Bernard Jenkin MP left with egg on face after ‘Grassroots Out’ meeting fails to hatch

Bernard Jenkin MP
Bernard Jenkin MP was left with egg on his face after only 3 people turned up to his 'Vote Leave' meeting // Image Twitter (and a bit of Photoshopping)
Bernard Jenkin MP was left with egg on his face after only 3 people turned up to his ‘Vote Leave’ meeting // Image Twitter (and a bit of Photoshopping)

Conservative Bernard Jenkin MP was left with egg on his face this evening after people failed to turn up to an anti-European Union meeting which the MP been invited to speak at.

‘Grassroots Out’, an anti-EU group also supported by UKIP Leader and unelectable-as-an-MP Nigel Farage, invited Bernard Jenkin MP to talk in favour of leaving the EU at a meeting at Colchester Town Hall.

Just three guests turn up to the meeting despite chairs for some 200 being put out. Ouch!

 

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Why the Tories think turning all schools into Academies is a good idea

Tories think turning all schools into Academies

In case your missed this post on Twitter, actor David Schneider posted a cracking list of reasons why the Tories think turning all schools into Academies is a good idea. It goes a little bit like this:

Why turning all schools into Academies is a good idea:

  • Takes schools out of the hands of experts and hands them to people who can make money out of them
  • Offers a complete top-down reorganisation that wasn’t promised in the manifesto because that worked so well for the NHS
  • Frees parents from the burden of having a say in the running of their local school
  • Empowers teachers and headteachers by telling them exactly what’s right for them
  • Guarantees higher standards by not taking children with additional learning or other needs
  • Removes control from evil, democratically elected councils in favour of nice, unaccountable central bureaucracies
  • Helps fulfill potential, such as academy CEOs potential to earn 200K+ or make money from employing their own companies

I’m just going to leave this here…

The post came from David Schneider // Twitter
The post came from David Schneider // Twitter
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Cameron & Osborne: step up and save Port Talbot

As news was announced that Tata Steel plan to close Port Talbot steel works, the question on everyone’s lips was this: If the Government can bail-out a failing banks to save jobs and help the economy, why can’t it do the same for Port Talbot?

The Conservative Business Secretary Sajid Javid was ordered back from Austrailia this week when it became obvious that things were about to go from bad to worse in a deal to try and save the steel works. In an interview on 30th March he said that the steel industry is “absolutely vital” for UK economy; whilst in the same sentence he said “I don’t think that nationalisation is the answer”.

The Government has also refused to recall Parliament to discuss the problems Port Talbot faces despite thousands of jobs being on the line.

There are 5,500 people employed at Port Talbot but the knock-on effect for the local economy could be huge. From local shops, contractors, restaurants, pubs, hotels – thousands of other jobs and services supplying the Works and it’s employees would go.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Port Talbot should be taken into state hands. In an interview of Channel 4 news Mr Corbyn said: “these are people who have given their lives to the industry”.

Mr Corbyn also bought up the issue of low-cost steel flooding the European market from China.

What are the Government’s options?

Actually, quite a few. Firstly, they should reverse the desperate attempts to attempt to hand so much British money to China in the form of Nuclear energy deals. Put pressure on the Chinese government to understand that the EU – the UK – will not continue to accept steel made with absolutely no regard to how it is produced or where it is sold. Quite simply, we will not accept steel dumping.

Secondly, they should introduce a higher tariff for imported steel outside of the EU.

Next, the Government should work with Tata to attempt to find more energy efficient methods of producing steel. The should look at making the site more appealing for Research and Development.

If all else fails, the Government should step in to save a potential 10,000 jobs at Port Talbot and the surrounding area. £1.1bn was spent bailing out the banks after they bought the UK to it’s knees. Like millions of others around the country the employees at the Port Talbot steel works suffered job insecurity, increased living costs and no payrise for years.

It’s time the “little guy” was given a break. It’s time that David Cameron and George Osborne stepped up the plate and did the right thing to save Port Talbot.

 

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Why the Tories won’t stop jeering Jeremy Corbyn

As I began watching Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday I was immediately embarrassed by the Conservatives childish reaction to Jeremy Corbyn.

Once again Mr Corbyn took to the dispatch box and was instantly subjected to a tirade of jeering from the other side of the House, which was so awkward to watch that it made me wince. Wince because I knew that as I was watching this childish display so were another 250,000 people. A quarter of a million people watching an elected Member of Parliament being shouted at by 300 buffoons.

So why do the Tories consistently jeer at Corbyn? Because they’re scared. Scared of a new Labour Leader who takes an approach they haven’t seen before and which they haven’t yet developed a way to counteract. Scared by a man who, unlike their own leader, is able to contain his emotion under pressure. A man who doesn’t get visibly agitated when the questions aren’t going his way. A man who, unlike Cameron, won’t tow the party line when he’s told to.

 

Reconnecting with the public

When Jeremy Corbyn began to ask David Cameron questions from Labour supporters at his first PMQs, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I was concerned that the approach could be construed by the Tories as desperation on behalf of the party to find any possible way to reconnect with the voters that they lost in the 2015 General Election.

