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breaking news

 
 
 
 
Deputy Leader Says Labour Could 
Suspend ‘Thousands’ of Members 
over  'Antisemitism'
December 1st,  2020  (FNA)
 
 The Labour Party will suspend “thousands and thousands” of 
members unless they “get real” about antisemitism, Angela 
Rayner warned, as an internal row rages over the 
removal of the whip from Jeremy Corbyn.
 
Following Keir Starmer’s decision not to allow Corbyn to sit as a 
Labour MP over his reaction to the Equality and Human Rights
 Commission (EHRC) report, dozens of constituency parties 
are reported to have passed motions in support of the 
former leader – despite the party’s General Secretary 
David Evans banning them from doing so.
 
Earlier this week, a meeting in Nottingham East with such a motion 
on the agenda left a Jewish attendee “feeling they had no choice 
but to leave”, according to local MP Nadia Whittome, who later 
issued a statement describing the “atmosphere and tone” of
 the meeting as “wholly unacceptable”.
 
Responding to the incident during an address at the Jewish 
Labour Movement’s One Day conference, the party’s deputy 
leader reportedly told delegates, “I want people to know that
 there has been suspensions and we’re on it and we are 
supporting Nadia, the MP there who spoke out and
 I completely commend her for doing that.
 
“Our members need to get real about this, our Labour members.
 If they don’t think antisemitism is within the Labour Party and
that there’s problems now, then there’s really no place for 
them in the Labour Party," she said.
 
“If they think making people feel unsafe or unwelcome in our 
meetings is a response to the EHRC report, then they need 
to be out of our party immediately. People need to 
understand what our Jewish community have 
been through,” she added.
 
According to LabourList, Rayner added, “I feel really, really
 angry actually that there’s been scenes like that in our 
CLP meetings."
 
“If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, 
we will do that. Because we cannot and we will not accept an
 injury to one, because an injury to one is an injury to all. 
That’s what we say in our movement,” Rayner added.
 
A Labour spokesperson clarified that Rayner’s comments 
addressed a wider context of denialism and the safety of 
Jewish members, rather than specific motions.
 
The threat of mass suspensions could serve to further inflame 
tensions within the party, with left-wing members of the National 
Executive Committee (NEC) already having accused the leader-
ship of trying to “censor debate and ignore our processes”.
 
The row first erupted with Corbyn’s respose to the EHRC’s report, 
which stated that “one antisemite is too many” but also said the 
scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for 
political reasons” by opponents and the media.
 
Corbyn later said he did not intend to “belittle concerns” about 
antisemitism and regretted the “pain this issue has caused the 
Jewish community and would wish to do nothing that would 
exacerbate or prolong it”. 
 
He was eventually readmitted to the party by an NEC panel, but
 was immediately banned by his successor Keir from sitting in
 the parliamentary party.
 
According to LabourList, Keir told delegates at Jewish Labour’s 
event on Sunday that Corbyn’s response to the EHRC report 
was “just about as bad as you could get”.
 
The Labour leader was reported as saying that, while he believed
 the party had been “making good progress” in tackling anti-
semitism, Corbyn’s response “undermined me and what
 I was trying to achieve”.
 
And Rayner – who had defended Corbyn on the issue of antisemitism
 while serving in his shadow cabinet in 2019 – said, “I truly hope he
 reflects. I understand that he thinks he’s always tackled issues of
 antisemitism. I understand he thinks he’s always tackled issues 
of racism." 
 
“But on this, he’s wrong. He has to accept as a leader that 
we failed,” Rayner said.
 
However, pro-Corbyn figures have suggested that the current
 discussions around members’ suspensions could contradict
 the report’s findings – which stated that while the party leader-
ship may decide how to respond to decisions on complaints, 
“it is not legitimate for the leadership to influence, make
 recommendations, or make decisions on complaints 
outside of the formal complaints process”.
 
Former Corbyn aide Matt Zarb-Cousin tweeted, “Since the EHRC
 report was published the leadership’s made no progress on the
 recommendations at all, while contravening the very guidance
 contained within it to make a series of rhetorical and political 
gestures amounting to hot air.”
 
However, the 'Jewish Labour Movement' chair ,Mike Katz,
 welcomed Rayner’s “commendably strong words”, 
telling The Independent, “If anything shows the 
need for a cultural change, as well as better 
processes in the Labour Party, the last
 few days have done.
 
“There’s been some really, really ugly scenes in CLP meetings 
across the country as offices and constituencies choose to 
ignore direction from the Labour Party and pass motions 
about Jeremy Corbyn. The conduct in the meetings 
make them clearly not a safe space for Jews. And
 thinking about Jewish Labour members, this
 has to change,” Katz said.
 
He called for a “bottom-to-top reform” of the party’s culture and
 processes, adding, “We really want to be in a position where
 suspensions aren’t necessary, and thinking about whether 
you’re going to okay going to a meeting isn’t necessary 
because the culture of the party has changed."
 
Katz said there must be “the commitment to follow up suspensions 
with expulsion”, adding that “the process has to be done not under 
the broken, factionally-aligned process that we currently have, but 
under the process recommended by the EHRC”.
 
Keir has pledged to uphold the recommendations of the 
EHRC report in full, in a move supported by Corbyn.
 
 
 
__________________________




 
US Justice Department amends federal execution rules
 to allow death by hanging, electric chair, gas chamber 
& FIRING SQUAD
November 28th, 2020  (RT)


The US Department of Justice has expanded rules governing
 executions to permit a wider rage of methods - including 
firing squads and electrocution - as five federal inmates 
are set to face the death penalty before Inauguration Day.
 
 
The amended rule was entered into the Federal Register on Friday, 
permitting the government “greater flexibility” to carry out capital 
punishment using any method “prescribed by the law of the state
 in which [a] sentence was imposed.” While lethal injection 
remains the most common means of execution — and 
previously the only one permitted under federal 
regulations — the new rule will accommodate 
states that allow for alternative methods, 
including death by electrocution, 
nitrogen gas, hanging or 
firing squad.
 
The proposed rule change was initially floated in August — with the 
DOJ accepting public comments for only 30 days, half of the period 
typically allotted — and passed a White House review earlier this 
month, according to ProPublica, which was first to report on the
 amended regulation.
 
While 5 federal prisoners are currently slated for execution before
 President Donald Trump leaves office in late January, the rule 
change is not expected to affect their cases, as each is 
already set to receive lethal injection.
 
Before Trump took power, the last federal execution was carried out
 in 2003 — Louis Jones, was convicted of murder and kidnapping — 
but the current administration has revived the custom. 
 
The government has authorized capital punishment for 13 inmates 
so far in 2020, including the 5 still in custody, all of them approved
 in the last six months. Though state governments routinely 
sentence inmates to death each year, executions have 
been far more rare on the federal level, seeing a total 
of just 45 since 1927, according to the Bureau
 of Prisons.
 
Presumed President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to end capital
 punishment for federal crimes, saying his administration will 
not approve any executions, meaning Friday’s rule change 
may never be put into practice. That stance reflects 
growing calls from fellow Democrats to abolish 
the death penalty outright, arguing the 
practice is cruel and archaic.



________________________________




Scottish leader calls for 2nd
independence referendum
early next year
November 27th, 2020 (Press TV)


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second 
independence referendum, to be held as soon as next year, in 
a major challenge to the United Kingdom (UK), which is still 
struggling with the difficulties of Brexit.


Sturgeon said she anticipates that a vote will take place 
“in the earlier part” of the next Scottish parliament, 
which begins next year.


“The referendum, for a whole variety of reasons, should 
be in the earlier part of the next parliament,” she said.


Her Scottish National Party (SNP), which has formed the 
government since 2007, is expected to perform strongly
 in elections to the Scottish parliament in May.


This would give her government a mandate to 
hold another referendum on independence.


Scots voted 55-45 percent against independence
 in a 2014 referendum.


Boris Johnson under fire for incendiary
 comments on Scottish devolution


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the first 
referendum was decisive and should be respected.


His government has said there should not be 
another independence referendum in the 
near future.


