Archive for July, 2016

Not my research.

Full Acknowledgment to the author. Miles Goslett | 11:52 am, July 20, 2016

http://heatst.com/uk/owen-smith-accepted-60000-from-industrial-scale-tax-avoidance-firm/

Labour leadership challenger Owen Smith accepted a £60,000 donation from an accountancy firm which has been accused of promoting tax avoidance on an “industrial scale”.

Smith received the gift from City firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers in November 2011 while serving as a shadow Treasury minister.
He said the benefit –  in total worth £58,530 – was a “donation in kind” for “ad hoc advice” provided to Labour during the passage of the Finance (No. 4) Bill.
Smith received this advice for a period of six months, until May 2012.Links between the Labour Party and PwC were particularly strong at the time, with shadow cabinet ministers during the last parliament including Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves also accepting free advice worth hundreds of thousands of pounds from the company.

However, some of their colleagues were always suspicious of the cosy relationship and last February Public Accounts Committee chairman and Labour MP Margaret Hodge declared this sort of help from PwC was “inappropriate”.

Hodge’s committee also – produced a report – at that time which accused PwC of “the promotion of tax avoidance on an industrial scale”.

Hodge wrote in February 2015 that evidence PwC had provided to her committee two years earlier – in January 2013 – was “misleading” – in particular its assertions that “we are not in the business of selling schemes” and “we do not mass-market tax products, we do not produce tax products, we do not promote tax products”.

News that Smith was happy to accept such a significant gift from so controversial a source, albeit prior to publication of Hodge’s report, sits uncomfortably with his claims to be a socialist and promise to close the gap between the –  “haves and have nots”.

It also highlights a key difference between him and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. lthough Corbyn raised about £220,000 in cash and gifts during last summer’s Labour leadership contest, almost all of that cash came from trade unions. None of it was from big business.

Smith has already come under fire for his previous job as an £80,000 a year lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, triggering a row with Corbyn’s allies who regard having held such a post as Blairite.

Before working for Pfizer, Smith worked for BBC Wales.

Unusually, he secured his full time job for the broadcaster at around the same time as his father took up a senior management post there. Smith Jnr’s CV states that he began working for the BBC in 1992 months after leaving the University of Sussex, but it is understood he did so on a freelance basis initially before becoming a fully fledged producer. He later worked for the BBC in London.

His father, Prof David Smith, confirmed to Heat Street that he and his son were employed by BBC Wales simultaneously, with Smith Snr being appointed head of radio at BBC Wales in 1993.

In 1994 Smith Snr became Head of Programmes at BBC Wales.

Smith Snr told us: “I didn’t appoint Owen and I wasn’t Owen’s boss.” He also said that they didn’t work on any programmes together, ruling out any suggestion of nepotism.

However, Owen Smith has been able to make some use of his BBC connections. In 2013 he was given two tickets worth £781 to watch Ireland play Wales at rugby. His benefactor? BBC Wales.

A spokesman for Owen Smith said he would get a comment from the MP regarding the PwC donation and the specific circumstances of his BBC employment. He said it was important to note that Margaret Hodge’s PAC report was published more than two years after Smith’s receipt of advice from PwC had lapsed.

 

Tonight a Ward within Nick Smith’s Blaenau Gwent constituency, Nye Bevan’s ward of Sirhowy in Tredegar was said to have voted support for Smith with just 4 voting for Corbyn. Those that attended said “it was a foregone conclusion”. When a very good friend of mine, who is a committed activist for the homeless in the constituency, spoke to me after the vote, she told me:
“Not one of the Borough or Tredegar town Cllrs even KNEW Nick Smith and his wife Jenny were directors(sic) of Progress. Both Him, Owen and Angela Eagle and Stephen Kinnock were ALL parachuted into their “safe” Labour seats with the support of Progress, and none disclosed their connection to the organisation (to their CLPs).”

Nick Smith is V-C of Progress. His wife Jenny Chapman MP is also a V-C of Progress. She appeared on George Galloway’s TalkRadio talk show as a surrogate for Owen Smith last friday and made a disgusting connection between Jeremy Corbyn, his supporters and the appalling death of Jo Cox MP by a man in her constituency! – this isn’t gone to trial yet so I can’t write any further on the subject other than is common knowledge.

The distortions the media and anti-Corbyn MPs provides – often at the behest of affiliated business interests – means that popular conversation and perspective is at best skewed or fact is obscured completely, there must be a fight to directly disrupt and challenge this narrative with FACTS.

Big-Pharma, Pfizer & Amgen, professional PR Lobbyist Owen “Man of the People” Smith is a figure firmly of the neoliberal establishment. 

My support goes to Jeremy Corbyn the last remaining hope to reclaim a party for it’s roots in SOCIALISM & the WORKING CLASSES.

Please share.

 

 

From The Guardian:  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/27/labour-party-worker-low-pay-zero-hours-owen-smith?

