Posts Tagged ‘Privatisation’

We Own It Appealing for People to Attend Planned Protest Against NHS Privatisation

January 20, 2023

I’ve also had this email from the pro-NHS, pro-nationalisation organisation, We Own It about a planned demonstration they’re holding against the privatisation of the NHS in February. They’re appealing for people to go to it. I can’t, due to expense and illness, but I’m putting it up here in case there are people interested in it, who may be able to attend.

‘Dear David,

BREAKING: private health companies donated £800,000 to the Conservative Party over the last decade. Now we know why the government is doing nothing about NHS privatisation!

A recent Oxford study linked NHS privatisation to the preventable deaths of 557 people.

It is time to make the government feel the power of organised people over organised money.

Can you sign up to become one of 557 people in Parliament Square from 2 – 4pm on Saturday, 25th February demanding an end to NHS privatisation?

So far, 541 people have signed up. We need 89 people to reach our final goal of 630 (that is, 557 people representing the victims of NHS privatisation, 43 people to help carry signs and banners and 30 stewards to help manage the event).

Sign up to become one of the remaining 89 people on Saturday 25th February in Parliament Square

You are involved in our NHS campaign because you believe that our NHS should work for people, not the greedy private companies that donate to the government.

Unite the Union, Just Treatment, Doctors for the NHS and Socialist Health Association fully agree with you. That is why they are now supporting our action.

It is time we make the government feel the power of organised people over organised money.

We want to bring together 557 people representing the 557 people whose deaths are linked to NHS privatisation to put on a powerful display that can get into the papers.

More press coverage means more pressure on the government. The more of us there are at the action, the more likely the action is to get press coverage.

We need 89 more people to reach our goal. Can you sign up now to join us?

Sign up to take action from 2 – 4pm on Saturday 25th Feb in Parliament Square

Because of the incredible efforts of our NHS nurses and ambulance workers who are fighting to save our NHS, the government is already feeling pressure.

With the recent study that links NHS privatisation to 557 preventable deaths, there is no better time than now to pile onto that pressure they are feeling.

The government already knows that over 75% of the public, according to our last poll, want to end NHS privatisation. But they don’t feel that people will fight to see that happen.

You can show them from 2 – 4pm on Saturday 25th February in Parliament Square that you will.

The more people join this action, the more powerful it will be. The more powerful it is, the more likely it is to receive coverage from the press.

This coverage will pile on the pressure on the government and start forcing them to take action.

I will stand up and fight to force an end to NHS privatisation

We need 557 people to represent the 557 people whose deaths are linked to NHS privatisation, according to a recent Oxford study.

But we need even more people to make sure the action is big and effective. So after signing up, please send the link to your friends and family, especially those who live in London and ask them to sign up too.

Thank you so much for always standing up against NHS privatisation.

Cat, Johnbosco, Matthew, Kate – the We Own It team

PS: 30 years ago today the British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Act 1993 was passed, paving the way for privatisation of our railway. We’ve put together a list of 30 top failures of rail privatisation from the last 30 years. Take a read and share with friends and family.’

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.

That Preston Journalist Accuses Starmer of Being a Tory: He’s Right!

January 10, 2023

The very right wing That Preston Journalist has taken time off from sniping and criticising Nicola Sturgeon, and instead fixed his sights on Keir Starmer. Earlier this evening he posted a video stating very clearly that Starmer was a Tory. The thumbnail for this is a meme which shows a rubber plant on one side, and a Tory plant, Starmer, on the other. It’s very short, just 1 minute 44 seconds. The Journalist’s reason for calling Starmer a Tory was the Labour leader’s statement that the NHS needed reform. Although met with a chorus of criticism, Preston Man believes this is glaringly obvious. I agree. It is obvious, and the real solution would be to renationalise it and clear out the private medical companies and advisors who are a waste of money. But unfortunately I suspect this is not Starmer’s view, and that he really wants to follow his wretched, squalid hero Tony Blair and push the health service’s privatisation even further. But Preston Hack also believes that Starmer’s a Tory because of what he said about being fiscally prudent. Starmer stated that he was against austerity, had always been against austerity, but in government they would be careful about expenditure. They would be prudent. This, you will remember, was Gordon Brown’s mantra when he was chancellor: ‘We will be prudent’. He said this so often that according to Private Eye the assembled gentlemen and women of the press started calling him Dear Prudence after the Beatles song. Personally, I preferred ‘Help’ and ‘Helter Skelter’. As a Chancellor, who kept tight control of expenditure in order to avoid the boom and bust cycle, Brown was successful. That is until the bankers went berserk and almost destroyed capitalism. Brown prevented it by injecting our own reserves, for which he’s been blamed for wrecking our economy. But I really believe there would have been global financial collapse if he hadn’t.

