Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Scumbag Boris Johnson

With reference to the super rich, wealthy and elitist Mayor of London, Boris Johnson stated: "We should stop any bashing or moaning or preaching or bitching and simply give thanks for the prodigious sums of money that they are contributing to the tax revenues of this country, and that enable us to look after our sick and our elderly and to build roads, railways and schools."

Scumbag Johnson should be starved of all publicity
Johnson further claimed that London's wealthy were a "..."put-upon minority" like homeless people and Irish travellers and should be protected from any further "bullying" from the public..."

And guess what? His statements were met with howls of indignation by people, who should frankly know better.

Boris Johnson is a self-publicist par excellence. He has made a career out of putting people's backs up. It's what he does; and he does it very well.

The best way to treat scum like Johnson is to totally ignore them; starve them of the column inches or minutes of TV or radio time; ignore their tweets and avoid them on other social media sites.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Dennis Skinner

Some years ago speaking in Parliament Dennis Skinner made the following observation:

"Half the Tories opposite are crooks."

The Speaker, as is his wont, calls on Skinner to:

"Please retract."

To which Skinner, quick as you like, ripostes:

"OK, half the Tories opposite aren't crooks."

Dennis Skinner giving someone stick in Parliament
Sure, it's old. But it's still:

1)  True
2)  Or at least half true, and
3)  Hilarious.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Another cheating MP gets off Scott free

It's all too easy these days to make mistakes when calculating the bills for extremely complex electricity usage. Yes, this can entail such intricate operations as reading a five digit number from a digital screen; or for those mathematically minded taking readings from five dials on a mechanical meter.

Very heady stuff. More Einstein than the average eejit could handle. But surely not so hard for a millionaire Tory businessman who has a BSc in Chemical Engineering and co-founded  the international internet-based market research firm YouGov.

So, it's reasonable to expect MP Nadhim Zahawi to be able to properly manage his leccy bill. You'd say it should be piece of piss for someone of his educational attainment. But no. Somehow or other Mr Zahawi got into a muddle when he put in electric bill claims for parliamentary expenses. Apparently he overlooked the fact that he has a stables business attached to his home; and he has been unlawfully claiming parliamentary expenses for a business interest.

Now call me a penny pinching purse-padlocking tightwad, but if my bill fluctuates by more than say 10%-20% over a quarter I'm checking old bills and on the blower to my rapacious supplier asking why and threatening to pull the plug on them - figuratively speaking of course; since they're better placed to literally pull the plug on me!

Through the laughter Cameron says to Zahawi: "You thought £6000 was a normal leccy bill. Behave, it's me you're talking to; not some mug MP on the Enquiries Committee. Best plead ignorance; the MP's defence of choice". 
Yet,  MP Nadhim Zahawi, didn't think it strange that his electricity bills were coming in at nearly £6000; that though his home had a personal meter and the stables and stable manager's mobile home a separate meter; this unconcerned MP didn't think it a bit odd that he was only receiving one bill from his supplier.

Here we go again. A mega rich man who sits in parliament legislating for the rest of us hides behind the defence of ignorance while promising to pay back the money he fiddled. So, when are people who make mistakes with their benefits claims going to be afforded the same get out?

If ignorantia legis neminem excusat holds for one, it should hold for all. So Mr Zahawi stop being a coward using your parliamentary and wealth privilege as cover and resign. You're a wrong 'un, mate. How dare you remain in place as an MP making laws for the rest of us to follow when you have no regard for the very laws that you pass. 

Willy McBride's Reply

A FB poster put up a comment on the relevance of the song The Green Fields of France (TGFoF), better known as 'Willy McBride' on today of all days. 

Searching through Google I came across a scenario that plays out thus: Willy McBride replies to the lyrics written by Eric Bogle to the original song. A song that is lauded by many as a great anti-war, song. The lyrics to Willy's response are penned by Stephen L Suffet. 