Labour was formed as the party of the worker. But we’ve forgotten who that is

 

Yvette Cooper MP:
“Labour needs to keep up. We are losing our traditional support as the working class fragments and people’s sense of identity changes. Trade unions aren’t reaching those in insecure work, including those who need workplace representation and protection most. The Labour party is neither inspiring those who want to get on, nor empowering those who feel angry at the lack of control they have over their lives.”

Hehehehe… OMG… Irony overload from Mrs Ed Balls!

Let’s just remind ourselves who she is…
Yvette, you are an Oxbridge educated career politician speaking on behalf of a cabal of other Oxbridge educated career politicians that form the bulk of the anti-Corbyn PLP plot.
You stood as a “heavy weight” leadership candidate 10 months ago and got trounced by the membership!
The Labour party was indeed formed to ensure that for every banker, aristocrat and boss sitting on the green benches, there would be a docker, a miner, factory worker and a steelworker sitting opposite.
Since that time our economy has changed, but where are the MPs from the call centres, care homes and warehouses?
Oh! They’ve been elbowed out by the likes YOU and your permanent political class.
Big-Pharma Pfizer & Amgen professional PR Lobbyist Owen “Man of the People” Smith, the poor man’s Sgt Bilko, is a figure firmly of YOUR establishment.

My support goes to Jeremy Corbyn the last remaining hope to reclaim a party for it’s roots in SOCIALISM & the WORKING CLASSES.

Only Greece (out of developed nations) has seen a wage collapse as dramatic as the UK

While most of the rest of Europe have experienced some wage growth since 2007, including crisis devastated economies like Spain (+2.8%) Ireland (+1.6%) and Italy (+0.9%), UK workers have seen a catastrophic decline in earning power only matched by workers in the economic catastrophe zone that is Greece (-10.4%).

Ordinary British workers have seen the deliberate decimation of their wages since the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010. Meanwhile the super wealthy minority have literally doubled their wealth since the economic crisis. 

Aside from overseeing the longest sustained decline in wages in economic history, a reduction in earning power only matched by the crisis stricken Greek economy, a huge upwards redistribution of wealth, and the slowest economic recovery on record, the Tories have also been savagely attacking working rights too.

Just look at the furious way the French have reacted to attacks on their employment rights with continued riots (mostly unreported by UK MSM), and consider that they’ve enjoyed a 10% increase in their earning power since the pre-crisis period.

In Britain we’ve had a 10.4% decrease in our earning power and most people have sat back compliantly as the Tories have repeatedly snatched our employment rights away.

What will it take for the Sheeple of the UK to wake up from their torpor?

 


Credit to the TUC report below: http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2016/07/uk-real-wages-decline-10-severe-oecd-equal-greece/

UK real wages decline of over 10% is the most severe in the OECD (equal to Greece)

27 Jul 2016, by  in Economics

The decline in UK real wages since the pre-crisis peak is the most severe in the OECD, equal only to Greece. Both countries saw declines of 10.4% per cent between 2007 Q4 and 2015Q4. Apart from Portugal, all other OECD countries saw real wage increases, albeit mostly modest ones.

oecd_w_jul16

(NB strictly the Greek decline is 10.41% and the UK 10.37%, but no way are the figures accurate beyond one decimal place.)

These results are derived from figures in the 2016 edition of the OECD’s Employment Outlook (released a couple of weeks ago, but it has taken me some time to get hold of the figures – see endnote for details of calculation). Even though most countries have seen real wages rise, growth rates are generally disappointing – under normal condition you might expect around 2% a year, and so 16% over eight years.

At the time their UK release contrasted a strong employment performance with weak earnings growth. The employment rate is at a record level, some 5 percentage points above the OECD average. On the other hand real wages “fell by more than 10% after 2007”. See the left and rightmost charts below:

oecd_report_jul16

The comparison of figures for individual countries therefore gives a fuller context for the wage decline shown on the OECD chart. To be balanced, the same should be done for employment – the OECD also provides figures for the ‘employment gap’ – defined at the top of the next chart:

oecd_e_jul16

(The figures are extracted from chart 1.2 in the Employment Outlook.)

The government’s argument is that flexibility on wages has permitted the employment gains. Whatever your view of the theory, the data show this is not obviously the case. In spite of the largest falls in wages, the UK ranks sixteenth (of 42) in terms of job gains (though the employment chart includes some non-OECD countries that have performed well). Any flexibility in Greece was completely pointless. Moreover the countries with the highest gains in real wages were also among those with the highest employment gains.

Plainly the relationship between wages and employment is not as straightforward as notions of flexibility might suggest. The following chart compares outcomes on employment with those on wages (the underlying data by country is in the annex).

The UK is very much an outlier – the only country where a good jobs performance is associated with a bad (terrible) real wages performance.

Employment v earnings, change over 2007Q4 to 2015Q4

oecd_scatter_jul16

Thankfully the UK is not Greece or Portugal in the bottom left quadrant. Taking the low wage road may have helped to keep jobs afloat in the UK; in contrast, in the majority of countries (in this sample) the employment gap was still negative but wages rose (bottom right quadrant). It is possible to think that economies/policymakers face a choice between these two options.  But this would be wrong – other countries have managed to have it both ways (top right quadrant).

