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breaking news

Report: Americans Are Officially 
Giving Up --- on Democracy !!!
October 17th, 2020 (FNA)

US President Donald Trump has consistently attacked 
the integrity of the upcoming presidential election. He 
has called mail-in voting a “big scam” and suggested 
that he may not transfer power if he loses. These are 
exceptional unprecedented threats to US democracy. 
But they mask an equally dangerous fact that we have
recently uncovered: A significant portion of the USA's 
population, agrees with him. This is the tinder for an 
impending constitutional crisis, along with a host of 
other indicators that scholars are calling to the 
public’s attention.

Trump has long cast doubt on the validity of US elections. 
For years he has claimed, without evidence, that millions 
of ballots were cast fraudulently in the 2016 election and 
that he should have won by a wider margin. He also 
claimed that key midterm elections in 2018, were 
rigged against Republicans, Foreign Policy reports.

The crescendo of vitriol and misinformation about elections 
is currently at fever pitch. Some prominent Republicans, 
such as Sens. Susan Collins, Mitch McConnell, and Mitt 
Romney have publicly stated that the election will be 
conducted fairly and that the outcome will be 
respected. But most Republicans have stayed 
silent. And the rush to confirm Amy Coney 
Barrett to the Supreme Court is, in part, 
motivated by a hope that the outcome 
of next month’s election, if legally 
contested, would be litigated in 
favor of the Republican nominee.

Research we recently conducted, however, suggests that 
the president is not alone in disregarding elections. We 
administered a survey to a representative sample of 
the US population in July of this year and found that 
31 percent of US citizens believe it is a good idea to 
have a “strong incumbent leader who does not have 
to bother with Congress and elections”.

Predictably in the current context of political polarization, 
political loyalties strongly condition views on elections. 
A total of 38 percent of Trump supporters back giving 
up on elections and Congress. This figure would likely
 climb substantially higher if Trump publicly and 
vociferously alleges that the election has been 
stolen come November. Alarmingly, a smaller 
but still significant share of individuals who 
did not support Trump in the 2016 election
—27 percent—similarly doubt the 
importance of elections 
and Congress.

These numbers in the aggregate have trended up in recent 
years. The World Values Survey asks individuals a similar 
question about having a strong and unencumbered leader. 
The most recent survey in 2017 reported that 38% of US
citizens support an unchecked leader, compared to 24%
in the mid-1990s and 29% in the early 2000s.

The considerable popular support for the violation of core 
democratic principles such as the supremacy of elections 
and separation of powers is worrisome. Many US citizens 
may be willing to look the other way if Trump loses the 
vote count but decides to dig in. Others may outright 
support the president staying in office against clear 
constitutional guidelines to the contrary, should 
he lose.

US citizens have similarly chequered support for other 
important democratic practices. We conducted an 
experiment in which we prompted respondents 
to consider a fictitious scenario in which the 
president orders the Department of Justice 
to investigate his main political opponent 
on charges of corruption. We told the
respondents that the department has 
a mandate to enforce federal law and 
is headed by public prosecutors who 
have been appointed through a non-
political meritocratic process based 
on expertise and have served under 
different administrations across the 
political spectrum...

The department refuses the president’s order - 
indicating that there is not sufficient evidence 
to merit an investigation. In response, the 
president replaces all long-term public 
prosecutors --- with loyalists who will 
start an investigation against the 
president’s main opponent.

One-fifth of respondents supported this nakedly 
partisan move. And again, this was dominated 
by Trump supporters, with 36% of his ''fans''
supporting this action. Whereas 55% of non-
Trump supporters found that this act was
impeachable, only 10 percent of his 
supporters felt it was worthy of 

We then randomized whether respondents were 
told that public prosecutors were protected 
from being fired on the basis of their 
expertise-based decisions, by 
existing law or long-standing 
norms of executive 

More Trump supporters (40%) backed the president’s 
action, when it violated existing law. This suggests 
that elections are not the only pressure point 
for democracy.

Because our survey was nationally representative, 
it does not just capture nonvoters, who might be 
apathetic about politics in general. This suggests 
genuinely tepid or qualified support for democracy.

Mediocre support for democracy, especially among the 
president’s supporters, is a recipe for a constitutional 
crisis. The military is debating whether to step in 
should Trump sow election chaos or refuse to 
concede defeat if he loses. Trump is also 
trying to quickly nominate a favorable 
replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg 
on the Supreme Court in order to 
capture the top referee of US

And, with the Senate controlled by Republicans and 
the House of Representatives by Democrats, there 
is little hope for Congress to decisively 
check Trump.

The likelihood that Trump manages to stay in office in 
the face of a clear loss in the Electoral College vote is 
probably small. But with so many mail-in ballots and 
other changes due to the pandemic, vote-counting 
may take time, and early results may not be able 
to quickly adjudicate the election. Such a 
scenario could spell trouble for US 

Experts have spelled out a number of nightmare scenarios. 
These range from allegations of foreign hacking to tedious 
and contested recounts in swing states. In the worst case, 
an unclear and contested outcome could bring US citizens 
onto the streets, where armed rabble-rousers could stir 
chaos and provide fodder for an emergency executive 
declaration. Even if the most far-fetched scenarios 
remain improbable, the fact that they should be 
taken seriously, represents a sea change in 
US politics.


Poll run by Associated Press-NORC 
Center for Public Affairs Research:
Almost three quarters of registered voters in
the US say it's “headed in the wrong direction”.

85% state that US society is “greatly divided” 
over the most important values and just over 
one third expect things to get “somewhat 
better”  in the coming years.

The poll has only 15% of respondents saying 
that US democracy still works “extremely or 
very well”. A Pew Research poll held in early
2020, revealed that almost 60% of US 
citizens were dissatisfied with the 
way US democracy was working, 
at that time.


‘Gross Irresponsibility’: Labour Leader 
Criticizes Anonymous Briefings on 
New COVID Restrictions in UK
October 10th, 2020 (FNA)

 Keir Starmer hit out at the government’s decision to 
announce new coronavirus restrictions by leaking 
their details out on an anonymous basis to select 

The Labour leader branded the government’s approach 
to communicating the changes “gross irresponsibility” 
and said the new rules would affect the lives of 
millions of people, The Independent reported.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a 
statement to MPs on Monday about the new rules, 
which could see restrictions tightened and 
simplified across large parts of the UK.

But on Thursday, some friendly media outlets carried 
unconfirmed details of what the plans might involve, 
apparently sourced from the government before a 
formal announcement.

“It was an act of gross irresponsibility for anonymous 
Government sources to tell newspapers on Thursday 
about plans to impose further restrictions on millions 
of people,” Starmer stated on Saturday.

“They did so without any detail, without any consultation 
and without any statement from the prime minister,”
 he added.

At the start of the pandemic the government was widely 
criticised for leaking details of its lockdown and 
shielding plans to individual journalists before 
formally announcing them. 

The criticism saw Johnson bounced into holding daily 
coronavirus press conferences where major 
announcements were made on live tv for 
the public. The government eventually 
stopped the briefings after the peak 
of the pandemic. 

Next week the prime minister is expected to announce 
the introduction of a “three-tier” system, under which 
every part of the country will be given a rating,
 depending on its severity.

Different ratings will require different levels of restriction, 
with the most serious rating expected to again involve 
the closure of hospitality businesses like pubs 
and restaurants.


COVID19 in the UK the story so far...
please see our Health page.

United Nations Universal Declaration on Bioethics and 
Human Rights, Article 6 - Consent: Any preventive, 
diagnostic and therapeutic medical intervention 
is only to be carried out with the prior, free and 
informed consent of the person concerned. 

Article 3 - Human dignity and human rights: 
The interests and the welfare of the 
individual should have priority over 
the sole interest of science 
or society.

Report: Fears Grow of 
Voter Suppression in US
October 8th, 2020 (FNA)

Fears that millions of votes could be suppressed are popping 
up in states across the country, but perhaps nowhere more 
than Texas — a surprise swing state where Democratic 
presidential nominee Joe Biden appears to be in a 
close race with President Donald Trump.

The longtime Republican stronghold, which is home to some 
30 million people and the second most electoral votes in the 
country, sports some of the strictest voting laws in the 
country, The Hill reported.

Texas only allows its registered voters to vote absentee if they
 are 65 or older, incarcerated but otherwise eligible to vote, or 
can cite a disability.

Texas Democrats have opened multiple legal cases against the 
state in an attempt to relax restrictions during the coronavirus 
pandemic, but these efforts have largely been to no avail.

While Gov. Greg Abbott (R) extended early voting by a week and 
made it possible for Texans to turn in by-mail ballots before 
Election Day, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that lack of 
immunity to COVID-19 doesn’t qualify as a 
bonafide disability.

Additionally, a federal appeals court panel in September rejected 
the Texas Democratic Party’s (TDP) argument that the state’s 65-
plus age requirement was unconstitutional because it violated 
the 26th Amendment's protections against voting rules that 
discriminate based on age. The case is most likely headed 
to the Supreme Court — where it was rejected earlier in the 
summer as the justices wanted to see the lower court’s 
decision first — but it is unclear if it will be taken up 
before Election Day.

On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court ruled that Harris 
County Clerk Chris Hollins couldn’t send absentee ballots 
to all of the county’s registered voters.

This decision comes on the heels of Abbott signing an executive 
order last week that limits each county in the state to have just 
one location where mail-in ballots can be dropped off.

“The State of Texas has a duty to voters to maintain the integrity 
of our elections,” Abbott said at the time, adding, “As we work to 
preserve Texans’ ability to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic, 
we must take extra care to strengthen ballot security protocols 
throughout the state. These enhanced security protocols will 
ensure greater transparency and will help stop attempts at 
illegal voting.”

Republicans have long pointed to the threat of voter fraud to 
argue for stricter voting laws. In recent months, President 
Trump and other GOP lawmakers have disparaged by-mail 
voting, predicting rampant voter fraud and “rigged” 
election results on November 3rd. 

In reality, however, election fraud is exceedingly rare and 
multiple states use mail-in voting systems predominantly.

Benjamin Ginsberg, who served as national counsel for 
multiple GOP presidential campaigns, wrote in his 
Washington Post op-ed in September, that claims 
of significant voter fraud are “unsustainable”.

“At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats 
and Republicans. Elections are not rigged,” he wrote, 
noting, “Absentee ballots use the same process as 
mail-in ballots — different states use different 
labels for the same process.”

Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, a former congressman 
from Florida, defended the executive order at the time, 
saying Abbott “was following his duty to make sure 
that voter suppression doesn't happen in Texas”.

He added, “[Hollins] and [Democrats] are responsible for 
these restrictions, because of their blatant election 
maleficence such as turning away poll watchers at
 ballot drop off locations in Harris County.”

It was reported that poll watchers assigned to observe the 
ballot drop-off locations in Harris County, which has roughly
 2.4 million registered voters, were turned away on 
technicalities, though Hollins in a tweet regarding 
the executive order said that his office “is more 
than willing to accommodate poll watchers at 
drop-off locations”.

The ramifications of Abbott’s decision, if it is not 
reversed, could be palpable and felt statewide.

Houston, the fourth largest city in the US, is located in 
Harris County and a crucial foothold for Democrats. 
The massive county went from having a dozen 
ballot drop-off locations to having just one. 
The US Election Assistance Commission 
says that local governments should have
 one ballot drop-off location for every 
15,000-20,000 registered voters.

Other large metropolitan areas in Texas have proved fruitful 
to Democrats in their attempt to flip the state blue. Four of 
the five most populous counties in Texas were won by 
Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

“We think [this will] actually backfire on Abbott,” Abhi Rahman, 
TDP’s strategic communications director, told The Hill, adding, 
“He's trying to do everything he can to stop Texans from 
voting and Texans are pissed off about it.”

Abbott’s executive order faces multiple lawsuits and 
has also caught the eye of congressional lawmakers.

A trio of House Democrats, including Reps. James Clyburn 
(S.C.), Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) & Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), wrote
to Abbott on Tuesday, imploring him to waive his 
executive order.

“We are investigating actions you have taken that may 
interfere with the administration of free, fair, and safe 
federal elections in Texas during the coronavirus 
pandemic,” they stated in the letter.

“In particular, we are concerned that your last-minute 
proclamation forcing Texas counties to close multiple 
ballot drop-off locations will disenfranchise voters and
 may increase the risk of exposure to the coronavirus
 for voters and poll workers. We write today to urge 
you to reverse this order— which was issued after 
these locations had begun accepting ballots—and 
provide documents regarding your decision to 
restrict early voting by mail in Texas,” 
they continued.


Poll: Minority of Europeans Think 
US Election Will Be Free, Fair
October 8th, 2020  (FNA)

Fewer than one in 10 Europeans expect next month’s US 
presidential election to be completely free and fair, and 
an overwhelming majority say they would like Joe 
Biden to triumph over Donald Trump.

According to a YouGov tracker survey in Britain, Denmark, 
France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden, in only one of 
these countries – Italy – are more than a tenth of voters 
confident that the US electoral process will prove 
irreproachable, The Guardian reported.

In the other six, support for the view that the November 3rd
 elections will be “completely free and fair” ranges from 2% 
in Germany to 7% in Spain. In no country do more than 44% 
feel the vote will even be “completely or mostly” free 
and fair.

The survey, run between September 15th and October 4th 
with a representative sample of 1,000-plus people in each 
country, found Europeans overwhelmingly eager for a 
Biden victory, despite not rating him very highly or 
knowing much about him.

About 80% of Danes say they want the Democratic challenger 
to win, followed by 71% in Germany, 64% in France and 61% 
in the UK, while support across the same four countries for 
a Trump victory ranges from 6% to 14%.

The president enjoys the strongest level of support in Italy, 
but even there only 20% would like to see him returned for 
a second term, against 58% who want Biden to win.

European approval for Trump’s presidency so far is very low, 
with few rating him as either a “great” or even a “good” 
president – just 5% in Denmark, 10% in the UK and 15% 
in Italy. Large majorities feel he has been “poor” or 
“terrible” – 82% in Denmark, 70% in the UK and 
61% in Italy.

Perceptions of Biden are generally muted across the continent, 
with the belief that the 77-year-old Democrat would make a 
“good” or “great” president shared by a low of 17% of 
respondents in the UK and a high of 23% in Germany
 and Sweden.

While very few feel Biden would make a “poor” or “terrible” 
president, far more – from 27% in France to 55% in Denmark 
– say they think he will be merely “average” or confess to 
not really having a clear idea of what he would be like. 
When asked how Biden would perform as president, 
between 21% and 45% answered “don’t know”.

However, when asked about a range of areas from international 
relations and climate change to the coronavirus, economics, 
terrorism and peace, respondents in every country think 
Biden would do a better job on every measure 
than Trump.

Respondents’ negative views of Trump extend to his impact
 on their own countries and on the world as a whole. Just 
10% to 14% think he has had a positive impact on their 
country, while 52% to 69% feel his impact has 
been negative.

Across the seven countries, a low of 6% of Danes and high of 
15% of Italians feel Trump has been good for the world, while 
a high of 84% of Danes and a low of 68% of Italians think the 
opposite. Between 27% (France) and 44% (Spain) even say 
Trump has had a negative impact on them personally.

Between 29% and 49% believe a Biden victory would have a 
positive impact on their own country, and 36%-58% think it 
would be good for the world – although again, relatively 
large proportions say they do not know.

Large proportions, ranging from 47% in Italy to 74% in Denmark, 
say they believe Trump’s re-election campaign so far has been 
“mostly dishonest”. Biden’s campaign is more likely to be seen 
as honest (26%-43%) than dishonest (7%-15%), but once again 
many more people answered “don’t know” for Biden, than 
for Trump.

In each of the seven countries, more people expect a Biden 
win next month than a Trump win, but in only one - Denmark 
- do more than 50% say Biden will win.


Rhondda Records wishes
a peaceful 2020.


Roger Waters formerly of Pink Floyd, in an open letter,
 calls on his fellow musicians to boycott the Zionist
Israeli regime and follow the example of the cultural
boycott against the ex South African Apartheid regime.

“Given the inability or unwillingness of our governments
 [to act] …. I write to you now, my brothers and sisters …
 to ask you to join with me, and thousands of other artists
 around the world, to declare a cultural boycott on Israel,”
Roger Waters says in his letter.

Waters says the Zionist regime has been found guilty of
 major breaches of human rights and international law
 by international organizations, UN officials and the
International Court of Justice.

He touches on two such cases, saying the regime has been
 identified as perpetrating the “crime of Apartheid”, including
 in a statement on March 9th, 2012 by the UN Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the “crime of
ethnic cleansing” including in East Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Waters adds that he has been a member of the Boycott,
 Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the
 Israeli regime’s occupation of the Palestinian lands and
 Tel Aviv’s violations of Palestinian human rights for 7
 years, and now wants other musicians to also join
anti-Israeli front.

“Please join me and all our brothers and sisters in global
 civil society in proclaiming our rejection of Apartheid in
 Israel & occupied Palestine, by pledging not to perform
 or exhibit in Israel or accept any award or funding from
 any institution linked to the government of Israel, until
 such time as Israel complies with international law
universal principles of human rights.” 

The former Pink Floyd Musician also says he has recently
 faced a boycott by the US media after his November 29th,
 2012 address at the UN on behalf of the Russell Tribunal.

In the address, he sought accountability for the Zionist
 regime’s violations of the international law and the lack
 of United Nations resolve that prevents the Palestinian
 people from achieving their inalienable rights,
the right of self-determination.



Tickets from



browse venues in Wales


02920 230130

Cash tickets from:

The Factory, Porth
Instrumental Music, Penygraig
Spillers Records, Cardiff

For more details visit

Twitter @TheFactoryPorth
01443 687080


Daytime Delights...

Starts at 1pm
The Parc & Dare, Treorchy

Lunchtime Concerts in the Lounge Bar.

Indulge in a delicious cake and a cup of tea
while enjoying music and sing-along songs
from fantastic Welsh musicians.

Ticket information:
The Cultural Services Booking & Information Line:
08000 147 111
or book online at


Mid Rhondda Modelling Club...

7pm - 9pm

Tonyrefail Comprehensive School
Mid Rhondda Modelling Club
has been running for over 30 years.

We meet on a regular basis
& enjoy making models for display.

We encourage both Gentlemen
and Ladies to attend,
and also young people aged 12+.
However, Young people under 16,
must be accompanied by an adult.

Ticket information
£1 contribution every week. Under 16's free

Telephone Mr. Davies on 01443 686658


 Comedy In The Laughter Lounge

The Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy.


Join us once a month in the intimate setting
of the Laughter Lounge for some
top notch comedy with some of the
biggest and brightest

rising comedians on the circuit.

Laugh? You'll snort like a pig!

Hilarious - TimeOut.


EU Withdrawal Bill

officially becomes law

Tuesday June 26th, 2018, at 2:55pm

The speaker of Britain's House of Commons has
announced that the government's flagship
Brexit legislation allowing the country
to leave the European Union,
become law.

Speaker John Bercow told MPs on Tuesday, that
 EU Withdrawal Bill has received royal assent
Queen Elizabeth II, resulting in the bill
becoming an Act of Parliament.

The EU Withdrawal Act, as it is now known, enables
EU law to be transferred into British law in an
attempt to ensure a smooth Brexit, and it
enables EU law to be transferred into
UK law, in an attempt to ensure a
smooth withdrawal from the EU,
plus, it also repeals the 1972
European Communities Act,
which made Britain a
member of the EU.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called the bill’s
 approval, an "historic moment for our country,
a significant step towards delivering
on the will
of the British people."

Members of parliament who are in favour
of Brexit, also hailed the development.

"The legal position is now so much stronger, for a clean
Brexit," Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said.

"Crucially this makes the prime minister's
negotiating hand much stronger."

The legislation was first introduced in July 2017 and has
 faced a number of hurdles in both Houses of parliament.
 In April, the Lords inflicted an embarrassing defeat on
 the May government, by voting against it.

The May government had argued that remaining in the
customs union would bar Britain from signing third-
party trade agreements with other countries.

Prime Minister May has admitted that there are “hard
facts” Britain should be ready to face, about the
economic consequences of leaving the EU.

She has said the UK would leave the EU’s single market
 and customs union after Brexit in March 2019, noting
the country may suffer new trade barriers as a
 result of her move.

May has also said that any customs union deal with the
 EU would keep London from striking new trade deals
 with fast-growing economies like China and India.

In Britain’s 2016 referendum, 52 percent, or 17.4 million
people, voted to leave the EU, while 48 percent, or
16 million, voted to stay.

May insists Britain will leave the EU as planned and
 there will be no rerun of the Brexit referendum.

(Source - Press Tv)

Cash Spent On Privatising NHS ‘Doubled’

Friday 13th January 2017
 by Lamiat Sabin

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has revealed how
the huge amount of cash spent on privatising
parts of the NHS has more than doubled
under the Tories.

Mr Corbyn said: “The Conservatives are privatising
 our NHS by stealth, despite the repeated failures
 and costs of private provision.

“It saddles us with an expensive and unnecessary
internal market. It puts tax avoidance, not patient
 care, at the heart of its management. It also
 promotes excessive boardroom pay and
grotesque inequality.

“Health privateers are earning huge sums at
taxpayers’ expense, yet health workers are
 faced with a pay freeze.

“When health services are privatised, the brakes
 come off the pay - of the executives in charge.”

Health Emergency campaign director, John Lister,
 told the Star that it was “bizarre” how local clinical
 commissioning groups choose to divert cash into
 private companies, when investment needs to
 stay within the NHS.

He added: “Companies only want to pick up
profitable services such as elective care
and are not interested in taking the load
off under-pressure departments such
as A&Es.

“Despite the financial freeze, none of these firms
are making much money -- because the margins
 are small. It’s a pointless fracturing of the NHS.
The Health and Social Care Act 2012 was
 brought in by the Tories to facilitate this.”

Mr Corbyn says his new proposal would require
that no public-sector department or government
contracted firm, could pay top executives over
20 times the salary of the lowest-paid worker.

Patients and health workers are denied quality
 of care and sufficient resources -- because the
 pay of bosses in the sector skyrockets. He said
 that the policy “will apply to the private health
 companies who bid for NHS contracts and pay
 their top executives indefensible & sometimes
 obscene amounts.

“Shrinking the widening pay gap in health will
aid Labour’s plans to end health privatisation
 and bring services into a secure, publicly
 provided NHS.”

(source - Morning Star)


How to select or reselect your MP

New edition by Dave Osland. £4 from left-wing
bookshops, or Five Leaves Bookshop, Notts.

Post free to mail order customers via
0115 8373097 or via PayPal on

Rhondda Records exists to express the Rhondda's
vision --- when it was confident, powerful, caring,
and socialist.

A Rhondda very aware
of the media's poisonous
tricks -- how they con working class people into
attacking each other, or racial groups, or, often,
even their best allies and friends... instead of
seeing their real enemies:--- an elite who hate
the very idea that working people can think,
create, or achieve a fairer society.

Thatcher said her proudest achievement was
Blair and New Labour - who parachuted in
careerists and expenses fiddlers - to stop
local Labour members having a say, and
who made genuine socialist MPs leave
the Labour party in disgust and many
members and voters to despair...
and the young to stop voting.

Jeremy Corbyn was always attacked because
he was trying to reverse all that New Labour
corruption --- that's why membership was
flooding in all over the UK - watch this
video in Kilburn, London: don't believe
the dripping poison of the media and
the corrupt MPs -- and understand
Jeremy's role !


John McDonnell revisits his childhood home


Watson's Choice

In a speech to a fringe event by 'Labour Friends
of Israel' member, the Party's deputy leader ,
Tom Watson, peddled full-on Russophobia.

 Conjuring up images of the Nazis invading the
Low Countries, Watson said Britain was facing
 a “Blitzkrieg for the digital age”, from Russia,
and called for a US-style inquiry into alleged
Russian interference in UK democracy.

Watson's hypocrisy when it comes to foreign powers
intervening in UK politics, is truly off the scale.
He has no problem, it seems, with proven
Israeli interference (documented in the
al Jazeera documentary, ‘The Lobby'),
saying he's “proud to defend Israel”
- but is paranoid about unproven
 Russian interference.

(Source - longer article by Neil Clark, in RT
labour-party-conference-corbyn/ )


It’s obvious why Labour’s new

general secretary Jennie Formby,
frightens the right-wing press

March 22nd, 2018 
Karl Rogers Analysis, UK
Spread the word: Facebook Twitter

On 20 March, the Labour Party appointed Jennie Formby
as its new general secretary. The right-wing press
immediately attacked her appointment.

 Ignoring her formidable record as a union organiser and
work in the NEC, Formby has been represented as
Jeremy Corbyn’s puppet - and as evidence of his
 “hard-left” seizure of the Labour Party machine.
But it’s obvious why the press barons
running scared.

Media red scaremongering

Formby barely had time to update her Linkedin profile
and Twitter feed...  before the right-wing press came
gunning for her. Predictably, the billionaire-owned
 propaganda machine, spun the news of her
 appointment, as a sinister seizure of power
by Corbyn & Unite leader Len McCluskey.

The Telegraph ran the headline: Corbyn and McCluskey
 tighten grip on Labour party as ally Jennie Formby
 appointed party’s new general secretary. The
 Express went with: Corbyn cements grip on
Labour as hard-left union boss Formby
named general secretary. The Sun
also framed the appointment as
an imposed “hard-left” takeover
 of the Labour Party. And The
Times declared “moderates
are no longer welcome”
 in the Labour Party.

Heather Stewart, political editor of The Guardian,
termed the appointment a “coronation” and
declared it the culmination of Corbyn’s
“two-year battle” to gain “complete
 control of the party machine”.

She has been a member of the Labour Party for 40 years.

She was regional officer in the UK’s largest trade union
– Unite – for 17 years. In 2004, she became the national
officer for Unite’s Food, Drink, and Tobacco Sector.

Between 2013 and 2016, she was political director
 of Unite, before becoming the southeast regional
secretary. She has been on the NEC for
seven years.

In other words, her appointment to general secretary of
the Labour Party, is the result of her experience and
abilities as a trade union organiser.

As Corbyn said, when he congratulated Formby:

''Her talent, experience and commitment to the Labour
and Trade Union movement, makes me confident
will play a crucial role in building on last
inspiring General Election advance
and taking
our party forward to victory.''

Her predecessor, Iain McNicol, said:

''As someone who has dedicated her life to fighting for
workers’ rights, equality and social justice, I know
Jennie will put all the commitment, drive and
organising talent, into getting Labour into
government and Jeremy into Number 10.''

Running scared

The press is scared of Formby......
she will be good at her job.

Get Involved!


Jewish Labour Movement Chair & exec
call for investigation into Israeli

5th of February 2017
by Mike Sivier

This is deeply disturbing information
 from the Skwawkbox. Read:

Riverside Labour MP Louise Ellman is Chair of the JLM
(Jewish Labour Movement) and vice-Chair of Labour
Friends of Israel (LFI). The former organisation is
highly controversial because of its affiliation with
 the openly pro-apartheid Israeli Labour Party
‘Havoda’ and the latter as it was specifically
mentioned by the Israeli
embassy operative
filmed by an
undercover Al Jazeera reporter,

 in connection with his actions: in setting up
pro-Israeli groups
inside the Labour party.

Supporters of both groups have been prominent
in the discredited, but persisting, antisemitism
smear against the national party.

And it appears that Ms Ellman and her allies in
 Riverside CLP – in spite of the obvious conflict
 of interest – have no intention of allowing
members to add their voices to the calls
for a full Labour investigation into the
 infiltration of the party by a foreign

Source: JLM Chair and exec block CLP call
for investigation into Israeli interference:



Time For Labour To Go On The Attack
by John McDonnell

February 3rd 2017

Anybody who thought electing a socialist leader
of the Labour Party would be an easy ride, now
knows that was never going to be the case.

Winning an internal party election for leadership
 was the relatively easy part. The coup was also
totally predictable and could be planned for.
Therefore the second leadership election
was arduous, but with determination and
hard work, was eminently winnable.

We have now reached the toughest period so far.
The euphoria of winning a greater mandate in the
 second leadership election, despite every trick in
 the bureaucratic textbook used against us, has
given way to a serious appreciation of the
 challenge we now face.

The character of our politics is to be straightforward
 & honest with people. So let’s be straight about this.
 This is the toughest of times we have experienced
so far and it is not only also absolutely predictable
 and understandable but also something we
can completely deal with.

It does mean though that we need to understand
 fully what we are up against and what we have
 to deal with.

We are currently facing exactly what we predicted
but many didn’t fully appreciate. The full forces of
the Establishment are being thrown against us.

In no way will the elite Establishment tolerate
the popular election of a socialist leader,
 without a bitter fight.

One of the key fundamental problems we face, is
 not a lack of political analysis, policies, direction,
courage, determination or leadership.

It is the critical question of how we can communicate
a narrative about our objectives and policies in a way
 that can cut through the bilious, cynical distortion of
 every aspect of the traditional media.

Any criticism of media bias by the left
is always distorted as whining.

The various independent reports have proved
 conclusively that we are witnessing a level of
media bias that certainly most, have never
seen on this scale before.

The evidence demonstrates that it ranges from
 the Sun and the Mail to the Guardian and the BBC.

This daily grinding out of distortion and attack can
undoubtedly have its effect on our standing in the
 polls - and in turn - on the morale of some of our
 supporters, who are not always close to the
 action and may not be experienced in past
 trade union or political campaigns.

So we need to explain both what we are up
against, and how we can overcome this.

This is the time for determination in the face
of whatever they throw against us. The best
 form of defence is attack.

Politically, that means using the one resource
 that we have, which the other side doesn’t.
 It’s true that we are the many, they are
 the few.

Mobilising our large base of support in the Labour
 Party, the trade unions, progressive campaigns
and the wider community, is the way to win.

How we do that is the key to our success. First, it
means ensuring that our supporters and potential
supporters have the opportunity to engage in the
 exploration, discussion, debate & determination
 of political analysis and policymaking.

That’s why we're going on the stomp around the
 country, with a series of regional and national
economic conferences to develop our economic
 thinking and planning, from the grassroots up.

Similar exercises are planned in several other
policy areas, including how we can decarbonise
 our economy, based upon local initiatives,
facilitated by creative national

New creative initiatives to enable large-scale
 involvement in digital democracy will facilitate
 and energise the discussion of politics and
policy in and beyond our party.

Second, it means mobilising around consistent
 campaigning --- setting up, or using, existing
structures to co-ordinate our campaigning
at local and national levels.

People are becoming increasingly angry at the Tories’
 attacks on our public services and more workers are
 willing to take action to protect their jobs and their
 living standards.

We need to lead in mobilising support and solidarity
 with these campaigns. It will require the increasingly
 effective use of social media to communicate ideas
 and to assist mobilisation.

Third, it also means gearing up and training our
 members to give them confidence & motivation
 to access the party’s structures and engage in
the vital routine work that is needed to ensure
 the political direction of the party and deliver
 the votes that we need in elections over the
coming years.

The message therefore, is that the times may
 be tough and may get tougher — but it is the
mobilisation of our committed, inspired and
 enthusiastic members, that will see us
through to success.

John McDonnell is shadow chancellor
 of the exchequer. This article first
appeared on Labour Briefing:



REVEALED: NUS official colluded with
Israeli embassy to oust student leader
Middle East Eye

by Mike Sivier
of Vox Political

The worms are coming out of the woodwork now.

Shall we pencil in the Union of Jewish Students
as one of Shai Masot’s “front” organisations for
 the Israeli government?

A senior official from the UK’s National
 Union of Students, has been covertly
filmed conspiring --- to oust the NUS
president Malia Bouattia as part of a
 sting involving the Israeli embassy.

An undercover Al-Jazeera reporter – known
only as Robin – posed as a political activist
with links to the now disgraced Israeli
diplomat Shai Masot - to investigate
 the influence the Israeli embassy
 exerts on British politics.

“Robin” is heard discussing how to oust
Ms Bouattia from her position as NUS
president with NUS Vice President
Richard Brooks --- after Masot
 introduces him as the Chair
of the Young Labour
Friends of Israel.



Ms Walker, a lifelong anti-racist campaigner and
 socialist, was suspended from the Labour Party
 in May, amidst allegations of anti-Semitism. She
was reinstated but has been suspended again, 
after apparently being “set up” at a training
event organised by the Jewish Labour
Movement during the party’s national
conference in September.

She writes: “I was suspended from the Labour Party
in May of this year, amidst what appears to have
a breach of Data Protection law, by Iain
McNicol, as
General Secretary of the
Labour Party.

“I was suspended for the alleged (subsequently
cleared) charge of antisemitism. As a Jewish
person, whose partner is Jewish, this was

“Since May I have continued to be targeted by
 the media, in print, online and in other places.

“Currently I am suspended for questions asked at
 a training session on ‘Confronting Antisemitism
& Engaging Jewish Voters’ at this year’s Labour
Conference, after being unethically filmed by a
 Jewish Labour Movement campaigns officer
who is also a Labour councillor. It seems this
training was not a ‘safe space for all Jews’
by any means.

“As soon as the first article was released before
my notification had even arrived, trolls circled
the kill, posting spooky blacked up faces
worse) to my Facebook account. The
& national newspapers led the
querying my Jewish identity (a
racist move
in itself), my work as an
anti-racist activist
and my political

“When my suspension was lifted, things got worse.
Indignation at my alleged breach reached the heights
 of irony, when Nigel Farage, anxious not to miss out
on the fun being had by among others, the Spectator,
a number of Labour MPs and officers of the Party...
 dedicated an article in Breitbart, and a good
of righteous indignation on national
TV, to
publicly calling me out as a racist.

“The widespread hate campaign against me, led
to public abuse, strangers shouting ‘racist’ as I
walked to the tube. With the murderous racist
political discourse now taking the place of
debate, I became conscious I was
recognisable on the street.

“My story is just one of many where Labour members
have found themselves in a similar position. While
 this may not be the only case where a breach has
 occurred, as I was abroad at the time, it may well
be the most provable.

“We invite anybody who has a personal interest
in this case, or the wider public, to contribute.”