The reply sung now by Willy himself is performed using the same tune as TGFoF. The people on the site I found this song regard this response to be a great tribute to Eric Bogle's original. I think it misses the point of not only what Eric strove to achieve; I honestly think that Suffet, the lyricist, has distorted history and has taken Willy in. 

"My dear friend Eric, this is Willie McBride,
Today I speak to you across the divide,
Of years and of distance of life and of death,
Please let me speak freely with my silent breath.

You might think me crazy, you might think me daft,
I could have stayed back in Erin, where there wasn't a draft,
But my parents they raised me to tell right from wrong,
So today I shall answer what you asked in your song.

Yes, they beat the drum slowly, they played the pipes lowly,
And the rifles fired o'er me as they lowered me down,
The band played "The Last Post" in chorus,
And the pipes played "The Flowers of the Forest."

Ask the people of Belgium or Alsace-Lorraine,
If my life was wasted, if I died in vain.
I think they will tell you when all's said and done,
They welcomed this boy with his tin hat and gun.

And call it ironic that I was cut down,
While in Dublin my kinfolk were fighting the Crown.
But in Dublin or Flanders the cause was the same:
To resist the oppressor, whatever his name.

Yes, they beat the drum slowly...,,,.

It wasn't for King or for England I died,
It wasn't for glory or the Empire's pride.
The reason I went was both simple and clear:
To stand up for freedom did I volunteer.

It's easy for you to look back and sigh,
And pity the youth of those days long gone by,
For us who were there, we knew why we died,
And I'd do it again, says Willie McBride."

After nearly a century Willy and his fallen Comrades still stand as though in rank and file

Hmm, no offence to young Willy McBride, but I somehow feel he's been sold an Imperialists version of events. Even after forcing these lads into early graves; or onto ships for the wounded bond for the silence of Circular Quay, the powers that be continue their propaganda.

Down the decades Willy and the hundreds of thousands of the butchered and slain have heard the shrill reminder of military bugles blown in their honour. No peace for these heroes as the great and the good take over the show every November. Sombre faces, graver than even the rows of stones that keep the young fallen on eternal parade.

Indeed, so great is the hypocrisy of a ceremony that was intended to mark the war that ended all wars, that as each and every war is filed away and buried, so the dead are paraded in the grisly roll call of the deceased. Why would we end wars, when we have a cast of unemployed actors willing to perform a dance of death around the cenotaph every year; and soldiers from poor backgrounds willing to make up the roll call.

Hate to break the news to you Willy, you being dead and all. But, there was a massive difference between the causes of people of Flanders and their Irish counterparts in 1914. Little Belgium was never going to be permanently subsumed into a Greater Germanic Empire; she would have returned to being little Belgium after the end of hostilities.

Your Ireland on the other hand, despite promises made to gain support from Irish nationalists prior to the war, was never going to gain independence by peaceful means. Ireland was even denied independent representation, granted to other small countries such as Belgium, at the Peace Conference of 1919.

"So young Willy McBride they fed you a lie
All neatly packaged and easy to buy
For oppression was also their stock in trade
And out in no man's land you were finally betrayed
When a capitalist bullet ripped from you your breath
And lying in agony you went on to meet death." 

Paxman was spot on...

I'm writing this in reference to Jeremy Paxman calling David Cameron a 'complete idiot' after the PM spoke in terms almost glorifying the First World War. However, Paxman, and a great deal of other people, don't view next year's centenary of the beginning of the blood bath better known as the 'Great War', or to the optimists, the war to end wars, as a cause for celebration. Indeed Paxman refers to the conflict as a 'calamity'.

Now a senior Downing Street aide, Rob Wilson MP, has joined the furore caused by that famous Leftist fellow travelling BBC commie, Paxoman's 'complete idiot' description of Cameron. Being classed as a 'complete idiot' is arguably Cameron's greatest achievement, given the calibre of the competition he must have faced: George Osborne, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and IDS to name but a few first class contenders.

