Robin Walker – what a nasty piece of Tory to find on the sole of your shoe!

01/05/2013

I am a member of online campaign groups like 38 Degrees and Open Rights Group. These are groups that ask members what campaigns it should get involved with, then the group will call on its members to send to local MPs. ministers and other such, so our will is focused and targeted and helps ensure that the government and others can’t just ignore us. Divided we are nothing. United we can do anything… well, the government can’t just ignore us.

My local MP is the Tory Robin Walker. Incidentally, his late father Peter Walker (1932-2010) was MP for Worcester until 1992, when he resigned as MP and was sent to the House of Lords to do his masters’ work. Robin has been a pretty engaged MP – he has replied to every email I’ve sent him (he uses official House of Commons writing paper and envelopes – you would have thought that Parliament had discouraged use of snail mail) but only once has he expressed agreement with my point, about the Defamation Bill). Most recently he sent me a (probably form) letter telling me how important it was that the government keep my communication and other logs for all eternity just in case I were a terrorist or paedophile. He wrote:

Communications data is vital for the police in their fight against crime, including serious offences, such as child abuse, drug-dealing and terrorism.

Note the use of the “big 3″: child abuse, drug-dealing and terrorism”. The suggestion is that opposing the Data Communications Data Bill is, or supports, nonces, pushers and suicide bombers. Thanks Robin; yet another reason to avoid voting for him when the general election comes round.

Right now, I don’t have a clue who’ll get my vote: it won’t be the Conservatives, the Lib Dems are no longer a viable choice…if Ed Miliband can drag Labour back to the left I might put my mark by his name; but how likely will that happen?

Brits are wage-slaves, with mortgages and their children’s educations keeping the populace keeping their nose to the stone, while bankers, corporate directors and other vested interests keep their money in tax havens. But don’t worry: the Conservatives want your personal data, phone logs, emails, bowel movements, whatever, stored for all eternity in a massive computer system that probably fail (as do most government-contracted computer systems do). We’re stuck with this situation unless someone does something about it.

Who’s your MP? Does he care about you? I’d love to see along string of Comments to this post, telling us how our MPs act for our best interests. And my current voting advice regarding the next election: go to the voting station, spoil your ballot (I like to write at the bottom of the voting card “None of the above” and a X in a box next to it), put it in the black box, and be on your way. This is not apathy, this is showing the establishment that the status quo must end.

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I like donkeys but I couldn’t eat a hole one

17/04/2013

I am not a particular fan of Facebook, but you can find nice things every now and then. Comme ceci:

donkey-in-a-well

One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :
Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred – Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries – Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from yourself.

Kinda nice.

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WTF is anarchism? Lend me your ears… and together we will change the world

11/04/2013

Here’s a nice project for those of us who don’t know what anarchism really means. It entertains as well as educates… and all you have to do is listen.

Here is how the project is described:

Freddy Perlman’s Letters Of Insurgents is a thoroughly brilliant story about anarchist ideas. It takes the form of fictional letters between two eastern european workers who were separated after a failed revolution; one spent twelve years in statist jails, the other escaped to the west. After twenty-five years without contact, they begin to write each-other about their experiences, their lives, their hopes, and their memories of the past. The characters that emerge from these narratives tell a story that is both incredibly subtle and infinitely complex. Nothing is taken for granted, no assumptions are left unchallenged, and the reader is left with a set of questions that only a story about relationships could present.

Being a particularly long book, each letter will be presented here a week at a time until the entire recording is finished. And everyone who listens to the entire book will receive a Letters Of Insurgents Merit Badge.

So that’s all you gotta do: listen. And the truth about anarchism will become apparent to you. It’s that simple. Check out the mp3 episodes for yourself here. If you don’t like it, never mind – no one wants to force you to become an anarchist (or anything else). My hope in introducing this to you is that it will help dispel that ridiculous image of “anarchists” throwing bombs at people in the name of “anarchy”. Anarchy is not anarchism. Anarchy is utter mayhem, that can lead only to the detriment of the human race; whereas anarchism is a school of political views that is sensible, practical, fair, and has succeeded many a time before the armies of imperialism and the status quo has destroyed them militarily.

So please, give it a go. How’s that saying go again? You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to win. And a Letters of Insurgents Merit Badge. Oh, and please don’t let the word “insurgents” put you off. Revolutionary Americans fighting Redcoats were “insurgents” long before the news decided to use that label for Al Qaeda/Taliban.

