The Cost, And We Haven’t Left Yet

Many economists fear that the past nine years of austerity could have all been for nothing, as no-deal Brexit threatens to plunge the UK back deep into the red.

Brexit has cost the British economy £66billion in just under three years, or around £1,000 for every person in the country.
( Standard & Poor’s Financial Services, April 2019 )

The UK Government spent £25,300 of taxpayers’ money on a single Snapchat advert promoting its “Get Ready For Brexit” campaign. The six-second ad was posted on September 9, 2019 and ran for six days, according to data released by the app’s owner, Snap Inc.

Even a ‘relatively benign’ no-deal Brexit would push UK debt to its highest since the 1960s. Borrowing was likely to rise to £100billion and total debt would soar to 90% of national income. The government is now adrift without any effective fiscal anchor.
( The Institute for Fiscal Studies )

The UK government has spent £97million in consultancy fees alone in its preparation for Brexit, according to the National Audit Office. The money was spent on hiring external ‘experts’ because government departments lacked the necessary staff and skills.

The Brexit vote increased aggregate inflation by 1.7 percentage points in the year following the referendum. There is uncertainty about the exact size of this effect, but our analysis unambiguously shows that the referendum led to a substantial rise in inflation. The 1.7 percentage point increase in inflation implies that by June 2017, the Brexit vote was costing the average household £7.74 per week through higher prices. That is equivalent to £404 per year. Higher inflation has also reduced the growth of real wages. The impact of the referendum is equivalent to a £448 cut in annual pay for the average worker. Put another way, the Brexit vote has cost the average worker almost one week’s wages due to higher prices.
( London School of Economics )

The cost of staging the EU referendum and the 2017 General Election, which can also be attributed to Brexit came to £269million. In addition, MPs who were voted out of office as a result of the election claimed £4.6million in ‘winding up’ costs.

The latest Brexit impact assessment comes after Goldman Sachs estimated that the UK has foregone £600million of economic growth each week since the referendum.The Bank of England put the figure at £800million
( Independent, 04.04.2019 ) 

Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Nomura have all already announced that they will be relocating some operations and staff from Britain to the EU because of Brexit.
( Independent, 26.12.2017 )

Two years on from the referendum, we now know that the Brexit vote has seriously damaged the economy. We know that the government’s Brexit dividend is a myth. The vote is costing the Treasury £440million a week, far more than the UK ever contributed to the EU budget.
( John Springford, Centre for European Reform, November 2018 )

Up to January 2019, the UK Treasury had allocated a total of £4.2 billion towards government departments for Brexit preparations since 2016. Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings says Brexit has cost the UK economy £66 billion in just under three years.

Brexit is already making us all worse-off, costing jobs and damaging investment in our country – and that’s before we’ve even officially left the EU. This is not what anyone was promised during the EU referendum. No-one voted to be poorer.
( Ian Murray MP, February 2019 )

Around 6,000 civil servants, of which 4,500 were new recruits, are involved specifically in no-deal Brexit planning, and has cost UK taxpayers an estimated £1.5 billion just in the past year. With a deal or no-deal, plenty of things will need to be done to prepare the UK for life outside the EU. This will include recruiting 15,000 to 20,000 extra staff across government and the civil service to deal with the challenges of Brexit.
( Independent, 08.10.2019 )

The 2016 vote meant households were £900 worse off than they would have been had the UK remained in the EU. This was already an awful lot of money for households struggling with high inflation and stagnant wage growth.
( Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, November 2018 )

In the Autumn Budget, November 2017, it saw Chancellor Philip Hammond announce £25billion in extra spending to prop up the economy. Data in the Budget showed families are suffering the biggest financial squeeze since the 1950s.

Before today’s announcement of an additional £2.1 billion of Brexit funding, a total of £4.2 billion had already been allocated by the Government to prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU. Spending began in autumn 2016, a few months after the referendum, when £400 million was earmarked for Brexit. This was followed in the 2017 Budget by a further £3 billion to be spent during 2018/19 and 2019/20.
£250 million was drawn from the UK’s reserves in 2017/18 for Brexit spending, and at the 2018 Budget another £500 million was made available.
( The Canary, 01.08.2019 )

In November 2017, professional services firm EY said that the UK is expected to have lost 10,500 finance jobs by day one of Brexit. It said that almost a third of City firms had already confirmed moves to the continent.

We’ve already witnessed an increase in the number of EU construction workers leaving the UK for jobs on the continent, according to the Association for Consultancy and Engineering. Findings by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in a report published in March showed that almost 200,000 construction jobs could be slashed if Britain loses access to the European single market, jeopardising billions of pounds worth of infrastructure projects.
( Independent, 26.12.2017 )

Two Prized Regulatory Bodies Lost Because Of Brexit ..
The European Medicines Agency moved from London to Amsterdam, and the European Banking Authority, also based in London, moved to Paris in one of the first concrete signs of Brexit as the UK prepared to leave the EU. The medicines agency employs 900 people and the banking authority employs 150. The UK government was powerless to stop the relocation of these two prized regulatory bodies, secured by previous Conservative prime ministers. Seen as one of the EU’s most important agencies, the medicines agency carries out assessments and issues approvals for medicines across the union. The agency is also a boon for hotels, as 36,000 scientists and regulators visit each year.

While the economy out-performed expectations in the aftermath of the referendum, since then, the UK has dropped below Italy to become the slowest growing economy in the G7.
( John Springford, 23.06.2018 )

A range of estimates calculated by the Financial Times suggests that the value of Britain’s output is now around 0.9% lower than was possible if the country had voted to stay in the EU. That equates to almost exactly £350million a week lost to the British economy — an irony that will not be lost on those who may have backed Leave because of the claim made on the side of the bus.

