Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ed Balls Speaking Out for Capitalism

Ed Balls has a conversational style of writing which makes this book easy to read. However his view that there is nothing wrong with capitalism will not make him any friends in the Labour movement.

He elicits sympathy for his battle against his stammer. His view that anyone who disagrees with him is a Communist will probably elicit less sympathy. He criticises the Oxford Labour Club for discussing whether to have a hammer and sickle on its banner and complains they rejected his openly pro-capitalist stance.

The book seems to be more significant for its omissions than for its content. It gives some interesting and amusing anecdotes from the point of view of one of Gordon Brown's henchmen but glosses over the role of New Labour in turning the Labour Party from a party promoting peace and public ownership into a party promoting war and privatisation.

The Blairites wanted Labour and Tories to be as different as "left Twix" and "right Twix"..

He talks of his and Brown's "distress" and " "disquiet" over Iraq. He fails to explain why they did damn all to publicly oppose Blair's blood lust and subservience to George W Bush.

In his Education role he developed a useful skill. Every teacher organisation in the country was opposed to SATs and Academies. Balls managed to metaphorically stick chewing gum in his ears every time they spoke to him.

He coined the phrase "Every child matters" except the children of Iraq and Afghanistan who were bombed from a great height. Clearly they did not matter. 
 
Balls' sycophantic grovelling to the royal family is disgusting. He talks about the privilege of meeting the queen (the richest tax dodger in the land). He also expresses his (probably unique) view that Prince Charles' ventures into politics were of any use whatsoever.
 

Stick to the dancing, Balls. As Craig Revel Horwood might say, "New Labour was a disaster, dahling."




 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/153905019X/

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rail Safety

I remain to be convinced that driver-only trains are as safe as those where there is a guard. There are many case histories of people who have been helped by rail guards. I think Southern Rail have handled the dispute very badly and getting passengers to contact the rail unions to criticise their actions was scraping the bottom of the barrel. This is particularly so because RMT report that most passengers who contacted them supported the idea of guards on trains.
What they are not telling passengers is that the increased risk to passengers of DOO has even been recognised by the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) which is funded by GTR and other Train Operating Companies. RSSB have said
“DOO does not create additional undesired events but may increase the likelihood of an event occurring or increase the severity of its consequence." That is not a ringing endorsement of Driver Only Operation. Yet that is what Southern Rail is incorrectly telling passengers.

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Domain of Dreams in Ontario

Domain of Dreams has been added to the Teen Fiction collection at the Main Library Branch located in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

For those not lucky enough to live in Ottawa it is available from Amazon


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Book Burning and Closing Libraries

To promote the Domain of Dreams I have been contacting School Library Services throughout the UK. I tried the website http://www.sla.org.uk/schools-library-services-uk.php but in fact many of the links do not work. In the end I found that this was because School Library Services all over the country are being cut in a short-sighted measure by the government and local authorities to save money.

If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance.

Ignorant people burned books because they hate ideas. Are the Tories closing the School Library Service for the same reason?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Remembrance

Those who survived the Great War, greeted the 11th of November as the end of the insanity and the beginning of peace. They would have been mystified to see generals and royals using it as an opportunity to celebrate war almost a hundred years later.

Since the end of the Second World War, there has not been a single day of peace. In my lifetime there has been one imperial war of conquest after another.

The red poppy is an ambiguous symbol. On the one hand it represents remembering those who fell in war and the money is used to support those soldiers who suffered as a result of war. On the other hand it is used by generals and the royal family to glorify war. If anyone dares to criticise this disgusting militarism they are immediately accused of disrespecting the fallen and being too mean to help the military victims of warfare. This has been characterised as "Poppy Fascism".

Socialist internationalism is the only basis on which militarism can be opposed. The people of Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan are some of the poorest people in the world. What with the ruthless bombing campaigns of American Imperialism and the disgusting brutality of the Taliban and ISIL their sufferings have been made worse. A military intervention on whatever pretext can only further increase the misery. 

Socialists will oppose any such intervention. Blairites will support it - which is all you really need to know about them!
 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Maggie May and Grammar Schools

May presides over the most divided Tory Party imaginable. There is one thing, however, which the Tory backwoodsmen will always welcome and that is the return to Grammar Schools.

Just as the drive to turn every school into an academy was not evidence of sufficient thought, the Grammar School policy could have been jotted down on the back of a cigarette packet.

The Tories may pursue this expensive and flawed policy to the death but it is also possible they will have a brand new policy in time for the local election in May of next year. Education is seriously underfunded but the hundreds of millions needed for this policy were magically produced by the government.

