Monday, December 30, 2013

Synopsis of Salt Wars

Salt Wars

Salt Wars is a science fiction book. It contains mild sex and violence. It also contains some humour. The target market is older teenagers.

Xavier Hollands is an eccentric technologist. Using his father's theoretical work he has found a way to create a hard astral projection. After testing this out with his girlfriend, Tilly, he is dragged into the Salt Wars by Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau who wants to secure the future of Salzburg and his own future as its Prince-Archbishop.

They travel back in time to the town which will eventually become Salzburg. Xavier's astral projection is so strong that he comes up against the best man of the town whom he defeats at the May Fair. He also develops a relationship with Krystyna, the daughter of his employer in the town and betrothed of the erstwhile best man.

Using Xavier's methods, Tilly intervenes to save Xavier and to thwart Wolf-Dietrich. Magus – a medieval Satanist – tries to use Krystyna to seduce Xavier and thus tie him to the town forever. When this plot fails because of Tilly's intervention there is a battle through time and space.

Wolf-Dietrich is hunted down like a literal wolf. Xavier meets his claustrophobic nightmare on a submarine which is then depth-charged and flooded with water. Tilly meets her fate in a school where she cannot control her class or stop them bullying a young boy called Gabriel. When Tilly realises that Gabriel is trying to push her towards suicide, he is unmasked as Magus.

The trio return to the town to fight the first salt war. Wolf-Dietrich brings about a successful conclusion by playing on the superstitions of the attackers.

The book also has diary entries from the characters which give an insight into their thinking.

The book ends with a teaser for the next Xavier Holland's story "The Archbishop's Torturer".

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First ever sale in Brazil

My first ever sale in Brazil. Someone has downloaded The Role of the Hero.
Still no luck with Australia though.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gove still relaxed

Education secretary Gove is notably relaxed. He is relaxed about profiteers running schools, relaxed about the PISA results which he of course blamed a predecessor for, relaxed about unqualified staff teaching in schools.
And today there is something else for Gove to be relaxed about. The National Audit Office has produced what is described as a "damning" report. They can join the teachers then. We have been damning Gove for a while.
The Free School scheme, it seems, had cost twice as much as predicted. Still it has provided friends of Gove such as Toby Young with a nice little earner. Comedienne Elizabeth Truss (Education minister) has responded, "I am pleased the NAO has recognised the progress we've made in opening 174 schools. Free Schools are one of the government's success stories." Clearly she didn't read the same report as everyone else because one of the criticisms has been that the government has been opening free schools without regard to the educational needs of the areas in which they are opened. The NAO is concerned about the lack of control over Free Schools. They can get away with murder. I am speaking metaphorically. I hope.

Classroom Teacher Manual Click here to try before you buy

Monday, December 09, 2013

MP's snouts still in the trough

Here is a little petition you might like to consider.
MPs have the audacity to talk about the need for fiscal responsibility. When it comes to their own money however,apparently the poor dears cannot live on their 66K+ salaries so we have to pay for their travel, for their relatives to work for them, for their moats and duck houses.
It is beyond satire.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Work until you drop

Some people work until they are seventy years old and beyond. They are generally admired as exceptional individuals.

The National Pensioners Convention commented on Osborne's plans - "Politicians can work beyond their mid-sixties and they have got a home for them called the House of Lords. You compare that with people who have worked all their life doing manual labour on low pay in a care home or digging up the roads and then ask them to keep working. It is just not right."

Life expectancy has increased, largely thanks to the National Health Service. This is not regarded as as cause for celebration but as "a problem" by the politicians. The likes of George Osborne are quite happy for their own life expectancy to improve but the lower classes insist on living too long and they have to be punished.

The result of the change is not that people will actually be able to go on working in demanding jobs up to the age of seventy. All that will happen is that they will be robbed of their pensions.

In a breathtaking piece of logic, the i newspaper's "analyst" has said that occupational pensions will take up the slack. Tell that to any public servant if you are fond of the sound of hollow laughter. The same government which is attacking the state pension has effectively robbed the occupational pensions of millions. 

You can trust them as far as you can comfortably spit a rat.

And Labour, well cynics are saying they will follow Osborne's lead on this "fairer" system because of the sums of money which can be saved by robbing pensioners. The money can be used for important stuff like wars, bankers' bonuses and MP's expenses so it wont be wasted :)

We need a party of the working class.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

More on Salt Wars

So far Salt Wars has attracted interest in
The UK
Italy (the French version)
And sod all in Australia. Oh well.

Thanks to all my readers. If you like it, write a nice review on Amazon. If you don't write to me :)

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Salt Wars - Guerres de Sel - Salz Kriegen

How did "gallant little Salzburg" retain its independence? What was Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau really like? What kind of Archbishop has a torture chamber?

Comment "brave petit Salzbourg" n'a conserver son indépendance? Quel a été Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau aiment vraiment? Quel genre de l'archevêque a une chambre de torture?

Wie haben "wenig galant Salzburg" behalten ihre Unabhängigkeit? Was wurde Wolf-Dietrich von Raitenau wirklich? Welche Art von Erzbischof hat eine Folterkammer?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

National Novel Writing Month

Comments from characters in the book

“I am glad Xavier has written this book about The Swinging Fist but I am disappointed that he doesn't mention the very high quality of Old Hogshead ale and the very reasonable prices. Some of his comments on Firewater are a bit wide of the mark too. Lots of people enjoy it. Overall it is a good book though. Krix

“I was hoping this book would enable me to have a fling with a nicely-manicured young man who wasn't gay. I can guarantee that Terrence wouldn't have noticed. But I am afraid that is Xavier all over. He was just too busy trying to save the world to give a thought to his mother.” Geert Hollands

“A first class book all round. I am very pleased with how Xavier has portrayed the characters and events in The Town. My role could have been given a bit more prominence but it would be churlish to cavil in my view. Wolf-Dietrich Von Raitenau

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Land of Whose Fathers?

