What would Clement do?

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

Archive for the tag “Big Society”

BORIS BALLS

Once again Boris and his ardent admirers in blogland have been up to their latest trick, in between watching Midsomer Murders and Top Gear…

Tory Mayor Boris, who’s dedicated support for his old mucker Toby Young has helped lead to Iranian dissidents having to apply to the Iranian Embassy for help (rather as if we had directed Russian emigres to the Soviet Embassy), has been up to his old tricks again, first of all claiming an increase in Police numbers for 2012, and then shutting up anyone who reminds us of the reduction in Police taking place since the 2009.

His fansites (all, of course, totally independent) are pressing his case, as eagerly as a gold-digger spying a rich widow presses his suit.

Yet his own Budget for 2011/12 talks of reducing Policer Officers from 32,481 now to 31,800 in 2014. To most people this is a simple subtraction sum, producing a figure of 681 Policemen less. But then again, most of us never had the benefit of an Oxford Classics education.

Todays vote on London’s Budget will see 100 Sergeants removed from Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

No wonder AM John Briggs castigated bluffer Boris on his mendacity (look it up, I did).

Yet de Pfeffel Johnson has not been idle on our behalf. It has come to light that in the twelve months between October 2009 and October 2010, our Mayor held 3 Press Conferences, 8 public meetings with Londoners, 22 meetings with Police Chiefs, and 31 with Government Ministers.

He also spent 35 meetings with denizens of the Square Mile – thats near enough  three a month!!!

But it wasn’t all work no play, here are a few examples from his published diary –

13/10/09      Fortune Forum Dinner

21/10/09      Meeting with Govenor of The Bank of Qatar (will this chap be needing asylum soon?)

04/12/09     Goldman Sachs Breakfast

19/12/09      Banking Industry Lunch ( AKA happy Christmas – you’re fired, we’re not)

27/10/10     Dinner with Bob Diamond (anyone else present?)

REMINDER – the City of London already has its own Lord Mayor – Boris is supposed to work for the rest of us.

No doubt his groupies will whine on about Mr Livingstone and Press TV – they are still repeating their “totally independent” yet strangely uniform line on this one, whilst forgetting to mention the other ex-Press TV employees, such as Boris backer Nick Ferrari, and Telegraph journo Andrew Gilligan…

Strange and sad to relate that Londoners are used to this kind of guff by now, and utterly fed-up with it.

I do hope to see Anne, Angie and Tory Aardvark et al putting their hands in their pockets to help out the abandoned Iranian Dissidents and Afghani Refugees that Boris’ Tory chums in Hammersmith have thrown to the dogs. Big Society eh?




Advertisements

Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran – Hammersmith and Fulham…

For those of us who remember the glorious year of 1989, events across the Middle East have a wonderfully familiar ring to them. Then as now, a domino effect meant that tyranny was overthrown across a wide area, with regimes that seemed permanent crumbling before our eyes.

Then as now, it was not only political or religious ideas that inspired people to rise, economic factors were important too.

There are however important differences now – not least that these protests, inspired by Tunisia and Egypt, have now surged across the oil-rich Gulf.  We have heard and read today, of the markets fears of “instability”( democracy) in the region, and no doubt those trading oil have been encouraged by the brutal actions in Bahrain, a small island off the Saudi coast. I feel pretty sure that these vultures were more than “relaxed” about the repression of opposition in Iran back in 2009. The old canard that “markets ensure freedom” is laid bare. Only freedom ensures freedom.

For Socialists and Democrats of every stripe, the path is clear – we must support anyone anywhere struggling for Liberty and Justice against repressive tyranny and ignorance. The regimes of the region, whether western backed or not, are deeply divided on class lines, with tiny minorities at the top skimming off vast oil wealth, pretty much unchallenged until now. unlike the failed attempt at nation-building from without in Iraq, what we are seeing is nation-building from within. In this respect, these revolts have much akin to 1848. It is our job to help the peoples standing up against barbarism, to support them in any practical way we can, so that there is a just and successful conclusion.

In this spirit, I have a question to ask Toby Young, and the Tory-run Hammersmith and Fulham Council, apple of Boris Johnsons eye, and favourite West London Free School pioneer of Micheal “Woodentop” Gove. a disturbing story has come to light through the pages of this weeks’ Private Eye…

Palingswick House,the building that Mr Young wants to house his jolly new obsession in currently houses a number of refugee organisations. Amongst them are groups from Afghanistan and Iran. When notified of their being moved on, the Iranians politely (very courteous people, Iranians) asked what the alternative accommodation would be .

