Tag Archives: Johnson’s

‘No longer feels appropriate!’ Boris Johnson’s Freedom Day speech cancelled amid surge

The Daily Mail learned the Prime Minister had planned to give a speech to mark the momentous national lifting of lockdown in the style of wartime leader Winston Churchill.

However, a Government source claimed the event “no longer feels appropriate” as cases continue to soar across the country.

The source said: “The plan had been for Boris to effectively declare victory over the virus by summoning the spirit of Churchill, with appropriately stirring rhetoric.

“That no longer feels appropriate.”

Mr Johnson has previously said the long awaited Freedom Day be “cautious but irreversible”.

However, Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary, said the situation is “very serious”, and raised the prospect of another lockdown this autumn.

He said that, if cases are still rising in September, “I think we are going to have to reconsider”.

Although Covid cases continue to climb at an unprecedented rate, deaths from the virus have remained extremely low.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson to isolate for Freedom Day? After PM met Sajid Javid

“This shows no-one is safe from this deadly virus,” she said.

“By easing all restrictions with cases surging, they are experimenting with people’s lives.

“Right now, they are pursuing a strategy of survival of the fittest, where the young and clinically vulnerable will be left defenceless.”

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: UK Feed

Foreign aid cuts by Boris Johnson’s Tory Government is shameful, writes Michael Settle

LITTLE England, not Great Britain.

This was the conclusion of that notorious Leftie, John Major, following the UK Government’s controversial move this week – backed by a 35 Commons majority – to cut taxpayer generosity to the world’s poorest.

In fact, Sir John was joined by all the members of the ex-Prime Ministers’ Club – David Cameron, Theresa May, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair – who have bemoaned the decision taken by their successor in Downing St.

Boris Johnson explained that, given how the country was spending £407 billion on battling the pandemic, “wrenching decisions” had to be taken; some things had to give and one was the size of the aid budget.

“Every pound we spend on aid has to be borrowed and, in fact, represents not our money but money that we’re taking from future generations,” the PM declared.

READ MORE: Controversial foreign aid cut to stay after Tory rebellion falls short

Indeed, in November when the cut was first announced, he had the clear backing of the public, who, 66% to 18% of those who expressed a view, supported cutting the overseas aid budget. 

When the row initially broke, Mr Johnson suggested the cut of a third – £4.4bn, leaving the annual aid budget at £10bn – could well be a one-off and the 0.7% level of Gross National Income[GNI] would be reinstated in 2022; it’s now 0.5%. He dismissed criticism of his decision as “Leftie propaganda”.

Opponents of the cut increasingly demanded a Commons vote because, with 50 Tory rebels onboard, they were confident of victory and reinstating the 0.7% level next year.

Intriguingly, the PM remained tight-lipped on a vote. But things were stirring behind the scenes at Westminster. 

Government whips began an Operation Fear exercise, focusing on the most fiscally conservative of the Tory rebels. Given Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s commitment to a spending splurge to get the country through the pandemic, the risk of future tax rises was raised.

Fiscally conservative minds were duly focused; raising taxes ahead of a general election is not good for electoral business; disgruntled Tory voters could stay at home; seats could be lost. Consequently, the Conservative rebel ranks broke; 14 sided with their leader. 

Mr Sunak spoke, disingenuously, of a “compromise” being offered. 

That the Government, naturally, was committed to returning to the 0.7% aid level but only when economic circumstances allowed ie if the Office for Budget Responsibility believed the UK was not borrowing to finance day-to-day spending and underlying debt was falling.

It has been pointed out such conditions have only been met once in 20 years, meaning a return to 0.7% will not happen in this Parliament and, in fact, the cut has been baked into Government policy for the foreseeable future.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson’s long-awaited explanation of ‘levelling up’ branded gibberish

No doubt, Messrs Sunak and Johnson regard the Commons aid cut vote a nifty strategic triumph because, with public spending cuts in the pipeline, a fiscal reality has also been baked in; Tory MPs opposed to such cuts will have to consider the prospect of higher taxes given the eye-watering levels of borrowing the Government is already committed to. 

To put it another way, the Chancellor has effectively acquired a Commons majority for public spending cuts ahead.  

Despite the £4.4bn reduction in overseas aid, Britain remains a generous donor; £10bn, 0.5% of GNI remains proportionately much more than most countries such as, according to official figures for pre-pandemic 2019, America[0.16%], China[0.36%], Russia[0.03%], Japan[0.29%], Canada[0.27%], France[0.44%] and Italy[0.24%]. 

