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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Eleventh Hour - Rwanda Deportations Blocked

What a knife edge drama. First the government was going to forcibly remove a hundred asylum seekers to Rwanda. Then they realised that a few might be real victims. Ninety-three of them, as it happens. In the face of national and international outrage, including from the Archbishops of York and Canterbury and all 26 bishops in the House of Lords, the plan stayed on course. Come hell or high water, Ms. Patel and Mr. Johnson insisted that these deportations – all seven of them now – would magically stop other asylum seekers from trying to get here and better still, put a stop to people smuggling. An innovative plan, bragged Johnson. 

One that was tried by Israel and Australia and ditched for being ineffective and wildly expensive. Innovative indeed. Unbelievably, the whole plan hasn't been deemed legal yet. So this deportation was either a cynical distraction or a gamble – with taxpayers’ money and the lives and well-being of asylum seekers who have turned to this country for help – or both. I let that sink in for a minute. 

 

Patel and Johnson thought they could get away with it. They had luck on their side for a while. First a UK high court judge Mr. Justice Swift ruled that the deportation could go ahead, even though the legality hadn’t been decided, because it was in the public interest. That's eye-opening. Which part of the public was he referring to? Aren’t judges supposed to be apolitical? Sure, some people hate asylum seekers if their skin isn’t white. Others think they could be given jobs and contribute to the economy and to cultural diversity. Guess which side Ms. Patel is on. The judge added that the potential harm to the deportees was “in the realm of speculation”. I suppose that’s true, if you don’t bother to check your facts. Something I would have thought a high court judge might want to do. 

The appeals to the Supreme Court were also dismissed. This is even harder to understand. Admitting that a ruling hadn’t been made yet on the legality of the scheme, they said go ahead send the deportees off and just bring them back if the courts decide the scheme is illegal.  Tra la la. No harm done. Except of course to the deportees, already massively traumatised.

 

People’s lives spaffed up the wall, along with tax-payers’ money. The Appeals Court judges’ rationale? The UK government gave assurances that the deportees would be brought back. Well, that makes sense! We all know how truthful the UK government is. Of course they wouldn’t lie. Again, thank God for freedom of information and what a shame that Supreme Court judges didn’t bother to avail themselves of it and check whether Rwanda had a policy and infrastructure in place to return the refugees. Which it doesn’t. So the government’s assurances were empty. 

 

Which, of course, Ms. Patel knew and Johnson didn’t care either way, and which the judges could have and should have figured out for themselves.

 

Yesterday, by 10 pm, frantic, last-minute applications to the ECHR had succeeded in whittling the number of the fated down to four. More chest-beating from the government. They were going to do this! Purely out of compassion. They were desperate to stop people drowning in the English Channel, heroically determined to eliminate the gangsterism that exploits asylum seekers. And yes, of course it would be value for money, paying £500,000 to charter a 200-passenger-capacity jet to send four traumatised people on a ten-hour trip to a country with a shocking human rights record. Staff were on board, the runway lights were blazing, the plane’s engines warming up.  

 

Literally at the eleventh hour the ECHR judge overruled the UK judges' decisions and blocked all the removals. Because he checked to see if Rwanda would send the deportees back to the UK if the scheme was deemed illegal. It wasn’t difficult for him to determine the truth. Predictably a furious Johnson said maybe he would withdraw the UK from the ECHR. Patel bragged that the government will appeal, but since any appeal is unlikely to be able to get past the ECHR, the next flight can probably only take place on conclusion of the judicial review of the scheme – at about the end of July.  

 

If all goes well. Which isn’t likely for Boris Johnson, whose own new cost of living tsar David Buttress said not too long ago, “Never confuse an expensive education with intelligence or integrity. I don’t think Boris is particularly blessed with either.” And breaking news! His ethics adviser Lord Geidt has just resigned in protest at Partygate, saying there was a “legitimate question” about whether Johnson broke the ministerial code. No kidding.

