38degrees: Increase the fines for breaking electoral law


Right now, you can be fined more for touting tickets at a football match than you can for subverting British democracy, with the max fine being £20k. The Electoral Commission imposed the maximum fine on Vote Leave – just 0.003% of its £7m budget.

Whichever way you voted on Brexit, it can’t be right that political machines with millionaire donors can break our electoral laws with impunity. The Electoral Commission has repeatedly asked for the maximum fines they can impose to be increased. But our political leaders don’t like being held to account. And so far, they’ve refused.

We could have another election or referendum at any moment – so the Electoral Commission urgently needs more power now to guard our democracy. We must make sure fines are proportionate to how much campaigns actually spend, so they act as a real deterrent. Please sign openDemocracy’s petition today and sign up to hear more about our investigations.

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Wealth distribution / tax avoidance and austerity :: prelude

I originally intended to concentrate on UK wealth distribution and tax evasion. That works well since UK wealth distribution and tax avoidance are inextricably (cannot be detangled) linked. We are (I am?) concerned with reality here and the reality that is becoming increasing clear is that UK wealth distribution is about wealth inequality, tax avoidance but also the austerity agenda.

As a prelude or preamble, a vid by 38degrees about TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). I would urge people to be active in the democratic process because democracy needs active participation. You can join political campaigns like 38degrees or change.org, start a political blog like my own or even be a shouty man or woman ;)

1.50am ed: Apologies, I forgot again. I wonder if there’s a sadistic element to it. The bedroom tax and the withdrawal of tax credits for the most vulnerable is so nasty – is it not also sadistic? Forcing people to leave their homes of many decades and forcing people into more extreme poverty are the issues here.

Continue ReadingWealth distribution / tax avoidance and austerity :: prelude

MPs are ass*oles

I’m not saying that all MPs are ass*oles and there is the odd one or two who are OK. These ones certainly are.

David Babbs represents the campaign group 38degrees. Many MPs dislike 38degrees because it encourages people to engage in democracy and hold MPs to account.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP is a very simple concept to understand. It is intended to subvert democracy by allowing commercial interests to take governments to the courts in secret. TTIP negotiations are also conducted in secret with interests like the MPs in the clip not wanting any transparency or accountability. What more is there to understand?




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UK politics news

Recent articles about UK politics, some about the Catholic Church policy of protecting paedos and some about Edward Snowden

Socialist Party :: Who’s robbing our NHS?

The National Health Service is under attack as never before. In this feature, a GP from north-west England looks at the effect of a huge government push for privatisation while nurse Claire Job looks at the predatory actions of the pharmaceutical industry.

NHS watchdog says Virgin Care-run clinic put patients at risk | Society | The Guardian

The NHS watchdog has accused a privately run urgent care centre of putting patients’ health at risk by using receptionists with minimal medical training to assess how unwell arrivals were.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report has criticised the operation of the urgent care centre at Croydon hospital in south London, which is run by Virgin Care. CQC inspectors found the centre was in breach of four basic standards of care and have told Virgin Care to outline by next week the remedial action it is taking.

The CQC’s report, based on inspections of the centre last July and September, concluded that “care and treatment was not planned and delivered in a way that was intended to ensure people’s safety and welfare”.

38 Degrees interview: Meet British politics’ spammer-in-chief

MPs have come to despise 38 Degrees for clogging up their inboxes with emails from constituents. They need to get used to it – because this model of campaigning-by-email-bombardment isn’t going away.

For an organisation only set up in 2009, 38 Degrees has notched up its fair share of victories. It forced the coalition government’s first big U-turn, on the forests sell-off. It called for more free school meals – and Nick Clegg duly announced they were being rolled out for all infants. It raised enough cash to pay for the judicial review which successfully challenged health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to shut down key services at Lewisham hospital.

“It’s not often you can say ‘I took the government to court and won’, but that’s what thousands of 38 Degrees members could say last year,” its executive director David Babbs tells me. We’re seated at a meeting table in the middle of the 38 Degrees office in central London. From here, the small team of around 15 staff coordinate the activities of its 2.2 million members. Compare that to the 193,000 members of the Labour party – and the 130,000 Tory party members – and you get a sense of the scale of the operation.

