Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Israel-Palestine

The Israeli government and army has ethically cleansed and murdered tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians through its war crimes. It has tortured, illegally imprisoned and displaced thousands more. Deprives food and amenities for thousands through its siege on Gaza. Enforces racial segregation against Palestinians in and outside of Israeli territory. And then wonders why there’s occasionally a resentful backlash.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Why right-wingers should support free money for everyone.

Conservatism, at least in the orthodox classical liberal sense, is supposed to stand for an noninvasive and small government. Why then are right-wingers generally so keen on social security systems that spitefully ration money to the unemployed, poor, disabled people, and the generally downtrodden, along with the deepening and acceleration of this economic rationing? Such draconian policies depend upon complex state power-enforced bureaucracies to impose them. Defending this disciplinarian apparatus is in principle closer to fascism or Stalinism.

If the philosophical imperative of conservatism is a reduction in state power, then right-wing conservatives should support a system which is inherently non-prejudicial and requiring minimal state social security bureaucracy in its nature. The system I speak of is the concept of a guaranteed basic income which every person in society would be automatically entitled to, regardless of employment status, income level, wealth or lack thereof.

The concept of a GBI was originally proposed by Thomas Paine in his Agrarian Justice pamphlet. It is an idea that has gained support transcending ideological divisions, such as on the part of arch neoliberal Milton Friedman, who supported the idea of a guaranteed minimum income (which is slightly different from GBI in its approach of redistributing state taxation funds, to those with low incomes taxed, at a base level, rather than making basic income payments universal, but still based upon the same fundamental principle).

Trade unions play a vital role in our social fabric by defending the basic human rights and personal welfare of workplace employees. But most trade union struggles in history have been incited by ills primarily driven by economic inequality. The reliable safety net of a universal basic income, which would  would undo these ills by empowering workers on an individual level to refuse toleration of abusive, discriminatory, and low wage working conditions. It would socially empower workers on an individual rather than collective unionist level.

So a universal basic income would reduce the size of the state and essentially politically disempower trade unions...it seems like the key to many right-wing ideological fantasies.



Saturday, 23 November 2013

That silly bastard!



I find this video of John F. Kennedy ranting about the U.S. Air Force using government money to pay for a refurbishment of Mrs. Kennedy's maternity suite more amusing each time I hear it. Unfortunately, due to the severe amusement caused by JFK's accented emphasis on his outrage at "that silly bastard next to the bed?!", my mind will associate his name with this triviality instead of his saving the world from nuclear annihilation.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Centrica's biggest shareholders: nice and warm in Bermuda.

British Gas, one of the UK's biggest energy companies, today joined other major utility firms in announcing bill increases for consumers far above inflation, at 9.2%.

British Gas are the subsidiary of the multinational firm Centrica; and after some research, I have learned that the biggest FTSE 100 stock market shareholders in Centrica are Invesco Ltd.



Invesco are a U.S. multinational investment firm. And though Invesco's headquarters are based in Alabama, since May 2007 it has been domiciled and incorporated in Bermuda. Bermuda is notorious for its abuse as a tax haven by multinational companies, and rich individuals (such as Mitt Romney). I can think of no other reason wht Invesco chose to incorporate there.

Fuel poverty is attributed as one of the driving factors behind 24,000 extra winter deaths in the UK.

So it is worth bearing mind that Invesco's billions are stashed in offshore bank accounts on the sunny, idyllic shores of Bermuda when thousands of poor and vulnerable people die from hypothermia and/or malnutrition caused by above-inflation consumer price hikes from Centrica and British Gas this winter.

(On a semi-related note, I also learned yesterday that British Gas offers a 10% price discount on energy maintenance for buy-to-let landlords with multiple properties. It's nice to observe solidarity between parasitic scum).

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Labour's 2013 conference policy announcements: they're a start

Many have harshly and rightfully criticised Ed Miliband's Labour Party leadership for failing to sufficiently differentiate itself from, and oppose, the policies perpetrated by David Cameron's government and the Conservative Party. In response to this, the party has come out with a raft of policy announcements seemingly directed to appease these concerns; they have had the effect, in my observations, of improving the Labour Party's standing amongst its progressive and socialist critics. I certainly do not disapprove of these policy commitments, which were detailed in what was probably the best speech of Ed Miliband's career thus far, but there are certain hitches and uncertainties attached to some of them which inhibit me from being extremely enthusiastic about them. (The italicised text is my own description of them).