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Politics Explained FFS part 3

01/08/2011

As the title says, this is part 3 of my attempt to explain how politics works. Part 1 is here, part 2 is here.

In the first 2 parts, I’ve tried to explain how politics works. In this part I’m going to try and describe what I consider a much better way to do stuff. I’m going to describe how this would work in England, as that’s where I live. (I’m not forgetting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland here – I just think it would be very arrogant for me to tell the denizens of those regions how to run things. And that’s the key: regions.)

Remember that I said that majority rule doesn’t scale? How as the population increases, so does the number of disaffected people? Well, majority rule can work with smaller populations. But how do we make population smaller? Well, if we decide not to go the death camp route, and we don’t disenfranchise women and the poor to reduce the voting population only one way seems possible to me: we make big old England into a number of regions, each of which will have its own government.

There are lots of ways we can split England into regions: for sake of argument, I’m going to suggest we use ye olde kingdoms which once comprised England – see the map below:

As you can see, England once comprised of 4 kingdoms: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia and Wessex (ignore Wales – the welsh can look after themselves). As London has such a high population, I think it would be fairer to make Greater London a region of its own, rather than making it part of Wessex. So, my England is split into five self-ruling regions: Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Wessex, and London. Each region will have its own government, elected by its population using whatever method they prefer (I think majority rule would be okay on this scale). And each region will be pretty much independent – setting its own policies, raising its own taxes, providing education and health care however it wishes.

Of course, the regions would not be able to handle everything by themselves. On some matters, it would be wise for them to work together. Foreign policy is an example, as is defence against other countries. Wessex (for example) would be too weak to stand up for itself against many other countries, and it would not be capable of maintaining a powerful military presence. This is where the regions will act as one. They will maintain a combined military: an army, navy and air force to protect shared interests.

The smaller nature of the regions as compared to England as a whole would make possible some very radical ways to elect their governments. One that I’m interested in is compulsory participation in government. I don’t mean just compulsory voting. Imagine a system, similar to jury duty, where citizens will be called up to become a member of parliament for a certain amount of time. I’ve always been rather suspicious of politicians: these are people who have chosen a career of telling everyone what to do. I’m sure that some people venture into politics because they want to “help”. But when you look carefully at politicians, you may find that they’re an unsavoury bunch – look at the MPs’ expenses controversy in Britain. Politicians wringing the expenses system for every penny they can. This image doesn’t sit well with the idea that these people entered politics as a vocation. So we do away with the idea of professional politicians and replace it with a system where everyone gets to have a go at it. Of course, these amateur politicians will need experts to advise them. But couple this idea with a system of more referenda on issues (like the Swiss system, perhaps) and we have politicians with no vested interests enacting the wishes of their peers.

Of course, these ideas are radical and also very sketchy: but I’m not pretending that I’ve thought it all through. I’m just throwing my ideas out there, for others to examine and criticise. So come on folks: let’s see what you have to say!

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Wooh! No plans to deploy water cannons on the streets of England… for now.

14/12/2010

Well, Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary, has rule out the use of water cannon in the policing of student protests, saying there was no legal authority for their use on the streets of England and Wales. But the overall message was clear: May has no plans to use water cannons right now; but circumstances change, and police tactics must also change to deal with the ever-evolving problems.

Look what Commander Bob Broadhurst, the head of Scotland Yard’s public order branch, had to say on the matter after May’s speech:

“There has been a great deal of speculation over the weekend about the Met using water cannons. There are no current plans to use water cannons on the streets of the capital but we would be foolish if we did not take time to look at tactics such as this to see if it might be appropriate in the future.

In other words: the water cannons are on their way. Get ready for a soaking, boys and girls.

May also took the opportunity to blame the violence on an “organised group of hardcore activists and street gangs” who had infiltrated the protests. Government ministers always do this: they say the majority of demonstrators are there for a good time, but a hardcore of evil anarchists and street gangsters turn peaceful demonstrations into warzones.

“Some students behaved disgracefully. But the police also assess that the protests were infiltrated by organised groups of hardcore activists and street gangs bent on violence.

Evidence from the other recent protests shows that many of those causing violence were organised thugs, as well as students. It is highly likely that this was also the case last week,” she said.

May made mention of the attack on the Duchess of Cornwall (the adulterous “whore” who shagged Prince Charles while he was still married to Diana – remember that awful recorded phone conversation in whch he said he’d like to be Camilla’s tampon? Ugh!): she said “some contact [was] made” when the Duchess of Cornwall was struck through the window of her royal car (ie she got a well-deserved slap). The Metropolitan police inquiry into the attack on the car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla is due to report by this Friday but May warned that, for security reasons, the public details of the report are likely to be limited. No pix of the ugly woman’s war wounds then. Shame!

