Posts Tagged ‘the Disabled’

Comment about Poverty and the Destruction of the Irish Health Service from Video of Protests in Eire

September 26, 2022

Earlier this evening I found on my phone a video of a Cost of Living protest posted on YouTube by People Before Profit National two days ago. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it on my computer, so I don’t know what’s happened to it. I think it may have been from Eire, by a single comment I found posted to it. That was very interesting, and ran:

‘This cost of living crisis is not a new thing, and people’s lives have been adversely affected for a very long time.

As stroke, cancer, asthma patients, and disabled people have had no access to health, no access to medications, no access to treatment and no access to operations,, and no access to services for over four years, as GPs have stopped accepting medical card holders, and those minority vulnerable groups who are on low pay are faced with no other choice but to pay for GP, prescription and medication costs, in a country where healthcare is supposed to be free.

FF, FG and the Greens have a lot to answer for in the manner in which minority vulnerable groups are mistreated in Ireland, and this coming budget will do nothing to address those massive inequalities, or discriminations the silenced minority already face in everyday life. In 2022 it is a democratic, political and and human rights crisis how the sickest and the poorest people in society are living as fifth class citizens, and I hope the YouTube overlords do not block this from being posted in the comment section, like they do when people speak out against these issues.

Let’s Go Socialism (followed by a heart and a thumbs-up sign)’

The video to which this comment was attached only played for a few minutes before the screen turned black. I don’t know what happened to it or the comment so that I can’t find either of them using my computer. But I am very interested in the comment and what it says about the state of healthcare in the south. I don’t understand Irish politics and know nothing about the Irish healthcare system. But from reading the comment it sounds like Irish government have been starving it of funding, forcing the sick and disabled to pay for GP visits and their medicines. It sounds very much like what Liz Truss and the Tories would like to see in Britain with their cuts and privatisation of the NHS.

Best of luck and solidarity with everyone fighting these policies in Ireland, Britain and everywhere else.

Killer of the Disabled and Unemployed Therese Coffey Becomes Deputy PM and Head of the NHS

September 7, 2022

This is absolutely disgusting and shows the real determination in the Tory party to kill as many disabled and unemployed people as possible and run down and privatise the NHS. Liz Truss, the escapee from the Jacob Rees-Mogg High Energy Cheese Lab and Asylum for the Criminally Insane, has appointed that malign lump of festering protoplasm masquerading as a human being Therese Coffey as her deputy pm and head of the Health Service.

Coffey, you remember, was in charge of the DSS, where she showed herself a true-blue follower of Iain Duncan Smith in cutting benefits to the disabled and finding even more ways to expand the sanctions system to throw unemployed people off it for the slightest reason they can find or invent. Iain Duncan Smith’s, Esther McVie’s and Coffey’s own reign in the DSS has resulted in nothing but starvation and deaths, as documented in any number of posts by Mike, DPAC and so many others. I’ve absolutely no doubt that now she’s deputy PM she’ll be fully behind her boss Truss in finding ways to destroy whatever is remaining of the welfare state under the mantra of ‘reforming it to target the money where it’s needed’ and privatising the NHS and cutting its funding, all under the mantra of ‘bringing private industry expertise in’ and ‘cutting waste’. Or some such Thatcherite bilge.

The NHS is already on its, where the Tories want it. And working people are starving, which is where the Tories also wanted them.

And while this was happening under Johnson, Coffey was happily guzzling the canapes and champers at his party.

Get her out!

Get Truss out!

Get the Tories out!

My Email to the Labour Party Protesting against the ‘Trans Ally’ Training Event

September 7, 2022

A week or so ago I got an email from Labour Southwest telling me that they were organising a series of training evening online about equalities. These consisted of individual evening devoted to women, disabilities and with one about ‘how to be a trans ally’. As readers of this blog will know, I have very strong feelings about the trans craze and the supporting ideologies based in Queer Theory. I certainly do not hate trans people, and very much believe that they have the same rights to dress how they wish and express their gender or sexual identity. But I believe that the craze looking for the slightest sign of trans identity is doing immense harm to psychologically and emotionally vulnerable young people by leading them to believe mistakenly that they are trans when really they are just confused kids, having the same emotional problems with the physical and mental changes of puberty that very many other people go through. And I am utterly convinced that this craze has far more to do with postmodern identity politics than the real needs of LGBTQ+ people.

