The Markets of Islam.

March 12, 2014

Source:  Wikimedia Commons. Author: Adam Jones, Ph.D.  [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Adam Jones, Ph.D. [CC-BY-SA-3.0]

It would be fair to say that Islam benefits from incorporating earlier traditions and concepts from the cultures that surrounded the early Muslim community, at its conception. Indeed, the Qur’an includes several stories borrowed from earlier gnostic Christian texts, whilst certain practices and rituals borrowed from the Pagan culture from which Islam sprang. The general explanation is that the Muhammad of Islamic tradition was influenced by a mix of cultures and sects during his years as a trader. Islam most certainly benefited from incorporating surrounding traditions into its framework.

So with that being said, one must also ask, if Islam benefited from trade links with different cultures during its early years, what ideological benefits did those cultures obtain from Islam? I would argue that the development of capitalism owes much to Arab culture at the dawn of Islam.

According to Islamic tradition, from his early 20s to his death, Muhammad was a man of commerce and trade. This wasn’t unique to Muhammad. Mecca under the Quraysh thrived on markets – the spice trade of the 6th century helped hugely, as did the accumulation of interest later outlawed by Islam – mainly unregulated and often chaotic due to lack of strong political or judicial protections. Nonetheless, the location of Mecca and the importance of the Ka’bah for pilgrims, rendered it a great environment for trade. Especially true, because inter-tribal fighting was prohibited in this commercial centre, making it a safe place to do business, whilst worshipping. Mecca’s mix of both faith with the Ka’bah, and commerce with the market, is a mixture that Islam would appropriate and make its own.

Indeed, Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad himself married Khadija; an incredibly successful merchant famed for investing in trade delegations, including one in which Muhammad brought back twice the return she had expected on her investment. Muhammad understood how to make money, how to get along in business, and he understood investment opportunities when he saw them. By the time of his death, he was incredibly wealthy.

His business character aside, Muhammad’s economic pronouncements during his time in Medina provided a framework conducive for business and incentivising further trade in the region, whilst Europe languished in a hopeless feudal dark age. Hadith supposedly collected by Abu Dawud in book 013, Hadith Number 3067, gives us an example of early property rights:

“Narated By Sa’id ibn Zayd : The Prophet (pbuh) said: If anyone brings barren land into cultivation, it belongs to him, and the unjust vein has no right.”

– The trustworthiness of this hadith attributed to Muhammad is irrelevant. What is relevant, is that this Hadith was collected in the 9th century, and so it is clear that the concept of property rights over laboured land existed at that period of time in the Middle East. Property rights would be a concept progressed beautifully by the Leveller movement during the English civil war centuries later. It would also become a concept that Locke elaborated upon, and would later define the nature of capitalism and its criticisms.

As well as property rights, one particular Hadith also collected by Abu Dawud gives us a taste of Adam Smith’s later ‘invisible hand’ metaphor:

“one person came to the Prophet and requested him to fix prices in the market but he refused. Another man came and made the same request; the Prophet said it is Allah who pushes prices up or down, I do not want to face Him with a burden of injustice”

– Here, it is quite obvious that debate around interfering with market forces was being had, in the 9th century. For 9th Century Muslim Arabs, price rises and falls were a natural process, and that human interference was a ‘burden of injustice’. It isn’t a relatively new discussion. Later, in the 13th Century, the Hanbali scholar and author, Imam Shamsuddeen Ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi wrote:

“Two facts can be derived from the hadith. First, the Prophet did not control prices despite people’s pressure on him which should suggest that it is disallowed. If it were lawful the Prophet would have yielded to their demand. The second point is that the Prophet equated price control with injustice (zulm) and injustice is forbidden. The goods whose price was sought to be controlled were property of a man (trader). And that man cannot be prevented from selling his goods at an agreed upon price by the two parties, i.e. the buyer and the seller”

“In a way the control of price may give rise to price rise. The traders from outside will not bring their goods in a place where they would be forced to sell them at a price against their wish. The local traders would hide the goods instead of selling. People would get less than their need, so they would offer a higher price to obtain the goods.
Both parties (sellers and buyers) would lose; the sellers because they were prevented from selling their goods, and the buyers because they were prevented from fulfilling their needs. So this act will be termed as forbidden”

– By the 13th century, Islamic scholars were debating the economic problems associated with price fixing, rather than just in relation to faith and Godly demands. For this, they were relying on hadith as their base. Again, whether Muhammad actually said what is claimed in hadith is irrelevant. What is relevant is that economic theory was being debated – in relation to faith, and justice – by at least the 13th century, with its origin in at least 9th century Arabia.

Relating to market pricing, and also in the 13th century, the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:

“If desire for goods increases while its availability decreases, its price rises. On the other hand, if availability of the good increases and the desire for it decreases, the price comes down.”

– We begin to see that concepts inherent to capitalism were being debated and practiced centuries prior to early capitalist structures on the Mediterranean coast in Europe.

Alongside the concept of property rights, and the nature of prices, we are also presented with the rules Muhammad supposedly laid down for the creation of the market in Medina. Al-Samhùdfs ‘History of Medina’, gives us a glimpse of that market:

‘Umar b. Shabba transmitted on the authority of ‘Atâ’ b. Yasár: When the Messenger of God wanted to establish for Medina a market, he came to the market of the Qaynuqa’, then he went to the market of Medina, stamped on it with his foot and declared: “This is your market, let its space not be diminished and let no tax be taken in it.”

– Long before the advent of Capitalism in Europe, the middle east – whether from Muhammad’s mouth or not – had a concept of individual property rights, free market prices, and incentives for business growth with the story of the tax-less market in Medinah. These were all concepts being discussed and tested in early Islamic Arabia. It is no surprise that Europe’s early capitalist centres – Venice especially – had strong trade links with the middle east, and were thus exposed to the Protestant work ethic and growing sense of individual freedom largely based in northern Protestant Europe, but also the frameworks developed for trade in Islamic societies centuries earlier.

Further, Abd al-Malik’s reign as Caliph – an indescribably important Caliph, responsible for much of what we know of Islam today, I wrote on here – saw the establishment of the dinar in previously independent currency areas, and thus began an era of monetary policy. Later came deficit financing, and early forms of savings and checking accounts. Modern principles of market economies, were developed within the markets of Islam.

This naturally leads to the question; how is it that the Middle East is now struggling economically, if the religion that it is based on seems just as suited, if not more so to capitalism than its Christian counterpart? Economic historian Angus Maddison points out that in 1000AD the Middle East’s global share of GDP was 10% to Europe’s 9%. But by 1800AD the Middle East’s share of GDP fell to 2%, with Europe’s rising to 22%. Life expectancy in the middle east is 8.5 years shorter than Europe, North America and East Asia. Indeed, in the 19th century global trade increased 64 fold, compared to the Ottomans, for whom it increased just 10 to 16 fold. What happened?

It is true that western economic development relied heavily on slavery at its foundation. But, so did the Ottoman Empire, and most Arab societies. At Istanbul in the early 1600s, one fifth of the population were slaves. According to Robert Davis, professor of history at Ohio State University, around 1.25 million Europeans were captured and enslaved as a result of the Barbary raids by largely Arab and Berber peoples. According to Britannica.com:

“Slaves were owned in all Islamic societies, both sedentary and nomadic, ranging from Arabia in the centre to North Africa in the west and to what is now Pakistan and Indonesia in the east. Some Islamic states, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate, and the Sokoto caliphate, must be termed slave societies because slaves there were very important numerically as well as a focus of the polities’ energies.”

“Approximately 18 million Africans were delivered into the Islamic trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean slave trades between 650 and 1905.”

– Muslims were imperialist too. Arab towns and ports involved in the slave trade included Zabīd in Yemen, Muscat in Oman, and Aden in Yemen. Indeed, as late as 1963 the population of Saudi Arabia included around 300,000 slaves. Slavery also helped to build the power of the Chinese economy. Korea enslaved people. Slaves existed in India. And so, we must look to other sources for information why the Arab world started to decline economically.

Several theories persist – western imperialism being the most often suggested – though I am inclined to accept Timur Kuran’s argument in his wonderful book: “The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East“. In it, Kuran argues that whilst this early form of Islamic proto-capitalism benefited early Muslims immensely for centuries following Muhammad’s death – the system was far more advanced than at the same point in time in Europe – it later became anchored to very dogmatic faith-based restrictions from Islamic jurisprudence of the middle ages that simply went unchallenged. And so as gradual liberation and evolution of market forces from state power in Europe – ironically, utilising methods cultivated by Arabs – gave the west a steady advantage, Islamic societies in the middle east – despite having clear advantages through past innovations – began to stagnate and fall behind due to a failure to modernise and utilise productive resources.

Kuran points to Islamic law governing business partnerships and inheritance for two examples of the more dogmatic ideological approach Islamic societies enforced through institutions. Kuran does not suggest that Islam itself is incompatible with modern liberal economies, simply that institutions developed – some much later – that severely restricted growth, and that those structures remained unchallenged. Whilst those laws and institutions had their benefits originally – they were particularly egalitarian whilst at the same time promoting innovative commerce and sophisticated partnerships for the time – they later began to hold back innovation with their failure to modernise, whilst Europe was experimenting with far more complex business frameworks.

Kuran notes that during the middle ages, Islamic jurisprudence decreed that business partnerships automatically disbanded the moment a partner died, regardless of how well that venture was doing. Kuran says:

“Active partners carried full liability. Also, an Islamic partnership lacked entity shielding: any partner could force its dissolution unilaterally, and its assets were exposed to demands from third parties. The death of a partner terminated the partnership automatically, giving heirs an immediate claim on a share of the assets; all surviving members incurred costs in the process of settlements. Moreover, the number of heirs could be large, because Islam’s inheritance law assigns mandatory shares to designated relatives of the decedent.”

– This meant that partnerships lasted very little time, were painfully insufficient and institutionally restricted from long term growth. There was just no framework for the development of modern, long lasting businesses and corporations that emerged in the west. This structure in the Middle East remained largely untouched right up until the 19th Century.

