Posts Tagged ‘The Times’

Sajid Javid Now Calling for Patients to Be Charged for GP Visits and Going to A&E

January 21, 2023

Here’s further evidence of the Tory campaign to run down the Health Service until they can sell it off and introduce an American-style private healthcare system where people have to pay for their care through private health insurance. I’m ashamed and horrified that this man comes from own, fair city of Bristol. According to Sky News, Javid has an opinion piece in the Times (prop: the Dirty Digger) pushing the idea that the health service should charge people going to their doctors and Accident and Emergency with means-tested fees in order to cut waiting times. Javid says that this would follow Ireland, Norway and Sweden, and the appreciation of the Health Service should become a religious fervour blocking reform. The broadcaster also notes that Sunak himself wanted people charged for missed appointments, but was forced to withdrawal that nasty suggestion. Sky’s report says that the current PM till the next one says that he is not considering the idea. Wes Streeting, in a rare occasion of standing up for proper Labour values, said that it would violate the 75 year old founding principle of the NHS that treatment should be free at the point of delivery. Only Labour, which set up the NHS, could properly reform it, and that the imposition of fees would happen ‘over my dead body’.

Well said. I just wish I could believe him.

Of course the Tories hate the NHS as it’s a nationalised service. They don’t understand or sympathise with the principles underlying it and so want it privatised. We’ve already seen another right-wing maniac from their benches calling for it to be run ‘like a business’. These people have their voices magnified by appearing on GB News, where they spout the same nonsense, along with newsreaders and commenters like Nana Akua. As for the nonsense about this cutting waiting times, that’s really only a pretext. I went to a meeting of my local Labour party a few months ago in which the Tories’ attack on the Health Service was being discussed. Someone there said quite clearly that the health service was in particular danger because of the pandemic because the Tories never fail to exploit a crisis. And now Javid has raised his head above the parapet to prove it.

The Sky report states that Javid will not be seeking re-election at the next election. Which is why he probably feels free to make this monstrous suggestion. He has nothing to lose. Unfortunately, his mentality is still shared by his party, and will remain there long after he’s gone.

As for the Labour party, I very much doubt that Starmer will honour his promise to make doctors state employees. He has also said he wants to make a rational use of private industry to clear the backlog. Over the past decade, doctors’ surgeries have been acquired by private healthcare companies like Circle Health, who have then sought to maximise profits by sacking staff and making working conditions worse. The standard privatisation modus operandi. Blair was enthusiastic about privatising the NHS, and Starmer shares the same ideology. He also said something about making a rational use of private healthcare companies. I honestly doubt that he will stop the privatisation of the NHS once he gets his behind in No. 10. If he allows private healthcare companies to continue to acquire doctors’ surgeries, then obviously the doctors working there will not become state employees. Starmer has massive previous for breaking promises, and I think it’s very clear that he intends to break this one.

But the main threat meanwhile is the Tories.

Get them out before they privatise the health service and start charging for care.

38 Degrees Email Appealing to Public to Write Letter Supporting NHS Pay Rise to Jeremy Hunt

January 18, 2023

I’ve just got this email from 38 Degrees requesting people to writer to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt asking him to abandon his opposition to the NHS workers’ demands for a pay rise. I’ve written an email as they’ve requested. If you also feel that our great medical professionals and the other staff deserve their rise, please feel free to do so as well.

David, today and tomorrow, nurses in England will be striking. [1] We know they don’t want to do this – but government inaction, pushing our NHS to breaking point, has left them with little choice.

The good news? Things might be swinging our way! Reports are emerging that the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, is working with NHS unions to try and get more money for NHS staff. [2] But it’s also claimed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are refusing to budge. [3]

The Chancellor holds a HUGE amount of power over the purse strings. If we want him to stop dragging his heels, thousands of us need to speak up now.

David, you are one of 75,000 of us who signed the open letter in support of striking NHS workers. [4] If all of us bombard the Chancellor with messages telling him to listen to his colleagues, and invest in our nurses and NHS staff, we’ll be impossible to ignore.
David, will you email the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, today to demand he ends his holdout and offers NHS workers a proper pay rise? It only takes a couple of minutes and there are some pointers to help you write your message.

EMAIL JEREMY HUNT NOW

Thanks to pressure from hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees supporters, in 2021 we helped force the Government to triple its pay offer to NHS staff. [5] We can do it again, but only if thousands of us speak up together in support of striking NHS workers.