The £39billion ‘divorce bill’ agreed with the EU, with payments to Brussels in pensions liabilities are likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
( Independent, 08.10.2019 )

The UK economy is already around £60billion smaller than it would have been without a vote to leave the European Union, with the UK missing out on a bout of global growth. Business investment is up to 20% lower than it would otherwise have been, hurting productivity and wage growth. A no-deal Brexit – even with a substantial stimulus – could mean no growth at all for the next two years. Remaining in the EU would be the best scenario for economic growth in the next few years.
( Dr Christian Schulz, Director and Chief UK Economist, Citigroup Global Markets, October 2019

The Brexit Referendum Was Won By Lying To The Public ..
Buried in a 19,800 word Spectator essay written by former online editor and Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings is an admission: The Brexit referendum was won by lying to the public. At the heart of the vote to leave the European Union is an entanglement of lies and propagandist sensationalism that even the most brave souls wouldn’t dare admit to. There is the admission that the NHS wouldn’t really take back our £350 million EU fee, and that immigration wouldn’t really be capped, and that standards of living wouldn’t really change if we left the EU. All of which are matters that the general public voted on, and all are incorrect.
And so to the damning paragraph that outs the Leave Campaign for what it was:
“Pundits and MPs kept saying ‘why isn’t Leave arguing about the economy and living standards’. They did not realise that for millions of people, £350m/NHS was about the economy and living standards – that’s why it was so effective. It was clearly the most effective argument not only with the crucial swing fifth but with almost every demographic. Even with UKIP voters it was level-pegging with immigration. Would we have won without immigration? No. Would we have won without £350m/NHS? All our research and the close result strongly suggests No. Would we have won by spending our time talking about trade and the Single Market? No way.”
( The London Economic, 08.01.2019 )

The NHS Will Be Getting No Extra Money ..
It was on the side of a bus, it was on the lips of Brexiteer politicians – £350million a week would go to the NHS if we voted to leave the European Union. Except, as soon as we did vote to leave, politicians back-tracked and Nigel Farage denied ever making the promise. The Leave campaign quickly erased the promise from its website. In her Brexit speech in January 2017, Theresa May failed to mention the NHS at all. In fact, in October 2016, Theresa May said the NHS will be getting no extra money. This is despite 40% of hospitals issuing an alert within the first week of 2017, and by the second week, 20 hospitals had declared the highest level of alert, which usually means they have no beds free and patients arriving at A&E will need to go to another hospital.
( Independent, 08.02.2017 )

The Plot Dating Back Decades

We’ve Accidentally Sold Weapons To Saudi Arabia ..
UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has been ridiculed after claiming the government had accidentally granted two military export licenses for Saudi Arabia. Truss was forced to apologise to the Court of Appeal for the “two inadvertent breaches”. The UK suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia in June, 2019, after the court ruled that ministers had acted unlawfully by not determining whether weapons could be used against civilians in the war in Yemen. As a result, the government stated that no new licenses would be issued to Saudi Arabia while a review is conducted. Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, which brought the original legal challenge, said: “If the government cannot be trusted to follow its own rules, or an order from the Court of Appeal, then it must immediately end all arms exports to the Saudi regime”. Before the court ruling in June, 40% of arms made in the UK were sold to Saudi Arabia.

Remotely Controlled Killing Machines Made In The UK ..
From 10-13 September, London’s ExCeL Centre hosted arms companies from around the world. Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) is the world’s largest arms fair. On 11 September, the government announced a contract worth ‘approximately’ £100 million for new drones. It stated: The world-class Protector will be the first remotely controlled aircraft capable of attacking targets anywhere in the world while being operated from their home base in RAF Waddington. The government also stated that Protector 
will use enhanced data links and carry next-generation, low collateral, precision strike weapons, including the UK-made Brimstone missile (MBDA) and Paveway IV Laser Guided Bomb (Raytheon UK). The aircraft’s design enables almost unlimited payload options in the future, depending on requirement. The Protector will be armed with the same missiles used in the brutal Yemen war. In 2018, evidence emerged that since 2013, the UK sold 2,400 Paveway IV bombs worth £150 million, and 1,000 Brimstone missiles worth £100 million to Saudi Arabia. The key selling point of Protector is that it can fly for up to 40 hours and operate in civilian airspace. The U.S. and Israel led the way in the use of armed drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). China followed. Following 9/11, the U.S. was the first country to kill people with missiles launched from drones. The UK seems keen to push further forward as a world-leader in this technology. Authoritarian countries around the world are increasingly violating international law using these drones. The U.K., Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and Turkey have all used armed UAVs to kill targets since 2015. The U.S. has set a precedent of impunity by carrying out hundreds of strikes that have killed civilians over the last decade. In Yemen’s brutal war, U.S. drone strikes alone have killed over 1,000 people. This includes around 200 civilians and up to 50 children. In 2018, as people in Gaza protested against Donald Trump opening the Israeli embassy in Jerusalem, Israel launched drones to unleash lung-burning tear gas on demonstrators. In 2012, Israeli drones constantly circled the skies over Gaza launching hundreds of missiles. Despite Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights, the British government is importing Israel’s drone technologies to be integrated into its armed forces.
( Extract from an article by Fréa Lockley, 21.09.2019 )

The UK Are Currently Engaged In Conflicts In Seven Countries .. 
UK special forces (UKSF) are currently engaged in conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Yet the nature of UKSF operations means that our political system enables ministers to conduct secret wars in our name with zero parliamentary or public oversightThe British government states that its policy on the covert wars it fights is “not to comment, and to dissuade others from commenting or speculating, about the operational activities of special forces because of the security implications”.  Added to this, the UK’s Freedom of Information Act gives “absolute exemption” to UKSF activities. So this makes it virtually impossible for anyone to question or “scrutinise policy”.
( Extract from an article by Fréa Lockley, 18.09.2019 )

