Universal Credit cut goes ahead.

Moving the same people around shows the sheer lack of talent and for Johnson rewarding loyalty is more important than any discernible competence. Musical chairs. Moving people around who are useless whilst getting rid of a few you’d never heard of.

The whole thing was a timed distraction as drooling establishment journalists pored over who was in and who was out in varying states of euphoria depending on who was losing a trusted source and who’s had survived. It was timed to distract from the biggest cut to social security in British History and it worked – the intended cut to Universal Credit being voted through that evening was by and large even on social media, buried.

The Tories intended cut to Universal Credit, what they are terming the withdrawal of the uplift was passed last night. £1040 a year taken away from the poorest, often working households given this extra money to help with the additional costs of the COVID crisis. It came in in March of last year and has helped keep many afloat with children at home, work uncertainty and of course the uncertainty of whether or not you’d contract the virus and need to isolate. It is another evidenceless act of cruelty from Johnson’s regime that they’ve done this, but for him it probably brings back happy Bullingdon memories of burning £50 notes in the faces of the homeless – here he’s been able to burn a virtual twenty in the face of 5.5 million families every single week. I’m sure he’ll sleep like a baby at night.

The fact is the COVID crisis is still ongoing as much as Johnson might wish to pretend its not. So much stock has been put in a vaccine that loses efficacy over the course of several months that he feel the country can get back to normal and keep on opening up, ignoring the fact 200 people died yesterday alone and those figures, along with hospitalisations and positive cases are on the rise too as we head into a winter period, so where is the justification on withdrawing this money? Need to pay off those ministers you actually sacked? £17,000 a piece they get, 17 families worth of annual Universal Credit uplift each and many of them have just moved to a new post just to rub salt in the wounds.

Its not like this is the first instance of the Tories doing away with restrictions that make no sense either. The most vulnerable were required to shield for the longest time and then this was again, completely done away with overnight, so much stock being placed in that vaccine. When double vaccinated people are losing their lives still because the vaccine was never 100% effective and always needed to be taken in conjunction with other social mitigations, its little wonder despite the good the vaccine is capable of, we’re still seeing rising cases. All this the poorest families, 40% of whom are working already, so seeking more work may not be a solution, are having to deal with on worse incomes.

The UN special rapporteur on poverty has also implied that human rights law may have been broken to force this through. I’m sure Johnson will get human rights hater, now the new justice secretary Dominic ‘Afghanistan can wait, I’m off for a swim in the closed sea’ Raab to fix that little detail given half a chance, but it is damning that once again we’ve been seen to flout our human rights obligations and to be doing so against our own people and over social security. Previously it was people like the original minister for death Iain Duncan Smith the UN were getting heated with, but this cut is so bad Smith had actually spoken out against it himself!

But the very fact the UN have attacked the Tories over regressive cuts to the poorest incomes, particularly while not asking the rich to pay more shouldn’t give anyone any hope that that’ll change anything. Somebody would have to be willing to take the UK government to an international court of law over it and so far nobody has seemed very willing. Not when we were an EU member for example certainly not now that we’re out.

The fact is the uplift, entirely spent within the economy, helping to support it, made all the difference. Thousands more people now face the choice between heating and eating. The reliance on foodbanks is going to increase significantly as Energy bills are due to rise by an average of £139 per year this winter. As I mentioned before 40% of Universal Credit claimants are in work and many of those face that National Insurance tax increase as well as this cut and rising energy bills. A Trussell Trust survey has indicated that 20% of Universal Credit claimants, that’s 1.2 million people expect they’ll have to skip meals and fractionally more, 1.3 million say they will not be able to afford to heat their homes and perversely it’ll be mostly those in the colder north of the country disproportionately affected by this. All whilst we’re still in the COVID crisis! Another 900,000 are expected to rely on foodbanks to help feed them as well. All so the richest and most able don’t have to pay a penny more, though some have said they’d be prepared to. Fact is, Johnson isn’t prepared to let them or make them. It’s the poor, non-Tory voting ordinary working classes being oppressed again, by an Old Etonian born with a silver spoon. It is class war, make no mistake about it.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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The National Insurance Lie: A Tax on Work not Wealth.

A manifesto is a roadmap for how a political party wants to run the country during the next parliament. It is their mandate to rule. However, we’ve seen it before and we’ve seen it again now, these promises, these manifesto pledges are not binding. They should be, they are what gives a governing party legitimacy, but having broken 3 of his manifesto pledges in one day, and inflicted more hardship on low paid workers rather than taxing the rich, Boris Johnson’s government should no longer be legitimate as they seek to tax work instead of wealth.

Is he going to call a General Election now that he’s shredded his mandate to run the country? Of course not, Boris Johnson has a massive majority and can do what he likes, however the question of breaking manifesto pledges is a big deal because it means he lied to the country in order to get elected. It’s not like Keir Starmer can exactly force the matter on that point either, given that he lied to the Labour Party to get elected leader himself, his 10 pledges have long been ditched and he’s done nothing but attack his own party, but he’s also failed to offer any alternatives and again that’s the case here, crowing that the Tories can no longer call themselves the low tax party, but failing to offer a plan of his own, not even to tax the wealthy, which, ironically, even the wealthy are calling for! It’s pathetic and the public will warm to him no more over this, than they have over anything else.