If you’ve never sent an email to an MP before, don’t worry, it’s easy and even a short message could make all the difference. Here are some tips for what you could say:

  • Share your story if you are an NHS patient: if you’re waiting for treatment and are happy to talk about this, it will be even more powerful.
  • If you work in the NHS, you could mention it – personalised stories will go a long away
  • Talk about why you back our NHS heroes: even if it’s a line or two, the Chancellor needs to know why the public are backing NHS staff
  • Remember to be polite: There’s a real person at the other end reading your email!

So, David, will you join in and send one of the thousands of emails landing in Jeremy Hunt’s inbox on the day NHS nurses go on strike? It only takes a couple of minutes and there are some pointers one the page to help you write your message

EMAIL JEREMY HUNT NOW

Thanks for all that you do,

Jonathan, Mike, Veronica and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] BBC News: Nurses’ strike: New dates as union escalates dispute
[2] The Guardian: Revealed: cabinet split over NHS pay disputes piles pressure on Sunak
[3] See note [1]
[4] 38 Degrees: We support striking NHS staff
[5] 38 Degrees: Pay Rise Posters
Times: 38 Degrees full-page ad
BBC: NHS workers in England offered 3% pay rise

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.

38 Degrees Petition Against Liz Truss Enjoying PM’s Perks and Appointing New Peers

October 28, 2022

I got this petition early today from internet democracy group 38 Degrees. One of their community, Vicky Ropner, has put up a petition calling for Liz Truss to be prevented from enjoying the perks of ex-prime ministers. These include the ability to appoint new peers to the House of Lords. Truss was only Prime Minister for three months and was simply too disastrous as premier to enjoy these benefits. I completely agree and have very definitely signed it. It is grossly unfair that she should enjoy the privilege of elevating her cronies when her wretched policies have resulted in horrific levels of inflation and increased mortgage rates. Not to mention something like a quarter of this great nation’s children relying on food banks and people having to use ‘warm banks’ to keep warm ’cause they can’t afford to heat their homes.

No to perks for Truss.

And definitely ‘No’ to the Tories.

Here’s the petition

‘Dear David,

Liz Truss left her position as Prime Minister after being in the job for less than 2 months. [1] But despite being in the job for such a short amount of time, she could still be allowed to put through a resignation honours list and choose people to promote to the House of Lords. [2]

That’s why Vicky, a 38 Degrees supporter, set up a petition demanding Truss is denied the privilege. She believes an “incompetent and disgraceful” Prime Minister should not get such rewards.

Recently, the House of Lords Appointments Committee – who decides whether or not approve new members of the House of Lords – rejected a number of nominations, and spoke out against unsuitable candidates being put forward. [3] Huge public pressure could convince them to step in and stop Liz Truss’ honours list being approved.

So, if you agree with Vicky and believe a Prime Minister forced to resign after just a few weeks should not be allowed to reward their friends with jobs for life in the Lords, can you sign the petition today? [4] It only takes 30 seconds, and we’ll hand the petition in to those in charge in the next few days!

“Campaign created by Vicky Ropner

Sign the petition

To: The Conservative Party, Parliament and the House of Lords Appointments Commission

What: Liz Truss and the Conservative party need to realise that the public mood is for her to leave quietly without an honours list or any other perks of the job. She has been an incompetent and disgraceful Prime Minister.

Why is this important: Liz didn’t even last 3 months, there is no other occupation that would grant you anything for that, no honest one anyway. Instead she fell at the first hurdle, making huge and avoidable mistakes because of her arrogance. Consequently the people of the UK experienced even more worry and suffering.

It now must be made law that a PM that resigns or is forced to go before a year has passed, has no rights to the perks of the job after leaving. It is insulting and ridiculous that she should be able to set her friends up in the House of Lords, receive severance pay and other perks after being such an appalling PM. She blamed circumstance and not herself. She chose such an appalling cabinet that wasn’t fit for purpose.

She managed one thing, she attended the Queen’s funeral, even Larry the cat could have managed that if they’d provided a comfy enough chair!

Stop this nonsense NOW!

Read more…

Sign the petition

Thanks for being involved,

David, Megan and the 38 Degrees team

PS. Not everyone reading this email will agree with the concept of the House of Lords at all, but one thing we can all agree on, is it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future. So we should be able to expect representatives in the House of Lords to be chosen because they want to do the best for our country, not because of who their mates are.

