Unpopular Tory government goes to war just before election. Sound familiar?

buddyhell:

Cameron wants his Falklands moment. There is no way they can win next year’s general election without it… well, that and spreading fear about how this country faces a huge threat from “Islamic terror” (sic).

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

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Tory MPs turn crackpot and adopt crackpot BNP policy on English Parliament

buddyhell:

Good blog from Pride’s Purge. I was talking about the English Parliament idea last week and noted that it’s only the right and the far-right that have called for it. English nationalists are almost always ethnic nationalists and lament the loss of Empire. This reveals something about the nature of the Union itself: it was formed through a combination of coercion and bribery. The English also regarded themselves as superior to the other nations and this is reflected in the jokes told about those nations. The Irish (or paddy) joke for example, depicts the Irish as thick and stupid. The joke, itself, therefore acted as a means of subjugation. Then consider the years of occupation and the eventual partitioning of Ireland with the support of the Unionists and Loyalists, who threatened all out war if Ireland wasn’t partitioned along their lines. Any devolution in England needs to happen along regional lines. They could, for example, restore the metropolitan counties that Thatcher abolished in 1986 because of their opposition to her autocratic leadership. However, before any new system comes into being, the old must be swept away in its entirety. That means abolishing the monarchy.

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s the Tories!)

The biggest supporters of an English parliament used to be the far-right skinheads of the neo-nazi British National Party and the equally crackpot English Democrats.

Here’s a quote taken from a BNP leaflet called ‘The Need For An English Parliament‘:

"Our party believes that England 
should have its own Parliament. This 
straightforward constitutional policy 
motion was debated and passed by a 
substantial majority at the BNP's 
Annual Conference in Blackpool last 
month."

And here’s how crackpot the English Democrats are:

Could this be the worst party political broadcast ever?

But now some Tories – such as Tory MP Graham Brady – are openly calling for exactly the same policy as the BNP and the English Democrats.

Brady’s no outcast. He’s chair of the powerful Tory 1922 Committee. And Cameron has invited Brady to Chequers to discuss the idea of an English parliament with him tomorrow.

Not long ago…

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Gordon Brown’s Lies about Labour and the NHS in Scotland

buddyhell:

Gordon Brown and the rest of the Labour Party like to tell us how it was their party that created the National Health Service. That’s true. But what is equally true is the way the Blair and then Brown governments handed over millions of pounds worth of contracts to private companies under the Private Finance Initiative or PFI. Brown, who has recently been seen in Scotland in a desperate bid to save the Better Together campaign, is damaged goods. No one will ever trust him or his party again and it’s his and Blair’s fault. The Scottish Labour Party, too, is guilty because they refused to make a clean break with their English cousins. Johann Lamont, the party leader, has hopelessly tied herself to the same rotten neoliberal economic policies as Blair and Brown.

A Yes vote is not only good for Scotland, it’s also good for British politics. Saor Alba! Bon Accord! Vive la revolution!

Originally posted on :

blairandbrownBy Jo Murphy-Lawless, Trinity College Dublin, and Nadine Edwards, Pregnancy and Parents Centre, Edinburgh.

In yesterday’s Herald, 10th September, Gordon Brown described how well Scotland’s NHS had supported him and his wife at the time of the tragic death of their baby daughter, in the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 2002.

He went on to say that “we [meaning Labour] created the NHS, we, not the SNP, built the NHS, we cherished the NHS, in Government we took the pain of a tax rise to double the budget of the NHS.”

He also stated that it would be the SNP who would put the NHS at risk “not the Labour Party.”

The facts are these:

Gordon Brown and the Labour Party pressed ahead with Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals for new hospitals, including the new Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. By 2002, the plans to…

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BBC reporter caught red-handed manipulating video in Scottish indy campaign

buddyhell:

I just had to reblog this. Trust the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, to edit Alex Salmond’s response to his question to give the impression that Salmond hadn’t “answered his question”.

This morning, Robinson tweeted the following:
Nick Robinson @bbcnickrobinson · 12h
To all tweeting about me saying that @AlexSalmond did not answer me : He DID answer re RBS but did NOT re why trust him not company bosses

Wriggle, wriggle, squirm, wriggle. We don’t trust you, Nick.

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(not satire – it’s the BBC!)

Even a hardened old cynic like me is a little bit shocked by this.

