Drag Queens, Freemasons and the World Economic Forum: The Weird Conspiracist Views of Correct, Not Political

February 6, 2023

I spent some time Saturday evening watching a couple of videos posted by the far right YouTube outfit, Correct, Not Political. One was of their man Jim walking around the demonstrators and supporters at Drag Queen Story Time in Colchester asking them awkward, ‘Socratic’ questions. The other was an interview between Jim and another fixture of the British far right, Godfrey Bloom. Both were weirdly interesting, but only for the light they cast on these two men’s conspiracist views. I’ve already written about how Correct, Not Political has the classic paranoid idea that the Masons are behind a massive conspiracy. His interview with Bloom, and the comments he made talking to some of the people in Colchester confirmed it. It also revealed him to be a mad anti-vaxxer who thinks they’re putting something in it to kill people as part of the WEF’s goal to reduce the human population on the planet.

The drag queen reading to the kids in Colchester was Edward Wilcox, who performs under the name ‘Ann Nemic’ or something similar. Talking to various members of the crowd, Jim said that ‘Nemic’ had been vaccinated twice, and given blood 92 times. He didn’t want to say too much, as he didn’t want his channel to be banned, but didn’t this tell you something. Er, yes. It demonstrates that he was like everyone else and did as the government and medical authorities advised. He got vaccinated to protect himself. As for giving blood 92 times, one of the women at the demonstration pointed out that it made him a good person and that surely you want people to give blood? His stage name also shows that he has a sense of humour: Ann Nemic/ anaemic. It doesn’t say anything more than that, unless you’re so paranoid you think he was actively trying to spread whatever it is in the vaccine which you think is a poison by donating his contaminated blood. Sadly, I think Jim really is that bonkers.

Looking at the crowd, he declared, ‘There isn’t half a lot of sodomy going on here!’ This was probably because they were quite a few gay people and people waving pride flags, not because gay men were having sex in the street. He then went round warning people that drag queen story hour was a plot to indoctrinate kids with gender ideology and abuse from paedophiles. Here he has a point. James Lindsay has read out a paper co-written by a drag queen and queer activist, which states that the purpose of these shows is to queer the children’s minds and upset gender norms. And yes, the founder of Queer Theory, Judith Butler, did support paedophilia and the breaking down of barriers between adult and child. But this doesn’t mean that every drag queen, library or school which stages these sessions holds such views or is even aware of their existence. They may just be doing it because they genuinely feel it is spreading tolerance towards gay and trans people whilst encouraging children to read. No more than that.

Walking around the demonstration was a bald bloke, who looked a bit like the Matt Lucas character George Daws, selling copies of the Socialist Worker. So Jim immediately called him a Communist, asked whether he was trying to get people to sign up for Communism, and then asked people to tell him if there was a country in which Communism had ever succeeded. Well, technically the man was a Trotskyite, which is a slightly different form of Marxism. And I actually agree with him in that there hasn’t been a country where Communism has been successful. China has been doing very well of late, but that’s also thanks to a capitalist component in its economy. But from where Britain stands at the moment, capitalism isn’t working very well either. Far from improving people’s living standards, they’re being lowered. However, the right haven’t given up the refrain that this generation has it far better than anyone else at any time in history, and capitalism has raised more people out of poverty than socialism has. The first part of that statement is utterly wrong, and the second needs serious qualifications.

The drag show, Jim said, was all about promoting equality. But this was equality under communism, where everyone didn’t have life equally good, but equally bad, except for those at the top. Again, this seems to come from critiques of the woke ideology from James Lindsay and the EDIJester. It’s certainly present in those ideologies, though its equity – equality of outcome – rather than equality of opportunity. There were a couple of examples of this in the American education system a month or so ago. One teacher, in the interest of equality, gave all her students an ‘A’. Another one just gave the average award to a series of excellent students, who actually deserved much higher marks to take them into one of the prestigious American universities to study science. This was eventually revealed after an inquiry and possibly legal action. I have yet to hear of a case like this in this country, however.

