Connected to the New Labour project was the thinktank Demos. This was ostensibly left-wing, but in fact contained a number of extremely right-wing business leaders and academics. It has been described by one of the leaders of the Libertarian Alliance as
a cavalry of Trojan horses within the citadel of leftism. The intellectual agenda is served up in a left wing manner, laced with left wing clichés and verbal gestures, but underneath all the agenda is very nearly identical to that of the Thatcherites.
See the article ‘Demos’, by William Clark in Lobster 45, Summer 2003.
There you have it. The Libertarians themselves have more or less stated that the free marketeers in Labour are entryists. It’s high time support was shown to Miliband, and these Trojan horses put out to grass.
Tom Pride is absolutely correct – the (rather patronising) “easy to read” guide for defendants at a Crown Court trial, produced by the Ministry of Justice, has reversed the fundamental principle of British justice: That a defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
Whoever wrote this – what were they thinking?
Did they believe nobody would notice?
It is never a defendant’s business to show a court that they did not commit a crime – as one antagonist stated in an early episode of BBC cop show Luther, “You can’t prove a negative”.
NATO expands: On the left, the situation in 1990; on the right, the scene in 2009 – NATO expanded right up to Russia’s borders.
Isn’t it interesting, how concepts coincide?
Only last night I read, in Russell Brand’s Revolution: “When Mikhail Gorbachev, who it turns out was a lovely fella who bent over backwards to prevent nuclear war and deserved to be remembered for more than that birthmark on his head, allowed a unified Germany to enter NATO, a hostile military alliance, on the condition that ‘NATO would not expand one inch to the east,’ the US agreed. Then they expanded right into East Germany, likely giggling as they went. This dunderheaded truculence persisted under every US regime change… Clinton in his tenure expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders. Chomsky says all this aggro we’re having today in the Crimea and Ukraine is because of these unreported acts of military expansionism by the West.”
Now here’s the Beast: “I … found this little piece in ‘The View from the Bridge’ column in Lobster 45, reproducing statements from elsewhere that NATO was being used to exploit the former eastern bloc countries that have joined it after the fall of Communism. Although over a decade old [bolding mine], it’s relevant now as we are in period of diplomatic tension with Russia over the civil war in Ukraine. This has been presented as a case of pro-Western Ukrainian patriots attempting to free themselves from Russian domination. The reality is somewhat murkier, as the pro-Western side themselves were guilty of considerable corruption. It also includes open Neo-Nazis.”
The stories quoted are about NATO bullying eastern European countries into selling off their national economic assets to foreigners and spending huge amounts of money on US-manufactured military hardware, under threat of losing a place in NATO military committees and command structures.
The Beast writes: “This makes you really wonder what the reality behind the ousting of President Yanukovych in Ukraine really was, and who was supposed to benefit: the Ukrainian people, or Western multinationals.”
And now Greece is rolling back the privatisation programme imposed by the West, against hugely unreasonable – yet mounting – opposition from the Troika and Western right-wingers.
The UK, it seems, is on the side of NATO, and – as long as we have a right-wing government – the privateers. This leads to a very worrying question:
Both the Labour Party and the Conservatives have new campaign videos out on YouTube for us all to watch – and they provide a stark contrast, for anybody who doubted the differences between the two parties.
Labour’s video provides ‘101 reasons to vote Labour in 101 seconds”, and was launched (predictably) on January 26, 101 days before the general election. You’ll need to use your pause button to catch every single reason, and of course some of them are more relevant to everybody than others, but it’s packed with information about the party’s plans. Here it is – see for yourself:
The Conservative campaign video is entitled ‘Ed Miliband and the economy? Don’t risk it’. Launched yesterday (January 30) it seems to exemplify the Lynton Crosby style of negative campaigning. It starts with six lies about Tory achievements (none of the claims are accurate) before going on to throw derision at Ed Miliband, with no evidential support. Take a look if you can stomach it:
Just on the basis of these two videos, who would you support with your vote?
The negative campaign that relies on no evidence to support its outlandish claims – or the upbeat, positive, progressive and above all reassuring set of plans for a more promising future?
Dean: Homeless for five years, he has cerebral palsy and is a living symbol of what is wrong with the system in the UK today. The government won’t help him. Charities won’t help him. Will you?
