Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Douglas (Duggie) Alexander's Annual Survey

I got a leaflet through my door yesterday from Douglas (the chosen one and future anointed) Alexander asking me to complete an 'Annual Survey' of my worries.

As part of the questioning he asks, 'How satisfied are you with my work as your local MP.'

He offers a range of responses from 1 to 5 where '1=very satisfied' and '5=very satisfied'.

He's either as smug as he looks or he still hasn't mastered the basics of a voting system so Ive dropped him a wee email to help him out.

I'm Back Again

I've been too busy lately but I'm back, so a quick review and then I'll move on.

SNP have introduced free school meals (nearly).

SNP have ended privatisation of hospital ancillary services (except for the ones they have already privatised).

Ian Bliar has gone (but he shit in the sink before he left by allowing searching of the Commons without a warrant).

The de Menezez affair rumbles on (I think there is more to come out come the damages trial).

The banks I bought took all the money I gave them to lend to keep the economy afloat and said, 'Fuck you, we're keeping it.'

The VAT cut isn't being passed on to consumers (surprise, surprise).

Employers are using the excuse of the 'credit crunch' to cut staff and reduce working conditions it took years to achieve for working people.

And finally, for the moment, the Government are seriously considering giving an enormous cash bail-out to the UK car industry now that it is all foreign owned. I have to ask why that couldn't have been done when they were awash with monopoly money and it might have allowed the UK car industry to survive without all of its income going abroad? Why wasn't it important to save jobs then?

Monday, 13 October 2008

Big Dave Cameron and Consensus Politics

I just saw Big Dave Cameron on the telly saying that there is no alternative to Big Gordy's master plan. As I suspected neither he nor the Prime Minister seem to have heard of socialism, even although they seem to be in favour of nationalising banks hand over fist.

Capitalism was failing the people of this country for years before the Iron Woman (she's no lady) finally took away all semblance of restraint. It has finally failed completely. The more freedom the market has to steal the more it will steal from the people of the country. Senior executives will get no bonuses this year, but they will be allowed to retain the bonuses the received while they were seriously failing to do their jobs properly. No doubt bonuses were based on results, but we should go back now that we know better what the result of their greed really is.


Resignations and Sackings in the UK Banks

Since my post earlier today it appears that heads are starting to roll in the major banks that I bought yesterday. Not before time.

Jean Charles de Menezez

As the inquest into the death of this poor young man continues another Senior Policeman is found to have tinkered with the truth.
The Met. is rotten to the core and the new man, whoever it might be, is going to have his work cut out coping with the vested interests and the culture of casual lying which pervades the police service. It appears that they will never tell the truth when a lie will do.

One of the unproven allegations about Bliar was that he had interfered in the allocation of a Public Relations contract for the Met. My question is why they try to change the public perception of the force instead of trying to change the attitudes and practices which gave them such a poor public profile. If they were what they are supposed to be then the need for a multi-million PR contract would be eliminated. Why are they wasting public money trying to give the public the impression that what they see with their own eyes should not be believed, but instead we should believe the hype that a PR firm produces? Public bodies should not be allowed to indulge themselves in self-serving, expensive media exercises for the sole purpose of misleading the public when the public have eyes and ears of their own and are quite capable of examining what they see and hear and making sound judgements. Unless they think that the public are too stupid..Heaven forbid.

Sir Ian Bliar and the Metropolitan Police

Goodbye Sir Ian, and good riddance.

Credit Crunch, Gordon Brown and My Money

The whole financial system has been changing faster than I can post, but just to update myself, it appears I have bought a number of dud banks which were being run by a squad of disreputable self-seeking gamblers who lost all the country's money. The solution to the problem is obvious, let's give them more money?? As far as I can see only one banking head has had the decency to resign so we should be pressing for the dismissal of the other culprits. Big Gordy, the big clunking fist, is being re-cast as the saviour of the known universe (he has a plan!).

So let's ask the uncomfortable questions.

Who is going to be sacked for their obvious negligence?

Why was there no money to eliminate fuel poverty, because pensioners will die this winter again?

What will be sacrificed to provide the money Big Gordy is going to use to feather bed the rich and greedy who chased the fast buck all over the known world (and Iceland)?

What's to stop the same greedy bastards doing the exact same thing again now that they know that they are so big governments can't let them be losers in the world casino?

