Archive for February, 2012


There was a time when the Conservative Party were dead set against anything like a ‘nanny state.’ A Government of constant meddling and interference in things which had little or nothing to do with Government, but everything to do with Individuals and their “choices.” Yet here in 2012, we are seeing the emergence of something far more prurient and far worse than just hands-on, nosey-parker-type ‘nannying..’ We are on the verge of a Government lead and Ministerially ‘supervised’ “Nappy – State!”  It is bad enough that every single aspect of British Life now seems to carry all manner of penalties: whether people are smokers, drinkers, obese and over-eaters or just  unfit couch-potatoes, the Government now has its ‘nannies’ to run after and pursuade everyone that their life is not the ‘right’ life to lead and that the State, ie “Nanny” knows best!

All the Government’s ‘helpful’ advice about everything from “quitting smoking” or “reducing drinking”  is supposedly aimed at reducing the burden of costs on the NHS, who ultimately have to take care of us all when we fall ill. It is said that those who smoke, drink, eat or take drugs are more likely to fall ill, due to long-term damage to their bodies and the complications that arise from that long-term damage.

One can’t help but ask: What (exactly) happened to individual freedom and choice?

Wasn’t that always the battle-cry of the Tories: wasn’t it their core complaint about ever having a Labour Government in power?

There was a time I was a Party-Animal myself, and though I may not have drank to excess over the whole of my life-time, I certainly made up the short-fall in my teens and twenties. What I could not drink by volume, I made up for in percentage proof! I even ended up in hospital a couple of times needing emergency treatment for alcohol poisoning.Yes, I was very grateful to the NHS then!

In fact, in later months I became aware that (for me) getting continually wasted and the increasingly disgusting task thereafter of ‘sobering up’ was becoming tedious. I became bored with drinking. I also became bored with listening to my friends telling me what ‘great times’ they had while they were drunk (as if I hadn’t heard the same tales every single weekend for five years?)

It was only when I met the ‘love of my life’ that a Sea-change transformed my world. I never expected to meet someone so young who just captured my heart. We have all had someone similar: some of you will be married to the person you fell for, others may have entered into a committed relationship with him/her (though, as yet perhaps,  un-marked by Civil or Church ceremony.) After the birth of my first child (a boy) I felt it was time to make some profound changes to my life. I had no desire to ‘pollute’ my young Son’s world with my smoking.

Smoking was endemic in my family. My Mother smoked: my Father smoked. Under pressure from my peer-group I began smoking a little before my fourteenth birthday – (it was around the same time as I started to play Guitar, discover Girls and become hormonally and emotionally ‘volatile.’) My friends Andre Walters and Ian Hall were perhaps the most vocal about the ‘joys’ and ‘cool’ of smoking. I resisted as long as I could, but one Autumn afternoon in late October 1977 I bought Ten Embassy Number Six and took up a ‘family’ and ‘social’ habit that would last until I was a young man of 24 years.

It only took one alcohol fuelled argument and a sudden, catastrophic loss of self-control to convince me that, should I continue to drink at all, there would be the most unfortunate and tragic results. As I tended to smoke more when I drank alcohol, I decided to try to quit both simultaneously. It was not easy, and my friends and family didn’t make it any easier either! For a while I reduced the number of cigarettes to the bare minimum, or, I would change their nature – by smoking only Menthol cigarettes I thought I would break the habit, but it was futile. The only thing I could do was to quit drinking and smoking altogether!

So that is exactly what I did!

I never smoked again. However, it would be disingenuous to say that I never got drunk again, but in over twenty years I was drunk only twice. The rest of the time I was, by definition, ‘tee-total..’ In fact, there were a number of relationships which broke down and disintegrated because I no longer drank, even to be ‘sociable.’ Instead I took to Diet soft-drinks  and bottled waters. Over time I became much fitter and more enthusiastic about life, music and all the spheres of interest I was engaged in. It has to be said that being neither a smoker nor drinker did contradictory things to my love-life. Sex was a much more energetic and exciting experience, but the number of short-term girlfriends seemed to decrease because I was no longer going to bars or clubs or taking part in former activities.

But all of the above was my choice. I was not co-erced into giving those things up and I have few regrets about doing so. The advantages of becoming more physically fit and being able to breathe properly made an enormous difference to my ability to sing. It even affected my guitar-playing, as pacing one’s breathing is necessary in executing difficult or complex musical phrases: in short, I played a lot faster than before and with an accuracy that came from being able to concentrate without need for any ‘props.’