Solicitor Martin Howe, representing Ms Walker,
added: “Jackie Walker has faced a barrage of
 hurtful, threatening & nasty abuse since the
 private details of her investigation by the
Labour Party over alleged anti-Semitism
leaked to the press before she even
of her suspension by the Party.

“This apparent breach of her private data has
had a devastating impact on her public and
private well-being and has led directly to her
being pre-judged & unfairly cast as a racist
-- before she was given any opportunity to
her side of the story.

“Data Protection laws are there to protect all
of us and any breach is a very serious matter.”

If you would like to contribute to her fund,
details are on the web page.

Source: CrowdJustice –
Crowdfund public interest law

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget
 to share it. Politics is about everybody – so
try to get everybody involved!


Get Involved!

– If you feel you’ve been ‘purged’,
take this online survey:


or this one:


– Request all your own data that
the Labour Party holds on you:


– Sign the petition in support of
Jeremy Corbyn, if you agree:




“Any member who is suspended & intends
to appeal the decision should throw in a
 ‘Subject Access Request in accordance
with the Data Protection Act’ --- for ALL
 data that the Labour Party hold on them.

The Labour Party are Data Controllers and
 therefore have to, by law, provide you with
 all material/information they hold on you.”

If anyone is in contact with anyone who
was barred from voting --- please can
you pass this info on:

The Labour leadership election was under the
jurisdiction of the electoral reform services.

If you were unfairly deprived of your vote you
can call them on 0208 365 8909 and lodge
 your complaint, and inform them of your
Data Protection request.


The notification letters barring new members
did not give a clear reason, or information on
how to appeal, so Vox Political suggests that
 anyone in this situation, could also contact
 Liz Davies here: http://www.whycantivote.com

She is a barrister --- who can
advise members on what to do.


Saving Labour? The secretive battle
 to oust Jeremy Corbyn – BBC News

Reg Race is a 'co-ordinator' of the group

 campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn.

At least, that's what a report ‘Saving Labour’
by the BBC’s Ross Hawkins, has concluded.

Reg Race is said to be co-ordinating a project
 to collect information on Labour members who
are willing to attack Jeremy & his supporters...
 but that doesn't mean he is the one behind it,
as no such information is available.

Meanwhile, the organisation has been collecting
 data on people sympathetic to its cause – which
 may be used for ''other purposes'' after the
 leadership election, we are told.

If these people admitted who they were and
 what they're doing, perhaps their behaviour
 might be more acceptable – but they won’t.

Supporting MPs, donors, and trade unionists,
 are all staying anonymous for the time being.

One wonders how these people would react if
 it was revealed that there was a secretive co-
ordinating hub of Corbyn supporters, working
 to spread their influence across the UK.

Reg claimed Saving Labour recruited
 over 120,000 registered supporters &
affiliated union members to vote anti
 Mr Corbyn, using online advertising.

The group, he says, has amassed details of
60,000 people on its own database, in just
 two months. There are plenty of numbers,
but virtually no names.

In his first broadcast interview, he told Radio
 4’s Today programme, he has the support of
 trade unionists - but will not say which ones.

 Nor will he name MPs or donors; those will
be published by the Electoral Commission,
 in the fullness of time, he says.

Why the secrecy?

“There’s a group of us and lots of us don’t want
to be out there in terms of the media, because
they are in relatively vulnerable positions,”
he says.

“Data's absolutely crucial in these races,” says Tom
 Flynn, Saving Labour’s full-time digital campaigner.
 “This was set up as a way of trying to get good data
on those Labour people who would like a change
of leadership.”

That data – contact details of sympathisers
who have a vote in Labour contests, could
 have an interesting future.

A Saving Labour supporter, Graham Jones MP
 suggests it may even play a part in trying to
 get rid of Unite’s general secretary, Len

The data, the money, and the intent of those
 trying to wrestle back control of the Labour
Party from Mr Corbyn, will not expire, now
win for Jeremy has been declared.

They failed this year, but they will try again.

It will have to provide a list of its supporters
 & funders to the electoral commission, now
the leadership election is over, and
provide its first 3 monthly accounts

 and audits.

For a company that is supposedly all about
“savinglabour” it is trying very hard to hide
who is behind it.

 Momentum, by the way, had to have its
books audited early after a complaint

 "was raised".

Reply bladeofgrassuk on
 September 3, 2016 at 2:49 pm

This is a survey that they have sent out to all
 their supporters. They are hoping to set up
local anti-deselection groups nationwide.


The goal of the groups will be to protect MPs
parachuted into “safe” Labour seats, from
being democratically removed from office
 for their role in the right-wing coup.

It is worth mentioning that these groups
 have managed to avoid appointing a Data
Controller under the Data Protection Act,
 and so are not subject to the DPA of 1998.

Reg Race? Could this be the same one?

‘Reg Race, the former Labour MP and close ally of
 socialist firebrands Tony Benn & Ken Livingstone,
 has been paid millions of pounds of taxpayers’
 money as a result of regulations brought in by
New Labour ministers. The union man-turned-
consultant has also become a substantial
Labour Party donor and is one of the biggest
 backers of Alan Johnson’s bid for the party’s
 deputy leadership.

Mr Race’s company, Quality Health, is one of
a select band of “approved contractors” that
health trusts must hire to conduct patient
 and staff surveys.’


(Report in original by clever Vox Political)



Jeremy Corbyn was torn to pieces over not
wanting to go to war if a NATO member was
attacked (by Russia, the question implied).

There seems to be a mistaken idea that
preferring negotiations and a peaceful
approach to international relations, to
a kneejerk war which could so easily
 go nuclear - leading to the end of life
on this planet - can be compared to
Chamberlain's appeasement
World War 2.

Yet the NATO treaty itself, is not,
as some Tories have tried to
make out, a simple case of
rushing to war, if one of
NATO's states are hit.

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty envisions
 the support of other NATO members, in the
case of external aggression, it's true, but...

 The response measures are left at the discretion
 of member states --- it can be a mere diplomatic
note of support - without providing any real aid.



Support for Jeremy Corbyn from Tyrone O’Sullivan,
a fourth-generation south Wales miner, who led a
workers’ buy-out of Tower Colliery, to save it
 from closure.

"I’ve been close to Jeremy since the miners’ strike.
 Knowing the man, knowing his abilities and his
education, it was a dream come true for me when
 he became leader. His ideas and values are more
 necessary, here in south Wales, than probably
 anywhere else in the country. He wants
for Labour, but only under
our terms -
for a change."

O’Sullivan, a lifelong Labour member, says 
Jeremy is the only true socialist, Labour
have had as leader, ''for
20 or 30 years''.



1)  "Military action was not a last resort".

2) UK government "undermined the
of the UN security council.

3) Weapons of Mass Destruction presented
 "with a certainty that was not justified".

4) UK forces were "ill-prepared".

5a) "The government failed to
achieve its stated objectives."

5b) Post-war planning: Blair "should
 have known what might happen".

6) Chilcot says Blair also "overlooked the
 threat the invasion would pose to Britain."


Blair to Face Law

The former prime minister has been put on notice
 by families of dead servicemen, that he will face
 legal action, for his part in the illegal Iraq war.

They are being crowd-funded now, and
have raised so much money, that Blair
probably heading for a big fall...

Shadow Commons leader Paul Flynn:
the Iraq Inquiry's findings are an "utter
 condemnation" of his terrible decision
 --- and his prosecution should now be
given "serious consideration".

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond:
"I would like to see Blair investigated by
International Criminal Court (ICC),
the crime of a war of aggression,
face parliamentary action to
him holding public office
ever again."

A former British ambassador to the UN:
 "The UK was pushed into entering
military action, too early."

Stop the War Coalition Convener Ms German:
“This is an incredibly damning report for Tony Blair.
It will not call for legal sanctions, but it says that
Blair is culpable for the war, in many ways.

“He needs to be driven out of public life. He is
still part of the Labour Party. We need to make
 sure that truth & justice prevails. There must
 be legal action against Blair, & he should no
 longer be considered fit for any office.”

CND general secretary Kate Hudson:
 “The report shows that Tony Blair had
no respect for cabinet procedure, no
respect for Parliament, & no respect
for international law.

“Chilcot reveals the evidence that must now be
 used to bring Tony Blair to justice. This is our
 demand. Only when justice is served, can we
prevent disasters like the Iraq war from ever
happening again.”

 Iraqi journalist Juma al-Quraishi:
"Everyone who took part in the war against Iraq
should be condemned, either Britain, or others."

Baghdad resident Ali al-Saraji:
"Ex-UK prime minister, Tony Blair, destroyed
 our country. From 2003, to now, our country
has been the scene of destruction, killing,
massacres, explosions and sectarianism."

A defiant Blair refuses to accept accusations
 from service families that he was wrong and
reckless, and he insists that he would make
 the decision again, 'come what may'.

 Families of some of the 179 military personnel
 killed in Iraq, say the former PM is "a terrorist".

 Jeremy Corbyn has offered an apology,
 on Labour's behalf, for the "stain on
our party and our country".


Tony Blair: Guilty In The
 Eyes Of The Public
August 1st
by Steve Sweeney

Teflon Tony Blair escaped justice yet again yesterday -
after High Court judges blocked a private prosecution
against the former PM for war crimes over the
invasion of Iraq.

Campaigners accused the Establishment of a “concerted
 and coordinated effort” to exonerate Mr Blair for his role
 in the Iraq war, in which one million people were killed.

Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German branded
Mr Blair as “the most protected war criminal in the world.”
However, she said: “In the court of public opinion
he has
long been found guilty.”

Iraqi General Abdul Wahed Shannan al-Rabbat had sought
 a private prosecution against Mr Blair, along with then
foreign secretary Jack Straw and attorney general
 Lord Goldsmith.

He accused Mr Blair of committing a “crime of aggression”
 by invading Iraq in 2003 and his lawyers asked permission
 from the High Court to seek judicial review to get the
Supreme Court to overturn a 2006 House of Lords
ruling that there is no such crime under the law
 of England and Wales.

Gen al-Rabbat brought the case after Westminster magistrates
refused to issue summonses in November last year claiming
 the trio had immunity from prosecution for decisions taken
 while in government.

However the appeal was dismissed yesterday by the Lord
 Chief Justice as having “no prospect” of succeeding.

But Michael Mansfield QC said that the findings of the
Chilcot Report justified the prosecution of Mr Blair.

He said that the inquiry showed Saddam Hussein did not
pose an urgent threat to British interests and that the
 intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction
 had been presented with “unwarranted certainty.”

The QC said that as the international crime of a war of
aggression had been accepted at the time of the
Nuremberg trials of nazi war crimes, it was the
duty of British courts to follow the example
and prosecute those responsible for the
 Iraq war.

The Nuremberg judges had said that war “is essentially
 an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the
 belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world.

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an
international crime; it is the supreme international crime
differing only from other war crimes in that it contains
within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary
Kate Hudson branded the decision as “hugely
disappointing” and said that “justice had
been left undone.”

She said: “Last year’s Chilcot report showed that Blair
had no respect for Cabinet procedure, no respect for
Parliament and no respect for international law.

“Iraq was devastated by the war Blair led Britain into,
 millions of innocent Iraqis were killed, British
were killed and terrorism has
spread across the
Middle East.

“Chilcot revealed the evidence that must now be used
 to bring Blair to justice. Only when justice is served
can we prevent disasters like the Iraq war from
happening again.”

(Source - Morning Star)



A huge drop in working-class Labour MPs,
caused a massive drop in support among
 voters with similar backgrounds, reveals
 research seeking to explain why support
has dwindled in the party’s heartlands.

The study says past leaders like Kinnock
 and Blair made a concerted effort to pick
 “more and more middle-class candidates
to run for office, during the 80s and 90s,
 as part of an effort to rebrand” -- which
had initial successes at the ballot box.

But this “conscious electoral strategy”
stored up problems, as working-class
 voters who initially, just didn’t vote in
response, now seek an alternative.

The solution? Trust each constituency to put
forward its own candidates, and don't impose
 ‘party-approved’ choices who can't do the job.

Now, unfortunately, there are "entryist"  MPs who, for
decades, have been groomed by CIA cold war relic
organisations -- like the Atlantic Council -- and are
now trying to misdirect the Labour Party towards
cuts, a militarised police, and a US war agenda...

- and their anti-Corbyn slant is hobbling Labour.

‘How Can I Deselect My Labour MP?’ A Short Guide
to Reselection and Democratic Accountability
by Eric Sim, excellent free advice here:




Chris Bryant, the Rhondda's dodgy MP,
was on TV -- as soon as the PLP coup
started -- telling us that Jeremy MUST
go, because it was the ONLY way to
act in the Labour Party's interest...

Chris Bryant's voting record:
from TheyWorkForYou.com

On Tuition Fees:

On 27 Jan 2004:
Chris Bryant voted in favour of university tuition
fees increasing from £1,125 per year, to up to
£3,000 per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to allow university tuition fees
 to increase from £1,125 per year, to up to £3,000
 per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted for the introduction of variable
university tuition fees (top-up fees) of up to £3,000
per year in place of the previous fixed fee of £1,250
per year.

On 31 Mar 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to allow university tuition fees
to increase from £1,125 per year to up to £3,000
per year, and to make other changes to higher
education funding and regulation arrangements.

On 14 Sep 2004:
Chris Bryant voted against: the immediate abolition
 of all tuition fees, the re-introduction of maintenance
grants of up to £2,000 for students from low-income
homes, and changes to the country's higher
education system.

On 14 Sep 2004:
Chris Bryant voted to reject the Liberal
Democrat policy of abolition of tuition fees.

On 25 May 2016:
Chris Bryant was absent for a vote on Queen's
Speech - Forcing Schools to Become Academies
- Further Rises in University Tuition Fees

On Human Rights:

Consistently voted for introducing ID cards

Almost always voted for requiring the mass
retention of information about communications

Generally voted for mass surveillance of
people’s communications and activities

On the Environment:

Generally voted against greater regulation
 of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to extract
 shale gas

On Special Interests:

Almost always voted against limits
 on success fees paid to lawyers in
no-win no fee cases

Generally voted against a
statutory register of lobbyists

On War or Peace:

Generally voted for use of UK military
 forces in combat operations overseas

Consistently voted for the Iraq war

Consistently voted against an
 investigation into the Iraq war

Generally voted for replacing Trident
 with a new nuclear weapons system

On 2 Dec 2015:
Voted to support UK airstrikes in Syria
[without UN authorisation]

On 2 Dec 2015:
Voted to support UK airstrikes in Syria
[without UN authorisation]

On Independence:

Generally voted for more EU integration


Chris Bryant Labour MP
From Wikipedia

(aka 1962-1986: Mr Christopher John Bryant
1986-1991: The Reverend Christopher John
Bryant, 1991-2001: Mr Christopher John
Bryant, 2001-: Mr Christopher John
Bryant MP.)

Born in Cardiff, to a Scottish mother & a Welsh
 father, Bryant grew up in Cardiff, Wales (where
 his father worked for 5 years), and Cheltenham.

He was educated at Cheltenham College, an
independent school for boys in the spa town
of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, where he
was captain of the school swimming team,
and Mansfield College at the University of
Oxford, where he graduated in 1983, with
 a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English.
 This was later promoted to a Master of
Arts degree (MA (Oxon)), as per tradition.

After completing his first degree, Bryant began
 training to be a priest in the Church of England
at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, in Oxfordshire.
There, he obtained a degree in theology.

Although a member of the Conservative
 Party, and an elected office-holder in the
 Oxford University Conservative Association,
he joined the Labour Party in 1986, after
leaving Oxford.

He was ordained deacon in 1986 and priest in
1987. He served as a Curate at the Church of
 All Saints, High Wycombe, from 1986 to 1989;
then as a Youth Chaplain in Peterborough,
as well as travelling in Latin America.

In 1991 Bryant left the ordained ministry, after
deciding that being gay and being a priest,
were incompatible. Statements made by
 Richard Harries, then Bishop of Oxford,
 also influenced his decision.

After leaving the priesthood in 1991, Bryant
worked as the election agent to the Holborn
 and St Pancras Constituency Labour Party,
 where he helped Frank Dobson hold his seat
 in the 1992 general election.

From 1993, he was Local Government officer
for the Labour Party; he lived in Hackney and
 was elected to Hackney Borough Council in
1993, serving until 1998. He became Chair of
the Christian Socialist Movement.

 He is both a member of the Labour Friends
 of Israel and Labour Friends of Palestine &
 the Middle East. From 1994 to 1996 he was
 London manager of the leader-grooming
 "charity", Common Purpose.

 He was Labour candidate for Wycombe, in the
 1997 general election (he lost by 2,370 votes),
and Head of European Affairs for the BBC,
from 1998.

His selection for the very safe Labour seat of
Rhondda, South Wales in 2000, shocked many
 people given Bryant's background – gay, an ex-
Anglican vicar, and someone who was a Tory,
while studying at Oxford, and a member now,
of the Henry Jackson Society 'think tank' ---
 described by The Guardian newspaper as
 'neoconservative'. It is pro-US, pro-NATO
and pro-military intervention, as well as
being fundamentally anti-socialist.

 Fifty-two people applied for the candidature
and a local councillor was hot favourite to
 win, before Bryant was parachuted in.

In 2004, a photograph of Mr Bryant in his
 underpants, which he had posted to a gay
 dating website, was published in 'papers.

When an interviewer suggested he was
 a 'disgrace to the Rhondda', he replied:
"They can't get rid of me."

His pay, allowances and some expenses:

The basic annual salary for an MP, from
April 1st, 2016 is £74,962.  MPs also get
 expenses: to cover the costs of running
 an office, employing staff, having some-
where to live in London, plus, in their
constituency and travelling between
 Parliament and their constituency.

His MP's expenses story:

Chris Bryant changed second home
 twice to claim £20,000: the deputy
leader of the House of Commons,
 "flipped" his second home twice,
 in 2 years, allowing him to claim
 almost £20,000 for renovations
 and fees.

Chris Bryant, MP for the Rhondda, split over
 £92,000 of expenses between 3 properties
 in Wales and London --- within five years.

In 2004, he attempted to claim £58,000 to
 overhaul his second home in Wales, after
allegedly complaining that properties in
his constituency were "terrace or mine
 owners' houses".

Mr Bryant, a former Church of England clergyman,
wanted the money for a new bathroom & kitchen,
 and to demolish his conservatory. He'd bought the
 detached house for £97,500, under a year earlier.

 He submitted a claim to the Commons fees office for
 £58,493.26 --- almost 3 times the annual maximum.
 He noted that the claim exceeded his allowance.

His alleged justification was disclosed... in
 correspondence between Commons officials.
 By email, an official wrote: "He had problems
finding a suitable property because in the
Rhondda there is a choice mainly of terraced
 property or mine owners' houses." When
approached by the Daily Telegraph,
Mr Bryant said: "I have never said
 or thought anything of the sort".

 In all, he successfully claimed over £13,000
 for renovations, repairs & appliances, in 2004.
Along with other bills, his annual claim was

In April 2005, he flipped his expenses to his flat in
 west London, which he bought for £400,000 in April
 2002. He also claimed £630 a month for mortgage
 interest, along with other bills. After claiming over
 £3,600 over 3 months, he sold the flat in July 2005
 for £477,000.

Mr Bryant used his profits to buy a more expensive
 flat in west London, which was valued at £670,000.
 He immediately flipped his second home expenses
 there, claiming almost £6,400 in stamp duty, legal
fees and mortgage fees, incurred in the purchase.

He then began claiming interest of £1,000 a month
on the mortgage. He also claimed a further £6,000
 a year for the flat's service charge and ground rent.

In all, he claimed £92, 415 in second
home expenses, from 2004 to 2009.

Mr Bryant said at the time: "I moved flat in
 London, so as to be closer to Parliament."

Research by Channel 4 News in 2015 found that
at least 46 MPs had this kind of system in place
– a move one Labour backbencher described as
“a new fiddle”. Channel 4 reported then:

“Our investigation found that many of the MPs
 bought their London properties with the help of
the taxpayer, when a previous expenses system
 allowed them to claim back mortgage payments.
But when those claims were banned, following
 the expenses scandal, they switched to letting
out their properties, in some cases for up to
 £3,000 a month. They then started claiming
 expenses for rent and hotels in the capital.”

Among those identified was Chris Bryant, shadow
leader of the House of Commons. He had already
 bought a penthouse in London back in 2005 and
 claimed around £1,000 a month in mortgage
claims under the old system.

But after the expenses scandal, he started renting
the property out. It’s since been advertised by estate
 agents as having a private lift and a porter, with rent
 at about £3,000 a month. Meanwhile, Bryant moved
 into a new flat;- claiming his own rent on expenses.

United Nations' Day 2020

Today, October 24th, is
United Nations' Day
The United Nations officially came into 
existence on October 24th, in 1945.
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 24th 
- the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations - as UN Day,
which "shall be devoted to making known to the people of the 
world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and 
to gaining their support for" its work.
In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 
a further resolution (United Nations Resolution 2782) 
declaring that United Nations Day shall be an 
international observance and international 
holiday and recommended that it should 
be observed as a public holiday by 
United Nations member states.
Most countries, following the ''International
Community'' - aka the rapacious West - 
have ignored this resolution.
75 years working for peace
There is no other global organization with the 
legitimacy, convening power and normative 
impact of the United Nations. Today, the 
urgency for all to come together, to
that promise - of the nations
united, has 
rarely been greater.
The 75th anniversary
The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the UN 
and its founding Charter. This anniversary comes at 
a time of great disruption for us all --- compounded 
by an unprecedented global health crisis due to 
the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic 
and social impacts. But it is also a reminder 
that times of struggle can become an 
opportunity for positive change 
and transformation.
To commemorate the 75 years of the United Nations, 
Member States held a high-level event on September 
21st, 2020, where they reaffirmed and recognized 
that our challenges are interconnected and can 
only be addressed through reinvigorated 
If you want to find out more, please go to:

Wales elderly paying for health care

Figures released by The Office for National Statistics
(ONS) reveal that UK pensioners are 4th worst off....
out of all of the countries in the European Union.


By backing housing charity’s ‘Jewish only’ rule, 
UK court drops the ball. Aren’t we all equal in Britain?
by Chris Sweeney October 17th, 2020 (Source: RT)

A small legal challenge has turned into a precedent-
setting case about whether someone in today’s 
Britain can be prioritised or denied housing on 
the basis of their religion.The law isn’t always 
right and it’s not just people who can be 
taken hostage.

In a disgraceful decision deemed legitimate by the UK’s
 highest court, a single mother with four children was 
refused social housing – because she wasn’t a Jew.

It’s that simple. 

The charity Agudas Israel Housing Association (AIHA) 
owns 470 houses in the London borough of Hackney.
 Local authorities promised, in October 2017, the 
next available home to the woman and her kids, 
two of whom are autistic.

AIHA refused to hand over the keys to any 
of its SIX four-bedroom, unoccupied flats.

Their argument was it makes offers “only to members 
of the Orthodox Jewish community.” As Britain is a 
secular nation, the woman’s legal team found this 
claim astonishing and argued it had the same 
sentiment as the ‘No Dogs, No Blacks, No Irish’ 
signs that were once displayed in some pubs. 

Lord Sales stated the charity’s use of positive discrimination 
was lawful, under the Equality Act 2010, in order to correct 
the disadvantage faced by the community. The issue 
apparently was not racism, but discrimination on 
the grounds of religious observance. The court 
considered the “widespread and increasing 
overt antisemitism in our society.”

Intolerance or hate speech of any form is unacceptable. 
But it’s hard to believe the courts and public reaction 
would have been the same, if this had been Islam or 
a group of Pashtuns from the Iranian border region.

Jewish affairs are treated differently. There's a 'kid gloves' 
approach and they’re deemed to be culturally valuable, 
while other communities are sometimes dismissed as 
interlopers. AIHA’s founder Ita Cymerman-Symons, 
speaking last year about the legal action, offered 
the view: “Which non-Jewish person, honestly 
speaking, wants to live in the midst of a 
building full of Haredi men with all the 
beards, and all the chanting on a 
Friday night and all the children?”

A homeless single mother with four children 
for one, along with many others.

Plenty of people in social housing endure noisy neighbours, 
potent cooking smells and screaming kids. But isn’t that 
wonderful? Diversity and living cheek by jowl with 
people who see, think and believe different
to you.

That’s a rich learning experience for anyone.

The fallacy of the AIHA’s superiority complex of viewing 
Orthodox Jews above others is, every public service is 
available to their members. And, of the charity’s 2019 
income of £105,710, the sum of £39,716 came from 
British government grants. They won’t be stone-
walled at hospital or refused entry on a bus, so 
why should they be allowed to create their 
small-minded kingdom with impunity?

These Jewish community leaders seem to be shutting out 
anyone who doesn’t align with their beliefs. It’s unhealthy 
and depressing, especially in a multicultural metropolis 
like London.

The judgement also referenced issues that Orthodox Jews 
don’t like to live outside of the Stamford Hill area and they 
tend to be poorer than the wider Jewish community. Many 
of us would prefer not to live outside of the millionaire’s 
playgrounds of Kensington, Knightsbridge and Mayfair – 
but we tend to be poorer, so can’t afford it. That doesn’t 
mean the courts would support us founding the 
Republic of Poverty Housing Association, and 
letting us administer who can move in.

Even if we concede that Orthodox Jews appear to support 
AIHA’s ghetto-isation, aren’t the courts supposed to rule 
for the greater good? It makes no sense to encourage 
people to live in self-imposed enclaves. How are they 
going to progress in life, or do they never plan to 
leave the streets around their homes?

There’s also a wider impact of the judgement. It raises the 
hackles of the population. It hacks away at the concept of 
respecting every other citizen. The far-right will jump on 
this and sadly there’s no defence. It will birth more 
discontentment and raise tensions. 

The law lords have dropped the ball, because they are the 
highest court in the land, they had the chance to set a 
precedent. They seem to have been influenced by 
Jewish sensitivity, that labels anyone who 
disagrees with the faith an anti-Semite.
 It’s hard to see how justice, fairness, 
compassion and understanding are 
applicable. But superiority, tokenism 
and favouritism have been advanced.


Well one of the court’s final points was AIHA was "a small 
housing provider, but similar discrimination by a larger one 
might not be allowed.”

We’re all equal, right?

Chris Sweeney is an author and columnist who has 
written for newspapers such as The Times, Daily 
Express, The Sun and Daily Record, along with 
several international-selling magazines. Follow 
him on Twitter @Writes_Sweeney


Brits should be ashamed of the casual cruelty 
we show towards over-60s, and shrugging it 
off as ‘banter’, does nothing to excuse it.
by Damian Wilson
9th October, 2020

Two-thirds of UK over-60s say they have been abused in 
public because of their age, with a fifth saying insults 
come from within their own families. It seems the 
idea that we should ‘respect our elders’, is no 
longer in fashion.

We live in a society where everyone just loves to talk 
about ‘respect.’ Even primary school children are 
indoctrinated with the concept, told they are due 
it by right and can demand it from others, if it’s 
not forthcoming. It’s all one-way traffic.

That’s why, as they grow older, and insist on enforcing 
their entitlement, it becomes increasingly evident that 
while they assume that right is a given for them, they 
actually don’t give a toss about it applying to 
anyone else.

Every now and then, research will put this into sharp relief, 
as is shown in the results of a survey undertaken by the 
University of the Third Age (u3a). The study found that 
the more senior members of society, basically those 
aged 60 and over, are frequently insulted by younger 
people, and they don’t like it.

Clueless Millennials, Zoomers and even Gen X’ers told the 
u3a pollsters that they don’t mean anything by slinging 
ageist insults, they were simply being “friendly” and 
the name-calling was just “banter.” Everyone 
does it.

The growing tendency of young people to airily dismiss their 
elders as over the hill old fogeys, and to even insult them in 
public because of their age, is not ‘banter,’ it’s insulting 
and rude.

The misuse of ‘bants’ as a term is one of modern life’s 
great irritations, because while young people have 
co-opted the word to (mis)represent the sort of 
behaviour that borders on bullying, with a thin 
coating of vicious humour, they are 
deeply mistaken.

Banter, in its traditional form, is an exchange between 
two people, a battle of wits, a game of intellectual 
ping-pong, like those nerdy folk on Channel 4 panel 
shows. Usually, those engaging in banter finish 
their jousting with a smug, self-congratulatory 
smile. It’s showing off, it’s proving how clever
you are. It’s not calling someone an old fart 
and shoving them out of the way.

Where’s the give and take, or clever verbal sparring, in 
a teenager shouting at an elderly woman in the street, 
“You dozy old biddy, move it!”. Or standing behind a 
chap of a certain age at a shop checkout, as he 
searches for his wallet and complaining,
grandpa, hurry up!”?

That’s not banter. That’s something completely different. 

A new sort of passive-aggressive behaviour combined 
with name-calling, is increasingly common among 
young Brits these days, thinking that getting one 
over another person is some sort of achievement 
proving their superiority, particularly if it
their victim as a result.

Of those surveyed, 63 per cent of over 60s said they 
had been verbally abused in public, with an ageist 
insult, while others had also noticed an increase 
in insults on television (65 per cent) social media
(33 per cent) and even from their own family 
(21 per cent).

My 11-year-old  thinks it’s funny to call me a ”boomer” 
when I can’t find the TV remote. She has a very clear 
idea of what the insult suggests, even if she’s 
actually out of range by a few years. I’m 56 -- 
so borderline Gen X’er, thank you very much.

Unfortunately for me, British families in general 
are not the sort of multi-generational dynasties, 
such as in Italy or India,  in which patriarchs 
& matriarchs, are given lifelong roles at the 
head of their family and afforded a respect 
that other members ignore at their peril.

Break the rules in one of these families, cause offence 
to an elder, and you will bring down the wrath of 
generations upon your head, face humiliation 
and even ostracisation. There is a sense of 
honour woven into the fabric of the family. 
These families are, sadly, not common 
amongst the British.

So most kids and young adults have no hesitation 
in freely hurling abuse at someone they consider 
a geriatric, past it, a fuddy duddy, over the hill, a 
fogey, a crone, an old dear, a codger, a biddy or 
a fossil, which by the way, are those insults 
most frequently employed, according to u3a.

This sort of casual cruelty, and the disregard 
it displays towards our seniors, is hugely 
disrespectful & we should be ashamed 
that it’s so widely accepted as nothing 
out of the ordinary.

We’re all guilty here. Causing offence like this should 
provoke more concern than it does, because it is an 
unwelcome sign of a breakdown in social and family 
hierarchies. Ignoring the concepts of seniority and 
wisdom --- we treat human beings like any other 
consumable, in our consumer-driven world ---
with a finite shelf-life & built-in obsolescence.

Many people feel no qualms about calling out an older 
person, in public, to remind them their time is up as a 
useful contributor to society and they need to shift 
it or risk being steamrolled by those behind them. 
While maybe not articulated quite like that as a 
traffic queue forms behind an elderly motorist 
showing excessive caution at a road junction, 
that, sadly, is often the underlying sentiment 
and we should be ashamed.

But most often, we’re not. We’re just annoyed at 
the inconvenience that someone older than us,
is causing to ourselves. Nearly 10 years ago, 
Age UK made a study of ageism & identified
it as the most widely experienced form of 
discrimination across Europe, affecting 
164 million senior citizens at that time.

Nothing much has changed in the UK in this regard 
since 2011, it seems. And if the latest study is 
anything to go by, things have become 
even worse. 

Damian Wilson is a UK journalist, ex-Fleet Street 
editor, financial industry consultant and political 
communications special advisor in the UK & EU.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in 
this column are solely those of the author and do 
not necessarily represent those of RT.


 Figures Reveal 17,000 Elderly People in UK 
Forced to Sell Home to Pay for Care Costs 
in Just One Year
October 5th, 2020 (Fars news agency)

More than 17,000 pensioners were forced to sell their homes 
to pay for social care last year, research by Money Mail reveals.

The shocking figure means that 330 elderly residents each 
week are taking the desperate step despite Prime Minister 
Boris Johnson’s promise to fix the social care funding crisis.

The calculations reveal the scale of the emergency, showing 
that the numbers forced to sell their hard-won homes have 
soared 45 percent since 2000.

Last night campaigners called for urgent action and 
demanded a "national fund" to pay for social care.

Morgan Vine, of charity Independent Age, said, "The 
pandemic is not a reason not to act – it is the reason 
why action has never been more vital."

On his first day in No 10 in July 2019, Johnson vowed to 
make social care a priority and end the crisis "once and 
for all".

But he has since admitted action would be delayed and 
the coronavirus crisis has made immediate reform a 
remote possibility.

The cost of residential care has risen dramatically 
and now stands at more than £33,000 a year.

Anyone with more than £23,250 in funds, including their 
house value, is denied state help, leaving thousands 
having to sell their homes to pay soaring care bills.

The Daily Mail has campaigned to end this injustice 
for the families of those with dementia, as well as 
other patients.

MoneyMail’s calculations, verified by Independent Age, 
are based on Department of Health data indicating that 
30 percent of those who pay for their residential care 
have to sell their homes.

The total was produced by comparing the numbers of 
self-funders in care provided by analysts Laing Buisson.

The research assumes the average stay is two-and-a-half 
years, as concluded in a study by the Personal Social 
Services Research Unit and Bupa.

It means around 350,000 elderly people are estimated to 
have sold their homes to pay for residential care since 1999.

Caroline Abrahams, director at charity Age UK, said, "When 
the threat from coronavirus finally recedes, Age UK will 
certainly be holding the Government to account on its 
promise to fix social care. The obvious solution is for 
us all to pay into a national fund, like we do with 
the NHS."

She added" |Most people dread the idea of having to sell 
the family home to pay their care bills and the fact that 
this is the reality for substantial numbers is very sad."

Vine, head of policy at Independent Age, said, "These latest 
figures are a timely reminder of the need to fix the funding 
crisis that has plagued the social care system for decades, 
long before COVID-19.

"When taking office, the Prime Minister promised to solve 
the crisis, including preventing people from having to sell 
their homes to pay for care," Vine said, adding, ‘Although 
he couldn’t have predicted the challenges we now face, 
we can all predict the long-term consequences of failing 
to keep his promise."

