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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
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Lib Dems thrash Tories in parliamentary by-election in North Shropshire

North Shropshire: Lib Dems shock win as Tory by-election defeat piles pressure on Johnson

The Conservatives have lost the North Shropshire by-election, a shock result that will put more pressure on Boris Johnson after a difficult few weeks for the prime minister.

Lib Dem candidate Helen Morgan triumphed in the contest sparked by the resignation of Owen Paterson amid a lobbying scandal.

She polled 17,957 votes, ahead of Tory candidate Neil Shastri-Hurst on 12,032.

Labour's Ben Wood was third with 3,686 votes.


Shropshire Council

Here’s the official vote figures - we will tweet out a link as soon as possible.

Lewis Goodall


Lib Dems: 17957
Con: 12032
Labour: 3686
Reform: 1427
Green: 1738

Maj: 5925

An enormous victory for the Lib Dems and a bodyblow for the Prime Minister.

So a Tory majority of 23,000 became a Lib Dem majority of nearly 6,000 in a seat the Tories have held for almost 200 years.

1.5m damages settlement over Miami Showband massacre

Survivors and relatives of those murdered in the Miami Showband massacre are to receive nearly £1.5m (€1.75m) in total damages to settle claims over suspected collusion with the loyalist terrorist murderers.
One of Ireland's most popular cabaret acts, the Miami Showband was targeted as they travelled home to Dublin following a gig in July 1975.

A fake army patrol made up of Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers and Ulster Volunteer Force members stopped them at the bogus checkpoint outside Newry, Co Down.

Band members were made to line up at the side of the road while attempts were made to hide a bomb on the tour bus.

The device exploded prematurely, killing some of the would-be bombers.

Their accomplices then opened fire on the band, murdering lead singer Fran O'Toole, guitarist Tony Geraghty and trumpeter Brian McCoy.

Two other band members, Des McAlea and Stephen Travers, were also injured but survived the atrocity.


Stephen Travers has been waging a dogged decades-long campaign for some sort of reckoning and justice over the atrocity.

Stephen Travers

On the way home from the High Court in Belfast tonight, I stopped at the scene of the massacre to say a prayer and to tell Tony and Fran and Brian that I hope they can now, finally, leave that field forever.

If you're unfamiliar with the case, Travers posted details of a video last year that explains some of the background (it's been shown on UK terrestrial TV in recent years).

Stephen Travers

Available now on Netflix. This happened to us. Similar atrocities continue throughout the world and will not stop while good people do nothing. For the sake of every victim and potential victim of state-sponsored terrorism and injustice, please #retweet.


Another day, another lie from lying liar Johnson revealed


Sam Coates Sky
How does No 10 square this:

In May the PM told Lord Geidt that he did not know who was behind No11 flat refurb until Feb 2021

Today the Electoral Commission says Boris Johnson Whatsapped Lord Brownlow in November 2020 asking for more cash for the No11 refurb

On recent form I imagine that, initially at least, whichever mug has to respond to the media about this will say that No. 10 "doesn't recognize" that the No. 11 flat exists.

A day's a long time in politics

At least it has been over last few days for our shiftless shambles of a prime minister and his sordid bunch of fellow travellers.

It's been one of those inflection points that happens so rarely in our politics, with the resulting flak coming from some surprising quarters.

I'm talking about Tory MP Owen Paterson, a grifter of ther first water who seemed only last night to have grossly flouted the law and parliamentary regulations and got away with it.

Paterson had been the subject of a parliamentary standards investigation resulting from his extensive well-paid links to lobbyists.

A couple of days ago:

Boris Johnson to back bid to overturn Owen Paterson lobbying inquiry
Conservative MPs to be instructed to support amendment arguing parliamentary standards commissioner’s probe was flawed



Adam Bienkov
The investigation found Owen Paterson had:

- Taken nearly 3 times his MPs’ salary for "paid advocacy".
- Broken official lobbying rules
- Smeared the commissioner investigating him

So now the government is trying to overturn the unanimous decision to suspend him.

Henry Zeffman @hzeffman
• Nov 2
NEW: Am told an amendment is set to be tabled to the Owen Paterson motion tomorrow by his supporters which would pause his case pending a review of the standards system led by John Whittingdale.

Government whips currently canvassing MPs on whether they would consider backing it


Adam Bienkov @AdamBienkov Nov 2, 2021

If successful, not only will Owen Paterson be let off the hook, but most likely so will any MP who chooses to act in the same way in the future.

Adam Bienkov
59 Conservative MPs have put their name to an amendment that would overturn Owen Paterson's suspension and set up a new committee with a Tory veto designed to rip up the existing Standards system that found him guilty of breaching anti-corruption rules.


Adam Bienkov @AdamBienkov Nov 3, 2021

Among the list of Conservative MPs backing the plan to overturn Owen Paterson's suspension and rip up the current Standards regime is Karl McCartney, who was recently found to have broken the rules three times.