Yet, if I had decided to continue smoking and drinking, I would hope it would be equally seen to be my choice, and not the interfering, busy-body choice of Government. In any Democracy, what people do or do not do in their leisure time should be their own responsibility, and ultimately, any consequences should also be theirs. After all, it is Government and its subsequent legislation which has, all-too-often, actually given rise to social ‘problems’ in the first place. Government used to ‘sponsor’ the manufacture of Cigarettes in the UK and most of Europe. British American Tobacco was one of the most powerful Companies in Britain and had the largest, most powerful lobbying group. In the nineteen-eighties British American Tobacco were accused of trying to create a more addictive form of Tobacco: something that would ensure their revenues (and therefore Government Taxes) were both maintained and increased with a new generation of smokers. It is quite possible that this New Smoking Material found its way into markets in Africa, India and South-East Asia. Tobacco Companies were Advertisers in popular sports – particularily Football, Motor Racing and Horse Racing. In 1998, under Tony Blair’s Labour Government, the first of a series of bans came into force: smoking was no longer to be advertised during prime time television (ie. before the ‘watershed’ of 9pm, this was increased to a general ban on Tobacco Advertising on Television and in Cinemas. Eventually, a full smoking ban in both Public Places and At Work came into force – Clubs and Pubs were included, forcing smokers outside in all weathers.

The present Coalition have taken this idea of having a ‘general ban’ on the activities and pleasures of others, a step further. They have been mooting the possibility of enforcing a ‘minimum price’ for alcohol. (Of course, that does not extend to the kind of alcohols quaffed at Westminster or in the Home Counties) Their main aims seem to be targeted at the ordinary worker and teenagers of drinking-age. This is not the first time a minimum price has been put on alcohol, and it is not the first time the Conservatives have been in the vanguard of ‘Temperance’ initiatives. It is, however, the first time a Conservative/Coalition Government have acted according to principles they previously ruled out. Their dread of the introduction of a ‘Nanny State’ under the aegis of a Labour Administration has become the horror of a “Nappy State” being introduced to kerb (so-called) ‘binge-drinking,’ ‘obesity’ and even being ‘physically unfit.’ Every single adult in Britain is being treated, not merely as a child, but as an ‘infant’ – presumably, an ungrateful infant who doesn’t know what is best for them?

Yes Mr Cameron. We do. And none of it is any of your business. Unless you would like us all to hound the topers, drug-addicts and miscreants in your own Government?

Perhaps it is time you just stopped trying to ‘Nanny’ us all.. or better still, change your own nappy!

Government agrees to drop Benefit Sanctions in Workfare.. really?

I have to say that – this Government are not beyond using sanctions for the SAME/IDENTICAL purpose they intended in the first place! (ie to punish DWP ‘Clients’ for not going onto Workfare) but for other infringements (dress code, shoes not polished, listening to an iPod while ‘working’ etc. etc etc..) or by more circuitous means. For example not filling out their weekly  ‘job history’ while working for x,y or z..

Make NO mistake.

IMHO. Cameron is a nightmare, in so far as He is likely to be found to be – and the evidence of his wilfully ignorant and dismissive behaviour towards ALL those who oppose him and his Government,bears this thought out – a ‘Malignant Narcissist‘. In many ways He is perhaps the most institutionally dangerous PM we have ever had – because no-one voted ‘for’ him as such, yet He has destructively and unapologetically ploughed into every single aspect of the infrastructure of the Country.  The Coalition is headed by TWO malicious personalities. Nick Clegg is the archetypal ‘appeaser’ – the “good Cop” persona – but He too is Narcissistic – the difference is that He is also arguably, charismatic. Between the pair, they complete one intensely egotistical and fanatical “two-headed Dog..” Nick Clegg is so enamoured with the ‘power’ he has (literally) been “afforded” through the Coalition, that He will say anything and do anything to keep it. David Cameron on the other hand “knoweth He hath, but a short time..” and – because He is riddled with Class bigotry and certain ‘types’ of Racism – He is determined and obstinate enough to ensure it is HIS Government who finally bring down the ‘edifice’ (as He and his Inner Court perceive it) of Socialism: breaking apart forever the foundation stones of that which “The Working Class” depends for its security. ie. The Welfare State and National Health Service. If you want to see a vision of the future under this tawdry little man and his cronies – look to wretched America. A land now filled with invisible, stateless and vagabond people – all of whom have simply been abandoned without any kind of support. THAT my friends IS the lynchpin of “Thatcherism” in all its undiluted fury: and, until the bitch that bore the epithet “There is no such thing as Society” is six feet under, these Political and Ideological grotesques will continue to uproot innumerable British families and their impoverished children in the name of ‘Austerity.’ How strange that the ONLY ones who seem safe from this cull of Services and Civil Support Organisations (apart from the City of London and The Royal Family/Civil List) are those who presently inhabit Parliament- on ALL sides of The House? Yet THEY have NOT taken a single CUT in salary or expenses: yet they still protest, “We are ALL in this TOGETHER?”

Perhaps it is time the Government themselves showed some REAL austerity.. and cut their own throats!  Just my opinion of course!

Fear and Loathing about ‘Workfare…’

On the face of it, the idea of ‘Workfare’ or rather, the British equivalent of an American Welfare Policy seems benign. Even positive and perhaps forward looking. Yet, as with so many of the Coalition’s ‘Policies’ scratching beneath the polished and all-too benevolent veneer and one can see a great many disadvantages and opportunities for abuse of the new work placement ‘system.’

There is a current argument about what exactly is ‘Workfare for, and whom does it benefit?’ On the one hand the Government is adamant that it is the best way of encouraging young people ‘off Benefits’ and into the ‘World of Work.’ Their proposals included a few weeks of unpaid work (that is, work for benefits and nothing more) at any one of a number of big businesses who had signed contracts with Government to provide ‘work experience’ for up to (but not exclusively) eight weeks.