Vatican ‘kept code of silence’ on paedophile priests, claims UN report – World Politics – World – The Independent

Snowden leak: GCHQ DDoSed chatrooms of Anonymous, LulzSec • The Register

Pulling power: Wendi Deng reportedly wrote a letter praising Tony Blair’s body – but she’d hardly be the first to go weak at the knees – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

Strangely written from the deluded and divorced from reality perspective of Tony Blair.

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UK politics review – the lurch towards Fascism

UK political events combine into a lurch towards Fascism.

The gagging law is passed. Called the Transparency of Lobbying Bill, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act it has nothing to do with transparency of lobbying and everything to do with silencing the government’s critics and opponents. It’s a huge blow against trade unions and other campaigning groups like 38degrees and charities. The Conservative-pretendLiberal coalition have attacked democracy by passing this law.

Fascism is described by it’s creator Benito Mussolini as corporatism – the unification of corporations and government. This is entirely the action that the gagging law continues to excuse. Fascism is right-wing authoritarianism typified by attacks on trade unions and political opponents.

Home secretary Theresa May wants to strip suspected terrorists of their nationality and leave them stateless. This is to be done through the use of secret courts. Theresa May has previously stripped dual-nationals of UK nationality so that they could then be renditioned, etc.

This is intended to be done to suspected terrorists. If there was any evidence against them they would be terrorists. Political activists and dissidents are suspected terrorists. Terrorism as defined in UK law is not necessarily anything to do with explosives or arms or similar threats. Once again the government is seen to be silencing it’s critics and opponents.

Madman and London Mayor Boris Johnson wants police to use water cannon and “get medieval” on protesters. The riots of 2011 were sparked by the police murder of Mark Duggan.

Tory MP calls police on handful of retired constituents delivering petition against lobbying bill ‘gagging law’

Mark Duggan: profile of Tottenham police shooting victim

later edit: Home Secretary Theresa May’s intention is to deprive ‘naturalised’ subjects i.e. from abroad and granted UK status, of UK nationality. It’s still disproportionate since it only needs suspicion rather than any evidence and the powers are bound to be extended later. Politicians love terrorism because it gives them cover for Fascist laws.

Although reported almost universally as suspected terrorists it is actually “… the Secretary of State is satisfied that the deprivation is conducive to the public good because the person, while having that citizenship status, has conducted him or herself in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom, any of the Islands, or any British overseas territory.” [source] That seems far wider than suspected terrorists.

Rise in citizenship-stripping as government cracks down on UK fighters in Syria | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Former British citizens killed by drone strikes after passports revoked | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

‘Medieval Exile’: The 41 Britons stripped of their citizenship | The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Continue ReadingUK politics review – the lurch towards Fascism

NHS news review

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) , representing hospital doctors, has chosen to ballot its 26,000 members on the Health and Social Care / Destroy the NHS Bill.


At the Royal College of Physicians, we believe the NHS bill is beyond repair

We were told that this bill will make the NHS less bureaucratic, more cost effective and provide more choice for patients. It won’t

Today the Royal College of Physicians joined the growing ranks of opposition to the government’s health and social care bill.

We were told that the bill would make the NHS more efficient and more cost effective. It won’t. Management costs in the NHS are about 5% of the total budget. In the US healthcare system, where the market rules, they are above 25%. If the bill is passed, management consultants such as McKinsey and KPMG will make millions from the NHS budget “advising” clients on both sides of the purchaser/provider split, with additional contracts “advising” government and health regulators how to cope with the tangled web of contracts the new system would create.

We were told that the bill would make things less bureaucratic. It won’t. It will replace three layers of management in the NHS with at least six new ones, and a seventh if you count the health and wellbeing boards to be established at the local authority level. For example, 152 primary care trusts will be replaced with well over 200 clinical commissioning groups. Almost half the staff of primary care trusts have already gone, but many are returning to work for the commissioning groups and commissioning support services, often as consultants on a higher rate than their previous salaries.

We were told that the bill was essential to control spiralling healthcare costs. It isn’t. Britain spends less per head on healthcare than most other European Union countries, and far less than the United States. Market competition in health is inherently wasteful, because it implies the existence of spare capacity in the system. It is likely to drive up costs for each patient, as charges for healthcare have to rise to ensure that providers can carry the costs of under-used people, building and equipment.

