Tag Archives: technology

Covid test waiting time soars as IT failure hits private ‘lighthouse’ testing lab

Using an ad-blocker? PLEASE SWITCH IT OFF

My ads don’t cost you anything but they do provide me the money I need to live.

Using an ad-blocker on this site is as bad as stealing.

Matt Hancock: this is the brain-dead nincompoop who thought it would be a good idea to let private companies try to make a profit from a deadly pandemic virus. Nothing works properly and we all remain in deadly danger six months after Covid-19 arrived in the UK.

Once again private profiteers have failed the people of the UK.

An “IT systems failure” at a ‘Lighthouse’ mega-laboratory in Cheshire “resulted in a delay to the processing of results,” the government said.

“In addition, the increase of tests across all routes has resulted in backlogs in some laboratories.”

The labs were built in April, in a partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care, Medicines Discovery Catapult, UK Biocentre and the University of Glasgow, supported by pharma companies GSK and AstraZeneca.

It means just seven per cent of people who took a test at a “satellite centre” got their results within 48 hours in the week to August 12 – down from 75 per cent two weeks earlier.

And only 28 per cent of people who were posted home testing kits got the result within 48 hours – down from 72 per cent.

This is what happens when you commit the health of the nation to the hands of people who want to make a profit from it: nothing works.

Source: New coronavirus chaos as test result waiting times soar due to IT malfunction – Mirror Online

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

Why is the Tory government giving Covid-19 support cash to a firm that sells sex parties?

Silly question! I hear you cry. Boris Johnson has a reputation to support and this is right up his proverbial alley!

But is it really a good use of public money?

The Tories have decided to match-fund a crowdfunding project by Killing Kittens, a sex party firm that is making a transition from being an events-based company to a “sex tech” company that runs some events.

It has raised £170,000 and the Tories will double that up to £340,000 from its Future Fund scheme, which is meant to support technology start-ups through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Call me po-faced if you like but I’m not convinced that this is the sort of firm that is meant to benefit from the fund.

It means the money will not be available for firms that do deserve it.

Oh, but wait! The money is apparently a loan. If Killing Kittens doesn’t pay it back, then you and I will own a 1.47 per cent equity stake in a company that organises orgies.

Part of me is extremely uncomfortable about that – and part is curious to find out if we’ll be paid dividends “in kind”.

Source: Sex party start-up Killing Kittens accesses Future Fund via Seedrs

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

Is Dominic Cummings championing ‘air scrubber’ tech to starve more viable green projects?

Dominic Cummings: if he’s trying to rehabilitate his rep after the Rose Garden debacle, this might not work.

It seems Dominic Cummings’s plan to pump £100 million of public money into “air scrubber” technology is intended to help the bosses of energy companies that pollute the UK in the first place.

The “direct air capture” technology would use metal “air scrubbers”, to chemically strip carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The excess carbon could then be stored safely underground.

Here‘s a graph, courtesy of The Times:

There’s just one catch: it currently costs nearly £500 to extract a single tonne of CO2.

So if all the cash the Treasury has apparently devoted to the project went on scrubbing the air alone, it would extract only £200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In 2018, the UK’s carbon footprint – the amount of CO2 emitted in the country – was 364 million tonnes.

In other words, the amount that would be cleaned is negligible compared to the amount emitted.

Meanwhile, it seems this expensive, long-term scheme is diverting investment away from more realistic near-term solutions.

So what’s going on here?

Is Cummings really trying to help?

Or is he sucking cash away from greener solutions, while trying to give polluters an excuse to carry on stinking up the planet?

Source: Technology which ‘sucks’ excess CO2 from the air could hurt UK’s green ambitions

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

900 deaths a year due to NHS computer problems – caused by unsuitable software?

My understanding is that the software used by the NHS – like that used by many government departments – is bought from large corporations that work on a “one size fits all” basis.

The problem? One size doesn’t fit all.

The simple fact, as it seems to This Writer, is that government – not just the current government, but any government – seems too willing to pay a fortune to huge corporations for off-the-shelf software that doesn’t work.

I mean, who provided the software under criticism in the article quoted below?

A much better policy would be to seek tenders from multiple software writers – including small firms – for bespoke software that actually does the job required of it.

It would be cheaper, it would be better, and above all… it would be safer.

Problems with computers could be blamed for up to 900 deaths in the NHS every year, two academics have claimed.

