Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A licence to Kill?

The PREVIOUSLY unpublished now published report into the death of anti-fascist activist Blair Peach, a 33-year-old New Zealander, confirms one thing and one thing only; that the police, the great British bobby famous the world over for wearing a nipple shaped helmet is nothing more than the paramilitary force armed to the teeth, iron boot of the state, it’s that simple.

Here’s another sweeping statement; the British Labour Party is guilty of shaping the police forces’ of the state into the Robocop that has supplanted the image long time past ‘evening all’ lovely Dixon of Dock Green (Dixon of Dock Green was a popular BBC television series, which ran from 1955 to 1976) the East End copper who was everyone’s friend, except the petty criminals that old Dixon dealt with, this TV programme sold the lie for years that the Old Bill were all like Dixon, warm, paternal and frequently moralising for the good of the community you understand, and I suppose many a granny back in the day went to bed thinking the world was a safer a and better place.

I’ll have to be careful here for I’m slipping adrift from my intended argument, but then again propaganda of this type that was turned-out by the BBC like a tin of corn-beef which played its part in people’s perceptions and helped to keep the lid on things back then. There’s nothing new in this as the state used the force of propaganda in the new emerging cinema during the seconded world war to sell its message that workers must sacrifice and put their lives on the line for king and country, the one film that makes me more sick than anything in this regard was ‘In Which We Serve’, made in 1942 a British patriotic war film directed by David Lean and Noël Coward. It was made during the Second World War with the assistance of the Ministry of Information with the aim in my opinion to sell war to the population, a horrible revolting film.

I think amongst other things; I will explore the media and medium of entertainment used by the state for its propaganda purposes and aims in the future, as this warrants separate consideration particularly in the opening decade of the new millennium and the raging wars that are sold as crusades against terrorism at home and aboard.

So let me pick up the real thread of this post, and that’s the roll, purpose of the police in our society, this has for me been triggered off by the new news into the death of Blair Peach who was knocked unconscious in April 1979 during an Anti-Nazi League demonstration in Southall against a British National Front election meeting in the town hall. He died the next day in hospital from head injuries that he sustained. Fourteen witnesses said they had seen members of the Metropolitan Police Special Patrol Group (SPG) strike Peach. No one was ever charged, but it was suspected that he had been hit by a rubberised police radio. An inquest jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure in May 1980. Peach's girlfriend, Celia Stubbs, continued to campaign for many years for a public inquiry into his death.
The Metropolitan Police reports into the death of Blair Peach were made available to the public on 27 April, that’s yesterday and 31 years later – what a scandal!

Where will this leave the family of Ian Tomlinson killed by the police last year, will they have to wait 31 years, why should the police have a licence to Kill?
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Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The battle being fought out on the street and doorways of Poplar & Limehouse

Somali, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Caribbean people are among the dozens of communities that make up one of the most diverse boroughs in the country.

Tower Hamlets as far as I’m concerned is like no where else in Britain, a wonderful rich melting pot of colourful cultural diversity; and I relish every moment that I spend in the borough whether it’s shopping, looking for a bargain along Whitechapel Market or out for a curry in one of the many now famous curry houses that adorn the equally famous Brick Lane – actually I use a cheap no frills curry house on Fieldgate Street a stones-throw away.

My love affair with East London and particularly Tower Hamlets has lasted all of twenty-eight years and thankfully without any signs of abating or letting up if ever.

This is just such a place that if anything is going to happen then it will happen in Tower Hamlets, this really is a part of the East End were it’s inhabitants it’s people have a long tradition of organising themselves – to change their lives, improve their living standards, or working towards a radical overthrow of the social conditions they lived under, and dreaming/creating new ones…

The Peasants Revolt, Housing, Rent Strikes, Poplarism, the Match Girls, the Dockers Tanner (sixpence), Cable Street and Fortress Wapping have all been battles royal fought won or lost in this area and much, much more!

Now I didn’t intend this to be a history lesson, but the reader may feel the past as we consider the battle being fought out on the street and doorways of Poplar & Limehouse for the said and second parliamentary seat of Tower Hamlets, the first being Bethnal Green and Bow which I reviewed some two weeks ago, and on that point I must mention that I made an honest era in as much as I reported that Alexander van Terheyden was standing as an independent when in fact he is standing for the Pirate Party UK: Alexander posted a comment on this blog pointing out our misapprehension and we are very grateful to him for that.

Poplar and Limehouse are two famous names and locations in the past history of the Labour movement and its quest to represent working people whether in local government or in the ‘Palace of Varieties’ as Denis Skinner was found of calling the House of Common. Poplar of course the celebrated political home of George Lansbury and the Poplar Councillors, whilst Limehouse was the seat held by Clement Attlee the post-war 1945 Prime Minister; and one other significant figure that I would like to mention and who represented the area for many years was the late left wing MP Ian Mikardo, who once had the great honour of buying me a drink in the strangers bar of the House of Commons.

So here we are today in the last two weeks and closing in fast of a general election campaign that’s fought out for the first time on our Television screens through the live debates and out on the more traditional stump up and down the country, but tucked away in the East End Constituency of Poplar & Limehouse George Galloway is putting up the fight of his political life, he has moved over from Bethnal Green and Bow which he spectacularly won by ousting the Blair babe Oona King, (and as I have posted previously) but this time the gloves are off and the fight is between two Scots and strange that it seems in the East End of London. It was on his radio show that Galloway first announced that he would challenge Jim Fitzpatrick for his seat I think about two or three years ago and ever since there has been a war of words and put downs among the two. However Galloway has attempted to make and capitalise upon the so-called Wedding fiasco that started last August.