David Goldberg Was Found Dead In New York On June 8th. 2019 ..
Friends of Mr. Goldberg believe he was murdered and did not pass away of natural causes. His friends were also given access to his accounts before his passing. They are reviewing many documents in Mr. Goldberg’s possession, some of which appear to be top-secret government documents and White House memos. The documents and much of what Mr. Goldberg posted on his YouTube account relates to the upcoming planned Iran War, which will be precipitated by a series of False Flags conducted by the United States and Israel. Mr. Goldberg’s Iran War false flag video was posted first on April 14th, 2019. Goldberg says that new alternative media organisations, particularly the ones exposing Israel and Zionism, those with the best work, highest standards, are run by Israel to tag activists for assassination. Goldberg, before he was murdered, says Israel plans to murder 15 million Americans using disease, accidents and eventually, as America becomes more “Trumpish,” simply outright murder.
( Veterans Today, 01.09.2019 )

Documents He Felt Could Get Him Killed ..
David kept me abreast of things over email, and he told me he had been given some documents he felt could, for certain, get him killed. The documents related to some internal White House memos in which a couple of New York rabbis were meeting with Trump frequently, and the memos talked about the nature of those meetings.
I didn’t get full details, except that it seems the rabbis were going to deliver for Trump a re-election victory if he did things they were asking. I guess Trump was listening intently, because — well this is what David said to me — because the rabbis had a lot of power, in ways in which they could rig the elections if they needed to. The memos also talked about how Trump’s poll numbers were not very good and he could easily lose in 2020, and the White House knew this, and this was part of the reason why Trump was paying so much attention to these rabbis. I guess they just have a lot of control or something, and Trump needed them. David said the documents, if they ever got out, would be very bad for Trump, because there was no way to put a positive spin on them. He said the memos were pretty blunt, and seemed to have been written by a couple of staffers coordinating the meetings.

( A friend of David Goldberg who wishes to remain anonymous, Veterans Today, 13.06.2019 )

Fewer Prison Officers In England And Wales ..
There are 7,000 fewer prison officers now than there were in 2010 on one definition. This fall followed on from the 2010 spending review which reduced funding for the Ministry of Justice.
( Full Fact, 13.02.2017 )

Historically High Levels Of Deaths, Assaults And Violence ..
Around 85,000 people are in prisons in England and Wales. The prison population peaked at 88,000 in 2011, partly explained by the riots that summer, before falling to 84,000 at the end of 2012. The total population of the UK has also increased over time. There were 182 prisoners per 100,000 adults in England and Wales in 2016. This is higher than historic levels back to 1901, apart from the peak in 2011, according to the House of Commons Library. A quarter of prisoners are held in crowded accommodation. Around 24,000 people work in operational roles in the prison service. 10,800 more work in non-operational roles, like management, administration and services. The number of staff in both areas has fallen since 2010. In March 2017 there were 30% fewer operational staff, and 29% fewer non-operational staff, than there were in March 2010. Over the last 12 months the number of operational staff has fallen by 168. This is largely due to falling numbers of operational support staff and supervising officers, which outweighs the increase in prison officers. The number of non-operational staff has increased by 248, driven by 155 more managers. There are 15,000 ‘front-line’ prison officers working at band 3 or 4, who are not in management or supporting roles. That number is down from 20,000 in 2010. More frontline officers left than were recruited or promoted every year until 2015. Although this changed in 2015 (with 507 net new officers) the total number of full-time equivalent frontline officers first increased in 2016. In 2017, there was a net gain of 711 front-line officers through recruitment and promotion, which translated into an increase of 122 full-time equivalents. The government announced in November 2016 that it plans to recruit 2,500 new frontline officers by 2018.
The number of deaths in custody fell slightly for the first time since 2013 this year, but remain at historically high levels. Other measures of violence have reached record highs. Assaults on other prisoners and staff are the highest on record.
( Extract from Full Fact article, 02.08.2017 )

The Tory Plan For Privatising The NHS ..
Everyone suspects the Tories have a long-term plan to abolish the NHS.
A new documentary film will lay bare the plot dating back decades, and within sight of success. ‘Under The Knife’ charts the secret Conservative strategy to open up the health service to private sector companies as a prelude to total sell-off.
The devastating documentary, made by Pam Kleinot and Susan Steinberg, draws on dozens of interviews with doctors, nurses, politicians and patients to track the steps towards today’s crisis. Under The Knife tells how the NHS was almost strangled at birth by opposition from doctors and Tories. And while it offered the best health service in the western world for 40 years, the campaign to get rid of it never ended. Margaret Thatcher wanted to privatise, but a Cabinet riot stopped her. So she appointed Sainsbury’s boss Roy Griffiths to “reform” the NHS. He brought in a new managerial class dedicated to running the service like a business. This was the first step on the road. The health service was to be a “business operation” with management, not the patient, at its heart. Dr James Le Fanu, a doctor at Whipps Cross Hospital, says in the film that Griffiths “introduced a new class in the health service, a management class that hadn’t existed before. Doctors were stripped of power. They were told how to run wards. It was a serious blow. Thatcher also listened to U.S. economist Alain Enthoven, who believed the only way to meet patient demand was to bring in so-called market competition. Tony Blair tells the film-makers: “There was no bigger challenge for the incoming Labour government of 1997 than the NHS.” His first Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, agrees: “It was underfunded, understaffed and a lot of hospitals were very run down.”
The Tories’ return in 2010 brought hard-liner Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary. He brought in the Health and Social Care Bill 2011, seen by many as taking the NHS on to the final stretch to privatisation. He took away the Health Secretary’s ultimate responsibility to provide a national health service for all. “It really was the end of the national service,” says Prof Pollock. The Tories’ coalition partner, the Lib Dems, initially opposed the bill.
“At its heart was privatisation,” Lady Shirley Williams admitted to the film-makers.
But they caved in, and the 2012 Act laid down that all NHS services should be subject to competitive tender, bringing private companies into the whole range of public healthcare. There was outcry from doctors and nurses, but behind the scenes lobbying firms working for private sector companies like Virgin and Circle had the ear of Lansley’s policy team. They kept the Tories on the privatisation track.
The next step was to transfer control of the NHS to new management. The service was divided into smaller regional systems, under private or public control, with powers to decide what services will be available and who will provide them.
In 2017, 43% of the total value of these contracts went to the private sector.
Virgin won over a billion pounds worth of NHS business.
( Paul Routledge, 20.09.2019 )

