A news report…….

Good morning. This is BBC Radio Four and I’m John Humphreys. It’s eight o clock on Friday May the eighteenth, 2019. Here is the BBC news.

 

Reports are still coming in of further unrest in both Manchester and Liverpool, where disturbances arose again in both cities last night as the army continued to tighten its hold on territories recently regained from the rebel forces.

 

Also, evidence has come from the Prime Minister’s office that the Mayoral takeovers of Bristol and Birmingham and their cutting of all ties to Westminster are both illegal and unconstitutional.

 

Our reporters, embedded with the armed forces in Warrington, have sent reports of the increasing strains being felt as food rationing has increased in severity. Owen Smith, in our radio car, are you there? What is happening up there this morning?

 

“Hellow John, this is me, Owen, speaking from Warrington. Are you there?”

 

Well, yes I am, since I just introduced you. OK, now can you tell us all – are things getting any better?

 

“Well, John, it’s like this. My armed support officers have been on the streets of Salford this morning and they tell me that Manchester is burning. I think the looters have taken over a Tesco distribution centre and are defending it with force.”

 

Are there any talks going on? Clearly, as mass starvation started to set in over the last few weeks of blockade and shutdown, people have been getting very desperate.

 

“Well I‘m sure that is true but they did bring it upon themselves by voting for Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party Trotskyists. I fully understand and support Theresa’s, I mean the Prime Minister’s decision to impose martial law.”

 

OK, well we shall be returning to this subject – obviously – as the programme continues. There are a number of other items we will be able to talk about as well however. Including:

From Scotland, where President Sturgeon has now publicly stated that their new policy on Europe will allow them to adopt the Euro as their national currency “in the next couple of years”. This is after its introduction to the whole of Ireland, as Ulster was absorbed into the Republic, following the 2018 referendum. Speaking last night at a banquet in the Palace of Hoolyroodhouse, President Sturgeon said:

“We are looking forward to arrangements being put in place at the Presidential Bank of Scotland and are going to make sure that the Government of England with Wales makes up the difference!” She would not be drawn further.

 

From Tel Aviv, there are reports reaching us that Israeli troops have fallen back from their positions around Damascus following a catastrophic breakdown in relations between their country and Saudi Arabia. We’ll have another deeply embedded correspondent detailing the situation in a few minutes.

 

Lord Rupert Murdoch, Governor General of the BBC, speaking at a lavish feast in the Lord Mayor of London’s Mansion House, suggested that, as the BBC and other media were “too left wing”, there would have to be an ongoing reassessment of contracts for strategic roles within the organisations. “We cannot allow the plebs to retain any of the knowledge they used to get from the internet. There must be an ongoing purge of left wingers”, he concluded.

 

Now, new reports are reaching us from the British Medical Corporation that the increase in obesity now reaching “epidemic” numbers is entirely the fault of somebody else. They insist that they have made comments and published reports many times saying that they feel that they have observed a problem and that the problem should be solved. However, they reiterated that they were happy to continue to provide consultancy work as long as their fees continued to be met. As he left the building one was heard to comment “Illness. It’s our way of life.”

 

And in less grizzly circumstances, back here in the UK, we have the news that, following his recent divorce from his long term partner, Sir Elton John is looking for Daniel, who never returned from his 1971 flight….

 

Now, let’s go back to Warrington for an update from Owen. Hello again, Mr Smith, have you anything new to tell us?

“Well, yes, indeed I have, John. I have just unearthed all the details and, do you know, I have to tell you this:

“Its all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault!”

 

735 words

Chris Hemmings

crishtrees@gmail.com

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Time for another cup of Tea with Emily

OK, so my Geneticist friend in the U S of A keeps writing her tea break chats. This latest was on co-sanguinity and the accumulation of tiny genetic differences betwixt non mixed groups becoming apparent when they interbreed. This, in turn, she reckoned gave ample scope for autism to have emerged in recent years. I’ll put the reference to her blog at the bottom – this is our post blogging chat………

 

So I started:

“Seriously? Whereas autistic labelled symptomologies have emerged over the last forty years, intercommunal interbreeding has been rife for hundreds of generations and, in the “more developed” world it has been the norm for over a century. Computers give us the power to handle vast multitudes of data, which, quite frankly, are so beyond our human interpretation that just because we can does not mean we should! genies are best left in their bottles……

“Happy new year and the like. I’m pleased you continue to have your tea breaks – I drink far to much coffee…….”