For those readers that don’t know the synopses of the story is as follows:

Barrister Bodrul Islam marriage celebrations to investment banker Mahbuba Kamali, and involved the invitation of 800 guests to their £25,000 reception and — as both families were staunch Labour supporters — amongst them was to be local Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick and his wife. But when he and his wife arrived at the London Muslim Centre and were told that men and women would be seated separately, they walked out. Not even a call from the groom's father guaranteeing a table for non-Muslims to sit together could tempt them back. Fitzpatrick then called a local paper to complain about the growing influence of the hard-line Muslim group, Islamic Forum of Europe, which he blamed for imposing segregation, this in turn set off a chain of media events and Galloway got hold of it and kicked the ball into the long grass. In the meantime Mr Islam the groom has defected from Labour and is standing as a council candidate for Respect, and his in-laws have switch their support to Tory candidate Tim Archer. I think that I should add that Mr Islam claims not to be a member of the Islamic Forum of Europe.

So there you have it a bitter battle fought with some real acrimonious punches being delivered by both Galloway and Fitzpatrick and I expect this to intensify during the next 10 days as the local campaigning enters its final home run, already we have seen sparks flying first Galloway is confronted at a local market by group he laid claim were Muslim extremists the Islam 4 UK Group, and on a visit in support of Fitzpatrick, John Prescott had a do with some local Tory’s who were subsequently arrested by the police one of them being a council candidate was shacked by his party.

The Labour Party has had the big guns tripping over to lend support to the Fitzpatrick the Prime Minister and Ed Miliband have been here, with Gordon saying of Fitzpatrick, “ he was once a fire–fighter and now a ‘fighter’.”

My own feeling is that there’s more than a fire burning here, I had a ride around the constituency the other day, just to see things for myself, and to try and get a feel of the atmosphere, some Asian shopkeepers and business had Galloway posters in their windows and I saw one property agency with a Fitzpatrick poster, not many Galloway posters being displayed in the windows of people living on the council estates, I counted more for Fitzpatrick, and then there weren’t that many, of course this isn’t an indication of anything. However I’ll tell you what is, the Tory’s have been plastering the place from day one with their posters non-stop, you know the billboards that Lord Ashcroft has forked out for, seen by literally thousands, and they or at least I feel will have an impact on the outcome of this seat.

Poplar and Limehouse is perhaps the most surprising seat on the Conservative target list, requiring a swing of just fewer than 6%, the same sort of figure as more obvious targets like Reading West, Ipswich or Stirling. It has arrived at this for two main reasons – firstly the rapid gentrification of the area surrounding Canary Wharf, and secondly the rise of Respect and the consequential splitting of the Labour vote.

The seat contains incredible extremes, from extreme deprivation in the north of the seat to the glimmering skyscrapers and posh dockside developments of Canary Wharf in the south (although even in the areas surrounding Canary Wharf there are still working class areas). Wards like Bromley-by-Bow are over 70% social housing, mostly Bangladeshi Muslims. In contrast in Millwall and Wapping there are large proportions of owner-occupiers or private renters, white young professionals looking to move near to Canary Wharf for reasons of employment.

Until 2004 the Conservatives had never held a single seat in Tower Hamlets. Even in the Labour rout of 1968 when the Conservatives swept to dominance in unlikely places such as Haringey, Hackney and Lambeth, they failed to take a single seat in Tower Hamlets. They gained a seat in a 2004 by-election and in 2006 took 7 seats on the council, including all on the Isle of Dogs once a stronghold of Labour, in contrast; the largely Bangladeshi northern part of the seat is a stronghold for Respect. Whether the seat remains a realistic target probably depends to a great deal on whether Respect taking a large slice of Labour’s traditional support then the danger is of course - letting the Tory in?
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Sunday, 25 April 2010

The University of Life...

As I start to compose my latest blog on Sunday post; thousands of participants, runners, joggers and serious athletes will be preparing to take off on the 29th London Marathon, and part of the course runs through my neck of the woods, in a manner of specking that is, roads will be closed, tourists and sight-seers will line the whole route encouraging, cheering them on to that finishing line with great applause.

When I was at school one of the spots activities that we were expected to do on a regular basis was a cross-country run, this never appealed to me in fact any sporting activity was a non-event a no-no that I wasn’t and as they say; going to have naught to do with! Why should I be made to run through the mud in the rain the cold and in the mist of winter; became an issue of rebellion for the young me!

Despite his best efforts the sports master, who was a former Grammar School PE instructor, never prevailed and I along with others were able to out manoeuvre him every time using all the tricks at our disposal such as forging letters from our parents, faking illness or playing truant when push came to shove, as it did when he entered me on the schools sports-day into the steeplechase a race of 3000 meters over a closed track with hurdles and a water jump, back then I thought that a steeplechase was better suited as a horse race, run over a cruel tortures and obstructed course, but it never beckoned me and I took the necessary steps to swerve from it’s watery delights.

The loneliness of the long distant runner has never been my approach in life, and neither has comporting competition.

I have always felt and from my own experiences of school life, that we are forced to compete against others, that somehow they tell us that competition and competitiveness is a good thing, that rules, regulation and laws make commonsense, do they? I don’t think so. I didn’t then and I don’t now!

That schoolmaster had a very bad habit, when he felt that a pupil needed disciplining he would reach for a size 12 plimsoll with its rubber sole and use it, of course this was back in the day when this sort of corporal punishment was permitted and when every teacher had a cane to stick us with as we used to call it, other example’s that come flooding back are of the woodwork teacher that used a metal ruler on the back of the legs or the swimming instructor who used a divers flipper to dish it out.

If experience be the teacher, then these are some of mine, and I remember socialist steelworkers telling me as a young man that to them the workshop floor was the University of Life.

The one thing about the London Marathon that none can abnegate, is that all the runners run together, many for charity and good courses that help out others in need, in a great many respects I think that’s how life and our relationship with one another in this our world should be, helping out our neighbours, not just next-door but on the other side of the world.

What we need is less of the rules that are imposed by the ruling class and their puppets in world governments, holding together their system of profit, which has only ever been for the benefit of the few, just one look at the Sunday Times rich list tells us that; the collective wealth of the country's 1,000 richest people rose by a staggering 30% last year and in the backwash of the worst economic crisis for many a decade to full upon the world workers, who create all wealth in the first place.

We need to not only ask ourselves, but all those around us, our families, our workmates and our friends, just one question; do you really think that voting for any of the Muppet's in the British general election will change a thing; and that will lead us to the next question what can we do about it?

