What secularism isn’t…

March 30, 2014

I’ve always been ever so slightly bemused by the term ‘militant secularist’. It is generally used by two groups primarily; those who wish to oppress the rights of the religious and presume secularism is a backdoor for Sharia. And ironically, the religious sects who think secularism is out to destroy their religion. From both sides, it’s an odd attack.

Secularism is particularly easy concept to grasp. It is quite simply the denial of religious supremacy and privilege – through the power of state – over the lives of others. Civil rights and protections come first. Religious belief is not inherently permitted to interfere with this. And so the term ‘militant secularist’ seems to be an attempt at a slur by religious sects unhappy that their institutional privileges – gained through centuries of erecting hideous barriers to equal civil rights – are increasingly under scrutiny. What is it that constitutes a ‘militant secularist’? Someone who militantly wishes the same protections for you, as for they? Baroness Warsi gave us her unique interpretation of the phrase, whilst completely misrepresenting what secularism actually is:

“For me, what I define as a secular fundamentalist is somebody who says that there should be no public space for faith.”

– And so begins my ‘what secularism is not…’ rant. Secularism is not seeking the outlawing of faith-based arguments in the public space. If someone wishes the state to punish those who argue from a position of faith in the public sphere, they aren’t secularists. For example, every argument against same-sex marriage in the Commons in 2013, was based on faith to some degree. This isn’t banned, nor do secularists wish to ban it. We do not advocate the state punishing anyone for arguing a principle according to their beliefs, nor, even, to stand for election according to those beliefs. I am absolutely fine with The Christian Party existing, with The Islamic Party existing, and I’ll always defend their right to exist. Progress and knowledge derives from free debate and inquiry, on a framework protecting all from oppression. Secularism protects free expression, inquiry, and belief for all. What you are not allowed to do, is force others to live according to the dictates of your religious beliefs only. To do so, is by its nature advocating the supremacy of your individual faith over the freedoms of those who do not subscribe to your beliefs. It presumes the superiority of your beliefs. You’re entitled to this belief, you just have no right to enforce the rest of us to accept it.

In 2012, Peter Popham – foreshadowing Warsi two years later – writing for the Independent, published a curious article entitled “No secularism please, we’re British“. A horrid title that presupposes those of us that hold secular principles dear, are not to be considered British. In it, Popham goes on to misrepresent – or simply misunderstand – secularism, and conflate it with a plethora of completely unrelated ideologies and concepts:

“But the fanaticism of the Islamists has provoked an equally intolerant and intemperate reaction from secular and other quarters, with the ban on headscarves in France and on mosque-building in Switzerland and the rabid anti-Islam rhetoric in the Netherlands; while in Britain it has produced a sudden lurch of opinion among our noisiest public intellectuals against any and all religion. All religions are wrong, goes the argument, everyone knows they are wrong, and their time has expired. As Dawkins put it at the Jaipur Literature Festival last month, faith is “a virus”; he looked forward, he said, to the “complete death of organised religion” in his lifetime.”

– This brings me to my next point on what secularism isn’t. Secularism is not anti-religious oppression. Indeed, for secularists, the idea of the state punishing people for their choice of clothing is grotesquely anti-secular. Whether the state punishes someone for choosing to wear headscarves, or the state punishes someone for choosing not to wear headscarves, for secularists it is equally as oppressive. It is not secularism. Secularism does not grant certain faiths privileges over others. To deny others the right to worship freely where they choose, and to develop property that they are as entitled as me to develop, denying them purely on the basis of what they choose to believe is an act of supremacy and oppression. This is not secularism.

The second point to take from the quote above, is that Popham apparently sees no difference between the French state banning religious garments, and criticism of religion in Britain in general. The two are entirely different concepts, and both have nothing to do with secularism. The former is the state interfering with the private lives and choices of its citizens through threat of punishment – a clear violation of the separation of church and state principle – whilst the latter is individual expression and critique of religion. Secularism ensures an individual the right to wear whatever she or he chooses, without fear of punishment, as well as ensuring the right of the individual to criticise all ideologies. Thus, Popham conflates secularism, with atheism. This ridiculous conflation ignores the myriad of religious secularists, like the wonderful ‘British Muslims for Secular Democracy’. We atheists do not have a monopoly on secularism.

Popham then goes on to rewrite history, in justifying his anti-secular, pro-religious supremacy position:

“What is staggering about the secularists is their arrogance and the shortness of their memories. The materialist utopianism of the Communists and Nazis is to blame for all the worst atrocities of the past century.
Dawkins may appear to make sense, but it is incredible that we should be ready to pay serious attention to a prophet whose message is the same as those whose schemes led straight to the hells of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Mao’s Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge.”

– It is difficult to know where to be begin with this, given the amount of misrepresentations to appear in such a short paragraph. I’m choosing to ignore the ridiculous comparison of Richard Dawkins, to every major dictator of the 20th century, because it’s pathetic. I will address the premise of the argument itself. Here, Popham – again conflating secularism with atheism, and both with anti-religious oppression – is entirely wrong. Secularism ensures equal protection for all, regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or belief. No single ideology allowed a privileged position to oppress at will. Here’s the wonderful thing about secularism; you can be a secular Christian, a secular Muslim, a secular Atheist, a secular Communist, a secular Fascist. You’re beliefs still are not permitted a place of privilege above any others. You are equally protected, equally free from oppression. The right of Christians to publicly say that homosexuality is unnatural, the right of Wahhabi Muslims to insist that Sharia is greater than secular democracy, is protected by the same laws that protect my right to blaspheme and mock religion. What secularism doesn’t allow for, is a Nazi-esque extermination of an entire religious sect based on the dictates of one ideology (despite Popham’s claim, I am yet to see Richard Dawkins advocate this). For that, a state requires centuries of religious propaganda:

In Germany in 1543, Martin Luther produced his work “On the Jews and their lies“. In it, Luther calls for Jews to be put to work as slaves, for Jewish schools to be burnt to the ground, that Jewish people are the enemy of all Christianity. Johannes Wallmann writes:

“The assertion that Luther’s expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment have been of major and persistent influence in the centuries after the Reformation, and that there exists a continuity between Protestant anti-Judaism and modern racially oriented antisemitism, is at present wide-spread in the literature; since the Second World War it has understandably become the prevailing opinion.”

– Nazi policy toward Jewish people was not a new thing. It was the conclusion of 2000+ years of hideous Church sponsored anti-semitism. Luther is vicious in his criticisms and his ideas for the future. But it wasn’t just Luther. The Nazi precedent of forcing Jewish people to wear something that makes them identifiable as Jews, and inferior to the Christian population, was not a Nazi precedent at all. It began much earlier. The Nazis simply appropriated it. Pope Paul IV issued Papal bull Cum nimis absurdum in 1555. The bull states:

“Moreover, concerning the matter that Jews should be recognizable everywhere: [to this end] men must wear a hat, women, indeed, some other evident sign, yellow in color, that must not be concealed or covered by any means, and must be tightly affixed.”

– The Bull also insisted that Jews be moved to Jewish ghettos:

“…all Jews are to live in only one [quarter] to which there is only one entrance and from which there is but one exit.”

– To suggest that the concept of separating church from state – ensuring freedom of, and freedom from religion – is responsible for the terrors of the 20th century, is so incredibly short sighted, and requires a complete rewrite of history. Indeed, if you need to rewrite history to make your case; you’ve already failed.

As is usually the case when an argument fails on so many logical standards, Popham predictably then gets insulting:

“… religious faith can do what secularism cannot: open doors on to areas of human experience – compassion, altruism, serenity, even enlightenment – which have no meaning for the secularists.”

– Here, Popham has decided not to conflate atheism with secularism anymore, because it suits his purposes not to. For Popham, secularism is now soulless. Divorced from all ethical standards. A big grey wall blocking human compassion and enlightenment. And so again, here is what secularism is not. Secularism is not and does not claim to be a ‘moral anchor’ (as Hamza Tzortzis likes to call it) to one specific time and place (1st century Palestine, or 7th century Arabia). It makes no moral judgement. It isn’t trying to be a system of morality. This is why it isn’t an atheist concept. It appeals to all concepts. It rightly presupposes that the state has no right to claim religious truth and force uniformity through it. It acknowledges that you do not get to force the principles and beliefs that guide your life, onto me, and vice versa. Equal protection on a line of equality, ensuring that no ideology be granted special privilege. How you frame your individual moral compass, is then up to you. I see no example of state power combined with religious power, that ended in anything but oppression of those that did not fit its dogmatic heavenly vision.

Indeed, over the centuries compassion, altruism, serenity and enlightenment were strangely absent from religious societies (unless you observed the state religion as instructed). Prevalent in non-secular states; forced conversions, state murder for anyone deemed to say something heretical, forced payment to uphold the state faith, rampant homophobia (see Uganda). Most of those, still occur in nations whose institution of state is shackled by faith. For this, Popham has no basis by which to tell me, as a secularist, that compassion, altruism, serenity, and enlightenment have no meaning for me. I decide that, not him. Further, I believe Popham has the same right by which to decide what compassion, altruism, serenity and enlightenment mean for himself, as I do for me, without fear of state interference.

Another description of constitutes a ‘militant secularist’ comes to us via Mo Ansar:

mo8
– If opposing the ritualistic genital mutilation of children is to be considered ‘militant secularist’, I am happy to wear that badge. No one has a right – under any pretext, including ‘religion’ – to mutilate anyone else, especially children. There is no other area of life where this would be considered even slightly acceptable, and it doesn’t get a free pass simply for being shrouded in ‘faith’.

Secularism, coupled with democracy, is the only system that has an inbuilt mechanism by which we progress. Since its inception, we have slowly worked to break down oppressive barriers (most, originally erected by the parties of faith). I cannot imagine that states with an enshrined religion are ever likely to accept they have no right to viciously oppress sexuality. For this, secular democracy is necessary.

Secularism protects us equally. It is a system that allows for the religious to believe and express the violent notion that we non-believers are cursed to spend eternity burning in the unforgiving flames of hell. That is your right to believe and to say. Similarly, I have a right to say that I find that to belief to be horrific, outdated, and worthy of nothing but ridicule and condemnation. I have no right to censor that belief, in much the same way as you have no right to censor my expression.

It is secularism that protects religious minorities. No longer are Catholics permitted to utilise the power of state to oppress Protestants or vice verse. Sunni Muslims are not permitted the power of state to dictate how Shia Muslims observe Islam according to their own conscience, and vice versa. The secular state cares not for whether you believe the Pope to be the authority on Christianity, nor whether Abu Bakr, Omar and Uthman were rightful Caliphs. That’s up to the individual believer to decide. Evangelical Christian sects in the 1770s aligned themselves with the secularists in public life, in the hope of enshrining secular protections for all religious denominations. Within a century, the US was filled with a variety of denominations, from Catholics, to Mormons, none having power over others to enforce uniformity through privilege and oppression. The playing field is level. This is secularism.

The prominent arguments against secularism seem to follow the same underlying logic, regardless of how it’s presented. Firstly, the argument tends to be a misunderstanding of secularism as anti-religious oppression. Perhaps this is derived from fear of retribution for centuries of religious oppression. But it isn’t actually true. If indeed a state pursued policies designed to oppress the religious, it would follow that the state lost its secular title the moment the oppressive policies were instituted. Secondly, the arguments – especially from the Christian right in the US, and the more Wahhabi Muslim sects in the Middle East – tend to be nothing more than a child-like refusal to accept that their faith does not inherently deserve a place of privilege to interfere with the liberty of others. The former argument, is often an obvious mask for the latter.

It is perhaps worth remembering that had religion not so horrifically abused state power through grotesque persecution when it had it, there would be no need for ‘secularism’. The concept would almost certainly be considered a natural societal condition. The fact that we need a specific ‘ism’ to protect basic individual rights, speaks volumes of the history of religious oppression that preceded it, and how fast and loose they tended to play with human lives. Today, secularism must be the starting point. No one gets to claim their personal religious belief is more worthy of privilege and supremacy, over any other. A line of neutrality, on a framework of civil rights regardless of sexuality, gender, ethnicity and belief, is the only natural and reasonable position for a state to observe. If you wish to impose your personal religious principles on a population, you need to (not be forced to) accompany it with a reasoned argument. Your personal belief is not an adequate reason in itself. If the argument stands up to scrutiny, then it will stand by itself. If you wish your faith to be granted specific institutional privilege – as with the institution of marriage, for example – you’re going to have to provide a reasoned argument as to why the rest of us should accept your inherent right to a position of superiority, and live according to the dictates of your personal faith. If your argument doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, it would be prudent not to take this as a green light to claim oppression. To do so, comes across as one big child-like tantrum.

Secularism isn’t anti-religious oppression. Secularism isn’t the wish to ban religious folk from the public sphere. Secularism isn’t a system of anchored morality. Secularism isn’t Atheism. In short, secularism isn’t anything that anti-secularists seem to believe that it is.


To be unemployed.

October 31, 2013

You will have to forgive me for my break in usual political/religious blogging, but as this is an outlet for me on a personal level also, it is a necessary piece of writing to get off my chest.

I cannot find work anywhere. I am 27, a freelance photographer, with a degree in Politics & Journalism, I am addicted to writing, I write almost daily on here as well as separately and more personally on another blog, I am fascinated by the World, I utterly adore history (mainly French Revolution and the US Civil War and revolution, but Tudor History and early Islamic history play a role too) and philosophy, I’m teaching myself to speak French, and I am desperately seeking a graduate/entry level position in communications, or PR, or digital marketing, anywhere in the country. I wouldn’t mind teaching either for which I’m currently applying. My dream is to live and to work and settle in the US. But I can’t even find a position here in the UK to gain any sort of experience. And it’s becoming a bit too much to deal with at the moment.

Unemployment has the unique ability to completely destroy any ounce of confidence or love of being alive one may once have enjoyed. I just feel completely empty, all the time. It becomes difficult to sleep as financial worries stack up and food becomes a luxury. Your social life dies because you can’t keep up with friends. You look at your degree certificate with contempt, like it is just another worthless piece of paper that reflects nothing and it no longer feels like any sort of achievement, and for every 300+ applications you send out, you receive maybe two replies because for every job you apply for, 100+ others are applying for daily. Every job labelled ‘graduate’ or ‘entry level’ seems to then demand 2+ years of experience. The very few that offer experience rather than demand it of graduates, seem to have half of Britain applying to. You become an insignificant face, in a sea of insignificant faces and you’re treading a water that is pulling you deeper in every day. Why bother to resist at all?

The latest position I applied for comes with this confidence killing disclaimer:

“Applications: 92
Please be aware we receive a high volume of applications for every role advertised & regularly receive applications from candidates who exceed the job credentials.”

– In other words…. don’t bother. You’re probably not good enough.

The Job Centre is a place of pity, of shame, and a broken, forgotten system with a thin veil of modernity covering its massive cracks. I sat next to a girl who had been coming to the Job Centre for over a year, and as she said that, she laughed nervously and said that if she didn’t laugh, she’d cry. The archaic job search system does not recognise the key words “digital” or “PR” and has trouble with the word “media”. These terms are too new for it, what with being introduced in the mid-90s. But the sofas are comfortable. So that’s just great. The staff talk to you patronisingly, like you’re probably just playing the system, a waste of oxygen, and so deserve to be spoken to like a child. You then get home in time to see a Tory politician continuously tell us all how shameful it is to be unemployed, and how we must be treated with suspicion and anger.

If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you are one of about 50+ other candidates and if you wish to impress at an interview, you need an extraordinary degree of confidence in yourself, which you now don’t have. Couple this with constant dehumanised “lazy” or “we must be tough on them!” rhetoric by politicians in both major political parties trying to win over a middle class, and a thoroughly right winged media treating you as a statistic, and a shameful drain on society, and you quickly descend mentally to a place where life seems entirely pointless, because you’re convinced that you have no worth. And whilst feeling entirely worthless, you dread the postman’s footsteps every day, because it’ll just be letter upon letter of threats from companies you can no longer afford to pay. Car insurance. Phone bill. Broadband. Every letter includes a subtle declaration that because you can’t afford to pay, they’ll charge you even more. Which you also can’t pay. And so they’ll threaten you with court. And then the bank charge you because your direct debit didn’t work when the company charged you extra for not being able to afford to pay in the first place. And then the bank will charge you more because you couldn’t pay the charge. And it never stops. Why would anyone have children here? What a fucking cruel thing to do.

The feeling that you are worthless isn’t fleeting, it doesn’t subside, it grows until it feels endless. And every slight knock back amplifies it. This is my current reality and I hate it.

If anyone knows of any opportunities, feel free to get in contact because I need just one place to give me even the smallest of opportunities to be able to prove my worth.

Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.


To fly the flag of the Confederacy

January 15, 2013

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Donald Lee Pardue (Flickr: Still Waving).

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By Donald Lee Pardue (Flickr: Still Waving).

In his 1953 novel ‘Bring the Jubilee’, Ward Moore imagines a revised history in which the Confederacy wins the Battle of Gettysburg and thus the Civil War. A key theme of the book, is the imperialist ambitions of the Confederate States between the end of the war, and the 1950s. President Robert Lee, whom takes over at the end of Jefferson Davis’ term in Office fights and fights to stop an imperialistic Congress invading Central and South America. The novel is of course imagined alternate history, but it is shockingly close to reality when we note the future aims of the Confederacy during the Civil War period, and the complete ignorance of this by those who still fly the Confederate Flag (appropriated from the original Army of Tennessee flag) under the misapprehension that it represents “State’s Rights”.

I have travelled from the UK to Michigan three times this year. The three seasons I have encountered have all had their merits, and the wonderful landscape adapts each time to reveal a hidden beauty that I hadn’t seen previously. The red leaves of autumn are calming whilst the summer evenings provide beautiful sunsets over the lake. I love Michigan.

However, as an outsider, I have been shocked to see that people still fly the Confederate flag.

I am ensured that it is a symbol of the South in general – and in particular, States rights. This is of course, nonsense. It pre-supposes that the Confederate flag and the Confederacy in general, along with secession was ever about State’s Rights. I believe this mythical idea of the old South used to be referred to as the ‘Lost Cause’; a devious yet charming little term of propaganda romanticising the South to a degree that it absolutely doesn’t deserve.

The ‘State’s Rights’ claim as to the cause of the Civil War suggests that the Southern States were ardent defenders of the individual States as a loose collection of autonomous States that could vote on and set their own laws and regulations, and trade with each other, without Federal interference. This is simply not true. The Southern States were far more anti-freedom, and anti-States Rights than the North.

For example, on the eve of secession, South Carolina issued a declaration entitled:

“Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.”

– Their grievences listed, are almost entirely based on slavery. In the most telling attack on State’s Rights, it is clear that South Carolina did not like that Northern States had at times refused to send fugitive slaves back to their ‘Masters’ in the South:

“an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery. … In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed …”

– Tellingly, the South Carolina Declaration demands that the Northern non-slave holding States conform to the views of slave holding States by allowing Southerners when visiting the North, to bring their slaves with them, as slaves:

“In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals.”

