Tag Archives: Thatcher

Police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’. What about the Tories – and Murdoch?

The disgrace – no, the word ‘disgrace’ isn’t strong enough: this is the Sun story that mentally scarred survivors of the Hillsborough disaster and the families of those who died. It wasn’t ‘The Truth’ at all; it was a pack of lies.

More than five years after a jury ruled that 96 people were killed unlawfully in the Hillsborough disaster – and that their behaviour did not contribute to the situation – police forces have agreed to pay compensation to more than 600 people for mental distress caused by the attempted cover-up.

I have two questions.

Firstly: why did it take so long for South Yorkshire and West Midlands police to agree to pay up?

Secondly: Why aren’t the Conservative Party and Rupert Murdoch’s News International paying compensation, too?

Let’s go into the circumstances:

We all know that the Hillsborough Disaster was a fatal human crush at an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, hosted at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium on April 15, 1989.

It happened due to gross negligence by match commander David Duckenfield of South Yorkshire Police.

The police service then attempted to hide the fact that its failures caused 96 deaths and 766 injuries – the worst disaster in UK sporting history – by trying to blame it on the fans who were injured and died, saying those people caused the tragedy by being drunk and misbehaving.

West Midlands was the force appointed to investigate the disaster, but has since been accused of malpractices and failures that have been subject to a long-running investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Not only that, though: the prime minister of the day, the Conservative Margaret Thatcher, refused to release information that made the police look bad.

And The Sun, a newspaper published by Rupert Murdoch’s News International, published a story headlined The Truth that was nothing but a pack of lies, supporting the fantasy created by the police.

This Writer believes a strong argument could be made that the newspaper story – which led to The Sun being boycotted in Liverpool ever since – caused more distress, more anguish, to survivors, and to relatives and friends of the deceased, than the police cover-up on which it was based (although I know it could not have been written if the police and the Tory prime minister had not lied in the first place).

Civil claims for compensation due to malfeasance in public office by the two police forces were submitted in 2015, during inquests into the reasons the 96 died.

The claimants said the lies had caused them to suffer trauma and psychiatric damage, and the compensation is to cover not only those injuries but also the cost of treatment and counselling.

Those claims were made nearly six years ago and the payments haven’t been made yet (at the time of writing). So I repeat: why not?

And how much are these people getting, to make one of the claimants describe the payout as “insulting” in The Guardian‘s news article about it?

The behaviour of the police was shocking, and undermines public faith in the reliability of our law enforcement officers across the UK – not just in the forces concerned.

But – as mentioned above – they weren’t the only organisations caught lying; they weren’t the only people who deliberately caused further distress over Hillsborough.

Margaret Thatcher withheld information – which was as bad as lying because it presented a false impression that the police were blameless.

She was able to do so because she was prime minister at the time – and she was prime minister because she was leader of the Conservative Party that had formed the then-current government.

She died in 2013 but it seems perfectly reasonable to hold the Tories responsible for putting her in a position where she could distort the facts.  Why has the Conservative Party avoided compensating these people?

And that Sun headline has gone down in the history of journalistic infamy. The disgust of the city of Liverpool – in perpetuity – is not enough. Why has News International not offered compensation as well?

All three of these organisations should have offered payouts voluntarily, considering the enormity of the harm they have done, but they didn’t.

The police are only paying up because they were forced to.

Perhaps that aspect of this tragedy is the most damning of all.

Source: South Yorkshire and West Midlands police agree payouts for Hillsborough ‘cover-up’ | Hillsborough disaster | The Guardian

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

StarmerLabour supports Biden because he supported Thatcher’s Falklands war. What does that say about StarmerLabour?

Nandy: all mouth, no brain?

StarmerLabour mouth Lisa Nandy was doing the media rounds this morning, telling us that her party’s leadership wants Joe Biden to be the new US president.

There’s nothing wrong with that if she had stopped there but she didn’t.

She went on to say that this was because Biden had supported former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s Falklands war.

