Archive for the ‘OIl’ Category

Brief Left Labour Summary of Labour Conference and Notice of Zoom Meeting about It on Thursday

October 3, 2022

I got this email today assessing the good and bad points of the Labour conference. This Thursday, 6th October 2022, there’s also going to be an online meeting about it from the good people at Arise: the Festival of Left-Wing Ideas.

Next Steps – A message from Rachel Garnham

SPREAD THE WORD: Retweet me here // register here

Hello David

This week’s Tory conference takes place to a backdrop of growing resistance. Saturday saw strikes from the RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU and Unite; Don’t pay and Just Stop Oil direct action; and dozens of Enough is Enough events.

There was strong support for action from significant numbers of delegates at Labour’s Conference – and popular policies supported on a raft of issues,from rail public ownership, to a £15 an hour minimum wage, to real action on equal pay – but the importance of backing this resistance was not sufficiently central to the Conference or promoted by platform speakers, who appeared woefully out of touch with this growing resistance. Meanwhile, attacks on Party democracy continue, although not without big opposition, with many CLP and union delegates joining me in fighting for Jeremy Corbyn to be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in the next election.

There is then much to review, and a need to plot out our next steps as the left. Join me, NEC member Gemma Bolton and Richard Burgon MP online Thursday (details below) for the discussion, and be part of the fightback.

Yours in solidarity,
Rachel Garnham, former NEC member on behalf of Arise & the Labour Assembly.

PS: Please spread the word by retweeting my message here.

Coming up:

1) ONLINE EVENT: Labour conference reportback & next steps discussion

Online Thursday, October 6, 7pm. Register here // Share & Invite friends here // Retweet here to spread the word.

With: Richard Burgon MP, Rachel Garnham, CLPD vice-chair & chair Gemma Bolton (NEC.) Join us online to assess Labour’s conference & discuss together next steps for Labour and the left.

Hosted by Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas.

I am honestly not surprised to read that the platform speakers are out of step with grassroots resistance against the Tories. They’re Blairites, who have an absolute contempt for the party base and who believe in very authoritarian, top-down management.

Lobster’s Robin Ramsey Explains Why Thatcherism Didn’t Work as Claimed and Why Truss Will Fail

October 2, 2022

In my last piece I said that Lobster’s editor, Robin Ramsey, has a background in economics and that he said in one of his pieces for the magazine that the Tories recognised long ago that trickled down economics didn’t work. They still wanted to cut spending and punish the poor for being poor while giving lots of more money to the rich. They just had to find a better pretext for it. So they started arguing for their wretched policies on grounds of morality. Now Truss has gone back to the old trickle down argument. In the recent issue of Lobster, 84, Ramsey has a piece in his ‘View from the Bridge’ column, ‘All Trussed Up’ explaining why Thatcher’s economics policies didn’t work in the way she thought they did, and even despite her best efforts, and why this means Truss’ policies will fail. He writes

‘On the day that Prime Minister Truss made her announcement about dealing with the energy crisis here, The Times (8 September) briefly mentioned (on p. 39) that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was off to the City to discuss ‘Big Bang 2’ – further deregulation of the financial services sector. Centrally, I would guess, will be a change to the rules introduced after the financial crisis of 2007-9 which increased the amount of capital the banks had to keep in reserve. In other words, financial gambling is going to be encouraged again. The central question with this new government is this: do they really believe that this warmed-over Thatcherism will work? My guess is that they do; that they have spent too long in a free marketeer intellectual ghetto to understand even the Thatcher years. They have failed to grasp that Thatcherism didn’t work on its own terms: it did not ‘cure’ inflation and did not produce more economic growth than its predecessors. Mrs Thatcher’s ‘reforms’ were possible because her government had North Sea oil revenues to pay for mass unemployment; could sell off chunks of the public sector; and, despite her best efforts to kill it, had a manufacturing base three times as big as it is now. The new government has little oil revenue; a much diminished manufacturing base; and not much of the public sector left to be sold. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to grasp that the horse they are enthusiastically flogging is dead.’