A world for workers!
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Saturday, 24 April 2010

That’s why I’m not voting Labour!

When Tony Blair stood down some three years ago, one of the first places he came to visit, just to say thanks and goodbye was the London Borough of Newham. This was his and is still considered the flagship of Labour’s local controlled Authorities’.

Thatcher had Westminster and Dame Shirley Porter, so it was that Tony had Newham and Sir Robin Wales.
Just to refresh those yonder memories: Lady Porter, while leader of Westminster City Council managed the "Building Stable Communities" policy, later described as "homes for votes" scandal and was consequently accused of gerrymandering. The policy was judged illegal by the district auditor, and a surcharge of £27m levied on her in 1996. This was later raised to £42 million with interest and costs. She eventually settled in 2004, paying a full payment of £12.3 million.

Now I’m not connoting that Sir Robin Wales is in anyway a bent or dishonourable politician, far from it, but then again what ‘Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ depends on what you mean by bent, I do suppose.

As I have already mentioned in other posts covering these elections, Londoners will be voting in both the general and their local government elections come May 6. So in a way you could say that this is an election ‘bonanza’ for us Londoners, and just like the famous red bus that you’re waiting for patiently; suddenly along come two or in this case three, so come Election Day here in Newham, we will have three votes, we will be electing an MP, a Full Council and a Mayor.

Now I’ve already covered in these selected constituency election reviews, the West Ham parliamentary seat held by Lyn Brown, so now I propose to have a brief look at the other Newham seat of East Ham held by Stephen Timms, and then move on to the re-election bid of Sir Robin and a look at his career.

I think that the first thing that I should say is that East Ham is currently held as I say by Stephen Creswell Timms, Member of Parliament since 1994. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Labour Party, with particular responsibility for faith groups. Timms is presently the Financial Secretary to the Treasury. It is Timms' third time in the post, having been Financial Secretary between 1999 and 2001, and again between 2004 and 2005. So I suppose you could say that Timms is Gordon’s man at the Treasury keeping an eye on Darling.

                                                        Stephen Timms

In August 2009, he was given extra responsibility for "Digital Britain" In September, 2009; he subsequently announced plans for a tax of £6 per year to be levied on each land phone account in the UK. At the time, this was broadly thought of as a stealth tax in the UK media. Whatever one would call it, it remains a good example of New Labour forcing us to layout the cash only to see internet provider’s benefit from the profits that will be extracted from us in the years to come; something wrong here I think.
The constituency has the largest proportion of non-white people in the UK; a significant British Asian presents and as a result the RESPECT Coalition targeted it for the 2005 election, hoping to benefit from opposition to the Iraq war and invasion and taking second place, this time they are not standing for the seat so this will be a safe return for New Labour and Timms. Other than that Timms is a rather popular person not controversial, quite boring really so let’s move on to the Sir Robin.

Well the first thing to say about Sir Robin is that he’s a scot, but lets not hold that against him here in multicultural Newham the host borough of the 2012 Olympic games, and I must say a swore point is that for me, or Sir Robin’s part in it, I’m of course referring to my former home Clays Lane Housing Cooperative, which was taken away levelled flat so that some athletes would have a home for a few weeks, allegedly Sir Robin said that he intended to see the co-operative wiped of the face of the earth.

He currently sits on the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

It’s not just the Tory party that has some very smutty people in it: New Labour is not very far behind in them stakes; and Sir Robin is not an exception. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting the man although I’ve been in his presence a few times, lucky escape I suppose: for him not me!

A friend of Tony Blaire and Gordon Brown, Sir Robin Wales has often been described as a New Labour man through and through. He was elected Mayor of Newham in 2002, after seven years as leader of the council, the first Labour directly-elected Mayor in the country. He was re-elected in 2006, and so this will be if re-elected on May 6 his third term taking him into twenty years at the helm of Newham.

                                                  Sir Robin

Newham has seen many changes under Sir Robin’s stewardship, and I would argue not in the best interests of the pronominally working class population that has always made this a bastion and rampart of old East End Cockney Culture. Of course I can’t blame everything on Sir Robin, the decline of the Docks and old industries were well under way before he turned up on the ballot paper, nevertheless he has contributed to a quickening of that process.
I think that it’s impotent that we do understand what New Labour have been up too, not just in national but also local affairs, in fact working together servicing, doing the biding on capitalisms behalf. The Olympic Games is but one such example, it’s not about sport but about money and property development, as it has always been.

They have ripped apart working class communities, prostituting themselves running the so-called capitalist economy.

Turning their backs on the working people that built and fought to build a Labour movement; has been the story of the Labour Party.

As in our adjoining and neighbouring borough of Tower Hamlets, gentrification is the order of the day. The restoration of run-down urban areas by the middle class, resulting in the displacement of low-income residents, moved out of the borough.

In Tower Hamlets were the decanting of the working class has been ongoing for more than twenty years and by a Labour council, the result is the local council Tory free for years now has an active group in opposition, and even worst they are serous contenders for a parliamentary seat in the coming general election, but more about that latter in the week.

In time to come, I will endeavour to explain in more detail how the Labour party in Newham works and more importantly who they work for…It’s not the working class, if anything this was proven when Sir Robin bent over backwards trying to get a ‘supper casino’ built in Newham, and next month the operators bidding processes are supposed to be getting underway to chose who will run the "large casino" that will be allowed up to 150 slot machines and open in time it is hopped for the 2012 Olympics.

Newham is a deprived area, with much poverty and this is New Labour’s answer gambling.

And a spokesperson for Newham Council has said:

"We are committed to achieving the greatest regeneration benefit for local people by awarding the licence through an open and transparent process.

The Olympics and New Labour under Sir Robin have provided property developers large and small with a golden goose opportunity to make a killing, and yet Newham has 11.6% of dwellings unfit to live in. Compared to a London figure of 4.4% this indicates a big problem in the borough along with over 29,000 households on the council’s waiting list for housing.