– The South didn’t care for States Rights. The South employed the most imperialistic, totalitarian, anti-liberty social and economic system, dreaming of empire, in the entire nation.

Now Southern propagandists will argue that tariffs, and Federal planning grants were just as to blame for secession, but those points are not mentioned in most Southern literature from the time. The Southern States seceded, because of the issue of slavery. It isn’t State’s Rights, it is White Male Rights.

Similar to South Carolina, Mississippi’s Declaration of Secession states:

“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery — the greatest material interest of the world … a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization.”

Perhaps most tellingly of all, is the Confederate Constitution. Section 9 of which states:

(4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

– This shows how little the Confederacy cared about State’s Rights. The State’s have no right to abolish Slavery. No individual State can pass a law impairing the right of property in slaves. The Confederate Federal Government did not care for State’s Rights. They cared only about maintaining and spreading slavery as a system.

So, the South essentially means that it is an ardent defender of States Rights, as long as the Southern States have the Right to demand the Northern States do as the South demands. But not only did the South wish to ensure the North did as it was told, they wished to expand their slave holding empire into different continents.

The American lawyer and journalist William Walker, in 1854, after a failed attempt to set up a Republic of Sonora in Mexico, with the intention of it becoming a State of the Union; invaded Nicaragua for control of a vital trade route between New York and San Francisco. He succeeded in his efforts, and took control of Nicaragua, renaming it “Walkeragua” (seriously, i’m not making this up). In 1856, President Franklin Pierce, officially recognised Walker’s regime in Walkeragua as legitimate. His regime began to Americanise Walkeragua, by instating slavery, using American currency, and making English the official language. He advertised his new Country to American Southern businessmen by advertising the fact that his new quasi-State was pro-slavery and would remain so.
By the time Walker revoked Nicaragua’s 1824 Emancipation Act, the rest of Latin America took note, and invaded. He fled and was bought back to the U.S where he was welcomed as a hero of the South.
He died before the Civil War kicked off, but the South referred to him throughout the Civil War as “General Walker“ and “The grey-eyed man of destiny”. The South did not just fight to preserve the institution of slavery, they wanted to expand it, on a grand scale, to the point where Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky proposed that the 36°30′ parallel north be a line that separates the northern free states, and the southern slave states, all the way down to the tip of South America.

Walker wasn’t the only Southerner with Imperialist ambitions. The Confederate Secretary of State John C. Breckinridge decided that Southern States had the right to invade whomever they wished:

“The Southern states cannot afford to be shut off from all possibility of expansion towards the tropics by the hostile action of the federal government.”

As autonomous “States rights” go, invading another sovereign nation and revoking its anti-slavery laws, in hope of creating a slave owning empire, is about as big and as bad as a Federal Government can get.
So far, that’s State’s Rights to own people as property, and the State’s Rights to invade sovereign countries and force slavery upon them. Let’s also not forget State’s Rights to wander into other countries, and capture locals to be shipped back to Southern lands as slaves, as President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davies suggested when he mentioned reviving the slave trade because there was an abundance of:

“….new acquisitions to be made south of the Rio Grande.”

– The imperialist fantasies that prominent Southern politicians were expressing quickly evaporates the intensely faulty premise that for the South, the Civil War was about State’s Freedoms and Rights. It is therefore absurd to claim the Confederate flag stands for those qualities. It stood in defiance of those qualities.

By flying the Confederate flag, what social system are you showing your support for, or your nostalgic sense of loss for? What economic system? Certainly the civil war pitted the more industrialised and Capitalist Northern economic system, against the more agrarian and slave-holding Southern economic structure. So what are you advocating? Surely not Capitalism, as Capitalism was most certainly considered a great evil in the old South, so much so that George Fitzhugh – a leading Social Theorist of the time, insisted that slavery protected African Americans from the pains of Capitalism, and attacks the idea of “free competition” no less than 42 times in his book ‘Slavery Justified’. On a Social level, Fitzhugh (who went on to work in the Treasury of the Confederacy, as well as counting numerous Confederate politicians among his friends and admirers) says of African Americans:

Half of mankind are but grown up children, and liberty is fatal to them as it is to children.

– The line of reasoning is reasonable when framed in the cold ignorance of the mid-19th century, but is widely unacceptable, and entirely incorrect by 21st century logic. We must remember that Fitzhugh was writing prior to Darwin’s understanding that racial differences were not biological. Fitzhugh would have been influenced by social theorists on racial and cultural differences, culminating in the studies of anthropologists such as Lewis Henry Morgan, who argued in his work ‘Ancient Societies’ that societies and thus peoples could be classed as primitive or civilised, and that the white European civilisation was far more advanced than ‘primitive’ African cultures. Morgan’s work was less based on evolutionary biology, and more on a Euro-centric cultural study, and very little else. His works later influenced Marx in his theory of Historical Materials, thus proving that his writings were widely available and respected.

State’s Right’s. What they mean is, the rich white male’s right to own people as property based on skin tone, without anyone telling them that it’s wrong. The African American had no right to complain, had no right to vote, no right to not be beaten, no right to anything. As the great Senator of the time Charles Sumner stated:

By the licence of slavery, an entire race is delivered over to the prostitution and concubinage without the protection of any law.

– Here Sumner is noting that the South revokes its claims on “Rights” when it imprisons the vast majority of its population in a state of bondage; breaking the ties of family, and brotherhood, of marriage and replacing parent/child relationships (natural relationships) with master/slave. When you appropriate the fruit of labour freely, when you take away their right to active political participation, when you deny education, and when you break natural bonds like that of family; you can no longer claim the defence of ‘State’s rights’, and any future generation flying the flag that represented that putrid system should be ashamed.

Often, I read insistences that the Confederate Flag today means Southern pride, or Southern heritage, or other equally manipulative benign terms. That narrative is misjudged. The Confederate flag was a very specific flag, for a very specific system, at a very specific time. It is a reason. So, if you must insist on ensuring the World knows just how proud you are to be from Southern States, why not have a new flag, predicated on State’s Rights, or Southern Pride? Designed for that purpose. Why use the EXACT same flag that was designed purely for the sake of representing the slave system. It is disingenuous to attempt to suggest the Confederate Flag is anything but a provocative flag of hate.

The Confederacy Flag represents, not States Rights, not Southern heritage or pride, but the following: An Economic and Social system built on slavery. Anti-Capitalism. Anti-liberty. Imperialism. Scientific ignorance. White Supremacy. The Confederate flag represents that system. Nothing else. Certainly not “State’s Rights”. It is very specific as a symbol.

The attempts to pose the Civil War as a State’s Rights issue, is simply to ignore and revise history in an attempt to create a sort of “David V Goliath” narrative in which the South is the victim of the big bad Federal Government. It is ignorant, lazy, and wrong.

To fly the flag of Confederacy today is shameful.


Election Day 2012

November 6, 2012

It is telling, just how desperate Republicans have become at this time, when ex Republican presidential candidate, endorser of Santorum, and ex-Reagan secretary for Planning and Budget in the Department of Education posts an article on his facebook wall accusing Obama of being a Marxist simply for using the term ‘Forward’:


The intense lack of focus on issues, on offering any sort of solutions is telling. Bauer offers nothing. No new ideas, no ingenuity. Simple, and ridiculous weak attacks on wording.
Bauer is a Christian. Deeply Christian. He believes secularism is destroying Christian values. In an article for ‘Campaign for Working Families’ Bauer states:

“The removal of the only reference to God from the Democratic Party platform is telling. Under Barack Obama the Democratic Party has become more secular and more hostile to faith-based voters. On issues ranging from the sanctity of life to traditional marriage, Obama’s Democratic Party has embraced positions contrary to the values of heartland America, values rooted in our Judeo-Christian traditions and expressed in our founding documents. Values voters will respond in November.”

Now, leaving aside the fact that America’s founding documents are a symbol of secularism and the Enlightenment… not Christian values; if we’re judging people by their wording, as Bauer did by posting that article, he must be consistent, here’s a speech from Hitler, in 1933:

“Today they say that Christianity is in danger, that the Catholic faith is threatened. My reply to them is: for the time being, Christians and not international atheists are now standing at Germany’s fore. I am not merely talking about Christianity; I confess that I will never ally myself with the parties which aim to destroy Christianity.”

– Sounds a lot like every speech Bauer ever makes. If he has the nerve to suggest Obama is a Marxist because he used the term ‘forward’ in his campaign, then we must be consistent and say that Gary L Bauer is a Nazi. Probably Hitler himself. See how easy it is? This has been the Republican strategy for about four years.

Onto the main topic of this article.
Today is election day in the US. And whilst most of the World cannot fathom why any reasonable human being would vote for a bigoted and economically illiterate Romney Presidency; the polls are pretty even. I even heard a suggestion that New Hampshire might be the State to play kingmaker.

I laid out in a previous article Why the Romney economic plan based on ‘job creators’ is a manipulation of fact and devoid of all reason. Today i’d quite like to lay out the accomplishments of President Obama. We know he hasn’t always been the President that expectation demanded of him back in 2008, but that’s not to say he hasn’t achieved a heck of a lot of good, and progress in the past four years despite two years of Republican (and right winged Christian) attempts to derail his agenda at every possible opportunity; usually without regard for the national interest.

Obama’s biggest achievement must be the Healthcare Act. Now that the fear has died down… fear created and perpetuated by a Republican Party that consider anything slightly left of Mussolini to be “Socialism”, people seem to be starting to like the idea of ‘Obamacare’. Of course, it isn’t ideal. The ideal is universal healthcare. We can bicker about “Omg it’s socialism!!!” all we want. We can even bicker about if government is capable of providing healthcare, on a very fundamental basis if we want. But we must look at the facts. Here is what the World Health Organisation says about two systems. The American private insurer system (before Obamacare), and the British National Healthcare system.

Life Expectancy M/F
USA: 76/81
UK: 78/82

Distribution of causes of death among children aged <5 years (%)
USA – Injuries: 22
UK – Injuries: 4

Case detection rate for all forms of tuberculosis (%):
UK: 94
USA: 89

Under-five mortality rate (probability of dying by age 5 per 1000 live births):
UK: 5
USA 8

Adult mortality rate (probability of dying between 15 and 60 years per 1000):
UK: 77
USA: 106

Per capita total expenditure on health at average exchange rate (US$):
UK: 3285
USA: 7410

General government expenditure on health as a percentage of total government expenditure:
UK: 15.1%
USA: 18.7%

A quick analysis suggests that the UK pays less per capita, our government spends less on our health system than the US, and yet we have “Socialised” healthcare, we’re living longer, and our children are less likely to die at a young age. And yet, all of this is grossly overlooked in favour of ideological dogma regardless of how backward, and ultimately deadly it is. And it isn’t just the UK, look to Sweden, Norway, and any other industrialised, civil society with a universal healthcare model, and you will see similar results. A private healthcare system is not only horrendously barbaric, it doesn’t work.
Obama has made progress in correcting that problem.
For all their concern about the deficit, Republicans choose to ignore the FACT that the Congressional Budget Office stated that ‘Obamacare’ will reduce the deficit. Here, see for yourself: CBO Report. To repeal it, would cost around $230bn. Another CBO report states that in the next ten years, ‘Obamacare’ will cover a further 33,000,000 Americans who otherwise would have no coverage (the very idea of not being covered for healthcare, baffles and disgusts me). Here, see for yourself CBO Report. NOT ONLY THAT but ‘Obamacare’ incentivises small businesses by offering a 50% tax credit, if they insure their workers.
Republicans adding to the deficit, whilst making life harder for average people, whilst enriching wealthy insurers, whilst ignoring small businesses? SURELY NOT!

Former House of Reps Republican in Delaware, Mike Castle voted to kill the stimulus bill, the health reform bill, financial regulation reform etc etc etc. On the stimulus package, Mike Castle said this:

“We cannot spend our way back to economic prosperity,”

He hates the idea of a stimulating the economy! Doesn’t think government should stimulate the economy. So, obviously he’s going to be consistent in his condemnation, right? Well, no.
… Castle then accepted $5,230,610 of stimulus money, stating:

These grants, totaling more than $5 million, will help the invaluable organizations and programs which are working to help the homeless, hungry, and those facing economic hardship throughout the State.

– Suddenly, government CAN help to eleviate poverty, and hunger, and provide help to the most vulnerable. Republicans oppose programs in order to entice their over privileged support base, and then cowardly support the program when it might win them some votes among the less wealthy in their constituencies.

Every Romney/Republican Speech is a vomit inducing display of feigned patrotism. …. “What would I do?.. Well i’d make America great again!” It seems, if you lack any detailed plan for running the highest office on the planet, then the next best thing is to win over idiots, with sentimental nonsense.

Economically, whilst it’s slow, the US economy is growing. If we contrast that with the austerity lead (Romney-esque) governments across the World, we see a different story. Austerity has failed everywhere. The UK has had to endure three years of it, and so far we’ve had another huge recession (the biggest since the 1950s) no growth over the entire year, and horribly stagnating wages. It fails. The opposite is true of the Obama economy. It is moving in the right direction. If you think slow Keynesian inspired growth is bad, then you’re REALLY going to hate Romney inspired recession.

Taxes too high? Well, if you’re a Republican prone to ‘make shit up’ then yes. But, if you rely on evidence, as the Washington Post did, you will see that:


“A USA Today analysis found last year that if we include everything — federal, state, and local taxes, including income, property, sales, and other taxes — the percentage of personal income that’s paid in taxes is still at its lowest level since 1950.”

And since when has it become acceptable, and in fact, preferable, for a ‘business minded’ person to be a President? Businesses are run for profit. People are very much a secondary concern. Democratic accountability does not exist in a business setting. I cannot vote for who runs the gas and electricity companies. I can move to another. Yet, there are very few, and all of them offer poor service. The object is money. It is profit. People become statistics. The interest of business leaders, is to enrich themselves. They are economically illiterate, and dangerous. Their word, it seems, is taken as gospal. This couldn’t be proven any more than in the UK. In 2010, before the general election, 35 of the Nation’s top business leaders signed a petition in support of the Chancellor George Osborne’s austerity plan. They said, quite amusingly:

There is no reason to think that the pace of consolidation envisaged in the Budget will undermine the recovery. Business is amoral. It is regulated it prevent it becoming immoral. Business minds are self interest. This, of course, is not always a terrible thing. A majority of the time, it works. But at its most fundamental, it is dangerous.

The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector, and the redeployment of people to more productive activities will improve economic performance, so generating more employment opportunities.

– Two and a half years later, the ‘pace of consolidation envisaged in the Budget’ has absolutely choked off recovery. The private sector has not generated any additional jobs. We hit another recession. And wages stagnated. This is the legacy of listening to those with a ‘business’ mind when it comes to national governance.

The repealing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell must rank up there with great liberal policies, alongside civil rights legislation of the 1960s (which of course, conservatives opposed). Obama also admitted, tacitly, that he is no longer opposed to gay marriage. This was a risky move, but showed courage and conviction, when faced with such hostile bigotry. Whilst in Michigan, I saw a Republican billboard with “Obama supports gay marriage, and abortion…. do you?” And I thought…. Yes. I do. Because i’m not a crazed Christian bigoted fundamentalist from the 4th Century. To prevent full rights to loving couples, based soley on a very fundamental and selective view of a Biblical passage is so thoroughly beyond the realm of reason, it should be ridiculed, and argued against, and kept as far away from public policy as possible. If we are to continue to believe that the concept of marriage is based entirely on Biblical principles, then, like with Bauer, we must be consistent:
Republicans must be against marriage, if the woman isn’t a virgin. As advocated in Deuteronomy 22:13-21.
Republicans must support the right for a man to have multiple concubines as justified in 2 Sam 5:13 and
2 Chron 11:21.
Republicans must support the right for a man to marry his kidnapped captive (though, only after shaving her head, obviously) as permitted in Deut. 21:11-13.
Republicans must support the right for a man to trade his wife, as property. As advocated in RUTH 4:5-10.
Republicans must support the right for a man to marry his rape victim, if he pays for her: Deut. 22:28.
Let’s be consistent Republicans!

Gaddafi. Bin Laden. Weakened Mubarak’s position by telling him to reform, or step down. Has not jumped into conflict with Iran, relying instead on diplomacy, but also strong with providing sanctions on Iran by signing into law a bill to punish companies aiding Iran’s petroleum sector.

Between 2010 and 2011, Obama increased Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 26%. Conversely, Paul Ryan suggested cutting aid to Veterans who do not suffer from combat caused medical problems. Essentially, Republicans (strong national defence) are happy to use you to defend the country, and then forget about you when you get home, and paint you as a drain on the economy. Let’s not forget that those cuts to Veterans benefits would be paid for, by a massive tax cut for the wealthiest.

Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act, EPA restrictions on toxic pollution. Omnibus Public Lands Management Act expanding wilderness protection. Cancelled anti-ballistic missile systems set to be placed in Czech and Poland, saving $1.4bn. Kickstarted renewable energy research through stimulus funding on unprecedented scale. Used diplomacy to convince BP to put aside a $20 billion fund for victims of Gulf oil spill, without any power to force them to do so. Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act provides coverage for 4 million more children by raising taxes on tobacco. And for me, one of the most overlooked and yet most vital advancements the US has to thank President Obama for, is the ending of Bush-era restrictions on stem cell research. This is perhaps the most important scientific area of research at the moment. For Republicans to deny it, is a disgrace.

President Obama has achieved a lot in four years, despite Republicans opposing absolutely everything, and ensuring the word ‘Socialism’ is forever attached to anything Obama says or does. It is of course a basic misunderstanding of what Socialism is. The definition becomes irrelevant because the word is enough to strike irrational fear. The use of terms like ‘Socialism’ or the obsession with dethroning the President by suggesting his isn’t American, or any other empty attack point goes to prove nothing more than the fact that the Republican Party has absolutely no solution for any problem. It just wants power.

I cannot believe a country that has come so far forward in four years, would elect to fall twenty years into the past.
This is why I am certain President Obama should be given four more years.

EDIT: And has now been given four more years. Excellent choice America.


It used to be Patriotism, but now “It’s just my opinion” is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

October 8, 2011

Debate is perhaps the most intrinsically key ingredient of social progression that humanity is blessed with. Rationality is a tool that we have evolved beyond that of any other creature on the planet. We should use it wisely and we should be well informed before we jump to conclusions, especially if we have influence upon others.

I am increasingly finding myself developing opinions that put me at odds with a lot of people. On the Iraq war, I followed the Tariq Ali/Noam Chomsky anti-American stance to every murky corner that it lurked. Vast oil conspiracies, dealings with the Bin Laden family, America as an imperial aggressor against opponents that are just pawns. I still hold many of those views, but they become entwined the more complex certain situations seem to become the more scholars and writers you digest. With Iraq, I soon became very pro-war. I am still pro-war. I am certain that had we listened to the hysterical anti-war left for the past fifty years, the World would not be in a better place. Milosovich would have ethnically cleansed Bosnia, Saddam would be torturing and killing his way across the marshlands of southern Iraq whilst the Kurds similarly are systematically abused. The depth of public opinion seems to be focused more on what is popular to believe, than what is actually going on. It is popular to believe that Bush invaded Iraq for oil. It is popular to believe that immigration is an intense problem that destroys livelihoods of “natives”. It is popular to believe we must deal with the Nation’s debt immediately and that the Welfare State is a great evil. The truth is irrelevant to people who hold and perpetuate these opinions.

