Thursday, 29 July 2010
Well I suppose then, that young Blair did not win everything after all, well apparently not in his first carer. However the point that needs to be noted; is that 10 years before becoming the leader of the Labour Party. Blair acted on the behalf of an employer in a nasty dispute with workers then engaged in low-paid, precarious home-based work. They often worked in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. They lacked rights at work, including to pregnancy and maternity protection. The long hours they worked were typical for the garment industry of the time, and often come into conflict with the women's ability to fulfil their other responsibilities as expected of them, to shoulder in their families. So this was the short of work he was doing then, so ‘how the hell’ did this enemy of workers become leader of the Labour Party, is a question that must be asked. And I will tell you; he went into the Labour Party with the sole intention of serving capitalism and his own class interests. He used every cunning method, tactics and playacting at his disposal or what he had learnt from training and practice in the capitalist courts, including lying, that deliberate act of deviating from the truth, as he must have done with the garment home workers.
His election as Leader of the Labour Party was built on a pile of lies, and one could spend all-day listing them, here is an early lie sent in a letter to then party leader Michael Foot in 1982: "I come to Socialism through Marxism" and considered myself on the left.
The letter was eventually published in June 2006.
Well the one thing that I don’t want to do is turn this into some short of long rambling post about Tony Blair. We all know what his contribution has been in the world and still live with it everyday and possibly for years to come, unless we can transform things in the time that is to come.
So under his leadership he was able to change the Labour Party into a vehicle that was more accommodating to capitalism, he won over middle England with his modern and moderate New Labour Party, by getting rid of it’s historical challenge to capitalism through it’s commitment to Nationalisation; this involved the deletion of the party's long stated commitment to "the common ownership of the means of production and exchange". He won over middle and working class Tories who keep him in power for ten of the thirteen years that New Labour governed the UK.
His transformation of the party has made it more undemocratic than ever, and remaining so, by the look of things and for the foreseeable future.
Statistics shows that much like Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, New Labour have firmly shifted the financial burden form the rich to the poor. The richest 1% has captured a higher share of national income than at any time since the early 1930s.
Aside from selling off Britain's gold reserves at rock-bottom prices, New Labour has cut corporation tax from 33% to 28%, whilst capital gains tax fell from 40% to 18%.
Taxing the first £2m of capital gains at only 10% via the entrepreneurs’ relief scheme and also raising the inheritance tax threshold from £300,000 to £600,000, in it’s acquisition on behalf of capitalism; to blocking the employment rights for temporary and agency workers (reminding me yet again of the garment workers), further bolsters the view that New Labour was and is in the hands of the business class as opposed to the working-class.
And let’s not forget that New Labour has created 3,500 new criminal offences, increased the number of prisons by 41%, seriously attempted to introduce 96 days detention without trial, and famously tried to ban a legal anti-war demonstration in October 2008 upon the return of Parliament.
Britain now has more CCTV cameras than any other nation on earth; and New Labour famously turned its back on its promise to renationalize the railways after the Conservatives had privatized it.
Despite a 2million strong march in London opposing the impending war, British Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair (along with a majority of Labour MPs) ignored public opinion and sent British troops into Iraq standing alongside U.S President George W. Bush, two years after Blair had sent British troops into Afghanistan in a U.S led NATO operation.
This of all things will always be engraved on New Labour’s political tombstone for decades to come.
So what more powerfully persuasive evidence than that above which suggests that New Labour is the creation of a class of infiltrators?
Just one thing stands out amongst everything; is the fact that from 2004 to 2007-08, the number of people in households living on less than 60% of median income rose by 1.3 million - producing a total better than in 1997, but worse than in 1989. This was of course prior to the recession.
In addition, the average real incomes of the poorest tenth in Britain declined by 2% in the 10 years to 2007-08 under New Labour.
The gap between rich and poor in Britain is wider today than when Charles Dickens wrote Hard Times.
After 13 years of Labour government, the UK has higher levels of inequality than after 18 years of Tory government, its predecessor!”
When Kier Hardie, the first ever Labour MP founded the Labour Party, he envisaged a party which would safeguard the whims, needs, desires and aspirations of the average working-class man.
It is an ideology which many British voters encapsulate when they mark their ballots for the Labour party. But is this still true today, and can the Labour Party under a new leader work ever in the interests of working people, that question will be given consideration in my last and final post coming soon.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
The following article is from the New.scotsman.com. I’m reproducing it because not only is it very sad and disturbing, but is, or at least as far as I’m concerned, a disgrace; that fills me with absolute rage. That we live in such a society that not only allows, but pushes by applying force in order to move something away from those in most need and in what is still the fifth richest nation in the world. This is the second time life has been needlessly lost due to and after such harsh treatment has been handed out to those forced, and yes, I do say forced to survive on means-tested benefits; and in such a short period of time; the last time, we have mention before, was of a young pregnant mother who jumped from a building in Hackney following the decision by the DWP to not award her, any benefits. These are suicides 'due to the cutting with sweeping strokes, and as if with an axe or machete the lifeline of many. Let’s make no mistake about that!”
The direction that we are heading in is beginning to look disturbingly horrible!”
FRIENDS of an acclaimed Scottish writer have accused the new government's crackdown on welfare benefits of being a factor in his suicide.
Paul Reekie, who, along with Irvine Welsh, was part of a wave of young Scottish authors who rose to international prominence in the 1990s, killed himself in his Edinburgh home last month.
The Leith-based writer and poet, who was 48, left no suicide note but friends say letters informing him that his welfare benefits were to be halted were found close to his body.
