Week in Review – June 21st – 27th
By TruePublica Editor: It’s been another dreadful week for Britain’s PM Boris Johnson and the wider Tory party – as if that was remotely possible – but succeed they did. The week before, pollsters confirmed that Johnson’s handling of the pandemic has not impressed anyone and so new Labour leader Keir Starmer’s popularity roared ahead by well over 20 points. As we entered this week, a study confirmed that out of 28 countries in a large scale poll of 34,000 people, Britain was ranked second to last – for trust in government – just above Russia. In the meantime, the national debt pile is now almost £2trillion – and the PM decides this is a good time to spend a £1m on a paint job for his official plane, whilst £350million is dished out on wasted contracts that achieved nothing in the pandemic. Just about all of the governments’ own C19 targets are missed and then lied about. And let’s not mention that a man who kicks a football for a living, outsmarted the collective IQ of the government and embarrassed them into a U-Turn on a policy of denying free school meals to kids whose parents are barely able to feed them.
Not content, the government fired up the culture war in the midst of a global reckoning on racism. The appointment of Munira Mirza didn’t help one bit and Dominic Raab showed his credentials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when Speaking on Talk Radio when he said that taking the knee is a symbol of subordination that ‘comes from Game Of Thrones’. Then to cap a truly mind-boggling week of failure and pot-stirring – Tory Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick gets embroiled in a scandalous case of corruption. Jenrick granted permission for a £1bn development on 14 January, just one day before the council’s revised community infrastructure levy (CIL) rates came into force, potentially saving the developer, Tory donor Richard Desmond, between £30m and £50m. The developer made a donation to the Tory party soon after getting his timely permissions. The police have confirmed they won’t be taking the case forward.
Talking of donors, the government announced a £1.5 million loan to a company owned by an Egyptian billionaire less than a week after it made a £125,000 donation to the Conservative Party. The Tories are accused of exchanging political favours “for large amounts of hard cash” – although, to be fair, this is not news to anyone anymore.
Boris Johnson U-Turns on Sunday trading hours after objections from dozens of Tory back-benchers and is also accused of not taking child poverty seriously. Johnson dismissed the rising poverty rate and claimed it had declined – despite research revealing 600,000 more children are now living in poverty than in 2012. Just for clarity – the latest report by the Social Mobility Commission also stated that the UK child poverty rate is projected to increase to 5.2 million by 2022. There are approximately 12.4 million under 16s in the UK, so by 2022 – the sixth wealthiest country on earth will have 42 per cent of its children living in comparative poverty.
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Sued again (and again) (and) (and) (and) …
Taxpayers desperately needed money is now being burned by the truckload defending the government in court cases over negligence, mismanagement and malfeasance.
The Government is being sued by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism for refusing to release the Russia Report.
UK Government also faces a lawsuit over its ‘failure’ to provide proper COVID-19 support for ‘precarious workers’ – and separately for not fully disclosing documents relating to a 2016 pandemic simulation test.
The Government is also being sued over a very dodgy £108 million PPE contract to a company owned by two ‘geezers’ in a marina lockup whose company is worth less the £20k and two doctors have launched legal action against the government’s incorrect advice and actions over PPE.
Last Tuesday, three judges at the Court of Appeal have unanimously dismissed a Government appeal over a court case it lost over Universal Credit. The judges ruled that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (SSWP) has “acted irrationally and unlawfully” by making universal credit regulations which fail to take into account that the date monthly salaries are paid can vary because of weekends and bank holidays. 85,000 people are now expected to make claims for lost income.
Although aviation companies are getting government (taxpayer loans), BA is suing over new quarantine rules and Easyjet and RyanAir are both doing the same along with a rich aviation businessman who is suing the government over the lockdown.
Afghan refugees are suing the Home Office for their treatment at an immigration removal centre and in the same week, the government was sued (and lost) under cover of the pandemic for handing city traders illegal tax breaks.
In other news…
Nice work if you can get: It’s nice to know that one in five MPs has regular paid work outside parliament earning an annual total of £3.35 million from second jobs (source). Just one of those incomes comes from being a lawmaker who just happens to be debating gene-editing and allowing GMO’s to be grown in Britain – whilst being invested in … companies specialising in gene editing and GMO food production.
Tory Vandalism: The government is accused of ‘political vandalism‘ as it announces its plans to merge the Department for International Development into the Foreign Office. Almost 200 charities have called on the government to reverse its decision as have three former PM’s, including David Cameron, who all accused Johnson of jeopardising Britain’s standing in the world.
Independence: A recent survey has shown independence for Scotland rises to 54%. A Tory MP has been trolled by pro-EU Twitter users after he claimed that the break-up of the union would ‘destabilise our whole nation’. It’s astonishing that some people walking the corridors of power are so blinded by their ideologies they can’t see the obvious.
Trump card: As Trump realises his electoral prospects this November are looking shaky – he’s spreading fake news about vote-rigging. The question is now being asked – will Trump be the first American president to not recognise democracy and call in the military to crush dissidents. After sacking military generals by the dozen and leaving 60 office doors with no name tags at the Pentagon, constitutional law is now at serious threat. America is already ‘on edge’ and civil insurrection seems to be the worry of politico’s and mentioned frequently in the commentariat (recommended reading).