Sky News, one of the two key news channels, instead of engaging in thoughtful debate and new and provocative ideas, instead chooses to spend its time focusing a camera on Michael Jackson’s doctor. How uneasy this makes me feel. It’s not a fucking reality TV show. The sensationalism of the opening titles; “THE JACKSON TRIAL! ONLY ON SKY NEWS” as if it’s a movie. What a horrible development.

The weak level of debate, and the social cynicism that accompanies it, inevitably seeps into the political sphere and the democratic process, with debate at its core, becomes a sad reflection of the level of debate that can only be described as manically ill-informed populism. This weak, Labour went on the offensive, attacking the Tories because of who the Defence Secretary is friends with. That is essentially the story. It is a scandal that might last a week, if we’re lucky. It is essentially meaningless. It takes the heat off the fact that the official opposition; Labour, has offered no opposition to the dangerous moves the Coalition government has taken over the past 18 months. As the Governor of the Bank of England said last week, this could be the biggest economic crises Britain has ever faced. Our growth projection has been cut again, output has fallen again, unemployment is rising still, and Neoliberalism has hit such a crises that even the middle classes – whom the political class has attempted to win over for the past thirty years – cannot afford to pay their electricity bills any more. Why aren’t Labour fighting this? why are they focusing on why the Defence Secretary hangs around with? The dying level of debate in this country, and across the World, will only get deeper and more depressing, if the House of Lords is democratised. We should have a chamber of experts, to debate the issues between the most qualified and most informed. This serves two purposes; one.. it is quite obvious that humanity, on an individual level, cannot possibly know everything. This goes for politicians. It is counterproductive for progressivism for an MP like Blunkett to have been at the Home Office, Work and Pensions, and Education. Three different specialties cannot be perfected by one career politician. We need experts. Two… the point of this blog; the raising of the level of debate. Democracy is great, if you have all the information. Quite clearly, we don’t. A debate in the Commons on stem cell research is useless, if there are no experts to provide the information we all need. If we are to democratise the House of Lords, then we must still maintain a level of expertise in our political sphere. A Chamber of experts is my proposition.

I’m pretty sure we can’t rely on Labour to run a successful opposition campaign. They have become too suited, and too “centrist” (another word for ‘right winged’).
Where is the fight against referring to anyone with a supreme amount of money as “job creators”? – If anything we’ve learned that demand creates jobs, not the super rich.
Where is the passion in fighting NHS reform? I hear from doctors and the BMA and others in the profession all the time; yet nothing from the official opposition.
Where is the promise to really hit the banks?
I am bored of politicians treading a careful centre ground. It failed. Whilst the Country burns, Labour just like to say “Bad Tories”. Well, it isn’t good enough. The real opposition comes from the masses, who have had to listen and endure politicians across the spectrum, tell us that we must protect the “job creators”, that the “tough decisions needing to be taken” are the ones that affect those without great wealth only.
It is too much.
All they are doing, is applying a very weakly tied bandage to a system that didn’t work in the first place.
And they all do it, because they’re all funded by the very people they are all now protecting.
And then, they all have the fucking nerve to think that we should accept reform of Parliament, be proposed and implemented…. by Parliament.
We shouldn’t trust politicians, or the very wealthy, with a pair of scissors, let alone the entire World.

Don’t vote. It is the best way to cast a vote.

One of my favourite topics to debate is religion and its power over mankind. As you are all aware, I despise organised religion. Now, this doesn’t mean I despise religious individuals. I genuinely do not care what you believe, or where you choose to believe it. I do not submit to the view that England is a Christian nation. Move to England, believe what you like. I simply despise the concept of religion and the hold it has had over humanity for far too long.

Today, a Facebook friend of mine wrote on her wall, that Richard Dawkins is a Fascist and a Cunt. She is a psuedo-intellectual, who absolutely hates being brought up on anything she says. She expects any sort of provocative statement to be overlooked, and if you dare question her about the ill-informed, manically provocative statement, she’ll take a very passive aggressive stance and try to paint you as a bully, for questioning her. These people are everywhere. They are the Fox News brigade. They exist on the Right and the Left. The EDL is very similar. They make very provocative statements, find themselves unable to back it up because, frankly, their statements are usually ill-informed and dangerous, and then just blame the media for picking on them. They perpetuate a declining level of debate. Today, I questioned why Dawkins is a fascist? I asked if she’d read The Selfish Gene, and then read Fascist literature and to point out where the similarities lie. I pointed out that the true fascists belong almost entirely to those claiming to be fighting a religious cause. That the Abrahamic traditions themselves, are based entirely on Fascists principles. To illustrate this point, I will refer, for lack of a better source, to wikipedia entry on Fascism:

Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.[3] To achieve this, fascists purge forces, ideas, people, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration.

– You could replace the word “fascists” in that description, with “Islamic/Christian/Jewish fundamentalists” and replace “nation” with “religion”, and it’d make the same point, and be absolutely accurate in doing so. The very basis of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, is exclusive, and around 2000 years ‘purging’ any contrary ideas, people, and systems that it simply didn’t like. Now, it is losing the power that it once had, but not for use of trying. My point had at least an attempt at rational thought, lodged firmly into it.
She said I was being a bully and aggressive and refused to actually discuss the point I made. I then pointed out that she’d still not answered my original point, to which she’d said “It’s just my opinion!”.

It used to be Patriotism, but now I’d say “It’s just my opinion” is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Now, it might just be me. Perhaps i’m the awful one who just doesn’t get it. But I am CERTAIN this is passive aggressive behaviour at its very worst. Putrid and vicious on the surface, but just a way to worm her way out of actually answering my original point. Here is the conversation, after the original argument:
Her:

One of my friends has just unfriended me based on what he read on that thread. So thank you for that. If this is not indicative of how damaging your unprovoked attacks can be I don’t know what is. I now have a tearful man on the phone saying he can’t bear to me on my list because of the unprovoked abuse it puts in his newsfeed and I don’t have sensible answer for him.

I’m really, really disappointed in you. Not just in the way you launched into me, but in the way you are now trying to accuse me of all sorts of things when all I did was express a view. You have me so wrong I don’t even know where to start. You’re way too suspicious. I’m not as complicated as you seem to think. Maybe you have been surrounded by headworkers, and that’s what has given you such a low opinion of people, but I’m not one of them. I speak, then I move on. Nothing more sinister than that. All I have done is be honest about how I feel.

I am baffled as to why you see such nefariousness in my comments. I’m not trying to occupy moral high grounds or anything else, I’m just speaking from the heart as I always do.

I’m not going to lie, I was just letting this all go over my head until Alan got upset. Now I’m going to make my excuses and head off out to cry to myself. I can’t believe your attack has cost ME a fiend. I’m devastated. I think a lot of Alan.

Please just show some respect? Whether you agree or not, whether you think people are idiots or not, it isn’t your place to tell people how to think or to make sarcastic, bombastic remarks to them for not sharing a view you hold.

I have never and will never be personally offensive to you for not agreeing with me. That doesn’t mean my passion is less ardent than yours, it just means I have been surrounded by aggressive, dogmatic people all my life and now most of them are dead I am enjoying the most peaceful existence I never dared ream about. I’m not going to be drawn in to petty rows online, because trust me, nothing you or anyone else here could say could ever come close to making me feel the way people in my ‘previous; life have.

I don’t know what your motivation is for the aggression and personal remarks – and you may say it isn’t intentional, but clearly it is coming across that way to have cost me a dear friend – but please be assured, if the intention is to pull me into a row I don’t want to have, you will never win. I don’t do bad feeling anymore. I’ve had too much of it than I know what to do with. I refuse to fight with people needlessly.

That’s it. That’s my last word. If you wish to believe your own words and think me some kind of warped moral crusader, then so be it. I can’t and won’t tell people how to think. But I’m certainly not going to fall out with anyone on account of a difference of opinion, and I am certainly not going to use my intellect as a weapon the way you have because that is ugly, unnecessary and not part of my arsenal.

This is not the life I live anymore and that extends as far as not allowing myself to have petty ego wars online.

I’m just sad that this has made me lose a certain respect I had for you.

Enjoy your weekend
D

– Now, to me, this starts first with a very passive aggressive paragraph about how I am responsible for the loss of a friend. The guy she refers to, I have never spoken to, I have never seen, I have never encountered in any way. To project this on to me, for simply trying to debate (honestly, I know when I’m being a bit aggressive in the way I argue, and for me, this was very very mild, to the point of me being actually quite half arsed in what I was saying. There was nothing vicious… though obviously, you only have my word on this), is ludicrous. To then tell me she’s “very very disappointed”, as if i’m a 15 year old being spoken to by my mother, is not just passive aggressive, it is condescending and patronising. She then plays the victim card brilliantly. Notice though, still not addressing my original point.

My response:

” If this is not indicative of how damaging your unprovoked attacks can be I don’t know what is. I now have a tearful man on the phone saying he can’t bear to me on my list because of the unprovoked abuse it puts in his newsfeed and I don’t have sensible answer for him.”
– I’m sorry but that is beyond pathetic. You are again taking a very passive aggressive stance.
You cannot sit and claim to be attacked with no provocation, when your initial statement was one of abuse. I simply asked you to quantify your reasoning. Which, you still haven’t done.

I am absolutely sick to death of very very passive aggressive people who publish controversial statements, and then backtrack and refuse to answer for them. The ones who can’t back it up. It is damaging to debate. It is weak minded and it is what leads to dangerous ideas; the idiots who think Bush is responsible for 9/11, the idiots who think Blair should be tried for war crimes, who then get challenged on their bullshit and hide behind “omg, you’re bullying me, it’s just my opinion”. Well it’s too much now. It has to stop because it is pseudo-intellectual bullshit that perpetuates false perceptions.
I genuinely do not care what your opinion of someone like Dawkins is. But if you honestly think you’ve taken a moral high ground, by referring to someone as a cunt and a fascist, and then just blatantly ignoring all arguments to the contrary, AND THEN subtly claiming my points were very EDL like. How is that not an attack on me? I think nationalism is just vicious and vile and insulting as a concept created by humanity, as religion. The people who use EDL tactics are the ones who make outrageous and abusive initial claims, and then refuse to back them up, mainly because they can’t.
This is not what I did. What I did initially was ask you why Dawkins is a Fascist. I asked you to provide me with evidence, to maybe read the Selfish Gene and then read Fascist literature and tell me where the similarities lie. A perfectly reasonable expectation, given the level of abuse and the vicious nature of your original statement. You cannot say irrational and vicious things, and just expect everyone to click “like”.
I refuse to be attacked, with the usual line of attack, which you’ve used, which is simply “I’m so disappointed in you, I thought you were intelligent blah blah …. why aren’t you as great as me?” It is patronising and it is condescending. I will ALWAYS challenge opinions I find to be shockingly irrational, if those opinions are vicious in nature, be it religious, nationalist or any other. There are certainly times I find Dawkins to be overly provocative. But he in no way deserves the title “Fascist”. But if you can substantiate why he’s a Fascist that would be great. I am STILL waiting for your logic.

“I don’t know what your motivation is for the aggression and personal remarks – and you may say it isn’t intentional, but clearly it is coming across that way to have cost me a dear friend – but please be assured, if the intention is to pull me into a row I don’t want to have, you will never win.”
– I am not going to let you blame me for you losing a friend. I actually resent that accusation, and if I were you, I’d tell him to man up, he doesn’t know me, he has never spoken to me, and if he is offended by a debate that absolutely doesn’t involve him, he needs a serious chat with himself. I wont take responsibility, nor apologise for that. And the fact that you’ve tried to pin that on me, is actually an utter disgrace.
It is not aggression. You’re the one who started the entire thing by referring to a man as a cunt and a Fascist. Where I come from, that’s a pretty aggressive line to take. My line is simply; I cannot tolerate stupidity, and I cannot tolerate those who try to worm their way out of a debate (which I started, without being aggressive, I merely asked for your logic) by either trying to paint the other person, as passively aggressive as possible, as some sort of nut job (the anti-war left are great at this tactic, as are the Tories), and then refuse to answer all questions that may compromise their dogmatic bullshit, with “omg it’s just my opinion”. The conversation we had, was basically:
“This man is a fascist and a cunt”
“Explain what you mean….”
“OMG YOU’RE A BULLY, IT’S JUST MY OPINION. YOU’RE LIKE THE EDL.”
What you did, constantly, was say just how much you hate aggression, and then continue to be as passive aggressive as possible. I asked my girlfriend to make sure it wasn’t just me, and she’s in agreement with me. Though she did note that I can come across as a bit intimidating during debates (a flaw I accept – though I still try to present a reasoned argument). My only expectation, is if someone makes a controversial and provocative claim, they should be able to logically back it up, if they can’t, they are simply perpetuating weak minded, useless debate, and that is wrong.

Whether you admit it or not, and whether you want to project a certain image from your past onto me or not, you started this with an aggressive and provocative statement. To claim you hate aggression and provocation is unbelievably hypocritical. My main problem, is the level of debate. The Country seems to be talking about some bloke the Defence Secretary walked through the Defence Department once. And i’m sat here thinking, who gives a fuck? Why is that even important? Why aren’t we all fighting against the destruction of the health service? Likewise, with the anti-atheist thing, what I meant by that is, you did what a lot of liberals do, and I’m starting to despise. They attack people like Dawkins or Hitchens as fascists or dogmatic blah blah, but they absolutely never have a bad word to say about organised religion. As I said in my first post on your page, Dawkins has never written a book that calls for the torture, rape and murder of non-believers. To say Dawkins is inherently fascist, but to ignore the basis of most organised religions; fear and death, is a horribly simplistic liberal technique that is beyond abhorrent. I do not feel me taking this stance is EDL-like. I am an Atheist, an out-spoken Atheist, it is a subject I take great interest in, I studied Theology, I have read the Koran on numerous occassions, I have read the Bible, I have studied Philosophy from Socrates to Sartre. And so I resent being compared to a bunch of racists who just don’t like Islam because people with slightly darker skin are its main followers. If you subtly suggesting I am using EDL tactics, isn’t passive aggressive, I don’t know what is.

“I’m just sad that this has made me lose a certain respect I had for you.”
– Ditto. Especially for accusing me of making you lose a friend. Again, disgusting.

– I don’t think I was overly aggressive or abusive, or intolerant in anything I just said. And so it goes…
Her:

Turn it in, Jamie – you’re just another sad, intolerant militant and everyone that witnessed the way you spoke to me today saw it.

The friend and I have talked it out and we’re fine, stronger than ever thanks to your wild and paranoid accusations, so despite your best efforts you have failed to make a dent in my day.

Go and wiled your quasi-intellect like a weapon over someone who can’t see through your barely concealed hate.

I’m actually laughing now reading your desperate attempts to make me appear to be someone I am clearly not. All you did was exhaust every bit of boring rhetoric in your arsenal. You’re far too arrogant to see your mistakes, because you have genuinely convinced yourself that I’m being ‘passive-aggressive’, which I find hilarious – anyone that knows anything at all about me and the way I operate knows that I have never and will never be that person; if I have a point to make, and I’m not getting through, I’m AGGRESSIVE aggressive.

Of course, you will write this off as whichever adjective you haven’t already overused today but I couldn’t care less. I pity you; you’re the worst kind of extremist. Dishonest, pompous and self-important. You will gradually alienate every person in your life until you are left with a handful of fellow dogmatics and the few of you will spend the rest of your days blowing smoke up each other’s arses. I can’t think of anything sadder. In the meantime, I shall be embracing the people in my life in spite of our differences, and will have a richer, happier life experience as a result.

I only hope that poor girl of yours realises just what a hypocrite you are before she leaves her life behind for you.

Enjoy thinking up warped reasons I have blocked you. I know that you know as well as I do that I simply can’t be bothered to entertain toxic people.

– My personal favourites:
“I have never and will never be personally offensive to you for not agreeing with me. ”

Five minutes later:
” you’re just another sad, intolerant militant”
” I pity you; you’re the worst kind of extremist.”
“I only hope that poor girl of yours realises just what a hypocrite you are before she leaves her life behind for you.”

Brilliant.
The joyful irony of calling me aggressive, and then insisting my girlfriend is making a mistake, and that i’m an intolerant militant and the worst kind of extremist (the WORST kind…. worse than those who fly planes into buildings. I am, according to her, worse than Mohammad Atta. Amazing).

The flaws in her position are vast. She doesn’t elaborate on how i’m being ‘dishonest’ or what it is about me that is ‘extremist’ or why I might be a hypocrite. They are just empty abusive phrases designed for attack. The very thing she is trying to argue against. From her original position that Richard Dawkins is a Fascist cunt, to her ending that I am a militant aggressive extremist dishonest hypocrite, she offers nothing of substance. She is one big logical failure.

But this illustrates my original point. My last message to her, still wanting some form of debate. I still clinged onto the hope that she might present a logical argument. Instead, she chose to get very personal. This is what people tend to do, when they are losing. The EDL do it all the time. Religious nutjobs do it all the time. They get personal or aggressive. They absolutely worm their way around the actual subject of debate and just try to paint you as posing the debate in the ‘wrong’ tone. It is pathetic.

The level of debate in the Country and the World, at the most accessible and popular levels, is weak at best, and viciously ill-informed and dangerous at worst. For the most part, people form opinions through what they see in the most easily accessible parts of the media sphere. If the media support Iraq, the people support Iraq. If the media suggest Blair is a liar, the people believe it must be true. Opinions don’t tend to run too deep, unless you’re aiming at an intellectual level that expands beyond that of the mass media. For example, at the highest levels of debate, we have some great names. Tariq Ali, Christopher Hitchens, Tahereh Saffarzadeh, Chomsky, Krugman among others, are the leaders of the intellectual movement to advance debate and offer unique and exciting ideas. They challenge key perceptions. They always question. They never let a bad argument rest until it is totally destroyed. These are the people the World needs. These are the people we should be learning critical techniques from in order to advance the level of debate to a position that is currently alien to us.

A mad overly liberal calling anyone who disagrees with her a fascist militant dangerous extremist cunt, whilst insisting she’s not aggressive, is absolutely counter productive and should be fought at every opportunity.


Phone Hacking, The BBC, Left Wing Conspiracies and Boris!

July 20, 2011

There are a lot of blogs and articles surrounding the staggering resignations, deaths, arrests and revelations surrounding the Met and its Press Office run almost entirely by ex-News Corp journalists and their incompetent handling of two investigations; the utterly absurd judgement and ignorance of the Prime Minister; the shameful opportunism of Ed Milliband; with regard to the News Corp hacking issue. There are hundreds of articles and new revelations popping up every day. So I wanted to a somewhat different angle to this, and run down a tangent.

