From Stop Funding Hate: 50% of the British public believes that The Sun newspaper has a negative influence on our society, according to a new YouGov poll commissioned by Stop Funding Hate. Just one in twenty people (5%) see the newspaper’s influence as positive.
The Yougov poll also reveals a striking, nationwide consensus: Across every British region, age group, and demographic polled, more people see The Sun’s influence as negative rather than positive. In the north of England, 53% expressed this view. Among young people aged 18-24, the figure was 57%. Figures for London reflected the national average.
The public’s faith in the Daily Mail is also low: As with the Sun, in every age group, demographic and region, more people see the Mail’s influence as negative rather than positive. Overall, more than one in three people (38%) believe that the paper has a negative influence. Only one in ten (10%) see the newspaper’s influence as positive. The poll shows a greater variance across different groups (for example 28% of people over 65 see the Daily Mail’s influence as negative, with 18% seeing it as positive). Meanwhile almost half of people aged 18-24 (48%) believe that the Daily Mail has a negative influence on society.
Research by the European Broadcasting Union has previously found that the UK press is the least trusted in Europe.
From The Guardian: Sam Allardyce has branded the growing number of foodbanks in Britain a national disgrace, after visiting one in his role as Everton FC manager this week.
Allardyce, together with his assistant Sammy Lee, donated food on behalf of the club to the North Liverpool foodbank on Thursday. Supporters of Everton and Liverpool have held regular collections for the facility, one of 428 operated within the Trussell Trust Network, having set up the Fans Supporting Foodbanks initiative. Three wards surrounding Goodison Park are among the poorest in Europe, with up to 42% of families living under the Living Wage Foundation’s poverty line.
After praising the patients, parents and staff at Alder Hey, he said: “It’s extremely depressing that a country of this magnitude, and where it thinks it lies in itself, can allow so many food banks to be operating in this country.
Owen Jones writes in the Guardian: “Thatcherism – or neoliberalism, whichever you want to call it – tried to bulldoze every last remnant of solidarity we felt – and it failed. ‘We have to move this country in a new direction,’ Margaret Thatcher declared after her first election triumph, ‘to change the way we look at things, to create a wholly new attitude of mind.’
“I wonder how she would feel reading a new survey by the European commission asking EU citizens whether, by 2030, they would prefer a society that gave more importance to solidarity or to individualism. She would undoubtedly be heartened to find that Britain comes joint top of the individualism league table. But she would probably be dispirited to read that only 29% favoured individualism, with a solid 52% hoping for more solidarity.
“That doesn’t mean there aren’t formidable challenges to building socialism in modern Britain. The fragmentation of society has been pursued as a deliberate Tory strategy ever since the days of Thatcher. After her triumph over Michael Foot, the late Tory leader lamented that ‘socialism was still built into the institutions and mentality of Britain’. She listed as examples the high level of union membership, the millions who remained council tenants, and a leftwing ethos in education.”
[Read full column on Guardian website…]
Appearing on BBC Question Time, Labour MP Rebecca Long-Bailey tells it like it is about #ToryBritain: 121,000 children do not have a home, rough sleeping has doubled since 2010, while at the same time house building is at its lowest level since the 1920s.
Rebecca Long-Bailey on homelessness
This from Rebecca Long-Bailey should shame the Tory Govt – 121,000 children do not have a home, rough sleeping has doubled since 2010 while at the same time housing building is at its lowest level since the 1920s. Disgraceful #bbcqt
Posted by Imajsaclaimant on Thursday, December 14, 2017
The single “Streets of London”, by Ralph McTell featuring The Crisis Choir and Annie Lennox, is available now for download at https://ada.lnk.to/hgkbRAW
All proceeds to the homelessness charity Crisis.
'Let’s make homelessness No.1 this Christmas.’ Thank you Jeremy Corbyn for backing Streets of London by Ralph McTell, The Crisis Choir and Annie Lennox. Join him and thousands of others who’ve bought the single in support of homeless people this Christmas: Link: https://ada.lnk.to/hgkbRAW
Posted by Jeremy Corbyn and Socialist News on Monday, December 18, 2017
From The Independent: Health experts have warned of the return of Victorian scourges such as rickets and stunted growth due to child food poverty and malnutrition.
[Read full article on Independent website…]
From the TUC: A plot by #Tory ministers to scrap the Working Time Directive in the UK reported today could deny paid holidays to millions of workers, and make long working weeks the norm, the TUC has said.
The Sunday Times and Sun both report plans by ministers – including Michael Gove and Boris Johnson – to scrap the Working Time Directive after Brexit.
Losing the protections of the directive means that:
- 7 million workers could lose rights to paid holidays – 4.7 million of them women, and many on zero-hours or part-time contracts.
- Even more workers could be forced by bosses to work weeks longer than 48 hours.
- Workers could lose the right to lunch and rest breaks.
- Night workers could lose some health and safety protections.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work. Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours.
From Yahoo! News: Babies born within 1.9 miles of fracking sites are at greater risk of being born with low birth weight, researchers say – increasing the likelihood of infant mortality, ADHD and asthma.
Researchers led by Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago analysed records of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013.
The researchers found no health effects in babies born further away than 1.9 miles from fracking sites – but the closer babies were, the more likely they were to be underweight.
[Read full article on Yahoo! News…]
Ibrahim Dogus writes on LabourList: By the eighth day of this year, London had already breached annual air pollution limits set by the EU. By September, the situation had deteriorated to the extent that mayor Sadiq Khan was forced to trigger a emergency high alert on the capital’s air quality, with warnings displayed in public and those with lung and other problems warned not to engage in strenuous exercise to avoid any health problems.
