The Confederacy and Britain

June 28, 2013

mkwary

Hatfield House in Hertfordshire boasts a very English interior, accompanied by a beautiful garden. It is owned by former leader of the opposition in the House of Lords, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. It has been in the Cecil family since the 17th Century. Among its occupants was former Prime Minister, Robert Cecil. And in Hatfield House, remains a painting of Cecil’s hero; Confederate General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.

June 1861. Two months had passed since secession and skirmish turned into full blow civil war as the shots rang out through Fort Sumter. Three months earlier, civil war was a possibility, but not a reality. Federal buildings had fallen into Confederate hands without a declaration of war, and though supplies to the Fort had been prevented by the odd skirmish out of South Carolina, it was not enough to provoke all out conflict. That all changed as President Lincoln took the initiative to begin hostilities whilst putting that particular ball firmly in the Confederate court by letting the Confederacy know that he was indeed going to reinforce Sumter, but not violently, and that war would be initiated if supplies were prevented from reaching the Fort. Reinforcing Sumter was of course provocative after the previous unsuccessful attempts in January 1861, and Lincoln knew it’d end violently, but it would be the Confederacy that fired the first shot after a tense stand off, and so appearing to be the aggressors.

James Bulloch arrived in Liverpool, England, two months after the attack on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the United States Civil War. His job; Chief Foreign Agent of the Confederate States of America. His task; to procure British ships in order to aid the Confederacy. His name is unknown to most, but his influence kept the Confederacy going, shook President Lincoln’s confidence, and almost brought Britain into the conflict on the side of the Confederacy. The Union State Department Officials referred to Bulloch as “the most dangerous man in Europe“.

Lincoln knew that sympathy in the UK for the Confederacy was intricately linked to high flying members of the British establishment (though, class doesn’t seem to play too high a part in support for either side). He sent a letter of thanks to Manchester workers who issued a proclamation of support for the Union. A statue of Lincoln now resides in Manchester. Lincoln thus played a very cautious game with the British. He was up against members of the Palmerstone government with obvious sympathy and suspect ties to the Confederacy, as well as newspapers such as the Glasgow Gazette and Manchester Weekly Budget. It’s true that most MPs and Lords and in fact, people in general, distrusted both sides.

President Lincoln thus sent Charles Francis Adams as United States Ambassador to Great Britain. Adams was the grandson of President John Adams, and son of President John Quincy Adams, and thus, had a degree of notoriety in the UK. He was tasked with making it abundantly clear to Great Britain, that with British possessions scattered all over the World, and US power increasing, that Britain should be careful about recognising the Confederacy, or sending ships to the Confederacy, or any other policy that could “set a dangerous precedent“. Washington was worried. Eduard de Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to Washington expected Britain to declare for the Confederacy at any moment, stating:

“The Cabinet of London is watching attentively the internal dissensions of the Union and awaits the result with an impatience which it has difficulty in disguising.”

Adams was worried, by 1862, that the British were considering brokering a peace deal between the North and South. Adams further worried, that brokering peace, meant offering concessions to the South.

Great Britain was officially neutral during the Civil War. It was in Britain’s interest not to throw its lot in with either side. Unofficially, there were those in high places handing out favours to both sides. Companies in the UK took advantage of the US civil war. Whilst it’s true that the Confederacy, despite its lack of strong industrial base that the North had, managed to produce some impressive arms, they also imported much from Britain. Especially rifles. It’s suggested that around 900,000 rifles were imported between 1861-1865, almost all made in Enfield.

Bulloch took advantage of this, knowing that British companies noted a brand new war market. He engaged with a company in Liverpool called Fraser, Trenholm Company; a large shipping company specialising in buying – and thus, bankrolling – the Confederate cotton industry, located in a rather unimpressive part of Liverpool close to the Thistle Hotel. From the offices of Fraser, Trenholm, Bulloch managed to purchase the CSS Alabama, despite British neutrality. CSS Alabama was built in secret though the Prime Minister knew, in Birkenhead. Bulloch managed to sneak Alabama out of Liverpool, and over to the the Confederacy, though the ship never docked in any Confederate port. For the next couple of years, it managed to raid 450 Union vessels, burn 65 Union merchant ships, and take 2000 prisoners. CSS Alabama (along with other ships out of Liverpool, including the CSS Shenandoah) was key to the Confederate war effort. It is also notable that Prime Minister Palmerstone most probably knew that the ship was headed for the Confederacy, and yet, he still let it depart pleading ignorance to where it was headed. Following the war, the US claimed damages for the destruction caused by the Alabama. Senator Sumner (a radical abolitionist) wished the claim to include the Canada becoming a part of the USA. In the end, the matter was settled for $15.5m.

In 1862, William Gladstone, then Chancellor under the Prime Ministership of Palmerstone, angered both his boss, and Queen Victoria with a speech made in Newcastle, in which he stated:

“….there is no doubt that Jefferson Davis and other leaders of the South have made an Army; they are making, it appears, a Navy; and they have made — what is more than either — they have made a Nation.”

– It is also rumoured that Gladstone had purchased Cotton bonds from the Confederacy also. It was a great deal at the time. Jefferson Davis policy was to hold back cotton from Europe, because he believed Britain especially was so reliant on Southern cotton, that they’d eventually have no choice but to back the Confederacy. And so, whilst holding back cotton, the South tried to strengthen their position by attracting European investors for such a sought after product in purposely short supply. Bankers from Paris were involved in the underwriting of cotton bonds – floating a loan of $3,000,000, redeemable in cotton at sixpence a pound – secretly authorised by the Confederate Congress in order to raise funds for arms. As Britain remained neutral, Gladstone appeared to be both a vocal supporter of Jefferson Davis, and a financier of the Confederate cause.

Another subscriber to the Confederate cotton loan program was John Arthur Roebuck, the Liberal MP from Sheffield. His reasons for supporting the Confederacy, like Gladstone, seem to be entirely related to profiting from the cotton loan program. It is no shock then that Roebuck was a member of the UK’s Southern Independence Association, and that he raised a motion in Parliament for the House of Commons to officially recognise the independence of the Confederacy. Roebuck, in proposing full recognition of the Confederacy, also strongly advocated sending arms and aid to the rebels. Roebuck overstepped the mark, perhaps delivering the biggest blow to the Confederate cause in the UK, on his visit to France in order to try to convince Napoleon III to support the Confederate cause. Roebuck returned to England insisting that the French Emperor had agreed to recognise the rebel States. This was a fabrication. The Emperor had completely rejected to idea. The fabrication was soon discovered, and used to ridicule Roebuck’s cause. The Confederate offensive in the UK Parliament, had been dealt its deathblow. A Confederate agent in Britain, Henry Hotze, charged with helping to lead the cause for recognition noted after the withdrawal of Roebuck’s motion:

“All hope of Parliamentary action is past. Diplomatic means can no longer avail. Everybody looks to Lee to conquer recognition.”

– At around this time, sympathy for the Confederate cause in Britain was drying up.

Colonel John Lewis Peyton of Virginia was sent to Britain in 1861, sent with instructions to buy arms for the Confederacy. He docked at Southampton, and resided in Jermyn Street, adjacent to Piccadilly in Westminster. He quickly became a member of Pall Mall’s Reform Club – a club that still runs today and boasts members such as Prince Charles and former Mi5 Director General, Stella Rimington. Peyton managed to secure a deal worth 1760 Enfield rifles which reached Confederate troops in South Carolina, in 1862.

One of London’s most famous Confederate guests was Matthew Fontaine Murray. His bust currently resides at the ‘Hall of Fame for Great Americans’ in New York City. His statue presides in Richmond Virginia. Murray was a great oceanographer, nicknamed ‘the pathfinder of the seas’, a wonderful astrologer, and great navy man. He landed in Liverpool, with his son, in November 1862, met with Bulloch, and then onto London to advance the Confederate cause. He made lasting friendships with high members of British society including Lord Wrottesley and Roberts Fitzroy, the captain of HMS Beagle, of Charles Darwin fame. Along with a distant cousin, Murray worked to establish ties that would supply the Confederates with support, and arms, whilst trying to give credit to their cause by mixing with those of important standing.