What actually happened was that it personalised the questions. For the first time, Cameron was directly answerable to a member of the public; in front of thousands of people. People, like me, who often feel that they don’t have any sort of voice past their local Councillor.

Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying it was a clever move. First of all it makes potential voters feel that they are valued, that their emails and letters are being read and that the Labour Party is actually listening to them. Just like a company making their customers feel valued, it’s a proven marketing strategy to hold on to.

Secondly, it puts the wind up the Tories. They simply hate the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is asking questions which matter to people who work hard every day to make ends meet. Even more, they hate that Corbyn is asking questions for the people which the present Conservative government have attacked time and time again; teachers, nurses, unskilled workers, low earners, the disabled and now students.

 

If they’re jeering, they’re fearing

OK, so that’s a pretty poor slogan, but it works for me. If the Tories are jeering Jeremy Corbyn they’re doing so to stop him from being heard. They don’t want the public to hear what he has to say so the best they can do it to try and drown him out. Of course it doesn’t work as the Speaker of the House persistently reminds MPs that the public want to hear the questions…and the answers.

 

Whilst I’m on the subject of answers…

Why does David Cameron insist on answering questions with questions? The entire point of PMQ’s is that the PM is asked a question and gives an answer. David Cameron is a persistent offender dodging questions or replying with an attack. Today was no different. Last week it was jibes about the time it took Jeremy Corbyn to reshuffle the Shadow Cabinet; totally irrelevant to the questions he was asked.

However, it’s good for Labour. The public aren’t stupid and sooner or later they’re going to be as fed up with the Conservatives approach as I find myself.

I wrote to Jon Bercow in June 2015 and I’ll leave you with my email and his response:

Dear Mr Bercow,

This week, the Leader of the Opposition was given the opportunity to ask six questions. However, the Prime Minister once again refused to answer the questions, generally responding with another question. Surely the entire point of the debate is for the PM to answer questions; if he constantly insists of responding with another question it completely defeats to point of the process. As if it isn’t disrespectful that Minister’s insisted on shouting whilst Harriet Harman was talking it is even more so when Mr Cameron then refuses to give a straight answer.

Later in the debate, Cat Smith asked a question and was then subject to a sarcastic and flippant response from the PM. Surely this kind of debating isn’t conducive to engaging the public?

Perhaps it would be prudent to remind Mr Cameron that the name of the half-hour debate is ‘Prime Minister’s Questions’, not ‘Leader of the Opposition’s Questions’!

His response:

Dear Mr Hicks,

Mr Speaker would like to thank you for your email of 6 June and to reply on his behalf.

The Speaker has asked me to explain that he is the servant of the House and can only operate within the powers which the House has granted him. These do not include the authority to adjudicate on the content or quality of questions asked and answers given in the Chamber. Such a power would, in any event, be inconsistent with the requirement for the Speaker to act impartially, since it would necessarily be a political act. The most that the Speaker can do is to remind the House of the purpose and expected form of questions and answers, and to exhort Members and Ministers to bear this in mind. Ultimately, Members take responsibility for their own choice of words and you may therefore wish to draw your concerns directly to the attention of the Prime Minister.

Mr Speaker thanks you for taking the time to write in with your kind words and feedback.

Kind regards,

Jade

Jade Knight | Secretary to the Speaker’s Secretary

House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

It was worth a go I suppose!

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Jada Pinkett-Smith Oscar’s ‘People of Color’ rant was a self-serving exercise

Jada Pinkett-Smith

I’ve just seen Jada Pinkett-Smith complaining that there weren’t enough “people of color” nominated for Oscar awards this year and as a result she (and a number of other celebrities) have announced they will boycott the event.

For a start, I find the term “people of colour” awkward. What colour, exactly, are we talking about? I’m white. Well, unless I run 10 metres and then I’m a bit red. Last time I checked, white was a colour. So was red. Is she accusing the Oscars of being racist?

Or is she just upset that her husband didn’t get an award?

I don’t look at my peers and see a “colour” – so why does she? I also didn’t see many Downes Syndrome actors win Oscars. Or people suffering from Cerebral Palsy. I didn’t see any Welsh. There were also no monks awarded. In fact, I didn’t see any fat people, either. Perhaps fat people only get Golden Globes.

Most importantly here, however, is the Jada Pinkett Smith is factually incorrect; and I can prove it.

 

Jada Pinkett-Smith is wrong – and the facts prove it.

I was shown a post on Facebook in which a member had heavily researched the statistics and found the Jada Pinkett-Smith was actually wrong. Factually wrong.

Leondre McBride’s Facebook Post is quoted below. Feel free to follow the links. He’s really don’t a great job here:

Being the Free Black Thinker that I am, I did some digging on the Oscars winnings.
In the last 20 years:

15% of Best Leading Actors were black
10% of Best Supporting Actors were black
5% of Best Leading Actresses were black
20% of Best Supporting actresses were black

When you count an average percentage (15+10+5+20) you get the sum of 50/4 = 12.5%.