Computers are embedded across the NHS but many are “bad” and “low quality”, putting lives at risk they say.

From the PC that stores patient records to systems embedded in devices like MRI scanners and dialysis machines, NHS IT is “unnecessarily buggy” and “susceptible to cyber-attack”, according to Harold Thimbleby, professor of computer science at Swansea University.

Source: NHS computer problems could be to blame for ‘up to 900 deaths a year’ – Mirror Online


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

Privatisation will cost us hundreds of millions if the Tories regain power

Meet the Tweedles: Tweedle-Dunce is sitting at the back looking disgruntled, while Tweedle-Daft just tweedles his thumbs.

Meet the Tweedles: Tweedle-Dunce is sitting at the back looking disgruntled, while Tweedle-Daft just tweedles his thumbs.

Tories will always find something else to privatise, it seems – at exorbitant cost to the national finances. And they’re supposed to be good with the economy?

Here’s an excerpt from a Sturdyblog article today, explaining just one reason why the Conservatives must be defeated:

The government is trying to sell our stake in Urenco. Urenco is a joint venture between the UK, Holland and Germany (effectively – E.On, RWE). Each partner holds a third each giving them collective control, but not individually. Urenco is a Uranium enrichment company. It turns hundreds of millions of profit every year and so, not only does it cost the UK nothing, but contributes to state coffers. It has four Uranium enrichment plants in Cheshire.

The monumental stupidity and shortsightedness of this, I cannot even begin to unpick. First, it is profitable. Second, it operates top secret centrifuge technology, which in the wrong hands could allow the nuclear arming of rogue and failed states the world over. Not to mention having four Uranium enrichment plants on home soil under private ownership. Putting it in private hands reads like the beginning of a bad Hollywood script for a formulaic disaster movie. It is as bad an idea as bad ideas get. (Cut to close-up of Cameron: “What could go wrong?”)

And this government is presented as the “safe”, the “fiscally responsible”, the “sensible” choice by the murder of crows who are the non-domicile, millionaires who run the majority of this country’s media.

This would have already happened, completely under the radar, but for the quite legitimate objections of the Dutch Parliament, which fears the security issues outweigh any short term profit.

Read the rest on Sturdyblog – if you need any more reason to reinforce your resolve to vote the Tories out of office – not just now, but always.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have enjoyed 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
publicising the underhandedness the Tories would like to keep secret.

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

Lords urge rethink of immigration policy as number of international students plummets

zcoalitionfailimmigration

Yet another Coalition policy has leapt up to bite David Cameron in his tender parts.

His government’s “contradictory” immigration policy has caused a 10 per cent drop in the number of international Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students coming to the UK over the last two years.

This is because the government is simultaneously committed to reducing net migration and attracting increasing numbers of international students (by 15–20 per cent over the next five years).

Owing to its – by now – internationally-renowned stupidity, the government has not removed international students from the net migration figures. This means that UK policy is both to attract foreign students and reject them.

No wonder the Lords inquiry into whether the UK’s immigration policy has had any impact on the numbers of international students in STEM subjects has declared the UK “unwelcoming“.

Nobody should be surprised by the Tory-led Coalition’s twisted attitude, though – it seems to reflect attitudes across the UK as a whole.

As Tom Pride reports on Pride’s Purge: “On Question Time last week, Giles Fraser told a funny story which nicely illustrates how batty the whole discussion over immigration has become in the UK.

“He said he’d got into a conversation with a taxi driver who told him he was so fed up with the number of foreigners coming to live and work in the UK he was going to move to Spain.

“Well just in case anyone thought this kind of absurd opinion was a one-off – have a look at this recent survey by respected polling company ComRes.

“When asked if all citizens of other European Union countries should have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom, just 36% of British people agreed.

“But when asked whether British people should be free to live and work anywhere in the EU, 52% of British people agreed.”

One has to ask whether this position has been impressed on the British public by newspapers like the Daily Mail or the Daily Express.

101421immigrationtabloids

Tom concluded: “If someone doesn’t bring some common sense to the immigration debate soon, the UK is in danger of becoming a laughing stock.”

Too late, Tom!

“When we really need to send the message that international STEM students will get a warm welcome in the UK, they’re getting the cold shoulder and heading elsewhere,” said Lord Krebs, chairing the Lords Committee.

