many of the prospective migrants properly are coming here for economic reasons. One former channel migrant was interviewed on GB News or Talk TV, and he said that most of the other immigrants he was with were trying to dodge military service in their home countries and hoped to settle so that they could bring their families over. I can’t say I entirely blame them for wanting to do so, especially when these countries are dirt-poor, corrupt dictatorships like Eritrea. But nevertheless, I think there are people trying to get here because they face real threats to their lives for their views or simply because of their ethnicity or religion. Gay people around the world face persecution, particularly in Africa. Go back a few years, and there were the Yezidis, whose women were raped and enslaved for sex by ISIS. Last year there were Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban takeover. And in the past few months Britain and other European nations have taken in refugees from Ukraine, escaping Putin’s genocidal onslaught. I don’t see how you can morally turn at least some of these away.

Then there’s the economic aspect. As Buddyhell over on Guy Debord’s Cat, and just about everyone else on the web has point out, Britain needs immigrant doctors, nurses and other workers for the NHS. Yes, we should be training our own. But we haven’t been doing so ever since one of the Tory ministers – I think it may even have been Enoch Powell – decided in the 1960s to solve the shortage of NHS doctors by encouraging them to come from Pakistan and India. I can’t see the Tories wanting to spend the money to pay for the proper training for doctors and other medical professionals. Not when they seem content to drive them away by not paying them what they deserve and overburdening them with work and paperwork.

People also immigrate to Britain and settle down and raise families as part of their work. I know a number of people, who came to this country to work, and particularly on ground-breaking scientific or engineering projects. This country is short of scientists, engineers and skilled technicians. These are precisely the type of people we should be encouraging to come here, if only so that they can pass these skills on to Brits.

Education is a major part of this. There’s a movement of academics, both teaching staff and students, between countries and across continents. Most university’s, I’d say, have international students, some of whom are going to try to settle down here. Academics also take up posts at universities and colleges right across the world. When I was studying archaeology at Bristol, several of the department staff were foreign. One was Portuguese while another was German, for example. At the same time, archaeological work takes people right across the globe. At the time I was there, there was great excitement about Neolithic discoveries in Ukraine. One of the lecturers had also helped carry out excavations of archaic homo sapiens remains in Romania. Another leading member of the department had also been excavating in Iran. Some of these academics will no doubt wish to settle down and make their home here. Either way, I can see Brexit and a zero-net immigration policy causing real problems with universities obtaining needed foreign academic staff.

And it’s going to be hypocritical. The Tories have, in my recollection, shown themselves perfectly willing to grant British citizenship to anyone rich enough. Just as Rishi Sunak got his green card to work in America by paying a million dollars. I strongly suspect that if Reclaim got in, we’d have more of the same. It would be easy immigration for the global super-rich, and keep out for everyone else.

Cutting taxes: More of the twaddle you’ve been hearing from the Tory leadership candidates. What this means is cutting taxes for the rich while passing the burden on to ordinary people at the bottom. This is supposed to encourage more investment, and hence more jobs. Balderdash. The money saved simply rests in the elite’s bank accounts. Meanwhile, because there’s less money going into the exchequer, the Tories and Reclaim after them will tell us all that cuts need to be made, more pushing of the mythical NHS waste, profligate spending on the welfare state, too many civil servants and so on. The result, more punitive cuts to the NHS, more destruction of the welfare state, more people struggling to survive on food banks, more starvation, malnutrition and grinding poverty.

Attacking the Green Agenda: The scientific consensus supports climate change, and the Green New Deal promises more jobs as well as combating threats to the environment. But the right don’t believe in climate change, and, with money coming in from Big Oil, they really don’t want to end our dependence on fossil fuels any time soon. All last week while the rest of us sweltered they told us that the rising heat was nothing to worry about, was not cause by global warming, and we were all wimps and weaklings for thinking otherwise. I wonder if Reclaim and its bosses also have their places booked for the biodomes the rich will no doubt retreat into as the deserts march on London, Birmingham and anywhere else.