I have therefore sent the following email of complaint to Labour SouthWest:

‘Dear Sir/ Madam,

Thank you for the email informing me of the forthcoming training sessions on equalities. I agree that it is important that the Labour party should continue to combat discrimination and work for greater equality. However, I am greatly concerned about the training session on ‘How to Be a Trans Ally’, led by REC LGBT rep, Dylan Tippetts,.This is certainly not because I hate trans people, let alone the wider gay community.

But I also believe that the ideology purporting to defend and promote trans rights is doing instead immense harm by convincing tens of thousands of psychologically vulnerable and confused people, especially young girls, that they are really trans when they are certainly not, for the following reasons:

Firstly, the number of young women coming forward believing themselves to be members of the opposite sex is bizarre and alarming for several reasons. This should, after all, be an age in which women should feel secure in and enjoy their womanhood. Girls are outperforming boys at school, and more industries and occupations are opening up to them. They are continuing to succeed and excel in nearly every aspect of human endeavour. Yet an increasing number it seems are trying to escape from their femininity into a masculine identity. The numbers of young women seeking this suggests this, in all too many cases, does not come from a genuine alienation from their gender identity. Rather it suggests other forms of mental distress and the pernicious influence of social pressures and an aggressive ‘trans’ ideology that encourages psychologically well and healthy young women and men to consider themselves transgender when they are not. Please see the following video with Abigail Shrier: 

Why Abigail Shrier Took on the Transgender Craze Amongst Teenage Girls – YouTube;

I am also concerned about the harm done by the hormone and drug therapy to these people. The hormone therapy marketed to children and their parents as part of the therapy are claimed, in the case of puberty blockers, to be safe and reversible. To my knowledge, they are not. Please see these videos: 

The Dangers of Giving Hormones to Kids with Gender Dysphoria – YouTube;

The cross sex hormones on which transpeople are put after they transition also have detrimental effects on health: See these videos citing the relevant medical literature:

LIVE: DID, estrogen deficiency, and hormone blocker doctor discussions – YouTube

The Institutional Capture is Real Endocrinologists and Puberty Blockers 2009 vs 2019 – YouTube

Literature Review: SRY acts in the brain across the lifespan – YouTube

Literature Review: Estrogen Deficiency, Early Hysterectomy/Oophorectomy, and Dementia – YouTube

Literature Review: SRY and the Male Liver – YouTube

The Dangers of Giving Hormones to Kids with Gender Dysphoria – YouTube;

This craze – I can only call it that, as it very strongly resembles one in, my view, has reached the nadir where surgeons in America are amputating the healthy breasts of 12 year old girls. ‘Top Surgery’ for 12-year-olds??? 😱 – YouTube

It has also been found that about 85 per cent of teens confused about their gender identity eventually settle down into that of their existing biological gender. But if they are put on the affirmation course of treatment, this almost always seems to lead to them going ahead with surgical transition.

You will no doubt be aware from watching news recently that concerns about the Tavistock clinic’s handling of transgender treatment has resulted in it being shut down. There are also a number of detransitioners, people who have medically transitioned, then realised that this has been wrong for them and have transitioned back. I believe there are an online community of 17,000 of them. And some of them are suing the doctors and medical professionals who treated them on the grounds that they feel they were misled about the benefits of transition.

It strongly appears to me that there is a very strong feeling amongst trans rights activists that the only acceptable treatment of gender confusion and distress is to confirm and support the suffer’s desire to transition, even when this is suspect or inappropriate, and to attack, vilify and even physically assault anyone who disagrees and seeks to present an alternative view.

It is for these reasons that I wish to see this training session cancelled, as I feel it will inadvertently do immense harm. Rather than support radical ideologies of trans-inclusion, I feel that the best way to be a trans ally is simply to provide genuine sympathy and support for people with the condition. This also means giving them space to decide for themselves if they are genuinely trans after proper medical consultation, treatment and review. This should exclude any pressure from ideologies based in Queer Theory and identity politics that denounce any treatments that may persuade such patients that they are not trans as conversion therapy and medical or social bigotry.