Peyton and Murray were just two of many agents sent to London, and other parts of England, to mix with high ranking officials, to use cotton bonds for funds and arms used to kill Union soldiers and prolong a vicious civil war. Confederate operations in London, were extensive; this included the business World, the journalism World, and deep inside the corridors of power in Parliament and Whitehall. John D Bennett, in his book “The London Confederates” notes of the South’s agents in England:

“For four years their efforts helped the Confederacy maintain its armies in the field; and without them the South would almost certainly have been defeated much earlier.”

A small Confederate community began to occupy Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire – and about 30 minutes from my house – including Major Norman Stewart Walker, a Confederate officer, who was sent to Britain with Confederate bonds to buy arms. Another visitor to the Royal Leamington Spa Confederate community, was youngest officer on board the CSS Alabama, Irvine Bulloch; whose nephew went on to become President of the United States; Theodore Roosevelt. James Murray Mason – grandson of George Mason known as the “father of the Bill of Rights” – stayed in Leamington Spa, sent by Jefferson Davis himself, to try to win over the British by appealing to the necessity for cotton. Writing to Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin about the town, he remarked on the:

“…large circle of Confederates in this retired town”

– Thus, the town has a unique history in Britain with its links to the Confederacy. Many more Confederate agents were sent to Britain to procure arms, investment and support for the Confederate cause, knowing the CSA had quite a strong presence already.

The Confederate agents didn’t stand too much of a chance of succeeding in bringing Britain over to their corner. Loss of US grain supply, war with the US, potential loss of Canada, a rise in tariffs and risking aggravating large groups of pro-Union working class Brits, especially in the North, was too big a risk for the British to take for very little return.

Agents of the Confederate States of America flooded the shores of Britain during the war, in order to secure weapons and aid for the Confederate war effort, and whilst Britain publicly remained neutral and showed very little desire to recognise the Confederacy on an international state level; in private many of the country’s high ranking members of society gladly aided the Confederacy in big, and small ways. Wealthy Brits saw the US civil war as a great time to profit from death. This makes Britain – specifically in relation to keeping the Confederacy armed and dangerous, in which hundreds of thousands died – intrinsically linked to the attempts to both perpetuate and nationalise African American slavery in the US, far more so than most Brits care to admit.


The UAF: Fighting Fascism with Fascism.

June 1, 2013

On the surface, the Unite Against Fascism movement appears to be a promising prospect. A counterbalance to the ignorance and promotion of violence of groups like the English Defence League. Fighting Fascism is indeed a noble cause. It is well known that Fascism tends to gain support during economic downturns. We see Golden Dawn in Greece capitalising on that, whilst the ruling authorities have absolutely no idea how to deal with the growing threat from the far right. And so grass roots, anti-Fascist organisations are indeed welcome, and necessary. But slowly peel away the top layer of the UAF, and we’re left with a rather bleak picture. A stinging lack of consistency, and in fact, we see a leadership closer in authoritarian far-right principles, to the EDL, than either side would care to admit.

On the UAF website we are treated to the names of the elected officials in charge of running the operation. Azad Ali being one of the Vice Chairs. Ali was also community affairs coordinator for the Islamic Forum of Europe. During a Dispatches undercover report a couple of years back, Ali, when asked his feelings on Democracy, implied his rather Fascist tendencies thusly:

“Democracy, if it means at the expense of not implementing the sharia, of course no one agrees with that”.

The Islamic Forum of Europe itself, produced a leaflet in which it noted that one of its main goals was to change the:

“very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.”

And how would that change from “ignorance” to “Islam” be noticable to the ordinary citizen of a Country that Azad’s group wishes to replace democratic secularism with? Well, they kindly tell us:

“Protect yourselves from all types of haram … music, TV, and freemixing with women in that which is not necessary.”

Predictably, in much the same way that the BNP and EDL blame the media for misrepresenting what they say, by presenting, well, what they actually say, the IFE commented:

“I write to express my disgust and disappointment at Channel 4’s wholly inaccurate and defamatory accusations … The documentary is Islamophobic in nature … uses emotive and provocative language … is part of a series of organised, vindictive and orchestrated witch-hunts.”

Equally as predictable, George Galloway referred to the Dispatches programme as a smear campaign. But then, he also noted that he owed his election to the IFE. And of course, let’s not forget that Mr Galloway openly & happily funds Hamas. So I’m not sure such a man is worth listening to when bemoaning smear campaigns against religious Fascists. When calling it a smear campaign didn’t work, Ali simply resorted to subtle threats. On the IFE radio station, sounding like an EDL thug, Ali said of the Dispatches reporter:

“We’ve got a picture of you and a lot more than you thought we had. We’ve tracked you down to different places. And if people are gonna turn what I’ve just said into a threat, that’s their fault, innit?”

Ali also keeps a blog for the IFE, on which, in 2008, he openly lavishes praise on Imam Anwar Awlaki. Awlaki is of course known for being a key player in the planning of terrorist attacks for Al Qaeda, and a key recruiter for such enterprises. He preached to three of the 9/11 hijackers. Azad Ali, the Vice Chair of Unite Against Fascism says of Awlaki, on the subject of US elections:

“….one of my favourite speakers and scholars Imam Anwar Awlaki – of course those of you who know me will know that I disagree with the Shaykh on this matter – however I really do love him for the sake of Allah, he has an uncanny way of explaining things to people which is endearing.”

– Oh that old endearing, lovable mass murdering terrorist.

It isn’t just George Galloway who has a bit of a love affair with Hamas. Ali also praises them:

“Today we read from the leader of Hamas, their strength and courage and sheer determination to stand up to the Zionist onslaught. Let us to do something to help them by holding our government to account for the lack of transparency. Until we have a clear unequivicol and unconditional condemnation of the Zionist state’s terrorist attacks, they can – talk to the hand, cos the head aint listening!”

– Yes! The strength of courage of Hamas. The leadership of Hamas! All praise be to a group that gleefully pronounces in its Charter that:

“The state of truth has disappeared and was replaced by the state of evil. Nothing has remained in its right place, for when Islam is removed from the scene, everything changes. These are the motives. As to the objectives: discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place.”

– The “State of Evil” naturally being anything that isn’t fundamentalist Islamic. Ali is wrong to promote Hamas as simply a force that wishes to prevent any further Israeli aggression against Palestinian Muslims. This isn’t the goal of Hamas, and never has been. Their goal has always been a resurrected Caliphate, under the shoddy assumption that the entire Middle East is Muslim. Hamas are not angry at Israel’s aggression, they are angry that Israel isn’t Islamic. This is the very epitome of Imperialism. How do we know this? Well, we can start by looking at their Charter, in which Part III Article 11 states:

“The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.”

Their distinct lack of dedication to any peace effort, is also noted in their Charter:

“…the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad”

– Their entire Charter reads like one long anti-semitic, violent, anti-democracy, anti-anything that isn’t Islamic, rant that isn’t all that dissimilar in tone and pronouncements, to those of Fascists like Anders Breivik. It seems extremism comes full circle. Imperialism, and nothing else.

Azad Ali’s motives for fighting the Fascism of the Nationalists like the EDL is not the same as the rest of us. We value our secular, democratic system. We value the heroes who have fought for centuries to get to where we are now, the philosophers that have shaped our way of thought. We value the forward march of equality for gender, for sexuality. We value the right to believe whatever you wish and be treated equally under the Secular law. Ali values none of this. He is fighting groups like the EDL, because they don’t fit into his Theocratic dream for the future of Britain. On his blog, Ali quite disturbingly writes:

So, since we are all working our socks off, in different ways, for the resurgence of the Khilafa, I have one question who would you give bayyah to today and what would you say are the qualities needed for them to get your vote? Please, no essays or dissertations!

