Saturday, 31 May 2014

Chilcott and Blair

The establishment in the UK are extremely adept at giving just enough ground to allow some progress - but not too much! In this case, the establishment will have to watch its step. We live in a time, when for very good reasons, the electorate do not trust or respect their leaders. 

The decision to go to war in support of the Bush regime is the worst foreign policy decision in modern history. The suspicion that this was a done deal stitched up between Blair and Bush well before Parliament became involved is credible. For the Chilcott Inquiry to allow a lack of transparency is asking for further trouble. This will not go away. It is something Ed Miliband needs to think long and hard about because any lack of transparency will rebound on him and the current Labour leadership. 

Some will argue what is all the fuss about? Parliament voted for the war therefore shut up and get on with it. Here is what one pundit had to say on the Telegraph ‘comment’ pages:

“it was a crime to mislead the public, press and parliament in order to secure the vote to bring about that war; that it was a crime to wilfully and deliberately lie by insinuating a link between the Islamist perpetrators of 9/11 and an impoverished, defenceless Arab nation led by a secular despot with fewer links to al-Qaida luminaries than had the CIA during the Cold War; that it was a crime to launch a war of aggression against that nation on the false pretence of its being a threat to our national security; and in so doing bring about the death of somewhere between a hundred thousand and a million innocents including British soldiers sent to their death under false pretences (may they rest in peace) and British citizens who lost their lives in London as a direct consequence of that war; and that it was a crime, once the pretext for that war had been proved bogus, to change the narrative into one in which the war had been conducted to depose a very bad man” ‘scaroth’ Telegraph 31/5/14

We also learned today that the United Services Institute conducted research into the after effects of the war and concluded that the Iraq fiasco made the threat of terrorist attack far more likely in the UK. 

Thanks a bunch Blair.

Get some balls Chilcott.

Friday, 30 May 2014


The news that yet again a massive company has made well over a billion from the UK yet paid barely £4m in tax provoked anger. These companies enjoy our infrastructure, our defence, our education system and our health service yet pay very little for the privilege. It was time to do a stock take.

It turns out that an average of just under £250 per month has been sent Amazonwards over the past two years. Most monthly spending is well below that but occasional expensive items boost the average. Roughly £3000 per year. 

An email was sent to Amazon explaining why their tax avoidance made this customer extremely unhappy. The email included details of my spending. That was over 3 weeks ago. There has been no reply. 

In that time there has been more news that Amazon are intent on squeezing ebook publishers and also how they exploit their temporary staff. 

For three weeks Amazon have received nothing from this household. Their website has been accessed to find out how much certain items are going for. They have then been purchased elsewhere. Amazon are a useful comparison site. Other, tax-paying companies, are available online too. 

It is time to exploit them until they stop exploiting their workforce and also pay their taxes.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

BBC Impartiality and the corporate whores.

Listening to the soft ride given to ex MP Kim Howells by the usually splendid Eddie Mair was disturbing this afternoon. Howells had been asked onto the PM programme to give his informed opinion on the interview Edward Snowden did with NBC on American TV last night.

He is one more example of the loathsome brand of politician who have sold our freedom down the river and then try to beguile us with their gravitas. Howells is in a long line of corporate whores who took their thirty pieces of silver and threw whatever remained of their principles in the bin. 

Not convinced? Try these: Michael Howard, John Reid, Malcolm Riffkind, George Robertson, Geoff Hoon, Anne Taylor and Jonathon Aitken. All of them left office and promptly worked for either arms manufacturers or security companies.

They appear on our media giving us the benefit of their expertise while all the time the cash registers tinkle away in the background.

Howells managed to get himself elected as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee - the toothless watchdog that neither watches, barks or bites. As far as the security services are concerned, it is a cosy lapdog. For example, back in 2010 Howells challenged a notable judge, Lord Neuberger,  who warned that MI5 was involved in torture. Guess who was right….

