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Only 4% found either Starmer or Sunak ‘authentic’ in ‘debate’ – poll

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/06/2024 - 8:18am in

And no wonder – barely a cigarette paper between either Tory ‘leader’

Just four percent of viewers watching tonight’s ‘debate’ between Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak showed them anything authentic about the two participants, according to a YouGov poll carried out after the ITV broadcast. In stark contrast, almost two thirds found the drab event ‘frustrating’:

Astonishingly, forty-two percent found it ‘interesting’ – perhaps in the way that watching two almost identical shades of paint to see which dries first might be interesting, or else in the sense of a freak show of two men talking for that long without really saying anything. Or, most likely, wondering how many times Keir Starmer would refer to being a former (awful) head of the Crown Prosecution Service or to his dad being a toolmaker (amen) – far too many times in both cases but entirely unsurprising.

In reality, the ‘debate’ only confirmed what was already all too clear: the two shades of Tory are almost indistinguishable in their vacuity and toxicity. That was just about the only authenticity on show.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Breaking: Anaesthetists United take GMC to court for pushing non-doctors in doctor roles

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 7:19pm in

General Medical Council changed rules to allow ‘associates’ to be exempt from national standards and trusts to set own local standards

A group of anaesthetists under the name of Anaesthetists United (AU) has announced today that it has engaged leading legal firm Bindmans to take the General Medical Council (GMC) to court for allowing unqualified ‘doctors’ – so called ‘physician associates’ (PAs) and ‘anaesthetist associates’ (AAs) whose role is used to extend NHS privatisation and help private medical providers – and the Royal College of Physicians – to make bigger profits, to be confused with doctors.

The roles have also been used to avoid national standards, allowing local health boards effectively to use the roles how they wish. At least two patients, who thought they were being treated by fully-qualified doctors, have died as a result of misdiagnoses by PAs that led to no treatment being given for dangerous conditions.

The government used a backdoor ‘statutory instrument’ to push through recent changes to widen and relax the use of PAs and AAs – opposed only by independent MP Claudia Webbe. Labour then colluded with the Tories to defeat an attempt by Green and independent peers to block the legislation in the House of Lords. Actual medical professionals are horrified at the threat to patients and AU is now taking action.

The group says that the GMC is abusing the term ‘medical professionals’ to include undertrained PAs and AAs as doctors. The legal action crowdfunder explains:

The General Medical Council was given powers under the Medical Act 1983 to regulate doctors and protect the public from those falsely claiming to be qualified when they are not. But instead, we have watched with dismay as doctors are quietly being replaced by ‘Associates’. Worse still, the GMC appears to be actively encouraging this. 

We’ve listened to empty reassurances from the establishment, as the lines between the two professions have been systematically blurred.

We think patients deserve better; they should be cared for by doctors when necessary, should know who is and is not a doctor, and there should be separate regulation underpinning this.

And we’re ready to take action.

What are Physician/Anaesthesia Associates?

Physician Associates and Anaesthesia Associates are a new profession. They are not doctors, they do not have the same training as doctors, but are being permitted to take on many of the roles doctors have traditionally fulfilled. The press have reported on troubling cases. And the General Medical Council, the body legally responsible for doctors’ regulation, has now been given the responsibility of regulating Physician/Anaesthesia Associates too.

(To make it more confusing, an “Associate Specialist” is an experienced doctor.)

So how have they blurred the distinction between Doctors and Associates

Parliament originally made it clear that Associates were to be kept entirely separate from doctors. There should never have been any ambiguity as to who or what a health worker is. But instead, the GMC has made the situation vague and indistinct.

The biggest worry is that the GMC have steadfastly refused to say what an Associate can, or cannot, do to support patients. The precise term for this is their ‘scope of practice’. The GMC have even refused to hold a consultation on it, despite a statutory requirement for them to do so.

So it is left entirely down to market forces to determine scope. This favours using Physician/Anaesthesia Associates as doctor replacements. There is no good reason for this ambiguity: in comparison, the General Dental Council has strict rules on the difference between dentists, hygienists, technicians and the other professions that they regulate.

