Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Anniversary Waltz in triple time with a strong accent on Socialism!"

Today is a special occasion for this particular blog; it’s our birthday!”

So in trying to keep it as low-key as is humbly possible, we, that’s Brian Hopper (In the Box) and I would just like to thank everyone who has ever during the last two years visited or posted (good or bad) a comment on our site, and also thank the many other blogs for their kind help in promoting The Socialist Way, especially Lansbury's Lido, Harpymarx, Against The Current (NZ) and others that not only do we enjoy reading, but promote on our front page. A very big thank you Comrades!”

They say that self-praise is no praise at all, and whilst it is true that there may not be a lot to cheer and shout about in terms of how wonderful our lives and experiences personify, particularly in the world of today with such a renewed violable assault waged upon the vast majority in the so-called age of austerity.

We would like then to think that this blog has taken its place with those many socialist dissenters and mortals who believe that another world is not only possible but worth fighting for, here and now!”

World capitalism is in crisis, millions have been or are flung upon the burning fires raging down from hell at employment and labour exchanges in Europe and across that big pound in the USA.

The beginning decade of this century, has seen the foundations of capitalist economic order shaken to its very foundations thought-out the world, wars rage on; the young, old and innocent still needlessly die whilst governments give that same lie – to bring peace and stability, to keep us safe on our streets and protect our way of life. And yet that way of life is constantly tampered and terrorised by those who claim to protect whilst their backers enshrouding and standing behind in the shadows: the owners and representatives of capital demand more be put back on their feasting table.

They demand cuts in welfare, they demand further legislation outlawing trade union activity, they demand that workers now work till they drop, in short they demand profits rise whilst wages and living standards fall.

This Cameron government (ConDem-ned) think of an economic recovery which will be 'export-led' when they have spent the last 30 years demolishing industry and bringing the country to its knees. Their lunacy could be seen on the face of Thatcher in the 1980s, except they are more monstrous. They are dangerous because they are desperately trying to hang on to something that is no longer or has it ever been sustainable.

You know it’s class war, when they put a paltry £2bn levy on the Banks and £1.2bn cut on Housing benefit hurting with contempt those with the least and in most need.

You know its class war, when the vast majority of housing benefit claimants are either pensioners, those with disabilities, people caring for a relative or hardworking people on low incomes, and only 1 in 8 people who receive housing benefit is unemployed and yet they are all going to be clobbered!”

This then is not much of a celebration, and nether is it a wake; as the storm clouds are now clearly visible on the horizon, the time will soon come when others will see what we do, and then that next step in working class understanding will be in the direction of Socialism, we hope that this blog will continue to play its small part in that unfolding and blossoming struggle.

Democracy is the road to Socialism!"

Karl Marx

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Return of the Chingford Skinhead (Part 4)

The one thing that we can say for sure, about the Con/Dem acquisition of power, is that they have wasted no time whatsoever in setting about attacking the welfare-state, the poor, the venerable and the unemployed. It is now well known that government departments are to cut 25% from their budgets, the finer details will be reveled in the autumn, the very season when the leaves fall from the trees; we can then expect such an attack that will rip and up-root the lives of many, with what we think will be devastating, dire and frightening consequences, no question about that!

Rats it is said; can transmit approximately 14 diseases or infections to humans - some via their fleas and the most well known Weil's disease via their urine or more rarely by biting, this government on the other hand will pass along such an incubation of cuts and bites to benefits, that we’ll all wish that we had a friend called Ben.

Who said the class war was dead, but who started it, and who now is reviving it? These are the questions that socialists everywhere must commence, introduce and pose to working people, and now, wasting no time. There isn’t a day that’s passed since the installation of this abomination they call a coalition, when welfare has not been attack in the press and media, now we are being told that the system of welfare may have to "bear the heavy load" the brunt of cuts in the so-called deficit reduction.

Oh how the Con/Dems relish their new function in government, taking the axe of a heavy bladed weapon to the head of their pray, reminds me of the film ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’.

Such a horror film was that, and I suppose it can only come from the USA, but that’s not the only horror story over there, just spare a thought for their unemployed, where it’s reported that federal unemployment benefits have began to expire, as an estimated 325,000 jobless workers have been cut off. That number will swell to 1.25 million by the end of the month unless Congress extends the benefits. The Senate, so far, has failed to act. Some senators, including Democrats, have balked at an unrelated provision that would begin to close a tax loophole enjoyed by some of the richest Americans. Desperately needed unemployment benefits have been held hostage to a tax break for the rich, proving that it’s the same the world over the poor pay for the rich!

So let me get this right, first we have quantitative easing and bailing out the robbing banks, then, which is now, we are to have quantitative squeezing, the cutting and chopping already under way with the executioner in pursuit of a death warrant for the rest, (lettre de cachet) to be announced in the autumnal equinox or thereabouts.

The coming wave of cuts, which will increase unemployment and sharpen social inequality on what I consider an unimaginable scale, is the end of welfare as we know it, fought and won over many years by a very different Labour and trade union movement that operated within the parameter of reform and winning elections within a capitalist state system putting it simply. Its undoing is its failing, and coming up with an epitaph for the headstone I’ve penciled in: ‘From the cradle to the grave’. However let me just say that death is not the end, if like me you think upon those words of Karl Marx: ‘Capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction’. These may become the words on the headstone of the capitalist system instead. But for that to happen, socialists must now start to sharpen the pencil of argument and walk out of the dead-end cul de sac of reformism, and tell it as it really is. We must strive as never before to explain why it is that ordinary people's beliefs are those that serve the interests of the dominant class. For example, the real function of education and schools is to produce docile citizens who will work hard and not complain. The function of universities is to create a mandarin class of educated middle managers to carry out the day-to-day administration of powerful people's affairs. The judicial system does an analogous job: it decides what constitutes crime and inflicts what it considers appropriate punishment. The function of newspapers and television is to make the powerful invisible, or to report only what powerful people want ordinary people to hear, or to provide mindless entertainments and, most importantly, advertisements to distract ordinary people from their real wants and needs.

There is a wind blowing, for now a gentle soft and mild breeze, and just before it becomes hurricane, cyclone force, and you have read this far we say don’t ever take your eye of the ball, lift your sights high and the likes of the Chingford Skinhead can be taken on!

Friday, 25 June 2010

A full English breakfast the Budget and when Labour think they can run Capitalism!

“This emergency Budget deals decisively with our country's record debts. It pays for the past. And it plans for the future. It supports a strong enterprise-led recovery. It rewards work. And it protects the most vulnerable in our society. Yes it is tough; but it is also fair.”

And those of course were indeed, the opening, pinging words of our newly installed filthy rich kid, snobby and very aristocratic Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. But first let me just say, ever since that dreadful day when Conservative and Liberal fell into each others capitalist loving arms, a cloud of agitated depression has fallen over me, and I guess, that I’m not on my own as the true horror of a coalition made in hell unfolds in front of our eyes.

So for a time on Wednesday, numbed and gyrating still from the previous days Budget (mugging) which we were told was an emergency I decided to listen to the England/Slovenia World Cup Mach on the old radio, there was two reasons for this, not that suddenly I’ve been converted into an England fan or a national flag waver, no such transformation. I was intrigued after the first two games to discover and to learn if the team was able to perform any better after and following the media and fan lambasting of the team, and to check out the contribution of Jermain Defoe throughout the game. I was not disappointed, with Defoe that is. This sudden interest can only, and I do assure you, attributed in the fact that Jimmy Defoe who is father to the above mentioned now hero of England’s stumbling cheering, no longer barracking fans, happens to be my nearby neighbour here in Canning Town. I can tell you that Jimmy is one proud dad; he was elated, exultantly proud and joyful when I spoke to him yesterday, he told me that Jermain not only scored the first goal of the campaign, but was the first black player to score a goal for England in a World Cup tournament – So well done Jimmy and well done Jermain!