Last night (January 30), Vox Political had reason to thank its readers on Facebook after that page’s weekly reach topped one million readers – that’s a lot of people. Now it’s time to see if we can all achieve something together.
This site was contacted yesterday by a reader who wanted to highlight the plight of Dean. He’s a 25-year-old man who has cerebral palsy and – here’s where the system has failed him – is homeless.
She wrote: “The week before Christmas, my Mum, myself and twin 10 year old nephew and niece, took Christmas presents around the Charring Cross area to give to the homeless.
“It was while doing this that we came across a young homeless man, and while no one should be homeless in this day and age, as the kids gave him his present it became clear that something was very, very wrong. He could barely speak, the thin red top he was wearing was covered in stains, he was sitting all by himself with a sleeping bag that someone must have given him at some point.
“He wasn’t interested in the present at all, just kept hand signalling that he was hungry and my Mum went straight to buy him some extra food and drinks from the little kiosk that was close by while the kids helped him to open the parcel so that he could at least start with the chocolate bar inside. He had trouble opening it, as well as the drink so we loosened the cap for him and put all his things together in a bag and stayed trying to talk to him, trying to find out if he was lost but the only answers he was giving to anything was ‘no…’
“This guy should not ever have been on the streets and we were truly worried that he wasn’t going to survive [bolding mine].”
It turned out that his name was Dean and he had cerebral palsy – and really should not be on the streets. But he had been there for five years because, as another concerned person (who had taken him to a street kitchen) explained, none of the homelessness charities would help.
Shortly after that, our correspondent’s mother found a picture of Dean on the campaigning site IndieGoGo. It seems that another person, Vanessa Threadgold, had set up the page as a fundraiser to keep Dean off the streets, and had also found a legal aid solicitor to take on Dean’s case and get him the help he should have had all along.
“Watch this video and you will see for yourself why I am so incredibly angered by our not failing, but failed system, and if anyone can contribute to help Dean in any way possible… you will not only be helping Dean himself, but also to highlight how this treatment of the most vulnerable just simply cannot be allowed to continue any longer,” wrote our original correspondent. “It is the most appalling sign of the times.”
Here’s the video:
The IndieGoGo site adds the following: “Dean will eventually be supported and funded by the the government which is exactly what we pay our taxes for.. To help genuinely vulnerable people. However it will still take a few months to get something into place.
“We are hoping to get a short term let that is suitable for Dean’s needs and then we will be able to slowly introduce him into his own place with around the clock support. This will be the quickest way for his housing and care to be sorted and it means no government funding will be available until he has been assessed by the last council whose care he was under.
“There are huge flaws in homelessness laws. These are even more evident in situations like Dean’s. He should never have been on the street in the first instance, let alone have to wait now that he is having help to get into a home.”
The IndieGoGo appeal metre shows that it has passed its target, but it seems likely that this is because the target was set too low. More is needed.
If all of the one million people reached by the Vox Political Facebook page contributed a little towards the IndieGoGo appeal, Dean would be set up for life – but we know that’s not going to happen; not everybody who reads these stories actually does anything about them.
This writer knows there are plenty of you, reading this, who are willing to help, and who will contribute. If just one per cent of the one million people who read VP material on Facebook contributed, Dean would have support – hopefully – for as long as it takes to get him off the streets forever.
I’m sick and tired of writing stories about people who have lost their lives because the authorities who should have helped, using public money – our money – couldn’t be bothered.
I’d like to see if Vox Political can help make a difference – even if only to one life – and shame the government – local and national – and the charities, who should be carrying out this work in our name.
I can put a fiver to that cause quite happily. Will you help, too?
Tommi Miller at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in December last year [Image: Cambridge News].
What use is the government’s claim that cancer treatment is improving, if it only subjects sufferers to the increased stress of having their benefits withdrawn?
If the Coalition Government doesn’t know that this can be fatal on its own, then the BBC (Panorama, ‘Disabled, or faking it?’ c.July 30, 2012) can provide proof.
Meanwhile, we’re going to get more stories like this, from the Cambridge News:
“A 7-year-old Cambridge boy is battling with a devastating cancer – but his disability benefits have been stopped forcing his mother to go without food.