However.

In the original Policy Document was a clause which suggested that anyone who either refused to take up ‘Workfare’ or who left their Workfare placement after a short period of time should be ‘sanctioned’ (ie. lose part or all of their benefits..) This clause has, mysteriously, disappeared in the face of massive opposition to Workfare from all manner of sources. It has been branded ‘forced labour’ and ‘modern slavery,’and many of those who signed up to Workfare are now having second thoughts: no-one, it seems wants to be associated with any accusation of having people doing a full day’s work, (the equivalent of every other paid worker) for just their benefits. Moreover, the Companies who are now withdrawing from the scheme are citing that they do not want to be responsible for people losing their benefits while working for them. The public seem to be split in their opinions. On the one hand they can see no reason for Workfare to fail, as the aims seem laudable and, in this time of increasing austerity and unprecedented growth in unemployment, it seems reasonable to encourage young men and women to take up some work experience just to have something positive on their CV’s. Yet their primary concern is that the implementation of ‘Workfare’ and it’s hidden consequences (particularly Government’s deception about sanctions against DWP clients and the payment of vast sums of Public Money to private companies like A4E et al) have lost public confidence and trust in the scheme.

Although the scheme is not altogether damaged beyond repair, the Government are at a huge disadvantage because they have deliberately deceived the Public and the Unemployed Youth who had already been informed of the consequences of non-compliance. Employment Minister Chris Grayling MP has been incandescent over the accusation that Workfare is little more than ‘Slave Labour,’ and has blamed a small number of Anti-Capitalist Radicals and Members of the Socialist Workers party for an internet campaign which has, so far, managed to influence a huge number of withdrawn Companies.

Honesty is not Our best Policy

Seeking to trivialize the views of a much larger number of internet supporters of the Anti-Workfare Campaign, Grayling has attempted to air-brush out the clauses from the Workfare Scheme which had sanctions attached.

Such an action is hardly the act of an honest Government Minister.

It is testament to the Government’s ineptitude and the arrogant imposition of terms and conditions which undermined the architecture of their own policy.

There may also be a more fundamental flaw in the Workfare Scheme – and that is its ‘practical application.’

A lot of comments have been made about the Government wishing to ‘instil a Work Ethic’ into today’s youth. Presumptions have been made about how many of those who are NEETS (Not in Employment, Education or Training Schemes) spend their time.

Much has been made about how lazy or indolent the Youth of today are.. but isn’t this as unfair to them as saying “exams are getting easier?” More unfair in fact?

Employment and Pensions Minister Ian Duncan Smith went further than suggesting the youth of today are lazy. He suggested they all suffer from ‘merely dreaming about ‘X Factor’ fame, instead of being realistic and doing an ordinary job.’ The fact that this kind of assumption is probably par-for-the-course to a Public School/Oxford Educated man who probably doesn’t truly know what real work is anyway, distracts from the underlying themes of his Coalition Party’s snobbery and their attempts to re-affirm the Class System which has been in decline since the Second World War. In a single statement, IDS has underpinned the real ‘Ethic’ behind Workfare, The Welfare Reforms and the Government’s cuts to Public Services – the reinforcement of the ‘Class System’ and the over-arching supremacy of Government and The State.

Quite apart from the sweeping generalization that all of today’s Youth are simply ‘hopeless dreamers’ the idea that there is any honour in work for its own sake is yet another plank of a backward looking, sentimental and utopian Government who just do not know how to view the population of Britain in a rational, balanced or unbiased way. Anyone who is a parent, if asked quietly, calmly with no hint of interrogation will freely say something like “I don’t want my kids to have the life I did – I want something better for them!” Examined more closely, what one generally finds is that a household where both parents work or worked in manufacture, heavy industry or some arena requiring hard, physical ‘graft’ they will not want their children doing the same type of job as them. Yet most (if not ALL) of the proposed jobs in Workfare are menial and will neither provide ‘training’ nor experience in any significant or useful way. The ‘jobs’ offered to DWP ‘clients’ appear to be a modern form of ‘treadmill..’ Repetitious, boring and without any hope of improvement – yet underscored with ‘sanctions’ designed to take away benefits which are, for most, a matter of simple survival. Workfare jobs are simply not designed to be “real employment” in the sense that they are paid at the same rate  (the rate is rarely above the ‘Minimum Wage’ anyway!) Prime Minister David Cameron’s boast that 50% of those who have taken up Workfare voluntarily have been taken on in full-time employment is absurd.. and yet no-one: not the Media, Press nor any Public body has asked the Government to “prove it!”

Those whose parents work or worked in the administrative, professional or military arenas tend to have a more liberal approach leaving the ‘choice’ of career to their children, yet perhaps guiding them onto paths that will ultimately benefit them. Workfare here might seem like ‘slumming it’ – something which is only likely to be tolerated as long as it offers something more beyond repetition.

