Politics news allsorts

Comment and analysis of recent UK politics events

A police helicopter crashed through the roof of a crowded pub in central Glasgow last night. Current reports are of eight people dead and fourteen people seriously injured. Bystanders helped evacuate the injured until emergency services arrived.


The Tories are annoyed that charities are opposing their intended replacement of the Human Rights Act. The HRA is about decisions of the Strasbourg European Court of Human Rights although the UK government can and does make primary legislation that has precedence over it.


… The campaign’s partners include Age UK, Disability Rights UK and Mind. The campaign is led by the Equality and Diversity Forum, a registered charity which is backed by the state-run Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The timing of the campaign is significant as the Conservatives are expected to be preparing to fight the next election on a policy of replacing the Human Rights Act with a new Bill of Rights.

Charlie Elphicke, a Conservative MP, said: “This campaign is desperately out of touch. It is also an abuse of charitable status. Labour’s Human Rights Act has been a disaster. Human rights urgently require reform and modernisation. We need a British Bill of Rights. …


The Tardis by Disent http://disent.deviantart.com/art/The-Tardis-30529477

Bryan Dyne and Christine Schofelt claim that Doctor Who is getting more militaristic recently.

Doctor Who at the half-century mark: A brief assessment

UNIT, a military organization that combats extraterrestrial threats to the Earth, has been a part of the program from the beginning. In the original, while The Doctor sometimes worked with UNIT as a consultant, it was always on his own terms and with a skeptical eye toward weaponry. Over the course of the new series, UNIT has become something more threatening and nefarious, and The Doctor has become more willing to work with this body.

In Torchwood, the Doctor Who spinoff that first aired in 2006, that militarism has been extended into domestic spying. The ability to tap into any closed circuit television camera, hack computer systems and obtain personal data is presented as something the “good guys” routinely resort to. There is also an instance in Torchwood (“Countrycide,” 2006) in which torture is portrayed as a legitimate way of getting information.

 At a time when US and British authorities have turned to illegal drone assassinations, mass domestic spying and a policy of unending war, it is perhaps not surprising that Doctor Who reflects these trends. However, that is no excuse, especially for a series that has traditionally expressed a general disdain for the military.

 In the 50th anniversary episode (“The Day of the Doctor”), The Doctor does not allow UNIT to detonate a nuclear device in the heart of London to stop an alien incursion. Instead, he forces the humans and aliens to reach a truce with no loss of life. One hopes this marks a conscious and lasting return to the theme of the triumph of intellect over brute force—a notion that has helped the program build a devoted following over the course of decades.

 Through The Doctor, viewers glimpse people at their best and worst. The contradictory nature of modern society—with its beauties and horrors—is examined with a degree of empathy and subtlety. While its approach and execution are sometimes flawed, Doctor Who champions, from the perspective of an outsider, the greatness that humanity can and should aspire to.

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Politics news allsorts

Comment and analysis of recent UK politics events.

Image of a badger

Major Tory party donor chosen as chair of government nature watchdog

Like it says but apparently totally coincidental that an investment banker is appointed head of wildlife and nature watchdog, Natural England.

The appointment comes at a sensitive time for both Natural England and the government, which has had to defend itself from accusations from 41 conservation groups that only four of its 25 pledges on environment and nature are progressing well.

Bullingdon Tory idiot Boris Johnson

Tory Bullinger [edit: Bullingdon] idiot employs a cornflake analogy to promote the Tories’ genetic superiority of the ruling elite thesis


“Whatever you may think of the value of IQ tests it is surely relevant to a conversation about equality that as many as 16% of our species have an IQ below 85 while about 2% …” he said as he departed from the text of his speech to ask whether anyone in his City audience had a low IQ. To muted laughter he asked: “Over 16% anyone? Put up your hands.” He then resumed his speech to talk about the 2% who have an IQ above 130.

Johnson then told the Centre for Policy Studies think tank, which helped lay the basis for Thatcherism in the 1970s: “The harder you shake the pack the easier it will be for some cornflakes to get to the top.”

“… greed [is] a valuable spur to economic activity.”