Quick as a flash, the good burghers in Hammersmiths Cabinet drew up a list of alternative provision for those who are escaping persecution, and will no doubt miss the services of the Iranian Association, and Afghan Council UK.

According to this document, any Iranian dissident should avail themselves of the fine, and no-doubt sympathetic services of another building in west London – the Embassy of The Islamic republic of Iran.

Meanwhile Afghanis are directed to the “excellent alternative” , the Southern Afghan Club. Previously, the SAC, surely a wonderful organisation in its way, gave advice solely to owners of pedigree Afghan Hounds.

 

So, Toby, Boris, Govey and the rest of you true Blues, are  you not ashamed???

A more disgraceful and shaming episode would be harder to find, even with this bunch of poltroons and knaves in power.

Big Society for who???

Ham Face, in  todays Observer defends his wonderful “Big Society” thingy ( as its known at Conservative Central Office), and it would be no surprise that I, in line with the majority of Her Majesties’ subjects, am pretty cynical about this. All new Governments come out with some kind of big idea, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Anyone remember “The Third Way”?

It is important to understand and refute just what this means, and just how much of this is cover for massive cuts.

First of all, lets look at the supposed bedrock of this idea, voluntary organisations. As an ex Sea Scout who grew up in the wonderful county of Suffolk, I am more than happy for the voluntary sector to do what it does well. All around this nation, every day of the week, hundreds of thousands of us spend our time serving our communities – providing support for the vulnerable, raising funds,running youth organisations, and conserving our common heritage. These people should be saluted and cherished for all they do, and no doubt many of us could do more. They do this for any number of reasons, some moral, or religious, or just because they believe in helping their fellows. I very much doubt however, that there will be any charity that will volunteer to run the 17 public toilets to be closed in Manchester City Centre, nor to clean up the filth consequently left behind.

In the present situation, combined with the Coalitions massive cuts in public services, the idea that the voluntary sector, already hard-pressed in hard times, can step in and fill the yawning gaps left by 500,000 workers made redundant is nothing short of criminal. Those of us in work have less time to spare, those of us without have time, but no resources. We should also look at the nature of some of these charities, and the way they are run, and by whom. We have seen in recent years a plethora of faith-based charities and self-help groups – often fundamentalist in nature. I am not talking about The Salvation Army and Christian Aid here, groups with a long history, who spend more time serving than preaching, rather churches such as United Christian Kingdom of God, implicated in Victoria Climbies death, or those of Sikh, Muslim, Hindu or Jewish origin that seek to further different agendas rather than simply a helping hand. A number of these groups have been implicated in extremism and religious intolerance of one kind or another, and, under the policies of successive Governments, have been given cover as “faith and community” groups.

A major plank of The big society, Goveys’ “free” Schools, has already led to the setting-up of Britains’ first creationist school. Do any of us really believe that this is a step forward? Public money given to an organisation that holds The Book of Genesis to be literal truth???

An already fractured education system hardly needs further atomisation along lines of religion, or in the case of Boris Johnsons ex-“Youth Deputy”, race…

True to his corporate roots, Ham Face, the scion of apparently hereditary Stockbrokers, also makes much of the vogue for “Corporate Responsibility” within the private sector, and how this can be harnessed for social good. At best, this means that people already inclined to volunteer have another opportunity to do so on projects that give a friendly face to BAE Systems, City firms, and multinationals. (Even Tobacco companies include this guff in their annual reports these days…)

Would it be too much to ask these “socially responsible” companies to pay their taxes in the UK, rather than Grand Cayman??? Has Gideon Whyborn settled HIS £1.6 million debt to the revenue??? After all, he is the Chancellor…

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to Health, Social Services and Education, it will not be the host of small local charities that will “pick up the slack”, rather it will be a mix of larger religious groups (Catholic Hospitals anyone? Will you miss the Right to Choose?) and inevitably the private sector – so yet again, you and I lose out, whilst Capita and Group Four increase their profits, whilst cutting services and working conditions, all funded from our taxes.

Having tapped into the strong vein of public voluntarism, this Government runs the risk of further destroying our common heritage and social solidarity. An interesting fact reproduced in a number of international survey ranging from Academic to the OECD, is that there is a correlation between the participation on voluntary work and the “Big State” that Cameron, Clegg and their followers routinely deride. It seems that in western nations with higher taxation, and more social democratic economies, more people volunteer for longer periods of time, not less. In more free market economies, the reverse is true.

To this end, I suggest that we all volunteer to go on a march, on 26th of March, organised by that huge voluntary organisation, The TUC, to oppose this Governments cuts package.

Think on, Cameroons.


Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: