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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Making a complex situation even more insoluble.


Obama orders US special forces to 'assist' fight against Isis in Syria

White House press secretary Josh Earnest.

In 1950, Truman sent "military advisers" to assist the French in their fight against Viet Minh forces. In the 1960's newly elected Kennedy sent more "advisers" to assist (prop up) the Saigon government in their fight against the Viet Cong. 
Now, Obama sends US special forces into Syria to “Advise and assist” rebel armies in the northern Syria who are fighting Isis. This western generated mess becomes even more complex with the North FSA/Turkish/Kurdish/Isis conflict with the American advisers supporting 3 of these factions all fighting each other!
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. This time however, the United States is making a complete mess even more insoluble.

Philip Davies, a dispicable MP and his 90 minute filibuster.

Tory MP Philip Davies speaks for 90 minutes to stop carers getting free hospital parking

Philip Davies MP. The bill would have given carers free parking at hospitals

What could possibly motivate these "MP's" to block a bill which would be of benefit to thousands of people all over the country, particularly when the benefit applies only to carers?
Already, the parking charges imposed at hospitals around the country are extortionate and represent a significant cost to patients attending for appointments particularly when such appointments may be part of an ongoing treatment. Some hospitals do operate a "waiver" system where an additional parking charge is not applied if there are delays in the waiting time for patients to see doctors, but even these are discretionary. 

Hospital trusts are making annual profits of more than £1 million from car parks

Parking charges at hospitals, whilst providing a significant source of income for the Hospital trust, are essentially a "tax" on being sick, which in itself is bad enough, but for rich out of touch Tory politicians to deny even those caring for sick or disabled a concessionary parking facility is crass, mean and shameful. To rely on a  filibuster in order to achieve this objective is even more despicable as are the "honourable members" who carried out this act of shame.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Where should we spend £34billion of taxpayers money?

Corbyn backs calls for Scottish Labour to vote against Trident renewal

Kezia Dugdale  Scottish Labour leader

It is beyond belief that in a week which saw impassioned speeches against cuts to Income Tax Credits, and equally passionate speeches from supporters of the cuts, arguing how the country cannot afford to continue to support families who rely on the "top up" to their income, that there can be any debate surrounding a replacement for the existing Trident "deterrent".
In 2014 Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit had a combined cost £30 billion per year. However, the high cost of this benefit is predominately due to more firms taking the option to pay lower salaries and even offer even more "Zero hour" contracts, knowing that the government will subsidise the low pay with taxpayers money. This is not an argument for cutting the benefit, but more of an argument for ensuring that employers pay more. Just this one example of the government pleading poverty in order to justify cuts to public expenditure in the name of austerity, particularly where such cuts are made in the budgets of welfare, is reason enough to question the candor of those pressing for expenditure on what may be argued to be "prestige projects", such as HS2, Heathrow runway expansion, Hinkley point or as in this case, the replacement of the trident nuclear deterrent.
The cost of this one programme alone, has been estimated to be anywhere between £34 billion and £100 billion and history tells us that these estimates, made before the start of the project, and with monotonous regularity,  invariably result in significant cost over runs. It really is not good enough for politicians and supporters of Trident to argue that these costs come out of "a different pot" and would therefore have no effect. The unavoidable fact is that there already exists a "deterrent" and all that we are doing is replacing it.
If there is a choice between replacing the United Kingdom's "weapon of mass destruction", particularly when we already have one, or supporting working families in this country by throwing out the Working Tax Credit, and other cuts, there should be no debate as to where the £34 billion or £100 billion (minimum), should be allocated.

Another F1 "Great"?