Though first, it seems that the Prime Minister is on the very brink of being dragged underwater and his Premiership drowned (I say that, with a lasting smirk on my face) as it emerged that not only was Coulson brought into Tory Party HQ, but also Ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who is one of the people who have been arrested so far, was an adviser to Coulson after Coulson began work for the Tories. This is particularly toxic for Number 10, because Wallis has already brought down Met Chief Sir Paul Steve Stephenson and Deputy Met Chief John Yates after it was revealed that the Met had employed Wallis as a PR consultant. This will be worth following, because even Tory blogger Iain Dale makes the extraordinary suggestion that Cameron could be brought down by this scandal. This is echoed with Tory blogger Mark Thompson offering up Theresa May as a replacement for Cameron, after betting agencies were taking 6-1 bets on Cameron being brought down, down from 100-1 two weeks ago.

Anyway. Onto the main point.

At Prime Minister’s questions last week, Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart asked the Prime Minister if the police would also be investigating what he refers to as a “criminal conspiracy” at the heart of the previous Labour Government and the Murdoch Empire, into the desire to undermine Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft in the run up to the General Election.

I think it necessary to evaluate the character of Graham Stuart MP directly, as to discern whether his little outburst is worthy of our attention.

When Graham Stuart was at Cambridge, he was the Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. His term also coincided with a scandal, in which voting for his election was seen as suspicious and irregularities in the outcome meant that eight of his colleagues in the CUCA resigned in protest. Eight!

As well as having a face you just want to slap, and being a little bit untrustworthy at election time, he also managed to acquire the services of the repair men to resurface his private road leading up to his luxury mansion, at a usual cost of £2,500….. for free. There are potholes on the public roads around the town that he lives, but instead the resurfacing was used for his private estate.

But even if he had to pay for the road (which he didn’t), he would be able to, with the money he saves on his fortune, through his expense claims, which he thinks are perfectly legitimate. According to his forms, that I have spent the past couple hours of my apparently boring life reading through, he claimed half the electricity bill, half the rent on the flat which comes to £1400 a month, half the council tax, food, internet, phone, mobile phone, digital camera, tripod, an Egyptian cotton satin sheet worth £40, £240 on bed linen from John Lewis which he says represented “good value for money“, four £86 pillow cases, £8,500 on food between 2005-2009, he claimed £85 from a company called “Freestye Design” whom design company logos. I wondered why he’d be using a company like that. When his expenses were released, he said:

“if anyone has any questions or queries about individual claims they are more than welcome to email me or contact my office and I will do my best to answer them.”

So that’s exactly what I did.
He didn’t reply.

So, given that this man has a bit of a dodgy typical Tory character, one has to examine his question. The point he was trying to raise, was that Tom Baldwin, Head of communications for Ed Miliband, had obtained information about the Tory Lord’s tax affairs illegally. It’s an odd charge to make, given that no one is likely to feel all that sympathetic toward a Lord, worth over £1bn at the heart of a Government (who, indeed, is the largest donor to the Tory government) whose mantra is “save save save!!” Money must be saved everywhere, disabled people must lose out, children must lose out, everyone who isn’t rich must lose out…….. except for Lord Ashcroft, who isn’t contributing to the save save save mantra, because the “illegally obtained information” showed that he is classified as a non-dom, which means he doesn’t pay any UK tax on his fortune made abroad. Yet, he is part of a legislature, that insists the UK is on the “brink of bankruptcy“. He is hardly likely to foster the sympathy of a public, in the same way that the hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone gained. The Tories are actively trying to divert attention away from themselves, because not only did David Cameron appoint Andy Coulson (they clearly want, and desperately need an Alistair Campbell), but Boris Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London referred to the hacking scandal last year, as a Left Wing conspiracy. Whenever a Right Winger uses the term “left wing conspiracy” to refer to something they do not like (it happens alot in America, who, any time a gay guy says he wishes to get married to the love of his life, some lunatic Republican insists it’s all part of the “gay agenda“), I often want to bang my face against a wall and weep for the sanity of that particular section of humanity. Take Janet Daley writing in the Telegraph yesterday:

…..that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse – of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre.

Firstly, she does what most right wingers do, and suggests the BBC has a horrid left wing bias. She will no doubt point to some illogical evidence to back up her point, whilst ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The BBC, to me, has no real bias. It is almost impossible for a media organisation to be objective when objectivity itself is impossible with regard to politics. For example, whilst Daley will claim that Euroscepticism doesn’t get treated as a legitimate political view on the BBC, it is equally as important to point out (which she doesn’t) that the BBC personality who presents all their Westminster shows, is Andrew Neil, a man who was in the Conservative Club at the University of Glasgow, was a Conservative Party Research Assistant, and stood side by side with his former boss; Rupert Murdoch at the launch of Sky in the 1980s, before becoming a writer for the Daily Mail. It is almost impossible to become more right winged, before morphing into Margaret Thatcher. And he presents all of the BBCs Westminster coverage. The Daily Politics, sees Andrew Neil flanked by Labour MP for Hackney, Diane Abbott (never been a minister, or taken particularly seriously in politics) and Michael Portillo, a former Tory Defence Secretary, Shadow Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Employment, and potential leadership candidate. The balance is tipped very much in the direction of the Right on this one.
The political editor at the BBC is Nick Robinson. One quick google search shows that Robinson, during his time at Oxford, was not just a member, but President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He was National Chairman of the Young Conservatives. Before the 2010 election he compared Cameron to Disraeli. After the election when the coalition agreements were being debated and drawn up, he referred to a Lib/Lab coalition as a “Coalition of losers“. And contrary to the views of the those of us on the Left, on his blog Robinson says of Cameron:

David Cameron prides himself on being bold when big moments occur – challenging for the Tory leadership in 2005, calling on Gordon Brown to have a snap election in 2007 and that “big, bold and generous” offer to form the Coalition in 2010.

What Robinson has done there, has metaphorically kissed and caressed a photo of David Cameron.

Daley is so blissfully ignorant to the fact that the past two years has seen the political discourse dominated by the desire to see deep public sector cuts rather than tax hikes for the wealthy; it has seen the emergence of the desire to revert back to the Capitalism that indeed failed and brought the World crashing down with it from both Labour and the Tories, and it has seen the discourse in the media and from the mouths of politicians everywhere throw spear after vicious spear at the hearts of anyone on benefits or in a Union. The NHS has been attacked, the Welfare state has been attacked, Universities have been attacked, the public purse has been attacked, and yet the very people who caused the mess in the first place have been given vast pensions and allowed to go free. A Guardian poll yesterday showed the Tories ahead of Labour, which all suggests that the public discourse and its limits are very firmly in the court of the Right Wing. A left wing discourse would, above all, launch a sustained attack on the very need for public sector cuts in the first place, it would be calling for a complete reinvention of the economic system as opposed to ignoring the inherent flaws which WILL lead to another crash, it would be unequivocally supportive of the Unions and public sector workers rather than painting them as out of touch, greedy, and overpaid, it would be constantly presenting the information surrounding Corporate tax avoidance and the obscenely high cost to the taxpayer rather than attacking the single mum who claims a few quid more than she perhaps should. As a left winger, it is an insult to hear the discourse of the political landscape in this country referred to as left wing. But that is the superb nature of right winged discourse, unless we’re throwing anyone with an Asian complexion out of the country, privatising the NHS, and shooting the families of Union leaders in the face, they will insist the Country is too left wing. Boris Johnson did that when he claimed the coverage of Phone hacking was all part of a left wing conspiracy. The same Boris Johnson who will now, in his short term as Mayor of London, see the arrival of the third Met Commissioner on his watch. Not a great record. So that’s Boris, Cameron, The Met, Lord Ashcroft (who we are now supposed to feel sympathetic toward) and Graham Stuart MP, who have not had the greatest of records pertaining to the phone hacking scandal.

Back to Ashcroft. In 2005, he commissioned two polls by YouGov and Populus. The polls were huge, and were set up to help the Tories target marginal seats, therefore it is most certainly in the public interest. He commissioned them and paid for them through his company which is based in Belize, which means he didn’t pay any VAT on them. The Guardian estimated that he owed £40,000 in unpaid VAT. Ironically, Vince Cable, now part of the Tory government funded by Ashcroft, said at the time:

“This is quite serious. We are now not talking just about Ashcroft’s non-dom status, but about systematic tax avoidance in funding Conservative party activities such as polling.”

– So why on Earth should I care that a man who sort to keep his tax details private whilst funding a Party who would almost certainly allow his abuses to continue as they gutted the public purse, had his details extracted illegally? There are levels of poor conduct within the journalist arena, and those conducted by Brooks and Coulson and the Met (the Chief of the Met had a meeting with the Guardian to urge them to drop the phone hacking investigation last year) and in-directly, David Cameron, is far far worse than those by Tom Baldwin.

Graham Stuart MP should quit his ramblings and just go back to his mansion, and lay on his Egyptian Satin tax payer funded sheets.

The saga continues…


A Neoliberal Attack…

July 13, 2011

Religious people are far more likely to engage in conversation about religion with me, after I mention that I have studied Philosophy and take an interest in Theology. I think they presume I will agree with their thoughts and perhaps provide reasoning to their illogical beliefs. I think they imagine that one can only speak with conviction on matters of religion, if one is religious in an academic sense. The same is true of many walks of life, not least the public sector in England. Because Tory MPs are essentially a part of the public sector, they seem to believe they have the right to talk of all public sector workers, as if they’re the official spokespeople for the public sector.

On Question Time last week, John Redwood, Tory MP for Wokingham appeared delighted as he informed the audience that as a public sector worker, he would be working longer and putting more money into his pension pot as a result of his Government’s reforms, and he was proud of it. The reason John Redwood can seem so pleased with himself that he is accepting the changes to his pension and retirement age, is because on top of the £65,000 a year he earns as an MP, he also claimed a hell of a lot of money, that regular public sector workers could only dream of. Yet, Mr Redwood seems to think his claims were perfectly reasonable, as suggested on his own personal blog:

In 2007-8 I claimed a total of £105,917. This made me the 19th cheapest MP, claiming around £40,000 less than the average. One fifth of that claim was the mortgage interest costs, the Council Tax and service charge and maintenance on a bedsit flat in Pimlico. It is entirely used to enable me to work longer days in London when there is important Parliamentary business. During my ownership it has only been slept in by myself. I do not need it for any other purpose. The deposit and repayments of capital are of course paid for out of my taxed income.

– We should be thanking him, for claiming in one year, more than a teacher is likely to earn in five years. We should be happy that tax payers money is going to fund the “maintenance” on his Pimlico flat. We should be grateful that the money spent on his mortgage interest (tax payers money) will go to buying a flat he can then sell when he retires, making a handsome profit, and giving nothing back to the public, whilst his party continue to force harsh austerity. One does wonder what the purpose of his 2004/5 claim of £13,305 for his luxurious house in Berkshire (a £1,000,000 estate which he fully owns), including £168 and £112 for his lawn to be reseeded, and how that is “entirely used to enable me to work longer days in London when there is important Parliamentary business” was needed for, but nevertheless, i’m sure it’s just as noble as the necessity of “maintenance” claims on the MILLIONAIRE’S flat in London. Thank you John “Jesus Christ” Redwood. You are a hero.

A man in the audience pointed out that the Private Sector has forced through harsh pension reforms, and so the Public Sector should do the same and “modernise”. The audience were alive with cheer! But it got me thinking; why is it always the public sector that is made to look as though it is in the wrong, like a Soviet leftover, trailing behind the private sector. People seem happy to accept the notion that if the private sector is screwing people over, then so should the public sector! Why is no one arguing that the private sector should be actively forced to lift itself up to the level of the public sector? As far as I can discern, over the past twenty five years it has been an out of control short-term wealth obsessed private sector that has been so majestically out of control, that when the bubble finally cracked, the public sector had to take the hit.

Let’s look at examples of the private sector providing a “modernising” model that the public sector ought to apparently follow:

Lloyds TSB is currently 43.4% owned by the taxpayer. Yet, its new Chief Executive, Antonio Horta-Osorio received a signing on fee of £4.1mn in shares, £516,000 in money, and an annual salary of £1.6mn with a yearly bonus of £2.5mn.

A wonderful company named Trafigura, in 2010 leased a ship called the Probo Koala to a company called Compagnie Tommy, with the intent to dump toxic waste at a waste disposal sight in Amsterdam. The site raised their prices by 20 times that quoted, because the toxic waste was deemed to be far more dangerous that Compagnie Tommy and Trafigura first suggested. So, a new company set up on the Ivory Coast agreed to take the waste, for a very cheap sum. Trafigura did not investigate just why this new company was offering to take the waste for such a cheap price. After the waste was dumped, ten people died from poisoning, and over 100,000 became ill. Trafigura said they’d tested the waste, and it wasn’t toxic, and that they had no idea why so many people became ill. The Dutch tested the waste and found it contained two tonnes of Hydrogen Sulfide. A killer gas. Trafigura spent three years publicly denying the waste they dumped in a poverty stricken area of Africa, was not enough to kill people. Suddenly, Trafigura offered to pay a massive amount of compensation of Euro152,000,000 to the Ivory Coast (which didn’t go to the victims) with the instruction that on acceptance of the compensation, they couldn’t be prosecuted or causing death in the courts. The reason they did this, is because The Guardian obtained – through Wikileaks – private company emails from Trafigura in which they quite plainly accept, as early as 2006 before they’d even chosen the Ivory Coast to dump the waste, that the waste was indeed dangerous.

According to the Guardian, Diageo PLC, the company that makes Guiness, in 2009 paid as little as 2% tax on its profits, despite racking in £2bn in profits. Diageo pays its Chief Executive £3.6mn salary. To fill this gap, it takes 20,000 ordinary British households per year.

The term “Modernising” has come to mean subtle privatising of key services in recent years. An economic laissez faire that apparently promised to solve all of our problems. The outsourcing of cleaning from NHS to private companies with £94mn worth of contacts, led to such declining standards between ’83-’00, that an extra emergency £31mn was injected into cleaning in the NHS, with the a Patient Environment Action Team (PEAT), set up to visit hospitals to ensure standards were being met; the Private sector had failed. By 2000, only 20% of NHS Trusts had achieved an acceptable level of cleanliness.

The banks aren’t the only sector that have required government bail outs in recent history. In 2002, British Energy (privatised under the Tories) had to approach the government for a £410mn bail out to finance its debts.

News of the World. I believe this doesn’t need elaborating on.

Private sector bonuses and high CEO pay, is more harmful to you and I, than highly paid private sector bosses. When money accumulates in the hands of very few people within the private sector (we spend more in the private sector, than on taxes), the cost gets passed on to us. The Bush tax cuts, along with the deregulation of the financial sector didn’t go toward greater investment, it went to increasing the pay and bonuses of those at the top, and the cost was passed on to us, through the creation of a very easy credit system. We all know how that turned out.

British Airways, under the incompetent management of Willie Walsh faced massive fines (record breaking fine actually) for price fixing, long drawn out industrial disputes with the cabin crew which the media helped by describing the cabin crew as greedy, despite 2000 of their workmates being laid off, the company making huge losses, and Willie Walsh taking in a 6% inflation busting pay rise, taking it to £743,000 and £1.1mn in deferred share bonuses. Enough to keep at least ten people on at BA, who otherwise lost their job. The media will never paint the boss as the greedy incompetent bastard in this kind of dispute. It will always find a child at Heathrow, crying, because the cabin crew strike means he wont see his mummy this Christmas. The media do not tend to side with the unions, they never will, and so neither will the ill-informed public.

Do we need to even mention the banking system? A particularly ironic take on this whole new “private good public bad” era of austerity we are living in.

Thankfully we have the Government’s new corporate team, who will help him “stand up to business”. On the panel, inevitably, is Philip Green, Topshop mogul who owns Taveta Investments, which he put in his wife’s name, who happens to live in Monaco, thus avoiding £285mn in tax. He also paid his family £1.2bn, taken from a loan in the name of his company, thus cutting Corporation tax because the loan’s interest charges were offset against profit. Oh and he also uses sweatshops in Mauritius, whilst claiming his obscene bonuses are justified because he “takes risks”. Another on the panel, is Justin King, Chairman of Sainsbury’s. In his first year, he received free shares worth over £500,000, whilst axing the £120 christmas bonus for his staff. After his staff didn’t receive their christmas bonus, King awarded his wealthy finance director £357,000 worth of shares. King was also offered 1,000,000 free shares, if he met specific targets the year before. He didn’t meet the targets, the company’s profits fell 2.9% and yet he still took home 86% of the promised shares. He will be given the same year on year, on top of his £500,000+ a year salary.

We all know that the private sector has the potential to deliver fantastic opportunities, despite the fact that its raison d’etre is unjustifiable power and wealth in the hands of people who simply injected the first dose of capital required to kick start the specific business, as if that initial injection of capital somehow creates a universal, unbreakable law, like gravity, that requires the majority of the subsequent profit and the decisions required to move the business forward, be placed in the hands of the person who injected that capital. It’s a bit of a flawed and odd concept that people just tend to accept. But, it does create opportunity (though it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only way of creating opportunity). The downside, is unregulated greed. The public sector is a constant target of abuse from the source of that greed, and the politicians that the greed of the private sector can buy. Corportocracy at its finest and most dangerous.

Isn’t it about time a Politician had the balls to stand up and say the Private Sector over the past thirty years has spiraled disastrously out of control, and perhaps needs to be able to pay people a decent living wage, as opposed to bringing the public sector down to the unacceptable level of the private sector?


Lords of Merit

June 15, 2011

Over at Libertarian.co.uk, Sean Gabb provides a rather weak attempt to defend the hereditary right of the Lords. There is a strange, almost unnerving hypocrisy in a site that proudly waves the flag of Libertarianism, yet supports the deeply tyrannical premise of a deliberative chamber based solely on inheritance. One argument for instance, is that the oldest hereditary peerage dates back to 1264, and that an attack on hereditary peerages is an attack on our heritage and tradition. Gabb says:

The oldest Peerage now represented there is the Barony of De Ros, dating from 1264. The most senior is the Dukedom of Norfolk, created in 1483. There are titles in the Lords that carry the mind back to times long before the modern age—to the time before America was discovered, before printing and gunpowder, when English was a collection of barbarous dialects, and when Europe was still in the shadow of the seemingly greater civilisations of the East.
To lay hands so violently on the ancient Constitution is to attack the national identity of the English. It is to snap one more of the precious threads of continuity that bind us to our past.

