The Search for Change

by craig on May 21, 2013 10:50 am in Uncategorized

The linked long term phenomena of falling electoral turnout and a decreasing percentage of those who do vote, voting for the two main parties, leaves politicians in power with the active support of an increasingly small minority of the population. To date this has not seriously impacted on consent – the Majority are apathetic, and devoid both of interesting sources of useful political information, and of social cohesion. Membership of organisations of horizontal solidarity is also in long term decline.

I would love to see an attempt at long term quantification of the difference between the parties in terms of the manifesto policies they offer. I have no doubt that there will be a very sharp reduction in difference, or rather policy convergence between the parties. If you look at 1911 – social insurance, pensions, power of the hereditary aristocracy, 1945 – nationalisation of major industries, initiation of the NHS and full welfare state, and 1983 – privatisation, nuclear weapons – there were very real and sharp political differences that offered voters a distinct ideological choice. The country – and your own future – could be recognisably different dependent on for whom you voted.

The last two times our government changed parties, the new party came in to pledge to continue the fiscal measures already projected by the treasury under its predecessors. Anyone who believes the Treasury would be fundamentally different under Balls or Osborne is delusional, and responding to tribalism not real difference. Who introduced tuition fees? New Labour. Who accelerated the “marketization” of the NHS? New Labour. Who vastly expanded PFI? New Labour. Who bailed out the banks? New Labour.

In effect, the parties offer exactly the same neo-con policies. NATO, Trident, Occupation of Afghanistan, Privatisation, Tuition Fees – the only apparent alternative at the last election came from the Lib Dems, and the electorate grasped at it in larger numbers than a third party had ever received before, something we have quickly forgotten. The reason that we have forgotten it is that Clegg, who was never any kind of Liberal, dumped the entire radical heritage of his party as soon as he came to power.

There is a much wider point to what happened to the Lib Dems. Two other changes – the introduction of PR for the European Parliament, and the large increase in expenses for MP’s staff – had made a radical change to that party. Lib Dem conferences were suddenly places of power dressing, not woolly jumpers. A great many young professional politicos – MPs research assistants, and staffers from Brussels – were all over the place. Bright, presentable, highly paid, most of them had no connection with liberalism, had never read John Stuart Mill or Hazlitt, had no idea who Lloyd George was and cared less. They had latched on to a rung of paid political work, had become part of the political class – that was the entire purpose of their activity. The woolly jumpered chap who had campaigned about paving stones in Salisbury and passionately wanted to abolish Trident and adopt green energy became sidelined, an amusing anachronism, the subject of the jokes of the sophisticates.

Of course, their focus groups showed that the people want policies which the ever shrinking ownership of the mass media promotes, because they are the only policies they have ever heard of. But the people no longer trust the ownership of the media, and the expenses scandal caused a much-needed scepticism of the appalling political class. People are desperate for leaders who look honest and say something different.

So do not despise UKIP supporters. They are not vicious racists. They are in fact brighter than those stupid enough to continue voting for the three neo-con parties, despite having their lives crippled for the next three decades to pay unconceivable sums to the bankers. The UKIP voters at least wish to punish the political class and wish to hear of some different policies.

The problem is that the only alternative of which the mainstream media is prepared to inform them is Mr Farage and his simple anti-foreigner maxims. Many of the bankers are keen to leave the EU, as Nigel Lawson told us. So if people want an alternative, that is the one they will be offered. Only in Scotland have people been offered a more radical alternative – and while I do not wish to exaggerate the economic radicalism of the SNP, they are markedly to the left of Westminster on issues like tuition fees, healthcare and PFI.

The great question of the day is, how to put before the population, in a way that they will notice, a radical alternative other than simple right wing populism. I have a strong belief that there remains a real desire in society for a more social policy, for a major and real check on the huge divergence between rich and poor, for good public services, for a pacific foreign policy, and for leaders not just in it for the money or to promote wealthy interests. But how do you get that message to people?

UPDATE

From comments made, there must be an ambiguity about this article which I don’t see myself. I made this clarification in a comment and I add it here for certainty:

Of course UKIP are not a real alternative. I said “do not despise UKIP supporters”, not “do not despise UKIP”. UKIP are a false “alternative” dangled by the mainstream media and the bankers. But the support for them is evidence that the public do very much want some alternative. I shall append this to the article as it must be more ambiguous than I thought.

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254 Comments

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  1. Remember the Pamphleteers? Those campaigners who got their (varied!) political messages across by handing out sheets of paper … and the Catholic church at the time of the Renaissance using lots and lots of images in their churches to inform their (illiterate) believers and counter the Reformists …

    When you consider how the popular right-wing media informs and converts their readers to a way of thinking that is more often than not against their own interests you realise that they use the self same methods; simplified image (in picture and/or words). No statistics, no complicated facts – just a subjective (and often untrue) image.

    Why don’t/won’t those who are concerned somehow use the same methods to get their arguments across?

  2. April Showers

    21 May, 2013 - 11:24 am

    This good piece by one of the co-editors of Medialens has received nearly 20,000 ‘hits’.

    The Illusion Of Democracy

    18 December 2012
    By David Cromwell

    Liberal Journalism, Wikileaks And Climate Deceptions

    In an era of permanent war, economic meltdown and climate ‘weirding’, we need all the champions of truth and justice that we can find. But where are they? What happened to trades unions, the green movement, human rights groups, campaigning newspapers, peace activists, strong-minded academics, progressive voices? We are awash in state and corporate propaganda, with the ‘liberal’ media a key cog in the apparatus. We are hemmed in by the powerful forces of greed, profit and control. We are struggling to get by, never mind flourish as human beings. We are subject to increasingly insecure, poorly-paid and unfulfilling employment, the slashing of the welfare system, the privatisation of the National Health Service, the erosion of civil rights, and even the criminalisation of protest and dissent.

    The pillars of a genuinely liberal society have been so weakened, if not destroyed, that we are essentially living under a system of corporate totalitarianism. In his 2010 book, Death of the Liberal Class, the former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges notes that:

    ‘The anemic liberal class continues to assert, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that human freedom and equality can be achieved through the charade of electoral politics and constitutional reform. It refuses to acknowledge the corporate domination of traditional democratic channels for ensuring broad participatory power.’ (p. 8)

    /..
    http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2012/713-the-illusion-of-democracy.html

    Well said.

  3. Two words: Green Party.

  4. @April Showers

    ‘Well said’.

    Second that.

  5. Craig, why are you ignoring the Green Party of England and Wales?

    Also, see this for a comparison of recent manifesto commitments.
    http://www.politicalcompass.org/

    Your suggestion that there is no difference between Tory, Lib Dem and Labour is bang on. UKIP, however, are no better or worse. In fact, if you look at their bizarre policies (or lack of them) they’re worse. A protest vote for them risks empowering lunacy.

  6. Must agree with PunkSci – UKIP may be a sump for a mixture of the protest vote and the bloodyminded exasperation vote, but they have clearly attracted candidates from the wilder shores of Dementia (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Looneytuneiana!) The likelihood of any policies grounded in something vaguely resembling reality are slim at best, yet what I fear is that when they serve up their predictable dogs dinner of blinkered 1950s toryism the BBC etc will take it seriously.

  7. So do not despise UKIP supporters. They are not vicious racists. They are in fact brighter than those stupid enough to continue voting for the three neo-con parties, despite having their lives crippled for the next three decades to pay unconceivable sums to the bankers. The UKIP voters at least wish to punish the political class and wish to hear of some different policies. (and caveats)

    It needed to be said. Granted, UKIP are in the happy position of the Liberals, before they made the mistake of thinking that a coalition would benefit them in the long term. They don’t have to have credible policies, just a cheerful shouty public face. Which I think is the answer to Craig’s last question. Trouble is any credible policies are going to involve acknowledging the necessity of a haircut all round…cheerful shouty face has to advertise jam tomorrow.
    It’s also the answer to punkscience. Frankly, we’re all doomed.

  8. “The problem is that the only alternative of which the mainstream media is prepared to inform them is Mr Farage and his simple anti-foreigner maxims.”

    In your effort to trivialise UKIP, you have inadvertently highlighted the point that the mainstream State sponsored orthodoxy, recognises UKIP as the only true challenger to its continuance, and also tries to trivialise it.

    The main message from UKIP is one of countering ‘big State’; whether that is the Brussels Leviathan, or the home-grown Bureaucracy. The green agenda would simply be more Statism, as James Delingpole points out, the ‘greens’ are really ‘reds’ on the inside.

  9. Punkscience, Mike,

    You misread me. Of course UKIP are not a real alternative. I said “do not despise UKIP supporters”, not “do not despise UKIP”. UKIP are a false “alternative” dangled by the mainstream media and the bankers. But the support for them is evidence that the public do very much want some alternative. I shall append this to the article as it must be more ambiguous than I thought.

  10. The need for an alternative is apparent. There are possible signs of life based on the same-sex marriage debate though.