And finally I could not possibly end this post without mentioning the astonishing attack levelled at the unemployed by Sir Robin, Knight of New Labour; just after he was re-elected 4 years ago, he said: that the people of Newham struggled to get out of bed by 11am as they were so used to being unemployed, that he was "sick" of seeing large numbers of people wasting their lives on unemployment or incapacity benefits.

It's the same the whole world over,

It's the poor that get the blame,

It's the rich that get the pleasure,

Ain't it all a bloody shame.

The true history of East London has been Docks closed, replaced first with decline and then redevelopments, often driven by profit, ignoring the interests of local people. In Docklands this process brought enclaves of luxury housing and office complexes. The cognitive operation that I call gentrification has claimed much of the East End for the middle class. Much of the Isle of Dogs, Limehouse, Wapping and Spitalfields, have changed beyond recognition. However, despite this, all is not lost, we can still stand and fight for our communities in the years that lie ahead, as the crises of capitalism worsens and people are downtrodden and ignored by their elected politicians such as Sir Robin Wales and New Labour, we must and can re-build first confidence and then resistance – yes, another world is possible!

That’s why I’m not voting Labour!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Second debate boring....

The second debate between the three party leaders screened and hosted last night by sky news, settled down and became what we anticipated a boring exercise. Many whose litmus paper was set alight by the excitement of the first debate may well have felt disappointed after last night’s offerings.

Clegg managed to maintain his performance, Brown got a laughed, and Cameron agreed with the prime minister…wow!
All the contestants, had improved their performances, a week at boot camp had indeed paid off along with improved personal appearances of haircuts and the attentive visual aspect of Cameron and Brown looking strait and directly into camera – not always such a pleasant sight!

Brian Hopper (In the Box) watched it on the box whilst Jim Lawrie listened to the exchanges on BBC radio, blow by blow not that there was much of that.

In the blink of an eye, polls released just after the second leaders' TV debate split the win between David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Clegg will be pleased he managed to weather yesterday's storm by maintaining his impressive poll levels, despite a clutch of damaging headlines about his views, upbringing and financial arrangements.

Mr Cameron will be glad to have improved on what was considered a calamitous performance last week, while Mr Brown's performance in the second debate is in general considered to be better than his first.

The state of the polls confirms that the election is still a three-donkey race.

A Populus poll for the Times saw Mr Cameron take a narrow victory of 37% over Mr Clegg's 36% - well within the margin of error. Mr Brown was on 27%.

A YouGov poll for the Sun also gave Mr Cameron a lead, with the Tory leader on 36% next to Mr Clegg's 32% and Mr Brown on 29%.

All other polls put the Lib Dems in first place.

A Guardian/ICM poll put Mr Clegg on 33%, while Mr Cameron was in joint second place with Mr Brown on 29%.

An Angus Reid poll put Nick Clegg on 33%, Mr Cameron on 32% and Mr Brown well behind on 23%.

Meanwhile, an ITV/ComRes poll put Nick Clegg on 33%, and Mr Cameron and Mr Brown both on 32%.

Post By: Brian Hopper (In the Box) and Jim Lawrie
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Thursday, 22 April 2010

The political elite threat the unemployed as persons afflicted with leprosy, a pariah who should be avoided by others!

Labour and Gordon Brown’s re-election bid was dealt a blow after it emerged that the number of long-term unemployed has nearly doubled in just two years.

Since 2008, the number of Britons unemployed for at least a year has rocketed from 390,000 to 726,000 - the highest level for 13 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The issue of unemployment has largely been ignored during the course of the general election campaign, and yet the curse of joblessness is a plague that has fallen on many houses with untold pain and consequences.

The political elite if anything have increasingly treated those of us who have or are experiencing a period on the dole, as persons afflicted with leprosy, a pariah who should be avoided by others!
This is borne out and carried forward in the disgusting poster, released this week by nasty Cameron and his Tories.

In just three months, an extra 89,000 people - or nearly 1,000 a day - have joined the queues in towns and cities forming up and down the land for work.
Last week during the leaders TV debate Gordon Brown said that his handling of the economy, had meant that we in Britain would not experience the same percentage of unemployment as say the USA or other nations suffering as a result of recession. Well the truth is that Gordon is talking old hat again, and you will not find one of his other opponents pull him up on this, simply because they all support the system that continues the pursuit of profit, that put’s greed before people, as it has always done.

Why do we allow this game of hangman to be played is the genuine question that I would like to ask, why do we put up with the fake and counterfeit politics of the three big players who will adorn our TV screens latter this evening?

The International Monetary Fund has warned that another 100,000 workers could lose their jobs this year and other economists fear that unemployment could rise even further to around three million next year, fuelled by job cuts in the public sector and further bloodshed in the private sector.

The capitalist system is failing like never before and at some point after the general election I predict that we will see the British working class vent their anger on the streets!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Is the bling about to fall off Clegg?

Is the pressure now on Nick Clegg following his first round win over the other party leaders in the debates that should be entitled ‘None Of Us Have Talent but Plenty of Bull?’

Well it seems that the pressure may just be starting to hit this young pretender.

Yesterday an elderly member of the Socialist Workers Party, which in itself say’s a lot about the SWP these day’s, was apparently rugby tackled down to the ground when he attempted to heckle Clegg. The report that I read said that one Andrew Fitton fell foul of a police community support officer (street name plastic pig) after shouting slogans about the Lib Dems supporting the Thatcher governments dismantling of the unions back in the day.

And as I said in my last post the Labour and Conservative Parties have started to attack the Lib Dems in the hope of pulling them back under the political blanket, kicking them towards the end of the Capitalist bed that they all divvy up in, but its not just the other leaders who are having a dig at poor old Clegg, for latter on the same day at a meeting with educatees, he apparently told a student heckler to ‘pipe down’. Politics student Chris Williams, 18 challenged Clegg for trying to portray himself as a ‘man of the people’ who was down with the workers’ who all the time had enjoyed the best in life a wealthy upbringing and was the son of wait for it – a banker. This young fiery dragon then added: ‘you went to private school and then on to Cambridge. So what really makes you any different from David Cameron?’

