Mitch McConnell begins to feel the heat for government shutdown at home |

Federal workers’ protests outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office in Lexington, Ky. are raising questions about how long the Republican leader can continue his support of President Trump in the face of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Government workers from the Federal Medical Center, U.S. Penitentiary in Lexington and the Federal Correctional Institution of Manchester assembled outside McConnell’s office this week to protest the shutdown, according to local CBS affiliate WKYT. The protesters made it clear that their objective was for McConnell, and Congress overall, to vote to re-open the government.

“They don’t even know if they can make it to work, yet they’re required to work,” Jerry Jackson Jr, a union president in Big Sandy, told the network.

“What do we pay now? Do we pay the mortgage, do we save gas money to get to work, what do we do? Do we buy the groceries? So now the times are starting to get tough,” Stephen Creech, a union president in Manchester, also observed.

Joseph Gerth of the Louisville Courier-Journal made it clear in a recent editorialthat he viewed McConnell’s support for Trump as a capitulation.

What is outrageous is McConnell won’t put any pressure on Trump to sign the bill that he voted for in December and that Trump supported before radio talk show hosts howled about it.

God forbid the Republican McConnell even consider overriding the veto of a president of his own party.

While there is little question that many Kentuckians are outraged about the shutdown, that won’t necessarily hurt McConnell’s political career in the state.


Source: Mitch McConnell begins to feel the heat for government shutdown at home |


THIS is the funniest result of Theresa May’s disastrous Brexit vote | Vox Political

A motorist told Devon and Cornwall police officers the “meaningful vote” on Brexit that led to a resounding defeat for Theresa May was the reason they caught him driving at 86mph.

According to The Independent, when officers asked him why he had been travelling so fast, he replied: “I was listening to the results of the Brexit vote.”


Source: THIS is the funniest result of Theresa May’s disastrous Brexit vote | Vox Political

BREXIT LATEST: EU facing CIVIL WAR as German leader calls for DIRECT talks with May | Politics | News |

The Commons result last night has thrown the EU into turmoil and Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU deputy leader in the Bundestag, has urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to defy Brussels by opening dialogue with official in London to try to limit the damage Germany will suffer in the event of a no-deal departure on March 29. He said: “My impression is that it won’t work without a German initiative. The EU consists of states and that’s why it must also be possible to try not only to leave the contact and the thread of conversation to the official channels, but also to make further efforts.


Source: BREXIT LATEST: EU facing CIVIL WAR as German leader calls for DIRECT talks with May | Politics | News |

Theresa May Brexit deal hammered in parliament, but be wary of prospects of a new ‘consensus’ approach : The Conversation

Another day, another record. The 230 majority against the motion to approve Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU smashes pretty much any parliamentary record one cares to discover.

That May’s immediate response was to make time for the house to debate and vote on Labour’s motion of no-confidence in her the day after her loss was thus hardly a surprise: how else to respond to such a heavy blow against the central platform and policy of the government?

And yet the abiding impression of these events was of avoiding a resolution, for as long as possible. Most obviously, May did not offer her resignation. That was a reflection not of her principles but rather her analysis of the situation. As she noted in her statement, a lack of majority for her deal doesn’t mean there’s a majority for another course of action. Without that alternative majority, she clearly feels there is still everything to play for and she is the right person for the job.

In essence, what May offered parliament was a “put-up or shut-up” proposition. Should the government win the confidence motion – which looks very likely indeed – she will hold a series of cross-party talks, inviting parliament to bring ideas and suggestions about how to build a majority position. The results will then be put to the EU for negotiation and agreement.


Source: Theresa May Brexit deal hammered in parliament, but be wary of prospects of a new ‘consensus’ approach : The Conversation

SEND children are being “traumatised” by not getting the help they need in schools

Watching the parliament TV broadcasts of the  SEN Inquiry has been an interesting affair, but yesterday’s brought tears of outrage to my eyes. More on that in a moment.

It was a roundtable event again, with school heads, teachers and SENCos giving their views to the Education select committee, led by Robert Halfon MP. As ever, it covered more than I have time for here, so I’m just picking up on a few areas.