These are mainly central European countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland along with Japan and Israel. All these countries have benefited from strong aggregate demand in recent years, in particular through exports and/or government spending.

Plainly this is not a decisive measure of performance, if such a thing exists. My sense is that outcomes in the post-crisis period should be assessed alongside a comparison of performance relative to the pre-crisis period (see for example my examination of the effect of spending cuts cross the OECD – here). On this basis of the countries above, those ‘A8’ countries (that joined the EU from 2004) may have performed strongly over the post-crisis period, but have seen a significant reduction since the pre-crisis days.

Nonetheless the above results offer a valuable perspective on labour market outcomes overall.

We knew already that the UK had endured the longest and steepest decline in real wages since at least 1830. We now know that this decline is matched by no other country apart from Greece. Gains in employment are not adequate compensation.

Endnote: the total wage decline is derived from Figure 1.6, by compounding the separate growth rates for 07Q4-09Q1, 09Q1-12Q4 and 12Q4-15Q4. Note that the OECD derive real wages from national accounts information, dividing total wages by hours worked and putting into real terms with the household consumption deflator. These can differ from those based on average weekly earnings and CPI inflation that tend to be used in the UK.

ANNEX: change over 2007Q4 to 2015Q4

oecd_tabler_jul16

Revolution must not only “make the world philosophical,” but make the world artistic.

Karl Marx on Hegel

It is a psychological law that the theoretical mind, once liberated in itself, turns into practical energy, and, leaving the shadowy empire of Amenthes as will, turns itself against the reality of the world existing without it.


Reblogged from: http://thecharnelhouse.org/2015/03/18/art-into-life/

see also: http://genius.com/Robert-c-tucker-the-marx-engels-reader-chapter-13-to-make-the-world-philosophical-annotated a blog discussing Marx’s doctoral dissertation, “The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophies of Nature,” written between1839 and 1841.


Art into life

Marx once declared, critiquing Hegel, that the historical task confronting humanity was “to make the world philosophical.” Hegel had completed philosophy, effectively brought it to a close. Now all that was left was to make this philosophy real by transforming the world according to its dictates. As he put it:

It is a psychological law that the theoretical mind, once liberated in itself, turns into practical energy, and, leaving the shadowy empire of Amenthes as will, turns itself against the reality of the world existing without it. (From a philosophical point of view, however, it is important to specify these aspects better, since from the specific manner of this turn we can reason back towards the immanent determination and the universal historic character of a philosophy. We see here, as it were, its curriculum vitae narrowed down to its subjective point.) But the practice of philosophy is itself theoretical. It’s the critique that measures the individual existence by the essence, the particular reality by the Idea. But this immediate realization of philosophy is in its deepest essence afflicted with con­tradictions, and this its essence takes form in the appearance and imprints its seal upon it.

When philosophy turns itself as will against the world of appearance, then the system is lowered to an abstract totality, that is, it has become one aspect of the world which opposes another one. Its relationship to the world is that of reflection. Inspired by the urge to realize itself, it enters into tension against the other. The inner self-contentment and completeness has been broken. What was inner light has become consuming flame turning outwards. The result is that as the world becomes philosophical, philosophy also becomes worldly, that its realization is also its loss, that what it struggles against on the outside is its own inner deficiency, that in the very struggle it falls precisely into those defects which it fights as defects in the opposite camp, and that it can only overcome these defects by falling into them. That which opposes it and that which it fights is always the same as itself, only with factors inverted.

Reflecting on these lines nearly a century later, in the aftermath of the stillborn October Revolution, Karl Korsch famously concluded that “[p]hilosophy cannot be abolished without being realized.” In other words, it is vital not to cast philosophy unceremoniously aside simply because its time has passed. One must come to terms with it, and critically engage it, before doing away with it completely. Theodor Adorno’s Negative Dialectics, in many ways a sequel to Korsch’s essay on “Marxism and Philosophy,” thus begins with the sobering observation:

“Philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed. The summary judgment that it had merely interpreted the world, that resignation in the face of reality had crippled it in itself, becomes a defeatism of reason after the attempt to change the world miscarried.”

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Alfred Sohn-Rethel, who corresponded for decades with Adorno, explained at the outset of his monumental work on Intellectual and Manual Labor, provided a clue as to what this might have meant:

[Work on the present study] began towards the end of the First World War and in its aftermath, at a time when the German proletarian revolution should have occurred and tragically failed. This period led me into personal contact with Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, Max Horkheimer, Siegfried Kracauer, and Theodor W. Adorno, and the writings of Georg Lukács and Herbert Marcuse. Strange though it may sound I do not hesitate to say that the new development of Marxist thought which these people represent evolved as the theoretical and ideological superstructure of the revolution that never happened. In it re-echo the thunder of the gun battle for the Marstall in Berlin at Christmas 1918, and the shooting of the Spartacus rising in the following winter.