It must be said that this is a very quick summary of Kuran’s book. He elaborates and articulates the point far better than I ever could. I would strongly recommend getting a copy for a deeper explanation of the connection between Islamic jurisprudence in the middle ages, and the economic structures built around it.

The west’s enlightenment era philosophers on both social and economic theory – like Locke and Smith – seemingly took ideas already long in circulation – like property rights – developed them further, and structured a wonderful concept of individual civil and economic rights from that base. It took two revolutions in France and the US to begin that huge social and economic transformation. This was the key to the explosion of economic growth in Europe and the west. The separation of church and state, liberation of market forces, secular democratic protections, gender, race, and sexuality equality, and the limited power of the state over the rights and freedoms of the individual combined to give western economies far more room to innovate and grow. Secular democratic institutions have the remarkable quality of constantly reviewing social issues and updating accordingly; a quality lacking when a state and economy are under the control of one prevailing ideology.

As some largely Islamic countries now begin to embrace those modern concepts, invest in infrastructure, and liberalise socially and economically – Tunisia is a good example – I have no doubt that it will unleash innovation and creativity on a grand scale again, benefiting the entire planet.

It is easy in the west for us to overlook the contribution of Arab Muslim theorists throughout the ages on the development of structures we now take for granted. Many Arab economic theorists were centuries ahead of their European counterparts. Equally, it seems just as easy for Arab Muslims – particularly Islamists – to dismiss the developments – both socially and economically – since the days of the Caliphates, as a product of the big evil imperial west existing only to conquer ‘Muslim lands’. I would argue that there needs to be a systematic change to the prevailing narrative in so much as it currently seems to place notions of equal rights, secularism, and market liberalisation as ‘western values’ rather than universal. This naturally then leads to both Muslims and non-Muslims extolling the equally as misguided presumption that Islam itself is incapable of modernising and liberalising. It is a defensive reaction from both sides. This needs to be addressed, because it seems to me that equal protections and individual liberties manifested as free expression, the right to worship according to one’s own personal conscience, to associate, to trade, to love, and to pursue happiness regardless of gender, race, belief, or sexuality without oppression from any exclusive ideological principles, are universal principles that benefit all.


Capitalism and Language

August 7, 2013

It is impossible to go a day or two without being presented with language that means very little, whilst appearing to mean a lot. It gives the appearance of some sort of professionalism, but that is all it is; appearance. It exists in its own World, somewhat divorced from reality. It perhaps mimics notions of professional dress codes; professional hair cuts; making sure tattoos aren’t on display; all the signs of modern day lifeless ‘professionalism’. It is all appearance, with very little meaning behind it. It is a religion unto itself. Allow me to give you some examples I once noted down having seen on a company mission statement:

“Our team works to prioritise mission-critical web-readiness, leveraging cross-platform web services.”

– I have studied this wording for quite some time, and I’m still unable to tell you what it means. I think it means; “We update our website a lot.

Orwell once took this beautiful line from Ecclesiastes:

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

– And transformed it into modern, business-English:

“Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.”

If we take a look at language we’re so used to hearing from the business community, from politicians, and from those who are speaking from a position of considerable privilege, we can easily note that the rhetoric tends to reflect the prevailing social and economic centres of power, used – among other things – to water down injustices within that particular system. Words and phrases are used to subtly promote the prevailing structure. The Liberal Democrats have taken to using the word “fair” to describe policies that do not fix inherent problems (like housing shortages) but do such untold damage to those who at the bottom, that repeating the word “fair” over and over seems like nothing more than an insecure exercise in trying to convince themselves of what they’re saying.

Conservatives are wonderful at claiming to be a Party willing to take “tough decisions“. As if that’s an inherently good thing. As if “tough” translates to “right“. It ignores ideology, if you claim the decisions were tough. You might envisage the millionaire Chancellor weeping as he signs off on cuts to disability funds for the most vulnerable, as if his anti-social security ideology isn’t a factor. It’s no different to Republicans in the US claiming it a tough decision to strip women of reproductive rights. Or slave owners in the Antebellum South claiming it’s a tough decision to whip their slaves. Those with the privilege do not get to claim a decision that perpetuates that pivilege, whilst oppressing those already oppressed, is “tough“.

In the business world, “End of play” suggests a sort of child-like fun that you must be having. ‘Flexible accumulation‘ used to suggest an inherent and unavoidable part of the system that means of production, of distribution, and so labourforce (people) are in fact all unimportant in themselves – secondary – to the most important aspect of life; the accumulation of capital (which, oddly, is deemed a natural ‘good’). And so as language analysts suggest; if workers are convinced of their own nature as ‘flexible’ they are more likely to accept that their jobs are part of that ‘flexible‘ cycle, willing to work longer hours for less. If you tell a worker he or she is ‘expendable‘ or ‘worthy, until the boss deems otherwise‘, you’re unlikely to inspire much loyalty (a loyalty, the boss isn’t obliged to reciprocate). ‘Flexible accumulation’ is a very subtle threat, hidden behind more creative language. Just today, we read that the Institute of Directors has responded angrily to suggestions that zero-hour contracts be banned, insisting that it risks the UKs ‘flexible’ labour market. Another way to describe a ‘flexible‘ labour market, is job insecurity. According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; anxiety, depression, and poor health increase dramatically in those people who consider their job to be insecure. This, to the Institute of Directors, is an unimportant consequence of a “flexible labour market“.

Burst bubble” denotes something out of anyone’s control, and so those who were at the very centre of the financial crash are exonerated by a linguistic con-trick. Those who suffered the most from the impact of the “burst bubble” tend to be those with very little political or economic power, and so it is easy to transfer the blame from those at the centre of the bubble, to those who were reliant on the bubble. The rule of divide and conquer. Ensure those on incredibly low wages, with a falling standard of living, and insecure jobs (flexible workforce) believe it is the fault of those who are poorer than they, rather than those with the power and the wealth. The poor must be ‘scroungers’ or they are ‘leechers’ or they are ‘Welfare dependent’ or ‘lazy’ or ‘immigrants taking our jobs’.

We are bombarded with how ‘the markets‘ will react, to any social or economic change. ‘The markets‘ are treated as a mysterious, God-like entity that must be obeyed. A new Theology. Milton Friedman appears like a Prophet promising “freedom” but delivering destitution. The ‘Market‘ God is treated as if infallible. As if perfect rather than what they actually are; indifferent, amoral. For example, if I were to drive my car a mile away to the shop, I must buy a car, I must buy insurance, I must pay my road tax, I must buy petrol, I might choose to buy a new CD for the car, or an air freshener. Doubtlessly, driving a mile down the road to the shop contributes to the growth of ‘the markets’. Or, I could choose to walk the mile to the shop. I am benefitting the environment this way, it is far more healthy for me to do this, and yet, I contribute nothing to the growth of ‘the markets’ this way. In this example, my health and the health of the environment are less important, than pollution and laziness. The Institute of Directors, who care little for the health of humanity, would be thoroughly unimpressed if I were to walk to work. But for the thriving of Capitalism, especially after such a risky crises, the language used to portray ‘the markets’ must be positive and lofty at all times, whilst those that fall victim to the insidious side of market forces, portrayed as weak, lazy, and a burden. By dehumanising the most vulnerable, people are able to turn their heads when harsh economic violence is conducted against them.

We are told that policy must be directed to benefit those we now consider “job creators“. They are our saviours. We are indebited to those people. As if their money is how wealth is created. As if they don’t just ride the tide of demand. We have called it supply-side, we have called it trickle-down, now the rhetoric has moved on to labeling anyone with money as a ‘job creator’. We are told that if we do not cut taxes for the richest, whilst slashing social programmes that those taxes fund, the ‘job creators‘ will all leave. And so, they must be given the biggest Welfare payment of all; a massive tax cut. This is the real something-for-nothing society, because the obligation for someone who has used a well funded public system and social security safety net and framework in order to gain great wealth, to pay back into that system in order for the next generation to be afforded the same opportunities, is cut the moment a government give into the threat of leaving if taxed. The poorest do not have that option.

Interestingly, through all the media hype and demands of “catching” Welfare cheats, alongside exaggerated shock stories of parents claiming millions in Welfare, for their 40 children, in their 140 bedroom house, and their Spanish beach home, all paid for by your hard work!!!!!…. only £1.2bn was lost to Welfare fraud in 2010/11, which is 0.8% of the total benefit expenditure. If the total benefit expenditure was a £1 coin, less than 1p would be lost to fraud. By contrast Vodafone (that’s one company, not an entire Nation) was allowed to write off its tax bill of £6bn. That’s six times more than that lost to Welfare fraud across the whole country. Rather coincidentally, the head of tax policy at Vodafone is a man named John Connors. Connors used to work at HMRC and enjoys a close relationship with current head of HMRC, David Hartnett. They go for cosy lunches together, and then they casually wipe £6bn from the Nation’s second largest company on the Stock market’s tax bill. Unsurprisingly, Hartnett is the most wined and dined civil servant in the country, by corporations. I’m sure it’s just because he’s such a nice guy. Yes. That must be it.

The Conservative Party does not like talking about individual cases of those suffering intensely due to Tory budget cuts. Iain Duncan Smith, when presented with families struggling to live, started his answer with “this is typical of the BBC“.
In March 2012, according to figures by the Department for Communities and Local Government, local authorities registered 48,510 households as homeless, representing a 14% leap. The largest in nine years. A report from the same department also showed the number of people sleeping rough had jumped by a fifth, in a year.
Leslie Morphy the Chief Exec. of Crises said:

“Our worst fears are coming to pass. We face a perfect storm of economic downturn, rising joblessness and soaring demand for limited affordable housing combined with government policy to cut housing benefit plus local cuts to homelessness services.”

Similarly, the Chief Exec. of Shelter, Campbell Rob said:

“These figures are a shocking reminder of the divide between the housing haves and have nots in this country,”

Similarly, Matt Harrison, interim chief executive of Homeless Link said:

“This comes at a time when reduced funding has already hit services and further cuts are expected this year. Our research indicates that there are now fewer projects, fewer beds and more of our members are turning people away because they are full.”