    • The level of travel and intermixing has exploded in the 20th century. But you already know my stance on autism prevalence and that it is not a new entity peculiar to the last century.

      Still definitely drinking tea. Although I’ve switched from mugs and am enjoying a proper tea cup nowadays. 😊 👍🏻

  1. But Emily, even in the last forty years the rate of increase, year on year has been phenomemal. That could never, ever be thought of as being a genetically sourced change. We are not drosophilla!
    C/W the EXPLOSION in obesity and diabetes in US (and UK) since the 1980s. Also phenomenal. Also no way genetically derived.

    • I suspect that the rise in diagnosis rates, aside from being in part due to changes in how the label itself is defined, are affected by environmental factors. But I also suspect that heritable factors are involved in that vulnerability to environment. And small-effect genetic variants are actually the PERFECT partner to help explain vulnerability to environmental agencies. So the idea that common polymorphisms exist that affect autism risk would in fact fit perfectly with your focus on environmental influences.

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Do drug resistance (R) factors present a threat to the therapeutic use of antibiotics in modern medicine?

OK, I wrote this many moons ago – in 1978, for my first degree in Genetics. At the time, I felt that the issue was pretty much “case proved” and I moved on to do other things in my life…….Ten years ago I sent it to a Soil Association researcher who was impressed with its having been even discussed back then. But, hey, life goes on and we all grow wiser. One day this issue might even be taken seriously……..

 

So:

 

Do drug resistance (R) factors present a threat to the therapeutic use of antibiotics in modern medicine?

 

Antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is of concern to clinicians; the aim of this essay is to examine the causes of such resistance and the optimum use of antibiotics in the face of this threat.

 

The discovery of antibiotics revolutionised medicine. However the optimism engendered by the use of sulphonamide and penicillin in the 1930s was muted somewhat when resistant pathogens emerged. After the Second World War several semi-synthetic antibiotics were  evolved (!) by the biochemists/ pharmacists/ drug companies and were quickly put to widespread use. It seemed that bacterial infection could be conquered for, surely, if a pathogenic strain became, presumably by mutation, resistant to one antibiotic it would succumb to a second.

 

All went to plan at first. Then disturbing reports emanated from Japan of Shigella strains concomitantly resistant to several antibiotics, namely Sulphonamide (Su), Tetracycline (Tet) and Chloramphenicol (Chl). The rise in frequency of resistance was acute and the epidemiology such that a thesis involving mutation, as for penicillin resistance, could not hold. Typically a patient could be infected with a drug sensitive Shigella strain and, after a couple of days treatment with a single antibiotic, excrete multiply resistant strains, insensitive to drugs the patient had not been exposed to, as well as the drug used in the therapy.

 

The theory was put forward that multiple resistance must be present as a factor in the host’s gut and be transferred to the ingested pathogen. Akiba et al (1960) demonstrated that multiple resistance in E. coli could be passed as a unit to a drug sensitive Shigella strain in vitro. This was subsequently confirmed in vivo. The phenomenon, termed “transferable drug resistance”, seemed a major threat to the use of antibiotics.

 

Research showed the “transferable drug resistance factor” to be extra-chromosomally encoded and capable of mediating its own transfer to a recipient cell. The factor, christened an R-factor, was subjected to various in vitro studies (see Appendix 1). Its resistances fall broadly into two categories. Firstly there are those producing degredative enzymes e.g. Chl, Ampicillin (Amp) resistance genes, and secondly there are those which prevent the cell from concentrating the antibiotic, as sensitive strains do, e.g. Tet resistance. Typically R-factors carry 3-4 resistance determinants tho some carry 6 or more, in a variety of compositions – see Table 1.

