Archive for the ‘OIl’ Category

John Bird and John Fortune Skewer the Iraq Invasion: Yes, It Was All About Oil

January 10, 2023

The satirist and actor John Bird passed away just a week or so ago over Christmas. As well as appearing in the short-lived BBC comedy series Chambers and Absolute Power, he and John Fortune appeared on Bremner, Bird and Fortune on Channel 4 as ‘The Long Johns’, whose satirical dialogues expertly lampooned the rich and powerful. This had the same view Private Eye’s Ian Hislop stated on a radio 4 show some time ago, that satire should also have a serious intent and show what was really going on underneath the surface. It was incisive, witty stuff that revealed the reality behind the fine words uttered by politicians, businessmen and elite bankers to show the greed, double-standards and predatory exploitation underneath. Many of the dialogues had a simple formula. They took turns playing George Parr, who changed his profession to match the topic of the day. One week he could be a general, another an admiral, or a senior civil servant. Other characters included Washington diplomats and the dictator of an anonymous African country, who was happy to see his people mired in starvation and poverty so long as he could take the money from the Chinese building his nation’s infrastructure. The other John would play a journalist interviewing him. The questions would result in bizarre denials from the official, which would show the contradictions in the official’s story or decision and lead to them actually revealing the real reasons for the decision or policy in spite of themselves.

In this piece from 2007, posted on theDossier’s YouTube Channel, the two discuss the-then recent admission by Alan Greenspan, the head of the Federal Reserve in America, that it was embarrassing to have to admit it, but yes, the Iraq invasion really was all about oil. As everyone knew. The official denies that this was the case, pointing out that before the war Blair had passed a resolution stipulating that the oil reserves should stay in Iraqi hands. This was revoked a year later after the war, when Blair passed another resolution saying that the allies should have it for safekeeping or something. As a measure of generosity, the allies allowed the Iraqis to keep 17 oil wells out of a total of 80, and promised to give 20 per cent of the profits from their oil fields to the Iraqi government. Iraq nevertheless contains an extremely large proportion of the world’s oil, whose worth is in the trillions.

The former Guardian journo Greg Palast amply demonstrated in his book, Armed Madhouse, that the Iraq war was an attempt by the American and Saudi oil industries to seize the Iraqi oil fields and their wealth, as well as the Neo-Cons attempting to seize the country’s state industries for America and create the kind of low tax state founded on free trade they wished to see in America. The result was the absolute collapse of the Iraqi economy with soaring bankruptcies and unemployment. Not to mention the chaos and bloodshed caused by the war and the sectarian violence that followed it, and the unrestrained, murderous, Nazi criminality of the private military contractors – read: mercenaries – who were hired by the Americans as part of the peace-keeping forces.

This is political satire at it’s best, and some of the commenters on YouTube have compared Bird and Fortune with the superb BBC comedy, Yes, Minister, which is also still relevant even after all these decades. John Fortune died some years ago, and was much missed, as John Bird will be, for his part in these dialogues. You wonder what they’d have to say about Sunak and the present government. It, and it’s equally incompetent and corrupt predecessors, would have been excellent material for them to send up.

GB News’ Mark Steyn Coming Very Close to Pushing Fascist Conspiracy Theories about Covid Vaccine

January 5, 2023

GB News, the self-proclaimed alternative to the ‘wet, woke BBC’, is in this fortnight’s Private Eye. The broadcaster apparently has overtaken Sky News in ratings, and has taken to pushing stupid, and potentially dangerous conspiracy theories. These include myths that the vaccine doesn’t work, or is responsible for deaths, and that there’s no need for the lockdown. Pretty much staples of the wider right-wing anti-vaxxer fringe. But one of these conspiracy theories comes very close to fascism. Mark Steyn has apparently told his viewers that the coronavirus vaccine is the cause of the falling birthrate in the west of the ‘Aryans’, who built civilisation. Firstly, as the 19th century linguist, who used the term ‘Aryan’ for what are now termed the Indo-European languages, George Muller, it’s a linguist not racial term. A dark-skinned Indian, who speaks Hini or one of the other languages descended from Sanskrit, or an Urdu-speaking Pakistani can both be fairly described as Aryans, because their languages are derived from that introduced by the Aryans, who invaded Indian c. 3000 BC. But both would be targeted by the Nazis over here because of their race. Muller stated quite clearly that conflating Aryan with race was dangerous, and it’s a pity more people didn’t listen to him otherwise the carnage of the Third Reich might have been avoided.