    In falling over themselves to find an angle that wasn’t homophobic the media picked up two angles of attack. The first was the so called rebellion by Tory MPs against Cameron. This was played as him being dictated to by his MPs and not being a strong leader. The second was that local parties were having an influence on the votes of their MPs over and above that from the leadership. Isn’t this what is supposed to happen? Aren’t MPs the representatives of their constituency and accountable to it? Isn’t the leader of the party accountable to his party too?

    A similar thing happened over the Queen’s Speech and the announcement over the Europe bill following the fall out from its omission from the speech.

    Debate, including internal party debate, is good for democracy.

    Sadly this won’t continue into other matters as the whips will be out, debate stifled, and normal service resumed.

  11. April Showers

    ‘It refuses to acknowledge the corporate domination of traditional democratic channels for ensuring broad participatory power.’ (p. 8)’

    Your quote is spot on as you say. If you are on the motorway network after 17.00, you will see a commuter fleet of brand new corporate BMW/Audi/Mercedes black estate cars driving home in the fast lane. This display of multi-cloned, Thatcherite individualism doesn’t come with individual opinions fitted.
    They are personalised clones, not individual minds.

  12. Mick S….
    Possibly the least fundamentally important events of the last few months are the gay marriage debate and the continuing argument, largely between politicians, over Europe. And look at the media coverage!

    The neoconmost Tories are right on one point, though. They have a weak leader, and this spells disaster for any group of people.

    Returning to April’s relevant quote:
    What happened to trades unions, the green movement, human rights groups, campaigning newspapers, peace activists, strong-minded academics, progressive voices?

    They were outflanked by industry, commerce and finance. It’s an arms race: between Them and Us. As can be seen by the constant infiltration and subversion by government “security” agencies, of most of the abovementioned, the government-of whatever shade- is necessarily a party to this. “We” need to evolve new weapons and structures. And “we” need a charismatic leader. That works best of all. Imagine where the SNP would be without Salmond…

  13. Steady on Craig- your in danger of re-defining the term ‘Liberal Intervention’.

    Defeat them with kindness.

    Education is realised at the ballot box, and education is a social issue and presently our decline seems to be caused by our lack of definitive outcome or aims at least for the most.

    As life is entirely oppposed boredom in societys search for meaning we are aimless and wanton in our struggle, with much emphasis put on the realsation of capital and material wealth.

    As we know those aims for some but not for all.
    Therfore for the majority to come together liberal intervention is needed, aims of which yourself Craig or Nevermind would see us well.

  14. “And “we” need a charismatic leader. That works best of all. Imagine where the SNP would be without Salmond…”

    Well they might be doing a bit better with a charismatic leader instead of a beached whale shoehorned into a pair of tartan trousers but I think it’s fairly obvious to all but the fanatics he’s no different to all the other sociopaths.

    Like the BBC propaganda on their web site today “Scotland ‘can afford independence'”. Like there was ever any chance whatsoever he was going to make the report say anything else.

  15. Can you have a “Democrary” in any real sense when there is no real difference between the two parties who will always be in power in the London parliament? As more and more people do not bother to vote politicians of those parties feel they are no longer answerable to the people. The media constantly distorts the truth or simply doesn’t cover stories adverse to the Establishment parties. Come up to Scotland and see how the BBC political output is not remotely balanced for example. Ultimately both the Tories and Labour are storing up massive trouble. As they continue to exploit the situation and become more and more greedy the poor will, at some stage, realise that the balot box no longer brings about the possibility of a fairer society. Suppression only works for so long.

  16. Fred,

    Salmond appeals to Scots, and has led the SNP successfully for years because that’s what he does. They had to bring him back after the Sweeney interregnum, because Sweeny is a nice guy but not a leader. I am sure he can bear the fact that he is not very appealing to the English, still less to the Tories, whose arses he handed them some time ago, or to Labour, because he retained a socialist ethic while they sold out to various hedge fund managers.* I take it your main objection to him is that he is overweight.

    *and no, I don’t think he ought to have courted Donald Trump. A sign perhaps that new blood is at last needed. It gets to them all in the end. There is no such thing as a successful career in politics, as someone is rumoured to have said.

  17. …… the Majority are apathetic, and devoid both of interesting sources of useful political information …..

    In a local election night’s question and responses from the candidates, one of the Independent candidates addressed the press as follows:

    ”Tonight those absent voters numbering as much as seventy percent of the electorate won in this election, they voted; “none of the above”. Their choice however does not matter, and the minority voted politicians will go onto waxing lyrical about their approved mandate”

    Needless to point out this observation never made it into the corporate media. Fact that majority of the plebeians are rejecting the current arrangements, is misconstrued as “apathetic plebeians” and in the words of Willie Whitelaw the fault of those going: “round and round the country stirring up apathy”!

    Fact is the mass rejection of the current arrangements has little impact on the plutocrats and their hand picked and groomed henchmen who are foisted upon the minority of electorate as their would be political leaders. This follows the case; as in any re-branding affair, the said plutocrats offer even more choices, by introduction of various new “parties”, which for certain upon accession to power will be equally as bad as the last lot which were supposedly tossed out of the office.

    These placebo measures are designed to maintain the status quo , albeit executed by differing actors, with a differing narrative.

  18. @Fred

    “And “we” need a charismatic leader. That works best of all. Imagine where the SNP would be without Salmond…”

    It’s all about perceptions … say SNP to people and they (usually) immediately think of Salmond’s face. CND to many of us, conjures up their logo … Parties need images to impress themselves on people’s minds. New or small parties have to create one. A charismatic leader helps …

    The Green Party has a great manifesto but no image … most don’t inform themselves of what’s in it and think ‘Green’ means only that … not so.

  19. I have a problem with the concept of democracy as a whole. Is it the system that we really want to have?

  20. @Dave

    “Democracy” is a pig in a poke …

  21. James Chater

    21 May, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    I think there is a lot to be said by changing the qualification to be an MP. Let no one below the age of 60 be allowed to serve in Parliament.
    Parliament is full of career politicians who have had little experience of life outside politics. We need people who have had experience in all walks of life whether as parents, directors of companies, freelancers, employees, or unemployed. This way the gap between rulers and rules would be narrowed. Theory would no longer trump practice and there would be more attention paid to the practical consequences of this or that legislation.
    Introducing an age bar of 60 would encourage pensioners to come forward and offer their experience, leisure and maturity.
    In ancient times, the “senate” meant literarily a group of older people who were deemed wiser. Most often, they were.
    If such a system is not possible, at least we could consider the election or appointment of 60-plussers for the upper house. Let it be the same system as for the jury service: a group of “good and true” men and women who “weren’t born yesterday” and who could take a good hard look at the legislation and filter out what is obviously ill-conceived or plain daft.

  22. As two previous contributors have commented, Craig’s post has completely ignored the Green Party which does indeed offer real alternative policies to the mainstream. As for UKIP; I wonder how many UKIP voters Craig has actually met. I know lots and can assure you they are all 100% small minded racists. I have as much contempt for UKIP as the other three main parties, all of whom are slaves to their corporate masters and all of whom promote discord and hatred among the general population.

  23. We probably need some token youths, James, otherwise I agree.

    Other thoughts on the kind of MP we want:

    1. Same wage as a senior nurse. Legitimate expenses on top of that.
    2. Must relinquish any directorships on entering and be barred from holding any directorships or consultancy/advisory positions for two years upon leaving Parliament.
    3. Must have resided full-time for five years in the constituency for which he/she stands.
    4. Abolish Party whips. Free vote at all times.
    5. Appointments to the House of Lords to be made by the party opposite to the candidate.
    6. Standards of debate to be rigorously enforced, if necessary with tear gas and tasers, in the House.

    7. No Etonians . We’ve already enjoyed the democratic quota of Etonians for the whole of British history plus the next thousand years. These people are TRAINED to keep the peasants down and the fat cats purring. It’s the reason for Eton.

    8. PPE Oxonians ditto. Do a proper degree and get a job before you ponce your way into government and tell the rest of the country what to do.

    ….there’s much more.

  24. @James Chater and Komodo

    Common sense suggestions – and none the worse for that … but what to do with the upper echelons of the Civil Service!

    Bet Craig could say a few words about that …

  25. The Green Party has a great manifesto but no image … most don’t inform themselves of what’s in it and think ‘Green’ means only that … not so.

    Yes. That’s the point. Though the image many people see is tainted by sandal-wearing, or worse, bicycling, vegetarian hippies. The Greens do have an image but it needs work. And the Jolly Green Giant ™ to explain things.

  26. re Komodo’s eighth stipulation: I guess that rules me out!

  27. Komodo, Eton still churns out a lot of guilt-ridden lefties of the Occupy variety, who go on marches and bash the bankers, even though daddy probably is one.

  28. James, would have ruled out Tony Benn as well.

  29. April Showers

    21 May, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    O/T As sorry as I am for those affected by the tornado and for those who have lost their lives and everything else, is it necessary for both Sky and the BBC to be giving it full time coverage? Anyone would think that America had never razed other countries completely to the ground and killed millions.

