Freethinkeruk’s Weblog

UK Political weblog

Archive for the month “May, 2009”

Jeremy Paxman

I really enjoy Jeremy Paxman particularly on ‘News Night’ and find his cynicism together with his razor sharp mind and hang dog expression absolutely enthralling. His ability to cut through politicians spin or at the least show the spin up for what it is,  is legendary. His fairly recent series on Victorian Art was both informative and entertaining. Whether all that makes him worth around £1million a year is another matter.

_45847587_paxo_bbc Speaking at the Hay Literature Festival he stated that Britons were ‘barbarians’ who spent their leisure time watching tv and rarely, if ever visited an art gallery. He admitted that employment and electronic gadgets posed something of a problem but was depressed that the vast majority of the population never went out to a gallery. He went on to liken travelling art in the Victorian era to modern day pop stars touring the country, with their arrival announced by men walking the high streets carrying sandwich boards.

Sadly I think Jeremy has drifted into the same rarified atmosphere as the politicians that he interviews. I doubt that the men with the sandwich boards went into the gallery after their shift, they were too bloody knackered and so too are most of our current workers. Many of us in fact work longer hours than in the Victorian years and the stresses of debt and job insecurity hardly make for going out at all, except for provisions to keep us working even harder, an attractive proposition. It is surely not surprising that most escape into the fantasy world of television.

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Standing Down

So far a bakers dozen of MP’s have announced that they will stand down at the next general election over expenses claims that at the very least were not within the spirit of the rules.

The MP’s whilst remaining in their posts for the next twelve months will now benefit by up to £200,000 made up by their salary, expenses and a generous severance payment. Not bad for being found out fleecing the taxpayer!

A means must be put in place whereby constituents can hold their representative to account without waiting for a General Election.

Nuclear Hypocrisy

North Korea has exploded two nuclear weapons underground as tests along with firing short range missiles. The UN and major countries around the globe have condemned the Korean leadership for it’s actions.

Way back in 1968 the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty was opened for signatures in which the then nuclear powers, Britain, USA, Soviet Union, China and France agreed never to attack a non nuclear country with nuclear bombs and also to reduce and eventually eliminate their own nuclear weapons.

The original five nations have consistently failed to keep their side of the agreement and have increased their capability and accuracy. They have ‘turned a blind eye’ to perceived friendly countries acquiring their own nuclear weapons such as Israel, Pakistan, India and South Africa. In the face of such hypocrisy how on Earth can they be surprised and outraged when nations such as Iran and North Korea set about building a nuclear arsenal?

Police State Nearly in Place

It had to happen because if they can they will; thousands of cameras linked to computers are very soon to be logging our car registration plates as we drive to our destinations.

Along with records of our telephone calls and emails being kept, the highest number of CCTV cameras on the planet watching our every move, personal information on multiple electronic storage systems, ID cards on the way and a Government that is increasingly bypassing Parliament by using ‘Orders in Council’ and other non democratic powers derived from the Crown, our civil liberties are in grave peril. Add to this millions of DNA samples, of even innocent citizens, are kept, so far, even in defiance of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 8 – ‘the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence’ – should provide protection in our private sphere, and can extend into our working lives and encompass matters relating to our identity, independence and autonomy. The Government has done little to inform the British public of this Convention which they signed in 1998 and when found to be inconvenient will find ways around it. The Tory’s want to get rid of it altogether.

The old argument that ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about’ is regularly trotted out by those who seek to control but it’s just not true. Freedom that is granted conditionally is not freedom, freedom to keep your phone calls and email letters private, to go where you wish without it been recorded is a fundamental right and surely is simply natural justice. My DNA is a part of me, indeed in a sense, it is me and yes it should be used responsibly if I am suspected of a crime but no part of me should be kept, in case I commit an offence.

Worse still the conditions are almost complete when it is possible for a future malignant government to take total control, refusing to allow the democratic processes continuance and so leaving a return to true freedom all but impossible. Yes, this is a worse case scenario but it has happened in even recent history; Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Saddam Husein’s Iraq spring easily to mind. We must therefore consider it possible that it could happen here and make every effort that we can to reverse the intrusion of the State into our everyday lives before it is too late.

Gurkha Victory but…

Joanna Lumley,  ably assisted by the media, who love a good story have won the right for ex Gurkhas and their families to live in the UK. Although against the wishes of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Parliament voted in favour of the then proposal with the result that the P.M. has today announced agreement.

Undoubtedly this is a democratically arrived at decision and the power of the people has in this instance prevailed which I for one applaud although not agreeing with the decision. However, the UK will now be saddled with an estimated up to £5bn in the costs of the expected additional immigrants and further expenditure as the years roll by. So, what to do? My advice to Gordon Brown, although I very much doubt he will take it, is to disband the Gurkha Regiment as soon as practically possible. This will prevent rolling immigration, save a whole heap of money and should there be a shortage of troops then we can get our noses out of someone else’s country and save some lives as well.

BNP By Royal Invitation

Our Head of State, Elizabeth (the last?), has kindly sent out an invitation to Nick Griffin and his deputy to a garden party at Buck House.

For once I am almost struck speechless. What kind of a signal does this send out to voters with the local and European elections coming up in just a few weeks? The Royal stamp of approval to a bunch of fascist Nazi supporters gives the lie to the oft stated opinion of Royal supporters that we need the Monarchy because of their accumulated wisdom.

Thinking of Voting BNP?

The BNP under it’s leader Nick Griffin try to hide their anti semitism but underneath they are just the same bunch of ignorant thugs as their previous party name the National Front. So if understandably, you are disillusioned by the main parties and thinking of lending your vote to the BNP perhaps the following will help you to think again.

Public Anger

The public are rightly outraged and angry over the subject of MP’s expenses and perhaps we could do with some more anger.

If only the public would show more anger then perhaps we might get some worthwhile changes. Like anger over our young soldiers dying in a futile invasion of Afghanistan; like wasting billions on nuclear weapons, submarines and aircraft carriers; like billions more on ID cards and intercepting all our ‘phone calls and emails. Like refusing to allow the imposition of Unitary Authorities when the people, on the rare occasions they have even been asked, give a resounding no. Let’s get angry about the unaccountable House of Lords and yes, let’s get angry about that bastion of anti-democracy, the Royal family.

If this current anger over expenses helps to make voters take note of politics and realise that power really does lie with the people but that we have to fight to keep it, every inch of the way, or risk losing it altogether, then it will turn out to have been a good thing.

Queen’s Intervention

A few Members of Parliament have suggested that the Queen should step in and remove the Speaker of the Commons, Michael Martin, from his post over his handling of the expenses scandal.

The Speaker is elected by the whole House and then under our ridiculous and undemocratic system, is appointed by the monarch of the day. Now that is bad enough but should the Queen exercise her power to remove the Speaker then the whole rotten system of unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable power of the monarchy would come into the open and be exposed for what it is. This is why it will not happen but here’s hoping.

Peers Knuckles to Be Rapped

A couple of Peers, Lord Truscott and Lord Taylor have been found guilty of being willing to amend laws in exchange for cash have been recommended for suspension from the House of Lords for up to six months.

Wow! As much as that for taking bribes, bringing the House of Lords into even more disrepute and shame on the Labour Party. What on earth will they do with themselves for six months away from the House? Just have to be content with their business interests and make money I suppose.

At least with the current scandals in the House of Commons when it comes to elections we can, if we choose, vote out those whom we distrust. The Lords are unelected, undemocratic and beyond the reach of the electorate. Tony Blair promised reform of this anachronistic, medieval chamber but did nothing. It is time that we demanded our democratic right to elect all who make decisions on our behalf.

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