WORSE THAN USELESS BORIS AND HIS NASTY TORY PARTY SCUM :: UK :: It’s Murdochracy not Democracy

I am likely to revise this article but I want to get it out. It’s about the historical and continuing malign and corrosive influence of the Australian-American press baron Rupert Murdoch on UK politics. The article starts by looking at Murdoch’s influence over Tony Blair’s government before looking at how he still wields influence over Boris Johnson’s current government (and needs expanding there). I’m only searching the web so you can do this for yourselves.

https://pressgazette.co.uk/rupert-murdoch-documentary-rise-of-dynasty-bbc-tony-blair/

Former Sun deputy editor Neil Wallis was in charge during the 1997 election campaign when then-Sun editor Stuart Higgins was on holiday.

The paper made shockwaves when it published a “Sun backs Blair” front page after declaring “it was the Sun wot won it” for the Conservatives in the previous election.

He said he asked for a first-person piece from Blair on his party’s “cut and dried position” on Europe but it was “a piece of PR flim-flam that actually said nothing”.

“I said ‘I’m not running this Alistair [Campbell, Blair’s spin doctor] because it’s just saying nothing’. But I said ‘for this to be coherent, for this to have an impact, this needs to say you will not go into the Euro without a referendum’.

“And I duly got the piece under Tony Blair’s name committing them to a referendum on the Euro if it was ever considered that they would go into it.”

Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage directly linked this Sun column with the eventual vote to leave the European Union 19 years later.

He told the documentary: “The price of Rupert Murdoch’s support for Tony Blair was that Blair promised he would not take us into the European currency without first having a referendum, and if Rupert Murdoch had not done that we would have joined the Euro in 1999 and I doubt Brexit would have happened.

“So I think when we look at the long history of Britain’s relationship with the European project that led ultimately to the Brexit vote, I think that was a decisive intervention from Rupert Murdoch.”

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/murdochs-blair-chats-492134 July 2007

TONY Blair spoke to media mogul Rupert Murdoch three times in the 10 days before the Iraq war – once on the eve of the invasion – it was disclosed yesterday.

Details were released by the Cabinet Office the day after Mr Blair stepped down as Prime Minister.

https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/sep/05/tony-blair-godfather-murdoch-daughter

Henry Porter writes in Sept 2011

So much falls into place with the revelation that Tony Blair became godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s two young daughters and attended their baptism on the banks of the river Jordan last year. True, it isn’t yet clear whether Blair had agreed to become a godparent while he was prime minister [see footnote], and the ceremony did take place after he had left office, but the important point is that the relationship underlines Murdoch’s deep entrenchment in British political life.

Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi Deng, who let slip the information in an interview with Vogue, described Blair as one of Rupert’s closest friends. Blair’s account of the relationship in his memoirs is somewhat different, portraying Murdoch as the big bad beast, who won his grudging respect. That is clearly disingenuous. As other memoirs and diaries from the Blair period are published, we see how close Murdoch was to the prime minister and the centre of power when really important decisions, such as the Iraq invasion, were being made.

Blair and Murdoch didn’t have to be bosom buddies for the relationship to be counter to the interests of a healthy national life and politics. As Lance Price, the former Blair spin doctor, has said, Murdoch was one of four people in Britain whose reaction was considered when any important decision was made during the Blair years.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/murdoch-pressured-blair-rush-iraq-war-says-campbell-diaries-7855271.html June 2012

Rupert Murdoch launched an “over-crude” campaign to force Tony Blair to speed up Britain’s entry into the Iraq war, according to the final volume of [total cnut] Alastair Campbell’s diaries.

Mr Blair’s former communications director accuses the media mogul of being part of a drive by American Republicans to drag Britain into the controversial war a week before the House of Commons even voted to approve the intervention in 2003.

The claim is explosive because it appears to contradict Mr Murdoch’s evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. The News Corp chief told Lord Justice Leveson in April: “I’ve never asked a prime minister for anything.”

It is the second time that claim has been contested. Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, told the inquiry this week that Mr Murdoch threatened to withdraw the support of his newspapers for his Government unless it took a tougher stance on Europe.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/tony-blair-not-order-hillsborough-9658130 July 2015

Liverpool MP Andy Burnham has suggested that Tony Blair did not order a full enquiry into the Hillsborough disaster because he did not want to offend Rupert Murdoch.

Mr Burnham, a Labour leader hopeful said he was told not to pursue his demand for an official investigation when serving under Mr Blair.

As a result a “major injustice” was allowed to remain in place for more than a decade, he said.