– Here, Ali is wishing for an Islamic candidate to stand for election, on the platform of dismantling our entire Parliamentary secular system; to be replaced by a Theocratic Caliphate. This would naturally include far less rights for women (whom, according to Hamas’s charter, are to only be educated in how to keep a household in order), homosexuality crushed viciously, and anything the Fascists deem to be “haram” banned…. goodbye Glastonbury Festival, you banquet of immoral hedonism, you, with your… music.
How is this putrid philosophy any better, or more respectable, than that of the BNP or EDL?

The love fest with Hamas keeps going, with Ali. After declaring that he’s working his socks off for a brand new Islamic Empire, he announces to us all, his ideal candidate:

“My vote for the title of Amir al-Mu’mineen would have to go to the Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh. Not only is a motivational leader, with political depth and skill, but also he is a Hafiz of the Qur’an, Mashallah!”

– Ismail Haniyeh is a top political leader of Hamas, who, upon hearing of the death of Osama Bin Laden, said:

“We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

– Azad Ali would like to see a candidate like Haniyeh stand for election in a secular democratic country like the UK. A man who praises Osama Bin Laden, leads Hamas, and wishes to see a global Islamic Empire. Fight against Fascism? Are you kidding me?

Ali doesn’t stop there. He keeps reiterating his intense opposition to secular democracy, by echoing the thoughts of Hamas:

“Of course I am still convinced that participation is correct, but my contention is that it should be on our terms, and not on terms set by others. Why allow ourselves to be boxed in by “rules” that are clearly designed to destroy us in this world and the hereafter? These rules are underpinned by the notion of secularism that is followed by immorality and basic deconstruction of the pillars of what a good society should be based on, according to God. This is manifested in almost every Western government’s foreign policy in the guise of spreading democracy. If only they would spread freedom!”

– The rather curious line “I am still convinced that participation is correct” that precedes a tearing up of Western democratic and secular ideals, can only be seen as essentially a far-right Islamic rehash of “I’m not racist, but….“. The point being, he is convinced democratic participation is correct, just not Western Secular Democracy, which is full of immorality solely based on the fact that it isn’t ordained by his particular God.
The theme running through a lot of far-right Muslim commentators, is indeed rooted in their utter contempt for liberal, secular values. As much as some would like us to believe that it is Western aggressive foreign policy that Islamic fundamentalists like Ali are responding to, it really doesn’t play out when we read what they have to say. It is an excuse. A game of victimhood whilst promoting an eerily similar imperialist, and fascist agenda, they claim to be fighting against. They really do dislike, and wish to see dismantled, Western secular liberalism. This cannot be seen to be all that different from the authoritarian, far right principles espoused by groups like the BNP.

If we are to unite against Fascism, we must unite against all forms of Fascism. Including that coming from dangerous and vicious extremists like Ali. The UAF website says:

“Fascists and racists are trying to take advantage of the terrible murder of Lee Rigby to whip up racism and hatred for their own anti-democratic ends.”

– I couldn’t agree more. And that is why I cannot support an organisation that claims to be a beacon of anti-Fascist principles, when one of its key players, praises Hamas, loves Awlaki, wishes to resurrect a barbaric, backward, Theocratic Empire, and considers those of us who value secularism and democracy to be inherently immoral. This is nothing more than fighting Fascism with Fascism.


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?


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.


  • The Royal Summary….

    April 29, 2011

    It is nice to see that William and Kate chose to get married 66 years to the day that Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun tied the knot. And as Australian Geoff pointed out, William is a relative of Henry VIII. We can expect Kate to be his first wife, and for William to try to invade France at any point. James Hewitt’s son, Harry is not dressed like a Nazi.

    It amused me greatly that the Ambassador of Syria was uninvited from the wedding. An ambassador of an anti-democratic regime banned from the wedding of the epitome of anti-democracy who are where they are through centuries of fear and violence, for being too un-democratic. It is almost poetic.

    Elton John and partner David Furnish arrived at the Abbey. He always gets called “…partner David Furnish“. When we see the neighbour, we say “There’s John, with his dog Max“. Partner David Furnish is spoke of like Elton’s pet. Partner David Furnish mustn’t like that.

    “The first ray of sunshine shone over buckingham palace, literally the exact moment Kate walked into the room” – Fox News. Brilliant. The land of make belief is very very prominent within the four walls of Fox.

    Here is me. Look at me smile. Look how happy I am. Look how bright the room is. That isn’t the sun. That is the light of the Monarchy brightening my otherwise dark day.

    – Incase you’re wondering, the midget on the mantlepiece is Elf Ash.

    A woman being interviewed on ITV just said “Oh they’re a lovely couple. They’re so down to Earth”. I’m not too sure how that woman knows the couple so well, but apparently she does.

    Why do we still have a monarchy? Why? I don’t understand.

    Fox News, in its typical brilliant way, showed a montage of Diana’s face fading out and Kate’s smilie face fading in. I wanted to be sick. I still do. To their credit, they stopped short of blaming Obama for Diana’s death.

    Cleggs missus looks like she has JFK’s assassinated head on the side of her face. Perhaps her choice of hat was an unconscious decision, a symbolic attempt to let us all know how it feels to be married to the most hated man in British politics. Like being assassinated….

    Speaking of assassinations, Obama is in Alabama today. Or as the rest of the World calls it, the 1800s.

    Blair and Brown have not been invited. Major and Thatcher have. The official line is that Blair and Brown are not Knights of the Garter. Though why Boris and Douglas Hurd have been invited is a little bit bemusing. Perhaps Boris is about to become Sir Boris for services to being a massive twat. Blair won three elections. He also managed to pull the Royals out of the shit after Diana died. Thatcher was thrown out by her own party. Major was the most boring man in history.

    I like that William is balding. I feel relieved.

    There is a man in the crowd with a very funny moustache. It has no relevance to this blog or to the wedding in general, but the moustache looks like a small woodland creature attacking his face. If that isn’t worth a mention, I don’t know what is.

    It is nice to see The Met managed to be next to young people, without smashing their faces in.

    I hope Prince Andrew turns up at any moment, drunk, with a 16 year old girl on his arm, and announcing that he has sold Westminster Abbey to a consortium of Bahraini business men and that everyone needs to leave immediately because it is being bulldozed to make way for a car park.

    David Cameron thinks the hundreds of thousands of people lining the streets of Whitehall and the Mall are there for the wedding. Actually, they’re the people he is in the process of making homeless, for the sake of big business.

    President Obama was far smarter than Prime Minister Gillard. Obama clearly knew that this was all just a ploy to get the leaders of former colonial nations in one place, whilst we secretly take back our old possessions. Australia will be ours again. We will forget about this silly independence thing.

    The priest said “William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in front of a generous God”. Yes, he’s generous! Yeah but, what about all the killing in the old testament by God?…… forget that. But what about all the wars in the name of that God?….. yeah forget that too. But what about all the people in Africa who were told by the Pope that condoms actually spread AIDS?…….. can you please just forget that and listen to the Priest! He’s never wrong! Oh and then an attack on secularism. Nice.

    In the build up to the wedding, BBC and SKY kept telling us how wonderful Kate is. “Look at her walking around and shaking hands. Isn’t she amazing. It’s like she’s been doing this for years.” No one can walk like she can. Is there anything she can’t do? I see her walk and think “My god……. what a woman!

    Prince Harry is dressed like a curtain. It has given me ideas for our kitchen windows. I am still annoyed that he isn’t dressed as Goering. Prince William is dressed like Pete Doherty in the ‘Don’t look Back into the sun’ video.

    Princess Eugenie has a butterfly splatted on her forehead.

    The Dean of Westminster is dressed like a Jedi.

    Apparently the Middleton family really annoyed the Royals when they first met. They did something horrific. Something beyond repulsive. Something that makes me heave. They said “Pleased to meet you” as opposed to “how do you do“. Scum.

    They have been described as a typical middle class family. You know, those typical families that own multi million pound businesses and live in a five bedroom estate, and a full private education for your kids and a £750,000 flat in London. Ah yes, I know it well.