– With overwhelming evidence, and statements from those whose lives are dedicated to helping the most vulnerable, wishing to highlight the situation, you’d think the government might firstly accept their is a problem given that the 7th largest economy in the World has a rising homeless population, and secondly, set out just what the government intends to do about this horrendous situation. Instead, Grant Shapps said:

“the debt-laden economy we inherited is leaving a legacy of hard-up households across the country”.

During the Mick Philpott murder case, George Osborne echoed the sentiments of the right winged Tabloid press, when he hinted that the murder of children, could in any way be linked to the concept of Welfare. Social security under attack politically, needed a rhetorical bedfellow, and it was handed it with the Philpott case. Tory Councillor John Bell, ran with this:
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– The manipulative nature of the rhetoric is evident when we note how the Daily Mail dealt with the case, in its story:

“Michael Philpott is a perfect parable for our age: His story shows the pervasiveness of evil born of welfare dependency. The trial spoke volumes about the sheer nastiness of the individuals involved. But it also lifted the lid on the bleak and often grotesque world of the welfare benefit scroungers — of whom there are not dozens, not hundreds, but tens of thousands in our country.“

– The suggestion being that there are two groups of people in the UK; those not on any form of Welfare, and those on Welfare who are also potential child killers. The Daily Mail headline that day, above a picture of Mick Philpott was simple:

“Vile Product of Welfare UK.

– Yet, when Stephen Seddon murdered his parents for his £230,000 inheritance, the Mail did not suggest this was the ‘vile product‘ of the concept of inheritance. When the Mail editors got hold of the Philpott story, their main objective was to further the demonisation of Welfare. Nothing more. Any tenuous link was going to be drawn. Capitalism, that inevitably leads to the necessity of social security is not to blame, for the Daily Mail. That social security itself, is to blame.

When the Shropshire millionaire Hugh McFall murdered his wife and daughter, the Mail said:

“Detectives believe the mild-mannered family man snapped as he struggled to cope with spiralling debts…..Last night his sister Claire Rheade said: ‘It’s unbelievable – he doted on his family, he would never harm them. ‘He was a gentle man who wouldn’t hurt a fly.’ ”

– Note the rhetorical differences.
The Philpott case: “evil“, “sheer nastiness“, “grotesque“, “scroungers“, “bleak”.
The McFall case: “mild-mannered“, “family man“, “doted on his family“, “never harm them“, “gentle man“, “wouldn’t hurt a fly“. They mention his “personal spiralling debts” as a catalyst. Here, they limit responsibility to he alone. They could call the McFall murders a “vile product of Capitalism“. They don’t.

To water down injustices within the system, whilst promoting the prevailing order, it is necessary to inflict linguistic damage upon those considered ‘outside’ of the system. Those who lose out. Those on the receiving end of the injustices, because to face up to the injustices puts those who gain the most, in a threatened situation. Marx was convinced that the injustices would eventually manifest in the collective consciousness of the oppressed, which in turn, would lead to revolution. Marx faltered in his underestimating oppressive discourse and how it becomes so ingrained into the social fabric (especially if it is repeated over generations) so as to threaten opposition by stigmatising it as much as possible. It represents a narrowing of both social, and political discourse. You can usually tell just who benefits the most from the prevailing rhetoric of the day, because they’re the ones with the power.


Communism and Homosexuality

July 19, 2013

The gay marriage bill passed the House of Lords successfully this week, effectively legalising marriage for same-sex couples in the UK. For most of us, this is a wonderful step forward for human progress and equality. For a select melodramatic few, the World is about to end. One of the many charges against those who support same-sex marriage, is…. well… I’ll allow these people to gleefully inform you:

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Article here.

So, I thought I’d write on the subject of Communism, and homosexuality, in order to dispel this – easy to dispel – right winged myth, that same sex marriage, can in any way, be linked to Communism. As it turns out, a lot has been written on the Soviet Union and homosexuality, and rather in depth the subject is too. So I will briefly summarise the research here.

We must of course cast ourselves back to the very foundation of the concept of Communism, and its founders, to base our understanding of Communism and Homosexuality. The 19th century that Karl Marx inhabited was a very homophobic century, and this homophobia didn’t escape Communists of the time. Actually, much of the complaints of modern day homophobes on the Right – conspiracy against the State – can be found in the writings of early Communist. Engels himself linked homosexuality, with paedophilia – a tactic used by both Stalin in the 1930s, and today on the right wing – as a reason to discriminate heavily against the gay community. On June 22, 1869, Engels wrote to Marx:

“That is really a very odd ‘Urning’ you just sent me. Those are just unveilings being extremely against nature. The pederasts begin counting themselves and find that they are forming a power within the state. Only an organisation was missing, but according to this it seems to be already existing in the secret. And as they are counting so important men within all the old parties and even in the new ones, from Rösing to Schweitzer, their victory is inevitable. ‘Guerre aux cons, paix aux trous de cul’ it will go now. It is only a luck that we personally are too old to have to fear, this party gaining victory, to have to pay bodily tribute to the victors. But the young generation! By the way, only possible in Germany that a guy like that appears, translates the dirt into a theory and invites: introite, and so on. ”

– Here, Engels is talking about Karl Ulrichs, the early gay rights pioneer. Ulrichs sent a letter to Marx asking for support from the Communists. Marx asked Engels for his opinion. Engels writes back rather unequivocally. The word ‘urning’ in the opening sentence, is a word meaning the body of a man with the mind and lusts of a woman; a man attracted to other men. ‘Against nature’, ‘forming a power within the state’, ‘existing in secret’, ‘translates dirt into a theory’. The homophobic diatribe by Engels is reminiscent of 21st Century conservatives like the blogger above who is convinced same-sex unions are a coup by a well organised group to destroy the state as we know it.

Whilst homosexuality was technically legalised in the early Soviet Union (not purposely, but as a result of the overturning of all Tsarist laws), it only applied to Russia itself. The nations surrounding Russia, within the Soviet Union had extremely strict anti-homosexuality laws. There was no big Communist push to liberalise sexuality. There was no suggestion that homosexuality could be used to destroy Western civilisation, that it was an intrinsic materialist device to overthrow Capitalist society. In fact, homosexuality was a crime in Azerbaijan, in Turkmenistan, in Uzbekistan. In 1930, only 13 years after the founding of the Soviet Union, a Soviet medical official named Sereisky penned the Soviet’s new stance on homosexuality:

“Soviet legislation does not recognize so-called crimes against morality. Our laws proceed from the principle of protection of society and therefore countenance punishment only in those instances when juveniles and minors are the objects of homosexual interest … while recognizing the incorrectness of homosexual development … our society combines prophylactic and other therapeutic measures with all the necessary conditions for making the conflicts that afflict homosexuals as painless as possible and for resolving their typical estrangement from society within the collective.”

– The passage here officially condemns homosexuality as a crime against morality, that it is a threat to children, and that it is outside the realms of civilised society, whilst stopping short of full criminalisation. As it happens, this demonisation of homosexuality was a precursor for the next phase in Soviet sexual repression.

Three years later, in 1933, Article 121 was added to the Soviet penal code within Stalin’s Soviet Union. The Article stated that:

“sexual relations between men are punishable by prison terms of up to five years.”

– This law lasted another sixty years, with ten people imprisoned in 1992 for homosexual relations. Originally, Stalin introduced Article 121 in order to give credit to the idea that homosexuality, was actually a Fascist plot. Just before his death, Soviet cultural writer Maxim Gorky wrote:

“”In a country in which the proletariat rules courageously and successfully, homosexuality, which depraves the youth, is recognized and punished as the antisocial crime that it is, while in the so-called cultivated countries /…/ it occurs freely and unchecked. Already, a sarcastic proverb has been devised: Eradicate homosexuality and you will eliminate fascism.”

– Of course, Gorky left out the part in which upon coming to power, Hitler rounded up homosexual men and threw them into concentration camps, but it suited his narrative, and Soviet homophobic propaganda, not to mention that. Isn’t it ironic that the same arguments employed by the far right today, were used almost identically by the far left almost a century ago; both are guilty of the social abuse of a minority in order to advance their own ideological agenda.
We also see Gorky using the commonly used tactic; fear for the future of your children. We’ll come back to this a little later.

After Stalin’s death, Kruschev repealed many of the anti-liberalisation laws of the Stalin era, including anti-abortion laws, anti-divorce laws…. but he didn’t repeal the anti-homosexuality laws. Those remained in place. He was afraid that the prisoner-like sexual mentality would infect the rest of the population. Suddenly, in less than a year, the very top of the Communist regime in the Soviet Union went from mistakenly linking homosexuality to paedophilia, to linking homosexuality to forced prison-like sex. The anti-homosexuality rhetoric and action were so repulsive, it is only matched by the repulsive attitudes toward homosexuality coming from the right wing today. For example, the Stalinist (and Engels) line that homosexuality and paedophilia are linked, has been appropriated in recent times, by the US Christian Right. Here, Pat Robertson tells us that gay marriage, will lead to the legalisation of paedophilia:

“How about child molestation and paedophilia? How can we criminalise these things and at the same time have constitutional amendments allowing same sex marriage? You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent.”

– Pat Robertson seems to be employing the Stalinist ‘crimes against morality’ logic with linking homosexuality to paedophilia, alongside a staggering slippery slope fallacy. It is exactly the arguments put forth by Communists within the Soviet Union, in the 1930s.

Similarly, Michael Savage, US Radio DJ said:

“You’ve got to explain to the children … why God told people this was wrong. You have to explain this to them in this time of mental rape that’s going on. The children’s minds are being raped by the homosexual mafia, that’s my position. They’re raping our children’s minds.”

– The protection of children, as mentioned above, has been a key rhetorical device used by the homophobic for decades. You must fear for your child’s future if homosexuality is allowed to persist… is the cry of the bigot. Not only did Stalin, Sereisky, and Gorky dubiously tie homosexuality with child molestation, but the right wing now appears to have taken that argument and made it their own. Like the ‘crimes against morality’ line that links both Soviet Communists, and modern day conservatives, the argument that we must fear for our children’s safety, because of homosexuality, is also a direct link between Soviet Communists, and modern day conservatives.