He’s right that the birthrates in the developed west are falling along with the sperm count of western men. This is alarming, as there have been predictions by respectable magazines and newspapers that if it continues, by 2050 half of western men will be considered clinically infertile. No-one really knows the cause of this, but it’s been suggested since the 1990s that a type of plastic, phthallates, may be responsible. Other causes are probably the industrial pollution responsible for the reproductive deformities in amphibians, which Alex Jones notoriously declared were ‘turning the frickin’ frogs gay’. These chemicals are believed to mimic female hormones, hence their damage to those animals. I’ve also seen claims that it’s all due to female hormones from the reproductive pill getting into the biosphere, but I haven’t seen any scientist make this claim. In my opinion, it comes from that part of the right which is anti-feminist and so pro-life as to condemn contraception as well as abortion. I also got the impression that all western men were affected, including Blacks and Asians, and not just Whites.

Steyn’s claims resemble the conspiracy theories that were going around the Black communities in America and possibly apartheid South Africa back in the 90s. These claimed that the government was putting chemicals in Coca-Cola to sterilise young Black men. That was totally wrong, though it was understandable given the persecution of Blacks in both those countries. Steyn’s is a first-world, White version of this. It comes very close to all the stupid and murderous conspiracy theories about the machinations of the Jews to enslave and destroy the White race, although as far as I know Steyn isn’t an anti-Semite.

He is, however, an Islamophobe. About a decade ago he was a partner with late Reaganite bloviator Rush Limbaugh and his radio station out in New Hampshire. Much of the content Steyn put out on his blogs and columns on the internet were attacks on Islam, including some of the weirder rulings made by Iran’s late Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini. He was one of those pushing the ‘Eurabia’ fear. This holds that Muslim birthrates are outstripping those of indigenous European Whites to such an extent that they will become the dominant race and religion and impose sharia law. A friend of mine told me he did some calculations, and that’s simply not going to happen. I don’t doubt that the Muslim population will expand immensely in the next decades, and this will present serious problems if the radicals and Islamists extend their influence over these communities, but it won’t lead to their population overtaking everyone else’s.

Steyn also tried to warn or scare people with the example of Feyenoord in the Netherlands. This is a majority Muslim town where some decades ago the Muslim dominated city council publicly invited the non-Muslim population to convert. I don’t know, but I think their attitude would be unremarkable, perhaps even ordinary in very pious, hardline Muslim countries like Pakistan, where non-Muslims can come under very intense pressure to convert. But obviously in the context of the non-Muslim, secular west, where religion is considered a matter for the individual’s private conscience, it’s totally unacceptable. The problem is, I don’t know how common such political moves by Muslim-controlled local authorities are. As far as I know, it only happened in Feyenoord, although I’m sure that non-Muslims living in solidly Muslim areas are under pressure to conform to their standards of behaviour.

Away from Steyn, the article describes how GB News, like Fox over in the US, threw in their lot with Donald Trump, talking him as US president until it became the ‘MAGA channel’. Their predictions of Trump’s eminent suitability for the Oval Office was definitely born out by the Orange Buffoons massive greed, incompetence and disastrous policies towards blue collar workers – more attacks on their rights, further decimation of their welfare provisions to enrich Trump’s friends and donors, and more outsourcing. As well as attempts to muzzle federal climate and environmental scientists for the benefit of the oil industry. And I could go on.

As for GB News’ attitudes over here, it’s solidly behind Farage and Brexit and resolutely against the welfare state and the NHS. If you’re a member of the working class, GB News is not your friend. But the stupid conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccine threaten to do real harm. We’ve already seen instances where people have refused the vaccine, then caught the virus and died. And Steyn’s story about birthrates and ‘Aryans’ threatens to encourage real Nazis and Fascists, who’ll target not just Muslims but Jews.