Worse still, the GMC has confusingly started to use the term ‘Medical Professionals’ to encompass both doctors and Associates. It has even issued guidance on ‘Good Medical Practice’ for both doctors and Associates to share.

We believe the GMC is simply ignoring the law on professional regulation.

You can read our legal case in more detail here.

What are we trying to achieve?

  • Clear and enforceable guidance from the GMC on the ‘privileges of members’ admitted to Associate practice, defining what they can and cannot do (their Scope of Practice) and clear rules on levels of supervision. This can be delegated to the appropriately-empowered Medical College/Faculty.
  • The current ‘Good Medical Practice’ guidance replaced by two separate sets of guidance for the two separate professions, and
  • An end to the use of the ambiguous term ‘Medical Professionals’ used to describe two separate groups misleadingly.

What have we done so far?

On 26th March we wrote to the GMC setting out our case. In their reply they answered some of our points but completely failed to address others. We feel that the only route left open to us is a legal one, and we have had expressions of interest from some top lawyers in the field.

How much money do we need?

We have been quoted the sum of £15,000 to cover the initial costs of a brief and opinion. 

We are working with John Halford of Bindmans LLP, a public law solicitor with experience in the regulatory framework on protected titles, and Tom de la Mare KC of Blackstones. Both of these are highly regarded and respected in their expertise; we need to work with the best.

It is quite possible that a strongly-worded representations from top lawyers will be sufficiently forceful to push the GMC into accepting our proposals. But if not, then the next step is court action. We don’t yet know how much that will cost, although we do know that the GMC has a reputation for spending large sums of public money on defending themselves.

Who are we?

Anaesthetists United are a group of Anaesthetists of all grades. 

Anaesthetists have a reputation for getting things done. We are the group that convened the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Royal College of Anaesthetists, which led to a sea change in the way the medical profession, and the public, have looked at the whole issue of Associates. You can read more about us as a group, and details of our core members, here.

The GMC was set up so that the public could tell who was and was not a doctor. That aim is now being undermined. We urge doctors and patients to come together and fund a legal challenge to restore faith and ensure that patient safety is never compromised. 

Thank you.

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Claudia Webbe MP confirms standing for re-election: ‘people need independent voice for real change’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/05/2024 - 8:31pm in

Webbe has shown she will stand for actual change that neither Tories nor Starmer’s Labour are offering

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe has today confirmed that she will stand for re-election as an independent left candidate.

Elected in 2019, she became the first female to take the seat and the firs Leicester-born MP – and the first Black female MP – ever to represent a constituency anywhere in the whole county region of Leicestershire. Webbe was born and raised in the city and remained there to the end of her university education. Her father worked, with his identical twin brother, as an engineer’s hand at the former Wadkin Factory on Green Lane Road, while her mother – in a city famous for its garment production – was a dress maker who ‘made clothes to last’, who worked for companies like the old Fenwick and Corah & Sons.

Claudia Webbe, left.

Webbe has distinguished herself in Parliament by her fearless campaigning on local and international issues, from dangerous sweat-shop garment factories in Leicester and abroad, domestic abuse and politically-driven cuts to services, to the genocide in Gaza and the oppression of Indian farmers. She was also the only MP to speak out against the government’s dangerous plan, unopposed by Labour, to replace medical doctors with ‘physician associates’ – part of the so-called privatisation drive pushed by both main parties that she has also been vocal in opposing – helping to draw attention to the cost-cutting plan and make it the national issue it has become. She has refused to back down on these and other issues despite a torrent of racist abuse from supporters of other parties and of the oppressors.

Ms Webbe said:

It has been an honour and privilege to serve the people of Leicester East as their MP, representing all communities with passion and integrity, and I will ask them to re-elect me so that I can continue to serve their interests.

My independence means I’ll listen to local people and put them first. I’ll place people and planet over profit and vote for humanity and never against. I will work for justice for Leicester East.

I have shown that I will not stand-by silent while division and damage is done to Leicester East and the needs of the people ignored or injustice is perpetrated elsewhere in our name. After so many years of cuts and cruelty in this country, and wars overseas, the needs of ordinary people in Leicester East have never been greater to have me as their MP, who will genuinely stand up for them and what they care about, and not serve narrow party agendas or corporate donors.

