Wednesday, October 31, 2007

As Remembrance Day approaches the cloth and plastic poppies spring up all over our television screens. No newsreader, no presenter, no guest is allowed to appear before us without this symbol of the blood of lions led by donkeys. I'm betting there's a big box of poppies outside the studio doors from which these people help themselves. I'm also betting these are provided gratis by the Haig Fund; paying for poppies is for the plebs. In fact paying for anything is for the plebs.
I won't be present at the cenotaph at 11 o'clock on the 11th this year because the 11th falls on a Sunday. That's when the representatives of state and church and monarchy show their shiny faces. That's when the military march around with firearms. Sunday is the day of the donkey.
When the 11th of November falls on any other day a much more subdued ceremony takes place, attended by old servicemen and women and their families and friends, and a few others who 'will remember them'. No pomp, little ceremony, but genuine remembrance and heartfelt gratitude for the sacrifice of those 'who laid down their lives for their friends' and for others they could not know, others unborn.
"We don't remember once a year", the Provost Sergeant informed us sprogs, "We remember our dead every evening when the flag is lowered and the bugler blows 'Retreat'.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Britain is soft on terrorism."
Britain will not expedite Saudi political refugees so that I can torture and kill them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Democracy and Accountability
Members of our government have been working for Vodaphone. I wonder how much they were paid. I'll have to look in the Register of Members' Interests.

Lord Hoyle, Labour Peer, has been taking money from a lobbyist for the Merchants of Death. No need to worry though, he was paid for talking about football.

The man who oversaw MPs' expenses as they submitted claims for £87,600,000 is resigning. His own expenses of nearly £400,000 over three years have nothing to do with his going. It turns out that he's "a man of integrity", though one with expensive tastes. He'll survive. As one gravy train departs another arrives.

"Together, MPs and peers have conspired to draw huge government grants for their second homes, a perk denied other taxpayers. Profiteering and self-protection among politicians have become endemic." Tom Bower in Wednesday's Guardian.
What a grouch!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New to Me
I've been toying for some time with the idea of keeping a record of words and phrases that are new to me and might come in handy one day. Many of these are likely to be ephemeral but nonetheless be worthy of a permanent record. I have to admit that worthiness is not a priority; wit, inventiveness will probably be more important. We shall see.
I was moved to acting upon this long nursed idea by a word I heard on the telly the other night. In a repeat of QI Stephen Fry introduced the word listerine into a discussion of rhyming slang. This was explained as follows: Listerine is an anti-septic; a septic, or septic tank in full, is a Yank; so listerine equals anti-American. I'm sure I'll be using that in the future.
Another expression I heard from one of my sons was also new to me. I'd bought some singlets, the type of vest my wife usually calls "Freddy Mercurys". My son called them wife beaters, apparently because men who go about wearing these items of clothing with nothing over them look like the kind of people who indulge in domestic violence. This is stereotyping, of course, and not to be encouraged, but is a good example of how one's appearance can arouse prejudice in others.
The term may have featured in the Viz comic, whose creators are great promoters of these sneering and snobbish attitudes, though it's "all in fun", of course, and not to be taken seriously.
Both my sons are avid readers. I'm not.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Sceptic's Translation Service, bulletin no.4
"Change is necessary", job cuts are coming.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pervert Cop Walks
This story is from "Gagged!" the bulletin of the South Wales Anarchists.
Didn't a certain comic actor go to jail for this offence recently?

"You Are The Weakest Link…A Welsh cop ‘famous’ for appearing on TVs ‘The Weakest Link’ has been found guilty on 18 charges of owning child porn. Sergeant Mark Bretherick, from Welshpool escaped jail due to technical loophole & didn’t even get sacked by Dyfed Powys Police (though he has now resigned). He has received a 3 year supervision order& put on the sex offenders register for 5 years. Yet another cop gets away with a heinous crime without doing time. On The Weakest Link, Bretherick told Anne Robinson that he relaxes by dressing up in Saxon or Viking costumes for mock battles as part of a historical re-enactment group. He added he would love to see her running around a battlefield in a maiden’s outfit."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Re the composite photograph of Jean Charles de Menezes and the wanted bomber - I'm sure that just after the killing a photograph of Hussein Osman appeared in the press showing him with a full beard.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Here's a link to more on the Razboinik and the British journalists who think he's just a big teddy bear.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The razboinik Usmanov is at it again. If this link disappears he's succeeded in silencing another torchbearer of free speech.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Trust in the BBC is at an all-time low, because of recent scandals - rigged results to phone-in votes, and misrepresentation of an incident involving the monarch in which she was shown in a bad light.

