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Saturday, 30 April 2016

It has more to do with "the leadership" than antisemitism


Jeremy Corbyn sets up inquiry into Labour antisemitism claims.




The “antisemitism” controversy currently the main media focus, is not about antisemitism. It is about certain individuals within the Parliamentary Labour Party, sections of the media and a few vested interests who have taken this opportunity to attack the leadership of the Labour party and seek an election to challenge the leader.
What these cynical opportunists have actually achieved is the very opposite of that which they claim they are trying to prevent, namely the local elections for next Thursday resulting in losses for Labour at the polls. It remains to be seen whether or not these "predictions" actually materialise,
It is despicable that a relative small number of members of my own party are eager form a duplicitous conspiracy to oust the party leadership, a conspiracy which they know will cause division within the party and damage electoral success. They are prepared to accept this short term reversal, whilst at the same hypocritically calling for "party unity", in the belief that they will ultimately regain their dominant position within the party hierarchy.
What is obnoxious and repugnant about their tactics, is that they are seeking to hide behind the banner of "routing out “antisemitism” in the Labour party" when their real objective is to remove any opposition to their own ambitions to restore the "status quo" in Westminster.



A "stage-managed" confrontation for the benefit of the media



Antisemitism together with racism, is an abhorrent phenomena and is condemned by the vast majority of Labour Party members. It is reprehensible that it should be used as a "red herring" by a small number of loathsome people, enthusiastically encouraged and supported by elements of the media, to advance their own political aspirations.







Friday, 29 April 2016

John Mann's questionable language and stage managed indignation.


John Mann chased Mr Livingstone up the stairs at the BBC's offices in Millbank, shouting and calling him a "f****** disgrace".







In an extraordinary outburst of venom, questionable language and clearly stage managed indignation, John Mann “confronts” Ken Livingstone in the street and on the stairway of the BBC's offices in Millbank. It is perhaps by coincidence that the witnesses to this verbal assault were, apart from the passing public, cameramen, reporters and hacks from the Mail, Telegraph, Independent and all the usual suspects from the television media and newspapers, eager to grasp any opportunity to attack and discredit the Labour party no matter how tenuous the link may be. The allegation is already doing the rounds that this whole altercation was no more than an opportunistic stunt engineered for the invited audience by Mann for the purpose of advancing his admitted aim of undermining and ultimately removing the present leadership of the Labour party.
What is clearly evident is that during this “confrontation”, Mann excessively overplayed his hand with his almost hysterical rantings, shouting down any response that Livingstone may have chosen to make, which is typical of the “Bully boy” tactics frequently employed by the member for Bassetlaw, known for his Blairite position within the Parliamentary Labour Party and who was part of the campaign challenging the legitimacy of the party leadership election and the alleged  “plot” to remove Jeremy Corbyn in the event that he became party leader.
How strange it is then that the Labour Party should take a decision to suspend Livingstone pending an investigation, on the grounds of, “bringing the party into disrepute”. 
The sight and sounds of an elected MP engaging in an almost demented verbal assault on another member of the Labour Party in public and in front of an assembled audience of press and media, may be argued to also bring the party into disrepute.
Mann should also be suspended “pending an investigation”, but apart from a brief conversation with a party “whip”, nothing appears to have happened. 
An apparent case of double standards where one set of rule applies to John Mann and another set applies to everyone else. 



Wednesday, 27 April 2016

After 27 years, the truth,

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/apr/26/hillsborough-families-27-year-struggle-for-truth-vindicated



Hillsborough families' 27-year struggle for truth vindicated






After 27 years, the families of the victims achieve justice as the truth is finally revealed.
South Yorkshire police, the South Yorkshire ambulance service, Sheffield Wednesday football club and its engineers, Eastwood and Partners, Sheffield city council and other authorities are all criticised in the jury verdicts, particularly the West Yorkshire police and , South Yorkshire Chief Superintendent  David Duckenfield. The conspiracy of lies, cover up and perversion of the course of justice is a scandal of colossal proportions, which demands speedy investigation and prosecution of those individuals, organisations and public bodies involved.Notwithstanding the apologies already made in some sections of the press, the role of the media and the part they played, particularly Kelvin McKenzie and the Sun newspaper, there remains a compelling argument for an investigation into their reporting of this tragedy.







