Monday, 31 May 2010

Reflections 4 - What, they call it democracy?

And finally here is the conclusion to my refection series following on from the general election, and let’s see now, oh yes, New Labour replaced by a Tory/LibDem coalition.
One shooting star from this mingling of saliva to come a cropper, and quit quickly is of course David Laws, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, or rather he was! He resigned on 29 May 2010, fewer than three weeks into the job, following an expenses investigation by the Daily Telegraph newspaper. He is Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Yeovil, and what I would call a blue Liberal.
Now it’s interesting this accommodation that LibDem’s have with the Tories, and I don’t know why anyone should be surprised at this co-habitation, after all they share the same DNA as the Tories and some Labourites; in as much as they all support the holy capitalist cow!

I never took much notice of Laws, before he was propelled to the Treasury, and charged with using the hatchet-mans axe to cut the so-called deficit, which the coalition government says are needed to get Britain's structural deficit under control, and his departure is said to be a real blow to the Cameron collaborative coalition. Just weeks into office we really do have a good view of the privileged class that have taken the rains of government; how reviling it was that Laws is said to be one of the richest men in the House of Commons, following a career as an investment banker, becoming a Vice President at JP Morgan from 1987 to 1992 and then Managing Director, being the Head of US Dollar and Sterling Treasuries at Barclays de Zoete Wedd. So obviously when he had made enough cash and retiring from the city at the age of 28 pursuing what he would have simpletons’ believe was a calling into politics. There can be no mistake about this young mans real allegiance of sovereign loyalty; to the banks the city and capitalisms continuation.

And here’s the joke: he took over Paddy Ashdown's seat in Yeovil in 2001. Ashdown reportedly suspected him of being a Conservative mole in the party.

As we now know, Laws was a member of the negotiation team which worked out the deal with the Tories. His presence in the Treasury was, for George Osborne, something like manna from heaven, and he said:

"It was as if he had been put on earth to do the job that was asked of him."

The outpouring of grief from prominent Tories in regard to the demise of Laws is amazing, led by the Prime Minister and right-wingers such as Iain Duncan-Smith, who was forced out as Conservative leader five years ago, told a BBC television inquirer that Mr. Laws was “a thoroughly decent person” who had enormous talent and deserved a chance to return to public life. But his ascent has came to an abrupt end — or suspension, and it’s notable that admirers in all three major parties said they hoped he would return to government, a development that some thought could come within months?

What, they call it democracy?

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The dispossessed...

Whist still comparatively fresh in my mind: I thought it would be a good idea to report on the recent developments in regard to the police operation that’s been ongoing here in Canning Town and for the last few months. Now I can’t say what exactly the police operation is or what it’s really about as I’m not privy to the finer details of that information, but as I reported in my last post on this subject the police have been targeting young people and street drinkers, the latter is not a very good description of people who partake in a social drink with their friends basically outside on the street, and that’s not to say that they are alcoholics or anything like that! I suppose I’m using the same words (stereotype) that the police and others use when attaching a label and creating a stigma or more to the point symbol of disgrace or infamy.
When I look at it this way; I begin to see how easy it is for the powers that be, to divide and rule, that’s locally and nationally!
Sometimes I think that sections of our society are treated as if they were low hanging fruit to be cut away and disgracefully brushed aside. It happens all the time, and it’s not a question of people not fitting in or a rebellion to conformity, but rather a culture stocked and increasingly practiced whereby many are relegated to the lower echelons and marginalised. I see this all the time, it intrigues me like a clandestine love affair, and I need to discover and lean more.
During the last year; I’ve made friends with some very remarkable people, they are my neighbours in as much as they domiciliate and live in Canning Town; mostly middle aged male’s although Raymoss is a 74 year old pensioner from St. Lucia. Now I’ve mentioned Raymoss because I can’t really proceed without putting some names to my friends and describe their recent experiences. Raymoss is but one of a group of seven close friends, who regally meet up for a drink and a chat on the streets around Canning Town and have done so for about five years, they are all local and live in their own council accommodation; all are unemployed or in the case of Raymoss retired. Now I’m not going to hide the fact that two of them have a drink dependency problem, and I know that one in particular Dave, would tell you that freely, but that apart, they never give rise to; or cause anyone a problem, in fact Dave and Raymoss are both well liked and loved by many who live in Canning Town and of the times that I’ve spent in their company I’ve heard people greet and acknowledge them with such complementary esteem and respect.

They have their little fallouts, as friends often do, but it never last long and it’s soon swept under the carpet and forgotten as they truly treasure friendship and togetherness, they really are such personalities, and I’ve had many a memorable laugh at their banter and antics, sometimes the manifestation of laughter has been almost painful and yet still joyful. It always amazes me how working class people in the face of poverty, deprivation and want still manage to find comedy and humour raising sprits.

