What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

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What on earth could you add to this terrible story?

Pride's Purge

(It’s not satire – it’s ATOS!)

Yet more proof of the unprofessionalism of the so-called medical experts at ATOS – the company paid huge amounts of taxpayers’ money by the government to carry out tests on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions which are supposed to decide whether sick or disabled people are eligible to receive support.

A blind woman was found fit for work by an ATOS assessor after he wiggled his fingers in front of her eyes to test her sight.

The woman finally ‘won’ her case against ATOS – but not after a hard fight. You can read about it here in an article from the Manchester Evening News:

Blind woman ordered back to work wins benefits battle

What is it with this government and its obsession with paying out vast amounts of taxpayers’ money to bunches of cowboys to run public services?

ATOS, G4S…

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An excellent piece from Nick Cohen…

Nick Cohen: Writing from London

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For Sweden’s Axess magazine.

Scandinavian culture is all the rage in Britain. The crime novels of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson have been popular for years, and their success has not disconcerted the London cultural establishment. But the success of Scandinavian television is another matter. It raises hard questions for British programme makers. Beginning with Swedish television’s adaptation of Mankel’s novels, the realisation grew that the best Scandinavian television drama was as good as the best British television drama. After The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen, we began to realise that it was better.

For the self-congratulatory world of British broadcasting, that knowledge was a shock. British television likes to say that it is “the best in the world”. And in the 1970s and 1980s, the boasting seemed justified . Britain once exported quality drama and classic serials, and imported downmarket game shows, mainly from America. There has been…

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THIS IS NOT AN ACT OF GOD

We went to the fabulous wedding of our friends Lisa and David over the weekend, set in Bedwellty, South Wales it was a truly joyous occasion, as watching two people you know should be together publicly declare their love should be. The welcome for the English contingent was warm and generous, the church service not only solemn, but great fun. The only spot of bother would predictably be the weather.

The rain simply would not let up over the valleys – at times it was a struggle to see a landmark as close and as large as The Chartist Bridge. We were all incredibly lucky of course – all we had to put up with was a little dampness and wind, rather than flooded homes and workplaces, so there will be no grousing from me. Travelling back along the M4 on Sunday, you could see a little of the damage done – burst river banks and flooded pastures mainly. The news told the rest, or nearly all of it…

…The government, and the media have, as usual praised the unstinting efforts of local councils and the emergency services in the struggle to save life and property. Much has been made of the improvements in emergency planning made over the past few years, and rightly so, given the parsimony of the Coalitions’ austerity spending plans. Yet with floods, the main emergency workers who bust a gut are the Fire Service – the ones with hoses, pumps, ladders etc. Yes, that means members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU).

The cuts have hit Firefighters across the UK, and the South West has been no exception to this. So far, everything has worked pretty well, mainly thanks to teamwork and professionalism, yet post-2010 cut mean that Firefighters at all levels have serious concerns as to whether in the future they won’t be overstretched. The only reason that people in the South West have been able to rely on the Fire service because extra engines and Firefighters have been available from other regions. Should there be a wider flooding crisis in these other regions, this will not be the case. As the Association of Chief Fire Officers has already warned, future cuts, leading to the potential loss of 4,000 Firefighters, sixty stations and around 150 engines make such sharing of force much more difficult, especially if the UK were to have to deal with two regional crises at the same time.

Today Matt Wrack, the FBU leader has written to David Cameron, once again highlighting the Firefighters concerns. I doubt that Ham-Face will take any notice. After all, he leads a party that once counted  Brian Coleman as a leading member in London. You remember Brian – he said that “we need to break the FBU, frankly…” , as if this would make up for cutting numbers of staff and engines in London.

I am sure that the cabinet are all distressed about the floods – after all no one could be more distraught at having to dehumidify their holiday homes. No doubt these blustering puppets will heap praise upon the Fire Service until the waters subside, then get back to cutting numbers and buggering up their pensions. Of course, once the FBU start to campain over this in earnest, they will be branded extremists and wreckers by this extremist, wrecking coalition.   

 

Good Luck to the Walmart Strikers!

Hmm, Walmart, don’t they own ASDA???

The Political Idealist

Originally published on 23rd November 2013.

In the United States today, there is a large group of ordinary workers is standing up to world’s largest, and probably most prolific, corporate giant. Walmart represents some of the worst excesses of globalised capitalism; it has depressed wages, introduced draconian working conditions, forced governments into offering subsidies, moved thousands of jobs to the developing world where they can behave in an even worse manner, shirked its responsibilities as an employer, destroyed local businesses, and driven down the quality of the products it sells.

Today, a large number of American Walmart employees are striking for wages higher than $8 (£5), working weeks of 30 hours and not 27.5 (In the US, employers need to provide health cover to employees who work 30 hours or longer) and to generally be treated as human beings rather than units to be exploited. Today is Black Friday, when…

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Relief across UK as floods move northwards to more unimportant parts of the country

Another excellent, cynical, angry post from Tom Pride at Prides Purge:

 

Relief across UK as floods move northwards to more unimportant parts of the country.

via Relief across UK as floods move northwards to more unimportant parts of the country.

TROLLING GIT

It happens to all of us at sometime I suppose. We let down our guard and trust the wrong person with access to personal information, then it all goes batshit crazy. 

We are so used to technology that we can be a bit slapdash with security sometimes. Recently, this has happened with this blog, and someone has used my ID to post crap about the middle east, specifically Israel and Gaza on another site.