It's about time the public woke up to the Establishment propaganda machine. Pity that it had to be because the Head of State fell victim to it's manipulation of events. That time it was for effect, usually it's to more sinister ends. Reversal of a filmed sequence to distort the facts is nothing new to the BBC, though it's usual milieu is the news rather than entertainment programmes. The miners had a taste of it more than once during their great struggle to save their industry. Simon Pirani, editor of the NUM newspaper during the big strike, gives an example -

"... no apology or correction was offered when BBC news reversed the order of events at Orgreave in 1984, screening shots of miners throwing stones at police before showing mounted officers charging the miners. In 1991, though, in response to a complaint by Charles Alverson of Cambridge, Martin Hart, on behalf of the then BBC director general, acknowledged that the film had been reversed. Hart claimed: "It was a mistake made in the haste of putting the news together ... an editor inadvertently reversed the occurrence of the actions of the police and of the pickets." No inquiry. No measures to ensure it doesn't happen again. No public admission. ",,2134594,00.html

Others have furnished further examples -,,2136625,00.html

As for the rigged ballots. It's well known that the runaway winner of the vote for BBC sports personality of the year in 1991 was Bob Nudd, world champion angler. But the BBC opted to give the award to the athlete Liz McColgan. The BBC didn't do angling, you see, so there was no percentage in promoting the sport.

Personally I lost confidence in the BBC in the early seventies, when the BBC news reporter for the Middle East was a right-wing American Zionist called Michael Elkins. This gent was allowed to broadcast Zionist propaganda as news on the BBC. At the same time the BBC's news from Northern Ireland was being spun by an Orangeman named Waldo Maguire, who ensured that all reports from his fiefdom showed the "Loyalists" in a good light, and ascribed all violence to the Papists.

I didn't know enough history to lose confidence earlier. It was much later that I learned of the BBC's role in the General Strike of 1926, broadcasting falsehoods to undermine the morale of the striking workers, and break their solidarity.

The history of the BBC is a history of lies, disinformation, and class war partisanship. If Murdoch ever succeeds in his ambition to take it over it might not be too much of a culture shock. It will just be a case of breaking out its true colours and nailing them to the mast.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Another piece about the postal workers' dispute, from a man who knows.

If your working life was being over-managed to the point of ruining the job,
And you were being threatened with the sack,
And then they wanted to steal your pension,
Wouldn’t you fight back too?
Support the Postal Workers
Don’t moan – ORGANIZE

Another day, another lie from Royal Mail! Remember the lie that posties had demanded a 27% pay rise? Leighton and Crozier kept on pushing that one in the media until asked for proof and couldn’t produce it.What about the lie that posties were 40% underworked and 25% overpaid? That one was from Adam Crozier who receives a basic salary of £500,000 a year with a £370,000 bonus for 2007 to go with the £3,000,000 in bonus payments he’s already pocketed. His accomplice Allan Leighton works two days a week for Royal Mail and is paid a basic £200,000 per year. Then there is the lie that Royal Mail is losing work to competitors. They ARE losing contracts because the Government have given incentives competitors to undercut Royal Mail, and this has been encouraged by Leighton and Crozier, but there is more work than ever for postal workers as the competitors use Royal Mail to deliver their mail. Royal Mail denied they were facing a pension shortfall because they had ceased paying contributions for years. The day after issuing denials in the national press Royal Mail were forced to backtrack when presented with a leaked secret document which showed they have plans to prevent new employees joining the pension scheme and that existing employees will have to work beyond retirement age to make up the shortfall. How about the one where posties are opposed to modernisation? Modernisation has been taking place for generations within Royal Mail and has always been embraced by the work force. Code sorting machines, stamping and franking machines, packet sorting machines, automatic letter facing machines, What staff are opposed to is wholesale job cuts without consultation and enforced redundancies. Another lie nailed! Leighton and Crozier say changes must take place in order to improve standards. With recently released figures of 95% of first class mail being delivered the day after posting, this is another lie. Royal Mail is the most efficient postal service in Europe and has been for decades. Had Leighton and Crozier had experience of working for Royal Mail as opposed to turning up for the occasional meeting, they would know than on any day the average delivery will have 5% of mail which cannot be delivered because it is incorrectly addressed, the intended recipient has moved away or insufficient postage has been paid. Even so, a rise in standards from 87% nationally to 95% without the job cuts and office closures proposed by Leighton and Crozier shows they are really priming the mail service for privatisation aided and abetted by the Labour Government. Apart from this, Leighton and Crozier are pushing through later start times which means customers will receive their mail later in the day and are trying to bring in one collection per day from pillar boxes. We fail to see how this will improve the service, but since we know that service to the customer is way behind making profits for the fat cat shareholders waiting to pounce, we aren’t too surprised. The Communication Workers Union think negotiation with these ‘here today – gone tomorrow’ venture capitalists will lead to a happy ending. We in the Industrial Workers of the World aren’t fooled. The lessons of bus deregulation and Rail privatisation, the introduction of ‘the market’ into education and the health service are not lost on us. We know if these brigands get their way, the postal service will deteriorate as surely as any other service the privateers have got their greedy hands on. Fight back now!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Whenever there's a strike unions and management dispute the percentage of the workforce that took part in the action. Here's what a postal worker wrote after the last CWU one-day strike, demonstrating how management arrive at their number of non-strikers, which is not the same as the number of scabs.