I would disagree with this premise. The ghost of 13th Century England is certainly one to be feared. Rash decisions based on the need to end a costly and vicious civil war was the main reason behind the creation of certain Peerages. Firstly, the first Baron of De Ros, Robert De Ros, whom we might credit for fighting against King Henry III, only took up arms to extend his own power, pushing his languorous son toward the thrown of Scotland through his rather flimsy claim to that particular thrown due to his great grandad marrying the bastard daughter of Scotland’s William I. De Ros was only interested in more power. He may have fought against the King when the rebels had the stronger hand, but he had also fought for the King of Scotland against a similar rebellion years earlier, because it benefited him to do so. Right here in Leicester at that time, Simon De Montfort raised a force against the King – which included De Ros – forced Henry III to sign the Provision of Oxford, creating a council of Barons and appointments by the King, and De Montfort called the first ever fully elected Parliament a few years later. The war of the Barons in the 13th Century was an attack on hereditary rights, and De Monfort is considered a father of Parliamentary democracy. In fact, after De Montfort was killed in battle, a year after pretty much taking power, the Dictum of Kenilworth reinstated the power of the King, the apparent “divine right” that would persist for centuries, giving us a cruel Monarchical tradition resulting 200 years later in a century long battle for supremacy between the nobles and the crown during the Wars of the Roses. Not to mention the apparent “divine right” which gave Henry VIII the freedom to spend 30 years executing everyone who he didn’t care to see living. Or the five year reign of hell forced by Mary during which time anyone who owned a Bible written in English could be burnt to death. The creation of a peerage in 1264, to signal the regained power of a disturbingly bloody history of Monarchical power, is not something we should be proud of. The point of Simon V De Montfort’s attack on the power structure of the day, was progression. Society and political institutions progress. Tradition is not a valid argument. Surely if Libertarian.co.uk were to invoke the 13th Century as a key moment in English political tradition, he would be calling for greater democracy, not defending the right of hereditary peers to sit in the Lords, when the exact opposite was the sentiment and legacy of the 13th Century he so fleetingly calls upon to defend his magnificently weak argument.

Incidentally, the current Lord of De Ros (one of the few remaining hereditary peers), is Peter Maxwell, who continues to insist that his children’s names (including the horrifically named “Finbar Maxwell“) be prefixed with “The Honourable“. Wouldn’t that be a bit of a slap in the face of English Parliamentary tradition, and Libertarian thought in particular, to have to refer to a child as “The Honourable“, based solely on inheritance?

My argument here, is that the Lords should be neither hereditary, nor fully elected.

Before the Medici family had climbed to the heights that they managed to during the 16th and 17th century’s, they lived rich, yet subtle lives. They didn’t much care for public life and kept pretty inconspicuous in a city whose wealthy thrived on extravagance. Giovanni de Medici, the father of Cosimo, was a part of the Arte Della Lana wool merchants guild, who had much power, but he himself didn’t wish to come across as almost ruling the city. The government of Florence was interesting. It was known as a Republic, but it was far from democratic, or Republican in our sense of the word (but we must not look at the Republican of Florence through 21st Century specs, given that we have had the wisdom of John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Paine to inspire modern Republican thought).

The Florentine Government was known as the Signoria. The Signoria was made up of a group of men collectively known as the Priori. To be elected as member of the Priori, you must be a member of a guild (There were 7 major guilds and 14 minor guilds), you must be over 30, you mustn’t be in debt, and you mustn’t be related to someone who has just been elected to the Priori. If you fit this criteria, your name was placed in one of eight leather bags called a “borse“. The borse was kept in a sacristy, in the Church of Santa Croce, in the Piazza di Santa Croce, just east of the Duomo. If your name was pulled from the hat, you joined the Priori for two months, after which the whole process began again. The placements were set to house two members of the Priori from the minor guilds, and six from the major. The ninth and final member was known as the Gonfaloniere; the standard bearer of the Republic. The Signoria also consisted of two councils who were to be consulted on matters relating to foreign policy; the Dodici Buonomini and the Sedici Confalonieri. Other councils were called for advice at specific times, like war. The Priori, once elected, were required to take up residence at the Palazzo della Signoria, in the centre of Florence. There they remained for two months.

It is fair to say, the government of Florence was run by a very narrow wealthy elite.

The 21st Century House of Commons is much the same. The Tory/Lib Dem cabinet is worth £60mn between them, whilst they insist that their governing ideal is one based on fairness. Out of 29 Cabinet ministers, 23 have assets worth over £1mn, and not all of it was “fairly” achieved. The Chancellor George Osborne is set to make £2mn from his father’s wallpaper company, of which Osborne has no input over, and has never worked for. He is a modern day Lord; forcing a heavy George Osborne Tax on the workers of the wallpaper company. The people who make the money, don’t see the money, because it goes into the pocket of a man who already owns a £2mn house. The Cameron family set to inherit a combined wealth of £30mn. That is the House of Commons. England’s Medici. Yet they seem to think they are the beacon of democracy. An especially odd sort of democracy, that must be spread to the evil, anti-democratic House of Lords as a matter of urgency. The truth is, the House of Lords is necessary. An elected upper chamber is unnecessary, and simply plays to the idealised version of democratic principles we so naively believe in. A set of principles so corrupt and useless, calling it democratic is an insult to democratic principles.

I do not want an elected House of Lords. Whenever a political party claim to be reforming a system for the interests of the people, one must be skeptical. Take the mention of “patient choice” with NHS reforms. On the one hand the Tories are indirectly criticising GPs by insisting that most disability allowance claimants do not deserve the benefit, and on the other hand, insisting the GPs are best people to do a job which apparently requires far more involvement of the private sector, with plans put forward by a Health secretary whose private office is largely funded by private health insurers. When it is claimed to be “for the people” then it isn’t for the people.

In November 2010, John Nash, the head of private health provider – Care UK – donated £21,000 to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s personal office. Of all the ministers, or even MPs that Nash could have possibly donated a massive sum of money to, he chose the guy in control of the health policy in the UK. There is obviously a reason for this. It is unlikely that Nash just donated such a vast sum out of the goodness of his heart. Do we really want another chamber funded by people like Nash? Is an elected 2nd chamber really empowered to work in the interests of the people, rather than a very narrow wealthy few?

The late Lord Onslow was one of the few remaining Hereditary peers sitting in the Lords after the 1999 House of Lords Act. Hereditary peerages are an awful, archaic idea and owe less to merit than does a fully elected chamber, which is saying something. During the Queen’s speech in 1998, in which she outlined Labour’s plan to reform the Lords and bin Hereditary peerages, the Tory Lords screamed out “Shame!” at the Labour front bench, as if they had an absolute, Hobbesian right to their peerage. Labour were right to abolish Hereditary peerages, yet the late Tory Lord Onslow insisted that he’d disrupt the legislative agenda of the Blair government entirely, if he continued with his abolishment of Hereditary peers. Lord Onslow clearly believed in the ancient principle of the divine right of Kings. A dangerous, discredited, and utterly absurd basis for power.

Since Labour’s reforms, the House of Lords is no longer based purely on hereditary acquisition, but far more on merit. Merit is not a bad thing to be appointed to the Lords for. I personally want my politicians to be experts in at least one field, rather than relying on a Minister working at Health, and then being moved to Transport, and finally onto education, in a time period of two Parliaments, without knowing anything about the plethora of Whitehall departments they’ve spent less than a week at each. If we take for example, David Blunkett, not only was he an MP or Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, dealing with constituency issues constantly, he was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Employment. Two completely unrelated fields thrown awkwardly into one small department, overseen by a single Minister. Five years later he was crowned Home Secretary; a job distinctively different from his previous post at Education and Employment. Less than four years later, he ends up as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Does he have any qualification for Education? Employment? Policing? Pensions?……… he has a BA in Political Theory and Institutions, just before becoming a Clerks Typist. By contrast, Lord Winston has a degree in Medicine and Surgery, is an expert in fertility, developed a technique known as sterilisation reversal for those wanting to reverse a vasectomy/hysterectomy, was the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science set up one of the Countries top IVF facilities, and primarily spends his time in the Lords arguing on legislation surrounding fertility and medicine. Do I want Lord Winston replaced in the Lords with another David Blunkett? No. I want to see a House of Lords filled with experts, chosen on merit, not on how much money their campaign can raise.

Democracy is massively overrated.


This could be 1983

May 13, 2011

The Conservatives haven’t changed. It is true that they are the epitome of what it means to be wealthy, privileged, and have an in-built mechanism of contempt for anybody who isn’t wealthy and privileged. I find their politics to be vicious and nasty, and their economics to be self serving and hypocritical. They are typical of the type who wish to use a system to climb to the heights they have, and then burn the ladder up which they or their family before them, climbed.

They will always use the “deficit” (which isn’t that bad) to justify the unjustifiable, simply because no one except a tiny band of elite scumbags will ever accept their economic principles. Libertarianism is dangerous and unhealthy to a civilised society. It is built on the premise of judging a nation by how rich its most wealthy have become, how concentrated that wealth has become, rather than how society protects its most vulnerable.

Their language is arrogant, vicious, dirty, and out dated, to match their political stance. Here is a few examples of Tories being Tories.

  • Wandsworth Council today announced plans for the Autumn, to charge children £2.50 to use the local park. It is in response to the £55mn it needs to find in spending cuts. Instead of fighting the obvious manipulation of figures from the Treasury which suggest we’re on the verge of becoming Greece (which we aren’t), and instead of pointing out that the Treasury is in worse shape now than it was when Labour left office, and expected to get worse, with regard to inflation and unemployment……… the Council has just accepted the bullshit, and decided that along with the disabled and the unemployed, children should be the next to be hit. We now have more property millionaires than anywhere in Europe – creating an horrendous property apartheid especially in the South, we have a banking system that has managed to get away with causing chaos, and we have a mass of Corporate tax avoiders costing the system £25bn a year….. and yet Wandsworth Council think the way to go is to make children aware that from now on, any ounce of fun, is going to cost them money. The excuse? The same typical excuse Libertarians use all the time, the same tired, nasty excuse Tories have been using for decades:

    “Why should Wandsworth taxpayers subsidise children from other boroughs?”

    – Who thinks like that? It makes me squirm.
    If that’s the case, why should the majority of left leaning voters (over 57% at the 2010 election) subsidise the jobs of a right wing government? I don’t want our family tax money to pay for our Tory MP to live so comfortably. I don’t want our tax money to go to paying a National debt whilst the very wealthy manage to pump their money into offshore accounts, and be allowed to claim expenses on running those offshore companies, against the UK tax they don’t pay. We are subsidising their ability to pay nothing. They couldn’t run a successful business in the UK, and offshore its profits, without functioning roads, a decent healthcare system, a property protection system like the police force, an education system to prepare their future workforce. And yet, their right to offshore, is supported by our Government who instead choose to attack children’s parks. Great.

    The Tories main campaign poster in 2010 was this:
    – So imagine our surprise when Mark Britnell, who made it into the Top Ten of the most influential people when it comes to healthcare in the country by the HSJ, former Director-General for Commissioning and System Management for the NHS and now “health policy expert” on David Cameron’s personal NHS advisory group said this to a group of Private Healthcare lobbies, organised by private equity firm Apax:

    “In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer. The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”

    Minister for Health Andrew Lansley, who is worth an estimated £700,000, and spent the Labour years flipping his second home, claiming expenses for renovating a cottage designated his second home, before selling it for a tidy profit, before claiming for furniture for his flat in London now designated his second home, insists that he isn’t considering NHS privatisation. One wonders what his most charitable donor, John Nash, of Private Health company Care UK thinks about that. Nash donated £21,000 to Lansley’s private office, whilst they continue to make 96% of their profit from the NHS. Care UK stand to make a great deal more from increased involvement of the private sector in the NHS.

  • Cameron promised that front line jobs would not be cut from the NHS, before the election. Vowing to protect the NHS is a big vote winner in the UK. Cameron knew that. He then didn’t win the election, didn’t get a mandate, and so decided to rip the NHS to shreds. According to Unison, 500 jobs at St George’s Hospital in South London are to go, along with three wards and 100 beds. Similarly, Kingston Hospital in South West London announced that around 20% of its workforce will need to go, to meet the governments cost saving demands. The government repeatedly claims it is increasing spending on the NHS in real terms. Another lie. NHS spending is set to grow by less than under the Thatcher years, which is when the NHS was gutted almost to complete meltdown. Here’s how that “increase” looks on a graph:
    Between 1997 and 2010, the number of doctors increased by 57% and nurses by 31%. Funding rose from around £1bn a year (less than Philip Green paid his family in dividends in 2009, which he financed by taking out a loan, which in turn reduced his Corporate tax rate as the interest on the loan could be offset against Corporate profits of his firm Arcadia) under the Tories, to £4.3bn under Labour, which increased the activity of the NHS by over 40%. It worked. We are healthier now than we were in the 1980s, we are living longer, and morale in the NHS was higher than the 1980s. Increases in spending this year, when adjusted for inflation, will be 0.024% from April 2011. Great. In fact, Sir David Nicholson, Chief executive of the NHS said this about the new spending plans for the NHS:

    there has never been a time where we have had four years of flat real growth. It is unprecedented.

    – There are many Tories that will argue consistently and poorly, that Osborne and the Tories are championing the NHS and funding it amazingly well beyond all recognition. Listening to them, is perilous.
    Waiting lists are already sky rocketing. In Coventry, it was reported that there would be a 13 week waiting list for Hernia repair at Walsgrove University hospital. That has now increased to 26 weeks and should be considered “just a guideline” as lists are likely to increase again this year.
    According to County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust:

    Trust is undertaking a £60m cost cutting exercise to be delivered by 2014, including £20m in 2010/11. The trust is also cutting 300 beds. 300 nursing jobs will be lost through natural wastage Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: equivalent cost savings of around 200 fewer jobs are required to meet financial targets. In cash terms, the trust is making cost efficiencies of £25m over 3 years. City Hospitals Sunderland: The Trust undertook a £22.5m cost cutting exercise for financial year just gone. NHS County Durham and Darlington : The NHS service providers in County Durham and Darlington are undertaking a £200m cost cutting exercise over the next 3 years. The trust is cutting 62 senior nurse posts and replacing them with 78 more junior posts. In addition, County Durham PCT has identified 110 management posts for redundancy.

    The managerial posts are “in addition” to front line nursing.

  • Cameron told a female Labour MP in the House of Commons – the NATIONAL LEGISLATURE – to “calm down dear”. One wonders what Tory MP for Loughborough Nicky Morgan thought of this childish, sexist outburst from our Prime Minister, given that she was seen visibly laughing in the House of Commons at that pathetic remark, yet accused ME of being sexist when I simply asked if she had asked a planted question a few weeks back.
    This comes a few weeks after Cameron took a swipe at ethnic minorities in his attack on multiculturalism, in which he mentioned Islam and Muslims 36 times in twenty minutes, and Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Taoist, Buddhist not a single time. It was an attack on Islam, to the point where even Nick Griffin called the speech “provocative” and members of the EDL said that Cameron “understands us”.
    That came about a week after Osborne referred to an openly Labour MP in the Commons as the “pantomime dame”. It isn’t surprising, their stance on homosexuality, given that whilst 100% of Lib Dems, and 99% of Labour MPs voted to repeal the nasty little Section 28 law that banned anything positive being said about homosexuality in schools, only 24% of Tories voted to repeal it. And whilst 100% of Lib Dems, and 95% of Labour MPs voted in favour of allowing gay adoption……. only 6% of Tories voted for it. So that’s homophobia, sexism, and racism all within a year. What else is left? Ah yes, class.
    David Shakespeare, leaders of the Tory Councillor for Buckinghamshire Council said that poor northerners who are losing their jobs due to the cuts, should go down to London and pick the fruit of the land owners down south, instead of seeking job seekers allowance. He also said:

    ‘The North may replace the Romanians in the cherry orchards, that may be a good thing’

    – Not even a necessary thing? Not even a regretful thing? A GOOD thing? He doesn’t mind kicking people out of their work and their jobs, he thinks it’s a great thing, because they’ll come to the south and work on his land for next to no money! He’s happy that the North is about to be gutted, again, of all funding whilst the south thrives, again, like the 1980s. Luckily I am from the Midlands, so I’m not sure i’d have to pick this overweight Tory prick’s fields, but i’m not sure if I have to bow as he drives past in his luxurious horse and cart.

  • Osborne announced this week that he was going to make it easier for companies to cut pay, cut pensions, dismiss people, and be allowed to get away with being discriminatory. In essence, he plans to make job security as unsafe as possible. It will be golden news to people like my boss. It is an attack on the workforce again. Presumably he will moan about Unions trying to hold the country to ransom whilst he attacks the rights of as many workers as possible, expecting us all to just bend over and take it. I hope the Unions unite and fight, I hope for a period of industrial action on a scale never seen before, and I hope a general strike is called as soon as possible If it is going to be a case of a very wealthy minority making life as miserable and difficult as possible for the many, then I hope the many fight back. Osborne claims employment rules are holding back job creation. He of course, is wrong. Job creation is held back significantly by a vast majority of big bosses plundering money into dodgy stocks or increasing their salaries beyond recognition. Why not cap private sector managerial wealth to a percentage of the lowest paid? Therefore when the lowest paid gets an increase, so does the highest paid. The extra-profit to be used to employ new people. Why attack the right of the workforce to a decent level of job security and working conditions? Why is that the only solution? Do you know what else creates job losses? It is happening on a smaller scale across the country, cuts are having affects on jobs and livelihoods. Cuts….
  • Derby’s Historic Industrial museum has had to close, 9 job losses.
  • Bishop Aukland College – 179 jobs losses.
  • South Tyneside College – 200 jobs to go.
  • Tyne Metropolitan College – 66 jobs to go.
  • Stockton Riverside College – 23 jobs to go.
  • City of sunderland College – 69 jobs to go.
  • Newcastle College – 171 jobs to go.
  • East durham college – 76 jobs to go.
  • New Cross library, Crofton Park library, Sydenham library, Grove Park library, Blackheath library all to close.
  • Oxford Brookes University – 400 support staff received “at risk” letters.
  • Diss weekly Youth Centre praised by police for helping troubled children, to close, and staff to lose their jobs.
  • Taunton Primary School – no more music teacher, no more music lessons.
  • A Big Society initiative – new volunteers to help out at museums in Hampshire – to replace 25 staff who have lost their jobs. Unpaid staff to replace paid staff. Great.
  • Five libraries in Lewisham to close.
  • Cuts to NHS disabled transport in Dumfries – jobs losses expected.
  • 50% of pupil support assistants assigned to children with special needs, to be cut in Aberdeen.
  • 21,000 job losses at Lloyds……..
  • ….. former Lloyds boss Eric Daniels takes home a bonus of £1.45mn…..
  • ….. new Lloyds boss António Horta-Osório takes a signing on fee of £6mn and a salary of £1.6mn.

    In short, the poor need jobs to live. The rich need the poor to be as close to slaves as possible, reliant entirely on them to be able to eat, to be called lazy and scroungers and attacked as greedy if they unionise or refuse to work for a piss poor boss in piss poor conditions for piss poor pay. It is not a plan to increase job creation, it is a plan to enable the very wealthy, to get even more wealthy – to buy an extra yacht to fill the void in their soul – by asking more and more of their staff for as little as possible, and it’s always been the case. The project is designed to make people believe their tax money is wrongly being used, not just by people who claim to have a physical disability whilst they play tennis and golf 24 hours a day, but also by children playing on swings in the town next to yours, as opposed to the fact that your tax money is actually used to make sure that the wealthiest get massively insane tax cuts with Corporation tax expected to drop from 28% in 2010….. to 15% in 2020. That is what your tax money is funding. Make sure the man in the expensive house in Notting Hill thanks you for his lovely new Mercedes….. but don’t let your kids play on the park next to his house, you scrounging scumbag.