My only fear is that the coalition would take some course credit for the England performance, and up till now haven’t seen anything, just hope it stays that way?

What's especially significant about the emergency Budget has been the advanced and careful PR surrounding it? Clegg and David Cameron both have experience and training and PR backgrounds and its plain to see. Every day a minister or other stands up to tell everyone the problem is far worse than expected, and the public are then softened up for the bad news. Clegg then spouts progressive messages to keep the lefties in his party on side, even if they remain ill at ease with the general thrust of what is happening. This entire process has been rigidly mapped out, not just economically and politically, but also in terms of public relations.

Well three day’s on from the Budget delivery, we are still analyzing its possible impact on working people, and will dissect, break down and examine what is clearly an attack on the working classes in due course.

Meanwhile we think, that’s Brian Hopper and myself who is just back from his holidays (Cyprus) lucky bugger, that Clement Attlee’s last years in office may be of some interest because most of the welfare state (now under attack) as we still know it was put in place in the post war Labour government. The National Health Service (NHS) provided universal health care, State secondary education was free for all. The state was building social housing on council estates. There were new unemployment and sickness benefits (now under attack), free school dinners and milk (now under renewed attack). Yet the government that had done all this barely scraped back at the polls, its majority slashed from 146 to just five. The next year, it was gone.

Why did this happen?

The seemingly endless austerity measures were the main reason. Food rationing ended in West Germany on 6 January, 1950. However in victorious Britain, though, everything except preserves was still on ration. An adult had an ounce and a half of cheese a week, an ounce of cooking fat, and six ounces of butter, then there was the eight ounces of sugar, two pints of milk and the one egg. To the (and Brian will remember this) dismay of children everywhere, sweets, which had gone off-ration in April 1949, were restricted again in August. ‘Unexpected demand was blamed, a poor excuse in a nation that had not been able to indulge its notoriously sweet tooth for almost a decade.

The meat ration was at its lowest level. During the war, it had stood at 87 per cent of pre-war consumption. The government now cut it to 69 per cent. The reason was a breakdown in talks with Don’t Cry for me Argentina, which supplied much of the imported beef. The Tories seized the publicity opportunity and splashed the matchbox-sized meat ration across its election campaign posters. The bacon ration, too, was less than in the war, down on three ounces a week, or three medium-cut rashers, which was not going to make a government popular in a country that, loved the full English breakfast.

Well that’s something to think about, when Labour try to run capitalism, we can see the pitfalls.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Return of the Chingford Skinhead (Part 3)

She was only a grocer’s daughter; as the saying goes, but Mrs. Thatcher became much, much more than that. It’s funny really, whenever I’m in conversation with anyone about her; the one thing that everyone remembers her for, is of course taking the free school-milk away from children, but we all know that this Iconic Tory Cast-Iron Maiden of Capitalism who proceeding prime ministers clamor to be photographed with outside the door to number 10, delivered more than just the seized milk to her class; we all know that she did a great deal more harm, which truthfully has effected every single one of us, even still today some thirty years after becoming our first women prime minister. During the miner’s strike I had the good fortune of meeting a young striking miner from Derbyshire, who came to London to help-out raising support and funds for that noble battle, he was only 17 as I do recall, and in my mind remains a credit to his generation, and I often wonder all these years latter how has life panned-out for him, although the one thing that I do know for sure, and that’s, he’ll no longer be a miner, and it’s ironic then, that not only did Thatcher deprived him of milk as a child, but of his job and the means to make a living latter in life.

Oh, Mrs. Thatcher you do remind me of Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, every time I see you with Tony, Gordon and now David then I thinks of Miss Havisham’s ultimate fate: In the heat of the confrontation, Miss Havisham stands too close to the fire, which in turn lights her dress on fire. Pip heroically saves her, but she later dies from her burn injuries;’ and only if; would indeed be such a nasty thought to entertain?

Enough then of Thatcher, and let’s move on to the present here and now, and the equally odious and what I believe will become so obvious in the not too distant fullness of time, the repressive regime of David Cameron and his Con/Dem coalition!

In my last post, we highlighted and examined the new organisation of ministers now installed under the burnished and renewed Iain Duncan Smith at the DWP, and suggested that this collection of mercantile, militant patriots of profit will endeavor to hit out hard, and upon those who for one reason or another have become dependent (through no fault of their own) on state benefits, these include, pensioners, disabled and the unemployed. It is clear that an assault will be surmounted in due course, with much media promotion and talk of welfare cuts being thrown around in preparing the groundwork in an attempt to lessen and decrease public shock, stemming off they hope any resistance.

My guess is that direct cuts to all benefits are now on the cards, such cuts that will bulldoze thousands into cascading and grinding poverty of which we have not seen or experienced since the so-called hungry 1930s of the last century. The unemployed in particular will be targeted as never before, made to jump through hoops like performing seals at the circus, we should remember that the New Labour project spent 13 long years cold-bloodily arm-twisting the unemployed into low-paid employment, and turning their backs on the trades union movement with the complete refusal to repeal or reverse the laws inhibiting and suppressing workers democratic organisation in the workplace. They bought trade union leaders off with the complete nonsense of the minimum wage, and in the dying, decaying days of the Brown administration introduced unbelievably (maybe not) legislation that would force working people to work for benefits or suffer sanctions; an attempt which failed to reassure the city, media moguls and big businessman that they could still be relied upon to deliver capitalism in the modern world, and alas now after the election sit on the opposite green benches, leaderless, directionless and totally bankrupt. Brown’s big idea; was to have a government of all the talents, so he invited into government and made ministers of our class enemy, amongst them were Sir Digby Jones former director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Lord Lester of Herne Hill and Liberal Democrat peer, Baroness Neuberger yet another Liberal Democrat peer, Admiral Sir Alan West formerly First Sea Lord and head of the Royal Navy at the time of the Iraq invasion (even though he harboured strong concerns about the war ), and towards New Labour’s end game Alan Sugar as (the black Baron as I like to call him) Baron Sugar and of course not forgetting Lord Freud one of a clutch of bankers who New Labour brought in to use their expertise (presumably their expertise in mucking up the banking system and the rest of the economy along with it) in the service of government. Freud was let loose on welfare reform and as he said: “I didn’t know anything about welfare at all when I started.” he acknowledged, “but that may have been an advantage...In a funny way the solution was obvious.”

The resolution, according to Freud, was twofold:

First, force the unemployed back to work with benefit cuts and workfare, and then feather one's nest or rather his friends in the private sector whilst doing so.

Freud or David Freud as he was known before joining the Tories and being elevated to the House of Lords is now a minister at the DWP, which if anything is a clear signal that the coalition intends to be effectual and very tough with the unemployed and at a time whilst unemployment escalates both as a result of their polices and the general crises of world capitalism.

Now tomorrow the coalition and rich kid George Osborne, present to the House of Commons their emergency budget, and heavens above just why this is called an emergency budget is anybody’s guess, probably it’s part of the conjuring trick of deception that is a hallmark and characteristic of the two parties now merged into one with the sole intention of working to sustain capitalism here and abroad. And when we talk of deception, I was wondering just how many people voted for the Lib/Dem’s to keep the Tories out, and how many of them would vote for then today?

