Posts Tagged ‘Private Industry’

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

February 1, 2023

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

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

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

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

Reform Party Promising to Protect British Freedoms against the Government, the EU and Unelected Organisations

January 20, 2023

Okay, I just found a brief video on YouTube, posted eight days ago, on Nick Buckley’s channel. Buckley’s a former police officer and campaigner against knife crime, who’s appeared a couple of times on the Lotus Eater’s channel. I wasn’t surprised then, when he posted this video interviewing Richard Tice about Reform’s ‘Eight Principles’. In the video, however, he only talks about four of them. These are largely about protecting British democratic rights against the threat of the state and unelected organisations and quangos. According to Tice, Brits are aware that they’re born free and have inalienable rights unlike in the EU. Thus, Brits are able to whatever they like unless prohibited, while in the EU they can only do whatever the EU tells them to.

The irony about this is that the idea that humans are born free comes from a continental philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau has been condemned as one of the founders of totalitarianism. One Conservative American group made Rousseau’s The Social Contract one of the most evil books of all time alongside Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto. The philosopher Isaiah Berlin included him among his Six Enemies of Freedom and the Lotus Eaters have also put out videos attacking him. But Rousseau’s book begins with the words, ‘Man was born free yet everywhere he is chains.’ The idea that you should be free to do whatever you want unless the law says otherwise, I think comes from John Locke a century before, and is the foundation of modern liberal ideas of freedom. However, other European philosophers also had views similar to Locke’s, that the state should be limited to the role of a night watchman, in the sense say that it should protect its citizens’ lives and property, but otherwise not interfere. This is the view expressed by the German philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt in his Grenzen Der Wirksamkeit der Staat – ‘Limits of the Effectiveness of the State’. I don’t know what the underlying philosophy of government of the European Union is. I suspect there isn’t one beyond harmonising various trade and other regulations between member states and allowing for the movement of labour and capital. The original intention was to create a united trading bloc to preserve western European economic independence from America or communist eastern Europe. The Eurosceptic right has frequently ranted about the EU being some kind of totalitarian state with comparisons to Nazi Germany and communism, but I’ve seen no evidence to support it. And rather than limiting freedom, I think the EU believes it is actively creating and nurturing freedom in its member states. Such as when it condemns Poland and Hungary for their legislation banning homosexuality and gay rights.

Now let’s go through the principles as explained by Tice and Buckley in the video.

  1. The state is our servant not our master.

I don’t believe any believer in liberal democracy, whether of the left or right, would challenge this. The only people who would are either Fascists, following Mussolini’s pronouncements that the individual is nothing before the state, followers of Hegel’s dictum that ‘the state is the divine idea as it exists on Earth. We must therefore worship the state’ and supporters of Soviet Communism before Gorby’s brief reforms. However, in the context of Reform, a party of the right, it seems to me that this is yet another bland statement intended to justify further privatisation and the expansion of the power of private industry and the destruction of the welfare state against working people, the poor, the unemployed and disabled.

2. Lend us your power and we’ll give you back your freedom.

This could be said by just about any political party, even those which were real enemies of freedom. Hitler, in one of his rants at Nuremberg, declared ‘Everything I am, I am through you. Everything you are, you are through me’. The Nazi party anthem, the Horst Wessel song, also has lines about German freedom. Hitler also talked about preserving freedom through separating the different spheres of party and state and preserving private industry, though in practice under the Nazi regime the party and state apparatus were intermeshed and private industry ruthlessly subordinated to the state. Mussolini also made speeches about how the freedom of the individual wasn’t limited under fascism, except in certain ways, all of which was equally rubbish.

3. People are free.

This means, as he explains, that people naturally hold certain rights and liberties that should always be protected and defended. These include freedom of speech, religion and conscience. This does not mean that certain types of speech have no consequences. I interpret this as meaning that he feels that people can say what they want, but people are also free to express outrage and take action against others for offensive or dangerous speech that is not otherwise banned by law. Tice goes on to say that in practice, while people believe in this principle, they negotiate to give up a certain amount of this freedom with the state.

I think here he means particularly the legislation on hate speech, which in his view prevents proper criticism of certain protected groups in order to combat racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and so on. He has a point, as opponents of gay rights, who have made their opposition very clear in speeches, often quoting the Biblical prohibition against it, have been arrested. In Scotland Maria Miller, a gender critical woman, was arrested for hate speech simply for putting up stickers with the slogan ‘Scots Women Won’t Wheesht’, meaning that they wouldn’t be silent, in her campaign against the proposed gender recognition legislation north of the border. In my opinion, arresting someone for saying that goes beyond a concern about stirring up hatred against trans people into active attempts to police thoughts and opinions about trans rights.