I realise these views are immensely controversial, and that some regard them as hateful. I certainly do not hate transpeople, and believe that everyone should have the right to express their sexuality or gender how they choose without discrimination, abuse, violence or other form of persecution. But I am greatly concerned here that young people are being misled into gender confusion for external, cultural and ideological reasons. And I am very much afraid that well-meaning courses like yours, though done for the very best reasons, are contributing to and exacerbating this harm.

This is why I also cannot support the Labour party’s policy to ban transgender conversion therapy.

Yours faithfully,

David Sivier’

Oh the Irony! David Evans Asks If I Could Be a Labour Organiser!

May 13, 2022

Remember David Evans, the Labour party’s utterly poisonous Blairite General Secretary, who did everything he could to oust Jeremy Corbyn and defame, smear and purge his followers? Now, it seems, he and the party are on the hunt for future organisers. And I got sent this invitation from him to join an online workshop on becoming one last Saturday. The event was Monday evening, and I didn’t go. It was tempting, because as a supporter of Corbyn and a critic of the Israeli state’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians with a black mark against me for doing so online, I am precisely the type of person he, Starmer and the other Blairites really don’t want in the party. Here’s the email to amuse you. I’ve removed the text with the links.

‘Dear David,

When I was appointed General Secretary, I set out my three priorities: to win the next election; to deliver a first class organisation; and to become a diverse and inclusive employer. 

The local election results showed that we are making real progress with gains right across the country and I thank every one of you for your support and effort during this campaign.

As we now look to the next general election, we are recruiting 21 Trainee Organisers to join our party on that journey. Not only are we going to recruit the very best, we want those organisers to be representative of our country and party.

Our Trainee Organisers will be the campaign leaders in those seats we need to win, and through on the ground and classroom learning, will gain the skills and knowledge to deliver a Labour victory whenever the election comes.

Find out more about the Trainee Organiser role and apply:

Apply Here

We are committed to ensuring our Trainee Organisers reflect the diversity of our party, our communities and our country.

We welcome applications from everyone regardless of background, and from groups currently under-represented in our workforce, including women, ethnic minorities and disabled people. 

That is why we are holding a bespoke online session open to all where staff and politicians from the Labour Party will explain the Trainee Organiser scheme, how to apply, what the scheme involves and what you’ll learn along the way. 

The session will take place at 6pm on Monday 9 May over Zoom. Register today.

I look forward to you joining us.

Best wishes,

David Evans
General Secretary’

Well, the Labour party’s Black and Asian members are leaving the party in droves, because Starmer’s Labour isn’t representing them or doing anything for them. Starmer was tepid in his support of Black Lives Matter when it first emerged. He conspicuously took some time before he and Rayner gave it their support, indicating that this was just another publicity stunt. The party did nothing to reprimand or investigate the allegations of racist bullying by party apparatchiks against Black and Asian MPs and activists like Diane Abbott. And Muslim members have complained of rising islamophobia, with 1/3 claiming to have been victims of such racist incidents. But there’s been no crackdown or investigation of that.

And ordinary disabled people don’t really have a reason to give their unqualified support for Labour. It was Tony Blair who introduced the work capability tests, which have seen tens of thousands of genuinely disabled and critically ill people thrown off the benefits they need because they’ve been falsely judged fit for work. And all too often the clerks interviewing them have been numbskulls like the moron who asked an amputee when he expected his limbs to grow back!

As for women, while I don’t doubt that the party is sincere in its desire to give them fuller representation, the women they’re aiming for are affluent, middle class women, who nevertheless believe in the Blairite message of pruning back the welfare state in order to make the proles more self-reliant. Or desperate, as Maggie did.

But I do find it hilarious that they sent out this appeal to me, after having me investigated for wrongthink.

I hope you found this as funny as I did. And Corbyn forever!

Attila the Stockbroker’s Celebratory Song on Thatcher’s Death

May 9, 2022

A few days ago I posted Chumbawamba’s ‘So Long So Long’ looking forward to Thatcher’s demise. Or at least it did when it was written. Here’s Attila the Stockbroker’s song on the same them, ‘Maggots 1 Thatcher Nil’ which I found on Beau Nafyde’s channel on YouTube.