However I will be looking for perceptible indications of something that signals setting off an attack on the unemployed, this may or may not be apparent in the budget tomorrow as I understand a departmental fiscal review won’t be completed until September, but we will see!

To be continued…

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Return of the Chingford Skinhead (Part 2)

If we read and decipher between the lines of the almost daily newspaper and in general media converge of the Con/Dem coalitions impending and imminent "close at hand " austerity measures, it’s not hard to ascertain that the unemployed and the alleged eight million dependants of some state benefit or another, which includes pensioners, disabled and long-term sick are to be singled out, hit and made to pay for the crisis of capitalism, and a crisis not of their making!

In effect this government intendeds to give the axe and launch an attack on the most vulnerable and undefended sections of our society. They will use this opportunity to further undermine and dismantle the welfare state, and as we have come to know it, and in times of hardship have been able to depend on its safety net, as they used to say from the cradle to the grave.

The only welfare that matters to this and previous governments, is the welfare of the Banks and Financial Institutions, the very parasites and leeches that live on a host (the working class); and obtains nourishment from the host without the host benefiting, these are indeed the real spongers of our so-called sick society.

And when I say sick that’s exactly what I mean, only in a sick society, will a person be allowed to commit suicide whilst not one of our honourable legislators blinks an eyelid, this was the case when a pregnant mum jumped to her death clutching her baby son after her benefits were stopped last year. Just to recapitulate: Philosophy graduate Christelle Pardo, 32, plunged from the balcony of her sister's third-floor flat in Hackney, east London, killing herself and five-monthold Kayjah.

‘Her sister Olaya said: "She was upset and stressed because she felt that she didn't exist. If it hadn't been for me she would have been out on the street."

Miss Pardo had been claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) since leaving London Metropolitan University in May 2008.

She became pregnant shortly afterwards, but in December her JSA was withdrawn because she was within 11 weeks of giving birth and deemed unable to work.

As a result she lost her housing benefit and her claim for income support was refused.’ (Daily Mirror 2009).

They say that a leopard (Panthera Pardus) never changes its spots don’t they, well I would put this to every member of the Labour Party, who still thinks that the party is the chariot of change, and then say never! They started to hound and punish those of us who have no other means of living available other than to claim benefits; they introduced and passed the reforms to make amongst other things the unemployed work for their pittance, this now comes with the changing of the capitalist guard; has proven to be a gift to this administration, and they in turn will not waste any time in looking this gift horse in the mouth, we can rest assured of that!

The new regime at the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP), can be at best described as frightening, headed by Iain Duncan Smith, protégé of the Chingford Skinhead (Norman Tebbit), and hailing from the same reactionary wing that delivered un-to-us the blessed (joke) Maggie Thatcher.

When I look at the ministerial team that Smith has assembled then the averring phrase ‘you can’t make an omelet without cracking eggs’ springs to mind, although cracking heads would be more appropriate when you take a closer look at them.

Chris Grayling

The Minister for Employment, or would that be better changed to Minister for Unemployment; has responsibility for Employment and related benefits, the Work Programme, Labour market and the economy, Jobcentre Plus, Skills and the Health and Safety Executive.

What’s interesting about Grayling is that he started out politically from the SDP prior to joining the Conservative Party, and of course he meets all the necessary requirements to deal those on benefits having had his hand in the old presumptive and preverbal level of experience; dipping into the House of Commons expenses money box. He Grayling claimed for a flat in Pimlico, close to the House of Commons, despite having a constituency home less than 17 miles away, and owning two buy to let properties in Wimbledon. Grayling claimed over £100,000 for the flat between 2001 and 2007. The Daily Mirror reported that Grayling would benefit from the increase in the price of the flat, at least £100,000. Grayling says he uses the flat when "working very late" because he needs to "work very erratic and late hours most days when the House of Commons is sitting."

One other matter which must be mentioned whilst we review his curriculum vitae is the comments which he recently made in regard to telling the think-tank Centre for Policy Studies that owners of bed and breakfasts should have the right to turn away gay couples. Grayling said:

"I personally always took the view that, if you look at the case of should a Christian hotel owner have the right to exclude a gay couple from a hotel, I took the view that if it's a question of somebody who's doing a B&B in their own home, that individual should have the right to decide who does and who doesn't come into their own home."

Steve Webb

Now Steve Webb is number three in the peaking order at the DWP and a coalition member drawn from the Liberal Democrats side. He mainly is responsible for Pensions and related benefits and the Social Fund. Steve Webb is one of the contributors to the right wing Orange Book (2004) and is the author of a chapter in The Future of the NHS; other contributors include Patricia Hewitt (Labour), David Lansley (Conservative) and the Secretary of State for Health, Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute and agony aunt Claire Rayner. Well what can one say about this strange collection of bed fellows, my first instincts are the old school tie and there combined class interests, which they clearly hunger to preserve and seek to serve up. I never did trust agony aunts!

For those that don’t know; The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism is a book written by a group of prominent British Liberal Democrat politicians and edited by David Laws and Paul Marshall in 2004. Beside Laws and Marshall, the contributors include Vincent Cable, Nick Clegg, Edward Davey, Chris Huhne, Susan Kramer, Mark Oaten and Steve Webb. The book was published in association with the liberal think-tank CentreForum.

In the book the group offers liberal solutions – often stressing the role of the free market – to several societal issues, such as public healthcare, pensions, environment, and globalisation, social and agricultural policy, local government, the European Union and prisons. It is usually seen as the most economic liberal publication that the Liberal Democrats have produced in recent times. Such, along with its impact upon the party, it has helped cause the dividing line within the party: those who advocate a social market economy observing social liberal values such as the Beveridge Group and those (such as authors, contributors and supporters of the Orange Book) who advocate a free market economy.

Four of the five Liberal Democrat members of the Cabinet had been contributors to this book. The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government will come as no surprise to those who have studied the development of the free-market philosophy at the core of current Lib Dem thinking. What we have seen here since the general election is the climax of a right-wing grab for power in what was formerly – albeit loosely – perceived (by some) as a progressive centre-left party.

The Liberal party of Jo Grimond, David Steel, Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy has had its inner progressive heart removed by neo-economic liberal activism and replaced by a right-wing cabal that includes Nick Clegg, Chris Huhne, Ed Davey, David Laws and Vince Cable. A coalition with the Tories was no ideological barrier to their personal ambitions. Meanwhile, supposed left-leaning Lib Dem MPs such as Simon Hughes are condemned as Tory lackeys and hypocrites.

Maria Miller

Miller is the only women member of the team, presently Minister for Disabled People, her role is self explanatory really, and not a great deal is known about her as she is just beginning to cut her ministerial teeth. However it may be too soon to know the detail of the government's policies, but we already know enough to expect them to be an even more brutal regime when it comes to forcing disabled people off benefits. And I’m sure that Miller will soon be displaying what she’s really made off, and at the expense of the disabled, make no mistake, who will be downtrodden and trampled on!

Lord Freud

The "cream of the cream" (crème de la crème). Oh yes and then there was Lord Freud decreed by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to provide an independent (joke) review of the British welfare to work system. His kudoses called for expanded private sector involvement in the welfare system for substantial resources to be found to help those on Incapacity Benefit back into economic activity and for single parents to be required to work earlier. While his recommendations on single parents were immediately adopted and speeded up, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister in June 2007, other restructuring measures were soft-pedalled. He was later made an adviser to the government when James Purnell was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2008. He worked to produce a white paper, published in December 2008, which would require most people receiving benefits either to participate in some form of employment or prepare formally to find work later.

