More child poverty, hunger in conservative-ruled Britain


Demonstration outside parliament in London, England demanding an end to child poverty which is continuing to rise under the Tory government

From daily News Line in Britain, 5 September 2020:

Child poverty & food bank use rises

A SURVEY of UK social workers by the Child Poverty Action Group, Child Welfare Inequalities Project and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, found that 94% of those asked believed the severity and prevalence of child poverty had recently increased.

‘At least 80 per cent of the children open to my team are in part impacted by poverty – both in-work and out-of-work poverty,’ one social worker told researchers, while another added that food banks are ‘now seen as essential’ by many families.

Cuts to local support services, including child and adolescent mental health services, youth services and children’s centres, mean that social workers are dealing with more severe issues due to a lack of preventative services, the report states.

‘Respondents overwhelmingly told us that the lack of support services in local communities had a negative impact on the families they work with, and led to situations escalating in severity as there was little scope for preventative work,’ it adds.

One of the 129 social workers involved in the research said: ‘The loss of helpful services at a lower level has driven the rise in referrals to and intervention from statutory services like mine.’

Another added: ‘There are less resources for early intervention such as support groups for parents, leading to a higher level of children becoming subject to child protection plans and care proceedings. Waiting lists for children to see a mental health professional are very long, leading to issues becoming more entrenched and difficult to address.’

‘It is no coincidence that we have more young people at risk of exploitation when virtually all the youth centres have closed and there are very few youth workers left. Vulnerable young people need youth workers, not social workers, most of the time,’ said a third social worker.

At the same time, recent research by the YMCA England and Wales found that youth services had suffered £1bn worth of cuts in less than a decade – while 34 per cent of children’s centres have closed since 2010.

The report also highlights changes to the social security system, including the introduction of Universal Credit, the two-child limit and the benefits cap, as issues blocking social workers’ ability to effectively support families.

Some 79 per cent of those asked said these changes affected more than half of families on their caseload, while 92 per cent said low income is an issue faced by families they work with.

‘Common experiences ranged from the practical challenges of families not being able to afford travel to appointments, or those posed by insecure work which makes it difficult to arrange or attend appointments, through to the emotional barriers arising from the stress experienced by parents facing financial strain trying to meet their children’s needs with insufficient financial resources,’ the report states.

One social worker involved in the study said: ‘As a social worker I feel disempowered to support families, as we cannot support when the issues are caused at a societal level: we can signpost families to support services, but that does not remedy not having enough money via benefits or a landlord who is not prepared to rent to those in receipt of benefits.’

The organisations involved in the report have renewed calls for a cross-party poverty strategy and ‘the provision of adequate funding to local government and other support services for children and families’.

Lead author Professor Paul Bywaters said the study was conducted before the coronavirus pandemic, and warned that those families already living in poverty would ‘bear the brunt’ of the crisis.

He said: ‘Child Poverty Action Group, Child Welfare Inequalities Project, and Association of Directors of Children’s Services are extremely concerned that the financial situation facing both families and local authorities has deteriorated rapidly in recent months and it is children and families on the lowest incomes who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic, which has laid bare the inequalities in our society.’

It’s no surprise, according to youth workers who belong to trade union Unison, that during the Covid-19 pandemic, youth workers have leapt into action to make sure their vital work is still accessible to the young people they support. For youth workers, Covid-19 is just another challenge

Youth workers are renowned for their capacity to find creative solutions to unpredictable challenges. For Unison members, Covid-19 has been a time to get creative.

Unison member Tony Rawlings is one of them. As a youth worker in Slough, he leads a team of five who focus on street work and young people likely to be involved in gangs.

As he described it: ‘We tend to work with young people whom others struggle to work with. We try to find out what’s going on with young people in the area and where the issues are – before the police get there.

‘We’ll work with young people to work on the issue before it gets to criminalising them.’

During Covid-19, his team have worked relentlessly. When lockdown came in, they continued to go out and work on the streets.

‘We’ve been out day and night with no rest at all. It’s been emotionally draining for me and the team, but the team have been amazing.’

