Wednesday, 30 September 2015

New Labour?

So Corbyn did it. He's now the leader of our esteemed opposition - at least until the Blairite element shaft him, or the newspapers make his continued leadership untenable and the knives come out anyway. Or perhaps he will make it through 5 years of hell to win the next election, at which point he will be in his early seventies. At that point he is likely going to face another Tory leader as Cameron will, most likely afterwards, make way for Osborne - unless that wiff waff peddling pretend-buffoon and class hater Boris pushes through. Then we could see a world where Boris the posh boy is President Trump's poodle. This of course assumes the Americans are stupid enough to elect that racist misogynist cunt their overlord.

And yet the rhetoric continues: the message of Labour's inherent financial incompetence abounds still, after five years of Tory mismanagement and austerity. Never mind the foodbanks, the dismal failure to restart the economy, to manage the housing benefit bill, to address unemployment (particularly in the young), to 'help' the disabled; people are still being convinced that Tony Gordon Blair Brown tanked the economy. This message was not challenged by Labour, and I'm not even sure John McDonnell is up to the job. Despite losing his job 'sir' (how the fuck did that happen) Vincent Cable is in the media, whining mostly, like an old stink that refuses to leave. Mainly haunting the Guardian like the spectre of a friendly deceased uncle that the family desperately wants to believe in. We'll ignore that he was at the heart of the coalition and, in particular, instrumental in the sale of the Post Office.

But are the cracks starting to show? John McDonnell's strained performance on Question Time the other week - the first time I have ever seen him appear - was heartbreaking as he was forced to apologise for misrepresented comments made over a decade ago. The selective prejudice of a troll in the audience wanting only to score points, ignoring the discussion entirely to focus on his own assumption that John is the sort that would think IRA violence acceptable. This fool clearly happy to entertain the notion that left wing thinkers and politicians would themselves entertain such notions. And so John was excoriated by the establishment; ritually scarred in order to be made ready for the public's approval. As a result he has now watered down Labour's pledge to restore the top rate of tax to 50%, not 60. It was even higher under the milk snatcher.

Meanwhile this morning Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell refused to argue in favour of restoring schools to local education authority, offering only a milk-thin sop to bring them under some kind of local 'oversight'. It is clear that the pressure from the right wing element in our society, via the media, has had an effect; the question is what will the cumulative effect of this mean come the next election and can Jeremy survive it? If he stepped down, would that mean John McDonnell takes over, or would that give the Blairites the chance to try and reassert power. There can't be that much gas left in that tank, Liz Kendall, their representative, couldn't even muster 5%!

I really hope that Labour can hold it together. They h ave a chance to penetrate the media barrage and get a socialist message across. If they aren't going to push that message or aren't able to then what is the point. Then who do we have? The Class War idiots who think having a snap crackle and pop at a couple of easy target hipsters running a novelty cafe?

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Corbyn, what is best in life...

"Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of the Tories."

Jeremy Corbyn, on the face of it, seems on course to inherit the poison chalice that is leadership of the modern labour party. I think one of two things will happen: his bid will be chewed up by the accounting process and he will fail, or he will win and find himself leading a party of traitors.

The evidence for the former is the disgraceful way the party has handled 'entryists', those people seeking to join solely to support Corbyn whom the party believes don't support it's 'aims and values'. This is patently absurd since Jeremy is a Labour MP of long standing, to argue that people are joining the party solely to support one of its members is as absurd as it sounds. If they do not believe these people are supporting the party's true values then what does that say about Jeremy? I have never seen such political dishonesty from any party - and I include the Tories. What Labour are doing to themselves is akin to punching themselves in the nuts with an iron fist, repeatedly and loudly.

The evidence for the second point comes from the comments - the shrill hysterical warnings of oblivion - portended by Labour grandees including the warmonger Tony Blair and the insidious Peter Mandelson. These spectres seem fit to continue to haunt the party, but that's what happens when you bury your dead in a troubled grave. We must either throw some sticky rice at these scumbags, or tell them they are no longer welcome. Neither will happen of course, Labour are on a direct line at unstoppable speed toward utter annihilation, and they seem hell bent on liking it. I don't think Jeremy has a chance.

