Today, in magistrates courts throughout the land, ‘justice’ will be meted out to ordinary folk for what are probably best described as minor misdemeanors or low level crime. Ordinary folk, our fellow citizens, live in a world where fear is ever present. The fear of not being able to provide for a family, the fear of there not being a pay packet at the end of the week, fear that benefits will be withdrawn, fear that they will be criminalised for being unable to afford a television licence. They understand fear. They also understand consequences. Bankers, over-paid CEOs and wealthy folk inhabit a different world. They have no fear and fear no consequences. The only fear they have is losing their wealth or fear of failing to recognise something that might threaten it. They may not be above the law, but they have the ability to distance themselves from it, of dimming or redirecting the … [Read More...]
Today is the 750th anniversary of the first elected parliament in 1265. It laid the foundation for our current political system. It wasn't perfect, it still isn't, but over the ages it has evolved. Change has often been slow, those who have been 'in power' have been reluctant to embrace change. So it is today. Today we have a political class which has little interest in giving the people what they want or what they need. Inflated with self-importance and captured by the ego massaging trappings of their 'position', politicians are set on a course of self-enrichment and determined that nothing shall stand in their way. It's party before people and 'me' before anything else. The main cause of this malaise is corporate power: the political class have been bought by corporations and vested interests. Their corrupting influence has prevented political parties from connecting with the … [Read More...]
Who he? He Peter Mandelson. Perhaps the description of this ex Labour grandee is a little harsh, but I despair at the twaddle that the political class of both main political parties, both past and present, are spouting about the economy and about austerity in particular. Mandelson has been imploring the Labour shadow cabinet to come clean about the Labour version of austerity, to be honest and ‘speak with a single voice’ about their version of this ludicrous and wholly unnecessary policy. Does he think we will love Labour more for dressing up austerity in a new suit of clothes? If he does then someone must have cut the connection to his ivory tower. Labour politicians seem to be totally hung up about being seen to be ‘responsible’ about the economy. They are fixated about convincing us that they will maintain an iron discipline over spending and exercise financial probity. That this … [Read More...]
Is the mistake is ours? Maybe we assume that our so-called ‘leaders’ are exceptional people, that their ordinariness is just a mask, and that buried deep inside their unimpressive forms there’s a Churchillian spirit waiting to be unleashed. I wish it were so! The reality is that our leaders are clever, but they are also really very ordinary and very unimpressive. Leaders? Mmmm...they have the responsibility of leadership, they understand what it is, but have very little idea of its practice. The reality is that our leaders are political technocrats. They work to predetermined party formulas that are meant to give us the impression that they are in control and have the measure of things - and that they are working for the common good, which they are not. Their prime motivation is personal and political survival. They work harder at this than anything else...until....well, until … [Read More...]
“This castle has a pleasant seat; Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses” Words that Alex Salmond, leader of the 40+ victorious SNP MPs could be uttering as they enter Westminster next year having demolished Scottish Labour in the general election – and it could be that they hold the balance of power in their hands. Possible? Not only is it possible, it is becoming increasingly likely as support for Scottish Labour tanks. For more than half a century most of Scotland has been tribal Labour, but now all that is changing. Labour supporters in Scotland feel they’ve been taken for granted by the Labour leadership and many are beginning to realise that years of blind, unquestioning support for Labour has done them little good. Housing in the east end of Glasgow is terrible; there is still real poverty in the city and the level of unemployment remains stubbornly … [Read More...]
We’ve waited a long time for a ‘big idea’ from Labour and then out of the blue comes the announcement that it’s going to abolish the House of Lords...no fanfare for this momentous news, it dribbled out over the airwaves on Saturday morning almost apologetically. Why be so coy Ed? This is something that needs to be shouted from the hilltops. Be bold, for heaven’s sake! We need radical new thinking about the way the Union is governed and we need bold new ideas. Abolishing the House of Lords is long overdue. It is anachronistic, unelected and well past its sell by date. It should be replaced by a House of Representatives – Senate if you like, but it’s not the best description. The new House needs to be filled with representatives from Regional Assemblies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Yes, we do need regional assemblies in England. The regionalisation of England is … [Read More...]
Nearly five years into the ‘Osborne austerity’ and we are faced with the unedifying spectacle of the two major political parties competing to see who can deliver the best austerity. “Vote for us, we can deliver better misery, more bankruptcies and greater inequality”. Are we really going to buy this nonsense? Clearly the Tories believe we will, and Labour don’t seem to have, or dare to have, any better ideas. For five years now we have been fed the line that austerity is the only way to deal with the deficit. There is no alternative if the deficit is to be reduced. This has been a cruel, but deliberate deception. Fed half truths and blinded by a fog of political verbiage, we have been duped into believing that austerity is the only answer. It isn’t. There are alternatives, alternatives that would not have put thousands of businesses out of business, driven hundreds to suicide, … [Read More...]
