Left vs Right: The Yin and Yang of political analysis

08/11/2015

As idealist teenager I always wanted to side with the notional left on everything. The left represented progress towards a better tomorrow freed of human suffering, prejudice, inequality and exploitation, a panacea in which all human beings could enjoy life to the full in a giant communal garden of Eden. The right, on the other hand, represented the forces of reactionary conservatism emotionally tied to the establishment and traditions that prevented progress to a fairer world.

Creepy Agendas

21/09/2015

Do Corbyn and Cameron agree on Policing the human mind?

Did anyone notice that we now have a shadow minister for mental health? Until recently we just had ministers for health concerned with the provision of medical services and social welfare. Indeed Labour’s new allegedly anti-establishment leader chose to use his limited time at Prime Minister’s Questions to address the perceived shortage of mental health services in the NHS. If you substitute the word psychiatry for mental health, you will soon understand where I’m coming from.

Confusing arguments about Refugees

15/09/2015

Some of us are fully aware of the semantic differences between refugees and migrants. A migrant is anyone who moves from one region to another. All people classed as refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, emigrants, settlers, travellers or nomads are migrants. Migration is a wholly neutral term that implies nothing about our motivations or plans or indeed whether we are moving to another continent, country or just another region of the same country. By contrast a refugee is a special category of migrant fleeing persecution, war and/or environmental calamities.

Imagine there's no countries...

13/09/2015

Reflections on Global Convergence

As an idealist teenager John Lennon’s Imagine became my anthem. I yearned for a future devoid of the seemingly pointless nationalist rivalry and imperialism that had fuelled two world wars and enslaved millions in the colonial era. I dreamed innocently of a world where different peoples would learn from each other, share their experiences and cultures altruistically and fairly. Yet as I travelled around Europe, South America, Southern Africa and India, another reality emerged.

Do we really need more economic growth?

09/08/2015
If you want to justify any policy whether it’s higher military spending, deregulation of gambling, lower corporation tax or higher levels of immigration to a sceptical public, just claim it’s good for the economy. How could any rational human being be against greater prosperity? In today’s cultural climate could any political party openly advocate greater poverty, the presumed opposite of a growing economy?

Bursting at the Seams

02/08/2015
Europe faces an unprecedented stream of human traffic from Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Central Asia. As wars rage from Afghanistan to Yemen and Darfur while deserts expand and arable land available for each inhabitant shrinks, this crisis shows few signs of abating. The heart-wrenching scenes of refugees huddling together on makeshift rafts in the middle of Mediterranean should concern any conscientious human being, but why would anyone go to such extreme lengths to seek economic betterment? Why did this not happen on such a large scale 20 years ago when people in the developing world were arguably even poorer?

The Wealth Illusion

01/06/2015

A much publicised factoid, popularised by many left-leaning campaigners for greater equality, shows that the richest 85 people in the world are as wealthy as the poorest half  or around 3.5 billion human beings. That would make each multibillionaire a staggering 41 million times richer than your typical Sub-Sarahan African, Indian or Indonesian.

Surprise: The Big Business Party won

15/05/2015

I predicted a hung parliament that would ditch any manifesto promises at the behest of corporate lobbyists. A weak government is arguably more malleable than a strong one, unless the strong government does exactly what its true masters want. I suspect the new Conservative administration will disappoint many traditional small-c conservatives as it pursues a rigorously corporatist agenda while undermining the very United Kingdom it claims to champion.

Whoever wins the election it will be business as usual

25/04/2015

I wish ballot papers had an extra box titled None of the above for I might very well be tempted to use it. None of the parties have a coherent set of policies that can deal with the fundamental stresses and strains of our overheated economy and overburdened environment, but some have policies I can at least sympathise with.

Question Time on Rise of UKIP

09/04/2015

How would members of the panel deal with the rise in UKIP support among working class whites?