Liz Kendall, Labour’s social care spokesman, said, "The 
Prime Minister said, on the steps to Downing Street, that 
he has a plan to fix the crisis in social care and that no 
one should have to sell their homes to pay for their care."

"Yet we have seen neither sight nor sound of 
any long-term plan for reform," Kendall said.

"This must be an absolute top priority for the Government. 
People who have worked hard and saved all their life have 
seen their savings wiped out," Kendall added.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said, 
"We have committed to end the injustice that some people
have to sell their homes to finance care whilst others don’t. 
We know there is a need for a long-term solution and are 
looking at proposals."


UK’s chief scientific adviser has £600,000
 of shares in vaccine maker contracted 
by govt – reports

UK Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance reportedly 
holds a bonus of tens of thousands of shares in a pharma 
giant developing a Covid-19 vaccine for the government. 
Yet, London says there is no conflict of interest.

Vallance, who also chairs the government’s expert advisory 
panel on vaccines, appears to have retained over 43,000 
shares in GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – a UK-based 
multinational pharmaceutical company – 
worth £600,000, The Telegraph reports.

The shareholding appears to be the legacy of his previous 
job as the head of research and development at the very 
same company. Over his tenure from 2012 to 2018, 
Vallance accumulated a total of 404,201 GSK 
shares worth a whopping £6.1 million in his 
hands, according to the British media.

However, he sold more than £5 million worth of shares 
after being appointed to the government. GSK, mean-
while, has entered the global race to provide the world 
with a vaccine against coronavirus – alongside some 
20 other drug manufacturers and research centres. 
The endeavour might prove quite lucrative, should 
the company succeed.

The pharma giant working together with another drug 
manufacturer – Sanofi – has already struck deals with 
the UK and the US governments to supply them with 
a Covid-19 vaccine in case its efforts are fruitful. 
The contract would see GSK providing as many 
as 60 million doses to the UK and 100 million 
doses to the US. Washington has already 
reportedly paid the two companies 
£1.65 million to accelerate 
their efforts.

Since it received the government contracts, GSK’s 
share price rose by some two percent. Vallance 
has meanwhile been busy ensuring that the UK 
would get enough vaccine doses - if GSK is 
successful and contributing to the vaccine 
development efforts.

Earlier this week, he said that the first doses could 
be ready as early as by the end of this year, 
warning, however, that the first half of 2021
 would be a more realistic prospect.The 
revelations sparked suspicions of a 
potential conflict of interest.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock denied the 
possibility of this. “No, there are rules around these 
kinds of things and I'm sure that Sir Patrick has 
been fully advised by them,” he told LBC Radio. 
“If you know Sir Patrick Vallance as I do, any 
suggestion that he is doing anything other 
than his level best to try and tackle this 
virus is wrong,” he added.

A government spokesman confirmed that Vallance holds 
a deferred share bonus that would mature in April 2021 
without revealing its exact value. The spokesman also 
said that “appropriate steps were taken to manage the 
government chief scientific adviser’s (GCSA) interests 
in line with advice provided at the time.”

He added that the chief scientific adviser also has “no input”
 into the commercial decisions on vaccine procurement, 
which are taken by the government following a “robust” 
approval regime.

The developments come as the UK braces for a second wave 
of coronavirus. The number of new cases is on the rise once 
again and some places in the UK witness it increasing at a 
pace not seen since the peak of the epidemic in spring.

More than 6,100 people were confirmed to have contracted 
the disease overnight and Hancock said that up to 10,000 
people might get ill a day. The situation prompted London 
to introduce a new set of restrictions, which according to 
Prime Minister Boris Johnson might stay in place for up
six months.

Some companies, including the British-Swedish AstraZeneca 
are, meanwhile, seeking emergency approval for their 
vaccines from the relevant regulators.

(originally appeared in RT.)


Study: 4.5 Million UK Children
 Living in Poverty
Monday, January 21st, 2019, at 12:24pm

FNA - More than 14 million people are living in poverty
 in Britain, according to a major report --- proposing a
new measure of financial hardship which considers
 the impact of “inescapable” costs, such as child-
care and disability.

The research by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC)
found that 14.2 million people were living in poverty
under the new measure, of which, 4.5 million were
 children, and 1.4 million were people of pension
 age, according to The Independent.

Of that total figure, 7.7 million people were found to be
living in “persistent poverty”, meaning they had spent
all or most of the last four years or more, in poverty,
 while 6.9 million were living in families with a
disabled person.

The figure in the report marks a rise on findings by the
 independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) last
year which showed 14 million people in the UK were
 in poverty.

The SMC said its work over the last two and a half years
 has given rise to a new measure --- which makes
“significant changes to our understanding of
 who is in poverty”.

The new measure accounts for the negative impact on
people's weekly income of “inescapable” costs such
as childcare -- and the impact that disability has, on
people's needs, and includes the positive impact
of being able to access liquid assets, such
as savings.

It also takes the first steps to including groups of people
 previously omitted from poverty statistics, like those
 living on the streets, or in overcrowded housing,
SMC chair Baroness Stroud said.

The report finds that the majority (68 percent) of people
 living in workless families, are in poverty, compared to
 9 percent for people living in families where all the
work full time.

There are 2.5 million people in the UK who are less
10 percent above the poverty line, meaning
relatively small changes in their circumstances,
 could mean they fall below it, the
 commission found.

Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s shadow work and pensions
 secretary, stated, “The government’s strategy to tackle
 poverty consists of trying to mask the deep cuts it has
made to social security, by disputing the numbers of
 people in poverty."

“The new measure, importantly, shows the impact of debt,
 housing and child care costs, and the extra costs that
disabled people face. The extent of poverty it reveals
among disabled people and their families, is a major
concern, given the severe cuts to support to them,
 in Universal Credit," Greenwood added.

Sam Royston, director of policy and research at the Children’s
 Society, said it was “extremely worrying” that nearly a third
 of children – around 4.5 million – were living in poverty,
 according to the proposed new measure.

“This important report rightly suggests that inescapable costs
 like childcare, housing and support for children with a
disability, should be taken into account, when
measuring poverty,” he noted.

“When these are considered, children, sadly, make up a greater
 proportion of those in poverty, than previously recognised,
they can contribute to situations in which families
are left
struggling to make ends meet and facing
choices between essentials, like
eating and
heating,” he added.

The report also revealed “some areas of good news” with far
fewer pensioners living in poverty than previously thought,
 following a “significant fall” in pensioner poverty, over
 the last 15 years.

Philippa Stroud, chair of the SMC, stated that “for too long
 it has been possible to have a debate about the
measurement of poverty".

“I call on people and organisations across, and outside of,
the political spectrum, to support this new measure of
poverty, so we can all put our energy into creating
the policies and solutions that build pathways
out of
poverty,” Stroud added.

“Measuring poverty is complex, and this report offers further
 insight into that complexity and the additional measures
 that can be taken into consideration," a UK government
spokeswoman said, adding, ”This government is
committed to making a positive difference to
 the outcomes for poor and disadvantaged
families and children."

“Through our welfare reforms, we are providing personalized
 support, helping people overcome their specific barriers, 
and allowing them to progress into work, and then
progress in work - as we know, this still remains
the best route out of poverty," she stressed.

”Running parallel with that support, we continue to spend
 £90bn a year on working age benefits, to provide a safety
 net for those who need it, when they need it, and we will
be spending £54bn this year, more than ever before, to
support disabled people and those with health
conditions,“ she said.


Millions of adult Britons
 functionally illiterate
- UK publisher
January 5th, 2019, at 6:05pm

A major publisher in the United Kingdom has warned
 that millions in the country are functionally illiterate
but the problem is ignored, because it is not
 fashionable to discuss such issues about
one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Dame Gail Rebuck, chair of Penguin Random House,
told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday, that millions
of adults in Britain, had problems reading,
understanding simple texts.

“But the point is, it’s not fashionable, is it? You can
talk about little kids reading,” said Rebuck, adding,
 “But adults not reading? Or adults in the workplace
 not having enough literacy to fill in a form, to work
on a computer, to be promoted?”

Gail, a publisher known for funding a famous adult
 reading scheme in 2005, said functional illiteracy
 was a major problem in the UK, although many
 preferred not to raise awareness about it.

“That’s not something that people like
 to talk about. But it exists,” she said.

According to the official estimates, some 5.1 million
people in England, suffer from functional illiteracy,
meaning that they can understand only the most
straightforward, short texts on familiar topics, a
 level attributed to children aged 11, or below.

Gail said that adult illiteracy in Britain was affecting
children’s ability to learn, as many people found it
embarrassing to have lower levels of knowledge
 in reading and understanding, when it comes
to engaging with their kids’ education.

“... you have a cycle of deprivation, that goes
on through generations,” said the publisher.

Gail’s reading scheme, for adults in Britain, faced
closure last year, after failing to find a corporate
sponsor. A writer then offered their personal
resources, of around £120,000, to save
 the initiative, which was, apparently,
ignored by the British government.

(Source - PressTV)


US gun deaths
at 40-year record
as suicide rate spikes
December 14th,, at 12:32pm

Gun deaths in the US are at an all-time high, but it’s not
because more people are shooting each other,
according to statistics from the Centres for
Disease Control (CDC). Instead, they’re
turning the weapons on themselves.

Firearms killed a record high of 39,773 people in 2017,
 according to the CDC’s WONDER database, which
has only tracked gun deaths, since 1979.

While mass shootings get most of the media attention,
 60 percent of those deaths by firearm were suicides.

Here, too, the numbers are on an upswing, with
almost 24,000 people killing themselves with
a gun in 2017, the highest figure in 18 years.

That doesn’t mean 2017 wasn’t also a banner year for
gun homicides. The deadliest mass shooting in US
history, saw 58 people gunned down at the
Mandalay Hotel in Las Vegas, and a total
of 14,452 people were killed in gun
homicides during the year,
compared to 11,000
 in 2010.

Access to a gun in the home increases the odds of
 suicide more than threefold, according to Dakota
Jablon, policy analyst for the Education Fund to
Stop Gun Violence. The group’s analysis of the
CDC statistics showed the highest rates of
gun suicides were found in three states
 that have the highest rates of gun
ownership: Alaska, Montana,
and Wyoming.

While correlation does not imply causation, the impulsive
 nature of suicide attempts –- studies have shown the
decision is often made within minutes –- means
easily-accessible guns can make a difference
 between a successful attempt, 
and a passing urge.

While white men are the most likely to use a firearm
to commit suicide, dying at a rate of 14 per 100,000
- compared with black men at 6.1, they are nearly
10 times less likely to die in a firearm homicide.

This year is on track to give 2017 a run for its money,
according to a study by the Naval Postgraduate
School Centre for Homeland Defense and
Security, that found 94 incidents of gun
 violence in American schools alone,
so far.

Their database defined a “gun violence incident”
as one where a firearm is “brandished, is fired,
or a bullet hits school property for any reason.”

This year has already outstripped the previous
 record-holder, 2006, by 60 percent, largely
 driven by February’s Parkland school

(Source - RT)


Top UK Islamophobe
Syrian refugee boy
was '
justly attacked'

Thursday, November 29th, at 6:27pm

The United Kingdom’s top Islamophobic figure says an
 outrageous attack on a Syrian refugee boy in a school
in northern England was right, because he had earlier
 assaulted a white girl.

Robinson claimed in a Facebook post on Thursday that
 Jamal, the 15-year-old Syrian boy who had been bullied
in Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, had
suffered the assault, because he had, earlier, attacked
a white girl in the school.

Robinson said he had received a message from a mother
claiming that her daughter was subjected to an attack
by Jamal.

However, others commenting on his posts on Facebook
 insisted the girl's mother has denied the boy was
 involved. The users also shared images of
 messages, in which the girl's mother
denied the Syrian boy was involved
in the attack, saying Robinson had
misunderstood the messages.

Many believe Robinson, a convict under various charges
in UK courts, has influenced the attack on Jamal as he
 has done in many other hate crimes. The 36-year-old
founder of the English Defense League, recently
escaped a prison sentence, as judges decided
to refer his case for contempt of court charges
 to the UK attorney general. He is the number-
one campaigner against Muslims & refugees
 in Britain, and has staged several major
marches against Islam, involving the
far-right, in large British cities.

The boy who attacked Jamal has previously shared
 Robinson’s Facebook posts. A video of the attack,
 which reportedly took place in October, was
circulating on social media, on Tuesday,
 showing the attacker pushing Jamal,
already having one arm in a cast,
the ground, and forcing a
bottle of
water into
his mouth.

Jamal, from a family of six who has fled the
war-torn Syrian
city of Homs, later told ITV
that he had suffered
numerous abuses in
the school, and felt unsafe
going to the
same school, after the attack

last month.

“I woke up at night and just started crying about this
 problem. They think I'm different - different from
them,” said Jamal, adding “I don't feel safe at
school. Sometimes I say to my dad, 'I don't
want to go to school anymore'. I was just
 crying, and I didn't do nothing, because
I respect the school rules.”

An online campaign to help Jamal’s family has drawn
huge attention, with reports saying that people have
contributed more than £100,000 to help the family.

A video also emerged on Wednesday showing that
Jamal’s 14-year-old sister, had also been attacked
day earlier in the same school in Huddersfield,
 only because she was wearing a hijab. 

(Source - PressTv)


 Minor earthquakes
reported near
UK fracking site

Saturday October 20th, at 3:50pm

Minor earthquakes have been reported near a fracking
 (hydraulic fracturing) operation site in northwest
 England where people continue protesting
against the environmental damage of the
 controversial gas-extraction operation.

The British Geological Survey said Saturday that it had
detected four tremors near Preston New Road, near
Balckpool, in Lancashire, where a major fracking
operation began this week despite protests
and vigils held against the move.

Cuadrilla, an energy company focused on shale gas,
 began drilling at the site after Britain’s high court
dismissed a move meant to halt the fracking
operation. The company began the operation
 despite seismology reports indicating that
an initial drilling at the site in 2011, had
caused two earthquakes, one reaching
2.3 on the Richter scale, in the area.

Environmental activists have repeatedly warned against
the dire consequences of fracking, which is the
 extraction of oil and gas under immense
 pressure. The operation is believed to
 have caused 'serious damage' in the
United States, where it has increased
rapidly in recent years, including an
ncreased risk of earthquakes, and
contamination of water resources.

There has been evidences of a rise in the earthquake
risk in Oklahoma, in the US, and in Alberta, Canada,
where fracking goes on, despite public anger.

The British government has defended fracking as
a method of meeting rising energy demands. But,
scientists have slammed the move, saying that
London is imitating the administration of US
president Donald Trump, in disrespecting
 climate change warnings.

The British government has even moved to crackdown
 on the anti-fracking voices. Last month, a court
 handed down hefty jail sentences to three
 activists who had attempted to stop
vehicles transporting Cuadrilla’s
equipment to Preston New Road.

However, an appeal court quashed
 the sentences, and said they were

People continue to camp outside the fracking site,
 saying they will continue to protest, until the
 operation is fully stopped.


Religious hate crime
 up by 40% in UK
 - Government
Tuesday October 16th, at 5:53pm

The government in Britain has officially admitted a
 significant rise in hate crimes against religious
minorities, especially Muslims, saying such
attacks increased in number by almost
40 percent, over the past two years.

Britain’s Home Office (interior ministry) said Tuesday
 that 8,336 incidents of hate crimes against religious
 people had been recorded in England and Wales
the two years to March, this year.     

It said the figure represented some nine percent of all
hate crimes recorded in the British mainland excluding
Scotland, in the period. The overall rate of hate crimes
has more than doubled, since 2012-13, the ministry
figures showed, with people with disability and
special sexual orientations, being the
main targets.

The ministry attributed the spike in hate crimes against
 religious people, to terrorist attacks in London and
Manchester last year. Terrorists linked to groups
like Daesh, which used to wreak havoc in the
Middle East with an alleged Islamic mission,
claimed responsibility for the attacks in
Westminster, and Manchester arena,
which took place in March and May
2017, and killed dozens of people.

It also said a referendum in June 2016, in which
British voters
decided for their country to leave
the EU, had a role to play,
[Rhondda Records
- 'what?!] while better police record

 keeping, was also a factor.

However, the ministry did not mention other factors for the
rise in attacks on Muslims, including political discourses
on the need to ban Muslims from arriving in Britain, or
media debates about the way Muslim women
choose to dress.

Various studies have established a direct link between a
newspaper article written by the former British foreign
minister, Boris Johnson, in August, in which he
likened Muslim women wearing Burqas,
letterboxes and bank robbers, and
surge in attacks on Muslim
in Britain.


UK jails 3 environmental activists
for protesting against fracking op'
Wednesday September 26th, at 4:57pm

A court in the United Kingdom has issued jail
sentences for three environmental activists
who attended a protest last year, against
a fracking operation, also known as
hydraulic fracturing, in Blackpool,
 in northwest England.

After a hearing on Wednesday, the crown court in Preston
 handed down jail sentences of up to 16 months, to Simon
 Roscoe Blevins, 26, Richard Roberts, 36, and Richard
Loizou, 31, for taking part in a four-day direct action
protest in Preston New Road, located near a
fracking site in Blackpool.

A court jury had convicted the three in August of causing
 a public nuisance. A fourth activist, Julian Brock, 47,
was given a 12-month suspended sentence, after
pleaded guilty to the same offense.

Blevins, Roberts and Loizou dismissed the charges
brought against them by the police, saying they
were worried about the environmental impact 
of the drilling operation in the area.

All of the four convicts had climbed up lorries carrying
the equipment of Cuadrilla, a notorious fracking firm,
 to the site in Blackpool.

During the protest, which took place in July 2017,
people had expressed their support for the men,
throwing blankets, food and water up to them
as they camped out on the vehicles.

However, Judge Robert Altham justified the prison
sentences given to the activists, claiming that
they posed a risk of reoffending & could not
be rehabilitated, as “each of them remains
motivated by an unswerving confidence
that they are right”.

“Even at their trial, they felt justified by their actions.
Given the disruption caused in this case, only
immediate custody, can achieve sufficient
punishment,” said the judge.

It is the first time, since 1932, that people in the UK,
are put behind bars simply for environmental causes.

A prominent lawyer representing the three activists
decried the sentences. Kirsty Brimelow, head of
the international human rights team at Doughty
St Chambers, said the three had a right to go
beyond “simply standing and shouting” in
the peaceful and political protest.

Brimelow said the court rejected her argument that
the right to freedom of speech, can include non-
violent direct action. The lawyer said that the
three activist were right in their assumption
that fracking posed a serious risk to the
health & safety of the local community.

“It is relevant that there is a huge amount of scientific
study that points to the damage of increasing climate
emissions,” said Brimelow, while referring to inter-
governmental climate panel findings, that suggest
that climate change is caused by harmful
activities like fracking, and will displace
75 million people, by 2035.

Rosalind Blevins, the mother of one of the activists,
said after the trial, that she was proud of her son
and the cause he was advancing.

“I am proud of him and of them, for standing up
for what is so, so important, for all of us,” said
Blevins, outside the court.

(Source - PressTv)


‘This stinks’: Passengers left
abandoned by toiletless train
after loo break in Wales
September 16th, at 3:31pm

Rail passengers in Wales were abandoned at a station
 after being told that the train they were traveling on –
 which had no working toilets – would make a special
 stop, to allow commuters to go to the bathroom.

Passengers boarded the bathroomless train at Haverfordwest,
West Wales to make the two-and-a-half-hour trip to Cardiff.

 They were told over the PA system that those in need of
a loo break could take advantage of a longer stop at
Carmarthen so they could relieve themselves – but
that’s where it all went wrong.

Travelers who had exited the train to avail of the toilet break
 watched in horror as the locomotive took off without them,
 despite the promise that it would wait for them to finish
 their business.

One stranded commuter told the Sun that after disembarking
 from the train, passengers “heard a whistle being blown”
and then watched open-mouthed as the train pulled out
 of the station. “We managed to find an official who
said he had not been told about the train waiting,”
the passenger said.

Another passenger said that it “was just the latest in a long
 list of problems” for Arriva Trains Wales. “It’s crazy none
of the toilets on the train were working – there wasn’t
even an explanation as to why.”

Among those abandoned was also a 15-year-old girl who
was traveling to Cardiff for a day trip with friends. The
train left the girl stranded, with her friends and
 luggage still on the loo-less locomotive.

Her friends waited at the next station in Ferryside, 10 miles
away. The teens called the operator and the train was
stopped at Swansea so their bags could be removed
from the carriage. They caught the train, picked up
their bags, and continued their journey, but
 described the day as “ruined,” and the
actions of the railway company as
“disgraceful” and “thoroughly

Arriva Trains Wales has since apologized, with a spokes-
person saying that the transportation service is “sorry
 for the upset and inconvenience caused by this issue,”
and a “full investigation into the circumstances
surrounding the event” will be carried out.

This is the latest blunder for Arriva Trains Wales, after
 the service provider forced a passenger to forfeit
more than £10 ($13) to get his money back in his
lost wallet. “So my lost wallet was found by
 @ArrivaTW and they charge me £2 ($2.60)
 to release it, then take 10 percent of the
cash that was in the wallet!” 28-year-old
Adam Howells said on Twitter.

Howells revealed that the money had been taken from
 his wallet, and he was “given a ticket to go and get it
 from the ticket office,” he said, adding that “they
weren’t even sure if they had enough cash to
 give me.”

Think your friends would be interested?
Share this story!

(Source - RT)


UK mass spying regime
violated human rights
- European Court of
Human Rights
Thursday September 13th, at 3:30pm

The UK government’s mass surveillance program
known as “Big Brother” violated human rights
 and had “no real safeguards,” the European
Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has said, in
a landmark ruling.

Ruling in the case which was brought by a group
of journalists and rights activists, Europe's top
rights court in Strasbourg, France, said  on
Thursday, the interception of journalistic
material also violated the right to
freedom of information.

The ECHR judges voted by five to two that the mass
trawling for information violated Article 8 of the
 European Convention on Human Rights
guaranteeing the right to privacy,
 ruling that the safeguards
governing the selection of
 the data were "inadequate".

“While the Court was satisfied that the intelligence
 services of the United Kingdom take their
(European human rights) Convention
obligations seriously and are not
abusing their powers, it found
that there was inadequate
independent oversight of
 the selection and search
processes involved in the
 operation,” the court
in a statement.

However, the European court also ruled that
sharing the information gained ,with foreign
governments ,did not break any codes.

The UK surveillance program was revealed by
US whistleblower, Edward Snowden, as part
 of his sensational leaks on US and UK
spying practices.

PressTV - UK’s anti terror strategy causes fears among Muslims

The UK’s anti-terror policy known as the “Prevent Strategy”
 has caused “persecution fears” among British Muslims,
new report has found.

Snowden revealed that US and UK intelligence services
had been collecting bulk data, including telephone calls,
 messages and internet communication, whether or not
people were suspected of a crime.

During an interview with the The Guardian newspaper,
Snowden warned that the practices of the UK's
 Government Communications Headquarters
(GCHQ) were "worse than the US.”

Snowden, who worked for the Central Intelligence Agency
 (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA), is still living in
 exile, in Russia, after leaking the information.

Since the legal challenge began, Britain has been forced to
 reform its surveillance laws, and the government claims
 that there is new legislation that contains more
 privacy protections.

Civil liberties campaigners who brought the case hailed
 the judgment, as a landmark victory against the mass
 surveillance, that governments have defended
as an important tool in fighting terrorism.

Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch, a British civil
liberties and privacy campaigning organization, said
the ruling “vindicates Mr. Snowden’s courageous

“Under the guise of counterterrorism, the UK has adopted
 the most authoritarian surveillance regime of any Western
 state, corroding democracy itself, and the rights of the
British public,” Carlo said in a statement.

“This judgment is a vital step towards protecting millions
 of law-abiding citizens, from unjustified intrusion.”

(Source - Press Tv)


More evidence of Church
Establishment cover-ups
by Children's champion
Thursday, August 30th, 2018

The latest revelations about Roman Catholic Church
 cover-ups of the child sexual abuse at two of its
boarding schools, Ampleforth and Downside,
adds to the evidence of how the religious
Establishment, like the political one,
defends the powerful against
the weak and vulnerable.

As far back as 2001, Tory peer Lord Nolan published a
 report into paedophile abuse, in the Catholic Church.
 He, together with the inquiry vice-chair, were both
former students at Ampleforth College.

Then Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor,
 ordered the inquiry, after years of complaints, yet he himself
had covered up the paedophile activity of a priest in Arundel
and Brighton, when he was bishop of that diocese.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA),
set up in 2015, has found that the Nolan report was a
whitewash and none of its recommendations
properly implemented.

Father David Pearce, former head of the junior school at
St Benedicts and Ealing Abbey, was charged in November
 2008, with 24 counts of indecent assault, sexual touching
and gross indecency, with six boys, aged under 16.

The conduct of the Ealing monastic community, as trustee
of the St Benedict’s Trust, was examined by the Charity
Commission, which found that it had failed to take
adequate measures to protect beneficiaries of
 the charity, from Pearce.

Other Catholic institutions revealed to have paedophile
abusers, were Buckfast Abbey, Belmont Abbey, and
Douai Abbey.

 In the Anglican Church, former Archbishop of Canterbury, 
George Carey, recently admitted under cross-examination
 his role in protecting the predatory paedophile ex-Bishop
 of Gloucester, Peter Ball, after he was provided with
 compelling evidence of the crimes committed by
 the clergyman.

Ball was successfully prosecuted and jailed in 2015,
after a career of physically and sexually abusing
and exploiting boys and young men, including
some, who were particularly vulnerable.

A report into the cover-up of child sexual abuse within the
church in 2017 concluded that the Church establishment
colluded with paedophile priests, failed to investigate
 allegations and ignored the needs of traumatised
young men, over a period of 20 years.

Ball was first accused in 1993 by a 17-year-old man, who
took his own life in 2012, when the police accused him
of lying, during a botched investigation.

Fellow Establishment stalwart, Lady Butler Sloss, published
 a report, in 2011, into the way the Church of England
handled previous allegations against two ministers
 in Sussex, who had sexually abused young boys.

Eight months after her report was published, Butler-Sloss
had to issue a 6-page addendum in which she apologised
for “inaccuracies” which, she admitted, arose from her
failure to corroborate information given to her, by
senior Anglican figures ,as part of the inquiry.

She had failed to test the evidence presented to her, by
senior Anglican figures keen to whitewash the scandal.

As the first IICSA head, Butler-Sloss, a devout Anglican
 and failed Tory general election candidate, quit, 
following the above revelations, together with
the news that her brother, Michael Havers,
who was attorney general under Margaret
 Thatcher, limited the scope of an inquiry
 into child sexual abuse at the Kincora
Children’s Home, in Northern Ireland,
 in the 1970s.

Cabinet minutes from 1983, reveal that Havers ensured that
MPs and other prominent public figures were protected, by
restricting the terms of reference of the inquiry.

In the early 1980s, Havers was accused himself, by campaigning
MP Geoffrey Dickens of a cover-up when he refused to prosecute
Sir Peter Hayman — a diplomat, former MI6 deputy director and
member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, a lobbying
organisation for child abusers.
In 2014 the Archbishop of York apologised for previous cover-ups
 of child sexual abuse by Robert Waddington, a former dean of
Manchester cathedral, who was once in charge of
church schools.

Then Archbishop of York, Lord Hope, admitted he did not report
the matter to the police or other child protection agencies, even
 when evidence was shown him, in 1999 and again, in 2003.

Waddington had begun abusing boys in the 1960s,
when he was headteacher at a school in Australia.

In 2015, the Methodist church made a very public apology, after
a wide-ranging, independent investigation, unearthed nearly
2,000 reported cases of sexual abuse, dating to 1950.

Evidence reveals that ministers or lay employees had been
involved in a quarter of the cases, which included sexual,
physical, emotional and domestic abuse, as well as
neglect. In the 200 cases concerning ministers,
102 were of a sexual nature.

There are multiple police investigations currently under way,
into historic allegations of child sexual abuse, by church
staff, throughout Britain and Northern Ireland.

• Steven Walker is Unicef children’s champion, and author of
Safeguarding Children and Young People, (p., Russell House).


Wales sees huge increase
in modern slavery
by Marcus Barnett
Thursday, August 23rd, 2018.

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Wales has seen a huge increase in “modern slavery”
cases over the past year, Welsh government
statistics reveal.

Welsh Assembly Health and Social Services Secretary
Vaughan Gething will talk to public service workers
 today about the 193 recorded cases of “potential
 victims of slavery” that have taken place across
 the country since last summer.

This represents a massive 56 per cent increase
 on the previous year.

The figures include record levels of people who have
been victims of sexual exploitation, sweated labour
 in poor conditions and foreign workers facing
pay exploitation.

In a recorded video made for Unison’s black members
conference, Mr Gething praised Unison’s record in
fighting against modern slavery.

He reaffirmed the role that Unison and other trade
unions play in combating all forms of modern

Unison black members group chairman Kebba Manneh said:

"There are more people in slavery today across the world
than in the entire 350-year history of the transatlantic
slave trade - and in Wales, it is on the rise.

“It could be the woman trapped in servitude or trafficked
 into the sex trade, the man in forced labour or the child
 who has been trafficked by criminal gangs and suffered
horrendous abuse.”

Mr Manneh welcomed the Welsh government’s code of
practice for ethical employment in supply chains as
an “opportunity” for unions to tackle modern
slavery, workplace exploitation and to
 regulate the fair treatment of
working people.

(Source - Morning Star)


'Ministers must halt all privatisation'
after HMP Birmingham scandal
by Sam Tobin
Monday, August 20th, 2018.

Ministers must halt all privatisation following their crisis
intervention at the stricken G4S-run Birmingham prison,
Labour said today.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said outsourcing
was now “putting the public in danger,” warning:

“Birmingham Prison, Carillion and East Coast
Rail have all collapsed because of failed
Tory privatisation.

“This has to be a wake-up call and a turning point in
how our public services are run, so we can protect
the public, instead of private profit.”

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said the crisis
at HMP Birmingham should mark the end of the “flawed
 idea of prison privatisation” and called for an urgent
independent inquiry into privatisation throughout
the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart was forced to announce
 that the government would step in at the crisis-hit
Victorian jail after a recent visit from HM
Inspectorate of Prisons revealed a
 “dramatic deterioration” in the
 last 18 months.

In a scathing report, Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter
Clarke said privateer G4S had “completely failed” to
keep prisoners or staff safe at the jail, where drug
use was so rife that he actually felt “physically
affected by the drugs in the atmosphere.”

Mr Clarke also called for a “thorough and independent
assessment” of what had gone wrong in the contract
between the government and G4S, which has run
 the prison since 2011.

The MoJ also released a damning report into a 14-hour
riot at the prison in December 2016, which “could and
 should have been prevented.”

The June 2017 report, previously withheld for security
reasons, said that there were “several windows of
opportunity in the early stages of the incident …
when a hold could have been established,
preventing the subsequent escalation.”

It concluded that “staff had, over the preceding year …
become worn down, by chronic staffing shortages
at HMP Birmingham, caused by a combination of
levels of sickness, attrition & disorganised


Tory minister Mr Stewart said the situation at HMP
 Birmingham was shocking, but resisted calls
for an inquiry.

But Mr Burgon said:

“This shocking situation underlines
the dangerous
consequences of the ever-greater
of our justice system.

Birmingham was the first publicly
prison to be transferred to the
sector. This should be a
nail in the
coffin for the flawed
idea of prison

Prison Officers’ Association (POA) general secretary
Steve Gillan stressed that prison guards had been
placed in “an unacceptable position by failed
government policies” and “once again it will
be brave prison officers picking up
the pieces.”

Chairman Mark Fairhurst added that the situation
“highlights the need to keep prisons in the public
sector” & called for an end to privatised prisons.

He said: “The days of private companies putting
profits before staff and prisoner safety,
 must stop.”

Howard League for Penal Reform CEO Frances Crook
 said: “Contracting out and commissioning public
services to private companies involves massive
 bureaucracy and monitoring and, when the
state fails to invest sufficient resources to
 oversee the companies, you get scandals
 like Carillion, G4S Birmingham, G4S
jail Medway [and] probation.”

But she agreed with Mr Stewart, saying: “We don’t
 need an inquiry, that just wastes time. We know
what went wrong in G4S Birmingham prison.
The point is to fix it.”

Staffordshire University criminology professor James
Treadwell said: “HMP Birmingham did not go wrong
after the riot in 2016, it went wrong after it was
privatised in 2011.

“But let me also say that there are a lot of state-run
prisons, that are not too much better, now, with
austerity and post ‘benchmarking’, they are
on the edge, just like Birmingham.”

(Source - Morning Star)


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Universal credit is harmful to women and
 can worsen domestic abuse, say MPs
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
by Lamiat Sabin

The way that families are getting universal credit —
in lump sums to one partner — is detrimental to
women and could worsen domestic abuse,
MPs say.

In a report published today, the work and pensions
select committee warns that it has heard evidence
that, for a minority of claimants, single household
 benefit payments paid into one bank account
can make it easier for perpetrators to abuse
and control their partner.

A domestic abuse survivor told MPs about the father
of her children: “He’ll wake up one morning with
 £1,500 in his account and piss off with it,
leaving us with nothing for weeks.”

The committee argues that universal credit (UC), the
Tories’ much criticised flagship benefit reform
scheme, is intended to “mirror the world
of work.”

Committee chair Frank Field said: “This is not the 1950s.
 Men and women work independently, pay taxes as
 individuals and should each have an
independent income.

“Not only does UC’s single household payment bear
no relation to the world of work, it is out of step
 with modern life and turns back the clock on
 decades of hard-won equality for women.

“The government must acknowledge the increased risk
of harm to claimants living with domestic abuse it
creates, by breaching that basic principle, and
 take the necessary steps to reduce it.”

The MPs point out that responsibility for controlling,
neglectful and violent behaviours, lies with the
perpetrators — but they are demanding that
the government acts on its “moral duty” by
 implementing policies to deter them, such
 as splitting payments.

Pending split payments, the entire UC payment should
 by default be made to the main carer of the children,
the committee also said.

The DWP must also ensure it safeguards vulnerable
claimants by having a private room in every job-
centre “without delay,” a domestic abuse
specialist in each branch, and tighter
privacy controls to the online
 journal, the committee said.