Private Eye Reviews Alex Jones’ Conspiracy Theory Book about the World Economic Forum

December 4, 2022

Things aren’t looking good for Alex Jones, the mad Texan conspiracist theorist behind Infowars. Jones has been using his YouTube channel and website to push some very nasty conspiracy theories about how the world, and especially America, are under attack from ‘the globalists’. These are evil Communist, feminist, trans businesspeople determined to set up some kind of global one-world totalitarian superstate on behalf of evil aliens or demons or whatever. He’s pushed often dangerous nonsense about various prominent and not-so prominent politicians, organisations and ordinary people. He claimed that Barack Obama was the anti-Christ, and was going to use the laws providing for government action in emergencies to force everybody into FEMA camps to enslave Americans. Hilary Clinton was also Satanic, and was some kind of cyborg or robot, at least from the waist down. She was also impregnated with the spawn of some demon or alien or mixture of the two. Quite often this stuff was just so over the top that it’s the subject of ridicule and laughter rather than alarm, as when he claimed that they were putting stuff in the water that was turning the frickin’ frogs gay. But often it wasn’t, and the effects of his rants were dangerous and distressing to their targets. One example is when he claimed that a Boston pizza parlour contained a dungeon, in which children were being kept, to supply to leading Democrat politician to abuse. It was a complete lie, but it resulted in a gunman walking in to free the captive children. After being shown round the business and persuaded that there was no dungeon and no abused children, he put down his gun and gave himself up to the cops. It’s a mercy no-one was killed. Jones has been hit by a judgement for $1 billion in damages for libelling the parents of the schoolchildren killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. Jones had claimed that the school shooting hadn’t really occurred and had just been staged in order to provide a pretext for the government to deprive Americans of their precious guns. The grieving parents were just ‘crisis actors’. The result was years of harassment by people, who had bought this offensive nonsense. They sued, the beak has found in their favour, and now Jones is crying that he’s bankrupt as a result. ‘Oh dear. How sad. Never mind’, as Sergeant-Major Shutup from It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot Mum used to say.

Jones has published a book, in which he attacks the World Economic Forum and its leader, Klaus Schwab, now the target of right-wing conspiracy theories about shadowy organisations trying to create the one-world superstate. Private Eye reviewed it in last fortnight’s edition for 18th November to 1st December 2022. And they very definitely weren’t impressed. This is what they had to say about it

Toxic Schlock

The Great Reset and the War for the World

Alex Jones

According to Alex Jones, the gravel-voiced US conspiracy-monger, the world is facing a “Great Reset”. That reset is, he writes, an attempt by a shady cabal of internationalists “to achieve an unprecedented amount of control over your daily life.” To make sure he has the reader’s undivided attention, Jones warns that the whole thing “is a war to control the future of human development and capture control of the human species.”

These evil internationalists are, according to Jones, a group of technocrats and money men who have swilled around the world stage for the last 80 or so years. These evil plotters have names such as Kissinger, Rockefeller, Yuval Noah Hariri and Soros (and yes, there is an unfortunate pattern to those names. Between them, these men have spawned and sustained a new global elite, at the centre of which is the World Economic Forum at Davos.

For anyone lucky enough to be invited, Davos is essentially as piss-up0 in a posh ski resort. Jones’ view is somewhat different. The man who runs the thing, Karl Schwab, may look like a common-or-garden egghead but, we learn, he is in fact a very evil egghead, bent on global destruction. “Schwab and his Davos gang are interested in wiping out every one of the previously existing social structures that have guided the development of countries and nations,” says Jones.

He quotes from one of Schwab’s books, singling out a passing reference to “more agile forms of governance”. The phrase sends Jones into a horrified tizzy. “What are these ‘more agile forms of governance’?” he demands to know. “Summary execution by firing squad without the demand of a trial?”

The globalists have no moral centre, says Jones, and seeing as “God was the original insurrectionist”, it is up to every decent, freedom-loving citizen to stand up to the evil Davos cabal. They will take away your cars and your petrol, restrict your food supply, invent fake pandemics, lock you in your home, turn all money into digital tokens so your bank accounts can be frozen and — oh but this book is just so exhausting. So, so exhausting.

If you have not heard of the author, lucky you. A preposterous, ranting fatso, Jones is from the internet’s nether regions. Essentially a man with a website – the idiotically named “Infowars” – he’s made his reputation by parping out a vast, toxic guff-cloud of paranoid nonsense about lefty plots. This book is a distilled version of his bizarre world view, in which every government employee is a Hitler, anyone who wants to improve society is a fascist and our future will consist of “Karl Schwab, or his downloaded brain, giving us all orders from his laptop.”

Jones, then, is a maniac. As nice as it would be to pull the lever and flush him into the septic tank of history, he is not so easy to dismiss. A glimpse at the back cover of this book reveals a set of glowing endorsements. “If Alex Jones is just a crackpot,” one reads, “why are the most powerful people in the country trying to silence him?” It continues: “Maybe Alex Jones is onto something.”