This pamphlet by Geoff Jones is an education both for those who have only started to question the "official" history of Wales but for those who have been active in the movement elsewhere in the UK for years.

It reminds us of the tremendous capacity of the working class to seek to change society and of the resilience of workers who have been defeated to carry on the struggle time and time again.

The Labour traitors would much rather that the outspoken workers' leaders of the past should be forgotten. This is because those men and women put the present canaille of political leaders to shame.

This book is a useful antidote. Moreover it is a message of hope. The ruling class have "finally defeated" socialist ideas many many times and every time they have come back. Often stronger than ever :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Crusade against Trade Unions

Owen Jones has tweeted that "This blatant co-ordinated crusade against Unite/trade unions by Murdoch lobbyists and the Tory frontbench has become a McCarthyite witchhunt."

It is also true that the cowardly ditching of the trade unions by Miliband has encouraged the Tories to seek to turn the clock back.

Clegg - who most people trust as far they could comfortably spit a rat - has pretended that the government will crack down on "poor management practices" as well as attacking the trade unions. And I'm the queen of Sheba.

It is of course only irresponsible trade unions which will be affected. From Clegg's speech it is clear that he means those trade unions who fight for their members.

If you think back to the police treatment of the miners under Thatcher you can see where Tory propaganda about "Trade Union bullying" ends up.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tories rewriting history

The Tories are attempting to purge all pre-2010 election pledges and statements from the Internet, according to the New Statesman. 

Computer Weekly originally tumbled onto the scam, but the NS article enumerates Cameron's ongoing hypocrisy on the issue. Just one example here, you can read the article for yourself online if the Tories haven't contrived to make it "disappear"!

As remarkable as it may seem, Cameron told Andrew Marr the weekend before the general election that a Conservative government would not cut any front-line services.
What I can tell you is, any cabinet minister, if I win the election, who comes to me and says: "Here are my plans," and they involve front-line reductions, they'll be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again. After 13 years of Labour, there is a lot of wasteful spending, a lot of money that doesn't reach the front line.
Since then, 5,870 NHS nurses, 7,968 hospital beds, a third of ambulance stations, 5,362 firefighters and 6,800 frontline police officers have been cut.

The Conservative Party are even trying to get content removed from the Internet Archive. 

Older readers might remember "Oceania is at war with Eurasia. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia." This was Orwell's parody of the changes in line of the Communist Party when they ceased to be allies with Hitler and became antagonists. 

The Stalinists do not have a monopoly on trying to rewrite history when it is inconvenient. And of course we cannot forget (although New Labour have forgotten!) those pesky 'weapons of mass destruction' which Saddam was supposed to have.

If you shake hands with a politician, make sure you still have your watch afterwards. In fact why not count your fingers to be on the safe side? 

We need a new workers' party. This lot of politicians are worse than useless.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Forbes foaming at the mouth over Kshama Sawant

Forbes Magazine has an article calling for Kshama Sawant (and by implication all Socialist teachers) to be sacked. The headline is quite explicit "Why Is Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant Allowed To Teach
Economics?" and the article goes on to ridicule economics in general and Socialist ideas in particular.

The ruling class has no interest in democracy if it gets in the way of their profits. Little things like freedom of speech and free expression will just have to go if they are inconvenient.

Forbes Magazine is the foremost advocate of unfettered capitalism. This view seems to have survived the banking crisis.They do not seem to have a grasp of colloquial English because they describe themselves as "the capitalist tool." I think we can all agree about that.

Kshama Sawant is a socialist candidate in the Seattle City Council election. The core issues of Sawant's campaign are a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, rent control, and increased taxes on the
wealthy. She promised to donate the portion of her salary as a City Council person which exceeded the average salary in Seattle.This is anathema to the politicians whose main activity is finding ways to increase their expenses.

No wonder Forbes has been provoked into this disgusting hate campaign.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dulce et Decorum Est

Remembrance Sunday

Today we can all thrill to the sight of mass-murdering war criminal
Tony Blair wearing his poppy with pride. What began as a remembrance
of those who died in war is being hijacked by people who glory in war.
I pray that the politicians and generals who send better people than
themselves to die in battle will be forgiven.

War is a multi-million dollar business. Tony Blair and G W Bush traded
blood for oil. The shareholders of arms companies rub their hands in
glee at every opportunity to sell more guns to regimes around the
world which have questionable morals and human rights records with
Amnesty International.

And before I get to the poem, I must mention "God Save the Queen." She
is not my queen. I didn't vote for her.

"Dulce et Decorum Est pro Patria Mori" was a phrase they taught public
school boys. "It is sweet and fitting to die for your country." or
better yet get your servants to go off an die on your behalf

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardentfor some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Wilfred Owen
8 October 1917 - March, 1918

Friday, November 08, 2013

A game of cards

This is the first hand in the game of cards between Krix and Xavier  in Salt Wars. It may make it easier to understand.

Monday, November 04, 2013

CBI oppose living wage

The champagne charlies of the CBI are choking on their caviar because they cannot afford to pay a living wage. They said exactly exactly the  same about the minimum wage. If the minimum wage was brought in, industry would be ruined.  They would all be begging in the streets. They aren't

Fortunately for them directors can vote themselves massive bonuses so the poor dears won't starve :-)

Notoriously in the nineteenth century employers 'proved' to their satisfaction that cutting working hours to ten hours a day would lead to ruination. Each time they pull this stunt it has less credibility.

Click here

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Salt Wars Excerpt

  • The locked room

The door was an unusual one to see in a flat. It appeared to be solid oak. In fact Xavier knew that within it there was a core of steel. There was no handle and there was no sign of any keyhole that could be used to unlock it. Xavier paused on the landing and tapped an app on his smartphone. There was a sound of electric motors as the mortice deadlocks opened.

