Political opinion; Seeing red with Cllr Karen Constantine – Partygate and poverty. Does it matter in Thanet?

Cllr Karen Constantine

With a staggering cost of living crisis and seemingly endless incidents of appalling behaviour by MPs (mainly Tories it had to be said), and the latest news on parties at number 10 during the Covid lockdown, does it matter to you that the current Government and Prime Minister are, without doubt, the worst this country has seen in living memory? The degree of outrageous behaviour and mismanagement is frankly astounding.

I have so many worries about what is currently taking place in the UK, in particular, the cost of living rise, which seems never ending with prices not only going up all the time, but also generating a real feeling of anxiety and insecurity. I’m sure I’m not alone in trying to ensure I have enough to manage weekly and monthly bills – whilst also trying to prepare for what will undoubtedly be an expensive winter. Especially if it’s a cold one.

By autumn 2022 average household heating and cooking bills are anticipated to be £2,800, up from £1,971 in April. That’s a lot of money to find, especially if you’re middle-earning, on benefits or on a fixed income like most pensioners. Following the chancellor’s announcement an estimated 8 million of the poorest households will now receive help worth £650. That’s great stuff – credit where credit is due – it’s definitely going in the right direction. But it’s ‘thin gruel’ – a handout – instead of a thoughtful, planned, cogent response that puts adequate money into peoples pockets that affords the dignity of self-reliance and certainty of being able to budget.

So many people across the spectrum will continue to suffer, and they were already struggling, the cruel £20 weekly cut to Universal Credit has hit many very hard, rising and uncontrolled rents, rocketing food costs, the latest tax hike and inflation have knocked many for six. Most people simply can’t plan ahead based on the Government’s unplanned, piecemeal approach.

Fuel bill help is also being paid in stages and is not targeted at those most in need. Everyone will get help, even the millionaires and the new Covid billionaires. That can’t be right, can it? Even Rishi Sunak who recently made the rich list – he is worth £730m coming in at the 222nd richest person in the country! Not bad. A chancellor incidentally who has also raised taxes more in two years than Gordon Brown did in his 10 year stint. Much to the disappointment of the right wing of his party.

When you consider Universal Credit is around £79 per week, it’s clearly not enough to live on. Benefits should be a decent safety net to catch people when they need help to prevent workhouse style hardship. I think all our MPs need a stint living on the benefits they set, to understand what hardship really means and to fully grasp the impact of their decisions. I for one have will never forget how difficult I found relying on benefits, trying to manage and raise children as a single parent whilst attempting to start a career.

While I’m at it, maybe all our MPs should do a stint in an elderly persons’ home and a hostel for the homeless too.

A temporary levy on oil and gas giants in the middle of this cost of living crisis is a good thing (albeit that the same companies will benefit from some generous tax breaks). Labour has been calling for exactly this for 5 months, after the CEO of BP described the fuel crisis as a “cash machine.” Indeed, the energy companies are on record as not being opposed to this idea. Why would they be? They continue to rake in super profits and have done for decades! But many people are saying – correctly in my opinion – that the timing of this announcement is just a way of distracting us and is an attempt to buy us off. A smoke screen to cover the lamentable Sue Gray report.

Has any Prime Minister ever displayed greater contempt for the public? Not content with setting Covid rules for us all to follow while blithely breaking them himself. Not chastened by being the only PM – ever – to receive a FPN (Fixed Penalty Notice) for breaking his own law. We now have to witness the changes to the ministerial code which protect Boris Johnson by removing the need for resignations over breaches to the code. In plain English, moving the goal posts.

No wonder Conservative MPs are calling for Johnson’s resignation, indeed North Thanet’s Roger Gale has shown his metal by speaking candidly about the need for a new Conservative leader. Should the 1922 committee receive 54 such letters Boris will have to resign and a new leader will be found, so far around 19 have been received. Meanwhile the Tories are, unsurprisingly, limping forward, haemorrhaging public support. That’s no good for the UK and no good on the international stage. Our leader is a laughing stock. We need our leaders to lead. Not to cover their tracks and duck and dive.

