Well, this is an historic moment, that leads to our freedoms being curtailed until after the Corona Virus is beaten – but, with the government we have at present, I worry about how much of it will be handed back at the end?
I guess only time will tell!
Boris Johnson’s TV address in full:
The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone.
All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer
And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.
And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have.
Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.
And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.
To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well.
So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.
Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives.
And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic.
And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.
From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.
Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.
That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.
You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no.
You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.
You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.
If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
To ensure compliance with the government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:
close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
we will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
and we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.
No prime minister wants to enact measures like this.
I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.
And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.
And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.
But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost.
And yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.
Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7,500 former clinicians now coming back to the service.
With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment.
We are accelerating our search for treatments.
We are pioneering work on a vaccine.
And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.
I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus.
Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.
But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted.
Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together.
To halt the spread of this disease.
To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives.
And I know that as they have in the past so many times.
The people of this country will rise to that challenge.
And we will come through it stronger than ever.
We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together.
And therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.
I started this book, not really wanting to, as I’d just finished ‘The Losers/High Hunt’ by the same authors and, while entertained, wouldn’t be reading them again, but, as is my rule, if I own a book, I should read said book – if only the once!
While I enjoyed Regina’s Song, there were aspects to it that really niggled as I read it:
Although set in the 90’s, the dialogue, and social behaviour, of the characters seemed more fit for something from the 50’s, with that same moral, and social, compass (and it really made me curse when the work in the house was so neatly divided – as was the house itself – into ‘boy’ territory and ‘girl’ territory, too! Grrrrr
Although I found the plot fairly gripping in places, it was obvious to me, fairly quickly, that it was the twin who was the killer – and why.
I also found the constant use of literary language to be soooooo pretentious – especially in the use of first person narrative, the frequent descriptions of the narrator’s view of the literary greats, and with the use of musical terms when naming the chapter titles – yes, it’s called ‘Regina’s Song’ – so, ‘aren’t I the clever one to use those terms as chapter titles?’ 😦
Like I said – pretentious!
We are meant to assume, I suppose that, because our authors are well read, have a taste for classical music, and can reference so many of the greats in literature, then this book must be in line with the classics – sorry, but no! It just gave me the uncomfortable feeling of it being out of it’s time – as if, like the twins in the story, two seperate books had been forced into one!
That was a good plot twist there, and it got me hooked for a while but, like the previous two fiction books I’ve read from the Eddings team, the ending just felt too pat, and too contrived, for my comfort, or taste.
The sad thing is, that I love the Belgariad, Malloreon, Elenium & Tamuli books (they are like slipping into a pair of comfy slippers, after you’ve been on your feet, in heels, all day), to the point where I’ll re-read them every few years or so – but I just can’t get my head around the fictional books that were produced both before, and after, them 😦
So, this is another book that’ll be going to the charity shop, rather than staying on my shelves!
1. GENERAL ELECTION MANIFESTOS MUST ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS AND HUNGER.
The 2012 and 2016 Welfare Reform Acts were seen through Parliament by
government ministers who sought to force the unemployed into work by
imposing inadequate incomes and punitive laws designed to treat them as
if they are at work.
a monthly rather than a weekly income;
housing benefit paid to the unemployed from which they pay the rent to the landlord as if it were from a monthly pay cheque; and
strict rules about keeping appointments at the job centre.
The purpose was to “change the culture” of unemployment, on the
mistaken assumption that the unemployed lived an easy life on benefits
so were unlikely to look for work, hence the cruel benefit sanction on
those who “broke the rules”.
“Every year I stand here because there is a forecast that says
that child poverty is going up, has gone up or will go up, but when we
actually see the figures, we find that child poverty has actually gone
down. When you transform the economy, change the culture so that work is
what has been driving things, and move up the employment rates and the
earning rates in the way that we have, you find that the behavioural
impacts are very different from the static analysis that many of the
external experts tell us about.”
Attempts by cross-bench peers to insert amendments requiring a
health-impact assessment of the government’s policies were rejected. The
actual and disastrous impact on the health of low-income families and
individuals can be found on theTaxpayers Against Poverty website.
