Monthly Archives: September 2011

Enough, Enough, Enough

PLO leader President Mahmoud Abbas has spoken at the United Nations in support of full Palestinian membership of the United Nations. As he received standing ovations Israel looked a little isolated as their delegates maintained their seats and silence. The speech was passionate and was warmly received in Ramallah. I received a message from a citizen of Gaza who was greatly heartened by Abbas who has done something to rebuild a rather tarnished image. Still the name of Arafat elicits a huge response in spite of detractors who criticised him with allegations of corruption.
President Abbas didn’t mince his words and spoke of a range of injustices perpetrated by “the last colonial occupying force”. It was the policy of continuing to build settlements illegally on land which would form part of a future Palestinian that was the greatest obstacle, but the apartheid wall which divided communities and families, the destruction of farmland and ancient olive trees and the violence of the Israeli Occupying Force among his deep objections. “Enough, enough, enough” was his call to the assembled delegates and to the world watching events unfold.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanahyu followed up with attacks on the UN, Abbas and everyone who he feels wants Israel to go undefended. He ended by requesting Abbas to meet him there and then since “they were both together in New York in the same room”.
Back in Jerusalem there appeared to be an air of world weariness and resignation to the US veto. What Britain is going to do we’re left guessing – except again we know what to expect. Palestine has been failed once this century, as the article points out.

Continue reading

The Liberal Democrats are in Town crowing like Peacocks

Cllr Paul Tilsley is a proud man as he opens the LIberal Democrat Conference in Birmingham. What there is to be proud of since the Lib Dems gave power to the Tories in 2004, forming an alliance which was echoed nationally after the general election. They call it the “progressive alliance” although what is progressive about slashing and burning jobs and “essential” services escapes me. A huge turn out is expected tomorrow, 19th September, as many who have tasted Tory/Lib-Dem medicine will show their ingratitude.
Today by contrast in Cradley Heath is the annual Women Chain Makers’ Festival which celebrated the centenary of the strike which was effective in raising pay and conditions for workers, a salutary reminder to the likes of Ed Miliband who believes kind talk will do the trick. Against the entrenched interests of the elite? Is he one of them? Many New Blue Labour are, so the voices of working people go unheard. Not tomorrow in Birmingham, in Manchester on 3rd October and, Is suspect nationally. The price of not listening? There will be more urban unrest and protest but whether that worries the “feral elite” remains a big question.

Raghib Ahsan finally settles with Labour

While it has taken many years of pressure and determined effort, a settlement has been reached with Raghib Ahsan over the discrimination it made over his re-selection as a Birmingham City Councillor. It demonstrates the way New Labour acted against sections of its membership. It became the norm for non-elected officers to interfere with selection procedures and determine who they liked and who they didn’t. In spite of concern, supported by evidence, it was Khalid Mahmood who became MP for Perry Barr in 2001.
The Labour Party showed that it was much more concerned about stopping Raghib Ahsan replacing Jeff Rooker than paying attention to Khalid’s chequered career. Both Raghib and Khalid had been elected to Birmingham City Councillor. While Raghib fought hard for his constituents’ rights, Khalid went away to Kuwait after only months in office leaving his supporters in the lurch. Labour refused to listen when its members complained ending up with the vast majority supporting the Lib Dem candidate, Jon Hunt, now a Birmingham City Councillor, who ran an anti-sleaze campaign. Members of the Labour Party took their campaign to Mill Bank, then New Labour’s HQ.
West Midlands Labour toughed this one out as they did other matters that brought them into disrepute, such as the voting fraud issue of 2004. In spite of the mayhem and damage when the case successfully went to the House of Lords, the officers still remain in charge continuing their nonsense. As I maintained at the time, they should have been sacked.

