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Archive for the tag “Gordon Brown”

Poverty… Why?

A report out recently shows that the gap between the richest in Britain and the poorest has widened. I can’t say that it surprised me. In the usual and expected politician double speak Gordon Brown said “The report illustrates starkly that despite a levelling-off of inequality in the last decade we still have much further to go.” No Gordon, it didn’t say a ‘levelling off’ it said ‘widened’. We have indeed got further to go, in fact we actually need to make a start.

Those that know me often say that I lay the blame for almost all of the ills in this country at the feet of Margaret Thatcher, including this severe winter. Well, she did waste the windfall of North Sea oil and closed down 300 years supply of coal but that’s another story. What Thatcher did, very cleverly, was to break the strength of the Trade Unions and at the same time make the working population believe that this was a good thing. She then set about selling off most of our publicly owned assets such as our gas (remember ‘Tell Sid?), electricity, water and railways. She knew perfectly well that shares would largely end up with the financial institutions but fooled many into believing that they were ‘part of a share holding democracy’. Above all she put the notion of individualism, get what you can for yourself and the devil take the hindmost into the national psyche.  In 1997 the nation with a collective sigh of relief elected New Labour with most not realising that Tony Blair was but a toned down Thatcher with a smiling face. The result being that the inequality gap has widened still further.

The Labour Party was originally brought into being by the Trade Unions to fight for the rights of it’s members and to bring about a more equal and fair society and forced through enormous benefits, the National Health Service being just one example. The (New) Labour Party of today has morphed into just another wing of the capitalist system that lies at the root of all our ills. The budget of yesterday, despite the crying need to balance the books, made it easier to buy a house and saddle the working population with a life long mortgage around their necks and thus restricting their ability to dissent.  In addition this reliance on house prices ever increasing, played a large part in the recent economic crash and yet the Chancellor encourages more of the same.

So is it ‘Time for Change’ and bring back the Tories? Definitely not, New Labour is still the lessor of the evils but an evil non-the-less and although it’s perhaps worth voting for Lib Dems where they have a chance, real change will only come about when the people accept the hardest thing of all and realise that they have been duped for several generations and rise up with one voice and demand a new way.

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Brown Keeps it Secret

It can only be a week ago that Gordon Brown promised there would be a change in the way that he and  his government operates. More openness, more transparency, more accountability was his cry. Hooray we said, the leopard can change it’s spots or at least that’s what we hoped, whilst mostly unsuccessfully holding back the doubts.

So here we are digesting the long awaited announcement of an inquiry into the lead up to the Iraq invasion. Same old recognisable leopard, the one that creeps about shrouded in the darkness of secrecy. An inquiry committee selected from the Privy Council, that unaccountable bunch of the establishment appointed by the unaccountable Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. Nothing in public, evidence not given under oath, no one forced to give evidence, no one to be blamed for anything, not even hundreds of thousands of deaths and the report not to be released until after the general election.

Yet another secret non event, as I suggest there will be little new to actually be published and the average blogger or political commentator could probably write the report for them now and save them the trouble and expense.

Brown had his chance of some new spots and blew it and whitewash certainly wont cover them up.

Choose Life!

Royal Secrets

Brown had promised us more openness and transparency in the wake of the expenses scandals. What does he do? He caves in to pressure from the Palace and is bringing in a blanket ban on the Freedom of Information Act applying to the unelected Royals stating that secrecy is required to ensure the impartiality of the head of state. What?!!

Statement from the Ministry of Justice:

To ensure the constitutional position and political impartiality of the Monarchy is not undermined, the relevant exemption in the Freedom of Information Act will be made absolute for information relating to communications with the Royal Household that is less than 20 years’ old. After that point – if the relevant Member of the Royal Family is still alive – then the exemption will continue to apply until five years after their death – on an absolute basis for the Sovereign and the Heir to the Throne, and on a qualified basis for other members of the Royal Family.

This is utterly outrageous; if they demand secrecy then they must have something to hide or rather, a lot of ‘somethings’. We are footing the bill so why shouldn’t we have a right to know or at least find out what they are spending our money on? If they are using their undemocratic powers to influence political decisions, or promoting their businesses or using government planes for their private pleasure at our expense we have a right to know.

