Who cares who is sending Europe referendum propaganda to whom?

08/04/2016

There’s been some moaning recently that the government is sending pro-European leaflets to potential referendum voters.  And I understand that it’s not on that the government is spending £9 million of our taxes on this propaganda.

But we need to think more clearly about this for a moment.  The official government position is that espoused by prime minister David Cameron: although individual Tories are free to campaign however their conscience or shadowy paymasters tell them to, the official party line is that Britain should remain in the EU.  So isn’t it okay for the government to spend money telling us what it thinks?

Strangely, I have received no pro-European leaflets in the post.  Whereas I have so far been sent two leaflets telling me NO!  We’re BETTER OFF OUT!!  One bore an awful photo of Angela Merkel, and posed the interesting (yawn) message:

 

Q: What EU concessions will David Cameron win for Britain?
A: Whatever Angela Merkel lets him have.

HAHAHA!!!  Oh no, hold on – that wasn’t a joke, it was a serious political message.  Honestly, it’s hard to tell with some of these people.  Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson… who’s got his hand up whose bottom?  Anyway, about the concessions thing: that could be a really good point, if Cameron was still doing the rounds, asking other EU leaders what they’ll let him have.  But he isn’t asking Merkel, or any other European leaders, for concessions.  He’s already done that, achieved what he considers to be good concessions, and that’s what he’s bringing to us to vote for in the referendum.  And I’ll be pleased to receive some info on that, as I haven’t received my £9 million leaflet yet.

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

Nigel Farage, nut-job and venerable leader of Ukip

This nasty anti-Merkel leaflet was paid for by something called “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group in the European Parliament”, “Sovereign Draw (A sovereign draw for a sovereign nation)” and UKIP.  Of those groups, the only one I’ve heard of is UKIP.  My guess would be that the others (with websites at efddgroup.eu and sovereigndraw.co.uk) are a small group of right-wing anti-Europe parties that (like UKIP) have no real reason to be in the European Parliament except to filibuster and waste time (so much for direct democracy, huh?) and a bunch of rich businessmen who want out of the EU so they can deal with sweatshop, slave-labour type countries that the EU want nothing to do with because of their hatred of human and workers’ rights.  They say they will “restore sovereignty to the UK Parliament” (which is where it is, has always been, and always will be), will “save the British people £55 million a day” (which sounds quite good, if a little surprising – I had no idea that I would be a multi-millionaire if Britain wasn’t in the EU) and “make sure we never join the disastrous Euro (which is a complete red herring – no one has any intention to get Britain into the Euro; it’s like saying “Vote for me and I won’t make you eat dog turds”).  “SAY NO, BELIEVE IN BRITAIN” they go on (and on and on); “Join the winning team SIGN UP TO SAY NO” – and a website (cos they’re really tech-savvy) http://www.saynotoeu.com – to add to efddgroup.eu, ukip.org and sovereigndraw.co.uk.  They seem to own most of the internet; and their backers probably do own a sizable chunk of the infrastructure.  Cos these one-minute-they’re-noty-there-then-suddenly-out-of-nowhere-puff-there-they-are groups are made up largely of businessmen who vomit when they hear the word “ethical” and people who say stuff like “I’m not racist but my town has been invaded by Romanian Poles who’ve stolen all the jobs and claim billions of pounds in benefits too!”  In other words, nazis and idiots.

Vote "Leave" or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

Vote “Leave” or Boris will go home and take his ball with him!

The other leaflet is from the “Better Off Out” group. They claim “Your household could be £933 per year better off if the UK left the European Union” – not quite as good as the UKIP-Nazi-Idiot Alliance’s promise of “£55 million a day”.  And that’s the only “fact” on their leaflet – the only reason they think we’d be better off out of the EU.  But they’re awfully tech-savvy too, as everyone knows the “young voters” will only abandon their sofas and box-sets of Game Of Thrones if there’s tech-savviness involved.  Better Off Out say “You can follow us on Facebook at ‘Better Off Out’ or on Twitter ‘@BetterOffOut'” (if you feel the desperate urge to get even more anti-European propaganda spam thrown at you). “Better Off Out” is apparently promoted by “Better Off Out of HMS President (1918)”, whatever that is… I didn’t know were in HMS President (1918) in the first place…  Fortunately you can send them email at rupert@tfa.net and regular hate mail to:

 

Rupert Matthews
Better Off Out
HMS President (1918)
Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HJ

Seriously though, don’t send hate mail or spam to Rupert – that’d be naughty, and I would never condone naughtiness in any way.