PPS: Vicky Ropner started their petition on the 38 Degrees website.

With 38 Degrees anyone can start their own campaign with the click of a button. But that’s just where your journey begins. Creating a petition, then sharing it with friends and colleagues, can soon give you a groundswell of support. Perhaps you’ll end up changing something really important.

Use this link to get your campaign started today, it takes just a couple of minutes and we’ll support you every step of the way: https://link.38degrees.org.uk/start-campaign.

NOTES:

[1] The Guardian: Liz Truss resigns as PM and triggers fresh leadership election
[2] Evening Standard: Outrage as Liz Truss gets a resignation honours list
[3] Yahoo!news: Four of Boris Johnson’s peerage nominations ‘rejected by Lords watchdog’
Times [Paywall]: Lords watchdog snubs Tory peers
Times [Paywall]: Stop nominating unsuitable peers, Tories and Labour told
[4] 38 Degrees: Liz Truss should go without an honours list or any other perks!

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

October 23, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lobster’s Robin Ramsey Explains Why Thatcherism Didn’t Work as Claimed and Why Truss Will Fail

October 2, 2022

In my last piece I said that Lobster’s editor, Robin Ramsey, has a background in economics and that he said in one of his pieces for the magazine that the Tories recognised long ago that trickled down economics didn’t work. They still wanted to cut spending and punish the poor for being poor while giving lots of more money to the rich. They just had to find a better pretext for it. So they started arguing for their wretched policies on grounds of morality. Now Truss has gone back to the old trickle down argument. In the recent issue of Lobster, 84, Ramsey has a piece in his ‘View from the Bridge’ column, ‘All Trussed Up’ explaining why Thatcher’s economics policies didn’t work in the way she thought they did, and even despite her best efforts, and why this means Truss’ policies will fail. He writes

‘On the day that Prime Minister Truss made her announcement about dealing with the energy crisis here, The Times (8 September) briefly mentioned (on p. 39) that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was off to the City to discuss ‘Big Bang 2’ – further deregulation of the financial services sector. Centrally, I would guess, will be a change to the rules introduced after the financial crisis of 2007-9 which increased the amount of capital the banks had to keep in reserve. In other words, financial gambling is going to be encouraged again. The central question with this new government is this: do they really believe that this warmed-over Thatcherism will work? My guess is that they do; that they have spent too long in a free marketeer intellectual ghetto to understand even the Thatcher years. They have failed to grasp that Thatcherism didn’t work on its own terms: it did not ‘cure’ inflation and did not produce more economic growth than its predecessors. Mrs Thatcher’s ‘reforms’ were possible because her government had North Sea oil revenues to pay for mass unemployment; could sell off chunks of the public sector; and, despite her best efforts to kill it, had a manufacturing base three times as big as it is now. The new government has little oil revenue; a much diminished manufacturing base; and not much of the public sector left to be sold. It will be interesting to see how long it takes them to grasp that the horse they are enthusiastically flogging is dead.’

For further information, go to https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/article/issue/84/the-view-from-the-bridge-47/

38 Degrees Internet Petition Calling for Scrapping of Mini-Budget

October 2, 2022

I also got this email and petition through from internet democracy organisation calling for ‘Cheeselab’ Truss and ‘Queasy’ Kwarteng to scrap their wretched mini-budget. I’ve had absolutely no problems about signing it. Please feel free to do the same if it frightens and appals you as much as it did me.

‘They’ve driven us off a cliff, David.

Markets in panic, pensions on the brink of bankruptcy, rising interest rates, the pound crashing. [1] It’s taken Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng just 6 days to tank the economy with their ‘mini-budget’ – and put OUR livelihoods on the line. [2] Mini-budget, maximum chaos.

This is about the money left in our pockets at the end of the month. Rising interest rates send mortgages skyrocketing. [3] A weaker pound makes clothes and food more expensive. [4] This budget has plunged us into even more chaos, just when we needed urgent help to get through the cost of living crisis.

Millions of us across the country are enraged by their decision to borrow billions to give to the rich – and tank the economy in the process. [5] International financial institutions, the Bank of England and even Tory MPs have savaged the plan. [6] There’s only one option: rip up the budget.

We need to show where the British public stand today. So, David, will you add your name right now to the open letter calling on Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng to RIP UP this disastrous mini-budget? Clicking the button below will add your name automatically.