But there are good reasons behind the legislation banning hate speech. In the case of racism, it’s to prevent Nazi groups stirring up hatred against vulnerable minorities like the Jews, people of colour and gays, all of whom have been or are targets of abuse and physical assault.

4. National Sovereignty

This means protecting British traditions, institutions and culture from enemies both external and internal. The external foes include the EU. The internal threats to British tradition and democracy are unelected pressure groups and organisations. These include big tech and companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook. This is a fair point. These organisations can and do censor material posted on their platforms. The right have been complaining about their posts disappearing or the algorithms governing their availability in searches being altered so that they become invisible, but the same censorship is also inflicted on the left. If Tice and his crew get the chance, I’ve no doubt they’ll demand greater freedom of speech for their supporters while maintaining or even strengthening the censorship against their opponents on the left.

Other threats, unsurprisingly, are the European Union, while among the unelected organisations wielding power he puts the environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and the gay rights organisation Stonewall. Tice states that a few years ago Greenpeace published their manifesto for Yorkshire, which was a diatribe against the car, and therefore, in his view, an attack on the automobile industry in west Yorkshire. One of the accusations the extreme right is throwing at environmental groups is that they wish to ban cars and private transport as part of their plan to establish Green Communism. He also includes Stonewall and the massive influence it wields, although no-one has elected it. There is a problem with Stonewall in that the advice it has been giving to companies, the government and the civil service has been wrong. They deliberately gave a wrongful interpretation of the legislation covering trans issues which was very much what they wanted it to say, not what the law actually did. As a result, a number of groups cut their connections to the organisation.

But unelected groups like Greenpeace, Stonewall and so on acquire their power through possessing, or being perceived to express, expertise and competence in particular issues. In the case of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, it’s the environment. Amnesty International is respected because of its thorough investigation and documentation of human rights abuses, even though governments may pay no attention to its findings. Stonewall is taken notice of because it speaks, or claims to speak, for Britain’s gays and articulates their concerns and recommendations to combat prejudice.

Even in the 19th century governments had to pay attention to popular protest organisations, such as the massive abolitionist campaign against slavery, the Anti-Corn Law League set up by Cobden and Bright to have the corn laws repealed so that the price of grain would fall and working people able to feed themselves. There was also the anti-war protests against the Crimean War led by John Bright and others. There are problems with unelected groups exercising power beyond their competence or suitability, but modern governments have always had to deal with organised groups. Tice’s singling out of the environmental groups and Stonewall seems to me to be as much to do with a hatred of their views – the Brexiteers are full-scale behind the right of private industry to trash this country’s green and pleasant land – than with their supposed power outside of the formal sphere of elections. I doubt that Reform would ever go as far if they were in power, but it reminds me more than a little bit of Mussolini’s statement that there should be ‘nothing outside the state, nothing against the state’, and similar bans on private quasi-political organisations in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

But what you’ll also notice is that these principles tell you absolutely nothing about how Reform as a party intends to act on them, except by reading the lines. What does Reform intend to do about the health service? Not said. I suspect, in fact, that as a party of the right they’ll want to privatise even more of it. What about the welfare state and the scandal of millions of people using food banks? No answers there, either. I suspect, however, that in practice you’d get more mantras of encouraging people to be independent, find work and so on, coupled with rants about welfare scroungers. What about industry? Again, the reality is almost certainly that they want more deregulation. Well, we’ve had four decades of Thatcherite privatisation and deregulation, and the result is the mass poverty and failing economy we’re now experiencing. Industry should be acting for the good of society and its employees and not just shareholders and senior management. This means limiting economic freedom, but as the Liberal journalist J.A. Hobson said, in order for the mass of people to be free you need to limit the freedom of the rich. Which is obviously toxic to the Conservatives and other parties of the right.

To sum up, what Reform seems to be doing with these principles is to try to position themselves as defenders of traditional British liberties against the threat of the evil EU and pesky Green and gay groups. But this hides an illiberal ideology that views such groups as somehow subversive, would probably remove the obstacles against real, dangerous expressions of racial and other prejudice, and which would promote the interests of private industry against ordinary Brits.

We can’t afford to be taken in by sweet words hiding their true intentions.

The Ideas of 19th Century French Socialist Louis Blanc

January 17, 2023

Plamenatz’s book, Man & Society: From Montesquieu to the Early Socialists, also contains a paragraph on the ideas of Louis Blanc. Blanc was a French socialist best known for creating the National Workshops established by the French government during the 1848 revolution. These were intended to be cooperatives set up by the government to provide work for the employed. They would use part of their profits in buying up other workshops and so expanding this socialised sector of the economy. In practice the scheme was handed over to civil servants, who were resolutely opposed to them. The result was that the work offered by them was mostly in menial tasks like digging ditches. They were not very popular and rapidly closed down. However, there was more to Blanc’s socialism than the Workshops, and his views are very similar to those of 20th century social democrats. By which I mean real social democrats, who believe in a mixed economy, rather than the Labour right which has fallen over itself embracing neoliberalism.