But it is less than Germany[0.6%], Norway[1.02%], Sweden[0.99%], Luxembourg[1.05%], India[0.65%] and Turkey[1.15%].

Understandably, campaigners were outraged by the UK cut.

The anti-poverty One Campaign said: “The real losers of this vote are the three million children who will no longer be able to go to school, the half a million children who will die from preventable diseases and the three million women and children who will go hungry.

“This is also a retreat from British values and sends a sorry message about the type of country the UK wants to be.”

In his response, Sir Keir Starmer pointed out how cutting aid – the only G7 country to do so – would reduce Britain’s soft-power influence and create a vacuum, which would be filled by China and Russia. 

“Development aid,” the Labour leader argued, “reduces conflict, disease and people fleeing from their homes. It is a false economy to pretend this is some sort of cut that doesn’t have consequences.”

Indeed, the Government has been warned it could harm the drive to tackle climate change. 

Alok Sharma, the Cabinet member who leads on matters COP26, was said to have privately told Mr Johnson he was unhappy with the aid cut. But he voted for it anyway.

The International Centre for Climate Change and Development said: “Rishi Sunak has cut him[Sharma] off at the legs. He will not have any credibility when speaking about finance as his own Chancellor isn’t delivering what he is asking other countries to deliver.”

First-time rebel Mrs May also pointed out, apart from everything else, maintaining overseas aid had been a manifesto pledge. “We made a promise to the poorest people in the world; the Government has broken that promise.”

Mr Cameron branded Boris’s decision a “grave mistake” as so-called Global Britain’s help was, at this time of international crisis, “needed more than ever”.

Sir John insisted the Government should be “ashamed” of its decision, noting: “We can afford a ‘national yacht’ no-one either wants or needs whilst cutting help to some of the most miserable and destitute people in the world. This is not a Conservatism I recognise. It is the stamp of Little England, not Great Britain.”

The decision to cut overseas aid is, as the ex-PMs’ club has pointed out, shameful, shameless and short-sighted. Quite a combination but one Boris pulled off with his usual political aplomb.

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This post originally posted here Norway Government & Politics News

‘Spain is very safe’- Brit traveller hits out at Johnson’s ‘laughable’ travel rules

Although Spain’s Balearic Islands were placed onto the green watch list at the June 24 traffic light review, the Spanish mainland remains on the amber list. The news came as a devastating blow, with Britons still unable to visit holiday favourites such as Benidorm, Marbella and Alicante without having to quarantine on their return home.

Indeed, up until June 26, 2021, Spanish authorities made it illegal to be in a public place, whether indoors or outdoors, without an adequate face mask.

She continued: “You’d wear a mask on the street and it was mandatory on the beach.

“They even had one rule where if you were running, you have to wear a mask.”

Heightened cleaning measures are also apparent in public places such as shops and restaurants.

“They’re very careful. There is disinfectant everywhere, in every shop you go into.

“On a personal level, I just find it quite frankly ridiculous.”

Ms Taylor also points to Spain’s weather, as a benefitting factor in aiding social distancing.

“In the summer in Andalusia and the Costa del Sol, all of those coastal places you’re on the beach, outside. Its café lifestyle- you’re sitting outside at night.

“That’s the lifestyle of Spain.

“And from April onwards, that’s it. Everyone’s outside because you start getting into like 30-or 40-degree heat, you’re not going to be sat inside.”

According to Ms Taylor, the local Spanish people are “very aware” of the rules in place and why it is important to follow them, particularly after a tough winter.

“I think everybody’s just very aware,” she explained.

“I think because there have been so many deaths in Madrid it does affect everybody in the country and they’re all trying to be good, really.”

Recently, Spain has implemented new entry requirements for Britons who are not yet vaccinated.

Arrivals from the UK must give evidence of either a negative PCR test or proof they have been fully vaccinated.

If not, they now face 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

However, this development was only announced on Monday, before which Spain had welcomed back British tourists with open arms, despite the UK Government’s stance on travel to Spain.

The nation’s place on the amber list, from Ms Taylor’s perspective, is “laughable”.

“I honestly would ask where is England coming from that they can quite frankly dictate that other countries are less safe?

“I’m pretty sure we were one of the worst countries in Europe.

“To me, in my mind, it’s a little bit laughable.”

Ms Taylor believes the decision to keep Spain on the amber list could be one with “political” or “economic” motives behind it.

Her belief has only further been fuelled by Gibraltar’s place on the green list.

“Gibraltar is attached to Spain with thousands of Spanish and expats crossing that border every day to work in Gibraltar.