Korsch’s insight into this theme from the early thought of Karl Marx, reaffirmed subsequently by Adorno and his best followers, can be extended to encompass art and religion as well. For Hegel, of course, art and religion each provided — in their own, particular way — privileged access to the Absolute. Art reigned supreme in the ancient world, while religion dominated medieval thought (with its “great chain of being”). By the time Hegel was writing, however, these modes of apprehending the Absolute had been surpassed by philosophy, which rationally comprehended the Absolute Idea in its spiritual movement. Intuition and belief had been supplanted by knowledge. Science, or Wissenschaft, had been achieved.

Yet this achievement did not last long. After Hegel’s death, his successors — Left and Right, Young and Old — battled for possession of the master’s system. Only Marx succeeded in carrying it forward, precisely by realizing that philosophy itself must be overcome. The same may perhaps be said for those older forms of life which had the Absolute as their object, art and religion. Feuerbach’s religion of humanity, which read theology as secret anthropology, perhaps found its most revolutionary articulation in the writings of Bogdanov, Gorky, and Lunacharsky, who promoted a project of “God-building” [богостроиетльство]. Lenin rightly scolded them for their excessive, premature exuberance, but they were on the right track. Similarly, the avant-garde project of dissolving art into life, in hopes of bringing about the death of art, can be read as an effort to make the world artistic (“to make the world philosophical”). Or, better, to make the world a work of art.

Accordingly, every man could be an artist, “a fisherman in the morning and a painter in the evening,” just as the young Marx had suspected. Lukács’ colleague, Mikhail Lifshitz, already expanded on this claim in his own excellent notes on Karl Marx’s Philosophy of Art (1931). To say nothing of Antonio Labriola’s analogous claim from his 1899 collection, Socialism and Philosophy:

In the society of the future, in which we live with our hopes, and still more with a good many illusions that are not always the fruit of a well balanced imagination, there will grow out of all proportion, until they are legion, the number of men who will be able to discourse with that divine joy in research and that heroic courage of truth which we admire in a Plato, a Bruno, a Galilei. There may also multiply infinitely the individuals who, like Diderot, shall be able to write profound and beguiling things such as Jacques le Fataliste, which we now imagine to be unsurpassed. In the society of the future, in which leisure, rationally increased for all, shall give to all the requirements of liberty, the means of culture, and the right to be lazy, this lucky discovery of our Lafargue, there will be on every street corner some genius wasting his time, like old master Socrates, by working busily at some task not paid for in money.

What follows, then, are a couple excerpts. First from Leon Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution (1924), and after from Henri Lefebvre’s lecture on “Nature and Nature Conquered” (1959). Both of these, I like to think, corroborate my above claims.

Moreover, illustrations included from Vera Mukhina 1925 pamphlet Art into Life.
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Frankie Boyle has just won politics, you won’t read a better analysis of the current state of UK politics, and some of these metaphors are the funniest thing I’ve read in ages!

MAD TING. SAD TING.


“Theresa May claims to want compassionate Conservatism, and for the party to be greener. So fingers crossed her next ‘go home immigrants’ poster vans are all going to be hybrids. It’s great for girls to see a female leader, say people who live under the longest reigning female monarch and an equal pay structure worse than Namibia.

May is currently meeting a few world leaders so that they can get to know the real woman behind their citizens’ cavity searches and illegal detentions. It does feel a bit awkward turning up in France right now wanting to talk about Brexit, like we’re a neighbour rocking up at a funeral asking if we can have our Tupperware back.

Angela Merkel was quick to pay her respects. May is very popular in Germany where she’s a character from a childhood cautionary tale about not cutting your nails.

Of course it’s lazy sexism to compare May to Merkel, Thatcher, or to any female leader. We should instead compare her to people with similar qualities, like Judge Dredd or a sort of crocodile man that once ate me in a nightmare. Any idea that she was going to show a gentler side in her new role disappeared when she stood up in Parliament, looking like she’s solely made from the bones they left out of Boris Johnson, and announced that she’s prepared to push the nuclear button with the suppressed grin of a serial killer on a conjugal visit.

The Tories are currently brain-storming how to cherry pick the absolute worst parts of EU membership while jettisoning all that stuff about human rights and environmental standards.

For the left-wing Brexit voter,this is going to be like sending your Christmas list up the chimney and finding the only wish you’re granted is the wheezing old stranger watching you sleep.

And let’s pause for a moment to imagine how badly Johnson, Davis and Fox are going to play with Europe’s technocratic negotiators. Soon a UK citizen’s best chance of getting an EU passport will be showing Islamic State’s forgery department a full HGV license.

I was sure we’d never need Trident to stop other states from attacking us. But then Boris was made Foreign Secretary and I thought, ‘could be time for a rethink’. One thing we can be sure of, his translator’s going to be getting a fair few smacks in the mouth. It’s easy to underestimate his achievements, without Boris I doubt there’d be that ‘do not consume while pregnant’ warning on bottles of Pimm’s.