So I’m wondering is this political bling bling about to fall of Clegg?

Monday, 19 April 2010

A world for people...

My first post of the week and seeing its Monday is going to be a whinge, yes a whinge, not about the clouds of volcanic ash that hangs over these Islands, this land mass that is the United Kingdom. No I’m going to whinge about the political system and the general election.

Now the opinion poll which I’m sure that readers of this blog will know still give the LidDem that boost following the Nick Clegg effect, as he continues to reap the benefits of his performance on the live TV leadership debate.

YouGov last night put support for the party at 33%, 1% ahead of the Conservatives and ahead of Labour on 26%. This followed a BPIX poll yesterday that showed support for the LibDems at 32%, one ahead of the Conservatives on 31%, with Labour in third on 28%. It is the first time the party has been ahead since the SDP-LibDem Alliance of the 1980s.

So we can take it as read that the other two parties and their leaders will concentrate fire power on the LibDems in order to limit the damage to both, but lets be frank about the LibDems, they are no different, when you peel and strip the skin off the orange, you are left with a fleshy capitalist pinnacle of a suffice, they have been and will always be a pro-capitalist party, they lean left when it looks good to do so, but will home right when they are called too.

Nick Clegg can talk the talk but he won’t walk the walk, he will say that it’s time for something new because it’s politically expedient to do so, but in reality he has nothing new to offer but the continuation of the same old, same old! What’s really on offer from the three mainstream parties is continuance and continuity of the same system that fails deliberately to deliver to workers; they run the system in the interest of capital.

I was thinking about Cameron yesterday, he keeps harping on about change, its time for change and so on. The only thing we can say about the Tories is that if they win the election we will all be short changed for certain!

Labour are no better than the other two and I tell you why, for a party that was conceived and founded by the working class, it has made (micturated) our society more divided than ever it was, it has presided over record numbers living beneath the poverty line, millions are homeless or living in temporary sub-standard accommodation, that’s men, women and children, nothing short than a disgrace in our modern society. Now I’ve started, so let me finish saying what I think about New Labour.

When I say divided, what I mean is that the rich are much more better off than when Labour first came into office, and by a simple internet search you will discover that for yourselves, we are all the more poorer because they have introduced the minimum poverty wage, subsidising real wages with so-called tax credits, in other words allowing capital to make more profit out of our exploitation. They have unleashed a programme of legislation that will bleach the unemployed and force them to work for benefits full-time beneath the minimum wage, this can only be seen as a gift to the greedy bosses.

And if that wasn’t enough then let’s not forget the Bankers, the real cheats and swindlers they really are, holding up and doing the inside job on their own banks.

Let’s not forget about the police state we have become under New Labour, more surveillance more spied on by the state, civil liberties eroded.

Two men killed by the state, women beaten and battered by the blows of British policemen.

The wars, the lies and much, much more!

This general election is nothing more than a total farce, an insult to free-thinking people everywhere. I have been a Socialist all my adult life, because I love all human beings, the world that we all live in and so on, over the years I’ve become more and more fed-up with the leaders of all political parties, even with political parties themselves. I will never join again any political organisation, they are all the same, and they all end-up going the same way. We do need a new way of doing things, a different way in which we share what we all commonly have with each other. Why should the worlds resources not be the common heritage off all, why should a child or any human being for that matter, have to die because they don’t have the food or the medication at hand anywhere in the world.

Socialism has never been about control it has been about freedom, we need to fight for that and build a world for people and without the politicizing spoiling politicos’.

That time is coming comrades!
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Saturday, 17 April 2010

Blind Date or Sale of the Century

Both blog contributors started off watching the first ever live televised debate between the main UK party leaders, but it was only Brain Hopper (In the Box) that stayed the course, Jim said that it was too much to belly for him, and the telly was very lucky that it didn’t get flung out of the window. However he subsequently viewed it again in full on YouTube in order that we jointly compile this post.

Well the first observation that we both noticed, was the studio audience being predominately well healed middle England types, of the middle age variety, hardly any young people except for the young school student who presented the education question. All the leaders were suited and booted, probably new suits with ties that represented party colours, we noticed that Gordon Brown was wearing a pink tie, a soft colour that didn’t upset we suppose middle England. Looking back it did seem like a beauty contest for politicians, and the feel of Blind Date or Sale of the Century.
An average of 9.4 million people tuned in to see Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown go head to head, making it the most-watched show of the day - beating even Coronation Street which immediately preceded it.

It had more viewers than the other four terrestrial channels combined at that time.

However, despite the historic nature of the event, it proved to be less of a crowd-puller than the live episode of EastEnders earlier this year which drew nearly six million more, with an average of 15.3 million.

The economy was clearly seen as a key subject by all three leaders. Cameron attacked Labour's plans to raise National Insurance contributions, warning that they would cost jobs. He also said Mr Brown was content to continue to waste money for another year before tackling the deficit.

Brown countered by suggesting that taking money out of the economy now would run the risk of a "double dip" recession, and raised the spectre of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Clegg accused his opponents of being obsessed by the idea that the deficit could be tackled by removing waste from the public sector. He said the problem could not be addressed by cutting the bill for "paper clips and pot plants in Whitehall."
This was indeed Nick Clegg’s big moment he knew the evening presented him with a golden opportunity to gain mass public exposure on an equal footing with his Tory and Labour counterparts.

He made no attempt to side with either of his opponents, at one point during a debate on education policy commenting that: "The more they attack each other, the more they sound exactly the same."

Mr Clegg attacked the Conservatives for promising to balance the books, introduce tax cuts and pump funds into the NHS, and said Labour had failed on immigration and law and order.

He was by far the best performer (not content) out of all the three, and this has been reflected in the latest crop of opinion polls putting his party second with the Tory Daily Telegraph calling Clegg the new Barack Obama.
The Sun/You Gov poll on Saturday morning is the first proper national post-debate opinion poll. Its results are utterly detonating. It shows the Conservatives on 33% (down 4% from the last YouGov), the Liberal Democrats on 30% (up 8%) and Labour on 28% (down 3%).

