Things that will happen in 2013:
While Nick Clegg prepares to run a snow job on the people who voted LibDem last time (let me know how that works for you, folks) the rain keeps falling.
This year may be the wettest since records began in 1910.
In London, the Thames Barrier was raised on Thursday morning for the first time since March 2010, to reduce the risk of flooding as water from days of downpours causes high levels further upstream. It will be raised again on Friday morning.
A storm brewing in the Atlantic could bring up to two inches (50mm) of rain and 80mph winds in some areas this weekend.
Provisional figures show that 1.8in (46mm) of rain is needed between 27 and 31 December for 2012 to be the wettest year on record for the UK.
I would think anyone who’s ever been seriously ill for however short a time could understand why the Tory/LibDem plans to send sick people out on unpaid work placements is such a horror.
The denial of benefits to people who need them to survive, on the grounds that the austerity programme inflicted by George Osborne needs those cuts, is terrible enough. George Osborne claims that sick, disabled, and unemployed people “enjoy a lifestyle” that people in work are unable to. I’m unsure what the man who seems to routinely buy a standard train ticket but take a first-class seat knows about the “lifestyle” of people who depend on benefits: my guess is, only what he reads in the Daily Mail.
“The Conservative party, the modern Conservative party, is on the side of people who want to work hard and get on,” says Osborne – providing they’re not under 25, or living in a high-rent area, or disabled, or falling into debt, or a single mother, or demanding a living wage.
Yesterday, the National Health Action Party launched.
The idea behind the NHA Party is one I support: since the Labour Party is unable and unwilling to properly defend the NHS against the Tory attacks – unable because it is at present a minority party with an unpopular leader, unwilling because properly doing so would involve backtracking and acknowledging that the Labour Party itself went hellishly wrong during the Blair years – there must be political pressure on Labour to force them to act when, as I hope, they win the next election.
Founded by a group of health professionals, our party strongly opposes the Health and Social Care Act. We believe the Act is wrecking the NHS in England by allowing it to be broken up and sold off. We intend to put up around 50 candidates in carefully chosen general election constituencies, and we will urge the Labour party to repeal the Act. We’ll also field candidates in local council elections.
Party co-leader and cancer specialist Dr Clive Peedell said: “For generations we’ve trusted the NHS to be a safety net for everyone in times of need. Putting the values of business and the markets ahead of those of patients and communities will ruin the NHS. This destruction is being fast-tracked by Tory and coalition policies. We hope our new party will halt this process.”
Today, George Osborne got into a first-class carriage in a train to Euston, with a standard-class ticket.
Everybody knows what’s happened to the trains since they were licensed to private companies: impenetrable rules, incomprehensible fares, crazy fees if you have to make a short-notice decision. It has nothing to do with any “true price” for the journey, only the vast amounts they can get away with if you have no choice. Let’s be honest, it’s extortion. A medieval landlord could name his own tithes if people had nowhere else to go and East Midlands Trains is clearly inspired by those happy days. – Victoria Coren
Unfortunately for him, Rachel Townsend, Granada Reports Correspondent, was on the train with an iPhone and not afraid to use it:
Very interesting train journey to Euston Chancellor George Osborne just got on at Wilmslow with a STANDARD ticket and he has sat in FIRST CLASS. His aide tells ticket collector he cannot possibly move and sit with the likes of us in standard class and requests he is allowed to remain in First Class. Ticket collector refuses #standoff – Digital Spy
George Osborne earns £134,565 a year as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
925 million people are hungry.
Every day, almost 16,000 children die from hunger-related causes.
That’s one child every five seconds.
There were 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty in 2005.
The World Bank estimates that the spike in global food prices in 2008, followed by the global economic recession in 2009 and 2010 has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty.
This year has been one of the wettest on record. In Edinburgh, we had the wettest April, May, June, and July since records began at the Royal Botanic Gardens in the 19th century. Across the UK:
Potato harvests are down by half in some areas. The NFU’s Scottish cereal survey indicated wheat yield was down by 18% from 2011, winter barley yield down 7%, spring barley yield down 18% and winter oilseed rape yield down 26%.
I’ve discussed this before (Scotland’s Food Programme) and also, for World Porridge Day, how stock brokers gambling on food prices rising is itself creating a bubble of high food prices to profit investors and make people hungry.
Government departments and their ministers, reshuffled
We’re in a recession heading for a depression, and George Osborne is Chancellor of the Exchequer. Osborne believes that the right thing to do when the economy is failing is to cut government spending and to make large numbers of people unemployed. Even economists who thought this theoretically might work realise it’s long since proved to be not working (Martin Wolf of the Financial Times was recommending in May that the government announce a change of plan): Nobel Prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, turn out – strangely enough – to know more about the economy than a man whose main qualification for being Chancellor is that he was in the Bullingdon Club with David Cameron.
Yet Osborne is set to continue cutting till May 2015. And short of revolution, we can’t get rid of him.
Secret Seven! The name evokes disdain or contempt among many readers who are otherwise ardent fans of Enid Blyton … for most of us the Secret Seven happens to be the least revered series in Blyton’s canon. Is this because the books were written for a younger set of readers? Could it be the smaller format? The perpetual scowl on the face of their highhanded leader, perhaps? -In Defence of the Secret Seven
Now the reshuffle’s over, the full Cabinet is thirty-two – sixteen a side, an unprecedented length for a Cabinet meeting as you can see from the table they use (screengrab off the news by Gaz Weetman):
At the beginning of December 2010, Vince Cable was the Minister responsible for the BSkyB decision, and he wasn’t minded to give it to Murdoch.
By 20th December 2010, a sting operation run by the Telegraph had ensured that Cable wasn’t the quasi-judicial decider on BSkyB any more – Jeremy Hunt was.
David Cameron, George Osborne, and James Murdoch all knew before 20th December that Vince Cable didn’t favour the NewsCorps bid for BSkyB and James Hunt did.
We know now, after this morning’s evidence at Leveson Continue reading
Rose Fernandes lives in a 5-bedroomed house in Brent, with her three children (two daughters and a son) and her 83-year-old mother, who has dementia. One of her daughters, Crystal, age 25, is autistic.
Fernandes is the main carer for her mother and her daughter.
This year her landlord will almost certainly put up the rent above £500 a week. That means in Housing Benefit alone, her landlord will be getting from the state via Rose Fernandes and her family, £26,000 a year.