Those whose parents are, for various reasons, rich and influential tend either to be completely ‘hands-on’ influencing every aspect of their lives or are largely ‘hands-off’ believing that  their progeny will find “their own niche..” Workfare here will have little or no impact of any kind, and is unlikely to be required.

Those whose parents are unemployed or whom have never been able to secure full-time employment tend to be cynical and hostile to anyone outside of their immediate community from having any influence over their children. They are also more prone to either closing themselves down and accepting that they will never work, (this has been propagandized by the Coalition as “living off benefits”..) or become so resentful about their state that they embark on criminal or potentially antisocial forms of subsistence. Here, Workfare will simply be experienced as unfair, cheap labour and slavery/drudgery. Some may see criminal opportunities, while others may idealize the situation –  desperate to be accepted (because they are desperate for real work.) but unable to face the possibility that no work may come of it. These are the most vulnerable groups – and yet they are a fraction of those Workfare is aimed at.

For this group, their benefits are their only life-line. Cuts here are experienced immediately and catastrophically…

Again. Grayling, IDS et al say they want to help people off benefits and into work – yet there are few jobs, the economy is in free-fall, there are continuous waves and tides of recession and zero-growth in the UK, yet, in the face of rising unemployment, increasing numbers of redundancies resulting in the greatest loss of tax revenues, the Government has imposed the most swingeing Welfare Benefits cuts in living memory. How can the Government be helping anyone when they are plunging so many into poverty?

Put simply, we have to ask: why is the Government (including Ed Milliband’s Labour Party who also voted for the Welfare Reforms) making the poor much, much poorer?

This Government has even brought in the schoolyard paradigm of putting fingers-in-the-ears-while-shouting-“La,La,La -NOT LISTENING!”  such is their panic about not getting their ‘reforms’ through intact. It is almost a matter of showing what they are made of, rather than addressing the serious needs of NHS and Welfare Reform. The unedifying spectacle of the Health Minister Andrew Lansley and the Works and Pensions Minister Ian Duncan-Smith churning out the same rhetoric again and again, defying any ‘public’ views or opinions (even from the Professional Classes) and complaining that, in spite of appearances – everyone is behind the Reforms, is both tiresome and pointless! Innumerable defeats in the Lords and one amendment after another being suggested, only to be told that the opinions  of the House of Lords too, count for nothing, because the Government is determined to push through the Reform Bills anyway using a little known and little used device called “Financial Privelige” Preventing the Reform Bills from being altered or amended due to ‘Budget Restraints.’

However: recently a Conservative blogger wrote that “Three prominent Cabinet Members said that the NHS Reform Bill will have the same effect as the Poll Tax!”  He continued with “my sources (ie the three Cabinet Ministers) say the NHS Reform Bill should be dropped.. as should Mr Lansley..

No sooner had this blog been posted than the furore began. Temper tantrums by both the Prime Minister David Cameron and Health Minister Andrew Lansley (who refused point-blank to answer any questions or give any response to the blog,) seemed to overflow. Cameron said that the NHS Refroms would be ‘pushed through’ – in spite and in the face of substantial, mounting opposition. Most of the Professional Healthcare Organizations, their Heads and the Chief Unions of the NHS Nursing, Medical and Auxiliary Staff had already declared that the NHS Bill should be dropped immediately, saying it was “unfit for purpose..”

At this stage, it could be easily argued that Cameron and the whole of the Coalition are simply seeking to circumvent Democracy. But constantly defining their policies as ‘cruel to be kind’ they patronize and devalue protest and opposition. This is not merely children refusing to do their homework or go to bed on time – this is a Nation, speaking in different tongues but with the same message. Cameron would be wise to listen.

The message is this.

The supposed need for austerity: the management of Public Funds and the probable reform of some established services is not any reason for you or your Coalition to attempt to ride roughshod over the Will of the People. We are not a Nation that “does not know its own mind”: and we do not need to be patronized by the likes of you either! You are not  a “worker” – you are a diletante, a pen-pusher, an idle dreamer and and a Taxpayer/Benefits drain like few others – save the Civil List and some Peers. You wouldn’t know ‘real’ work if it punched you in the mouth! You pretend you know what work is, but, considering your priveliged and altogether ‘elitist’ background – how could you possibly know what real work is like? That said, the whole of your Government is equally out-of-touch with what the Public thinks – mainly, because beyond the next election – WE don’t EXIST!!

So. You and the Coalition have not been given the right to treat us with contempt – no matter what you might think! The trust afforded you and the Coalition, is totally dependent on you  ALL ‘listening!’ and taking our views and opinions seriously.

Don’t continue on with your ridiculous “delusions of grandeur” supposing you are a  feted “Caeser” – you are a mere Bureaucrat, a ‘Caretaker’ until a real leader shows him/herself and you are not inexpendable.

Austerity is no reason to suppose you can use Draconian or Autocratic measures or circumvent or deny  Democracy. This isn’t China David! Not everyone in this Country is asleep either : and not everyone is afraid!

Lastly: What goes around comes around – and those you impoverish now will eventually assist in doing  the same to you.And you have no ‘coping skills’ – especially when you are separated from your other, equally contemptible chums.