Tonight he was at it again saying that Snowden had jeopardised national security by exposing what our secret services are up to. He clearly did not listen to the Today programme this morning where a former CIA operative, a ‘Mr Bear’ damned Snowden with faint praise and managed to slip in some crafty smears about Snowden being a ‘Walter Mitty’ character. He did make it clear though that all this snooping has not stopped one assassination or terrorist outrage. Mr Bear (such a nice name for such a nasty man) said the snooping was useful after an attack to piece together what had happened. 

Our national broadcaster makes great claim about being impartial. This is 99% bollocks. Howells was given a soft ride by Mair. Bear was given similar respect by Humphries. No-one was called to present the other view as clearly set out in an essay on Privacy by eminent Law Professor Eben Moglen delivered to an audience at Columbia Law School recently. Anyone interested in our democracy will find Professor Moglen’s thoughts a thousand times more useful -and a lot more concerning - than the corporate whores who fill our airwaves and their pockets.

Monday, 26 May 2014

UKIP Earthquake or Tremor update

A glaring omission from the reams of hyperbolic commentary and cataclysmic Cassandras pontificating away on the media was a simple fact.

The turnout in the EU election was lower than that of the Council elections held on the same day. It was 2% down from 36% to 34%. Barely a third of the electorate could be bothered to vote. 

UKIP ‘won’ the election with 27.5% of votes cast. They ‘won’ with 8.75% of the electorate voting for them. Now that is a disgrace and a concern for the future. 

Labour came second with 25.4% of votes cast - again barely 8% of the electorate voted for them. The Tories had marginally less.

Add all the Rag Tag and Bobtail anti-EU parties blossoming on ballot sheets across the nation and the anti-EU alliance raised almost 5 million supporters. That sounds a lot until the total number of electors in the UK is considered = 47 million. One ninth voted UKIP and associated anti’s. 

Over 31 million did not vote. 

Eat your heart out Emily Pankhurst. 

Roll in your grave Keir Hardy.

Rub your hands with glee you bankers, wankers and hedge fund tankers. 

And hang your heads in shame you Robinsons, Dimblebys and Boultons.

And as for you Russell this what you want?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

UKIP Earthquake or Tremor?

The coverage of UKIP’s performance last Thursday was more than a touch hyperbolic. It would appear we are in the presence of the second coming according to some slavering commentators.

First some facts.

The turnout for the council elections was 36%. In other words just over a third of the electorate were arsed enough to walk down to their nearest polling station and make their mark.

Of that 36% UKIP polled 25% in their best areas and less than 7% in their weakest. A quarter of 36% is 9%. Barely one in ten voted for them in areas where they did well and barely one in thirty in some other regions - particularly London. 

The overwhelming statistic are the 64% who did not vote. This is a number that is increasing with occasional surges such as the fiasco of the Police Commissioner vote where the turnout struggled to reach 15% and of those who did bother 3% spoilt their ballots. Just how legitimate are elections when the turnout gets so low? 

The European election turnout was down to 42% last time. It will be interesting to see what the turnout figures are for the current election. 

The vast majority who did not vote should be the focus of attention, not a rightwing chanced pretending to be something other than what he is - an ex-financier from a public school who holds some very right wing views. He does have the gift of talking ‘normal’ unlike so many of the political class who talk a strange mixture of robotic ‘on message’ guff mingled with killer phrases such as ‘hardworking families’ which are so overused they become targets for justifiable scorn. The airwaves have been full of them ‘getting their message across’ and ‘learning lessons.’ 

So why are people not voting? 
The young are a serious concern. There is some truth in the statement that should a voter vote as soon as they are entitled to, they will continue to vote on a fairly regular basis. The opposite applies too. Should they ignore the opportunity at the first occasion, it is likely they will not bother in the future too. Hence the political parties concentration on the elderly - who as a generation, are used to voting. 

There is also a massive disconnect between the citizens of our country (and in many other other western societies too) and our rulers. The political class serve themselves, the wealthy, whether oligarch or corporate, and the powerful. All three main political parties in the UK sing from a similar hymn sheet. NewLabour were ‘relaxed’ about the very wealthy. The Tories and LibDems positively fawn on them. Anyone wishing to contradict this observation should bear in mind the following:

At a time when austerity is the watchword, shooting estates across the country had their subsidies increased from £30 a hectare to £56 a hectare. The 1% of the 1% who are among the wealthiest in the world had their income almost doubled. The news of this obscene hike in subsidy (call it ‘benefits’ and see how that feels) was slipped out very quietly. We did not read this in the Daily Wail, home of frequent vitriolic attacks on scroungers and benefits cheats.