"So, the second CWU day of action came and went. The CWU claim 95% of people refused to work and looking around the figures from different Royal Mail units from Regional Distribution Centres to the smallest Delivery Offices it’s difficult to argue with that. Needless to say, Royal Mail does argue with the figures and have instructed Line Managers to provide information on employees who are on sick leave, annual holiday leave or who are on their weekly day off. One sixth of all staff in delivery offices will have had their day off on Friday and anything up to 15% will have been on holiday. The percentage of sick will be anyone’s guess, but a combination of the draconian Attendance Procedure (agreed with the CWU, it should be added) and Line Managers out to score Brownie points from their Area Managers ensure very few people are off longer than is the very minimum of time. Royal Mail deducts this total from the numbers of staff who go on strike and issue their own figures in the hope of fooling the public that thousands of postal workers are actually working. It’s similar to the system the Government use when issuing the unemployment figures to the compliant media. Everyone knows there are many thousands of under -18s, older members of the population, parents of very young children, carers of elderly relatives etc who cannot claim benefit, but who are removed from the total of unemployed.Of course there exists an active group of scabs who Royal Mail knows will be prepared to cross the picket line and break the strike. A hard core of blacklegs with no sense of self-respect, dignity or solidarity. A set of individuals who can always be relied upon to carry out any order without question. These are knows as ‘managers’ although they are little more than office boys, and bullying office boys at that. This is why Leighton and Crozier have given them all several thousand pounds each while telling postmen and postwomen they can have no more than 2.5% just as long as they hit a set of undisclosed targets, carry out work which will lead to one in six postal workers joining (or not joining, depending upon the Government’s strange method of mathematics ) the unemployment figures, agree to later starting times and covering work performed by colleagues on holiday or off sick for no extra money and much more. These managers are mostly members of the Communication Managers Association which is part of Amicus. "

Read more at -

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I notice that newsreaders and reporters have dropped the name Myanmar, and gone back to calling that unfortunate country Burma. I suppose this is their way of expressing disapproval of the military thugs who demanded that the world use Myanmar. It could also be interpreted as a withdrawal of the approval they accorded those same thugs previously. Certainly criticism of these people, who have acted in the same way as the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia (or Kampuchea?), but didn't label themselves "Communist", was muted. So that's OK then, carry on killing. Which cold warrior was it who said of Suharto "He may be a sonofabitch but he's our sonofabitch"? Half a million slaughtered, but by an anti-communist slaughterer. There's a difference, you know. Ask any US politician.
Sir George Yule's Hobson Jobson ("The Anglo-Indian Dictionary"), s.v. Burma, informs us "The name is taken from Mran-Má the national name of the Burmese people, which they themselves generally pronounce Bam-má, unless when speaking formally and emphatically."
It is interesting that these power-mad generals are so partial to the formal in speech and writing. I recall that the generals who once held Greece in a firm and fascistic grip banned the use of Dhimotiki, popular language, in newspapers, permitting only the literary Katheravousa as a medium for their communiqués to the masses.

An American University has banned Bishop Desmond Tutu from speaking there because he dared to criticise Israel.