Image of Royal Mail postboxRoyal Mail shares: Goldman Sachs sets price target of 610p

Goldman Sachs has risked a further escalation of the Royal Mail privatisation row by putting a price target on the shares of 610p despite telling the government that the business should be floated at 330p last month.

Analysts at Goldman said the postal group’s valuation should benefit from an increase in parcel deliveries, despite falling letter volumes.

The investment bank’s 12-month price target of 610p represents an 85% premium on the flotation price, and gave further ammunition to those critics of the privatisation who argue the government sold off Royal Mail too cheaply.


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Yet more internet censorship from Cameron and the LibDems

David Cameron and UK’s ConDem coalition government return to the issue of web censorship with an announcement that the UK government is to order ISPs to censor ‘extremist’ websites.

The crime and security minister, James Brokenshire, said on Wednesday that measures for censoring extremist content would be announced shortly. The initiative is likely to be controversial, with broadband companies already warning that freedom of speech could be compromised.

Ministers are understood to want to follow the model used to crack down on online child abuse. The Internet Watch Foundation, which is partly industry-funded, investigates reports of illegal child abuse images online; it can then ask service providers to block or take down websites.

David Cameron has previously announced the censorship of internet search engines. This latest announcement represents a second tier of censorship at the point of internet access.

It is expected that David Cameron’s UK ConDem coalition government will censor such extremist sites as the Guardian newspaper that has published seditious material sourced by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the wikileaks site.

Guardian: NSA files live

Continue ReadingYet more internet censorship from Cameron and the LibDems

Politics news allsorts

Commentary and analysis of recent UK politics news.

I found Cameron’s joke quite amusing: “It’s fair to say he’s no longer a follower of Marx, he’s loving Engels instead.”


Vince Cable defends Royal Mail valuation as profit almost doubles

Image of Royal Mail postbox

The business secretary, Vince Cable, defended the government’s valuation of Royal Mail on Wednesday after solid results from the newly privatised group sent its shares even higher.

Royal Mail was privatised last month when the government sold 60% of its stake to investors in an initial public offering (IPO).

Royal Mail shares were up 5% by mid-morning on Wednesday to 559.5p – 70% higher than the flotation price of 330p. Its market value has increased by £2.3bn since the flotation, which valued Royal Mail at £3.3bn.

Operating profit for the six months ended 29 September was £283m, up from £144m a year earlier.

Comment: The case that tells us what kind of country Britain is

His name is Isa Muazu. He is wasting away.

Locked in a cell just outside Heathrow, out of sight from the holidaymakers and business visitors, he can no longer get up off his mattress. He has not eaten in over 90 days. He can no longer stand or see. He struggles to talk.

On Friday, at 8:00 am, he will be forcibly put on board a flight and sent to Lagos, where he says he will be targeted by Islamic terror group Boko Haram. He was due to be deported tonight, but the Home Office has ordered new removal directions. Needless to say, he will be even weaker on Friday.

In a decision which has no legal, medical or moral consistency given the ‘end of life’ plan, a Home Office doctor has branded Muazu ‘fit to fly’. Yesterday morning, independent doctors visited him as he lay on the mattress in the detention centre and decided the precise opposite. There is a strong chance this man will die when he is deported.


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Takedown notice from the Independent

I’ve received a takedown notice from the Independent for this article which I don’t think that I’m taking down.

The article is quite clearly attributed to the Independent and only a small section is used for non-commercial purposes. [later edit: looks like most of the article. Maybe I’ll shorten the quoted section. Nah, it’s attributed. I could understand if I was trying to pass it off as my own but I’m not. What do they expect?

later again: OK I’ll reduce it a bit.]


Wonder if they’re going to claim copyright in this too …

Notice and take-down letter under Article 14 of the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC)

I am in charge of the Licensing and Syndication Department of the Evening Standard Limited and Independent Print Limited (the Publishers).

We have been alerted by the NLA to the presence of the content reproduced below on your website https://www.onaquietday.org.