Apparently, Wilson wrote: “Mr Paxman should make a full and public apology for his comments. He should make it clear to BBC viewers and licence fee payers that his remarks were inaccurate and ill-founded.

“This sneering and aggressive approach is one of the reasons many people are put off politics.”

Well fuck me gently on the back seat of a Bentley if Rob Wilson MP's words don't take the full packet of (dark) chocolate digestives. But he has a point.

If it isn't a weirdly beardy Paxman taking those vulnerable Ministers and MPs to task over the absolute lash-up they're making of the economy; then it's that evil Jon Snow ambushing Sir Alex Ferguson in an interview, implying that poor old Alex was a Stalinist; or John Humphries eviscerating some unsuspecting Minister at an ungodly hour of the morning.

Jeremy Paxman, arch Leftie scourge of MPs and Ministers of State

Rob Wilson is well and truly in denial, well and truly up at the blue end. For a few years I lived next to a secondary modern school in North London, and the noise from its playground was far more civilised than the Yahoo bun fights that take place at regular occurrence during sittings of parliament.

From listening to the hubbub that emanates from that particular house of horrors, one wonders how this shower can hold the keep a grip on, let alone steer the ship of state without continuously running aground. But then, that's exactly what they do in an all too frequent fashion.

No Mr Wilson, people are not put off politics by sneering aggressive news presenters. They're but a minor irritation; and they don't hold sway over our wellbeing. No Wilson, they're put off by lying, mendacious, duplicitous, arrogant, stupid, elitist, avaricious, greedy, rapacious, voracious, untrustworthy, dissembling twats like you, Cameron, Osborne and Iain Drunkard-Shite. We're put off by people like you who for a living make our lives hell; rich people who steer their ideologically driven policies through parliament as though out on a grouse shoot on the Yorkshire Moors.

And guess what? We're the fucking grouse!


If you ever find yourself in doubt
Always be first to get your version out
Trying to mend a flat in the pissing rain
Is a fruitless exercise, a fucking pain.

Don't ever get placed next to doubt
Even though there's a lot of it about
Wherever possible give it a wide berth
I think you'll see my advise has worth.

Wherever there's a chance of doubt
Make a big disturbance, act like a lout;
Though you'll seem odd and even mad
It's better than being depressed and sad.

It lingers and waits its turn does doubt
Just biding its time to catch you out;
Then in like Flynn it makes it play
And once in place it's there to stay.

Now here's my final thought on doubt
It's too easily sown and a git to rout;
Do not ever succumb to the devious,
And never ever admit to any previous! 

Is this love?

You know you’re in love,
That she's the one,
When a little dove,
Sings 'Here comes the sun'.

Your heads in the air,
Your heart’s all a flutter,
The stars in the sky,
Look great from the gutter.

Noise becomes music
And racket abounds
Yet you get a kick
From all of these sounds.

Even that nasty git
Whose views sour milk
Becomes a great wit
His words turned to silk.

Now loves got you
In its gossamer hold
One becomes two
Your lives turns to gold.

Thank god...

Thank god people can't hear what I'm thinking
Said this drunken sot after hours spent drinking
And ranting and raving for most of the day
It's a wonder I could hold a thought anyway.

Thank god people can't see into my deepest soul
For I'm ashamed all they'd find is a very dark hole;
And sadly the same goes for that parallel part
Which both artists and medics agree is a heart.

Thank god people don't know the fear that I hold
On the outside I'm brash, and artificially cold;
Yet when the curtain of night drowns out the light
My world becomes awful full of horror and fright.

Thank god people don't all endure the same terrors
They've lived decent lives, not like mine full of errors
So they can carry on with their thoughts without fear
Of hurting or embarrassing all those they hold dear.

Thank god people do not think the way that I do
Otherwise there'd be no variety in our human zoo
For villains, wrong 'uns, the bad and good to reside
We must all go with the flow that's humanity's tide.