Reekie's former publisher Kevin Williamson believes the actions of Chancellor George Osborne, who has introduced unprecedented measures to slash
's welfare bill, helped to push his close friend and literary collaborator towards taking his own life. Britain
The founder of the Rebel Inc publishing label has sent a strongly worded letter to Osborne, linking his policies to Reekie's death.
The letter states: "It has come to my attention that while many of my friends and I were at the funeral of our good friend Paul Reekie, aged 48, it would appear that you were giving a speech in Parliament announcing your intentions to slash the benefits paid to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.
"I thought I would let you know that Paul took his own life. He didn't leave a note but he laid out two letters on his table. One was notifying him that his housing benefit had been stopped. The other was notifying him that his incapacity benefit had been stopped.
"The reason I'm writing this letter is just so you know the human cost of attacking those on benefits."
Williamson, who published Reekie's novella, Submission, in the best-selling 1996 anthology Children of Albion Rovers, said: "The letter will be binned and forgotten, but there will be loads more folk in Paul's shoes over the coming years trying to cope with unemployment, depression, house repossessions and stress."
John Wight, a friend of the late writer, said he believed Reekie had been suffering from "the after-effects of a serious assault".
Another close friend believes the letters from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) may have been the final straw for Reekie, who is thought to have been suffering from depression. In an online tribute to the devoted follower of Hibernian FC, he spoke of the last time they met, just days before he took his own life: "I knew (Paul) was lonely and wasn't too happy overall.
Monday, 26 July 2010
“That’s life for you up to day down the rest of your life, but in the end we keep on trying to pull our selves up, sadly New labour or Labour will not do it, so what do we do, I've no idea.”
Was the comment sent in response to my last post ‘Summertime Blues.’
It’s all too easy to be critical of the Labour Party and the road that party has taken over the last decade and a bit. And it’s important to say from the onset of this piece, that there are many good socialists for whatever reason who choose to remain members and stay attached to a party that is not capitalism first preferred fix, but nevertheless has proven ready and able to do the biding and look after the interests of capital as we know it today. What people don’t seem to understand is that a two party system such as ours or like that in
really accommodates and helps to keep the system we all live under in place. America
Now I don’t have to go into great detail about what has happened under New Labour. Wars,
Afghanistan, Iraq, or tell you that the rich in the became much richer whilst the poor much worst off under the swashbuckler stewardship of this party. UK
Many things have changed since the formation of the Labour Party, the way we do and go about our daily lives, the way we earn a curst; we have fast and quick forms of communications such as this internet thing that I’m using, which our grandparents or even parents, depending of course how old you are; would not have dreamt possible in their youth, or to put it better than that, in the 1970s I would never have been able to foretell that in 30 years time I would be sitting at home writing and helping to run this political blog that can be, and has been read all over the world.
In the late 1970s the Labour Party started to purge its party, or a better way of putting it would be oust politically leftwing groups such as the Militant Tendency; which was an entrist group based around the Militant newspaper that was first published in 1964. It described its politics as descended from Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky who had their own agenda and ideas what socialism meant and how it would come about. I remember this very well being a then young and naive member of both Militant and the Labour Party. There was dishonesty on the part of Militant as I remember denying always that they were not another organisation when in fact they meet secretly as the Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL) up and down the country and eventually managed to get three MPs elected along with winning control of Liverpool City Council. However form 1985 onwards, a series of moves led by Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock against Militant ended its influence in the Labour Party and with it came the loss of its three Militant supporting Labour MPs. Now this is all part of the history of the Labour Party, but the relevance that I wish to highlight is that of Entryism a political tactic by which an organisation or state encourages its members or agents to infiltrate another organisation in an attempt to gain recruits, or take over entirely. I’ve highlighted the activities of Militant, but what about that of the agents of capitalism? There is a history of manipulation and backing of the rightwing within the Labour Party that stretches back years. Following the end of World War II, the Labour Party was elected on a platform of extensive domestic social reform, and of peaceful co-existence with the Soviet Union in
Europe. Fearful of the spread of Communist influence, the right wing of the party, under the then new Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, organised themselves around the journal Socialist Commentary, which became their most important mouthpiece. Throughout the post-war period, Labour's Gaitskellite right wing worked closely with MI5, Special Branch and a variety of CIA front organisations to advance its cause and curse on the party and in the process keeping the left at bay. Channelised with massive CIA funds, the right grew in confidence and influence, and vigorously campaigned against left-wingers like Aneurin Bevan, whom they denounced as "dangerous extremists".
Then there was the Campaign for Social Democracy that became a minor political party operating in the 1970s.
They were formed in September, 1973 by Dick Taverne, who had resigned from the Labour Party, after falling out with his Lincoln Constituency Labour Party over the
European Economic Community.
He had formed the Democratic Labour Association in
Lincoln elected as an MP for under that banner in a by-election in March, 1973. He formed the Campaign for Social Democracy, which included members from my own Labour Party in Lincoln Scunthorpe as an attempt to build a radical non-doctrinaire social democratic movement, and at the February 1974 general election they stood four candidates against leading Labour left-wingers (including Tony Benn).
All were unsuccessful (the highest polling only 2.4% of the vote in their constituency), and the campaign was wound up when the Labour Party won the February general election, making a split in the Labour Party less likely.
Such a split did occur in the early 1980s, when leading Labour moderates formed the Social Democratic Party, including those members from
I have written briefly about my small fender-bender with them on this blog in the past and you can read that (http://thesocialistway.blogspot.com/2009/08/real-labour-man.html) here, but the point is that we should not underestimate or even dismiss the lengths and determination that the enemies of the Labour Party will go too in order to undermine workers organisations. I’m only touching a small part of this trojan horse type activity that really did go on and for all we know still operates today.