He’s undeniably a product of the public school system, the sort of kid whose parents’ evenings consisted of apologetic appearances by the butler. And it might be just as well: if he’d gone to a comprehensive he’d have been wedgied clean in two.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Labour Party is trying to replace Jeremy Corbyn after ten months, showing all the patience of Prince waiting for his paracetamol to kick in.

We’re told Corbyn is useless, then he manages to put together a more competent cabinet out of his billiards partner, an ex-girlfriend, mirrors, and some masking tape than May did with the entire back catalogue of fee-paying education’s finest.

It’s weird to see the media cast him as a bully, and it might just be a simple case of projection. At the moment he’s re-enacting a Spanish bullfight. He’s a beige bull staggering around an allotment with a couple of dozen swords sticking out of him, heroically whispering, ‘Who wants a courgette, I’ve got a glut’.

Corbyn hasn’t formed a strong opposition, say a parliamentary party who voted for renewing Trident, bombing Syria, and cutting benefits. Really what Labour MPs are selling is a sort of nihilism. They have grown up in a party where their core vote had no option but to vote for them, and where until recently members had little power. So they’re going to go into a leadership election asking their members to, essentially, abandon hope.

The only time most Labour MP’s are going to try and inspire the working class these days is if they need a new kitchen fitted for a short-notice dinner party.You have to wonder how they’d fare under the same media scrutiny as Corbyn, particularly after a week where the Syrian bombing they voted to get involved in killed 85 civilians and one of the rebel groups it was supposed to support beheaded a child.

In a way Labour are the only party reflecting the mood of the country, by loathing each other. Angela Eagle withdrew from the leadership race. There was nothing about her that suggested leadership – she looks like she’d shriek every time Putin entered a room and has the voice of a Collie locked in a hot car. Owen Smith was head of policy for Pfizer, but despite his best efforts there still aren’t enough drugs in the world to make his election seem like a good idea. Smith looks like his most radical policy will be not wearing a tie to the park.

There are a lot of people in Britain who need radical ideas, because the status quo for them is simply not survivable.

Even with the full weight of the media behind them, it’s going to be very difficult for Labour to persuade such people that things can go on as they are, that there’s a non-radical solution.

Theresa May might find she has a similar problem managing the expectations of those who voted for Brexit. What we can be sure of is that all this is going to demand a lot of distraction and scapegoating, and personally speaking I can’t wait to see which religion, race, class, country, gender, sexuality, human right or raft of drowning children our political class decides to blame next.”


Just brilliant!

The TORY impoverishment of Student Nurses.

Yesterday was the last day of parliament in a week where the HoC voted with a clear majority to commit to £205BILLION in spending on a Trident weapons of mass annihilation nuclear weapons system, and the new PM used the day, like the coward she is, to announce that bursaries for the education of new student nurses will be cut from 2017. Meaning nurses will face £50,000+ debt for a degree qualification on top of which they already work a 35hr week on top to achieve. Money for Nuclear Bombs / Massive personal DEBT for student nurses!

Tory Bastards, absolute bastards!

This was just one of many “bad news” stories hidden yesterday – The Guardian article:                                          Bursaries for student nurses will end in 2017, government confirms Anger as Department of Health says replacing bursaries with loans will free up £800m a year to create extra nursing roles theguardian.com      

 

This was just one of many “bad news” stories hidden yesterday.

Britain’s new prime minister is seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’, and many of us are yearning for that at a time of massive political turmoil. But, argues Owen Jones, we should still think about what kind of politician she is. From opposing the convention of human rights, to telling illegal immigrants to ‘go home’, there are things we should know about our new prime minister… https://www.facebook.com/theguardian/videos/10154358383056323/

 

Mark McGowan, The Artist Taxi Driver: “Not only does Theresa May want student nurses to work unpaid for 37.5hrs a week they also want to charge them £10,000’s just to be able to work!”

 

May is such an appalling threat to any sort of freedom (except that of fraudsters to evade detection)

This Theresa May government will get away with murder… just like the previous Tory administration did with IDS.

This all happened under David Cameron’s watch.

George Duncan Smith: “I’m improving peoples lives, I’m getting them off benefits and I’m proud of my achievements.”

Below are some of his ‘achievements’;

Larry Newman suffered from a degenerative lung condition, his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone. Atos awarded him zero points, he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52 years old. After suffering a heart attack, he was ordered to find a job in February. In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39. After finding out that the funding for his care home was being withdrawn, this man who suffered with mental health issues, took his own life.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57. Suffering from a degenerative back condition, depression and increasingly worried about losing her incapacity benefit. Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39 years old. Took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57. A Cancer sufferer found fit for work by Atos in 2012. David lost his sight, then his hearing, then his mobility, and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34. Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic. Michael committed suicide after being called in for a Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59 and suffering from severe depression. Victor hanged himself after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74. Charles committed suicide by hanging due to fears that the Bedroom Tax would leave him destitute and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43. Suffered multiple health issues and deteriorating eyesight. Ian was found fit for work by Atos, he died ten months later having lost so much weight that his family said that he resembled a concentration camp victim.