Jim also got shirty with the Trotskyite because the man called him a Fascist and a Nazi. Jim told him that was libel, to which the fellow rightly pointed out that it was slander, as he’d know if he’d actually had any knowledge of the law. As Jim has prefaced several of his livestreams with old footage of Oswald Mosley and the BUF, and that Mosley changed his benighted organisation’s name to the ‘British Union of Fascists and National Socialists’, it could be said that what the man said was fair comment.

When someone asked who was behind this plot to corrupt Britain’s kids, Jim replied that, again he didn’t want to say too much, but it was the Freemasons, citing a couple of 19th century authors, who, he said, were themselves 33rd degree members of the brotherhood. I’ve forgotten just who they were, but their names rang a bell among the sources cited by those convinced of such a conspiracy. Finally, after bothering the good burghers of Colchester for about an hour, and nearly being assaulted by some particularly angry LGBTQ+ rights demonstrators, he went off in search of something to drink. Going through the town’s back streets, he complained about the number of ‘weirdos’ there were and that it was all coffee houses. Quite what he has against coffee houses I don’t know. Perhaps he was afraid that if he went inside, left-wing intellectuals would all jump on him like the characters in Fraser all those years ago.

His conspiracist views became much clearer in his conversation with Godfrey Bloom. Bloom announced himself has having been an investment banker for 40 years and at one time a member of the defence council or something like that. He was thus well-placed to know that capitalism was about to collapse. Actually, there’s a Marxist economics professor on YouTube, Richard Wolf, who has being saying exactly the same thing. And if it hadn’t been for Brown in 2008, I’m sure it would have collapsed. The two then shared their views on the World Economic Forum wishing to depopulate the planet, set up Green Communism and make us all eat bugs. The WEF has captured all our institutions, including the monarchy. Prince Philip also believed there were too many people on the planet. Well, the late Duke of Edinburgh was the head of the World Wide Fund for Nature, so his views are hardly a surprise. The WEF are Malthusians, which means that they believe that population always outstrips the supply of available food, as suggested by the 19th century economist Thomas Malthus. Malthus and his followers believed that when this happened, starvation and war would inevitably result. In order to prevent this, they recommended birth control and were active promoting contraception. As did the Duke, who on one of his official visits to some tribe showed the men how to put on a condom using a spear. However, the WEF were going much further and planning to wipe out a sizable chunk of humanity using a manufactured disease or its vaccine. Those who survived would be under the WEF’s new communist order.

This made me wonder if Jim knew about the wretched views of the late zookeeper John Aspinall, best known for his big cats killing and mauling people. Aspinall also believed that there were too many people around. He said the British population should be only eight million. However, he definitely wasn’t a communist of any description. He declared that what the country needed was a ‘counterrevolution, Francoist in spirit.’ So his green views were closer to Hitler’s than the WEF. And almost certainly pretty close to Jim’s and Bloom’s.

Correct, Not Political’s Jim therefore seems to have read or watched much material about the woke ideology, especially Queer Theory, and mixed this up with old conspiracy theories about the masons. I also think there might be a touch of anti-Catholicism in their as well. When he was voicing his objections to drag queens reading to children as getting them used to nonces, one woman asked him about Roman Catholic priests abusing children. He didn’t agree with that, either, but said he didn’t agree with established religions as ‘they’re from Satan’. But some of the other things he has said, and they’re nothing I can put a precise finger on, suggests that he might have the same conspiracist views about the Catholic church, which is supposed to be doing the work of the antichrist, as some as the bigoted Protestant writers of the 19th century.

Correct, Not Political aren’t physically violent, and while Jim’s sneers about socialism are irritating, he personally has an affable manner. I can’t say that they present a physical danger, unlike National Action or the BNP, for example. What is dangerous is the mad anti-vaxxer views and the deranged paranoia about the WEF, which he also shares with the Lotus Eaters, Alex Jones and any number of others on the right. And these views are a danger to democratic politics, if only because the undermine proper democratic views in favour of suspicion and paranoia.

