Archive for November, 2014

EXCLUSIVE – Andrew Mitchell’s previously unreleased court statement on plebgate:

November 28, 2014
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RIPA and the Further Erosion of Free Speech and Democracy

November 27, 2014

The Coalition’s ‘Secret Courts’

Mike, Tom Pride, the Angry Yorkshireman, Johnny Void and other left-wing bloggers too numerous to name have all raised the serious concerns presented by the Coalition’s legislation expanding Britain’s surveillance state. These have included secret courts, a Kafkaesque travesty of justice waiting to happen, where the defendant may not even know the charges against them if this is deemed a threat to ‘national security’.

Internet Censorship

Under the pretext of trying to protect vulnerable children from online pornography and paedophiles, the Coalition has also tried to introduce censorship onto the internet with measures so loose and ill-worded that it threatened to stifle mature political discussion and contemporary pagan religion and alternative spirituality and occultism. Tom Pride suffered censorship at the hands of the Net because his blog had ‘adult content’. It has, but not quite in the way the term’s used by censors and the media, where it’s become a euphemism for nudity and sex. Pride’s ‘adult content’ is more in the way of dealing with adult issues using satire and scorn.

This has been waaaay too much for the forces of the Right. More recently he’s had Daily Mail journalists harassing his friends and trying to out him as a Conservative Brit living in Poland. This shows, if nothing else, how desperate they are to smear him.

Police Harassment of Greens and Film-Makers for UKIP and the Frackers

And then there was the case of the local Green activist, who had his collar felt by the rozzers on the behest of the local branch of UKIP. And last week NetPol, the campaign against police surveillance, reported the case of a documentary film-maker, who was interviewed by the police because she had been filming an anti-fracking demonstration, and was therefore considered a dangerous terrorist.

Derby Council’s Surveillance of Workers Talking to Journos

This fortnight’s issue of Private Eye (28th November – 11th December 2014) carries another sobering story about the way RIPA, the new legislation introduced by the government to allow the authorities to snoop on ‘terrorists, fly-tippers’ and people, who don’t clean up the mess when their dogs foul the pavement, has been used in Derby to spy on a local journalist doing her job. According to a speech to the House of Lords by Lord Black of Brentwood, the disgraced former head of the Telegraph group, Derby city council tried to use the new powers to spy on a group of serving and former council employees, who met Kirsty Green, a reporter from the Derby Evening Telegraph, in Starbucks. A senior council employee apparently stumbled on the meeting when he went in there. He reported it to the council, and then invoked the act to have two ‘investigators’ come to engage in ‘direct surveillance’ as part of ‘an internal personnel investigation’. The spies were, however, recognised by the group when they entered the shop, and Green and the employees left.

The Eye’s piece concludes that this episode is ‘more Clouseau than Ceaucescu, perhaps, but sinister nonetheless.

Local Councils and the Campaign against Free Speech

In fact, this has been only one of a number of case where local authorities have wasted time and tax-payers money clamping down on local dissidents, like some jumped-up petty Gestapo. The more infamous cases include how one northern city spent hundreds of pounds of council tax trying to find out who the ‘Mr Monkey’ was posting critical pieces on the internet so they could sue him and close him down. Private citizens and shopkeepers have been threatened when they put up posters criticising the local authorities on the windows of their own homes or businesses. Ten years or so ago, one of the councils in Kent got very stroppy with one individual who dared to put up posters denouncing a technology deal between the council and Richard Branson.

Hitler is Alive and Well and Living in Compton Dando

One of the most ludicrous and petty attempts to stifle free speech in a very local area was reported by the Eye a few years ago. A Conservative member of the parish council for Compton Dando had been infuriated by anonymous posters put up around the village portraying him as Hitler. He therefore demanded the police find arrest the culprit. Such is the vanity and totalitarian need to control of even some of the most minor politicos. Of course, it goes without saying that by demanding the police act to arrest a political opponent, the Conservative councillor therefore proved his opponent’s case: he was like Adolf.

There’s thus the real danger that RIPA will lead to more attempts by the authorities to stop the free discussion and criticism of their rule. It’s another step in the gradual erosion of free speech in the UK.

13 Things That Are Not Mosques after UKIP mistakes cathedral for mosque

November 27, 2014

Pride's Purge

(not satire – it’s the UKIP!)