In February 2009, Freud joined the opposition Conservative Party. He was given a life peerage as Baron Freud, of Eastry in the county of Kent, and became a shadow minister for welfare in the House of Lords.

I recognise that this post is rather long which cannot be helped as I feel it’s important that we get to know and understand the direction in which the class enemy is coming from in their goal of preserving the system and tying down the vast majority who are forced to sell labour power in order to live. These are uncertain times, not just here in the UK but throughout the capitalist world and nobody is able to say what will hit us next, but what ever it is one thing is for certain, it won’t be pleasant, that‘s for sure, and the more that I look at the collection and completion of this coalition the more I realize that Parliament and its representatives is nothing more than an illustration, that socialism will never come that way!

To Be Continued…

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Return of the Chingford Skinhead (Part 1)

Continuing on the theme of unemployment, not that this continues a medley with a happy beat about it, well at lest not for those of us on the receiving-end of a dole cheque and battling to get by on it’s pigeon-toed pittance. I consider that many on the so-called left, (which is a definition that I do not like using to describe my own politics, being an unadulterated socialist) positively do not grasped the frostiness, the reality that is a life spent not so much on the dole, but the experience of having to make do with very little and then somehow find a way through it all, of course it’s very much harder today in this new age of austerity. Not so much then a case of self-deprivation (refraining from worldly pleasures) but rather the instance of denial being inflicted, and no prize-winners in holding first place in a contest for approximating; authoritatively inflicted as a recurring nightmare that is geared to and tailor-made to meet the imperatives of capitalism.

Bizarre and yet not comical how a word such as ‘austerity’ lies dormant and then its groan is heard everywhere, like a rickettsial attack it immediacy pokes its method through the world as governments start deficit reduction, the next stage of holding up and maintaining the system that runs, ruins and dominates all our lives.

Two years ago throughout the world the banking system almost collapsed at the hands of that barefaced gaggle of evildoers, who stuck in their collected thumbs and pulled out a fat plum and said what good boys are we, while millions lost homes, and the lives of many broken and lost for ever, such unimaginable and rarely unreported real human tragedies lie stunned and strewed like dead bodies on a battlefield. The real anguish is that this is allowed to happen without any really effective opposition from those who say they are of the left, and for years now I’ve seen and observed them play in the dirt with a flavour of the month, the Internet is a wash with this ludicrousness, the real problem to all our collected troubles is the capitalist system, It is as it has always been, an affront to every man, woman and child that adorns the world with their very presence, but who are still denied and fleeced of so much.

Remember Norman Tebbit: Oh sorry, let’s give him his proper title the ‘Chingford Skinhead’, and whilst we do remember, which is not as hard, as he often makes the news with his dogmatic, odious and grandiloquent views; but let’s just recall that this was not only the man that told the working class to get on your bike when he said: “I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it.” Now Tebbit said and did many things whilst he was a loyal member of the Thatcher crew of buccaneers, robbing and plundering the lives of the generation that I suppose, I belong too.

I’ve raised Norman from the departed in this post because when he retired from his Chingford seat he was replaced and succeeded by Iain Duncan Smith, who was said to be Tebbit’s protégé, in fact Tebbit said of Smith: “"If you think I'm right-wing, you should meet this guy". Now of course for those of us in the UK Iain Duncan Smith will be best recollected as the failed and conked out, right wing leader of the Conservatives’ from some years back, a short stay (12 September 2001 to 6 November 2003) and leaving by way of losing a vote of confidence amongst his parliamentary party, something which Cameron has moved to avoid by commanding changes recently brought about to weaken the powerful 1922 committee and the part that it plays in ether electing or bringing down leaders such as Thatcher.

Anyhow, what matters is the significance that Iain Duncan Smith, has taken up office in the coalition and heading the Department for Work and Pensions, as its Secretary of State, and if we keep that in mind we can now see that the Tebbit protégé has indeed become the recipient of the ‘Chingford Skinhead’s’ bother-boots. Tebbit was both Employment Secretary (In 2001 the employment functions were split off this and transferred to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) and Trade and Industry Secretary (now The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with the incumbent: Vince Cable in the Chair) under Thatcher, these were two separate departments which Tebbit left his mark on, that changed probably to the detriment and degradation of us all, the way our everyday lives have paned out in and under modern capitalism.
When Iain Duncan Smith, was forced to relinquish the leadership of the Tory party; he set-about basically reinventing himself politically, being appointed chairman for the Centre for Social Justice, which has been described as a centre-right think tank that works with small charities in its aim of finding innovative policies for tackling poverty, this is obviously a joke that attempts to give this Tory and his party a cloak that covers and conceals there real contempt for working people, acting as the apologist while placing blame and onuses on the shoulders of poor people. Well whatever else one could say about Iain Duncan Smith or IDS as he likes to be known, it worked, not just winning new respect in his own party but amongst some members of the Labour Party such as the great Frank Field, who was given the role of "poverty czar" in David Cameron's coalition government, but more about him latter.

So for now, I think I’ve set the seen and the partial background to the unemployment crises that is about to unfold here in the UK. In my second part, I will take a closer look at who is doing what at Works and Pensions, what may be in store for claimants? And how do we build an effective campaign nationally, and what form should it take?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

London Crime Capital of World Finance and Unemployment Dominates

All over the world there is one matter of which I’m certain, with a real definite feeling of no doubt or incertitude; and that’s millions will be worrying as they ask; what does the day after tomorrow hold; will I hold onto my job, will I get a job and will I be able to provide an adequate standard of living for myself and for my family. This is a question that must haunt like a ghost.

I was thinking a great deal about this today following the latest revealing disclosure that unemployment in the UK was heading further and ever upwardly, and of course pondering upon the fact that unemployment in London stands at a staggering 9%.

London is the worst hit area with nearly eight JSA claimants for every job vacancy.

Seven of the top ten unemployment blackspots of the UK are in this the Crime Capital of World Finance.

They are Haringey, (9,910 on the dole and 696 vacancies) Lewisham, (9,196 on the dole and 662 vacancies) Waltham Forest, (8,596 on the dole and 692 vacancies) Lambeth, (11,631 on the dole and 3,202 vacancies) Brent, (9,608 on the dole and 834 vacancies) Hammersmith and Fulham (5,154 on the dole and 514 vacancies).

But top of the bill is Hackney which is the hardest place to find a job in the whole country. In Hackney claimants outnumber vacancies by a shocking 24 to1 (9,663 on the dole and 404 vacancies).

Monday, 14 June 2010

The 'key' to success in Afganistan - $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits

Well as expected Cameron the Prime Minster, has started off on the same footing as Brown hobbled away on in regard to foreign policy and Afghanistan, and back from his trip and briefing MPs he said that people are asking why are we in Afghanistan:

“Let me tell you; I can answer in two words; national security.”

“Our forces are in Afghanistan to prevent Afghan territory from again being used by al-Qaeda as a base to which lunch attacks on the UK or our allies.”

So it has nothing to do with a report in the New York Times then, that says the US has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

Well this changes everything then, whilst the US have been protecting their interest in a pipeline carrying oil for the west, they that’s the Pentagon of the United States military establishment, have been snooping around and have found what amounts to an 'Aladdin's Cave' of new riches, an abundance of  mineral and material possessions and resources, and they will grab the lot!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

We’re all in it together!

