Politicians’ Private Profit from NHS Sell-Off

by craig on October 1, 2012 11:14 am in Uncategorized

A truly horrible example of how corporate interests own our politicians and control government policy. Private health providers have donated £16,285,437 trousered by the coalition parties who are privatising NHS services to them. Fantastic work by Eoin Clarke.

When I tell audiences that corporate interests control politicians, they want to agree but, having seen any establishment-critical analysis labeled “conspiracy theory”, some are often worried that I am going to start fantasising about the Illuminati, or at best am postulating an academic construct. I am not. I am talking about very real business deals and very real sums of money getting behind the politicians’ career-promotion, party funding and thus personal financial interest.

So as the NHS is ruined by “marketisation” and billions of taxpayers money go into private pockets as profit for NHS “providers”, you know that Cameron and Clegg have been bought, simple as that.

The same dynamic was true of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 2,000 US troops have now died in Afghanistan, but very real profits indeed have been made, amounting to hundreds of billions, by arms manufacturers, military contractors like Halliburton and companies owned by the Karimov family, and of course the private mercenary hired killers like Aegis. There are thousands of people who made millions out of the wars and some who made hundreds of millions. They are not the ones who did any of the dying. They give a lot of money to, and mingle a lot with, politicians.

This business report from the BBC was given toltally without irony:

Work to re-equip UK and US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has helped profits to soar at defence group BAE Systems.

The UK’s largest defence firm, BAE made a pre-tax profit of ’657m ($1.4bn), compared with ’378m a year earlier.

BAE said the “high tempo” of UK and US military operations was increasing demand for land systems to support armed forces overseas. BAE, which is facing an anti-corruption probe by US authorities, saw its half-year revenues rise by 10%. The firm said its sales had benefited from its US operations, which achieved organic sales growth of 12% during the period.

Overall sales at BAE’s Land & Armaments business, which includes everything from tanks to munitions, rose 43%.

And that is before you get to the oil companies waiting to come in and hoover up the profit from “liberated” assets. I repeat, this is not an academic construct. While I was Ambassador in Uzbekistan, I learnt the hard way the industrial scale torture, repression and state compulsion of child labour were of no importance compared to the vested interests of the powerful.

The sad truth is, of course, that New Labour were no better. As they look well placed to come back to power, you are going to see some of those private donations heading their way shortly. They massively forwarded the “market driven” model of NHS privatisation, and of course presided over the Great Banking Pozni Scheme while Mandelson, Bliar and Brown hovered around the rich soliciting donations. They also received very large donations from BAE, who made billions from the Iraq War, while Blair intervened to prevent BAE executives facing criminal bribery charges as this was “against the national interest”.

The mainstream parties are bought and sold, merely a collection of alternative parcels of rogues. The politicians are, virtually without exception, sickening examples of self-seeking, profiteering and aggrandisement. What astonishes me is that many people apparently think bringing back the first lot of war criminals will make things better.

My suspicion is that the percentage splits between parties by pollsters are an illusion, and a large majority are sick of all of them. Society had not yet found a way to express that, but it will.

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139 Comments

  1. Who are pulling the strings Craig.

    I believe being a Liberal we are seem as the ultimate diplomats, but please the money system surely is the root od this.

    Until you finger it we are chasing our tails incessantly.

  2. Well said Craig. The financial influences are right out there in public view, but the corporate media look the other way, and thereby direct their readers to look away, too.

    I’m quite disturbed by the number of good hearted people who, instead of seeing this easily documented corruption and pointing it out to others, make a big fuss about secret global conspiracies that would be utterly impenetrable even if they were true, which is impossible to verify in any case.

    When we clean the kitchen, we start with the most easily identified mess first. We do the washing up before bleaching the sink. Ignoring the dirty dishes all over the work surface while worrying that our sponge might have been secretly designed to release a toxic chemical doesn’t make much sense.

  3. Lilian El-Doufani

    1 Oct, 2012 - 11:53 am

    Yup, we hate and distrust them all. Please would someone give us an alternative.

  4. Christ, it’s very depressing. This is the kind of thing that should be plastered across the front pages of “serious” newspapers… fat chance.

    I think you are right that there are a lot of people who are starting to get very angry about this corrupt, dishonourable behaviour. I’m one of them.

  5. The private sector’s greed knows no bounds. When everything in the public sector has been privatised and every penny of profit extracted from the public purse, I wonder what they will do to keep the cash flowing? Starting ripping off each other, maybe?

  6. I am probably just being terribly naive here (happens sometimes) but I really like Ed Milliband unlike his brother. Just felt the need to say that…

    Thought he was very impressive on BBC TMS a few weeks ago when he got to meet his childhood hero Geoffrey Boycott.

    Certainly not the first choice of the rich and powerful.

  7. Anon,

    I know how you feel, but then I was hopeful about Obama too. Sadly we will get fooled again.

  8. Superb (and succinct) appraisal of the malaise affecting so many ‘democracies’. One poster above me asked for an alternative to this horrific state of affairs. The only thing I can think of is direct democracy, which takes politicians out of the equation and requires people to vote directly (via secured internet or computer systems) on legislation and policy, which themselves are formulated by committees of ‘experts’ in the appropriate fields. It is eminently workable and actually functions fine in Switzerland, a successful semi-direct democracy. Sadly, it is dogged by the erroneous idea that it is ‘mob rule’ when it absolutely is not. Anyway, it should at least be debated as a serious alternative to the hellish state of affairs we have now. I discuss this in a FREE book I wrote at http://www.99998271.com/ and blog on this (and human rights) at http://99998271.blogspot.jp/ for anyone who is interested.

    Not spamming here…I do all this for free and would really like people to realize there ARE viable alternatives out there, and also that almost everything you have heard about direct democracy is probably wrong.

    Thanks again to Craig for his excellent comments. I’ll be tweeting some quotes from here for sure.

  9. “My suspicion is that the percentage splits between parties by pollsters are an illusion, and a large majority are sick of all of them. Society had not yet found a way to express that, but it will”

    Since all three main parties are now essentially the same, I think it would be a good idea if they were required to merge into a single party, called the Neocon Bankster Party or somesuch. A new Peasant Party could then emerge to represent the rest of us. By delineating the true battlelines I believe this would at least bring some clarity as we plummet towards the new feudalism that appears to be our destiny.

  10. I hope you’re right about society finding a way to express its dissatisfaction with what’s politically on offer. Most of us are fed up to the eye-teeth with politicians of all persuasions. And they are certainly all bought, Ed Milliband too. If the Zionists do not fully own him yet they will if he shows any signs of coming to power.

    But the prime example of how it works is Tony Blair – the war-criminal. They got him to prosecute an unholy war (even more dead yesterday in Iraq) and reward him with grossly indecent money which is laundered through J P Morgan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Blair

  11. What was behind BBC Scotland’s attack on the Scottish NHS

    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/5962-what-was-behind-bbc-scotlands-attack-on-the-scottish-nhs

    Last week BBC Scotland spent a day comparing the Scottish NHS with its English counterpart.

    In a rather bizarre series of broadcasts last Thursday, both on radio and TV, the corporation spent the day informing Scottish listeners and viewers of the benefits of the English NHS.

    What was BBC Scotland doing not just reporting on the English NHS, but apparently trumpeting reforms being pushed through by the UK government?

    It was a puzzle until Newsnet Scotland came across a little known report that had been compiled by a respected freelance journalist.

    The report by Oliver Huitson gave a clue as to the reasons the reforms were given such an uncritical high profile.

    The report, which should be read to be appreciated, begged the question: Was BBC Scotland pushing English NHS reforms at the behest of its London controllers?

    Huitson’s investigation didn’t look at BBC Scotland, more’s the pity, instead it focused on the UK BBC’s reporting of matters relating to the English NHS – especially these very reforms.

    According to Mr Huitson, he discovered evidence of widespread bias and censorship on the part of the state broadcaster in favour of UK Government reforms to the English NHS.

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourbeeb/oliver-huitson/how-bbc-betrayed-nhs-exclusive-report-on-two-years-of-censorship-and-distortion

    I’m having problems with this link,

    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/5962-what-was-behind-bbc-scotlands-attack-on-the-scottish-nhs

  12. the problem is with the http://www.opendemocacy.net
    not newsnetscotland.com

  13. Ed has been strongly critical of Israel. Unlike most other of our leading politicians.

  14. Not fantasising about the Illuminati here – Inshallah! Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he meets Israeli leaders…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCw-oWp1wf8

  15. Craig,
    What you say is very true, though not really new. I agree with the comments that a growing number of people are sick of these corrupt politicians, regardless of which party line they follow.
    The really depressing thing is that they and their wealthy cronies seem to have the system pretty well sewn up. This makes them extremely difficult to challenge by legal means. Even peaceful demonstrations are now construed as a threat to national security or acts of terrorism. Does this mean the only option remaining to right thinking citizens is take to the streets in bloody revolution? I hope not, but find it ever harder see any peaceful alternative.