That is not a good position for Labour to take and I’ll explain the reason,

Once the Falklands had been invaded by General Galtieri’s Argentinian forces (he wanted control of huge oil reserves beneath the South Atlantic), the UK had to go out and liberate the people who lived there and identify as UK citizens – there’s no doubt about that.

But it is widely argued that the reason they needed rescuing in the first place is that Thatcher withdrew naval support from the area, deliberately making the Falklands an attractive target for the Argentinian dictator.

The intention was tacitly to invite him into starting a war that Thatcher could win, in order to create a surge of public support for herself and the Conservative Party here in the UK that would carry them to a stronger victory at the next general election. And it succeeded.

That’s the belief. In the light of it, Nandy’s comment is tone deaf:

It shows that StarmerLabour rejects its own party as it was in the early 1980s, preferring to trumpet its support for the Tory leader who championed the neoliberal ideology that brought disaster down on working-class families across the UK.

It should come as no surprise that Nandy said this was a good thing. Her talent for media stupidity is fast becoming legendary. Here…

… is a clip of her from the BBC’s PM on October 29, presenting the anti-Semitic view that all Jews are rich and that hatred of them is “punching up”. She gets away with making racist comments – and inciting racism with them – because she is on Starmer’s side and for no other reason.

Sadly, she would probably have got away with such a comment, even under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, either because complaints would have been dismissed by right-wingers in the Governance and Legal Unit who would want her to continue as an embarrassment to Corbyn, or because Corbyn, assailed by false accusations, did not want to rock the boat. That was his weakness and ultimately the reason he lost two elections and his Labour Party membership has now been suspended.

Fortunately the tweeting public has no such restraint:

Other comments by the daft Nandy have also attracted justified criticism:

Finally, this comment stands as a harsh reminder to us all of the backstabbing ways adopted by Nandy and her kind of Labour MP:

If they get into power, they would backstab all of the voters who put them there.

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

A 10ft plinth to deter people from vandalising Thatcher statue? That’s begging for graffiti

Look at all that white space: What a wonderful – free – canvas for any would-be Banksy to pass comment on the woman whose image stands at the top of it. At least, that’s what this artist’s impression suggests.

It seems nobody wants to have a statue of Margaret Thatcher on their doorstep.

Westminster Council rejected plans to put it up in central London last year, basing the decision on a report that it could attract “potential vandalism and civil disorder”.

Now, according to Metro, councillors in Baroness Thatcher’s hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire, are considering putting the £300,000 statue on a 10ft plinth – also to deter “politically-motivated vandals”.

They haven’t thought it through at all.

A 10ft plinth will be a blank canvas for every wannabe Banksy who wants to try their hand at satirical graffiti.

They’ll come from every corner of the United Kingdom to make their mark on that wonderful 10ft expanse of white stone – and to make a point about the woman whose image will stand at the top of it.

And with 17 objections to the statue plan, and only seven in support, it is doubtful that many people will be upset if they do.


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

Thatcher’s privatisation tsar will be the BBC’s new chair. What do you think he’ll do?

Sir David Clementi. The government adopted the recommendations of his report, which called the BBC Trust flawed and said oversight should be handed to Ofcom [Image: David Hartley/Rex/Shutterstock].

The Guardian‘s report on the appointment of Sir David Clementi as the new chair of the BBC misses two important points: He was formerly in charge of Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation programme, and he never applied for the job.

See for yourself, here:

And here:

Now, why do you think the Conservative Government would give the BBC to their arch-privatiser, even though he didn’t ask for the job?

We’ll have to keep this one under very careful scrutiny.

Sir David Clementi, a former banker with no broadcasting experience, has been confirmed as the new chair of the BBC.

Theresa May has confirmed the appointment of Clementi, the preferred candidate put forward by culture secretary Karen Bradley, who will lead the corporation’s new unitary board that will replace the BBC Trust on 1 April.

“I am confident that Sir David will provide the strong leadership necessary for the BBC to remain the world’s best broadcaster,” said Bradley.