The attack on National Insurance is a vile one. The Tories promised it would not be raised and they’ve done it anyway. Work is the route out of poverty they’ve said for years, a lie as it was then, but now its even more dishonest, as they tax work instead of wealth. Johnson might well be blaming the pandemic for needing to do this, but when his plans will bring in and estimated £36bn, most of which is going to the NHS in actual fact, not social care, so it doesn’t even fix the social care crisis anyway, you can’t help but think hang on, Test and Trace cost £37bn – you didn’t put up any taxes to pay for that? and you’d be right, because taxation to pay for stuff is a myth when we as a sovereign country with our own currency can print however much cash we need for whatever we need it for. That is exactly how test and trace was paid for – numbers typed into a spreadsheet – magic! You start being charged national insurance before you even start paying income tax, meaning the lowest paid and often that means the youngest workers on the most rubbish of minimum wage are getting clobbered by this. These are people scraping by, many won’t even be able to do that, relying on foodbanks and working to earn their poverty and not working their way out of it as so many Tory mouthpieces have promised before. Now even more will be affected adversely. The money they spend goes straight into the economy as they spend what they get on food, on utilities, on essentials all the things which keep our economy going unlike the wealthy who just hoard their wealth, which does absolutely nothing to help the economy. By removing some of what little cash they have, it reduces their spending power and is harmful to the economy, this is why so many have said this national insurance rise will actually damage the economy – reducing spending power shrinks the economy, we have to spend for it to grow. Further compounding this will be the withdrawal of the £20 Universal Credit Uplift, Energy bills set to rise £139 a year, furlough ending combined with COVID spiking which we know will disrupt work, we’ve seen it before now so things are looking very scary indeed for those on the lowest incomes. National Insurance is also only paid on earnings and profits as well so anyone making money from annuities, investments, or property rental evades it completely, along with anybody on whatever wage still working past retirement age. Anyone earning over £50K only pays 2% national insurance instead of 12% as well! It is a wicked tax, unfair on so many levels that amounts to an assault on the poor and the young and this 1.25% hike makes it even worse.

It could’ve been so different, but the way to pay for this is to hit those with the broadest shoulders and when UK billionaires have added more than £100bn to their wealth in the last year, why can they not foot the bill? Many are calling for it! One third of what they’ve added to their wealth in the last year would raise what Johnson is projecting, it doesn’t even have to touch what they had before, so why can they not pay it? As it stands 2.5 million households look set to lose an average of £1,290 a year in the next tax year. All families that can most ill afford it. It is a depraved move by bottom feeding, money grabbing, big bucks worshipping maggots for whom greed is their God and the wealthy shielded from paying their share.

A 10% tax on the wealth of everyone who has more than £100m would raise £69bn – is that not fairer? It legitimately would fix social care as well as inject more cash into the NHS though it remains to be seen if it’s the NHS or private contractors running former NHS services who actually benefit. Why are the poor having to pay for the rich? Why is work being taxed instead of wealth? There is no other way of viewing this and the Tories are prepared to betray their voters, betray their mandate to rule to do it.

But it’s not even the only example of pledge breaking that day. By apparently having to do this to pay for social care, Johnson’s manifesto commitment to a plan for social care during the 2019 election campaign has been proven to be a lie.

If pensioners who wouldn’t be hit by the National Insurance clobbering thought they were protected, they’d be wrong as Johnson has decided to scrap the pensions triple lock for a year. Anyone really think it’ll ever be put back into place? Only right before the next election as a sweetener, you can bet on it, that or a promise to reinstate it, but why honestly would you trust a Tory manifesto ever again after this?

How about after you have to sell your house to pay for social care? Yes, even with all these cuts, all these shattered promises, you’ll still have to stump up up to £86K to pay towards your social care. The Tories promised nobody would have to sell their homes to pay for social care, but who has that kind of cash not locked up in their homes? £86K is a cap on costs and kicks in after the first £100K of a homes value, but when the remainder of the property value is divided up as an inheritance, a wealthy homeowner sat in a half million pound property is going to leave a damn sight more to their family than the owner of a house somewhere in the red wall who’ll leave scarcely anything behind at all. Again, it’s war on the poor, it’s a class war. Protect the wealthy, guard their wealth, hammer the poor, they either don’t vote for us or don’t vote at all anyway. The poorest people across the board are paying so the richest don’t have to. This is what happens when you elect an elitist fool without the faintest idea of what life is like for ordinary families, not that he’d give a damn if he did, he only thinks of himself after all. Johnson doesn’t give a damn that he’s broken so many promises and wrecked his mandate, he is a serial liar that couldn’t lie straight in bed and anyone believing a word he says is a fool. The question now is, are we going to just take it, or are we going to do something about it?

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

October Lockdown: Blame the Tories not the NHS!

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister and seemingly Boris Johnson’s go-to guy to promote whatever twaddle he wants broadcasting on the days news programs has said that an October firebreak – another lockdown in other words might be needed if the vaccine booster rollout is not done well – as ever with Zahawi you have to read between the lines.

The booster rollout, as with the vaccine rollout is being overseen by the NHS, so guess who will cop the blame?

While COVID restrictions have been all but completely done away with in schools, the biggest vectors of transmission, Nadhim Zahawi implies it’ll be booster jab failures, not their stupidity in lifting restrictions that’ll be to blame. They’re going to scapegoat the NHS if we let them.

Now it should be said the department of education, led by former fireguard salesman and professional stupid boy Gavin Williamson have said this isn’t true, that they are not planning a firebreak around the October half-term, but given it’s the Tories we’re talking about here, I’d read that as needing a firebreak sooner than that, I’ll give it 4 weeks after all schools have reopened as they will have by the end of this week.

We have had over the course of this pandemic, a need to wear masks, a need to social distance, a need for contact tracing, a need for isolation, a need to support families at home from work and from school to reduce the spread of the virus, an acknowledgement eventually that this virus is airborne, a need for those who’s health makes them particularly vulnerable to shield and of course the vaccine rollout, yet what we have now is a return to the point before we acknowledged the airborne transmissibility of the virus, we’re back to hand washing, of catching coughs and sneezes, shielding went ages ago, support to stay at home from work ends at the end of the month, families are being threatened with all sorts to coerce their children back to school, despite no need for masks, no contact tracing, no bubbles, no social distancing, at this moment in time, still no news on vaccinations from the government,  nothing. You will get notified if your kids class has a nits outbreak but not a COVID outbreak, there is only one logical conclusion to draw from this and that is the determination of this government to intentionally infect our kids. Herd immunity is still order of the day despite 18 months of absolute failure. The Good Law Project have recently stated that the department of education could be in breach of the law over this, I should think they damn well were.