May wants to survive as long as Margaret Thatcher as Tory leader. To listen to her you might be excused for feeling Thatcher has risen from the grave. Her desire to emulate the most hated Prime Minister in history is extraordinary but it is symptomatic of the crisis in the Tory Party at the present time.

Although popular with the Back bench yahoos in Parliament, there is serious concern over the Grammar School policy in the shires. It has been described as similar to someone trying to write a novel when they have not mastered the alphabet. 


 

Monday, September 12, 2016

The flu jab

If you go to your GP's surgery you may be told you are not eligible for the flu jab. However the NHS choices website says the following:
Flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help protect adults and children at risk of flu and its complications.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week.

However, flu can be more severe in certain people, such as:

    anyone aged 65 and over
    pregnant women
    children and adults with an underlying health condition (particularly long-term heart or respiratory disease)
    children and adults with weakened immune systems

Anyone in these risk groups is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia (a lung infection), so it's recommended that they have a flu vaccine every year to protect them.

The injected flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS annually to:

    adults over the age of 18 at risk of flu (including everyone aged 65 and over)
    pregnant women
    children aged six months to two years at risk of flu.


So if you are told "computer says no", in many cases you will find "computer says yes".

Saturday, August 20, 2016

They stopped me voting for Jeremy. Now I need you to vote for both of us.



I got this email today and I would like to share it with you:

My name is Christine. I am a fitness instructor and single mum who'd always voted Labour and been passionate about fighting injustice but never joined the party until June.

I did so because Jeremy Corbyn's vision for the future of our country is what I want for my life and for my daughter's future. I trust him because he sticks with his principles and values.

It said on the website I could vote in the leadership election so the decision to exclude me from voting just seemed unfair and undemocratic. I could not stand by and let that happen to tens of thousands of new members like me, so I went to the High Court, and won.

The NEC appealing against the High Court decision was hugely disrespectful to members, risking members' money to block those who could not afford to pay another £25 from voting. Now I don't have a vote. So please use your vote to restore democracy to this party. Only a vote for Jeremy Corbyn will achieve that.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

#mirrorofeternity

The next #mirrorofeternity book will be a collection of short stories. It is provisionally entitled 'Realm of Dreams' because a surprising number of books are entitled 'Dreamscape' which was my first choice. I am looking for some non-copyright art for the front cover. My recent short stories have been mystery stories because we watch a lot of them on TV 😀

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Leadsom up the garden path

“I envisage there being absolutely no regulation whatsoever – no minimum wage, no maternity or paternity rights, no unfair dismissal rights, no pension rights – for the smallest companies that are trying to get off the ground, in order to give them a chance,” Andrea Leadsom.

It is rare to find a Tory quite so explicit about their attitude to workers' rights. Workers' rights are not a gift from benevolent employers or the EU. Workers' rights came about because workers fought for them. If the unions are not prepared to fight then the nightmare vision of Leadsom would become a reality.

If the TUC gets off its knees it will be a different story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tory dilemma

Johnson would have a job assembling a majority government: a job Labour could make impossible. However Cameron would have the same problem post Brexit. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Home grown terrorists

"Home grown terrorists"? Whatever next? 'Common or Garden Terrorists'? 'Lesser-spotted terrorists'?

If someone becomes a terrorist thanks to Tony Blair's imperial ambitions in Iraq, does that not make them a 'home-grown' terrorist. If not, why not?

And now Zac Goldsmith's spiritual father Donald Trump has weighed into the row over Sadiq Khan, calling him 'ignorant' and 'nasty'.

Labelling all Muslims as terrorists or, in Goldsmith's term, "friends of terrorists" could be called ignorant. It is certainly nasty!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Do you need 167000 pounds?

"When in that House M. P.’s divide,
If they’ve a brain and cerebellum, too,
They’ve got to leave that brain outside,
And vote just as their leaders tell ’em to."
(Gilbert and Sullivan)
The Tories are beyond a joke though.
When will the TUC get off its knees?

Monday, March 07, 2016

Last Stand of the Levellers

There is an event to commemorate the last stand of the Levellers.

The details are here

More details nearer the date.



