Occupy Democracy – The Battle of the Tarpaulin

buddyhell:

Think we live in a democracy? Think we live in a ‘free country’? Think again. Protest is increasingly being criminalized by our imperial masters. For the last few days Occupy Democracy has been occupying Parliament Square. This excellent blog by indyrikki explains what happened last night when the Territorial Support Group moved in and tried to force the protesters to give up.

Originally posted on indyrikki:

If a progressive movement can gauge the effect it’s having from the response of the State, then the Unions should be ashamed of themselves, and the Occupy movement should be cheering loudly.

08 occupy 18

Depending on whom you believe, the Unions roused between 50,000 and 100,000 people to march a tiring long course to Hyde Park to listen to the same old speeches from the same list of actors, demanding change but seldom challenging the system.

Policing was hands-off, relatively low key, and generally good-natured.

Meanwhile, globally there is a movement growing that recognises the present system of central banking and corporate power is so out of all public and democratic control, so corrupt, and so destructive that it can’t be ‘changed’ but must be replaced.

Although in the UK the movement appears to be small in numbers, it’s clear it has a growing resonance, and that more and more people are…

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Don’t Be Bored By The TUC, There’s More Than Just A March Happening In London Tomorrow

buddyhell:

I can’t get to this tomorrow due to work commitments, but Johnny Void reminds us that the TUC isn’t the only game in town.

Originally posted on the void:

poor-doors-flyer

Tomorrow lots of people will be marching through London on the TUC’s Britain Needs A Pay Rise demonstration.  Sadly this slogan does not apply to those on TUC backed work experience schemes or Traineeships on which people don’t get paid at all.

Still many will wish to march anyway to show their disgust at the current austerity policies that are destroying so many lives.  But if you’re coming into  central London for the march why not make a day of it.  Instead and standing around at the end listening to a bunch of boring old bastards making speeches about action that will never materialise, jump on the tube over to East London where the annual Anarchist Bookfair will be taking place.

As well as lots of books, and other info stalls, many groups will be holding meetings and workshops, including Boycott Workfare at 2pm and the Focus E15 Mothers along…

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You’re Only Allowed To Be Anti-Establishment If You’re Part Of The Establishment. It’s The British Way

He drinks beer and smokes tabs. So what?

UKIP is an anti-establishment party, or at least this is what our beloved media and the party itself tells us. Its leader, the beer-swilling, chain-smoking Nigel Farage, even goes so far as to claim that his party is a “People’s Army”. Laughable. This is a party that is bankrolled by former Tory funders and whose top table is replete with ex-Tories, the latest being Dizzy Doug Carswell, the self-styled libertarian who has decidedly conservative impulses. Confused? Well, so are they. Hell, they don’t even have any policies of note, other than leaving the European Union and “pulling up the drawbridge”. Even when Farage is questioned about his party’s policies, he disavows them. Being a ‘libertarian’, he suggested that the army should be deployed to deal with disorder.  He also tells Andrew Neil that the party’s 2015 manifesto will be similar to the 2010 manifesto. Really? He also admits to wanting flat taxes. I wonder how many of his working class supporters realise how much it will cripple them to pay the same rate of tax as a billionaire?

Watching the reports from last week’s by-elections, I couldn’t help thinking that the people who were being interviewed on camera, who told us they were voting UKIP, weren’t in full possession of their faculties. “UKIP represents change” one opined, while another claimed that UKIP would “shake up the establishment”. Yes, of course they will. It’s like the political satire we get on television: it’s so anti-establishment that it’s produced by scions of the establishment who gently mock their own kind and receive OBEs for their “contribution to British comedy”. It reminds me of Henry Ford’s famous dictum: “you can have any car you like as long as it’s black”. For our media, it’s a case of “You can have any anti-establishment party you like, as long as it’s led by a former commodity trading ex-public school boy and former Tory, and his ex-Tory chums and financial backers”.

Yes, people are turned off by the main political parties but voting UKIP won’t change a thing. If anything, successes for UKIP make it more likely that this country will be pushed further to the right as the three main parties compete with each other to out-UKIP UKIP. British politics has traditionally been seen as the province of the aristocracy and the wealthy. To change British politics for the better, we need to abolish the monarchy and the institutions that stem from it (the House of Lords) and create new transparent democratic institutions in their place. This means greater public involvement with politics. The people of Scotland are already engaging in this process. Isn’t it time the rest of HMP United Kingdom did the same?

