Out Of The Closet – Jim Murphy Exposed As A Right Wing Tory – Will He Jump Ship For UKIP???

 

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January 2015: Red Tory Murphy Retains Executive Membership of Tory-dominated Ultra Right-Wing Think Tank – The Henry Jackson Society (HJS)

Named after hawkish Democratic US senator Henry “Scoop” ­ Jackson, the HJS was founded in 2005 to promote a “forward strategy” on global democracy, drawing on strong militaries in the US and EU. The bulk of charitable donations to the society comes from Tory donors such as the Atkin Charitable Foundation, a London-based charity founded by a British businessman turned philanthropist Edward Atkin.

 

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It first financed the HJS in 2010 with a modest £5,000 grant, but subsequently the amounts increased considerably, totalling £375,000 between 2011 and 2013. The Stanley Kalms foundation, named after the Dixons boss, also gave the society £100,000 last year. Michael Gove MP, theTory Party’s Chief Whip in the House of Commons and a leading neoconservative, was a founding trustee of the HJS.”

 

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Murphy, the only Scots MP holding membership, delivered policy speeches at the HJS’s London HQ in 2012 and 2013, has been a member of its advisory political council since mid-2012, despite the views of some of its key staff prompting even the Tory frontbench to end relations with it in 2011.

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Labour leader in Scotland Murphy has been repeatedly urged to sever his links with the controversial think tank which is accused of pushing an anti-Muslim agenda. Human rights lawyer, advocate Niall McCluskey, said Murphy should “consider his position” with the HJS. The Spinwatch group, SNP and Greens also called on Murphy to quit the right-wing outfit.

McCluskey, who works with Amnesty International and has dealt with cases involving people facing extradition to oppressive regimes, said: “The problem with the Henry Jackson Society at the moment is Douglas Murray, who has been articulating certain viewpoints that are of concern, that appear to be anti-Islamic. “The question arises whether or not it’s appropriate for the leader of Scottish Labour to be associated with a society like that, if that’s the sort of message it appears to be espousing.

dearlove_1531139cFormer head of MI6

 

Major financial donor Nina Rosenwald, “also finances the US-based right-wing Gatestone Institute”, which uses its foreign status to publish potentially libellous attacks on British Muslims and pro-Palestine campaigners and organisations. Gatestone also publishes the work of HJS associate director Douglas Murray, who said in 2006 that “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board”…. All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop.”

In 2013, Murray claimed London had “become a foreign country” because “white Britons” were a minority in 23 of 33 London boroughs, and last month he downplayed the US Senate report on CIA torture after 9/11 as “largely or partly untrue”. HJS founder and director Alan Mendoza has also blamed ­immigration for a rise in anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe.

 

Michael-Gove.jpg.pagespeed.ce.0Dv96BPT6T  Michael Gove Tory MP

Last week, the HJS, a registered charity in England, withdrew funding from two Commons groups for MPs on domestic and international security rather than disclose its own sources of income. Commons Standards Commissioner Kathryn Hudson had told the HJS to provide a list of firms donating more than £5000 a year to it, but the HJS refused citing donor “privacy”, and withdrew its support from the parliamentary groups instead. It was subsequently reported that HJS has been receiving large sums from Tory donors.

 

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Professor David Miller, co-founder of Spinwatch, which complained about the HJS in the Commons, said: “When you look at what Douglas Murray has said about Muslims, I don’t understand how it’s ­possible for the Scottish Labour Party leader to endorse the Henry Jackson Society. “It’s moved from an intellectually respectable conservative position to an increasingly anti-Islamic position.”

In 2012, founder member Dr Marko Attila Hoare resigned from the HJS saying it had become “a mere caricature of its former self”. Instead of a bipartisan think tank, he said it has become “an abrasively right-wing forum with an anti-Muslim tinge”.

 

_63775450_63775448 Gisela Stuart Labour MP

SNP MSP Sandra White said: “Jim Murphy should consider his position as an adviser to this right-wing, neo-con organisation – it is an extraordinary role for a Labour leader in Scotland and a huge embarrassment to his party.”

A Green spokesman said: “Scottish Greens stand for peace, tolerance and a welcoming ­Scotland. What does Labour stand for if its Scottish leader maintains links with what appears to be a lobby group for military and ­corporate interests?” http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/scottish-labour-leader-urged-to-cut-links-with-right-wing-think-tank.26194695

 

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Comments:

* There seems to be an ongoing remodelling of Murphy underway, a u turn here, a u turn there. here a change, there a change, everywhere a change, change. Don’t like these principles, don’t worry I have got others seems to be his motto. Well at least we can establish how gullible the electorate is in response to these tactics.

* The path of all Blair’s stooges. Get in bed with the US Military and Industrial complex, and you’re made for life. They even use the old ‘freedom and democracy ‘ New World Order Blair Bush clarion call in a quote here. You may recall that we ‘shocked and awed’ Baghdad for 24 hours to bestow freedom and democracy on the survivors. Murphy is keeping his fingers in every Neo Liberal pie, just like the others. That way lies Non Executive directorships, a Lairdship, a Special Envoy gig, and of course the lucrative £10k a pop lecture tour. He is your classic New Labour gravy trainer, and like all those Labour Lords, Special Envoys, and Former Cabinet Ministers before him, he will eke out a post political career working for the Man.

 

6a00e54ee8dd9788330162ff8e8aaf970d David Willets Tory MP

May I suggest a casual browse on the Ethernet to follow the post Westminster careers of his fellow travellers on the Westminster Gravy Train to illustrate how well these Socialists are doing these days; military equipment and WMD’s, private health care, security firms and so on. Murphy is hoisted by his own petard (sic). WE ‘sweaty Jocks’ will not be fooled again.

 

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* The Friends of Israel links he maintains is a giveaway. Murphy is ultra-right wing despite claiming not to be. Seems to me he is a perfect match for the HJS.

 

article-0-004699DB00000258-646_233x423Charles David Powell, Baron Powell of Bayswater Policy advisor to Prime Ministers

* The continued referencing to Scottish labour is irrational nonsense. The is no such thing. Merely a branch of UK labour which channels London orders north and harvests Scottish stooges to pack out the Labour benches. We might as well send inflatable dummies to be deployed as required. The real thing is costly in every sense.

* “Last week, the HJS, a registered charity in England, withdrew funding from two Commons groups for MPs on domestic and international security rather than disclose its own sources of income.” Why does a group such as this have charitable status in the first place? If this group will not disclose their sources of income, then their charitable status should be removed [as should any body, society or institution who fail to supply details of where their “donations” come from].

 

SNN0309AN--_1613137aDenis McShane MP ( Jailed for fraudulently claiming expeses)

* Have a look at the Charity commission website where you will find copies of the last three years’ accounts. The latest reveal that it has a loan outstanding of £225,000 to Lord Harry Dalmeny, Deputy Lieutenant of Midlothian and the son of the Earl of Roseby, a Scottish nobleman. In the Guardian article you quote from there were details of the sources of income that appear to have escaped your notice. ” Much of the money has come from Tory donors such as the Atkin Charitable Foundation, a London-based charity founded by a British businessman turned philanthropist Edward Atkin.

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It first financed the HJS in 2010 with a modest £5,000 grant, but subsequently the amounts increased considerably, totalling £375,000 between 2011 and 2013. The Stanley Kalms foundation, named after the Dixons boss, also gave the society £100,000 last year.” If you think the charity is not abiding by the Charity Commission rules you can report it. Finally, it is pretty clear that it is a Tory-dominated think tank which makes a change from the Labour- dominated charities in England. But I agree with you that tax reliefs should not support politically-aligned charities.

* There’s nothing altruistic or ‘progressive’ about the Henry Jackson Society, however it paints itself. It is a single agenda ‘mafia’ – darkly power peddling means to reactionary ends. A craftily cultivated neoliberal world under a controlling US neocon claw. Should suit US acolytes nicely. Like Mr. Blair and Mr. Murphy of that ilk; and Messrs Osborne and Cameron too, come to think of it.

ancram_1460161c Former  Tory MP Michael Ancram, (Marquess of Lothian).