He stepped into the darkened room and lit a candle. The growing light illuminated a dark bare room. The walls had been painted midnight blue. The most striking feature was the white pentacle on the black floor with arcane symbols drawn around it. There were five new candles, one at each point of the pentacle. Inside the pentacle there was just enough room for Xavier to lie down. He thought again about the idea of getting a mattress but he put that idea away for another day.

He carefully lit the candles in sequence before shutting the door. He then painstakingly created a ring of holy water around the pentacle. None of this was necessary, he told himself. Yet it did put him in the right frame of mind for the night.

There flashed through his mind an uncomfortable vision of what his adoptive mother Geert Hollands would think of all this if she ever got to know about it. Geert was the most devout of atheists but she had been baptised a Catholic. Consequently, she was cross when Xavier skipped Mass but she was equally cross that he attended it at all. Xavier had always found that she could be just a little bit difficult to please. He imagined that she would be doubly offended by these proceedings. But he imagined that then she would smile and call him “Zee” because she knew that was something which somehow offended him very deeply.

His father, the scientist Terrence Hollands, would simply have harrumphed and got back to his newspaper and his absolutely foul pipe. This last thought put Xavier in mind of the incense burner but he thought that he was pushing the health and safety issues far enough with the candles.

The central heating had clicked into life so Xavier was able to slip out of his t-shirt and chinos without a shiver. He piled them neatly on the floor and made sure that they were well away from the candles. (There, mum, he was thinking about your lectures on fire at least) He lay naked in the centre of the pentacle with his head in the northernmost of the five triangular points.

Xavier looked up the ceiling. At first it seemed that it was all one rather dull mirror in which he could see his own naked body in the pentacle as if he were viewing it through a glass darkly. Then one of the sensors detected a hand signal which he made and the screen, which covered the whole of the ceiling, came to life.
“The Mirror of Eternity” logo and the trademark swirling galaxies appeared on the screen. He was rather proud of this opening sequence and consequently there was a slight smile on his lips as his consciousness slipped away.
Tilly too was falling asleep. Her real name actually is “Tilly” it is not short for Matilda or Chantilly and she hates, positively hates, being called a “buxom barmaid” because she thinks she is more than her job or her breast size. “Excuse me, look at my serious face, I am more than my job or my breast size OK.”
She was sliding her sinuous sexy naked body (as Xavier might have put it) into her single bed. She had had a long evening shift at Ye Olde Boar and she would be asleep in 1,2....

She snored. And then with no transition at all , she found that she was sitting on the bed... or perhaps it was her astral projection – she could not always be sure. She was watching without any trace of alarm as a misty figure started to take shape in the corner of the room.

She could still see the wallpaper through it but she could also see that the mist was definitely taking the familiar shape of her boyfriend, Xavier Hollands.

“Ah if it isn't my buxom b...” and a surprised Xavier felt the back of Tilly's hand.

She was at least as shocked as he was.

“I could touch you!”

“I know” said a fully formed Xavier, ruefully holding his cheek.

“You've done it Zee! You have created a hard astral projection.” She looked down at his naked body and refrained from any comment about exactly how hard.

Xavier wanted to know the exact time. He was not allowing himself to be distracted by Tilly's lovely nakedness from the experimental data. (She reminded him she was “part of the experimental doodah remember!”)

“The thing is, there is no displacement in time. It is still Tuesday, right?” (Tilly nodded) “So I am still in the sealed room at home *and* I am in this room on the other side of town at exactly the same time.”

“And you are naked.”

Xavier claimed he had hardly noticed (Tilly was incredulous) but of course he had no clothes. Neither did Tilly.

“I am sorry about your face.”

“I've always been sorry about my face.” Xavier gave his “little boy” grin.

“Here. Let me kiss it better.”

Tilly gave Xavier a long lingering kiss. When she came up for breath she ran her hands over his body.
“And your astral projection is getting harder and harder!”

And thus began the strangest experiment in Xavier's frankly strange career.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month Nanowrimo have asked me for a cover for the book which will - no really - be completed by the beginning of December.

In this galaxy, a reasonable time ago.

I cannot synopsisise this book for two reasons. Firstly "synopsisise" is not a word and secondly I still don't know where I am going with this. I will have a better idea in November. I promise!

Meanwhile think about this. Mozart is often claimed as a German composer. He wasn't. He is often claimed as an Austrian Composer. He wasn't. How did gallant little Salzburg keep its independence?

Are its people the salt of the earth?

Excerpt to follow in November. Blimey that is only two days away. Yikes! (This book will be completely finished by the end of November or my name isn't...what was my name again?)

Pendant ce temps penser à ce sujet. Mozart est souvent revendiquée comme un compositeur allemand. Il n'était pas. Il est souvent revendiquée comme un compositeur autrichien. Il n'était pas. Comment galant peu Salzbourg ne garder son indépendance?

Sont ses gens le sel de la terre?

Extrait de suivre en Novembre. Mince alors c'est seulement deux jours de suite. Aïe! (Ce livre sera complètement terminé d'ici la fin de Novembre ou mon nom n'est pas ... ce qui était mon nom?)

Inzwischen darüber nachdenken. Mozart wird oft als ein deutscher Komponist beansprucht. Er war es nicht. Er wird oft als österreichischer Komponist beansprucht. Er war es nicht. Wie wenig galanten Salzburg halten ihre Unabhängigkeit?

Sind die Menschen das Salz der Erde?

Auszug im November folgen. Verdammt das ist nur zwei Tage weg. Huch! (Dieses Buch wird vollständig durch die Ende November abgeschlossen sein oder mein Name ist nicht ... was war mein Name?)


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vote Martin Powell-Davies #1

As national strike action is postponed again, now, more than ever, NUT members need to vote for clear, consistent leadership.