Oh yes, my point.  Cos there is a point to this blog post.  It’ll be nice to get some pro-EU propaganda.  You know, a varied diet and all that.  Who cares if it’s paid for with our taxes?  It’s only £9 million FFS!  We’re gonna be spending £100 zillion on Trident missiles that we will never use, so the bill for these leaflets is a mere drop in the ocean.

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Freepost address for the Conservative Party

10/02/2016

If you want to contact the Conservative Party about anything, but didn’t want to buy a stamp for the letter (maybe because you don’t earn a living wage, or your benefits have been sanctioned…), fear not!  On Facebook I found a Freepost address so you can send mail to the Tories without worrying about the cost of postage.  You still have to provide writing paper and envelope yourself… but every little bit helps, doesn’t it?

The address is:

Freepost RTHS-TLXL-XKXK
The Conservative Party
4 Matthew Parker Street
LONDON
SW1H 9HQ

I haven’t actually tried it myself, as I only just discovered it.  I think it would be great if anyone who writes to the address reports the success or failure of their attempt; so if the Freepost no longer works I can edit this blog post accordingly.  Similarly, if anyone knows of other Freepost addresses, or 0800 phone numbers so we can call them for free, I’ll gladly add them to this post.  Information sets us free.  And there’s something extra satisfying about sending an actual letter through the post rather than emails, don’t you think?

Please don’t use this address to send the government any offensive or hate mail.  That would possibly be a crime, and in no way do I encourage you to do so!  Thanks.

cameron-face-palm

Send the prime minister a letter today!  I’m sure Dave is looking forward to a robust conversation with the British electorate!


Boycott of Israeli goods is not antisemitism

09/09/2014

Since Israel and Egypt sealed the Gazan borders and besieged the Heights, an increasing number of people have started boycotting goods from Israel. And if you scrupulously sift your shopping for Israel-grown olives and Uzi machine pistols, British government members think you’re an anti-semite!

Warning of a “resurgent, mutating, lethal virus of antisemitism”, the Conservative chief whip Michael Gove also claimed those who compare Israel’s actions to Nazi war crimes are engaging in a form of Holocaust denial.

Gove made his intervention in a speech at the Holocaust Education Trust on Tuesday night, in response to findings that there had been a fivefold increase in antisemitic incidents in the wake of Israel’s latest conflict with Hamas.

Citing a historian, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Gove said there appeared among some opponents of Israel’s actions to be a “deliberate attempt to devalue the unique significance of the Holocaust, and so remove the stigma from antisemitism”.

And even as this relativisation, trivialisation and perversion of the Holocaust goes on so prejudice towards the Jewish people grows.
The Tricycle theatre attempts to turn away donations which support the Jewish Film Festival because the money is Israeli and therefore tainted. In our supermarkets our citizens mount boycotts of Israeli produce, some going so far as to ransack the shelves, scatter goods and render them unsaleable. In some supermarkets the conflation of anti-Israeli agitation and straightforward antisemitism has resulted in kosher goods being withdrawn.

We need to speak out against this prejudice. We need to remind people that what began with a campaign against Jewish goods in the past ended with a campaign against Jewish lives. We need to spell out that this sort of prejudice starts with the Jews but never ends with the Jews. We need to stand united against hate. Now more than ever.