High levels of NO2 can lead towards asthma, heart problems and even cancer. But bad air isn’t just bad for our health. It is a drain on the economy, with six million workdays lost to sickness related to, or exacerbated by, the problem. It has been estimated that illness associated with air quality costs Britain more than £24bn per year – and that is before the additional pressure on our already strained health service is taken into account.
Evidence shows that spikes in air pollution may also see a dip in workplace productivity, exacerbating one of the economy’s chronic problems. A better environment, with improved quality of air, would be a boost to the entire economy in addition to our health.
Zoe Williams writes in the Guardian: “The people of Taunton Deane, according to their MP, Rebecca Pow, have never had it better, thanks to Conservative policies. A combination of the higher minimum wage, the higher personal threshold for paying income tax and the frozen fuel duty meant people had ‘thousands more in their pockets’.
“Good intentions would manifest in curiosity about the lived experience of one’s policies, which would in turn entail figuring out what those policies amounted to in the aggregate. Failure to ask such questions is not born out of ignorance: it is critical to the Conservative narrative to deny, forcefully and sometimes gleefully, that anyone in the country is struggling.
Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato writes in the Guardian: The problem for the Tories is that being green is about so much more than fluffy bunnies. While individual policies on animal protection are welcome, in a nation full of animal lovers they are easy wins. They also ignore the central lesson of ecology, a lesson that Gove and his fellow Tories have never been able to grasp: that life on Earth is one system. Nature abhors not only a vacuum but also compartmentalisation. Those lovely beavers and polar bears need somewhere to live; more than compassion and concern they need a habitat. And if you let a fracking company pollute the waterways or throw subsidies at fossil fuels then the beavers will die and the polar bears will starve.
First, will he persuade his government to ban fracking and go all out for renewables? Fracking poses huge threats to some of our most fragile and treasured landscapes and will expose communities and wildlife to noise, air, light and water pollution. The government remains committed to this destructive industry and in the recent budget, Philip Hammond left Britain’s renewable energy industry out in the cold with no new subsidies for low-carbon electricity generation until 2025.
From Another Angry Voice: “Every single time you hear someone from the political right trying to make out that Jeremy Corbyn is some kind of hard-left economic extremist (as if the Tories are economic moderates in comparison), you’ve got to remember that they’re trying to convince you that black is white.
“In reality Labour’s core economic policies under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership (public ownership of the rail industry, water companies, mail service, health service, police services & national grid + a National Investment Bank) are quite normal centre-left policies that are commonplace across the developed world.
“Not only are these policies commonplace across the developed world, they’re all incredibly popular with the public. Renationalisation of our core infrastructure and services has overwhelming public support.
“There is a constant right-wing political narrative that Jeremy Corbyn is a terrifying hard-left economic extremist which rarely ever gets challenged by the mainstream media. But the really crazy thing is that while mainstream media hacks continually allow right-wingers to smear Jeremy Corbyn and Labour as economic extremists when they’re not, they’re simultaneously letting the Tories get away with implementing one crackpot economic policy from the hard-right fringe after another.”
[Read full article on Another Angry Voice…]
Editorial from The Guardian: There are few more annoying issues for the great British public than their railways. While some cities and towns have seen stations spruced up, the public suffer from often late, expensive and frequently overcrowded train services. While the cack-handed rollout of infrastructure improvements has led to cancellations and delays on the network, commuters saw ticket prices rise at twice the rate of their wages between 2010 and 2016. Tuesday’s news that rail passengers will be hit by the largest fare hikes in five years next month will do nothing but confirm the view that the public are being taken for a ride. The situation, it seems, is one where private companies reap the benefits, while passengers bear the costs.
There is a good case to return more train operating companies to state hands. Three in four voters, disillusioned by high prices and poor service, back renationalising the railways. Many train lines in Britain are run by state-backed European rail firms. So why not in Britain?
[Read full editorial on Guardian website…]
From Gloucestershire Live: Protesters were out in force in Gloucester city centre on Saturday as part of a ‘national day of action’ in opposition to Universal Credit, the controversial new benefits system that will be rolled-out across Gloucestershire in February.
The protest was organised by the local Unite branch, part of Britain’s biggest union, and saw campaigners deliver soapbox speeches outside the Guildhall on Eastgate Street.
Sue Powell, a Unite Community Activist said ‘the effect of Universal Credit will be felt for years to come’.
She said: “Universal Credit is a failed system. Seven million households will be affected by the introduction of Universal Credit, including over one million low paid or part-time workers, as well as the growing number of self-employed.
From The Guardian: A House of Commons inquiry into disability benefits has heard from more than 3,000 people in despair at the system, including dozens who say they have been driven to suicidal thoughts by the process.
The evidence includes testimony from many saying their mental health had deteriorated as a result of trying to claim the employment support allowance (ESA) for daily living costs and/or the personal independence payment (PIP) to cover the extra costs caused by long-term disability.
It comes after longstanding concerns among mental health groups, medical professionals, user groups and MPs about the operation of both benefits, which see claimant assessments run by outsourced providers and final decisions made by officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The submissions included more than 100 people reporting that they or someone they care for feels their suicidal feelings have worsened or been triggered by the process. Read more
Neville Southall kept goal for Wales 92 times between 1982 and 1998, and a club record 750 times for Everton. World Soccer magazine named him one of the 100 greatest players of the 20th Century. Since his retirement he has worked extensively with disadvantaged children, and set up his own educational consultancy.