  16. The trouble is, Craig, the bigger governments get the more liable they are to be infiltrated and permeated by the kind of corruption you point out. Human beings evolved living in bands of 10-20 to maybe 50-60. Groups like that, especially when they are permanent and lifelong, can be well organised and governed – our natural instincts actually help that to happen. We defer to those who are naturally dominant, letting them lead while others may advise and support them.

    Scale up to a village – a couple of thousand – and it still works fairly well, after a fashion. But the worm has entered the apple, as even at this scale of community a well-organised and ruthless person can take over complete control. (See every second Western you ever enjoyed, for example).

    Scale up to a nation state, such as the UK, and you have a recipe for domination by the powerful and the wealthy, working together in an always uneasy and often bloody dynamic balance. When millions are ruled, the power and the profits are big enough to motivate truly horrible behaviour: war, repression, systematic exploitation, methodical propaganda. Whatever the theoretical form of government, it will in reality become a plutocratic oligarchy (as the ancient Greeks would put it) or fascism (as we would).

    And what happens when you scale up another step, to the continental or even global level? I leave that as an exercise for the student.

  17. This doesn’t even start to scratch the surface.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7196420.stm

  18. 1984 approaching fast…..just wait and see. I pity our children for the future they’re going to live in.

  19. Frank Bowles

    1 Oct, 2012 - 1:13 pm

    Craig, I don’t really think this stands up to analysis, certainly not as far as the Lib Dems are concerned. There is one six-figure donor, an eccentric who runs a health care provider, but his donations stretch into the dim and distant past where he was certainly not buying influence. In any event the propriety of these donations were discussed by the media during the election. The other much smaller donor is one of the party’s peers, who surely could be expected to bung a few grand in the party’s direction from time to time.

    And its hard to say from this that there is anything special about the amount donated to the Tories from health companies compared with everyone else who gives them money and we all know that business interests of all kinds like to feather the Tories’ pockets. That might be because they want a special favour in the sector they trade in be it health or arms or it might be because they want the more “business friendly party in power”

    But you need to prove the direct favours for it to be a story. And this guy doesn’t do it, he’s having a rant.

    If you don’t want political parties funded by rich organisations then there needs to be some form of state funding, and we all know that too.

    So, we know the problem and we can get all emotive about it, but what are the first steps to creating something better?

    Cheers

    Frank

  20. @ Frank –
    +1.

    O/T –
    Attitude problem department:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9559013/Andrew-Mitchell-said-he-did-not-blame-people-who-wanted-to-hurt-aid-volunteer.html
    .
    Mitchell – the git(sic) that goes on giving…

  21. I agree entirely with your final paragraph. I get stick for spoiling my ballot from friends I know full well would likewise rather not vote for any of these people. What choice.

  22. “Since all three main parties are now essentially the same”

    Ah, all in the service of political harmony (read “hegemony”).

    Ed Balls is currently telling the party conference that divisions in politics are holding back decision-making about redevelopment of the country’s infrastructure, on everything from energy policy to transport. He is continually reiterating the need for “cross-party consensus”.

    Here’s how it will work: independent decision-making bodies will be appointed to recommend the best way forward for Britain. But they won’t be comprised of politicians – oh, no, that would be too divisive – instead they’ll be staffed by consultants and chaired by business leaders. So there will be less of that troublesome bickering in the House of Commons. Balls has already asked Sir John Armitt, chair of the Olympic delivery authority, to conduct a review of long-term infrastructure decision-making. What’s the betting that his report will conclude that more public money should be spent on private contracts?

    What a neat solution! This arrangement saves the politicians the trouble of having to think up policies on behalf of their constituents. And all parties will be compelled to rubberstamp these recommendations from “independent” experts, so “cross-party consensus” can be achieved without having to waste time debating the policies in parliament. The running of the country can simply be handed over to those nice philanthropic unaccountable businessmen. No need to allow the people to have a say at all.

    Really, what’s the point of voting at all now? Elections have become such a sham.

  23. I have voted LD for the last 4 elections after Blair and (New) Labour sold us out.

    But I won’t vote at all at the next election as all the parties and their leaders make me want to vomit. The last straw was when Clegg refused to back fairer constinuencies as a piece of petty revenge for not getting his way over Lords reform (yes, I know this would work to the advantage of the Tories but that’s not a reason not to do it).

    There is now no political party in England that you can vote for and it not be a wasted vote. That’s the reality of 2012.

  24. Orwell – It might not be so foreboding. A harbinger suggested that *knowing* collective human minds have reached a tipping point to prepare identification with the single sentient entity that holds the complex orderings of an entire universe.

    That imminent identification will evolve our own consciousness to the level needed to sustain our existence. Many of us will be left to extinction like dinosaurs, outmoded, something of the past, while the rest prepare neoteric frames of reference based on involvement, harmony and union.

    This will happen late December.

  25. “In March 2006, after Jowell had claimed that Mills had not told her, until four years after the event, that Mills had been given £340,000 for his work for Silvio Berlusconi, the couple “agreed to a period of separation”.[8][9] However, questions have been raised as to the extent of this separation given that Mills and Jowell “appear, to all intents and purposes, very much a married couple.”[10][11]”

    http://uk.ask.com/wiki/David_Mills_(lawyer)

  26. Ben Franklin

    1 Oct, 2012 - 3:06 pm

    Not being familiar with the culture you enjoy, I wonder if the lack of choice (paper or plastic, sir) in your candidates for office, is the result of a lazy and ill-informed electorate, as it it in the US?

    I have been mystified, for decades, at the voting habits of the working classes who make those decisions against their own best interests. ‘Hard hats’ and Reagan Democrats , many of whom are Union members, seem to favor candidates who campaign openly about collective bargaining as a bad thing.

    Is that a big issue in the UK?

  27. Not so much a big issue, more two dirty words. The party of the Left, Labour, continues to distance itself from the unions, while the traditional Left continues to vote Labour as being the least bad option. A lazy and ill-informed electorate? Sweeping but largely just, IMO. Also bear in mind that the disintegration of manufacturing industry has meant the end of any possibility of coordinating action by large individual workforces. Another feature has been the enthusiastic acquiescence of all politicians in the manufacturing technique, pioneered in the US and now global, of moving your plant to the cheapest labour market. Times have changed, and collective bargaining is now a dodo: the paths of collective bargaining have been re-engineered to lead only to the unemployment office.

  28. “I know how you feel, but then I was hopeful about Obama too. Sadly we will get fooled again.”
    .
    .
    the fact is obama was the packaging to get the disaffected democrats and independents on board , he was and is in his handlers eyes a blair like figure who is teflon coated.
    .
    ed is repackaging of the neocon pro-zionist cabal that are in control of each of the mainstream parties. all he has done is drawn a line under iraq, so no questions or criticisms allowed whilst supporting further illegal wars .
    .
    the edl (bfp) are on the sidelines, not banned but promoted by a variety of media and fundraisers (embraced by douglas murray who is himself embraced by theresa may).. just in case they are needed as the the street militia that blairite labour intended them to be.

  29. Ben Franklin

    1 Oct, 2012 - 3:25 pm

    “Sweeping…” Not my intent. I was talking about that incongruous Union member who sees conservatives as representing more of the values of the church-goer, in a putative way.

    ‘Labour continues to distance itself…” It would appear your environment is quite similar, except we are not as close to ‘austerity’, and no DHS, as yet.

  30. @ Tom Welsh,

    Yes I agree. I also think that as the group gets larger there are more opportunities for sociopaths (~1-2% of the population) to gain control and wreak havoc. It has recently been reported in various studies that there is a higher than normal population of psychopaths in the business world because they are ideally drawn to a dog-eat-dog conscienceless activity; I would expect if these same studies were done on politicians the percentage would be even higher: in what other profession is lying a job requirement?

    http://www.bilerico.com/2012/01/psychopaths_in_suits.php

    “Dr Babiak designed a 111-point questionnaire with the University of British Columbia’s Prof Bob Hare – the world’s pre-eminent expert in psychopathy and a regular adviser to the FBI – to determine how many industry bosses were psychopaths.