How is the taxpayers money going to be ring fenced so that every greedy bastard who has lost money and has a passing acquaintance with an equally greedy lawyer wont be jumping up and down with a writ claiming negligence on the part of some other greedy bastard now that they know the banks have some money?

Friday, 19 September 2008

Financial Institutions and Toothless Regulators

It looks as if they might just about stopped the financial world from unravelling but recent events make my previous comments (12th September) look strangely prophetic. The banks with the most money are gobbling up the lesser banks and we all know the consequences of that for the workers in the financial services industry. The corridors of the Parliament (both in Westminster and Edinburgh) are awash with crocodile tears as the Capitalist system creaks under the strain of unfettered greed. Apparently 'Greed is good' doesn't apply any more.

Meanwhile the regulator issues a toothless ban on short selling of the shares of banks and insurance until the end of the year. The whole system of share trading has turned into a giant casino where no-one really knows the rules, because there are no effective rules. Big Gordy and Smirky Salmond might try to scapegoat the short sellers, but they were acting completely within the law, and it is Governments which still make the law. The fact that there are too many financial institutions in the USA and the UK which have grown so large that if they are allowed to go down they take the country with them is a national disgrace. It means that they can indulge in massively risky behaviours in the knowledge that the taxpayer will cover the losses should they fail.

The real answer is to break them up, and sooner rather than later and preferably put them into public ownership so that the workers who generate the profits share in the success of the enterprise, rather than the present situation where the greed generates massive losses, the workers lose their jobs, the bosses walk away with all the remaining assets, and the taxpayer bears the loss.

This crisis was avoidable, and had the regulators real powers to stop abuse then the people would have been better protected.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Coming Soon ... A New Prime Minister

It looks like the end for Big Gordy, the big clunking fist. The self destruction of New Labour continues apace. Scotland Office Minister David Cairns has put another nail in the coffin of the New Labour project. When ministers of his status (as opposed to his ability) start to resign then it is time to go. Rats and sinking ships spring to mind. Still, I don't suppose he will be on the breadline. Labours big business pals will rally round and get him an earner as usual.

But we still don't know who is orchestrating the coup.

We should remember that he who wields the knife never wears the crown ! Come on, show yourself.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Paddy's Market

The proposed plans by Glasgow City Council to re-develop the site of Paddy's Market should be a source of some sadness for the people of Glasgow, even if it has become a run-down area. I presume it is going to become another gentrified city centre development for the middle classes to occupy while they consider where they really want to live when city centre lifestyle becomes too fraught (when they have kids).

Paddy's market has a long history. It was where the immigrant Irish of the East end of Glasgow went to buy second hand clothes for themselves and their children after they had been evicted from their lands and suffered from the potato famine. They were welcomed in Glasgow but found the same sort of poverty for working people there as they had left. Paddy's market was a necessary evil. The real sadness is that it still exists today for nearly the same purpose. Among the rip-off DVDs and CDs there are still stalls selling second hand clothes for the really poor. On a recent visit my son remarked that it was terrible that people had to sell this kind of stuff to live, but it is worse that people have to buy this kind of stuff to live.

Re-develop Paddy's Market by all means, but re-develop it as a memorial to the plight of working people. It is a piece of working class history, you might even call it an International Working Class Heritage Site, but there was never a member of the aristocracy living there so it won't count, will it?

The Heilan-man's umbrella (under the bridge at Central Station, for my foriegn readers) also served as a dossing down place for Highlanders dispossed in the Highland clearances, hence the name, and it is still in use by the homeless whenever Strathclyde's finest don't move them along.

Just more working class heritage messing up the post-modern image that Glasgow tries to promote by completely invented heritage like the 'Merchant City'. Real heritage is far too 'gritty' for them.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Douglas Alexander and Hugh Henry (Shuggie and Duggie)

Following the fall from grace of Wendy (second trumpet in the Alexanders' rag time band) Alexander (for it is she), it seems as if Hugh (the hammer) Henry and Douglas (the golden one and future anointed) Alexander are getting some training in for new careers, presumably in anticipation of the result of the next Westminster elections. Shuggie and Duggie have little to commend them to the voters next time round. Shuggie has been virtually invisible, no doubt not wishing to associate himself with the rest of the duds in his party. Duggie, on the other hand seems to have his own personal photographer who follows him around while he is grinning and gripping the hand of anyone who still feels that they want to be seen with the man who reduced our electoral system to Zimbabwean levels. One sycophantic Labour placeman described duggie to me as 'one in a million' and my immediate thought was 'Christ, how unlucky can you get?' Still, at least he and his cronies are on the way out.

