Sunday, 14 April 2013

Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice

The authorities cover up and censor for a number of reasons. In the case of the 'BURN IN HELL MAGGIE' graffiti on a wall in the Waterloo underpasses it is rather apposite given the connection between the place and Thatcher's social policies of the early 1980s - cardboard city, so named after the cardboard boxes and cartons in which homeless people lived in the underpasses beneath Waterloo, in Central London, between 1983 and 1998.

"Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice" - Henry Louis Gates

In this instance the very notion of Lady Thatcher, the mother of today's neo-lib-greed-infested-Conservatives, should be thought of in any other way but with deep reverence is galling. Anyone who holds an opinion of Thatcher that does not claim her to be the greatest peace-time PM this country has known, is in denial. Anyone who does not accept that Thatcherism, far from redeeming this country from Socialism and putting us back on the world stage. Or that anyone who isn't mourning this great person is somehow or other in league with Satan and his minions, has led to a clamping down of anything anti-Thatcher.

Earlier in the week the BBC  Director General Tony Hall refused to ban 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead', the Wizard of Oz song which became the focus of an anti-Thatcher campaign on Facebook. However, The Guardian on Friday 12th April reported:

"In a fudge unlikely to satisfy either the late Margaret Thatcher's supporters or those attempting to get the Wizard of Oz song to number one in protest at the former Conservative prime minister's policies, the BBC has decided instead to play a "short clip" of the track in a news item in Sunday's Radio 1 chart show explaining why it has suddenly leapt into the top 10."

Of course the BBC is doing what the BBC so often does in such circumstances, it is acquiescing to bully the tactics of the government and applying censorship to a song, no matter how distasteful it may or may not be, that has grown in popular popularity since the announcement of Thatcher's death.

A policeman Tweeting his, unflattering, views of Thatcher resigned once his bosses became aware of his views, thus pre-empting disciplinary action that was likely to lead to a severe sanction.

Thousands of people who took to the streets in cities across the UK to celebrate Thatcher's demise have been the focus of a great deal of pro-Thatcher anger. But, as the graffiti in Waterloo proves, Margaret Thatcher and her policies that divided this country while increasing the poverty gap, was roundly despised by a lot of people. And almost as folkloric stories of the Thatcher years have passed down the generations. Thus, we have youngsters unborn when Thatcher presided over the country coming out to party at the news of her passing on.

Having to censor songs, individuals' views and pop art on subway walls is a sign that this government cannot get its message of austerity across. Were this government succeeding with their plans to cut the deficit by 2015, they'd have the confidence to take criticism on the chin. No, they are anything but confident as we see virtually every time Iain Duncan-Smith appears on TV, usually frothing at the mouth as his arguments for welfare reform become weaker and weaker.    

Lord Freud's Eviction

You can just make out the top of my head under the 'C' in 'EVICT' - Antoinette is the angel in the blue coat pushing me

Lord Freud, an unelected Tory Lord, millionaire former investment banker who openly admits he has little experience of the welfare state, is, incredibly, the minister for welfare reform - including the disgraceful bedroom tax.

Freud, swaps between a four bedroom semi in Highgate, one of the plushest areas in the Capital; and an eight bedroom mansion in Kent - which by the estimates of the bedroom tax he has orchestrated means he has 11 spare rooms. Yet he has the temerity to impose upon some of the country's poorest this vile tax.

A large crowd gathered on Kings Cross concourse late this morning, with an unusually hefty police presence. One of whom approached my PA and myself as we headed for the khazey. On realising we weren't a pair of vulnerable tourists wandering helplessly, she thanked us for finding the loos, as she was in need of the facilities herself.

A few Old Bill were tooled-up with some very hi-tech looking photographic equipment. I wondered to myself if they could actually use the kit, as it looked a tad more complicated than just pointing and shooting - something we know they can do, often to the detriment of innocent people.

Anyway, the police kept their distance, and we, UK Uncut, Occupy, DPAC and a myriad of other anti-cuts campaigners began to move on. At around midday the crowd began dispersing; myself and my PA were ushered off with a UK Uncut guy called Jim to catch a cab to a secret location - which was Lord Freud's week-day four-bed semi in Highgate. Jim was surprised I knew the venue (though I didn't know the address).

The cab took no time snaking its way Kentish Town, past the Forum at the bottom of Highgate Road, and into Highgate itself resplendent in its neat this-is-how-the-other-half-lives redbrick and clay tiled semis.

Arriving early we began to mooch around a bit as we looked about as much at home as Len McCluskey at a the Tory Party conference. A helicopter circling overhead didn't look to good either.