'Don't compare Lewis to greats' (says Sky Sports)

Lewis Hamilton: F1 world champion 2008/2014/2015
An inane article but typical of Sky.
Schumacher was not a "great" driver. He had, at that time, a car which was unbeatable and streets ahead of any other team on the F1 circuit. Had you given me that Ferrari, I would have won the world championship. 
Michael Schumacher
In contrast, Senna was a "great" driver as was Mansell, and both deserved to be recognised as such. In respect of Hamilton, he may not be particularly likable as a person but he has also achieved the right to be recognised as a "great" driver.
Ayrton Senna
Nigel Mansell
Hamilton is still only 30 and may yet win more world champion titles which would probably put him ahead of Mansell and Senna in the "greatness" list. 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

‘I ask him for the sixth time,’

The Corbyn quote at PMQs that silenced his critics once and for all

Not very happy

Cameron, he is the Prime Minister one with the snake like tongue, who sits next to Osborne the Chancellor one, who sneers when he is not rolling around in hysterical laughter at the effects of working tax credit cuts on ordinary people,  had the usual (but now well worn) response about “transforming the UK economy”,  and "all would be made clear in the Autumn Statement".

I ask him for the 6th time

 It is, after all Questions to the Prime Minister. It does not imply that he has to answer any. Except that is, the "planted" questions from those baying snarling morons sitting behind him. Cameron seemed uncomfortable, but Osborne looked very angry and upset. With any luck their subsidised meals in the Parliamentary restaurants will have caused them severe indigestion later.

The House of Lords needs reform, but so too does our electoral system

 The Lords is a ludicrous affront to democracy and accountability. 

says John Harris

Lords ignore PM's warning and vote to delay tax credit cuts
The House of Lords vote to kill off cuts to working tax credits 

Another glaring "affront to democracy and accountability" is the notoriously unfair "First Past the Post" electoral system.

You do not hear many MP's bleating about that.

Increasingly arrogant and autocratic

Only when the Lords (and I am no fan of that unelected and unaccountable chamber either), defeat a pernicious Conservative government plan, a conservative plan mind you, not a Commons policy (only 26% of the electorate and all that), which will make 3 million families up to £3,000 per year worse off does the government bench, Cameron, Osborne and Johnson in particular, erupt into fits of mock outrage, threatening all sorts of dire "consequences" to the House of Lords and those who dared to oppose the increasingly arrogant and autocratic government.

I would agree that The House of Lords is in need of reform, but so too does is our electoral system.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A "poll" to produce the results that you desire.

Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party perceived as 'increasingly incompetent', says poll

Jeremy Corbyn's allies insist his leadership is still in its “early days”

Another "new poll" for the Independent, pouring scorn and derision on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party. (Who do they actually ask?)
Incompetent, threat to the economy, interested only in protecting down and outs and other contemptuous statements fed to a clearly selected audience "panel" of 2,000 people given the option responses of "Agree", Disagree", and "Don't know". A less than scientific survey, carried out to produce the results that the Independent desired and probably paid for.
However, the "results" of the poll have produced the usual batch of "Comments" on these pages echoing the general tone of the article, "Bye bye Labour", or "No leadership, no policies, no charisma", or "disastrous Labour years of the 70's" or even "the Marxist J C." All very predictable, all very puerile and all indicative of an overriding desire to ringingly endorse the findings of the "survey",  and discredit Corbyn and the Labour party.

More partisan than Independent

 It seems to me however, that there are growing numbers of people posting to the "Independent" comments pages who are not so easily persuaded by the  authenticity of
"opinion polls commissioned by The Independent", where the "results" invariably concur with the editorial position of the "newspaper". There is always the argument which says that when you continually produce statistics or in this case opinion polls, which are so grossly exaggerated and overstated, the credibility of your position is destroyed by your own eagerness to promote the most negative picture of your target.Thus is the case with the latest, though undoubtedly not the last "opinion poll for The Independent".

Angry threats from Cameron and Osborne after governmet humiliation.

Tax credits vote: PM accuses Lords of breaking constitutional convention 



Exposed as liars

Osborne states that "the government was elected to deliver welfare cuts"
Elected, yes that is true, but to extrapolate from that simple fact that the government somehow has a mandate to "deliver cuts" stretches the limits of credibility. The House of Lords exposed Cameron's pre election statements as predominately lies particularly in respect of welfare cuts and specifically in the cuts to Working tax credits.
When only 24 people in every 100 eligible voters actually support and vote for the Conservative party, the resultant government do not have a "mandate from the people" to implement a programme of cuts. particularly when the pre election promises made by Cameron, Osborne and the rest are revealed to be deliberate fabrications to conceal intent.
The words of Michelle Dorrell on Question Time: ‘You’re about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t, shame on you" will return to haunt Conservative for some years.
The "unelected unaccountable" House of Lords has given the Commons, specifically the government, a bloody nose and Osborne, clearly angry at the vote has threatened to "deal with the constitutional issues". After only 6 months in full power, psychotic arrogance of the government front bench is quite worrying.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Seumas Milne is Labour party’s executive director of strategy and communications.,