There’s definitely without question and beyond any doubt, something very manipulative about David Cameron, it’s not the seduction of Nick Clegg, or the skilful and showing knowledge that he has up to now employed successfully on his own backbenchers, remember that this is a Tory party with a history of turning on leaders. No it’s none of that which I’ve noticed about Cameron, but rather the public perception of the woven path that he has taken in the first month of his Premiership.

His clean-cut youthful and armour-plated good guy image, has thus far been able to fool a great many up till now into thinking, excuse me, he’s not such a bad chap after all, and the coalition government, why it’s not so bad.

He and his adherents, or rather claque and clack have skilfully used every given opportunity to featherbed the austerity road ahead. The Cumbria shootings, his recent trip, staying with our young enlisted men and woman in Afghanistan, increasing and backdating their Daly Allowance, is all part of the plan, the illusion, that he, that this government is fair, not excessive or extreme, free from favouritism or self-interest, bias or deception; conforming with established standards as a rule of thumb, is nothing more than a great deception.

They say that all new governments have a honeymoon period, and then the tide of public opinion suddenly turns. I wouldn’t venture to guess when this is likely to happen, only to anticipate its likelihood when the pressure is applied and very soon by the looks of things.

And how hollow, will those words sound, that we’re all in it together!

Well we'll soon see for sure, their first budget is bound to reveal the full extent to which the axmen will decapitate and destroy jobs and services.

The Sunday Mirror, carried a very good article by Danny Blanchflower, Professor of economics at Dartmouth and the University of Stirling, and just to give a summary, he says: Osborne is going to butcher jobs and people's livelihoods, that economic output has dropped by six per cent, twice as much as the United States. Yet America has seen a much bigger increase in unemployment than we have so far!

He thinks and I agree that Osborne is going to annihilate public spending and probably raise VAT - perhaps to as much as 25%.

And Blanchflower says: “It will do terrible and probably irreversible damage to the British economy. I am now 100 per cent certain these actions will push us into double-dip recession.”

“The chances we will enter a second great depression more than doubled on the day this government took power. Bad industrial production numbers on Friday confirmed how we are struggling to recover. And the Euro area looks like it is slowing and about to go back into recession. It is our major export market and if our friends on the Continent are not recovering it will make it even harder for us to do so.”

Blanchflower points out widespread tax evasion, by the very business fraternity who calmer and demand the cuts!

Tory-led coalition's agenda includes, scrapping free school meals to children in working but low paid poor families. Half a million of the poorest families will be denied free school meals by deep cuts in welfare spending. The decision will cost families earning less than £307 a week about £600 a year, equivalent to a penny rise in their income tax for each child. So the costs are going to fall on the poor.

The Government’s deficit reduction measures will raise unemployment close to three million and “stall” any recovery in the capitalist jobs market, and some are predicting unemployment hitting such heights with all the unsavoury social problems that degenerate life and divide communities. An employment expert said cuts in public spending made the outlook “bleak” for individuals and communities already suffering the greatest hardship.

Our government’s approach to deficit reduction and influenced by their LibDem partners in crime, is to emulate Canada’s Liberal government and its programme of cuts in the 1990s.

The resulted was the loss of 265,000 jobs from the then three million-strong Canadian public sector workforce and an eventual fall in the share of public sector employment in total employment from 26% to 19%.

On an equivalent scale, this translates into around 500,000 UK public sector job cuts!

We’re all in it together!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Off-Side at the World Cup

On Friday, South Africa took to the field against Mexico; and the World Cup was officially underway.

Everyone I do suppose to their own thing, but I’m no lover of this sport and this great event that seems to come round faster than Christmas, it will hypnotise millions, and in Britain it will be seen as a godsend and a sudden opportunity to make money, for the struggling boozer down the street.
In Canning Town, people have draped their homes out in flags and bunting while more and more cars fly the flag (cross of St George) with some kind of pride?

So amidst the tide of corporate-sponsored English nationalism which seems to find expression in crappy little mass produced St George’s flags that are already reappearing across the landscape, and I can now bear witness to this having lost count of property decked out, as I traveled to Cardiff yesterday, and surprisingly some Welsh homes are sporting the English flag.
England - still emblematic (Three Lions and a Crown) representative of the British Empire - play the symbolic representatives of the American Empire on 12 June - but one should I think still hold firm to a stress on 'the main enemy being at home', and perhaps lie back and think of those rich and powerful overlords who own and run BP and the damage their oil spill has done and is doing to the US coastline.

However let’s just focus on the host nation; for whenever I think of South Africa or hear and see that grand old man Nelson Mandela on the news, always I think back to the many times I took part in ante-apartheid demonstrations and protests some 26 years and more ago and after Nelson Mandela's improbable emergence from Victor Verster Prison into liberty and global adulation en route to entering the pantheon of statesmen.

South Africa is hosting arguably the greatest sporting tournament of them all, and yet, as the world is encouraged to ignore the bleak as it is unattractive, the indescribable privations of poverty in the modern era, which is a devastating fact of existence for the majority of people in contemporary Africa.

One of the great ironies of South Africa's hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup is that it comes at a time when, and for all the pretensions of being the continent’s flagship state, South Africa resembles a thread that is being woven into the more prosaic African narrative. Between 1995 and 2002, life expectancy is estimated to have dropped from 61.4 years to 51.4 years; the average South African lifespan in 2015 will be 30% shorter than it was twenty years earlier. According to the United Nations Development Programme, an eye-watering 42.9% of South Africans are scraping by on a daily income of less than US$2; construction labourers who have worked on the World Cup venues will not be able to afford to enter the sports stadiums that are the creation of their sweat.

As the Anti-Privatization Forum of South Africa puts it!

“Our government has managed, in a fairly short period of time, to deliver 'world class' facilities and infrastructure that the majority of South Africans will never benefit from or be able to enjoy. The APF feels that those who have been so denied, need to show all South Africans as well as the rest of the world who will be tuning into the World Cup, that all is not well in this country, that a month long sporting event cannot and will not be the panacea for our problems. This World Cup is not for the poor -- it is the soccer elites of FIFA, the elites of domestic and international corporate capital and the political elites who are making billions and who will be benefiting at the expense of the poor."

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Leadership extravaganza?

My friend and co-blogger of The Socialist Way, Brian Hopper (In the Box) is a man of great depth, intelligence, but above all else integrity, and whenever I feel that I need a second opinion about a post he is the man I call, all the way up in Scunthorpe.

Just before I left for a trip to Cardiff today, we had one such chat.

We discussed the developments within the Labour Party, the significance of John McDonnell pulling out of the farce that is the race for the leadership of Nu Labour, and I’m glad that I do this, for its easy to shoot off at the hip, and none of us hold all the answers, do we?

It did not come as a surprise then, discovering that my friend and comrade felt more or less the same as I do when it comes to the Labour Party; he has sent the following post of thoughts which are under this introduction along with comments sent by Chris H of Lansbury's Lido blog fame and in response to an earlier post, as Chris makes a simple, passionate and accurate assessment of the Nu Labour Party – Now we have all been members of the Labour Party at one time or the other, with different experiences, specking for myself I remember meeting a Labour Councillor, called Hamilton Spencer, a nice man, who use to say many times at my ward meetings that the Labour Party is a ‘Broad Church’. Well old Hamilton Spencer who reminded me in appearance of Manny Shinwell, and like him he died of old age over twenty years ago, and so did the Labour Party that's all so clear now!