And it remains the case that the bankers’ disastrous antics were exploited by the Tories, keen to push through austerity and punish ordinary people in the name of further enriching the superrich. But we were all in it together, as Cameron lied.

The trouble is, Blair and Brown were both neoliberal pushing through Tory policies of privatisation and welfare cuts. Moreover, by the time Brown got his feet into No. 10, New Labour had outlived any popularity with the British public. They were fed up with its managerialism, the spin, the condescension towards working class voters, Blair’s warmongering, the cuts to welfare services and hospital closures. I think Brown also put people off with his surly demeanour, although how much of that was real and how much an false image manufactured by the right-wing press is open to debate. He did not himself no favours by referring to an elderly lady, objecting to eastern European immigrants, as ‘some bigot’ when he thought the camera and microphone were off. But I think this may have been the last nail in his electoral coffin.

But back to Starmer, it really does look to me that once he’s in power, it’s going to be Blairite Tory politics as normal. Some of the great commenters here have suggested that the best policy would be to get him into power then bash him. At the moment, I think that is the best policy, considering that there are no alternatives and another round of Tory government would destroy this country. But I am not optimistic about Starmer’s government.

Leaked Report Reveals Prevent Funding Used for Islamist Groups, and More Focussed on Tackling White Fascism

January 2, 2023

This obviously isn’t something you want to hear, but it needs to be recognised and the problem tackled properly. A few days ago the Shawcross Report into the operation of the Prevent programme was leaked to the press. The Prevent programme was the scheme launched by Blair as part of the ‘War on Terror’. It was set up to identify and deradicalize people, like schoolchildren, who were being drawn into Islamist terrorism. The report has been repeatedly delayed from fears that some of the individuals discussed in it would sue. It found that instead of the money being used to deradicalize people, it was instead being used by Islamist groups to fund their activities and propaganda. This included one group, who called on Muslim soldiers in the British army to disobey orders. Which is mutiny. Furthermore, the programme was more focussed on identifying and punishing White nationalists in contrast to the other anti-terrorism organisations. Of course, the report was immediately denounced as ‘harmful to community cohesion’ and racist and islamophobic.

Unfortunately, I am not remotely surprised. Private Eye a long time ago quoted a passage from Ed Hussein’s book, The Islamist, in which he described watching a long line of Muslim clergy and community leaders entering No. 10 to reassure Blair that they were all moderates and were doing their bit to tackle extremism in their communities. And he knew that every one of them was lying, and that they were all Islamist radicals. A friend of mine used to help teach Islam at university. One year his university arranged to host an interfaith conference between Christians and Muslims. He told me that the Muslim delegates were all jihadis. As for the misplaced focus on White fascism, I think this is a result of repeated criticisms from the Muslim community. Before the BNP finally collapsed, whenever the subject of tackling Muslim radical organisations was raised someone from one of the main Muslim organisations would indignantly retort that this was racist and islamophobic, and that they should ban the BNP instead. The Prevent programme has come under repeated attack from Muslims for supposedly being racist and Islamophobic. And whenever Muslim bigotry is exposed, as in the 2007 Channel 4 programme, Undercover Mosque, there are inevitably the same defensive claims about harming community cohesion. This is despite the fact that community cohesion was harmed the moment someone took the decision to invite the preachers of hate in. Simon Webb, who has very far right opinions himself, stated in one of his videos that the focus on tackling White extremists rather than Muslim was an attempt to mislead the public into believing that there were more of them and they were a bigger problem than the Islamists. Even allowing for Webb’s own views, I think he has a point. White fascists have used violence and terrorism. In the 1960s they bombed a couple of synagogues in London. Many of us still remember the mass violence between far right football hooligans and Black and Asian youths in the 70s and 80s, and the racist murder of Black kids has inspired pop songs attacking the hate and violence like ‘Down in the Subway’. In the 90s there was a bombing campaign by a member of the National Socialist party against Blacks, gays and Asians, in which nail bombs were planted in three pubs. People are very aware of the threat from White racial terrorists. Targeting these groups is also easier because it will have greater support from the left from the kind of people, who would suspect that a programme targeting Black or Asian terrorists is persecuting them unfairly. The police and local authorities, who refused to tackle the Pakistani grooming gangs in Rotherham and elsewhere did so because they didn’t want to start riots. I think the same attitude is behind the skewed focus in the Prevent programme. I think there is a reluctance amongst the political class to tackle ethnic minority criminality and extremism because of memories of the race riots of the 60s, 1981/2, and Oldham more recently, and a determination to prove Enoch Powell wrong in his lurid predictions of racial violence in the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