So, look out for your ballot paper at your home address from October 30 and VOTE 1 FOR MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES IN THE NUT VICE-PRESIDENT ELECTION

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Perfect storm for moral champion Abbot

The bush fires are raging in the Sydney area right now and hard-pressed firefighters and volunteers are trying to keep them under control. And the politicians, what are they doing? They are blocking every attempt to curb their expenses claims for friend's weddings, excessive travel claims to attend the Tour de France and taxpayers' money for them to attend sporting events. Good to see they have their priorities right eh?

Tony Abbott's gang have been called a Kleptocracy. That seems to be a slur on Kleptomaniacs who have high moral standards compared with most politicians who pad their expense accounts and seem to have no conscience at all.  The Catholic Herald wrongly praised Abbott's homophobic demagogy as a high moral stand. Like all politicians he has feet of clay. What did they expect?

Like the Daily Telegraph expose of politicians with their hands in the till, the similar expose in Sydney could have unforeseen consequences if people begin to question what use these corrupt politicians are and seek to find an alternative.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Free Schools

Secretary of State Michael Gove is reportedly 'relaxed' about being condemned by all the teachers' associations. His view of educational theory, expressed on Question Time. on the BBC was 'yadda yadda yadda'. This plays well with the Tory backwoodsmen whose votes he will need in his inevitable leadership bid.

His educational theory is epitomized by his 'free schools' They are free from educational theory, free from local authority support and most importantly free from qualified teachers.

It is small wonder that unqualified heads and teachers have found the job just a wee bit harder than they imagined. 

While schools face cuts in every area, the free school program has money to burn. An overspend of a billion pounds is something Gove is also 'relaxed' about.

Gove wrote a letter apologizing to his French teacher which was published in the Radio Times. Too little too late. An apology to all teachers and the pupils whose future he has betrayed would be a start. For most of us Gove's head on a plate would be too little too late!


Monday, October 07, 2013

Coalition MPs in expenses scandal

It would seem that it's the same the whole world over it's the rich wot gets the gravy and the poor wot takes the blame.

The Coalition in question is in Australia. Premier Abbot was forced to pay  back 1095 dollars spent on attending a wedding. His was the government The Catholic Herald thought was setting a fine moral example! He only set this particular example seven years after the event and after the media were asking questions!

A Labor MP took a trip costing 5474 dollars during which he took some personal time to watch the Tour de France.  The MP's name is Ripoll although it might be Ripoff from now on.

And while MPs are living the highlife they preach austerity - for the poor obviously, not for themselves


Saturday, September 28, 2013

BUPA Child Abuse!

The latest BUPA advert uses charming children to promote a benevolent cuddly image. 

If someone were to use children to, shall we say, oppose NHS privatisation you can just imagine the Daily Mail choking on the carpet fulminating about indoctrination and propaganda. 

The role of BUPA is to help people with money to jump the queue for health care. Queue jumping is the only crime which carries the death penalty. In this case it is those at the back of the queue who suffer and die waiting for care while BUPA pushes the ones with money to the front. 

Medical care should be based on health not wealth. If I want to see a cardiologist I have to wait months and then sit in an unprepossessing waiting room for three hours. They then take my blood pressure and say it is a bit high!

If a private patient wants to see the same cardiologist in the same NHS hospital they pick the date and time. 

So there is nothing nice about BUPA and using children to promote queue-jumping is child abuse. 

Every Tory cut (or Labour cut come to that) makes more people see bribing their way into health care an unfortunate necessity and BUPA profits. We need a health service which would make BUPA irrelevant. The political elite are not interested but the 99 percent are. We need a party to represent us. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Energy companies resist price freeze. Shocking!

Energy prices

The limited proposal for Labour to freeze energy prices has put a cat among the pigeons. The Daily Mail went into doubleplus rant mode and predicted disaster. Interestingly whereas a strike by workers gets them foaming at the mouth, a strike by the power companies would have their support.

The Independent had a news story that the energy companies would rather have the public pay higher prices than for their profits to take a hit. In what way is that news?

The fact of the matter is that a government which wanted to confront the fat cats would need to be prepared for vicious retaliation. Any supplier who cut off supplies would forfeit their rights. They could, if the government had the guts, face imprisonment for economic sabotage and profiteering. Six months in Strangeways would do them more good than those unhealthy bonuses. At the bare minimum the energy companies would have to be taken into public ownership. 

As for compensation, haven't you heard? Skivers have to work for their benefits these days. The prospect of fat cats having to work for their compensation would be popular. 

It was interesting, but probably irrelevant, that yesterday's men like El Portillo and Prince of Lies Mandelson rushed to toady to the power companies. The poor old things probably just wanted to see their names in the papers. 

Socialists will support a price freeze and damn the fat cats. At the same time the battle against Labour cuts, Labour evictions and Labour traitors will not be put on hold!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Miliband vs Lucas

On the Andrew Marr show this morning there was a politician advocating "Saving the NHS, Fighting Austerity, Railways into Public Hands, Scrapping Trident" Well it could hardly have been Ed Miliband could it?

No it was Brighton MP Caroline Lucas. There is an advert greeting delegates to Brighton "Welcome to Brighton – Home of the True Opposition in Parliament. p.s. Labour is down the hill on the right”. I assume that the down the hill on the right is geographically accurate. It is 100% politically accurate.

Marr then attempted to interview Miliband. Oh dear. He has some good policies - scrapping the bedroom tax and "strengthening" the minimum wage. Coming on the same day as UKIP "sluts" made a complete pig's ear of their publicity the announcement of these policies on Saturday made a positive news story.

When pressed by Marr on anything, e.g. whether "strengthening" the minimum wage actually means increasing it Miliband said "we have made this absolutely clear." He said it at least eight times. Compared with Caroline Lucas' clear policy statements all we were getting from Miliband was fudge. And clotted cream fudge at that.

Caroline Lucas's bold approach to opposing the Tories puts "One Nation" Labour to shame. It is likely trade unionists and socialists will be supporting Green candidates when there is no alternative. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is that alternative. The Greens in local government in Brighton do not have the same chutzpah as Caroline Lucas nor do they have a consistent anti-austerity line.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Politicians seek votes by attacking the muslim community

The rich and powerful will use any means necessary to defend their wealth and power. If that means turning their venom on defenceless women for what they are wearing then they will do just that.