Iain Hodge, 30. Suffered from the life threatening illness, Hughes Syndrome. Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped, Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37. Severely depressed due to government cuts and the fear of losing his job, Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40. Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness became so depressed after his JSA was stopped that he became a virtual recluse. Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48. A disabled man who could no longer cope after his parents died, could find no help from the government via benefits. David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58. A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts, in particular the Bedroom Tax, and unable to survive by himself. Denis was found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58. Unable to cope any more, Shaun shot himself dead after receiving a letter from the DWP informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

Paul ?, 51. Died in a freezing cold flat after his ESA was stopped. Paul appealed the decision and won on the day that he lost his battle to live.

Chris MaGuire, 61. Deeply depressed and incapable of work, Chris was summonsed by Atos for a Work Capability Assessment and deemed fit for work. On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision and ordered them to leave him alone for at least a year, which they did not do. In desperation, Chris took his own life, unable to cope anymore.

Peter Duut, a Dutch national with terminal cancer living in the UK for many years found that he was not entitled to benefits unless he was active in the labour market. Peter died leaving his wife destitute, and unable to pay for his funeral.

Julian Little, 47. Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure, Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax and the loss of his essential dialysis room. He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Miss DE, Early 50’s. Suffering from mental illness, this lady committed suicide less than a month after an Atos assessor gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.

Robert Barlow, 47. Suffering from a brain tumour, a heart defect and awaiting a transplant, Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos and his benefits were withdrawn. He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58. As a direct consequence of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP, this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old. Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country but too proud to claim benefits. Utterly demoralised, Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

David Clapson, 59 years old. A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms, David died all but penniless, starving and alone, his electricity run out.

Jan, a lady of unknown age suffering from Fibromyalgia, driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown by this governments welfare reforms. Jan was found dead in her home after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old, a shy and reserved, severe epileptic who suffered regular and terrifying fits almost his entire life, hounded to suicide by the DWP who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.”

Stephen Lynam, 53 suffered from anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, a heart condition and musculo-skeletal problems. Found ‘fit for work’ after a WCA. After 22 weeks his mandatory reconsideration was turned down. Facing eviction, not eating properly and getting even more depressed he died shortly after finding out he was allowed to appeal the departments decision.

Malcolm Burge, 66, was left in despair after finding himself more than £800 in debt because of a cut in his housing benefit, drove himself to the Cheddar Gorge in Somerset where he took his own life by setting himself alight in his Skoda Octavia.

Benjamin Del McDonald, 34 took his own life after his benefits were stopped and he was threatened with eviction from his home.

Mark Harper has insisted the Government is right to ignore these achievements.

David Cameron is “proud” of George Duncan Smith’s achievements!

 

suspends EU Convention after attempted coup

The European Human Rights Convention is suspended during the State of Emergency in Turkey after failed coup attempt, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.

Turkey will suspend the European Convention on Human Rights as the country enters into a 1.5-month state of emergency following an attempted government overthrow, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Thursday.

“We want to end the state of emergency as soon as possible, within a maximum of 1.5 months. The European Human Rights Convention is suspended during the State of Emergency,” Kurtulmus told reporters in Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (File)
© AFP 2016/ STR / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE

The state of emergency entered into force Thursday after being announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and published later in the official gazette.In the wake of the attempted coup, Turkish authorities have conducted an unprecedented crackdown on individuals believed to be involved, including governors, prosecutors, intelligence officers, judges, and military personnel.

The EU foreign ministers urged Turkey on Monday to abide by the norms of the Convention, including the abolition of death penalty, when punishing participants of a coup attempt numbering in the thousands.


The country had earlier entered into a 1.5 month state of emergency following the

The Five Rules Of Propaganda as laid out by Edward Bernays, godfather of PR, nephew of Freud.

The Five basic rules of propaganda, once you’ve read, absorbed and understood these five points, you will almost certainly see all these techniques within minutes of turning on the TV news or picking up a newspaper.

1:The rule of simplification:

reducing all data to a simple confrontation between ‘Good and Bad’, ‘Friend and Foe’ (or even ‘Right and Wrong’).

2:The rule of disfiguration:

discrediting the opposition by crude smears and parodies.

3:The rule of transfusion:

manipulating the consensus values of the target audience for one’s own ends.

4:The rule of unanimity:

presenting one’s viewpoint as if it were the unanimous opinion of all right-thinking people: draining the doubting individual into agreement by the appeal of star-performers, by social pressure, and by ‘psychological contagion’.

5:The rule of orchestration:

endlessly repeating the same messages in different variations and combinations.


Thirty one minutes of outstanding lecture on the history of propaganda and it’s relevance to Obama and the Empire of the USA.