Islamism is a real danger, but the proportion of people who hold Islamist views are trivially small. Only about five per cent of the Muslim population, according to the polls, want to be governed by shariah law. There are far greater numbers who support British democracy and values, albeit often moderated. This is why the Lotus Eaters, in order to show that the Muslim community rejects British traditional values, concentrated on single issues like Muslim disapproval of homosexuality and singing the national anthem. There is genuine opposition to Islamism and the preachers of hate from other parts of the Muslim community here in Britain. Back in the ’80s and ’90s Muslims organised their own demonstrations against the protests and hateful preaching of the extremists demanding the death of Salman Rushdie. Ed Hussein in his recent book states that his fathers’ generation came to Britain because they believed in our country and its values. I’ve heard other Muslims say that their parents came here to enjoy the freedom and opportunities they were denied in their own country. Mahyar Tousi, a true-blue Tory Brexiteer, said something similar in a recent video of his on the channel migrants. He stated that second and third generation British Blacks and Asians were against further immigration, not because they were traitors to their own kind, but because their parents and grandparents had come to this country to share and support its values and were concerned that later migrants did not share these. Tousi’s a libertarian Tory, who’d sell off the health service if he could, but he does have a point. Some of the Muslims in Hussein’s recent book stated that much of the violence and criminality their communities now suffered from came from recent migrants, like asylum seekers from war-torn parts of the world, who could not adapt to peace nor fully accept that they were not under threat from the state. One of the issues connected with immigration identified by one genuinely moderate imam, writing in the Financial Times in the ’90s, was that the shortage of home-grown Muslim clergy meant that bigoted preachers from Pakistan were being allowed in to rectify this shortage.

We really need to tackle the problem of Muslim radicalisation properly and squarely, without listening to reassuring blandishments and assurances of peace and cooperation from those who don’t believe remotely in it. And we can do so by strengthening and listening to genuinely moderate, liberal Muslims voices and supporting their protests and initiatives against such hate.

Calvin Robinson Uses Fears of Left-Wing Indoctrination to Push Private Schools

December 28, 2022

I know it’s still the Christmas season, but we’re in those days between Christmas proper and New Year when there’s a sort of lull in the festivities. I’m therefore going to post one or two pieces about politics. And one of the issues I want to tackle is a video from GB News’ and the New Culture Forum’s Calvin Robinson, which stated that the way to prevent your children from being politically indoctrinated in schools was to support free school. The thumbnail for the video shows the message, and says that children were told by the teacher to vote Labour.

This comes from an interview Robinson did with a woman, who was suing her local school because of political indoctrination. According to this lady, the school was teaching the gender ideology and Critical Race Theory. One teacher told the class to vote Labour and the children were also encouraged to sing ‘Our prime minister is a racist’. This was presumably back when Johnson was in power. If all this is true, then I think the woman’s quite right to complain and sue. It is political indoctrination. Gender ideology and Critical Race Theory aren’t facts, although a poll cited by various right-wing media channels claimed that 75 per cent or so of those polled said that this had been taught in school, and 68 per cent said it had been presented as fact. There is an organisation set up to combat the teaching of the gender ideology, the Safe Schools Alliance, and there is a similar organisation to fight indoctrination by Critical Race Theory. And while I believe that people should vote Labour and that Johnson is racist, this shouldn’t be taught in school any more than the lie that Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite.