Striking Teachers Describe Lack of Resources and Underfunding

February 6, 2023

Last week Britain’s teachers joined the other workers in taking strike action over decades of poor pay and increasingly deteriorating conditions. And naturally, the right-wing media and YouTubers sneered and complained. One berk who phoned up Mike Graham on LBC radio claimed to have been married to a teacher, but that they were actually well-paid with plenty of spare time and holidays. This was pounced on immediately by various left-wing YouTubers, who pointed out that teachers don’t have plenty of spare time, because they’re still required to work after the official end of the school day, on things like sports and so on. Plus they have to take the kids’ schoolwork home for marking. This means that in practice they’re working much longer than their official hours. I know, as my mother was one. Another pratt appeared on GB News or some other right-wing internet news channel to claim that they were being selfish and should put up with low wages like others were doing. But, he said, he would have been prepared to support them if they had been striking over the poor conditions and state of Britain’s schools. Michael Walker of Novara Media pulled that one to shreds, stating that teachers couldn’t actually do that by law. Current British legislation states that workers can only strike over pay and conditions, not over anything else.

But the state of Britain’s schools has always been a major concern to teachers aside from their own personal interests. It was one of the reasons behind the teachers’ strike when Thatcher was in power in the 1980s, and it’s a major cause of their discontent now. I also found a video on YouTube, in which they describe how underfunded schools are and the shortages of necessary teaching equipment and resources this causes. I can’t put it up here, as I’ve since lost it unfortunately, but I hope you’ll accept what I’m saying.

Schools have been underfunded and teachers poorly paid for a very long time, because Thatcherite ideology doesn’t like state education. Hence the transition of schools from the state sector, run by the local authority, to academies, managed by private companies. The companies owning them are often in tax havens, and these schools are frequently no better than the state management they replace. In fact many were so dreadful themselves that the chains running them collapsed and they had to be taken back into state management. But this hasn’t deterred the Tories. A few years ago, mad-eyed Nikki Morgan wanted to bring back grammar schools and but that was quashed. The idea is still out there, however, floating around on the right.

The point here is that teachers aren’t just striking for themselves, but because they are acutely aware of how poorly the state education sector is being treated by decades of Thatcherite mismanagement, cuts and underfunding. They aren’t striking because they want to harm the education of the children they teach by stopping work, but to force the government into treating schools fairly.

There’s also a class element there as well. Private school fees have rocketed while funding of state schools has remained level. This means that the rich are receiving a much more expensive, and presumably better education, than state pupils. This may allow them to position themselves as in a natural position to take up top jobs and social positions than all those pesky state students.

So when you hear the Tories whinge about teachers, remember: they want state schools and their staff to be poor, so that their pupils will always remain, compared to them, at the back of the class in terms of jobs and prospects.

Simon Webb Now Pushing NHS Privatisation

February 6, 2023

With the NHS crisis the Tories the Tories have created, the sharks really are circling in the water. Nana Akua of GB News seems to be one of those plugging its privatisation, along with broadcaster, stalker and jailbird Alex Belfield. And now they’ve been joined by Our Favourite Internet (non)Historian, Simon Webb. He put up a post this morning with the title ‘What’s So Bad About Privatising the NHS?’ It’s short, but I haven’t watched it on the grounds that I’d find it too infuriating. Webb is, of course, far right, and seems to get most of his views from the Torygraph, which has also been pushing this nonsense. As someone who takes history seriously, Webb should know what an immense difference the NHS and the welfare state made to the lives of ordinary Brits. I’ve blogged about it, citing my sources. But some of those I’ve used were by social worker types, the kind of people the Tory party has been trying to discredit for donkey’s years, and so someone like Webb would simply ignore them out of hand. But I’ve also used books from the time looking forward to the foundation of the NHS, as well as Jackie Davis’ and Ray Tallis’ excellent NHS – SOS. In contrast to what the privatisers will tell you, private healthcare is not more efficient. It’s less. Private hospitals are smaller, and in order to make a profit private healthcare largely ignores the long-term sick in order to concentrate on people who are mostly well. When private healthcare companies have taken over doctors’ surgeries in this country, they’ve closed down those they consider unprofitable, leaving thousands without a doctor. Also, private healthcare spends a large proportion of their running costs on administration, so as a consequence these costs have risen in the NHS as a consequence of its privatisation.

