Friday, 30 January 2015

Waffen UKIP - ein joke, ein Nigel, ein gestalt?

For some light reading I popped across to read Nigel Farage's rant for the day in the Independent and the UKipper loyalty posts which routinely adorn said rant.

One UKipper, let's call him 'Mr Tin Foil Hat', claimed Ed Miliband is a 'communist' and that was why he was giving into the Scots and the EU immigrants. Clearly Mr Tin Foil Hat does not have much understanding that Blairism, of which Miliband is an ardent follower, is a neocon creed only slightly to the left of the Tories but well right of centre, which is designed to squeeze out the Libdems like a political pustule.

If you look up the definition of 'fascism' a generalisation is; 'fascism' is a political creed of mutual benefit between the oligarchs and the political plutocrats which is reliant on blaming some minority for the public failings of their policies. Basically the Westminster Government runs for the benefit of the oligarchs, austerity is a neocon, fascist doctrine, all which puts UKIP somewhere on the Waffen SS end of the fascist political spectrum; seeking, as it does, racial purity and 'lebensraum' at every turn. In the meantime the poor, sick, disabled and ethnic minorities take the blame for the economic policy failure.

In a double whammy, Mr Tin Foil Hat managed to seek to blame both the Scots and immigrants for the reality the right wing neocons in Westminster have stolen the tax payers' money  (via QE and other fine wheezes) for their own and the oligarchs benefit for years, money which is then sent off into exile in a suitable Caribbean tax-haven.

Of course the reason England is falling to bits can only be because of the 'scrounging' Scots and all those unemployed immigrants from the EU, leaching on the 'welfare' and has nothing to do with serial neocon UK Governments since 1980 putting all England's economic eggs into the one 'City of London' financial services basket case and is now scraping around at the bottom of the barrel trying to find a couple of remaining public services to flog off for a short term cash benefit and the few remaining manufacturing and exporting golden geese to squeeze dry.

The problem with neocon, fascist capitalism is - it always ends up in tears in economic crashes and / or bloody revolutions, as historical observation clearly demonstrates. As taxpayer money dries up, the funding bubble implodes and the economies come crashing down around the oligarchs ears, leaving the public in the streets, homeless and hungry, a growing public dissent against those who seek to rule and ultimately some form of revolution or contrived war to give the 'people' focus is inevitable.

Clearly a war is a better deal for the oligarchs and plutocratic politicians as it facilitates even more money being drained from the general public, for their own benefit. Unemployment is resolved though either expanding work forces or military recruitment and, as an added bonus, there is even more to be made clearing up the mess and destruction of public infrastructure after 'peace' is returned to what is left of the countries.

Revolutions are rarely much better and are usually short on wealth redistribution, democracy and social equality and more, "The oligarchs and plutocrats are dead - long live the new oligarchs and plutocrats."

This is why I have long been a social democrat and believed to reduce inequality in any population you need both a healthy, balanced, capitalist based economy with fair wages and as full employment as is ever possible, combined with properly funded public services like health, welfare and education. As soon as anyone seeks to skew the fiscal base in favour of either side of the balance you can only end up with the inevitable economic collapse which benefits neither side and keeps us in the crazy economic oscillation of boom and bust that has benighted the UK since 1919.

There is no 'correct answer' but it appears that the Scandinavian model of social democracy is better suited to Scotland and probably most of the rest of the UK outside London and the SE rather than the unremitting and increasingly fascist, right wing style of neocon politic current at the Palace of Westminster.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Hollowcost ...

The problem I have with the current Israeli Government is it seeks to justify its own genocidal behaviour and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians on the back of the 'final solution' undertaken by Nazi Germany and inflicted on international Jewry amongst other racial and ethnic groupings.

Yet there is never an accounting for the role the German Zionist Congress, during the 1930's, played in the 'final solution' in which it fundamentally agreed with the Nazi's concerns for 'racial purity' and entered into a deal with the Nazi's between 1934 and 1941 to support Zionist Jewish immigration to Palestine from Germany which was an integral part of the 'final solution' to the Jewish problem. In 1941 Begin and Issac Stern sought to do a deal with Nazi Germany to keep this exit route open for German Zionists by offering to carry out terrorist raids on Nazi specified, Allied targets in the Middle East. This is the same Mr Begin who was a founding father of Mr Netanyahu's Likud Party. A situation I researched and discussed more fully in November 2014.

Hitler's concept of 'racial purity' was common currency in the 1930's whether in the British Empire or in the USA - as in both racial discrimination was the norm. The Nazi's simply took a common view of the need for 'racial purity' to an horrendous extreme, delivered with Teutonic efficiency against not just Europe's Jews but Slavs, Romanies, mentally and physically handicapped of all races and anyone else they deemed 'untermensch' and in need of ethnic cleansing.

The Ghettoisation and plantation of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or the Golan Heights by the Israeli Government, through forced, illegal settlement and security walls, is little different to the solution delivered in the Warsaw Ghetto or by 'lebenstraum' in Poland and Eastern Europe in 1940 by the Nazis. The excuse given by Netanyahu is just the same - the need for 'racial security' and space to grow. Israel is not a 'Jewish' State, it is a 'Zionist' State in which some Jews are more equal than others and non Jews no longer count for anything.

For all the memorialising of the awful genocide perpetrated by the Nazis we still can not see what is happening in front of our own eyes in not just Israel but across the Middle East in the current 'hollowcost' which is consuming the region. A hollow cost in which US and UK Governments' bloody hands have played a large part in, over the decades propping up corrupt and violent regimes for their own perceived benefit while calling it 'growing democracy'.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Wheels on the Bus ...

I can not be alone in noting how the British Establishment continues to seek to put a lid back on the tin marked 'Palace of Westminster Paedophile Ring' cover up.