John Pilger – Obama & Empire

https://t.co/PGHxb4ggme
Bernays, Disinformation, PR & Propaganda speech 2013. WHAM – Winning Hearts And Minds
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAmtNIC8zv0)

He failed his own fiscal targets and leaves a bitterly divided country in crisis, with the union at risk of splitting, after gambling our future on the EU referendum

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/12/david-cameron-premiership-tragedy-pay-eu-referendum

The most disastrous premiership since Neville Chamberlain has drawn to a brutally abrupt end. David Cameron is a failure on his own terms, as well as the terms of his opponents. The historical revisionists will one day come and – for the sake of contrarianism – try to salvage Cameron from a wreckage of his own making. Don’t bother.

As he gathers his belongings from No 10, I wonder if he has the occasional flashback to the conference speech in 2005 that secured him victory over the Tory leadership frontrunner, David Davis. It was soaring rhetoric infused with optimism: “And let’s resolve here, at this conference, when we put defeat behind us, failure behind us, to look ourselves in the eye and say: never, ever again.” Perhaps he lingers on the memory of winning a majority last year that the pollsters and bookies declared was near impossible. “There was a brief moment when I thought it was all a dream,” he would later say. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven.” It must seem like a dream now: one from which he would prefer to wake.

Cameron crept into government in 2010 promising to eradicate the deficit in a single parliamentary term. His government didn’t even come close. His government was “paying down Britain’s debts”, he declared in 2013: it actually added more debt than every Labour government put together. Upon assuming office, he committed “to ensuring our whole country shares in rising prosperity”: his government presided over the longest fall in wages and the most protracted economic stagnation for generations. After the last general election, his chancellor introduced three fiscal rules: a welfare cap, a national debt falling as a proportion of GDP, and a budget surplus by 2020. The first two were broken by March; the budget surplus was ignominiously abandoned by George Osborne at the beginning of July.

Osborne himself was less consistent on austerity than his supporters or his critics (like me) have often admitted. But his potential successors now call for his economic strategy to be abandoned, a confession of failure. His business secretary, Sajid Javid, advocates a fiscal stimulus that could mean raising the deficit from 3% to 5% of GDP. All that misery; all that stagnation; all that bloodcurdling rhetoric about the disastrous consequences of Britain not cutting its deficit. All for what?

And take another linchpin of Cameron’s domestic agenda: education. “We’ve got to win the great debate about education in this country, to give choice to parents, freedom to schools, and to fight for high standards,” he declared back in that 2005 speech. A recent league table revealed that local authority schools are, overall, outperforming the government’s flagship academies.

There is an exception: equal marriage for same-sex couples, won on the backs of Labour and Lib Dem votes. What a tragedy that a rare shining achievement is one that some have alleged he regretted.

Cameron hoped that his premiership would preserve the union for generations. But Scotland’s independence referendum result was not only far narrower than anticipated, it left the country polarised and halfway out. While the Scottish National party only had six MPs when David Cameron came to power, he stands down facing a parliamentary bloc of 56 nationalists. With Scotland ejected from the EU against its will, it has never looked more likely to leave and precipitate the breakup of the UK.

What of foreign policy? Little is said about David Cameron’s major foreign military escapade: war in Libya. Rather than ushering in a peaceful, stable, democratic Libya, the country was left consumed in chaos, war and extremism.

And then his means of political suicide: the EU referendum. It was called not with the national interest in mind, but as a method of resolving internal party divisions. It helped secure him a majority, and he gambled everything on it. The man who wanted his party to stop “banging on about Europe” lost, and was left personally repudiated, his country plunged into its worst crisis since the war: economic turmoil, a wave of xenophobia and racism, and a country more bitterly divided than it has been for generations. Those who voted remain resent him for being the instrument of Britain’s exit from the EU; those who voted leave resent him for what they regard as scaremongering.

Cameron leaves Downing Street with few admirers, a country in crisis, the central aims of his premiership in rubble. It is nearly enough to make you pity him – but, given how grave the situation facing our country is, not quite. His premiership is a tragedy for which we will all pay.


 

After 6 years as UK PM the country still has no idea what Cameron believed in other than a belief that he was the right man to be PM. A belief of a mendacious PR man who viewed the PM job as just another rung on the career ladder.

GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE!

IMHO by far the best analysis of what has happened. Eventually people get fed up of being dictated to, told how to live, how much they are allowed to work and earn. That all the bad things are their own fault, and how we must worship bankers, politicians, journalists and the globalisers. The PLP haven’t noticed this, but there again nor have the Tories, nor the LibDems. The only political party that has is the SNP.

Even the pathetic nonsense of Corbyn being the ONLY person in the entire universe responsible for 52% of people voting Brexit shames journalists and his detractors alike.
He gave an adult argument – the EU is not perfect by any means, but on the whole it is better to be in than out.
My God, we can’t have a politician considering that the electorate is made up of adults! They must be told what to think! – (via the BBC of course!)