The thing is that this band of friends (and as I’ve posted previously)has fallen foul of the long arm of the Metropolitan Police and Newham Council, and a concerted effort to get them off the streets, using the pretext of ante-social behaviour and street drinking. It started a few months ago when a team of Police Support Officers were billeted in an office in Canning Town tube station and began to patrol the area calling by and targeting the group, at first just an introductory or getting to know you visit, and then they stated to take names and addresses and issuing tickets, Dave holds the record 15 to his name. I think that I should say that the PSOs have always been polite and courteous whenever in engagement with the lads, and that respect has worked both way and always!

However last week that rapport of mutual understanding or trust and agreement between the two sides broke-down when on a hot-late afternoon the PSOs accompanied by four police officers swooped on them, and I mean swooped as in a military manoeuvre or naval tactic in order to secure an advantage in attack. I had myself just returned to Canning Town, and spotted my friends sitting on the wall of a raised green on the Barking Road and as is my usual custom, went over to see how they were, so I became part of the swoop, as the raptorial bird swooped down on its prey.

They approached us from three different directions, hats off so as not to give their game the chance of escape they pounced on us, although we did spot them coming, nevertheless they must have been disappointed to discover that none possessed a drink or even had a drink that day, still this didn’t stop them from taking names and details, checking criminal records and yes, issuing us with tickets.

Now I initially started this post at the start of this week, but unfortunately, tragedy hit this group of friends when on Tuesday an acquaintance collapsed and died of a hart attack following a drug related incident, the news of which has left everyone gutted and I haven’t really felt very much inspired to write anything, and whilst trying to be supportive towards my friends, shock set-in, any life taken through the use of drugs legal (alcohol) or otherwise is a waste, and that the realty is always others are left with the pain and grieving to deal with; such as the grief-stricken Mother or his young Teenage-Daughter just for starters!

I will wright more about this after a respectable period of time.

When I chew over the week that just was, more than ever do I conclude that the stuffing that holds people together, that holds community together, is falling apart, forget that imbecile of a Prime Minister and his broken Britain strumpet of trollop!

If Britain is broken, then the incriminating evidence points to the 1979 general election, it points to the 1997 election and New Labour. Between the two parties of capitalism and now we see not surprisingly; the Lib/Dems join in the kicking; that workers are getting. They between them all’, have taken, broken or sold off that which sustained the majority. Shipbuilding, Mining, Car-Manufacturing and Steelmaking all broken or gone!

I think that just over 30 years ago, you would find people like my friends working in shipbuilding, mining, car-manufacturing and steelmaking – all broken and gone, that’s why I see my friends now standing on the street!
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Saturday, 22 May 2010

There's one law for the rich and another for the poor the world over!

I enjoy nothing better than getting up early in the morning, banging on the old kettle, making my first early morning brew and tuning into BBC Radio 4; it really is a great time to get a handle on current affairs; and there is none other better or superior for information than honest-to-goodness Radio 4.

This morning one story and quite a little gem I thought, caught and grabbed my attention.

The Latvian government and police have been investigating for months a security breach. Apparently a hacker has managed to hack into government computers and then leaking data about the finances of banks and state-owned firms to the press and Latvian TV.
Using the alias "Neo" - a reference to The Matrix films – he has exposed and successfully; those cashing in on the recession in Latvia.

Before I proceed with this story it may be helpful to provide some background about Latvia for those of us that don’t know a great deal about this country which lies in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia, to the south by Lithuania, to the east by the Russian Federation, and to the southeast by Belarus, across the Baltic Sea to the west lies Sweden.

With a population of 2.24 million Latvia is one of the least-populous members of the European Union, and its population has declined since 1991.
In the global financial crisis Latvia has been hardest hit of the European Union member states, with a GDP decline of 26.54% in that period. Per Capita its GDP is only 57.3% of the EU average, making it one of the poorest member-states. In 2009, Latvia underwent a tempestuous change of government, and as a result, the country is facing renewed political instability.

After posting Europe's highest growth figures just a few years ago, the Latvian economy almost collapsed. It shrank at over a 10 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2008 and the country's credit rating, already the lowest in the Baltics, was cut to junk status. The government like the Greeks, strapped for cash, petitioned international financial institutions for aid and then introduced stringent austerity program, cutting some public expenditures to the bone, in return for the bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Then there are the banks, many from Scandinavia, which have provided in the good times plenty of easy credit, then when the tide turned and the capitalist greed bubble like elsewhere in the world collapsed and (proving that the problem is global) moved to collect on debts gone bad, hammering the poor and least well off yet again! So not surprisingly last year in January, an initially peaceful gathering of some 10,000 descended into rioting when, protesters attacked police and looted stores. In December 2008 the Latvian unemployment rate stood at 7%.By December 2009, the figure had risen to 22.8% today it stands at 24%. The number of unemployed has more than tripled since the onset of the crisis, giving Latvia the highest rate of unemployment growth in the EU.