For further information, go to https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/article/issue/84/the-view-from-the-bridge-47/

Internet Petition from 38 Degrees Against Bankers’ Bonuses

September 22, 2022

And I have had absolutely no problem signing it.

David, millions of people up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet. As energy, food and fuel prices continue to go through the roof, many of us will be forced to make the impossible choice between heating and eating this winter. [1]

But what’s one of the first things our new Prime Minister and Chancellor have decided to do? Increase bankers’ bonuses. [2] You can almost hear the champagne corks popping!

This is the wrong policy at the wrong time. Why should city bankers be first in line for help when millions of people around the country don’t know how they’ll keep the lights on over the coming months?

Tomorrow, our new Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, may announce this during a mini-budget – but it’s not a done deal. If enough of us make some noise and tell them this shouldn’t be a priority during a cost of living crisis, then there’s still time for them to do the right thing and drop their plans.

So, David, will you tell the Government that they should be focusing on support for ordinary people around the country – not city bankers? Simply click the button below to add your name:

ADD MY NAME

Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng seem to believe that if enough cash is stuffed in the pockets of city bankers, then this will ‘trickle down’ to the others. But it just doesn’t work like that. Ahead of a meeting with our PM on Tuesday, even President Biden said that he was “sick and tired of trickle-down economics. It has never worked.” [3]

These caps on bonuses were introduced to provide a more balanced economy – and to get away from a culture of bankers taking “excessive risks”. [4] If Liz Truss believes in ‘levelling up’ the whole of Britain, then she should prioritise places outside of the City of London and put ordinary people at the front of the queue for support.

Just months ago, former PM, Boris Johnson, floated the idea of increasing bankers’ bonuses. But after more than 96,000 of us took action, and after much public outcry, the plans were dropped. [5] We’ve shown that we can reflect public feeling and get the Government to scrap bad policies and we can do it again.

David, will you add your name to our petition calling on the Government to drop their plans to increase bankers’ bonuses?

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all your do,

Tom, David, Robin and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] Sky News: Cost of living: Millions of people already behind with their household bills, new research suggests
[2] BBC News: Liz Truss defends plan to lift cap on bankers’ bonuses
[3] Twitter: President Biden
[4] The Guardian: What is the banker bonus cap and could scrapping it boost growth?
[5] 38 Degrees: Dear Chancellor: No banker bonuses while millions struggle

They’re also asking for donations. I can afford to do so, but some of you may wish to.

’38 Degrees wouldn’t exist without you, David.

38 Degrees has no big donors – we’re funded by ordinary people who care, like you. Regular donations mean that we can plan future campaigns, pay our workers a decent wage, and keep fighting for what we all believe in.

If you don’t already do so, will you consider setting up a regular donation of a fiver, tenner or whatever you can spare? Click here to donate securely:

CHIP IN WEEKLY

Petition from Richard Burgon for Windfall Tax on Energy Companies

September 4, 2022

I got the email about this petition on Friday from left-wing wing, socialist Labour politico Richard Burgon. They’re aiming to get the number of signatures up to 50,000. I’ve signed it already, but am putting it up here in case other people want to sign it and haven’t already done so.

‘Dear David

A quick message to say that in just a few days over 35,000 people have signed my petition calling for the new Prime Minister to hike the Windfall Tax on oil and gas profits – not our bills. 

I’ll be presenting this to the new Prime Minister in the House of Commons when Parliament returns next week. 

Thank you to everyone who has signed it. Can you help get it to 50,000?

Sign and share the petition to help us reach 50,000

My petition calls for the Windfall Tax to be at least doubled so that oil and gas giants don’t make a single penny in excess profits. This would raise many billions to fund crucial support to help people through this crisis.

I hope, like me, you agree that oil and gas giants shouldn’t be able to exploit a crisis to make excess-profits on the backs of higher bills for ordinary people? Shouldn’t this wealth be used instead to lower people’s energy bills?

