Wed. Aug 4th, 2021

Good morning; here’s a set of links for those who want to find out more about what’s important today: rule of law, the NHS, and lorry driver shortages.

Foreign Aid and the Rule of Law.

If you’re on Twitter, and you follow Charlie Falconer, a British Labour peer and barrister who served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs under Prime Minister Tony Blair from 2003 to 2007 and who was appointed as Shadow Attorney General in the Starmer Shadow Cabinet on 6 April 2020, here is his series of tweets about exactly what was wrong LEGALLY with the government’s decision to reduce the overseas aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5%:

Newsflash: there was nothing legally wrong. The change was made legally. It just wasn’t ethically or morally correct and constitutes another (precedent-setting) change to our democracy as “the law is now contained not in the Act of Parliament but in a Written Ministerial Statement of the Treasury which overrides the Act and is probably enforceable by judicial review.”

In case you feel that given the poverty and Covid disruption in our country, we should be cutting foreign aid and supporting our own, let me point you to two things. First of all, two months ago the Guardian pointed out that cutting aid directly impacts us – https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2021/apr/30/uks-aid-cuts-hit-vital-coronavirus-research-around-world (what ostensibly benefits Brazil also benefits us)  and can I remind you of this picture:

which clearly indicated that no matter what the government send money on, it won’t be on children in need here as this link https://labourlist.org/2021/07/children-set-to-miss-out-on-24-million-meals-this-summer-analysis-finds/ points out, saying that the government’s holiday activities and food programme, which Labour has highlighted is set to provide meals for just 16 of the 30 weekdays over the holiday. This fact is described by  MP Tulip Siddiq as “utterly shocking, Feeding hungry children cannot be a part-time activity, yet this Conservative government is again stripping away the support that millions of families rely on. Ministers have had to be shamed into providing food for hungry children throughout the pandemic and it is a disgrace that we are having to do this all over again.”

Perhaps we need Marcus Rashford to step up again . . . he is such a worthwhile human being, and I say this as someone who generally likes neither football nor footballers. https://twitter.com/MarcusRashford/status/1414672529717964807

NHS

As for the NHS, this MP is fighting for it, as the Tories pass the second reading of the bill and take it one step closer to being sold off. https://twitter.com/jon_trickett/status/1415382271612358658 but it looks like no one is listening to him.

Can I urge you all to follow https://twitter.com/EveryDoctorUK if you are on Twitter, and support their efforts to campaign for the NHS. If you’re not on Twitter, then https://keepournhspublic.com/ is a useful organisation. But write to your MP today – I did, even though Penrose is useless, and supports privatisation, we still have to speak out – and before you do, catch up on the latest here: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ournhs/protestors-and-doctors-union-call-on-mps-to-block-new-english-health-bill/

And don’t forget, that if you need the NHS  this winter it might not be available, as doctors fear a surge in winter viruses. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-57837192

Shortages

Byline Times has a video for you if you want to know where we are with lorry driver shortages – and the potential for other shortages. Access it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6U_LGfAad8 The iNews has information on potential shortages from the growers point of view – https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/uk-food-shortages-supermarket-brexit-lack-labour-british-growers-association-1099093 , the Guardian indicates that this problem isn’t going to go away soon https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/11/uk-food-worker-shortages-push-prices-up-and-risk-christmas-turkey-supplies and in case you really aren’t sure how this could impact us all, have a look at this: https://www.itv.com/news/2021-07-14/one-dead-during-anti-government-protests-against-food-shortages-in-cuba and also this: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-07-14/food-shortages-set-to-grip-south-africa-after-rioters-rampage (The Bloomberg article won’t be behind a paywall if you’re within your limit of free articles this month.)

A few other items you might find interesting:

There’s a decent round up of the situation with lifting the Covid curbs here: https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/freedom-day-or-anxiety-day-england-end-covid-19-curbs-2021-07-15/

France is protesting again: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/french-police-quell-protest-against-covid-health-passport-rules-2021-07-14/

Bolsonaro has been hospitalised and intubated while surgeons deal with complications from a previous injury: given the volatility of Brazil right now, if he cannot hold the reins of power, we could be looking at a takeover. Brazil is already on its knees: what next for the troubled country?

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/brazil-president-bolsonaro-hospitalized-brasilia-says-source-2021-07-14/

In Australia, the Sydney outbreak of the Delta Variant has spread: https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-tracking-fresh-covid-19-cluster-melbourne-linked-sydney-outbreak-2021-07-14/ .

The Olympics, due to kick off on 23rd July, is struggling to contain Covid outbreaks https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/coronavirus-incidents-tokyo-olympics-2021-07-15/ .

You may not have time to read all these, but hopefully you’ll have time to read a few!

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