Mr Burnham was the driving force behind Gordon Brown’s decision to set up the Hillsborough Independent Panel into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans.

The Sun caused lasting outrage after publishing a report following the 1989 tragedy accusing “drunken” Liverpool fans of attacking rescue workers.

July 2020

Former Prime Minister Tony has always adamantly denied allegations he had an affair with Wendi, who was married to the News UK magnate from 1999 to 2013. However, the new BBC show spoke about Wendi’s affection towards him, including an unearthed diary entry in which she spoke about his ‘good body and legs’ before adding: ‘And what else and what else and what else…’.

But it was a series of emails, allegedly from Wendi about Blair, that effectively caused their divorce. ‘She made a bad mistake,’ journalist Ken Auletta explained. ‘She was sending emails on Newscorp email, so it’s easy for one of Murdoch’s minions, or lawyers, to extract those emails and see what they said – and they did.

dizzy: At Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall’s wedding in March 2016 Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel were invited – three prominent members of the current UK government. David Cameron and George Osborne – anti-Brexiteers – were not invited. Tony Blair was not invited – he’s been dropped by Murdoch after not having an affair with Wendi Deng.

Boris Johnson's thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch
Boris Johnson’s thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch
Continue ReadingWORSE THAN USELESS BORIS AND HIS NASTY TORY PARTY SCUM :: UK :: It’s Murdochracy not Democracy

Craig Murray is the authoritative source on UK complicity in rendition and torture

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

Theresa May specifically and deliberately ruled out the Committee from questioning any official who might be placed at risk of criminal proceedings – see para 11 of the report. The determination of the government to protect those who were complicit in torture tells us much more about their future intentions than any fake apology.

It is worth reflecting that the Tory government has acted time and time again to protect New Labour’s Tony Blair, David Miliband, Jack Straw and Gordon Brown from any punishment for their complicity in torture, and indeed to limit the information on it available to the public. The truth is that the Tories and New Labour (which includes the vast majority of current Labour MPs) are all a part of the same elite interest group, and when under pressure they stick together as a class against the people.

Despite being hamstrung by government, the Committee managed through exhaustive research of classified documents to pull together evidence of British involvement in extraordinary rendition and mistreatment of detainees on a massive scale. The Committee found 596 individual documented incidents of the security services obtaining “intelligence” from detainee interrogations involving torture or severe mistreatment, ranging from 2 incidents of direct involvement, “13 to 15” of actually being in the room, through those where the US or other authorities admitted to the torture, to those where the detainee told the officer they had been tortured. They found three instances where the UK had paid for rendition flights.

Continue ReadingCraig Murray is the authoritative source on UK complicity in rendition and torture

FAKE, MANUFACTURED TERRORISM: FBI fake, manufactured terrorism

Related to my recent post What it’s like to be a suspected terrorist

The article quoted below reports that the FBI creates terrorists and promotes the false narrative of a terrorist threat.

I think that it’s done differently in UK and Europe – it’s more about staging an act and attributing the blame to suspected terrorists. Suspected terrorists can be arrested  apprehended beforehand or the act can be set to coincide with his/her arrival (fancy that, there may even be CCTV in such a case). later edit: Jean Charles de Menezes returned onto the bus and travelled to Stockwell tube station where he was murdered because Brixton tube station was closed.

Once you’re arrested in UK e.g. for criminal damage which can be quite minor, your home is routinely searched. They’re going to be straight round there in an apparent terrorism case to get your passport for when you’re shot dead to avoid any awkward trials.

They know your every movement and intended movement of course because they following  your every move in real-time. You routinely go to the pub every Saturday afternoon, then it will be on the way to the pub. You text or ring someone “I’ll meet you there at 3.30”.

Gathered surveillance data is shared far and wide almost instantly. The US and Mossad will have it probably within seconds. This is what is meant when terrorist anti-terrorist spooks and politicians talk about information sharing to defeat the terrorist threat.

ed: I didn’t emphasize enough how widely surveillance data is shared almost instantly. Everyone and their dog will have it – it will be available to all UK, US and other allied states agencies concerned with terrorism.

David Murdoch-Cameron: Poisonous ideologues, conspiracy theorists are extremists …

 

Government agents ‘directly involved’ in most high-profile US terror plots

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.

Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report alleges.

Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman explain the pattern followed by the FBI

The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.

First, they target a Muslim: not due to any evidence of intent or capability to engage in terrorism, but rather for the “radical” political views he expresses. In most cases, the Muslim targeted by the FBI is a very young (late teens, early 20s), adrift, unemployed loner who has shown no signs of mastering basic life functions, let alone carrying out a serious terror attack, and has no known involvement with actual terrorist groups.