We were told that the bill means more choice for patients and more control over their healthcare. It doesn’t. Instead, it will strain to breaking point the essential relationship of trust between doctors and their patients. GPs in particular will be put in the invidious position of having on the one hand to diagnose their patients and recommend the best course of treatment, and on the other hand to refuse to supply it because as commissioners their budgets are under pressure.

For all these reasons and others, doctors, nurses and other health professionals have finally concluded that the bill is beyond rescue. Opinion polls show that view is shared by a large majority of the British public.

NHS care to be severely rationed. People will need health insurance like the United States.


NHS bill: goodbye comprehensive healthcare, hello private insurance

Services are already being pulled in an unannounced, piecemeal way. If the bill passes, the health secretary won’t be accountable

Under the bill the range of what is available for free seems certain to contract further. Commissioning groups will have fixed budgets. The for-profit “support organisations” that are being lined up to do most of the commissioning for them will have a strong incentive to limit costs, and therefore the treatments to be paid for. CCGs also look likely to be free to decide that some treatments recommended by hospital specialists are “unreasonably” expensive, and refuse to pay for them, as health maintenance organisations do in the US.

A core of free NHS services will remain, but they will be of declining quality, because for-profit providers will cherry-pick the most profitable services. NHS hospitals will be left with the more costly work, so staffing levels and standards of care will be forced down and waiting times will get longer. To be sure of getting good healthcare people will increasingly take out private insurance, if they can afford it. At first most people will take out the cheaper insurance plans now on offer that cover just what is no longer free from the NHS, but gradually insurance for most forms of care will become normal. The poor will be left with a limited package of free services of lower quality.

What is available on the NHS should be determined nationally, in a transparent and democratic way, not by unelected local bodies. The bill will allow the secretary of state to deny responsibility when good, comprehensive, free care has become a thing of the past.

Majority of GPs expect to see more rationing of care in NHS

85% of family doctors think health service will have to cut back on provision

More than eight in ten GPs believe that there will be greater rationing of care in the NHS as a result of the financial challenges facing the health service.

Research published this week suggests that 85% of family doctors believe that the government will have to set out more clearly what care is – and is not – freely available on the NHS in England.

A survey of 821 English GPs carried out by the Nuffield Trust, an independent health think tank, and doctors.net.uk found that only half of GPs believe that the NHS will be able to improve efficiency enough over the next five years to avoid having to scale back on the services that are currently funded.

In addition, the vast majority of GPs (83%) believe handing responsibility to local clinical commissioning groups for setting priorities for spending NHS funds will be likely to lead to greater variations in what services are provided to patients throughout England.

Campaign group 38degrees is appealing for donations to place billboard adverts in London to make the ConDems’ attack on the NHS an issue in the elections for the Mayor of London.


Lib-Dem activists force Nick Clegg to make further demands for changes to the bill. It should be recognised that Nick Clegg is and has been fully supportive of plans to destroy the NHS.

Lib Dem activists in last-ditch attempt to scupper NHS reforms bill

Party members to press ahead with emergency motion at spring conference despite changes advanced by Clegg and Williams

Clegg breaks ranks to demand more amendments to NHS Bill

Attempt to appease party faithful comes on day PM asserts: ‘there will be no more big changes’

Tavistock service for vulnerable children at risk, expert warns


The future of a prestigious health service which helps children suffering severe abuse is in doubt because of government cuts, a mental health expert has warned.

The Tavistock’s Monroe Assessment Service provides treatment for families going through care proceedings and assesses many children subjected to sexual and physical abuse or neglect.

But a new cap on the amount of funding these expert court witnesses receive has left the prestigious service operating at a loss, and many families without adequate support, a consultant social worker has warned.

Tim Kent said: “We are seeing the highest number of applications for care orders in the family courts for a decade, but the work of expert witnesses has been hit by savage cuts.

“Cases are getting stuck in the legal system and children’s lives are on hold for longer. We fear that the risk of courts making bad decisions about the best interests of the child is growing.



27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.

I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.

Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.


Continue ReadingNHS news review