  • Labour will increase the fine for employers who fail to pay their workers the minimum wage by 1000% from £5,000 to £50,000. It is quite right that penalty for this should at least be equal for the maximum fine for fly-tipping. However, it falls short of a commitment to introduce a living wage. (Or very ideally, a universal guaranteed Basic Income). Addressing economic inequality through improved wage conditions would also reduce the burden on state of the social security system's subsidy of poverty wages. Labour is still decidedly set in the capitalist wage labour model despite Miliband's pronouncements against inequality and perpetually diminishing living standards: it goes without saying that all of these things are mutually innate.
  • Labour will freeze energy bills for gas electricity until 2017. Though this would be will a welcome financial relief to thousands of households, it will only be a temporary fix. It will do nothing to resolve the endemic problems of fuel poverty or rising energy costs contributing to diminishing living standards. British Gas has complained that the proposal to freeze consumer energy costs would be a detriment to their operations. I would be happy to force the fuel poverty profiteering big energy firms into bankruptcy so they could be taken into public ownership.
  • Labour will abolish the bedroom tax and build one million new homes. It is quite right that the cruel and nefarious bedroom tax should be repealed, but this is a hollow commitment from Labour if it does include the forgiveness of all rent arrears caused by it, as well as the reimbursement of bedroom tax payed by social tenants; especially those who have been punished for "spare rooms" needed because of a disability. It should also be noted that Labour councils are among those enforcing the bedroom tax and threatening tenants unable to afford it with eviction. If all Labour councils took after the Green Party council in Brighton, and the SNP government in Scotland, and defied the government and refused to enforce the bedroom tax, it would greatly contribute in the here and now to defeating the policy, as well as rejuvenating Labour in terms of grassroots support and activism. Ed Miliband also rightfully condemned the rouge landlords who exploit migrants, but he has yet to cite public subsidy of private landlords' extortionate rents as the real culprit of the soaring Housing Benefit bill, or proposed substantial regulation of the private rented sector to reduce it.
  • Labour will abolish Atos Healthcare's role in disability benefit assessments, as well as overhaul the Work Capability Assessment for Employment Support Allowance. Though Atos are infamous for their absurdly cruel and incompetent decisions when dealing with disabled and sick persons' benefit applications, it is the entire assessment process itself, as noted by the British Medical Association and numerous disability charities, which is fundamentally inhumane and broken. There should be no role for non-medical private sector contractors in assessment disability or illness at all. Ideally, professionals within the National Health Service, who are actually medically qualified and driven by duty of care rather than payment by statistic profiteering like Atos, should be the prime authority for deciding allocation of financial support to disabled people.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Religious diversity...

Driven by my interest in Aleister Crowley's Thelema, I attempted to scower 2011 UK Census data to discover how many of those in collated data identified as Thelemites. I did not find the numbers, but did discover a list of religious identifications painstakingly noted by the Office of National Statistics. Here's a list of those which I find to be the most intriguing and/or amusing:


  • British Israelite
  • Church
  • Nature
  • Sage
  • Druidry
  • Chaos
  • Progressive Voodoo
  • Temple of Set
  • Big of Everything
  • Jedi
  • Heavy Metal (there is an entire subsection devoted to different heavy metal genres)
  • Church of the Invisible Pink Unicorn
  • Gay
  • Hammers
  • MK Ultra
  • Not Old Enough
  • Quantum Physics
  • Straight Edge
  • Surfing Dude
  • Stalinist

Clinical Commissioning Group rationing mental health services - a witness to NHS privatisation

I had an appointment with my NHS psychiatrist today to discuss my ongoing treatment for mood and anxiety disorders. (I'm comfortable with openly talking about this). He has also diagnosed me as possibly being on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum. It would obviously be helpful to undergo a diagnostic interview to confirm this decisively, but the waiting list for this test is particularly long. I was informed that this is due to the local Clinical Commissioning Group, which under new English NHS legislation decides allocation of funding for services within the local NHS trust, has provided funding to employ only one respective assessor for adults with suspected autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Though treatment and diagnoses for children with autism, ADHD and other disorders is expansive, no funding for any NHS treatment for adults with these conditions is provided by the CCG in the trust I am being treated by. This is apparently because they view autism, for example, as a "condition" rather than an "illness", despite (as noted by the psychiatrist) the sociological and neurological problems it causes frequently resulting in mental health problems in adults.

Of course, one can have immediate access to these treatments or diagnostic services if they are payed for privately...

Today I witnessed an example of what the 2012 Health and Social Care Act is doing to the National Health Service in England: a Clinical Commissioning Group, likely controlled with private healthcare industry interests in mind, rationing and cherrypicking provision of NHS mental health services to vulnerable adults on behalf of those profiteers providing them at a charge.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Fan art



"I want to love. I want to suffer intellectually and suffer existentially."

My friend Lundy apparently found this remark of mine so inspiring, she has produced some fan art in which I am portrayed as a glasses-wearing pterodactyl.

She seemingly has a much more expansive knowledge of dinosaurs than me.

Anyway, enjoy.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Chuka Umunna victimises the homeless




Today I met a homeless man named Chris. His appearance and demeanor, as refined and dignified as he could muster, contradicted the prevailing stereotype of homelessness. He explained that he had been living in a flat, but has been sleeping rough for around a year after his private landlord (probably subsidised by Housing Benefit) pushed up his rent and evicted him onto the streets.

I am not aware of how Chris presently survives, but there is a hypothetical possibility that he could squat in abandoned properties, especially during cold weather.

The above remark by Chuka Umanna, exemplifying the Labour Party's commitment to liberal capitalist propertarianism, would in its implicit rationale have more moral sympathy for the private landlord than the homeless man. When it is the squatter, frequently vulnerable and/or impoverished, who is simply seeking a safe habitation in a material location otherwise standing disused with no utility to humanity at all.

Malcolm Frost, aged 61, died in November 2012 in freezing conditions while living in his garden shed after his private landlord evicted him.

The moral onus is on Chuka Umanna: would he inherently condone the killing of those such as Malcolm Frost, or his punishment if he sought refuge in abandoned unused property? Given his support for strengthening already draconian anti-squatting laws introduced by the coalition government, it seems as such.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

On the "immorality" of meat consumption.