ADD MY NAME

NO, I DISAGREE

Here’s the open letter:

To Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng,

RIP UP your “mini-budget” and replace it with an urgent rescue plan to save our economy, save families during this cost of living crisis and save our public services already on the brink.
Signed,Thousands of members of the public 

ADD MY NAME

NO, I DISAGREE

Thank you for being involved,

Angus, Mike, Ellie, Tom and the 38 Degrees team

Notes:
[1] BBC News: Treasury rejects U-turn on mini-budget despite turmoil
[2] The Guardian: Kwarteng scraps top 45% rate of income tax and cuts stamp duty
The Daily Mirror: Mini-Budget 2022 summary: £45bn tax cut announcements at a glance and how they hit you
[3] The Guardian: Homeowners warned of ‘significant’ rise in UK interest rates
The Times: Prove you can afford 7% mortgage, borrowers to be told
[4] The Telegraph: How the tumbling pound is pushing up prices
Metro: Why is the pound falling and how does it affect me in the UK?
[5] The Guardian: ‘A budget for the 1%’: government accused of huge tax cut for super-wealthy
[6] BBC News: IMF openly criticises UK government tax plans
Reuters: Bank of England moves to calm bond market rout after tax cut storm
The i: All the Tory MPs who’ve publicly objected to Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget

Giorgia Meloni – Conservative or Fascist?

September 27, 2022

I’ve been watching some of the videos posted by members of the British and America right about the new Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni. Meloni is head of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, or to give them their Italian name, Fratelli d’Italia. I think ‘Fratelli’ means ‘little brothers’, but if so, then someone decided that it’s not impressive enough for the English translation of their name. She and they have been accused of being Fascists, and arch-conservatives like Matt Walsh, Simon Webb, the Lotus Eaters and Piers Morgan have rushed to defend her. Part of the controversy about her concerns her party’s slogan ‘God, family and nation’. She is proudly Christian and determined to defend the faith. She also stands for the traditional nuclear family and is against adoption and surrogacy for gays. She also rejects the modern ideology she believes is threatening motherhood as an identity, along with national identity, in order, so she says, to reduce people to anonymous consumers. And she is also anti-immigration. For the above pundits, these are all Conservative policies, not Fascist. The problem is that they were also Fascist policies. Her slogan ‘God, family and nation’ sounds like a reworked version of the old Fascist slogan, ‘Family, Faith and Fatherland’. Mussolini was anti-clerical atheist, but he made a deal with the Catholic church that allowed Roman Catholic religious education in schools in return for papacy recognising Italy as a nation, something the church had refused to do following Garibaldi’s forcible incorporation of the Papal states into the new Italy during the Risorgimento. The Italian Fascists were also determined to protect the traditional family against attack from Marxism. Marx and Engels had made it clear in the Communist Manifesto that Communism sought to abolish the family. This attitude was shared by some of the sociologists and ideologues that denounced marriage in favour of cohabitation and free love in the 1960s and 1970s and it continues in the programme of Black Lives Matter, which seeks to replace the nuclear family with a communal raising of children. There was also a huge uproar in Italy a few years ago when an Italian minister, a Black African woman, declared that she wanted polygamy legalised.

Her party’s flag has also been cited as further evidence of fascism. It contains a flame, which is supposed to refer back to the flame on Mussolini’s tomb. From what I saw, the party’s flag was the tricolour of Italy with the flame in the middle. It reminded me very much of the Tricolour Flame, the name of a ‘post-Fascist’ party which emerged after the break-up of the Missimi, or Moviemento Socialie Italiano, the Italian Social Movement, the main neo-Fascist party after World War II. Another party right-wing descended from the MSI was the Alleanzo Nazionali, led by Pierluigi Fini, which claimed to be centre right rather than far right. From this you could conclude that Meloni and the Brothers of Italy were Conservatives, albeit descendants of fascism and just a little further right of the majority of contemporary European Conservative parties. Their defence of the traditional nuclear family and rejection of some gay rights certainly contrasts with the socially liberal wing of the Tories and Dave Cameron’s introduction of gay marriage.

