April 2023 Surfers Against Sewage and Extinction Rebellion protests in St Agnes, Perranporth, Truro and Charlestown which unveiled spoof Blue Plaques to the MPs and Conservative Government who allowed raw sewage to be dumped in the sea (Image: Surfers Against Sewage)
Keir Starmer has accused the government of “turning Britain’s waterways into an open sewer”, as data showed raw discharges were sent into English rivers 825 times a day last year.
Private water companies have been consistently accused of failing to take action, and the Environment Agency admitted there were more than 300,000 spillages into rivers and coastal areas in 2022, lasting for more than 1.75m hours.
The alarming figures led to calls for the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, to resign, and added to the pressure on Rishi Sunak to do more to tackle the issue.
Clean water has become a politically charged topic in the runup to May’s local elections, and Labour and the Liberal Democrats are mounting campaigns against the government’s record on raw sewage.
Extinction Rebellion has been joining with other groups to campaign against UK government policy of treating rivers as “open sewers” but the phrase was originally mine. Granted it’s obvious but is there an earlier use of treating rivers as open sewers than mine?
Right-wingers hammered in Socialist Health Association elections said to be aiming to disaffiliate SHA on pretext after organisation condemned Starmer and sidekick Streeting for appalling health policy
The Labour right is angling to kick the Socialist Health Association (SHA) out of the party after the faction was crushed in the SHA’s internal elections – and in revenge for the SHA’s resounding condemnation of Labour’s privatisation-friendly health policy.
The right-wing slate had tried to boycott the elections claiming, presumably after seeing how poor their chances were, that the election was set up against them – but left it too late and the vote went ahead, with the right losing by a ratio of roughly six to one. As one wag put it, it must have been quite some fix to achieve that kind of ratio.
The previous SHA exec last month issued a scathing condemnation of Keir Starmer and his health spokesman Wes Streeting’s plan to extend the use of private healthcare in the NHS, the contempt the pair have shown for the health policy unanimously voted for by Labour members at last year’s party conference and the pair’s readiness to accept large donations from donors with private health interests – a position now resoundingly re-endorsed by SHA members:
At the 2022 Labour Party Conference, the Health Composite Motion moved by the Socialist Health Association (“SHA”) stated that Labour would adopt “a position of outright opposition to and commit to vote against any and all forms of privatisation of the NHS” and “commit to returning all privatised portions of the NHS to public control upon forming a Government”. It also banned Labour MPs from accepting donations from private companies interested in outsourcing NHS functions. See Conference Arrangements Committee Report 4, page 12.
The SHA’s motion was endorsed by a compositing process involving rank and file members, local constituency parties, trade unions, and the shadow frontbench. The Labour Conference passed it unanimously.
That is not the position democratically agreed at Labour Conference. And it is simply wrong, for the following reasons.
It is simply wrong to say that the private sector has greater capacity to clear NHS backlogs. The people working in the private healthcare sector are, by and large, the same doctors and nurses who work in the NHS, and with the exception of the overseas health workers, the vast majority of them were trained in the NHS. Every hour of staff time devoted to private healthcare is an hour of staff time taken away from public healthcare for those who need it most.
It is simply wrong to say that the private sector is more “efficient”. One example of this is that the Institute for Public Policy Research has found that Tony Blair’s Private Finance Initiatives cost the NHS almost £80 billion for only £13 billion of investment. The only party which benefits ‘efficiently’ from private finance is big finance – not patients.
It is shameful that the Shadow Cabinet has failed to stand shoulder to shoulder with health unions in demanding fair pay and conditions for their members. The BMA has calculated that junior doctors have suffered a real pay cut of 26.1% since 2008 – meaning an exodus of qualified doctors driven out of the public sector just when patients need them most. Staff working conditions are patient treatment conditions.
It is therefore also beyond disappointing to see that Wes Streeting has accepted a further £60,000 from MPM Connect. Wes Streeting and the other recipients funds from MPM Connect (including Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Mayor Dan Jarvis) should urgently confirm just what MPM Connect does; the terms under which they accepted a total of £340,000 from MPM Connect; just what MPM Connect expects in return; and whether its “investments in the employment sector” include further NHS outsourcing.
Accepting donations from private companies interested in NHS outsourcing creates an apparent conflict of interest, and undermines public confidence in Labour’s commitment to rebuilding a publicly owned and provided NHS.