Women’s Aid chief executive Katie Ghose welcomed
 the report - and its calls to pay UC to the main
 child rearer.

She said that split payments should be made by default
 and that the DWP should work with specialist groups
 to deliver domestic abuse recognition training for
 jobcentre staff.

Ms Ghose said: “Universal credit was not designed
with survivors’ safety in mind. We have long been
 warning that it risks making the domestic abuse
 worse for survivors, and putting an additional
barrier in the way of them escaping
 the abuse.”

Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary,
Margaret Greenwood said: “Universal credit
single household payments make it easier
for perpetrators of domestic abuse, to
control & exploit their victims, leaving
vulnerable people - often women and
children - wholly reliant on an abusive
partner for money to fulfil even their
most basic needs.

“It is shocking, too, that in some cases delays
in payments are sending victims back to
abusive partners.

“Universal credit is fraught with design flaws, and
the government has shamelessly ignored warning
after warning, about the devastating impact it has
had on the lives of some of the most vulnerable
people in our society.

“The government must now listen to these warnings,
pause the roll-out of universal credit and fix the
problems, so that people are not pushed into
poverty, destitution and even put at greater
risk of domestic abuse, as a result of the
 major flaws in its design and delivery.”

(Source - Morning Star)


Plans to bury nuclear waste under
national parks backed by UK govt
July 31st, at 3:19pm

UK officials could soon begin burying radioactive waste
 under some of the country’s national parks and areas
of outstanding natural beauty, according to new
backed by the British government.

Nuclear waste is currently being stored at above-ground
facilities across the UK --- but it is hoped that deep
geological burials will provide a long-term solution
to the problem of mounting leftovers. The plans
were published in January, but have now been
 bolstered --- by the support of MPs on the
Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
 (BEIS) Select Committee.

Areas reportedly under consideration are the Lake District
national park, which is located near the Sellafield nuclear
 reprocessing plant in Cumbria.

Labour MP and committee chairperson Rachel Reeves said
the group had decided against excluding national parks
 from becoming potential burial sites. “It is right for
safety matters to prevail over environmental
concerns in this case,” she said.

Burial works are said to involve building vaults and tunnels
that could contain the waste deep underground, but
opponents fear they will cause major damage
the surrounding landscape.

Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP, has branded the plan
 to bury the waste in some of the UK’s most scenic areas
 as “outrageous.”

“Tussles over which communities have to put up
this toxic material, bring us all to shame,”
Lucas told
the Guardian.

Speaking to Sky News, Emma Marrington of the Campaign
to Protect Rural England, said she hoped the government
would reconsider the plans. “We know that where such
major development takes place, we destroy beautiful
landscapes and ruin our opportunity to pass on a
beautiful piece of countryside, to the next
generation,” she said.

(Source - RT)


123,000 kids now homeless
in Tory Britain
The ugly face of Tory Britain was exposed again today
 as new stats revealed more than 123,000 children
living in temporary housing while the number of
elderly homeless people soared to its highest
 level in a decade.

The new data quietly published by the Ministry of Housing,
Communities and Local Government shows the effect that
lack of genuinely affordable housing is having on some of
 the youngest and oldest people in England.

The number of lone-parent families with at least one child
living in temporary accommodation rose by 54 per cent
in the last five years to 38,390.

The figures revealed that 123,130 children were living in
temporary housing in the first three months of this year
— enough to fill 470 primary schools — an increase of
80 per cent since the Tories first came to power in
2011, according to Labour.

Single-parent households account for nearly two-thirds
(63 per cent) of families living in temporary homes
despite making up less than a quarter (23 per cent)
 of all families in England, according to
 homelessness charity Shelter.

Shelter CEO Polly Neate said: “It’s clear that our country
is in the firm grip of a housing crisis as these figures
 starkly show, with older people and single parents
 both bearing the brunt.

“Something as simple as a family breakdown can push
older people from a shared family home into private
renting, yet huge rents and unforgiving welfare
 cuts mean they lose their homes.

“If we want to protect more people from the ravages of
 homelessness, the government must come up with a
bold new plan for social housing and, in the short
term, ensure housing benefit covers the actual
cost of rents.”

National Pensioners Convention national officer Neil
Duncan-Jordan said that older people were not
“immune” to the housing crisis and that tens
of thousands of homes for social rent
to be built per year, to meet
their needs.

He said: “Clearly the private sector is unwilling and unable
 to meet this challenge -- and that’s why we need local
authorities to start building affordable housing for
sale or rent, that caters for everyone.”

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said that the
statistics should “shame” government ministers.

The ministry's data also shows that rough sleeping in
England increased for a seventh year running in 2017.

A total of 4,751 were recorded as having slept on the
 streets last year compared with 1,768 in 2010, but
the true figures are believed to be much higher.

Mr Healey added: “Homelessness fell at an unprecedented
rate under Labour, but, after eight years of failure on
housing under the Tories, 123,000 children are now
without a home.

“This is a direct result of Conservative decisions — a steep
drop in investment for affordable homes, cuts to housing
benefit, reduced funding for homelessness services and
 a refusal to help private renters.

“The next Labour government will end rough sleeping
within a Parliament and tackle the root causes of
rising homelessness, with more affordable
and stronger rights for renters.”

(Source - Morning Star)


 US govt demands last minute changes
to report on UK spies’ involvement
in torture, rendition
June 26th, at 10:13am

The US government has demanded the UK make
 11th-hour changes to a report on Britain’s
involvement in rendition during the War
on Terror. Human rights groups say
caving to US pressure would
shatter the inquiry’s

It is understood that the long-awaited report, originally
 commissioned by David Cameron weeks after he
entered Downing Street in 2010, will call for
sweeping changes to the rules on how UK
 spies conduct themselves in the field.

The report will also call for far greater ministerial oversight
 to ensure accountability for the decisions that are taken.

 It was due to be published Thursday, but has been
'complicated'... by the US request for amendments.

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) – a body
 made up of MPs and peers that investigates the work
of the security services and its spies – sent two
 reports on the mistreatment and rendition of
 terrorist suspects, following the 9/11 attacks,
 to UK Prime Minister Theresa May last month.

One report covered the 2001-2010 period, while the other
 focused on current issues. The publication of the two
 reports has been thrown into disarray, after the US
requested changes to the historical report – a
move that human rights campaigners say, 
would destroy the credibility of
the inquiry.

Dan Dolan, head of policy at human rights charity Reprieve,
 told The Times: ''It would destroy what remains of this
 inquiry’s credibility, if its findings were influenced by
 the same US agencies who oversaw the abuses
being investigated, and we must urgently find
 out what changes the Trump administration
 requested and whether they were accepted.

''If the government had delivered the full public inquiry
it originally promised, it would be unthinkable that the
Trump administration would be permitted to review
this report, before members of the UK Parliament.

''To convince anyone she takes these issues
seriously, the prime minister must order -
immediately - an independent, judge-
led inquiry, into UK involvement in
torture and rendition.''


The DWP asks a woman to work unpaid
on a campaign to boost paid work
for women
June 23rd, 2018
by Stefan Schmid

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has found
itself in hot water once again after asking a woman to
 work for free. Ironically, it was for a campaign
specifically focused on getting woman
into paid work.

Freelance creative producer and writer Amber Massie-Blomfield
 exposed the government department, in a brutal takedown on
Twitter. The scathing open email has now been shared online
 thousands of times.


As the Mirror reports, the Her Way campaign at the DWP
is designed to “empower” women into paid work. The
 campaign also claims to showcase “routes into
employment”. But the DWP told the freelance
writer it couldn’t pay contributors, and the
work should only take up to “a few
hours” time.

The campaign headed up by the DWP states that women
 are “often caught up in conflicting messages about
 their work”.

“Brilliant Smackdown”

In the open letter response to the DWP, Massie-Blomfield
 laid bare the hypocrisy of the government department.

The freelancer wrote:
''You particularly asked me to share my insights on how
 to go freelance. I am willing to share one piece of
advice you may wish to pass on: Some people
will take you for a mug. Don’t let them.''

You can have that one pro bono.

Many social media users were quick to back the
freelance writer. One praised her “brilliant
 smackdown” of the department.

While another suggested this behaviour...  was
something they had come to expect of the DWP:

DWP Response

Responding to questions about the situation,
a DWP spokesperson said:

''We are working on a campaign to encourage girls
and women to consider diverse career opportunities
 through sharing stories from real life role models.

''We are not asking people to work for free. If people
 want to get involved voluntarily, we are providing
the support needed to tell their story.''

In an interview with the Big Issue, Massie-Blomfield
confirmed she wouldn’t be taking the matter any
further. She said:

''I felt confident enough to turn around and call them out
 on that unacceptable practice but I do wonder how
many other people starting out in their careers,
others in more pressing circumstances,
 would feel able to respond like I have.''

The writer has rightly received widespread praise for her
decision to publicly challenge the DWP. It’s crucial
continue to expose the working practises
of the
controversial government department,
unlikely it might be that the DWP
will learn
from its mistakes.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary, so we can keep
 holding the powerful to account.

Spread the word:
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Male domestic abuse victims up 40%
in just one UK county, as thousands
 more report offense
19th of June, at 2:45pm

Thousands of men have reported being domestically
abused in Kent, a charity has revealed. The Mankind
Initiative saw a staggering increase of 40 percent in
 the number of male victims suffering domestic
violence since 2017.

The number of male victims went up from 4,803
in 2016 to 6,764 in 2017, the charity claims.

It hopes that releasing the figures will help more
to come forward about their abuse, as
well as
encouraging streamline services
councils and the health sector
for all
domestic abuse victims,
of gender.

The Home Office previously reported that men are
times less likely to tell someone about their
They are also less likely to
perceive their treatment as

Ian McNicholl, a domestic abuse survivor & ambassador
 for the Mankind Initiative, obtained the figures after
sending a Freedom of Information request to Kent
Police. He said: “I never came forward to the
police when I was experiencing abuse and
it nearly cost me my life.

“If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you are not alone
 and help is out there. Please call the police or speak with
 friends or family to get the help you need,” McNicholl
Kent Online reports.

“I can assure you that the action you take today will
be life changing, and it could even be lifesaving.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate
there were around 713,000 male victims of abuse in
 the year ending March 2017.

Mark Brooks, chairman of the ManKind Initiative, said:

“The number of men coming forward to the police
sends a clear message that domestic abuse is
crime that affects both men and women.

“It is vital that councils, the police and crime commissioner,
and partners in health and housing, fund local services to
 support them.”

(Source - RT)


 Forget the NHS, spend on defense
– US ambassador tells UK
May 15th, at 11:22am

Woody Johnson, the US ambassador to the UK, has said
that Britain should spend more on military defense, at
the expense of the NHS, insisting there needs to be
‘trade-offs’ to ensure security and to remain a
 strong US ally.

Johnson seemed to indicate to journalists assembled in
London that, if increasing spending on defense was to
the detriment of national treasures such as the NHS,
then that was a price worth paying. He said:

“Healthcare is always going to be an issue, education
always going to be an issue, transportation and
infrastructure are always going to be issues, etc.
But how important is it to defend yourself?”

The current owner of American Football team, the New
York Jets, Johnson has been serving as Donald Trump’s
 US ambassador to the UK since January this year.

Parroting a Trumpian trope, Johnson warned that
his boss doesn’t want to bankroll fellow NATO
countries such as Britain to safeguard their
security – claiming they needed to pay
 their way on the world stage.

The US ambassador was talking in relation to Britain’s
 ambition to buy 138 of the F-35 Lightning II next
generation warplanes, as reported in
The Times.

Some 15 jets have reportedly been bought so far,
with military officials committing to an
33, by 2025.

It may not come as a surprise to some in the UK that an
 official from the US, a country which views good health-
care not as a right, but as something that should be
determined by financial capability, is advising its
‘close ally’ to ditch increased spending
on the
NHS to ward off supposed threats
national security from ‘enemies’
as Russia.

Johnson added: “You’re going to have to make trade-
and go through the emotional and practical and
philosophical arguments in terms of what you want
to do, what you want to be, how important is
defense? How you want to be perceived by
the US, but also by Russia and others?”

The ambassador’s intervention comes on the back of
suggestions that there is a black hole in the region
 of £20 billion ($27 billion) in the UK Ministry of
Defence's budget over the next decade,
reports Forces Network.

(Source - RT)


Private police force will hit UK streets
--- to fill void created by austerity
May 8th, at 12:16pm

‘My local bobby’ – a private police force organization –
 is to roll out its services nationwide, after successful
trials in 3 of London’s Britain’s richest neighbour-
hoods, including Mayfair, Kensington and

Coming to a street near you, if you can afford the monthly
client fee of up to £200 (€228) a month, your ‘local bobby’
will be accessible to you via a direct line, can be tracked
on an ipad, and may even afford you the added VIP
treatment of meeting and greeting you from tube
stations or your car, reports The
Evening Standard.

The private police force has the power to make citizens
arrests and is “simply the element that 'prevents,’ ‘
deters’ and 'solves' crime and anti-social
behaviour problems in defined areas
through bespoke solutions,”
according to its website,

The company has been utilizing social media to broadcast
its “successful” achievements thus far, ranging from
stolen personal valuables being found to moving
on 3 ‘drunks’ from a patrolled neighbourhood.

However, there are some on social media who do not
see this development in private policing so positively,
highlighting the notable failings of private security
contractors such as G4S and questioning why
the state has not properly funded the public 
police forces.

The stories of mistreatment of Palestinian political prisoners
in G4S-run Israeli prisons and immigration removal centres
here in the UK, along with private security firm Serco may
be a cause for concern with regards to what many
perceive as a private security firm operating on
 the streets of Britain.

Senior figures within the state’s police force have voiced
concerns about the marketisation of policing. Chair of
the Police Federation of England and Wales, Calum
 Macleod says:

“Policing is not a consumer or lifestyle issue. Nor should it
 be the exclusive domain of the wealthy. When Sir Robert
Peel introduced the first full-time, professional and
centrally-organized police force in the 1820s,
that was not what he had in mind.”

This latest development of the private sector operating
 within a sector historically funded by the public, is set
against a backdrop of some 21,000 police officers
being cut from the streets of England and Wales –
policing is a devolved matter in Scotland and
Northern Ireland.

The scheme has been set up by ex-London Metropolitan
police officers David McKelvey and Tony Nash, who cite
 the lack of police officers on the streets of Britain as a
major issue - which they are seeking to successfully
address with their ‘My local bobby’ private service.

Mr McKelvey told the Sunday Express: “You don’t see
policemen walk around the streets any more. If you
call 101 it’s a 30-minute wait and it is not a police
officer who answers."

McKelvey adds: “My Local Bobby is basically taking things
 back to Dixon of Dock Green-style policing,” which may
suggest he hopes to create a sense of community
policing, where residents are on first name
with their local bobby.

In recent times many private contractors operating within
the public sector have been lambasted for poor practices
 and, in the case of Capita, overstretched themselves,
resulting in £1bn wiped off its stock market value,
with pre-tax losses reportedly of £515m.

 It appears politicians and the public at large will be asking
themselves whether more private contracting really is the
answer to policing in England and Wales.

(Source - RT)


Study: A Million More
UK Children in Poverty
 Than in 2010
Monday May 7th, at 2:09pm

FNA - A new study found the number of children growing up
in poverty in working households will be a million higher
than in 2010.

Research for the TUC estimates that 3.1 million children
with working parents will be below the official breadline
 this year, The Guardian reported.

About 600,000 children with working parents have been
 pushed into poverty because of the government’s
 benefit cuts and public sector pay restrictions,
according to the report by the consultancy
Landman Economics.

The East Midlands will have the biggest increase in child
poverty among working families, followed by the West
Midlands and Northern Ireland, the research found.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC General Secretary, said child
poverty in working households had shot up since 2010.

“Years of falling incomes and benefit cuts have had a
terrible human cost. Millions of parents are struggling
to feed and clothe their kids,” she stated, underlining
 that “The government is in denial about how many
working families just can’t make ends meet. We
 need ministers to boost the minimum wage
 now, and use the social security system
to make sure no child grows up in a
family struggling to get by.”

The report was published as a march is planned in London
 this Saturday, calling for a new deal for workers.

The report said a household was considered to be in relative
poverty, if its income was less than 60% of median income
after housing costs.

A government Spokeswoman said it did not recognise
the TUC’s figures.

“The reality is there are now 1 million fewer people living in
 absolute poverty compared with 2010, including 300,000
fewer children," she stated, adding that “We want every
child to get the very best chances in life. We know the
best route out of poverty is through work, which is
why it’s really encouraging that both the
employment rate and household
 incomes have never been


One in three working parents
 unable to afford meals,
study finds
April 20th, 2018

At least a third of parents in work are often skipping meals
 because they struggle to afford enough food for their
families, a new study published today reveals.

More than one in three working parents cannot afford to
have regular meals, according to research by the Living
Wage Foundation.

The organisation said this demonstrates the “desperate
choices” low-income families have to make.

A survey of 1,000 adults found two out of five of them
had fallen behind on household bills, while a similar
number top up their monthly income with a credit
card or loan.

Half of them said they had borrowed money from a friend
 or relative and almost one in three walk to work to save
 on travel costs.

Shadow work & pensions secretary Margaret Greenwood:

“These shocking findings lay bare the reality of life
 on low pay for working families in the UK.

“Parents are skipping meals, falling behind on basic
 household bills and walking to work because they
 cannot afford fares.”

Mr Greenwood said that nearly half of part-time jobs
 are paid below the living wage and over two-thirds
of those are done by women.

“People are working hard for their families, but the Tories
 are failing them by leaving them at risk of debt and
hunger,” she added.

In London, the real living wage is set at £10.20 an hour
and £8.75 outside the capital. This is much higher than
 the government’s so-called national living wage of
£7.83 for those over the age of 25.

Living Wage Foundation director Tess Lanning:

“These findings reveal the desperate choices low-paid
families have to make and show why it’s so important
that more employers take a stand, by paying the real
living wage, based on what they need to live, not
 just the government minimum.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady:

 “Nobody should be forced to skip meals because of poverty
 pay and no business model should depend on its workers
 running on empty.

“The government must raise the minimum wage to £10 an
hour as quickly as possible so that millions more workers
 get a wage they can live on.”

(Source - Morning Star)


Jeremy Corbyn
‏Verified account @jeremycorbyn
20 hours ago

Labour’s policy to give free bus travel
to under-25s
could save young people
up to £1,000 a year.

Watch the short video and find out more, here:



Report: Sexual Misconduct by Staff
 Widespread at UK Universities
Wednesday April 4th, at 12 midday

FNA - Forty-one percent of students enrolled in UK universities
faced unwanted sexual advances, ranging from sexualized
comments to rape, from staff members, according to
a report.

According to The Guardian, the findings come from a soon-to-be
 published survey by two organizations in the UK, the National
 Union of Students (NUS) and the 1752 Group, a lobbying
 organization dedicated to ending misconduct, The
Scientist reported.

Researchers asked 1,839 current and former students
indicate whether they had experienced sexual
 misconduct from a member of their
university’s workforce.

Of the 1,535 individuals who responded to the survey,
12 percent said they had been touched in an
 uncomfortable manner.

Sixty-five respondents reported experiencing non-
consensual sexual contact and 15 people stated
that they had been sexually assaulted or raped.

Less than 10 percent of victims reported the incidents to
 the institution, and of those who did, more than half
 recalled an inadequate response from the university.

“This report provides clear evidence that, rather than the
issue of staff sexual misconduct in higher education
being limited to a few institutions, this is an issue
across the sector,” Anna Bull, cofounder of the
 1752 group, told The Guardian.

“It is unacceptable that higher education institutions,
rather than enabling students to report staff sexual
 misconduct, are failing the vast majority of students
who disclose, making it difficult or even impossible
for some to continue with their studies,” Bull added.

Last week, Universities UK (UUK), an organization
representing higher education in the UK, published
a report stating that, more than year after a task
force was put in place to tackle sexual misconduct,
there had been some progress in addressing this
issue, although it varied widely across
academic institutions.

“Despite evidence of significant progress being made
 in implementing the task force’s recommendations
 across the higher education providers participating
 in the study, it remains highly uneven,” the report

“All students should be able to pursue their studies
without fear of harassment,” Sam Gyimah, the
 universities Minister for England, said in a
 statement, adding that “Whilst I am
pleased to see the strides that have
 been taken by our universities to
 ensure this, there is clearly
more to be done.”


 Cambridge Analytica boasts of
 dirty tricks to swing elections
March 20th, 2018
(Sources - The Guardian/MSM)
- by Emma Graham-Harrison
and Carole Cadwalladr

The company at the centre of the Facebook data breach
 boasted of using honey traps, fake news campaigns
and operations with ex-spies to swing election
campaigns around the world, a new
 investigation reveals.

Executives from Cambridge Analytica spoke to undercover
 reporters from Channel 4 News about the dark arts used
by the company to help clients, which included
entrapping rival candidates in fake bribery
stings and hiring prostitutes to
seduce them.

In one exchange, the company chief executive, Alexander Nix,
is recorded telling reporters: “It sounds a dreadful thing to say,
but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true as
long as they’re believed.”

The Channel 4 News investigation, broadcast on Monday,
comes two days after the Observer reported Cambridge
 Analytica had unauthorised access to tens of millions
of Facebook profiles in one of the social media
 company’s biggest data breaches.

The company, and Nix, are under pressure from politicians
in the US and the UK to explain how it handled the data
and what role the information played in its campaigns,
 if any.

Cambridge Analytica has sold itself as the ultimate hi-tech
 consultant, winning votes by using data to pinpoint target
 groups and design messages that will appeal powerfully
 to their interests, although it denies using Facebook
information in its work.

But in the undercover investigation by Channel 4 News, in
association with the Observer, executives claimed to
offer a much darker range of services.

In a series of meetings with a reporter posing as a
 representative of a wealthy Sri Lankan family
 seeking political influence, Cambridge
Analytica executives initially denied
the company was in the business
 of using entrapment techniques.

But Nix later detailed the dirty tricks the company
would be prepared to pull behind the scenes, to
help its clients.

When the reporter asked if Cambridge Analytica could
offer investigations into the damaging secrets of rivals,
 Nix said it worked with former spies from Britain and
Israel, to look for political dirt. He also volunteered
 that his team were ready to go further than an

“Oh, we do a lot more than that,” he said over dinner
at an exclusive hotel in London. “Deep digging is
 interesting, but you know equally effective can
be just to go and speak to the incumbents and
 to offer them a deal that’s too good to be true
and make sure that that’s video recorded.
“You know these sort of tactics are very effective,
instantly having video evidence of corruption.”

Nix suggested one possible scenario, in which the
managing director of Cambridge Analytica’s
political division, Mark Turnbull, would
pose as a wealthy developer looking
to exchange campaign finance for
 land. “I’m a master of disguise,”
Turnbull said.

Another option, Nix suggested, would be to create
 a sex scandal. “Send some girls around to the
candidate’s house, we have lots of history of
things,” he told the reporter. “We could bring
 some Ukrainians in on holiday with us, you
know what I’m saying.”

He said these were hypothetical scenarios, but
suggested his ideas were based on precedent.

“Please don’t pay too much attention to what
I’m saying, because I’m just giving you
examples of what can be done, what
has been done.”

Any work may have stayed out of the spotlight partly
because Cambridge Analytica works hard to cover
traces of its operations, Nix said, using a shifting
 network of names and front groups.

“We’re used to operating through different vehicles,
in the shadows, and I look forward to building a
very long-term and secretive relationship with
you,” Nix told the source in a first phone call.

Cambridge Analytica sometimes contracts under a
 different name, so that there are no records of its
involvement, Turnbull said. That does not only
protect the company, but also makes its work
more efficient, he is recorded saying.

“It has to happen without anyone thinking it’s
propaganda, because the moment you think
‘that’s propaganda’ the next question is:
‘Who’s put that out?’”

In a recent project in eastern Europe, the company
sent a team but “no one even knew they were there,
they were just ghosted in, did the work, ghosted out”,
 Turnbull said. He added: “It may be that we have to
contract under a different name ... a different entity,
with a different name, so that no record exists
with our name attached to this at all.”

Covers include the setting up of fake academic projects,
sometimes simply going in on tourist visas, as former
 employees have told the Guardian they did for US
elections – apparently employed in violation of
Federal law.

Nix also offered details regarding the services
of professional ex-spies from Britain and Israel.

“We have 2 projects at the moment, which involve
doing deep deep depth research on the opposition
and providing source ... really damaging source
material, that we can decide how to deploy
in the course of the campaign.”

Cambridge Analytica said the Channel 4 News
investigation contained false claims, factual
inaccuracies, and substantial

It accused Channel 4 of setting out to entrap staff by
initiating a conversation about unethical practices.
It refuted any suggestion that the company used
fake news, honey traps, bribes or entrapment.

On Saturday, Cambridge Analytica denied it had done
anything wrong in relation to the handling of
Facebook data.

“Cambridge Analytica only receives and uses data that
 has been obtained legally and fairly. Our robust data
protection policies comply with US, international,
European Union, and national regulations,”
it said.


The Home Office response to
hunger-striking women is the
 vilest thing you’ll read today
March 7th, 2018
by Emily Apple of
Emily Apple Analysis, UK

The Home Office response to the women on hunger strike
at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre has been vile.

 First, it threatened the women with ‘accelerated deportation’
 if they continued with their protest. And then, immigration
minister Caroline Nokes tried to defend the decision by
saying the department had consulted a charity --- one
which doesn’t support the Home Office stance.

The hunger strike

Over 100 detainees are on hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood.

They have a list of 15 demands they are asking the
government to meet. But it is their stories which
 really illustrate why these demands are so
 important. One hunger striker wrote:

''This whole thing started out of desperation and frustration
and a deep sense of injustice felt by myself and others. We
needed a voice and more importantly we needed someone
 to listen.''

Another said:

''We are on a hunger strike because we are suffering unfair
imprisonment and racist abuse in this archaic institution
 in Britain.''

And another woman set out the reasons why
 she is taking part in the hunger strike:

''I am involved in the hunger strike because I think we face
 very unfair conditions, in that we are detained for an
indefinite amount of time. The uncertainty that we
face everyday, is unbearable, which leads us
to have stress, panic, and, in turn, a lot of
health complications.''

‘Accelerated deportation’

But instead of listening to these women, the Home Office
decided to threaten them. A letter from an immigration
enforcement manager stated that taking part in the
hunger strike:

''..may, in fact, lead to your case being accelerated and
your removal from the UK taking place sooner.''

Just following orders

When questioned about the letter, Nokes confirmed
that it was government policy. She stated:

''[It] was agreed after consultation with NHS England,
Medical Justice, the Immigration Law Practitioners’
Association and other NGOs.''

However, Medical Justice told The Guardian that, although
 it was consulted, it did not approve of the policy. During
the consultation, it wrote:

''For detention to be legal, the Home Office should only
exercise the power of detention for the minimum
possible time in every case. [The policy] appears
 to suggest that this is, in fact, not the case and
also implies that removal can be expedited as
a punitive measure. That approach is wholly
inappropriate and contrary to clinical
best practice.''


But there is widespread support for the detainees.

Labour MP Lucy Powell told The Independent:

''The Home Office’s draconian tactics are just
 completely wrong. They would be better off
 focusing their energies on the many criminals
 that fall through the net, rather than woman
who have lived in this country for years, 
who are just trying to live a good life.
This is a shocking, inhumane
abuse of process.''

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott
recorded a video to support the women:

There are also calls for a 24-hour fast to support
the women on 8 March, International Women’s Day:

''This mass #hungerforfreedom support action seeks
to amplify the demands of people at Yarl’s Wood.

''We encourage you to share publicly that you are
joining the mass action and spread the word.
Invite your friends and also e-mail your MP. 

''We want the Home Office to know that
 immigration detention is gender and
 institutional violence, and we will
bring it to an end.''

At the time of writing, over 250 people
have pledged to take part in the action.

The immigration detention system in the UK needs
 to end. Now. These women feel like they have no
choice, other than going on hunger strike, to get
their voices heard. We must listen and we must
 do everything we can to help them.

Get Involved!
– Support the Freedom Fast.
– Follow Detained Voices on Twitter.
– Support the campaign to shut Yarl’s Wood
and join the protests.


Young Tories under fire for ‘joke’
that implies people dying
 in the cold is funny
March 2nd, 2018

Severe weather is still battering the UK and Ireland.
Thousands don’t have power. Transport is in chaos,
and roads are closed. Entire communities are cut
 off. At least ten people have died. But the biggest
 indictment of Conservative Britain is that home-
less people have died in these storms.

And yet, despite everything, the kindness of strangers
 has been in evidence everywhere in an attempt to
limit further tragedy. Unless you’re a young Tory,
 it seems. Because in the face of all this,
Activate UK – the “united platform for
young conservatives” – has sunk to
 an all-time low.

Sorry, what?

In the midst of one of the biggest storms
for years, Activate tweeted:

Activate UK
‏Verified account @ActivateBritain
As the cold settles in and the national gas supply
is running low we are hearing horrific stories...
All across the country, Socialists are being
forced to put their hands in their own pockets.

But people on Twitter were swift to challenge them:

The truth is that a man died, sheltering in a tent from
 the cold and snow. Another homeless man died in a
 shelter. The death toll reportedly stands at 13, and
may rise. Not surprisingly, many were swift to cut
down Activate’s ‘joke’.

Others pointed out just quite how ridiculous
 and immature Activate sounded.

There’s actually a very serious point here. Activate UK
 presents itself as a “grassroots” organisation for
young conservatives. And it supports a
Conservative Party that is currently
two points behind Labour in the
 latest opinion polls.

Badge of honour

Apparently, the tweet was Activate’s deliberate attempt
 to provoke “vile indiviuals” (socialists, presumably):
But even this backfired, because a block from
Activate quickly became a badge of honour:

Not all superheroes wear capes

What Activate and its ‘supporters’ missed (or are blatantly
 too dim to recognise) was the true beauty of spirit that
shone through and continues to shine as the storms
rage on.

In hospitals around the country -  the same hospitals left
decimated by Conservative funding cuts - staff slept
overnight or did extra shifts, to ensure patients
were cared for.

Taxi companies, meanwhile, offered to help the elderly
 for free. Others went out to offer hot drinks and
blankets to people stuck in cars.

Acts of kindness were seen everywhere.

Activate appears not to realise that the word ‘socialist’
isn’t an insult. Because it means we care for each other.
 We are happy to help each other. A simple fact that
Activate, and the Conservatives, may never

Get Involved!

– No one should be rough sleeping in this weather.
 Call Streetlink if you see someone who needs

– Support Help the Homeless, which gives
 grants to homeless charities across the UK.

Become a Canary member to support
 fearless independent journalism.

(Source- the Canary)


 Britain pays out the
worst state pension
 in the developed world
February 12th, at 1:22pm

The UK pays retirees the worst state pension of any country
 in the developed world, official figures show, as Brits
 currently under the age of 30, are warned they
 could have to wait until they’re 70,
receive anything at all.

The basic payout of £122.30 a week in Britain is the least
generous in the West -- worth just 29 percent of average
earnings, according to the latest figures from the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD).

The report shows that in Poland the state
pension is
equivalent to 39 percent of average earnings, while
 Germany and France offer 51 percent and 75%,

The Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and Austria all pay state
pensions equivalent to more than 90 percent of average
earnings. In Mexico, an emerging rather than developed
economy, pensioners receive 29.6 percent of average
earnings from the state.

The Government Actuary’s Department has projected that
 unless action is taken the state pension fund will run out
in 2035, thanks to the strain caused by Britain’s ageing

It has also predicted that the state pension age will reach
70 by the end of the 2050s, & 71 by the end of the 2060s,
affecting those in the UK currently under the age of 30.

Malcolm McLean, of retirement specialists Barnett
 Waddingham, told the Express the qualifying age
could rise even more. “It wouldn’t surprise me to
see the age go up to 70 before 2050 and
conceivably reach 80 or even 85
by the end of the century.”

Former pensions minister Ros Altmann has also warned
the situation could get even worse. Altmann told the
Telegraph: “Despite the UK offering the lowest state
 pension in the developed world, the costs have not
yet been brought under control. Policymakers face
difficult decisions and are likely to need to raise
 the state pension age further.”

She added that with an ageing population and the decline
 in generous, final-salary type pension schemes, the UK
“faces rising risks of old-age poverty.”

“Beyond the 2030s, the new state pension will be lower
than the old system for most people. The lowest paid,
predominantly women, will lose out significantly,”
 she said.

(Source - RT)


May faces Conservative revolt
over indefinite detention of
Sunday January 28th, at 9:30am

The government of Prime Minister Theresa May is facing
 a revolt by Conservative MPs over the indefinite
detention of immigrants in Britain.

Two former cabinet ministers have expressed their
 readiness to stop a controversial method blamed
for inflicting mental breakdown on immigrant
 inmates, who have not been charged with
any crime and given no release date,
according to The Independent.

Britain has come under harsh criticism for being the only
EU country that has no statutory time limit for detaining
immigrants, including by the UN Human Rights Council.
Survivors of torture, trafficking and rape are among the
tens of thousands of people held in overcrowded
 centres for months, or even years.

According to a recent investigation, there have been
“widespread self-harm and attempted suicides” in
such places.

Now campaigners argue that a looming immigration bill
provides a new opportunity for MPs to pass an
amendment in order to impose a strict
28-day limit.

Andrew Mitchell, a former International Development
Secretary, told The Independent, “I am warm
 towards this proposal.”

“I don’t think it’s right to hold people in detention
 indefinitely,” added Mitchell, who has described
 indefinite detention as a “stain on our democracy.”

He noted that what is even worse is that “when we have
 held people wrongly indefinitely, is that we have to use
taxpayers’ money to get the government off the hook.”

Also, Caroline Spelman, a former Tory Environment
Secretary, described the new bill as an
“opportunity to act.”

“I would like to see Britain use methods that have proven
to be effective in other countries – such as Sweden,”
Spelman added.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which is supporting May
in power, might also exert pressure on the government
 over the controversy.