Whilst homosexuality was criminalised in 1933 between two men, it wasn’t criminalised between two women. Instead, gay women were referred to psychiatrists, who in turn, had then committed for three months. During that time, drugs were often tested on young gay women, followed by the forced signing of the mentally ill register, rendering any possibility of a good career, a driving licence, and happy life, almost impossible. This practice ended, as late as 1988, though still proceeded in many provinces.

One only has to look at the repression of homosexuality in Russia today, to understand the development historically of a very homophobic nation.

In fact, Homosexuality was only removed from the list of Russian mental disorders, in 1999. Homosexuality, in Communist China was not decriminalised until 1997, and considered a mental illness until 2002.
In the USA, the great gay rights activist Harry Hay was thrown out of the Communist Party, because the Communist Party did not allow gay people to be members.
Nepal’s Maoists are still very anti-homosexuality, and repression of Nepals LGBT rights advocates, is widespread.
Dev Gurung, the Maoist Minister of Justice for the Communist Party in Nepal, offered a mirrored image of right winged insistences that Communism and Homosexuality are intrinsically linked, with this little gem of melodrama:

“Under Soviet rule there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union. Now that they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well. So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem doesn’t exist.”

– So you see, the same tired arguments are thrown from the fringes of the right and left, putridly degrading a minority, perpetuating discrimination and hate based on nothing of any substance, to promote an ideological standpoint.

Communists regimes were among the most repressive in history, toward homosexuality.

The repression of homosexuality throughout the Soviet Union, and by Communists in general was widespread throughout its history. Thousands were imprisoned for decades, many more were brutally beaten and murdered simply for being gay. This is what happens when you not only criminalise and work hard to stigmatise a biological trait (be it sexuality, gender, or race) but you base an entire social system upon patriarchy, or Theocracy, or the supremacy of one race above all others. A system of privilege for those who wrongfully think themselves the rightful rulers of civilised society based on no valid reasoning, develops into a system of repression against those who don’t fit its narrow band of what is decent and correct. To defend this system, the same fallacious arguments are thrown around, usually in an attempt to induce fear within a population. Defend homophobic, racist, patriarchy… otherwise God will punish you, and your children will be in danger! They scream ‘agenda!’ at every possible turn; the ‘abolitionist agenda’, the ‘feminist agenda!’, the ‘gay rights agenda!’, as if those are to be viewed negatively, rather than positive strides toward equality and an end to discriminatory, regressive consciousness. They insist the government is under attack, they play on the fears of danger to children. And it is the same today. 21st Century Conservatives; in a show of intense irony, those who claim the mantle of freedom and individual liberty, are the most repressive defenders of systems of privilege in the 21st century.


The Nation is the new God.

October 27, 2011

Throughout my lectures on Nationalism, I am becoming increasingly aware, that if you were to substitute the word “Nationalism” for “Religion”, the context and the surrounding wording, wouldn’t have to be modified, and we’d still end up with a perfectly rational statement.

Like Nationalism, religion relies on the rather solipsistic idea that we as a species are somehow special and important. Nationalism narrows the field down, to those who exist on a specific land mass, sometimes using religion to attempt to strengthen its otherwise weak premise; but religion, whilst casting its net further afield, nevertheless clings to the same arrogant notion that we are indeed special. To illustrate this point, I would ask you to try and locate the August 2010 edition of Scientific America, in which Kate Wong (an evolutionary specialist) shows that around 195,000 years ago, Homosapien became as close to extinction as we’ve ever came. Climate change, she argues, meant that our species had fallen to just 600 breeding couples. Somehow, beyond all comprehension, we survived, and we thrived. Around 50,000 years ago, we left Africa. We ventured into a vast unknown, and we conquered it. We suffered deaths by teeth, deaths by easily curable maladies, we suddenly hit a new phase in human and social evolution, when, on top of the simplistic tools we were devising alongside other species in the homo genus, we began making art, and tools that appear incredibly complex. Humanity, was suddenly starting to show signs of brilliance. But we were still under threat. Climate, Neanderthal, awful disease. They all played their part in bringing us to the edge of destruction many times over. These early humans didn’t care what land mass they were born on, or the colour of skin, or what happened to be your first language. And yet, Christianity seems to suppose that all of that hardship, that hundreds of thousands of years of exploration, disease, creativity and the brink of extinction, was all because the divine wanted to get us to the point where we could be Christians. It seems strikingly awful a presumption, that for 199,000 or so years of our history (it varies, whichever scientist you subscribe to) heaven looked on with indifference, as humanity struggled to survive… by the way, for those 198,000, the most testing in all our history, we managed to get through it without any divinely proscribed ‘objective moral basis’… and only in the last 2000 years, having ignored 198,000 years did it decide to get to know us, by giving a book to a bunch of illiterate warring desert tribesmen, on the same plot of land as huge oil reserves. Did Heaven not think ahead? It seems massively incompetent. The Chinese could read and write at this stage; why not given them the most important book known to man? Silly little myths in an attempt to attract a following.

Nationalism similarly uses easily discredited constructed and largely false myths to attempt to bind people. The rhetoric is very similar to religious rhetoric. It is exclusive, not inclusive. It is divisive, not binding. It can be threatening and forceful when it doesn’t get its own way.

Nationalism requires the individual submit to the will of the Nation. The Nation takes the place of God. The Nation becomes the reason to live. Prior to 1517, Europe cared little for national unity, and more for their submission to the God of Catholicism. Luther changed that, and suddenly people started to question things they’d never questioned before. They had never read a Bible in English. They had never questioned why they had to pay to save their souls from purgatory. From the moment Luther attached those The Ninety-Five Theses to the Church door in Wittenberg, the questioning began; and over the next couple of centuries, religious dogma took a knock that it couldn’t come back from. But people still desired something larger than themselves. This desire started the building of Nations. And the Nation; once drastically unimportant, now became a sort of spiritual haven for people who need to feel like they ‘belong’ to an exclusive club. Suddenly, humanity had a new abstraction that many of its members were willing to die for. The Nation replaced God.

It is both odd and a magnificent appraisal of the brilliance of our species, to me, that humanity desperately needs to look up to something abstract and beyond our realm of understanding, to cope with trying to understand what is essentially a chaotic, uncaring, and amoral universe. We create order, where order cannot be found in reality.

John Armstrong, writing in “Nations before Nationalism” argues that one influence on the emergence of Nations, was the nostalgia for a power beyond the simple State; the religious power of the past. Nations are of course vastly different, to Nations of the past. People try to cling to the idea of a Nation from what they’d consider a Golden age; the defeat of the Armada. The bravery of Boudica. It just so happens that these events took place on the plot of land we were all born on. We had no direct say or participation in them. Boudica certainly wasn’t fighting for England, she was fighting for a tribe. There has never been a time when the Nation wasn’t dynamic and ever changing. And yet Nationalism tries to grip on to a fleeting static moment. Capitalism means that the Nation State will always be at risk. Two competing concepts; Nation States and Capitalism, fighting for the same ground, will always produce division and resentment. Capitalism relies on open markets, on open borders, on little to no regulation. Nation States rely on tightly controlled borders and regulated markets for the sake of the ‘Native’ population. It is a continuous tug of war. The free movement of labour is a disaster for the Nation State.

The open flow of labour is to Nationalism, what the open flow of ideas and free thought is to Religion. Until very recently, free thought was considered heresy.

Religion is used at a very young age to indoctrinate early. The Palestinian Authority in 1994, reissued copies of a textbooks that were just full of anti-Jewish sentiment. A PA TV show for kids, based on Mickey Mouse, called Farfur, teaches kids hate. Kids are taught to pray until there is:

“world leadership under Islamic leadership”

And until that day comes, they must oppose at all times, the:

“oppressive invading Zionist occupation.”

– At my own secular primary school, we were made to say prayer every day and sing hymns. If we refused, we were sent out of the room. We were never taught to question what was being said, and I certainly didn’t hear the name “Darwin” until I was at least 12. Nations, in their quest to fill the void left by a dying God, also indoctrinate kids at a young age; the pledge of allegiance comes to mind. The celebrating of Columbus Day; a day to honour a violent thug who introduced mass genocide to an entire population. A strong educational framework, is vital for the perpetuation of weak National and Religious myths.

We have Deified our National Flag.
The Prophets of the Deified American National Flag, are Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Washington. They are almost worshiped. Their shortcomings and their obvious hypocrisies are ignored. The imagery of “Washington at Dorchester Heights” by Emanuel Leutze, shows an heroic-like stance of the young Washington, like a new age Saint, to be worshiped by everyone as they pledge allegiance. As a young America grew, in a World where religion was still key to political success, we see a whole host of literature combining religion with the new Republic, as if the new Republic were divinely ordained. The marching song of the Continental army, as it fought the British, happened to be:

Let tyrants shake their iron rods
And slavery clank her falling chains,
We fear them not, we trust in God
New England’s God forever reigns.

– Young Nations, in the 18th Century, needed God. But gradually, the Nation replaced God as the abstraction of choice among men.

To back up the authority for their myths and fairy tales, for their incomplete nonsense, and their, quite simply, invented bullshit, both Nationalism and Religion seem to point to an abstract concept, that is largely, and for the most part un-falsifiable. The problem with anything that is un-falsifiable, is that by definition, it is not testable. So, for something to be unable to be put to the test, and yet still used as a way to ‘bind’ and ‘divide’ humanity, it is dangerous. It deserves no power. A good theory is one that is falsifiable, and still manages to stand up to scrutiny….. like Natural Selection. Saying “there is an invisible monkey sat on my shoulder” is not falsifiable, and so any claims on morality, or to authority, should absolutely be considered ludicrous. Nationalism is similar, in that the concept of that which binds us as a Nation, is built on non-falsifiable abstractions. It is a passion for pedigree that has very little evidence to back it up. No nation is a stock of a single blood line, and it is perhaps more true to say that we are separated far more by economics than we ever are binded by Nationality. I can relate far more to a Pakistani gentleman of lower middle class origin, than I can with a a multi-millionaire member of the Tory cabinet, despite being born in the same Country, or even the same city.