My track record as MP for Leicester East shows that I understand their concerns and that I will work for the issues they care about, from low pay and exploitation in the garment industry and the closure of local services, to protecting access to NHS doctors, to speaking out for justice in Palestine, calling for a lasting, permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

With the support of the people of Leicester East I will continue to campaign tirelessly for real change, real justice and a reversal of the inequality that has enriched a few while the many struggle”.

For more information, visit claudiawebbe.org. Skwawkbox understands that a campaign website will shortly be online and that Ms Webbe will welcome offers of campaign support. Her fundraising page is here.

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Clarke: 100 MP strategy to hold Starmer’s feet to fire

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/05/2024 - 7:03am in

Left strategist targets key MP wins to resist Starmer when he takes us into war or when he privatises our NHS’

Left-wing strategist Eoin Clarke, who has been at the heart of left resistance and the victories of the Corbyn period before sabotage and smears brought down the then-Labour leader, is targeting a hundred wins in the coming general election for grassroots candidates with the integrity and vision absent from what passes for the Labour party under Keir Starmer.

Clarke has laid out the target, which he has been working on for two years in a project named ‘Wag the dog’, along with a breakdown by nation of what could be achieved ‘to hold Starmer’s feet to the fire’ and resist the Establishment automaton when he tries to take the UK to war or to privatise our National Health Service:

Working with Clarke, the Ordinary Left grassroots activist group will shortly be announcing the socialist candidates, whether independent or associated with an existing party, that it will be recommending to the movement for campaign support. With the widespread disgust with Starmer over Gaza and his breaking of every promise he made to con his way into the Labour leadership, and the recent local election results showing independents and Greens surging compared to Labour and the Tories, and suggesting a potential hung Parliament, achieving the target does not look beyond the realms of possibility.

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US, Israel rant as Ireland, Spain, Norway recognise Palestinian statehood

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/05/2024 - 7:50am in

Netanyahu and Biden governments in meltdown again as three countries bypass US veto and declare Palestine a state

Norwegian, Irish and Spanish governments declared Palestine’s statehood

The US and Israeli governments have reacted with fury to announcements by three European governments, at the same time, that they are recognising Palestinian statehood. Ireland, Norway and Spain have all now formally declared Palestine to be a state.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu – probably soon to be declared by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be wanted for war crimes – raged that the three nations were giving ‘Khamas’ a ‘reward for terrorism’. A Biden government spokesman claimed that the US condemned the recognition because it had been granted ‘unilaterally’ rather than through negotiation – ironic and deeply hypocritical considering that the US vetoed a recent application by Palestine to the UN Security Council motion for full membership of the UN. Several leading pro-Israel politicians called for the ICC to be ‘punished’, with a couple admitting that if Israel is held to account for its war crimes, ‘you know they’ll come for us next’.

Well done Ireland, Norway, Spain and, especially, the people of Palestine. Shamefully, there is no prospect of the UK following suit with either the Tories or what now passes for the Labour party in power after the newly-declared general election.

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High Court rules government’s anti-protest law enabling more police action is unlawful

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/05/2024 - 9:48pm in

Legal challenge to government’s lowered threshold to classify inconvenient protest to allow police to intervene succeeds

A legal challenge by rights group Liberty has won its court case against the government over its change to the definition of protests this morning.

The government had used ‘secondary legislation’ to push through a change to the definition of serious – avoiding proper parliamentary scrutiny – that meant anything more than ‘minor’ was ‘serious’, allowing police to lower the bar to escalating their actions to break up protests. The proposed changes had already been rejected in the Lords, so the government was using the move to bypass usual parliamentary process. Liberty said the government had no legal power to do this and the High Court has agreed that it acted unlawfully.

Liberty has demanded that police forces immediately cease the use of the new definition. The government has said it will appeal the ruling.

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ICJP director warns UK MPs ‘justice is coming’ over complicity in Israeli war crimes

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 21/05/2024 - 8:29am in

Senior lawyer says ‘ink is almost dry’ on the guilt of many MPs who have enabled and covered Israel’s atrocities

Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak and other UK MPs may be looking uneasily over their shoulder tonight after receiving a renewed warning from the lawyer leading a pro-Palestinian justice group about their own guilt regarding Israel’s war crimes, after International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Karim Khan announced he has requested arrest warrants for Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Yoav Gallant.