It starts by singing about how the poor used to look up at the gibbeted remains of tyrants in previous centuries. And so people today will look at Margaret Thatcher as she’s buried – food for the larva of the fly. It also says that Arthur Scargill will lead the cheers, and everyone will get drunk and have a party, especially the homeless, hopeless and ill. It tears into her saying, ‘There’s no such thing as society’ with the vicious response ‘No such thing as you!’ The chorus is like a football chant ‘Maggots 1, Maggie Nil, alleluia.’ It’s a very upbeat, rather cheerful song for all its vicious condemnation of Thatcher.

Government Wastes £440 Million Trying to Overturn Disability Benefit Claims

April 5, 2022

This was the headline for one of the videos pasted up by GB News this morning, and it’s one where I felt I didn’t need to watch the item itself. Because Mike and the other great left-wing bloggers and YouTubers have covered this issue before, ad infinitum, ad nauseam, and Private Eye would say. The Tories and Blairites – ’caused it was Blair who introduced the vile Work Capability Tests – are convinced and would like you to believe that a large portion of claims for disability benefit are fraudulent. Thanks to right-wing rags like the Heil, the British public believes that 25% of all disability claims are fake. In fact the opposite is true: the overwhelming number of claims for disability benefits are genuine. Only a vanishingly small number, less than 1 per cent, are attempts to defraud the benefits system. But obviously, this detracts from the Tory desire to punish the poor for not working or being able to work, while they could be gainfully exploited by all the rich industrialists they want to give massive tax cuts to. And so we have suffered 40 odd years of Thatcherite cuts to the benefits system while Tory and Blairite mouthpieces have told us that such cuts are ‘self-help’, encouraging self-reliance, going to revive proper Christian charity and private initiative without the safety net of the state. I’ve put up a number of posts about how Thatcher viewed the principle of less eligibility – how the whole process of claiming state support was to be as unpleasant as possible in order to deter people from doing so – was one of her ‘Victorian Values’ that she wished to reintroduce into the welfare system. So did Blair, who created the Work Capability Tests because of pseudoscientific, discredited research on behalf of US insurance fraudster Unum. This assumed that most disability claims were fake, and that getting people back into work would do them good.

Complete, destructive bilge.

The assumption that a certain percentage of all disability claims were fake has led, according to whistleblowers, to the imposition of quotas inside the DHSS which demand that a set percentage of disability claims should be turned down. This has led to severely ill, even terminally so patients, being judged fit for work. It has led to moronic D.H.S.S. clerks asking amputees when their absent limbs are expected to grow back. And it has led to hundreds, if not thousands of genuinely sick and disabled people dying from poverty and hunger because they were denied an income. This included people with serious mental health problems and conditions like diabetes, who were found starved to death.

It’s been denounced by disability activists as a genocide. Harsh words, but this is mass murder by governments who know exactly what the consequences of these sanctions are. They just don’t want you to know.

And whatever money has been saved by overturning benefit claims, has been massively outweighed by the cost to the government of challenging them in the courts. And the courts have upheld British law to the point where the overwhelming number of disability claims have been upheld.

This is a government that wasted nigh on nearly half a billion on a vindictive persecution of those who genuinely cannot work. It shows the real sadism at the heart of Tory attitudes to the poor.

Scrap Thatcherism, ditch Johnson and get rid of Starmer, who I believe will also do absolutely nothing to overturn this vile, murderous policy.

GB News Running Down NHS Ready for Privatisation

February 21, 2022

One of my criticisms of mad right-wing YouTuber Alex Belfield is that he’s a supporter of NHS privatisation. He seems to believe that selling it off will somehow make it cheaper and more efficient. He doesn’t recognise, nor at least he doesn’t admit to recognising, that it’s the piecemeal privatisation of the health service and its opening up to private healthcare providers that has, with over a decade of Tory cuts, made the health service less efficient and increased administration costs. Nor does he tell his viewers that if the health service is privatised, it will be funded instead the American way – through private health insurance. Which 20 per cent of Americans couldn’t afford until Obamacare lowered that percentage. Every year, 50,000 Americans die because they can’t afford their medical treatment. And medical fees are either the leading cause or the second leading cause of bankruptcy in the Land of the Free.