Plamenatz writes of Blanc

‘Louis Blanc wanted the state to control all the banks, the factories, the railways, the insurance companies and the larger commercial enterprises; and he also wanted manhood suffrage. Small businesses should remain in private hands. Like many social democrats in the west today, he called for an economy divided into a ‘private’ and ‘public sector’, over which the State should exercise a general control. But he never really went into the question of how the State should manage the economy and the public sector, and how this management could be reconciled with effective democracy. He also neglected the question put by Saint-Simon: ‘What is the structure of authority appropriate to a large-scale economy, centrally controlled?’ (pp.286-7).

I like the idea of the National Workshops and really wish they’d been a success, though it was inevitable that the conservative ministers and civil servants put in charge of them should be determined to run them down. I also prefer his version of socialism that leaves room for a private sector. Some things, I believe, are better off in the hands of private industry and I think there should be a sphere outside the control of the state in which a person’s business is his or her own, in contrast to the mass, totalitarian societies of communism.

The Fascist Argument Against Free Market Capitalism

January 15, 2023

I notice that as the failure of contemporary free market capitalism becomes every more obvious, its right-wing supporters are out on the net telling everyone how wonderful capitalism is. Capitalism, according to them, has lifted more people out of poverty than any socialist state has ever done. You find this repeated by the Lotus Eaters, and I recent found yet another video on YouTube put up by a right-winger.

Now there is something to this. Marx in the Communist Manifesto was impressed by the global achievements of capitalism, and industrialisation and trade has produced development and prosperity in Britain, the West and elsewhere, and lifted people out of the poverty of agricultural subsistence economies. But this hasn’t been done by capitalism alone. Trade unions have also been part of the development of mass prosperity in the industrialised nations through demands for increased wages, better working conditions and so on, a fact ignored by the right. And working people in the west enjoyed their greatest period of prosperity when capitalism was regulated as part of the post-War consensus. In Britain this took the form of a mixed economy in which the utilities were owned and operated by the state. The privatisation of these utilities, the devastation of the welfare state and the deregulation of the economy has led to a massive transfer of wealth upwards, so that the poor have become colossally poorer and the wealth of the rich even more bloated and obscene. Properly regulated, capitalism does raise people out of poverty. But free market capitalism, of the kind frantically promoted by right-wingers like the Lotus Eaters, has done the reverse.

But let’s grant them that the 19th century was an age of industrial and agricultural expansion in which people enriched themselves. Mussolini expressed this view in his speech about the corporative state he was introducing into Italy. The fascist corporations were industrial organisations, one for each industry, which included representatives of the trade unions and the owners’ organisations. The Italian parliament was dissolved and reorganised into a Chamber of Fasces and Corporations, in which these organisations were supposed to debate economic policy. In fact, it just served as a rubber stamp for the Duce’s decisions. It was, however, important for propaganda purposes, to show that Mussolini’s regime had transcended capitalism and socialism.

The Fascists weren’t enemies of capitalism, far from it. Mussolini’s constitution made private industry the basis of the state and economic life, which is why I’m using it his critique of free market capitalism against the free marketeers. Mussolini had been a radical socialist, but when the Fascists seized power he declared them to be true followers of Manchester School capitalism. In other words, free trade. This was accompanied by a programme of privatisation. In Germany Hitler gave a speech to the German equivalent of the Confederation of British Industry, saying that capitalism could only be preserved through a dictatorship. He stated that he would not nationalise any company, unless it was failing. During the Nazi dictatorship industry was organised into a series of interlocking associations subject to state control. But they were not nationalised, and the leadership of the organisations was always given to private industrialists, not the managers of state industries.

Back to Italy, Mussolini described how this initial period had begun to decay. The old family run firms declined, to be replaced by joint stock companies. At the same time, firms organised themselves into cartels. In America, these cartels demanded intervention from the government. Mussolini announced that, if left unchecked, this would lead to the emergence of a state capitalism that was every bit as pernicious as state socialism. His solution was that capitalism needed to be more ‘social’. It would be subordinated to the state through the corporations, where workers and management would cooperate to make Italy a great power once more.