UK land grabbed by the rich for private gain
London councils have published analysis showing that there has been a
significant reduction of about 200,000 in the number of homes that are
affordable for tenants receiving the Local Housing Allowance. That is
one among a number causes of the escalating homelessness and hunger in
The 1980s’ “big bang” set up the UK housing market to make large
landowners very rich indeed, with unearned and untaxed increases in the
value of their land. Lending was deregulated, rent controls abolished
and funds allowed to flow in and out of the limited amount of British
land. Small businesses and family homes, which pay rent, business rates
and/or council tax, and own no land, are treated little better than
during the 15th– and 16th-century enclosures.
Tenants are being pushed off the land with no solutions on the political table to reverse the trend.
In Haringey, 3,000 homeless families, with 5,208 children between them, have been forced into temporary accommodation, some for up to and over 10 years. Accirding to the House of Commons Library there are 83,700 homless families in temporary accommodation in England with 124,000 children, up 74% sine 2010. 56,880 of the families are in London. Too many of them are in one room in hostels or other acommodation when none ought to be.
Taxpayers Against Poverty strongly recommends that the Greater London Authority and Parliament adopt two policies used by the Danish government:
Long-term vacancy of properties is discouraged in Denmark. If
an owner moves and does not wish to sell the property, it must be
rented out or advertised for sale. If it is empty for more than six
weeks, the owner must report to the local authority, which then seeks to
provide tenants, whom the owner has to accept.
Non-residents of Denmark who have not lived in the country for a
total period of five years previously may only acquire property after
receiving permission from the Ministry of Justice.
Income support for a single adult has been losing value since 1979
There is a community of about 11,000 social-security claimants in
Haringey. The shredding of their social security incomes since 2010 has
been piled on top of decades of adult benefit negligence. The evidence
came from Professor Jonathan Bradshaw in 2009 responding
to one of mine. In April 2011, austerity measures were then piled onto
an already inadequate cornerstone of the benefit system. To that
cornerstone are added disabled people’s, children’s, housing and
“When unemployment benefit started in 1912, it was 7 shillings a
week – about 22% of average male earnings in manufacturing. The
percentage fluctuated over the succeeding decades, but by 1979, the
benefit rate was still about 21% of average earnings (manual and
non-manual, male and female). By 2008, however, as a result of the
policy of tying benefits to the price index while real earnings
increased, the renamed Jobseeker’s Allowance had fallen to an all-time
low of 10.5% of average earnings.”
Benefit increases were frozen at 1% a year in April 2011. £73.10 a
week Jobseekers’ Allowance equates to £317 a month Universal
Credit. Using the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s minimum-income standards
for single-adult benefits after rent and council tax as of April 2019,
we can see that Jobseekers’ Allowance and Universal Credit are nearly
£32 a week too low for healthy living.
And that is before :
the five-week delay in the first payment of Universal Credit;
the Department for Work and Pensions “budgeting advance” to cover
that delay, which is a loan that has to be repaid out of 73.10 a week;
the cuts in council tax and housing benefits, which mean rent and council tax must also be paid out of that £73.10 a week;
income is stopped by benefit sanctions, during which rent, council
tax and TV-licence arrears and other debts pile up; adding to the
impossibility of living on benefits;
the realisation – often only belatedly at the job centre – by a
parent who has a third child that the government’s two-child policy
means they will be refused child benefit for their latest offspring.
The hopelessly inadequate single adult benefit cannot maintain a
healthy adult life, let alone pay rent or council tax, or their
enforcement costs. That is a cruel catch 22. If your children’s benefits
pay the rent, they are hungry, naked or cold; if you feed, clothe
growing children or keep them warm, then the family is evicted and
Councils force low income tenants into the private sector and their rent over the benefit cap.
In the United Kingdom, local authority officers and benefit claimants
are both the victims of toxic and disconnected central government
policies. Policies that combine to escalate the number of homeless and
hungry families. The benefits freeze is bad enough (Benefits freeze leaves a third of claimants ‘with £100 to live on a month’), but,
in 2012, the government introduced another measure that is particularly
hard on London families. It allows local-authority housing departments
to offer homeless families in temporary council housing at £90 a week
rent a move into permanent private-sector housing at £300 a week rent
for a two-bed home, for example (see table).
Families must accept the council’s first offer or they are deemed
intentionally homeless and struck off the list of those the council has a
duty to house. The unintended consequence of the 2012 measure is that
a family’s total benefit income, including housing benefit, can be
forced over the London benefit cap of £442.31 by high private-sector
rent. The government cuts the housing benefit to enforce the cap on the
total benefit income. Thar leaves rent to be paid by the family’s
remaining benefits They have been frozen and are already short of £100 a
month to live on. Hunger and homelessness are inevitable.
