Tag Archives: football

Jake Berry: ignorant Tory who likened opera houses with football clubs is OWNED on Twitter

Jake Berry: he thinks art is for cultured southerners, while northerners consider their culture to be football.

Jake Berry may have an ordinary-sounding name but he’s as entitled – and dim-witted – as all the other Tory toffs.

He recently exhibited his staggering Tory ignorance while actually trying to do something decent – appealing for government cash to help northern football clubs.

The trouble was not in the intention, but in the delivery of the appeal. He suggested that people in the south of England consider the Royal Opera House and the ballet to be “at the heart of their culture”, while those in the north consider their culture to be housed in their local football stadia.

He could not see how insulting this is.

He was basically saying that northerners are uncultured louts whose principle joy in life is seeing a leather bladder being kicked around a field on a Saturday afternoon, whereas southerners are refined, and are therefore able to appreciate exclusive art forms like music and ballet.

A put-down was in order – and has been duly delivered:

Take your medicine, Berry.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Sharma joins the ranks of MPs who’ve shamed themselves over football

Alok Sharma: this is the only image I have of him and he’s not worth the bother of making another.

Why do they do it?

MPs – especially Tory MPs – seem to think they have to pretend to be “of the people” – and that the best way to establish this pretence is by saying they like, follow and support their local football teams – even though they don’t.

David Cameron tried it and got the name of his team wrong.

Now Alok Sharma:

It was bad enough he tried to cover up Boris Johnson’s “no deal” Brexit by calling it an “Australia-style” deal in the same interview.

This blew any credibility he had left.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Boris Johnson has fuelled racism in football says Gary Neville after Manchester derby incident

A racist incident at a football derby between Manchester City and Manchester United was fuelled by Boris Johnson’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, according to Gary Neville.

He was speaking on Sky Sports after Man City said the club was “aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures”.

And he said:

He’s absolutely right – and for the reason, I’m going to hand you over the Steve Walker of the Skwawkbox blog who has already put it better than I can:

“Johnson – who has called black people piccaninnies, muslim women … bankrobbers and letterboxes and spoken dismissively of African nations – is a figurehead for racism and racists.

“But he also despises working-class people, hard-working single mothers and their children – and has slashed services and scoffed at those who said he was endangering lives. He can’t open his mouth without lying.

“In short, he has done just about everything that should unite ordinary, decent people against him.”

As far as the football incident is concerned, the BBC tells us “a 41-year-old man has been held on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order and remains in custody”.

Source: Gary Neville blames Boris Johnson for ‘fuelling’ racism in football after Manchester derby incident | The Independent

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Racism in football: England SHOULD have walked away

Racists: Bulgarian fans throw Nazi salutes at England’s footballers.

It isn’t such a long time since England supporters were the racists that every other footballing nation dreaded having to host.

A co-ordinated effort was made to shut down the troublemakers, using video evidence to identify them and prevent them from travelling abroad.

Now it seems clear that racism is a scourge that overshadows the sport internationally in any case. I remember a recent international tournament in which Russian fans were expected to start racist violence; last night (October 14) England team members suffered racist abuse from Bulgarians.

UEFA has a three-point plan to deal with racism in football matches – but authorities acted on only the first two parts of it.

After Tyrone Mings was subjected to racist chanting, stadium authorities used the public address system to announce that the referee would consider abandoning the match due to racist behaviour.

But it continued, and in the 41st minute, England players were asked if they wished to enact the second part of the protocol and go back to their dressing room. They chose to play on, at least until half-time.

It was when more racism flared up during the second half that the fight against it was let down. According to UEFA’s protocol, the match should have been abandoned.

But England played on, winning a 0-6 victory. The argument is that the players let their football do the talking, took the victory and the three points that went with it, and left with their heads held high.

What does this actually say, though? That we’ll tolerate racism if we’re winning?

John Barnes seems to think so. In an Independent column, the former footballer who himself suffered an enormous amount of racist abuse reminds us that two matches have been abandoned in accordance with the UEFA protocol so far – and on both those occasions, the teams suffering the abuse were losing.

