David Cameron believes in the environment so much that he has solar panels fitted to his home. Look again. Cameron is taking advantage of the high rate of return on solar panels before the rate of payment is slashed. So having benefitted he has pulled away the ladder and left everyone else who can’t afford it out in the cold. The guy who fitted the panels says he has to lay off his workers, so what is this doing for Cameron’s green credentials? The Big Society? Does he know what he’s talking about? He’s too busy keeping his snout in the trough.
After 12th December for every £1,000 you will get £500 so if you still want to benefit you need to get moving. How this encourages the solar industry in Britain is anyone’s guess. The government’s claims to be green are in tatters while once more Mr Cameron is laughing all the ay to the bank.
The new leaders of Greece and Italy, ravaged by never ending debt, are from the very institutions that got them to borrow and borrow like there was no tomorrow. New the EU is “solving” the crisis by letting them lose to create even more unimaginable debt. Will it work. The Keiser Report on Russia Today thinks not, but the damage on the way will be heavy to say the least.
Ten years or so back banks were regulated to some degree, but now the big five financial institutions in the US are exempted from regulations. Ten years back these bankers would be in prison for stealing our money, but they have used the spoils to buy off members of the US Congress and have become untouchable. A small elite who can dictate their terms. Meanwhile the 99% protesting at what is happening are finding the full force of the state coming down on them as tent cities are cleared away and peaceful protestors are getting pepper sprays an worse. Elderly people and veterans are getting caught up. An 84 year old woman was sprayed and two ex army veterans have been seriously wounded . Why aren’t the police protecting the people? Presumably because their bosses, like Mayor Bloomberg in New York, are also representative of the wealthy elite and give the police their orders.
In the UK the Anglican Church has spoken out on the effect cuts are making on the most vulnerable and asking the government to think again.
Why Britain suffered a long hot summer has resulted in acres of print and endless meetings why there was a contagious unrest. One common view held was that it was sparked by the death of a black man at the hands of the police. This was one attack on a black person too many. The effect was quite incredible. The incompetent police handling of the aftermath when the family responded asking questions was damped down by assertions that Mark Duggan was armed. The Guardian now reports otherwise.
In Birmingham it has taken years to find out how Mikey Powell met his death while being taken into custody. He was rammed by a police car, hit by police batons, sprayed with gas and sat on. This was after his mother had requested help because of Mikey’s mental illness. Justification was given for violence on this vulnerable person because it was “believed he was armed”.
In Wolverhampton Jenny Cooper was badly beaten by police in the course of being arrested for a trumped up charge for which she has been cleared by a jury. It was so arranged that she was convicted of resisting arrest in the magistrate’s court before standing trial for the substantive charge. So she still has a record because the police are keen to protect themselves from any charges against themselves for thuggery.
Will the “landmark report” report in the Guardian shed light, heat or both on the matter?
It’s Remembrance Day and the Tories are all wearing their poppies. It’s a political act as far as they are concerned. Their pride is confined to themselves and the swinging cuts imposed on the most vulnerable. But as they contemplate using plastic bullets against protesters they find that, as in the US, they are facing the veterans they say they are honouring by their pompous poppy show.
Then they have their Business Secretary, Vince Cable, saying out loud that he has a sneaking respect for the protesters’ message and that the wrong people are getting a raw deal. Stand up man and say what you think about the agenda of your running mates and their avowal to finish with the Public Sector, The dispossessed are being dispossessed. Stop pussyfooting and say what you think!
Cameron announced sometime ago that he wanted to see an end to the public sector. He’s already ensured councils do his dirty work by cutting their grants and now he wants one million jobs more to go. Statutory services can’t be met or are cut to the bone so what is on offer is meaningless. The Birmingham Council House meeting which I described in an earlier post made that clear.
I spent last night at a “consultation” at Birmingham Council House when the Chief Executive, Stephen Hughes explained the 2012-2013 budget. We have until early January to respond. Respond to what? David Cameron has already laid the ground rules which herald the end to the Public Sector. The dispossessed are being dispossessed.
Chris Khamis, chairing the meeting, called me early on. I wanted to know where the cost of using Capita, one of five or six firms of accountants or bankers by any other name was shown. I didn’t think they came cheaply and I wondered if there was going to be savings in the amounts we paid them in the next budget year. I had in mind salaries of their staff and whether they were facing severe cuts in wages or redundancies. Stephen Hughes told us how they had helped Birmingham cut back in use of properties, saving considerable sums. No mention of those buildings such as Hawthorn House in Handsworth Wood, a community resource after local people “saved” it, housing a library with a children’s playground on its site. After its sale for private use Handsworth Wood has become an amenity-free zone.