Saying, "Sorry" some years after the event is simply not good enough, no matter how many times it is repeated.








There are many features to be examined over the course of the next few days and months, It is abundantly clear now however, that the South Yorkshire Police must be disbanded and replaced with a body which will restore public confidence in their function and position. They have become completely discredited not only with their conspiracy of cover up in respect of the Hillsborough football stadium disaster, but also their handling of other issues not least of which is the MUM Strike in 1984. The Hillsborough Stadium story reached a significant milestone when the inquest jury determined that the victims had been unlawfully killed. It is now for the DPP and other organisations to complete the quest for justice.



Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Doctors strike is the consequence of one man’s ineptitude and arrogance




Hospitals braced for walkout as Hunt says doctors' strike must be defeated


Hunt says doctors' strike must be defeated.

At the general election, only 11.3 million people voted conservative out of the 30.6 million people casting a ballot (66.1%). To state that, “the British people”, voted for the manifesto promise, is stretching the boundaries of legitimacy a bit far. How many manifesto promises have been abandoned by governments the day after polling day should it be expedient to do so in any case.?
There have been two recent opportunities for Hunt to avert this strike and to resume negotiations, but both have been dismissed with the same arrogance and inflexibility on the part of the Secretary of State for Health that has been the case since this dispute started. A dispute created and engineered by a government with a hidden agenda.
The real reasons for Hunt’s and the governments intransigence in this battle is referred to in the headline to this article. The statement Hunt says doctors' strike must be defeated”, clearly spotlights the governments intentions. Hunt, Cameron and Osborn, seek to be the 21st Century “Thatcher”, creating their own “miners’ moment – a dispute we cannot lose”, in crushing the doctors resistance. 
















Already it is being proposed that strikes in A&E be made illegal, as a prelude to curbing or even removing completely the right to withdraw labour throughout the NHS,. Everyone , from doctors and nurses, through to ancillary workers and domestic staff would be banned by law from going on strike. It is but a short step from there to completely removing the right of all working people in this country to withdraw their labour to resist injustice and exploitation.
This junior doctors strike, the first in the 68 year history of the NHS, is a strike which could and should have been averted. It is the consequence of one man’s ineptitude and arrogance, encouraged and supported by an intransigent government, intent on crushing the doctors and ultimately all working people in this country.

The government view this strike as a dispute they cannot afford to loose. As for working people, it is a dispute which they too cannot afford to loose. 



Monday, 25 April 2016

Another huge landslip in Dorset





Tonnes of rock plunge 50ft in massive landslip on Dorset coast





























Another landslip on the Dorset coast, this time in Bournemouth, brings tonnes of the cliff down onto the promenade and the East Cliff rail lift.

My wife immediately thought of this poem which she wrote some years ago.



Dominion

So long before my life began
Around these shores Your waters ran.
You dark, untamed, You vagrant Sea.
Pounding, mighty, vibrant Sea:
While riding on Your pewtered breast,
Your ally, moon, Your tides impressed
To seize this once unconquered land
And flow, incessant, to demand.

So long before my life began
Around these shores Your waters ran.
Phantom figures, clear seeming,
Rising, floating, merging, screaming.
And soon, too soon, no surface spared,
Your hungry waves the cliffs prepared.
Heaving, cleaving, caverns wore,
Now Your domain for ever more.

So long before my life began
Around these shores Your waters ran,
And come the time I cease to be,
Still You will flow eternal Sea.
Furious foam from raging waves
Will seethe and sweep to fill the caves.
Then;
More, much more, than man shall know,
Nor yet indeed, than time may show,
Your tides will flood and thus command
The coastline sculpted by Your hand.