Mr Brittan, I can not dignify him with his assumed title, is not yet in the ground and already the wheels are turning as in, "The need to respect the dead person's family", to deflect attention from his role in the initial cover up, in the 1980's when he was Home Secretary. All this before the allegations now surfacing that he was a big player in the Palace of Westminster paedophile ring himself, from people claiming to have been abused by 'Uncle Leon', are addressed. The British Establishment is putting pressure on journalists to 'back off' on this subject but it is a subject for many that the lid can not be made to go back on, so corrupted is the tin lip, so concreted with the dried up leavings of one too many reports into paedophile activity amongst senior members of the British Establishment; the lid simply sits, as on an old paint tin, wobbly and incompetent, never to be forced back on no matter how hard anyone tries, as the stink of decay and lies continue to permeate the noses of ordinary people. This is not the first time justice and the British people have been blinded by the British Establishment, for its own ends, nor will it be the last.

In 1923 the same British Establishment had a problem. Prince Edward's kept woman, from his war time experiences in Paris, and a well known gold digger of the Parisian 'demi-mondaine', courtesan's to you and me, had cold bloodily shot dead her rather wealthy, recently wed Egyptian husband in Selfridge's Hotel. To the police and prosecution it was a clear cut case, a capital crime, the lady was for the noose. It turned out that Prince Edward, during the war time dalliance, had written her a large number of rather explicit letters concerning his sexual preferences which the lady had kept for a 'rainy day'. It became clear that she would be forced to use them, in her defence, if there were any references by the prosecution to her 'activities' prior to her current marriage. 'Activities' a modern QC, who looks at old cases, is certain would have sent the lady concerned to the gallows.

The judge hearing the case stated no information about the lady could be declared to the jury which was referring to her life prior to her marriage to the Egyptian gentleman. At a stroke undermining the prosecution case while the defence counsel was able to play on the gentleman's witnessed physical abuse of his wife, his violent temper tantrums and allege homo-sexual activities between the gentleman and his male secretary. In the meantime the Prince's letters were returned to the palace via an intermediary and the lady acquitted of a crime she would otherwise of hung for, if the jury had been given access to the full facts and circumstances.

We are seeing the same game being played out yet again. Two suppliers of children to Dolphin Square and Elm Street Guest House have recently been jailed, not for their role in procuring children for others to abuse but on their own counts of child abuse. It does not take much thought to assume some sort of deal has been agreed for their continued silence whilst 'justice' has been seen to be done. If John Allen and John Cown then happen to be stabbed to death by some of their fellow inmates, who will weep for them as they are child abusers?

The crux of the matter remains the detailed dossier on the 'Palace of Westminster Ring' handed to Brittan by Geoffrey Dickenson MP disappeared without trace and in 1985, it is now believed, Willie McCrae was killed because he was about to expose the Scottish end of the 'Palace of Westminster Ring', the so called 'Untouchables'. A group which is alleged to have included Maggie's favourite 'Scotchman' and clown prince at the Scottish Office, Nicholas Fairbairn. These two apparently, at the time, unconnected events both happened on Leon Brittan's watch as Home Secretary.

The Jillings Report on the North Wales events remains unpublished, except in a heavily redacted form, the illegal and obnoxious activities of the British Establishment's best 'fixer' Jimmy Saville and his friends in North Yorkshire continue to rise to the surface like so many unwanted turds, leaving Yorkshire's police forces previous blind eye approach to Cyril Smith, Saville and their pals in the local councils rather exposed to ridicule, if not the serious question of just why did they not act and in the light of the recent case in Rotherham, just who are they seeking to protect? As it does not seem to be the public nor vulnerable young people.

In the case of the likes of a Leon Brittan it is important to speak ill of the dead because it is only by doing so we will expose the lies of the living and the continuing base cover up of child abuse at the heart of the British Establishment and State.

It is time the wheels on this particular cover up bus were stopped going round and round.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

The Allegories on the banks of the Clyde

Shuggie sat in his dingy, damp and insanitary single end in Drumchapel holding a mug of peely-wally tea made from a tea bag on its fifth recycle. Grey / black mould covered the windows which had long given up any thermal advantage their double glazing may once have provided. This had once been a three bedroom flat but what with bedroom tax and the rest they had been turned into the single end his Great Granny had often talked about. Sink, cooker and a bed which doubled as the sofa during the day. The bathroom - when it worked - was shared between himself and two families of four packed in to other two single ends in the flat.

Maybe, tonight, he would have some power and he might get a few hours of the 'They bleed you till you drop' charity marathon that is on tonight. Through the single plasterboard partition he could hear the usual bout of sexual violence going on as Ms McGlashan came home drunk and took it out on her 'bidie-in'. First there was the punchin' and then there was the gruntin' and then there was her triumphant, orgasmic cry of 'Ya basta'.

It was now 2050 and the National Unity Government, forced on the country in 2015 by the British Establishment as a result of the hung parliament of that year, had yet to hold any elections. "What was the point?" the establishment said, "It was a 'unity' government after all, supported by 60% of the voters". Yet it was never that and always had been a fudge to keep the UK drifting to an ever greater fascist state for the benefit for the few and not the many.

Shuggie could not bear going down to Glasgow Green anymore.

The smell coming off the Clyde from all the upstream fracking turned his stomach plus what pleasure was there looking at a thick, grey, orange sludge struggling to get over the weir to the sound of plopping jobbies as it fell, a weir which once gurgled in delight and salmon jumped over. It was not just Jesus who could walk on the water of the Clyde at Glasgow Green, anyone with chemical resistant boots could as well. Where the fours and eights of the University used to row was now just another septic tank.

