Owen Jones talks on BBC Newsnight about media framing of Jeremy Corbyn‘s response to the Russian spy poisoning.
Owen Jones talks on BBC Newsnight about media framing of Jeremy Corbyn‘s response to the Russian spy poisoning.
From The Guardian: Stephen Hawking’s robust defence of the NHS set the tone for the row to come. When the NHS was plunged into crisis14amid plans to privatise the service, Hawking lashed out at the politicians he held responsible in a 2017 speech at the Royal Society of Medicine. He blamed ministers for funding cuts, pay caps and weakening the service through privatisation. He saw it all leading to a “US-style insurance system”.
He singled out Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, for particular criticism. In arguing for a seven-day NHS, Hunt claimed that 11,000 patients a year died because of understaffing of hospitals at weekends. Hawking pointed out that of the eight studies Hunt had cited, four were not peer reviewed, and that 13 more that Hunt had failed to mention contradicted the view.
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.”
Things there’s money for:
Things there’s barely any money for:
9000 rough sleepers
78000 homeless households
120000 homeless children https://t.co/VSkm7TVHbY
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) December 20, 2017
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.
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.
[Source for 17m stat: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37504449]
It is staggering how enraged @ScotTories are at those on higher incomes being asked to pay a little bit more to protect public services (while the 70% on low and middle incomes get small tax cut) – but don’t bat an eyelid when their own party cuts the incomes of disabled people.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 15, 2017
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:
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.
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.”
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?
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.