Bye-bye Boris, you worse than useless absolute cnut

Image of Tory idiot Boris Johnson
Tory idiot Boris Johnson

Heavy-drinking Criminal Boris Johnson is out. He should never have been prime minister since his character and history was well documented. There was plenty of evidence that he was a worse than useless absolute cnut. To be fair to him, he partied well.

Image of Boris Johnson sucking up to Rupert Murdoch
Boris Johnson sucking up to Rupert Murdoch

Unfortunately the Conservative Party is now going to inflict a militaristic, pea-brained, basic maths misunderstanding prime minister in the pocket of big business on us. I was tempted to call her a bungalow but I’m thinking of a rattle with just the one pea moving freely inside bouncing and rattling off the inside of her skull.

Image of Tory idiot Boris Johnson
Tory idiot Boris Johnson

Johnson to exit Downing St in a shower of sleaze and sexual misconduct claims

Two women allege they were assaulted and groped by figures within the government.

One woman told Sky News she was “sexually assaulted by someone who is now a Cabinet minister”.

A second woman said she was working at a Conservative event when she was groped, adding: “I turned around and this guy was just looking right at me.”

She complained and raised it again when the man was due to get a top job in No 10, but “nothing happened”.

Image: Boris Johnson confirms his thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch
Boris Johnson confirms his thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch

Huge leaving card showing naked Boris Johnson running from chaos delivered to No10

The grim 6 foot-tall card contains messages from thousands of people who suffered during the PM’s leadership.

One message read: “My wonderful mum – a brilliant yet horribly overworked NHS surgeon for over 30 years – died in 2020 and I had to watch her tiny Covid-restricted funeral online from my home rather than being there.

“Meanwhile you were partying. You have no shame. You have no conscience. You have no integrity. You won’t be missed.

Another stated: “When a clown moves into the castle he doesn’t become a king, the castle becomes a circus. Good riddance.”

Image of Oxford's Bullingdon Club including Boris Johnson
Oxford’s Bullingdon Club including Boris Johnson

Continue ReadingBye-bye Boris, you worse than useless absolute cnut

What nationalising energy companies would cost – and how to do it

UK could bring National Grid and retailers in-house and build public renewable energy, says ex-Labour policy chief

Andrew Fisher

17 August 2022, 12.01am

Image of banknotes and a prepayment meter key by Lydia, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Republished from OpenDemocracy under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

When 62% of Conservative voters want energy run in the public sector, it’s fair to say the left has won the argument (75% of Labour voters agree, 68% of Lib Dems).

Yet public ownership is opposed passionately by the Conservative government, while the leader of the opposition has said he is “not in favour” of it – despite his election on a platform that committed to “bring rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership to end the great privatisation rip-off and save you money on your fares and bills”.

Public ownership is on the media’s radar, too. When Labour leader Keir Starmer announced his policy to freeze bills this week, he was asked why he wouldn’t also nationalise energy, replying that: “In a national emergency where people are struggling to pay their bills … the right choice is for every single penny to go to reducing those bills.”

But so long as energy remains privatised, every single penny won’t. Billions of pennies will keep going to shareholders instead.

The energy market was fractured under the mass privatisations of the Thatcher governments in the 1980s. It contains three sectors: producers or suppliers (those that produce energy), retailers (those that sell you energy), and distribution or transmission (the infrastructure that transports energy to your home).

It is important to bear this in mind when we’re talking about taking energy into public ownership. We need to be clear about what we want in public ownership and why.

By 2019, Labour had a detailed plan on how to do this – worked up by the teams around then shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey and then shadow chancellor John McDonnell. The plan is not the only way, but it illustrates what exists and how one could go about re-establishing a public energy ecosystem, run for people not profit.

The recent TUC report shows the cost of nationalising the ‘Big 5’ energy retailers – British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and Ovo – to be £2.8bn, which would go on buying all the companies’ shares. That’s a lot of money, equivalent to more than the annual budget of the Sure Start programme in 2009/10 (its peak year). But it’s a one-off cost, not an annual one.

