… at least you don’t have an I.D Card.

September 8, 2013

In 2010 – and still taking a prominent place on their website today – The Conservative Party released their ‘Quality of Life Agenda‘; a pamphlet setting out Conservative values for a modern age. Section 4 is titled ‘Defending Civil Liberties‘ and lists the Labour Party’s civil-liberty failures whilst in government:

“Labour have shown complete contempt for the rights of the individual. In opposition we have fought them every step of the way; forcing them into a humiliating u-turn over 42-day detention. In government we’ll go further, scrapping
the Contactpoint database and abolishing ID cards. But these blows for our civil liberties will only happen with the clean break of a new Conservative government.”

– So, please note….. effortlessly carrying around an inconsequential ID card is – according to the Conservative Party – an unacceptable attack on individual civil liberties. Keep that in mind throughout this article.

In July 2013, Conservative MP Philip Hollobone – who voted strongly against any ID scheme – introduced a Bill into Parliament calling for a compulsory one year National Service for 18-26 year olds. The Bill reads:

“Non-exempt individuals who do not serve one year of national service before the age of 26 years shall be guilty of an offence.”

– So for Philip Hollobone, effortlessly carrying around an inconsequential ID card is an unacceptable attack on individual civil liberties. Stealing a year out of the life of young people and punishing them if they don’t comply with that theft, is perfectly acceptable.

Parliament’s website describes the Bill in rather manipulative language:

“A Bill to provide a system of national service for young persons; and for connected purposes.”

– This Bill doesn’t “provide” anything. It removes. It forcibly takes a year from the life of every young person in the country.
When a young person finishes college or university and perhaps has the perfect career opportunity presented before them with which they would ordinarily choose to pursue, would – upon passage of this Bill – have to factor in leaving that position within 8 years whether they wished to do so or not, to comply with Hollobone owning a year of their life.

The horrific Bill continues:

“(2) Regulations shall also provide that the scheme shall include—
(a) a residential element, requiring that participants live away from home;”

– Not only will you not be able to take on the job of your dreams because you’ll inevitably have to give it up whether you wish to or not, but you will have to live where Hollobone demands that you live. Don’t you dare stay at home. You will face punishment. It doesn’t set out the punishment, but that is irrelevant. The fact that a punishment exists at all, and thereby criminalises the act of staying at home, and not wilfully giving up your right to owning your own life, cannot be spun as anything other than an extreme overreaching of centralised government into the lives of individuals, on a level far beyond anything the previous Labour government could have even proposed.

If an 18 – 26 year old is to give up one entire year of his or her life through no free choice, and not as a result of an intrusion upon the rights of others, but through compulsion by threat of punishment, a liberty has therefore been offended. Life is short, and our life is our most sacred property, and with this Bill Philip Hollobone – espousing a Paternalistic society based on the born-to-rule-over-you delusions of Tory Party members – proposes stealing that sacred property. He proposes owning a year of a human being’s life without that person’s consent. A year will been stolen and whilst those who vote “Yes” on the Bill – and if it passes – are the ones who partook in the theft of a youth’s liberty, the author of the bill is the ringleader. He orchestrated it. He is to blame. That year of your life belongs to Hollobone, and if you disagree you will be punished.

The Conservative ‘Quality of Life Agenda’ states:

“And what about giving people more power over their lives?”

– Before launching into a tirade upon the legacy of the previous government. But if an 18-26 year old did not owe a year of their life to a Tory MP before 2010, does owe a year of their life to a Tory MP by 2015, then I’m afraid the Conservatives have taken more power away from that individual and handed to the State, on the terms of Philip Hollobone. And this is a rather massive intrusion upon the civil liberty of an individual. And what will the individual be compensated for being forced to give up an entire 12 months of their life on the terms of one Tory MP?

“Participants in national service shall be paid the national adult minimum wage.”

– Of course. The bare minimum. The least he can possibly pay someone. This is grotesque. Not only is he suggesting paying the bare minimum for labour, but he is suggesting paying the bare minimum for forced labour. That giving up the liberty of owning every year of our life through no choice of our own, is worth nothing to this hideous man. Your labour, and a year of your life combined are only worth the bare minimum to Philip Hollobone. One suspects that if he could get away with it, you’d be paid far less.

Article 2(c) leaves me a little bewildered. It sets out what you will be required to learn:

“treating elderly and disabled people with dignity.”

– I’m not entirely sure that when I was 18-26 (I’m now 27) I would be happy to take deluded lectures on the treatment of the disabled or the elderly from a Party that has systematically abused both over the past three years to the point where every charity for those with a disability that I can find, insists that the people they represent – and those in the most need of care – are the hardest hit by the Conservatives dogmatic obsession with rolling back the State. I would suggest that the majority of young people in this nation are far more respectful toward the sick, those with disabilities, and the elderly, than the entire Conservative Party – and its bedfellows over at Atos – have ever been.

Hollobone makes the Conservative line of “defending civil liberties” appear almost a parody. Not only does he wish to steal and own a year of the life of every young person in the country, he’s also voted against the right for a gay couple to marry, and against removing Hereditary Peers from the House of Lords, and in favour of raising tuition fees to £9000. So if you’re between 18-26 and you happen to be gay; remember that Philip Hollobone is the reason that you cannot afford to go to university, he tried his best to ensure you can’t marry your partner, and now he wants to own a year of your life, uproot you from your home, and all for the bare minimum he’s legally allowed to pay you. But at least you don’t have an inconsequential ID card.

The Conservative Party; defending civil liberties!


“…. as it proceeds from love so it cannot but end in love”

May 25, 2013

King James I

King James I

Parliamentary Tories this past week experienced a sort of renaissance of absurdity and bigotry, not really as noticeable on this scale since the Thatcher years. For example, Sir Gerald Howarth – self confessed ‘devoted to Thatcher‘ (and 1980s prejudices, apparently) – stood up to denounce the same-sex marriage bill as the work of “aggressive homosexuals” using it as a “stepping stone for something even further“. He didn’t elaborate on what “something even further” meant, or who the “aggressive homosexuals” specifically are. But he did show the World the intensely ridiculous lengths of a masterfully ignorant bigot, that we so woefully refer to as “Sir” will go to protect his prejudices.

Then came the manic ramblings of old Norman Tebbit. Tebbit remains insistent that allowing a same-sex couple to marry, would eventually allow him to marry his son to avoid paying inheritance tax. I address the ridiculous use of the slippery slope fallacy with regard same-sex marriage here, so I wont repeat myself. But Tebbit’s finest moment in this debate came, when he suggested that the Bill may in fact lead to a lesbian Queen with an artificially inseminated heir. Heaven forbid we have a Monarch who isn’t the result of slightly incestuous relationships.

It would appear that Tebbit is under the impression that people are only gay, if they can get married…. and that a gay Monarch would in fact be completely heterosexual, if only gays aren’t allowed to marry. Or maybe he’s suggesting that the gay Monarch will hide his or her homosexuality, and marry someone of the opposite sex, to produce an heir. Living their whole life as a lie, which apparently, doesn’t undermine the sanctity of marriage in the minds of the swivel-eyed loons. Norman Tebbit is more suited to the court of King Henry VIII, obsessing over heirs, than he is to any time after the 1950s.

Tebbit, as it turns out, in warning of a possible homosexual Monarch, is about 1000 years and about five Monarchs too late. The United Kingdom has had gay Monarchs in the past. Here are a few.

The third son of William the Conqueror, William II of England, succeeded to the thrown with great expectation. He was the Tiberius to his father’s Augustus. The second in the line of Norman Kings that began in 1066. William II was a rather terrible King. He was considered a tyrant, and had an incredibly fiery temper. He never married, produced no offspring, and surrounded his court with “pretty young courtiers” – all men. It is claimed that he promoted male courtiers, based almost solely on how attractive he found them to be. Rumours of his homosexuality sparked harsh disagreements between his court, and the Church. Owing to the times, William was ridiculed for surrounding himself with long haired attractive male courtiers, so much so that Henry I, upon succeeding William, insisted that no male courtier be allowed long hair. Rumours of his homosexual relationships were rife at the time.

In the graveyard of Hulton Abbey in Staffordshire, laid a decapitated body, belonging to a man named Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger. He was hung, drawn, and quartered following the overthrow of King Edward II by his wife Isabella in 1326. Despenser was married to Edward’s niece, Eleanor de Clare. This brought him close to Edward. He was considered a favourite of the King, joined him in battle, and was with him right until the end. The King reigned more and more favours and titles upon his nephew-in-law, leading to huge unrest with the nobility of the day. Despenser is also rumoured to be King Edward II’s gay lover. He wasn’t the first either. According to commentators of the day – including The Lanercost Chronicle – and some modern historians, posit that King Edward had been sexually linked to Piers Gaveston, 1st Earl of Cornwall, whose Royal patronage caused much upset during the reign. Gaveston’s biography, written by J.S. Hamilton, says:

“there is no question that the king and his favorite were lovers.”

Similarly, in “The Life and Times of Edward II” by Caroline Bingham, it is stated that when the not-yet-King, Edward was introduced to Gaveston for the first time, as youngsters:

“….the king’s son saw him he fell so in love that he entered upon an enduring compact with him.”

– There was a growing anger toward Edward’s treatment of both Gaveston, and Despenser. Queen Isabella noted that Despenser was a “sodomite“, and her jealousy is well documented.
The Meaux Chronicle, written a couple of decades later, states that King Edward:

“….took too much delight in sodomy.”

– We can of course never prove that King Edward was gay, or was sexually involved with some of his male friends, but the rumours at the time, the discomfort the Queen felt toward the relationship between her husband and male companions, and subsequent writings and plays from Marlowe, all strongly suggest it to be true.

It is rather ironic that those seeking to use the Bible to condemn homosexuality, may choose to do so by using the King James Bible, given that King James, is the only Monarch we can say with almost 100% certainty, that was gay. And a Monarch so dedicated to one of his lovers in particular, they would openly kiss in public, according to contemporaries at the Court of King James.
In the book “A History of England” by James Franck Bright, we are told:

“The first of his favourites was Robert Carr, for whom the King acquired a peculiar affection while he was lying wounded from an accident at a tournament. Carr had been his page in Scotland, and the King, feeling a natural interest in him, visited him and fell in love with his beauty.”

– We then learn that the King has a falling out with Carr, complaining, among other things, in a letter to Carr that still survives that Carr had recently been:

….withdrawing yourself from lying in my chamber, notwithstanding my many hundred times earnest soliciting you to the contrary.”

– After the downfall of Carr, King James seems to met, and fallen for George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Villiers was known to be a handsome man, of high intelligence. He was a commoners, and elevated to the Dukedom by the King.
In the early 2000s, the decaying Apethorpe Hall, a favourite of King James and the Duke of Buckingham was restored to past glories. During the restoration, a secret passageway was found, linking the King’s bedchamber, to the Dukes.
During time spent apart, Letters between the two that still exist raced between the two, and represent rather beautifully written Renaissance letters of romance and sexual flirtation. In one, Buckingham states:

“sir, all the way hither I entertained myself, your unworthy servant, with this dispute, whether you loved me now… better than at the time which I shall never forget at Farnham, where the bed’s head could not be found between the master and his dog”

– The King is also prone to letters of romantic intrigue, sent to Buckingham on several occasions. In one, James writes, referring to Buckingham as his wife:

“I desire only to live in this world for your sake… I had rather live banished in any part of the Earth with you than live a sorrowful widow’s life without you… God bless you, my sweet child and wife, and grant that ye may ever be a comfort to your dear dad and husband”

– In one particularly telling letter from King James to the Duke of Buckingham, James is extremely candid about the effect had on him, of their recent parting:

“I am now so miserable a coward, as I do nothing but weep and mourn; for I protest to God I rode this afternoon a great way in the park without speaking to anybody and the tears trickling down my cheeks, as now they do that I can scarcely see to write. But alas, what shall I do at our parting? The only small comfort I can have will be to pry in thy defects with the eye of an enemy, and of every mote to make a mountain, and so harden my heart against thy absence. But this little malice is like jealousy, proceeding from a sweet root; but in one point it overcometh it, for as it proceeds from love so it cannot but end in love. Sweet heart, be earnest with Kate to come and meet thee at Newhall [Buckingham’s mansion in Essex] within eight or ten days after this.”

– His jealousy, is out of love. His heart is hardened against his absence. The King refers to Buckingham as ‘sweet heart’. The passion and the love between the two is quite evident, and rather spectacular. I would recommend reading their correspondence. It is a wonderful story of romance, at a time when homosexuality was widely and violently condemned. On March 27th, 1625, King James died in his bedchamber, with George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham, at his side.