We are heading into a storm, it’s not the leader of the Labour Party that matters, but arresting and casting aside the world system of capitalism that matters, we have our work cut out for us, but I believe that working people, come the day will rise to the task and overturn the system and establish sanity, we must all play our part now!  

Brian Hopper:

It is some time since, I sat down to put my thoughts to the key board. Well May 3rd to be precise three days before the General Election, and I sat up most of that night on May 6th watching the Election results come in eventually, then  I took myself of to bed very heartsick,  many of us  predicted a hung Parliament long before voting day, and so having looked at all the scenarios that might accrue, I should have been well prepared for what might be, but no I was not, not until it was staring me in the face, and oh boy did  it really hit me, just how broken Britain was, I have to admit  I just don't know what I felt?. Just completely lost seems to be the best explanation.

Watching things unfold over the next few days and weeks just have not helped in any way at all.
I followed The Socialist Way and other blogs every couple of days, and found most of the things that came to mind was being said already but better, it was the reading of the socialist blogs that has made me realise I am not alone in my feelings of despondency.  

Still, why do I feel so bad, as the saying goes, look for the best in man and you won't all ways see it, but look for the worst and it is sure to appear, maybe it is my eye sight I just don't see best at all.

It seems the banner of the working classes has fallen into the dust and everybody is just walking all over it, and there does not appear to be anybody that will pick it up, dust it off and hold it high with pride, and I feel I have to repeat my self when I say anybody there?

Just look at the candidates that are putting themselves forward for the New Labour Party leadership, all New Labour to the back teeth, and Diane Abbott you don’t count – for anything!

Chris H:

In terms of improving life in the 80s and beyond John's comment was likely to have been along the right lines in terms of practical results. Thatcher inflicted so much violence against the working class and their communities, the poor, the sick, the unemployed and the trade union movement.

My cousin, a miner, took his own life after a year on strike such was the pressure on him. And why did it get to that position? Because Thatcher is a spiteful, vindictive cow who cares nothing for people but only that the working class needed to be taught a lesson, regardless of cost or common sense. When she dies I will be cracking open a classy bottle of red, not in celebration but in rememberance of a society and millions of lives ruined by her.

And as for the Labour Party leadership extravaganza? The fact that the only left-wing nomination is struggling to reach the bar speaks volumes for the future. Kinnock et al restructured the Labour Party to be a top down organisation controlled by a clique of PLP members and their 'advisors'. The fact that most of the Labour MPs could fit quite happily in the coalition government and not look out of place leads me to believe that the Labour Party is dead in the water in terms of representing the working class. Why places like Socialist Unity keep gassing over the Labour Party leadership elections is beyond me. Waste of time.

We say reject "Labour", Tories and the Liberals?

I find this particular post hard to compose, with such a heavy hart, a mental weight of density, the sadness that I feel is real – John MacDonnell has slung the tea towel in the ring, I’m sorry for all the decent Socialists trapped in the Labour Party, any hope of moving it back to the left is over, and before it even started.

What can I or anyone say, the Labour Party forget about it.

It really is something when a Tory PM tells the party 'opposite' they were becoming "more and more authoritarian". Jack Straw prime minister told him Labour had "given up" on civil liberties. Ed Balls was told he was the "Alf Garnet" of British politics.
And whilst this is going on and to his credit an outspoken opponent of Nu Labours filthy Welfare Reforms stands-down from the leadership contest - now the real opposition must come from outside that heap of shit that lies by the river.

While I try to clear my head here underneath is a statement that this blog agrees with from the Manchester Unemployed Workers Centre, sent out to no-to-welfare-abolition@googlegroups yesterday!

Dear No To The Abolition Of Welfare Groups.

On the question of the "Labour" Party Leadership Elections.

Our views are that the Labour Party is irrelevant now, it is a busted flush, it is in meltdown.

The leadership contenders are Oxford educated, silver spooned, privileged supporters of the monopoly capitalist system.

They have never had to suffer low wages, poverty, unemployment, discrimination, exploitation and they are all fit and healthy parasites.

We as unemployed activists say: ditch the failed "Labour" Party- Left, Right and Centre-once and for all.
"Labour" cannot be reclaimed as some deluded left groups and trade unionists say.

It is finished.

Between 1997-2010, whilst in Government it continued the previous Tory policy of featherbedding the rich whilst attacking the poor. It was a Party of imperialist wars and mass unemployment.

We say reject "Labour", Tories and the Liberals.
Reject the Westminster cartel which is a cover for the Crown dictatorship.

If you are in a union still affiliated to "Labour", campaign to withdraw.

Let’s campaign for a strong Welfare State and NHS.

Let’s campaign for Full Employment, Peace, Democracy and Socialism.

We are continuing the hard work organising unemployed people, developing the Unemployed Workers Centres and lobbying for a TUC Peoples March For Jobs next Spring.
Best Wishes,

Mervyn Drage,

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What did John McDonnell say that was wrong – absolutely nothing!

The election of a new Leader of the Labour Party that’s currently under way can only be best described as a non-event. However if there was one candidate that this blog had to give support too, then it would be for John McDonnell, who we would depict as an old school Laborite. However the Labour Party lost itself and sold its socialist soul to the capitalist system many moons ago, and it’s very unlikely that John or opportunist and left splitting Diane Abbott, will make it on to the ballot paper when nominations close this week, they need to secure the support of 33 MPs.

Abbott only has nine nominations, whilst John McDonnell takes 15 Labour MPs with him.

However I suppose the talking point this week were John’s remarks at a hustings event held at the GMB conference, when he said the best way to improve life in 1980's Britain would have been to assassinate Margaret Thatcher during his speech to the trade unionists assembled. This spanned a bit of a stir and disturbance from as you would have imagined the Tory press and Thatcherite advocates. However I was somewhat dismayed to have read a post on the left Socialist Unity site authored by its moderator Andy Newman who said the following:

“I want to separately discuss one issue which explains the unfortunate lack of credibility of John McDonnell, despite his many strengths."

"During the debate he joked that if he could go back to the 1980s, like in the BBC drama Ashes to Ashes, he would assassinate Thatcher. With that particular audience, it got a laugh.
Obviously, it was just a joke, but it shows a serious lack of political judgment, and also shows that while John can brilliantly empathise with a relatively small and politicised layer of activists, he has little feel for the type of politics than can build an election winning coalition reaching out to the centre left.”

I myself made the following comment on the site:

“John McDonnell said it as a joke, and that it was meant as a joke, and taken as a joke. John is a socialist the only one standing in this election and his word is good enough for me, don’t know why it’s not for others?

"On the other hand Thatcher branded Nelson Mandela a terrorist, but much worst than that she was a friend of General Pinochet a mass murderer and Demon King of Chile, During the 17 years of his government more than 3,200 people disappeared or were killed and tens of thousands were detained, tortured or exiled."

Why are some comrades reading the Sun!”

Poor old John McDonnell is not having much luck this time round and the so-called left that’s still inside the Labour Party, is fragmenting and dividing further; and within weeks after a general election defeat which was, and lets not forget led by New Labour.

Only last week Tony Benn gave his support to supposedly to Ed Miliband', as reported by the New Statesman, but now that web page has been taken down and on the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC Radio 5 June 2nd he said during an interview the following:
"I have always supported John McDonnell."

"I think it's important that people should vote for those whose general approach they support, and the broader the range of discussion in the party the healthier the party will be."

"I support him (McDonnell) very strongly and the line he's taken on many issues."

So it seems that Benn supports in a way McDonnell’s inclusion on the ballot, but if he doesn’t make it I suspect he will vote for Miliband in the end.