Meanwhile back on the floor in Scunthorpe Brian say’s many people that he had spoken too since, have said they watched part of the debate then turned it off. In Newham Jim say’s he hasn’t as yet found anyone who watched it at all.

At the end of week one, we are still looking at a hung parliament.

Post By: Jim Lawrie and Brian Hopper or In the Box

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The three arse-lickers of British Capitalism

One week into the general election and the nation now awaits the first TV debate to be broadcast live this very evening. The three main party leaders go head to head in this historical event that may or may not turn the electorate on or off, with opinion pollsters still predicting a close race and a hung parliament, it remains to be seen what impact the debate has. I can imagine that tomorrow’s newspapers will be churning-out what they would like us to think as usual.

The debates themselves must be a god send to the establishment parties whose members have in recent years left in droves and swarms. It says a great deal about the state we are in when you consider that many young people do not engage in politics as they did 30 years ago.

I have decided after all that I will watch the debate this evening, and so will be digging out my old TV set during the course of the day, setting it up with a coat-hanger servicing as an areal and hopping that the TV licencing people don’t call around.

My only interest is one solely of fastidious curiosity and intrigue, which I know killed the cat, but I want to try and savour this occasion and just observe the three arse-lickers of capitalism in action!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

All for the love of money...

Of course there is nothing new in business's backing political parties in the world of mainstream politics, they use their excess and surplus profits to buy into and influence the political agenda for their own ends. The so-called entrepreneurs and captains of industry (what’s left of them in the UK) have recently been falling over each other, only too willing to sign letters in support of Conservative policies, and yet they and their Banking sponsors are responsible for the economic mess that has slung millions out of work not just in the UK but throughout the world, with such consequences leading to homelessness and grinding poverty.

Michael Anthony Ashcroft, or better known simply as Lord Ashcroft and his millions comes to mind, with an estimated fortune of £1.1 billion he is a major donor to Conservative Party, his cash being used to fund the election campaigns of Tory candidates he has chosen personally to support in marginal constituencies up and down the country.

And then only today it’s been revealed that Alan Sugar has donated £400,000 to the Labour Party. Now Lord Sugar after he was appointed enterprise tsar has said the money was to help with ‘campaign costs’ - Oh yes Sugar, why not pull the other one it has bells on it!

Years ago in Scunthorpe a millionaire businessman who ran a string of butcher shops was for a long time a leading councillor for the Labour Party, until he fell out and joined the SDP winning and retaining for many years a handful of seats on the council, now this guy was very clever, he used his business to promote his politics, by producing carrier bags with the SDP logo printed on them, a customer would go into one of his shops purchase some meat and then walk around the town advertising the SDP, needless to say this soon got up the nose of the local Labour Party, who in turn reported this to the electoral commission. However the millionaire businessman was able to get off the hook by explaining that SDP merely stood for ‘special discount prices’.

So as we can see, if you have enough money then you may be able to make the world go around, and especially if you’re a capitalist with plenty of wedge!
William Hill the bookmakers have become the first business to sponsor a political party, they are backing the Monster Raving Loony Party, which will add the Hill name to its own, so in this election they will be known as the Monster Raving William Hill Loony Party.
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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Barking the possible abyss of political hell!

Now when I think about it I feel like, well, a squashed fried chip butty. What I mean is that I live in the London Borough of Newham and on ether side of me are the London Borough’s of Tower Hamlets and Barking and I’m sandwiched between the two.

During the course of these elections, both local and national in London, it could be that we see some new political developments in these very locations. For instance Respect will be defending their foothold of an MP and gains they made on the local Tower Hamlets Council 4 years ago, that’s 12 councillors given one or two defections over the last couple of years to both the Labour and Conservative groups, they have a real fight on their hands. However in Barking and Dagenham the BNP is already the official opposition and only needs 20 or so more councillors to take overall control of its first-ever council. It’s almost midway there, currently holding 15 seats.

Then add to that the manifestation and in the persona of BNP leader Nick Griffin challenging for the Barking parliamentary seat, currently held by the hapless Margaret Hodge. Do you begin to see my chip butty scenario?

So far the electoral successes of the BNP have still left them on the margins of influence even though they won two seats in the European Parliament last year and a seat on the London Assembly two years before that, but if they gain control of a London borough this would not only provide them with control of a budget of hundreds of millions of pounds, but it would also allow them to implement some of their deeply racist and repugnant policies. I cannot postulate the sequence of possible events to come during this election or its consequential aftermath, but let’s say that this possesses the makings of a very grave accent in to the possible abyss of political hell, a place of pain and turmoil if the BNP were to make a major breakthrough here, with very serous consequences not just for the people of Barking but for us all!
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Monday, 12 April 2010

Labour fiddling MPs get legal aid...

You couldn’t make this up, even if you wonted too. But I’ve just learnt that the three Labour MPs accused of fiddling their parliamentary expenses have been awarded publicly-funded legal aid to pay for their defence in their upcoming court cases.

Elliot Morley, David Chaytor and Jim Devine all face criminal charges of false accounting over claims they made for mortgage payments, rent and other services.

They deny the accusations.
Media reports said the trio's legal costs could cost as much as 3 million pounds.

The only thing I’ll say; is this won’t bode well for New Labour in Scunthorpe where Morley held the seat, and I can see the Tory taking it come the election!
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The future is still for socialism

The Door out of Darkness into the Light

Disappointments, I think should never stand in our way, even whilst the last hundred years and more of working class struggle has left capitalism firmly in power.

We know that Labour governments did not enact socialism, but has gone from trying to reform capitalism, to running the system on its behalf and all too often were indistinguishable from intentionally pro-capitalist governments, especially during the last 13 years of New Labour.

I have known of many who have felt deserted and betrayed, dropping out and burying their heads hoping that our problems will somehow disappear, the thing is they won’t!