So is it any wonder that ‘Neo’ brings forth the truth; that obviously hurts the mights that run our lives and society on behalf of capitalism. They say that sticks and stones break bones but words never hurt, unless it’s the words and information that some in world governments, would rather keep hidden from their people.

The Latvian authority’s unmasked and arrested ‘Neo’ on Tuesday 11 May, and it has since been reveled that Ilmārs Poikāns, 31 of Riga, was the man behind the hack that has been obsessively followed  on Tweeter. Poikāns hacks reveled through tax records of Latvia’s political and business elite. That whilst Teachers, Doctor’s, Nurses and other workers were taking pay cut’s and in some cases up to 70%, bankers and other top executives of municipal companies received huge monthly salaries — 4,000 lats (€5,700) and higher — while enormous bonuses, including 16,000 lats (€22,500) while as I say employees took wage reductions in light of budget cuts.

This proves that old adage taken as true, one law for the rich and another for the poor!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Reflections 3 and a bit!

Continuing, on from my last ‘Reflections’ post, which is here for those who may have missed it.

I was looking back to the promising start made some 15 years ago now, by the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) and stopped at the 1997 general election and the bid made by Brian Hopper standing in Scunthorpe. If I remember correctly Brian won 399 votes, which when all is said and done was quite a good result considering his limited resources, but it was a good campaign and, I know that for both Brian and myself we will always have the satisfaction that the right thing to do then, was swim against the New Labour incoming tide.

Now I consider, that it’s fair to say; that the SLP achieved its best results in that general election, after which unfortunately, it began to slide down hill.
And alas; one of the problems that has always dogged the left has been that descent into acrimony, disagreement and divergence. I remember a trip to Barnsley, and a meeting we had with Arthur Scargill in his Camelot office whereupon, Arthur produced a copy of a fringe left newspaper, which had subsequently been knocking his leadership style. I’ve too much respect and along with the fact it being years ago, to be critical of Arthur and have a pop at him in this post, but still over the years, many tales and narratives have been relayed about the undemocratic nature of the SLP all contributing to it’s fringe position that it now occupies on the left atlas. It had the opportunity, possibility and the chance but in the end; it failed!

During the 13 year period of New Labour we have seen the attempts; by the left to build an alternative electoral party that’s left of Labour; and they have all failed and fell apart one after the other. I’m not going to name them or even remotely attempt to engage in sectarian comrade bashing, this really serves no purpose whatsoever. However I would like to say that experience should be our guide and teacher, that we should learn the lessons of our past; in order that we face and forge ahead steadily building a new movement; not a political party, but a united new movement to end ‘World Capitalism’ as a system.

Why after a defeat do we run around; like chickens in a slaughtering house?

In this election just gone, we were not defeated, we were divided, and the parties of capitalism; this time being the Tories and Liberal Democrats; with there vested capitalist and ruling class interests, walked all over us. It’s that simple!

The world 13 years on is a very different place, the crisis of the capitalist system, it’s economic and environmental damage threatens every man, women and child on the planet, and as I write this post I realise; without any sign along the road of letting up!

The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with 40,000 barrels a gushing out and onto the sea floor killing and destroying habitats of hundreds of species of wildlife. The threatened area encompasses the coasts of four states: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, which contain significant areas of fragile swampland. Any potential damage is likely to be exacerbated by the timing of the event, which has occurred during the spawning season for fish and the nesting season for birds and scientists are worried that once the plumes of oil rise closer to the surface, where they can be digested by aerobic bacteria, they will deplete the oxygen in the surrounding water and create huge “dead zones” suffocating marine animals who come into contact with them. This is but just one example, of the grip of greed that is slowly strangling the world. The Gulf of Mexico, the melting Ice Caps or the rapidly disappearing Rain Forests maybe along way off from some us, but make no mistake a serious crisis really does exist. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat have all become contaminated to a greater or lesser extent.

The volcanic ash cloud that has been drifting over the world grounding air-transportation tells me two things; the world is a small place and very fragile.

So what irony then’, that as the worlds Ice Caps melt and so too the capitalist systems of the world!

The world faces what may be the biggest crisis in human history. Unchecked global warming and catastrophic climate change. Financial meltdown has tipped us into economic slump.

The gap between rich and poor, both within and between nations, has become a chasm. Democracy as we know it is an illusion!

The problems are so many and so huge, the world’s leading politicians are powerless to resist or arrest the economic and political forces unleashed by ‘globalisation’.

What will happen; is going to happen; social upheavals and strife on a scale not seen before.

In Greece we have seen workers take to the streets as the Greek state, backed by the political and business elite of Europe, is committed to a frontal attack on the jobs, wages, pensions, and public services of Greek workers – the price to be paid for an EU and IMF bailout of the country’s bankrupt capitalist economy.

Last week protesters stormed the gates of the Irish parliament, the Dail, in Dublin, angry at the Irish government’s bail-outs for the banks.