If you agree then sign and share the petition here.

We need bold action to prevent millions being thrown into a social catastrophe through soaring bills. As the petition says this must include energy firms being brought into public ownership, freezes to energy prices and the rolling-out of a mass programme of home insulation.

Going after the eye-watering profits of North Sea oil and gas companies is also key to lowering the energy bills for millions of people.  Record gas and oil profits are a major driver of higher energy bills.  So add your name to the petition. 

Protest against the energy price hikes!

As well as in parliament, we are going to need action in every community against this cost of living crisis.  Enough is Enough is organising a day of action in October and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity is organising a National Demonstration in November. 

In solidarity

Richard Burgon MP

PS: It only takes 30 seconds to add YOUR name to the petition I will be presenting in Parliament. Sign it here

Forget Tweedlesunak and Tweedletruss, it’s politicians like Burgon who should be the next prime minister.

And the proposed demonstration against the cost of living crisis in November looks very promising!

Neither Sunak or Truss Have Anything to Offer the Working Class

August 12, 2022

The media’s still trying to work up some kind of popular enthusiasm for the Tory leadership battle. They’ve been televising debates between the various contestants, whose thoughts on how they’re going to tackle the cost of living crisis and other issues are also plastered all over the papers. The two were in Cheltenham last night for a debate in front of the Tory faithful there, and the BBC local news for the Bristol region was duly covering it.

But this is a leadership contest in which everyone but a small fraction of the population are just spectators. Which one of them becomes Tory leader is a matter for the Tory party, not the general public, and so while the leadership debates give the general public the chance to see what the candidates stand for, or claim they stand for, and give the media political pundits an opportunity to speculate about what this all means, this mass coverage doesn’t actually affect the public very much. People outside the Tory party naturally have no opportunity to choose the next Tory leader. Nor will we probably get to choose whether they’ll be prime minister or not. The usual process now seems to be that instead of having a general election to decide whether a new party leader should be PM, the prime ministerial successor is inserted into office during the term of his immediate predecessor and an election held later to decide whether he or she should continue to rule. Meanwhile the party continues to govern. Thus have the Tories clung on to power over the past ten years, despite prime ministers entering and leaving 10 Downing Street as if through a revolving door. I assume that this is what will happen with Johnson and whoever is due to succeed him. Johnson will give up office, they’ll take over, but it’ll be sometime before there’s a general election to decide whether this successor should carry on in government. It’s all done to avoid the perils of a proper general election involving both the head of the party and the party itself, when both may find themselves out of power and sitting on the opposition benches. Thus is democracy in Britain manipulated to the ruling party’s advantage.

As for Sunak and Truss, neither of them has anything really to offer working people. Sunak says he’ll cut inflation, which would help admittedly, but not as much as is needed by people on very low pay, benefits or absolutely zilch, thanks to benefit sanctions, facing rising fuel and energy prices. It’s a policy directed primarily at economists and financiers, but not the starving hoi polloi.

And neither is Truss going to help. She’s announced that she’s going to cut taxes. This will be spun by the Tory papers as somehow meaning ordinary people will be richer. But it won’t mean that. When the Tories cut taxes, it is always for the very rich, never for the poor. And when their taxes are cut, it means that there’s less money coming into the exchequer to support the NHS, public services and the welfare state. So expect there to be more cuts there. And as for cutting down on the bureaucracy in the NHS, this has mushroomed because of the piecemeal privatisation Truss and the rest of the Tory right are so frantically, pantingly keen on. But this is not going to reversed, because the Tory line is that privatisation cuts bureaucracy. What will happen instead is that more services will be privatised and thus remaining will be cut.

It doesn’t matter which one wins, Tweedlesunak or Tweedletruss. They will both continue the campaign of privatisation and impoverishment to the mendacious cheering of the Tory media.