“And devoted mum Ruth Miller, 39, has faced eviction and struggles to pay for heating as she and her husband Kevin, 42, of Thorpe Way, Abbey, have been battling with the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) since May for disability living allowance for their son Tommi.
She said: “It is seriously a joke. I think [they] just want to get out of paying us what we [were] entitled… In the meantime we have nothing to live on. Kevin hasn’t been able to go back to work due to school runs and my other daughter needing emotional support.
“Also, without a vehicle I have to take Tommi out in all weathers. They just really don’t care. I am fed up with battling them. I’ve got no energy or fight left in me.
“We are still living on nothing. Tommi is home now but having daily radiotherapy and reviews so it’s almost impossible to eat even, I’m so sick of worrying every week with no shopping money. I just can’t believe it. He was entitled to it [DLA] for a year after treatment but they stopped it all and even more so now he has relapsed.”
Now, why would the Western (right-wing) media be doing their best to suppress this?
Most of you, dear … readers, will have formed a preconception of what this article is about before you actually read it. I am imploring you not to succumb to such preconceptions. Prejudice was never a good guide, especially during periods when an economic crisis reinforces stereotypes and breeds biggotry, nationalism, even violence.
In 2010, the Greek state ceased to be able to service its debt.
Unfortunately, European officials decided to pretend that this problem could be overcome by means of the largest loan in history on condition of fiscal austerity that would, with mathematical precision, shrink the national income from which both new and old loans must be paid. An insolvency problem was thus dealt with as if it were a case of illiquidity.
In other words, Europe adopted the tactics of the least reputable bankers who refuse to acknowledge bad loans, preferring to grant new ones to the insolvent entity so as to pretend that the original loan is performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future. Nothing more than common sense was required to see that the application of the ‘extend and pretend’ tactic would lead my country to a tragic state. That instead of Greece’s stabilization, Europe was creating the circumstances for a self-reinforcing crisis that undermines the foundations of Europe itself.
My party, and I personally, disagreed fiercely with the May 2010 loan agreement not because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have and our government accepted far, far more than it had a right to [all boldings mine]. Money that would, in any case, neither help the people of Greece (as it was being thrown into the black hole of an unsustainable debt) nor prevent the ballooning of Greek government debt, at great expense to the Greek and German taxpayer.
Indeed, even before a full year had gone by, from 2011 onwards, our predictions were confirmed. The combination of gigantic new loans and stringent government spending cuts that depressed incomes not only failed to rein the debt in but, also, punished the weakest of citizens turning people who had hitherto been living a measured, modest life into paupers and beggars, denying them above all else their dignity. The collapse of incomes pushed thousands of firms into bankruptcy boosting the oligopolistic power of surviving large firms. Thus, prices have been falling but more slowly than wages and salaries, pushing down overall demand for goods and services and crushing nominal incomes while debts continue their inexorable rise. In this setting, the deficit of hope accelerated uncontrollably and, before we knew it, the ‘serpent’s egg’ hatched – the result being neo-Nazis patrolling our neighbourhoods, spreading their message of hatred.
Despite the evident failure of the ‘extend and pretend’ logic, it is still being implemented to this day. The second Greek ‘bailout’, enacted in the Spring of 2012, added another huge loan on the weakened shoulders of the Greek taxpayers, “haircut” our social security funds, and financed a ruthless new kleptocracy.
Respected commentators have been referring of recent to Greece’s stabilization, even of signs of growth. Alas, ‘Greek-covery’ is but a mirage which we must put to rest as soon as possible. The recent modest rise of real GDP, to the tune of 0.7%, signals not the end of recession (as has been proclaimed) but, rather, its continuation. Think about it: The same official sources report, for the same quarter, an inflation rate of -1.80%, i.e. deflation. Which means that the 0.7% rise in real GDP was due to a negative growth rate of nominal GDP! In other words, all that happened is that prices declined faster than nominal national income. Not exactly a cause for proclaiming the end of six years of recession!
Allow me to submit to you that this sorry attempt to recruit a new version of ‘Greek statistics’, in order to declare the ongoing Greek crisis over, is an insult to all Europeans who, at long last, deserve the truth about Greece and about Europe. So, let me be frank: Greece’s debt is currently unsustainable and will never be serviced, especially while Greece is being subjected to continuous fiscal waterboarding. The insistence in these dead-end policies, and in the denial of simple arithmetic, costs the German taxpayer dearly while, at once, condemning a proud European nation to permanent indignity. What is even worse: In this manner, before long the Germans turn against the Greeks, the Greeks against the Germans and, unsurprisingly, the European Ideal suffers catastrophic losses.