There have been fears and scandals over left-wing indoctrination in schools since as far back as the 1980s, when the Scum was running stories about teachers in Brent teaching kids to sing ‘Ba Ba, Green Sheep’ as an anti-racist revision of ‘Ba ba, Black Sheep’. There were also stories in the Scum and Depress about Communists indoctrinating children with the new-fangled subject of Peace Studies, and ‘English’ being renamed ‘Language’. Their solution was to take failing state schools, where all this was going on, out of the control of the Local Education Authorities and transform them into City Academies. These were the Thatcherite precursors of Blair’s academies. They didn’t work, and Thatcher’s education secretary, Norman Fowler, wound them up. Then Blair won the election, took the idea out of the bin, and relaunched them. And the result has been the part-privatisation of our schools for corporate profit, many of which are still failing.

If children are being indoctrinated in schools, then it isn’t just in those schools left under local government management, but also in the academies. One of the other victims of ‘woke’ ideological censorship interviewed by the New Culture Forum’s Peter Whittle was an Anglican chaplain at a private school. He’d been sacked after raising questions in his sermon about some of the LGBT teaching that had been delivered to the school by an outside activist. According to the chaplain, the man had made them out all chant ‘Smash heteronormativity!’ during a meeting in the headmaster’s office beforehand. The clergyman had been alarmed by this, and in a following sermon simply said that students should question this for themselves. Such independent thought wasn’t allowed, and he was censured and sacked. Smashing heteronormativity, the social status of heterosexuality as the norm, goes far beyond teaching tolerance for gays. The EDIJester, a gay critic of the woke ideology, states that heteronormativity should continue, as without straight people breeding there would be no more gays like him. But beyond the specific nature of the radical indoctrination is the fact that this happened in a private school.

This is also going on across the Atlantic. James Lindsay, another fervent critic and opponent of the woke ideology, did a piece on his New Discourses YouTube channel about a paper published in an American education journal by a radical activist about indoctrinating the children in private schools to be woke, anti-capitalist, anti-racist activists. If the goal of privatisation is to stop political indoctrination, then it clearly isn’t working.

I’m very sceptical of these stories about ‘woke’ teachers, at least in Britain. My mother was a teacher, and I did my first degree at a teacher training college. My own experience of teachers is that the vast majority of them aren’t in it to indoctrinate children to be young communists or radical LGBTQ+ and race activists. They’re there simply because they want to stand in front of a whiteboard and teach. If radical doctrines are being taught in schools, then most likely they’re coming from the headmaster, the LEA or the academy chain. The teaching staff may not be aware how radical they are, as these doctrines are presented as just a form of conventional liberal teaching about tolerance to gays and transgender people and anti-racism.

And there is already a solution to the problem of indoctrination in schools. It’s banned by law, introduced by Blair. Teachers may not present political or religious ideas or opinions as fact. If they do tell the class their personal view of a political or religious issue, they have to make it clear that this is only their opinion. A teacher that tells their pupils to vote Labour or any other party is breaking that law.

But Robinson isn’t interested in such legal niceties. He just wants to push right-wing fears of evil, left-wing activist teachers in order to promote the establishment of free schools. This is another right-wing Tory idea. Toby Young was behind an attempt to set up a free college a few years ago. That collapsed, and I don’t doubt that any attempt to set up free schools will go the same way. But it’s all an attempt to privatise education and make it two-tier, with the state-educated poor at the bottom and the rich elite, who are able to pay private school fees, at the top. All under the guise of protecting children from indoctrination.

Privatisation isn’t working. The academies are terrible and free schools are going to be worse. Renationalise schools, give them proper funding and make sure they obey the rule of law when it comes to political or religious indoctrination. That’s the way to improve education.

Oh yes, and don’t listen to Calvin Robinson.

Starmer Brings Back Labour Plan to Abolish House of Lords

December 13, 2022

Last week it was revealed that Keir Starmer intends to abolish the House of Lords. Before I go any further, I should say that I have no idea what he wants to replace it with. I caught a few seconds of a video put up by GB News or one of the other god-awful right-wing YouTube channels of a Starmer being laid into on this issue by Peter Hitchens. From the few seconds I saw, Hitchens was accusing him of wishing to make all the members of the upper house appointed by the Prime Minister. Hitchens stated that this would be undemocratic, which is absolutely right, if true. But the debate is also more than a little familiar. Back in 1986 or 87 the papers carried reports that the Labour party then wanted to abolish the House of Lords. I think they also plans to reform the House of Commons to make it more democratic, which would have involved giving more power to the speaker. Then there were Tony Blair’s reforms in the late ’90s and early part of this century.