    The nearly empty HoC is still droning on with the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. They are discussing whether Humanists can have the same rights as proposed for other religious groups.

    They are completely out of touch with the electorate when there is mass unemployment and a broken economy, enormous state and personal debt, a collapsing infrastructure and many other shortcomings in the country.

    Was this bill ever proposed in an election manifesto by either of the coalition parties? Was NHS privatisation similarly proposed in 2010? etc etc No. No and No.

  30. Eton still churns out a lot of guilt-ridden lefties of the Occupy variety, who go on marches and bash the bankers, even though daddy probably is one.

    I’ve met a couple. They grew into fat caterpillars, pupated and re-emerged as the great and the good, despite their early romantic intentions. No Etonians.

    James, I don’t rule out the possibility that you encountered the real world and reformed. Nevertheless, I would recommend doing a degree in aeronautical engineering, before putting your name on the ballot paper. Some sort of genuine penance is required.

  31. The Greens’ problems are their policies: pro-EU, pro mass-immigration, believe wind can power a major industrial economy ( they don’t really believe it, they just don’t want the industrial economy) totally in thrall to man-made global warming theory above much needed conservation measures. Like Jimmy said, watermelons.

  32. Forget who said it … Disraeli? (Know someone on here will put me right). ” People vote according to their heads, their hearts and their pocket books”. (Or words to that effect).

    The order depends on the person. Voting apathy causes me to assume that of those who vote now most vote against … not for … and of those who vote for the largest number prioritise their pocket books – what’s in it for me? Few really examine, listen and rationalise, I don’t think … Thatcher (curse her cotton socks) understood this: a charismatic conviction politician who gave many ordinary people the belief that they’d be better off voting for her and her party.

    No matter the opinion of it, in voters’ eyes she gave her party an image.

    Our present parties – with the unfortunate exception of UKIP – are perceived to have none.

    I know it goes against the grain to say it but any party of the left would have to learn how to ‘look’ populist.

  33. No doubts Britain’s main political policies will nicely converge with that of theBilderbergers.

    We are the masses, for our part we have got our heads down and are working, we want to work build and create and hope well for our fellows.

    ‘Nurture that’!

  34. Craig, when you ask for change, have we not had vast change in our lifetimes? It seems to me that the people who change things are usually in the business of transferring their own bottoms to the seats of priveledge in place of those who were previously there in the name of change. But as soon as they are in power they show themselves to be more ruthless, selfish, and uncaring than the previous incumbents.

    What is missing is the pre=Thatcherite concept of doing things because of their own merits, rather than because they increased the money/power/advantages of those in power. That is now completely absent in government. If someone wanted to make the world a better place, they would first have to remove the Zionist lobby from Parliament. This would allow decisions in the world to be made on the basis of international law instead of vested interests. You would easily put Assad in jail without igniting another civil war and displacing millions of people.

    The single most pressing need for reform is to remove the Zionist lobby from parliament. If world events were proceeding by international law then the lesser evils of stupidification of the education system, privatisation of the NHS and corporatisation of business by pricing smaller organisations out of compliance with the law, would all become more glaringly obvious.

    The presence of horrific war is being used to block discussion about more general moral issues, and the sole instigators of war in the last two decades has been the Zionist lobby. One bad tooth needs pulling out of parliament so that the rest of the teeth can continue to function normally. ‘Fuck off down to the dungeon, Guano. No Truth welcome here!’

  35. Former chairman of the Green Party, Jonathon Porritt, is an Old Etonian.

  36. “So do not despise UKIP supporters. They are not vicious racists.”

    I’m pretty sure at least some of them are…

  37. Got kids, Giles? They’ll thank you for your views on the climate. And you summarise the Green manifesto succinctly, except that even the Greens realise that wind power can’t power a major industrial economy. They’re not that keen on major industrial economies for that very reason…I predict that those policies will cease to be a problem in the not-too-distant future. I may not be around to see their full justification – fortunately, because I guarantee the world will continue sleepwalking towards its own demise. And if the Greens’ policies are unpopular now, at least they’ll have tried. Unlike any of the alternatives.

    One of the consistent predictions of those who (what a bizarre connection to make) noticed that rising CO2 levels matched rising global temperatures, in accordance with some absolutely basic physics, has been, (since even before they started irritating “Lord” Lawson, the well-known climatologist/savant and his oil industry friends), that more extreme weather events would be expected.

    Like the biggest tornado ever to hit America, f’rinstance.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50147187n

    That’s if you can wait for Wells Fargo to tell you how safe your money is…

  38. Porritt’s not standing for parliament..

  39. Summerhead: “I wonder how many UKIP voters Craig has actually met. I know lots and can assure you they are all 100% small minded racists.”

    For the uninitiated, in order to make sense of this claim, bear in mind that to the modern left, racist doesn’t mean what it used to mean. It has now been made to mean someone opposed to mass-immigration. Only by understanding this will Summerhead’s claim make any sense.

  40. Rather than continually pissing on the Green Party Giles, despite the article being about UKIP mainly, touted by them as the only alternative, maybe you would like to substantiate your disaffection with their policies, rather than those personalities who have hijacked it for their own middle class agenda.

    The MFFS speaks of ‘decentralising power’ but the Green Party itself has been highly centralised by the continuous Green 2000 pressure, a factional group who wanted to mainstream the Green Party in the late 1980’s.

    Just as other parties, their policy base is determined by those few who go to Conference or can be bothered to direct the politi, some 9% max. of their respective membership, not a democratic relationship.

    Change will come, it is determined by the amount of flailing the public can take, how much more austerity can be construed before there is an eruption.

    And they are worried, why else would Radiop Norfolk, in the safest county in Norfolk, invite the assistant chief constable to talk about arming Norfolk police? Off course if jolly calm Norfolk accepts guns for their officers, who could possibly deny arming the police in far more violent counties places.

    The established parties are worried that their postal vote ruse will soon fail to work as others adopt it with vigour, they are also worried if people vote for UKIP.

    The vast majority, as Craig well said, can’t be bothered, whatever happens.

    Should we involve them? by using the vast costs of elections to the public coffers for a better cause and just add all the NI numbers into a hat, then pull a representative/councillor/ chief constable/ whatever.

    Those who don’t want to be in the hat, have to opt out. Those pulled and not available for work, get put back into the hat and another one is drawn who is eager to earn 66K /per annum to work for the Constituency.

    One of the worst features of elections is that those who are upright and Independent, rejected at many elections in the past, totally loose their will to live, get demoralised and stop trying, because they are the only ones who keep the current system from going stale and cold.

    I regard this system as a perpetuation of an establishment that is determined to manipulate the electorate for their aims only and at any price, democracy does not come into it.

    Please Santa, can I have some demarchy for Christmas.

  41. Komodo, as there has been no global warming for 17 years, while release of CO2 has increased drastically, and the computer models have been shown to be deeply flawed, the watermelons changed tack and called it clmate change. Now snow and cold winters were blamed on man, when previously the watermelons said our children would never see a snowflake. Left increasingly desperate as their racket was exposed, they now blame every natural disaster on man-made climate change, earthquakes, tidal waves, the lot.

    I work in conservation, Komodo, trying to ensure that the likes of the brown hairstreak and the nightingale are still around for my children to enjoy as I have done. We know why these species are struggling – we know next to nothing about why the climate changes, as it always has done and will continue to do.

    I certainly wouldn’t fill their heads with propaganda like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVGGgncVq-4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    And by living at sea-level I’m putting my money where my mouth is. Why haven’t Craig and Nevermind fled for the hills?

  42. Giles

    I do live on a hill.

  43. … Reminds me of a Beatle’s song…

  44. I generally agree with Craig and the many articulate and well informed regulars, but sometimes, and this is one of those occasions, I think that people are too busy being PC to actually get the point.

    I expect to take some flak for saying this but we do have a real problem with immigration. Unless we are prepared to talk rationally about some of these issues, voters will continue to gravitate towards the parties of bigotry.

    For too long we have been moving toward the US model where we neglect the education and training of our own citizens, instead we poach already trained personnel from poorer countries. While it is often said that these immigrants add to our economy, I wonder if that is really true once you allow for the fact that someone else, and potentially their families as well, end up on the dole as a result. Also consider the plight of the nations that we poach those people from.

    Mention must also be made of the tendency of the business classes to evade the law of supply and demand by importing cheap, even illegal labour from elsewhere. It might make their business more profitable but it adds to the population without creating any more jobs. Surely it is not too difficult to understand the resentment of those from the lower socio-economic strata who see mass immigration as a ploy by the rich to keep their wages down. Racism doesn’t have to come into it, although sadly it often does.

    We must have an end to the neo-liberal wet-dream, where waves of cheap labour slosh around the globe undercutting each others wages, until we have all competed ourselves into the gutter. While we are about it, we need a return to trade tariffs, at least for non-EU countries. It is obviously impossible for British workers to compete with workers whose wages would not even cover the rent on social housing (not to mention competing with child labour, or prisoner labour) What are we supposed to do, move into a tent and forage through bins for food?

