Nobody could fail to be moved by the plight of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma).
Some 370,000 have fled Rakhine state for Bangladesh since the outbreak of violence last month, with whole villages being burned down and the government accused by the UN of ethnic cleansing. Given reports of beheadings, rape and children being deliberately shot, it rather begs the question of why the UK Government, our government, continues to train the Burmese military, a task that cost the UK around £305,000 last year.
Based on reports from the UN, human rights organisations and Rohingya organisations, we are witnessing human rights violations on a scale extreme even by the standards of Myanmar’s history. Estimates of people killed range from official figures of hundreds dead to estimates by reliable Rohingya organisations of between 2,000 and 3,000 killed.
Before we pontificate on the actions of the Burmese military, it clearly helps if we put our own house in order, and that means immediately suspending training the soldiers of this brutal regime.
Boris Johnson should be kept away from positions of power as a priority
Did I imagine it or did Boris Johnson seriously propose offering UK taxpayers’ money to support British citizens who are living in the tax havens that have been affected by Hurricane Irma? This only serves to highlight precisely how out of touch with the reality experienced daily by the humble electorate he truly is. This nation’s population – and particularly our public servants – have suffered under government-imposed austerity for many years now and yet he proposes to spring open the nation’s coffers in order to bail out those whose lack of contribution has been in no small part responsible for this sad state of affairs.
I realise that Theresa May felt that she had no choice but to give Boris a ministerial position so as to prevent him being a threat to her “leadership” but surely it is now high time that she put that consideration to one side and concentrated on making appointments that are in the best interests of the people her government was elected to represent. (A novel idea, I know, but bear with me – it might even catch on.)
Johnson is a jester – an amusing distraction from the drudgery of politics who has a natural gift for light entertainment – but he really ought to be kept away from the levers of power because has seemingly never cared one jot for anything much beyond stroking his own ego. Our country deserves to be represented, both at home and abroad, by people who are dedicated to the wellbeing of our population and to working towards a better future for us all... Which brings me to Jeremy Hunt and Chris Grayling, but they will have to wait for another letter.
Our police, teachers and nurses deserve more than a measly pay rise
I am neither a union member nor “of the left” but even I can see that breaking the 1 per cent pay cap is a “no brainer”. Our police, teachers, nurses and the like should be awarded an immediate 5 per cent pay rise. Roughly an extra £9bn a year. Less after tax receipts. Cross fund it from the overseas aid budget, raise income tax or do whatever it takes. Enough is enough Prime Minster, start using some common sense and get on the front foot. It’s time the Tories dropped the ideology and starting looking after the people who look after us.
Jon De Maria
The Brexit discussions suggest a piece of wisdom in hindsight – if you are jumping off a cliff you should check your parachute before you leap not before you land.
Welfare reforms have backfired
So, welfare reform is a key driver in the rise in people in temporary housing, says the National Audit Office (NAO)…
Freezing benefits, all of them, has contributed to a 60 per cent rise in those seeking housing from councils. Unsustainable, increased rents by greedy letting agents and landlords also has the same effect. Low wages and lack of support force costs onto other spending areas. It’s not rocket science to expect that, or is it?
The Government failed to do an impact assessment on the knock-on effects of reform, but I expect nothing from this current mob. Except giveaways for the rich and cuts for everyone else to pay for it.
The country of the blind!
Smoke and mirrors
When trying to fund the derisory pay rise for police and prison staff, Theresa May has decided that as she doesn’t have a magic money tree, she is going to revert to smoke and mirrors.