Already as not all schools have returned over 41,000 new cases have been reported just yesterday along with nearly 1,000 new hospitalisations and over the last week we’ve seen nearly 800 deaths. Johnson recently said 1000 deaths a week was acceptable to him to open the country up, a man who apparently almost died of this virus himself does not care if you or a member of your family dies instead. What is he keeping the country open for? In who’s interest is the country being run for if we are so expendable to him? Clearly it isn’t being run in the interests of the people.

The danger with continuing on this self destructive path is that people will get fed up with it. Already on social media the voices saying we won’t do it, no more lockdowns, we must resist this, we must disobey, are getting louder and louder, cheered on by the typically odious far-right blue-tick mouthpieces that always seem to get involved with such behaviour. The longer the government fails to take a realistic stance on this, the harder its going to be to enforce it, until it becomes unenforceable and things become catastrophic.

As for the booster rollout, it has emerged recently that the protections offered by the vaccine’s wanes with time, with a worst case scenario of falling to just 50% efficacy in those vaccinated first, the elderly, by the time winter gets here, hence the need for boosters. How often are we going to need boosters? As new variants consistently keep appearing, how will they impact the booster rollout? By the time you roll out boosters to younger people, will older people need doing again? How will the NHS keep up with this, when its underfunded and understaffed as it is? Which brings us conveniently back to Nadhim Zahawi’s not so veiled finger pointing – in all likelihood they won’t be able to with the schools reopening with no mitigations driving the next COVID spike. The Tories will again point at the NHS as unfit for purpose – bear in mind the massive success of the initial vaccine rollout was down to the NHS – they’ll bring in more private firms and make a convenient scapegoat of them, aided and abetted by their friendly media outlets.

We’re facing another COVID lockdown. It’ll be driven by the schools having reopened with little to no mitigations worth their salt, the government having done nothing to make them safer all summer either and the onus will be put on the NHS to rollout boosters as the perceived pushback against what is going to come from their incompetence. Vaccination on its own without other mitigations isn’t enough. The NHS is being set up, don’t fall for it.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

The Tories will blame our kids for COVID

So education secretary Gavin Williamson, the Tories answer to Frank Spencer has been putting it out there that kids mustn’t get carried away when they return to school, in order to be able to return to normal, get their education and not promote another COVID surge. Has he ever met a child?

This is buck passing on an industrial scale by Gavin Williamson – if COVID cases rise then it’ll be the kids fault according to him. Nothing to do with the fact he has removed all mitigations in schools ahead of their return despite still being in the grip of the pandemic, still being Plague Island and cases already on the rise around the country. 300 under 18’s are getting hospitalised each week, 14,000 kids are getting infected daily, thousands developing long COVID with little understanding right now as to the long term consequences of developing this additional complication.

Schools have been closed for 6 weeks, that’s 6 weeks that the government could’ve been implementing ventilation measures, air scrubbing measures, all ahead of kids returning to school. They could reintroduce mask wearing, social distancing, but no, we’re back to the whole hand washing routine again, once more skirting over the fact this is an airborne virus and with the more infectious Delta variant now dominant, this is an even greater issue than it was before. The biggest hand washing exercise is the Tories washing their hands of this issue, to our detriment.

Williamson has also laid the blame at the feet of parents if they send kids in ill. Well, the tests we do at home are not particularly accurate anyway, so relying on them is asking for trouble full stop, but besides that, if kids have to be kept at home and families have to isolate again, what financial support is there to help people stay home? Your government is removing it all! There’s no more shielding, furlough is due to end at the end of September, it has already been reduced. No more additional measures for the immunosuppressed, no more special measures or support for those most vulnerable. No more contact tracing, no bubbles, no isolation for close contacts. You’ll literally be better informed if there’s an outbreak of nits in a class than a case of COVID. There’s a complete abdication of responsibility for this pandemic in government right now. The ONS is reporting that 1 in 40 school age children are infected.

Mask wearing and social distancing should never have been rolled back on, we’ve seen 160,000 people in this country die since the pandemic began and still it doesn’t seem to be enough for the Tories. Johnson has decided a 1000 deaths a week is a price worth paying and with Delta infecting younger people more readily, we are already seeing this demographic driving infection and yes, we’ve had 2 individuals in the age 10-19 bracket tragically die of COVID in the last week. Other countries are vaccinating over 12’s, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is still dragging its feet over this, they’re still not committed to offering a second jab to 16 and 17 year olds, which I’ve still seen no evidence to support, given we’ve all known from the start these vaccines are given over 2 shots. But the fact remains we’ve a government still set on herd immunity rather than zero COVID, still believing its better to try and live with this virus rather than invest in ventilation and vaccination in the biggest vectors of transmission we have – our schools.

Given they’re already pushing blame onto others they know what is going to unfold. I mentioned Johnson’s 1000 deaths a week before, but with English schools still to open, we’ve seen over the last 7 days there have been 805 deaths. We’re already nearly at that point. The schools reopening without any mitigations, I daren’t contemplate how bad things will get this time around. Talk in recent days has already turned to the need for vaccine boosters because we know on their own the vaccines are not enough, they aren’t 100% and with each variant that pops up, another variant of Delta has been identified off the back of the recent Boardmasters Festival in Newquay for example, the vaccines become less effective at blocking transmission and preventing serious illness. Yet we’re now being advised if we’re double jabbed, we don’t need to isolate.