    Is it wrong that when I saw Kate in her dress, my instant reaction was “Miss Havisham”. And just in case you’re interested, Kate is wearing, erm, a dress. It’s white. It’s a white dress. A white wedding dress, actually.

    BBC described her as “she looks, behind that veil, a picture of contentment“. I had to sit and wonder for a second whether they said “contemptment“. Having checked my dictionary, and discovering that contemptment isn’t actually a word, I figure that Kate Middleton isn’t full of contempt, with hate behind her veil.

    The Queen is taking the time in her bulletproof car to wave to commoners. Remarkable. Those people are mere scum, and she has such love for them, as she waves to the poor, working class feces that line the street outside her home, drenched in ignorant patriotism.

    Interestingly, the last King William was William III. He went to war with Catholicism and the French. Before him, William II went to war with France. William I took on Brittany in France. Is this a trend? Is William going to dress like a Knight and single handedly invade France. I once dreamt that David Beckham single handedly invaded France dressed as a Knight. David Beckham is in the Abbey today. Coincidence?

    With David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and the Royal Family all in Westminster Abbey, could I potentially stage a coup? Emperor Jamie?

    It is history being made. I dislike the symbol of the history being made. It’s a big game in pomp. It isn’t real. It is actually quite disturbing when you consider the amount of homeless people living in London, to see the biggest benefit claimants in the Country have a wedding so lavish, at the expense of the people. But it is history. So it goes…


    On this day…

    January 21, 2011

    I am 25 today.
    It’s rather old.
    A quarter of a century.
    I dropped Ash off at Gatwick this morning and have just got home.
    She has now gone home.
    I have to wait five and a half months to have her back.
    I don’t like that at all.
    Up until about an hour ago my day was particularly dull.
    I bought a lovely Redbull at Watford Gap.
    That was a little bit of an up point.
    Can you imagine the up point of your day being a can of Redbull?
    It’s been a pretty average January 21st.
    Not the worse ever.
    I think King Louis XVI off of France had the worst January 21st given that he had his head cut off.
    George Orwell’s January 21st wasn’t too much fun either back in 1950, given that he died.
    Emma Bunton, Baby Spice has to live with the fact that she was in the Spice Girls, her entire life.
    It’s a cross I wouldn’t like to bear.
    She was born on January 21st too.
    I have managed to reach 25, in Leicester, without yet having at least three kids by three different women, and without having stabbed anyone or contracted a nasty drug habit.
    I am impressed by my record.
    But still, the day was starting off very boring indeed.

    So imagine my joy when my entirely dull day turned to brightness when I turned on my TV screen to see that Tory Director of Communications and ex-News of the World editor/King of illegal Phone Hacking Andy Coulson has “resigned”. It’s certainly not a surprise. What is a surprise is that he still insists he knew nothing of phone hacking whilst he was editor of the News of the World. Which means one of two things…. 1) He’s lying (I suspect this is the case) or 2) He was an incredibly bad and out of touch editor. He resigned from the N.O.T.W because he claimed he knew nothing about any wrongdoing and insisted he’d done nothing wrong, and now he’s resigned from the Government….. because he claims he knew nothing about any wrongdoing and insisted he’d done no wrong. How odd. He also claimed he was not a despicable bully. He insisted it. And yet, in 2008 he was taken to an Employment Tribunal and the claim of bullying, against him, was upheld. The defendant was awarded £800,000 as a result. Which begs the question, if Coulson was involved in bullying, and was editor of a Paper in the middle of a phone hacking scandal, why would the Prime Minister employ him? Why is tax money (££140,000 a year as of May 2010) going to pay his wages whilst local council care budgets are being slashed?

    Coulson’s resignation comes a day after Labour’s massively incompetent and useless leader Ed Miliband announced that Alan Johnson, the shadow Chancellor was to resign for family reasons. It was a little bit of a media blunder for Johnson to have resigned on January 20th, because the papers and the TV news were bound to run with it, rather than the story that was grabbing headlines on January 19th, suggesting that David Cameron’s latest target is set on severely disabled children. The media repainting the Tories as the Nasty Party is exactly the wake up call people need. The harsh and unnecessary cuts to services like those that support the families of severely disabled children, whilst Vodafone have a tax bill written off by the Treasury, of close to £6bn. It could have lingered in the media and put pressure on the Government.

    The mainstream media reported that David Cameron, pre-election, promised to protect the rules for Councils providing care for disabled children. He made that promise to the parents of Holly Vincent, whom suffers from quadriplegia, has severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy, and is blind.

    They applied for respite care to Gloucestershire County Council. They were denied. This is because the wondrous Big-Society, We’re all in this together brigade of selfish rich economic thugs have not ringfenced spending for respite care. They have provided £800mn over four years to the County Council but it isn’t ringfenced. They have lifted the rules. Councils now are not obliged, legally, to spend funds protecting the most vulnerable. Cameron, pre-election told the parents of Holly Vincent that he “would never do anything that would hurt disabled children”.

    As a result of the lack of funds spent on Holly Vincent, her parents have signalled their intention to put her into a care home, because they simply cannot afford to look after her any more. They currently only get five to six hours respite a week.

    Riven Vincent, Holly’s mum said:

    “…..there’s nothing to stop cash-strapped local authorities from using the money elsewhere. I have no wish to put my daughter into a home. We want to look after her, all I am asking for is a little more support.
    Without this, we simply cannot cope and nor can families up and down the country just like ours. We are crumbling

    I don’t want her in a residential care home – it would destroy me. But without extra help, I find it hard to see how we can meet her needs at home.”

    If a politician had promised to help my struggling family, if we had a child who was so severely disabled and getting worse as she gets older, and then he cut the funding to the local authority and didn’t ring fence the remaining funds…… I’d get all the publicity possible to make that politician out to be the absolute scum bag liar hellbent on destroying hard pressed families up and down the Country for the sake of tax cuts for the wealthiest. The Prime Minister is a disgrace. The Tory Party and all of their heartless supporters, are a disagrace.

    Alan Johnson should have let this story linger for a while, so it has a chance to sink into the minds of the British Public that we have elected Thatcher-on-speed. Absolutely every promise they made, they appear to be backing down on. No one voted for backdoor privatisation of the NHS. No one voted for such a massive Tuition fee rise. No one voted for the releasing of rules surrounding respite care ringfencing. I can’t imagine many people would have voted for such a shit Party, had they expressed their desire to be the bringers of Neoliberal hell to Britain.

    Although, the Tories were kind enough to give me the birthday present of Coulson’s resignation. Perhaps next year they will try and top it by sacking Cameron, Osborne and Clegg.
    That would be amazing.


    The Pope in Britain

    September 16, 2010

    The Pope is in the UK for less than 24 hours, and he’s already calling the majority of us Nazis. The ex-Nazi Youth member, who brought back into Catholicism a bishop who claims the holocaust never happened and Jews are the enemy of Christ; the Pope turned leader of a mass child sex cover up, said:

    Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.
    I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a reductive vision of the person and his destiny.

    It’s an often repeated manipulation, that Hitler was Atheist. He wasn’t. Nor did he wish to strip the State of religious influence. I’d go further, and suggest that centuries of anti-Jewish sentiment spewed by the Catholic Church, had far more influence on the anti semitic sentiment in Germany of the time, than non-belief ever had.

    Hitler in 1922, said this:

    My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. .. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.

    Hitler in 1933, said this:

    “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.”

    Hitler, also in 1933, said this:

    “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

    Hitler in 1934, said this:

    “National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary, it stands on the ground of a real Christianity.”

    In 1939, Cardinal Orsenigo was sent by Rome to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. Pope Pius XII started an annual birthday celebration tradition for Hitler in fact. The Catholic Church each year would send “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany”.

    Here are some lovely Catholic Bishops, showing their love for The Nazis.

    – You can tell they’re not Atheists, because we wouldn’t wear such pathetically elaborate costumes.