Dame Penelope Guardian Reader

Extreme Labour Mobility

22/03/2015

Rethinking the Migration Debate: Were we to debate the ethics of racial prejudice, the relative merits of other societies or the wonders of humanity’s rich cultural diversity, I would not hesitate for a moment both to stand against all forms of xenophobia and to celebrate true cultural diversity. However, as soon as someone suggests the massive recent rise in migratory flows may cause social destabilisation and alienation, some left-branded rhetoricians play the race card.

What the enlightened elites really think of you

15/03/2015

Opinion leaders love to use inclusive first person plural forms, like we, us and our, when addressing unenlightened plebs who fail to share their enthusiasm for all things post-modern and mistakenly reminisce about the positive aspects of our recent past, like greater social cohesion, more respect for age and experience, simpler rules of social etiquette and above all a lot less social anxiety.

Why Labour will not bring about a fairer Britain

01/02/2015

In less than 5 years, the Labour left seemed to have forgotten the sheer treachery of the last Labour administration. Rather than focus their attention on the real ruling classes sitting in corporate boardrooms or relaxing on Caribbean yachts, they prefer to demonise the bunch of overgrown public school boys and girls in the current governmental management team. You see national governments don’t really have much power these days. Big decisions are made elsewhere.

How to Help the Needy

28/12/2014

At this time of year, we are supposed to turn our minds to the wider community around us, so everyone can enjoy a Merry Christmas and restore their faith in humanity. People in the UK seem to have three competing personas.

Does Scottish Independence really matter?

11/09/2014

As a half-Scot and half-Englishman, I never really identified as either. I grew up to believe in Britain as my father owed his career in the army and later British Aerospace to the archipelago's imperial legacy. Whenever my English mother would inadvertently confuse England with Britain, my brother would correct her. I’d support Scotland in football and in the Commonwealth Games, but Great Britain at the Olympics.

The Trouble with the NHS

27/07/2014

How disease-mongering turns patients into customers

Propaganda Wars

11/05/2014

For too long an unholy alliance of North American and European media outlets, principally BBC, CNN, Fox News, but also their French, Spanish, Portuguese and German-language equivalents, ensured coverage of evolving world events reflected the message that NATO, the EU and the leading global corporations wanted us to hear.

Dictatorship by Consent

10/05/2014

Apparently, if we believe many opinion leaders, we fought most recent wars to spread freedom and democracy. Allegedly people across the world admire us because of our deep-rooted civic political culture. Never mind any inconvenient conflicts between personal freedom and true democracy, but what do the international ruling elites and their faithful cheerleaders actually mean by this Hellenic word for people power ?

The Globalist Mindset

09/03/2014

If you love planet earth and the human race, may I humbly suggest corporate globalisation leading to a grotesque misappropriation of resources may not be such a good idea after all. However, some self-proclaimed progressives disagree. They somehow associate the onward march of transnational organisations, the proliferation of branded retail outlets and the relentless expansion of the non-productive hedonism business with a concept they like to call progress.

11 million empty homes, in the wrong places

03/03/2014

The Guardian newspaper has just revealed to its credulous readers that EU-wide no fewer than 11 million dwellings stand empty. This apparent news has been endlessly recycled by various well-funded lobbies and think-tanks to suggest there is no housing crisis in the regions that have recently attracted most inward migration. Meanwhile to accommodate 4 million new UK residents, the government has relaxed planning laws to allow the building of 3 million new homes, many on prime agricultural land.

Having your cake and eating it

16/12/2013

Imagine you had a choice of three political parties. The welfare party promised better public services, but admitted it may need to increase taxes. The small business party promised lower taxes, but admitted it will need to cut public services. However the magic bullet party promised to slash taxes and boost investment in healthcare, education and transport infrastructure as well as increasing pensions and disability benefits, a sure vote-winner for the economically illiterate. The extra funds would be raised by taxing billionaire bankers and printing money.

Rebel without a cause

07/12/2013

Do you like to indulge in drugs and booze ? Surely only boring losers would abstain from the exciting social life facilitated by binge drinking, cocaine parties and ecstasy-enhanced all-night raves. Maybe you like to gamble or play first-person shooters online with your virtual friends and imaginary foes. And what self-respecting young adult would not watch hardcore horror movies and gory action thrillers? You might even enjoy rapid-fire techno music and gangster rap.

The Sheer Arrogance of Tony Blair's Clone

08/09/2013

"But let me be clear - Britain may be a small island, but I would challenge anyone to find a country with a prouder history, a bigger heart or greater resilience.

So presumably thousands of years of Chinese, Indian or Middle Eastem history, literature, innovations count for little, and Britain's neighbours have little to teach us. Britain may have had its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, but today just builds on its past glory as a marketing tool.

Left, Right and Plain Wrong

07/04/2013

When political analysts first chose to classify opinions on a left-right spectrum during the French Revolution over 210 years ago, the left stood up for the underprivileged working classes, while the right defended the interests of the aristocracy and the emerging class of entrepreneurs. That was long before the emergence of the welfare state, mass consumerism and the globalisation of labour markets. During the latter half of the 19th century the left became identified with socialism and the transfer of ownership

Multinational Scroungers and Tax Dodgers

10/02/2013
Just before Christmas the British media revealed some large up and coming multinational outfits had taken advantage of tax loopholes and the wonders of early 21st century globalised trade to evade taxes. Suddenly Labour supporters had a cause they could all rally behind and win support from hardworking voters rightly fed up with high taxes and shoddy services. Let's force evil Amazon and Starbucks to pay their taxes in the UK. For a fleeting second I thought we had returned to the early 1970s when the Trade Unions and Labour activists advocated import controls and high tax rates for the rich.

Double Ungood: Brave New World Film

21/12/2012
Things might not have panned out quite how George Orwell predicted in his infamous dystopian novel, 1984. In many ways rather than progress towards austere authoritarianism, modelled on Stalin's Soviet Union, penalising expressions of excessive joy, the latest phase of corporate globalisation has seen the spread of mass consumerism and commercialised hedonism as tools of social engineering. I

Italians and Greeks don't pay taxes

05/05/2012
The title is ironic and may be partly true of course as many oft-repeated statements are. The most obvious riposte in defence of small-time Italian and Greek entrepreneurs is neither do large multinationals and awareness-raising charities, pay very much tax, more on that later. The accusation serves a simple purpose, to justify the huge cutbacks in public expenditure enforced by the newly appointed governments of Italy, Greece and, to a lesser extent, Spain, while the UK continues to bankroll one of the world's most generous, intrusive and life-altering welfare bureaucracies.

Demagogue sweeps to victory

01/04/2012
Many on the left in the UK and elsewhere are celebrating George Galloway's resounding victory in the last Thursday's Bradford West by-election. With a turnout of just over 50%, the former labour stronghold saw a massive swing away from New Labour and the other mainstream parties to the left-leaning Respect coalition. Just ten years ago I would have been over the moon about such a spectacular win for the superficially radical left.

Branding Cuba

08/11/2011
If you want to get away from the adverse effects of mass consumerism, extreme concentration of wealth, social unease and poverty, Cuba is an intriguing destination. Like in many countries your experiences can be filtered both by your cultural prejudices and expectations and by your tour operator. Many tourists just head for the beach resorts of Varadero, Cayo Coco, Guardalavaca, Cayo Largo del Sur or Baconao near Santiago.

Hedonism Ablaze

09/08/2011

What a coincidence! Just days after the US administration agreed to raise their country's debt ceiling and let the global consumption party go on for a few more months or maybe years, In London marauding mobs run riot, loot retail outlets and set commercial and residential buildings on fire. Reportedly it all started in Tottenham Hale, North East, on Saturday evening when demonstration against the police shooting of a minicab driver and alleged drug dealer, Mark Duggan, descended into violence, just four miles from my bedsit.

Let's Disown Tony

23/04/2011

Has anyone actually read Tony Blair's much publicised memoirs. Well within 3 months of the book's release and despite all the media, half-price copies were on display on Waterstones. Don't get too angry with this guy, for he has only ever been a politician in the sense of a polite public relations guy. He liberated Kosovo from Serb nationalists only to put in place a bunch of Kosovar Albanian gangsters, still supervised by NATO troops. Then in the wake of 9/11 he supported the liberation of Afghani women and the hunting down of Osama Bin Laden.