It could not have anything to do with the fact that Daily Wail Editor Paul Dacre owns a shooting estate could it? 

And where were the howls of outrage from Labour? All we heard was a deafening silence. 

Voting UKIP is one way of giving these self-serving bastards a good kicking. There must be better and more effective ways of reforming our rotten system than electing rightwing fanatics with their blame the foreigner policies. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Capitalism Kills

The sight of abject wretches living in absolute squalor and filth on the banks of the River Irwell in 1850’s Manchester was a key factor in the development of Frederich Engels' political thinking. Engels would be saddened to find over 150 years later that human beings have learnt very little. Poverty shortens lives. Absolute poverty kills. 

The news that diseases have evolved to become anti-biotic resistant has been prominent recently. The world was warned this would happen thirty years ago - and did very little. This time the warnings are sounding with great urgency.

Why does this matter? We have become so used to popping a course of antibiotics to treat throat infections and other everyday ailments that we take them for granted. Without their efficacy, many minor problems become potential killers. Scrapes and grazes which become infected can kill. Broken bones which pierce the skin can be lethal. Operations will revert to being as fraught with risk as they were at the the end of the 19th century.

So why aren’t the big pharmaceutical companies not making more and different antibiotics? That is a good question and the simple answer is that there is not enough profit in developing and producing antibiotics. Research time, development and testing are all costly. The finished product may be useful for small numbers of people and lose its effectiveness relatively quickly. No money to be made there! 

Unlike something like statins which can be taken by everyone over 40 and will keep the accountants happy for many a year……..Or Viagra which prevents erectile disfunction and is another nice little earner. 

Leaving matters of health to capitalists is in the short term dubious and in the longer term potentially deadly. 

Do you understand that concept messrs Lansley, Hunt and Cameron?

In the days of the Black Death, being wealthy was little protection against the plague.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Scotland the Craven

In all the referendum hoopla there is a glaring omission. Who owns Scotland? Where does power really lie? George Monbiot has some trenchant views on the matter which are reproduced here at length. 