Bring back Johnson: Really? There are people who really won’t be told. There’s a petition up for his return. Just like there are Americans who want the return of Trump. That’s incredible. Aside from the party politics, Trump was a disastrous president. A friend lent me a book on his presidency, and what came across most strongly was how incompetent he was. He quarraled with his leading generals, one of whom actually swore at him while telling him precisely what he was in the White House. He made up policies on the spur of the moment and then changed his mind just as suddenly. Appointments were made with important visitors, but not kept. Or he didn’t tell his staff about them, just forgot them. He deliberately undermined leading White House staff, replacing them and then doing the same to the new replacements, all of whom were determined to undermine their predecessors and competitors. And rather than draining the swamp, Trump was massively corrupt giving government contracts to friends and anybody else, including the Russians, who were prepared to stump up cash. Government monies that were intended to protect workers on bread and butter issues like pensions vanished in various politicos pockets, where they gave it to their favourite businessmen.

Johnson has been similarly incompetent. He was grotesquely tactless and incompetent as foreign secretary. Once he got his behind in No. 10 he showed himself unwilling to knuckle down and do some actual work. It seemed that every few weeks he was heading off to Chequers for a holiday. He caught Covid because he personally broke lockdown rules. And he gave valuable PPE contracts to his friends and other Tory donors. The result was problems with supply. But no worries, eh? His mates were all right. The parties were just a symptom of a man, who doesn’t like to work, loves the power and the popularity that comes with it, at least in his own imagination, and really, really, has zero sympathy with ordinary working people and their problems.

And he’s still clinging on to power, just like Gordon Brown tried to do with a deal with the Lib Dems after he lost the election to Cameron. Ian Hislop got very excited about this on Have I Got News For You, calling him ‘Mr Barnacle’. Well, Johnson is behaving exactly like the marine mollusc, and the same should apply: ‘get ye gone!’ It says something about the effectiveness of establishment propaganda that someone really thinks he’s done such a good job they want to keep him in power.

But back to the Reclaim party, there’s nothing new here. It’s just the same old Brexiteer Tory policies, promoted by a few new faces. And I honestly can’t see many of them getting a seat. Some might, but I foresee a lot of lost deposits, compounded with them splitting the Tory vote in certain quarters so that a Lib Dem or possibly Labour candidate get in.

I have a feeling they’ll go the way of UKIP and the Brexit party as another right-wing group trying to ‘break the mould of British politics’.

Jim Round on New Labour’s Prosecution of the Grooming Gangs, and Mahyar Tousi’s Bias

July 21, 2022

Jim Round, one of the many great commenters on this blog, posted this remark adding more evidence to refute the right’s accusations that Labour was complacent about the Pakistani grooming gangs. The latest person to repeat the allegation is Mahyar Tousi, a right-wing Brexiteer Tory, in a video attacking Jess Philips. She had raised his ire by asking how many of the current Tory leadership candidates were aware of Johnson breaking the lockdown, but said nothing.

Jim writes

‘I was certainly no fan of “New Labour” but I read somewhere that under Labour, convictions of grooming gangs were far higher under them than under The Tories.
Let’s also not forget Johnson’s “staffing” comments and the alleged closeness of Jimmy Savile to Margaret Thatcher.
Also worth remembering that it was a Muslim, Nazir Afzal, who convicted many gang members.
As for Tousi, well, for someone who regularly gets his “news” from the Guido Fawkes blog, he has a cheek to call any other news outlets for bias and fake news.
He is also another one who deletes reasonable comments that disagree with him or correct his “news stories” an example being the young man who allegedly was kicked off his college course, in Burnley I think. There were, of course, two sides to this story and Tousi deleted or ignored comments putting across the other side.
Free speech but only if you agree with me again.’

Cassetteboy’s Satirical Video Lampooning Boris at His Resignation

July 7, 2022

Those fine and inventive pranksters over at Cassetteboy have put together yet another fun video sending up Johnson. They’ve done this with their usual method of editing together extracts from his speeches, and those of Tweezer and Cameron, to make him and them say stupid, ridiculous and in this case, utterly truthful comments.

In the video, Johnson sings about how he was the first Prime Minister to get a fine, and he and his cabinet scoffed cheese and wine while the bodies mounted up. He says there isn’t any truth under Downing Street’s roof, and he’s the worst Prime Minister this century. And here Tweezer and Cameron add that’s after some stiff competition.

Open Britain Petition to Evict Boris Today

July 7, 2022

I’ve just go this email through from the pro-democracy group, Open Britain, introducing their petition to get Boris out of No. 10 today. As Bozo is hanging on like a particularly difficult to shift piece of snot, I’ve had not problem signing it. The email runs:

‘Dear David, 

So, Johnson is gone…but he won’t be forgotten for a very long time.