The BBC’s Political Editor Nick Robinson edited out an answer by Alex Salmond and told viewers the Scottish First Minister didn’t answer his question:

But Mr Salmond did answer the question. Compare Robinson’s version with this unedited footage of what really happened:

There was a time when a clear case of factual manipulation by a BBC reporter like this would have been a sacking matter at the corporation.

No longer it seems.

.

Please fee free to comment. And share. Thanks:

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The Words Of The ‘Better Together’ Campaign

unionist alliance better together

Unionists: what great bedfellows they make

The Unionists have called their campaign “Better Together”, but it’s a dismal campaign based on fear, negativity and old fashioned bullying. Better Together’s message is little better than someone telling their friend, who is being abused by their partner, to stay together “for the sake of the children”. Alternatively we can compare their words to those of an abusive partner standing over their spouse shouting the words, “You’re nothing without me and you’ll never amount to much” before hitting them. These are the words of the ‘No’ Camp.

For the last couple of weeks, Unionists have sought to personalize the independence campaign by insisting that a vote for independence is a vote for Alex Salmond. Two days ago, we had the Bank of England governor, Mark Carnage Carney claiming that currency union is “incompatible” with independence. Carney’s words are those of a Mafia soldato who’s running a local protection racket.

The three stooges leaders of the main political parties at Westminster flew up to Scotland to conduct some ‘love bombing’ sorties. Cameron’s words were, to be honest, pathetic and patronizing. He claimed that the independence vote was being seen in the same way as a general election and urged the Scots to turn their backs on the idea. He pleaded “I care far more about my country than I do about my party. I care hugely about this extraordinary country, this United Kingdom that we have built together. I would be heartbroken if this family of nations we have put together – and we have done such amazing things – was torn apart”. Shame, then, that successive Tory governments have worked so hard to tear the country limb from limb. In The Guardian Cameron is reported to have said:

The rest of the world “looks on with awe and envy” at the modern British achievements such as the National Health Service and state pension system, Cameron said.

This is the same National Health Service that he and his ministers are working hard to abolish through privatization. Such words fall on deaf ears.

St. John Major was also in Scotland telling voters that the country would be “diminished” on the world stage. Such empty macho words fail to impress.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister spent his time in a Liberal Democrat friendly area in the Scottish Borders where he invoked the name of Gladstone.

“People say this is all last minute, [William] Gladstone was campaigning for home rule in the 1880s. This is something my party has been campaigning on for generations.”

Such insincere words make him look like yesterday’s man.

Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader performed his schtick for a Labour crowd where he told his activists:

Let me say: this thirst for change is shared across the United Kingdom.

We cannot carry on with an economy that only works for a few people at the top and doesn’t work for most people.

A Labour government will act.

Changing the way our country works and tackling the injustice we see is at the core of the Labour Party’s programme, and the contract we have set out with the people of Scotland.

The last Labour government aggrandized itself and continued the work of Thatcher. Given that his party will continue with the present government’s cuts, there is no reason to suggest that Labour will rediscover its socialist backbone any time soon. We want change but do the Westminster parties want the same thing? I doubt it. Such words make him look shallow.

The Orange Lodge will be marching through Edinburgh to rake over old coals and summon up the dead from their graves. Their words come from the dead language of a long-deceased Empires and its silly rituals.

UKIP’s Nigel Farage, who was last run out of Edinburgh with his tail between his legs claimed that Scottish independence is driven by “anti-Englishness”. His party wanted to abolish the Scottish Parliament, so anything he says can’t be taken seriously because his words are those of a Little Englander.

The banks have threatened to quit Scotland but then they are based in London, so their words have a hollow ring to them.

The supermarkets chains like Asda and retailers like John Lewis have threatened to increase prices if the Scots vote for independence. Their words are those of blackmailers looking to extract the last ounce of flesh from their victim.

North Korean dictator and Scotch whisky drinker, Kim Jong-un, apparently feels “positive” about Scottish independence, but his words were seized on by the corrupt Tory press (and no doubt MI5 and MI6 too) as evidence that Alex Salmond is a commie spy.

These are words and words have power. Politicians choose words for specific reasons. Sometimes they are deployed to shape people’s thoughts. Sometimes they are used to express violent intent. For the last 4 years we have heard the same kinds of words ‘cuts’, ‘slashing’, ‘hardworking’ and we’ve grown weary of them.