The copyright in this original material reproduced on your website is owned by the Publishers. You have not been in contact with this Syndication Department or any other department of these newspapers to negotiate a fee for the use of the Publishers’ content, and I am informed that you have ignored or otherwise declined the NLA’s offer to legitimise such use by you by way of a Website Republishing Agreement.

You are therefore presumably well aware that each time the webpage https://www.onaquietday.org is accessed by a member of the public, the copyrighted work is also reproduced. The work is being communicated to the public · and reproduced as set out above without the consent of the copyright owners. Accordingly, these acts infringe the Publishers’ copyright contrary to sections 16 and 20 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

The webpage https://www.onaquietday.org is hosted by you. We hereby formally give you actual knowledge of the above infringements of the Publishers’ rights within the meaning of Article 14(1)(a) of the E­ Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC), and request that you act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the offending webpage.

If we receive confirmation within fourteen days of the date of this letter that you have removed or disabled access to the Publishers’ content on the offending webpage, we will take no further action against you in respect of this matter. If this confirmation is not received, the Publishers reserve the right to issue proceedings against you seeking relief for infringement of copyright. If proceedings become necessary (which may be issued and served without further notice to you), the remedies that may be available to the Publishers include an injunction pending trial, delivery up or destruction of all infringing copies, damages or an account of profits, legal costs and interest. In the meantime, we reserve all our rights in this matter, including that to take whichever commercial measures we consider appropriate.

We look forward to hearing from you by 17.30 on Tuesday 10th December 2013. I should be grateful if you could respond both to me and to the group legal department on lawyers@independent.co.uk

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Politics news allsorts

Image of reams of paper on a palletThe ConDem coalition government has published the HS2 bill. At 49,910 pages long it evades democracy by preventing representations. 891 pages would need to be read every day to simply read it in the 8 weeks for representations. It presents a wonderful opportunity for protestors although it will waste a lot of paper and ink. No MPs were seen under the bill in parliament as it was passed almost unanimously last night.

A source close to the government said “That was a good wheeze – it was one of Lansley’s again. Drowning the NHS in bureaucracy, castrating 38degrees, charities and the unions with the lobbying bill and now this. We’ve decided to ruthlessly pursue our narrow class interests now that it’s accepted that we have no chance to win the general election. HS2 should sustain us for a decade or two if we take it easy on the port.”

The Guardian asks what it would take to regain Labour voters. The comments are clearly calling for nationalisation of utilities and trains and to abandon Neo-Liberalism. No chance of that with this ‘Labour’ party.

I must confess that even I was taken in by Miliband pretending to be a Socialist at the conference this year. It only lasted about two days. It’s very clear what the Labour party needs to do to attract voters. I’m effectively disenfranchised without a choice between the three main Neo-Liberal parties. It’s clear that there are many that feel exactly the same.

Shadow Home Office Minister Diana Johnson makes a valid point about Theresa May supporting migrant domestic slavery by tying their visas to one employer.

Unfortunately she also accepts uncritically the current case of “invisible handcuffs” slavery saying “The Labour party would deal with this case proportionately. We would try the ‘invisible handcuffs’ factional splitter Maoist squatters case in the special Court of Make-believe and convict to ten years in the pretend prison at the back of the wardrobe.”

No mention of Cameron’s plans for web censorship. Let’s hope it’s quietly forgotten.

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Parliament to discuss HS2

The UK parliament is set to discuss the proposed High Speed 2 rail link today. Larry Elliott has an article in the Guardian.

The economic case for the high-speed railway does not add up. Far better to put a fraction of its £40bn-plus cost into freight lines

The economics of HS2 suck.

Traditionally, public money is allocated using cost-benefit analysis. Whitehall estimates the costs of a project and tries to put a monetary value on the benefits. On this basis, HS2 doesn’t wash its face. The cost is high and the benefits, in many cases, are spurious.

There is a need for the UK economy to be less dominated by London but HS2, in its current form at least, looks like an expensive way of making regional imbalances worse not better.

So, the likely upshot of HS2 is that London will benefit most, the big regional hubs such as Birmingham and Leeds will get some benefit, but cities bypassed by the line will lose out.