Eventually we made contact with the other UK Uncutters and associated anti-cuts Comrades. Falling-in we marched alongside them to the 'secret' destination; only to be joined by another phalanx marching towards us from another direction.

One more steep hill, which nearly did for Eamon Aherne-Large (a GMB officer from Lambeth) - who volunteered to push me, stating that as usual the GMB was behind Unite pushing - and we arrived at the home of Lord Freud - investment banker turned social/welfare expert to both Labour and now the ConDems.

About half the demo, around two hundred, were gathered outside a very ordinary looking suburban semi (though I'm told it has a market value of £2 million), some rigging up an eviction scene, that is pieces of furniture, mattresses, bedding etc strewn on the road.

After ten, or so, minutes people with bull horns began to bring a little order to things, asking people to be seated. A Scouser behind me invited people to: "Sit down on this good tarmac. Tarmac laid by good honest working class men", finishing it off with a word or two about Lord Freud and his kind.

So began a very comical bedtime story led by a woman on a loud hailer and taken up by most of the protestors, who seemed familiar with the audience participation of the thing. The theme of the message, though delivered in a humorous way, was how the cuts and taxes imposed upon the poorest are having a devastating effect.  

After this another woman, whose name, again, escaped me, took to the mike and told us we were here today to evict Lord Freud, to rapturous applause.

Around this time I was needing to pee; and there was nowhere in the locale to have a discreet whizz. So, we had to off and find an accessible loo.

Sadly I didn't get a chance to speak on behalf of DPAC. Sorry!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Len McCluskey Wins Unite GS Election

Here is the official General Secretary election result:

Total votes Cast : 225801

Turnout: 15.2%

Len McCluskey: 144570

Jerry Hicks: 79819

Winner: Len McCluskey

A statement from Len will appear on this website as soon as is possible.

Well done Len!!!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Glenda Jackson - the good, the bad...

No hypocritical cant from Glenda Jackson when she stood in Parliament yesterday to pay her tribute to Thatcher. No, Jackson exchanged fawning insincerity with a both-barrels attack on Thatcher's years of industrial devastation, welfare slashing, council house selling and general flogging off of the family silver (our oil, BT, utilities etc).

What change in direction from the Hamstead MP who last year suggested her constituents, the Counihan family who were made homeless by their council, to move to Wales.

The Counihans are a couple with five children; and Anthony Counihan, the father, works full time as a bus driver.  Last year the Counihans found themselves early victims of what the rest of the country will soon be experiencing when, due to them paying an exorbitant rent for their home in the private sector ran foul of Housing Benefit capping.

When they approached Glenda Jackson, their MP, she rather unhelpfully suggested the family up sticks and move to Wales!

Well done for yesterday Glenda. Shame on you for your treatment of the Counihans!

Blair was not Thatcher's successor

How much a successor of Thatcher's was Blair? During his tenure of office didn't the following occur:

• devolution to Scotland and Wales,
• abolition of Clause 28,
• introduction of civil partnerships,
• sure start,
• paternity rights,
• improved maternity rights,
• right to TU representation at work,
• statutory route to union recognition,
• protection against unfair dismissal reduced from two years to one year,
• minimum wage,
• expansion of NHS,
• school building programme,
• vast increase in NHS and school staff,
• working time directive,
• working tax credit,
• family credit, etc,
• introduction of a Disability Rights Commission,
• reduction employer exemption from DDA compliance from 20, to 15 to zero,
• Not to mention an end to the war in Ireland, and the start of a meaningful peace process.

Just for the record, I am and was, for his entire leadership, an anti-Blairite. He was shallow, a political opportunist; and sadly, much to the everlasting shame of our party, a war-monger. Yet still he did more good for this country than the disgracefully divisive class enemy, Thatcher.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Myth's Around Welfare Spending

The pie chart above gives a breakdown of every type of welfare expenditure that accounts for over 1% of the welfare bill for 2011/12. This government would have it that benefit payments are spiralling out of control; and in its attempts to do this focuses its propaganda onto groups such as disabled people as culprits for the overspend.

Of course as with all propaganda the government is targeting groups like disabled people in order to draw people's attentions away from the real problems within the country, namely unemployment, underemployment and a flat-lining economy.

The deficit this government promised it would eradicate within a single government term is growing. Its growing because of the slash and burn policies adopted by the ConDems. The fact is high unemployment means millions of people are not contributing to the Treasury coffers; but instead dependant on benefit (meagre as this is). Underemployment has a similar outcome. An underemployed person contributes less in tax and insurance; but probably turns to the state for tax credits and housing benefit.