Gove referred to a number of antisemitic incidents that have occurred across Europe over the past few months, and complained that there had been been “insufficient indignation” about growing anti-Jewish prejudice.”
boycott-israel

I understand where Gove’s saying, up to the point. If a bunch of anti-semites are inspired to have a go at Jewish communities around the world, that is of course anti-semitic hate crime and should be punished. But equating the movement to boycott Israeli goods with antisemitism is flawed and insulting. The fact is, Israel and its “defence force” are committing outrageous attacks on those trapped in Gaza, and a number of fair-minded citizens of other countries are joining in the boycott – not because they hate Jews, but because they are disgusted at the way the Israeli government is acting. If Israel stopped its surprisingly Nazi-like attitude towards Jews in general and Gazans in particular, the so-called “anti-semite” boycott would largely end. Of course there are some more hard-line protesters, just as there are prejudiced IDF members who kill young Palestinians because they would “otherwise become Hamas or Islamic Jihad members.” FFS.

If Gove wants the boycott to stop, he will get the government to harden its line against against current Israeli anti-Palestinian activity. But remember, this is the same Michael Gove who approved three schools run by creationists leading to concerns about whether Department for Education (DfE) requirements not to teach creationism or intelligent design as science would be met. The same Gove who claimed more than £7,000 on a house bought with his wife Sarah Vine in 2002; shortly afterwards he reportedly ‘flipped’ his designated second home, a property for which he claimed around £13,000 to cover stamp duty. Gove also claimed for a cot mattress, despite children’s items being banned under the Commons rule. Gove said he would repay the claim for the cot mattress, but maintained that his other claims were “below the acceptable threshold costs for furniture” and that moving house was necessary “to effectively discharge my parliamentary duties”. While he was moving between homes, on one occasion he stayed at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa following a constituency engagement, charging the taxpayer more than £500 per night’s stay. Gove’s second home was not in his constituency, but in Elstead, in the South West Surrey constituency. The same Gove who has been the subject of repeated criticism for alleged attempts to avoid the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. The criticism surrounds Gove’s use of various private email accounts to send emails that allegedly relate to his departmental responsibilities. The allegations suggest that Mr Gove and his advisers believed they could avoid their correspondence being subject to Freedom of Information requests, as they believed that their private email accounts were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. In September 2011, the Financial Times reported that Gove had used an undisclosed private email account – called “Mrs Blurt” – to discuss government business with advisers. In March 2012 the Information Commissioner ruled that because emails the Financial Times had requested contained public information they could be the subject of a Freedom of Information request and ordered the information requested by the paper to be disclosed. Gove was also advised to cease the practice of using private email accounts to conduct government business. Gove disputed the Information Commissioner’s ruling, something that cost taxpayers £12,540, and proceeded to tribunal, but the appeal was subsequently withdrawn. The same Gove who, with his advisors, destroyed email correspondence in order to avoid Freedom of Information requests. The allegation was denied by Gove’s department who stated that deleting email was simply part of good computer housekeeping. Yeah right.

He has also used social netwoking websites to smear opponents anonymously. In February 2013 The Guardian launched investigations into connections between Gove’s ministerial advisers and what they described as “allegations that members of his department have used the social networking site Twitter to launch highly personal attacks on journalists and political opponents and to conduct a Tory propaganda campaign paid for by the taxpayer.” The article suggested that an anonymous Twitter account called @toryeducation was regularly used to attack critical stories about both Gove and his department and to launch highly personal attacks on opponents of Gove and his policies.

It was further suggested that the knowledge of imminent but unpublished government policy demonstrated by the Twitter account called @toryeducation indicated that it was very likely to come from within the Education Department, implying the involvement of special advisers paid for by taxpayers.[103][104] Issuing party political material and indulging in personal attacks would both be clear breaches of the special advisers’ code and the civil service code

Evil Michael Gove.  Starve his supporters please

Evil Michael Gove. Starve his supporters please

Ignore Gove. Boycott Israel. Here’s an unfortunately small list of Israeli goods affected:
boycott-Israel-1

Check out the site – http://boycottisraeltoday.wordpress.com/boycott-israel/ – for more info on Israel’s products to boycott. And remember, it’s not antisemitic to oppose Israel’s “foreign policy” (basically bullying its enemies). Some Jews are good, some are bad. It’s just a shame that Israel is led politically by vicious, cruel people.