So if Spain is on the amber list it, therefore, makes no logical sense or reason as to why Gibraltar is on the green list unless its political and economic policy they are driving to boost the UK economy.”

Having travelled already, following the relevant testing and quarantine rules imposed under the traffic light system, Ms Taylor says safety wouldn’t be a barrier in stopping her from returning to Spain.

“If you’re going to the beaches and bigger places in the summer like Andalusia, then I don’t really see the issue if you’re taking the precautions and you’re being safe,” she said.

Ms Taylor added: “My final travel note is why bother with a vaccine if we still can’t travel?”

Author: Aimee Robinson
Read more here >>> Daily Express

High Hopes for Johnson & Johnson’s Covid Vaccine Have Fizzled in the U.S.

But manufacturing problems at a factory in Baltimore run by Emergent BioSolutions, Johnson & Johnson’s subcontractor, have had serious consequences for the vaccine. Because of a major production mishap that resulted in a two-month shutdown in operations, Johnson & Johnson has essentially been forced to sit out the brunt of the pandemic in the United States while Pfizer and Moderna, the other federally authorized vaccine makers, provided almost all the nation’s vaccine stock.

Johnson & Johnson has had to throw out the equivalent of 75 million doses, and the regulatory authorities in Canada, South Africa and the European Union also decided to pull back millions more doses made at the Baltimore plant. The company has been able to deliver less than half of the 100 million doses it promised the federal government by the end of this month.

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, said that in her state, Johnson & Johnson’s shot had become a victim of its own timing. By late February, when it was authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, Alaska had figured out how to get two-dose vaccines to remote areas, leaving the one-shot regimen less crucial than she had initially imagined.

Dr. Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s Covid-19 czar, said that the pause and Johnson & Johnson’s later authorization — more than two months after Pfizer’s and Moderna’s — deprived it of a “halo effect.” By the time West Virginia had an ample supply of all three vaccines, he said, “people started to get this concept that maybe there’s something better about being immunized with Pfizer and Moderna.”

The Johnson & Johnson shot had also suffered from a “social network effect,” said Andrew C. Anderson, a professor of public health at Tulane University who researches vaccine hesitancy. Most Americans who were inoculated in the early months of the vaccine campaign received Moderna and Pfizer shots, and so their friends and family were less likely to deviate and accept a different brand.

In Louisiana, hospitals in the New Orleans area have started offering the Johnson & Johnson shot to people on their way out of the emergency room; the thinking is that people will be more likely to accept the vaccine when a doctor who has treated them asks them to take it. And in Arkansas, where only a third of the population is fully vaccinated, state officials are offering Johnson & Johnson doses to agriculture, manufacturing, wastewater and poultry workers, with gift certificates for hunting and fishing licenses as a reward.

Author: Noah Weiland
This post originally appeared on NYT > Top Stories

Self-employed to be hit as Boris Johnsons extends lockdown – new 'stimulus package' urged

Self-employed workers have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, but new employment figures released from the ONS showed freelancers may be recovering from the effects of coronavirus. According to the ONS, the total number of freelancers in March had risen by 21,000 compared to the previous month.

This is the second consecutive month-on-month increase in self-employed numbers since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, IPSE warned there are still 500,000 fewer freelancers now than there were in the same period last year.

Andy Chamberlain, the Director of Policy at IPSE, commented on this and reflected on the additional challenges the self-employed may face in light of the recent lockdown extension.

He said: “The data this morning shows clear and welcome signs the self-employed sector is finally moving in the right direction.

READ MORE: Pension: The top 10 actions you will need to take to secure retirement

“Although overall numbers are still down by over 500,000 compared to the same time last year, we have now seen the second month-on-month increase in the number of self-employed since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The halt to the roadmap announced yesterday, however, may be a blow to this progress, and we continue to urge the Government to introduce a sectoral support and stimulus package to protect affected sectors such as events and the creative industry – and also give them the boost they need to get back on their feet once the economy fully re-opens.”

Yesterday, Boris Johnson announced there would be a short extension to reopening the economy in the face of new coronavirus variants.

This was undoubtedly disheartening for the British public but the Prime Minister assured it should be the last extension of its kind as the Government ramps up its vaccine commitments.

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As he detailed: “By Monday 19 July we will aim to have double jabbed around two thirds of the adult population including everyone over 50, all the vulnerable, all the frontline health and care workers and everyone over 40 who received their first dose by mid-May. And to do this we will now accelerate the 2nd jabs for those over 40 – just as we did for the vulnerable groups – so they get maximum protection as fast as possible.