Are The Actions Of The Prime Minister In The National Interest ?..
The troubling role of one of the few sectors in the economy which could benefit from a ‘no deal’ Brexit was exposed by a Channel 4 documentary, including an interview with Crispin Odey, a hedge fund owner who contributed more than £870,000 to pro-Leave groups in the run-up to the 2016 EU Referendum, as well as bankrolling the parliamentary campaign of MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and the leadership campaign of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Odey, with his partner at Odey Asset Management, made a fortune of £350 million by shorting the pound and moving 65% of his fund into gold in anticipation of the shock Brexit result three years ago. Prior to the EU referendum, Odey had incubated Rees-Mogg’s Somerset Capital Management hedge fund as a start-up. This summer, Odey was reported by The Times as having made an equally large bet on UK equity prices crashing  £299 million in short positions on some of Britain’s biggest firms. In June he donated to Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party leadership campaign. That Odey had such a strong interest and apparent knowledge of the actions of the prime minister, including a desire to prorogue Parliament a month before it happened, raises a question of acute public interest.. How involved – and how influential – are the rich backers who have funded the Prime Minister so far? This highlights the potential for conflicts of interests to arise between the Prime Minister’s backers and the national interest as a ‘no deal’ Brexit looms. While it is the role of hedge funds to reduce risk by spread betting on multiple market fluctuations, a ‘no deal’ Brexit is a one-off market-moving event ultimately in the control of politicians.
( Extract from an article by Peter Jukes, 23.09.2019 )

Shameful Austerity And Morals

Rosa Parks ..
It was 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, and Rosa, a 42 year-old African-American, was on the number 2857 bus home. She was in an area reserved for black people but the bus filled up and custom meant she was expected to give up her seat as white passengers were having to stand. She refused. Rosa was arrested and convicted but her defiance helped change race relations across the world and she became a leading civil rights activist. She died in 2005 at the age of 92.
( Beth Neil )

NHS targets say 85% of cancer patients should begin their first treatment within two months of being urgently referred by a GP. When Jeremy Hunt started at the Department of Health, 87.3% had started treatment in that time. When he left, that had dropped to 78.3%.

During a radio interview about police probes into historical child abuse allegations, Boris Johnson said that money spent on the investigations had been “spaffed up the wall” and would have been better used putting officers on the street.

Emily Davison ..
One of the most prominent Suffragettes, Emily lived and died for the cause. She was appalled at the way women were treated – particularly being denied the right to vote – and joined Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union in 1906.
Her protests would often lead to imprisonment but she would continue campaigning in jail and she went on hunger strike in Strangeways. Emily was killed aged 40 in 1913 at the Epsom Derby after throwing herself in front of the King’s horse, Anmer. Some believe that she had been planning to attach the WSPU flag to the animal.
( Beth Neil )

More than half (165 of 323) of all magistrates courts in England and Wales have been closed since 2010, forcing defendants, witnesses, police, lawyers and judges to travel sometimes more than 50 miles to access local justice. Seven more are set to close by September this year.

Boris Avoided As Much Questioning As Possible ..
During his time as London Mayor, Boris Johnson bought water cannons for £320,000, although he never used them and sold them at a £300,000 loss.
He also wasted £46million of public money on his botched Garden Bridge without ever beginning construction. He dropped targets for new affordable homes and slammed the ‘lefty’ idea of social housing as something that’s ‘not good for people’. The Estuary Airport was a Boris vanity project. He spent around £10million of taxpayers money on a scheme which was ultimately rejected by the Davies Commission. When Ken Livingstone was London Mayor he took questions every week until the journalists had run out of questions to ask. Boris Johnson avoided as much questioning as possible and took only one question per journalist with a strict half-hour cut-off time at his press conference, once a month. Likewise, he cut the State of London Debate from a day at a weekend to two hours on a weekday evening.

Benazir Bhutto ..
The twice prime minister of Pakistan had followed her dad into politics – and, like him, lost her life because of it. She vehemently denied allegations of corruption but relocated to Dubai before returning in 2007 after being granted amnesty from the charges. She became leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party but was shot at a political rally in December 2007 before a suicide bomb went off moments later. Benazir was 54.
( Beth Neil )

When Jeremy Hunt became health secretary, 95.4% of cancer patients urgently referred by their GP were seen by a specialist within two weeks, exceeding the national 93% target. When he left in July 2018, the proportion seen in that time had dropped to 91.9%.

The NHS Constitution says at least 95% of patients attending A&E should be admitted, transferred or discharged within 4 hours. When Jeremy Hunt took over as health secretary in 2012, 94.9% were seen in that time. By the time he left 6 years later, that figure had dropped to 84%.