    The progress the country has made since the hell of the 1980s, is about to be burnt to the ground. Do not be fooled into thinking this “has to be done”, it is Conservative party ideology, they have waited over a decade to have this chance.

    They are attempting to replace compassion, with greed, and it’s working.


  • Racism in America: Today

    April 13, 2011

    When the United States was beginning to form, there was a hierarchy of oppression that kept everyone subservient to someone above them. The King of England demanded goods from the Jamestown white elite who exploited and controlled the white frontiersman who, in order to appease the elite with money and land, slaughtered Indigenous people and brutalized African slaves. Many whites joined Indigenous and African rebellions. The white elite worked to stop this because they knew such an alliance would become too powerful and would succeed at overthrowing the control that the elite and the King had. So in order to separate the whites from everyone else, they started giving more privileges (land and better treatment) to the white servants. This worked. The working class whites effectively abandoned the movements for change and to this day these groups have problems working together.
    – Howard Zinn, 1980.

    46% of American Republicans in the State of Mississippi believe that interracial marriage should be illegal. I will elaborate on and explain this later.

    After my blog on the racism of Abraham Lincoln, I wondered whether race is still a divisive issue today as it has always been, in America. In the UK, race is still an issue, though it is far more subtle and much less noticeable, but it exists nonetheless. There isn’t this notion of white supremacy, nor do we have the history of the “founders” being slave owners or massive racial segregation up until very recently. We don’t have a KKK equivalent and we didn’t fight a civil war to protect the rights of States to own slaves. Race is certainly a problem in the UK though. We tend to become far more Nationalist during times of economic hardship and the need to blame immigrants or anyone who doesn’t happen to fit the narrow band of what it means to be “British” becomes an almost accepted narrative. Political parties push immigration reform to the top of their agendas, giving credit to such racial tension. Race is used as a divisive mechanism to subvert attention away from a failing class system.

    Here in the UK, with talk of economic austerity, it was only a matter of time before the issue of race was introduced into the equation. We know that poorer areas like inner city Liverpool, Manchester, and Hackney are going to face the toughest council cuts. Low socio-economic areas are predominantly mixed race or black and Asian. So it was only a matter of time before David Cameron would bring race into the mix. He then suddenly made a speech against multiculturalism, in which he mentions the words “islam” and “muslim” 36 times, and “Christianity” once. Race is yet again being used as a divisive wedge.

    Back to the USA, and the 19th Century, before the Civil War. It has long been argued by the rather hermetic Southern America that the Civil war was a war between the States (the South) and the big bad Federal Government (the North). Yes. The States rights to own and perpetuate slavery. The charge against a big bad Federal Government invading the lives of its citizens does not hold up when you look at the evidence, and is actually rather rudimentary.

    The American lawyer and journalist William Walker, in 1854, after a failed attempt to set up a Republic of Sonora in Mexico, with the intention of it becoming a State of the Union; invaded Nicaragua for control of a vital trade route between New York and San Francisco. He succeeded in his efforts, and took control of Nicaragua, renaming it “Walkeragua” (seriously, i’m not making this up). In 1856, President Franklin Pierce, officially recognised Walker’s regime in Walkeragua as legitimate. His regime began to Americanise Walkeragua, by instating slavery, using American currency, and making English the official language. He advertised his new Country to American Southern businessmen by advertising the fact that his new quasi-State was pro-slavery and would remain so. By the time Walker revoked Nicaragua’s 1824 Emancipation Act, the rest of Latin America took note, and invaded. He fled and was bought back to the U.S where he was welcomed as a hero of the South. As “States rights” go, invading another sovereign nation and revoking its anti-slavery laws, is about as big and as bad as a Federal Government can get. He died before the Civil War kicked off, but the South referred to him throughout the Civil War as “General Walker“. The South did not just fight to preserve the institution of slavery, they wanted to expand it, on a grand scale, to the point where Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky proposed that the 36°30′ parallel north be a line that separates the northern free states, and the southern slave states, all the way down to the tip of South America. American racism has always been rife.

    In 2011, membership of white supremacist organisations has increased tremendously. According the the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacist organisations in the US, the number of members is up by 48% since 2000. Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement (the Nazi Movement) in America, who the FBI classify as terrorists, said:

    “The immigration issue is the biggest problem we’re facing because it’s changing the face of our country. We see stuff in England and Spain like this. … They are turning those countries into a Third World ghetto.”

    Well, I live in England, and he’s right!!! Here is the River Thames in Central London a few years back:

    Here is the River Thames in Central London today:

    Sad times.

    The largest white supremacist group in America; Stormfront have a website with a forum, which includes systematic attacks on white jewish people. They appear to use “Jew” as a term of race. White, black, Jew. On a discussion about the economic crises, a member called “Crowstorm” whose nationality he has set as “Jewnited States of America” says this:

    The problem is, Jews look White so when people see a Jew do evil, they don’t say “look at the evil Jew”… no, they say “look at that evil White man.

    – It is an odd statement to make for a variety of reasons. First, a Jewish person is not the colour “Jewish“. It isn’t white, black, jew. If he’s a white man and Jewish, then he’s a white Jew. Jewish is not a race. But not just that, but race itself is not biological. It doesn’t exist. It is a fantasy. An abstraction. Like Nationality and Religion. All man made abstractions, meaningless nothingness used to create tension between low socio-economic groups to ensure disunity. If poor white people are blaming poor black people for all the trouble in New Orleans after Katrina hit, then their attention is on each other, and not on the very rich folk in Washington (both white and black) who washed their hands of the plight of anyone who isn’t a very wealthy lobbyist decades ago. And lastly, no one says “look at the evil white man”, because for the vast majority of people, race isn’t an issue; if you’re evil, I don’t care what colour you are.

    Another quite extraordinary post on Stormfront was from a school teacher who taught apparently in black schools. Here are some of the quotes from it:

    I was away about two minutes but when I got back, the black girls had lined up at the front of the classroom and were convulsing to the delight of the boys.

    Many black people, especially women, are enormously fat.

    Blacks, on average, are the most directly critical people I have ever met: “Dat shirt stupid. Yo’ kid a bastard. Yo’ lips big.” Unlike whites, who tread gingerly around the subject of race, they can be brutally to the point.

    When a black wants to ask, “Where is the bathroom?” he may actually say “Whar da badroom be?”

    Many black girls are perfectly happy to be welfare queens.

    There is something else that is striking about blacks. They seem to have no sense of romance, of falling in love.

    Pregnancy was common among the blacks, though many black girls were so fat I could not tell the difference.

    My white students came back with generally “conservative” ideas. “We need to cut off people who don’t work,” was the most common suggestion. Nearly every black gave a variation on the theme of “We need more government services.” One black girl was exhorting the class on the need for more social services and I kept trying to explain that people, real live people, are taxed for the money to pay for those services. “Yeah, it come from whites,” she finally said. “They stingy anyway.”

    It is impossible to get them to care about such abstractions as property rights or democratic citizenship.

    – The “teacher” goes on to say he doesn’t understand why his black students think he his a racist. Surely it isn’t racist to think that black students are inherently lazy, fat, illiterate, racist, anti-democratic, communist sluts who just don’t understand why being indoctrinated in Conservative ideology is a wonderful learning experience and are incapable of love?

    The days of burning crosses and wearing silly costumes are over. White supremacists tend now to fight their cause with mainstream language like “We just want to protect our children and live in a safe environment“, the language is manipulative because they are simply masking the fact that they blame anyone with slightly darken skin for why their neighborhood isn’t safe.

    A study by the American economic review between July 2001 and May 2002 entitled “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant.

    Institutional racism is particularly subtle, and so less noticeable. If you are black, you are three times more likely to be pulled over in your car and searched for drugs than if you’re white, despite the fact that if you’re white, on the few occasions when you are pulled over you are four times more likely to have drugs on you. If you are white and you drive past the police without them pulling you over, you are experiencing the privilege of being white. The war on drugs then, is not a war on drugs, if it were, those statistics would be a hell of a lot different. The war on drugs would go where the drugs actually are, not where the people with dark skin are. It is a racist institution.

    Christopher Columbus is hailed as the founder of America. He has a day named after him. It is not taught in any history class at American schools the true horror that started the day that Columbus found an island in the Lucayan Archipelago in the Bahamas that he named San Salvador, though it was actually already named, by the population who lived there, as Guanahani. Within years, Spanish adventurers had captured thousands of the native Taino population, enslaved them, and took their women captive as wives/sex slaves. The Spanish had utterly devastated the Taino population by the turn of the 16th Century. Epidemic disease brought by the Europeans was bad enough, but the Spanish settlers placed too much strain on local crop farmers, and the survival of the Spanish was considered more important than the survival of the Taino’s and so the food naturally ended up in the hands of the Spanish. Columbus when he landed, wrote of the natives:

    “We can send from here, in the name of the Holy Trinity, all the slaves and Brazil wood which could be sold.”

    – We know what he had planned. Nicolas Ovando, the governor of the Indies from 1501 to 1509, decided he needed to ensure the Taino’s knew their place once and for all. He did this by inviting the much loved Taino queen Anacoana and local tribal chiefs to a dinner to celebrate his governorship. When they were all in the room, the Spaniards set it on fire, killing most of those inside. The ones who got out, were tortured for days on end and then killed. Queen Anacoana was tortured and hung. By 1510, the Taino’s were virtually extinct.

    To be honest, there really isn’t much you can celebrate about Columbus. Apart from bringing with him the biggest genocide in history, he was a rather simple man. He believed Cuba was in Asia, that he hadn’t discovered a new land, that the entire continent of South America was an Island, and to pay his debt to the Spanish crown he raped his way across Central America taking as many as 1200 women and children slaves for Europe; children who had, without a second thought, been stripped away from their families. But don’t take my word for, take it from the man himself:

    “We shall take you and your wives, and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and we shall take away your goods, and shall do you all the mischief and damage that we can, and we protest that the deaths and losses which shall accrue from this are your fault .”

    I cannot think of a worse man to idolise.

    Back to the present day, as if Stormfront and institutional racism and selective history aren’t enough to convince a person that racism is deeply ingrained in the American psyche, certain lovely little advertisements have deep racist connotations, still.

    Aunt Jemima, a trademark for breakfast food owned by Quaker Oats is still going today. Aunt Jemima represents the notion of a good little black ex-slave girl who just loves her servile role as servant to a white middle class consumer.

    Equally as subtle, is Uncle Ben’s rice. It would be ridiculous for a company now, to have as its fictional spokesperson, a black man using the name “Uncle” which was a term used by the children of white slave owners to refer to their slaves. If a newly formed rice company were to say “Well, you know that we white people used to ship Africans in to farm our rice fields, as slaves? Well why don’t we make our spokesmen black?” they would be lambasted as a hugely racist company. But Uncle Ben is a tradition, and so it appears acceptable, though the stereotype behind it perpetuates the racist sentiments it subtly encourages. This kind of subtle cultural racism has not gone unnoticed. In an episode of the Sopranos (the greatest show on TV) Tony warns a black guy away from his daughter. Tony then has an anxiety attack when he sees a packet of Uncle Ben’s.

    Public Policy Polling of Raleigh North Carolina, found that 46% of Republican voters in Mississippi think interracial marriage should be illegal. 14% said they weren’t sure. I cannot comprehend that number. It does indeed show that race is an issue, and especially with Republican voters. There is still the essence that the white race is superior and should be protected. This sentiment has found its outlet with the Tea Party movement of recent months. Whilst Glenn Beck spews his bullshit, insisting on top rated “news” channel that Obama has a deep seated hatred for the white race, his equally as vacant and mind numbingly moronic viewers stalk the streets with signs like this:

    And this:

    And this:

    And this:

    And this:

    Now I wouldn’t immediately jump to the conclusion that the Tea Party is an inherently racist organisation, it is mainly a vehicle to promote the incoherent ramblings of an uneducated economically far right puritanical Republican group wholly run by Corporate America to advance its interest at the behest of even the idiots who indirectly fight for the rights of Corporate America, now slowly morphed to include racism as part of their base.

    It is sad to see notion of race being such an issue in 21st Century America. One would have hoped that the social wedge of racism, placed to draw attention away from class and a deeply unequal wealth system would have crumbled away, or intellectually and politically dismembered for the disease that it is. Race is not real. Class is.


    The hypocrisy of the Guardian.

    April 3, 2011

    In 2009 The Guardian ran a
    series of stories surrounding Corporate Tax Avoidance and its worse
    adherents. One of the Guardian’s chief reporters on the situation
    is Richard Brooks. Brooks, in 2009 wrote this:

    The Guardian’s investigation aims to shine some light into this
    dark corner and challenge an ultimately anti-democratic tax
    avoidance industry. The practices exposed merit comparison with the
    excesses of the financial sector (many of which also include a fair
    measure of tax avoidance). Moves towards more responsible,
    better-regulated business in the wake of the financial crisis
    should cover tax avoidance too

    They exposed
    companies like Diageo PLC who, through complex methods and
    exploited loopholes, avoid great swathes of tax whilst the wages of
    the average worker remain stagnant. As noted in previous blogs,
    whilst benefit cheating costs the UK £900mn a year according the
    Government’s own figures, Corporate tax avoidance costs the UK
    £25bn. It is quite obviously time to close every loop hole that the
    treasury can find. The Guardian is correct. So it might come as a
    bit of a surprise that whilst the Guardian is on an apparently
    righteous mission to rid the World of tax avoidance, the Guardian
    Media Group (the parent company of the Guardian) is one half of a
    partnership which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The GMG is
    tax avoiding. GMG and private equity firm Apax, set up Eden Bidco
    in the Cayman Islands in order to purchase a company called Emap.
    Apax at the time of the acquisition had a man named Adrian Beecroft
    as its Chief Investment Officer. Beecroft is now on George
    Osborne’s “Independent Challenge Group”, which states as its
    mission:

    The group will have a remit to think
    innovatively about the options for reducing public expenditure and
    balancing priorities to minimise the impact on public services.

    Perhaps not setting up vehicle companies for
    tax purposes by a multimillionaire, would be a good start in
    achieving their aims. Perhaps not appointing other members like
    John Nash, the Chairman of Private Health Care provider Care UK
    would be a good start in achieving their aims. Coincidentally, John
    Nash’s wife, Caroline Nash, gave £21,000 in a personal donation to
    Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s election campaign, and have
    together given more than £200,000 in donations to the Tory Party.
    Care UK has recently been awarded a £53mn prison healthcare
    contract. Suddenly the word “independent” in “Independent Challenge
    Group” is looking rather tedious. The Guardian tried to absolve
    itself of all wrongdoing by stating that it was Apax who insisted
    on the creation of Eden Bidco and its tax structure, in order for
    the deal to buy out Emap to go through. It would appear that Apax
    have been rather naughty for some time, and that the
    multimillionaire Beecroft who is now advising the Government on
    spending has a bit of explaining to do, because one search of the
    Cayman Islands Company Register shows the following companies set
    up in the Cayman Islands:

    APAX CAYMAN SIX
    LIMITED 110745 APAX CAYMAN TEN LIMITED 110850 APAX CAYMAN THREE
    LIMITED 110724 APAX CAYMAN TWELVE LIMITED 110852 APAX CAYMAN TWO
    LIMITED 110717 APAX CSG HOLDINGS LIMITED 34379 APAX EUROPE VI NXP
    FOUNDER GP LTD 174622 APAX EUROPE VI NXP FOUNDER L.P. 18092 APAX
    EUROPE VI NXP FOUNDER MLP CO LTD 174678 APAX FINANCIAL CORP 221135
    -SO 22113 APAX GLOBIS PARTNERS & CO., LTD. 88778 APAX NXP
    US VII, L.P. 18065 APAX PARTNERS & CO (GERMANY) II LTD.
    72401 APAX PARTNERS & CO (GERMANY) LIMITED 36877 APAX
    QUARTZ (CAYMAN) GP LTD. 195012 APAX QUARTZ (CAYMAN) L.P. 21487 APAX
    US VII GP, L.P. 17341 APAX US VII GP, LTD. 163273 APAX US VII
    INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS, L.P. 18392 APAX US VII, L.P.

    For the Guardian to take a righteous stand
    against Corporate tax avoidance, whilst firstly doing business with
    a prolific Corporate tax avoiding company, and secondly actually
    setting up a tax avoiding company themselves, is mightily
    shameful.


    The curse of Mother Teresa

    March 28, 2011

    2010 marked 100 years since the birth of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu; Mother Theresa. She is a Catholic heroine, beatified by the Catholic Church in 2003 at St Peters in Rome by Pope John Paul II, and given a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. She is known the World over for her aiding the impoverished people of India, and in particular, Calcutta. She is often idolised, considered a wonderful, caring, selfless human being.

    I could not disagree more with that perception.

    There are a great deal of those beatified who are certainly worthy of such high admiration. Anne-Marie Javouhey is perhaps one of my favourites. She founded Institute of Saint Joseph of Cluny at Cabillon in the early 19th Century, dedicating her life educating the poor and slave populations across the World. She was an emancipator, far before my most revered emancipator, Charles Sumner was even born. Javouhey worked tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of the poor and the ill. For this, she deserves all the admiration that the Catholic Church bestowed upon her.

    There are also a great deal of those beatified, who do not deserve it, and should be absolutely condemned. Isidore of Seville is a Saint, made so by Saint Clement VIII. Isidore once wrote an essay calling for the Christians to take Jewish children away from their parents by force, and educate them in the Christian way. A wonderful study by Bat-sheva Albert called “Isidore of Seville: His attitude toward Judaism and his impact on Early Medieval Cannon Law” shows that Isidore was concerned with writing instructions for the clergy to adhere to, and those instructions were unusually marred with vicious language aimed directly at Judaism, and perpetuated the persecution and suspicion of Jews during the Medieval period. We could claim that Isidore lived in the 6th Century and that we’re typically viewing and condemning him through 21st Century vision. The problem is, Isidore’s views on taking children away from their parents simply for being Jewish, were radical even for the 6th Century. Because the rational conscience of humanity is often at odds with the irrational immorality hell of organised religion.

    Unfortunately, Mother Theresa is not even close to being as admirable in any way, in comparison to Javouhey, and actually closer in terms of the destruction to human life, to Isidore of Seville.

    Her order, the “missionaries of charity” did more to inflict suffering, pain and poverty on people needlessly, than the actual causes of that suffering and pain and poverty itself. She believed that poverty was a virtue to brought one closer to God. The more a person suffers, whether they ask for that suffering or not, the closer they are to God according to the warped fantasy of Mother Theresa, recently beatified. Primitive equipment was used to treat wounds. No pain killers were used at all. Unsterilised needles equipment was used. People died far sooner than they would have had Mother Theresa actually bothered to recommend actual medical treatment for the poor that she was apparently “helping”.