They then find another Muslim who is highly motivated to help disrupt a “terror plot”: either because they’re being paid substantial sums of money by the FBI or because (as appears to be the case here) they are charged with some unrelated crime and are desperate to please the FBI in exchange for leniency (or both). The FBI then gives the informant a detailed attack plan, and sometimes even the money and other instruments to carry it out, and the informant then shares all of that with the target. Typically, the informant also induces, lures, cajoles, and persuades the target to agree to carry out the FBI-designed plot. In some instances where the target refuses to go along, they have their informant offer huge cash inducements to the impoverished target.

Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of “entrapment” that it could almost never be successfully invoked.

Continue ReadingFAKE, MANUFACTURED TERRORISM: FBI fake, manufactured terrorism

Philip Greed, BHS and Lionheart

Philip Green actually owns three yachts – the new Lionheart at 90 metres, the 63 metre previous Lionheart renamed Lionheart V and a 33 meter fast sports yacht called Lionchase.

Tax evader [ed: avoider. Oops, sorry so easy to make that mistake] Green was appointed by previous Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to advise on austerity.

Sir Philip Green to examine government spending

[H]is appointment was criticised by Paul Kenny, head of the GMB union, who pointed out that Sir Philip’s wife – the named owner of Arcadia – lives in the tax haven of Monaco.

He said: “If we were seeking advice about marketing or selling clothes he is someone you might ask. This is about the health, education and care of millions of our fellow citizens – not about importing cheap clothing.”

And the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents civil servants, said: “It’s not that surprising that the millionaires in the cabinet have appointed a billionaire to say that their cuts, which will devastate communities in the UK, are ‘fair’.”

But Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude defended Sir Philip’s appointment, saying he had a “sharp eye for detail” and could guide the government on contracts and leases signed up to in future.

“He’s shown how he can turn around big complex businesses. Government is a huge complex organisation, and while it’s not the same as a business, a lot of the same disciplines are needed,” he added.

Was he advising Osborne?

Continue ReadingPhilip Greed, BHS and Lionheart

Cameron’s Pig Society :: Dodgy Banking, government supports tax evaders

I’ve been looking at Cameron, Osborne & Co’s record on tax evasion. Tax avoiders and evaders are ennobled and joining the government, ideological opponents to tax appointed to senior HMRC posts, etc. There’s certainly the appearance that Cameron, Osborne & Co deliberately scupper EU agreements to tackle tax evasion to continue the status of the UK’s tax havens – that they work [ed: in the interests of for] that tiny elite, the super-rich tax evaders.

There’s a suggestion here that Cameron misled the House of Commons yesterday.

I’m still trying to get to grips with this issue. I certainly hope that the Labour Party are doing likewise. In the meantime, a vid about HMRC assisting UK tax evaders back in 2010/11 and ennoblement and appointment to government office.

10pm edit: I’m coming to the conclusion that Cameron, Osborne, Boris, etc – the Conservatives – are and represent the tax-evading super-rich. This is seen in Cameron’s statements and his government’s actions. The rich are asked to pay their taxes as opposed to telling them that they will be prosecuted and imprisoned for the serious crime of tax evasion. Cameron’s government maintain and support the UK’s tax havens. Cameron’s government promote tax evaders and avoiders to the Lords and bring them into his government. Individuals ideologically opposed to taxation are appointed posts in HMRC and HMRC investigators are reduced.

Continue ReadingCameron’s Pig Society :: Dodgy Banking, government supports tax evaders

Our NHS can’t afford privatisation – why MPs must back the NHS Bill this Friday

Continue ReadingOur NHS can’t afford privatisation – why MPs must back the NHS Bill this Friday

NHS in crisis :: review

Image of George Osborne asking where is the money to be made in the NHS

The short NHS in crisis series of the past week or so went fairly well. We’ve learned

There are plenty of resources for further research e.g. there’s plenty on what junior doctors are and do at youtube.

I’ll be watching and reporting NHS news. Current NHS news is that the BMA have cancelled an intended 48 hour strike by junior doctors next Tuesday. I’m sure that everyone welcomes that news. Kent CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) has also signed a deal with a hospital in Calais to treat NHS patients. Far from ideal? barking?

 

Continue ReadingNHS in crisis :: review

NHS in crisis :: Unpatriotic militants? No, Jeremy Hunt – doctors are just fighting to be able to care for us all.