Correct Not Political on the Energy and Water Companies Profiteering While People Starve

August 10, 2022

I found this on the Community page of the right-wing YouTube channel Correct Not Political. They seem to be a group of right-wingers who go around staging counter protests or demonstrations at left-wing events. They’ve been demonstrating at the recent Pride marches, Drag Queen Story Hour, also against Extinction Rebellion, anti-racism marches for refugees and they also seem to be militant anti-vaxxers. One of their collections of videos is simply titled ‘Socialists and Commies’. But they posted this about ordinary people struggling with poverty while the fuel and water companies make hugely inflated profits.

Correct Not Political

Correct Not Political4 hours ago

Well after yesterdays announcement from the Bank of England , there is something very very very wrong in the system… So… let me get this straight:

* British Gas made a profit of £1.3bn between January & June

* BP announced profits of £6.95 billion between April and June alone

* Shell has profited by £9.4bn in a year

The MEN at the top:

* John Pettigrew, boss of National Grid received £6.5m bonus on top of his salary

* Chris O’Shea, chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica was paid almost £2m last year in salary and benefits

* Centrica’s non-executive directors were paid almost £1m

* Scottish Power’s CEO Keith Anderson is on £1.15m.

* E.On boss Michael Lewis is on £1m

* EDF’s Simone Rossi is also on £1m

* And their top execs enjoyed a share of £4.65m

* Peter Simpson of Anglian Water earned a £1.3m pay package

* Welsh Water bosses awarded themselves bonuses of over £930,000

* Severn Trent bosses awarded themselves bonuses of £5.56m

* Thames Water’s Sarah Bentley, received a £727,000 bonus on top of her £2m annual salary

Meanwhile there are…

* People who haven’t had breakfast and/or lunch TODAY, because they can’t afford it.

* People using FoodBanks because food is becoming more of a luxury than a necessity.

* Children celebrating a birthday without presents.

* Parents worrying about new school uniforms – and some schools enforcing rules which are not cost-effective.

* People who can’t get to work because they can’t afford to put petrol in their cars/pay for public transport anymore.

* People who are working so much they’re making themselves ill, and they STILL CAN’T AFFORD to pay their bills.

* People who have been given fines by these same energy/water companies because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills in the first place – increasing their debt.

* Customers being told to do STAR JUMPS TO KEEP WARM for crying out loud!

* Hose pipe bans when gallons of water leak away everyday.

* Elderly people NOT DRINKING because they’re worried about running out of water!!!

All this and energy prices are set to rise up to 75% in October…

THIS IS MADNESS!.. I’m all for supporting profits ..I’m not for supporting greed at the cost of lives of others..

Something needs to change.. Why are customers’ money being used to make life more comfortable for those who are making life more intolerable for the rest of us?

I actually don’t understand how the energy companies are allowed to get away with this and why the government aren’t stopping them instead of handing out money…..

Copied & pasted from others. Keep this going around for all to see’

I’ve got absolutely no problem posting this up despite where it comes from. Because these profiteers do need to be named and shamed. And this whole scam is why the public utilities need to be nationalised, so that they work for this great country’s people rather than exploiting them.

Avaaz Survey Recommending the Taxation of Fossil Fuel Companies to Support the Poor and Vulnerable and Save the Planet

August 7, 2022

I got the email below from Avaaz, another internet demography. They were polling responses to a suggested policy that the oil and fossil fuel companies now making obscene profits while the rest of us are facing escalating costs of living, should be taxed more in order to protect the most vulnerable communities and the environment.

‘Dear David,

Today, we’d love to know your opinion!

Could you read the email below, and let us know if you’re supporting Avaaz to run this campaign?

STRONGLY SUPPORT

SUPPORT

DON’T SUPPORT

DON’T SUPPORT AT ALL

Dear friends,

While the world cooks, Big Oil is making more money than ever – four fossil fuel giants made a combined total of $51billion in just three months!

That’s double what they were making a year ago – resulting from sky-high oil and gas prices driven by the war in Ukraine. One oil boss described his company as ‘literally a cash machine’!