When this all blows up again over the course of the next month, do not let the government get away with blaming others, with blaming you or your kids. They want to move on and get back to normal, but without dealing with COVID properly, as other nations have done; without a proper plan for Zero COVID, we’re never going to be able to return to normal because we cannot live with this virus. We’ll be playing catch-up permanently as it continues to evolve, locking down every few months, our kids education being messed around still and no, it will not be our fault, or our kids. The blame must sit squarely with the Tories and their fault refusal to do what they need to and put people before profit.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

New hospital lies from the Tories

Earlier this week we had the spectacle of new health secretary, Mr irreversible, there’s no going back Sajid Javid, a man with an attitude of ‘if you get covid just walk it off’, a chap with all the empathy & bedside manners of Skeletor, sat on a train to Cumbria saying he’s off to open one of 48 new hospitals. Except he wasn’t.

The whole opening new hospitals schtick that the Tories have been whittering about for a long time now has always failed to materialise and even the additional Nightingale Hospitals opened to deal with increases due to COVID were a scam with no additional staff to run them, they were a political stunt and nothing more. Sadly, PR is more important to the shambles running the country than actually running the country and so Javid’s stunt was readily exposed – by doctors at the very hospital Javid was heading for – a hospital that has very much existed for the last 20 years!

What Javid was off to open was a new unit, a new cancer unit. State of the art yes, a great thing for the hospital and if they’d been honest about it, would have reflected well on the Tories, but instead they went with the enormous fib that it’s a brand new hospital! Worse, when the lie got exposed people will naturally have dug down into the detail and it was quickly picked up on by left wing Labour MP Jon Trickett that the unit was actually ordered in 2017, so actually had nothing to do with Johnson or his team whatsoever.

Trouble is, this is just one example of a very dishonest set of claims regarding new hospitals. Hospitals who have had their layouts changed, had a unit replaced, had a refurb, been merged are all being called new hospitals when that is anything but the truth and most damningly, the government is demanding the NHS implicate itself in this lie by backing the government up and saying they are new hospitals too – they’ve issued guidance on it!

The guidance demands that, and I quote ‘the schemes named in the announcement are not all identical and vary across a number of factors, however they do all satisfy the criteria we set of what a new hospital is and so must always be referred to as a new hospital.’

Now there is a paragraph doing some exceptionally heavy lifting! They vary across a number of factors, yes they do, they are all changes to existing hospitals, but therefore still not new hospitals. ‘They satisfy the criteria we set of what a new hospital is’. Well what criteria is this then? The criteria of, we promised in our manifesto that we’d build 48 new hospitals by the end of the decade and of course we lied about that, we are Tories after all, so lets try and spin our way out of this one! That is essentially what this all is, an exercise in spin to make it look like they’re doing something they actually aren’t and as for the criteria?

Well here you are, here’s a box of plasters, lets call it a new hospital shall we? Here’s a tubular bandage, another brand new hospital, here’s some hearing aid batteries an other hospital there and look, I’ve got my very own NHS trust!

This is literally as honest as any of the claims the Tories have just made and the saddest part of it is, is they’re getting away with it because this story has been woefully underreported because most of our mainstream media, particularly the right-wing rags have not picked it up. Once more it is small, alternative media outlets that have exposed this.

The thing is, for all these supposed new hospitals, many have seen bed reductions, where mergers have taken place, services across the board have been reduced, our health service capacity has been reduced over 11 years of Tory rule and its all happened at the worst possible time. A report out today published via the Lancet Infectious Diseases Medical Journal – so not Tory spin, but proper scientific research, has shown you’re twice as likely to be hospitalised by the Delta COVID variant, than the original alpha strain. We’re already seeing cases of COVID rise, particularly in places where schools have already returned and where there have been large gatherings, Newquay for example here in Cornwall is riddled with COVID right now off the back of Boardmasters, Deaths are already back above 100 a day nationally and apparently Johnson considers 1000 deaths a week an acceptable number to keep the country open. How sick of him to put a value on human life – you can bet he wouldn’t value his own as such. If one of these 1000 a week was a member of your family would you consider their death to be for the good of the economy? The vast majority of schools haven’t gone back yet, the government has put no mitigations in place in them despite them being shut for weeks, so you know what is going to happen next.

If you voted for the Tories on the back of their promise to build 48 new hospitals, you were lied to. They want the NHS gone, the pandemic is giving them cover to do it since the additional strain its under excuses their claims that it is unfit for purpose. Fact is they’ve underfunded it, underequipped it and understaffed it for 11 years and just as we may all need it most, it’s at its lowest ebb. It’s what the Tories always do, the NHS has never and will never be safe in their hands, so stop voting for them.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

Thank you for your solidarity and for supporting alternative media holding power and the mainstream media to account.

Tory trade envoy troubles

Liz Truss, cheese afficionado and pork markets fan – will she ever be remembered for anything else? Has today announced ten brand new trade envoys to represent Britain and promote our exports and our interests. Truss might be the most popular Tory politician – God only knows why – but she’s never been known for being the brightest. Perhaps that’s unfair, perhaps she’s picked some real experts here, some real professionals in this field, after all her boss Johnson signed off on them all. So who has she appointed then? Who are these trade experts? Oh dear Liz…you were better off with the cheese…

Liz Truss the Secretary of State for International Trade and never one to shy away from bigging up even the smallest deal has today announced 10 brand new trade envoys to help open up new trade links, promote our produce and big up Great Britain post Brexit. All sounds rather positive doesn’t it! So who are these booming economies we’re sweet-talking with these new faces?