    Here is a page from a German kids book, made by the Nazis:

    It reads:
    When you see a cross, then think of the horrible murder by the Jews on Golgotha..
    Anti-Jewish propaganda, pointing out that Christians have a duty to hate Jews. Atheists didn’t say this. We didn’t want this.

    In 1933, the Vatican and the Nazis signed the ‘Reich Concordat’ which in exchange for the Pope’s power over Catholics in Germany, meant that the Vatican would encourage Catholics in Germany to leave politics (at that time, they were very powerful) and allow the Nazis to centralise power, with no opposition. This allowed the Nazis to take full control of the Country, and progress to the next level, and we all know how that turned out. The Vatican said nothing on the issue. According to writer John Cornwell:

    “On July 14, 1933, after the initialing of the treaty, the Cabinet minutes record Hitler as saying that the concordat had created an atmosphere of confidence that would be “especially significant in the struggle against international Jewry.” He was claiming that the Catholic Church had publicly given its blessing, at home and abroad, to the policies of National Socialism, including its anti-Semitic stand.”

    In 2009, the Pope lifted an excommunication on a Bishop who is an out of the closet Holocaust denier. Bishop Richard Williamson, whom this Pope brought back into the fold of Catholicism, the same Pope who tells we Atheists that we are Nazis, claimed that Jews were the “enemies of Christ“. He blames Catholic Church corruption, on Jews. He claims Jews are fighting for World domination. He claims there is no evidence that 6 million Jews died in gas chambers in Nazi Germany. The Pope brought him back into the Catholic fold.

    Perhaps the Pope should spend less time referring to Atheists as Nazis, and more time trying to rid his Church of systematic sex abuse, anti-semitic bishops, and changing its horrific stance on AIDS in Africa.


    The London Bombings

    July 22, 2010

    I am not one for conspiracy theories. I don’t buy the theories that the 9/11 attacks were inside jobs; I merely think the Bush administration were incredibly weak and moronic and did not bother to read up on the intelligence they were getting. They then needed to appear strong, and made the international terrorism problem 100 times worse, by waging illegal wars on the basis of lies, for which both Bush and Blair should be in prison for right about now.

    I do not want to come across as a sensationalist, when it comes to theories. I should let it be known, that I have no theory of my own on this particular subject, merely that I find certain pieces of the official story to be somewhat contradictory and inaccurate. The Government’s refusal to accept calls for an independent inquiry into this subject, is dubious in itself.

    That being said, i’ve been reading up on the profiles of the men responsible for the London 7/7 bombings, and in particular, the apparent ring leader, Mohammad Sidique Khan, whom exploded the bomb on the Tube train that had just departed Edgeware Road Station, and I can’t quite seem to accept the official line that he was a crazed Muslim extremist hell bent on destroying the West. I know that the video shows him denouncing the West and our atrocities across the World, and that we deserve to be punished. But it still doesn’t seem to add up. Across his community, he was considered a role model, and didn’t seem to care too much about his religion. And yet, the Home Office described him as “serious” about his religion.

    The official line, from the Government inquiry is that the bombers boarded the 7:40am train from Luton to London on 7/7/05. The problem was that the 7:40 was cancelled that day. The Government inquiry clearly didn’t inquire very substantially. After concerns about the timings were raised, the official line changed, and the Government then said the bombers caught the 7:25am train. This caused a new issue, because they had just released the CCTV footage showing the bombers with heavy back packs outside Luton station with the time frame saying 7:22am. This means that for the report to be accurate, the bombers, with heavy back packs, casually strolled through Luton Station unaware that their later train was cancelled, then when they realised it was cancelled, ran to the ticket desk, bought all of their tickets, and got onto the train, all within about two minutes. Having done that same thing at Leicester station, which is considerably smaller than Luton, I can promise, it’s not a plausible scenario. The only other train from Luton to London on that morning, was the 7:30, which arrived in London, according to Luton Station reports, at 8:39 because of massive delays, by which time the Tube trains that were to be bombed, according to the Tube reports, had left the stations. The timings of the train, is one of the most intriguing parts of this entire story. The Home Secretary at the time, John Reid had to admit the official report was wrong in front of the entire House of Commons, and revise its original findings to this new set of just as implausible timings, which sees the bombers enter the station, buy tickets, cross the platforms and board the train, all within two minutes. Either way, it’s all we have, so we have to assume it is correct.

    They then made it into London at 8:23am, and made it through hoards of commuters at Kings Cross from the Thameslink line station within three minutes to arrive at King’s Cross at 8:26am. A group calling for an independent inquiry has noted that on a clear day with very little people, it takes at least seven minutes to get from Thameslink to King’s Cross. No CCTV has been released to prove the Government line is the correct one. We just have to accept it.

    In fact, the only CCTV image of the bombers, is a hazy screenshot, in which the bombers are all wearing baseball caps, you can’t make out it is them, entering Luton Station earlier that morning. Given that London is the most watched city in the World, I would have expected at least one CCTV image or video to have been released showing they were exactly where the inquiry tells us they were. But no, no CCTV footage from London has ever been released, even though it remains one of the most horrendous attacks on British soil. I am not going to give any credit to the suggestion made by conspiracy theorists that the bombers were not on the tube, and that they were tricked and part of a larger conspiracy, and killed later that day; although I still can’t figure out why the bombers all bought return tickets to London, when they didn’t plan on coming home. What I will say is that if such easy mistakes were made by the official Government line, it suggests the inquiry was flawed, and the public deserve a full clear and honest account of the day’s events. Why are the Government refusing to allow an independent inquiry?

    The Luton Station CCTV footage, here, shows the four bombers outside the station. It also shows the bomber with the white cap, apparently with the third bar down, of the railing behind him, cutting through his mid-section.

    And here is a zoomed in version.
    Now whilst I’m clearly suggesting the picture could have been tampered with, I don’t necessarily believe that to be the case. I accept that that pictures like this, go through a lot of compression and processing before they are released. The image may have been touched up to help identify the suspects. I accept that. My main issue, is that this is the only CCTV picture of the bombers on that day. Given that anyone can be tracked throughout their day in London, from the shop, to their front door, it strikes me as amazing that this is the only image of the bombers, and that it isn’t even in London. Their is a slight curiosity to that, which I’d like to have cleared up.

    One theory I quite like, but have no proof for, is intriguing whilst pretty far fetched. A year before the attacks, almost a year to the day in fact, the BBC showed a documentary about what would happen if London were attacked, and bombs exploded on the Tube and on an above ground vehicle. They used Muslims who were well known in their communities, to advise them on how they’d cope with the aftermath within Muslim communities. The documentary showed a post-bombed London, and the panic on the streets. A year later, it came true. Almost identically. The theory says that the four bombers were told another documentary was to be made, and they were to be enlisted as helpers and advisors for the day. The credit behind this theory, is that Peter Power, the former Scotland Yard detective, said that there were plans being made for a mock terrorist attack on London………. on that very day, 7/7/05. What are the chances of that? Power himself is a little bemused by the situation, stating:

    ‘At half-past nine this morning we were running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up.’

    The theory then continues. The anti-Western video that Khan was on, so the theory goes, was made for the documentary they were told about, to make it seem real. The BBC had just shown a similar documentary about the day George Bush was assassinated. It included very realistic videos. The theory states that all of this, was done so that the bombers thought they were part of a documentary. Hence the return tickets. In fact, it wasn’t a drill or a documentary, it was the real thing. The problem is, the theory doesn’t suggest who then might have been behind the attacks if it wasn’t the Khan clan. There is no evidence, except the very circumstantial. And so whilst I like the theory, and whilst it is filled with holes; so is the Government’s line. I take neither seriously.

    The apparent ring leader, Mohammed Siddique Khan is a very intriguing man. On the day of 7/7/05, Khan’s wife stated that he did not seem any different from any other day. He didn’t bid her and their daughter a fond farewell, he didn’t wish them well, he didn’t cry or do anything out of the ordinary. He said he was just going out with his friends for the day. For all intents and purposes, he acted like he would be home later. He then bought a train ticket, to be home later that day.