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“Billionaires’ Row” farce shows the truth behind the bedroom tax

02/02/2014

The government’s bedroom tax punishes the poor who have “unused” rooms in their homes; yet the rich are allowed to own whole streets of empty houses while the country’s homelessness problem gets worse and worse.

Look at the “Billionaires’Row” scandal reported by the Guardian. At least £350m worth of property is sitting unused in The Bishops Avenue, the so-called Billionaires Row, in the London borough of Barnet. The vacant and often ruined properties include 10 mansions previously owned on behalf of the Saudi royal family that have not been lived in for up to 25 years. Local housing and community activist Phoenix Rainbow said it showed “gross mismanagement of the space we have in this country”.

Clive Betts MP, chair of the Commons communities and local government select committee, said the situation in the avenue was “an astounding and stark example of the empty homes problem”. He called for councils to be given powers to treble rates on empty homes after a certain period. Betts said: “People can claim to do what they want with the property they own, but how must those living in cramped and poor accommodation feel when they see some of the most palatial, beautiful, properties with incredible amounts of space going to waste?

“This is a government obsessed by under-occupation of two-bed council houses in London occupied by people with nowhere else to go. But in the same city you have mansions unoccupied with no action being taken.”

Labour’s policy is a 100% council tax levy on empty homes; it estimates there are 50,000 empty homes in London.

Local authorities have the power to take punitive action against absentee landlords who leave houses empty, but the “punitive” action takes the form of council tax hikes that the owners of The Bishop’s Avenue would laugh at. On The Bishops Avenue the fine would be just £1,416.20 a year. And in any case local authorities have little interest in dealing with the problem despite the disparities between the treatment of the rich and the poor, revealed by the numbers of homeless people sleeping rough and the bedroom tax on the poor. Barnet council’s Conservative leader, Richard Cornelius, said: “The Bishops Avenue is in its own little bubble and frankly has little connection with the rest of Barnet. I would rather spend public money bringing family houses back into use than get involved in battles with the lawyers of billionaires.”

Of course, this does not impress those who want something done about homelessness. David Ireland, chief executive of the Homes from Empty Homes campaign, said “There are countless people in inadequate housing and here are homes on The Bishops Avenue that could be used. I call on the local authority to use empty property management orders or enforced sale of these properties. If they showed they were willing to do that it would force other owners to take action.”

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Bullingdon Boys burn £50 note in front of the poor… what nice fellas, eh?

24/02/2013

Bullingdon emblem

I saw this story on the Guardian website about “uproar” concerning the Oxford University Students Union debating whether to boycott Israel. Ho hum. But what really got my goat was a little comment near the end of the story:

Not all students have immersed themselves in this debate. The Oxford Student newspaper reported that a member of the Bullingdon Club was fined for setting off a firework at a nightclub earlier this month. According to the paper, the student was accepted into the club after an initiation ceremony which included burning a £50 note in front of a tramp.

I know that the Bullingdon Club is an exclusive, expensive, ostentatious group who lord it around because of some twisted sense of humour. But burning a fifty pound note in the face of a “tramp” (I expect they mean a poor homeless person)… really? Being in the Bullingdon Club is a route to the top later in life: Bullies include prime minister David Cameron, chancellor George Osborne, London Mayor Boris Johnson… this is how political figures – especially Tories – get into positions of power. By sneering down at the poor. Is it any wonder they’re known as the Nasty Party?

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And party politics become as irrelevant as…

29/12/2012

… oh, I dunno.  Think of the most irrelevant thing you can imagine.  UK party politics is even more irrelevant.   Tory, Labour, Lib Dumb (sorry, that should have been “Lib Damn”… wasn’t it?) are all the bloody same.  The only party that is actually attracting new members is that bunch of crazy Nazis called Ukip.  And please, please, don’t even think of them as a serious party, they’re like the Monster Raving Loony Party being led by Mussolini!