This post is derived from a recent rant on Tumblr.
The recent scientific accomplishment of fake and consumable genetically manufactured animal flesh envisions a future, at least in the rich west, without a need to kill animals on a industrial scale to fulfill these impulses of nutrition and appetite. This reality would be a desirable one. Regardless of our own dietary habits, it is hard to argue that the condition of sentient reality in general would not be better out without minimised suffering at whatever level.
However, I profoundly object to those abstaining from meat consumption, namely privileged westerners, who condemn the consumption of animals as  It is especially asinine when some imply that it is comparable to the slave trade or the Holocaust. There are definitely rightful moral objections to be made regarding the shoddy ethical practices often present within our industrial slaughterhouse industries; and perhaps there is a moral onus on the populaces of rich Western countries consuming livestock en masse to consider vegetarianism, given the industry’s contribution to global climate change. Then these provocative metaphorical points are perhaps more accurately analogous.
But in many societies, meat from livestock is the primary, or in some circumstances even the only, source of food. I remember seeing a documentary featuring native nomadic families living on barren mountain terrain in Mongolia. A father mentioned that he wished he could feed his wife and children vegetables, but produce from slaughtered livestock was the only food he could provide (and as in many Eastern societies, they used most of the livestock’s anatomy for food). 
The distinction lays in hunting of necessity and that of recreational sadism such as deer stalking; the “genocide” comparisons from the likes of PETA scream privileged western cultural ignorance.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Reclaim Reality



"Bourgeois ideology is an ideology which refuses to allow itself to be identified as an ideology by presenting itself as neutral, impartial, universal, objective and value-free." - Roland Barthes


Some accuse the materialist conception of reality of perpetrating moral and existential nihilism. On the contrary, the real nihilism is the ideology which demands subordination and uniformity to the interests it defends by virtue of its own institutional ideological indoctrination, seeking to bind the very fabric of our existences. It destroys and imprisons the metaphorical soul in the spiritual secular war. In a totalitarian fashion, it asserts its propositions of unavoidable and non-modifiable truth as somehow metaphysically innate to material consciousness and reality.

Reclaim Reality.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Government lies on disabled people and the bedroom tax

Today the High Court of Justice dismissed a legal challenge by ten disabled people and their families hit by the "under-occupancy penalty", referred to by the government as a "spare room subsidy" payed for by social housing tenants in recipient of housing benefit, and generally referred to as the bedroom tax by opponents (obviously including myself). This decision was under the duress of a 'discretionary fund' (a fixed, not annual scum) protecting disabled and vulnerable people, and their carers, from the policy. David Cameron has often referencing discretionary payments trying to justify this policy in response to harrowing stories of MPs' disabled constituents impacted by it. 

Disabled children are exempted from the policy (but as soon as they turn 18 are supposedly fair game for state-backed bullying and impoverishment).

It is estimated than two thirds of households hit by the bedroom tax include a disabled person. Over £500 million a year is being hypothetically being raised by the Department of Work and Pensions, which argues that the cost of the housing benefit budget makes its a necessity whilst ignoring the expense of subsidising the rents and buy-to-let empires of private sector landlords, through imposition of the bedroom tax. The government has increased its discretionary fund to £185 million; therefore, a minimum £315 million a year is being raised through burdening disabled people with the "spare room subsidy" (a figure only limited by the slight increase in the discretionary fund).

Disabled people often need a "spare" bedroom or extra space in their homes for a variety reasons, including storage for wheelchairs, mobility and medical equipment, or a separate sleeping place when a disability would make it impossible for them to get a decent night's sleep. One of the disabled bedroom tax victims involved in the legal challenge, Charlotte Carmichael, suffers from a condition which makes it necessary for her to sleep in a specially adapted hospital bed. The thousands of disabled people and their carers, unfortunate enough to be denied rationed discretionary payments from a limited fund, are being spared no mercy. This includes Victoria Kenning, a terminal cancer patient who is being threatened with eviction from her council home (by a Labour council) for her inability to pay the bedroom tax.

If the government truly cared about disabled people have their lives devastated by this wretched and barbaric policy, then it would simply exempt them from it. Its actions speak louder than words; though perhaps its professed "delight" for the High Court's decision is an exemption to this rule.

I would personally advocate that those effected, or any number of them, should take their cases to the European Court of Human Rights to resist the UK government's violations of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Whatever the case, if there will be no justice for the most fragile members of our society victim to this socioeconomic violence, then there should be no peace.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

On the scapegoating of single motherhood

An incentive from Conservative MPs, support by David Cameron, are proposals to limit the supposed "automatic entitlements" given to single parents on low incomes, including access to Housing Benefit and social housing. The report itself, however, does not refer to single parents. It refers to single mothers; particularly those of a young age from certain social backgrounds, with the greatest susceptibility for poverty.

The notion of women supposedly getting impregnated to game social security provisions has reared its ugly head historically. During his first U.S. presidential campaign in 1976, Ronald Reagan constructed the absurd tale of a single mother, an archetypal "welfare queen", who supposedly exemplified a widespread manipulation of social support by this demonised minority: "She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000." It was soon established that Reagan's exaggerated propaganda was pure fantasy, founded upon stereotype to appeal to popular bigotry.


The fact that single mothers have been specifically cited as political capital for puerile scapegoating is what immediately struck me. (There are single fathers, of course). As in the case of Reagan's "welfare queen" archetype, it exemplifies the inherent chauvinism and misogyny of the mentality seeking to perpetrate it.


Given that I was raised by a single mother, I find it as disgusting on a personal level as I do on a moral and political one. My mum, for the for most part, brought me up alone. And she did an incredible job, despite all of the struggle, adversity and self-sacrifice that goes with being a economically disadvantaged single parent. But what impacted my and her welfare just as severely was the snide prejudice and hatred she was subjected to on both a social and institutional level.