    According to documents released recently, Khan was on an MI5 watch list, as early as 2003. American intelligence apparently thought he was planning to blow up Synagogues on US soil, and FBI banned him from entering America because they were worried he actually might carry out his threat. Not only that, but they suspected he had traveled to Israel and planned attacks there too. That is the media line, and that’s the story were all know. Sidique Khan in this version of his life, was a maniac, that America thought too dangerous to let enter the USA, yet the UK just kind of ignored. Surely if he was that great a threat, the UK would have monitored him a little?

    However, that wasn’t Mohammad Sidique Khan. All of that intelligence, all of that worry and paranoia, all of that scare tactics actually turned out to be against a man named Mohammad Ajmal Khan; a British born Muslim involved with a Jihad movement in the USA, and whom is currently in prison in the UK. There was suggestion that Sidique Khan’s movements and correspondents had been traced to a Jihad movement in the USA. Again, it turned out to be Ajmal Khan, who admitted that he provided funding and weapons to a group called Lashkar-i-Toiba, whom were fighting against India in Kashmir.

    There is absolutely no evidence, that links Sidique Khan to any Muslim extremist organisation. He was not banned from America. He was not on an MI5 watch list, and he had not planned attacks in Israel.

    On Radio 4, a few months after the attacks on London, Khan’s friends were interviewed. Both of them were White Brits and considered good friends of Khan. They told Radio 4 that Khan was a half-arsed Muslim, who didn’t really frequent his Mosque, and was obsessed with all things American; music, film, TV, dress etc. They told Radio 4 that Khan actually liked to be called by a Western name; Sid. His friend Ian Barret said:

    “The other Pakistani lads would have to go mosque because their families would say ‘You’re going to mosque.’ But Sid didn’t go,” says Ian. “He didn’t seem interested in Islam and I don’t ever remember him mentioning religion.””

    Another friend, Rob Cardiss said:

    “He was very English. Some of the other Pakistani guys used to talk about Muslim suffering around the world but with Sidique you’d never really know what religion he was from.”

    It doesn’t sound like a man who suddenly decided, out of the blue, that he was going to blow up 53 people and injure hundreds more in a senseless act of extreme violence. Khan worked for Youth programs, helping young people with problems get back on the right track. His job application for a Youth program was published by the Independent regarding a potentially dangerous situation, it read:

    “I have an excellent rapport with the youth community so … I targeted the ringleaders and spoke to them, calming them down and offering sympathy as well as empathy. We then approached the teachers and as a large group casually walked together up Beeston Hill which defused the situation.”

    According to The Times, the head teacher at a school at which Khan volunteered as a mentor, said:

    “He was great with the children and they loved him. He did so much for them, helping and supporting them and running extra clubs and activities.”

    Whilst at that school, Khan produced a leaflet on the dangers of drug use. According to a few friends who helped with the project, Khan had insisted that, and they quote: “The British flag must be part of it. I was born here and I am proud to be British.

    When Khan and his wife moved house, they became friends with their local MP. This happened, because Khan started working at a new school, and the head teacher was married to the local MP. They were invited around the Houses of Parliament as a guest of the MP John Trickett. Whilst living here, Khan made a positive impact. The Guardian states:

    “Few men were more popular on the streets of Beeston than the 30-year-old family man. Recognised by his sensible sweaters and neat, coiffeured hairstyle, Khan’s respectability peaked nine months ago when he visited Parliament as the guest of a local MP. There he was praised for his teaching work. Even now, those who hang about Cross Flatt’s Park describe him as their mentor. He remains the man who coaxed them back into the education system; the bloke who took them on canoeing and camping trips to the nearby Yorkshire Dales; the man who bought them ‘loads of extra bullets’ when he took them paint-balling. Hussain and Tanweer were among those who idolised Khan from his days as a youth worker in Beeston when he had nurtured their love of cricket and football.”

    After the attacks the Home Office reported that Khan had worked at the school, but had not been reliable in the slightest. They say:

    “More problematic was his increasingly poor attendance record. ”

    Yet, the head teacher of the school, after the 7/7 attacks said of Khan:

    “Sidique was a real asset to the school and always showed 100% commitment.”

    A Freedom of Information request recently showed that between early 2001 and mid 2003, Khan’s attendance was perfect. He later resigned because he had taken an unauthorised absence in December 2004, but between mid September 2004 and November 2004, he took sick leave and provided adequate documents as to why. He seems to have resigned, because he didn’t know when he’d be able to be back 100%.

    Khan handed in his resignation, in writing, to the school, on December 7th 2004. That is what the headteacher, and the school have reported. Yet, the Home Office, in paragraph 43 of its report stated that Khan left the country on November 19th, returning to the UK on February 8th 2005. So, whilst Khan was apparently in Pakistan receiving crazed Jihad training, and also being monitored by US intelligence agents who were in fact actually monitoring a totally different Khan, he was also in the UK penning his resignation letter. What is clear, is that the week following his resignation, Khan traveled to Pakistan, citing family reasons. The Home Office report has absolutely no proof, and offers absolutely no evidence to suggest he was receiving militant training. The report simply states that they “assume” and “we have no firm evidence” before suggesting reasons why Khan was in Pakistan. The report does admit that trips to Pakistan among British Muslims, to where extended family live, is very very common. Khan had family in Pakistan.

    The BBC then reported, after a lenghty investigation apparently, that Khan had traveled to Malaysia and the Philipines, and had met with high ranking Muslim terrorists responsible for the Bali bombings, and received training along the way. They suggest that his work as a care assistant was merely a “strong cover” for his extreme activities elsewhere. The problem is, the Home Office report stated that:

    “There were media reports soon after the attacks that Khan had visited Malaysia and the Philippines to meet Al Qaida operatives. These stories were investigated and found to have no basis.”

    According to a man named Martin Gilbertson, who worked with Khan, and had also worked with Muslims who are very radicalised, in the area he lives, Khan was:

    ……..the one who had to be ‘re-converted’ or ‘reverted’ – as they say – back to Islam first….. he wasn’t the ranting type; what he seemed to want was kudos within the group, and among people on the street outside. Khan’s way was to be a ‘cool dude’; it was all about kudos in the Muslim community”

    In another interview, with the Guardian, Gilbertson appears to reveal new information, and totally ignores the suggestion, that Khan was actually a well respected man in his community, by saying that he first met Khan in 2001, at a “at a party in Beeston to celebrate the September 11 attacks.” Gilbertson then claims he was forced to make anti-Western literature and videos for extremists including Khan, when they all worked at a book store together. Not only that, but Gilbertson claims that a 16 year old boy named Tyrone Clarke was stabbed to death because he insulted islam, by one of the bookstore associates and fellow 7/7 bomber Shehzad Tanweer who was then questioned by police in 2004 over the killing. However, Tanweer’s father absolutely denies 100% that his son was questioned, and sources within the police force told the Yorkshire post, that neither Tanweer or Khan were questioned nor even suspected of the killing. Out of nowhere, and totally contradictory to everything his friends had said about him, and totally contradictory to his mannerisms and his actions over the years preceding 7/7, Khan is now being painted as very religious, very anti-western, and a Jihadist. It just doesn’t add up. It seems like a bit of a smear campaign, backed up by absolutely no evidence.

    It is amazing, that this man, who apparently traveled to Pakistan for sinister reasons, was partying to celebrate 9/11, and was hanging around with known crazed anti-Western Muslims, was not so much as glanced at by the security services. In fact, the Yorkshire Post discovered in June 2006, that whilst security services were trying to convince us that Khan was actually known to them, Khan’s car had been bugged by security services…..after 7/7. Khan’s family, according to the Telegraph wanted a second post mortem on his body, by an independent pathologist. The request was turned down, on the basis that tests have already been done to establish how he died, and what kind of explosives he used, and no new information could possibly be found now. Yet, the Home Office is still, to this day, five years later, clueless as to what explosives the bombers used, still believing them to be cheap homemade explosives.