I think the bin bag might be filled with pictures of Big Gordy, the big clunking fist.
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Saturday, 13 September 2008

New Leader for Scottish Labour

Andy Kerr, another po-faced humourless clone, long on talk but short on talent. I'm very much afraid Smirky will eat this guy alive. Remember when Scottish Labour had some socialists in it ? Better days and better people.

Gordon Brown and the Pensioners (but only some)

He's not helping himself, is he? Big Gordy has fumbled the football again for the sake of childish spin. He was always going to get caught so why does he keep on doing it. He makes an announcement and the next day we find out that it was just half of an announcement intended to mislead us into thinking that the disaster was being addressed when in fact it was just a papering over of the cracks.

He's no different from Bliar

Friday, 12 September 2008

Gordon Brown, the end is nigh !

You know that when you have lost control and discipline in your party then the end of your leadership is in sight. You also know that when junior ministers call for a leadership election to 'clear the air' you have lost control and discipline in your party. Siobhain McDonagh is only saying what the rest are thinking, but the real question is 'Who Convinced her to fall on her sword and what was she promised in return?'.

New Labour is not so much in meltdown as in self-destruct mode. How long can this lame duck Prime Minister soldier on?

My own opinion is that he will take the country into the next election, whenever that may be, and take the battering that Labour will get, so that the replacement dud will not commence the job with the stench of a massive defeat all over him. His Presyterian upbringing would ask that of him, but we'll see, soon.

Racism and the Metropolitan Police Continued

Christ Almighty, Sir Ian, you must have a skin like a rhinoceros. You just keep on trying and failing in everything you do. This is your second try at this guy . For god's sake go and let someone come in who can clean up the mess that is the Met.

Legal Fees and Greedy Solicitors

The legal profession are at it again. Fees for solicitors in litigation with the NHS can be as much as £600 an hour. That money is being directly sucked out of patient care and represents one of the worst and least principled attacks on the Health Service I have ever heard of (and I lived through the reign of the evil witch of Grantham).

We simply have to move from a culture of litigation to a system of 'no blame' compensation for medical accidents. Doctors (no shrinking violets themselves when it comes to bleeding the NHS) could then possibly learn from the errors of others who would no longer have an interest in denial or cover up. Patients and relatives desperate for answers could be dealt with honestly and openly, and the greedy sods would just have to go and rob someone less vulnerable.

Nationalisation of Financial Institutions

Now that the UK has effectively nationalised Northern Rock (almost the first birthday of the nationalisation) and the USA has effectively nationalised both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we can only applaud this new spirit of public ownership. It's just a pity that the taxpayer always seems to get lumbered with the losers rather than the shareholders who were paid large dividends rather than creating reserves to see their companies through financial crises. It's also a pity that the same spirit of providing a safety net for investors couldn't have been brought to bear on the problems of Farepak, but then their investors weren't already the rich so they don't count for much to Big Gordy.

Just a further comment on the global financial meltdown. Money doesn't just disappear, so if everyone is going to get poorer, who is going to get richer? Capitalists are fighting like ferrets in a sack each trying to save his own arse at the expense of the rest and, as usual, the poorest will pay the price and the rich will get richer. Banks are queueing up to buy each other at bargain basement prices and it's about time the national and international regulators stepped in and sorted out this fucking mess they have allowed to be created by pure greed.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Racism in the Metropolitan Police

Once again we have allegations of racism in the Met. but this time the allegations come from a senior officer in respect of himself. The reaction of the Met is as usual, try to gag the victim, suspend him from employment and give time for the cover up to swing into place. My views on the Met are well known and uncomplimentary. The nominal leader (inasmuch as the Police Federation allow him to call himself 'Chief') should really stand down. He is only making a bigger fool of himself every time he opens his mouth. He increases the shame of the name 'Bliar' and that's not easy.