About 500 people took part in a rally to demonstrate their anger at the government's plans to inject billions of euros into the banks. Sounds a wee bit familiar this bailing out of the banks

Across the globe, Governments have been bailing out their failing banks to save the world’s economy or more to the point capitalism. Over $11 Trillion has been spent on bank bailouts in the US and UK alone, and Billions more has been promised for other failing industries.

The UN’s Head of Environment Achim Steiner in an in an interview with the BBC, claimed he had campaigned for years to secure money to tackle climate change and poverty. He was surprised that such huge amounts had “suddenly been found” to tackle the credit crisis, when climate change is still a major threat; says it all really!

Capitalism and their world government’s have only one priority and that’s the self preservation of the system which we all live under; that has consistently failed the vast majority of us, simply because it exists on the income derived from private property and exploitation without the necessity of the owners to work for a living. And that is as true today, as it was yesterday, as it was yesteryear! The great majority of the world’s population, including of course the wives and children of workers, constitute the working class. It would be an impossibility for all of the population to be capitalists just as it would be impossible for all of the population under a slave system to be slave-owners. So what ever the professional politicians tell us, there still exists all over the world men and women who only work when driven to it by let’s say starvation or under threat of losing their job and their livelihood; but it is time the working class actualized their own capacity with the intelligence and the potentialities that really do exist. There is nothing fantastic in holding that the world has now attained the capacity easily to provide an abundant and varied life for all.

The only power which can change society is the democratic power of a majority of socialists acting in world co-operation. By becoming part of the action to build this movement and comradeship on a world scale we can act positively, and we can act now.

Indeed it would be in a word a 'snazzy' world!

To be continued

Sunday, 16 May 2010

So welcome to my world the police state!

For some time now I’ve been pondering over the role of the police in our society, and this has been amplified in my thoughts this week in particular, for some time now the Metropolitan Police in Newham, Canning Town have been carrying out some sort of operation that involves targeting young people and street drinkers.

I don’t have to say that Newham is one of the poorest boroughs in the country and in two years time host to the Olympics, which I think is a real contradiction, thousands are out of work or struggle on low pay and add to that the problems of homelessness into this melting pot, we then have a real state of difficulty that needs to be resolved instead of the millions sunk into this extravaganza, instead it would be better used attacking the social issues that very much blight the lives of many.

I’ve said this many times before: Newham has one of the highest rates of child poverty in London and is one of the top ten most deprived boroughs both in London and nationally.

Particular issues that Newham faces include high levels of unemployment, lack of affordable childcare, high levels of debt and a poor living environment.

That’s the background and undying issues that lie behind my thread and observations in and of my enclosure; which is a good description for Canning Town my back yard and home. If I lookout of my window I can see the planes arriving and taking off from the city airport that was built on an old dock, It principally serves the financial district of London and is the fifth busiest airport in terms of passengers and aircraft movements serving the London area after Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton and the 15th busiest in the UK. As I watch in dazed and absorbing intrigue, often thinking that many of us down below in Canning Town have never stepped foot on a plane or let alone taken a trip to another destination. But this post is not about travel, far from it; it’s about harassment and yes enclosure!
During the past month or so; the police have been purposely targeting young people and street drinkers in Canning Town just on and off the Barking Road and around the MacDonald’s drive-in/takeaway restaurant, and directly across the road a corner parade of shops that’s fronted by raised greenery and an open well that for some considerable time has been used by people having a social drink; not to be confused with antisocial deeds.

Many of my friends and neighbours often get together and, have a chat and enjoy a social drink in this location, causing no harm and troubling no one. However it seems that Newham council and the police have decided that this is deemed antisocial behavior and have started recording, issuing tickets and ordering people to move on out of the neighborhood. I’ve even told the police officers that this is our neighborhood; that we are residents longstanding of Canning Town, and one friend has been issued with 8 tickets over a few weeks whilst yesterday a fence has ringed off the greenery as the council has resolved that demolition and flattening the area will discourage social gathering of persons - neighbours coming together in one place.

However that’s nothing in compare to the treatment and harassment handed-out to our youngsters. Like most youngsters these day’s; they love their fast food and MacDonald’s open 24 hours makes a killing out of them, but this week I was shocked to have been witness, to what I will describe as blatant policing that’s gone over the top and without any justification. Whilst MacDonald’s have been serving up happy meals the police have been handing-out cautions and carrying-out body and bag searches, on one occasion they used police dogs filmed, photographing and generally humiliating, harassing the youngsters without any real good reason in my opinion!

Were this is going to take us is anyone’s guess, but this comes when the press reported only this very week spending on the police rose from £9.3billion in the financial year 1998/9 to £14.55 billion in 2008/9 - an increase of 50 per cent.

