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A few stories re-visited

June 27, 2020 12:16 PM

lldf (Thanks to S O C I A L . C U T for sharing their work on Unsplash.)We have covered a wide range of stories recently which have continued to progress. Here is a quick update on a number of them

1 Student nurses https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2020/1365645/careful-when-you-throw-stones

Some good new here after student nurses had insults from a Government minister compounded by news their paid fixed term contracts would be terminated early as coronavirus hospital admissions reduced. The Royal College of Nursing has just welcomed an assurance that student nurses drafted into front-line NHS services battling coronavirus in England will have their contracts honoured following a period of "confusion and distress". Isn't it sad when you have to celebrate a contract being honoured!!

2 Tory Sleaze https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2020/1366066/after-tory-incompetence-the-scent-of-sleaze

We reported that the Housing Secretary Mr Jenrick had, at the very least, shown poor judgement when he illegally approved a major development in docklands fronted by Tory donor Richard Desmond. He is now being asked to explain a ministerial meeting with a "family friend" who had a financial interest in a future of a rival mining project that Jenrick was overseeing. The Guardian has more at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jun/27/robert-jenrick-admits-israeli-billionaire-in-donor-row-is-family-friend

But the picture is bigger than just the behaviour of Mr Jenrick. Concerns have been raised about the apparent increased influence property developers have over the Conservative government. Their contributions make up nearly a quarter of the £47.5m in donations received by the party from last July to March, up from 7.9 per cent of the total two years ago according to the Open Democracy organisation. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/exclusive-property-tycoons-gave-tories-more-than-11m-in-less-than-a-year/

When in doubt always follow the money is not a bad adage!

3 Quarantine https://southsuffolklibdems.org.uk/en/article/2020/1362921/time-to-quarantine

Some week's ago we questioned why quarantine was being introduced when during the peak of the outbreak in Europe there had been no controls. We concluded it was a political decision not based on science.

Well another U turn is on the way with the planned relaxation of the UK's quarantine rules. Downing Street has signalled a new traffic-light system that will open up routes to popular destinations like France and Spain and Greece where the disease is less prevalent. You have to ask why a targeted approach was not used from the start. Maybe the sights on British beaches this week have led to a desire to export the problem!

Ironically the Greek tourist minister has said it would be a few weeks before they could open up given that the virus numbers are still relatively high in the UK!

4 Brexit Negotiations

These appear still to be deadlocked.

Earlier in the week the Financial Times reported the EU were open to a compromise on one of their key requirements that if the UK were to get free access to the single market we had to sign up to EU standards on environmental rules, consumer protections, workers rights etc to stop us under-cutting their businesses. Instead it was proposed we would not have to agree to common standards but to accept that should we start to seriously diverge on standards then the EU would impose quotas of tariffs to protect their market.

This was quickly rejected by the Government who continued to offer no compromises of their own.

For some time the theory was we would stall the talks awaiting Germany taking on the European Presidency and leading a push on a compromise deal more to our liking . However in an interview yesterday Angela Merkel has said that Britain will have to "live with the consequences" of Boris Johnson's decision to ditch Theresa May's plans for close alignment with the European Union after Brexit.

And she appeared to dash London's hopes that Germany will devote its six-month presidency of the EU - starting next week - to pushing through a last-minute deal, stating instead that her priority was a pandemic rescue plan for the European economy.

The prospect of "no deal" with all its poor economic consequences compounding the Covid hit just seem to have grown