Two of its 10 MPs, Gavin Robinson and Jim Shannon,
have signed a Parliamentary motion demanding “a
28-day time limit and greater use of community-
based alternatives.”

“The lack of a time limit destroys mental health. Self-
harm, suicide attempts and deaths are common.
is state-sanctioned suffering on a vast
Martha Spurrier, the director
of the civil liberties
group, Liberty.

Britain detains nearly 30,000 people each year in
 the centres, holding several hundred for longer
 than one year.

(Source - PressTv)


USA - a predominantly white
school shouts racist chants
at visiting team from
multicultural area
Saturday, January 27th, 2018.

Students from a predominantly white US school
subjected a visiting boys’ basketball team to
racist chanting, faculty officials revealed

The chants and slogans at the January 19 game
 at the Spencer High School, north-west Iowa,
included some fans yelling that the Storm
 Lake players should “go back where you
 came from.” Others chanted: “USA.”

The school superintendents say the Storm Lake district
has 2,400 students, 84 per cent of whom are non-white.
 The Spencer district has 1,900 students and is
predominantly white.

Spencer Superintendent Terry Hemann told The
Des Moines Register that administrators have
 disciplined the Spencer students involved,
but he declined to provide details.

A similar situation occurred during a football
game last October between the rival schools.

(Source - Morning Star)


Croydon council to rescue
libraries from privateer
January 15th, 2018
by Felicity Collier

Labour-run Croydon Council is set to take back control
of the borough’s libraries and is “determined to protect”
 the service, following the collapse of privateer Carillion.

The 13 libraries have been run by the firm since
2012 --- when the then Conservative-led council
controversially decided to outsource the service.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture,
leisure and sport, said the council would be terminating
 the contract with the firm and reassured the 73 workers
that it would be “picking up the mess left by this private
company, and will be working behind the scenes to
 ensure all libraries remain open.

“All of the 73 staff employed across all libraries are
needed, so we do not expect to lose any jobs,”
 he added.

He described the Tories’ decision to outsource the
management as “strange” and said: “With local
services like our libraries, I think we should ask
 whether profit should be the main driver and
in this case, I think it’s a no.”

Libraries campaigner Ian Anstice,
welcomed the council’s decision.

He told the Star: “The collapse of Carillion means
there are now no for-profit companies providing
library services in the UK. It shows that such
companies do not have a magic wand when
 it comes to running council services
 more efficiently.

“Simply put, if you’re making a profit from
public libraries then you’re doing it wrong.

“Budgets are tight enough, without taking a percentage
 for shareholders and councils have shown themselves
 adept at trimming budgets themselves, over the last
 few years.”

Ealing Council and Harrow Council are yet to announce
 plans for its libraries, which had also been outsourced
 to Carillion.

Last week, Harrow recommended that the
troubled firm, continues with its contract.

(Source - Morning Star)


Policeman caught with images
of children being raped receives
 slap on wrist, walks free from court
January 9th, 2018, at 10:25am

A former cop who was caught with 1,500 indecent
 images of children, including pictures of rape, has
been given a suspended sentence. Darren Wright,
 38, blamed his two bouts of cancer as the reason
 for his crime.

Wright’s home in Southport, where he lives with his
 parents, was raided on June 9. Legal representatives
 of the former officer told the Liverpool Crown Court
that he had suffered with mental health issues after
 twice battling leukemia.

Prosecutor Robert Jones told the court the accused
 had asked for his phone back from police ostensibly
 in order to retain details of medical appointments,
though Jones questioned Wright’s motives. 

“The defendant said he was anxious to retain some
 medical appointments from his mobile phone,”
Jones said. “Police said there was no difficulty
in him doing that, provided it was under

“The defendant appeared to be acting rather furtively
 with his iPhone. In fact, what he was trying to do,
was delete some chat conversations. Those
chat conversations were nothing to do
with indecent images, but the
police did not know that
at the time.”

Police seized Wright’s phone, his laptop hard drive, and
 a USB stick. They found 23 Category A images – the
most serious category, which involved images of
child rape. There were a further 26 Category B
 photos and another 1,368 Category C
 indecent images.

As a result, he was fired by Merseyside Police’s
professional standards department after a
formal misconduct hearing. Wright did
not attend the hearing.

“We simply cannot afford to have police officers and
support staff working for us who do not strive to
uphold the highest levels of professionalism
and integrity at all times,” said Detective
 Chief Superintendent Karen Cummings.

Defense lawyer, James Hamilton, told the court that
Wright’s double cancer diagnosis had “a significant
 impact upon the reason why he offended.”

“He is a man who has suffered two bouts of serious
 ill health, the consequences of which, will live with
 him for the rest of his life,” Hamilton said.

“He has also suffered the loss of the career that he
 loved deeply. That was something that was taken
 from him, in many ways, by his ill health. He has
already, in my respectful submission, suffered
significant punishment,” he added.

Judge Denis Watson QC sentenced the former police
 officer to six months in prison, suspended for two
years, and a 35-day rehabilitation activity.

Wright was also told to sign the Sex Offenders Register
and to adhere to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, for
seven years.

An FOI request has revealed that nearly half of sexual
predators who were found guilty of grooming a child
online, prior trying to meet them for sex, are let off
 jail by “lenient” judges.

Over the last three years, 88 pedophiles – or 49 per cent
of them - were spared an immediate jail term. According
to the MailOnline, 91 went straight behind bars.

Pedophile hunter group, Dark Justice, said
every child groomer should be imprisoned.

“These lenient sentences are simply not a deterrent –
when paedophiles see that there is just a 50-50
chance of going to prison after being caught
they think it is worth taking the risk,”’ they
told MailOnline.

“These sick people found guilty of grooming intended
to rape their child victim, and were more than happy
to destroy their lives. They need to be rehabilitated,
 and the best place to do that, is behind bars.

“People who commit benefit fraud, or deal cannabis,
get years in prison, but if someone wants to rape a
child, they tell the judge they’re a good guy and
have had a hard life, so get let off.”

(Source - RT)


‘I’m going to die’:
Stabbed father dies
after being put
on hold by 999
6th of December, 2017

A dying father-of-two rang the emergency 999 number after
being viciously stabbed, only to be put on hold and forced
to listen to an automated message. “I’m going to die,”
 Liverpool Crown Court heard the man saying.

Paul Millea, 36, called the emergency services after being
 stabbed on June 17, but the court heard that because of
 the high volume of calls, he was put on hold. Millea was
allegedly assaulted by Philip Daniels, 26, who is under-
stood to have attacked the man on suspicion he was
having an affair with his girlfriend.

Nigel Power QC, prosecuting, told the court Millea logged
the first call at 11:10 pm, and said: "‘I’ve been stabbed in
the chest… He stabbed me for nothing… I’m going to die.”

Power continued, “The operator says hold the line and then
Mr Millea says he stabbed me like a nutter, I’m dying.”

“We only hear, sadly, a recorded voice saying that the call
was in a queue because there were a high number of calls…
Mr Millea obviously knew that he was dying because he
 said ‘I’m dying, I’m going to die, I can’t stay here?
 I’m dying.”

Emergency services arrived only 40 minutes later, by
which time several people had tried to help the victim.

Millea was brought to hospital, where he died
 of his wounds shortly before 1:30am.

Daniels denies the charges of murder or manslaughter, but
has admitted to stabbing Millea, although, only in self-
defense and with a pair of scissors.

Daniels looked “visibly distressed” when he arrived at his
mother’s house in Stockbridge Village at 1:30am, the
QC said.

“He was shaking, crying and repeatedly saying
 that he was sorry.”

“He said that he thought Kayleigh [his girlfriend] was having
an affair with someone, and that when that man knocked on
 the door he stabbed him,” Power said.

The accused also reportedly asked his mother to wash his
clothes, which she “wisely” declined to do, Power said.

However, on the morning after the incident, Daniels’ sister
Kimberley took him to the barbers to shave off his
“distinctive” hair.

Power questioned why he would do this if not
to evade being “apprehended for murder.”

Kimberley, who also took away her brother’s clothes, was
arrested by police and later pleaded guilty to the offence
of assisting an offender and helping them dispose of

The trial continues.

(Source - RT)


Winter Deaths Rise
Triggers Action Call
Thursday 23rd of November
by Will Stone

Eleven pensioners died every hour last winter, as
the latest statistics reveal a rise in the number of
deaths at this time of the year.

There were 34,300 “excess deaths” across England
and Wales over the last winter period - the second-
highest level in the last eight years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which released
 the figures yesterday, put the increase down to the
“predominant strain of flu” during 2016-17.

The winter death toll has prompted campaigners to
 demand government action on fuel poverty --- with
 many elderly unable to afford to heat their homes.

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) called on
 the government to launch a new fuel poverty
 commission, to urgently address the scale
 of annual winter deaths among Britain’s
 elderly population.

NPC general secretary Jan Shortt said: “Successive
 governments have simply ignored the problem of
winter deaths among the older population and
seem to have a policy of crossing their fingers
 and hoping things will improve.

“Today’s figures show that this policy simply
 doesn’t work — in fact things are getting

She warned that around 3.5 million older people are
 at risk or suffering fuel poverty due to inadequate
heating and insulation.

“The key to tackling winter deaths is to make sure
older people have got a well-insulated, warm
home - and the income needed to pay the
fuel bills,” Ms Shortt argued.

“This is a basic requirement of what
 a decent society should do.”

The highest number of winter deaths on record
was in 2014-15 when the death toll reached
 almost 44,000.

Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said that
 the dramatic jump in excess winter deaths in
England, was “a terrible rebuke to anyone
who thought it was ‘job done’ when it
comes to keeping older people
safe and sound through
the winter.”

She pointed out that the deaths were preventable.

“A less than fully effective flu vaccine is likely to be
one culprit, but it's also true that many older people
 live in poorly insulated homes - and worry about
turning up the heating during the cold months,
increasing their risk of ill health,” Ms
Abrahams said.

Public Health England director Professor John Newton
 advised.. heating homes to at least 18°C, keeping well
stocked on essential food and medicine throughout
the winter, and wrapping up in several layers,
when going outside.

(Source - Morning Star)


Tory austerity is ‘economic murder’
linked to 120,000 deaths – study
16th of November, at 12:55pm

Tory austerity policies may actually be killing people,
according to a landmark study. The government has
been accused of “economic murder” as researchers
 linked hundreds of thousands of deaths, to cuts to
public services that began seven years ago.

According to joint research between Oxford, Cambridge
 and University College London, there have been
120,000 deaths since the Conservatives
gained power in 2010.

Although falling short of claiming a direct cause and effect,
the study found there were 45,000 more deaths than
expected between 2010 and 2014.

It claimed that at this rate the number could reach more than
 150,000 deaths by 2020. In other words, Tory policies could
claim up to 100 lives per day.

One of the study’s co-authors, Professor Lawrence King of the
Applied Health Research Unit at Cambridge University, said:
“It is now very clear that austerity does not promote growth
or reduce deficits: it is bad economics, but good
class politics.

"This study shows it is also a public health disaster. It
is not an exaggeration to call it economic murder.”

The research found that the decline in social care funding from
 an annual 2.20 percent to 1.57 percent coincided with a decline
 in death rates from 0.77 a year in 2010 to 0.87 percent.

The study also points out that a drop in nurse numbers may be
 behind 10 percent of deaths, concluding: “We have found that
spending constraints since 2010, especially public expenditure
 on social care, may have produced a substantial mortality gap
in England.”

The Department of Health stressed that no direct association
should be made. A spokesperson said: “As the researchers
themselves note, this study cannot be used to draw any
firm conclusions about the cause of excess deaths.

"The NHS is treating more people than ever before and funding
 is at record levels with an £8 billion [$10.5 billion] increase by
2020-21. We’ve also backed adult social care with £2 billion
 investment and have 12,700 more doctors and 10,600 more
nurses on our wards since May 2010.”

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the government
 must endorse Labour’s spending pledges in the Autumn Budget.
Responding to the study, he said: “This shocking mortality gap is
 a damning indictment of the dire impact which sustained Tory
cuts to our NHS and social care services have had on health
outcomes across the nation.

“Ahead of the Budget, this appalling news must serve as an
 urgent wake-up call to the prime minister,” Ashworth added,
according to the Independent.

“She must match Labour’s pledge to deliver an extra £6 billion
 for our NHS across the next financial year to ensure the best
possible quality of care is sustained for years to come.”

(Source - RT)


UK Minister and 4 MPs,
tip of Grubby Iceberg
Saturday October 28th,
at 5:38pm

Four British lawmakers have been accused of sexually
abusing women at Westminster, according to a report
which came, as opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn
warned that the abuse of women is “thriving”
 in the corridors of power.

2 MPs from Corbyn’s Labour Party and 2 from the
 Conservative Party of Prime Minister Theresa May
have been accused of harassing & propositioning
young women inappropriately, The Times
reported on Saturday. 

The Conservative minister involved in the allegations,
who is married, is accused of sexually harassing
several women, including journalists and aides.

Another married Conservative lawmaker, is also
alleged to have abused at least two young
researchers, in the past few years.

On the Labour side, the report said, two lawmakers
were alleged to have sent multiple inappropriate
texts to 'colleagues'. None of the MPs, however,
have been named.

The report came on the same day Corbyn said in a speech
that politicians engaged in sexual abuse and harassment
must be held accountable.

He said there is a “warped and degrading culture” - where
 the abuse of women is accepted and normalized - and it's
 thriving in the corridors of power, including Westminster.

A government spokeswoman also said earlier that the
prime minister has expressed concern about the
 recent allegation made against the MPs.

May has also urged victims of sexual harassment and abuse
 to go to the police, according to her spokeswoman, who
said that the government was not aware of any
allegations having been formally reported.

The issue of sexual abuse has come to the fore after a recent
 report said female researchers, aides and secretaries are
sharing information on a WhatsApp group about their
experiences of harassment, and warning others
potential perpetrators.

Earlier this week, a BBC survey found out
that half of British women and a fifth of
men have been sexually harassed at
work, or a place of study.

(Source - PressTv)


Nobody’s talking about this ‘savage attack’
buried in Universal Credit. But some people
could lose thousands.
October 13th, 2017
by Steve Topple

As Universal Credit continues to make the headlines,
there’s one element of it which barely anyone has
spotted. It’s a cut by the Department for Work and
Pensions (DWP) that will leave some people who
can least afford it up to £5,100 a year worse off.

A barrage of criticism

Universal Credit has faced a barrage of criticism of late,
with Labour calling for it to be halted, 25 Tory MPs
 rebelling against their government, and both the
Trussell Trust & Citizens Advice, saying it needs
 to be paused. But the Secretary of State for
Work and Pensions, David Gauke, has
said that the Universal Credit roll-
out will continue, regardless.

Under the Universal Credit system, previous welfare payments
such as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), will end. But 2 payments
that some disabled people currently receive are not
 being incorporated into Universal Credit. And
campaigners claim this “savage attack”
is a “cut too far”.

More cuts

The Enhanced Disability Premium (EDP) and Severe Disability
Premium (SDP), currently give disabled people with high
support needs, £15.90 and £62.45 a week, respectively.
But under Universal Credit neither [pdf p3-4] payment
 exists. These, along with ESA and Income Support,
will be replaced with the following payments under
Universal Credit (NB: the amounts are for single
people over the age of 25, without children and
 unable to work through ill health or disability):

Standard allowance – £317.82 per calendar month
(pcm), or £73.34 per week.
Limited capability for work (only for claims started
before 3 April 2017) – £126.11 pcm or £29.10 per week.
Limited capability for work and work related activity –
£318.76 pcm or £73.56 per week.

So in total, people who claimed Universal Credit after April 2017,
 but were previously getting ESA support group rate (£109.65 per
week), EDP and SDP, will be set to lose £41.10 a week – as they
currently receive £188 a week versus £146.90 under Universal
Credit. This means a loss of £2,137.20 a year. But the DWP
claims there is a safety net.

The DWP claim

What the DWP is putting into place are “transitional protections“.
In theory, it will ensure “some” existing claimants do not receive
less when they ‘migrate’ from their current awards, such as ESA,
onto Universal Credit. It will work by the DWP “considering” [pdf
p1] “topping up” people’s Universal Credit payments. But there
are several problems with this:

No one will have this protection until Universal Credit digital is
fully rolled out; the DWP plans to start transferring people with
existing claims in July 2019.

It only applies to “some” people whose “migration” is “wholly
managed by the DWP [pdf p1]. And in these cases transitional
protections will be “considered” [pdf p1].

It only applies to existing claimants who
have had no change of circumstance.

None of this applies to new claimants, or anyone who has a
change of circumstance. So, what the government has
effectively done is shaved £2,100 off many disabled
people’s entitlements. While other disabled people
with similar health conditions won’t get a cut.

The other major problem with this, is that no one
 else is going to make up the £41.10 shortfall.

Collapsing support

As Disability News Service (DNS) reported in January
2016, the government stated that the SDP was:

a payment for care costs rather than daily living costs… [so]
costs for care are picked up through the social care system.

In other words, councils would be responsible for making up
people’s £41.10 shortfall. But the problem is, councils won’t
always do this. As The Canary previously reported, since the
 former Independent Living Fund (ILF) was closed, councils
now receive central government grants for disabled people’s
 care packages. But this money has not always been ring-
fenced, meaning some disabled people have seen their
payments reduced by up to 68%. So, therefore, it is
unlikely that councils will be able to make up the
£41.10 shortfall under Universal Credit.

And if all of this seemed bad, there’s worse. Because if a
couple in these circumstances makes a new claim or has
a change of circumstance, they’ll lose £113.75 a week –
or £5,195 a year. This is because SDP rates are per
person, whereas the limited capability element of
Universal Credit is a set amount for couples,
which is less than double the rate of a
single person element.

And if a person is under 25, they’ll lose up
to £56.34 a week – or £2,929.68 a year.

The DWP says

It’s important to note that every individual’s circumstance
 is different under Universal Credit, and in some cases
people may be financially better off. But there are
also countless people who, it looks like, will not
 be. Also, The Canary has only analysed rates
for people who claim ESA, not those on
Income Support, Pension Credits or
Jobseeker’s Allowance, who
receive SDP.

A DWP spokesperson told The Canary:

''We are committed to supporting people into work while
 making sure the right care is in place for those that can’t.
Under the previous system, support for severely disabled
 people was complex & poorly targeted. Universal Credit
 is simpler, and reflects the old system’s two rates for
disabled people, with an increased rate for severely
 disabled people, so support is focussed on those
who need it the most. Importantly, those people
 who are moved onto Universal Credit will not
see their benefit reduced.''

Cuts kill

But co-Founder of Disabled People Against Cuts
(DPAC) Linda Burnip hit back. She told The Canary:

''The loss of thousands of pounds a year from the income
 of severely disabled people is an utter and total disgrace.
And, even for the Tories, must be seen as a cut too far.

''Research has shown that the additional costs of being
disabled is at least £550 per month. While UC [Universal
Credit] is designed to try to force people into low paid
and insecure employment the people who are going to
 be affected by this savage attack on their incomes ,
are also those least likely to be able to work.

What the government is doing with Universal Credit is
essentially redefining disability. So, for example a 20-
year-old tetraplegic who moved onto Universal Credit
on 1 July 2019 from ESA, EDP and SDP, would get
their full, previous benefit award ringfenced. But
a tetraplegic who turned 18 on 1 July 2019 and
started claiming Universal Credit, would,
according to the DWP, be less in need of
support to the tune of £2,929.68 a year.

In the nefarious world of the Conservative government,
this may seem OK. But it must surely seem the
cruellest of cuts to the rest of us.

Get Involved

– Support DPAC and Black Triangle,
campaigning for disabled people’s rights.

(Source - The Canary)


Jeremy Corbyn tweets:

7.4 million people in Britain are working
but in poverty. Universal Credit must be
halted now, or this will worsen.

Main article by The Mirror:

Families struggling to pay rent
as Universal Credit takes hold...

A report reveals that among
claimants who pay rent, 41%
are now in arrears, with 82%
saying it's for the first time.


British police forces have been
arresting children as young as
12, using a 193-year-old law
September 23rd, 2017
by Steve Topple
Spread the word: Facebook Twitter

Freedom of Information requests (FOI) have revealed
that a UK police force has been arresting children
 as young as 12 under a law passed in 1824;
193 years ago.

Wait, what…?

As The Bristol Post reported, an FOI it submitted to Avon
 and Somerset Police, showed that the force arrested
eight people in Bristol in the past year, using the
Vagrancy Act of 1824. Police charged four of the
people, three of whom were homeless when
they were arrested. The other four were not
homeless and were not convicted. But the
use of this archaic law is actually more
widespread than just these isolated

An FOI submitted in 2015 to Avon and Somerset Police
shows that between January 2012 and September
2015, it arrested 249 people under the act. And of
 these, 38 were children aged under 18. While
Avon and Somerset Police didn’t detail why
children were arrested, the act makes it
a criminal offence to:

Wander abroad to beg or gather alms.

Place yourself in public place to beg.

Procure a child to beg.

Be idle and disorderly.

Cause a child to beg.

Sleep out.

Lodge in barn outhouse deserted or
building or open air etc.

Be found on enclosed premises
for an unlawful

Collect alms or endeavour to procure
contribution by false pretense.

Profess to tell fortunes.

Wander abroad and expose a wound
deformity to obtain alms.

Persistently beg.

A nationwide problem

But the use of the act is more widespread in some forces
than others. Between 2010-2016 the Metropolitan Police,
for example, arrested 6,711 people under the act. While
West Yorkshire Police arrested 245 people in the
same period.

In 2016/17, police brought 1,810 cases to court under the
 Vagrancy Act. And while this is a fall of 40% from 3,071
in 2014/15, homeless organisations are critical of the
law being used against rough sleepers. Jon Sparkes,
Chief Executive of homeless charity Crisis, told
The Bristol Post:

We understand that councils and the police have to
strike a balance between the concerns of local
residents and the needs of rough sleepers…
Yet people shouldn’t be targeted simply for sleeping
 on the street. In fact, homeless people are far more
likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators, and
rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be
victims of violence compared to the general
public. They deserve better than to be
treated as criminals simply because
they have nowhere to live.

But…! But…!

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset police
told The Bristol Post:

Our Streetwise team, which consists of a police officer
and council officer, work full-time in Bristol with
other agencies to support people found
to be rough sleeping, begging
or street drinking.

Their starting point is always to offer support, based on
the individual’s needs. If people are persistently begging
or street drinking and don’t engage, they could receive a
 warning. If they continue, an injunction may be used,
which if breached, means they could be arrested…
Enforcement [is] used as a last resort for
who otherwise won’t take
the help offered to

Solidarity, not charity. And not criminalisation

Rough sleepers and homeless people are already facing
 a crisis without being arrested. And the use of archaic
 legislation to arrest children is unacceptable. Mean-
while, the latest figures show that the
Conservative government has
 presided over a:

134% increase in the number of rough sleepers
 since autumn 2010.
73% increase in the number of children in temporary
 accommodation since March 2011.
63% increase in the number of households where their
council had to step in to stop them being homeless
since 2009/10.
60% increase in the number of households in
 temporary accommodation since March 2011.

Anyone who finds themselves with no roof over
their heads needs support, not criminalisation.
But at the moment, it appears that some of our
police forces are doing the exact opposite.

Get Involved!

– Support homelessness group Streets Kitchen.

(Source - The Canary)


80 Charities: PIP Failing The
Disabled From Start To Finish
Thursday September 14th
by Felicity Collier

The Tories’ con-tricks on personal independence payments
 (PIPs), are wrecking the health of disabled people across
 the board and are a disgraceful failure “from start to finish,”
 more than 80 charities blasted in a report published today.

A majority of people with long-term conditions — including
Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and mental health
 problems — said that being assessed for PIP has harmed
 their health and caused stress and anxiety, the Disability
Benefits Consortium (DBC) said.

The consortium has been digging into PIP since the Tories
brought it in to replace disability living allowance (DLA)
 in 2013.

To get the benefit - which goes towards care and mobility
needs - people are forced to go through frequently cruel
reviews where they are interrogated about their condition.

There have been numerous injustices, including people
being stripped of payments or having them cut, and
 even losing their mobility scooters and vehicles.

Michael Gibson, 36, has had Parkinson’s since he was 18,
and had his mobility car taken off him while his wife was
on maternity leave with their second child.

His condition leaves him stiff, struggling to walk,
or making involuntary movements.

He said: “It was a horrific time, I can’t use public transport
so I didn’t know how I was going to get to work.

“I have never experienced my Parkinson’s symptoms, as
bad as when I was going through the PIP process. It was
frightening, I felt like I had regressed 10 years with the

Mr Gibson appealed against the decision but it took so long
 that the car was taken away before he had got a response.

 He had to borrow money from his dad to make sure
 he could still get around.

He said he worried about paying the bills and
 became “inward and depressed.”

The Motability charity said that 59,000 people have
 lost their eligibility for a vehicle since 2013 - nearly
 half of whom were being reassessed for PIP.

Only 4,000 had a successful reconsideration or appeal.

The number of cases where PIP decisions have been
appealed against and overturned is increasing, which
 the DBC says suggests that first-time assessments
 are often wrong.

But appealing against a decision means roughly a 17-
week wait — without the financial support that has
been taken from them.

Anne McRae has two teenage daughters who are
 profoundly deaf and wear cochlear implants but,
 having qualified for DLA from birth, they have
now been refused PIP.

She called the tests “crude” and “dehumanising,” and
 said incorrect assumptions about deafness were made,
 including that their eyesight would compensate for
 their hearing.

She said: “My daughters have always been profoundly
deaf, that’s never going to change, so why are they
suddenly being denied support?”

The report made no mention of evidence from a doctor,
 or a support officer from the National Deaf Children’s

The charity’s chief executive Susan Daniels said: “All
across Britain, deaf young people are being denied
 vital benefits — not because they don’t need them,
 but because the application process is not
accessible for their disability.”

Further problems with PIP involve the application form
itself, with nearly three quarters of respondents telling
the DBC that it was “hard” or “very hard,” while 11 per
cent could not complete it.

Two thirds said that what was written on their form “badly
reflected” the answers they gave in their assessment, and
over half said assessors didn't understand their condition.

The DBC called for the government to urgently review PIP
 and make improvements including simpler forms, more
knowledgeable assessors, and indefinite support for
people with progressive conditions.

(Source - Morning Star)


Pedophile vicar housed in luxury
 apartment by Church of England
August 27th

A pedophile former vicar, and former Church of England
 national youth officer, is being housed in a luxury
apartment paid for by the church.

Paul Battersby was convicted of sexual offences after
 members of his family discovered a collection of
 obscene files on his family computer, including
 a video of a girl being bound and raped by
 her father.

Last year Liverpool Crown Court heard that after serving
 jail time in 2010, the 68-year-old downloaded a further
1,730 indecent images featuring children and animals
between 2014 and 2017, and also wrote a child sex
abuse fantasy, featuring himself.

Now, the Liverpool Echo haS revealed that Battersby is
 now being housed in a luxury apartment, paid for by
 the church.

The apartment is in the 29-storey Beetham Tower block,
 which is found next to West Tower, Liverpool’s tallest
 building. Two-bedroom apartments in the block can
 cost up to £165,000, or £1,050 per month to rent,
the paper reports.

The block's luxury features include a 24-hour concierge
and full leisure facilities - gym, sauna, steam jacuzzi
and swimming pool.

Court documents show that the former reverend, who
served as a vicar for 31 years, was first jailed for eight
 months, in 2010, after a police investigation revealed
 he was in possession of 160 photographs of
children being molested.

At his 2010 sentencing hearing, Judge David Aubrey said:
“Being a highly-intelligent and highly-articulate man, you
should well recognize that each image that you have
observed for your own gratification, represents the
abuse of a child.

“By doing that which you did, you have perpetrated
 such abuse of such young children.”

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, a Church of England
 spokesman said: “It is a matter of deep shame and
 regret that Paul Battersby has re-offended.

“Downloading indecent images of children is far from a
 victimless crime – we recognise this as a serious form
of child abuse, which can have lifelong effects on
 victims. We apologize unreservedly for the
harm that this will have caused.”

The statement revealed that Battersby was granted
the apartment by the church’s pensions board.

“In any case where disclosure is made about a criminal
 history, or the person comes to the Pensions Board on
leaving a custodial sentence, the board works very
 closely with the managing agencies (for example,
the probation service or police) to ensure that
 the housing it provides meets restrictions
set for that individual.”

This, at a time when royal pedophile allegations have
been dropped in a UK police cover-up, an ex-cop says.

(Source - RT)


80,000 people have been quietly hit
 because of Tory attacks on welfare
August 21st,
by Steve Topple
Please share this article: Facebook Twitter

Another 80,000 people appear to have lost their benefits
under the Conservative government. And this time, it’s
 not the result of a direct government cut; but because
of sustained attacks on welfare by Theresa May’s

Cutting by stealth

As AutoExpress reported, the number of people claiming
 an exemption from vehicle tax dropped by around 80,000;
from 1.35 million in February 2015 to 1.26 million in 2016.
And while there is no explicit reason for the fall, it may
 well be the blowback from other benefit cuts.

People can claim an exemption from vehicle tax if they
get the higher rate of the mobility component of either
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability
 Living Allowance (DLA). But figures obtained by
the Labour Party show that more than 134,000
 had their PIP claim rejected in 2016. And on
 top of this, since 2013 about 51,000 people
 have lost their government-provided
 ‘Motability’ vehicles; cars that are
 specifically adapted for a person.

Assault on the ‘welfare state’

But these figures are just the tip of the iceberg. As
The Canary has been documenting, in the space
 of a year, the UN has released three reports
into the current and previous Conservative
 governments, and the former Coalition one.
And in each, it heavily criticised the Tories’
 policies regarding sick and disabled people;
going so far as to say they had committed
 “grave” and “systematic” violations of
disabled people’s human rights.

And due to their austerity agenda since 2010,
which the UN said “disproportionately” hit
disabled people the hardest, the Tories
have cut:

The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which previously
supported people with care packages. Since the
government cut it, in some areas 88% of people
 have seen their care packages reduced by
up to 50%.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for sick
 and disabled people in the Work-Related Activity
Group (WRAG) by a third. This will affect
500,000 people.

55% a week from ESA for sick and disabled

Personal Independence Payments (PIP) from 164,000
 people living with mental health issues. And the
 Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has
reduced or stopped PIP for nearly half (45%)
of all claimants.

Tory violations

But it’s not just Tory cuts that have hit sick
and disabled people so hard. For example:

The DWP was caught up in a scandal involving fit-for-
work assessors asking people why they hadn’t
“killed” themselves.

A study found that the DWP fit-for-work assessments
 caused people permanent mental health damage.

62% of people the DWP sanctions
live with mental health issues.

10,600 people died after their benefit claims ended.

90 people a month are dying after the DWP
declares them ‘fit for work’.

590 people may have taken their own life due,
in part, to DWP fit-for-work tests.

It appears that parliament’s summer recess has spelled
nothing but bad news for sick and disabled people. The
Tories’ have sneaked out cuts and tried to bury reports,
 all while minimal scrutiny is possible. But with the UN
 Committee on the Rights of Disabled People grilling
the government on 23 and 24 August, over its
treatment of disabled people, the Tories
 could soon be coming unstuck.

Get Involved

– Support Disabled People Against
 Cuts, fighting for disability rights.


Care Cut To The Bone
 But Still Fighting Back
Friday August 18th
by Felicity Collier at the
 Royal Courts of Justice.

A landmark case aiming to turn back Tory care cuts
 reached the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Luke Davey, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, uses a
 wheelchair and is registered blind, is fighting Oxfordshire
 County Council’s decision to slash his care package by
 42 per cent, saying the council was in breach of the
 2014 Care Act, as well as threatening his physical
 and mental well-being.

The case will be closely watched by thousands of disabled
 people across Britain who could see cuts to their own care
 budgets restored. Campaigners staged a protest outside
the Royal Courts of Justice in support of Mr Davey.

Supporters from Disabled People Against Cuts and charity
Inclusion London, which is bringing the case on behalf of
Mr Davey, packed the courtroom, forcing the hearing to
be moved to a bigger room.

Inclusion London CEO Tracey Lazard
told the crowd outside:

“Luke has had his care package cut to the bone.

“Today is vital to Luke and hundreds and thousands of
other disabled people dependent on the Care Act.

“The Care Act is meant to protect our well-being and our
choice and control — it’s vital that this legislation is
honoured, as well as our rights.”

Mr Davey received round-the-clock care until 2015, when
 the independent living fund (ILF) was abolished and the
 local council had to take sole responsibility for care
 funding, seeing his total weekly budget slashed
 from £1,651 — £730 provided by the ILF —
 to just £950.

It meant that his care was cut to 18 hours a day and he
was no longer able to go to college or do charity work.

Mr Davey has had essentially the same team of carers for
 the last 20 years, but some were now considering leaving
 as he has been forced to cut their pay and hours
because of the shortfall.

His lawyer Jamie Burton told the court that this breached
 the Care Act, presenting “signifi cant risks to his mental
 health,” including increased anxiety through “spending
 too much time alone.”

Mr Davey’s mother Jasmine, who is 76 and has cancer,
was having to plug the shortfall to up the number of
 hours to 20, the court heard.

The council “didn’t ask about consequences,” said Mr Burton,
 and while it did not say that it could not “afford” the care
team, it just “didn’t believe the care team would break up.”

Mr Davey lives in a remote and rural part of Oxfordshire
and staff are no longer receiving petrol money.

A High Court judge had earlier upheld the council’s view
that an £8.50 per hour wage was the going rate for
carers in the borough.

Mr Burton said: “His carers persistently say they can’t
cut their income any further and keep their jobs.”

The court heard how the local authority thought it was better
for him to have a new team — perhaps a live-in team — and
said it poses no risks to his health to change the team.

Mr Burton told the court that Mr Davey had “made it abundantly
 clear that he wanted his team to stay in place,” and he deemed
 that the council’s conclusion was not only “incompatible” but
a breach of the Care Act.

DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip told the Star:

 “It’s a really, really important case.
“It’s vital for disabled people that
we win the case.

“We’re being inundated every day because
 people have had their care packages cut.”