That glowing endorsement comes from Tucker Carlson, the star turn on Fox News (prop: Rupert Murdoch). Jones, you see, has powerful fans who’ve noticed the sizeable, Trumpy audience he’s built. They want to keep him onside.

The quote now looks somewhat embarrassing for Carlson – and Murdoch. For years, Jones promoted a vile conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shooting, during which 26 people were murdered, most of them small children, had been faked. The grieving parents were actors, he said, and the whole thing had been staged to justify a left-wing attack on people’s gun rights. The parents sued and won. The court ordered Jones to pay damages of $1bn. That amount could rise farther.

So Alex, it turns out, is not “onto something”, and no one in their right mind should touch him, his website or this book with a bargepole. But this deranged nonsense does serve one purpose. It is a warning. The Americans are in the midst of a culture war, stoked by odious loudmouths like Jones and his buddy Carlson. The results include an increase in social division, the 6 January Capitol riots and a delusional young man attacking Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer.

There are people in the current Westminster government and on Fleet Street, who have flirted with the culture war – some even whipping off their undies and hopping straight into bed with it. But as this book makes clear, culture war, with its “us-and-them” rhetoric, is an attack on the stuff that holds societies together. As someone once nearly said: trying to win a culture war is like to trying to win and earthquake. Britain should stay well clear.’ (p. 30).

The problem is that there are real issues threatening freedom in the west and around the world. This includes governments and big corporations harvesting personal information from the internet, including our purchases, and using electronic banking to track the way we move our money. Corporations and clandestine interest groups really do exist and attempt to lobby governments to their own ends. The conspiracy magazine Lobster has been documenting all this for years.

Jones and his nonsense points people away from these real threats and replaces them with dangerous fascistic nonsense.

Email from We Own It Asking People to Share Their Petition for Publicly Owned Energy Company on Social Media

November 18, 2022

This is another message I got yesterday. However, I’m not on Twitter, Whatsapp or Facebook, so I’m sharing it here, and letting those who are on those social media share it if they wish.

‘Dear David,

Today Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt announced their plan for ordinary people to pay for the cost of living crisis while the rich get richer. 

You know this is wrong. There is another way – and taking our energy into public ownership should be top of the list. 

That’s why you signed the petition calling for public ownership of energy NOW! Can you share the petition to show Sunak and Hunt that the public sees through their spin?

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While millions of us struggle to afford food or heating, Moët, the luxury champagne brand, has announced unprecedented demand.

So who’s popping champagne corks right now? It’s the shareholders who own our privatised utilities and services.

This quarter BP raked in a whopping £6.9bn, and Shell has taken £26bn this year. Meanwhile, millions of us are holding off turning the heating on in the face of astronomical bills. 

Today Hunt announced that the windfall tax on energy company profits will be raised to 35%, but this is nowhere near enough. From April, the government is raising the energy price cap to £3,000 – meaning households spend even more on bills. 

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This is the moment to let as many people know as possible that it doesn’t have to be this way. 

By sharing the petition calling for public ownership of energy, you can make it clear that there is a real alternative. Right now, the government has the power to: 

  • Introduce a permanent windfall tax on oil and gas companies like Shell and BP, at a rate of 56% (on top of corporation tax)
  • Stop wasting money bailing out failing energy supply giants – set up a publicly owned energy supplier instead
  • Bring the privatised monopolies of the National Grid and regional distribution into public ownership
  • Set up a new state-owned renewable energy company to help tackle the climate crisis

Sunak and Hunt think they can get away with their choice to protect profits over people. By demanding an alternative, you can show them that the public sees right through this!

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We will only get louder with our call for public ownership as the real solution. 66% of the public already agree – let’s get that even higher. 

THANK YOU for signing and sharing the petition. Together we’re reaching more people every day, challenging the stories told by politicians and companies.

You’re helping to spread the message that public ownership is the answer, not austerity. 

Solidarity, 

Cat, Alice, Matthew, Kate and Johnbosco – The We Own It team

PS You can also share the petition by visiting our website and copying the link here: https://weownit.org.uk/act-now/public-ownership-energy-petition

Reply from Local Labour MP Karin Smyth on Fracking

November 4, 2022

A little while ago one of the internet petitioning organisations email me to request that I, and no doubt thousands of others, write to my MP to object to Liz Truss’ wretched plans to bring back fracking. I had absolutely no problem doing so, not least because one of the areas scheduled for it is in Keynhsam, a small town between Bristol and Bath. Today I got a very kind reply from here detailing her opposition to it and support for a sprint to Green energy. The email runs

‘Dear David

Thank you for contacting me about fracking.