Whatever the outcome of the Scottish referendum, there will be demands for greater autonomy in the English regions and there will be demands for a new political settlement. It is inevitable and there is nothing Westminster can do to stop the juggernaut. We will have new words to replace the old words.

The genie has been released from his bottle and he doesn’t want to go back in. He wants to make some mischief. These are my words.

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The Scottish Independence Referendum: Some Historical Perspectives

The closer we get to the date of the Scottish independence referendum, the more bizarre and ludicrous the Unionists’ arguments (well, narratives actually) become. One such argument concerns an independent Scotland’s continued use of the pound sterling. “No, you can’t use it” screams George Osborne but hang on, don’t the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and the Channel Islands, all of which are independent, use the pound? Yes, they do. Then there’s the question of national borders. Last week, The Mail on Sunday interviewed Ed Miliband, who apparently claimed if Labour win next year’s General Election, his government would consider putting guards on the border between Scotland and England. But I wonder if Mr Ed, in his moment of petulance, realised that the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is effectively open and this has officially been the case since 1993? Even when the Irish Republic was declared, the border was lightly patrolled, if at all. Consequently, Labour members have been quick to claim that Miliband’s views had been “misrepresented”, but I suspect that they’re being dishonest.

I have seen some Labourites and self-described socialists complain that a vote for independence is a vote for the Scottish National Party. It isn’t. In case they weren’t paying attention, this is about independence and nothing else. Others make even wilder assertions, claiming that Scottish independence will lead to fascism north of the border because the SNP is really like the British National Party (sic). Really? This is a country where the far-right have fared worse than their cousins south of the border. Fascism has no traction in Scotland. Many Unionists on the political Right, like historical revisionist, Niall Ferguson, try to channel the Darien Scheme and summon up the ghosts of Scotland’s single failed colonial episode to deal a hammer blow to the idea of independence. This is an event that happened over 300 years ago. Isn’t it time to move on? Apparently not. A peevish and newly-bearded Ferguson, appearing on Newsnight on Monday, went from comparing a potentially independent Scotland to the US state of Colorado (presumably because it legalized the sale and consumption of cannabis earlier this year) to making specious connections with Belarus and Moldova. The desperation! Iain Martin of the Telegraph moaned that Newsnight had “finally found a historian other than Tom Devine”. He, of course, meant Ferguson, who’s defended neoliberalism by rewriting the history of capitalism from the perspective of the powerful, and writing out those on whose backs great fortunes were made. Devine, on the other hand, was a Unionist but defected to the Yes camp a few months ago. Given his slippery grasp of history, Ferguson is not a man I’d trust to make a logical and reasoned case for the continuation of the Union. But this really is the best the Unionists can offer. Have you seen who else they’ve got onboard? Uh huh, look away now.

Since the beginning, the ‘No’ campaign has used hectoring, threats, petulance, outright bullying and yes, lies to try and convince the Scottish people to side en masse with their dismal campaign. Indeed their behaviour is reminiscent of English Unionists in the months before the passage of the Act of Union in 1707.  The idea of union was so unpopular with the common people that when the draft of the Act was made public, riots ensued. Aware of the Act’s unpopularity, the English bribed and cajoled the Scottish nobles into accepting it. The poet, Robert Burns, observed:

We’re bought and sold for English Gold,

Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation.

The gold was distributed to aristocrats and some of the money was used to hire spies like Daniel Defoe, who reported “A Scots rabble is the worst of its kind, for every Scot in favour there is 99 against”. Today, the Unionists offer more devolution, which is no doubt backed with more gold for wealthy landowners and businessmen. As for spies, they may well be operating on the ground. Plus ça change.

The 1707 Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament by 106 to 69 votes. By doing so, Parliament had ignored the wishes of the people and effectively voted for its own extinction. The Treaty of Union contained 25 articles, most of these were economic, while the other articles dealt with symbols. Many Scottish nobles, like the Campbells of Argyll (Archibald Campbell, the 3rd Duke of Argyll was even educated at Eton), were absentees and had taken up residence in London and the South-East, but still ruled over their clan from afar.

The Act of Union was so poisonous that it invited insurrection in the form of the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745. This reveals something else about English motives behind the Act: it was designed to prevent Scots from choosing their own monarch – even if the monarch was Protestant. In the aftermath of the rebellions, the Highland Clearances forced communities from the land . The wearing of tartan, the playing of bagpipes and the speaking of Gàidhlig (Scottish Gaelic) were proscribed by law. Thus, the Union was enforced culturally as well as economically. There were similar clearances in the Scottish Lowlands.