“Legally, feudalism in Scotland ended in 2004. In itself, this is an arresting fact. But almost nothing has changed. After 15 years of devolution the nation with the rich world's greatest concentration of land ownership remains as inequitable as ever.
The culture of deference that afflicts the British countryside is nowhere stronger than in the Highlands. Hardly anyone dares challenge the aristocrats, oligarchs, bankers and sheikhs who own so much of this nation, for fear of consequences real or imagined. The Scottish government makes grand statements about land reform, then kisses the baronial boot. The huge estates remain untaxed and scarcely regulated.You begin to grasp the problem when you try to discover who owns them. Fifty per cent of the private land in Scotland is in the hands of 432 people – but who are they? Many large estates are registered in the names of made-up companies in the Caribbean. When the Scottish minister Fergus Ewing was challenged on this issue, he claimed that obliging landowners to register their estates in countries that aren't tax havens would risk "a negative effect on investment". William Wallace rides again.
Scotland's deer-stalking estates and grouse moors, though they are not agricultural land, benefit from the outrageous advantages that farmers enjoy. They are exempt from capital gains tax, inheritance tax and business rates. Landowners seek to justify their grip on the UK by rebranding themselves as business owners. The Country Landowners' Association has renamed itself the Country Land and Business Association. So why do they not pay business rates on their land? As Andy Wightman, author of The Poor Had No Lawyers, argues, these tax exemptions inflate the cost of land, making it impossible for communities to buy.
Though the estates pay next to nothing to the exchequer, and though they practise little that resembles farming, they receive millions in farm subsidies. The new basic payments system the Scottish government is introducing could worsen this injustice. Wightman calculates that the ruler of Dubai could receive £439,000 for the estate in Wester Ross he owns; the Duke of Westminster could find himself enriched by £764,000 a year; and the Duke of Roxburgh by £950,000.
With the help of legislators and taxpayers, the owners of the big estates are ripping apart the fabric of the nation. The hills in many parts look as if they have been camouflaged against military attack, as they have been burned in patches for grouse shooting. It is astonishing, in the 21st century, that people are still allowed to burn mountainsides – destroying their vegetation, roasting their wildlife, vaporising their carbon, creating a telluric eczema of sepia and grey blotches – for any purpose, let alone blasting highland chickens out of the air. Where the hills aren't burnt for grouse they are grazed to the roots by overstocked deer, maintained at vast densities to give the bankers waddling over the moors in tweed pantaloons a chance of shooting one.
Hanging over the nation is the shadow of Balmoral, whose extreme and destructive management – clearing, burning, overgrazing – overseen by Prince Philip, president emeritus of the World Wide Fund for Nature, is mimicked by the other landowners. Little has changed there since Victoria and Albert adopted an ersatz version of the clothes and customs of the people who had just been cleared from the land. This balmorality is equivalent to Marie Antoinette dressing up as a milkmaid while the people of France starved; but such is Britain's culture of deference that we fail to see it. Today they mix the tartans with the fancy dress of Edwardian squires, harking back to the last time Britain was this unequal.
But despite this lockdown, there is, if not quite a Highland spring, the beginnings of something different: on one side of me, here in Boat of Garten, is the bare, black misery of the Monadhliath mountains; on the other, the great rewilding that is quickly but quietly spreading through the north-west of the Cairngorms national park. Across 100,000 hectares, the RSPB, the Forestry Commission, the National Trust and Wildland Ltd (owned by the Danish textiles billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen) are seeking to reverse the destruction, reduce the deer to reasonable numbers, and get trees back on the braes. On Povlson's estates the area of woodland has doubled (to 1,400 hectares, or 3,450 acres) since 2006, solely through the control of deer. It's not land reform, but it's the best that can be done with the current, dire model of Scottish ownership.
The forests at the moment are bright with birdsong. In some places, looking down on lochans surrounded by marshes and regenerating pines, you almost expect to see a moose emerging from the trees. Trees are racing up the denuded hillsides: in Glenmore I've come across young pines, birch and rowan growing at 800 metres. Already people are talking about reintroducing lynx here within 20 years.
As the return of the ospreys to the lakes and forests in this part of the park shows, the potential for ecotourism, which spreads income and employment through the economy, is vast. The contrast with the scorched and scoured grouse moors of the east side of the national park, which employ hardly anyone, concentrate wealth in tax havens and are unmysteriously devoid of most birds of prey, could not be greater.
It doesn't reverse the other injustices, but it begins to undo the centuries of physical destruction. I would vote yes in September if I lived here, on the grounds that it presents an opportunity to do something new, and I furiously hope, despite the evidence, that an independent Scottish government will take it.
It should list all the beneficial owners of the land; impose the taxes Westminster refuses to levy; ensure that only farmers get subsidies and cap them at £30,000 a head; ban burning; control deer numbers; and turn Scotland into a land where you can actually see green shoots of recovery. On Friday the Land Reform Review Group, set up by the government at Holyrood, will publish its report, and it's likely to be devastating. Will Scotland get off its knees at last?” Monbiot, Guardian, 21/5/14
Would an independent Scotland have the nerve to tackle these wealthy parasites? Will Salmond and his mates close the tax loopholes and cut the massive subsidies? Judging by Ewing’s take on the matter (above) and Salmond’s affinity with the egregious Trump and Murdoch, the signs are not good. 

At least in Scotland there is a chance that reform will come. In England, ruled by toffs, for toffs and their rich mates, the 1% of the 1% who own the grouse moors are sitting pretty.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

America a laughing stock


The news that the Americans accused the Chinese of cyber espionage and wanted five Chinese soldiers arresting was a jaw-dropper. The country who have done more than any other to bug, surveil and invade the privacy of citizens of the world, have the brass neck to accuse another rival of doing the same! Wow. Just how thick-skinned/arrogant/stupid are these people? 