So where does that leave us? It is possible that the violent dissolution of #JezWeCan will demand some release; the energy will need to go somewhere and that could well be the streets. If so I dare say I would welcome that. I'm not in favour of violence or vandalism, and I'm not condoning it (for the benefit of our friends in GCHQ...beep beep), however Labour would only have itself to blame. Should they end up picking Burnham, as I fear likely, they will fart themselves toward 2020 will all the grace of a deflated balloon spurting out it's remaining oxygen. Labour will exhale all that once made it good and die in a fit of inoffensive stupidity. They claim that Corbyn will make them unelectable despite doing the very thing they could not: attracting grassroots supporters: the very lifeblood of any party.

It beggars belief that a party would reject that in favour of an ideology that, on all evidence, cannot and does not work. They offer nothing more than a slightly lighter shade of debt and death. Austerity is a beggars bargain; if only we could peel back the "two for the price of one" sticker that has been placed over our society and see the truth. Fortunately some of us can.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Will Get Fooled Again?

More ridiculousness; this time from the human slime that is Matthew Hancock. This creature is already known to me thanks to his regular appearances as a Tory pundit on the BBC, talking bollocks. He tried to argue against Paul Krugman on the issue of austerity economics, but the former has a nobel prize in the field and Hancock has nothing but contempt; "you're wrong" he claims, on the basis that, being a Tory, he isn't.Yesterday he came out with the latest iteration of the government's viciously circular war on welfare. Another "intensive" work scheme, this time primarily aimed at the young - because after all they broke the economy didn't they!

If nothing else this is actually a tacit admission that everything the Tories have tried, all born of their hateful ideology, since 2010 has failed. Wasn't the work programme meant to be intensive? Wasn't the post WP service meant to be intensive? Wasn't every aspect of signing on meant to be intensive? Wasn't workfare meant to be intensive? Isn't the claimant commitment and it's 35 hour/week jobsearch (I defy anyone to use their website for 35 hours without going mad) meant to be intensive?

This would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic and so damaging. There won't be any intensive support; claimants will just be sanctioned at the drop of a hat as they are now. Where are these mentors going to come from; the same private sector cowboys that have run things so far? Whatever happened to Emma Harrison eh (I bet she turns up again)?  Will it be the already beleaguered JC+ staff - including those jobsworths that push sanctions on to claimants without a care?

This is just intended to play to the gallery: look it's the Tories being tough on scroungers. Except they've already tried being tough. They've already tried asserting there's a culture of dependency to crack...but the evidence doesn't support the existence of such a culture. Even if there was such, threatening people with and putting people through a regime of sanctions achieves nothing. It won't create jobs.

There will  never be full employment. There will always be more out of work, especially among the young, than in work. All this does is punish people for living in the world the Tories have created.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Won't Get Fooled Again?

Although the ascendancy of Jeremy Corbyn would no doubt be a positive for our archaic and corrupt political system, it seems Labour are beyond hope. Why do they continue to allow their politics to be dictated by the right. The centre ground has shifted so far to the right that we have the sad spectacle of the other leadership candidates arguing against Jeremy because we mustn't upset business.

Here they all, including, sadly, Corbyn, on LBC engaged in a leadership debate. The problem with this is that, again, they are letting the tail wag the dog. Iain Dale, the host, is another tedious right wing attack dog; people like him don't give a toss about the rights of workers and exist only to reinforce that same central position of business, quite literally as usual. He even asks Jeremy why he thinks he's qualified to be PM, asserting that Jez hasn't run a business or a bank or a corporation (a bit like Cameron, Howard, Hague and especially Iain Duncan Sauron). In fact there is a banker in government, Lord Fraud. He wasn't elected, he has no idea of life on benefits and yet is integral to teh creation of hideous policies such as the Bedroom Tax, and the notion that disabled people should be patronised by employers instead of treated well.