And it’s not like the current privatised system doesn’t have its costs: since June 2021, the UK government has spent £2.7bn bailing out 28 energy companies that collapsed because they put short-term profits ahead of long-term stability – companies like Bulb Energy. We have spent billions of pounds already to get nothing in return. So £2.8bn is not a large amount of money to pay to gain these assets, rather than just bailing them out.

The big energy retail companies made £23bn in dividends between 2010 and 2020 according to Common Wealth, and £43bn if you include share buy-backs. What you choose to do with that surplus in public ownership is another matter: you could use it to invest in new clean energy or to lower bills or fund staff pay rises, rather than subject your workers to fire-and-rehire practices as British Gas did last year.

Labour’s previous plan also involved taking the distribution networks – the National Grid – into public ownership. This would end the profiteering at this level, too – with £13bn paid out in dividends over the five years prior to 2019. As Long Bailey said at the time, we need “public driven and coordinated action, without which we simply will not be able to tackle climate change”. Like previous nationalisations, the purchase of the grid and distribution networks could be achieved by swapping shares for government bonds. By international accounting standards, the cost is fiscally neutral as the state gains a revenue-generating asset, which more than pays for the bond yield.

The final part of the plan – and the most complicated – is production and supply. It would be impossible to nationalise the oilfields of Saudi Arabia or Qatar – and for good reasons we should want to leave fossil fuels in the ground, anyway, rather than contest their ownership.

And so what Labour proposed in 2019 was a mass investment in new renewable energy generation projects, with the public sector taking a stake and returning profits to the public. For example, under the ‘People’s Power Plan’, we proposed 37 new offshore wind farms with a 51% public stake, delivering 52GW alone by 2030, equivalent to 38 coal power stations. There were additional proposals for onshore wind, solar, and tidal schemes, as part of a 10-year £250bn Green Transformation Fund, which included other schemes like the Warm Homes insulation initiative.

Labour’s new shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has promised a similar level of investment – a £28bn a year climate investment pledge.

Any surplus energy would then be sold on international markets, with a People’s Power Fund – a sort of sovereign wealth fund – to deliver public investment in local communities’ social infrastructure: a genuine levelling-up fund, perhaps.

Many people will say this can’t be done, but of course it has been before. The 1945 Attlee government nationalised energy and successive Conservative governments – including those of Churchill, MacMillan and Heath – were happy to have a nationalised asset. Harold MacMillan famously accused Margaret Thatcher of “selling off the family silver” when she privatised state industries.

When I was born in 1979, the National Coal Board, British Gas and British Petroleum were all publicly-owned or majority publicly-owned companies. Between them, they were the major suppliers of our energy. Our gas bills came from British Gas and our electricity bills from our regional electricity board (in my case Seeboard, the South Eastern Electricity Board), and coal and oil fuelled our power stations.

The regional electricity boards had been brought into being by the Attlee government’s Electricity Act 1947, when electricity companies were forcibly merged into regional area boards and nationalised. The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 and the Gas Act 1948 had together brought energy into public ownership.

Seeboard was privatised in 1990, and later became part of EDF Energy – ironically, the nationalised French energy company, whose profits from the UK’s stupidity are used to subsidise French consumers.

The French government has now fully nationalised EDF (previously it was 84% publicly owned), and household energy bills rose by just 4% this year – compared to over 50% in the UK and a forecast 200% by January 2023.

If Starmer doesn’t want to listen to me (or his own commitments from 2020), perhaps emulating the centrist Emmanuel Macron in this instance would be palatable?

From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a failed regulator for use of our natural resources

In his later years, Robin Cook argued: “The market is incapable of respecting a common resource such as the environment, which provides no price signal to express the cost of its erosion nor to warn of the long-term dangers of its destruction.”

From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a failed regulator for use of our natural resources. The market has also failed to decarbonise at pace, or to end the scourge of fuel poverty.

On the media this week, shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband said Labour is “continuing to look at what the right long-term solution is for our energy system”. It is up to all of us to campaign for that solution to be public ownership – whether that’s from within the Labour Party (like me) or from the outside.

Republished from OpenDemocracy under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International licence.