But some of her rhetoric certainly had my alarm bells ringing. In one of her speeches, she’s supposed to have referred to the Great Replacement, the belief that non-White immigration has been deliberately encouraged in order to replace the traditional White European population. And she’s also denounced financial speculators trying to destroy the nation state. Superficially, this sounds innocuous enough with an element of truth in it. Britain, Ireland, America and many of the European countries were hit hard by the banking crash of 2008, a crash that was caused by rampant, unregulated speculation of the type Liz Truss would like to return. As for the hatred of the EU, I was told by an Italian lady while I was at Bristol uni that when her country joined the single market, prices shot up. This caused massive anger to an extent that when she went back there, she didn’t feel safe. And after Italy’s economy collapsed, the European ‘troika’ took control and dictated the country’s economic policy. But it also sounds like the coded rightist nonsense about George Soros, whose various pro-democracy organisations in Hungary and elsewhere have been accused by Viktor Orban and others like him of seeking the destruction of traditional society. More sinisterly, it recalls the vicious, blatantly anti-Semitic conspiracies about international Jewish bankers.

Her rhetoric denouncing the reduction of people to consumers also needs analysis. At one level it recalls the left-wing concerns about the rise of consumerism and the destruction of traditional values that were voiced during the emergence of the affluent society in the ’60s and ’70s. But it could also reflect another aspect of fascist ideology – the celebration of humans as producers. After Mussolini broke with the Italian socialists he gave his paper, the Popolo d’Italia, the subheading ‘the paper of workers and producers’ to reflect the corporatist ideology which promoted both workers, management and proprietors.

As she stands, it looks very much like she is a centre-right conservative with elements of Fascist ideology. I haven’t yet seen anything about her followers marching about in black shirts and jackboots, nor about the proscription of other parties and a rigid control of the media. But then she’s in coalition with Berlusconi and his Forza Italia party. Much the same was said of him when he had Italy under his libidinous rule. There was evening a book written about it describing it as a form of fascism, written not by someone from the liberal media, but by a Times journo, as I recall. Talking about his book on Radio 4 one Saturday morning, he said that the reason Berlusconi didn’t have the authoritarian, paramilitary trappings of fascism was because he didn’t need it. For example, Berlusconi owned much of the private Italian media, and dictated the direction of the state-owned broadcaster so that all of the Italian media was practically in his hands.

Meloni may not be an overt fascist, but there’s enough fascist ideology in her conservatism to be of real concern.

Talk Radio Viewers Vote that Wokeness Prevents Proper Policing

September 2, 2022

As right-wing and terrible as it is, Talk TV appears even more dire and right-wing than GB News. GB News is the station that had Neil Oliver platform Peter Sweden, a Holocaust denier who has, according to an article by Zelo Street, also said nice, admiring things about Hitler and the Nazis, and thinks LGBTQ people should be put in concentration camps. He also believes that the Nazi camps contained theatres, swimming pools and cinemas.

I think Sweden, real name Imanuelsen, has been taken in by Nazi propaganda. During the War the Nazis masked the Holocaust by declaring that the Jews were merely being evacuated to the east. The lie was that the Jews were being given homes and land away from the rest of the German population. The Nazis even made a propaganda movie showing the happy, contented, well-fed evacuees were shown working on the allotments in the village the Nazis had so generously given them. When the camera had stopped, however, the troops moved in and forced them off to the death camps. That was the reality. But Goebbels and the rest of the horrors had manufactured these propaganda films, and their post-War successors have embroidered them with malicious lies about cinemas and so on, and pratts like Sweden have been taken in and are repeating them. And no-one should invite someone who believes and spreads such malignant nonsense on to their programme.

But most of GB News’ presenters at least make an attempt not to appear that malign and bonkers. They also seem to have a variety of presenters and panellists, even if their top one is Nigel Farage. Talk TV has Julia Hartley-Brewer, Times columnist and, if memory serves me right, former editor of the Depress. She’s another one who presents herself as immensely well-informed, especially on the subject of the EU, which she is firmly against. The reality is that she’s profoundly ignorant. Mike’s put up several articles pointing out how little she actually knows about the European Union on his site after she’s appeared on various programmes spouting her nonsense.

This week one of the major issues taxing her mighty intellect, and those of so many other right-wingers, was the breakdown of law ‘n’ order in Britain and the cops’ failure to deal with it. last week a gang of Black youths broke into an American candy store in London with nary a cop to be seen. Then there was the disturbances at the Notting Hill Carnival. A Bristol rapper had been stabbed, 209 people arrested for various crimes, including assault and theft, and 74 policemen had been injured. A policewoman had also been sexually assaulted with a gang of men grinding themselves against her. There was also footage of a group of young people dancing on the roof of a bus stop, which promptly crashes down, bring them down on top of the people underneath. On top of this were statistics showing that the police weren’t actually solving ordinary crimes like robberies.

