RISHI SUNAK’S decision to reappoint Suella Braverman just days after her resignation over security breaches sets a “dangerous precedent,” a damning report by MPs has warned.
The Tory-led public administration and constitutional affairs committee released its latest report on government ethics today, singling out the PM for particular criticism over the decision.
The Home Secretary was forced to resign after sending official documents via her private email to a Tory backbencher and accidentally copying in an aid.
But soon after Mr Sunak took over the premiership, he reappointed her, sparking widespread anger and concerns that Ms Braverman’s return could pose a risk to national security.
We’ve heard very little from Sue-Ellen Braverman since she was bullied recently apparently. If you can’t take it … Her remarks about the Guardian-readng tofu-eating wokerati and the anti-groth coalition while she was Home Secretary under Liz Truss were out of place I thot.
The Guardian has a series of articles looking at UK’s water industry. Looks like it’s a cash cow for foreign investors with prices to consumers inflated to service debt and excessive payments to shareholders. Well worth a look (and tofu-eating is not mandatory ;) …
England is one of the few countries in the world where water is fully owned by private companies. These companies answer to investors based thousands of miles away from their customers.
“What we have here is just a crazy system,” said Kate Bayliss, from the department of economics at SOAS University of London and author of several papers on England’s privatised water. “We are managing our water in the interests of offshore investors.”
These offshore investors include private and state-owned international funds, banks, multinationals and billionaires headquartered outside the UK, and they control at least 72% of English water, new Guardian research has found.
Here’s how England’s profitable water system has been sold off around the world:
Foreign investment firms, private equity, pension funds and businesses lodged in tax havens own more than 70% of the water industry in England, according to research by the Guardian.
The complex web of ownership is revealed as the public and some politicians increasingly call for the industry to be held to account for sewage dumping, leaks and water shortages. Six water companies are under investigation for potentially illegal activities as pressure grows on the industry to put more money into replacing and restoring crumbling infrastructure to protect both the environment and public health.
More than three decades after the sector was sold off with a promise to the public they would become individual small shareholders or “H2Owners”, control of the water industry has become dominated by overseas investment vehicles, the super-rich, companies in tax havens and pension fund investors. The ownership structure is such that transparency and accountability are limited, according to Dr Kate Bayliss, a research associate with the department of economics at Soas University of London.
In the 30 years since England’s water was privatised by Margaret Thatcher, water companies have set up a system in which billions of pounds leave the network in an average year.
It’s money that could have gone towards building a more resilient water system, say academics. Among them, Dieter Helm, an Oxford professor of economic policy specialising in utilities, went as far as saying in 2021 that England’s water system was “a scandal of financial engineering”.
Just Stop Oil (JSO) activists in UK have been imprisoned for Thoughtcrime and being woke tofu-eating Guardian-readers. Posing with an expensive Chinook helicopter Parody Home Secretary Sue-Ellen Braverman said “Of all those arrested – although they had not committed any actual physical crime – there is indisputable evidence that they had thought about it. There are claims that they had sworn an oath to take action to get arrested protecting the planet within a month. I will be totally over the top at every opportunity.”
She continued “I will use all the power of the state to intimidate and isolate individuals who dare not agree with me. I want to make quite clear that we’re talking about political activists here, usually but not necessarily men, people of different ages who meet and come together – yes totally voluntarily and without any duress – we will not have adults mingling and cavorting with each other. Through our extensive covert intelligence activities we know that one of the most vocal Just Stop Oil supporters was intending to meet one particular ‘youngman’ through a gay dating website. As I say, through our extensive covert operations, we have prevented that from happening and made clear our threats to stifle any such legal behaviour. I will not have people getting on with their private lives and enjoying themselves when they oppose us.”
ed: 7 Nov 22 To clarify: It’s a threat to interfere of course, that a prospective contact has been identified and the very reference to his nick (since altered) is threatening. It’s common knowledge that things work that way. There should be absolutely no interference in my private life. There is absolutely no reason why the Home Secretary should even be aware of my contacts who are absolutely nothing to do with activism. I call on the Home Secretary to resign.
[9/11/22 Braverman landed her Chinook on 3rd November. My message to ‘youngman’ on 2nd November ended “have respect for yourself and expect respect from other people even if we never meet. X”]
later: It’s more than just reference to his nick on this one occasion.
But two people from Afghanistan told the Guardian that they were brought to London without having a clear idea of where they could stay. They describe scenes of rushed confusion as staff ushered them on to buses at the holding centre, before they were abandoned at Victoria railway station.
A young asylum seeker from Afghanistan was among the group of 11 people left on the street outside Victoria station on Tuesday evening. He said he had told Home Office staff during an interview before leaving the camp that he had no relatives or acquaintances in the UK.
“They asked me if I had any friends or family and I replied I had no one in England,” he said. Later he was asked by officials what city he would like to go to, and he said he would like to go to London, assuming that accommodation would be provided for him.
The young man, who asked not to be named, said he asked the bus driver where he should go as they arrived at Victoria station. “I thought there was going to be a hotel for us. He said: ‘Go anywhere you want to go, it’s not my responsibility.’ I told the driver I don’t have any address or any relatives. He said: ‘I can’t do anything for you.’”