UK is the only nation in the world requiring renters to pay the landlord’s property tax.
The UK being the only nation in the world requiring renters to pay
the landlord’s property tax adds the straw that breaks the camels back.
That is a great injustice. The council tax is a property tax based on
1991 evaluations after the poll tax was abolished and the council tax
There is a tenant of my acquaintance who lives in a private two-bed
terraced house in Tottenham that was bought new for £95,000 in 1999. An
identical property next door, also new in 1999, is on the market for
£425,000. The landlord is £330,000 richer, unearned and untaxed, while
the tenant has paid about £1,000 a year in property/council tax for 20
years, so is £20,000 poorer.
290 out of 326 English councils require benefit claimants to pay a
proportion of their landlord’s council tax. It is enforced by the
magistrate’s court, adding the council’s enforcement costs to the
arrears and the bailiffs adding their fees. Taxing £73.10 a week income
support/Jobseekers’ Allowance/Universal Credit is a pernicious
The good health and wellbeing of all UK citizens in or out of work must now become a national priority.
2. An inhuman treatment of powerless tenants.
TAP is opposing in the implementation of the project at High Road
West. We so firmly believe it is against the best interests of the low
income residents of Tottenham. After the secure tenants were moved out,
the current tenants of Love Lane Estate have been moved in by Haringey
Counci. Because they are homeless families in temporary accommodation
they have no relevant housing rights and can be moved out more easily
before demolition. An inhuman treatment of powerless tenants.
Some of these 180 young families have been in temporary accommodation
for up and over ten years. They have already been forced to moved
several times so disrupting the education of their growing children.
They are among 3000 homeless families in temporary accommodation in
Haringey. Too many of them are in one room in hostels or other
accommodation – when none ought to be.
The way the High Road West project has been designed does not commit
the council to using 100% of the site for meeting part of a target of
providing the 3000 much needed secure homes for the homeless. What is
proposed is the convoluted process of allowing Lend Lease to build on
land which is free to the council and then sell “affordable” homes back
to the council for £68,000 each. That enables Lend Lease to make the
largest profit possible by selling the remaining and the majority if the
homes into the very expensive London housing market.
The best way to build truly affordable homes for rent is for the
council keep their public land out of the market, borrow the money and
hire Lend Lease to build them.
It is a matter of public interest that we all know the terms of the out of court settlement bewteen
lendlease and the council, particularly whether it involved
Northumberland Park, another council estate eyed by international
property devopers for similar treatment.
Another shocking aspect of the High Road West project is the
intention to grab the land from under 50 small thriving businesses of
the Peacock Industrial Estate. Their businesses, which are employing
local people, will be severely disrupted – to create a park!
The current national housing policy is ideologically designed to prevent the building of council homes on council land.
To do so is not socialism. It is simply an intelligent way of
building truly affordable housing which has been used by all political
parties in power since WWII. Also the capacity of the poorest tenants to
pay even the lowest rents in London has been severely undermined by the
shredding of houisng benefit and other social security payments. (See
Now is not the time to build social housing at council house rents.
It would be better to leave it until after the next election which will
have to change national housing and social security policies for the
better and , it is ardently hoped. for the better use of public and
private land for the common good.
For the time being the council ought to stop pushing powerless
homeless families in temporary accommodation from pillar to post. The
council can leave them where they are – even declare them all
National housing and social security policies have to change to meet the needs of low income tenants.
Billionaire Christopher Chandler is the founder and the main backer of the Legatum Institute Foundation which has been advising Theresa May on the Brexit negotiations and has been pushing May and her government for the hardest of hard Brexits:
So it’s somewhat of a surprise to discover that Chandler has just arranged to buy EU citizenship for himself and his family under Malta’s citizenship by investment scheme, under which wealthy individuals can obtain an EU passport, and the right to work, live and reside in EU member states:
Public interest in Universal Credit has not dampened down.
Though Amber Rudd has does not pay much attention.
A steady drip of really bad stories continues.
This site would like to hear from people on the issues around the Universal Credit Job Search and the Journal.
We were told, or least got the impression, that the transfer of millions of people already on benefits to UC was being halted.
Ms Rudd will delay asking MPs to approve the transfer of three million benefit claimants to UC, and instead plans to move just 10,000 onto the system this summer as part of a trial to study its effectiveness.