Well, Belfield got suspended for a fortnight and has now vanished behind a paywall over at Ustreme after being factchecked about Covid and one or two other complaints. But now it seems that GB News, the Murdoch alternative to the ‘wet and woke’ BBC is getting in on the act of pushing for the health service’s privatisation.

Yesterday their presenter Nana Akua posted a video with the darling title ‘The NHS Is A Total Rip-Off’, in which she started with the claim that the health service wasn’t free and that, per month, private healthcare was probably cheaper. She then went on to say that there were six NHS executive earning over £150,000. Her video was accompanied by a similar one in which Calvin Robinson declared that the NHS was full of ‘bloat and waste’. Of course it all comes from the time-worn Tory playbook. This maintains that the health service, like every other nationalised industry, is wasteful and needs to have its funding cut in order to make it lean and efficient. As part of this drive for increased efficiency, it must be opened up to private industry, who are automatically better than state run enterprises. Except they’re not, and this is all a pack of lies and half truths.

Britain actually spends less on its health service than many other countries, including Germany and America, which is why it’s in such a state. In fact the privatisation has increased administration costs so that they’re heading up to the level of private American companies at 24 per cent. Private healthcare isn’t better – it’s worse. It’s fine for those, who are in reasonably good health, but it is not set up to treat the disabled or those with long term conditions. They are not profitable patients. As a result, private hospitals are smaller than NHS. Blair believed that the system adopted by the American healthcare giant, Kaiser Permanente, was more efficient and tried to remodel the NHS on it. Kaiser Permanente weren’t, and rather than increasing patient choice, the need to send patients to the cheapest hospitals and clinics for treatment has resulted in less choice, contrary to Thatcherite dogma. But the privatisation of the NHS is backed by big donations given to the parties by the companies seeking a bit of NHS action. And it has the full backing of Rupert Murdoch. Hence Akua and Robinson now coming out in favour of it.

As for the salaries of senior NHS staff, there’s a double standard going on here. We are deliberately not being told the salaries of the executives and managers of the healthcare companies seeking to take over after the NHS is privatised. This is common Tory practice. They deliberately made it easy for the private companies to bid against the NHS by forcing the health service to publish its accounts and costs while keeping those of the private companies secret. Because it’s ‘commercially sensitive’ you see. How convenient.

If GB News and the Tories have their way, Brits will end up having to pay for their healthcare with all consequent poverty, ill health and hardship attendant with the American for-profit system. But it’ll make Murdoch and the chief executives of the private healthcare companies rich, along with venal politicians looking for their donations.

Don’t believe the lies. Back a nationalised NHS and get rid of GB News.

Mad Right-Wing YouTube Alex Belfield Is Fact-Checked. But Is He Bovvered?

February 4, 2022

Actually, despite his denials, I think Belfield, the self-proclaimed ‘Voice Of Reason’ was extremely bothered. I know some of you are sick of me giving him and his YouTube channel publicity, but this is hilarious. But there’s also a very serious point to be made here as well.

A few days ago Belfield put up a video about how he was fact-checked by Google or another group concerned with what it is acceptable to say on YouTube. They challenged him on his estimate of the number of deaths from Covid. Belfield consistently and loudly opposes the lockdown, arguing that’s it’s unnecessary and harming industry, children’s schooling and people’s mental and physical health, among other issues. The stats he cited, which he claimed came from the Office of National Statistics, were part of this argument. He then declared that this showed the ‘lefties’ devouring each other.

He then stated, firmly and loudly, that he was not bothered about it while, like Catherine Tate’s petulant schoolgirl, sounding increasingly extremely bovvered. It was doing him good, because all the people that hate watch him were nevertheless making him rich by clicking on his channel. He then began yet another rant about Guardian-reading, champagne-sipping, oyster-eating ‘Naga Manchushi’ types. And to show how not bovvered he is, he put up another video for days ago on ‘the factchecking scam’. Well, he’s certainly shown he’s not bothered as so far he hasn’t joined Alex Jones in ranting about the globalists. But it’s a moot point how far Jones himself believed the rubbish he spouted.