Rulers, not just in England, have been heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual throughout history. The only reason it is less discussed, and less historically provable, is because two of those three sexualities, have been oppressed so viciously for no other reason than religious doctrine. Rumours of homosexuality of rulers range from the Roman Emperors Nero, and Tiberius (the gender of a lover in Rome, was met with very little opposition, and far more indifference than much of the conservative party accept 2000 years later), to Emperor Jianwen of Liang, whose own poems speak of sexual liaisons with men. From Frederick the Great, to Al-Mu’tamid ibn Abbad. They range from Christendom, to Islamic societies, to the far reaches of the Chinese Empire. They do so, because the spectrum of sexuality is as natural and insuppressible as the spectrum of eye colour.

Norman Tebbit is simply echoing the bigoted screams heard throughout the centuries from hysterical anti-gay voices that wish a monopoly on telling others who to love, based on religious fanaticism. What we can take from this, is that Medieval anti-homosexuality language such as “sodomy” and “sinning”, and the unwarranted stigma that this attaches to homosexuality, is still used today by those who have apparently decided to forego all social, neurological, and genetic advancement, and instead choose to cling to archaic views made popular by 13th Century Papists who we may say, had the excuse that they knew no better. Norman Tebbit, and others like him do not have that excuse.


Re-Righting History.

April 10, 2013

Roars of disapproval echoed through the Tory filled chambers of the House of Commons today, as Glenda Jackson spoke out in beautifully crafted language against the social evils of Thatcherism. The Tory benches were not happy. And yet, they are the ones who insisted on firing up the debate upon her legacy, by referring to her as the “Saviour of Britain”. If you are going to bring politics into a eulogy, and present it in such a positive, and clearly manipulated way, then you must accept that not everyone is going to be happy with your summation, and their right to provide a dissenting voice. Thatcherism is now the point of debate.

This has already been covered by Liberal Conspiracy but it’s certainly worth pointing out in as many places as possible, because as predicted, any sort of mention of negativity toward Margaret Thatcher is being used to suggest some sort of vitriolic left wing hate campaign toward a recently deceased, frail woman. Her death is being intensely politicised by the right wing, who are insisting on using it to lecture us all on how she ‘saved‘ a broken country. One sided comments on how awful the unions were, how Thatcher rode to the rescue, how she was a hero of freedom, seem to be blocking out all negative opinions and the voices of the suffering Thatcherism caused, which are simply written off as lunatic left wing hate. The BBC is being painted as a Left Wing anti-Thatcher beacon of hate, simply for even suggesting she might have been a bit divisive, or, for simply not starting every broadcast with the phrase: “Our beloved Goddess, whom ascended to heaven on a carriage made out of the concept of the love of ALL the people….“. Any suggestion contradicting the policies and the outcome of the policies of the Thatcher era, is deemed ‘disrespectful’ to the woman, rather than the policies and her mindset, from the right. Maggie’s death is being used, quite transparently, by the Right to promote an agenda.

And so naturally, they’re consistent with this demands of ‘respect’, right? Well no.

The Guido Fawkes blog in 2010 announced the death of Michael Foot, with just a few words. The comments that followed, are telling:

foot

And of course, the guardians of all morality and respect over at the Mail wouldn’t dare be hypocrites, right? Today, commenting on the public celebrations in Brixton (is anyone surprised they celebrated in Brixton?) The Mail ran with this rather ironic sentiment, given the nature of their paper as a whole:

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Funny then, that they lead with this when ex-Labour leader Michael Foot died, three years ago:

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And Littlejohn continued with this:

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Charles Moore over at the Telegraph is just as vitriolic on the death of Michael Foot as the Mail:

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Moore starts his article with this:

“We have a habit in this country of turning certain people into “national treasures”. If they go on long enough, and have enough charm, we tend to forget what we once disliked about them.”

– Clearly he has a dislike of turning those who were once hated (even by their own party?) into some sort of ‘National Treasure’. Seems reasonable enough. Strange then, that yesterday’s article from Moore is this:

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Spot the rhetorical false framework the Daily Mail is attempting to create. If you mention her politics in a positive light, you are “leading the tributes”:

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– But if you note something negative about her politics, you are “crude”.

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– They dislike crude! They don’t want you to speak ill of the right-winged dead. No one must mention Thatcher’s undying support for Pinochet, whilst insisting that Mandela was a terrorist. Crude!

And yet, when the Marxist Historian Eric Hobsbawm died on October 1st at the age of 95, the Daily Mail, that beacon of respecting those recently deceased, ran with this on October 2nd:

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Glenda Jackson, the Oscar winning actress, turned Labour MP today told the Commons:

“But by far the most dramatic and heinous demonstration of Thatcherism was certainly not only in London, but across the whole country in metropolitan areas, where every single shop doorway, every single night, became the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom for the homeless.

They grew in their thousands. And many of those homeless people had been thrown out onto the streets from the closure of the long-term mental hospitals.”

– It is absolutely right to be pointing out the suffering that was caused by Thatcherism. This is not some sort of lunatic left wing vitriolic attack. This is pointing out the causes of the celebrations, the reasons she was despised across the Country. It is providing a balance, to the horrendously disrespectful right winged line, which ignores all of the social consequences of her ideology, and focuses on how rich a few of them became because of her. If we are going to be forced to hear the right winged “tributes” (which are nothing but tributes to Thatcherism, not Thatcher) we must hear the opposite side.

Let’s not fall for the right winged game (and it is a game), that any criticism of Margaret Thatcher must be due to some crazed leftie hateful bitter pill still not swallowed since the 1980s. Her death is being used to promote her agenda. Her funeral will be another chance to promote an agenda.

All sides of the political spectrum are guilty of projecting vitriol onto public figures and especially politicians. The right is no better. She quite obviously, judging by both the outpouring of love and the outpouring of hate, divided the country. In Brixton, she closed her eyes to the problems, and blamed the people in Brixton. Despite all reports to the contrary. She ignored it all, she ignored mass youth unemployment, institutional metropolitan police racism that still exists, refused to invest in poorer cities like Brixton, and she told them all it was their own fault. She let Liverpool slide into a “managed decline”. She destroyed lives in such a cruel way and promoting that cruelty as not only acceptable, but preferable.

There is a narrative being woven by the Right that is empty of substance. We hear the words “Saved Britain”, “put the great back into Great Britain”, “made us all believe in Britain again!”; all a mask to hide the social consequences of her policies; policies that are failing again today, and if we mention them at all, there is a tendency to dismiss it as left wing lunacy. As if those who suffered, as if the thousands thrown onto the streets, just aren’t relevant. By dismissing the voices that suffered heavily, and pumping the media full of “she saved Britain” lines of sycophantic nonsense, we are allowing history to be completely rewritten by the winners, for the sake of promoting an agenda that is being repeated today. Except for her socialist funeral, obviously.


The Cruelty of the Bedroom Tax

February 13, 2013

6072103It is my understanding, that civilised society should be judged on how it looks after its most vulnerable, rather than how big a tax break it can offer its wealthiest. Apparently the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party take the opposite view. I cannot fathom what kind of disturbed mind a person must have, to believe that threatening to kick people out of their homes, people who are already struggling horrendously, is a worthwhile or noble cause. It is cruel extremism, and nothing less.

As the Bedroom Tax takes vitally needed money out of the pockets of 400,000 families with disabled children; our wondrous government will at the same time be handing a tax cut to 8,000 millionaires, giving them an average £107,000 more. This, alongside the Welfare Uprating Bill; essentially a huge cut to Jobseeker’s Allowance, Maternity Pay, Child Benefit and Income Support; all to pay for huge tax breaks for the wealthiest, means that whilst parents of disabled children will miss meals, and be unable to heat their homes; the millionaire Cabinet will be able to go shopping for new Yachts.

Where was the moral outrage from Tory supporters who now yell “Putting your kids in two separate rooms is an insult to the tax payer!!!” before the Tory Party actually mentioned it? Feigned outrage again.

Kicking people out of their homes seems like an easy solution, to rich men pacing the corridors of Whitehall, or maybe it isn’t even a thought whilst the millionaire Prime Minister spends £680,000 of taxpayers money making Downing Street look a bit nicer inside, including refurbishing the kitchen. But to the people who are settled, who are part of the community, whose children play on the street with their friends (i’m fully aware that children leading happy lives, is not something Liberal Democrats or Tories are really too concerned about, given the horrifically increasing rates of child poverty they have created). They are destroying homes, and applying unnecessary pressure to families already struggling to cope. The Bedroom Tax can be described as nothing more than heartless.

The IFS estimated that 3.5 million children in the UK live in poverty. The also estimate that this is set to rise steeply. 14% of children in poverty go without a warm coat during winter. 26% of parents whose children are in poverty, skip meals through lack of money even though 61% of parents of children in poverty, have at least one person in work. And now, if those people also claim housing benefit to help make life even a little more bearable, they will lose more money, or be forced to move home.

As we know, the ‘Bedroom Tax’ refers to the reduction in housing benefits for anyone who has a spare room in their council house. The idea is, people will downsize to a smaller house, or have their housing benefit cut by 14 per cent for people seen to have one spare room and 25 per cent for those with two or more. The cruelty is intense.

Whilst the most vulnerable, with very little money, and living every day wondering if they’ll eat stand to lose their home or even more money, the Chancellor will be reflecting on his “tough decisions” from his 215 acre estate, given to him to live in, free of charge, in Dorneywood….. here:
dorney_1924910c

Then there is ‘Baron’ Freud (I know what you’re thinking, he’s sure to be in touch with common folk). He is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Freud is in control of Welfare Reform. All of this, is his doing. Here is where ‘Baron Freud’ lives:

PEOPLE+ONLY+COPYRIGHT+UNKNOWN+Lord+Freud's+Kent+Mansion
– I wonder how many rooms in this massive mansion are underused. Or, how much land accompanies it, on which homes, blocks of flats, shops, businesses could be built if ‘Baron’ (seriously, he’s a Baron) Freud downsized to a property that wasn’t too big for his needs.

These are the people who run your lives. Multi-millionaires, in mansions, unsurprisingly cutting taxes for multi-millionaires, in mansions. This is Versailles. The Court of King Louis XIV Cameron.

According to the Government’s figures, 660,000 households will be affected by the changes, and of that, 420,000 are households including someone with a disability. Low income households, who have faced a plethora of cuts since the start of this monstrous Coalition, now facing a huge cut to their welfare payments.

The point of this article is to get the Bedroom Tax down from numbers (Clegg justifies his support for this idea, with numbers), and back to individual cases. People.

ITV broadcast the story of Tony, Diann, their three year old daughter Shanice, and their 15 year old daughter Stephanie. Stephanie has 1p36 deletion syndrome, and a mental age of four. She struggles with words, and mobility. All three bedrooms in their house are currently occupied. Stephanie requires her own room, because she wakes up around 5am and can become loud and violent due to her illness. But under the rules of the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the two daughters will be required to share a bedroom, because they’re both under 16. That, or face a huge cut to their Housing benefit payment. They will be deemed to have a spare room. Tony and Diann say the cut would mean cutting down on meals.

Maria Brabiner has lived in her home since 1978. It is indescribably cruel of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to wish to see her kicked out of the security of the house she has made a home, all because of a spare room. Do you know why she now has a spare room? It is because her mother, whom lived in the room, died recently. Miss Brabiner said:

“I’m scared of what’s going to happen to me, I’m worried about whether my electric will be cut off, whether my gas will be cut off.

– This economic violence, by perhaps the two nastiest Parties we have seen in the UK, is being forced upon a woman whose mother has recently died, and whose house is more than just a house; it is a home. Worse still, it is being forced on her, by a Cabinet of multi-millionaires, with multiple houses that remain unoccupied and included acres of land that could be used to build new houses on.

Terry Avery is unable to use the left side of his body, after a severe stroke left him needing a wheelchair. He sleeps in a separate room from his wife, because of his situation. Under the ‘Bedroom Tax’, the room Terry sleeps in, is considered ‘spare’. Which means, he and his wife either move out, or not eat. Or a third choice; Karen, Terry’s wife would have to sleep on the floor, in absolutely no room. Karen says:

“With the hospital bed, lift, chest of drawers and turning space for his wheelchair there is no space for a wardrobe which is kept in my bedroom. There is not even room for me to sleep on the floor comfortably, which I would have to do as there is no room for a second bed or mattress.”