The PLP cannot understand why people in their own party are demanding a voice!
Where the fuck have they been?

Officially, the great and the good talk of “empowering” people. But it’s always the “kind of” empowering that doesn’t involve “politics”.

Funny that?

The movement that backed the Labour leader challenges MPs and journalists alike – because it’s about grassroots democracy

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jul/05/political-establishment-momentum-jeremy-corbyn

As the rolling catastrophe of what’s already being called the “chicken coup” against the Labour leadership winds down, pretty much all the commentary has focused on the personal qualities, real or imagined, of the principal players.

Yet such an approach misses out on almost everything that’s really at stake here. The real battle is not over the personality of one man, or even a couple of hundred politicians. If the opposition to Jeremy Corbyn for the past nine months has been so fierce, and so bitter, it is because his existence as head of a major political party is an assault on the very notion that politics should be primarily about the personal qualities of politicians. It’s an attempt to change the rules of the game, and those who object most violently to the Labour leadership are precisely those who would lose the most personal power were it to be successful: sitting politicians and political commentators.

If you talk to Corbyn’s most ardent supporters, it’s not the man himself but the project of democratising the party that really sets their eyes alight. The Labour party, they emphasise, was founded not by politicians but by a social movement. Over the past century it has gradually become like all the other political parties – personality (and of course, money) based, but the Corbyn project is first and foremost to make the party a voice for social movements once again, dedicated to popular democracy (as trades unions themselves once were). This is the immediate aim. The ultimate aim is the democratisation not just of the party but of local government, workplaces, society itself.

Occupy Wall Street marchers in 2011
 ‘I’ve spent much of the last two decades working in movements aimed at creating new forms of bottom-up democracy, from the Global Justice Movement to Occupy Wall Street [2011].’ Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

I should emphasise that I am myself very much an outside observer here – but one uniquely positioned, perhaps, to understand what the Corbynistas are trying to do. I’ve spent much of the past two decades working in movements aimed at creating new forms of bottom-up democracy, from the Global Justice Movement to Occupy Wall Street. It was our strong conviction that real, direct democracy, could never be created inside the structures of government. One had to open up a space outside. The Corbynistas are trying to prove us wrong. Will they be successful? I have absolutely no idea. But I cannot help find it a fascinating historical experiment. The spearhead of the democratisation movement is Momentum, which now boasts 130 chapters across the UK. In the mainstream press it usually gets attention only when some local activist is accused of “bullying” or “abuse” against their MP – or worse, suggests the possibility that an MP who systematically defies the views of membership might face deselection.

The real concern is not any justified fear among the Labour establishment of bullying and intimidation – the idea that the weak would bully the strong is absurd. It is that they fear being made truly accountable to those they represent. They also say that while so far they have been forced to concentrate on internal party politics, the object is to move from a politics of accountability to one of participation: to create forms of popular education and decision-making that allow community groups and local assemblies made up of citizens of all political stripes to make key decisions affecting their lives.

There have already been local experiments: in Thanet, the council recently carried out an exercise in “participatory economic planning” – devolving budgetary and strategic decisions to the community at large – which shadow chancellor John McDonnell has hailed as a potential model for the nation. There is talk of giving consultative assemblies real decision-making powers, of “banks of radical ideas” to which anyone can propose policy initiatives and, especially in the wake of the coup, a major call to democratise the internal workings of the party itself. It may all seem mad. Perhaps it is. But more than 100,000 new Labour members are already, to one degree or another, committed to the project.

If nothing else, understanding this makes it much easier to understand the splits in the party after the recent rebellion within the shadow cabinet. Even the language used by each side reflects basically different conceptions of what politics is about.
For Corbyn’s opponents, the key word is always “leadership” and the ability of an effective leader to “deliver” certain key constituencies.
For Corbyn’s supporters “leadership” in this sense is a profoundly anti-democratic concept. It assumes that the role of a representative is not to represent, not to listen, but to tell people what to do.

For Corbynistas, in contrast, the fact that he is in no sense a rabble rouser, that he doesn’t seem to particularly want to be prime minister, but is nonetheless willing to pursue the goal for the sake of the movement, is precisely his highest qualification. While one side effectively accuses him of refusing to play the demagogue during the Brexit debate, for the other, his insistence on treating the public as responsible adults was the quintessence of the “new kind of politics” they wished to see.

What all this suggests is the possibility that the remarkable hostility to Corbyn displayed by even the left-of-centre media is not due to the fact they don’t understand what the movement that placed him in charge of the Labour party is ultimately about, but because, on some level, they actually do.

After all, insofar as politics is a game of personalities, of scandals, foibles and acts of “leadership”, political journalists are not just the referees – in a real sense they are the field on which the game is played.

Democratisation would turn them into reporters once again, in much the same way as it would turn politicians into representatives. In either case, it would mark a dramatic decline in personal power and influence. It would mark an equally dramatic rise in power for unions, constituent councils, and local activists – the very people who have rallied to Corbyn’s support.