Related at OpenDemocracy

Revealed: UK household energy debt hit record high even before price hikes

Revealed: Energy crisis has made 30 House of Lords members wealthier

On energy strategy, the government is leaving women in the cold

Continue ReadingWhat nationalising energy companies would cost – and how to do it

Rupert Murdoch’s history of political influence

Murdoch repeatedly meets UK prime ministers in secret. The deal is that Murdoch sets the agenda and provides support to these right-wing politicians in return for favourable treatment. It should be recognised and accepted that Murdoch is a foreign tax evading billionaire so politicians are promoting private foreign interests over those of their country.

4 January 1981 Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch meet in secret with the meeting repeatedly denied since. Thatcher agrees that Murdoch can aquire the Times and Sunday Times newspapers thereby controlling a huge proportion of UK newspapers without a referral to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Murdoch attacks and breaks the power of the UK newspaper unions with the support of Thatcher’s government and UK police.

The News of the World phone hacking scandal damages Rupert Murdoch’s influence. The News of the World hacked the phones of murder victims and thereby damaged police investigations as well as hacking the phones of royalty and celebrities.

Murdoch’s political influence returns following the phone hacking scandal.

Boris Johnson's thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch
Boris Johnson’s thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch owns prominent UK politicians Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Priti Patel. Boris Johnson gets the thumbs-up to be UK prime minister from Murdoch at the London Olympics, Priti Patel and Michael Gove attend Murdoch and Jerry Hall’s wedding celebrations in London. Priti Patel behaves as Rupert Murdoch’s private secretary e.g. here and here.

Continue ReadingRupert Murdoch’s history of political influence

Articles on the Blairite attempted coup against Corbyn and the left

A few articles on the continuing Blairite attempted coup against Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party by Labour Party MPs. They do seem in an awful rush to depose Corbyn … almost as though a clock is ticking. Craig Murray has excellent analyses yet again.

It’s Still the Iraq War, Stupid.

No rational person could blame Jeremy Corbyn for Brexit. So why are the Blairites moving against Corbyn now, with such precipitate haste?

The answer is the Chilcot Report. It is only a fortnight away, and though its form will be concealed by thick layers of establishment whitewash, the basic contours of Blair’s lies will still be visible beneath. …

[Oops, I forgot this one

How the News Agenda is Set

David Cameron gets heckled every day of his life. The media never bother to report the names of the hecklers or the gist of what they say.

Yet a single heckler shouts at Jeremy Corbyn at Gay Pride, and not only is that front page news in the Guardian, it is on BBC, ITN and Sky News.

What makes a single individual heckling a politician newsworthy? There are dozens such examples every single day that are not newsworthy.

The answer is simple. Normally the hecklers are promoting an anti-establishment view, so it does not get reported. Whereas this heckler was promoting the number one priority of the establishment and mainstream media, to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn. So this heckler, uniquely, is front page news and his words are repeated at great length in the Guardian and throughout the broadcast media.

Another Media Setup?

This picture has been all over twitter, promoted by every high level Blairite you can think of, from JK Rowling down. Yet all may not be what it seems. …

Back to the Future

The priority now of the political “elite” is to ensure voters never again get the chance to make a choice the political class do not want. Jeremy Corbyn is the thing the political class want least.

Do you remember when 184 Labour MPs refused to vote against the Tory benefit cuts that ruined lives and caused suicides? They did so on the grounds that their focus groups showed the public wanted benefit cuts, and so it would be wrong to oppose the Tory Welfare Reform and Work Bill.

Well, I can promise you that the 172 Labour MPs who voted to no-confidence Corbyn are exactly the same people who would not oppose welfare cuts. The net effect of the Corbyn year has been that 12 Labour MPs have decided that they have a purpose in politics which is not just personal gain. The vast majority would vote to push the unemployed off a cliff if they thought it would get them career advancement. Or adapt the John Mann anti-immigrant agenda.

Make no mistake. If Corbyn is deposed, the people of England and Wales will be back to having a choice between two colours of Tory. Labour will go full on anti welfare, anti immigrant and pro-nuclear weapon. Because Jon Cruddas will tell them that is what will get them elected.