Such political scapegoating and social stigmatisation of single mothers essentially encapsulates the systematic subordination of vulnerable minorities under capitalist patriarchy. It displays normalised economic, class-based, gender-based and sexual discrimination and violence.


The Conservative MPs' report also makes an issue of the occurrence of abortion among young women, which would be less frequent if there was less sexual subordination, and more comprehensive sex education in schools and access to contraception in society, as is the case in European countries where statistical frequency of teenage pregnancy and abortion and significantly lower than in the UK. Of course, the rights of contraception and termination of pregnancy all fall under the right of biological self-determination and bodily autonomy. Why are the abusers of single mothers so keen to engage in the doublespeak of attacking child bearing they imply as burdensome, yet make issue of women exerting their basic right of bodily autonomy?

As the great comedian George Carlin said: 

Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all in favour of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the  foetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if you're preschool, you're fucked.

The same rhetoric which chastises single mothers for implied "economic inactivity" is the same which abuses vulnerable disabled people as "scroungers". It censures women for deciding their own destinies, and for not submitting to institutional economic uniformity. And to the same extent, it victimises infant children for being surplus units of existence in the scheme of state capitalism. Surely, subjecting children to this kind of vindictiveness on an interpersonal and/or paternal level would be classified as child abuse.  At its heart, it beholds the spectre of ideological dehumanisation.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

First they came (2013)

First the Tories came for the public sector workers, and I did not speak out because I did not work in the public sector.
Then they came for the students, and I did not speak out because I received a student grant.
Then they came for the disabled people, and I did not speak out because I was able-bodied.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the immigrants, and I did not speak out because I was born here.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
My rights, my wages, and everything else I took for granted, vanished.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Is Ian Brady right?

The serial child murderer Ian Brady, has made his first public appearance in decades at a mental health tribunal. On hunger strike and kept alive via a feeding tube, his declared intention is to be transferred to a regular prison rather than a secure psychiatrist unit to be able to starve himself to death more easily. 

Brady is undoubtedly an extremely evil individual. But he is also clearly someone of distinct intellect. It is this intelligence that assured his ease in manipulating his accomplice in the murder of five children, a child abuse victim herself, Myra Hindely.

Brady made a particular point regarding the Moors murders the they were "petty compared to politicians and soldiers in relation to war."

Frankly, I find it hard to argue with Brady's moral point. But the distinction I want to make clear is that Brady probably makes such statements under the rationale of them making his unspeakable crimes supposedly more palatable to the outside. Rather, it emphasises the argument that the political acts by those in power are equally as morally depraved Brady and Hindley's horrendous crimes.

The American solider Robert Bales is facing life imprisonment for indiscriminately murdering sixteen Afghan civilians, including children. Though he is correctly facing punishment for this terrible crime, I do not sense that they are met with the same level of moral indignation, disgust or sorrow that the Moors murders are thought of with.

Over a hundred Pakistani and Yemeni children, classified as "collateral damage" have been killed in drone strikes ordered by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

Brady's remarks should not make us think of his murder and rape of young children being any less nefarious. But they should make us reflect on our hypocritical cognitive dissonance in regards to violence against the innocent. After-all, shouldn't the latter justify Brady's logic, given the thousands of foreign civilian victims being politically and culturally dehumanised as much as Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans were in the eyes of Brady and Hindley?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

A hidden Clockwork Orange reference in The Shining?

One of the theories posited in Rodney Ascher's documentary on supposed subliminal messages and hidden parables in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, Room 237, relates to the film being played in regular sequence, and reversed, and the two then overlapped. A striking result from this overlap experiment is the result of the character Danny's famous tricycle scene in which he encounters the twins murdered by caretaker Herbert Grady, and the scene in which his father Jack Torrence a dead woman in a bathtub in the Overlook Hotel's Room 327. An image in which the blood of Danny's "shining" vision appears to serve as macabre clown makeup on Jack's face:


What immediately struck me about this image is that the overlapped blood effect on Jack's left eye bears a remarkable similarity to that of Alex DeLarge in Kubrick's adaption of A Clockwork Orange, released nine years earlier.


It is well documented that Kubrick painstakingly warped the perception of his viewers for purposes of artistic metaphor and/or simple accentuation of atmosphere.

Perhaps the theory that this was a deliberate hidden paralleling by Kubrick of the murderous Jack Torrance and the murderous Alex DeLarge could be less outlandish than other Shining-related conspiracy theories? Or perhaps all of this is far too over-excited over-analysis?



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Israel and antisemitism

The University and College Union recently passed a motion claiming that criticism of Israel can never connote to antisemitism. Such an assertion is, to be straightforward about the matter, stupid.

Of course apologists for the Israeli state's crime against humanity, war crimes, and domestic apartheid and ethnic cleansing policies, occasionally moot the extremely vacuous accusation that critics of and activists against these crimes are driven by antisemitic prejudice. This is neatly refuted by the fact of Jewish involvement in pro-Palestine campaigns such as BDS and the Free Gaza Movement, including rabbis and survivors of the Holocaust.

The UCU's motion is evidently a reactionary counter to this: and it is as morally irresponsible as it is stupid.

There can neither be any denying of the attempts to hijack pro-Palestine causes by fascist and racist elements. And for bodies like the UCU to simply bury their heads in the sand regarding this issue, rather than tackle and disavow it head-on, in itself gives antisemitism a free ride.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

ME awareness day

May 12 is the awareness day for chronic fatigue syndrome/ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis).

I was diagnosed with a form of chronic fatigue syndrome, post-viral fatigue syndrome after a bout of severe and reoccurring glandular fever caused by Epstein-Barr virus when I was 15.