A spokesbod presented with the matter of hypocrisy tried to brush it off with the claim that the Chinese were bugging businesses for financial gain. Doh! That is what the yanks have been doing for years. Snowden confirmed that NSA bugged Brazil’s biggest oil company in order to help USA oil giants. If it was not so serious, it would be funny.

Meanwhile back in complacent Britain there are gathering clouds over the supervision and oversight of our spooks. Court cases and semi-supine MPs will put a degree of pressure on our otherwise bombproof* eavesdroppers. Unfortunately the technology is far ahead of anything our political class can cope with

* Bombproof and similar words such as 'fuse'  'blast' and 'explosive' trigger GCHQ's search and record systems. 
So dear GCHQ worker reading this, are you happy in your work? Have you ever thought about becoming a whistleblower and revealing what it is like to earn your wages sneaking on your fellow citizens?
Have you ever watched 'The Lives of Others' - the brilliant film about the Stasi? 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Tory Donations or Corruption?

The gap between the rich and the poor in our country is widening. The haves are demanding - and getting - more from their chums in the coalition government. At the same time, the have-nots are suffering as their disposable income plummets and they are paying for the austerity measures brought in to compensate for the actions of the rich. 

What has this got to do with corruption? 
A sentence in a Guardian article ‘City donors help Tories raise £6.7m this year as Labour relies on unions’ had this to say. “Much of the Tory funding came from the City, especially hedge funds, which were given a £150m tax break in last year’s budget.”  Fancy that! (my emphasis)

There is also a group known as ‘The Leader’s Group’ where members pay £50,000 a year to join Cameron and senior members of the government at dinners. Must be bloody good food at that price. Or is the ‘exclusive’ access used for other purposes? Buying influence over future policy? Getting access to lucrative government contracts? Persuading the treasury to continue talking tough on tax avoidance while simultaneously helping rich plutocrats get more of their lucre off the tax balance sheet?

How does this differ from the graft and corruption so rife in many parts of the world? Is it somehow more legitimate because it is done in closed rooms over the Eton Mess? Granted the days of the brown envelope, so beloved of that paragon of virtue, Neil Hamilton, are declining, they are not gone. The Honourable Patrick Mercer was recently caught red-handed with his snout in the trough by a sting operation. He laughably declared as he resigned that he ‘fessed up’ to his crime. He had however maintained his salary and contacts for 11 months as the Commons disciplinary process worked ridiculously slowly.  As it did for the egregious Maria Miller - and the way the club closed ranks to reduce the amount she had to pay back was a further insight into how rotten our system is. 

Britain’s richest 1% own as much wealth as the 55% of the poorest in our population have all together. The very wealthy are using sweeteners - or ‘party donations’ - to not only maintain their position, but also to ensure they enhance it in the future. Very greedy people are never satisfied with enough. They always want more. 

We cannot rely on their mates in the Tory party to rein them in. Sadly Labour are tarnished in this area too. It will take a groundswell from below to stop this fracturing of our society. It underpins everything that happens in the country.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Liars, Damned Liars and Tories

“According to David Cameron, "aggressive" tax avoidance is "morally wrong". His Chancellor agrees. George Osborne describes "aggressive" tax avoidance as "morally repugnant".
They were speaking in 2012 after Jimmy Carr, the comedian, was exposed for having channelled £3.3m a year into a tax avoidance scheme. This week, the Government was repeating the same mantra, this time in relation to the financial affairs of another entertainer, Gary Barlow, the singer.” Chris Blackhurst, Independent, 15/5/14

Osborne has said many times how he is cracking down on tax avoiders. He has been Chancellor for four years now, long enough for someone who claims to be cracking down to have got cracking. Sadly, all this talk of cracking down is just bullshit. As he mouths this garbage he  actually welcomes tax avoiding companies to the UK. Take for instance his  tweet that he was ‘thrilled to welcome’ Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg to number 11 and that her efforts were good for the economy. Now that wouldn’t be the same Facebook that have made a mockery of our tax regime by running their sales through Ireland ?
It would! Thanks to Private Eye for digging that little gem up.