To add to all this glaur and pathos was the statue put up on the Green by the East End Gang's big boss, Louis Rodden, in tribute to Saint Jim of Inverclyde for his beneficence towards them in grants, subsidies and back handers, as they made billions out of St Jim's housing reforms in the East End. Homelessness, said Saint Jim, nae problemo, just make all the flats into single ends. Rodden's gang enforcers, I mean - arms length, Glasgow council bailiffs, will make sure folk pay on time and if they don't they will be out on their arse.

There was a chap at his door, his grandson came in, a lad destined to follow his dad 'Shuggie' and Grandad 'Shuggie' into full time unemployment. They had a blether and then his grandson asked Shuggie, "Tell me again Grandda why did you vote Labour in May 2015? I mean did you want Scotland ruined by fracking, nuclear weapons on your doorstep, a life expectancy lower than the slums of Lagos, abject poverty and humiliation, living in over crowded accommodation, crap schools, nae work for a' body and nane o' us able to afford to see the doctors when we're seek?"

"See young 'Shuggy' it's like this, us Shuggies hae always voted Labour for o'er eighty years, They stand for us little people."

"Don't you mean stand all over us little people, Grandda?

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Blawin' hot an' cauld

Today I've been blawin' hot an' cauld -
I have a dose o' yon 'flu.
Part dozy wi' bursts of clarity
Followed in turns by sleep and restlessness.
Snippets of news percolate through
The misty, fogs and clamframjammery
That is the seiver in tae ma mind
Held in the cotton wool land inside ma heid.

Scots wha' hae Burns, yet dinna burn
Wi sense o'worth quhit wid stap a mill
No matters if power'd by cat's pish.
Whose dews distill tae foul and rancid fat
Whilst singing 'a man's a man fir aa that'.
Lang syne yer love is yet a red, red rose
Turnit blue by evils brought on itself
By rogues wha dinna ding or gie a hoot.

Sic a Holy Wullie dae ye gi' ear
Wha's sel' interest is but themselves
An' aa thon siller they can grasp
I' baith haunds tae fill their gauwpin' maw
O' greed past fou an honest maun can bide
An ca' themsel's saviours o' Scotia
Whilst ca' us on tae vote them home
Aa safe within Westminster's charms.

Whilst in ma gripe amongst carlin's ca's
An buzzin' whine rings in ma ears
I thocht I was gangen skelly when
Thon Murphy gae his lungs a blaw
An cam wi' screeds o' gash an' blethers
As how we' re aa better th 'gether
Yet na in ony way I kent
Forebye yer moral compass' bent.

And now mair keech frae thon same cur
Tae turn yer stomach even mair
Wi tale aa hoo he's kin' delivert
When panic hit thir pair wi' breastie
On vows they'd mak to aa the Scots
Aboot mair power's they gie us soon
Ir niver, iver mair like -
They hae us skelly, as they are.

Sae tae ma fellow Scots I say,
As you cant tae Burns this birthday nicht,
Yer bein' taen as ignorant loons
An' quines wi' nae brains tae share.
Tae aince agin be bocht and sold
Fir yer ain siller an' gold,
Sic a parcel o rogues i' a nation!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The 'Dreaded Blackspot' Report

We be very upset, me hearties, we 're unable to release the findin's of the 'Dreaded Blackspot' Report as we have yet to hear from Long John Silver's legal team on whether he accepts it was all his idea which being what started the whole miserable chain of events, in the first place.

Jim Lad has asked us to redact sections of conversations between him, Ben Gunn and Dr Livesey on the grounds they are of an intimate nature, doin' as they are to do with his personal beliefs an' sexual habits, an' havin' no bearing on the problem caused by the incident in the first place we be reportin' on. Even though Jim Lad's done pretty well out of the whole Blackspot palaver, as most folks here do know, what with all them doubloons in his Swiss Bank account and his well paid job bringing peace to piratical disputes, a nice little earner for no real effort or any result exceptin' he's gotten even richer, I says. Jim Lad is also wantin' it put about its not his fault the report is still in foolscap and nowhere yet near ready to go to press which is a bit much, I says, given he's been whinning all the way through 'Its just not fair' and 'Its not my fault' as he was just goin' along wi' that nice Mr Long John Silver out of fear for his own livelihood an' purse.

I knows there are families of pirates what were killed by Jim Lad and Long John's cunning plan what are waitin' to get compensation. Well, ye've been waitin' the best part of ten years so what's the problem wi' waitin' another ten, I says? Money is just money and it will not bring your men and women folk back, says I.

Afore you go, youse all know the Pirate Conclave elections are in the offin' an since things are just a bit on the tense side over this 'Dreaded Blackspot' Report, you'll all be much happier if'n we don' print the report 'till after the next Blue Moon, so's you don't bein' gettin' confused, angered or be offering violence to your humble representatives to the conclave when you find out just what we got up to, as you be knowin' we always act wi' yer best interests at heart, to which purpose we ever hold our own wallets close.

Afore youse all go back to your hovels, whore houses, inns or cesspits, I am a hopin' that'll you remember, one an' all, to putin' yer mark by my name as your Pirate Conclave representative when the votin' time comes, remeberin' all the great things I have done for you ever since I were first elected to the conclave as your representative.

So put your thumb print or mark for ol' Jim 'Janus' Murphy, the ordinary pirate's pirate - Arrrgh! Me hearties! Shiver me timbers! an' the like - an' things can go on as if nothing bad has ever happened to youse all an' I never, ever, stabbed you in the back, sold youse to slavers or split on youse to the Revenue for personal gain - exceptin' when it was for your own good, o' course, an' I'll shoot down any man jack o' youse what says otherwise.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Beveridge revisited

This is an article I wrote nearly seven years ago - it remains ever more relevant with £30 billion of 'austerity' public service 'cuts' yet to come, if there is a UK 'National Unity' Government post May 2015 of the Tories and Labour Party in the light of these parties trooping through the lobby together, last week, on the need for more public service cuts.
The one good thing about Labour’s ‘Nye Bevan is the one wot done it’ claim over the NHS start up in 1948 was it made me revisit the original 1942 Beveridge Report and review  what the fundamental function of the Welfare System is and that is to act as a back stop, not as a nanny. That is the premise the multiple bills which came from the 1944 White Paper, based on Beveridge’s 1942 Report, all start from.