I can account firsthand of how much of a debilitating, dreadful and one hundred percent real condition it is. On one occasion I had what can certainly be described as a near-death experience, in which mild heart failure and poorly oxygenated conditions resulted in me collapsing and needing to be resuscitated. It disturbs me to consider what the reality could be had circumstances had been slightly different.

What I was afflicted by in the years afterward was appalling psychical sickness, neropathic pain exhaustion, dysfunctional sleeping patterns, and vicious reciprocation with my mental health problems, which essentially tore apart my life's stability. I have only just truly begun to recover, and the symptoms still tend to randomly manifest.

The first accounted death from CFS was that of Sophia Mirza, who died in 2005 the age of 32  from renal failure after suffering from CFS for six years; she had no other underlying medical pathologies.

The prevalent denialism and outright discrimination surrounding CFS is essentially a cause of torturous gibing for its victims.





 

Monday, 29 April 2013

UKIP's Godfrey Bloom attacks the National Health Service

The UK Independence Party is currently the midst of a shambolic turmoil relating to the rather unpalatable remarks and views of its unvetted local election candidates, including attachments to the fascist British National Party and English Defence League, eugenicist ableism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and antisemitic conspiracy theories. UKIP have keenly insisted, however, that they repudiate the views of these candidates, and have suspended some of their standings.

The various male chauvinist remarks of UKIP's economic spokesman, MEP Godfrey Bloom, have particularly exemplified reactionary views within the echelons of the party.

Some other remarks by Bloom however, regarding the UK's National Health Service, have gone under the radar to the same extent as UKIP's unvetted absurd and extremist local election candidates.

Bloom made these remarks on the NHS when being interviewed the radio show of American conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in December 2009 (before anyone asks me why I was listening to Jones's radio show, my answer is part research and part morbid curiosity):


                                             Starting at around seven minutes


"What you're doing now we did in 1946-1947. We got rid of a perfectly good health system which was based on individuals and individuals' relationships with their own doctors and their own local hospitals, which were based on some part-charitable status part-fee paying status, and they brought in this terrible monolith called the National Health system. And the National Health system...we have bred a monster you wouldn't believe. It's the biggest employer in Europe. It costs literally billions and billions and billions of pounds [Bloom is obviously ignorant to how vastly more cost effective the NHS is when compared to the profit-driven U.S. healthcare system] a year. We've just wasted £8 billion, over $10 billion on a failed IT system. Nothing in the National Health system works. It's a sacred cow over here

Bloom continues and decry the "socialist" healthcare reforms of President Barack Obama, and pleads voters to not adopt the same "disaster" he implies Aneurin Bevan's National Health Service to be. This cannot be construed a mere critique of the particular healthcare policies of the Labour government of the time. This is an all-out attack by Bloom on the very concept and existence of the National Health Service.

Though advocating elements of marketisation in the NHS, UKIP's official health policy asserts that a UKIP government would protect and defend the fundamental principle of a universal, free at the point of need, or what Godfrey Bloom would call "socialist", National Health Service: "The NHS is valued by the people of this country, admired and envied by others. The principle of treatment free at the point of delivery is non-negotiable."

This is definitely pandering overwhelming cross-party public support for and satisfaction with the NHS "sacred cow". It is astonishing that senior figure within a political party would be openly and entirely at odds with one of its fundamental manifesto tenants.


The NHS is a sacred cow for a reason. It is not flawless, but is a world better than the frequently atrociously inhumane profit-driven American healthcare system. I would certainly opt to preserve this "monolith" than live in the callous, social Darwinist society Bloom and his UKIP ilk would prefer.

UPDATE

I have emailed Godfrey Bloom regarding his views on the NHS: 

Dear Mr. Bloom, 

I am emailing you regarding some comments you made about Britain's National Health Service on Alex Jones' radio show in December 2009. The particular remarks, you made which I have transcribed from a YouTube video of the interview: 

[above transcription]

I understand that, in context, you may have been making critical remarks regarding the health policy of the Labour government of the time. But it seems to me that you are attacking the very concept of the National Health Service itself. Your description of it as a monstrous "socialist" monolith certainly seems to conflict with UKIP's own health policy; the website page for which describes the NHS as an "envy of the world". It seems peculiar to me that the views one of UKIP's most senior figures seems to conflict with his own party's policy position, which does advocate elements of marketisation, but nevertheless commits to protecting a free at the point of delivery single-payer healthcare system in the UK.

Have I interpreted your remarks wrongly? Please contact me, if you are able, so I can set the record straight publicly. 

Might I get a response?

UPDATE - 7 May 2013

I have received this response from Godfrey Bloom:



"Dear Mr Richardson

I think the fact that we have a system employing 1.3 million people, over half of whom have no medical qualifications of any sort, the waste on the IT programme, horrific reports from Staffordshire and other hospitals. Significant numbers of people in the system earning over £100,000 per annum, yet highly trained theatre nurses earn no more than the average wage shows how drastically the system needs reform.

Let me say my wife worked as a physiotherapist in the NHS for many years, a significant number of friends still do they all tell me without drastic reform the system will collapse. We may look at the French model of national health which seems based on a much better foundation.

All political parties now have accepted reform is essential, the real question is what sort of reform, clearly as I said the socialist/monolith system of 1948 is now completely out of date.

Our NHS policy is under review, it is not within my remit nor do I claim my views represent UKIP on this issue.

