Wednesday, 28 March 2012

We don't need no education..profit

Here is what then Shadow now Minister for Schools said in 2008 when interviewed on the Politics Show. Jon Sopel asked him about 'the profit motive: NICK GIBB: "Yes, but it's not necessary. The trouble with allowing companies to make a profit from providing schools is that it take money out of the education system, significant sums of money out. We want to make sure that all that money is retained within it and if it were necessary, fine but it's not necessary.." Here is the link to transcript In Health as in education - profit making companies coming to take significant sums of money out of the health system soon.


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Only religion can make you good...

Canon Raven paid tribute to George Garrett (whose writings greatly impressed George Orwell) thus:

"Few men of my acquaintance are so Christ-like, so marked by suffering, so patient, so free from bitterness, so generous to those who for years have persecuted him. Blacklisted and deprived of any possible employment, imprisoned, driven from the country, forced to leave wife and children, never secure, almost starved, miserably clad, he yet speaks and acts like a Christian gentleman. And his only crime is that he cannot endure in silence the oppression and the wastage, the demoralising insecurity and the soul-destroying squalor, in which his fellows have to live.

For me to preach to such a man would be an is a pity his views are so unsuited to his character; a bad creed, even if it has no influence, is an obstacle...but I have a feeling that Jesus is much more manifestly incarnate in this man and his kind than He is in me."

Garrett was a labour activist, for a time a member of the (godless) Communist Party and also involved with the Industrial Workers of the World (The Wobblies) when in America. (picture here) (and here) (quote from journal here)


Saturday, 20 February 2010

Some families are better than others


Friday, 24 July 2009

Government by perception

Last night on Question Time the question of MPs holidays was raised, namely, 'why are such a bunch of thieving wasters getting 3 months holidays' - that's not me speaking that was the tone of the discussion.

The politicians protested that just because they weren't in parliament doesn't mean to say they are not working, indeed they are in their constituencies doing stuff, kissing babies and wotnot.

Anyway, an audience member said the point is how it looks seems as if they get long holidays.

Well actually that's not the point, no. Surely, policymaking and the like should be based on the facts of the matter not what people think is the case.

Clive James on the panel said we are verging on dangerous populism on the whole matter with the media thinking they run the country.

On swine flu another audience member said something about reading a proper newspaper for proper information.

Chris Dillow has a weighty discussion of 'preferences' in politics here.

Well, if we think of the newspaper reading habits of the public and we have government by perception, imagine that!


Sunday, 5 July 2009

Blogger/Tweeter points camera at MSM shocker!

Its Stuart Flinders off of the BBC NW telly!

I snapped Stuart covering Manchester International Festival today.

More photos of the actual Sunday event to follow.


Saturday, 4 July 2009

4th July - Revolution & Conservatism

Just still time to wish my American friends well in their 4th July celebrations.

The later French Revolution followed hot on the heels of the American Revolution (1776-83 American, 1789-99 French, this timescale was pretty quick in them days) and historians have debated equally hotly about the similarities and differences of these events. However, the timing and connection was not lost on some contemporaries.

Here's Richard Price:

'Behold all ye friends of freedom... behold the light you have struck out, after setting America free, reflected to France and there kindled into a blaze that lays despotism in ashes and warms and illuminates Europe. I see the ardour for liberty catching and spreading; ...the dominion of kings changed for the dominion of laws, and the dominion of priests giving way to the dominion of reason and conscience.'

But while some hailed the spirit of the French Revolution, others did not want this kindling to spread to Britain and thus the Grand-daddy of modern British conservatism, Edmund Burke, penned his Reflections on the Revolution in France, seen as an important conservative manifesto.

So this period of history was a bit of a mixed bag really.


Friday, 3 July 2009


Have been too busy to blog. Have though discovered the delights of twitter -ideal as a snack you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite.

Been patching up my kitchen. Removed some tiles and accidentally a layer of plaster. Had to repair it myself. In this heat! All made so much harder when you are time and money poor. Am currently sporting a hole in the sole of my shoe. Money spent on plaster and paint. While the cooler weather is welcome, rain does tend to seep through the hole a bit.

Anyway, enough of the sob story. There's been loads of good stuff in the papers, around the blogs and in the twitterverse or whatever neologism has been invented for it. Lots of catching up to do.


Friday, 26 June 2009

Gone too soon

Blimey. Michael Jackson dead.


Sunday, 14 June 2009

Being egged on

Griffin: going to work in an egg

There is much discussion round 'tinternet on whether lobbing eggs is a well-targeted strategy for challenging the BNP.

Is ‘direct action’ of this type their just (egg-based) desert or does it grace them with more importance than one would wish.

There is an honourable/dishonourable* (*delete as appropriate) tradition of pelting MPs etc with stuff with which to compare this strategy.

Reflect on your reactions, thoughts, feelings on these episodes:

That's Peter Mandelson under that green custard

Was the peltee turned into an object of ridicule or enhanced as a macho martyr speaking difficult truths, making hard decisions in the face of whatever was thrown at them, so to speak?