Something similar has happened over the past four decades. Under this new corporativism, representatives of private industry have entered government as advisors and officials, often in the departments charged with regulating their industries. At the same time, industry has received massive subsidies and tax breaks so that much of the tax burden has moved lower down on working people. Mussolini was correct about private industry demanding state intervention, however much this is denied and state planning attacked by free market theorists. And the result is corporativism, which the free marketeers denounce as not being true capitalism. But it’s been pointed out that the type of capitalism they believe in has never existed.

Free market capitalism is a failure. The solution is not a murderous dictatorship, but the old, regulated, mixed economy of the social democratic consensus. An economy that includes private industry, but which recognises that it alone does not create wealth, and which demands the inclusion of working people and their organisations in industrial negotiations and policies in order to create prosperity for working people.

Reform Party Launch Attack Ad against Tory ‘Consocialists’

November 20, 2022

Mad ultra-brexiteer Mahyar Tousi is highly delighted with the latest promotional film from Richard Tice and the wretched Reform Party. He showed it on one of his videos earlier today or yesterday. The film shows a hammer striking a piggy bank with the message that pensions are being hammered. It then talks about how Brits are being hit by Tory austerity and that the country is paying the price for 12 years of failed Tory policies. This is because Rishi Sunak and the rest are ‘Consocialists’. The Reform Party, however, offer growth and prosperity based on lowering taxes and eliminating waste. But note the contradiction – lowering taxes and cutting waste is Tory policy, and it translates into lowering taxes for the rich and cutting services, particularly the welfare state. So, what’s all this bilge about ‘Consocialists’? I can only think it’s because when Covid hit, suddenly the Tories had to put cash into the economy to support the businesses that were closed and the people that couldn’t work due to the lockdown. And the Tory hard right, which includes Tousi and the others the ad is aimed at, have bitterly resented it ever since. I think if they’d had their way, they wouldn’t have initiated the lockdown but carried on with the nonsense about herd immunity. Which means letting the old and weak die in order to allow the rest to become immune to the disease. But the nonsense of ‘Consocialism’ also harks back to Farage nonsense about ‘Liblabcon’ and how they were all the same, with only UKIP being different.

No, the Tories are not socialists. They have cut welfare provision to the point where, for many of the most vulnerable people, it no longer exists. That’s why people are being forced to use food banks. The Tories fully support private industry and are covertly trying to privatise the NHS and convert it into a system of private healthcare funded through private health insurance like America’s. They were also behind the privatisation of the utilities, which has been a disaster. Privatisation has not brought greater investment, just further cuts to services in order to boost boardroom pay and shareholder dividends. As for tax, they have cut taxes – for the rich. These are all policies that Tice and his vile crew will follow if in they get into government. And the results will be the same: abysmally poor public services, mass poverty and ill health with a privatised health service.

The Tories and Reform are just two branches of the same party. Don’t vote for them.

Media Suggests New Farage-Led Party Could Challenge Tories with 25 per cent of the Vote

November 15, 2022

I’ll believe it when I see it, but that was what the headlines said on two videos I found on two right-leaning channels on YouTube yesterday. I think one was GB News, which in some cases is so right leaning that it’s actually fallen over. Farage has been making noises about a political comeback and was reported as recommending that the various fringe right-wing parties like Reform and Reclaim should unite to challenge the Conservatives. Because apparently the Tories aren’t the Tories anymore, and Rishi Sunak is following socialist policies. This comes from the bonkers Brexiteer right, the kind of people who declare that the Nazis and Italian Fascists were socialists because they started out on the left and were all in favour of state control. Which conveniently ignores the fact that both parties were nevertheless frantic supporters of private industry – Mussolini even included it as one of the fundamentals of the Fascist state. I wonder what they would have made of Harold Macmillan, who supported the social democratic consensus and memorably described Thatcher’s privatisations as ‘selling off the family silver’. ‘Supermac’ widened access to the universities so that people from more ordinary backgrounds could attend and expanded the construction of council houses, though these were poorer quality than those built by Labour under Clem Attlee. Presumably he was a socialist too? The Lotus Eaters have also got in on that act and were pushing David Kurten’s Heritage Party as ‘the real Conservatives’. Yeah, David Kurten, whose name reminds me of Peter Kurten, the gay serial killer of 1920s Germany, dubbed the something-or-other vampire or werewolf, because he drank his victims’ blood. Obviously, the only thing Dave has in common with that monster was the surname.

I’m sceptical of all this. I think Tice and Fox are too possessive of their own positions as leaders of their respective parties, and I can’t see them merging for the same reason other small parties on the political fringes, like the NF and BNP, seem to fragment into ever smaller political sects, due to personality clashes and differences in doctrine and strategy. Besides which, Farage has had his day. He was never elected to parliament despite his many attempts, did absolutely nothing as an MEP except collect his paycheque and moan, and jumped ship from UKIP, leaving it to sink under the inspired leadership of Gerald Batten.