Now I’ll get to the serious point. On the same day that he posted this, Belfield posted yet another video calling for the NHS to be privatised because of Boris giving PPE contracts to his chums. They supplied duff equipment at well over-the-odds prices. If they were able to fulfil the orders at all. Belfield wants you to believe that it’s the fault of having a nationalised National Health Service.

He’s talking nonsense, malign, dangerous nonsense. The poor performance of the NHS comes from decades of Tory cuts and the piecemeal privatisation that sees NHS contracts given to private healthcare companies, who are less efficient and provide a poorer service. But hey, it’s all done for the profit-motive, so it must be better. NHS Test Trace, and which has also performed spectacularly badly, was NHS in name only. It was completely private, though the Tories didn’t want you to know that. But Belfield doesn’t want you to know how badly NHS Privatisation is failing and how badly we need it renationalised.

Now Belfield is, as far as I can make out, a lone YouTuber broadcasting by himself or with a bare minimum of people helping him. He’s not Fox News, GB News or whatever. But he has 300,000 viewers, which is, as he points out, larger than some of the news broadcasters he tackles and sneers at. He is therefore not without influence, and therefore deserves to be criticised. Even if that runs the risk of being counterproductive.

Much of Belfield’s output could be called ‘tabloid TV’. It consists of a fair amount of celeb gossip, much of it directed at the antics of Katie Price and her continuing attempts to make money from her body and her disabled son, Harvey. There are loud denunciations of woke ideology, as he attacks the TV companies for throwing experienced, quality, but White broadcasters of more mature years off in favour of minority ‘box tickers’. He also strong criticises some of the mad results of the transgender ideology, as when a Scottish law student was accused of transphobia and investigated by her university simply for saying that women have vaginas. And then there are his rants against the channel migrants or the ‘dinghy divers’ as he calls them, who he claims are being treated better than Britain’s own poor and homeless. Well if they are, it’s because of the Tory policies Belfield so loudly supports.

His audience appear to be the same demographic as those attracted to UKIP: older, socially conservative White people who fear immigration and the new morality. This isn’t exclusively so – when he came down to visit Bristol, among the people he met was a woman of east Asian ancestry. I don'[t doubt that some Blacks also watch his channel. There are Black Conservatives and not all of them by any means are supporters of Black Lives Matter, as you can see from the videos by Black American right-wingers making some very acute criticisms of the movement. And it’s these, largely older people Belfield is catering and lying to.

He’s lying when he gives the impression that everything would be better off if the NHS was handed over to private industry. It won’t. It will be worse run and the British public will have to pay for it through private health insurance. That includes Belfield’s audience, the working class people he appeals to with all the guff about being a working-class boy from a pit estate, sneered at and passed over by the BBC Guardian-reading etc middle class people. These are the people, who will find it especially difficult to get healthcare if the NHS was privatised.

And this is why I call out Belfield on this issue.

And I’ve no qualms about admitting that when it comes to NHS privatisation, I am very bovvered.

Virtual Walmart – The Future of Asda

January 9, 2022

Here’s a video which shows how Walmart, who used to own Asda and may well still do so, see the future of the shopping. It’s a Virtual trip through one of their stores, in which the shopper clicks on the products they wish to purchase to put them on a Virtual shopping. A Virtual shop assistant guides them through their purchases. If they’re buying alcohol, the store automatically connects with another system to confirm that they’re old enough. If they’re buying something they have already, the shop assistant tells them they’ve communicated with their fridge, which tells them that they already have in this case a bottle of milk. Do they want to put it back? And so on.

Mad right-wing Alex Belfield put part of the video up on his YouTube channel yesterday as he was heading off on his hols. He’s another one I really shouldn’t platform, but occasionally he says something sensible. In this instance he was warning that it could be the future of Asda. This video comes from the Sync Media Network.