 

The problem with the Henry Jackson Society goes far beyond Douglas Murray. The organisation is closely linked to the right-wing Eurosceptic faction of the Conservative Party. Another senior HJS staff-member of long standing, Raheem Kassam, recently left to become senior advisor to Nigel Farage and UKIP; while he was working for the HJS, Kassam edited the websites Commentator and Trending Central, where he focused on publishing anti-Muslim material, including articles sympathetic to Marine Le Pen’s National Front and Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom. HJS eminence grise and financial donor Lord Kalms was expelled from the Tory party some years ago after coming out in support of UKIP.

 

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* HJS President Brendan Simms and Executive Director Alan Mendoza are calling for the UK to abandon Europe; they support the establishment of a European super-state from which the UK would be excluded, but to which it would be loosely linked via some form of association agreement, in the manner of Morocco or Egypt. HJS President Brendan Simms also recently described Scottish independence as a graver threat to Western security than either ISIS or Vladimir Putin. So Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy belongs to an organisation campaigning to take Britain out of Europe, and with pretty extreme views about the national aspirations of half of the Scottish electorate.

 

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Uncaring Craig Miller – Labour Party Parliamentary Assistant to Dr Simpson – Hung His Nurse – Model Girlfriend Out to Dry

 

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Nurse Suzanne Hunter

 

 

4 September 2014: – Better Together Team member Suzanne Hunter issued a statement through the, “No” campaign official blog

“As a nurse I understand the health issues that affect families across Scotland. I also understand that the higher level of public spending in Scotland gives us an advantage in getting to the root cause of these issues. After all, that public spending allows us to tackle the specific needs of Scotland with the allocation of that spending being decided by the Scottish Parliament.

Like every Scot, I’m incredibly proud of our NHS. Since 1999 the NHS has been under control of the Scottish Parliament. The decisions about how the public spending on Scottish hospitals is made in Scotland by people who understand the specific health concerns that affect us. The Scottish Parliament enjoys devolved powers over the NHS in Scotland – so it will be future Scottish Parliaments which decide the shape of our service.

Since devolution meant that all decisions over the health system in Scotland were made here in Scotland, we’ve made huge strides in improving the health of people in this country. We’ve seen a ban introduced on smoking in public places as well as the introduction of free personal care for our elderly. As part of the UK, Scotland’s yearly health spending is over £200 per person higher than it is in England.

So far so good but now the twaddle:

Yet under separation, impartial experts suggest that Scotland would face between £3 billion and £10 billion worth of cuts or tax rises. Even the NHS could not escape the inevitable cuts that would come from such an upheaval in our public finances.

I want to see that investment continue to tackle health inequalities in Scotland. I don’t want to see problems worsened by cuts to the budget to fund separation.

The NHS epitomises Scottish and British values in one institution. We care for our vulnerable and sick with no questions asked and no charged levied. These values would persist in a separate Scotland but our means to realise them might not.

Under devolution we can steer Scotland’s NHS in the direction we want it to go but backed up by the larger UK economy. As part of the UK, Scottish patients can get the best of both worlds: excellent treatment in this country’s hospitals while also having access to specialist treatment our families need across the UK.

Only separation puts this at risk. As a nurse I understand the health issues that affect families across Scotland. I also understand that the higher level of public spending in Scotland gives us an advantage in getting to the root cause of these issues.

https://web.archive.org/web/20140914213127/http://bettertogether.net/blog/entry/the-economics-of-independence-sometimes-its-the-funding-that-matters-most

 

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Comment: Suzanne nailed her colours to the mast of, “Better Together” which was entirely proper since whilst identiying herself as a nurse she was not in uniform and had every right to express her opinion since it was entirely apolitical.

The referendum over and done with Suzanne got off the fence and openly declared her allegiance, (when off-duty) to the labour Party.

This took her into the political world and her activities required careful handling on the part of her political masters so as to ensure her new public profile did not place her at risk of contravening any of the many rules of conduct to which her employment and profession bind her.

They failed in many respects and when Suzanne was exposed, ducked and dived and dodged and weaved, seeking to wrap their failures in a cloak of anonymity.

When this strategy failed they released the dogs of war against the person that displayed excellent integrity at the time he shared the information with his blog readers.

 

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25 February 2015: The undeniable

Below to the left is part of a Scottish Labour election leaflet that’s currently being put through Scottish letterboxes, featuring an alleged quote from an alleged NHS Scotland nurse identified as “Suzanne” from Clackmannanshire. On the right is the “CastingNow” profile of an actress named only as “Suzanne” from Clackmannanshire, who describes herself saying: “I’m very good at making people believe things which aren’t true hence why I’ve always been told to pursue acting.”

 

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Let us examine the leaflets:

While they have very similarly-shaped faces and features, we have no idea whether the two Suzannes are the same person or if it’s just a strange and potentially amusing coincidence. But the point is, there’s no way of finding out. Labour Suzanne doesn’t talk much like a normal person. She talks, curiously enough, exactly like a political party leaflet.

She appears in her NHS uniform, something that numerous NHS employees have told us is not permitted for real nurses because it would link NHS Scotland itself to a party-political campaign. (We haven’t yet been able to find out for sure if such actions are banned, partly because NHS Scotland weirdly doesn’t seem to have a website, but it’d be unusual for any public-sector employee to be allowed to promote a party while in uniform.

But while not specifically prohibiting politics, the Scottish NHS dress code does stipulate that staff should in general not wear their uniform off-duty.)

Neither of our two Suzannes has a surname, making them difficult to verify, although Labour’s ostensibly shows her face so it can’t be in order to protect her identity.

Nowhere on the leaflet does it suggest that the photo has been posed by an actress. And we know that the law permits political parties to lie freely in election literature.

So it would be perfectly possible for Scottish Labour to have put an actress in an NHS uniform, invented a completely fake quote for her to say, and put it on a leaflet to create the impression that NHS staff backed Labour, all without ever admitting that not a single word of it was actually true.

We haven’t a clue whether that’s the case here or not. But we suspect we’re not alone in being disturbed by the fact that if it was we’d have no way of knowing. Alone among advertisers, political parties can invent fake people out of thin air, create opinions for them, and pass them off as being absolutely real without any fear of detection. (Unless they make a completely incompetent arse of it, of course.)

It’s an odd way to run a democracy. We can only hope that if Labour ever finds itself in a position to implement Jim Murphy’s “1000 more nurses than however many the SNP say” pledge, none of them will be imaginary. http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-unrefuteables/
Comment:

But Suzanne  is a close personal friend of Craig Miller who works for Dr Richard Simpson MSP, Shadow public health Minister for the Labour Party.   https://twitter.com/craigmiller1986

 

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The nurse and the model are one and the same, she temps for the Sonia Scott Model Agency. http://www.alltalentuk.co.uk/?action=listingview&listingID=417

 

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The views she expresses in the numerous leaflets, now in circulation might well be heartfelt but she was unprofessional expressing them through Labour Party leaflet campaigns whilst wearing the full uniform of an NHS nurse a clear breach of protocol.

 

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Further evidence she his both persons is contained in two posts to her friend Aaron Harper, from Auchie: http://archive.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=2224510768

 

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Aaron Harper

 

 

Post 1: Love for u… I’m still nursing, wouldn’t give that up, have a mortgage 2 pay haha. I’m only modelling in my spare time, have a few jobs lined up. Just fancy doing something 2 make me feel good about myself and the extra cash will be nice 2 ha. Wot u doing with urself now a days? U still living in Sauchie? x

 

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Post 2: The story?! Come on Aaron, u know the story, start 2 finish. Haha Wasn’t satisfied with treating heart attacks, wanted 2 be the cause of them 2 haha. Wot u been up 2? Any half naked pics u want 2 show me??? xxx

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25 February 2015: Thrown to the wolves

Before we start, let’s make this plain: we will NOT be submitting any sort of complaint to any healthcare body regarding what we’re about to discuss, and we ask readers not to either. When push comes to shove, we don’t want nurses losing their jobs. Once again, we reiterate: we will not be submitting any complaints and we urge readers not to either. But contrary to Unionist and media assertion, this site does NOT control every angry cybernat in Scotland.

