The Frackers of Downing Street.

January 17, 2014

There are very few more pressing issues on the planet right now than climate change, and sustainable energy. For that reason alone, throwing dangerous chemicals down a well and splitting rocks to extract gas, leading to complaints of contaminated water supplies in Texas, and earthquakes in Blackpool, was always going to be a controversial topic. Without getting into the pros and cons of the industry and the practice, I thought I’d focus on the names and faces attached to fracking in the UK, who seem to be extraordinarily close to a government that is now suddenly fully embracing fracking.

Lord Browne is the Managing Director of Riverstone – a private equity firm that backs Cuadrilla Resources (of which Lord Browne in the Chairman). Cuadrilla is a Shale Gas operator that was found to be the likely cause of two minor earthquakes in 2011 through its drilling in Lancashire. Lord Browne is lead non-executive director – a Coalition advisor – at the Cabinet Office and a crossbench member of the House of Lords.

Also at Riverstone was Ben Moxham. Moxham was a vice President at Riverstone – the equity firm that backs a company responsible for a small earthquake – until 2011. Moxham was then a lead advisor for the Coalition on climate change issues, and a senior policy advisor for energy issues, to the Prime Minister. Moxham, like Lord Browne, was also at BP for a time.

The Senior Independent Director of of BG Group PLC is Baroness Hogg. BG Group is a British oil and gas company with interests across the planet, including shale gas in the US, where it claimed to be wishing to produce 80,000 barrels a day by 2015, growing up 190,000 barrels a day by 2020 through its shale production. Baroness Hogg was appointed Lead Non-Executive Board Member to the Treasury.

Sam Laidlaw is the CEO of Centrica. He was also Lead non-executive director on the board of the Department for Transport, and a member of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group . Also at Centrica for a time, was Tara Singh. In May 2013, Number 10 announced that Ms Singh would be the Prime Minister’s personal advisor on energy and climate change. This is the same Tara Singh whose previous role was Public Affairs Manager at Centrica – owner of British Gas. A few weeks after Singh was appointed to a government advisory role, Centrica – her former employer – bought a stake in Lord Browne’s Cuadrilla for its shale gas production. Singh has also worked for PR firm Hill & Knowlton, a firm that represents the Norwegian energy giant Statoil, a company with investment in fracking in North America.

Lord Green, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, was also non-executive director of chemical giant BASF. BASF supply gas-based chemicals for the fracking industry.

The Windsor Energy Group in March 2013 discussed, according to its own documents:

“…the energy revolution from shale gas and tight oil and other game-changers so far looking east, west and south…”

– This excitement was echoed by the Chairman of the Windsor Energy Group – Lord Howell – who told Parliament that the former colonies were ripe for picking:

“…wake up and realise where our future and our destiny lie…the new range of Commonwealth countries coming into the prosperity league either side of Africa, as they find through the shale gas revolution that they have fantastic raw energy resources and prospects.”

– Lord Howell – the Chairman of the W.E.G – also happens to be the father-in-law of Chancellor George Osborne. The Windsor Energy Group takes time on its website to thank Shell and BP for its support. It is unsurprising that two of the biggest players in the oil industry might choose to be close friends with an organisation whose chairman is the father-in-law of the Chancellor. Lord Howell was also former energy advisor to William Hague.

Lord Howell – the Chairman of the W.E.G and father-in-law of the Chancellor – is also the President of the British Institute of Energy Economics. The BIEE is sponsored by Shell and BP. In 2013, Howell was appointed President of the Energy Industries Council.

It comes as no surprise then, that in July 2013, Howell’s son-in-law Chancellor George Osborne announced a massive tax break for the fracking industry, setting the rate at 30% for onshore shale gas production, as opposed to 62% for new production of North Sea Oil. Echoing the wording by his father-in-law, and the Windsor Energy Group that his father-in-law Chairs, Osborne referred to fracking as a revolution:

“This new tax regime, which I want to make the most generous for shale in the world, will contribute to that. I want Britain to be a leader of the shale gas revolution”

– But it isn’t just Osborne. Vince Cable, whose Party spent the best part of the last decade insisting it was the party of green energy, took to TV news to defend the tax breaks. The fact that Cable here suggests that fracking would have to be heavily regulated and watched, must raise eyebrows as to its potential dangers. It is worth noting that Vince Cable was the former Chief Economist at Shell (supporters of the W.E.G, and financial backers of the BIEE, both run by George Osborne’s father-in-law) and that Malcolm Brinded – the former Chief Executive of Shell Upstream International – referred to Cable in a letter to the Secretary of State as the “Contact Minister for Shell”. Here:

shell
– Shell is positioning itself to be a major player in the UK Fracking industry. It’s also worth noting that William Hague worked for Shell UK before entering Parliament.