Tayab Ali, a partner in Bindmans, one of the world’s leading human rights law firms, and a director of the International Centre for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) published his stark warning on Twitter/X this evening, telling MPs who have supported and enabled Israel’s atrocities against the people of Gaza that it is now too late for them to do much to avoid their guilt and complicity, because ‘the ink of history on your potential complicity is almost dry and you already made your decision’ – and that ICJP will be demanding personal legal accountability for guilty MPs:

Scotland Yard has already called for evidence after the ICJP warned Tory PM Rishi Sunak and notionally-Labour leader Keir Starmer that it would prosecute them if they colluded in war crimes against the Palestinian people. Starmer has even gone as far as to tell a radio interviewer that Israel had a ‘right’ to cut off food, water and fuel from Gaza, with several of his front bench MPs publicly defending his statement until he later tried to pretend he hadn’t said it.

Israel has killed at least 40,000 civilians and potentially as many as 100,000, overwhelmingly women and children, with double that number maimed and wounded and many more set to be murdered as Israel continues its invasion of Rafah and its block on the entry of food, fuel and medicines for more than two million people.

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Hackney councillors quit Labour, form independent socialist group

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/05/2024 - 3:50am in

Trend seen across the country reaches East End of London. Shameless Labour demands they resign and fight by-elections, despite making no such demand of 3 Tory MPs who have defected

Hackney’s new Independent Socialists L-R: Penny Wrout, Claudia Turbet-Delof, Fliss Premru (image: Hackney Independent Socialist group)

Three Hackney councillors who had been suspended by Labour for voting in favour of debating a motion calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s genocide in Gaza have quit the Labour party and formed a new Independent Socialists group.

Claudia Turbet-Delof, Penny Wrout and Fliss Premru said their former party is:

stifled by a lack of internal democracy, transparency and scrutiny.



They went on:

We can no longer in good conscience continue campaigning for a Labour party which nationally refuses to call out the genocide in Gaza, continues to support arms sales to Israel, and seeks to clamp down on pro-Palestinian protests.

They also cited Keir Starmer’s abandonment of all his leadership campaign pledges and his u-turn to support NHS privatisation and Tory spending cuts to local government funding, his ‘kid starver’ commitment to keeping the cruel two-child benefit cap and his adoption of the blue Tories’ racist anti-immigrant narratives – and his treatment of Diane Abbott, Britain’s first Black woman MP, who remains suspended for commenting on anti-Black racism (on of many forms of racism which Starmer’s Labour is ridden) while Starmer has welcomed hard-right Tory MPs into the party.

A Labour spokesperson described the development as ‘disappointing’ and – with extreme but unsurprising hypocrisy – said the councillors should resign their seats and fight by-elections. The three Tory MPs to defect to Labour have not been told to do so.

Israel lobby-funded Woodcock tries to get Palestine Action banned 

Tory-collaborator, friend of apartheid and alleged sex-pest peer tables Lords bill to outlaw anti-genocide group

Main image: Palestine Action

John Woodcock, the former chair of Labour Friends of Israel made a peer and ‘extremism envoy’ by the Tories, plans to issue a report recommending new measures to outlaw groups trying to end genocide or to protect the planet – with a particular emphasis on protecting weapons manufacturers, treating them on similar lines to the proscription of supposed terrorist groups.

Woodcock, or Lord Walney, a longstanding supporter of the apartheid regime who accepted funding for a visit to Israel after Israel began its genocide in Gaza, wants to limit the activities and fundraising of groups such as Palestine Action (PA) and Just Stop Oil. PA’s direct action campaign against Israel’s largest weapons firm, Elbit Systems has seen successes in the UK, such as the closure of Elbit’s Oldham facility. Woodcock admits that the campaign has done “enormous damage” to the arms industry and wants a “proscription-light” option to restrict the groups’ ability to meet and fundraise – combined with “buffer zones” around weapons manufacturers to protect factories producing deadly technologies from protest. 