As New Labour unveils their election manifesto later today, we the true socialists in the world should resolve to never ever give up the struggle, now is not the time to give up opposing capitalism. What we need is clearer thinking and a more genuinely honest revolutionary organisation built throughout the world for real change. I say that because capitalism is a world system and has to be defeated and replaced globally.

If ever Marx’s analysis was proved correct it is now. This is no time to cast aside Marxian analysis.

Capitalism is in a global crisis. The international market is in a condition of anarchy which is beyond the control of governments or economists.

As well as increasing world poverty, mass unemployment and wars, the system faces widespread environmental destruction, the growth of the racist virus, uncontrollable urban violence as we have seen recently here in Britain. If this is not a system in need of total abolition, then what else is there to do with it?

Reforming capitalism is a waste of time. The only way is out of it – to a new, untried social system.

Global production for profit must be replaced by production solely for use. The ownership of society’s productive resources by the super-rich minority must give way to common ownership. The dictatorship of capital, its control over all are lives, must give way to democratic control. These are not new ways of running capitalism. These are way of running a sane society without capitalism.

Now, as ever, the socialist alternative cannot be imposed by leaders or legislated for gradually by reformers. The revolutionary act of overthrowing capitalism and establishing socialism must be the conscious and democratic act of the working class: the vast majority of us who do not live on rent, interest or profit.

The future belongs to the working class majority throughout the world.
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Sunday, 11 April 2010

Can Abjol Miah and Respect hold Bethnal Green and Bow?

George Galloway has always depicted Tower Hamlets as the home grounds of Respect, the party he co-founded just before the last general election and then going on to famously win the Bethnal Green & Bow seat from the Blair babe Oona King, with a respectable 823 vote majority on a 26.2% swing from Labour. At this election Galloway is contesting the other Tower Hamlets seat of Poplar and Limehouse, but more about that latter in the week.

Just before I consider the runners and riders, which I suppose sounds a bit like Saturdays line up for the Grand National, a little history or rather a bit of reminiscence on my part may help to project a localised view.

Oona King replaced the long-standing Peter Shore in 1997. She won the seat and did so again in 2001.

In the 1980s I was the treasurer of that constituency party and got to know Peter very well, he was a leading figure in the governments of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan and a much respected local MP, a former Cabinet Minister, noted in part for his opposition and resistance to the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community. He was described in an obituary by the Conservative journalist Patrick Cosgrave as "Between Harold Wilson and Tony Blair. Peter was the main author of the 1964 Labour Party manifesto. Despite our many differences, I got on with Peter very well and I was very sad when he passed away in 2001.

East London has been both a cradle and birthplace of Labour movement history, and the area we know today as Tower Hamlets has played such a big part in that development that I suppose quite easily of workers' associations and political organisations, I could rattle on about the history it has been witness too. But time and space, plus it would divert me from the main object of this post and that’s the consideration of what will be a hotly contested fight for this seat, and we can expect to see some real fireworks as the campaign rolls on in the weeks that lie ahead.

As I have said this inner-city constituency was a Labour seat from 1945 to 2005, the question is will Labour regain it on May 6 or will Respect hold on to it?

Following British involvement in the invasion of Iraq, an action deeply unpopular with the Muslim community in the constituency but nevertheless supported by Oona King, the newly formed Respect coalition gained ground and support. They topped the poll in Tower Hamlets in the 2004 European Parliamentary elections and subsequently won their first local council seat in a by-election. In the May 2005 general election, the seat was won by former Labour MP George Galloway, one of Respect's leading figures. Respect also won seats in the 2006 local council elections although its performance was not as strong as many observers believed it could have been.

George Galloway has attracted much criticism for his lack of attendance at Parliament, especially when he appeared in the reality TV programme Big Brother.

In September 2007, the Respect party selected Abjol Miah, the leader of the Respect Group on Tower Hamlets Council as their candidate to replace George Galloway in Bethnal Green and Bow. He has worked in the local area as a radio presenter, drugs worker and martial arts trainer. My own experience of Abjol is that I’ve found him to be a very nice guy and a hard working councillor, but my concerns are that he is supported by a cartel of Brick Lane Ruby Murray (rhyming slang for curry) business men, some of them very rich indeed.

The other candidates are as follows Rushanara Ali (Labour) Educated at Oxford University. Associate Director of the Young Foundation. Formerly worked in Home Office and as an assistant to Oona King.

Ajmal Masroor (Liberal Democrat) Broadcaster and production consultant. Selected as Lib Dem PPC for West Ham prior to the last election, but stood down shortly before the close of nominations after being criticised for posting on the Muslim Public Affairs Committee forum.

Farid Bakht (Green)

Alexander van Terheyden (independent)

Paul Davies (Communist League) factory meat cutter.

This is an East End seat dominated by poverty, unemployment and racial tension. The area has a long history of immigrant communities, racial conflict and radical politics, being home to Huguenots, Jews and now the Bangladeshi immigrant community. The West of the constituency is undergoing gentrification, with rising house prices in Spitalfields, and the galleries and artists of Whitechapel becoming increasingly fashionable. Despite this the seat remains one of the most deprived in the country, the outcome of the contest will be interesting, and I will be reporting any news when and as it happens.

Cigarette Paper of Difference

Well here we are then, Sunday 11 April 2010 and in the mist of a general election campaign. The question posed is which capitalist party will be running slave ship UK after the 6 May poll?

The vote has been described as one of the most unpredictable for many years, with a hung parliament considered likely. Gordon Brown has sought or resorted to play on voters’ fears over Britain’s economic future, stating that he was a steady pair of hands to guide the country through its financial troubles. He claimed that he was “one of a team” of experienced politicians, adding that Britain’s economic recovery should not be endangered by a vote for the Conservatives.

Labour’s differences with the Conservatives are only ones of scheduling. At the present moment Brown counsels continued government spending in the short term to guard against a so-called “double dip” recession.
But with a budget deficit of close to 12 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Labour has committed itself to reducing the gap by 50 percent in the lifetime of the next parliament, which will call for deep spending cuts. Although it has sought to keep such plans under wraps until after the election, estimates suggest that a spending reduction of this magnitude would require departmental budget cuts of between 10 and 20 percent over the next four years.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are seeking to disguise the inevitable programme of cuts to which both parties are committed too.