    The two conclusions I’m lead to come to, are either:
    1) Khan and the others were part of something far larger, and given that they brought return tickets that day, and given that Khan especially seemed a very Westernised man; thought they were all going to come home again that day. They did not give their families one last goodbye, and they all bought return tickets from Luton. They were easy targets, because they were Muslim.
    2) Khan was a very very clever terrorist agent. He had a brilliant cover working for disadvantaged youths. He used his money to fund this attack, which would have had to have been planned years in advance, given the expense needed for the training and the equipment. He deceived his closest friends and family. He adopted Western mannerisms, and acted as if he loved our culture, whilst all the time plotting an horrendous and grotesque attack against Britain. If that were the case though, why did he use shit home made devices? And why not a bigger target? If you have spent years planning, traveling between continents training, spending every last penny you have, and you’re a muslim extremist who wishes to cause as much damage and casualty and panic as possible, surely you would aim higher than less than 100 deaths? You would aim for a 9/11 of your own, or even bigger, surely?

    What I would like to see, is an independent inquiry that focuses on the exact movement of the bombers, that interviews people they knew, family, friends and associates, that tracks their movements on CCTV, that unearths incompetencies within the security services and the mistakes made by the government inquiry. Only that way will the public be satisfied, and only that way can steps be made to tighten security around those who are suspected of terrorist involvement. The inconsistencies and the unanswered questions should have been a priority to answer. They weren’t, and that is overwhelmingly shaming for the previous government.


    The madness of British Politics

    May 29, 2010

    David Cameron is Prime Minister.

    He wishes to cut the number of MPs whilst increasing the number of Lords.
    We now can’t get rid of the Government with a no confidence vote in the Commons, for the first time, well, ever.

    George Osbourne keeps saying “We’re all in this together” whilst walking out of his mansion, toward his Rolls Royce.

    David Laws apparently thinks he needed to spend £40,000 of taxpayers money to hide the fact that he’s gay (Firstly, why does he need to hide the fact that he’s gay? We’re not all regressive Tories. We don’t care that he’s gay. And secondly, how will not spending £40,000 of taxpayers money, reveal that you’re gay?), whilst at the same time telling us all rather hypocritically that we should all prepare for mad spending cuts and a decade of Tory and Tory-lite Lib Dem inflicted misery. It’s sad that it took a Telegraph revelation for Laws to say he “regretted it“. He didn’t regret, for eight entire years. He suddenly has an attack of conscience, on coincidentally, the day it becomes public. This is the “new politics“? It looks ominously like the old politics.

    Paddy Ashdown practically gave Laws an on-air blowjob, telling Sky News how wonderful the little fraudulent Lib Dem actually is. Apparently the story of millionaire David Laws ripping off the taxpayer by claiming £950 a month for almost a decade, to pay for his accommodation, that he rented, off of his gay lover, whom apparently his not his gay lover, despite the fact that they have been…….. gay lovers, since 2001.

    EDIT: David Laws has just resigned. It’s a sad day for people who are secretly gay and apparently have to spend £40,000 to gay lovers, for no apparent reason, to keep it a secret.

    Vince Cable has lost all credibility by suddenly becoming a Tory on the issue of spending cuts (apparently he “changed his view” because the “situation changed” which roughly translates to “I sold my soul for a bit of power“).

    Cable then signified his intention to sell the roads, because NM Rothschild, have described how wonderful it will be to privatise absolutely everything. Today the roads, tomorrow the air, and next week; you’ll have to pay to smile because McDonalds or Starbucks will own the rights to smiling.

    The Tories refused to let a Minister go on Question Time because Labour had chosen Alastair Campbell, who is not elected, to go on. Which suggest the Tories think they have a right to dictate the rules of Question Time. The Murdoch backed Tories trying to undermine the BBC? I’m only surprised it’s taken this long.

    And now John Prescott will be given a Peerage.

    Oh, and Thatcher is STILL alive.

    British Politics has officially gone mad.


    The USA & Greece

    May 13, 2010

    The above, shows (if you can make out the words, i know it looks ridiculously small) that the US is not going to be the next major economic casualty, after Greece. It just isn’t going to happen.

    My knowledge on economics is supremely limited. So please bare that in mind!

    Even the UK, which is in a far worse position than the US, is not even slightly as bad as Greece. We here in the UK have had two quarters of positive growth. I accept that given the bail out, and fiscal stimulus package, the growth figures are ridiculously low, but we are in a period of economic recovery. It is going to take a while to see the benefit.

    The Office of National Statistics report revised their original estimate for growth in the fourth quarter, to a much higher figure. We are actually in a much stronger economic position in the UK, than we first assumed. Government spending was needed to prop up the economy during recession. But, given that we are still only in recovery, I believe it’d be a massive mistake to withdraw that support as the new Conservative government plans to do shortly. In fact, i’m not entirely sure where the benefit of withdrawing support now, actually is? I accept in the future, we need to cut spending. I think though, forcing tax evading corporations to pay what they owe, should be the prime target. But cutting now, seems dangerous. Surely, when we are a growing economy, and the World itself is growing economically, that then would be a good time to cut. Not when people are struggling the most. I fear that it is just Tories being Tories. Cut spending, give people the option “Work where ever we say, or lose your home and starve to death…… and work twice as hard, for minimum wage…lower if we had our way!!! Whilst we give your boss a tax cut, so he can enjoy another game of golf a week“, and eventually the Nation’s money pot may improve, at the expense of social cohesion and morale.

    Fox News today asked if it were possible, that the U.S could become Greece economically. They all answered “yes“. Scare tactics.
    So I did some research, on the fundamental differences between the economy of Greece and the economy of the US.

    To fill the hole in the budget, both Greece and the US need to find around 6% of GDP, according to a report by economists Auerbach and Gale. My limited understanding of economics tells me that just because that number is true for both Nations, the measures needed to fill the gap, are nothing like one another.

    Greece’s budget deficit is 14% of it’s GDP. America’s is 9.3%. They are both pretty harsh figures, I accept.

    National debt in the US is apparently likely to hit 140% of GDP in the next twenty years. That doesn’t take into account policy changes, technology advancements, or any other sort of externality. It does not take into account growth as a result of investment in infrastructure etc. That figure simply goes by what it would be, if twenty years from now, were the same in every way, as today.

    Spending cuts, tax raises are obvious. But they do not need to be harsh as they do in Greece. Greece is in a far worse position. The US’s economy is growing, whilst Greece’s economy is shrinking. In order to protect itself from bankruptcy, by appealing to the IMF for a loan, Greece is being forced to reduce spending. Reducing spending during such a huge recession, is only likely to make that recession far worse. America is not in recession. It does not have to appeal to the IMF for a loan, it is not likely to fall back into recession any time soon. The growth will eventually provide the revenue to fill that 6% gap. When the US economy picks up, then spending cuts and higher taxation will further help the US bring down its cyclical deficit.

    The US dollar is still strong. Despite growing deficit and debt levels, the US is in a prime position to deal with its problems, because the dollar will be the leading currency for many many years. America is the largest economy in the World. Greece, is the 27the largest economy in the World. And whilst China is growing, it is not in a position to catch up to, or overtake America for quite some time. Investors simply do not trust the Chinese all that much, whilst at the same time, investors flee Greece. Whilst reserve currency status is not guaranteed to last, it certainly provides protection for the US, which provides 60% of the World’s reserve currency.

    Greece has to fill that gap within the next year. If they don’t, they risk pushing Greece into an even greater recession, which will inevitably lead to even greater structural deficits. Greece is in a mess. They ran up huge budget deficits during the good economic times. They inevitably ran up even larger budget deficits during the bad times. Greece’s structural deficit is horrendous. America’s, is not. The structural deficit in the USA is not perfect, true. And it is going to take some harsh measures over the next few years to help. But, the US can fill that 6% gap, over two entire decades. Greece has two years at the very most. It is also worth pointing out, that it was the Republican Party, the party of fiscal responsibility that spent away their budget surplus during the good times. And not in a positive way either. It was not Obama. America needs to simply slow down a little, not drastically cut.

