Joining the SNP – In England!

SNP LogoPeople seem puzzled by the fact that I live in rural Oxfordshire (just 14 miles from David Cameron’s constituency), but I am a paying member of the SNP. ‘But they don’t stand down here, you have no-one to vote for.’ They say…

– I explain that The SNP have done more for my political well-being, protecting things I care about, and fighting things I don’t – than any local MP in England has ever done – with or without my vote.

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Michael Sheen – if only politicians sounded like this!

Michael SheenNo comment is necessary to this speech by actor Michael Sheen on St David’s Day on 2nd March 2015…

“In 1945 Aneurin Bevan said: ‘We have been the dreamers, we have been the sufferers, and now, we are the builders.’ And my God, how they built. And what they built. Every bit as much a wonder of the world as any architectural marvel, or any natural miracle … The National Health Service. A truly monumental vision. The result of true representation. Of real advocacy. A symbol of equality, of fairness, and of compassion.

The nation that swept the postwar Labour government into power was made up of people who had faced the horrors and the hardships of the second world war. And had bound together as one community to overcome them. They had been sustained and inspired by their feeling of comradeship, and their sense of responsibility for their fellow man and woman. Compelled to help those in need and those struggling in the face of hardship.

These were the experiences that shaped them, and this was the vision of life that the welfare state was born out of. Faced with an enemy that sought only to divide, the National Health Service strove for unity. Where they traded in fear-mongering, and blame, and exploitation of the vulnerable, the NHS represented compassion, and generosity, and acceptance. Where they slavered with voracious self-interest, the NHS symbolised courageous self-sacrifice for the good of all.

In his book In Place of Fear, Bevan said: ‘The collective principle asserts that no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.’

‘No society can legitimately call itself civilised’: now that begs the question, what sort of society do we want to be? What is our vision for ourselves? What are the qualities and the principles that we aspire towards, and choose to defend?

Because it is a choice. Do we want to be a society that is fractured, divided, disconnected? Do we want to be a society that is suspicious and mistrustful of its own people? A society that is exploitative, that sees people as commodities, as numbers. Mere instruments of profit, to be used while they have use, drained of whatever they can offer, and when they are seen as no longer useful, just abandoned, cut adrift. Preferably unseen and never again heard from.

Or … or … do we want to be a society where each person is recognised? Where all are equal in worth and value. And where that value is not purely a monetary one. A society that is supportive, that is inclusive and compassionate. Where it is acknowledged that not all can prosper. Where those who are most vulnerable, most in need of help, are not seen as lazy, or scrounging, or robbing the rest of us for whatever they can get. Where we … we do not turn our backs on those facing hard times. We do not abandon them or exploit their weakness. Because they are us. If not now, then at some point, and inevitably, they are us.

We are not afraid to acknowledge that we can be ailing, that we can find ourselves weak, that we can be infirm, and that we all at some point need help. We don’t shy away from this hard truth, we embrace it. Because in that way, together, we are always strong. We leave no one behind. We only say we’ve crossed the finish line when the last of us does. Because no one is alone. And there is such a thing as society.

This is what I believe to be Aneurin Bevan’s vision of a living tapestry of a mixed community, as he said.

At a time now, when people mistrust politicians as being too professional, too disconnected, no longer representing the voice of the people they have been elected to serve but more likely to represent the voice of wherever the money is. No longer standing for anything meaningful, or inspired by strongly held beliefs.

At a time like this a man like Aneurin Bevan seems like a mythical creature. Like a unicorn perhaps. Or perhaps more fittingly, a dragon. He didn’t care what the polls were saying. He didn’t worry about his PR, or what the current popular trends might be. His vision was long term. It was far-reaching, visionary in its scope and revolutionary in its effects. He had cast iron integrity and a raging passion.

This was a man who had no fear in standing up for what he believed in. And he made no bones about how he felt. This was a man who publicly stated: ‘No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical, or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep, burning hatred for the Tory party.’

In today’s political climate, where politicians are careful, tentative, scared of saying what they feel for fear of alienating a part of the electorate; where under the excuse of trying to appear electable, all parties drift into a morass of bland neutrality; and the real deals, the real values we suspect, are kept behind closed doors – is it any wonder that people feel there is very little to choose between? Bevan said: ‘We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run down.’