I agree with you on this important issue. Fracking is unsafe, will not help our energy security or cut bills and is opposed by local communities.

I am pleased that the new Prime Minister has restored the ban on shale gas fracking in England. I find it extremely concerning, however, that this Conservative government previously broke its manifesto commitments in order to pursue a damaging policy that put the interests of fossil fuel companies above those of the British people.

To truly deliver energy security and lower bills, I believe we need a green energy sprint. The current crisis is a fossil fuel crisis and we cannot escape it by doubling down on fossil fuels. Renewables are today nine times cheaper than gas. The only way to cut energy bills and have energy security is with zero-carbon home-grown power, including by quadrupling our offshore wind capacity, more than doubling onshore wind and more than tripling solar by 2030.

I also agree that we need to prioritise and fund energy efficiency, which is why I support proposals for a national effort to bring all homes up to energy performance certificate band C within a decade. This would save families large amounts each year on their energy bills and reduce national gas imports by up to 15%.

Only Labour will consistently deliver promises to tackle the climate crisis and improve green energy. Please be assured that in the meantime I will continue to press the Government on this issue, as well as support calls to accelerate efforts on energy efficiency and homegrown renewables.

Thank you once again for contacting me.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth MP
Labour MP for Bristol South

The most interesting piece of this is the line that ‘renewables today are nine times cheaper than gas’. Nine times! This tells me that we are definitely being exploited by the fossil fuel companies.

38 Degrees Open Letter to Get Rishi Sunak to Attend the COP27 Next Week

November 1, 2022

I got this email from internet democracy group 38 Degrees about their petition against Sunak’s ambivalence about attending next week’s summit on climate change. Sunak has apparently said he may not go, and so 38 Degrees have set up this campaign to persuade him.

This is outrageous: Rishi Sunak says he may not be attending the COP27 summit next week. [1]

David, we knew the new Prime Minister was not the strongest on climate change. But the decision to not attend a crucial event where world leaders agree on steps to tackle the climate crisis is shocking and concerning. Especially when a UN report last week showed that current actions by countries across the world have not gone far enough. [2]

Sunak has blamed “domestic challenges” for this decision, but the fact is that the climate affects us all. [3] Not attending such an important summit – even for one day – while also removing the Climate Minister from the Cabinet shows the climate crisis is not a top priority for this government. [4] Rishi Sunak may say the environment is important to him, but his actions say otherwise.

His decision has not gone down well – the media, world leaders and UK MPs have been criticising it and news today has pointed to signs that he may be wavering in his decision to not attend. [5] So let’s be the voice that finally persuades him to attend the summit. If we sign an open letter in our hundreds of thousands it could push the PM to attend the meeting and show us he cares about saving the planet.

So, David, will you add your name right now and demand the PM attend the COP27 summit? By clicking the button below your name will automatically be added to the open letter.

ADD MY NAME

I’M NOT TAKING PART BECAUSE…

To: Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister

We, the public, are calling on you to make tackling the climate crisis a top priority. You’ve claimed it is, but your actions this week – removing the Climate Minister from the Cabinet, and refusing to attend the COP27 summit – say otherwise.

We understand that domestic issues are important, but the climate crisis will affect us all. The fact that you won’t attend and be part of the global conversation is damaging and concerning for everyone. Especially given the latest reports from the UN that current actions by all countries across the world have not gone far enough to limit any rise in global temperature to 1.5C.

Show us you care about the climate crisis and the environment. Commit to attending the summit for at least one day, as your predecessor Liz Truss promised, and give Climate Minister Graham Stuart the right to attend Cabinet meetings.

Signed,

The British public

The PM’s absence at this global summit will be keenly felt. Since the UK were the hosts of the summit last year it means we are the current holder of the COP presidency until this year’s summit starts. By not bothering to attend, Rishi Sunak will be sending a message to the whole world that the UK is not committed to tackling the climate crisis. But taking action to save our planet is a team effort and we need to play our part.

That’s why we, the public, need to add our voices and let Rishi Sunak know that the climate crisis is one of our top priorities. And as Prime Minister he needs to commit to doing something about it. We and future generations deserve better.