    Let the vilification begin, see if I care.

  45. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    21 May, 2013 - 6:14 pm

    ” as there has been no global warming for 17 years,”

    Don’t wish to derail the thread, but this is hard to ignore.

    Is it your contention that longer winters and the fact that ice is extant, therefore warming of the atmosphere is not a factor in the anomalous weather patterns around the globe?

  46. There is only one outcome at the next general election. Everyone who does not vote will elect the party of Government.
    Those who try their hardest will be frustrated with dilution of votes, i.e. paper candidates that also stand under an Independent banner, as happened at the last county election in Wymondham Norfolk were the dirty tricks brigade under Cllr. Joe Mooney was in full swing.

    The moment a relevant council makes postal voting forms available, they are downloaded and printed by standing councillors of the main parties, every old and infirm voters is targeted and visited, with offers of help and safeguarding and delivery of this form.

    Their own party supporters get their postal voting forms sent by the council directly the moment the election is called. By the time the nomination have to be in most people will already have their forms and the moment the candidates are confirmed they vote, campaigning does not come into it, for them its a forgone conclusion without even listening to what any of the candidates, including their own, has to say.

    A farce!

    Next year we will see Euro and District elections thrown in on the same day, always confusing for voters. Will there be any Independents risking 5000,- at the Euro’s? I seriously doubt it, unless they have already started some time ago, they should not waste their money.

    It is to be seen whether we see many Independents standing in the District election, I don’t hold my breath.

  47. MarkU

    Immigration is purely political. It builds an economic and a driveable highway from ourselves to Turkey and beyond to Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan etc enclosing these countries into the political economic bosom of the West. Cutting these countries off from shite like Assad backed by Russia.

    I did not originally approve of this project when it started in Poland in the ’80s, but having seen its benefits in my own personal life by enabling me to travel overland through these countries in absolute safety, I am now 100% in favour.

    What does it matter to me if I can’t find work here because of immigration if I can find work and a new life abroad outside the crazy Euro-Christian zone? You know you have entered civilisation when you hit Turkey and the toilets provide facilities for cleaning yourself and it steadily gets better as you move Eastwards. If it had not been for Western/Zionist interference in the Muslim countries imposing dictators and fomenting violence, Muslim countries would now be way in advance in terms of civilisation and safety compared to here.

  48. “What are we supposed to do, move into a tent and forage through bins for food?”

    What are the people who live in tents and forage through bins for food now going to do when somebody else got to the bins first.

    Had it good all these years then when the going gets tough you think you can just move in and help yourself to the bin foragers food, leave them to starve.

    Typical.

  49. Mark U, why, in a globalised trading world, with almost no borders for those who want to make money, work and/or develop products wherever they want to, should there not be immigration patterns that follow the work?

    Further, your assumptions that there are willing and able workers here, wanting to do the jobs currently done by people from the US, Australia and the EU countries, not to talk of workers from the ex commonwealth and other colonial hangups, is groundless.

    Some 1/5th of our fresh food supplies comes from the Fenland’s. The farmers in this vast area have more than once gone on record saying that they can’t get British youngsters to come and do the jobs, that they are dependent on immigrant labour. A farmer whop has a three day window to get his asparagus on to your table will not question the labour arriving at 5.30am in his field, he pays for the work to get done and its hard honest work.

    To make out that we have not got the same chances to work these jobs is BS.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/cambridgeshire/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8530000/8530168.stm

    Three cheers to immigrants and to the 4-6 billion taxes they are paying, we can’t say that of Mr. Usmanov can we? why else would he go for a football club.

  50. “Some 1/5th of our fresh food supplies comes from the Fenland’s. The farmers in this vast area have more than once gone on record saying that they can’t get British youngsters to come and do the jobs, that they are dependent on immigrant labour.”

    That isn’t a new problem, it’s been like that for centuries. Britain had an itinerant work force willing to travel to where the work was when they were needed.

    But they made their way of life illegal.

  51. we neglect the education and training of our own citizens, instead we poach already trained personnel from poorer countries.

    Obviously the author is not aware of the education budget cuts that are being proposed. The trouble with the model is that “austerity” ie less government expenditure, is an effort to balance the books so that the rich and the corporations can get tax cuts/pay less taxes, whilst the poor pay their own way with more taxes, and upon fleecing the poor to bare bones, then the policy dictates to take away the services that the poor depend on to balance the books. This is called “small government”, “responsible citizenship”, etc.

    The above has nothing to do with immigration but everything to do with the political direction that many are blissfully ignorant of, and fixated on; its the immigrants wot done it.

    the fact that someone else, and potentially their families as well, end up on the dole as a result.

    Consider how much cheaper it is to keep the surplus labour in their stables, and affects thereof on the wages, than letting these unemployed getting jobs and earning a living?

    Therefore the arse about tit logic applied somehow in the grips of fits of emotions cannot see the wood for the trees and on goes the diatribe: its the immigrants wot done it.

    Mention must also be made of the tendency of the business classes to evade the law of supply and demand by importing cheap, even illegal labour from elsewhere.

    The depressed labour market has an unintended consequence of depressed demand, because the masses have little or no disposable income. Therefore the businesses intent on survival seek to reduce their operating costs through deployment of even cheaper labour.

    However the arse about tit logic that expects profit hungry businesses to become charitable and philanthropist organisation, deduces: its the immigrants wot done it.

    Surely it is not too difficult to understand the resentment of those from the lower socio-economic strata who see mass immigration as a ploy by the rich to keep their wages down.

    Never mind the rich whose machinations and intrigue has brought about the destitution of the “lower socio-economic strata” but really: its the immigrants wot done it.

    We must have an end to the neo-liberal wet-dream, where waves of cheap labour slosh around the globe undercutting each others wages, until we have all competed ourselves into the gutter.

    All that arse bout tit thinking results in totally disappearing up the said arse, and coming out with the manifesto of let us understand that globally: its the immigrants wot done it.

    It is obviously impossible for British workers to compete with workers whose wages would not even cover the rent on social housing (not to mention competing with child labour, or prisoner labour) What are we supposed to do, move into a tent and forage through bins for food?

    Oh well now that we know: its the immigrants wot done it, let us fuck them up even more with trade tariffs, and stopping them coming to our shores to trade with us and shit.

    Well how’s about let us nuke the foreign bastards and solve all the planets problem in one go?

    The pathetic lines of “thought”, that regurgitates the mims set in place by the same policy makers whom have contrived the current situation, that is disseminated through their various “news” organs are verily taken to be the lines of “thought” that the author has arrived at all by himself, and indeed a “reasonable, cogent, informed” stance that needs no further explanations, and anyone who disagrees with it are the very epitome of poppy pants to the man of them.

    Missing from the “debate” are the following facts:

    What the fuck has the City of London any business in investing abroad, and earning a tidy living from being the international rentiers?

    Where are the legislation to compel the said culprits to invest in the plant, education, and training of the workforce and capital structures with in UK? Can there be any hope of any such a legislation ever getting passed?

    Why in hades the huge amounts of investments abroad are then protected by the huge expenditure in the armed forces to ensure that the international borrowers do not think of taking the money and doing a runner? If the city is so intent on investing abroad then it should also set up its own security measures to compel the defaulters to pay up and not ask the nation and tax payers as a whole to become the guardians of the said bunch of international rentiers.

    Further, fact that the various third world countries have been getting targeted and attacked (aggressively asset stripped), and other countries have been the subjects of covert attempts in the overthrow of their governments with a view to installing a more “City friendly” bunch of operatives, also does not come into the equation either. Really there are far too many facts that are missing and to mention these would need a huge space.

    What levels of ignorance can ignore such a plain facts set out in the missing facts sections, and still carry on maintaining: “ its the immigrants wot done it”?

  52. Horseman Joe

    21 May, 2013 - 7:35 pm

    UKIP are a real alternative given how bad the current lot are. Sure, their policies are a bit vague and problematic, but they are not so much worse than what we have today that they cant be considered an alternative. Even if they made a huge mess, as they might, would it be a worse mess than we’re in now? Not much, no.

    They might not let Johnny Foreigner come to live here, but the current lot are dropping bombs on Johnny Foreigner to stop him living at all.

  53. I am just amazed by how naive, ignorant, and day-dreaming posters are when it comes to solving or at least mitigating the problems of current Western governance.

    Its system of government only expanded voting rights to avoid being overthrown, and while the electorates grew, including minorities and women, they created a professional class to carry out its day-to-day details.

    Now the voters have become useless in who are governs are, and what they see fit to do.

    Unless people are willing to get rid of them, we are just stuck with them

    It’s like the so-called democratic changes never really occurred.

  54. technicolour

    21 May, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    What fascinating comments. Thanks MarkU, and everyone else. Horseman Joe, to take it one step further, have you thought what they might do to the ‘Johnny Foreigners’ living here now?

    Does the proposal of boot camps – in England – give you any pause for thought? Or the anti-Muslim/immigrant rhetoric we’ve seen displayed by UKIP supporters previous threads?