(Source - Morning Star)

CCTV to be mandatory in all
 English slaughterhouses: govt
August 12th, 2017

Slaughterhouses in England will be mandatorily fitted
with CCTV, when new plans to safeguard animal
 welfare, and reassure consumers, come into
effect, after a public consultation process.

The plans were unveiled on Friday by Environment
 Secretary Michael Gove as the country seeks to
 cement its position as a “global leader on
animal welfare.” 

The proposals will make good on a pledge in the
 Conservative Party’s manifesto for CCTV to be
installed in any facility, and in all areas, where
live animals are, with unrestricted access
 to recorded footage for official vets.

The proposal relates solely to England
- as animal welfare policy is devolved.

“We have some of the highest animal welfare
 standards in the world and the actions I am
setting out today will reinforce our status
as a global leader,” Gove said.

“As we prepare to leave the EU, these measures
provide a further demonstration to consumers
around the world that our food is produced to
 the very highest standards,” he added.

The government also confirmed that it will raise
standards for farm animals and domestic pets
 by “modernizing statutory animal welfare
 codes, to reflect enhancements in
medicines, technology and the
latest research and advice
from vets.”

These codes will remain enshrined in law, and the
first to be updated will cover chickens being bred
for meat. Welfare codes on a variety of different
animals - from laying hens to cats, dogs and
horses - will be updated over the next year.

The British Veterinary Association President
Gudrun Ravetz welcomed the announcement.

“Mandatory CCTV in all areas of slaughterhouses will
 provide an essential tool in fostering a culture of
compassion that could help safeguard animal
welfare --- and we are particularly pleased to
see a commitment to Official Veterinarians
 having unrestricted access to footage,
which BVA has been calling for.

“Vets’ independence and unique qualifications help
ensure that the UK will continue to have the highest
 standards of animal health, welfare and food safety,”
 he said.


(Please check with your Assembly member)


Angela Rayner MP
‏Verified twitter account
July 26th at 7:46pm

 Tory claims that free school meals were unaffordable
 and that they would provide free breakfasts instead
have now been abandoned.


Jeremy Corbyn‏ @jeremycorbyn 
July 25th

 The @conservatives' mistreatment of NHS staff
has led to an understaffing crisis, seriously
 threatening patient care.

More than 86,000 NHS posts were vacant between
 January 2017 and March 2017, figures for England
alone, suggest.

Statistics from NHS Digital, which collates data,
shows the vacancies number climbed by almost
8,000 - compared to the same period in 2016.

And if you think we're ok in Wales... !!?*!


Tories Mug Pensioners - Again!
July 20th, 2017

The Government has been accused of "picking
the pockets" of millions of people in their 40s,
after announcing that anyone born between
1970 and 1978, will have to wait for an extra
 year, before receiving their state pension.

The state pension age for men and women will
 rise from 67 to 68, between 2037 and 2039 ---
 seven years earlier than previously planned,
in a move designed to ''save £74 billion''
by 2045/46, Work and Pensions Secretary,
David Gawke, told the House of Commons.

(Source - Huff Post)


Theresa May’s government won’t
compensate children who were
raped. It says they ‘consented’
to the abuse
July 18th, by Steve Topple
Please share this article:
on Facebook Twitter

Children as young as 12 who are survivors of rape
& sexual assault are being refused compensation
 by the government. The grounds for its denial?
That the children consented to their abuse.

It’s your own fault

A group of five charities submitted a Freedom of
 Information request (FOI) to the Criminal Injuries
 Compensation Authority (CICA). And it revealed
CICA refused to compensate over 700 children
 who'd been raped or sexually assaulted. Even
when the crimes perpetrators had been jailed.

 And the group of charities says that, in some cases,
CICA told survivors it was because they consented
to their rape or sexual assault.

The Guardian reports that Barnardo’s, Victim Support,
 Liberty, Rape Crisis and the National Working Group
 (NWG) --- have written to Justice Secretary David
Lidington, demanding he reviews CICA guidelines.

Victim blaming

When giving evidence to the government’s Independent
Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (CSA Inquiry), Barnardo’s
said the CICA policy:

…differentiates between consent ‘in fact’ and consent as
 stated by the law... In the case of the young person that
 applied for compensation, [it] was denied because CICA
 stated that ‘In [the claimant’s] case it appears she
willingly entered into a sexual relationship with
 [the] alleged offender’… We are very worried
 that CICA’s policy goes against consideration
 of consent in law…

Additionally, CICA’s view on consent appears to lack
understanding on sexually abusive and exploitative
relationships. In such relationships, the victim may
appear to ‘consent’… yet, in such situations, the
abuser will have carefully groomed & manipulated
the young person into believing that the relationship
& abuse, is normal. This grooming process is often
 so carefully carried out, that the young person is
 unaware they are a victim. This does not mean
 that the young person is not, in fact, a victim…

We are also concerned that CICA’s apparent lack of
 understanding on the issue of sexual abuse and
exploitation can cause distress to young people
who have been the victims of these crimes.

When ‘rape’ isn’t ‘rape’

As The Guardian reported:

In one example, a gang of older men were jailed for 30
years --- after being convicted of raping and sexually
assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Her case was taken up
by Victim Support; she was denied compensation
by CICA on the grounds that ‘she had not been
the victim of non-consensual sexual acts’.

She was devastated and left with the feeling that
she was somehow responsible for the abuse
she had suffered, the charity said.


The Canary contacted CICA for comment
but it failed to respond.

The attitude of CICA, and the government more broadly,
is staggering. If it's not traumatic enough that children
 have to go through the unimaginable torture of rape
and sexual abuse, to then have the government body
 that’s supposed to defend you saying, at best, ‘Well –
 it’s your own fault, really’, is a national outrage. The
Conservative government must heed the charities’
demands and change the rules by which CICA is
 governed. Quickly.

Get Involved!

– If you, or someone you know, need to talk,
 call Childline on 0800 1111.

– If it is a medical emergency, or someone’s
life is at risk, dial 999.

– Support YoungMinds, the voice for young
people’s mental health and wellbeing.

– Volunteer with Childline.


London MP demands carrying acid be
made illegal after 90-min. attack spree
July 14th, at 3:27pm

Carrying corrosive fluids should be made a crime, an
 MP has said, after two men on mopeds went on an
 acid attack spree across London, on Thursday
night, inflicting “life changing” injuries.

The Metropolitan Police say two teenagers have been
 arrested, as a major investigation into the series of
attacks that took place in less than 90 minutes, is
launched. The assaults appear to be linked, and
two of the victims had their mopeds stolen,
police added.

A 32-year-old man on a moped was left with facial
injuries in Hackney after another moped with two
 male riders pulled up alongside him and threw
a corrosive substance in his face.

One of the men stole his moped and the other drove
away on the vehicle they arrived on. Police said the
 victim had gone to an east London hospital and
 they are awaiting an update on his injuries.

Little more than 20 minutes later, another victim was
 sprayed with the liquid in Islington. He was taken to
 a hospital in north London.

About 15 minutes after, an attacker targeted
another man, in Shoreditch High Street. His
injuries are not life-threatening, police said.

The men on mopeds then struck again, hurling
acid at a man on Cazenove Road, causing
“life changing” injuries.

The final assault of the night was reported to the police
 at 11:37 local time, when another man was confronted
 as he sat on his moped in traffic on Chatsworth Road.
After they sprayed acid in his face, the moped was
stolen and the attackers fled.

The assaults take place, amid increasing concern
about a sharp rise in acid attacks across London.

Since 2010, there have been more than 1,900 reports
 of attacks involving corrosive fluids in London. Last
year, it was used in 458 crimes, compared to 261 in
2015, according to Metropolitan Police figures.

Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, is calling
for carrying acid to be made a crime. He will argue
at a parliamentary debate on Monday, that the
regulations surrounding acid, should be
“very quickly.”

“Carrying acid should, in itself, be an offence, in
the same way that carrying a knife was made an
offence, several years ago,” he told the BBC.

“I think that’s been a pretty effective change, and
I think the same change should be made for acid.”

Under the current law, if police stop someone
carrying acid, they have to prove an intent to
 cause harm.

(Source - RT)


Thursday June 22nd
by Lamiat Sabin

A "threadbare" Queen’s Speech proves that the Tories
 have simply run out of ideas, Labour leader Jeremy
 Corbyn said yesterday during a Commons debate
after the opening of Parliament.

He pointed out that the stumbling party’s programme of
 forthcoming legislation - dominated by Bills concerning
 Brexit - would be "thin" even if spread over a year, let
alone two years, as planned.

Mr Corbyn welcomed the dumping of several manifesto
 pledges from the speech, including grammar school
 plans, means-testing winter fuel allowances for
 pensioners and ending the state pension
 fund triple lock.

To avoid more shambolic U-turns by PM Theresa May
 on policies that horrified even seasoned Conservative
 voters, Mr Corbyn called on her government to "listen
 to the wisdom" of MPs more often - especially while
negotiating a critical Brexit deal with EU neighbours.

The Labour leader went on to attack Ms May over police
 cuts, and admonished her for claiming that the officers
were "crying wolf" by voicing concerns while she was
home secretary.

He also reminded Ms May that she began her general
election campaign by stating that if she lost six seats
 then she would lose the election. She lost 13 and has
 been forced into a misjudged monster mash-up with
 B movie villains, the DUP.

Mr Corbyn continued: "When it came to it, she lost
more than four times that many seats to Labour.

"From Cardiff to Canterbury, from Stockton to Kensington,
 people chose hope over fear. & they sent an unequivocal
message, an unequivocal message Mr Speaker: that
 austerity must be brought to an end."

Mr Corbyn also paid tribute to hundreds of residents that
were killed or displaced by the Grenfell Tower fire in west
 London last week, and said that the newly announced
 public inquiry into the tragic incident & responsibility
of the Tory-led Kensington and Chelsea council,
 needs to provide solid answers.

"Something has gone horrifically wrong, the North
Kensington community are demanding answers,
 and they’re entitled to those answers," he said.

"Thousands of people living in tower blocks around the
 country, need urgent reassurance. The emergency
services, especially the fire and rescue services in
this case, deserve our deepest respect & support."

Firefighters at the 24-floor Grenfell Tower worked flat-out
 with the resources they were given, to eventually put out
the devastating fire, which blazed on for over 24 hours,
after it had started.

All emergency workers deserve dignity: by the government
 providing full funded services and proper pay, pensions
 terms and conditions, he added.

"Those firefighters worked incredibly long shifts, in part
because there are 600 fewer firefighters in London;
10 fewer fire stations in London.

"Cuts and closures forced through by the previous mayor
 of London," he said, referring to the former Tory mayor
Boris Johnson.

He asked whether the government would make emergency
 funds available for councils to install sprinklers & check
that exterior cladding on housing blocks would not
encourage fire to spread at the horrific rate that
 it did, on Grenfell Tower.

Concluding, he said: "This is a government without a majority,
without a mandate, without a serious legislative programme,
 led by a Prime Minister who has lost her political authority
 and is struggling to stitch together a deal with the DUP
 to stay in office.

"We will use every opportunity to vote down government
 policies that failed to win public support and we will use
 every opportunity to win support for our programme."


(Source - Morning Star)


Rising abuse of elderly people
 impacts on health, wellbeing: WHO
June 15th
Xinhua - One in six elderly people aged 60 and over,
particularly in low- and middle-income countries,
suffers various forms of abuse, inflicting an
 impact on their health & wellbeing, a new
study by the World Health Organization
says on Wednesday.

The study, supported by the WHO and published in the
Lancet Global Health, draws on the best available
 evidence from 52 studies in 28 countries from
 different regions, including 12 low- and
middle-income countries.

It has found that almost 16% of people aged 60 years
and older, were subjected to either psychological or
financial, or physical, or sexual abuse, or neglect.

The most pervasive, for example, is psychological abuse,
which includes behaviours that harm an older person's
self-worth or wellbeing, such as name calling, scaring,
 embarrassing, destroying property, or preventing
them from seeing friends and family.

All forms of the abuse can have health effects on the aged,
such as traumatic injury and pain, depression, stress and
 anxiety, and hence a possible increased risk of nursing
 home placement, use of emergency services,
 hospitalization and death.

"Despite the frequency and the serious health consequences,
 elder abuse remains one of the least investigated types of
violence in national surveys, & one of the least addressed
 in national plans to prevent violence," says Alana Officer,
Senior Health Adviser, Department of Ageing and Life
 Course at WHO.

"We must do much more to prevent and respond to the
 increasing frequency of different forms of abuse."

By 2050, the number of people aged 60 and over will double
 to reach two billion globally, with the vast majority of
older people living in low- and middle-income
countries, the study says.

If the proportion of elder abuse victims remains constant,
 the number of people affected will increase rapidly due to
 population ageing, growing to 320 million victims by 2050.

To address the situation, health ministers from the globe
adopted the WHO Global Strategy and Action Plan on
Ageing and Health at the World Health Assembly,
 in May 2016.

Priority would be given to improving studies on the frequency
 of elder abuse, particularly in low- & middle-income countries
from South-East Asia, Middle East and Africa, where little
data had been available.

The WHO strategy would also collect evidence and develop
 guidance on what works to effectively prevent and
respond to elder abuse.

The UN General Assembly has also designated June 15th, as
 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, for the whole world to
voice its opposition to the abuse on and suffering of
 the older generations.


LibDem Leader says he must
 'remain faithful to Christ'
Wednesday June 14th, 2017

The UK's Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, resigned
 today following the resignation of home affairs spokes-
person, Brian Paddick, because of his controversial
Christian views.

Mr Farron was dogged throughout the election campaign
over refusing to clarify whether he believed gay sex was
 a sin, and because he has previously stated that
abortion is wrong.

Mr Farron claimed it would be "impossible" to "remain
faithful to Christ" and lead the Lib Dems - apparently
 because of their support for equal rights: rather than
 the party's record of putting the boot into the poor
and vulnerable over five years in coalition with the
Conservatives - during which time, thousands of
people died, after being declared "fit for work"
 by callous government tests.

(Source - Morning Star)


Timothy Hinkley in Pravda, comments
on May's weak and unstable position:

Her position was weakened substantially by the fact
that another terrorist attack occurred, days before
the general election (the second in the campaign),
when it was revealed that she was responsible for
cutting the police force by 20,000 officers on the
 streets, something which would defy logic, in
the event of increased terrorist threats.

There are rumors that her husband is connected to
 a private security firm. It remains to be proved
how many contracts are awarded to this firm
by the Government, to cover for the lack
of policing. Under investigation.

Another allegation which has been bubbling, but
which hasn't yet exploded, is the disappearance
 of the many files on paedophilia in the House of
 Commons -- gathered since the 1970s -- which 
allegedly disappeared from the Home Office
 (Interior Ministry) under her nose and on
her watch. Under investigation.

See: http://www.pravdareport.com/opinion/columnists/


‘Two-Child’ Benefits Limit Could Push
200,000 Children To Poverty, Charities Say

Major changes to the benefits system coming into force
today will condemn hundreds of thousands more
children to poverty, charities have warned.

The Children’s Society called on the Government, to think
 again over imposing a new “two-child limit” on Universal
Credit and child tax credit, as the move will impact on
 three million children.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) made a similar plea
 as it cited independent research forecasting that 200,000
children may be pushed into poverty by the changes.

(source Huff Post)


DWP to repay man with no legs
whose ESA was cut because he
‘could climb stairs with his arms’
Thursday 2nd March

Only on Tuesday, Work and Pensions Secretary
 Damian Green was extolling the virtues of the
DWP work capability assessment procedures,
 in his answer to an urgent question on the
Personal Independence Payment.

The Department for Work and Pensions admits it
 “ticked the wrong box” when it deemed a double
 amputee capable of “climbing” the stairs with
 his arms and thus “fit to work”.

Does anybody really believe a DWP assessor
 “ticked the wrong box” by accident? I don’t.

It was a cynical attempt to take benefits away from
 a man who needed them, in the belief that he would
not have the wherewithal to challenge the decision.
Such despicable behaviour is typical of DWP benefit
assessments at the moment --- and it is easy to
 understand why demand is rising for the work
capability assessment – and the Department
 for Work & Pensions itself – to be scrapped.

Julius Holgate, who lives in Hackney, has won his
 appeal against the DWP’s “outrageous” decision
after an intervention by the Hackney Community
 Law Centre (HCLC).

He fell into debt and was reduced to pawning his
 jewellery to survive, after he was awarded zero
points in his medical assessment, meaning his
 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was
stopped in January. After last week’s decision,
he will be repaid the cash he missed out on.

At the time, the DWP said because Julius’ arms were
in working order, he could use them to “climb” stairs
 and therefore had “mobility”. The department has
 now backed down and apologised, saying the
decision was a “clerical error”.

Julius said the DWP should be more
careful when assessing people...

(Source: Government to repay Hackney man with no
 legs whose benefits were cut, as he ‘could climb
 stairs with his arms’ – Hackney Gazette.)

(by Mike Sivier in Vox Political)


Welfare Slashing ‘Leaves
Disabled Unable To Live’
by Zoe Streatfield
Friday 3rd February 2017
Proposed £30 ESA cut will mean
 many can’t afford the essentials of life

The Tories’ plans to slash unemployment benefit
 for disabled people making new claims, could
leave some unable to afford the essentials
of life, MPs warned yesterday.

Under government plans, from April, new ESA
claimants assessed as 'fit for work' will see
their benefits cut by £29.05 to £73.10 per
week, the same rate as jobseeker’s
 allowance (JSA).

The government claims the changes will help
halve the “disability employment gap” — the
difference between the employment rates
of the disabled and non-disabled — and
save the Treasury an estimated
 £1 billion by 2020-21.

However, the Commons work and pensions
committee said the cut could leave some
people -- with lower disposable incomes
 than JSA claimants as they often face
 unavoidably higher living costs
due to their disability.

The evidence that reducing employment and
 support allowance (ESA), would provide an
incentive for disabled people to find work
was “ambiguous at best,” the report

The committee said its members had heard
“substantial concerns about the possible
 impact of the new rate on disabled people’s
 capacity to look for and move into work.”

Committee chairman Frank Field said that if the
 government intended to proceed with the cuts
“we expect an explanation of how this will not
be detrimental to its aim of halving the disability
 employment gap by making finding and keeping
 a job, even more difficult for disabled people
than it already is.”

The committee called on the government to
respond to the report before the new lower
rate of ESA is introduced in April.

Disabled People Against Cuts founder Linda Burnip
 told the Star that the Tories’ welfare changes are
 painting a “really grim picture” -- and having a
 “massive impact on disabled people, overall.”

She said there was stark evidence that the latest
round of cuts will “push people further & further
 into poverty” and would lead to claimants “not
being able to meet their additional needs, as
disabled people.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman:

 “Our welfare reforms are increasing the support
and incentives for people to move into work,
while keeping an important safety net in
place for those who need it.”

(source - Morning Star)


The scandal of unfairly-refused sickness and
disability benefits: it isn’t new, but it is killing
Thursday 5th of January 2017
by Mike Sivier

Amazingly, this is still being treated as news,
when it is, in fact, an ongoing scandal.

Perhaps we should take this as a sign that the
Conservative Government laid its groundwork
well; the incessant hate campaigns against
 sickness and disability benefit claimants
have made it seem – to the unobservant
member of the public – that these people
deserve to lose their benefit payments
because they are all cynical scroungers
who simply don’t want to do a decent
day’s work.

If that was true, why do so many of them suffer
 in poverty when the money is cut off?
Why do so many of them die?

The simple answer is that the claim that they are all
 perfectly fit is a lie. Less than half of 1 per cent of
sickness & disability benefit claims are fraudulent,
but a far larger proportion are having their claims

We know that the assessors – for private firms Capita
and Atos – don’t do their job properly. They have
 targets to hit (even though the Department for
 Work and Pensions – their employers – deny
 it with all their lying might).

We know that the assessment system is rubbish. It
 assumes that any ill-health professed by a claimant
is entirely in their mind, or made up by them to get
the benefit, and its questions are skewed in order
to make it possible for this to be claimed.

Medical evidence by doctors is routinely ignored
 – in fact, the system is designed to do so.

And we know that the appeal system is designed
to put people off demanding their right as citizens
 of the United Kingdom. Mandatory reassessment
 by the initial assessors was introduced, because
 too many people were winning on appeal so the
 Conservatives wanted to put a barrier in their way
 – a means of withholding payment while an excuse
 was found to continue withholding payment, for
an unlimited period of time.

Only after a mandatory reassessment had run its
 course, could a claimant appeal – if the extreme
 poverty into which the DWP, Atos or Capita had
thrown them had not forced them to give up and
claim another benefit or try to do a job (and how
 many of those who managed to get one have
 suffered serious health issues as a result?
Nobody tracks these), & if the stress of going
through this Kafka-esque system, has not
already killed them.

The appeal process is also relatively lengthy, but
 the success rate is remarkable – far higher than
that of mandatory reassessments. So we may
conclude that the assessment system is
seriously at fault.

The DWP absolutely refuses to draw
 this obvious conclusion, though.

And in the background, the number
of deaths just keeps on rising.

The solution is to outlaw any private, profit-driven
firm from carrying out health assessments on
people in the United Kingdom, to disband the
Department for Work & Pensions and ensure
none of the civil servants who made the key
 decisions ever work in the public sector again,
 and to start from scratch with a new system,
based on a claimant’s health, rather than
on fantasy.

That requires a change of government.

Until then, the current system will continue
putting people off claiming, in the hope that
 they will go away and not bother the public
finances again – either by getting a job,
living off the good graces of relatives
 and friends, or dying.

Dying is the preferred option of the
according to all the evidence.

It is a scandal of terrifying proportions. It has
 been going on for years. But still the media
organisations are treating it as a surprise.

Wake up!

To be struck down with illness or disability is
difficult enough. To then have to fight tooth
and nail for benefits to which one has a
genuine right, is soul-destroying.

Increasingly, it’s being reported that people in
Stoke-on-Trent have Personal Independence
Payments (PIP) rejected. And yet when these
 decisions are taken to tribunal, they are,
say organisations representing the
disabled, routinely overturned.

Not only does that suggest the system, overseen
by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP),
 is deeply flawed, but those who fall victim to it
are forced to wait months without payment,
before their appeal is heard.

Atos and Capita are the Government contractors
charged with getting the system right. But putting
 the private sector into healthcare, isn’t something
 of which everyone is a fan. There’s a risk, they say,
financial targets might cloud reasoned judgment.

Last year, a mental health nurse, sent undercover to
 train as a personal independence payment assessor
with Capita, was told in training that the company
needed its assessors “to be doing as many
assessments a day as you can possibly manage”.

One assessor revealed he sometimes completed his
 assessment reports before even meeting claimants,
 stating he could usually “completely dismiss” what
he was told by PIP claimants, and making offensive
comments about an overweight claimant who was
unable to carry out her own personal care. He also
 claimed some assessors were earning up to £20,000
 a month at a time when the DWP was trying to clear
an embarrassing backlog of claims. “We were flying
 through them, because of that money,” he said.

Source: Big Issue: ‘Many disabled people simply
 give up’ – the scandal of unpaid benefit payments

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DWP ‘Hid 7 Deaths From Review Team’
Saturday 31st December 2016
Underhand ministers ‘showed
contempt for disabled people’
by Felicity Collier

The Department for Work and Pensions “hid” the
 deaths of seven disability benefit claimants from
 an independent expert hired to review its “fitness
for work” assessments, a freedom of information
 (FOI) request has found.

Campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC)
 accused the government of showing “contempt for
disabled people’s lives and wellbeing.”

The FOI request, obtained by the Independent
 newspaper, revealed that data from the DWP’s
work capability assessments was withheld
 from Professor Malcolm Harrington, who
was preparing a report on them.

The assessments are used by the DWP to determine
 whether claimants are entitled to sickness benefits.
 It is mandatory practice that claimant deaths -
including suicides - which could be linked
to the test, are peer-reviewed.

Speaking to the Disability News Service website,
Prof Harrington said: “I have NO recollection of
seeing any of these reviews.

“Such damning indictments of the system - if seen -
should have triggered a response from me. It didn’t.”

DPAC co-founder Linda Burnip said: “The failure of
 the DWP to pass on all the information to Malcolm
 Harrington relating to the deaths of disabled people
-- which were a direct result of the failure of their
work capability assessments -- show their
 contempt for disabled people’s lives
 and wellbeing.”

She said the Disability News Service had worked
 relentlessly to uncover the information “in spite
of the many obstacles put in the way by the
in trying to suppress the truth.”

In its response to the FOI request, the DWP said:
“The department does not hold any information
 to confirm or deny whether these peer reviews
 were shared with Prof Harrington.”

On Thursday, it was reported that James Harrison,
 a man who was physically and mentally unwell,
had died 10 months after his doctor was told,
by the DWP, to stop writing him sick notes.

Mr Harrison, of Liverpool, had been suffering
from a serious lung condition and a hernia,
as well as depression and anxiety.

His mental health condition developed after he lost
his job at a community centre near his home when
it was forced to close by government spending
cuts. He had worked there since leaving school.

In the months before his death, he was declared
 “fit for work” following a work capability assess-
ment with the DWP in Birkenhead. But he none-
theless needed to see his doctor regularly.

Only when his daughter asked to see his medical
records was it revealed --- that the DWP had
contacted his GP declaring him “fit for work”
and asking for him not to undergo any further
 assessment unless an appeal was made, his
 condition worsened significantly, or a new
 medical condition arose.

Ms Burnip commented: “It is totally unacceptable
 that a job centre manager with no medical training
 can tell a GP to stop writing fit notes for a patient.

“There should be an independent inquiry into
how this was allowed to happen.”

(source - Morning Star)


Malnutrition has tripled since 2008: but
say the cause can’t be identified.
It’ll be ESA

by Mike Sivier - Vox Political

‘Poverty is causing vulnerable people … to go
 hungry and undernourished,’ shadow health
secretary says.

Isn’t it interesting that the official figures show
 malnutrition increasing hugely, year-on-year,
from 2008 onwards – when the Employment
and Support Allowance was introduced - but
 the Conservative Government is insisting
that no cause can be identified?

ESA, with a hated, nonsensical Work Capability
 Assessment, which governs whether a claimant
qualifies for the benefit, was introduced in 2008.

This Blog ran an article on the increase in
 malnutrition in November, but reader Tony
Dean went further - requesting information
 from the Department of Health.

In the financial year 2007-8, there were 7,695
 primary diagnoses of malnutrition – up from
 6,704 the previous year. Secondary diagnoses
 had fallen from 58,344 the previous year,
 to 57,052.

From then on, the figures started to increase –
hugely. In 2015-16 there were 17,166 primary
 diagnoses of malnutrition and a massive
167,362 secondary diagnoses.

Primary diagnoses describe the most serious
or resource-intensive condition suffered by a
patient who is hospitalised for any period
 of time. A secondary diagnosis describes
 those conditions that coexist at the time
 of admission, or develop subsequently,
 and that affect the patient for the
current episode of care.

So we are seeing not only an increase in
 malnutrition as an illness in its own right
--- but a massive increase in it, as a
contributory factor to other illnesses.

The information may be found here. It was
 provided by Health Under-Secretary Nicola
Blackwood in response to a question by
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth
 in November.

Ms Blackwood: “The cause of the malnutrition
 is not presented in these figures and it is not
 possible to make assumptions on which
 factor was responsible for the admission.

“Malnutrition can be caused by a variety of
 factors, including an inability to absorb
nutrients normally, or a condition or
 disease which affects a patient’s
 ability to feed normally.”

Oh, really?

Doesn’t this sound eerily similar to the Department
 for Work and Pensions’ mantra about suicides by
 benefit claimants? That line runs something like
 this: “Any suicide is a tragedy and the reasons
 for them are complex, however it would be
inaccurate and misleading to link it solely
 to a person’s benefit claim.” (The word
“solely” was added fairly recently, after
the Department’s chiefs realised that
mounting evidence had shown they
 could no longer deny all guilt.

Strangely, nobody has yet prosecuted the
 DWP for corporate manslaughter, after
 this admission).

This Writer thinks it is entirely possible to
 make assumptions on the facts responsible
 for the admissions. But there is no need to
 do so; unlike the suicides, people who have
 been treated for malnutrition are not likely
 to be dead.

So why not ask them why
 they were going hungry?

It’s a simple enough question. If the Department
of Health is too busy to do the work itself, I’m
sure some of the rest of us could step in and
 lend a hand.

Or is the government afraid of the answer?

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Tory government policy made Legal
 Aid lawyer shortage inevitable
by Mike Sivier /Vox Political

Charities warn there are less and less
 legal aid housing lawyers in practice

When the Conservatives cut the amount of money
 available for Legal Aid, they knew it would happen.

Thousands of people are being made homeless every
year, because they cannot find lawyers to help them
resist eviction, charities are warning.

Even though legal aid is available to help anyone in
 danger of losing their home, there has been an 18%
 decline in the number of challenges brought -- at a
time of record repossessions in the private rental

The latest figures, highlighted by the Legal Action
 Group (LAG) and the homeless charity Shelter,
reinforce warnings by the Law Society, that
“advice deserts”, where few, if any, lawyers
are left in practice, who are capable of
dealing with legal aid housing cases,
are emerging across Wales.

Source: Thousands left homeless by shortage
of legal aid lawyers, say charities | The Guardian


DWP staff - £140 million in bonuses 
 for sanctioning people off benefits?
by Mike Sivier
Vox Political

Gosh – nearly £140 million in bonuses to DWP staff
in three years is pretty impressive. What did those
 people do to deserve that cash?

Did they…

Run a ‘Space Invaders Challenge’ (whatever that is)
to get Employment and Support Allowance claimants
off their books, as staff at Yardley Job Centre did?

Employment Minister Justin Tomlinson was shamed
into ordering Job Centre “advisers” to take down
 the poster, but his only comment was that it was
 not “presented in the best way.”

Or did they…

Award themselves ‘sheriff stars’
for hitting sanction targets?

According to The Void, Job Centres are being
 awarded special 'sheriff stars' for meeting
sanction targets (that's right - the sanction
targets that the DWP keeps insisting don't
exist, even after being presented with
 the proof).

According to The Void, Job Centres were being
 awarded special ‘sheriff stars’ for meeting
 sanction targets. Link:


I know – the DWP insists that it has no targets
 for sanctions, even after being presented
 with photographic proof.

Or did they do even worse things
 that have yet to be made public?

For a current example of the way Job Centres
treat benefit claimants, see: Teen committed
 suicide after being ‘belittled’ by Job Centre staff

Over the last 3 years, the Department for Work
 and Pensions has handed out £139.9 million in
 bonuses to its staff – £124.37 million of which
 has gone to Senior Civil servants.

In the year ending April 2015, the DWP paid out
£42.1 million, slightly less than the year before
when bonuses totalled £46.5 million.

The DWP has insisted that bonuses are only paid
 to employees whose work is consistently good
or outstanding.

Responding to a written question from Andrew
 Gwynne MP, Work and Pensions Minister Justin
 Tomlinson said: “In line with Civil Service pay
guidance, DWP rewards employees for their
performance through either end of year non-
consolidated payments and/or in-year pay-
ments. In year payments are limited to
0.23% of the total DWP paybill.

“Employees who've attained agreed performance
 levels as part of their performance review may
receive end of year non-consolidated payments
based on their grade & end of year performance
 marking. End of year payments are limited to
1.9% of the total DWP paybill”

Source: DWP staff received almost £140 million in
bonuses over the last three years | The Independent

Note: The figures relate to the three years up to late
 2015. Who knows how much has been handed out
to DWP staff since then?

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Liberal Democrats fined £20,000
for undeclared election spending.
When we will hear about the Tories?
by Mike Sivier
Vox Political

If any Lib Dems scoffed at Labour for having to
 pay £20 grand because of the ‘Ed Stone’ (and
other undeclareds), they’ll need to eat a bit
of humble pie.

This Writer is more concerned that this does not
 indicate a direction of travel, regarding ongoing
 investigations into Conservative Party election

As far as I can tell, none of the undeclared Labour
 or Lib Dem expenditure is being suggested as
having changed the result of the general
election in particular seats.

But if the Conservative MPs under investigation
 turn out to have broken the rules, it seems far
 more likely that they took their Parliamentary
 seats illegally.

With around 30 Tories under suspicion, and the
 party’s majority in the Commons standing at
much fewer, the outcome of the whole
election is cast into doubt.

That is a much more serious offence – which
of course is why the police are investigating.

We will need to keep a watchful eye on events --
 to ensure Conservatives aren’t let off lightly
 – if any guilt is proved.

The Liberal Democrats have been hit with a maximum
£20,000 fine by the Electoral Commission, for failing
to declare hundreds of items of campaign spending
 at the general election.

The watchdog notified the police of a possible
 electoral offence after 307 payments totalling
 £184,676 were found to be missing from the
Liberal Democrats’ spending return
“without a reasonable excuse”.

In addition, invoices supporting 122 out of the
307 payments were missing from the return. It
 says declarations to the Electoral Commission
 "may have been signed recklessly", as there
was evidence indicating some people in
 the party knew it was incorrect.

The Lib Dems say, it's a result of “human error
and failure of process”. However, Bob Posner,
the director of political finance at the Electoral
Commission, said there were “systemic failures
in ensuring that the rules were being followed”.

Source: Lib Dems fined £20,000 for undeclared
election spending | Politics | The Guardian

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Third Of Domestic Abuse
Starts During Pregnancy
by Lamiat Sabin

Up to 60% of women who experience domestic
 violence, are abused by their partners while
pregnant, a midwives’ union says -- as a new
campaign is launched to combat the problem.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of abuse cases
are triggered by pregnancy, and existing
violent behaviour escalates, when the
victim is expecting a baby, according
to statistics provided by the Royal
College of Midwives (RCM).

The report shows that this is due to a partner’s
 inability to cope with their jealousy and anger,
towards an unborn child.

Domestic violence has overtaken gestational
diabetes and pre-eclampsia as the main cause
of foetal death, as pregnant women are more
likely to be hit on the abdomen by a partner
or ex.

The risk of severe violence appears to be
greatest after a child is born, the report adds.

The data used in the Domestic Violence and
Pregnancy report, published in the International
 Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, were
drawn from victim admissions to A&E.

