ATOS kills

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Tax can show you’re successful…

JK Rowling in today’s Times on tax…

“I chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.

A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism. On the available evidence, I suspect that it is Lord Ashcroft’s idea of being a mug”.

J.K. Rowling on welfare and patriotism

Health service, for how much longer?

Dear Sir (Hull Daily Mail),
I couldn’t really bring myself to say that ‘Labour hijacked NHS rally’ (25th Sep). It’s only right that Labour, who founded the NHS, lead a campaign to try and save it from certain ravages now. Hull members, to their credit, are leading this fight. They are supported in this by CLPs too. Many trade unionists and other organisations are supportive, including the Green Party, locally and nationally.
Lord Prescott did indeed commence the speeches. His starting point, urging the crowd to embrace their ‘pleb’ status, although topical, is not one I would have chosen were I a Lord Baron. However, although not standing for Commissioner of Health, he proceeded to give a robust defence of the health service.
And that’s the point! – It’s a health ‘service’ not a health company. It serves us the people. It’s always there for us – just as we’ve always paid into it. Until now! If we go the way of the American system, and many think we are, with chunks of the NHS sold to private companies, and then needing a private insurance system for proper care, it will cost lives. A study on US healthcare concluded the loss of life just through having a private insurance system was between 50,000 and 100,000 lives, a year.
These are serious changes. Under the circumstances, I would have no problem if all 22,000 people in Hull who voted Labour last time had turned out! We would have needed a bigger sound system.
Martin Deane
Hull and East Riding Green Party

America’s psychotic nationalism

I accuse America of psychotic nationalism.

For example, somehow for decades, since the end of the Vietnam war, there is a blaming of Vietnam for the deaths of 58,000 GIs. But, simultaneously, it’s accompanied by the glaring omission of the 3 or 4 MILLION others who died because of American action (indeed continue to die at about 10,000 a year following the ecocidal use of chemical weapons).

To overlook this requires a level of delusion of epic proportions, hence the word psychotic.

Add to that the highly propagandized nature of US politics and we’re lucky if the slightest amount of truth let alone balance or justice, sees the light of day.

As people of compassion, we will be aware of the dozens of countries America has bombed since WW2 (though not to exclude the murderous history going all the way back to its founding!), the countries subverted, governments overthrown, figures assassinated, usually democratic.

At the same time, all these murderings, for which the Presidents would have been hanged were they ever judged by the standards of Nuremberg, are accompanied by huge propaganda – usually unquestioningly believed – by the ‘political class’ – of how justified, noble and necessary it is.

But neither do I confuse those US governments, and their almost identical foreign policies, with the wishes of the people. Often those are diametrically opposed, and we are left with nothing but amazement at a system of indoctrination that produces such an idolization of a state – and its treatment of others – compared to all the evidence.

All states no doubt do this to some extent, idolising their country above all others, just as God appears to be on everyone’s side in whichever war. But the level of ‘blindness’ that America has to the effects of its overseas policies, while continuing to justify them to the hilt, is the stuff of intense mental obsession!

Add to this a military expenditure amounting to as much as the rest of the world spends per year, and you have all the makings of a dangerous madman. Of course, the meme of the madman in US politics is nothing new, and goes back explicitly to Nixon. The mixture of being prepared to appear mad, with the greatest military capability in history, and the most highly propagandized culture in the western world, makes for a dangerous mix.

 

 

 

Turning the lights out on the Titanic

Is Cameron’s reshuffle supposed to be a kind of reverse psychology? Climate-change denier Paterson at the Environment, anti-gay marriage Miller at Equalities, supremely unqualified Gove still at Education, the laughable Hunt at Health, pro-3rd runway McLaughlin at Transport. Clearly plenty of work still to do on the destruction of the UK.

Miller and Paterson plus Hunt “the NHS is a 60 year mistake” going to Health represents a movement to the right by a besieged Prime Minister.

Owen Paterson is: sceptical on climate change, pro fracking, expect gas drilling everywhere, and less renewables investment; and he who compared the call to ban fox hunting to National Socialism!

The more I read about Owen Paterson, the more I realise he’s the sort of person I got into politics to stop ever having power! Meanwhile, Iain Duncan Smith was offered the job as Justice Secretary but didn’t take it. Surely following his own precepts, his benefits should be cut!

For most people, Cameron’s cabinet was quite Tory enough thank you:

  • “Oh yes, I remember – this is what they were like!”
  • Now it’s more traditional, more Eurosceptic, more authoritarian. In other words, more rightwing – a step backwards for progressive politics
  • expect a continuation of Labour’s appeasing of the bankers and paying with cuts.
  • over £80 billion in so-called austerity across the country, now expect more cuts.
  • Projections say the cuts are on course to cost a million jobs.

This is such an unbelievably far cry from what Greens were promising in 2010 – to tax properly and CREATE a million socially useful jobs!!

Owen Paterson returning to mainland politics will also be welcomed by Tory MPs. It’ll be interesting to see what flexibility he is given on the EU aspects of his department.

The replacement of Ken Clarke by Chris Grayling as justice secretary demotes Clarke, one of the more reasonable Tories, in many respects.

Health – was Andrew Lansley, who everyone will be pleased to see theback of. Except that he’s now replaced by Jeremy Hunt (Culture), he who presided over the hacking scandal, still yet to reach a conclusion. I’ve already signed a petition warning Hunt we’re watching him and his plans for the NHS! His co-author in a book, Daniel Hannan, called the NHS a 60-year mistake. We must end moves to split up the NHS. Instead we must tax properly and make it the world’s best public health service.

Hull and area faces a current total of £99m cuts, with £18m this year. We’ve already lost two wards to the area. Ther are ten to go in total. This is a major attack on health in this area. The coming CCGs are the next step in making health provision more private and less accountable.

Theresa May says: “I can assure you I am very pleased women have the vote.”” – except around the cabinet table. The UK lags behind much of the world when it comes to women’s representation – we are currently ranked 57th.

Maria Miller – Minister for Equality:

  • Voted against: gay adoption rights,
  • against Human F and E Bill which would give lesbian couples fertility treatment rights,
  • against Racial and Relig Hatred Bill and is in favour of defining racial hatred, prejudice and homophobia as freedom of speech

Another interesting high-up addition is Paul Deighton, the former Goldman Sachs executive who ran LOCOG. He has now got the job of ensuring that Osborne’s infrastructure investment programme rescues the economy.

At the top, the government has also become more male and white, but junior appointments are expected to compensate for that. we’ll see.

Cameron appears to want to ramp up the damage he is doing across society and push a radical, vicious agenda forward rapidly. Most people are already stunned bu the nature of this government and its actions and see it as a failure of Titanic proportions, including the economy! But now – will the last person to leave the Titanic please turn out the lights?