Op-ed: The mainstream media in the UK is concentrating on Chancellor Hammond's rapid back pedalling with regards to an increase in National Insurance for the self-employed but for many the big story is allegations of Tory Party misspending during the 2015 General Election.
Or as some call it allegation of Tory election fraud.
The Conservative Party surprised itself when it won the 2015 General Election helped along by the rise of the SNP in Scotland, doubts over Ed Miliband's leadership qualities spread by the media and the promise of an EU in or out referendum.
Wednesday media sources are reporting that the Crown Prosecution Service has received files from 12 police forces across the UK relating to Tory Party misspending allegations.
For many viewers it will be brand new news but for many of us it is the continuation of a story that broke over one-year ago.
Channel 4 journalists notably Michael Crick have been questioning whether election spending rules were broken in 2015 and they have done so for some time.
It even led to suspicions that was why the then PM David Cameron wanted to sell off Channel 4!
But Channel 4 reporters kept the pressure up.
This woman has written about the allegations on numerous occasions but it is probably fair to say that for many people it is breaking news Wednesday.
Actually hearing it mentioned on Sky News as Kay Burley questioned former Tory Chancellor Norman Lamont was satisfying.
It means that finally the British electorate will get some mainstream news reporting on allegations of Tory election misspending.
Will there be a whitewash with allegations swept under the carpet amid promises not to do it again?
There are strict election spending rules in the UK; so strict that even not accounting for a postage stamp could in theory result in jail time.
So who will take the wrap? Will there be by-elections in affected constituencies? Could the Tory Party's slim majority be slashed?
Will any person be jailed?
Police forces were given additional time to investigate the allegations but the deadline is now May 9 and the clock is ticking.
The Guardian reports "it emerged on Tuesday that Kent police had interviewed Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP for South Thanet, under caution over his spending returns relating to his campaign against the then Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, in 2015." That investigation is ongoing.
Mackinlay was interviewed under police caution.
"Earlier on Wednesday, Will Quince, the Tory MP for Colchester, also revealed he had been interviewed under caution over allegations about overspending in the last general election. He said police told him there would be no further action against him after the interview, which took place in January."
Our earlier reports include;
Note: The Electoral Commission issues clear guidelines on spending. These state that: There are two types of spending by or on behalf of parties at elections.
Party campaign spending on campaigning to promote the party and its policies generally. For example, national newspaper adverts for the party, or leaflets explaining party policy. It also includes spending on promoting candidates at elections where the party nominates a list of candidates for a region, instead of individual candidates for local areas.
Candidate spending on campaigning to promote a particular candidate or candidates in their local area. For example, leaflets or websites that focus on one or more candidates and their views.
Different rules apply to the two types of spending.
Op-ed: Monday a #FakeNews or is that non-news story has flooded mainstream and social media.
It centres around, surprise surprise, Jeremy Corbyn. Look for negative fake news and you are bound to find Mr Corbyn features.
Who really knows why?
It could be because those that "have" and some, fear a Corbyn government becoming reality or it could be that such stories get eyeballs on them and so generate revenue or it could be that many mainstream media owners have their feet firmly placed in Tory politics or it could be other reasons but it is certainly not their quest for the truth.
So thanks to Rachael Williams on Facebook who opted Monday to share a reminder of what Mr Corbyn stands for; his ten main pledges and those of his parliamentary supporters:
We will put conflict resolution and human rights at the heart of foreign policy, commit to working through the United Nations, end support for aggressive wars of intervention and back effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis. British foreign policy has long failed to be either truly independent or internationally co-operative, making the country less safe and reducing our diplomatic and moral authority. We will build human rights and social justice into trade policy, honour our international treaty obligations on nuclear disarmament and encourage others to do the same.
How many times has that been shared by the mainstream media?
My guess is never.
Corbyn published his tax return ahead of this week's budget. He is trying to push for Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond to do the same. Instead the mainstream media and some on social media, including the right-wing of the Labour Party namely the regressive group Progress, prefer Monday to accuse Corbyn of not paying his full tax liability.
They have ended up with egg on their fat chins as it turns out Corbyn's tax bill was paid in full.
There are even claims he did not take a pay rise and it is that which led to the confusion.
Some were so keen to chew over his tax return they did a half ass job or was it they chose to find fault.
One thing this blogger knows is the country needs a Labour government enacting those ten pledges and more and it needs it soon.
Will there be a public apology for the tax fake news story?
Probably not but either way many voters will already have been duped once again.