    They found that nearly four per cent of bosses fitted the profile, compared with one per cent among the general population.” OK, that’s the Daily Mail.

    I’m not suggesting that Tome Welsh is wrong, simply that the psychopath-friendly society we live in is another factor in sucking us into the mire.

  31. “The really depressing thing is that they and their wealthy cronies seem to have the system pretty well sewn up. This makes them extremely difficult to challenge by legal means.”

    Colin Carr

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorises it, and a moral code that glorifies it.”

    Political economist Frederic Bastiat, The Law (1850)

  32. @ Ben –
    Ah, therein lies the difference. We had the Enlightenment, and we’re mostly functional atheists*. Paradoxical really, Old Labour, Old Testament ethics and Methodism went together quite well, while the toffs rarely waste their time trying to convince us plebs that religion has anything to do with exploitation.

    * Our growing Muslim population would disagree, no doubt, and that’s another area for spirited debate entirely.

  33. Can someone please explain why you want political parties sorting out this problem when we full well know that it is these dogma ridden self serving delusions of representatives that have landed us in this fiasco.

    labour failed to follow through when they had the finance bill in front of parliament in 2006. Blair waved it off and the shit hit the fan, now were splattered, but that fan is still churning and the shit is still flying.

    Thanks for the alternative view, Simon wood, shall read your tome later, is this a collaborative effort?

    Matt keefe, I have the solution to your woes. Stop relying and waiting for politicians to stand up and ruin your life, stand as an Independent, there are now many here in Norfolk who will stand at next years County elections and you can promote your local Independent PCC candidate this coming month, if you like his/her views. There is no better springboard for next years CC elections than to get an Independent PCC candidate selected in November.

    How much longer will it take for people to understand that this system is designed to perpetuate the status quo. Only when there are many Independents elected will the failing parties change.

    bring on demarchy.

  34. Craig

    You rightly identify that corporate kick-backs play a major part in modern political decision-making. At the same time, you confess your faith in the European model of representative democracy and see it as central to the enactment of liberal values – reaching perhaps greatest prominence in the work of John Rawls.

    .

    Can you not see the contradiction here? If you support a capitalist system, a system that is based on exclusion, social alienation, and mindless consumption, and champion a political structure whose goal is to serve this structure, then surely the virtues of liberal democracy are virtually impossible to achieve? The idea that constitution-making and institution-fixing (central to liberalism) will somehow shelter us from the unruly storm of financial capital is clearly mistaken. It simply misunderstands the power of capital to distort the system, to mitigate the cohesive unity of the social whole, and to lay siege to the institutional integrity of the state.

    .

    The solution posited by most liberals is to say that we need better institutions, equality of opportunity, and limited distributive justice. But this negates the hold that monopolies currently have on government. One cannot have equality of opportunity when one accepts a system that is designed to extinguish its fullest expression. One cannot have distributive justice unless the exogenous pressures of capital accumulation are debated in a serious and studied manner. Moreover, if institutions are largely filled with people from a certain caste – and they are – then how can we create a sufficiently just constitution for all citizens?

    .

    I honestly do not think checks and balances are enough. We need to deal with the corrupting influence of capitalism itself.

    .

    Cheers,

    .

    Gawain.

  35. Ben Franklin

    1 Oct, 2012 - 3:58 pm

    “Only when there are many Independents elected will the failing parties change.”

    IMO, those who vote independent are protest votes against the traditional Parties, and little else.

    The Indies attract the deals when the vote is close, and often the values demonstrated are Party affiliated, especially when the Indie has changed out of his former political suit. That usually result sin the name ‘independent’ becoming just as tainted.

  36. According to one, of many, labour MP,s who was aired on rodeo 5.

    What we need is to pop into B and Q, too get the economy going.

    Sorry the economy will have to stay where it is for now.

    Now where’s that handbook!

  37. Am I naive or is there one good MP, Caroline Lucas?

  38. The more stones you turn over, the more slimy objects you can find.

    I was looking Bridgepoint up in another connection and discovered that Patten, chair BBC trust, and Milburn, ex Nu Labour Health Minister and a stooge for the ConDems, are on the European Board.

    Found this. Next time you hear the BBC slagging off the NHS and finding deficiencies, remember this link. It is disgraceful state of affairs.

    http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/lord-patten-of-barnes-bridgepoint-and.html

    Thursday, 22 March 2012
    BBC chief Lord Patten of Barnes, Bridgepoint and the Conflicts of Interest

    Lord Patten, the current head of the BBC has direct links to a company heavily involved in private healthcare.

    Lord Patten of Barnes is a member of the European Advisory Board for a private equity investment company called Bridgepoint.

    The company who also have Alan Milburn the former Secretary of State for Health under Tony Blair, as chair of the board, have been involved in 17 healthcare deals over recent years listed below. Eight of these companies remain as their current investments, which include four in the UK at a combined investment worth over £1.1 billion.

    One company acquired by Bridgepoint was residential care company CareUK in a £414 million acquisition in July 2010. CareUK made the headlines in the same year when it was revealed their chairman Jonathan Nash had donated £21,000 in November 2009 to run Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s personal office.

    Another deal saw Tunstall, a telehealth company with contracts in the NHS, acquired by Charterhouse Development Company for £555 million; who have another Lord Patten as their senior advisor. Four companies were involved in the transaction, including; Goldman Sachs, Clifford Chance, KPMG, and LEK, three of which have Lords in senior positions. Lord Griffiths is a director at Goldman Sachs; Lord Harris is a senior advisor at KPMG, and Lord Wakeham is an adviser to LEK.

    Further transactions for Bridgepoint and a private healthcare company involved Alliance Medical, who sold the MRI scan company for £600 million to Dubai International LLC in 2007. The sale was a weighty profit, following its original purchase for £90 million, purchase made while Alan Milburn was working at Bridgepoint.

    /..

    PS When I worked at a local district general hospital Alliance were providing diagnostic scans such as PET and CT from mobile scanners. Never could find out the value of the contract but Milburn was on the board at the time when he was an MP and maybe even Health Secretary but I am not sure of my dates for the latter.

    Cameron appointed Milburn to produce a report on social mobility. He knows a lot about job mobility.
    {http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18254219}

  39. If you don’t want political parties funded by rich organisations then there needs to be some form of state funding, and we all know that too.

  40. Frank Bowles above may discover that the NHS is not there, having been eviscerated and left as an acronym for the privateers to use, when he or members of his family need its services.

  41. “My suspicion is that the percentage splits between parties by pollsters are an illusion”

    There’s a doctoral thesis in there, Craig. The Vronsky Conjecture: if you ask people an important question requiring a yes or no answer but to which the answer is both unclear and obfuscated by propaganda, they will divide one third yes, one third no, and one third undecided.

    Apologies for being uncharacteristically on topic.

  42. @mary

    Fascinated by your many links. Reminds me a bit of the Douglas Adams ‘Dirk Gently’ stories (dark jokes about ‘the interconnectedness of all things’). In the spirit of Craig’s post and your own researches perhaps you/we should invent some sort of political Wiki (Clark? You around?). A database of who is owned by whom. My web shortcuts begin with this list(but treat them with caution too):

    sourcewatch
    lobbywatch
    spinwatch
    gmwatch
    powerbase

    I think yours would be ‘moneywatch’.

    Got to make dinner now..mac and cheese.

  43. The 2004 documentary The Corporation also examines the applicability of psychopathic diagnostics to business. It goes through the checklist and shows how businesses strip their employees of common humanity.

    Eminent Canadian law professor and legal theorist Joel Bakan contends the modern business corporation is created by law to function like a psychopathic personality. The Corporation includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics – including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore – plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.

    You can read the script and watch the movie on the website.

  44. http://www.alliancemedical.co.uk/who-we-are/our-story a timeline

    {http://www.alliancemedical.co.uk/who-we-are/our-people} No mention of the UAE owners

    OUR life in THEIR hands.

    [Your Life In Their Hands was a long running series about the National Health Service. How times have changed!]

  45. The ancient Greeks thought electing officials was an aristocratic or oligarchic way to choose officials. In their view, the democratic way to choose them was at random, by lot, like for our juries.

  46. @Ben Franklin. Just because the Scottish example of Conservative default is becoming popular south of the border, this should not mean one should colour all Independent minds with the same party political critical thinking, would you not agree.

    The Greens ideals at the heart of their MFSS are/were decentralising power. Then, after nearly 15 years of desperate attempt of centralisers to barrage any other attempts base bottom up democratic structures and after they’d had the swept uf the refuse of labours membership, principled, but led armchair activists, they felt the need to copulate with the media, desperate to get coverage and changed their structure by adopting a centralised leadership, so don’t think that any party is free from dogma.