    Her use of fairy tales to promote suffering and pain should be viewed with the contempt it deserves. She believed suffering was good, abortion was wrong, and birth control was evil. In a country like India, villifying birth control is reckless at best. According to a freelance writer, Judith Hayes, Mother Theresa once told a cancer patient in her care that she did not need pain killers, because:

    “You are suffering like Christ on the cross, So Jesus must be kissing you.”

    How else would someone come to such a positively dangerous position that does nothing but cause unnecessary pain and suffering, if not for belief. Why would a sane human being refuse pain killers to a dying lady in pain, other than a belief in a God. And what a poor argument for an all loving God that would be.

    Mother Theresa sat on a fortune. Banks accounts all over the World, filled with millions upon millions in donations. People were led to believe that they were giving money to alleviate suffering. Instead, the millions of dollars sat unused, like a bottle of water and loaf of bread hanging over the mouths of the starving, being held just out of reach by an insane Nun who wallowed in her feet being kissed by impoverished “Calcutteans”.

    Calcutta itself, the capital of West Bengal, is home to far more people than it can sustain. Almost 6 million live in Calcutta and the streets are paved with the homeless. 6 million people, in 71 square miles, is ridiculous. That being said, it has cultural heritage that far surpasses anything else in India. Mother Theresa tried to persuade people against the use of condoms. In a city vastly overpopulated, she was attempting to ban condoms, and persuading people that abortion was a great evil; even for victims of incest and rape. Millions of people were being put at risk, because Mother Theresa and the Catholic Church indulged in an irrational campaign against the use of contraception.

    In New York, a homeless and poor shelter was going to be installed in the Bronx. The plans included two storied building. The City Planning Commission insisted that for the disabled, their must be an elevator. The Nuns applied for a waiver of the Disabled Access Laws, on grounds of nothing else but “religious belief”. Mother Theresa and the Nuns refused to allow an elevator to be installed because their religious beliefs forbade them from using “modern conveniences”. When the Commission refused them the waiver, Mother Theresa and her Nuns threw their toys out of the pram and abandoned the project. They would rather let people suffer, than install an elevator.

    Susan Shields, an ex-member of the Missionaries on Charity tells her story, about what she witnessed when she was a Sister in the organisation run by Mother Theresa:

    When Mother spoke publicly, she never asked for money, but she did encourage people to make sacrifices for the poor, to “give until it hurts.” Many people did – and they gave it to her. We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts.

    The flood of donations was considered to be a sign of God’s approval of Mother Teresa’s congregation. We were told by our superiors that we received more gifts than other religious congregations because God was pleased with Mother, and because the Missionaries of Charity were the sisters who were faithful to the true spirit of religious life.

    Most of the sisters had no idea how much money the congregation was amassing. After all, we were taught not to collect anything. One summer the sisters living on the outskirts of Rome were given more crates of tomatoes than they could distribute. None of their neighbors wanted them because the crop had been so prolific that year. The sisters decided to can the tomatoes rather than let them spoil, but when Mother found out what they had done she was very displeased. Storing things showed lack of trust in Divine Providence.

    Mother Theresa once claimed that doing good for the sake of altruistic reasons, is wrong. She claimed:

    There is alwayst he danger that we may become only social workers or just do the work for the sake of the work. … It is a danger; if we forget to whom we are doing it. Our works are only an expression of our love for Christ. Our hearts need to be full of love for him, and since we have to express that love in action, naturally then the poorest of the poor are the means of expressing our love for God.

    She was essentially saying that the only moral course a person must take in regard to charity, is to extol the virtues of poverty, let the sick and dying suffer, abandon painkillers, and ban birth control, all because it will take us closer to “Jesus”. It is virtually impossible to reason with someone who is so shockingly unreasonable, it borders on psychopathic.

    When Mary Loudon, a volunteer in Calcutta asked one of the Nuns responsible for patient “care” why she was not sterilizing the needles, the nun replied:

    There is no point.

    And continued to wash the needle under a cold tap.
    Loudon then tells a story about a fifteen year old boy who went from having a simple kidney problem, and by the time she was writing this, he was dying. The Nuns had refused to give him antibiotics and would not allow him to be taken to the local hospital. He needed operating on and was just being left to die, whilst the delusional Nuns of the order of Mother Theresa prayed for him. The Nuns argued that if they did it for one, they’d have to do it for all of them. Not withstanding the fact that they were running a shack with unsterilized equipment, they also were sitting on millions of dollars; enough to build a top class hospital. The decision not to use that money to help people, was entirely down to religious belief.

    People in the care of Mother Theresa, were given no painkillers, treated with dirty implements, given no specialist care, no professional diagnosis, and more often than not, died because of easily curable injuries and disease. They were indoctrinated to believe that if they doubted Mother Theresa, they were doubting God, and would be punished in the afterlife. They died, for the sake of a multi millionaire religious fundamentalist.


    A place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

    February 25, 2011

    Born like this
    Into this
    Into these carefully mad wars
    Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
    Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
    Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
    Born into this
    Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
    Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
    Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
    Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

    – Charles Bukowski

    Whilst David Cameron continues to sell arms to violent nations, ignoring the fact that hundreds of fellow Brits are stranded in Tripoli, I thought I’d give you a bit of context on how Tories tend to view those who don’t own a great deal of wealth. Tory Peer Lord Lang, The Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Business appointments has announced that the committee that looks into business employing former ministers, said that he would only accept people to his panel:

    “who had experience and proven success in a relatively important profession or trade – somebody who had achieved distinction – rather than a waitress or bus driver.”

    – A beautifully elitist attitude if ever I saw one.

    One should also bring into view, the alleged fraudulent behavior of Lord Lang in the past. He is a part-time director of Marsh & McLennan, a US company, and the World’s biggest insurance brokers. In 2004 they settled out of court, for massive fraud. They had moved clients toward insurers who Marsh and McLennan had payoff agreements with. They also solicited rigged bets for insurance contracts from those insurers. The CEO resigned and they settled out of court.

    Another bad news week for the economic situation. Osborne must be wondering how long he can keep saying “obviously these figures are concerning” before he starts to realise he’s absolutely to blame.
    Firstly, over here in the U.K, the government and it’s slightly more mental-than-usual support base spent Monday singing the praises of the horrifically dogmatic Libertarian George Osborne because public sector net borrowing showed a £3.7bn surplus. Rising VAT and raping public services of all funds brought in more money? Who’d have thought it!!! Of course there would be a surplus rise. I am not sure why that’s even news. I don’t think that most Tory supporters understood the point of public sector net borrowing and how it is funded.

    This is evident with today’s announcement, that the UK economy shrunk worse than expected in the final sector of 2010. Initial reports said the economy shrunk by 0.5%. Comically, Osborne (remember, this man is our Chancellor) blamed the snow. Now it turns out the economy shrunk by 0.6%. If you look at the ONS figures from 2008 recession, to now, it tells quite an impressive story. Recession struck, and GDP fell massively. From 2009 to the end of 2010, the economy was growing and actually recovering substantially. And then Tory policies took hold, and the economy is shrinking again. The ONS figures show that if we don’t experience some sort of miracle bounce, we are about to hit a double dip recession very soon.

    To give you a bit of context, since mid-2010, construction output has fell 2.5%, household expenditure fell 0.1%, utilities output fell by 4.6%, mining output fell by 4.5%. Here is the graph:

    Anyone who looks at this graph and believes the Government know what they’re doing, is seriously deluded.
    If you look at employment figures, they were recovering up until the last quarter of 2010. Now, they are worsening. It isn’t surprising given that the Government has decided to kick another 40,000 people out of work at the NHS. The cutting of simply back office staff (as if that’s a good thing anyway) is ridiculous, it will hit front line services.

    Predictably Danny Alexander at the treasury couldn’t answer why the situation was worse than previously expected, without starting his sentence with “Well, we inherited…blah blah utter bollocks“.

    This of course wont affect Gideon Osborne, who is a trust fund baby. He will never be insecure. He will never struggle. This is because Osborne is set to inherit a 15% stake in a wallpaper and fabrics company called Osborne & Little. He is worth £4,000,000. Despite this, he flipped his second home in order to pay less capital gains tax. The Lib Dems found that Osborne owed £55,000 in Parliamentary expenses abuses on his second home. Quite comically, he spent £47 of taxpayers money on a copy of a DVD of his own speech on “value for taxpayers money“.

    As the misery is spreading, due to the less fortunate being expected to pick up the bill for the extravagances of the very fortunate, there is wonderful news for the banks. RBS, despite recording a loss of £1.1bn, gave out bonuses close to £1bn for 2010. Apparently nothing has changed since 2007. But then it isn’t surprising, we apparently as a nation collectively decided that to beat right winged economics and its massive failings, we need more right winged economics.

    This is even more evident in the U.S. After the Republicans in Congress decided they will be forcing through some incredibly steep spending cuts, and a very weak Obama tacitly accepting, the Wisconsin assembly have voted to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

    What a horrible World we live in, when we decide it is more important for the owners of capital to treat humanity as a commodity, than it is for those people to live securely.

    Essentially, what the Governments of the UK and US are telling us, is we do not understand what is best for us. What is best for us, apparently, is letting the private sector exploit as much as it wants, without us being able to stop it. They have cleverly managed to take a crises caused by Neoliberalism, and use it to push through some of the most Victorian style Neoliberal reforms we’ve ever had the misfortune to have forced upon us. The market doesn’t set wages. The base rate is set by very greedy employers. For this, unions are essential. I would urge all public sector workers in Wisconsin to collectively walk out. Let’s see just how unimportant Republicans think you are then.

    Don’t let them tell you it is democratic. Being controlled by one CEO whom you cannot overthrow no matter how much you value your 2nd Amendment right to bare arms against tyrants, a CEO who is not accountable to you and whose main function is profit; being controlled by him, is not democracy and it is not freedom. It is Corporate tyranny.

    Meanwhile David Cameron gave us his multiculturalism is dead speech, in which he mentioned the words “muslim” and “Islam” 36 times, in a 20 minute speech. Racism has always been a tool used by the fortunate to stifle collective action.

    Thomas More once commented that

    In fact, when I consider any social system that prevails in the World, I can’t, so help me God, see it as anything but a conspiracy of the rich to advance their own interests under the pretext of organising society. They think up all sorts of tricks and dodges, first for keeping safe their ill gotten gains, and then for exploiting the poor by buying their labour as cheaply as possible.”

    When you analyse the rhetoric, it would appear that Thomas More was correct. The pretext of organising society after the financial crash has run thusly:

  • The Financial institutions should be bailed out.
  • The Public Sector should pay for the failings.
  • People will lose their jobs as a result of cuts.
  • Benefits for the unemployed must be cut, even as six people chase one job.
  • Help the one person who gets the job, fuck the other five.
  • Massive tax cuts for the wealthy.
  • Play on racial tensions.
    One wonders how it has managed to get to this point. But it isn’t new. Racism has always been played upon, during time of crises.
    During the American Civil War, very wealthy white Southerners managed to convinced poor white Southerners to go and fight for their right to keep black slaves. Why? How were they convinced that slavery would be beneficial to everyone? Well, they weren’t convinced. Racism was played up and the economic consequences were played down. If you convince a bunch of poor white people that those who are “racially inferior” want to be treated equally, and how they will infiltrate your kids school with their “barbaric culture”, you are very carefully constructing a social narrative that ignores the fact that the rich white folk, simply want slavery to save money on labour costs. If you can employ a black slave to do your work for free, you’re not going to employ the poor white person, regardless of how low you’re allowed to pay him. Slavery screwed over poor white people and poor black slaves. The only people who benefited, were the rich white people. And yet, poor white people were willing to die to perpetuate a system that held them back.

    This critique can be applied today. Somehow workers have been convinced, through constant negative media attention, that Unions are a great evil that need to be purged. It’s madness. During the British Airways strike, the media and so the mindless public at large took the line that the Union was to blame for the problems. The management who were screwing over both the workers and the customer were largely treated like the victims. The CEO of BA Willie Walsh had recently been forced to make BA pay the largest fine in Aviation history, after he was found guilty of price fixing. Somehow, the wealthy have managed to convince the workers that it is in their best interests, not to fight for better pay, and better conditions, and health benefits. We have been convinced, that exploitation and overbearing tyrannical management, is great for everyone. It is very U.S orientated approach to society. Which is kind of funny. America has weak unions, and strong anti-union laws. You’d think, under the rhetoric and the narrative that unions are a great evil, that America would be a pretty happy society…

    The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development conducted vast research into which countries people feel the happiest living in. It is all subjective, the people were asked if they thought their lives were predominantly affected by positive or negative experiences. Sample questions included:
    Did you enjoy something you did yesterday? Were you proud of something you did yesterday? Did you learn something yesterday? Were you treated with respect yesterday?
    They quizzed 1000 15-100 year olds, from 140 Countries.
    Surely, with all that Capitalism and so little union involvement, America should be steaming ahead? Far ahead of those EVIL SOCIALIST OPPRESSIVE EUROPEAN States weeping uncontrollably in their Government-run lives, right?

    As of 2009, here is the top ten happiest Countries out of the 140 polled:

    1. Denmark
    2. Finland
    3. Netherlands
    4. Sweden
    5. Ireland
    6. Canada
    7. Switzerland
    8. New Zealand
    9. Norway
    10. Belgium

    Their governments probably forced them to be happy, whilst talking through the Telescreen in the wall. Note that Canada is sixth.

    Perhaps it is all because whilst the happiest people in Denmark enjoy their EVIL SOCIALIST Government forced happiness, the US citizen, in his plethora of freedom, is working hard!!!
    Well, no.
    Firstly, Denmark’s unemployment rate is at 2%. Far far below the UK and US levels.
    Secondly, 9th place in the list, Norway has GDP per capita nominal of $84,543. Denmark has GDP per capital nominal of $55,113.The US has GDP per capita of $47,132. The US lags behind Sweden and Switzerland on this as well. The UK meanwhile lags behind Belguim, Singapore, Belguim, Japan. All figures from the IMF.

    As far as public debt goes (Osborne always mentions, as do most Tories, just how badly in debt we are, verging on Greece) as of 2009 figures, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, the UKs public debt as a percentage of GDP is 68.10%. Greece’s is 144.0%. Here is the list of Countries in between the UK and Greece, for public debt, along with their debt as a percentage of GDP:

    Iceland 123.80, Jamaica 123.20, Italy 118.10, Belgium 102.50, Singapore 102.40, Ireland 98.50, Sudan 94.20, Sri Lanka 86.70, France 83.50, Portugal 83.20, Egypt 80.50, Dominica 78.00, Nicaragua 78.00, Israel 77.30, Germany 74.80, Malta 72.60, Hungary 72.10, Austria 68.60, United Kingdom 68.10.

    Perhaps the UKs GDP itself is awful? What with Labour OVER SPENDING!!!!!!!!!!1111
    Oh wait, no, we have the sixth largest economy in the entire World. Our little island, is the sixth largest economy in the World. Greece, is 31st.

    Perhaps our debt is the worst we’ve EVER known? It must be pretty bad if we’re privatising absolutely everything and kicking thousands out of work?

    Okay that’s only 100 years.
    What about in the larger context?

    So it turns out the Nation’s debt, is still at one of it’s all time lows. Which begs the question, why do we believe the bullshit that has spread? The bullshit of a dire economic situation, is used purely to further the cause of an ideological attack, and nothing else.

    It is amazing. We are further empowering the financial institutions that are responsible for the problems. None of them have faced criminal charges. In the 1970s the power of the labour movements was clearly defined as the problem. Today, the problem is clearly the power of finance capital. And instead of putting a foot down and regulating the power of finance capital, we are loosening the chains even greater. Crises in this case, is inevitable. We will have another crash. But whilst we have a politics (not a democracy) funded and run by the very very wealthy, there can never be change.

    Private funding of political parties and inherited wealth from Stock Market speculation, are the great evils and the most anti-democratic and dangerous ideals of our generation.

    Politically, the left is week. They are in a daze because they have spent the past ten years being the Right. Ed Balls, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor cannot complain, he spent his years in office given up economic power to the financial sector. It is as if the political left (I make a distinction between the left, and the political left, because the political left is really the centre-right) doesn’t understand why its unwavering support for Thatcherite policies, has failed so miserably. It is odd, because our Political Left is still scared of certain lexis. Socialism is considered a dirty word and Capitalism is considered a golden word. Why? Capitalism failed everyone other than the very wealthy. Labour politicians do not like to be seen to align themselves with unions? Why Tories have no problem aligning themselves with greedy tax avoiding billionaires who endulge in questionable and often unethical business practices. Those businessmen represent a very narrow group of people. Unions represent thousands upon thousands of people who would be far worse off without the many industrial gains that have been made over the past century, thanks to collective bargaining.

    We need a strong united academically gifted Left for the theory, and a strong united working people’s party for practice. Note, this does not mean a local Socialist party….. they are all, as far as I can see, still living in 1917.

    So it turns out, all is not as dire as it seems. The multiculturalism card, I maintain, is being used to ensure a division between the lower classes who will be losing out whilst the rich class will benefit greatly. If we are inspired to concentrate on Nationality and Culture rather than the fact that the Polish worker, the Pakistani worker, and the British worker are all being massively screwed over, we wont rise up and fight back. Attacks by Unions as being attacks on the British public will be further propagated. As if it is their fault. It is a smoke screen designed to make us forget about the fact that the very people and the very economic ideology that got us into this mess, are going to be the ones who benefit the most.

    The Big Society will rescue us though, so it’s okay.
    (ignore the fact that according to Voluntary Sector Cuts, £53,000,000 has been cut from their budgets).

    Student strikes.
    General strike.
    Union united.
    Mass protests and rioting.

    Libertarianism must be fought against as if it is a foreign invader. Our children do not need to be born into “a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes“.


  • Cameronism

    February 21, 2011

    Neoliberalism: The tyranny of Big Business, under the mask of “Freedom“.

    I have always wondered how the very fortunate manage to convince the very unfortunate that perpetuating that system is to everyone’s benefit. Thatcher managed to convince a mass of people that the Unions were evil, and were strangling the Country. She killed off the Unions, and bosses began the biggest exploitation effort since the 19th Century. Jobs shipped abroad daily, wages kept lower than ever before, and homes repossessed with the homeless rate doubling. How were people convinced that that was a good thing for the Country? Northern England still hasn’t recovered from what she did. It would seem that if you add the words “freedom” and “giving power to the people” to the end of a speech that is essentially going to destroy those people, you will have convinced them.

    One has to wonder, if this was a people power thing, why not mention it during the run up to the election. Such a social and class engineering project doesn’t come into being over night, it takes years of planning. They knew this would be the case. So why not mention it, if it’s so great? I’d suggest because if a political party was to suggest privatisation of the NHS and the public services, before an election, they would be so massively unelectable, they would have no MPs left. So, the answer is to manipulate a population into voting for you, and then systematically destroy their life.

    The fact remains, no one has given the Tories a mandate to do this. They did not win the election. More people voted for a slower reduction of the deficit, and less cuts. More people voted centre and centre-left political parties, than who voted for the Tories. Economically, if not socially, the Tories have no democratic right to be doing what they are proposing to do.

