Monthly Archives: June 2009

Bang ’em up and make a profit

The idea that essential services and commodities should provide profits to providers predictatably comes to grief every time. We have inefficient, expensive, fragmented rail and bus services, the post office is up for grabs (the profitable bit that is) and the jail service has more projected private contracts. Why? The evidence according to a report in The Independent shows that privately run prisons are performing worse than those that are run by the state – presumably on a low budget.
Even Mandelson is having to draw back a little from his Post Office plans. He has put them on hold it seems but what this Machiavellian schemer is up to is anyone’s guess. He certainly seems to have manoeuvered himself into considerable power, probably more than Brown. Don’t forget he went back with TB’s blessing and Brown has remained encircled by Blair’s vampire brigade, like Blears whose poisoned fangs became exposed after she was nobbled for fiddling. Strange isn’t it that Mandelson was always the one in the news for his lavish tastes and dealings yet this time there seems to be silence while everyone else is being caned! I think the Telegraph has taken our eye off the ball.

What does RBS stand for?

RBS “Robbery By Stealth”; “Royal Bollocks Society”; Rotten Banking System”. Send me your answers! That its can happen that extraordinary sums of money continue to be paid to individuals whether they deliver or not shows a system out of control. Now it seems that huge payouts are sanctioned by government itself which is supposed to have taken control using our money to do it!!! Unbelievable. Will RBS react to the sound and fury which has erupted in all quarters. Seems Fred the Shred finally acceded to a curtailment of his remuneration, so how will he cope? Seems to me he’s still getting a very ample reward for his outstanding lack of judgment which led to the virtual wrecking of the institution for which he was responsible. Nice job if you can get it. Right said Fred.
Those employees of RBS losing their jobs will know the reality. The class system is fully operation. Those who have the power to control the Capitalist system and those whose dispensable labour is used as and when.

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The Iraq Hostages and more

A slight technical problem so the need to catch up. Iraq and the missing and forgotten hostages
The involvement of private companies in virtually everything you can think of – not even Thatcher ever imagined she could get away with it on this grand scale – has extended to private personnel in places of conflict and extreme danger. I imagine the involvement of non-combatants in the history of wars is not particularly new but the scale is.
The dreadful news of the missing British hostages brings with it murky information about the role of security firms which have “made a killing” on work undertaken in exceedingly dangerous circumstances and throws up a whole lot of questions. The absolute silence about the 5 British captives has always worried me. I remember their disappearance but only over time have I understood who they were. There was one professional and four bodyguards among those taken. It is two of the bodyguards whose bodies have now been handed over. Everyone seemed to think they were still alive but the state of decay suggests that one died some time ago, the other more recently. How remains pure conjecture. Today’s Independent (22/6/2009) supplies some more information about GardaWorld who employed the men charging a US agency something like $1,000 a day it seems. They have continued to be paid for their work while the men have been held in captivity. This raises questions about the tactics of both them and the British government in securing their release.
Questions for the future include what responsibility GardaWorld have for compensating the families of the hostages. The US experience of private companies involved in wars is not promising. Shareholders on the other hand have nothing to fear as they receive their blood money.

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What passes for politics

“Oh, sugar” takes on a new dimension as reality tv gets confused with the real world of government. What is real? The economic crisis for sure with the poorest paying the price on every level.
Just in Birmingham as the BNP reach new levels of influence Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU) has its funding cut. Just as more and more people need support for their mental health the day centres supposed to do just that are closed. Did the victims of racism or joblessness, housing repossessions, loss of pension rights create the mess?
At the same time the banks, the business world, free enterprise continue as if nothing has happened. Their pensions and perks are untouched. Reality tv which puts across questionable values and levels of behaviour is exchanged for real. Putting the fox into the hen house is the solution to all our problems as in 1929. The system has been left to produce itself with the tax payer left to foot the bill.
It’s not the rich that pay the taxes. They dodge off to the nearest tax haven saving themselves billions, denying the state (us) an income. They get support from New Labour as well as the Tories. We are told we can expect a government under the wealthy public school boy Cameron. So that will be alright then. What about the other alternative. The Liberal Democrats have enabled the Tories to rule in Birmingham and so have supported what I described above. They’ve done the same in Wolverhampton. No point in going there then. A Socialist alternative? Tomorrow Compass meet to discuss a left agenda. But how far left? Will Capitalism still be left intact? Looks that way!

Tribute to Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga in Birmingham 30/5/2009

Baba Bilga memorial
Baba Bilga has died while on a visit to Birmingham at the age of 102, I was invited to speak in tribute as an executive member of the Socialist Labour Party. Like his namesake and contemporary Shaheed (Martyr) Bhagat Singh I found his life as a socialist was exemplary and this was a unique opportunity to learn about his extraordinary life which took him around the world in a struggle against imperialism, in particular his association with the Ghadar (Revolution) Party of which he was the last remaing survivor. In his recent words he was critical of the Indian government’s programme. This was his recent comment:
“Governments came and went but the issues of the development of society still lie unaddressed. The picture of India is not the same as conceived by the freedom fighters… Mulk di halat bigad gayi hai. Mehangayi te bekari ne aam admi di kamar tod ditti hai…Government policies are also biased. They are drafted for the elite and the middle class and the poor people are bearing the brunt.”
Such words could as easily be addressed to leaders of the Tory. Liberal-Democrat and Labour parties in Britain who all believe in bailing out the wealthy elite leaving a huge burden for the poorest.
I am grateful to Bharat Bhushan of the Shaheed Udham Singh Community Centre for the following biography of Baba Bilga.

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