I feel so strongly about the need for better leadership at this difficult time, that I’ve written to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, asking him to submit a letter of no confidence in Mr Johnson on our behalf.

I’m not holding my breath. Climate denying Mr. Mackinlay’s support for both Boris and his allegiance to the ‘carbonisters’ is well documented. Still, I felt compelled to at least ask… Feel free to copy and paste or submit your own request.

Dear Craig,

In response to the publication of the Sue Gray report into the events that took place in Downing Street during Coronavirus restrictions, I am calling on you to do the right thing and withdraw your support from the Prime Minister.

The report’s findings were shocking, detailing serious failures of leadership that led to multiple examples of unacceptable behaviour, at several events. It confirmed that the most senior leaders in government attended these events and that “[m]any should not have been allowed to happen.”

The details are stark. Five months ago the Prime Minister told Parliament that “all guidance was followed completely in No. 10.”

Yet we now know he attended numerous events, at least one of which the police have handed out fines for, deeming it illegal. We know that just before Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas for millions of people an event was held in Downing Street in which staff drank “excessively”, which others in the building described as a “party”, and that cleaners were left to mop up red wine the next day.

People in South Thanet were unable to attend the funerals of family members, went painful months without seeing loved ones and had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic restrictions. Many made the sacrifices required willingly, putting public interest above their own.

It is hard to read the report without concluding that the government treated these immense sacrifices with utter contempt.

As our community continues to feel the crippling effects of the cost of living crisis – families need to know that they have a government that is on their side, entirely focused on what people need at this extremely difficult time.

It is in that vein that I am urging you to write to the 1922 committee and call on Boris Johnson to resign.

Sue Gray’s report lays bare the rot that has infected 10 Downing Street under this Prime Minister. The buck must stop with him.

I urge you to tell Boris Johnson that the ‘jig is up’. That you cannot be a lawmaker and a lawbreaker. That it’s time to pack his bags.

Only then can the government function again. Only then can the rot be carved out. Only then can we restore the dignity of that great office, and the democracy it represents.

Thank you for your time, a look forward to receiving your reply

Yours sincerely, Cllr Karen Constantine.

Read the Sue Gray report here


  1. “the worst this country has seen in living memory”???

    I still have a pulse, and I can remember Callaghan’s government getting us into a far worse mess than we are now (and that was without a global pandemic and war in Europe!).

  2. I think that the councillors need to look at the hardship that they are putting on households with council tax rises and money being spent on projects that very few want before they start commenting on the conduct of the government

      • Not everyone else’s fault in this case.
        Just this government.
        They’ve been in power for over a decade, so without doubt all the mistakes are theirs.

    • Indeed. The Conservative Government have starved all local
      Councils of funds, which is why assets get sold off and services are in decline. The councils putting up your council tax are run by the Conservatives. We’re being squeezed by the Tories.

  3. I recall Gordon Brown as Chancellor led our country into the last recession when he sold GB s gold , when it was at its lowest price , did not keep tabs on the FSA whilst they did not keep tabs on our banks when they mass bought CDO s ( chunks of high risk mortgages resulting in chaos. Brown then became our Labour PM ( Blair knew it was a good time to quit ) . Browns Chancellor ( Darling ) introduced QE to save the banks and the Tories gave spent the last 10 years getting GB out of the mess it inherited from Labour. Covid has certainly thrown a spanner in that and for any of the errors Boris has made he has got our country out of the EU, through Covid , and given huge support to shell shocked Ukraine . The Lockdowns were not wise as Sweden avoided them, and fared better than most countries. But Boris was damned if he did not employ them and he was damned if he did have them. A thankless task that was impossible to win. It appears Boris did have a drink or two as did Sir Keir Starmer. In truth anybody who has never made an error of judgement has most probably done very little most of their lives , except criticise .

      • No, everyone knows Boris is a duplicitous little worm but also an affable oaf, as a result he’s almost an honest politician. All other politicians are effectively doubly dishonest in that they endlessly protest their innocence and integrity , but we know full well they ain’t. Just look at Rosy Duffield at one time a darling of the labour party, excused for her lockdown dalliances with her married lover (who you assume didn’t tell his wife what he’d been upto when returning home and so giving her no choice over the response to a lockdown breach) but endless berating of Cummins who did what he did with full knowledge of all family involved. But then Duffield is ostracised from the labour party for her views on trans issues.
        Yet politicians wonder why they’re so detached from the views of real people.