“Sir David will bring a wealth of experience to the role and was the strongest candidate in an extremely competitive and high-calibre field. He has extensive experience as a chairman in both the commercial and not-for-profit sector and has a strong regulatory and business background. I am confident that under his direction, the nation’s broadcaster will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Source: Sir David Clementi confirmed as new BBC chair | Media | The Guardian

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

Plans for an anti-Thatcher museum in London to showcase her “genuine terrible legacy” – Mirror Online

Does anybody know anything about crowdfunding? Perhaps something could be done to make Mr Cullen’s exhibition a permanent feature of the London scene.

Plans to open an anti-Thatcher museum in London are being hatched by artist Darren Cullen.

The 32 year old, originally from Leeds, says he is in the early stages of planning, but has already been looking into finding potential locations and raising the funds for a temporary exhibition on the Iron Lady.

In 2013, Cameron gave his backing to a £15million museum and library called The Thatcher Centre, that would celebrate her life to “ensure Thatcher’s legacy lives on”.

But Darren thinks that there should be an alternative to this: a museum which exhibits the negative side of Thatcher and the UK under her rule.

Darren says:” I wanted to start this project because I think there’s going to be a serious need to counteract the whitewashed version of Thatcher’s legacy the official museum will present.”

Source: Plans for an anti-Thatcher museum in London to showcase her “genuine terrible legacy” – Mirror Online

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
fighting Conservative Party pro-Thatcher propaganda.

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

Thatcher disdained sanctions. Why do her heirs love them so much?

austeritydolequeue

Vox‘s article on Nelson Mandela stirred up a huge amount of comment. As you might expect, much was complimentary; some was not.

One of the critics sought to alter the stated opinion of David Cameron and his Conservatives by pointing to a letter from Margaret Thatcher to then-South African President PW Botha in 1985, seeking Mr Mandela’s release from prison. This part of the letter didn’t sway yr (dis-)obdt srvt, as the suggestion seemed to be made as part of advice on how Mr Botha could gain political advantage from the situation, rather than from any genuine moral standpoint.

The letter did feature comments that are of considerable interest and relevance at this time – relating to sanctions. Mrs Thatcher wrote: “The Commonwealth meeting opened with forty-five countries seeking extensive trade and economic sanctions against South Africa… My rebuttal of the case… rested on two main premises: that sanctions do not work, indeed are likely to be counter-productive and damaging to those they are intended to help: and that it was inappropriate to take punitive action against South Africa at the very moment when you are taking steps to get rid of apartheid and to make necessary changes in the system of government in South Africa.”

Let’s take these comments back home and apply them to people who are unemployed in the UK today.

The Department for Work and Pensions, under Iain Duncan Smith, imposed a tough new regime of sanctions against Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants in November last year.

Now, sanctions can be imposed for a month if a claimant is judged to be not actively seeking a job or being available for work. Subsequent misbehaviour along these lines would mean a 13-week period without benefit. The claimant must then reapply for benefit in both instances.

Benefit may also be lost for 13 weeks if a jobseeker fails to attend an interview with a Job Centre advisor, although it restarts automatically at the end of this period.

The highest sanction withdraws JSA for 13 weeks if a person leaves their job voluntarily, rising to six months for a second “failure” and three YEARS for a third.

In the eight months between the application of the new rules and June this year, nearly 600,000 JSA claimants were sanctioned. Employment Minister Esther McVey claimed that this affected only a small proportion of jobseekers – “The vast, vast majority of people don’t get sanctions” – but when you compare the actual number of sanctions (553,000) with the number of people on JSA (1,480,000) it becomes clear that this is not true.

In September 2012, 1,570,000 people were on JSA. The government has been claiming that the figure has dropped because people are getting jobs but from these figures it seems far more likely that they have had their money stopped instead.

Ms McVey also said: “The people who get sanctions are wilfully rejecting support for no good reason.” Let’s have a look at that with the help of this website. All the sanctions it describes were really imposed on real jobseekers by Job Centre Plus employees, and these are just some of them:

“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the job centre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week.”