If Sturgeon wins the election in May, Johnson will have to
 make a decision whether to refuse a referendum --- and
thus 
allow Scottish discontent to simmer --- or allow a
referendum 
which could break apart the union.


The UK and Northern Ireland includes England,
 Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.


Britain voted 52-48 to leave the European Union in a 
2016 referendum. Scots voted 62% to 38% in favor 
of remaining in the EU.


The issue of Scotland’s independence was then thrust back 
into the limelight. Sturgeon said, the day after the vote, that 
the situation was a "democratic outrage" and that another
 independence vote was "highly likely.”


Recent polls show support for the independence 
of Scotland, has been rising, lately.


An Ipsos Mori poll indicated last month that 58% of Scots
 would vote to quit the UK, if a referendum were held
 this year.



___________________________________





Urgent
Kremlin: Putin Will Congratulate New US President,
 but Only After Official Vote Results Announced
26/11/2020   (Sputnik)


The Trump Administration has greenlighted the power transfer 
procedure that will see the incumbent federal office-holders 
consult with the Biden team. However, President Trump 
still refuses to concede and is still pushing to contest 
the results of the vote, which he believes was 
fraught with irregularities.


Russian President Vladimir Putin will congratulate any new US 
president in a timely manner as soon as the official results of 
the election are announced, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry 
Peskov told journalists on Thursday.


Answering a question as to whether Putin's "silence" could be 
interpreted as a signal that Moscow rejects the results of the 
vote, Peskov assured that this was not the case.


He noted that Joe Biden had been declared the winner by US 
media, whereas the official tally has not been announced yet 
and some states are recounting votes.


Putin's decision is not influenced by the fact that most of the 
global leaders have already extended congratulations to 
Biden, Peskov assured.


DETAILS TO FOLLOW


________________________________



 
Trump Claims Huge Step of 
Nullifying Biden’s Victory 
Justified by Dems’
Alleged ‘Fraud’
November 26th, 2020 (FNA)


President Donald Trump called into a Pennsylvania Senate hearing 
on election irregularities to argue that his Democratic rival Joe 
Biden’s apparent victory should be overturned, claiming 
he’d have won if not for massive “fraud".


"It's a disgrace that this is happening to our country," Trump told 
the audience at Wednesday's hearing in Gettysburg, RT reported.


Claiming that he "won this election by a lot", the president added 
that "the whole world is watching the United States of America, 
and we can't let them get away with it".


Trump spoke of the enormity of his legal challenge, saying a "very 
good lawyer" told him that it would be "a big statement" for a judge
 to overturn results of the presidential election. The president 
countered that in light of the fact that Biden got "hundreds of 
thousands" of fraudulent votes, any fair court would have to 
recognize that the Democrat challenger lost.


"We have judges that are afraid to make a decision," Trump continued,
 adding, "Why wouldn't they overturn an election, certainly overturn it 
in your state, because we have other states that are just as bad."


"We have all the evidence, we have all the affidavits, we have everything.
 All we have to do is have some judge listen to it properly, without having
 a political opinion or having another kind of a problem," he stated.


Any such ruling would be monumentally controversial. Biden said on
 Wednesday that the 2020 vote under difficult circumstances prove 
that “we have full and fair and free elections, and then we honor 
the results”. He added, “The people of this nation and the laws 
of the land won’t stand for anything else.”


The Pennsylvania hearing featured statements from witnesses who 
allegedly observed various types of wrongdoing in the November 3
 election, including poll watchers being blocked from doing their jobs, 
ballots being requested under the names of dead people, and many 
Republican voters being told that their vote had already been cast. 
Witnesses also alleged votes that came in after the election were
 illegally counted and that fraudulent mail-in ballots were accepted.
 In some precincts, there were allegedly more votes counted than 
there are voters.


Earlier on Wednesday, a judge ordered that certification of 
Pennsylvania's election results be halted until after a court 
hearing that's scheduled for Friday regarding mail-in votes.



Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's lawyers, noted erroneous mail-in ballots 
in predominantly Democrat areas were corrected, contrary to state law,
 while largely Republican counties obeyed the rules and rejected such
 votes. At one point, the crowd gasped after hearing testimony that 
during irregular spikes in the Pennsylvania tally, Biden was credited 
with more than 570,000 votes while only about 3,200 were counted 
for Trump.


"We got far more votes than they thought possible," Trump said, 
adding, "They stepped on the gas, and they got caught – just
like they got caught spying on my campaign."


Trump also complained of "rough tactics" employed against 
Republican poll watchers. He said that although those poll 
watchers were "treated like dogs," he encouraged his 
supporters not to be influenced by Democrat
 intimidation practices.


"Don't worry about bravery, because the people who talk the most,
 they're not the ones you have to worry about," Trump continued, 
adding, "These are all talkers. They intimidate... They push you 
around. They pushed our poll watchers out."


"Don't be intimidated by these people. They're bad people. They're
 horrible people. And they're people that don't love our country," 
he announced.


With media and political pressure rising to concede the election 
to Biden, Trump said the path of least resistance would be to 
back down and try to retake the White House in 2024.


"It would be easy for me to say, oh, let's worry about four years 
from now," Trump continued, adding, "No. This election was lost
 by the Democrats. They cheated. It was a fraudulent election."



__________________________________________
 
 


Xi Congratulates Biden on
 Election as US President
November 26th, 2020  (FNA)


Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday sent a message 
to Joe Biden to congratulate him on election as US president.


Promoting the healthy and stable development of China-US relations 
not only serves the fundamental interests of the people in both 
countries, but also meets the common expectation of the 
international community, Xi said, Xinhua reported.


Xi added he hopes that the two sides will uphold the spirit of 
non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win 
cooperation, focus on cooperation, manage differences, 
advance the healthy and stable development of China-
US ties, and join hands with other countries and the 
international community to promote the noble 
cause of world peace and development.


On the same day, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan sent 
a message to Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her
election 
as US vice president.


 _________________________________________



Georgia's Floyd County 'Ousts Chief Elections Clerk 
After Untallied Ballots Discovered Amid Audit'
by Svetlana Ekimenko
21/11/2020  (Sputnik)


Georgia earlier on Thursday certified the results of the 2020 
presidential election, upholding Democratic candidate Joe 
Biden’s win, with Governor Brian Kemp calling for another 
audit of the votes, saying it was “completely unacceptable”
 that thousands of uncounted ballots were discovered 
during the manual hand recount, after the
initial results.


The discovery of thousands of uncounted ballots has spurred 
the Board of Elections in Georgia's Floyd County to vote in 
favour of ousting Chief of Elections Clerk Robert Brady, 
according to FOX 5 Atlanta.


Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger had requested
 that Brady step down earlier, in the wake of two incidents in
 Floyd County, with local officials meeting to discuss the 
decision before firing the clerk, the outlet reported.


Reportedly, there was consensus among both Republicans and
 Democrats on the need to fire Brady, despite the belief that the 
error was not made purposefully.


Uncounted Ballots


Georgia, where Governor Brian Kemp certified the presidential 
election results on Friday in favour of projected President-elect 
Joe Biden, had discovered 2,750 ballots that had not been 
included in the original count in Fayette County amid the 
state’s audit of the 2020 presidential election.


"There was an issue where we noticed there were more people 
on the absentee ballot filed for voting in person in Fayette 
County than was in the actual reporting," Georgia election 
official Gabriel Sterling had said at the time.


According to Sterling, the issue occurred because several 
individuals failed to follow proper procedures. In a separate
 incident, some 284 uncounted ballots were found in Walton 
County, with the local Board of Elections chair, Lori Wood, 
suggesting the error occurred after votes had previously 
been uploaded from only one of the two ballot scanners 
in a precinct.


The findings followed the discovery of more than 2,600 
untallied ballots in Floyd County --- forcing election 
workers to rescan more than 8,000 ballots, with 
Floyd County Republican Party chair, Luke 
Martin, referring to the incident as a 
“concerning” mishap that “doesn’t 
appear to be a widespread issue”.


Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger blamed 
the problem in Floyd County on failure of election officials 
to upload votes from a memory card in a ballot-scanning 
machine.


Statewide Audit


The Peach State had embarked upon a hand recount of all 
votes on 13 November after the Republican Party and the 
Trump election campaign requested a statewide audit.


Trump’s legal team filed several challenges in the wake of 
the November 3rd elections, citing alleged voter fraud, 
despite major US media outlets announcing that the
Democrat presidential candidate, Joe Biden, was 
the winner of the 2020 presidential election.


Trump's campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani accused leaders 
of the Democrat-run cities in key battleground states, of 
carrying out a co-ordinated, "centralised" campaign 
of voter fraud, to rob Donald Trump of victory.


"As we started investigating... what emerged very quickly is there's
 not a singular voter fraud in one state. This pattern repeats itself 
in a number of states. Almost exactly the same pattern. Which, to 
almost any experienced investigator, prosecutor, would suggest
 that there was a plan from a centralised place to execute these 
various acts of voter fraud, specifically focused on big cities, 
and specifically focused on (as you would imagine) big cities 
controlled by Democrats. And particularly focused on big 
cities that have a long history of corruption," Giuliani said, 
speaking to reporters in Washington, DC on Thursday.


One of the key battleground states where Donald Trump demanded 
a recount, Georgia, was called in Biden's favour by the Associated 
Press earlier on 20 November, giving the Democrat candidate Joe 
Biden a total of 306 votes in the electoral college.


Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, said Friday that
 he was, like all other Republicans, “disappointed”, but added:


"I live by the motto that numbers don't lie. As secretary of state, I 
believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct."


Meanwhile, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who certified the state's
 presidential election results Friday in favour of Biden, called for 
another audit of the votes, writes Fox News.


Kemp was cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying it was
“completely unacceptable” that thousands of uncounted ballots 
were found in several counties during the manual hand recount 
in the wake of the initial results.


While acknowledging Donald Trump’s frustration over the 
outcome, Kemp said:


“He’s a fighter…  But, at the end of the day, I’ve got to follow the 
laws of the constitution of this state and that’s exactly what I’m 
doing.”


After the results are certified, the Trump 2020 Campaign has 
until Tuesday to request another recount, said Kemp, 
pointing to the vote being within a half-per cent.


“I would just say I’m formalising the certification. Now that 
Secretary Raffensperger certified, it triggers the ability of 
the Trump campaign to ask for the recount," said Georgia 
Governor Brian Kemp.



______________________________________



Starmer sparks furious backlash --- as he 
refuses to restore Labour whip to Corbyn
November 18th 2020 (P.A.)


Sir Keir Starmer has sparked a furious backlash from 
supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, as he blocked him 
from sitting as a Labour MP, despite his 
readmission as a party member.


The Labour leader said his predecessor had "undermined"
 work to restore trust and confidence in the party's ability
to tackle anti-Semitism, and declined to restore the whip.


Mr Corbyn was reinstated as a Labour member by the 
National Executive Committee on Tuesday, three weeks 
after he was suspended over his response to a damning 
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report.


But Sir Keir said on Wednesday morning that he would not
 restore the whip, meaning Mr Corbyn will continue to sit 
as an independent MP and will not be part of the 
Parliamentary Labour Party.


The Labour leader said in a statement: "Jeremy Corbyn's 
actions in response to the EHRC report undermined and 
set back our work in restoring trust and confidence in 
the Labour Party's ability to tackle anti-Semitism.


"In those circumstances, I have taken the decision not to 
restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn. I will keep this 
situation under review."


Sir Keir's decision was welcomed by those who hoped to 
draw a line under the Corbyn era, but prompted an angry 
response from members who remain loyal to the
former leader.


Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the action 
was "just plain wrong" and would cause "more division 
and disunity in the party".



Diane Abbott, who served as shadow home secretary under 
Mr Corbyn, said removing the whip "raises serious 
questions of due process".


Fellow former shadow cabinet minister Richard Burgon said: 
"Jeremy should immediately have the whip restored. At a 
time of national crisis, division in the Labour party 
erves nobody but the Tory Gov't."


Andrew Scattergood, chairman of the Corbyn-supporting 
grassroots activist movement Momentum, accused Sir 
Keir of "making it up as he goes along", describing the 
decision as a "blatant political attack on the left".


Momentum founder Jon Lansman said the move not 
to restore the whip had "driven a coach and horses 
through the party's disciplinary process, making it 
subservient to the parliamentary party and 
embedding "political interference".


Many on social media have condemned the move.



_________________________________________



Britons Furious as PM Self-Isolates 
After Not Wearing Mask in Meeting,
 Is Now Incapacitated for
Crunch Brexit Talks
November 16th, 2020    (FNA)


Angry Britons slammed the UK Prime Minister after it emerged 
that he did not wear a mask in a meeting with a colleague
who subsequently tested positive for COVID, and the PM
will be out of action for key Brexit talks this week.


On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that 
wearing a mask is not compulsory at No. 10 Downing Street, 
adding “different workplaces have different rules”.


The Health Secretary was being grilled as to why Johnson was 
not wearing a mask for an indoor meeting with one of his MPs, 
Lee Anderson, who subsequently tested positive for COVID.


Resultantly the PM is now commencing two weeks of self-isolation.


Hancock admitted that he does not always wear a mask at the PM’s
 residence, noting “the COVID-secure guidelines for [Number 10] 
don't require it at all times”.


Many Britons have taken to social media to display their anger as 
the PM’s disregard for COVID guidelines have left him in isolation 
as the UK restarts final-stage trade talks with the EU.


England and other parts of the UK are also subject to a strict lock-
down, prompting many to use the hashtag “Oneruleforthem”.


One Twitter user slammed the PM, claiming he was undermining
 everyone’s efforts to irradiate COVID. Another asked “why can’t 
our leaders lead by example?”


There was also fury that Johnson’s conduct means the UK’s
 leader will be absent through the “nation’s week of crisis”.


Earlier on Monday, the PM took to Twitter to explain his isolation 
and claimed he was “as fit as a butcher’s dog” and that he 
would govern via Zoom.  


But the PM may not emerge from his self-isolation until the end 
of England’s second lockdown on December 2nd.


However, case numbers remain high across the UK, with the health
 authorities registering 24,962 infections and 168 deaths on Sunday.


The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, is back in Brussels 
this week to hammer out a trade deal with the EU ---- with time 
drastically running short.


Johnson’s isolation means he will be absent for cabinet meetings and
 won’t be able to discuss developments with his advisers in person.
 

__________________________________________



Britain died for me this week. It’s become 
a Covid-obsessed police state, and I don’t 
understand what it stands for anymore
by Chris Sweeney. November 7th, 2020 


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




I’ve always been proud to say I’m British – until now. The
 authorities’ bloody-minded determination to implement
lockdown rules at the expense of people’s wellbeing 
is not what our great country should be about.



Sometimes you can be too close. You are looking, but you
don’t see it. That’s where I found myself this week with 
the current state of Britain --- amid another round of 
ever tighter restrictions caused by the pandemic.



Don’t get me wrong. There are loads of things I’ve always 
loved about my country – our traditional British good 
manners for example. Rather than see it as a sign 
of weakness, I pride myself on our reputation 
for queuing in an orderly fashion. I also like 
that we hold the door open for the person 
behind us.



I admire our outstanding National Health Service, which 
allows everyone to access medical treatment without 
having to dig out a credit card or an insurance plan. 
And I enjoy flying British Airways over far-flung 
lands, offering me some form of attachment 
– even if it is superficial.



I won’t apologise for tea being regarded as the boring 
and bland equivalent to freshly ground coffee – it’s 
our drink, and I love it. And the way we honour 
our war heroes with the humble poppy, is
 thoroughly respectful.



But this week, some of that pride in being British 
died for me. It’s a very different sentiment I’m 
feeling. Beyond disillusionment. Fury even.



How could Britain have fallen so far 
in the way it treats its own people?



It began with the horrifying detention of a 97-year-old
grandmother by police in the Yorkshire town of Market
Weighton. Her daughter, a qualified nurse, wanted to 
bring her home from a care home, to look after her 
during lockdown, and quietly wheeled her out of
 the home.