Blair took on the objection to the House of Lords that it was an unelected, undemocratic anachronism. It is. It is, or was, a remnant of feudalism, the old medieval grand council in which the king or the prince was advised by the kingdom’s great lords. It goes all the way back to the witangemot, the council of wise men, in Anglo-Saxon England and similar feudal assemblies in the Carolingian Empire and other states on the continent. Such an assembly is outdated and against the basic principles of democratic representation. On the other hand, it had the advantage of being cheap. Or so I heard it said at the time these reforms were being mooted. The other argument, put forward by really reactionary Tories, was that the hereditary peers deserved the place because they were better fitted to it through centuries of breeding and education. Which is the old Tory argument that all the great civilisations had an aristocracy that cost them an election in the early part of the past century. I don’t think it’s a vote winner, but I’ve no doubt that Jacob Rees-Mogg probably believed in it. He started his career as an aspiring MP campaigning for the seat of a Scots fishing town. He proudly announced that he was standing on a platform of trying to convince the local people that an unelected, hereditary upper house was actually a great institution. Obviously he didn’t succeed, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the SNP vote didn’t increase in that constituency as a result.. Blair reformed the House partly by appointing some of its members, and subsequent Prime Ministers have done the same, so that the number of peers is now 800-odd, far more than the House of Commons and even the governing political assembly of the Chinese Communist party. The peers get an allowance for turning up, and so there have been scandals and accusations that many of them just stick their head through the door long enough to claim their cheque before zooming off to business elsewhere. And the opposition objected at the time that Blair’s reform was hardly democratic. He was denounced as a new Cromwell, who was packing parliament with his supporters, just as England’s Lord \Protector and the butcher of Ireland had done during the Interregnum.

The suggested alternative was to transform the upper house into a senate like America’s. It would still have the duty of checking and amending legislation, but would be elected. According to Private Eye, there was no real enthusiasm behind this idea. People didn’t want to have to go through another round of elections, and the lack of popular support for such a chamber would mean that only mediocrities would serve in it. This must have been the view of the powers that be, or something similar, because the plan seems to have vanished soon after.

.I believe that the current House of Lords needs to be cut down, and no, I don’t want membership of the House to be by prime ministerial appointment. But I also don’t see any point in reforming it radically. The precise nature of the House of Lords doesn’t actually bother me to anywhere near the extent that this country needs a return to the social democratic consensus pre-Maggie. Privatisation has failed, and the Tory welfare reforms are leaving people cold and starving. We need to renationalise the utilities and the railways, as well as the NHS, which should be properly funded. We needed to reverse the destruction of the welfare state so people aren’t left dependent on food banks and private charity to feed themselves if they’re unemployed or disabled. And we need to make sure working people are paid a proper wage for exactly the same reason, not to mention nationalising the energy companies so that people pay less for the fuel and electricity bills and aren’t faced with the decision whether to heat their homes, pay the rent or eat. All this is far more pressing and important than tinkering with the constitution.

But I think the mooted reform of the House of Lords is another example of Starmer wishing to emulate Blair. And Blair wanted to make Britain more like America. But our political system is different. It’s parliamentary, not presidential, and that does apparently affect the results of Blair’s reforms, including his changes to the judiciary. There’s a very interesting video of David Starkey explaining this, put up by the New Culture Forum. Starkey is, of course, a terrible old reactionary while the New Culture Forum are the cultural wing of the Institute for Economic Affairs, a right-wing Buxton Street think tank that wants to privatise everything Thatcher, Major and Blair haven’t already sold off, including the NHS. But Starkey makes a very good case for the incompatibility of British and American constitutional systems.

But most of all I’m afraid that this constitutional tinkering is in lieu of practical policies, that will make a real difference to Britain’s poor and working people. Such as the return to proper, socialist, or at least social democratic politics. Blair changed the constitution, but didn’t change Tory government policies. He just carried on with them once he was in power. In fact, he ramped them up and went much further in the privatisation of the NHS than the Tories had dared.

And I’m afraid Starmer will do likewise.

We Own It Appeal to Send Letter to Transport Minister to Take West Coast Railway into Public Ownership

December 2, 2022

And now, after the sketches of various TV presenters and characters, here’s some serious stuff. Don’t worry if you like the art, I intend to put some more of it up later.