“You have a job interview which overruns so you arrive at your job centre appointment 9 minutes late. You get sanctioned for a month.”

“Your job centre advisor suggests a job. When you go online to apply it says the job has “expired” so you don’t apply. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks.”

“You are on a workfare placement and your job centre appointment comes round. The job centre tells you to sign on then go to your placement – which you do. The placement reports you for being late and you get sanctioned for 3 months.”

The victims of these sanctions were clearly people who were trying to take steps to rid themselves of their unemployed status and get a job – but they were sanctioned by our Conservative-led government under a policy created by former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith. Draw a parallel with what Mrs Thatcher was saying about South Africa and it is clear that she would call that “inappropriate”.

But do they work? No.

According to Liam Purcell, writing in the Church Action on Poverty blog: “Where there are few jobs available, as in the North West of England, taking money away from people is hardly going to help them find jobs.

“Many of the unemployed despair of getting help and meaningful training. For most people who are sanctioned, it does nothing to help them acquire skills that would help them compete in the labour market.

“Having to apply online for dozens of inconvenient, unsuitable jobs for which they are poorly qualified, and which they may be physically or mentally incapable of holding down, is hardly a profitable use of time… Yet failure to comply can mean an end to even the minimum income produced by benefits.”

And the result? “Destitution, which follows, merely helps the poorest to learn how to survive by ducking and diving, by applying to charity, by falling into the clutches of payday lenders and loan sharks, by begging and sometimes stealing. Increasingly we come across people who find the whole process of claiming out-of-work benefits so demeaning and stressful that they just can’t be bothered to apply, and conveniently disappear from the official register of the unemployed.”

And conveniently disappear from the official register of the unemployed.

For those the system was originally “intended to help”, as Mrs Thatcher put it, her letter of 1985 was absolutely right: “Sanctions do not work [and] are likely to be counter-productive and damaging.”

But for a government that is desperately trying to claim that its policy on jobs is succeeding, sanctions that “conveniently disappear” people work very nicely indeed.

 

Vox Political is funded entirely by donations and book sales.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Death of a great man marred by the hypocrisy of a weasel

Hypocrite: We can't prove Cameron was behind the 'Hang Mandela' campaign of the 1980s, but we do know he opposed Mandela's politics and supported apartheid in South Africa. He did not think Mandela was a "great light" or a "hero" - he's just saying what he thinks you want to hear.

Hypocrite: We can’t prove Cameron was behind the ‘Hang Mandela’ campaign of the 1980s, but we do know he opposed Mandela’s politics and supported apartheid in South Africa. He did not think Mandela was a “great light” or a “hero” – he’s just saying what he thinks you want to hear.

I hope everyone in the UK is as saddened by the death of Nelson Mandela as they are disgusted by David Cameron’s two-faced tribute.

According to Wikipedia, Mr Mandela rose to prominence in the ANC’s 1952 Defiance Campaign. Working as a lawyer, he was repeatedly arrested for seditious activities and, with the ANC leadership, was unsuccessfully prosecuted in the Treason Trial from 1956 to 1961. Although initially committed to non-violent protest, he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in 1961 in association with the South African Communist Party, leading a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. In 1962 he was arrested, convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

Mandela served 27 years in prison, initially on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison. An international campaign lobbied for his release, which was granted in 1990 amid escalating civil strife.

After his release, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the first black South African to hold the office, and the first elected in a fully representative election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid through tackling institutionalised racism, poverty and inequality, and fostering racial reconciliation.

While he was in prison, David Cameron was involved in some extremely shady anti-Mandela activities.

According to a statement that was put out across the social media in the summer, “When he [Mr Mandela] does die, and David Cameron jumps on the Mandela bandwagon, remember that in 1985 he was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, which produced the “Hang Mandela” posters.

“In 1989, Cameron worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and went on an anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm sponsored by PW Botha. Remember this when he tells the world he was inspired by Mandela.”

Cameron’s membership of the Federation of Conservative Students is questionable, as is his participation in the “Hang Mandela” campaign. His participation in the fact-finding mission is well-documented, though.