Labour crisis: Alan Sugar and Alastair Campbell lead anti-Corbyn campaign

Former Number 10 communications chief claims a ‘sect has taken control’ of the Labour Party.

Lord Alan Sugar and Alastair Campbell are two of the best-known names backing an online campaign to oust Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. The former Number 10 communications chief and the ex-Labour peer are urging hundreds of thousands of their followers on social media site Twitter to sign a ‘Saving Labour’ petition.

dizzy: LOL that’s classic isn’t it? Blair’s master of lies and the UK’s version of Donald Trump accuse the left of hijacking the Labour party!

 

Ken Livingstone urges Jeremy Corbyn to allow party members to deselect dissenting MPs

Ken Livingstone has urged Jeremy Corbyn to allow party members and activists to deselect dissenting MPs in the wake of a bruising no confidence vote that has destabilised the party’s leadership.

Continue ReadingArticles on the Blairite attempted coup against Corbyn and the left

Keep them there till they die … well we’re in charge, we’re the totally partisan police … let’s make look it look like a terrrist attack although we’ve had loads of tube incidents signed: Ian Blair

Let’s chose who’s going to live

Ian Blair: We’ve got to get the numbers right. We’ve got to pretend that this is a terrrist attack instead of just another dust explosion on the tube. We’ve got to do it for my master Tonee (If you search you will find that I adore Tony and consider it my duty to perform ‘the intimate cleansing’).

We’ll do that Oh it’s so awfull down there BS and just keep underisables to die  – int. revos, human rights lawyer, Beer, Brewer, etc

Ian Blair: You can’t come down here yet, they’re still not dead. It’s all those lefties and gays and that. Stay out for a few days until they’re dead. FM, that human rights lawyer is still breathing, give me a day or two.

IB: I’m only getting away with this because of Tonee and those other Neo-Con Labour Party Fascists – John Reid, that fat two-arsed Cunt. Anyone should know that we can clear the tube in no time – but we’ve said it’s terrrrrrist and we’ve got to leave all them to die to make up the nummbers. The numbers are important – better the Devil you know! We’ve got to leave those who we’ve decided to die to die. Better really, they don’t agree with us.

Were there problems with getting down to tube explosions before? No, there was no problems.

Tony Blair & Ian Blair

Labour Party: This was your shit Ian Blair being Tonee’s butler

ed: There have been many explosions on the London tube. They are dust explosions. I think that I am correct in saying that there was never a fatality. It’s clear that this incident was manipulated for political purposes – by those shits Ian Blain and Tony Blair. They let people die and they decided who should die

for political purposes

Don’t be stupid ignorant. You’re identified by your mobile phone.

Ian Blair and Tonee decided who were going to die. By the numbers.

By the numbers …

for JcM

sorry,

J d M

The Labour Party,

So what are you going to do to make it right?

Are you going to hold people to account?

Most likely no

Then, I am your enemy because you can be such evil bs and not have any regard that this poor guy was killed for your BS

It could be easy EdMb: You do IB and TB when you’re elected. They’re gone all of a sudden. Isn’t that fair? A deal with someone-or-other. Taking me to the pub would be a start. You’ve got to clean the s**t. Didn’t they teach you at PPE?. I have no concerns when I go sailing.

Is not necessary to go to the pub. Until I get a commitment …

 

ed: Look the point is that tube stations are really close to each other and the tube only travels about 4 or 5 miles an hour. Have you researched the tube cleaning train? It was a vacuum cleaning train that was discontinued – so more dust

[1/10/14 There are claims that the underground travels at about 20 mph average including stops. I think that is hugely exaggerated. ]

ed: Tube stations might be only a mile or two from each other -is no problem for rescue services firemen

 

Let’s get back to Ian Blair and Tony Blair. Can they be suicided please?

or other, I don’t care

Is it too much to ask that their families are also suicided?

Yes it probably is

These cnuts like John Reid, Charles Clarke, Jack Straw. Isn’t it shit when they call for someone to be killed while they’re hiding. I’m not hiding. Don’t they deserve it?

later edit: I forgot the blind cnut. Him too.