The Times (Sunday or otherwise) they are a changin'

Oh the Times they are a changing
As we find Jerry Hicks arranging
His recent political affiliations
To fit in with his new relations.

What strange times in which we live
When Tory Sundays seem to give
Space to all with an axe to grind
But maybe they're of a same mind.

The times he thundered at a husting
I'm sure he felt his wee heart busting
Spurred on by his comrades clapping
Gone are his words into fish supper wrapping.

This false thunderer's time will come
And as with all rats and assorted scum
May he long suffer plagues and the pox
And the same applies to all the Murdochs. 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The growing dichotomy between direct payments and flexibility and fair Ts and Cs for PA/carers

The care sector is a fast growing area of our economy. As longevity becomes the norm, so more of us will succumb to the ravages, infirmities and disabilities associated with old age; and thus have a greater call on care and support in our later stages of life.

As family demographics change, with fewer children per family unit; as offspring are expected to work longer; and as the benefits' system begins to militate against people opting to act as unpaid carers, so we'll begin to experience a radical change in support patterns, for both disabled people and those contracting age related conditions and illnesses.

The other negative factor in this equation is of course the very future of the NHS. Like so many others born at a time when free health care at the point of need was regarded as the norm, I've spent most of my life secure in the knowledge that my health needs will be met, as and when needed, by the NHS.

But today the salami slicing of the NHS presages a gloomy, if not terrifying future for all but the wealthy; especially so if you've knocked at the door of middle age and been admitted...and disabled to boot!

As someone who already receives a local authority care package and who also works within the voluntary sector as a direct payments worker, I'm viewing the current care situation from these two perspectives; and as a disability and trade union activist I can add another couple.

Historically the care industry has relied upon the good will of its labour force as well as the vocational calling associated with the work. Whether employed in a residential care home, or as a traditional home help these days, largely, superseded by workers termed as PAs (personal assistants), the pay is low and the hours long. The rewards, I guess, are reaped from the caring nature of the work.

But, let's take a look at the working patterns of some of these workers. Samantha Nelson gets up at 5.30 am to begin a day's work that can last until 11 pm - 17 hours a day; that's some work shift! If a company CEO worked those hours he'd demand a six figure salary, plus an inflated expenses account, and because 'he's worth it' a stonking shares allocation.

Conversely, because Samantha is not paid for her time driving between clients, over 50 miles a day. Though she will often cover an 18 hour day as she is on a Zero-Hours contract she's not paid for the travelling time between jobs. Consequently, as she is only paid for the 'care hours' she works, this drags her hourly rate to below the statutory minimum wage.

This area of employment is ripe for wider coverage, and I suggest you look at this link: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/jun/13/care-firms-law-on-pay

Though PAs employed by direct payment users are not normally subjected to quite the Orwellian style of supervision imposed on their agency-employed counterparts, there are many parallels.

As local authorities pare back care and support packages, sometimes from five or six hours per day to an hour per day, so the PA becomes more stretched. Where once upon a time she or he could get by on one or maybe two clients per week; she's now forced to work at three, four or more jobs.

What then happens is this. The flexibility that directly paid for services was sold to disabled people becomes a thing of the past. Think it through. If a PA has two clients there is usually room for flexibility within the package.

Say she works three hours per day (Mon-Fri) over two shifts for one client, maybe 1.5 hours each am and pm (15 hours); and does five 4.5 hour stints, again Mon-Fri, with another (22.5), totalling 37.5 hours per week - not including the time she spends making 30 trips per week to and from the homes of clients.

Now extend that to four clients, say visiting one two times a day for an 1.5 hours (15); and the other three over the same five days in three 30 minute shifts (22.5), again totalling 37.5 hours per week - again travelling to and from the place of work a staggering 110 trips per week! It's doable if the clients are very close to one and other, say in the same sheltered accommodation complex.

Sadly the choice element of direct payment diminishes with each budget cut
Sounds incredible. But remember Samantha Nelson's 17 hour day for which she was only paid actual time spent with the client.

