Rail body admits #DOO safety concerns in deleted report

The SKWAWKBOX

dlsn7zewsaayo0gAs many SKWAWKBOX readers will know, the rail union RMT is in dispute with train operators in various parts of the country over their plans to remove guards from their trains in favour of ‘DOO‘ (driver-only operation).

Employers and the Establishment media have painted rail workers – like the mistreated refuse workers in Birmingham – as selfish hard-liners who don’t care about the inconvenience they impose on the public. But the unions have always insisted their primary concern is about the safety of passengers.

And new evidence shows they’re right.

The RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) is – at least theoretically – an independent rail safety body. However, its directors are primarily senior directors of industry companies and it has been accused – supported by leaked evidence – by the RMT of collusion with other ‘independent’ bodies.

In 2015, the RSSB prepared a report titled “Evaluating…

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Video: man destroys May speech with P45. Then talks to Johnson

Brilliant!

The SKWAWKBOX

Pictures are starting to be circulated of a ‘protester’ handing Theresa May her P45 during her conference speech – destroying in an instant her nonsensical shtick about a ‘British dream’ and an equal, fair society.

What many seem not yet to have noticed is that the man turns to make a ‘thumbs up’ gesture in what appears to be the direction of Boris Johnson, before calmly going to speak to the Foreign Secretary – where he is allowed to remain for some seconds before being removed from the hall:

The man will no doubt be portrayed as a left-wing activist disrupting May’s speech. However, the P45 – obtained after the speech by ITV’s Paul Brand, may suggest other motives:

may p45 doc.pngEdit: others have started to notice the interactions with Johnson, as Getty Images’ feed shows:

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Landmark benefits judgment almost nobody’s talking about

The SKWAWKBOX

As the Daily Mirror announced yesterday, the ‘Upper Tribunal’ (UT) – the body that rules on the most serious benefits disputes – ruled against the government’s treatment of benefits claimants in its ‘mandatory reconsideration’ regime:

mirror cpag.pngSince 2013, if a claimant is denied benefits, s/he has to apply for a mandatory reconsideration (MR) – basically asking the same people who just denied the claim to think again – before an appeal against the decision can be made. According to the government’s procedure, the MR request has to be made within a month of the decision – so missing that deadline cuts off the applicant from the appeals process, denying justice to thousands of people.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) brought a legal challenge to the UT on behalf of two women with mental and physical health problems, who had missed the 1-month deadline – and won.

The UT said that…

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Tories warned 4 yrs ago of systemic fire risk – plan to RELAX planning regs

sometimes you just want to shake some sense into them……

The SKWAWKBOX

Lincolnshire councillor – both district and county – Charmaine Morgan sits on her council’s planning committee. In 2013, she wrote to the Tory then-Undersecretary of State for Planning, Nick Boles, to raise serious concerns about systemic problems with planning processes that were putting lives at risk.

At risk from fire.

Ms Morgan highlighted huge problems with the way that planning applications are assessed and approved:

  • that planning committees are not required by law to consult with fire brigade officers on the fire safety of buildings when considering applications
  • that this can result in inadequate water supply, lack of space for fire engines to access fire scenes and buildings too tall for firefighters to reach effectively – at least the last two of these were identified as deadly problems at Grenfell Tower
  • massive variations in the methodology and quality of planning application assessment between councils
  • that even where sprinklers are…

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Dangerous electrical faults were historically ignored at Glenfell Tower

Politics and Insights

Image result for Pictures of Grenfell UKThe Grenfell Tower fire is thought to have been started by a fridge catchingfire. You may well wonder how on earth that could happen.

Fridges are notoriously extremely flammable and give off toxic fumes when they burn. Many house fires start with appliance faults, especially fridge freezers. It’s possible the fridge was faulty, of course.

London Fire Servicehave highlightedthe dangers of fridge freezers previously, and have called on manufacturers to make them safer. There is, on average, one fridge freezer fire a week in the capital and the service has been lobbying the industry to make their fridges and freezers more fire resistant for the some years.  

However, there is a record of longstanding electrical faults which had resulted in surges to electrical appliances and light fittings in the Kensington Tower block, creating a huge fire risk, which had been repeatedly reported and repeatedly ignored by…

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The Conservatives are forced to end austerity because they face a turning tide and electoral extinction

Politics and Insights

5939d6ea1d00004600cc1f8fI think it’s safe to say that election opinion polls are no more useful than paying heed to Boris Johnson on a brandy binge, solemnly casting the runes and making wide ranging wishful but witless declarations. Theresa May made a decision to hold a snap election because Labour were polling badly, she saw an opportunity to increase the Conservative’s majority. She looks rather weak, wobbly and vapid now.

David Davies has loyally taken one on the chin, claiming it was his idea that May called the very ill-advised snap election. I didn’t know that Mr and Mrs May took him on walking holidays with them. That’s a bit weird and implies a kind of  kinkiness that doesn’t bear thinking about.

Two of May’s close senior advisors were pushed onto their swords, too, in a bid to divert the blame for such a dreadful election result for the Tories. I wasn’t…

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“I never met a man like this. Don’t lose him”. #JC4PM #GE17 #getoutandvote

The SKWAWKBOX

A great video by Momentum interviews the owner of Jeremy Corbyn’s local café, who has for years seen Corbyn when there are no cameras around – and it’s striking that he’s the same in both settings.

His descriptions of the man and of the things he does for people are memorable. We can have this man as our Prime Minister tomorrow – or weak and wobbly May who, according to a reporter this morning, didn’t talk to a single voter throughout her campaign without it being pre-arranged.

There’s only one sane choice. Please share this. Spread the word. Get out and vote – and help get out the vote:

The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you found this information helpful and can afford to, please do click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation…

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