As for 25 per cent of the British electorate voting for them, this reminds me of one of the stats the Independent reported back in the ’90s. This claimed that a poll had found that a majority of Brits would vote for a far-right party. In fact, the closest the BNP ever got to sweeping into power was in 2007 and it imploded under massive public criticism soon after. Before then I think it had never got more than 2 per cent of the vote. The prediction of a new, even more right-wing party challenging the Conservatives seems very much like that prediction. Though the Tories themselves are now horrifically right-wing, no matter what the demented Brexiteer right may think.

Right Planning War on Teachers’ Union Over Wokeness?

October 9, 2022

Sorry I haven’t been posting much over the last few days. I had a hospital appointment Thursday and although it wasn’t anything serious, I haven’t felt much like posting anything online afterwards. But I felt I had to post about this. I was watching one of the videos from the New Culture Forum yesterday. It’s the cultural offshoot of the Institute of Economic Affairs and has been set up to defend traditional British culture from left-wing ideas and ‘wokeness’. In this particular video, they were discussing various topics that had arisen over the past week. One of these was a video produced by biracial Tory Calvin Robinson about how British children’s education is being ruined by left-wing teachers pushing Critical Race Theory and so on. Now I do agree with them about Critical Race Theory. I think it’s just a form of militant anti-White racism based on a mixture of Marxist legal theory and postmodernism. It considers that all Black people are automatically oppressed because of their colour, while White people are privileged and should be made to feel ashamed and humiliated because of this. It’s divisive and I see absolutely no value in it whatsoever. But Critical Race Theory is only one of their targets. The broader target is the teaching profession itself, which they decided is far too left-wing and needs to be comprehensively attacked.

My mother was a primary school teacher, and I did my first degree at a teacher training college, which has since become one of the new universities. I realise that this is nearly forty years ago, and I honestly don’t know how much has changed or not. I did an MA in history in 2004 and then a Ph.D. in archaeology at Bristol university, graduating ten years ago. My experience of university is therefore dated and limited. But this contradicts some of the assertions that the New Culture Forum were making. They claimed that 85 per cent plus of teachers were left leaning. Perhaps they are. And so, the arch-Tories claimed, they wished to indoctrinate children with woke doctrines like CRT, Postcolonial Theory and so on. They also asserted that they were generally indoctrinating people with the left-wing attitudes that only people on the left support the NHS and are caring.

Now my experience is that teachers, whether left or right, go into the profession for the simple reason that they want to stand up before a class and teach. And what they want to teach is the traditional academic subjects – the three ‘Rs’, history, science, geography or whatever. They don’t want to push Critical Race Theory, Postcolonial Theory or Queer Theory. Issues of race, gender, sexuality, feminism and so on used be part of what was called ‘the hidden curriculum’, the set of values that the educational system sought to impart to its pupils. From what I can see, the overt teaching of issues like anti-racism was imposed from outside the school by the local education authority and involved outside groups. After the 1981/2 riots, for example, the school at which my mother taught was visited by such a specialist group to teach the children to be anti-racist. As far as I can make out, this came from above, from the council or LEA and that neither the school nor its headmaster had anything to do with it. Today there are concerns about schoolchildren in Brighton being taught Critical Race Theory, and one man has taken his child out of the local school there and was protesting against it. But the leader of Brighton council is a member of the Green party, and this seems to be part of Green party policy down there. The New Culture Forum, as could be expected from a group of high Tories, declared that it was the fault of the unions. Well, the National Union of Teachers, from what I can remember, is very hot on anti-racism and so on, but there were a variety of different teaching unions, and I don’t think they were all the same.

As for universities, some lecturers are admittedly very left-wing. Others are, or used to be, Tory. And others keep their political and religious opinions out of the classroom. With some of the ‘woke’ courses that are being made mandatory at certain universities, such as anti-racism awareness for freshers, the impression I get is that they are being imposed by the administration. This seems to be largely a response to criticism from the Black community. Blacks tend to get lower grades than Whites, and so universities have been under pressure since the 1980s to implement affirmative action programmes to admit more Black students by lowering the grades required. And it’s also being done in response to complaints that Black and Asian staff and students also suffer from racial abuse and so on. This aspect does indeed come from the Black sections of the unions, as reported by the Guardian.