Let’s start with Australia and you can imagine Liz Truss thinking what are we famous for in Australia, what do they love about us and came up with cricket. They don’t love us for cricket, they love us for losing against them at cricket. So rather than appoint anyone with familiarity with Australian economics, she appointed a cricketer, who also just happens to have joined the vermin in ermine in the House of Lords in 2020, becoming Baron Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham of Ravensworth. Although he sits as a crossbencher, Botham was vocally pro-Brexit which is all the qualification he surely needs. What part of cricketer training, what conversations in the clubhouse concern economics and trade relations? Weren’t the Tories implying sportsmen should stick to what they know? They told Marcus Rashford he had no business sticking his nose into things that didn’t concern him when he strove to feed kids during the holidays when the Tories would rather they starved, what could qualify this millionaire footballer after all, other than growing up poor himself! He had life experience, Botham has none regarding trade. The Tories really do need to make up their minds – can sportsmen make good politicians? Yes or no?

Ghana next, and who have the Tories carefully selected? Former Labour MP – and by the fact she’s taken the Ian Austin weasel route into the Tories grace and favour, you can tell that’s where she really belongs – Kate Hoey. Yes, screamingly pro Brexit cheerleader, another life peer to the House of Lords and Irish white woman Kate Hoey. Was there any real desire to have someone with something remotely in common with Ghana appointed to this post? I mean she was certainly one of the loudest voices for Brexit, she even got on a boat with Nigel Farage so perhaps she was owed a favour? I’m not sure what the Ghanaians did to deserve her though. She can bring her political experience of cutting her nose off to spite her face, wanting to hunt small wildlife and demand all cyclists be registered I suppose. Have they even heard of her over there?

Sir Geoffrey Donaldson MP is off to Cameroon – he’s a DUP MP, Brexit patsies that they were for the Tories and it seems they just can’t help still cosy up to them after the way they were shafted and what is it with the Tories sending the Irish to Africa, or do you have to be Irish AND bigoted? Have they left Dominic Raab to sort this out? He does know Ireland isn’t over there right? Donaldson apparently is already trade envoy to Egypt, so apparently he’s got enough time for this as well which is remarkably reassuring that we’re clearly getting some massive trade going on there if he’s got time to do both.

Current Tory MP Conor Burns is off to Canada – an Irishman not heading for Africa, well there’s a change, though no doubt his constituents in Bournemouth will be delighted to see their MP working for them on the other side of the Atlantic! The joys of living in a Tory safe seat – you don’t matter. Another brexiteer, so a shoe-in for a trade envoy job, but this ais a guy who was forced to resign as minister of state for trade policy just last year for being found guilty by the parliamentary standards commissioner for threatening to expose a member of the public using parliamentary privilege. He got suspended from parliament for 7 days, so this very much looks like your typical Tory rewards for bad behaviour when they think we’ve stopped looking. We see you. Sorry Canada, you’ve drawn a short straw.

Another Tory MP, Mark Eastwood is off to Pakistan and you’ve guessed it, he’s a brexiteer, he’s white and I’m not sure how fluent his Urdu might be! He has been to Pakistan once as part of an all party delegation though, so he does at least know where it is. He was a new intake MP for 2019, a red wall Tory, so there’s little else to be said, but then there doesn’t seem to be much needed to qualify anyone for these roles.

David Mundell, for some time the lone Tory MP in Scotland has been appointed trade envoy to New Zealand, so at least they got a politician and not a sportsman, though the question needs to be asked given he’s being sent from plague island, will they even let him in – do catch my recent article on New Zealand going into lockdown again off the back of a single new COVID case. There’s an irony sending a Scottish unionist to an island that gained its independence from Britain and has been successful – he doesn’t think that’s possible you see.

Another Tory MP, Marco Longhi, he who replaced a cowardly Ian Austin who had stood down as an MP rather than face defeat. Of course the Tories then gave the snivelling rodent an ermine overcoat, showing he was never really Labour to begin with. Longhi is off to Brazil. He’s lived there, he speaks Portuguese, you could almost think there was logic to this choice, if we hadn’t already run through a bunch of absolute howlers, but Longhi is a Tory after all, owning numerous properties and had accused the National Trust of being woke and appropriating cultural Marxism, which is a known racist trope. He’ll no doubt get on brilliantly with Jair Bolsonaro.

Stephen Timms is off to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, famous between them for chocolate and false teeth, so the more of one they can push on us, the more we’ll need the other! He’s a remainer and Labour MP so how did he sneak through, though perhaps the question ought to be, why on Earth is a currently serving opposition MP taking a role from the governming party, because that’s just taking the piss and makes Labour look even more of a failure in the opposition department than it already is.

Felicity Buchan has been appointed as a trade envoy to Norway and Iceland, who is the current MP for Kensington, having replaced the excellent Emma Dent Coad and therefore inheriting the ongoing, unresolved mess of Grenfell, I’m sure her constituents will be delighted that she’s sodding off to Scandinavia, though given she voted against the Labour amendment to the Fire Safety Bill intended to implement the recommendations of the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Enquiry, they’re probably more than well aware she doesn’t give a shit. A former banker, her only qualification to this role appears to be the fact she’s Scottish and therefore comes from the bit of Britain closest to Norway and Iceland.

Lastly there’s Lord Walney, there’s an innocuous, name, but it’s bloody John Woodcock. A former Labour MP who took a Tory peerage – funny so many of these have been former Labour MP’s, its almost as if the Labour Party is led by people who don’t really belong in it doesn’t it! He left the Labour Party let’s not let him forget coincidentally whilst a sexual harassment investigation into him was taking place. He was Ian Austin’s sidekick and fellow Corbyn basher and stood up publicly declaring what a danger Corbyn was to society and advocating for people to vote Tory. Yeah. That worked out well. He and Austin got their peerages for services rendered, but don’t think he’s satisfied yet, he’s a co-owner of the Jewish Chronicle.

Well he’s been appointed trade envoy to Tanzania. Whilst this country suffers, the people he purported to represent he has utterly betrayed for his own ends and he’s still cashing in. I can only apologise in advance to the people of Tanzania, I had no idea the Tories hated you this much.

So we have a list of ten trade envoys, many with no experience in trade whatsoever, all on the gravy train to some extent or another, despite 50% of these nations being majority non-white, 100% of all the trade envoy’s are white. 80% of them are male and 70% of them were pro Brexit.