    I’m currently working with Greens Conservatives and some very pissed off Lib dems, all absolutely fed up with their parties, that’s how far it got.

    But help me here, are you not supposed to be in the US?

  47. Excellent post Craig. War is still, and illness is becoming, very good business for the PTB, and their enablers.

    Related to the subject of state protected actors like BAe profiting from war and the ‘terrorist threat’ this Telegraph obituary from a couple of days ago was very revealing-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/politics-obituaries/9574988/Edwin-Wilson.html

    Until his downfall, Wilson was a crony of Secord, Clines, Shackley & Ollie North, and lived high on the hog courtesy of his Agency contacts, which were of course played down after his fall from grace.

    I never thought I’d see a neutral reference in the Telegragh (or one which didn’t dismissively apply the ‘conspiracy theory’ tag) to Lester Coleman’s ‘On the Trail of the Octopus’. Very strange.

  48. Good one Craig – back on track.
    At one level it is depressing to read about this cynical and opportunistic looting and pillaging by our leaders (sic); at another,it’s at least evidence that such behaviour is not restricted to one side – we’ve always known about the Tories’ propensity to look out for number 1 – but as someone above observed, surely nobody will be daft enough to be taken in by the Labour label again – or Lib Dem for that matter.
    Question is – what to do when the time comes to vote? Just hope there’s an Independent standing here worth a punt; abstaining would go very much against the grain.

  49. The politicians are, virtually without exception, sickening examples of self-seeking, profiteering and aggrandisement. What astonishes me is that many people apparently think bringing back the first lot of war criminals will make things better : )

    ed balls rubbing shoulders with alan greenspan earlier in the year at high flying wall street shin digs.
    westminster is just an opposing view puppet show for the dumbo’s and the medicated.
    makes the masses feel like change is a comin but it is the same old tired show.

    let us be clear it is not just about wealth creation and future corporate jobs for these rats it is also blackmail based on video,foto and audio recordings.
    on a side note but kind of connected.

    who was protecting now then now then wicked uncle jimmy and why where they protecting him and not the kids.
    could it be they where all members of the same old mens club.

    http://leahmcgrathgoodman.com/tag/orphanage/

  50. My father was killed by the NHS. He went into hospital for a routine operation, caught an infection that he didn’t originally have and died, by all accounts, a pretty horrible death. I never saw him before he died because, in those days a few years ago, I still had faith in the NHS.
    .
    I cannot forgive the NHS for that now. I have private medical insurance, paid for out of my own pocket, so that hopefully I will never have to have an operation in an NHS hospital.
    .
    Many other countries, including socialist countries like France, have a mixture of private and public healthcare. If it works in other countries, why can’t it work in Britain? I am not going to sacrifice my own health for ideological principle. You can if you want to.

  51. what was fukyuppyshima.
    why are som many nuke plants allowed to leak.
    why is cancer treatment and cancer care all over tv and radio advertising.
    why in a post modern world is cancer a major growth area.
    because cancer cannot be allowed to be cured.
    why would you want to destroy a trillion dollar industry.
    problem nuke power station leaks,depleted uranium missile fall out gone global
    reaction cancers
    solution trillion dollar pharma and medical industries to help make you better or kill you trying.

  52. Wendy,

    Ed is no Zionist although he is a non-religious Jew. It’s his brother David that’s the Zionist.

    He managed to upset the “usual suspects” at the Labour Party Conference in 2010.

    http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/39155/serious-concerns-about-ed-miliband

    During his conference address in Manchester last week, the 40-year-old told delegates they must “strain every sinew” to make Israel end the naval blockade of Gaza and said “the attack on the Gaza flotilla was so wrong”.

    Jewish Labour supporters believe they must come to terms with Mr Miliband taking a different approach from that of staunchly pro-Israel former leaders Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

    Senior figures within the Labour Friends of Israel group admitted to “serious concerns” about his election as leader. One LFI member said: “We have got Ed whether we like it or not.”

  53. Mark
    The delegation with Rabbi Weiss that showed such respect to President Ahmedinejad puts to shame all of those who pretend not to understand the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Zionism is political, like political Islam, which works WITH political USUKIS to increase its own power and prosperity. Judaism is spiritual.The Jews pray in exactly the same manner as the Muslims are instructed to do, standing, bowing and in prostration.

    Allah explains in the Qur’an that the only reason why he left people out of the fold of Islam was to demonstrate to the Muslims how evil, how unbelievably corrupt and evil people could become if left to their own devices.

    What I see of my Muslim brothers in the UK, but not so much in kurdistan where I am on holiday, is the Muslims rushing at full speed to copy all of the detestable habits of the non-Muslims, lying, spying, corruption, dirty sexual politics and straight religious hypocrisy and falsehood.

    Do they think that these things are somehow acceptable under the camouflage of a non-Muslim country? Yes, they think that they have to play the same dirty games to survive.

    Allah answers this in the Qur’an. For those who will claim that they were unable to practise Islam properly, without lying, spying, cheating etc in the non-Muslim countries – double punishment. Firstly for not practising Islam and secondly for not showing the non-Muslims an example of Islam.

    Who else is there to do it but them?

  54. ed ball der dash
    Deepening recession shows why Cameron & Osborne need to change course

    change course always the opposite ying and yang bullshit for the sheeple.

    27 Jun 2007, Balls was promoted to Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.
    maybe he knows what happened to the missing children of jersey?

    these guys never stop…
    ed balls at a little new york shindig.
    probably working out rothchilds policy for the next rotten government.
    this scumbag should be sorting out street cleaning and local disputes at his Morley and Outwood constituency not swanning around new york.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQWgVUvn85o

  55. Nextus

    The Muslim owned company I have just been sacked from utilised a particularly nasty assessment form.
    Productivity. 10 – 7 [ ] 6 – 4 [X] 3 – 0 [ ]
    Punctuality . 10 – 7 [ ] 6 – 4 [X] 3 – 0 [ ]
    Integrity. 10 – 7 [ ] 6 – 4 [ ] 3 – 0 [X]
    Communication.10 – 7 [ ] 6 – 4 [ ] 3 – 0 [X]
    Sociability. 10 – 7 [ ] 6 – 4 [ ] 3 – 0 [X]

    Sign or lose your job.

  56. @guano

    “Who else is there to do it but them?”

    Er – us, actually. Hate to worry you or your pal Allah (who if you won’t mind me saying, seems to have anger problems) but infidels are not few in number. Loved the punishment stuff, though! Right into that. Send me your phone number.

  57. @Craig

    What you describe is not new. It’s the same old story.

    If you held any hope that Obama would be anything but what he is then you were duped. If you think the politicians of your wished for European super state will be any different then you are allowing yourself to still be duped.

    Your analysis is again sharp but why do you think a change of personnel or borderlines would change anything? It hasn’t before.

    There is nothing to salvage from a system in which we repeatedly delegate political responsibility to a few who are repeatedly corrupt or corruptible.

  58. Not sure if this has already been posted but the stench of rottenness is overpowering. See Lord Carter of Coles and the American company McKesson and Nick Carter of the think tank Reform.

    Was the BBC’s coverage of the NHS bill biased and distorted?
    Open Democracy’s report has found significant evidence of serious omissions in the public broadcaster’s reporting

    Oliver Huitson
    guardian.co.uk, Monday 1 October 2012 16.11 BST
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/01/bbc-coverage-nhs-bill

  59. Sadly I find that Eoin Clarke of The Green Benches is deeply embedded in the current Labour party.
    ‘Founded @labourleft & Editor of The Green Benches & Red Book. Fiancé to @leftiehistorian’
    https://twitter.com/DrEoinClarke

    His fiancee is Rebecca Dunlop
    Labour. History PhD student studying Black Panther Women/Marxist Feminism. Partner @dreoinclarke Proud to be a Labour Party member #EdM4PM

    He says:

    @chunkymark. Blairites did their best to ruin the NHS but they’re the past. Ed + Andy will 100% repeal the NHS Bill
    ~~~~~

    If he really believes that, well!

  60. technicolour

    1 Oct, 2012 - 8:38 pm

    Hello all: on topic for this and Europe strand: Corporate Europe Observatory are very good on the strength of the lobbyists in Brussels, and the vested interests which shape our current world.