The implication is clear – that the abuse was used as an excuse to get out of a loss.

England, on the other hand, was in a position to make a genuinely positive statement – and didn’t.

“When we were 4-0 up, and there was continued racism towards England’s players, albeit less than the first half, we should have seen the inevitable result of our zero tolerance stance on racism, and the third step of that protocol SHOULD have been enforced,” wrote Mr Barnes.

He stated that the team chose to “leave the stunning moment that could redefine football’s relationship with racism for another team, another time.”

And he wrote: “When a team does that, then it truly would be a real statement of support for the fight against racism in football.”

And also against the rise against racism all around.

I have a friend from Bulgaria. I cannot imagine any situation in which he would exhibit the kind of behaviour we saw from his countrymen (and women?) at the match.

But racism is on the rise, especially in eastern Europe – due to a combination of events that have propelled populist, far-right organisations to prominence. Here in the UK, austerity* that was brought in on the back of the financial crisis needed a scapegoat, and migrant workers in the UK were chosen for that role. It is one of the reasons people voted to pull the UK out of the European Union.

There was no reason to impose austerity on anybody, remember. It was a political decision by the Conservatives, in order to shrink state spending and deprive poorer people of the services their taxes have funded. The rise in racism this triggered was collateral damage that the Tories were happy to allow – because it diverted blame away from them.

A gesture against racism in a hugely popular sport like football might go a long distance to counter this movement toward hate. England has missed a huge opportunity – winning the match but losing the moral high ground.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

George Galloway has spilled a nasty can of worms over football regulations

“Yid Army”: Jewish Spurs fans wave a modified flag of Israel at a match – but isn’t this against the rules?

The controversy over whether George Galloway was anti-Semitic for claiming Israeli flag-waving Spurs supporters are backing a “racist state” may rumble on for some time – but why were these fans even allowed to bring such flags to matches when it is against FA rules?

These rules ban political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative slogans or messages at matches. Originally applied to players and team officials, they have been widened in practice to include supporters.

The most notorious example of this appears to be UEFA’s decision to fine Celtic £8,615 for waving the flag of Palestine at a 2016 match against Israeli team Hapoel Be’er Sheva in 2016:

UEFA had said its rules forbid the use of “gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly messages that are of a political, ideological, religious, offensive or provocative nature”. It was said to have described the Palestinian flag as an “illicit banner”. Is it?

It’s a reference to Law 4 of the game. The UK’s Football Association has the same rule, referring to players and team officials. But UEFA’s widening of its application creates a tension that needs to be addressed.

In 2018, FA chief Martin Glenn was rebuked for saying the Star of David was among the symbols he believes breach the soccer laws banning religious and political imagery. The Jewish Leadership Council said his words were “offensive and inappropriate”, as the symbol is on the Israeli flag which appears on national team kits and is displayed in stadiums.

Such symbols are allowed on national kits, though.

The issue is one of hypocrisy, as “Han Dodges” pointed out in the tweet above.

Why should Israeli flags be permitted in football stadiums but not those of Palestine? That seems to show very clear political bias by national and international football associations.

It seems if the rules had been correctly and impartially applied, Mr Galloway would not have fallen foul of his now-former employers at TalkRadio, because there would have been no Israeli flags at Spurs matches.

It seems the FA has a serious question to answer.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

Stronger for Scotland: The SNP government is heading in an ever more authoritarian direction [Image: politics.co.uk].

I’m publishing quite a long extract from this politics.co.uk article, in anticipation of a knee-jerk backlash from supporters of the SNP.

Nationalist parties tend to be authoritarian, so many of these developments may be no surprise to informed commentators.

But is this really what the people of Scotland thought they were getting when the SNP promised to fight for freedom from the United Kingdom?

It may seem inappropriate to compare the SNP with right-wing nationalist governments in Poland or Hungary. Unfortunately as the Scottish government, led by Nicola Sturgeon, heads in an ever more authoritarian direction, such comparisons are increasingly justified.