Friday, January 22, 2016

New facebook page



I can't sleep in hospital so I did this instead!

https://www.facebook.com/mirrorofeternity/
https://www.facebook.com/mirrorofeternity/

I am in Surrey Royal County Hospital. I was nil by mouth for two months all over Christmas, my birthday, Angela's and David's birthdays and New Year. Now I await the verdict on a pesky fissure in my gut.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Space Dog Alfred


West Sussex have agreed to stock my book 'Space Dog Alfred' after I told them other libraries treat local writers more favourably ( I had chapter and verse)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out whether the book is therefore available for inter-library loan.

Either way I would like to know.

Announcement


Space Dog Alfred is now available from any library in West Sussex. The ISBN is 978-1517351182

This book will fire the imagination of any reader.


Know your place!






The local MPs are Conservatives to a man (no sexism there then) and the Trade Union Bill will not change that.

However what it will do is to severely limit the ability of working people through their unions to influence the political process. I am a proud member of a trade union which is not the lickspittle of any political party but uses a political fund to influence all parties.

The venom the Tories have towards the working classes is understandable. The working classes gave Margaret Thatcher a bloody nose over the poll tax and Tories have long memories if nothing else.

 It is undermining the basis of democracy in the UK. It will do nothing to prevent the rich, the tax dodgers and the spivs from using their dosh to influence (shall we say bribe?) politicians  but it will keep the lower orders in their place.





More than anything else, the millionares fear a movement like 15 now spreading across the world. This movement has even forced the McDonalds union-busting anti-working-class company to make concessions.



#socialistreviews











"Shake your chains to earth like dew





Which in sleep had fallen on you:





Ye are many—they are few!"

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dickens #socialistreviews



Dickens was not a Socialist. Indeed in A Tale of Two Cities he portrays the plebs as a bloodstained mob who would have all decent people decapitated. So far so Tory.
And yet it is a paradox that more people have been brought to Socialism through Dickens than through explicit Socialist writers like London and Orwell. It is Dickens' heart which appeals to the heart of those who want a better world. Reading Oliver Twist or Hard Times gets the most mild-mannered reader ready to tear a strip off the next hypocritical Pecksniff they come across. Be they Cameron or Blair!
Nobody can read Hard Times and Nicholas Nickleby without wanting to take Wilshire, Gove or Morgan aside to ridicule their outdated educational thinking. It is strange to think Dickens never even met the Gove when he can read the mind of the hypocrite so clearly.
Dickens takes things to extremes. While Bumble the Beadle, Josiah Bounderby and Wackford Squeers dine in luxury, they decry the greed of the plebs who dare ask for more. He cannot have realised that this is mild compared to the behaviour of the British cabinet who dine on caviar and champagne while three quarters of those paying the bedroom tax are cutting back on essentials and endangering their health.
Dickens appealed to the conscience of the rich. In Chrismas Carol, Scrooge is a version of Ian Duncan Smith until he sees the light. One percent of the population hog the wealth and make sure they use the power of the state to keep their wealth. Anyone who breaks ranks to help the poor can wave goodbye to all that. 

Ostentatious charity matched by private penny-pinching is the best you can expect from this canaille.
Dickens would have approved of the “trickle down” theory. Capitalism is fine but the poor need help from the rich so perforce the rich must be generous. The rich have no such scruples. In their view -enforced by the state -the poor and disenfranchised must be kept that way.
A user of a food bank in Horsham once shared this with me. “Any trickle-down is the effect of being peed on from a great height.”
Dickens' host of characters and caricatures have been a source of delight and enlightenment. This is true of the books, which had a genuine working-class following through "Household Words" and did not confine their audience to the novel-reading middle class. 
It is equally true of the television adaptations although the temptation to emasculate the social message of Dickens and focus on the humour is too much for the spineless BBC to resist.
Oliver Twist asked for more. The ruling class usually need more than asking. Lord George Brown used to say that "no ruling class in history has given up its position without a fight and that usually meant a fight to the finish with no holds barred."

Why should the poor be content with a piece of the cake when they could take over the bakery?

Know your enemy

Nick Robinson is doing his best to oppose Kuenssberg's Conservative agenda but his is a lone voice. There is more joy in heaven over one Nick Robinson who repenteth than over an hundred righteous though.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tail wagging the dog.



Ewen MacAskill in The Guardian has broken ranks with the media to do an analysis of the changes in the Labour Party. Unsurprisingly it gives the lie to much that the BBC is saying and everything that the Prince of Lies, Mandelson, is saying.
The Guardian has the tail wagging the dog, saying “Leader’s hopes of remoulding the party boosted as Guardian survey shows surge in members, huge support and shift to the left”.
Any sane person would say that it is the surge in members seeking a new kind of politics which thrust a socialist into the leadership of what was a capitalist party hell-bent on war and privatisation.
The article explicitly gives the lie to Mandelson.
Party membership figures are a controversial issue, with the former cabinet minister Peter Mandelson, who is opposed to Corbyn, telling a Labour meeting in the Lords last month that “30,000 long-term members have left the party, real members, tens of thousands”.