Tony himself caught the virus early on in lockdown and says that the team did really well just carrying on. The challenges presented by the pandemic have turned into opportunities for trust-building for the team and the young people they work with.

Tony said: ‘Some of the young people we work with are really difficult to work with. We’ve been supporting lots of families by dropping off food packages.

‘Providing the food and being there when nobody else is has built a huge relationship with young people’s families. When everyone else has deserted them, we were there knocking on the door.’

Chair of Unison’s youth and community work committee Robin Konieczny has been pleasantly surprised by the changes that lockdown has brought about for the young people he works with in Norfolk.

‘One of our groups of young people has decided to start writing to people in care homes. It started off with them sending a card and getting a reply. Now they’ve written to over 600 residents in care homes. Young people also helped us design the social distancing and stay safe campaigns …

For Robin, adapting to the pandemic just feels like another part of the job. ‘As youth workers, we try to make best of the circumstances and the situation we’re in.

‘If I’ve got young people there who can’t engage in a physical activity because of disabilities, then I’ve got to adapt then and there. It’s a mindset, and the pandemic has just been another example of ‘‘how can we do things differently?”’

Youth workers are resilient and hard-working, and the pandemic has evidenced this. Yet the government seems uninterested in rewarding them.

Or as Robin put it: ‘We’re facing a government that basically has no interest in young people.’

Conservatives make Britain sick man of Europe


This 13 August 2020 satiric musical video says about itself:

Boris JohnsonSimply the Worst

Boris Johnson‘s musical tribute to himself.

It is a parody of the song Simply the best, by Tina Turner.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain, 13 August 2020:

The sick man of Europe

Britain falls into the worst recession since 1950s while holding record for most coronavirus related deaths in Europe

BRITAIN is in its worst recession for 65 years due to the Covid-19 crisis, while also holding the record for the most deaths in Europe during the pandemic, it was confirmed today.

Between April and June the economy contracted by a record 20.4 per cent, partly as a result of mis-timed lockdown measures put in place too late to slow the spread of the virus.

The quarterly drop is the worst since records began in 1955, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

It is the first recession in 11 years, after the global financial crisis of 2008-09, and follows a decade of damaging Tory-led austerity.

Britain’s slump is much deeper than those recorded by comparable G7 nations’ economies such as Germany, France, Italy and the United States.

Canada and Japan have yet to publish their second-quarter figures.

Economists have suggested that Britain’s downturn is more severe because Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed lockdown at a later stage in the pandemic than other countries.

By the time Mr Johnson announced the measure on March 23, Britain had a bigger first wave than would otherwise have been expected, and lockdown has had to go on for longer as a result.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has criticised the government’s decision to withdraw the Jobs Retention Scheme and business support from October as a “historic mistake” that will exacerbate the current jobs crisis.

Earlier this week it was revealed that 5.5 million people are claiming Universal Credit benefits.

On Tuesday the ONS labour-market overview revealed that the fall in employment between April and June has been the deepest for more than a decade.

There were 730,000 fewer people employed nationwide last month than in March, and a third of companies have indicated that they expect to make redundancies between now and September.

Ms Dodds said: “The Prime Minister will say there’s only so much he could do during a global pandemic, but that doesn’t explain why our economy is tanking so badly compared to other countries.

“It was his government that snatched away wage support for businesses that hadn’t even reopened yet. And his government that failed to get test, trace and isolate working, despite claiming it’s a ‘world-beating’ system.

“A downturn was inevitable after lockdown — but Johnson’s jobs crisis wasn’t. Now he must take responsibility, scrap the one-size-fits-all withdrawal of wage support and bring the health crisis properly under control.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the government “must do everything” to stop mass unemployment, adding that the best way to improve the economy is to keep people in work.

“That means extending the job retention scheme for companies that have a viable future but need support beyond October.

“And it means investing in the decent jobs we need for the future in green industries, social care and across the public sector,” Ms O’Grady said.

Rob Griffiths of the Communist Party of Britain said: “This hopeless government has underestimated the economic threat posed by Covid just as it began the crisis by underestimating the health threat.