These leaflets have been put through untold thousands of doors and disseminated widely online. The information is already out there and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. We just wish Scottish Labour felt the same way. Earlier today we ran a piece exploring a theme we’ve covered several times on Wings – the unique freedom of political parties to lie with impunity. By way of example we showed a Scottish Labour election leaflet depicting an NHS nurse, who we suggested might been posed by an actress, for several reasons outlined in the article.

 

 

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The broad point having been made, we were happy to leave it at that. But this afternoon Scottish Labour’s shadow health minister, Dr Richard Simpson, posted the above tweet, angrily insisting that the woman in the leaflet WAS a real Scottish NHS nurse. A number of alert readers tracked her down on several “Better Together” leaflets, and it became apparent that her full name was Suzanne Duncan. Ms Duncan was an active participant in the No campaign. She even appeared in her own blog on the “Better Together” website, talking about the NHS and how it was devolved to Scotland.

This clear understanding of the principles of devolution makes it slightly odd that Suzanne is also to be seen on an election leaflet, saying that she’ll be voting for Scottish Labour in a WESTMINSTER election “because they’re the only party who can get rid of the Tories and pull our NHS back from the brink”.

She also appeared in a BT leaflet alongside the claim that a No vote would “secure the future of the NHS” – though we should note that those words aren’t attributed to her directly – and in several others from the No camp.

 

 

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But all this is by the by. Suzanne Duncan is perfectly entitled to believe and campaign for whatever political ends she likes, no matter how confused. She is, after all, hardly alone in Labour when it comes to telling Scots that the NHS was totally safe as long as Scotland stayed in the Union, then suddenly deciding that, having won that No vote, it was in deadly peril after all.

Hurray! Scotland voted No! The NHS is safe, right? Oh. But as we say, that’s all fine. Lying, as we established in this morning’s piece, is something political parties are allowed to do.

 

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But for NHS employees to campaign for political parties in identifiable NHS uniforms, not so much. That, we presume, is why all the “Better Together” material featuring Nurse Duncan was very careful to cover up the NHS Scotland logo on her tunic.

Scottish Labour, however, aren’t that competent or conscientious. None of which would have mattered if Richard Simpson had been able to keep his mouth shut. Anyone who saw our article would have come away thinking she was probably an actress and leaving it at that. But by compounding Labour’s ineptitude in leaving the logo on the leaflet, by insisting on shouting all over the internet that in fact she’s a real nurse, Simpson (and his equally brainless parliamentary assistant Craig Miller) have dropped poor Suzanne Duncan right in it.  https://twitter.com/Craigmiller1986/status/472337169747820544

 

 

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Once again, we reiterate: we will not be submitting any complaints and we urge readers not to either. But contrary to Unionist and media assertion, this site does NOT control every angry cybernat in Scotland. These leaflets have been put through untold thousands of doors and disseminated widely online. The information is already out there and there’s nothing we can do to stop it. http://www.sehd.scot.nhs.uk/mels/CEL2010_42.pdf   http://www.nmc-uk.org/Documents/Standards/The-code-A4-20100406.pdf paras 59-61

 

We hope – sincerely – that nobody is bitter and poisoned enough to act maliciously. But if they do, the responsibility for it will lie squarely with the hate-blinded, tribal idiots of Scottish Labour, and with Dr Richard Simpson.

When your crazed loathing of the SNP has driven you so demented you start risking the livelihoods of young Scottish nurses, perhaps it’s time you stopped and had a long hard look at yourself in a mirror. http://wingsoverscotland.com/thrown-to-the-wolves/

 

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25 February 2015: The Daily Record attacks: Wings Over Scotland website fuels hatred and paranoia

The vicious underbelly to the independence campaign was on display again in an unwarranted attack on an NHS nurse who happens to have appeared on a Labour leaflet. Suzanne Hunter is the latest victim of a campaign being waged on behalf of Scottish nationalism from Somerset, 300 miles away. She is not a Labour Party member or activist, just a decent woman who cares passionately about the NHS.

 

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The Wings Over Scotland website seized on Suzanne’s photograph and published it next to the casting profile of an actress, hinting that they may be the same person. The two women do not look like each other in any way, but the mere suggestion of being duped was enough to trigger a torrent of vile abuse against an innocent woman from unthinking cybernats. This brand of politics isn’t unique to Scotland, though it has no parallel in the rest of the UK. It has echoes of far-right US Republicanism that seeks to undermine anyone with an opposite view by inciting online mobs, hatred and vilification.

 

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This is a world of conspiracy theories, hatred and paranoia. This is a brand of nationalism that seeks to peddle falsehoods and unfounded allegations against anyone who isn’t a believer. It is nasty, sewage politics that debases public life. And yet the Wings Over Scotland is cited as an authoritative source by some leading SNP figures who really should know better. Newspapers are quite properly accountable – in public – for any mistakes they make. Indeed, we carry such a correction on our website’s home page today.

Those who peddle insults from cyberspace aren’t bound by the same standards of accuracy and responsibility. Yet they are, for better or worse, associated with a nationalist movement that will inevitably be judged by the company it keeps. With friends like these, no nationalist needs to make up enemies.

 

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Comment: The content of the Daily Record article is poorly presented and contains many errors of fact:

“she is not a Labour Party member or activist, just a decent woman who cares passionately about the NHS.”

Almost entirely incorrect, the only part which has a ring of truth is her decency and passion for the NHS. She is actively involved providing support to the labour Party and their general election campaign, witnessed by her active participation, posing for political leaflets and allowing added comment critical of her employers, to be attributed to herself.

“The Wings Over Scotland website seized on Suzanne’s photograph and published it next to the casting profile of an actress, hinting that they may be the same person. The two women do not look like each other in any way, but the mere suggestion of being duped was enough to trigger a torrent of vile abuse against an innocent woman from unthinking cybernats”

 

suzanne

 

Factually incorrect. Comment about her photograph and the casting profile of an actress does not hint that they are one and the same person. It categorically states that they are the same person, which is indeed the truth. Suzanne moonlights from her position as a nurse and works for the, “Sonia Scott Agency”.

“Newspapers are quite properly accountable – in public – for any mistakes they make. Indeed, we carry such a correction on our website’s home page today.”

I fully expect another, “correction” will be forthcoming in view of the foregoing untruths.

 

 

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26 February 2015: The comical furore about The Nurse Who Definitely Isn’t An Actress shows no signs of making sense any time soon.

24 hours and several demented pages of hysterical tabloid shrieking later, we’re still not sure whether a No activist and Labour supporter from Clackmannanshire is called Suzanne Duncan (as “Better Together” called her until at least June last year) or “Suzanne Hunter” (as the Daily Record calls her), though a bit of Facebook detective work suggests the latter. We do at least seem to have cleared up her employment history, as the Daily Record has now very quietly and subtly changed its article of last night, which claimed she’d worked for eight years at a hospital that’s only been open for five. But a whole bundle of other questions remain unanswered.

The most immediately intriguing is “Who’s been Photoshopping her uniform?” Below are three pictures of Suzanne. The one on the left is from a “Better Together” leaflet from last year, the middle one is from a Labour “vote No” leaflet just before the referendum, and the one on the right is from Labour’s NHS leaflet of this week.

 

 

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We say “three pictures”, but in fact they’re clearly all the same one. You can tell by the crease lines on her tunic, the position of her watch clip and, well, everything else. But there’s one significant difference. Where “Better Together” appear to have airbrushed out the NHS Scotland logo, presumably to stop the nurse getting in trouble for politicising her job in contravention of the rules for public-sector employees, Scottish Labour haven’t bothered. (At first, judging by a poorer-quality scan, we suspected that they might have crudely Photoshopped the logo ON, but the one above from a high-resolution original looks like the real version.)

Nurses are entitled to hold any political views they like, and to campaign for them in their spare time like anyone else, but they’re not supposed to do so in uniform. By carelessly failing to edit out the logo, and by then ensuring that the offending picture was blared all across the internet and the print media, Scottish Labour and the Daily Record have used her and then abandoned her up a creek without a paddle. But we pointed all that out yesterday, along with the reason.