It is even likely that this FOI ban will become law not by being debated in Parliament but brought into being by powers given to the Prime Minister by the very people who demand this outrage.

If you still have any doubts about whether we should know then how about this from The Guardian in June last year.

“Prince Charles used the royal train to travel from Kemble, near his Gloucestershire home, to Penrith, Cumbria, to visit a pub – part of the “pub is the hub” initiative to revitalise village life – at a cost of £18,916, which may make it the most expensive pub visit ever made. The prince also used the train to get to Edinburgh (£21,460) and during a trip for various engagements in Wales (£43,258).”

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.

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.

Can’t They See?

Gordon Brown, trotting along behind the latest US President, will today make yet another warning to Iran about it’s nuclear programme and threatening even more sanctions if it goes ahead with suspected nuclear weapon manufacture.

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty which means that it agrees not to produce weapons and is subject to inspection and ALSO that the nuclear powers promise not to use nuclear weapons against them AND to progressively reduce their weapon stocks eventually to zero.

Pakistan and India, South Africa too probably, defy this arrangement with no comment from the West. Israel however, never signed the agreement and is reckoned to hold between 75 – 200 nuclear warheads and is therefore exempt from inspection. No sanctions on Israel with any suggestion in the UN being  blocked by the US.

Can’t the West see just how unfair and unjust they are being and make appropriate changes to their policies?

A Man With A Plan

David Cameron gave his speech to the party faithful yesterday and although it was a pretty downbeat message it also sent a shiver down my spine. Aligning himself with Margaret Thatcher he sees himself in her shoes (tight fit?) over social change as she was over economic change.

Rembering as I do, the horrors and destruction that Thatcher wrought among our nation, it strikes almost terror in my heart even thinking what she, in the guise of Cameron, could do to the social fabric of our society. He said that he was ‘a man with a plan, but what plan? Precious little detail emerged apart from the obvious Tory tax cuts for corporations and inheritance tax along with a two year freeze, in some instances, on council taxes, which can only lead to more cuts in services. Stung by Gordon Brown as a ‘novice’ it was indeed as a novice he appeared.

Although I am disillusioned somewhat by Gordon Brown and New Labour, yesterdays speech served to make me realise what the alternative would be and in that light G.B. & N.L. don’t seem so bad.

They take us for fools!

So President Bush pays the UK a visit and what is the immediate result? Puppet no. 2 after Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, is patted on the back for having more troops in Iraq than he said he would at this time. Next G.B. announces that he is sending even more troops to Afghanistan to make it the highest number ever. Then says he will urge Europe to extend sanctions on Iran including on oil and gas. Er, isn’t there a huge shortage of these which is pushing up prices to near crisis level?

Yesterday Bush said the Taliban was smashed and on the run and Afghanistan was becoming a free and democratic nation. Well, Kabul might be just approaching that ideal but in the rest of the country the Taliban are overseeing the biggest harvest of poppies for heroin production ever, this to be imported into the West. The Taliban attacked a prison only a couple of days ago and released around a thousand prisoners, many of them fighters. Doesn’t sound like a defeated force to me and sadly 102 of our young men in the army have been killed, five last week and hundreds more horribly injured and maimed.

Now I wouldn’t like to see Iran with nuclear weapons and the means of delivery, however, if ‘we’ refuse to honour our agreements by reducing and eventually eliminating these terrors, how can we possibly complain when another country, Iran in this case, says you rely on them why shouldn’t we?

Do these leaders really think that we don’t know what is going on? Do they believe that we don’t see through their ‘double speak’? Do they think we are all fools? The answer to all three questions, regrettably, is yes.

Another defeat for liberty

Gordon Brown narrowly got his way when the Commons voted through 42 days under arrest and without charge. Yet another huge slice taken out of the rights and freedom enjoyed by the citizens of this nation since the signing of The Magna Carta. Much as I despise the unelected second chamber (more on that another time) I live in hope that they will expose this Bill for the piece of megalomania that is.

There is more to it though. Labour MP’s were cajoled and persuaded and probably bribed with promises of Government positions to vote this through, against their consciences. What does this say about our elected representitives? No wonder the number of people exercising their right to vote is falling steadily, no wonder politicians are trusted in about the same degree as estate agents. It’s a sad day for Liberty and equally a sad day for Democracy.

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