The impression that teachers have been indoctrinating vulnerable little minds with Communism has been around since the days of Thatcher, when her government started a moral panic about Peace Studies. I think this latest round of political suspicion and witch hunting is partly a result of concerns across the Atlantic about the promotion of Critical Race Theory, Black Lives Matter and Queer Theory in schools. There have been a number of videos put up on right-wing YouTube channels commenting on TikTok videos by gay/trans teachers informing the world about their sexuality and how they’re trying to teach their class about it, as well as news stories and controversies about Drag Queen Story Hour. But while this goes on, I’m really not sure how widespread it is. I’ve watched videos that have claimed it’s near uniform because of the influence of these doctrines and left-wing staff on the American teacher training courses. But I’m not American, and my contact with the American education system has been limited to American exchange and other students at the universities and colleges I attended.

I am also unsure how far the local authorities can be blamed for the schools in their area teaching left-wing doctrines like Critical Race Theory. I was at school just before the National Curriculum came in, when schools had far greater freedom to teach what and how they chose. This freedom has been limited by the National Curriculum. Also, schools have been part-privatised by being transformed into academies. This system was intended to take them out of local authority control. But if schools are teaching subjects like CRT and Queer Theory, it has to be due to the wishes of the academy chain itself. These are private companies, which makes it difficult for Tories like the New Culture Forum to blame the state or left-wing local authorities. It’s no doubt why they’re blaming the teaching unions instead.

So, what are their solutions to all this? They discussed home schooling but rejected that on the grounds that working class parents have neither the time nor the books required to do it. They concluded that if the education system could be rescued at all, there had to be a battle with the unions ‘like the miners’ strike’.

This is very ominous.

I’m not in favour of anyone imposing their own personal political opinions schools. But I’d say that the most pressing issues in education aren’t about Critical Race Theory and so on. They’re the constant issues of underfunding and poor pay for teaching staff, lack of resources and teaching materials and inability to retain staff. There are concerns that children’s, and particularly boy’s personal development and educational performance is being harmed by the lack of male teachers. But one solution to that would be to raise salaries to a level where they would be attractive to men, where they felt that it was worth their while economically to go into teaching rather than a better paid profession. Or launch a campaign that would otherwise attract more men in the same way that other, traditionally masculine professions, are trying to attract women. As for universities, the main issue there in my opinion is the extremely high tuition fees. As far as I can see, the money from these isn’t going to teaching staff, who can be quite poorly paid. One of my friends was an assistant lecturer for a time in the ’90s. It all seems to be going on the bloated salaries of university chancellors and administrators. These seem to me to be the real issues, though I’m not discounting the harm done by the introduction of specifically woke courses. And whatever the New Culture Forum may say, no, the Tories do not support the NHS.

Their talk of attacking the teaching unions is frightening, because it means another Tory assault on state education generally, at a time when education is in crisis because of Tory privatisation policies.

Get the Tories out, renationalise schools and get rid of tuition fees!

Mad Right-Wing YouTuber Alex Belfield Banned by YouTube for Two Weeks

February 13, 2022

A day or two ago Alex Jones, the right-wing host of the Voice of Reason channel on YouTube, was handed a temporary ban for two weeks. At first it was thought that he’d been banned for three months, but Andy the Gabby Cabby, another YouTuber sympathetic to Belfield, has cleared that up. He’s been in communication with him, and apparently he’s only been suspended for a fortnight, but it was because he had already had two strikes against him within a three month period before suffering the third complaint resulting in his suspension. The Blackbelt Barrister, a YouTube legal expert, has also weighed in on the case. Citing expert legal opinion on the 2003 Information Act, the Barrister states that, in the opinion of the judicial authorities, the Act should only be used against communications that physically threaten a person’s safety or which stir up racial hatred. They should not be used to chill personal opinion or censor offensive views, even if those views make someone feel uncomfortable.

This is fine, but I don’t think Belfield has actually been charged with anything under the Act. Belfield has been banned from YouTube because it’s a private company, as are the other internet platforms. As private companies they are quite within their rights to set their own terms and conditions and restrict what may be said on them. The right got very upset about all this a few years ago when they started being censored for issues like misogyny, homophobia, racism, transphobia and so on. Left-wingers, however, pointed out that this was simply private industry acting as a private company and not in the public interest. They also pointed out how ironic it was this had happened to the right, who are staunch supporters of private companies against state-owned industries. There were even demands from some that the government should set up a nationalised internet platform to allow a proper exchange of views without censorship. Which would be really ironic considering that the right is worried about government censorship and attacks on free speech rather than that by powerful corporations.

So what brought about Belfield’s ban? Well, it seems from another post by the Gabby Cabby that it was a complaint against Belfield by Carol Vorderman because of his comments about her ‘assets’. The Cabby stated it was unclear whether this was about her property, or something rather more personal. Quite.