 

Table 1

 

Origin Date Resistance encoded
Japan 1952 Tc, Str, Su
1966 Tc, Str, Su, Chl
Hungary 1964 Tc, Str, Su, Chl
Greece 1967 Tc, Str, Su, Chl, Ap
USA 1966 Str, Su
Great Britain 1964 Tc, Str, Su
1969 Tc, Str, Su, Ap
1969 Str, Su, Ap

 

In vitro crosses were carried out between sensitive and non-sensitive bacterial strains to determine whether the data of Akiba were more general. Anderson (1968) summed up the results. Normally in mixed culture R-factor transfer occurs at a low level, 10-5/donor cell/hour, but under optimum conditions of culture and physiology of the donor and recipients transfer could be epidemic, yielding 50% transfer after an initial 12 hour lag phase. Datta (1972) carried out many such crosses using a wide variety of donor and recipient types and demonstrated that the nature of donor and recipient strain is not restricted to a few organisms but can occur between most gram negative enteric bacteria and also many other gram negative organisms. The R-factor seemed to be a “promiscuous” plasmid and in vitro studies did nothing to soothe the clinician’s nerves.

 

Or, at least, promiscuous in vitro under optimal conditions. What was the potential for in vivo transfer? There was circumstantial evidence that this did indeed occur. However all this data was derived from clinical observation and was not quantitative. Obviously these clinical observations required explanation but simpler model systems were examined first.

 

Salzman and Klemm (1968) reared “germ free” mice, fed on antibiotic free food. They subsequently permitted colonisation of the mouse guts with a single drug sensitive bacterial strain, as prospective recipient strain. Donor strains were fed and faecal bacteria examined over the subsequent month for resistant bacteria derived from the sensitive strain. They were found after 18 hours when (5×10-3)% of recipients were resistant. This figure rose to 1% after two weeks and 21% after four weeks.

 

Following this in 1969 Reed et al used “microbially defined” mice to show more or less the same, although they achieved less transfer.

 

In 1970 Guinée took the work a stage further. He conducted similar experiments to the above, using rats, but added the parameter of feeding tetracycline to the rats, using a donor R-factor conferring tetracycline resistance. His results are in Table 2.

 

Table 2

 

Ppm tetracycline in drinking water Resistance observed

= R-factor transfer

Rats fed R+ donor Rats not fed donor
0 10% 0
20 31% 0
100 47% 0

 

Clearly there was greater selection in favour of R+ recombinants in the presence of tetracycline at a higher dose.

 

H.W.Smith (1969a) carried out a fairly large scale investigation into the in vivo transfer of R-factors between strains of enterobacteria in chickens, calves and pigs. The bulk of his survey was carried out on chickens whose guts he colonised with a Naladixic acid resistant but otherwise antibiotic sensitive strain. To these otherwise “normal” chickens he fed donor R+ strains and screened for feacal NalR, drug resistant recombinants. His overriding conclusion was that “in vitro transfer is not necessarily an indication of in vivo transfer”. Both strains must be reasonably good colonisers of the gut, so they may reach the caecumwhere transfer takes place. Even so strains differ greatly in their recipient abilities. Salmonella typhimurium phage type 29 he found to be far and away the best recipient. However all R+ recombinants would be eliminated from the animal hosts very quickly in the absence of fed antibiotics, selecting for a resistance coded for by the donor R-factor.

 

Before we can look the clinician in the eye and comment upon his data we must experimentally examine the human system as well. Can in vivo transfer be demonstrated in the human gut? Simply the answer is “yes” – results are, unsurprisingly, similar in nature to those found using other mammalian species. However very few studies have been performed.

 

H.W.Smith (1969b) used one volunteer who carried no faecal R-factors and was not fed with antibiotics. From his gut flora the predominant strain of E.coli was isolated and a NalR mutant prepared. This strain colonised the gut very well, persisting for two years.

 

18 strains of E.coli from a wide variety of sources were used as R-factor donors. They were taken in test doses ranging from 104 organisms once to 109 for 7 consecutive days. Feacal NalR R+ organisms were counted.