 

If Johnson hoped to leave all of that behind and cause a whole lot of fun distraction so people forget what a liar and cheat he is, here’s the rub. This deportee scheme has fooled nobody, but it has further alienated his rebellious backbenchers and Tory grandees who like to hold onto the idea that Tories have integrity. They don’t like being dragged into the gutter or slammed by a bevy of bishops. Plus, the Honiton/Tiverton and Wakefield by-elections happen on 23 June. If the Lib Dems and Labour win respectively, by the end of July Boris Johnson could be out on his ear and with him, probably, possibly, hopefully, Priti Patel. 

 

It will be good riddance to an astonishingly incompetent, intellectually challenged and horrifically immoral, intolerant, cruel, opportunistic duo.  

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Supporting the Guardian, Cancelling the Independent

  

This morning I learned, from a comment left on an 
Independent article, that the paper is owned by Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev and controlled by the latter. I've been subscribing for a couple of years but today I cancelled, and subscribed to the Guardian instead. 

Vladimir Putin is a psychopath who has committed countless, savage war crimes, for which he bears responsibility, but it's also true he has only been able to acquire the power he has now because in the West we've enabled him with our dependence on Russian resources and our qualified 'condemnation' bred of our fear of losing the benefits of trade with Russia. In the UK we've allowed dirty Russian money to infiltrate politics. But apart from these giant issues, and that if we had focused on green energy years ago we wouldn't need Russian oil and gas, I have to admit that I've played my part in that enablement by not checking up on what money is being used to create, control or prop up resources I access.

As far as I've been able to see, the Independent is free to publish what it wants, which of course is vital and counts in the Lebedevs’ favour, but it's not the only thing that matters. In the Evening Standard, which they also own, Evgeny Lebedev wrote passionately about his family's record of defending freedom of the press in the UK and Russia and hotly denied that he is in any way connected to Putin. It makes for convincing reading. He also pointed out that he wrote an open letter to Vladimir Putin, also published in the Evening Standard, pleading with him to stop the war. It’s a short letter, doesn’t go into much detail. Very politely phrased.

Hardly the kind of condemnation from somebody who has severed all ties to a psychopath dictator, is outraged by their war crimes, and neither wants nor needs anything from them. Evgeny also mentioned the £50,000 raised by his papers’ campaigns for Ukrainians. Great. Perhaps he contributed the bulk; who knows? But he’s allegedly worth about £300 million. He could have quadrupled the amount twenty times over and not noticed the effect on his bank account.

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. Evgeny has long been great pals with the easily corruptible, self-deluded serial liar and cheat who is our esteemed Prime Minister and who has profited wonderfully from that support, which goes back to his campaign for mayor. We, on the other hand, have all suffered, and are still suffering (those of us who are alive), as a consequence of that bolstering by Evgeny – and Johnson’s other powerful friends with deep pockets – which didn’t stop at mayor but elevated him to the most powerful political position in the country. A position he is neither equipped for nor deserves in any way at all.

We’re not the only ones suffering. So are Ukrainian refugees, subjected to inhumane treatment by our government which brags about being in the vanguard of support with as little regard for the truth, and the suffering that lying creates, as Vladimir Putin has.

Further to the company people keep, in 2017 and 2018 Evgeny Lebedev sold 30% stakes in the Independent and the Evening Standard to companies registered in the Cayman Islands, through a series of “unconventional, complex and clandestine” deals. The front man was Sultan Mohamed Abuljadayel, a Saudi businessman who has connections with the Saudi state-owned bank Al Ahli bank. According to an article published in the Guardian in 2019, neither paper knows who employs him.

In a nutshell, the Independent is sustained with money from mega wealthy individuals or organisations from two countries with hideous human rights abuse records and with connections to the heads of state of those countries.

It’s easy to be lazy and dismiss all these things; say to myself it’s all hearsay, and what harm can I do by subscribing to the Independent? But the reality is that the small things are building blocks and now we’re up against a giant monolith of megalomania created from those small blocks. So, I'm cancelling my subscription to the Independent. 

The Guardian is controlled by the Scott Trust Ltd, and as far as I can see there are no oligarchs with former or current links to Putin on the board. The current board members are listen below, in the screenshot from the trust’s Wiki page.