Women who are deemed to be dressed too immodestly are told they are "asking to be raped." And women who wear the niqab are demonised in the press as if we didn't have anything more pressing to worry about.

Throughout history ruling elites have used 'divide and rule' to keep in power. Never mind that the politicians and corporations are robbing you blind. Look at that woman in a veil. She is your real enemy.

This is rubbish and the organisations of the working class need to tell them so. The politicians scent a cheap scapegoat. This ridiculous debate is not only insulting it is divisive and irrelevant.

Tory MP Philip Hollobone is wasting parliamentary time fulminating against the niqab. He even turns his back on any constituent who wears one. Didn't his mother teach him any manners? This wiseacre claims that he is "acting in the interests of muslim women". Apparently muslim women are oppressed by patriarchal Islam and the only cure for this is for them to be oppressed by white patriarchs like Hollobone. He knows what is in their best interests. Certainly he would not dream of allowing women to take their own decisions.

Hollobone was frightened by the Birmingham Metropolitan College ditching its ban on the niqab but this ban would have meant denying an education to a proportion of the population on the grounds of their religious belief and the way they dress. If we tolerate such discrimination where would it end?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cromwell comments on MPs expenses scandal

Rather prescient words from Oliver Cromwell!

It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice.

Ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government.

Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord's temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House; and which by God's help, and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.

I command ye therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.

Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!

(OK there is a bit of hyperbole here but on the whole it is a good summary of the nature of the political elite)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Giving nepotism a bad name

Legend has it that Guy Fawkes was the only person ever to enter parliament with honest intentions. It is an exaggeration. Today's news shows that it is not much of one however.

What follows is the list of shame, those MPs who give public money to family members on one pretext or another. Dave Nellist was hounded and vilified by the Parliamentary elite. Why? He insisted on working for the average wage of a skilled worker and donated the rest of his parliamentary salary to trade union causes. Of course they hated him. He showed them up for what they were.

Dave Nellist is now in the forefront of the Campaign for a New Workers' Party. If your union has any spare cash the Labour Party is too proud to take, there is a campaign they could endorse :)

