Issue 200: 2019 05 02: Diary of a Corbynista

2 May 2019

Diary of a Corbynista

Tories in free fall

by Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart25 April

It should be clear to everyone that we live in a society where many are in poverty, the public services are falling apart, and where younger people are struggling to get decent jobs and housing.  It is therefore heartening that twelve people in The House of Lords have got together to fashion solutions.

They are called the Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Committee.

Their yearlong deliberations have led them to conclude that the problems of the young are down to the way we mollycoddle pensioners or as today’s i Newspaper chose to express it:

Benefits for older people under attack.

The noble lords and ladies receive £305 per day whenever they turn up at the House for a snooze.

26 April

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been in an Iranian prison for 3 years.  Gone are the days when subtle diplomacy could be relied on to assist British nationals in dire straits abroad.  The last Foreign Secretary extended her sentence with his gormless utterances.  Now, in response to an offer by Iran to release Nazanin in a prisoner exchange deal the current Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt dismisses the initiative as a “vile” diplomatic ploy.

Last year Hunt breached anti-money laundering legislation by failing to declare his interest in a property firm within the required 28 days. He had bought seven luxury flats at Alexandra Wharf, Southampton, with the help of a bulk discount from property developer and Conservative donor Nicholas James Roach.

If Jeremy Hunt succeeds in his party leadership ambitions who will benefit most from his administration? Money launderers and property developers might feel well placed.

Hopefully he is not the best candidate the Tories can field.

27 April

On Have I Got News for You, Ian Hislop interrogated Johnny Mercer MP about the libel action he was bringing against the BBC.  Mr Mercer had been receiving £85,000 per annum from a recruitment firm alleged by Hislop to be linked to an investment company which had gone into administration leaving many out of pocket.

According to Mr Mercer The Deputy Chief Whip had “investigated” the truth of statements made in his book with a view to pressurising the MP into voting for the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement.

28 April

Mishal Hussain stood in for Andrew Marr and interviewed Tory Party Chairman Brandon Lewis.  She challenged him on Local Government funding ahead of the local elections on Thursday, quoting among others, Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius, who has said that his council has run out of money.  Mr Lewis countered that Mr Cornelius had nevertheless wrested control of Barnet Council from Labour in 2018.  He could have added that this was directly attributable to his party’s success in smearing Laqbour with anti semitism.  Ms Hussain also asked Mr Lewis if the Tories were being transparent about Islamophobia problems.  Despite asserting that this was indeed the case he would not say how many people had been suspended from the Tory party for this type of racism.

Alex Wickham in Buzzfeed highlights the Party’s indulgent approach to Islamophobes:

Tory Members Suspended For Anti-Muslim Bigotry Are Privately Being Told They Can Be Let Back In

29 April

The MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, Ian Duncan-Smith (IDS) was on Politics Live and commented on Damian Green’s proposals for financing social care.  I thought it was me – I could not follow the drift of IDS’s argument and he has quite a plausible persona.  Surely he could have expressed his case in such a way that the man on the Clapham omnibus could grasp it.  The subsequent discussion between IDS and Pascal Lamy renewed my self-confidence for it was clear that the former head of the World Trade Organisation thought that IDS was away with the fairies in his simplistic view of borders and markets.

30 April

When politicians and spin doctors speak, one needs to listen out for the words which tell you the speaker has just been sent out to sell the indefensible and would rather be out on the golf course.  Here are some of the words:

Joined-up, dynamic, overarching, apolitical, rules that bind, fines that bite, compelling (as in vision), underpinned.

Robert Nesbit of the Rail Delivery Group was on the Today programme.

We are suggesting replacing the current franchise system as it stands at the moment.

These proposals would result in a much more joined-up railway and greater accountability to passengers.

We believe that would be best done by a system of dynamic contracts around the country.

There would be an overarching apolitical body that would be in charge of this system, dealing with the trade-offs, but also policing it and issuing rules that bind and fines that bite.

We are putting forward what we think is a compelling vision for both the public and private sectors working together in partnership, underpinned by an easier fare system which would deliver the best fare for any passenger whenever they took their journey.

1 May

School exclusions for drugs and alcohol at ten-year high as ‘county lines’ gangs are blamed

is the headline in the Daily Telegraph.

An analysis of Department for Education figures shows that the number of children permanently excluded from secondary schools due to drugs or alcohol is now at its highest on record.

In 2016/17, there were 565 children in England permanently excluded for drugs or alcohol, which is up from 360 five years ago and the highest since this form of data collection began in 2006/7. 

True to form, the paper puts the blame on gangs and truancy rather than addressing the underlying causes.

Hannah Richardson on the BBC News website points us in the right direction:

‘Children’s services ‘at breaking point’, MPs say

Clive Betts, who chairs the Commons Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, said:

Over the last decade we have seen a steady increase in the number of children needing support, whilst at the same time funding has failed to keep up.

It is clear that this approach cannot be sustained and the government must make serious financial and systemic changes to support local authorities in helping vulnerable children.

They must understand why demand is increasing and whether it can be reduced.

They must ensure that the funding formula actually allows local authorities to meet the obligations for supporting children that the government places on them.

The government said it aimed to help parents “who face difficulties, to strengthen their family relationships so they can properly support their children”.

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