But the newly released figures undermine his claim, showing a total of 13,860 have left since the general election, some of them having resigned while others have gone as part of natural churn. The increase in membership is continuing, with just under 1,000 having joined since Christmas Eve.”
The Guardian survey shows a shift to the left among the new members while those deepest in the counsels of New Labour have obeyed the instruction of Blair, Mandy and "dodgy dossier"Campbell to be more Tory than the Tories.”
Small wonder that grass-roots members are fed up to the back teeth with squabbling MPs. The system of election was supposed to prevent anyone on the left becoming leader. It failed. Now instead of kicking themselves the Blairite rump are kicking Jeremy Corbyn.


This is a golden opportunity for Socialists in the UK. Our ideas are have been deeply rooted in the working class movement since the days of the Chartists. Now is the time to build the momentum for a movement against the cuts which can drive this Tory canaille from power.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Adolf Duncan Smith worships lies

The Mirror reports that Adolf Duncan Smith thinks it disgraceful that people want to know the truth.

How dare they.

Plebs! It is none of their business.

Here is the link.

I bet the Tories privately boast about how many useless mouths they have silenced. "I killed a thousand paupers today. Have a drink with me old man."


Saturday, January 16, 2016

David Jones Lockout - your money or your life?

A Doctor David Jones has proposed a £10 fine for attending your GP. If you are sick you will be punished.


There will always be people with more money than sense who will go to the GP with trivial complaints even if it costs them £10 or £100.

Charging the poor is contrary to the principles of the NHS. To emulate the Australian system, as Jones suggests would mean not having a national health service and paying
up to 150 dollars for a simple blood test.

I hope I never need the services of the mercenary David Jones because I cannot afford him.


Bill Nighy's character in Dead Man's Chest. There will be plenty of dead men and women without the NHS

 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Petition against BBC bias

According the the BBC Charter, the BBC and it's representatives MUST remain neutral in its approach. Laura Kuenssberg has completely violated that directive so can no longer function as a representative of the BBC. She must be sacked.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/guidelines/impartiality

Sign

SUPPORT THE JUNIOR DOCTORS


8am-12.0 TUESDAY 12 JANUARY
Doctors will be there from 7 to greet early workers
Outside Royal Sussex County Hospital Eastern Rd, Brighton
and
2pm New Road Brighton “Meet the Doctors”

Picket as above also at PRH, Haywards Heath


http://defendthenhssussex.weebly.com/
 

Progress has dodgy donors

Lord Sainsbury of Turville has provided substantial funding for Progress, contributing £2 million of the £3 million of donations and sponsorship to Progress from 2001 to 2011. In 2014 Progress was fined £6,000 by the Electoral Commission for accepting donations of £390,000 from Lord Sainsbury while he was not on a UK electoral register, between December 2011 and April 2013.

And calling them a Blairite fifth column is rude?

Alson McGovern is the latest Blairite to trumpet her opposition to Corbyn. Neither Kuenssberg nor the other canaille thought of asking her about the dodgy donors she associates with.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Socialism - it's not a dirty word Kuenssberg

We have a great socialist tradition, it goes back to the chartists, to the creators of the first trade unions, the co-operative movement - everyone who sought social justice. There have been socialists inside the Labour Party (like my father in 1946) and those outside (like me in 2016).

They are not communists,they are not fascists and only a babe in arms, or  Laura Kuenssberg, would call them terrorist. They do believe in peace and like any sane person they realise that peace means sitting down to talk with people you disagree with and who probably want to kill you. That is the opposite of terrorism,Kuenssberg.

The blatant BBC bias against Corbyn prevents any serious criticism or analysis of the Labour leadership. Nick Robinson has his work cut out to counter the thousands of examples of bias which have been brought to light by social media. The BBC is, or at least ought to be, better than Murdoch. It does itself no favours by sinking to his level.

The "Corbyn insurgency" is a golden opportunity for socialists to work for common objectives. The Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition, set up by Bob Crow, has been quick to sieze this opportunity with both hands and support those Labour councillors who want to stand up against Tory cuts. They have provided practical support and advice on how to carry out a needs budget rather than one dictated by the millionaires