 

I wasn't asked to write this article or paid or given a discount by the Guardian.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Defining Classy; a Short, Sloppy but not Wholly Inaccurate History of its Evolution

Phoenix by Jennifer Stewart

In the West, there was a time when Classy was synonymous with class distinction. It was all about lineage, sophisticated social skills, the kind of wealth that stayed in the family, and a gene pool that proved not infrequently to be, over the long run, the fundamental cause of a characteristic commonly referred to as weak in the head and, more recently, creaking stupidity.

Royalty. Landed gentry. Upper crust society. Beautiful manners, gorgeous clothes, glorious homes, power, mobility. The stuff of fairy tales. Now that was class.

Outsiders—the poor, the struggling, the serfs and slaves, the farm workers, soldiers, sailors, tinkers and tailors—all either accepted their place or felt, and were, powerless to change it. Oh, and let's not forget independent-minded women and anybody who wasn't white, with the exception of those few notables who heroically managed to penetrate a ceiling made from the building materials fortresses were constructed with.

But something happened in the collective psyche of the outsiders. A lust for a bigger experience, a bigger slice of the pie. Might have had something to do with the fact that it had a sturdier gene pool, a broader mix. Something about that seems to open neurological pathways to creative thinking. 

Boom. The Industrial Revolution. Suddenly yobs with no manners, no refinement, and neither land nor lineage could amass fortunes and buy the trappings of class. Not independent spirited women, people of color or different lifestyle choices or foreign alien religions, though. Let's never forget that. Nouveau Riche they called themselves. Spurned, of course by the Original Class of Classies, and using outsiders in exactly the same way they'd been used by their masters. Gradually these upstarts developed manners and accoutrements of Class and in many cases married into lineage, because its weak gene pool had left it with land and snobbery but no bucks.

And a populace of poor people living—or barely living—off the land, giving everything of value of themselves to the Classies, became a populace of poor people still barely living, but doing it in the cities. Still giving everything of themselves, but now to the New Classies as slaves, servants, wives, factory workers. Also, for a while, collectively accepting that they had no option. It wasn't a pretty picture and the environment began to take a real beating too.

Again, though, something happened in the collective psyche of those damn outsiders, the slaves to and enablers of others' pleasure and good fortune. Maybe it's really about the spirit of the human never being satisfied with being stuck in the dark ages. Perhaps it's about the human capacity for good needing to prevail over its capacity for evil. The outsiders became more aware that moving up was a possibility even for them. 

Boom. Unions. Higher wages, access to more ideas, demanding education, finding it, getting it. Well, what a damn mess. From then on it was one boom after another, the cataclysmic collapse of the old order happening from decade to decade. The original Classies' gene pool completely buggered up. The pestilential concept of "What About Me, What About Them!" spreading like wildfire. Youth, women, people of color, diverse religions, genders, sexual preferences and lifestyle choices making their voices heard, fighting for their rights and those of others, not waiting for permission but insisting that they were equal, caring about accountability and the environment. Never giving up in the face of dreadful persecution in every imaginable application, covert and overt. Desire for decency to prevail became a conflagration impossible to control. 

As the lust for a better experience seared at hearts, souls and minds; as compassion for the exploited, and protest at the exploiters grew; as wealth and access to information became more accessible to so many more; something else happened. Classy began to be synonymous with decency, inner strength, dignity, compassion and respect for others and self, good sense, concern for the environment. 

Nowhere else for it to go, really. Boom. The Phoenix of the human spirit emerging from the ashes. That's where we are today. Class is not about what you wear, what you earn, what you own, your status, the color of your skin, your gender, your religion or your lifestyle choice. It's about who you are. Just as the outsiders always thought they were as classy as those they were desperate to be accepted by when the barriers to entry were superficial, today the ethically challenged who have amassed vast fortunes and or power swagger around with great braggadocio, loudly trumpeting how classy they are. Utterly oblivious to how obvious it is to the rest of us that whatever they got, it ain't class.

These days, no matter what else you have, without class of the soul, the kind that actually counts for something humane, you've got nothing. And it shows.