I’m sorry if this post that was meant to be a reply to the comment that I posted at the beginning, has rambled on without as yet answering the question, but it has given me the opportunity to get some things as they say off my chest, and put things into real perspective which will then furnish the commentator with an answer. So for the time being I’m living it there so that interested readers can take-in what I’ve already said and will continue in the next post.
Sunday, 25 July 2010
The annual, yearly summer holidays are upon us, schools and colleges up and down the land adjourn for what may seem to be an endurance contest to many a parent. Just keeping them (children) occupied for the duration and out of harms way can be stressful and taxing at the best of times, and lets hope that with the recent hot weather, that none come to any harm this year, thinking about holiday tragedies of the past, such as swimming in canals and deep water without adult supervision, the dangers are more real today when you consider that more families than ever have both parents working just to make ends meet in these hard times.
There’s another group of term servers, who brake-up for the summer holidays, and I’m not offering any prizes for guessing correctly that our legislators of Honourable or Dishonourable men and women, depending how you view them, will be taking their mammoth vacation, as the Americans call it. Of course the Prime Minister will still be running the country, or so he will have us believe; more like running it down and preparing his blueprint of austerity cuts to be presented in the autumn, but in the meantime the press are reporting that his party, under his leadership are enjoying the so-called honeymoon period, for now! However the same cannot be said for his joiner partners in the coalition, poor old Liberal/Democrats they are slipping dramatically in the polls, well that’s an arranged marriage made in hell for you then!
So as we head into what is commonly known and often referred too as the silly session, it is obvious that many amongst this great mass of people, and through no fault of their own, still do not see the wealthy wolfhounds dressed in sheep’s clothing and ready to draw blood and slaughter those of us who are poorer off.
Just who will fend off these wolfs, not the Labour Party; who are running a side show of a beauty contest to select a new leader that no one seems to be interested in. It’s as if we keep going around in ever decreasing circles, time after time, after time. Let me say one thing about the Labour Party; they are totally and utterly bankrupted and stand a million miles away from ordinary working people, and I still cannot for the life of me understand why some who claim to be socialists still cling to their comfort blanket and pretended that socialism will come though this vertical and pointing always in the wrong direction vehicle with four wheels that fell off long ago, which is the Labour Party.
So let me just qualify myself by quoting this from an article I came across in would you believe it The Economist:
“The previous Labour government fought a kind of covert war on poverty. It redistributed billions to the poor in the form of generous tax credits but did not talk about it within earshot of richer voters. Poor children and pensioners benefited in particular (childless adults got less help). A minimum wage was introduced. So was a Child Trust Fund, in order to boost the wealth of the poor and not just their income.”
A fool’s paradise nothing more and nothing less and that’s what happens when you run capitalism; and all that, will in the fullness of time be taken away from those in most need by this obnoxious government.
If I may make one more quote from that above mentioned publication to rest my case:
“In the end, these efforts struggled to overcome low pay, runaway salaries at the top, single-parent households and other real-world trends that kept poverty and inequality stubbornly high.
has more of its people living in households of relative poverty (ie, with income below 60% of the national median) than all but six of the 27 members of the European Union (EU). According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), a think-tank, the proportion of the population in relative poverty fell only slightly, from 19.4% to 18.3%, between 1996-97 and 2007-08. (The drop is a bit more impressive when housing costs are taken into account.) There is also some evidence that severe poverty (measured as income below 40% of the median) actually rose, though this is more contested.” Britain
Well what ever is going to come will happen soon, and I think that when working people awake they will see the wolfhounds for what they really are and reject the hush poppies of the Labour Party.
Enjoy summer whilst you can…
Many years ago; when I was a young man, and that is more years than I care to remember, trying to work out how the world around me worked and where and how I fitted in, why I was here and for what purpose?
One of the hardest thing's I found was to be completely truthful to oneself. I found on reflection you could bend the truth and make it fit where you found it to be appropriate and where you would like it to fit.
Once I found this to be fact, then I had to start all over again. Ultimate truth sometimes is difficult to find; and it took me some time to realise what is true today is not always true tomorrow and that ultimate truth moves.
Today's political baselines have brought back to mind one of the problems I set myself to figure out, and never found the ultimate answer; which of the two individuals has been most important in the progress of the human race? The man with the shovel in his hand, or the man with the clipboard? I am of course going to leave it to open debate, with one truth for today and a truth for tomorrow.
Post by: Brian Hopper or In the Box
There’s always something about the summer that brings out the best in all of us; it might have something to do with the fact that we don’t have to leave the house that hour earlier, stand in the freezing temperatures and scrape that delightful sheet of snow off our windshields. The sun has the power to bring a smile to everyone’s face; and so it seems to have worked it's wonders on Brian what a lovely post. So this is for him and his long, long suffering partner comrade Linda.
There’s always something about the summer that brings out the best in all of us; it might have something to do with the fact that we don’t have to leave the house that hour earlier, stand in the freezing temperatures and scrape that delightful sheet of snow off our windshields. The sun has the power to bring a smile to everyone’s face; and so it seems to have worked it's wonders on Brian what a lovely post. So this is for him and his long, long suffering partner comrade Linda.
Saturday, 24 July 2010
It's hard to see how it benefits anyone for the policeman guilty of this assault not to face charges. For Ian Tomlinson's family, it's a big blow. For the police, it's a back stain on their already tarnished reputation. It sends the message that unlike the rest of us, the police can get away with committing serious crime such as murder, even when they're caught on film.
Ian's family and their solicitors now have hard decisions to make about their next move. Whilst they get their heads round the shock and decide what to do next, let's send them a powerful message that we stand behind their fight for justice, the family campaign (Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign) has now set up a fighting fund and is calling for donations, and you can obtain further information by visiting their website which we have today put a link too on the right-hand side of our blog. In addition you can add you name to the online petition.