The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, is under pressure from campaigners, unions and his own MPs to set out plans for “wealth taxes” on the richest in society in order to support public services and help the poorest through the cost of living crisis.
As the government prepares to cut spending to fill an estimated £35bn black hole in the nation’s finances, calls are growing for higher taxes on the super-rich, many of whom have seen their fortunes soar during the pandemic.
Richard Burgon, the Labour MP for Leeds East, said: “While living standards are plummeting for most people, it’s been boom time for the super-rich, whose wealth has soared to record highs in recent years.”
Starmer, who is trying to position his party in the centre ground, has avoided committing to higher taxes on private incomes as Labour seeks to woo the City and businesspeople angry at the damage caused by the Conservatives’ mini-budget. But that approach is causing concern on his backbenches and more widely, with the Greens calling Labour “timid” on wealth.
Molly Scott Cato, the Green party’s spokesperson on finance, said: “The Tories have created a big hole the public finances but there is an obvious place to look to fill it: taxing the super-rich. Not only do they have the broadest shoulders but they also increased their wealth during the pandemic because of enforced savings.
“What is more surprising is to find Labour being so timid on wealth taxes. Their proposal to abolish non-dom status will only bring in a few billion while a proper wealth tax could yield tens of billions. We’ve now got two weeks for Labour to remember their egalitarian roots and support loud and growing calls for a wealth tax. Otherwise they will be colluding in the devastating cuts to public services that are being cooked up by the millionaires in Nos 10 and 11 Downing Street.”
Congratulations to Rishi Sunak on becoming UK's prime minister today.
His short-lived predecessor Liz Truss was not only in denial of the climate crisis but was actually actively hostile to renewable energy. Even though she only served 45 days, she imposed a windfall tax on renewables and nuclear energy only and promoted exploitation of oil and gas in the North Sea by issuing new exploration licences. [I am not supportive of nuclear energy.]
The climate is in crisis. It's deteriorating and we're regularly breaking temperature records in UK despite so-far having it very easy compared to the rest of the World. It can't be simply denied as the Tories have been doing. Denial of the climate crisis is insane. It's going to get worse and extreme protests like closing the M25 are going to increase, the idea being that the protestors are stopping normal conduct of life that is killing the planet.
Hopefully Rishi will tax the rich to pay for public services. He should know - through being filthy rich - that they're not even going to notice it.
Nine out of 10 schools in England will have run out of money by the next school year as the enormous burden of increased energy and salary bills takes its toll, the Observer can reveal.
Early data from the National Association of Head Teachers – results of a survey of its members are due later this month – shows that 50% of heads say their school will be in deficit this year, with almost all expecting to be in the red by next September,when their reserve run out. This comes as Jeremy Hunt has made clear that all departments, including education, will be expected to make cuts as part of the government’s debt reduction plan, to be announced on 31 October.
Headteachers and academy leaders are warning that further spending cuts will push many schools and academy trusts over the cliff, and result in most schools having to lose essential teaching and support staff. “There are no easy fixes left,” said Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT. “Schools are cut to the bone. This will mean cutting teaching hours, teaching assistants and teachers.”
In my 39 years in parliament, I cannot remember a fiscal plan so reckless, arrogant and out-of-touch. More than one in five people – and one in three children – are in poverty in the UK. A quarter of a million people in England are homeless. This October, millions of people will struggle to heat their homes or feed their children. But will nobody think of the bankers?
It doesn’t matter which remnants of neoliberal economics this government tries to rescue from the rubble. Nor does it matter how many chancellors they use to try to resuscitate them. The Tories will never be able to fix the economy until they reckon with the fact that they’ve spent the past 12 years destroying it.
By preparing for another wave of austerity, the new chancellor is not just in denial about the scale and severity of the cost-of-living crisis. He is in denial about the very economic policy that engendered it. The last round of cuts to public services – which has been linked to 330,000 excess deaths by a recent report – did not just plunge millions into poverty. It stole resources from the poorest people in society and transferred them to the richest: as child poverty was heading towards its highest levels since 2007, Britain’s billionaires more than doubled their wealth. Far from rectifying this act of social robbery, the government is intent on helping the 1% steal even more.
As the Tories plunge themselves into electoral oblivion, those in opposition have a precious opportunity: to redistribute wealth, ownership and economic power. To end insecurity, exploitation, poverty and homelessness. To build a society grounded in compassion, creativity and care.
Greenpeace UK policy director Dr Doug Parr said: “Was it just a dream or did we all hear the Prime Minister say, just weeks ago, she was against a windfall tax?
“Now she’s going to impose a de facto one after all but only on electricity generators, not a proper one on oil and gas firms.
“This glaring double standard makes no sense. It’s almost as if Liz Truss’s belief in the free market only applied to big polluters.
“Of course, it’s right that industries profiting from the energy crisis should give up lots of their extra cash to help people struggling with their bills, but then why is the government refusing to properly tax fossil fuel giants?”