“Workers and unions will need to fight for jobs across Britain on a scale not seen for many decades, while also demanding safe working conditions.”

Britain and Northern Ireland combined have the highest official coronavirus death toll in Europe with 46,706 deaths, though the number of excess deaths is even higher.

Boris Johnson, guilty of British coronavirus deaths


This 8 July 2020 music video from Britain says about itself:

Shagger – It Wasn’t Me

Boris Johnson’s Shaggy tribute act.

LYRICS:

Sent 25,000 patients into care homes with no tests
Didn’t get the PPE, but Hancock got some Galatasaray vests
Wonder if there’s a way I could blame it on the care home chaps
It would take serious brass neck after taking part in all those claps

Bloody hell, it seems I’ve caused a big old genocide
When I wanted to be Churchill, that’s not what I had in mind
I’d be strung up by the ankles if the papers weren’t onside
I’d still lead all the polls if a million of you died

Let the record show I threw a protective ring
Get you all hammered so you don’t recall a thing
Like how I threatened to remove the care homes’ funding
Unless they took the COVID patients under their wing

The one who locked down belatedly
(It wasn’t me)
Refused to learn from Spain and Italy
(It wasn’t me)
The guy who favoured herd immunity
(It wasn’t me)
And picked the science accordingly
(It wasn’t me)
Who didn’t go to COBRA meetings
(It wasn’t me)
And hardly bothered with the briefings
(It wasn’t me)
The one who went around greeting
(It wasn’t me)
People hospitals were treating
(It wasn’t me)

Sent 25,000 patients into care homes with no tests
It was either that or show the world how bare we’d left the NHS
I’m not saying my own case of COVID-19 was overblown
But I spent the weekend in bed watching all of Home Alone

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 30 July 2020:

PM told he must accept ‘personal responsibility’ for high Covid-19 death toll

THE PM must “take personal responsibility” for England suffering the highest numbers of excess deaths in Europe during the first half of 2020, Labour charged today.

Shocking figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed today that England endured the “longest continuous” period of excess deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic.

PM Boris Johnson responded by saying the recent reduction in deaths has been a “massive success.”

British Conservatives and Saudi war on Yemen


British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018

This photo shows British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia‘s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 13 July 2020:

Britain’s fingerprints are all over Saudi Arabia’s murderous war

GETTING on for 100,000 people have died in Saudi Arabia’s war on the Yemeni people and the number of children and infants dying from hunger, malnutrition and other conflict-related afflictions is also close to that number.

Imperial Britain’s exploitative relationship with the Middle East is a long-standing affair. One distinctive mark of imperialism’s poisonous legacy is the post-colonial persistence of ethnic and political divisions which have bedevilled Britain’s former colonies.

India, Ireland, Cyprus, Malaya, Sri Lanka, Guyana are all places where independence has been disfigured by divisions that, in the main, owe their toxicity to the tactics of a British ruling class that was and is a past master in the techniques of divide and rule.

If the most toxic of the time bombs it left behind is to be found in the irreconcilable expectations engendered by the Balfour declaration, in which a beneficent Britain promised both Palestinians and zionists the lands on which Palestinians lived, then the dispensation which divided up the neighbouring Arab lands with set square and ruler runs it close.

When the British empire still included millions of subject peoples east of Suez, an obscure tribal figure was plucked from the remote Arabian hinterland to rule over the sands that covered the precious oil needed to fuel the Royal Navy in its defence of imperial plunder. And no less important was the Yemeni port of Aden, a way station and refuelling point for their majesties’ ships.

It is that impossibly reactionary regime, driven by its deeply obscurantist Wahhabi brand of primitive religion and today headed by the murderous Mohammed bin Salman, that is responsible for the air war on Yemen. The Saudi air force is trained by Britain, our country and the United States supply the aircraft, the bombs, the replacement parts and maintenance services that keep it flying.