At the end of the Politics Show today a video montage was played of other such episodes caught on camera ...also here the Daily Telegraph delights in same with a picture gallery.

My instinct on seeing these was to laugh at those in authority brought down a peg, their ostensible status interrupted by some unexpected, external 'matter' much in the manner of ordinary folk's worlds' being rent asunder by random, external forces. Welcome to our world! A cup of cold, green custard only begins to hint at the rude forces which we are encouraged to embrace as opportunities.

However, despite my relish, I did wonder does this practice feed into that stream of opinion which an anti-politics political party might wish to exploit? or does it tar them with the same custard?

Well there was certainly publicity from it and no doubt propaganda opportunities to portray themselves to their members and supporters as a persecuted minority. Which is one of the things they want.

The other strategy is to ignore them, let them get elected and by their elected representative's deeds shall ye know them. But it should be noted they have not remained at lower council tier seats. Lancashire now has one of the first BNP County Councillors and the NW BNP leader as MEP.

The other opposition strategy is to take on their arguments and policies seriously, debate them and expose them as logically, morally or otherwise fallacious.

However, I have seen their comment postings and they make great play of this opposition. They see that it means they should be taken seriously and feeds in to their claims to power.

There have been attempts around the internet to debunk their claims and policies but I doubt these would be read by those who are attracted to them.

Once attracted some people are lost to reasoning. Some are not.

There has been much finger pointing about where on the political spectrum the BNP should be placed and from whence they draw their support. Much of this seems to be driven by whose responsibility it is to challenge and counter them. This is unhelpful and not quite the spirit required of the moment and the challenge. It is everybody's business.

Their policies are a politically pragmatic mish-mash drawn from across the political spectrum in order to garner support from a broader base and having policies on other than immigration is cover for their core objectives and true policies.

This video shows Nick Griffin speaking of his strategy for not changing what the BNP are about but about making it more saleable, 'not selling out our ideas but selling our ideas', using more saleable words such as 'identity' instead of racial purity. He also expresses a desire that by being more subtle they will get into a position where they control the British broadcasting media and change people's minds so that people say 'yes, every last one of them should go'.

This is fascism plain and simple.

'Racial purity' in Nazi Germany meant the eradication of a wide range of groups including Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, the mentally ill and disabled too.

Another of the BNPs policies is a 'Bill of Rights guaranteeing fundamental freedoms to British people'. Fair enough you might say. But when you realise that their definition of British is narrowly defined (Dame Kelly Holmes only half qualifies apparently. Its not clear which half of her will have her freedoms guaranteed which just shows the idiocy of the BNPs thinking and policies) one doesn't have to wonder very much about the implications for those deemed not British.

Scary stuff.

And this bunch are coming to Blackpool for a victory celebration.

While politics has been blamed for the election results, the media have to answer for their part.

Why did the Daily Telegraph, in the run up to council and European elections, in which it was predicted that 'smaller parties' might do well add to this maelstrom the toxic ingredient of their story on expenses, which tarred all mainstream parties and obliterated discussion on the issues which could have been at hand- Europe and Social Care.

If anything the run up to the elections was not about policy but about power politics. Who speaks for 'the people'? They don't call it the 'fourth estate' for nothing. What part did the power plays and circulation figures of the media contribute to what dominated the news at that time?

If there is any finger pointing to be done, how have the Telegraph got off so lightly? Was it the height of irresponsibility to publish at this time? Did they want the BNP elected!?

In history, those who thought they could ride the fascist beast ultimately delivered them to power, and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

It took more than a few rotten eggs to defeat them.

Responsibility is on the lips of every party. Here it really matters.


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Leadership Question Mark 2007, 2008, 2009

In the past week several backbench MPs have been calling for a vote of no confidence in the leadership. They have been unhappy at his modernisation of the party. Due to popular (or rather unpopular!) demand William Hill opened a book on who would be the next leader.

Except this was all about the Conservative leader, David Cameron back in 2007.

Meanwhile, YouGov’s monthly poll for the Telegraph back then had voting intention figures, with changes from YouGov’s last poll, of CON 32%(-1), LAB 41%(+1), LDEM 16%(+1).

UK Polling Report who look at these things said:

"...there is still a sharp difference between positive opinions of Gordon Brown, who enjoys a net approval rating of plus 7 as Prime Minister, and negative opinions of the government, whose net approval rating is at minus 25. It’s been a lot lower (at some points in the last year it reached minus 43)... The obvious explanation is that Labour’s positive position in the polls at the moment is based on Gordon Brown, he hasn’t yet transferred that popularity onto the government or the Labour party."

Can such a catastrophic fall from grace be based on any rational and objective analysis of the man, his government, policies and performance. Sure mistakes have been made but add a dash of "media character assassination" and a "vilification of the prime minister on his first anniversary [that] is grotesque" and so he becomes the most unpopular leader since [insert odious leader of choice from any time in the history of the world here].

As, Simon Jenkins wrote in no piece of flattery, back in June 2008 "The psychological abuse now being heaped on Gordon Brown is beyond reason".

It must be that time of year again!

Some commentators have suggested that the Tories should be doing better.