The Record gives around three times as much space to its screaming, fuming editorial about a website suggesting a political party might have used an actress on a leaflet as it does to “correcting”, in a tiny box under the weather and the lottery numbers, the fact that it told Scots a TWENTY BILLION POUND lie on its front page just a few months ago, and inquisitive readers might wonder why.

 

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There isn’t even the pretence of a fauxpology, or an explanation of how a senior political journalist could have so spectacularly misinterpreted the Smith Commission as to imagine that the UK government was going to hand Scotland an annual £20bn bonanza of free extra cash in the midst of savage austerity. While the Record explodes with fabricated rage across a full-page story and a lead editorial about someone saying they didn’t know if two people were the same or not – risking a nurse’s livelihood as they do so – they bury in a corner the fact that they told a gigantic front-page lie about a sum of money that would cover the entire yearly budget of NHS Scotland twice over, and they don’t even say sorry.

The Record bleats that sites like this one “aren’t bound by the same standards of accuracy and responsibility” that newspapers are. But we said absolutely nothing about Suzanne Duncan/Hunter that was inaccurate, and we didn’t insult or abuse her in any way. Unlike the Record and Scottish Labour, we didn’t put her job on the line. We have nothing to apologise for. The Daily Record, meanwhile, very much does, but it doesn’t seem to want to, and the toothless press watchdog is happy to let it off with a microscopic weasel-worded “correction” no bigger than the NHS Scotland logo that Scottish Labour forgot to airbrush off a nurse’s uniform.

And the reason for the massive smokescreen might be that the Record’s lie about the Smith Commission is still present on its website. On this page, at the time of writing, you can still see the paragraph claiming a 50% boost to the Holyrood budget which was deleted from the original story after we alerted IPSO, and which the Record admits isn’t true.

 

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Also there is the equally-false line about “billions of pounds of extra tax and spending” which can still be found on the “corrected” original page – which this morning carries no notification whatsoever of the correction, despite IPSO saying that it would. So to recap: the Record’s original page still carries a major lie, another page on its website features that lie as well as an even bigger one that the paper claimed to have removed, and there are no links on either of them to the pitiful “correction”. Readers of the paper’s website will still come away with the completely wrong impression that the Smith Commission proposals would mean billions of pounds more for Scotland.

We’re not even going to get into the wider morality of being lectured on ethics by the newspaper group responsible for mass-scale phone hacking or the commonplace intimidation of innocent members of the public. But we promise the Daily Record that it can monster us as much as it likes. We’re going to keep right on watching it, along with the rest of the Scottish press, and every time it lies to the people of Scotland we’ll be there to tell them about it. http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-plot-stupids/

 

 

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26 February 2015: the-nurse-who-wasnt-an-actress/

Suzanne Hunter States: “I have been made out to be a hypocrite, like someone who represents myself to be something I’m not.” Probably just another coincidence, we imagine.

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http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-nurse-who-wasnt-an-actress/

 

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27 February 2015: Ranting cybernats who posted hate messages about young NHS nurse are slapped down by First Minister

The First Minister today slapped down cybernats who tried to get a young nurse hauled over the coals for appearing on a Labour political leaflet. Nicola Sturgeon said Suzanne Hunter was entitled to express her own views on the NHS – despite trolls on the Wings Over Scotland website demanding she be disciplined by hospital bosses. The furore broke after site’s founder Stuart Campbell posted a photo of Suzanne, 28, alongside an actress, who looked nothing like her, and suggested they could be the same person.

 

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The false comparison sparked a host of bullying comments and vicious accusations that Suzanne, an NHS hospital nurse for the last eight years, was a fraud. Speaking through her official spokesman, Sturgeon condemned the bullies and distanced herself from Campbell.

The spokesman said of Suzanne: “It’s entirely acceptable for her to have a political view.” He went on: “The First Minister has repeatedly, unequivocally condemned abuse of any kind whoever the victim, whoever the perpetrator. You cannot be more categoric than than. “She condemns it. Full stop.”

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/ranting-cybernats-who-posted-hate-5239329

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Comment: I read over many comments posted to the blog article. A very small minority, from many hundreds of posts may have voiced contrary views but they were speedily asked to moderate their opinions by others in compliance with the wishes of the blog owner so as not to upscale matters. I take issue with the comment of the Daily Record, “The false comparison sparked a host of bullying comments and vicious accusations that Suzanne, an NHS hospital nurse for the last eight years, was a fraud”.

 

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At no time did anyone accuse Suzanne of being a fraud. Quite the reverse. All those who participated expressed the view that Suzanne had been badly let down by her Labour Party masters who should not have compromised her nursing career, posting party political brochures nationwide with her featuring prominently dressed in her Nursing uniform whilst participating in political activities in contravention of the NHS dress code and professional standards of behaviour which expressly forbid it.

 

 

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NHS Nurse and part time actress Suzanne Hunter

More Savage Austerity Cuts In The Pipeline – Child Poverty – Education – More Despair For The Easy Targets – More Money For the Rich. It Isn’t Fair

polyp_cartoon_redistributionThe Child Poverty Act received Royal Assent on 25th March 2010.

The target is to eliminate child poverty by 2020 and legislation makes tackling child poverty a priority for all governments. The Child Poverty Act requires the Secretary of State, when setting the child poverty strategy, to consider which groups of children in the UK are disproportionately affected by socio-economic disadvantage, and to consider the likely impact of government policy on children in these groups. This will provide a mechanism to target children most at risk of poverty and will allow decisions to be made on the basis of whether they will help these children in the long term. Further reading : http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/why-end-child-poverty/child-poverty-act

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A reality check is in order

Many crucial programmes that enabled over a million children to be lifted out of poverty over the period 1999-2009 have/are being dismantled forming part of savage, “austerity measures” introduced by the Tory government in 2010. UK wide major political parties are committed to extending and further increasing the aforementioned austerity programmes reducing state expenditure by £20-30billion. The brutal cuts forming part of the manifesto’s of the UK wide political parties will increase the numbers of children living in poverty by around one million over the lifetime of the next government.

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But the Scot’s want a different approach

SNP policy rejects, “austerity” as the way forward giving favour to an expansion of the economy increasing the value of the state, better managing the balance of payments deficit and long term debt incurred at the time of the 2006-2008 financial crisis and the last five years of failed, “austerity” driven Tory party government which doubled to long term debt of the country.

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Facts and figures don’t lie

* There are 3.5 million children living in poverty (households below average income) in the UK today. That’s 27 per cent of children, or more than one in four.

* There are even more serious concentrations of child poverty at a local level: in 100 local wards, for example, between 50 and 70 per cent of children are growing up in poverty. http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/why-end-child-poverty/poverty-in-your-area#map

* Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family (households below average income) where at least one member works.

* People are poor for many reasons. But explanations which put poverty down to drug and alcohol dependency, family breakdown, poor parenting, or a culture of worklessness are not supported by the facts. Population estimates of problematic drug users in England who access DWP benefits, Department for Work and Pensions, 2008, suggest that 6.6 per cent of the total number of benefit claimants in England were problem drug users. While drug misuse may prove to be a key reason this group of people finds it hard to escape poverty, it clearly has no explanatory power for the other 93.4 per cent of claimants.

* Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty (households below average income) means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 61 per cent of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.

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* Child poverty has long-lasting effects. By 16, children receiving free school meals achieve 1.7 grades lower at GCSE than their wealthier peers. Leaving school with fewer qualifications translates into lower earnings over the course of a working life.

* Poverty is also related to more complicated health histories over the course of a lifetime, again influencing earnings as well as the overall quality – and indeed length – of life. Professionals live, on average, eight years longer than unskilled workers.7

* Child poverty imposes costs on broader society – estimated to be at least £29 billion a year.8 Governments forgo prospective revenues as well as commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now.

* Child poverty was reduced, (addressing major increases in the level of child poverty in the time of the Tory government), dramatically between 1998/9-2011/12 when 1.1 million children were lifted out of poverty (households below average income). This reduction is credited in large part to measures that increased the levels of lone parents working, as well as real and often significant increases in the level of benefits paid to families with children.

* Under current government policies, child poverty is projected to rise once more from 2012/13 with an expected 600,000 more children living in poverty by 2015/16.10 This upward trend is expected to continue with 4.7 million children projected to be living in poverty by 2020.