Now I admit I’ve been shopping online at Asda because of Covid and the extra health risks due to my myeloma. It’s compromised my immune system and many of the drugs I’m on are to prevent me catching anything. it is easy and convenient, as is shopping online generally. Hence the success of Amazon. But it does present a real danger to our bricks and mortar stores. There is the danger that real stores can’t compete, and are closing down leaving row after row of empty shops on the High Street further damaging town centres. It hasn’t quite happened like that, as I understand that people are returning to real, solid shops now that some of the Covid restrictions have been eased. But it’s still a strong possibility.

Belfield and other peeps have also criticised the stores’ increased mechanisation and the removal of real sales assistants from stores in favour of self-service. When the automatic checkouts were introduced, I remember one of the writers in the Heil denouncing them as ‘Dalek’ machines that he had no intention of using. He wanted to give his money and work to a real person instead. And the wretched paper was right. These machines are threatening to make people unemployed. Belfield has repeated criticised them on these grounds, and also for the perfectly good reason that for many people, shopping is a social experience. For many of the elderly and disabled it’s the only time they may get out of the house and see people, and the gradual removal of real shop assistants and their replacement with machines may deprive them of a vital piece of real human contact. This process is going even further in some experimental stores, where tills and self-service counters have also been replaced. The shopper simply goes in armed with their credit or debit card, which is scanned by a machine. Cameras automatically follow the shopper around the store noting what they take off the shelves. This is automatically deducted from their card. They then leave the store without physically queuing up at a counter and paying. Of course, you can see all manner of problems with that, apart from the lack of human contact. I can see mistakes in software and camera tracking leading to innocent people being accused of shoplifting, while the real shoplifters will find some way to subvert it all and get away with it.

I dare say these new shopping methods may be efficient, but they threaten to put real humans out of work. And just as important they would leave our society even more atomised and people more socially isolated than ever.

Petition to Strip Blair of His Knighthood Gets Over Half A Million Signatures

January 5, 2022

You can say one thing for Tony Blair and his inclusion on this New Year’s Honours list, it’s united the British people in a way that’s rarely been done. Right across the political spectrum, from Corbynist left to Tory right, people despise him as a warmonger. The petition on Change.org to have him stripped of his knighthood has reached 650,000 signatures. Which I think means that it has to be debated in parliament. Unfortunately, as the mad right-wing internet broadcaster Alex Belfield has said in one his videos, there’s little chance of the politicos taking notice of it or doing what nearly three-quarters of a million people want.

Mike has pointed out that the people want him denied the honour because he took the country into an illegal war with the Iraq. The charitable interpretation of this is that Blair believed the fake information that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But rather than wait for a UN resolution authorising military action, Blair put pressure on his advisers to state that he could launch an invasion,, and then went ahead and acted according to the advice he’d decided he should be given. Nearly a million people have died as a result of the war that followed.

Less charitable individuals might follow instead the information in Greg Palast’s book, Armed Madhouse, which showed that the real reason behind the invasion was economic. The Neo-Cons wanted Hussein out the way because he occasionally sent aid and support to the Palestinians. The American and Saudi oil industry wanted to loot Iraq’s state oil industry and oil reserves, which are the largest outside Saudi Arabia. Western multinationals also wanted to get their mitts on the country’s state enterprises. And the Neo-Cons also had a plan to turn Iraq into the kind of free trade state with precious few tariff barriers against imports they wanted for America. The result was that Iraq’s oil is now in the hands of foreign countries, a situation authorised by the new constitution written for the country. Many Iraqi businesses went bust as a result of the lowering of tariff barriers, as the world dumped their surplus goods on the country at cheap prices. The country’s own businesses couldn’t compete and went out of business. The unemployment rate skyrocketed to 60 per cent.

The country had been relatively secular with a welfare state and, I believe, free healthcare for its citizens. This has vanished. Women were also safe on the streets and could follow a career outside the home. That vanished too. One of his Hillary Clinton’s female officials tried telling a crowd that things were actually better for Iraqi women during a diplomatic tour of Turkey. She was very definitely told the contrary by a group of annoyed Iraqi ladies. And domestically the country collapsed into bloody chaos. In Baghdad, peace walls had to be erected between Sunni and Shia Muslim areas. Sectarian death squads roamed the country looking for the wrong kind of Muslims to kill, with the cooperation of the American military authorities. The mercenary companies also employed as peacekeepers were also out of control. They ran drugs and prostitution rings, and their soldiers shot ordinary Iraqis for sport. One American diplomat to Iraq was so shocked that he came back to the Land of the Free to the tell the media all about it, including the Nazi regalia sported by some US squaddies.