The 1944 Education Act core aim was to increase the literacy and numeracy of the population and ensure all young people left school numerate and literate. It was not create an educational nirvana where everyone had a degree but where everyone had an opportunity to improve themselves, an opportunity that was killed off as the FE and Technical Colleges turned themselves into 'Universities' and in turn reduced in the availability of courses and apprenticeships that the belated U-turn on apprenticeships, by Labour, has done little to change. SME's are loathed to take on apprentices because of the paperwork and the cost of the pseudo-conformance inspections carried out routinely by folk with no working knowledge of the sector or of the actual compliance regulations they seek to check and are, to many potential apprentices, self defeating in helping them gain the opportunity to learn skills and find work.

The 1942 Beveridge Report, the 1944 White Paper and the original Welfare bills all saw a benefit system as one which: "... was to support the worker and his family. Benefits were to be set at a level that enabled a man, his wife and child to survive." The Beveridge Report 1942

Beveridge states in his report that:

"It is felt that this point cannot be over emphasised; any social security plans for the future must, if they are to succeed at all, be based on a state of society in which there is possibility of work for all, and at an adequate wage." The Beveridge Report 1942

Now the politicians must decide what is meant by 'survival' and an 'adequate wage' but the point and level benefit should be set is one which needs to consider:  

The danger of providing benefits which are both adequate in amount and indefinite in duration, is that men as creatures who adapt themselves to circumstances, may settle down to them. The Beveridge Report 1942

So to afford the Welfare State as outlined by Beveridge and put in place by Government after 1944 onwards the balance had to be sought between ‘survival’ and ‘employment’ with emphasis on employment - something the current minimum wage and tax regime fails to achieve.

Beveridge clearly supported FDR’s idea of Government investment in positive job creation schemes as a way of encouraging full employment:

The place for direct expenditure and organisation by the State is in maintaining the employment of labour and other productive resources of the country ... not in patching an incomplete scheme of insurance.Beveridge Report 1942.

So it can be argued that it is right and proper for Government to fund such schemes as the London Olympics as it creates positive lasting resources that benefit the people, the businesses that create wealth, the infra-structure and it is more cost effective and beneficial than paying out benefit.

Then we turn to New Labour’s record of where and how it spent the surplus and large tax take it inherited on taking power in 1997 and the ultimate result of Brown’s Chancellorship during that period. Where has Government spent taxpayers’ money to reduce unemployment and create infrastructure to the benefit of all?

Building Hospitals through PFI is maybe an example? Hardly as the system of commissioning hospitals by PFI is six times more expensive than traditional means of public funding and has created many hospital buildings that are unfit for purpose or of poor construction, designed merely to remain intact for the duration of the PFI contract so hardly a ‘productive resource’. The same goes for PFI built schools – at least one LA in Scotland (West Lothian) has already found it cheaper and more effective to buy back their schools PFI contract into LA control and North Lanarkshire HA are asking for Scottish Government support to buy out their PFI contracts so they can free up money for front line services rather than close hospitals and services to control their out of control budget.

What we have seen is a Labour Government propping up banks which their greed for Company Tax income allowed to run wild in the first place. Propping up madcap, expansionist, oil for glory wars which have brought little or no benefit to the UK economy (as rebuilding Iraq was divided up amongst Bush’s pals), buying kit for the armed forces that was not and remains unfit for service, jobs for the boys and girls in unaccountable quangos which have few productive benefits for society and feathering their own nests at the public purses’ expense. Hardly what Beveridge or Atlee or Bevan would think of as a Labour social program of benefit to all or as Beveridge put it:

The place for direct expenditure and organisation by the State is in maintaining the employment of labour and other productive resources of the country... Beveridge Report 1942

Many will find Beveridge’s words quaint or of another time and so consider them not applicable to 'now’ but that is just intellectual laziness. Beveridge was born in Victorian times, lived through the First World War and its aftermath of sickness and poverty, the mass unemployment of the early 30’s and had long been involved in creating a fairer society for all, from Lloyd George’s 1911 National Insurance bill onwards. The 1944 White Paper was the result of 40 years of Beveridge’s direct and active involvement in creating a fairer Britain. The Labour Party could do well to consider a little humility, reconsider and act on the fundamental social truths of Beveridge’s 1942 Report all of which are still cogent today:

Unemployment, both through increasing expenditure on benefit and through reducing the income to bear those costs, is the worst form of waste.Beveridge Report 1942         

There, I suggest, is an idea whose time has once again come round.

 (First printed on 'Labour List' in May 2008.)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Power Cuts are inevitable ...

Cameron's maneuvering over the leader's debate reminds me of the 'Pushmepullyou' of Dr Doolittle fame, looking in opposite directions at the same time, going nowhere very quickly. 

In the meantime the 'British Establishment' in all its forms continues to argue for the exclusion of the SNP leadership from any such leadership debate in the run up to this increasingly critical, especially in terms of the British Establishment's need for micro-control of the UK nation, election in May which has all the signs of changing the script in terms of Westminster and the future of the UK Union in its current form.

The UK opinion polls are indicating that both the 'main' parties are struggling along on their core support, a core support which itself looks less than solid. For Cameron the nightmare of UKIP looms ever larger on his horizon. The original warmth with which the idea of UKIP taking seats from Labour in the North of England was embraced has brought with it a chill of reality as the rise of support by Essex man and woman for UKIP begins to shift the balance in previously solid Tory seats in the SE.