Clare Gerada on the strike by junior doctors.

 

Image of George Osborne asking where is the money to be made in the NHS

Unpatriotic militants? No, Jeremy Hunt – doctors are just fighting to be able to care for us all.

Being a doctor – or any public sector worker – shouldn’t be such a battle. That’s why we must support junior doctors in their planned strikes.

For the last 9 years I have been the medical director of an NHS service providing confidential help to doctors and dentists with mental health problems, seeing a rising number of doctors week on week.

But our patients have changed.

In our early days the ‘typical’ patient was an older male (GP or psychiatrist) with alcohol problems.

Now nearly half of all new patients are under 30 years old. They come to us with depression, anxiety and symptoms akin to posttraumatic stress disorder. Many have worked in the NHS only a few years. They started out bushy tailed and bright eyed, but end up ‘burnt-out’ (a polite euphemism for depression) after only a few years working. Our youngest patients are only a few months qualified and many are in their Foundation years.

Patient after patient talks of feeling betrayed and bewildered by their loss of enthusiasm about a profession that they had strived to enter (often since their early teens). How their desire to care for patients is sapped by every working day. The language they use to describe their work is that of the battlefield. Being on the ‘front-line’, of ‘surviving’ another shift, being ‘at war’ with management. They talk of feeling abandoned by the NHS. Of working intolerable shifts that appear to have been designed by robots with no concept that humans will need to work them. Of having no sustenance – literally and metaphorically – as they try their best to deliver care to patients.

They talk of working in an unforgiving environment – where every error will lead to punishment and where every move is watched and recorded. They describe the fun having gone out of their profession. They say that they cannot see a future any more in medicine.

Hardly surprising therefore that the numbers progressing through training (from the early Foundation Years to the start of specialty training) is reducing. That now nearly half of doctors are not progressing. And that this is against a background of fewer of our brightest entering medicine in the first place.

Our junior doctors are striking for more than pay and conditions – important though these are. Their planned strike is consciously or unconsciously action to shine a light on what is going on within the NHS – to shine a light on the conflict between idealism and industrialization.

Increasing privatisation has changed the relationship doctors have with their patients. Constant reorganisation has fragmented services, and shattered long-standing teams. At a series of NHS listening events I held in 2014, the overwhelming term used by all NHS staff to describe their working environment was ‘Fear’.

The pay of junior doctors has never been good – not when calculated across the hours worked, the responsibilities they have and when compared to their non-medical peers.

But this was part of the compact we all had – we gave our all for our patients and the organisation we worked in gave their all to us – cared for us, nurtured us, trained us.  We also knew that the intolerable hours would end as we climbed the medical career ladder. Now all of this has been fractured.

Instilling ‘fear’ in doctors, teachers, nurses and other public sector workers is deliberate government policy – as explicitly set out by Cameron’s policy guru, Oliver Letwin, in 2011.

The new junior doctor contract will erode not just pay but also the current safety net against exploitative hours of work. Saturdays will be counted the same as week-days (tell their children that when they are off school and wanting to see Mum or Dad). Women and others who take career breaks will be discriminated against. Junior doctors have been forced to look into the abyss and chose between pain today (strike action) or pain tomorrow (agreeing to an unfair and unsafe contract). They are being treated as children rather than the committed adults they are – their please ignored, instead accused by Jeremy Hunt of being ‘extreme’, ‘militants’, and even unpatriotic.

The junior doctors are not alone in their discontent. The nurses who are marching this Saturday, the teachers and social workers, in fact most public sector workers have seen insecurity, exploitation, fear, and subtle discrimination as the backdrop to their working lives.

The junior doctors are fighting for fairness for all of these workers.  They are leading the charge for a restoration of the values that should drive our public services. For a change by those who employ them – ultimately our Government – who have a moral duty to protect those who care for some of the most vulnerable in society.

Without this change, goodwill will disappear forever and with it the glue that binds our public services together. The government must now stop their bullying tactics and accept that something is profoundly wrong the NHS today and act before it is too late.

This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

 

Continue ReadingNHS in crisis :: Unpatriotic militants? No, Jeremy Hunt – doctors are just fighting to be able to care for us all.

NHS in crisis :: Not fair, not safe – 6 reasons junior doctors are preparing to strike

Not fair, not safe – 6 reasons junior doctors are preparing to strike
by Nick Carpenter

Image of George Osborne asking where is the money to be made in the NHS

The junior doctor contract governs the pay and conditions of work from doctors’ foundation year to registrar level. All doctors who are not consultants or fully qualified GPs are considered ‘junior’ doctors. This contract was scheduled for renegotiation, but the British Medical Association (BMA) – the largest representative body of doctors – walked away because the offer on the table was not fair to doctors and not safe for patients.