Germany, and in particular the hard-working German workers, have nothing to fear from a SYRIZA victory. The opposite holds. Our task is not to confront our partners. It is not to secure larger loans or, equivalently, the right to higher deficits.
Our target is, rather, the country’s stabilization, balanced budgets and, of course, the end of the grand squeeze of the weaker Greek taxpayers in the context of a loan agreement that is simply unenforceable. We are committed to end ‘extend and pretend’ logic not against German citizens but with a view to the mutual advantages for all Europeans.
Dear readers, I understand that, behind your ‘demand’ that our government fulfils all of its ‘contractual obligations’ hides the fear that, if you let us Greeks [have] some breathing space, we shall return to our bad, old ways. I acknowledge this anxiety. However, let me say that it was not SYRIZA that incubated the kleptocracy which today pretends to strive for ‘reforms’, as long as these ‘reforms’ do not affect their ill-gotten privileges. We are ready and willing to introduce major reforms for which we are now seeking a mandate to implement from the Greek electorate, naturally in collaboration with our European partners.
Our task is to bring about a European New Deal within which our people can breathe, create and live in dignity.
A great opportunity for Europe is about to be born in Greece. An opportunity Europe can ill afford to miss.
Senior Citizens claiming Pension Credit will soon be subject to the same draconian system of monitoring and case reviews as the disabled and jobseekers, when the ‘assessed income period’ system is abolished in April 2016.
The Conservative-led Coalition Government included this nasty little time-bomb in its Pension Act of last year; at the moment AIPs are granted for people aged 65-plus and last for five years, during which recipients do not have to tell the Department for Work and Pensions of any changes to their income or capital but, from April 2016, they will.
People aged over 75 when the AIP is set are normally allowed it for an indefinite period but, again, this will cease from April 2016. The government will periodically harass people in their twilight years, for the sake of a few farthings.
It is expected that the abolition of these periods will have a huge impact on those least able to defend themselves – people who receive a life cover payout following the death of a partner, or those trading down in house size, or people carrying out any of the adjustments that may be necessary on retirement.
Many will lose all entitlement to Pension Credit – but are currently unaware of the plan to cancel Assessed Income Periods.
Have you ever heard about it?
In addition, pensioners thus affected will also lose entitlement to valuable NHS benefits.
Craig Berry, writing in the TUC’s Touchstone blog in 2013 (!) told us: “The ending of the ‘assessed income period’ for Pension Credit… is a bizarre decision (explicable only in the sense that it saves the Exchequer some cash) arising from the same mindset behind the cruel introduction of a seven-day waiting period before people can claim unemployment benefits.
“They want to make it harder to claim the benefits to which we are entitled and, in many cases, desperately need.
“The government thinks that this change will save as much as £45 million per year from 2017/18 – not an inconsiderable sum given the unemployment benefit waiting period, which will cause significant hardship to many households, will bring in only £260 million from the same year.
“This policy is vital to reduce complexity within the means-tested benefit system for pensioners – an extremely complex system marred by low take-up rates. The system is about to get even messier because the Pensions Bill will effectively end ‘passporting’ between different benefits.”
The Coalition Government’s own impact assessment claims that the scheme “has not worked as effectively as it should, as they were set such that a huge volume of cases came up for review at the same time, causing delays.”
It states: “There is a strong [financial?] argument for simplifying the policy to avoid confusion about which changes needed to be reported. The proposed change would simply require all customers to report all changes in their circumstances as they occur.”
It adds: “Applying changes in retirement provision as they occur is estimated to reduce the Exchequer spend on Pension Credit by around £80m a year.” [bolding mine]
Recipients of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) know what this will mean. At the end of their lives, older people will be subjected to a constant barrage of reassessments and unheralded case reviews, as part of a strategy intended to discourage them from claiming a benefit that is theirs by legal right.
It is another reason for pensioners to abandon any support for the Conservatives – and this is why the Tories aren’t telling anyone.
Pensioners: If you vote Conservative in May, you are inviting them to stab you in the back.
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