Julia Jones is 59, and has worked since she was 15. Her husband David contracted bowel cancer four years ago. Six months after having a irreversible colostomy he returned to work. Two years later, he contracted brain cancer and sadly passed away seven weeks later. Julia is now alone. During David’s illness, Julia rejected care allowance, and spent all of her time and money looking after him. They were given the home she now lives in, because it was easy for David to get around in. David’s ashes are buried in the garden, under a rose bush planted especially for his. Here is Julia’s plea to the millionaire Prime Minister:

“The most powerful men in the country imply we are scum so we must be scum.
Do you not consider that I would give everything for my husband to be alive, me to not have incapacitating pain and we could both be the hard workers we once were? I live in small 1 1/2 bed bungalow that was built for older people. It is supported elderly living so I feel safe. It could not house a family as under 55s are not allowed.
You now want to take my home from me. The home that literally made my fingers bleed cleaning as it had been neglected for 20 years when we moved here. You want me to leave my husband’s ashes, my neighbours who take me shopping and give me some form of social life? I have no family, we could not have children.
I am living without heating at present so how can I pay what I do not have to stay in my home?”

– This is the cost, when we bring it down to a human level, of the Tory and Lib Dem Bedroom Tax. The entire debate should be framed around the most vulnerable cases, those who stand to lose the most, not just in terms of money, but in living standard, and the brutality of stripping someone, a family, children away from the home that they call their own, and the community that they love.

In the Chancellor’s own Constituency, Tim Pinder, chief executive at Cheshire Peaks and Plains Housing Trust – a housing association said:

“Many of our customers are determined to stay in their homes despite the changes, but we fear this may lead to significant financial hardship. For some households this could mean having to choose between feeding their families and heating their homes.”

– It is just another ill thought out, nasty policy, from an incompetent and nasty government.

Over two thirds of those affected, have a household income of less than £150 a week. Apparently The Liberal Democrats feel that’s too much money. They should have less. 72% of those affected, have a member of the household with a disability of major health concern. 5% of those affected, have a spare bedroom for the carer who occasionally has to stay over. 9% use the spare room to store equipment for a disability. These people are all affected by the cruelty of the Bedroom Tax.

The human cost of cruel Conservative and Liberal Democrat policies, is heart breaking. It follows the narrative that has sprung to the front of political discourse since 2010; that the poor, the most vulnerable, the disabled must be stigmatised and demonised. It is a horrid tactic that takes the focus away from the people who caused the economic mess in the first place; very very wealthy individuals and friends of the Tory Party. We note this week, that Anthony Jenkins, the boss of Barclays, was paid more than 80 times the salary of the lowest paid. Whilst Jenkins makes £1,100,000 basic salary, alongside £4,400,000 share award, and £363,000 pension contribution, the lowest paid makes just £13,500 a year. Couple that, with the announcement that Barclays intends to cut 3700 jobs, and you start to see a bit of a problem.

This is what Tories do. We shouldn’t be surprised. They are a modern day nobility. The most vulnerable will always suffer under the nobility. When we elect a Conservative government, we must expect heartless policies, rising child poverty, a distinct lack of empathy, and a woefully underfunded NHS. That’s just what Conservatives do. So Progressives must focus their anger at the Liberal Democrats. It is shameful for a ‘progressive’ party to have so utterly abused the votes of those who voted Lib Dem in 2010 by supporting policies that I would take a confident bet that less than 1% of Lib Dem voters would ever have supported. They cannot be allowed to forget the scale of the betrayal they have inflicted. This week really does sum up exactly what the Liberal Democrat Party has become, the moment Nick Clegg showed vigorous support for the Bedroom Tax.

For a party that apparently bases itself on getting government out of the lives of the individual; in a few months we’ve had Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke wishing to tell Welfare claimants where they can spend their money (whilst himself, claiming tax payer funded expenses to pay for his licence fee, a bunch of Tory MPs telling you that you don’t deserve the same Rights as them if you happen to be gay and now a Tory coming into your home, checking who’s in the bedrooms, forcing your disabled partner with all his/her equipment to move back to one room with you, and telling you to pack up and move out if you dislike it. These people thrive on government interference. These are very wealthy, very privileged people and with that, has come the most cruel government the UK has seen in a very long time. When we speak of the nasty party, we must include the Liberal Democrats in that.


The Tory Hypocrisy

December 21, 2012

AlecShelbrooke

Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke apparently isn’t satisfied with completely ripping the bottom out of the entire public support system, immediately after his Party’s social engineering project threw millions out of work and onto the benefit system. Apparently that’s not enough. He wants to go one step further. If you claim any sort of Welfare, he wants to tell you what you are allowed to spend it on. So I thought i’d make sure Shelbrooke was being consistent in his apparent moral outrage at misspent tax payer’s money. After all, if we save enough by forcing poor people to only eat bread and water, we might be able to afford to give Starbucks another wonderful Corporate tax break, on tax that they don’t actually pay anyway.

Interestingly, a quick bit of research (and this is my interpretation of the research only) brings up Mr Shelbrooke’s own expense claims (MPs in-house-socialism).
Between April 2010, to March 2011, Shelbrooke claimed: £38,914.52
Between April 2011 to March 2012, Shelbrooke claimed: £38,666.06
Between April 2012, to the present day, Shelbrooke has claimed: £14,541.57
Altogether, since winning his Seat in 2010, Alec Shelbrooke, the man who is hugely unhappy at wasting taxpayers money, has claimed a total of: £92,122.15. This is on top of his MPs salary of £65,738. a year.

Maybe you’re thinking all of those claims are necessary, for him to run his office? To an extent, you would be right. He needs to cover the cost of the running of his office, and I accept the legitimacy in that. But maybe you’re presuming that it’s perfectly acceptable for the tax payer to be funding the council tax on his second home, or maybe you think he’d be unable to perform his duties as MP-with-an-ideologically-dogmatic-hate-for-poor-people, unless the tax payer fund the £1,300.00 on his monthly flat rental? (That’s a pretty expensive flat. I’m sure he could find cheaper accommodation elsewhere?)
Here:
accom
– Is there REALLY no cheaper flat that he could rent? Actually, yes. Here, I found a few. Saves the taxpayer a fortune. £750 a month, on the Old Kent Road. Perfect!
In fact, of Shelbrooke’s expenses since 2010, he has claimed the most for Accommodation, than he has for Office costs, travel costs, and Staffing costs. For 2010-2011, he received £14,300.00 in Accommodation.

Here’s another interesting talking point; Alec Shelbrooke has claimed a number of times, for his TV licence. Here is just this year alone:
shelbrooke
– So, naturally, being inquisitive, I thought i’d raise this with Shelbrooke over Twitter (admittedly, I could have been a lot more diplomatic; call it heat of the moment):

s1

Shelbrooke, to his credit, replied.
s2
– Interesting statement, and on the surface, appears reasonable. But, if you look on the Parliamentary Standards website, you will come across a “Definitions” page, explaining the terms used on the expenses forms. Here:

Accommodation Expenses
Most MPs outside the London Area need two residences in order to conduct their parliamentary
duties at Westminster and in the constituency. IPSA will fund the costs of one of these locations.
This may include rent or the cost of hotel stays. For some MPs re-elected in 2010, mortgage interest
will continue to be reimbursed for a transitional period, ending in August 2012. Costs of council tax,
service charges, utilities and telephone/TV/internet connections are also reimbursed. Cleaning,
gardening and furniture costs are not.

Office Costs (Previously CORE & GAE)
This covers the basic costs of having an office: rent, business rates, utilities and day-to-day running
costs, including office equipment, various services, basic security, and non-political communication
costs. Constituency surgery venue hire is included here too.

– So, by Shelbrooke’s reply, it would seem that his TV licence should, if it were claimed purely to show Parliamentary proceedings for the benefit of his staff, be made out as an ‘Office Cost’. Yet, if you cast your eyes to the expense claims I posted above, you will see it classed as “Accommodation”. Just to clarify that:
ipsa
– Now, I am not saying that he’s lying. It may have been falsely attributed. He might have just put it down as “Accommodation”, for no real reason. But it’s worth thinking about. If Shelbrooke has claimed for a TV licence in his home (perhaps the same home, that we’re all helping to fund by paying his council tax, and rent every so often), then I am not entirely sure where he gets the nerve to tell benefit claimants (and remember, it isn’t just the typically referred to Tory definition of a benefit claimant – sitting on the couch whilst everyone else funds their lifestyle of pissing away £50 notes – it is everyone who claims any sort of benefit) that they aren’t entitled to luxuries. Even if TV is within the rules of Accommodation costs covered by expenses, he is being hugely inconsistent in his own moral outrage.

Here is another wondrous example of his hypocritical moral outrage at wasting tax payers money. A man earning £65,000 a year, allegedly charges the tax payer for his TV licence and his rent every so often, works at a place where alcohol is subsidised by the tax payer, feels the need to fill out a Parliamentary expenses form to pay for his food and drink…. worth £15.
food
– That’s a pretty expensive meal. Why? Wait a while, go out, with your own fucking money, and buy a cheap meal from somewhere in London. Thereby saving the taxpayer, and not appearing like a massively hypocritical fool.

Shelbrooke isn’t the only Tory to be have been horrendously hypocritical, with a sense of “I deserve” about them. In June 2010 David Willetts referred to students as a “burden” on the tax payer. Interesting stuff from an insufferable millionaire whom allegedly claimed, according to the Telegraph, £125 from the taxpayer for lightbulbs to be changed in his mansion, and £2,191.38 for the cleaning of a shower head, £1,100 for food, and a further £5,107.25 for plumbing repairs. That’s over £8000 in total, which could pay for a University Student’s tuition fees for two full years, after which time the Student will leave university with a better understanding of his or her chosen field of expertise, and the market will gain a new professional. Or, we could have a clean bathroom complete with a brand new lightbulb in THE MILLIONAIRE, Mr Willetts house. Tough call.

David Willetts is a burden to the taxpayer.

If you happen to be a victim of the disastrous failure of far-right economics, forced by a Government of multi-millionaires, that didn’t have a mandate to do it, and you’re now unemployed through no fault of your own………. a man from that clique of the modern day Nobility, wants to make sure you are not allowed a shred of human happiness, and any dignity that you feel you are losing due to not being able to find work, he believes should be amplified. Your misery at being jobless, apparently must be enhanced by your misery to only buy things that ‘Lord’ Shelbrooke, with his tax payer funded flat, his tax payer funded TV licence, and his tax payer funded expensive meal (allegedly), thinks is appropriate. So shut up, and learn your place, you miserable unemployed pleb.

Everyone who has lost their job as a result of Tory economic mismanagement and dogmatic recession-inducing extremism, when receiving your benefit, should note that this overly privileged authoritarian Tory wishes to have the power to tell you what you should and shouldn’t buy. He wants to tell you what constitutes “luxury”. But we should not expect any different. This is what Tories do. They are not compassionate, they are not progressive, they are a Party of millionaires, for millionaires. Remember this in 2015.

Let’s give MPs a Welfare Card.
They can only stay at cheap hotels in London, when they’re in the capital – thus sparing the tax payer, rent payments, and council tax on second homes.
They can only buy lunch, up to the price of, let’s say, £3. This covers a Tesco Meal Deal. Perfect.
Let’s stop subsidising the Commons bar. They can pay for it themselves. But not with their new MP Welfare Card.
And they most certainly cannot claim for a TV licence.
I would support that. Very much so.


Aidan Burley and the curse of the nasty Party

August 3, 2012

800px-Olympic_stadium_and_The_Orbit_during_London_Olympics_opening_ceremony_(2012-07-27)_2

The Olympic opening ceremony was a spectacular representation of the progress from industrialism to, well, Dizzie Rascal apparently. I adored it. There cannot be many more years go by without Danny Boyle not becoming Sir Danny Boyle. Boyle’s opening ceremony expressed progression. He not-so-subtly directed the audience left ward. Though it seems to have angered the Right Wing. And rightly so. It was a kick in the teeth to everything they stand for. It was a display of the achievements of the Left in this country. Tory MP Aidan Burley tweeted during the opening ceremony with the following:

This is the same Aidan Burley who was sacked as Parliamentary Private Secretary after attending a Nazi themed stag party, in which he himself hired Third Reich outfits and toasted the groom with nazi salutes. Burley’s credibility as a political commentator to be taken seriously, is hardly rousing.
Unfortunately for Burley, the NHS (opposed by the Tories), Welfare (opposed by the Tories, at every level), and union advancements to fairer work conditions (opposed by the Tories), minimum wage(opposed by the Tories) and maternity pay(opposed by the Tories) is modern Britain for the majority of the people living here. It isn’t champagne, nazi themed stag do’s and taxpayer funded moat cleaning for the majority. It is multicultural, it is black, white, gay, straight, female, male and everything else. It is dole queues, and a lack of hope – largely the result of the policies of his Party. It isn’t just a golf course is Kent with wealthy businessmen and a group wank over their new yacht. I cannot imagine Burley is going to last much longer as an MP.