Will you be the voice of reason and add your name to the open letter today? By clicking the button below your name will automatically be added to the open letter.

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Megan and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] The Independent: Sunak prioritises ‘depressing domestic challenges’ over attending climate summit
[2] The Guardian: Climate crisis: UN finds ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’
[3] See note 1
[4] See note 1
Daily Mail: Rishi Sunak pulls out of Cop-27 climate summit and downgrades the status of his climate minister – but No10 insists new PM remains committed to net zero target
[5] See note 4
The Guardian: Global anger at Sunak’s Cop27 snub that raises fears over UK’s climate crisis stance
BBC News: Rishi Sunak criticised for skipping COP27 climate summit
BBC News: Rishi Sunak could still attend COP27 climate summit

I’ve signed it, because despite Sunak’s stopping fracking, his possible refusal to attend the summit shows that the Tories still don’t care about the environmental crisis and are hostile to further steps to prevent climate change. His absence will harm Britain’s international standing in this struggle.

Email from 38 Degrees on the Government’s Consultation Paper on Green Energy

October 26, 2022

This came through yesterday. The internet democracy organisation is asking their supporters to fill out the government’s consultation paper on green energy, which has to be done by tomorrow. The plan has some good points, but in the eyes of the experts it doesn’t go far enough. If you click on the links, you go to the paper’s questions with 38 Degrees’ suggested answers. I’ve filled it out, and am posting it here so others may do so too if they wish.

‘Dear David,

The Government has launched an independent review into their Net Zero Strategy – the UK’s official plan to tackle the climate crisis – and they want our views. [1]

We already know these plans are not good or thorough enough. In fact it’s so weak that in July this year, the high court ruled the Government had to go back to the drawing board to properly explain how their strategy will achieve its targets. [2] They have been given until April 2023 to figure this out – a worrying fact when some of the targets need to be met by 2030!

This consultation is our chance to make the Government take the climate crisis more seriously. If enough of us share our views, we can make sure they set targets that are both realistic and ambitious. Something our country and planet desperately needs. But it’ll only work if enough of us get involved before the consultation closes on Thursday.

David, can you complete a short survey about the Net Zero Strategy – and help the Government to take the climate crisis seriously? It will only take a few minutes, and once you’ve filled it in we’ll submit it to the consultation along with the views of thousands of other 38 Degrees supporters:

SHARE MY VIEWS

So what is actually in The Net Zero Strategy? It has a ten point plan covering various aspects of British life:

  • By 2030, the Government wants to quadruple offshore wind capacity which will generate more power than all our homes use today. [3]
  • £385 million will be invested in the coming years to develop nuclear reactors to provide energy to UK households. [4]
  • New petrol and diesel vehicles will not be sold in the UK from 2030 onwards. [5]
  • And 600,000 heat pumps are to be installed into UK homes every year until 2028. [6]

This strategy may seem to push us in the right direction, but various organisations and the House of Lords have argued it does not go far enough, and focuses on the wrong areas. [7] For example. 600,000 heat pumps sounds great, but we’ll need millions of them to actually make a difference. [8] And crucially the strategy fails to mention where the funding for all of its goals will be coming from as well. [9]

So we need to push back and get them to increase their ambition! It certainly won’t be the first time 38 Degrees supporters have taken part in a consultation and pushed the Government to rethink their plans. Over 40,000 of us took part in the consultation for the privatisation of Channel 4 and managed to halt the plans to sell it off. [10] Now we need to do the same for our environment and planet – but it will only work if all of us get involved.

So, can you share your views on the Government’s Net Zero Plans via a quick survey now? The consultation closes on Thursday so we don’t have long!

SHARE MY VIEWS

Thanks for all that you do,

Simma, Megan, Angus and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] Gov.uk: Review of Net Zero: call for evidence
The consultation on the Government’s site is very long and technical, so we’ve replicated it on the 38 Degrees site and only included the questions relevant to members of the public.
[2] The Guardian: Court orders UK government to explain how net zero policies will reach targets
Sky News: ‘Landmark ruling’ sees government’s net-zero strategy ruled ‘unlawful’
[3] “Point 1: Advancing offshore wind”
HM Government: The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
[4] “Point 3: Delivering New and Advanced Nuclear Powe”
HM Government: The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
[5] “Point 4: Accelerating the Shift to Zero Emission Vehicles”
HM Government: The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
[6] “Point 7: Greener Buildings”
HM Government: The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
[7] Financial Times (paywall): UK lacks ‘credible plan’ to drive net zero transition, Lords report warns
UK Parliament Committees: UK will miss net zero target without urgent action, warns Lords committee
[8] See note 7
[9] See note 2
[10] 38 Degrees: 250,000 people say: Keep Channel 4 public
Financial Times (paywall): UK government ‘re-examining’ Channel 4 privatisation plan