By participating in this farce Labour not only allows itself to look like a group of squabbling kids, which is no doubt what Dale and the right wing want from this, but allows the right, through Dale, to dictate the terms of the discussion. As he's the host of the show he has complete control - which is the sad nature of living in a media dominated society - he has the power of the button and can thus control what's said and when. If someone, in this case a prospective labour leader, speaks 'out of turn' he can interrupt and accuse them of being difficult or obtuse. In fact this is what made Jeremy's recent interview with Krishnam Guru Murthy so odious, on C4 news: KGM asked long winded questions that demanded a longer answer than time would allow, by trying to answer Jeremy then runs out of time and looks stupid. Or the question takes so long to ask that only a simple short response can be slotted in; couple this with provocative subject matter (such as perceived support for terrorists) and the interviewee is made to look foolish.

This is what happens when the opposition allows the right to dictate the terms of the debate. This is why I would have counselled against going on LBC. Inevitably, with four labour candidates arguing for the same job, there will be disagreements. This is the very definition of airing your grievances in public. Instead they could have held a private hustings. But their idiotic advisers thought this was a good idea, in a particularly Thick Of It fashion, and so they appear, to a right wing audience (as I imagine Dale has, most radio phone ins seem to) like a bunch of petty schoolkids. This only reinforces the notion that Labour aren't fit to run anything.

What is the logic of a party that claims it opposes austerity appearing on a debate controlled by adherents of austerity?

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Nature of the Bully

What's worse: the nasty bully or the one that pretends he's your friend?

After the election I felt utterly bereft; alienated. These people are not just in control, but in control of an ideology that makes people believe that, despite how little they get, they must never ask for more. These people believe that the nation's riches - it's assets and income - is their personal property; that it is for them to use to dictate how others must live and what others can or can't have. They believe this because their class has historically held that position, originally by brute force. Now that brute force is the one's and zero's of financial sorcery.

Knowing that the Tories were not likely to transform from bastards I had hoped Osborne, under the aegis of a Tory majority, overreach himself. That he might deliver a budget of such brutality it would shake the confidence of those who created that, admittedly thin, majority. Of course that's just my naivete; what we got was very much the bully pretending to be your pal. Essentially this was a budget that robbed 'lazy' Peter to pay for 'hardworking' Paul's pay rise in the form of the mirage that is the new living wage.

This is who Osborne is, a scam artist. During the election campaign fought by Cameron who both promised Child Tax Credits would not be touched and refused to define the terms of the welfare cuts the Tories were promising to make. Cuts that, depressingly, did not cost them the election either. Two months later and here we are, having elected a party that treats the truth with as flagrant a disregard as I have ever seen. Promises mean absolutely nothing to them anymore; it is no wonder the times we live in are so insecure where people feel unsure of what's right or wrong. Not only that, but they steal from Labour, making the latter's dismal performance seem all the more stark; Labour promised to increase the NMW to a laughable £8/hour by the next election. Osborne offers a little more, albeit with caveats hidden in plain sight against a backdrop of propaganda.

One of the more irritating aspects of this budget is how it seems to have caused those who should be speaking out, and even those who are, to couch their criticisms in complimentary terms. You hear statements to the effect of  " while it's right/great/lovely that the Chancellor is focusing on growth/building an economy/a thin hateful stick insect" proffered as sweeteners to the criticisms that are necessary to be heard. But all this does is dilute those criticisms and make them seem as the speaker is equivocating - almost conceding their argument before it's made.

One of the nastiest policies is the removal of a third of the income received by those that will follow me into the Work Related Activity Group claiming ESA. What message does this send when you set the rate of payment for such people - who will have been found unfit for work by the government's own already onerous testing process - as the same as those merely (so to speak) unemployed?

On Newsnight, David Gauke, Tory treasury shitehawk, said this was perfectly acceptable because the government was planning additional support to get these people into work. Once more we see the Tory attitude toward disability; if you are in the WRAG you are not fit for work. The only difference is that your condition is believed to be transient and that you will heal, eventually. What help from the likes of the Work Programme is going to accelerate that process? This is simply the Tories saying "you are faking it, pull yourself together, stop feeling sorry for yourself" - and if they can come after people in this grloup then it stands to reason they will eventually hit the Support group. This is a profoundly dismal attitude suggesting there is no escape, not even through ill health, from the lot of the modern day serf. it is your duty to toil in the modern day information sweat shops and money making salt mines, to make the ruling elite more powerful, more sure of themselves, and of course richer; even if you are not well. That your worth in life is diminished if you dare to feel sick. Don't forget people in the WRAG will have already gone through and passed the government's own strenuous and incompetent Work Capability Assessment. So as far as the government should be concerned, by their own terms, you cannot work. But now that still means you are to be treated as a mere jobseeker. This is utterly wrong.