  61. O/T but of interest. Worth knowing about, even though a number of us on this board have reservations about its ‘humanitarian intervention’ policies. Avaaz propose to get into journalism – and to be fair to them, their response to the ‘Muslim Rage’ propaganda was timely and sensible:

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/avaaz_becomes_the_media

  62. BrusselsLout

    1 Oct, 2012 - 8:38 pm

    Whenever I read a blog like this I ask myself “Where’s Newsnight? Where’s Channel 4? Where’s The Independent?”. Bloggers are doing the job of the press, while the latter form the propaganda machine for the government. Deeply worrying.

    The fact politicians are shrewd top-educated gangsters should be shocking the nation into anger. But all I see is oblivious complacency from the public. Even more worrying.

    Politicians, of course, know it. The fact that they continue to treat us with this level contempt speaks volumes on how safe they feel from being widely exposed, let alone any legal response.

  63. Hello @technicolour, trust you’re well. Good to see you popping in!

  64. quote
    Whenever I read a blog like this I ask myself “Where’s Newsnight? Where’s Channel 4? Where’s The Independent?”. Bloggers are doing the job of the press.

    looking for the bbc and all the other gob msm shites.

    seek out the fine restaurants and cozy bars of w1.
    pop down to chatham house.
    you will find plenty of script conferences going on.
    those newsnight folks have to stay on message.

    who controls chatham house that is the question.
    the bbc are forever wheeling out chatham house specialists.
    one last year said fukishima was unfortunate but really a minor issue.
    nice to know the bbc are keeping it real.

  65. Great post!

    Serco was also one of the biggest beneficiaries for software contracts for our recent new Academies and Free schools too.

    http://www.serco.com/markets/education/schools/index.asp

  66. Vronsky

    Craig is saying there’s not enough anger. Would you not like a bit of Divine wrath to fall on the shameless and powerful? Or are you one of the happy chilled?

  67. Anon 1 Oct, 2012 – 8:23 pm

    +1 from me for slipping in a mention of chunky mark.

  68. Patten’s Register of Interests
    http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/lords/christopher-patten/28731

    1: Directorships
    Non-executive Director, Russell Reynolds Associates Inc (company research)

    2: Remunerated employment, office, profession etc.
    Chairman of the BBC Trust

    Member, European Advisory Board, Bridgepoint (private equity group)

    Member, EDF Stakeholder Advisory Panel (electricity)

    Occasional income from writing and speaking engagements

    Member, International Advisory Board of BP (energy)

    Adviser, Hutchison Europe (telecomms, property, transport)

    10: Non-financial interests (b)
    Chancellor, Oxford University

    Member, Board of Overseers, Sabanci University, Istanbul

    Advisory Board Member, St Benedict’s School, London

    Member, Prime Minister’s Business Ambassador Network

    10: Non-financial interests (e)
    International Adviser, Praemium Imperiale, Japan Art Association

    Co-chair, India-UK Roundtable

    Co-chair, Italy-UK Annual Conference

    Member of Advisory Council, The Hague Institute for Global Justice

  69. Chunky Mark. Not your typical teacher.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/chunkymark

  70. O/T. Six UK citizens face extradition to a country, the United States, which has no reciprocal agreement to extradite to the UK. As well as this imbalance the United States has an increasingly deplorable record on human rights. One of those due to be extradited is the poet, Tahla Ahsan. I have set up a Facebook page for poets, writers and artists to oppose extradition and try English subjects in an English Court.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/371661099578187/?fref=ts

  71. technicolour

    1 Oct, 2012 - 10:38 pm

    @jon: oh, you know, surviving :)

    ++1 for Chunky Mark/Artist Taxidriver: breath of (diesel) air, always. Loved his artists’ rant and also his bail out one.

  72. Ginger Nuts (was: Wagon Wheels)

    1 Oct, 2012 - 10:47 pm

    “A truly horrible example of how corporate interests own our politicians and control government policy”

    Still coming to terms with totalitarian fascism parading as democracy? Don’t worry, you can replace them at the next election with the previous lot – you’re totally free to choose between red or blue.

    The funny thing is that when the last lot were in power (and for many years) they left the country in a total mess. Now, after just two years in the ‘wilderness’, they apparently have all the answers to all the problems they created. Utter bullshit so it is.

    It’s the political system that needs reforming because the banks will not pay politicians to reform the banks will they?

    [Mod/Jon: posted as Wagon Wheels, but has posted in the past under Ginger Nuts, so fixing]

  73. “The delegation with Rabbi Weiss that showed such respect to President Ahmedinejad puts to shame all of those who pretend not to understand the difference between Zionism and Judaism.”

    That is exactly why I felt a strong need to post the link Guano – Thank-you for lifting the emotion – a very powerful post.

  74. Simon Wood, 1 Oct, 2012 – 12:12 pm

    Welcome / Bienvenue. As you might have gathered from the lack of response, the ground is not ready yet for the seeds of Direct Democracy to take root on this forum. Mostly we engage in lively debate about “Who is to blame?” here. Few have moved on to “What must be done?”. Even fewer realise that although they may disagree about who is to blame, they could agree on what must be done. Truly, we (collectively) deserve our rulers :-)

    I look forward to reading your book / blog – though in my instance you are preaching to the converted. I’ve been extolling the relative virtues of true democracy versus shamocracy for a couple of years here, with limited success. Weldone on writing a book on this btw, I has been a pipe-dream of mine, too, to gather in one place all of my thoughts on the subject. Perhaps one day when my primary purpose in life (replication vehicle for a bunch of genes) takes up less of my “leisure” time..

    Incidentally our host is one of those who have absorbed the erroneous idea that Direct Democracy is ‘mob rule’. I would love to know how this propaganda is planted in the minds of people. I have heard this objection many times, often from people who have not spent 5 minutes in their entire life thinking about what constitutes democracy, yet they have this reflexive distrust of their fellow human beings. Never mind, there is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come, according to Victor Hugo. Perhaps give it another 100 years or so. I am quite Marxist in one respect – I think popular sovereignty is a historical inevitability. It’s just the way it will come about is a mystery to me.

    You suggest a mode of implementation that “requires people to vote directly”. If compulsory voting is implied then I disagree strongly. Compulsory voting not only adds nothing to democracy, it creates a potential danger of a flippant insouciant vote by those who care little about the outcome and are easily swayed therefore by superficial arguments and sleek advertising. BUT, crucially it does not matter what I think – because Direct Democracy is self-righting. If a flaw is perceived in the system, all it takes to fix it is an Initiative Referendum.

    Also, doing away with Parliament would be throwing away the baby with the bath water. Efficiency gains resulting from representation are massive, and the underlying problem is not representation itself but the corrupting effects of impunity. Remove the perception of impunity by introducing strong feedback mechanisms such as Initiative, Referendum and Recall and we will have a very different Parliament to the nest of rent-seeking vipers that we have today (with notable exceptions).

  75. tony roma
    1 Oct, 2012 – 6:21 pm
    “why are som many nuke plants allowed to leak.
    why is cancer treatment and cancer care all over tv and radio advertising.
    why in a post modern world is cancer a major growth area.
    because cancer cannot be allowed to be cured.
    why would you want to destroy a trillion dollar industry.
    problem nuke power station leaks,depleted uranium missile fall out gone global
    reaction cancers
    solution trillion dollar pharma and medical industries to help make you better or kill you trying.”

    Hmm, a global conspiracy at work. Or, could it be that whilst the probability of eventual death has stubbornly remained at unity, the constituent probabilities of dying by infectious disease, malnutrition etc have diminished following advances in modern medicine and the general standards of living, leaving the “diseases of old age” to make up the shortfall back to unity. This would certainly look like an “epidemic” of diseases of old age, most notably cancer. Is this too simple?

  76. Ben Franklin

    2 Oct, 2012 - 2:17 am

    “I’m currently working with Greens Conservatives and some very pissed off Lib dems, all absolutely fed up with their parties, that’s how far it got.”

    Yes, Nevermind. I’m in California. But one shouldn’t conflate the Rule, to the Exception to the Rule.

    I am quite often criticized for ‘blanket’ appraisals, but I believe the situation in US is close to my expression. Hence, my previous question as to the culture in UK, and how it compares.

  77. Evgueni: Give us a break. Far from not being ready for Direct Democracy (inc), we know only too well that immediate, summary justice and decisions – by the masses, on the spot – doesn’t serve humanity well at all. You’re condescending to the wrong crowd.

    You say, in a rather snide fashion I might add, “Incidentally our host is one of those who have absorbed the erroneous idea that Direct Democracy is ‘mob rule’. I would love to know how this propaganda is planted in the minds of people.