Legal Fees and Greedy Barristers

I see that the greedy bastar, whoops spell check error, barristers are up to their usual tricks again. £91 an hour is being described as derisory. Well I must admit it certainly makes me deride them. I've posted about these greedy people before and have yet to see reason to change my opinion. They should grant rights of audience in the High Courts to ordinary solicitors as well as solicitor advocates and make the pompous elite compete for wages like the rest of us.

Gordon Brown and Fuel Poverty

I must admit that, despite my severe misgivings, when Gordon (the big clunking fist) Brown followed Bliar I thought that there might be a slightly increased opportunity for some sort of anti-poverty measures. Today's announcement on measures to relieve fuel poverty show that he is as big a coward in the face of big business as ever Bliar was. Brown/Bliar, it's like a choice between the pox and the clap. Both are awful but one is worse.

Pensioners will die of booty capitalism this winter because power generation and distribution is in private hands and a toothless regulator can do nothing to control price increases. Shame!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Free Public Transport

On Thursday 19th the SSP launched its week of action on free public transport by leafleting and posting around stations and other transport hubs.

I've put a link to the site in 'Some other views from the left' in the sidebar.

Public reaction was very positive, as you might expect from people who are about to have to buy a ticket for an inferior service at an extortionate price to feed the fat cats who operate and mis-manage public transport for their own and their shareholders benefit.

Perhaps more surprising was the number of people who took the opportunity to express their support for our other policies on abolition of the council tax and its replacement by a fair system of taxation, on ending our involvement in American wars, on council housing, and on independence in a socialist Scotland.

It seems that it has taken a global financial meltdown to get across the message that capitalism is destroying itself through its own greed and to make people seriously consider an alternative 'not for profit' system which puts people before profit.

Monday, 16 June 2008

European Union, the Lisbon Treaty and Ireland

I am reminded of a piece of advice regularly given to aspiring lawyers regarding cross-examination of witnesses. You should never ask a question to which you don't already know the answer.

The Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty only goes to prove that the same applies in politics.

Democracy is always a real problem for bureaucracies and dictatorships, and the E.U. is both. So as foreign ministers struggle to find a way to thwart the clearly expressed will of the Irish people we should really be asking ourselves why. The answer is, of course, that the E.U. and its past incarnations, have always put profit before people.

The Irish, even although the country has benefitted enormously from the E.U. has seen little of the benefit 'trickle down' to the ordinary people. Big business, especially big farms have flourished and the rich, as usual, get richer.

They, and we, should continue to reject the treaty until it addresses distribution of wealth as well as wealth creation, because in a zero sum game, if business benefits then ordinary people must be penalised, and with growth at only 2-3% it is effectively a zero sum game.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Change to the Law on Sunbed Shops

I'm usually highly critical of laws which restrict freedoms, but the changes to the law regarding the use of sunbeds by under 18s has to be welcomed.

One of the hazards of being a full time driver is that your right arm tends to be exposed to the sun on good days when the window is open, and problems tend to be experienced by this group. I had a growth (benign) removed from my own right arm some years ago and it was a very scary time for me, so perhaps I am particularly aware of the damage the sun can do. I always wear a sunscreen now.

These changes to the law will, I hope, make a real difference, but the deterrent effect of a paltry £100 fine, when we consider other reports about the sunbed industry and its practices is still questionable.

But it's better than nothing.

Ry Cooder

I've added a new link in interesting stuff. It speaks for itself

Anglican Gay Wedding

I see from the BBC web site that the Anglican Church is shocked that a 'Gay Wedding' has been carried out in an Anglican church.

I have two reactions to that.

First, I am deeply shocked. I didn't think anyone really cared about the petty incestuous squabbling within the Church of England except themselves. I certainly didn't. Their continued persecution of gay people within an increasingly tolerant society is disgraceful. I was never allowed to sing it (commie, excused church) but doesn't one of their favourite hymns say 'the lord god made them all'.

Second, why should we deny the right of gay people to be as miserable as anyone else.

Friday, 13 June 2008

R.I.P. Jimmy Bonthrone, East Fife F.C.

All East Fife fans will miss Jimmy Bonthrone who died recently. A real gentleman and an extraordinary player. Check out the link under 'Interesting Stuff' or read the full obituary here

Sir Sean's Coming Home

I see from the news that Shir Sean is coming back to Scotland.

Oh, hang on. It's just to sell us a book. An autobiography written by a journalist??