The full report on child poverty can be found at: http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CPAG-PovertyinScotland2014-sample-chapter.pdf

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Spongers, down and outs, overweight and alcoholics

The denigration of people in poverty is not new. The state assumes de facto responsibility for the care of ‘paupers’, and the terms ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ are once more prevalent in the language of politicians. The divisive, self-justifying distinction between the workless, rogues, idlers and scroungers on the one hand and the hardworking, law-abiding, responsible, taxpayer has not. Recently poublished research highlights how recent welfare reforms continue the states’s long tradition of shaming people who live in poverty. http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/adding-shame-poverty-public-politicians-and-media

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The Conservative manifesto 2010 – education of our children is paramount:

* We will improve standards for all pupils and close the attainment gap between the richest and poorest. (but there remains a fast growing gap between achievements in reading, maths and science between the richest and poorest students).

* We will enhance the prestige and quality of the teaching profession.

* We will give heads and teachers tough new powers of discipline. (but violence in the classroom is a serious and growing problem).

* We will restore rigour to the curriculum and exam system and give every parent access to a good school.

* We will improve our school system to world leadership standard. (but Britain has slipped further down the world leaguetable for student achievement).

* We will make opportunity more equal for all students and address our declining social mobility.

http://www.general-election-2010.co.uk/conservative-party-manifesto-2010-general-election/conservative-manifesto-2010-change-society-raise-standards-in-schools

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So how did they do?

Not at all good – Under the auspices of Michael Gove, (whatever happened to him?) and his successors teachers are still overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. Schooling is still beset with brainless standardization with which students are increasingly non-compliant. The depressingly constant undermining of teachers and their skills only serves to devalue the learning process. Teachers thrive in a listening not telling environment and society would do well to encourage politicians and the state to take a back seat allowing the teaching profession to improve the learning process elevating their skills and place in society.

Tory, Labour and other UK Parties have failed our children – underfunding, overcrowded classrooms, poor payment of teachers, inadequate financial resources to schools and low attendance all beset education.

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How do our children compare with other nations?

A UN report this week named the UK as the worst place to grow up, and Holland the best. Why? – The Unicef team assessed six different areas: material well-being, health and safety educational well-being, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks and the young people’s own perceptions of their well-being.

In the Netherlands, 73.2% of children found their peers “kind or helpful” – but in the UK only 43.3% felt the same. More than a third of Dutch children liked school “a lot” but in the UK this was less than 20%. 31% of UK children admit to having been drunk on one or two occasions. In the Netherlands it is 12.9%.

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One child – Chloe, 14, has just finished posting leaflets through letterboxes. She is bright, with high aptitude test scores but she has enormous difficulties at school and has been excluded 14 times. She has to be on her best behaviour for the next eight weeks or she is out. Chloe swears a lot at the teachers and answers back and so gets put in isolation all the time, where she has to sit in a cubicle at a desk on her own for seven hours. Chloe hates that and runs off. “They focus more on punishment than on rewards,” she snorts. The police have been called to her parents house a few times when Chloe kicked off and once she was almost charged with domestic violence, though she got let off with a warning. Chloe’s mum, Michelle, 36, says her daughter was “paralytic” when she got to her. The family doctor said Chloe was just a spoiled brat acting up. He sent her to a therapist but she “kicked off” there too.

In Holland secondary school children wear what they want and they say this is why they are happier. There are 10 “golden rules of school”, including no bullying, using bad words or mobiles and smoking is only allowed in identified smoking areas in the playground. But very few children smoke.

Feedback from children believe it is this tolerance that stops them pushing too many boundaries. They say they are treated like adults and are allowed to grow in their less rigid environment. “In Holland, we are much more free,” explained one child, in England, you have uniforms and we get to do more things with clothes and make-up and express ourselves.” A friend 16 added: “No-one is alone here. Here everyone has friends and I think we’re a bit more helpful – we help each other out.”
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/feb/17/childrensservices.uknews

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rigid systems breed contempt

A poverty inquiry identified growing inequality in schools – The School-Wear Association, the body representing independent retailers which claims to clothe three-quarters of Britain’s schoolchildren, suggests it costs about £80 to kit out a state secondary school pupil with one new uniform set.

How does a low income family, struggling to pay rent, bills and food manage the cost? For an unemployed parent, it’s just not possible. Families in increasing numbers are turning to loan sharks and high credit lenders to ensure their children have suitable uniform and shoes so they do not suffer the stigma of standing out as poor. A typical parent response;

“I don’t know which schools the School-Wear Association looked at but £80 didn’t even cover half of what my daughters high school specified, and we don’t live in a wealthy area. The blazer alone cost £39, I cant remember the cost of the rest. The blouse and black trousers/skirt were the only items that could be generic, everything else had to be from named suppliers, including school sweatshirt, PE sweatshirt, PE T-shirt, PE tracksuit bottoms, tie, PE kit bag, even the PE socks had to be from the named supplier. Add school shoes, PE pumps, trainers for outside PE, two aprons (also specified supplier) for cookery and textiles. Contrast with when I was at school you could buy nearly ALL as generics, and even buy sew on logos for the blazers in some cases. Many children are ashamed of not having everything they need, or bullied because of it, which has a detrimental knock on effect on their confidence – and their education.” http://www.childrenscommission.org.uk/

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Lin Homer – Civil Servant Deemed Unfit For Service in a Banana Republic Gets Her Reward – Early Retirement – a Damehood and a £2.2Million Pension Pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whitehall mandarin made a Dame in the 2016 New Year’s Honours list despite coming under fire for mishandling of tax-dodgers is standing down

The head of HM Revenue and Customs quit  the Civil Service with a £2.2million pension pot (one of the biggest in the Civil Service, swelled by an additional £70,000 to £75,000 last year) and a promise not to take a job in the private sector which will embarrass ministers.

Dame Lin Homer, who has run HMRC since 2012, will leave in April after MPs criticised a series of failings and “abysmal” levels of customer service for members of the public.

Dame Lin was also under fire for securing only one prosecution from a list of 6,800 UK-related secret Swiss bank accounts provided in 2010 by French authorities. In her previous job running the UK Border Agency, Dame Lin was censured by MPs for her “catastrophic leadership failure”.

Homer epitomised all that is wrong with the UK Civil Service.  Unaccountable Civil Service mandarins enjoying self-congratulatory praise whilst abusing the protection of the State, covering up massive cock-ups costing the UK taxpayer many billions.  A summary of her worst efforts follows.

Additionally a number of unsavoury incidents (some involving Cameron’s sidekick, Chief Civil Servant, Sir Jeremy Heywood) occurred in the course of the Scottish Independence Campaign giving urgent notice that the Scottish parliament must have authority over Civil Servants working  in Scotland. The Smith Commission failed to address the issue and it needs to be raised with Westminster soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Scottish, civil service, with no ties to Westminster, clear of the tentacles of “Common Purpose” would better serve Scotland.

The marked increasing incidence of recurring catastrophic leadership disasters in the, “UK Civil Service” is of concern. Very many inadequate civil servants are/have been promoted well beyond their abilities, through their shadowy, “Common Purpose” network contacts. Hence the increasing number of financial, transport, media, immigration and other disasters which have and continue to blight the UK. The UK civil service, put in place by the public, charged with the mission always to serve their needs is not fit for purpose.

 

 

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March 26 2013; Who are her backers? The Unstoppable Rise of Lin Homer, (Common Purpose Member)

Born in Norfolk, Lin Homer studied law at University College London, before working at Reading Council for two years then Hertfordshire Council, where over a period of 15 years, she rose to the position of Director of Corporate Services. Now a member of “Common Purpose” This provided the springboard for her first major town hall job, in 1998, as chief executive of Suffolk Council.

http://4liberty.org.uk/2013/03/26/who-else-is-behind-people-like-lin-homer/

 

 

 

 

 

4 April 2005; Judge upholds vote-rigging claims – Lin Homer Threw rule book out the window,

Homer was parachuted into the same post at Birmingham City Council, on a jaw-dropping £174,000-year.

