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Archive for the category “nuclear weapons”

Amazement!

You would think by my time of life it would take a lot to surprise me and it does but I am genuinely shocked how blind to truth many of you are out there.

The government is spending at least £50 Million on WW1 remembrance events not to mention local costs and of course various royals trundled around to make fine speeches prepared for them to deliver in praise of millions of soldiers sailors and airmen who died in those terrible four years. Not one of those men is still alive so why is this enormous energy being spent on publicity, media connivance and money that would be better spent on feeding our hungry who are forced into Food Banks?

So what is going on? Well let’s start with what it’s not, just briefly. If it was about remembering the dead, then we should be reminded of the terrified men ordered over the top knowing the insanity of the orders and that  they would be facing machine gun crossfire resulting in either death or if ‘lucky’ serious injury resulting in being sent back to England. Knowing too that too question the madness or to refuse the order even if suffering from what we now know to be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would mean being shot on the spot by their own officers. We should be reminded also of the incredible bravery of conscientious objectors who through religious or moral reasons refused to fight and were also shot by firing squad or served long terms in prison with the worst of conditions. We should also be reminded that some CO’s died working in coal mines and also in particular, those who joined the Friends Ambulance Brigade (mostly Quakers) who served on the front lines collecting the injured under intense fire very many of whom were themselves killed. It’s not either, about learning the lessons of history because clearly we haven’t, repeating the same mistakes over and over again, in WW2, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Falklands, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya …….

So what is it about? It’s about conditioning your minds, mild brain washing if you like, into nationalism, patriotism and an acceptance of waging war yet again if required. It’s about the royals and senior figures strutting the stage of history, making themselves look good bedecked in medals and rank that they have not earned but been given by their peers. It’s about politicians who have never been in the thick end of war spouting about the bravery of others long since dead about who’s lives they know nothing and care less. It’s about linking the past to the present and glorifying our vast war machine and gaining your acceptance for the massive expenditure that you have to pay for. When they spend £200 Billion on nuclear weapons that they can never use you will hardly murmur, or tens of Billions on aircraft carriers which by their very nature mean they are preparing for wars far away already, you won’t bat an eyelid. When hundreds of our soldiers die in Iraq or elsewhere and thousands lose limbs for the City of London you raise money for artificial limbs but you don’t ask why, you don’t say stop. Two million people marched before the Iraq war to say NO and they fear that next time there may be 10 million, 20 million, marching and demanding an end to war and the capitalist war mongers and arms salesmen will not add to their fortunes if we say no more. Capitalism not just thrives on war it depends on war. Fear of war allows acceptance of expenditure on the military and remembrance keeps that bit of fear in the mind, linking the past to the now.

 

Finally, they will not be remembering or reminding us of the mutinies and the strikes in the military towards the end of the 1914-18 war nor will they point out how many were shot and crushed as the uprising took hold and were put down by the government. So when you see ceremonies, hear some politician praise those poor sods in the mud with the stench of death all about, or see heroic films just ask yourself what is behind it? What thoughts are they trying to put into your mind? 

 

Choices

Let’s face it this country is in a mess! It’s like a ship in a raging storm heading towards rocks and the captain shouts “Hold this course!” His Lieutenant who hopes one day to become captain shouts “Hold this course but slow down a bit.” The little cabin boy can see the rocks but feeling helpless crawls into  his hammock and puts his hands over his eyes and cotton wool in his ears, holding on to a blind trust in the madness of the officers because to do otherwise would require him to DO something.

The UK, along with other Western nations, owes money, a lot of money and so it was rightly decided to reduce this debt and this is where our witless leadership went wrong. They had no one with vision or moral integrity and so they set about taking money from those who had little, those without, they believe, power, attacking the sick, the pensioners, students, the lower paid workers who actually produce the wealth that makes us the 6th richest nation on Earth. They chose not to rein in the bankers and financial directors, they chose not to go after those who avoid paying their proper share of taxation amounting to tens of billions each year because they themselves belong to, or aspire to belong, to that elite band. They chose not to save up to £200billion by cancelling the Trident nuclear weapon system which will never be used and deters no one simply because this would deprive them of a seat at the top table of the United Nations. Instead of strutting they may have to walk like the rest of humankind.