This leads me to the final point I'll make on this subject for now. Not only does this sector offer poor Ts and Cs to its workers, and sadly we DP users are drawn into this as we're also PA employers, but it makes a mockery of the very idea of the flexibility that underpinned the whole concept of self-directed support for disabled and elderly people.

Until and unless we set up a National Care Service along the original model of the NHS, except offering care and support free at the point of need the problems I have outlined will persist and worsen as time passes.

It is my intention to gather more information on this sector, particularly around direct payments (DPs), PAs, and organising both agency and DPs PAs.

We don't need to feed on scapegoat scare stories from Tories

Somewhere on Facebook earlier today I briefly commented on a piece about young lads wearing their jeans low and which shows off their underwear. Bit of a jokey view on youngsters lack of dress sense, until someone came in with comments on chavs.

The word Chav, whether used to describe a way of dress or indeed the person so dressed is actually quite an offensive term. It's pejorative and only serves to demean.  People who use the term are buying into a mindset that strives to divide people into groups of acceptable and unacceptable. In my mind always a dangerous game to play.

Just as this government uses clumsy devices such as strivers versus skivers to form false distinctions between worthy workers and the unworthy unemployed, so it serves to set one set of oppressed people against another. Classic divide and rule.

Seventy-five years ago, this weekend, an event that has passed down to us as Kristallnacht (crystal night or more properly embedded in many minds as 'night of broken glass') took place. Coordinated attacks by SA paramilitary squads destroyed 7000 Jewish businesses in cities across Germany and Austria; indeed of 1000 synagogues damaged by fire 95 were in Vienna; while 91 Jews died and a further 30,000 sent to concentration camps.

Of course that was the Nazis and they picked on Jews, not simple chavs whose only real crimes are against fashion; oh, and being easy targets for governments, and all too sadly those who should know better.

Look, depriving Tories of their entitlement to single out groups of people to vilify and demonise is tantamount to denying them their basic human rights. Just as disabled people call for the right to equal opportunity in employment, housing, health care etc, so Tories expect to be able to divide the working classes in such a way as to pit one against the other.

Just as back in the 1930s the Nazi's scapegoated Jews, disabled people, Gypsies, Communists, Socialists etc for the economic ills that had befallen Germany so today's Tories seek out groups onto which they wish to pin the blame for this country's shortfalls.

Some images depicting the savagery of the Nazi attacks on Jewish
homes, businesses and synagogues on November 9th 1938  

So, if you've a mind to demonise
Just have a thought and realise
That from routine persecution
Grew the Nazi's Final Solution.

Jerry Hicks - rising star of the Sunday Times

According to Hicks he's the Left's only choice,
When others screw workers its just his voice
That comes to the rescue of his working class,
And, as for class traitors he'll not let them pass.
Full time officers are hacks as is the GS at the top
So when Jerry Hicks wins the day all this will stop
As every five years FTOs will to go for the vote
Making their jobs insecure, and probably cutthroat.
We're all aware of Unite's Labour Party affiliation
Which to Jerry and his ultra's is quite an aberration;
So don't worry, indeed let's forget the Labour link,
Perhaps we'll get by politically with a nod and a wink.
But now our working class hero shows his true hue
By blabbing to the Sunday Times that is so Tory blue.
It's not enough that his class is under fierce attack,
That he takes advantage by stabbing Unite in the back;
This sums up the man, it shows an ego that's willing,
To cede class loyalty for power and the Murdoch shilling.

Tribalism over capitalism

My supporting Chelsea elicited this response on Facebook. Football's a funny old game.

"Good to see you support a team built upon the exploitation of working people, comrade."


What a load of patent bollocks, Bob!

I've been supporting Chelsea since I was a small child, just as, no doubt, you've been a Baggy by dint of geography. People from the part of London in which I grew up in, Stockwell, have traditionally supported either Chelsea, Crystal Palace or Millwall. At around the age of 5 or 6 I plumped for Chelsea (coming from an Irish family there was no real affiliation to any English team). My choosing Chelsea probably had something to do with the tribalism and peer pressure that, particularly, young boys are susceptible.