I got this email from pro-nationalisation, pro-NHS organisation We Own It on Wednesday appealing for people to send a form letter they have created to the transport minister to take West Coast railway out of Avanti’s hands and into that of the state. The email runs

‘Dear David,

The governments of England, Wales and Scotland have been forced to take five of our railway lines into public ownership in the last few years.

Now you have a HUGE opportunity to make it SIX. Let’s bring the West Coast Mainline into public ownership.

Can you send our letter to the Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, to demand he save Christmas for millions of passengers and take it into public ownership?

Take 2mins to send the letter to the transport minister

The private company running the West Coast Mainline, Avanti, is doing such a terrible job that the government has said they may take it into public ownership.

The transport minister said in October that a publicly-owned operator is ready to take over if Avanti does not improve the service.

It is clear that the service is not improving – even though they paid out millions in profits to shareholders last year.

Now even right-wing papers like The Times are acknowledging that the publicly owned East Coast Line is doing a much better job than the West Coast Mainline.

It took We Own It supporters like you – alongside our allies at Bring Back British Rail (BBBR) – to force the government to take the East Coast Line into public ownership in 2018.

Now you have an opportunity to force the government to do the same for the West Coast Mainline.

We know sending them our letter can work – because it has worked before.

Demand the government take more of our railway into public ownership

You know our trains would be run much better in public ownership.

Instead of money being sucked out by private train companies, profits can be invested to cut our fares and make sure trains run on time.

Train drivers’ union, ASLEF, just revealed this week that £3.2 billion has been syphoned out in profits from our railways. 

That money could have been used to cut fares and make sure our trains run on time.

And it could have been used to pay our rail workers who kept our country running during the pandemic what they deserve.

But you can force change on this issue now.

We Own It supporters like you – side by side with our allies at Bring Back British Rail (BBBR) – forced the government to take the East Coast Line into public ownership when it was failing passengers.

With Avanti now failing to run West Coast trains properly, you have a unique opportunity to get another BIG WIN by forcing the government to step in.

Take 2mins to send our letter to the Transport Secretary now

This action can make a big difference. Send the letter to Transport Secretary Mark Harper and share the link with your friends and family and ask them to send the letter as well.

Thank you so much for everything you do to make sure our railways work for people, not profit.

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew, Kate – the We Own It team’

I’ve signed it, because everything it says is correct. And the quotation from ASLEF shows that we need the unions not just to protect workers’ jobs, but also to provide proper information on the destructive effects of privatisation rather than Tory propaganda. If you also feel as I do, please feel free to use the links and send the letter as well.

Mother Clare Page Suing Over School Secrecy and Indoctrination

November 18, 2022

Clare Page is the mother of two daughters at Haberdashers’ Hatcham College. Her story has been mentioned by the EDIjester and she has been interviewed by Calvin Robinson of the New Culture Forum and Dr Anna Loutfi of the Bad Law Project on Reclaim the Media, which is connected to Laurence Fox’s Reclaim Party. She’s trying to sue the school or local authority to get them to reveal the lesson plans for the Personal and Human Development course at her daughters’ school and the identity of the person who taught it. She has very good reasons, as the school does seem to have a very hard left approach to teaching human sexuality and gender and racial politics. She became concerned when her daughter told her that they had been taught that society was heteronormative, and that this was bad. The EDIjester, in his video about this, stated that all heteronormativity means is that there are more heterosexual than gay people. And this is how it should be, as heterosexuals gave birth to the next generation of gay men, and without that, there wouldn’t be any younger gay blokes for him to chase. They were also told that the proper response to heteronormativity was to be sex positive and embrace all forms of sexuality. There’s clearly a moral problem there. Calvin Robinson made the point that this excluded people of more traditional views, for whom sex should be kept within marriage or a loving, committed relationship. The attitude seemed to be, however, that everything was alright provided it felt good. These lessons were delivered by an outside provider, the School of Sexuality Education, previously Sexplain. The lessons were given to 15- and 16-year olds, who were given such tasks as make lists of the way they would talk about which aspects of sex they enjoyed to another child in their class, as a way of making them less reticent about talking about sex. As Page said in her interview with Loutfi, this sexualised children, who may otherwise not have been so and were unprepared for it. The EDIjester, on the other hand, remarked that it was a bit pointless telling teenagers sex was fun, as they already knew that. The schoolchildren were also told that for more information they should watch the satellite/cable series Sex Education, even though this was rated 18+ and therefore inappropriate for them. The organisation’s website was also inappropriate for children, as the company also sold sex toys, pornography and tips on anal masturbation, all of which was available to the kids consulting the site at the click of a mouse. Page tried to get hold of the lesson plans from the school, but all she got in return were the titles of the various lessons. She, and the school itself, were told by the School of Sexuality Education that they were not going to release the information because of copyright confidentiality. There was an option briefly discussed in which she could go in and see the lesson plans but would not be given copies. She found that unacceptable because it would prevent her from contacting the authorities over specific points or discussing them with her daughter if she did not have the documents to hand. The school also refused to give them on the grounds that, she later found through freedom of information requests, the school and the SSE had been corresponding with each other over whether she was harassing the company and its staff. She complained to the school governors, but they couldn’t give her a decision about the lesson plans because they weren’t given copies of them either. The point was made by the jester that in this instance the school was prioritising the commercial interests of an outside provider over the democratic right to free speech and debate. There is also a commercial conflict of interest in giving the teaching contract to a company that also sells porn and sex toys.