However somewhere along the line, a jobsworth felt 
the need to justify their existence & reported what 
had happened. The episode ended with her grand-
daughter in tears filming a video, showing her
own 
mother in handcuffs inside a squad car,
while the 
old woman sat in another car,
completely 
bewildered.



The police’s response? They were responding 
to “a report of assault.” Incredible.



The horror continued, as students at the University of
 Manchester’s Fallowfield ''halls of residence'', awoke 
to find workers erecting fences around their facility 
to ensure they couldn’t leave. They were being 
installed, following government guidelines 
asking students not to return to their 
permanent homes.



One student said: “They're huge metal barriers, they're 
connected to one another and there's literally no gaps
….it makes it feel like we're in a prison.”



In what version of the United Kingdom do we keep our 
bright, young people caged like dogs? Unsurprisingly, 
some of the outraged students began to rip them 
down, causing even more angst.



ALSO ON RT.COM
Protests of more than two people 
will be ILLEGAL under updated
 rules for UK national lockdown



Another university using its power to force students 
to bend to its will, is world-famous Cambridge. It 
announced that anyone who leaves its halls 
of residence, won’t be able to graduate or 
progress to the next year. That’s despite 
each paying at least £9,250 per 
academic session.



Then there was the Ripped Gym in Harlow, Essex. It 
opted not to close --- in breach of the government’s 
latest lockdown. The morality of that is debatable, 
but the gym claims it didn’t sell any long-term 
memberships and offered only day passes. 
Whatever you think of the decision, what
 is beyond argument is that it didn’t need 
four police cars and approximately 20 
officers to descend in a raid-style 
scenario.


Were they expecting John Gotti? Rather, it was a well-
meaning business owner & some locals on treadmills. 
The owner ended up being dragged away & was still 
in police custody, at the time of writing.



Contrast this with the most tragic occurrence, the death
 of Corey Liversedge. This 16-year old from Aberdeen-
shire took his own life, as anxiety overcame him as 
a result of the suffocating nature of lockdown.



His grieving parents summoned the bravery to raise 
awareness of his plight, with his mother saying, “It’s 
not just children with diagnosed mental health 
conditions — it can happen to any child, and 
Corey was any child.”



Britain used to be a nation that cared. But now, it seems
 that the priority is treating any slight infraction of lock-
down rules like a terrorist attack, while vulnerable 
people are left to struggle along on their own, 
without help from the wider community.



The complete lack of emotional intelligence from 
our authorities was evidenced by London police 
arresting 104 people in a single night for 
breaching regulations.



What happened to community engagement? Aren’t we 
all supposed to be on the same side? Incredibly, it’s 
now even illegal for anyone to enter or leave Wales
---  unless it is covered by the contentious term of 
“essential travel.” The police, of course, are 
monitoring the roads and pulling over cars 
to conduct checks.



Yes, the pandemic is a serious situation and we 
should not be complacent about 48,000 people 
dying. Precautions have to be taken.



But what is happening across the UK is nothing short 
of barbaric. Our police have turned into robots, 
carrying out whatever they are asked to, 
no matter how cruel or wrong.



The government has forgotten what a wonderful 
population they are tasked with representing, 
and are treating us all like North Korea 
does dissenters.



They say you never really truly appreciate something 
until it’s gone. And I’m petrified that the courteous, 
courageous sprit that defines Britain, is on the 
point of disappearing for good, crushed by 
the uncaring iron first of the Covid-
obsessed authorities.



We deserve better than this.




Like this story? Share it with a friend!





__________________________________

 

 
Brexit Trade Talks: EU Commission Says: 
No Solution Reached With UK on Fisheries
by James Baillie
3/11/2020 (Sputnik)
 
 
Fishing is a sensitive issue, and both the UK and the EU 
are under pressure not to give ground amid the Brexit 
talks. Any compromise will probably involve the UK 
guaranteeing a certain level of access to EU boats, 
while the EU may have to agree a larger quota 
share for the UK. The two sides had, initially, 
tried to reach a deal on fisheries by July 1st.
 
Hopes for an imminent post Brexit trade deal between the 
UK and the European Union, subsided on Tuesday, after 
the European Commission said the two sides had not 
yet found a deal on sharing access to fishing waters 
and markets.
 
“We have not yet found a solution on fisheries,” an EC 
spokesman told a news briefing on Tuesday morning 
as reported by Reuters.
 
“We are not there yet, a lot more work remains to be done,” 
he added, noting that talks under way in Brussels this 
week were very intensive and on all topics.
 
The UK has called for future fishing opportunities to be 
calculated on the basis of 'zonal attachment' which 
would greatly increase the amount of fish caught 
in UK waters by British boats and allow London
 to claim victory, in its goal of taking back 
control of the country’s fishing industry.
 
Supporters of Brexit also see fishing as a symbol of 
sovereignty. The UK says any new agreement on 
fisheries must be based on the understanding 
that "British fishing grounds are first and 
foremost, for British boats".
 
But the EU wants access for its boats and says reaching 
a "fair deal" on fisheries, is a pre-condition for a free 
trade agreement.
 
The issue rests on the question of who will have the right 
to catch what and in which waters, when the Brexit 
transition period ends on 31 December. Boats from 
member states land about eight times more fish 
in UK waters than British fishing crews do in
EU waters, but the UK is dependent on
the
 European export market.
 
The Common Fisheries Policy allows European boats access 
to British waters. Critics say that it has destroyed the UK
 fishing industry.
 
Under one proposal, the sides could agree to a “phasing-out 
mechanism” for fish quotas that would increase Britain’s 
share in time, rather than at the start of January 2021.
 
But the UK's fishing lobby is determined to stand firm. 
“Brexit creates a golden opportunity to regain 70% of 
the UK’s fisheries resources and rejuvenate a multi-
billion pound industry for the nation”, said Fishing 
for Leave - a campaign group founded by Brexit-
supporting businessman and political donor,
 Arron Banks.
 
 
__________________________________________


 
Corbyn Suspended for Telling the Truth
– 
A New Socialist Party Is Required
by Tommy Sheridan 
31/10/2020 (Sputnik)
 
 
The other day a thoroughly decent and honest man 
suffered a grave injustice. A man who has a peer-
less record in opposing racism and anti-Semitism 
was suspended by the political party he has been 
a member of for over fifty years, has represented 
it in the British Parliament since 1983 and was 
its leader from 2015-20.
 
Irony died in Britain yesterday when Jeremy Corbyn was 
suspended by the Labour Party with the consent and 
probable collusion of the man who succeeded him 
as leader, Sir Keir Starmer.
 
We now have a Tory leader in 10 Downing Street who is 
famed for his racist views including referring to black 
Africans as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles”.
 
A racist Prime Minister nostalgic for the days of slavery 
and brutal exploitation and ownership of black people 
was elected by the people of England in preference 
to a man whose whole life has been dedicated to 
fighting racism and injustice.
 
Corbyn Was Betrayed by His Own Party Bureaucracy in 2017
 
Jeremy Corbyn would have won the 2017 General Election 
if his campaign had not been sabotaged from within by 
Labour opponents. They hated him more than the 
Tories and refused to accept the democratic will 
of the Labour Party masses who elected Corbyn 
leader, not once but twice with a bigger majority 
the second time round in 2016. 
 
He led a remarkable 2017 election campaign which inspired 
millions and confounded all the opinion polls and political 
pundits as he came within a whisker of winning. He 
smashed the Tory majority and rocked the British 
Establishment. A genuine socialist was almost 
elected to lead the UK. Millionaires and 
billionaires were petrified that they 
would be forced to pay their taxes 
and public services would no 
longer be up for sale. 
 
Corbyn would have won if staff at the heart of the 
Labour Party had not actively undermined him.
 
