Crass 868

In the week they took hundreds of pounds from people in severe poverty, MPs and Lords claim up to £3,750 each to return from their luxury holidays to spout off in honour of Margaret Thatcher. Meantime the media are busy classifying any potential protest or expression of opinion at the taxpayer funded funeral jamboree as “potential terrorism”.

Whether protest at the funeral is tasteful or not is a fair question. But there is no question it is perfectly lawful. There is virtually no understanding of the very notion of civil liberty in the mainstream media.

868 thoughts on “Crass

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  • guano

    An hour and a half’s silence here for the victim of Israeli violence.

    I was ready to let byegones begone bye-bye. Until the gonks in grey suits announced the Triumphal funeral. I just watched Glenda J and Tony Benn about Thatcher.

    Why don’t they put Paddy Ashdown and Nick Clegg in the coffin with Maggie and burn them all together as a way of thanking them for bringing back Thatcherism in the 21st Century?

  • Cryptonym

    I would only disagree with Guano on the small but important point that the Liberals, Social Democrats, The Alliance, the Liberal Democrats, the Atanticists, the Gaitskellites or whatever these shape shifting morphing opportunist slime call themselves today – they were responsible for giving us Thatcherism in the 20th Century too, the Falklands were fuck-all except to the died-in-the-wool True Blue BritNat fascists, the Murdoch empire, the coke-snorting addled yuppies, the banking and dealing set, sundry moronic flag-waving hangers-on plus the Zionists who hung like flies round shite to a cause as rotten, venal and pustulent as their own – it was the SDP/Liberal Alliance who escorted, aided and abetted the Tories to power in 1983, playing the third party, split opposition trick that fragmented the over-whelming majority anti-Tory vote; in ’83 voting for the Lib/Dems – as much part of the fake opposition as New Labour are today – delivered Thatcher to power, a thin mandate distorted to empower a dictatorship through the two-plus-one party stranglehold and the intentional vagaries and outrages resulting from first-past-the-post.

  • Mary

    More on her relations with Pinochet. I remember her stage-managed media event visit to the Pinochets who were living under so-called house arrest near Wentworth. He was supposed to be dying upwards at the time but survived until 2006. The disgusting Straw released him in 2000 overturning the House of Lords decision to extradite him. When Pinochet got back to Chile he got out of his wheelchair.

    ‘The 84-year-old emerged from the plane in a wheelchair and was lowered in a truck with an improvised elevator to the tarmac. The head of the Chilean armed forces General Ricardo Izurieta was the first to greet him, embracing the former president warmly. He then stood up, aided by a walking stick, to greet army chiefs and relatives. An army band played some of the general’s favourite tunes as he lifted his arms to the cheering crowds in acknowledgement.’

    He and Mrs T will now be reunited.

    Neruda, Pinochet, and the Iron Lady
    April 10, 2013
    Posted by Jon Lee Anderson

    An article by Sir Geoffrey Bindman below which explains how Pinochet evaded extradition to Spain and which corrects Joshua Rozenberg’s piece on Lord Hoffmann’s role in the case.

  • John Goss

    This is in several comments because the original with many links is still awaiting moderation since 11.29 a.m.


    If anyone wants to know more about the Ian Taylor legal shutdown of here are some links posted by:

    Alasdair Martin. “I see some people are debating the National Collective issue. Here are some links from the article in question, all are from well known mainstream news organisations and all refer either to Ian Taylor or Vitol, the company of which he is CEO.

    Remember, I’m not alleging anything, just sharing some links to mainstream news websites.

    “The other senior politician being dragged into the action is the Tory, Alan Duncan, whom Moussavi intends to call as a witness. Duncan, former Tory vice-chairman and a supporter of Michael Portillo, was a paid consultant to Vitol in the early 1990s. He worked with Vitol’s president, Ian Taylor, at Shell and remains a close friend. ”

  • Mary

    The Yarmouk referred to earlier is not the arms factory in Sudan which the Israelis attacked with missiles.

    It is best to know the facts about Yarmouk on the outskirts of Damascus and there is great difficulty in attempting to find out. It is a very complicated and tragic situation. Nobody knows the true state of affairs as a lot of is supposition and hearsay from the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights run by a guy in a flat in the Midlands I understand. There are half a million Palestinian refugees in Syria and they have nowhere to go.