Monday, January 17, 2022

My Letter to Harriett Baldwin, Tory MP

Dear Harriett Baldwin,

I am writing to you as your constituent. I struggle to give adequate expression to the outrage I feel at the hideous abuse this whole country has been subjected to by the over-entitled, lazy, egotistical, brazenly deceitful Boris Johnson.

To make things worse, Conservative MPs hiding behind the Sue Gray 'investigation' are rubbing salt into a very painful wound. Pretending that anything will come of it, or that this deplorable PM is capable of change or has any desire for it, is a shameless insult to our intelligence. It doesn't take genius to know that Sue Gray's work is done, because the truth is already out. Boris Johnson broke the law and lied about it. The only investigation needed now is by the Met Police. Who have backed right away despite having fined people £12,000 for lesser infractions! Where is the justice in that? 

Sir Keir Starmer asked the PM if he thought the British people were stupid. The answer to that is clear. And obviously a slew of Conservative MPs and the Met think we are too. Kudos to the Conservative MPs who have chosen not to hide behind Ms Gray and have called for Johnson’s resignation.

But because they’re in the minority, he has been given the opportunity of foisting all responsibility onto staff members (who relied on him for their jobs) and playing a version of Wag the Dog by proposing right wing policies that are headline-grabbing, especially for the ilk of the Daily Mail. All he's doing is trying to save his own skin. Apart from the disgracefulness of it, it’s the height of stupidity for the PM to throw people who have been loyal to him to the wolves and for the Party to let him get away with it, staining Conservative reputation so badly one wonders if it will ever recover, eroded as it already is.

Accountability is a core feature of integrity. The Conservative Party sold its own, along with its soul, long ago when it chose Boris Johnson, despite it being common knowledge that his character was highly questionable and that he was clearly unfit to lead. It was public knowledge at the time of his selection that he was a self-indulgent narcissist with no respect for truth or other human beings, and had been so since he was young.

We’ve all suffered horrifically because of that choice and the Party is now established as being riddled with corruption. Well, who could have predicted that? The world looks on us with disparagement, distaste and absolute disgust, much as it looked on the US under Donald Trump.

I hope you will take this seriously. I want to believe that you have regard for integrity and truth and an understanding of how vital those qualities are in any human being, let alone a government. Enough pretense. Enough dancing around Sue Gray. The truth needs to be acknowledged and Boris Johnson needs to be booted out. As your constituent I need to know that you will send in your no-confidence letter to the 1922 Committee and show us that you care in a real way about the people you have the high honour of representing in Parliament
.

Yours,
Jennifer Stewart

Friday, March 26, 2021

President Joe Biden, Saving America, Fulfilling His Destiny

Sometimes things don't go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people will sometimes step back from war,
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for...
                                                       From "Sometimes" by Sheenagh Pugh

President Joe Biden held his first press conference yesterday, responding to questions with his unique brand of passion, compassion, honesty and dry humour. Against so many predictions, and in the face of tremendous hope but little faith, he is succeeding in starting to impact on the damage done to the US – and the world – by the last administration and too many years of Republican abuse of power.

This despite that Democrats don’t have an easy majority in either the Senate or the House. The one thing that stands out for me is that he’s so unafraid. Combined with his profound integrity it makes him a powerful man.

Professor Paul Krugman recently wrote a piece in the New York Times about reasons for the GOP’s sudden ineffectiveness in blocking progress. “Republicans may simply have lost the ability to take policy seriously,” he wrote, agreeing with Jonathan Cohn’s argument (with regard to the GOP’s inability to destroy Obamacare) that Democrats do the work but Republicans, who don't, “no longer know how to think through hard choices, make the compromises necessary to build alliances and get things done.”

My take on it is this. Since 2008 I've never thought that there were any brilliant minds or hard workers in the Republican Party or that any of their strategies had an ounce of common sense, apart from gerrymandering and voter suppression which, together with a mind-bending right wing media exploiting racist fear, is all they've needed to hold onto so much power.

When you use corrupt methods to acquire it and you can abuse it with impunity you get lazy, believe you’re infallible, and don't notice when your hold on it is becoming tenuous and when opposition is building momentum. It’s the oldest story in the history books.

