Tag: Considered

Government accused of treating the North ‘like a petri dish’ for local lockdowns as tougher restrictions are considered

Watch: Johnson expected to order pubs to shut in the north of England

© Yahoo News UK

The government is treating the North “like a petri dish” for local lockdown experiments as harsher restrictions are considered, the mayor of the Liverpool City Region has said.

With coronavirus cases continuing to rise across the North of England and current local lockdown measures failing to stop the increase, the government is considering tightening measures only weeks after introducing new ones.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham told GMB: “What we’ve seen is an ever-widening North-South divide in measures being taken.

“Quite simply the North should not be a petri dish for experimentation by central government.”

Politicians across the North have criticised the Government over plans to close pubs and restaurants next week to tackle rising coronavirus cases.

The proposals, which have not been confirmed, appeared on the front pages of The Times, Telegraph and Sun newspapers, provoking an angry response from opposition MPs and Labour elected mayors.

Read more: Hospital suspends all non-emergency surgery for 48 hours following COVID-19 outbreak

a group of people standing in front of a building: City Region Mayors attacked the plans over closing pubs and restaurants so soon after new measures were brought in. (PA)

City Region Mayors attacked the plans over closing pubs and restaurants so soon after new measures were brought in. (PA)

Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and large parts of the North are currently under local lockdowns, limiting visits to other people’s households, while pubs have to close at 10pm nationally.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: “No discussion. No consultation. Millions of lives affected by Whitehall diktat. It is proving impossible to deal with this Government.”

Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region mayor and Barnsley Central MP, wrote on Twitter: “Recklessly irresponsible to brief the papers but not leaders in the North who’ll somehow have to make this work. Get a grip”.

Sheffield is not currently under local lockdown but is on receiving enhanced support from the government and cases have soared to over 200 per 100,000 in recent weeks, mainly driven by the return of students.

Rotheram said: “It is deeply disappointing to wake up this morning to reports that new Covid-19 restrictions affecting millions of people in our city region, and across the North, could be in place within days, rather than hearing it during a genuine dialogue between ministers and local leaders.

“At the moment we have a patchwork of local measures across the country and too much confusion for the public as a result.”

Read more: Coronavirus infections soar by 56% in a week as test and trace fails to hit targets

Rotheram said extra funding for affected areas would be needed saying the government provided support at the start of lockdown in March and they would need to again if measures were tightened.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell, Manchester Central MP, tweeted: “Let’s remember infections still largely occurring: inside households, then in education (mainly university) settings then health/care settings, then workplaces. In that order. Only then (and

Continue reading

Why Michigan Is Considered ‘Fertile’ Ground for Anti-Government Extremists

For the past decade, gun owners dressed in flak jackets and camouflage fatigues have brought their rifles into the Michigan Legislature at least twice every year, asserting their vehement support for gun rights by displaying weapons in the hallways.

This spring, those gatherings intensified as participants turned what had been a declaration about the Second Amendment into a protest over how far the government could go in limiting individual behavior amid the pandemic. Hundreds turned out to demand an end to lockdowns, social distancing and mask wearing.

Among the demonstrators who stormed into the Capitol to protest those measures were two brothers who have now been charged as part of an extremist plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and to commit other violence. The brothers subscribed to a larger anti-government movement that has evolved in Michigan and throughout the United States over decades, but was spurred on this year by the pandemic, social justice protests and the presidential election.

With its fervent gun culture and its gaping differences between urban and rural populations, Michigan has seen its divisions grow ever wider since at least the 1990s, when armed groups on the right adopted increasingly extreme positions on limiting the government’s power.

The brothers are among 13 men who face a variety of charges related to the kidnapping plot, including terrorism, conspiracy and weapons possession. The authorities said the men were also affiliated with an extremist group called the Wolverine Watchmen, which court documents called “an anti-government, anti-law enforcement militia group.” Such groups have existed in Michigan for decades, most notably in 1994 with the formation of the Michigan Militia.

“There have been militia-type groups in Michigan even before we started using the phrase domestic terrorism,” said Bill Ballenger, a former Republican state senator who represented a rural area. “Before it never got to armed insurrection or an attempt to overthrow the government or assassinate people or anything like that.”

In a sense, experts said, the fight over measures like mask requirements to contain the spread of the virus was the latest example of what these groups see as government overreach. “It is really the perfect issue for far-right conspiracy theorists to rally around,” said Daniel Levitas, a lawyer and the author of “The Terrorist Next Door,” a history of extremist groups.

In the early 1990s, armed groups in Michigan, and around the country, were formed in reaction to bloody federal sieges against Randy Weaver and his family in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and against an armed cult in Waco, Texas, in 1993. The latter ended with the death of 76 people. The new far-right organizations accused the government of tyranny and began conducting paramilitary training and obtaining military equipment.

Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, later convicted of bombing a federal office building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, killing 168 people, attended some of the earliest meetings of the Michigan Militia. The gory details from the trial diminished the appeal of such groups, but they continued to exist.


Continue reading