Labour has problems where ever it looks, the SNP in Scotland, UKIP in the North of England, Plaid and the Greens in Wales and the South West of England respectively. They have lead themselves up a blind alley of self selecting, Labour member dominated 'focus groups' driving policy and assuming these 'people' are the same as the 'ordinary punter' - a delusional position, as a brief skim of the Labour List web site and its right wing, Blairite meanderings quickly reveals.

YouGov, no matter how hard it tries, can not give either Cameron or Miliband much comfort as the swings in polls are within the statistical error of the process.

The reality is that both the Tories and Labour are flat lining in the UK opinion polls while the Libdems sink ever deeper into the mire, trailing both UKIP and the Greens across England while facing a virtual wipe out in Scotland with a toss up whether they will hold their Northern Isles seat or Charles Kennedy's seat (due to his local 'popular vote').

The situation in the EU with the Euro is not helpful Westminster's Oxbridge club nor are the collapse of oil prices no matter how Osborne and Balls seek to deflect attention else where by having a whine at the SNP over 'independence and Scotland's lucky escape' while carefully avoiding the reality, the oil price collapse is now their problem as North Sea income streams to the UK Government dry up, impacting negatively on the UK trade deficit, Sterling foreign exchange earnings and current UK Government borrowing projections which now have a North Sea sized hole in them.

Last week we saw just how scared of a 'power cut' the British Establishment machine is becoming as the Tories and Labour marched through the lobby together to agree the even further destruction of health, social and welfare provision across the UK  inevitable in the £60 billion worth of cuts this bill has agreed 'need' to happen post May 2015. More and more players on both sides of the Labour / Tory divide are now talking up a UK Government of 'national unity' if the Tory and Labour Parties end up being neutered in May 2015 by having no overall majority and not wish to be at the mercy of either UKIP or the SNP.

This whole idea of a 'national unity' government is rife with problems for both of these parties. For Labour it would see the ending of Trade Union support and a massive hole in Labour's finances. The last, tattered remnants of their claim to stand with the ordinary people of England would be blown away, along with Labour's electoral future across wide tracts of England. The Tories would quickly divide and enter into a messy civil war between the centre right of the party and those further right whose sympathies lie with UKIP on the EU and immigration. With the collapse of the Tory Party's once formidable, independently minded, constituency party system through its undermining over the last decade as a result of ever more micro-control from Tory Head Office, there will not be any means of drawing an increasingly factionalised party back together.

Unless the current UK polling trends change between now and May 2015, I struggle to see how a UK government backed by either the SNP (in Labour's case) or UKIP (in the Tory's case) will not ultimately bring the current UK political system crashing around its head. The Westminster Parliament has already painted itself into a corner where the British Establishment will resent a social democrat SNP tail wagging its 'dog' nor will the same people wish to see the current cosy arrangements between Westminster and the 'City of London' being threatened by a UKIP / Right Wing Tory lead move to exit the EU, cutting off the supply of cheap labour their financial machinations and business models rely on, as it does so.

There is a growing problem for the Westminster system and it comes down to: you can not fool all of the people, all of the time.  The people have had enough of paying a high price to keep the richest 5% in the UK rich. The growth in support not only for the SNP in Scotland but for UKIP and the Greens in England is a statement of intent by the ordinary people - we have had enough and the traditional two party system has failed us, change or be changed. On the joint walk through the Westminster lobby by Labour and the Tories, to vote through more austerity, the point has been reached where we will have to force through change because we will never get the Turkey's to vote for Christmas.

For Scots that starts by voting for as many SNP MPs as is humanly possible to send south to Westminster in May 2015. It is beginning of the 'power cut' required to save our welfare, social and health services in Scotland and much more as well.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Je suis Jim Murphy: Non! Je suis Jim Murphy!

I have not been inspired to write for a week as when it comes to taking the piss out of Jim Murphy and 'Scotch' Labour many others are doing a far better job, to the point it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Today's announcement from the Malcolm Tucker school of political lies and bullshit that Murphy is not a 'Unionist' tipped me over the edge. We are now well into Labour 'Through the Looking Glass' territory here, where words now are bent to mean just what ever Jim Murphy's Troika wish them to mean: 

"Will you, won't you; 
Will you, won't you 
Come and join the dance?"

Murphy's attempts to make himself look different, as 'Scotch' branch manager, to the Labour head office, to which he bends the knee, would be funny if in fact they were not so tragic. Jim can not get away with the reality his party, the one he has held a major role in influencing in its swing to the right as an arch, Blairite right winger, walked through the Westminster lobbies last night voting to support even more of the failed Tory austerity program as it was too scared of what 80,000 swing voters in the Home Counties would think, if they did not. Jim was hoping we would not notice he did not bother to turn up to this whipped Westminster vote but, Jim, we have; your card is marked, yet another example of your cowardice masquerading as expediency.

Here is a man, so wrapped up in his own myths and self delusion, the obverse side to Brown's head on 'Scotch' Labour's chocolate coin of political currency, that he really believes he and his Irn-Bru crates saved the 'Union' and therefore only he can save the people of 'Scotchland' from the stupidity of voting for anyone else but his 'Scotch' Labour branch in May 2015. These are not the actions of a sane individual who would at least accept politics in Scotland is changing, is leaving old style UK politics behind and is quite happy to break the current Westminster Parliamentary hegemony of privilege and self interest on the way. The degree of denial in every announcement from the Murphy camp fires, merely heightens the belief Labour have not just lost the plot in Scotland but are speaking to some other country. Ms Dugdale understands this when she sees no problem with some sort of an agreement between Labour and the SNP in the event of a hung parliament at Westminster. Ed Miliband, the Labour party's actual leader, has signaled the same by refusing to rule a potential agreement out, during his repetitive questioning on the issue by Andrew Marr of the BBC on Sunday. It is Murphy who is clearly isolated on this issue, as on much else.