We won’t forget the lies he told during the Brexit campaign. We won’t forget his incompetent response to the Covid pandemic that led to the deaths of tens of thousands. We won’t forget the corrupt awarding of multi-million-pound PPE contracts to friends and party donors.

And we won’t forget his disgraceful and selfish behaviour in recent days, clinging on to power when it was crystal clear that doing so was damaging our democracy and our national interests.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be working hard to ensure we never have to suffer this mafia style of government again.

But there is a task that is even more urgent!

That task is to have him removed from Number 10 immediately, not allowed to hang around as a caretaker until his successor is chosen. If he is allowed to stay, he could cause carnage both at home and abroad. Our country faces myriad challenges right now…we cannot allow a man who always puts his own interests above those of the country to be anywhere near government as we do that.

The people with the power to influence this – Conservative MPs – are weighing up the pros and cons of this issue right now. Please sign our petition to make it crystal clear to them that he must be evicted today.

And once you have signed, please spread the word on your social media accounts so we have maximum impact. Our video van will be making the point on the streets of Westminster.


EVICT JOHNSON TODAY – SIGN THE PETITION

Many thanks,

Mark Kieran
CEO, Open Britain’

Email from the Labour Party on Pride and their Pro-Gay and Trans Policies

July 3, 2022

This is going to be a controversial post, but I think it’s very important that these issues relating to transgenderism should be discussed, especially as the Labour party wishes to reform the equality act so that it benefits transpeople. It’s an admirable attitude, as no-one should be despised and discriminated against because of their sexuality, sexuality identity or gender presentation. But these proposals have grave negative consequences in that they will potentially make it compulsory to trans children having problems with their gender identity whether it is genuinely appropriate for them or not. And it will greatly harm women’s sex-based rights by opening up their private spaces in prisons, rape crisis centres and shelters for homeless and abused women to men, as well as harm women’s sports by opening them up to men who retain their biological advantages but identify as women.

Here’s the email from the Labour party.

‘Dear David,

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first UK Pride event, when hundreds of members of the LGBT+ community marched through London to demand equal rights. Despite facing appalling hostility and prejudice at the time, they persevered.

That perseverance paved the way for Pride marches across the country, which are now an important part of the campaign for equal rights for LGBT+ people.

Labour is the party of equality and we have a proud legacy of standing up for LGBT+ rights. Watch our video to see more: 

Watch and Share

We have come a long way but there’s more work to do.  

LGBT+ people have been let down by a Conservative Government that abandoned its LGBT Action Plan, disbanded its LGBT Advisory Panel, and u-turned on promises to bring in a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy.

The next Labour government will stand up for LGBT+ rights by:

  • Protecting and upholding the Equality Act.
  • Requiring employers to create and maintain workplaces free from LGBT+ harassment.
  • Strengthening and equalising the law so that LGBT+ hate crimes attract tougher sentences.
  • Banning all forms of conversion therapy, including trans conversion therapy.
  • Reforming the outdated Gender Recognition Act while upholding the Equality Act.

Thank you,

Alex Beverley (Chair of LGBT+ Labour) and Anneliese Dodds (Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities)’

These proposals, although very well intentioned, are by implication so potentially harmful to women, gender-confused children, vulnerable adults and also to ordinary trans people who simply want to get on with their lives and the Labour party itself, that I wrote the following reply:

‘Dear Alex and  Anneliese,

Thank you for your email about Labour’s proposals to strengthen LGBTQ+ rights in concert with reforms to the equality act. I am not  part of the gay community, but appreciate the hardships and persecution gay people have experienced and their long struggle to gain equality. I am also very grateful for their support shown to the miners’ during the great strike in the 1980s, a coming together which was celebrated in the British film Pride. I am also pleased that the Labour party has also valued their contribution and supported them in their struggle. 

Unfortunately, I believe that the Labour party, along with the gay organisations outside the party, will be making a terrible mistake by opposing trans conversion therapy. I am very much aware, through online videos posted by gay YouTubers like Clive Simpson, how horrendous gay conversion therapy was for gay men. It sounds like nothing less than medicalised torture administered by sadists of the same stripe as the infamous Dr Mengele. I understand from Mr Simpson’s video, however, that such brutal, pseudo-medical treatments are now illegal. I have also little sympathy for the psychological treatments also used in the present day to ‘treat’ homosexuality. These also don’t work, and, from a report in Private Eye about one centre which does this in Wales, they appear to make gay people’s mental health much worse by destroying their self-esteem. I have absolutely no problems about this form of conversion therapy also being banned.