Other people have calculated the price effect of the cuts in tax credits to people with families or on low incomes, suffice to say that in closing I will leave this here, as evidence that we are living under the stewardship of the most mendacious government I have ever known. Truth is merely a commodity to leverage for these filth where they can and will lie to get power and then do anything, throw anyone under the bus, having done so - all just to shore up the vote that gave them power. Bribe those 'shy Tories' that voted for them to make them feel as though they made the right choice, and use the poor - those that are never going to vote Tory - to pay for it. We already live in insecure times, where truth is subject to popular opinion and facts are ignored to suit agendas; this only makes it worse.

Monday, 29 June 2015


This morning, on my way to the butchers, I took the long way as it's a nice day. 

Don't really enjoy feeling ill though. It's hard to accurately describe the weird hypoglcyemic/metabolic problem that I have, but I know when it happens, and it did then, as bad as any other. I suspect that whatever mental health issues I have, as yet still undiagnosed, they play a part in creating some unholy bizarre synergy.

Consequently it's like experiencing a kind of sensory pressure. Stimulus becomes intense, noise merges into one monotonous experience that threatens to overwhelm while the already bright summer sun threatens to take me out of my skull. All the while I'm walking and my legs, which occasionally are feeling a little wobbly, feel like they are walking a treadmill; as if I'm being walked, not that I'm walking. In a weird way I feel that, if I stop, I'll collapse.

My thinking goes into overdrive and I'm drawn inward, my heart quickens as does my breathing in a stress response type scenario. So introspective do I become that I experience a form of tunnel vision. Occasionally I lose myself in this not particularly pleasant experience before catching awareness of the fact where my head feels like it is about to turn upside down. It's an unsettling sensation; a feeling of complete discombobulation where you catch yourself 'phasing out'. I have had this labelled 'de realisation', but, as with all these issues, I am no expert and no expert seems keen to lend a diagnosis or explanation.

I make it to the shop, which, fortunately, is empty, and I get what I need. I wanted to go to the Post Office, but the queue was such I would have struggled considerably (we will never know). I manage to assuage some of the feelings with a scotch egg. It's not ideal and these experiences are not marked by traditional hunger pangs, but with a rising sense of physical urgency as described that culminate in a need to eat. Were I to deny myself food I dread to think what would happen and consequently I have never sought to put that to the test. I don't think such speculation helpful, in fact I do not care to see people play games with their health. There really are people for home starvation is an issue; this is not a subject for navel gazing or masochism. 

It takes a good hour or so, and a sandwich as well, for my body to calm down. After which I feel pleasantly tired. This is how it always works. I do not know what causes this or why. It is simply how my body functions (or doesn't). I do not post this to compete for the sympathy of those kind enough to give me the time of day. I don't do it to compare myself to others who may have greater needs and problems. In fact I post precisely to make that point; we are all different and what effects each of us might not bother the rest. Life isn't uniform and the biology of the human body is fragile.

But the main reason I post this is because it struck me that my experience, intense as it was for me, is mine alone. I cannot persuade the Tories and the DWP and the Duncan Smiths of the world of my experience. They would not even address that experience as presented; their prejudices and assumptions would prevent them from taking me at my word.

It is a curious and unsettling fact to know that I live in a society where, as intense and uncomfortable my experience was, to others it is nothing, because that society is conditioned not to take me at my word.


In other, and sadder news, the passing of a legend. The masterful and creative and intelligent god of thunder, Chris Squire, bassist and singer for Yes, has passed away. Gone but never forgotten. A true inspiration.


Monday, 22 June 2015

After the March

I'll be honest it all seems pretty hopeless.