The myths – take the legend of St George and the dragon in England – are quite evidently untrue, but for some reason Nationalists will use the imagery to conjure up passion for the ‘motherland’. Religions do the same. It is pretty obvious to any right thinking person, that given the intense lack of evidence other than a book, Jesus was not born to a virgin, nor did he rise from the dead and walk around for a few days. Sam Harris in ‘The End of Faith’ writes:


We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When those beliefs are common, we call them religious; otherwise they are likely to be called “mad”, “psychotic”, or “delusional”.

– I cannot argue with this.

Nationalism and Religion; the EDL and the MAC; the British National Party and Extreme Islam; are all far more similar than they’d like to believe. Both thrive, by presenting anything that doesn’t fit the very narrow spectrum of their exclusive club, as ‘other’ and ‘other’ as ‘bad’. The rhetoric is identical, the targeted victims (be them people with slightly darker skin, or people who wish to marry someone of the same sex) will always be presented as a danger to society, whilst the religious or the Nationalistic will always present themselves as the saviours.

The Nation is the new God.


Thank heavens for the private sector!

September 16, 2011

Now that the awful public sector has rid itself of thousands of jobs, isn’t it great to see such a thriving private sector?

Well. No.

There are now more unemployed women, than in 1988. Overall unemployment is at its highest since 2009 – the middle of a recession. One in five people between 19 and 24 is unemployed. Average wages rose 2.8% since 2010, whilst RPI (inflation) rose 5.2%, which means wages actually fell by 2.4%.

So we were told that the private sector would take up the jobs lost in the public sector. George Osborne, back in November 2010, told the House of Commons in November that jobs created in the Private Sector, would:

Far outweigh

– the loss of jobs in the Public Sector.

Remember those “35 leading businessmen” that the Chancellor quoted, as some sort of economic demi-gods (I have always wondered why businessmen are considered economic experts. They are not economists. They have an agenda). They sent a letter to the Telegraph, in support of Osborne’s claim. They wrote:

“The private sector should be more than capable of generating additional jobs to replace those lost in the public sector.”

Here’s the letter in full. Tories loved to point to it, last year. I’m guessing they will be less forward in pointing to it, this year.

At its most optimistic, we we under the impression that someone who had spent their life in the public sector employed in a job they love, would now get a nice new job working the tills at McDonalds. Even that, failed to materialise. From April to June public sector job losses reached 111,000. The private sector jobs grew by 41,000. The problem is, the Government insisted in March, that only 20,000 (I say only, because it appears I have caught the bug of treating people and their jobs, as mere statistics – Am I becoming Tory? Dear God, I hope not) would lose their jobs. Unemployment rose by 80,000 in June.

Apparently, when you make people unemployed, and you devalue wages, it becomes impossible to kick start the demand needed for the private sector to thrive. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT!

EDF have just announced energy prices are to raise by 15%, despite profits of Euro1.2bn last year. Last month HSBC announced 30,000 jobs would be cut. They must be struggling right? Again….well. No. The first six months of the year saw their profits raise 3% on the previous six months, to $11.5bn. Seriously. We are now only concerned, as a World, with profit. This is emphasised in the fact that the moment HSBC announced it was kicking 30,000 people out of their livelihoods, their shares rose 3.4%. Rich people absolutely love to hear that they can make even more money now that there isn’t the annoying factor of having to pay 30,000 people.

It is clear that demand creates jobs. Not wealthy businessmen. Referring to them as “job creators” is a falsity of epic proportions. When you take money out of peoples pockets with a VAT rise, with the removal of universal services, with housing benefit cuts; you cut demand in the process. Giving the wealthiest few a tax break isn’t going to change that.

When growth is downgraded, almost on a daily basis, they insist it is Labour’s fault, Europe’s fault, the snow’s fault. No, it is the fault of holding dear to the heart a dangerous Freidman-ite economic philosophy. As with HSBC mentioned above; the epitome of the thought process that leads to this kind of system, is that the abstract concept of the “market” is deemed to be improving, regardless of how many jobs are lost. Shares in HSBC increase, as 30,000 jobs are cut. There is a dramatic evil in that process.

Labour MPs and Shadow Ministers on Twitter insist on questioning whether Strike action is necessary. They should be ashamed to refer to themselves as ‘Labour’. A Labour party, who have seemingly made absolutely no impact on the political landscape since 2010, are quietly licking their wounds as a Tory party who have no legitimate mandate to carry out the ideological attacks they are inflicting, get away with it. If we don’t have the support of a half arsed Labour Party unsure of where its allegiances lie, given it’s past thirteen years of total capitulation to the financial sector, nor do we have the support of a weak Lib Dem party who cowardly abstain when they disagree with Tory policy, then Unions are the only other way to go. There is no other option. A very radical government, requires a very radical opposition. Instead, Labour seem to be constantly worried about their ties to the Union movement, rather than pro-actively and jointly making the case against deep and vicious austerity. The Tories have cleverly managed to set the political discourse in favour of a mythical, broken public sector, and away from the real broken sector; the financial sector.

Yesterday we saw that same Financial Sector produce a rogue trader responsible for UBS losing $2bn on unauthorised dodgy dealings. Have they learnt nothing? UBS was also responsible in 2009, for helping wealthy Americans set up offshore accounts to avoid tax. Growth for the sake of the wealthy, is not real growth. The banks have been let off the hook, by having the support of government like ours, who shift the blame from them, to the constantly demonised public sector.

If anything, we are finding out, for the second time in thirty years, that harsh and forced Neoliberalism is a dangerous dogma. Monetary policy does not pull Nations out of sovereign debt crises. It never has.

Unemployment – Done.
Dismantled NHS – Done.
Bend over to be fucked by the banks – Done.
Stagnating wages – Done.
Provoke riots – Done.
VAT rise – Done.
Pull any support for poorer children (EMA) – Done.
Close as many youth centres as possible – Done.
Close libraries – Done.
Make people work until they’re basically dead, before giving them a pension – Done.
Demonise disabled people – Done.
Rising inflation – Done.
Threaten Unions – Done.
Burden of debt created by wealthy, slammed onto the shoulders of Nation’s 18 year olds – Done.
Tax cuts for the wealthy – Done.
All within 15 months.

It makes Thatcher look like a Socialist in comparison.


Tea Party: Pro-death.

September 14, 2011

The Republican debates have been quite an eye opener. I knew that those who subscribe to the Tea Party way of life, are pretty vicious in the ideological leanings, but I didn’t really know to what extent their bile was able to rise. It turns out, they are an utter disgrace. A cancer on the fabric of society. The worst type of person. The reason I take such a strict approach to the Tea Party, is that they are extremists. My staunch and outspoken Atheism takes the shape of a bullet aimed at the incompatibilities between dogmatic ideology and the humanity as a collective entity looking to survive.

The Tea Party simply represent a vicious dogmatic obsession with their ideology, which happens to be unabridged Capitalism. An ideology that insists massive Corporations are “job creators” (a phrase I hate. Demand creates jobs. Not Corporations). The Tea Party is a representation of everything that is wrong with the right wing.

During a debate, Ron Paul was asked a question about a man who has a good job, but has no medical insurance, and ends up in a coma, what should happen? Predictably, Ron Paul doesn’t particularly answer the question, he just insists the guy SHOULD have medical insurance. I am fully aware that right winged Americans believe healthcare is a luxury rather than what I believe it is; a necessity. But what struck me, to the point of speechlessness, which slowly became a distinct sense of disbelief and disgust, was when the guy asking the questions said “Should we let the man die then?” to which the Tea Party audience, yelled “Yes!!
– This mentality, is extremist. It is taking an ideology to the extreme. Capitalism, like Socialism, when taken to its limits, is extreme ideology; in this case it becomes extreme when it decides who lives and who dies. Ron Paul started his question, by suggesting that any form of tax payer funded healthcare is Socialist, and that’s bad. This is a rather extreme position, because it fails to take into account results. The system is judged on how strictly it adheres to its ideological dogma, rather than the success or failure.

Money, in a Capitalist society is based on nothing. Actually it is based on debt. So its power comes from a collective concept of what it means. Life on the other hand, is not a concept. It transcends ideology. It is far more important than ideology. The ideology requires a constant insistence that what we own, is what makes us who we are.

So, let’s look at the results of two rather polarised healthcare systems. The UK has a Nationalised Health Service. In 2009, the US had a largely Private Health Service, in which your ability to pay (a concept) is far more important than your life itself (reality).
Infant mortality rate (probability of dying between birth and age 1 per 1000 live births)
UK: 5
USA: 7

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

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

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

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

Life expectancy at birth (years)
UK: 80
USA: 79

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

A quick analysis suggests that the UK pays less per capita, our government spends less on our health system than the US, and yet we have “Socialised” healthcare, we’re living longer, and our children are less likely to die at a young age. And yet, all of this is grossly overlooked in favour of ideological dogma regardless of how backward, and ultimately deadly it is.

It isn’t just when compared to the Nationalised health system of the UK. The Nationalised health system of Norway provides equally as disastrous results for Tea Party enthusiasts. When a man is ran down by a car, and the first thought in the collective mind of a Capitalist society is “oh my god!! I hope….he has insurance”, who then walk away when it turns out he doesn’t, one has to ask ourselves how far they are willing to go? Is collective policing wrong? Should we have fire insurance? If our house is burning down, and we’re too poor because our insurance bills include health, road, and police, should we just accept that the fire department shouldn’t be burdened with our current predicament? Should we expect to get arrested for leaving our house if we haven’t paid our road insurance? How is that freedom? That seems to be to be substituting the ‘tyranny’ of Government for the tyranny of big business – a real tyranny because it has unaccountable, unelected powers. A two tier society, in which you’re absolutely second class if you are not propertied, is my idea of hell.

According to a World Health Organisation ranking list of 2000, the US Health System ranks 11. The UK 18th, and the USA…… a pathetic 37th. Even though, the US spends most per capita than any other Nation in that ranking list. Above the US, ranks Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, UAE, Andorra and Malta. The most powerful Nation on Earth, has a worse healthcare record, than Saudi Arabia; a desert. Japan is number one for Life Expectancy and 70% of healthcare costs in Japan are paid by the Government. The cost of an MRI scan in Japan is $US 98. In America, it is $US 1500. There is no excuse for it. A healthcare system based on the ideological position that a doctor should check your insurance before he saves your life, is doomed to fail every time. A system should be judged not on its allocated “ism” but on its success. Private health insurance is not benefiting mankind. It benefits one or two wealthy people, and a host of United Health shareholders, with private health insurance money then ending up in Rick Perry’s campaign pot.