Paid Labour Party staff expressing disgust for the 
elected leader of their party and hoping for a bad 
election result and undermining the effectiveness 
of the campaign wherever possible is what the 
right wing did with gusto. And - after the close 
call of the 2017 general election - the powerful 
and rich who make up the British Establishment 
and mainstream media declared war on Corbyn 
from every angle, but specifically colluded to 
weaponise the scourge of anti-Semitism and 
throw every slur and empty accusation 
against Corbyn that was possible 
to muster.
 
After 2017 Close-Call Anti-Semitism 
Was Weaponised Against Corbyn
 
An incredible narrative was created whereby a man that 
had done more in his life to confront and combat racism 
and anti-Semitism than anyone in British politics, was 
cast as an anti-Semite. It was bizarre, ridiculous, and 
obscenely unfair and inaccurate but it was effective 
in creating a wholly false perception. An inordinate 
number of Labour anti-Semitism stories, headlines 
and even documentaries were produced and by 
2018 polls of Jewish voters indicated an 
incredulous number believed the Labour 
Party was anti-Semitic while the problem 
in the Tories and Lib-Dems was perceived 
to be minor.
 
Labour Became Huge Under Corbyn – 
Over 500,000 Members
 
Jeremy Corbyn attracted hundreds of thousands of new 
members to the Labour Party and transformed it into the 
biggest membership party in Europe with well over 
500,000 signed up to his brand of socialism. The 
number of party members ever subjected to 
accusations of anti-Semitic behaviour never 
surpassed more than 300, so the anti-Semitic 
‘problem’ in Labour amounted to 0.1% of its 
membership at most but the coordinated 
media led campaign aided and abetted 
by Labour right wing MPs, created a 
deeply warped and distorted picture 
that almost 62% of party members 
were anti-Semitic.
 
This was the result of a well-coordinated media 
campaign led by the BBC to traduce the 
character of Corbyn and the Labour 
Party under him.
 
Feeding from the false narrative and whipped up 
hysteria created by the media the Equality and 
Human Rights Commission (ECHR) decided to 
launch a formal investigation into claims of 
anti-Semitism within Labour to establish if 
they had breached the Equality Act 2010 
and were guilty of acting unlawfully in 
relation to anti-Semitic actions. This 
decision was taken in May 2019 amid 
the Brexit crisis and talk of an early 
general election. The fact the ECHR 
acted on the basis of complaints 
from vehemently anti-Corbyn 
organisations indicates just 
how loaded the dice was 
from the outset.
 
Anti-Semitism is Abhorrent --- but 
Jeremy Corbyn is Not an Anti-Semite
 
All anti-Semitic behaviour and opinions should be 
condemned and confronted unreservedly. Of that 
there should be no doubt or debate. But the 
accusations of anti-Semitism against the 
Labour Party have been overstated and 
used politically to undermine Labour 
and Corbyn. Anti-Semitism is a problem 
in society as a whole. An ugly repulsive 
problem. But to suggest Labour has a 
bigger problem than other parties or 
that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite 
is patent nonsense and lies.
 
Unlike the Corbyn detractors, Labour’s 2020 ‘No 
Place For Antisemitism’ Report provides hard 
facts refuting media and ECHR allegations 
that Labour under Corbyn did not address 
anti-Semitism complaints.
 
The Labour Party expelled 45 members in relation to 
antisemitism in 2019, compared to 10 in 2018 and 
1 in 2017.
 
After rule changes passed at Conference in September 
2019 gave NEC panels the power to expel, twice the 
number of people were expelled in two months than 
had been expelled during the whole of 2018.
 
NEC Disciplinary Panels heard 274 cases relating to 
antisemitism in 2019, a tenfold increase on the 28 
cases heard in 2017.
 
In 2019, 149 members were removed from the party as 
a result of disciplinary processes relating to anti-
semitism, either being expelled or quitting the 
party as proceedings progressed.
 
The Labour Party suspended 296 members in relation to 
antisemitism in 2019, compared to 98 in 2018 – itself a 
big increase on the previous year”.
 
Once you have read the facts contained in this Report and 
considered that the lengthy ECHR Report which took 
almost 18 months to compile concludes that Labour 
is guilty of “unlawful acts of indirect discrimination 
and harassment for which the Labour Party is 
responsible” based on the conduct of TWO 
Labour Party members, Ken Livingston and 
a Councillor called Pam Bromley, you can 
reasonably conclude that when Corbyn 
said the allegations of anti-Semitism 
against Labour were “overstated” 
he was stating a fact.
 
Corbyn was a clear and present danger to the rich and 
powerful British Establishment and his sympathy with
 the Palestinian people and willingness to call out 
Israel’s human rights abuses made him dangerous 
on an international plain also. America and Israel 
could not tolerate a pro-Palestinian British Prime 
Minister. The anti-Semitism campaign was a 
conscious and dishonest scheme to under-
mine his electoral credibility and the BBC 
played a blinder in promoting the lie at 
every available opportunity.
 
A New Trade Union Supported 
Socialist Party is Now Urgent
 
The suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from Labour is an 
attack on him and every single socialist still in that 
party. Jeremy is now suffering the consequences 
of being popular on the one hand but being far 
too pliable on the other. The day Jeremy stood 
back & allowed socialists like Chris Williamson 
to be suspended was the day he succumbed to 
the right-wing bullies within the Labour Party 
hierarchy. Chris was a loyal lieutenant of 
Corbyn. A very capable and popular 
crusader for socialism. 
 
When the right wing went after him with the anti-Semitism slur 
Jeremy should have resisted and stood with Chris. Instead he 
sought to avoid an internal battle and that was his ultimate 
undoing. Jeremy had the backing of the members but not 
the comfortable and right-wing bureaucracy who used 
their influence to stifle Corbyn and undermine his 
2017 election campaign.
 
The new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is determined to turn 
the party back into a Tory second eleven like in the red Tory 
Tony Blair days.
 
The challenge to other socialist Labour MPs and the trade union 
leaders who support socialist policies which will actually 
improve the lives of their members is clear. If you can’t 
fight for the former leader of your party who raised the 
hopes of millions & came so close in 2017 to winning, 
then you are not worthy of the description of socialist. 
The time has come for a party of workers that promotes 
socialism with guile, enthusiasm, and pride. Instead of 
funding Starmer’s Tory Party Mark II, the trade union 
movement should fund a real socialist party --- 
committed to changing the lives of millions 
for the better.
 
The suspension of Corbyn must be the crossing of the Rubicon 
for the socialist and trade union movement. Labour is already 
irrelevant in Scotland. It will become irrelevant in England 
as well soon. The time for a new force backed with trade 
union organisation and resources, is now.
 
 
 



Police chief mocked after declaring British ‘civic duty’ 
is snitching on neighbours who violate Covid-19 rules
(RT updated October 30th, 2020) 


A UK Chief constable has been deluged with mockery 
and Hitler memes, after arguing it’s every resident’s 
duty to turn in neighbours and local businesses for 
breaking lockdown rules and complaining about
how British culture reviles snitches.


UK residents who report their neighbours and local 
businesses to the police for violating the country’s 
increasingly stringent Covid-19 control measures 
are just doing their “civic duty” and should be 
praised, not ostracized, Merseyside chief 
constable Andy Cooke told the Daily
Mail 
on Wednesday.


“People are doing a civic duty in contacting us for the 
right reasons,” he stated, insisting “the vast majority 
of people across the country are really concerned 
about this” and “any information that you can give 
us, in relation to breaches, will save lives, and
that’s 
why people are [reporting to the police].”


Lamenting that the practice of turning one’s neighbour in
to the authorities for minor infractions wasn’t more widely 
accepted among respectable Brits, Cooke blamed a 
“sneering culture” for placing rats at the bottom of
the social hierarchy.


His remarks weren’t received well on social media, where 
users were quick to pull out the Nazi pics & Orwell quotes.


“This is what Hitler and Stalin demanded 
of their people,” one user pointed out. 


Others suggested the cops focus on fighting real crime. 
Merseyside saw a 6.3 percent increase in violent crime 
over the past year, according to statistics released
 in July.


A few played along, tweeting that they could “hear voices 
of people having fun and not living in fear” and “even
saw two people hugging, no face masks they were 
even smiling.”