Liz Truss and Boris Johnson aren’t interested in getting trade deals, I doubt they’re bothered whether any of these people succeed or fail, these are pats on the back, these are golden handshakes, these are rewards for loyalty and services rendered and when we’re paying for all of this, all whilst the Tories cut to ribbons our quality of life, all while our cost of living goes up, we should all be very, very pissed off at this.

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New Zealand lockdown in force.

The New Zealand response to the COVID crisis has been one that should be held up as the gold standard in COVID responses. In response to a single case, now risen to 31, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern once again shuts the country down. Stamping it out at every opportunity has meant that her country has suffered only 26 fatalities since COVID first appeared. Why have other countries, including us in the UK, not learned from what they’ve proved works?

An unvaccinated man from  Auckland, New Zealand had tested positive for the Delta variant. Considered infectious since the 12th August, he was identified on the 17th August and from midnight that night, the whole country was put straight into level 4 of lockdown, the strictest level of lockdown they have. Schools shut, everyone stays home except for medical treatment, exercise or to collect essential shopping. All work ceases except for essential workers. The virulence of the Delta variant means this one identified case has now become 31, which, compared to UK stats, is absolutely nothing, awful as our response has been but given New Zealand has become renowned around the world for eliminating COVID and keeping it that way, how has it got in?

If you want to visit New Zealand these days, you have to jump through some serious hoops. Only New Zealand residents and their families can enter, along with Australian residents who’s main residence in in New Zealand, certain people due to their work – air travel workers for instance and people from places designated quarantine free zones, which basically only covers Australia and a few South Pacific islands.

Everybody else has to go through 14 days of Managed Isolation or Quarantine, their MIQ system. You need to have tested negative before departure. Upon arrival you must spend 14 days in isolation and you have to have arranged a placement in an MIQ facility before you leave for New Zealand too. They won’t let you on the plane without proof of this! It’s not a case of going where you want and holing up, they want to make sure you’re isolating so you go to a facility before you go anywhere else. You get tested repeatedly. If you test positive, you move to a quarantine facility, if you continue to test negative, you do your isolation period and are then free to go wherever you choose. These border controls have meant that despite seeing Delta variants show up at their borders – these MIQ facilities – since June, not until now have they had an outbreak of this variant, they’ve successfully kept the country clear. So what happened?

Well the outbreak has been linked through genome sequencing to New South Wales, Australia. Although Australia is in a quarantine free zone, this was suspended back in July as a precaution due to rising cases there, so its not a clear picture at all as to how this has happened, though the Australian island of Tasmania was not restricted from being a quarantine free zone at the same time as the mainland, so it may have come through there, before that route was closed off as well.

What has happened is of those 31 cases, 19 have been linked, the remainder remain under investigation and 1189 contacts have already been identified, all in the space of some 48 hours.

Compare that to here in the UK. 36,572 new cases on the 19th August. Cases rising again even before schools return for most of us. No masks required, no social distancing, everyone back to work, no mitigations being put in place in schools before they return, so expect cases to rise even further and faster with all the consequences we know that brings as we head into another COVID winter. ‘Oh but the vaccine will protect us’ people will cry. Well with still only 75% of the adults in the UK double vaccinated, still nobody under the age of 16 vaccinated, and we’re only now starting to vaccine 16 and 17 years olds, but only with one dose! We’re still seeing hospital admissions and we’re still seeing people dying. None of the vaccines are 100%, on their own they are not sufficient so if you consider that good enough, then you’re a sociopath in my book. 36,572 versus 31. Jacinda Ardern vs Boris Johnson. Don’t tell me what we’re doing in the UK is good enough.

We could’ve adopted what they’ve done in New Zealand, we’re an island nation too. Just because our population is a lot bigger shouldn’t be an excuse not to, it should be a reason to move faster and its an advantage over nations with land borders we could’ve used to our advantage. One of the most incompetent and stupefying aspects of our COVID response from the start was the sheer lack of travel restrictions. We basically threw COVID the red carpet.

Of course Ardern has her critics – they’re puerile, but they’re there. The most common one is that New Zealanders are prisoners in pursuit of Zero Covid. She hasn’t just pursued zero COVID, she’s achieved it. I have no doubt she’ll achieve it again and once more New Zealanders will be able to ditch their masks, ditch social distancing, go out to eat, to the cinema and socialise in all the ways we used to, but they can do so safe in the knowledge nobody is going to catch COVID. Sounds pretty freeing to me.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Brexit Chicken Supply Crisis

Well who’d have thought it, the party that brought us Brexit means Brexit couldn’t foresee supply chain problems after we left without a decent trade deal in place, the giveaway should be that they’ve been trying to tear up their ‘oven ready’ Brexit deal almost since they got it signed off and as a consequence we’re now struggling to even get an oven ready chicken! They never got Brexit done, they’ve just dragged the pain of it out, pulled the wool over our eyes and made it even worse.

Boris Johnson, a man who has rarely been troubled by honesty and all too often has been allowed to get away with that, has been somewhat fortunate in that the COVID crisis has for the most part masked the fallout from his ‘oven ready’ Brexit deal, an agreement he’s been trying to wriggle out of almost since it was signed. Whether he ever even read the thing before he signed it is highly questionable, but when you consider the consequences of his ambition, his idiocy or a combination of the two and it’s little wonder why, when you visit the supermarket and see the vast array of empty shelves there to greet you, that the government line is to blame something else, namely COVID. Where are the goods? Why can’t I buy what I need? and the answer has been things like shortages of staff in the warehouse due to COVID, lorry drivers down with COVID and because COVID has become so normalised, life is back to normal and we’re just living with it now – except the ones dying from it obviously but who thinks about them anymore, as the mass media avoid talking about that – and so we just accept it’s a temporary hitch and move on.