Both these groups contribute to a flat economy because without the wherewithal they are not as economically active.

Back to the pie chart and we see by far the largest spend goes on state pensions (or as many retired people see it, deferred wages), some 46%.

Yet when we look at how the other pieces make up the pie, things aren't quite as black and white as the right-wing press would have it, that is billions being spent on unemployed shirkers.

No, let's just see how the benefits are shared out; and who are the recipients.

Housing benefit can be paid out to people who are in employment; usually due to low wages. Therefore, instead of branding these people scroungers, why aren't the scum press hounding those employers who pay starvation wages. Is it right that a company can pay so little as to cause an employee to depend on the state to top up her or his wages. Is it right that such companies are subsidised by us, the tax payers, whilst they make profits.

Many recipients of DLA are employed. The fact they receive DLA is often a main factor in them being able to work; without which they'd probably not be able to work. The Daily Hate rarely brings up this fact. Indeed on many occasions the media have exposed their ignorance of the benefits system when criticising DLA claimants for working while in receipt of the benefit.

People claiming pension credits can also be in paid employment. Indeed this is a growing trend. People who have worked hard all their lives, contributing to the system come to retirement age only to find the occupational pension they were hoping for does not live up to their expectations. Far from the gold-plated public sector pensions propagated by the scum media. The reality for many will be no second pension; but working until they drop dependent on pension credits, because their employer doesn't pay them enough on which to live.

Income support can also be claimed by those who work for less than 16-hours per week.

So, when we break down the welfare pie, we discover far from a pastry gorged by the feckless and shirkers, many people in employment are also dependent on one state benefit or the other. A high percentage of those in receipt of the welfare benefits mentioned also contributors through PAYE and the NI scheme.

Many of the unemployed and underemployed are not in these positions by choice; no they are there because of gross mismanagement of the economy.

Too many people represented in the welfare figures find themselves there due to a corrupt capitalist system that employs neo-liberal standards that allow profit-making organisations to rip-off billions from the state each year by underpaying their employees.

Let's push the minimum wage up to a decent level as advocated by the Telegraph's assistant editor, Jeremy Warner, earlier this week. Thus taking hundreds of thousands out of welfare dependency - and not for altruistic reasons!

And finally, let's start building more social housing and bring back some form of rent control to the private rented sector. Let's stop feeding parasitic landlords, again taking millions out of housing benefit.

Large Flat Screen TVs and Fireproof Shutters versus Disability Access

I've tried to put a comment on the Firebox site, however the site is rejecting my post. Therefore I'll try Facebook, via my Blog!

"We are still on the look out for a number of things. Please let us know if you are able to assist in any way with any of these items:

·       Large flat screen TV
·       A large farmhouse style table and benches
·       Outside tables and chairs
·       Computer equipment
·       A office quality, full colour duplex photocopier and printer"

What about an accessible toilet? While you collect donations for film and TV equipment you ignore the needs of disabled people. While you ask for funds for fireproof shutters you disregards the access requirements for disabled wheelchair users.

Firebox, you claim to embrace the Left; that you are inclusive of all Left groups, yet you ignore disabled Left Comrades.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Don't Tell Us

Don't Tell Us


Don’t tell us cuts must be made

While blatantly your class is paid

Ten or twenty times average pay

Giving truth to the fat cat cliché.


Don’t deign to lecture us on thrift

While you produce a seismic shift

In the very fabric of our social lives

Gutting our welfare with your knives.


Don’t state you’re not trying to sell

Our welfare state to your own cartel

Of plutocrats and merchant bankers

Or, as seen by us corrupted wankers.


Don’t tell us there’s no other way

For us to keep the wolves at bay

Filth that makes you want to squirm

Cameron and his Bullingdon firm.


Don’t tell us we’re in this together

Your sleazy words aren’t so clever

For you to perpetrate your crime

And catch us wanting every time.


Don’t think that you’ve got the right

To impose destruction without a fight

It’ll be our turn soon to revenge our loss

By Sweeping clean your Coalition dross.  

Thatcher at the Pearly Gates

Thatcher at the Pearly Gates

Thatcher came knockin’ upon heaven's door,
“Fuck off!” shouted God, “You’re rich not poor.”
“But, my dad was simply a local grocer”,
Said Thatcher as she moved ever closer.

“That’s far enough, stand away from the gate,
You’re full of contagion, riddled with hate;
You’re destined for the other direction,
To that furnace of perpetual correction.”

Looking down she mused, “Why regret?
I’ll be there with Dennis and Pinochet;
My sins will place me on the top level,
Just behind Churchill, close to the Devil .”