Conservative leader David Cameron claims to stand for the “great ignored” in British society, the law abiding taxpayer. The attempt to repackage differently his party as more “compassionate” and “caring” has been a never-ending theme of Cameron’s leadership. In the last days he has centred on the message of a “modern” Conservative party, which could offer voters “hope, optimism and change.”

George Osborne, the prospective chancellor in a Tory administration, denounced a Labour plan to increase national insurance contributions by 1 percent from employers, saying spending cuts should be favoured over tax hikes.

Similar views were expressed in a letter signed by business leaders, and now I’ve lost count of how many more support them along with the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), previously viewed as sympathetic to New Labour. I suppose you could say that the Tories are back on track as the favoured party of capitalism.

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), in a report released to coincide with the start of the election campaign, urged that any incoming government shift the burden of state debt away from business and onto the backs of low-paid workers by increasing the levels of indirect taxation.

So what we have in fact is two different ways of cutting the deficit and government debt that will amount to the same thing, we the workers will pay for the mess of the capitalist system, proving that a cigarette paper stands between Labour and the Conservatives.

In any hung parliament, the Liberal Democrats could be called upon to enter a coalition with one of the main parties to secure a majority. Apart from several minor reforms to parliament and the call for abandoning the UK’s first-past-the-post electoral system, the Liberals are virtually indistinguishable from Labour and the Conservatives, with party leader Nick Clegg calling for “savage cuts.”

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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Battleground Newham

Not so much a Battleground as a straight walk back to those lush green benches of Westminster is indeed the best description to describe this election campaign for the two Newham representatives of New Labour seeking re-election in the 6 May poll.

I received my first election communication from Lyn Brown the New Labour candidate yesterday, billing herself as the local voice working hard for West Ham at Westminster, with a big scary smiling Lyn Brown on the front page, which I thought was an extraordinary and terrible waste of leaflet, but then again it fits the self-seeking culture of this New Labour type.

Lyn Brown replaced the late Tony Banks when he retired, a former local councillor and I wouldn't say that she has been an effective MP for the people of Newham, she says that she has lived all her life in Newham and yet Lynn Brown's unreasonable usage of the second home allowance until May 2009, despite her constituency being only a few miles from Westminster weakened her popularity and I do suppose you could say that this is one little piggy that will be able to return to the trough.

With a population of around 124,000, West Ham is a district of the London Borough of Newham in London. West Ham lies east of Chairing Cross and west of East Ham, bordering with its new added wards the Royal Victoria Docks to the south.

Following the review of parliamentary representation, the Boundary Commission for England added the Canning Town and Custom House wards that were previously in Poplar and Canning Town. The constituency of West Ham covers parts of the western half of Newham, including the areas of West Ham, Forest Gate, Plaistow, Stratford, Maryland and Upton Park.

The added wards of Canning Town and Custom House, which neighbour many Dockland developments, are typified by a loose and disseminated urban structure, with poorly defined public spaces and a confused and bewildered layout of suburban streets, harbouring deep poverty, high unemployment and social inequality.

Canning Town my manor as the old East End saying goes, is beginning to show and develop signs of breakdown; only yesterday I observed three separate fights between individuals in broad daylight out on or near Barking Road, which is the main road that runs through the area with its array of rundown shops. The Security guard at the local Iceland supermarket is kept busy in the constant war waged against the poor shoplifter forced into pilfering as a means to an end. Things are so bad that the police are on constant stand by in the event of a major outbreak of trouble and violence especially from youth gangs.

The constituency of West Ham has been one of the fastest growing in recent years. West Ham has become a largely Afro-Caribbean and Asian community and with 35% of residents born outside of the UK. In 2001 Tony Banks secured 70% of the votes cast and his Majority was 15,645.

During the 2005 election and the first outing of Lyn Brown, that Majority was cut dramatically to 9,801 when Respect stepped into the breech putting up a candidate and achieving a remarkable swing from Labour to Respect of 19%. Sadly the much publicised fractional split of Respect will mean that Lyn Brown and New Labour will have a very clear run here this time, but what will be interesting is to see how many people who will decide to abstain this time?

I will be writing and reporting more about East Ham as the election campaign proceeds’. 

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Hung Parliament...

I've just read that Clare Short has said and thinks that a Hung Parliament, would be a good thing for the country. Short said the Labour Party had "considerably lost its way" and Parliament was "broken". Short is not standing in the election and the former international development secretary who quit the Labour party over the Iraq war and sat as an independent is leaving Parliament after 27 years as an MP.
Muddying the waters or is this just bitterness on her part, or both?

"The Labour party has considerably lost its way. The state of the Commons is terrible. No one goes in the chamber.
"Everything is guillotined. You can't get any time to make a substantial speech. Nobody listens to anybody. It's miserable.
"It's in very bad shape, this Parliament, as we leave.
"I think a hung Parliament would be terribly good for us because it would bring some power back to the chamber."

Friday, 9 April 2010

So what’s Parliament?

During the next week, I will attempt to look at some battleground constituencies’ in the coming general election, particularly in London and here in the east end. I will examine some of the issues local and national on the ground and running during this general election. So to start off I would like just to remind myself more than anything what Parliament is all about.

Parliament is a capitalist institution in the first place used by the up-and coming capitalist class (in Britain from the 17th century onwards) to seize political control from the backward-looking landed (gentry) elements left over from feudalism. It was never intended to represent all the people, but only those who owned property. However, over time, as a result of rivalries within the owning class and pressure from the disfranchised property less majority, the right to vote was extended until today universal male and female suffrage is the norm.

Today, in fact, the capitalist class of rich owners of the means of production control the state apparatus – rule – via universal suffrage and parliament. This means they have to get the formal agreement, at election times such as this time. This is not too difficult since most people are soaked with capitalist ideas and see or think of no alternative to the present-day, capitalist society with its class ownership, production for profit, working for wages and rationing by money. Parliament in its present form keep the system tacked together.

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