The next time you rise in the House of Commons to try to lie about how much the Public, Professionals or some other faceless ‘quotient’ support you – remember that you cannot control the Media, Newspapers or the BBC all the time and once your lies are found out – like Thatcher – you will be driven out of office..forever.

You cannot ignore US!

However, perhaps it is better to simply let certain ‘facts’ speak for themselves. David Cameron welcomed Unum into the infrastructure of the Country, even though Unum (a Private American Medical Insurance Company) are in the process of facing innumerable Class Action Lawsuits for Fraud and Deception – among the many accusations which have been made against Unum is that they ‘systemmatically defrauded people out of both Insurance Claims and Insurance Entitlememnts. Many of the Fraud Investigations are being conducted by Federal Authorities as Unum has allegedly carried out the same offences across the United States. Yet David Cameron has welcomed Unum.. Why? Perhaps because if the NHS Reform Bill went through without Amendments, the likes of Unum would be free to defraud British Taxpayers, Workers and Professionals as well as the Disabled and Mentally Ill, wholly protected by the Prime Minister’s ‘guarantees’ (pledges that one would hardly consider using as lavatory paper, let alone trust the printed words!) Many more parasitic and morally dubious Medical Insurance Companies would find Britain becomes a “Free-for All” market – and in a single stroke, the NHS would be finished, broken up and turned into Private Hospitals and Healthcare Centers with all that entails. The biggest joke is that WE have already paid for the WHOLE of the NHS Infrastructure (its buildings and services etc) and WE would be handing it over to PRIVATIZATION in the SAME stupid way as the Utilities (remember them?) BT (the most parasitic organisation in modern Britain) and British Rail which, under endless numbers of private concerns has become the worst and most expensive Public Transport system in the whole of Europe! The State run system might have been poor, but the private system is just beyond useless! In the space of three years – utilities companies (Gas and Electricity) have put up their prices by over 200% Recently some of the Utilities have dropped their prices by, up to 15%, but this has often been recouped immediately, because although they have dropped their electricity prices – they have maintained cripplingly high Gas prices. They know that it doesn’t matter which service they are providing, whether Gas or Electricity-  because even if they ‘appear’ to drop one price, a small rise in the other will immediately cancel-out any supposed ‘cut.’

NB: Two weeks after Gas and Electricity prices were cut, Water charges were increased!

The Government say they can do nothing.

The Welfare Reform Bill took a hammering by the Lords too, yet their Amendments were voted down and the brute force of the device of Financial Privelige was imposed. Many of the aspects of the Welfare Reform Bill are just perceived as ‘nasty.’ They have no real purpose except to show the hubris and insolence of untrammeled Powers of State. The inability for Government to ‘show’ any proof of the Public Support the Coalition protests they ‘enjoy’ in the Welfare Reform Bill leaves many Charities and Social Services convinced that many of the enactments within the Bill are wholly unnecessary and speak to the abuse of the legislative process by the Minister for Work and Pensions – Ian Duncan-Smith.

Both of the Reform Bills before Parliament are instruments of the State, showing it’s contempt and insolence towards the Public. Discriminating in the Press and Media between ‘Worthy’ and ‘Unworthy’ – ‘Deserving’ and ‘Undeserving’ – yet they, as the biggest parasites in the British Economy – who neither toil, nor build, create nor serve – are truly undeserving of either trust or obedience. The Coalition are a cabal of autocrats, deluded Public Schoolboys with a penchant for “sticking it to the Oiks!”  perhaps their panic and incapability is worthy of them being assessed by ATOS?

Who knows – perhaps they would ALL be placed in Work Related Activities or Workfare?

But, so-far, they have never taken a cut in Salary or their expenses: in fact, last year they were increased – even though they are ALL Public Workers!?

Their Pension Entitlements have not been reduced or affected in the way MILLIONS of Public Sector Workers have And they have already been handed a “take it or leave it” choice by Government.

NOT ONE MINISTER OR LORD HAS SERVED HIS FULL TERM IN PRISON FOR FRAUD!! NOT EVEN LORD FRAUD.. SORRY.. LORD FREUD HIMSELF – A KEEN ADVOCATE OF ALL THE “REFORMS!”

In fact, it is LORD FREUD – after he was released only weeks into a lengthy Prison sentence, who has been a vocal and loyal supporter of the Coalition.

Not that there is any corruption associated with Lord Freud. Nor any doubt about his probity. Nor any concern about his conflict of interests, due to his early release from wandsworth!?

Is’nt there?

Nota Bene

I am not a member of the Labour Party and never have been, but that fact has recently given me a perspective about the internal ‘reformation’ under the aegis of the present Labour ‘Leader – Ed Milliband MP.  I have to confess that I find Ed Milliband unappealing as a prospective Prime Minister. He seems to have a largely ‘cardboard:  cut-around-the-dotted-line’ kind of personality which translates badly into any potential Ministerial post. I am not impressed by him or his brother – David Milliband: a former Minister in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet.