Several suggested the strategy of enlisting civilians
to 
police their neighbours would backfire, both by 
destroying trust in the police and by creating 
suspicion in communities.


Cooke’s paean to the common snitch came on the heels 
of similar comments by West Midlands Police and Crime 
Commissioner David Jamieson, who said in a Tuesday
 interview that police would not hesitate to break up 
Christmas and other holiday celebrations if they 
“flagrantly” violated the government’s rules 
on gatherings.


National Police Chiefs Council chair Martin Hewitt also promised 
“quicker enforcement” of “blatant” rule violations earlier this 
week, urging members of the public to report “egregious 
breaches” - like pubs being open past the 10pm cutoff - 
that “put everybody at risk.” As of Wednesday, the 
NPCC had issued 20,223 fines for violations of the 
Covid-19 restrictions, including 980 spot tickets
 for breaking lockdown.


Unlike Jamieson, however, Hewitt declined to speculate 
on whether his officers would be breaking up Christmas 
parties, instead merely urging the public to take heed 
of the rules in whatever part of the country they 
opted to spend the holiday. 


Despite a steep fall in the number of deaths with Covid-19 
from the pandemic’s peak earlier this year, the UK has
 introduced a strict three-tier lockdown nationwide, 
barring people from congregating in groups larger 
than six and prohibiting home visits.



______________________________________



Survey: No European Countries Would 
Reelect Trump - Except Poland
October 28th, 2020  (FNA)


 If US President Donald Trump was facing an election 
in Europe he would have almost no chance at winning 
and would only get about 17% of the vote, according 
to a survey published on Wednesday by German 
researchers.


His opponent, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, would get 
about 45%, according to the survey by the Bertelsmann 
Stiftung foundation, Foreigner.fi website reported.


Some 38% of European Union citizens would not vote 
for either candidate, if they were voting this year.


When broken down by individual country the results 
varied - Poland is the only country where Trump 
was ahead of Biden, with the president polling 
at 38%, compared to his challenger's 30%.


Poles want a close relationship to the US for historical 
reasons, according to the study by author Isabell 
Hoffmann. Some 77% stated that democracy in 
the US functions well.


By contrast, 51% of people surveyed across Europe 
noted that they believe there has been a failure of 
democracy in the US.


But America still ranks well ahead of China, as an 
important partner, according to survey respondents.


"Four years of Trump's government have left their mark 
on EU citizens. They acknowledge the importance of 
the transatlantic relationship, but are blunt in their 
assessment of what holds it together," 
Hoffman added.


The survey authors questioned 13,808 
people, in all EU states, in September.




________________________________________




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 
impeachment. 


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 
noninterference. 


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
democracy. 


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 
democracy.


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 
newspapers.


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
everyone
a peaceful 2020.




ROGER WATERS TO MUSICIANS:- "BOYCOTT ISRAEL"

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
the
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
and
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,
especially 
the right of self-determination.



____________________



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For more details visit

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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
www.rct-arts.co.uk 


 
*************************************************

Mid Rhondda Modelling Club...


7pm - 9pm

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has been running for over 30 years.

We meet on a regular basis
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We encourage both Gentlemen
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However, Young people under 16,
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************************************************

 Comedy In The Laughter Lounge

The Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy.

COMEDY IN THE LAUGHTER LOUNGE

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.

www.rct-arts.co.uk





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,
has
become law.

Speaker John Bercow told MPs on Tuesday, that
the
 EU Withdrawal Bill has received royal assent
from
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,
and
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
 bookshop@fiveleaves.co.uk



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
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/439492-uk-
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
are
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
she
will play a crucial role in building on last
year’s
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......
because
she will be good at her job.

Get Involved!

______________________________________________________



Jewish Labour Movement Chair & exec
block
call for investigation into Israeli
interference

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
 government.

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

https://skwawkbox.org/2017/02/05/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
 policymaking.

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:

 labourbriefing.squarespace.com.


_________________________________



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

11/Jan/2017
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.

___________________________


RIGHTING THE
McNicol INJUSTICES


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
been
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
heart-breaking.

“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
for
the kill, posting spooky blacked up faces
(and
worse) to my Facebook account. The
community
& national newspapers led the
attacks,
querying my Jewish identity (a
racist move
in itself), my work as an
anti-racist activist
and my political
commitment.


“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
dose
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
was
leaked to the press before she even
knew
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
tell
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
let’s
try to get everybody involved!


______________________________________


Get Involved!

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

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/857YMDK


or this one:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc0du5YuhPZ8ahI
oxC_b6pvBprm
GA4XFdG-0r2dOVYyc4UNFg/viewform?c=0&w=1



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

http://www.labour.org.uk/pages/privacy


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

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/a-vote-
of-confidence-in-jeremy-corbyn-after-brexit


_______________________________________




IF - YOU THINK you HAVE
BEEN UNFAIRLY BARRED:


“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.

https://www.electoralreform.co.uk

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
McCluskey.

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
the
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
must
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.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/53G2PLD

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.’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1554774/
Ex-Labour-radical-now-makes-killing-on-NHS.html

(Report in original by clever Vox Political)


____________________________



IF NATO MEMBER ATTACKED 
--- IT DOES NOT MEAN WAR

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
before
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.

__________________________



A DREAM COME TRUE


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
victory
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''.



**************************************

CHILCOT REPORT:
SOME MAIN POINTS:

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

2) UK government "undermined the
authority"
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
is
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
the
International Criminal Court (ICC),
for
the crime of a war of aggression,
and
face parliamentary action to
stop
him holding public office
ever again."


A former British ambassador to the UN:
 "The UK was pushed into entering
this
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
soldiers
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)

_______________________________


PONCY LABOUR MPS PROBLEM?

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:

http://novaramedia.com/2016/07/13/how-can-i-
deselect-my-labour-mp-a-short-guide-to-
reselection-and-democratic-accountability/


CHRIS BRYANT - SUPPORT THE MEMBERS'

LEADERSHIP CHOICE & POLICIES - OR GO!

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
 £20,902.

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.


International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2020

Today, December 2nd, is the 
 
International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2020
 
 
Slavery is not merely a historical relic
 
According to the  International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 
40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery. Although
 modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term
 covering practices such as forced labour, debt bondage, forced 
marriage, and human trafficking. Essentially, it refers to 
situations of exploitation that a person cannot refuse 
or leave, because of threats, violence, coercion, 
deception, and/or abuse of power.
 
In addition, over 150 million children are subject to child
labour, accounting for almost one in ten children around
the world.
 
ILO has adopted a new legally binding Protocol designed to 
strengthen global efforts to eliminate forced labour, which 
entered into force in November 2016.
 
Logo of the campaign is a 
bird with hands as wings..
 
50 for Freedom campaign 
 
We have the chance to make history.
 
The ILO’s Protocol on Forced Labour, could restore hope 
& freedom to millions of people trapped in modern slavery.
 
But first, it must be ratified by countries around the world.
 
Call on world leaders to ratify the ILO's Protocol on Forced Labour!
 
 
Background
 
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks 
the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United 
Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in 
Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution 
of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).
 
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of s
lavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the 
worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced
 recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
 
 
Main Forms of Modern Slavery
 
Slavery has evolved and manifested itself in different ways throughout
 history. Today some traditional forms of slavery still persist in their 
earlier forms, while others have been transformed into new ones. 
 
The UN human rights bodies have documented the persistence of old 
forms of slavery that are embedded in traditional beliefs and customs. 
These forms of slavery are the result of long-standing discrimination
 against the most vulnerable groups in societies, such as those
 regarded as being of low caste, tribal minorities and 
indigenous peoples.
 
Forced labour
 
Alongside traditional forms of forced labour, such as bonded labour 
and debt bondage there now exist more contemporary forms of 
forced labour, such as migrant workers, who have been trafficked 
for economic exploitation of every kind in the world economy:
 work in domestic servitude, the construction industry, the 
food and garment industry, the agricultural sector and in 
forced prostitution.
 