It is likely that the prevalence of violence against
women and their unborn and newborn children is
 under-reported --- since many expectant and new
 mothers find it difficult to seek help, the RCM said.

Midwives play a crucial role in identifying abuse,
by being alert to unexplained injuries and causes
of damage to a baby, RCM policy adviser Janet
 Fyle says.

The RCM joined government, domestic abuse
 charity SafeLives and other organisations, in
launching 16 Days of Action Against Domestic
 Violence Campaign, which runs to December 3.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow
 minister for women and equalities, Sarah Champion,
made a joint statement to mark the United Nations
International Day for the Elimination of Violence
 against Women and Girls.

They said: “We must support the incredible work of
women’s organisations who provide essential, life-
saving services to survivors.

“It is unacceptable that these specialist
 organisations who support women and
girls have seen resources decimated
 in the name of austerity.”

A Labour government would introduce statutory,
 age-appropriate school lessons to teach children
about healthy relationships and friendships, and
also how to identify abuse.

Mr Corbyn and Ms Champion condemned the
“unacceptable” government cuts to women’s
aid charities and vowed that Labour would
 increase funding.

Earlier this month, ministers launched a temporary
£20 million pot of funding for refuges and domestic
 violence support services, which have to bid for
a share of the money.

(source Morning Star)


More need, less money: older people
are missing out on the care they need
by Ignacio Amigo
There are currently 1.2 million older people in the UK
 living with some basic need unmet. That’s 48% more
than six years ago. Basic needs include things such
 as getting out of bed, washing, or going to the toilet.

Those are the shocking findings of a new analysis
 by Age UK, a charity dedicated to the elderly.

The numbers

Of those 1.2 million older people, about 40% do get
 some kind of support, but the support is insufficient.
This often means that carers are only available at
particular times of the day. The rest – almost
700,000 people – don’t get any help at all.

Age UK also highlights the dramatic situation of the
 291,400 older people that have three or more needs
 unmet. Of those, more than 20% fall into the group
 that receives no help whatsoever.

Carolyn Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, has
 asked the government to pledge giving social care
 priority in the forthcoming Autumn Statement,
which will be published on 23 November.

Funding cuts

The numbers shown by Age UK should come as no
 surprise, after years of budget cuts. A recent BBC
 analysis showed that spending on care for people
 over 65 has dropped by 20% since 2004. Over the
 same period, the proportion of people over 65 in
the UK has increased another 20% [PDF, page 4].
This means that there is now less money
to treat more people.

In fact, in the last few years, there has been a great
 reduction in the number of older people receiving
 care from the state. While in 2009 there were more
 than 1.1 million people receiving care funded by
 local authorities, that number fell to 853,615
 by 2013/2014 [PDF, page 16].

Ruth Thorlby, Deputy Director of Policy at the
 Nuffield Trust, sums up the situation perfectly:

The number of older people needing care is
 increasing and yet we are continuing to put
 less money in. Unmet need is rising, many
providers are threatening to pull out of
contracts, the wellbeing of carers is
deteriorating, access to care is get-
worse. A Government that wants
create ‘a country which works for

everyone’ --- should not tolerate the
oldest, most vulnerable, falling in
to a social care system, riddled
with holes.”

Poor people are being hit harder

The lack of care funding is not affecting everyone
 equally. A recent report by The King’s Fund warns
us, that a change in the care providers’ business
strategy is taking place. Due to the reduction of
 fees paid by local authorities, as well as other
 increasing pressures, many care providers are
 concentrating on people who can pay for their
own care. This is creating a ‘two-tier’ system:
one for people with higher income, and one for
 those who rely on local authority-arranged care.

The report puts it boldly [PDF, page 5]:

Access to care depends increasingly on what people
can afford – and where they live – rather than on
what they need. This favours the relatively well
off and well informed --- at the expense of the
poorest --- who are reliant on an increasingly
 threadbare local authority safety net – especially
if they live in areas where local authorities have
been least able to sustain spending levels – and
who are at a higher risk of declining quality and
 provider failure.

The reports concludes [PDF, page 82] that long-term
 policies, along with a mechanism to secure cross-
party consensus, on some shared principles, are
 urgently needed. Policy-makers should take note.

source The Canary


Shadow employment minister demands
 action as child poverty hits 3.9 million

From her website:

Shadow Employment Minister, Margaret Greenwood
MP, called on the Government to take urgent action
to tackle child poverty after figures released by the
End Child Poverty campaign revealed that in some
 parts of the UK, nearly half of children are living
in poverty.

“3.9 million children in the UK are living in
poverty and that includes 18,000 children
 in the Wirral. Children in the UK are now
 twice as likely to be poor --- as our
pensioners,” said Ms Greenwood.

“In every part of the country, there are children
who are growing up in poverty and having to
 do without.

“That means going without all sorts of things,
including food. Some will be wearing shoes
that don’t fit, clothes that aren’t warm
enough, and going to bed hungry.
This is wholly unacceptable, and
the government needs to take
urgent action.

“Millions of families are struggling to meet basic
 household bills as a result of low pay, insecure
work and the lack of affordable housing. On top
of that, food prices are expected to rise in the
 coming year.

“Cuts to Universal Credit are going to hit the
poorest families hard. A single parent family
 would have to work an extra 2 months each
year, to make up the money they will lose
 as a result of these cuts. Clearly that is

“Where a family has to move to cheaper
accommodation, children may also have
to move schools, causing disruption to
their friendship groups and their

“Family tensions caused by money worries
are easily transmitted to children --- even
though that would be the last thing that
 parents would want.

“The Prime Minister said on coming to power
that her Government would be on the side
of families just struggling to get by.

“I am calling on the Government to live up to
 its rhetoric by reversing cuts to Universal
Credit in the Autumn Statement.”

You can find more information
 on the Child Poverty campaign at


The Trussell Trust reports that food bank use
 has increased again this year. Food parcels
 were given to 519,000 in the 6 months
to the end of September, which
 included 188,000 children.

source - Vox Political



Rail Minister Paul Maynard’s decision to 'defer'
electrification of the Great Western rail line
from London to Wales, is a blatant failure to
 honour a general election manifesto pledge.

His assertion that new rolling stock can “bring
 in the benefits expected by passengers” with-
out “costly & disruptive electrification
works” is a pathetic joke.

The new trains were originally intended to run
on electric alone, but have been ''amended''
to provide a diesel back-up, which Maynard
now says is ''the way ahead'' for GWR.

This breaks government commitments to reduce
 global warming emissions and makes a mockery
 of the disruption that many areas have already
suffered, through their preparatory work for

Ministers still set greater store on the austerity
 agenda of cuts, than on public investment for
economic growth and prosperity.

GWR was to deliver customer improvements
by 2019, but has now kicked completion of
 the electrification project, originally meant
 for 2018, to a faraway 2024.

If such projects are postponed, costs rise.
The price of GWR electrification was £874
million in 2013 -- and is now estimated at
£2.8 billion!

Upgraded, efficient, safe, environmentally
 sound, affordable rail networks, are not
an optional extra in a modern economy.

In Europe, massive public investment
in rail has delivered for passengers.

Margaret Thatcher’s preference for private
 cars, followed by John Major’s decision to
fragment and privatise British Rail, leaves
the UK and Wales decades behind...

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald
 demands that the government reverse this
 decision and keep its election promises.

Some hope!


Tory austerity cuts ‘systematically’
violated rights of disabled Britons – UN

The United Nations accuses the Conservative
 government, of violating the human rights of
disabled people by cutting welfare provision.

A report by the UN Committee on the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities criticizes the reforms
 brought in by the former Work and Pensions
Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

The committee says the cuts and caps to welfare
 introduced under the guise of austerity, “gravely
 or systematically” violate disabled people's rights.

UN committee members visited the UK in
 Oct. 2015 on a fact-finding mission. Their
 report was based on over 200 interviews
 and around 3,000 pages of evidence.

The committee says Britain should establish
 a watchdog to assess the impact of policy
 changes on disabled people’s lives.

It also criticizes the distorted representation
 of disabled people in the UK.

“Persons with disabilities have been regularly
 portrayed negatively as being dependent or
making a living out of benefits, committing
 fraud as benefit claimants, being lazy and
 putting a burden on taxpayers, who pay
‘money for nothing,’” the report says.

The government is also attacked for its cuts
 to housing benefits, that cause high levels
 of stress and depression, the report says.

Ministers had not factored disabled people’s needs
 into reforms, while programs to encourage them to
find work had “no visible impact,” with many now
driven into debt or forced to use food banks.

Disabled People Against Cuts (Dpac) founder Linda
 Burnip told the Guardian it “came as no surprise
 to anyone who's followed the stripping away of
disabled people’s rights over the last six years.”

“The United Nations has found today that there is
 reliable evidence showing the Tory Government
is responsible for grave violations of the rights of
 disabled people, under its failing austerity plan,”
Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary
 Debbie Abrahams says.

“The UN report confirms that, despite Theresa
 May’s warm words, the Government is failing
sick and disabled people.

“Labour will transform our social security system
 to ensure that, like our NHS, it is there for us all
in our time of need.”

The government said in a statement: “As a strong
 parliamentary democracy, where the voices and
 opinions of disabled people are represented and
 listened to, the UK is a place where disabled
 people's rights are respected, promoted
and upheld.”


The Benefits Cap Has Now Come Into Force.
Desperate People Are About To Become
More Desperate Still
by Charlotte Hughes

The new benefits cap has now come into force.
Myself, other activists and politicians had tried
desperately to warn the public about this, but
 it seemed to fall on deaf ears in many cases.

I suppose it’s easier to run away from reality, to try
 to carry on as normal and ignore the fact that this
 is happening.
The enormity of the situation
 has now hit people very hard.

As a community activist, I started to receive emails
 from worried people in the early hours of yesterday
 morning and this continued throughout the day.

Questions such as: “How will I manage?” “I’m
scared I’m going to lose my home,” “We can’t
 afford to eat and pay the rent, what shall we do?”

Make no mistake, this is going to be devastating
 and these are the questions that thousands and
 thousands of people were asking themselves
 yesterday, and they will continue to do so.

The government stated that it has implemented the
 benefit cap because it wants to make unemployed
 and sick people think more about the cost of things.
 It wants them to be more in line with people who
are working.

Theresa May was quoted as saying that
 this will provide “good value for money.”

I say that making the poorest suffer is never
good value for money. You quite simply can’t
 put a price on a person’s life.
 It’s unconscionable to do so.

How will the new benefit cap affect people?
 Basically, unemployed and people claiming
 employment and support allowance who are
 not in the support group are expected to pay
 the shortfall in their rent. Deciding between
eating, keeping warm or paying the rent is
an impossible choice to make.

There’s a massive misunderstanding among
 the media and society that claimants receive
 all the money that they are entitled to in their
 hands. They don’t.

Most of their money goes to pay their landlord
 their rent. With social housing being in very
short supply, more and more people are forced
 to go to the private rented sector and many
are already paying a top-up rent.

Having to pay a now impossible amount will
see tenants being evicted, having to rely on
 homeless shelters which are already full or
being housed in B&Bs which are usually in
 a state of disrepair.

If a tenant falls behind with their rent and gets
 evicted, the local authorities will see them as
making themselves intentionally homeless and
 therefore have no statutory duty to house them.
Whether single, a couple, or with children —
 the situation is dire.

The pressure that will be put on foodbanks will be
 unprecedented. They find it hard enough to cope
 already, so how will they be able to cope with
more and more people coming to them?

They rely on donations, many probably made by
the very same people that are now being hit by
 the benefit cap now. In effect, the amount of
 people able to donate will drop as well.

This will also have a direct effect upon the NHS
and related services. More and more people
will become ill and admitted to hospital with
 malnutrition-related diseases. And now
 winter is here, people will suffer from
more cold-related illnesses too.

It has been estimated that as many as 88,000
 families will be affected, including a quarter of
 a million children — which is the equivalent of
350 primary schools all being faced with
 homelessness by the new benefit cap.

It’s horrific. It can never be seen as good value
 for money. It’s inhumane and we need to start
raising our voices more.

source - The Morning Star


How did we – the British people – ever
come to accept such laws as reasonable?

An elderly couple who have been by each
other’s side for 70 years are being ‘forced
apart’ by social services – as they ‘don’t
meet the criteria’ to live together.

Jessie and Ray Lorrison, of South Shields in
 South Tyneside, have spent nearly every day
of their lives together since they first met in
1946 – but have now been told they must
separate lives.

Ray, 95, is living at Westoe Grange Care Home
 in the town, while his heartbroken wife Jessie,
88, is in hospital after being told she ‘does
meet the criteria’ to join her husband.

A South Tyneside Council spokesperson said: "The
 Council is not able to comment on individual cases,
however any decision on care and support for an
individual is based on their own needs and is
made in line with the Care Act."

Another statement is that this is
NOT an unusual case. Social
Services do this to almost
ALL frail couples as they
hospice care.

Despicable, obscenely cruel,
gob-smackingly vile... that's
the UK's Social Services!


As Labour gets fined over election expenses
Tory election fraud scandal is being ignored
by Steve Topple  source: The Canary

It was revealed on Tuesday 25 October that
the Labour Party had been fined over
undeclared election expenses.

The Electoral Commission fined the party £20,000
 for not submitting numerous expenses from the
2015 general election, including the infamous
 ‘Ed Stone’. But it begs the question — just
what is happening with the so-called
 Tory election fraud scandal?

Hitting brick walls

The Commission found that the Labour Party had
not declared £123,748 of expenses in last year’s
 election campaign. These included an 8ft stone
tablet which had Labour’s key pledges carved
into it – the missing costs being £7,614. A
further 33 receipts were missing from the
campaign, plus 49 for transport costs.

The party’s General Secretary, Iain McNicol,
committed two offences under the Political
Parties, Elections and Referendums Act in
relation to the missing payments and the
 missing invoices. The
£20,000 fine is the
highest in the Electoral Commission’s

And while the commission said Labour
had co-operated throughout the inquiry,
it criticised the party for not giving the
requested information in a “reasonable
 time frame”.

But while Labour has been held to account over
what could be considered fraudulent expenses,
the Conservative Party’s alleged election fraud
appears to have been kicked into the long grass.

Unprecedented fraud?

As The Canary previously revealed, the Electoral
 Commission and police have been investigating
allegations that tens of thousands of pounds
that should have been declared as expenses
locally, were in fact, paid for nationally.

These expenses fell into 2 main areas: the use
 of hotels for campaign staff, and the so-called
Tory “Battle Bus” – which ferried activists up
and down the country. If they should have
been declared locally, this would mean that
the Tories had breached spending limits in
at least 29 constituencies. That, in turn,
may well put the legitimacy of the 2015
general election result into question.

In June, 18 police forces across the UK had been
 given, or were seeking an extension to, the time
limit for the investigations related to election
expenses. David Cameron’s Conservative
government was the first government in
UK history to face police investigations
into alleged electoral fraud.

One such example was in South Thanet, where
Craig Mackinlay is the Conservative MP. The
 party is accused of spending around £20,000
 on Mackinlay’s 2015 campaign which was
not only not declared as national or local
spending --- but was not declared at all.

In June, Mackinlay attempted in court to block
a police investigation into the matter. But the
 judge threw the case out, ----- saying that the
 alleged fraud was on an “unprecedented s
cale” and the police investigation was of
“very significant public interest”.

Tory pork pies?

David Cameron, when he was still Prime Minister,
went on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show to defend
Mackinlay’s court action. Marr asked:

Did you authorise the payment of a very expensive QC
to go to Kent Police, and try to stop them extending
their investigation? Because that looks like a

In an attempt to deflect from his own apparent
involvement in the “cover-up”, Cameron said:

This is all being handled, I think quite properly, by
 the party Chairman, and I’m very happy that what
we did was right and we can answer all the
questions that we’re being [asked].

Since then, the investigations appear to have gone
 quiet. As The Guardian reported on 29 July, police
 forces are applying for a year’s investigation
 extension, but no conclusions have been
drawn yet.

The judgement over the Labour Party’s transport
costs now shines some light into the severity of
the allegations about the Tories. The Electoral
Commission said it didn’t suspect an offence
had been committed regarding Labour busing
 activists up and down the country. The fact
that the Commission has not yet dismissed
 the same allegations against Conservatives
 could well mean there is a case to answer.


Crash the campaign bus:
The Blairites’ plan B

With the botched coup simply bolstering Corbyn’s
 position as leader, Labour rightwingers look ready
to commit an ultimate betrayal, says Charley Allan.

The term “Blairite” is often misapplied, leaving
some centre-left Corbyn-sceptic MPs unfairly
 tarred by Tony’s toxic brush.

Within Labour, it’s normally meant and taken as
 an insult, which is why the “B-word” has been
 banned along with “traitor” — using either
online can see you summarily suspended.

But there are some politicians who still wear
 this particular label with pride.

Step forward Baron Peter Mandelson, New Labour
architect and by far the best spin-doctor Blair
ever had.

Mandelson has long opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s
 leadership — he even tried to pull the plug on last
 year’s contest by putting pressure on all the other
 candidates to resign en masse at the last minute.

He still insists that “unelectable” Corbyn can’t be
 allowed to lead the party, but his latest solution
 is sure to send shivers down centre-left spines.

At a Royal Television Society conference, the
political “prince of darkness”, was asked
about the possibility of a snap election.

“Bring it on,” he replied. “I get up every day
 and pray that will be the case.”

And the reason for such enthusiasm? “So we can
deal with the awful situation in the Labour Party
 earlier than 2020.”

Just to be clear, “awful situation” is code for
 “Corbyn’s leadership” — as is “deal with” for
“bring to a brutal end.”

Mandelson is openly calling for a speedy general
 election loss to dislodge Corbyn as leader — and
 it’s not the first time the Labour right has been
 caught committing such a betrayal.

Back in August, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told the
 Sunday Times: “I’ve had very senior Labour MPs
 come to me and they've begged me to push for
 an early general election to finish Corbyn off.”

He said they’d told him: “Put us out of our misery
 — it would be a mercy killing.”

And according to the Telegraph, the MPs “warned
 the only way to rid the party of Mr Corbyn would
 be if Labour is ‘wiped out’ at a general election
 -- proving his unpopularity with the public.”

Make no mistake, Blairites really are praying for
 Labour to lose a snap general election, just so
 they can topple their twice-elected leader.

It’s the abuse of the power to ban that has
 caused such bad blood in recent months.
It must be tackled head on before Labour
can move on.

Will there now be thousands of disciplinary hearings,
 costing who knows how much of our precious party

Maybe we’ll see a mass amnesty in the spirit
 of clean slates — though that runs the risk
of laying bare the right’s dirty tricks.

However this is resolved, we still have to deal
with the “detrimental effect” and “inevitable
 shame” of our suspensions, which is why
 there needs to be a full investigation into
 what happened and who is to blame.

At the very least, seeing the back of general
 secretary Iain McNicol — who purged us all
 personally using powers given to him by
the NEC — would help draw a line under
the whole debacle.

It makes no sense for the centre-left to keep
 supporting the same people who led them up
 the garden path this summer, unnecessarily
turned their own members against them, and
 now threaten to “destroy the village in order
to save it.”

Let’s pray they wake up, before it’s too late.

Chat to Charley on Twitter: @charleyallan


Tory Boundary Short-Changers
The Conservatives are hardly even bothering
 to pretend that they are cutting the size of
 Parliament to make the distribution of
seats fairer.

The vanishing constituencies are almost all
 Labour ones, with Wales — where over a
quarter of seats are to be eliminated —

London, the N-East & N-West England
all taking significant casualties.

By contrast most Tory areas get off lightly,
 with the true-blue Isle of Wight even due
to nab an extra seat --- despite having
 too few people to merit it.

This could be defeated --- with


UK police will soon start bagging
 people’s heads during arrests

Metropolitan Police officers will soon be able
to use specially designed bags, known as
spithoods, to cover suspects’ heads...
arrests and in police stations.

The mesh bags are used to restrain suspects
and protect the police from those who might
try to bite or spit at them. The Met insists the
 hoods prevent exposure to diseases and
 serious infection.

In a pilot scheme starting in October, 32 custody
 units, will receive material and training, on how
use “spit guards.” Their application on any
 suspect will be recorded under “use of force.”

Spit hoods aren't to be used on the streets initially,
so as not to incense the public, but details on their
 use after the pilot scheme expires, have not been

The measure has been controversial with human
 rights groups, which say the use of spit hoods
is “an alarming development" and
"cruel and

The device may breach suspects’ rights, with some
 police chiefs suggesting the hoods resemble the
 trappings adopted at Guantanamo Bay. Even the
 Met was once opposed to them.

“A spit hood is a primitive, cruel and degrading tool
 that inspires fear and anguish,” says Liberty's
 director, Martha Spurrier.

“We have seen many cases where the police use
 them unnecessarily and without justification,
 including on children and disabled people.

“Police have the power to use force against citizens
when they have to – using handcuffs, arm restraints,
leg restraints, pepper spray, batons. The suggestion
 that officers need to be able to cover people’s faces
 and heads is as far-fetched as it is frightening. Spit
 hoods belong in horror stories, not on the streets of
 a civilized society. We urge the Metropolitan police
 to think again.”



Tory party membership, is now
 below 100,000 for the first time.
The Tory Party is disappearing.

It'll be weird, having thousands
of Young Corbynites canvassing
 - and all the Tory party have is a
few imported American nut-jobs.

How will that play in the marginals?

Remember - there are still 19 police forces
 investigating 32 Tory MPs for election fraud.

Police investigate ‘hidden payments’
to Northampton South MP’s fund

VoxPolitico - This story seems to be separate from
 the wider issue of alleged election fraud by many
 Conservative candidates. [ed. See articles below]

Apparently the donations come from
 1st Land Ltd, a firm at the centre of
an inquiry into the disappearance
of millions of pounds of
taxpayers’ money.

    Hidden payments - totalling £30,000 - to a Tory MP’s
   general election campaign are being investigated...
by the police.

Auntie BBC has already established that the money
for David Mackintosh’s Northampton South fighting
fund, in 3 (three) £10,000 donations, was disguised

 -- in terms of who made them.

The Electoral Commission passed
 their file on the case to the police.

    Mr Mackintosh, ex-leader of Northampton
    council, welcomed the investigation and
“will co-operate fully with police”.

    “I'd no reason to believe that the donations
     --- were from anyone other than the named
donors,” he said.


Labour promises to rescue
communities and industry
by Peter Lazenby

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell unveils
 plans to pump billions of pounds of investment in
to the UK’s regions, to boost industry and create
 hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He pledges radical changes, including giving
workers the right to sit on company boards
 and funding for co-operative enterprises -
proposals similar to the Bullock Report -
commissioned by Wilson’s government.

Mr McDonnell says a Labour government will
 create a publicly controlled investment bank
 - and similar banks for Britain’s regions - with
access to £500 billion, to boost industrial
development and jobs.

McDonnell says his investment plans will help
 those communities “left behind”, by Osborne’s
 austerity campaign, which hit the UK’s worst-
off areas (like Wales valleys) the hardest.

“Today, I want to announce a major new
 commitment, from Labour, to the British
people, a policy that will form the lynch-
pin of everything else we do, to rescue
Britain’s communities from decay and
 to rebuild Britain’s industries after
 years of neglect,” he said.

“George Osborne leaves behind a legacy
failure. We’ve got public services cut
to the
bone and in some cases, beyond.

“We’ve got a million people using foodbanks
 -- in the sixth-richest economy in the world.
And investment has fallen, dragging
 down productivity.

“Our economy has become far too
dependent on low-paid, insecure
work, as a result.

“Worse yet, spending cuts have hit the places
 least able to cope with them, the hardest. The
 UK has the worst regional inequalities of any
 current member of the European Union.

“Our country needs a programme
 of economic transformation.

“That must start with addressing the funding
 imbalance, and delivering the investment
 needed, to kick-start high-quality growth.”

Mr McDonnell pledges: “On coming to power,
Labour will set up a National Investment Bank
 and a network of regional banks, whose aim
is to help mobilise £500bn into the economy
--- and transform Britain.

“A national investment bank, managed
 independently of government ---- can
 raise the financing needed to deliver
 infrastructure on this scale.”

He says the plans will create 100,000
 well-paid jobs in the north-east alone.


 43 year old former soldier dies in
Wales --- after police Taser him

A former soldier who served in Iraq & Afghanistan
 has died after being tasered by police in Llanelli.
The man had reportedly been suffering from
post-traumatic stress disorder.

The victim, identified as 43-year-old Spencer Beynon,
 was tasered after officers were called by a woman
who was “concerned” about the welfare and
behaviour of the man, who appeared injured
and was acting erratically.

Beynon was a former member of the Royal
Welsh Regiment and had served in the
Army for 15 years.

The UN has already told the UK to ban police
Taser use on children – but what about other
vulnerable people?

The Independent Police Complaints Commission
 (IPCC) has launched an inquiry into the incident.

Local councilor Robert Davies says Beynon
 was “a nice guy” who “always had time to
 say hello, very pleasant.”

"I think he found it hard coming out of the Army.
So many of our soldiers who serve the country,
 are forgotten about."

Nia Griffith, Labour MP for Llanelli, & Lee Waters,
 Labour Welsh Assembly member for Llanelli, say
in a joint statement:

"We are both extremely concerned about reports
of the police Taser shooting incident in Llanelli,
and would like to extend our deepest sympathy
to the family and friends of the man who died."

According to government statistics, police in
 England and Wales used Tasers more than
10,000 times in 2014 – a 2 percent increase
 over the previous year. From 2013 to 2014,
Taser use rose by 3 percent.

UK police used stun guns on 407 minors,
 --- despite the United Nations warning.


Housing Associations: Friend Or Foe?

A fascinating article for many [formerly known
as] RCT Homes tenants, in the Rhondda --- and
 throughout Rhondda-Cynon-Taf:



More Tory election fraud allegations:
MPs failed to declare online ad costs

Two more Tory MPs face fresh allegations of fraud
 for failing to declare the cost of running negative
 campaign ads online, as police forces across the
UK, continue to probe the election spending
 of Conservative candidates.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and Amber Valley
 MP Nigel Mills apparently used local versions of
 national online advertisements designed by ad
firm M&C Saatchi, but failed to declare the ads
 in their election spending returns, the Daily
Mirror reports.

The Tories paid the ad agency, which has
worked with the party for 35 years, £395,575
 (US$580,000) for advertising costs in the run
 up to the 2015 election.

A ‘wrecking ball’ video ad created by Saatchi,
--- and declared by the party under “national
spending” --- was altered slightly and used
 by both Rudd and Mills on their YouTube
channels for local campaigns.

Rudd posted a version of the same ad on her
YouTube page, on March 29, 2015, with the
 slogan changed from “Recovering Economy:
Don’t Let Labour Wreck It” to “Unemployment
 down by 1,921 in Hastings & Rye since 2010.”

The ad does not appear in Rudd’s campaign
 election spending return.

Mills, already being investigated by Derbyshire
 Police --- for failing to declare the cost of the
'battlebus’ filled with party activists --- also
 ran a local version of the ad, on his You
Tube page, but didn't report paying for it.

Mills is one of 28 Conservative candidates
under investigation for having written off
as national spending the cost of transport
and hotel rooms, for hundreds of activists
bused in to rally more support in highly
contested parliamentary constituencies:
allegedly breaking legal spending limits.

An Electoral Commission spokesman says:

 “Our guidance explains that candidates
 need to make an honest & responsible
assessment, as to whether expenses
were for their election, or whether it
was for promoting the national party.

“If used in a constituency, and only
promoting the national party and
national policies, then that should
count as national party spend.

 If the cost promotes both the local
candidate & national policies, then a
 portion of the cost should be allocated
 to the candidate’s spending limit, & a
portion towards the party’s national
spending limit.”

Neither MP responded to the Daily
Mirror’s request for a comment.


Exposed & Investigated:
 UK Tory Election Fraud

Seven police forces in the UK are looking
into claims the Conservative party failed
to report large sums of money it spent
during its election campaign in 2015.

Apparently, according to Channel 4,
 which investigated alleged election
 fraud, the UK's ruling party failed to
report up to $288,000, spent on MPs
 and local candidates in 33 elections
 --- which should have been declared
 in the party's local spending.

Some of the undeclared expenses
 included hotel bills, plus the cost
of transporting activists in highly
contested areas of the UK, to aid
 the Tory campaign.

 Under electoral law, breaching
 spending limits is a criminal

In a statement, the Conservative party
 blames the omission of the hotel costs
 of people bussed in to help campaign
--- on an "administrative error."

Following the exposure by Channel 4,
investigations have been launched by
seven different forces, including the
Greater Manchester Police, Devon
and Cornwall, Northamptonshire,
Cheshire, Staffordshire, West
Yorkshire and Gloucestershire.

Two police forces, West Yorkshire and
 Greater Manchester, say that they are
seeking to extend their one-year time
limit into the investigation into these
improper electoral expenses.

It's expected that other forces
 will now follow suit. Come on,
Wales' police!

Meanwhile, accusations are emerging
 that this alleged fraud, carried out by
 the UK's ruling party, has been ignored
 by some of the UK's mainstream media.


Fostered UK children often
denied mental health treatment

UK Children in care often have no access
to mental health services, a report says.

UK lawmakers have found that children in care
 are often denied access to any mental health
 services because of their 'unstable' placement.

The House of Commons education committee says
 in a report that a “significant number” of child and
adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), fail to
provide support for young people -- for not meeting
diagnostic thresholds, or for moving placements,
'too often'.

The report also says that the current methods
of assessing the mental health and wellbeing
 of children and young people who enter care
 often do not "identify those in need of
specialist care and support.”

Around half children in care, have a diagnosable
 mental health disorder, while one in 10 kids out
of care, has such a health condition.

The report is based on evidence from a group
 of service users and experts involved in the
social care system, that says initial health
 assessments on children who enter care
 are "highly variable and often poor."

A 16-year-old girl in foster care told the
committee that she had waited for over
 two and a half years to access services
--- as she moved 13 times in that period.

The committee was told that CAMHS are
often not willing to begin treatment for
children who move placement.

This, as official guidance says that “looked-
after children should never be refused a
service, including for mental health, on
 the grounds of their placement."

Neil Carmichael, education committee chair,
says local authorities are responsible for the
welfare of children in care, noting, “in spite
of this duty, it is clear that many looked-
after children in England are not getting
 the mental health support they need.”

"We recommend children in care be given
 priority access to mental health assessments
 & never refused care based on their placement
 or severity of their condition,” Carmichael adds.

A government spokesperson further stresses
 that children in care often have traumatic
 experiences --- and need to receive the
 necessary support.

"That's why we're putting a record £1.4bn
 into children and young people's mental
health, and investing in better links
between these services & schools,”
he adds.


UK women given tents and sleeping bags
instead of homes when released from prison

Women released from UK prisons, are being
 issued with tents and sleeping bags because
 of "accommodation shortages" reports state.

A report carried out last November shows
103 prisoners were discharged from HMP
Bronzefield, Surrey in 2015 with nowhere
to live.

The figures appear to echo further analysis
 that female prisoners are in an increasingly
 precarious position when they are released.

The number of women leaving jail with a
secure place to go, fell to around 88% in
2015, down from 95% the previous year.

The report found that Bronzefield performed
 well overall, but said “the prison had issued
 tents to 2 women who were released with-
out anywhere to go to - and the chaplaincy
often gave out sleeping bags.”

Prison director Charlotte Pattison-Rideout said
 the private jail works with local authorities to
house those released --- but that the shortfall
 “affects the whole of the prison estate.”

In a statement on the revelations, Labour’s
Shadow Prisons Minister Jo Stevens lauded
 the progress which had been made, but said
 it's “absolutely staggering that women seem
 to have been released from prison ------ with
nothing more than a tent or a sleeping bag.

“This is astonishing and a far cry from the safe
 and secure accommodation needed, to assist
them in the rehabilitation process,” she added.

A 2013 report by the Howard League for Penal
 Reform, warned that homelessness is a key
 driver in re-offending among former prisoners.

It also found the uneven spread of housing
meant that “to be accommodated, women
 were removed from their original home


Former foreign secretary urged Britain's
departure from EU to "protect our NHS"
Brexit will protect the NHS from interference
by the "dysfunctional European Union", the
former Labour foreign secretary said.

Lord Owen said that successive governments
 have accepted an EU market in health, which
has now become entrenched in the NHS.

The peer, who campaigned as health minister to
 remain in the European Economic Community
in the '75 referendum, launched Vote Leave's
'Save our NHS' campaign.

"The EU/Eurozone from 1992, in marked contrast
to the old European Community of 1975, creeps
 into every nook and cranny of our life.

Before the vote, he pointed out:
"It is now becoming entrenched in the NHS,
and this June we have a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity --- to get it out."

"Now is the time to take back control from the
EU and protect our NHS for future generations.

"We are agreed in Vote Leave that whatever our
political views on the present marketisation of
the NHS, decisions on the NHS should, for the
 future, be for the UK Parliament and devolved
administrations to take.

"It should not be a decision for the European
Commission, or the European Parliament."

He argued that leaving will mean that our
NHS would be free from
any competition-,
or-market-led involvement
brought in by
the European Commissioners

"Thereafter, UK legislation will govern the
 NHS in future and, as a consequence, we
can take back control & protect the NHS
from the EU."


English Junior doctors struck
 over contract row

Junior doctors across England began a
48-hour strike in a long-running dispute
the UK government, over working

The walkout, was the 4th industrial action
by junior doctors to date against proposed
 amendments to their contract --- which will
see a "change" in pay and working hours.

5,000 procedures & operations in the state-run
 National Health Service (NHS) in England, were
"postponed" due to the work stoppage.

The UK’s Department of Health says that
 approximately 25,000 operations, have
now been cancelled, since January.

"Doctors have a very real concern ---- that the
 imposed terms will stretch existing resources
 too thinly - and threaten the quality of patient
care," says Katherine Murphy, chief executive
of the Patient Association advocacy group.


