3yo boy has seizure on train – guard there to help. For now

The SKWAWKBOX

safer with guardLast Friday on Merseyside – on the 16.36hrs service from West Kirby to Liverpool, to be precise – a young boy became seriously ill after suffering a seizure.

If Merseyrail’s plans to remove guards from their trains to cut costs had already been implemented, his mother – who also had his little sister to look after – would have had no assistance available except the driver. Happily, those plans have not yet been put into action and are being resisted by the RMT union.

The train guard – who had help on this occasion from a driver who was transferring on the train to another station – was able to assist the mother in making the little boy comfortable, making sure he was able to breathe as well as possible and in looking after the boy’s sister.

The ambulance – another symptom of Tory cuts – took 45 minutes to…

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Why did the BBC pretend this clip was Corbyn’s #Budget17 response? It wasn’t

The SKWAWKBOX

Last night, the BBC’s Newsnight programme, as you’d expect, featured analysis of Philip Hammond’s Budget speech. It also purported to feature a clip of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s response.

But it didn’t.

Below on the left is a still taken from Jeremy Corbyn’s response – as he laid into a heckling Tory whip trying to divert attention from the plight of sick and disabled people under the Tory government. On the right is a still taken from the Newsnight coverage.

Can you spot the differences?

two corbyns.pngDifferent ties, different people behind him, even different glasses. The clip the BBC showed has Sarah Champion on the front bench behind Corbyn. She is no longer a front-bencher. In the real footage, Dawn Butler is directly behind him. The Tories around Hammond in the Corbyn clip are a completely different set from those in the clip shown by Newsnight of Hammond’s Budget speech, too.

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Vid: All the abuse, Corbyn kept cool. Tories scoff at vulnerable, this happens

The SKWAWKBOX

Yesterday, the SKWAWKBOX shared a video of Jeremy Corbyn’s angry reaction when Tories tried to disrupt his response to Hapless Hammond’s Budget. But Corbyn was not angry at being interrupted – he was livid at the Tories’ callous dismissiveness toward vulnerable people.

That video went viral, with an avalanche of comments from supporters welcoming Corbyn’s fire.

But Facebook user Lell Gee made a comment that shed a bright light on the significance of Corbyn’s reaction:

geeCorbyn faced lies, slurs, insults, mockery of his clothes and worse from the Tory benches. From right-wing Labour MPs not fit to represent their members, he faced lies, disloyalty, smears, briefing, undermining and an attempt to crush him.

And he didn’t lose his temper once – or even appear close.

But when Tories sneer and dismiss the vulnerable, the put-upon and those discarded by this consciously-cruel government? Then this ensues:

This is…

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Tories trying to claim rail high ground with a few rail-cards. Here’s the truth

The SKWAWKBOX

In one of what will no doubt be a number of meaningless sops the ‘MSM’ will focus on for some positive PR, the Tories are planning to give rail-cards to 26-30yos, to ‘help them get on in life’.

As if a few free rail journeys will undo the massive impact of house prices, rents, student fees and debt, the insecure work of the ‘gig economy’, the proliferation of poorly-paid work, depressed wages and the many other privations imposed on our young people.

But even on rail travel, the Tories are swimming in a pit or manure – not standing on the high ground.

Below is the Tories’ record on rail fares since they entered Downing Street – a period during which they oversaw stagnant wages and the slowest economic recovery in living memory:

rail faresA compounded increase over 7 years of around 32% while incomes for all but the wealthy stagnated…

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Tories killed measure to stop Official Secrets Act blocking child abuse evidence

The SKWAWKBOX

As the SKWAWKBOX covered on Tuesday, Theresa May and her successor as Home Secretary have been accused of using ‘national security’ to withhold evidence of child abuse from IICSA – the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

abbott tleThe accusation was made in the Commons by Labour MP Lisa Nandy:

In February 2015, when May was Home Secretary another Labour MP, John Mann, moved an amendment to prevent the Official Secrets Act (OSA) being used to block witnesses giving evidence about child sexual abuse.

The Tories voted it down.

The Solicitor General responded to Mann’s call:

hansard 230215 osa.png

Departments and ministers can permit

I assure the hon. Member.. that the Government are committed…

We are satisfied that the Official Secrets Act is not, will not, and should not be a bar to evidence being provided, but I am grateful to him for raising that important issue.

‘Permit’, ‘assure’, ‘satisfied’. In other…

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‘Illiterate’ EU amendment looks like sabotage if you have facts. Here they are

The SKWAWKBOX

Monday night saw what looked like attempts by the Establishment to stir outrage against the Labour leadership that they’ve been unable to touch by legitimate means – with a side-order of distracting from the Tories’ chaos over Brexit and the budget for good measure.

The drama consisted of three parts:

  1. the Labour right proposed a damaging EU-related amendment on ‘customs union’ retention that Labour could not support because of its idiocy
  2. the Labour right moaned and ‘briefed’ to the ‘MSM’ when the amendment was inevitably defeated
  3. MSM commentators portray the ‘anger’ of right-wing Labour MPs at the Labour front bench supposedly ‘whipping’ MPs to ‘vote with the Tories’, creating outrage among gullible or uninformed ‘remainers’

If you have the facts, it’s as transparent as glass.

Here are those facts:

The amendment was idiotic

Barry Gardiner, exasperated at the lamentably-inaccurate portrayal of events, sent out a three-part tweet showing exactly

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Video: is this why Hammond trampling safety in Budget rush to driverless cars?

The SKWAWKBOX

The furore around heartless Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s remark on the BBC’s Marr show yesterday that there are no unemployed people has obscured some of the other warning signals about his budget plans that might otherwise have drawn attention.

One in particular was Hammond’s unseemly haste to get driverless cars on the road within just four years or less, in spite of Marr’s reminder to him that they are considered ‘really really dangerous’:

Hammond had to admit that he’s never even been in a driverless car – yet he’s planning to offer what must be a huge payment or incentive to have driverless, unattended vehicles on the road within four years – surely a massive rush, in terms of the development and testing needed to ensure that a driverless car can cope with all the variables and potential chaos of a live road situation.

Seem odd?

Last year, after the Brexit…

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