Two years ago we voted in a referendum on a very clear and single issue. Did we wish to continue as a subordinate member of the European Union (eight per cent of the vote in its council) or did we wish to leave it and re-establish a risky sovereignty?
The presumption by the high and the mighty was that our decision was a foregone conclusion. We were offered the referendum only as a sop, to get the issue out of the way for ever or at least a generation. That was the establishment presumption. Well, they were wrong. The high and the mighty, the bureaucrats and the tycoons, the fat cats and the wallet-stuffers, made the miscalculation of their lives.
We chose sovereignty over subordination, risk over obedient security. And for two years our clear voting majority has been comprehensively betrayed. More, it has been presumed that we will not really care, or at least not enough to fight. Those who sneer at us, whether Tory or Labour voters, from their plush offices, comfortable on our taxes, snooty in their grand titles, have presumed that our votes can be ignored and our wishes reversed with impunity.
We thought we were the Brits, the people who do not take kindly to threat, who have real objection to being lied to and cheated. We thought we were the descendants of the people who fought the Battle of Britain, who went up the beaches of Normandy and freed an entire continent from the foulest creed ever devised, who dropped on to the roofs of Arnhem. We thought we were those people or at least their children and grandchildren.
Source: Stand up now for Brexit and Britain | Frederick Forsyth | Columnists | Comment | Express.co.uk
The presidency of Donald Trump has created unavoidable moral dilemmas not just for the members of First Baptist in Luverne but for a distinct subset of Christians who are overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly evangelical and more uniformly pro-Trump than any other part of the American electorate.
In poll after poll, they have said that Trump has kept his promises to appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, fight for religious liberty, adopt pro-life policies and deliver on other issues that are high priorities for them.
At the same time, many have acknowledged the awkwardness of being both self-proclaimed followers of Jesus and the No. 1 champions of a president whose character has been defined not just by alleged infidelity but accusations of sexual harassment, advancing conspiracy theories popular with white supremacists, using language that swaths of Americans find racist, routinely spreading falsehoods and an array of casual cruelties and immoderate behaviors that amount to a roll call of the seven deadly sins.
Source: God, Trump and the meaning of morality – The Washington Post
Britain will refuse to pay its £39 billion divorce bill to Brussels if the European Union fails to agree a trade deal, the new Brexit Secretary pledges today.
Dominic Raab told The Sunday Telegraph that he would make the vast payment formally conditional on the EU “fulfilling its side of the bargain”.
The promise will be welcomed by leading Brexiteers after the Government said in May that there were no plans for a legally enforceable link between the bill and a future trading relationship.
Amid a breakdown of trust with No 10, pro-Brexit MPs had threatened to force an amendment into the Government’s Implementation Bill in the autumn after Philip Hammond claimed that “walking away from an obligation … would not make us a credible partner in future international agreements”.
In his first newspaper interview since his appointment, Mr Raab said that Article 50, the exit mechanism triggered by the UK, called for a trade deal as well as the withdrawal agreement, which includes the £39 billion divorce bill.
Source: Dominic Raab: Britain will refuse to pay £39 billion divorce bill to Brussels if the EU fails to agree trade deal
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) minister chose to release some staggering figures during the afternoon of Friday 20 July; essentially dropping them and running off for the weekend.
The DWP: sneaking things out on a Friday
Minister of state at the DWP Sarah Newton was responding to a written question. It came from Labour’s shadow minister for disabled people Marsha de Cordova. On 9 July, Cordova asked:
how many people with epilepsy who were in receipt of Disability Living Allowance [DLA] did not receive an award as a result of a reassessment for personal independence payments [PIP]…
Newton’s response on Friday 20 July was shocking. She said:
Since the introduction of… (PIP) a total of 6,330 decisions on claims with an epilepsy condition listed as the main health condition have been made as part of migration from… (DLA) to PIP. Of these, 3,380 did not receive any benefit award at the initial assessment and 1,120 of these people subsequently appealed their decision. Of those who appealed their decision 870 cases were settled in favour of the claimant.
This means the DWP denied PIP to over 53% of people living with epilepsy who previously had DLA. Moreover, of the 33% of people who appealed after the DWP denied them PIP, a massive 77% of people ended up being given the benefit.