The arrogance and ineptitude of the Secretary of State for Health.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/24/nhs-hospitals-finalise-plans-to-cope-with-unprecedented-strikes?CMP=share_btn_fb#_=_



Jeremy Hunt rejects another compromise







Last week, Hunt dismissed a proposal from the BMA to call off the strike in exchange for the removal of the threat to impose the new contracts. I noted at the time that " As if his handling of this dispute were not incompetent enough already, Hunt compounds his ineptitude by rejecting a proposal from the BMA which would have allowed them and the Health Secretary to step back from an all out strike."
Hunt now rejects a compromise proposal by an all party group of MP's ,which includes  the Lib Dem MP and former coalition health minister Norman Lamb; Dr Dan Poulter,(like Lamb a member of Hunt’s ministerial team until last May); and Dr Philippa Whitford, an SNP MP who is also an NHS breast cancer doctor. and which would have led to the strike being called off, with the extraordinary remark that " the Labour ‘plan’ is opportunism". An astonishing remark from the Minister with the responsibility for health care in this country.
This dispute has been festering on for many months and it becomes clearer everyday, that the person solely responsible for the continuing deadlock and the increasing level of acrimony is Jeremy Hunt the Secretary of State for Health. His arrogance, general ineptitude in his post and his incompetent handling of this dispute demonstrates that he is unfit to hold the position of Secretary of State for Health and should be dismissed today. He should be removed to prevent further damage being inflicted upon our NHS, the people who work in it and the patients who rely on its services.




New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 24 April 2016







Good Morning everyone.






In this time of the government backed publicity drive for healthy eating, we learn this week that McDonald's is preparing to experiment with an all-you-can eat French fries option. Personally, on the very few occasions that I have actually entered one of these fast food outlets, I have been less than impressed with the circular piece of brown processed “plastic” hidden among layers of relishes and soggy salads accompanied by a few sticks of what alleged to be potato. To now be offered an “all you can eat” option for these “chips”, (I hate the American phraseology of French fries), ensures that my infrequent visits to McDonald’s will now become even rarer. In any case, I must watch my waistline.














Chris Grayling was in Dorset this week and happened to visit Weymouth. In the obligatory press interview and photo importunity he said, Weymouth will "continue to flourish" if Britain votes to leave the European Union”. The choice of "continue to flourish" seems a strange choice of words for Chris Grayling to use in describing Weymouth. Even a short stroll around the town reveals a rather different reality. The number of empty shops with "To let" signs continues to increase, as does the amount of derelict or run-down buildings. Many of the back streets of the town have become increasingly seedy over the past years and the Park and Ride facility at Mount Pleasant remains closed since before Christmas last and now the site seems destined to be sold (provided of course that a buyer can be found). Hardly the signs of a "flourishing" seaside economic community.
Even the much heralded "High Speed Ferries" new passenger ferry service from Weymouth to Cherbourg, scheduled to go into service in April this year (replacing the Condor Ferries operation which permanently left Weymouth last year and moved to Poole), has been delayed for at least another 12 months.
Grayling should have had a tour of the town and absorbed a little local knowledge before giving an interview to the media.
Still in Weymouth, another serious accident on the "improved" road layout in Weymouth, particularly the changes close to the ASDA store, where there have been numerous accidents with, sadly, some fatalities. Taking away all the roundabouts and installing "smart" traffic lights, has only made the original traffic problem infinitely worse and moreover, extremely dangerous.


CONTROVERSIAL: The harbour crossroads outside Asda in Weymouth



How many more accidents and fatalities will it take before Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and Dorset County Council take their heads out of the sand and admit that they made an enormous mistake in the decision to install this system and now commit to replacing the roundabouts?






In Jersey, another tourist facility has disappeared after 30 years.South Coast Cruises, which was launched in 1985 and ran trips between St Helier and Corbière during the holiday season, closed last week. Owner Dennis Spencer, said he believed the tourism industry in the Island has changed vastly from his early days and he ‘cannot see it coming back’.