We call on Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting to commit to the policy democratically agreed by the Labour Party – preventing further privatisation and immediately returning all privatised parts of the NHS to public ownership and control.
Mark Ladbrooke SHA Chair
Harry Stratton SHA Secretary
Esther Giles SHA Treasurer
In apparent revenge, Skwawkbox understands that the Labour right – which now dominates the party’s national executive, is planning to table a move to expel or disaffiliate the SHA from the party, on the pretext that the result was somehow rigged despite the massive majority for the left slate, along with the membership status of one or more of the SHA’s elected officers.
But it seems the right is so desperate to eradicate any left strongholds in the party – and to cover up the betrayal of the NHS by what passes for Labour’s ‘leadership’ – that it will resort to even the most grotesque and shameless lengths to achieve it.
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Yet another promise shredded as Starmer maintains 100% weasel record
Keir Starmer has broken yet another promise – maintaining his perfect betrayal record – by abandoning his pledge to scrap the hateful and cruel Universal Credit system through which the Tories have inflicted years of misery and poverty on the UK’s lowest earning and most vulnerable.
Starmer’s Work and Pensions spokesman Jon Ashworth, challenged directly whether Starmer – who has already been mocked this week for claiming he will ‘renew’ the UK after thirteen years of Tory cuts without spending more – would honour his promise to scrap the system that has pushed huge numbers into abject poverty, responded that:
We’re going to reform universal credit … it’s a computer system. We’re not going to go back to the six different benefits that I think it brought together but we are going to reform it.
The lumping together of benefits that were previously tailored to the needs and circumstances of different types of claimant is one of the fundamentally damaging aspects of Universal Credit – and Labour had unequivocally promised to get rid of the whole system and ‘replace’ it with something fit for purpose, to show that ‘Labour is on the side of working people’, millions of whom rely on benefits to top up low pay they are forced to accept while employers fatten profits:
Starmer was asked this week by an interviewer what the point is of voting Labour when he will be no different to the Tories. If there is any difference, it’s an even lower level of trustworthiness. A Starmer promise is not fit to wipe your backside with.
[Responding to applause] Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Here we are at the Labour Party conference 2022 - and thanks to the Tory party appointing simple maths misunderstanding incompetents - on the cusp of being elected the UK's government.
I'll let you into a secret conference. I am the Establishement's man (more on that later). What I want to tell you right now is that I will govern, WE will have a Labour govenment looking after the Capitalists' interests through the hard times ahead until the Conservatives can take over again, after the hard times ahead, with an almost sane leader.
Yes, I promise to you conference that you can depend on me to look after the rich and powerful just as the Tories do while they take a break and duck out of the total chaos that they've caused. And I say clearly to you conference, that I am proud to do this work for the rich and powerful, to be their servant, to keep them safe while I perform my caretaking role for Capitalism.
It has been a long road for me to achieve power and I want to thank those that have helped me. I particularly want to thank the Labour officials who were so hostile to and totally undermined the previous leader. And I particularly want to thank the Zionists.
I know that all of you in this hall, in this party can't say that word Zionist - that ist forbidden - but I can because I'm leader. So thanks to all the Zionists that hounded out the previous Labour leader and his supporters so that I was able to expell them for being opposed to Zionist apartheid, for being Socialists and anti-racist.(2) We can't have any of them in this party, this is a new era, we are at the centre of UK politics, we are New Labour, the New Red Tories.
We are in a new era conference. You will be aware that I thanked the Zionists by installing a former Israeli spy into the centre of Labour Party activities, actually a member of 8200 Unit, to spy on you members and pursue the interests of Israel.(1)
I am in thrall to Israel - but don't you dare call me a Zionist - dat is forbidden. As I said I am an Establishment man but unfortunately, what I have yet to realise is that the Establishment moves very slowly but ever so occasionally has seismic shifts. I still have yet to realise that the UK establishment may not be too pleased with me being so in thrall to a foreign state and installing a former Israeli spy in my office.
As I finish this sermon, I ask you all to join me in singing the National Anthem ...
(1) Also responsible for rapid rebuttal according to the job description.
(2) This is all well documented by al Jazeera in their 2 investigative reports 'The Lobby' and 'The Labour Files'.