Kind regards

Godfrey Bloom"

He does make decent points regarding longstanding problems within the NHS, though I would primarily attribute them to marketisation policy enacted under the New Labour government rather than 'monolithic socialism'.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

When fascist ducks quack




Nick Griffin, the leader of the far-right British National Party, often claims to be an "ethic nationalist" as opposed to a racist. Why then did he post this tweet earlier this month, seemingly condoning or making light of epithets used against particular ethnic minorities?:




I doubt anyone is surprised.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

The Thatcherite necrocracy

I may be wrong, but I believe that Margaret Thatcher would have expected celebrations of her death. She was certainly a narcissist, but she wasn't not self-aware. She may have even found the jubilation amusing to a certain degree.

The response from her apologists to said jubilation is that it affirms that Thatcher "won". Well, she definitely was victorious in numerous ways. She succeeded in destroying thousands of lives in systematically dismantling Britain's industrial base. She privatised basic public utilities, resulting in the parasitic corporate extortion that impacts us (particularly the thousands of impoverished elderly people killed by fuel poverty every year) to this day. She succeeded in aiding and abetting thousands of cases of murder, rape, torture and political suppression by the totalitarian and dictatorial regimes she supported across the world. Her Section 28 legislation ingrained homophobic hatred which remains, albeit in a waning state, to this day.

I could go on about her triumphs.

The original title of Thatcher's autobiography was Undefeated. Her most profound, undying victory is her hegemonic ideological monopoly of the UK's political establishment. She described Tony Blair, the self-described Son of Thatcher, and his transformation of the Labour Party into adhering to a rigid and opportunistic neoliberal administration, which implemented privatisation and financial deregulations nor she or John Major managed to, as among her proudest achievements. And Tony Blair did her proud her this week, in his attack on Ed Miliband's leadership for not accepting the Cameron coalition government's brutal welfare cuts, or tabloid propaganda rhetoric about "benefit scroungers", with sufficient uniformity. Iain Duncan Smith, the main technocratic architect of economic assault on the poor and vulnerable like the bedroom tax, has described Thatcher as the reason he entered politics.

Thatcher is not dead. She lived in pitiful and frail half-death for the remaining years of her life, but her presence was not necessary. She lives on as the almost holographic iconography of the increasingly malignant neoliberalism that pervades our society and lives. The neoliberal policies that are being imposed in the present are even more brutal and transformational than anything she managed, but they are in her spirit and within the foundations she set. The likes of Cameron, Blair and IDS are merely her vessels and minions.

Despite being literally dead, Thatcher is the closest thing Britain has to any of the dictators she supported. And similar to the Eternal Presidency of deceased Kim Il-Sung in North Korea, she is the figurehead of the dominating ideology of Thatcherism.

We only have the right to celebrate when we figuratively impale the stake through her undead black heart.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

#cameronhasbloodonhishands

 “I can think of nothing more alarming than the statement that ‘Cameron has blood on his hands.’”, claimed a judge at Oxford Magistrates' Court who prosecuted Bethan Titchborne for causing "harassment, alarm and distress" for engaging in a lone protest against Prime Minister David Cameron in November 2012, when she was brutally assaulted by police officers for asserting her democratic human rights. 

Bethan explains her rationale for demonstrating as follows: 

30 people have died as a direct result of the government’s ‘welfare reforms’. Thousands have died after being found ‘fit for work’. Over the long term, as more and more is taken away there will be increasing harm and death, including many hidden ones. The fine and costs come to more than I earn in a month, the judge said that on a whole £700 a month of course I’d have no trouble paying it back. After rent, travel to work, food and paying off loans I don’t have money left at the end of the month, and my salary is going down soon, so I’m not sure what will happen next. Except that I’m going to keep saying that Cameron has blood on his hands.

The estimation of thirty people dying from welfare cuts and sanctions derives from Calums List, a website collating media stories on individuals cited to have been killed as a direct of consequence of said welfare "reforms". There is no way of knowing how many more dozens may have died already; and we can assume there will certainly be dozens of cases in the future.

According to the Department of Work and Pensions itself, in response to a Freedom of Information request, at least 10,600  severely disabled and sick people died within 6 weeks of having their Employment and Support Allowance withdrawn by the DWP, after undergoing an Atos 'Work Capability Assessment', and being deemed 'fit for work'.


Steve Bell - May 2011


The mass death caused by this industrialised medical malpractice backed by state culpability is not necessarily genocide, as it is not strictly a deliberate killing of a group of persons (in this case disabled and unwell) driven by political power. The political scientist Rudolph Rummell, however, describes democide as the following: The murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder.

Rummell further elaborates: Democide is meant to define the killing by government as the concept of murder does individual killing in domestic society. Here intentionality (premeditation) is critical. This also includes practical intentionality. If a government causes deaths through a reckless and depraved indifference to human life, the deaths were as though intended. If through neglect a mother lets her baby die of malnutrition, this is murder. If we imprison a girl in our home, force her to do exhausting work throughout the day, not even minimally feed and clothe her, and watch her gradually die a little each day without helping her, then her inevitable death is not only our fault, but our practical intention. It is murder.

I believe that the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of disabled and sick people in the UK, directly caused by the collusion between the Department and Work Pensions and Atos in the Work Capability Assessment system, and the reckless and depraved ethos justifying it, constitutes democidal mass murder by proxy (at the very least manslaughter) by David Cameron's government. It is why Bethan Titchbourne was right to say that CAMERON HAS BLOOD ON HIS HANDS.