Adam Bienkov
Boris Johnson’s spokesman confirms the government will back the plan to overturn Owen Paterson’s suspension and rip up the system that found he had broken lobbying rules.

Pippa Crerar
NEW: No 10 confirms it wants MPs to rip up House of Commons standards procedures in wake of Owen Paterson case.

Even among the incumbent shameless shower of overprivileged chancers, Paterson seems to have been a doozy:


Mr Ethical
I'll spell it out as simply as I can. About 2 weeks before the Paterson brokered government contract to Randox was announced, Randox moved their operation into a tax haven.
Why isn't this news?

Well, Mr Ethical, ho hum, another day, another scandal. The public is long bored with this constant drip-drip of sleaze among our richer and betters and has become inured to it.

Or has it?

Before the vote in the House yesterday, immense pressure was put on Tory MPs to fall in line and vote with the government, with a three-line whip being imposed and blatantly unveiled threats being made:



Several MPs have told media contacts that "levelling up funding for their constituencies was threatened" if they didn't vote to back the corrupt MP Owen Paterson yesterday.

This is why so many Tory MPs voted for Paterson while simultaneously briefing against Johnson.

Meanwhile, the Tories mounted a concerted media push to paint Paterson as a hard-done-by victim. His wife committed suicide not long ago, and this fact was exploited (even by him) to try to appeal for sympathy - sympathy that in any sane and equitable universe would be judged as misplaced:


Brexit Buster
Reminder: this is what greedy Tory swine Owen Paterson really thinks about British pensioners - while he fills his own boots breaking the rules on behalf of his paymasters. Disgusting and despicable - yet exactly the sort of creature Liar Johnson likes around him. #ToryCorruption

NOTE: The forum currently won't let me post all this text as one OP (otherwise I'd have posted it a couple of days ago), so it continues in the comments below.

NYT op ed: Britain Is Heading Into a Nightmarish Winter

LONDON — Long lines outside gas stations. Panicked drivers fighting one another as the pumps run dry. Soldiers deployed to distribute fuel across the country. And in the background, the pandemic stretching on, food rotting in fields and families sinking into poverty. This is Britain in 2021.

Not long ago, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted all pandemic restrictions in July, the mood across the country was cautiously optimistic. A successful vaccine rollout had finally restored cherished freedoms to daily life: visiting friends and family in their homes, socializing with strangers, eating in restaurants. Cases of the virus continued to multiply, but the number of hospitalizations and deaths fell markedly. The nightmare, it seemed, was over.
A convergence of problems — a global gas shortage, rising energy and food prices, supply-chain issues and the Conservatives’ decision to slash welfare — has cast the country’s future in darkness. Even Mr. Johnson, known for his boosterish optimism and bonhomie, has struggled to make light of the situation.

The panic of the past week, which recalled old memories (and myths) about the tumultuous late 1970s, was a long time coming. For many months, industry leaders across the economy have warned about chronic labor shortages — of truck drivers, yes, but also fruit pickers, meat processors, waiters and health care workers — disrupting supply chains and impeding businesses.


An idiot abroad

The context is Johnson's US visit after the diplomatic hoo-ha with France over the UKAUSUS defence pact announcement.

Here's Johnson gibbering in broken Franglais on a lawn somewhere in DC:


Kitty Donaldson

Boris Johnson, speaking outside the Capitol, says it’s time for the French to “prenez un grip” and “donnez-moi un break” after the spat over a U.K. submarine deal with the U.S. and Australia

[Twitter video]

Meanwhile, in Adultland ...


Julian Borger

In White House readout of Biden-Macron call, Potus admits fault in AUKUS handling "The two leaders agreed that the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France and our European partners." Will meet next month.

Jimmy Savile's Glencoe cottage set to be demolished after vote by locals

A COTTAGE that was once owned by Jimmy Savile is set to be demolished after locals backed the move in an online consultation.

The forum was set up by the Glencoe property’s current owner, the family of retail tycoon Harris Aslam.

It was originally purchased at auction after Savile’s death for £212,000 with the buyer intending to live there.

It has been repeatedly vandalised with slogans over the years since his death.

The depraved paedophile is believed to have abused up to 20 people inside his remote lair nestled in the Highlands.


I'm glad the new owner took the step of running a local public consultation. Human-made landmarks are thin on the ground as you journey through Glencoe (well, since the massacre, anyway), and this cottage has been one of the most prominent for many years, even before Savile lived there (it was once the home of mountain rescue pioneer Hamish MacInnes).

A cynic might say that the opportunity of a razed brownfield site in that prized location with the prospect of building a modern, presumably more spacious des res will suit the owner well. But the cottage's very stones are soaked in the misdeeds that were plotted there, in what has long been a very beautiful, but to some people at times brooding and sinister, part of the world even before Savile became infamous. I wonder if a new build will be able to erase that plot's recent history?