Beyond the criminal complicity of our government in this war is the hypocrisy which finds any excuse to clothe imperial ambition in the guise of “humanitarian” intervention when the local regime is out of favour – Syria, Iraq and Libya spring to mind – but when the crimes are committed by a favoured ally, no sanctions can be applied.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn established a baseline of opposition to the unsavoury alliance of Britain and Saudi Arabia, an alliance sanctified by intimate ties between the two royal families, cemented by massive flows of capital and lubricated with the exchange of oil and armaments.

Keir Starmer won office by promising Labour members that he would continue the party’s progressive policies and if there is a critical starting point for an ethical foreign policy in the Middle East, it is in ending the supply of aircraft, parts, training and logistic support for this inhuman war.

Death in Bahrain

THE decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on Monday to reinstate the death sentences for two local Shi’ite men is a transparently prejudicial act and an illustration of the double standards that Britain displays in its relations with its favoured regimes in the Middle East. Bahrain repays hypocritical words from Britain with more of the same.

It was pressure from solidarity and human rights groups that led to the earlier court ruling that the confessions of these two men had followed torture.

Reprieve director Maya Foa was spot on when she said: “To Western partners, Bahrain promises human rights reform. To citizens, it threatens that if you speak out, you will be imprisoned, tortured and convicted of crimes you did not commit.

“These unlawful death sentences are intended as a warning to would-be dissidents.”

It is time to clip the claws of these despotic regimes.

COVID-19 disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain


This 7 July 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Boris Johnson should look in the mirror before blaming Care Homes | Professor John Ashton – EP 12

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a a point… 00:00 Boris Johnson blames Care Homes 03:19 Exercise Cygnus, PPE & other Government failings 04:41 Still massaging the figures 05:37 American style press briefing incoming 06:39 Getting stories off the front page 07:21 The curious case of the BBC & Boris Johnson’s Haircut 08:09 Blame the public 10:29 Clap for the NHS today, privatise it tomorrow 12:32 State vs Private Sector 15:24 Masks 17:13 Airborne Spread 18:03 The virus has not gone away 19:13 The world is a very small place

From daily News Line in Britain today:

THE TORIES have no plan to deal with a second spike of the deadly coronavirus.

A fresh report just released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warns that the ‘Government does not have either a clear understanding of the equipment needed for clinical and care workers, or how to distribute it – particularly in the more fragmented care sector.’

UK meat processing factories involved in COVID-19 outbreak back up and running. By Tony Robson, 8 July 2020.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 8 July 2020:

Editorial: Ignore the government: Covid-19 is far from finished

OVER 20,000 people have died of and with coronavirus in care homes.

Twenty-thousand is a significant figure. Recollect that at the beginning of the pandemic we were told that this was the figure that top specialists believed might be the best we could hope for.

Total deaths are now more than twice that.

There are a lot of problems in the care sector, not least the reality that care is conceived of as a business and that its success is to be measured by profits and shareholder value.

When the drive to profit intervenes in the provision of public services, the ability of government to effect necessary changes is always conditioned by its willingness to challenge the values which underlie privatisation policies.

Prejudice for privatisation is in the political DNA of Tory politicians, Lib Dems and New Labour types alike, and it takes more than evidence or experience to divert them from their defence of the indefensible.

Disastrous as it has been, the more or less complete shift to private ownership is not of itself responsible for the high rate of deaths in care homes.

The full responsibility lies in the hands of the people who thought a systematic transfer of people from hospital to care homes without a testing regime was a sensible move.

This has been compounded by the failure of the sector to anticipate demand for personal protective equipment or of government to fully provide across the sector.

Shifting vulnerable people from a place where professional medical advice and treatment was immediately available to the care sector where none of this was universally available has proved to be a disaster.

Boris Johnson’s grotesque bid to place the responsibility for this level of deaths on care homes themselves exceeds the boundaries of bad taste already pushed to the limit by the Premier’s characteristic buffoonery.

It is not simply a transparent manoeuvre to displace responsibility for the failures of his government but is a more ambitious bid to present the next stage in the government’s campaign to open up the economy and loosen the measures which informed and expert opinion still thinks are necessary to contain the virus.

The alarming feature of this process is the complete failure to resource the means by which infection rates can be effectively monitored, and those infected, isolated and treated and their contacts tracked down and tested themselves.