    One might get this notion from observing mobs in action. From noting that capital punishment would be reintroduced if put to a referendum, that most wars are largely popular regardless of its merit, that stupidity and fear is the primary motivation to the actions of a damned large majority.

    You need only observe the simple fact that religious delusions are respected and institutionalised if not actually practiced, to see that a general wisdom simply does not exist.

    It also seems you’ve got a touch of religion about this “Direct Democracy” of yours. You say, “If a flaw is perceived in the system, all it takes to fix it is an Initiative Referendum.” That’s wonderful. Shame the electorate didn’t even have the sense to vote for a form of proportional representation/AV in the last referendum, as just one example of how this “fix” of yours never even starts to get off the ground.

    Do you take into account, in the slightest way, the effect mass media and monied interests would sway this Holy Direct Democracy, by making any object either a work of the devil, or the only thing that could possibly save us?

    Get over yourself just a teensy bit, and you might have your half-baked notions knocked into some sort of shape. This group is a forgiving lot, on the whole.

  78. evgueni

    keep taking the bill gates big pharma jabs.
    or may i suggest you are in the same industry as shipman.

    read a book called murder by injection.
    pretty boring and some wild conspiracy within.
    but what is of great interest is the interconnection between wall street,the city of london and nuclear,big pharma and hospital industries.
    rotten and unhealthy state of affairs.
    now go take your chicken virus shot now.

  79. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNUq0fm5EOA&list=UUGThM-ZZBba1Zl9rU-XeR-A&index=4&feature=plcp

    Chunky Mark on Miliband and the NHS. At the beginning, the ‘man with the magic balloon’ referred to is Branson and his Assura outfit.

    McGowan (the taxi driver) is spot on. This in the Independent yesterday:

    Labour to embrace David Cameron’s ‘big society’

    Ed Miliband has described it as a “failure” while his Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said it was just a “big con”.

    But now it has emerged that Labour is ready to embrace David Cameron’s much maligned concept of the ‘big society’ as part of its forthcoming policy review.

    Members of the Shadow Cabinet are to meet for party “away day” in two weeks to sign off on a programme of policy development which will form the basis of Labour’s manifesto for the 2015 General Election.

    /,,
    {http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-to-embrace-david-camerons-big-society-8192956.html}

  80. Another scam is arising to relieve those left working of their revenues and to line the pockets of the banksters a little more.

    As I thought – held in equities. John Hutton now Lord Hutton ex nuLabour was the fixer. Gideon invited him to chair the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission. One can imagine the conversations. \A nice flow of Joe Bloggs’ 5.8% into the City*, in fact a nice little earner. Any warning about ‘the value of your pension pot can go down as well as up’? and note the rapid start.

    NEST Foundation phase – The first phase is designed to get you used to the idea of saving. We will take some risks to give your money a good chance of staying ahead of the rising cost of living and to cover the charges that are applied to the fund. At the same time, we aim to avoid doing things that would be likely to cause the value of your pot to fall a lot.

    http://www.nestpensions.org.uk/schemeweb/NestWeb/public/NESTforSavers/contents/managing-your-pot.html

    See growth phase.

    Will the 99% revolt? Not yet. Chunky Mark ought to see this. I somehow know this will be a scam.

    * See {http://www.nestpensions.org.uk/schemeweb/NestWeb/includes/public/docs/briefing-note-low-charges,PDF.pdf} Lots of garbage here. Pie charts. Nice colour scheme. The full monty.

    Reduction in retirement pot due
    to charges at NEST’s level 5.8% !!!!

  81. Over the last nine months I have been fortunate to have had the support and assistance of an extraordinarily talented group of people within the Commission. I want to thank each of them for the help they have given me. I would also like to thank my panel of experts (Ron Amy, Professor Nicholas Barr, Lord Michael Bichard, Professor David Blake, Niki Cleal, Baroness Jeannie Drake, Carl Emmerson, Professor John Hills and Professor Alasdair Smith)for their comments and contributions. What appears in the pages that follow are of course my conclusions alone. But I strongly believe they hold out the prospect of managing rather than succumbing to the powerful forces of change that are requiring individuals, companies and Governments all over the world to re-think their approach to pensions.

    http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/hutton_final_100311.pdf

    Signed Milord John Hutton of Furness
    10 March 2011
    Independent Public Service Pensions Commission: Final Report

  82. One of the entries in the Turner Prize includes a sculpture of excrement!! The Guardian here is too coy to mention it.

    ‘The one exception is Paul Noble who is showing five new pencil drawings and marble sculptures from a long-running project in which he depicts the fictional place Nobson Newtown.

    But Curtis said they were “very representative of the works for which he was nominated”.

    Noble was immediately made 5/4 favourite to win the £25,000 prize by bookmaker William Hill. A spokesman said: “Paul has attracted over 90% of the early money and if this trend continues he could well become the shortest priced favourite in the history of Turner prize betting.”‘

    But you can rely on the Soaraway Sun

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4566815/Plop-Art-This-pile-of-poo-is-favourite-for-25k-Turner-Prize.html

    although I quite liked the handle of their Art Critic Jackson Pillock, LOL

  83. Glenn 2 Oct, 2012 – 3:24 am
    “Evgueni: Give us a break. Far from not being ready for Direct Democracy (inc), we know only too well that immediate, summary justice and decisions – by the masses, on the spot – doesn’t serve humanity well at all.”

    Direct democracy is not the answer, but some form of more direct democracy will most likely be part of the answer. In fact there are examples where direct democracy has served humanity very well. Sure, if we merely bolted on referendum onto our present power structures then not a lot would change.

    To suggest that direct democracy must be rule by idiotic, cruel, untrustworthy masses is a depressingly elitist view.

  84. Technicolour 1 Oct, 2012 – 10:38 pm
    “Chunky Mark/Artist Taxidriver”

    I knew Chunky Mark was a cabbie and a teacher. I had no idea he is an artist as well.

  85. Agree absolutely with Evgueni’s post.

    BTW, why should ‘popular initiatives’/referenda lead to mob rule? Switzerland seems to manage pretty well.

    But on the other hand, Switzerland has a pretty educated public.

  86. Hi Evgueni, good to see your thoughts, you have put your finger on the British calamity, their inability to think small, to be responsible for one’s own local decision, the engrained genetic party membership handed down from their forefather who went down the pit, into the office, always voted for…., blah blah.

    Or could it be sheer lazyness? too much salt on the butter? utter disinterest due to the existing political dogma merchant, or….

    in reality they are still the same slaves the Vikings took them for, in which case they will be asking for more fish and salt and grain, instead of a more efficient accountable fairly elected Government.

    sigh….

  87. “Labour to embrace David Cameron’s ‘big society’”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-19785134

  88. technicolour

    2 Oct, 2012 - 12:18 pm

    I think anyone who has any interest in politics must agree that, since it is of, and for the people, allowing the people as a whole to decide on national and local issues has to be the only honest way to go. It is strange that, despite my general affection for the public, I get some kind of instinctive fear from the idea. Perhaps it is that fear of ‘the mob’. But in fact, people would be able to decide on their own individual consciences: this is not a rabble rousing exercise. And one can reflect that we would not have attacked Afghanistan; we would not have attacked Iraq; we would have taxed the rich; we would not have bailed out the banks; we would not have supported these cuts.

    I think there are caveats: the media, for one thing. Opinions change, depending on how much Fox News you watch or how much Daily Mailstrom you read. I’m not sure what one would do about that – except engage in distributing the reality. Which people would be more inclined to, if they were empowered.

  89. RIP Eric Hobsbawm :-(

    But on a brighter note, Monbiot identifies a nexus of opinion which may be susceptible to determined attack:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/01/rightwing-insurrection-usurps-democracy

    The side with the most effective (not necessarily the most expensive) PR will ultimately win. Regardless of ideology.

  90. Oh, and while I was there… (O/T)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/01/wikileaks-sweden-pirate-bay

    Secrecy of Swedish pretrial procedure here.

  91. Coe cosies up to Labour just in case they get in next time. He has to keep all options open for his planned rise to become the ruler of the world.

    London 2012: Lord Coe thanks Labour for Olympics support
    (photo) Lord Coe is a former Conservative MP

    Lord Coe has called for cross-party support to ensure the London Olympics leave a successful legacy.

    [..]
    Appearing in Manchester, Lord Coe paid tribute in particular to Ms Jowell, who remained a key figure in the organising team after Labour lost power in 2010.

    “We could not have got across the line without you,” he told her.