A better world is possible.

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The ‘Deficit’? Which deficit are they talking about?

Let’s get something straight: there is no such thing as “The Deficit” there are deficits, and the politicians of the three main parties are all guilty of presenting an image of a single monolithic deficit that must be “brought down” at all costs. This is to support their cock-eyed view that cuts, particularly to social security benefits are necessary, while tax cuts for the rich will somehow stimulate the sluggish (some would say moribund) economy because the “wealth” will miraculously “trickle down” to those below. Not even the very right-wing George H W Bush believed that and derisively referred to trickle down (or supply side) economics as “voodoo economics”.

Our imperial masters will confuse, sometimes deliberately, “The Deficit” with “The Debt”. Again, there is a debt and it’s called The National Debt, which is accumulated through government spending on wars, for example.  The current national debt has been around since the end of the First World War. Politicians, many of whom are not economists, will often claim that “The Debt” also needs to “paid off” and will again cite government spending on social security as the main culprit of increased borrowing. This is economically illiterate bunkum. Yet, we are now in a situation where, once again, the level of the nationals debt is set to be increased by a new war in the Middle East. Yet, the government can’t find money for the NHS? Please, pull the other one.

When politicians talk about The Deficit, most of the public haven’t a clue what it means and this suits our imperial masters well, for they can use this magic phrase to rebut any criticism of austerity, privatizations and cuts to public services. I have lost count of the numbers of vox pop interviews where some member of the public has quite literally repeated verbatim the spiel of some government minister or other. “The country is broke and we need to pay our debts” some ignoramus will opine, while another will claim “There’s no money, we need to cut something”. The United Kingdom is the seventh richest country in the world and there’s no money? Come off it.

There are five kinds of deficits. Let’s deal with each one in turn.

First, there is the structural or budget deficit. This is when the government is spending more money than it receives. Usually, governments receive money through taxation. If a government is cutting taxes for billionaires and faceless corporations, then it isn’t making any money. It’s simple logic. The other way a government can raise money is to print the stuff but quantitative easing, as it’s referred to, has only benefited the same people who got us into this mess: the bankers. The government could remedy this by taxing the rich more. Whenever this idea is proposed, our imperial masters respond by telling us this will hurt the “wealth creators”. These people only create wealth for themselves. They don’t even work for it. They get other people to do the work.

Work is over-rated. Hard work more so.

The cyclical deficit refers to, as its name suggests, the economic cycle and is caused by downturns in output. Low levels of business activity and high levels of unemployment are the manifestations of this kind of deficit. Some economists disagree over the terms ‘cyclical’ and ‘structural’ and claim that there’s no difference between the two.

A balance of trade deficit occurs when imports outstrip exports. If you’re not making and selling enough stuff to other countries but are buying in loads of stuff from overseas, then this is what happens. Every outgoing Tory government since 1964 has racked up a massive balance of trade deficit for the incoming Labour administration to deal with.

Finally, there’s the balance of payments deficit. This is related to the balance of trade. A balance of payments deficit is created when the imports of goods, services and investment income exceeds the exports of the same things. In 1974, this led to the Sterling Crisis of 1976.

So what is the national debt? Well, this is when governments borrow money from the central bank (In the case of England, this is The Bank of England), which is a private concern and not owned, in spite of its name, by the state. Governments borrow by issuing bonds, securities and bills.  In the United States the level of debt to GDP is 73.60%. In the UK, it’s 88.7%. Does this make a difference to you or I? Well, not really, since the government can borrow money at preferential rates of interest. The Tory-led government claims that it’s “reducing borrowing” but it hasn’t. It’s actually borrowed more money  than the previous government. Furthermore, all governments borrow money. It’s a fact of life.  The Tories’ continual claim that they’re borrowing less (sic) is a lie. In fact, most people don’t even know how much the national debt is, yet Westminster politicians will usually pretend to know when they’re busy conflating the national debt with ‘The Deficit’.

I realize that I have simplified these terms without going into heavy economic theory, but this is how deficits need to be explained to the public.

Do I expect our imperial masters to come clean on government finances any time soon? I doubt it. These people can’t even lie in bed straight.

Here are more blogs about the government’s deficit lies.

Finally! Exposed! The Deficit Myth! So, David Cameron When Are You Going To Apologise?

The Great Debt Lie and the Myth of the Structural Deficit

Another Cameron myth: the coalition hasn’t reduced the deficit by “a quarter”

 

 

 

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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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