Should we expect anything else from a posh spiv? Well the more he talks about tax, the more we count the spoons. By the way his family business uses a trust in an offshore haven. No! Not Honest George!

What about his chum, Call Me Dave? Apart from getting very intimate with the Murdoch empire he has the good fortune to be married to an Astor. Now they own a large estate on the Isle of Jura and Dave likes to visit and spend some time killing wildlife. So far so appalling. There is an extra little twist in that the estate is registered to a company in the Bahamas …..for tax purposes. 

“……there are at least 15,611 British company directors based in overseas tax shelters. If I was HMRC searching for tax avoiders I'd put all 15,611 of them under the microscope until they squeal and offer to make a settlement – at which point the revenue should drive a hard bargain, harder than it's been doing of late. After all, what can be more "aggressive" in terms of tax avoidance than going and locating yourself in a tax haven?
The Swiss number is interesting. It's actually risen, from about 7,000 two years ago to more than 9,000. So much for the Government's declared putsch against tax havens, and those who use them.” Ibid 
Osborne and Cameron operate in a world where aggressive tax avoidance is the norm. It is only the hoi polloi who pay their full whack. We cannot trust a word either of them says on the subject. 
Judge them by what they do.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Public Schools and Free Schools v State Education - what a shambles

Back in the late 1970’s, the then Prime Minister, ‘Sunny’ Jim Callaghan, declared that for far too long “education had been a secret garden” run by teachers and educators with little political involvement. He determined to change all that and open up the garden to political accountability. 

Thanks Jim. Your intentions may have been honourable but the consequences are plain to see. Each and every Secretary of State for Education feels they have to make their mark. State schools suffer from initiative overload as fresh wheeze follows on from bright idea accompanied by back of fag packet jottings. Little or no evaluation of what has been dreamt up takes place before the next idea arrives. With Ministers lasting on average little more than two years in the job it is a recipe for chaos. 

Public schools remain mainly aloof from this maelstrom by being exempt from most new policies and can pick and choose which to adopt. It has finally been noticed for instance that the Grand Inquisition (aka OFSTED) suffered by every state school, whereby people who no longer teach, inflict the latest dogma from the Minister on long-suffering teachers, does not apply to Public Schools. This state of affairs has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that four of the five recent education secretaries of state were products of the public school system. Those paying attention will realise this includes Charles Clarke, Ruth Kelly and Ed Balls as well as the egregious Gove. And Gove’s creepy sleazy LibDem junior Minister David Laws was public school educated too. Well blow me down and call me a sausage. 

Today we have arrived at the appalling state of affairs when one party of the coalition is contradicting and pouring scorn and derision on its partner in government. The wheeze approach to education stands exposed for what it is - ego trip politics promoted by fifth rate ministers and arrogant toffs. We have public school boys desperate to privatise education and using the free school and academy routes to prepare the ground. 

The deeply unlovely Gove is overspending public money on his pet ideological project - Free Schools. Castigated by the Public Accounts  Select Committee for rushing through the implementation of the policy without regard for any financial oversight, it now appears that Gove has raided cash set aside to help provide school places in oversubscribed state schools to the tune of £400 million. That is an awful lot of places unavailable through ideology. The recent analysis of Free Schools pointed out that most secondary ones are in areas where there is no shortage of school places. The same applies to nearly half the primary free schools set up to date. They are being funded at the expense of state schools. Brilliant. No co-ordination, analysis or planning needed - just have a bloody good whim - and an ideological mission to privatise everything possible. 

The LibDems have their own wheeze. They want all infant children in state primaries to have a free school meal every day. In itself a good idea to compensate for the government’s attack on the poor and vulnerable - for which they just happen to be a partner. However yet again this scheme has not been fully thought through. The Tories leaked embarrassing emails from senior civil servants expressing grave doubts and reservations about the implementation of the scheme. 