“And we will bring forward our target to give every adult in this country a first dose by 19th July that is including young people over the age of 18 with 23 and 24 year olds invited to book jabs from tomorrow – so we reduce the risk of transmission among groups that mix the most. And to give the NHS that extra time we will hold off step four openings until July 19 except for weddings that can still go ahead with more than 30 guests provided social distancing remains in place and the same will apply to wakes.

“And we will continue the pilot events – such as Euro2020 and some theatrical performances. We will monitor the position every day and if after two weeks we have concluded that the risk has diminished then we reserve the possibility of proceeding to Step fout and full opening sooner.

“As things stand – and on the basis of the evidence I can see right now – I am confident we will not need any more than four weeks and we won’t need to go beyond July 19. It is unmistakably clear the vaccines are working and the sheer scale of the vaccine roll-out has made our position incomparably better than in previous waves.”

For self-employed workers who are still being hit by the pandemic, it is possible to receive continued support through SEISS.

A fifth set of grants, covering May to September 2021, will be open to claims from late July onwards.

These grants, as with the ones that came before them, will be taxable and paid out in a single instalment.

The Government details guidance for claiming these grants will be available by the end of June.

To be eligible for the fifth set of grants, a person must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership.

They must also have traded throughout the 2019 to 2021 tax years.

Claimants must also either:

  • Be currently trading but are impacted by reduced demand due to coronavirus
  • Have been trading but are temporarily unable to do so due to coronavirus

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Paulina Gretzky: 5 Things To Know About Dustin Johnson’s Fiancee

Model Paulina Gretzky, who is engaged to golf pro Dustin Johnson, has been in the spotlight her whole life as she’s the daughter of a sporting legend. Here’s 5 things to know about her.

Paulina Gretzky[1], 32, is one of the most recognizable WAGs in the sporting world. Her champion golfer beau, Dustin Johnson[2], 36, recently won the prestigious Masters competition in November 2020, and the couple openly hugged, kissed and cried[3] as their emotions ran high. The blonde beauty[4], who has carved out a successful career as a model, has been engaged to the golfer since 2013. And while they share two young sons, Tatum and River, they’re in no rush to walk down the aisle. Here’s 5 things to know about Paulina.

1. She is Wayne Gretzky’s daughter. 

If the last name didn’t tip you off, Paulina is the eldest daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky[5], and actress Janet Jones. Also known as The Great One, Wayne is regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. She has four other siblings.

Paulina Gretzky. Image: Shutterstock

2. Paulina is a model.

Paulina made her modeling debut[6] with a stunning cover for the August 2005 issue of Flare. Since then, she’s been the cover girl for the December 2013 issue of Maxim, and scored the May 2014 cover of Golf Digest. During her interview with[7] Golf Digest[8], Paulina revealed she hits the green “around 10 times” per year. “I didn’t appreciate golf as much when I was little, probably because my mom put us in tennis camps and golf camps,” she explained. “My mom has a video of me when I was really young where I’m saying, ‘Daddy, don’t go play golf anymore.’ I just wanted to spend time with him.”

3. She has also released music. 

Paulina’s song “Collecting Dust” was featured on MTV’s Laguna Beach. Her other songs include: “Secret Assassin”, “Miss You Later”, “Sunshine”, “Deep Breathe”, and “Disappointed”. Nevertheless, it seems her days as a singer are behind her, as she’s focusing on her modeling work, and being a mother of two[9].

Paulina and Dustin. Image: Shutterstock

4. Paulina has been in a few movies.

Although she hasn’t appeared in any Oscar winners, the beautiful model had minor roles in: Grown Ups 2, Guns, Girls and Gambling, and the 2009 Fame remake.

5. Paulina is Dustin’s biggest cheerleader.

We mean that literally — she is always on hand to help him celebrate a big golfing win[10]! When Dustin made history and won the 2020 Masters[11] golf title for the first time in Augusta, GA in 2020, Paulina was immediately by his side! What a sweet couple.


  1. ^ Paulina Gretzky (hollywoodlife.com)
  2. ^ Dustin Johnson (hollywoodlife.com)
  3. ^ hugged, kissed and cried (hollywoodlife.com)
  4. ^ blonde beauty (hollywoodlife.com)
  5. ^ Wayne Gretzky (hollywoodlife.com)
  6. ^ Paulina made her modeling debut (hollywoodlife.com)
  7. ^ interview with (www.golfdigest.com)
  8. ^ Golf Digest (www.golfdigest.com)
  9. ^ mother of two (hollywoodlife.com)
  10. ^ big golfing win (hollywoodlife.com)
  11. ^ 2020 Masters (hollywoodlife.com)

Samantha Wilson