Lesson learned, passwords changed etc etc. Apology posted to the comment feed of the site, and a huge inward cringe. Whilst in general, I do not agree with the ideas on that site, the comments left in my name were simply trolling at its worst. It was made worse by knowing that I had been face to face with one of the bloggers last week. Now all I want to do is get on with forgetting the whole sorry episode.

I am not going to reveal the site that this twat posted on, because I do not want to have to see those egregious comments again, still less have to justify them.

Been a little busy…

Apologies for my lack of posts over the past few weeks, work has intervened. I have had two posts published recently over at Labour Uncut, so I will be posting the links in a moment, with a few covering remarks.

“COME IN G-GEORGE, YOU HAVE A BILL TO PAY…”

 Utterly disgusting. The best two words I can think of to greet the news that the few surviving Bomber Command veterans may well have to stump up from their pensions to pay for a memorial that was only completed and opened this year. Imagine the outcry if The Commonwealth War Graves Commission sent The Royal British Legion a bill  for the Menin Gate? 

Surely if the Tories had not botched the Rail Franchise to keep Virgin out, there would be a little money to spare here? Why do we have a department for “Heritage” – one that along with the tourist industry, is never backwards in promoting a rosy view of the Second World War, and Churchill nostalgia. And let us not forget that our politicians are never shy of invoking that “wartime spirit”, or wrapping themselves in the Union Flag for cheap gain. Quite frankly, this stinks.

Bomber Command was, certainly for those who flew, perhaps the deadliest posting in the British forces between 1939 and 1945. Over fifty-five thousand young men died in the bomber offensive against Germany, out of a total of around 120,000. With their comrades in the U.S. Eighth Air Force, they made a huge effort towards the defeat of Nazi Germany. Along with the Bevin Boys in the mines, and the Fourteenth Army in Burma, they were largely forgotten when peace came.

Bomber Command waged a war that most of us would prefer to forget – Area Bombing, which meant the indiscriminate bombing of industrial centres through Germany, causing truly horrific civilian deaths. At the time, questions were asked in Parliament, and public protests were issued against the policy – which contrasts with the enthusiastic public reception given to film showing the bombing of Poland in Germany, where terror was promoted as a wonderful weapon. Let us be clear, the bombing of Dresden was no less an atrocity of war than Coventry, or Rotterdam, or Guernica come to that.

The bombing offensive did probably shorten the length of the war, and it did disrupt German war production. The figures will be argued over till the cows come home, but it is significant that Germany moved a large part of its fighter force home to protect the Reich, and built many more fighters than bombers from 1942. This increasingly meant that Allied forces, East and West, could gain the vital air superiority needed to win on the ground.

This was a battle of attrition, with airmen from Australia, Canada, India, the West Indies, and of course from the occupied countries as well as Great Britain. Arthur “Butch” Harris frequently overstated the results of the campaign, and time and again, young men were ordered into the face of a well organised flak and night fighter defence. Yet these airmen did not falter, orders were orders, and they did their duty, incurring heavy losses in the air, and untold anguish once the war was over.

Because of the controversy and revulsion over Area Bombing, once the war was over, no campaign medal was struck – uniquely for both world wars. Arthur Harris resigned in disgust, and the only memorial to those 55,000-odd men was in Ely Cathedral – out of sight, out of mind.

 Until this year, the fallen of Bomber Command had no memorial in London, and it had to be paid for by public subscription. And of course, when the funding fell through, the bill still had to be paid. So who should pay? Well, by the inaction of the British Establishment, it looks like the pensioners who are fast dying out. Only the most cynical of Tories should fail to feel burning shame…

Lib Dem Conference Latest…

… just in…

In Brighton this week, Danny Alexander was publicly thanked by failed minister Sarah Teather for making her look good…

… Breaking News…

…The Lib Dem Glee Club has replaced “F*** off Tony Blair and die” with a more appropriate song that fits their standing in the polls – Tom Lehrers’ “We Will All Go Together When We Go”…

(For the original offensive Lib Dem song, see this – http:www.labourlist.org/2012/09/lib-dem-conference-goers-sing-tony-blair-can-fk-off-and-die/  )

…And in what may yet be seen as his best speech ever, Little Nicky shows his grasp of History, the laws of Physics, and primary colours:

“The past is the past…”  “…we can’t return to the past…”  ” Blue + Yellow = Green…”

So, altogether now – “Red and yellow and pink and blue…”

The word that strikes fear into the Tories

Over at Notes from a Broken Society, one blogger manages to involve the great PG Wodehouse in the “Plebs” scandal – kudos!!!

Notes from a Broken Society

Fans of P G Wodehouse – of whom I am one – will recall that Bertie Wooster gained the upper hand over the thuggish Spode, leader of the Black Shorts, by uttering the word “Eulalie” – the name of the up-market lingerie shop that Spode secretly ran in London, terrified that if word got out he and his macho followers would be held up to ridicule and contempt by the masses he despised.

You do not need a detailed knowledge of Wodehouse to see how the Coalition can easily resemble the Drones Club on one of its escapades.  The Drones Club, of course, frequently found themselves coming into conflict with the long arm of the law, as exemplified by the red-faced bicycle-borne local constable, and that tradition has been continued by Andrew Mitchell, accused of swearing at a Downing Street police officer and calling him a “pleb”, because the officer…

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