“International student numbers have fallen dramatically, in particular from India.  As a result we’re missing out on the talent, the economic and cultural contribution that international students bring when they come here to study, and our competitors are reaping the rewards.”

He said: “The overwhelming evidence that we received led us to conclude that changes to the immigration rules in this country have played a direct part in putting overseas students off from choosing the UK.

“The rules are seen as too complex and subject to endless changes, the visa costs are not competitive, and the rules relating to work after study are so limiting that prospective students are heading to the US, Australia, Canada and elsewhere.

“Allowing just four months for a student to find work after graduation is more or less tantamount to telling overseas students they’d be better off going to study elsewhere.”

The Lords have made a series of recommendations but these will put the government between a rock and a hard place.

Does Cameron give in – and be accused by the tabloids of going soft on immigration – or does he stick to his guns – and turn away all the talent he’s so keen to import*?

*We learned yesterday that Free Schools have ruined the chances of any British students ever being able to compete.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

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
revealing the worst political failures of our times!

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

 

Are we really stupid enough to believe Israel is spending £7.8bn on CRYPTOGRAPHY?

[Image: International Herald Tribune. America has been debating government surveillance for a while now.]

[Image: International Herald Tribune. America has been debating government surveillance for a while now.]

After yesterday’s article on Gaza was written, Yr Obdt Srvt opened the new edition of Private Eye and read the following on page 29:

“Downing Street’s promise on Monday to review all the UK’s arms export licences to Israel will come as no surprise to anyone who has perused a recent report from MPs… The report revealed the continuing mystery of licences for £7.8bn worth of equipment, mainly ‘cryptographic equipment, software and technology’.”

Really?

But page 5 of the same magazine states: “Many of the countries the UK supplies are flagged up by the Foreign Office as being ‘countries of human rights concern’. They account for £11.9bn of UK arms sales and include China, Iran, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, who have been sold ‘cryptography’ equipment – essentially kit to disguise communications, infiltrate external websites and protect their own from surveillance.”

Really.

That costs £7.8 billion in Israel but only £3.1 billion to all these other countries, does it? And it’s before taking out sales of any shoot-bang-kill weapons, too.

Arms exports to Saudi Arabia total more than £1.5 billion, and to China another £600 million or so. That leaves £1 billion between Yemen, Iran (!) and anyone else not mentioned in the article.

It’s not believable. Even if the software licence was the most expensive ever, it beggars belief that Israel would be willing to pay 16 times as much as – for example – Iran, for the same equipment.

Meanwhile, an article in today’s Guardian clarifies how this kit will be used. The country’s right-wing government is intent on suppressing dissent against its military operations in Palestinian areas and has worked hard to ensure that around 95 per cent of the public support it.

This leaves five per cent of the population, who are afraid to voice their opinion openly for fear of being attacked in the street. Left-wing commentator Gideon Levy, who has written in opposition to the assaults, has suffered epistolary attacks from (among others) Eldad Yaniv, former political adviser to ex-prime minister Ehud Barack. Yaniv wrote on his Facebook page: “The late Gideon Levy. Get used to it.”

It does not seem far from the realms of possibility that a government that has generated this kind of support would buy surveillance equipment to snoop on its detractors in search of any evidence that could bring them down.

“What is different this time is the anti-democratic spirit,” Levy states in the Guardian article. “Zero tolerance of any kind of criticism, opposition to any kind of sympathy with the Palestinians,” says Levy. “You shouldn’t be surprised that the 95 per cent [are in favour of the war], you should be surprised at the 5 per cent. This is almost a miracle. The media has an enormous role. Given the decades of demonisation of the Palestinians, the incitement and hatred, don’t be surprised the Israeli people are where they are.”

Is this not exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews in Germany, back in the 1930s? Isn’t it exactly what Roger Waters was protesting against, as mentioned in yesterday’s VP article? And did the Nazis not use surveillance techniques via their secret police, the Gestapo, to ensure dissent was suppressed and propaganda in support of their policies held sway over public opinion?

(It should be noted that none of this should be used to suggest that the Palestinian organisation Hamas was right to launch attacks on Israel. The plight of the people of Gaza is real but must be settled by peaceful means; violence can only ever make matters worse in the long run.)