But I am concerned about what a ban on trans conversion therapy might entail. As I understand it, if left on their own 65-85% of teenagers experiencing doubts about their gender identity will eventually pass through it and enter adulthood comfortable and secure in their birth gender. The majority of these young people will, according to studies, be gay. 

This raises a number of issues. Firstly, many gay men and women are very much afraid that medical gender transition is being used as a form of gay conversion. This appears to have more than a little truth behind it, as many of these children seem to come from families which have trouble accepting that their son and daughter may be gay. It seems easier for these families to have a trans son or daughter, than a gay one. There is also concern about the affirmation-only model of gender care, in which the psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors see it as their duty to reaffirm the patient’s belief that they are of a different sex than their biological gender. This is, in my view, completely inappropriate. There is now a large and growing community of detransitioners, former transwomen and men, who believe they were mistaken and even misled into transitioning when it was not suitable for them. I understand there is an online community of 20,000 such people, and a book about their experiences, Trans Lives Regret, by Walter Heyer. I also understand that whistleblowers from within a number of gender clinics have also come forward, stating that they were forced to trans people they knew were mentally ill and who were therefore incapable of making an informed decision about their condition. They are also worried about the disproportionate number of autistic individuals, who are also being transed for the same reason. The source of these people’s problems may be these underlying mental illnesses and neurological conditions, rather than dissatisfaction with their biological sex. An attempt to ban trans conversion therapy could result in an absolute focus on the affirmation model, to the great detriment of those sufferers who do not really need medical transition. There are detransitioners already considering legal action against their doctors and surgeons. If the ban on trans conversion therapy goes ahead, I foresee many medical professionals who are dissatisfied with the affirmation model leaving the profession and those who remain facing a sharp rise in malpractice suits.

I am also afraid that an emphasis on trans rights will come at the expense of women’s sex-based rights, and that biological women will be vulnerable to abuse by men claiming to be women. In America, female prisoners have been sexually assaulted and raped by male prisoners who have been houses with them after they have claimed to identify as women. These men are often sex criminals, the very last people who should be housed with women. Similar concerns have and are being raised about trans-identified boys in schools. There have been a number of cases where female students have been raped by a trans-identified boy, who was allowed to enter their spaces. See the recent controversy in Loudoun County in America. I also believe that transwomen should not be allowed to compete with natural, biological women because of the advantages they retain from when they were men. Sharon Davies, the great Olympic women’s swimmer, has stated that because of men’s biological advantages, transmen still compete with women despite their transition. If this is acceptable for women and transmen, then it should be acceptable to transwomen and men. I am also concerned about the presence of trans-identified men in rape crisis centres and other shelters for women. From what I understand, the mental health of women who have suffered such assaults is shattered to such an extent that it can be made much worse by the presence of men around them, even when those men identify as women. While it would be very good indeed if this were not the case, I believe that for reasons of these extremely vulnerable women’s mental health it is inappropriate to employ trans-identifying women in such facilities. And for the same reasons of mental health, privacy and dignity I do not believe that trans-identifying male nurses should automatically have the intimate care of women in hospital.

I am also gravely concerned with the spread of gender dysphoria among young people and particularly girls. It has been suggested that this is another form of social contagion, like anorexia and multiple personality disorder. It is a mass psychological disorder, rather than arising through a genuine feeling of alienation from one’s gendered body. If this is the case, then this needs to be fought and combated. Thanks to the long austerity caused by the banking crisis, Covid and massively increasing poverty due to Tory rule and policies, there has been a massive increase in mental illness, anxiety and depression. It therefore seems to me to be extremely plausible that this is also a factor in the explosion of trans-identifying children and young people.

I would also like say that in my opinion, Queer Theory should also be banned because of its promotion of such gender anxiety and the psychological harm it does to gay pupils. Queer Theory is a postmodernist revision of Marxism. Its leading thinkers stated that they weren’t interested in healing gay people’s mental anguish and making them valued members of contemporary society. Instead they wished to exacerbate their problems further in order to create unstable sexual identities in people who could be indoctrinated and exploited. I am also very, very concerned in that some of the founders of Queer Theory, like Foucault, were paedophiles and attempted to defend the sexual abuse of children philosophically. I am sure you are also aware in this regard of a recent paper in the feminist magazine Reduxx revealing that WPATH, the World Psychological Association for Transgender Health, has recently gone into partnership with the Eunuch Archive, an organisation for castration fetishists. The Archive’s website also contains an an archive of fiction written by its members. These frequently involve fantasies of abuse and castration of children. It should be absolutely unethical for WPATH to go into partnership with such an organisation, and it should be regarded with deep suspicion rather respected as a leading organisation in transgender medical care.