The book isn't finished, but I can't be doing with the restriction of 140 characters any longer! There's a lot going on and things are starting to heat up nicely. Check out 'AN AGENDA FOR REFORM' in the menu bar above, and let me know what you think. Pass it on to others if you agree. … [Read More...]
I've got a book to finish and I need to give it my full attention...I'll be back - probably in about six months. … [Read More...]
I came across this brilliant white board animation of Professor Stein Ringen’s assessment of New Labour and the state of the British Constitution purely by accident. It’s fascinating and his conclusions are absolutely on the money. See if you agree! Stein Ringen is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Oxford … [Read More...]
Regardless of the result of the Eastleigh by-election, it’s a racing certainty that the LibDems are going to be annihilated in 2015. Political oblivion beckons, and it may be that the party will cease to exist. So, if you were a Libdem, what would you do? The current leadership seems to be in denial, convinced that ‘something will turn up’. Like most politicians they believe in miracles. If you’re a Libdem right now, you have to, there’s nothing else...or is there? Desperate times call for desperate measures. There needs to be a coup. Yes, a good old fashioned coup. A coup to get rid of the tarnished Clegg, and to set the ‘new Libdems’ apart from their Tory appeasing fellow travellers. Who should lead the coup and replace Clegg? Cable is the only real option because he’s one of the few Libdem MPs who has managed to retain some of his credibility over the past two and a half years – … [Read More...]
Barclays like doing their dirty washing before anybody else does. And so it was this week when a well- rehearsed Antony Jenkins, their fresh-faced new chief executive, was pushed in front of the cameras to tell us that from now on it’s all going to be different at Barclays, that they’ve ‘learned lessons’ (if I hear that phrase once more I’ll scream – it’s bankers’ speak for ‘we’ve no intention of changing and nobody’s going to gaol, so there!’) and to apologise (only with prodding) for the appalling behaviour of the bank. One of the best interviews with Mr Jenkins was conducted by Jon Snow (see video). Jenkins started off by apologising for his role in the PPI fraud when he was head of Barclaycard. Very nice of him, I suppose. I couldn’t help thinking that he should have been sewing mail bags in Pentonville, not sitting in a television studio. Jenkins looked decidedly uncomfortable … [Read More...]
The recent Israeli election clipped Netanyahu’s wings, but there is little doubt he will be the next Israeli prime minister. Who will be his coalition partner is yet to be decided, but it could be the extreme right wing Jewish Home party, whose avowed intent is to bring about the complete annexation of the West Bank. The discussions in the coming months are not going to be about a two state solution or even a one state solution. Israel has no interest in discussing anything with anyone whatever the make-up of the coalition. Israel’s policy of ‘creeping annexation’ is effectively funded by the United States, and over the last four years, has gone unchallenged by their paymasters. Britain has been shamefully silent too, but that’s to be expected as most of our politicians are in the pay of Zionist lobby ‘benefactors’: their silence has been bought. Israel thinks it can do what it likes, … [Read More...]
Michael Gove’s elitist agenda is about to take English education back to the dark days of the 1950s. His so-called reforms are supposed to transform English education. They will do nothing of the sort. Why? Because he’s attempting to reform a broken model. He’s tinkering at the margins. Nothing he is proposing will bring about the fundamental change our educational system needs. When he’s finished, the British taxpayer will still be asked to subsidise private education. Private education is socially divisive and should have no place in the educational system. Why doesn’t he remove the charitable status of public schools? If he did it would put private education out of reach to all but the children of Russian oligarchs, Chinese billionaires and bonus bagging bankers. It would force public schools to change and integrate with the state system. It’s not going to happen. Although Mr … [Read More...]
It was in 1865 that John Bright used the phrase ‘the Mother of all Parliaments’. The full phrase is “England is the Mother of all Parliaments”. It was used in a speech in support of reform of the electoral system, which culminated in the much delayed Reform Act of 1867, and gave the vote to urban working class men. Far from complimenting Westminster, Bright was saying that England, not Westminster, was the Mother of all Parliaments. Westminster then was a deeply corrupt body, and as reluctant to embrace reform as it is today. Bright’s misquoted phrase has stuck. In people’s minds Westminster is the ‘Mother of all Parliaments’. And so revered has Westminster become that to criticise it, or even suggest that the dear old lady is in need of reform, is to blaspheme against democracy itself. And therein lies the problem. Why? Because the Westminster model is broken. Today, … [Read More...]