Continue reading

Education, Education, Education Cameronian style

The Blair mantra takes on a new meaning under Cameron. This is the fact that there are far too many kinds of school now and this is causing huge confusion. The one thing certain about it is that it will create more inequality, more elitism, as those more able to navigate the maze will be at an advantage. Once again that is likely to be the more affluent, so education, along with health, housing, transport, utilities becomes available to those who have the ability to pay. Forget the unemployed, the disabled, the sick.
The new schools are modelled on those already existing to offer privilege. Cameron’s notion is that can be reproduced in the state sector, and he has been back to Eton to ask for them to intervene in the state sector. Is that a good idea? It seems to me that the privilege comes from having the money to go to Eton. Educating children is a different matter. As with everything else at the moment th idea is to make less and less provide more and more. This means setting up schools with unqualified teachers, paying less, reducing pensions and job security while imposing longer hours and unfavourable conditions. In short driving a coach and horses through what has been hard one over many years. How will lowering the morale of the teaching force help raise standards? Free schools and academies have other purposes than education!
The supposed rationale for making cuts is that services have become unaffordable. Teachers’ pensions are a case in point. The NUT has shown this to be a fallacy. They seem to have forgotten that a few decades back it was said that there was too much in the teachers’ pension pot and so it needed to be reduced and so the money could be used for other purposes.
“Cuts” is what has been sold to us. It is not that. Here we see the beginnings of the dismantling of the state sector. This came into being to give all of us the opportunity to have what previously only a privileged few could enjoy. Thatcher began fighting “the enemy within”, that is the representatives of those who worked in manufacturing or obtaining the materials to carry that out. 80% of us were engaged in that. All that was stopped and we began relying on foreign, unreliable and very costly sources for our energy needs. While the productive sector shrunk those engaged in financial, unproductive, services rose exponentially. They have not only risen, they have taken over and are able to dictate what they take home and what the rest of us don’t. Problem is it’s difficult to blame the Tories who we know to represent an elite. If you voted Lib Dem you voted for this. But New Labour brought in privatisation which exceeded Thatcher’s dreams, including schools which would break away from local authorities and thus accountability through the democratic process, the Academies.

Having a laugh – at our expense

Cameron is right. Our society is sick, and it starts right at the top. It is unimaginable how the ruling elite, which takes in the whole government and every party, believe they have a divine right to the cream. But over indulgence isn’t healthy as we know with the high incidence of obesity. Our “leaders”: politicians, bankers, corporate directors, are all suffering from gorging themselves. They come together wining and dining – at our expense – and then massage their salaries, bonuses, pensions. Then they tell us that the miserable pittance that people are supposed to live on is unaffordable.
At a time when we are supposed to cutting back these individuals are demanding ever higher sums for wrecking the economy. Whatever Brown and his chancellor were arguing about it seems to have been irrelevant as far as reigning in the powerful. The government clearly doesn’t control Big Money. Big Money is the Deity which eclipses all else.
As I have got tired of saying it is not only Conservatives who are privatising the health service, schools, prisons, war – you name it. New Blue Labour got there and developed the Thatcher mantra. In or out of office the Tories remained in power. Labour politicians have been involved in “the revolving door” as much as any taking lucrative corporate positions with companies whose concern about our well being is totally absent. The arms industry flogging its wares to the highest bidder never mind the morality espoused by the likes of Cameron about justification for looting Libya after Iraq. Food producers are supported in developing genetically modified crops hugely and outrageously funded by governments like in India, the US and yes the UK. Corruption reigns. But we elected these individuals didn’t we? Maybe but parties evermore control the selection of politicians with the paid party officers controlling the membership. When I first became a member of Labour the branch selected it representatives. This was made up of local residents who knew the important issues. After the Blair government took power it sent officials to tell us how we did things wrong. We selected the “wrong people”, i.e. they were too left wing in their view. Labour’s membership was a problem.

Libya. “This was a war of France against Italy”

Even before the the dust has settled and the guns have fallen silent the “black gold” rush has begun. International oil countries are busy trying to secure lucrative deals – better than they were able to while Gaddafi was around – and governments are staking their claims against the strength of their relative involvement in bringing down the Libyan regime.
The demonisation of Gaddafi is a reversal of views formally held. Blair courted him and so did Sarkozy. Now Cameron spews venom and Sarkozy has turned himself inside out. Nothing is said about the way wealth was distributed internally to provide health, education and housing to the people. It was a key member of the African Union. Now black Africans are in acute danger as the victorious rebels turn on anyone it identifies as supporter of the toppled power. Racism it seems is rife, not that that will bother European powers.
The duplicity of the western powers that turned on Libya is well described in the comment from an Italian commentator on Russia Today. “No Italian media would ask me for an interview” declares the speaker as she describes the motives for the bombing. She denies that the oil wealth was withheld pointing to the considerable benefits in housing, education and health available.