It is because of these concerns that many women are forming organisations to challenge the trans ideology. One such organisation, with its motto ‘If you don’t respect my sex you don’t get my ‘x” was recently profiled in the Daily Mail. This organisations encourages women to deny their vote to organisations voting against politicians promoting the trans ideology at women’s expense. I am also worried that the Labour party became a laughing stock in the right-wing media by the inability of so many of its politicians a few weeks ago to give a proper to the question ‘What is a woman?’ I am dreadfully afraid that by pursuing extremist pro-trans policies,, the Labour party will lose its female vote and membership. And I am afraid that many gays will also become estranged from the party for many of the same reasons.

Another of my concerns is the threatening and violent behaviour of many trans rights activists. Gender critical feminists have been abused and sent death threats online. Across Europe feminist protests against trans policies have required police protection. One such demonstration in Spain was halted when the police advised the women there to go home as there were so many angry counter-protesters that they were not able to protect them. You can find online any number of videos of such trans rights activists threatening and even physically assaulting women. In my home city, Bristol, the anti-trans campaigner Kelly-Jay Kean and her supporters received similar aggressive treatment from trans activists, supported by Bristol Anarchist Federation and Antifa. And I am outraged that respected feminist academic Kathleen Stock was forced out of her university place because of very aggressive demonstrations by the university’s students. Whether you agree with Kean, Stock and the other ‘TERFs’ as they are called, is immaterial. In a free society, every idea with a few exceptions, should be open to debate, examination and refutation. I am afraid that if Labour sides with such people, then the party that should be viewed as the true party of freedom and open debate will instead become one of authoritarianism and control.

It is for the same reason that I am also opposed to the abuse of hate speech legislation to persecute gender critical women. This has most prominently happened in Scotland, where one gender critical feminist has been prosecuted simply for leaving stickers with the suffragette bow and the slogan ‘Scottish women won’t wheesht’, meaning that the ladies of Scotland will not be silent. 

I would therefore greatly appreciate it if the Labour party would rethink its position on these important issues.

Please do not think I hate trans people. I am strongly opposed to prejudice and the abuse, discrimination and persecution of anyone because of their sexual orientation and gender presentation. I am aware that trans people are vulnerable to abuse and assault, as was detailed in the ’90s small press magazine Aeon: The Magazine of Transkind. But I believe this enlightened concern for this sexual minority’s wellbeing should be in accord with biological reality, medical science and ethics and a proper respect for women and their rights, on whom these issues considerably impinge.

I want Labour to win and for LGBTQ+ to receive proper respect and protection, including and especially those struggling with their gender identifies. It is for this reason that I cannot support Labour’s current policies on trans issues, which I feel will not only bring harm, but a terrible backlash against gay and trans people. I would therefore respectfully ask the pair of you to reconsider your positions.

Yours in solidarity,

David -‘

I didn’t get very far with my response, as I got an automated reply telling me they couldn’t respond to my message, and suggesting other email addresses and departments of the Labour party that would be more suitable for my inquiry. The Labour party are having a policy review at the moment, and I consider these issues so important that I am considering my concerns and objections to their proposed reforms in the area of trans policy to that.

The great commenters on this blog have raised the issues of very entrenched figures on the right with secure political and media positions othering trans people, and the concern that by raising these issues I may be following them and demonising trans people.

I very definitely don’t want to see trans people demonised and made vulnerable to abuse and discrimination. But there are very deep and serious issues here that need to be properly discussed and I believe that the ideology and policies being pushed today in the belief that they will benefit trans people will unintentionally do immense harm.

Tories Ashcroft and Oakeshott Demand Privatisation of NHS Hospitals

May 23, 2022

A few weeks ago Private Eye carried a review of Michael Ashcroft’s and Isabel Oakeshott’s book on the supposed failures of the NHS in its issue for 29th April – 12th May. Ashcroft is, I believe, the Tory donor now resident in Belize, and Isabel Oakeshott his pet journo, responsible for the otherwise uncorroborated claim that when he was at Oxford, David Cameron poked a porker. Now the two have written a book, Life Support, giving their critical analysis of the NHS and their suggestions for its improvement. The pair examine two hospitals, St. Mary’s in Paddington and King’s College Hospital in Camberwell, which they describe as being in run-down areas. St. Mary’s Hospital is in a dingy backstreet off the lower Edgware Road between the railway station and a long strip of burger joints, pawnbrokers and shops selling cheap luggage. King’s College Hospital occupies a neighbourhood where drug and gang crime are rife, and is filled with the victims of gang warfare.