I guess I just don’t care for the need for ‘personality’ driven Politics. I really do not like the ‘Big Brother’ or ‘X Factor’ kind of Policy making decisions that are made in the Labour Party either, and the lack of serious, adult, grown-up debate (even in the face of disagreement within the rank and file) makes me think that the Labour Party is simply becoming a ‘club’ for a different kind of ‘Politics.’ With the distinct (and some might say utterly dismaying) lurch to the Right and Centre-right of Political Ideology, I might propose that the true and foundational principles of “grassroots Socialism” within the Labour Party, are already long dead.

The retreat from Socialism.

Instead, there is a deepening and entrenched conceit about the concept of the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown “New Labour” movement. A conceit that is as erroneous as it is absurd! Little by little, the likes and dislikes of the upper echelon of  the Labour Party hierarchy have picked apart the fabric of what was Left-Wing Ideology and Socialist Values, replacing it with a much ‘watered-down’  set of values and ideas. Gone are the forthright Political Advocates of the Socialist Manifestos. For now , in their place, newly installed like some rogue software which obliterates every reference, however tacet, to “Socialism” the ‘grey-men and women’ have appeared to drag the Party into the largely unoffensive, bland, mild and all-pleasing ‘centre’ of political thought.  Every aspect of the Socialist identity of the Labour Party has been air-brushed out of existence. The ‘failure’ of Communism was equated with the failure of Socialism – yet this is a redundant notion, because not one of the Communist States had ‘Socialism’ at its heart. All of the Communist States were, ‘totalitarian.’ They were intended to become Socialist before they became Totalitarian under the likes of eg. Stalin, Chairman Mau  and the thousand other despots that followed. The true Socialist identity, explored in Marx’s – Das Kapital never saw the light of day. Even the famed ‘Little Red Book’ which formed the framework and architecture of Chinese Communism only ever used Socialism as a ‘mantra’ with which to pursuade their ‘Comrades’ that they had the Country’s interests at heart. They too fell under the shadow of  totalitarianism. The Socialist dream was lost long ago, driven out of existence by regime after regime. Further ‘demonized’ by America and Britain: Socialism has always and inevitably equated with Communism – even though the likes of Marx, Trotsky and Engels never envisaged the form their Ideological Manifesto would take in quite that way.

All the way through the McCarthy “witchhunts” where Americans from all walks of life were accused and denounced as ‘Communists’ – there was a firm, unyeilding and insolent belief that anyone who agreed with the ideas of Socialism had to be a Communist. The American Senate Committee on Communist Activities had no time for the niceties of discernment or ideological discrimination. The McCarthy period resulted in hundreds of thousands of Americans being ‘blacklisted’ for Jobs, Loans and Mortgages.  Prominent Public Denouncements (where neighbours, friends and work colleagues were “encouraged” by Government Organizations like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I) to give evidence against anyone they believed to be Communist or who had Communist sympathies. This became more wretched as wholly innocent people were accused before a Grand Jury: – unable to defend themselves from the prurience of the questions repeatedly asked and disallowed from being able to use any kind of Public Defenders: ) The accused included Hollywood Stars, Playwrights, Artists, Authors, Intellectuals, Scientists and even Military Staff. The phrase “Reds under the bed” became coined after several high profile trials for Treason were prosecuted. The American Government saw communist spies everywhere.

There has been a similar attitude in Britain. The fear of covert or secret communist organizations springing up under the guise of Socialist Union movements bordered on paranoid delusion. The members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament were regarded as Communist sympathizers, because they were against the siting of American Nuclear Missile Bases in Britain. The campsite at Greenham Common USAF base, populated mainly by women and students was regularly watched and patrolled by MI5, American Intelligence and other Departments of the Police. However. It was during the Thatcher Government’s first term of Office that several self-styled ‘Socialist’ Parties and various branches of Labour Unions were infiltrated by members of MI5 and Special Branch – Undercover Division. At the height of the Miner’s Strikes, these infiltrators became ‘Agents Provocateurs’ stirring up strife within the rank and file of Miner’s Unions while simultaneously using ‘divide and rule’ – separating out those Miner’s who wanted to go back to work, from those who wished to perpetuate the strike. Even though the number of miner’s who wanted to break the strike was very small, the Government and National Coal Board used all their power to protect the returning Miners. Thatcher had used the Police as her Political Army and had also brought MI5 into disrepute by using its services against the Country’s Citizens. By the end of the strike, Thatcher had passed surveillance orders on all of the Union Leaders and most of the Members of the Opposition  including Ex-Prime Minister Michael Foot MP

How we ended up with so many people on ‘Permanent’ Welfare (1988 – 2009)

It is important to understand too that, for several decades after the Miner’s Strike – and indeed the other strikes which took place throughout the United Kingdom – that an unknown number of Union Officials and their famiies were ‘blacklisted’ from any kind of employment. There are many families now who have lead a life of penury and impoverishment because of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet and their involvement and collusion with the  infamous Economic League of Great Britain: whose actions, prevented ordinary people from ever working.The anonymous faces behind this systemmatic illegality are generally believed to have disseminated their intentional disempowerments through the structure  and membership of the Masonic Order. The Economic League of Great Britain protests that it ‘disbanded’ in 2009 and never blacklisted anyone (to their knowledge).. That still means that some people were somehow prevented from working (and therefore spent their entire lives on Benefits) Existing on State hand-outs for over twenty years.

