7 April 2022
Diary of a Corbynista
Reasons to be Cheerless
by Don Urquhart
Sutton United is managed by Martin Gray, who went to school with my son, and whose parents live just opposite. They were promoted from the National League to League 2 last season and on Sunday were in the Papa John’s Trophy Final at Wembley. At 90 minutes they were leading 2-1 and the 7 minutes extra time was a mystery. Anyway Rotherham equalised in the 6th of those and won 4-2 at the end. Then we discovered that West Ham and Spurs had won their games to pile the pressure on the Arsenal in their bid for fourth place and Champions League qualification.
I’m just saying – it’s easy to get depressed.
There are so many things to get the hump about. For a start there’s the Pandemic.
One in thirteen people in the UK has Covid-19 and we have stopped circling the wagons to protect the old and the vulnerable. The death rate is increasing. When it started Johnson & co. wheeled out reassuring scientists like Whitty, Vallance and Van Tam to tell us we had to stay at home to protect the NHS. We did what we were told but the politicians telling us seem to have done as they pleased, notably the Prime Minister and his friends at number 10.
Now the lockdown has ended. There is a dearth of trustworthy scientists on our screens and the advocates of “freedom” run the show telling us that lockdown was never necessary. People were being fined thousands for being outside during the lockdown but Scotland Yard has issued £50 fines to individuals who attended an event inside No. 10 on the eve of Prince Philip’s funeral. So the man on the Clapham omnibus could be forgiven for expressing cynicism.
Then there’s the Labour Party.
We have local elections on May 5th. A Labour canvasser came round a month ago. He seemed a nice bloke and genuinely shocked at my vehement denunciation of Sir Keir Starmer. I will not vote Labour while he is leader. I later decided that I might if the party committed to installing fibre broadband down our road. A Tory pamphlet had claimed responsibility for delivering fast internet access to 4, 800 local homes in the last year. When I taxed our Tory councillors with this, one of them politely responded that their role had in fact been more one of encouraging the Broadband suppliers. But he put me on to the council official responsible who was also very polite but spelt my name wrong and had me living in a different road with a vaguely similar name. He gave me the names of 8 Broadband suppliers to register my interest with. 2 of these were no longer in business. I also told the rest of the street via WhatsApp that if they registered their interest we had a better chance of success. Only 1 neighbour responded. I also asked our two Labour candidates if they were going to give me fibre broadband. That was two weeks ago. I guess their canvassing records might have put me fairly low in their priorities. My fear is that Labour might do quite well in the local elections simply because the Tories are so horrible on a national level.
The BBC reports that the party is trying to gag employees complaining of sexual harassment.
Two former Labour staff were asked to sign confidentiality agreements after making complaints of sexual harassment about a senior official.
Documents show the women had reported the party official for “inappropriate” and “possessive” behaviour.
It has emerged as the ex-staffers have been named as potential sources of a leaked report about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.
The official was temporarily suspended and strongly denied the allegations.
Laura Murray and Georgie Robertson refused to sign the legal agreements and chose to resign without payouts, according to documents seen by BBC News.
Their lawyer, Mark Stephens, said the contract violated the equality watchdog’s guidance and Labour’s own policy on non-disclosure agreements.
The glorious and united Western world support for Ukraine took a knock when Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won a fourth term in a landslide victory. Orbán’s Fidesz party had 53.1% of votes with 98% of the count complete. The opposition alliance was trailing on 35%. During his victory speech, Orbán criticised the EU and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, describing them as “opponents”. Orbán has insisted that Hungary remain neutral amid the war in Ukraine, maintaining its close economic ties with Moscow.
Nadine Dorries is masterminding yet another raid on the poor. She is planning to sell Channel 4. The big plus of Channel 4 is free to air showing of a wonderful catalogue. We are avid consumers of the cornucopia of European crimis. If Channel 4 goes the way of Britbox people who can hardly afford to eat will lose yet another benefit.
Then there’s the selling off of the NHS. Donna Ockenden submitted her report on the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust midwifery scandal but really did not nail the true culprits – a government systematically starving the NHS of funding in order to justify selling it off on the basis that it is performing badly. The Nursing in Practice website tells the story:
‘Midwives quitting because of unsafe staffing,’ warns RCM
The midwifery body warned of a ‘midwife exodus’ after its UK-wide survey of 1,273 midwives and maternity support workers found 57% were considering leaving their roles. Of these, 57% are planning to do so within the next year, and 5% had already left.
The most common reasons given for leaving or wanting to leave were unhappiness with staffing levels (84%), dissatisfaction with the quality of care they were able to deliver (57%), and pay (54%).
One midwife told the RCM: ‘I feel that the maternity system is completely broken. In the unit I work in from the labour ward to antenatal and postnatal ward and community services, it’s broken.’
As a result of Ockenden the Government is offering £200 to £350 million to shore things up. It’s just another of the little pots of complicated money this government specialises in.
Then there’s the Cost of Living emergency which the UK Chancellor is meeting head on by holidaying in California.
And to add insult to injury Crystal Palace beat the Arsenal piling on more stress regarding Champions League qualification.