    Ramzy Baroud writes:

    Syria is now the latest episode of that long drawn tragedy, which is being manifested in unprecedented ways since the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) and the Israeli invasions of Lebanon (1978 and 1982). There are twelve refugee camps in Syria. Nine of them are registered as official camps by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and have a population of more than 496,000 refugees. Yarmouk alone, near Damascus, hosts an estimated 150,000 refugees. This camp has been a recurring target for various militant groups and Syrian forces. Other camps have also been targeted in the brutal conflict, including Dera’a, Husseinieh and Neirab among others.

    Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in Syria. They were either caught in the bloody conflict between the Syrian government and the opposition, or were purposely targeted for one pretext or another. The most recent violence, which nearly emptied Yarmouk, began on Dec. 14 when Islamist militants reportedly attacked Palestinian fighters loyal to the Syrian government of President Bashar Assad. A counterattack involving an airstrike left Yarmouk littered with many dead and wounded. An exodus followed and a new chapter of the Palestinian odyssey was being forcefully written, draped with blood and more atrocious memories. Tens of thousands fled. Some made it to the very crowded Palestinian camps in Lebanon. Others were refused entry, only to camp in Damascus parks, once more queuing for UN handouts. The World Food Programs seems to be in charge of feeding the refugees. According to a recent statement, the UN group is coordinating its effort with UNRWA, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), UN Children’s Agency UNICEF, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

  • John Goss


    “Vitol, which had $114 billion of revenue in 2006, will pay restitution of $13 million to Iraq and $4.5 million to cover the cost of prosecution, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said in a statement.

    Vitol is one of the world’s largest independent physical oil trading companies. It admitted to paying $13 million in kickbacks to Iraqi officials under Saddam Hussein to win oil supply contracts, and the plea ended the New York investigation.”

  • John Goss


    ” The Geneva-based company, which has offices in London, is thought to have operated an ‘employee benefit trust’ (EBT) for more than a decade.

    Such schemes, which were used by more than 2,000 companies, allowed employees to avoid paying income tax and companies to avoid national insurance contributions. ”

  • John Goss


    “Ian Taylor and wife: Ian Taylor is the president and chief executive of the world’s largest oil trader Vitol. He has been involved in the oil business for more than 30 years. Mr Taylor has donated £555,100 to the party since June 2006.” –

    see also the guardian for general details of the controversy –

  • John Goss


    GOVERNMENT ADMITS ALAN DUNCAN’S LINKS TO COMPANY IN ‘LIBYAN OIL CELL’ [see article for links to Taylor and Vitol]
    “It is said to have played a discreet but crucial role in the campaign in Libya by helping to enforce the sanctions regime to prevent Gaddafi importing and exporting oil while allowing oil to reach the rebels in the east. That oil came via one company, Vitol.

    Duncan, a former oil trader and multi-millionaire, has had a 30-year friendship with the managing director of Vitol, Ian Taylor, at one point operating as a consultant to the company and as a non-executive director to a subsidiary firm. Taylor has also been a Tory donor, declared on Duncan’s parliamentary register of interests.”

  • John Goss


    “Mr Taylor, 55, is the president and group chief executive of the Swiss multinational Vitol, the third biggest oil trading company in the world with revenues of £186billion last year. He personally donated £466,000 to the Tories under David Cameron.

    Mr Taylor is a close friend of Alan Duncan, who in opposition received tens of thousands of pounds from Mr Taylor via donations to the Tories.

    Mr Duncan had further links with Vitol by serving as a non-executive director of Arawak Energy, an off-shoot of Vitol, before he was a minister.

    Mr Taylor, from a Scottish family, went to the private King’s School, Macclesfield, and studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford. After a stint at Shell, which he joined after graduating, he joined Vitol in 1985.

    Vitol is no stranger to controversy. Last year after it was revealed that the company was supplying oil to the rebels in Libya ‘largely without upfront payments’ in the hope of gaining oil deals later.

    In 2007, the firm pleaded guilty to paying money in violation of the UN’s oil for food programme into accounts it knew were controlled by the Iraqi Government’s State Oil Marketing Organisation during Saddam Hussein’s presidency. It paid US$13m to the Iraqi people by way of restitution and US$4.5m to the New York District Attorney in lieu of fines. The firm is also reported to have paid $1million to the notorious Serbian war criminal Arkan to act as a fixer on a business deal in the 1990s.”

  • John Goss


    “The International Development minister has privately boasted that the ‘Duncan plan’ helped to topple Gaddafi.

    But he faces criticism over his links to Vitol and Mr Taylor who has given at least £200,000 to the Conservatives, some of which was used to pay for Mr Duncan’s secretary in 2008. The top Tory has also served as a non-executive director of Arawak Energy, an off-shoot of Vitol before he was a minister.”