Yes, Scotland was poorer than England, which had overseas possessions and material wealth (partly through legitimizing piracy with its privateers armed with guns and letters of marque). It is true that the Darien Scheme bankrupted Scotland, but the idea that the Act of Union was promulgated on the basis of English altruism is patently absurd. This lie has been magically transformed into a handy myth to be invoked in response to the case for independence and I’ve seen it used many times. England had always wanted to dominate Scotland and, indeed, it continues to do so, economically, to this day. North Sea oil, which was discovered off the Scottish coast in the 1960s was later used to finance tax cuts for wealthy, mainly English, capitalists. A sovereign fund could have been established with the royalties (Tony Benn had proposed this when he created the British National Oil Company in the late 70s), as Norway had done, but Thatcher and her Tory ministers regarded it as an opportunity to have a piss up at the expense of ordinary people. In other words, the money made from this Scottish asset was used to shore up the same kind of people who supported the Act of Union in the first place. Ordinary Scots, aside from those working in the oil and gas industry, haven’t fared so well. The heavy industries like shipbuilding that had so dominated cities like Glasgow are but a memory.

The Poll Tax was first introduced in Scotland, apparently because, according to Ian Lang, the Rugby School-educated Tory Secretary of State for Scotland, it would appeal to the Scottish ‘sense of fairness’. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The Poll Tax ensured that Scottish Tory MPs became less common as the 1990s wore on. Only one Tory was returned to Westminster in 2010. The Conservatives in the Scottish Parliament are also in decline. Most Tory MSPs sit in the chamber thanks to the regional lists.

One thing that I have always found amusing when travelling across the English-Scottish border is the difference between the national signs. If you’re travelling from south to north you will be greeted by signs that read “Welcome to Scotland” but if you travel in the opposite direction, the sign simply says “England”. What? No welcome? In some small way, this sums up the difference between the two countries. One sign is friendly and welcoming, while the other may as well say “You’re in England now. What more did you expect? A hug”?

There’s talk that the Scottish independence referendum will finally prompt long overdue debates on the way politics is done in the rest of Britain. It is clear that the current Westminster arrangement is damaging the country. Westminster politics, for the most part, are corrupt; rotten to its core and is in desperate need of a good kicking. The Union is stale and backward-looking, and draws on an imagined past that is replete with the redundant symbols of prestige (think of the honours system and the House of Lords). Scottish independence could change all that.

Vive l’Ecosse! Saor Alba!

 

 

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Community responses to child sexual exploitation Pt4 – Addressing the cultural issues

buddyhell:

I’ve written about this issue before and was considering another blog about it. Whatever happened in Rotherham isn’t confined to men of Pakistani origin, it’s a male problem. It’s an issue of patriarchy. This includes the objectification of women and the sexualization of children – especially girls- by right-wing tabloids like The Daily Mail. I have spent weeks trying to get this point across to people who ought to know better but who persist in taking the media’s word as the undiluted truth. Then there are the boys who are groomed by sadistic pederasts who are being forgotten in all of this. The far-right in particular believe that the raping of girls by grown men is much worse than when it happens to boys. It isn’t and both are as bad as the other.

Originally posted on itsmotherswork:

This is the last of four blogposts about what I think are the main ways in which communities can help prevent child sexual exploitation. These are:

- helping the children to be less vulnerable
– making the perpetrators more visible
– providing support and challenge to the professional bodies tasked with protection functions
– addressing cultural issues that help to sustain abusers and minimise abuse

I’ve covered the first three bullet points in the first three posts. Here they are:

http://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/08/29/community-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-pt-1-helping-children-to-be-less-vulnerable/

http://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/community-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-pt2-making-perpetrators-more-visible/

http://itsmotherswork.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/community-responses-to-child-sexual-exploitation-pt3-support-challenge-to-the-professionals/

This post, then, picks up what I’m calling “cultural issues”.

When you read the title of the blogpost, did you think I would be writing about race? Ethnicity? Religion? Quite often when people talk about a “cultural issue” they are trying to imply the culture of those “other” people who are different from “us”, usually for reasons of race, ethnicity or religion. That’s not want I want…

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