This different Scotland is a country which is rejecting the abyss of Orwellian '1984' style politics in which the Westminster Parliament increasingly finds itself trapped by its own pursuit of hubris over substance as it spins and weaves deceit after deceit to justify its failure to protect the majority of its electorate against the venality of the minority. This is a Scotland which may have narrowly rejected independence but is looking to the near federal UK Union promised by Brown's 'Vow' where most powers will be repatriated to Holyrood and are to be delivered and quickly. The delays and failure to meet the promises made on the Smith Commission delivery time table are already cutting the fuse of Scottish rejection of the last Westminster party's 'Scotch' fiefdom, ever shorter.

Jim Murphy's image problems with the people of Scotland will not be resolved by his Spartacus style claims because folk in Scotland know just exactly who Jim Murphy is, what he stands for and wholeheartedly distrust and dislike the man. Even his own side know this and have made clear they consider Murphy's appointment as 'Scotch' branch manager as Labour's death knell in Scotland, a political form of Labour specific Ebola from which all but Murphy's inner circle are doing a runner. The drip, drip, drip of Murphy's poison is doing the work for the SNP, in the run up to May, as panic sets in amongst 'Scotch' Labour MPs whose coats are now hanging on increasingly shoogly pegs.

You can not fool all the people, all the time.

(PS: I use the term 'Scotch' as an adjective in the derogatory, diminishing and ignorant way it is used in the corridors of power at Westminster.)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

First Minister's Questions?

I made the mistake, today, of watching Ms Dugdale's nyah, nyah, nyah statements to Ms Sturgeon.

All I learned was apparently Ms Dugdale was still in nappies when the SNP formed their minority government in 2007 and since then the short fall Ms Dugdale suffered in rusk provision, lack of disposable nappies and other health issues were all Ms Sturgeon's fault as were the few patients in Scottish A&E's who waited longer than four hours to be treated and the need for hospitals to cancel planned operations to deal with the increased seasonal work load from excesses of all sorts and ward closures due to Nova-virus outbreaks. As someone who has worked in the NHS, across the UK, since 1985 I was left banging my head in frustration as Ms Dugdale time and time again missed the important issue - there is only so much any dedicated NHS team can do in any 24 hour period.

It is a pity Ms Dugdale had not read this article in the Gruniad before launching her mindless attack over a small beer spillage. A real A&E Registrar, working in a teaching hospital, pointing up just what Labour's  NHS England, competitive internal market policy taken to the next level by Labour's Conservative chums, actually means in terms of A&E workload in NHS England:

"As I’m leaving, I see a man arriving with a blocked urinary catheter. The district nurse is meant to change it, which would solve the problem, but there weren’t any district nurses available this morning. So, like everyone else, his fallback plan is to come to A&E. It’s unfair on him – much better for him that he be treated at home – and it places even more pressure on our department, with too few senior staff, not enough space to see patients, and no beds for people if they need a hospital stay.

The day shift is short of nurses. Maybe that’s because half the senior charge nurses in our department have resigned in the last year or so. They’ve gone to find less stressful work in other specialities – or even other countries.

As well as too few nurses, there are two unfilled consultant shifts and three unfilled junior doctor shifts. Nobody wants to do A&E. I’m starting to see why."

The bottom line in NHS England is A&E are also having to take up the burden of collapsing NHS GP provision and, as are A&E in Scotland, cursed with unrealistic expectations on the NHS in general by the general public, created by idiot politicians like Ms Dugdale whose Labour party first thought up the NHS 24 scam while failing to ensure it was properly resourced or thought through. This point would also be wasted on Ms Dugdale as she was at school at the time, "so wisnae ma faut!"

The problem is simple; there is only a finite amount which any society can afford to use to fund health care. This has always been the NHS Achilles Heel since it first took wing in 1948 there was never going to be enough funding to meet the expectations raised by the Labour Government of the day amongst the UK electorate. The GP based NHS envisaged by Beveridge with its focus on prevention coupled with housing, dietary and educational improvements was killed at birth by Bevin and his sell out to the BMA Consultants Group in 1947 which ensured the NHS funding was and has remained hospital biased.

NHS Scotland has, so far, been feather bedded from the worst of the destruction wrought on its NHS England counterpart by use of shifting the Scottish Budget around, a budget which has reduced in value by around 5%, year on year, since 2007. If you want to understand what Labour would have done if they had retained power in Scotland have a read of the Gruniad article which I have already highlighted.

A handful of operations cancelled and a few non-urgent cases waiting more than four hours in A&E does not a disaster make. There is a discussion needed on what NHS Scotland should be, funded and how care is provided to key patient groups across Scotland but short time, political, whining of the sort coming from Ms Dugdale is no basis for this vital discussion. There are more drastic budget cuts on the way whether the red or blue Tories get their arses into Number 10 - their neo-liberal company sponsors require it of them as does securing their own personal wealth and future big money jobs for the boys and girls. We, the idiot electorate, are going to continue to pay through the nose to protect these leeches way of life and privilege.

Welcome to the Noh play.

A Grey Day .....

Wet and windy and that was just grandson's nappies, let alone the weather outside.

You look out onto a grey world in which colour struggles to make its presence felt. The dog goes into maximum cute mode to avoid a walk and the cats just do that cat thing of curling up and saying 'meh' to the world as they perambulate from food bowl to litter tray to comfy spot on the sofa.

In the meantime members of one of the biggest Abrahamic religious sects decided a simple letter of complaint will not suffice so enter a magazine worth of AK 47 rounds into an editorial suite, to make the point that they were really not amused.

A grey day made even greyer.