The Bankers are bankrupt and so are we

26/03/2011

Today over a hundred thousand demonstrators will descend on Central London to protest against cuts in public spending. I can sympathise for I've joined many similar protests defending the rights of ordinary working people and against wanton waste and wars. Why, they wonder, should ordinary people suffer because politicians and bankers have wasted billions on wars and billionaire bankers continue to reward themselves huge bonuses? Unfortunately many have misdiagnosed the problem.

Forerunners of Modern Globalisation

03/01/2011

Our species, homo sapiens sapiens, is now thought to have evolved at least 120,000 years ago with some recent finds in the Middle East dated to as long ago as 200,000 years ago. On that time scale, the Neolithic agrarian revolution, occurring in most parts of the more densely populated world between 15,000 and 5,000 years ago and only reaching some locales such as Australia, in the era of European colonisation.

New Labour's 1997 Manifesto

03/01/2011

This is the honest manifesto the Labour Party did not publish in 1997 before its historic landslide win, well it did gain 43% of the popular vote with a 75% turnout.

Ubiquitous Assault on the Senses

11/12/2010
How will future generations view early 21st century Britain? An age of enlightenment that allowed more women than ever to work, redefined loud arguments as domestic violence, exposed childhood sexual abuse and extended the benefits of prosperity to more people than ever. This is the spin of the neo-liberal media, i.e. you've never had it so good or experienced such a wonderfully fair and harmonious society. Surely you don't want to return to the dark ages when parents routinely spanked their children at the slightest hint of disobedience and women were chained to the proverbial kitchen sink?

Corporate Mercenaries

14/11/2010

The LM Gang are back, this time advocating, in a new C4 documentary Britain's Trillion pound Horror Story,  the privatisation of healthcare and education and downsizing of the rest of the public sector to reduce taxes, the national debt and stimulate economic growth.

Migration Myth Busting

It looks like the globalist growth lobby has been busy copying and pasting its Migration Myths all over government-sponsored Websites and many run by spurious NGOs. Hint if someone is providing information free of charge in a glossy format, it's probably not very reliable. As always first-hand fact finding goes a long. I live in a small single room in London, am not entitled to housing benefit as I have a job and my kids do not live with me. I've visited many former council estates around Inner London...

You're just a customer!!

Many of us have been so beguiled by corporate speak encroaching on everyday conversations that we have failed to notice how previous categories of people such as travellers, passengers, users, taxpayers, citizens or just plain people have morphed into customers , worthy only because of our purchasing power. Yet just 10 or 15 years ago, the word customer would have sounded creepily corporate in many everyday circumstances. Thus council taxpayers are no longer simply citizens paying their due, we have...

The Keynsian Dream is Over

None of the major parties in the UK have had the courage to tell the electorate the unpalatable truth. They act as mere middle managers or public relations officers, somewhere between their masters in global banking, energy cartels and military-industrial establishment and the hundreds of thousands of minion bureaucrats in the UK’s non-productive public and private sector institutions. It takes relatively little research to expose their presumed facts and figures. Indeed what should surprise us is...

Oil Discovered Off the Falkland Islands?

Are all wars ultimately motivated by Greed? ... How very convenient, by mere coincidence around 60 billion barrels of oil has been discovered within 150 miles of the Falkland Islands. Before you conclude this will save our economy from the effects of peak oil, that's approximately 2.75 years of global consumption and as in the North Sea would have a low EROEI (energy return on energy invested), i.e. it would require expensive oil rigs drilling hundreds of metres below the bottom of the Southern Atlantic ...