‘Led By Donkey’s’ Potted Biography of the Horror That Is Jacob Rees-Mogg

October 23, 2022

I found this brief biography, ‘Who Is Jacob Rees-Mogg’ on the Led by Donkeys channel on YouTube. It covers Mogg’s life and career from his birth to today and shows exactly why he shouldn’t be anywhere near government – the greed, snobbishness, mendacity, duplicity and sheer governmental incompetence. Here’s a summary of its contents.

Mogg was born in May 1969 in London, the son William Rees-Mogg, the editor of the Times. He was naturally educated at Eton. In 1982, while he was a twelve-year old schoolboy, he was the subject of a French documentary as he was a financial trader and supporter of Thatcher. In one interview for the programme he said, ‘I love money. I always have done.’ When asked if he wanted to get married, he replied ‘No’, as he didn’t want to get divorced and his wife to get his money. In 1997 he campaigned for the Tories in the traditional Labour seat of East Fife. The image accompanying this shows him stepping over a fence looking exactly like John Cleese as the Minister for Silly Walks, but without the bowler hat. The locals were bemused by the fact that he was accompanied by his nanny, who was there to iron his shirts. 1998 – according to a biographer, his maid and his nanny took turns holding a book over his head at a picnic at Glyndebourne to make sure he didn’t get sunburnt. That same year he campaigned in the Wrekin, where he also lost. In 2006 he made a statement comparing people who weren’t privately educated and who never went to Oxford and Cambridge to potted plants and implied that they were incapable of writing an articulate letter. The next year, 2007, he and two of his friends set up Somerset Investment Capital. This committed itself to business ethics, but then stated that environmental, social and governmental concerns would not form the basis of their ethical policy.

In 2010 he finally succeeded in getting his wretched backside elected to parliament in the Somerset Northeast constituency. Three years later in 2013, Mogg distinguished himself by denying that workers have a right to a paid holiday. Then he took the decision to attend the annual dinner of the far-right Traditional Britain Group, despite being briefed about them by anti-Fascist organisation and magazine, Searchlight. He only decided to disassociate himself from them when they issued a statement denouncing Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered Black teenager Stephen Lawrence, as a ‘monstrous disgrace’ and recommending that people like her should be asked to leave the country. He also described man-made global warming as ‘much debated’ – totally wrong, as the vast majority of scientists are convinced it exists. The next year, 2014, Mogg advises that humanity should adapt to rather than attempt to mitigate climate change. He also lies about a UN report, claiming that it states that if measures were adopted to combat climate changes today it would take hundreds or a thousand years to produce results. The report said no such thing. In March the same year it was revealed his investment company was making a cool £3million from mining and £2.4 million in oil and gas.

In 2015 he stated his opposition to gay marriage and followed this in 2016 with a statement backing Donald Trump, who was then running a very racist, sexist and bigoted campaign. A year after that, in 2017, he revealed that he had never changed a nappy despite having six children. He also lied again, this time claiming that Labour had deliberately not told people they could get help from food banks. He also said that he thought the idea of people giving to these charities was ‘uplifting’. This was much mocked at the time. It is uplifting that people are willing to give to them, but utterly despicable that they have to exist in the first place. He also still opposed marriage equality and abortion in all circumstances as well as the morning after pill. Thus, he suffered no little embarrassment when it was revealed that he had investments in a company producing a stomach pill widely used in illegal abortions in Indonesia. He also had shares in a company producing drugs for legal abortions in India. He sold these shares, but retained those in tobacco, oil and gas companies. He also met Trump’s aide, Steve Bannon, a journalist for the far-right news outlet Breitbart, discussing how the right could win both in American and Britain. This segment has footage of the torchlight fascists marching in the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville. In 2018 it was revealed that Somerset Capital had also invested in Sberbank, a Russian bank that had been sanctioned by the EU since 2014 because of the Russian occupation of Crimea. It was also revealed a year later in 2019 that he’d made £7 million in profit from the Brexit vote. But backing Brexit didn’t stop him establishing two funds in Dublin to take advantage of the fact that it was still in the EU while London was not. Somerset Capital was paying him £15,000 per month and he owned 15 per cent of the shares. His firm was managed by subsidiaries operating perfectly legally in the tax havens of the Cayman Islands and Singapore.