Now come back to the UK, where we have a right-wing government that has worked extremely hard to ensure that the mass media put forward only stories supporting its policies and point of view. Is it not possible that a government in possession of the kind of surveillance equipment it is exporting to ‘countries of human rights concern’ – a government that is known to have extremely unsound beliefs about human rights – might turn that equipment on its own people?

These are dangerous times for all of us.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books and find out why the British government
might want to silence this site!

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)
Y
ou can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

The Coalition is hoodwinking us towards totalitarianism. Will the ‘People’s Assembly’ halt this?

Wise words: The 'People's Assembly' hopes to stir people out of their apathy and encourage them to oppose the right-wing, ideologically-driven and austerity-led destruction of British society. Are you interested, or is it too much like hard work?

Wise words: The ‘People’s Assembly’ hopes to stir people out of their apathy and encourage them to oppose the unelected and unmandated right-wing, ideologically-driven and austerity-led destruction of British society. Are you interested, or is it too much like hard work?

“The people are not ready to embrace Socialism and may never be ready.”

“What, a cobbled together bunch of leftie socialists?”

“It will take more than a few breakfast TV celebrity socialists turning up in community centres to shake people awake, and armchair socialism – like conservatism, capitalism, fascism, communism and any other political ism that involves a minority seeking to impose its will on the masses down at their local community hall – is the last thing that anyone needs.”

“It would just be a talking shop of unelected and ‘celebrity’ allegedly left-wingers, who like to hear the sound of their own voices. It does not have any democratic structure, and would just be a sort of an admiring glee club, that would allow its supporters to have the illusion that something is being done.”

“Even if you got five million people to march through London protesting over the austerity program, the Palace of Westminster wouldn’t hear it.”

These are just a few of the negative responses to a recent article by Owen Jones, on the forthcoming meeting of the ‘People’s Assembly’, organised by the new socialist organisation Left Unity. None of them are saying anything we haven’t heard before. It seems the constant refrain, to which the British people sing along, is “Don’t bother trying to change it; there’s nothing you can do”.

This is, of course, lazy nonsense. You hear it from people who genuinely can’t be bothered and, more perniciously, from supporters of the status quo (in this case, the Coalition or UKIP) who know that a discouraging word at the right moment can nip a potential rival organisation in the bud. It’s called conditioned helplessness, and I’ve discussed it before.

Remember, the ‘People’s Assembly’ has not had its first meeting yet. Already people are trying to tell us it is a failure, a “talking shop” for “armchair socialism” that would not be heard in the corridors of power.

I wish I could attend, but geographical issues and other responsibilities mean this is impossible (I live in Wales and have responsibilities as a carer).

One thing we should all remember is that this is a socialist movement, not the creation of a political party. We already have a democratic socialist political party, although our Labour members of Parliament seem to have forgotten that (here’s a clue, folks: Read the top line on the back of your membership cards). They appear to be taking the soft option and following the Coalition narrative. But that’s no reason to let them get on with it.

It seems to me that the ‘People’s Assembly’, like the Left Unity organisation that is staging the event, will work best putting pressure on systems that are already in place. Labour presents the best chance we have for ousting the Tories and their little yellow helpers, without putting something equally right-wing in their place. People of good faith just need to encourage the Party to do the right thing.

And that is: Ditch all the idiotic follow-my-Tory-leader austerity-driven policies announced in recent weeks. Austerity has failed as a way of balancing the books; it was never intended to do so in the first place. Ditch the divisive Tory-soundalike rhetoric that shows Labour also wants to blame the poor for problems that they never created. Clear private sector ‘advisors’ out of Labour Party meetings and thinktanks – corporate influence will only benefit corporations and their shareholders; they have the Conservatives for that.

Adopt the line taken by Michael Meacher MP: “We will end austerity”.

Devise new policies for health, workplace safety and social security that will aim to prevent not only workplace-related sickness and disability, but also congenital conditions that blight lives. That will bring down the bills for health and social security far more than misplaced attempts to punish those whose ill-health is already an unjust punishment, as they have not committed any crime.

Reconsider policies relating to business. Labour has long since admitted that nationalisation of all industry does not work, and it doesn’t. But there are some services that should be run – as a business, perhaps, but under the authority of the state – in the national interest. These are the public utilities – water, electricity, gas. Possibly rail transport as well, because the current privatised situation is costing the taxpayer far more than when the service was nationalised.

