pickets,protests,taxes,torches

Torch-PCS-Protest

A busy day with massive contradictions. Firstly I was part of a group to ‘welcome’ the olympic torch with our “save our leisure centre’ banners. They can afford a big cavalcade of sponsors and buses but not £100-300,000 per year to keep a leisure centre open. We had agreed to only interrupt the torch if we got near 100 people. The early morning reduced our numbers. So far the torch has only been interrupted in Northern Ireland but in Sheffield a number of NHS campaigners will hopefully get some press. There is so many reasons (eg. Bhopal) to stop the route but in principle no one disagrees with sport.

Next we went to a picket of tax office workers organised by PCS. A lot of tax still goes uncollected. Even conservative (as opposed to party) estimates show that an extra £20bn could be recovered from tax havens but some think it could be above £100bn. We even own some of these companies! note the shiny Lloydstsb bus following the olympic torch in the top left photo!! We are even still paying money to these part owned banks from the disastrous PFI deals. Some of the worst are within health; double or triple times the amount of the loan is eventually paid back!!!  Within the last few days David Cameron accused Jimmy Carr’s tax evasion as “morally wrong”. The comedian rightly apologised but now asks why he has been singled out. We certainly are not in it together!

Today and over the weekend David Cameron has come out with this shocker. He decided to go one step worse than workfare. You CANNOT force people into work which doesn’t exist. When will these politicians understand that even those working are on reduced hours or frozen pay? You cannot simply cut yourself into a healthy economy*: you simply damn people to the ‘scrap heap’.

Whilst on the picket line I found out that ATOS <insert expletive here> have recently been given the HMRC contract. Clearly the private sector is having a field day while the rest of us limp on; more so if you have just been certified as ‘fit for work’ by ATOS. The use of ATOS shows once again how much the government hate the idea of medical opinion. Why do they hate ill people?

However…

Over in Germany the Greens and Socialists are close to getting a financial transation tax, we can only wish the day will come for own “Robin Hood Tax/Tobin Tax”.

*Note I did not use the word ‘growth’ since growth generally destroys people and planet. I am a big fan of the citizens wage and believe that since infinite growth is impossible we shall be forced into a ‘steady state economy’.

PAFRAS fundraiser

I recently went to a well attended gig in aid of PAFRAS – Positive Action for Refugees & Asylum Seeker   in Leeds. They raised several hundred pounds. All of the acts were excellent and I particularly enjoyed Biscuit Head & the Biscuit Badgers and La La & the Boo Yaa. A memorable song was Stanley King by LL&BY. It recounts a 2007 letter by ex Bradford councillor Stanley King stating his objections to a children’s Madrasah extending its hours from 7.30 to 10.30pm. He further suggested that they were up to no good!

Of course during the evening there was no mention of UK migration policy. This tends to divide people metaphorically and in reality. I personally would love to know how many people in the UK support the idea of No Borders. For more information see “No One is Illegal”

Leeds UKuncut party stopped but forced to party on Monday 4th June Hyde Park, Leeds

A few of you might have made it to a Ukuncut party, maybe even the MP. In Leeds the party was cancelled by the police. The party (also see) was planned near Hyde Park,  in a small mostly student ‘back to back’ cul de sac. However allegedly police had knocked on their door earlier threatening to arrest them under a ‘public disorder act’. Because they had created the facebook event they were regarded as the ‘organiser’. On facebook 240 people planned to attend, 87 maybes and another 826! people were invited.

It seems we are now forced to party on Monday 4th June as decreed by the state

Join us for a forced cheers and we might be allowed to eat cake

UKrankandfile

Monday, 4 June 2012
13:00 until 14:30

At the Robert Peel Statue, Hyde Park, Leeds 6

As part of the new citizenship law (white paper being finalised by corporate lobbyists) you are hereby ordered to be seen on film to celebrate the eve of our Queen’s anniversary of her 60th year in her luxurious vocation or face a sentence of 3 months in Tescos’ Prison. This co-incides with the jubilee concert, which we have identified that you cannot watch as you cannot afford TV.
It is vital to UKplc that we prove to potential overseas investors that everyone believes we are in it together, therefore your celebration must be filmed as our CCTV might miss an inch.

You are required to provide/do the following as a minimum – even if this requires begging, stealing, borrowing or rummaging through bins:-
* small union jacks for waving – must be enthusiastically
* red, white & blue bunting – for pointing at and oozing pride
* branded alcohol containers containing appropriately coloured alcohol-free liquid – for toasting Her health
* branded pre-prepared party food packaging – for offering to food bank
* high quality filming – including short interviews

2 of us will be there in our helmets of power encouraging you when needed.