Examples of this tendency range from the trivial to the far more serious. Most recently, Donald Trump’s comments about Muslim immigrants, led to calls from the SNP for him to be banned from entering the country as a “hate preacher”. While many may agree with this, the former SNP leader Alex Salmond went one step further. He not only endorsed a ban, but said Scotland should be banning ‘all Donald Trumps’. It reminds me of a nightclub bouncer compiling a list of undesirables who aren’t allowed entry on a Saturday night. It would be interesting to see Salmond’s list of who should and shouldn’t be allowed into the country.

It’s not just differing views which the SNP are uncomfortable with, but differing lifestyles. The Scottish government are currently seeking to ban the sale of cheap alcohol in an attempt to control the behaviour of Scottish drinkers. Unlike the English or Welsh who have resisted such moves, the SNP believe we Scots can’t be trusted with cheap alcohol. The only reason it’s not in force is because the EU court raised concerns about restrictions on free trade.

A more sinister development is the SNP plan for a named person or ‘state guardian’ for every child. This will grant the state unprecedented powers over families. Proponents of the law advocate that it provides a point of contact for families. But the status quo already has various routes for families needing support. The real change is the Scottish Government having arbitrary and intrusive powers into every family in Scotland. Former chairman of Scotland’s Children Panel Advisory Group Joe Knight described it as “an erosion of parental rights and responsibilities.”

The disturbing point is not just that every child will have a named person intervening in their lives, but the SNP presumption that every child needs such a person. On this issue as on many others of personal responsibility, the SNP government is convinced it knows best.

The SNP’s super ID database is even more troubling. It’s not exactly clear how our private information would be monitored under the scheme, but filling in an innocuous form at your local NHS dentist could result in the information being circulated to 120 public bodies, including Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Privacy campaigners have called on the Scottish government to ditch the scheme, as it will allow widespread data mining and profiling. Tellingly, the proposals are not being treated as primary legislations and are being forced through without parliamentary debate. On this issue as well, the SNP are allowing little dissent.

Arguably, the most authoritarian development of all is the SNP’s passing of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act. Under this law, fans’ behaviour must be monitored in order to see whether it merits an arrest. Yet so broad is the legislation that fans can be questioned and even arrested simply for the clothes they’re wearing, or the songs they’re singing.

The SNP’s approach to Donald Trump and football fans is remarkably similar. Rather than enlighten, persuade or educate, they opt for the lazy illiberal option of simply banning them.

Source: The SNP government is drifting towards authoritarianism

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The double-standards behind the way we investigate allegations of sex abuse

David Eatock is the latest footballer to come forward with allegations about his coach [Image: David Eatock].

David Eatock is the latest footballer to come forward with allegations about his coach [Image: David Eatock].

The media feeding-frenzy over allegations of sex abuse against footballers by their coaches just shows the hypocrisy of investigators, according to Mrs Mike.

She says what happened doesn’t matter anything like as much as who is making the complaint – and This Writer can see her point.

High-profile people like professional footballers benefit from the trust of the media – and, presumably, investigators.

But if the allegation is made by an ordinary member of the public – against a public figure – then the story is different.

The recent collapse of the Operation Midland inquiry due to questions over the credibility of its key witness has led to claims that victims should no longer be automatically believed.

That may seem like common sense to you – anybody’s allegations should be tested, right?

But it also means that it will be easier for those with something to hide to attack the credibility of people who are naturally likely to be highly nervous of authority figures and under extreme stress, simply from coming forward.

And of course, if you are making a historic child sex abuse claim against another member of the public, your chances of being believed have always been low – especially if the allegation is against somebody who has a good relationship with the police.

Mrs Mike has personal experience of that, which means that This Writer has first-hand experience of it as well.

For that matter, how many allegations of sexual abuse and/or rape carried out against adult women actually end in a successful prosecution? I’ll tell you: one-fifteenth – and that’s one-fifteenth of the three-seventeenths of rapes that are actually reported (according to figures that are – I’m sorry to say – several years old).

Don’t mistake me – any investigation that puts a paedophile in jail is welcome.