Sunny Jim’s wish to open up the secret garden has ended barely thirty years later with a massive bed of nettles. Meanwhile 93% of the nation’s children continue to try to be educated in an incoherent, underfunded, undervalued and dispirited state school system. Well Done Jim!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Scottish Independence Dirty Tricks

Craig Murray exposes BBC bias
"Every half hour BBC News is running a three minute puff piece which is even more sinister for what it hides than for what it says – and By God! That is sinister enough.
“Now the BBC has learned about an alternative No campaign which calls itself No Borders a group determined to rouse the emotions many feel about being Scottish but also British.  Gavin Essler has this exclusive report:”
GAVIN ESLER: “A recording studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  A group of musicians putting the finishing touches to a song which they hope could save the United Kingdom”
(Pretty girls caterwauling unpleasantly). The song is part of a new campaign called No Borders.  Their website goes live today on the anniversary of the Union”
(Long speech by Malcolm Offord of No Borders – not a single question asked).
GAVIN ESLER (orgasmic voice): “Here in the very heart of Glasgow in fact almost anywhere you go anywhere in Scotland you’re never far away from our three hundred years of shared British history…. Putting the passion into the campaign to save the United Kingdom is exactly what No Borders say they are about.”
(Another statement from Malcolm Offord.  Still not asked any questions).
GAVIN ESLER ‘The idea is a grassroots campaign to rival that of the pro-independence campaign, based on those who wish to remain in the UK.  A retired care nurse from Glasgow Elizabeth Bashir is one of those who has given her testimonial.
(Pro-union view from sweet old lady.)
(14 seconds to spokesman for Yes campaign – presumably this is BBC “balance”.)
(Pretty Girls Caterwauling Again).
GAVIN ESLER “In the music industry they say you should never rewrite a hit, and No Borders say the Union has been a great hit worldwide for three hundred years.  But others say it might be time to sing a new song.”
Now this long propaganda piece for the No campaign is disgusting in itself for its internal bias, and for the fact that the very much larger grassroots movement the Radical Independence Campaign has never been given any publicity by the BBC (and the failure to reference the longstanding anarchist No Borders movement).  It is not even news – it is two days since “Vote No Borders” was given an even longer bout of free publicity on Newsnight Scotland.
But what makes this propaganda utterly unforgiveable is that Vote No Borders is not a grassroots campaign at all but a government organized campaign which has mysteriously acquired start-up cash of 400,000 pounds with no declared origin.
The registered office of Vote No Borders, a private limited company, is at 24 Chiswell Street, London, EC2Y 4YX . Which is perhaps surprising for a “Scottish grassroots campaign”.  The directors are Malcolm Offord and Fiona Gilmore.
Now pay close attention: Fiona Gilmore is chief executive of Acanchi a PR Consultany which specializes in “Country Branding”.  Its clients include Israel, Dubai, Bahrain and “England”.  Yes, it actually specifies “England” on the company website.  Acanchi also works for DFID – in short, it gets UK taxpayers’ money, plus Israeli and Gulf Arab money.  Are you familiar with the word fungibility?
Malcolm Offord, it turns out, has donated over 120,000 pounds to the Conservative Party plus made personal donations to Michael Gove.  He is the author of the report “Bankrupt Britain” on the Conservative Home website.  In his paper Offord suggests that further cuts in UK public spending should continue to be made  even after the present debt crisis has been passed and urges government to:
“Reform the bloated benefits system of this country to reduce the burden on the state and, just as importantly, boost the growth rate of the country”
It took me an hour with google to find all this.  That the BBC continues to propagandise this fake “grassroots campaign” without revealing Offord’s Tory Party credentials, his belief in never-ending cuts in public spending and welfare benefits, and Acanchi being a consultant paid by government to boost the UK image is completely beyond anything that can remotely be described as legitimate.
It is the most abhorrent example of a fake story, entirely contrived state propaganda, being put out by a state broadcaster.
From commenters below: The “Vote No Borders” website domain was registered by Gary Waple, who works in the Prudential Regulatory Authority of the Bank of England!!!! Before that he worked at the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates – that British government and Gulf money connection pops up again.
The Guardian also is pushing it.  Amazing how neither the BBC nor the Guardian noticed who Mr Offord was, or who his fellow director is, or asked where the money came from.  We have a huge responsibility in social media to combat the ultra-powerful combination of the entire mainstream media with the British state, the City of London and their overseas neo-con allies.
I ask every single person who reads this to do what they can do to get this news out – it may open eyes about the BBC, media in general and the hidden hands behind the No campaign.  Feel free to copy and paste anywhere you want.  But please everybody either blog or tweet about it, put it on your facebook page, email people about it or if you can’t do any of those, just tell three people.  The only way we can beat the massed forces of the state and the ultra-rich is by a deliberate and purposeful exercise of people power.  That will never happen unless everybody tries. Do something.  Now. It does not matter where you are in the world.  Knowledge is universal – that is the root of every power the people can hope to have.
Brilliant! This post is currently being read by more than one person every two seconds. I hope it’s being read some other places by now too.  Don’t stop, we need much more than that to equal the numbers who will view the execrable mainstream propaganda."