UK's top cop tells banks not to refund cyber-crime
 victims, even as online defenses declared useless

Banks shouldn't compensate customers who are
 victims of cyber-crime because it “rewards” them
 for sloppy internet security, the UK’s highest-
ranking police officer says.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-
Howe, says banks should refuse to reimburse people
 who fail to update anti-virus software and tighten
their passwords.

His remarks come days after internet security firm
 Webroot warns that traditional computer defenses
are “useless” in the face of modern cyber-attacks.

Hogan-Howe compares refunding bank customers
who are victims of cyber-crime to rewarding “bad

“If you're continually rewarded for bad behaviour,
 you will probably continue to do it ---- but, if the
obverse is true, you might consider changing
 behaviour," he tells the Times.

“The system is not incentivizing you to protect
 yourself,” Hogan-Howe says.

"If someone said to you: 'If you've not updated
 your software, I will give you half back', you
 would do it."

Hogan-Howe’s comments are criticized as
 “misjudged” by Richard Lloyd, executive
 director of consumer group, Which?.

"The priority should be for banks to better
 protect their customers, rather than trying
 to shift blame on to the victims of fraud,”
 he says.

Cyber-crime is the fastest growing economic
 crime in the UK, says a report published last
 month by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
which measured a 20% rise, since 2014.

Internet security firm Webroot describes 2015
 as a “record year for cyber-crime”, in a recent
 report, which labels traditional computer
defenses as “useless.”

More malware, malicious IPs, websites and
 mobile phone apps were discovered in 2015
 than in any previous year, Webroot Chief
Technology Officer, Hal Lonas, says.

“The continued onslaught of hacks, breaches,
and social engineering scams, targeting
 individuals, businesses, and government
 agencies alike, has caused many in the
security field to ask if it’s truly possible
 to defend against a persistent attacker,”
 he adds.

“We conclude that we can only succeed
by being more innovative than our
criminal opponents.”

Lonas says the vast majority of malware
and potentially unwanted applications
(PUAs), have become polymorphic, with
 97% of malware morphing, to become
 unique to an endpoint device.

“By changing attributes to evade detection,
 polymorphic threats pose a major problem
 for traditional, signature-based security
approaches, which often fail to discover
singular variants,” he says.

Lonas believes organizations & corporations
need to invest in next-generation security, to
 protect themselves and 'their' customers.


UN tells UK to ban police
 Taser use on children – report

The United Nations will tell the UK to ban police
 Taser use on minors, after figures reveal a 38%
 increase in the use of stun guns on under-18s
 over the last year.

The UN will confront the UK in Switzerland later
 this year, over violations of the UN Convention
of the Rights of the Child, which the UK signed
 in 1990, the Independent on Sunday reports.

In 2008, the last time the UK was admonished for
 allowing Taser use on children, the UN called on
 ministers to “put an end to the use of all harmful
 devices on children.”

However, since that first hearing, police use of
 Tasers has been steadily on the rise.

Tasers, which were first introduced in England
& Wales in 2003, as part of a 12-month trial for
 firearms officers, send 50,000 volts through a
 "target", overwhelming the nervous system.

 Police use of the powerful stun guns jumped
 from 6, 238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 in 2014.

Carla Garnelas, co-director of the Children's
 Rights Alliance for England, calls for an out-
right ban on the use of Tasers on children.

“The use of Taser on children, is a breach
of their human rights,” she tells the
Independent on Sunday.

“UN bodies have repeatedly called for the
UK government to ban their use on children,
highlighting the serious risk of physical and
psychological harm they pose, yet the use
 of Tasers on children continues. We want
 to see a ban on Taser use on children.”

A Home Office source tells the Independent:

“Tasers provide police with an important
 tactical option when facing potentially
physically violent situations, and this
 government is committed to giving
officers the necessary tools to do
 their job.

All officers trained in the use of Taser must
 consider the vulnerability of the individual,
and factors such as age and stature, form
 part of this assessment.


UK Press seen as most right-wing in Europe

Media bias against Corbyn

UK campaign Media Reform Coalition (MRC) says
 media ownership, relates closely to media bias.

 MRC warns of the media outlets’ monopolization
 of debate in the UK, & a risk of undue influence
 on politicians.

It says that Jeremy Corbyn has been exposed to a
 high degree of right-wing media bias, since being
voted in as leader of the Labour Party. Right-wing
 bias was apparent in most coverage of his first
week in power, states the campaign group.

A report conducted by MRC, a revised version
 of which was published in early January, finds
 that large sections of the UK press appeared
to deliberately undermine the newly elected
leader, straight after his landslide victory.

The study examined 8 national daily papers
 and their Sunday sister papers,  spanning
 494 news, comment and editorial pieces.

 It found that 60% of the stories were framed
 in a negative manner, while 13% were seen
 as positive and 27% were seen as neutral.

In the Murdoch-controlled Sun and the Sun
on Sunday, 32 out of 36 news stories were
 hostile to Corbyn, while 50 out of 52 in the
 Daily Mail & the Mail on Sunday, also gave
negative coverage.

Given that these right-wing tabloids have the
 largest & second largest share of circulation
in the UK, their agenda-setting influence is
 noteworthy, says the MRC.

The group’s report also finds that 100% of the
 editorials in the Sun, Mail & Express, framed
 Corbyn’s first week as Labour leader, in a
negative light.

'Risk of undue political influence'

The study’s release follows remarks by the
Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, urging
 Labour to commit itself to reforming the UK
 media landscape --- and to examining how
to break up the existing concentrations of
media ownership.

MRC Chair Dr Justin Schlosberg welcomed
 McDonnel’s comments at the time.

“In a democracy, newspapers have every right
to take a partisan line, but what concerns us
are the skewed ownership structures under-
lying this kind of political intervention.”

“The risk of undue influence on elected politicians
 is high, and it is hard to see how democracy can
 flourish when the mass channels of debate are
 monopolized in this way.”

“Let’s not forget that Jeremy Corbyn was elected
 leader of this country’s main opposition party by
 250,000 people, which is 100,000 more than the
 number of people who elected David Cameron
as leader of the Conservatives. It is surely a
problem for all of us, when the newspaper
owners are actively seeking to undermine
a democratic mandate of that scale.”


Tory MP Geoffrey Cox says Sorry
--- 'Forgot' £400,000 Of Income
The millionaire Tory MP was told to apologise
 for failing to declare £400,000 of income – by
 blaming it on his being too busy setting up
 his law firm in Dubai and Mauritius.

Geoffrey Cox, a practising barrister and the
 highest earning MP in Parliament, stunned
 colleagues, by suggesting that he had not
noticed the money going into his account
 ----- as his clerk was ill.

Standards watchdog Kathryn Hudson published
 a scathing report on Mr Cox’s failure to register
 his full earnings, stating that he had committed
 "a serious breach" of Parliament's Code of

But the Commons Standards Committee – that
 Mr Cox used to sit on and was forced to resign
 from – decided only to ask him to apologise.

No further sanction is to be applied.



 City fraudsters stole from Nepalese soldiers
through £50m Ponzi scheme

White-collar criminals operating in the City of London
 used a Ponzi scheme to pilfer £2.4 million from 450
 Nepalese citizens --- including many retired Gurkha
 soldiers who invested their life savings in the scam.

The fraudulent funds, which were managed by City
 firm CWM FX, attracted £50 million (US$73 million)
 from unsuspecting investors promised a
5% return. The foreign exchange trade platform
 the financial firm used, was licensed by the
financial regulator of Cyprus, allowing it to
operate in the UK under EU regulations.

CWM acted as the online forex trading partner of
 Chelsea Football Club while the scam was active,
 giving the firm a veneer of respectability. It also
 offered a range of foreign exchange services
and employed a small group of traders.

Police probe investigators say computer records
 suggest the firm made the majority of its income
 from the scam. Police report they have enough
 evidence uncovered, to present to prosecutors.

City of London police are calling for the Nepalese
 victims who invested in the scam to come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Manley says it's
 vital that the voices of the victims targeted by
 the scam, are heard.

“My concern now is that the voices of the majority
 of victims will not be heard in the judicial process
-- if they do not come forward very soon,” he tells
 the Financial Times.

“They are also missing out on receiving the
financial advice and psychological support
that is available to them, at what will be a
very difficult time.”


“We’ve beaten the government back on tax
 credits, which has helped 3 million people
 not have £1,200 taken off them in April.
“We’ve beaten them back on police cuts &
 we’ve beaten them back on Saudi Arabia”
 (The government was forced to shelve a
contract to provide prison services to
Saudi regime, after Corbyn raised
it in
his conference speech).
“We also had a very good result in the Oldham
 by-election. The activity level of local parties
 is huge --- and it’s completely contrary to
everything the media are saying.”
There was no period in the last parliament
where Labour had the government so
 consistently on the back foot.
“We’ve increased membership to nearly 400,000
 -- we have the biggest, most active membership
ever in my lifetime.”
He’s proud as “our campaign for the leadership
 did bring a lot of people into politics who have
 never been involved before,” and says he was
knocking on doors with new members,

On reports of Tory politicians bullying staff:
 “The Tories should learn from the CWU,
 [postal workers’ union] who have a hot-
line for reporting bullying & harassment.”
Jeremy has worked closely with the CWU,
championing its People’s Post campaign,
 “which is about protecting the universal
 service obligation on the Royal Mail and
 stopping them from introducing a two-
tier workforce.”
He’s announced his commitment to take
Royal Mail back into public ownership.

“I want to see public control because
postal services are fundamental to
our communities.
“Postal delivery workers are actually
part of the community, and they do
 a lot of good work beyond
delivering letters.
“Workers are very nervous of what’s coming
with further privatisation of the Royal Mail ---
shares were sold well below their value.
It’s an absolute rip-off.”
But wouldn’t renationalising Royal Mail
fall foul
of EU competition law?

“I’m quite prepared to challenge EU
competition law & EU directives
public ownership and state funding.

“Other governments in Europe challenge it.
It’s kind of weird that the British government
“Germany, & particularly Italy, have intervened
 to take parts of their steel industry into public
 ownership --- and we should be prepared to
intervene where necessary.
“We’ve already lost a lot of steel capacity in Britain.
 If we’re going to have a manufacturing base, we’ve
 got to have a steel industry.”
The Tories' treatment of the coal industry - 
he spoke the day after the “tragic” closure
 of Kellingley colliery - suggests it doesn't
share his concern for the UK economy.
What about countries like Greece, where
 the EU has actively prevented a left-wing
 government from fulfilling any of its
 electoral pledges?
“I wouldn't join the eurozone or the European
 Central Bank. I voted against Maastricht [in
1992] because it was a Europe based on
free-market economics rather than on
security and workers’ rights.”
“Yes, the Central Bank has treated [Greece]
 disgracefully. I had a very useful meeting
 with the prime minister of Portugal on
 Thursday, and he has invited me and
John McDonnell to go there & hold
meetings in support of their
programme of anti-austerity.
“We’re building an anti-austerity
 coalition across Europe.”



Rochdale's MP, Danczuk, has been a prominent
campaigner against child sexual exploitation,
and played a role in exposing the late Sir
Cyril Smith, as a pedophile.

The MP is also a vocal critic of Labour's leader
 Jeremy Corbyn. He recently told Sky News he
 would “probably give Jeremy a 'D', if I had to
 score him.”

He also served as a Labour Party whip, but is
 now suspended, after allegedly having a text
 conversation with a 17 year old, Ms Houlihan,
during which, he said he was “horny”... and
 then asked her if she wanted “spanking.”

Houlihan told the Sun she feels
 duped by the MP.

“When I first got in touch, I never expected
 the messages to get so graphic. At the time
I played along with it, but now I feel like he
duped me. I was keen for a career in politics
 - and he is a very high-profile MP - and I
was in awe of him,” she says.


Majority of tased people by UK police - mentally ill

A new report indicates that over two-thirds of the
people tasered by UK police, from 2010 to 2014,
 were mentally ill.

Police stun gun use increased over the period,
 from 6,238 incidents in 2010 to 9,196 last year,
and there has been a corresponding rise in the
 number of cases involving mentally ill people,
 from 2,737 in 2010 to 4,200 in 2014, the news-
paper The Independent reports, citing Home
Office figures.

The latest statistics were released in response
 to a Freedom of Information request made by
the website The Justice Gap.

It reveals that in 67% of cases where tasers
 were discharged, they were fired at people
 identified by officers, as mentally ill.

In cases where weapons were drawn, aimed,
 but not fired, are included, mentally ill people
 were the target in only 45% of 'incidents'.


US guards with guns ---- at UK airports

The UK plans to allow armed US guards
to 'help provide security' at its airports,
 the UK's media report.       

The Daily Mail 'paper reports that 
“US border guards” will have the
  power to
search holidaymakers.   

It adds that the plan is still being discussed
 by Washington and London, adding that the
 US Department of Homeland Security aims
 to introduce this, at airports world-wide...
 including in Heathrow and Manchester.

The measure is meant to reduce the risk
of IS terrorists flying to the US, the Daily
 Mail adds.

Guards from Customs & Border Protection
 would carry out immigration and customs
 checks, before passengers board.

They would be given diplomatic immunity
- so they could not be prosecuted for any
crime committed in the UK, the Mail adds.

Other reports on Sunday say that the UK's
 armed police could also get greater legal
 protection if shooting suspected criminals.

This comes, because David Cameron ordered
 a review of current laws after mass shootings
 in Paris last month, the Sunday Times reports.

Unlike most forces around the world, the UK's
 police are not routinely armed, and currently
 just over 2,000 of London's 31,000 officers,
 are able to carry guns, says the AFP.

The Sunday Times cites a senior government
 source, stating that Cameron is prepared to
 change the law, to give the armed officers
greater protection against prosecution.

"Terrorist incidents both at home and abroad
 have shown very clearly the life-and-death
 decisions police officers have to make in
 split-second circumstances," the source
 says, according to the newspaper.


Jeremy Corbyn 'publicly-run Royal Mail'
on National Postal Workers Day

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wanted
 a publicly-run Royal Mail --- when he met staff
on one of the busiest postal days of the year.

Talking to
Communication Workers Union members  
in London, he pledged to support its campaign, to
preserve the UK's universal service
of deliveries,
to its twenty-nine million homes and businesses.

The union fears there will be an attack on Royal
Mail workers' terms and conditions --- under a
review next year, by the industry's regulator.

Mr Corbyn told workers gathered in a carpark
at the huge Mount Pleasant site -- that he will
 organise 2016's Opposition Day debate in the
Commons, to support the CWU's campaign.

"I want to see a publicly-run Royal Mail ---
with protection for workers & the service,"
 he said and, "Labour will be doing our very
best to support & protect your conditions."

Mr Corbyn called on Conservative MPs to
 support the campaign, warning: services
 to rural areas will be among those under
 threat by any changes such as increased
 competition, with other companies taking
over the so-called "final mile" deliveries
to houses.

General secretary Dave Ward:

"The CWU is campaigning hard to protect
the terms and conditions of our members,
at the same time as preserving the service
 that we provide to the public & businesses.

"Royal Mail may have been sold off on the
 cheap, but the service is and always will
be, the people's post."


UK police investigating MPs expenses claims

The UK police say the expenses claims of 2 UK
 lawmakers are being investigated over possible
 criminal offences.

The case has reminded the public of the memory
 of the 2009 scandal, which damaged UK citizens’
trust in elected politicians.

London's Metropolitan Police say they are
investigating 2 complaints referred to them
 in March by the Independent Parliamentary
 Standards Authority (IPSA). This body has
 been set up, to oversee the expenses and
 business costs of Members of Parliament.

"I have felt it necessary, for the first time
during my term of office, to refer requests
 for investigation received from IPSA to the
 police," says the IPSA's Peter Davis, in an
 annual report.

The names of the politicians have not yet
been disclosed.

Police say a third IPSA referral resulted in a
lawmaker's employee receiving a caution,
 in April, for fraud by false representation.



The proposed Metro transport scheme for South East
 Wales, represents "the future of public transport" in
 the region, according to first minister Carwyn Jones.

The project aims to increase the speed & frequency
 of public transport across South Wales, through a
combination of heavy rail, light rail and bus rapid
transit, plus other infrastructure improvements,
 and integrated ticketing.

The rail part of the Metro, part of the All-Wales
 rail franchise, would be run and managed by a
not-for-dividend company being set up by the
 Welsh Government to operate a rail franchise
 on its behalf, after 2018.

First minister Carwyn Jones has launched a
 campaign to raise public awareness of the
Metro project, ahead of consultations
 early next year, and he states:

"The Metro project represents the future of public
 transport in South East Wales, which will provide
 faster journey times and more frequent services,
 covering a greater area. It is an ambitious project
 linking people and jobs across South Wales in a
fast, efficient and environmentally positive way.

"The Metro is far more than just a transport project.
It will be a catalyst for transforming the economic
 and social prospects of South East Wales and the
 country as a whole."


Tories Back Off on Tax Credit cut

Controversial cuts to tax credits won't go ahead,
Chancellor George Osborne announced, in his
Autumn Statement. He said the benefit system
“being phased out anyway” to make
for a Tory Universal Credit payment.

Conservative MPs welcomed the decision.
Many in Osborne’s own party rebelled and
voted against the cuts.

Labour MPs are crediting staunch opposition by
their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for the U-turn, with
 many claiming the move as a victory for Labour.

Green MP Caroline Lucas tweets: “Scrapping
changes to tax credits v welcome - now must
 overturn rest of cruel welfare policies, & get
a real living wage.”


UK Government Splashes Out ---
$18 Bln on 138 F-35 Fighter Jets

As pensioners face more hard times ahead
-- under the UK's New Austerity Plan to cut
 public spending -- the UK government is
set to unveil plans to buy 138 stealth
 fighter jets, for £12bln [$18 bln].

The UK government is planning to spend £12bln
 [$18 bln] on 138 F-35 fighter jets --- as part of a
 'new defense' strategy.

Chancellor George Osborne tells the state run
BBC that, as a result of the government's new
 Strategic Defense & Security Review, by 2023
 the UK will have 24 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
 aircraft, and two new aircraft carriers.

In the summer, the chancellor pledged to
push UK defense spending above inflation
 --- to meet the NATO target of 2% of GDP
each year on defense, up to 2020.

"By 2023, we will be able to have these jets
 -- some of the most powerful in the world --
the F35, on the decks of these carriers, &
Britain, second only to the United States,
will be able to project power abroad in
order to defend ourselves at home,"
says Osborne.

The UK press reported on Sunday that
- over a longer period of time - the UK's
 Royal Air Force will order 138 of the
 F-35 fighter jets.

The UK is also expected to purchase
 new reconnaissance planes, reversing
an earlier decision in 2010 to scrap the
 latest generation of Nimrod maritime
surveillance aircraft.

The announcement of "extra investment"
 in surveillance planes, comes as the UK's
 armed forces are being aided by French,
Canadian and US patrol aircraft, in their
fruitless search for a Russian submarine
'reportedly' in its waters, 10 days ago.

NOTE WELL ----- Google F-35
-- and see what a turkey it is.


1,500 of UK's care homes to close by 2020:-
back to 1970's geriatric wards for UK elderly?

A new report says about 1,500 of UK care homes
 will close by 2020 because of the financial crisis.

The report released by the think tank ResPublica
 says the National Health Service (NHS) will be left
 with an annual bill of $4.55 billion after 37,000 care
 home beds disappear over the next five years.

The report also finds that elderly patients are likely
to be left with no choice but to stay in hospitals,
where they would take up one in four beds.

Media reports say the UK is already facing
 a hospital bed shortage.

According to a report by the Organization
for Economic Co-operation & Development
(OECD), it is the second worst in Europe.

The report adds that the number of people
 aged over 85 in the UK, is set to rise by
 nearly 2 million in the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, the care sector will have a
 shortfall in funding of £1.1 billion by the
 2020/21 financial year, with £382 million
linked costs associated with introducing
 the national 'living wage'.


Anti-austerity bloc brings down
Portugal's government

 Portugal’s pro-austerity government is forced to resign
 by a leftist anti-austerity block, despite being sworn in
 only two weeks before.

Proposals to continue austerity policies were blocked
 in parliament -- backed by mass public anger -- forcing
 the government to dissolve.

Moderate Socialists worked with the Communist
 Party & radical Left Bloc - to form a majority that
has voted down any fresh austerity proposals.

After the October 4th general election, the anti-
austerity leftist majority was openly prevented
 from forming a government, by the president,
who cited ‘the national interest’.

Portugal took a €78 billion 'bailout' in 2011 and
 since then, has spiraled into an austerity dead-
end, fueling mass social unrest and emigration.

Sweeping cuts and increased taxes led to huge
 street protests and strikes. Unemployment hit
 17.7%, in 2013.

Anti-austerity supporters are celebrating
the fall of the right-wing administration.

The attempt to sideline anti-austerity politics
is sending shock waves through Europe, but
is being largely ignored in Brussels --- where
 protecting shaky austerity plans from any
democratic upheaval, seems paramount.

While the socialist party has argued it will
 respect the policies of the Eurozone... the
PS will now be working with two parties
 that want to repeal pro-market reforms.

 In fact, Portugal's communist party has
 openly campaigned to leave the Euro.

If Labour Party MPs ALL vote against
austerity cuts -- with the socialists in
the Scottish Nationalist Party and in
Plaid Cymru -- the UK's government
 too, will fall.



As the US, UK, Netherlands & others in the
West, 'privatise' their citizens' Post Ofices...

 Russia’s government approves the creation
of a huge new bank, based on the country’s
 postal service:-  a move that will eventually
form an institution with more retail outlets
than all other Russian banks combined.

 The new entity, called Post Bank, is a joint
 venture between Russian Post, and one of
Russia’s largest lenders, the state-owned
 VTB Bank.

Post Bank is being established, in part, to
 provide banking services across Russia’s
far-flung, near-empty regions, and to help
 Russia's pensioners.

 VTB will fuse one of its subsidiaries, Leto Bank,
 into the new institution. The partners say that
the new institution will begin giving out loans
 as early as January 2016, with a pilot project
 to be launched in Moscow this Autumn.

Over the next 3 years, the bank will open outlets
 in no less than 15,000 Russian Post offices. After
 the initial rollout the bank should start operating
 in all 42,000 offices of the national operator.

Once it is completed, Post Bank will have more
 retail locations than all the other Russian banks
 combined, says Russian banking portal Banki.ru.


UN probes UK's disabled rights violations

The UN is to send a delegation to the UK
as part of an inquiry into the “grave and
systematic violations” of the rights of
disabled people --- allegedly taking
place under London’s austerity

 A visit of the UN Committee Rights of Persons
with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is taking place at
the request of the campaign group, 'Disabled
People Against Cuts' using a legal mechanism
 known as the Optional Protocol. The request
was made at the start of 2012. Britain is the
first country to face a high-level inquiry by
 the UN committee.

“This is the first time any country has been
investigated by the UN using the Optional
 Protocol so it will be, if nothing else, a very
 historic event,” Linda Burnip, co-founder of
 Disabled People Against Cuts says, adding
that the process is “long and arduous,”
with strict rules for proof of any claims.

News of the investigation was leaked
back in September. UN inquiries are
usually "confidential", but UNCRPD
confirmed it would be visiting the
UK, after the revelation.

“The inquiry follows a string of scandals
involving disabled people in the UK,
including a rise in hate crimes, which
have been overlooked by police and
 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS),”
 former director of prosecutions, Lord
 Kenneth MacDonald, says.

Disabled people have been affected
by cuts, nine times more than most
other citizens, according to a report
by the Centre for Welfare Reform,
 in 2013.


A “massive shot in the arm” for
people resisting austerity...
Jeremy Corbyn has the biggest mandate in
 UK political history. Mr Blair won with 57%
 of the vote when he was elected leader in
'94, but Mr Corbyn beat that, with 59.5%.

And now, for a second time, with 62%!

The left candidate won a majority of more
 than 170,000 over second-placed Andy
Burnham, who polled 19%.

Yvette Cooper, viewed as the right’s best
 hope of beating Mr Corbyn, was third with
17%, & Blairite Liz Kendall won just 4.5%.

Moments after being named Labour leader,
Mr Corbyn said: “The fightback of our
party... now gathers pace.”

“We go forward now as a movement and a party,
bigger than we’ve ever been, stronger than we’ve
 ever been, and more determined than we’ve ever

“Our party is going to become more inclusive,
more democratic, and we’re going to shape
 the future of everyone in this country.”

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey:

“Voters can now look at Labour and see,
 unquestionably, that it stands for fairness,
 justice, peace, and strong communities.”

“It is the party of hope, ready to take on
a government hell-bent on making life
worse for ordinary people.”

Transport union RMT - unaffiliated to Labour
  - said the result's a “massive shot in the arm”
 for people resisting austerity and attacks on
 trade unions.

The Islington North MP won huge majorities
 among affiliated and registered supporters,
but was also most popular among full party
 members. Of 245,520 party members voting,
121,751 of them voted for Mr Corbyn.

John McDonnell MP, chair of the Corbyn
campaign, says it's “the greatest victory
for the left that we’ve seen in decades,”
then adds: “I just wish, I just wish Tony
Benn had been here to see it.

“Because all through those dark years
 when the left were isolated and there
 was no discussion of socialism, and
 people were giving up on the Labour
Party, it was people like Tony Benn
 & Jeremy who kept the flame alive.”

A Tory insisted Mr Corbyn’s victory's a
“serious risk to our nation’s security,

 our economy’s security, and your

(think he meant to say
"my family's



Imagine the Rhondda using wind and sun energy
to create new rate and rent free business units,
  that encourage new enterprising companies,
which pay well and market under a "brand"
with a superb reputation for quality.

Everything to help hitting the ground running,
with hot-desking, science, and agriculture,
  to employ our youth.


Russian scientists and Scottish ones

Russian/Scottish scientists hail long-range
secure quantum communication system.

A group of scientists from ITMO University
 in Saint Petersburg, Russia, has developed
a new
approach to constructing quantum
systems for secure data

 The experimental device based on the results of the
 research is capable of transmitting single-photon
 quantum signals across distances of 250 klmtrs
 or more, which is on par with its cutting edge
analogues, the ITMO press-service says.

"Now researchers are on a mission -- to create
 a fully-fledged quantum cryptographic system,
that will generate & distribute quantum keys
 and transmit useful data simultaneously",
 ITMO says.

Information security is becoming more and more
 of a critical issue not only for large companies,
banks and defense enterprises but even for
small businesses and individual users.

But the data encryption algorithms we currently
 use for protecting our data are imperfect - in the
 long-term, their logic can be cracked. Regardless
 of how complex and intricate the algorithm is,
 getting around it, is just a matter of time.

Unlike algorithm-based encryption, systems
 that protect information by making use of
 fundamental laws of quantum physics, can
make data transmission totally immune to
 hacker attacks, in the future.

Information in a quantum channel is carried
by single photons that change irreversibly
 if an eavesdropper tries to intercept them.
The legitimate users will instantly know
 about any kind of intervention.

Researchers at the Quantum Information Centre
 of the International Institute of Photonics and
 Optical Information Technology at ITMO Uni.,
Russia, along with their colleagues from the
Heriot-Watt University, in Edinburgh, have
 devised a new way to generate and
 distribute, quantum bits.

This makes it possible to share quantum signals
--- via optical fibres --- 250 kilometers in distance.

"To transmit quantum signals, we use the so-
called side frequencies," says Artur Gleim,
head of the Quantum Information Centre at
 ITMO University,

 "This unique approach gives us a number
 of advantages, such as a considerable
simplification of the device architecture
 and the large pass-through capacity of
the quantum channel. In terms of bit rate
 and operating distance our system is
comparable to absolute champions in
the field of quantum communications."

According to Robert Collins, research associate
 at the Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences
 at Heriot-Watt University and one of the authors
of the study, this may become a pivotal point for
 the whole field of quantum communication and

 "Down the track, this new approach can enable
 smooth coexistence of numerous data streams
 with different wavelengths in one single optical
 cable. On top of it, these quantum streams can
 be fed into the already existing fibre optic lines
 --- along with conventional communications."

The research paper is published
in the Optics Express journal.

Scottish universities are to be
congratulated for their strong
& growing links with Chinese
and Russian universities....

What a shame, that Wales is
lying low --- with academics
too scared to break from US
military research.

China to send 30 missions
 into space in 2017 - a record!
January 04, 2017

China plans to conduct some 30 space launch
 missions in 2017, a record-breaking number in
 the country's space history, said China Aero-
space Science and Technology Corporation.

Long March-5and Long March-7 rockets will be
to carry out most of the space missions
this year,
the China News Service reported.

Long March-5 is China's largest carrier rocket. The
successful test launch of the vehicle in November
 in S. China's Hainan Province, will pave the way
for space station construction, analysts said.

Wang Yu, general director of the Long March-5
 program, said 2017 is a critical year for China's
 new generation of carrier rockets - and Long
March-5 rockets will carry Chang'e-5 probe
 to space. The probe will land on the moon,
 collect samples and return to Earth.

On the other hand, Long March-7, the more powerful
 version of Long March-2, will send China's 1st cargo
 spacecraft Tianzhou-1 into space, in the first half of
2017, according to Wang Zhaoyao, director of

China Manned Space Engineering Office.

is expected to dock with Tiangong-2
space lab &
conduct experiments on propellant

China conducted 22 launch missions in 2016 and 19
 in 2015. The country successfully tested its Long
 March-7 rocket in June last year & has gradually
 shifted to new generation rockets that reduce
use of toxic rocket fuels.

Last Month, China released a white paper on space
 activities, announcing plans to soft land Chang'e-5
on the moon, by the end of 2017, and launch its
first Mars probe, by 2020.

After Chang'e-5, China will launch Chang'e-4
 lunar probe about 2018 to achieve mankind's
 first soft landing on the far side of the moon,
and conduct in situ and roving detection and
 relay communications at Earth-moon L2 point.

The white paper also says that in the next five
years, China will provide space and aviation-
related services to countries involved in the
One Belt and One Road initiative, such as
satellite communications, navigation and
weather forecasting analysis.

conserving life on earth

by Steve Cutts

Dear Peeps,
I need your help to save Wales from a wildly expensive road that would damage our climate and harm wildlife.
The M4 relief road would slice through the Gwent Levels – Wales’ equivalent of the Amazon rainforest.
Welsh Assembly Members (AMs) have been promised a vote on the M4 relief road – which could take place as soon as December 4.
If enough of us tell them we’re against the road, we have a chance to stop it.
As well as threatening wildlife and contributing to climate change,
the M4 relief road would increase congestion and air pollution.
And then there’s the eye-watering £2 billion bill. We think our money
would be better spent on investment across the country and on more
sustainable transport.
So if you want to stop Wales from hurtling down the road to more
traffic, congestion and carbon emissions, please write to your AMs
today. The more of us they hear from, the more of them we can
persuade to vote against the road.
Friends of the Earth supporters like you have a fantastic track record
of stopping unsustainable infrastructure like the M4 relief road. With
your help we can do it again.
Your sincerely, 
Haf Elgar
Director, Friends of the Earth Cymru
PS. Why not come to our #NoNewM4 rally in Cardiff on 4 December
2018? Let’s show our politicians we don’t want a road that costs the
Earth. Details here.
Dwi angen eich cymorth i achub Cymru rhag ffordd eithriadol o
ddrud a fyddai’n difrodi ein hinsawdd ac yn niweidio bywyd gwyllt.

Byddai ffordd liniaru yr M4 yn torri drwy Wastadeddau Gwent i’r de
o Gasnewydd – man yng Nghymru sy’n cyfateb â choedwig law’r

Mae Aelodau’r Cynulliad (ACau) wedi cael addewid o bleidleis ar
ffordd liniaru’r M4 – a fydd yn digwydd cyn gynted â 4 Rhagfyr.

Os oes digon ohonom yn dweud wrthynt ein bod yn gwrthwynebu
datblygu’r ffordd, mae gennym obaith o’i atal.
Yn ogystal â pheryglu bywyd gwyllt a chyfrannu tuag at newid
hinsawdd, buasai ffordd liniaru’r M4 yn cynyddu tagfeydd a
llygredd aer.

Heb sôn am y gost ddychrynllyd o £2 biliwn. Rydyn ni’n credu y
byddai’n well gwario ein harian ar fuddsoddiadau ar draws y
wlad ac ar drafnidiaeth gynaliadwy.

Felly os ydych eisiau atal Cymru rhag rhuthro tuag at mwy o draffig,
tagfeydd ac allyriadau carbon, ysgrifennwch at eich ACau heddiw.
Po fwyaf ohonom fydd yn cysylltu, po fwyaf ohonynt y gallwn eu
perswadio i bleidleisio yn erbyn datblygu’r ffordd.
Mae gan gefnogwyr Cyfeillion y Ddaear fel chi hanes gwych o allu
atal isadeiledd anghynaladwy fel ffordd liniaru’r M4. Gyda’ch
cymorth chi fe allwn wneud hynny unwaith eto.

Yn gywir
Haf Elgar
Cyfarwyddwr, Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru

O.N Pam na ddewch chi i’n rali #DimM4Newydd yng Nghaerdydd ar
4 Rhagfyr 2018? Dewch i ni ddangos i’n gwleidyddion nad ydym
eisiau ffordd sy’n costio mor ddrud. Manylion yma.
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Obsession with consumerism will
destroy the world of our children
by Ken Livingstone
December 24th, 2018.

Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as
 the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is
also a former MP and a former member of the
Labour Party.

Amid growing climate change concerns, what politicians
 fear most, is not standing up to the coal and oil
industries, but having to tell the people that
they need to buy and consume less.

As two hundred nations gathered in Poland to discuss
 climate change, the opening comments of David
Attenborough, went global across the
world’s media.

“Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global
scale, our greatest threat, in thousands of years…
climate change… If we don’t take action,
collapse of our civilisations, and
extinction of much of the natural

world, is on the horizon… Leaders
 of the world, you must lead. The
 continuation of civilisations and
 the natural world, upon which,
depend, is in your hands,”

He went on to recommend that ordinary people make a
 change every day by using public transport and other
measures to reduce carbon emissions.

Yet, for all Attenborough’s warnings, we have seen the
election of a climate change denier to the White
House, in the form of Donald Trump, and the
recent election of a Brazilian president
who also denies climate change.

what is the truth?

The simple fact is that the twenty warmest years in