This week, Victoria Wood and “Prince” became the latest names to join the list of “celebrities” who have passed away so far this year. An article in the press offers a theory that this is due to many of those now dying belonged to the so-called baby-boom generation, born between 1946 and 1964, that saw a huge growth in population and people who began becoming famous in the 1960s are now entering their 70s and are starting to die. There may be a grain of truth in this suggestion, but what ever the real reason is, the fact remains that the world seems to have lost more talent this year than in any other year that I can remember. A strange phenomena and it is not yet May.

Still no snow but lots of threats on BBC television weather.


Have a nice week.



Saturday, 23 April 2016

The wrong choice of words Mr Grayling



http://www.dorsetecho.co.uk/news/14446658._Weymouth_would_continue_to_flourish_outside_the_EU___Commons_leader_Chris_Grayling_visits_Dorset/?action=success#comment_16066943


"Weymouth would continue to flourish outside the EU":   says Chris Grayling


Chris Grayling


The choice of "continue to flourish"  seems a strange choice of words for Chris Grayling to use in describing Weymouth. Even a short stroll around the town reveals a rather different reality. The number of empty shops with "To let" signs continues to increase, as does the amount of derelict or run-down buildings. Many of the back streets of the town have become increasingly seedy over the past years and the Park and Ride facility at Mount Pleasant remains closed since before Christmas last and now the site seems destined to be sold (provided of course that a buyer can be found). Hardly the signs of a "flourishing" seaside economic community.











Closed and for sale 


Even the much heralded "High Speed Ferries" new passenger ferry service from Weymouth to Cherbourg, scheduled to go into service in April this year (replacing the Condor Ferries operation which permanently left Weymouth last year and moved to Poole), has been delayed for at least another 12 months.







Grayling should have had a tour of the town and absorbed a little local knowledge before giving an interview to the media.



President Obama goes too far in promoting the "Stay In Europe" campaign.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/22/barack-obama-brexit-uk-back-of-queue-for-trade-talks



“The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.”


 "go to the back of the queue"


Barack Obama, has gone too far in this latest outpouring of support for Cameron and the "Remain in the EU" campaign. There is a very fine line between a Presidential personal opinion and a United States Presidential instruction to the people of another country to "do the right thing" and vote in a particular way. Coupled with the threat that the United Kingdom would "go to the back of the queue" (a strangely "English" word not usually used by Americans who prefer "the line"), Obama has thrown his weight into the into the remain lobby, with a script which could and probably was influenced if not written, by Cameron and his team.






The British people do not respond well to threats and intimidation from what ever source, but the evidence from history including the recent Scottish referendum, perhaps indicates that instilling fear into the minds of enough people, can produce the result that some politicians and vested business interests may desire. In the case of the United States and the Obama intervention, a curious but revealing remark emerged from yesterdays reports. "Britain must remain in the E U to represent American interests in Europe". A Freudian slip perhaps, but never the less, a vivid indication of the real reasons for American concerns.
As for the Cameron and Obama, (and some others), constant reference to the "Special relationship" between the United States and the UK, it is as much of a myth now as it has always been since Churchill coined the phrase during the early days of World War 2. America will always act in what they consider to be American best interest at the time. They will dump any ally as it suits, dependent upon prevailing circumstances. We need only remember what President Clinton said during his tenure in the Whitehouse. "A Special relationship exists only between the United States and Israel, and the U S and Ireland", a statement which says it all.



Franklin D. Roosevelt (left) was courted by Winston Churchill, but the Anglo-American relationship was often a rocky one



It could well be that this government engineered Presidential intervention may influence the referendum outcome by the use of the "fear factor" and result in a "Stay In" vote, but the consequence of such a decision will be a very bad taste in the mouth of many British people for some years to come.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Jeremy Hunt rejects a BMA proposal to cancel all out strike by Junior Doctors.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/junior-doctors-strike-bma-tells-jeremy-hunt-walk-outs-will-be-scrapped-if-contract-imposition-halted-a6991101.html



Jeremy Hunt rejects BMA offer to cancel walk-out if he halts contract imposition


Jeremy Hunt: How long can he avoid the blame?