[The Labour Clarke, not the Tory]

I think that it’s fair, when these cnuts had power …

They did it, I do it back

Like I said, I have a mirror

C’mon Jonothan, I want to move on. I wanna go sailing and earn my earrings

1/10/14 There’s a section missing from this post. I’m sure that I mentioned the bus, about BMA doctors being able to recognise dead people.

About the number 30 bus on 7/7/2005 7/7/7 . The point about the bus is how were there 2 dead on the bus on 7 July and 13 dead on the bus on 8 July? That’s a difficult one to answer unless of course having a major incident like 7/7 provides the perfect excuse to go out and murder a few people. It’s then easier to put them on the bus than to take them down to the carriages.

2/10/14

Hasib Mir Hussain

Kingstar van

Wisdom, William Wise

leads to

Jean Charles de Menezes

 

Continue ReadingKeep them there till they die … well we’re in charge, we’re the totally partisan police … let’s make look it look like a terrrist attack although we’ve had loads of tube incidents signed: Ian Blair

Commentary on and analysis of recent political events

The big story today is the current UK coalition government’s attempts to hide the UK’s part in torture and rendition under the Tony Blair government. Despite repeated denials by liar Jack Straw at the time, evidence has surfaced that Tony Bliar’s government conducted illegal renditions. It is widely accepted that Blair’s government had little regard for the law, truth or justice.

Image of liars Jack Straw and Tony BlairUK inquiry on rendition and torture to be handed to ISC

The stalled official inquiry into the UK’s involvement in rendition and torture in the years after 9/11 is to be handed to the controversial intelligence and security committee (ISC), the government will announce on Thursday.

The decision follows years of assurances by ministers that the inquiry would be headed by a senior judge.

It is a move that will dismay human rights groups. The ISC is the oversight body that failed to report publicly on the bulk surveillance operations being conducted by the UK’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, and it has already conducted one inquiry into rendition, after which it cleared MI5 and MI6 of blame.

The extent to which the agencies were involved in the abuse of terrorism suspects may be outlined on Thursday with the publication of a redacted version of an interim report of the stalled inquiry that was led by Sir Peter Gibson, a retired appeal court judge.

Gibson is said to be calling for further investigation into the UK’s involvement in the rendition of two Libyan opposition leaders and their families to Tripoli in 2004, and the role played by Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary at the time. Straw was not available for comment but has previously denied any wrongdoing. MI6 is reported to have confronted him with documentary evidence that he personally authorised the agency’s involvement in the rendition operations.

NHS sign

Poorest areas to get extra NHS money to tackle ill health

The poorest parts of England are to receive extra money to tackle ill health after NHS bosses rejected plans to divert resources from there to wealthy areas.

NHS England’s decision means that scores of GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in deprived areas will no longer see their budgets cut from April. Its board has defied the Department of Health by throwing out its plans to make the age of the local population, not the level of deprivation, a key factor in the allocation of NHS funding.

Labour MPs had claimed that such a move would lead to almost £1bn being shifted from poor areas which have low life expectancy to wealthier places where residents live longer.

Instead NHS England has opted to give all 211 CCGs rises of at least the rate of inflation both next year and in 2015-16, and give those serving the most deprived places extra money to help cope with the demand caused by ingrained health problems. It was obliged to do that to help meet its legal duty to reduce health inequalities and differences in life expectancy between rich and poor areas, said chief financial officer Paul Baumann….

For the Sake of Humanity Society Must Unleash War on the Tories

The campaign of hate being waged by this government of rich, privileged, and privately educated sociopaths against the poor, the unemployed, and those who dare try to claim the benefits to which they are entitled is unparalleled in modern history. Even Thatcher in her pomp was not as malicious in her treatment of the aforementioned demographic. This was not because she didn’t wish to be more malicious than she was, it was because when she came to power we still had trade unions capable and willing to resist such an onslaught, meaning that the cost involved in even attempting to rip up the foundations of the welfare state and the collective ethos which lies at its heart would have been too damaging to her government and party to make worthwhile.