Independent Sage says NHS Test and Trace is not reaching sufficient numbers of newly symptomatic people and fewer than half of contacts reached within three days of a person are being tested.

We can listen to the sunshine sentiments of the government or we can take a cold, hard look at the real picture. But we don’t know the real picture because, as the Independent Sage group of scientists and doctors says, we don’t know if reported declines in positive confirmed cases are accurate because fewer people are getting tested or fewer people are having Covid-19 or a combination of both.

We do know that the steady decline in new infections has stopped, that nowhere in Britain does contact tracing appear as a key part of the Covid-19 response, and that only Scotland encourages testing.

Faced with an alarming tendency for government to fudge the scientific and medical advice it is getting and to relax social distancing and infection control measures, the sensible reaction is to take extra personal care.

Millions of people have learnt to modify their behaviour. They are also learning to distrust the government.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

PM BORIS Johnson was condemned yesterday after trying to pin the 20,000 plus coronavirus deaths in care homes on care home staff saying: ‘Too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures’ during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mark Adams, CEO of charity Community Integrated Care, told the BBC the PM’s comments were ‘cowardly’. He continued: ‘I think at best this was clumsy and cowardly. But to be honest with you, if this is genuinely his view, I think we’re almost entering a Kafkaesque alternative reality where the government sets the rules, we follow them, they don’t like the results, they then deny setting the rules and blame the people that were trying to do their best.’

By Ceren Sagir in Britain, 8 July 2020:

The government still has no plans for PPE shortages, MPs warn, after PM blames care homes

THE government still has no proper plans to ensure that hospitals and care homes have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with a second wave of coronavirus, MPs have warned today.

The cross-party Commons public accounts committee said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) was not treating the issue with “sufficient urgency.”

It comes after Downing Street declined to apologise for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments on Monday, when he implied that care homes might be to blame for deaths because “too many … didn’t really follow the procedures.”

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain, 7 July 2020:

Commons catering staff could be advised to walk out over unsafe conditions amid pandemic, says union

CATERING staff at the House of Commons could be advised to walk out if health and safety measures are not put in place, a union warned today.

The London region branch of GMB is calling on management to adhere to regulations and the government’s guidance on Covid-19, and to meet five coronavirus safety tests.

If the tests are not passed and protective measures are not enacted “as a matter of urgency,” they will consider the workplace unsafe and tell staff that they have the right to leave, the union said.

UK: Coronavirus exposes Leicester’s sweatshops and government hypocrisy. By Thomas Scripps, 8 July 2020. Government ministers have struck a pose of outrage at a situation they have ignored for years and want to replicate across the country.

British Conservatives mismanage COVID-19 disaster, doctors say


This 23 June 2020 video from England says about itself:

Healthworkers take a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Windrush Day 2020, 5pm: Health workers at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, take a knee in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. Simultaneous actions also took place at King’s, South London and Maudsley, and Lewisham hospitals.

Mark Boothroyd, Unite branch secretary for Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “The NHS has the same problems of systemic racism as every other part of society.

“With over 50% of nursing staff in London being from BME backgrounds and directly affected by this, it is important staff can show their support for Black Lives Matter, and push their own employers to make changes to tackle the ongoing issue of racism in the NHS.”

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “The best way to honour the legacy of Windrush Day is to ensure no nurse, or health and care worker, who trained overseas, and helped in this pandemic, feels alien in this country.

“Granting automatic, indefinite leave to remain to international health and care workers who helped tackle this virus should be instinctive.

“The services and support that they provide, though brought to the fore through this pandemic, have always been essential. They are, and always will be, key workers.”

From daily News Line in Britain today:

‘Abysmal response’ to corona – experts warn antibody tests are ‘invalid’

EXPERTS have heavily criticised the Tories’ ‘ad hoc system’ for coronavirus tracking, testing and contact tracing, stating that the government’s ‘abysmal response’ means that many suspected cases will have been missed while other professionals are questioning whether the anti-body tests fundamentally can actually tell us anything at all.