Swede’s take it on the chin: The data is in – Sweden’s herd-immunity handling of the pandemic has failed. The quest for herd immunity resulted in too many infectious carriers, causing disastrous results for those over 80, who accounted for 66% of Sweden’s deaths. This was Boris Johnson’s original plan – “to let it sweep over us and take it on the chin.”
Death in a sentence: Disabled women with limiting disabilities aged under 65 are 11.3 times more likely to die than non-disabled females, disabled men aged under 65 with limiting disabilities are 6.5 times more likely to die, and a third of all lives lost to Coronavirus in the UK have been those of disabled people according to new data released by the ONS.
Covid Whitewash: If ever there was a cover-up of a huge government scandal that should be investigating corruption, nepotism and malfeasance – it would be shining a light on national governance during a crisis. An ally of Boris Johnson, and a former Vote Leave board member, has offered to lead an inquiry into the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Facts of the week
- The average white British household has around £282k in wealth, including property, according to figures from the ONS. Black African’s have less than 1/10 of that at £23,800. For every £1 that white households have, black African households have just 10p and black Caribbean have 20p. (source)
- Those who reported having no religion had the lowest rate of deaths due to COVID19: males: 80.7 deaths per 100,000, females: 47.9 deaths per 100,000. (source)
- 93 per cent more people in care have died this year than the yearly average equalling 13.6 per cent od care home residents (source)
- In 2018, 40% of people who took the train or tube to work worked in either the information and communication, finance and insurance or professional services industries, in all of which many workers are able to work from home (source)
- What disease has an infection rate of 70 per cent, kills 2-5 per cent of children but 15-30 per cent of adults, is spread from person to person, only occurs in humans, existed for thousands of years, kills the poor more than the rich, infected every country in the world and killed 350,000 in its peak year? Polio (source)
- The Economist is analysing polling, economic and demographic data to predict America’s elections in 2020 – it’s first result from extensive polling work is that Biden will win (source)
- One in four adults in the UK are experiencing food insecurity, which is likely to have left them susceptible to hunger and potential malnutrition, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (source)
No one really knows what will really happen to the economy by the year-end as it is heavily dependant on a second wave, if we get one, and the severity of it. Or indeed, what the government will do in any of those scenarios. The business news this week is very optimistic. City Am, Bloomberg, This Is Money, Guardian Business all report optimism returning. The FTSE crashed from 7,500 on Feb19th to 4,993 to March 3rd and now sits around 6,320 in a cautious climb as confidence returns. But beware, a lot could go wrong. Unemployment figures, business failures, debt defaults, profit warnings, property values and so on have yet to show the real impact of C19 on the economy. In addition, the services sector has been hit really hard and the lockdown is not yet over for many businesses.
This is the worst recession in 300 years and the contraction of the economy in 2020 is estimated to be about 8 per cent – worse than the 2008 bank-led financial crisis that saw the economy contract by 6.2 per cent over five consecutive quarters. In 2007, the national debt was 35 per cent of GDP, in 2017 it was well over 80 per cent. Despite the denials from banks and politicians – that crisis cost the taxpayer over £1trillion and a decade of austerity. Today’s national debt is now bigger than the economy itself for the first time since 1963. The government are in a position where they’ve promised the great ‘levelling-up’ infrastructure programme to red-wall MP’s in the north of the country but don’t have the money. Brexit has cost the British economy £600m a week in lost earnings since mid-2016 – and a recession was about to be recorded when the pandemic arrived – so where will they find the cash? Expect an autumn budget (even though they were cancelled last year).
The coronavirus crisis continues to expose the underlying fragility of the UK economy. New analysis by the New Economics Foundation and the Living Wage Foundation shows that while unemployment was near record lows on the eve of the crisis, 5.1 million UK workers were in low-paid, insecure work. Of these, 1.3 million were key workers and two million were parents. The warning is – “millions at now at risk of slipping into low-paid, insecure work as the economy recovers from coronavirus.”
The pound now an emerging-market currency in all but name. Yes – this is an actual headline. The world’s oldest currency is being crushed by Brexit. Analysts at Bank of America say that Brexit has turned it into a mirror of the “small and shrinking” UK economy and concluded. – ‘The pound is now more akin to a liquid emerging market currency than a core G10 currency.’ The USD dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and Swiss franc — as one of the most heavily traded and therefore safest currencies in the world.
Tweets of the week
By Rob Woodward – TruePublica: David Cameron sold three nuclear weapons of a foreign state, put them in unsafe hands and the Conservative party banks nearly £19 million which then sets the pretext for a conflict that kills a million people. Conspiracy theory? Fake news? Read on…
By ByLine Times: The Prime Minister’s attempts to show his understanding of Aussies and New Zealanders fell flat this week – as have his attempts for post-Brexit trade.
By The London School of Economics: The likely impacts of the pandemic on the divide in economic and cultural values, gender politics, the future of the EU, and the future of the UK.
By TEFR: Written by TruePublica’s founder and became recommended reading by Tala Kebe at the United Nations. This article looks at what happened after other big global events that changed the world and what’s likely to happen next after Covid-19.
By Dr Nafeez Ahmed – Insurge Intelligence: The COVID19 pandemic has exposed a strange anomaly in the global economy. If it doesn’t keep growing endlessly, it just breaks. Grow, or die. But there’s a deeper problem – overconsumption by the rich.