Music is allowed, but must reflect the ideals of the jubilee concert where Sir Elton John, Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard will be enjoyed by all.

In the unlikely event that any of you have held on to your public sector job you must display the sponsor’s logo.

We will not accept any defence for not taking part and the DWP will transport you if necessary in vehicles sponsored by G4S.

It is your duty to help organise this and the Home Office will be monitoring the SHUT DOWN event to ensure that everyone participates fully.

Filming to commence at 14hundred hours in front of the Victoria Statue. You have an hour’s practice beforehand to get it right.

Chemtrails: ‘keep calm and carry on’ chemicals?

Netherlands

I initially ignored this as it seemed to be an American issue but the nutty conspiracy theory has also spread here. I cannot understand why you would believe the government are spraying us with keep calm and carry on‘ chemicals from a variety of airlines. Besides wouldn’t they want a ‘buy more’ chemical?

There is some debate whether global warming will increase the size of trails and if  contrails affect climate change. Shortly after the September 2011 New York twin tower chaos all flights were grounded. There is tentative evidence that the contrails may have a limited cooling effect but note this does not make plane flight carbon neutral by any stretch of science!

I don’t mind if you have concerns over the air we breath or you don’t like the idea of controlling our weather but what annoys me about the chemtrail conspiracy theory is this: We have hundreds of problems, we don’t need to invent new fake ones! Lets run down 15 problems that you could worry about instead!

1)GM crops, there is often no evidence which proves what impact the spreading of these modified genes will have. Until this transgenic pollen is proven 100% to be safe we should not use GM crops. If you can design it without pollen then ask me again.

2)Climate change; do I really need to explain this one?

3)Particulate Matter (PM) from cars and industry. Proven to reduce life expectancy in several European and UK cities.

4)Gap between rich and poor; do I really need to explain this one?

5)Water shortages in certain parts of the world.

6)Leachates from landfill sites or incinerator emissions.

7)Animal testing of cosmetics.

8)The privatisation of our welfare state.

9)The first past the post system. Surely AV, STV or PR would be better?

10)Nuclear weapons or power.

11)STDs such as Aids…

12)The Israeli occupation of Palestine

13)Land grabbing/certain biofuels. Potentially rob locals of food or development

14)unfair trade, support fairtrade

15)The amount of money spent on millitary, more than enough to feed hungry.

etc

So the next time someone mentions chemtrails; ask them this: HAVEN’T YOU GOT SOMETHING ELSE BETTER TO WORRY ABOUT?

Top 12 nutty government epetitions

Here are my top 12 nutty petitions with 10 or more signatures

1)Bring in lashing as a punishment (5,10,20,30,40, 50-100 lashes per crime)

Votes: 21  (There is c.500 on other ‘capital punishment’ petitions)

Comment: We do not live in the 19th Century, we do not get press ganged onto wooden ships and suffer with scurvy. The cat o’ nine tails is hard to get these days.

Verdict: Nutty and dangerous
2)Hoodies should be banned

Votes: 89

Comment: Hard luck if it rains, possible boost to umbrella sales?

Verdict: Truly nutty 
3)Return to ‘Splendid Isolationalism’

Votes: 10

Comment: 100 hundred years out of date. Is there any country apart from North Korea (that well known liberal democracy) which could be called isolated? Unless you advocate the Cuban ‘Leninist’ style government?

Verdict: rather odd 
4)GEOENGINEERING, AEROSOL SPRAYING CHEMTRAILING

Votes: 281

Comment: Really missing the real issue of particulate matter from industry and mostly from cars. This has been proved to reduce life expectancy in cities.

Verdict: distracting conspiracy theory

 

5)Abolish Islam in the UK

Votes: 273

Comment: Did you know that officially under Islam any religion is welcome to worship at a mosque. Christanity, Judaism and Islam are basically all relations of the same religious family (but don’t tell anyone; we don’t want peace and it doesn’t sell newspapers)

Verdict: nutty

 

6)I believe God can heal

Votes: 2930

Comment: So will you be forgoing any NHS treatment? Having a faith may make you feel happier and you may heal faster with support from  friends BUT it is no replacement for medical treatment. N.B. see homeopathy for similar

Verdict: potentially dangerous
7)STOP EMIGRATION PLEASE

Votes: 11

Comment: Refreshingly different but I don’t want to be in my late 30s before I can move abroad!

Verdict: bit harsh 
8)Ban All Fireworks That Have Bangs <

Votes: 46

Comment: Why specifically only the ones that have bangs? are you going measure the DB of every bang?