In 2005 she was accused of throwing ‘the rule book out of the window’ in a major postal votes scandal in Birmingham that ended up before the courts.

Election judge Richard Mawrey said fraud in the city ‘would have disgraced a banana republic’.

He described Mrs Homer’s decision to allow postal ballot papers to be transported to the count in shopping bags as ‘the direst folly’.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/west_midlands/4406575.stm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 March 2013; Jerry Hayes – Solicitor and ex Tory MP – Lin Homer, eat my shorts.  Allah UKBA!

What is even more fascinating is how LIn Homer has soared effortlessly to the Whitehall stratosphere.

I first came across her in 2005 and found her perfectly agreeable. She was the Chief Executive of Birmingham Council and I was parachuted in to represent two Labour councillors accused of electoral fraud.

It was the first electoral commission in one hundred years. It was as a result of a petition moved by the splendid John Hemming, now a Lib Dem MP.

It was an eye opener exposing the corruption of the postal ballot system which according to the Commissioner, Richard Maurey QC “would have disgraced a banana republic”.

Let me set the scene:

“My chaps were found in a warehouse in the dead of night in front of a table groaning with postal ballot forms, pens and tipex. As we say in the trade this caused one or two evidential problems. Worse, heads of Asian families were hoovering up votes within their households. And (not connected with my clients) there were accusations that postmen laden with postal ballots had been threatened with having their throats cut if they didn’t hand them over.

It didn’t say a lot about British democracy. It spoke volumes.

But most shocking of all was the utter chaos of the count. The Commissioner remarked that the transportation of voting papers via carrier bags was the “direst folly”.

And after the Lib Dems had raised an almighty stink it was discovered that Tesco bags of uncounted votes were discovered in council offices.

The Commissioner commented that Lin Homer as Chief returning Officer had “thrown away the electoral rule book”.

http://jerryhayes.co.uk/posts/2013/03/25/lin-homer-eat-my-shorts-allah-ukba

 

 

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18 Nov 2013; United Kingdom Border Agency savaged by MPs

But later that year she was chosen by the Home Office to run what was then called the Immigration and Nationality Directorate – this time on £200,000, plus bonuses

Already in chaos, it was on her watch in 2006 that we learned of the mistaken release of 1,000 foreign criminals.

It later emerged some 450,000 asylum cases had not been dealt with but left in boxes at the Home Office.

Appearing before the Home Affairs committee Homer, now head of the newly formed UKBA gave an undertaking to fix things.

But despite promises from former chief executive Lin Homer and her successors as head of the UKBA since the UKBA was founded in 2008, nothing was being done to try to find asylum seekers whose claims had been rejected and to remove them from the country.

The UKBA had supplied wrong and misleading statistics to the Home Affairs Committee since it was formed in 2008.

Senior UK staff ‘misled’ the Committee; The UKBA’s senior staff misled the Committee on so many occasions that it was clear that senior staff were either deliberately misleading the Committee or thoroughly incompetent.

Files were so poorly compiled and were missing so much information that it was impossible to carry out security checks on applicants for asylum.

Progress in dealing with historic cases had been slow and poorly performed. The Committee expressed doubt that checks on archives of historic cases to try to determine whether the applicants were still in the country were carried out properly.

The UKBA was not working properly with the police to find and detain foreign nationals who are awaiting prosecution for criminal offences.

The Committee was especially scathing in its criticism of Lin Homer. It accused her of trying to ‘evade responsibility for her failings’.

Ms Homer told the committee in January that she had always given the committee all the figures that had been requested as soon as she had them. The committee refutes this.

The new UKBA was meant to clear up the mess, and Mrs Homer became its first chief executive, on an astonishing £208,000 a year.

But among a fresh run of scandals was the revelation that nearly 400 of the 1,000 foreign prisoners were told they could stay in Britain and dozens remained untraced.

She was quizzed over more than 100,000 items of mail left unopened as staff struggled to deal with 147,000 immigration case files, some dating back to the Nineties, parked in a ‘controlled archive’. It later emerged that in 40,000 cases, individuals could still be in the country and were potentially untraceable.

Ms Homer apologised that the cases had not been checked against up to 19 databases, including the Police National Computer and anti-terrorist watchlist, and said she regretted she may have ‘inadvertently misled’ the committee over the size of the backlog and whether security checks had been carried out.

Mr Vaz accepted her apology – but said if it happened again it would be reported to Parliament as a ‘contempt of the House’.

Tomorrow’s report is expected to express MPs’ fury that Ms Homer, 56, does not appear to accept she failed during her time as head of the UKBA – and cast doubt on her ability to carry out her duties at HMRC.

She was paid almost £1 million in salary and bonuses during her time at the beleaguered agency.

The report is expected to conclude Parliament should be given a stronger role in appointing top civil servants – a view likely to be shared by No 10, where senior figures have expressed frustration at the way Whitehall tries to block key reforms and rejects interference over its appointments.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-21921926 (includes video report)

http://www.workpermit.com/news/2013-11-18/uk-immigration-savaged-by-mps

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2298171/Britains-tax-chief-faces-sack-shes-slammed-report-performance.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

 

 

 

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10 Oct 2012; Rewarding Failure – permanent secretary of the UK Transport Department Lin Homer lasts barely a year.

Millionaire mandarin Lin Homer, Permanent Secretary at the DfT throughout 2011 when details of the new rail franchise business model were being thrashed out was today named by Sir Richard Branson as one of a handful of officials at the department whom his Virgin Rail team met during 2011 to voice concerns over the bid process.

Those concerns were ignored, said the rail boss whose warnings proved correct last week when the Government U-turned on its decision to award the lucrative franchise to his rival First Group due to an alleged catastrophic business model error.

The mistake is estimated to cost taxpayers £100million and the DfT has now been labelled “not fit for purpose”.

Ms Homer’s meteoric rise through the civil service — she received another promotion last January — prompted one MP last night to question whether there was an unchecked “reward for failure” culture at the heart of Whitehall.

http://www.geralforum.com/board/1564/540216/ http://beforeitsnews.com/eu/2012/10/rewarding-failure-2454398.html

 

 

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25 March 2013; Appointment of HMRC head Lin Homer raises ‘serious concerns’

The Commons’ Home Affairs committee said in a report published today, it was “astounded” at Homer’s appointment to chief executive and permanent secretary at HMRC at “what is a challenging time for that organisation”.

It added that the appointment raises “serious concerns about the accountability of the most senior civil servants to Parliament”.

http://www.international-adviser.com/news/tax—regulation/appointment-of-hmrc-head-lin-homer-raises

 

 

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6 November 2013; Public being charge extortionate telephone premium rates in calls to HMRC

Homer admitted to MP’s that tax payers are charged premium call rates upon telephone enquiries made direct to HMRC and that there was an inordinate time taken to answer enquiries. But she was dealing with the matter.

Homer decided that HMRC will close all 281 of their Enquiry Centres before the end of 2014. Replacing the service with an updated, “super dooper” call centre system, passing the buck to the Citizens Advice Bureau and other voluntary organisations to provide tax advice to the public.

Watch Lin Homer (Chief Executive & Permanent Secretary) and Ruth Owen (Director General Personal TAX HMRC) squirm when Ms Hodge has a go at them about 0845 numbers! Priceless!!!

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12413&st=15:25:50

 

 

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5 November 2012; Homer admits Government powerless to force multinationals to declare profits

Homer briefed MPs that over half of Britain’s biggest 770 firms funnel profits overseas and the Government is unable at the present time to prevent these big international corporations from paying almost no tax on their profits in this country.

She offered that they achieve this by declaring their profits in foreign countries with tiny tax rates – even if they made those profits in this country.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/taxman-admits-government-powerless-to-force-multinationals-to-declare-profits-8282771.html

 

 

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30 July 2013; £135 million collected from leaked Swiss list

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has recovered £135 million in lost tax from individuals named on a leaked list of HSBC’s private banking operation in Switzerland.

This is considerably less than the amount pulled in by the Spanish and French tax authorities, who have recouped £220 million and £188 million respectively.

Speaking at a hearing of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), HMRC chief executive Lin Homer said that 130,000 names were on the so-called Falciani list – named after the former employee of the bank who handed over the details.