Johnson makes 'unbelievably crass' joke about Thatcher closing coal mines

Prime minister denounced for comments on visit to Scotland, where he refused to meet Nicola Sturgeon

On a visit to Scotland on Thursday, the prime minister made a number of provocative comments, stating that a second referendum on Scottish independence is “about as far from the top of my agenda as it is possible to be”.
Speaking to reporters after a visit to the Moray East offshore windfarm, off the north-east coast of Scotland, the prime minister was questioned about Labour leader Keir Starmer’s remarks on Wednesday that there should be a “hard-edged” timetable for cessation of oil and gas exploration.

Johnson said: “We understand the importance to the north-east of Scotland of the oil and gas industry. The contracts that have been signed should not just be ripped up. But we need to transition as fast as we reasonably can.”

Pressed on whether he wanted to set a firm deadline, he replied: “Look at what we’ve done already. We’ve transitioned away from coal in my lifetime. Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coalmines across the country, we had a big early start and we’re now moving rapidly away from coal all together”.


Maybe not big news - Johnson makes an offensive shite "joke" while on a whirlwind tour to woo the Scots as self-declared Minister for the Union - but what's guffawed about in Scotland doesn't always stay in Scotland:


Bryan Elwick

Boris Johnson laughing about the closure of the coal mines in the 80s and 90s. He really does think it’s funny

The destruction and misery visited upon 100s of working class communities, some that still haven’t recovered today, makes him smile

He’s no friend of the Red Wall

Labour MP Dawn Butler kicked out of Commons for calling Boris Johnson a 'liar'

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler broke the boundaries of parliamentary etiquette by claiming Boris Johnson had "lied... over and over again" during a Commons debate on Thursday
Ms Butler was ordered to withdraw from the chamber by temporary deputy speaker Judith Cummins following her remarks in a debate this afternoon.
The MP said: "Poor people in our country have paid with their lives because the Prime Minister has spent the last 18 months misleading this House and the country over and over again."

She highlighted disputed claims made by the PM, adding: "It's dangerous to lie in a pandemic.

"I am disappointed the Prime Minister has not come to the House to correct the record and correct the fact that he has lied to the House and the country over and over again."
"At the end of the day the Prime Minister has lied to this House time and time again.

"It's funny that we get in trouble in this place for calling out the lie rather than the person lying."
Ms Butler said: "I've reflected on my words and somebody needs to tell the truth in this House that the Prime Minister has lied."


BBC Politics

The moment Labour MP Dawn Butler asked to leave House of Commons after refusing to withdraw claims PM Boris Johnson "lied to the House and the country over and over again"


[Twitter video]

Since parliament was just about to go into summer recess, Butler's suspension effectively lasted an hour, and she was unrepentant on Twitter.

Dawn Butler MP ✊🏾 💙

Earlier after I called Boris Johnson a liar I was thrown out of Parliament immediately.

But he is a liar, and enough is enough. I needed to call it out!

[Twitter video]

Johnson's "disputed claims" Butler referred to are based on the fact that she has functioning eyes, ears and memory, but her statements were also prompted by a video from lawyer/filmmaker Peter Stefanovic which has gathered 27 million views on social media since it was released in early April, when it prompted Caroline Lucas MP and five other Westminster party leaders to ask the Speaker for a vote on an inquiry into Johnson’s "consistent failure to be honest" on the floor of the house:


Peter Stefanovic


Working TOGETHER we have sent a powerful message to UK News shows if they won’t hold this Prime Minister to account for his rampant lying in Parliament we will do it ourselves!

How long can you ignore it now @BBCNews?

[Twitter video]

Apparently, the answer is "a little bit longer", as the BBC's coverage has still not referred to Stefanovic's video and its quickfire debunking of Johnson's lies.

If you just can't get enough of lying liar Johnson's lies, you're in luck, as a number of others have gone to some trouble to document them (a Sisyphean task), for example: https://boris-johnson-lies.com/

COVID correction of the day


Sir Patrick Vallance

Correcting a statistic I gave at the press conference today, 19 July. About 60% of hospitalisations from covid are not from double vaccinated people, rather 60% of hospitalisations from covid are currently from unvaccinated people.


I avoid listening to anything Johnson says during these COVID briefings because (apart from the fact, like too many, he tends to conflate what's happening in England with what's happening in the UK as a whole) I end up feeling far less well informed after he's finished bloviating than I was before.

But when the UK government's Chief Scientific Adviser can't avoid reversing the facts on national telly, then only sees fit to correct himself - "Oops!" - on Twitter, it just adds to the general sense of despair and rudderlessness (as evidenced by the number of folks I've seen freaking out about this on that platform, along with those trying, with the best intentions, to rationalize his gross misstatement).
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