At the moment there seems to be a trend among the political class to be looking at the continental healthcare systems, where medical costs are paid by a mixture of state and private health insurance. But this also neglects the simple fact that these countries also spend much more on their healthcare generally than we do. The privatisation of the NHS won’t improve healthcare, but it will give private healthcare firms the support of the state sector, which is what they want.

And it seems to me that what the Tories really want is a completely private healthcare system, funded by private health insurance, like America. And that really would be disastrous. Except for their corporate friends, of course, who would get all those great profits.

A few years ago I wrote a book and a pamphlet against the privatisation of the NHS. Here’s their description. The pamphlets are available from me, if you want one, while the book’s available from Lulu.

Privatisation: Killing the NHS, by David Sivier, A5, 34 pp. This is a longer pamphlet against the privatisation of the NHS. It traces the gradual privatisation of the Health Service back to Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, John Major’s Private Finance Initiative in the 1990s, the Blair and Brown ‘New Labour’ governments, and finally David Cameron and the Conservatives. There is a real, imminent danger that the NHS will be broken up and privatised, as envisioned by Andrew Lansley’s, the author of the Tories’ Health and Social Care Act of 2012. This would return us to the conditions of poor and expensive healthcare that existed before the foundation of the NHS by the Clement Atlee’s Labour government in 1948. Already the Tories have passed legislation permitting ‘healthcare providers’ – which include private companies – to charge for NHS services.

The book is fully referenced, with a list of books for further reading, and organisations campaigning to preserve the NHS and its mission to provide universal, free healthcare.

Don’t Let Cameron Privatise the NHS, David Sivier, A5, 10pp.

This is a brief critique of successive government’s gradual privatisation of the NHS, beginning with Margaret Thatcher. Tony Blair’s New Labour were determined to turn as much healthcare as possible over to private companies, on the advice of the consultants McKinsey and the American insurance companies. The Conservatives under David Cameron have continued and extended Blair’s privatisation, so that there is a real danger that the NHS, and the free, universal service it has provided for sixty-five years, will be destroyed. If the NHS is to be saved, we must act soon.

Here’s the video I made years ago for my book against the privatisation of the health service.

I also put up this video, which only four people have watched, asking people to vote Labour to defend the NHS. I hope people will, as some Labour MPs will defend it. But I’m not at all sure about Starmer.

Ho ho! Tory Party Now Running Out of Money

February 5, 2023

Arch-Brexiteer Mahyar Tousi has posted a very interesting little video about the current financial state of the Conservatives. Good news! According to Bloomberg, it’s dire. There’s a £25 million black hole, and the party has had to trigger its overdraft facility simply to pay its staff. They’re also raising the membership fees and asking their members to pay more. Tousi makes the point that membership of the Tory party doesn’t get you much. You don’t get to select the leaders and you have to pay more if you want to attend their conference. They’re also chasing more firms for donations and sponsorship.

Tousi asks if this means that the Tories are no longer Conservative in the sense that they’ve forgotten the values of financial responsibility and strong leadership. And if they aren’t, are they still fit to run the country? He also makes the point that the Tories have been so successful at winning elections because they were able to spend much more money on campaigning. But if they are no longer able to do that, and the Labour party is similarly struggling with financial problems thanks to the unions withdrawing their funding, does this mean that smaller parties have a chance?

Yes, you can see from that comment that he supports Reform or Reclaim and other bonkers parties of that ilk. As for the Tories, I think they’ve been shedding members for several years now because of the way they ignored their wishes for those of the big corporate donors. And now it’s coming back to hit them. Well, I hope they do go down after everything they’ve done to this country, its great working people and the very institutions and practice of politics, democracy and justice. My only reservation is that I can see Starmer hoping to pick up the donors that may have left the Tories, and simply carry on with their policies. Just as New Labour did under Blair.

The Reaction of Ordinary People to the Return of Liz Truss: ‘Ahhh! My Mortgage!’