As if his handling of this dispute were not incompetent enough already, Hunt compounds his ineptitude by rejecting a proposal from the BMA which would have allowed them and the Health Secretary to step back from an all out strike.







However, Jeremy Hunt continues on the course which he has pursued from the beginning of this dispute. He has demonstrated a determination to pick a fight with the BMA and Junior Doctors and to take the most provocative position available to him on all of the disputed points. The latest aggressive miscalculation emanating from the Department of Health and seeking to impose by force, new contracts which had already been rejected by the BMA, was guaranteed to create resentment and hostility not only from the Doctors themselves, but also from the vast majority of working people and also large section of the wider public. This "unilateral variation of contract" ploy is probably not enforceable in law but is certainly a reprehensible tactic designed to generate the widest possible resentment within the health service.
Clearly, there is another agenda running covertly behind the on going dispute, written in Downing Street and fronted by the incompetent Jeremy  Hunt





It is glaringly obvious that the continuation of this dispute, generated and maintained by this government with their almost daily provocations and distortions of the facts, is seeking to dismantle the NHS as we have known it and pave the way for a privatised two tier health service where health care is available only to those able to pay.
The conservatives have been hostile to the NHS since 1948 and have over the years sought to dismantle it. This latest dispute is the most determined attempt yet  and must be resisted.
It is our NHS. The Conservatives, with Jeremy Hunt leading the assault, must not be
allowed to destroy it.





Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Osborne turns to Algebra to "prove" his forecasts.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/does-the-treasurys-brexit-equation-stand-up-to-scrutiny-a6989356.html



Does the Treasury's Brexit equation stand up to scrutiny?




Osborne looking puzzled?


Osborne forecasts that families will be £4300 by 2030. He also announces that wages will be lower, prices will be higher and living standards will fall. To "prove" this highly speculative piece of nonsense he points to The Treasury's "Brexit" equations, which seems to be little more than Algebraic gobbledegook, scribbled on a  "Post it" pad page and offered to the British people as irrefutable evidence that everyone should vote "Remain" in the forthcoming referendum. (How many people actually understand the Algebra in any case?)



The Treasury "Brexit" equation.

During his tenure as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Osborne's (and the Treasury's), "forecasts" have been wildly inaccurate more often than they have been stunningly correct. Even with the Algebra, this latest prediction seems destined for the "wildly inaccurate" file.



Monday, 18 April 2016

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 17 April 2016








Good Morning everyone.












In a puzzling development Mars bars and some other food products have been reported as containing too much sugar, salt and unhealthy fats and should only be consumed once a week.
We might expect some health watchdog or other medical group to issue such advice but this “Do not but this product” warning came directly from the horses mouth. It is a strange world where the manufacture of very popular confectionery or food products warns their customers not to buy it.























It is reported that 2 private companies, ATOS and G4S, paid no Corporation Tax last year. These two are amongst the biggest private contractors in this country and carried out £ billions of tax payer funded work for the government last year alone.
Now why is that? Tax avoidance may not be illegal, but it is certainly repugnant






Sad to note that Gareth Thomas (12 February 1945 – 13 April 2016)
Blake's 7 was compulsory viewing in our house.
R I P Gareth



Condor Ferries 2016


Meanwhile back in Jersey.
The "White Elephant" Condor Liberation was out of service again earlier this week.. A really good script writer could not have invented this never ending catalogue of "incidents".
The Channel Islands States should convince Condor to scrap this vessel and buy a new or loose the contracts for the UK/Channel Islands routes.
It seems that a new “CONDOR Ferries consumer” group is being set up to enable Islanders to voice their concerns directly to the company’s senior management, the Economic Development Minister says.
More words, more meetings, more prevarication when everyone (except Condor and certain States members) accepts that the solution is to dispose of this £50 million heap of scrap metal and get new ships and preferably a new operator, for the UK Mainland to Channel Islands routes.

Generally warm but with the risk of frost at night followed by cold coming down from the Arctic followed by warm but with a risk of frost at night. All in the space of 1 week!

Have a nice week.