Click here to add your name: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/ian-tomlinson
Jim Lawrie and Brain Hopper
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) study found that despite a continued rise in life expectancy, the gap between the richest and poorest in the UK was actually widening. The study look at mortality data for England and Wales, from the Office for National Statistics, and for Scotland, obtained from the General Register Office for Scotland.
Lead researcher Professor Danny Dorling said: "Health and wealth are directly linked and, unless we tackle the income gap, we could well see life expectancy actually starting to fall for the first time in the poorest areas." (inthenews.co.uk)
Of course these will be the poorest people that this government wants to work until they drop by raising the age a worker retires and can qualify for state pension, they the government, are moving towards considering the age of 70 as being appropriate.
So I can’t help thinking that this is a throwback to the days before the eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, which had its origins in the Industrial Revolution here in Britain, where industrial production in large factories altered working life and enforced long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions unregulated, the health, welfare and morale of working people suffered.
What’s next child labour, and then the capitalist class can get the most out of their slaves before they push up daisies in the local graveyard.
Over the past twenty-five years, there has been a substantial increase in work which is felt to be due, in part, by information technology and by an intense, competitive work environment.
Many mortals predicted that technology would eliminate most household chores and provide people with much more time to enjoy leisure activities; but capitalism in the modern world ignores this option, encouraging instead a consumerist culture and a political agenda that has elevated the work ethic to unprecedented heights and thereby reinforced the low value and worth attached to parenting and just enjoying life in this modern world.
The highest inequality recorded since at least 1921, stands as an anathematization upon capitalism!”
Friday, 23 July 2010
Please give me strength…
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures that apparently suggest that the economy is on the mend. The economy surprised economic experts or rather economists with a robust 1.1% of growth. Now I remember that last year that newspaper and the media in general were saying the same thing . It seems to me that politicos in the mainstream love clutching straws which is the fodder they live on.
In an article the Daily Telegraph said this: ‘The coming 12 months will see real household incomes fall as personal taxes rise, wage freezes bite and tens of thousands of public sector workers lose their jobs. Unfortunately the second quarter's GDP figures may well be as good as it gets for some considerable time.’
However in the meantime I thought it a good idea to look at the crime industry and try to put it into some prospective or rather make some common sense of it all, if that’s at all possible.
Like most non-producing industries the crime industry is strong, it grows continually, particularly in times of depression. At present the numbers involved are as follows:
Police officers: 133,775
Police Community Support Officers: 8,133
Other staff: 70,818
Police officers: 17,278
Special constables: 1,186
Other staff: 7,207
Police officers: 7,579
Police Community Support Officers: 384
Other staff: 3,767
Prison Service is responsible for 138 prisons and employs around 44,000 staff.
Judicial office holders in England and Wales - judges, tribunal members and magistrates 42,000. The judiciary itself includes the Court of Appeal and Law Lords, High Court, Circuit and District Judges, Recorders and Justices of the Peace (or magistrates).
And then there is of course the explosion in most recent years of private police forces, store-detectives and security guards of which I have no idea how many they number in total, but taken in complete total, that’s public and private then the crime industry probably employs over one and a half million people and growing.
Now if we were just to stop and ponder for a moment this phenomenon which is not just confined to our country, for instance we will find thousands of the heavily armed private guards are in Iraq, under contract with the U.S. government and private companies. The conduct of such security personnel has been one of the most controversial issues in the reconstruction of Iraq. Then there is the British security guard who shot two of his colleagues following an argument in Baghdad's heavily protected Green Zone.
Well not wishing to deviate away too much from the thread of this post, that’s just an indication of how the security industry is mushrooming and reaping the profits that are made aboard protecting for western capitalism and in the case of Iraq helping out raping and plundering the resources of that country.
So on the one side, we have the law-enforcers, but on the other side and living in symbolic relationship with them are the law-breakers. Any impulse to criticize their chosen way of life as many do especially at election time, as our politicians love to play the law and order theme, should be seasoned by the thought that they give gainful employment to all the above mentioned. We have only to think of the freighting consequences of a rush of conscience among the villains (persona non grata); a go-slow, or worse, perish the thought, an all out strike. The toilers of law and order thrown on the labour market, what a weird and strikingly odd thing to happen whilst living under capitalism, of course for this to happen first the moon would have to turn to cheese – it would never happen because capitalism is about the winner grabs all at the expense of the majority, and the world over!
Now all this may beggar the one question that at some time or another we all ask.
Why do people steal or commit crime?
I cannot offer a precise answer, can anyone for that matter, and if they can then lets have it for I would be very interested to hear what it is?
Our prisons are jam-packed with what this society considers being wrongdoers and transgresses. Just had a thought, the best ever film about prisons and prisoners that I’ve ever seen was ‘Cool Hand Luke’, and one of the best films of all-time, oh yes Cinematic gold,so here’s a snippet.
And so I sidetrack again, but if you leave out murders, sex offenders and the like, most prisoners are by and large decent people who have been driven off the tracks, and are but a product of the capitalist system that we are all force fed from the cradle to the grave, a system that makes and runs up many demands on the individual as they try to participate and live their lives in a completely competitive world such as this, and subscribing to capitalistic competition is not as easy for most of us and at the best of times.
So to put it into a few words, snatch, grab and compete is a system that breeds criminality!
Just think of this; nowhere in Western Europe jails more of its population than England and Wales, where about 147 people per 100,000 are in prison.
Since the start of 1993, the number of prisoners has risen from 41,600 to more than 80,000. Further increases are expected.