Op-ed: This British blogger was born in 1952. That means she has experienced health care via the NHS all of her life. Will she still be able to make that proud claim in another 10 or even five years assuming she is still alive and kicking?
From being born in an NHS maternity hospital to a tonsillectomy in 1958, an appendectomy in 1975, various minor procedures, dental treatments, cataract surgery around 10 years ago and so much more the NHS has been a big part of her life.
Working in clerical roles at NHS hospitals for around 13 years pre-retirement highlighted the good, the bad and the ugly side of the NHS but reinforced a belief that the NHS is a valuable asset which must remain nationalised.
Do not let this Tory government squander our NHS.
The dripping leak of services into the private sector needs halting; our NHS needs some work but it does not need a government that is looking to help it fail in order to make privatisation the only way forward.
The Tory government sees health care as money-making nothing more nor less, and look close to the government for who may make the most money out a failing National Health Service.
Little wonder that Saturday's NHS Day of Action in London was well supported.
According to BBC News:
Tens of thousands of people - including NHS workers, campaigners and union representatives - have marched in London to protest against "yet more austerity" in the health service.
Remember many people who were unable to travel to London also support Saturday's protest and rally.
People need to wake up to the potential threats the NHS is facing and act before it is too late.
If you believe the NHS is safe is Tory hands you are in this person's opinion at best misinformed or at worst deluded.
This is not the first national demonstration to save the NHS but in 2017 the situation has become critical.
Op-ed: The Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson said magnanimously Saturday that now is not the time to ditch Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The wording of the above depends on the publication. "Ditching" is the obvious choice for the Daily Mail while other publications opt for "now is not the time for a leadership contest" and "Tom Watson stands by Corbyn."
Mr Watson was speaking at the Labour Party's Scottish conference Saturday two days after two by-elections.
Politics is certainly a funny old game.
Plenty of party members would rather Tom Watson was ditched but he seems to be sitting pretty as the party's Deputy Leader.
Perhaps it is time the Labour Party ditched the role of Deputy? Is it really a necessary role?
As many party members believe rightly or wrongly that Mr Watson was well in the so-called chicken coup of 2016 we definitely need a Deputy Leadership challenge.
Watson still has a great deal of support especially from the right-wing of the Labour Party or as they prefer to call themselves soft left or moderates.
He is still tied to Tony Blair's Progress organisation, a party within a party if we are to reciprocate with words used to describe Momentum.
Labour Party candidate Gareth Snell won the Stoke Central by-election Thursday but the party's Copeland seat was lost.
The Labour Party's share of the Copeland vote has been decreasing over some time and in some ways defeat was perhaps a natural progression. People have their own ideas on what went wrong in Copeland and all perhaps have some truth to them.
But no political party can afford to lose seats.
The prime objective of the Labour Party has to be forming a government and removing the slash happy Tories who are now lead by unelected Theresa May.
BRexit is occupying most headlines and analysis and is detracting from Mrs May's dreadful government.
By the time voters wake up to what is happening it could be too late.
Boundary changes which will reduce the Labour Party's chances of election success are imminent meaning we could soon be a one party state.
Mr Watson also said Saturday that the Labour Party does not need progressive political alliances and this woman agrees with that.
We need a real Labour Party government and soon.
Is it going to be another case of years of Tory misrule until finally the worm turns? That is what happened during the Thatcher years and beyond until 1997.
That left the new Labour government with a mountain to climb.
Watson was in this woman's opinion also right when Saturday he said "We have to do better, we cannot sustain this level of distance from our electorate" as long as the WE means every single person attached to the Labour Party.
The electorate are being drip fed negative news re the Labour Party and many times it is via our own MPs, councillors or affiliates. Too many people have their own agendas, groups, big egos and more.
WE need to take a long hard look at ourselves top to bottom.
Our paid representatives should be leading by example.
This woman looks forward to getting back to attacking the Tories in her blogs but will continue to offer honest opinions as a long standing Labour Party voter until those in authority get their act in order.
It's not the time to ditch Corbyn, says Tom Watson
Tom Watson stands by Jeremy Corbyn despite Copeland defeat
Op-ed: Having stayed up into the wee small hours to watch the Stoke Central and Copeland by-election results Thursday as they came in this brief report is relatively late in the day.
So first the result.
The Labour Party held Stoke Central but lost Copeland to a Tory candidate.
The world and its wife has already had their say and the knives are out for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn but the big loser is UKip and its party leader Paul Nuttall.
This woman is watching BBC daily politics as she writes and first things first the Labour MP for Cumbria John Woodcock is sharing his twopenneth.