Jeremy Corbyn criticised over appointment of Labour's new press chief 


Seumas Milne

"Jeremy Corbyn criticised......." is the headline which introduces practically every item in today's media and on television.
"Former business secretary Lord Mandelson believes......." is another popular cliche amongst those in the media who believe that the words of Mandelson are of any interest to anyone other than the rump "New Labour" devotees who still cling to the delusion that they are right and anyone who does not agree is mad. The Guardian is not alone amongst the "popular press", in grasping at any and every opportunity to criticise, discredit or otherwise deride Corbyn and his supporters and will adopt any means to achieve that end. Today, the Guardian uses an interview with Mandelson to instill an idea that Corbyn's judgement is unsound as he has selected Seumas Milne to fill the role of Director of Strategy. Seumas Milne, a Guardian journalist who Mandelson argues is "‘completely unsuited to the role", because "his political views were outside Britain’s political mainstream".

Image result for peter mandelson sinister

Mandelson is hardly qualified to question anyone's "judgement" in view of his own somewhat chequered  history in the political arena, but the Guardian seem hypnotised by the twice resigned former business secretary and his almost weekly interventions on the subject of today's Labour party leadership. The fact that Seumas Milne had his children educated at selective grammar schools in the past, is neither here nor there but  perhaps we may consider that those  who listen to Mandelson should, in any case, not delve too deeply into the past of the  "Prince of Darkness".
How strange it is that until taking the position of Labour party’s executive director of strategy and communications, Seumas Milne was considered as a respected and influential journalist being a columnist and associate editor at the Guardian as well as a successful author with a number of published books. Perhaps it is the judgement of the Guardian and Mandelson that should be examined, or it could be a simple case of hypocrisy and cynicism from a "newspaper" who has lost a valuable employee and a tired old politician who has lost any influence he may once have had.

Friday, 23 October 2015

HERMES. Collecting money rather than packages?

I sent this message to Hermes customer services this morning. It is the 5th time that I have contacted this organisation regarding collection of this package. It is also posted on my Facebook page and on my Twitter account.   Is it just me, or are these people serial non performers. It would not be so bad if I had not already paid for it, but for all intents and purposes, HERMES could just be collecting money rather than packages.

"I am having some trouble with HERMES, the courier company. This message was sent to them a few minutes ago.
"Package not collected by your courier - 1071598248850488.
What are you doing to collect this package?
I placed the order with you on the 17th October 2015, and you were paid on the same date.You contracted to collect the package on the 20th October from my home address. The package is still sitting in the hall by the front door. I still have not seen or heard anything from your collection service.
Please advise your intentions to collect this package"

Am I alone or do these people cause aggro to others?"

Perhaps it is just a sign of the times.

Suppression is Stalinist and unacceptable.

Labour councillors warned not to criticise Simon Danczuk

Cllr: Richard Farnell warned Labour councillors not to criticise MP Simon Danczuk

Clearly Farrell and Danczuk are amongst those elitist few in the Labour party who are able, and believe that it is their duty, to criticise, smear and undermine anyone opposed to their views and in particular criticise Jeremy Corbyn and the leadership of the Labour party.

Labour MP Simon Danczuk

Cllr Lambert, said  "I will not be bullied or silenced and therefore I will not stand again

The way that these individuals attempt to stifle criticism and seek to reverse the democratic decisions of the membership, is Stalinist and is unacceptable.

In Iceland the guilty are sent to prison. In the UK the innocent are punished with Austerity.