    What is the proposed massive hike in ‘defence spending’ for?

    Otherwise, I don’t despise anyone, including UKIP supporters. It worries me, however, when people who (understandably, I think) claim to be pro UKIP because they are against being in the EU, and are fed up with things generally, are prepared to ignore the vicious undercurrents of violence, hate, money and power behind the party make-up itself.

    I am now, out of interest, going to look for reasons to stay in the EU – beyond the Human Rights Act which in itself has so far prevented the UK from going down these routes:

    # Restrictions on prisoners’ correspondence and visits by their lawyers (Golder, 1975);
    # Routine strip-searching of visitors to a prison (Wainwright, 2006);
    # Allowing the Home Secretary rather than a court to fix the length of sentences (Easterbrook, 2003);
    # Admitting testimony obtained under coercion as evidence (Saunders, 1996);
    # Keeping a suspect incommunicado in oppressive conditions without access to a solicitor (Magee, 2000);
    # Extradition of a suspect to the United States to face a capital charge (Soering, 1989);
    # Granting the police blanket immunity from prosecution (Osman, 1998);
    # Shooting of Provisional Irish Republican Army suspects in Gibraltar without any attempt to arrest them (McCann, 1995);
    # Killing of a prisoner by another mentally ill detainee with whom he was sharing a cell (Edwards, 2002);
    # Investigation of an unlawful killing by police officers conducted by the police officers who participated in the killing (McShane, 2002);

  55. Day at the berries

    21 May, 2013 - 8:11 pm

    Nevermind,

    As someone who used to pick berries and occasionally tatties when much younger I can tell you one reason why farmers lost access to local labour. Quite simply many were unemployed (or employed but on some benefits) and/or students in the days when you could sign on over the summer. Flying Dole Office squads then started turning up in fields for spot checks – at that time not for immigrants but someone earning enough for a few drinks that evening to top up their dole money. Rasp pickers had it worst as their hands would be stained and scratched. If that was spotted by the dole office gestapo when you had to physically sign the form in front of them once a fortnight then you got pulled in for questioning. The farmers did not pay anywhere near enough to make it worthwhile signing off at the time. They frightened away the local pickers on Thatcher’s instructions during the course of the 1980s.

  56. Day at the berries

    21 May, 2013 - 8:44 pm

    “Berry Pickers Fund the IRA”

    I’d almost forgotten that but it just came back to me. It was a headline (from the Sunday Post I think) to help justify the crack-down. It seems they were worried that unemployed Catholics of Irish descent were sending their ill begotten berry money to the IRA. They were actually spending it in the local pubs of course.

  57. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    21 May, 2013 - 8:46 pm

    Glenn; Is that you behind those Foster Grants?

  58. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    21 May, 2013 - 8:58 pm

    Anyhoo…cheers to Glenn. I hope you are rebounding from your loss.

  59. Day at the berries

    21 May, 2013 - 9:36 pm

    And into the 80s local school holidays were arranged to fit in with the farmers.

    Michael Gove has something to say about that

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/shortcuts/2013/apr/21/michael-gove-shorter-school-holidays

    Michael Gove wants to shorten school holidays, saying they were designed back when the UK still had an agricultural economy, and cites the “tattie holiday” as an example. The extra-long October halfterm in parts of Scotland got its name because it was “the period when kids would go to the fields to pick potatoes”, he explains. Such holidays, he insists, represent “a world that no longer exists”. Yet schoolchildren were still pulling up potatoes in the “tattie holiday” in the mid-1980s, when the process was mechanised. And many remember it fondly.

    ===== Rest at link ====

    Kids from about 6 years up used to work at the berries (and enjoy it with older relatives) and from 11 up at the tatties (if you were a big 11). Farmers would get locked up for that these days. Ah, listening to test matches on a transistor radio in the late 70s at the berries. Life was good.

  60. This is where Liberal values get you up the slippery pole of personal advancement, ingratiating you to the people in power, whether you are building a career or trying to get weapons to make jihad against Assad. Everybody likes sky hooks going up.

    But when you get to the top and they’re trying to pin the torture on their diplomats or the false flag bombs on their Al Qaida recruits that’s when they call in those Liberal values that anything goes. But that was only for when you\re climbing up! When you\re being spiked with ‘condoning’ everything and turning a blind eye to the reality around you, that’s when you have to fight them off.

    A lot of people come to the conclusion that if you’re going to get impaled on the very sky hooks that hauled you up, if you’d stayed on the ground in the first place you’d have been better off.

  61. Day at the berries

    21 May, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    And then out of my berry pay I bought this http://www.radiomuseum.org/r/plustron_plustron_tv_radio_combin.html in 1979.

    Still have it and it still works 34 years later. Pity they shut down the analogue tv signal but I’ve got a little UHF low power transmitter which relays the cable channel to it in the kitchen. Don’t tell anyone.

  62. When more extreme parties get air space they seem to act as a sort of magnet moving the mass consensus not exactly in their direction, but allowing some of their ideas to become part of the accepted discourse. Its a chicken and egg thing, and self perpetuating for a while. When Nick Griffin appeared on QT it is was a shock. He performed badly and the BNP faded, but it seemed that the very fact that he was allowed out on a respected BBC platform gave not him credence, for he came acros badly, but put immigration out on the agenda and then as if by magic centre ground politicians felt charged to talk about immigration in a way which they had not felt comfortable doing before hand. Partly it was as if they were saying they would talk about immigration to stop the BNP talking about it. They had flashed up a bogey man and then adopted some of his language.

    With UKIP it isn’t so much about immigration (though they obviously attract those who bang on about that) but UKIP getting so much attention gives credence to the idea of leaving europe and so centre party politicians who wouldn’t previously have discussed it, who would have treated it as taboo move into that dialogue, and drip by drip the possibility of leaving Europe gains wider possibility. Is an exit worth considering, not if mooted by UKIP and not if UKIP are in the driving seat, but anyway if the idea gains momentum then it gains its own life. Repeated in the mainstream its repetition makes it possible. I suspect a variant is more likely.

    So extreme parties sometimes give birth to ideas, but may themselves die in labour. They function as a cross between a herald and a bogeyman. Their idea is then adopted and raised in a more main stream way.

    Are people keen to wake up to change, or just happy to follow whatever message is repeated? Maybe it does not take many influential people to create a resonance of a new idea, which might gain momentum. Are there such people? Do they have a good idea? if the people are influential and the time is right, perhaps they may apear to make some changes. Probably the ideas are shallow and everyone stays asleep. What is wrong with working with what we have in our small daily lives and looking at that and seeing if we can make some difference.

    Of course people need a magnet to pull them into a change of direction, but who are we to plan such changes. Whatever happened to old fashioned pragmatism and muddling along making only slow adjustments, correcting as we go along step by step with a good heart. Idealism, right or left is usually a day dream. Buddhists have wars, hippies make money, socialists turn out to be only feathering their own nest. It is all nothing unless we keep an eye on ourselves, which is something we all fail to do.

    On leaving Europe: I can see a variant occurring. Just as China has one country two systems, so europe can have one, eh whatever it will be, one federal state and two systems with UK, or perhaps England as an offshore HK type centre. Maybe it could pan out alright for England, but whether it would be a good idea generally I don’t know. It is hardly an ideal, but could perhaps be a consequence of the current direction.

  63. This sums it up “the Majority are apathetic”.

    Those who own the media, the banks, the government (The Bilderbergers?) are in charge and most people, even many of my friends, are apathetic because these evil few thousand people have conditioned the masses. Friday marked 100 days of prisoner hunger-striking in Guantanamo. There was a demonstration in London on Saturday, and I donned some orange overalls for four hours in Birmingham City Centre (later moving to St Phillip’s Cathedral) in solidarity. I had tried to get others involved but ended up being the only protester in the UK’s second city against the monstrosity known as Guantanamo Bay.

    Shaker Aamer has been ‘cleared for release’ for six years. They water-boarded him, and tortured him in abominable ways. He is known in Guantanmo as “The Professor”, an intelligent man who has a ten year old son he has never seen all because of the US ‘war in Islam’. Is it not worth showing solidarity with Shaker? It would appear not.

  64. Day at the berries

    21 May, 2013 - 10:36 pm

    Ben – an email address of anon@anon.com gives the gravatar sunglasses avatar. I am not Glenn if that was what you were wondering.

  65. Day at the berries

    21 May, 2013 - 10:45 pm

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/?first=adam&last=werritty&search=Search&searchType=fps

    0 Results for adam werritty

    An exact match for adam werritty could not be found.

  66. Attended a packed Yes Scotland (cross party) event at Old Gala House in Galashiels this evening. The object is simply one of connecting people in the disparate towns and villages, informally organising for further events across the Borders; long before any intensive campaigning begins, support is multiplying. A convivial meeting, but quite formal, lacking something – perhaps some musical entertainment and refreshments- it was preaching to the choir mostly but won some new support outright. One person stood up during the Q&A, possibly a plant, muttered something incoherent about Europe and UKIP and walked out before any of the speakers could even figure out what his point was, never mind try address it.