 

One strain, B119 from ox, taken as 109 organisms for seven days, persisted for eleven days following cessation of the dose. Half its resistance determinants were transferred (Str, Neo from Str, Neo, Su, Tet) at high levels and the transformants persisted in the gut for 18 days. Otherwise, except for two human derived strains, colonisation by the donor was non-existent or very poor (Maximum was 11 days, mean 2 or 3). Resistance transfer was even less frequent, no transformed strain persisted longer than 7 days and the percentages of transfer were low.

 

Anderson et al (1973) demonstrated in vivo transfer to marked recipients in the human gut but only when selected for by feeding antibiotics concomitantly with the cross. Again they used strains derived from the volunteers’ faecal flora so there was no problem of colonisation of their guts with donors or recipients. However it was found that cessation of antibiotic selection caused the R+ recombinants to rapidly disappear.

So, what of the clinical data? Well Lebek (1963) reported on the “in vivo transfer of an R-factor in the gut of two infants” – only it was in German.

 

Later Farrar et al (1972) reported a similar case. Here two children, who shared an incubator, developed a Shigellosis a few days after birth. The first was treated with Ampicillin until it was demonstrated that the infecting strain was Str, Tet, Amp resistant. Subsequently the infant was treated with Kanamycin. The other child developed the illness after discharge from hospital, and was readmitted and treated with Kanamycin. However there was no improvement. Its faecal Shigella were shown to be now Kanamycin resistant as well as Str, Tet, Amp. In vitro studies showed this new resistance to segregate from Str, Amp, Tet resistance and it was concluded that resistance to Kanamycin was borne on a separate plasmid. This plasmid must have been acquired by the Shigella strain after infecting the infant, presumably from some organism already resident in the infant’s gut.

 

These cases, tho’, surely only parallel those of Salzman and Klemon (1968). More relevant are the observations made in the introduction that sensitive infecting Shigella sonnei could emerge resistant. However here again there was intense antibiotic selection for resistant strains. In the main, it seems that drug resistant strains only persist in animals or humans to whom antibiotics are fed.

 

But, then, where do R-factors come from? Where is the reservoir?

 

Anderson proposes a solution. He studied an outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium in English calves in the 1960s. It seemed that antibiotics could be used as prophylactics to prevent spread of infections through intensively reared herds of calves. Also, in chickens, antibiotics were shown to increase meat yield. Initially the method was effective but, surprise, surprise, soon the pathogen S. typhimurium was shown to be resistant to drug therapy in these calf herds, and there was epidemic spread of the infection. The outbreak was centred on one dealer and contained to “factory farmed” herds. As the epidemic spread and different antibiotics were used so patterns of resistance changed eventually incorporating 5 or 6 resistances from the original 3. Tetracycline resistance neared 100%.

 

The predominant phage type involved in the infection was 29 (Smith’s “best recipient”). Anderson and Datta (unpublished obs, as far as I can tell) Examined strains of Salmonella typhimurium isolated from human patients. They found a similar pattern to that obseved in calves. The predominant phage type was 29 and it showed a similar increase in multiple resistance, as did other infecting S.typhimurium. (Anderson 1968, see Appendix 3).

 

The message is clear – animals fed antibiotics, if handled unhygenically in the slaughterhouse and subsequently, provide a reservoir of drug resistant pathogens. This is obviously true. However it seems to be of limited significance as S.typhimurium is a relatively mild  pathogen and is normally eliminated from its human host in a matter of days – together with its R-factor. Further the illness is not treated with antibiotics and so there is no selection for any recombinants, say E.coli, in the host gut.

 

The second source is the hospital itself. Over the years there has been intense selective pressure placed on the hospital bacterial population to become drug resistant. Furthermore the strains populating a hospital are human derived and more likely to colonise the human gut. Thus even tho’ the S.typhimurium of Anderson’s calves remained resistant for two years after cessation of antibiotic prophylaxis this was not significant to human medicine, except in that it showed that long term selection could streamline an R-factor so it was beneficial to its host in the absence of antibiotic selection, and could compete with other enteric bacteria. Similarly one might expect human derived pathogens to have evolved in the hospitals which had R-factors conferring other advantages to its host. A possible example of this is a lac R-factor (OK, so lac is transposable) isolated by Smith and Parnell (1975). So what evidence is there for a hospital reservoir of R-factors?