The First Lady Of The Suffragettes ..
Born in 1869, Lady Constance Lytton was painfully shy and educated for nothing but marriage. She only ever had one love affair – a tepid attachment to an impecunious soldier – and when it fizzled out she became a full-time companion to her widowed mother, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria. In 1908, her life underwent an extraordinary transformation. Seeking a good cause on which to spend a legacy from her great-aunt, Constance was invited to help a charity that encouraged working-class girls to take up morris dancing. There she met Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and her husband, Fred, supporters of the women’s suffrage movement, and heard the stories of women who had gone to prison for their activism.
Among the suffragettes she found an irresistible combination of excitement, martyrdom and friendship. After publishing a pamphlet in support of the cause, she rapidly moved on to direct action. Sentenced to a month in prison, her photograph all over the papers, she was shocked when her working-class comrades were confined in ordinary cells, while she and Emmeline were sent to the relative comfort of the prison hospital. In a defiant act of self-mutilation, she began to scratch ‘Votes for Women’ into her flesh with a needle, threatening to incise the words into her face unless she was moved to the cells. The authorities gave in. Renaming herself ‘Jane Warton’, she cut and dyed her hair, put on a pair of pence-nez, a shapeless tweed coat and a hat so dowdy that small boys jeered at her in the street. At a demonstration in Liverpool, ‘Jane’ got herself arrested, and when she refused food, her jaw was forced open with a steel gag, a rubber tube was pushed down her throat and a mixture of milk, gruel, eggs, brandy sugar and beef tea poured in. When she vomited, the doctor slapped her. The process was repeated six times before her identity was discovered and she was released. The public scandal was tremendous. Constance, almost 6ft tall, left prison weighing just 7st 7lb. She gave a speech at a packed Queen’s Hall, where many in the audience wept to hear her description of being force-fed. Calls were made for a public inquiry. The Home Office refused – insisting that force-feeding was no more than mildly unpleasant – but behind the scenes the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, introduced a number of concessions, including medical examinations of all prisoners before they were force-fed. ‘She has indeed gained a victory over the Government’, wrote Christabel Pankhurst. But the victory was hard won. Constance’s health was broken, and two years later, in 1912, she suffered a stroke. She died in 1923, five years before women were granted the vote on the same terms as men.
( Jane Shilling )

Ex-UK Prime Minister David Cameron was the Director of Corporate Affairs at Carlton TV from July 1994 to February 2001.
Central TV made a documentary revealing Westminster paedophiles. When David Cameron was with Carlton TV, he was the executive responsible for buying out Central TV and burying that documentary.

In 2015, Jeremy Hunt said, “we want 5,000 more GPs by 2020”. Figures show that when Mr Hunt left the Department of Health in July 2018, there were just 162 more than when he made his commitment. The government has now dropped the time limit on the commitment.

Anne Frank ..
Anne’s Jewish family fled Nazi Germany and settled in Amsterdam but Hitler invaded the Netherlands in 1940. The Franks began hiding in an annexe above her dad’s office and friends provided them with food and drink. Teenager Anne recorded her feelings in her diary until August 1944, three days before Germans stormed the building. She died aged 15 at the Bergen-Belsen death camp but her diary has become one of the most treasured books ever.
( Beth Neil )

64% has been slashed from Liverpool’s council budget and 3,000 staff lost since 2010. Tory cuts are making it harder for local government workers to provide the public services we all rely on.
( Dan Carden, 17.06.2019 )

In 2015, Jeremy Hunt said, “we want 5,000 more GPs by 2020”. Figures show that when Mr Hunt left the Department of Health in July 2018, there were just 162 more than when he made his commitment. The government has now dropped the time limit on the commitment.

The First Woman To Be Awarded The Military Cross ..
Michelle Norris showed outstanding bravery in Iraq in 2006 when she saved the life of a colleague who had been shot in the mouth. Aged 19, the then private, from Stourbridge, West Midlands, leapt out of her patrol vehicle and dodged sniper fire to give treatment for three minutes before helping drag him to safety. One bullet hit her rucksack.
( Beth Neil )

Boris Johnson ..
Born in New York in 1964, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has always been ambitious. His sister Rachel said he wanted as a child to be “king of the world”.
Boris married his first wife, Allegra Mostyn-Owen, in 1987 after they met at Oxford, but split after allegedly having an affair with author and lawyer Marina Wheeler, whom he married in 1993. Johnson then met fellow journalist Petronella Wyatt when he was the editor of The Spectator and she was one of his columnists. The two began an affair shortly before he was elected Conservative MP for Henley in 2001. The Sun newspaper reported news of their relationship in 2004, along with claims that Wyatt had fallen pregnant and had an abortion.

Britain’s Special Relationship With Israel ..
Britain has a special relationship with Israel that is little recognised in the mainstream media but unmissable in light of the killings in Gaza. With more than 110 protesters dead, Britain is in effect defending Israeli actions. The British government has not, as far as I have seen, actually condemned Israel for the killings, Rather, it has simply ‘urged Israel to show restraint’ while recognising its ‘right to secure itself’ and also blaming Hamas for the violence. When British Prime Minister Theresa May phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 10 May, by which date 40 Palestinian protesters in Gaza had already been shot, it appears she did not even raise the issue. Meanwhile, the government infers it will not even review UK arms exports to Israel after the Gaza massacres which have only been discussed once in the British cabinet. That Britain is supporting Israel over the Gaza killings is true to form. The UK’s relationship with Israel is special in at least nine areas, including arms sales, air force, nuclear deployment, navy, intelligence and trade, to name but a few. Britain abstained on the recent UN vote to authorise an investigation into the Gaza killings because it would not also investigate Hamas. Instead, the UK supports Israel carrying out its own inquiry. Last year, the Foreign Office refused to sign a joint statement at the Paris peace conference on Palestine, accusing it of ‘taking place against the wishes of the Israelis’.
( Mark Curtis, 05.06.2018 )

Boris Johnson’s Whirl-Winding Hypocrisy ..
In April 2016, Boris Johnson penned a column for the Daily Telegraph outlining the benefits of the EU, claiming that “the membership fee seems rather small for all that market access”. Later that day, he defeated his own points by coming out for Brexit as one of the leaders of the Leave campaign – judging that it would better serve his career prospects than back remain. Boris Johnson’s whirl-winding hypocrisy knows no bounds. He backed single market membership during the campaign, only to later claim that single market is “not Brexit”, and he voted both for and against Theresa May’s Brexit deal on various occasions. What’s more, he has written to Theresa May saying that ensuring “no border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should not be priority, just months after telling the House of Commons that “there can be no hard border”. He is a man whose inflated ego far outstrips his judgement and principles, and his long history of flip-flopping deprives him of any credentials for leadership.
( Olaf Stando, 10.06.2019 )

When he was Mayor what did Boris Johnson cost London ?
Up to over £600million in poor decisions, ideological dogma and vanity schemes.
( Christian Wolmar, Independent, 08.09.2015 )

Indira Gandhi ..
India’s only female prime minister remains a highly-revered stateswoman 35 years after she was assassinated. She became involved with the Indian Independence movement before she led her country for the first time in 1966. She was at the helm during the victorious war with Pakistan in 1971 that resulted in the liberation of Bangladesh. She lost the 1977 election but regained power in 1980.
She was 66 and serving her fourth term when she was killed in 1984.

