Posts Tagged ‘The Elderly’

History Debunked Suggests We Need Nazi ‘Heroic Mother’ Policies to Halt Demographic Decline

January 25, 2023

This is a response to a video Simon Webb put up some days ago. I meant to review it earlier, but there’s only so much fascism you can take, especially in today’s miserable economic situation and the Tories telling one lie after another. Webb’s video was prompted by a speech from the Japanese premier declaring that there was an existential crisis facing the Japanese the people. If they didn’t have more babies, they would die out. Webb notes that in the Beeb report about this, they stated that it could be solved by the Japanese importing people like other countries, but that the Japanese were firmly against this.

The Japanese have been worried about this for a very long time. Back in the 1990s the-then Japanese prime minister announced that if the country didn’t halt its declining birth rate, then they would be extinct in a thousand years’ time. That really is looking at the long term picture. To solve this problem, successive Japanese governments have suggested and embarked on various policies. One was that husbands should spend more time with their families in order to develop a closer relationship with their wives, with the unspoken implication that this would lead to more babies on the way. This provoked sharp criticism from one housewife, who complained that marital relations wouldn’t improve simply because the husband was at home more. The Japanese government has also set up a state dating agency to bring men and women together.

I suspect Japan’s demographic problems are partly due to particularly Japanese problems. There is, or was, a high rate of divorce among Japanese pensioners. This is caused by the Japanese work ethic, in which men work all the hours that God sends in order to support their families and make their country prosperous. The result is that they barely see their wives and families. When they retire, they find out that they have nothing in common and divorce. It’s a theme that was reflected in Japanese business novels. These featured loyal, hardworking sararimen, whose lives fall apart. They’re laid off by the companies they’ve loyally served and their families break up until they end up left behind running a small shop somewhere, lamenting that they’ve missed out on seeing their children grow up.

There’s also a trend among young Japanese not to date and have children. There was a Radio 4 programme, which I sadly missed, discussing this issue. It reported that this aversion was so severe that many young people even find the act of love itself repulsive. I wondered if this was a reaction to Japanese sex education and whatever Japanese youth is taught about sex outside marriage. If the attitudes against it are too harsh and the insistence on purity so strong, then it’s possible that this could lead to some impressionable people developing such a strong revulsion to sex. I remember from my schooldays that the sex education we were exposed to, with its clinical description of physical development and reproduction, as well as fears about the rising divorce rate, could almost have been calculated to put kids off sex. I also wonder if it’s due to the unavailability of contraception in Japan. This isn’t due to moral scruples, as in Roman Catholic Ireland. It was demanded by the Japanese medical complex, in order to protect the doctors that made money from performing abortions. Buddhism and Shinto have a series of three gods or kami, who preside over the souls of dead children. According to the anthropologist Dr Nigel Barley in his study of cultural attitudes to death and the dead across the world, Dancing with the Dead, the shrine to these gods are particularly supported by women, who’ve had abortions. I’m not criticising women’s right to abortions here, just noting that in previous decades over here the lack of contraception and the strong societal disapproval to births out of wedlock was a very strong disincentive to people, and especially women, having premarital sex.

In fact birth rates are declining across the world, mostly significantly in the developed west, but also elsewhere. One demographer interviewed a few decades ago in New Scientist predicted that in the middle years of this century the world would suffer a demographic crash. This is in stark contradiction with the 70s fears about the population explosion and ‘population bomb’. In many European countries the birth rate is below the level of population replacement.

Webb suggested that we might try to copy the Nazis, who gave medals to women who had large families. There were different medals award according to how many children they had. In fact, all the totalitarian states had similar policies. The Russians had their Heroic Mother awards, duly covered by Pravda, and Musso had a similar policy in his ‘Battle for Births’ campaign. If reproduction is a battle, it means people are doing it wrong. And if it’s a real physical battle, then it’s rape. But I think Musso meant it metaphorically, as everything was a battle in Fascist Italy. The campaign to increase cereal yield in agriculture was labelled ‘the Battle for Grain’. But Musso included in his policies to increase the birth rate various welfare benefits to make it easier and support women, who chose to have large families.