As for his party – well, let’s look at the words of Conservative talisman Margaret Thatcher: “The ANC is a typical terrorist organisation.” Tories revere the Blue Baroness; if that was her opinion, no doubt it belonged to many of them as well.

If you still need to be convinced, see the following:

“Nelson Mandela should be shot.” – Tory MP Teddy Taylor

“This hero worship is very much misplaced.”- Tory MP John Carlisle

“How much longer will the Prime Minister allow herself to be kicked in the face by this black terrorist?” – Tory MP Terry Dicks

(All the above are taken from Tom Pride’s article on the subject earlier this year)

Conservatives hated Mandela; Cameron was a Conservative then and is Conservative leader now.

When you see him saying things like, “A great light has gone out in the world. Nelson Mandela was a hero of our time,” remember that.

What a two-faced, hypocritical slug.

 

Vox Political is funded entirely by donations and book sales.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

No lawbreaking required: Secret police are spying on students to repress political dissent

Caught with his trousers down: Herr Flick from 'Allo Allo' - possibly the last secret policeman to be revealed in quite such an embarrassing way.

Caught with his trousers down: Herr Flick from ‘Allo Allo’ – possibly the last secret policeman to be revealed in quite such an embarrassing way.

So now not only are our students facing the prospect of a life in debt, paying off the cost of their education (thanks, Liberal Democrats!) but they know they can expect the police to be spying on them in case they do anything radical, student-ish and treasonous like joining UK Uncut and occupying a shop to publicise the corporate tax avoidance our Tory-led government encourages.

Rather than investigate and solve crimes, it seems the police are embracing their traditional role (under Conservative governments) as political weapons – targeting suspected dissenters against their right-wing government’s policies, trying to undermine their efforts and aiming to apprehend key figures.

They are behaving like secret police, in fact. Allow this to go much further and we will have our own Gestapo, here in Britain. Before anyone starts invoking Godwin’s Law, just take a look at the evidence; it is a justifiable comparison.

According to The Guardian, police have been caught trying to spy on the political activities of students at Cambridge University. It had to be Cambridge; Oxford is traditionally the ‘Tory’ University.

The officer concerned tried to get an activist to rat on other students in protest groups in return for money, but the student turned the tables on him by wearing a hidden camera to record a meeting and expose the facts.

The policeman, identified by the false name ‘Peter Smith’, “wanted the activist to name students who were going on protests, list the vehicles they travelled in to demonstrations, and identify leaders of protests. He also asked the activist to search Facebook for the latest information about protests that were being planned.

“The other proposed targets of the surveillance include UK Uncut, the campaign against tax avoidance and government cuts, Unite Against Fascism and environmentalists” – because we all know how dangerous environmentalists are!

Here at Vox Political, it feels as though we have come full circle. One of the events that sparked the creation of this blog was the police ‘kettling’ of students demonstrating against the rise in tuition fees, back in 2010. It was a sign that the UK had regressed to the bad old days of the Thatcher government, when police were used (famously) to intimidate, annihilate and subjugate picketing miners.

Back then, BBC news footage was doctored to make it seem the miners had been the aggressors; fortunately times have changed and now, with everyone capable of filming evidence with their mobile phones, it is much harder for such open demonstrations of political repression to go unremarked.

In response, we see the police being granted expanded powers of arrest against anyone deemed to be causing a “nuisance” or “annoyance”, and now the infiltration of groups deemed likely to be acting against the government, even though they may not have broken any laws at all.

This would be bad enough if it was a single incident, taken in isolation – but it isn’t. It is part of a much wider attack on the citizens of this country by institutions whose leaders should know better.

The UK is now in the process of removing the rights it has taken nearly a thousand years for its citizens to win.

It is a country that abuses the sick and disabled.

And it is a country where free speech will soon be unheard-of; where the police – rather than investigate crimes – proactively target political dissenters, spying on anyone they suspect of disagreeing with the government and looking for ways to silence them.

Who voted for that?

ConDem response to outcry over policies: Put a charge on plastic bags.