 Iceland sentences 26 bankers to a combined 74 years in prison



Good and reassuring news from Iceland. At least there is one country that has the backbone to defy the vested interests of some political factions and prosecute those responsible for the financial crisis rather than persecute ordinary people with pernicious cuts, reductions in living standards and crippling austerity.
We could have a similar scenario here if the politicians were not in the pockets of bankers and financiers.

The British people are paying the price for the "financial crisis", while the bankers continue to enjoy the huge salaries bonuses and the lifestyles that they have become used to. The banking world in the United Kingdom,  is "protected" from the consequences of its own action by politicians with their own agenda.
Austerity is not an economic necessity. Austerity is a political choice.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Another British Industry sacrificed on the altar of Conservative Party economic dogma.

Cameron accused of misleading steelworkers over £80m aid fund


Steel workers at the Tata Steel plant in Motherwell


Thatcher started this destruction of British industry and Cameron continues her evil work.
Heavily State subsidised imports from abroad, this time it is steel, are allowed to flood into this country but the government refuses such support to our own industry.
As a result, because our own industries are unable to compete with the cheap (on price and quality) imports, the government  allows the plants to close and the workers to be made redundant. The government justification for allowing the extinction of the industry is the fallacious lie that the industry is noncompetitive and "market forces"  must be allowed to determine the outcome.
Not only does this country loose the manufacturing facility, it also loses the skills associated with the industry. The knock on effect in the areas local community and in the associated businesses has been devastating for local jobs, employment opportunities and communities. Shipbuilding and coal were the main targets for Thatcher's vindictive attack with some passing tinkering with the privatisation of the steel industry, now Cameron continues with the work, allowing another industry to be sacrificed on the altar of Conservative Party economic dogma.
No amount of hand wringing, false sympathy, gnashing of teeth and crocodile tears from Cameron, Osborne, Sajid Javid and the rest can hide the reality of their destruction of another British industry, the violation of the associated communities and the arrogant refusal to offer the workers the opportunity to compete on a level playing field with foreign competition.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Conservative MP attacks government Tax Credit plans and the media hardly mention it.

Tory MP attacks George Osborne's tax credit plans in maiden speech


Tory MP Heidi Allen launches passionate attack on Osborne's tax credit raid

There seems to be little media or television coverage of the maiden speech of Heidi Allen, Conservative MP for South Cambridge, who during yesterdays debate on Working Tax Credits, ripped into the government policy to cut the benefit and in consequence make more than three million families worse off by around £3000 per year.
The Conservative front bench seemed distinctly uncomfortable as well they might, and perhaps even angry as M/s Allen accused them of, "betraying Conservative values" and emphasising that,  "Choosing whether to eat or heat is not a luxury" when families had "no cloth left to cut".
Had a Labour MP made the same ferocious attack on their own front bench. the media would today be screaming from their front pages and television would be leading with the story on every news programme. how the Labour party was split and full of rebellion. However, we have now become very used to the way in which "news" is edited, embellished or suppressed by a biased media to play down "problems" in Conservative ranks.
Heidi Allen's speech may not have gone down well with the Conservative establishment, but it did go some way to show that not all Conservative MP's are arrogant, heartless out of touch people, prepared to spit vile and venom as they pursue their pernicious policies against ordinary the people they are supposed to represent. 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

British workers made redundant as State subsidised Chinese steel floods onto our markets and we treat them to a Sate Banquet !

Steel crisis grows as Tata unveils job cuts

Hundreds of SSI workers try to find work at a jobs fair in Redcar for steelworkers made redundant .

China continues to dump its state subsidised steel onto our markets as another 1200 people at least are made redundant to join the 5000 already announced from the closures of SSI and CAPRO. Against this background Cameron begs for Chinese money for other United Kingdom projects (which will undoubtedly cause even more redundancies for British workers) by welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping on a state visit to this country.

President Xi Jinping and his wife arrive in London for a state visit to Britain

The Buckingham Palace ballroom set for a state banquet

This evening, the Chinese President and his delegation together with Cameron and other "dignitaries" are being entertained at a lavish State Banquet with no, doubt all the "trimmings".

They should choke on their foie gras.

A "rub of the green" it happens in many sports.