 
Child labour
 
Globally, one in ten children works. The majority of the child labour 
that occurs today is for economic exploitation. That goes against 
the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognizes “the 
right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and 
from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to 
interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the
 child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or 
social development.”
 
Trafficking
 
According to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress & Punish Trafficking 
in Persons Especially Women and Children, trafficking in persons 
means the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or 
receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or 
other forms of coercion for the purpose of exploitation. 
Exploitation includes prostitution of others or other
 forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or 
services, slavery or practices similar to 
slavery, servitude or the removal of 
organs. The consent of the person
 trafficked for exploitation...   ...is
 irrelevant and, If the trafficked 
person is a child, it is a crime, 
even without the use of force.
 
 
If you would like to help, or 
know more, please go to:-   
 
https://www.un.org/en/observances/slavery-abolition-day



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.

_______________________________________



Boris Defends Bully Patel but Not Pensioners –
 His Govt is Morally Repugnant
by Tommy Sheridan
22/11/2020  (Source - Sputnik)


Anyone surprised by BoJo’s decision to condone shameful bullying at
 the heart of his government and order a “square” of defence be formed
 “around the prittster” after he decided to keep Priti Patel in his cabinet
 despite her being found guilty of breaching the Ministerial Code and
 bullying, has plainly been sleeping over the past eleven months.


That period has exposed the rancid hypocrisy, corruption, cronyism, 
and lack of integrity which characterises Johnson and the Tories 
under his leadership.


Priti Patel was accused of disgraceful conduct and bullying while an 
employment Minister under Theresa May in 2015, behaviour which 
drove a female civil servant to attempt suicide on at least two 
occasions and ended with a Department of Work & Pensions
 pay-out of £25,000 in April 2017 to avoid the scrutiny of an 
Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, harassment, 
discrimination, and victimisation.


Patel the Bully Became Patel the Liar


Patel was then moved to the role of International Secretary only to be
 found out as a devious liar whom May had to sack after her deliberate
 misleading of the PM and Parliament over secret meetings with Israeli 
officials, business representatives and lobbyists was exposed. She
 lied and was caught. She had to go.


Being a dishonest bully presented no barrier to Boris Johnson’s 
cabinet however and he appointed Patel as his Home Secretary 
in July 2019 after he became Tory leader.


Within weeks the top civil servant in the Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, 
felt compelled to warn her about her conduct and lack of respect for 
staff before eventually resigning from his post at the end of February
 this year in a move which caused shock waves in the civil service 
and government. He accused Patel of lying about a “vicious” 
campaign orchestrated against him and creating a climate 
of fear in her department.


Patel Investigation Handicapped from the Outset


A high-level investigation was reluctantly ordered into the allegations
 made by Rutnam, and he vowed to pursue a constructive dismissal 
claim against the government which is yet to be concluded. It is 
increasingly clear that the investigation has been less than 
rigorous as the senior civil servant appointed to conduct 
it was refused access to Rutnman despite him being the 
best equipped to inform the investigation. 


However the report that was compiled was laid on Johnson’s desk 
in April and he refused to act on it for months before recently 
contacting the author, Sir Alex Allan, and leaning on him to 
water down the conclusions. Despite the limited access to 
witnesses the investigation still found Priti Patel "shouted 
and swore" at staff in actions "that can be described 
as bullying" and that she had indeed breached the 
Ministerial Code which is normally an automatic 
resignation offence.


The fact Sir Alex Allan, former chair of the prestigious Joint 
Intelligence Committee, chose to resign rather than alter his
 report to save Patel’s reputation is admirable, but the full 
report is being kept secret. It must be revealed in full and 
the fact it was severely handicapped by the barring of 
access to Rutman’s input must also be highlighted.


Johnson Willing to Protect Patel but not Pensioners in Care Homes
Patel was ordered to issue an apology on camera on Friday but all
 it did was rub salt in the wounds of the campaign against bullying
 as she smugly smirked and smiled when she claimed to have no
 knowledge of bullying but apologised anyway. Please watch and
 remember - her conduct drove a lowly paid civil servant to 
attempt suicide on two occasions and compelled a very 
senior civil servant to resign. The lack of contrition for 
her actions and empathy for her victims is truly
 frightening.


If Johnson and his Tory gang of millionaires and spivs showed an iota 
of the concern and commitment to defend elderly care residents as
they have shown to defend lying bully Patel at least 20,000 lives 
could have been saved. A shocking report compiled by Amnesty
 International last month received very little media attention but 
condemned the Tory Covid19 response as a dereliction of duty 
and care towards elderly citizens.


Read the document and understand just how complicit this Tory
 government is in the deaths of thousands of senior citizens. It 
presents evidence that the government’s policy of herd immunity
 was responsible for mass murder. The government was entirely 
aware of the probable outcome of their policy and went ahead
 regardless of the risk to thousands of lives.


The report, “As if expendable: The UK government’s failure to protect 
older people in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic”, details 
how, between March 2 and June 12, 18,562 residents of care homes
 in England died with COVID-19. The vast majority (18,168) were 
aged 65 and over, representing almost 40 percent of all deaths 
involving the virus in England during this time frame. Of these, 
76 percent (13,844 deaths) occurred within care homes for
 the elderly.


During this brief period, 28,186 “excess deaths” were recorded
 in English care homes, a 46 percent increase in comparison 
with the same period over previous years.


Amnesty conclude that the Tory government together with its 
agencies at national and local level have “taken decisions and 
adopted policies during the Covid-19 pandemic that have directly
 violated the human rights of older residents of care homes in
 England—notably their right to life, their right to health, and 
their right to non-discrimination”.


The report argues that the decisions and policies of the Tory
 government “impacted the rights of care home residents to 
private and family life, and may have violated their right not 
to be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment”.


Johnson was determined to “form a square around the prittster”
 to defend his lying bully Patel at the Home Office but didn’t lift a 
finger to defend thousands of pensioners in care homes. That is
 the warped and putrid priorities which define this government.


A Litany of Government Failures but No Resignations
Their top advisor broke lockdown rules but there was no resignation.


They have been caught awarding contracts worth over £20 billion of 
public money without proper scrutiny or tendering processes to
 friends of senior Tories and companies known to donate to the 
Tory party and no one has resigned.


The UK government’s late response to Covid-19 and failure to 
impose lockdown measures caused the unnecessary deaths 
of 20,000 --- but no one resigned from government.
International law will be broken because of the government’s
 Internal Market Bill --- but no one resigns.


The Johnson government backs bullies, liars, public contract 
cheats and international law breaking. It is morally repugnant 
and thoroughly incompetent. No wonder Scotland is so keen 
to break away as soon as possible.


_________________________________________________



Biden’s climate advisor has ties 
to oil and gas industry: Report
November 21st, 2020 (Press TV)


US President-elect Joe Biden’s senior advisor on climate change 
has faced strong criticism from environmental advocates over
 his ties with the oil and gas industry, according to a report.
Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana congressman who has played a 
key role in Biden’s presidential campaign, was named as a 
senior adviser to the president-elect and will become 
director of the White House Office of Public 
Engagement, The Guardian reported.


Richmond will advise Biden on climate change --- and help 
advance the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.


At a press conference this week, Richmond – who has 
represented a south Louisiana district for 10 years – 
announced that he would resign from Congress 
to assume his new position.


“I look forward to changing not only Louisiana but the 
entire south and empowering its citizens,” he said.


The Democrat has been under criticism from both local 
constituents and climate activists for receiving 
generous donations from the oil, gas and 
chemical industries.


He has also exhibited a degree of indifference to local air 
pollution, with his congressional district being home
to 
seven of the 10 most air-polluted census tracts
in the US.


Richmond pledged greater public engagement 
to address the issue.


Some advocates said while they were worried about 
Richmond’s track record on the climate, they were 
cautiously optimistic about his new appointment.


“I think he’s in a position now to be able to better serve the 
constituents of his district,” said Robert Taylor, president 
of the Concerned Citizens of St John Parish, a community 
group in one of the most polluted parts of the region.


“I’m happy to see him get the appointment, I just hope he 
uses it to help us,” he told the paper. Taylor added: “I 
would like to see him hold these chemical plants 
accountable because they are getting away
with murder.”