We can respond to this flagrantly politicised assault on our freedom of expression by the legal system in the following way:


  • Join the #cameronhasbloodonhishands Twitter hashtag campaign. Use the hashtag when possible when discussing the UK's disability welfare and human rights issues.
  • Say "Cameron has blood on his hands" at anti-government and anti-cuts demonstrations. Chant it. Brandish signs with the slogan on it. If in the circumstance you encounter or see David Cameron in public (I emphasise public), be sure to make him hear how drenched in blood his hands are. 

We will not tolerate the state's democide, and its attempts to suppress dissent against it, laying down.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cameron's big money

At Prime Minister's Questions on 13 March 2013, David Cameron attacked Ed Miliband for the Labour Party's acceptance of donations from trade unions in 2012: the GMB, USDAW, ASLEF, the TSSA, UCATT—£2.7 million, dinosaur after dinosaur, dinner after dinner. They pay the money, they get the policies, but the country would end up paying the price.

It's somewhat inaccurate for Cameron to say that the trade unions inform Labour Party policy, given that in so many instances, Labour remains entirely uniform to the cause of neoliberal austerity cuts. But, in view of the unions, Labour are the most effective vehicle for democratic socialism and social democracy, despite the sometimes contemptible positioning of its leadership (which is another issue entirely).

Ed Miliband does deserve credit (and it is something he should emphasise when responding to Cameron's swivel-eyed anti-union jibes) that in April 2012, he advocated a £5,000 cap on donations to political parties from any individual or organisation. 

David Cameron and the Conservative Party rejected this, despite their supposed outrage over large monetary support for the Labour Party from 'union barons'. 

Why?

It is perhaps because, unlike the Labour Party which receives donations from unions that are the cumulative contributions of thousands of low to relatively modest payed workers, 50% of Tory Party funding comes from bankers and financial firms in the City of London. £42 million has been given to the party from the City since Cameron became its leader in 2007. To put this into perspective, this is £12 million more than the insufficient "discretionary" fund for the poor and disabled victims of his bedroom tax.

No wonder Cameron's government is so driven to implement an agenda which transfers the expense of the financial system's crisis onto the social fabric.

Almost exactly year before attacking Ed Miliband for having "dinner after dinner" with the leaders of trade union donors, Cameron was forced disclosed the private dinners he had with large corporate donors to the Conservative Party.

His raving, self-evident hypocrisy confirms that he has no real moral objection to a politics based upon his bribery and corruption; his motive is only to attack the trade union movement which attempts to cooperatively organise a modest opposition to it.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

John Nash and the trail of corruption

Since 2006, John Nash, who was until 2010 the Chairman of private healthcare providers CareUK, has donated over £300,000 to the Conservative Party. Since the Conservative Party-led coalition government formed in May 2010, the following has occurred:


  • CareUK has been set to benefit from privatisation within the National Health Service enacted under Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in April 2012 (with Lansley's  personal office being gifted a £21,000 donation from John Nash himself).
  • John Nash was appointed by Chancellor George Osborne to a panel "advising" the government on public spending cuts. Nash recommended £10 billion of "efficiency savings" (spending cuts) to the NHS. Incidentally, CareUK will profit from outsourcing used, and accelerated in Lansley's NHS bill, to cover the lack of services caused by these very cuts.
  • In 2011 John Nash and his wife were specifically chosen by Iain Duncan Smith Work and Pensions Secretary to supply (and profit from) £73 million worth of the government's forced unpaid labour schemes.
  • In January 2013, John Nash was given a seat in the House of Lords by Prime Minster David Cameron, and has been made an education minister by Education Secretary Michael Gove. Gove then appointed Nash, fellow major Tory donor Theodore Angew, and Bain & Company (Mitt Romney's asset stripping alumni) to advise on public education cuts; with Bain being permitted to bid on public education outsourcing and privatisation contracts in the UK.
A simple inquiry: how can such blatant nepotism, bribery, corruption and conflict of interest go without adequate media scrutiny or official repercussion?

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The new Poll Tax

The urn containing Becky Bell's ashes lays in her empty bedroom in Hartlepool, County Durham. It remains immaculately preserved and cared for, following Becky's death from cancer at the age of seven. We can imagine that room to be a symbolical shrine for Becky's parents and brother: of inexpressible sentimentality and unfathomable grief in Becky's loss, and providing priceless psychological consolation in their bereavement.  But due to new Department of Work and Pensions rules, charging social housing tenants for "under-occupied" spare rooms through cuts in their Housing Benefit—a policy termed the Bedroom Tax—Becky's family will be charged £672 a year for Becky's empty bedroom, deemed to be "surplus" by the local council under these guidelines. It is a policy dictated by DWP minister Lord David Freud (who almost certainly be diagnosed with sociopathy by his great-grandfather Sigmund), who resides in an eight-bedroom country mansion in Kent, when not residing at his £1.9 million property in North London. (Incidentally, the Conservative Party refused to consider the idea of a Mansion Tax on properties worth over £2 million). The Bedroom Tax will begin in April 2013; coinciding with the coalition government's 5% income tax cut for the rich. If the Bells refused to pay Bedroom Tax, they would be forced to leave their and Becky's home (aggressively via bailiffs). To cover the expense, they will have been advised in an unsubtly vindictive letter to occupy Becky's bedroom with a lodger.

The monkier "Bedroom Tax" is in itself, however, misleading. The government has given council landlords permission to define a "bedroom" in whatever manner they seek fit to tax the poor with. So therefore, contrary to taxing tenancy in luxurious suites, which politicians such as George Osborne is keen to portray, the charge will be applied to the most tiny and inhospitable of spare rooms. It will have a particularly adverse affect on disabled persons (additionally being affected by the DWP's damaging disability benefit cuts), including disabled children, and their families and carers. 