Craig Joubert under fire as Scotland call confirmed as the wrong one

Craig Joubert sees an infringement

A game of rugby lasts for 80 minutes. During that 80 minutes, incidents occur which could affect the ultimate outcome of the game. A knock forward results in the “wrong” side being given the put in at the scrum, an infringement at the line out leads to a penalty award to the innocent side, a pass which everyone in the stadium says was forward, leads to a try under the posts. “Incidents” such as these and others, happen in every game of rugby and every other team game you could think of. In golf, these incidents are referred to as a “rub of the green”. It just so happens that this “rub of the green” occurred in the 79th minute and resulted in a win for the Australians.
Next month or next year or whenever Scotland will be the beneficiaries of  decisions which go the wrong way. It has happened before and I have been left fuming, particularly when it occurs during a Calcutta Cup game.
The result of this game is not going to be changed, and nor should it be. It is just one of those things, a “rub of the green”. Ces't la vie.

Lord Warner who wanted to charge people £10 to use the NHS resigns Labour whip.

Lord Warner resigns Labour whip, saying party is 'no longer credible'

Lord Warner, who wanted to charge people £10 to use the NHS, steps down


Before everyone gets too excited about Lord Warner (Lord who?) becoming the first Jeremy Corbyn era Labour parliamentarian to resign the whip, perhaps we might examine the background and “political” credentials of the now "new" cross bench peer. A career civil servant from 1960, the Life Peer held offices in the Blair government, being a Parliamentary Under Secretary in the Department of Health from 2003 to 2007, and a Minister of State in the department of Health from 2005 to 2007. he has also been “adviser” to a number of “consulting” companies.
He was appointed by the Coalition government as Chair of the Social Care Funding Commission in August 2010. This unelected and unaccountable civil servant has never been a Member of Parliament but has held office in the Blair and later Coalition administrations.
It could hardly be argued that Norman Reginald Warner, is a traditional Labour supporter (or even member) with roots firmly secured in the Trade Union movement, or the Co Operative movement or even the Fabian Society. He is clearly of the “Blairite” faction and in 2013 voted with the Conservatives in the House of Lords on proposed NHS regulations that would enable private companies to bid for almost all NHS services. He was the only Labour peer to do so. Since then his record has been patchy, but has indicated a continuing drift away from Labour towards the Liberal or even Conservative position. It is hardly surprising then that Warner should find the new new democratic Labour party, where policy and direction is set from the “bottom up”, to be contrary to his views of how the party should be run.
This “resignation” will of course, promote much comment and speculation in the media, where any event is immediately seized upon as the commencement of the disintegration of the Labour party. In fact the departure of Norman Reginald Warner, to sit on the “cross benches” rather than the Labour ones will not be of any great significance to anyone outside the media bubble. We all know that the media and television are past masters at creating mountains from molehills, but this time they have managed to create a molehill from a grain of sand

Monday, 19 October 2015

British Prime Minister grovelling to serial abusers of human rights and worse.


David Cameron seeks Chinese support to bomb Syria in talks with president 


This is bloody incredible. The British Prime Minister seeking support for intervention in Syria, from the President of a torturing regime, steeped in the blood of hundreds of thousands of people, serial abusers of human rights and civil liberties. Seeking support when the House of Commons has not debated the issue of UK intervention. Seeking support when the Chinese dump steel onto the markets and cause thousands of British workers to be made redundant.
The Prime Minister of this country. leaning over backwards in the hope of getting some financial benefit from China in the form of a few more contracts, which will eventually lead to even more British workers being made redundant.
A pathetic Prime Minister demonstrating all of his Tory philosophy where money is the ultimate God and people can go to hell.

When the result is decided before you go to the polls, why bother to vote?