    Support for the centralising model of EU though is at a low-ebb, though mutual trade to and from the countries of Europe is as strong an incentive as ever to co-operate on standards, uniform worker’s and citizens rights, environmental protection, and tariff-free easy movement of goods, between sellers and buyers. Discrete issues though aren’t so important just now as is the success of the Yes vote, after which WE will have a say ourselves on: NATO, monarchy, the EU and the timetable for removing WMD from the Clyde, amongst other issues on which the final say for the Scots, rests with the Scots –only with Independence.

    The Hootsmon ‘newspaper’ was the butt of many jokes, with its total detachment from reality and its daily most ludicrous scares, unspoken though implicit was that the same newspaper group also has a monopoly on local newspapers in the region and this well of poison cannot avoid, indeed is noticeably contaminating the local titles too, to the detriment of their already perilous credibility and viability. Local Lib-Dem MP and Scottish Secretary Micheal Moore (aka Lurch) now openly a Tory tool, was of course conspicuously absent, just as well as the mood in the heart of his own constituency is that his ‘jaikit is on a shaky nail’.

    Peebles tomorrow (Wednesday), Hawick Thursday and Haddington Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

    http://www.yesscotland.net/events

  67. May I just say, I couldn’t agree less with the idea we need a charismatic leader. Komodo made some good points, but respectfully, I’m with Occupy on this one: the leaderless structure is what was good about Occupy. Not everyone agrees on this; respected left commentator, Paul Street, who is always excellent, thought the structure unhelpful, for one.

    However, I distrust the whole charismatic leader vibe. It’s just Tony Blair redux. Take the Greens. If they ever got a sniff of power, all of a sudden a ‘charismatic’ leader will almost certainly appear, making promises about getting ‘over the top’ and whispering about how much good they can do if only they make the necessary compromises to attain power – and then all of a sudden this ‘charismatic’ leader is given far more credit than they deserve, and parley this political credit into policies at variance with what the party actually stands for. No to charisma, it’s an over-rated vice anyway.

    As it goes, I conclude that charisma and narcissism are often inextricably linked. Your charismatic individual is likely to end up vain, self-centred, ego focused, because … well, I’m not sure. Perhaps being showered with praise corrupts a person. Or, perhaps, more interestingly, charisma is actually the visible manifestation of a flaw, certainly when it is taken to extremes.

    I speculate idly. Alas, my comments are negative, not constructive. I suspect that less of the former, and more of the latter are, to answer Craig’s question, a start on the long road.

  68. The bankers are dangling UKIP? What world are you living in, Craig? Not the real one, that’s for sure.

  69. Neil Barker

    In the real world it is a fact that the bankers concealed the truth about their criminal salting away of funds into their own pockets from the time of Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the exchequer.

    They manipulated New Labour back into the box where Mrs Thatcher had shoved them with her daft ponzi economy schemes, by monstrous, humungous lies on a devastating scale. This has made Gordon Brown and the rest of New Labour look incompetent and stupid. No, they were lied to and manipulated by reckless, selfish, criminal bankers.

    If you don’t understand that the bankers blackmail the government, then you don’t understand anything about the stupidity of the Thatcher plan to trust the banking class.
    Racist UKIP is the odour-eating paper tree dangling from the car mirror to hide the stench of banker greed and corruption.

    They dangle them with their usual utter cynicism and recklessness, as a decoy from their own criminality in order to fool the masses into a fascist swerve to the right. Exactly the same as before the two world wars.

    Craig lives in the real world, not in the froth of Tory wanked-out ideas. The Tories would not have been re-elected in 50 years if Clegg and Ashdown had a grain of principle. They think they are so clever for shoving these mad, cruel decrees of austerity down our throats. Tories and bankers will be dangled from electoral gibbets in a couple of years, if not before.

    Some researcher has discovered that Gay marriage might be a vote winner amongst former New Labour and LibDem supporters. What cynical, barking, stuffed tigers. No principals, no ideas, no solutions. Just hair-brained schemes to divert the election to their side.

  70. April Showers reminded us of the illusion of democracy and Dave and Indigo agreed ‘democracy’ is a ‘pig in a poke’ – the ‘common people’ are no longer stood for at the top. Today no such democratic vision and accountability is permitted in through the revolving doors of big-money control.

    I said yesterday, change is an illusion, a brand, a circle of events presented in a different order. There is no light in change.

    We have witnessed ‘the worst crimes against humanity under law, perpetrated without respite – murder, assassination, deprivation of access to food , water and medicine, forcible transfers of population, torture, persecution, false imprisonment, enforced disappearances, plunder of public property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages’

    These are all crimes against humanity under law. This is the antithesis of Craig’s ‘great message of the day.’ How do you get that message to people?

    My approach is not political – the political system has failed us. Why use it? The alternative stares us in the face. We must take the judicial route to expose these crimes, these violations, this immorality.

    Our friend Dr David Halpin and his wife Sue took a brave legal stance (even after his computer systems were attacked and evidence ‘disappeared’) and challenged the official verdict on the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly. David Halpin said, ‘We reject haemorrhage as the cause of death and see no contrary opinion which would stand its ground. I think it is highly likely he was assassinated.’

    David Halpin has lead the way and given us guidance. Our country is corrupt at the top down.

    Our Democracy is corrupt. Money is used to pay people off. It must be time to recognise the undeniable criminal agents and institutions now ruling us.

    In a direct stand against fear and the trepidation of being branded a ‘terrorist’ we can identify the lead individuals and institutions as proven mass murderers and oppressors for power and gain. Simply by connecting with each other, with trust, we can expose the truth in law and the knaves and tyrants lose their face and legitimacy.

    These tyrants who drape themselves in flag and country – fear this exposure
    so much they seal the lips of their citizens by terror. In the course of time they will collapse as they are increasingly recognised as what they are – the vilest criminals, serial murderers, liars, torturers, looters of others’ lives and resources. We can make their time short.

    Finer, fitter and better people here in our community can make this due process happen.

    Don’t vote, give-for truth! Giving is our pitch-fork. We can depend on it. Our case is the light at the end of a 100 year tunnel!

  71. BrianFujisan

    22 May, 2013 - 2:58 am

    Day at the Berries@ 8 : 11 pm and 9 : 36pm… That brought back Memories. There was a Subclass of people – aspiring students of wich where the most hopeful, many of the rest were a ravaged Motely Crew from Pretty much the Lowest rung of the Social Ladder. The pittance paid to Ruhbarb pickers / cutters was shocking when compared to the Price of a tin of the stuff in tesco…And yes the unemployment Gestapo would turn up. people fleeing through fields with their razor sharp Knifes, there was always someone requring stitches in hands / fingers at the Ruhbarb cutting.

    I Find that pretty much everyone around me don’t mind Alex Salmond’s Size as any kind of issue, But Even the uninformed appear to support the SNP. When i say uninformed i mean MSM junkies…bbc daily record, ect
    John @ 10 ; 24 is spot on The few Own the Media, but its not just media news manipulation, it’s pop music, Film, tv shows.

    April Showers @ 3;02 pm

    John Hilley Has a Couple of Great Posts About bbc Bias, the latest of which being an exchange over bbc bias with regards IBC

    http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/2013_05_01_archive.html

  72. BrianFujisan

    22 May, 2013 - 3:11 am

    VERY Well said Mark. i fear one of the problems is that they make such Damn sure of protecting themselves, Will it come down to the Army refusing to turn on the people i wonder, Cos the police are well owned…as many a demo is witness F%ckers

  73. @ Mark U

    With regards to the immigration issue, there is no causal relationship between unemployment and immigration.

    During the 50s there was mass immigration but near full employment.

    Conversely, during the 30s, there was mass unemployment but almost zero immigration.

    It is misguided to scapegoat immigrants for a problem whose source stems from the vagaries of the market.

  74. Independent or not, we are a socialist community in a capitalist environment. As the comteol of the money supply- commodities is at least under control of the same Capitalist system. We know, from our recent eploitations in the middle East.

    The few Major banks and corporations are leading us with their capitalist aims into communism
    Great so will this form of socialism flourish?

    We are at present still able to build and re-build, put in place the foundations for a future that will be representituve of our best peoples high achievements.

    Politics is preventing us.
    This Ukip is just further division, How can we enhance society and the world we live in.

    Birds, Bees,plants and people’s?

  75. “I am now, out of interest, going to look for reasons to stay in the EU – beyond the Human Rights Act…”

    Human Rights Act nothing to do with the EU. Comes under the auspice of the Council of Europe so leaving the EU won’t mean we can automatically withdraw from the ECHR.

  76. April Showers

    22 May, 2013 - 7:58 am

    Day at the Berries. Someone else is using that avatar calling himself Pete Meat. He left an unpleasant post on the Werritty thread yesterday.