February 5, 2023

Liz Truss is planning a comeback, as if she hasn’t done this country enough damage, and according to a video up on YouTube, it’s only a month away. But apart from that faction of the Tory party that thinks she’s wonderful, my guess is that ordinary Brits are much less impressed with her performance and really don’t want her back at all. Just how strong is the horror ordinary, working people feel about her return was shown very clearly by the reaction of the lady serving me in my local newsagents last week. It’s run by a husband and wife couple, and it was the wife on the counter that day. This was Wednesday, and I’d gone down the road for a paper, and the headline was that Truss was planning to return. We mentioned this, along with the other pieces of the day’s news as part of the general chitchat, and the lady’s reaction was an instantaneous yell of horror, ‘Ahh! My mortgage!’ Thanks to the Sunak’s awful policies, some mortgages are set to go up by £4,000 a year, but they’ll be much higher under Truss. The lady’s reaction was that of very many Brits right across the country as the worry about the cost of keeping a roof over their heads. And, for some, the cost of putting food on the table and the lights and heating on as well.

But Truss’ supporters don’t come from the same class as you, me and millions of other Brits. They seem to be rich businessmen and financiers, who are looking at it all in the abstract through the lens of stupid neoliberal economic theories. Truss’ cuts will mean growth, in their eyes. And although some people will be left behind, this is a necessary sacrifice in the long run. Especially as it won’t affect them and will probably benefit the wretched investment houses and hedge funds they work for. They’re absolutely wrong economically, of course. John Quiggin in his book Zombie Economics states that the length of the recession that started with the Bankers’ crash is inexplicable under Thatcherite economics, and the stories about how various countries were able to recover economically thanks to austerity are all false. But it doesn’t matter to them, because it tells them exactly what they want to hear. Hence they’re backing Truss.

Meanwhile, ordinary working Brits are frightened about what she’ll do, not just to the national economy, but to them, their homes, livelihoods and businesses.

Stop Truss, Johnson and Sunak, and get the Tories out. Now.

Spectre of Dune’s Axolotl Tanks as Professor Suggests Brain Dead Women Could Be Kept Alive as Surrogate Mothers

February 4, 2023

I found this horrendous issue being debated by Leo Kearse and the rest on GB News this morning. A philosophy professor in Oslo has suggested in a paper that brain-dead women could serve as surrogate mothers for women who were unable or unwilling to go through pregnancy themselves. The general reaction to the idea was revulsion, though the presenter said that philosophers often make extreme or outrageous suggestions just to start a conversation. There were also jokes about how mixed any children would be, born of a corpse. Of course, such women wouldn’t be corpses, just living women artificially kept alive through life-support machines. But one of them makes the serious point how you can tell if someone is braindead. The professor has made the comparison between his idea and organ donation. This is a reasonable moral problem – how is harvesting the organs of the dead any different from using the bodies of the braindead to bring children into the world? I suspect that the professor’s suggestion is really part of an attempt to explore the moral dimensions around donor organs. In that sense it’s a deliberately provocative statement intended to stimulate debate, not a serious suggestion.

But for readers of Dune it immediately raises the spectre of the Tleilaxu and their axolotl tanks, as one commenter pointed out. The Tleilaxu are one of the races in Frank Herbert’s Dune series. They specialise in genetic engineering and the creation of a form of clones, known as gholas. But they’re also clones themselves, born from the axolotl tanks. Only men are seen, which makes the other peoples of the galaxy suspect that the axolotl tanks themselves are the remains of their women. It’s a truly horrendous idea, and is part of SF’s tradition of exploring the shocking and dystopian. If the unnamed professor’s suggestion was serious, it would come a step closer to becoming reality rather than science fiction. But I don’t think it is serious, and if it was, it would face a number of serious moral objections.

On the other hand, the story is reported in the Heil, many of whose journo are, I believe, products of genetic engineering themselves. People that right-wing and bonkers are surely the products of deranged technology.

An Artist’s Image of the Tleilaxu axolotl tanks.

Greens Take Hotwells Ward to Become Biggest Party on Bristol Council

February 3, 2023

Yesterday there was a local election for the ward of Hotwells and Harbourside in Bristol. I had an invitation from the local Labour party to help them campaign for it, but circumstances prevented me from physically going and I do not believe in phone banking. Anyway, the results are in. It was won by the Green party, who took it from the Lib Dems by 26 seats. This is quite ironic, as in the last election the Lib Dems only won that ward by the same number. This victory now makes the Greens the largest party in the council, though I gather that none of them have an overall majority.