Low turnout as Egyptians shun elections designed to shore up Sisi 


"President"Abdel Fattah al-Sisi


This is what happens when a despot conspirator instigates an illegal coup against a democratically elected President, then with the backing and financial support of the "West" and Israel, imprisons any opposition, stages sham show trials and executes political opponents.
In May of 2014, I wrote
"Polling stations empty, few voters but still only one pre determined winner.
No doubt the final figures will show that "99% of voters" cast their ballots and of these the "vast majority" chose al-Sisi.
A sham election, with a sham outcome. The coup of (last year) 2013, (no matter what the Americans may call a military take over), which overthrew a democratically elected President has completed the circle and installed another dictator with no opposition, to replace Mubarak."
Today's elections are no different from last years or even next years. Al Sisi will win by a "huge majority", not because the people of Egypt want him and his Junta, but because "the West" want him and because he has the tanks, planes guns, secret police and judiciary to ensure that the election result is the one that Al-Sisi has decided.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A cut in Working Tax Credit, could be bad news for some Conservative MP's.

Tory MPs in 71 marginal seats at risk from cuts to tax credits

Always see the funny side

Working Tax Credits are a subsidy paid by the tax payer for business to pay low wages. The government bleat that the cost of this "benefit" has increased substantially over recent years and has to be cut. The only way to reduce the level of these tax credits, is to force employers to pay wages and salaries which are adequate to meet today's living costs. The "minimum wage" or "living wage" call it what you will, is a government confidence trick designed to indicate that the government is "doing something" to assist lower paid workers where in fact it does nothing of the sort. In April of next year, hundreds of thousands of families in this country will be up to £3000 per year worse off due exclusively to a combination of government fiscal policies, of which cutting working tax credit is but one.
If only 71 conservative MP's in marginal seats are at risk at the next election, the Conservative party may consider themselves as fortunate.

What makes a "best friend"?

Britain has made 'visionary' choice to become China's best friend, says Xi

We, the United Kingdom that is, seem to have a most bizarre collection of "friends".

China, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Israel, India, UAE and Thailand rate amongst the more repressive regimes around the world and have an appalling record of human rights abuses. Yet, these countries, along with a few African republics, seem to be favoured to a greater or lesser extent, as "valued customers" by sections of the United Kingdom business world, particularly in the defence sector where we have large markets for riot and civil disorder equipment, and certainly by British governments who welcome these unsavoury administrations as "great friends and allies".

Certainly over recent years, where the "war on terror" has provided justification for selling practically anything to any country willing to provide military intelligence and join the "coalition", governments have used the rationalisation that the "National interest" over rides any consideration of human rights abuses. The intangible national interest of the United Kingdom condones the very real beatings, false imprisonment, tear gassing, imprisonment without trial or process, forced exile, beheadings and even worse atrocities carried out by our "friends" on their own peoples.

It is a vindication frequently used by business interests and governments in their quests for larger "markets" and profits. An argument with which I totally disagree. As for the proposition some often trot out that "If we don't sell them this equipment, some other country will", it is a comment based on a flawed logic that proposes we have to be as bad as the next guy. It seems to me that the people of the UK are better than that.  

Saturday, 17 October 2015

‘You’re about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t’

 Cameron responds to Question Time tax credits complaint 


Michelle Dorrell: ‘You’re about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t’

Only 24 people out of every 100 people who voted at the last general election, gave this lying hypocrite an overall majority in the House of Commons. The baying, howling Tories on the government benches, snarl that they have a "mandate from the British people" to carry out their pernicious "reforms" and to inflict even more austerity on this country, in order to "balance the books".
They lie and cheat while filling themselves with the perks of position and office. They laugh at the housing crisis, they reject moves to ensure that rented homes in the private sector are fit for habitation, because to repair them would be "a huge burden on landlords”, they cut welfare and restrict the rights of working people to protect their pay and conditions. In just the 6 months since the General election, the list of assaults on the people of this country is substantial and this is only the start of their programme.
Many of those 24 people out of every 100 are even now are beginning to realise that they have made a terrible mistake as
Michelle Dorrell has realised and says that the Tories have lost her vote.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Housing shortage means that now is a good time to be a Landlord

Average monthly rent hits record high of £816



Council homes in Newham occupied by Focus E15 mothers group
Social housing should be built to suit a range of incomes