There’s also the possibility that Republicans weren’t/aren’t smart enough to discern intelligence in their opposition. Remember when they touted Paul Ryan as the party genius? 

Truth is that Democrats have had all the brains for a long time but as a voting group they’ve been an undisciplined bunch, squandering opportunity when it was there for the taking because compromise of any sort was anathema. But this crisis, of what they lost and what Trump and the GOP were doing to the country, forced them to band together.

That’s the "bipartisanship” that has needed to happen since 2010, and Biden was/is experienced, wise and smart enough to recognize it. This president, with a universe of compassion in his heart and wisdom of the ages, who has had the strength and courage to allow repeated trauma to fashion him into a man of great stature, fears nobody, not least of all Republicans. He gave them a chance to work with him and since they won't he has shrugged and moved on, undaunted. 

At his conference yesterday, when asked about his promise during the campaign to work with the GOP President Biden came back smartly with, "I may not have united Congress but I'm uniting the country." 

At this of monumental crisis, he's risen to meet the challenges and become the progressive I suspect he always wanted to be. Humanity, supreme competence, expertise and experience reign supreme. African Americans, minorities and progressives are represented in government and have clout. They’re energised! It's all coming together for them now and falling apart for the GOP, who’ve finally reached that tipping point of being too weakened by their own corruption to be effective. 

When asked about 2024 and who he thought he’d be running against, he quipped, "I have no idea whether there’ll be Republican party. Do you?"

Joe Biden. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

For a list of top political blogs, visit Feedspot's Top 100 Political Blogs

 

Monday, January 11, 2021

House Democrats Introduce Article of Impeachment

House Democrats have introduced an Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump for high crimes and misdemeanours, charging the president with “inciting violence against the government of the United States” and including a reference to the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anybody who has engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the US from holding future office. The measure has 218 co-sponsors to date, enough to guarantee passage, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) has said that if the Vice President doesn’t invoke the 25th by Wednesday, the House will move forward with the impeachment.

Watching/reading coverage of the thuggery and criminality on Capitol Hill, driven by white supremacists, it's reassuring to see how US politicians with normal integrity - mostly Democrats - can't swallow the behaviour of Republican congressmen and women who enabled Trump for four years then were either silent in the face of all the lies and bogus attempts to overturn a democratically successful election, or joined in and supported that travesty.

Who even now are mute and in hiding – apart from those who have the gall to accuse Democrats of fostering disunity with their insistence on holding Trump to account and going ahead with impeachment.

How about Vice President Mike Pence? The mob was chanting "hang Pence, hang Pence". Neither he nor any other Republican believes that Trump didn't cause the violence on Capitol Hill that led to the deaths of five people, or that he has any sanity left at all.

They are fully aware that Trump could start a nuclear war today, within five minutes – and that internationally the US has been shamed horrendously, its reputation for being a bastion of Western democracy shredded. The damage done by this president has rippled out across the globe. The planet.

But Pence and members of Trump's cabinet who haven't resigned don’t want to invoke the 25th. Are none of them worried that they could have more blood on their hands? Do they think they'll get a warning before Trump does something worse? You’d have to be brain dead to believe they’re not thinking about it, or to think they don’t know full well the risk they’re taking, on behalf of those whose lives they have been elected to protect.

No wonder Democrats are wild with righteous anger. Which of us can accept behaviour like that of this band of Republican politicians? It's counter-intuitive to decent people. Humans aren't supposed to be like this. Intellectually we can understand the rank betrayal of normal values and point to all the examples of it in history – past, recent, and still going on - but our heart sand souls still react violently. We’re not built to believe that humans can be evil, cynical, consumed with greed and lust for power.

So, thank you Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and all the Democrats and a couple of Republicans who have always spoken out against Trump and are calling for him to be thrown out and banned from ever running again. Who show their faces on TV and speak openly of their disgust, outrage, disdain and horror despite the very real and present danger that doing so exposes them to.