Funny comment on this in the Guardian: “It increasingly seems like making the decision between the mainstream parties is like judging the merits of dog crap vs cat crap”.  What, you don’t think it’s funny?  Bloody heck, I’m doing my best!


 
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4 years for “inciting” non-existant riots… WTF are the British authorities up to?

17/08/2011

Yesterday (16 August 2011) Chester crown court sentenced 2 men to 4 years imprisonment for “trying” to incite riots that never actually happened. And David Cameron, who is supposed to be the prime minister of Britain, not a judge or legal commentator, said it was “very good”, adding:

“What happened on our streets was absolutely appalling behaviour and to send a very clear message that it’s wrong and won’t be tolerated is what the criminal justice system should be doing.”

Of course it’s terrible that riot and looting went on across England. But what do the riots that actually happened have to do with what Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan did? Moreover, Blackshaw and Sutcliffe-Keenan pleaded guilty to the charges – which makes me wonder what kind of low-grade legal advice they’d been given – and an early guilty plea is supposed to result in a reduced sentence. So this pair of clowns would have got maybe 10-year sentences if they’d pleaded not guilty? 10 years for not inciting a riot? What are our judges smoking before entering their court rooms?

MPs and civil rights groups have spoken out against the sentences, unsurprisingly. But what should be surprising is that prime minister Cameron said the sentences were “very good” – before adding that it is down to the courts to decide sentences. So, which is it, Cameron? Do judges have the discretion on sentencing here? Or are you sending (barely) concealed message to the court that anyone who says anything not in line with his beliefs deserves to rot in jail for as long as possible?

In Britain, the government proposes laws. Parliament debates, fine-tunes then passes the laws. And the police and courts enforce those laws. Cameron shouldn’t be telling judges how to do their jobs. Lord Carlile, the government’s former terror advisor accused ministers of appearing to “steer” the courts into handing down the more stringent sentences. Lord Carlile, a barrister and former Liberal Democrat MP warned that the sacrosanct separation of powers between the government and the judiciary had appeared to have been breached by some of the messages coming out of government since the riots engulfed neighbourhoods last week.

Fortunately, not all judges have been castrated by Cameron and his henchmen. The same Evening Standard article reports that a court in Bury St Edmund’s let a teenager walk free after his guilty plea. He had sent Facebook messages saying “”I think we should start rioting – it’s about time we stopped the authorities pushing us about. It’s about time we stood up for ourselves for once so come on riot – get some – LoL” Bad, to be sure, but hardly evil. His barrister said his client “had been a bit of a prat” – which pretty sums up Blackshaw’s and Sutcliffe-Keenan’s actions too.

Also, a Lambeth teenager who had been caught on CCTV hurling sticks and spades at officers, was allowed to walk free after his uncle, a Premier League football player, offered him somewhere to live outside of London.

This variation in judicial decisions is good, as it demonstrates that not all judges are bowing and scraping before their governmental overlords. But it is clear that a substantial number of judges are all too keen to please their masters. In the Guardian, Lord Carlile said:

“I don’t think it’s helpful for ministers to appear to be giving a steer to judges. The judges in criminal courts are mostly extremely experienced and well capable of making the decisions themselves. Ministers should focus on securing the safety of the public.”

The lord, who served for six years under Labour and the coalition until March as the government’s anti-terror adviser, added: “”Some judges may feel that and some ministers may feel that they have had a responsibility to use the language of sentences rather than policy.”

The authorities doubtless think it’s important to stamp down hard on some people’s recent behaviour. But that doesn’t mean the courts should become kangaroo courts blindly following the government’s instructions. Every single case is different, and each should be dealt with on its own merits. The government is beginning to see the consequences of its actions and policies; and they are scared of those consequences. Instead of knee-jerk reactions, they should try to fix the damage they have done. Otherwise today’s Britain will be just like the 1980s, when widespread civil unrest rocked the country.

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