Well it isn’t a temporary hitch, it isn’t related to COVID and this is becoming more obvious to more people by the day as we look at pictures of supermarkets in Europe on social media, Europe with its share of COVID to deal with as well and what do we see? Well stocked shelves full of fresh produce! Why can they get food and we can’t? The answer is a Brexit inflicted supply chain disaster that actually has a greater knock-on effect and none of it positive.

Sure, some of it might be people off sick with COVID, but that’s a short term issue, the long term issue caused by Brexit is the lack of staff to start with. Many weren’t British nationals and they’ve left or are about to leave, leaving massive holes in the workforce, holes in industries that require a level of skill, that not anyone can do. We’re short on lorry drivers to deliver goods. If our shops need supplying, they need stuff delivered to them and that has been hit hard.

It’s not just been a case of non British drivers not staying either, many British people have left the job too, because Brexit has disincentivised them from staying. Many used to earn decent money doing runs to the continent when as part of the EU we could collect goods and come back without fuss. Now it’s 2 or 3 days of red tape, fresh produce going off as they’re sat there and whilst they’re sat there waiting to get back they aren’t getting paid. They lose money sitting there not trucking. That hurts the drivers in the pocket and what produce they bring back? More of it will have perished by the time it gets here, driving up demand and as a result prices.

This crisis is a two-way street actually as well, as our meat and fish exports have dropped some 83% and there’s nothing worse than spoiling fish, so this is directly hitting our economy as well. And if you don’t believe me over any of this? How much has your shopping bill gone up lately?

Think about how this might hurt the poorest in the country right now if you’re feeling the pinch. They’re due to lose £20 a week, a Universal Credit uplift the most ill and disabled still on legacy benefits never got to begin with, combined with energy bills set to soar again and with this supply and demand crisis only worsening, the price of meat and fish is up 23%, fresh fruit and veg up 14% and the price of poultry up a staggering 41% and it’s the poultry industry I’ll turn to next.

We raise a lot of poultry in this country, but the industry is in crisis because they’ve lost so many workers as well. Again, most came from abroad because working with chickens or turkeys is a poorly paid job, but again a skilled one; its another example of skilled work not being paid as such, from the husbandry to the butchery, the people working there operate quickly and efficiently and that takes time to train and get the hang of, but when the market demands ever cheaper meat, the wages do not keep up with UK cost of living, therefore people here simply cannot afford to take this work on, or learn how to do it. The cost of living in this country has been a massive problem gone ignored by business-centric successive governments for decades. It left the country with a need for cheap foreign labour and here its biting us on the arse, particularly as the cost of living is rising, goods and utilities costing us more and wages and benefits here are still not rising to match. Look, food banks as an example are an absolute consequence of a system failing its people and the queues to these places are getting longer and longer and the number of people able to pop a few items in the food bank bin will get fewer and fewer as costs rise, as this issue of income versus cost of living worsens, plus availability of goods as well, continues to widen.

The British Poultry Industry has spoken out today, flatly blaming Brexit for the staffing issues its industry faces and demanding the government fast-track visas for people to come here and do the jobs needed, those possessing the skills needed. How is this being back in control? How is this freedom oh Brexit voters? Surely we should be employing people here to do this, surely these poultry farmers and processors should be training up Brits? The reason nobody will is that we all want cheap chicken and therefore the poultry industry cannot pay enough for a British worker to live on. Its hard work, skilled work but our government response would be to anyone not earning enough, would be to work harder or take another job – there’s no time to around this kind of work and it is in itself enough work for anyone for one day. A fair days pay for a fair days work is what we all should be demanding, whatever happened to that? It went out of the window in the 70’s. Wages have failed to keep up with cost of living for decades. We can’t afford to buy a home anymore, can’t afford to rent a home it seems these days, now its becoming increasingly harder to put food on the table, save for a pension you’ll have to work even longer for to earn and with the poultry industry struggling to meet demand, case in point today Nando’s closing 45 outlets and KFC reducing their menu options, let alone the state of play on your supermarket shelves! You might not even be able to get a turkey for Christmas because although the birds are there, the processing and delivery infrastructures are not! Whilst Brexit has brought into sharp, chicken-flavoured focus the cost of living crisis – I’m not going to say anybody was right or wrong depending on how they voted, that time is past – but the least you should expect is for your government to know what they were doing and its bloody obvious by now that they were all making it up as they went along. Their mishandling of Brexit, their incompetence and cluelessness, their detachment from ordinary lives, has accelerated the cost of living crisis and there needs to be a fundamental shift to address it as more and more people find themselves unable to afford even the basics, like a roast chicken dinner.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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Tory Turing Scheme is a massive con compared to Erasmus.

So we left the EU and one consequence of that has been the end of Erasmus, the study and work abroad in the EU scheme that was open to British students. It has been replaced by what the government have called Turing and are today crowing that take-up under the Turing scheme is three times more than under Erasmus, but being the Tories, there’s a catch of course.

Under Erasmus 18,300 UK students were able to go abroad to study, yet the Department of Education is proudly crowing that it is sending over 28,000 students abroad under Turing and is expecting to have universities bid for up to a total of 40,000 students. The thing is, under Erasmus, students were only sent to the EU, it was an EU only scheme. Turing is worldwide, so given the world is bigger, you can imagine there’s more places available, so more students going shouldn’t be a huge surprise. The sting in the tail however is that Erasmus actually covered tuition fees whereas Turing doesn’t. It was only a few days ago that Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire and a man who always has the air of being on the verge of exploding, was bemoaning Tony Blair permitting poor kids to go to university when they should’ve been learning to be a lorry driver. If you think the Tories care about getting more kids from poorer backgrounds studying, think again. The headline is risible from the Department of Education, we’re giving more people the chance to study abroad, it just misses out the part where you need to be wealthy enough to pay for it. There is cash going in for disadvantaged students is the cry, but this is going to vary from University to University and destination to destination and will cover the costs of visas and passports, not tuition, which will be a barrier to those from poorer backgrounds from taking up the scheme. Turning is aimed solely at University level students, whereas Erasmus was open to all ages. Many foreign language degrees require a residential abroad – we already have a shortage of foreign language speaking roles – would such students be disadvantaged further? We don’t know. The Minister, stupid boy Gavin Williamson, hasn’t clarified. Apart from anything else the funding available, some £110m which doesn’t seem a lot, has to be bid for by Universities, so it isn’t even guaranteed full stop. What impact will COVID have is another good question, given we’re Plague Island and many may not want students from here. It is, in short, another ill conceived, Tory con.