They chose not to invest in a massive social housing programme that is desperately needed for millions of our citizens and would create and safeguard hundreds of thousands of jobs. In it’s wake this would generate spending power for the workers thus creating more employment and in addition, tax revenues. A bi product would also be a likely reduction in ever increasing housing rental costs which (some) greedy landlords are reaping in such places as London where tenants are now to be evicted because of government cuts to housing benefit. Instead they chose borrowing even more to fund rapidly increasing unemployment which is a tried and tested method of keeping wage increases to a minimum. Not such a surprising choice either when many of those currently in power like Chris Grayling, are indeed wealthy property owners.

We too though have choices. Even in this poor democracy of ours we do not have to be like the cabin boy; the power ‘they’ hold is in reality, our power that we lend to them. They stick together but they are only a few, we are millions and if only we can stick together and demand a new way, a new vision, then we can take back our power and steer our ship away from the rocks, into calmer waters of fairness, justice, democracy, co-operation and peace.

But have we the guts?

Trident Replacement

This new government is quite obviously incapable of thinking things through as can be seen by the Child Benefit debacle but they have excelled themselves on Trident.

Liam Fox has just announced that they will be replacing the Trident nuclear missile system at a cost of £20bn. Yes £20bn at a time when we are told there are huge cutbacks in social services to be made. We all know as well that a government estimate for cost usually doubles particularly when it comes to defence spending.

Even the most fevered mind would be hard put to come up with a scenario in which a British Prime Minister would actually give the order to destroy 10’s of millions of people. As for being an independent system everyone knows that it depends entirely on the USA for the missiles and for the guidance system that can be switched off at any time. Even the regular refurbishment of the nuclear warhead carried out at Aldermaston is done by an American owned company.

Apart from France no other mainland European country has these weapons; are they all shaking in their boots because they haven’t got some? I suggest not, they are spending their £20bn plus on better lives for their citizens.

Finally this decision  is nothing more than encouragement to countries, like Iran, to develop their own nuclear capability on the grounds that if Britain says that they are essential for it’s defence then it must also be essential for theirs. There was an acronym for this idea during the cold war; MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. The madness goes on.

A Degree of Commonsense?

Why don’t they ever learn? Politicians I mean and the answer, I suspect, is that they have little or no commonsense and worse still they think that the ordinary voter doesn’t either.

Take the three main contenders for leadership of the Labour Party; all are white, male, in their 40’s, all read Philosophy, politics and economics and all of ’em did it at Oxford. I don’t know precisely but Cameron and Clegg did similar. I would like to suggest that all politicians must have a degree in commonsense but unfortunately I don’t think that commonsense can be taught, it’s something innate but develops through adversity which is something few politicians experience much of. Those that do rarely seem to rise to positions of power and perhaps why this should be so is a future topic.

The latest nonsense from Osborne and Cameron that they will ‘consult’ with the public over where cuts should be made. The public have commonsense to know that they will have no impact at all on what the government has already decided and the same goes for Labour’s ‘Great Debate’. Those in power though do not have the commonsense to see that the public sees straight through them.

Commonsense decrees that if the Soviet Union with hundreds of thousands of troops and little concern for delicacy could not defeat the Taliban then we wont so why do they continue to try at such vast human and financial cost.

Commonsense says that if we are bristling with nuclear missiles we can’t expect other nations not to want some to defend themselves against us. Commonsense says that if we get rid of them we will aid global nuclear disarmament and save ourselves hundreds of billions of Pounds into the bargain.

Commonsense says that if we stop waging war somewhere in the World, as we have done for hundreds of years, we will save more money and have less or no enemies and more friends.

If hospitals ‘under perform’ against some target and get fined for it then they will have less money for patients. Commonsense? I don’t think so.

Governments say that the top earners need huge salaries and massive bonuses as an incentive to work hard but that the rank and file can have a wage freeze or a cut to help the economy. Any commonsense there?

Commonsense said that Cameron is a much stronger character than Clegg and that if they struck a deal then big Dave would eventually walk all over Clegg and the Lib/Dems would suffer in the long run but he still went ahead. (time will tell if I’m right on that one)

I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture. What we need is a degree of commonsense but not a Degree in commonsense.

Manifesto You Wont See (Mine)

DEFENCE: We believe that threatening the annihilation of millions of fellow humans is wrong so we are getting rid of all nuclear weapons. This will make us less of a threat and so reduce our risk of attack. We will also save billions of Pounds.