List of Shame: Every MP Who Employs a Family Member

Adrian Bailey: Jill Bailey £9,999
Adrian Sanders: Alison Sanders £29,999
Aidan Burley: Jodie Jones £29,999
Alan Campbell: Jayne Campbell £4,999
Alan Haselhurst: Angela Margaret £44,999
Alan Meale: Diana Gilhespy £19,999
Albert Owen: Samuel Blyth £29,999
Alec Shelbrooke: Susan Shelbrooke £14,999
Alex Cunningham: John Cunningham £9,999
Alistair Burt: Eve Burt £39,999
Andrew George: Jill George £4,999
Andrew Miller: Frances Miller £29,999
Andrew Robathan: Rachel Robathan £24,999
Andrew Smith: Valerie Smith £14,999
Andrew Turner: Carole Dennett £19,999
Angela Smith: Steven Wilson £39,999
Angus MacNeil: Jane MacNeil £24,999
Angus Robertson: Carron Anderson £29,999
Annette Brooke: Eleanor Perera £4,999
Barry Gardiner: Caroline Smith £24,999
Ben Wallace: Liza Wallace £24,999
Bill Cash: Bridget Cash £29,999
Bob Ainsworth: Gloria J Ainsworth £14,999
Bob Blackman: Nicola Blackman £34,999
Brian Donohoe: Christine Donohoe £24,999
Caroline Flint: Phil Cole £39,999
Cathy Jamieson: Ian Sharpe £14,999
Charles Walker: Fiona Walker £29,999
Cheryl Gillan: John Leeming £19,999
Chris Grayling: Susan Grayling £39,999
Chris Ruane: Gillian Roberts £24,999
Chris Williamson: Margaret Amsbury £29,999
Christopher Chope: Christine Chope £49,999
Clive Betts: James Thomas £34,999
Craig Whittaker: Sophie Whittaker £19,999
Dan Jarvis: Rachel Brookes £9,999
Dan Rogerson: Heidi Rogerson £9,999
Daniel Poulter: Carol Poulter £39,999
David Amess: Julia Amess £19,999
David Burrowes: Rebecca Chard £39,999
David Crausby: Enid Crausby £39,999
David Davies: Aliz Harnisfoger-Davies £9,999
David Davis: Doreen Margery Davis £34,999
David Hamilton: Jean Hamilton £29,999
David Mundell: Oliver Mundell £29,999
Dennis Skinner: Lois Blasenheim £39,999
Derek Twigg: Mary Twigg £29,999
Desmond Swayne: Moira Swayne £9,999
Diana Johnson: Kevin Morton £39,999
Frank Roy: Ellen Roy £4,999
Gareth Johnson: Wendy Johnson £14,999
Gary Streeter: Janet Vanessa Streeter £14,999
Gavin Williamson: Joanne Williamson £4,999
George Howarth: Julie Howarth £34,999
George Young: Camilla Young £34,999
Glenda Jackson: Clare Fletcher £9,999
Glyn Davies: Bobbie Davies £19,999
Graham Brady: Victoria Lowther £44,999
Graham Evans: Cheryl Evans £24,999
Graham Stringer: Eleanor Carr £29,999
Graham Stuart: Niki Roberts £34,999
Graham Morris: Michelle Morris £14,999
Greg Knight: Janet Knight £24,999
Gregory Campbell: Frances Campbell £19,999
Helen Grant: Simon Grant £9,999
Helen Jones: Michael Vobe £39,999
Henry Bellingham: Emma Bellingham £14,999
Henry Smith: Jennifer Lois Millar-Smith £24,999
Hilary Benn: Sally Clark £24,999
Hugo Swire: Alexandra Sasha Swire £34,999
Hywel Francis: Mair Francis £44,999
Iain McKenzie: Alison McKenzie £4,999
Iain Wright: Tiffany Wright £29,999
Ian Davidson: Morag MacKinnon £34,999
Ian Lavery: Hilary Lavery £24,999
Ian Liddell-Grainger: Jill Liddell-Grainger £34,999
Ian Lucas: Noah Lucas £9,999
Ian Murray: Hannah Woolfson £9,999
Ian Swales: Anne Marie Swales £9,999
Jackie Doyle-Price: Mark Steven Coxshall £19,999
James Gray: Phillipa Gray £34,999
James Paice: Ava Paice £14,999
Jeffry Donaldson: Eleanor Donaldson £24,999
Jim Dobbin: Mary Dobbin £34,999
Jim Hood: Marion Stewart Hood £24,999
Jim Sheridan: Joanne Riley £29,999
Joe Benton: Doris Benton £24,999
John Healey: Jackie Bate £14,999
John Mann: Joanna White £34,999
John Robertson: Laura Robertson £4,999
John Stevenson: Tracy Nixon £9,999
Julian Brazier: Katharine Elizabeth Brazier £19,999
Julie Elliott: Miles Elliott £24,999
Karen Bradley: Neil Bradley £44,999
Karl McCartney: Cordelia McCartney £39,999
Kelvin Hopkins: Patricia Hopkins £14,999
Kevin Barron: Andree Deane £14,999
Laurence Robertson: Anne Marie Adams £44,999
Lee Scott: Estelle Scott £34,999
Liam Byrne: Sarah Harnett £9,999
Linda Riordan: Stephen Roberts £39,999
Lindsay Hoyle: Catherine Hoyle £14,999
Malcolm Bruce: Rosemary Bruce £35,000
Margaret Beckett: Lionel Beckett £30,000
Mark Garnier: Caroline Garnier £40,000
Mark Pritchard: Sondra Spaeth £45,000
Mark Simmonds: Lizbeth Simmonds £25,000
Mark Tami: Sally Tami £20,000
Martin Caton: Bethan Caton £35,000
Martin Vickers: Ann Vickers £10,000
Meg Munn: Dennis Bates £25,000
Menzies Campbell: Elspeth Cambpell £30,000, Donald Lothian £25,000
Michael Dugher: Joanna Dugher £35,000
Michael Fallon: Wendy Fallon £20,000
Michael McCann: Tracey Ann McCann £35,000
Michael Moore: Alison Moore £20,000
Mike Penning; Angela Penning £35,000
Nadine Dorries: Phillipa Dorries £45,000, Jennifer Dorries £35,000
Neil Parish: Susan Parish £20,000
Nigel Adams: Claire Adams £20,000
Oliver Heald: Christine Heald £40,000
Owen Paterson: Rose Paterson £35,000
Patrick McLoughlin: Lynn McLoughlin £40,000
Patrick Mercer: Susan Gray £40,000
Paul Beresford: Julie Beresford £30,000
Paul Farrelly: Victoria Perry £5,000
Paul Flynn: Lynne Flynn £20,000
Peter Aldous: Mark Bee £10,000
Peter Bone: Jeanette Bone £50,000
Phil Wilson: Margaret Brown £40,000
Philip Davies: Deborah Davies £25,000
Phillip Lee: Anthony Lee £10,000
Rehman Chishti: Nusrat Ahmed £25,000
Richard Ottaway: Nicola Ottaway £15,000
Richard Shepherd: Davida Catleugh £40,000
Robert Buckland: Sian Reed £5,000
Robert Goodwill: Maureen Goodwill £20,000
Roger Gale: Susan Gale £40,000
Ronnie Campbell: Deirdre Campbell £15,000
Russell Brown: Gillian Carey £25,000
Sharon Hodgson: Alan Hodgson £35,000
Simon Danczuk: Karen Burke £30,000
Simon Hart: Abigail Hart £25,000
Stephen Crabb: Beatrice Crabb £20,000
Stephen Gilbert: Jaqueline Bull £15,000
Stephen Hammond: Sally Hammond £45,000
Stephen Pound: Maggie Pound £25,000
Teresa Pearce: Paul O’Neill £10,000
Tim Loughton: Elizabeth Loughton £10,000
Tom Harris: Carolyn Harris £35,000
Tony Lloyd: Angharad Lloyd £10,000
Valerie Vaz: Paul Townsend £40,000
William McCrea: Robert Watters £25,000
Yvonne Fovargue: Paul Kenny £25,000
£4 million-a-year of your money goes straight into their pockets…

This information comes from the Guy Fawkes blog. 
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Per ardua ad astra

Paul (Dr Paul McMillan) has started tweeting. His monicker is Mcmillan_astro which I thought was a character in the Jetsons but apparently not. He will be dealing with all matters astrophysical in a theoretical way/

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Miliband gives in to anti-union prejudice

In 1964 the Tories won an unexpected victory in Smethwick as a result of an openly racist campaign. The Labour Party branded the Conservative tactics as caving in to racial prejudice and fought back successfully in the 1966 election.

Fast forward to 2013, the Conservatives and the millionaire press are baying for trade union blood. Miliband's only response is to "distance himself" from the trade unions. The Tories and the political elite hate the unions because the unions are the only people standing up to them, They also believe that the working classes have no business interfering in politics. Politics is a matter for their betters.

The media has made much of the polls which indicate that union members support Miliband's reforms. Another way of looking at it would be to say that they do not see the point of unions giving money to the Labour Party when all they get in response is lectures, abuse and betrayal.

And are the rabid right satisfied with Miliband's craven attitude? Not a bit of it. Today's Express claims
'ED Miliband has “buckled under pressure” to the unions after failing to come up with new plans to challenge their power over Labour, it was claimed last night.' The inverted commas indicating that "sources in the Conservative Party" were saying that. Well they would say that wouldn't they?