Webb has been followed in this by Laurence Fox, who gave a sermon on GB News yesterday, about his instinct that society was coming to an end because of the low birth rate in the west. This was breaking the social link Edmund Burke had said existed between the past, present and future generations. Of course, as a man of the right he has no sympathy for people demanding expanded welfare rights, accusing them of being ‘entitled’. They’re not. They’re people on the breadline demanding not expanded welfare provision, but proper welfare provision restored to adequate levels.

Plastic priest Calvin Robinson similarly discussed demographic decline in another piece for GB News. He was much more open about the provision of proper welfare support for families, arguing that Britain should follow the lead of Poland and Hungary. And then comes the element of racism. Because if we did this, like those countries we would not have to import people from outside.

And this is part of the problem.

Underneath these fears of demographic decline is the particular fear of White demographic decline. Other ethnic groups have larger families. Hence the stupid, malign conspiracy theories about ‘Eurabia’, that Muslims would outbreed Whites in the west and so eventually take over society. The French National Front let the cat out of the bag in the 90s. This was the mayor of one of the southern French cities, who had set up a system of welfare payments to encourage his citizens to have more babies. Except that this was a racist policy that applied only to Whites. Blacks, Asians and Muslims not allowed.

It’s why such a system would also have severe problems being introduced over here. And rightly so, as while I dare say that some members of ethnic groups don’t want to integrate or adopt British culture, others identify very strongly with it and see themselves as English, Welsh, Scots whatever. Such people shouldn’t be excluded from receiving these welfare payments simply because of the colour of their skin, whatever else one thinks of race relations and immigration.

Of course, the right blames the demographic crisis squarely on feminism and the way modern women are encouraged to pursue careers rather than raise families. Hence the Lotus Eaters put up a piece commenting on a report that half of all women are childless at thirty. To be fair, some left-wing feminists have also complained that feminism, for all its good intentions, has also denigrated the vital role of motherhood in society. But traditional attitudes towards gender roles may be part of the problem. In the New Scientist article I talked about earlier, it was noted that the countries with lowest birth rates had the most traditional attitudes towards childrearing, in which it was seen as primarily the responsibility of the mothers. This extended across cultures, from Italy in Europe to Japan. The countries which had the highest birth rates in the west were the Nordic countries, where men were being encouraged to help their wives with domestic chores and raising the sprogs.

That, and welfare policies designed to help working parents, seem far better solutions to the crisis than simply doling out medals based on the attitudes of totalitarian regimes.

Hatey Katie Goes Tinfoil Hat over Lockdown and NHS Totalitarianism

December 28, 2022

Katie Hopkins has raised her head again. There was a video posted on YouTube last night of her talking to an ‘entrepreneur’ of some sort, which promised its viewers that she would reveal who was really controlling the world. Yes! We’re back to raving conspiracy theory paranoia of the time John Ronson explored a decade or so ago in his Channel 4 series, Secret Rulers of the World and accompanying book, Them! Adventures with Extremists. So, who did Katie think was secretly pulling the strings to establish the One World Satanic Communist superstate? Was it Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum at Davos? The Bilderberg group? The Trilateral Commission? International finance capital, in other words, the Jewish banking conspiracy? Reptoid aliens? I’m afraid I can’t tell you, because I didn’t get that far into the video before I’d had enough.

Hopkins started off by attacking the Covid lockdown, claiming that it was an opportunistic exercise in totalitarian social control using the Wuhan virus as a pretext. It was a test to see if they really could isolate people in their own homes. The NHS and socialised medicine was part of this conspiracy, because everyone’s concerned with their health. And this is why Joe Biden is so keen on introducing it in America. Really? I had no idea. It always struck me that Biden was a bog-standard American corporatist. The only trace of radicalism I’ve seen in the old boy is his support for the trans ideology through the appointment of Rachel Levine, a transwoman, as Surgeon General and a non-binary chap as head of the programme to dispose of nuclear waste. That’s it. I’ve seen no evidence he wants socialised medicine in the US. I’d have more respect for him if he did.