So, smiling she turned from her creator,
“God, he’s agin us, fucking liberal traitor”;
Now for those running Hell a word to the wise,
Give her no power or else she’ll privatise!

Monday, 8 April 2013

"George Osborne Insists Public Back Government's Welfare And Benefit Reforms"

"George Osborne Insists Public Back Government's Welfare And Benefit Reforms"
To the question posed by the Huffington Post, 'Is George Right?'

Sadly yes he is. A majority of people in this country agree that there is a deficit and the only way to deal with this is through cutting back on welfare. This is hardly surprising a country where the right control the press; where the politics of the individual, dating from Thatcher, presides over much of our society; where, even when confronted with the crisis in capitalism (the near collapse of the banking system) five years ago people are still willing to believe our financial and economic failings stem from overspend in the public sector.

In such a selfish society is it surprising that a majority (though this is shrinking month by month) still support the government's austerity drive; and especially the part that roots out and scapegoats the old favourites: you know single mothers, feckless disabled people, the careerist unemployed, people living on council estates, benefits' recipients etc.

But, as this government pushes more and more of its vicious policies through; as those who currently agree with the government lose their jobs; as they encounter the benefits' system; or, as they access an NHS that increasingly fails them, then we'll see a change in attitude.

This is controversial, but what the fuck I'll say it. There are not enough people hurting yet in this country to get a majority groundswell of anti-cuts opinion. Osborne's criminal 'management' of the economy will, in my view, become worse over the next year; the unemployment figures will rise; and more and more people will discover for themselves the reality of the 'fairness' and 'generosity' of the benefits' system.

It will be at this point that a majority of people, and some within the press, will begin to turn against this government's policies.



Friday, 5 April 2013

Minister claims £39 for breakfast and £9 for a cocktail...

Benefits claimants, whose only source of income is the benefit claimed, are charged with fraud if they make a mistake with their claims; and remember, these can often be people with little or no education.

A Secretary of State for the DWP (Department of Works and Pensions) a privileged man of education (though he did falsely claim an educational distinction - namely he didn't receive a degree he claimed from Perugia University) claims a £39 breakfast and £9 cocktail on Parliamentary expenses which were rejected by the Commons authorities.

So, educated ministers, our legislators women and men who make our laws, cannot be trusted to make expenses claims from comprehensive lists of claimable items.

No, they don't have the decency to admit that £39 breakfasts and £9 cocktails are way over and above real out of pocket expenses. They are so removed from the people over whom they govern; they hold us in such contempt that their arrogance takes over.

Duncan-Smith and co live in a bubble where a something for nothing culture predominates. They are expenses junkies; needing a £39 breakfast fix or £9 cocktail hit, without which they become irritated often making extraordinary boasts. This was borne out earlier this week when Iain Duncan-Smith claimed he could live on £53 per week.

'Vile Product of Welfare UK'

'Vile Product of Welfare UK' shouts this vile newspaper
There is no subject, no matter how humanely sensitive it may be, that newspapers such as the Daily Fail and Sun will not respect. A heinous crime was committed almost a year ago, May 2012, that took the lives of six children, all from one family. At the time the scum press began treating this as a 'broken of Britain' crime. However, the local community rallied around the families, showing great community solidarity; even though it transpired that the parents may have started the fire in which the children perished.

This I no way detracts from the selfless actions carried out by the community in trying to protect their own - it could be argued they too were betrayed by Mick and Mairead Philpott, and the third person Paul Moseley. The local community was also committed to getting justice for the six Philpott children.

By the time of the trial this year the country knew the intricate ins and outs of Philpotts relationships, the seventeen children born to several partners and his violence towards the women in his life. A 2007 documentary programme  'Ann Widdecombe Versus the Benefits Culture (2007)' had Widdecombe spending a week interviewing Philpott, as well as trying to get him into work (she found him three jobs none of which he took up) - despite receiving "a large slice of her mind"!

Last week Phipott, his wife and Moseley were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment.

As is the way with such high profile cases, they are then subject to a post mortem; and who better to assume the role of forensic pathologist to the corpse of this story, than the Daily Hate and Scum.

The Daily Mail's, now notorious headline, read, in reference to Mick Philpott's way of life: 'Vile Product of Welfare UK'. This is probably the most disgusting message ever printed onto the front page of a British newspaper; and I assure you there have been nasty words highlighted on the front covers of the scum press over the past few decades.

To use such an extreme case to denounce a welfare system that has assisted the lives of scores of millions of people over the past seven decades, as culpable in the murder of six children is a disgraceful misrepresentation of the social security offered by such a scheme.