I wanted to know if Capita was a company that operated off-shore on a Caribbean island avoiding paying tax. Did the City Council support an organisation that didn’t pay its taxes. I got no answer to that. It seems that an essential component of Capita’s business is telling others how to do just that!
“Have your say on the budget” proclaims the form we are asked to complete with four questions about “top service priorities”, all of motherhood and apple pie proportions. Do we agree that “protecting vulnerable people (children and adults)” should be a top priority, or encouraging investment to create jobs and helping people into work”? Perhaps we ought to “strongly disagree” about “improving education and skills (employability)” should go. Or perhaps we could dispense with “a clean, green and safe city”. These are “essential services” so when did they become inessential. When the Lib Dems backed the Tories to take over Birmingham in 2004 is the answer, providing a blue print for a ConDem government that puts profits first and people nowhere.
I have witnessed a case where an frail elderly Asian woman was being reassessed for her care needs. The social care and health officers who called wanted to be sympathetic but they were working to a higher agenda. They started off trying to justify a decimation of the time carers spent saying “we don’t know how the amount of time was justified in the first place”. This undermines their own colleagues professionalism and judgement doesn’t it? The family is in receipt of direct payments and pays carers of their choice to look after their mother and grandparent. The result of the cut was that the carers found the task impossible in the time allotted and left. It would have meant that their already low pay was cut back further. Cameron wants an army of volunteers to step in. They are people who can survive on fresh air presumably in his “Big Society”.
“We are all in this together” proclaims the Chancellor of the Exchequer. No we bloody aren’t. There’s absolutely no shared pain at the top. Those with the power to make decisions do so at the people’s expense unashamedly. “Sorry” says Stephen Hughes to the employees whose “hurt” he feels he as not acknowledged before. What difference does that make? It would have been better to have said nothing.
From one point of view the City Council, like others, has been put in a totally impossible position given the government’s intention to dispense with the public sector. What we, the public are being asked to do is to select from a prepared list where cuts must inevitably fall. It is like being asked to choose your method of execution. By taking part it gives the decision makers some sort of justification for something they know otherwise as having none.
Unexpected developments in the saga of St Paul’s and the Corporation of London. While clearly the C of E as an Establishment body found itself under pressure the Corporation of London is not obviously so. This ancient and revered body is now highly secret, but it is deeply embodied in our fold history. Could even be a pantomime.
While I have heard the Archbishop of Canterbury, even if cautiously, express his reservations about Establishment behaviour I did not expect the Corporation of London to fall in line. I am deeply suspicious about that. There was a prospect of not just the usual suspects turning up, but Christian groups declared they would encircle the protest. What was the reason for them to decide not to proceed with their threats of eviction. Did Dale Farm loom too large. This time it wouldn’t be travellers they faced but some of “their own”. Images of violence at St Paul’s would not send a good image around the world of London.
Meanwhile in Greece it has been suggested that the people have their say at taking on the crippling austerity measures. That would involve paying back the huge amounts that the bankers suggested they borrowed in the first place. What will Goldman Sachs make out of the returns when they gave crap advice in the first place? The 1% of likely beneficiaries clearly don’t want the 99% to even have an opinion. Our governments are backing the banks again. The bankers believe they’ve got us over a barrel and the politicians agree. Greece has called their bluff. Occupy London will stand tall by doing the same, in league with Occupy Wall Street and the other movements mushrooming throughout the world of Capitalism. Crisis? What crisis?
As Christianity tells us you cannot worship both “God and Mammon”, but that is just what those wielding power are trying to do. They want to have their cake and eat it! The spectacle of the City of London Corporation working with St Paul’s to evict protestors against greed and lust for thinks temporal is matched against a world wide movement saying that Capitalism is not working. Not working for 99% that is. The London Corporation may espouse Christian ethics but no one expects them to practice it. It is rather different for St Paul’s!
The question of Christianity becoming part of an establishment has always been a contradiction of terms. Here we are about to witness this being played out in front of us as the protestors on the steps of St Paul’s are served with eviction notices. The image of Dale Farm is conjured up. To close a call for many with a Christian conscience. Some have spoken about forming a ring around the camp. The Church says it does not want to see violence. The City of London has said nowt. The full force of the law will fall on the protestors – and no doubt any “Christians” who stand in their way.