The tax breaks must have felt like a wonderful victory, not just for Shell and Osborne’s father-in-law, but for everyone’s favourite soulless lobbyist Lynton Crosby. The Prime Minister’s election advisor and strategist founded the lobbying firm Crosby Textor, which lobbies on behalf of The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, and fracking is one of its main objectives. One of the members of The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association is Dart Energy, whose UK subsidiary holds a fracking licence in the UK.

So to summarise, Lord Browne from Cuadrilla is a coalition advisor, and Tara Singh from Centrica who own a stake in Cuadrilla is a coalition advisor, and Sam Laidlaw – the CEO of Centrica – was a coalition advisor. Baroness Hogg – a lead non-exec. board member to the Treasure – is Senior Independent Director at a company with huge interests in fracking in the US Ben Moxham – an advisor to the Prime Minister on climate change and energy – was at an equity firm that backed Lord Browne’s Cuadrilla. Lynton Crosby whose firm lobbies on behalf of the fracking industry is a key strategist to the Conservative Party. George Osborne’s father-in-law is the President of a group financially backed by BP & Chairs another organisation supported by Shell among others that pushes for the fracking industry at the same time that his son-in-law announces incredibly generous tax rates for the fracking industry. And the Business Secretary is referred to as the “Contact Minister for Shell” by a former Shell CEO. It is an incredible state of affairs.

Those who are in a position to be making a very large amount of money from fracking, also appear to be at the centre of a government that will make the key decisions on the future of the industry including its regulations and safety procedures. By contrast, there don’t appear to be any members of local communities close to proposed fracking sites, at the centre of government. For a Tory Party needing to shed its image as the Party of big business, this isn’t helping. The fracking industry hasn’t even taken off in the UK to any great extent, and yet it would appear its representatives are well placed right at the very heart of government.


George Osborne’s Credit Rating Words of Wisdom:

February 22, 2013

George_osborne_hi

“We will safeguard Britain’s credit rating with a credible plan to eliminate the bulk of the structural deficit over a Parliament…”
– The Conservative Party Manifesto 2010.

This evening – a day after it was noted that Osborne will embarrassingly reveal that borrowing this year will go up – Moody’s Ratings Agency has downgraded the UK’s credit rating from AAA to AA1. Moody’s stated the reason for the downgrade was:

The key interrelated drivers of today’s action are:

1. The continuing weakness in the UK’s medium-term growth outlook, with a period of sluggish growth which Moody’s now expects will extend into the second half of the decade;

2. The challenges that subdued medium-term growth prospects pose to the government’s fiscal consolidation programme, which will now extend well into the next parliament;

3. And, as a consequence of the UK’s high and rising debt burden, a deterioration in the shock-absorption capacity of the government’s balance sheet, which is unlikely to reverse before 2016.

The problem Moody’s sees, is lack of growth. The government have relied too heavily on austerity, and not on growth in any meaningful way. And austerity, without growth, is a failure. Austerity may work at times of prosperity, but when wages are worthless, when growth is stagnant or receding, it simply fails. It has failed again. Therefore, the Chancellor has failed. Moody’s continues:

When Moody’s changed the outlook on the UK’s rating to negative in February 2012, the rating agency cited concerns over the increased uncertainty regarding the pace of fiscal consolidation due to materially weaker growth prospects, which contributed to higher than previously expected projections for the deficit, and consequently also an expected rise in the debt burden.

– Here, they are clear. Moody’s is concerned that continued austerity, despite “weaker” (a euphemism, for no growth, stagnation, and recession) growth than ‘expected’, has led to rising debts. It failed miserably. The statement from Moody’s is one long winded way of saying, the Tory plan A failed. It will continue to fail.

So what was the Chancellor’s response to the news that his plan has failed? Well, he seems to be under the impression that the downgrade simply means he’s doing a wonderful job, his plan is working, and will continue without any changes to it whatsoever:

Far from weakening our resolve to deliver our economic recovery plan, this decision redoubles it.

We will go on delivering the plan that has cut the deficit by a quarter, and given us record low interest rates and record numbers of jobs.