Mr Woodcock, like Jamie Reed who quit Copeland triggering the by-election, has been vocally against Jeremy Corbyn from day one. Obviously then this woman wonders what he and others of the same mind said on the doorstep campaigning in Copeland.
To be fair Mr Woodcock Friday did not lay the blame at Corbyn's door but he hardly put in a reassuring performance.
So a few thoughts from a Labour Party voter, supporter and party member.
BRexit, Article 50 and immigration
Both Stoke and Copeland voted heavily to leave the European Union in last year's referendum.
Old new Labour
In the last week old new Labour stalwarts, and some would say fat cats, John McTernan, Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson received a great deal of mainstream publicity and it was all about the UK staying part of the EU.
Hardly a vote winner in two BRexit supporting constituencies.
Timing of Article 50 debate
The debate held so close to these two elections drip fed uncertainty about Labour's European intentions. Clive Lewis resigning his shadow cabinet position because of the Article 50 vote was picked up by the mainstream media who ran with it as negative spin.
The two MPs who resigned in Stoke and Copeland
Tristram Hunt and Jamie Reed opted to trigger by elections on the same day. That left the Labour Party defending two constituencies on same day. Both these men were supporters of old new Labour. Both often appeared to be in the wrong political party.
Appointment of election candidates
Other parties were already campaigning on the ground by the time Labour had selected its candidates. They were selected locally which means candidates suit the constituency Labour party but not necessarily the residents.
So the Labour Party needs to fine tune its selection process and speed it up.
Voters need to see a candidate when a campaign starts not just a party. They need to know who wants their votes.
Does UKip have any relevance in 2017?
Paul Nuttall was the candidate that kept on giving in Stoke. He may claim there was a dirty campaign against him but he was shown to be a liar more than once. Having failed to win various elections previously Mr Nuttall must surely be considering his position as a would be MP? He remains an MEP and party leader but for how much longer?
In Copeland the Tory vote was up and UKip vote down. It appears a straight transfer of UKip to Tory helped the Conservative candidate win.
Boundary changes in 2010 brought traditional Tory voters into the Copeland constituency and the Labour majority was cut. This means those quoting old voting history in Copeland forget that is not relevant in 2017.
Further planned boundary changes will continue this trend shoring up the Tory vote. Here in Hull West and Hessle similar changes are planned.
Progressive alliances are back in the room following Thursday's by elections. Some believe it is the only way to beat the Tories in 2017 and beyond.
The labour party needs to:
But when Copeland, an area where the local hospital is under threat, goes blue we need to toughen up and focus as a priority.
WE all need a kick up the bum and the reboot button reset.
By elections are often protest votes against the government. Thursday it seems a majority of voters in Copeland and Stoke expressed they are content with unelected PM Theresa May and her government.
We need to ask them why.
Was it all about BRexit and Sellafield jobs in Copeland?
Op-ed: I rarely watch BBC Parliament these days; since retirement I have the time but not the blood pressure for it.
But on those occasions this woman tunes in however briefly one thing stands out - Ministers spend too much time on cell phones, Ipads and other online devices.
Two images today caught two Tory Ministers who at one point appeared to be texting each other like naughty kids in a school classroom.
This is not a rare occurence or limited to one political party.
Within a few minutes of viewing we spotted a range of MPs using decices offering Internet access.
It could be in some cases they are referencing information but as most MPs still have a mountain of paperwork with them that is a nonsense.
Perhaps Parliament would work better and be less of a public joke if Internet devices were left at the door.
In case it has crossed your mind this woman does not use a cell phone or take her IPad with her when she goes out and that is not only since retirement; it is the norm.
When she goes out the Internet stays home unless she is on vacation for a week or two.
Using such devices in parliament during a debate is many things including silly.
It makes those texting or similar appear distracted rather than paying attention to matters in hand. They often look sloppy as they forget they are on camera. It spreads chinese whispers, gossip and imformation leaks.
Overall it undermines parliament and our democracy.
Friday Tony Blair stepped into the post EU referendum BRexit debate.
Apparently speaking as part of an organisation called Open Britain Mr Blair made a keynote speech and the mainstream media sucked it up.
Six days ahead of two byelections in former Labour strongholds which supported BRexit his speech was ill-timed and ultimately self-serving.
Was his speech aimed at ordinary working class people?
If it was the purpose appears to have been to tell them they are stupid.
Tony Blair and others appearing on Open Britain's social media accounts have their own agenda. For some it is undermining Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for others it is all about the money.
Roland Rudd is the chairman of Open Britain:
This is the man behind Open Britain
Presumably those contacts on the left refer to people like Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson and Ed Balls who have links to Rudd.