In Scotland the prison population has risen more than 10% since 1996-97, to about 6,900. In Northern Ireland the number fell during the 90s, but has since increased to about 1,400.
One can get a good idea of the size of the prison population if you consider that Wigan has a population of 81,203.
Criminals at large…?
My last figure is information we are unlikely to obtain, and that’s just how many criminals are at large, if you don’t include Bankers, Bosses, Capitan’s of Industry, the altogether Government and Nick Griffin.
We can then be sure that unsolved crimes and now crimes that the law turn’s a blind-eye too, see yesterdays 'post' which was not a triviality; are indeed trivial in nature such as vandalism, thefts from motor vehicles or burglaries, and having said that I know many who have suffered such violations may not agree, but if the great majority are trivial, the minority are very big indeed. And I am not thinking of crimes against the person like rape or wounding or murder. I am reflecting upon the crime of the rich who are better at it than those who are poorer, it they are found out they can hire the best lawyers – the law, after all is designed with them in mind and they belong to the same class as the whole judiciary, so they will get a more sympathetic hearing.
Look at it this way we have seen an explosion in white collar crime, brought about partly because sentences for bank robberies are very high while sentences for white collar crimes are ridiculously low.
So bringing this post to a close I am going to argue that the fight against crime is a war waged against the working class, a war to criminalise, control and force into submission those of us who create all wealth in the first place.
Benefit fraud is said to be rife in the UK. The government says it costs us £1.1bn annually. They spend thousands advertising that fact and put up posters on hoardings that not only say they are closing in but stereotyping working class people as more likely to be thieves.
Fraud Breaks 1bn Barrier in 6 Months
The growth of fraud in the City of London’s famous squire mile the so-called business world that David Cameron thinks will lead us out of recession continues unabated. This year’s first six monthly update on reported fraud has found that fraud losses rocketed to £1.06bn and eclipsed previous half-year figures, and were almost the same as for the whole of 2008.
Simon Bevan, Head of the Fraud Services Unit at BDO, says: "In the past we have seen a focus on procurement type frauds - that is public and private sector organizations paying too much for goods and services. However we are now seeing more 'revenue dilution fraud' - where management commits fraud by either setting up 'companies within companies' or diverting lucrative contracts away from the company to third party accomplices. Linked to this is an increase in insider dealing."
From interim results, BDO predicts that the average frauds in the city will top7m by the end of 2010.
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- Ignore this howl of protest - the police are ripe for cuts | Simon Jenkins (guardian.co.uk)
- Critics believe Calif. prison release will spark crime (thegrio.com)
Thursday, 22 July 2010
Murder is a word that should not be used lightly, but we wouldn't hold it against anyone who had it rattling around in their head when they consider what happened to Ian Tomlinson as he innocently made his way home from work.
After what they call a thorough and careful review of the evidence, the CPS has decided that there is no realistic possibility of a conviction against the police officer in question for any offence arising from the matter investigated and that no charges should be brought against him.
Had it been the other way round, and say a police officer had been hit by a protester, they would not have left a single stone unturned and had it in court before anyone could say PC Simon Harwood.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
This may not bring closure, depending on what the decision is, and our thoughts and warmth must in the first place be with them and their loss.
Ian Tomlinson died on April 1st 2009 when he unintentionally walked through the G20 protest in London on his way home. Footage was later made public of a policeman pushing him to the ground. The CPS originally told his family that a decision would be reached by Christmas.
We understand that the family will be informed on Thursday morning if any criminal charges will follow from its investigation. The police officer in question could be charged with manslaughter, assault and misconduct in public office, or not at all.
The Tomlinson family has been extremely critical of the amount of time taken to come to a decision.
The police originally led the family to believe that Mr Tomlinson, a newsagent and for a time homeless man who happened to walk into a demonstration against the G20 summit in London when he died, had been killed by a heart attack.
The media were fed the lie that officers had been hindered in their efforts to resuscitate Mr Tomlinson by protestors throwing missiles and projectiles.
But video footage given to the Guardian newspaper days after the protest showed that Mr Tomlinson had been struck by a baton and shoved to the ground, by a masked officer with his identification number concealed, seemingly without provocation.
There was no evidence of projectiles being thrown at police.
The public interest in the case resulted in investigations and inquiries, and a full reappraisal of the policing of protestors, including the concealment of identification numbers and the practise of 'kettling', where demonstrators are kept in a given area by police.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) only took over the investigation into what happened after the video emerged.
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
The coalition has suspended projects for 715 new schools and a further 123 academies will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
This decision as one can imagine; has provoked anger and disgust from tens of thousands of parents, teacher’s, architects and the building trade. Such haste in which the decisiveness decision was made led to a reported 25 errors in the names of the schools that would continue with rebuilds or have their plans scrapped altogether. Schools that were initially told that their school rebuilding project would continue found out a few days later that they would not. Gove was forced to make a humiliating public apology in Parliament over the errors, but more importantly he did not climb down on his decision.
The aim of scrapping the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) is to immediately slash billions in capital investments in schools. But it is also linked to plans to close hundreds of state funded schools and replace them with Academies and “free schools”.
Building Schools for the Future (BSF) was a scheme proposed under the Labour government to rebuild or cosmetically smarten 3,500 secondary schools from 2004 to 2023 under the Private Finance Initiative. In 2007 the scheme was extended by a £1.9 billion scheme for primary schools. It was dubbed the most ambitious and biggest programme of school rebuilding to be undertaken in the world. However, to date only 180 have been built and a further 231 were granted approval to start.
The scheme has seen a massive transfer of public funds to the private sector. Building and associated companies have made huge windfalls through the scheme, which has been dogged with bureaucracy and massive overspends. It takes many schools up to three years of negotiations and bidding with various consultants and businesses before any agreement can be reached.