130914nobags

Today, Vox Political hands over to Geoff Reynolds, a commenter who submitted this in response to the government’s announcement that it is putting a 5p charge on plastic bags in order to discourage their use.

Here in Wales, the Welsh Government levied a charge on plastic bags a long time ago; clearly the Tories and the Lib Dems have realised that this was successful and their scheme is a copycat strategy – but you probably won’t see them admitting it.

Let’s all note that the BBC has once again given space to Tory astroturfers the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which is claiming the change won’t make any difference to the environment, even though it has cut plastic bag use in Wales by around three-quarters.

Here’s Geoff, who starts his comment with his habitual shout:

‘WHILST THE DEATHS OF THOSE WHO HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THE FALLOUT CAUSED BY THE TRULY EVIL CRIMES OF WELFARE REFORMS SPIRAL HOPELESSLY OUT OF CONTROL, THIS IS THE ANSWER FROM OUR GOVERNMENT:

‘“PLASTIC BAGS ARE TO COST 5 PENCE.”

‘WHAT F**KING WORLD DO THESE IMBECILES BELONG ON? IT CERTAINLY ISN’T THE ONE WHERE I LIVE!

‘PENSIONERS ARE DYING OF HYPOTHERMIA, PEOPLE ARE HAVING THEIR HOMES TAKEN, DISABLED ARE BEING STARVED TO DEATH AND MORE CHILDREN ARE BEING BORN INTO POVERTY THAN AT ANY TIME SINCE THE LAST WAR.

‘The only things that are booming are food banks, yet these gormless b*st*rds, who got more for attending a Parliament call-back for Thatcher’s death than I get to live on for a full year, have the impudence to place “a shilling tariff on plastic bags”, at the top of the agenda.

‘They chose to ridicule a report by a UNITED NATIONS inspector on the real plight of our nation, while they pass legislation on a bag!

‘The leaking of the bag tariff has taken the thunder from the Lib Dems’ conference… It has been revealed!

‘WAKE UP YOU DELUDED T*SSBAGS!

‘THERE MUST BE MORE BRAIN CELLS IN A DISCARDED SHOWER CAP THAN THE WHOLE OF OUR REPRESENTATIVES IN WESTMINSTER!

‘WORDS FAIL ME. WE MIGHT AS WELL HAVE A GOLDFISH ON A LEAD.’

Cameron has lied so often that there is no reason to believe him on fracking

Fracked water is set ablaze in the film Gasland: "There is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies," said Cameron.

Fracked water is set ablaze in the film Gasland: “There is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies,” said Cameron.

“We’re all in it together”, David Cameron scrawled in his Telegraph article on fracking. Presumably this means he personally has invested heavily in the process as the evidence suggests there are appalling drawbacks for the majority of the UK.

The article, “We cannot afford to miss out on shale gas”, is sub-headed “Safe fracking will cut energy bills and create wealth without ruining precious countryside, writes David Cameron”.

Let’s put the alternative view immediately. Fracking would involve drilling large numbers of directional wells at regular intervals – coating the landscape with far more than the eight in the current largest onshore gas field in the UK, at Saltfleetby in Lincolnshire. Thousands would be required to temporarily – that’s right, temporarily – replace just one North Sea field. Production from a typical shale well declines by 70-80 per cent in the first year alone, meaning new wells must be drilled constantly to maintain production.

The method is to inject millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the wells, under massive pressure. Water consumption and contamination is a major issue, and disposal of the huge amounts of toxic waste produced by the process is extremely difficult – it seems attempts to inject it into the ground are causing large numbers of earthquakes.

Air pollution means high ozone levels, along with carcinogenic hydrocarbon vapours that can be blown hundreds of miles from the source, creating breathing difficulties, cancer clusters, neurological and reproductive problems in humans and animals living in the shadow of these industries. The typical response from industrialists (and government, to judge from Mr Cameron’s comments) is to demand proof from people who have neither the funds nor the health to do so.

Methane gas emissions amplify the global warming effects of burning other carbon fuels.