It is interesting to note that the same group of people cheered in delight last week, as it was announced during a debate that candidate Rick Perry has overseen 234 executions in Texas since becoming Governor. It would seem that State sponsored healthcare that ultimately (as shown above) saves lives is Socialist and evil, whilst State sponsored murder is a perfectly acceptable way to spend tax dollars. This includes the execution of Cameron Todd Willigham, a man who was accused of setting fire to his family home, killing his three young children. Before he was executed, a scientist wrote to the parole board to point out the flaws in the original case against Willingham. Perry ignored the concerns, and Willingham was executed in 2004. In 2005, an investigation was set up by a new 9 member Texas Forensic Science Commission. Just before they started their hearings into the case, Perry fired all 9 members. Another nine of the USA’s top fire scientists say the science was faulty in convicting Willingham. It is quite possible that Willigham was innocent. People in that crowd last week, cheered the death of at least one innocent man. Pro-life apparently. What a disgrace to humanity.

If anyone tells you that the US healthcare system is the best in the World; be sure to point out that it isn’t. That it isn’t even in the top ten. Or top twenty. Or top thirty. That it barely reaches the top 40. That your children are more likely to die young in the US, than in the United Arab Emirites or Macau (I’m not even sure where Macau is). But be sure to let them know that if they want to execute someone based on flimsy science, Texas is the place to be!

The great Gore Vidal once said:

Religions are manipulated in order to serve those who govern society and not the other way around.

– This is true of the religion of American Capitalism.

I truly feel for America if a Republican ends up in the White House.


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.


  • Blinded by Patriotism

    February 27, 2011

    In 2003 the Americans tried to convince the World that Al Jazeera had been infiltrated by spies, in an effort to produce propaganda for the war in Iraq. It is an interesting and mightily hypocritical claim by the U.S who have a media largely in bed with the American Government, and largely responsible for the biggest manipulation in war time history. Propaganda is an absolute specialty of the United States of America.

    Ex CBS reporter Dan Rather stated recently, on the subject of his unquestioning adherence to absolutely everything the Bush Administration was insisting, that:

    “Had journalists questioned the deceptions…the invasion would not have happened.”

    The truth is, Al Jazeera is the only news network in the World who were investigating the horrors of the U.S invasion of Iraq. Where were the U.S press, the freest press in the World, when the population of Fallujah were being massacred? Phrases like “terrorist” and “insurgent” were being used everywhere, to describe anyone in Iraq who wanted to fight back against the U.S invasion.

    Fox went along to an anti-war rally in 2004, and suggested several times, that the protesters were “unpatriotic“. Fox went along to the Tea Party rallies in 2009 and 2010 and referred to them as “true patriots“. Fox was the most watched news broadcaster for news on the war. Throughout coverage of the war in Iraq, Fox displayed a little waiving American flag in the corner of the screen.

    Similarly, MSNBC played a segment every week, called “America’s bravest”, which showed photos of American soldiers deployed in Iraq.

    Peter Arnett, a reporter with NBC was fired for questioning the legitimacy of the war. He had interviewed Iraqi officials and said the American “first war plan had failed”.

    A Maryland University study into the media affects on public perception of Iraq, found that 57% of mainstream media viewers believed Iraq was involved in 9/11. 69% believe that Saddam was directly involved in 9/11. 22% believed WMDs had been found in Iraq. 80% of Fox News viewers had one or more of the above misconceptions.

    Media watchdog group “FAIR” found that 79% of all 319 news stories on Iraq in 2003, were sourced from Government officials or Military officials.

    The media became the mouthpiece for a barrage of lies and propaganda. This is evident even today. When Wikileaks leaked the war files, the news outlets, from Fox in the US to the BBC in the UK focused almost entirely on Wikileaks itself. American Republicans are referring to Assange as a traitor for exposing their criminal activity. The UK media was focusing on Assange personally. No one focused on what the war logs were saying.

    Dr Chris Busby, a visiting professor at the University of Ulster, along with a team of researchers, surveyed 4,800 people in Fallujah and concluded that dramatic increases in cancer rates and infant mortality since the relative genocide by American troops, is “worse than Hiroshima”. After Fallujah, US Marines admitted, after first strongly denying, that they had used white phosphorus. The report is open for any to read, called “Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009“. It shows a 38 fold increase in leukaemia (compared to a 17 fold increase, after Hiroshima), a ten fold increase in breast cancer, and an increase in brain tumours. This sharp rise if health defects, was not helped by the fact that the city continued to be blocked off to essential supplies, by the US, long after 2004.

    Whilst the U.S networks were struggling to understand a map of the Middle East:

    And using handy little catchphrases that seemed to give credit to the horrors:

    Al Jazeera was getting right into the heart of the situation, and showing images, like the one below, which is beyond awful. (I have spent the past few minutes looking at this photo, and it is something I cannot comprehend without being overcome with quite profound sadness):

    It is then, no wonder that the one media outlet that was actually bothering to do some investigative journalism, rather than imbedded journalism (in which the Western Military dictates what a Journalist is allowed to see and where he can go), showing pictures and videos of innocent people’s lives ruined, in the same way that Fox and CNN were after 9/11 were bombed. The Al Jazeera Kabul and Baghdad offices were bombed by the Americans, who also drew up plans to bomb the Al Jazeera office in Doha – Qatar!. Why? They weren’t harbouring terrorists. They were just a threat to US mass propaganda. We were not supposed to see the destruction and terrorism left by the Americans. We were supposed to see a happy population, joyfully welcoming the Americans as great liberators fighting for freedom. If people fought back, we were supposed to believe they were “insurgents” who “hated our freedoms”, rather than the fathers of dead children or orphaned children.

    The “reality” of war, is not a natural reality, it is a construct. When thousands are killed in American and British aggression it is called the “reality of war“, simply because a Western Government has used the word “war” to describe it. But when a far smaller number are killed by extremists, it is called “terrorism” and it is “evil”. It is the creation of a narrative that seeks to propel Western aggression as necessary, to defeat evil. Whether that evil be Communists, Muslims, Vietcong, or Arabs. That is the public narrative. The truth is that if your dictator opens up his markets to American Capitalist ventures, he will be propped up for years to come. The moment he closes those markets, we will take them by force.

    How blurred the lines of “reality of war” really are, and absolutely always in favour of the Western World. Vietnam, the propping up of Latin American and Middle Eastern Dictators, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb, the invasion of Iraq. None of it is labelled “terrorism”, and yet what else is it other than the spreading of terror and death across Nations that aren’t ours.

    It isn’t new. The British Empire did it in Australia. Terrorised the Country but apparently it was for their own good. What if Aboriginal Australians had invaded England? Rome labelled anyone who disagreed with its policies as “Barbarians”. The concealing of crimes behind romaticised ideals is not new. Especially with America. America celebrates Columbus Day. A day when Europe began the mass genocide project across that continent.
    The great American author Kurt Vonnegut sums this up in his book “Breakfast of Champions“:

    rout and Hoover were citizens of the United States of America, a country which was called America for short. This was their national anthem, which was pure balderdash, like so much they were expected to take seriously:

    O, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight
    O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
    O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    There were one quadrillion nations in the Universe, but the nation Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout belonged to was the only one with a national anthem which was gibberish sprinkled with question marks.

    The motto of Dwayne Hoover’s and Kilgore Trout’s nation was this, which meant in a language nobody spoke anymore, Out of Many, One: “E pluribus unum.” The undippable flag was a beauty, and the anthem and the vacant motto might not have mattered much, if it weren’t for this: a lot of citizens were so ignored and cheated and insulted that they thought they might be in the wrong country, or even on the wrong planet, that some terrible mistake had been made.

    It might have comforted them some if their anthem and their motto had mentioned fairness or brotherhood or hope or happiness, had somehow welcomed them to the society and its real estate. If they studied their paper money for clues as to what their country was all about, they found, among a lot of other baroque trash, a picture of a truncated pyramid with a radiant eye on top of it. Not even the President of the United States knew what that was all about.

    It was as though the country were saying to its citizens, “In nonsense is strength.” A lot of the nonsense was the innocent result of playfulness on the part of the founding fathers of the nation of Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout.

    The founders were aristocrats, and they wished to show off their useless education, which consisted of the study of hocus-pocus from ancient times. They were bum poets as well. But some of the nonsense was evil, since it concealed great crimes. For example, teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: 1492. The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.

    Here was another piece of evil nonsense which children were taught: that the sea pirates eventually created a government which became a beacon of freedom to human beings everywhere else. There were pictures and statues of this supposed imaginary beacon for children to see. It was sort of an ice-cream cone on fire. Like this [the Liberty torch].

    Actually, the sea pirates who had the most to do with the creation of the new government owned human slaves. They used human beings for machinery, and, even after slavery was eliminated, because it was so embarrassing, they and their descendants continued to think of ordinary human beings as machines

    Vonnegut is ingeniously pointing out the illogical mental illness of Patriotism and its refusal to accept the horrors that came before it, and are committed in the name of it. It is a delusional, non-existent entity that exists to hinder human progression rather than help that seed to grow. A heartfelt anthem and a flag are just ways to mask injustice. It is a clever social construction, to make you think what you are doing is for the greater good and that the greatest good is the Nation State, when in fact the truth is, it is all for the sake of profit.

    The dominant superpower will always place itself as the moral standard, and we buy into the bullshit, because it takes too much effort to stop playing on Fifa, and actually read.
    Instead of seeing a little girl marched out of her home, crying and scared and made to kneel down on the floor with her hands in the air, by our troops, isn’t presented in the media. Instead, the media will have experts in to talk about how awesome our aircraft is, or how the Democrats are trying to block Defence funding. As if any of that bullshit matters.

    We don’t see a bunch of vicious soldiers shooting random people or committing mass murder in Fallujah. Instead, we see a Saddam statue being brought down and how wonderful and free Iraq now is. We don’t see the pictures of a family digging their dead child out of the rubble, instead we only hear words like “insurgents” and “terrorists”. If my child had just been killed by American forces, for no reason, I’d fucking do all I could to kill the bastards too.