The Daily Motorist Mindset

The recent cold snap over much Western Europe with temperature lows not seen since infamous winter of 1963 has prompted Daily Mail columnists and their avid readers to deny any human effects on our eco-system. Yep, just because we are gripped by Arctic weather, does not mean 800 million motor vehicles and 6800 human beings have zilch effect on the environment. ... Climate is unpredictable as are weather forecasts or for that matter the side effects of the exponential rise in human activity over the...

Reality Denial

When do we let our political judgements be swayed not by a rational analysis of the facts, but by self-interest, wishful thinking, superstition or just plain irrational prejudices? Whether rapid climate change is taking place and is caused by human activity is surely a matter of scientific analysis, on which I suppose one may hold different perspectives, e.g. one may return from an unusually mild southern Greenland only to witness subzero temperatures in Madrid. One’s objective analysis during a...

Breeding Hatred

One of the biggest dilemmas for environmental realists is striking the right balance between the potential infringement of human rights required to power down to a more sustainable society on one hand, and the inevitable threat to human rights if we don't take action now. Let's call this the human rights dilemma. One solution is simply to deny the relevance of the coming environmental collapse by idealising a variant form of cornucopia, believing everything would be okay if we just wrested power from the...

Knee Jerk Hysteria

Most Sudanese citizens of all religious affiliations are desperately poor. As in most other African countries early deaths through malnutrition and disease are so rife that many just count themselves lucky to be alive, let alone benefit from the wonders of Western consumerism, fun culture and post-modern enlightenment (the kind of fuzzy thinking that endows us with some kind of moral superiority over all things ethical). But Sudan has a hidden jewel, the oil reserves in its Southeastern corner known as...

Blaming the Messenger

Spiked Online are at it again, jumping at the chance to blame common atrocities on the spectre of green fascists . To the likes of Frank Füredi and Brendan O'Neill a green fascist is anyone who doesn't believe in their technocratic vision of unlimited human and material growth, if indeed they believe their own propaganda. More is always better and anyone who says otherwise opposes progress . ... A couple of weeks ago a school shooting in the Finnish town of Jokela captured the imagination of the...

The Persuasion Industry

In one way or another a growing percentage of workers in the UK are engaged in various sectors of the persuasion industry. Call it new media, education, publishing, marketing, sales, customer relations, call centres, advertising, entertainment, legal services, lobbying, consulting, advice bureaux, research institutes, awareness raising charities, they are all in the multi-billion pound business of persuading. These businesses try to persuade us to buy products, borrow more money, adapt our lifestyles, seek ...

Blair concedes Iraq Lies

Information Clearing House recently republished extracts from the late Robin Cook's diaries, in which Blair concedes that Iraq could not strike the West or even nearby Israel with weapons of mass destruction. It also reveals how the initial scepticism of some New Labour Cabinet ministers in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq soon turned into loyalty as Blairite rhetoric morphed into crocodile tears over the human rights of oppressed and disenfranchised Iraqis. ... Some analysts insist the likes of ...

On the Wrong Track

A good way to dispel concern about an emerging trend is to set up a phoney debate pitting the views of social conservatives rejecting cultural change against progressive change enthusiasts, e.g. only paranoid Daily Mail readers could possibly oppose the growing encroachment of war-themed video games in mainstream life. Progress is by default associated with trendy young culture with little regard to its key disseminators, while negative reactionism refers to recalcitrant opposition to progress. We thus...

Rewriting History

A few months after Coalition forces successfully secured control of Baghdad and toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein in Fardus Square before the world’s media, Tony Blair referred to way future historians will remember the liberation of Iraq. It is certainly possible to construct a version of history in which the US and UK armed forces liberate a country condemned to years of tyranny by a murderous despot and then proceed to build the foundations of a new liberal democracy extending both wealth and...

Combatting Extremism

Years of conditioning have led us to believe our benevolent leaders and entrepreneurs want to protect us from all sorts of political extremists, commonly defined on the outmoded left-right spectrum or in terms of religious fundamentalism. That our leaders themselves may be extremists seldom dawns on the collective imagination of media pundits. Could we not describe our government’s commitment to ever greater surveillance as extremist, given that the UK has Europe’s highest density of CCTV cameras and...

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