At the start, MPs asked the teachers what benefits the new system had brought. One teacher said how it had put pupils more at the centre of the process where she was in Hampshire, something that also helps parents. Another spoke of increased co-production with parents (don’t you love those buzz words that we know could actually mean almost anything?)

But greater parental involvement didn’t please one of the witnesses, Jon Boyes, the Principal, of Herne Bay High School in Kent. Mr Boyes was not particularly impressed with greater empowerment of parents to help their children. As he put it, “85% of applications for EHCPs now come from parents, which is a fundamentally ridiculous change from where it was two or three years ago”.

He blamed the access to information (golly maybe even from us!) that means parents are more informed about the process and described that as a “double edged sword”. Some parents, he said, feel more in control, while others feel they’re banging their head against a brick wall.” Though he acknowledged that the parents who “know what they’re doing” (in applying for EHCPs) have more success than those who don’t, he didn’t look especially pleased about it.

But that’s not the thing that especially upset me, strangely enough. MP Emma Hardy, sat beside him, did look a little murderous I thought, but that may just have been my wishful thinking.

On the other hand, Penny Earl, Resource Provision Manager, Stoke Park Infant School, highlighting the pressure of performance tables, said that the 15% of children with SEN get “sidelined” by heads trying to please Ofsted. And that, she said, makes parents litigious to ensure their children get the help they need. Pretty much explaining to My Boyes exactly why parents feed the need to apply for EHCPs…


Source: SEND children are being “traumatised” by not getting the help they need in schools

Tories hand private firms £95 BILLION in public service contracts : Welfare Weekly

A year on from Carillion’s collapse GMB, Britain’s general union, has revealed the total value of outsourcing contracts let by the public sector rocketed by 53% in the past year.

In 2017/18 the lifetime value of public sector contracts awarded to private companies rose to £95 billion, up from £62 billion the year before.

Capita was one of the biggest winners of public outsourcing, receiving contracts worth almost £1.4 billion in 2017/18 – despite issuing a profit warning in the same year.

The private firm, who were given responsibility to carry out disability assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), have been criticised by MPs over the accuracy of reports sent to the Department for Work and Pensions.


Source: Tories hand private firms £95 BILLION in public service contracts : Welfare Weekly

Brexit deal amendments: here’s what MPs will deal with before tonight’s meaningful vote : i News

MPs are set to have their say on Theresa May‘s contentious Brexit deal tonight. But before the meaningful vote, there will be smaller votes on a series of amendments to the bill.

Ahead of tonight, Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow revealed which amendments, characterised as changes to the wording of a bill or a motion, he had selected for consideration for voting.

From more than 10 proposed amendments from across the political parties, he has provisionally selected the following four in relation to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, which states:

That this House approves for the purposes of section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, the negotiated withdrawal agreement laid before the House on Monday 26 November 2018 with the title ‘Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community’ and the framework for the future relationship laid before the House on Monday 26 November 2018 with the title ‘Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom’.

Amendment A – from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

This is Labour’s attempt to reject the Prime Minister’s deal because it does not include a permanent customs union. The party wants to “pursue every option” to prevent the UK leaving the EU with no deal.

Line 1, leave out from “House” to end and insert “declines to approve the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship because it fails to provide for a permanent UK-EU customs union and strong single market deal and would therefore lead to increased barriers to trade in goods and services, would not protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, allows for the diminution of the United Kingdom’s internal and external security and is likely to lead to the implementation of a backstop provision in Northern Ireland that is neither politically nor economically sustainable; declines to approve the United Kingdom’s leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement; and therefore resolves to pursue every option that prevents the United Kingdom’s either leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement or leaving on the basis of the negotiated withdrawal agreement laid before the House.”


Source: Brexit deal amendments: here’s what MPs will deal with before tonight’s meaningful vote : i News

Unpaid carer ‘surviving on a can of sweetcorn a day’ after benefits axed

A family carer claims he’s been forced to survive on a can of tuna and sweetcorn a day after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped his benefits, despite being the sole carer for his disabled parents.