    America obviously has to change over the long term, whereas Greece has to change immediately. The problem America has, is its particular brand of Capitalism; irresponsible consumerism. Growth for the benefit of growth. Wall Street offering no real social good. They simply exist to fatten their pockets. Your money, placed in banks, being used in dodgy dealings, rather than productive investments. Responsible Capitalism, in which the success of a Nation is in measuring how low the inequality gap and how low the poverty rate is, rather than the accumulated riches of the very wealthy. That is the only way the entire World will escape another preventable Global recession.


    The Labour Party

    May 3, 2010

    It is bemusing to me, that it has become popular to refer to the past 13 years under Labour, as a complete failure. Whilst I will not be voting Labour at this election, I still think we need to talk about all the good Labour have done as a counter weight to the constant barrage of abuse aimed at Gordon Brown. The past thirteen years have not been awful. They have not given us a “broken Britain“. They have definitely not been without fault, and at times they have acted to make me want to throw rocks at every member of the Labour Party, but they have had great moments that the Labour Party should be proud of. They have been a far better 13 years, than they would have been had the Tories won the 1997, 2001, and 2005 elections.
    Here’s a list I compiled, of all the benefits brought to us by Labour.

  • Minimum wage.
  • EMA.
  • Devolution.
  • Winter fuel allowance
  • Northern Ireland Peace.
  • Paternity leave.
  • The ban on testing cosmetics on animals.
  • Civil Partnerships.
  • Free entry to museums.
  • Increased maternity leave.
  • Minimum holiday entitlement.
  • Greater London Assembly.
  • Gift Aid.
  • Sure Start.
  • Introduction of Child Tax Credit.
  • Free Eye tests for over 60s.
  • Free bus travel for over 65s.
  • The abolishment of Section 28.
  • Wider access (MUCH wider) to higher education.
  • Banning of hunting with dogs.
  • Disability Discrimination Act.

    Knowing that none of those achievements would have been possible under a Tory government, knowing that their eyes are twinkling at the prospect of cutting as much as possible from the public service, and knowing that their emphasis on helping a minority of rich people get richer (as long as they’re not gay), if I HAD to choose between Labour and the Conservative Party; Labour would win every time. Gordon Brown could be caught calling an old woman a bigot, and then killing her live on Sky News……… i’d still rather a Labour government, than a Conservative Government.


  • Elizabeth I

    March 24, 2010

    Four hundred and seven years ago today, Elizabeth I of England died, and was replaced by James VI of Scotland, who became James I of England and Scotland.

    I studied the early reign of Elizabeth I, her religious policies, her use of council, and her relationship with Europe but I only really started to sit up and take full notice of her reign, when I read “Elizabeth” by David Starkey. A biography of the Elizabeth from her birth, to her coming to the throne. I have since read it twice more, it is a great read and supremely recommended.

    Elizabeth, in my opinion, was the greatest monarch this Country has even seen. She reigned at a time when the country had spent the past 150 years in turmoil. The disastrous period of the wars of the roses, followed by the horrendous upheaval of Henry VIII and Edward VI’s attack on Catholicism, Mary’s attacks on Protestantism meant that England was at boiling point. Elizabeth created stability and prosperity, a sense of brotherhood, that did not exist prior to her reign. This relentless panic to produce an heir, plagued the Monarchy from Henry VIII, through to Mary, and the power hungry obsessiveness of the Seymour family after Henry died, needed to come to an end. I’d recommend reading “Edward VI: The Lost King of England” by Chris Skidmore for a detailed analysis of Edward’s reign. It’s a great read. The Seymore brothers, and Thomas in particular have become my favourite characters from Tudor history, since reading that book.

    As a child, Elizabeth was brilliant. She was taught Latin, French, Philosophy, History, Maths and Greek from an early age, and according to her teacher, Roger Asham (one of the most formidable scholars of the day), she was one of the best and brightest students he’d ever taught.

    I think perhaps Catherine Parr, last wife of Henry, gets overlooked in her significant role as step mother to Elizabeth. Starkey points out that:

    “Catherine, in short, was running a Tudor Open University course in religion at Henry’s Court. Elizabeth was certainly a receptive student. We can imagine her listening, intent, and white faced, to the lectures in the Queen’s privy chamber. In religion at least, Elizabeth was the student, and Catherine was the tutor”.

    This suggests that the religious turmoil that came to an end with the religious settlement that Elizabeth ingeniously put in place during her reign, can be traced back to her education under Catherine Parr.

    Elizabether seems to embody Niccolo Machiavelli’s statement that a Renaissance ruler should strive to be both loved and feared. Machiavelli saw this as a bit of a Utopia; unachievable, and so he goes on to point out that whilst one cannot be both loved and feared, one should strive to simply be feared. This position has been rather manipulated over the years.

    Elizabeth, as a woman, was expected to marry. As the daughter of the King, she was expected to marry a rich noble perhaps of foreign descent, whom would then rule England, and she would take a merely ceremonial position. She refused. She wanted to rule. During her early life, she had lost her mum, two step mums and another step mum was gone. She had witnessed the 16 year old Jane Grey become the pawn in a game of power between her young brother’s protectors, and the power hungry Grey family, that resulted in Lady Jane’s beheading at only 16 years old. All because of Royal marriage. She knew how Royal women get treated. And given the pain of the previous Tudor monarchs (although, Edward was far too young to have much influence, it could be argued that his reign, was the reign of Somerset and Northumberland), it was a miracle that she managed to achieve what she did. An acceptable religious settlement in 1559 that put to rest the problems between the Catholics and Protestants who’d spent the past thirty years at war throughout Europe. Although, it may be said that it was far more Protestant than Catholic, given that Pope Pius excommunicated her for it. But still, it was an acceptable religious settlement for most of the Country, and so she was loved for it.

    She established close relations with the Russians and the Ottomans, effectively attempting to explore the World further than ever before. She even considered an alliance with the Muslim world, because she, like they, believed they were both under threat from the Catholic Church at the time. She oversaw the first English expedition to Japan also. The theatre flourished, English culture had witnessed a golden age because of a Queen who seemed far less narcissistic and power hungry than her predecessors.

    She became feared across the known World, after the ruthlessly powerful Philip of Spain (ex-husband of the now dead Queen Mary of England, and so brother in law of Elizabeth, and staunch Catholic) attempted again to overthrow his sister-in-law because he believed he should be the true ruler of England, and reunite the Country with Rome. Philip, and Spain, lost. We won. Howard and Drake are largely unknown as military geniuses, but in my opinion, for their defeat of the Spanish Armada, they’re the best Britain has ever seen.

    “Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred; because he can endure very well being feared whilst he is not hated.”

    Here, Machiavelli describes how a feared leader, must not cross the line into a hated leader. It can be supposed that Machiavelli’s contemporary, and ruler of Florence, Giovanni de’ Medici, was hated. Supremely hated in fact. He had destroyed the Florentine Republic and the liberties upon which it stood. Giovanni become Pope Leo X in 1513, and was so hated, that an entirely new sect of Christianity (Protestantism) arose because of widespread disillusionment with the Catholic Church, on Leo’s watch. Perhaps Machiavelli was describing, subtly, the inadequacies of the Medici, in his writing. He goes on to describe how a ruler should not be cruel.

    Elizabeth was neither hated nor cruel. She could so easily have been dismissed as the daughter of an adulterous mother who almost tore England apart. But she escaped that, owing to her own ingenuity in never mentioning her mother’s name in public. No doubt Elizabeth was influenced by the Protestant World she had been brought up around; if she had, she kept it to herself. Her father and her sister were cruel, and history has judged them to be tyrants. Elizabeth however, never crossed that line. She remained in power for close to fifty years, and was loved throughout. There has been no Monarch before her, or since, that has commanded that sort of respect and admiration.

    Elizabeth I, who died on this day, 407 years ago, is the closest any ruler across the World, since her day, has come to being the Machiavelli Utopian ruler.