Most of the bill is picked up by local taxpayers through the police precept element of their council tax.
The cost of overtime pay is the one single factor revealed in a report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King's College, London. Over the decade, the number of officers rose by more than 15,000 to 142,151 with more than 16,000 police community support officers being recruited.

The report noted that this 'did not bring about the expected decline in overtime'.

This raises many questions, but one thing that I’m certainly sure of and that’s that the government will not be cutting the numbers of police as they will do to other subsidiarities of the community!

So welcome to my world the police state!

Friday, 14 May 2010

The hard times are here!

It feels really strange: I can’t find words to explain how I feel at the departure of New Labour and the inhalation that I’m breathing in today; the dizzy sensation; the realisation; that ‘Nasty Dave’ and ‘Dirty Nick’ are now running the UK on behalf of capitalism!

I’ve not come properly to terms with this; it’s knocked the wind out of my sails and I fear that the worst is yet to unfold?

As I think aloud wondering; will the class struggle explode in the months that lay ahead?

So keeping it simple, it’s the rich and privileged upper class that has taken control.

Just over 20 years since Margaret Thatcher left Downing Street and I remember watching her driven away, glassy-eyed into the afterlife of power, but what I didn’t realize fully at the time was that she had changed the complexion and darkness of British politics, first New Labour and now this!

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat government we are constantly told; is the first formal coalition in 65 years, since the wartime “national unity” administration under Winston Churchill between May 1940 and May 1945.

The coalition began work as reports were released showing that unemployment had reached its highest level since 1994, with 2.51 million jobless. The Bank of England issued a warning that the new government must act “sooner rather than later” to slash Britain’s deficit.

Cameron’s appointments within his own party are aimed at holding together its various fractious and ill-natured elements. But of greater political significance is the extent to which he has included the Liberal Democrats in the highest positions of government.

Out of 57 Liberal Democrat MPs, 20 have been given top posts. This includes leader Nick Clegg becoming deputy prime minister as one of five cabinet positions. Vince Cable is business secretary, and David Laws, a former investment banker, is chief secretary to the treasury.

Clegg, Cable and Laws are the three leading figures in the Orange Group, which has since 2005 advanced a Thatcherite free-market agenda within the Liberal Democrats, in opposition to its previous quasi-social-democratic position on the welfare state and redistributive taxation.

The Liberal Democrats have all but abandoned any pretence that their own agenda on social cuts could be “fairer” than that of the Conservatives. The significantly accelerated reduction in the structural budget deficit is to be accomplished by prioritising spending cuts!

The hard times are here!
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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Proud to Be a Liberal Democrat

A schoolteacher is explaining to her class that she is a Liberal Democrat and how nice it is that a new Conservative/ Liberal Democrat government has taken office.

She asks her students to raise their hands if they, too, are Liberal Democrats and support David Cameron and Nick Clegg. Everyone in class raises their hands except one little girl.

"Mary," says the teacher with surprise, "why didn't you raise your hand?" Because I'm not a Liberal Democrat," says Mary. "Well, what are you?" asks the teacher.

"I'm a ‘Socialist’ and proud of it," replies the little girl.

The teacher cannot believe her ears. "My goodness, Mary, why are you a Socialist?" she asks.

"Well, my mum and dad are Socialists I'm a ‘Socialist, too." "Well," says the teacher in an annoyed tone, "that's no reason for you to be a Liberal Democrat.

You don't always have to be like your parents. What if you’re mum was a criminal and your dad was a criminal, too, what would you be then?" Mary smiled. "Then we'd be Liberal Democrats."

Reflections 3 The Flag Stays Red!

On Thursday (last week) I did something that I’ve never done before; that was to spoil my general election voting paper and those for the local ballot held to elect a new council and Mayor for Newham.

On my way into the polling station in Canning Town, two members of the local Labour Party were handing out cards to voters and saying that the ballot numbers were on the back, and by that I presume the order on which their candidates were placed. I politely refused, but concealed my indignation until I had done what I felt was right for me and placed all three papers in the separate ballot boxes provided, and then let rip on the way out, telling the Labour people that their harassment was uncalled for and an affront to the level-headedness and intelligence of the electorate and just for good measure told them that the Labour Party had betrayed the working class, that took them by surprise judging by the look and facial expressions displayed, it also made me feel rather good braking my political frustration, albeit momentarily.

And frustration is the best description to describe the sandbar that I and many socialists wonder into in sober temperance, refusing to drink from the poisoned chalice of capitalism. Many have sold out over the years and thrown their sole at the feet of the capitalist alter. New Labour is but one example; some I know have walked backwards and even joined the Liberal Democrats thinking that they were radical and able to accommodate a socialist thread within its membership.

For me I feel that I’ve been wondering in the darkness of the moon lit uninhabited desert, desolate, uncultivated and very barren.

When I was young I dreamt that the world could be a better place and joined the Labour Party, twice in my life I found that I had to leave, need I say more than the Miners Strike and Tony (Tory) Blair.