Encourage self-employment where practical. People can only be assured of the ability to sustain themselves if they own the means of production. The best way to do that is to work for themselves. For businesses involving more than a single trader, encourage mutualism or co-operatives. This is the best way to ensure that all workers get the most benefit from the products of their labours. With employees encouraged to put more effort into their trade by the promise of getting more out of it, progress towards meeting and exceeding the Living Wage seems more likely.

And support new technologies, especially those that are environmentally-friendly. This is where many of the new jobs will be generated and the UK has delayed its support of these advances for far too long.

I don’t think these are impossible ambitions.

They can be achieved if the progressive members of British society get their act together and stand up for them. And let’s all admit it, they would be much healthier than the cuts that have spawned a continuing storm of protest ever since the Coalition first inflicted them upon us, just because most of us are poorer than they are.

I can see a willingness to take part in this activity, all around. I recently commented on attempts to silence progressive thinking in the letters page of my local newspaper – that has only happened because people (not just me) were willing to put pen to paper and say they think the Coalition has got it wrong.

People are realising that they can’t expect their political representatives to do the right thing without being told what it is. What’s holding them back is the concern that this is a minority view. That is why they may welcome an umbrella organisation like Left Unity and the ‘People’s Assembly’, to show them they’re not alone.

I would like to say that in Central Hall, Westminster, on Saturday but I can’t be there.

Would anybody like to say it for me – or something better?

Or shall we all just sit back in our armchairs and mutter, while the country goes to hell in a handbasket?

Are we looking at a return to feudalism?

David Cameron as the villain in Skyfall. Clearly my photo-manipulation skills are poor, but it gets the point across: Is this how the Prime Monster sees himself?

A photofit picture of the real villain in Skyfall. Clearly my photo-manipulation skills are poor, but it gets the point across: Is this how the UK’s Prime Monster sees himself?

Sitting in the cafe yesterday, one of my companions turned to me and said, “You’ve seen Skyfall, haven’t you?”

“The latest Bond movie?”

“That’s the one. You know the sequence where Javier Bardem’s living like a feudal lord on an island that’s been cleared of everyone else, apart from him and his servants?”

“What about it?”

“Did you ever think, that could be a metaphor for what our government wants to do to this country?”

Whoa.

That couldn’t be right, could it?

It sounds crazy. But…

Just crazy enough to have a hint of possibility about it.

Consider this: The UK is currently being run by a gang of Eton posh boys who come from a social class that was known in Ireland as the Ascendancy. In fact, Gideon is a fully-fledged member of that exact group.

The Ascendancy was a minority of landowners, protestant clergy, and members of the professions – all of which are well-represented in the current UK Parliament – who dominated Ireland in political, economic and social terms between the 17th and 20th centuries.

It seems that clashes with the English meant that a large amount of Irish land had been confiscated by the Crown, then sold to people who were thought to be loyal, so English soldiers and traders became the new ruling class, whose richer members were elevated to the House of Lords and eventually controlled the Irish House of Commons.

Now look at what’s happening over here. Iain Duncan Smith’s benefit cuts mean people are going to be forced out of their homes, particularly in the more expensive parts of our cities – and apparently there is a plan now to force the rest of us into using our homes as security to ensure we continue paying our taxes, in a move to extend homelessness into the middle classes.

Those homes wouldn’t go empty for long – they’d be bought up by anyone rich enough to afford it, in an estate-building programme.

Poor people, deprived of their benefits, homes, and ability to support themselves, might be left to survive as best they can in ghettoes filled with squalor and disease, until they are ready to do anything for an improvement in their living conditions. Then they’ll be hired to work on the new estates, servicing their new masters’ needs.

In other words, the UK would split into several ‘islands’, similar to the one occupied by Javier Bardem’s character in Skyfall. There would be a single ‘Lord of the Manor’ with all the power, his family, and their servants – and that’s all. Technological advancements would mean they would not need to support many of those servants – just enough to work the land and maintain the technology that would ensure their continued ‘Ascendancy’.

To my way of thinking, this would weaken the country to the point where it would be ripe for invasion by any foreign nutter with a gun – but then, this government is renewing Trident, isn’t it? And they’re definitely crazy enough to turn anywhere else into a glowing crater, just to keep themselves comfortable.

I know.

It’s crazy. A paranoia-fuelled pipe dream.

But it ticks a lot of boxes.

What do you think is really going on?