Over on our side of the channel, after the platitudes about the religious inspired massacre in France were dispensed, we had grey TV journalists, asking grey politicians, grey questions and getting the usual excuse: its everyone else fault, not me, response. They would have been equally eloquent representing the likes of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg replies with a picture of one of my grandson's more colourful nappies. Sadly, unlike grandson's nappies not one of those three politicians is as straight forward to dispose of, so we were left with the TV pundits trying to polish a dull pewter grey to give some sort of luster to its pitted and worn surface while throwing more royal icing over the turd that is Westminster's failed politics and establishment.

Moving north with the grey front we are left watching the twitching corpses of the Unionist 'Better Together' chums as they happily stab each other in the back for increasingly diminishing returns in Scotland - apparently in the few short weeks since the referendum they are no longer 'Better Together' as Labour now claims NHS Scotland is not safe in Westminster's hands, state pensions are going to be hacked and public sector workers are heading for P45's all courtesy of Westminster's obsession with austerity. What was that about jobs on Clydebank only being safe by being Better Together?  Further delays in placing orders, increasingly likely the RN can not afford the Type 26 frigates - how does that one work Jim Murphy?

Then there is the grey area which appears to be the Better Together mob's policy for Scotland. It is getting some what hilarious when Jim Murphy does not agree with his own Scotch Education spokesman, the equally Iain Gray, on free school meals for primary 1 to 3. His wing person and deputy dog shoots her mouth off saying she would prefer a SNP / Labour coalition after May the 7th to keep the Tories out and senior players in his own London party chop him up into little pieces over his extra nurses at London's expense gaff.

I am afraid Labour's 'Scotch' Branch get increasingly mixed up in my mind with the farce going on at Ibrox where they are back passing the hat round for funds while refusing a second take over bid which would have seen capitalisation and the avoidance of yet another dose of impending administration as they scrape together enough to pay the next couple of wage bills.

It will be interesting to see which of Ranger's or the 'Scotch' Labour Party survive much past the 7th of May 2015 - I wonder what sort of odds you could get? 

Which will fall first; Castle Greyskull or Skeletor ..... a little bit of brightness at the end of an exceedingly grey day.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Do No Harm .....

It appears the book that is lighting up the London movers and shakers over the New Year is 'Do No Harm' written by retired neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. It has taken a grip of the cognoscente because it is even handed in kicking Westminster, NHS, Patient Lobby Group and BMA politicians in equal measure when assessing just what is going wrong with the NHS in England while asking a serious question about all parties insistence on medical or surgical intervention at every turn - based, in Mr Marsh's view, largely in self interest and not patient benefit.

In the 1970's, prior to qualifying, I read a book called 'Surgical Dilemmas' (now out of print) which asked the serious question of when were surgical or medical interventions to be undertaken. The main direction of this book was decisions should only be made after looking at the patient's long term benefit from the proposed intervention. It was the starting point for what is now known as evidenced based medicine and invited all involved to look at the actual impact on patients of any intervention undertaken. It questioned whether it was right to intervene simply because we could. As a trainee oral surgeon the first question raised in my mind was why were so many symptom free 'wisdom teeth' being extracted - often with high levels of associated muscle, joint and bone trauma leading to long term, chronic joint pain. The clinical evidence of unextracted, non symptomatic wisdom teeth leading to future clinical problems was slight and mostly anecdotal. The claim that unextracted wisdom teeth increased the likelihood of a nasty form of oral cancer (ameloblastoma) did not stand any serious scrutiny. Yet the idea that wisdom teeth are nothing but trouble is so entrenched in the dental profession and the UK public's mind that they are still extracted willy-nilly in spite of the clinical evidence more chronic, long term damage is caused to the jaw joint by doing so, for no real clinical or patient benefit.

Mr Marsh went through a similar conversion in the course of his neurological surgical practice. This is an area of surgery which is best compared to 'bomb disposal' because the slightest miscalculation or error leaves you with a severely brain damaged  or dead patient - in many cases for the patient and their relatives the latter situation is the better option. As his skills and knowledge increased he began to ask himself the important questions when he undertook surgery - just exactly for whose benefit is this surgery being carried out?

The answer's routinely troubled him as the decision to undertake surgery were often as a result from emotive pressure from relatives either on him as a surgeon or on the patient, 'to do something' no matter how risky and potentially fatal the surgery could be. As he reviewed the cases that had failed, leaving patients either dead or in near vegetative states, he changed his clinical approach, his philosophy on patient selection criteria now started with the imperative of first and foremost, 'Do No Harm'.

In these days, with NHS in England on the verge of collapse, this would be a very sensible mantra on the part of the all the vested interested groups, currently seeking their pound of flesh from the NHS, to put first as they spray a machine gun style, rattle of ideas around about how best to preserve the NHS in general. 'Do No Harm' is as good a place to start as any other; sadly, in a general election year, we will simply hear UK politicians saying what they think people want to hear, what their financial backers need to hear, no matter the damage their utterances will cause to the provision of NHS care nor the long term damage to the NHS they will inevitably bring.

They do not seem to understand, what Mr Marsh is trying to explain to them, they are dealing with a ticking NHS time bomb to which repetitive blows with a sledgehammer are not a wise approach and which will inevitably reduce the NHS to a 'vegetative state', if not kill it.

The question which needs to be asked of both the red and blue Tory Parties seeking to get their butts into Downing Street and their hands ever deeper in the taxpayer's pocket when pronouncing on the NHS in general over the next five months is:

"Just exactly for whose benefit are these further changes in the NHS being carried out?"

Friday, 2 January 2015

The worm turns ... to a maggot

The British Establishment seeks to save itself in the face of a popular, democratic revolt across the UK as the SNP in Scotland and Greens (with UKIP - to a lesser extent) in England threaten to upset the British Establishment apple cart after 7th May 2015 by proposing a government of 'national unity' between the Tory and Labour Parties - according to Ian Birrell in the Gruniad

The British Establishment has 'previous' on blocking General election results it does not like, as it did in 1930 when creating a government of 'national unity' to prevent an 'untried' and dangerously 'socialist' Labour Party taking power.