It is well to note that not one former Minister from either Margaret Thatcher or John Major’s Government was ever accused or prosecuted for ‘blacklisting’ former Trades Union Members or the members of their Families. The ‘blacklists’ have either been destroyed or are kept under lock and key at Conservative  Central Offices  in London. Even the BBC was involved in the act of ‘blacklisting’ certain individuals and their families: though there is little evidence to support the accusation now.

The Break up of the U.S.S.R

On the 9th November 1989 the Berlin wall came down. Russian Communism was at an end.  The break-up of the Soviet States and their fight for Independence from Russian control gathered momentum and soon resulted in the declaration of The Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia formally breaking away from the  [now  ‘former’] U.S.S.R

The Whitehouse soon announced that it was the “end of Socialism as a failed Political Ideology.’ The response from the UK echoed much the Americans said. The dawning of this new age sent the British Labour Party into a search for, or the need to find, it’s “identity” – now that Countries, Governments and Authorities, once branded as being ‘Socialist,’ had come to an undignified and chaotic end. I believe at this point in time, the Labour Party tried to distance itself from the past (especially the break-up of former Soviet unity) and tried to find new political ground to justify its existence..

The Reformation of The Party – New Labour is born..

The formation, or rather – one might argue, the “reformation” of the Labour Party under Tony Blair focused less on the core values or the intrinsically’ Socialist ideology’ of the Party and more on its presentation and public interaction. New Labour dispensed with most of the ‘idealism’  and concentrated more on ‘popularity.’  The 1997 New Labour Manifesto contained few of the core policies which many of the rank and file might have expected, and many of policies were deliberately designed to rid Labour of the “tax and spend” image they had been constantly associated with, throughout the Leadership years of Neil Kinnock (and the late John Smith MP QC.)  Tony Blair benefitted greatly from the length of time it took for Labour to, once more, become a ‘credible’  and more importantly, ‘electable’ Political Party.

It was the Tabloids what Won it!

However, it should not be forgotten that much of the opposition to Labour becoming a Government, (even before the advent of Tony Blair) came from the Press: especially the Newspapers belonging to Rupert Murdoch. Through the editorials (especially the Front Pages, which seemed to be constantly ‘available’ for anti-Labour propaganda) of News International – and especially the Tabloids namely:  The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express and the News of The World, in whose stead the Labour Party came under a continuous and increasingly hostile barrage of abuse and witheringly critical propaganda.  The day after the Conservatives won a second term in office, the front page of  The Sun boasted “It was US what won it!”  The Empire of Rupert Murdoch had shown its power. Labour could find little solace in the fact that they had not ‘lost’ the Election – they had simply been kept from ever being considered for Government through the collusion and vitriolic anti-Labour propaganda of Tory Central Office with News International’s Chief Editors.

Re-branding the Labour Party was, perhaps, the single ‘master-stroke’ – yet even then, the Party was being financed and supported through the donations of Unions: some of whom had vested interests in some of the older policies finding their way into the present manifesto. Much of New Labour was still ‘Old Labour,’ : though the Party was no longer being controlled by the stalwarts. Tax and Spend Policies were outlawed, the Government would not make manifesto promises about policies it could not safely deliver in its first term of office. The New Labour Party stretched out their hands to much more Middle-Income/Middle-Class families: aiming most of their electoral policy directives at what was called the “aspiration generation” and not the usual lower paid, working class/unemployed or those on benefits. In many ways it might have been thought a slap-in-the-face for those in the Labour Party who were Working Class, but the promise of a New Labour Government meant there was always the hope that those who were passed over in the first instance would then gain through further policies and changes to existing manifesto pledges.

The Icy Winds of Disenfranchisement..  How the Unions were ignored.

If there was a desire for such things it was soon extinguished through introduced reforms and enactions which altered the lives of millions of unemployed and disabled/sick. It seemed that Labour would no longer look after the very people who built the Labour Party. Unions and their members also felt the cold chill of realisation that ran through them, blowing in from the now, Arctic Winds of the newly installed Labour Government. It must have beena shock to find that many of the Employment and Health Tribunal Laws they wanted to see reinforced were actually ignored, whereas more emphasis was paid to Part-Time Workers and their rights and entitlements. The Unions were left at the sidelines, struggling to understand the meaning of what was going on, and what it would mean to them. Every tenet of the Socialist Idea was overturned or watered down so thoroughly that it became hardly recognizable.