The idea of a Russian oligarch owning (or more correctly running) my football club is an affront to my socialist ideals. But then, where to turn? You may agree Bob, or not, that dirty filthy lucre has pretty much tainted the game at its higher levels. Doubtlessly West Bromwich Albion, given the opportunity, would sell out to an adventurist capitalist tomorrow; and fuck what the fans think.

Abramovich in the thick of it lapping up the players' adulation after winning the 2012 Champions League 

I can't believe you've gone away to build a case against Abramovich. Is it to beat me up with? Is it to inform me of what a nasty capitalist he is?

Bob, I'm fairly au fait with Roman Abramovich's history. Your resorting to throwing it into my face as though I'm complicit in rise to obscene wealth by supporting another of his acquisitions is not very nice. I also shop at Sainsbury's; my bank is probably involved in all sorts of nefarious goings-on; Lambeth Life, the ALMO, my proxy landlord is most likely up to no good; my gas, electricity and water suppliers are all vampiric companies squeezing the life blood from me, and the nation

...but my biggest crime is that I'm still embroiled in the tribalism of my youth by supporting a football team owned by a rampant capitalist. Now there's a fucking novelty.  

Sunday, 3 November 2013

McCluskey bests Andrew Neil

A few years ago Andrew Neil and myself exchanged a few pleasantries whilst travelling up in a lift in the Midland Hotel Manchester. I was there as a delegate to the Labour Party conference; and no doubt Neil was there to see and be seen in the hotel's rather capacious heaving bar area.

Back to the lift in which I sat awaiting arrival to the floor of my choice. On my lap was my lunch, a couple of overpriced conference sandwiches. So, slowly we climb, half-a-dozen disparate souls travelling inexorably upwards; typically we each protected our own little bit of lift space, careful not to interact; purposeful in maintaining that uncomfortable silence which lift travel demands.

As we rose so the tension in the lift grew, until Andrew Neil could no longer hold himself, and breaking with lift etiquette caught my eye and blurted out: "I see you have two sandwiches there!".

To which I responded: "Nothing much gets past you, does it Andrew? No wonder you're a leading political pundit on national TV".

Of course I disgracefully accepted the cheap desired guffaws from the other lift occupants.

However, on a more serious note, after watching Andrew Neil's attempts to interview Len McCluskey this morning I'm not so sure what exactly such a biased reporter with no sense of journalistic objectivity is doing on national TV - especially the BBC which I'm unreliably informed is a hotbed of pro-Leftist politics.

So good on you, Lennie. Andrew Neil's attempts to steer McCluskey into yet another media trap were quite pathetic. Who exactly does he think he's dealing with...Ed Miliband?

No, unlike the all-too-easily-gulled leader of our Labour Party, 'Easily Led Ed', the on-the-ball General Secretary of Unite the Union, Lennie McCluskey, was more than a match for this right-wing hack. All Neil could throw into the debate was worn-out propaganda fed to him by, as McCluskey pointed out, lazy press journalists.

Neil then claimed Stevie Deans saw the retractions of witnesses in the Falkirk investigation before they went public. McCluskey reminded Neil that as some of these witnesses were actually part of the Dean's family it was only natural that they would act as families often do...speak to one and other!

Stumped, again, Neil went on the attack by calling the goings-on in Falkirk 'a cesspit' and demanding that there should be an independent investigation. Do try to keep up, Andrew. Unite called for exactly this at the outset in the summer.

Then Neil tries to effect schlock horror when McCluskey, quite rightly, lays claim that the Tory central office, Daily Mail and Sunday times were involved in setting traps for Ed Miliband.

May I make a suggestion Andrew Neil. Stick to observing the luncheon habits of the sandwich-devouring lift-loitering conferences, for there lies your forte.