The coalition government have been able to utilise this as a justification to abolish the scheme. But cutting it leaves hundreds of schools in a state of disrepair.
The right-wing press who support the austerity package being unleashed were furious at Gove for complicating what they see as a crucial campaign of cuts by his blunder.
The Sunday Telegraph July 10 revealed that “at a series of meetings last weekend Mr. Gove was repeatedly warned by top officials that the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme was a minefield which could not simply be abandoned at a stroke.
“The minister was advised he should simply announce his intention to axe the programme—and should also say he was launching a consultation exercise with local education authorities.”
An anonymous insider quoted by the paper said, “Michael was warned in strong terms not to go ahead with what he was planning to do—but he wouldn’t be told. The list, with all its errors, was rushed out and we have all seen the consequences of that.”
The paper also alleges that as late as the day of the announcement of the scrapping of BSF, multiple versions of lists were still being prepared for the education secretary, and that “the exact criteria for which school projects would be stopped, which would be reviewed and which would be allowed to go ahead, it was suggested, had still not been decided just hours before the minister had to make his Commons announcement.”
The paper’s editorial the next day stressed, “Given the size of the deficit, across-the-board cuts in spending are inevitable. The Coalition is to be commended for its refusal to shy away from this unpopular but necessary task.”
It then warned, “This week’s events confirm that cuts, while vital, will be accompanied by anger, bitterness and resentment—which Labour, for partisan reasons, will do everything it can to exacerbate. Under such circumstances, ministers must be sure that their arguments and evidence are watertight before they put them to the public. The Coalition’s project—and Mr Gove’s part in it – is too important, and too vulnerable, to be undermined so easily.”
The concern is not the fate of millions or the impact the decision will have on the education of children, but how to impose austerity without provoking ferocious and widespread public opposition. The Economist July 8 again offered advice to Gove to “keep the message simple” but push ahead with the cuts.
The scrapping of the scheme must be considered in line with the central planks of the coalition’s educations policies launched in April—the “free schools” project and the massive extension of Academy schools. Some 700 groups have applied for “free school” status. These schools will be built and maintained through the cutting of budgets of existing state schools, sacking teachers and closing down schools.
Free schools, which will not be under local authority control and free from the national curriculum, will be in competition with nearby state schools and force their closure. The government aims for all schools to be either “free or academy”. In total 1,700 academies will be formed over the next years. These will be increasingly privately run.
All planning regulations have been scrapped to accommodate the free schools. They can be set up in offices, disused warehouses and parking lots. Organisations wishing to start a free school do not need planning permission to convert existing buildings for “change of use” and the building regulation system is being scrapped.
Initial capital funding of £50 million (which would only produce four to five schools) will be found by slashing the IT budget earmarked for state schools to support this vital aspect of the curriculum. The initial plan was to take the funds from the Free School Meals budget, which provoked outrage and was withdrawn. Some of the BSF budget will be diverted for these schools, which will be controlled by the private sector with land held by the trustees rather than the state.
The coalitions education policy is a major escalation of the privatisation of education under Labour. It will end any notions of the right to free, comprehensive education, and will become a move back in the direction of education being available and obtainable only to a privilege group of persons who can buy the best for their children.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
The government of David Cameron and the establishment may not like ‘Moaty Sympathy’ as it has developed in the forms of ether floral tributes, facebook followers and now a musical tribute posted on YouTube.
Yes of course, one can understand their anger, and one can understand their disapproval, but the facts amplify Raoul Moat RIP has become a very public conduit for anger and disenfranchisement, and as this blog will suggest is but a victim of the system; and that many in our society are simply set-up to fail.
One week on, and we still feel saddened, numbed and affected; at just how this state of affairs with Raoul Moat and his life has been allowed to unfold before our eyes: thanks in full is due to the great British press and media, who’s only concern is to use any given opportunity to generate income and profit and in the process disseminate and broadcast misinformation.
His troubled world and that of his victims, became a stage for all to follow, and in the case of politicians like David Cameron, they disgustingly made political capital out of what we believe is a capitalist made (human) crises, and just like tooth decay is stripping away the enamel that will lead to a progressive decay, fallout and destruction, if allowed to continue.
All the public moralistic players wanted the lead and staring role, and yet this assists only to underline everything that it is sad about this case and very worrying today.
Here was an individual (Moat) who it appears has been asking for help for so many years, and in so many different ways and places, and yet once again the system has completely failed, and despite the one person in Durham Prison with any thought of care or responsibility who warns Northumbria Police of concerns upon Moats release from Prison; after that everybody plays their part with complete normality, It's all a complete joke with tragic consequences.
We have grave concerns about our would-be professional services and the way the police handled themselves; from wind up clockwork Chief Constable, Sue Simdown to the police officer using up his two minutes of fame by posing for the camera firing his taser. Millions watched at home in pubs and wine bars as thousands of police, not 'police' in the proper appreciation, but storm troopers in battle gear, swarm across the North East of England in search of one man, hunting like the wild boar that a human being is not no matter what he had done.
So as to conveniently cover their own backs the police refer the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and that's the final joke, for when it comes down to the police authorities the word independent does not appear any longer to have any meaning.
An appropriate passage of time will pass and the IPCC will report there findings; Mr Moat will be proclaimed a complete nutter, wacko whatever and with recommendations for the police handling of such cases in the future.
No matter what this man has done or is alleged to have done, there he was surrounded by what was supposed to be professional people, a river at his back, cold, dark and wet, a policeman screaming and taser guns being fired, he found what he thought was the best help of all, he pulled the trigger.