The Labour Party – New Labour was parting company with its fundamental principles and foundational membership. The Working Classes were deliberately marginalized while New labour set itself up as a ‘Centre-Left’ party, with occasional leanings towards Thatcherite Policies. There was no wholesale re-Nationalization of the Utilities, BT or the Railways. Those who expected any kind of Socialist u-turn were in for dissappointment. As far as Blair and the Cabinet were concerned, they had become effectively ‘divorced’ – not only from Socialist Ideology, but also responsibility for those on Welfare, the Unemployed (beyond the age of 30) and those involved in Manufacture or Heavy Industry. In effect, those people who were born before the Thatcher Yeras were immediately cut-off. They were, in New Labour’s eyes – “irrelevant.” Government efforts were centred upon Youth Unemployment, Working Mothers and Families. It has to be said that many improvements were made in the General Population. The introduction of a ‘Minimum Wage’ did not cause the Commercial ‘armageddon’ that the Tories had given dire warnings about. Child-subsidy was introduced to allow Women who wanted to work, to pay for, Day-Care and Creches. Welfare increases were tied to the Retail Price Index, which meant that benefits did not lag behind any adverse changes in the economy. Although the domestic economy was the main priority for Government, the International stage claimed far more time and, as a consequence, the Country’s economy was always in the shadow of International Affairs. The War in Iraq, the “Dodgy Dossier,” and the untimely death of the Government’s Chemical Weapons Inspector – Dr David Kelly, did more damage to the Prime Minister than anyone in New Labour might have guessed. It was clear during the Inquiry into The War in Iraq, that Tony Blair had become a liability as Prime Minister. Wrangling over when He would finally step down, handing the Premiership to his Deputy Gordon Brown damaged the image of Government and the Party to such an extent that the Country seemed unwilling to allow Gordon Brown to simply ‘take over’ the role of Prime Minister.

The Economy Collapses

In 2008 the United States, the European Union and Britain were plunged into the worst economic crises since the twenties Great Depression or the  Hyperinflation of the nineteen thirties. At first, the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Fanny-Mae was blamed solely on the sub-prime mortgage lenders market, which overnight had gone bust. The backlash was immediate and catastrophic. Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Insurers of London and a substantial clutch of other banks who were all tied into the International Money Markets, suddenly felt the ground move from under their collective and individual feet, they needed an immediate and vast taxpayer bail-out, which virtually emptied the Government’s coffers. Gordon Brown was in the eye of the storm and while his European neighbours suddenly found themselves almost bankrupted overnight – he issued the release of funds to bail out all the Banks thus far affected. The Stock Exchanges went into free fall as billions were wiped from share values. Some European Union countries were so badly affected they found themselves floundering, tied to massive debts and unable to respond to the crises. Iceland, owing (among others) the UK millions of pounds simply shut its doors. Their Lanski Banksi stopped trading immediately and refused to make arrangements to pay their massive debts. Portugal, Ireland (Eire) Greece and Spain found themselves staring into an economic abyss: worse still, their debt was not going to be measured in mere billions of Euros, but in fractions of their Gross Domestic Product. The Euro itself was in peril and fluctuating, but downward depressed markets and the instant devaluation of the Euro were anything but helpful contributing factors. The European Central Bank struggled to take in the enormity of the crises, while Germany and France tried in vain to reassure the markets and global economies. Many of the beneficial and transformative policies and measures Gordon Brown took to lessen the impact of the crises have been long forgotten – drowned out by the political posturing and rhetoric of the [then] opposition Conservative and Liberal Democratic Parties. Yet it is true to say that, had Gordon Brown not acted as quickly and robustly as he did, shoring-up the failing banks, the economic crises in Britain could have become runaway bankruptcy and catastrophic economic damage which would have taken much, much longer to stabilize.

The Entirely Fascist Coalition: Labour moves to the Centre Right…

However. In a short period of time Gordon Brown lost the support of the electorate and an election was called. With no overall majority for any of the main parties a “Coalition” was formed between the Conservatives and Lib-Dems. The Labour party shrank into a leadership contest where both ex-Minister David Milliband (an MP in the Cabinet of Gordon Brown) and his largely unknown brother Ed Milliband, fought for the Labour Party’s supremacy. The selection of Ed Milliband as Labour Leader was a mere sideshow to the increasing pantomime that was the beginning of both ‘Austerity Measures’ (in certain cases, including the imposition of “caretaker Governments” ) and the ‘European Bailouts:’ which, for countries like Greece and Spain would mean the difference between ‘coping’ and National Bankruptcy. Even when the Labour Party had managed to form an ‘Opposition’ – ready to take on the newly formed Coalition Government, they were still deadlocked about which parts of the electorate they would ‘actively’ support. In the following months, and in view of the depth and savagery of the imposed Welfare Cuts (made under the guise of austerity) it was not going to be those at the bottom rung of the social dependency ladder. The Labour Party had sold itself for the promise of electoral tolerance. Ed Milliband soon revealed that He and His Labour Party would not be in the business of “protecting the most vulnerable.” His eyes are firmly on the Middle Classes and He has even made a disgraceful distinction between those He and his Party believe are ‘Deserving’ and ‘Undeserving.’ Choosing to follow the Coalition mantras,  and, in one movement has lurched the whole of the Labour Party into the Centre Right of the Political Spectrum.

As such, we are, today, in the hands of an entirely Fascist Government – Incredibly, being opposed by Fascists and supported through the politics of intolerance and State and Press-led revenge against … who?

Those who are actually responsible for the Economic Collapse?

No.

But Victims all the same….

So..?

Is the Labour Party dead?

Is it the end of the Labour Party?

YES.

And when there is no effective opposition to Draconian Policies and Government.. it can only lead to disaster!