Thursday, June 27, 2013

The happy benefit scrounger

It is not all doom and gloom. One benefit scrounger ought to be smiling  and for once the Bishop of London won't be baying for her blood and pontificating about her greed as he has every other pensioner in the land.

The Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen's spending as Head of State, will rise in 2014 from £36m to £38m. So no benefit cap or cuts for her then. And she wont have to take a trip to to tide her over.

We all know what it's like living in a draughty old palace - or several draughty old palaces - and desperately trying to make ends meet. So as we watch the winter fuel allowance dwindle into insignificance. As we prepare to join the 2500 pensioners who will die from the cold in the run up to Christmas, we can rest easy in our beds knowing that one greedy pensioner at least is getting a nice warm glow from our money.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pensioners mugged by The Independent

Pensioners are under attack again. Today the mugger is "The Independent" newspaper. They conducted a survey asking whether pensioners should be immune from cuts and got a "No" from a majority of the public and of pensioners.

Asking whether pensioners should bear their share of the cuts is a weasel of a question. How about "should the government attack the poor to give tax cuts to the rich?" How many over 65's would say "yes" to that?

Ask a GCSE Foundation statistics student what is wrong with the question and the word "bias" would appear in their answer! There are "lies, damned lies and statistics" it would seem. A good old Victorian evaluation from Disraeli.

Monday, June 24, 2013

People's Assembly. Some dates for your diary

The People’s Assembly will support every genuine movement and action taken against any and all of the cuts. We support all current industrial actions by the unions. We encourage and will help to organise the maximum solidarity action with the PCS and teaching union members taking protest and strike action the week after the People’s Assembly, as well as with other action by unions planned for the autumn.

Peoples Assemblies against the cuts should be organised in towns and cities across our nations, bringing all those fighting the cuts together into a broad democratic alliance on a local basis. 
The national and the local Assemblies, in partnership with Trades Unions, Trades Councils, campaigning and community groups, can unite our movement and strengthen our campaigns. Local Assemblies will help us to organise a recalled National Assembly to review our work in the early spring of 2014.

We will work together with leading experts and campaigners both here and abroad, and friendly think tanks, to develop rapidly key policies and an alternative programme for a new anti-austerity government. We will continue to welcome support from all who fight the cuts.
We will call a national day of civil disobedience and direct action against austerity on November 5th and a national demonstration in Spring 2014.
We will support the call for local demonstrations on 5th July, the 65th Birthday of our NHS and specifically, at Trafford Hospital, Manchester, the birthplace of the NHS.
We will work with the trade unions, campaign groups and others to organise and mobilise for a national demonstration at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in support of our NHS on 29th September 2013.

Changes to blog

I have changed the layout of the blog yet again. This time I include a form to contact me. If enough people contact me saying "Put it back the way it was!" I will do so.

A gratifying 414 people took an interest in my post on The People's Assembly against Austerity.

Mes lecteurs en France

Mon ancien professeur de français serait fier et étonné! Mes lecteurs ont plus de patience que mon professeur.

Merci beaucoup pour les lecteurs en France (et au Canada et en Amérique) du Miroir de l'éternité. Vous traiterez mes efforts pour écrire en français avec humour et sympathie. Je fais de mon mieux!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

People's Assembly

The People's Assembly met in Westminster Central Hall on Saturday 22nd June with delegates from Trades Unions, Trades Councils, Leftist organisations and pressure groups such as the National Pensioners Convention and the Black Triangle organisation (which opposes the victimisation of disabled people) as well as individuals.

Significantly "non-political" organisations like the NUT were represented alongside the usual suspects. 

This movement against austerity has high hopes of confronting the government and overturning its policies. This is going to be an uphill struggle because none of the political elite are remotely interested in fighting austerity. On the contrary it is Labour Councils (and one Green council) in the forefront of pushing through the Tory cuts and Ed Balls has made it clear that there will be no change if Labour are elected.

Most significantly Owen Jones ended his keynote speech by evoking the memory of the anti-poll tax movement. It will certainly take something as inspirational and well-organised as that movement to confront this government. The Anti Poll Tax movement was viciously opposed by the Labour leadership and yet it succeeded in humiliating Margaret Thatcher. So much so that the meltdown of the iron lady began when her flagship policy was sunk.

If the People's Assembly can give an impetus to persuading the TUC to get off its knees and organise that general strike they keep promising it will be excellent. If they can support anti-cuts candidates against what are popularly called the Labour traitors that would be even better.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Short Fiction Results

Bad Romance , in category; Romance. Views: 698,
It is a pleasure to meet the man who shot my brother , in category; Adult Theme. Views: 669,
What's on the television? , in category; Scifi. Views: 246,
When I think about you , in category; Adult Theme. Views: 4494

My comment on that is simply telling people a story has an "adult theme" seems to get a lot of readers. Sci Fi does not seem to be nearly as popular.

So should I stick with the Sci Fi? Probably because I write best what I like best. That's my opinion, you can have it for what it's worth!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Horsham Hospital's Compelling Vision

Our local minor injuries unit is faced with closure. Management consultants, who know all about these things, have tried to paint this as a good thing "going forward"
George Orwell used to cite an example of what happens when people lose track of what their words actually mean. “The fascist octopus has sung its swansong. The Jackboot has been cast into the melting-pot.” This sounds ridiculous. No more ridiculous, however, than the pathetic excuses for closing Horsham Hospital's minor injuries unit.

“When you are looking at minor injuries in any health economy you have to look at what changes you are making. What we have is a compelling vision about how care can be different.” is reasonably difficult to understand because it does not use words to convey information but to obscure it.