Of the 130,000, HMRC had identified 6,800 UK-based entities at some 5,000 UK addresses.

Ms Homer said however that the poor quality of the data meant that just 3,400 taxpayers have been contacted so far – resulting in a yield of just £135m. She said however that HMRC’s efforts “were not yet finished.”

Asked about the Lagarde list – a subset of the larger HSBC database – Ms Homer said that “major progress” had been made in tackling 15 live cases. Of these, two have been settled as civil cases, four remain open, five have settled within the Swiss disclosure agreement and four are still being negotiated.

HMRC’s actions over the Liberty tax avoidance scheme were also considered by the PAC, with Ms Homer confirming that £400 million of tax was at stake.

According to HMRC data, of the approximately 2,000 users of the scheme, the tax authority had failed to serve Section 9 notices in 30 cases, which HMRC’s internal review suggested had put ‘well below’ £10m of tax at risk.

HMRC were also censured over errors which saw the department overstate the amount of extra revenue collected by £1.9bn compared to targets. Ms Homer apologised for the mistake, which she said was down to an incorrect calculation of the baseline from which later calculations were taken.

She is under pressure from the, “Commons Public Accounts Committee”, who asked about, “sweetheart” deals she authorised, giving immunity to around 6,000 British names linked to HSBC bank accounts in Geneva.

At least 500 of these wealthy tax dodgers are being or have been investigated but it is expected they will be offered immunity in exchange for payment of a penalty AND their tax bills AND allowed to keep their identities hidden AND be protected from prosecution”?

 

 

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11 February 2015; MPs debate HSBC scandal: Politics Live blog

MPs from the Commons public accounts committee have launched a withering attack on HM Revenue and Customs over its response to information it received about clients of HSBC’s Swiss division dodging tax.

Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who chairs the committee, said accused Lin Homer, the HMRC chief executive, of a “pathetic” response.

Hodge also said HMRC was sending out a “really rotten message” to people considering evading tax because its action was so weak.

She said HMRC was sending out the message that “it’s a risk worth taking – the worst that can happen to you if HMRC can be bothered to catch up with you is that you may have to pay, you won’t have a prosecution, you won’t have any shame, you won’t be an example to anybody else, you’ll get away with it”.

She went on: That’s a terrible message to get out to British taxpayers, it’s a really rotten message.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2015/feb/11/cameron-and-miliband-at-pmqs-politics-live-blog (Video coverage of the debates) <a href=”https://gscott123.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/lin-homer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State Pension Bombshell – Less Than Half British Retirees To Get Full Pension – So the 55 Year Old Plus No Voters Get Their Return – Listen to Gordon Brown at Your peril- He Will Return Towards the End of the GE Campaign To Promise you more Goodies

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January 2014; Three quarters of women fear the struggle to survive in old age over pension uncertainty

Three-quarters of women fear they will struggle to get by when they reach retirement age because their current income is too low for a decent pension, a study shows. Research also showed widespread confusion among working age women over the effect of changes to the pension system and the rising retirement age. The study by the Pensions Advisory Service found that almost four in 10 women did not know when they would be able to draw their pension, because of changes to the qualifying age, and six in 10 had no idea if they had paid enough National Insurance.

Overall, it showed that seven in 10 did not feel confident about making decisions when saving for retirement. Meanwhile 76 per cent do not believe they will have enough income to be financially comfortable once stopping work.

Around 40 million people currently of working age will receive the new single-tier pension, which is due to come into effect in 2016, simplifying the state pension arrangements. It will run alongside the Government’s landmark plans to automatically enrol people into workplace pensions.

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service said: “The odds of women being able to provide for a comfortable retirement are stacked against them from the start. “Women are much more likely than men to have career breaks, work part-time and have low-paid service sector jobs. “The price they pay is an incomplete state pension in their own right and not much, if any, private pension to add to it.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10592474/Three-quarters-of-women-fear-struggle-to-survive-in-old-age-over-pension-uncertainty.html

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April 2014; Government to give life expectancy estimates with pensions advice

Pensions minister Steve Webb has announced plans to give retirees rough estimates of their life expectancy as part of pensions advice from April 2015.

Specialist pensions experts will calculate how long older people have to live, based on their gender, lifestyle and location. The move is a reaction to concerns people will be irresponsible with their pensions, now that there are fewer restrictions around withdrawing their pot in one go.

The news comes a day after Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed people in the UK are living longer, but stark regional contrasts persist. The area with the highest life expectancy is Purbeck in Dorset, where the average woman will now live to 86.6. The figure is 82.9 years for a man in the same region.

In Glasgow life expectancy is 72.6 for men and 78.5 for women.

Webb highlighted this geographical contrast, along with lifestyle considerations, as one of the main reasons behind the policy.

“The idea is that you come to think about retiring, but you don’t know how long that retirement is going to be,” he said. “My idea is to say to somebody, look, someone of your generation, living in this part of the country, you’ve not smoked, you could easily live for 27 years.”

Webb added the consultations would not be bespoke, but based on a chart for people with similar circumstances. He also said the Government was conscious the consultations should not be “crass and insensitive”. http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1143568/government-life-expectancy-estimates-pensions-advice

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February 2014; The new state pension winners and losers – and what you can do about it

Single-tier pension winners;

• People who contracted out into a personal pension.

• The self-employed. Currently they are only entitled to the basic state pension of £110.15. Under the new system they will get the full £147 provided they notch up 35 qualifying years.

• Women and part-time workers. Broken work histories and low part-time earnings have meant many have not built up full state pension in the past.

Single-tier pension losers

• People who have never contracted out of the state system.

• Young people. Losses increase over time: someone aged 49 on £26,000 a year will be £29 a week worse off, while someone in their mid-30s will be £40 a week worse off by the time they retire, according to the TUC.

• Existing pensioners. Anyone who reaches state pension before 5 April 2016 will be excluded from the single-tier pension. Some could have got more under the new rules
You win and you lose.

• People in private-sector final salary schemes that are contracted out will get more state pension but will pay more national insurance. Employees currently contracted out will see an increase of 1.4% in their NI contributions from 2016 because their schemes will become contracted in.

What can you do

So if you are a pension loser, is there anything you can do about it? Find out what you have built up so far, so you can work out how much more you need to save. To receive an estimate of your future state pension go to; https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-statement

Think about buying extra years. Millions of people may be able to buy up to £25 a week of extra state pension. It is aimed at pensioners and those due to reach state pension age before April 2016, and will allow people to swap a cash lump sum for extra state pension worth between £1 and £25 a week. It is suggested pensioners will be allowed to pay from £900 to as much as £25,000 to top up their pension.

You may be entitled to top up your state pension with voluntary national insurance contributions (NICs). The 2014/2015 top-up is expected to be around £850 for standard class 3 voluntary NICs. However, you have to be eligible. Those entitled to pay class 3 voluntary NICs include everyone who has reached state pension age (though you can only pay for the past six years), plus some other groups. For more information; https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions/who-can-pay-voluntary-contributions http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/feb/10/state-pension-winners-losers-single-tier

money_2793808b

January 2015; Fewer than half retirees will receive full state pension

The government has admitted that fewer than half of all pensioners will receive the full £150-a-week new “flat rate” state pension from 2016 despite promises by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith that it will give workers “clarity” about their retirement income. In response to a freedom of information request, the Department for Work and Pensions said only 45% of the 3.5 million people who will retire between 2016 and 2020 will receive the full £150 a week.

The new single-tier pension will from April 2016 replace the existing two-part system of basic state pension plus the state second pension (also known as Serps). A final figure for the combined pensions will be released nearer to the date of introduction, but is expected to be around £150 a week. However it is confirmed that because millions of workers are “contracted out”, they will not be entitled to the full amount.

Under contracting out, employees used a rebate of national insurance contributions to build up a separate private pension pot. Others, such as mothers and the self-employed, have frequently failed to build up a sufficiently long national insurance record to qualify for the full amount. Under the new system, employees will need to have 35 years’ of NI contributions to obtain a full pension, compared to 30 before. The figures reveal that one in three retiring workers will be paid a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week rather than the £150 many have been led to expect.