Craig Murray was sacked as Ambassador for Uzbekistan after exposing the then Labour Government’s collusion with torture.  

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Chris Grayling MP, Justice Secretary and Honourable Hypocrite

The news that a judge stopped a serious fraud case trial because no barrister could be found to take on the case for the defence is directly down to the Tories campaign to cut legal aid and costs. Nigel Evans, the allegedly predatory former Deputy Speaker had a Damascene moment when in the dock. Despite winning his case he was still expected to pay over £140,000 towards his legal costs. He then had the chutzpah to write a ‘gee whizz - if I knew then what I know now column’ in a major paper. Legal Aid exists to make people equal under the law. A concept alien to the greedy, grabbing, venal tories and their fat cat chums. 

One person who should be looking over his shoulder following the Maria Miller fiasco is our book-banning, musical instrument embargoing, ‘Honourable’  Justice Secretary. Like so many of his colleagues who got away with ripping off the public to improve their property portfolio, Grayling, despite being a man with more than adequate worldly possessions, used the lax arrangements to enhance his income.

“After his election in 2001, he claimed mortgage payments on two properties – a house in Surrey near his commuter-belt Esher constituency, less than 17 miles from Parliament, and a flat in London, where he already owned two other flats that were let out. Claiming for two mortgages was against the Commons rules, but he told the fees officer it was necessary because he couldn’t get a 100 percent mortgage on the new London flat. No one seems to have asked why he couldn’t just live in one of his other flats once the tenancy had expired. Indeed the double standards committee asked no questions at all, possibly because by the time his expenses were revealed in 2009 he was already shadow home secretary, and soon to be a minister. 

      So nothing was done about the Telegraph’s disclosure of how Grayling tarted up his flat – increasing its resale value – and got the taxpayer to foot the bills. In May 2005 he claimed £4,250 for redecorating and £1,561 for a new bathroom. In June he claimed £1,341 for new kitchen units, and in July a further £1,527 for plumbing and £1,950 for rewiring the flat. This meant that in the 2005-06 financial year he had almost the maximum allowance.

       In the next year, however, he continued to submit receipts for work carried out in the previous year. In July 2006, for example, he submitted a decorator’s bill of £2,250 for work done in July 2005, claiming that the decorator had only just submitted his invoice, a year late. Another reimbursement in the 2006-07 financial year – of £3,534 for service and maintenance - was paid by the fees office even though the invoice was marked ‘tax point: 22 Feb 2006’ and referred to costs incurred in 2005-06. Thus he was able to spread the costs of improving the flat over two years, whereas if he had submitted all the receipts in the 2005-06 financial year he would have exceeded his allowance by £4,700.

        As justice secretary, Grayling is making a name by banning prisoners from being sent books. If his expenses claims are ever properly investigated, might he discover for himself what life is like inside? Perish the thought!” Private Eye 1364

So we paid for him to improve his homes when he already had several. Clearly a man of 'probity' suitable to become Justice Secretary. Now that is taking the mick.

Give these chancers masquerading as Honourable Gentlemen an inch and they will walk off with the whole nine yards.