It’s worth noting, also, that the money saved from scrapping HS2 would find its way into the economy one way or another: handing each adult a cheque for £1,000 would almost certainly provide a bigger boost to economic activity in, say, Rochdale than a new high-speed railway that ends in Manchester.

HS2 is a gravy train for the construction sector, lawyers, transport consultants, bureaucrats and the rich people who will be able to afford it. It will be the misery line for just about everybody else.


Continue ReadingParliament to discuss HS2

Theresa May drops a bobo

Just recently the press has been awash with reports of three women held as slaves in South-West London. The police have disclosed only meagre details like they were originally “a collective” and shared a political ideology.

Despite every few details, UK Home Secretary Theresa May has – no doubt trying to benefit from the shock and outrage – declared tackling slavery in modern Britain “a personal priority.”

The trouble is that this slavery story is totally overblown. It looks like their shared ideology was Anarchism and they probably just wanted out and were not slaves at all. No handcuffs except for “invisible handcuffs.” I’m calling it bollocks.

25/11/13 Looks like I was wrong on the Anarchism. Slavery case: two arrested ran a revolutionary Communist collective. I wonder if I’ll be wrong on the “invisible handcuffs.

25/11/13 5.20 p.m. There appears to a prejudged approach and a lack of sensitivity to this news story. Political ideology and the fact that the group has lived at many different addresses in London are repeatedly emphasized.

Living in London on a low income has always been precarious, more so for people reduced to living in squats: squatters would often be forced to relocate as properties are repossessed. I’m talking from experience.

Slavery is about being held as a prisoner and denied basic rights. It is not about people pursuing a different, alternative lifestyle. Nor is it about being a dysfunctional family.

26/11/13 ‘Slavery’ in London: an hysterical morality tale even features dysfunctional and an iceberg …

Image of an iceberg

Continue ReadingTheresa May drops a bobo

Politics news allsorts

Image of Jia Jem, a beautiful woman because it's SundayCommentary and analysis of recent UK (and US today) politics news.

Socialist and former Occupy activist Kshama Sawant has been elected to Seattle council. It’s a big issue for a Socialist to be elected in the States.

Miliband Accuses PM Of ‘Reaching A New Low’ over the Paul Flowers / Co-op issue. He’s only one man after all. The view from the bottom of the triange is that those at the peak are parasitic, don’t do much and have loads of advisors making reports and recommendations. Titular like. [later edit: I’m talking generally not specifically here.]

There are now seven inquiries into the Co-op. That’s OTT.

Ed Miliband was on Desert Island Discs today: Unchanged choices include “Take on Me” by A-Ha, which Mr Miliband admitted was “cheese”, as well as “Angels” by Robbie Williams which he dedicated to his wife, Justine.

Update: Far too many Inquiries into the Co-op

■ The Co-op commissioned the Kelly review of its financial woes in July and it is due to report in May 2014.

■ After the Flowers allegations emerged, the Co-op announced a separate “root and branch” probe of its governance.

■ The Treasury has ordered an independent inquiry into the Co-op Bank dating back at least to 2008.

■ The Prudential Regulatory Authority and Financial Conduct Authority, which took over the FSA’s powers this year, are each considering separate inquiries into the bank’s affairs.

■ The Treasury select committee is looking into Lloyds’s botched attempt to sell a batch of branches, which collapsed when the Co-op pulled out.

■ The police are investigating Flowers in connection with the supply of drugs and have bailed the 63-year-old.

■ The Financial Reporting Council accounting watchdog is examining the Co-op’s financial reports and could mount a formal probe.

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I need to do a post about …

… how hackers helped Fidel Castro.

if anyone does it before me that’s fine.

It’s about how Castro reached out to hackers after the Cuban revo and they were there and supported the revolution

[edit. Did I wake you up? You can go back to sleep now. I know that you are all FOS, but c’mon? you think that I have a white cat on my lap and an aquarium full of sharks? I want to go see them actually

3.40 pm 24/11/13: Venezuela not Cuba.

Continue ReadingI need to do a post about …