    ~~~

    PS Spellcheck does not like ‘werritty’. It suggests warranty or verity. Also ferity.
    fer·i·ty
    n.
    1. The state of being wild or untamed.
    2. The state of being savage; ferocity.

    Ooh er Missus!

  77. April Showers

    22 May, 2013 - 8:15 am

    Brian and Jay.

    10% of UK wildlife ‘endangered’
    A stocktake of UK nature suggests 60% of animal and plant species have declined in the past 50 years – and one in 10 could end up disappearing. BBC Nature
    Scots wildlife ‘faces rising threat’
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/22609000

    So what have we been doing? And what has been the use of the multiple conservation charities concerned with the environment other than to record the declines? RSPB, WWF, English Nature, the county based Wildlife Trusts, et al.

    Anyone seen a honey bee this Spring? I have not. I used to have frogs and toads by the dozen in my garden, sand lizards, smooth snakes, hedgehogs, thrushes, starlings, house martins, wagtails, wrens, goldcrests, pipistrelle bats, etc etc. Over the 30 years that I have lived here they have all disappeared. I do not use chemicals and I try to make the space friendly to wild life by leaving weeds and nettles, using nectar bearing flowers and shrubs and providing plenty of cover. Dead wood is left on the ground to decay.

    It is both sad and worrying.

  78. April Showers, we have honey bees living in our wall cavity. They send decoys out to fly by the door to distract from the real holes they are using. None of us has been stung. I started by phoning pest-control but there is no humane way of dealing with them. Especially as there is a fall in honey-bee population I do not want to disturb them but come the winter feel I must cement up their entrances. Has anybody got any suggestions?

  79. Giles, I am beginning to suspect you are on some kind of greenwash programme for Exxon (or Cuadrilla), if you are involved in conservation, as you say.

    It is untrue to say that global temperatures have not risen for the last 17 years. Maybe that comes from one of the 24 (out of 13,950) peer-reviewed papers on the subject? Do cite it, please. The rate of increase has slowed, sure. That isn’t the same thing. Nor does it invalidate the basic premiss, that the average temperature across the world is rising, and will continue to rise unless CO2 emissions are cut drastically. In private, even the oil companies admit this. As a result of thermal expansion and continental icecap melting, sea levels won’t just rise in theory, but ARE rising. As a result of the oceans’ buffering capacity for CO2 being saturated, coral reefs won’t just die in theory but ARE dying – http://news.nationalgeographic.co.uk/news/2006/05/warming-coral.html

    You’re in denial, and I fully sympathise. The prospect for your descendants is much worse than you like to think. You can’t see it’s happening, and you don’t want to see it happening, you’re interested in local conservation and focused on the smaller picture.

    Just a thought from Hawaii, where the highest atmospheric concentration of CO2 to date was recorded a month or so ago…

    Most folks in Hawaii agree with the scientific consensus that climate change is real.

    We believe it because “we’ve experienced it in a way that other people in America have not,” explains Dr. Melissa Finucane, a senior fellow at the East-West Center who specializes in climate risk perception. “If you go to Honaunau and see that the site where Captain Cook died is now underwater, it’s hard to say sea level is not rising. You can see beaches eroding; streams that you played in as a child are dry. Those kinds of experiences touch people in a way that’s really hard to get across with statistics and science.”

    http://honoluluweekly.com/cover/2012/12/climate-change-in-hawai%E2%80%98i-it%E2%80%99s-here/

  80. @John Goss

    Just leave them … we’ve had a hive in the wall outside our back door for as long as we’ve lived here (seven years).

    The buzz of each as he goes back to the hive with his bounty gives me pleasure … I know that, despite the filthy stuff manufactured by Monsanto et al he has found his way home again.

    It’s my sound of summer …

  81. ian blackhall

    22 May, 2013 - 9:12 am

    Scotland did have a radical alternative. the Scottish Socialist Party, but Tommy Sheridan got “Craig Murried” by the state.

  82. Brendan: May I just say, I couldn’t agree less with the idea we need a charismatic leader.

    History shows that successful revolutions depend on two things: a charismatic leader and good publicity. “We” (this lizard least of all) don’t want a charismatic leader and a marketing wonk. But “we” sure as hell do need them.

    Anyway, despite what Fred thinks when in his cups, Alex’s not a bad model for a publicity-conscious charismatic leader. It doesn’t have to be Tim Bell and Margaret Thatcher…

  83. April Showers

    22 May, 2013 - 9:26 am

    Komodo. My thoughts exactly on our friend with the Mandarin Duck avatar. He seems to have a lot of spare time away from the ‘Con- Servation.

    Speaking of ducks, last year there were dozens and dozens of mallard ducklings on the river here. This year there are just two females, one with a near fully grown duckling and another one newly hatched??, and the other who has six newly hatched ducklings including two that are creamy white coloured and not the usual multi coloured. Different dads to account for the latter or some genetic change?

    So cute as they paddle furiously to keep up.
    https://farm1.static.flickr.com/63/154636158_2c3915ff8a.jpg

    http://www.daviddrufke.com/photography-blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/ForestLake09-0039-blog.jpg

  84. Sofia Zobolotna-Habbercake

    22 May, 2013 - 9:37 am

    John: Re bees.

    Have you asked a local bee-keeper to take a look. They are a generally friendly and helpful species.

    If the bees’ flight-path is not causing people to get stung you may want to consider constructing an observation hive on the inside wall for them to expand their hive into. A simple box construction (10″ deep and 24″x 36″in size) with a well sealed and sturdy hinged glass front covered by a hinged wooden shutter. That way you can both give them a sanctuary, enjoy observing them, and best of all you can break off an occasional sweet reward for your trouble.

    If you really feel you need to remove them and don’t want to poison or trapp them inside, here’s something I saw once. I have seen a huge wild hive behind a plaster wall dismantled by a well-suited* beekeeper using a Dyson vacuum cleaner. With this he sucked the bees up as he broke off the combs. He tried in vain to locate the queen as he worked in the hope of at least saving enough of the colony to move to a new hive.
    The whole process happened over about two hours and the bees got sucked up and spun to death before they could produce their alarm scent. Pretty grisly but I think it was a quick and sudden death, preferable to poisoning or being walled in. At the end of the process there was a bucket of dead bees and three buckets of honeycombs.

    And no, I am not insane.

    Alternately you can find Dad. I’m sure he would have something entertaining to suggest.

    *Not Armani.

  85. Not sure that Salmond’s value to the independence movement is as a leader. Within the SNP he tends to be respected rather than liked, and his leadership style has caused occasional ructions (remember he was removed for a while and replaced by Swinney). His value is as a champion of the cause, the debater that nobody wants to face, the interviewee who cannot be intimidated or wrong-footed. Of course he has a great advantage in that he can tell the truth, whereas his opponents (who include most BBC interviewers) must avoid it at all costs.

    Tommy Sheridan was getting close to performing the same role for the more radical left – ironically it was a failure to tell the truth that destroyed him. I know that he was advised by a friend, a prominent legal figure, that he should not pursue his case against NOTW as even winning it would damage him. Silly boy.

  86. Sofia Zobolotna-Habbercake

    22 May, 2013 - 9:55 am

    OT I know!

    John.

    Here’s a good read for you, after which you will have a feel for the creatures you are sharing your home with.
    “Bees and Honey” Ted Hooper. ISBN 0 7137 0782 8

    Thanks to all for a great thread.

  87. resident dissident

    22 May, 2013 - 10:07 am

    Perhaps those here rejecting democracy; accusing the electorate of apathy and of being slow on the uptake (the sheeple tag has been used in the past); failing to recognise that compromises have to be made with those with who they disagree or are not in total disagreement in order to acheive a consensus and something like stablity which is what most people want; and pooh poohing the real differences that do exist between our political parties (e.g. there is a lot of difference between seekiing to cut the deficit when growth is established and trying to do so strtaightway over the life of the parliament) – might just wish to reflect that the history of political change being brought about by small groups of the ideologically pure isn’t particularly promising.

    Might I suggest that we have hard fought for democratic institutions in this country and that if you wish to change things then you use them, but a warning for the faint hearted and lazy this is not an easy route. You have to meet a lot of people and talk to them and convince them to change their minds – they are the 99% after all and not a few like minded people in tents or on this blog.

    It should of course be noted that Craig is one of those fickle creatures who as a LibDem member personally voted for this coalition; so that is probably one reason why he would like to argue that they are no different from New Labour, against whom he clearly has a deep and personal animus. And is now flirting with Scottish nationalism – which if the recent clash with UKIPs southern English nationalists is any thing to go for has already started its slide into the nastier forms of nationalism, which as Orwell pointed out is an inevitable consequence of all forms of nationalism. I found it quite noteworthy that Salmond was only prepared to condemn those who protested against Farage if it could be proven that they had broken the law – which of course allows quite a degree of unpleasantness before that threshold is broken. The next stage of course is to control the law enforcement officers so that they can develop selective blindness.

  88. Sofia Zobolotna-Habbercake

    22 May, 2013 - 10:51 am

    Yes, Resident Dissident, like we’re going to be patronised by the likes of you and Dad into being blind and dumb.

