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Keir Starmer Criticises PM’s ‘Whack-A-Mole’ Approach To Staff Shortages

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer criticises PM’s ‘whack-a-mole’ approach to staff shortages

Keir Starmer has blamed the fuel crisis on Boris Johnson’s “whack-a-mole” approach to running the country, urging him to plan ahead or risk staff shortages in a string of other industries in the coming months.

Ministers have suspended competition law in the energy sector and called in the army in recent days as they scramble to alleviate the shortages on forecourts caused by a lack of HGV drivers.

Other sectors including social care, hospitality and food production have also highlighted difficulties in finding staff as a result of Brexit and the Covid pandemic, and the CBI said this month the problems could persist for up to two years.

Starmer said: “The government at the moment is playing whack-a-mole: it’s trying to whack down one problem and another one pops up somewhere else. And that is a pathetic, lamentable lack of planning.”

He said a Labour government would “plan across the board with the different sectors”.

Starmer’s party voted for Johnson’s Brexit deal last Christmas, saying it did not want to risk a no-deal exit, but the Labour leader has accused the prime minister of failing to “make Brexit work”.

Labour believes the spectacle of empty shelves and shuttered petrol stations sends voters a powerful message about the government’s incompetence, though some of Starmer’s colleagues felt he failed to intervene forcefully enough last weekend when the crisis was raging.

Back in London after delivering a party conference speech that ridiculed Johnson as “a trivial man”, Starmer said he believed the prime minister’s appeal was “wearing a bit thin” with voters.

“People know the difference between a slogan and actually getting things done, and what they’re not seeing is him getting things done,” he said. “They see a government that simply can’t govern and can’t plan, and of course that’s going to wear thin.

“You’ve got that collection of failures, whether it’s energy, fuel, empty shelves, people can’t get to work because they haven’t got the petrol, people aren’t doing the journeys that they need to do.”

Starmer said he believed his 90-minute conference speech, which pressed home the themes of “work, care, inequality, security”, had helped to address critics’ claims that he lacks political pizzazz.

“People did say the delivery was pretty good, so let me cast off some of the characteristics that are always piled on me,” he said.

Asked if he was deliberately unshowy, in contrast to Johnson whom he called “a showman with nothing left to show,” Starmer said: “I’d like to think I put on a pretty good show yesterday.”

However, he conceded that he hoped his serious approach contrasted with Johnson’s. “In the end, I think people want a degree of seriousness about the problems that we confront,” he said.

Labour’s internal divisions were on display this week, not least during Starmer’s speech when he was heckled repeatedly by a small number of party members.

Despite accusations of abandoning the radical prospectus on which he won the leadership, Starmer insisted Labour was setting out radical policies that should give activists from across the party “something to get behind”.

He cited plans to put first-time buyers at the front of the queue for new-build homes; to ensure workers are granted full employment rights from day one; and the shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves’s £28bn-a-year climate fund.

“If people who want to change our country for the better want something to get behind, we have put a bold set of policy proposals on the table on housing, employment, education and climate,” he said. “I would invite everybody to say ‘there is now something we could do’.”

Starmer has pushed through a series of changes to Labour’s governance rules that he and his team hope will allow Labour MPs to focus more on the concerns of voters and less on disgruntled grassroots members. But it sparked a backlash, including from the Corbynite campaign group Momentum.

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Osun Transport Masterplan to Be Ready Soon-Governor Adeleke

Governor Ademola Adeleke has announced his administration’s plan to release to the public the Osun State Transport Master Plan to facilitate integrated connectivity for the Osun economy.

The Governor made the announcement on Thursday while commissioning the Osun State Computerised Vehicle Inspection Testing Center at Osogbo.

The Governor who narrated a series of ongoing reforms being delivered by his government said “The test center right here is the first of its kind among other interventions of our administration to reposition the State’s Transportation sector

According to the State Governor, “Our government is pursuing reforms across the transport sector. We ensure that Commercial Motorcycle operators across the State are registered under a database with a rider’s jacket and identification card for safety purposes. Mini-buses, popularly known as (Korope) have also been registered and numbered for easy identification and security.

“We have introduced single ticketing to all commercial drivers in the State through the Osun State Transport Management System (OSTMS) to guide against leakage of revenue.

“It is equally my pleasure to inform the public that our administration is working on a Transportation Master plan for Osun state. We are focused on a multimodal plan that will integrate all modes of transportation within the state. It will lay our objectives and strategic agenda for land, air, and water transportation.

“The plan is to regulate, plan, and develop an efficient and well-integrated transport system that will serve the public interest, enhance mobility, and deliver a secure and environmentally friendly Public Transportation System in different areas across Osun.

“The plan is central to our five-point agenda as it focuses on connectivity within and outside the state. Osun is centrally located in the heart of Yorubaland.

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Adeleke speaks on collapse of OAU amphitheatre

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun has promised to pay the medical bills of students injured in the Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU), Ile-Ife, Amphitheatre roof collapse.

The affected students are receiving treatment at the University Health Centre and the Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife.

Adeleke, who was represented by the Commissioner for Education, Dipo Eluwole, sympathised with the management of the University and parents of the affected students on the unfortunate incident.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, in Ile-Ife on Saturday.

The commissioner was conducted round the scene of the incident by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Bamire, and other principal officers of the University, and visited the two health facilities where the students are receiving treatment.

He expressed happiness that the affected students are responding to the treatment.

Eluwole lauded the university management for its quick response to the emergency and prompt medical attention given to the students.

Speaking to the four students being treated at the University Health and Medical Centre, the commissioner commended their bravery and wished them quick recovery.

At the Neurological ward of the University Teaching Hospital where two other students are being treated, Eluwole pleaded with their parents to see what happened as a natural occurrence.

He, thereafter, informed the vice chancellor that the Gov. Adeleke pledged to bankroll all medical expenses that may be incurred in the course of the treatment of the students.

Responding, the vice-chancellor thanked the governor for being so kind and loving, stressing that his fatherly role to the students and the good people of Osun is commendable.

A torrential rain on Thursday morning, accompanied with a whirlwind affected a part of the ceiling of the Amphitheatre as it fell off and injured some students.

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Woman burns stepchildren’s hands for eating rice prepared for their father

The Adamawa State Police Command has arrested one Rachel Geoffrey, a 23-year-old woman and resident of Federal Housing Estate, Girei, for allegedly setting fire to the hands of her stepchildren.

The children, Genesis Geoffrey, seven years old: and Idadai Geoffrey, three years old, now have their affected hands bandaged.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Suleiman Nguroje, said in a statement that Rachel intentionally inflicted severe physical injuries on her stepchildren.

In the statement released Saturday, the police image maker said the incident occurred on Tuesday, May 14.

He said the children suffered several calculated acts of cruelty and human rights violations from their stepmother.

He explained that the children faced the wrath of the woman over a plate of rice she cooked and kept for her husband.

“The kids, because of hunger, ate their father’s food and that angered her. She then tied their hands with a handkerchief and set fire to them, resulting in the severe injuries they sustained,” Nguroje explained.

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