 

A survey by Salzmann and Klemm (1967) in the Bronx Municipal Hospital showed that more than 20% of the hospital’s personnel carried drug resistant bacteria on their hands! Whether this is a reflection of that hospital’s standard of hygiene or is a general phenomenon is not known. However studies have been performed on the frequencies of resistance of patients on admission and discharge and there is an increase observed from the level of 10% or so observed in the general population to about 20% (Salzmann and Klemm, 1966)(with apologies my gross over simplification). The case reported by Farrar et al (1972) demonstrated that a Kanomycin resistant organism was picked up by the infant – presumably in the hospital. Lebek’s (1963) data also have the same interpretation. Further there are cases reported of pathogens causing secondary (e.g. post operative) infections in hospitals being drug resistant (Gardner and Smith, 1969). Clearly there is then a hospital reservoir of R-factors, presumably this leaks back into the general population thro’ discharged patients, hospital personnel and other hospital visitors.

 

So what of the general population? It seems from very variable studies that there is a 10-20% incidence of R-factors in healthy non-antibiotic treated people. However no fluctuation can be shown except in the incidence of multiple drug resistance which appears to have increased. The existence of R-factors in pre-antibiotic societies has been demonstrated. Davis and Anandan showed Chl Str Tet Su and other R-factors in a tribe in Borneo and Gardner et al (1969) found R-factors in Solomon Islanders gut flora. A lyophylised bacterial sample from 1945 has similarly shown multiple drug resistance. In principle this is not surprising since antibiotics were invented by fungi not mankind and had been used for, er, a long time giving rise to resistant bacteria. What is surprising is that the R-factors coded for up to four resistances. It suggests that R-factors must have been fairly widespread prior to large scale antibiotic use.

 

However some resistances have probably appeared subsequently to their introduction (tho’ how can one demonstrate this?) It is interesting to note the discovery that many resistances are carried on elements much smaller than plasmids (transposons) capable of dissociating themselves from their host and reinserting themselves at a different (specific) D.N.A. site. This phenomenon accounts for the increase in numbers of resistances determined by R-factors, tho’ whether this is by a transdution or by hopping of transposons from one plasmid to another in an intact cell is open to question (it’s probably both anyway).

 

So what conclusions can we draw from this rather conflicting or, at least, opposingly slanted information?

 

The primary ones are obvious. It was a mistake to use antibiotics so liberally, tho’ an understandable mistake. Consequently prophylactic use of antibiotics has been generally outlawed. The threat to human health now seems to reside in the continued position of hospitals as reservoirs of R-factors. From the data reported above one would predict that this relatively high frequency should fall (be falling) concomitant with the reduction in antibiotic use. However this fall may not be rapid as “tailor made” R-factors may well exist, conferring advantages other than drug resistance to their hosts. Positive efforts should thus be made to eliminate such R-factors. In this respect transfer of drug resistance by transposons could lead to complications, but, I feel, should be of little general significance.

 

It seems we cannot look forward to the complete elimination of drug resistance, however we should try to restore the situation to as near as possible to the “pre-antibiotic age”, when only fungi knew of bacteriocides and human beings relied on their immune systems.

Chris Hemmings Dec 12th, 1977. Essay written in study for BSc, Genetics, awarded 1978.

 

Appendix 1.

Anderson et al (1975) have carried out physical studies on R -factors derived from a wide variety of sources. They divided into five plasmid compatibility or exclusion groups. Each such group had its members alike in molecular weight/contour length and resistances encoded. Furthermore they demonstrated that within a group members showed high homology in hybridisation studies, whereas intergroup studies showed low homology. Presumably each group arose from a specific ancestor, of which there were, obviously, five.

The molecular weight of an R-factor is such that about fifty functions may be encoded. An explanation is offered for these genes in the text.