  • John Goss


    “Privately-held Vitol SA is led by its long-time CEO Ian Taylor, a Briton. Taylor was among leading donors to Britain’s ruling Conservative Party named in March by the Prime Minister’s office as having dined with David Cameron at his private apartment in Downing Street amid the fall-out from a “cash for access” party funding scandal. Britain is a vociferous critic of Tehran’s nuclear programme and a leading advocate of the EU sanctions.”

  • John Goss

    “The company, run by Ian Taylor, admitted it had allowed its Bahraini subsidiary to buy a cargo of fuel oil of Iranian origin in July – after the EU had imposed sanctions on Iranian oil trades. “”

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I left that in to make the mods smile though not much to smile about myself.

    My computer has been down since I posted the original, that I’ve just cut into sizeable chunks, due to a virus called Delta Search which loads itself and downloads everything you do to upload its own search routines. It is very hard to remove and associated with other viruses like Comodo (I thought of you Komodo).

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    “The nationalised industries and public sector were all of ours, we were all proud shareholders in mighty enterprises,….” (Cryptonym, 16h27)

    Proud shareholders? Railways strikes. Long waits for ‘phones.

    Mighty entreprises? Mightily subsidised entreprises. Three day weeks.

    Are we talking about the UK in the 1970s?


    La vita è bella, life is good! (fight against amnesia)

  • doug scorgie

    resident dissident
    11 Apr, 2013 – 4:45 pm

    “The IDF are not the only bastards attacking Palestinian refugee camps.”

    You are right and all involved should be condemned.

    “After fierce battles on Sunday, 16 December 2012, Palestinian neutrality in the Syrian crisis collapsed completely as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamist fighters overran most of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus.”

    “The battle over the Yarmouk refugee camp between the Free Syrian Army and Islamists, on one side, and the Syrian security forces and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), on the other, intensified over the past few days.”

    So the situation is far from straight forward in Syria.

  • In a Big Country

    John Goss

    Ian Taylor and Vitol’s lawyers are shutting down all comments on their dubious activities.

    Although previously attacked by Labour MPs as “dirty money” when Ian Taylor donated to the Tory party, Alistair Darling is happy to accept Taylor’s £500,000 donation to the Better Together anti Scottish independence grouping “in good faith” despite fact that Taylor deosn’t even have a vote in the forthcoming referendum

  • Mary

    From memory, Stephen Sizer is a friend of Craig’s.

    This is a letter which Rev Sizer and others have written to the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

    9th April 2013

    Dear Archbishop Justin,

    We write as representatives of organisations and as individuals who are deeply involved in the search for peace with justice in the Holy Land to express our deep concern over the remarks that have been attributed to you in a recent interview with the newspaper “Jewish News”. Amongst the aspects of the interview with which we were most saddened were that you regretted not voting against the General Synod decision to support EAPPI.

    As you know, the main criticism that was levelled against EAPPI before the vote was, in the words of one of their more strident opponents, that it created “a cohort of very partisan but very motivated anti-Israel advocates who have almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis”.

    However, EAPPI seeks a just solution to the problems in the Holy Land that will benefit both Palestinians and Israelis. It operates in terms of what it calls “principled impartiality” with its Code of Conduct stating: “We do not take sides in this conflict and we do not discriminate against anyone but we are not neutral in terms of principles of human rights and international humanitarian law. We stand faithfully with the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized. We want to serve all parties in this conflict in a fair and unbiased manner in word and action.”

    In our experience, all Ecumenical Accompaniers are scrupulous in their determination to be fair to all sides in their work, as befits both the programme and the senior positions they often hold as Church leaders, in the legal profession, as teachers and many other areas.

    Its participants are given a full briefing on a wide variety of Israeli perspectives including taking an extended tour of the Holocaust Museum and travel to Sderot to meet Israeli people affected by rockets fired from Gaza. Their discussions with Israelis also include briefings from those who work with Palestinians most directly – some of whom wrote most powerfully in support of EAPPI when it came under its most sustained attack.


  • nevermind

    If Pinochet would be still alive he would be invited, on special leave from his open prison, and waht if Jimmy Saville would be still alive?

    would he be let out for the ceremonies if there was a, ehem… royal request for allowing him to grieve, I’m sure he would not get to see her on the embalming table, and what if a man can’t give a woman a decent sent of? rah rah, bluster blab and he would get 48 hrs. leave from his sextuple life sentence.

    Total media blackout, one wonders what margaret’s last service was and how many dastardly schemes and policies have been pushed off the news agenda for this now nausea inducing adoration.