Angel Cooper, a 5-year-old girl in Hull cared for full-time by her parents, developed septicemia due to contracting meningitis as a baby, leaving her severely disabled. The National Health Service built Angel an extended room for her specialist needs under the orders of her therapists. But because this is deemed to be a "spare room" by the council, and due to a Dickensian rule of the Bedroom Tax dictated by Lord Freud expecting young children to share rooms, the Cooper family will be charged £20 a week for their disabled daughter's requirements.

The Cameron coalition's Bedroom Tax is easily the most arbitrary and vindictive attack on the poor since Margaret Thatcher's Poll Tax. It will in many cases irreparably destroy thousands of lives, and swathes of the social fabric (in a sickening irony for a Conservative Party which claims to stand for family values and localism). Of course, the real solution to the UK's housing crisis is to invest in the construction of homes, and counteract the extortion of private sector landlords, to reduce the Housing Benefit bill. The sheer barbarism and wickedness being perpetrated against families like the Bells and Coopers is out of pure ideological choice.

Thatcher's Poll Tax was defeated with mass resistance and non-compliance, and also majorly contributed to bringing down her government. The Cameron government's Bedroom Tax ought to be deservedly met with the same sort of reception.

Combat the Bedroom Tax

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The NHS PFI/cuts/privatisation agenda

In response to my blog post on the closure of the Lewisham NHS trust setting a precedent on cuts and privatisation of the UK's healthcare services, I was recently emailed by Elena Manighetti, who along with Eddie Chaloner, a consultant vascular surgeon at Lewisham hospital, has produced this diagram on the harm private finance 'initiative' schemes are having to NHS services. It is certainly extremely illustrative.



Saturday, 19 January 2013

The top 0.00000142900%


'Oxfam said the world's poorest could be lifted out of poverty several times over should the richest 100 billionaires give away the money they made last year.
Without pointing a finger at individuals, the charity argued that the $240bn (£150bn) net income amassed in 2012 by the richest 100 billionaires would be enough to make extreme poverty history four times over.'
With the population of the planet nearing seven billion, I estimate that these 100 individuals roughly comprise 0.0000142900% of the world's population. The miserism of whom permits  the lives of over two billion people to be unspeakably unbearable and existentially barren. As Nelson Mandela once said:  Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. " Poverty is indeed no less violent towards than human condition than segregation or enslavement; in fact, it implicitly institutionalises them both to accumulate this capital, which is mostly not earned, but accumulated in high interest bank accounts, and offshore tax shelters, where as much as $31 trillion has been accrued. Not to forget "developed" western societies  where living standards are being systematically undermined generationally: "The report found that the richest 1% had increased their incomes by 60% in the past 20 years, with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process." Acceleration, of course, including state capitalist subsidisation of financial firms funded through austerity's (miserism's) destruction of societies' social fabrics, to an extent seemingly aspiring to match social decay seen in African nations. This being why organisations like Oxfam are being obliged to comment on the state-imposed starvation of children in nations like Britain and Greece, as much as Ethiopia. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Miserism

Aditya Chakrabortty has written an excellent article for Comment is Free in which he correctly writes: "austerity is just code for the transfer of wealth and power into ever fewer hands"; and advocates taxation of what he terms the idle rich. (The case for a Wealth Tax).

Austerity is a clearly inaccurate phrase. It clearly doesn't apply the wealthy beneficiaries of publicly-funded bailouts, implicit quantitative easing subsidies, and tax cuts. There is nor no labour involved in the accumulation of hoarded capital accumulating with interest.

It would be more insightful to refer to so-called austerity as miserism. A term I want to get into circulation, referring to the ideology of the exorbitantly wealthy lecturing the masses on the need for frugality. The majority of cabinet ministers within Britain's austerity-imposing coalition goverment are, afterall, millionaires (and white, male, private school and Oxbridge attendees).

Miserism derives from historical figures with extreme exorbitance in terms of capital, yet who in some cases lived in abject destitution, and not even for the purpose of selflessness.  An example includes John Elwes, a man with the modern equivalent of £19 million, who bathed in the River Thames, wore rags, ate vermin and rotten animal carcasses, and all in order to cling onto the bulk of his monetary inheritance. The miser is also a literary archetype, with the most famous example obviously being Ebeneezer Scrooge in Dickens's Christmas Carol (another includes Charles Montgomery Burns in Matt Groening's The Simpsons). Such a stereotype is easily amusing given its self-evident absurdity. It is art imitating life when would be austerian miser and multi-millionaire Mitt Romney's public statements are indistinguishable from those of Mr. Burns.

Of course, in "austerity" as we know it, those subject to miserly conditions are those within the fabric of wider society, rather than the ideological misers themselves. But miserism is still a far more accurate phrase than the perverse notion of its universal fiscal stringency.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The obvious NHS privatisation method

A government-appointed adviser has advised that an NHS trust indebted by private finance initiatives (privatisation) schemes should have its Accident and Emergency wards closed, and that the entirety of its services should be dissolved and outsourced to be run for-profit by private companies.

This exhibits the obvious, systematic methodology that will be used on a national scale to fulfill the government's NHS privatisation scheme, following the passage of its Health and Social Care (NHS privatisation) Bill in coming years. In which NHS hospitals driven into failure and demoralisation by frontline cuts and managerialism damaging patient care, will be forced into the government "solution" of total privatisation, under the for-profit ownership of the Conservative Party's generous owners and associates.