Likewise “improving services for the future” by cutting them in the present flies in the face of reason. As for Mr Williams “awaiting utilisation data” and the frankly disingenuous remark that “The central pillar of our existence is public engagement.” we are entitled to ask which planet these wiseacres were addressing.

The NHS, which is supposed to be a National Health Service, is being taken over by very well-paid suits spouting gobbledegook. A single doctor, nurse or cleaner is worth a thousand “mission statements” and “compelling visions”.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

May God forgive the Bishop of London


The notoriously well-fed Bishop of London has launched an unprovoked attack on pensioners. We are all greedy and overprivileged and a burden on the state.We are not like Lady Thatcher whom he eulogised to such an extent that the sales of sick bags went up all over the country.

Government spending on 'baby boomers'  – those born in the 20 years after the Second World War – the Bishop pontificates ‘raises questions of intergenerational equity’. The fact of the matter is that pensioners are at the sharp end of cuts in benefits and public spending and many look to the church for some kind of support.

I am beginning to sound like Victor Meldrew but "I don't believe it!" When Bishops and politicians start talking about pensioners as a burden on the state how far away are we from some kind of "final solution" for the lot of us? No more pensions for you guys and here's a bottle of cyanide?

I forgive the Bishop of London. I am thinking of taking him off my Christmas Card list though
The National Pensioners Convention are doing their bit to oppose the Bishop's ungodly rhetoric. 

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Galloway against transvestites

George Galloway does not seem to have consulted anyone before announcing he will stand for London Mayor. Galloway says, “Labour, I understand, is contemplating selecting a transvestite comedian, Eddie Izzard, which would also be an interesting contest. Real Labour versus a transvestite.”

George Galloway implies that transvestites cannot be socialists. I don't know where he is getting that from but such a use of backward prejudice is at variance with all the principles of Socialism.

A candidate to represent all Londoners would reject any marginalisation of any part of the community. People may vote for Galloway out of despair at the failure of all the mainstream parties but our old friend "none of the above" may win this election if there is no credible working class alternative.

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Different realities - the world of Tomb Raider

A study based on letters from pupils to Lara Croft - the heroine of Tomb Raider, the video game. Students of Cyberpsychology have found this useful. Fans of the game have found it interesting and if you are quick you can pick up a free copy before 16th June. It is very reasonably priced after that :)

Are Video games addictive?
Do Video games reinforce male stereotypes?
Computers and Personality
Cyber Pets
What is Tomb Raider?
Tomb Raider as Sport
Different realities
The Tomb Raider Phenomenon
The six faces of Lara:
Lara #1 Lara within the game
The concept of cleverness
Sport and fitness
Lara #2 Lara as a person with a life outside the game
Lara #3 Lara as programmer
Lara #4 Lara with a will of her own
Lara #5 A sexualized Lara
Lara #6 Lara as a potential friend/confidante
Summary – Boys and girls
Lara as a mirror 
The concept of cleverness
Lara as transitional object

Monday, June 10, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

Politicians like to sneer about “Conspirary Theories.” Question the frankly incredible official version of the Kennedy assassination? Conspiracy Theorist! Wonder aloud if Mr Blair was telling the whole truth about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? Conspiracy Theorist!

And as for those people who think Computer moguls like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are collecting data about your internet and computer usage. Conspiracy...oh just a minute, that's not a theory. That is a fact. They even boast about it. They are collecting all this data to “improve the product” or to “provide you with better advertisements” (as if you were asking them to send you adverts!) or to “make your experience more satisfactory. “

Harmless? Even benign?

Or are you concerned that this information is being sold to the US government and indirectly to the UK government?

Do you think the UK government is being economical with the truth when it boasts that its intelligence gathering is only targeted on terrorists and criminals and if you disagree you must be a terrorist or a criminal yourself. “Only the guilty have anything to fear.” to quote Willie Hague

Do you get the sneaking feeling that you can only trust this ConDem government as far as you could comfortably spit a rat?

You're one of those Conspiracy Theorists aren't you?
Socialist Reviews Death Agony of Capitalism

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Big Sister Teresa May

Home Secretary "Big Sister" Teresa May revealed on Sunday that since 2010, nearly 5700 separate articles and websites have been taken off the internet by the UK government. The excuse for this is the war on terror. So any website thought to be encouraging terrorism (defined by the government of course) can be taken down by the government.

At the same time the government have utilised the revulsion following the Woolwich killing to sneak in legislation which will seek to read all your emails and mine. This is partly nonsense because the
government already has the ability to read anyone's emails and they are not subject to any public scrutiny of the reasons for so doing.

Privacy campaign group Big Brother Watch says police already have the ability under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) code to demand communications data – "who sent what to whom from where and when" – from internet and phone companies on terror and serious crime suspects. The powers are already widely used: 494,078 such requests were made by police and security services in 2011 alone. We are expected to believe there are half a million terrorists in the UK? And
I am the Queen of Sheba.

Experts have pointed out that increased draconian powers will actually make it harder to combat terrorism because the police will have to wade through oceans of information to find what they actually need to know.

This suggests that the "war on terror" is more of a smokescreen.

The government seems to want to use the backlash against Islam to gather more authoritarian powers. These could be used to clamp down on all opposition to the cuts. They could also keep a close eye on those opposing government policy of pursuing endless colonial wars. They will seek to argue that peace campaigns like CND are "encouraging terrorism" by opposing war!

You can bet the trade union movement and the left will be the targets of any clampdown. The government know who their real enemies are.

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