However I had the good fortune some fifteen years ago to meet Brain Hopper and his partner Linda, and in Scunthorpe we lifted the red flag flung down and abandoned, setting up the Socialist Labour Party. This people will remember was the party started by comrade Arthur Scargill, back then it had potential, existing in real possibility it grew quickly and within weeks it had a thousand members and in Scunthorpe we had ordinary folk joining like the leaves falling in the autumn breeze, such a gentle wind of determination refusing to abandon, forsake or leave behind our socialist creed, principles and beliefs.

Those first months were happy and memorable, everyone was impregnated with real hope and that our scarlet banner would fly high and with a world to win along came the Hemsworth by-election on February 1 1996 following the death of Labour MP Derek Enright. The result was a Labour hold. The election was the first contest by the Socialist Labour Party, ahead of the party's official formation; we were there with Arthur and many others treading the streets of this ex-mining and now abandoned community, ploughing, tilling and cutting the socialist earth among those hard working fellow members of our class. We didn’t win but we saved our deposit and more importantly lifted morale lighting a skyrocket to the stars, oh such happy days!

We attended both founding conferences and then participated in the 1997 general election when comrade Brain Hopper stepped into the breach and put-up against the Scunthorpe now former and sadly discredited MP an active advocate of New Labour, Elliot Anthony Morley.

To be continued…

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Reflections 2 Hang Them High...

Now as the dust settles down following the ruffled feathers of the general election and as we await an announcement; who is to be our next Prime Minister and which shaken cocktail of collaboration will do the dirty and prepare to stick the boot hard into the working class, this coming week?

There's not a lot to say actually about the horse-trading that’s going on between the Tories and their new found friends the Liberal Dimocrats, but on this Sunday morning as I write, as I ponder the possibilities, it looks increasingly likely from where I’m standing that Cameron will assume office and take hold of the keys to 10 Downing Street.

The only one thing that I will say; is that this would indeed vindicate all those who have said they have no illusions about the Lib/Dems being Yellow Tories; we utilized Pink Tories back in the day.

One interesting fact that has emerged from the election results and pointed out by other bloggers; is that traditional left Labour MPs strived with determination bucked the trend, and in some cases increased their majorities, it’s also becoming clear that in predominately working class areas workers came out to stop the Tories, even though I suspect that many had no illusions that New Labour had worked against their interests during its tenure of 13 years. The ballot saw Labour lose votes heavily, with its share declining to 29.1 percent—a post-war low. Its seat loss would have been higher had not sections of workers in the major urban centres held their noses to cast a vote against the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. And as we know the latter had already indicated their preference for a coalition with the Tories.

One other significant fact is that the media (excluding the Mirror) had all but deserted the Labour Party and Brown casting forcefully their rags (newspapers) behind the Cameron bandwagon along with the captains of capitalism who unreservedly demanded that an incoming Tory government implement the austerity shuffle of cuts. There were also days of mischief-making when they ran a media campaign to proclaim that the Liberal Democrats could win the largest share of the popular vote, they instead came in third with just 23 percent and as I say lost seats.

In this election National turnout was up from 61.4 percent in 2005 to 64.6 percent; still so, this is a significant decline on the 71.4 percent turnout in 1997 when New Labour first came to power.

The result has been described as the outcome of a “none of the above” and the country is more divided than ever before—along geographic lines that are ultimately rooted in social divisions.

Results for local authority elections in England indicate a similar pattern, with Labour making gains and the Tories and Liberal Democrats losing seats. The Liberal Democrats even lost control of Sheffield City Council, where party leader Nick Clegg’s Hallam constituency is located.

The unexpected increase in turnout saw thousands of people prevented from voting in Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and parts of the capital due to the lack of staff and/or ballot papers. There were angry scenes outside polling stations and even sit-ins as police were called to tell people that had queued for hours they would not be able to cast their ballot. Legal challenges are expected. And let’s mention the fact that most of the problems in this respect were in dense impenetrable areas of working class community and not the rich Tory and Liberal shire town’s and villages of England.

So this sets the scene, the picture following the general election all of three day’s ago, now in my next post I will examine what the response of the left has been during, before and after this election.


                                         First time voter young  Alfie McKenzie

It always takes a while for me to settle down after an election, and the general election that we’ve just had in the UK is no exception, in fact it may take longer to readjust and re adapt to the change of political master, especially as I write the talks and negotiations are taking place between Tory Cameron and Liberal Clegg to see if they can form a coalition government that will then end the 13 year administration of New Labour, and I suppose that as time and the give-and-takes, take hold, I will wright more in the days that will come and pass.

So in the meantime, just to help me readjust a little reflection will help’.

The first party of capitalism failed in its bid to win the general election with an outright majority in the House of Commons that would enable them to take hold of the rains of power in the land and rule the country. They won 306 seats falling short and therefore need a partner to get into bed with so as to make whoopee on the working class.