According to the US Census Bureau Data 2014, blacks are around 13.2% of the US population. In 1990 it was 12.1%. In 2000 it was 12.3%. In 2010 it was 12.6%.

Guess what this means!!! Blacks are actually almost perfectly represented at the Oscars! But wait, that cant be because Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike said othwrwise! But yall just go back to making us look stupid because you get all emotional without fact checking anything. Let the news and social media decide when you get upset, then try and make people believe you aren’t dumb.

The big problem with most of you is that you cant make up your minds. You claim you don’t need the approval of “white people” and then you beg and whine for acceptance and approval. If you have your pride, what does it matter who accepts you and who doesn’t?

Final Thoughts:

  1. Stop being so quick to jump on whatever is trending without having done any research on it. Most of the time you end up looking stupid
  2. Stop begging for acceptance by those who (at least in your mind) hate you. You look pathetic and convoluted
  3. If they’re racist and dont want you there, why would you want to be there? Go start your own and make it available to people of all colors. If youre going to go make yours mutually exclusive based on race, you cant complain about ‪#‎OscarsSoWhite‬. It would be the height of hypocrisy.-The Free Black Thinker

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Why does the Government keeping awarding G4S new contracts?

G4S

As yet more failings were uncovered by G4S, a question is posed: why does the Government keeping awarding G4S new contracts?

As I if the BBC Panorama program on the abuses at Medway Secure Training Centre in Rochester in January 2016 was enough evidence, now the company is accused of fraud.

For those who didn’t catch the program, it featured some G4S staff at the centre using unnecessary force, foul language and attempting to cover-up their behaviour when later questioned. Some of the teenage inmates were bullied, punched, kicked and threatened. This from a company which received £140,000 per annum, per inmate, to care for them.

Of course not all of the inmates were angels – nobody is that naive – but there was definitely a culture of unacceptable behaviour within the ranks of the staff who were supposed to be acting a role models to this wayward young people.

A plethora of mistakes from G4S

It beggars belief that the government continues to award contracts to G4S given the track record of the company. For example to debacle which was the London 2012 Olympics security fiasco which resulted in the eventual resignation of G4S chief Nick Buckles.

In 2010, G4S were found guilty of the unlawful killing of Jimmy Mubenga.

Then there was the issue of the company ‘losing’ two prisoners in 2011. Let’s not forget when two prison guards lost keys to a prison just days after G4S took on the contract; costing £500,000 to replace locks and keys.

In 2014 they were accused by some influential people (which included Desmond Tutu) of being complicit “in Israel’s abuse of child prisoners” for which G4S supplied security in some prisons.

There were the fraud allegations of 2013 which ended up with G4S paying £109 million to the government due to overcharging for electronic tagging.

Fourteen children who were assaulted by G4S (and Serco) staff while being detained in secure training centres (STCs) between 2004 and 2008 and received  £100,000 between them in compensation. A third of it was paid by state funded compensation. One of the children involved in the case would hang himself within moments of being mistreated by restraining staff.

In January 2016 it was discovered that G4S had painted the front doors of the homes of immigrants red, which had led to local people throwing stones and eggs at them. G4S denied that they had painted the doors to deliberately identify the homes of migrants.

It seems that G4S are the epitome of privatisation putting the public – and public purse – at risk. At best they are amoral. At worst people in their care die.

 

Awarded a new contract in 2017 despite fraud allegation

In July 2017 people criticised the Ministry of Justice after it awarded G4S a £25million contract to electronically tag offended, despite an ongoing Serious Fraud Office investigation.

 

Serious concerns over G4S running discrimination helpline

In September 2016 a High Court hearing over the contract to run a national discrimination helpline being awarded to G4S raised “serious and legitimate grounds for concern” which risked undermining the service’s credibility.

So why are G4S awarded contract after contract?

There’s no one single answer for this. First we have to look at the monopoly which G4S has in the market it operates within. In 2014 a report from The Commons Public Accounts Committee said that the UK Government relied on “Quasi-monopoly suppliers are emerging who squeeze out competition, often from smaller companies with specific experience.”

In other words, G4S use their shareholder investment and wealth to wipe out any smaller company which might attempt to take some of the sector away. Wipe out the competition and you leave a government with almost nowhere else to turn. This also means that they can get away with consistently poor results as there is no other company to compare them too or which is able to take on such a large contract. In effect, they engineer their position in the market to secure it. Easy work when you’re a multimillion pound company.

There has also been suggestion that a number of UK Government Officials have financial links to G4S which would benefit them should G4S be awarded new contracts. It’s difficult to prove this as there is currently no requirement for officials to declare any interest in such companies. For further reading you might like to read ‘The Strange Non-death of Neoliberalism‘ by author Colin Crouch.

G4S aren’t the only company at it. There’s another. Just one other. Serco. They also have a chequered history of making money from the misery and ruin of others. G4S should be a failed company by now, but the Government won’t allow it.

 

Credits

I would like to credit Laura Challinor for her assistance with the research of part of this article, which I will be using to expand it in the future.

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