So what are the lessons to be learned from all this? Stick with your leader, unite and you too could be as popular as David Cameron.


Monday, 8 June 2009


I have a disabled child. I still used what spare energy I could muster to go out leafleting and campaigning.

Even this small but huge effort has been squandered. We now have BNP on Lancashire County Council and representing us in the North West in Europe.

This is a failure of the media, the politicians, education and culture.

Please get a grip everyone.


Sunday, 5 April 2009

Credit Crunch Fun...

Fun with Dick and Jane -Channel 5 on now ....the perfect credit crunch movie?


Thursday, 19 February 2009


Am feeling quite the smartypants this morning.

A couple of months back after a lengthy stand-off -18 months to be precise- I was forced for Health & Safety reasons to clean out my elder son's former bedroom after he had left home and left an utter mess ...think Third World dumping ground.

Aside from the 20-odd quid of loose change I found, exchanged for proper money and kept/spent, I also found an ipod nestled among the debris.

He said '"nah, don't wan' it" ...too complicated to use with all that having to do stuff thru iTunes etc. You can have it if you want.'

So after removing a layer of encrustation and buying the necessary cable (original lost) to connect/charge it and downloading and installing the iTunes software I thought I'd have a go at musically getting with the 21st century.

Had a quick squizz at the manual, also downloaded (original lost) and then set about transferring my music files.

Same elder son also got a 15-quid iTunes voucher for Christmas -still unused ...and here comes the smartypants bit... last night I downloaded my first iTune from the iTunes store and synced it onto my new gadget.

Daniel Merriweather feat. Wale - Change

Seemed appropriate somehow.

When he came to visit (my son, not Daniel) I showed him all I had done and he cast a rueful, misty eye at his old ipod.

I clutched it to my body and shouted (not on purpose just had loud music clamped to my ears) "Mipod now!"

Am now seriously considerring downloading an audiobook (any recommendations?) ...never enough time to read books and am working on the theory that if I just play it into my ear while doing other stuff I might osmotically absorb the contents which is a better working hypothesis than expecting to absorb books by the same method from the bookshelf.

Anyway, I'm still here with a will to blog but not enough time (caring responsibilities) and love gadgetry but cannot afford (so good on Labour for this!) to keep up with it all (caring responsibilities) but for now I love my new toy and I'm a happy dancing bunny.

Currently on mi'pod then is a 6 cd set 101 Trance anthems, three Muse albums, a compilation of 80's 12" ...there was supposed to be the soundtrack to the second series of Ashes to Ashes but seem to have lost that somewhere in my library, some random other stuff ...Kraftwerk Popcorn, some 80s dancey stuff and some noughties pop.

Will have to learn to be a bit more selective about what I put on it because it only has 4GB of space!

Next on the list of desired gadgets would be a Blackberry but could never afford one in a million years. Am stuck using the calendar function on my VERY basic mobile phone for now.

One day I hope to be as tech-savvy as John Prescott.


Sunday, 25 January 2009


Is it me or do I have to read the News through not just the ideological and/or moral commitment of the MSM proprietors but also through the individual egos and pretensions of some journalists/commentators as well. No links. Just a pure off the cuff observation on reading a sunday paper.


Wednesday, 31 December 2008

2009 still here

I am still here and willing to blog (if not time -caring obligations and all that), though hats off to the Twitterer who managed to twitter from a plane crash (find your own link). Think there is some point to be made that it is easier to Twitter from a plane crash than it is to Care and Blog.

New Year's Eve, I am the unpaid care for my 17/18 year old Autistic son. So much for having a life, education, employment of my own according to the spirit of various Acts of Parliament. I am home, babysitting an 18 year old.

Sorry, but while many dedicated and long-standing parliamentarians have fought hard to create a legislative and cultural spirit about looking after carers so that they can look after the utterly more vulnerable, I fear another huge effort is necessary to make a reality of carers well-being as law depends on people on the ground testing it.

The story that caught my attention over the last few weeks is that of the 5-year-old Autistic boy who drowned in a swimming pool in France. Sure young children often get caught up in accidents of this kind. But his Autism was surely a contributing factor. His mother lost sight of him for a second.

A friend of mine once entrusted with the care of my similarly aged Autistic son returned from a trip out with him only to declare that they were unqualified to be THAT vigilant on his behalf and that how was it humanly possible to safeguard a child like him in such a normal envirnoment. Autism is characterised by a lack of awareness of danger. My son is almost 18 and I kid not, Tesco's car park is a life and death situation.

I have spent the last decade-plus being THAT vigilant. Autism isn't terminal but it could well be. If it hadn't been for the support of the much maligned 'traditional' respite services ensuring my being able to be vigilant he would not be alive today.

If there is any test of 'caringness' -both parties are failing.

While billions are poured into the financial system -I contend we have no option - the opposite is tantamount to saying 'stop the world I want to get off' - we seem to have lost sight of what wealth creation was for. It has become a thing in itself.

How many nights respite care can be purchased for the price of a designer handbag or a Smythson product.

Here in the north of England this would buy a complete night off for a family caring for a severely disabled child.

Happy New year!