 

Appendix 2.

The question of colonisability of a given gut by a bacterium seems crucial to this argument. Apart from the case quoted there is little data available. Working without the complication of R-plasmids, Cooke et al (1972) showed a varied ability of E.coli strains to colonise three volunteers’ guts. Using a 1011 cells dose one strain colonised for 120 days. A 108 dose of any particular strain survived for different periods of time in each of the three volunteers. In general, though, survival was for a short duration, using either human or animal derived strains – although a couple of strains persisted for a month.

 

Appendix 3.

Several studies of the patterns of resistance in clinical isolates have been made. The most comprehensive is that of Manten, Guinee et al (1971). Their survey is of the 11 years 1959-1966 of virtually every Salmonella isolate obtained in the Netherlands over that period, so amounting to an epidemiology study.

S.typhimurium took a similar course to that of the British isolates. Tetracycline resistance rose sharply, peaking in 1965-1966. Chloramphenicol resistance remained very low throughout the survey, peaking in 1963 at 1.6%. Ampicillin resistance followed that  of Tetracycline – although it was not used in animal husbandry – presumably it was a passenger on the original R-factor(s) selected. The human and animal patterns were very similar – presumably because Salmonellas are transmitted by unhygienic handling of animal carcasses. Luckily chloramphenicol resistance was not one of the passenger resistances for it might then have posed a threat to the treatment of S.typhi. Of the 610 S.typhi isolates, though, only three were Chloramphenicol resistant.

The authors noted that the death rate from Salmonellosis had fallen to less than half its original level by the end of the survey, but could not say whether the incidence of R-factors had increased or declined.

 

References

 

Akiba et al. Jap J Microb 4, 219-227, 1960.

Anderson, ES. Am Rev Microb 22,1968.

Anderson et al. J Med Microb 6, 461-473, 1973.

Anderson et al. J Gen Microb 91, 376-382, 1975.

Cooke et al. J Med Microb 5, 361-369, 1972.

Datta, N. J Gen Microb, 70, 453-460, 1972.

Davis and Anandan. New Eng J Med 282, 117-122, 1970.

Farrar et al. J Infect Dis 126, 27-33, 1972.

Gardener and Smith, DH. Ann Int Med, 71, 1-9, 1969.

Guinee PM. J Bacteriol 102, 291-292, 1970.

Gardener et al. Lancet, 2, 774-776, 1969.

Manten et al. Bulletin WHO 45, 85-93, 1971.

Reed et al. J Bacteriol, 100, 22-   , 1969.

Saltzman and Kleman. Antimicrobial Agents and  Chemoth, 7, 97-100, 1967.

Saltzman and Klemm. Anti microb Ag and Chemoth, 212-220, 1966.

Saltzman and Klemm. Proc Soc Exp Biol, 128, 392-394, 1968.

Smith, HW. J Med Microb, 3, 165-180, 1969a.

Smith, HW Lancet, 1174, 1969b.

Smith, HW and Parsell. J Hyg, 75, 275-292, 1975.

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Policy Details

So P. Pantsdown put up a call for the “centre”, his market economy driven nirvana, with the promise to fund any election candidates who follow the priciples of his group of “More United” friends. Yeah, the Bliarist centre ground which is actually a sanctimonious self justification and prescription for carrying on as we have been.

For some reason, I looked up their criteria, their would be manifesto. It is as below:

The detailed examples of what kind of policies might back up our fundamental principles are listed below. However it is our members who will make all final decisions on our policy position.

1 – A fair, modern, efficient market based economy that closes the gap between rich and poor and supports strong public services

  • Making Britain the best place in the world to start new businesses, social enterprises and cooperatives.
  • A simple, transparent and progressive taxation system, so those who can afford the most pay the most.
  • Supporting self-employment and enterprise in a 21stcentury economy.
  • Protecting the rights of workers and small investors.
  • A reformed NHS which is paid for from taxation and free at the point of use.
  • Making education the priority for government spending.
  • Using of the new technologies to drive a revolution aimed at increasing efficiency, improving delivery and enhancing transparency in the public sector.
  • Greater reliance on evidence based policies. 