As for the NHS as an instrument of totalitarianism, this is pure Reaganite, libertarian twaddle. Way back in the 1970s Reagan gave a stirring speech about the need to defend freedom against state totalitarianism. This sounds all very well, but it was an attack on Medicaid, the state programme that provides medical care to elderly citizens that can’t afford it. I’ve also had American commenters state that the NHS must be against human freedom, because doctors are employed by the state, therefore they must have the same power as other state officials like the police or the government, and so you have to do exactly as they say. Um, no, you don’t. They don’t have that power. You don’t have to take their advice, and for serious treatment, like long term cancer care, you have to sign consent forms. Of course, you’d be daft if you ignored their advice, especially when it comes to serious illnesses like cancer. But you’re still a free individual.

This is, of course, the kind of crass stupidity Alex Jones peddles with his rants against the globalists, when he isn’t maligning bereaved parents of the victims of school shootings as crisis actors, screaming that the government is about to take away Americans’ guns, and that the government is about to call an environmental emergency and force everyone into refugee camps in order to establish a totalitarian state. Despite having been dumped by various media companies for her toxic views, particularly about race, Hopkins is still going the rounds. She was doing shows with Alex Belfield, the ‘Voice of Reason’, now doing time for internet stalking.

Despite her poisonous views, I don’t want to see her banned. There’s too much internet censorship, particularly of those on the left. I just want people to realise for themselves how nasty and toxic she is. I think she’s still making a nice living for herself, because she reflects some peoples’ fears of immigration and, like Belfield, attacks the bonkers part of the woke ideology. But beyond that there’s a general contempt for working people, regardless of colour. And it doesn’t matter how much they might agree with her about the threat of illegal immigrants, gay policemen and the transgender ideology, if she had her way the people, who go to see would be deprived of proper medical care. It would all be privatised and they’d be unable to afford it. Just as they wouldn’t have any employment rights or unemployment benefits, because she’d remove all the welfare legislation that they think is being exploited by chavs and benefit scroungers. If enough people realised that, hopefully stop supporting her and she might have to do a real job for once.

Short Questionnaire by 38 Degrees Seeking People’s Views on the State of the Health Service

November 25, 2022

Here’s another email I got from the internet petitioning organisation seeking to gauge people’s views on the current state of the health service, and the particular issues they are most concerned with, as part of a wider campaign to defend it. Two of the questions, not on this email but there if you answer the questionnaire, ask you if you would be willing to speak to TV, radio or the press or talk about it on social media, and ask you for your telephone number if you would like to be part of that aspect of the campaign. I filled it out, as I am very concerned and angry about how they’re treating the NHS, but clearly not everyone will want to take it that far or give their home phone numbers.

‘David, the 38 Degrees community has been campaigning for YEARS to get the NHS the funding and workforce plan it desperately needs. It’s why we drove an ambulance with our message to Rishi Sunak across the country over the summer. [1] Now, we need to think about our next move.

If we’re going to keep fighting for what’s best for our NHS, it’s going to take all of us getting involved. And that means we should all have a say in what we do next. By taking this quick survey we’ll know what’s really important to all of us, and then together we can plan our next big NHS campaign.

So, David, will you take a quick survey and have your say on what we should do next? It takes two minutes. Here’s the first question to get you started:

How concerned are you about the current state of the NHS?

Very concerned

Concerned

Neither concerned nor unconcerned

Not concerned

Not at all concerned

Not sure

Things are so bad that ordinary people can’t help but speak up. A 77-year-old patient caught Prime Minister Rishi Sunak off guard by telling him to “try harder” to improve nurses’ pay, and a patient told Health Secretary Steve Barclay that he was doing “bugger all” about long ambulance waits. [2]

38 Degrees has a proud history of campaigning to protect our NHS. From fighting for a fair pay rise for NHS staff, to ensuring the NHS is properly funded and staffed, as well as opposing plans to raise the age limit for free prescription charges – we’ve fought relentlessly for an NHS we can all be proud of. [3] And with so many challenges left that fight is far from over.

By sharing your opinion in this short survey, we’ll be able to prioritise the issues we campaign on together. But to make the best plan we can, we need all of us to share our views.