In a special report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) yesterday, Peter Roderick and colleagues from Newcastle University question why the government has eroded England’s established system of local infectious disease control and created a parallel system which relies on private companies for testing and contact tracing.

They are concerned by clear and reported failings in this parallel system, warning that many suspected cases will have been missed, and arguing that contact tracing and testing ‘should be led by local authorities and coordinated nationally’.

Historically, England’s system of communicable disease control has relied on experience and close cooperation between local health services and local authorities, they explain.

That local system has gradually been eroded over several decades. But instead of prioritising and rebuilding this system at the start of this epidemic, the government has created a separate system which steers patients away from GPs, avoids local authorities, and relies on commercial companies and laboratories to track, test, and contact trace.

Questioning the validity of the antibody test, Oxford GP Dr Helen Salisbury commented: ‘We don’t know what the results mean. There are increasing numbers of people who are fairly sure that they have had the virus and some who have even had positive tests for the actual antigen when they were ill who are getting negative antibody tests which is really interesting. So although having a positive test may tell you that you did have it, having a negative test, we are not sure about that.

‘We normally do tests when we know what to do with the answers. I am really quite concerned that patients who understandably want to have this test are going to be looking to GPs to both counsel them before they have had a test and explain the results afterwards and that is going to take up a lot of our time, and we do not have the answers to give them.

‘So, everyone really wanted there to be this idea of an immunity passport: You have got antibodies, you are safe. It is just not true, we just don’t know that, and people are going to be very confused.

‘We can’t as clinicians and scientists, work out a good reason for this sudden “everyone can have an anti-body test rhetoric”, because it does not make sense.

‘It does, however, make sense to be doing lots of tests in the context of research, if we can put together who has had symptoms, who has had a positive test after having the virus before, what do their antibodies look like and what happens next.

‘If we collected all that data and did research on it, which people are doing, that would make sense.

‘But just to roll out the test for anyone who would like it, which is really what we have been told, does not make any sense at all.’

William Irving, Professor of Virology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences at the University of Nottingham agreed. He said: ‘When you have a test where when the result is negative it makes no difference and when the result is positive it makes no difference, there isn’t really a huge logic to doing the test in the first place.

‘We are under pressure, in the NHS, to be careful with resources, to only do tests which are meaningful, which the clinician can interpret, which will help with patient care.

‘The antibody test fails on those accounts.

‘The presence of antibodies does not tell you anything about whether the patient is protected against any future infection.’

British Conservative Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 mismanagement, cartoon


British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson's coronavirus mismanagement, cartoon

This cartoon by Citizen Chicane is about British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s coronavirus mismanagement.

Boris Johnson accused of putting business interests before public health: here.

Why is Britain’s coronavirus response so poor? The Covid-19 failure has deep roots within the ideology of successive governments that have been committed to centralised, privatised solutions and hostile to the public sector, says SOLOMON HUGHES.

British Conservative PM Johnson’s racism, parody music


This 15 June 2020 satiric music video from Britain about Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson is called Borissey – Big Mouth Strikes Again (‘Racism Only’ version).

It is a parody of the song by Morrissey – Big Mouth Strikes Again.

It says about itself:

The Prime Minister is right – we must not erase our history.

LYRICS:

Libya, Libya I was only joking when I said
You could be like Dubai once you clear away all the dead
Take a joke, Libya

And Africans
Africans, it was just my inimitable style
When I called you piccaninnies with watermelon smiles
Just a bit of humour

And now I know just how those Sikhs felt
Now I know how all those Sikhs felt
When I turned up to their temple
And went mental
And banged on about whisky tariffs

Big mouth, la la la
Big mouth, la la la
Big mouth strikes again
I’ve every right to judge you based
Upon your race

Women in burkas
Women in burkas, it was really nothing when I joshed
That you all look like a letterbox
And a bank robber

And Obama
Obama, I was only joking when I mentioned
That you have an ancestral dislike of the UK
Because you’re Kenyan

And Burma – is it still called Burma?
Burma, I assure you I was only quipping
When I rocked up and recited Kipling

And Jews
Jews, I was only saying it in jest
When I wrote that you control the press
And rig elections

And Papa New Guinea
Papa New Guinea, I was only being playful
When I called you chief-killing cannibals

And Uganda
Uganda, I was only joking when I said…

After Grenfell disaster, British Conservatives still anti-safety


The remains of Grenfell Tower in London, England

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain, 11 June 2020:

Grenfell campaigners and Labour slam ministers for failing to meet deadline for removal of flammable cladding

THE Tory government was slammed today after it failed to meet its own deadline for removing all flammable cladding from buildings.