It’s just a shame our society refuses to apply the same standards to everybody.

A former Newcastle United footballer has become the latest to say he was abused by coach George Ormond.

David Eatock told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show he had been groomed by Ormond, later to be jailed for six years, between the ages of 18 and 21.

Mr Eatock, now 40, was not part of the court case that saw Ormond convicted in 2002 for assaulting seven boys, but has now filed a complaint to the police.

He said he had left the club “a shell” of his former self.

It comes as the NSPCC said its hotline – set up to offer support to victims of child sex abuse within football – had received 860 calls in its first week.

Within the first three days of it launching, the organisation made more than 60 referrals to a range of agencies across the UK.

Source: Football child sex abuse: Ex-Newcastle player David Eatock latest to speak out – BBC News

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Benefits Street 2: Middlesbrough football fans display banners attacking new series

This is from the Unemployed in Tyne and Wear blog, which posted this picture showing Middlesbrough football fans’ attitude to the new series of Benefits Street:

Benefits-Street-football-protest

If you think any further comment is necessary, dear reader, take a look at the article on the Unemployed in Tyne and Wear site.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
bringing you the best of the blogs!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Labour is following the same plan as England’s football team – to failure

Mock sympathy: This is the sort of treatment Ed Miliband can expect from David Cameron if he keeps following policies that are created by the Tory media rather than the needs of the British people.

Mock sympathy: This is the sort of treatment Ed Miliband can expect from David Cameron if he keeps following policies that are created by the Tory media rather than the needs of the British people.

Labour could be heading for defeat next year, after it set out new policies that have the same chance of success as England’s plan for the 2014 World Cup.

The party put its weight behind a report by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) that left the public cold. If Labour does not change direction, it seems likely the party will not win the votes it needs to get into office next year – unless its rivals make serious mistakes.

It is a situation almost exactly like that of the England football team.

All right, it’s not a perfect parallel. England got into this fix because it was outplayed by teams with ambitious and flamboyant star players – Balotelli for Italy and Suarez for Uruguay. Labour doesn’t have that problem as the closest equivalent in politics is Nigel Farage.

But, like England, Labour seems unable to defend itself against even rudimentary attacks – partly because leaders have painted themselves into a corner (marked ‘pro-austerity’) and partly because they simply refuse to use the logical arguments. Does anybody remember what a relief it was when, after years of silence in response to Tory claims that Labour caused the financial collapse, Peter Hain finally told Owen Paterson, on the BBC’s Any Questions, “It was the banks that destroyed the economy, not the Labour government – it was the international banking system!”

And where is Mr Hain now? He’s retiring at the next election. The only Labour player who was man enough to fend off this blatantly unreasonable Tory attack and he’s being taken off the field.

Meanwhile, Labour’s leaders continue to make schoolboy mistakes that create the opportunity for the other side to score. Ed Miliband’s publicity-seeking pose with The Sun was a spectacular example; yesterday’s IPPR report was a more subtle one.

The lack of ambition is staggering; it seems that, after four years, the Miliband camp still hasn’t understood that copying Tory austerity will scare voters away. Committing to Tory-imposed constraints that require any new idea to be covered by a cut or a tax increase will just increase the exodus – Labour needs to be ambitious.

Everybody knows now that austerity is nonsense. It’s an excuse to drive money into the hands of those who have too much of it already. After four years of it, we are told that this government is on course to put five million British children in poverty by 2020. Food bank use is at its highest ever. The number of people claiming in-work benefits is at its highest ever because employers refuse to pay a living wage and expect the taxpayer to subsidise them instead; by the time of the 2015 election, working families will be around £2,000 per year worse off than they were in 2010.

You are worse-off under the Tory Coalition. You are worse-off under austerity.

Meanwhile, business bosses and shareholders have been having a spectacularly good time, with incomes skyrocketing. There’s no austerity for the One Per Cent!

Indeed, income inequality has increased hugely to place the UK seventh on the international table, behind the USA (fourth) and Chile (first) – and we all know that Tory neoliberals are huge fans of the systems in those two countries.

incomeinequality

What are the wealthy doing with all the money they have parasitised from the rest of us?