May revealed that 35 people had been arrested so far and expected the number to rise significantly. So far the mugshots of 14 of “key perpetrators of violence” have been published. The Met are to continue to publish pictures of other key individuals over the next week. All very interesting. But what about the police officers who used excessive violence and concealed their identification numbers? After the police actions that led to the death of Ian Tomlinson (an innocent passerby, not a demonstrator or rioter), Met police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said it was “absolutely unacceptable” for officers to cover or remove their shoulder tags bearing identification numbers. Yet a number of officers at this latest “riot” were seen with ID numbers concealed – look at this Youtube video. And what about the cop who slugged Alfie Meadows across the head with a truncheon – an attack that left Alfie needing emergency brain surgery. Will a mugshot of the offending officer be posted on the internet? Of course not: May used the standard cop-out answer when asked about this. She said that she was unable to comment as the Independent Police Complaints Commission had begun an investigation into the incident that had left him seriously injured.Yeah right.

May even defended the controversial “kettling” tactic, where police officers in full riot gear and armed with long batons corner groups of demonstrators and hem them in, even refusing to release peaceful demonstrators with major health problems. Even little children and old-age pensioners are forced to stay in the “kettle”. One woman asked a cop where she was supposed to go if she needed the toilet. The leering swine pointed down at the road surface in front of him.

It’s hard to blame individual officers: after all, they are merely following orders issued from on high. Then again, it’s very easy to blame those bobbies: they chose to join the force; they chose to obey the evil orders.

A little advice for those among you who might attend a demo where the water cannons are brought out: make sure you take with you a nice, dry set of clothes in a waterproof bag. When the filth shoot you with water, they’re hoping that you’ll become cold and dis-spirited and piss off home. If you go change into something dry then come back to continue demonstrating/rioting/whatever, the cops will become very confused. Remember, most cops are thick as pig shit (why else would they join up?); when faced with a situatuion that their orders don’t cover, most will just walk in ever-decreasing circles until they disappear up their own bottoms. So don’t let the assholes scare you. Believe me, they are probably more scared of you.

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UK government say unemployed must do “unpaid work”… but where’s all this work going to come from?

17/11/2010

For years the Conservative Party have wanted to force unemployed people to “earn” their benefits by doing unpaid work.  And finally (in a coalition government with the Lib Dems, strangely enough) it seems they are going to achieve their goal.

The Work and Pensions Secretary (and failed former party leader) Iain Duncan Smith has announced in a white paper that he wants the unemployed to undertake unpaid work or lose benefits, dressing up these draconian plans as a necessary step to cut welfare costs as well as to break what the government is calling the “habit of worklessness”.  The government are trying to suggest that people prefer to live in poverty on the derisory Jobseeker’s Allowance (£51.85 a week for those under 25 and £65.45 for those over 25 – what riches!)  rather than take a job.  And this crazed plan is apparently going to end the “culture of dependency”.

What IDS has neglected to tell us is where exactly this unpaid work is going to come from.  The plan glosses over this detail, saying that “charities, voluntary organizations and companies” will provide these jobs.  This totally ignores the fact that voluntary organizations don’t want people to work for them reluctantly – people who volunteer to work for nothing do so because they want to help the organizations in question and the quality of their work is therefore much higher than what will be done by those who are there under duress.  And as for the companies who will provide the unpaid jobs: if there is work that needs to be done, why haven’t these companies already employed workers to do them?

This plan is an outrageous attempt to provide the Tory Party’s corporate allies with a way to get around the minimum wage.  Instead of advertising these jobs to willing workers who would, by law, be entitled to a living wage, these companies will fill the posts with people who will have to work for nothing.  How the hell can the Tories and their corporate friends get away with this?

And why are the Lib Dems going along with this?  After the destruction of the traditional Labour Party by Blair and his “New Labour” lackeys, some of us thought that the Liberal Democrats were the only progressive party left.  But now they’ve joined the Conservatives in coalition government, we can see Nick Clegg and his colleagues for what they really are: just Tories under a different name.

Democracy in Britain has been dying for many years.  Now it has been shot in the back of the head and buried in an unmarked grave.  We desperately need to take back the power that is rightfully ours.  But the ballot box will get us nowhere.  We must use alternative methods to rid ourselves of the greedy and evil men and women who claim to rule in our name.

 

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