Over 2 million severely normal Brits marched against the Iraq invasion. One of the priests at my local church was one of them. They were ignored. Just as Blair’s successor, Keef Stalin, is also keen that the government or Her Maj not rescind Blair’s knighthood. Apparently he gave some kind of speech listing all the good things that Blair had done, like winning three elections. Blair’s administration was responsible for some good policies. He would have liked to have privatised the health service, but under him it was still properly funded and he had some success in tackling poverty. But he was also responsible for the Work Capability Tests that have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of disabled people wrongly judged fit to to work, and thrown off the state support they desperately need. All too many have died of starvation and neglect as a result.

And that still doesn’t remove the fact that Blair launched an illegal war and on that account is viewed as a war criminal by many. I bought a book a while ago, written by a lawyer, which made that very case. It went through the relevant international legislation and showed through repeated examples how Blair and Bush had violated it. There were even attempts by Canadian and Greek human rights activists to have the two arrested and tried for their crimes against humanity. This failed as it was successfully blocked by politicians and other officials.

The war also further destabilised the Middle East, setting up the conditions for the expansion of Iranian power into the Iraq, while at the same time radicalising parts of the country so they were taken over by Daesh. Who then went on to smash the monuments and sacred buildings of Christians, Shia and other religions they didn’t tolerate, and destroy priceless antiquities going back to ancient Babylon. This, along with the civil war in Syria, has also fuelled the refugee crisis. I’ve no doubt many of the channel migrants, or ‘dinghy divers’ as they’ve been dubbed by anti-immigrant right-wingers like Belfield, are people fleeing the chaos in Iraq. I am definitely no fan of Barbara Barnaby, the head of the British branch of Black Lives Matter. But she made a good point at a Corbynite Labour meeting last year when she said that Britain should admit these refugees because of our responsibility for the wars that forced them to leave their homes.

I’ve also heard the other side of the argument, that Blair should have got the knighthood after leaving office, as was customary for all prime ministers. He wasn’t. This has also caused a further problem, in that apparently they have to be granted to prime ministers in order. This has meant that Cameron hasn’t got one either and Tweezer hasn’t been made a dame or given some equivalent honour. The insult, on this view, is that it already has taken so long to grant Blair his honour.

Well, I still don’t think he deserves one. Just as I don’t think Cameron and Tweezer deserve honours either. Cameron held the vote on Brexit thinking it would fail and he’d defeat the Eurosceptics in the Tories. It didn’t. It narrowly won. However, it divided Britain. England largely supported it, while the Welsh, Scots and northern Irish rejected it. It’s breaking up the union and has particularly betrayed the people of Ulster. Both Loyalists and Nationalists wanted the border with Eire to remain open. The loyalists, as you might expect, also didn’t want a tariff barrier separating the Six Counties and the rest of the UK. An open border with Eire was one of the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement that ended the war in Northern Ireland. With Britain leaving the EU and the imposition of a hard border, instability and sectarian violence have returned. Speaking on the BBC comedy show, Room 101, Jeremy Paxman nominated Cameron to be sent into the room containing all the most horrible stuff in the world. Cameron was, declared the former bane of politicians on Newsnight, the worst prime minister we’d had since Lord North. He was the PM who lost us the American colonies.

My guess is that Blair will still get his knighthood. But millions of severely normal Brits will still hate him as a warmonger, the man who lied to us to get the illegal war he wanted, and sent Britain’s courageous young servicemen and -women to fight and die in decades of pointless war. I think Blair will still get the honour, but millions will still remember him as war criminal, and further resent the honours system that has rewarded him.

Bush and Blair were subjects of satire and ridicule when they started the war. Someone on the Net cut footage of various speeches and press gatherings by the duo to show them singing Electric Six’s ‘Gay Bar’. Which has the fitting lines ‘Let’s start a war. I want to start a nuclear war’. Let’s hope Blair and the world’s other politicians never do.