Tag Archives: success

‘Cancelled’ Young Labour rally is a huge success. Is this one part of the party we can still support?

Packed: the Young Labour rally that Keir Starmer’s Labour conference app falsely stated was cancelled. This is the way to beat liars like Starmer.

The antipathy shown by Keir Starmer, David Evans and their right-wing-dominated NEC toward Young Labour suggests that it is one of the few parts of the party that deserve to grow during their blighted reign.

According to the excellent Skwawkbox, Labour’s official conference app falsely announced that Young Labour’s “Rally for a Socialist Future” yesterday evening was “cancelled”; it wasn’t.

Instead, the event was packed with young socialists who heard speakers including Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Zarah Sultana, Nadia Whittome and representatives of the union Unite and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

And it was a huge success:

It seems to This Writer that Young Labour is one of the few parts of the Labour Party that is actually fulfilling its stated function as an organisation for democratic socialists.

As it represents a starting-point for people who will form the future heart of the Labour Party, CLPs should not only urge young people in their constituencies to join; they should actively find roles for Young Labour members as they mature – ultimately seeking to find Parliamentary candidates among them.

It’s a way of preventing Starmer and/or his successors from parachuting Tories in as candidates instead.

Also popular among the fringe events yesterday evening was a discussion between John McDonnell and former US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who said left-wing Labour should challenge Starmer over his rejection of socialist policies.

According to the BBC,

Mr Sanders said what “the progressive movement” on the left was calling for was not “radical demands”, but it was time to put those who said no “on the defensive”.

“There is no reason why in the UK or the United States all workers should not be able to earn decent wages and have decent benefits,” he said.

“There is no reason all over the world [why] we cannot provide quality healthcare to all human beings as a right of citizenship.”

The senator added: “Those people who tell you you can’t do it, you ask them why, why can’t you do it? Because you are afraid to stand up to big money interests? That is not an acceptable reason.”

Mr Sanders said the approach would lead to a good outcome.

He concluded: “When you speak truth to people, they often respond in a positive way.”

He makes a good point.

And when you are speaking the truth in the face of an obvious lie – like the Starmer-run Labour app’s claim that the Young Labour rally had been cancelled – you have an immediate advantage.

Starmer’s supporters have voted to make Labour’s internal struggle a long, slow war of attrition, focusing on internal party politics while Boris Johnson and his Tories do whatever they like in the real world (and I use the word “real” advisedly). That has been their choice.

It should be the choice of socialists to call out their lies, put them under the spotlight and explain in the simplest possible terms why policies for everyone – upheld by honest people – are better.

Source: Labour ‘cancels’ Young Labour conference event – but it was still a big success – SKWAWKBOX

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Police action on historic child abuse is STILL too little, and much, much too late

Despair: too many paedoophiles have escaped justice because police were not interested in investigating. And there are serious questions to be asked about their reasons.

I know at least one person who is a victim of historic child sexual abuse and while she may applaud the justice others are getting, it is far too late for her.

She tried to get her local police force to investigate and convict her abuser – and they rejected her allegations out-of-hand.

She believes this is because the perpetrator was a police informant and that officers of the force in question had known about his crimes but were content to ignore them.

As the victim, the suffered extreme mental ill-health including a nervous breakdown. It has taken decades for her to reach a point where she can conduct even the semblance of a normal life.

And the effect on her has meant there has been an effect on her own children too.

Her abuser is now extremely old and infirm. It is doubtful he would understand what was going on if police launched an investigation now.

And it is extremely unlikely that she would want to relive the hell that he made of her life. It would be risking a relapse into mental illness, and for a negligible return.

So the belated police interest in such matters, known as Operation Hydrant, will always be too little, and far too late.

But that doesn’t make it pointless, by any stretch of the imagination. Look at the figures and you’ll see the truth of it.

That’s why I agree that Boris Johnson should be pilloried for his suggestion that inquiries into non-recent sexual abuse were “spaffing money up the wall”.

Also, his choice of words – and remember, this is a journalist; he knew what he was doing – was extremely offensive.

And it shows where his priorities lie.

They lie in hiding what happened – in covering up the extent of historic paedophile abuse in the UK.

Why?

Let’s not forget that his immediate forerunner as prime minister, Theresa May, managed to mislay a file of paedophile allegations against more than 100 people.

Is this attitude from the Tories an attempt to protect people who used positions of power to abuse children?

What other reason would they have?

I ask merely for information.

Source: Police uncovering ‘epidemic of child abuse’ in 1970s and 80s | UK news | The Guardian

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Is Jeremy Hunt trying to fool us with the same con trick, all over again?

130925hunt

It seems that Jeremy Misprint Hunt is trying to pretend that his planned law making it easier to close good hospitals to prop up bad ones (and boost private health firms in the process) is happening because “Conservatives genuinely care about the NHS”.