So will you take this short survey today to help us keep fighting for the future of our NHS? It only takes two minutes. Here’s the first question to get you started:

How concerned are you about the current state of the NHS?

Very concerned

Concerned

Neither concerned nor unconcerned

Not concerned

Not at all concerned

Not sure

Thanks for your support,

Flo, Mike, Jonathan, Angus and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:

[1] Express & Star: Ambulance protest greets Tory Party members at hustings
[2] The Guardian: Woman confronts Steve Barclay on NHS outside hospital
Evening Standard (paywall): Rishi Sunak told by patient to ‘you are not trying, try harder’ to give nurse’s pay rise
[3] 38 Degrees: NHS Staff Pay Rise Campaign
38 Degrees: We need to properly fund and staff our NHS now!
38 Degrees: Keep prescriptions free for Over 60s

Three More Heroes of Comedy Sketched – Alan Coren, John Wells and Roy Hudd

November 24, 2022

Here’s another three sketches of some of the people I consider to be great comedy talents – the satirist Alan Coren, and the actors John Wells and Roy Hudd.

I’m not quite satisfied with the picture of Alan Coren, as he really wasn’t jowly or fat in the lower face. But I do think he is one of this country’s greatest comic writers of the 20th century. He was for many years the editor of Punch, and just about the only reason in its last years to read the magazine. Coren’s method was to take a ridiculous story from one of the papers, and then write a ridiculous piece about it. Thus, a story about a ‘sexy actress’ missing her pet tortoise turned into a tale of the said reptile making an excruciatingly slow bid for freedom before finally getting caught. The beginning of package holidays to Spain with booze included turned into a tale of a totally blotto bloke trying to write back home. 1984 is rewritten as if it was about 70s Britain, where nothing works. The press runs headlines like ‘Come Off It, Big Brother’, the Youth Spy is annoying brat who shouts to its mother that Winston Smith has a lady friend, and Room 101 isn’t really terrifying because due to supply problems they can’t get a rat. They offer Smith a hamster instead, but he isn’t afraid of them and annoys them by telling them so. They inflict the hamster on him anyway, and he has to pretend to be frightened. Coren has been accused of racism because of a series of pieces, The Collected Speeches of Idi Amin, and More of the Collected Speeches of Idi Amin, in which he depicted the thug using the stereotypical Black pidgin English. I dare say it is racist, but as it’s directed at a brutal torturer and mass murderer, I honestly don’t care. Amin deserved far worse, and I don’t see Coren as personally racist.

At the same time as he was editing it, Coren also appeared as one of the contestants on Radio 4’s News Quiz, facing Richard Ingrams and Ian Hislop on the opposing side representing Private Eye. I read Private Eye now, but back then I far preferred Punch, which seemed more genteel and funny without being vicious. Punch died the journalistic death after Coren left it to edit the Radio Times, but he still continued to appear on the News Quiz until his sad death in the early ’90s. He eventually stopped editing the Radio Times and took up writing a column in the Times giving his humorous view of life in Cricklewood. These pieces are funny, but the really good stuff was earlier in Punch.

His pieces were collected in a number of books, some of which had deliberately bizarre names. In an interview on Pebble Mill he revealed how one of them got its particularly striking name. He rang up W.H. Smith to ask them what their bestselling books were about. They told him, ‘Cats’. He then asked them what their second bestselling books were about. ‘Golf’, they replied. He then asked them what the third most popular books they sold were about. They told him it was the Second World War. So, he called it Golfing for Cats and stuck a swastika on the cover. For his next book, he contacted them again and asked them what the most popular product they sold was. They told him it was tissues for men, so that’s what he called it.