– Let’s be clear, ‘record number of jobs’ simply means, people working, regardless of whether they are paid or not. Unpaid work, to me, is not “employment”. Nor is anyone “employing” you if your jobseekers allowance is only being paid under the condition that you stack shelves for multinational companies using free labour. There are still 2,500,000 unemployed, chasing 500,000 jobs. That’s not a record number. Of the 500,000 jobs the Government claimed to have created, 1 in 5 of those are on unpaid work schemes, and most still claim jobseekers allowance. You know, the people forced to work for multinational Companies, who apparently do not have to rent their labour (this is reprehensible Capitalism, but not unexpected from the Tory Party), because the government claims to be paying their wage, through unemployment benefit. People on ‘job hunt workshops’ receiving no pay or training are also counted. So let’s be clear; the Chancellor just invents whatever he feels comfortable with at the time, to make himself sound impressive. The problem is, sometimes those invented comforts come back to bite you.

The Chancellor is missing the point and completely ignoring what Moody’s actually said. They do not believe that austerity, at a time when growth is slow or regressing has worked. In fact, it has made matters work. That has been the legacy of the past three years of Tory government. Osborne insisting he will continue on this path, suggests he thinks his policy has worked; that a downgrade simply confirms his plan is the right one. So let’s take a look at his thoughts on the Credit Rating over the past few years:

George Osborne’s Words of Wisdom

When Standard and Poor’s first put the UK on a watch list for our Credit Rating, the then Opposition Chancellor George Osborne made his feelings known about what should happen, even for being on the list, to the Labour Government:

“It’s now clear that Britain’s economic reputation is on the line at the next general election, another reason for bringing the date forward and having that election now… For the first time since these ratings began in 1978, the outlook for British debt has been downgraded from stable to negative.”

– Please note, that before today’s Downgrade, Moody’s put the UK back on negative outlook in February 2012. On Osborne’s watch.

Also when in opposition, the Chancellor told us just what losing the AAA Credit Rating would mean for the entire nation, and particularly the Government:

“….now Britain faces the humiliating possibility of losing its international credit rating.”

Also pre-election, Osborne lets us know that investment into the UK would be very difficult if the Credit Rating was downgraded:

“What investor is going to come to the UK when they fear a downgrade of our credit-rating and a collapse of confidence?”

It seems in opposition, the Chancellor could not keep quiet about just how important it was to keep our AAA Credit Rating, at the risk of the destruction of the entire Nation! And how only he could stop the doom!

one of the things I’m very keen on doing, and that’s putting it mildly, is to preserve Britain’s international credit rating. You know it’s absolutely essential we don’t have the downgrade that hangs over the country at the moment.”

In 2011, the Chancellor was keen to tell us how great his policies are, and how safe they have made us! HURRAH!

“Our credit rating had been put on negative watch. Now, however, thanks to the policies of this coalition Government, Britain has economic stability again.”

– That was mid-2011. By early 2012, we were back on negative watch again. Thanks Coalition!

in 2010, he gave us a benchmark by which to judge him as a Chancellor. He also gave us strong assurances of what the Coalition “WILL” do.

“Our first benchmark is to cut the deficit more quickly to safeguard Britain’s credit rating. I know that we are taking a political gamble to set this up as a measure of success. Protecting the credit rating will not be easy… The pace of fiscal consolidation will be co-ordinated with monetary policy. And we WILL protect Britain’s credit rating and international reputation.”

July 2012, Osborne tells us just how important retaining the AAA Credit Rating is:

“A reminder that despite the economic problems we face, the world has confidence that we are dealing with them”.

Moody’s is of course, untrustworthy and rather awful at what they do, given that a couple of weeks before its predictable death, AIG was rated AAA by Moody’s. That however, misses the point. George Osborne is the man who held the judgements of Credit Ratings Agencies up to be important references on how well a Government is performing economically, using them to continuously attack the Labour Government. He must face his own words. His own words, that simply add to his loss of all credibility this evening.

We must add ‘Downgraded Credit Rating’ to the list of Osborne’s failures as Chancellor. And the list is pretty long for a Chancellor who hasn’t yet been in the job for three years. The failure stems from the fallacy, that by cutting the public sector, the private sector would sweep up all those lost jobs. By taking money away from the poorest, and giving tax breaks to the wealthiest, we’d see new businesses everywhere, and job creation in abundance! Of course, none of that actually happened, or anything like it. Instead we have recessions, falling wages, people kicked out of their homes for having a spare room, banks not lending, the unemployed in payless jobs for multinationals, rising child poverty, borrowing and the deficit rising, and now a downgraded Credit Rating.

The Chancellor has to be sacked. His list of failings is immense. By contrast, Andrew Lansley was sacked as Health Minister, simply for not ‘explaining’ the NHS reforms adequately enough. The problem the Prime Minister has with Osborne, is that sacking the Chancellor, is an admission that the economic plan set forth from the moment they were elected, has failed.