Nuclear Weapons In The Middle East ..
Israel is believed to possess 80 to 100 nuclear warheads, some of which are deployed on its submarines. The UK is effectively aiding this nuclear deployment by supplying submarine components to Israel. According to the commander of Haifa naval base, General David Salamah, Israel’s submarines regularly operate “deep within enemy territory”. Britain has a long history of helping Israel to develop nuclear weapons. In the 1950s and 1960s Conservative and Labour governments made hundreds of sales of nuclear materials to Israel, including plutonium and uranium. The contrast with British policy towards Iran is striking. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson states that the UK is “adamant that a nuclear-armed Iran would never be acceptable” and thus maintains sanctions against Iran. At the same time Britain refuses to adopt any sanctions against Israel, an actual nuclear state. In 1995, the UK and other states agreed to a UN resolution to establish a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. It is not known whether Britain has ever seriously pressed Israel on this.
( Mark Curtis, 05.06.2018 )

Your Hands Are Full Of Blood

Dominion Over The Animals ..
The bible, on many occasions, says that man was given “dominion” over the animals. People have twisted this to mean that they can do anything they wish to animals. What is meant by “dominion” is the ability to impose our will. We do indeed rule over all animals, as we are the most powerful species on the planet.
This however, does not mean it is okay to abuse this power, through animal abuse, and other wicked acts.
( Denis Giron )

For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.
( Psalm 50:10-11 )

To do charity and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
( Proverbs 21:3 )

Throughout the bible there are many stories that have a strong moral value. Whenever you read a story in the bible, ask yourself what the moral of that story was. It has to have a moral, because if there is no moral, then the story has no relevance. Surely nothing in the bible is irrelevant. In Numbers 22: 21-34, there is the story of Balaam beating his donkey. Within these verses is a strong story about animal abuse, suffering, and animal rights.
( Denis Giron )

What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.
( Hosea 6:6 )

God Does Not Command Animal Sacrifice ..
The idea of animal rights being expressed in the bible comes under fire from those who point to instances of animal sacrifice. I admit the many mentionings of animal sacrifice in the bible have troubled me in the past. How can a merciful God command us to sacrifice animals ? The truth of the matter is, we are NOT supposed to sacrifice animals. God does not command us to do this. The truth is, in Moses’ time, after the Jews came out of Egypt, God allowed animal sacrifices for that time period. The great Jewish philosopher Abarbanel believed animal sacrifice was briefly allowed by God in order to end the idolatry the Jews practiced in Egypt. He cited a Jewish writing that indicated that the Jews had become accustomed to sacrifices in Egypt. To wean them from these idolatrous practices, God tolerated the sacrifices but commanded that they be offered in one central sanctuary.
( Denis Giron )

Your Hands Are Full Of Blood ..
The multitude of your sacrifices, what are they to me ? I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals. I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts ? Stop bringing meaningless offerings. Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations, I cannot bear your evil assemblies. Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me. I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you. Even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood. Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight. Stop doing wrong.
( Isaiah 1:11-16 )

Across the globe, there is a small handful of vegetarian Christians who assert that Jesus was a vegetarian. The bible, and other sources, seems to support this belief. Vegetarianism is not without precedent in the Christian, or even Catholic faiths. Many early church fathers were vegetarian, including St. Basil, St. John Chrysostom, and St. Francis of Assisi.
( Denis Giron )

Refrain at all times from such foods as cannot be procured without violence and oppression.
( Thomas Tryon )

Meat Corrupts Your Heart ..
Throughout history there has been many vegetarian jews. Even today, only India has more faith-based vegetarians than Israel. These vegetarian jews believed meat corrupted your soul. Eating meat was permitted by God, but so was drinking alcohol. In fact, just like alcohol, the bible teaches, meat makes you “stumble”, or corrupts your heart (Romans 14-21). That is why Jesus, the Messiah, would eat butter and honey, instead of meat, so that his heart would not be corrupted. Before, during, and after Jesus’ time Jews argued whether or not meat was good for people. There were many vegetarian jews, so why not Jesus ?
( Denis Giron )

Until we consider animal life to be worthy of the consideration and reverence we bestow upon old books and pictures and historic monuments, there will always be the animal refugee living a precarious life on the edge of extermination, dependent for existence on the charity of a few human beings.
( Gerald Durrell )

The Prophet Daniel Was A Vegetarian ..
In the first chapter of the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon has imprisoned Daniel. In verse 8, Daniel refused to defile himself by eating the meat being served to him in the prison. Daniel abstained from the meat offered because he was a vegetarian. He knew the benefits of such a diet. Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over him: “Please test your servants for ten days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their meat and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead (Daniel 1:11-16).
( Denis Giron )

Animals have a short life, yet we choose not only to kill them and make it shorter, we abuse and torture the poor souls beforehand. What does that say about us when we can’t even show a little compassion and kindness before we brutally slaughter them and mutilate their bodies ?
( Len Firswood )

Let Us Be Kind To Animals ..
Life is as precious to us as it is for an animal. An animal is as loving, caring, and kind to her children as we are. She might not be able to tell us but she can express it through her eyes and expressions. She feels joy and happiness. She is helpless in our cruel hands and vulnerable to our vicious greed. Let us be kind to animals.