Coren’s humour was distinctive – it was dry, but also slightly silly. Answering a question on the News Quiz about one of the members of Thatcher’s cabinet, he replied, ‘Oh – this is the ministry of Gummer’. A question about Prince Philip on an edition of the show in Edinburgh prompted him to reply, ‘This is the patron of this fair city, Zorba the Scot’. When the Tory election broadcast for the 1987 general election showed Spitfires and other World War II planes zooming about, Coren remarked that it was the Royal Conservative Airforce and pointed out that when the servicemen came back from the War, they all voted Labour. He’s been succeeded as broadcaster by his daughter, Victoria Coren-Mitchell, who is genuinely erudite and intelligent, and his son, Giles, who is a right-wing snob, and who made a sneering comment about people in council houses. Although Coren edited the patrician and eminently establishment Punch, he himself was a former grammar school lad, and there was a bit of class friction in the News Quiz between himself and the genuinely upper-class team from the downmarket Private Eye. I stopped listening to the News Quiz a long time ago because I got sick of the anti-religious sneers when Sandi Tokvig was chairing it and didn’t agree with many of the views of the panellists, who seemed to be stuck in the London bubble with a contempt for the rest of the country. Previous series are available on DVD, however, and they are well worth listening to, not least because of Coren. A great comic wit, sadly missed.

John Wells. He was one of the Private Eye team and was as patrician and establishment as the people that magazine skewered. He was the headmaster and French teacher at Eton. He was also one of the writers of the Dear Bill diaries in the Eye, which were supposed to be the letters of Dennis Thatcher to Bill Deedes, one of the writers in the Times. The book’s hilariously funny, especially when it describes Keith Joseph getting egged everywhere, but no-one can work out why it’s only him that does. Other highlights include him visiting the old folk’s home in which Ted Heath and Harold Macmillan are respectively housed, with Heath hating and ranting about Thatcher while Macmillan still hates and rants about Heath. As with Bentine and the Bumblies, this work of fiction excited the interest of the security people, who asked Wells where he got his information from. Wells replied that he just made it up, and he wasn’t getting any information from anyone. ‘Thank heaven for that,’ the rozzers replied, ‘We thought there’d been a leak.’ Wells had got the tone of Dennis Thatcher’s speech and mindset exactly right, in my opinion. He also appeared as Thatcher’s husband in the farce Anyone for Dennis?, which I can remember being put on TV. There’s a piece of very Cold War humour there, when the Russian ambassador fears that a nuclear war is imminent and talks about the brave Soviet soldiers with their eyes fixed on the last dawn, before collapsing with relief when he finds out that he’s mistaken.

Wells also appeared as a guest on a number of TV shows, including Lovejoy, and the radio shows The News Quiz and Tales of the Mausoleum Club. He had a camp manner, which he knew how to use for great comic effect. For example, when the teams were answering a question about the controversial portrait of the royal family that showed them all nude, he remarked that it was glad one royal was absent because ‘that would have been really gristly’. A question about the romantic novelist Barbara Cartland prompted him to describe her as a woman, who wrote covered in small, white dogs. Tales from the Mausoleum Club was a series of parodies of Victorian classic literature. One of these was a spoof of Treasure Island, ‘Trevor Island’, in which a gang of pirates go after the treasure buried on the island of Tombola. Wells played the pirate’s camp captain, who at one point remarked, ‘Oh damn, I’ve snapped my second-best bra!’

Roy Hudd. He was on TV quite a bit in the early 70s only to subsequently vanish. I can remember him from when I was at junior school presenting an afternoon programme for the elderly. While he vanished from TV, he carried on broadcasting on the radio, where he was the star of the satirical News Huddlines on Radio 2 with June Whitfield. He also appeared from time to time on other programmes, including as an astral seaside entertainer playing the Wurlitzer on the Reeves and Mortimer revamp of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). I’m including him here as he was also an expert on the Music Hall. Back in the 1980s he appeared on a Radio 4 programme about the original Peaky Blinders, who were so notorious that they even wrote Music Hall songs about them. The one he performed was about how they could drink a brewery dry. Away from such elevated matters, he also apparently appeared as the Litterbug in the 1970s public information film against littering.