Boris Johnson has said there was nothing left winged about it, Cameron has called Burley an idiot for suggesting it. They are both wrong. Burley is right. It was left leaning in nature. That’s why I loved it. To suggest the glorification of the NHS, of union advancements and of the suffragettes were not left leaning, is to suggest that the Tory Party had either supported all of those things, or played a part in them. This would be disingenuous and they know it. It works to the Tory Party’s advantage if they show how much they just love the NHS, if they keep quiet and reluctantly support the show of union advancement. Why let them have that? They achieved none of it. They fought it at every opportunity. So yes, the Olympic Opening Ceremony declared what every decent Brit cherishes; and none of it came from the Conservative Party.

So everyone from the far left to the Prime Minister weighed in on this, attacking Burley for his tweet, and telling us all how wrong he was. That he should apologise. An embarrassment to the Tory Party. And I think that’s a mistake we on the Left make far too often.

Burley is a Tory that has contempt for anyone that isn’t like him. But he isn’t alone. He is a regular Tory. They all think like him, the rest of them just have the sense to stay quiet. Or, Burley just has the balls to say exactly what he thinks. This is troubling, because come election time (as in 2010) the Tories can present themselves as new, cuddly, loving, ‘compassionate conservatives’, that the NHS is safe in their hands, that their budget will deliver growth and help for ‘hard working families’, that the likes of Burley do not represent the whole Party; because any outward display of their true colours is quickly silenced, not just by their Party superiors, but by the left. We demand apologies. This is in fact the British Left shooting themselves square in the foot, because it allows the Tory Party to engage with mass thought and mould communication around it. If we did not complain so loudly, the Tory Party would doubtlessly show themselves for the awful bigoted bunch of over privileged toffs that they have always been, rendering them unelectable. We now know that the NHS was not safe in their hands. We now know that listening to the advice of Britain’s biggest businesses when they supported the Chancellors plans to cut, cut, cut, was a massive lapse of National judgement in collectively believing they wanted to actually help the country rather than line their own pockets…. we know this, because it has failed miserably. We now know that they had planned to raise VAT yet cut Corporation tax and other wealthy taxes. We now know that many of their associates working for them keep their money in offshore accounts whilst shamelessly attacking anyone on welfare. The attacks on welfare are easy. These people do not fund the Tory Party, so they are unneeded; the country hates benefit cheats, because the media completely over hypes the situation, whilst the biggest cons – the tax avoiders who fund, work for, and appear in the cabinet (see George Osborne) sit comfortably dividing and conquering. But…. let them speak, their one weakness, their regressive attitudes to absolutely everything, and they will fall.

Burley later attacked the decision to allow Dizzee Rascal to perform. He wasn’t sure why we allowed rap music to feature. A further attack on multiculturalism. Clearly Burley isn’t aware that Dizzee Rascal has four number 1 hits, a Mercury Music award, NME awards, BET awards, has worked to encourage youth voting, and is internationally known. This isn’t an obscure musician. This is a guy who epitomises a certain age group, a certain social and economic background, and has shot to the top. He is also from the East End, not far from the Olympic village. A global musical star, from that area. Seems like the right choice to me. Who would Burley choose instead?

The two fundamental belief that drive everything the Tory Party stand for, that I despise are:
1) The rich are ‘job creators’.
2) Unless you are white, heterosexual, English born, and have a mind for business, wearing a suit the moment you were born; you are different, and different = wrong.
Give them the opportunity, and they will express both of these dangerous ideas time and time again. They will play on prejudices to make sure their obvious bigotry is somewhat clouded – i.e- mention constantly how awful people on welfare are. Deflect the negativity onto those who have no real political representation. And it works, because a pessimistic population has no time to look into these claims, as everyone is working more, for less, thanks to Tory economic policy.

The Tories are rather good at covering their inherent prejudices. If we take the case of Chris Grayling, the Minister for Work and Pensions; this man is a compulsive liar. But he backtracks. Or his lies are just forgotten; glossed over by the Tory spin machine. Usually compulsive liars; those whose lies become a sort of way of life, are nothing to worry about. But when they hold incredibly important offices with the responsibilities of those of Grayling, we must all be concerned. I would go so far as to suggest he has one of the most profound records of fabrication in any government of the post war era.
As shadow minister for work and pensions, Grayling pushed the lie that £2.5bn was lost to benefit fraud in 2006 by stating:

…billions of pounds are still being lost to fraud.”

– Actually, less than a billion was lost to fraud in 2006. The National Audit Office who actually released these figures said that £690m was lost to fraud. Chris Grayling has never admitted his mistake here. It is also extremely odd that he seems to take offence at the morality of misspent taxpayers money, given that his Parliamentary expenses receipts show that he bought a flat in Central London, less than 17 miles from his constituency home, using tax payers money, and then renovated said flat, with tax payers money, claiming almost £2000 alone for refurbishing the bathroom. One wonders what taxpayers are getting out of the fact that he can have a more luxurious shit every morning? Or what taxpayers are getting out of his lovely new £1,341 kitchen And one wonders how this is any different to a single mother getting a few £ extra out of the system every week. In fact, it is worse, because Grayling is on a salary of £64,000 and has a house that was worth £600,000 in 2000, and two buy to let properties in London. Grayling spread the cost of the renovations on his flat over two years (one year would have gone over the maximum allowed by Parliament) claiming:

…..decorator has been very ill and didn’t invoice me until now.

Grayling, is a hypocritical, lying turd.
After saying that he supported the right for B&B owners to not allow gay couples to stay in their B&B, he backtracked, stating:

I am sorry if what I said gave the wrong impression, I certainly didn’t intend to offend anyone… I voted for gay rights.

– Humble apology. Though a complete fabrication. If we look at his voting record on gay rights we find that….
Civil Partnerships – Grayling voted against.
Fertility Treatment for Gay Couples – Grayling voted against.
The Repeal of Section 28 – Grayling did not show up to vote.
The Right for Gay Couples to Adopt – Grayling voted against.
– He couldn’t have lied more if he tried. There are more examples of Chris Grayling’s lies, blogged several times. The most prolific, and where I started my research is here.

We know where their hatred lies. Burley disliked the left wing attitude that the Olympic opening ceremony took on. That includes the trade unionism. Is it any surprise a Tory Party member – whose current cabinet is made up almost exclusively of millionaires – dislikes a movement that protects those who do not have a voice in Parliament? We are all playing the Corporate game. They want you to work longer, for less pay, whilst the guys at the top do less, for more. Here is a government that have led the country into the biggest double dip recession in decades. They have blamed the unions, Labour, the snow, the royal wedding. All whilst giving the wealthiest a huge tax cut. It is easy. There aren’t many public services – Sure Start, libraries, youth centres – that would ever likely benefit Conservatives, so swap them for a wealthy tax cut, and they’re all happy. It seems we have become a country that judges its success on how well we treat the wealthiest. The balance is tipped in the wrong direction and it has all but destroyed the economy.
In two short years the UK has gone from signs of growth and recovery (1.2% in the first quarter of 2010 – Labour’s last few months – staggering given the recession that we’d just come out of), to a shocking -0.7% drop in growth. There is no one left to blame. The economics of ‘businesses and rich people create jobs’ is a myth. Demand creates jobs, and by stripping the economy of demand as part of their unfortunately named “Budget for Growth” in 2010, the Tories have been given the harsh reality of making sure they only look after the people who fund them. Because let’s not forget that as part of Grayling’s flagship ‘back to work’ programme, the company Deloitte Ingeous was awarded 7 out of 40 contracts to get people back to work…… this comes after the same Deloitte Ingeous donated £28,000 to Grayling in 2009. The same back to work programme that found a certain Mr Stephen Hill fit for work.

Stephen Hill had been referred to a Fit For Work assessment by the private healthcare company Atos, after signing up for Disability Living Allowance whilst waiting for tests on his heart. Despite the fact that doctors had diagnosed him with heart failure, he was still found “fit for work”. He appealed, and won. But the Department sent him another letter demanding a second assessment, this time whilst he was waiting for heart surgery. The assessor commented:

“Significant disability due to cardiovascular problems seems unlikely.”

Stephen Hill died a couple of weeks later. Atos have just won £587mn worth of new contracts to carry out assessments.
Welcome to Corporate England, and the joys of private healthcare companies.

A country works best with a healthy national health service to ensure healthy members of an economic community. It works best with a safety net to catch those who fall, or who cannot help themselves. JK Rowling famously defended the welfare state with this rather beautiful summation of how it works:

I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism.

It works best when those who benefitted the most from a healthy public sector – roads, health, education – do not burn the ladder up which they climbed for future generations, as the Tory Party is doing now. It works best when we fight to protect the most vulnerable, not to force them to work in order for unemployment figures to look better on tomorrow’s newspaper. It works best when we focus on how our Nation treats our poorest, and not how many yachts our richest can now afford.

Back to Burley. He is not alone in his contempt. Along with Grayling’s apparent dislike of homosexuality (and the disabled, claiming 75% of those on disability, were “skiving”), and the entire policy of forcing those with quite blatant disabilities back into work just to improve employment figures, whilst using the new found revenue flow to fund tax cuts for wealthy donors, other Tory’s have been quick to show, and then hide their true colours these past few years.

George Osborne, the Chancellor, a noble post, stood up in Parliament, and referred to gay Labour MP Chris Bryant as a “Pantomime dame”, followed by a sickening smurk and a barrage of laughter from his pompous back benchers.

“There is a real danger that the abolition of section 28 will lead to the promotion of a homosexual lifestyle as morally equivalent to marriage.“

– Theresa May, the Equalities Minister. Seriously.

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– Tory MP Philip Davies, after an act of vandalism which was later proven to have not involved any Muslims at all.

“Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.’

– Tory MP Dominic Raab.
This is the same Dominic Raab who complained about tax payers money should not be spent on Government staff who are working on union projects. And yet, doesn’t seem to have a problem with millions of £ in taxpayers money being given to previously mentioned companies like Atos. Raab appears to rabidly dislike Unions marching, but has no problem with a company like Care UK majorly benefiting from changes to the NHS at a time when they donated £21,000 to the private office of the health secretary. Raab seems to have no problem with his party choosing Philip Green to head the “efficiency of government spending review” despite himself keeping his multi-millions in offshore accounts, being accused of excessive pay by awarding himself a dividend of £1.2bn, whilst his company avoided £125mn in tax payable to the UK, whilst also being accused of treating workers poorly by using sweatshops. By the way, the money spent on union planning that Raab is so angry about, came to £6mn. That’s about 20 times less than Philip Green’s company alone avoided in taxes. We see where Raab’s priorities lie. Alongside the rest of the Tory Party; with Corporate England.

So you see, it is wrong of us to insist on silencing Tory prejudice. It is inherent to them. They are the party of big business and bigotry. The nasty party. They haven’t changed, nor will they. Shouting abuse at Aidan Burley will not make him change his views that multiculturalism is anti-British, or that the NHS, the suffragettes, and the union movement are all disastrous. He, and his wealthy colleagues are simply playing a Corporate game with the lives of ordinary people. We should leave them to spurt their occasional venom at anyone who isn’t like them. It does the right wing no favours, and can only turn voter after voter off ever voting for these putrid little scumbags ever again.

And maybe, just maybe…. the ‘left wing’ aspects of the Olympic opening ceremony were used, because they are the things the British are most proud of.


Panic Petrol: A Tory blunder

March 31, 2012

On Question Time this week, the frankly embarrassing Liberal Democrat Minister for Children and Families, Sarah Teather blamed the Unions for the panic buying of petrol that we’ve seen this week in the UK. In typical Tory fashion, she could think of no other reason why people might rush to the petrol pumps, than to blame the Unions for actually doing nothing of any significance. Unite has ruled out strike action over easter. The union seems more likely to focus on talks, than threats. All the fear, has come directly from Downing Street.

I take a different view, and I think, a view shared by those of us who aren’t living in Tory-land.

Today has been damning for the Tories in this whole dispute, because whilst on Question Time, Teather seemed disgusted by the suggestion that this was all political on the part of the government, a memo has been leaked from Downing Street stating:

“This is our Thatcher moment. In order to defeat the coming miners’ strike, she stockpiled coal. When the strike came, she weathered it, and the Labour Party, tarred by the strike, was humiliated. In order to defeat the coming fuel drivers’ strike, we want supplies of petrol stockpiled. Then, if the strike comes, we will weather it, and Labour, in hock to the Unite union, will be blamed.”

– This is about as damning as it gets. A lady suffers 40% burns, because the Tories want to win political points over Labour? Playground politics turned tragic.