A pensions advisor said: It is imperative individuals receive a proper state pension forecast. Without this, they could get a nasty shock when they do reach state pension age.” It is possible to obtain an estimate of the state pension you will get at retirement from, https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-statement which also has information on how to pay in extra now to qualify for the full pension. The government says you are more likely to be contracted out – and therefore not eligible for the full new state pension – if you work in public sector organisations such as the NHS, local councils, the civil service or in teaching; http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/12/half-pensioners-full-state-pension-government

PF-pencharges_2284535b

January 2015; Less than half British retirees to get full pension

The UK government admits that less than half of all British pensioners will receive their full £150-a-week state pension from 2016. The Department for Work and Pensions says only 45% of the 3.5 million people who will retire between 2016 and 2020 will receive the full annuity. The new single-tier pension will from April 2016 replace the existing two-part system of basic state pension plus the state second pension (also known as Serps).

Now Rodney Shakespeare, a London-based professor of economy and political commentator, believes the pension system is being manipulated. “The pension system is part of a general cutback in state benefits of one source and another. Behind this is a collapse of the real economy, and that is because the UK system like that of Europe and in the Western system generally does not put any money supply into productive capacity. It only puts it into the banks and those who have existing assets and it all ends up in a sucking up of wealth to the one percent.”

“Just about half of the people who are retiring in the next year or two are going to have much less in state pension and they had been conned and they had been deceived. They were allowed in the past, in addition to their taxes not to pay an element of the national insurance pension contribution,” Shakespeare went on to say. Under the new system, employees will need to have 35 years’ of National Insurance (NI) contributions to obtain a full pension, compared to 30 before. The figures reveal that one in three retiring workers will be paid a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week rather than the £150 many have been led to expect. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/01/12/392794/UK

Trident to Be Transferred To Wales – Dependent On A large Number Of SNP MP’s Being Returned to Westminster In the General Election

trident

January 2015; Trident – Secret plan for nuclear submarines

Defence officials have secretly been conducting well advanced, closed-door contingency planning exercises examining proposals to move, from their base at Faslane in Scotland to Wales, Britain’s four Vanguard Trident ballistic nuclear missile armed submarines.

Coulport on Loch Long, eight miles from Faslane, where the warheads are stored (The sites are kept separate for safety reasons) will be converted to munitions storage in support of the conventional fleet.

Eliminating any need to build storage facilities at Milford Haven plans are to retain Trident warheads, not allocated to submarine use, at Aldermaston, in Berkshire. This best case scenario has the advantage of having a direct route, (using the M4) between locations. The change will achieve significant financial savings through the elimination of duplication of security of storage and associated personnel costs.

It is expected savings will be allocated to the build of docking facilities for the submarines, (which is not expected to be significant). The change will be completed within the lifetime of the next parliament. Faslane is to be retained as an operational naval base providing facilities for other submarines of the fleet and an increased basing of surface NATO warships providing security of the northern part of the NATO alliance.

Gordon Brown Announces Plans To Cut Trident Submarines

It is understood relocation of Trident has been agreed with Labour, assuming the SNP are returned to Westminster in large numbers and hold the balance of power. The deal will be implemented in the event of a hung parliament in the 2015 general election and the SNP commit to the support of a Labour government. The SNP yesterday welcomed a YouGov poll showing that, when ‘don’t knows’ are removed, 53 per cent of people in Scotland agree that the UK should give up nuclear weapons.

Labour’s First Minister in Wales, Carwyn Jones, is said have indicated he would be happy to see Trident submarines relocated to Wales, a natural deep water port and work has now begun on the practicalities of shifting Britain’s nuclear defence systems to Pembrokeshire.

Additional financial powers covering a number of areas, similar to proposals for Scotland, are expected to be to be devolved to Wales forming part of the deal.

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Our position on Trident is clear and unchanged. Labour believes Britain should be leading international efforts for multilateral nuclear disarmament while maintaining a minimum, credible independent nuclear deterrent.’ which is a different different position to that of the Tories. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2929226/Trident-quit-Scotland-Wales-Secret-plan-nuclear-subs-triggered-rise-SNP.html

The Aftermath Of The Referendum Press Statements To Be Retained For future reference.

never give up

The aftermath of the referendum brought with it a number of press statements which need to be retained ready to hand for future reference.

BBC biased coverage of the Scottish Independence Referendum criticised.

With no exit poll isn’t there a democratic deficit?
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/scottish-vote-no-exit-poll-democratic-deficit

I feel for all those for whom the yes campaign brought hope.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/19/scotland-lost-opportunity

This glorious failure could yet be Scotland’s finest hour. Forget Bannockburn, the Scots reinvented and re-established the idea of true democracy.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/20/irvine-welsh-scottish-independence-glorious-failure

The lifestyle of top executives like Brian have become more luxurious, while ordinary people like Brenda have found it harder and harder to make ends meet.
http://highpaycentre.org/blog/explaining-the-data-the-background-to-our-new-animation

The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. The gap between pay at the top and bottom is huge. Living standards for everyone – apart from those at the very top – remain squeezed. But we argue, it doesn’t have to be like this.

The gap between rich and poor is the widest in 30 years. Inequality is still rising. If current trends continue, we will have reached Victorian levels of inequality in 20 years.

Inequality and the top 10% getting Richer and Richer by the year will Destroy the UK Economy, Democracy and even the NHS.
http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/inequality-and-top-10-getting-richer.html

Three main Unionist party leaders signed up to a historic joint statement
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron-ed-miliband-nick-4265992

john McLean

Democracy in the Dark – the Decline of the Scottish Press.

Newspapers don’t just sell news; in fact, that has been an increasingly small part of their function in the last century. Newspapers have been cultural curators, critically evaluating artistic and literary trends, providing a showcase for good writing, informing readers on important developments in science and society. They have provided a forum for informed debate, & promoted their own vigorous opinions on affairs of state, forcing politicians to take note.

But the financial problems of the press are making it harder and harder for them to provide this essential cultural service. Scottish papers, reports the National Union of Journalists, have lost half their journalists in the last decade or so. UK papers with nominally Scottish editions now dominate the Scottish market.

This is becoming a constitutional issue because the Scottish and UK newspapers are almost exclusively unionists – often militantly so. It is right that newspapers have strong editorial views, but it is not healthy when they all have the same editorial views. Iain Macwhirter (political commentator for The Herald and Sunday Herald newspapers).

COMMENTS:

1. That single phrase, about it being right for newspapers to have strong views “but not when they all have the same views”, goes to the heart of a wider debate about the relationship between ownership and editorial content. It also touches on the fact that a large proportion of the Scottish press is Scottish in name only. With the exception of DC Thomson’s operation, the major newspapers are published by companies based in London (and, in The Herald’s case, ultimately in the USA). Now I happen to be agnostic on the Scottish independence debate or, arguably, conflicted. I understand why, even in the 21st century, there remains an insistent pressure for independence from nations that have been colonised or incorporated by other nations. Reality impinges, however. I realise distinct societies that, for one reason or another, have failed to hold on to their nation state status (or never even had one) do need to regain it or achieve it. http://www.saltiresociety.org.uk/news/2014/04/23/iain-macwhirters-democracy-in-the-dark-saltire-series-5-pamphlet-launch-event http://www.allmediascotland.com/press/63999/iain-macwhirter-xxx/

2. They must assert their nationhood as a stage on the road to the eventual dismantling of all such geopolitical boundaries. I’m glad I’m not confronted by a yes-no voting form. But I am, like Macwhirter, concerned that a fake “Scottish national press” has adopted a single view on the matter. http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/apr/25/scottish-independence-newspapers

3. From my point of view, the Scottish press is not serving its audience (the thinking people of Scotland) and that is very sad. However I must say, people have been getting up of their asses and actually doing something about. There is an online scene of bloggers and news sites that are starting to provide an opposing view to the hideously one side unionist pro-UK press. I would like to think that new models for news and opinion will grow out of this. For sure they will be needed , irrespective of the referendum result, to hold politicians accountable, when the traditional newspaper and TV fail to do so, because they become too comfortably close, and because of commercial interest. Thomas William Dunlop reader.