  • Mary

    Thanks for that link Doug Scorgie. As you say and as I said, the situation is complex. There are no black and whites and the reports coming out from Lebanon are unsubstantiated as Jim Muir so often tells us.

    This is Billy Boy’s version of the G8 Foreign Ministers meeting. Yards and yards of it. This is what he had to say on Syria. I think the situation has got him foxed especially the newly declared support for Al Qaeda from one of the rabble rebel groups.

    The Middle East


    G8 Foreign Ministers expressed deep concerns about the increasing human tragedy of the conflict in Syria. They were appalled that more than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict and that there are now more than a million Syrian refugees registered by the UNHCR in neighbouring countries, and more than two million internally displaced persons in Syria. They acknowledged the importance of neighbouring countries’ efforts in hosting refugees, and stressed the need for the international community to help the most affected neighbouring countries. They called on all countries to join with them in maximising their contributions to the latest UN appeals and to provide them with direct support in order to help them face this challenging situation.

    Against this desperate background, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to supporting a Syrian-led political transition, and the work of Joint UN and Arab League Special Representative Brahimi, based on the principles set out in the Geneva Communiqué. This transition should meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and enable them to democratically and independently determine their own future. They called for the UN Security Council to remain seized of this matter. The Ministers condemned in the strongest possible terms all human rights violations and abuses in Syria and called on all sides to respect international humanitarian and human rights law, noting the particular responsibility of the Syrian authorities in this regard. They welcomed efforts to document all crimes for the purposes of future accountability.

    The Ministers condemned the ongoing use of heavy weapons against residential areas and reaffirm their view that any use of chemical weapons would demand a serious international response. To this end, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding sites where any such weapons are held.

    The humanitarian situation in Syria is deplorable and continues to worsen. The Ministers called for greater humanitarian assistance and for improved and safe access to the Syrian people by humanitarian agencies in co-ordination with all parties to the conflict.

    Ms Jolie seems to have upstaged him at the press conference as Mr Marcus of the BBC confirms.

    ‘When all was said and done it was the film actress – Angelina Jolie – who stole the show. And this was not just due to her star quality. The nuclear dialogue with Iran is going nowhere. North Korea is unlikely to be deterred by the strong words coming from the G8 in London. And the Syrian crisis is doubly intractable because the UN Security Council is divided, with Russia and China opposing any strong statements, let alone action. So this was a meeting of the G8 that emphasised the art of the possible.

    The measures taken to combat sexual violence in armed conflict were thrust into the limelight. Many will say that a scourge that has afflicted societies from the Balkans to Africa and now the Middle East merits this kind of attention. But its billing at this G8 is a measure not just of its importance but of the intractability of so many of the other issues facing the premier league of world diplomats.’

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    Doug “Son of Mary” Scorgie bleats at 19h10:

    “resident dissident
    11 Apr, 2013 – 4:45 pm

    “The IDF are not the only bastards attacking Palestinian refugee camps.”

    You are right and all involved should be condemned.”


    Yes indeed, Doug. Funny though that you never seem to condemn Presdent Assad on your own initiative. Why do you always have to wait until prompted?


    La vita è bella, life is good! (spot the hypocrite)

  • Mary

    Sorry about your computer virus John. Could Clark help out on its removal? Any idea where it was picked up?

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.”

    Margaret Thatcher—-

    Than you, wikileaks


    ‘Green thinks that the government now has to make quick work of removing these tactical nuclear weapons. This should ideally take place within NATO, but if there is no agreement would be that Belgium must negotiate bilaterally with the U.S.. That which nuclear weapons are there, we knew by now. But the real secret is that nuclear weapons today are totally useless. They will however, be dangerous. All military experts agree that these tactical (short-range) nuclear weapons have no military utility more in the current European context. These useless weapons remain a genuine security for our country when it comes to terrorist attacks. About the security of the site of Kleine Brogel has after numerous incidents nobody illusions. ”

  • Richard II

    @John, for viruses, try “Outpost Firewall Pro” – a top firewall with virus protection, too (with PCs, though, install two virus scanners just to be on the safe side). If you’ve got a Mac, there’s “Sophos”.

    Cameron was on TV a moment ago, blubbering and sobbing. He said, Tory MPs are traumatised by recent events and Parliament is allocating a further £50 million of the public’s money to build a restaurant/cafe/bar/entertainment/hotel complex next door to the House of Commons to help MPs get over the deep psychological scars caused by Maggie Savile Pinochet Crowley Thatcher’s death.

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