The book claims that hospitals ” are badly run by management teams that tolerate waste, allow patient safety standards to slip”, whose bosses “prise over a culture of bullying and cover-ups and fail to grip budgets”, which is “terrible for taxpayers, terrible for NHS staff and potentially fatal for patients”. They also claim that the NHS has a code of omerta similar to the Sicilian mafia.

So what are their solutions to this crisis? Well, get rid of foreign doctors and health tourists, sell off a few hospitals, have people transform themselves into cyborgs and lose weight. They are suspicious of Indian doctors, because there is less regulation and greater corruption in their country of origin. When they start working in the NHS, they have a paternalistic attitude towards patients.

As for the health tourists, they gave as an example a Nigerian woman who flew in from Lagos so that she could have her triplets delivered by the NHS, complaining that ‘Part of the problem is that most healthcare professionals believe they have a moral duty to help the sick,, wherever they are from.’ After demanding the privatisation of a few hospitals, there’s a chapter, “Cyborgs: Futuristic Medicine” in which they encourage people to turn themselves into the real-life equivalents of Dr. Who’s Cybermen. But they claim that ‘Nobody is suggesting that thousands of patients will go to such lengths and attempt to become ‘full cyborgs'”.

They also attack the various fashion brands and social media influencers who they claim have made obesity fashionable, which they state is grossly irresponsible. Despite all this criticism, however, the book says precious little about the Covid pandemic, which has cause a crisis in the Health Service. The Eye’s reviewer states that it’s commendable that Ashcroft and Oakeshott are donating the profits from the book to NHS charities, but concludes

‘Any suspicion that the authors set out to slag off the NHS across 400 pages of ill-informed vanity-published guff but then had to bung some Covid stuff in the intro as events unfolded is surely nonsense’.

Let’s critically examine some of their recommendations. Firstly, many NHS doctors are foreign. During my illness, I’ve been treated by a number of South Asian doctors, as well as those from the Far East and eastern Europe. And I have absolutely no complaints whatsoever. I can’t speak for others, but I believe that they, and the other British and foreign staff gave me excellent care. I am not aware that NHS doctors from India have been found to be any less competent than others. This looks to me like a bit of racism on Ashcroft’s part. As does the bit about health tourists and the Nigerian woman. with triplets. I don’t blame the woman for wanting to give birth over here, than trust herself and her unborn children to medicine in her own country. And I thought it was a fundamental position of modern medical ethics that everyone has the same right to care, regardless of ethnic origin. Besides, Nye Bevan was aware that there would be people coming from less developed parts of the world to take advantage of the NHS, and considered that the Health Service would be more than capable of dealing with them.

There are indeed some very cool and advanced artificial limbs being developed, but some of these – the most advanced – cost tens of thousands of dollars. And despite the invention of dialysis and heart-lung machines, I am not aware that anybody has come close to creating mechanical counterparts of the kidneys, heart and lungs that can be implanted in the body. The idea of people turning themselves into cyborgs is, at present, Science Fiction.

Dr. Who’s Cybermen – the future of patients cutting costs for the NHS. From the Dr. Who Monster Book.

As for the demand that hospitals be privatised, this is obviously what Ashcroft as Tory donor and capitalist clearly wants. But it’s because of privatisation that NHS administrative costs have mushroomed and standards of care declined because of massive funding cuts. And as we’ve seen, privatisation actually leads to few hospitals and doctor’s surgeries as the companies running them close them down in order to maximise their profits. This is bad for taxpayers, who are having to fork out more for poorer service, as well as staff and patients. And it would also be a massive step towards the transformation of the Health Service into one operated through private healthcare companies and funded through private health insurance, like America.

But this is what is happening under the Tories and Blair’s New Labour, as these right-wing Thatcherite politicos seek to enrich themselves and their corporate donors in the private medical industry. Ashcroft’s and Oakeshott’s book are the latest in the propaganda campaign to tell you this is a good idea.