    We are all desensitised to war, by this obsession with an us VS them mentality. Consumerism is a useful tool against the questioning of the immoral actions of big business and government. It is a simple narrative to understand, we don’t have to read too much into it, we’re busy working our arses off for shit we don’t need, so we consume easily accessible news, without questioning its motives or its intentions. We are apparently the good guys, and they are apparently the enemies, that is how it is presented. A healthy dose of National Pride, by making pictures of American soldiers draping their flag over the head of the statue in Baghdad, ensures that we are kept docile and unquestioning. We don’t want to seem unpatriotic.

    Whereas, the reality is that the good guys are the idiots who are compelled to fight to perpetuate the economic war system, on both sides, rather than joining hands and fighting the very people who profit from war and make it a rational product of Capitalism. Do we really believe that the American private defence contractors and oil companies would love to see a peaceful World? They exist, to profit from war. Therefore, the financial sector profits from war. It is gross manipulation. These are the real bastards, not a few farmers in Afghanistan.

    David Cameron went to Kuwait and told them that 20 years ago a brutal and violent dictator invaded their home land, and they had a right to defend themselves. How offensive; we sold those arms to that brutal dictator, before we designated him a brutal dictator, because he was nice to our businessmen. I keep seeing arguments defending Cameron’s arms sales across the Arab World as “good for jobs in England”. Economic matters are being placed above human rights. It is believed that British arms were used in the massacre of protesters in Libya this week.

    Blair’s government lifted sanctions on the sale of weapons to Libya in 2004. Since then British companies have sold £500,000,000 worth of arms to Libya n 2009 alone. This includes Sniper rifles, tear gas, and crowd control ammunition. Are we seriously suggesting that selling tear gas and crowd control ammunition to a dictatorship, is going to be used to protect itself from an evil outside force? They are always going to be used against protesters, to keep the dictatorship in power. For that, I don’t care how many jobs it creates in the UK, we should be ashamed.

    And so whilst the Libyan government uses our weapons, like Saddam did before him, on its own people, the rest of the World will sit back and have lots of UN meetings and keeping saying “please stop“.

    Sometimes, death is good for the economy, and so we are all expendable.
    Was is an essential ingredient of Capitalism.


    A place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes

    February 25, 2011

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

    – Charles Bukowski

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

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

    – A beautifully elitist attitude if ever I saw one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thomas More once commented that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Cameronism

    February 21, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I smell Class War.

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

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

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


    The Pig Society Part II

    February 16, 2011

    The Big Society grows ever stronger, and support grows ever wider, charity bosses and workers applaud it and sing its praises, because it is a wonderful plan that is definitely not a cover for a mass of Corporate tax cuts.

    That is what delusional Conservatives believe.
    Except, it’s bullshit.
    The voluntary sector is being absolutely gutted of funding.
    As the previous post pointed out. But to make it clear, the Guardian today featured a story of a lady named Denise Marshall. She is Director of Eaves and also the Poppy Project. These charities work with victims of domestic abuse and sex trafficking. She has dedicated her life to this cause. She has fought some pretty high powered members of the criminal underworld across Europe. Eaves provides housing and counselling for victims of abuse. They offer up to 35% savings on gas and electricity and other necessities for vulnerable women. In short, Denise Marshall is a heroine. She was recognised for this in 2008 by being given an OBE. She is one of the very few who actually deserve the honour.

    Denise is now handing back the OBE, to David Cameron personally, because she has said that the extreme and needless cuts to funding for charities and organisations like Eaves, means she will no longer be able to support and fight criminal gangs who traffic women for the sex trade. She feels that she would be hypocritical and unworthy of an OBE when she can no longer protect the women she has the award for protecting.

    Marshall said:

    “I received the OBE in 2007 specifically for providing services to disadvantaged women. It was great to get it; it felt like recognition for the work the organisation has done.

    But recently it has been keeping me awake at night. I feel like it would be dishonourable and wrong to keep it. I’m facing a future where I can’t give women who come to my organisation the services they deserve – I won’t be able to provide the services for which I got the OBE.”

    “If you run a refuge where you don’t have the support staff it just becomes a production line, where you move people on as quickly as possible to meet the targets. You’re not helping women to escape the broader problems they face. They may get a bed, but no help with changing their lives and moving out of situations of danger.”

    “I’ve worked in this sector for almost 30 years. I don’t want to sound melodramatic but I don’t think I have ever felt as depressed and desperate as I do now,”

    How then, do the Big Society advocates justify the fact that on the same day as a true heroine feels she can no longer protect very very vulnerable women in her care, the Tories are trying to stop an EU law on the banning of naked short selling (which I shall try to explain as much as possible shortly)? The EU law, if the Tories get their way, will not affect the UK on naked short selling. Germany have banned it, the U.S have banned it, Australia have banned it, Hong Kong have banned it, Japan have banned it. We have kept it. It makes a very small elite group of speculators very rich, whilst risking money that is not theirs. How are these people protected, yet the vulnerable women like those that Denise Marshall represents have their funds slashed. The Government and its banking friends and business associates are sitting sipping champagne, whilst Rome burns. Nero would be in awe.

    Short Selling (not naked short selling) is a little confusing, and utterly absurd. It has no social use. It is not to the benefit of any of us. It is dangerous and it should be banned. When you buy shares, you buy them in the hope that the price will rise and you can sell them some time in the future, to make a nice bit of money. It is all to do with how you obtain shares. You and I would buy shares. Naked short sellers borrow shares in the hope that the price will fall. So, if for instance I was to borrow 5000 shares from Broker A. I will then sell them at £1 a share, so £5000, hoping the price falls. Say the price falls by half. I now buy back all the shares, at £2500. I have netted myself a nice little £2500 and I give the 5000 shares back to the Broker A.

    Naked Short Selling is different, because you don’t even borrow the shares you’re selling. You don’t have them. You’re selling a promise that you will obtain the shares that you’ve just sold, at some point in the future. You may as well walk into a bank, take all of their money, and promise to give it back at some point in the future. There is then an incentive for short sellers to wreck companies, because the share price has to fall for them to meet their promise. On a grand scale, this can lead to massive crashes.

    This little practice lead necessarily to the 1997 Asian Financial Crises, that left millions in poverty. This wasn’t the fault of too much Government interference in people’s lives, or too many people on the dole. It was a direct result of unproductive short sellers and a massively deregulated financial sector.

    The law looks to ban naked short selling in the EU. The UK will be trying to exempt itself from that banning.

    This of course comes days after the announcement that there would be vast changes to the offshore tax laws, which mean that large and medium sized businesses who offshore their profits and then move them back to the UK, no longer have to pay the difference between the tax they paid in their tax haven and the tax they pay in the UK. They no longer have to pay any tax on profits that are made outside the country and brought back to the UK. Not only that, but they can claim expenses against tax they pay in the UK, to fund their overseas departments. That represents one of the biggest changes to Corporate tax law, and a massive shift of wealth from the poorest due to cuts, to the very wealthiest on a level far beyond anything Margaret Thatcher could have dreamed of. Suddenly the veil of an omni-benevolent Tory government is falling off, to be replaced by a face stamped with the logos of Diageo and Barclays.

    On the 9th February, George Osborne told the House of Commons:

    Those entrusted by us to regulate those bankers and run our economy washed their hands.
    Meanwhile the rest of the country is left paying every day for their failures.
    The government has to pick up the pieces.

    It would seem that what Osborne believes is “picking up the pieces” entails giving away massive tax cuts, destroying the voluntary sector, and inviting the World’s naked short sellers to come and set up home in Britain.

    Welcome to the Pig Society.


    Why the Big Society is a load of bollocks

    February 14, 2011

    I have taken it upon myself to write a bullet point list of why the Big Society is a load of bollocks.

  • It’s a Tory plan.

    In principle, is sounds lovely, and cuddly; a Country where everyone helps the little old lady cross the street, and the struggling girl trying to lift her suitcase up a flight of stairs, or a disabled man trying to reach food on the top shelf, or inviting a homeless drug addict round to Christmas dinner and letting him touch your wife’s breast. It all sounds lovely. But it’s a Tory plan. So obviously it isn’t all that it seems. Putting two and two together is not difficult, because this breed of Tory isn’t much better than the last breed at hiding their sinister motives.

    Tories and their supporters are notoriously unable to critique their dogmatically held economic principles, no matter how flawed or dangerous it is. They simply put a new mask on it, every couple of years. A rebranding. Putting sparkly bits on dog turd.

    Compact Voice, an agreement between the Voluntary sector and the Government, took London Council to court over plans to cut £10mn worth of funding. They won the right to a judicial review, after the court found that the plans to cut funding to 200 projects for lower socio-economic areas of London failed to meet statutory equality duties. So given that it takes a court order to promote a Big Society that the Government is apparently massively in favour of…. what is going wrong?

    First you must look at the current Tory leader. Margaret Thatcher. Actually, it’s a posher looking shinier version of the mad old witch, but it nevertheless, is Thatcher. Dogmatically gelling himself to out of date, unfounded economic principles that didn’t work last time, and wont work again. Economic principles that cause more misery than joy, and only work to enrich a few people; the same people who happen to be socially retarded bastards of the highest calibre.

    Thatcher famously said “there’s no such thing as society“. This is exactly what David Cameron is saying when he tries to promote his “Big Society”. The mask behind the motive, is that people will volunteer in their communities, rescue libraries, save post offices. The problem is that local communities are being drained of all resources.

    When you take the mask off, the choice is “run your library yourself, of we’re closing it down“. And that’s horrendous. It is no different to what Tories always attempt to do, it just has a new mask. It would seem that the “Big Society” is a clever PR stunt, to cover up the fact that the Government is taking money away from the public sector, washing its hands of all social responsibility, in order to fund a mass of tax cuts for the very wealthy. The evidence for this can be seen with the recent offshore Corporate tax rule change; the biggest change in its history. Public money is being taken away from your library, and given back to people who run a business in England, but store their profits elsewhere, and pay no tax on it. Not only has the offshore tax system been scraped, the Corporate tax rate will be dropped by 4% by 2014. Public money is being taken away from your child’s school, for purely ideological reasons, and given to the very rich in the form of tax cuts; the very same very rich people who happen to fund the Tory Party.