Twitter users have been helping out UKIP after it mistook Westminster Cathedral for a mosque:

UKIP mistakes Westminster Cathedral for a mosque

Here are some of the best from the #ThingsThatAreNotMosques hashtag on Twitter:

ukip mosque 2ukip mosque 3ukip mosque 4ukip mosque 5ukip mosque 6ukip mosque 7ukip mosque 8ukip mosque 9ukip mosque 1ukip mosque 10ukip mosque 11ukip mosque 12ukip mosque 13

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Please feel free to comment. And share. Thanks:

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The Fake Anti-Corporatism of Fuehrer Farage

November 27, 2014

There are several pieces of interest in this fortnight’s edition of Private Eye. One of these, on page 5, is the item Landing on Mayfair, which demolishes the claim by UKIP’s generalissimo earlier this month (November 2014) that he and his party stand for ‘radical change’ from ‘corporatist politics’. The Eye states that it must therefore have been a totally different Nigel Farage, who in May last year – 2013 – went to an exclusive party in Mayfair at the offices of the hedge fund Odey Asset Management, hosted by Crispin Odey and attended by a number of City financiers.

The article then gives the details of the amount of sums big business, and particularly the financial sector, has given to UKIP. Harwood Capital Management’s boss Christopher Mills donated £50,000. Odey gave £22,000, and Arron Banks, the insurance tycoon, has promised a cool £1 million. Furthermore, UKIP’s treasurer is Stuart Wheeler, a former Tory, and the inventor of ‘spread betting’. He has also given £197,300 to the party.

UKIP and the Nazis’ Rhetoric against Big Business

I’ve blogged in the past about the similarity between UKIP and the Nazis in their election campaigning. Both are parties of the Right, who disguise their real policies in order to appeal to as broad an electoral base as possible. Hitler was in no way a Socialist, but he stressed anti-capitalist policies, rhetoric and imagery in order to win over working class voters, who would otherwise vote for the Socialist parties. It’s the reason why members of the Tory extreme Right now, like Daniel Hannan, try to present the Nazis as Socialists, and refer to the ‘Left-wing’ BNP.

Farage’s attack on corporatism is another parallel between UKIP and the Nazis’ electoral strategy. Historians of the Nazis have pointed out that Hitler also posed as the protector of the German working class from exploitation by big business when campaigning in working class, Socialist strongholds. In one speech, Hitler proclaimed that when the Nazis seized power, they would throw the coffers and money chests of the rich out into the street. He then went on to reassure the crowd that only Jewish businesses would be affected, and proper German enterprises would be left untouched and in peace. It was a policy that became horrific reality with Kristallnacht and the persecution of the Jews in the Holocaust.

In fact, Hitler actively sought funding from German business. This was originally from small and medium-sized industries, which feared attack and disruption from the unions and organised labour. Hitler then expanded his campaign to gain the complicity of big business during the Third Reich. An official from the financial sector became the head of the Nazi business cartel. Just before the Nazi seizure of power, the Machtergreifung, Hitler spoke to a meeting of German business leaders in order to gain their support. He declared that only under a personal dictatorship would German industry prosper and benefit from protection from Socialism and the trade unions.

Now Farage is not an anti-Semite, and has ostensibly tried to distance his party from the Fascist Right. Nevertheless, his party is populist, ultra-nationalist and extremely Right-wing, and like the Nazis covers up its true polices against the working class with a façade of anti-capitalist rhetoric, while doing precisely the opposite.

Who Had the Better Attitude on Violence Towards Women – The Tories, UKIP or the Klu Klux Klan

November 27, 2014

Yesterday I reposted a piece on the dangers to women and their children created by the government’s cuts to the system of women’s refuges set up to help women escape violent and abusive partners. Lack of funding from central government means that many councils are having to ration places in the refuges. Many are reserving the available places solely for their own citizens, with the result that there is a real that women suffering domestic violence will be forced to stay with their abusers, or live on the streets.

I also pointed out that UKIP politicos in particular have expressed some very disturbing misogynist attitudes towards violence against women. Various Kippers have said that it is perfectly acceptable to give women ‘a slap’. When the European parliament debated a motion to outlaw rape within marriage, the Kippers either abstained, or voted against the motion.

So, out of the forces of the Right, who had the better attitude against violence to women?

Weirdly, it’s the Klan.

In the 1920s, the Klan issued a statement listing all the things to which it was opposed. This included not only the obvious – Black emancipation and racial intermarriage, tolerance for Jews and Roman Catholics, and the power of world socialism, but also a number of social issues beyond the politics of racial intolerance and bigotry. These were mainstream issues that should concern everyone wishing to create a decent society. And they included beating wives.

Now you know there’s something very wrong with the Right in this country, when even a murderously genocidal outfit of anti-Semites and White supremacists have more respect for women than the supposedly anti-racist, more liberal parties. And I doubt even Daniel Hannan, the rabidly Right-wing Tory MEP for Dorset, who believes that the Nazis were socialists, can make the Klan out to be a left-wing organisation.

This isn’t an endorsement of the Klan. It’s an indictment of the vile misogyny in UKIP and the Tories.