It’s no coincidence that our Prime Minister cut his teeth as a PR executive. Today’s speech on Britain’s future in Europe was a classic example of the fact benders’ art: distortion. It was a lesson on how to confuse and manipulate an argument to achieve a desired outcome. Nothing wrong with that, you might argue. Well, maybe not if you’re selling dog food or soap powder, but not when the future prosperity of our nation is at stake. The days of controlling attitudes and opinions by force have long passed. Today, PR is the weapon of choice of politicians and political parties – aided and supported by a compliant media who, as we witnessed last year, are in the kitchen with the politicians concocting our diet of half-truths and misinformation. Their purpose is to control and marginalise the electorate so that the political class, and their wealthy elite paymasters, can rule. Our … [Read More...]
In the Treasury, soon to be renamed Micawber House, it’s been a very pleasant start to the year. Despite unhelpful mumblings from the usual quarters about a triple–dip, the spotlight has moved away, and for the first time for a long time, Gideon has been able to come out from behind his desk. And joy of joys, the cunning plan, the great distraction, seems to be working! Not a day goes by without some mention of ‘the great leader’s’ long-awaited speech on Europe – which has been put off more times than a Berlusconi trial. Meanwhile the country slips ever nearer to the edge of the precipice. Yet again the clown Cash and his eurosceptic cohorts have managed to get Britain’s membership of the EU to the top of the agenda. Not your agenda or my agenda or even the coalition’s agenda, but to their agenda. Yet again Britain is seen to be mithering on the sidelines about Europe. It’s boring, … [Read More...]
In New York, the international insurance and financial services organization AIG, whose demise would have plunged the world into a depression that would have made the 1930’s depression look like a walk in the park had they not been rescued in the nick of time by the American tax payer, is now suing the US government. Why? Because AIG consider the interest rate the government charged them was too high! So having saved AIG from the abyss, the US tax payer is being rewarded with jaw-dropping ingratitude and a massive legal bill. What arrogance! In London last week, Goldman Sachs threatened to change the date they paid bonuses from January to April so that their already over-paid employees could take advantage of the reduction in the top rate of tax from 50% to 45%. It took a nudge emanating from No 10 to get them to change their tune. Goldman Sachs’s lack of sensitivity speaks … [Read More...]
The US is seriously rattled by the Palestinian application for UN ‘non-member observer status’ which is due to be presented to the General Assembly on 29th November. Already accepted as a member of Unesco, their new status would allow the Palestinians to apply for membership of other UN organisations – and the ICC. This would open up the opportunity for the Palestinians to challenge the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in court. This would undoubtedly be an embarrassment for the US, but that is not the real reason for their unhappiness. The truth is surely that the US no longer believes in a two state solution or believes that a two state solution will ever be possible. It is dead and buried. This year more building contracts to build illegal settlements have been let in the Occupied Territories than in the previous three years. The US has remained silent. And the peace … [Read More...]
“We are dealing with the darkest of bourgeois taboos. Of all the things on which the world has declared "war" in modern times, self-harming substances must be the daftest. Yet the result has been to destroy millions of lives, expend trillions of dollars, and helplessly corrupt sovereign states, from Afghanistan to Colombia. It is the greatest single failure of modern statecraft. It is the dark ages, and we are still in them”. Simon Jenkins. There’s one good thing about tough times, bad things surface. Bad things and things politicians want to hide or shuffle onto the back burner. So it is with drugs. As Simon Jenkins so eloquently points out in his article below, our political class want nothing to do with drugs reform. It’s too difficult, they haven’t a clue what to do, and of course, there’s no political dividend. Instead they’ve christened the mythical crusade “the war on drugs”, … [Read More...]
More Current Posts
- “Oh Mr Mitchell, in the name of God, go!”
- Time for Israel to show an example and give up its nuclear weapons?
- Hello! Over here …in the long grass!
- “Petrol hits £3 a litre!”
- “Get by with a little help from your friends – you listening George?”
- The impressive Mr Eric Schmidt?
- Will Americans ever feel free to criticise Israel and not worry they are being anti-American?
- Fuel prices – mass protest it is then George!
- Is our democracy suffering because of feral lobbying?
- Free speech, is this a concept the LibDems have forgotten?
- The Tappin Predicament: careless handling of flawed legislation
- Noam Chomsky: The US decline in perspective
- Food speculation: banksters making a killing – literally!
- How journalists can avenge the death of Marie Colvin
- MPs and the Great Disconnect
- There’s no other way of saying this: banks are taking the piss!