Biden has signaled his intent to put climate change on top 
of his administration's policy agenda. However, concerns 
persist about the degree to which the Democrat is willing 
to challenge the power of the fossil fuel industry.


Apart from Richmond, environmental activists are worried 
about Ernest Moniz, another individual with ties to the oil 
and gas industry who is widely speculated to have been 
picked to lead the Department of Energy.


Moniz was Secretary of Energy in the administration of 
former President Barack Obama from 2013 through to
2017 and played a critical role in mustering support 
for the controversial use of fracking to produce 
natural gas.


Moniz is currently a director of Southern Company, the 
second-highest carbon-polluting energy company 
in America.


During the 2020 campaign, Biden unequivocally rejected 
calls to ban fracking, which experts say is harmful to the 
environment and people’s health.



___________________________________________




Report: Patients Discharged from 
UK Hospitals without COVID Test Results
October 28th, 2020 (FNA)


Almost half of hospital patients have been discharged 
without receiving the results of their coronavirus test 
– including some patients who were sent to care 
homes, new research revealed.


Independent national patient body Healthwatch England 
said it had learned many patients were discharged from 
hospitals between March and August this year without 
proper assessments with many vulnerable people sent 
home without medication, equipment or the care they 
needed, The Independent reported.


At the start of the pandemic thousands of patients were 
discharged to care homes as NHS England instructed 
hospitals to free up 15,000 beds ahead of the first 
wave of coronavirus.


Approximately 25,000 patients were sent to care homes 
with some not tested, sparking fears this helped seed 
care homes with the virus. There have been around 
16,000 care home deaths linked to COVID-19.


According to a survey of almost 600 discharged patients 
and interviews with 60 NHS staff, Healthwatch England 
said it had found serious flaws with the way hospitals 
had followed NHS England’s instructions.


In joint research with the British Red Cross, shared with 
The Independent, it found that 44 percent of patients were 
discharged without knowing the result of their corona-
virus test - including some to care homes.


It said, “Despite the policy stating that all patients 
discharged to a care home should be tested for 
COVID-19, we found that 26 percent of our 
survey respondents who were discharged 
to a care home were not tested.”


While the numbers involved were small, only 13 out of 50 
patients, the report added that this was “still a significant 
proportion of people who were required to be tested 
but did not receive one”.


Healthwatch added that while patients going to care homes 
must have the results available and shared with the home
it was still not national policy to test everyone being 
discharged. It argued this should now be an 
''ambition'' for the government.


Its report also raises concerns about the wider care 
of vulnerable patients sent home from hospital.


88 percent of patients reported having care needs 
after being discharged that have still not been met.  


82 per cent did not receive a visit or any
assessment from a health professional


Almost one in five of those who did not 
receive a visit, reported unmet needs.


In total 45 percent of people with a disability and 
20 percent of people with a long-term condition 
had support needs that were not being met, 
following their discharge.  


Healthwatch England criticised the national discharge 
policy put in place by NHS bosses, as “confusing” in 
places which it said may have contributed to some 
patients missing out on the care they needed.


Robert Francis QC, chair of Healthwatch England, said, 
“In March, hospitals were asked to discharge patients 
with little or no notice and the speed with which this 
took place was important, but led to mistakes."


“We do not want to detract from the heroic efforts of
t
hose on the frontline, who often put themselves at 
great risk to care for their patients, but services 
and system leaders have now had more time 
to prepare," he said.


“It’s essential that we learn from what people have 
shared with us about the impact that a poorly 
handled discharge can have on them and 
their loved ones. Taking action now will 
not only reduce the risk to patients but 
will also help improve the way people 
leave hospital in the future,” he added.


The British Red Cross and Healthwatch England said 
assessments for patients needed to be prioritised.


They also called for discharge checklists to make 
sure patients were asked if they needed help with 
transport and equipment.


Other recommendations included making sure carers 
and patients had a single contact for support, which 
was already national policy but still not fully adopted.


The report also said community services needed 
to be boosted, to cope with increased demands.


British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said, 
“We’ve seen first-hand the huge efforts made to 
improve the discharge process for patients and 
their families. However, we also know, despite 
good intentions and hard work, there are still 
barriers to making the ideals of discharge 
policy a reality."


“The Red Cross has been bearing witness to these 
issues for years, and we hope that the increased 
urgency of the situation will bring lasting change. 
Many of the people we support are older or more 
vulnerable, & fall into the higher-risk categories
 for COVID-19," Adamson said.


“Simple interventions, like getting equipment and 
medicine delivered, or follow-up visits, can make 
the difference between a good recovery or some-
one regressing to the point of readmission - 
precisely at the time we want people to 
stay well, and stay at home,” he said.


Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, 
said, “There has long been a wide consensus about the 
benefits for patients of being able to return home as 
soon as their specialist hospital care is complete, 
and it is good that delays have been reduced in 
recent times. While this is a very small snap-
shot survey, local hospitals will want* (sic) 
to take account of the points it makes.”


 (*No they won't!)


_________________________________________
 


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
things 
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.


Why?


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,
“C’mon 
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
belittles 
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
to 
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
adults
work full time.

There are 2.5 million people in the UK who are less
than
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,
and
they can contribute to situations in which families
are left
struggling to make ends meet and facing
impossible
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,
or
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
 shooting.

(Source - RT)

______________________________________



Top UK Islamophobe
says
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,
to
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
a
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
i
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
 inappropriate.

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
in
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,
to
letterboxes and bank robbers, and
a
surge in attacks on Muslim
women,
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
he
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
 upsetting.”

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
said,
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,
a
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
whistleblowing.”

“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
STEVEN WALKER
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
 exploitation.

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
high
levels of sickness, attrition & disorganised

deployment.”

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
privatisation
of our justice system.

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

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
child
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
plans
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
to
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
with
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
needed
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
homes
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
credibility.

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.

#HerWayIn

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
all
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
people
continue to expose the working practises
of the
controversial government department,
however
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:
Facebook Twitter



___________________________________________________




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
victims
to come forward about their abuse, as
well as
encouraging streamline services
within
councils and the health sector
for all
domestic abuse victims,
regardless
of gender.

The Home Office previously reported that men are
3
times less likely to tell someone about their
mistreatment.
They are also less likely to
perceive their treatment as
abuse.

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
said,
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
a
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
is
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
additional
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
to
national security from ‘enemies’
such
as Russia.

Johnson added: “You’re going to have to make trade-
offs
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
Belgravia.

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,
mylocalbobby.net.

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
terms
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
 higher.”



_____________________________________________________




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:

https://twitter.com/jeremycorbyn/status/984513838572851200


_________________________________________________



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
to
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
stated.

“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
 investigation.

“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
mischaracterisations.

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.''

Support

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:
https://www.thecanary.co/uk/
2018/03/07/home-office-response-hunger-
striking-women-vilest-thing-youll-read-today/

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
understand.

Get Involved!

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

– 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,
to
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%,
 respectively.

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
population.

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
 immigrants
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.
This
is state-sanctioned suffering on a vast
scale,”
said
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
 today.


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
Carillion
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
supervision.

“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
evidence.

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
worse.”

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
about
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
incidents.

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
unoccupied
building or open air etc.

Be found on enclosed premises
for an unlawful
purpose.

Collect alms or endeavour to procure
charitable
contribution by false pretense.

Profess to tell fortunes.

Wander abroad and expose a wound
or
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
people
who otherwise won’t take
the help offered to
them.

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
condition.”

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
Society.

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
Tories.

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
18-to-25-year-olds.

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.

COME ON WALES - DON'T FALL BEHIND ON THIS ONE!

(Please check with your Assembly member)

_______________________________________


Angela Rayner MP
‏Verified twitter account
 @AngelaRayner
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:
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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.

Disgusting

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
overhauled
“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)

_______________________________________________


THE PLAN THAT MAY FORGOT
Thursday June 22nd
by Lamiat Sabin

A "threadbare" Queen’s Speech proves that the Tories
 have simply run out