So when people are too scared to say what they really mean, when they’re too careful to speak from their hearts, when integrity is too much of a risk, it’s no surprise that people feel disengaged with politics.

There is never an excuse to not speak up for what you think is right. You must stand up for what you believe. But first of all – by God, believe in something.

Because there are plenty out there who believe in grabbing as much as they can for themselves. Constantly sniffing around for markets to exploit, for weakness to expose. They won’t say it, of course – they’re too smart for that.

No one says they want to get rid of the NHS. Everyone praises it, across all parties. It is about as powerful a symbol of goodness that we have, so it would be too dangerous not to. But for decades now, there has nevertheless been a systematic undermining of its core values.

This is beyond party politics. The Labour government arguably did as much damage to the NHS as any Tory or coalition-led one.

This is about who we want to be as a nation, and what we believe is worth fighting for. Too many people have given too much, and fought too hard, for us to give away what they achieved and to be left with so very little.

To those across the whole party political spectrum, and to anyone in any position of power or authority, I ask you to search your heart, and look at who and what you serve.

To those who have discarded all principles, save that of profit before all else; to those who have turned their backs on the very idea of a truly democratic society, and aligned themselves to nothing but self-interest; to those who have betrayed the vision of equality, and justice, and compassion for all – that vision that provided the crucible from which came forth the National Health Service – I say to you, as Aneurin Bevan said in Trafalgar Square in 1956: you have besmirched the name of Britain; you have made us ashamed of the things of which formerly we were proud; you have offended against every principle of decency and there is only way in which you can even begin to restore your tarnished reputation. Get out. Get out! Get … out!”

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Moronic, ideological twaddle!

Street CleanerSo let me get this idea of Cameron’s straight.

We force young people to work 30 hours for their benefit – which equates to £1.92 an hour.

This means that our friendly, caring global  businesses – can sack people on minimum pay and zero hour contracts to get further subsidised by the State (OUR money because the State doesn’t actually have any) to be replaced by these young ‘slaves’ (I use the term advisedly),  for even less money than the already starvation levels currently being paid, to generate even greater profits for these often tax-dodging global businesses.

Or they could be picking up litter, cleaning war memorials, cleaning out drainage ditches etc.

Am I missing something? – if these jobs need doing – then why don’t we PAY people to do them? Isn’t that what people used to do when we still gave a toss about the environment we lived in?

It was what we called ‘The Public Sector’ – before that became some kind of dirty word and people used to work to carry them out, doing what used to be called A JOB which allowed them to earn a living of sorts, feed themselves and their families, heat their houses AND pay taxes.

This kind of ideological, moronic thinking is however clearly attractive to the kind of idiotic, simplistic view of the kind of bigoted fools in UKIP that Mr Cameron is so afraid of.

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Taken into Consideration…

prisonWhen I was a CID officer in the 1970s we used to have a great tactic for clearing up crimes, and therefore improving the ‘clear-up’ rate once we had a multiple offender finally in custody. It was fair, honest and very effective. I assume it is still valid today.

The method went something like this.

When you had a prolific criminal in custody you would normally charge him with the main offence he had been caught for and maybe 2 or 3 others which served to indicate to the judge that the Defendant was a prolific offender.

The Defendant was then offered the opportunity to have all his other crimes ‘Taken Into Consideration’ by the judge at the time of sentencing. The advantage to him of this was that once he had served his sentence he was genuinely free and clear of further prosecution for crimes that had been duly declared as ‘T.I.C.s’.

The tactic was especially effective if you could prove (for example via fingerprint evidence) some additional crimes that the Defendant had not been charged with – but could be.

Of course it was important that the Defendant had no idea which other crimes could be proved, so he had a choice, either to admit to all his other offences and be free and clear after completion of his sentence – or risk what frightened him more than any other sanction. What was referred to as ‘The Gate Arrest’.

‘The Gate Arrest’ meant that the police would wait at the gate of the prison on his release and immediately re-arrest him, charge him with the additional offences and in all likelihood get him sent straight back to jail – don’t pass go, don’t collect £200!

Some young burglars committed so many crimes they found it almost impossible to remember them all and it was necessary to resort to driving them around visiting known, similar burglary locations to give him the opportunity to point them out!

It occurred to me this would be an ideal tactic for thieving tax evaders and others of a similar ilk.