This ‘machine’ is killing the planet, stealing our future, and driving millions into poverty. It has to stop. The UN Secretary-General has just called on all governments to tax these obscene profits – and use the money for the good of society.

Let’s echo his call, demanding a tax on fossil fuel profits so the money can be spent on protecting the most vulnerable communities and urgently investing in renewable energy – when we hit a million, we’ll deliver our call directly to governments at a major UN summit in September!

With hope and determination,

Bert, Patricia, Stefanie and the rest of the Avaaz team

Do you support Avaaz running this campaign?

STRONGLY SUPPORT

SUPPORT

DON’T SUPPORT

DON’T SUPPORT AT ALL

For me, there’s absolutely no question: I strongly support this proposal. Because it absolutely obscene that companies like BP are raking in £9 billion while ordinary people are looking at starvation and being unable to heat their homes.

And it says everything about the complacency and profiteering of one Jacob Rees-Mogg of Bath and North-East Somerset that he defended these companies on BBC Radio and their giving dividends while ordinary people suffer.

Stop the War Coalition Newsletter on NATO in Afghanistan and Trade Union Organising against the War in Ukraine

August 5, 2022

Just now I got the latest email newsletter from the Stop the War Coalition, notifying its readers of the organisation’s forthcoming events. One will be an evening with veteran civil rights campaigner, author and broadcaster Tariq Ali about the consequences of forty years of war in Afghanistan, including NATO’s occupation of the country. They are also organising a conference for trades unionists next year and encouraging members of the unions to affiliate their unions and their local branches to them. And, of course, they also appeal for people to join them. The email runs

NATO’s Legacy in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been abandoned by the international community following the events of 2021 when the 20-year NATO occupation of Afghanistan came to an end.

It seems the only thing the West now has to offer Afghanistan is extrajudicial killings. After the appalling Panorama revelations of a ‘campaign of terror’ by British special forces during the occupation comes the assassination of Ayman al Zawahiri. Quite simply, such attacks are war crimes and do nothing to “make us safer” as Joe Biden stated this week.

With the Taliban back in power and stronger than it was in 2001, NATO’s occupation has been an outright failure. From the lies of installing democracy to improving quality of life to liberating women, the War on Terror did nothing but cause death and destruction.

The country is home to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, as 90% of the population live below the poverty line. The country’s economy is at a standstill as sanctions cripple the nation.

One year on from the end of the occupation, join us for an evening with Tariq Ali – writer, film-maker and author of The Forty Year War in Afghanistan: A Chronicle Foretold – as he takes a look at the current state of the country and the myths surrounding the Western occupation.

Register Here – Free & Open to All!

The World at War: A Trade Union Issue
Stop the War Trade Union Conference 2023

We have called our first ever trade union conference because we believe that it is always working people who are the first victims of war and that the record sums being spent on arms and the military should be redirected to public services, to the NHS, social care and our crumbling schools. We believe that the slogan ‘cut warfare not welfare’ should be taken up by the whole of the trade union movement.

The conference is open to all trade unionists. We urge you to register but also to spread the word in your branches and trades councils.

We have called our first ever trade union conference because we believe that it is always working people who are the first victims of war and that the record sums being spent on arms and the military should be redirected to public services, to the NHS, social care and our crumbling schools. We believe that the slogan ‘cut warfare not welfare’ should be taken up by the whole of the trade union movement.

Register Now

head of the conference, we’re asking all trade unionists who support Stop the War to affiliate to us. By affiliating your branch or region you can ensure that our movement will continue to campaign against the British government’s war policies. We receive no grants from governments or financial backing from commercial backers.

It is only because of individuals and organisations like yours that we are able to continue to build the anti-war movement so that future generations may live in a more peaceful world.

Affiliate to Stop the War Today

Be Part of a Growing Movement Against War

This week our Vice President and founder member Jeremy Corbyn has once again come under fire for standing up for peace. He said in relation to the war in Ukraine that…

“Pouring arms in isn’t going to bring about a solution, it’s only going to prolong and exaggerate this war…This war is disastrous for the people of Ukraine, for the people of Russia, and for the safety and security of the whole world, and therefore there has to be much more effort put into peace.”