So returning to the remarks that John said about Thatcher and clearly jokingly, we need to remember that it’s part of the role of socialists, (or at least it used to be) to agitate that’s stir up public opinion – that’s all John was doing, the old agitate, educate, organise, one, two, three.

And just who was he talking about? Margaret Hilda Thatcher the woman that put thousands on the dole, under her governance, the country experienced a cavalcade of tectonic societal shifts, leaving many struggling for a foothold in a rapidly changing country. Thatcher’s Britain was a country engaged in a class war, as industry took an about turn. The decade was forever scarred by the bitter miners’ strikes. Britain’s languishing economy, its public sector was all but renovated and drained during the Conservative Party’s policy of aggressive privatisation of public sector companies. Selling off the family silver was government policy. British Rail, British Telecom, British Steel… the sale of such publicly owned giants radically changed the direction of the economy that has led to the greed of the banking community of today, and left working class people scarred, bruised and still dressed down!

What did John McDonnell say that was wrong – absolutely nothing!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Their bootmarks are all over the place!

Populace empowerment may find its foothold in the approaching months; as the ComDem coalition hatches to swing the cutting axe, and one group or section of our society is going to be battered hard when the cutter starts to cut deep into the artery of support that keeps many pensioners, disabled and unemployed afloat, in these already hard times!

David Cameron yesterday heralded “painful” spending cuts affecting the lifestyles of everyone in Britain over the coming years.

And in his speech in Milton Keynes he said:

“Our economy has become more and more unbalanced, with our fortunes hitched to a few industries in one corner of the country, while we let other sectors like manufacturing slide.

It has become over-reliant on welfare, with mass worklessness accepted as a fact of life and around five million people now on out-of-work benefits. It has become increasingly hostile to enterprise, with business investment in the past decade growing at around one per cent each year – only a quarter of what it was the decade before. It has become far too dependent on the public sector, with over half of all jobs created in the last ten years associated in some way with public spending.”

These were the opening sentences of a speech that clearly blamed working people in their communities for the crisis of capitalism, and what incomprehensible gobbledegook to suggest that manufacturing industry was allowed to slide; when in fact in 1979 Thatcher claimed that the economy was overmanned and inefficient. Her aim was to let the competitive pressures of the free market regenerate British capitalism. So let’s look at one example of her legacy then: In the 1980s Thatcher took on the steel unions blaming them for upsetting business. Excessive wages for insufficient output make British products uncompetitive on the international market, she said.

She brought in the Employment Act of 1982 to constrict the privileges and freedoms the unions once had in protecting their members.

Once one of the great successes of the industrial revolution, Sheffield has now become a prime example of British economic decline. A tourist visiting Sheffield some 250 years after the development of steel making in the city would wonder why it is called steel city.

So when the likes of Cameron and the ruling class talk of decline and slide, let's just remember that their bootmarks are all over the place!

Monday, 7 June 2010


ATHENS - FEBRUARY 10: A public servant wears a...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
One thing is clear about this sprouting coalition government, even though the vast majority in this country may not as of ‘yet’ share the view that all of us will be made, one way or the other to pay for the crisis of greed that has brought the capitalist world to the cliff edge of collapse. And the signs are, it’s about to get much worse, the US economy is already rotten to the core, the big apple as it is sometimes referred too, has a maggot sucking out what’s left of its juicy fruit, entire states are facing bankruptcy, and renewed banking failures and sovereign debt defaults are threatening to rip apart the European Union (as the “liberal Observer economist turned public sector cuts advisor for the Con-Dem coalition, Will Hutton, has recently warned) and force the global economy back towards the downward trajectory.

On Sunday DAVID CAMERON warned that the economy is in a far worse state than previously thought and signalled that Britain now faces years of “pain” as the impending spending axe falls. He indicated a sharp downgrade in official growth forecasts and revealed that welfare and public sector pay would bear the brunt of budget cuts.

Oh, the deficit is far worse than they thought is it, what a surprise!

So we had a recovery and now we're going to get taken down by this Con-Demolition!
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Viva Palestina - We shall Overcome!

Viva Palestina founder George Galloway, speaking to a crowd of around 20,000 protesting outside the Israeli Embassy in London, revealed the latest plan to bring about the end of the siege on Gaza.

Two simultaneous convoys - one by land the other by sea - will set forth on SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 12th bound for Gaza. Viva Palestina, the International Committee to break the Siege on Gaza and any allies who will join us will organise the two convoys.

The land convoy will leave from London and travel across Europe to Turkey, Syria and ultimately through the Rafah Gate into Gaza. Co-operation will be offered and sought with all relevant governments and agencies. It is expected the convoy will pick up vehicles and volunteers in each country through which it passes. The target is to enter Gaza with 500 vehicles.

The sea convoy will travel around the Mediterranean gathering ships, cargo, volunteers from each country. The target is to enter Gaza with sixty ships.

The aim will be to arrive on Gaza's frontiers at the same time. And to enter with the world's largest ever aid convoys. And to thereby render the siege null and void.

Please get in touch if you need further information. Please also sign up to the Viva Palestina mailing list - http://vivapalestina.org/alert.htm
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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Action we need!

My report from the London demonstration called in response to the vicious slaughter of 9 innocent aid volunteers on a flotilla of aid ships, loaded with desperately needed food and medical supplies destined for Gaza is as follows:

It was one of the hottest days of the year in London, and having cycled through the streets. I made my way to Downing Street or rather the Whitehall entrance to the official residence of British Prime Ministers. I suppose the great iron gates that close off the street from the public will be one of the least remembered legacies left to the nation by Iron Lady Thatcher!

And even though, this Iron spider's web of toughened steel that protects the occupants from whatever the authorities see as a threat, and yet still a double line of police are deployed, this I suppose is understandable when I remember on one demonstration in support of Liverpool Dockers about fifteen years ago, the iron gates were scaled and protesters got on to the tops of government buildings, anyhow that’s another story. But one thing that did strike me is the constant work that’s on going to improve as far as I can make out, the security of the area, and I don’t mean from so-called terrorists. However when I arrived yesterday, the multitude of those gathered had surrounded the police and the entrance; soon reinforcements were dispatched to clear away and gain control, nice sight though I thought, flags flying and people chanting free Gaza Now! End the Blockade!

Just to give a little more of the ambiance prevailing: Both ends of Whitehall were blocked to the flow of traffic for a time, a number of buses were trapped with passengers mostly tourists and protesters started to dance on top of a single deck number 12 when free food turned up provided by "the Hare Krishnas" who are lovely people, they by the way feed the homeless all over London.

I would say about ten thousand (StWC say 20,000) had turned out at the start and not really with a lot of time to mobilise or circulate this was quite good, and with speakers which included some who had been on the flotilla, their message was blasted through the PA system towards Downing Street.

At the head of the march a giant Palestinian flag was carried, this was followed by what I call the great and good, the usual lot, Tony Benn, George Galloway, John Rees, Lindsey German, Kevin Ovenden, Salma Yeqoob and others.

I suppose I sound a bit of a cynic here then, well I am, and for what I think is good reason.

Ibrahim Bilgen, Ali HaydarBengi, Cevdet Kiliçlar, Çetin Topçuoglu, Necdet Yildirim, Fahri Yaldiz, Cengiz Songür, Cengiz Akyüz and US citizen, 19 year old Furkan Dogan gave their lives trying to end the siege of Gaza.

The nine men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, that’s according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice.