We’re out of the EU. To go and study there or anywhere else now, tuition fees are no longer free. For those courses that weren’t free before, they’re no longer discounted, so that now when you have to pay for your fees, you may have to pay the much higher international rates, certainly this is true for Europe. These can be enormous, depending on where you go it can be two or three times domestic fees, high as they are, which is just ridiculous, though it does need to be noted, for some countries this could be cheaper. But of the 150 countries that are apparently taking part – some of which incidentally are on the advisory list against all travel there – how many would this apply to and how many places would there be? You have to consider what incentive would there be for a country to take part if it isn’t set to make money itself out of this? This is not levelling up, this is keeping ordinary, working class kids down, disadvantaging them and telling them to know their place, that higher education isn’t for them and rubbing their faces in it, as they see others from other universities or more affluent backgrounds, able to take up a placement that prior to Brexit, would have paid for them to do as well.

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Diktat from Downing Street kept schools open as the pandemic surged according to new TES Report.

The TES, a weekly educational publication has broken a story this week, courtesy of the excellent Amy Gibbons and based on a scathing new report from the Institute for Government, that Private Pike himself, Gavin Williamson, the fireplace salesman put in charge of the Department of Education, by the feral idiots running the country was actually not involved in any decision making where it came to school shutdowns. Could he have possibly been underqualified by any chance! As it happens, it would appear not to be that straightforward. Despite being his opportunity to take a lead and shine it appears that for whatever reason, all decision making on education was coming from Downing Street instead. The decision to finally shut schools in March of last year was not taken by Williamson. The minister for education was not involved. The decision to send primary school kids back before the summer holidays, despite nobody in education believing it possible under the circumstances, despite Unions and school leaders speaking out, saying young children like this could not be expected to social distance, to send them back at that point, all were overruled as Downing Street demanded they return anyway.

Every time I read or hear stuff like this I’m always reminded, particularly as a science graduate myself that Bozo and Co keep saying ‘we’re following the science’, that their tame scientists, prepared to sacrifice reputation by standing alongside the out of his depth oaf at those damned daily announcements and legitimising his bullshit, that has proven so lethal to so many and expose’s like this remind us that actually, they never bloody have. Everything has been about Johnson’s whims. Remember the words he’s spoken. Let the bodies pile up, Over 80’s should be more concerned about the economy. He is utterly depraved.

Even worse is the fact that after the shit hit the fan during that first lockdown and we have to remember, for all the control freakery the Institute of Government implies here, the Tories were watching COVID roll around the world towards us, see the devastation to countries across Asia and Europe, before us and until the last minute, didn’t take it seriously, took no action, yet going forwards, that trend of taking no action continued. Forward planning in case things flared up again you would think would be the order of the day and although we know they kept screwing up, resulting in second and third lockdowns in November and February of this year, the fact much of this came about because still they made no forward planning, prepared no contingencies is nothing less than criminal negligence and its negligence according to this report that stops with Johnson himself. The civil service planned for nothing because Johnson forbade it and of course for the TES, with their focus on education, the mess regarding exams, the dissatisfactory grading systems, the ignorance stemming from a hardened belief that kids don’t get sick, aren’t as much at risk and again, repeated the mistake of locking schools down too late. Johnson was determined that exams would go ahead, that schools would reopen and that Coronavirus would damn well do as he told it essentially. Just pig fucking ignorance. King fucking Canute mark 2. You can bluff the public, blowhard across right-wing media to deceive the masses, but this doesn’t work on the virus. It doesn’t just pack up and go home. And lessons have never been learned since, the cycle of stupid just continued. Just as Williamson was seemingly frozen out, local authorities were as well, on the basis not enough of them were Conservative! In amongst all of this the government opened up for Christmas, there was Eat Out to Help Out, we’ve seen new variants evolve here as well as arrive here due to never properly implementing travel restrictions. Schools wanted to move back online, Williamson did appear by this point of course, he threatened the schools through their local councils with court action if they didn’t obey the order to stay open. This entire disaster has unfolded from an ignorance and distortion of science, a failed desire to put economic interests ahead of the health and wellbeing of a nation and a level of control freakery and diktat that means the buck very much stops with the buffoon in Number 10, but also with those who have supported, stood by and agreed with his decisions, which inevitably led to repeated U-turn after U-turn. Schools have been the main drivers of Covid-19, we know this, we’re seeing it now as new cases and testing figures decline whilst kids are on holiday. There’s still no impression that anything is going to change ahead of September, there is still too much reliance and belief the vaccine is and of itself the answer. That if Johnson continues to bury his head in the sand it’ll all go away. The vaccine cannot do this on its own. It’s not 100%, its just asking for more resistant variants to start appearing when schools return because it puts the virus under pressure to do so when so many remain unvaccinated, especially in our schools. This government has failed us utterly, continues to fail us utterly, yet an alternative to this madness is nowhere in sight.

Cornish Damo provides this site and its content free of charge, but in order to continue doing so, to continue to rant and write and tell it like it is, impartially, independently and free of outside influence, your donations are essential. If you can afford to do so without hardship, please consider supporting my work via one of the options on the support us page.

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