Unwilling to let this filthy bandwagon of hate and lies trundle into the obscurity it deserves, the government jumped straight on. Osborne, Cameron and the vile Duncan-Smith all held up the Philpott case as the predominant argument of the welfare state's failings. Such stories are of course grist to the mill of this government; and give more clarity to the class differences this government is exposing.

Owen Jones in the Independent puts it quite clearly when he asks us to 'Blame the man, not his class'; and goes on to state: "The truth is that the Philpotts say nothing about anyone, except for themselves, just as the serial murderer GP Harold Shipman said nothing about middle-class professionals. There are, and have always been, a small minority of individuals capable of breathtaking cruelty. The Philpott case relates in no way to people on benefits in this country."  

This crime came about due to the fact that Philpott had a predatory, manipulative, controlling personality, that led to habitual violence and grossly irresponsible, hedonistic, selfish lifestyle; and he is a psychopath with narcissistic tendencies.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

MP's Expenses Fix

Benefits claimants, whose only source of income is the benefit claimed, are charged with fraud if they make a mistake with their claims; and remember, these can often be people with little or no education.

A Secretary of State for the DWP (Department of Works and Pensions) a privileged man of education (though he did falsely claim an educational distinction - namely he didn't receive a degree he claimed from Perugia University) claims a £39 breakfast and £9 cocktail on Parliamentary expenses which were rejected by the Commons authorities.

So, educated ministers, our legislators women and men who make our laws, cannot be trusted to make expenses claims from comprehensive lists of claimable items.

No, they don't have the decency to admit that £39 breakfasts and £9 cocktails are way over and above real out of pocket expenses. They are so removed from the people over whom they govern; they hold us in such contempt that their arrogance takes over.

Duncan-Smith and co live in a bubble where a something for nothing culture predominates. They are expenses junkies; needing a £39 breakfast fix or £9 cocktail hit, without which they become irritated often making extraordinary boasts. This was borne out earlier this week when Iain Duncan-Smith claimed he could live on £53 per week.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Iain 'Nosferatu' Duncan-Smith - proponent of vampire capitalism

Iain 'Nosferatu' Duncan-Smith - proponent of vampire capitalism
The Guardian has challenged Iain Duncan-Smith to back up the claim he made that he could live on a week's benefits of £54.
Such meaningless exercises have been carried out in the past, Matthew Parris and Olga Maitland as I recall attempted to live on benefits for one week. They were stunts back in the 80s; and are as hollow as Duncan-Smith's  'I  could live on £54 per week in benefits a week' brag today - from a man who safely married into wealth.
The sight of Lady Olga preparing lunch of, if memory serves, a chicken breast, some salad and a small bottle of wine; with enough over to pour into a glass to drink to drink with the meal would have been worthy of a satirical skit had she not been deadly earnest. After all, can't let standards drop because you're living on a near-starvation income.
Parris admitted it was difficult - well it did come to an end when he ran out of money for the leccy; but Maitland advised benefits claimants to 'eat liver as it's cheap' while piously maintaining "...that it was quite possible to be very comfortable, even if you are on benefits, if you plan well and shop carefully".
Politicians who cannot live on the generous salary they're paid without inflating their expenses claims then make pointless statements. Try living on £54 for a year Iain Unctios-Smith. See how far it goes when you need to top-up your gas and electricity on a pay-as-you-go key - the only means of payment for many benefits claimants that cost 30% more than other payment methods.
What about keeping your PAYG mobile phone topped-up? And before a Daily Hate reader gets into an apoplectic state of high dudgeon about unemployed people having luxuries such as mobile phones, re-think. Unemployed people need mobile phones in order to apply for jobs; just as they need computer access to access the Internet. Most won't be able to afford to rent their Broad Band connections and will settle for paying by the hour in Internet cafés - a few hours of this every week will make a sizable dent in the £54.
Sure, ideologically driven politicians can make facile statements knowing they'll never be tested on their boast. There are still a lot of people out there for whom this kind of statement resonates - the I-didn't-get-where-I-am-today-by-considering-the-plight-of-those-worse-off-than-me entrepreneur, the hard done-by businessman who regards any taxes or stoppages as an infringement on his right to absolute greed, and the Scum and Daily Fail readers who buy these rags in order that they won't have to think for themselves.
As long as there are disabled cheats, unemployed scroungers, single mothers, feckless youths, bloody-foreigners-coming-over-here-taking-our-jobs-living-on-the-dole-getting-council-flats-with-60"-flat-screen-TVs yakkety, yak, yak for this government to blame, then we're fucked - unless of course we do something about it!