The world owes them a debt of gratitude for their clear headedness, strength of purpose and huge courage.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Boris Johnson Beware! The Knives are out for Dominic Cummings

It's pretty much universal: Boris Johnson's support of Dominic Cummings is a suicide move. A petition calling for a public vote of no confidence in the PM has 107,000 signatures so far and cross-party calls for Cummings to go are burgeoning out of control. Nineteen Conservative MPs have gone on record.  International press is scathing of Johnson. So is the Church of England. Thirteen bishops have publicly expressed their outrage.

Johnson is trying to brazen it out, unwilling to accept that what worked for him over Brexit and in the GE has turned into a minefield. Even going back to post election, he has cynically tapped into the heroism of the second world war and the spirit of unity, playing at Churchill, to get voters to like him, forgive him his incompetence and faults, and do what he wants. He was successful enough to win a giant majority and then to get most to accept lockdown when Covid-19 hit us between the eyes. But he made the rookie mistake of thinking the loyalty is to him and his government.

It isn't. It's to the principle of honour. Not difficult to rouse in a country that prides itself on exceptionalism – even though it faded away long ago – and where nationalism has been heavily exploited for political purposes for four years.

Honour is a fierce animal, though and once roused, it's not easily hoodwinked. So the government's constant lies, incompetence, cover-ups, and the suffering and lives lost as a consequence, have registered; slowly at first but with increasing rapidity. Especially since Keir Starmer took over as leader of the opposition, because he is a man of honour and easily recognizable as such, even to Conservatives.

The UK is often compared to the US. Now, in backing Dominic Cummings' inexcusable lockdown flout, flying in the face of significant rebellion in his own party and even the right wing press, and following close on the heels of the latest opinion poll that showed Starmer surging ahead in popularity and respect, Johnson is playing Trump's game. It's an unwise move. This isn't America, where Republicans have allowed Trump to reduce them to a pack of zombies. Some Conservatives do have independence of mind, or at least enough to make them see the dangers of siding with Johnson, and they're more open to facing the reality that the power they gained with the last election is disintegrating at the speed of light.
No matter how much power you think you have, you can't survive in politics without friends. Dominic Cummings has made a lot of enemies in the Cabinet, MPs nursing their grudges secretively, craving an opportune moment. That moment is now.
And a petition calling for Cummings to be sacked has 419,000 signatures and counting fast. That damn hubris. It will take you down every time.

It's impossible yet to know why Boris Johnson is clinging onto his aide. Speculation is rife on social media that Cummings has something on him. Darker secrets and conspiracy theories aside, Cummings is a vindictive bully. It could be that Johnson doesn't want to get on the wrong side of him or that he's become so dependent he can't bear the idea of life without him. Hopefully his hand will be forced. To date nineteen Conservative MPs have gone on record calling for Cummings to be fired.
Meanwhile, Keir Starmer is being the leader the whole country is yearning for, so the longer Boris Johnson lets the wounds inflicted by Cummings fester, the better it is for Labour.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

UK Government Admits To No Tracking and Tracing as Lockdown Eases

“The UK decision to abandon tracing on 12 March 2020 is widely viewed as one of the most serious mistakes of this crisis.” – Jonathan Ashworth, MP, Labour Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary
It's well known that if you don't learn by your mistakes or those of others you will repeat them and every time you do the consequences will be increasingly disastrous. It's been the modus operandi for the UK government since Covid-19 made its first appearance.

The government, led by Boris Johnson the Incompetent– or not, since he was nowhere to be seen - arrogantly sat back and watched as infection went viral in Europe. In the blink of an eye the UK was on track to repeat Italy and Spain's experience, and then we overtook them both to become the worst hit because the government stopped testing, tracking and tracing in March. At first they said they stopped in accordance with advice from "the science", pretending there was no difference between their "science" and that of the WHO.

Then recently they admitted without shame that they told a barefaced lie and the real reason they stopped testing was a lack of capacity. No attempt back then to get up to speed as quickly as possible. No hint of lockdown. Let's play a game of herd mentality shall we?