2 – A modern democracy that empowers citizens, rather than politicians:

  • Taking the big money out of politics.
  • Electoral reform to ensure every vote counts.
  • Safeguard the truth in political campaigning.
  • Introduce online voting.
  • Devolving more power to communities, cities, regions and states.
  • Protecting privacy and human rights in a digital age.
  • Adopting the principle that every citizen’s data is part of their personal property and can only be exploited by others with their consent.
  • Enhancing consumer rights.
  • Promoting competition and dismantling monopolies.

3 – A green economy that protects the environment and works to reverse climate change:

  • Drive economic prosperity through a investment in green technology.
  • Phasing out the use of fossil fuels
  • Tackling climate degradation
  • Working internationally to drive an ambitious low-carbon agenda.
  • Protecting the natural environment through the planning system and land use policies. 

4 – An open and tolerant society where diversity is celebrated in all its forms:

  • Promoting and defending diversity, pluralism and tolerance.
  • Strengthening anti-hate laws. 

5 – A United Kingdom that welcomes immigration, international co-operation and a close relationship with the EU:

  • Promoting the positive impact of immigration within a new global framework.
  • In the context of Brexit, we will press for the closest relationship with Europe and, if circumstances permit, campaign for Britain to return to full membership of the EU.
  • We accept the right of the Scottish people to decide their future, but we hope they will want to remain part of the UK
  • Maintaining a long term commitment to foreign aid.

 

OK, that’s it. 

So what does it mean? I dunno, really. Lotsa words, loadsa waffle and full of imprecise precision. Without weighting its worthless generalities, full of contradictions and signifying utterly nothing as far as I can see.

 

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The Seven Principles of Governance

You’re receiving this email because you signed this petition: “Make it illegal for any UK political figure to knowingly lie or mislead.”.

Dear Chris Hemmings,

The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Make it illegal for any UK political figure to knowingly lie or mislead.”.

Government responded:

The 7 principles of public life apply to those who hold public office. This includes people who are elected or appointed to public office, nationally and locally.

The principles also form the basis of ethical standards expected of holders of public office as set out in their respective Codes of Conduct.

The principles were first set out in 1995 by Lord Nolan, the founding Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) and are as relevant today as they were in 1995.

The Seven Principles of Public life are:

Selflessness
Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.

Integrity
Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

Objectivity
Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.

Accountability
Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny necessary to ensure this.

Openness
Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for doing so. .

Honesty
Holders of public office should be truthful.

Leadership
Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

Cabinet Office

Click this link to view the response online:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/119416?reveal_response=yes

The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee

Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

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So, what is a mandate?

In the wake of the decision by the Infamous 172 Sulkies to miss the open goal that is the present day Tory “Government”, we had an online chat. Well, there were dozens, as a kind of collective consciousness experiment and very effective affirmative and contributive action. But this was so much fun. Elleanne had brought up Jess Phillips treachery. Conversation drifted, then:

Robert Shaw On the subject of civility… The real point is that 80% of Labour MPs lack confidence in him as a leader. If he can’t command the support of the majority of his MPs, whose mandate totals about 9 million votes, that looks like a pretty big failure of political leadership. I agree it’s a shame because he’s a good politician with good ideas. But if he stays, the consequences for the country and the party will be much worse than if he resigns. A credible leader has to look beyond himself and his own supporters.

Chris Hemmings If they choose to lack confidence in OUR choice, they are free to leave. This is not ten years later, this is the first year, for heaven’s sake.

Robert Shaw How many of you are there? 500,000? Maybe more? Maybe less? That’s his mandate to be leader. The MPs have 9 million votes between them. That’s their mandate to be MPs. Reconciling the two mandates requires strong and effective political leadership. It seems he hasn’t got it and he doesn’t believe he needs it. He talks of not betraying the members who voted for him. On the other hand, he seems willing to betray the 9 million who voted for Labour MPs.