    Last year, George Osborne stood up in Parliament and told us all he was instantly getting rid of 490,000 jobs. Half a million people unemployed, in less than ten seconds. The Tory backbenchers cheered in joy. The Big Society is the tedious and futile hope that the voluntary sector will suck up the jobs that have been, and will continue to be destroyed by the Government. When millions are unemployed and in desperate need, the Government is washing its hands of them, and telling the rest of us to deal with it. We didn’t create this mess. The Financial Sector; many of whom donate to the Tory party, and all of whom are taking home a mass of money in bonuses this year created the problems.

    The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said:

    “In Scotland we’re already delivering the big society. David Cameron’s big idea simply describes a lot of what already happens throughout Scotland’s third sector, from active volunteers in communities across the country to excellent public services run by charities.

    “But government cuts are dangerously undermining our capacity to even continue the valuable work we were doing before the crash, never mind becoming the thriving third sector that Scotland so badly needs.

    “Right now we’re on a knife- edge. The local lifelines that so many people rely on face vicious cuts, leaving the most vulnerable without the support they need. It’s going to take more than rhetoric to save our services.”

    It is impossible to engage the Voluntary sector, when you are taking billions our of it, and giving a couple of million back whilst telling everyone you’re definitely funding it adequately. It is a joke. Most charity leaders don’t buy into it. They recognise that whilst Charity organisations face cuts of close to £5bn, plus the added issue of receiving less due to the scrapping of tax relief on donations, the promise of a couple of extra hundred million pounds, is minuscule. A £100mn “transition fund” is the equivalent of taking a loaf of bread away from you, handing you a slice of bread, and telling you to feed your family.

    In fact, the Office for Civil Society’s promise of an extra £470mn for Voluntary organisations over the next four years, during a Parliament of intense Council cuts, is nothing in comparison to £500mn over the past three years. The Charity Commission will also be required to cut its funding by 27%.

    Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, the Executive Director of the UKs leading voluntary and training service; “Community Service Volunteers” said:

    “So there are a lot of very worthwhile programmes – for example volunteers working in child protection as promoted by the minister for children – which are now under threat of closure.”

    Do not buy into the Big Society hype.
    It is not just a cover for public sector cuts, it is a cover to transfer wealth to a very narrow wealthy elite, through a mass of Corporate tax breaks.
    In plain, it is Tories being Tories.


  • Multiculturalism in England

    February 5, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    We’re all in this together!!

    October 28, 2010

    “The Coalition’s extreme austerity policy is the biggest economic gamble I have seen a British Chancellor take in my lifetime. With my heart, I hope for the sake of the country the wager pays off, but in my head I fear that this unjust, unjustified and unnecessary programme will cost us dearly as a nation.”
    – Professor John van Reenen, London school of economics

    Today I spoke on the phone to our Liberal Democrat candidate for MP. He came 2nd in the May 2010 election, losing out to the Tory, but he is still a candidate and still campaigning for the Lib Dems. I sent him an email, and he very kindly rang me back. I asked him questions regarding the Coalition rhetoric on the economy. I specifically asked him what had changed economically, to make the Lib Dems think their committment and pledge to abolish tuition fees was suddenly not feasible? He didn’t offer me a good enough reason. I pointed out that when Vince Cable said at the beginning of October, that the economic situation was worse now and so they had to abandon the tuition fee pledge; that the situation was actually better, than when they were running for the student vote, in May. So, he blatantly lied. Our local candidate said “yeah”. He also told me that the Lib Dems wanted coalition with Labour, not the Tories. So it amazes me when they spend every moment that they are awake, insisting everything is Labour’s fault. It is following the line of Tory discourse. I massively appreciated him giving up some of his time to allow me the chance to question him, and he answered very honestly; annoyed at much of what has happened and the direction the Lib Dems seem to be going. I get the feeling this Coalition isn’t going to last very long.

    When the Chancellor announced the spending review in Parliament last week, he specifically made the point that Britain was the ‘brink of bankruptcy’, and that it was all Labour’s fault. On Tuesday this week, it was announced that the British economy is growing faster than expected. Obviously George Osborne claimed all the credit for this, essentially missing out the fact that none of his economic policies have actually been implemented or had any time to settle in whatsoever. We went from the brink of bankruptcy, to growing pretty well, in the space of 6 days. Impressive. Osborne claimed it was all due to confidence in the proposals by the government. Which is an absolutely ludicrous claim to make. I cannot imagine in the space of three months, markets have decided to suddenly start growing in unison, whilst banks start lending, all because there’s a new Chancellor in town. That just doesn’t happen. I hope though, it will make the Tories step back from the rather amusing claim that we are about to become the next Greece. What the rise actually shows, is the strong construction sector, due to public sector contracts, has provided much of the growth. This is likely to slow right down, after the axe actually hits its target. Improvement and maintenance to schools for instance, which was part of Labour’s stimulus package, is set to fall by 40% because of the cuts.

    Osborne taking credit for the growth is eerily reminiscent of when Republican Congressmen in the States angrily complain about the stimulus package, but happily stand in front of cameras holding the cheques for projects that it paid for in their district, despite their fierce opposition to it. Osborne is doing the same. The stimulus created this growth, the Tories angrily opposed the stimulus, and now they are taking credit for its benefits. And a dumbed down British public, too obsessed with X Factor, will believe it. I’m pretty sure a further 500,000 unemployed in the public sector, which will obviously hit the private sector too, might mean that growth figure drops quite harshly over the next twelve months; I wonder who Osborne will put the blame for that on.

    The stronger than expected growth figures, mirror those of this past July, in which GDP grew 1.1%, when the forecasts were just 0.6%. In April – June, the Construction Sector grew by 6.6%, it’s highest rise since the 1960s. In the second and third quarters of 2010 – still, without any Tory policy implemented – the UK economy saw the fastest consecutive growth in over ten years, suggesting that Labour might have got it right after all. Surely Osbourne can’t take credit for that too? The Party line seems to be; when it’s bad, blame Labour. When it’s good, take all the credit.

    The Tories announced that we have secured our Triple A credit rating; despite the fact that it was never actually at risk. It was always secure. In five months in office, they are claiming to have secured a credit rating on the back of the worst financial crises (caused entirely by the Private sector, nonetheless) in decades, and are apparently solely responsible for the growth figures. It’s beyond moronic.

    Nobel Prize for Economics winner, Joseph Stiglitz recently criticised the way the Coalition is dealing with the economy (in direct conflict with the 35 business leaders, but then Stiglitz doesn’t fund the Tory Party), by saying:

    “I feel sorry for the Irish people who have to suffer from this policy… but it doesn’t have global or European consequences. If the UK, Germany or other countries do it, then it is going to have systemic consequences for Europe and the whole world. If that (austerity) happens I think it is likely that the economic downturn will last far longer and human suffering will be all the greater,””

    Tough cuts to the Irish public sector, lead to huge unemployment and declining output, and certainly not a bustling, wondrous, all encompassing private sector as promised to us by the Big Society brigade.

    Today, Lord Turnbull, the former head of the Civil Service told a Treasury Select Committee that Britain was not on the brink of bankruptcy. He’s right. The idea that a Triple A rated economy, which happens to be the fifth largest in the World, and the second largest Financial centre in the World, is on the brink of bankruptcy is an amazing thing to suggest. It is simply a backdrop for these horrific cuts the Government announced last week. But one has to ask the question, if growth is far better than expected, and we have ‘secured’ our credit rating, and we are no longer on the ‘brink of bankruptcy’, there is no economic reason for such harsh cuts any more. The only possible reason to push forward the cuts, would be for the sake of ideology? What the Tories actually inherited was an economy coming out of troubled times (so, growing) and falling unemployment figures, which is actually astonishing given the extent of the crises we have just been through.

    But this isn’t the best bit of Tory bullshit to grab my attention today. Remember, we are all in this together, that includes the people on disability allowance who will get it drastically cut after a year; the people who will be purged from London because of the housing benefit cut; and of course the poor FTSE 100 bosses, who it was announced today, have awarded themselves greater pay rises and bonuses than at any time over the past few decades. The average FTSE 100 boss, now earns over 200 times the average worker wage. Bonuses to bosses increased by 34% on top of a 4% average pay increase. J Sainsbury gave its CEO a 60% pay increase. The boss of Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Gaviscon, is the most highly paid on the FTSE 100 list of top paid execs, taking home £90m. This comes a couple of days after the BBC reported that Reckitt Benckiser had agreed to pay a £10m fine for essentially, ripping off the NHS by “restricting competition in the supply of heartburn medicines to the NHS”. Good to see he’s earning his £90m.

    Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, quite rightly told the Guardian:

    “Let us not forget that these are the same people urging the Government to make deep cuts in jobs and services and in the welfare on which the poorest in our society rely”

    This all of course, comes a few days after a Channel 4 investigation, suggested that certain Tory millionaires, including George Osbourne himself, have been making money from tax loopholes. The investigation claims that Osbourne will benefit from a £4m offshore trust fund, which in turn will save him £1.6m in inheritance tax. He did nothing to earn that trust fund. He didn’t ‘work hard’ for it. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond apparently avoided the new 50p top rate of tax, by moving all of his shares from his family property business, into his wife’s name, who pays less tax. These people are really taking the piss at the minute.

    Instead of taking to the streets like the French are doing, we tend to praise these bosses and attack Unions. Whenever there is a strike, our media convince us beautifully that the workers are trying to destroy the company and ruin our lives. It couldn’t possibly be the bosses fault, they couldn’t possibly be to blame. How fucking dare people demand to be treated better? We see their striking simply as something that inconveniences our neat little consumer obsessed World. We don’t see them as people fighting for their jobs, against a class of people who simply want to enrich themselves further, despite the fact that they take home millions already. We should all be hand in hand with every striker in the Country, because the majority of us have far more in common with the ordinary worker being pissed on, than we ever will with the bastards who sip champagne on their boats. We have become massively Thatcherite in our thought process. I hope this changes soon.