Belfield has regularly criticised the former Countdown star along with a number of other celebrities including Katie Price and Philip Schofield. This includes comments on her home or homes as well as more personal remarks about how she has apparently enhanced her bosom to retain the attention of the jaded public. He’s satirised her as a character ‘Carol Vordernorks’ in drag with fake breasts and a thick Brummie accent. I’ve never found this to be funny and it’s really just personal abuse. My sympathies in this instance are very firmly with Vorderman. I don’t know her, but she’s always come across as perfectly genial and polite on TV, and is herself an extremely intelligent woman. Not only does she have a degree in engineering from Oxford, but she’s also a pilot and a patron of the air cadets. She’s also active trying to get more people, especially girls, into science and flight, and has done her bit supporting the RAF. I really don’t know what Belfield has against her, as it doesn’t seem like there’s the same kind of personal feud he apparently has with the BBC and its producers, and the presenter Jeremy Vine, which have seen him involved in a legal battle over the past few years.

Belfield himself has thanked YouTube for paying for his house and giving him a livelihood, and claims his shows about the country are now sold out. He states that he will come back, but is going to launch a ‘secret VOR channel’ on the 28th of this month. This seems to confirm rumours that he’s about to vanish behind a paywall.

Belfield has some very right-wing views, some of which I regard as particularly dangerous. Like his demands that the NHS should be privatised, although in a video he made shortly before he was banned he urged people not to give to the NHS, because this would tell Johnson that we can be charged, ‘and then we’re all f***ed’. I wonder what he thinks will happen if he gets his way and the NHS is privatised. I am well aware that there are members of this blog who heartily despise Belfield. I watch some of his videos because he says openly what the rest of the right doesn’t, but who share his attitudes. And I do share his opposition to the transgender craze, but not trans people, which is causing real suffering to mentally and emotionally vulnerable young people. I firmly believe that some youngster are being misdiagnosed and put on a long course of medical treatment and physical transformation predominantly for ideological reasons and against their best interests. Some of the children now identified as transgender seem to be gay and come from extremely homophobic backgrounds, so it looks like a form of gay conversion therapy. This can be compared to the situation in Iran, where gays are given the choice of transitioning to the opposite sex or execution. I realise that such gender critical views are controversial, but the science behind them, to this layman’s eyes, seems solid. There is considerable censorship of such views, including threats and personal violence. Therefore, on this score, I support Belfield for posting against the transgender craze even if I find some of his other views mistaken, offensive and dangerous.

And rather than seeing anyone banned, I would prefer that people instead showed their opposition by blogging against them and winning arguments. I would rather have this done to make their views unpopular rather than censorship.

Because there are too many attempts already to censor what we can say with the Tories doing their best to outlaw public demonstrations against their monstrous policies.

Private Eye: So Many Academies Are Going Bust They Need a Special Insolvency Service

October 28, 2021

Here’s another interesting piece from this fortnight’s Private Eye for 29th October to 11th November 2012. It seems it’s not just the failing private railway companies that the government is desperate to prop up against the threat of nationalisation. They also need to do it for the academy chains and further education colleges. Here’s the article

Chains Reaction

In a worrying indication of the Department for Education’s level of confidence in the financial health of school chains and further education colleges, the department has made a deal with seven big law firms to provide insolvency services to “a broad range of financially distressed education providers”.

The scheme will put the firms, based in London, Leeds and Bristol, on a rota to provide advice on restructuring and insolvency to institutions facing either normal insolvency or “education administration”, the new process created in 2019 which allows an administrator to prioritise the needs for existing students to finish courses or find new placements, before paying creditors. Although the billing rates for insolvency work are not revealed in the contract award notice, the tender is listed with an estimated value of £3m.

The DfE has borne the brunt of winding up costs for a number of large academy trusts and has had to write off large sums where the department itself was one of a trust’s creditors.

Thus far two colleges, Hadlow College and West Kent and Ashford College, have been through the education administration process. Recently Brooklands College in Weybridge also faced the threat of insolvency as the Education and Skills Funding Agency attempts to claw back £20m after an investigation into the subcontracting of apprenticeships.

Academies are another failed Thatcherite idea that was taken over by Starmer’s molten idol, Blair, and then kicked into high gear. Thatcher and her education secretary, Norman Fowler, had founded a series of schools outside the Local Education Authorities as City Academies. They were an abject failure and were actually being wound up. Then Tory Tony fished ’em out of the dustbin along with a whole slew of other grotty ideas, and lo! the academies were established These were supposed to introduce private investment and management in the school system. Great things were predicted, like schools specialising in the STEM subjects, or music or whatever. And standards were definitely going to get better. In fact, the academies are only able to maintain their high standards through a rigorous policy of exclusion and selection to keep out the poor, the less able and those with behavioural problems, which state schools are bound to take. They have also benefited from far greater levels of funding. Some of the academies received up to £40 million, compared to LEAs which may have a budget for all the schools in their area of £250,000. Despite these advantages, numerous academies have had to be taken into receivership and into state management.