Writing in The Guardian, he tells us that Clause 118 of the Care Bill currently on its way through Parliament – the so-called Hospital Closure Clause, “is necessary because we need the power to turn around failing hospitals quickly and – in extremis – put them into administration before people are harmed or die unnecessarily.

“The process has to happen quickly, because when a hospital is failing lives can be put at risk. That is why it matters so much – and why, in opposing it, Labour are voting to entrench the failures they failed to tackle.”

For information, Clause 118 was included in the Bill after Mr Hunt lost a legal battle to close services at the successful and financially solvent Lewisham Hospital in order to shore up the finances of the neighbouring South London Healthcare Trust, which was losing more than £1 million every week after commissioning new buildings under the Private Finance initiative.

The private firms that funded this work were apparently charging huge amounts of interest on it, meaning that SLHT would never be able to clear its debt.

PFI was introduced by the Conservative government of 1979-97 and, sadly, continued by the Labour government that followed it.

It seems likely that it will contribute to the absorption of many NHS trusts by the private sector, as the effects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 take hold.

Clause 118 means the Health Secretary will be able to close successful local hospitals in England on the pretext of helping neighbouring trusts that are failing – without full and proper consultation with patients and the public, or even agreement from the (in name alone) GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The resulting, merged, organisation could then be handed over to private firms who bid to run the service at a price that is acceptable to the government.

So it seems that this is a plan to speed up the process of privatisation, rather than anything to do with caring about the NHS.

It seems to me that Mr Hunt is trying to lull the public into false security by claiming the NHS is safe, in exactly the same way his forerunner as Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, provided assurances before Parliament passed his nefarious Health and Social Care Act.

Mr Lansley said his law would increase the range of choice available to patients (it doesn’t; in fact, it increases the ability of service providers to choose which patients they treat, on the basis of cost rather than care); he said GPs would be able to commission the services they need for their patients (in practice, they don’t; the running of the new Clinical Commissioning Groups has been handed over primarily to private healthcare consultants, many of which are arms of private healthcare providers, creating a conflict of interest that is conspicuously never mentioned); and he said that CCGs would be able to choose who provides services on the basis of quality (they can’t; if they restrict any service to a single provider, they risk legal action from private healthcare firms on the grounds that they are breaching competition rules).

Mr Lansley lied about all those matters; it seems Mr Hunt is lying about this one.

Or am I mistaken?

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Modern politics: Give the other fellow hell – and the country nothing at all

131214perception

Politics is perception.

It isn’t about government any more. It seems none of the main parties are interested in gaining Parliamentary dominance in order to improve British citizens’ chances of leading successful lives, serving their needs by creating the best conditions in which they can prosper.

Quite the opposite – it seems clear that the intention is to crush those very citizens beneath the heel of the State (most hypocritically in the case of the Conservatives), forcing the people to serve the interests of the elected members.

What a sad State to be in. Politics is no longer even “the art of the possible”, as Otto von Bismarck once put it – unless we are discussing possible ways to fleece the electorate.

Now, the aim of the game is to shape the way the masses perceive current events. Control of the media is vital, and a series of strong statements – supported by those media but not necessarily by the facts – is considered all that is necessary to win.

It isn’t, as we shall see. But this is why we hear Tories screaming on and on, week after week, that they are clearing up a mess (no they’re not) that was Labour’s fault (no it wasn’t); that the benefit bill is too high (no it isn’t – really, it isn’t!), and the only solution is to cut support for people who desperately need it and put them into deep poverty and destitution (no it isn’t). These are positions taken by the current Coalition government and none of them are supported by the facts.

Then there is the running-down of opposing politicians. Labour’s Jack Dromey was on the receiving end of Conservative ire yesterday, after he tweeted a message about a lad from a Royal Mail sorting office being its “Pikey”. He meant that Gareth Martin’s nickname in his place of work was “Pikey”, after the character of Private Pike, the youngest member of the platoon in Dad’s Army – but Tories including David Morris went as far as writing to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, demanding an investigation into the use of a derogatory term for members of the Roma and Irish travelling communities and questioning whether it was an incitement to racial hatred, of all things.

Of course it wasn’t. It was an attempt to get a fairly simple idea into Twitter’s 140-character limit that failed because of a word that had a double meaning.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Sarah Champion accused Conservative MPs of making sexist gestures at female members of the Opposition, while they are speaking in the House of Commons. If this is correct (and it’s hard to tell, because televised debates concentrate mainly on whoever is speaking), then the intention cannot be as open to interpretation as Mr Dromey and his “Pikey”. Interestingly, I had to use an MSN news report as reference because the BBC News item seems to have disappeared – which tends to support my point.