A report which underlines the simple economic reality that, where there is a shortage of a commodity, in this case rented accommodation specifically, but emphasised by a housing shortage generally,  the price level of the available "stock" will increase. We have seen the level of rents increase significantly over recent years and with some regional variations, has increased in the past 12 months alone, by between 6.3% and 8.5% with a fall in Wales and the North of England.  
Higher rents combined with the growth in property values mean that landlords in England and Wales have seen returns of 9.4% over the past year. Landlords have plenty to be happy about, suggested Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains.
Not so "happy" for those seeking homes in the rented sector of the housing market however.The "economic reality" of ever increasing rented accommodation prices, has effectively been engineered over time, by governments actually seeking to retain a high price level in the house building sector both in the "home ownership" market and in the rented sector. 
Local councils have by government directive and some by their own volition, abandoned their historic function of providing rented accommodation within their areas. Many council houses have been sold off on the open market and of those remaining, all have been passed to Housing Associations who now provide "social housing" for those "on the waiting list". However, even where Housing associations are building homes, the demand is far in excess of supply. In the private rented sector, the position is even worse. A significant number of Private landlords have increased rent levels to such an extent that many people are unable to afford either rent or mortgage and consequently will remain in need of housing for many years. In many cases, the higher rent levels are paid for by Housing benefits, which results in an ever increasing Welfare bill.
Governments of all political persuasions, have completely abdicated their responsibilities for the provision of housing in this country particularly in the social housing sectors, and have allowed builders, speculators and private landlords to profit from ever increasing demand in the housing markets.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

What price housing?

 “The last five years have seen a low level of house building, less than half the new buildings that are actually needed",




Median gross weekly pay for full-time employees, 2014 in West Dorset is £506 (Residency based figures) or £26,312 pa. In Weymouth and Portland the figure is £469 or £24,388 pa.
These figures are taken from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2014, Office for National Statistics The reason for reproducing these statistics, is an article in today’s (15th October 2015) “Independent” under the headline “David Cameron defends 'starter homes' that only the richest can afford”. Now, admittedly he was talking about London where the average house price is £522,000 and adding that his previously quoted figure of “starter homes” at £450,000 was an “upper limit” and he would prefer to see a “starter home” at a significantly lower price. No doubt thousands of people in London would agree with that bit. However, the fact remains that anyone attempting to obtain one of these starter homes would still have to have a salary of around £77,000 pa. There are many people who earn nowhere near that figure.

However, Cameron and his out of touch colleagues will have to come to terms with the unpalatable fact the United Kingdom exists well beyond the area laying within the confines of the M25. The housing crisis is not a problem restricted to London or the Home Counties or even to England. It is a nationwide scandal and has been brought about by decades of neglect by successive governments and has resulted in tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people being unable to own a home or even afford to rent in the private or social housing sectors. The accepted definition of a “starter home”, is a normal home with a 20% discount applied to the price, which theoretically, stimulates demand, increases the building of more houses and makes houses even cheaper. Of course, it does nothing of the sort.
The housing crisis is a national problem which has solutions (if we have the political will to implement such solutions) but solutions which may be different in different areas. Take West Dorset for example. A predominately rural area with much farmland, little industry, a great many villages and hamlets, a number of Seaside resorts along its world famous Jurassic Coast, many “second homes” and a housing shortage for ownership or rent. In West Dorset, the average cost of a home (flat, semi detached or detached) is, £283,402 (Land Registry statistics for 2014). Even with the application of Cameron’s 20% discount figure, the price for a “starter home” would be £226,721. Close to 11 times the annual salary levels in West Dorset and nearer to 12 times in Weymouth and Portland. In the rented housing sector, the situation is, if anything, even worse with high rent levels in the private sector and barely affordable rents in the social housing markets, particularly where cuts to housing and other benefits are having a significant effect on household budgets. 
The crisis in housing is a difficult situation now and one which will become even more challenging over the years to come. To go some way address this, the Dorchester and District Labour Party, will be hosting a Public meeting on the 25 November 2015 7:00pm - in the Corn Exchange, Dorchester to discuss this and associated housing issues. There will be speakers from various interested organisations, with a “Question and answer” session and also an opportunity for you to “have your say” on this important issue.

Housing is a matter which affects us all and is too important to be left to others.

Israeli media blames FaceBook!!

Haaretz says: If the wave of violence we’re seeing now morphs into a full-fledged Third Intifada, blame it on Facebook. 