If the Tories and Lib Dems thought they had inherited a mess in 2010, it is going to be a hell of a lot worse for those elected in 2015.

– So, given that over the past four years he has insisted that our Country is doomed if we lose Triple A, that it’s a complete embarrassment, that the Government of the time should call an election due to the economic failure they preside over simply for being ‘watched’ and not downgraded, that his policies saved the credit rating, and then as that rating is downgraded today, insists its just proof that his plan has worked……. how on earth is this man still the Chancellor of the Exchequer? Surely by his own standards, he has failed miserably?


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.


The curse of Letwin

August 1, 2011

The Conservative Government REALLY need an Alastair Campbell. Desperately. They attempted to secure a Campbell figure to head their PR team, with the [sarcarm] brilliantly managed and executed appointment of Andy Coulson.[/sarcasm] It would take a top PR team most of the day, every day, to ensure Oliver Letwin, the Minister of State for Policy, keeps his grotesque mouth closed whenever someone from the press is around, because he betrays the idea that the Tories have change, or modernised, since, well, around the 19th Century. Letwin is a left over from a group of Etonians who clearly and misguidedly believe they have a right to rule by way of their heritage. It is an arrogance that the Cameron Government will never shake, because they are the living embodiment of that privileged arrogance. They have disastrously inter-breeded this mentality with a Thatcherite economic mentality that is as dangerous as it is out-dated. His disastrous face, screams contempt for anyone who isn’t Oliver Letwin. He is a PR disaster. It is one of the many reasons (another being massive incompetence and dishonesty – which we’ll come to later) that he was overlooked when the Tories were searching for a leader. Hell, they even chose Iain Duncan Smith, does anyone remember him?

With a face looking as if someone had created him out of the concept of pompous twat, Oliver Letwin has once more allowed the Conservative Party mask it currently shrouds itself in, to fall, revealing a Thatcherite brigade just as frightening and dangerous as their 1980s counterparts.

Letwin had told a consultancy firm, that his proposals for public sector reform should instill:

“some real discipline and some fear”

He said this, because he believes the productivity of the public sector has failed. It is a strange comment and angle to take, given that the private sector has spent the past four years creating sovereign debt crises’ everywhere it goes. Productivity is very difficult to measure in the public sector, because the public sector is not about creating anything. Investment in the public sector has seen waiting lists for operations down year on year since the last Tory administration. Teaching standards are also up. The public sector does not “make” things. So talk of productivity in comparison to the private sector, is futile and misleading. It strikes me as wholly patronising that a man such as Oliver Letwin has the balls to lecture public sector workers – teachers, doctors, nurses, firemen – on what “real discipline” is. They are not children. They also did not claim public money for ludicrous items like mortgage interest payments. Also, the public sector hasn’t spent twenty five years creating a system of easy credit to boost the excessive pay of CEOs and Managing Directors, whilst the average worker saw overall increase in wages? And then when the company or bank failed miserably, the “fear” was THAT pertinent that the CEOs are given massive pay offs and lovely big bonuses. All this, whilst the public sector is told constantly, and has been told constantly, from Thatcher, to Major, to Blair, to Brown and now to Cameron, that it is not good enough, that it must be modelled on a failing private sector built on squeezing productivity out through long hours, a mountain of stress, and all for less pay whilst the big boss is compensated for his little contribution to overall productivity with huge salary and bonuses; and that their jobs are always on the line. A private sector model should be as far away from inflicting misery on the public sector, as possible.

It isn’t the first time Letwin has revealed his hostility to those less fortunate. Earlier this year, he surprised and disgusted the most posh of Tories, Boris Johnson, by telling Johnson:

“We don’t want more people from Sheffield flying away on cheap holidays.”

– At least he recognises that the North suffered horrifically with the gutting of jobs and thus wealth during the Thatcher years. Though he seems to have suggested that it is perfectly okay for the wealthy Southerners to pay for expensive holidays and that holidaying abroad should be based on wealth. I expect he thought he was at home with Boris, and could reveal his true feelings, but sometimes posh Tory twats seriously misjudge the situation, and regret the fact that their well crafted public self has been set on fire by their real self. This seems to happen a lot with Letwin. And now on to why I referred to his as a hypocrite:

In 2005 Letwin used the phrase “Wealth Distribution” in a positive light! I know! I was shocked too when I first read it. A Tory, interested and supportive of wealth distribution? Surely not! Well, actually, not. 2005 was the year Cameron was trying to pose as being a “progressive conservative“, deeply contradictory term yet one he managed seemingly to work. Letwin clearly took on that contradictory term, by trying to fill out a left wing term with right winged substance in the hope that no one would scratch below the service. He said:

…….not by trying to do down those with most but by enabling those who have least to share an increasing part of an enlarging cake.