I think there are three reasons why the Government issued several warnings in the press this week regarding the possibility of a strike, and Teather played along with it on Question Time. When asked who is to blame for the panic buying, she said “The Unions are to blame, for calling this strike“. Now, the Union hasn’t called a strike. In fact, as we speak, there is very little chance of their actually being a strike. Sarah Teather played the typical Conservative line; blame unions at all costs. Which includes lying. Teather is in the cabinet, she knows the unions have not called a strike, so why say it? This is reason one. Conservatives are usually very good at making unions look bad. This was another opportunity. During the public sector pension strike, Conservatives issues statement after statement about how hard working families are struggling, how private sector pensions are much lower than public sector, how economic times are woeful, and how the unions are making it worse. All of which, have been absolutely caused by Tory/Lib Dem economic austerity failure. The message seems to be “We expect you to just sit back and take it“. For Liberal Democrats, this is utterly disgraceful. For Tories, we know this is what they do. We know that even if economically speaking, the Country was strong, Tories would do the same thing. Slash, burn, destroy, and immiserate.

So, point 1) Take another opportunity to make the unions look bad; link the Labour party to the unions.

On the second point, and I think the most significant. The OECD pointed out that in the last quarter of 2011, the economy shrank by 0.3%. The OECD then pointed out early this week, that they believe the first quarter of 2012 will see a drop of 0.1% in growth. This means the UK is in recession. This is a terrible indictment on the absolute failure of austerity. They cannot blame Labour for this anymore. They cannot blame the snow. They cannot blame unions. They cannot blame Europe. The Tories and the Lib Dems only have themselves to blame. The “budget for growth”. Remember that? What we have is stagnation and failure. What they have done, is risk an economic and social engineering program that has led the country to ruin. To avoid a recession, by propping up spending at the end of the first quarter of 2012….. induce panic buying. Tell the country that you are prepping the army to deliver oil in the event of strike. Needlessly tell the country you are having meetings of the crises response team “Cobra”. Tell the country to fill up cans of petrol and take them home. For what reason? IN CASE of a strike? Strikers must give seven days notice. Ben Fenton at the Financial Times tweeted something similar:

There is absolutely no way we will be in recession after all this #pasty #petrol buying, though. What a brilliant tactical ploy.

There is one problem with this theory. To buy back 0.2% of GDP growth, consumer spending would have to top £800mn over the past three days. This is quite a stretch. Be interesting to see 2nd quarter growth figures.

Point 2) Prevent double dip recession in the most cynical way possible.

Going back to the point about lack of growth here is what the Government’s “budget for growth” has achieved. You see the green bar? That represents government debt as a share of GDP as outlined by the Tories on how they thought the austerity measures would work. The blue line, is what has actually happened. No amount of spinning this can make it positive.

And lastly, Bad press attention over the past week. First, a budget that cut the top rate of tax for the highest earners, whilst continually hitting the most vulnerable, especially pensioners was announced. Secondly, cash for access promises to be the scandal of the year for the Conservatives. Every employee in the country might not be too pleased to know that the man who wrote the government report on the need to strip workers of their rights when it comes to unfair dismissal, Adrian Beecroft, donated over £500,000 to the Tory Party. I’m not sure it’s right that very wealthy Tory donors should be allowed to create government policy. As well as the Tories not having a mandate to do any of what they have so far done, the public certainly didn’t vote for an odious little turd like Beecroft to oversee certain policy making endeavours.

Ed Staite, a former media advisor for the Tories is accused of trying to sell policy to the highest bidder. He is filmed by undercover reporters that they can use their money and influence to affect government policy in a way that helps their business, by pushing for the sale of Royal Mail. How does Staite defend himself? Well, on his website he says:

I was suggesting a transparent approach to generate new ideas which may well never become Conservative Party policy. That is how the policy formulation process works.

– How this is a defence, is beyond me. Policy is generated, he is suggesting, by selling access to very wealthy individuals? How is that a defence? And these people have the nerve to attack the Labour Party for its ties to unions? Unions represent hundreds of thousands of people. The one or two that speak to despicable advisors like Staite, represent their own private business interests. It actually disgusts me that these people are allowed anywhere near power. It seems, even though they did not win a mandate, like vultures they are attempting very successfully to use government to enrich themselves and their friends. This is corruption on a horrendous scale.

Francis Maude made the entire media onslaught a thousands times worse by insisting that people stock up on fuel at home in jerry cans. It was made a million times worse when a woman in York suffered 40% burns after transferring fuel at home and setting herself alight. Maude should resign.

Party funding, should be public.

Point 3) An attempt to divert the horrendous press the Tories have received this week away from them, and onto the unions and the Labour party.

It is all political. If it isn’t political, then it is such vast incompetence, it is scary to think that these idiots are running the country. This wouldn’t surprise me, given the different messages coming out of Downing Street. Firstly, fill up your cars. Then, fill up your jerry cans at home. Then, only fill to three quarters. But don’t panic. There is no coherent message. When a government goes out of their way to tell the entire nation not to panic….then there is going to be panic.

And then there are those who blame the public.

“Well they should have used their common sense!”
What a ludicrous argument. What a weak defence of an indefensible and perpetually shambolic government.
People don’t have all the information.
People are told the government are in emergency meetings for this.
People are told to stock up on cans.
People are already struggling, so when they hear this, they react.
People are aware that governments are more informed than anyone else on the situation.
It just so happens, that the government weren’t more informed.
And it just so happens that they weren’t more informed….. on the week of a big cash for access scandal, and reports of double dip.

Here is a particularly favourite argument I have came across:

– I highlight this argument, because it seems to be quite common. And yet, it’s very contradictory. He is saying that people should think for themselves instead of listening to government. And then he’s saying (in regards to the riots), people don’t listen to government at all. I’m not sure what the overall point is.
‎”If the government advised people to chop their testicles off to reduce over population, do you think people would just blindly do it?
The “if the government said chop your testicles off blah blah utter bollocks” argument is as painfully uninspired as any other. Just a silly comparison. We know chopping a testicle off is detrimental. It’s common sense. There is no weighing up of pro’s and cons. But when a government who are privy to information we aren’t, on the proceedings of 1) government 2) economic conditions and 3) the possibility of strike action because they’re constantly updated on the threat ….. then people, who lead busy lives, or businesses that are struggling to cope, cannot be expected to spend hours wading through all the information and coming to a rounded judgement, especially when they do not have all the information and cannot possibly get all the relevant information. Of course people rely on official sources for their information. If you think a top Cabinet Minister going on TV and saying “we’re holding emergency Cobra meetings” and “fill up your tanks, take petrol home” is going to make people take a day off work so they can sit and read through all relevant documentation and information available, I think you’re expecting a bit too much. The government have a responsibility. They purposely caused panic in this instance.

Also, the riot analogy is just as weak. The riots themselves were not the result of sudden desperation and a fear of a lack of essential supply. There was an obvious economic and social undertone to the riots, and always have been when it comes to violent disorder. How he managed to compare the two, actually hurts my head. As I noted in a previous blog written just after the London riots:

The motives are of course opportunistic. There appears to be no political motive. It has purely brought out the violent and senseless mob who are achieving nothing but the destruction of their communities. But the social and economic situation in relation to these riots cannot be ignored. We must accept that when one person commits a crime, it is an individual problem. When thousands commit the same crime, on the same day, there is a deep social problem. Certain tweeters have said they watched people looting supermarkets of nappies and milk. The underlying issues need addressing. Many of the Greek rioters last year, were opportunistic in nature. But the economic pressures created an atmosphere where rioting was essentially inevitable. A government who go out of their way to initiate a shock to the system that forces unemployment up deliberately, whilst living cost and rising inflation also rise purposely, is a government that is committing economic criminality. It is similar in the UK. A study by the business information group Experian found that inner city poorer areas are not equipped to deal with economic shocks like that of austerity, because they are still dealing with the after affects of the economic shocks of the 1980s. It found that Elmbridge in Surrey was the least likely to be affected by austerity, coincidentally, Elmbridge in Surrey was labelled as the town with the highest quality of life by a Halifax Estate Agency, and the “Beverly Hills of England” by the Daily Mail. The looting of the public services and economic violence from the Government, will absolutely always lead to social violence and criminality.

An entire generation has been told that we must own stuff. That the purpose of life is to consume. We are given easy credit to fuel the debt needed to sustain an economy and a prevailing social wisdom built around consuming. People who have very little, who are told they will always have very little, living in areas where the opportunities are bleak at best and non-existent at worst, are still encouraged to consume. The materialist mindset that has dominated all other thought processes for far too long, must not be ignored as a contributing factor to the unrest; this can be seen quite evidently with the looting of non-essential, luxury goods. We are what we buy. And that is a problem. A generation of young people have had luxuries dangled infront of their faces by incessant advertising, only to be told they would never be able to afford them; well that temptation exploded and now they can get those desirable consumer items for free.

– To add to this. We live in a greed fueled culture. Humanity has many different traits. Our economic system is based on one trait; greed. Which isn’t always a terrible thing. But it does mean that that particular trait is quite obviously amplified, because it is rewarded. This is how the trickle down affect actually works. Greed at the top, will trickle down to the very bottom. This is when unrest becomes inevitable. Wealth trickling upwards, results in unrest trickling downwards. It isn’t a conscious phenomena, it is a product of the system that we live.

The petrol crises is the fault of the government. No one else. It was a cynical political game that has backfired miserably. People are still panic buying, petrol stations are closing, fuel is running low….. and there isn’t even likely to be a strike. What a total mess. Typical of such an awful government.


Planet Clegg

September 22, 2011

I am not sure where Planet Clegg is located in the Universe. It is certainly light years away from Earth. They say the laws of physics are the same anywhere in the Universe; from a little town in Gloucester, to the edge of a black hole. Well, Planet Clegg seems to have physical properties that differ somewhat from the rest of the Universe, because whilst we can choose to talk shit, Clegg seems compelled by nature itself, as if it is a natural instinct, to talk shit. It really is amazing.

His speech at Conference is available everywhere, so I thought i’d take what I consider to be the most significant parts of the speech, and try to dissect them. To sift through the bullshit, and look at the substance:

“Our first big decision was to clear the structural deficit this parliament. To wipe the slate clean by 2015. This has meant painful cuts. Agonisingly difficult decisions. Not easy, but right.”

– As the £12bn black hole in the public finances was revealed earlier this week, it became clear that the “painful cuts” (less painful if you’re as rich as the Cabinet, and not painful enough to consider cancelling the five day boring yet incredibly expensive tax payer funded Conference) have achieved the opposite of what they were intended to do. Borrowing has stayed higher this year, because growth has stalled at 0.2%. According to the Financial Times:

The Financial Times has replicated the model of government borrowing used by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility, which suggests the structural deficit in 2011-12 is now £12bn higher than thought, a rise of 25 per cent.

– To fill this black hole, VAT would have to rise again to 22.5% and further, deeper cuts (if we stick to the path of extreme austerity). For Clegg to claim it is “right” to do what he has been doing, to cut the structural deficit by 2015, he is simply deluded and vastly ignorant. A Lib Dem turned Tory.

A new economy where the lowest-paid get to keep the money they earn. That’s why a Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury has put two hundred pounds into the pocket of every basic rate taxpayer and taken almost a million workers – most of them women – out of income tax altogether.

– The Bank of England warned that inflation was set to rise to over 5% by the end of the year. Average wages rose 2.8% in 2010. So actually, average wages, when taking inflation into account, fell. People are not better off now. Inflation, caused by strangling demand out of the economy is what keeps investment out of poor areas, and a few small changes to the tax system, regardless of how Clegg sugarcoats it, means nothing.
Do the lowest paid get to keep the money they earn? Or is it going to be spent on extortionately high energy bills?

And within one city, two nations: In Hammersmith and Fulham in West London, more than half the children leaving state schools head to a good university. Just thirty minutes east – down the district line to Tower Hamlets – and just 4 percent do. Odds stacked against too many of our children. A deep injustice, when birth is destiny. That’s why I’ve been leading the charge for social mobility – for fairer chances, for real freedom.

– One City, two Nations is a nice little tag line. The suggestion that the Lib Dems are dedicated to improving the lives of the poorest kids through education, is overwhelmingly delusional. According the Institute for Fiscal Studies, for each year up until the end of the report (2014), child poverty is set to rise. 90% of children on free school meals then go on to receive EMA to the tune of around £1,170. This is what I received, otherwise I certainly would not have been able to afford to go to college, and then onto University. Due to the cut in EMA and the replacement with the new bursary scheme, those who would have received the full £1,170 EMA, now stand to receive just £370.
The IFS stated of EMA:

“The EMA significantly increased participation rates in post-16 education among young adults who were eligible to receive it. In particular, it increased the proportion of eligible 16-year-olds staying in education from 65% to 69%, and increased the proportion of eligible 17-year-olds in education from 54% to 61%. The simple cost-benefit analysis mentioned above suggests that even taking into account the level of deadweight that was found, the costs of EMA are completely offset.”