Post By Brian Hopper or In the Box
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
A glance through any of those magnificent Victorian gardening manuals will remind any interested person of the specimens which have been long lost, leaving only those varieties which fit the needs of the Market – fruit and vegetables which travel and store well and look good on supermarket shelves, never mind that when you get them home they taste terrible.
I remember there used to be a point in time, when I was still at school, and at the height of the UK strawberry season, when greengrocers sold "jam" strawberries. These didn't look as perfect as the more expensive "table" strawberries, but they were often superior in the taste department, abounding with scarlet maturity. The few minutes spent trimming off whopped bits was more than a counterbalanced for the taste, a strong, deep essence of strawberry flavour that we kids would crave and be driven to foray into the pantry where our mum kept her homemade stock, in the end under lock and key.
Today, jam strawberries are a tinged memory, as are local greengrocers, for that matter; and what a shame, but regrettably that’s the capitalist market for you.
Equally nasty things have been happening to animal farming and poultry keeping, which I am sure that from time to time most of us have learnt about when reported in the news, and with absolute horror.
Some 2,500 years ago, Hypocrites, the founder of modern medicine, said clearly: 'Your food is your medicine, your medicine is your food.' However in the meantime, today’s doctors in training dedicate only a small portion of their studies to nutrition. Yet when you look at the newspapers, you can hardly miss the stories about the link between nutrition and health. Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure - Western wealth-related illnesses that indisputably have 'something' to do with food.
The drive to intensive rearing of birds and animals had increased fat by decreasing animal mobility. The move from candles and rush candles made of animal fats to lamps fuelled by mineral oil increased the surplus. During the 1920’s sausage maker Thomas Walls and Company solved the problem of mounting surplus fat by converting it into ice cream.
A little history is called for here:
Wall’s set up its first ice cream factory in Acton London in 1922. Its product was sold from tricycles, but during the Second World War due to shortages of ingredients and factories taken over for the war effort, production stopped and resumed only after the war when rationing was still in place, with pre-war ingredients banned from being used in ice cream manufacture in-came vegetable fats and milk powder as a substitute. By the time rationing ended in 1953, the great British seaside loving public were hooked and accustomed to the taste of ice cream produced with vegetable fat. And who’s to say, accidently averting a major health issue that science at the time would have been unable to detect?
For years ice cream was what McDonalds is today, and Wall’s along with Lyons Maid were the market leaders, they even set-up research and development departments to study ice cream and its manufacture. One of the scientists who conducted research for Lyons in the 1950’s was a young chemist, Margaret Roberts, who later became better known under her married name of Thatcher.
To stay healthy humans need some 50 different minerals, which we ourselves cannot produce. These minerals have to come from somewhere. You'd think they'd come from food, as they always have. But a lot of important minerals have disappeared from our farmland due to years of artificial fertiliser use. Artificial fertiliser, a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, disrupts the balance of the soil. While crops may grow, that growth compromises other important minerals, such as magnesium, chromium and selenium.
After conducting studies in various parts of the world, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) concluded that the prevailing method of farming is leading to a 'serious shortage' of minerals. Another recent study showed that since 1985 the vitamin and mineral content in beans has fallen by 60%, by 70% in potatoes and by 80% in apples.
There is a ready-made answer to the question of how to avoid heavy metals and pesticide residue: organic food. Organic farmers do not use pesticides, chemical fertilisers, antibiotics or other artificial additives. As a rule, their products have a higher nutritional value, although there are no guarantees given that the point is not so much what is in organic food as what is not. It is likely that the soil on organic farms is richer in various minerals given that studies indicate that organic food contains substantially less aluminium, cadmium, rubidium and lead.
Oh to eat good wholesome food, oh to live the good long life in and under the sun of humanity; is simply impossible under an economic system that thinks more of profit than people or their heath and wellbeing. Food production and distribution under capitalism has proven that it has no conscience, and if it is able to get away with murder for a time whilst making a profit, then it will do so, and it has done!
Canned, frozen, or dried soups, TV dinners, instant mash, ready hash, custard without eggs, ice cream without cream, lemonade without lemons, fruit jelly without fruit, meat loaf without meat, the list is endless.
Billions of are spent every year on advertising for junk food, sickly sweet soft drinks and presents hidden in happy meals.
Thanks in part to publicity stunts, 800 million people worldwide are struggling with obesity, just as many as go hungry every day. Fast food mainly consists of fat, sugar and salt, ingredients that deliver quick energy. But to digest and absorb these refined products we need minerals and vitamins that their ingredients no longer contain. The result is that our body is forced to tap into its reserves, robbing us of calcium, magnesium and B vitamins, for example. In other words, fast food does not feed our bodies but does just the opposite, zapping our energy.
And likewise, capitalism does not feed us; rather it poisons first the mind and then the body.
‘From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs’
Sunday, 4 July 2010
World hunger or to use its related technical term – Malnutrition - is the general term that indicates a lack of some or all nutritional elements necessary for human health.
There are two basic types of malnutrition. The first and most crucial is protein-energy malnutrition--the lack of enough protein (from meat and other sources) and food that provides energy (measured in calories) which all of the basic food groups provide. This is the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed. The second type of malnutrition, also very important, is micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency. This is not the type of malnutrition that is referred to when world hunger is discussed, though it is certainly very important.
Recently there has also been a move to include obesity as a third form of malnutrition. Considering obesity as malnutrition expands the preceding and usual meaning of the term which referred to poor nutrition due to lack of food inputs.