Rudd is the son of a stockbroker and reportedly had ambitions to be Prime Minister as a child.
His sister is Amber Rudd Conservative Minister.
Look to the people mentioned above if you are still wondering why so many potential voters remain disenfranchised.
Want to read more?
Six days ahead of two by-elections that are crucial for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn former Labour Party leader Tony Blair has put in an appearance.
Yes you guessed it right, it has not been aimed at helping the Labour Party win in either Stoke Central or Copeland.
His well publicised speech on mainstream news channels coincides with UKip Stoke candidate Paul Nuttall`s speech Friday.
Both Copeland and Stoke voted for BRexit so either Blair is banking on voters changing their minds or he is up to something entirely different.
One Labour comrade today received the following email from Blair:
The Government’s policy is now Brexit At Any Cost, as those in the driving seat have always wanted. Our task must be to expose relentlessly the cost to the country of rushing over the cliff’s edge.
So fat cat Tony Blair wants your hard-earned money.
You can make of the above what-you-will.
Me I see the rise of the right of Labour finally having scuppered the Labour Party time and again perhaps moving on at last.
With such enemies within who needs outside real enemies?
Blair and his regressive comrades in Progress want old new Labour and cringe at the idea of the Labour Party becoming socialist.
Way past time Blair and his ilk vamoosed
Op-ed: So we pensioners are rolling in money and laughing all the way to the bank are we?
I wonder how many of my retired friends would agree?
In 2001 pensioners were reportedly £70 a week worse off than the working population and now we are £20 a week better off, allegedly.
The Tory triple lock promise on pensions a few years ago helped pensions improve but with a Tory Spring Statement due from Philip Hammond in March that could in theory end.
Former Tory PM David Cameron used the triple lock as a vote winner assuming many older people vote Tory.
But voting and older age is never so simple.
It is not rocket science:
Well just think about it.
If pensions are allowed to fall back it will affect future pensioners.
Once you retire there is no bonus, except £10 at Christmas which could be scrapped, or overtime, but a winter fuel allowance of £200 a couple and a free bus pass, which could also be scrapped. The bus pass helps older people get out and about and stay well in a win win situation for the government
Surely the silly think tank research that declares pensioners are so much better off than the working population is easily dismissed however?
Generalisations never work and neither do averages that include the very wealthy and very poor.
Take for instance MPs who may ultimately decide on pensions and more and be included in the think tank research.
In late 2015 the Telegraph reported "So if the controversial proposals to raise MPs’ wages from £67,060 to £74,000 are effected, all MPs retiring at that higher salary will have their existing entitlements applied at that level. Say an MP has served 15 years (see graphs). The pension builds at a rate of 1/40th of final salary, giving 15/40ths or 37.5pc of final salary."
Read the full report here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/11685857/MPs-hidden-perk-7000-pay-rise-equals-85000-pension-boost.html
Out of four reasons cited by Wales Online for the reported "£20 better off" three will not be available to all. They are home ownership, at least one person in a couple working and a company pension.
"The share of pensioner households in which at least one person is in work has shot up from one in eight in 2001 to nearly one in five. This accounts for a quarter of pensioner income growth since 2000."
Yes work till you drop Britain at least for we the people is the goal.
New pensions bad news for many pensioners
Pensions safe from Tory axe for now but for how much longer
In July 2016 we reported "According to Pink News "The out Labour MP [Angela Eagle] has allegedly faced ‘harassment’ and ‘intimidation’ since announcing her plans to stand against the party’s current leader. Angela Eagle has been subjected to “homophobic abuse” since resigning from the Shadow cabinet and revealing her plans to challenge current leader Jeremy Corbyn, according to a senior Labour politician. Speaking on Daily Politics earlier today, Baroness Tessa Jowell said members of Labour’s Parliamentary Party had been subjected to “intimidation, abuse and fear” in the wake of a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn last week."
That allegation was allowed to fester away and impact on the Labour leadership challenge of 2016 and any elections held.
The CLP was suspended with obvious negative impacts in respect to party conference and more.
Now here we are February 13, 2017, and there is an announcement via Wallasey CLP on social media saying "Wallasey "This is huge to the people of Wallasey! There was never any basis to these accusations anyway. Now we can fight the tories properly."
The tweet is accompanied by the following;
Will today's news be widely reported?
Will the mainstream media so quick to share last year's allegations be apologising?
Will the CLP be reinstated?
How will Angela Eagle be ale to work with her CLP after raising such phoney allegations?