– Getting rid of EMA is an ideological attack on social mobility. As stated above, overwhemingly delusional for the Lib Dem leader to suggest he has been ‘leading the charge’ on social mobility. Education is the key to social mobility. Taking away EMA, whilst at the same time back tracking entirely on Tuition Fees to the point where he agreed to triple the debt of the Nation’s 18 year olds, does not represent ‘leading the charge’ on social mobility. Does he really believe cutting EMA for the poorest, offering them a piss poor replacement bursary, whilst inflation continues to spiral out of control effectively cancelling out any perceived benefit, whilst benefits are slashed, and whilst wages stagnate and poverty rates rise – is a good thing for the cause of social mobility?

After being hit hard, we picked ourselves up and we came out fighting. Fighting to keep the NHS safe. Fighting to protect human rights. Fighting to create jobs. Fighting for every family. Not doing the easy thing, but doing the right thing. Not easy, but right.

– I think by ‘right’ he means right winged. How can one of the men responsible for the destruction of over 100,000 jobs in less than a year, a man partly responsible for a working NHS considered to be one of the best in the World succumbing to the terror of the private sector; a private sector that certainly did not provide improvements to the railways or the utilities, a man partly responsible as shown above, for poverty rates set to rise and families set to lose more and more due to high inflation and stagnating wages; how can this man claim he is fighting to create jobs and fighting for every family?
From April 2011, to July 2011, those three months alone saw unemployment rise a further 80,000 to 2.51 million. A huge amount of job losses in just three months. It was the largest increase in unemployment since 2009 – the midst of a recession. What about disability? Lib Dem Steve Webb said that the £12.3bn for DLA at the beginning of this Parliament, would be exactly the same by the end of the Parliament with the Personal Indepedent Payment. Clearly Webb doesn’t understand inflation over a five year period. Wheelchairs, travel, care will cost over 20% more in 2015 due to inflation. So, that £12.3bn is worth far less than Webb would have you believe. 20% of those claiming DLA will lose it, not because it is better targeted, but because it has been cut by 22%. Clegg started the house fire, the fire is still raging, and he claims he’s brilliantly putting it out, as more of the house burns.

Labour says: the Government is going too far, too fast. I say, Labour would have offered too little, too late. Imagine if Ed Miliband and Ed Balls had still been in power. Gordon Brown’s backroom boys when Labour was failing to balance the books, failing to regulate the financial markets, and failing to take on the banks. The two Eds, behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows, always plotting, always scheming, never taking responsibility. At this time of crisis what Britain needs is real leadership. This is no time for the back room boys

– What a waste of a paragraph. The charge of plotting and scheming from a man who signed a pledge, and gained much support and votes from the student movement in 2010, only to piss all over that pledge when he came to power and use “Well, you have to compromise in Coalition” as an excuse, is unbelievably hypocritical. In their 2010 manifesto, in bold font, on the first page, the letter from the leader, we see:

Don’t settle for low politics and broken promises; be more demanding.

– I voted Lib Dem in 2010. I want my vote back. That is me being more demanding. I want a vote on a joint Lib/Tory manifesto that includes a VAT rise, the dismantling of the NHS, closures to youth centres, and libraries and the loss of 100,000 jobs VS a Labour manifesto. If he is going to use “have to compromise in coalition government” I want to vote on that coalition compromise, rather than having to deal with the outcome of behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows, always plotting, always scheming Lib Dem politicians trying to worm their way out of their commitments that allowed them this taste of power in the first place.

On the first point, that Labour say the government is cutting too far, too fast; The IMF this week pointed out that with growth having to be downgraded for (i’ve lost count) yet another time, the government may have to slow down its austerity measures. At the beginning of 2011, the IMF, fully supportive of austerity joyfully claimed the UK economy would grow by 2% this year. That was downgraded to 1.7%. That was downgraded to 1.5%. That was downgraded to just 1.1%. We’ll be lucky to hit that mark. So, the IMF’s support for austerity, and the fact that they may be coming to the conclusion that deep, fast cuts do not work appears to echo not only Labour’s stance, but also pre-election Clegg’s stance. Clegg in 2010 of the Tory plans for fast and far cuts:


“Self evidently I think, we think, that merrily slashing now is an act of economic masochism.”

– It isn’t just Labour who say the Coalition is cutting too far, too fast. It was also pre-2010 Clegg.

I don’t think the unions should be able to buy themselves a political party. Ed Miliband says he wants to loosen the ties between Labour and the union barons who helped him beat his brother. Let’s see him put his money where his mouth is. Let’s see if he’ll support radical reform of party funding. Every previous attempt has been blocked by the vested interests in the other two parties.

– Perhaps he should convey the same message to his master in Downing Street. Islington Council severed their links with John Nash’s Care UK because the private health provider has an awful track record, and racks up mountains of complaints. John Nash of Care UK donated £21,000 to the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley’s private office. Unsurprisingly, at the beginning of the year, a £53,000,000 contract to provide health services to prisons went to Care UK, even though the NHS was deemed to be:

better than the successful bidder on quality, delivery and risk.

– I ask, being the pockets of unions – that represent thousands, if not millions of year, is now considered worse for ‘centre-left’ Clegg, than being the pockets of one businessman and his desire for profit at the behest of patient care. The policies that he will ensure his backbenchers vote for, are drawn up by a Party in the pockets of big business. He is therefore complicit. Brilliant.

Probably the most important lesson I have learned is this: No matter how hard you work on the details of a policy, it’s no good if the perception is wrong. We can say until we’re blue in the face that no one will have to pay any fees as a student, but still people don’t believe it. That once you’ve left university you’ll pay less, week in week out, than under the current system, but still people don’t believe it. That the support given to students from poorer families will increase dramatically, but still people don’t believe it.

– It isn’t that we don’t understand. Or that we don’t believe it. It is simply that we don’t believe education should be open to market forces. Education is the right of everyone. For families who are struggling to pay increasingly inflated gas and electricity bills, whose benefits are slashed, the prospect of their 18 year old being charged £9000 a year is a step too far. With this policy also came the policy of pay-nothing-back until you earn over £21,000 a year, compared to the £15,000 limit in place now. Most Universities will rise tuition fees to above £6000, and many to the £9000 limit. The £21,000 is meaningless. I don’t care if i’m paying back £1 a year, the fact that I would leave university with well over £40,000 of debt, when you include living costs, before i’d even reached my 21st birthday, is ludicrous. If I have three children, and they want to go to University, that is going to amount £110,000+ worth of debt that my children end up with. Couple this, with the fact that England’s University budget has been cut by £449m, the teaching budget cut by £215mn, and Educational Maintenence Allowance (which I relied on to get me through college) scrapped, this does not represent a progressive plan for students. If the unique selling point is pay nothing back until you earn over £21,000, why have a top £9000 limit at all? Why not £50,000 a year? Or more? The universities can speculate that they will be richer than ever, and the debt, which Clegg seems to think is not a deterrent at all, will be irrelevant. Their policy is a disaster.

My main issue with the tuition fee debacle, is the principle. Saddling the Nation’s 18 year olds with the burden of the National debt, whilst not one banker has been prosecuted, and big businesses receiving Corporate tax cuts, and whilst the Government has allowed Vodaphone to get away with not paying the £4.8bn they allegedly avoided paying in tax, is shameful. It is certainly not progressive.

The Clegg speech at the end of the Lib Dem Conference had eroded any last glimpse of hope I had in a Liberal Democrat Party. They are, and will forever be, in the eyes of we on the Progressive Left; Tory-lite. Even Clegg’s tie, is slowly turning blue.

If you look through a particularly powerful telescope, you may be able to see Planet Clegg. I hear it was formed by the coming together of the concepts of dishonesty, u-turns, and delusion.


The frivolity of Prime Minister’s Questions.

September 7, 2011

There were laughs reverberating around the hall of the House of Commons today as Tory MP Nadine Dorries asked “Will the Prime Minister show the Deputy Prime Minister, who is the boss?” She raised the issue in conjunction with NHS reforms. Someone should inform Dorries that no one in the Country actually gave permission for these NHS reforms (when I say no one, I obviously exclude John Nash over at Care UK).

On a side note, for those who do not know Nadine Dorries, she attempted to prevent abortion providers giving NHS funded counselling to women, under that famous Tory justification-of-the-disgusting as “patient choice”. The amendment to the Health Bill, seeks to force the NHS to provide “independent” counselling to women seeking an abortion. The worry is, this opens the door for faith based groups to provide counselling to pregnant women. This isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, given that Dorries other anti-abortion campaign in 2008, was funded by Christian Concern for our Nation. This is a Christian fundamentalist group, who believe any kind of pro-equality legislation for homosexuality, is anti-Christian legislation. Here is what their site says:


Sexual orientation is being given increasing protection under equality legislation. Unfortunately this has led to serious consequences for Christians.

Here is its EDL style fear tactics, on Islam:

From the introduction of Sharia law and Islamic finance to the implications on freedom of speech and women’s rights, the presence of Islamism in the UK has great repercussions for all of us.

– They seem to be under the impression that the introduction of entirely Christian fundamental values is a wonderful thing, but any other religious fundamentalists must be great evils. I want neither. They also seem to be under the impression that we have a country controlled by Sharia and Islamic finance. How odd.
They have arguments against the scrapping of the Blasphemy laws (we genuinely still had blasphemy laws up until 2008 …… not 1534……2008!) on their site. They are shocked that anyone would support the scrapping of Blasphemy Laws. Speaking on the site, Andrea Williams defends the Blasphemy laws because they protect against “strident criticism” of God. That it protects against “sexual assaults against Jesus Christ. Making sexual overture towards Christ”…. sounds similar to the way Muslims reacted to the drawings of Mohammed…irrational, and dangerous. After much of what i’ve wrote on this blog, I guess if the laws were still in place, I could be prosecuted for it.
Anyway, This is who funds Dorries campaigns. That is who Dorries is.

Today, MPs voted overwhelmingly against it, and rightfully so. After such a crushing defeat, Dorries said:

“Actually, it was the most tremendous success. We lost the battle but we won the war”.

– One recalls Tariq Aziz in 2003, as the Ba’athist regime in Iraq crumbled, insisting that victory was imminent.

The laughs were justifiably aimed at the pointlessness of the question, and Cameron’s absolutely correct refusal to answer it, but to me it highlighted two problems:

I) Nadine Dorres has simply amplified growing concern on the Tory benches that the Lib Dems are diluting the message of Conservatism. This Blog by Conservative home echoes similar sentiments. It is vastly misguided in its anger. They seem unable to grasp the concept of not winning an election. They did not pass the post. They did not get a majority. They do not have a mandate to initiate deeply right winged, Tory principles. If the Deputy Prime Minister were to be suddenly struck down with a conscience, and said “We are not voting for anything you put forward any more“, the “boss” would appear incredibly impotent. The Country did not choose one boss or one Party. We did not elect a Tory government. We elected a mixture. Doubtlessly Nadine Dorres is simply annoyed with Clegg’s refusal to back her ludicrous religious fundamentalist anti-abortion campaign. What the Tories are doing now it seems, is attempting (as Conservative Home did in the blog I linked to) to use the diluting of Tory policies by Liberal Democrats, as a reason for weak growth. So, that’s the Lib Dems, Europe, the Royal Wedding, Labour’s legacy, and the snow, that the Tories have blamed for weaker than anticipated growth. Even so, the point remains valid; someone needs to tell those like Dorries, who seem to think they have some sort of inherent right to rule, that they didn’t win the election. This is not a Tory Parliament. Even to claim they won the most seats, is fallacious, given that more people voted for slower deficit reduction – Labour/Lib Dem – than voted for the pace now being forced upon us. As far as I can tell, the Lib Dem dilutions aren’t good enough. This is a very very Tory Government. Frustrated about being in Coalition with the Lib Dems? Tough. The public don’t want a very Right Winged government. Either you operate a minority government, or you deal with Coalition. You have no other choice.

One must wonder what the polls would be saying, if the Tories were able to cut even deeper and apply Tory principles where otherwise they are diluted by the Liberals. The Poll from Yougov yesterday, despite Lib Dem dilution, showed that when asked “Thinking about the way the government is cutting spending to reduce the government’s deficit, do you think this is… “
Only 35% said it is good good for the economy. 27% said it is being done fairly and 52% said it is being done too quickly. Even now, having not won the election, they still don’t have a majority of the country agreeing with their policy. They have no mandate. They do not understand this.