    • Robster, you must be very gullible then, Johnson is a lying rogue, and charlatan, but worst of all he isn’t a statesman! At the moment he is under the delusion that if he swans around the country visiting factories, or pre school nurseries, for photo op’s the public will like him more! No it won’t, the public are seeing through his mendacity, and for the record at the time he was partying the Rules “prevented people from gathering indoors with anyone outside their household or support bubble” There was an exemption if “The gathering is reasonably necessary for the purpose of campaigning in an election.”

      Thats all a direct quote from the I newspaper 10th May so it means Johnson’s carousing at No 10 was NOT with people from his direct household, so the police found him guilty, and he was given a Fixed Penalty Notice! But its not just his utter contempt for the law, it was his utter contempt for the people nationally, who couldn’t even hold the hand of a loved one as they lay dying, or speak to them except through a window, when all the time Johnson was swigging Champaign!

      Oh, and by the way Keir Starmer was at a political campaign meeting, that had stopped for a bite to eat, washed down with a small beer, so that lets him off anymore attempts by the Daily Mail, Express, Telegraph, to smear him, and who should get their facts right, before printing their lies! (I am not a member of any political party) I don’t think I have said this before, but if I have its worth repeating!

    • Reply to LC- I haven’t bothered to read the article. As I have not lived in Wales since the late 1960s, my interest in Welsh politics has been minimal.

  4. I presume that the writer of the article is whiter than snow has never carried out a misdemeanour or abused their power and position has never done anything under false pretences. If all of this is fact and can be proven then very well done you should be commended as being an outstanding citizen of the world.

    Will the writer blame the present government for the atrocities that Russia is dishing out to the Ukrainian country and residents. Will the writer blame the present government because Russia is stopping wheat from leaving Ukraine which could be feeding the rest of the world plus the UK residents. Will the writer blame the present government for the number of deaths that are bound to arise because of starvation. Will the writer blame the government because the cost of light and heat is costing so much in the UK again because of the Russian atrocities. Where did the writer think that most of our gas and electricity came from and a large proportion of our wheat.

    I think that the writer needs to look closer to her their own front door before criticising and passing comments that is possibly hearsay in most cases.

    Those people who have criticised the present leader who they themselves attended these gatherings should ask themselves if they were obeying the law before passing judgement. Were they forced to attend these meetings. Were they forced to provide anything that they took to these gatherings.

    For goodness sake they should grow us as should the writer and take responsibility for their own actions.

    • Agree wholeheartedly. The Lockdown Rules / Laws were not necessary as Sweden proved. A warning for people to do their own safety checks ; especially strict guidelines for the vulnerable; and not impose draconian Laws would have been adequate. But had Boris ignored the Scientific boffins from the WHO and SAGE he would have been blamed for every COVID death. We should never suffer another Lockdown

  5. I see the sexists and extremists are out in force.
    How bad does it have to get lads?
    We have had a pandemic which some of you deny and denied.Rivers running with sewage not blood as yet.I am just waiting for the massed bands of frogs!
    The banking crisis was caused by the banks not HMG but both govt and opposition wanted light touch regulations.As for QE it carried on till 2019,so not just Alistair Darling.
    As for Sunny Jim remember the Barber boom?
    If you are going to do a Boris and blame others get your facts right.
    The thing is lads ageing old farts like you are being ignored because people want boring old competent govt not sloganeering.
    Frankly I don’t care who runs the show as long as they are competent and don’t spend their time throwing up in the waste bin and photocopying their backside on the konica

  6. Like Karen I wrote a longish communication to Craig McKinley and to his credit he replied promptly, but the content is truly shocking. We appear to have a climate change denier as MP and someone who didn’t support the lockdown and doesn’t think it matters that the PM blatantly lied to the House of Commons. No wonder many people are cynical about politicians!