Constituencies up and down the country have been going through the motions of choosing the candidates who will fight the 2015 election – and what a well-managed process it is! I wonder how many of these candidates were the preferred choice of their Party heirarchy, who then contrived to convince their members that the choice was democratic? But we were all shocked at the suggestion of corruption in Falkirk, weren’t we?

How many new candidates will be besuited youngsters, with scant work experience other than as gophers for sitting Parliamentarians, councillors or devolved Parliamentarians/Assembly members, brandishing their degrees in Politics, Philosophy and Economics as though they were magic talismans that would guarantee their entry to the highest offices in the land?

How many of these candidates will be brave enough to have a voice of their own, and how many will simply spout homogeneous party lines, carefully-worded so that they can apply to any constituency?

And if they win their seat, how many of them will stand up for the rights and livelihoods of their constituents, rather than obediently voting through every corrupt bid to drain us of power and money?

Not many, I’ll warrant.

Look at your own representatives – and the candidates who hope to replace them. What do you see?

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Coalition policy success: 80,000 children homeless for Christmas

shame

Tory politicians don’t care and Liberal Democrats don’t have any power – that’s why 80,000 children are being housed in temporary accommodation, alongside drug users and enduring threats of violence, as reported by Shelter today.

The government’s own figures show 2,090 families living in bed and breakfasts – an increase of eight per cent on 2012 and the largest number in 10 years, according to The Guardian. Of these, 760 have been living in B&Bs longer than the legal six-week limit – a 10 per cent increase on last year.

More than 43,000 other homeless households with children are in other emergency accommodation – usually privately-rented short-term flats, which are expensive. This is an increase of nine per cent on last year.

To put this into context, a Labour government commitment to halve the number of families in this kind of emergency accommodation meant the total fell between 2005 and 2010 – but it has been rising again since June 2011.

This is a human disaster created by the Coalition government.

Most families interviewed by the charity said they felt unsafe, with one child directly threatened by a man after an argument over a shared bathroom. Almost half said their children had witnessed incidents such as sexual offences, drug use and dealing.

One mother of three said: “One of the reasons we left was one of the residents trying to sell us crack cocaine.”

Most of the 25 families Shelter interviewed lived in one room; half said the children were sharing beds with parents or siblings and the family was sharing kitchen facilities with others. All but three said it was hard to find a safe place for their children to play. Three families had no cooking facilities and one reported sharing a cooker and fridge with 22 other people.

More than half had to share a bathroom or toilet with strangers, with 10 families sharing with seven or more other people; two-thirds had no table to eat on, and schoolchildren were finding it hard to do homework.

And their health is suffering: “It’s so hard to give him a balanced diet as it’s impossible to make proper meals here, let alone a Christmas dinner. He’s getting really pale and is so tired all the time. He gets so scared but it’s difficult when I’m scared myself. This is no place for a child to live,” said a mother in a Hounslow B&B.

“This shouldn’t be happening in 21st century Britain,” said Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, who described the charity’s findings as “shocking” and the conditions forced on families as “shameful”.

He said: “No child should be homeless, let alone 80,000. But tragically, with more people struggling to make ends meet and homelessness on the rise, we’re bracing ourselves for an increase in demand from families who desperately need our help.”

Housing minister Kris Hopkins couldn’t care less. “We’ve given councils nearly £1bn to tackle homelessness and to support people affected by the welfare reforms,” he sniffed.

“I am very clear that they should be fully able to meet their legal responsibility to house families in suitable accommodation.”

Let us be very clear on this: the problem is not that Tories like Hopkins don’t understand. This is exactly the result that they wanted; they just won’t acknowledge it because it is electorally damaging.

Look at the policies that created this problem: The bedroom tax; the ‘Pickles Poll Tax’, otherwise known as the Council Tax reduction scheme; the benefit cap that so many people in this country seem to support without understanding any of its implications.

Vox Political reported back in January what they would mean: “There will be a rise in rent and mortgage arrears… affordable housing will be less available and landlords less able or willing to rent to tenants on benefits… Private sector rental may become less attractive to landlords if tenants aren’t paying the rent. This will lead to a growth in homelessness. Councils have statutory duties and may see an increasing burden.”

But increases to the Discretionary Housing Payment fund have been entirely insignificant compared with the extra burden councils have faced. They received £150 million between them; Durham County Council had £883,000 and spent it all within eight weeks.

We have seen the start of the social cleansing predicted by this blog back in August 2012, when we noted that at least one council would use these measures to “clear out the poor and set up shop as a desirable residence for the rich”.

The housing bubble created by George Osborne with his ‘Help To Buy’ scheme will accelerate this process.

So don’t let a Tory tell you it’s nothing to do with them. They wanted this. In fact, 80,000 homeless children at Christmas is probably not enough for them.