The backwoodsmen seem to be looking for some kind of dutch auction between the parties over trade unions. If Tories say ban strikes, Labour says ban some strikes. Tories say shoot the lot, Labour says only shoot some of them. Tories say send them all to Hell, Labour says well give some the option of going to t'other place. 

Union money would be better spent supporting anti-cuts candidates than giving a carte-blanche to Labour.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Action speaks louder than words

Ronnie Draper of the bakers union speaking at the NSSN in  Bournemouth mentioned zero hours contracts. Workers at Hovis in Wigan were on strike over Zero Hours contracts. They have successfully got proper contracts for the workers on zero hours contracts. There will be further strike action over the abuse of agency workers.

The speeches from Bob Crow and Martin Powell-Davies were excellent. A joint strike by NASUWT and NUT is on the cards for this term. It is possible other unions could coordinate strike action on the same day. 

The blacklist support group has successfully got workers reinstated with the support of NSSN.

Frances O'Grady always speaks very well in condemning the government of the bankers.Action from the TUC would speak a lot louder however. It is true that the government can use the law against the unions if they seek to call a general strike.

I remember when a government was pig-headed enough to do so. They imprisoned five dockers in July 1972. There was a completely illegal strike (for which nobody was ever prosecuted) which spread like wildfire and the government was forced to produce the Official Solicitor like a rabbit out of a hat and release the dockers. More recently the POA held union meetings during working hours as a form of strike action.

An ounce of audacity is worth a ton of speeches. 
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Saturday, September 07, 2013

TUC get off your knees

The political elite have turned their backs on the people. Anyone on benefits is stigmatised as a skiver. People in work are told they must work harder and don't deserve pay rises. Nobody is standing up for the poor.
The TUC ought to be doing this. The TUC needs to act as a general staff of the working class. The TUC ought to be giving a lead.
The National Shop Stewards Network is lobbying the TUC with precisely that agenda.
Stop pussyfooting around the issue of a general strike and get on with it.

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Friday, September 06, 2013

State funding of political parties?

If there is one thing which has become clear in recent years it is that the political elite are out of touch with the lives of ordinary people. They live in a Westminster "bubble" with a protected privileged lifestyle.

At the same time "cash for favours", "cash for peerages" and "cash for influence" scandals have revealed the seedy side of Westminster politics.

Now that some union leaders have called time on donating millions to the Labour Party, a new proposal has been brought forward. The Labour leaders now propose state funding for political parties.

This will only insulate the political elite from the popularion still further. The rich will always find ways of funding the political policies which favour them. The trade unions and the general public will be on the outside looking in.

The rich have three parties to do their bidding. There ought to be a party for the 99%.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Free Socialist Reviews 1 - 5 September

Socialist Reviews free to Socialists from 1 - 5 September for Kindle, Ipad and PC (There is a free PC viewer for Kindle books)

Click here

Insane options in Syria

War is insane at the best of times. However the war options floated by the BBC for Syria beggar belief.

One is to "bomb the chemical weapon factories." Assuming the intelligence is accurate and in Iraq you will remember the weapons of mass destruction did not even exist so intelligence is not a strong point, what happens when you bomb a chemical weapon factory?

Could it for example release masses of deadly gases into the atmosphere? And that would help the people of Syria would it? Or would they be collateral damage as the Iraqi civilians and the Afghan civilians have been?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blair baying for blood in Syria

Tony Blair has jumped into the Syrian conflict with both boots. Blair is remembered as the man who redefined the sixties term "running dog of imperialism" as 'Bush's poodle' because of his slavish obedience to American imperialism.

Britain and America have massive stockpiles of chemical weapons. They are now on their moral high horse over the alleged use of such weapons by the hated Assad regime.

And their solution?

Well what do the British taxpayers want more than yet another bloody war when we cannot feed our own poor?

What do the people of Syria need more than American carpet bombing? Some 'shock and awe'. You would think they had enough of that.

And what on earth makes Cameron and his canaille think they can run Syria when they are making such a mess of running the United Kingdom?

This is a planned imperialist war. Pure and simple.

In the Middle East he is called the mass murdering war criminal.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Return of the Means Test

Edinburgh City Council has decided to crack down on smokers and
drinkers. Anyone who smokes or drinks will lose benefit. They are the
first council to admit this openly but one wonders how many others are
taking similar decisions behind closed doors.

They are clearly the "undeserving poor" so this SNP/Labour Council
feels free to punish them. What next, I wonder. Will bankers who drink
not receive their bonuses? Will MPs who smoke have their expenses
withheld? Apparently not. Apparently it is only the poor who are

This is arguably more intrusive than the means test which precipitated
the hunger marches and it is just one more stick to beat the poor.
Setting smokers against non-smokers, drinkers against non-drinkers, it
is the age-old tactic of divide and rule. People who are struggling to
make ends meet are encouraged to demonise people who receive benefits
but have the temerity to drink and smoke. Some even watch TV and read
books. Horror!

People who are unemployed, disabled or retired deserve to be treated
with respect. Instead every opportunity is taken to humiliate them.
To take a small example, the Job Centre in Horsham expects people to
attend meetings of up to an hour and a half but there are no toilet
facilities for the general public. They do not even provide water -
presumably this is a precaution because they don't provide toilets. It
is tempting to say they are taking the piss.

Only the trade unions have any interest in helping the poor. The
political elite are otherwise engaged. We could do with a party of the
working class, open to smokers and drinkers!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Academy for Homophobia

Homophobia, particularly name-calling and bullying, is an issue which all teachers are aware of. For example even OFSTED objected that name-calling is “commonplace” at the Hope Academy in St Helens and teachers need to be trained in how to deal with derogatory language appropriately.

Those were the findings of Ofsted inspectors who visited the multi-faith secondary school.
Inspectors who held meetings with 40 students from different age groups were told that homophobic language was the norm.