Free Public Transport

I have added a link to the Scottish Socialist Party's 'Free Public Transport Campaign'

This will be one of the ongoing campaigning issues of the Party

Saturday, 3 May 2008

East Fife F.C.

Seeing as how its been a quiet day, and since I have a link to the site on my blog, congratulations (belated) to East Fife on winning the 3rd Division title by a mile. Hope for a similar result next season in the 2nd.

C'way the Fife

Beau Derek and the Council Cuts

Just some more info on the cuts in public services in Renfrewshire under Beau Derek supported by his lib/dem gofers.

4 libraries to close (Gallowhill, Todholm, Elderslie, Bargarran)

5 neighbourhood housing offices to close

£500 p.a. charge for residents in sheltered housing for the warden service (which is being reduced from 24 to 3 hours per day)

Charges for attendance at elderly day-centres

Cost of kids swimming lessons doubled

Cuts in the park ranger service

2 nurseries to close

Apex community centre in Ferguslie Park (Terry's pitch) to close

Rough Sleepers Initiative for the homeless to close

Museum and observatory opening hours cut

Recycle Renfrewshire funding withdrawn

3 day centres for the disabled to close

Education budget cut by the equivalent of 2 teachers per school

And if Labour think they are off the hook on this can I remind them that:

they passed the policy which made warden charges possible

they closed libraries in Kilbarchan, Johnstone Castle, Spateston, Inchinnan,Brookfield, Houston, Langbank, Howwood, and the Johnstone teenage libraries (and we wonder why our kids are poor readers)

they closed and privatised post offices

they closed community centres like the East End community centre for which a replacement was promised and never materialised

they privatised our schools (opposed and now adopted by the SNP)

and they tried and failed to give away our council housing to a crony body, sorry ..housing association.

It's not until you see the cuts listed like this that you can see how the old, the very young, the vulnerable and the disabled are being targeted.

It's a public disgrace.

Cash for Honours

Just thinking about Shir Sean, not that I'm suggesting anything improper in respect of himself, got me to thinking about the Cash for Honours problems which Bliar faced in his closing days.

Both Ruth Kelly and Lord Levy were questioned under caution and under the guidelines should have been required to give a sample of DNA for the database even if subsequently not charged with any offence.

Why won't the Met. confirm whether this happened? One rule for them etc.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Beau Derek Mackay

I see Beau Derek in the local paper today trying to encourage council employees to go to work by bike to save the planet. If he really means it why don't the council close the council office car parks to all but bikes and disabled drivers. That would be easier than a bike purchase loan scheme and it might just let them see just how difficult they have made it for everyone but themselves to park in Paisley Town Centre.

Perhaps councillors and council officers should be made to pay a commercial rate for the free parking they get from the council tax payers, or at least have the benefit assessed for tax so that they can employ more smoking enforcement officers (nicotine fascists) to harass town centre traders and pubs.

Of course they have to look after themselves, they're councillors after all, but have they no shame. Bike is becoming the only way to get around the town, but with pot-holes 6 inches deep even that is a bit dangerous.

I'm Back

It's been a while but but I'm back in the land of the Blogosphere and hope to be posting regularly again soon.

Meanwhile you have let it all go to the dogs. Where has all of the piss-taking gone. Surely the big clunking fist deserves more than he's getting. Labour are paying the price of their own corporatism. As they moved away from community values and individuals and tied themselves firmly to capitalism they are suffering from the credit squeeze in the same way as the banks and financial institutions they have come to love. The English middle classes, don't you just love them. They have reduced voting with your wallet to an art form. Labour are getting what they deserve in the English local elections, but the Tories under Big Dave Cameron are no better, in fact they are remarkably similar.

The SNP have made a complete arse of things in Scotland. They have not increased the council tax, but instead have cut services to the most vulnerable right through the country. But surely the same price for less is an increase. Perhaps they should re-introduce 'O' level arithmetic. They carry on with PFI schools and hospitals even although they opposed them previously. What happened to those extra police, student debt, a referendum and an end to the council tax Oh, and by the way, where is Sir Sean's new house?

The Lib/Dems, well, anything at all for a taste of power please, including kissing Salmond's arse.
They have become a parody of themselves. Remember when they stood for something, even if it was something different in every town. Now they stand for nothing.

That's enough to start back with.