Three decades on and the fruits of Thatcherism – with the corresponding neutering of the unions and other forms of working class solidarity – have culminated in a new normal of demonisation and the near criminalisation of poverty in Britain. Austerity has been sold to the country as a policy of necessity in response to years of Labour profligacy and a bloated public sector. It is a lie so bold and barefaced that even Joseph Goebbels would blush while repeating it.

Prisoners serving less than a year should be allowed to vote, says Parliamentary committee

Prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less should be given the vote, the Government is today told by an all-party parliamentary committee.

It also called for all inmates who are within six months of release to be entitled to take part in elections.

The recommendations will not be welcome in Downing Street as David Cameron has said he would feel “physically sick” if prisoners were allowed to vote.

Britain is locked in an eight-year battle with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which has ruled that the blanket ban on prisoner voting is incompatible with European law.

Government to make 40 per cent of Britain available for fracking

The vast disruption that could be caused across the country by fracking has been laid bare, with the Government announcing it would make 40 per cent of Britain available to companies to explore for oil and gas next year.

Local communities could be subjected to thousands of wells being dug every year in the search for fossil fuels – requiring billions of litres of water, with dozens of lorries passing by every day – after the Coalition said it would put oil and gas licences covering 100,000 square kilometres up for auction next summer.

The auction, which would give the licence-winners exclusive rights to explore an area for oil and gas, but would require additional permits for fracking, would add to the 19,000 square kilometres of licences that have already been sold to hydrocarbon producers.

Ian Watkins abuse: police forces to be investigated by IPCC

Investigations are under way to find out if three police forces should have done more to pursue allegations of sex abuse, dating back to 2008, against Ian Watkins.

Watkins, the 36-year-old former Lostprophets lead singer, is to be sentenced on Wednesday for a string of offences including the attempted rape of a baby.

Before his sentencing, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was investigating police forces in South Wales, where Watkins lived, but also South Yorkshire and Bedfordshire. One line of inquiry is whether officers failed to look properly into Watkins’s activities because of his celebrity status.

The IPCC’s commissioner Jan Williams said: “No one can fail to be shocked by the vile details of Ian Watkins’s offending that emerged in court last month.

“Questions are now rightly being asked as to whether Ian Watkins could have been brought to justice sooner, what steps were taken by police in response to allegations made against him as far back as 2008 and whether his celebrity status had any impact on the investigation.” He added, however, that the investigation was complex and would take time.

Continue ReadingCommentary on and analysis of recent political events

Commentary and analysis of recent political events

That Conservative, illiberal Nick Clegg is keen to do the Tories’ work

Clegg leaves the door open to further welfare cuts

George Osborne has made it clear that he plans to introduce “billions” more in welfare cuts if the Tories win the next election, including a possible reduction in the £26,000 household benefit cap and new limits on child benefit, but where does Nick Clegg stand? At the Deputy PM’s final monthly press conference of the year, I asked him whether he was prepared to consider a reduction in the benefit cap in the next parliament. He told me:

It’s not something that I’m advocating at the moment because we’ve only just set this new level and it’s £26,000, which is equivalent to earning £35,000 before taxI think we need to keep that approach, look and see how it works, see what the effects are, but not rush to start changing the goalposts before the policy has properly settled down.

The key words here are “at the moment”. While Clegg again declared that he believed the priority should be to remove universal pensioner benefits from the well-off (“you start from the top and you work down”), he was careful not rule out a cut in the level of the cap.

Spiked has a good article on modern slavery being make-believe and Theresa May’s Modern Slavery bill addressing a non-existant problem. This blog has addressed slavery not existing. Spiked are on the Want to make a worthwhile donation this Solstice? page.

Firefighters to strike on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Tony Blair intervened directly in a firefighters’ strike while the FBU was headed by a Labourite idiot. Strange to see Blair referring to the “real world” since he was a total stranger to it.

Image of GCHQ donught buildingHome Secretary Theresa May fails to provide any evidence that the Guardian’s publishing the Edward Snowden leaks have damaged national security as claimed by boss of MI5, Andrew Parker. Keith Vaz, chair of the home affairs committee told May “What you have given us today, and what we have heard so far, is only second-hand information. Mr Parker and Sir John are making statements in open session and nobody knows what the follow-up is.” and “Everyone is appointed by the prime minister … They are asking questions of each other, and giving answers to each other … That is exactly why we need to see them [the agency heads]. But you don’t want us to see them at all.”