The problem with academies, it seems is not just a matter of rogue pupils mouthing off. The problem would seem to go right to the top.

An investigation by The Independent refers to a return of Section 28, Margaret Thatcher's disgusting attack on gay community which prevented "the promotion of homosexuality" which could include such things as treating gay people with respect.

The Grace Academy chain based in Coventry, Darlaston and Solihull, all of which opened after section 28’s repeal. Their policy, dated from last November, says ‘Objective discussion of homosexuality may take place in the classroom, including discussion of homophobic behaviour.  The Governing Body will not permit the promotion of homosexuality.’

Tasker Milward VC School in Pembrokeshire. Their policy dates from 2008 but says ‘Section 28 of the Local Government Action does not prevent teachers from addressing issues of homosexuality in the classroom in a neutral and unbiased manner, however, the LA shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material which actively promotes homosexuality.’

Northumberland Church of England Academy, which opened in 2009 and most recently reviewed their policy in November last year. The school is a Stonewall School Champion and staff spoke on faith schools and homophobia at this year’s Education for All conference. They say ‘The Northumberland Church of England Academy and the Governing Body will not permit the promotion of homosexuality.’

The same language as is used by the Kremlin to justify its witch-hunt against the gay community is being promoted by Gove's flagship academies. He can hardly deny all knowledge or responsibility for the disgraceful behaviour of academies.

And of course, let's not forget that academies do not have to employ qualified teachers so any Tom Dick or Harriet without any training in dealing with homophobia could be in charge of your children.

The website of the anti academies alliance is


Monday, August 19, 2013

Kremlin scapegoats gay community

Tilda Swinton  has appeared in a number of films, including Burn After Reading, The Beach, The Chronicles of Narnia, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performances in The Deep End and We Need to Talk About Kevin. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Michael Clayton in 2007.

She risked arrest waving a rainbow flag in front of the Kremlin in violation of Russia’s new homosexual propaganda bill. And she wants everyone who can to share it in solidarity.

In the Chronicles of Narnia, she played Jadis, the snow queen. Her willingness to defy the Kremlin is to be applauded when the Olympic Committee seems to be dragging its feet over a clear violation of human rights.

The targeting of the gay community by the Kremlin might be a way of diverting attention from the shortcomings of the regime. I wonder.


I sometimes lie awake at night wondering what I would do if I had insomnia.”

And sometimes I wake from a nitrate-lucid dream to find this:

I woke up but I didn’t yet open my eyes. My hands were still gripping the hilt of my sword from the dream. From experience I knew it would fade in my grasp and I would be holding nothing and all the beauty of the dream would fade into the grey of reality. The green forest, the sunshine, the women in improbable dresses and the knights in improbable armour would vanish and I would be back in Real Life and it would be time for work.

So I held fast to the hilt of the sword. And it didn’t fade and dwindle..

And thus began a strange adventure in the dreamscape of Arthurian legend.

It is just one of the stories in "The Mirror of Eternity"



Sunday, August 18, 2013

Guilt App

Guilt App "The rich think they can buy everything. They would even buy poverty if they thought they could get it on the cheap." was CP Snow's observation in "The Conscience of the Rich"

The guilt app is the thing you should buy for the man who has everything. It confirms his superiority to the rest of the human race. If you find the behaviour of the super-rich disgusting, you don't know the half of it!

It is just one of the stories in "The Mirror of Eternity"



Sunday, August 11, 2013

The great gas gala in Balcombe

If you want to help this protest the information is in this communique. One small thought. We have been plagued by water shortages in this country. Fracking will take thousands of gallons of water out of the system and pollute it beyond belief. And as for us, we will have higher water bills and of course the obligatory hosepipe ban. The hosepipe ban does not apply to those who can get the servants to do the watering for them. Francis Maude MP for example - fracking Tory extraordinaire.
Since 7am on Thursday (25th) the community in Balcombe, Sussex has been resisting attempts by fracking company Cuadrilla Resources to start drilling in their village. They need your help!
The camp now has a postal address (you want to send letters of support etc.): Balcombe Community Protection Camp, London Road, Balcobme, W.Sussex, RH17 6JH
All are warmly invited to join Balcombe Village in a clear demonstration of front-line protection against those that threaten us and our environment.
If you’re driving and have space, please contact to offer a lift!
Things to bring:
Essential – water, food and warm/waterproof clothes, sun protection.
Recommended –
 Picnics, cakes, water, tea-making facilities, warm/waterproof clothes, friends, banners, games, music, instruments, Knitting (yellow and black – gasfield free community colours!), blankets, chairs, tables, Gazebos, small tents, plastic cutlery/plates. You get the picture.
Things not to bring:
Alcohol, drugs, anything which could be construed as a weapon, glass etc.
Take Note!:
The Great Gas Gala! will be a clear demonstration of community protection against the threat of harm to our health and environment posed by the fracking industry. The industry is supported by the state and therefore there will almost certainly be a police presence. Know your rights and don’t be intimidated. The Gala will be an inclusive, friendly space. We won’t be bullied.
More info:
See you at the Gala, it’ll be a gas!


Friday, August 09, 2013

Apartheid in Switzerland

According to The Independent, "Switzerland's local authorities have introduced draconian restrictions which ban asylum-seekers from frequenting public places such as school playgrounds, swimming pools and libraries in a move angrily denounced by human rights groups as intolerable and racist. "

Such draconian measures have not been introduced against a racial minority since the days of the Yellow Star introduced by the Nazis to restrict the freedom of the Jews. Switzerland is famous for its cheese, Toblerone and the vast quantities of Nazi gold which ended up there after the Second World War.

In the UK we face a "dutch auction" over immigration with the political elite vying with each other to out-UKIP the racists. Apart from anything else, they are on a hiding to nothing. UKIP can always counter by sliding further into the gutter.

A party of the working class would cut across this nonsense and seek to unite the working class. No sign of the Labour leaders taking up that role any time soon. That is why the role of TUSC