Chris Hemmings You could easily say those 9 million lost their votes. They did not win, so their wish for a Milibandian compromised blue tint centrist government failed. Many, many of those who had no choice at that election voted elsewise, not at all or reluctantly for labour. I was that latter ( no Green candidate).

Chris Hemmings Corbyn’s ideas are not a betrayal. How can you conceive such a statement, Robert?

Robert Shaw No such statement Chris.

Chris Hemmings “He seems willing to betray the 9 million voters who voted for labour MPs”.

Robert Shaw “Corbyn’s ideas are not a betrayal.” I agree. The betrayal is in his refusal to accept that 80% of MPs say he should resign. 80% of 9 million if you prefer = 7.2 million. That’s a democratic mandate too.

Chris Hemmings And this is a circular discussion. I dealt with there being no Milligovernment. That mandate died on election day last year.

Chris Hemmings It can never happen. So we chose something a whole lot better.

Robert Shaw I’m talking about the votes cast in 2015 GE. Anyway, it’s about politics too. If you don’t have the party and the PLP, you can’t be leader. You can’t do it. As we’re seeing.

Chris Hemmings I spoke of 2015 too, of course. That was my point. There is no Millibism. It died. Along with Brownishness and the hideous Bliarism. Stone cold dead and buried, only now, sadly, the crypts are opening and the foul skeletons of a hideous era are coming back to haunt us.

Chris Hemmings Jeremy does have a party – the members, the Unions and 40 of his MPs. So, out of those millions, that’s 172 naysayers. And we have no inkling as to what in what Jeremy and all us Corbynites are saying they disagree with – apart from bombing Syria.

1 – I suppose you’d say they got a mandate to support bombing Syria, Robert?

2 – I suppose you’d say they have a mandate to drive millions out of their wonderful homes and homeland to become refugees which David Camoron wont let rest in our country, Robert?  I could go on……..

Robert Shaw 172 ‘naysayers’ and the 7.2 million people who voted for them…

Chris Hemmings And round and round and round. Wow, this will keep us going for weeks.
Actually, this is exactly as the sad, passe 172 act, as well as so many other similarly ringing with cognitive dissonance. They just repeat as nauseum that which was soundly answered so much earlier.
The art of conversation is so buried.

Robert Shaw Good luck with all that.

Chris Hemmings What exactly?e MPs no longer represent what their members want then they are an irrelevance … I don’t think Robert has ever jumped onto my wall and said anything that wasn’t stirring and combattive and I am not really a fan of the right wing stuff so that is probably an unfriending which is looming now … wish him well but this is not his natural habitat …

Robert Shaw If you can deselect 172 MPs (or they resign) and replace them with your preferred candidates and then get enough people to vote for them, you’ll be right.

Chris Hemmings People normally vote for the party not the person. That’s a basic rule. Yes, over time, personal loyalties build, but party is crucial.
So, yes, the 172 could very quickly and efficiently be replaced. You couldn’t put a word on their ears, could you? Every little nudge helps……

Robert Shaw As I say, good luck with all that.

Chris Hemmings Yeah, OK, thanks for you good wishes. Interesting chat. Democracy should be open and not planned in dark rooms by frustrated, bad losers.

Elleanne Green I have unfriended RS

Chris Hemmings You mean he wouldn’t jump! I see a common theme he shares with The 172…….

 

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True Labour, not New Labour

criticalanalyser

A message to each and every one of the 172 Labour MPs – it is not Jeremy Corbyn who is a bad leader, it is you, the 172 who are un-leadable.

From the very beginning, since the leadership election last year, it has been clear that you never intended to support Jeremy Corbyn. Rumours of coups have been rife since day one. You say he is un-electable, but you never wanted him to succeed. Every opportunity shadow cabinet members have had to speak in the media, you have deliberately undermined Jeremy Corbyn to impact public opinion. It has been a self-fulfilling prophecy – you planned his downfall from the beginning and it is you who are responsible.

Jeremy Corbyn offered  (offers) a new approach to politics, a kinder approach and he has drawn in the masses across the country from all walks of life. You have perpetuated a myth that these supporters…

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