Should @BBCTrending #BBC Correspondents Publish Detailed Biogs On www.bbc.co.uk? #CameronMustGo

November 27, 2014

Despite what the spokesman for private education has said about fee-paying schools, they are already pretty much the playgrounds of the rootless super-rich. There was a report in the ‘I’ yesterday that many of Britain’s elite private schools are dominated by the children of Russian oligarchs. A few weeks or months ago, a similar report expressed concern that private schools were dominated by foreign students, who formed ghetto societies to isolate themselves from other students not of their ethnicity.

As for whining that if their state support is removed, the smaller private schools will close, John D Turner is absolutely right. This is massively hypocritical considering the way the elite has demanded the withdrawal of state support from the nationalised industries, such as the mines, employing the working class. You can also directly compare it with the part-privatisation of the state school system, which is based on the assumption that somehow private industry is more efficient than state provision. Which appears to be true, except when applied consistently to the private sector, which then howls that it is being discriminated against.

The ramblings of a former DWP Civil Servant ...

I raise this subject because of Sean Coughlan’s post on the BBC website about Tristram Hunt’s private school business rate relief warning from Labour.

The BBC says that Sean has added the analysis below to the story written by Hannah Richardson:

“This demand for the private school sector to work more closely with their state school neighbours will probably be seen as a symbolic gesture.

It allows the tone of Labour’s education policy to sound different from the government’s, when otherwise they have much in common.

The amount of money under threat, £147m per year across more than 1,250 schools, might hurt the smaller struggling private schools. Average fees are about £12,000 per year, but it is not going to trouble upmarket schools charging more than £20,000 per year.

A bigger challenge would be the loss of charitable status and the accompanying tax benefits. But a long-running attempt by…

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Disability Campaigner Tisme’s Cares Has Been Removed By Facebook

November 27, 2014

Same Difference

Campaigner and reader Gail Ward posted something on Facebook last night that I’m not at all happy to hear. That is that our fellow disability rights campaigner, Tisme’s Cares, has had her account removed by Facebook.

I caan only assume that this is beause she does not follow their ‘real name’ policy.

Tisme’s Cares does a lot of good work for disabled people and carers through Facebook. She shares useful information and requests advice for her followers and friends.

Gail Ward wannts to try to get Tisme’s Cares’ Facebook account reinstated. In this, Gail Ward has the full support of Same Difference.

Updated 10.45: Gail Ward has now set up a petition. Please sign and share widely.

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Its Christmas sanction time. A gift from the government that just keeps taking.

November 27, 2014

The poor side of life

Yes its that time of year. The run up to Christmas. The time of year where Jobcentre staff are told to reach their quota of sanctions before the Christmas holidays. You see they cant sanction for those few days. But the person either on JSA or Universal Credit must constantly search for jobs. Even on Christmas day. Even on Boxing day. Even when you have the audacity to be ill.  Today a man found out that he had been sanctioned because he was ill in bed with a severe chest infection. He wasn’t shirking. He wasnt pretending. He was ill. The doctor had given him a sick-note. But this isn’t good enough. Even though this cruel government say that when you are unemployed you are allowed to be ill twice in a year. Yes twice. We feel blessed that they allow us this grace…. only we do not feel blessed…

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I have a dream: that white van man and black cab man can live together in harmony

November 27, 2014

Pride's Purge

(satire?)

Some politicians blame white van man – some are attacking black cab man. But I have a dream that one day white van man and black cab man can live together in peace and harmony.

So let us not wallow in the valley of despair, my friends.

Even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.

I have a dream that our children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour or the mode of their transport but by the content of their character.

I have a dream that one day – even in the UK, with its vicious prejudice, with its leaders having their lips dripping with the words of “immigrant” and “scrounger” – every type of transport shall be exalted, and every car and bus and van and bicycle of every colour shall be treated equally and even the pedestrians shall be blessed with the…

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A list of official rebukes for Tory lies

November 26, 2014

Politics and Insights

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Here is catalogue of officially recognised Tory lies used to justify their unjustifiable policies, which have have resulted in official reprimands:

David Cameron rebuked by statistics watchdog over national debt claims– PM said the government was ‘paying down Britain’s debts’ in a political broadcast, even though debt is actually rising.

“Now that his false claims have been exposed, it’s time the prime minister stopped deliberately misleading people about his economic record.”- Rachel Reeves.

Finally Exposed! The Deficit Myth! So, David Cameron When Are You Going to Apologise? David Cameron rebuked over austerity claims – David Cameron has been corrected by the Treasury’s own forecaster over claims that cuts in public spending are not reducing economic growth. The Office for Budget Responsibility told the Prime Minister that it does believe that cutting public spending will reduce economic growth in the short term.

Robert Chote, the head of the OBR, contradicted a claim Mr…

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