Let us learn to feel their pain. Can we kill a helpless baby to feed our greed ? Then how can we kill helpless animal friends that can’t talk ? Often we kill just for fun. How funny would it be if an animal killed a human just for fun ? Let us be kind to animals as much as possible. I know we can. It is easier to love an animal than a human being. If you love an animal, it will rarely hurt you. Let us practice kindness and compassion to animals so that we may create a peaceful world.
( Debasish Mridha )

The prophesy in Isaiah 7:15 said Jesus would eat butter and honey (rather than meat) to be able to know the difference between good and evil. If Jesus ate meat, then he does not fit the Messianic prophesy of the Jews. Nowhere in the bible does it ever mention Jesus eating meat. Now, knowing that the bible never mentions him eating meat, and taking into account the fact that Jesus taught love and kindness, how hard is it to assume he might have been a vegetarian ?
( Denis Giron )

I encourage everyone to go where their hearts take them, with love, not fear. If we all travel this road, the world will be a better place for all beings. Kinder and more humane choices will be made when we let our hearts lead the way. Compassion begets compassion and caring for and loving animals spills over into compassion and caring for humans. The umbrella of compassion is very important to share freely and widely.
( Marc Bekoff )

What About Fish ? ..
In the 14th chapter of Matthew (verses 13-21) Jesus takes his boat to a remote island. Thousands follow him there. Jesus tells his disciples to feed these people, but they tell him that they only have five loaves of bread and two fish (verse 17). Jesus gave thanks for the food, and it multiplied into enough to feed five thousand people. Now the question is, if Jesus was a vegetarian, why was he giving fish to his followers ? It should be noted that some scholars contend that the Greek word for “fish weed” (a dried seaweed) has been mistranslated in this story as “fish”. It is certainly true that dried fishweed would be more likely in a basket with bread, and fishweed remains a popular food among Palestinian peasants like the people to whom Jesus was speaking. Also, in the beginning of the story (Matthew 14:13) it says Jesus got to this place by boat. These people were right by the sea. If they were out of fish, why not just go on a quick fishing expedition ? Surely with 5,000 men present it would not be that hard to go fishing. With this in mind, it further supports the thought that fishweed was being used, not actual fish. Also, when one considers that the disciples did not even think about trying to catch some fish, this helps explain Matthew 4:18-20, where Jesus gets his first disciples by telling some fishermen to give up their profession and follow him. Jesus even says to them “I will make you a fisher of men”. Could this be Jesus was having them give up their barbaric line of work to do something more righteous ? It may sound absurd, but it starts to make a little more sense when you take it in the same context as the story of feeding five thousand, where the disciples never even considered trying to catch some fish, despite being beside the sea. Why didn’t they go fishing ? Did Jesus teach it was wrong to eat fish ?
( Denis Giron )

Surely it is our animal nature that recognizes the divinity of the natural world in all its mystery and beauty, despite the distressing habits and limited perception that afflict our species. So perhaps our hope of redemption lies in the fact that we are animals, not that we are people.
( Elizabeth Marshall Thomas )

People pray to God for mercy and justice but continue to eat the flesh of animals that are slaughtered solely for their gustatory desires. I fail to understand why the masses believe it’s okay to bring gentle animals into the world with the sole intention of hurting them and then brutally killing them. What, or who, gave us the right or the authority to do this? Certainly not a loving God or Creator.
( Rose Winfold )

Why Are Fat-Cats Allowed To Cheat ?

Tory Activist Alleges Rape By Party Employee ..
A former Tory activist who alleged she was raped by a party employee claims senior Conservatives have repeatedly ignored a culture of sex abuse and harassment within the party.. Lisa Wade claimed she was so violently attacked she was left with whiplash-style injuries, but the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to take her case to court.. She reveals that, by then, she had already made an official complaint to the party about drunk young girls being targeted by sex pests while campaigning on the Tories’ infamous ‘battle bus’ before the 2015 election.
But Lisa, in her twenties, claims she was hounded out for what she did, and says many of the worst offenders still hold senior roles in the party.
( Geraldine McKelvie, 12.11.2017 )

Why Are People Who Run Big Businesses Allowed To Cheat Us ? ..
I’m finding it increasingly hard to deal with the anger produced by the way people who run big businesses are allowed to cheat us.. Carillion bosses grovelled before MPs saying how upset and sorry they were that they allowed the firm to collapse with a billion-pound pension deficit and a billion-pound debt, despite giving themselves lavish pay and bonuses right until the end.. If courts can take the savings, cars and houses off guilty criminals, why can’t we do the same to guilty sharks who knowingly enriched themselves by gambling with workers’ pensions and livelihoods ?
( Brian Reade, 10.02.2018 )

The Family Silver Sold Off ..
Margaret Thatcher’s market-led policies saw the sale of 20 state-controlled companies including British Telecom.. Sales were marketed by huge advertising campaigns like “Tell Sid” for British Gas, which ended with a £5.4 billion sell off.
She said she wanted to open up share ownership to all.. But most people who bought shares in the newly-privatised firms sold quickly to make a quick profit.
The proportion of shares held by individuals rather than institutions did not actually increase.. With the family silver sold off, market forces now set the price.