No. Blame this "intifada",on the continuing occupation of Palestine by a barbaric and increasingly vicious Israeli occupation force. Blame this "intifada" on the illegal and inhuman blockade of Gaza by Israel from land and sea and daily airstrikes against the people trapped in the Gaza strip. Blame this "intifada" on the occupation and blockade of Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Israeli check points every few hundred yards around Palestinian neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
Blame this "intifada" on the evil Israeli "settlers" on the West Bank and the other occupied areas who build their illegal settlements destroying, infrastructure, crops and homes, and murder Palestinian men, women and children to drive them off the land while the Israeli occupation forces look on and assist in the crimes. Blame this "intifada", on the "International community" who turns a blind eye to the Israeli occupation, the apartheid imposed by the Israeli government, the atrocities carried out by the Israelis in Gaza, the occupied territories and in Jerusalem and on the genocide of the Palestinian people by the terrorist government of Israel.

Netanyahu weighs more aggressive action

Israel and the Israeli media, including Haaretz, always seek to blame others.The  "intifada", is not the fault of Face Book, but is the result of Israel's own actions and increasingly barbarous occupation of Palestine for more than 60 years.People will resist occupation with whatever means may be available to them for as long as such occupation continues. Social media is but one tool which is being used to bring to the attention of the world that which western governments and news media choose to ignore The acquiescence of "the International Community" allows ethnic cleansing, and apartheid to be inflicted on the people of Palestine and allows Israel to get away with murder. 

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Remain silent for the sake of "unity"?

The outcry over John McDonnell’s "U-turn" reflects a potential gulf between sections of the PLP and the Labour leader and the PLP and the party membership.

The media obsession with splits and divisions within the Labour Party continues unabated. The gulf between sections of the PLP and the Labour leader and the PLP and the party membership, provides the media and television, with the opportunity to emphasise, exaggerate and exploit (usually in support of their Conservative patrons) a debate which has been taking place for decades.


Since the 1908's there have always been the Tristram Hunts, Liz Kendalls, Ben Bradshaw's  and others going back to the Shirley Williams, David Owen's and the Roy Jenkins, who share the same view. They believe that they alone have the monopoly of ideas, opinions, policies and vision of the direction that the party should be moving in and that they must be the leaders and guiding lights of the party, its membership and party management. Any criticism of their ideas and any dissent amongst others within the PLP and horror of horrors amongst the membership of the party generally, must be suppressed in the interests of "unity" because they are always right and to disagree or propose alternative ideas causes splits and division within the party. It is always those who disagree with them who cause the divisions. 
What then should people such as I do when faced with this dilemma. Either I remain silent and allow the party to be dragged off in a direction that I believe to be wrong for the party and wrong for the country or I speak and argue for the policies which I believe in and be branded by the "other side", as a trouble maker intent on splitting the party? 
I rejoined the Labour party in June of this year, having previously been a CLP chair, Borough Councillor, Leader of Council and Parliamentary Candidate. It was not I who had left the party some years ago, it was the party which had left me, as Labour drifted further and further to the political "right". The people of this country had been deserted by their traditional representatives in the House of Commons, the party members had been deserted by the "establishment" of the party structure and the elitist PLP. Working people, the Trade Union movement, the sick and disabled, the homeless and those in sub standard housing conditions, the unemployed and other individuals reliant on welfare and/or benefits, had been effectively abandoned to the "Tory" policies of the Labour governments, the excesses of the Conservatives in government and the vagaries of "the markets" and the exploitative "bankers". 

Jeremy Corbyn was elected on a tidal wave of support, not only from the many thousands of people who joined or rejoined the party, but also with huge support from the public and those who attended his public meeting in their thousands queuing "around the block" to get in. Since the election, the media and press have been conducting a scurrilous campaign to vilify and discredit Corbyn and the new leadership at every turn and in this they have been supported and encouraged by certain members of the Parliamentary Labour Party. I again ask the question. Should I (and others who may believe as I do), remain silent and allow our party to be destroyed again, or do I speak out and accept that I may be accused of "splitting the party"?