Well, they’re not using it to pay their taxes, that’s for sure!

One of the main plans put forward in Labour’s IPPR report was to save money by means-testing benefits for 100,000 young people – saving £65 million. That’s a pittance compared to the £600 million in taxes that is being withheld by Google, Amazon and Apple, according to an infographic that’s currently doing the rounds.

140620taxcheatinfographic#

Labour is very quiet about that – copying the Tory attitude of diverting people with stories about welfare abuses because Miliband’s know-nothing advisors think being “hard on benefits” is popular with the public, who don’t like “scroungers”.

They’re not intelligent enough to understand that this attitude has been carefully nurtured in the public consciousness by a right-wing, Tory-controlled media. It has nothing to do with reality, in which only a tiny minority of people are in fact defrauding the taxpayer out of benefit money. Lord Fraud – sorry, Freud – was taken to task for this only days ago.

It seems that – like England’s football team – the Labour Party has been off chasing a fantasy. Austerity and the persecution of people on benefits (most of whom are entirely deserving of them, plus massive amounts of compensation for the despicable way they have been treated for the past few years) are Conservative-created blind alleys. In politics, you don’t oppose anybody by copying them.

If Labour concentrated on the real causes of Britain’s problems, the party might have a hope of success.

Otherwise, like the England team, Labour will have to be content with hoping that the Tories make a big mistake.

And, like the England team, they are most likely to learn that this is not good enough.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first, Strong Words and Hard Times
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Thatcher’s police state – the culture that led to Hillsborough

It seems amazing that Jack Straw, a former Home Secretary, can be described as “very silly” for saying what we have all known for nearly 30 years.

Responding to the announcement of the Hillsborough cover-up by South Yorkshire Police, he said Margaret – now Baroness – Thatcher, the Prime Minister at the time, had created a “culture of impunity” in the police that made such corruption possible.

Anyone who lived through the 1980s should be well aware of this. Mrs Thatcher used the police as a political weapon throughout her period in office.

Look at the way she used police – and in fact transported officers from forces across the country – to intimidate miners during the strike of 1984-5; look at the way she used them to stop people celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

The Levellers even wrote a song about it.

According to the BBC website, Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Thatcher government, because they needed the police to be a partisan force, particularly for the miners strike and other industrial troubles, created a culture of impunity in the police service.

“They really were immune from outside influences and they thought they could rule the roost – and that is what we absolutely saw in south Yorkshire.”

In a time when most workers’ pay was being severely restricted by her government, Mrs Thatcher boosted police pay – by up to 45 per cent in some cases. I seem to recall she built up their pensions as well, and her government broke the link between a local beat policeman and his community, so that police were put on patrol in places away from their own homes.

These moves created forces that were loyal to the Conservative government, and who believed they could act without fear of reprisals; they had the government backing them up.

Many of those who took part in the Hillsborough cover-up – and other abuses of power across the country – will never be brought to justice. I mention this because I was in a hospital outpatients’ waiting room today, watching Loose Women (of all things). Before I was distracted by a young girl wearing a wrist brace, who wanted to tell me about her dead gerbil, I heard Janet Street-Porter announce to the viewing world that the police who were involved in the cover-up should be suspended.

It was 23 years ago; many of them will have retired by now, and former police officers are never questioned on their activities when they were on duty.

How do I know this?

Let’s just say I know a few ladies who were subjected to serious physical, mental and sexual abuse (over a 28-year period, in one case), at the hands of one man. These ladies appealed to the police for help on several occasions, documented by doctors – but not by the officers who dealt with them. Instead, they were told to go home. The ladies concerned escaped after years of abuse, but when they tried to seek justice against those in the police force who collaborated with their abuser, they were told there was no record of their allegations and the police officers concerned had retired. The police service refused to track down these former officers and so the crimes have gone unpunished.

This is what I think will happen with the police who were at Hillsborough.

A “culture of impunity”? Yes, I think so.