He’s right. And we must further his call for peace and negotiation.

One small way to help us intensify our campaign against the warmongers is by becoming a member.

As a small incentive for doing so, we are offering a special discount for members on our merchandise. You also get a free ‘Drop Beats Not Bombs’ tote bag when you join.

We do understand that these are difficult times and we are only asking you to support us if you can. Membership costs as little as £2. We hope you will consider joining.

Become a Stop the War Member Today

Ali’s interesting. Apparently the Stones’ ‘Street Fighting Man’, written during the wave of sixties radicalism, is all about him. I read in one of the papers that apparently when he was a little boy, he had an aunt knit him a jumper with Stalin’s head on. This was presumably before people knew what a monster Stalin was, when his sycophants were falling over themselves to declare him the grreat saviour of the international working class and progressive humanity. He had his own Black interest programme on satellite or cable television, or at least he did. And a few decades ago he published an anthology of classic texts from the golden age of Islam to show to young Muslims how enlightened and tolerant Islam had been, as against the intolerance and bigotry of the Islamists. He’s very careful about history. On one of his shows, he pointed out that during the period of racist lynchings in America, more Italians were murdered in Louisiana than Blacks. This surprised me, because I thought it was only Blacks who were being murdered by these mobs. But I’ve no doubt that it’s true.

Afghanistan is, like Iraq, a country where the real reason for the invasion has nothing to do with combatting terrorism or installing democracy. It was about oil. The American oil industry and Republican administration was negotiating for an oil pipeline with the Taliban. When the Taliban stalled, the policymakers took the decision to hold back until there was some kind of crisis which they could use. This would provide a pretext to invade the country and build the pipeline anyway, without the Taliban’s consent. This came with 9/11 and the al-Qaeda attack.

Brexiteer Michael Heaver Reveals Reclaim Party’s Exciting Warmed-Up Tory Leftovers Policies

July 26, 2022

Michael Heaver’s another right-wing, Brexiteer YouTuber. Most of his content seems to be about how wonderful Brexit it, or would be, if it wasn’t for those evil whining remoaners and the European Union trying to sabotage it all the time. He seems to have gone from the Tories to backing the Reclaim party, as well as wanting the return of Johnson. Today he put up a piece revealing Reclaim’s new, (ahem, cough, cough) policies. Laurence Fox’s party will be fielding 600 candidates, which, if true, is definitely a challenge to the Tories and the other established parties. Their policies are:

Do Brexit properly.

Net Zero immigration.

Cut taxes.

I think there’s also something about getting rid of the Green agenda. And I also think they want to support Johnson’s return to power, because the other Tory leadership candidates are so terrible and will hand the government over to Starmer. Or such is the fear amongst some Tories.

This is hogwash. Let’s go through them.

Do Brexit properly: Can’t be done. Uh-huh, no way. It’s simply impossible, like squaring the circle or redefining PI as equalling four, which is what the Nebraska legislature did way back in the 19th century. If this had gone ahead, it would have meant that clocks would have gained fifteen minutes everyone hour. But like ‘Get Brexit done’ it makes a good slogan. You can’t enact Brexit without reneging on one of the key policies of the Good Friday Agreement, which was an open border with the Republic. It’s either that, or the Irish backstop in the middle of the sea, thus alienating the Loyalists. Johnson got into power claiming that he’d ‘get Brexit done’. Well, he did, and it’s been chaos. Britain’s trade with the EU has taken a massive hit, there are real threats to British industry and agriculture, the financial sector the Tories and Blairites have been so keen to protect and establish London as a international hub has also been threatened. By Brexiteer Tories, like Jacob Rees-Mogg, who moved his investment business across the briny to Dublin. All while he was telling the rest of us that Brexit would be A Very Good Thing Indeed. There were delays at Dover months or even years ago because of the additional red tape added to hauliers and other travellers going to the continent now that we were no longer part of the EU. That red tape is also damaging our music industry, as it’s made it extremely difficult for British musicians and performers to travel over there to perform.