    Any time mass privatisation is suggested, the phrases “more power to the people” and “freedom” are banded about. I am always very suspicious of this, because it never quite turns out that way. It was “freedom” that drove Thatcher to privatise British Gas and the railways. British Gas is now run by one CEO who rises prices in line with an increase in oil prices, but then when the oil price lowers, he keeps British Gas prices high, raking in massive profits. For charging customers obscene amounts of money for no legitimate reason, boss of Centrica (which runs British Gas) was Knighted for “services to business“. The Chief Exec, Sam Laidlaw (who went to Eton, unsurprisingly) increased the cost of gas for consumers by 35% in 2006, for no reason whatsoever, and made record profits, when asked about it, he answered “Well, I am not about to apologise for making a healthy profit“. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    One wonders how long they can keep blaming Labour, given that unemployment and the deficit were shrinking in May 2010. They’re now both on the rise.

    David Cameron does not have the mandate to be privatising the entire public sector. And yet, in the Telegraph today, he shamefully used his dead son as justification for the most worrying of plans I’ve yet to hear him say:

    And though I was always so grateful for the tremendous care my eldest son received, I never understood why local authorities had more control over the budget for his care than Samantha and I did.

    I never understand why my boss, where ever I choose to work, has the right to be as rude and obnoxious and speak down to us as he so wishes. But apparently that’s “freedom“. What a wretched freedom it is. Allowing business the freedom to dictate terms and conditions for its workers, with absolutely no balance, is not freedom. Replacing democratic oversight with a dictatorial boss whose only objective is to make more money, is not freedom.

    I would never use a dead relative to promote a political agenda. He should say it like it is; Cameron and Osborne are Libertarians. It is why there is a mass of tax cuts for the very wealthy whilst the public sector is being gutted. It is why the banks are not being hit. It is why he is demolishing the NHS and the public sector as a whole. It is something beyond scary.

    “Instead of having to justify why it makes sense to introduce competition in individual public services – as we are now doing with schools and in the NHS – the state will have to justify why it should ever operate a monopoly.”

    What the hell? Damn right you should have to justify privatisation, logically because you are changing the system. You have to justify why you are changing the system. But mainly, because it has never fucking worked as promised in the past. The Tories privatised the railways, and now no one can afford to go anywhere. The Tories sold off the Council Houses, effectively entirely privatising the housing system, and now no one can afford homes. The Tories privatised electricity, and now old people die because they cannot afford to heat their homes in winter. So damn right you have to justify why you are handing even power to big business. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    One of the most worrying aspects of these proposals, is that the White Paper will lay out plans to make the proposals irreversible. Cameron said the Government would:

    “make it impossible for Government to return to the bad old days of the standard state monopoly”

    It is an ideological attack. It is Social engineering on a grand scale. Because those of us on the Left would argue that the bad days, especially where British Gas and the railways are concerned, and looking at the private health service in America; revolves around the private sector. It has to be resisted. By making this right wing plan irreversible, he is ironically presiding over the biggest Government in decades, because he is forcing Right Winged tyranny on those of us who oppose it completely. He is effectively banning the Left Wing. What if the Labour government had given more power to the Unions, and made it irreversible? Surely we’d be hearing how Orwellian that actually is?

    What if recession hits again. Which it will. It means that the only legal response, would be to do nothing. Keynesian economics would be entirely banned. What basis do they have to ban it?

    The difference is, the power. The Unions represent hundreds of thousands if not millions of ordinary people. Their power is legitimate, if we are talking about giving power to ordinary people. Syndicalism, is not a bad idea. Giving power to a very narrow set of businessmen is not, and could never be considered the height of human freedom.

    It amazes me that we have got to a position where we are being convinced en masse, that privatisation is “handing power back to the people“. It is such a falsity that it is almost funny. When we elect a politician, we know their face, we know their name, and if we don’t like them, we vote them out. By privatising the public sector, they are practically selling democracy to the man with the most money and calling it “power to the people“. We are getting to the stage where local representatives cannot do a thing, because their power is being handed to faceless businessmen, who we do not see, ever, never mind elect. Corporations act as little Stalinist States, where money is forced upwards, from the bottom. Those at the very top are always going to want more. Those at the bottom are always going to be squeezed for as much productivity and as little money as possible. We are therefore ruled by a Stock Market system, that relies on very very dodgy deals that have no social benefit whatsoever. Has it enriched our lives thus far? Longer working hours, ever more slimy bosses with a deluded sense of superiority? Stagnating wages with no real chance of an increase? Unions unable to exercise any power? An out of control financial sector? No housing? Gas and electricity more expensive than ever before? Less job security and more worry than ever before? I have argued previously that Democracy and Capitalism are entirely incompatible. This proves it. We are not a Democracy. We are wholly run and controlled by the power of big business. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    Orwell’s worry about an overbearing Government should not come to symbolise just the abstract concept of a State. Corporations are just as dangerous.

    There is a reason why the Public and Private sectors are separate. They have different values. Profit seeking should never place itself in the public sector.

    It took a Labour backbencher, Labour MP Chuka Umunna, to force Barclays to admit that it had only paid 1% Corporation Tax in 2009, even though it made profits of £11.9bn. That is absolutely obscene and completely unjustifiable. Unless you’re a Tory, obviously. Bob Diamond, the CEO of Barclays told the Treasury Select Committee that Barclays paid £2bn in taxes in 2009. It turns out he was very misleading, because those taxes are payroll taxes and its employees National Insurance. It paid just 1% Corporation Tax. It is paying bonuses worth £3bn. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    If that wasn’t enough, Barclays (remember, the tax it saves, is obviously for our benefit, for the people!) helps to fund Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe. It lent £750mn to Zimbabwean officials who had siezed land from White farmers, in 2007 alone, in order to “boost farm production“. Didymus Mutasa, the National Security Minister of Zimbabwe got a large chunk of Barclays money, even though he masterminded the ousting of white farmers….. who were left homeless. Mugabe has three farms, that he was able to take over, thanks to the funds from Barclays. FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    If you’re disabled, tough. If you’re a child in a low socio-economic area, tough. If you want a borrow a book from a library, tough, it’s closed, fuck off. If you’re the CEO of a tax avoiding, corrupt regime propping up Bank…. great, have a bonus! FOR THE PEOPLE!!

    So that begs the question, why is David Cameron focusing purely on the public sector? The public sector did not fail to the extent that he is suggesting. The public sector didn’t cause the biggest financial crises we’ve ever seen. The private sector has failed miserably, far far worse than the public sector could ever imagine. The private sector created a culture of short term gain at the expense of long term stability. It gave everyone credit cards to artificially inflate demand, to keep wages at the very top getting higher and higher whilst (unsurprisingly) wages for the rest of us stagnated. It is the reason that my boss can keep us on minimum wage, and squeeze extra work out of us, without ever offering a pay rise, and talking to us as if we are socially inferior. It is a class system. The neoliberal system. And it doesn’t work. It is a hopeless, dire, miserable little system.

    David Cameron is focusing purely on the public sector, because like all Tories, he is unable to recognise the absolute failure of the Private Sector, and instead focuses all his energy on attacking the public sector. He constantly mentions benefit fraud, as do most Tory supporters. People cheating benefits is their big gripe. Yet it costs just £900mn a year. Corporate Tax avoidance (like Barclays) cost us £25bn. Get your fucking priorities in order.

    I am unsure how the Liberal Democrats can continue to let this happen. They have no shame. If they keep referring to themselves as Progressives, it is going to be the main source of ridicule politically for years. Freedom, for a left of centre party, should never mean the freedom for big business and a class of business elites, to control every inch of our lives.

    I hope to God that one day humanity opens its collective eyes to the absolute abuses of this horrendous right winged economic system we are force fed. It is not here to work for you and I. It is here to work for a very narrow wealthy elite.

    I smell Class War.

    The Unions, the Student movement, UK Uncut, and anyone who relies on public services, and anyone who hasn’t got an essential part of their soul missing, should fight back. The last thing this Country needs, is Cameronism. I give it a month before England has its name changed to McEngland, or Nike Air England.

    Thatcherism and its supporters like to boast that they beat the dragon of Socialism. The Country and the World will never be truly free until it has immunised itself from the disease of Neoliberalism.

    Neoliberal Democracy: Of the rich, for the rich, by the rich.
    FOR THE PEOPLE!!


    Multiculturalism in England

    February 5, 2011

    At the Student protest rally in London last November, I saw a group of people marching together; laughing and joking, holding a sign saying “Jewish and Muslim Students Unite“. A Jewish guy was holding the hand of a Muslim girl. Sadly, I didn’t manage to take a photo of those two. But I got a photo of the banner. I cannot think of a better symbol of the success of multiculturalism in this country, than that group of young people. Whilst the older generation (and a few crazed extremists) likes to cling on to some oddly indefinable nostalgic sense of “Britishness”, the rest of us are getting on with each other, just fine.

    David Cameron today has claimed that Britain has become too tolerant of extreme Muslims. It is an unfortunate speech because it comes on the same day as the biggest EDL rally in its history in Luton, later today. Cameron’s mistake is that he mentioned Muslim extremism particularly, and not English Nationalism too.

    Both are intolerable thugs, yet both are just not important. They should be ridiculed and ignored.

    Cameron makes this speech a year after Merkal of Germany made pretty much the same speech in which she argued that German Multiculturalism had failed, and argued for a strong German national identity……… a strong……. German…. national identity…………. I wont point out the obvious flaw there.

    He claimed that too many Muslim organisations are showered with public money, without doing anything to combat extremism. The question is, are the extremists part of these groups showered with public money? If they are, then of course they should be trying to combat the extreme element. But if they aren’t, then why should they? It’s like claiming that all middle aged men should be using their time and influence to combat the fact that a large number of paedophiles, tend to be middle aged men.

    It would be terribly ignorant to suggest that there isn’t an extreme element of Islam in the UK. There is. Is it a threat? No. It is a fringe group of fundamentalists, just like the EDL, or should not be acknowledged or given a platform whatsoever. When either EDL or Muslim groups start to propagate violence, then it is up to the security services to make sure they don’t make good on their pathetic threats. But whilst they keep talking about “the word of God”, we should shake our heads, wondering how humanity hasn’t managed to progress past the middle ages, philosophically.

    There are many many English Nationalist bloggers who blog exclusively concerning Islamic fundamentalism. They never mention violence and racial discourse by English Nationalism, because they are a part of that propaganda machine intended to imagine Englanders as the great victims. It is of course nonsense, but it isn’t just English Nationalists who play that card….

    The Islamic Standard takes fairy tale delusions to the next level. It is religious folk like he, that I despise. They are the cancer of the Earth. He states of a soldier who has recently died in combat:

    The family said in a statement: “Martin was proud to be in the Parachute Regiment and serving his country. He served three years as a Police Community Support Officer in West Yorkshire Police before joining the PARAs.”

    So not only was he in it for the money like many soldiers, but actually believed in this war against Islam and though anyone can change whilst still alive and become a better person, I can’t help feeling the world is a better place without this nationalistic enemy of Muslims on the planet.

    One wonders why he thinks we should be a “friend” of his brand of Islam, when he preaches the total overthrow of our entire culture, and replacement by his.
    It’s an ugly sentiment. It makes me angry to read it. But knee-jerk reactions, to Religious Fascism is what leads to the rise of National Fascism, and that’s fucking horrendous too.
    It is ironic that he uses the term “nationalistic”. Nationalism is the mirror image of Religious fundamentalism. Both are fighting for a silly little concept, an outdated, human invention. A non-divine, delusion. He lives in a Country that allows him the freedom to wish death upon anyone who isn’t the biggest fan of his fairy tale delusion, and yet he condemns it. As an Atheist, I do not condemn him to death, I do not want to impose my ways on him. I’m sure he can be a nice, civilised, loving person, when he isn’t being a massively racist thug. Whether the man who died was a soldier or not, is irrelevant to Islamic Standard, because in his “about” section, he states:

    We also don’t condemn our brethren who do violent acts in the UK, they have their evidence, we have our’s and we love them for the sake of Allah, they are our brothers and sisters and we would never agree to hand them over to the kufr Taghoot authorities and believe to side with the Kuffar, aid them in their war against Islam by either spying on the Muslims or joining their crusading armies and police forces are acts of Kufr Akbar (major disbelief).

    – He does not condemn terrorism. He loves them, actually. For the sake of a fairy man in the sky, he loves terrorists. But he doesn’t love Western terrorism. The terrorists have to be Muslims. Violence and murder is perfectly acceptable, as long as you’re slightly Arabic. Because his God apparently differentiates between the skin colour or culture of his murderers. He condemns Western aggression throughout the World (which I do too), but he does not condemn Muslim extremism, when its aim is to install its punitive religious bullshit on those of us who would rather drink our own piss than submit to religious “values”. What if his “brethren” (a word that always makes me laugh, a product of religious delusion) who “do violent acts” kill a child? Is that not condemnable? What about an innocent old lady (I know extremists like to try to justify their inherently violent nature, by suggesting that no one is “innocent”, but that’s a cop out)? is that okay too, because it’s a fight for a massively overrated religion?
    He, in short, is a thug.
    But he is entitled to his bullshit, in this country. I entirely disagree with him. I find him a virus that the immune system of humanity should be intent on weeding out with logic and reason. But I will always defend his right to be a Fascist, in the same way that his mirror image – the EDL have the right to believe the bullshit that they believe. They are a very small minority who do not condemn violence against those who entirely disagree with them, but want others to understand, believe and treat them like our superiors. It isn’t ever going to happen from me. He condemns me for who I am. He condemns me, because I am not a Muslim.

    Cameron argues that Multiculturalism has failed.
    He’s wrong.
    It hasn’t failed.
    Thirty years ago, the Tories ran a campaign in Birmingham with a leaflet stating “If you want a nigger as a neighbour, vote Labour”. Thankfully, that sort of far right Nationalist bullshit is past us. Now, your kids could be white and Christian, playing football in the street with their black, Muslim and Sikh friends. My dad coaches youth cricket teams; the young players are all very very good friends, and are all mixed culturally. Cultural integration is a slow process that takes a generation or two to take hold. This new generation of children are far more culturally aware and integrated that we ever were. Cameron’s speech is inflaming a culture of suspicion of the “other” that until now has been left to the idiots on the far right. He is giving a credible face to that intolerance, especially by not referencing the anti-British values of the EDL.

    That being said, I am no fan of organised religion, and if I had my way, no religious organisation would be receiving public funds, and I absolutely wouldn’t tolerate religious schools. I do not want Christian influence on politics and law, just like I don’t want Islamic influence on politics and law. I do not want fairy tales to influence reality. Cameron would do us all a credit, if he is taking a swipe at Islam, to also take a swipe at extreme Christians. Contrary to Christian belief, Western law is not based on Christian reasoning. It is based on social evolution and common sense. Law should be based on irrefutable fact, not on largely discredited miserable fairy tales from 1500-2000 years ago, in the desert. Whilst religious people like to suggest that homosexuality is unnatural, I would suggest that religious belief, is the most unnatural and vicious pessimistic invention humanity has ever had the misfortune to invent. The moment we no longer need such bullshit, is the day when we have evolved to the level that we can truly call ourselves civilised. Fundamentalist Islam, like Nationalists in the EDL are not civilised. They are barbaric thugs and nothing else. Do not let them convince you otherwise.

    Multiculturalism has not failed.
    The experiment of Nation States has failed. The experiment of one overriding National identity has failed. The experiment of organised religion has failed.
    Nation States are a left over from Colonial days. They have nothing but a violent history. They are like a market place, always looking for resources to plunder. It doesn’t matter if it is Western Nations or Middle Eastern Nations; the rich ones always want more. It isn’t Islam vs Christianity. It is the rich vs the poor. Always will be. Religion is used as a way to separate the poor Westerners from the poor Easterners, when actually they have more in common with each other than they think. They should be joining hands and fighting back. Racism has always been used as a divisive tool to stop popular uprisings.

    We are all a product of multiculturalism. A British identity has always been a little bit obscure. For most of our history, since the year 0, we were a Catholic country, in which the majority of our citizens considered themselves loyal to Rome before loyalty to the Nation. Protestants and Catholics fought for their vision of what it meant to be British. The English fought the Scots. The Royalists fought the Republicans. The Enlightenment thinkers struggled against the “traditionalists” of the elites. Darwin struggled to find a time to reveal the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, in the face of religious fundamentalists, so backward in their thinking, so dogmatic in their delusions, who would have liked him to have been silenced. We are a land of multiculturalism. I guarantee my idea of what it means to be British is far away from what David Cameron thinks it means to be British. Perhaps, in a very broad sense, we can deduce that to be British, is to believe in Democracy, the rule of secular law, and socially liberal values of acceptance. And tea drinking. Lots of tea drinking.

    I have always argued that mass migration is linked entirely to global inequality. We, as a Western State had a foot up the ladder of global Capitalism long before Middle Eastern countries started to climb. We used our days of Empire to secure great wealth, that has kept us relatively privileged ever since. We pillaged the World and then blocked our borders to them. We stole resources and labour supplies, and gave nothing back. Now we are complaining that the people we left behind, want a better life for themselves and their families in the UK. That to me, is irrational. The balance has to be tipped toward the centre economically. Flooding the World with American and British multinational companies, is not fair. It is perpetuating the problem, it results in war and in hatred. Always will do. Especially when mixed with religion.

    Fundamentalism in religion, is built on a bedrock of intolerance, hate, violence, delusion, anger, and whilst their mindset is undoubtedly influenced by their religious beliefs; they also must have psychological issues in the first place, to allow themselves to condemn large sections of humanity, who have done nothing personally to upset or hurt them, to a violent, miserable death. This is the legacy of religion. To call any religion, the “religion of peace and love” is a contradiction in terms.

    George Bush said he had heard the voice of the Christian God, who told him to go to war in Iraq. Absolute madness. And very very worrying, that a man who has such strong delusions can acquire the position of the most powerful man in the World. It is the 21st Century and our leaders are no different from the 16th Century European leaders who were raging wars based entirely on religions. It is almost beyond comprehension that our history for the past 2000 years has been plagued by the dictatorship of a work of fiction. Christian fundamentalism has been the driving force behind the power of the Catholic Church for decades.

    If those of us who are sensibly minded, and optimistic for the future of humanity, those of us who are not infected with the disease of organised religion, all accept that it isn’t Islam itself or Christianity itself that are the problems, that they are just systems for spirituality; and we accept that it is indoctrination into extreme tendencies that are the problem, throughout the World of organised religion, we are sure to prevail. Logic, reason, and fact always prevails.

    Moderate Christians, Muslims, Jews, English, Middle Eastern etc should be banding together, and enjoying each others company, learning from each other, and progressing. We should not be suspicious of each other, and we should not be condemning each other, purely for the beliefs one has.

    Be black, be white, be gay, be straight, be Muslim, be Christian, be Jewish, be Atheist, be female, be male, be fat, be thin, be happy, be miserable, be sporty, be artistic, be eccentric, be philosophical, be left, be right, and live together.

    I do not want to see people as being Muslim first. David Cameron is pointing and saying “look, a Muslim, be suspicious“.