It is poor nutrition, but it is sure enough not due to a lack of calories, but rather too many
So we have arrived at the pinnacle and gable end of my argument here, which is that capitalism with its domination and complete control of the means of production and distribution globally; is simply killing us off by way of poisoning or deliberately withholding on a large scale the necessary food that would avoid Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) the most lethal form of malnutrition/hunger. It is basically a lack of calories and protein. Food is converted into energy by humans, and the energy contained in food is measured by calories. Protein is necessary for key body functions including provision of essential amino acids and development and maintenance of muscles.
The world produces enough food to feed everyone
World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day.
However the principal age old problem is that the majority of people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food!!”
Here in what we call the civilised West we read and hear a lot about Obesity; which I suggest has more to do with poor food choices, which in turn quite often has more to do with poverty, although there are other factors in play which I will uncover shortly.
"Fifty million flies can’t be wrong. Eat shit!”
That was the inscription scribbled on toilet wall of the British Museum some years back, which has nothing to do with what I’m about to expand on, but never mind.
When we consider British agriculture; it is notable for being the most mechanised in the world today, there are more tractors than farm workers. In 1986 the total number employed in British agriculture and horticulture was 298,000. And needless to say that the number has been falling for many years and there is no reason to believe that it has fallen still further, and yes all in the name of profit.
The Second World War and it must be said ironically; held one good experience that was beneficial to the then population, and that was war-time rationing of all foodstuffs and meat, had paradoxically brought on a massive improvement in diet, because so bad had standards been before. Official statistics during the war reported increased height and body weight of children, dental decay was reducing. We also know that people were encouraged to grow their own food, and land was made available, so hardly surprising then, and in spite of war-time rationing health all-round improved, even for house pets eating the leftover’s, as there did not exist then the processed food which we feed them today.
During the 1950’s new factors entered the food chain and the diet of people, and served up by you guess it, the Market. Artificial fertilisers were brought into replace the animal manures which were disappearing with the move to mechanised agriculture. Chemical herbicides were introduced to eliminate the need for hoeing and cut costs on labour in order to maximise profits. Insecticides were used, and all these chemical cocktails entering the food and water we eat and drink still today.
A study of 3,000 Americans revealed only 30 of them without at least one kind of insecticide in the blood.
And that’s the good news?
To be continued…
Saturday, 3 July 2010
'Now that we've reached the creek, where can I buy a paddle?'
Things can only get better, remember? And the second humorous anecdote has to be Tony Blair himself. I was well pleased when he showed his face during the general election, and everybody pissed him off by declaring he was a war criminal, and that’s just what he is, so what's all this about getting presented by the Americans with a Liberty medal, and presented to him by Bill Clinton, well that has got to be fallaciously wrong, what about his buddy George Bush, after all they did have a special relationship?
For those that don’t know the Liberty Medal is an annual award administered by the National Constitution Center of the United States to recognize leadership in the pursuit of freedom.
Is there something I’m missing here - leadership in the pursuit of freedom?
Let me tell a little story, not meaning to sound like Max Bygraves and 'I wanna tell you a story'; anyhow after my partner had been given the all clear to travel after her resent illness we decided to get away from it all, and so we went to Cyprus for the week. We really enjoyed it, but you know the saying, it's good to go away, but it's good to come home, well was it, after landing at Manchester airport, we found our luggage, found our car, and half-an-hour into our journey home, looking for the M62, all the road works, cones, lights and whatever, went right over my head, we had just had a great weeks holiday, everything was fine, but then suddenly, coming to the end of the roadwork’s a bright red flash caught my eye and draw my attention to where it had come from, in that split second my holiday was over. We had been in deep conversation and following a Luton van through the road works, then, red flash, reality, and switch on!” England, road works, motorway, heavy traffic, speed limit, and Police. What speed was I doing? Forty-eight, so what’s the problem, looking up, there he was, overhead on the cross over bridge, no lights on the vehicle, just shadowy shapes of the policemen with their camera and parked patrol vehicle, motorway roadwork’s, fifty mph was the speed limit, All this in maybe one and a half seconds and the good feelings have gone, evaporated instantly. I thought to myself; ‘the sneaky Buggers’. And of course they say it’s all in the name of road safety, nothing to do with intimidating or ripping off the motorists then, no not just yet, which I’m sure will come when they privatise the motorways.
Got home, everything fine, still annoyed about the sneakiness of the Police, but we all see it and just get on with it.
Latter that evening I turned on the TV and the new Justice Secretary Ken Clark is explaining why sending small time criminals to jail was a waste of time and the costs involved, thought here we go, Clarke faces mounting pressure to halt the £4bn prison building programme – the largest in Europe – and his speech fueled expectations that he intends to divert thousands of offenders away from short-term prison sentences when the government's review of sentencing is published in the autumn and in time for the so-called inter-departmental government budget review.
The next day the national papers were saying David Kelly, could not have slit his own wrists, Surprise, Surprise!” Tate and Lyle is about to be sold, now sold, and that reminded me what our Cyprian guide had told us on a day trip; that Britain has had it's day and had become the sick cow of Europe, after it had sold off everything and anything of any value, and guess what? I could not argue with him more, he was and is exact.
In our local paper, Elliot Morley and the other two ex-Labour MPs are still appealing against the decision that they have to be tried in court and that they are not protected from prosecution by parliamentary privilege, Just keep running up the bill Elliot, its all at our expense!”
A couple of pages further on from this story, police are warning old and vulnerable people about con (conmen) artists ripping them off; and that the local Police are not going to stand for it, and a couple more pages further on, a picture of the Chancellor, Mr Osborne holding aloft the battered little red box, with a local individual saying the budget is the beginning of the end of he welfare state, something that we’ve been saying for along time, even before the budget.
So it was welcome home with a bump, I suppose, welcome back to reality, welcome back to the coalition and the real spivs, layabouts (LibDems) and conmen!”
Post by: Brian Hopper (In the Box)
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