We were told that the Tories had an ‘oven ready deal’ with Europe for Brexit.

We were told that the millions saved on our EU contributions would be spent on the NHS.

We were lied to.

And this, as the late, great Max Headroom used to say, is simply ‘more of the same’. Except that he was talking about epic, rocking 80s pop music and videos.

Net zero immigration. More red meat for the Tory faithful, and other sections of the population worried about immigration. Mostly non-White immigration. And there are real moral and practical problems with that. Firstly, there’s the moral question of denying asylum to people, who may very well be in real danger of persecution in their countries of origin. I think many of the prospective migrants properly are coming here for economic reasons. One former channel migrant was interviewed on GB News or Talk TV, and he said that most of the other immigrants he was with were trying to dodge military service in their home countries and hoped to settle so that they could bring their families over. I can’t say I entirely blame them for wanting to do so, especially when these countries are dirt-poor, corrupt dictatorships like Eritrea. But nevertheless, I think there are people trying to get here because they face real threats to their lives for their views or simply because of their ethnicity or religion. Gay people around the world face persecution, particularly in Africa. Go back a few years, and there were the Yezidis, whose women were raped and enslaved for sex by ISIS. Last year there were Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban takeover. And in the past few months Britain and other European nations have taken in refugees from Ukraine, escaping Putin’s genocidal onslaught. I don’t see how you can morally turn at least some of these away.

Then there’s the economic aspect. As Buddyhell over on Guy Debord’s Cat, and just about everyone else on the web has point out, Britain needs immigrant doctors, nurses and other workers for the NHS. Yes, we should be training our own. But we haven’t been doing so ever since one of the Tory ministers – I think it may even have been Enoch Powell – decided in the 1960s to solve the shortage of NHS doctors by encouraging them to come from Pakistan and India. I can’t see the Tories wanting to spend the money to pay for the proper training for doctors and other medical professionals. Not when they seem content to drive them away by not paying them what they deserve and overburdening them with work and paperwork.

People also immigrate to Britain and settle down and raise families as part of their work. I know a number of people, who came to this country to work, and particularly on ground-breaking scientific or engineering projects. This country is short of scientists, engineers and skilled technicians. These are precisely the type of people we should be encouraging to come here, if only so that they can pass these skills on to Brits.

Education is a major part of this. There’s a movement of academics, both teaching staff and students, between countries and across continents. Most university’s, I’d say, have international students, some of whom are going to try to settle down here. Academics also take up posts at universities and colleges right across the world. When I was studying archaeology at Bristol, several of the department staff were foreign. One was Portuguese while another was German, for example. At the same time, archaeological work takes people right across the globe. At the time I was there, there was great excitement about Neolithic discoveries in Ukraine. One of the lecturers had also helped carry out excavations of archaic homo sapiens remains in Romania. Another leading member of the department had also been excavating in Iran. Some of these academics will no doubt wish to settle down and make their home here. Either way, I can see Brexit and a zero-net immigration policy causing real problems with universities obtaining needed foreign academic staff.

And it’s going to be hypocritical. The Tories have, in my recollection, shown themselves perfectly willing to grant British citizenship to anyone rich enough. Just as Rishi Sunak got his green card to work in America by paying a million dollars. I strongly suspect that if Reclaim got in, we’d have more of the same. It would be easy immigration for the global super-rich, and keep out for everyone else.

Cutting taxes: More of the twaddle you’ve been hearing from the Tory leadership candidates. What this means is cutting taxes for the rich while passing the burden on to ordinary people at the bottom. This is supposed to encourage more investment, and hence more jobs. Balderdash. The money saved simply rests in the elite’s bank accounts. Meanwhile, because there’s less money going into the exchequer, the Tories and Reclaim after them will tell us all that cuts need to be made, more pushing of the mythical NHS waste, profligate spending on the welfare state, too many civil servants and so on. The result, more punitive cuts to the NHS, more destruction of the welfare state, more people struggling to survive on food banks, more starvation, malnutrition and grinding poverty.