This is nothing more than premeditated murder of which the orders were given by the leadership of the state of Israel – a crime that you can rest assured is being played down disgracefully by other world leaders, at home and aboard.

A 60-year-old man for god’s sake, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old Fulkan Dogan, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back.

Murder… Murder… Murder…And Murders!

We need to step up our campaigning, we need to do more than just organise an outing for the great and good, who make the same speeches time after time. We need to stop just marching around London; but marching and organising action up and down the country, we need to boycott anything and everything to do with Israel, we need to set-up collections of money, food, medicine and general provisions, like we did during the miners strike.

But what we realy need to do more than anything else is speck to people in our communities and at work, because the media won’t do it for us!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Without delay or hesitation end the blockade of Gaza Now!

                                    Rachel Corrie

Turkish forensic experts have confirmed that the nine activists killed during the Israeli raid on the Gaza aid flotilla were shot with guns.

Eight were Turks and one a US national of Turkish origin, the Anatolia news agency reported on Thursday as funerals got under way in Istanbul.

Let’s be under no illusions, this is murder, and the state of Israel and in particular its leaders are the murderers!

Israel has remained defiant about the raid and says it is ready to intercept another aid ship, the Rachel Corrie, those organisers of the Freedom Flotilla say is due to head for the Gaza Strip.

The MV Rachel Corrie is carrying 11 activists, including Mairead Corrigan, a Nobel Peace laureate, and eight crew members, just days after Israeli soldiers killed in cold blood nine activists.

The Rachel Corrie is funded by Perdana Global Peace Organisation, a Malaysian non-governmental organisation headed by Mahathir Mohamad, the country's former prime minister.

The vessel hoped to arrive in Gaza on Saturday with a cargo of humanitarian aid.

Despite fears of an Israeli attack, the peace activists are determined to try and break through the blockade and deliver much needed aid to the people of Gaza.

The ship is named after an American woman who was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip in 2003, while trying to protest a house demolition.

As in my previous post; I urge all who read this blog to attend tomorrows London demonstration and lets all step-up to the line and demand that the blockade ends immediately, at once and without delay or hesitation; with no time intervening!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Take to the streets this coming weekend and do three things...

I’m not by any stretch of the imagination an expert or well versed in what seem to me at times the complexities of the issues of Palestine and the strangulation, the suffering of Gaza and it’s people, at the hands of the state known as Israel, the Jewish republic in south-western Asia at the eastern end of Mediterranean; formerly part of Palestine and the ancient kingdom of the Hebrew tribes at the south-eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea; founded by Saul around 1025 BC and destroyed by the Assyrians in 721 BC.

Israel’s massacre of supporters of an aid convoy to Gaza has provoked angry protests internationally after IDF Commandos stormed the flotilla of ships carrying activists and essential aid to Gaza, abseiling onto the decks from helicopters and murdering tender-hearted, and peace loving activists who only wanted to help!

Israel claimed that its soldiers were attacked and that guns were fired. “Live fire was used against our forces. They initiated the violence, that’s 100 percent clear,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the BBC. He did not address the fact that, since the ship was in international waters, the Israeli attack was an act of piracy and those on board had every right to resist, and whether they did or not is of no importance, they travelled in peace bringing help and goodwill, that’s all that matters.
Trying to keep this post short sweet and to the point. I have to say that consequently this is nothing short of an outrage, which should not be tolerated by any decent compassionate human beings anywhere in the world. 37 British nationals who were on the convoy of ships taken over by the Israeli navy and illegally kidnapped and taken to a high-security facility in the desert outside Beer Sheva in the south of Israel; and as I write still no news of their fate, reports from those other nationals detained, but now realest, paint a picture that could mach Hitler’s Gestapo frankly.

"The Israelis roughed up and humiliated all of us, women, men and children," a Kuwaiti MP among them, Walid al-Tabtabai, said as he crossed the Allenby Bridge connecting the West Bank with Jordan; and as reported by the international press on his release.
Two more ships will attempt to bring in aid in the coming week. The MV Rachel Corrie vessel, a 1,200-tonne cargo ship which has five Irish people on board, is off the coast of Italy and could sail on Monday and another smaller ship carrying 30 passengers is expected to sail alongside, therefore it is now important that people around the world take to the streets this coming weekend and do three things: (1) show continued solidarity with the people of Gaza: (2) applaud salute, toast and remember the selfish risks that others will take to help their brothers and sisters not just in Gaza but anywhere in the world: (3) Demand the immediate end to this in-human blockade of Gaza.

I think that this first weekend of flaming June promises some fine weather, and if you are near or are able to make it to London. I urge you to join with those of us that will be demonstrating this Saturday.

Saturday 5 June • Gaza Flotilla March • End the Siege of Gaza: Freedom for Palestine

Assemble Downing Street • London • 1.30pm • March to the Israeli Embassy

Called by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative, CND & Viva Palestina

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

This oil spill isn't just an ecological disaster - with everything from pensions to petrol prices impacted, it's a catastrophe for us all.

The continued eruption of oil from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico is an unmitigated catastrophe, with incalculable economic and ecological consequences; and when I think about it this black gold that companies such as BP hunger after, now chucking up and spewing-out killing and polluting, make’s me feel glad that when I was young I decided that learning to dive and owning a car was not for me!

From my council flat here in Canning Town I have a great view of the A13 and the constant flowing traffic, moving back and forth to Tilbury and Southend 24/7 non-stop. Despite my close proximity; I do love the fast moving scene, a moving-picture show that spellbinds my thoughts on the modern pace of life in this the 21st century.

With each passing day, more is revealed about the way in which BP deliberately cut corners on safety, facilitated by the federal Minerals Management Service (MMS), which rubber-stamped all of BP’s actions up to the day of the explosion. Despite ample warnings of an impending disaster—including leaks in the blowout preventer, the failure of which has cut off attempts to cap the eruption—BP was determined to push ahead with the drilling. At the same time, additional safety measures and backups were not installed, with the oil industry unwilling to pay the extra costs.

This disaster is nothing more than a demonstration of the way in which global society is vulnerable to the destructive operations of privately owned corporations such as BP whose guiding principle is profit and the enrichment of private shareholders.

Today I learnt that the giant that is BP may eventually go under, that its market price shares fell by 17% as it lost £7 billion, now the real losers may be the thousands of ordinary working people who have money tide-up in pension funds?

BP is a key stock for pension funds, and it is suggested that it accounts for one in every six pension pounds invested.
Funds have traditionally chosen BP because its shares were seen as a relatively 'safe' bet in the long-run, gaining solidly each year and most importantly providing a regular and robust dividend.

But the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico has dramatically changed that outlook.

With oil spill problems set to rumble on, many expect BP shares to tumble further, wiping huge chunks from retirement savers' pots. And the big fear for pension funds ongoing performance is that BP may not be able to sustain its high dividend payments, with the shares currently yielding more than 7.5%.
This oil spill isn't just an ecological disaster - with everything from pensions to petrol prices impacted, it's a catastrophe for us all.

the efforts by British Petroleum to bring to an end the disastrous oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon project in the Gulf of Mexico have been found wanting.

Ever since a deadly explosion triggered the spill on April 20 all BP's attempts to stem the flow have failed. The latest 'top kill' technique - firing mud, golf balls and other debris into the well - has now proved as hapless as the other techniques it has employed without success.

There are now fears that it may take until August to finally stem the black tide that is bubbling out of the ocean floor. And with each passing day BP, once Britain's largest industrial company, comes closer to financial implosion.

I give BP just months, and then it’s over and out!

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