The school was also teaching Critical Race Theory. Page’s daughter was told that she had White privilege. This was all right, but what was not all right was denying that this privilege existed. The children were also told that Black lives were viewed as lesser and expendable by the government and law enforcement. It wasn’t clear whether this referred to Britain or America or both. The sources for these assertions were similarly obscure. Sometimes searching for them on Google revealed they came from teenage magazines, sometimes the sources simply couldn’t be found. This racialised the school in a way that it hadn’t been before. Page states that her daughter was referred to by her race in a not-altogether friendly fashion, but this could have been simply playground banter. But she said that it introduced racial division into a school that had previously been very non-racist. The children were also taught that Whites were racist because of previous abuses, and that White people held all the social and economic power. The school curriculum itself would be biased as it was probably created by middle-class White men. They were also told that racism against White didn’t exist.

The history taught was heavily biased to niche Communist history before it got to the level when the national curriculum took over. Page’s daughter was taught that, in the period leading up to the Second World War, Hitler’s main opponents were Communist guerrillas in Cameroon. It was only several weeks later that they were taught about Nazism and the Jews.

Robinson also, unsurprisingly, wanted to know if there was a general anti-Tory bias at the school. Page agreed that there was. One teacher wore a pro-Corbyn T-shirt. Her daughter told her that she had been told to vote Labour. One of the schoolchildren had also thrown a milkshake at Michael Gove during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration, for which she was congratulated by the other schoolchildren. Back to race, a rap song with the refrain, ‘Our Prime Minister is racist’ was played in class with no comment.

Page herself comes across as reasonable and conciliatory. She stated that nobody really wants to sue their school, and that she would like these kinds of issues to be subjects that schools and parents could explore together. She also made the point that all indoctrination was wrong, regardless of whether it was far left or right, and even if we agreed with it, because it could all be turned around.

I am not a member of and certainly have no interest in joining either the New Culture Forum or the Reclaim Party. The New Culture Forum are the civilian wing of the Institute of Economic Affairs, who are a hard-right Thatcherite outfit that would like to privatise everything, including the NHS. Reclaim are also likely to be right-wing economically. But I think they are absolutely right to tackle the issue of woke political indoctrination in school. As for the teachers who teach it, EDIjester has remarked that they probably don’t understand it or the issues themselves. They’re too busy teaching, and so simply go along with whatever they’re told by their superiors. I find CRT to be an entirely fraudulent discipline and fear it is going to do enormous damage with its teaching. As for the material about sex, Page said in the interview with Loutfi that it was a case of a uniform attitude where it was inappropriate. Some children no doubt needed such explicit information, particularly if they were in danger. Other children weren’t ready and so it wasn’t suitable.

These are all major issues, which at least need to be discussed openly without highly biased organisations and private companies demanding silence and compliance for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

Here’s EDIjester’s video on it. Warning – there is more than a little bawdy humour.

The New Culture Forum’s video is entitled ‘Anti-White Racism Doesn’t Exist’: My Kids’ School Refused to Show Me What They Were Teaching’ and is on YouTube if you want to look at it.

The Reclaim the Media video is ‘What’s Being Taught In Our SCHOOlS – The Bad Law Show – Clare Page.

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

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.