New Labour lead by Brown won 258 seats doing surprisingly better than what I thought they would, although their vote nationally fell to an all-time low whilst the Liberal Democrats and the Clegg effect came to nothing, in fact they lost seats.

The only inspiring news from this farcical capitalist exercise was that of 14 year old schoolboy Alfie McKenzie who managed to evade basic checks to cast a vote in the Wyre and Preston North Constituency. He managed it on the night in which hundreds of adults were denied the right to vote after queuing at polling stations and in some cases for an hour or more.

Alfie was dobbed-in by his school teacher and Lancashire Police were called in to investigate after the tip off. But what is inspiring is that Alfie says he is a Socialist and that all he wonted to do was make a difference, he voted for the Lib/Dems because there was no socialist standing. I think that 14 year olds should be allowed the vote as I’ve had the privilege over the years to have been able to meet youngsters that know a thing or two about politics and there decisions can’t be any worst than those of adults.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The morning after the night before

What will you be doing on the morning after?

Will your life be radically changed?

Will you wake up and detect a new freshness in the air, a new sense of hope oozing out of the environment?

Or will you feel terrible, like a person who has just lost everything as a result of someone else’s incompetence?

Will it make any difference to you?

Will life be just the same?

Might it just as well have never happened?

No, we are not talking about a nuclear war. You will notice that alright. It will transform your life – probably in the most profound sense: by terminating it. And if it does not kill you, you will probably wish it had.

But the morning after the election will be another story. No mushroom clouds, cities reduced to rubble, panic in the shelters. The morning after the general election 2010, all that there will be is the fading enthusiasm of David Dimbleby and the other TV pundits trying their hardest to stay awake until the final results and the isolated groups of party activist nursing hangovers induced either by success or failure combined with the cheap price of booze subsidized in the Town Hall bars next to were the ballot papers are counted.

For most workers – who run society from top to bottom by sweeping the streets and driving the buses and operating the computers and looking after the sick – the morning after the general election will be very much the same as the day before? It will be wage or salary slavery as usual.

For workers the same problems will exist the day after the election as the day before it.

Most of us do not like working for the bosses and paying the bills and living in a stressful and dangerous society and fearing the possibility of another war. Not one of those problems will be gone the day after the election. Not one of the elected politicians will have promised to attend to those problems. That is working-class life; capitalism in one form or another must always exist. And so it will, morning after the election.

Of course, there will be some workers who will wake up the next morning (if their excitement ever allowed them to sleep) full of joy because their chosen party has won.

But most workers will not be dancing or cheering or even smiling. Even most of them will have voted and only done so in the hope that it will make a difference – or that it may keep the other lot out – or because of family tradition. Most voters in elections are far less stupid than they might be thought to be: they are not taken in by all the nonsense spewed out by politicians. Many workers know that capitalist elections will not change their lives.

The after the election one thing will be crystal clear: you do not matter any more. You have spent your political power and that’s it for five more years – four if you’re lucky.

So, the morning after the election the homeless will still be unhoused and the unemployed still on the social scrapheap and the hungry still too poor to buy food and the millions who are being robbed daily by the wages system will be having their lives stolen away from them. The day after the election will be a bloody miserable day. And for none will it be more miserable than for those who know how easy it would be to change the whole rotten set-up and establish a society fit to live in.

Jim Lawrie and Brian Hopper or In the Box - Good Luck...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Why I will be spoiling my ballot paper and writing across it socialism!

Thursday, polling day is fast approaching; we are just hours away from changing well nothing or the truth be told, bestowing a government from whichever party is able to muster the necessary commons support for it’s programme, that will move and act in the interests, not of those who cast the vast majority of votes, but of those unelected captains of capitalism, the bankers and stockbrokers who have been most vocal in demanding austerity measures to tackle the failing; failures of the British economy.

From the very beginning of this election being called; I personally had no intension of casting my vote in support of any of the mainstream political parties’ which run capitalism here in Britain today. As a Socialist; I stand and strive for a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means, instruments of production and distribution, by and in the interest of the whole community.

No party or leader in this election embraces that simple concept of a truly democratic society.

The outcome of this election and whoever wins it, will not be able to resolve the world crisis of capitalism, the truth is they are powerless, the idea that the market economy can progress steadily, providing for ever-rising levels of growth, trade and employment, is nothing more than a fantasy, as it has been established that Gordon Brown was powerless to prevent the economic crisis in the first place, despite his claim that year-on year economic growth was the unique product of his prudent and circumspect economic management of capitalism.
One look at Greece and we can see just how severe the economic downturn has proven to really be for the millions over there; who are being told that they face cuts in pay, pensions and unemployment benefits. Millions may lose jobs and others who were planning to take early retirement are told that they will have to work longer and for less.