Going back to the far-right, in 2019 he retweeted a comment by the leader of Germany’s Alternative Fuer Deutschland. He was also interviewed by Trump-supporter James Delingpole for Breitbart. The ousting of Tweezer by Johnson that year was also due in no small part to his machinations and that of his European Research Group. He also chose to show precisely what he thought about a debate on Brexit by lying down and appearing to go to sleep on the hallowed green benches of parliament. He also implied in a radio interview that the victims of the Grenfell fire died because they were too stupid to leave the building. He then mysterious vanished from the campaign trail, suggesting that his aides had advised him to lie low for a while. When a voter did try to ask him about his comment, he fled.

This year Truss made him Minister for Brexit Opportunities, despite profiting from investments in a Russian gas company, whose chair was one of Putin’s chums. He did, however, promise to divest himself of these investment after the invasion of Ukraine. Truss then appointed him Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He backed the disastrous minibudget to the hilt, which has resulted in catastrophic mortgage hikes and the reimposition of austerity. Rather than accept responsibility, he blamed the mess on the Bank of England. The video ends with a young female journalist at the Financial Times describing this as ‘bollocks’.

This is who is now in government. And he’s only just down the road from me in Bath and Northeast Somerset. Uuurgh!

And after watching that video, here’s something that might cheer you up. Mogg’s frank statement that he loved money made me think of the Flying Lizard’s cover of the Beatle’s class, ‘Money’. Here it is, also from the TopPop channel on YouTube.

Email from 38 Degrees Urging People to Contact MPs and Vote Against Fracking Tomorrow

October 18, 2022

I had this email come through earlier this evening, urging me to contact my MP to ask her to attend tomorrow’s opposition day debate and vote against Truss’ proposal to bring back fracking.

David, we’ve got a chance to make sure MPs take a stand against fracking. How? There’s a vote set to take place about the Government’s ridiculous fracking plans on Wednesday in Parliament. [1]

We know the public are against it – it’s why you and 80,000 others signed the petition demanding the Government rethink their plans. And we also know multiple politicians have been speaking out against fracking, including Conservative MPs. [2] Now we need them to back their words up with action, and vote against fracking this week.

But they’ll only do that if they hear from us, their constituents, calling on them to show up tomorrow – and vote against fracking.

So, David, will you ask Karin Smyth to go along tomorrow and vote to stop fracking in its tracks?

EMAIL MY MP

Don’t worry if you’ve never emailed your MP before – here are a few suggestions on what you could say:

  • Make sure you ask them to go along to tomorrow’s opposition day debate on fracking.
  • Mention how harmful fracking is to the local community and environment – it can cause earthquakes, and increase air pollution and road traffic. [3]
  • Remind them that fracking was banned for good reasons in 2019, and science shows the process has not become safer yet. [4]
  • Tell your MP that the real solutions to the energy crisis are more renewable energy and home insulation. In contrast, fracking emits greenhouse gases that contribute to climate breakdown. [5]

So, will you email your MP now asking them to attend the vote tomorrow and stop fracking in England once and for all?

EMAIL MY MP

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Megan, Matt, Tom and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] The Telegraph: Tory rebels vow to bury fracking as they urge Liz Truss to make policy U-turn
[2] 38 Degrees: Sign the petition: the government must rethink its fracking plans
The Guardian: Tory-led council votes to demand Truss stick to no fracking pledge
[3] BBC News: What is fracking and why is it controversial?
Daily Mail: What is fracking, why is it controversial and will it REALLY solve the energy crisis? MailOnline answers your key questions about the practice after the UK government lifts the ban
[4] The Guardian: Why fracking in UK will not fix fuel bills and is economically high risk
[5] The Guardian: Fracking causing rise in methane emissions, study finds

I’ve had no problem doing this, not least because one of the proposed areas for fracking was part of Keynsham, a small town just southeast of Bristol near Bath. If you click on the link, you get to a general page that asks you for your address so you can contact your local MP, whoever he or she may be, and send them your message asking them to attend the debate. If you also want to halt the return of fracking, please feel free to use the link above to contact your local politico.

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.