    /..
    What a creep.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19790046

  92. Let’s just call it institutional corruption. Let’s just face the fact, our soi-disant leaders are as much the beneficiaries of(discreet) bribery as those of any of the banana republics we used to laugh at in the 60’s. They’re corrupt. They’re bent. They’re on the take. No greater understanding of the situation of the situation is necessary, and documentation of their colossal mendacity is superfluous because you can take it as a given, and they will barely bother to shrug. They’re in your face and they’re upfront (if discreet) about it, because what the fuck can you do about it, plebs?
    Nothing, Nevermind. Nothing, Mark. Nothing, Komodo. The system can effortlessly absorb your aspirations to change the world, whether by bribery, marginalisation or state terrorism.

    Unless you’re al-Qaeda, that is. It’s that bad.

  93. Thanks for that Komodo and technicolour. This talk of mob rule is merely fear of the unknown. There would be no mob rul;e if the current shower would have their party dogmas diluted with more down to earth sense and practicalities.

    putting our face in voting, when the voting system is ancient unreformed and prone to fraud has shown to a receipe for making jibes at each other, it provoked political mob rule on either side of the arguments, a total status quo game show.

    If there is any indication of mob rule in this country it is by political factions who gerrymander it for their own purposes.

    Decentralisation of powers to the smallest possible level, subsidiarity, directly dealing with Brussels from the regions, rather than via manipulations from party apparatchiks in London, has got to show a way forward.

    The overbearing waste in public services happens at the centre, politicians gambling/underwriting risky arms deals to the tune of hundreds of billion/annum, for example, central logistics is full of mistakes, so why prop up a festering system?

    because we can’t live without our national party politics, its leaders, the establishment?

  94. Western stooge loses election. ‘Tycoon’ Bidzina Ivanishvili wins it. Presumably he will be equally West friendly.

    Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili admits election loss
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19798323

  95. glenn, 2 Oct, 2012 – 3:24 am

    Spoken like a true arm-chair intellectual supremacist. Or did I catch you in a bad mood? The Swiss don’t seem to be going around lynching people, are they genetically different from us, or culturally much more advanced? I use Switzerland as an example but DD has taken root elsewhere, too. Uruguay, Venezuela, numerous European states have adopted some elements of it at state level. German lendes and US states have it at local g’ment level. Find some evidence to back up your reflexive objections, please.

    You misunderstood the other bit, the self-correction mechanism. Of course media play a role, and I have written about that elsewhere. That is why I choose my words carefully – *perceived* problem. If a problem is not perceived, e.g. because of media misdirection, then democracy is subverted, direct, representative or hybrid. I speak of the *relative* virtues of DD, not of its absolute superiority in some religious sense.

  96. Mob rule seems to be working quite well in Iceland.

    Mob rule: Iceland crowdsources its next constitution

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/09/iceland-crowdsourcing-constitution-facebook

  97. Re. Switzerland:
    Funny how the financial services sector there seems to benefit the population at large, innit? AND just about everyone has a rifle….

  98. Gratuitous afterthought: We know they’re screwing us. We – or some of us – know how and why they’re screwing us. Useful information, but how do we stop them screwing us?

  99. Ben, 1 Oct, 3:06 pm

    “I have been mystified, for decades, at the voting habits of the working classes who make those decisions against their own best interests. “

    Short answer: the corporate media.

    Longer answer: the corporate media on the one hand, irrational conspiracy theorising on the other. Between then, these two neutralise most of the human goodwill when it comes to the ballot box.

  100. Ben Franklin

    2 Oct, 2012 - 4:42 pm

    Clark; Howdy.

    Yes, low-info, low-curiosity voters is part of it. But, taken from the other thread is the ‘belief system’. I think it’s the putative conservative mirroring of their religious values, that makes the difference for a lot of voters. Libs are seen as godless atheists, so they have that going for them.

    Media has a role in that, but to think they are just, as a class, ignorant and stupid doesn’t really fit.

    There is that group-think thing, that the Media reinforces, and when people vote like a mob at a lynching, it’s a clusterfuck of stupid. I’m reminded of a line from a film ( Men in Black) “A person is smart, but People are stupid.”

  101. Ben Franklin

    2 Oct, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    sorry. I forgot to *** the expletive.

  102. Ginger Nuts (was: Wagon Wheels)

    2 Oct, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    “Labour to embrace David Cameron’s ‘big society’”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-19785134

    In other news Tory, Labour and Lib-Dems have agreed on a cost cutting merger. They will now be collectively know as simply ‘The Puppet Government’. This decision will not affect local or national elections so please keep voting – this is a democracy after all.

    [Mod/Jon: posted as Wagon Wheels, but has posted in the past under Ginger Nuts, so fixing]

  103. greenmachine

    2 Oct, 2012 - 6:46 pm

    Craig is right to rage and to the doubters I say …shame on you! A very close friend is very high up in the NHS and he passes me snippets. He told me over the summer that a summit of NHS execs has been told that the DELIVERY of services from the NHS commissioning bodies will be ALL from private providers within 5 years! The plan ensures the mantra ‘ free at the point of use’ can be maintained via the public commissioners, essentially your local GP. EVERYTHING else will by contracted to private companies many alluded to on this thread. Branson’s virgin has signed a deal to deliver community and health visiting services in a major NHS trust area in the south already. Watch those wages fall, working hours escalate, quality of care evaporate, accountability disappear……but there will be plenty of profit..oh joy!

  104. A documentary of interviews with folk who took part in the outbreak of direct democracy in Spain, 1936.

    “Living Utopia (The Anarchists & The Spanish Revolution)”

    http://youtu.be/jPl_Y3Qdb7Y

  105. Kom at 3.42 – just watch and wait – or chill as they say – comeuppance will come.

  106. Komodo, 2 Oct, 2012 – 2:16 pm

    Re: Swiss financial sector. You reminded me of this – from Article 99 of the Swiss constitution: “.. At least two thirds of the net profits of the Swiss National Bank shall be credited to the Cantons.”

    I know Central Bank profits is far from the whole story, but this demonstrates nicely the benefit of having a written constitution. When every progressive victory, no matter how incremental, is recorded like this in one place, it is easier to educate people about their rights and harder to persuade them to part with them – a very effective ratchet mechanism.

  107. Ben Franklin

    2 Oct, 2012 - 11:03 pm

    “it is easier to educate people about their rights and harder to persuade them to part with them”

    THIS !!!

    Social Security in the US is a prime example. The average American often doesn’t even connect the government to this benefit, yet they are totally addicted to the results.

  108. tony roma, 2 Oct, 2012 – 4:18 am

    No thanks. Eustace Clarence Mullins, Jr. (the author, Murder by Injection) is “generally regarded as one of the most influential authors in the genre of conspiracism” (Wikipedia). He apparently thought that the Illuminati were “merely a link in a much longer chain that extends back to the ancient Near East and forward to the nascent communist movement of the early Marx” (again, Wikipedia). His strong antisemitic views are also noted. ‘Nuff said.

    You know, being innumerate is not a crime, but it is a handicap as it can make you easy prey to all sorts of purveyors of anxiety. The rest of your post appears to be garbled..

  109. Ginger Nuts (was: Wagon Wheels)

    2 Oct, 2012 - 11:37 pm

    “but this demonstrates nicely the benefit of having a written constitution.”

    And the United States’ constitution demonstrates nicely the irrelevance of having a written constitution when people don’t read or understand it.

    “It’s just a piece of paper.” GW Bush.

    [Mod/Jon: posted as Wagon Wheels, but has posted in the past under Ginger Nuts, so fixing]

  110. technicolour, 2 Oct, 2012 – 12:18 pm

    Agree strongly with your post. Regarding last paragraph – caveats, what I find encouraging is a thread that runs consistently through Noam Chomsky’s work where he asserts and backs up with evidence that the American public in general radically disagree with the ruling elite views on many big political questions like wars, Palestinian occupation, provision of public healthcare etc – in spite of the horribly pro-establishment US popular media. Personally, the US television media make our own propaganda organs look refined and subtle. It seems the people are not easily fooled.

  111. Good editorial in the MS on Milipede Jnr’s aspirations

    Skating over the real issues
    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/news/content/view/full/124593

    in contrast to
    Tories and hacks from right-wing papers are queuing up to praise Ed’s “no notes” speech to Labour conference in Manchester — they’ve even cracked open the Tony Blair comparisons:

    {http://politicalscrapbook.net/2012/10/ed-miliband-conference-speech-2012/}

  112. Evgueni: Yes, you did catch me in a bad mood, sorry.

  113. The President the US never had, Cynthia McKinney.

    Cynthia McKinney On Leadership
    by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

    Those who have followed the Republican campaign for the presidential nomination and current contest between Romney and Obama know that the United States has no political leadership in Washington.