A 30-Year Low On Home Ownership ..
Nothing exposes how useless this Tory government has been more than housing.
The Tories have produced 11 government housing statements and two White Papers – proposed government plans – in their seven years in power.. The last White Paper promised to mend the housing market.. But they bloody broke it !
Rough sleeping has doubled, home ownership has decreased to a 30-year low and they have built the lowest amount of social housing on record.
Thanks to Osborne’s ‘Help To Buy’, YOU subsidise peoples’ deposits to buy homes costing up to £650,000 .. And thanks to Philip Hammond, YOU are subsidising a £3.2 billion Stamp Duty giveaway to people buying homes for up to £300,000.
Tory housing policies have always been about the cash-strapped many paying for the lucky few.. The £3.2 billion Stamp Duty cut over six years could have built more than 30,000 new council homes.. Instead it will end up in the back pockets of house sellers, estate agents and property developers.. In fact, it’s been suggested by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility that it will help only 3,500 first-time buyers a year.. It would be cheaper to buy them houses.
( John Prescott, 26.11.2017 )

Ten Thousand Died In Tiananmen Square Protest ..
The Chinese army crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests killed 10,000, dwarfing estimates, a document claims.. Wounded girl students were bayoneted, human remains were hosed down drains and a mother was shot as she tried to help her injured tot, it is alleged.. The detail, said to be from a member of China’s cabinet, was in a cable from Alan Donald, then UK ambassador to China.
China said 200 civilians and dozens of security staff died.
( Keith Perry, 24.12.2017 )

Prisoners Behind Bars In The UK ..
There are around 80,000 prisoners behind bars in the UK.
Women make up just 5% of the inmate population, and are kept in 12 prisons.
The average cost of keeping a prisoner in jail is £40,000 a year.
England and Wales have the highest incarceration rate in Western Europe, with 148 people in prison per 100,000.
Serious assaults on staff from prisoners have trebled since 2012.
Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults went up 28% from 2015-2016.
37.4% of prison officers in the UK are female.
( National Offender Management Service, January 2018 )

A Strong Support For God Within Science ..
There is a strong support for a Creator or God from within science.
Science shows the universe is not eternal and that it began to exist at the ‘Big Bang’.
Stephen Hawkings admits ‘many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention’.. Equally, the astonishing fine-tuning of the laws of nature to make life possible are also consistent with a divine creator.. Thirdly, Richard Dawkins admits that ‘living objects look overwhelmingly as though they are designed’, although he prefers evolution’s account of why this is so, despite a number of serious holes in the evidence.
Of course, none of this scientific evidence ‘proves’ God exists, but it does create a strong cumulative case that it is probable, provided you do not rule out the possibility before you have weighed the evidence.
Faith is not ‘blind faith’, but a rational position consistent with an open mind.

A Huge Rise In Children Contacting Childline ..
The number of children contacting Childline about child sexual exploitation rose by a third last year.. The cash-strapped NSPCC-run helpline now counsels eight victims every day on the issue.. They are lured or tricked into sexual activity with gifts, money or affection, both online and offline.
( Geraldine McKelvie, 26.11.2017 )

Fat-Cats Squealing Because They Might Lose Their Cream ..
It is accepted across the political spectrum that certain public services should not be privatised – the NHS, the police, the fire service and the BBC .. Yet if you want to get a Tory frothing at the mouth suggest that transport and public utilities should be renationalised.. These are also essential public services.. We need to move around the place, and water, gas and electricity are some of life’s most valuable commodities.. That’s why this newspaper believes they should be in public ownership.. That they are not is the lasting legacy of Thatcherism.. Margaret Thatcher believed that these industries would perform better in the private sector.. This was based on the fact that they could not perform any worse.. But what may have been true decades ago no longer holds today.. Just ask Southern rail passengers, or those who use Southeastern, Thameslink or Great Northern.
Water firms have paid £13billion to shareholders since 2010 while receiving more in tax breaks than they paid in tax.. They fund reports by right-wing think tanks to rubbish Labour’s nationalisation plans.. That sound you can hear is fat-cats squealing because they fear they might lose their cream.. The ability of an industry to serve its customers has nothing to do with whether it is private or public, only that it has good management.. And the principle must be right that a public service is there first and foremost to serve the public, not to make a fat profit out of it.
The Tories say Labour must borrow to take industries back into public control.. They are right.. But it is no different from borrowing to buy a house.. You own the house which becomes an asset which, all being well, will grow in value.. The Tory Party argument against nationalisation is rooted in a past long since gone.. Labour’s refreshing new thinking shows it is the party of the future.
( Sunday Mirror, 11.02.2018 ) 

The Big Con Trick ..
Austerity was David Cameron’s and George Osborne’s big con trick – a way to slash budgets for public services and councils so they could give £60 billion in tax breaks to their mates running big businesses.
They blamed the 2008 global financial crisis on Gordon Brown and Labour.
They claimed we’d spent too much and austerity would restore the economy.
The Tories promised to eradicate the deficit by 2015, then 2016, then 2017, then 2020.. Now it looks like it won’t be until 2030 at the earliest.
( John Prescott, 26.11.2017 )

So What Do We Have Now ? ..
We used to have an economy that was less virtual and depended more on making and selling real, actual, physical things.
During World War 2, the Clydeside yards built more ships than the United States of America.. We had an economy based on manufacturing.. But that’s gone now.
The Tory government of Mrs Thatcher destroyed our industrial and manufacturing base.. So what do we have now ?
We have an economy that depends on delivering pizzas to each other, and doing up our homes in the hope that we can sell them at a profit.
The banks lent all our savings to dodgy borrowers, and paid themselves huge salaries and obscene bonuses.
Can a nation have an economy worth the name if it doesn’t actually make anything

Horse-Loving Royals ..
My favourite story about the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote concerns Emily Davison throwing herself under King George V’s horse at the 1913 Derby.. Many saw it as the ultimate act of heroism by a courageous feminist, but not King George’s mum Queen Alexandra.. She sent a telegram to the jockey at the time saying how sad she was that he couldn’t finish the race due to ‘the abominable conduct of a brutal lunatic woman’.. Heartless I know, but I reckon a century on those horse-loving royals would take the same view.. Let’s face it, if you come from a family which doesn’t need to worry about voting because the cap-doffing voters blindly accept they are your subjects, I guess you’d see them all as lunatics.
( Brian Reade, 10.02.2018 )