This 'suggestion' yet again reveals just how out of touch Westminster and its media lackeys are with the UK electorate as along with the current unconstitutional plans for EVEL and the failure of the 'Vow' made to Scotland to deliver a 'near' federal UK, will take more than a few water canon to stop the balloon going up with riots in England's major cities.While being the one act which would most likely lead to Scotland declaring UDI, given neither of the parties in the proposed 'National Unity Government' will have much in the way of Scottish electoral support with a projected 9 MPs out of Scotland's total according to current analysis of Scottish polling intentions for Westminster.

Throw in HRH the Prince Andrew, the 'Duke of Pork', is now facing allegations of involvement in sex parties with US minors and the continuing drive to get the Dolphin Square paedophile ring, the Bryn Estyn Home Care child abuse scandal and the links to the Palace of Westminster fully investigated and you have a series of problems for which a government of 'national unity' would create a very welcome solution, especially for our self appointed elders and betters in the British Establishment.

A bit of gossip; having seen HRH Midshipman the Prince Andrew in 'action', when he was at Dartmouth during my final term, I am tempted to believe the American woman's uncorroborated claims. He was known, after all, as 'Randy Andy' for the rate he disposed of a series of young women he had pursued and presumably had his way with. There was a theory at the time, Andrew had 'By Royal Appointment' tattooed on his bell end to go with a 'Prince Albert'. You guessed; Andrew was not popular amongst his peers at BRNC Dartmouth and only avoided the Dartmouth equivalent of being 'taken behind the bike sheds for a talking to' courtesy of the Royal Protection Group officers who went every where with him. The feeling amongst his peers was such that he was not allowed to try out for his division's rugby team in case he ended up at the bottom of a 'ruck'.

Back to the point; this leaves the SNP with a huge advantage as this 'national unity' proposal makes clear there is no difference between voting Tory or Labour as they are so close in policies as to be one and the same, as Ian Birrell makes plain, making a coalition between the two relatively straight forward.

Where does this leave Murphy's claim that voting Labour in Scotland is the only way to prevent a Tory Government?

It leaves you gasping in amazement at the crass stupidity which passes for policy development within the Westminster elite and in complete wonder that any Labour SPAD was allowed to 'leak' this idea to the London media by the likes of Dougy Alexander, who is supposedly developing the Labour General Election campaign strategy.

The underlying message in all of this 'spinning' to the people of Scotland, from the British Establishment, appears to be: 

You do not count in the British Establishment scheme of things, your vote does not count, we will fix it so we will continue do what ever we want to do, we will frack you stupid, churn Syngas from your coal fields by the MegaBTU and continue to suck your economy dry, wreck your society, NHS and welfare for London's sole benefit, no matter how you vote in May - so fuck off back to Jockland!

Go on Jim Murphy, tell us how your 'Scotch' Labour Branch maggot is going to protect Scotland from this democratic abuse when your bosses in London are already making it clear they would prefer a coalition with the Tories than the SNP and / or  Greens.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

What's all this about Zen?

Someone asked the other day just what was the link between my understanding of Buddhist philosophy and the articles I write.

The stock 'clever' Zen Buddhist answer is 'Mu' - no thing / nothingness.

The problem with a lot of Buddhist philosophy (especially Zen) is it is often too clever for its own good, apparently gnomic in its Sutras and Canon (Kaon), the philosophy's equivalent of parables and teaching examples, making complexity out of the apparently simple issues of life:

A sleepy eyed old woman
Sees a face in an ancient mirror.
So muddled, she can't recognise
Her own reflection. 
The Real within the Apparent: verse 2.

Take the issue of 'Buddha' a term which does not define any single person but an idea and is a description of one who is enlightened. The founder of the Buddhist philosophy, Siddhatta Gotma, made clear no one was to worship him as a 'God' merely because he had become 'Buddha' because the ability to become Buddha was open to all who sought it and not the province of just 'Gods' or their followers.

This raises the question of what is 'enlightenment'?

I would define my experience of enlightenment as,  'a clarity which is beyond what you have been taught, learned or been conditioned by society to believe is 'true', a moment of complete calm, self awareness and understanding.'

To this extent we are all 'Buddha' because we all have these moments of 'enlightenment' but in our Western society we call them 'inspiration'. For those following Buddhist philosophy the idea is to seek to achieve these moments of 'inspiration' in a more consistent way as a 'Bodhistta', a seeker of enlightenment, to create benefit in our world and relationships by seeking to rid ourselves of 'self' (and all the baggage this brings with it) and replace it with 'Mu' creating an empty space where everything and nothing can exist all at once. In practice this requires you to ignore the voice which chatters incessantly in your head telling you what to and what not to do. The voice that is also angry, sad, joyful and vengeful and informs you how you are meant to feel or being in any set situation. The voice people call 'God within them' or their 'conscience', a philosophical idea deeply ingrained in our Western cultural norms and judicial systems for millennia. 

Difficulties still attack me
One after the other.
They let me see
If my mind has truly
Cast off the world.

Myocho Daishi - 12th Century Japanese Zen Buddhist Philosopher

The point of all this mind clearing and cleaning?

To enable you - as an individual - to see what actually 'is' in the world, what is of real value to men and women, not just as a fleeting moment of inspiration but as a routine occurrence. 

To the person who asked how Buddhism is linked to my writing I hope this has helped your awareness. I seek to describe what 'is' without rancour in a way which informs and entertains while being very aware I am nowhere near the level of enlightenment of Myocho Daishi so will lapse into anger and cruelty on occasion as my monkey mind still runs wild most of the time:

He tames his monkey-mind
And makes it dance.
Monkey and master linked together
In the void, in all the worlds.

Hakuin - 17th Century Japanese Zen Buddhist Philosopher