We will have a review of the past few hundred years to see just why we have rampaged around the globe engaging in acts of aggression and stop doing it. Our military services will have only defensive weapons and therefore we will finally pose no threat to any other nation thereby further reducing our risks to near zero.

HOUSING: No further second homes will be allowed and existing ones will pay treble Council Tax until there are no more homeless or sub standard housing. All private property will become State owned on the demise of the current owners. (This will reduce house prices enormously and make them affordable places to live in and not investments for profit)

ENERGY: Rail, Electricity supply, Gas and Water will be re-nationalised.

WAGES & BENEFITS: All State benefits (except unemployment) will be cancelled and in their place the national minimum wage will be raised to a level fit to live on, along with pensions. There will be no unemployment benefit on leaving education until at least two years of employment have been completed. Benefit will be earnt by community service to prevent drifting into benefit dependency. No one will be allowed to earn more than ten times the minimum wage and bonuses will be outlawed. A fair days pay for a fair days work will be the norm.

TRANSPORT: Cities and urban areas with good public transport will be subject to an extra vehicle tax similar to the London congestion charge. Money raised will offset fuel reductions to those in rural areas where personal transport is essential.

DEMOCRACY: A good idea which will be adopted starting with an elected Head of State rather than an unelected monarchy. The second chamber shall also only have elected members. A fair voting system will be adopted where no vote is a wasted vote.

All connections between religion and the State shall be severed and all tax advantages currently applied to churches, mosques etc will end.

CRIME: All drugs will be de-criminalised and available on prescription thereby cutting up to 70% of crime. This will have the added benefit of slashing the prison population which doesn’t work anyway and saving huge sums of money.

The creation of a more fair and equal society would of itself reduce the incidence of crime. The current method of sentencing is ineffective, there being no point in a fixed time inside, therefore custodial terms will be opened ended. That is to say when it is considered the offender is ready to take his/her proper productive place back in society then they are released with adequate support and not before.

EDUCATION: Management costs will be no more than 1% of the budget and teachers will revert to running the schools and colleges. Choice of school will be abolished and all schools will be of an approved standard in all areas. University fees will be abolished but a small lifetime increase in income tax will enable graduates the satisfaction of repaying society for the privilege.

Private education establishments will be abolished by ever increasing taxation.

HEALTH: Management costs as for education. Medical staff taking more responsibility for running hospitals and clinics etc. A State pharmaceutical research facility will be set up and tight controls put on those in the private sector. Drugs which are highly expensive and merely prolong life by months will not be available.

Private health care will be abolished by progressively rising taxes.

LAND: All land will be nationalised without compensation and a rent paid for all private property upon it.

Now Very Disturbing BBC

I recently wrote about the BBC not reporting the 24hr blockade of Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Research Establishment and today they are not reporting on a blockade of Sizewell nuclear power station in protest at the government’s flawed report approving more nuclear power stations.

This is very disturbing indeed as the BBC is (was?) one of the very few sources of infomation that could be trusted. I and I suspect others, will be demanding an explanation from the BBC and I’ll post any response when received.

If you have any doubts about nuclear power then I urge you to watch this documentary The Battle for Chenobyl. If you think it couldn’t happen here then just remember the radiation leak from Windscale, now called Sellafield, that wafted over Liverpool and Manchester without a warning to the population, or Three Mile Island in the USA.

Update:  I made an official complaint to the BBC and below is their bland response, make of it what you will.

I understand that you were disappointed that we did not cover the anti-nuclear protests at Sizewell and Aldermaston on our news.
The choice and placement of news items is always a very tricky decision for news editors as with such a wide and varied audience it is difficult to select items that will be of interest to all listeners. We appreciate that viewers want as many items as possible, but there are occasions where a particular story may require a greater share of the running time.
I can assure you that there is no collusion, Sizewell experiences regular anti-nuclear power protests, as do most of the nuclear power stations across Britain. However, there was coverage of the blockade at Aldermaston:
I do appreciate your feelings and I can assure you that your comments have been fully registered on our audience log. As you are aware, this is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme executives within the BBC.
It’s very helpful to us to hear the opinions of our audience, whether positive or negative and I’m glad you’ve been in touch with your opinion.