Across the globe, hundreds of millions are affected one way or the other by the crisis of capitalism, leading to falling production, falling property prices, rising unemployment and acute financial distress for many.

And let us just remember that in Britain our Prime Minster swore that this would never happen and who thought he could hold back the tide of capitalism’s business cycle through his financial management skills – a man who has been left looking ever more like King Canute.

I cannot vote in this election because of wars, the robbery of young solders lives.

What is clear is that millions of workers will be made unemployed, poverty will increase, and health will deteriorate as services of support will be cut, homelessness will grow, deprivation and destitution will accelerate, and crime will multiply as workers are made to pay for a crisis not of their making.
I will be spoiling my ballot paper because there is only one course of action available a future without profits, class ownership, borders, money and inequality.

That future is Socialism - it will end the wasteful, fearsome, insecure world we know today. Socialism will set mankind free to live their lives to the full. It will remove poverty and replace it with plenty. It will abolish war and bring hope and a world of peace. It will end fear and hatred and give us security and brotherhood.

Socialism will be a world worth living for.

The future is in our hands not the ballot box.

Socialism is in our hands for the taking whether you vote or not.

Let’s work for it – Let’s take it!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Three Days that Won't Change a Thing!

This is the week that is; we all have the responsibility (so they say) of placing our X on the ballot paper.

And let me articulate right from the off: I am so disappointed with it all, what comes to mind is the American 2000 Election that produced George Bush, and Al Gore. I thought at the time, six hundred and fifty million inhabitants, And the American people end up with one of these two about to be given the power to run the nation; warning bell's ringing!

We all know what came to pass eventually, and what trouble Mr Bush, along with the aid of his poodle’ Mr Blair brought upon the world. I’m personally pleased they have both gone, I wish that could be the end of it, but we all have their legacy to live with, more so the families of our solder's that return home in caskets, we picked the wrong leaders and the high number of British military personnel killed on operations in Afghanistan and Iraq only reminds me of this.

Now what are we to do?

I think we have the same problem, estimated sixty five million people in Britain, and what do we have?

Well not a lot in my opinion, Brown, Cameron, and Glegg, all three of them spout and jabber the same basic party policies and sing the same song from the same song sheet, tell them nothing, that’s what the TV debates were about; and now we have just the one day; this marvellous word that politicians love to brandish swinging back and forth every five years which they call democracy is anything but.

That’s democracy, after one day it slips into the sidetracks the political hard shoulder of this capitalist democracy. Our democratically elected ministers toe the leaders line and do as they are told, whilst the rest of us, keep paying the piper that plays the tune, the tune being two wars that we have been dragged into and an economic crises not of our making.

We pay £45m everyday into the EU and £6,000 Interest every second of the day and night, on our National deficit, it is said that every man women and child in Britain owes £20,000.

No I’m not impressed at all with any of our politicians, near past or near future.

All of those who are about to vote I salute you – for being able to differentiate between the players - because I cannot!

I read that a demagogue is someone “who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he thinks to be idiots,” This is a pretty good description for the leaders debates in action. Although the one thing the leaders should not underestimate, and they do so at their peril; is that the British people are not idiots!

Post By: Brian Hopper or In the Box - Former Socialist Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate for Scunthorpe 1997
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Sunday, 2 May 2010

"The coming of Armageddon"

The last of three televised debates between Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative David (nasty) Cameron and Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg was billed as the here and now; that they would at last come clean and tell us the electorate the truth:
One I suppose can live in hope; but we should really know better!

Whichever party, or mixture of them, forms a new government after May 6; they will impose harsh austerity measures that go way beyond the “efficiency savings” currently admitted to.

During these debates, during this election campaign all the party leaders failed deliberately to identify just where the axe will full, they have been misleading the public with talk of protecting “frontline services”.

Look at Greece as it continues to teeter on the brink of insolvency, as this “contagious disease” spreads to Spain and Portugal which saw their credit ratings downgraded this week. In each of these countries, social democratic governments have brought forward plans to slash spending, jobs and wages in the face of popular opposition.

José Luis Zapatero Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) Prime Minister has pledged to implement austerity measures “whatever the cost” he is reported as saying.

If anything we are witness to so-called world leaders using a surgical knife and preparing to butcher the living standards of millions in order to save the rotten system of capitalism.

On Saturday which was Mayday, again demonstrators clashed with riot police in Athens who were protesting against government measures. For the tens of thousands of demonstrators who took to the streets in rallies that quickly descended into clashes with riot police, the show of force was just the beginning – a prelude of the storm that will rock Greece if its Socialist government "caves in" to the dictates of the IMF and enforces policies that have been likened to "the coming of Armageddon".

After our general election all will be revealed here in Britain and it will hurt millions, and I do mean millions as they make us the workers pay for the abortion that is capitalism.

Although somewhat belated we send out to workers the world over Mayday greetings!

Jim Lawrie And Brian Hopper or In the Box
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