    And of course the British state would never consider any unpleasantness would it? Oh, apart from wars of conquest, torture, development and possession of illegal weapons of mass destruction, arms trading, Dublin and Monoghhan bombings, fostering of organised banksterism, deep-state child abuse (Kincora Boy’s Home and Jimmy Saville probably just the tip of the iceberg), wasting police time harassing dissidents, unaccountable state security organisations………….Sorry I wont use up the next 1000 valuable lines of the “fickle” Craig’s blog, but I think you get the gist

    But apart from those trifles, what a magnificent example of a democracy the great people of Britain people have fought so hard create! Why would anyone assume it could be improved?

  89. Komodo wrote:

    “Just a thought from Hawaii, where the highest atmospheric concentration of CO2 to date was recorded a month or so ago…”

    Indeed, the Hawaiian CO2 monitoring has shown a slow and steady increase from 1960 to the present; so naturally, any time from then until now, will have been “highest” recorded state with respect to previous times, since station monitoring started.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide-en.svg

    I estimate the increase in CO2 from approximately 315 ppm in 1960, to 390 ppm at the present; or about 24% increase. Meanwhile Global oil use has been approximately doubling for every 7 years since 1960 [this doubling rate has slowed in the last decade]; hence fossil fuel burning has increased globally by several hundred percent in the same period that CO2 increased by a measly 24%.

    This lack of large increase in CO2 may account for this:

    http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=71369

    Your kilometerage may vary.

    PS. All the carbon of the worlds total fossil fuels, including coal, and chalk downs and coral reefs, used to be part of the primordial atmosphere, in the form of CO2. The Cretaceous period had approximately 600% more CO2 in its atmosphere compared to today, yet life thrived as a result; for the climate was a bit warmer, but not catastrophically so, and the plants were well fed to the point that they didn’t need broad leaves, as they do today.

  90. resident dissident

    22 May, 2013 - 11:10 am

    Sofia

    “Might I suggest that we have fought hard for democratic institutions in this country and that if you wish to change things then you use them, but a warning for the faint hearted and lazy this is not an easy route.”

    I think you missed this bit – but quite happy to hear other ways as to how things should be changed. apart from the old lets throw the toys out of the pram routine which I would patronisingly suggest is more suited to infants than teenage revolutionaries.

  91. PS. All the carbon of the worlds total fossil fuels, including coal, and chalk downs and coral reefs, used to be part of the primordial atmosphere, in the form of CO2. The Cretaceous period had approximately 600% more CO2 in its atmosphere compared to today, yet life thrived as a result; for the climate was a bit warmer, but not catastrophically so, and the plants were well fed to the point that they didn’t need broad leaves, as they do today.

    Yes, Jimmy. Now read Wikipedia on the Cretaceous. (I’m a geologist*, but I’ll spare you the technical details, because I like you). You will see that broad-leaved plants began their rise during the Cretaceous, and that temperatures, particularly deep-ocean temperatures, were a good bit higher. Also most of the south of England was underwater. (lol)

    As to the slowing rate of warming:
    1. Will the rate continue to slow? The jury’s out, but if the slowdown is due to ocean pH falling, and dissolution of biogenic carbonate acting as a temporary sink for CO2, then possibly. Unfortunately this means a lot of shellfish and coral reefs will go. Ultimately the calcite compensation depth will rise to the surface, and then there will be no more buffering. By which time, I guess, big oil and Chinese coal will have ensured a point of no return.
    2. This is a short-term trend superimposed on a much longer-term trend. Which is solid.
    3. Warming hasn’t stopped. Think of it as the foot relaxing on the accelerator.
    4. Oh, and look: [this doubling rate has slowed in the last decade] A complete coincidence that warming has slowed, then…but actually, the relationship isn’t usually believed to be that simple.

    *Really. I don’t usually boast about it, but…

  92. Vronsky, points well made and well taken. But: His value is as a champion of the cause, the debater that nobody wants to face, the interviewee who cannot be intimidated or wrong-footed. Of course he has a great advantage in that he can tell the truth, whereas his opponents (who include most BBC interviewers) must avoid it at all costs.

    I’d say those are essential attributes for a political leader.

  93. “History shows that successful revolutions depend on two things: a charismatic leader and good publicity.”

    Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao…

    What did you want a revolution for? We already consume far more that our fair share of resources were you hoping to improve on that? Salmond is already a fat pig is he hoping to get even fatter?

    Over a quarter of the population of Scotland are clinically obese, one in 25 has type 2 diabetes but these figures aren’t good enough, they have to have a revolution, make themselves more prosperous.

  94. resident dissident

    22 May, 2013 - 11:26 am

    John Goss

    http://www.bees-online.com/RemoveBees.htm

    Cementing the exit to the outside, without first killing the bees probably isn’t a good idea since when they wake up they will look for other cavities to the inside.

  95. April Showers

    22 May, 2013 - 11:37 am

    A lot of propping up of the numerous bars goes on in the HoC, all heavily subsidised by us.

    17 May 2013
    ‘Unhealthy’ drink culture among MPs – Alcohol Concern
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22564369

    17 May 2013
    The ‘unhealthy’ drinking culture of MPs isn’t a private matter – it also impacts on public policy
    Parliamentarians are as oblivious to the health risks of drinking alcohol as the general public and we have to ask what effect this is having on the nation’s health
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-unhealthy-drinking-culture-of-mps-isnt-a-private-matter–it-also-impacts-on-public-policy-8621365.html

  96. Sofia Zobolotna-Habbercake, thanks very much for your suggestions. I like Indigo’s solution too, though it’s a bit too like the apathetic majority’s solution – do nothing. In this case it might be best. Thanks both for your entertaining comments.

  97. “The next stage of course is to control the law enforcement officers so that they can develop selective blindness.”

    That isn’t the next stage.

    That was the last stage.

    Every policeman from Gretna to the Outer Hebrides now has the same badge and the same boss.

  98. resident dissident

    22 May, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    Fred

    You are absolutely correct – I wonder how long it will be before Craig realises there is no such thing as “liberal nationalism”. Of course the one thing that nationalists hate most is nationalists that support another nation – hence the antagonism to UKIP.

  99. April Showers

    22 May, 2013 - 12:02 pm

    Who made the decision to commemorate the start of WWI and did Agent Cameron, presumably acting on instructions to instigate the commemoration next year, ask us if we wanted £55m of our taxes spent in this way? He is promoting nationalism in the style of the Diamond Jubilee ‘celebrations’. Disgusting spiv. He is off to Brussels again, this time on tax evasion. (David Cameron to seek action on tax avoidance at EU summit). He should look closer to home.

    Remembering war to promote peace
    The Guardian, Tuesday 21 May 2013 20.59 BST

    Devastated Battlefield of The Somme, 1916
    ‘A military disaster and a human catastrophe’ … the devastated Somme battleground between Bapaume and Arras in 1916. Photo: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis

    Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the first world war. Far from being a “war to end all wars” or a “victory for democracy”, this was a military disaster and a human catastrophe.

    We are disturbed, therefore, that David Cameron plans to spend £55m on a “truly national commemoration” to mark this anniversary. Mr Cameron quite inappropriately compared these events to the “diamond jubilee celebrations” and stated that their aim will be to stress our “national spirit”. That they will be run at least in part by former generals and ex-defence secretaries reveals just how misconceived these plans are.

    Instead we believe it is important to remember that this was a war that was driven by big powers’ competition for influence around the globe, and caused a degree of suffering all too clear in the statistical record of 16 million people dead and 20 million wounded.

    In 2014, we and others across the world will be organising cultural, political and educational activities to mark the courage of many involved in the war but also to remember the almost unimaginable devastation caused. In a time of international tension, we call on all those who agree with us to join us – by adding their names to ours at ww1.stopwar.org.uk – to ensure that this anniversary is used to promote peace and international co-operation.

    Jude Law, Michael Morpurgo, Antony Gormley, Patrick Stewart, Carol Ann Duffy, Vanessa Redgrave, Simon Callow, Brian Eno, Lindsey German, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Tony Benn, Timothy West, Dominic Cooke, AL Kennedy, Janie Dee, Neil Faulkner, Heathcote Williams, Dame Harriet Walter, Tim Pigott-Smith, Roger Lloyd Pack, Alan Rickman, Ken Loach, Ralph Steadman, Ken Livingstone, Rob Montgomery, Duncan Heining, Chris Nineham, Kate Hudson, Jan Woolf, Peter Kennard, Andy de la Tour, Evan Parker, Robert Wyatt, Colin Towns, Chris Searle, Neil Yates, Steve Berry, Leo Aylen, Danny Thompson, Terry Jones, Kika Markham, Susan Wooldridge, Tony Haynes, Mike Dibb, Nic France, Leon Rosselson, Barry Miles, Liane Aukin, Alistair Beaton

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/21/remembering-war-to-promote-peace

    Two of the other four letters oppose the view held in the group letter above.

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