    Billions of dollars have been spent on political propaganda, but not a single important issue has been addressed. The closest the campaign has come to a political issue is which candidate can grovel the lowest at the feet of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu. Romney won that contest. But for the rest, well, it is like two elementary school children sticking their tongues out at one another.

    The question of US political leadership has been on my mind for some time. I can remember when political leadership still existed and when bipartisan cooperation could be mustered on enough issues to keep the country and the government functioning.

    /..
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/02/cynthia-mckinney-on-leadership/

  114. Thanks, Rose and Evgueni. Good point re. written constitution. Though easier to implement in a small cohesive community like Switzerland than a sprawling disparate one like the USA, I think. There’s what a geek might call a meta-issue there which deserves exploration: what does the Swiss constitution work quite well while the US one (and its cosmetic imitators elsewhere) still favours the ripoff and the scam? Ben Franklin – you helped with the Constitution, what say you?

  115. *damn*
    Read “why does the..” for “what does the..” above. Lizard. Brain not warmed up yet. Sorry.

  116. Yes also to what Wagon Wheels said. But it’s not just that, is it?

  117. Branson’s lobby for Virgin Trains has succeeded in derailing the West Coast line franchise. He’s doing very well with his Assura ‘health’ brand too.

    West Coast Main Line deal scrapped after contract flaws discovered
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19809717#

  118. “Last year, Southern Cross, the largest care home company in the UK, with 750 homes housing 31,000 people, went bankrupt. Using the “sale and lease-back” model whereby the company’s properties were sold off and then leased back, CEOs and shareholders were involved in an asset-stripping operation that made them millions.”

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/oct2012/elde-o03.shtml

  119. Still o/t:
    http://www.standard.co.uk/news/mets-bill-for-embassy-watch-on-assange–hits-1million-8192779.html

    Makes you proud to be a taxpayer, but I’m sure G4S could have done it cheaper.
    rofl.

  120. Oh I see. It was the civil servants wot dunnit. They have been well and truly dumped on. If true, shouldn’t Ms Greening resign? The awarding of these rail franchises is a very flawed process anyway.

    ‘The transport secretary said there were “significant technical flaws” in the bidding process because of mistakes by Department for Transport staff. Three civil servants have been suspended.

    The estimated cost of reimbursing four companies for the cost of their bids will be £40m, Patrick McLoughlin said.’

    Update from the same link as above.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19809717#

    I cannot find any words from Greening on TheyWorkForYou announcing the awarding of the contract to First Group in August???

  121. I will have to excuse myself from commenting regularly for the next month and a bit. Rather busy with trying to change this’ shower’ as Ed likes to call them , with some Independents.
    If any of you have any ambitions in next years County council elections, I know its not glamorous enough for the ex establishment but… please realise that you could wish of no better springboard for your efforts next year, then to support an Independent candidate this year.

    If you have the luxury of an Independent candidate for Police and Crime commissioner election of 15.th. Nov., please do bother voting at least, if you can’t be bothered to tear yourself away from this ever so important blog and help these Independent candidate’s.
    Beware of the default ones.

  122. The announcement that Virgin Assura got the job reads like an endorsement/job reference for them.

    http://www.dorset.nhs.uk/Default.aspx.LocID-00knew056.RefLocID-00k002004001005.Lang-EN.htm

    from the ‘News’ section

    All done and dusted. Compliant and complacent patients probably felt that there was no point in objecting and to accept the inevitable.

  123. Jon Sopel to FirstGroup’s Tim O’Toole just now on News 24 ‘Do you really think you are going to win the West Coast line?’ with the emphasis on ‘you’ followed by some jeering aside at the drop in the price of FirstGroup’s shares.

    Outrageous and obvious bias for Branson.

  124. “I cannot find any words from Greening on TheyWorkForYou announcing the awarding of the contract to First Group in August???”

    Mary,

    In the middle of the page, small print.

    “When the franchise was handed to First Group the then Transport Secretary Justine Greening insisted the government would push on with a process it insisted had been robust and fair – in the face of angry objections by Virgin, the Labour Party and the thousands of people who signed a petition calling for the bid to be reconsidered.

    She lost her job in the reshuffle. The new Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, told the Commons as recently as 12 September he was satisfied all bids were considered fairly and with “due diligence”.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19817798

  125. Cruel and inhuman..

    “ESA may be stopped for claimants who appeal”

    http://dwpexamination.org/forum/general-discussion/esa-may-be-stopped-for-claimants-who-appeal/#p57669

    Its inhuman

  126. The five largest UK banks are closing one branch every two days, HSBC being the worst offender.

  127. Mealy mouthed Mr Burnham, ex NuLabour, now new-wonder-wash, whiter-than-white, NEW LABOUR

    Andy Burnham has vowed to reverse the “rapid” privatisation of NHS hospitals in England if Labour wins power.

    The shadow health secretary warned that some NHS hospitals were planning to double the number of private patients they treat under new freedoms.

    In a speech to Labour’s conference, he said the coalition risked destroying the character of the NHS that David Cameron had promised to protect.

    Labour has not ruled out all competition to provide NHS services.

    /..

    Labour conference: Andy Burnham vows to scrap NHS market
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19802234

    The headline here is untrue.

  128. Glenn,
    I wasn’t in the highest of spirits myself which must have reflected in my post somehow. Fighting a cold, I reckon.

  129. Komodo, 3 Oct, 2012 – 8:34 am
    “..why does the Swiss constitution work quite well while the US one (and its cosmetic imitators elsewhere) still favours the ripoff and the scam?”

    A fascinating question, since the Swiss “piece of paper” was inspired and modelled on the US one as I understand. I have a view on this – I think that the difference is that the Swiss are not powerless to stop abuses of their constitutional rights, whereas the Americans can only stand by and watch since there are no direct democratic instruments available at federal level in the US.

  130. A catalogue. Just two examples.

    On ‘news’ for 1 Oct a PFI hospital is going ahead in Liverpool in spite of the recent adverse publicity on PFI

    Go-ahead imminent for £425m PFI rebuild.

    NHS North of England this week said it hoped to see final government approvals secured by the end of this month for a £425m rebuild of the Royal Liverpool Hospital, funded largely through the private finance initiative. The strategic health authority cluster approved the appointment business case for the scheme on 13 September. It now needs approvals from the Department of Health and the Treasury to go ahead. An NHS North of England spokeswoman told HSJ: “We’re hoping all approvals can be secured by the end of September.” A spokeswoman for Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust said the trust expected final approvals within “the next few weeks”, and would then be in a position to announce the chosen PFI bidder and the final design of the new hospital. Two bidders have been shortlisted for the PFI contract: Carillion and Horizon. According to an NHS North of England board paper, the scheme will require £293m of the capital costs to be raised by the PFI contractor and £117m by the trust itself. The trust’s annual “unitary payments” for the PFI would begin at £32.5m, but would be index linked to inflation, meaning that by 2018-19 the estimated payment would be £34.9m. However, the paper adds that there is the “possibility” of an injection of £100m of public capital into the scheme from the DH. This would reduce the amount of private finance required and, if confirmed, could reduce the trust’s annual payments by “over £5m”, it notes.

    and

    Tuesday 2nd October 2012

    •Serco takes over NHS Suffolk Community Healthcare services.

    NHS community services in Suffolk, including nursing and community hospitals, have transferred to a multi-national private company. Serco will run Suffolk Community Healthcare for three years. The £140m contract from NHS Suffolk also includes speech and language therapy and specialist dental services. Serco already runs Braintree Community Hospital in Essex and out-of-hours GP services in Cornwall. Its new contract includes running the community hospitals in Aldeburgh, Felixstowe and Newmarket. Tim Roberts, from the union Unison, which represents some NHS workers, said it was a “worrying day”. “NHS Suffolk has stipulated the services which [Serco] have to continue to deliver and a minimum number of staff which are needed, but we cannot understand how they can deliver that contract for the money they’re saving.”

    http://www.keepournhspublic.com/newsroundup.php

    Search to see what is going on in your own area. You will be shocked at the speed and extent of privatisation of OUR NHS.

  131. The civil servant suspended from the DfT for the bungling of the West Coast line franchise is an ex Goldman Sachs banker. No surprise there.

    She is biting back.

    Transport official suspended over rail fiasco is ex-Goldman banker Kate Mingay ran team responsible
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1349474594.html

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