AWRE Aldermaston – Heard of it?

Today CND along with other Peace groups and including two Nobel Peace Prize Winners,  are today blockading the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) at Aldermaston. So far I have not heard one word about this remarkable event on BBC news and there is nothing at all on the BBC web site. I find this more than just curious and I have a great deal of trouble in suppressing the thought that the BBC, as an undoubted part of the establishment, is keeping this news very, very low key.

Billions of Pounds are scheduled to be spent on ‘upgrading’ this place which for decades has seen out taxes spent on unusable,  Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD’s) and we’ve heard that acronym before haven’t we? In these times of near economic collapse the time is even more right to recognise that these weapons have no place in the modern World and their only purpose is to prop up the ego’s of those in power.

Nuclear Progress?

President Obama of the USA and President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia have signed an agreement to reduce their respective stock of nuclear weapons. This is of course to be welcomed and it’s a START (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) However, let’s not get too carried away. Currently they have well over 2000 nuclear bombs each and they have now agreed to reduce the numbers to over 1500 each; progress, yes but still sufficient to destroy the entire globe.

The time must be right for the UK to contribute by not replacing Trident which has never been ‘independant’ anyway while at the same time saving us a massive £70 billion that we can certainly do with in the present economic climate.

No to Trident


Your Choice

The NHS is facing a serious shortfall in funding from 2011 onwards. This is due to our quite rightly, rising expectations and the cost of new innovative drugs. The estimated shortfall is £8bn – £10bn for the three years from 2011.

It’s not a party political matter, although doubtless it will become so but a simple matter of finance which will have to be addressed by who ever is in power. It is down to us, all of us, to make a choice and to insist on our wishes to be carried out. If like me, you believe the tens of billions of pounds about to be spent on huge, fancy aircraft carriers and on Trident nuclear missiles, which will de facto, be under the control of the US could be far better spent on our NHS then say so. Make the demand so insistent, so powerful, that no Party can deny you.

It’s our choice; better health for us all or weapons that in all probablility will never be used and if they were, would in all probablilty bring about the end of civilisation as we know it. It’s your choice, you can sit back and do nothing, or you can write your first letter to your MP or to the local paper, just do something.

What Now for New Labour?

It’s anyone’s guess at the moment whether Gordon Brown will be able to survive the current political crisis although I suspect that he may hang on until the bitter end next year and the end will indeed be bitter.

When New Labour with Tony Blair were elected in 1997 the electorate would have given power to anyone rather than the Tory’s and at that point a golden opportunity was lost. With a huge majority Blair, with Brown as Chancellor, could have transformed the UK into a far better nation. Together they wasted the first two years by sticking with the economic plans put in place by the previous administration and then proceeded to expand the ‘free market economy’ and embraced and encouraged the money grubbing, me first culture of  profit before people. They increased the gap between the rich and the poor by deviously cutting the taxes of the wealthy and increasing the taxes on the less well off. They believed their own spin that the City of London could go on creating money from thin air and that house prices would increase exponentially for ever. They took us into an illegal war costing billions of Pounds and tens of thousands of lives and into another futile and expensive escapade in Afghanistan from which we have yet to be extradited. They have progressively introduced draconian state control of our citizens by way of surveillance, police powers and data linkage. Yes, they have done some good things and improvements to the NHS and Education spring to mind but even they are tarnished by the Public/Private Finance Initiative which will result in a huge outpouring of money into the private sector over many, many, years.

So what now for Gordon Brown and New Labour? The next election is lost so with nothing to lose why not make some real change in the time that is left. The MP’s expenses must of course be sorted out and pushing through some form of PR in time for the General Election would be mostly popular and have the advantage of limiting Labour’s losses. Abandon the ridiculous and unpopular ID Card Scheme along with Trident replacement and huge aircraft carriers, thus saving tens of billions of pounds. Recognise that killing Afghan tribesmen and devastating villages is an unwinnable war and in any case will do nothing to protect us from terrorist attacks here and in fact will make such attacks more likely. Some of the cash saved could be used to increase pensions towards the poverty line (£165) per week as pensioners are more likely to spend it and so help in the recovery of  industry and employment.

All of this could be done prior to the General Election and may go some way to ensuring a wiser Labour re-election in maybe five years rather than our nation suffering once again under a Tory government for ten or fifteen or more years.

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