The government’s initial response was brazen, and threatened to impose the new terms without consultation – a position it has had to water down since the BMA decided to ballot its members for strike action. Here’s why the BMA has done so the first time in 40 years:

  1. An NHS in crisis: overworked and undervalued.

Britain’s doctors have had enough. In a stretched and underfunded health system which doesn’t train enough doctors and nurses to meet its own needs – or invest in the infrastructure needed for new hospitals and facilities unless aprivate contractor is taking a nice slice of the pie – the solution seems to have been ‘work harder and take up the slack’. According to the Royal College of Physicians, the NHS “remains reliant on doctors working longer than their contracted hours…the amount of ‘goodwill work’ is increasing year-on-year.”

Trusts struggling to pay their tithes to the private owners of NHS hospital buildings have responded by reducing staff salaries, meaning fewer doctors and nurses are covering more patients and expected to do so for free. The situation has reached crisis point and doctors are experiencing enormous burnout, with more doctors applying to live abroad every year. Into this context came the new contract.

  1. It’s not about the money.

The ‘offer’ of the new contract has been condemned first and foremost as fundamentally unsafe. Just as with the recent tube strike, the new contract threatens to force doctors to work longer and later with fewer safeguards.

The BMA approached negotiations acknowledging financial limitations but determined to improve safety: it wanted no doctor to work more than 72 hours in a week; no more than four nights in a week on-call; a rest day either side of nights before starting back on day shifts; and facilities to sleep-in for those who otherwise make a dangerous long drive home.

The government was unwilling to accept these terms, and furthermore wanted to reduce breaks to just one 30 minute break in a ten hour on-call shift. As a recent viral video asked, could you save a life if you’d been up all night?

  1. But it is, also, about the money.

The new contract would mean a 15-40% pay-cut depending on your specialism, with GPs and emergency care doctors being some of the hardest hit. Let that sink in.

With wages starting beneath the national median anddecreasing yearly like all public sector pay, and out of pocket expenditure for licensing, exams and indemnities, junior doctors earn significantly less than the tabloids would have you believe. Their reports often use a cunning sleight of hand: taking the figures for the pay of those doctors doing the most private work – GPs who run a private practice and some consultants who run private clinics – and presenting the data as proof of ‘greedy’ public sector workers.

There are two ways doctors’ starting wages increase: extra pay for unsociable hours, and pay advancement as you progress through the ranks of seniority and responsibility. Both of these are under threat in the new contract.

The government has suggested that working from 7am until 10pm Monday to Saturday are sociable hours – and therefore should not be paid extra – which is funny considering MPs just reduced their own working hours and increased their own pay. As for pay progression with seniority, no actual offer was made.

  1. The changes hit women hardest.

The contract changes penalise those who take time out to start a family and those who work part-time –overwhelmingly affecting women in both cases. Additionally there are concerns that changes to breaks will make work more dangerous for pregnant women. As noted above GPs will be amongst those taking the largest wage cut, one of the few specialisms with more women than men.

  1. No confidence in Jeremy Hunt.

More than 200k people signed the petition to debate a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt. He wrongly and infamously implied that doctors don’t work at night or weekends. After blaming the A&E crisis last winter on people attending inappropriately (rather than, say, the reduction of roughly 13k hospital beds over the last five years), Mr Hunt felt it was appropriate to take his own children to A&E rather than wait for an appointment like, you know, the rest of us commoners.

But most of all:

  1. This was an imposition, not a negotiation.

Hunt and the government have shown a complete disdain for even the barest semblance of actual negotiation. When the BMA walked away from negotiations a year ago, it wasn’t as a strategy to get better terms, it was because the negotiations were a farce. It has taken the threat of industrial action for a pathetic attempt at reconciliation to come from the Department of Health, full of vague, unconvincing rhetoric. It is too little, too late. No fruitful discussions can continue with Hunt as health secretary. We have no reason to believe in his word or his competence.

We deserve more. Doctors do not take strike action lightly. Whilst we will always maintain emergency and essential services, the BMA will be balloting its members to strike against the contract in the next month. We hope to see you on the picket lines.

 

  • About the author: Nick is a junior doctor. He tweets at @ZastaNick.This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

 

Continue ReadingNHS in crisis :: Not fair, not safe – 6 reasons junior doctors are preparing to strike