Hotwells is one of the city’s historic districts on the banks of the Avon running through the city, and where Bristol’s harbour was before it was abandoned in the 70s and the port moved to its present location at Avonmouth. It’s a mixture of retail, office and residential buildings, including some dating from the 18th and 19th centuries when it, along with Clifton, were the city’s spa districts. Some of the housing is very modern and upmarket, while there are also a couple of 60s/70s brutalist tower blocks. It’s also the location for one of Bristol’s private schools, Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital. It’s population also includes lecturers and academics from Bristol university, which is literally just up the road in Clifton. Just across the river are a couple of converted tobacco bonds, one of which now houses the city’s archives while another is, or was, the site of a green technology centre.

Bristol is quite a green city. Under the Labour mayor, Marvin Rees, the local authority’s put in a number of new cycle lanes and in that part of the city you do see people pedalling away, including women with their children in trailers behind them. The council has also announced other plans for developing a local green economy, including a clean air zone which has caused controversy in recent weeks because of the way it affects traffic.

Bristol Live reported that the new councillor, ‘ 24-year-old Cllr McAllister, who works in legal services, said his party was now preparing to take power in Bristol.

He said: “Successive Conservative-led governments and our Labour-run council have left our residents feeling frustrated — whether it’s through botched consultations on new developments, repair works to public throughways going on for years, the cladding crisis, or even threatening to take away our library.

“There’s never been a more vital time to speak up for our communities, and that is exactly what I’m going to do from now on. The Green Party is now the biggest group in the council, with 25 councillors, and I recognise the weight of that responsibility. As a team we are putting together our programme so we are ready to run this city from next year.

“In the meantime, I think that the city council’s current leadership has a responsibility as well — they have to now recognise the mandate that the Green Party has. I’m really looking forward to getting on with the job and representing this amazing community with the commitment and enthusiasm that it deserves.”’

See: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/greens-win-bristol-election-race-8106783

He undoubtedly has a point about local service. Roadworks with the attendant diversions have been going on in Temple Meads for many years now, as well as in the rest of the city. And the council is considering closing Bristol Central Library and moving it to another location. Rees has also made decisions that make little sense, and have ignored the wishes and opinions of local people. The city wishes to build a new, top-level stadium. The ideal location would be Temple Meads, because it’s the site of the railway station and is a very short drive from the motorway. Rees decided against that, ruling instead that it should be build in Patchway, a district miles away in the north of Bristol. He also upset the local people in Hengrove and Whitchurch in his plans for the redevelopment of Hengrove Park. This was to be the site of new housing, but locals objected because there were too many homes planned and no amenities. They voiced their complaints to Rees, who politely met them. They also submitted them, and their alternative plans, to the relevant supervisory authority, who ruled in the favour. But Rees ignored them, and bulldozed his plans through.

But some of those 26 voters may also have been swayed by national issues. I’ve got very strong reservations about the Greens’ social policies. I’ve got the impression they’re very woke. It was the Green-led local authority in Brighton and Hove which caused controversy a couple of years ago by teaching Critical Race Theory in its schools. In Bristol, former Green councillor Cleo Lake put forward the motion calling for the payment of reparations for slavery to all ‘Afrikans’. In Scotland, it seems to be the Greens behind the Gender Recognition Act, which would lower the age of consent for children to identify as trans to 16, cut back on the amount of time a transperson would have to live as a member of the sex they wish to transition to. As well as the policy that has seen dangerous biologically male rapists locked away in women’s prisons.

But they also have great economic and welfare policies. As I posted a few days ago, I caught their party political broadcast the other night, and they said all the right things when it came to the NHS and the utilities: they want them renationalised along with a proper welfare state. Brilliant! These are the policies that Jeremy Corbyn put forward in his brilliant manifesto, and which Starmer promised to retain. Until he dumped them during a policy review. A few years ago the Greens were gaining on Labour in Bristol before Corbyn became leader, and I have no doubt that some of that was due to the Blairism of Miliband’s leadership.