II) Prime Minister’s Questions last for thirty minutes every Wednesday. It is a chance for our nationally elected legislature to interrogate the government. Given the rapid nature of change in schooling, the NHS, the struggles facing people who are the victims of deep austerity, the Libyan conflict; It is simply a waste of a question, and a stain upon the fabric of Parliamentary Democracy for an elected representative, who has the opportunity to ask anything at all, to have the nerve to stand up and ask the Prime Minister to bitch slap his Deputy into place. I would have preferred for Cameron to have spent that wasted time laughing at the insanity of Nadine Dorries, instead answering questions about his apparent vast NHS reform support from The Royal College of Nurses, despite their Chief Executive Dr Carter saying recently:

….. we are telling MPs that this Bill risks creating a new and expensive bureaucracy and fragmenting care.
This fragmentation risks making inequalities worse, and preventing health providers from collaborating in the interests of patients. We must avoid a situation where existing NHS providers are left with expensive areas of care while private providers are able to ‘cherry pick’ the services which can be delivered easily.”

– Isn’t the dismantling of the NHS, and the Prime Minister’s refusal to accept the almost universal condemnation of the reforms, far more important to the future of the Country and the people who live in it, than Nadine Dorries personal dislike of Nick Clegg? She should be ashamed of herself to continuing the politics of theatre in a supposedly “honourable” National Legislature.
Shouldn’t we be asking why 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.”

– Doesn’t seem like the Lib Dems are fighting hard enough to me. Heaven knows what the Tories would be pushing for now, had they won a majority in 2010. It is unnerving to think about. Nevertheless, it isn’t a Tory government and so excessively Right Winged policies like that on the NHS, really need to be fully scrutinised during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Dorries isn’t the first. I blogged not long ago, on the subject of Loughborough Tory MP Nicky Morgan asking misleading and futile questions in Parliament, having emailed her to point out her pointlessness. She, oddly, blamed by anger at her helping to bring down the intellectual discourse that we expect from our Parliamentarians…… on my apparent sexism. To this day, I fail to understand her point, and cannot comprehend how someone of that level of stupidity manages to get elected. But it isn’t just restricted to the Tories. Labour and Liberals are just as guilty of weak and frivolous questioning in Parliament. It is one of the very reasons I am thoroughly anti-Lords reform. I do not want a second chamber full of mediocre career politicians trying to score points against each other. I am quite content with an appointed Lords based on merit and expertise. Another House of Commons, would be a disaster. I don’t care if it’s elected. It’s irrelevant. If all we can achieve by the Democratic process in this Country, is a Health Secretary funded entirely by the Private Health sector, and a mad old Christian who spends her time throwing darts at Nick Clegg, then perhaps Democracy isn’t all it is cracked up to be. We expect more from our politicians. It becomes increasingly obvious that people who spend their debate time, taking cheap shots at each other, should be not representing anyone, in any walk of life. They are not worthy of the office of MP.

We are told constantly of the importance of voting. That our ancestors fought for this privilege. Well, Parliamentarians fought civil wars, their brothers and fathers and sons were killed, for the supremacy of Parliament. Parliament must be worthy of our vote, because that is what wars were fought to ensure. Do we really think that the current Parliamentary tussling, complete with childish attacks and needless questions at the expense of serious debate and discourse, is truly worthy of the vote that is apparently so precious? The degradation of Parliament is circular, in that the mediocrity of our career politicians creates an air of ambivalence toward politics and the democratic process. In return, the disinterest of the electorate necessarily creates a system in which it becomes far easier for mediocre career politicians to enter politics. It is almost certainly the reason we need an unelected House of Lords.

Nadine Dorries may have raised a laughable question, but it illustrates a growing disease in Parliament. Prime Ministers Questions is a public arena, for rather bad theatre, than an arena for informed debate and intelligent discourse and holding the most powerful office in the Country to account, and that is a worrying state of affairs.


#realbrokensociety

August 18, 2011

Police_asbo_notice_Richmond

A Vulture Fund is a hedge fund that buys up National debt at a tiny price because the debt is about to be defaulted, and pursues it vigorously through the courts. Liberia, a Nation in deep poverty, one of the World’s poorest Countries, had debt that was bought up by a Vulture Fund owned by Hedge Fund manager Eric Hermann. He took war torn, poverty stricken Liberia to court, in which his Vulture Fund won £12m from Liberia – 5% of their annual budget, for debts from 1978, before his Vulture fund was even set up. The debt, plus interest earned the Vulture Fund a nice profit, that would otherwise be used to build half a million homes in Liberia. The funds thrive on poverty. In 2010 a bill came through Parliament aimed at stopping these Vulture Funds. It took up a lot of time, and right at the last minute looked likely to pass. Tory MP Philip Davies then penned an amendment to try and stop the bill passing. It didn’t stop the Bill. But suddenly, a Tory MP on the front bench shouted “object” (a silly Private Members bill rule), and so the bill failed to pass. All the Tory front bench sat with their hands over their mouths so no one would know who made the bill fail. #realbrokensociety

According to the Telegraph:

Six-year-old Abdullah Qadoos was hit by cluster bombs fired by the British Army as they took the Iraqi city of Basra in March 2003. Shrapnel smashed through the window of his home, cut off his arm and tore open his abdomen.

– The UK government banned clusterbombs years ago. But a loophole in the law means banking institutions can invest in companies that manufacture clusterbombs. Royal Bank of Scotland, which is pretty much owned by the taxpayer, has invested more than £115m in Alliant Techsystems and Lockheed Martin – two clusterbomb manufacturers. Given that Cameron deplored a “culture that glorifies violence“, will he be closing this loophole? Well, no. Of course not. Mainly because when a kid suggests looting a Footlocker on Facebook it’s a great evil, but when rich companies fund violence, it’s fine. Number 10 said:

The issue of indirect financing is for individual institutions to consider. We as a government have made it very clear that direct financing of cluster munitions is illegal. We would encourage NGOs to come together and engage with the banks to find a mutually agreeable approach to indirect financing.

– Encouraging banks to self regulate? Really?
#realbrokensociety

Ex Chief Exec. of RBS presides over bank that loses £24.1bn of other peoples money. The biggest loss in Corproate history. Described by the Guardian as one of the 25 people at the heart of the financial meltdown Worldwide, and is punished, by having his pension reduced to £342,500 a year from £555,000 a year. Meanwhile, a man in Manchester is about to face jail for “looting” an ice cream cone and two scopes of ice cream. #realbrokensociety

Jeremy Isaacs, donated £190,000 in the past five years to the Tories, and who happened to be the boss of the Asia/Europe branches of Lehmann when it collapsed and engulfed the World. #realbrokensociety

Npower just announced profits of 130% larger than last year. Still, they think raising gas prices by 15.7% is “necessary“. Elsewhere, Bolton County Council have had to sell a painting by the great English painter Sir John Everett Millais to an American art collector, meaning the painting will probably never be in this country again, just to help fund its arts and culture sector which has been needlessly slashed. #realbrokensociety

If you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the punishment” bleated David Cameron, in response to the rioting across England two weeks ago. In the 1980s, Cameron was a member of the notorious Bullingdon Club Elite, who ritualistically smashed restaurants and pubs up. New members only become aware that they have been accepted, when they find their rooms trashed and smashed. After rioting, the Bullingdon Club chant: “Buller, Buller, Buller! Buller, Buller, Buller! We are the famous Bullingdon Club, and we don’t give a fuck!“. When the Bullingdon club were out one night, a plant pot was thrown through the window of an Oxford restaurant. Eye witnesses say they saw a bunch of men including David Cameron run away. This week, two men imprisoned for 4 years for inciting riots on facebook which didn’t actually lead to any trouble. #realbrokensociety

Sir Philip Green was asked in 2010, to write a report into Government spending and procurement. He reported that there were mass failings in Government procurement. The entire procurement professional dismissed the report as nonsense. Philip Green’s Arcadia Group business has thus far avoided £25bn in taxes. In 2005, his dividend on 92% of the shares in Arcadia, gave him £1.2bn. My home city of Leicester was found to be home of a sweatshop factory in a basement, where workers were paid less than minimum wage, providing clothes for Top Shop. Top Shop is owned by Sir Philip Green. Meanwhile, a rioter is imprisoned for 6 months for stealing a water bottle worth £3.50. #realbrokensociety

Clive Goodman, jailed in 2007 for hacking the phone of Prince William, had penned a letter to the News of the World, which stated that Coulson among others, had regularly discussed phone hacking, and told Goodman that if he didn’t implicate the News of the World in the scandal in 2007, he would be given his job back when he got out of prison. The letter was sent from the solicitors Harbottle and Lewis who are investigating internal N.O.T.W emails, to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee two days ago. Hacking into the voicemail of dead schoolgirls, and then covering it up, and then becoming the Prime Ministers chief of communications. #realbrokensociety

The Minister in charge of deciding whether Murdoch should be allowed to buy BSkyB, and decided in favour of take over, is Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. In 2009 a ‘sleaze watchdog’ found that he had allowed his friend to stay rent free in his tax payer funded house, whilst claiming expenses for both of them. Fraud, I believe it is known as. Will he face jail for looting the public purse? “If you are old enough to commit these crimes you are old enough to face the punishment” according to Cameron. Well, no. He said sorry. So he only have to repay half of the £20k he fraudulently claimed. Whilst claiming for that house, he was also fraudulently claiming for mortgage payments on another house. But it’s okay. He said sorry. #realbrokensociety

One in four UK households are now classed as fuel poor. Fuel poor means when the cost of heating your home exceeds 10% of annual income. Roger Carr, the Chairman of Centrica which owns British Gas and has just announced a 25% increase since December 2010, is also the President of the CBI. The CBI have called for deeper spending cuts than have been so far imposed, and have opposed any tax rise on Capital Gains tax. Effectively, meaning they wish to see Winter Fuel Allowance for the neediest cut drastically, but the taxes on their huge profits lowered. #realbrokensociety

The maximum tax credit of £54 a week for families with a disabled child will now be cut to £27 a week. Thousands will be plunged into poverty due to this cut. Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, who is worth £7.5million, pays himself in dividends rather than a salary from his company Castlemead, saving him money on tax. Also, to avoid the 50p top rate of tax, he moved his shares into his wive’s name, who pays a smaller rate of tax, allegedly saving the Transport Secretary £25,000 a year. On Question Time, he called it “rearranging my affairs“. #realbrokensociety

I think it’s about time the Prime Minister instilled a sense of humanity and moral decency in his own household before he continues this ironic moral crusade.


The Headlines:

August 10, 2011

There are a number of worrying headlines doing the rounds across Media land today.


– The incessant need by Tory bloggers to point out that opportunism is at the heart of these riots, is not only hopelessly narrow minded, reflecting their narrow minded approach to economic policy; it is not only a defence mechanism to try to persuade us that their economic violence and public service looting is actually quite wonderful and couldn’t possibly cause social tension; it is also disastrously hypocritical. Diane Abbott, in her article for the Telegraph, said:

As was the case 26 years ago, nothing excuses violence. There is no doubt that all types of mindless thugs latched on to the disturbances. There were also hours of looting at Wood Green and Tottenham Hale, both shopping centres I know well.

Angie Bray, Tory MP, then released a statement in which she said:

For senior Labour politicians to use cuts as an excuse for the kind of criminality we have seen over the last few days is unacceptable, irresponsible, and completely wrong. Londoners who have seen their homes and businesses destroyed expect more from local leaders.

– Another massive bout of ignorance, and refusal to accept that economic shock will always lead to social violence. It is a far more eloquent way to say: “Look, why would you riot? You don’t need Sure Start or any Youth Services……hold on, I just need to finish my Cocktail by the pool in the Caribbean……anyway, yeah, what is your problem? So you can’t afford to live in London any more. Stop your complaining and just fall further into deprivation with a sense of uselessness in silence, peasants, and come and clean my moat.” To this day, I am aghast as to why people think voting Tory is a good idea. They are dangerous. It is that simple.

Bray in her statement refused to print the piece of Abbots article that I just printed above, and only chose to include this part of Abbotts article:

Just as with the original riots, parts of the community seem to have been a tinder box waiting to explode. Haringey Council has lost £41m from its budget and has cut youth services by 75 per cent. The abolition of the education maintenance allowance hit Haringey hard, and thousands of young people at college depended on it. Again none of these things are reasons for rioting and looting. But with these and other cuts in jobs and services, it is difficult to see how areas like Tottenham can become less flammable soon.

– As far as I can see this is a fantastic point and absolutely relevant. Pretty much identical to argument I set out in my blog yesterday. Instead of Bray simply saying it’s “irresponsible and wrong“, she should refute the argument Abbot is making, with reason. Making empty statements as Bray did, simply highlights the weakness of the Tory argument.