There are still about 300 buildings covered in aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, three years on from the anniversary this Sunday of the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people.

In July 2019, then Housing Secretary James Brokenshire set a deadline of June 2020 for all Grenfell-style cladding to be removed and replaced on tower blocks.

Coronavirus danger in schools in Johnson’s Britain


This 1 June 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

The Government Has Learnt Nothing, Expect A Second Wave | Professor John Ashton

“The government is recklessly taking us into this unknown situation where we could be right back where we were in a matter of weeks” 00:00 Easing lockdown 02:17 Herd Immunity 2.0? 02:49 Too little, too late 03:53 First duty fo government 05:33 Blame the public 06:37 Track and trace 07:58 Politically led science 09:03 Scientific advisers speak up 10:07 Hope 10:51 Trust 11:57 Playing games with the public 12:42 People power

This 1 June 2020 satiric video from Britain says about itself:

Time for your special #BackToSchool workout with The Body Count himself, BoJo Wicks [Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson].

It is a parody of Joe Wicks, British TV fitness coach.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

Thousands Of Parents, Pupils & Teachers To Defy Tories Today

THOUSANDS of teachers, as well as the parents of hundreds of thousands of pupils, are set to defy the government’s instructions for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to resume classes today.

Appearing on Sky TV’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday programme yesterday, Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, the biggest teachers union, was asked: ‘Do you support more children going back to primary school tomorrow?’

She replied: ‘No. We think that tomorrow is too soon and we have made that argument very, very clearly for a number of weeks now ever since Boris Johnson made his announcement on 10th May.’

Earlier, four members of the government’s scientific advisory body expressed worries about the safety of primary school opening.

SAGE members Professor Peter Horby, chair of the government’s New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG); Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Institute; John Edmunds, professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Calum Semple, professor in Child Health and Outbreak Medicine all expressed fears about the easing of lockdown.

Professor Horby warned that SAGE ‘does not have a good handle’ on the role of children and schools in transmission.

Professor Edmunds said: ‘There are still 8,000 new infections every day in England without counting those in hospitals and care homes … If you look at it internationally, it’s a very high level of incidence.

Professor Farrar tweeted: ‘Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England.’ Professor Semple said: ‘Essentially, we’re lifting the lid on a boiling pan and it’s just going to bubble over … We need to get it down to simmer before we take the lid off, and it’s too early.’

He also said that levels of transmission and hospital admissions are still too high. ‘I think a political decision has been made to tie in with when school was due to start, were everything normal, but it’s not normal.’

In response, NEU joint general secretaries Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted said: ‘This public break by four prominent members of the government’s SAGE committee changes everything.

‘No-one can now confidently assert that it is safe to open schools more widely from Monday.

‘All four of these independent members of SAGE agree that there must be a lower number of cases and an efficient system of contact tracing working before there is a relaxation of lockdown measures. Both these measures are included in the NEU’s Five Tests.

‘Opening schools more widely runs the risk of increasing the R rate and therefore the level of risk to staff and to parents.’

Dr Bousted commented: ‘So that’s the government’s own SAGE advisor, Professor Peter Horby, who didn’t know to what extent and whether children transmit the virus.’

She warned: ‘The government has given up on social distancing in schools. They talk about cohort distancing – so there are 15 children in a class with a teacher, for five or six hours a day. Those children are from families who from tomorrow will be able to go out and socialise with six other people.

‘We’re asking them, without PPE, and without social distancing, to go into schools at a time when the rate of infection is still the sixth highest incidence in the world!’