This was contrasted with the woke attitude of the cops. Instead of going out and protecting people and their property, Britain’s finest were joining in with Pride parades. There was footage of a group of four cops doing the macarena at Lincoln Pride, to the dismay and disgust of various right-wing YouTube pundits. This was in addition to previous Pride and pro-gay events the cops had attended. As the Conservative critics showed footage of the Lincolnshire cops doing the macarena, they also shared the strange gay bumblebee costume one copper had worn at another event to stress the force’s pro-gay credentials, various policewomen waving the LGBTQ flag, a police car painted with the gay rainbow. There was also a very odd picture of a police dog handler posing with two gay fetishists dressed in leather dog masks, sitting at the coppers’ feet and wearing leashes. This was an example of the kind of kink seen at Pride events which make some people believe, not unreasonably, that it’s no longer suitable for children.

Talk TV, and to be fair, a number of other right-wingers, including, I think, GB News, showed these pictures as an example of the cops being ‘woke’ and therefore unable to do their jobs properly. Talk TV followed this up with a short questionnaire. Were the police prevented from properly doing their job due to ‘wokeness’ ? Or was it because of the cut to their numbers of 20,000 officers?

Now I don’t think that ‘wokeness’ has helped improve policing, though I well understand the cops’ desire to show the gay community that they’re on their side. As for the Notting Hill carnival, for as long as I can remember there have been murders and other crimes there. Some of it is, I think, simply because of the huge size of the crowd. There were about 2 million people there, or so I heard, and part of the problem was that gangs turned up from other parts of London in the hope of settling scores. There was footage from someone’s window shown, and it looked like a scene from the massively overpopulated future in the Charlton Heston SF flick, Soylent Green, based on the novel Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison. I would imagine that a crowd of that size and density would be difficult to police anywhere.

But to me the real problem is simply the shortage of cops and the budget needed to support them. And so I voted in Talk TV’s wretched poll. I appear to have been in the minority: only about 4 per cent or so of the people who responded thought as I did. The other 96 per cent thought it was down to ‘wokeness’.

Which shows you exactly how right-wing Talk TV’s viewers are, how they’re refusing to accept the fact that cuts in manpower and budget have affected policing, even before the cops made such obvious gestures of solidarity with minority groups.

And so they’ll accept and applaud even more cuts to the force, just so long as the remaining cops don’t go to Pride in uniform.

We Own It Petition for the Nationalisation of Failed Energy Company Bulb

August 13, 2022

I got this email this morning from pro-nationalisation organisation We Own It:

‘Dear David,

Privatisation has failed.

The Guardian is saying water should be nationalised. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is saying we need to bring energy into public ownership temporarily. Even the Telegraph and the Times are questioning privatisation.

Meanwhile, 100,000 people have pledged to stop paying their energy bills.

YOU can put a solution on the table – sign our new petition for the government to turn Bulb into a new public energy supplier which can cut people’s bills.

Nationalise Bulb

Private energy company Bulb collapsed in November 2021 and the government is planning on spending £2.2 billion to prop it up.

Right now the government is considering giving a further £1 billion to private company Octopus to take over the company.

This makes no sense. Other countries like France, Germany, Italy and the US all have public suppliers of energy. France has used publicly owned EDF to limit energy bill rises to 4% while our bills have gone up by 54% and that increase will go up to 119%!

The government could take Bulb’s 1.7 million customers as the basis of a new publicly owned energy supply company.

Sign the petition now

The situation is desperate and politicians know it. You can highlight this huge opportunity to politicians and the public. You can push for public ownership that can cut everyone’s bills by spreading the word.

Please sign and share now – before the government hands Bulb back to the private sector.

THANK YOU for your support.

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

I’ve had absolutely no reservations about signing the petition. It makes sense, far more sense than successive right-wing government spaffing public money against the wall trying to prop up failing private companies from a doctrinaire, inflexible belief in the superiority of private enterprise and in order to shove more public money into their friends’ pockets as management and shareholders. And this is an important first step to the nationalisation of the energy sector as a whole.

When even Gordon Brown, Blair’s right-hand man, the Torygraph and the Times are having second thoughts about the privatisation of the utilities, it’s clear that something is profoundly wrong with privatisation.

Thatcherism has failed.

Nationalisation is the solution.

Tories out!

To go directly to the petition if the above links aren’t work, it’s address is at: https://weownit.org.uk/act-now/nationalise-bulb