        • No, by fanatical and unquestioning believers like yourself, Andrew. The BIG difference between the two of us is that I have my beliefs (or disbeliefs), but don’t preach to others.

          • Me, the IPCC, the world’s leading scientists and climatologists, and most world governments.
            But climate change, unlike religion, fairies at the bottom of the garden, or fortune telling, is science based.
            And those of us who care about the planet (and obviously I excuse both you and Craig Mackinlay from that characterisation) are going to preach about climate change, be evangelical even, because we want a half-decent future for the generations following ours.

        • How, Mr Checksfield, do you account for the rise in global temperature recorded since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution? To what other mechanisms do you attribute this phenomenon?
          And before you tell me to “do my own research”, I have. I’ve got an honours degree in Earth Sciences (amongst other things).
          Over to you, Pete

          • In the absence of knowing what global temperatures have been for the earths history , is it really sensible to ne fixated on the last 300? We’ve had 5 ice ages


            So the planet has naturally cooled and warmed quite happily to allow these to happen. That climate change occurs is beyond doubt that man has any great affect is not so certain. If human activity is so certainly the cause why has the terminology changed from Man Made Global Warming to Climate Change?
            And even if human activity is the problem what is the UK going to achieve by being the poster boy , other than impoverishing itself? It’ll not alter the global position one iota.

          • Has the same thermometer been used throughout to record the temperatures ? Was the original a mercury version and the current one a digital version ? Who verified and checked the calibration of the earlier thermometers ?

            Just asking . . .

          • Andrew, Thanet>? it was once an Island. When the earthquake destroyed the Japanese nuclear plants the force of that earthquake shifted the earths axis by 25cms. This changed the jet streams path, as you know the jet stream governs our weather. I believe in weather going in circles over the centuries, we could have a mini ice age next month. Solar and wind power is going to be fracking useless then.

        • Not so – if any publicity were ever given to it, or you did the necessary in-depth research, you would find that a significant chunk of the scientific community – globally – agrees with him.

          • Fanetsfinest: the jet stream certainly influences our weather. But it doesn’t influence the weather of the whole Earth.
            Nor does an earthquake in 2011 explain why the climate has been changing so rapidly since the Industrial Revolution.

  7. The cost of living help is far more than was proposed by Labour.
    The changes to the ministerial code are those recommended by an independent committee. Labour keeps repeating this nonsense whilst ignoring the facts.
    Any comments on multiple breaches of the code by Jess Phillips in reporting donations etc?
    Keir and Angela’s continually changing story re Durham?
    And, yes, as above many of us remember Labour in the seventies. Power cuts, rubbish piling up, the dead not able to be buried and inflation over 20%.
    Roger Gale has never accepted Breixit and submitted his letter ages ago.

    • John: the serious answer to your question is that obviously no records were kept by people until the Enlightenment.
      But scientists use “proxies” to work out the temperature in the past.
      Such things as tree ring growth, the type and abundance of pollen grains in sediment core samples, and oxygen isotope ratios in ice cores.

    • And what have Labour really done to implement the report recommendations about ant-semitism in the Labour party?

  8. “it’s definitely going in the right direction.”
    It certainly is. The £15B of our taxes that the chancellor is kindly giving us will go straight into the pockets of the energy moguls. The ones who put up the price of fuel in the first place.
    As for “partygate”:
    The police have issued over 120 fines to the Tory hierarchy and top echelons of government, including the PM.
    The police gave issued 0 fines to Keir Starmer.
    But the issue is not really about the odd (ie 3, 7, 9) glasses of Chardonnay. It’s about the PM’s continuing, blatant lies, and his persistent misleading of Parliament.

    • The energy moguls haven’t put prices up, they sell on a global market to the highest bidder, the globe has emerged from a pandemic during which energy supply declined and so there was already a bit of a shortage, then russia went full retard and effectively took its energy supply largely out of the mix. Though there are countries including european ones quite happy to buy russian energy and finance the blatant aggression.
      It nust be remembered that these energy moguls were being maligned for wanting to extract fossil fuels in the name of climate change which again led to a decline in investment and so production capacity. The full on rush to net zero has thrown us yet another curve ball.