Give them the opportunity to admit to all their crimes immediately or charge them with one crime then wait outside the prison gate and re-arrest them immediately they are released and send them back in after a quick new trial!

Cruel and unusual punishment? – or natural justice? – I know what I think!

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The deliberate lie…

Alleged Tax AvoidanceJust about nothing irritates me more than the deliberate, lying tactic, mostly perpetrated knowingly by politicians of one kind or another, of conflating someone’s objection on any given subject to some kind of tacit approval of its polar opposite!

Classic recent cases are of the way many of us who always opposed the Iraq War were accused of being apologists for, or even supporters of Saddam Hussein. George W. Bush’s use of the term ‘Patriot’s Act’ for legislation to remove liberties from his own citizens hints that if you are opposed to it – you are somehow not a patriot.

In the UK if you are opposed to austerity cuts aimed at the poorest and most needy people in our society  you are somehow considered to be a supporter of Benefit Fraudsters and ‘Scroungers’.

The list is endless and the latest incarnation is the dishonest tactic of labeling anyone who is opposed to large corporates and accountancy firms avoiding tax or those who want serious sanctions imposed on criminals in our financial institutions as somehow ‘anti-business’.

Italian-born chief executive Stefano Pessina of the Boots Group pays little tax and lives in Monaco to make sure he pays as little as possible – but considers he has the right to pontificate on how Britain runs its economy.

Being anti Amazon, Ebay, Starbucks, vodafone et al – is not being anti-business.

They are parasitical organisations that contribute very little to the well-being of our society as they do not pay their fair share of tax they often scrounge off the State by paying such low wages their businesses are effectively subsidised by the state benefit system, they horde vast amounts of money (Apple have $140 Billion hidden away in tax havens and borrow money to pay dividends, rather than expose their assets to taxation) and frankly we would be better off without them.

Give tax breaks to businesses that employ people at proper rates of pay and pay their taxes not the ‘Global Benefit Scroungers.’

Being anti tax dodgers is simply pest control and would rid our society of a disease that is slowly poisoning our society. The sooner they leave and go and live with their money the better we will all be.

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The Chilcot Report – or lack of it!

Sir John ChilcotIf I asked a cowboy builder to put up a conservatory for me and gave him 12 months to do it and PAID HIM and he failed to honour his part of the bargain – I would want my money back and would ask someone else to do it and expect the original builder to pay. Chilcot was supposed to report by 2010 on his enquiry into the Iraq War – we now hear we’ll be lucky if we see it in 2015. He should be sacked immediately – and ordered to hand over all his current information to a replacement who should be given 3 months to publish the report (i.e. BEFORE the election.) The Police Serious Crimes Squad should be investigating Chilcot to see if any fraudulent abuse of public money has taken place – and in any event he should be asked to refund all earnings he received from the date he was originally supposed to report up to date – if necessary declare him bankrupt and sell his house and any other assets he might have to hand back to the public purse – if people don’t like the conclusions of the report let them challenge it in Court.

ANY OTHER ACTION (or lack of it) constitutes a WHITEWASH and a cover up.

PUBLISH CHILCOT NOW with or without him (preferably without as he seems to be the reason for the delay and no doubt he is earning massive amounts of tax payers money all the time he delays this report.)

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How easily it can happen…

Judgement at Nuremberg

Judgement at Nuremberg

One of the greatest film speeches is delivered by Spencer Tracy as he sums up the verdict of the Nuremberg trials in the movie ‘Judgement at Nuremberg’. I urge everyone tempted to explain that so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ – what most of us would call ‘torture’, are justified in order to protect our Society against our enemies. Follow the link to hear it delivered by one of our greatest ever actors. Below is a small extract:

“This trial has shown, that under a National crisis, Ordinary – even able and extraordinary men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes…

… how easily it can happen. There are those in our own Country too who today speak of the Protection of Country – Of survival.

A decision must be made in the life of every Nation at the very moment that the grasp of the Enemy is at it’s throat and it seems the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy – to rest survival on what is expedient – to look the other way.

Only the answer to that is ‘Survival as what?’

A country isn’t a rock – it is not an extension of one’s self.

It’s what it stands for.

It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult.

Before the People of the World, let it be noted that, here, in our decision this is what we stand for.

Justice, Truth – and the value of a single human being.”

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