Supposedly an ‘independent’ government advisor, Woodcock is deeply-connected to the Israel lobby and the arms industry. He is the chair of the so-called ‘Defence Purpose Coalition’ of senior weapons industry figures and, since 2011, has travelled to Israel on multiple occasions on ‘all expenses paid’ trips funded by the Israeli government and pro-Israel lobby groups.

Woodcock is also a former right-wing Labour MP who in 2018 quit the party to escape an investigation into complaints from an investigation into ‘sex pest’ complaints against him. He was also accused by local Labour members of bullying staff.

In a statement on Woodcock’s ploy, Palestine Action said:

During our nearly four year direct action campaign, we’ve faced arrests, raids, imprisonment, beatings, convictions and more by a state desperate to protect the zionist war machine, over the freedom of their own citizens. Despite this, our movement’s determination and resilience has resulted in Elbit permanently closing two weapons factories, being dropped by several partners and losing 100’s of £millions in contracts with the Ministry of Defence. 

We are seven months into the Gaza genocide, and Walney thinks this scare tactic is going to make us surrender? He couldn’t be more wrong. 

When Palestine Action began we were under no illusion that the route to victory would be an easy ride. As a movement, we understand that every obstacle we face and overcome is a step closer to ending Israel’s weapons trade in Britain. For years the political class repressed us behind closed doors but refused to show their frustration at our growing campaign publicly. Now, they’re showing their hand which means we are winning.

Rather than deter us, Walney’s rampage to the press three days after we dissed him on twitter exposes his own motivations: to save face. 

He’s more concerned with protecting the military interests of a foreign genocidal entity over the will of the British people, who overwhelmingly support imposing an arms embargo on Israel.

His alliance is with Elbit Systems, who use Gaza as a laboratory to develop their “battle-tested” weaponry and are crucial to arming the ongoing genocide. Our alliance will always be with the Palestinian people.  Collectively we must refuse to surrender. No matter what, we will #ShutElbitDown!

Woodcock is one of a trio of hard-right former Labour MPs who were made peers by the Tories after campaigning against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in the run-up to the 2019 general election. Ian Austin, the ‘thuggish‘ Israel fanatic and Thatcher-worshipper who was reprimanded by Labour for his abusive conduct, abused Jewish writer Michael Rosen when Rosen was a guest of Parliament and had to apologise and pay damages to a former party staffer for libelling her as antisemitic, became a ‘trade envoy’ to Israel. John Mann, another similarly boorish Israel supporter who sprang a stunt attacking elderly former London mayor Ken Livingstone and was interviewed by police for ‘hate speech’ in an anti-Gypsy leaflet, became an ‘antisemitism tsar’ who went on to try – and fail – to stitch up Skwawkbox and the Canary as antisemitic.

To date, Israel has murdered over forty thousand – and as many as a hundred thousand – Palestinian civilians, overwhelmingly women and children, and has maimed even more, while imposing starvation on more than a million Palestinian people. The Israeli government is on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide, faces likely arrest warrants for war crimes and has been widely condemned for its war crimes and contempt for international and humanitarian law.

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Video: Starmer mocked for robotic reply to Elphicke ‘sex victim is a liar’ question

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 13/05/2024 - 7:54am in

Complete short-circuit leads to accusations Starmer welcomes Elphicke because she hates refugees

Robotic: Keir Starmer’s embarrassing response to serious questions about new recruit Elphick and a sexual abuse victim

Keir Starmer has been rightly derided for an embarrassing, robotic and politically appalling response to a question from an ITV News interviewer about Tory defector Natalie Elphicke’s dire comments about one of her then-husband’s sexual assault victims.

Asked whether she could be said to reflect Labour values in view of her vile description of a victim as a liar, Starmer appeared unable to compute the question, let alone think on his feet and respond appropriately, instead regurgitating a clearly-scripted reply that was criticised by many as amounting to ‘well she hates immigrants, so she’s welcome:

The disgraceful performance was, quite properly, hammered by those who saw it:

Labour under Keir Starmer is a cesspit of racism, the sickest of jokes and a political disaster for this country – and he’s not even slick about it.

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