The Bristol Live report speculates that the victory could mean trouble for Labour in the local elections here in 2024. That’s a real possibility. Novara Media has put up a video today in which Michael Walker and Dalia Gebreal discuss the failure of the Labour leadership to voice support for the strikers. There has been no messages of support from their front bench and Starmer has been going around sacking those that have stood on picket lines. On the other hand, when asked about this, the local MP for Bristol south, Karin Smyth, said quite rightly that the party still defends the right to strike and gave some reasonable objections to MPs standing with the pickets. But it still looks to me like Starmer not wanting to be seen backing strikers and alienating all the Tory and Lib Dem voters he wants to atract.

The Greens have won by a very narrow majority, which could vanish come 2024. But it’ll be very interesting to see how well they do and how the local Labour party responds to their challenge.

The Megaphone’s Images and Messages from Today’s Strikers

February 2, 2023
Image
The biggest strike in a decade: 500,000 people, 84 rallies up and down the country — fighting for fair pay, decent conditions and good services. And to defend our right to strike.
Working people took to the picket lines to demand fair pay, safe conditions and respect
NEU Pay Up! Defend our Schools Rally in London
A series of tweets from trade union advocates across the country, celebrating solidarity, standing together and demanding a pay rise.
The fight continues: join a union today
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Megaphone UK is a project of the TUC, in collaboration with our 48 member unions and the nearly 5.5 million union members in the UK. We know big change only comes when we stand together. Learn more: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/

Richard Tice Calls for the Partial Renationalisation of the Water and Power Companies

February 1, 2023

Reform posted this short video, just over two minutes long, on their YouTube channel. In it, their current fuehrer calls for the partial, and rather half-hearted renationalisation of the water and power companies. He tries to connect this with Brexit, and has a dig at Starmer for initially backing it and then dropping it, saying he was no longer interested. Tice begins by stating that we are being badly served by the water companies, who are foreign-owned and so use various dodges to avoid paying tax. No other country allows vital parts of their infrastructure to be owned by foreigners. This is quite true, and Mike has been pointing this out on Vox Political since forever and day. This has been the case since they were privatised by the Tories great, molten idol of private enterprise, Maggie Thatcher, in the 1980s. He wants them partly renationalised – 50 per cent owned by the state, 50 per cent owned by pension funds, and placed under private management. This, he feels, will bring it the best of both state and private enterprise.

He’s wrong, of course. There is no magic solution behind private industry. When they’ve been handed state enterprises or institutions, their policy has always been the same: sack people and make those who remain work for less in poorer conditions in order to deliver profits and shareholder dividends. This has been done in the NHS, when hospitals and doctors’ surgeries have been handed over to private companies. In the case of GPs, this has also resulted in unprofitable patients being dumped and their surgeries closed. It also reminds me slightly of the restructuring of industry under the Nazis. Companies were linked together in a series of industrial associations, set up as private companies but membership of whom was mandatory under the Nazi regime. These associations were under the direction of the state planning apparatus running the economy. And the head of these industrial associations always came from private industry, even when the companies under him were state-owned. Obviously Tice isn’t calling for an extension of this system to British industry as a whole or its transformation into a centrally-planned economy. But he makes the same assumptions that Hitler and the Nazis, as well as the Italian fascists did, about the superiority of private industry. And as a true-blue Brexiteer he tries to link it to Brexit by saying that, as with the departure from the EU, this is all part of Britain taking back control.

Still, Tice has got something right, even though I think his speech is partly influenced by a BBC report today that Oxford Council has called for the end of water privatisation, as well as the outrage of the massive profits the private power companies have been making while energy bills have rocketed.. He’s clearly looking around for policies which he thinks will resonate with the public, and so has recognised, albeit grudgingly from the half-hearted way he wants it done, that the majority of the British public want the renationalisation of the public services. Of course, he’s still extremely right-wing in demanding more cuts to the welfare state, which he’s justified with the bogus explanation that British people need to move into low paid jobs in order to stop the British state importing more foreigners to do them. I posted a piece yesterday rubbishing that, and you should also read the comments on the piece left by the greater people reading this blog, who have added much more relevant information. But it is interesting that in this area of policy, Reform has moved left of Labour.

Not that I’ll believe they’ll keep their promises, anymore than I believe Starmer will.