How surprising that disaster struck. The government has made empty promises and inaccurate assertions on a daily basis and showed no remorse for the incompetence, lies and cover-ups, or the blood on their hands. They kept comparing the UK to the rest of Europe until the day UK deaths were highest in Europe, 2nd highest in the world. Then overnight it was a useless comparison.
Now, in defiance of all good sense and without consulting Scotland and Wales the government has eased lockdown. There's debate over what the R figure actually is and even if consensus were reached that it's below 1, it isn't low enough to be safe; it's an average, meaning that in some areas it's still dangerously high and now people can drive around the country, carrying infection with them. Good planning, Boris Johnson. Or is that Dominic Cummings?

Schools have been ordered to open on June 1. Teachers and unions are refusing, for good reason. Scotland and Wales are refusing to end lockdown. For good reason.

Already in England vast numbers of people have ignored social distancing and swamped parks and beaches. As if that weren't bad enough, the government plans to ease lockdown further in one week without - you guessed it - adequate testing, tracking and tracing securely in place.

What could possibly go wrong.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Keir Starmer Approval Ratings Overtake Boris Johnson's

In the 2019 general election Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party had its most crushing defeat since 1935, handing Boris Johnson the gift of a lifetime – absolute control in Parliament. Corbyn resigned and the shattered Labour party held a leadership election. On 2 April Keir Starmer won by a landslide. Hope flickered that the next election could be a win for Labour. Then Covid-19 hit us between the eyes.

Despite the shambling incompetence and criminal negligence of Boris Johnson and his government that has landed us in the unenviable position of being the worst hit in Europe, opinion polls consistently showed the British public supporting the government. But Boris Johnson and his unskilled, bungling cabinet have been living on borrowed time. When Parliament opened again Keir Starmer took the government to task in PMQs with forensic clarity, persistence – and dignity – and he hasn't let up.

He's the leader that we long for, while Boris Johnson has only made a fool of himself, unable to back up his own assertions, or to answer Starmer coherently.

Not surprisingly, Starmer's net approval ratings have overtaken Johnson’s. In the latest Opinium poll 35% back Labour's opposition to the government, 20% disapprove, and 33% are neutral. Government approval ratings have plummeted from 65% when lockdown was announced to 39%. Disapproval rose by six points to 42%.

Calls for an inquiry into the government's failures are increasing in volume. Thought you could do anything you wanted, Boris Johnson. That breaching of the red wall in the election, your control of Parliament? Squandered. There's a revolt in the north, with many cities refusing to end lockdown. Now it looks like the blue wall is going to come crashing down as Keir Starmer proves that integrity in British politics is alive and kicking. That's leadership for you.

Being in opposition to a government with a large majority doesn't mean you don't have power. Truth is hugely powerful. Some people don't recognise how much they long for it until they hear it. They may not realise how much lies and cover-ups have left them feeling assaulted until they witness integrity.

Meanwhile, in the US, Barack Obama is weighing in again and Joe Biden is doing a brilliant job of uniting Democrats. All of this gives me hope that good will triumph over evil, that the upsurge of the far right, with Donald Trump and Boris Johnson and their respective parties, has been more of a death rattle than the start of anything sustainable.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

GOP Candidate Justin Amash Speaking Truth to Power

Embed from Getty Images

It takes courage to speak to truth to power when you're the lone voice in an entire political party but Rep Justin Amash is undaunted. The only Republican to call for Donald Trump's impeachment, he held a town hall in Grand Rapids Michigan on May 28 and drew standing ovations from a crowd of about 900.

Afterwards, he tweeted a long thread highlighting how Attorney General Barr distorted the truth of the Mueller Report to protect the president from impeachment.

It may have worked in the interim, primarily because Democrats are holding back on making a commitment that could cost them in the 2020 elections, but eventually this corrupt house of cards will collapse and all who have enabled the wannabe demagogue in the White House will go down with him.

Whatever Justin Amash's fate as a Republican politician, he will be the only one who can sleep with a clear conscience. The man deserves a medal, and a wealth of gratitude, not just from Americans, but from people around the world, as Trump's policies—and the lust for power that keeps GOP politicians slavishly enabling his neuroses and his attacks on equality, human rights and the health of the planet—increasingly threaten world peace and economic stability and open the door to the far right.

Amash's tweet and the content of the full thread are below.
The text of the full thread is below:

Embed from Getty Images