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

August 10, 2022

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

Correct Not Political

Correct Not Political4 hours ago

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

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

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

* Shell has profited by £9.4bn in a year

The MEN at the top:

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

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

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

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

* E.On boss Michael Lewis is on £1m

* EDF’s Simone Rossi is also on £1m

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

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

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

* Severn Trent bosses awarded themselves bonuses of £5.56m

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

Meanwhile there are…

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

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

* Children celebrating a birthday without presents.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jewish Left-Wing Song – March of the Jobless Corps/ Arbetslozer Marsh

May 4, 2022

More Jewish music from the left. This comes from the Klezmer group of Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, one the Oriente Musik YouTube channel. It bitterly attacks the corporate rich and the culpability for mass unemployment in America. It talks about how the factories have been closed down, ‘there’s no manufacturing in the land’, workers are being made made hungry and homeless, living in tents and subsisting on bread and water while lazy CEOs guzzle fine wine. It also attacks useless unions, for taking the dues from the workers but not standing up for them, so all their work goes in making goods for the rich. This is repeated in Yiddish, and the final verse ends with an optimistic look for a new, just land where everyone has work.

The video shows the band marching and dancing through abandoned factories, meeting solitary workers doing carpentry or working at a sewing machine, before people finally come together for a stately traditional Jewish dance.

It’s an excellent riposte to the racist nonsense that Jews are all rich businessmen, somehow responsible for the evils of modern capitalism. This is the real, murderous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory pushed by Hitler and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Unfortunately, the Blairites in the Labour party didn’t get the message. Remember a few years back when Jezza was leading the party, and one of the female MPs appeared on Radio 4 to blithely declare that socialism was anti-Semitic because it attacked capitalism, which was somehow synonymous with Judaism? That was torn to shreds by the Corbynist left, as it should have been by any decent person who knows their history. Because Hitler and the wretched Protocols also claimed that ‘Marxist socialism’ was also controlled by Jews to enslave Aryans. And Corbyn was supported in the party by a strong Jewish contingent, like Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Jewish Voice for Labour, who stood for Jewish working people, who like their gentile comrades were worried about deteriorating working conditions, the destruction of the welfare state, cuts to public services and the privatisation of the NHS. Who wondered how they would pay for the social care their elderly parents and relatives needed, and support their families with the wage freeze.

But there also was in Britain are real ‘Jobless Corps’ – the National Union of the Unemployed, which I think was set up by the Communist Party. As part of their protest, they staged a kind of invasion of the Ritz hotel in London. They went in and ordered a meal. Of course, as working people they weren’t welcome in such an exclusive establishment. They replied by pointing out that plenty of the rich also went down and had their meals in cafes in the working class parts of the capital. They called this ‘slumming it’, but the protesters said they were perfectly welcome there, just as they should be in the Ritz.

We’re supposed to have the lowest unemployment rate for years, but I don’t trust official figures. They’ve been fiddle too often. One of the problems is that they only count people receiving benefit. This obviously doesn’t include the masses who’ve been thrown off thanks to the sanctions system. And it doesn’t count the underemployed, like the poor souls on zero hours contracts, who are effectively unemployed when their employers don’t need ’em.

Perhaps we need a revival of the idea of unemployed workers’ unions, that will attack current neoliberal capitalism and the Thatcherites and Reaganites who are doing their best to prop it up to deprive ordinary people of properly paying work for their own profits.

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.

Open Britain Petition to Get Boris Out!

December 10, 2021

Peeps all over Britain and right across the political spectrum are furious at our entitled, odious buffoon of a PM laughing and joking at a Christmas party while ordering everyone else to maintain the lockdown and stay away from their loved ones because of the real threat of passing on Covid. It’s another example of one rule for Boris and his cronies and another for everyone else. And so people are demanding his resignation. I had this petition come through from the pro-democracy organisation, Open Britain, calling for Boris’ departure.

‘David – I don’t know about you but I am furious. This time last year millions of people across the country sacrificed their usual festive plans because the Prime Minister told them it was absolutely essential in order to save the NHS from the ravages of Covid. 

I remember it well because it meant I was not able to spend precious time with my mum who was not only facing her first Christmas without my dad but was also battling the cancer that eventually killed her in July. 

I missed having a last Christmas with my mum. My nine-year-old daughter missed a last Christmas with her granny. And all the time, Boris Johnson’s staff were holding illegal parties and laughing about it.  

I am heartbroken. I am outraged. And I am ready to fight back:

https://www.stopboris.com/?e=103ff7d229d2d845fee01e970c13710f&utm_source=in&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=stop_boris&n=2&v=1713

Boris Johnson has shown time and time again that he has no regard for the truth, the rule of law or even common decency.