Verdict: There is no halfway house with fireworks
9)Introduce A 99p Coin

Votes: 15

Comment: Allegedly this would save the amount of small change in the economy but you could just get rid of the debased copper instead?

Verdict: funny
10)Abolition of money>

Votes: 60

Comment: Trade in some form has always existed, if you get rid of money then something else will replace it. How we share money, equality, control and sustainability; Now thats what we need to talk about.

Verdict: bit extreme?
11)Stonehenge Ancestors

Votes: 693

Comment: A petition by someone claiming to be a head druid. He just as likely to be a descendent as Sheffield University  Part of a wider debate over perceptions, mythology and actual culture/science.

Verdict: harmlessly strange 
12)Abolish BBC Three

Votes: 29

Comment: The petition states  “Given the tough financial climate, and the necessary cuts to the BBC, it is surely time to prioritise its better quality programming. BBC Three is a waste of taxpayers’ money, and there is no justification for licence fee money going towards endless repeats of ‘Family Guy’, ludicrous shows such as “Snog Marry Avoid?” and “World’s Craziest Fools”, and rubbish sitcoms that come and go without trace. Not to mention pseudo-reality programming including “Jamie: Drag Queen at 16”, “My Life As An Animal”, “Geordie Finishing School for Girls”, and “Danny Dyer: I believe in UFOs”.

Verdict: Funny and not far off the truth

Some of my favourite petitions include:

public hanging for those who propose public hanging    

“NO HOMEWORK”   : )

Grant a pardon to Alan Turing

Reject wrongly spelled e-petitions

Bring Back Spitting Image TV Show

Other interesting ones are:

No millionaires in government
Tempted by this one but is that truly democratic?

BBC weather map of UK to be accurately sized
I have relatives who get equally annoyed when the BBC whizzes over where they live as they live on a border! My personal pet hate is the dull grey, why can’t we have  a nicer geographical green, brown and blue?

Don’t listen to idiots signing e-petitions 
338 votes so far… but do we listen to them?

The government epetition website: utterly pointless

In 2011 the government unveiled an official epetition website. It was suggested that any petition with 100 000 or more signatures would be debated in parliament. In reality the government simply ignores the petition or makes a vague reply. Here is the pathetic government reply to a petition against the Health & Social bill:

So why did the government create it?  good question.

Is it to waste our time and divert us from been on the street and shouting at our MP?  Have the names been added to a MI5/MI6 list? Especially when a number of the petitions want to radically change the law.  Unless they pick the 1% of reasonable suggestions and quietly use them for their own gain?

I generally found that the first few pages don’t have too many nutty suggestions but after that it is mixture of the good, bad and ugly. See my next post for my top nutty petitions. There are a number of petitions that want to bring back hanging or borderline racist.

The top part of the table is for closed petitions over 100000 and the bottom half is for those still open. It is still depressing that the highest petition is to remove benefits from convicted rioters. I could say thankfully the government ignored this petition; but they are still intent on destroying the welfare state/increase the gap between rich and poor.

I recommend 38degrees and Avaaz

 

Empty Houses/’Great British Property Scandal’ comes North

Empty Homes

A campaign called Empty Homes and Channel 4’s The Great British Property Scandal have toured around several cities and local authorities. I managed to attend one of these events.

It is believed there is 325000-350000 empty properties (government Vs George Clarke estimate). In Britain we have a housing shortage. Other EU countries such as Ireland have the opposite problem; leading to ‘celtic tiger’ ghost towns. They also are suffering from a privatised health system.

So what is stopping houses been brought back into use?

1)Death or ill health of the owner

2)Market Forces  (those dastardly forces )

3)Accidental Owners

4)Speculative Owners ( ? )

Last year the largest house builder was self-builds and yet we have the least amount of self-builds in the developed world. Money is a big problem. A few groups have set up housing co-ops or co-ops where the mortgage is eventually paid by the rent. There is some interesting projects in which they acquire housing and do it up and/or manage it for a few years to recoup the the renovation cost. These projects can be used to give the vulnerable apprenticeships and possibly even provide a house. But these rely on initial grant or lottery funding.

The Ecology Building Society will fund certain projects but have their limits.

Unemployment is expected the grow, wages are not keeping up with inflation and the welfare state is under attack. To add to this, by the end of the year squatters run a greater risk of been arrested. Now house prices may come down 1-5% this year but the average price is £226000, which is at least 10x the  average wage.

How long before local communities are forced to come together and try to sort out empty housing? Perhaps this is where occupy movement may grow?