A government comprising some of the most ideologically challenged market obsessed and incoherent lunatics I've ever known has gotten elected. They claim they have a mandate to kick us all in the teeth because we've asked them to - despite a quarter of the electorate actually voting for them. 

How is that right? 

We have an minister for equality who believes marriage should be allowed to people on the basis of their sexuality.

We have a minister for disability issues who not only votes against the interests of those he represents, but recently applauded a court decision not to allow compensation to those his government had treated unlawfully. Denied PIP for a year these people were driven to utter desperation, including food banks and loan sharks, and yet will these 'fine upstanding people' put their hands up and apologise? Will they put their hands in their pockets and offer due recompense? Will they fuck!

We have an employment minister who believes in the death penalty and supports the most virulent behaviour of the free market; who distributes awards to businesses that pay less than the minimum wage under the guise of workfare and apprenticeships. A woman who cannot string a coherent sentence together and sounds, quite literally, like a child. Frankly, it's embarrassing. More embarrassing than listening to young William Hague speaking at the Tory conference back in the day.

But people just tolerate all this.

Despite 250,000 people marching on Saturday nothing has changed. And nothing will until those people, and the rest, do what is necessary to bring society to a stand still. The government aren't going to give a damn about the People's Assembly and it's talking heads. They haven't for the last four years, what makes those marching - with the best of intentions - think they will this time?

People talk about how good natured the march was and how friendly it was. That;s great; I want inclusiveness, I want camaraderie and mutual support. That's how society should function. But it's not going to stop the Tories. They simply don't care. They want a compliant society, and, ironically, a good natured march works in their favour, offering a safe and thus ineffectual release without being a real threat.

That's the tragedy of it. I hate to criticise the People's Assembly. I hate to criticise the march. I feel like a complete heel for doing so, sitting here at my keyboard pouring scorn on people for acting with the best of intention. These are the right kind of people, who care enough to do...something, but I despair that they are being given false hope by a group that's not prepared to do what I fear must be done. A few well organised events here and there will offer nothing but false hope and make those who, like me, want a better society and who believe in a better politics and a better economics, feel they are achieving something when, in the cold light of day, they aren't.

A quarter of a million seems impressive, and in a way it is. I cannot and do not criticise anyone who took part. They did so for the right reasons and with the best of intentions. But they have to know that marching alone isn't enough and will never be. Perhaps this is the start, and if that's the purpose then fair enough. But I do not see anything from the People's Assembly or the TUC that hints at a prolonged campaign of direct and purposeful action. The TUC is likely to roll over as it did before and comply with the government for the slightest of gains. The People's Assembly will hold talking shops where good natured commentators will state the obvious, preaching to a choir of people desperate for change.

All of that is great. But it simply will not achieve anything. A quarter of a million is a drop in the ocean compared to the size of our society. How many people don't care? How many people spent Saturday doing other things and not really caring or taking an interest in the issue of austerity? How many have yet to feel the pinch? Compared to what's coming, if the Tories aren't stopped, we have had it easy thus far! 

Next month Osborne will unveil his 12 billion £ worth of welfare cuts. We all know these were coming and only a fool expects anything but the worst. The march has done nothing to dissuade the Tories from making these cuts. In fact I would argue it only galvanises them to believe, perversely, they are doing the right thing. In their twisted ideology they think they are mandated to deliver this pain; that it's not just what the people need, it's what they want.

There is no time for dialogue anymore. We've heard all the speeches. We all know what's at stake, and if you don't then I have to assume you agree with the infantile ideology of the idle rich. We are divided and we are at war. I have tried engaging with these people, it doesn't work. One tries to be reasonable - that is what mature reasonable people do, isn't it? But it gets you nowhere. Commentary following the march was filled with bitter indignation and ad hominem attacks - from right wing trolls who downplay their outrage by saying marching is a waste of time. They can't have it both ways.

There is no point engaging with these people, we have to treat them, as melodramatic as it sounds, as the enemy. This government, this economic system, this broken media, it all has to be stopped. We cannot survive five years of this. Things have to change. The time for talk is over.