John McDermott, 47, spends 18 hours a day providing unpaid care for his disabled father and mentally unwell mother, and was left feeling like a “nervous wreck” after the DWP stopped his Carers Allowance payments.

His father, Patrick, suffers from severe incontinence and dementia, while his mother, Katherine, has Schizophrenia. Both are 77 years-of-age and are entirely dependent on the unpaid care given by their son John.

Mr McDermott says he has been forced to survive on just £93 a week for a shocking 6 months, which is money provided via a direct care arrangement involving his sister.

Source: Unpaid carer ‘surviving on a can of sweetcorn a day’ after benefits axed

Severely disabled 64-year old man found starving to death – while billionaires get tax cuts

Yet again another welfare atrocity, this time ESA, but it could have been UC, PIP, etc.

One situation of this nature is one too many, but there are much more than one and it goes on and on.

This, the UK, is supposed to be an affluent country, so how can situations such as these occur.

In many instances it is down to Government policy or policies and you would think that a reasonable Government would respond to everyone of these situations.

The Government do say they care, but how can they, for these situations would not then continue to occur.

They feel punishments, sorry sanctions, will lead to people overcoming any detrimental situations by encouraging the people to obtain employment after an assessment process.

But it is clear to everyone, except the Government that these assessments are not fit for purpose.

But are they, for what purpose is it the Government are intending these rules, regulations and sanctions to bring forth. Is it to benefit the claimants or to make it that benefit claimants can not cope and thereby lead them to suffer horrendously and in many instances suffer to lead to death.

Is death the ultimate end that this Government is wishing for, well the stories that keep occurring certainly lead people to assume this.

So is that the correct assumption, I hope not but according to the evidence it does appear so.

Pride's Purge

These photographs and this status was posted on Facebook by a law adviser on Christmas Eve:

Please spare a thought for this 64 year old severely disabled client of mine? Please share this post to see if we can garner a response from the Tories although, I doubt we will. 
My client was thrown off ESA by ATOS 18 months ago. Since then, he has been expected to sign on. Obviously, he’s been sanctioned and forced to go hungry. so much so he weighs 6 stone. On Friday, not surprisingly he was at death’s door with pneumonia. Fortunately, I was able to get him into hospital.Evidently, his left lung was full of fluid with his right not much better, he’s now on the mend.
He has been unable to heat or look after his home properly because his health has deteriorated which I suggest is obvious from the photographs…

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I’m going to have to leave my job as an NHS nurse – I just can’t take it anymore

Many employment areas of the UK are underfunded for pay, while a few areas are not underfunded and are overpaid, perhaps MPs could be included in this, but the ‘Captains of industry’ more so.

It is said you have to pay the rate for the job to obtain the right calibre of people, which is mainly quoted re ‘Captains of Industry’, is that correct, do Captains of Industry even respect their high pay.

Whether they do or not is important, but not as important as the phrase ‘you have to pay the rate for the job to obtain the right calibre of people’ for is this not true in many, if not all professions and that is certainly so with nursing.

So lets not use a phrase just for the top 1%, but for all in employment, especially nursing.

If the country can not afford it, then it can not for ‘Captains of Industry’.

Lets bring equality into employment.

Govt Newspeak

I have held a child’s airways open when they couldn’t breathe, and I’ve sat with them and talked about their fears of dying. I have watched children die and held their parents’ hands through it. The 1 per cent pay rise doesn’t even cover the cost of the car parking charges we have to pay

Image result for images of nhs nurses

I’m a paediatric nurse, and I have been a part of a team where many times we resuscitated a child about to die and managed to save them. I have held a child’s airway open and given them breaths when they were suddenly unable to breathe themselves. I have spotted crucial signs of deterioration and helped prevent further decline and I have sat with children talking about their fear of dying.

I have watched children die and I have held their parents’ hands through it.

We do not get a moment of reflection afterwards; I…

View original post 638 more words