This is the process Mr Cameron wishes to inflict on you.

“If we don’t back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills and make our country more competitive,” he wrote in the Telegraph. He’s clearly forgetting that families wouldn’t have such serious problems with their bills if a previous Conservative government hadn’t privatised the energy companies, giving them to greedy shareholders who have raised prices far above increases in inflation, every year. As for making the country more competitive, he is forgetting that the Conservative government of Mrs Thatcher reduced our competitiveness by closing down the coal mines in order to chase cheap fuels from abroad, that have now risen in price. What a false economy that was!

With such a track record, why should we now believe a Conservative’s claims about this form of energy extraction?

“Labour’s mismanagement of the economy means that many people are struggling with the cost of living today.” To clarify: Labour did not mismanage the economy – the 1997-2010 government recently received a clean bill of health, as reported on this blog and elsewhere. This is a repetition of a lie that Conservatives have been spouting gleefully, ever since they decided on a whim that they no longer support what Labour did to save the economy after the credit crunch. Previously, they backed Labour all the way but this has been retrospectively changed. They seem to like retrospective alterations.

According to the BBC, “the government’s own energy department DECC says it’s not clear whether fracking will bring down bills or not”. So Mr Cameron is contradicting his own experts.

“Where we can act to relieve the pressure, we must.” Fine. Since there are more fossil fuels stockpiled today than we can burn at once, without causing the climate change that has been feared for so many years, the answer is to cut fuel bills by forcing the energy companies to stop being so stupidly greedy and charge realistic prices. Obviously.

“Secondly, fracking will create jobs in Britain.” But these people will then contract fracking-related diseases and be invalided out of work. They’ll go on to claim Employment and Support Allowance and/or Personal Independence Payment, be refused by “Returned To Unit”‘s* Department of Work and Pensions and die. The deaths will go unnoticed because the government has already decided to stop collecting death statistics.

“Thirdly, fracking will bring money to local neighbourhoods.” This sounds enticing, but no reference is made to how this money will be distributed. It goes to communities, not to people. “This is money that could be used for a variety of purposes – from reductions in council tax bills to investment in neighbourhood schools.” Those are both benefits that could be negated by, say, reductions in government grants to local councils, meaning the local levy must increase, and privatisation of the education system, meaning local people will need to find other ways of educating their children.

“I want all parts of our nation to share in the benefits: north or south, Conservative or Labour. We are all in this together.” Does anybody remember the fuss when the route for the new HS2 rail service was revealed to pass through a government minister’s constituency? That was bad for the government’s image and won’t happen again. Expect fracking to be confined to areas away from Tory heartlands, where ministers and backbenchers won’t complain about it.

“Local people will not be cut out and ignored… firms looking to frack should make people aware of their plans well before they apply for a permit…. if residents express specific concerns, then companies should take them on board.” None of this guarantees that firms will be prohibited from fracking if sufficient public objection is raised; they’ll just say they’ve taken those concerns on board and carry on regardless.

Look at Balcombe, in West Sussex, where the firm Cuadrilla is facing determined opposition from protesters who were horrified when permission for drilling was granted last December. It seems likely that the firm will have to seek – and will receive – the necessary permits for fracking, but the community may receive no benefits as the oil targeted will be in rocks that are “not shale”.

Objections have been raised and ignored. That is what will happen to you.

“International evidence shows there is no reason why the process should cause contamination of water supplies or other environmental damage, if properly regulated,” said Mr Cameron, leader of the Party of DEregulation. Conservatives do not know how to regulate anything and it is against their ideology to do so. “If any shale gas well were to pose a risk of pollution, then we have all the powers we need to close it down.” Note that he does not make any mention of exercising those powers.

Plenty of independent information is available on fracking – certainly on the Internet – and readers are encouraged to look it up and decide for themselves.

And tell other people to do the same – otherwise we all stand in danger of having our land raped by a money-grubbing liar whose political party caused the problems he claims this environmentally-disastrous process will resolve.

*Iain Duncan Smith.