In a seeming attempt to gloss over these figures, Newton claimed:
Under PIP, 29 per cent of working age claimants with epilepsy recorded as their primary disabling condition receive the highest level of support compared to 6 per cent under Disability Living Allowance when PIP was introduced.
Source: A DWP minister just dropped some shocking figures then ran off for the weekend | The Canary
The Mother of Parliaments has turned volatile, unruly, disoriented, unintelligible. British politics has fallen to its nadir. The Prime Minister cannot follow through her promises or policies. Assailed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and co., she seems to have lost her own plot. Senior Tory Justine Greening has suggested a second, informed referendum. Citizens are discombobulated; many are full of ire. It is the curse of Brexit.
Now more bad stuff is thrown into the simmering cauldron. After the referendum and then the election, Ukip, which David Cameron once described as a party of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, fell heavily and passed out. This week, it seems to be reviving and is up five percentage points in opinion polls, partly because many Brits do not like Theresa May’s proposals for a softish exit from the EU.
Source: Our white nationalist extremists are no different to Muslim fanatics – let’s treat them the same – The i – Weekend Reads #52
Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said local authority services, such as behaviour support teams and specialist staff such as speech and language therapists, were disappearing, alongside cuts to funding for pupils with special education needs and disabilities.
“Schools can’t do it on their own. To avoid exclusions, they need support from the other local services around them,” Whiteman said.
“Exclusion must not be thought of as getting a child ‘out of the way’ but of finding a better place to serve that child. The issues that underpin exclusions reach far beyond the school gates.”
Pupils with special educational needs accounted for just under half of all exclusions. Pupils with special needs were permanently excluded at a rate six times higher than pupils with no special needs.
Pupils with an education, health and care plan or a statement of special education needs had the highest fixed-period exclusion rate at 16% in 2016-17 – more than five times higher than pupils with no special needs, at 3%.
Source: Sharp rise in pupil exclusions from English state schools | Education | The Guardian
In his first major speech since taking post last week, the Health and Social Care Secretary this morning announced a half a billion pound package to rollout innovative tech aimed at improving care for patients and supporting staff.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “Because we are one NHS, our health system is uniquely placed to become the most advanced health system in the world – one where technology addresses the user need – making care better for patients, but just as importantly making life easier for staff.
“For too long, decisions on health and care have seemed to involve a trade-off – improving patient outcomes at the expense of placing ever more pressure on staff, while reducing the demands on staff has been seen to have an impact on patient care.
“Technology and data innovation offers an opportunity to move past this binary approach.”
As part of the plan the Government will invest £412 million into new technology at hospitals which will improve efficiency, enhance patient safety and help more patients access health services at home.
The Health and Social Care Secretary also set out plans to support the NHS workforce. He said:
“The nation’s health is determined by the health of the health and care workforce.
“So it is heart-breaking to see how undervalued you often feel.
Source: Health and Social Care Secretary announces half a billion rollout to improve patient care | Care Industry News
Cross-party MPs have raised a series of concerns with work and pensions secretary Esther McVey about the government’s treatment of disabled people on out-of-work benefits.
Members of the Commons work and pensions select committee were questioning McVey more than a year after her government introduced cuts of nearly £30 a week to payments to new claimants of employment and support allowance (ESA) placed in the work-related activity group (WRAG).
Ministers were ridiculed when they first announced the cuts and argued they would “incentivise” those in the WRAG to find work.
Claimants placed in the WRAG have all been found able to carry out some work-related activity but have been found not fit for work.
The minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt [now the international development secretary], later promised to find a way to cut the living costs of people in the WRAG and “mitigate the £30”.
But by the time the cuts were introduced, in April 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) appeared to suggest that Mordaunt’s only success on living costs had been to ensure that new WRAG claimants would be told by their jobcentre work coaches how to secure the cheapest BT telephone tariff.
Yesterday (Wednesday), SNP’s Chris Stephens asked McVey what work had been done to look at the additional costs faced by WRAG claimants.
But she did not appear to have an answer and claimed instead that the cuts had been aimed at sick and disabled people who could “definitely do some work” and had allowed her department to invest more funds into supporting them into jobs.
Source: MPs raise concerns with McVey over ‘stress and poverty’ caused by WRAG cuts | DisabledGo News and Blog