Attacking the Green Agenda: The scientific consensus supports climate change, and the Green New Deal promises more jobs as well as combating threats to the environment. But the right don’t believe in climate change, and, with money coming in from Big Oil, they really don’t want to end our dependence on fossil fuels any time soon. All last week while the rest of us sweltered they told us that the rising heat was nothing to worry about, was not cause by global warming, and we were all wimps and weaklings for thinking otherwise. I wonder if Reclaim and its bosses also have their places booked for the biodomes the rich will no doubt retreat into as the deserts march on London, Birmingham and anywhere else.

Bring back Johnson: Really? There are people who really won’t be told. There’s a petition up for his return. Just like there are Americans who want the return of Trump. That’s incredible. Aside from the party politics, Trump was a disastrous president. A friend lent me a book on his presidency, and what came across most strongly was how incompetent he was. He quarraled with his leading generals, one of whom actually swore at him while telling him precisely what he was in the White House. He made up policies on the spur of the moment and then changed his mind just as suddenly. Appointments were made with important visitors, but not kept. Or he didn’t tell his staff about them, just forgot them. He deliberately undermined leading White House staff, replacing them and then doing the same to the new replacements, all of whom were determined to undermine their predecessors and competitors. And rather than draining the swamp, Trump was massively corrupt giving government contracts to friends and anybody else, including the Russians, who were prepared to stump up cash. Government monies that were intended to protect workers on bread and butter issues like pensions vanished in various politicos pockets, where they gave it to their favourite businessmen.

Johnson has been similarly incompetent. He was grotesquely tactless and incompetent as foreign secretary. Once he got his behind in No. 10 he showed himself unwilling to knuckle down and do some actual work. It seemed that every few weeks he was heading off to Chequers for a holiday. He caught Covid because he personally broke lockdown rules. And he gave valuable PPE contracts to his friends and other Tory donors. The result was problems with supply. But no worries, eh? His mates were all right. The parties were just a symptom of a man, who doesn’t like to work, loves the power and the popularity that comes with it, at least in his own imagination, and really, really, has zero sympathy with ordinary working people and their problems.

And he’s still clinging on to power, just like Gordon Brown tried to do with a deal with the Lib Dems after he lost the election to Cameron. Ian Hislop got very excited about this on Have I Got News For You, calling him ‘Mr Barnacle’. Well, Johnson is behaving exactly like the marine mollusc, and the same should apply: ‘get ye gone!’ It says something about the effectiveness of establishment propaganda that someone really thinks he’s done such a good job they want to keep him in power.

But back to the Reclaim party, there’s nothing new here. It’s just the same old Brexiteer Tory policies, promoted by a few new faces. And I honestly can’t see many of them getting a seat. Some might, but I foresee a lot of lost deposits, compounded with them splitting the Tory vote in certain quarters so that a Lib Dem or possibly Labour candidate get in.

I have a feeling they’ll go the way of UKIP and the Brexit party as another right-wing group trying to ‘break the mould of British politics’.

Arise Festival Event Friday on Combating Injustice Against the Global South

July 5, 2022

This Friday, the 8th of July, the Arise Festival of left Labour ideas is also presenting the event ‘Justice for the Global South’, the description of which goes

Justice for the Global South – tackling climate chaos, ending the debt, vaccines for all.

Online event, Friday July 8, 13.00.Register here // Retweet here // Get ticket for the whole festival here.

With: Heidi Chow, Debt Justice /./ Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now // Asad Rehman, War on Want // Stop Oil speaker & chaired by Fraser Amos, Young Labour Student Rep.

Part of the “Lefty Lunchtime” series as part of Arise 2022 – A Festival of Left Ideas.