He is no statesman. He is not the leader we want or need. His actions are damaging our democracy and bringing this country to its knees, and he must be stopped before it is too late.  

Enough is enough. We have reached a tipping point and Johnson needs to go.  

If you, like me, believe that Boris Johnson’s actions make him unfit for the office he holds please sign the petition to demand this man is removed from power:  

Best wishes,  
Mark Kieran’

  An awful number of people have suffered similar distress at being separate from elderly or extremely ill relatives, and share Mr Kieran’s outrage. Mad right-wing internet radio host has similar views about this issue, which shows just how disgust at Johnson’s crass insensitivity extends right across the political spectrum. I’ve signed the petition, and if you’ve also had enough of him, please feel free to do by clicking the links here.

Mad Tory Belfield Deceiving His Supporters into Demanding the Privatisation of the NHS

November 29, 2021

Mad Tory internet radio host Alex Belfield is a staunch opponent of the NHS. He’s been posting a number of videos about its failing and pushing the line that the NHS should be privatised, as that will somehow magically improve service. Today he put up a video about the number of elderly patients, who have been failed by the NHS. The title of this wretch video is ‘Tues 23rd Nov NEWS 🗞 HOPELESS 🇬🇧 130,000 OAPs Conveniently ‘Gone’ & 100,000 Kids In Care’. I’m not going to post it up here, because I draw the line at posting anti-NHS propaganda. The video’s gathered a large number of comments, mostly supportive, from people who have lost loved one to what looks like incompetence and malpractice. Several of the commenters also express their hatred of socialism and the expectation that somehow the NHS would be better it wasn’t socialist and ‘colonised by the far left’. I kid you not. Here’s a couple of comments.

SteveB said: ‘The NHS needs to be completely reformed. It’s is a Left-Wing, socialist toilet, utterly unfit for purpose, and a money sink that generates very little return. My elderly neighbour was killed by NHS indifference and incompetence.’

Another individual, ‘Chamberpot’, replied: ‘Agree completely: it’s a sacred cow and it’s been colonised by the hard left and we have no choice if we don’t like it. The worst thing is that we know from looking at places like Denmark that government provided health care doesn’t have to be a socialist sink and we can remember that the NHS wasn’t like this.’

While I have every sympathy for the people, who have lost relatives and friends thanks to failures in NHS care, much of this is due to the reverse – Tory policies and specifically privatisation. So I left this reply to the comment:

‘No, the reason why it’s in such a state is due to privatisation and the Tories. It was set up in 1948 by the Attlee Labour government following the recommendation of the Beveridge report. The Socialist Medical Society had been campaigning for a socialised healthcare system since the 1930s. The Tories have been starving it of cash, while the outsourcing of services to private healthcare companies have increased costs. These have gone from five per cent when it was fully nationalised to around American levels of 20 per cent. The private hospitals Bozo is so keen to give contracts to are smaller and, in my experience, actually offer a poorer service than the NHS. I’m sorry for your neighbour, but the solution isn’t privatisation. It’s more nationalisation.’

I wonder if I’ll get a reply to my reply, or even if it’ll stay up. I’ve posted responses to some of the daft, pernicious nonsense the Lotuseaters have said in their videos before now, and my comment has mysteriously disappeared.

What is clear from these comments is how ignorant people are about the NHS and its history, and also how they’re easily misled by Belfield’s rants about the far left. Some of Belfield’s videos attacking the NHS are about recent affirmative action policies, like the demands that a certain number of staff must be BAME as well as gay. He’s put up videos attacking the introduction of administrative posts for such diversity, whose occupants are on tens of thousands of pounds. He sees it as a waste of money. For him, this is a ‘far left’ policy, but the fact is that his rhetoric about identity politics deliberately obscures the destruction of the NHS by Tory and Blairite privatisation.