    • Peter: Science is about enlightenment. It’s for that reason that the great age of learning, the pushing forward of the frontiers of knowledge is known as “The Enlightenment”
      One really important thing about sharing observations and the understandings derived from them is that ideas can be examined, challenged, reworked and re-presented in the light of new evidence and refined thinking.
      LC: it is absolutely certain that Climate Change (one consequence of which is Global Warming) is at the very least in part anthropogenic.
      True, the Earth’s climate, over millions of years, has fluctuated between snowball earth at one extreme, arid desert at the other, and everything in between.
      The key thing is the time scales. As you mention, the Ice Ages are measured in time scales of 10,000 years.
      The climate change we’re currently experiencing is just 200 years old, dating from the beginning of the industrial revolutoion, and the huge increase in the burning of fossil fuels and the consequent enormous increase in the green house gas CO2. Within the geological record, there is no other known example of such a rapid rise.
      I’ll ask you (since Peter Checksfield has thickened out): what natural processes explain the current rise in global temperature?

      • And I would add that global temperatures over a time scale of approaching 200 million years are well known.

          • Here’s another quick google.
            Your graph shows the periodic rise and fall of global temperatures over a timescale of 1000s of years. Probably driven by the Milankovich cycles.
            The graph I’ve attached shows the contributions to global warming over the past 175 years ago by mankind’s activities, and those due to natural causes.

          • So you want me to ignore the huge longterm patterns that you say are well known and instead look at a period in isolation because it suits the narrative you believe. Why is it not possible to have had your warming trends at other points on the 2 billion year graph, in all probability there will be both similar periods and times when there was faster warming. A number of scientists agreeing with each other is not proof, all we have is data showing increased temperature and increased co2 and a hypothesis that the two are linked, but there is no proof.
            To my mind the planet will do what it will, if temperatures continue to rise we’ll be told “wekre all doomed we must do more” if temps stabilise it’ll be “ see look how clever we are” . So effectively an argument has been created and baked in that can’t be overturned.
            As i said before , rising temperatures yes, because of man very unlikely.

  9. Oooo the blues have all been triggered in comments. Politics isn’t football stop acting like it is. Ooo reds are just as bad. I remember when so so and did this and blah blah blah.

    If you really believe Johnson and his cabinet are the best this country can offer, I despair. I voted Tory in the past and wouldn’t with this lot. Don’t blindly support a team and constantly run down the opposite colour or talk about history. Look at the options right now.

    • In science (other than mathematics) there never is “proof”. A phenomenon is observed, records are made, hypotheses are put forward to explain the phenomenon. These hypotheses are examined by other scientists, from other universities and academic institutions; they are tested, challenged; maybe improved or rejected. Eventually the hypothesis becomes a theory, but in the light of new evidence or thinking, that theory might be challenged.
      That’s how science works.
      In the case of man-made climate change, the science us well understood, and the hypothesis generally accepted – other than by a very, very small handful of scientists.

      • You clearly don’t understand how academia works; I’ve worked in it for 36 years, time/energy is largely expended on arguments and insults and getting your work – whatever it says – published. And, it’s a large chunk of the global scientific community that doubts human activity as the cause of climate change, they just never get any publicity outside of academia.

        • And an even larger chunk of the global scientific community that accepts that anthropogenic climate change is a very real threat.
          But, in the interests of enlightenment, would you precis the science that explains the current observed rise in global temperature?

      • The fixation on a tiny sliver of the planets history whilst ignoring the rest is just blatant fiddling of statistics to support one view.
        Sorry i just don’t believe the whole man made climate change thing. Rising sea levels could be the sole effect of the amount of water created when hydrocarbons are burnt, estimated to be enough to raise sea level by about 3cm a year, however there needs to be taken into account the huge amounts of water pumped into oil/gas wells and fracking sites etc , but we never see this only that temperature rise is melting the wax in everyones ears.
        I’ve no problem with a transition to renewable power , (it saves fossil resources for other purposes) but the pace we’re trying to achieve is preposterously expensive and unlikely to have any effect when global energy use is taken into account.
        Just today the gov have approved a north sea project that had previously been refused on environmental grounds. What is the point of impoverishing a nation for no likely gain?