There is no use keeping up the pretence that they’re some kind of glowing Thatcherite, private industry success. This is just throwing good money after bad, and using the taxpayer to bail out failing private investors as the with PFI in the Health Service. It has to be ended now, and schools renationalised. Mussolini also set up a government department to bail out failing private industry. Fascist manifestos and ideology praised private industry and declared it to be the foundation of society and a proper, healthy economic system. But they had to recognise that some industries could not be supported privately and had to be taken into state ownership. And if Mussolini’s viciously anti-socialist dictatorship could realise that private industry is not the panacea for all industries, it’s high time our supposedly liberal, democratic politicos also had the guts to do so.

Academy schools are failing children, and it is just grotty Tory and Blairite Labour ideology that’s keeping them going. Renationalise now!

Three Labour MPs To Defect To Tories? Goodbye, and Good Riddance!

October 3, 2021

I saw from a headline from the Heil posted this morning on the news section that greets you when you get online that three ostensibly Labour MPs are considering defecting to the Tories. Mike has put up a piece about it this morning, pointing out that no true Labour member or supporter would ever considering crossing the floor to the Tories, because their values are completely opposed to traditional Labour beliefs. Which isn’t to say it hasn’t happened before. Unfortunately it has. I also remember that in the 1980s the SDP was rocked by a series of defections to the Tories after they split from Labour. I don’t think the defectors were exactly met with open arms either. Well, perhaps they were, but there were also a few sneers. The Sunday Express lampooned them in its ‘No. 10’ cartoon, which showed two figures, presumably representing Dennis Thatcher and another Tory watching a clockwork soldier march to the end of a table before falling off. This was matched with some comment about SDP defectors. I only dimly remember it, and not because it was funny. I think it stuck in my mind simply because of its overt, unpleasant sneering.

Mike also points out that if these MPs do defect, it would show how bad the Tory entryism has been during successive leaderships since Tony Blair. Quite. There was a computer game at the time that gave you anagrams of various politicians’ names. I think Michael Portillo came out as ‘a cool, limp Hitler’. Anthony Blair produced ‘I am Tory B’. Or Something like it. And he was, despite all that guff about a ‘Third Way’. Well, the last world leaders to speak about their parties constituting a ‘third way’ between socialism and capitalism were the Nazis and Fascists. They are argued that their noxious regimes constituted such a new politics because they were capitalist, but made ‘social’ by being subjected to the state. Which comes to think of it, does sound a bit like Blair and his enthusiasm for the state partnering with private industry.

And Blair very definitely favoured Tories. His Government Of All the Talents included Tories like Chris Patten. When a Tory defected, Blair quickly had them parachuted into a safe Labour seat. The result of this has been a series of Labour MPs so right-wing that even Tories wonder what they were doing still in the Labour party. Years ago the arch-Tory Anglican blog, Cranmer, commented approvingly on Frank Field and invited him to cross the floor to the Tory ranks, assuring him of a warm welcome. This was the Frank Field who demanded conditions be made even more harsh for the unemployed in order to make them find work. Then there was the Labour bureaucrat, who ended up as a moderator on a Tory website. He astonished the Tories there with his invective against the Labour party which was actually far more vicious than theirs. But the Tories in Labour’s NEC don’t like you to mention it. When a Labour member has asked what these bozos are doing in the Labour party when they’re behaving like that, they’ve been expelled for ‘bringing the party into disrepute’ or some such nonsense. Some constituency parties were quite open about this entryism. There was one that was so horrified during Corbyn’s leadership by the sudden influx of real, socialist members, that the leader started pleading for Lib Dems and Tories to join.

Mike quotes the Mail, which said that the defections could greatly harm Stalin’s leadership. Well of course they would. As Mike says, it would show that he prefers Tories to real Labour people and suggest there were more closet Tories in the party. I don’t doubt that. I can see any defectors making exactly this comment, as well as encouraging those still hesitating to join them over on the Tory benches. Mike says that it might even make more of these quisling consider leaving, so that real socialist can be elected instead.

Of course, what could happen is that the defections could also give the message that Starmer is too left-wing and weak even for the parliamentary Labour party. This could push Starmer even further to the right. Or if ends up being the target of the kind of right-wing coups and defections that the right inflicted on Corbyn, he made have to swallow his Thatcherite pride and start trying to appeal to the left to bolster his leadership. But I don’t see that happening.

But what might happen is that Starmer goes down through infighting and plotting by his own side, which will further show just how unpleasant and treacherous they are.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2021/10/03/three-labour-mps-could-defect-to-the-conservatives-good-let-them/