– In practice what this means is, a desire to scrap the top rate of tax for the richest, a desire to lower the Corporation tax rate to the lowest recorded level, a desire to allow companies like Vodaphone a get out of jail free card by writing off their tax debt, whilst at the same time cutting allowance for the disabled, the elderly, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Letwin must be talking about the 16000 less police Britain will have after this Parliament; according to the leaks that the Guardian currently has; the Tory’s new director of policy Steve Hilton, suggesting abolishing maternity leave whilst also abolishing ALL consumer rights legislation. Just to reiterate….. this man, is the Nation’s DIRECTOR OF POLICY. Now i’m not saying these idiotic and deeply right winged ideas of Hilton’s are likely to become a reality. To suggest so would put me on the same wavelength as the manic Right Wingers who would constantly suggest that New Labour were about to ban England shirts and change the name of Christmas, or ban you from being white. Letwin must believe Hilton’s ideas will “enable” those with the least to a share of an increasingly large cake. Tories consider Hilton a genius…… not just because of his ideas (which aren’t in any sense a spark of genius) but also because he doesn’t wear shoes in Downing Street and they consider this “wacky”. In their defence, it is as wacky as most Tories are likely to see, given that they are born wearing business suits, slick back hair, and spend the next twenty years trying to hide the fact that their schooling experience is a plethora of homoeroticism cunningly disguised as a love of “Rugger“. It can’t have been too many years ago when gay and black people were described by most Tories as “wacky“. Hilton, like Letwin, is politically dangerous.

The reason why Letwin is hypocritical in his desire to do away with the idea that public money can actually do good, is because he used public money to claim over £80,000 for his Cottage in Somerset, in order to heat the place, empty the septic tank, £1000 in mortgage interest and most beautifully of all…… over £2000 to repair a leaking pipe underneath his tennis court. So much for “real discipline and fear“.

Either the Tory Party spend some time searching and investing in a decent PR figure, or they sew Oliver Letwin’s mouth closed, he is a liability to the Conservatives, and a liability to humanity.


The hypocrisy of the Guardian.

April 3, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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“.


  • On this day…

    January 21, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Riven Vincent, Holly’s mum said:

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

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

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

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

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


    Why I will protest next Wednesday

    November 6, 2010

    Protest against the raising of tuition fees to £9000. Protest against the cancelling of Educational Maintenance Allowance. Protest against the 35 business leaders who signed the letter of support for Cameron and Osborne. Protest against the cut to childcare credits. Protest against the loss of an estimated 500,000 thousand jobs. Protest against David Cameron using £80,000 of taxpayers money on his second home mortgage interest repayments. Protest against cuts to surestart. Protest against the Liberal Democrats becoming Tories. Protest against David Cameron putting his stylist, his wife’s stylist, and his photographer on Parliamentary payroll. Protest against the CBI supporting public service cuts whilst saying nothing about the FTSE 100 directors giving themselves a massive pay increase. Protest against David Davis’ hopelessly moronic idea that transport workers, firefighters, gas and electric workers, and NHS shouldn’t be allowed to strike. Protest against the empty rhetoric of “We’re all in this together“. Protest against the idea that business leaders are a credible source on economic matters and actually give a shit about any of us; they don’t. Protest against the “big society” bullshit. Protest Baroness Warsi stating that this government “does God“. Protest against Osborne’s £4mn offshore trustfund he stands to inherit yet did fuck all to earn. Protest against big business getting away with obscene tax avoidance whilst benefit fraud is treated like a crime worthy of capital punishment. Protest against the immigration cap. Protest against the jubilant Tory backbenches who jumped up with joy and swung their Parliamentary papers in the air filled with glee the moment Osborne had finished condemning millions to the dole queue. Protest against the constant “Due to the legacy left to us by Labour” bullshit in an attempt to justify every piece of disastrous legislation and cuts they introduce. Protest against a culture of debt. Protest the fact that for some odd reason, Boris Johnson is Mayor of London…… still. Protest against Vince Cable, Danny Alexander, and Nick Clegg. Protest against the cuts to policing and fire protection. Protest the obvious attempt to part privatise the NHS. Protest against the miserable private sector that has reduced our lives to big business bitches and brain dead consumers. Protest against the cuts to the BBC. Protest against the cosying up to the Murdoch family. Protest against the appointment of Philip Green. Protest against the Tories. Protest in support of widespread union action. Protest to get noticed. Protest for common human decency. Protest for everything……