  10. We’re now seeing the extent of the financial destruction, mental health crises and NHS failings resulting from the unprecedented lockdown measures, and the many vaccine damaged fighting for compensation. Most cowardly MPs from all political parties (with a few brave exceptions) kept their heads down and agreed to imprison their electorate. The point about the parties, is that they knew non of it was a deadly plague. They didn’t have any fear, but weaponised it in the public messages to control the masses. Starmer and his colleagues did the same. All political parties colluded in all of this – the false illusion of choice is there to see in plain sight nowadays. Right vs left – it’s all a great game. And not a very good one. Time to wake up to it all and have a proper debate.

  11. Not a lot of poverty travelling through the ports. airports or up and down the motorways in either direction. Hope all the thousands stuck in traffic or sunning themselves on foreign beaches can afford – the cost of living- crisis

  12. Here we go again.You want to know what bits are sexist,PC, start from the top and read down.Yet again the covid and climate change deniers are spouting their tosh.
    I do hope eternity doesn’t exist, because I can’t face listening to the sad, mad, and bad, ranting about how it wasn’t covid that killed them or that the tree that flattened their head in a storm was nothing to do with climate change,for ever.
    When somebody trips you up with boring things like facts or robust data, you find some little rabbit hole to suggest that either the climate isn’t changing or that it is not at least, partially man made.
    Now the latest lunacy is that the cost of living crisis doesn’t exist!
    No Fred, not everyone is poor yet! But the numbers of poor people are growing and it is not all those on benefits OK.Many are working poor. You remember work it was what you did before you retired and lost your marbles.
    When you worked, there were things called jobs, which financed a reasonable life style for many.Now there are gigs, where employers exploit the under privileged.Back in the bad old days, there was social housing, but good Queen Margaret, changed all that and now there are no fault evictions, so that deprived landlords can receive a greater income via Airbnb or by increasing the rent.
    In those dark days, food banks were hardly heard of, and high streets had shops which were not all, closed,charity shops, barbers or nail bars.
    We are so much more enlightened now, and we rightly blame the poor for being improvident and feckless, just like our victorian forefathers.

    • Unfortunately we have a few people that aren’t educated and don’t do facts and science. Peter, LC and Democrat believe in anything that’s suits their narrative and what they want and only social distance from the truth and facts.

      There will always be people like them in society that don’t come back with facts or science to back their beliefs. It is like that because they believe it to be.

      It’s why liars run the country because facts and science are no longer the go to. Populist nonsense is now the in thing for the older members for society who wish to blame anyone but themselves for their own mess.

      It’s why dead cat political policies like “rwanda hotels” and crowns on pint pots and imperial measurements. Are all being announced. None of them new or blocked by EU and we could always do these things but people believe we couldn’t and that’s all that matters

      • I’m well educated, I have a Ph.D, so facts that are PROPERLY researched so that additional info can be given to them can be used to support your ides. The ideas of you and your ilk are unsubstantiated, sweeping generalizations that are being mouthed parrot fashion, and have been for years. You never cite any hard evidence to back up what you say beyond claiming that the vast majority of scientists/experts/commentators say the same thing, something that, working in academia for many years, I know is simply not true. (Academia is where all the research by experts is done.)

        • What of my post and statement is not fact? I believe the only one using sweeping generalisations is you. I’m well aware of how the education system works and that’s why your claim that it makes you an “expert” does not wash with me.

        • Our conclusion to your comments are. You are biased, condescending and self opinionated, even with a PHD they are as useful as a chocolate debit card.

    • You really are terribly badly informed, have a read of this article and the comment about social rented sector historically evicting more than the private sector.


      That may well change as legislation leads ever more landlords to exit the sector. The social sector will hold its hand out to the taxpayer for energy efficiency improvements, which is all very well , but the costs will be uneconomic for a number of private landlords.

    • George don’t get all political and wokey. I expect that a lot of those in the airports and at Dover will complain about the cost of living when they get home just as people complained about catching covid after they broke the rules and went to the beach or private parties. Most don’thave an ounce of common sense between them.

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