Why Cameron is wrong to declare ‘mission accomplished’ in Afghanistan

What the welfare cuts mean for us: ‘The feeling of dread never goes away’

Hungry Christmas: Food Bank Use Soars

2013 in Review: Unions Are the Only Defence Ordinary People Have Left

Poorer than your parents – post-war pensions boom ‘is coming to an end’

Federal judge holds NSA telephone surveillance unconstitutional

Lord Hanningfield says of allowance claims: ‘I have to live, don’t I?’

For the Sake of Humanity Society Must Unleash War on the Tories

SILENT TO THE GRAVE (The Waterhouse Report)

Continue ReadingCommentary and analysis of recent political events

Politics news allsorts

Links today – reach your own conclusions. I spared you from a photo of Alastair Campbell.

Secret memo shows key role for Blairites in Labour’s election team (Alan Milburn started the privatization of the NHS under Blair)

conflicts with David and Ed Miliband turn leadership race into verdict on New Labour

Iain Duncan Smith’s catalogue of waste and poverty

Mandela: never forget how the free world’s leaders learned to change their tune

MPs’ salaries to rise to £74,000 a year despite opposition

Continue ReadingPolitics news allsorts

Politics news allsorts

Commentary and analysis on recent UK politics news.

The Conservative-Liberal-‘Democrat’-Conservative coalition intends to persecute benefits claimants and (poor) young people.

Jobless young people without basic skills told to learn or lose benefits

The principles of “earn or learn” have been hotly debated within the coalition, after David Cameron used his conference speech in October to float the idea of taking away housing benefit and jobseeker’s allowance from under-25s who were not in work or training.

The Liberal Democrats have not agreed to all those ideas but appear to have relented on some elements of “earn or learn”, as Osborne announced that 18 to 21-year-olds without basic skills would only get their benefit if they undergo 16 hours of training a week.

On top of this, all 18 to 21-year-olds who are unemployed for more than six months will have to undertake compulsory work experience, a traineeship or a full-time community work placement.

The measures appear to be an extension of the government’s controversial “workfare” schemes – or mandatory work activity – where jobseekers are forced to go on a month of work experience in order to qualify for their benefits.

Autumn statement: how are families and individuals affected?

Missing from the autumn statement were figures on welfare benefits, tax credits and child benefit. Under the Welfare Benefits Uprating Act passed earlier this year, rises in most benefits no longer go up by the rate of inflation but are capped at an increase of 1% until 2016. So Jobseekers Allowance, currently £71.70 for the over 25s who have a record of paying National Insurance, should on that basis rise to £72.42 – an increase of 72p, or enough to buy a tin of Heinz baked beans at Tesco and still have 4p left over.

In the 2010 budget, Osborne said child benefit rates would be frozen for three years, taking effect from April 2011. Since then, the rate has been £20.30 a week for the first child and £13.40 for the second or more. Nothing was mentioned about child benefit in the autumn statement, but assuming the provisions of the Uprating bill are applied to child benefit from April next year, expect another 20p for the first child and 15p for the second.

The basic state pension, currently £110.15 a week, will rise by 2.7% – the rate of inflation – to £113.10. George Osborne also confirmed that the state pension age will rise to 68 nearly 15 years earlier than originally planned, starting for people retiring in the mid-2030s, rather than 2046. It will then rise again to 60 by the late 2040s, and 70 in the decades after that, saving £500bn from pension expenditure over the next 50 years. “We have to guarantee that the basic state pension is affordable in the future, even as people live longer and our society grows older. The only way to do that is to ensure the pension age keeps track with life expectancy,” said Osborne.