A number of the great commenters to this blog have raised the issue about what Belfield has done with all the donations he’s been given by his supporters. Supposedly this has been to help him fight malicious prosecutions brought by envious rivals at the Beeb and the local rozzers. But it’s a good question, as Belfield himself is very keen on demanding to know where the donations to charities like Children in Need go. Despite his claims to be a mere working class lad from a pit village made good, Belfield is clearly wealthy. Not many people can afford to have a baby grand in their front room. I don’t begrudge him his money – I wish more people had the opportunity to do well. But I despise the way he uses it to advocate policies aimed at making the very poorest even poorer. And if he’s banging on about privatising the NHS, you can bet he’s got private health insurance, which I’m sure many of his supporters won’t be able to afford. And it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s also got connections to the private healthcare companies.

Belfield is pushing anti-NHS propaganda. and if he gets his way, people will be paying for substandard treatment by private companies after it’s gone. Just as Bojob wants.

Private Eye on the Medical Report Discrediting Blair’s NHS Privatisation

November 3, 2021

This is another piece from an old issue of the satirical magazine, for 15th-25th October 2004. Entitled ‘Kaiser bill’, it discusses a report in the British Journal of General Practice that refutes the arguments for Blair’s privatisation of the NHS and its remodelling after the American private healthcare firm, Kaiser Permanente. The article runs

Last week’s NHS Modernisation Agency conference on the much-hyped treatment centre programme – the mix of private and NHS one-stop units springing up around the country to offer quick and relatively easy diagnosis and surgery – struck a self-congratulatory note.

But a study published this summer suggests there is no evidence that bringing private companies into the NHS is increasing efficiency or reducing costs. Quite the opposite, in fact.

This news will not please the government, which has always promoted health secretary John Reid’s favourite private US healthcare providers, Kaiser Permanente, citing a seven-page research paper in the British Medical Journal in 2002 which purported to show that Kaiser offered “better performance at roughly the same costs as the NHS”.

This conclusion, extolling the benefits of competition, was manna from heaven for health ministers who had been criticised for closing 10,000 NHS beds since Labour came to power. But it seems it was all nonsense.

For a start, two of the report’s three authors used to work for Kaiser; and their paper trigger a storm of protest in the US and from the medical and scientific community here, highlighting its flawed analysis and conclusions. It emerged that Kaiser’s costs were deflated while NHS costs were inflated; Kaiser patients were the “working well” but NHS patients included the poor, elderly and chronically ill; and individual Kaiser charges for visits and treatment were ignored.

Nevertheless, the protests were ignored and the paper – described by one leading academic as “not worthy of a first year student” – went on to form British government policy, featuring in the 2002 review of NHS funding by Derek Wanless and the subsequent white paper on how to deliver the NHS plan. The department of health even joined forces with Kaiser in “learning from Kaiser Permanente” projects managing chronic conditions and care.

In the summer, however, the scientific record was finally put straight with a paper in the British Journal of General Practice which comprehensively exposed that the Kaiser paper was propaganda masked as science. It detailed the way in which authors used counting tricks including a curious foreign exchange currency conversion which had the effect of almost doubling NHS costs. Despite this evidence the Kaiser paper still has not been officially withdrawn. Instead it is still promoted on health department websites.

Allyson Pollock, professor of health policy at University College London and one of the authors of the critical BJGP paper said: “There is no evidence that introducing private companies increases efficiency or quality or reduces costs. Indeed, all the evidence goes the other way. Markets – even those underwritten by the state – do not deliver comprehensive universal healthcare. Research in the US has shown how private health providers select the profitable patients, treatments and conditions and at a greater cost than public providers.”‘ Professor Pollock is one of the contributors to Raymond Talllis’ and Jacky Davies’ excellent exposure of the decade’s long privatisation campaign against the Health Service, NHS – SOS.

This is the Blair administration that Keef Stalin idealises, and to whose policies he would like us all to return. At the moment Labour MPs like South Bristol’s Karin Smyth are fighting the government’s NHS privatisation. But I’m sure that Stalin will drop the NHS if there is a chance of getting his rear end in Downing Street. After all, he’s had no qualms about breaking every other promise.

Thatcherism is a monumental failure. It’s time it was comprehensively ended and the Thatcherites thrown out of power – the Tories and Starmer both.