The Tories then went on to say that Abbot was trying to have it both ways. That claiming violence is wrong, whilst suggesting cuts provoked violence, is opportunistic in itself. In this, they fail to understand Abbots argument, or the argument I tried to make yesterday. The point is, the deep austerity and the lack of opportunity coupled with fear that one is not secure in a job or a home, and the fact that we’ve had it pelted into our skulls for decades that owning shit that we do not need is the measure of what makes a person “somebody”, all adds to an atmosphere that makes rioting inevitable. The rioters may be opportunistic, and they may have absolutely no idea of the inner political and economic workings that have lead them down that violent and dangerous path, but the atmosphere that they have grown up under and live under every day is very much the underlying political issue, and it has been exaggerated a hundred fold by this current Government. The rioters are years away from the level of destruction forced on the UK by our financial sector. But if the Government’s handling of that can be anything to go by, I expect the rioters will be given massive pay offs and an over inflated bonus for the destructive nature. The Tories failure to comprehend the deeper social context of the rioting, is their downfall, and one of the many many reasons I would rather throw myself in front of a speeding train, than vote Tory. Labour’s refusal to acknowledge a growing discontented and disenfranchised lower class who see no future and are politically unrepresented because their traditional Labour Party is trying to constantly appeal to a Middle Class, caused the lower class to become easy prey for the BNP and EDL. The economic and social climate, lack of opportunity, crap low paid jobs that were never secure, caused a climate in which the Far Right thrived, a Far Right that organised violence rather than the disorganised violence we see with the rioting, but essentially the economic factors are the same. It is absolutely a class issue.

How many times must we have to sit and take the Tory Party line that everyone else is to blame but them. That it’s ludicrous to blame them. That their policies of slash everything could not possibly have a detrimental affect on the social fabric of England. The Miners were to blame. The Unions were to blame. Labour were to blame. Gay people were to blame. Immigrants were to blame. The EU was to blame. Students were to blame. And in the case of Oliver Letwin, anyone from Sheffield who wants a holiday is to blame. Must we wait until the next Tory Government causes the exact same social unrest due to economic violence and public sector looting, as this lot have done? Or like the Thatcher lot before them had done? How many times are we going to accept that it might just all be a coincidence? There has to be a strong resistance to the Right Winged narrative, because it’s becoming so absurd as to almost be laughable now. The are the nasty Party of Eton, that rules for Eton, by Eton, deflecting the blame onto everything and anyone else other than themselves.

Archer’s books are still pretty popular. Over here in Australia, I see them everywhere. Ash and I stayed in a lovely little boat house in Tasmania last year, in the middle of nowhere overlooking a beautiful lake with Mount Wellington rising above the horizon. In the little bookshelf underneath the TV, was an Archer book. Yet I think I speak not just for Londoners, but the entire Country, when I say that London got off lightly with Boris. If things had been a little bit different, Jeffrey Archer could now be Mayor London. That is a scary thought. I doubt he’d win if he ran again, the way Boris has not handled the riots shows his complete disinterest in the plight of those who don’t live and work in Canary Wharf. Today in fact, giving a speech in London, whilst being the victim of constant heckling from people who had to remain in their homes scared to death, whilst the Mayor was on holiday refusing to come home, Boris said that people shouldn’t listen to those claiming there are sociological and economical reasons for these riots. The typical Tory attitude. Employ economic violence on those less fortunate, and then wash your hands of the consequences. One can only imagine how much worse that particular speech would have been had the pathological liar, Jeffrey Archer been giving it.


– Roger Helmer MEP is an idiot. He has been an idiot for a very long time. He is a throw back to the Euro sceptic Tories of the 1980s, who not only dislike the idea of joining a single currency, but want us absolutely out of Europe in every way. People like Helmer has this odd sense of British superiority as nostalgia from the days of Empire, whilst the rest of the World has moved on. With China, Brazil and India growing every second of every day, how he expects a tiny nation like Britain to compete, without being integrated in Europe is something he doesn’t elaborate on.
As well as calling for people to be shot, Helmer has also said that women who are date raped:

“surely shares a part of the responsibility”.

That homophobia is a propaganda tool used by the “militant gay lobby”, that the UK would benefit from American style healthcare, and that clubbing “dumb cub” seals over the head was humane because they were pests for eating too many fish. In short, the man is categorically insane.


– This is absolutely not a parody. I kid you not. An Iranian man with a desperately funny wig has issued a statement urging police restraint. A Country who, according to Human Rights Watch:

“Respect for basic human rights in Iran, especially freedom of expression and assembly, deteriorated in 2006. The government routinely tortures and mistreats detained dissidents, including through prolonged solitary confinement.”

– has urged caution in the UK. On this issue, I am absolutely speechless.

The Chancellor is appearing ever more insane. Blaming the snow for poor growth was one thing, but his ability to just make shit up is almost an art form now.

Last Monday the IMF said this:

On Saturday the Bank of England said this:

Last Thursday, his own office said this:

On Sunday the Business Secretary said this:

Later that day, this happened:

Today, it was reported that:

But it’s okay, the Chancellor is ignoring it all and making up his own news.

– I am not sure incompetency is the word. Charlie Brooker labelled Osborne as an 11 year old novelty Chancellor. I think that’s pretty much spot on. He is refusing to back from Neoliberal Tory doctrine, no matter how dangerous and wrong it is proving to be. It is isolating massive amounts of the UK community, everyone fears for their jobs and their homes.

Never trust a Tory.


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 wisdom of Philip Davies, MP

June 22, 2011

Twitter Philip Davies MP

A couple of nights ago, Twitter was alive with the news that Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies had stood up in the House of Commons and said this:

“If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn’t, and they have got to pay them both the same rate, I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on.

“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that, given the employer was going to have to pay them both the same, they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk.

“My view is that for some people the national minimum wage may be more of a hindrance than a help.

“If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that’s some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.”

Philip Davies ideal England is one in which sweatshops, full of people with disabilities create cheap goods for the overly privileged Tory benches to feed from, whilst the sweatshop bosses drive up to the gates of Downing Street in their brand new Mercs, accompanied by a lovely big donation for the Tory Party.

Perhaps we could use the £161,300 in expenses he claimed rather dubiously in 2009, on top of his £65,000 a year salary, to pay people a better salary? On the subject of his expense claims, he claimed the most of all Bradford MPs, and claimed £10,000 more on his second home allowance than Bradford North MP Terry Rooney. I am not entirely sure how that’s warranted, or helps him does his job to a greater degree. Incidentally, claimed for more in second home allowances than my dad makes in a year. Unsurprisingly, he clings onto this gravy train by opposing much needed Parliamentary reform. The lobby for Parliamentary reform, Power 10 label Philip Davies as one of the six MPs who will happily block reform of Parliament. This isn’t surprising, given just how much he has financially benefited from the current corrupt nature of Parliament.

Nevertheless, there is an unnerving essence to a member of our national legislature, insinuating that a person’s worth should be based solely on their physical or mental capability, and then using defensive rhetoric, heartfelt sentiment, to sound as if he only wishes to help disabled people, rather than line the pockets of his Party’s donors, and make it easy for employers to exploit without worry. It is equally as unnerving for a politician to tacitly suggest that wage discrimination is not only acceptable, but entirely the fault of those who are being discriminated against. His words sound as if he is suggesting being disabled is a lifestyle choice, that requires a bit of a punishment. That punishment should apparently be an agreement to work for less money that one needs in order to live, along with the added expense that comes with certain disabilities.

It would be right to point out that those with disabilities, who Davies wants to be paid less, did not cause the financial problems we’re now in. Ironically, for Davies, it was the private sector’s excessive greed (of which he clearly has no problem in promoting) that caused the mess, through unproductive excess profit being used – not to pay people better even when it had accumulated enough to easily manage paying more – but on dodgy asset deals. The problem in 2007 wasn’t that there appeared to be a lack of capital caused by the need to pay disabled people, or anybody a national minimum wage, but by the fact that there was an abundance of concentrated excess capital that wasn’t being put to good and productive use. Wages were stagnating for the majority of people, whilst wages at the very top climbed higher and higher. That, is entirely the fault of the private sector. Is Davies saying that if we dropped the minimum wage, wages would flourish, failed Tory economics would be proven right, and disabled people would be working shorter hours, for a loyal boss, who paid wonderfully? Because I foresee a bunch of employers driving even bigger Porsche’s whilst their £2 an hour disabled employees can no longer afford adequate care. Davies certainly didn’t offer any added benefits that some disabled people may require due to being paid below minimum wage. Grants for specialised equipment? Incomes and the ability to pay for necessary care and equipment cannot always be planned for even on a week to week basis, for those suffering certain disabilities. To promote the idea of wage discrimination against those with disabilities, at the same time as cuts to Disability Living Allowance take hold

It is a minimum wage for a reason. Do we really believe employers wouldn’t use an “opt-out” for their own advantage? Wages at the top are already obscenely high in the private sector. In 2009, for example, the chief executive of the Anchor Trust, which provides home for the elderly, took home £391,000. Anchor Trust is a charity! Whilst donations are down and employees are facing redundancy it is ludicrous for a CEO of an organisation that so many people rely on, to take home almost £400,000 a year.

I continue to be of the opinion that if an employer cannot afford to pay somebody a decent enough wage to live on, he/she shouldn’t be running a business. They are a danger to the public. £5.89 is not a lot of money, and to suggest that the rest of us are entitled to at least that, whilst a disabled person is entitled to less, purely because of a natural affliction is sensationally regressive.

The far right narrative is the problem, not minimum wage legislation. Philip Davis is attempting to remove responsibility for fair pay away from the employer, and onto the employee. Citizens UK found that of the companies in London willing to sign up to paying their lowest paid members of staff a “National living wage” rather than a “National minimum wage”, of £8.30 an hour, they managed to lift 3500 families out of poverty in 2009. It didn’t have an adverse affect on prices, in the same way as the minimum wage introduction in the late 1990s didn’t have an adverse affect as many Tories claimed it would. Campaigners for a National Living Wage are screaming out at Tesco, who have failed to ensure their cleaning staff are paid a fair living wage, despite the company making £3.8bn profit last year. Employers do not, ever, take paying their staff a respectable wage seriously. Ever. Surely if they were made to pay more, of which they can definitely afford, the money would be divided among a workforce who would pay more tax, and use the added disposable income on goods and services from businesses across the Country, rather than wasting it on the very very small band of wealthy elites?

A study in America called “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant. I wonder if Philip Davis thinks black Americans should agree to work for less money than their white counterparts, purely because they are black? What about a black person with a disability? Back to slavery?

We should though, not be surprised by the ignorance that Philip Davis displayed. Here is an MP who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which state that it is unlawful to discriminate when selling goods or services, education or facilities based on sexuality. Davies therefore thinks it is acceptable for a school to expel a gay student. Or for a shop to ban a lesbian lady purely for her sexuality. He also voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. So, he wants more freedom for shop owners to ban people based on sexual orientation (individualism and all that Libertarian bollocks) yet that same individualism, he doesn’t extend to the most privileged of people passing that privilege onto their children, who may or may not have worked or produced anything worthwhile in their entire lives? Oh the hypocrisy.

In 2011 he even invented his own logic based on a lie, when it comes to making cigarette packaging plain:

“I believe that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes is gesture politics of the worst kind. It would not have any basis in evidence and it would simply be a triumph for the nanny state and an absurd one at that.”

– The objection I have with the line “it would not have any basis in evidence” is that it does have basis in evidence. Cigarette companies spend millions on their packaging, and over the last couple of decades, they have used the idea of “light” packaging to sell products to people who believe smoking “light” fags, means less danger. A 2004 British Medical Journal research article found that:

The increase in lung cancer risk is similar in people who smoke medium tar cigarettes (15-21 mg), low tar cigarettes (8-14 mg), or very low tar cigarettes (≤ 7 mg)

– So smoking a cigarette from a package that claims to be “ultra light” means nothing. But do people really believe “ultra light” means they are at less of a risk of developing lung cancer? Does the advertisement on the packaging work? If it does, then Davis is either a liar, or a massive idiot. Well, surprisingly……. he’s a liar or a massive idiot. A University of Toronto research paper, titled “‘Light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes: who smokes them? Are they being misled?” published in 2002 found that:

In 1996 and 2000, respectively, 44% and 27% smoked L/M (light and mild cigarettes) to reduce health risks, 41% and 40% smoked them as a step toward quitting, and 41% in both years said they would be more likely to quit if they learned L/M could provide the same tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes. These data provide empirical support for banning ‘light’ and ‘mild’ on cigarette packaging.

– The policy of plain packaging is absolutely based on evidence. It is time we started to ignore the “nanny state” hysterical screams from manic, misinformed, ignorant right wingers.

Not only that, but in 2006, after an act of vandalism was initially blamed on a group of Muslim men, Davies said:

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– It later turned out that the act of vandalism was caused by white men. Davies did not apologise, nor did he take the same tough far-right, BNP-esque line with the white vandals as he had done when he imagined the vandals were all muslim.

You might think the incessant stupidity stops there. You’d be wrong. In 2009 Davies asked:

“Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person? Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?

Maybe he would be happy for black people to take a pay cut after all.


This could be 1983

May 13, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • The 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.