COMMUNISTS ON OSBORNE STATEMENT: “Good news for the rich, City and big business”

Communist Party of Britain general secretary Robert Griffiths responded as follows to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today (December 5)

‘The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement is good news for the super-rich, City speculators and the corporate fat cats. It hands yet more lavish subsidies to big business on top of the tax cuts on high incomes and monopoly profits. There will be extra state finance for exports to China together with tax relief for City speculation in Exchange Traded Funds and for shale gas fracking, business rates and employers’ National Insurance contributions.

But there will be no windfall taxes on energy and retail monopoly profits and no moves to end tax haven status in British overseas territories. Instead, the extra state pension of £2.95 a week from April will be swallowed up in rising household fuel costs while almost one-third of men and more than one quarter of women today will not live long enough to draw their pensions in the mid-2030s at the age of 68′.

Imran Awan discusses terrorism suggesting that the ConDem coalition government is intending measures that “…  will simply further stigmatise Muslim communities.” Awan raises many issues:

  • ‘Terrorism’ and the ‘war on terror’ are poorly defined
  • ‘Terrorists’ and freedom fighters are not clearly distinguished
  • States sanction the use of the ‘terrorist’ label to stigmatise individuals and small groups e.g. the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden
  • Many protest issues are labelled as being of a ‘terrorist’ nature e.g. animal rights activism, anti-capitalism and anti-abortion campaigning
  • States’ use of drones and torture can be regarded as terrorism
  • “[T]he media have vilified and demonised Islam, making it comparable to terrorism”
  • The terrorism label is far less likely to be applied to right-wing terrorism

Image of Guantanamo Bay prisoners

‘Terrorism’ is a wonderfully useful tool for governments engaged in oppression: the huge scale of the surveillance by NSA and partners is justified through the so-called threat of terrorism despite the fact that the fact that the so-called threat cannot justify such oppressive measures. Terrorism permitted the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Terrorism is so important to these oppressive regimes that they have to ensure it’s continuing existence through drone strikes, renditions, the use of torture in prisons such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay and by [later edit: the]demonizing of Islam and Muslims.

If terrorism didn’t exist these governments would have to invent it. Actually, they did invent it: Glenn Grenwald reports on research by Remi Brulin that it was invented “… by Israel in the 1960s and early 1970s as a means of universalizing its conflicts (this isn’t our fight against our enemies over land; it’s the Entire World’s Fight against The Terrorists!). The term was then picked up by the neocons in the Reagan administration to justify their covert wars in Central America (in a test run for what they did after 9/11, they continuously exclaimed: we’re fighting against The Terrorists in Central America, even as they themselves armed and funded classic Terror groups in El Salvador and Nicaragua). From the start, the central challenge was how to define the term so as to include the violence used by the enemies of the U.S. and Israel, while excluding the violence the U.S., Israel and their allies used, both historically and presently. That still has not been figured out, which is why there is no fixed, accepted definition of the term, and certainly no consistent application.”

Terrorism is bullshit ideology invented, used, nurtured and maintained by USUK and it’s allies to rule the world.

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Blair’s government allowed USA to spy on UK citizens

Traitor Tony Blair receives the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour from George 'Dubya' Bush
Traitor Tony Blair receives the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour from George ‘Dubya’ Bush

The Guardian and Channel4 – in a joint investigation – have released documents sourced by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents reveal that US intelligence agencies were given far greater powers to spy on UK citizens by UK intelligence agency GCHQ in 2004. It is extremely unlikely that this move would be taken without treasonous ministerial approval by Tony Blair’s government.

GCHQ and the cabinet office are not commenting.

Image of GCHQ donught buildingUS and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to ‘unmask’ Britons’ personal data

Documents show Blair government let US spy on Britons

1pm update: The important issue about these revelations is that UK allowed US authorities to spy on UK subjects who are not guilty or even suspected of any crime. Further, the scale of those subjected to such spying without any legal oversight is astonishingly wide. While it is reported as contacts-of-contacts or friends-of-friends of suspects it may be more practical to just consider it as being all UK subjects. [2.20pm Most news sources are reporting contacts-of-contacts. The Guardian say that it’s ‘”three hops” from its targets — who could be people who talk to people who talk to people who talk to you.’ That does look like all UK subjects. ]

This post subject to change

Continue ReadingBlair’s government allowed USA to spy on UK citizens